Wednesday, July 28, 2010

When bad things happen to good crafters... and their houses!

If you've been reading for awhile now you'll know that I'm lucky to have my own craft room here in our home.  A dedicated space where I can craft to my hearts content, leave projects half finished on the table, and generally make a mess.

Unfortunately, sometimes crafting seems to explode onto all surfaces in my home.  Take a peak at yesterday's scenes of horror...
The living room coffee table - complete with paper cutter and stamping "stuff"

The dining room table (yes, I brought the computer AND printer downstairs from the office!) - note the box of crayons, cut up magazines, and stacks of cards)

The kitchen counter!  Sharpies, sequins, and kids projects strewn all over the place!

How do I let this happen?  I'm not even that messy of a person!  Argh!  How about you, reader, do you have trouble keeping your craftiness contained?  Please say yes!!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Works in Progress

It's one of those weeks where I have a whole host of projects in the pipeline and not a ton to share.  One of the things I'm diligently working on (had hoped to get them finished yesterday - oops!) is a set of thank you cards for my friend Meg who just had a baby.  Although I knew the colors I wanted to work with, it took me ages to come up with a design I liked (perfectionist, much?) but I'm finally there.

I've used the new "Baby Bundle" set in clear mount from Stampin' Up!  I knew I had to buy this set as soon as it comes out because I'm inundated with babies in my life right now - lots of blessings for family and friends!

I had a lot of fun stamping the background of these cards.  I combined several of the small images on one clear block and stamped them in Chocolate Chip ink onto the Pretty in Pink cardstock.  The background it my favorite part of the card!

I'm also getting everything in order for a wedding project.  165 wedding favors!  The bride has asked for the triangle boxes (remember I made these for a workshop recently?) in SU's "Blueberry Crisp" designer series paper (below right)

I'm going to use Very Vanilla ribbon, a shade of blue cardstock for the scallop circle, and find a cute "love" sentiment to stamp on for the greeting.  I'm very excited to put these together - can't wait to show you!

I'm also working on a "Back to School Crafts" piece for, and a guest post project for the darling Caroline over at Salsa Pie, so those are keeping me busy as well!

I've been absolutely terrible about stopping over to people's blogs lately - who knew summertime could be so busy?  I promise I'll make time to head over and see what you've all be up to in the next couple of days.

Thanks for reading Ready, Set, Craft!


Monday, July 26, 2010

Stamp Set Spotlight: Awash With Flowers

I'm starting a new feature on Ready, Set, Craft! for all you stamping fanatics out there.  Once a week (or thereabouts!) I'm going to do a "Stamp Set Spotlight" post.  

Basically I will choose a current Stampin' Up! stamp set, and show you a variety of different cards using that set.  A lot of times I don't even realize how much I like a stamp set until I've seen it "in action" - and I absolutely love stamps that are versatile and can be used for all times of year and all occasions! 

I'm starting with the "Awash with Flowers" stamp set that is new this year.  It's a two step stamping set (line art images and solid images that piece together) and I wanted to share this set with you first because a lot of my customers have ordered it recently!  I hope that these ideas give you some inspiration!

Cardstock Colors:  Whisper White, Rich Razzleberry, Melon Mambo, Tempting Turquoise, Pretty in Pink and Daffodil Delight.  Ink Colors:  Certainly Celery, Rich Razzleberry, Melon Mambo, Tempting Turquoise, Pretty in Pink and Daffodil Delight.  Accessories:  Certainly Celery, Snail Adhesive, Stampin' Dimensionals

Cardstock Colors:  Whisper White, Pretty in Pink, Certainly Celery.  Inks:  Basic Black, Pretty in Pink, Certainly Celery.  Accessories:  Certainly Celery Ribbon, Snail Adhesive, Basic Pearls (I am in LOVE with the basic pearls - 150 self-adhesive pieces for $4.95 - adorable and a steal!)

Cardstock Colors:  Whisper White, Rose Red.  Ink Colors:  Basic Black, Rose Red, Certainly Celery.  Accessories:  Designer Series Paper in Rose Red, Scallop Circle punch 1 3/4 inch, Circle punch 1 3/8 inch, Basic Rhinestones (again, I LOVE these!  A little jewel really makes a simple card pop!)

Cardstock Colors:  Sahara Sand, Tempting Turquoise, Pumpkin Pie, Real Red.  Ink Colors:  Tempting Turquoise, Pumpkin Pie, Real Red, Basic Black.  Accessories:  Snail adhesive.

One stamp set - so many versatile cards!  To order the Awash with Flowers stamp set and to take a peak at all the great products Stampin' Up! has to offer, head over to my online store today!  Happy Monday!

Friday, July 23, 2010

20 Creative Summer Crafts and Activities for Kids

I'm over at Babble today with some creative ideas for you and your kids!  Head over there to check it out!  Click HERE to go to the article.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Gardening Update

I was inspired by Meg's gardening update yesterday - I'm so envious of her raised vegetable beds and hope to work with hubs to make some for us next year!  After trying to grow everything we possibly could last year and having zero success (too much stuff and not enough knowledge!) we're trying to focus on just a select group of plants this year.   

Here's what the tomato plants looked like right about a month ago...

And here's what we're working with now!

I'm just worried that there's hardly any fruit on them yet - and none of it close to ripe.  Plenty of flowers, though.  Tomato growers - are we on track?  Are we going to see some ripe fruit this year?

And that's not all.  Since I blogged about gardening last, I picked up a green pepper plant.  It is getting SO BIG!  It's a monster!

The best part of the entire plant, though, is the lone pepper we have - it's kind of funny hanging there all by iteself.  I have no idea how big it's supposed to get or when to pick it (will it get as big as a grocery store sized green bell pepper?) and I'm kind of wondering why it's the only fruit on the entire plant thus far.  Something is better than nothing I guess?  : )

As you can see - the pots and plants are taking over the back steps.  If we have success this year we are going to have to for sure make plans for next year to have some raised beds in our side yard for veggies.  I really am longing for homegrown veggies all summer long! 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bundles of Joy!

This past weekend I got to meet a very special little lady - Miss Ellison (Ellie) Ann Herr.  Ellie was born to my dear friends from college Meg and Matt just two and a half weeks ago, and I was just thrilled to be able to pop in and meet Ellie while I was on the east side of the state.  Isn't she sweet?

And of course a special new baby means special gifts, too.  I created this card for the family - and am working on a whole set of baby "thank you" cards for Meg to send to friends and family as well.

I made a little brown and pink bunny to go in baby's room... (can you guess the colors of the nursery based on all these gifts?)

And even though I'd already gifted a set of baby bibs to Meg - I couldn't pass up this darling fabric...

All wrapped up in a gift bag with custom stamped tag.  "Bundle of love" is an understatement I think!

Congratulations to Meg and Matt - and welcome to the world, little Ellie, it was lovely to meet you!

Monday, July 19, 2010

July Cupkins (Pina Colada Cupcakes): Better late than never!

Has this summer been a busy one for you?  I can't believe that we're already inching towards the end of July and that it will be fall before we know where we are.

With all of the traveling, family "stuff," showers and babies, busy work and school schedules and more - it's been a challenge to keep up with blogging to say the least!  Meg has been equally busy - and although we're a little late on Cupkins this month (VERY late - on my part!) we've made it!  These pictures of my Pina Colada cupcakes may not be the most creative you've ever seen, but trust me - they are delicious!  The photos just don't do them justice!

So take a few minutes, relax, and enjoy today's edition of Cupcakes - a collaboration between Meg over at Mega•Crafty and I.  This month our theme is "Tropical" and I don't know about you, but I sure wish I was on a beach someplace tropical right now!  : )

Joanne's Pina Colada Cupcakes

For the cupcakes... combine one box of white cake mix with three egg whites and 1 loaded cup of crushed pineapple in juice (don't drain!)  Mix on low in a stand mixer and scrape edges of bowl as needed until combined.  Don't over-mix!  Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 16 minutes (or until a cake tester comes out clean) at 350 degrees.

For the frosting... In a stand mixer, combine 1 stick of butter with 8oz of cream cheese until creamed and combined.  Add a glug (yup, that's a technical term!) of clear vanilla extract, and 2 glugs (yup, pretty scientific!) of milk - then gradually add 1lb of powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached.

Spread onto tops of cooled cupcakes with a spatula or palette knife... be generous!

Sprinkle coconut on top of the cupcakes, and devour!  : )

I hope everyone's week is off to a great start!  Now head over to Meg's place to check out her delicious looking Toasted Coconut and Dark Chocolate Chunk Muffins!  YUM!

Friday, July 16, 2010

It's all in the details...

Earlier in the week I shared a few photos from my latest SU get together - my new catalog release party.  I really wanted to share with you some of the simple details that made a huge impact!

Goody Bags:
I bought plain brown gift bags in bulk from JoAnn Fabrics and stamped the fronts of them using Soft Suede ink and the I (Heart) Hearts stamp set.  I used scraps of Pretty in Pink and Whisper White ribbon in various textures and widths around the handle - four pieces on each bag simply tied in knots.  These were quick to make en masse, and you could switch up the colors and stamp sets to custom make gift bags for any occasion!

Water Bottles:  These were so simple to do - but looked so festive!  I purchased mini sized water bottles and removed the labels.  I measured and cut some of our designer series paper in the size of the water bottle labels and attached them using snail adhesive.  So fun!

 Cupcake Picks:  It's not a Joanne party without cupcakes, right?  Heather and I made a batch of vanilla cupcakes with fresh strawberry frosting.  To make the picks, I stamped our new a la carte stamp, Homemade, in Pretty in Pink ink onto Whisper White cardstock.  I cut out the center of the stamp with an XL circle punch, and cut out an XL scallop from Pretty in Pink cardstock.  I adhered the two together and attached to a toothpick.  To finish them off I added a bow of Pretty in Pink ribbon.  Beautiful!

All three of these simple ideas can be custom designed for any event you may be having!  So what are you waiting for?  Throw a party already!  : )

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cupcakes with Kids

Heather and I were invited to the YMCA (where both our husbands work - and where both of us have worked in the past) to work with a group of children, teaching them how to make cupcakes.  The seven school-age kids helped us put ingredients into the mixer, make and color the frosting, and then the real fun started when we showed them how to pipe.

We made more than 100 mini cupcakes - and the kids frosted every single!  Look how great they turned out!

I always enjoy baking - and working with children - but what was especially cool about this experience was that it drove home to me how important it is to cook and bake with your kids.  It's an easy and fun task to do together, it teaches math and science skills paired with creativity, and it can be a wonderful platform for lessons in nutrition (although let's be honest - cupcake baking isn't ideal for that message!) 

Cooking is an activity the entire family can do together - and I'm pleased to report that all seven of the kids we worked with had personal stories about baking or cooking with mom, dad, grandma, aunts, uncles, etc.  So neat to hear about great family memories made in the kitchen!