Friday, December 28, 2012

A Friday Recipe for your Best Friend: Gluten-Free Banana-Peanut Butter Dog Treats

recipe for banana and peanut butter dog treats gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free

Our little peanut, Grady, has been so good here in Colorado (not stealing peoples' Christmas Cookies or hot chocolate) that I thought it only fair that she get a little holiday goodie of her own. I modified a few recipes that I found and created these little Banana & Peanut Butter Star Treats for her.

recipe for banana and peanut butter dog treats gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free
Photo via our Instagram

They are gluten-free, dairy-free and wheat free (the best for the pups). She absolutely adores these: so much so that I could only get blurry photos of her dashing away with them. I highly recommend them. However, if your dog has allergies of any kind, definitely check with the vet before you whip these up.

recipe for banana and peanut butter dog treats gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free

• a banana, preferably ripe
• 1 cup oat flour
• 2/3 cup rolled oats
• a cookie cutter of your choice! choose one that's relative to your dog's perfect treat size. I chose a chihuahua-sized star
• 1/4 cup ground, organic parsley (for fresh breath!)
• 1 egg, beaten
• 3 tablespoons organic, creamy peanut butter

recipe for banana and peanut butter dog treats gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free

In a large bowl, smash banana with a potato masher or fork until soft and gooey. Combine beaten egg and other ingredients. Stir the sticky mixture well with a wooden spoon.

recipe for banana and peanut butter dog treats gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free

On a piece of parchment paper, roll or pat the dough into a sheet about 1/2 inch thick. Use the cookie cutter to create shapes, or roll small balls and flatten them into "cookies." Place these pieces on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and bake for 40 minutes at 300°. Voila! The perfect Banana-Peanut Butter cookie for your furry friend.

recipe for banana and peanut butter dog treats gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free

Thursday, December 27, 2012

We're Back: A New Year, A New Pantone Color

We're back on the blog! After a much needed Christmas break, we are back and ready to get back into the crafty spirit. While Emily packs up the former Assemble space, I'm in Durango, Colorado, doing some exploring for new art & design (plus a little family time here and there!)

Have you heard? With the New Year fast approaching, Pantone has released it's brand new color of the year: Emerald! What do you think?

pantone color of the year emerald

The news got me very excited for fun things in shades of green! Here's a roundup of some of our favorite things with an Emerald inspiration:

color palette emerald green pantone

1. Chewbeads! These are great for all of your friends that are having babies! If you're anything like me, that's most of your friends. Stylish and chic, plus safe for baby paws and gums.

2. Emerald Pantone iPhone 5 Case: I don't have the new iPhone 5, but definitely would love one after playing with my parents' iPhone 5 Panorama camera! If you're lucky enough to have one, grab one of these super-new Emerald cases, $34.95.

3. On sale! Plus flattering for any shape: love these Hutton Trench Trousers in Festival Green from J. Crew, $89.99.

4. Not quite Emerald, but definitely in the happy green family, this Squatter Nail Polish from Butter would be perfect for New Year's Eve, $14.

5. We love these classic pumps in a fresh color! The Profit and Gloss Heel in green from Modcloth, $42.99

6. Last but not least, another homage to Emerald, the Marimeko Iltavilli Olive Green Bowl. Young calves for a new year, $12 from Crate & Barrel.

Yay for Pantone 17-5641, Emerald!!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays from Assemble!

happy holidays from assemble candy canes and felted bird

Taking a Christmas Break!

We will be taking a break on the blog for the next couple of days. Watch our Twitter and Instagram for random holiday updates! Merry Christmas! Have a lovely one.

felt acorn finkelsteins toys
Acorn by Finkelsteins Toys

Friday, December 21, 2012

Favorite Friend Friday: Janine Vangool of UPPERCASE

Janine Vangool is one of those quietly fabulous women who is inspiring in every aspect of her career and home life. The creator, editor and designer of UPPERCASE (a magazine & book publishing company based in Canada), Janine manages a mini-publishing powerhouse that, other than the practically perfect UPPERCASE Magazine, boasts books like A Collection A Day by Lisa Congdon and The Elegant Cockroach books in their collection. We were lucky enough to host Tif Fussell's Seattle book launch and signing last year, and fell in love with everything UPPERCASE. We caught up with her recently during a Winnipeg press check and were lucky enough to ask a few questions:

Janine Vangool of Uppercase Magazine

Everyone loves UPPERCASE Magazine. We think it is smart, inspiring, and impeccably designed. What would you say makes your magazine such a success, especially when printed materials seem to struggle?
I am so grateful that people feel so inspired by UPPERCASE Magazine. I think its success lies in that we are very connected to our readers. I am personally inspired by the talent and enthusiasm of our readers everyday through their blogs, tweets and emails. In turn, I feature a lot of our subscribers and readers in the pages of the magazine which spreads the inspiration further. We share the love around!

You may not know that Assemble's very first business expense was Andie's dream-find of a 1960's Smith-Corona red cursive typewriter. It is now very much linked to our brand and styling. The vintage typewriter trend is stronger than ever, but its history is more than just a fad to you, isn't it? Tell us more about The Typewriter book in progress.

I've been infatuated with typewriters since I was a child. When typing out the alphabet on my mom's machine, I was actually publishing in a very low-tech way. Seeing those letters get transferred to paper on ink was very satisfying to me—and still is.

Janine Vangool of Uppercase Magazine Typewriter ProjectJanine Vangool of Uppercase Magazine Typewriter Project

I also love all the ephemera and graphic design history associated with the typewriter. Its history spans some interesting centuries—with industrialization, women's emancipation, graphic design emerging as a profession, some World Wars…the typewriter's story is worth exploring in a graphic way. Research for the book is in progress and I hope to release it next fall.

I think more people should invest in typewriters as business expenses! Having a machine handy encourages thoughtfulness and playfulness in a way that you can't experience on a computer.

We are particularly fond of Dottie Angel and Lisa Congdon, who are friends of Assemble, amazing artists and lovely people in general. Do you find that the variety of designers you discover and work with have something in common?

I am very honoured to have worked with Tif Fussell and Lisa Congdon to design and produce books with them. Yes—we all have so many things in common. At first, you might not think so because people might have diverse visual styles, but at the heart of all the UPPERCASE projects and collaborations is our motto "creative and curious." Everyone featured in the magazine and in our books have that indefatigable attitude…they must create, they love making things, they never tire of discovery, have a deep-set love of learning…

The craft/design community is getting more and more saturated with visual ideas. Yet all of your work (as a connoisseur of creative things) is fresh and current. How do you stay so inspired, without getting overwhelmed by things like Pinterest?

Staying fresh and current is challenging in a world that is now dominated by online, quick-access media. A quarterly print magazine has to work in advance and certainly cannot react to every trend of the moment. Personally, I quickly tire of Pinterest and check in only a few times a week. I prefer looking at portfolios and blogs, where the pace is slightly slower and the ideas and images are (hopefully) edited.

typerwriter ribbon Janine Vangool Uppercase Magazine

As I've grown as editor and the magazine has found its voice and vision over the past couple years, I've found that developing a few loose themes for each issue is the best way of curating the content. I write somewhat vague phrases describing each issue which allow for some interesting creative interpretations and serendipitous moments during the curating, researching and writing process. For example, I'm working on content for the spring issue and these are my words:


And then I see how I can relate the words to one another. Scents plus papergoods might lead me to vintage soap labels. Scents plus transparency might lead me to perfume bottles. Fragility and stationery…perhaps the ephemeral nature of greeting cards?

You pretty much do it all as it is, but is there another project, dream book, or designer collaboration you would like to see realized?
I have a growing list of book and product ideas that I would love to see realized. I have no shortage of new ideas, but definitely lack time and resources. I hope to do another "Suitcase Series" book (a series which allows me and my family to travel to meet with the artist, such as Camilla Engman in Sweden, or Dottie Angel in Seattle)…I'd love to travel to Japan and Australia, so I am open to suggestions!

And, for a little bit of fun

If you could live anywhere in the world, where might you take your bags?

I fell in love with Copenhagen and would like to live there for a while. Or, I'd like to slow down a bit and live in a small old house in Prince Edward Island with my husband and son.

If you were to leave publishing to learn something new, what would you pursue?
I can't imagine leaving publishing, actually. I'm learning something new everyday whether it is something fun like watching an artist blow glass or something challenging such as designing a new subscriber database, my brain is always well-used!

We wouldn't be surprised to see UPPERCASE on the library shelves of the White House, or in Kate Middleton's tote bag. But what celebrity would you love to see subscribe to your magazine?
Ha, that's funny. I can't imagine UPPERCASE in either of those places, but it would certainly be an honour. Recently, the granddaughter of Charles and Ray Eames subscribed to the magazine— that was thrilling! A designer at Apple subscribes, the art department at the New York Times Magazine subscribe…I'm honoured that people with such keen style and refined talent are the "celebrities" who decide to subscribe. We're not a magazine that promotes celebrity culture; we like real people who like to make things, regardless of their level of fame or success.

Anything you're crossing your fingers for on your holiday wish-list?
Just a bit of time away from it all (with some fun holiday time with my family) so that I can start the new year refreshed and raring to go!

Photos via UPPERCASE

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Andie's Travel Must-Haves for This Winter

I grew up in a military family, so needless to say, we traveled A LOT. Our tiny immediate family is scattered all over the country, so flight travel is inevitable if we want to see each other for the holidays. I'm sure a lot of us are in for some holiday trips! Some people like to fly (my husband turns into an excited five year old), but I definitely don't. If you're anything like me, this list of my travel must-haves might make for a more enjoyable trip. Take a look:

travel must haves for a smooth trip air travel flights

1. A giant Pashmina or scarf. This can double as a blanket if it's really cold on the plane (which it will be). Fold it up to make a pillow. It's magical!

2. Neutrogena Norwegian-Formula Hand Cream. This stuff is not playing around. I like to use this on my face before the flight, because it keeps you moisturized all day long, and you have wash with soap to get it off. Perfect for fingertips on a long, dry flight.

3. Water. I know, I know, everyone wants ginger ale on the flight. I know that's your traditional airplane drink but sugar will just make you tired and dry you out. Unfortunately, you'll have to buy a bottle after you pass through security but it's worth it. Read this article about the bacteria in airplane water and ice and you'll never drink it again.

4. Bring your lunch, like at school! Make yourself a hearty sandwich or bring lots of energy building snacks like fruit, nuts, etc., to keep your energy. The airline food is expensive and filled with preservatives. On the flight back, make a holiday left-over turkey or ham sandwich with cranberry sauce and potato chips! Perfect!

5. A good book. This is the only time I ever have time to actually read, because wifi isn't available usually, so I can't work. Kind of nice! This trip, I think I'll learn more about Marie Antoinette. Don't forget your reading glasses...MOM!

6. Antibacterial wipes. These are critical. Your airplane seat has probably never been disinfected. Gross. Wipe down any surface you might touch before taking your seat (chair arms, tray table, window, seat belt) to avoid catching germs that might make you sick. Dry air passes through nasal passages and creates tiny cracks that allow germs in. Our immune system can't battle these germs with our natural defenses (i.e. mucus--sorry) in such a moisture-free atmosphere. Eliminating germs in your immediate area is the best way to avoid getting sick.

7. Earplugs. My dad taught me this one. It makes every trip so much more relaxing. Noise pollution contributes to the fatigue most of us feel when traveling. Noise canceling headphones or earplugs will make everything feel so much more calm (and you won't be able to hear that kid screaming behind you).

8. Evian Misting Spray, $19.50 for a 3-pack. These are magnificent. Remember what we said about dry air? Spray these on your face every once in a while to keep your skin and lungs happy. It's just water, but it's very refreshing and cool.

9. Carmex. Another Dad-ism. Chapstick will do, but this is Chapstick's big brother. Put it anywhere that feels dry and you'll be happy and moisturized. Plus, it's like 10cents or something ridiculous.

Got any tips of your own?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Last Minute Gift Guide for Your Favorite DIYer

I feel like these gift guides always spark some ideas when I read them on other blogs. Regardless of whether you're able to pick up these exact products, they might help you if you're stuck on what to get someone special that just happens to love DIY project. It's the 19th, which means that TOMORROW is the last day to mail packages USPS Priority and have them reach friends and family before Christmas. Hurry, hurry, busy bees! Here are our ideas for a quick, great gift:

diy crafter crafting crafts gift guide

1. One of our crafting kits of course! Shameless plug, but we think they're pretty great. Let us know if it's a gift and we'll wrap it up! This one is the Needle Felting Breakfast Kit for $30.

2. Another great kit (even if we didn't make it!) is this Modern Cross-stitch Bamboo Necklace Kit from Red Gate Stitchery, $14. How cute is that chevron pattern? Check out their other kits on Etsy too.

3. From one of our favorite local designers, Slide Sideways, this sweet little pencil case is perfect for artists, crafters, sewers and more. They can keep all their tools and goodies inside! $15 in our shop.

4. This one is for you if you feel like spending a pretty penny on a good friend. The Portrait & Cameo Silhouette Studio® cutting machines are the coolest crafter's tools I've heard of in a while. These little guys can cut a wide variety of materials including paper, vinyl, cardstock, fabric, heat transfer material, etc. Now, if only there was one that cut wood at this price... $199-$299.

5. Last but not least, for the kitchen DIYers, a sweet cake pop kit by Bakerella, $19.95. I've never tried to make cake pops but I've heard they are very difficult. Maybe this kit is something I need?!

We'd love to hear your DIY gift suggestions too!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

From Stitching to Stamping: DIY Gift Wrap

I'm one of those people that thinks that the outside of the package is just as (if not more) important than what's on the inside. --that sounded really shallow, but I'm about to show you what I mean-- Emily and I delight in a perfect package. Having worked at Paper Source for several years, we learned the art of a seamless package with perfect bows. After leaving there, we put our own spin on it. My signature wrap is paper stitched together (no tape) with some baker's twine. However, when I caught a glimpse of Kristy Hogue's perfectly stitched packages on Instagram, I rethought my technique (and my sewing machine!)

Kristy used decorative stitches to embellish craft paper, plus the Owl in a Tree Stamp she got at Assemble! I love how polished they look. Here's a few practice stitches she made before the project, and then the finished results:

Photos via Kristy's Creativequality Instagram PLUS Owl in a Tree Stamp, $13

I got all excited about different kinds of wrap, and started clicking around and finding some other creative pieces. Check out these free printable Cross Stitch wrapping papers from Minie Co. that you can print at home or at a local print shop. Download them here.
downloadable printable wrapping paper in cross-stitch and gray from minie co

Another crisp and clean white look, with holiday crosswords you can customize yourself, from Italian designers Fabio Milito and Francesca Guidotti.

Photo via Fabio Milito and Francesca Guidotti

Another beauty, stamped & stitched vintage paper wrap, via Freshly Found:

Photo via Freshly Found

And if you're not into the whole paper thing, try making an artful package with twine! I love this simple red box with lots of bright, cream cotton string and a sweet, cross-stitched gift tag, from Erinzam.

Photo via Erinzam

Love it! Let's go wrap presents!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday Treat: Holiday Movies You Forgot About

Monday, fun day! I've been noticing lately that all of the holiday movies that are playing on television are all of the same old (loved, nonetheless) movies that play over and over in December: Elf, A Christmas Story, Home Alone, etc. However, don't forget about the lesser-knowns! There are some wonderful holiday movies that don't get a lot of play in December. Here are some of my favorites:

Top row, from left:
Joyeux Noël, 2005: This subtitled film focuses on the December 1914 truce between French, Scottish and German soldiers during World War I. The soldiers celebrated Christmas Even together in the trenches amidst the fighting.
Home for the Holidays, 1995: This one stresses me out a bit, but it's still funny if you can loosen up with a glass of wine. Directed by Jodie Foster, this one is centered around a recently-fired woman who returns home to have Thanksgiving with her oddball family.
Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas, 1977: One of my childhood favorites. This was Jim Henson's first feature film, about Emmet the river otter and his mother, who are poor and looking for ways to buy each other gifts. It has some of the best Christmas songs ever written. (look for the blooper bonus on the DVD!)
Bridget Jones's Diary, 2001: More for the girls, this one is just silly and should be accompanied with boozy eggnog and Christmas cookies.

Middle row, from left:
Wonderboys, 2000: Not necessarily a holiday movie, but set during a school's holiday break: Wonderboys tells the story of James Leer and Professor Tripp: two lost writers and scholars who are trying to make sense of their mediocre lives through moments of pure brilliance. It's also one of the funniest movies ever made.
Little Women, 1994: I saw this in the theater with my mom when I was twelve. It is the sweetest adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's 1868 semi-autobiographical novel about four sisters and their mother in the Civil War Era.
Edward Scissorhands, 1990: Also not quite the "holiday movie" in the traditional sense, anyone my age probably has a special place in their heart for Edward.
Love Actually, 2003: A new classic, I'm sure, Love Actually is just a delight. Told through several different characters' stories as they intertwine through each other's lives, this film proves the point that "love actually does exist."

Bottom row, from left:
The Small One, 1978: My absolute favorite as a kid. I still watch this one every year, usually after a few too many drinks, which finds me bawling on the floor of my parents spare room in front of the tv. This one has a few religious undertones, but it's mostly the story of a boy who has to sell his donkey/best friend. It's touching and unforgettable. It's also a cartoon. (UPDATE! Just found out you can watch the entire movie on Youtube!)
The Christmas Toy, 1986: Another Jim Henson film, I have to admit that this one creeped me out as a kid. I think it was the doll. Regardless, it's about toys that come to life when people aren't in the room, and how they feel when new toys are added.
Home Alone 2, 1992: Don't get me wrong, Home Alone is probably my favorite movie of all time, let alone holiday movie, but don't forget about Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. It is just as good as the original, if not even better. I can recite it to you if you'd like.
The Muppet Christmas Carol, 1992: Last but not least, The Muppet Christmas Carol. There are a lot of adaptations of A Christmas Carol, but none of the others have Beaker in them. Enough said.

What are your favorites?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Introducing: The Assemble Crafting Kits

We are so excited to FINALLY introduce our Assemble Crafting Kits. We have worked tirelessly on them to bring them to the masses, and are proud and happy to get them out before the holidays! We have a total of eight new kits, including: Needle-Felted Sushi, Needle-Felted Breakfast, Needle-Felted Sweets, Crocheted Granny Squares, and Hardcover Bookbinding in a variety of paper styles. Each kit includes everything you need to create the project, plus a full-color, photographed instruction booklet. Those are our hands!

Needle-Felted Sushi Kit, $30

Needle-Felted Sweets Kit, $30

Needle-Felted Breakfast Kit, $30

Crocheted Granny Square Kit, $35

Hardcover Bookbinding Kit in Orange Bean, $40

Hardcover Bookbinding Kit in Lime Lattice Recycled Rag, $40
Hardcover Bookbinding Kit in Silver Leaf on Gray/Blue Lokta, $40
Hardcover Bookbinding Kit in Turquoise Mums Lokta, $40

Please join us tonight (Friday, December 14th) from 6-9pm for our official release of the kits, champagne, and my awesome husband and our dear friend playing Christmas music (see below for a glimpse!) for our LAST Assemble party in this space. We are excited to see you, and can't wait. xo Andie & Emily

Little Saint Nick from Adrian Centoni on Vimeo.

Blogging tips