Tuesday, April 30, 2013

An Ecstatic Kickstarter Update

We did it!! You guys helped us fund this special project, and we are so excited. We are waiting to receive all of your contact information and will begin getting your rewards ready. It's going to be quite an undertaking (there are 107 backers!!), so please be patient with us, but we're hoping for an early summer mail out!!! Thank you again, you're amazing--stay tuned for updates and preferences.

Thank you.

Monday, April 29, 2013

A Crocheted Baby Blanket

A baby nephew is coming, and I decided it was time to put my money where my mouth is and make something lovely. I started out using the Crocheted Granny Square pattern in cream, but it the squares were a bit too big with wider spaces for little baby hands. So I took our existing pattern, shrank it up a bit and used a light taupey-grey yarn. Here are the pictures I took along the way:

crocheted baby blanket in grey

crocheted baby blanket in grey
The concept
crocheted baby blanket in grey
crocheted baby blanket in grey
Scalloping the edges
crocheted baby blanket in grey
Blocking and ironing
crocheted baby blanket in grey

I love the granny squares in solid colors. It brings a whole new feel to the pattern. What do you think? Ready to make your own?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Assemble recipe: Summer Crackers [oh yeahhh...]

If you read our former Neatloaf blog, then you may have seen (or even made) this wonderful treat. My mom made these for me as a kid, every summer whenever we went to the beach. I have a feeling that the only reason she always brought these is because they are already crunchy, and we wouldn't realize we may be eating some sand here and there...I digress. Anyone who falls prey to a taste-test is immediately addicted. I encourage you to make this marvelous, easy recipe this weekend and enjoy with a glass of spiked lemonade and hopefully a sun break or two.

summer cracker fresh recipe with hidden valley ranch

• 2 boxes or bags of oyster crackers
• 1 small package of Hidden Valley Ranch dry/powdered dressing
• 3/4 cup vegetable oil or olive oil (olive oil can sometimes overpower the spices but is better for you)
• between 1/2 teaspoon-1 tablespoon (according to taste--see photo for my recommendation) garlic powder
• between 1/2 teaspoon-1 tablespoon (according to taste--see photo for my recommendation) lemon pepper

Place crackers in large bowl with lid and then add spices. Pour oil over the top, stirring gently between pours. Mix well to coat. Put lid on bowl and shake until all spices are mixed into crackers. Keeps about 2 weeks in Tupperware, and are even better on the second day!

Here are some more summer snack recipes. Enjoy!

Baked Kale Chips
Home Canned Garlic Dill Pickles
Tartines with Mozzarella, Basil and Nectarines
Raspberry Brie Panini

mmmmm!! Have a good weekend!

summer cracker fresh recipe with hidden valley ranch

Monday, April 22, 2013

Those Girls: Do You Exercise?

Everyone is different. I get that. And I realize that I am a slim person, and some might think I have no room to talk. However, I am very unlike certain (albeit, awesome) bloggers who have had several children and eat pizza and burgers nearly every day (it seems) and still seem to be drop-dead gorgeously thin. There's nothing wrong with this--it's just luck of the draw. I have a hunch that this is why people don't like Gwyneth Paltrow (my personal favorite).

do you exercise
Photo from our Instagram

However, there is something to be said about taking our lives into our own hands. I know so many people who are fantastic at managing their careers and home lives, yet exercise is just not a priority, and they feel it. A sluggishness sets in when we aren't moving our bodies as they were made to. I have been that person for the past three months. My huge amount of work and my comfy couch and the Seattle rain and "I have a headache" are all great excuses for why I shouldn't go running: but I will tell you this--once I get back in the habit of daily runs, I am unstoppable. I never felt better than I did the few weeks before my wedding. I was running three miles nearly every day, eating like a champ (lots of veggies and lean meats), drinking tons of water and taking vitamins. I will say that it was totally easy. It wasn't hard, and that's the annoying part. I was down seven pounds from where I am now, and had gained a crazy amount of muscle. All of that muscle has turned to wine and cheese by this point. And why is it that I just can't seem to get out there? Why do we fight against things that will make us feel great?

Running is not for everyone. A lot of my best friends are Yoga masters, and I will tell you right now: I will never go to a Yoga class with you. I have gotten up early a few times to try Yoga out and I always find myself asleep on the floor with carpet lines in my face. It's too relaxing--I need some pick up and go (thank you, MIA and Kanye for running with me). Some people respond really well to kickboxing, or walking, or swimming. You have to find your niche--and the exercise that you can do and not dread. Dread is not helping anyone. Speaking of--with summer coming, you know you'd rather be eating and moving and feeling the way you want to.

And ps., I hate this too: but sugar is your enemy. Sugar is my enemy. Sugar is what makes you want to sit instead of move. Some people get their sugar from their coffee, or bread, or wine (ahem, me), or donuts, or fruit cocktail disguising itself as healthy. Regardless. Cut that out--I'll try too.

I'm starting back now (as of right this second)--maybe not on my wedding crazy-lady-routine, but definitely on a regular schedule again. Want to come with me?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Outtakes: From Scratch to Success

Just a little reminder about my class with Go Mighty--one student will win a $500 grant toward their business goals and a free consultation from me! Go Mighty is a really great group to get involved with--they are basically in the business of helping people's dreams come true. They helped me get this class together because it was one of my goals on my Go Mighty Life list. Sign up for the class in get involved here: SIGN UP!

The last day of shooting was a bit ridiculous, so it gave me the idea to make a little Outtake video for promotion. Grady (my chihuahua) was a bit nuts that day, which is who I'm talking to off camera. Enjoy and share the class info!

Outtakes: From Scratch to Success from Andie GWP on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

To My Hometown Heroes

I love Boston
I ♥ you, Boston.

Photo by Andie Powers//taken in Boston, Massachusetts, 2011

Monday, April 15, 2013

Published: Uppercase #17

Guess what? We've switched up our writing venue for a spot in the 17th issue of Uppercase Magazine--editor Janine Vangool is one of our Favorite Friends!

In this special stationery issue, we are profiling Rosanna and Joel Kvernmo of Iron Curtain Press (more favorite friends!) before they make their way to the National Stationery show. It's an honor to be in the colorful pages of Uppercase, and we hope you will pick up a copy in our online shop! Happy reading!

uppercase magazine iron curtain press

Friday, April 12, 2013

From Scratch to Success: Starting Your Own Creative Small Business

We've got some fun news for all of you crafters, entrepreneurs, business-minded readers, and those who are just plain curious about options: Andie is teaching an online workshop with Go Mighty & Skillshare on starting up your own business. From Scratch to Success: Starting Your Own Creative Small Business will help you on your way to writing a comprehensive business plan, plus give you some solid tips for discovering your business's true road to success. Plus it's only 20 bucks, and you can watch the videos at your leisure!

small business class

Oh and here's the best part--one lucky student will win a $500 grant towards developing their business, as well as a business consultation with Andie at the end of the sessions. Pretty great incentive, right? Click the link here, or the screenshot below to go to the sign-up page. Yay!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Slow-Blogging Miracle

Inspired by Erin Loechner of Design for Mankind: if you aren't a regular reader of Design for Mankind, I highly recommend you jot that one down on your to-do list. Recently, Erin wrote an excellent post about the rebirth of slow blogging that caught our eye. Insightful and genuine, Erin detailed her decision to get back to writing more infrequent posts that are packed with heart and thoughtfulness. We love this.

slow blogging

On Assemble: A Well-Crafted Life, we never post anything that isn't something from the heart. Each of our posts is conceived and written for ourselves and our readers with thought and time--however, what if you don't have the time?? Our little online company is picking up speed, and we are so elated about this that we can't even see straight, but what does that mean for our blog? Rather then let our blog slide into something that we don't feel is relevant or heartfelt, we've decided to scale it back *just a bit. Assemble is a blog, but first and foremost we are a place of making and doing (well--assembling, really!). *Don't worry, by "scale it back," we mean just a few posts a week, and not one every day. Not so bad, right?

In the meantime, we're working on some brand new wholesale awesomeness, new kits, and special projects with some amazing companies (some local, and some global). Thanks for coming along with us!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I know, I know, I'm Mentioning It Again...

Hey guys! We're half way there (and sadly) not half-way funded on our Kickstarter yet. We want so badly to get these kits out there and have fun stamping parties etc., don't you? If you believe in our work but aren't that into stamping (that's okay!) know that a donation furthers all of Assemble's projects. Whether it's our upcoming collaboration with an AWESOME company (we can't tell yet, so sorry!) or our online shop that supports independent designers, even just a $5 donation from all of our friends and supporters will be so greatly appreciated and keep our little brick & mortar moving on the way to online success. The annoying part about Kickstarter--yeah, I said it--is that we don't get ANY money to make these kits if we don't get fully funded. So watch the video, and get our back, friends. Click here to view our Kickstarter video and rewards.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Photo Fun + Tutorials

Recently, we got the opportunity to do a quick photo shoot with Jessica May Photography. Other than giggling the whole time, we got to have some fun in front of the camera and get some brand new photos (we didn't have ANY together!) So, we got gussied up and headed out to Auburn for fun times. See below for a few of our favorite photo tutorials on the web, full of great tips for shooting.

Some other photography fun tips:
Blog Tip: Basic Photo Tips for Bloggers
Etsy Success: Product Photography for Beginners
Why Your Photos May Look Bad on the Web
How to Pose for Photographs

Friday, April 5, 2013

Favorite Friend Friday: Emily Nelson of Cult Cakes

We met Emily when she was working at a coffee shop next to our former storefront in Phinney/Greenwood. Little did we know that she was a pastry genius (and making excellent mochas as well)! When I was planning my wedding last year, Emily was working as an assistant with Kelli's Cake Creations, and she assisted and delivered my cake! The cake was dream-like, and I've hired her to make a miniature version of it for our 1st anniversary on May 5th. We at Assemble are so excited that Emily is getting her brand new business, Cult Cakes, started up, and are happy to introduce her to all of our friends and customers. If you need a delightful pastry--Emily takes the cake!

cult cakes emily nelson

Why baking? What got you started in this industry?
Food always interested me, growing up, so I was always up to something in the kitchen—-mostly baking. Around age 11, I found a spring issue of Martha Stewart Living. There was an article on decorating cakes with candied edible flowers, and I thought that was so cool. For next few years, I experimented with cake decorating, and by the time I was sixteen, I left high school to pursue a degree in baking and pastry. I've always been a creative type, so it was natural to go into cake decorating, where my two passions came together.

the small object cake topper kellis creations cakes andie powers
Photo by Jaquilyn Shumate Photography

cult cakes emily nelson
Photo by Cult Cakes

What does Cult Cakes mean to you?
My inspiration for Cult Cakes is usually brought about by pop culture, subcultures, different trends (fashion is a major influence) and finding a way to translate that into a cake. I want to take the cake medium, go outside the box of traditional cake d├ęcor, and give it a fresh perspective. Right now I’m working with the classic cake silhouette, but I have a lot different ideas that I’m looking forward to actualizing. Of course, there is always the indulgent aspect of cake, so I want to dazzle people’s taste buds as well as their eyes. It doesn’t matter how pretty a cake is if it doesn’t taste good.

What is your signature recipe?
I’m currently developing my own recipes, but I’m a big fan of Fannie Farmer. I used her cookbook when I was baking growing up, and I find her recipes extremely comforting. My favorite is her Peerless Chocolate Cake—-you can find that one in many of my posts on my blog. I'm also a big fan of her brioche recipe (and I actually baked you Andie a brioche from her recipe last year!) [Editor's note: it was one of the best things I have ever eaten.]

cult cakes emily nelson
Photo by Assemble

What's your favorite things to make for clients?
Oh gosh, I don’t know if I can pick. I enjoy sculpting, be it the cake itself or figurines made from sugar or chocolate.

What are your goals for your business?
I’m looking forward to running a cake shop with a store front one day. I’m a big fan of knowing where my food comes from, so I’d hope to source locally and make our fillings (like raspberry jam) and decorating materials (like modeling chocolate) in-house. I’m excited to consult with and understand my clients, especially if I am going to be creating a custom cake for them.

Photo by Cult Cakes

If you could eat at only one local restaurant, which would it be? What would you order?
This is a really difficult question for me, haha! Probably Than Brothers, since I feel like I’m always craving pho! I always order the beef pho with broccoli.

Which famous person would you love to see order one of your desserts?
Martha Stewart. I’d have come full circle. And I would cry salty tears of joy.

If you could live in any other location, where would you choose?

This is another tough one! Probably France or New York City.

cult cakes emily nelson
Photo by Jaquilyn Shumate Photography

What else do you do for fun?
I’m really looking forward to barbecues this summer. I love to feed people. I also enjoy dancing (poorly), singing, gardening, painting, swimming, reading, and sleeping. I'd like to learn French and how to throw a good punch.

Thanks, Emily!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

An Office Project We're Loving: Studio Swine

Nothing pleases me more than clean, aesthetically simple spaces. I go through days where I'm pretty sure the only thing that's stopping me from throwing out all of my possessions is that I remember how much money I have invested in them over the years, and continue on with my precious clutter. But one day--I would love to have a space just like this one, where my projects would have no distractions, and clean lines would surround me.

office project by studio swine

I recently stumbled on Studio Swine when I was researching Kickstarter projects and just fell in love with their work (their now defunct Kickstarter was underfunded, which makes me so sad--I wish I had seen it before the countdown was over). Based in London, Studio Swine is a collaboration between Azusa Murakami and Alexander Groves. This particular project is an office space commissioned by a film company, and is a small workspace for two to three people:

"The office is tiled in marble and decorated in a palette of light grey and white punctuated with bright, highly patterned marmoleum to create a utilitarian work space with pop elements. The floating desk maximizes the sense of openness whilst the pegboard and folding desks keep the space flexible to changing requirements." -Studio Swine

I noticed that they also have an upcoming SHOP, and I'm dying to see what pieces will be in there. What do you think? I feel like a cup of coffee and a pencil is all I would need to be creative in such a seamless space.

office project by studio swine
office project by studio swine

All images via Studio Swine

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Spring Recipe: Ronda's Mediterranean Pasta Salad

mediterranean pasta salad recipe

1. 1 bag of Penne or Pennetta white pasta
2. 1 small container of low-fat feta
3. 1 small crate of grape tomatoes or 3 large tomatoes
4. 1/2 red onion
5. 2 dashes Tobasco or hot sauce
6. 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
7. 1/3 cup olive oil
8. 1 teaspoon salt (pepper to taste)
9. Several leaves of fresh basil or about 1.5 tablespoons dry crushed basil

Ronda is my mom--and she is quite the amazing chef. This was always my favorite dish that she made, and is now my husband's favorite. Seattle had its first few extra sunny & warm days last weekend, which led him to ask for his favorite spring/summer meal. Enjoy!

mediterranean pasta salad recipe

Fully cook and shock the pasta with cold water, then put in a large bowl to the side. Slice the grape or cherry tomatoes in half, then chop the red onion into small, bits.

mediterranean pasta salad recipe

To make the dressing, combine the oil, vinegar, salt, hot sauce and pepper into a bowl. Whisk until completely blended.

mediterranean pasta salad recipe
mediterranean pasta salad recipe

In the large bowl with the pasta, combine the onion, tomatoes, basil and feta. Stir together, then drizzle the dressing over the salad, while stirring.

mediterranean pasta salad recipe

There you have it! Serve warm with sea salt and a glass of crisp Prosecco for an authentic Italian lunch!

mediterranean pasta salad recipe

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