Friday, August 30, 2013

Favorite Friend Friday: Lesley Poole of Poole Party of 5

I met lovely Lesley back in the days of Paper Source. She left before Emily came on staff (and Assemble began to burgeon) but we reconnected recently at Alt Summit! Lesley exudes the kind of calm, creative sense that we neurotics tend to look up to. She's a class act, and her blog is evidence that she's incredibly talented at that. If you're looking for gorgeous seasonal recipes, DIY projects and adorable kids' clothing and accessories, skip over to her blog and business, Poole Party of 5.

Tell us a little bit about Poole Party of 5. When did it start? What is your mission? What made you want to start this project?
For about five years, all my energy went towards the having and raising of babies. We are done having kids, so I felt that my next step was to try something new that I could build into a creative career. I wanted to craft a venue to rediscover my own interests and share that journey with others. Poole Party of 5 was born to document this journey. The blog focuses on whatever crazy projects we are working on--whether we are canning local produce in the summer or creating a fun birthday for one of the kids. My time is extremely limited right now, but I truly value catching moments of creativity when they happen, even if it feels like I am never able to do as much as I want to do!

Poole Party of 5, Favorite Friend on Assemble's blog

I started sewing around the same time as I started the blog. My baby spit up like crazy and I realized I needed to add some style to the burp cloths I was wearing every day throughout her first year of life. I added bright fabrics to the burp cloths to keep them functional, while adding a pop of color. We started giving these burp cloths as gifts to families with new babies and Poole Party Designs was born! Poole Party Designs provides personalized gift items that celebrate individuality with a preppy and modern aesthetic. Our style is classic with a twist. I appliqué fresh designs onto classic silhouettes for effortless custom gifting.

What are your goals for your blog and and company?
It is amazing to think about what has happened over the past year with both the blog and the business. I have a difficult time imagining what will happen over the next few minutes, let alone the next few months! I see that Poole Party Designs evolves as our life changes.

My background is in corporate retail and clothing production. When I became a mother six years ago, I decided to take a break from the world of retail. My primary focus is my family, but fabrics have always fascinated me and I realized that this was a part of my identity that I wanted to explore again. I love custom requests and working with my customers to help them create something special. Poole Party Designs allows me to play with lovely fabrics and create beautiful, custom gifts. I hope to keep doing that for a long time. Our family of five provides constant inspiration. The clothing and accessories I design all begin based on a need in my own life. If someone is celebrating a birthday, a child is headed off to his first day of school, or a new baby is being welcomed into the world; we believe all the milestones, as well as the everyday, are worth celebrating.

You went to Alt Summit this year too! What did you learn?

Alt was amazing. I enjoyed myself so much and I was reminded how wonderful it feels to be around people who are passionate. It is very inspiring. At the same time, I feel like the most important lesson I learned was “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle,” -Jon Acuff, author. We are all in different places with our creative process. When starting something new, it is so easy to get overwhelmed, looking around at others and not taking into account that these very inspiring people might be farther along their path. Good things take time. It is important not to get frustrated with ourselves when things go more slowly than we might like.

You also have an Etsy shop where you sell handsewn items for children--do you find yourself enjoying working on those items or your lifestyle blog more?
I find that my focus seems to shift back and forth, somewhat seasonally. There are moments when I am so inspired by fabrics and sewing and feel that I should concentrate all my extra energy on that and then it will switch to where writing the blog feels like my real focus. I believe that the seasons truly impact what I want to work on.

Lesley Poole, Favorite Friend Friday on Assemble's blog

Do you ever struggle with balancing life as a wife, mother and blogger?
Yes, absolutely, every day. Even though I continually struggle to balance every aspect of my life right now, it still feels worth pursuing the blog and my small business. I know that my creative endeavors feed my spirit and that helps me to be a happier person. Sometimes I am able to involve my kids in the projects I am working on and that helps me to feel that this all makes sense. It feels then like I am adding creativity to their life and not just making myself crazy!

If you could eat at only one local restaurant, for the rest of your life, what would it be? What's your favorite menu item?
There are so many fantastic restaurants in Seattle. We are constantly on the hunt for a neighborhood restaurant to become regulars at and we haven’t found that one yet. But, we recently had a phenomenal meal at Tilikum Place Café. We ordered the fried squash blossoms and hand cut pasta and both were out of this world. I also love the cocktails at Zig Zag. The bartender is famous and I order The Blessed Event--a rye whiskey and citrus concoction.

You get to organize a dinner party. Who do you invite?
There are historical and famous people I could imagine inviting and sound much more intellectual, but right now, what I would love most is a little comfort. Life is so busy and we have wonderful friends, but we don’t see them as much as I would like. It would be dreamy to have all my close friends, many of whom are spread out across the country, collected under one roof for a lovely dinner that would go on and on for hours.

What do you like to do for fun?
I love to read. I also love to travel and entertain.

If you had one day completely to yourself what would you do with it?
Life is pretty hectic right now, so mostly I would be enjoying some peace and quiet. I was recently given a morning to myself and I took a lovely run outside with the dog. Then I spent a few hours sewing.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
San Francisco or Seattle. My husband and I met in San Francisco and we loved our time there. But, I am also pretty fond of the life we are crafting here in Seattle. Difficult choice.

And what's your dream job, besides what you're doing now?

I would be a floral designer. I worked with a really talented florist in college and I loved being surrounded and working with so much organic beauty. I also love the idea of bringing joy to other people through my work and who doesn’t love receiving flowers that have been lovingly put together?

Head over to Poole Party of 5 to follow along with Lesley and her adorable brood.

Images courtesy of Poole Party of 5.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Assemble Rubber Stamp Project #1: Make a Scene!

Got your stamps in the mail and not sure what to do with them? We are starting a mini-series of fun projects to make with our Assemble Rubber Stamp Sets! It's a lot of fun playing around with these after working so hard on them! If you haven't gotten your favorite set yet, head over to our shop to grab yourself some before they are sold out.

This little project involved cut paper, colored pencils, a black ink pad and stamps! Make cards, little scenes, dioramas, kids' projects (although I had fun making these and I don't even have kids!), etc. Have fun!

rubber stamping diorama scene or card project

rubber stamping diorama scene or card project

rubber stamping diorama scene or card project

rubber stamping diorama scene or card project

rubber stamping diorama scene or card project

Monday, August 26, 2013

Allergen-Free Coconut Banana Bread: Free of Gluten, Sugar, Grains, Dairy, Eggs, Nuts and Soy

I will never stop craving the beauty that is wheat artisan bread, dipped in salty olive oil with a side of cheese. Oh my. In the meantime, while I'm still chained to this allergen diet, I found a way to make an egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free, AND soy-free bread. Phew. That is a mouthful. I adjusted a recipe that I found here on Gutsy to be dairy and egg free. Here's how to follow my version:

gluten free egg free dairy free nut free allergen free bread

• 1 Cup sifted Coconut Flour
• 3 very ripe bananas
• 4 flax eggs (or regular eggs if you aren't avoiding them) I detail this process below.
• 6 tablespoons of melted coconut oil (or butter if you aren't avoiding it)
• 5 tablespoons raw honey
• 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
• 2 teaspoons cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 tablespoon vanilla

gluten free egg free dairy free nut free allergen free bread
Smash up your riped bananas until they are a smooth consistency.
Add your liquid ingredients: coconut oil, flax eggs, raw honey and vanilla and stir minimally.
gluten free egg free dairy free nut free allergen free bread
gluten free egg free dairy free nut free allergen free bread
In a separate bowl, add your dry ingredients together: sifted coconut flour, baking
soda, cinnamon, and salt. Stir gently together, then add the dry ingredients to the wet.
gluten free egg free dairy free nut free allergen free bread
With a wooden spoon, stir all ingredients together until nicely blended. Don't over-stir.
gluten free egg free dairy free nut free allergen free bread
Spread your mixture into a greased or parchment-lined bread pan and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes at 300°. After removing from the oven, let the bread sit in the pan on the stove for 15 additional minutes.
gluten free egg free dairy free nut free allergen free bread
Serve with your favorite spread or salted olive oil.
gluten free egg free dairy free nut free allergen free bread

The reason my bread is so flat is because of the flax eggs in a wide bread pan. A mini bread pan would probably have been a better choice if I had had one. Here's how to make a flax egg:

• One small mixing bowl
• A small whisk
• 1 tablespoon of Flaxseed Meal seed to 3 tablespoons of water. So for 4 flax eggs, you will need 4 tablespoons of Flaxseed meal and 3/4 cup of water (that's 12 tablespoons).

gluten free egg free dairy free nut free allergen free bread

One mistake I made in this recipe was not grinding my flax meal. I used the Bob's Red Mill Flaxseed Meal in a hurry which should be further ground into a powder in a coffee grinder or grain mill.

Instructions: After measuring your tablespoons of flax meal, add the water slowly while stirring with the whisk gently. Put your bowl of "eggs" in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes. It should set nicely to create an egg-like consistency, which will act as your binder. Enjoy!

gluten free egg free dairy free nut free allergen free bread

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Repost from Neatloaf: Magnet Grocery List

This is an old post from before we got our snazzy camera, when we were clacking away at typewriters to post on our Neatloaf blog (okay, okay, we used computers). Emily had fun making a magnetic grocery list. Check it out:

As promised, I tried my hand a set of my own grocery list magnets. Here's what I did:

1. Make 1 1/2 inch circles in whatever program works for you. Have fun coloring and adding text. I could have spent all day tweaking the colors for milk and eggs! I went with 18pt Tahoma type.

2. Punch out your paper with a 1 1/8 inch circle punch. You'll need the whole button-maker setup, which I realize isn't in everyone's studio. We get our supplies here. Instead of pin-backs, I used magnet circles. (If you like this general idea, but are looking for less of an investment, try printing your "swatches" directly onto inkjet magnet paper and cut out by hand.)

3. Line 'em up and admire! I set out to make only a few magnets, but to make the "grocery list" even remotely functional, you'll need to have at least one or two dozen to cover most pantry staples. 

I could definitely see making sets of these as hostess gifts!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

This Fall's School House Craft Conference

Hey guys! Guess what? We will be teaching not one--but TWO--classes in the upcoming School House Craft Conference! Coming up on Saturday and Sunday, the 14th and 15th of September, we will be on hand to give you our knowledge and answer any questions you may have. The conference will be held at the Sunset Hill Community Club in Ballard, and Early Bird tickets are on sale now until September 1st. (After that they become a bit more expensive.)

school house craft conference
school house craft conference
The Fall 2012 SHC Conference

For this season, Andie will be teaching an Absolute Beginners Course (AB) & Established Businesses Course (EB) called Establishing a Unique Brand: Learn how to brand your creative, small business for maximum success online and and in-person. We will cover design, social media and customer loyalty. This class starts on September 15th at 10:15am. (This one will be a bit like a section of my Go Mighty class, but more in-depth).

Then, a little bit later in the day, we will both be teaching an Established Business (EB) class on Creating a Successful Kickstarter Campaign! Learn how to get your idea funded! We will walk through the pros/cons and steps to creating a successful Kickstarter campaign for your project.

Plus, there are a lot of other fun classes to choose from and amazing people to connect with, including Kristen Rask of Schmancy fame and Danae Horst (and many more!)

Click here to register!

Photo via School House Craft

Friday, August 9, 2013

Simple Birthday Crafting: Nature-Patched Handkerchief for Dad

Screen printed nature patches by Slide Sideways, how to sew patches onto your handerchief

Jacqui and Scott Scoggin, the married couple who comprise Slide Sideways, have always been two of our very favorite people here at Assemble (plus their designs aren't too shabby either!). I picked these little patches up at their booth at Urban Craft Uprising last month, with plans to sew them onto a bandana for my dad on his birthday. A regular outdoorsman, my dad always seems to go out hunting or fishing, wearing a handkerchief around his neck. These little patches made me think of him.

Screen printed nature patches by Slide Sideways, how to sew patches onto your handerchiefScreen printed nature patches by Slide Sideways, how to sew patches onto your handerchiefScreen Printed Nature Patches by Slide Sideways, available in their online shop, $14

Screen printed nature patches by Slide Sideways, how to sew patches onto your handerchief

After pre-washing the bandana, I used regular sewing pins to hold the patches in place, and merely stitched slowly around them with a standard needle in my sewing machine. Easy as cake! Plus oh-so-cute. I sewed three onto the handkerchief and left one floating for use on whatever he would like. Happy Birthday, Dad! We don't have these patches on our website, but you can definitely grab some from Slide Sideways on their website here.

Screen printed nature patches by Slide Sideways, how to sew patches onto your handerchief

Happy gathering!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Guess What? The Stamp Sets Are Stocked!

handmade crafting rubber stamps by assemble shop and studio in seattle washington

We finally have completed our Kickstarter project (with rewards shipping out at the end of this week--we're just waiting for boxes!) That means that the Assemble stamps are now available for purchase on our website! We're offering a grand opening awesome discount for TODAY ONLY in honor of our online rubber stamp release. Use coupon code STAMPITUP at checkout to receive $5 off any of our brand new stamp sets. Don't forget your ink pads! And don't forget this little guy too! Our limited edition Polar Bear stamp with artwork by Karl Addison is ONLY available on our website--we're not wholesaling this little guy to any shops. Grab him up too!

handmade crafting polar bear rubber stamp by assemble shop and studio in seattle washington

And, if you backed our Kickstarter and haven't given us your address info yet, get it to us fast! Andie & Emily

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Calling all Allergy Nerds!! A New Blog Project

If you happened to read my little entry about the ridiculous diet I'm on in response to an allergy diagnosis, and are at all interested in the comings and goings of a dairy-free, gluten-free, grain-free, soy-free, corn-free, egg-free, (definitely not dork-free) nutbar then put The Itch Factor on your reader and come along.

To keep the Assemble blog free of live pumpkin seed bars, seaweed extract (just kidding) and crazy detox concoctions (Emily might kill me), I started this project as a journal for my own medical usage, and as a way to cope with the lack of cheese, bread and wine in my life. I'll be offering up good recipes I've discovered for allergen free food, tips from my own trial and errors and most likely a tiny bit of whining. Hope you follow along! -Andie

Monday, August 5, 2013

Pine & Boon Giveaway Winner Announcement!

Hello, all! Thanks so much for entering Jess's awesome giveaway from Pine & Boon. Without further ado, the randomly generated winner is...

We will be in touch soon, Mia! Thanks to all who entered and stick around for the next one!

Friday, August 2, 2013

New Seattle Stockist: Stitches

We're happy to announce that our Crochet Kits, Needle-Felting Kits and Stamp Sets are now available at Stitches in Seattle! If you want to see our product in person before buying--head on out to Capitol Hill to check them out. The Needle-Felting Kits are also available at Schmancy in Belltown! Yay for small businesses!

assemble kits at Stitches in Seattle
assemble kits at Stitches in Seattle
assemble kits at Stitches in Seattle
assemble kits at Stitches in Seattle
assemble kits at Stitches in Seattle
assemble kits at Stitches in Seattle
assemble kits at Stitches in Seattle

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Recipe: Sweet Potato Chips

Chips and guacamole is my favorite snack of all time. I don't think I can really live without it, so that was my first priority on this crazy allergen-free diet. How can I solve this debaucle if I can't eat corn, tomato, wheat or white potato? Sweet potato chips! With tomato-free guacamole. Yessss. Here's what you'll need:

allergen free sweet potato chips

• 2 sweet potatoes (not yams--they really are different, I just learned)
• Olive oil, canola or coconut oil cooking spray (you can drizzle as well, but I found that the spray works to evenly and lightly distribute)
• Salt & pepper

allergen free sweet potato chips

Start by slicing the sweet potatoes into thin slices, about 1/8 inch thick. If you have a mandolin, you can use that or you can use a really sharp knife. Watch your fingers!

allergen free sweet potato chips

Spread the slices out onto a sheet on parchment paper. You definitely don't want these to stick to the pan. Spray the slices with the oil of your choice (try to make sure that there isn't too much overlapping, or they won't bake correctly) and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

allergen free sweet potato chips

Bake at 375° for 12 minutes, then flip. Bake for 12 more minutes, until edges are crispy, and you're done! As for the guacamole, follow my Easy Peasy Quickie Guacamole recipe! I've added red onion and lime in the tomato's absence. Enjoy!

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