Friday, May 29, 2009

Technical Difficulties

So I'm having comment posting issues. For some reason my new blog format is not letting folks post comments. Hang in there while I try to get it worked out. And in the meantime feel free to send me a note at joanneroehm(at)yahoo(dot)com

**UPDATE - 1:40pm - Fixed!!! (I think!) Comment all you want!**

Recipe: Yummy Gnocchi!

This recipe, courtesy of Everyday Food Magazine, was a big hit at our house this week. Simple and quick to prepare, it's an easy no-meat meal that's full of flavor.

Gnocchi with summer vegetables
serves 4
prep time: 15 min

Total time: 15 min

1 tbsp olive oil
2 zucchini or summer squash, or one of each quartered and sliced (we used one of each!)
2 garlic cloves, minced
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 package (15 to 16oz) frozen gnocchi
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
2tbsp grated romano cheese
1 tbsp butter
2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add squash and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until squash in crisp-tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until juicy, about 2 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook gnocchi according to package instructions. Reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid, drain gnocchi and transfer to skillet. Toss gnocchi, adding enough cooking liquid to create a sauce. Remove from heat and stir in basil, cheese, butter, and lemon juice.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pardon my dust...

There's going to be some major construction going on at Ready, Set, Craft today! Please be patient while I upgrade to a bigger and better blog!

Thrifty Finds: Beads & Oil Cloth

While spending time on Lake Michigan in South Haven this weekend, I had the opportunity to do a little shopping in the many local boutiques and antique shops. The shopping is one of many things I luuuuuuuuurve about South Haven - you never know what you are going to find!

On this excursion, I picked up a yard of this beautiful oil cloth. There's a little store that sells it be the yard in over twenty different retro floral prints. It was so hard to choose!

And then, at an antiques store, I stumbled across this...

Completely random, right? A box jam packed full of glass beads - for $5.00! PLUS - the booth I found it in was having a 20% off sale! Talk about a thrifty find! Time to channel my inner jewelry maker and get going on some summer accessories!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dance Recital Sneak Peak: Preschool Flowers

I have been up to my eyeballs in tulle and satin for the past few days! Lucky for me I got to take a break Sunday-Monday and head to the lake for some much needed time off! Thank goodness I have my husband to keep me grounded and FORCE me to take some time off sometimes!

Anyhoo... my Mum and I worked on the preschool ballet costumes this weekend. There are five classes of preschoolers, and each class will be themed around a different flower: Daffodils, Cherry Blossoms, Bluebells, Lilacs, and Roses.

Each girl had a bag with their name and class on it, their hair accessory, and all of their costume pieces ready to sew. Here are the daffodils and cherry blossoms waiting to be sewn...

My dear friend Heather was amazing and spent much of last week cutting satin petals... thanks, Heather! They looked like this...

I serged two sides of the petal with the wrong sides outward, then flipped them right side out and pressed them. I then serged the tops to close them. It was my first serging experience - I was so proud of myself! There were a LOT of petals - so it was good practice!

The pattern called for two rows of petals - 15 petals in total per skirt. We put the first one together, and it just didn't look right...

You could hardly see the tulle, for one. And the way the pattern had us arrange the patterns was very strange, they didn't really look like petals at all because they were all sweeping to the side. Also, the skirt was SO HEAVY. We were concerned about little 3 and 4 year-olds wearing them and being comfortable...

Soooo... being the creative geniuses we are, we re-wrote the pattern a little. We used one row of petals, and spaced them differently. We were VERY pleased with the result. Here's a rose...

And a little daffodil...

They're just so cute! But I know that the cuteness factor will go up even further once the little ones get them on, and have their headbands on too. I can't wait! Thanks to Mum - for all of the help! She's the sewing queen!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My blog is having an identity crisis...

If you're a frequenter to this blog, you'll have noticed a lot of formatting craziness within the past few days. I'm fairly new to blogging you see, and don't really know much about html code, creating banners, or anything beyond blogger basics.

As my traffic and followers increase (still not clicked to add yourself as a follower? please do! help me feel like I'm not writing into cyberspace!) I want to create a more streamlined site with its own signature look. Only problem is - I don't know how!

I've used some great FREE tools and backgrounds from across the web - but what I'm really after is something to call my own. Something that represents "Ready, Set, Craft!" and separates it from the rest of the blogosphere.

What I really need is for someone to makeover my blog! : )

Any tips, tricks, advice from any of you bloggers out there? Please share!

Sneak peak of dance recital costumes coming your way this weekend... come back and visit me soon!

PS) Are you an up-and-coming craft blogger with great ideas you want the world to see? Leave me a comment with a link to your blog and a little about you, and I'll be posting a round-up highlighting you all next week!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Jewelry & Fashion Art

I am absolutely *swimming* in dance recital costumes right now! There are yards of tulle, satin, and bunches of silk flowers all over my house!

I'm spending every evening cutting and pinning tutus in preparation for a big sewing session with Mum this weekend, and my bff Heather is slaving away cutting hundreds and hundreds of flower petals out of fabric during the daytime...


I'll provide a dance costume sneak peak over the weekend, but for now I'm thinking ahead to summertime and a super fun class I'll be teaching at the YMCA called "Jewelry and Fashion Art." It's geared towards young ladies in upper elementary school - middle school, and I'm teaching it with another gal.

My co-instructor is handling the jewelry projects, since jewelry-making is certainly not an area of my expertise, and I'm handling the rest. We don't have access to sewing machines, so everything we do that involves sewing will be hand-sewn.

The focus is definitely on accessories and jewelry, we're not really delving into clothes without a machine to use...

I'm thinking things like this (click on photos to link to tutorial / site)

or maybe a TOTE BAG?

So here's where you can help me out! The class is meeting weekly all summer, so I need LOTS or project ideas! So go ahead and channel your inner-pre-teen-diva-self and leave me a comment or link with a project idea - or e-mail me photos - and share the fashion and jewelry art love! THANKS!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Tutorial: Little Girl Flower Headbands

You guessed it, I'm making these for the preschoolers in the dance recital. They are super cheap, quick, and easy, and would be darling accessories for summer sundresses or just to add to a dress up box.

Start with some cheap-o headbands from your local dollar store. I purchased packs of five for $1 from The Dollar Tree.

For the daffodil headband, I found fake daffodils at Michaels by the bunch. Pop a single flower off its stem...

And pull the plastic part out of the middle, separating the main petals and the trumpet.

Sew the main petals onto the headband loosely, using a needle and embroidery floss.

Use a glue gun to reinforce, then continue to sew through the petals and headband at different angles. Add the trumpet with another dab of glue and continue stitching.

Your stitches will create a new center of the flower.

It's okay if the underside of the headband looks messy...

Use satin ribbon the same width as the headband to cover your stitches. Glue gun the ribbon to the inside of the headband.


For the rose headband I used these bunches of wired roses from Hobby Lobby. At 77 cents a bunch, I used one bunch per headband.

Place the bottom of the rose where you want it to sit on the headband and hold.

Wrap the wire around the headband in alternating directions for security.

Tuck in the end of the wire underneath.

Continue to add roses, close together.

Glue satin ribbon to the underside like you did for the daffodil headband. The ribbon is especially important this time because it covers any little pieces of wire so that it's both comfortable to wear and doesn't catch hairs.

For the lilac headband (and the others like it - same principles apply) I began with this bunch of dollar store flowers.

I pulled the flowers off their stems...

Took out the center plastic piece and separated the petals...

Using a glue gun I attached the large petal first...

Pull it taught so that the glue comes out of the middle (careful - it's hot!)

Place the smaller petal on top and stick...

Continue to add petals in this manner all around the headband. Be sure to allow each flower to overlap - it looks better if you don't have any of the headband showing in between flowers.


You can use essentially any kind of fake flower you choose - and could seriously make this craft super cheaply by using all dollar store materials. Be creative and come up with your own flower patterns and combinations!

Enjoy! And have a nice weekend!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

What would YOU do with 500 postcards?!

I know, I know - I've been MIA all week. Let me tell you, it's been one of "those" weeks. Ack!

My day was brightened, however, when I jumped over to Dabbled this morning and found a GREAT giveaway! I love giveaways! (not that I ever win... but it's fun to play all the same!)

Dot at Dabbled has teamed up with who is giving away 500 postcards!

Think of all of the fun things you could do with them! 500 little blank canvases for you to create with! Exciting stuff!

To enter - run over to Dabbled to find out more. Click HERE to go directly to the contest post.

And what would I do with the 500 postcards if I won? Well, I'm thinking I'd create "good karma" cards. I'd have them printed up with a variety of phrases like "you rock" "your hair looks good today" "thanks for all you do" "i like your outfit" "i admire you" etc. and keep a stack with me at all times to pass out and mail to friends, family, co-workers, volunteers, and heck - even strangers!

In this trying economic time... we need good karma wherever we can find it! So hop on over to Dot's and enter the contest - and check out her site while you're there - she's always got great photos, projects, tutorials, ideas, and artwork. I'm a frequent visitor!

Oh, and I'll leave you with a sneak peak of tomorrow's tutorial...

Little Girl Flower Headbands!

See you tomorrow!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Lily's Cupcake Party!


Lily's first birthday party was so much fun! Everything went really well - and despite crazy thunderstorms the night before and much rain that morning - even the weather was cooperating by the afternoon! Check it out! ** WARNING ** This post contains LOTS of photos!

The cupcake spread! We used recipes and some decoration ideas by Saucy at Saucy's Sprinkles. The little wrapped lollipops in the back are Cupcake Pops from Bakerella's blog.

Lily enjoyed her cupcake - even if she didn't know what to make of it at first!

The banner! I enlarged some embroidery templates from Lollychops and cut the cupcakes out of felt. I used a glue gun to attached the two halves of the cupcake together (if I had had more time I would have sewn them...) and then sewed each cupcake to a long pink ribbon with floss and a cute heart shaped button. The letters are peel and stick chipboard letters that I spray painted. I finished it off with some small bows of cupcake ribbon between the cupcakes.

The goody bags!

Lily's Aunt Heidi crocheted her this little bunny rabbit. Absolutely adorable!

And just for fun... a few shots of Lily with her new bubble machine in action. Beautiful! Her tee shirt is an Etsy find by the way that her mom ordered...

I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend!