I have enjoyed getting to know Joanne from Ready, Set, Craft!  One of my fellow PEARs,  she is upbeat, writes an inspiring blog and is always willing to share a smile, a cupcake and a link or two!  Her stamped products are amazing.  I was recently intrigued by her comments that mentioned playing a musical instrument and studying for a Master’s Degree and thought this would be a good time to learn a little more about Joanne.

You have many interests. What are you most passionate about?

Oh boy – if that isn’t a loaded question! I’m one of those annoying people that’s passionate about pretty much EVERYTHING! As a twenty-something still trying to find my place in the world it’s actually quite confusing – loving so many things – it’s awfully hard to settle on a career path! I’m passionate about the non-profit sector, and the importance of advocacy and giving back to your community, I’m passionate about the importance of the visual and performing arts in our schools and the role they play in child development, I’m passionate about the hand-made movement and its role in our overly commercialized society, and I’m passionate about animal welfare and finding humane solutions for the animal population problems this country is facing. As cliché as it may sound, my true passion though is the people that I love. Everything I do in life is with my husband, family and friends at the forefront of my mind. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with.

Tell us about Stampin Up!

I became a Stampin’ Up! Demonstrator on a complete whim (!) last August. While I’ve always loved papercrafting, I’ve never focused on one element (like stamping) or one line of products (Stampin’ Up!) before. I had a friend who used to be a demonstrator and she told me that she thought I’d be great at it. I had some free time in my schedule and wanted a way to pay for all of my own crafting supplies so I signed up. And you know what? I absolutely LOVE it! Not only is it a fabulous line of products, but there’s a real sense of community within the company. Since becoming a demonstrator, I’ve been able to hone my own stamping “style” which has yielded more creativity and productivity for me, pay for all of my craft supplies and more with my earnings, and introduce stamping to all kinds of people. It sounds a little silly but it’s exciting to see people who never thought they could “be creative” discover art through rubber stamping! I’ve never met a person that couldn’t do it – it’s so easy and so fun!

How long have you blogging and why do you blog?

I started blogging in the summer of 2008, right after I got married. We had so much “new-ness” going on in our lives (marriage, new puppy, buying our first house, a new job for me, etc.) that I wanted an outlet where I could share our news with friends and family both near and far. Since crafting is a huge part of my life, my creative exploits soon began appearing on my blog and before I knew where I was I had so much material that it became clear to me that I needed a blog focused solely on crafting. Ready, Set, Craft! was born in January of 2009 and it’s been an absolute blast. Although I started my blog to share my projects, I continue it because of the sense of community that comes from it. I know that if I need to toss around some ideas, get opinions on colors, fabrics, or yarns, or obtain some comprehensive knitting advice – I can reach out to my blog readers. It’s give and take, and it’s a beautiful thing. There are so very many creative people out there, and I just love “meeting” them and sharing with them through my blog.

You recently learned to knit. What prompted you to learn?

I hate to say it… but “everyone else was doing it!” J As you well know, knitting has become “trendy” once again in recent years… and I desperately wanted to get on the bandwagon! I would drool over the beautiful knit pieces I would see online, and would print and hoard patterns of things that I wanted to knit someday… even though I had no idea how! It took me several attempts to finally learn how, and I’m still a novice at best. I’ve knit about half a million scarves and one bear so far… and Marie (of Permission to Unwind) is gently encouraging me to work on a pair of socks next… we’ll see how that goes!

What instrument do you play and where do you play?

I play the flute and I sing. I actually studied music in college and hold a BA in Music from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI. I grew up listening to my father play guitar, and my younger brother is a drummer living “the dream” in Austin, TX where he plays in the Sixth Street bars. My mother is a seamstress and theatrical costume designer, and all four of us have taken many a turn on the stage. I love musical theatre and have performed in 25+ productions. The sad part about all this is that I’m not currently playing or singing anywhere. It’s a really hard pastime to keep up with if you’re not pursuing it as a career. Just recently we inherited a piano, so just having that around has been inspiration to sing and play at home a little more. I’d love to get back on stage some day!

Do you work and/or study outside the home?

Right now I’m a full-time graduate student, finishing up a master’s degree in Public Administration with a concentration in Non-Profit Leadership. I also do some freelance writing and fundraising work.

You tackled a major craft-room makeover recently. What lessons can you share?

Less is more! Keep out only what you need/use on a day to day basis, and organize everything else and put it away!

This is the before picture.  We’ve caught glimpses of her wonderful make-over, but we are waiting for pictures!

Are you a small town or big city girl?

Both? I love the excitement and convenience of the big city, but also
enjoy the serenity and natural beauty that is more often present in a small town.

Favorite vacation spot.

Growing up in England, my family vacationed on the island of Cyprus ever year. While I haven’t been back since I was a teenager, I’m absolutely desperate to!

Fondest childhood memory.

It’s truly too hard to choose! I am blessed to have grown up in a lovely family with fantastic parents. I had a wonderful childhood and as an adult consider my parents and brother among my closest friends.

What’s your favorite chain type restaurant?

That’s hard! Unfortunately, my husband and I eat on the go a LOT… so I feel like a bit of an expert in this department! I’m going to have to go with QDoba. Yum! Goodness all wrapped up in a tortilla!

What things are unique to where you live? As in special customs, favorite restaurants, slang, etc. (I love to find the unique things of an area when I travel. So much of the US is homogenized – Anywhere USA).

I’m not sure about customs – but the best part about where I live in my opinion is its proximity to just about everything. Grand Rapids is one of the “big cities” in Michigan and it has a great food and art scene. We live in an eclectic neighborhood bordering downtown and there is always something to do. If you drive 40 minutes though, you’re at Lake Michigan. My husband’s parents have a condo right on the water and we spend many a summer weekend there. Living here is like the best of both worlds – big city and lakeside village combined!

Favorite candy.

Goodness… just about anything! I have a bit of a sweet tooth! I love chocolate as much as the next person, but I also love fruity gummi-candies… pretty much anything Haribo makes. Yum!

What helps you when you are in a bad mood?

I actually have a hard time shaking the blues when they come on… especially at this time of the year, living in the Midwest where it’s so dreary and cold! Getting out of the house and doing something impromptu with my husband or friends always helps though… a quick trip to the mall or a museum or just to grab a drink. Doing something on a whim tends to shake things up a bit!

Use one word that best describes yourself.


Thanks Joanne!  I look forward to seeing more of your creative projects.  If you haven’t stopped by before, please check out Ready, Set, Craft!