Thursday, February 26, 2015

Cora McGough

When we moved out to our Homestead last year we decided that the place needed a puppy. We waited until after the Fall semester of Handmade U to find just the right addition.  We searched numerous places and found this little one!  

She jumped and jumped and peed all over when she met us, pretty excited to meet us....kind of hard to say no to an attitude like that!  Didn't hurt that she was the cutest thing we've seen!

Jim took her in his car on the drive home....oh my she looks so small here!!  

On the drive Jim thought of her name, and when she arrived home she was named Cora McGough.

The first few months were an adjustment for all of us!  The 5 indoor cats were not particularly happy about the new family member.  They boycotted my office during the day, opting to stay in the living room and leave the office to Cora.  I began getting up earlier every day which came with the bonus of seeing quite a few beautiful sunrises over the Red Barn and Cora is fun to hang with.

Bath time, Cora doesn't love it, but she puts up with it.

How can you resist this face??

When we stopped at Petsmart the next day to pick up all the essentials for Cora we ran across some kitties that were there from the Humane Society.  We had talked about getting a couple Barn Kitties and these two were perfect.  So within 2 days our Parent to Pet ratio went from 2:5 to 2:8!  yikes.  

Luckily, the kitties LOVE Cora and Cora LOVES them.  

Cora loves hanging outside.

Fun fall nights by the fire pit.

Another thing Cora LOVES and doesn't get enough of is VISITORS!!  She loved meeting my Dad....she may have peed on him.....tiny bladder + excitement = messy.

Cora reigns over the leaves in our yard.

Waiting for Jim to get home on the back porch...

This is before Simba the cat took over her bed....she loves a vintage quilt like the rest of us.

Not to miss the cuteness of the barn they are in my art studio.  They are so much bigger now!

To follow all the animal adventures at the Homestead, follow me on Instagram @rjmcgough


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Handmade U Seventh Semester - SWAPS

Swaps are one of my favorite things at Handmade U.  It isn't a requirement for students to participate, some are nervous to join in as they might be NEW to it all, but SWAPS are something you just have to jump into...your first time is a learning experience, and the next semester typically you'll up your game as they say :)  I feel each semester I do a little bit more.

We had a few different Swaps this year.  One not pictured was a fun vintage postcard swap.  Each person found 12 different postcards and we all swapped with each other.  Many of the students used the postcards in their class with Michelle.

Jennifer hosted a fun garland swap...Oh I wanted to participate so bad!  But in the end knew I was totally overcommitting!  We tend to do that with swaps....that's why for Spring Semester I am already working on ideas!!

Jayne and Judy shared fabulous garlands.
 Jennifer partnered with Kim - making this cute CREATE garland

Kim stunned with this crocheted garland for Jennifer...amazing!
 Jennifer also partnered with Shelley, beautiful work Shelley!
Shelley received this lovely GATHER garland.

Next up are the Color Box Swaps.  This swap has become a main stay at Handmade U.  Each person chooses their colors and their partner finds a unique container such as a tool box, vintage jewelry box, vintage basket, etc to pile all the colored loot into! 

Michelle and Jennifer.....Jennifer hand-stitched Michelle's HOLD DEAR logo and included it...awesome!

Charity and Judy....

Mollie and Jayne
 Typically once the Color Box is open there is a short stunned silence as the recipient takes in all the color and fun little treats!  Sometimes there are tears, giggles, eeks, oohhs, aaahhhs, a little clapping, hand over mouth holding, moments of stopped breathing and more....

 Me and Julie before the reveal....
Julie opening one of the boxes I put together for her.... Reds and Creams...

It is nearly as much fun to see all the boxes as to open your own!!  (Nearly).

Now go be crafty!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Handmade U - Seventh Semester Day 2 of Classes

Hi Again,

Day 2 of Handmade U this past October was all about ephemera and journal making with our own Hold Dear owner Michelle Geller!

She came true to form armed with the most adorable kits, lettered with our names in her fun handwriting!

She demo'd a fun technique to create the cover.

She then showed how to use vintage postcards as pages adding ephemera as collage material.

We broke for lunch and the sun warmed us up a bit!

I had searched for vintage metal lunch boxes to house the students lunches and am so happy with what I found.  The Ladies got a kick out of them too!  I am on the lookout for more to add to the collection for our 31 girls in April!

We had such a cold snap this weekend and we appreciated the girls bundling up and being patient with us as my husband went out and bought 6 heaters!  Always fun with Nebraska weather :)  

Next up I'll share the swaps that happened!  Each semester they just get better and better!

Now go be crafty,


Friday, November 14, 2014

Handmade U Semester Seven - Welcome Night and Day 1 of Classes

When we started looking for property outside of town we kept our eye out for a home that would allow us to host Handmade U on site.  No more hotel conference rooms, no more schlepping supplies and decorations down and having a small window to hang things up, and no more concern about whether the tape would hold things up on the walls - and no more Hotel lunches and dinners!  YEA!

Well it was kinda hard not to envision some amazing Handmade U craft weekends in this barn when we saw it.  The loft was gorgeous on its own, and with a few lights, banners, and tables we could be in craft weekend heaven.

Fast forward to moving into our new home July 19th.  We decided a Fall Semester could be possible, it would be tight, a lot of work needed to be done, but we had faith we could find the help we needed and we did.

This is what we came up with....

Thanks to my husband for #1 supporting all the work that was done on the barn to get prepared for Handmade U, #2 tirelessly shopping with me at all the local antique malls and piling all these tables in the trailer to bring up to the loft, #3 feeding us all weekend and cleaning up!

Thanks to my Mom for sewing all of these fun oilcloth banners and making all the gift bags for the girls, and thanks to my Dad for helping hang up all of the banners, and especially for power-washing all the floors to get ready and helping with moving the furniture!

Also thanks to the amazing group of women that came from all over the US to be our guinea pigs for the 1st Handmade U in the Red Art Barn.  We had many "peaters" come back again to be 2-peaters, 3-peaters, even 7-peaters (meaning they've been to EVERY SEMESTER!).  We had our freshmen too, and I always love that the freshmen fall right into the classes just like the 'peaters!

Welcome Night

Thursday evening is our welcome night.  The girls started arriving around 6pm.

 There was a chill in the air, but pretty comfortable to be outside for a grill-out.  Omaha Steak Burgers and Grilled Chicken were on the menu thanks to Grill-master Jim.

We had a special guest Thursday night for dinner, Declan, he is a 1-peater now!

After dinner we set up an enjoyed Vendor night.  All the girls that come to Handmade U are encouraged to bring goodies to sell, whether it be vintage supplies or handmade items like jewelry or journals.  We had quite a bit of fun stuff to choose from.

Thanks to Michelle Geller for the below shot of some of the girls getting their first glance up at the loft ceiling.

Everyone was welcomed into the barn with a personalized Swag bag full of fun sponsor treats along with the official Handmade U t-shirt.

My talented Mom made the below bags with a picture of the barn on the front for everyone.  

Class Day 1

I got up early to set up the tables for my half day class.  I taught a few fun techniques to marble paper. We were able to use some of what we made in our journals with Michelle on Day 2 of classes.

The flowers were picked early that morning from around our house, the mini pumpkins were a must since it was October, and a water mug with their names on them.

As everyone arrived we had Jim take our group photo before he went off to work.  Fridays are Handmade U T-shirt days.  These t-shirts are my favorite of any semester, though I love our logo ones, these are so SOFT!  I got a couple extras, and a sweatshirt...let's just say I wear them a lot around the homestead.

What a fun group of ladies!

I rang the big bell atop of the barn to start is a cool bell....I'll have to share the pics of our carpenter and the 40 foot ladder he used to get it unstuck the week before....but that's for another time.

Class was in session.  

The first technique is my favorite, and super easy.  We used shaving cream and food coloring.  The kit I provided included all different types of papers and tags to marble.  

The ladies enjoyed this one, we got a little inky, but it's food coloring and washed out easily.  This technique is fun with your kids, and a couple school teachers in the room were thinking of teaching it to their kids.  Jayne did it with her grandkids a few weeks ago!  Fun for the whole family!

Jennifer was really having fun!

Proof of good times....

Papers laid out to dry we used the paper marbling inks you can buy at Dick Blicks as well as Sumi Black Ink to try a couple other techniques as well.

With our papers marbled we moved on to lunch next door at our local restaurant.  The meal was light and beautifully presented.  The salad was made with our apples which was a surprise, they tasted delicious.

Michelle and Jan

Kim and Jennifer

Me and Jayne

Julie and I took a glance outside at the neighbors' lake.

We then went shopping.  After semesters where I didn't really have shopping time built in, but we always squeezed it in here or there, I learned and made time for it!  We stopped at the first antique mall, it's a nice one, some would say the perfect one since it had a bar in it for snacks and drinks for those who finished shopping as others shopped on!

We stopped at one other antique mall, lots of fun was had and special finds made.  Back to the homestead we went to get ready for our Cream Can Dinner.

We had hoped for a nice fall night to sit outside by our new firepit and cook smore's but Nebraska weather wasn't our friend as Friday evening came so did the chillier weather.  We decided it'd be best to eat in the loft at the tables.  We enjoyed standing near the burners for a little warmth while the dinner cooked.  

A Cream Can dinner is made in the old cans as you see below.  You line them with corn cobs, still with husks on.... (thanks to our farmer neighbor who brought the last of his sweet corn over in a bucket earlier in the day - how's that for friendly!)  Then you add sausages, brats, potatoes, carrots and some purple cabbage, fill it up with beer and steam away!  It is good, so yummy.

If we make a small Cream Can we typically dump it out on some newspapers on the picnic table, but since we were eating in the barn, the big galvanized tub worked great lined with some brown paper.

We all ate the warm meal heartily. I heated up some apple cider as well made from the trees right outside of the barn.  It was a fun night.

The girls went back to Lincoln to their hotel with a quick stop at the local Lincoln Makers Market that is on the First Friday of every month.

I sat outside by the fire with Jim to wind the evening down.  Michelle was busy with her class set up....wait until you see my next post on what she had to come!