Monday, January 25, 2016

New Website and New BLOG

HI All -

I want to thank everyone who has ever stopped over to Rach-ology to read the words I've shared.  I started this blog while living in Denver years ago and so much has changed.  Not only have I moved back to my home state of Nebraska after so many years away in Chicago then Denver, but now I'm married to my best friend Jim, retired, living in the country on a beautiful homestead with a puppy, chickens and a big red barn full of barn cats!  I couldn't have even dreamed of this when I wrote my first blog post so many years ago.

Not long after I moved to Nebraska I began planning and hosting a womens' creative retreat called Handmade U.  It has grown and evolved into something I look forward to twice a year.  I am dreaming big and building it to so much more than it is even today and I hope you join me as that comes to be!

It is about time I merged my Handmade U website and my blog along with all the other fun things I've got going on.  So please join me over at the new address -  You will see a landing page and then just click BLOG!

Hope to see you there!!



Thursday, December 24, 2015

On the 12th Day of Christmas - Sara Velder (aka MOM) inspired me!

Merry Christmas Eve and my 12th Day of Inspirational Women!

On the 12th Day of Christmas Sara Velder, aka, my Mom Inspired Me!

If any one person has inspired me the most to live a creative life it is my Mom.  Growing up we always had handmade items which I thought was completely the norm, now I know better.  We had soft flannel tied blankets, quilts, Raggedy Ann dolls, Cabbage Patch kid clothing, Barbie clothing and accessories, jean jackets and jeans with hand embroidered patches, and more.  Sewing was a pastime and a craft area was a given.

My Mom also was very well known around our grade school as a Homemade (from scratch) bread maker.  When Christmas rolled around there were days of kneading dough, letting it rise and baking.  There were also some teachers that were very happy to have my brother or I in their class to find themselves with a loaf of her bread!

In grade school I also remember that she made baby stuffed chicks and rabbits to sell at a local shop.  In 6th grade my class had an auction where the students got to bid on parent donated gifts with our points we'd earned during the semester.   My mom gave 6 or so stuffed baby geese on a stick holder.  I can vividly remember my classmates bidding on those geese like crazy, every kid wanted one.

My Mom inspired me to make my first quilt in high school when I found a stack of quilt blocks at an antique store and I decided to not to wait around for her project list to accommodate my request and made my own vintage feedback bow-tie patterned quilt.

Now she runs Acorn Ridge Quilting and does Long-Arm Quilting for many Quilters in the Lincoln/Omaha area.  If you have a quilt top that you've made, or find a neat old vintage Quilt top you need someone to finish call my mom.  She is not only reasonably priced, but she is FAST.  No waiting 2 or 3 months, she keeps on top of her stack of quilts and gets them done quickly.  She has also inspired me to work hard, sometimes probably too hard, but we like to keep busy.

My parents' home is full of her handmade work.  A sweet touch for Easter one year were these adorable bunny banners.

Also special occasions are always fun to have awesome handmade gifts.

My Mom is also a very big supporter and sponsor of Handmade U.

She has made endless goodie bags/totes, embroidered countless Handmade U logos, and sewn more pennant banners for our Barn than she'd like to count.

When she has made small mini quilts as raffle prizes - the lucky winners have loved them.

{Lucky Stephanie winning this Halloween Quilt!}

I'm the lucky daughter to have such a creative and loving Mom.  Thanks Mom for inspiring me!  I love you!


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

On the 11th Day of Christmas - Mandee Jablonski Inspired Me!

Merry Day 11 of Christmas!

Today Mandee Jablonski inspired me!  Mandee and I have never met face to face...I think she is the only gal on my 12 Days that I haven't met in person.  I am not quite sure where we came across each other,  I think maybe Instagram, in any case somewhere out in the Interwebs....

Mandee is a teacher, and from what I see on social media a very FUN one at that.  Whether it is celebrating PJ day, or Clown day, she always seems to have a smile on,  joining in with her "little monsters" as she affectionately calls them, and having a good humor about being exhausted and tired, aka being human.  Mandee inspires with the love of her life, living an authentic life, trials and all.  You can find her on Instagram @ohmandee!

Mandee and her husband are praying to build a family, traveling down paths, some which we have experienced as well.  Mandee now uses her crafty skills to sell handcrafted items to seek a child through adoption.  Seeking Baby J is her love-filled business with what I would say is one of the greatest purposes.  They have so much love between them overflowing and ready to shower on a baby of their own.

Sometimes it is hard to see it, other times you can't imagine how something good can come from a trial or hard time you are going through.  It is worth stopping and looking back at some of those hard times, and realize the people that have come into your life, those you've gotten to know, or experiences you've had because of your challenges.

I wish nothing but the best of luck as your journey continues Mandee!  I can't wait to see where it takes you.


On the 10th Day of Christmas - Lorraine Bell inspired me!

Merry Day 10 of Christmas!

On the 10th Day of Christmas Lorraine Bell inspired me!

Lorraine as you may have read on Rae's Day 9 Post was a teacher at our last Handmade U.  I met Lorraine years ago at Brave Girl Camp.  From our interaction I knew that Lorraine was a gentle soul full of generous spirit.  I followed her and her art through social media since then and was so excited for her and her team of friends at Art to the 5th with their work on the Documented Life Project.  I wanted to have them all come to do Art in the Barn with me, but with limited space it just didn't make sense which is why just Lorraine and Rae came to teach.  The Duo made teaching together look effortless.  They make a great pair!

Lorraine inspires so many with her daily sketches and watercolors.  The painting/sketch Lorraine did of our Red Barn after the retreat was Sooo Amazing!  The tricks and tips she shared during our event will stick with us all for a very long time.  When faced with a blank canvas many of us didn't know where to start.  She told us in her very sweet and calm voice, just throw on some color.  No top secret tip only long time artists know, just a very simple, pretty straight forward way to GET OVER OURSELVES and BEGIN.  And that is what we did.  What a wonderful life lesson.  "Just throw some color on it."

Beyond being an inspired artist, Lorraine's patient and giving nature was so appreciated when making art that was new for many of our students.  The sitting down next to each student that needed help was so cherished by the gals.

If you know Lorraine you know she has had a sudden loss in her family.  The bravery and courage that she needs now is nothing but inspirational.  The overwhelming support from friends, family, and her community not only shows their compassion, but certainly reflects so highly on the kind of person Lorraine is, for people are giving back what she most definitely has given time and time again.
(Lorraine on the far left)

Lorraine my heart goes out to you and your family.  You are truly an inspiration for some many reasons.  Wishing you Peace and Light.  Thank you for being you.

Love you!

Monday, December 21, 2015

On the 9th Day of Christmas Rae Missigman Inspired Me!

Merry Day 9 of Christmas!

On this 9th Day of Christmas Rae Missigman inspired me!  I had the pleasure of having Rae teach at our Fall 2015 Handmade U.  She along with her Art to the 5th teammate Lorraine Bell taught an amazing day and half of classes.  If you don't already follow Rae, get over and see what she is up to on her Blog, Instagram and Facebook pages.  I love seeing what lots of people are creating, but with Rae, I not only love her art, but I love her consistency.  I know I can always depend on seeing a sneak art peek from her gorgeous studio.  I do believe she is one of the hardest working artists I know.

The whole Art to the 5th team have really gone above and beyond for the Documented Life community.  Two years of free prompts and sharing of ideas and their inspiration, and the third upcoming year not only at a low price, but they put together cultivated kits for us to purchase and get us started.  That was SO much work, and they are so humble about what they provide.  Thanks ladies!  Who else is joining in on the fun next year?!  I have my kit and am ready to get started!!!

Isn't this Art Community wonderful in the way every person can find inspiration from someone?  I admire and appreciate all kinds of art, but I am drawn in, really inspired to pick up and try my hand at what a handful of artists are doing.  Rae is one of those artists.  I am crazy over the colors she chooses and her unique mark-making.  Have ever thought someone's art was so yummy you wanted to eat it?? Umm, me neither ;)

I could go on about how I binge-watch Rae's 15 minute Art videos on You-tube, and can't wait to take her class to make a portable art kit....but I am also so inspired by her kindness, positivity, generosity, and care of others.  During Handmade U, Rae and Lorraine made sure EVERYONE was getting their projects done, and if anyone struggled they sat next to her and helped her get unstuck.  If you've ever been to an Art Retreat or in a class, you know what a blessing it is to have one-on-one time with the instructors and to have a COMPLETED project!  I do believe everyone at Handmade U last semester had that with Rae and Lorraine.

Rae thanks for being an Inspiration to me, and to many!  You represent the Art Community so well with your talent, kindness, how to balance family and your passion, and so much more.  I hope you take time for yourself and your family this Christmas!  Can't wait to see what you do in 2016!  Love you!