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