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!


Sunday, December 20, 2015

On the 8th Day of Christmas - Lisa McKenny inspired me!

Merry Day 8 of Christmas!

On the 8th Day Lisa McKenney inspired me!!  Lisa is the beautiful shop owner at Loved Squared Designs.  Lisa creates beautiful leather cuffs and more!  

(Lisa on the right)

Most recently she has collaborated with Stephanie Ackerman to create special pieces which when sold part of the proceeds went to Beauty for Ashes Uganda ( ) for their “Veggies for Christmas” campaign which means every necklace that was sold provides 1 Garden per momma in Uganda and the ability to grow food for their family for a whole year! 

I'm inspired by Lisa for working with her God-given talents to bless others.  She is a nurturer, a calm force of support for her family and friends, a strong faithful Mom and wife, a caring and thoughtful soul, and so much more.  

I love buying handmade items, and buying those that not only support small businesses, but support wonderful organizations that help others less fortunate is a win-win-win!  I'm looking forward to seeing what more Lisa creates in 2016!  Keep your eyes open, I'm sure she will bless so many more with her inspirational jewelry and work!

Thanks Lisa for being my Day 8 Inspiration!!  xox Love you!


Saturday, December 19, 2015

On the 7th Day of Christmas Lexi Grenzer Inspired Me!

Merry 7th Day of Christmas!

Today and nearly everyday Lexi Grenzer is inspiring me.  Lexi is an amazing artist with talents that run the gamut from soldering to her newer love of stuffed animals!  Just about any craft or art medium you can think of I think she has a talent in, and if she doesn't now, mention it to her and in a week she has mastered it!

Lexi taught at Handmade U a few years ago.  She showed us all how to make amazing soldered box pendants and turn them into necklaces.  She not only shared with us her expansive knowledge of the techniques and tricks to making a beautiful piece, Lexi also had the patience and kindness to match her talent.  If you have ever soldered or attempted to before, you know it isn't necessarily an easy thing to learn, sometime it can be downright frustrating!  Lexi gave everyone who needed the extra attention more of her time, even after dinner when her teaching time was "officially" over.

If you follow Lexi on Facebook you know she is always making new and fun things with all kinds of workshops being offered.  If I lived close to her I think I'd be over at her place ALL the time!

One the cutest new things she's created is her new little baby!  Being a young mother of now TWO, she inspires by showing you can still find time to follow your passion!

Check out the new Somerset Magazine - Prims - Lexi's inspired work in featured. Congrats Lexi - Well deserved!

Lexi thanks for being an inspiration to so many with your talent, and even more with your sweet, loving nature.  I look forward to seeing what you do next, and hope one day soon to have you back out to Nebraska to teach in the Barn!  Love you!


Friday, December 18, 2015

On the 6th Day of Christmas Kaari & Molly Meng inspired me!

Merry 6th Day of Christmas!

Today is a two-fer!  Creative Sisters that have been inspiring me for years.  I first met Kaari at an Art Retreat years ago, right after I decided to sign up for the French General trip to a Chateau in the South of France to eat, craft, antique, explore and eat some more.  At the time I knew Kaari to be the creative shop owner of French General.  The French General sells the most unique, beautiful, and fun glass beads and trimmings and so much more.  You can shop online HERE if you aren't in the LA area.

Since the first time I met Kaari, she has expanded her domination of the craft/fabric/jewelry community with many hoard-worthy lines of MODA fabrics, she can cover your windows and couches with beautiful fabrics too - you can find those at Jo-Ann's and other shops, she's had scrapbook/paper lines at Michael's, and her own Sizzix lines that I was lucky enough to receive and will be finding more time to use in the new year -  find yours here.  If you love stitching, like I do, you'll have to check out her line of embroidery floss and stitching pattens.

Kaari and I circa 2010

 If you want to experience France for the first time, you will definitely want to do it Meng style!  Kaari  has a wonderful crew with her that will make you feel like part of the family.  One of the crew is Kaari's sister, Molly Meng.  Molly is so many things, but if I had to pick just one word to describe her it is FUN.

She will keep you laughing and smiling the entire time.  The picture of Molly above reminds me of her infectious laughter and joy.  Molly really connects with people.  She loves talking to the people she mets along the way, and not only does she love talking, but even more it seems she loves LISTENING.  Listening to people's histories, their path to get to where they are today, it is one of her amazing traits.  She has a love for old vintage photos as well, imagining the lives of those in those photos is a pastime of hers.

Molly partners up for the Meng & Mahar workshops in Southern CA.  Her line-up of workshops look fantastic!  Check them out here!  Molly also has a quirky and cute line of greeting cards 8mm Ideas , they are created using vintage papers, so unique and I'd love to find one in my post office box...just saying.

These two amazingly creative women also have The Art of Craft retreats and other wonderful workshops.  Look them up, get to know them, follow all the exciting adventures they will continue to have ahead!

Love you two and Miss you, thanks for being an inspiration for us all!


Thursday, December 17, 2015

On the 5th Day of Christmas ... Jennifer Allred inspired me.

Merry 5th Day of Christmas!

My Day 5 Inspiration is my sweet friend Jennifer Allred.

Jennifer is a wonderful Mom to three boys.  If you know Jen you know she is always on the go between games whether it be baseball or hockey.  On top of the normal Mom responsibilities that she takes on full-time, she also has the additional duty of being a Type 1 Diabetes Mom.  She is passionate about supporting and advocating for her son Jackson whether it be in school or finding the absolute best medical care and treatment.

To see how Jackson is learning to advocate for himself as a spokesperson for living with Type 1 Diabetes is a true testament to the love and care he gets from his Mom (and Dad too!)

Jennifer also inspires me by finding time to do what she loves and sharing it with everyone through The Turquoise Tomato Etsy shop.  You will find her beautiful Leather Cuffs, and drool worthy stitched hoop necklaces!  I am so honored to have her on my Handmade U Stitch Team!  You'll see much more from her and the rest of the
Team in 2016!

Jennifer inspires me by always having a smile and laugh, even when she might be frazzled with all kinds of challenges, she keeps her humor about her, and focuses on what is most important, her kids and family.

Thanks Jennifer for being such an inspiration in Family and Faith and Stitching!  Love you!

I know many friends join Jennifer in raising children with illness, or other challenges.  I'd like to say I am inspired by all of you!  Putting your kids first and doing EVERYTHING you can to give them the best life and best care is such a blessing for them and whether people tell you often or not, you are doing a great job!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

On the 4th day of Christmas Kallie Maughan, Kathy Wilkins and Melody Ross Inspired Me

Merry Day 4 of Christmas!

I realized that as I listed out all the ladies that I wanted to include in my 12 days, I couldn't figure out how to stop!  So on my 4th day of Inspiring Women, I am including three.  This is not to take away from each of the inspirations these three have given, but since they are family I thought I keep them together :)

Melody, Kathy and Kallie are all a wonderful part of Brave Girls Club.  Many of you already know them, love them, and are inspired by them everyday.  For those of you who aren't familiar with these beautiful souls, here is a little bit of what inspires me about these three.

Melody and Kathy created Brave Girls Club years ago.  Every day they bring together more women to share gentle reminders that You are LOVED, You are WORTH it, You can DO IT anyway, Life is Beautiful, and other words of encouragement that seem to come at just the right time through their Daily Truths email you can sign up for FOR FREE!
They have created a wonderful Brave Girls University that for a small monthly cost you can take hundreds of soul-filling, crafty, artsy, supportive classes from TONS of amazing teachers.  I am so honored to have a class available and am working on my next.

Beyond these forums Melody and Kathy have created that have given such JOY, LOVE, and HAPPINESS to so many women their inspiration goes further when you know what type of women they are.  Both are mothers and grandmothers to large loving families.  They have built their business to include their families and friends.  To do what needs to be done to keep their family close and tight.  

{How is this for a throw back Brave Girl Camp photo, circa 2010?!  Kallie is in the middle, and look how young Malary is on the right?!? }

Kallie is Kathy's daughter, and I've loved getting to know her at Brave Girls Camp when she could make it given her important role as a young mother of a beautiful family.  Knowing being a mother comes first, she has been able to fit in some time to work at Brave Girls Club and even helped me through a bit of drama with uploading my class videos with little to no internet speed!  She has a calm easy spirit, like her mother's that I find comforting and I am inspired by her cute comments about her kids and their conversations on Facebook.  

So much more can be said about these three, but I'll stop there for now.  Some gifties with be sent over to the Brave Girl Clubhouse for these three to enjoy!  Thanks Ladies for inspiring me!  Merry Christmas and Happiest of New Years!


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

On the 3rd Day of Christmas - Stephanie Ackerman Inspired Me

Merry 3rd Day of Christmas!

My inspiration on this 3rd day of Christmas is Stephanie Ackerman!

Stephanie taught at Handmade U a couple years ago.  I remember I was trying to find a talented doodle/letterer and came across her art on Facebook or the internet, and with perhaps just another friend's agreement that she looked like someone we needed at Handmade U, I reached out to her and invited her to come.

We were so lucky She said YES!  Stephanie came to Omaha.... she taught, she learned, she shared, and she connected.  Her class was joyful and FUN!  I know we all want her to come back, this time at the Red Barn....we are working on WILL happen.

Beyond being inspired by her at Handmade U, what has continued to inspire is what she's done since her time in Nebraska with us.  Her goals and dreams are probably not all that different than many artists/ make, to inspire, to create, to share her god-given talents, to dream bigger, BUT what does stand out to me is she puts in the work, the effort, and the HEART, to MAKE IT HAPPEN.

I'm so happy for her success in sharing herself through shop visits and classes, retreat classes, her SIZZIX line, the Documented Faith series and products, and her daily dose of Faith and crafty inspiration.  I don't know how she does it all, except from the strength in her deep
Faith, and pure adrenaline!  I love it all, I love her!

Stephanie inspires me to not just Dream, but to PUT IT INTO ACTION!!  To be excited about where the dreams will take you.

Thanks Stephanie for your Inspiration, your gift is on its way!!


Monday, December 14, 2015

On the 2nd Day of Christmas - Kerri MacDonald Inspired Me

It is the 2nd Day of Christmas and as I thought about all the women I know, and some I only know mostly via social media, I landed on a special person as my inspiration for Day 2 of this Christmas Season.

Kerri MacDonald.  I met Kerri at Brave Girls Camp in March of this year.  She is a very bright spot of Sunshine.  She is positive, encouraging, and a Brave soul.

I love seeing women being supportive, positive and "a good listener" even on social media.  I see Kerri cheerlead for her friends each and every day.  In this day and age of busy lives and information overload, it reaffirms the meaning of being a friend to see someone that still maintains friendships not only with likes of cute pics, but with words of encouragement, checking in with one another, and patting someone of the back for their talent and efforts.  I know I will try to be more like Kerri and spread positivity, encouragement, and love to my friends in person, and also via social media.

Thanks Kerri for being a great model for us all!

Kerri is the cutie in the middle ;)

Kerri - your special gift will be headed your way tomorrow!

Merry 2nd Day of Christmas!


Sunday, December 13, 2015

1st Day of Christmas - inspired by Michelle Geller

Merry 1st Day of Christmas!

If you read my last post you'll know that for the 12 days leading up to Christmas I'll be sharing someone that has inspired me.  I'll be sending a fun gift to each!

My first inspiring lady is the one and only Michelle Geller or @holddear on Instagram.  Many are inspired by her collections she shares frequently on Instagram.  Many too, I would guess, are a bit green with envy of her crazy talent/luck of stumbling upon wonderful stashes of ephemera, specifically Dennison labels.

Not only her ability to be drawn to the best finds at an antique shop, or goodwill is inspiring, what is more is her journaling skills.  From start to finish, the creating of a journal, ( her travel journals are divine) , to collaging, color choices, and her handwriting for the actual journaling, all the best of the best.

Michelle's book making swap at one of the Silver Bella art retreats inspired me to create my own art retreat, since I just wanted to be taught how to do what she did.  From that inspiration Michelle went on inspiring 3 semesters of students at Handmade U and many more being a student at 4 other semesters.

This pic is of Michelle and I nearly 5 years ago when we finalized the plan to have her teach at Handmade U!

Love you Michelle!  Thanks for being an inspiration of creativity!!

Merry Day 1!


Thursday, December 10, 2015

The 12 Days of Christmas.....

If you're like me, you are having a hard time believing Christmas is just 15 days away!!  15?!   With the weather in Nebraska unseasonably warm (65+ today), it is even tougher to grasp that the year is nearing its end.  We still need to decorate the house and find a few more gifts in the next week or so!  YIKES.

Jim and I celebrate the holiday with the 12 Days of Christmas.   Each day leading up to Christmas we exchange little gifts and a card.  It is a treat to have a little surprise every morning and nice to share a card with a sweet message or funny memory.  The gifts might be a special Christmas Tea, or chocolates, maybe a DMB CD...anything that we think the other would enjoy (and maybe even share ;)

This season I have decided to add one more tradition along with our 12 Days of Christmas.  In the same vein I am going to celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas by sending out 12 handmade gifts to 12 Ladies that have inspired me in some way.  Each Day I'll share with you who these women are and what they have done to be surprised with a little something heading their way.

I am sure I could come up with 100 women to send something to, however, I do need to be a little realistic on how much I can get done in the next 2 weeks!  

Would you like to join me??  I have way too much to do, but after participating in the Secret Sister gift giving and getting a handful of sweet surprises I thought why not pay that forward and send a few more gifts out??  If you don't find the time to send 12 gifts, why not just send a few?  It could be a handmade card, or gift tags, anything that your recipient would enjoy!

If you do join me why don't you tag photos of your handmade goodies with #12DaysHandmadeGiftGiving  

I would love to hear about who inspires you!  

Happy Handmade Holidays!

Stay tuned, it all begins Sunday!