Thursday, December 22, 2011

I am really still Alive - I'm Actually a Married Woman NOW!

Cheers to YOU!!

Happy Holidays everyone!

I have been gone so long! After Handmade U, First Semester, I was focused solely on our wedding preparations and that took all our time.

Now that the dust is settling from all the events that were all so Amazing, we are headed to Dallas to spend our first Christmas together with Jim's family.

Once we get back from the Holidays I will be announcing Handmade U, Second Semester registration. The dates for the Spring Semester will be April 19-22. Hope you can make it!

Enjoy your holidays with your friends and family!! Thanks for being a reader of my blog in 2011!! Looking forward to 2012! More exciting things to come.

Peace and JOY to you all,


Monday, October 10, 2011

Handmade U Wrap Up - Cream Can Dinner

This wasn't that long ago but seems worlds away!

The weather created the perfect prelude to Fall at Handmade U. It was a little chilly, which made the flannel PJ pants nice and cozy, a little misty, which gave us an even more remote country feel at our lodge and on the road to the Velder Log Cabin.

I really wanted to share with the students a real Nebraska "cream can dinner".

They may do this in other states, but we're in Nebraska, so it's a NE thang. My Dad has been doing these dinners for years and I always look forward to doing one.

Not only do I look forward to the food, the "event" that is it, but since it is so much food, it means that you are surrounded by friends or family to enjoy such a fun meal.

It is hard to describe to someone who hasn't witnessed it. Usually people picture creamed corn, creamed food....there is corn but nothing is creamed. We use an old can that people would keep cream in. The can is lined inside with corn on the cob, cabbage is added, carrots, sausages of any sort, and potatoes.

You could add anything else if you'd like too like onions, etc. Then the can is filled with Beer for steaming, and the top closes the can. DO NOT FORGET TO PUNCH HOLES IN THE TOP.....

One day you should hear my Dad's story about the sausages in the trees and cabbage all over the golf course when they did a Cream Can and holes were not added!!!

Anyhow, Minglewood Lodge doesn't not allow fires or cooking outside, so we ventured to the Velder Log Cabin to see the Cream Can in action.

Thanks to my parents for hosting this bunch of crafty women, everyone loved it.

We did get a quick peek at my mom's longarm quilting machine, and I think I could've left a few women there to learn more and they'd have been happy, but NO - there was more crafting to finish at Handmade U at Minglewood Lodge. So we left happy and full of a great dinner.

Oh and of course what kind of ART EVENT HOSTESS would I be if I didn't serve cupcakes!! Personalized nonetheless! The Cakery was the creator of these delicious cupcakes. They will be making our wedding cake in just over a month!! YIKES....

Shelley and Lisa came up from different cities in Oklahoma to be at Handmade U.

Here I am with Hope and Stephanie from Indiana.

The gals from Kansas, Lindy and Nora!

Michelle representin' Texas. We did miss Paige who had to leave the country unexpectedly!

Pam, our East Coast attendee! Virginia!

Yay for an Omaha girl - Mollie!

Not pictured Dee Ann from Kansas too!

Of course with this Handmade U team I wouldn't have been able to do it! My fiance Jim, my parents Gerry and Sara, and of course our fabulous Journal Instructor - Michelle Geller. Thanks again!!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Handmade U - Coming down from the HIGH!


I don't even know how to begin to talk about the amazing weekend I just experienced. I knew most of the ladies coming to Handmade U's First Semester, and I knew we'd have an amazing time hanging out. I just didn't know HOW AMAZING it would be.

The weekend really began Wednesday afternoon when my parents came up to help pack up their car with as much as we could fit in, as well as mine. We also did our grocery store runs to load up on food. You just never know how much food you will need to keep this many ladies energized for a weekend of heavy crafting!! I erred on the side of LOTS of food!

In the evening Michelle Geller flew in. We stopped to get her a snack, and lo and behold, we just happened to be right next to Dick Blick's, so of course we had to stop.

Then a nice mexican dinner with Michelle and my fiance Jim helped get us psyched for the next day and to work on the few last touches late into the night.

Thursday morning came early as we packed up the few last things and headed to Minglewood Lodge. After getting the keys we brought everything in and started getting organized.

We set up the tables for the ladies! My Mom made these cute totes with the fabrics I found for each of the girls. She even embroidered each name on the bags! And the file folders I fell in love with...Anthropologie of course! The name badges were painted with chalkboard paint and written on with Chalkboard pens which are fun! I brought a bunch of candies too to share with the girls throughout the weekend. A bit' o honey treat in a glassine bag was put on each bed the first night. My fiance Jim helped package all of those up prior to the weekend. Thanks Jim!

Each tote held the wonderful giveaways from all our sponsors and I added a fun wooden ruler, and packets of these Handmade U pencils!!

We added some special touches to the lodge, which was already gorgeously decorated.

I added some fun crayons, papers, and ribbons on this wreath.

I had name plates on each bed to show where everyone was staying. We put their Handmade U t-shirts on their beds along with a little treat.

I've been loving these typewriters for so long!! Well Handmade U was a great excuse to buy one for everyone to use!

We worked til lunchtime and grabbed a Subway. My Dad was off to make the first airport run to gather up Pam, Hope and Stephanie. When they arrived we were all ready to welcome them to Handmade U! We chatted and anxiously awaited all the other Freshmen students. The lodge was filled with smells of Smoked Chicken that my Dad made, and my Mom's AMAZING Baked Beans. YUM...I think a few girls talked about sneaking more beans for breakfast!

When everyone arrived we had the most delicious meal, topped off with pieces of Chocolate Cake the size of your head!

The evening activity was creating small SLAM BOOKS as an ice-breaker get to know you project. It was more fun than I expected. The fun part was coming up with all the questions to go on each page with everyone, then filling in your own. After that we started passing each book around so everyone could put their answers in each person's book.

Throughout the weekend we filled each book in, we each decorated the books in our own unique styles, and had a little treasure to go home with!

We did take a break for what we all love to do at Art Retreats - SHOPPING! I brought all my fun French finds which I was excited to share with everyone. I will hopefully be able to add items into my etsy shop sometime soon!!

Michelle brought her ephemera goodies, double-sided tapes, and of course the very popular WASHI TAPE!!

Friday morning began by making tasty breakfast sandwiches for each woman as they came downstairs. I'm not a morning person, we probably only had a couple in the group (we love you Hope and Shelley!) but it was nice to leisurely get up and eat breakfast, with class starting at 10am. No rushing at Handmade U! No packing up and going from here to there, just come down, relax as if you were at Home.

Michelle started her Handmade Inspiration Journal class once we were all done with Breakfast. Can I just say, I knew Michelle was uber talented, I have loved all her journals that I've seen on Hold Dear and in person, but she went ALL OUT. This was her first major teaching event, an all day class, and she WAS AWESOME! The kits she laid out on each person's table were OVER THE TOP!! I think I could have just looked at all the goodies, papers, ephemera all day long and been happy not even creating the journal. However I did work on my journal, and wow it was FUN.

Michelle broke down the class into really manageable steps so no one got overwhelmed. We each created a fun cover, then varnished it!!

OK I think I have probably said before I LOVE MOD PODGE....and I do, but I hope Mod Podge doesn't get jealous when I say I LOVE LOVE LOVE VARNISH!! I may just start varnishing everything. It puts such a fun shiny gloss on everything. I think there is room in my heart for both Mod Podge and varnish, that's just the kind of crafter I am.

After creating the covers we sewed on the binding and threaded the sari ribbons that would be our way to attach our pages.

Then onto our pages. This was so much fun. Michelle had given us so much to choose from it took some time to plan out what each page would look like.

Friday night was PIZZA night, which was a nice and easy meal so we could get back to our pages and working on the journals! We did find time for a little piece of Carrot Cake, yum.

Here are all the journals nearly done!

Saturday we woke, had muffins, yogurt and fruit and prepared for Quilt Art with Sundries. Each person received a 12x12 art canvas and I had an industrial size bottle of mod podge to share!

I put together a pack of ephemera using papers from my recent France trips. Also my 6th Sponsor was MODA Fabrics!

They sent small charm packs of Kaari Meng's new French General line of fabric. Many of the ladies used those in their designs along with papers from our journaling kit too.

I had lot so paints to choose from and tons of embroidery flosses to add the stitching to the canvases.

I was so proud of all the girls' canvases! You really could look at each one and know who designed and created it, each was so personal. I taught some basic quilt pattern designs, mod podge techniques, and some painting ideas, and away they went.

Michelle Early did a cool block based on the Gee's Bend Quilts.

Pam created this beauty using the quilt block featured on my Mom's business card for Acorn Ridge Quilting. The red polka dots are from one of our napkins! She also showed us a little preview of here "doodling" skillz. We are hoping she shared more at Handmade U Second Semester in the Spring! If you want to see more of what she has to offer, hurry over here to purchase her doodling sets for digital download!

Here is Lisa working on her beautiful canvas!

We decided to put all the "quilt blocks" together into one Quilt Art!

During Saturday afternoon some of the girls were needing a little pick-me-up. The Minglewood Mocha was born. Coffee with a little hot chocolate made these girls very happy!

Happy Michelle!

As some of the girls were wrapping up their Art Quilts, I introduced another new technique to them. I handed out a hard-bound 9x12 journal to everyone and we decorated the covers with different tissue papers,

Well...this I just don't know how I can explain it....

Dinner Saturday night was a special treat. More on this later!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Handmade U Fifth Sponsor!!!

My lovely Creative Friends.

I can not say enough about them. I am so grateful to those wanting to help with my first event. Handmade U is coming up soon, and I had another friends Wanda May Clark reach out to put together goodies for our students bags!!

Follow Wanda's life as an Army wife and mom, and treasure hunter on her blog Rat's Pajama's.

She puts many of her finds on her etsy shop. Check it out! Wanda has been is many swaps with me, she has hosted quite a few, and always adds so many extras into the packages for us.

Thanks again to Wanda for helping out for Handmade U!! Wish you could be here with us Wanda, next time!!


Handmade U - Fourth Sponsor!!!

It is such a Brave thing to do to go to your first Art Event or two without knowing a soul. You walk into a room filled with women chattering about, looking for a friendly face and empty seat. It is a little nerve-racking, a little like the first day of school, but if I have learned one thing over the last two-three years of going to Art Retreats it is that you will ALWAYS find a friendly face among Creative Women.

Case in point - Fall 2009. Event- Spark 1. I walked in without knowing anyone. I see an empty seat with a chatty Red-Head sitting next to it, and a bubbly blond sitting next to her. I take a leap and sit next to them. Boy did I luck out! Dana Elkins - the red-head, and I shared a room at the next year's Spark 2 event, and Crystal Farish Beutler was the blond sitting at the table. She is a sweetheart, and we were at the next Spark 2 event again together.

Not only is Crystal a talented artist, loving wife and mother, but now she is a Art Event Hostess too!

R&R - San Diego 2012 Sometimes you just need a Break!

Crystal has been so kind to be a Sponsor for HANDMADE U!!! She will be sending along some gifties for our students!

Check out Crystal's fun blog, her event for next year, and her cute cute etsy shop!! Take a look at the Cherry Soda brooch that she has on her shop! SOOO cute!

Thanks Crystal for being a HANDMADE U SPONSOR!!

- Rach

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Handmade U - Third Sponsor!!

Hi Everyone,

I've had the pleasure of knowing Hope Ellington for some time now. Meeting here and there at art events, and passing swaps through the mail we've gotten to know each other. Imagine my excitement that the Indy girls - Hope and our friend Stephanie were going to come to Handmade U!!

Hope is a very generous person as well! She has offered to provide our Handmade U students each with a soldered charm for Handmade U!! It will be a wonderful keepsake, and a special treat to have it handmade by one of our own students!!

Check Hope out on her Blog and say HELLO!!

Thanks Hope! Looking forward to Handmade U just about a month away!!

There are still spots left to attend classes and enjoy all the food and snacks!! Let me know if you are interested!!

- Rach

Monday, August 1, 2011

HandMade U - Another Project!

Hi All,

I am so excited that Handmade U is just around the corner! Our Lodge spots are full, but we do have spots left to attend the whole days at the lodge and sleep nearby at a hotel, and/or add yourself to a waiting list for the lodge.

I know Michelle has completed two class samples for her class and they are featured on her blog Hold Dear. Check her out over there!!

My main class is shaping up. I love vintage papers, I love fabric, I love quilts, I love painting, I love LOVE MOD PODGE, I love stiching, and so I tried to create a fun project that would incorporate all of those into a beautiful piece of ART.


We use the word sundries a lot. Sundries can mean a variety of things. Just a mixed media person's favorite thing "sundries". You can use fabric, buttons, glitter, papers, paint, texture pastes and mediums, and anything else your mind can dream up!

I started with a 12x12 canvas, and sketched out four quilt patterns.

Using vintage french papers gathered last month in the South of France, stashed vintage wallpaper, new scrapbook papers that I loved, tissue paper, MODA French General fabrics, paints, and more I began "piecing" this quilt together.

I love the look of tissue paper attached with Mod Podge.

I added some embroidery stiching where I thought some real quilting might show up.

A favorite bit of lace and buttons add a final touch.

Using Kaari Meng's new line of fabric for this block, with gold paint, and a patch I found at a French Flea market added some flair to this block!

I can't wait to see what creations my Handmade U students come up with!! Everyone will have a different take on this project which will be fun to see!!

Hope you can join us at Handmade U!! EMail me for more information!!

Happy Monday -