Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Are you on the fence about coming to Handmade U?

So I have people that see the photos of Handmade U and say - "Wow looks like such a fun time, what a great weekend it looks like you all had!!"  I agree, and say "It was truly such a fabulous time, we have another semester coming up in May, come and join the fun!"  Many times the response then is "oh I'm not an artist, not crafty, I've never learned how to do any of this...."

Ladies, we all start somewhere.

Why not start at Handmade U??

If you've noticed I have had many teachers come through the barn door.  Painting, mixed media, leather cuffs, paper collage, book making, soldering jewelry, doodling, we have covered a lot of crafty/artsy ground.

And you know what??  Not every student had ever soldered, or collaged, or tooled leather, or carved a stamp....some even said they didn't think they'd ever figure out how to carve a stamp for instance...

and you know the funny thing is...they did it, and I heard they even did it again after class!!

So come, don't let your fear or intimidation that your work won't be as good as your neighbors stop you from the joy it could bring you ... if you let go and come for the friendships, the weekend away, the meals someone else will cook for you, the creative process of learning from these amazing teachers, to try something new, you'll open up something within you..I just know you will.

Be vulnerable, be open, be ready for a challenge and some fun!  You might even surprise yourself...

And the one thing I know for sure is true... you'll have a lot of new friends cheering you on!

Come join in!  Your creative side (yes the one you might not even know you had) is asking so very sweetly!!

Early Bird Pricing for May 12-14, our 10th Semester, ends Oct 31.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Fall Handmade U 2015 - Another Magical Weekend at the Barn

Happy Fall Ya'll,

I hope you've all had the chance to pick some apples, eat some crisp, maybe even pulled out the sweaters to get ready for the cooler weather!  We had a little bit of it all at our Fall semester of Handmade U last month.

We host Handmade U in our Big Red Barn that was built in 1900, so we are always hoping Mother Nature is smiling down on us for a great weekend of weather!

This fall, our first night was a really rainy one, but we stayed dry in the Barn for our Welcome Dinner - Grill Out night.

Our resident Grill Master - Jim McGough of Handmade Q BBQ did a great job with our Omaha Steak Burgers.  Add some Beans, Chips and Watermelon and you've got a tasty meal.  We served Freshly made Carmel Apples during our vendor night.  YUM....may need to go make one now....wait, sorry, back to the post!!

These last few might not look super pretty....but boy were they tasty ;)

Vendor night is always a fun time to see what our students and sometimes Sponsors are whipping up!

My mom of Acorn Ridge Quilting really outdid herself with needle keepers to sell at Vendor night!  Little kitties with mouse inside pages...  Apples with the core pages inside...Barns of course with barn gates inside!  She has a few left...visit her blog and contact her if you are interested!!


Friday is always our HU T-shirt day.

We are a laid back retreat.  Comfy and casual is the name of the game in the barn at the Homestead.  No stressing packing for our weekend....unless you spend a lot of time pouring over what art supplies you want to bring!

 These were our new Freshmen!  Always fun to have 1-peaters in the BARN!  Hope they all come back for more semesters!

Our Friday Class was the Quilted Uptake Journal that Rae and Lorraine created.  They cut up a big quilt to share with all of us!

We learned how to create beautiful colored seam binding with Dylusions Ink Sprays.  - Amazing inks for sure!  I can't wait to use them in more of my projects!

We cut pages to get ready to bind into the quilted cover, and used Shout color catchers that we colored to use as the binding.  I LOVED this idea.  Now I am saving all my color catchers!!

Stitching all the elements together...

Mollie did a great job with her Quilted Journal and I loved the little flower she made for the front!  Speaking of Mollie, she is our biggest 'Peater....(that is repeater for those non-alum)  She is an 8-peater!  Thanks for being here so much Mollie!

All the journals were similar but unique to each student!  What a fun project!  Thanks Lorraine and Rae for sharing this project and cutting up a quilt for us all to use :)

After our morning class we all grabbed a vintage lunch box full of a croissant ham and cheese sandwich, chips, string cheese, cookies...each one of us picked our own favorite flavor of apple from the orchard behind the barn on our way over to the picnic tables.

The weather smiled on us Friday and Saturday.  Loved that we could enjoy the Fall air and share food and conversation with new and old friends....and in some instances sisters and sister in laws!

After lunch we all grabbed a banana and granola bar "to-go" to provide energy on our Antique Shopping adventure.  Many unique and vintage finds were found and purchased!!

Back at the Homestead before dinner we started some of our SWAPS!!

The swaps are always a fun part of the Handmade U weekend.  It helps build excitement for those that participate as they prepare and create goodies for their swap partners before the weekend.

This semester we did our favorite Color Box swap!  Each partner picks a color and then you gather and fill a box, or container with goodies of your partner's color.  Always unique containers from vintage jewelry boxes, to picnic baskets, to egg cartons and egg baskets!  FUN!

A new Swap this year was a Pocket Letter Pages swap!  
This was a fun one, and we've decided to have a monthly swap for all the Handmade U Alumni for those that want to create these for each other.  Thanks to Kim for organizing the ongoing swap, and Dawn for introducing this one to us.

We also had an Apron Swap hosted by Suzanne.  We had handmade aprons, vintage found aprons, and new fun aprons!!  

We also brought back the Mug Swap, always fun.

My Mug said "whatever happens in the barn STAYS in the barn!!"

The girls had a great idea for a massage chain as they lined up for dinner!!  ahhh....

Friday night was the special Cream Can Dinner!

Jim cooked up the food for our evening meal....

The cans are filled with sausages, potatoes, corn, cabbage and carrots.  They steam all together for a little bit of tasty heaven!

A Hot Homemade Apple Crisp, freshly picked from the Orchard capped off the evening!

Saturday we began our next project.  I can't say enough what thoughtful and wonderful projects Lorraine and Rae put together.  They brought such fun kits for us, and paint and ink sprays for us to share....and lucky for future semester they left all the ink sprays ;)  My mind is spinning with ideas to use it in an upcoming project.  So thanks to them again.

We have a convenient spigot out behind the barn for water, it's a fun way to fill your paint brush container!

Ready with all our supplies we were ready to get started with Day 2 of creating!

The blank canvas is something that can be intimidating and a little scary for some of us.  You may stare at it awhile and think, what in the world am I going to create, how do I begin, what if I don't like it?!?  Never fear, Lorraine started us off by demonstrating how to START.  She took her ink sprays and just laid some color down on the canvas...and just like that, it wasn't so scary anymore!

Rae and Lorraine worked perfectly in sync to share tips and tricks, from Rae's amazing mark-making, to Lorraine's lesson on creating beautiful flowers with paint, there was something to inspire us all....more than likely many things!

Lunch on Saturday was chicken salad made from the Chicken grilled by Handmade Q (aka Jim).  We added nuts and apples to the chicken salad, which was yummy.  That along with fresh fruit and chips and a cookie made for a light and filling lunch.

The rest of the day we were able to paint, use inks, pens, etc to create a beautiful canvas of meaningful art.

Everyone did an amazing job!

Painty fingers mean you're having fun!!

Our mid-day snack was a mix of Nebraska Popcorn, Candy Corn and Peanuts, a Fall Handmade U favorite.  There may have been some Halloween candy in the mix too.

Throughout the day we had many raffle drawings, thanks to all our Sponsors!  They are the best!  We also scattered more swaps throughout the day.

One of the other fun challenges of the weekend was the Handmade U Apron design contest!  Some of the students took it on and created some amazing aprons!

Mary won a HU Hat for her amazing Red Barn Apron!  Special mention to Carol, Tammy and Charity for their beautiful aprons.  I especially am partial to Charity's - she doodled a highlights of the whole weekend, including a little Cora McGough and chickens!

With so many alumni that come back semester after semester, matching outfits are bound to happen!!

For the Saturday Goodbye dinner this semester we had Handmade Q - Pulled Pork sandwiches, Sweet Potatoes, and Coleslaw.

The meal on the Homestead created a more laid back day, some relaxing once projects were complete, and no need to rush around.

Thanks to Jim for getting up at 2AM to start and cook the Pork on the smoker!  It was a long Cook for him, little sleep and it turned out amazing.

To end our weekend after dinner we made S'mores!  YUM!  So excited we finally had perfect weather for a campfire and s'more making!

Thanks for all those who joined us this semester at Handmade U on the McGough Homestead!  We loved having you and look forward to meeting the next semester of students May 12-14!  We are over half full already!!  Please visit for details and contact me ASAP to save your spot!  Sign up before Nov 1 for the Early Bird Special!




Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Sizzix - French General Designs!

Hi All -

I've been so excited to work with my new Sizzix machine and French General designed die cuts that Kaari and Sizzix sent to me, but I had the end of my job to finish out and then Handmade U planning to take care of!  So I've been staring at all the fun projects they can make and dreaming of the day that I could fit some fun creating time in just for me, or for a fun b-day gift for a friend.

I made this fun little sewing kit for my friend & Handmade U Stitch Team member Jennifer.  Who doesn't love a little vintage feedsack embellishment and a place to stash some threads to take on the road with you?!  Isn't this fun?!

If you want to purchase this die along with all the other fun sewing & vintage inspired dies head over HERE to see them all under French General!   I can't wait to try more projects.  

More to come ;)

Thanks Kaari and Sizzix for such awesome products and designs!!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Exciting Announcement!! Handmade U - Stitch Team

Hi Everyone!!

I am so excited to announce that Handmade U now has our own Stitch Team!!

I love designing and coming up with lots of stitching ideas for you all, but don't always have time to create multiple samples and I know many of you have wonderful creative ideas on how to make things "your own".  So I decided that to give you the biggest variety of ideas I needed to recruit some of my favorite stitchers that would be excited to share their stitching with all of you!!

So without further adieu.... drum roll please ....

Jennifer Allred of The Turquoise Tomato

Carey Powell of According to Carey 

Shae Otto 

These three will be our Powerhouse Stitchers for HANDMADE U!  I'm so excited to have each one onboard for this adventure with me!!  Love them all!  Thank you ladies for stepping into the unknown and coming along for the ride!!

During the Spring 2015 Handmade U semester I taught a little class stitching the Big Red Barn!  I love my barn, and what a fun way to bring it to so many but to have an embroidery sampler of it!

I'll be teaching an upcoming class on Brave Girl University to show you ideas on how to stitch your own Big Red Barn soon!  I will also have samplers for purchase sometime in the near future!

If you haven't already signed up for Brave Girl University please do so here at my LINK

Can't wait to share more with you soon!!

Happy Stitching!