Handmade U - Prior Semesters


Hi All!!

How have you been?!?  Things have been crazy here.  Crazy.  I paged through my older posts and there is so much I haven't shared!!  I need to catch you up.  I do.  I promise I will. 

First things first.  Spring Semester of Handmade U.  Wow.  Every single semester just keeps getting better.  I think wow, I love these students, I want these students back EVERY single semester....then of course some can't make it all the time, some come nearly every time, and then we have a new Freshmen (1-peater) class and WOW, I am in love with this new community each semester.
Where do I start?? 
Thursday night is always WELCOME night with introductions, hugs to old friends and new, goodie bags - full of amazing sponsor goodies, a Cook-Out by the Handmade U Grill Master himself, Jim McGough, and VENDOR NIGHT! 

The weather held out pretty well our first and second day....Saturday brought in a little rain, but the new windows in the barn helped keep it a bit warmer!  Note to self.....next year Spring semester will be in May!!! 

Vendor night is an opportunity for anyone that attends HU to bring their handmade wares to sell to the other students. 

After dinner all the vendors headed up to the Red Barn loft to set up shop!  The rest of the gals waited anxiously downstairs getting ready to shop till they drop!

I rang the big bell at the top of one of the cupola's to let them know the shops were OPEN!!

{Thanks to Melody Ross for all the super cool chalk art on my chalkboards!}

I had screen-printed posters made of last year's t-shirt design as well as this year's design.  They were sold for $12 a poster...I have some left in stock if you would like one send me an email!

This semester Barb from Thoughtful Images Ink and Heidi from Simply Bungalow, the adorable shop in Lincoln were both sponsors and though they didn't attend the weekend Barb joined us for vendor night and brought both of their fun things for us to shop through! 

Shopping and chatting.....

Nicole made these fun etched glass mason jars!

Jennifer from the Turquoise Tomato of course brought her fun leather cuffs!

And much more!!!

I love to include a special dessert for Welcome Night....this year were tasty Caramel Apple Cupcakes from Goldenrod Pastries Bakery in Lincoln!

What a fun first night.  More adventure, crafting and bonding to come.....stay tuned for the rest of the weekend!!

More to come....

Handmade U - Spring 2015 is April 23 -25 and we have a FUN Schedule for the weekend!!

I am happy to announce that we have the Amazing Melody Ross here for an All Day class on Saturday and Me - Rachel McGough for the half day Friday class coupled with showing you my favorite Antique shops the rest of the day!

We will be at the HOME of Handmade U outside of Waverly, NE for our 2nd Handmade U in the BARN LOFT!

Take a browse through the pages to learn all you need to know about Handmade U. Take a walk down memory lane at past Handmade U's too below!


7th Semester Class

7th Semester Staff

(and my awesome parents who helped a ton!)

7th Semester Teachers

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!

Welcome Night

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

 There was a chill in the air, but pretty comfortable to be outside for a grill-out.  Omaha Steak Burgers and Grilled Chicken were on the menu thanks to Grill-master Jim.

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!

Day 2 of Handmade U this past October was all about ephemera and journal making with our own Hold Dear owner Michelle Geller!

She came true to form armed with the most adorable kits, lettered with our names in her fun handwriting!

She demo'd a fun technique to create the cover.

She then showed how to use vintage postcards as pages adding ephemera as collage material.

We broke for lunch and the sun warmed us up a bit!

I had searched for vintage metal lunch boxes to house the students lunches and am so happy with what I found.  The Ladies got a kick out of them too!  I am on the lookout for more to add to the collection for our 31 girls in April!

We had such a cold snap this weekend and we appreciated the girls bundling up and being patient with us as my husband went out and bought 6 heaters!  Always fun with Nebraska weather :)  

Next up I'll share the swaps that happened!  Each semester they just get better and better!

Swaps are one of my favorite things at Handmade U.  It isn't a requirement for students to participate, some are nervous to join in as they might be NEW to it all, but SWAPS are something you just have to jump into...your first time is a learning experience, and the next semester typically you'll up your game as they say :)  I feel each semester I do a little bit more.

We had a few different Swaps this year.  One not pictured was a fun vintage postcard swap.  Each person found 12 different postcards and we all swapped with each other.  Many of the students used the postcards in their class with Michelle.

Jennifer hosted a fun garland swap...Oh I wanted to participate so bad!  But in the end knew I was totally overcommitting!  We tend to do that with swaps....that's why for Spring Semester I am already working on ideas!!

Jayne and Judy shared fabulous garlands.
 Jennifer partnered with Kim - making this cute CREATE garland

Kim stunned with this crocheted garland for Jennifer...amazing!
 Jennifer also partnered with Shelley, beautiful work Shelley!
Shelley received this lovely GATHER garland.

Next up are the Color Box Swaps.  This swap has become a main stay at Handmade U.  Each person chooses their colors and their partner finds a unique container such as a tool box, vintage jewelry box, vintage basket, etc to pile all the colored loot into! 

Michelle and Jennifer.....Jennifer hand-stitched Michelle's HOLD DEAR logo and included it...awesome!

Charity and Judy....

Mollie and Jayne
 Typically once the Color Box is open there is a short stunned silence as the recipient takes in all the color and fun little treats!  Sometimes there are tears, giggles, eeks, oohhs, aaahhhs, a little clapping, hand over mouth holding, moments of stopped breathing and more....

 Me and Julie before the reveal....
Julie opening one of the boxes I put together for her.... Reds and Creams...

It is nearly as much fun to see all the boxes as to open your own!!  (Nearly).


6th Semester Class

6th Semester Staff

more to come.....

Fifth Semester!!
5th Semester Class

5th Semester Staff

5- Peaters!!

What Peater will you be??  1-Peater, 2 -Peater, or 6-Peater??

I am so missing the magical weekend we had in Omaha at Handmade U - Fifth Semester!  This Fall we had two amazing teachers that truly blessed us with not only their talents but their kind and generous hearts.

The class of students were also a wonderful bunch of ladies!!  Every semester it just gets better and better!

The days leading up to the event I had a blast putting together some handmade goodies for the ladies.  I always enlist the expertise of my Mom, Sara Velder of AcornRidge Quilting for a fun giveaway for each lady.  We like to personalize them for each student so they can take a piece of the weekend home with them and use it forever!  I would say my Mom outdid herself this year!  These fall inspired totes had each ladies' name embroidered in the middle block....you'll see mine in upcoming pics!

As I was unveiling my new line of Handmade U beaded bracelets (found on etsy HERE more bracelets to be added soon!), I needed some cute packaging...that's half the fun of buying Handmade isn't it??  I purchased a very cool stamp of my Handmade U logo from the super sweet owner of etsy store Brown Pigeon.

I thought it looked so cute on these little bags!

Fall makes me think of warm fabrics, oranges, blacks, fun textures, etc.  I started to work on a fun Handmade U Banner out of Burlap and this cool Chevron fabric!!  Wait to see the results!  I loved getting my sewing machine warmed back up!

After lots of inspiration from surfing Pinterest I decided to make all the afternoon snacks myself! (Follow me HERE) Using a Hotel is handy for space and lodging, but the food is just OK....so we had only lunches at the hotel, but dinners we went out on the town, and snacks I brought in myself!

And please check out this cute little bear my Dad carved for me....our little Handmade U Mascot!

Who doesn't love rice krispy bars?!?  How about ones that look like candy corn?!

Now these Pumpkin Molasses cookies were a HUGE Hit...They were nice and soft and so tasty!  Oh the smell was so FALL!  Recipe was found in the Matthew Mead Halloween Edition!  Thanks Matthew!

After baking and creating all the snacks on Thursday Morning, I headed downtown to the hotel to set up the Art Room!

Thanks to Mollie for coming down to hang out and help put goodies together with me.  Also to all the other students that wandered in to say hi and ended up making tissue flowers to hang ;)

We started the night at the Nosh wine bar across the street from the hotel.  We shared Spinach and Artichoke Dip, Brushetta, Flatbreads and fun!

After getting to know everyone and we went back over to the hotel and had our Vendor Night and Dessert!  

I rolled out my new Handmade U line of beaded bracelets!  All were one of a kind, except the Fall Only Handmade U bracelet that was pre-order only!  It is hard not to want to keep them all!  

Shop for your own Handmade U Beaded Bracelet! Shop open and more bracelets to be added soon HERE!  Bracelets will be added continuously!

Mollie brought her amazing ephemera loot that she collects and finds at antique fairs, and shops! Love her cute apron!

Stephanie Ackerman (one of our teachers!) brought one of a kind pieces of artwork, little art cards, bookmarks, notebooks, hand-carved stamps and more!  I picked up a few pieces!  I'll share what I am doing with my items soon!

Jennifer rolled out her new The Turquoise Tomato Leather Cuffs!  They are so cute, I love my JOY cuff and my HAPPY one!  Check her out HERE.  

Michelle had another amazing selection of all her goodies from Hold Dear.  Michelle is an amazing ephemera MAGNET!  Find her on Instagram to watch for her amazing finds!  Did you catch that I think she is Amazing?!  She is.

Lexi Grenzer , our second super talented artist teacher had an amazingly cute table of lots of beautiful necklaces and cuffs.  I was so overwhelmed with wanting them all I lost focus and didn't take a picture of the table!!!  I did however go home with these two pretties!  One gifted to me by the generous artist, and one purchased!

Love them!

Nothing like shopping and eating a cute cupcake for Dessert!  I believe this is another Matthew Mead idea!  Aren't these cute little clementines I found?? Adorable!  Chocolate Ganache topping, chocolate cookie crumbles, and parsley on top!

Stephanie served up seconds!!

Great start to our weekend of FUN!!!!

After the fun of our Nosh dinner and eating cupcakes while shopping Vendor night, we woke up ready for DAY 1!!

We decided as a group we wanted to wear our Handmade U T-Shirts on Friday.  I love being comfy when working on projects, so the tees are just the thing!  Each year I try to pick a different color to go along with the vintage feedsack print that I use in the new logo.

The Art Room:

The gals looking through the VERY generous class kit that Stephanie Ackerman provided.  WOW.

 (from l to r, Shelly, Mollie, Michelle and Debi)

I made mini pumpkin with each student's name on them instead of place cards.  The mason jars inspired by Candy Corn were great to hold all our pens, markers, and scissors.

The Handmade U Totes that my mom made!  So cute!

Stephanie taught us how to do some stamp carving.  So much fun!


This is my first carving, we started by using erasers.

 Next we did some doodling and saw how to use black pen, markers, and stitching can make three similar looks in different mediums. So cool.  These are Stephanie's samples...she is SO TALENTED!

Just a few markers Stephanie brought for us to try......love them.

Stephanie showing us how she doodled on a heavy piece of canvas and filled in the colors with her markers.  So cool.


Stephanie's class kit included a white pen.  She had us address kraft envelopes to ourselves and use our white pens to create fun doodles.  I will say a white pen on kraft paper makes any doodling look great!

This is Mollie's handiwork on a navy cardstock.  Everyone had a very fun style!  We took breaks to walk around and see what everyone was up to.  Provided a lot of inspiration seeing different ideas.

We took a lunch break to #1 Trade our Swaps!  So much fun...will share later....  #2.  Ate Chicken Caesar Salads..  #3.  Went to Mangelsen's Craft Store!!  Lots of good stuff to find there!

When we came back it was time for more doodling, stitching, stamp carving, a little of it all!

Oh and SNACKS!  We had pumpkin bread and our candied apples.  YUM!


Thanks for such a wonderful class Stephanie!!

Stephanie has such a generous spirit about her.  She is so talented, and easily shares tips and tricks that make creating - fun and stress-free!

I hope to have Stephanie back for more at Handmade U in future semesters!

Up tomorrow is a fun class with Lexi Grenzer!

After our class we headed to a private dining room downtown in the Old Market to enjoy Roja Fajitas and chips and Guacamole!!  So tasty.  Thanks to my husband for all his support of Handmade U!  I was happy he could join us for dinner.


Our Saturday class of Handmade U was spent with the wonderful Lexi Grenzer! The project was decorating shadowboxes and creating a soldered necklace with them!  So much fun!

Lexi created these wonderful kits for us!  So cute!

The first step was to decorate with paint, papers, little doo dads, etc our shadowboxes.....

Here are some of the samples and goodies Lexi brought to share....

Michelle brought some fun little things to choose from to make her adorable shadowbox...if you know Michelle Geller you won't be surprised that she used a mini Dennison label in hers ;)

Kim and Jennifer working away.....

I make sure that the teachers at Handmade U have a chance to take the other teachers class!  You can see Stephanie is having a ball learning something new from Lexi!!  Love that!

Here is my shadowbox in progress.... I found the adorable flag pin at Second Chance antique shop that some of us searched through after dinner the evening before....  The other items were in my swaps that I'll share soon!!  I opted to used this great red ruffled crepe paper for my background instead of painting......  I am excited to make more!

We learned to patina the pieces and soldering....

Further progress on my shadowbox......I loved soldering, I need to do it more often!!

The class in soldering I had taken in the past was so huge I didn't get any time with the teacher.  I was so grateful that the size of this retreat was so that each of us were able to ask Lexi questions and get individual attention.  Lexi is a very patient teacher!  She broke down the steps to make it easy for even the soldering challenged!!  THANKS LEXI!

Lexi in action.....

Finished Shadow Box!

 The day was amazing....we worked through lunch with our boxed lunches since we all were so into what we were doing!  After such a successful busy day some may have taken advantage of Happy Hour specials that were ending soon..... ;)

We concluded the weekend at Twisted Fork, a Handmade U Favorite!

What a fun weekend of classes with the best teachers!!  Thanks ladies!!

Fourth Semester!!

4th Semester Class

4th Semester Staff

Our Fourth Semester began at the Hilton Garden Inn on Thursday night for our Welcome Dinner!  The space is amazing with lots of natural light and windows to open!

Lots of goodies to welcome the gals!

Name Tags were School Pennants and the stars represented each semester the ladies attended of Handmade U.  Shelley has attended all Four so far :)

The Students got to know each other over dinner, followed by Nothing Bundt Cakes :)  YUM!

After Dinner we all shopped at Vendor Night!  Lots of fun things!

Once we all shopped til we dropped we exchanged our swaps!  We had an ephemera swap, a handmade envelope swap and a one on one vintage box full of ephemera.  WOW did we have some fun looking at all the amazing boxes!

Julie got this amazing Cream Crackers tin from Jennifer.  Very cool!

Each gal picked a color theme that her partner used to fill up the box!  Michelle put together the above RED vintage jewelry box full of goodies for Laurel.

This Yellow Tin was Fabulous put together by Mollie!

A Green Box

This Red little box full of Red and Turquoise items was put together lovingly by Julie for Jennifer.

Kadee put together these AMAZING packets of ephemera for all us in the swap!  We were so sad she had to cancel at the last minute!  But hope to see her at another semester soon!

Michelle's ephemera swaps!  She's got a wonder stash of good stuff!!


More envelopes!!  WASHI TAPE!

If you have followed my blog over the last couple years you know that I love a good art retreat.  I love gathering with women to create, to laugh, to bond, and very importantly - to eat cupcakes.

If you also know me personally, I have always loved to plan a good themed party, or activity.  Pairing these two loves was a no-brainer, to plan and create an inspiring weekend retreat, a place to meet new women that share similar interests, learn from creative souls, and focus on FUN!

3rd Semester 

3rd Semester Class

3rd Semester Staff

Thursday evening we will have at least one MAKE AND TAKE!!  This will be hosted by Michelle Geller, and Shelley Overholt!  If you know these two the Make and Takes will be amazing! :)

Friday's Class will be taught by a woman that I have LONG admired her work.  I have signed up for nearly every online course she has taught, and stalked her blog to see all the amazing journals she puts together.  She also helped design my blog -www.rach-ology.blogspot.com as well as created her magic with the Handmade U logos the last semesters!

  I decided that she needed to teach in a class, in person darn it!  

So I emailed her to see if she was willing to come all the way from the East Coast to Omaha to teach the Handmade U students a thing or two and she said YES!!  

Friday's instructor will be......drum roll please..... 

Check out Hope's blog Besottment and her business Paper Relics!  

Hope's description of the class she is creating just for Handmade U!!

"Creating a journal with vintage elements (which can be made either as a ringed journal or stitched journal, I will go over both so everyone can pick they style they would prefer and learn how I make mine).

After we create the journal we are going to spend time working in it...

Ideas on what to use in your journaling and fun ways to incorparte it into your journaling (your goodie bags will have lots to use, but I will also be bringing some other things for you to try like vintage alpha stamps, vintage label makers, etc) 

Lettering workbook and instruction (I will have my favourite markers and pens on hand for you to try)

Journaling prompts"

See some of her work below!!


SATURDAY's CLASS will be taught by an artist from Seattle, WA, the other COAST!

When I was trying to decide what other artist to ask to teach for us during Handmade U, I wanted someone who would be #1.  FUN,  #2. PASSIONATE ABOUT TEACHING, #3. AN AMAZING ARTIST  

I did a little research online, asked like-minded friends, and when I asked Michelle Geller, one of our founding students and teachers, this artist came up as FIRST choice!  After a conversation with her I knew she would be a great fit for Handmade U!  Looking forward to having her with us!

Welcome Liesel Lund!!

Liesel Lund is a full time artist who loves to teach and share her passion for art and the creative process. She believes we are all artists and that making art adds an invaluable richness to our lives. After majoring in art, she continued taking drawing, painting and scientific illustration courses at The University of Washington, and Gage Academy of Art. She has worn many creative hats in her career. As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand she created a nature education center at a Doi Luang National Park. Later she designed graphics for Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo, children’s books for McGraw-Hill, and textiles for Tommy Bahama. 

These days you can find her in her Seattle studio, spoiling her kitties and drinking large cups of tea while she works with watercolor, acrylic, jewelry, art journals, tin, fiber and textiles. Liesel has been creating and selling her jewelry since 2003. She teaches classes in Seattle and has taught at Artfest, Journalfest, and at Daniel Smith Art Store. She is a featured artist in Creative Wildfire by LK Ludwig, Studios Spring 2010, and Drawing Lab for Mixed Media Artists by Carla Sonheim.

Enchanted Hours: Celebrating the Magic of Children's Books

The magic of children's books never fails to enchant. Join us for a super fun day where you will make your own one-of-a-kind journal, using one children's book as the beginning structure and another book to cut up and use for collage, pockets, and flaps. After sewing our books you'll learn techniques for decorating and aging the pages. We'll recapture the magic of stories, using collage, acrylic paint, and markers. Discover new ways to add interactive elements, with windows, flaps, and handmade envelopes. You'll come away with a very special journal and lots of ideas and techniques for more journaling adventures. No art experience is needed. Join us for a magical day making journals!


2nd Semester Class

2nd Semester Staff

Well we are at it again!  Handmade U - Second Semester will happen this Spring 2012!!  April 19-22 classes will be in session here in Omaha, NE.

Minglewood Lodge will be the home for Handmade U once again.  It is located just on the outskirts of Omaha in Gretna, NE.  It is a beautiful Lodge home that feels like an escape from the world.

It will all begin Thursday April 19 at around 4 or 5pm-ish.  We will start our weekend hanging out at the lodge getting to know one another with a SLAM BOOK!  This was a big hit during our First Semester so we want to do it again.  You'll answer questions in each student's book about your favorite things, from food, type of craft to movies, etc.  Then we'll have a chance to decorate our books.

Friday will be all about our Class with Michelle Geller!!


Michelle wowed us with an amazing journal technique during First Semester, and she has done it again with a fun technique I can't wait to have everyone learn!

Michelle will teach you how to transform old book covers and reclaimed paper into a book that can be used as a day to day journal or for anything you can dream up! 

She will teach you an ancient Coptic binding technique that allows the journal to lay flat when opened. This technique also leaves both the stitching (which resembles an embroidery chain stitch) and spine visible. 
Michelle will teach you how to edge each signature with papers or tapes so that they become a dramatic and decorative element of the exposed spine. 
Once your journal is bound, you will then cover the pages with papers provided by Michelle or favorite papers from your collection. 
At the end of class, you will have a journal that is both beautiful and functional full of pages that are rich with color, pattern, texture and variety.

Saturday Morning we will DOODLE!!

So excited to welcome back First Semester student Pam Keravuori back to become a Teacher for Second Semester! 

Welcome to DOODLE ink!

Pam is an amazing artist, and I can't wait for her to share her talents with our Handmade U students!

More than just an automatic gesture, doodling in art journaling can be not simply a series of mindless marks but a form of stylistic drawing.  With some tips about tools and process, doodling can be a seriously playful addition to one's pages, from letters, borders and frames to stylized birds and flowers, from selected areas to whole pages, and so on.  

We will create a mini practice journal to create some wonderful DOODLES!

Can't wait!!

Saturday afternoon we will have another project that I will teach -

"BEST IN CLASS - Prize Ribbons"

I'll be pulling together some of my favorite vintage French Ribbons and we'll use my favorite Typewriter to create special messages on Prize Ribbons to add to Journals, attach to Gifts, give to Family or Friends.



1st Semester Class

1st Semester Staff

For my first event I wanted to start small, and create an intimate setting just outside of Omaha at a beautiful home called Minglewood Lodge.  

It is a gorgeous log home with room for 11 of us to sleep.  I have additional spaces available if you'd like to stay at a nearby hotel but join us for creating and eating!

Michelle Geller is our star instructor!  
Michelle and I met at Silver Bella where she hosted an AMAZING journal swap.  All the girls created wonderful pages out of vintage ephemera and Michelle sewed them all so beautifully together.  I treasure that book, it is such a wonderful memento of the event.  
When we met last year, the flicker of an idea to host a journaling event, working with Michelle, started....the seed had been planted!

I was lucky enough to see Michelle again at Moulin Rouge this spring.  
We got to spend more time together and over a little Vino the idea was starting to grow and bud....
The final blossom came when Michelle and I were taking a class at French General, and my friend Kaari Meng, pushed us over the proverbial cliff and we didn't look back.....

The school bell rings Thursday September 15th at 5:00 pm.  Dinner will be served and we will have an easy evening of getting to know each other, and a fun project hosted by me to get your creative juices started!!

Friday and Saturday we will have 3 meals and snacks each day.  Michelle's Handmade Journal class will be split into these two days, intermixed with smaller projects hosted by me each evening.

Sunday we will have a Graduation Brunch to send you off into the world mid morning!!  Oh the places you will go!!

Handmade Inspiration Journal

In this class, Michelle will teach you how to create a journal filled with handmade pages. The journal you will make will be one-of-a-kind and can be used as a souvenir journal or simply as a journal of visual inspiration.
You will create a cover that will be varnished and then filled with pages made from vintage and unique ephemera straight from Michelle's collection, using machine and hand-stiching. You will also learn a creative binding technique that will add interest and color to your journal.
Michelle will introduce a variety of materials and techniques to enhance and embellish your journal pages. These include creating pockets, adding journaling spots with gesso, and image transfers. She will also share with you some ways to add interaction to your pages as well as some lettering tips.
You may also bring along some your own favorite ephemera and materials to ensure your journal reflects your style
Class kit includes instruction booklet; materials for front and back covers including canvas, cardboard and sari ribbon; an assortment of vintage and unique ephemera including ledger paper, wallpaper, tickets, Dennison labels, etc.; two rolls of Japanese washi tape; one black journaling pen; templates for pockets and hole placement; and an assortment of items for embellishment including beads, sequins, buttons, ribbon, fabric, lace, etc. PVA glue, gesso and gloss varnish will also be provided.


  1. I am truly thrilled and honored that I get to attend this awesome retreat!!!

  2. Rachel: That sounds wonderful! Kris

  3. Rachel,
    WOW! How exciting!! Im so happy for you! It all sounds SO lovely and I adore Michelle! I can't attend the fall but perhaps the Spring. My calendar is wide open. :) Best successful wishes to you! Look forward to pictures and reading all about it! xo,Jenn

  4. oh my... are you doing this again?? sorry to have missed it!

  5. Gina we are we are!! Our Handmade U, Second Semester is April 19-22, 2012. Sign ups will be probably end of January!