lake george 2015

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mostly rainy summer vacation filled with catan, cribbage, puzzling, long chats in the boat house, chai, oh and engagement I guess ūüôā

x.o. Rachel

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Lace wall hanging and catching up!

Well hey there folks! Yes, it’s been a while. I spent a month back home, nannying and vacationing. And sleepovering, and crafting, and resting, and catching up with friends. Among other things. And now i’m back in Madison, finishing up a Summer class. AKA, I’ll be a second year graduate student in one week. What up.

So here are a few pictures from my family’s vacation in the Adirondacks. It was incredibly wonderful and beautiful!photo 1-3 photo 2-4 photo 3-2

 

So I will be moving in a little over a week, which I am ridiculously excited about. Lots of new projects running through my mind, all the time. One project being changing the look of my bedroom a little bit. I am planning on going for a very simple, clean, white look. As the look develops, i’m sure i’ll be posting more. Since i’m going for a white look, I’ve decided that I want to play a lot with texture, so it doesn’t look too much like a hospital ward :). ¬†This wall hanging below is one way that i’m incorporating textures.
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So I took a GIANT embroidery hoop, and measured a piece of white fabric to fit the hoop. I then pinned all of my laces to the fabric, then sewed them on. Pretty easy peasy. It’s simple, and whimsical, and I really like it.

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What Summer projects have you been working on?

 

Love always,

Rachel

Bravery: the story of a yucky old bar cart.

When it comes to creating, I am the farthest thing from a perfectionist. My older sister, Sarah, is very precise.  She will read up, measure, do the math etc. I more of a wing-it kind of gal.

Real talk:

I tried my hand at gardening last summer too. I (accidently) bought 12 foot tall sunflower seeds. Believe it or not, they don’t grow well in tiny terracotta pots. And your soil needs to be more than a few inches deep in order to grow a head of lettuce. Haha. Stupid.

I also started sewing this year. Whenever I wear something that I’ve sewn, you’ll know it because it’ll be covered by a denim jacket and lots of jewelry. Sleeves and necklines are hard!

I built the raised garden bed earlier this Spring, and while the plants are growing well, the wooden bottom is bowing out a little. So maybe by next year I’ll have both¬†gardening and building skills. That would be a miracle.

These thoughts are going somewhere. I think we avoid doing things because our results ¬†won’t be perfect. I’m currently reading an inspiring book called “The Nesting Place,” which really beautifully discusses what it looks like to make a home. I think everyone wants to create a home that welcomes people, cultivates authenticity and relationships, and allows for mistakes. ¬†But if we don’t allow ourselves to get messy in the process of homemaking, how can we expect the people we welcome into our homes to be vulnerable and authentic. Does that make sense? haha.

I’m just thinking back to last week when I was at my parents house. I bought this disgusting, dog hair covered bar cart. It was incredibly rusty and an awful olive green. My parents very lovingly let me rampage the home and yard with a sander, priming supplies, and spray paint. If you have ever been to my parents, you know that we’re not about keeping things free from dust. We’re about dissecting frogs at the kitchen table, while conversing with the person making omelets. We’re about walking to the chicken coop together, to round them up. We’re about long conversations around the campfire, and lazy days laying out in the sun. I’m so thankful that my parents created a home that allows for mistakes, and messes, and tears, and weird stories.

Being really excited to paint the bar cart. Probably because of the fumes. Also I had smurf feet for days later.

Being really excited to paint the bar cart. Probably because of the fumes. Also I had smurf feet for days later.

Before and after. Pretty neat, huh?

 

In her book, “Bread and Wine,” author Shauna Niequest wrote: “What people are craving isn’t perfection. People aren’t longing to be impressed; they’re longing to feel like they’re home. If you create a space full of love and character and creativity and soul, they’ll take off their shoes and curl up with gratitude and rest, no matter how small, no matter how undone, no matter how odd.”

Serving its function as a bedside table. Thanks Dana for the awesome quilted placemat!

Serving its function as a bedside table. Thanks Dana for the awesome quilted placemat!

Let’s not be perfect. Let’s be authentic and present. Let’s make messes and memories. Let’s be brave and create space for mistakes. Let’s buy the $10.00 bar cart and spray paint it bright blue.

 

Love always,

Rachel

Create.

Creativity isn’t limited to how well we can remake the pillowcases we’ve seen on pinterest. Being “creative” isn’t a gift given to a select few talented people. I’ve been thinking about the concept of being a “maker” lately, and ¬†here’s what i’ve surmised:

Creativity is thoughtful.

To be creative is to live a life of intention. In life, we can choose to live out of habit. We can choose to spend our time, money, and resources based on the norm. Or we can choose to think critically about the lives we want to shape. Do I¬†truly¬†want to chase the American Dream, or do I want to sculpt a life that is different? As a graduate student, I constantly have to decide where I am going to place my focus. What sort of life am I shaping? Are grades going to be the bottom line for me, or will I construct a life that isn’t centered solely on getting a Ph.D.?

To be creative is to think well. To be creative is to wonder why we are composing the lives that we are.

Creativity is courageous.

To be creative is to be bold. When someone creates, whether it be in the way they parent, build relationships, spend their money, ¬†they are choosing to do things differently. To create is to be vulnerable. On the small scale, whether it be sewing mistakes (which i’m awesome at), or turning down a job because it doesn’t align with the life you want to build, creativity can be hard. Creativity can be lonely. Failure is so common when we break the rules of what is a mundane life.

 

Creativity is freeing.

To be creative is to shed standards that don’t matter. When we decide how we want to craft our lives, we get to be free from habits and ideas that are irrelevant to us. For example, i’m pretty dirt broke currently (yay for graduate school). But being wealthy, either now or in the future, isn’t important in the life that I want to create. So over time, the more that I sculpt a life that isn’t centered on being rich, the more I get to step away from that idea being a part of my story.

 

I have no idea if this post makes any sense to anyone but me. But sometimes I just write for the sake of sorting things out in my mind. And if it does make sense, I hope you think about the life that you are creating. And I hope that you have the bravery to chase that creativity.

 

Love,

Rachel

living in crocus season

In February I genuinely believed that I would never see grass again. The snow had been on the ground for about 4 months, and I just didn’t think it would ever be gone. ¬†Everyone from Madison told me that this was the worst winter in their experience. Which is good because any Wisconsin Winter from here on out should be relatively easy. But we’ve had more below zero days in Madison than have happened in decades.

And here it is, April 20th, and I can see the grass.

Granted, it snowed twice this week, but it’s in the mid 60s right now. ¬†During my 5 hour drive to Iowa this weekend, I listened to a podcast on faith. The pastor talked about living in Madison during the winter. About how the cold weather is, and how it is one of the most life sucking, monotonous seasons. The speaker noted that the crocuses are always the first flower to bloom. And there is a time in Spring, where the crocuses are in bloom, but the snow will still fall on them. And that time, with snowy crocuses, is where we are living in 2014.

You see, we’re in limbo. Jesus has died, and is resurrected, and we can see the evidence of him (and of hope) everywhere. But we’re still living in a broken world. And this state of living in a season where there’s snow, but there’s enough evidence of summer and warmth to put on our flip flops on. To trust in something bigger, to trust that winter doesn’t last forever, but that summer is promised. Those snowy crocuses, which give us the evidence that God is faithful should inspire us to live wearing tank tops, and eating ice cream out of cones, and putting on our sunglasses.

 

Happy Easter, dear friends.

 

Rachel

 

p.s. to listen to the sermon, click here: http://www.blackhawkchurch.org/sunday/this-weeks-message/message-archive/?sermon_id=192

Thankful Monday, Part 1.

It just seems like a good idea to start a week out with thankfulness. ¬†So here are a few things that I’m thankful for this week.

 

Sharing Netflix with siblings. Having too many people on Netflix for it to load. ¬†For some reason, having a Netflix that’s overloaded warms my heart. Haha. And it probably only warms my heart because I played the “i’m sick, let me watch” card on them.

 

Having a dad who I spent a lot of Saturday on the phone with, as I was navigating through Home Depot. We’re pretty sure i’m going to be skyping him when I start my next project. He’s seriously the bees-knees. And his Birthday was yesterday, so if you see him, tell him happy birthday!

 

Having people to do life with. Sam and I have the beginnings of a tradition for when life is not as sunny as we’d hope. I storm her apartment (perks of living close!), and we drink a glass of wine and watch an old chick-flick. Yesterday was one of those days. I’d like to think it’s a solid coping mechanism, but either way, it’s nice to have “go-to” people.

 

What are you thankful for this Monday?
Rachel

a little baby green thumb

This Saturday has been my jam. Pharrell’s song “Happy” played 4 (yes, 4!) times when I was driving today. It’s in the fifties with a cloudless sky. This morning I stumbled upon a beautiful greenhouse that wasn’t open yet (few more weeks), but the owners were there and they let me meander through endless rows of plants. It was glorious. And the badgers are in the final 4. Really, what more could you want out of life?

 

But down to business. Last summer I tried my hand at container gardening. And I completely wung (winged?) it. Not too successful, so this time around i’m applying a little more discipline. I read two books on container gardening, and i’m following the rules this time. ¬†So this is a post about learning to garden. completely beginner style, since that’s where i’m at.

Mini greenhouse

 

First of all, you gotta start small. So I bought this itty bitty green house, that contains dirt pellets. You soak the dirt pellets till they’re nice and moist, then drain the water. ¬†You put 1-2 seeds in eachpellet. I drew a chart to help me remember what’s what once they’re big enough to transplant. Cover those puppies up, and let them sit in for 5-6 weeks, making sure they have ample light and moisture, of course. Fingers crossed that in 5-6 weeks I’ll have a post about transplanting these guys outside. If not, you’ll know they didn’t make it ;). That leads me to my final step: buy a few veggies that have already matured a bit, to double your odds of success :).

seed selecting

 

I’m sitting at my desk writing this, and I can’t stop glancing over at my window sill. It’s seriously the cutest, happiest window sill ever.

 

Hope you’re having a happy, projecty Saturday!

Love,

Rachel

My corner of the world.

The top floor and back corner of a three story (old) house. One block from the lake, two minute walk from Wisconsin’s state Capitol. Red carpet, with a¬†view of the tippy-top of the Capitol all lit up out of my window at night. That’s where my corner of the world located for now. Today the wind was whipping like crazy and I was feeling a little under the weather, so ¬†I didn’t think it was fitting to leave my third floor perch. ¬†Instead I went into “full on” productivity mode. ¬†I did a good amount of cleaning, and since i’ve changed my room around a lot lately, I figured I would share the new look with you. Last semester everything was black and white, this semester it’s more of a vintage country look. I made the quilt over Christmas break, and that basically lead to a complete remake of the feel of my little room. So there are now both chicken wire and vintage seed bags occupying my room. That’s normal, right?

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Good night, world.

Love,

Rachel

Driftwood DIY

I know I say this about every craft that I post, but seriously, easiest project ever. I found this wee piece of driftwood earlier this summer while out in nature. And I ¬†brought it back and kept it with me for the past few months (that’s normal, right?). I love finding pieces of nature that I can incorporate into projects. I finally decided that hanging my (few) necklaces off of my bookshelf wasn’t cutting it. I don’t have much jewelry, so this is perfect for the few items that I wear consistently. Pins, string, nail, driftwood. Done.¬†IMG_20131108_172215 IMG_20131108_172423
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Have a lovely Saturday, friends,

Love,

Rachel

Cohort Camping

Self care. It’s basically a fancy way of saying “make sure you maintain sanity while in graduate school so you’re not miserable and drop-out.” It’s been reinforced to us school psychers since day one. Fortunately, when you have a cohort who make you cry because you’re laughing too hard…..in class (you know who you are), self-care really isn’t too much of an issue. Even so, i’ve been rocking a lot of 12 hour days on campus lately, only to come home to statistics, or papers to grade. Which is to be expected, but a few of us decided to get the heck out of Madison for the weekend, while the weather is still nice tolerable. Apparently I went to Devil’s Lake as a kid. Definitely don’t remember it at all. Here are a few pictures from the weekend!

 

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IMG_20131026_132903Happy Fall weekend! Not really sure where October went?

Love,

Rachel