Monday, November 28, 2011


The long Thanksgiving weekend was much needed and much appreciated in my house. We spent time with family, cleaned A LOT, and finished a few old projects. You can categorize the white afghan from the "Work in Progress" to the "finished" section from now on!

Happy Monday! It's chilly here. Glad I have a warm blanket to snuggle under:)

Rachel May

Friday, November 18, 2011


It's Friday already? No complaints, but this week just flew by! Today is also payday for me and let me tell ya, life just seems to get easier on payday. Not a care in the world, money in the bank and a smile on my face!

Until tomorrow, when I start paying all my bills....eep! Then it's like magic. POOF! It's gone. I'll enjoy it while it lasts:)

Have a Happy weekend! I will be catching up on blog reading, doing some projects around the house and buying furniture off craigslist. Fun!

Rachel May

Thursday, November 17, 2011

5 Years

Yesterday, Boyfriend and I celebrated 5 years together. It's such a feat for us, and I'm excited for everything still ahead.

I remember when we had almost made it to our 3 year anniversary, and I was so scared. Scared because I've never been in a relationship longer than 2 years, and I didn't know how it was when you were with someone that long. One of my friends, who's been married since she was 18(to her highschool sweetheart no less), told me "the best part about being with someone for the long term is that you always love them, but your love grows deeper for them. You appreciate different things."

I'll always remember that, and I feel it too. It's nice to have our routines (and we both admit to liking that), and it's fun to know so much about someone that you *think* you know how they would like this or that, or how they would respond, but the best part, to me, is having that person that makes you feel safe and loved, no matter what. And I'm so grateful for that.

Rachel May

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tuesday Quilting Progress!

Like I said before, Tuesdays are for quilting. I feel so productive! I made progress on the Picnic Time Quilt that I started SO long ago, and finished the top to my new quilt-the Sherbert Quilt is what I'm calling it.

If I can finish it in time, the Picnic Time Quilt will be a Christmas gift. It's one of my goals, but it's a big undertaking, so we'll have to see what happens.

Once the last few rows are sewed on to the Picnic Time Quilt, I need to make a quilt sandwich and start quilting everything together. I think I'm going to go the easy route and sew strands of embroidery floss in the corners and tie it together. We will see though.

Have you been doing any sewing lately?

Rachel May

Monday, November 14, 2011

Happy Monday!

I was prepared to write you a post today about lists, getting things accomplished, etc etc...but alas, I woke up late and I have no pictures to share, so it will have to wait.

My weekend was filled with sewing, home projects, friends and good times. It's hard to start the week when you've had such a great weekend that you don't want it to end.

I'll share more about the projects I'm working on later, but the friends part-oh, was it fun! I had purchased groupons for Boyfriend for his birthday so he and five friends could go paintballing for free. It was a great deal when I bought it, and I thought he'd have fun with his friends.

He decided to go yesterday, but one of his friends couldn't make it, so I was the alternate. I'm not going to lie, I was scared out of my mind and kind of excited-I went back and forth. But it was a BLAST! Most of the times I got shot, it didn't hurt (thank you, puffy vest!), but I did get shot on my knuckle and my thigh, and I have some pretty gruesome welts to go with it.

It was totally worth it.

I think Boyfriend and I should plan more group outings like that. It's so hard to connect with your friends after college, it's nice to have an excuse to get together. We were thinking maybe some mini golf, camping, snowboarding....we shall see, though. Right now, all he can think about is buying another paintball gun:)

Happy Monday to you! How was your weekend?

Rachel May

Friday, November 11, 2011

Weekend Sewing on a weekday

I was in sewing mode last night. Have you ever checked out Weekend Sewing? If not, check it out here.
Last night, I made the Sunday-Dinner Hostess Apron. It was pretty quick and simple to complete. At first, my living room looked like a pattern storm went through it, but once the pattern was traced and the fabric was cut, the sewing part was pretty quick.

I used a "vintage" (aka: from Goodwill) pillowcase for the body of the apron and some scrap fabric for the waistband.
I would have had a live model for these photos, but they were taken at 11 at night and orange isn't Boyfriend's color.

Along with the thought to Pledge Handmade, I was thinking this might be Christmas Gift #1. I have some fabric napkins that go with it well. A nice pairing as-is, but we also have some raspberry jam in the pantry that I made this year, so that will probably go with it also.

They look so happy together. And I'm happy to get some progress done on handmade gifts! If I keep this up, handmade Christmas gifts are going to be aplenty this year!

Rachel May

Thursday, November 10, 2011


A little while ago, I gave in and purchased a pair of TOMS for myself. I have wanted them for so long, but couldn't bear to spend the money.

But then I thought, "aww, heck with it" and bought them. And I couldn't be happier with them.

If you aren't familiar with TOMS or the TOMS story, you should checkout their website here. Basically, it's a One for One system. For every pair of shoes you buy, they donate a pair to a child in need. It's a great feeling to know that you get something with your purchase, and you help someone as well.

I may or may not have said to my boyfriend "These aren't for ME, they're for the children!"

Rachel May

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tuesdays are for Quilting

On Tuesdays, my friend Jody and I quilt, eat dinner, gossip and drink beer. It makes for a nice pause in a busy week for me, with staff meetings being on Tuesday mornings and them being the longest of my day of each week.

Jody is learning how to sew, so our ongoing joke is that we make drink more than quilt, but we've actually gotten quite a bit done since we started. We're using 8 inch squares and just doing a normal patchwork square quilt-easy peasy to start.

I've finished my quilt top last night (or rather, I've run out of fabric AGAIN), but It's really long and narrow, so I think I'm going to add a long row to the side to make it wider (so not quite done, I suppose).

Work has been stressful this week as we look for a new assistant, but I've been looking forward to Tuesday nights and our quilting.

Rachel May

Monday, November 7, 2011

Are you pledging handmade?

I have to write this super fast or I'll be late for work, but I wanted to ask:
Have you ever heard of Pledge Handmade? Here's an article about it. I'm thinking about pledging handmade this year.

The only problem? Well, there's two: Time, or lack thereof (isn't this always a problem?) and what to make? I have some things figured out, so once I complete them I'll share them with you.

What are you giving for gifts this year?

Off to work!

Rachel May

Friday, November 4, 2011

Start Something That Matters.

I've been reading this book and it's excellent. I'm a huge fan of TOMS shoes and everything the company stands for. Such a great mission and business ideal. I think this was the push I needed for motivating me to develop businesses that matter not just to me, but to others. It's an eye-opening read.

Rachel May

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Impressive Girls

For the past two week and a half, I was hanging out with this girl. Now that she's gone back home, I'm trying to get back into my routines here.

I find it's always nice to talk with friends about everything-with life and work. I get so much motivation, inspiration and feedback when I do. While SkyleRae was in town, we had a few business meetings to discuss where we want to take our businesses and what we need to do to get there. I also have fun talking with this girl about those things too.

I don't know if it's November or the changing weather or the talks lately, but I feel very thankful for the friends that I have. I don't know what I would do without you all, but I'm grateful to have you in my life.

Through a friend, I joined the Denver Handmade Alliance, and at one of our events, I met this girl. I find her totally inspiring, and I feel exactly how she does in this post right now. I really need to find focus, delegate, and create systems. But most importantly, I really need to DO SOMETHING. So I'm blogging:)

On the business note, I watched a really great video regarding business planning today here. I like her approach: How much money do I want my business to make? How can I get there? Short and sweet. As much as you don't want a business that's all about the money, you can't have much of a business without it. It seems to be the subject no one wants to talk about. So I thought this was interesting. And you can enter to win a calendar too, so double points.

Rachel May

Monday, October 17, 2011

This Week!

My best friend is coming to town to visit for a week and a half. She'll be here this Thursday, and I'm SO excited to see her. Every once in a while, you just need your girlfriend time, you know?

The picture of us was taken on one of her visits a few years ago (she visits at least once a year). You may know her as SkyleRae. She has a blog too. Check it out here.

I'll have so many pictures to share from this trip, we're going to try to hit a lot of fun Denver Must-see areas, so I'm excited. But today, I'm trying to focus, and all I can think of is...I can't wait until she's here!!!

Rachel May

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Exterior Paint Selection: Cabrera Residence

One of the contractors I work with has decided that he's going to do a smooth stucco treatment to the exterior of his house. I was honored when he asked me to pick out a couple of paint color options! Here's what I came up with.
This is what his home looks like now, sans stucco. He's applying stucco this weekend. I came up with three options for him. He is reshingling right now, and his entire roof is going to be black.

This is the neutral option. The color is called Open Space.

This is the blue option, the color is called Renovation. It's highlighted by the white trim and dark grey foundation.

This is the yellow-toned option, again with white trim and a dark grey foundation. this one is my favorite, but I'm totally biased, as yellow is my favorite color:)

Just some quick photoshop work, but I think it really gives you the overall idea. Hope you like it!

What are you up to this weekend?

Rachel May

Friday, October 7, 2011


I have a few BIG things brewing career-wise right now, but I can't seem to make a decision on ANYTHING. I keep playing that "what if?" game and it's hindering me from moving forward. I just can't seem to sort through everything in my head and organize my thoughts.

Have you ever had this problem? Any advice?

Feeling a little wishy-washy, and I blame the weather. Excited for fall, but nervous for changes.

Rachel May

Monday, October 3, 2011

Panama: Natural Solutions Foundation

The primary reason behind our Panama vacation was to visit the Natural Solutions foundation. They're a great organization founded by a husband and wife team, with great intentions. They're located in Volcan, which means volcano (because it's by an old volcano named El Baru). Volcan is in the mountainous area of Panama, where the weather isn't quite as humid and the sun isn't quite as hot. This was our favorite location, for all of those reasons.

Natural Solutions Foundation is trying to startup a community in Panama. It's very eco-conscious and about self-sufficiency. These little guys are walking around in a movable chicken coup. It gets moved all over the yard so they will eat bugs and fertilize. Pretty ingenious.

Greenhouses were just built for growing new plants. The foundation already has a coffee plantation where you can buy beans that they grow and roast.

This was a really exciting part of the trip and a real eye opener for me. It's amazing to think how important self sufficiency is in other countries and how it's not as much of a priority here in America. I think we started that kick with the green movement, but really-not much of us would know what to do if we weren't able to go to the grocery store whenever we wanted. Just something to think about.

Rachel May

Friday, September 30, 2011

Panama Trip: Hostels

One of the most fascinating parts of our trip were the places we stayed. This hostel is called Mamallena Backpacker Hostel, and while it scared me the first night, it ended up being one of my favorites.

Little to my knowledge, wrought iron and razor wire are common building materials in Panama. But when we arrived late at night on my first trip out of the country and I look around and see concrete walls topped with razor wire, the movie Hostel came to mind. I was scared and wanted to go home.

But in the morning, I saw the place in a new light. I paid a whopping $15 per night there for my share of a private room. If you get a dorm, it's $8. There's no frills, but the bathrooms are clean (and they're shared) and you get what you need. One of the perks though, is pancakes. You can have pancakes for free, you just have to make them yourself. That was a lot of fun.

Everyone hung out in the main areas and this place was probably the most social of all the hostels. We met people on world tours, people that had been to Panama before and told us what we needed to see before we left, and people that were passing through on their way to Costa Rica. It was great.

I tend to get in my comfort zone at home, so I think that's why it was hard to adjust so quickly to Panama. Ever felt that way?

Rachel May

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Panama Trip: Casco Viejo

If this is the first post you've read about my Panama trip, start here instead.

After visiting the canal, we ventured on to El Amador. There's not much to do there, but we ate dinner and enjoyed the view:

If you go to Panama City, there are very few things that are attractions there. The city is dirty and mainly business oriented, not a lot of tourist attractions.

One of the places to see is Casco Viejo, the old town and the French Plaza. The sad part is that the U.S. struck this part of town in 1989. I had no idea before I went on this trip. It seems like everything was pretty much left the same, so it's a mix of war aftermath and newly renovated buildings.

On the other side of this building, there is a large open plaza where the native Panamanian indians and people traveling through Panama sell their wares. It was one of my favorite parts of the trip, but I didn't get any pictures!

There's a really bad neighborhood just outside of Casco Viejo that you pass on the way there. It's pretty much made up of the people that were displaced because of the U.S. strike on their country. There was so much destruction and not enough new jobs, and a lot of people lost their jobs after they were finished building the canal. There are a lot of drugs and there is a lot of crime in the area. We didn't have any issues, but we avoided the area as much as possible.

It's hard not to take this area and the destruction that we caused and not wonder what it's like for the countries we're doing this to now. It really opened my eyes.

Rachel May

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Lonny Magazine: 2 Year Anniversary

I received a healthy dose of eye candy in my email inbox today:

Image found here.

The Sept/Oct issue of Lonny Mag is out today! If you haven't already, you should check it out (at They're celebrating two years of being in digital print. That's quite a feat for a shelter mag these days.

Keep up the good work, folks at Lonny! Your magazine is awesome.

Rachel May

Total Money Makeover?

I should start this post with a disclaimer. This is not sponsored, this is all my opinion and I'm not paid in any way by saying this.

About a week ago, I called my Dad to announce to him that I had paid off my first student loan. I was very excited and told him that I was sort of loosely following this Debt Snowball method that I found online by a guy named Dave Ramsey (I had never heard of him before). My Dad, a very laid-back guy and not much of a talker, interrupts me, full of emotion "Dave Ramsey! I've been listening to him for the past year and it has totally changed my life! You know, when I started following his program, I had 20 accounts (debts owed), and now I have only 5! It feels so good! I'm getting there."

Picture found here.

I still can't believe we had this conversation. I congratulated my Dad and he congratulated me, and we're both so proud of one another. It's now something we have bonded over, which I love. He mailed me the Dave Ramsey book that he had read, Total Money Makeover, and I just finished reading it last night (I read it in two days...I couldn't put it down).

This book has been a huge wake-up call for me. I tend do be a dreamer and have big goals for myself, and let me tell you, debt is not one of them. But right now, I feel chained to student loan debt. I have to make some changes in my life, so that in the future, I'm in a better place than I'm in now. I'm excited and scared to death to get started, but I've already paid off my credit card (a while back-it felt GOOD!), built up emergency savings and paid off my first student loan. Now I'm gunning for the next one!

If you're unfamiliar with the Total Money Makeover, it basically breaks down everything by steps. Before you start, you need to have a written budget. Every single cent should be allocated before you get paid. This helps stop you from spending that extra money and to keep a close eye on your finances. You also need to make sure every debt owed is current. Then, the book breaks everything down into baby steps, so you can take it one step at a time.

Baby Step #1: Save $1k cash as a starter emergency fund. This is only to be used in emergency. Getting pizza is not an emergency. Your car breaking down and preventing you from going to work until it gets fixed counts as an emergency.

Baby Step #2: Start the Debt Snowball and use it to become debt-free except for your home. Start paying those debts off! Arrange them smallest to largest and pay them off one by one. (This is where I'm at. I'll be here a while).

Baby Step #3: Finish the Emergency Fund. Save 3-6 months of expenses, or about $10k.

Baby Step #4: Invest 15% of your income in retirement.

Baby Step #5: Save for College (for your kiddos).

Baby Step #6: Pay off your home mortgage.

Baby Step #7: Build Wealth.

Have you ever felt bogged down by debt? Anyone tried the Total Money Makeover? I'll update you on how it goes for me, but I'd love to hear anyone else's opinions as well! As for me, I'm excited for the day when I get a paycheck and the majority of it doesn't go to Sallie Mae.

And I promise to post more Panama updates soon, I've just gotta keep my nose out of these books long enough to edit the pictures!

Rachel May

Thursday, September 8, 2011

House Update!

I still have to fill you in on our Panama trip, but first, something crazy has happened that I have been keeping a secret.

We finally closed on our house. We're homeowners!

Took long enough (eight months!), but after all of the lender rules and regulations were followed and deadlines were met, passed, rescheduled, and rescheduled, get the idea, we were finally able to close the deal.

I'm one very happy homeowner. And I'm so glad to call this place home.

Rachel May

Thursday, August 25, 2011

IKEA is here!

You know how I mentioned there's a new IKEA in Colorado?

I went there. It was crazy.
There were police directing traffic. There were event staff directing pedestrians to slow down the flow of people into the building. There were people bumping into me (now I'm having flashbacks of pickpocketing fears from Panama trip and I swing my purse to the front), kids freaking out, adults freaking out, little carts and huge yellow bags EVERYWHERE.

So it was pretty much awesome. Like Disney World (Disclaimer: I've never been to Disney World), only at the end of all the lines, there's more lines and you get lost trying to get out of the parking garage. I think I'll wait until the crowd dies down. It's been a month since the grand opening and it's still like this, so I can only assume I need to wait about a year. Needless to say, I didn't buy anything, but I managed to spend 4 hours there. Sigh.

On a sad note, I checked out the HULTO chairs while I was there, and I think they're too small. LAME.

I'm still considering them though. Because they're still a possibility.

Rachel May

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I'm Back! and the Panama Canal

Hello! Oh, how I've missed you. I've been back in town for about a week now, just trying to get back into the groove of things. So far so good! I have so much to share. But first, why don't we start with a trip recap? Don't mind if I do!

click on the image for a larger view.

Our trip started in Panama City, mainly because that's where the plane lands. We flew from Orlando to Miami and landed at our destination. The next morning, we checked out the canal. It was really breathtaking. I really had no opinion about going to the canal or not, but after being there, I can say it's a "must see" if you go to Panama. It gives you a whole new perspective for all those things you're buying overseas. And it brings income to the city, which helps their area thrive.

Fun fact: It takes 8 hours for a ship to get through the canal.
Another Fun fact: They're currently constructing a larger canal to accomodate larger ships.

There's so much more to show you and to share-we were in Panama for 2 weeks. So I'll post more updates soon.

I'm curious to know what other people's favorite vacations/sights have been. Did it surprise you, or were you looking forward to it all along?

Rachel May

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Vacation: Florida and Panama

I'm going to be away from the blog for the while. I'm going with the Boyfriend and his family to Florida, and from there, to Panama. It will be my first trip out of the country, and I couldn't be more excited, except that it's still so surreal. I've also never been to Florida, so I'm excited to see it too:)

I'll make sure to report back regarding my adventures:) but for now, I'll see you in a while. We'll be back mid-August.

Rachel May

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Skills: Perspective and Rendering

Remember when you first learned a certain skill? You dedicated time to it, effort, a lot of energy, etc. Well, that's how I was with sketching when I was in school. I loved it! But since I've graduated college, I've fallen off the wagon. I'm trying to work on that (and rendering too). I think it's great for getting an idea across to a client.

Sometimes you find something that totally inspires you. I was totally inspired on Friday when I found this blog: A Schematic Life. It's filled with beautiful renderings by a talented interior designer named Michelle Morelan. Here is what I came up with, after looking at her archives for longer than I care to admit:

This is NOT my design, it's a rip-off of one of her renderings that I used for practice, located here. I drew the picture by hand, using her perspective and rendering as reference. I highly suggest you check out her work. She's so skilled, so inspiring!

Rachel May

Friday, July 22, 2011

IKEA does not disappoint

Ikea is opening here in CO (Centennial, CO to be exact) on July 27th. I may be geeking out about it A LOT. I can just see all of my money going to this place in about one trip there. So many things to love! In preparation for my shopping trip (which I'm treating like a vacation, because I've only been to IKEA once before), I'm going virtual shopping.

It's always interesting to see how different companies style their products. I would LOVE to stage for IKEA. In exchange for free furniture and textiles, please.

I started perusing their website, and really liked this room:

Then I saw something...something that I've been virtual-shopping for a while. The perfect loungy-chair. And the perfect price (69.99). I might need two.

Hello, HULTO. I've been looking for you for a while. Sure, it doesn't look like much now, pretty much just a wicker chair. But the shape and size is perfect (our couch is really low to the ground) and the texture is much needed in our space. All it needs is a little color, like some throw pillows:

Maybe not these particular pillows, but colorful ones for sure. I think I know what my first IKEA purchases will be!:) (all pictures are from IKEA's website, here)

Have a great weekend!

Rachel May

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My House: Living Room Seating

So, I'm kind of totally in love with this chair. I think it would look amazing in our living room. And the price is right. But I really need to work on an entire design scheme/plan before I buy more furniture. This is going on the wish list though.

You can find it here.

I always go back and forth. Do I want a cute and comfortable chair with arms? Or a sleek, stylish chair without? What do you think? I would probably add an ottoman to this, and definitely a bright colored pillow. The reviews on this piece are hit-and-miss, but I suppose that's to be expected for a chair this cheap.

What do you think?

Rachel May

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My House: Counter Seating

Before we moved in, this is what our house looked like from the front door:

Yeah, not so glamorous, but good bones, right? That's what I love about this house. Everything vital is in place, good wood floors, great architecture, decent lighting (in some places) etc. All it needs is a little facelift and our personal touch.

I decided that painting the main area-living room, dining room and some of the kitchen, was vital before we moved in. I knew it was one of those rooms that we'd later say "Yeah, we've been meaning to paint that..." so I stopped packing boxes to move and headed over to Home Depot.

Most of the walls are a light brown/beige with a touch of grey, but I wanted to punch up the kitchen. So I painted the dividing wall a chocolate brown to divide the spaces and enhance the architecture (can you see those sweet track lights? Yeah, awesome.)

This is what it looked like when we moved in (before all of our stuff was shoved in, that is):

And now I'm thinking I need 3 of these for that peninsula (there are 3 people in our house-me, the boyfriend, and the roommate):

Found here.

Oh Anthropolgie. Why can't you be in my pricepoint? Sigh.

I really need to work on my living room. That was decided after watching 4 episodes Secrets from a Stylist and adding her blog to my blogroll. My house needs some style. And not the "we just got out of college so we're poor" style. That's not cutting it.

Rachel May

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sketchmania Sneak Peak #45

Here's my submission for this week's Sketchmania Challenge! Check out the entire card here OR submit your own creation for a chance to win this month's prize!


Rachel May

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sketchmania Sneak Peek #44

Here's my Sketchmania submission for this week! Check out the rest of my card at Dee Dee's blog OR make your own card or scrapbook page and enter it for a prize!


Rachel May

Monday, May 9, 2011

Rug Inspiration

I try not to "want" for things, but this rug is just lovely. I would like it for my living room, please.
Big Garden Printed Rug via Urban Outfitters

Look at all of those beautiful colors! And at $68, not a bad price tag.

This is one of those pieces that you could design an entire room around, or at least I would like to (and if it's a room in my own house, even better).

Rachel May