Monday, November 21, 2011

Cellar Designs by Sarah Stevens

I am very excited to introduce you to our next wonderful woman. Sarah Stevens of Cellar Designs.

I have loved Sarah’s work for a long time now. When we started RWR, she was one of the first ladies I thought of, but I didn’t even know her. You ladies just blow me away on your features. I knew Sarah was talented, but I had no idea what an amazing woman she was. You will love her too! Thanks Sarah for the inspiration! You Rock!

Blogging from: The Heart of the Cellar Door

Hi all! When Kasse asked me if I would like to participate in her blog she asked if I was
a “rural” gal. Hmmmm...the answer is no...and yes! I like a big city. I love having the
choice of events, restaurants, theatre productions, shopping and more! I like a big city!
But I think my spirit is rural. I told Kasse that my dream home is an old farmhouse. I
love old, weathered things that must have a story behind their years. I’ve always been
drawn to an old barn when driving in the country. The farmland patchwork is one of the
most beautiful landscapes one can see. I live in a rural village about 20 minutes from
the “big” city. I have the best of both worlds! So, let me introduce myself..............
I am Sarah Stevens and I am a rural gal, at heart, who just likes to visit the big city.

I have midwest roots...born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin. I attended both
public and parochial schools and had a pretty wonderful childhood...from what I can
remember. ;-) My parents instilled in my siblings and myself strong kind, be
thoughtful, be unselfish, be smart, be creative, laugh at yourself and be generous. I am
grateful for that foundation. I went to Iowa State University where I met my husband,
Craig. He was in ROTC at ISU and then served in the US Navy as a search and rescue
helicopter pilot. We loved our life with the military! The deep sense of camaraderie,
pride in service and fun provided us with some of the best memories. The service
members and their spouses became our family. I was, and will always be, very proud of
Craig’s service to our country.

Craig and I have been married for 22 years and we are the bursting-at-the-seams-with-
pride parents of 4 children. Zack, is a student at UW Madison is most happy with a
guitar in one hand and a lacrosse stick in another. Taylor, our only daughter, is 16, a
junior and loves theatre, shopping and high school ministry! Luke, our 10 year old, is
our sweet content guy whose laugh can light up a room. And our caboose...Noah. He
is 6 3/4 (his idea for me to put that) and is a spirited redhead who keeps us all laughing.
They are my proudest accomplishments. I am honored to have the responsibility and
gift of being their mother!

After 9 years in the Navy we made the tough
decision for Craig to leave the military. This was not ever an “anti-military” decision, rather a “pro-family” one. It was hard to leave that life and the friends we had made....and many days we miss it very much(especially Craig). But it was the right decision for us. We moved to Florence, KY. We stayed in Kentucky for about 9 years, but felt the pull to be closer to family. We wanted our
children to know their grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc more.  So we moved to Waunakee, WI 6 years ago. It was a tough move for our older 2 kids.....we were not winning any “parent of the year” awards that year! But it is amazing for us to look back now and see how God’s plan was so good and perfect. As always, when you pull the lens back you see the bigger picture.
Living back in the Madison area has enriched our lives. We found an extraordinary
church community that we are so blessed to be a part of. Zack and Taylor have thrived
in the youth ministry. They have gone on missions trips, retreats, and have traveled
to NYC, Mississippi, Chicago, Romania and Honduras with the youth group! Craig
has found his niche as a part of a fantastic cast and crew of a monthly production that
focuses on families with young children, teaching them about a different virtue each
production. He also helps with running the sound board on Sundays and is involved
in a men’s ministry breakfast each week. I have moved around a bit within our church,
helping at the info desk and some women’s ministries things. But I have finally found
my “sweet spot” in God’s plan for my serving life. I have always loved high school age
students! I am a part of a leadership team for our high school ministry. This year Craig
and I are hosting a weekly high school life group in our home. I am privileged to lead
one of the girls’ small groups. There is something very powerful in a group of teenagers
who normally wouldn’t hang out together, spending time with each other, caring about
each other and being a “team”. I absolutely love connecting with them and hopefully
helping them to love themselves, each other, the community around them, and God.
What an honor!

I have always loved to
create!! I was a hair
designer for 18 years.
I enjoyed the architecture
of a hairstyle and the
emotion it could generate.
It is that same combo
of feelings that led me to
my new business, Cellar Designs. The structure of something wooden, combined with
beautiful colors and powerful words can be so amazing! Cellar Designs started when I
was shopping with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law in our favorite Craft Antique Barn
during our annual family vacation. I saw these very cool photo box frames. I fell in
love.....then saw the price tag. I automatically thought “Craig could make these and I
could paint them”. So we did. That Christmas we made a few for gifts. That was the
beginning of something I could never have dreamed. Cellar Designs now has a shop
on Etsy and has sold over 300 items in 2 years! I love designing and creating new
signs that will speak to people and make their houses feel like homes.

Why the name “Cellar Designs”? I wrote about this in my blog, but I will share that entry
here with you.

People think that the name Cellar Designs came from fun nights hanging out with family
or friends and a bottle of wine. Some thought it was because I would cut the hair of
my family in our basement. Although those all could be reasons.....I never have really
shared the real reason....until now.


Storm cellars are a "must have" for a rural farm or home that does not have a
basement. It is necessary for protection, shelter, and security. A storm cellar that
works well is angled so debris of a storm would blow up and off of it, not blocking it so
it couldn't be opened back up. They are usually a bit away from the main house, yet
close enough so it could be reached quickly if needed.

For me, there is great                                       
beauty in a storm cellar
door. It usually has
large hinge straps that
help to keep it
closed.....but yet help it
to open up when
ready...and the coast is
clear. These straps
usually can withhold
great winds and the
elements for decades.
They just get rusty and
antiqued....but that is
what is beautiful about them.

When choosing a name for my business I had to think about what is most important
to me at my very core. For me.....that is God. I believe that God is my storm cellar
and much more. I believe that the number of storms we put Him through had to have
weathered His hinge straps! :) the end.... they are strong and more beautiful
with every passing year.

So, Cellar Designs was born of my gratitude to God for taking some of  those big busts of wind for me, allowing the debris to blow off the angled dorr, and help me to know when the coast was clear for me to emerge form the cellar.                                                     

I thought I would share with you a little look into my “studio”. It really is my dining and
living rooms. I have completely taken over those 2 rooms of our home! We have
talked about adding a room to our home so there would be a legitimate space for Cellar
Designs and I’d be extremely blessed if that happens. But, until then, the “studio” it is!

My favorite piece of furniture is. It is a gorgeous old cabinet that has many different 
layers of paint and is chipping and I love it! You will never guess where I found
the same craft barn I saw the first photo box!!! I use it to store all my paint, hardware,
brushes and marketing materials. A top it are some favorite signs and various treasures. 

Cellar Designs uses all the available real estate within our home to paint wooden
planks, biscuit planks together, glue and clamp signs, and stencil & vanish art. There
is not an inch of tabletop space empty!! Some people see it as chaos. I see it as
perfection!! It is my happy place these days. I love being home while the kids are at
school, listening to my favorite music (Matthew West, Adele, Glee and more), designing
layouts and painting. Then when I am done with items they line the hallway of our
home (taking up more space!!) This photo below is just a glimpse at what the “ready to
be shipped” department looks like!

My signs can be used as great descriptors of who I am,
what I care about, and what is important in my life.
I am a daughter, wife, mother, sister, aunt, friend and.... most importantly a child of God.
What an amazingly blessed life I get to live!
I hope that all of my signs speak to these blessings.......for you as well as me.

Thanks to Kasse for allowing me to be a part
your community!!
I am honored to be among so many women of
strength here at Rural Women Rock!

Many blessings to you all.... Sarah

Sarah has also just started to sell 3 signs on an awesome new Christian website.  It is  Go take a peek!  She also sells on ETSY .  Go give her a Rural Women Rock welcome on Facebook by liking her:)

 Thanks Sarah

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