Chasing a Childhood Dream: Whimsy in Work feature

Chasing a Childhood Dream







The first Whimsy in Work feature focused on a person who found whimsy in work by changing her environment and striving to find balance in her life. My next feature is a woman who is chasing her childhood dream, Rachel Madej of Rachel Antonia Designs

Check out Rachel’s beautiful work at

I first “met” Rachel via Instagram when her beautiful illustrations stopped me in my scrolling tracks. Her work is fun, so colorful and jovial in nature that I was inspired to know more about the artist. I have found her to be fun and warm just like her illustrations.


If you need a little whimsy in art form then you need to follow Rachel’s Instagram and Facebook page.

Chasing her Dream

As adults, we often discount our childhood dreams as childhood whimsy, maybe some of them are, but often times they can give us insight into the things that really feed our souls. When Rachel was a child she wanted to be an artist and a business owner. It was only recently that she brought these two dreams together.

“I had two dreams when I was growing up. One was to be an artist and the other was to own my own business. Funnily enough, I never put the two together until about a year ago! Now I’ve started my own company selling my illustrations on prints and products (It’s still crazy to say that out loud!) I’ve got ideas and products in the works that are set to debut in November of this year (2017)”  

We can try to follow our dreams; we just have to learn to integrate them into our adult life. Rachel is doing an amazing job integrating her childhood dream into her adult working world, but she did not take the leap to pursue her childhood dream lightly.  It has been a process and one she has taken very seriously. “I had been doing so much research, taken so many classes, and literally every bit of spare time was spent with me curled up doodling in my sketchbook trying to build a collection.”

Even spending countless hours researching, planning and creating, there comes a point when the researching and planning phase has to come to an end. What comes next can be the scariest part of any dream or career shift, the actual doing or making the change. In some cases, we need a push.

The Push

Many people can suffer from “analysis paralysis”, it is just easier to keep gathering information and keep planning rather than make a decision to do something. Sometimes we need a push to get out of the researching, creating and planning stage. The push can come from anywhere, it can be a person or an event or a feeling you get one day to just stop planning and just try. I think the push that comes from a person you do not know, and who does not have any time or feelings invested in you could be the most intimidating.  Rachel’s push came from a stranger who looked at her art and judged her illustrations. This person looked at what Rachel had and she told her whether or not she had what it would take; how scary!

“After doing months and months of research, creating, and planning, I met with a woman named Jennifer Ferri recommended by my friend Kara. (Hi Kara) She said to me and I quote ‘ I’m going to look at your art… and I’m honestly going to tell you whether or not you should do this.’ That was one of the scariest moments of my life because whether she told me yes you can or no, it still meant I had to leave the comfort of my researching and drawing stage of life that I’d become accustomed to…”

Clearly, Jennifer saw what I see in Rachel’s work, beautifully drawn and whimsical illustrations, but I had to know, what if this outsider had told Rachel to throw in the towel?

Art work by Rachel Madej
Look at these beautiful art pieces. I love how this little owl makes me smile!

“Honestly if Jen had said that I wasn’t good enough…I would’ve been crushed. I would’ve felt like maybe I shouldn’t and I probably wouldn’t have finalized all the paperwork in July. However, I know I would’ve asked what I could do to make it work, or where I could make it work, if it wasn’t printed art, maybe it would’ve worked on fabric or I could find a wallpaper rep. I would’ve done the research to find out how to make it work because it’s my dream. So maybe I would be on another path right now,  but it would still be me working toward incorporating my art into something more. And honestly, I’m sure I would’ve found myself here again at some point in life because of the “what if” factor. It nags at you and I’m not one to give up.”

Rachel’s Take-Aways from Chasing Her Childhood Dream

  1. You can’t know everything. ” It seems like it’s self – explanatory, you can’t know everything… But when you’re investing countless hours and a really large sum of money, you want to know it’s going to work.”
  2. It takes guts and courage to start your own business. “I love when I get compliments and when people want to buy my work… But honestly, I’m just really proud of myself. I’m twenty – three years old and I’m paying for college, working 30 hours and taking full-time classes. I’ve had this dream since I was a kid and I just decided to go after it full force. It gets unbelievably stressful sometimes, but it’s worth it and it’s rewarding to feel that I made an investment in myself.”
  3. At some point, you must stop planning and try.  “Everyone is terrified, no matter how successful they are. They were all scared at one point and they all took a big gulp of air and plunged into the unknown – and so can you.”
  4. You have to make time for your dreams. “There’s never a right time. I’m smack dab in the middle of a million things, but I’m making it work. You can make your dreams fit into your schedule.”
  5. There are people who can and want to help you. “There are free business classes, meetups, friends in the industry, family who knows someone who knows someone. I went to the University of Hartford for a free business class. (I don’t go to that school) I emailed my family accountant for business advice. My brother’s friends mother happens to run the craft show I’ll be displaying my first collection in. Connections are everywhere so start making a list of everyone you know who would be willing to help you. (P.S. – I can be on that list!)”

Rachel has a section on her blog devoted to helping other artists turn their passion into business 

I hope you have enjoyed learning about Rachel, her process of chasing her dream and seeing some of her beautiful art.

Whimsy in Work: Chasing a Childhood Dream
More beautiful illustrations from Rachel Madej of Rachel Antonia Designs

To see more of her lovely work, make sure you follow her on Instagram, Facebook and check out her site.











Something Whimsical: Pumpkins and my favorite Pumpkin Products

The Best Pumpkin Products
Here is my list of my favorite pumpkin products available.

One of my favorite things about fall is the pumpkins. There is just something so whimsical about them. The bright orange color and their different shapes and sizes are just fun and make me smile.  I love going to the pumpkin patch to pick them out, carving them, roasting their seeds and enjoying all kinds of pumpkin foods during fall. Thank goodness you can get canned pumpkin year-round, sometimes in the heat of summer, I just need some pumpkin muffins!!!  I really love all things pumpkin! Here is a list of my favorite pumpkin products.


No affiliate links in this post, just what I think are some of the best pumpkin products, in my opinion.

I will start my list with another favorite ingredient of mine chocolate. My love for chocolate is more than my love for pumpkin, see my post on my favorite way to eat chocolate, but this first item on my pumpkin list combines my love for chocolate and pumpkin, so it is a win-win.

My Favorite Pumpkin Products
My list of my favorite pumpkin products.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Hands down this is my favorite pumpkin recipe and of course, it is by Martha Stewart. This recipe is moist, full of pumpkin flavor and has the perfect amount of chocolate chips. I have been making it for years. It is easy to make and I dare you not to like it.

Pumpkin Snacks/Food

If you are looking for a place where you can get a bunch of pumpkin flavored food all in one place, then Trader Joe’s is your go to pumpkin place. Trader Joe’s really knows how to do pumpkin food.  I really love their Pumpkin Cranberry Crisps.  They taste delicious plain, but I think they pair really well with goat cheese and honey. Their Pumpkin Waffles are also a favorite in our house. Trader Joe’s seems to have pumpkin everything, but it’s the pumpkin bread that we really love.

Favorite Pumpkin Bread

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Bread. You can’t beat the price, $2.99 a box.  It is easy to whip up and we love the spicy taste. I like to make it in a bunt pan, just to mix things up a bit. I have made pumpkin bread from scratch and really enjoy doing so, but the box is just so darn easy. This pumpkin bread has been a favorite for several years, but this year we found something that is a new favorite.

NEW Favorite

Pumpkin Spice Cheerios

Pumpkin Spice Cheerios: I saw these in Target and thought why not? Not everything that is pumpkin spice is a hit, for example, I was not a fan of Pumpkin Spice M&Ms. I only bought one box of the Pumpkin Spice Cheerios, just in case we did not like them. We tried them and they are so good. They are so good and we enjoyed them so much, I went back to Target the next day and bought 3 more boxes. I thought they really tasted like pumpkin spice. The clove spice in them gives the Cheerios a warming slightly spicy taste. Yum! I know there is a lot of food on this list, but I also have a pumpkin thing and a pumpkin place that I hope you will enjoy as much as we do.

Pumpkin Decorations

There is just something so adorable about them, I collect all kinds of pumpkin decorations for fall. I have found cute pumpkins covered with sweater like fabric from Target. I found some painted plaster ones at the Dollar Store, but my most treasured pumpkins are my glass pumpkins that I selected at a Glass Pumpkin Patch. The Tacoma Glass Blowing Studio takes their beautiful glass blown pumpkins to different locations and they set up a “pumpkin patch” of their beautiful glass pumpkins. They have so many colors and sizes. There are still be a few more glass pumpkin patches from the Tacoma Glass Blowing Studio, check out the schedule here. 

Glass Pumpkin Decorations
High/Low decorations: Glass pumpkins from the Tacoma Glass Blowing Studio sweater pumpkins Target and painted pumpkins from Dollar Store.

Our Favorite Pumpkin Place

I almost don’t want to share this pumpkin place since it is already very popular, but I will because it is so much fun and you should check it out. We have started going each year to Bob’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Farm. Bob’s is a huge farm in Snohomish county. There several huge fields where you can find great pumpkins. There are hay rides,  play areas for the kids, an apple cannon, country market, corn maze, and our favorite mini fresh made apple and pumpkin doughnuts, yes I said fresh mini PUMPKIN doughnuts. It can get pretty muddy so bring rain boots and a change of clothes for your littles. We have gone the last few years and I am looking forward to going this year.

Picking pumpkins at Bob’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Farm

So that is my list of my favorite pumpkin things. I hope you check some of them out if you are fall and pumpkin crazy like me. Don’t forget to  sign up for your Free tags in the sidebar!

Cheers, Amy





Bucket List Tradition Update

Our little family has really been enjoying our Fall Bucket List Tradition. Big and Little have so much fun pulling cards out of our bucket and my husband enjoys watching me figure out how I am going to cram more activities in to the week. The month of September we pulled so many apple cards; we love apples so it wasn’t too bad. One activity I was looking forward to pulling most  was the Apple Picking card. We picked apples, yeah ,but it was not in Washington. We picked apples when we visited my sister in Montana. I am still on a mission to pick apples in Washington. I am not giving up just yet, we will pick apples in Washington this season! While September was filled with apple activities, I hope the month of October will be full of pumpkin cards.




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