VICTORIA — Many would agree a confident spirit is needed for dreams to come true. Pride in oneself helps goals become more attainable and brings ambitions within reach.
Over the last year, twin sisters Holly and Heidi Rupp, Victoria, have found this very form of confidence — a self-esteem they have craved for years, which is now proving wrong those from their past who ever doubted them.
“We were always told we would never amount to anything, and were told by teachers we weren’t going to be able to do much,” Holly said. “We were learning disabled in school, and they always told us the best thing we could be would be a candy striper.”
Not only have the twins mentally overcome others’ doubts in their abilities, but they’ve prevailed physically as well.
At 16, the sisters were diagnosed with a form of muscular dystrophy, but neither of these obstacles have stopped them from realizing their worth and reaching for goals.
A little more a year ago, Holly and Heidi became intrigued by the idea of wheat weaving through an opportunity at St. Fidelis Catholic Church. For years, the church’s gift shop displayed wheat products woven by a local resident, according to Holly. When she passed away, the twins decided to learn the craft so they could contribute to the gift shop.
Little did they know, the hobby would become their new passion — their new dream.
“I’m just glad to see it’s something they’re very good at,” said Judy Rupp, Holly and Heidi’s mother. “For me, as a mom, seeing their confidence level when they do this, it means a lot.”
Under their business name, H & H Heartfelt Creations, the sisters now specialize in wheat weaving and birthstone safety pin angels.
“We just thought ‘heartfelt’ would describe how we feel because we put our heart and soul into what we do,” Holly said.
Holly and Heidi said they work well together, supporting, encouraging and bouncing ideas off one another, but they are sisters, after all, and spats are bound to happen.
“We work together the best we can,” Heidi said as she laughed. “We get on each other’s nerves sometimes, though.”
The weaving has a certain process, which must be done correctly for the wheat products to be constructed properly.
Holly and Heidi first purchase bundles of wheat, which typically consist of 40 to 70 pieces. In order to prepare it, they must clean and soak it in water to make it pliable.
After three to four hours of soaking, the stalks are ready to be woven and bent into various shapes.
Weaving consists of many different techniques, which they learned from Janice Wasinger, a family friend, who also weaves wheat.
Wasinger took the time to teach the sisters when their interest first sparked, giving them lessons and providing them with instructional books, according to Holly.
“She taught us how to do the main technique we use, which is the spiral technique,” Holly said. “She is very good at wheat weaving.”
Other steps include using dental floss to tie ends, cork boards for stabilizing and drying, and laquer as a protective coat on the finished product.
Holly and Heidi make a variety of customized products typically themed around wreaths, crosses and angels.
The two have made products representing holidays, sports teams and businesses, and for occasions such as births, funerals and weddings — catering designs to personal tastes.
Currently, their items can be found in the St. Fidelis Catholic Church gift shop, and some are on display at Encore Antiques and Collectables in Russell.
Looking forward, the twins’ big dreams consist of growing their own business, eventually making it a full-time job.
“We would love to expand in the near future if we can,” Holly said. “It brings us so much joy.”
For additional information, to order a product, or to inquire about prices and customization, visit the H & H Heartfelt Connections Facebook page.