Tuesday, November 24, 2015

All sorts of sales at Old Red Barn Co!

Several things to tell you about today. First off, I've hinted over the past several months that at the end of 2015 I will be closing the Old Red Barn Co. shop.

Since I started making and selling soap under the Old Red Barn Co. name, so many things have changed. Old Red Barn Co. began in my kitchen and became a way for our family to have a little extra income. It grew steadily and helped us during some very lean years. Alone and as a family, I've traveled and participated in countless craft shows. My customers are loyal and have kept our internet business brisk. It's hard because in many ways I feel like I'm letting those amazing customers down. But over the years, Old Red Barn Co. has morphed and changed and stretched and grown. What started as me selling my handmade goat milk soap at my local farmer's market one Saturday, has changed into a quilt related business that occupies more and more of my time. Add two busy teenage daughters to the mix and something just has to give.

As a thank you to you, whether you've been a customer from the beginning or have never tried our products before, we are having a blow out sale that will last until the end of the year or when we are sold out. Soaps are normally $4 each or three bars for $10 but the sale price is now $4 each or nine bars for $25. Scrubs are normally $10 each but are now three for $20.  The website does NOT reflect these sale prices as I'm having a booger of a time getting the drop down menus to do what I want them to do and reflect the correct sale price. This means that for every order that comes through from now until closing, I will adjust and refund the overages.  Sorry for the hassle of the whole buy-at-regular-price-and-then-have-the-overages-refunded-to-you thing.  It saves me from hiring someone to fix the website and I promise you'll get the sale prices!

Also, you might have noticed a slight change to the Imagine Quilts graphic up in top of the right side bar here on the blog.

I have a final shipment of books now in stock and I have signed copies on sale for $15 + $2.50 media mail shipping. I won't be ordering any more so if you've ever considered buying one (thank you!! ::blushing::) now's the time.  Just click on that icon in the upper right hand sidebar of my blog. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

'Kay. I think that's all for now.


Sunday, November 22, 2015


 1.  This was the year your grew taller than your sister. Much to her disgust dismay.

2.  You're in your eighth grade year at school and I sense a subtle shift in your attitude towards academics. You've always been an excellent student but I just  feel you putting more into it this year. Perhaps it's that you like certain subjects more than others. Or maybe you know that your chosen path for high school is rigorous and you are preparing yourself the best that you can.

3. You've always just somehow known that hard work pays off. See number two above. And look back at letters I've written you in the past and a recurring theme is your hard work and determination. It's just in you.

4.  Mario. You're obsessed. I think it all started when your sister was gone for a few weeks this summer and you played one day. I say obsessed but I think that's a bit dramatic. It's more accurate to say that you get hooked on it for a few days and then go weeks or months before playing again. You especially like to laugh at me or your dad when we agree to play with you. How on earth do you keep from falling off the edge of anything? Never mind the fireballs, lava clouds or snapping flowers.

5.  Our whole family had such a memorable vacation this summer to Boundary Waters Canoe Area but, I dare say, you had the most fun. You paddled like a champ, stood on the dock for as long as it took to catch a fish, giggled that the solar shower spot was open and exposed to the world on one side, chased the sun as it set each day via paddle board, jumped off the rock into chilly water and encouraged the gang to run off the dock countless times. I found myself watching you during the trip and wanting to be just like you. 

6.  We dropped you off at camp for a week this summer. You were my first child I left knowing that I wouldn't talk to until I picked you up a week later. Gear bin dropped off. Counselors met. Health check complete. And then you walked down the hill and out of site. Seven days later you walked back up that hill into my arms with stories to tell for days. I missed you like crazy. 

7.  Often times you put your wet hair into a single braid down your back and go to bed.

8.  And your effortless messy bun is enviable.

9.  Pasta! You can smell it from a mile away and always slip your fingers sneakily into the colander before the hot noodles have even been rinsed.

10.  Most mornings if I can't find you, I know that I can open the mudroom door and you will be using a wet paper towel to clean your sneakers.

11.  You like to sing. The same line. From the same song. Over and over and over. (Until I wail, "Go to the next verse or find a new song!!!")

12.  You receive flack for doing lots of standing around when we are all cleaning up the kitchen after dinner. Truth be told, however, you're not just standing around. You are also telling jokes and stories (or perfecting dance moves) that make the daily clean up lighter, funnier and more enjoyable.

13.  You love my sugar cookies.

14.  And I think this year I'm going to have some Nutella on hand when I make them. I can only imagine how big your eyes will get after meticulously spreading a perfect layer of the cholately goodness over top your favorite cookie and taking a bite.

Happy birthday sweet girl. I love you so much.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Encouraging craftiness

A friend asked me the other day why I think my kids are so creative. First, because they are awesome. I mean, really. Yours are too. Ever sit and just watch kids play? They create worlds from nothing and dialogue from thin air. I've never met a kid that isn't wildly creative. She said yeah, yeah, yeah. She knows all little kids are creative but how do I think my teenagers got to be so creative? My best answer is probably because I keep lots of supplies readily available. And I do my best to remember remember that a mess can always be cleaned up. And I try to say yes. (My brain immediately remembers the time Licious wanted to fly.)

I like being a creative enabler.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Snapshots of a week

A rainy 5k race for Razor and Licious.

An awesome thrift store find at $10.

Though this quilt top was completed back in May, I finally got it back from the long arm quilter and got it bound.  Strawberries!

I don't think I've talked about my recent fascination with making French bread. I always try to make a dinner that cooks for hours and hours on Sundays. French bread is a natural companion to such meals and I've gotten quite good at making it.

If I do say so myself.


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Quarter Log Cabin Quilt

As I completed the last stitch and clipped the threads on this quilt last night, I was reminded of why I love quilting like I do. This project allowed me to pull all the red, white and blue fabric that I wanted without concern that they would clash. I cut strips (and strips and strips) willy, nilly. I didn't have to press or use a ruler for that step. I sewed these without design plan or deep concentration -- I call that mindless sewing and it is the best kind when sewing while doing something else at the same time. Like talking with friends. Or when I just have a few minutes to sit down at a sewing machine. A mindless sewing project means that I, in fact, get to sew and don't have to focus on complicated construction techniques. I made these blocks over the course of several weeks. I basted it and quilted simple straight lines on Tuesday and finished hand stitching the binding, as I said, last night. Even though I've made many, many quilts, I still love the satisfaction I get from creating something beautiful and useful. I laid this one out on the living room floor and admired it. I admired it until I scooped it up, grabbed my camera and dashed outside in between rain showers. As I type I can hear the swish, swish, swish of the washing machine as it does it's magic on this brand new quilt so that I can snuggle under it later today. 

I heart making quilts.


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Seasonal play

Razor and I sat around the bonfire with a handful of adults as dozens of teenagers ran far and wide in the darkness of Halloween night playing Capture the Flag. I had hot chocolate in my mug and a smile on my face all night. 

I've been finding time to sew each afternoon.

The fruit of the season. It means we've been eating lots of fajitas and apple pie. Always pie. #weeatalotofpie

Fall is good for all sorts of seasonal play.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Trebuchet you say?

My oldest is a junior in high school. Her physics teacher told her class that a rival high school's physics class challenged them to see who could build a machine that could throw a pumpkin the farthest. You might have heard of this phenomena called pumpkin chunkin'? Well, my daughter and her all girl team built a trebuchet. They did the calculations. They made the plans. They got nearly everything donated by local businesses. And by "they" I mean they did it themselves. A few of the dads were on hand to help with heavy lifting and such, but when I say that these girls built this machine, I mean, these girls built this machine. And brought it to a local festival to test out before the official competition. And had all the other pumpkin chunkers at the festival unable to stay away. They all wanted to see their machine work and offer tips and suggestions on how to make it better. It was the coolest. Do you remember that scene in the movie A League of Their Own when Tom Hanks is the baseball coach to all woman baseball team? One player starts crying and Tom Hanks says, "There's no crying in baseball!" As I sat as a spectator watching these girls launch pumpkins and walk away victorious, I had tears in my eyes. And I just kept telling myself, "There's no crying in pumpkin chunkin! Pull yourself together!"