Life is full. It’s still so important that we remember to play. In this case play with my food. And, play with one beautiful old board pulled from my son Charlie’s reclaimed wood pile. Ah, that playful idea of wanting to make a serving board? That does take a little longer than pulling food from the refrigerator and white plates from the cupboard. Good play sessions require that you remove all clocks from view. We did. That favorite man of mine has driven down the hill to do some ice fishing(play time) on Big Stone Lake with his friend Mike from Green Bay, WI. A few delightful hours stolen and here’s a glimpse of what my grown-up-country-girl play looks like at the RedBarn. Hope it inspires you to act on an idea that has been hanging around in your head …….. begging to become a winter project!
“It is the heart always that sees before the head can see.” -Thomas Carlyle-
Holiday hustle of gifts, music, decoration, creative adventures, family coming in the front door loaded down with presents, excited to stay the night. Add in the amazing food that will be shared. It’s tempting to paint the town red and live in the glory of Christmas all year-long. Somewhere someone does that, don’t they? The perfect Christmas!
No secret; the world is full with woe and friends I know well are fighting off sadness during this season of good cheer. There is no ‘perfect Christmas celebration’ and it seems the best gift we can give each other is to acknowledge that. Keep our hearts and heads open for whatever the days, and years, happen to bring our way and love one another through it all.
My sister and I talked about just that topic last night on the phone. I was stressing a little about recent visits with friends who find the holiday season to be a reminder of ‘life not turning out how they wished it would have.’ She has faced down some hard situations and has had plenty of practice in learning how to push onward. I love how I can feel a big-sister story beginning to brew even before it comes into my ear. One past year her husband(left in an orphanage at a young age) was moping and expressing his disdain for any Christmas celebrating to be held in the home. While she felt sympathetic, she also felt there was nothing to be gained by constantly reliving the hurts of yesteryear and expecting all in the house to do the same. It was starting to look as if a sad sort of Christmas tradition had taken them over. So what did she do? When she had heard enough she declared, “The kids and I are going out to buy a tree. It’s up to you. Should we set it in the corner of the living room or should we rent a hotel room and have our Christmas there?” At moments like this I’m never sure what the moral of the story is. Maybe we each must take our own. I am sure that her big-sister lessons……. fill my heart with strength, give me new perspective and always give me a chuckle! Thanks, Sis!
Here’s where we eat! I’ve been making gift baskets, mixing a new batch of potpourri and writing cards. This is table # 2….table #1 looks worse.
When they say “don’t believe everything you see on Facebook”…. believe that! This caramel recipe turned out terrible and I completely wasted two hours of my time. The cream cheese sugar cookies are really good though. I’m thinking the cherry on top is as close as I’m going to get to serving fruitcake. That makes who sad?
I have a few spots decorated half way and it’s OK. A little greenery around the leftover jars of Crab Apple jelly from the fall batch. Not a bad look.
And the angels appeared. At my house one has a glued on wing, one is missing her wing altogether and the other surely must have something she could be sad about. These girls have seen alot of years but somehow keep showing up to smile and bless us through the season.
Every container in this whole house seems to end up holding some sort of creative project leftover. Do I clean them out or cover with a Christmas plate? These 3 cute little monkeys are coming to visit…..and bringing the fun with them.
Who put all of that stuff on top of the refrigerator? Planning to read the new book my friend Liz is talking about. Something about making your life better by tidying up and ‘getting rid of’. She might have to come and help me get started. How do I toss the cool ‘Voyageur Brewing Company growler from the August trip to Grand Marais? The red tea-pot that I love and never use? The old ceramic hen?
The start to a holiday arrangement. I can see the smile on the face of my granddaughter as she ran to hand me the found branch and knew I would love it. We talked about adding more to the jar. Today it feels quite complete just the way it is.
Decorating the mantel and taking hold-steady-now greeting card worthy shots for my card biz is way fun. Another day. In this little moment of ‘being RedBarn authentic’ it gives me great pleasure to reveal that I often must share this best place in the house to dry gloves.
Does setting an owl under the tree distract from the fact that I only have 4 gifts wrapped? If you are between 9 and 11 and love nail polish you know I’ve started with you this year.
I’ve always loved high fashion. I’m not even kidding. We do have our dress-up look that mostly hangs in the closet and I suppose we could have taken something off of the hanger for the Christmas photo. We didn’t. And feeling well, kind of ‘authentic’ with the whole matching husband and wife photo. A long and lingering fall(now that’s a perfect gift in Minnesota)gave us some no-place-like-home evening bonfires and extra time to get the RedBarn acreage tidied up before real winter set in. It’s here…brrr.
Best wishes from the RedBarn: ‘May you have a perfectly imperfect Christmas season and may you find that you like it that way. No hotel rooms, please! May you find the will to grab onto the moments of authentic happiness amongst whatever else comes your way. Or, may you write your own story and fill it with the good you find.” Merry Christmas-2015!! BRB
We trimmed some low branches from the stately Black Walnut trees this fall. The wood is so lovely, even in the trimmings, that I can not think to burn or waste it. It’s been years since the old wooden bowl has held a curing batch of homemade potpourri. You know the feeling you have with materials that you totally love and that truly stir your soul?? For me it’s the natural outdoor leftovers each fall; cones, nuts, twigs, rose hips. Even corn cobs, a shed antler or a pile of old wood shingles can cause a stir. Must be the farm-girl genes. Making and packaging the natural, mostly(we’ve got to have some cinnamon sticks, folks) Minnesota Grown potpourri has been pure joy.
In the books….one more successful, 3-day art event out here on the western edge of the Minnesota prairie region. We are tucked in along the Big Stone Lake Area; 26 mile long headwaters of the meandering Minnesota River Valley. Each year brings something new and special. As one who likes to take photos…..I seem to capture very little of it on film(digital)!!!! Did I think I had a few other things to attend to? My sweet Sony has a few Meander remnants to share.
Big thanks to all who attended, volunteered, made art, covered the event, worked to make it happen. Art is a great starting place for communities to grow, come together and welcome everyone in, don’t you think? Whether the art-journey takes you on a paved downtown city street or onto this gravel, little bit dusty, slow-down-over-the-bridge township road leading to the RedBarn, you are headed for something good.
Very wisely, Nature limits the allotment of these blissful days between seasons. It’s hard to get serious about, well, serious things. I’ve got things to do, a chore list. Savoring the lingering touches of summer and welcoming the autumn morning bite in the air with her burst of glorious sun-soaked color….not on my list.
I’m reminded how precious, fleeting and fragile this pause between seasons is. If I had to get stuck somewhere on the calendar I’m pretty sure I’d pick this week. A few tasks await to get ready for the tremendous 3 day art event, ‘Meander‘, that my family is honored to host at the RedBarn. Really, it’s great fun to get some autumn decorating done, gather up the pumpkins, make a few scarecrows, plan for family coming to stay with us. First off, a stroll around the yard to breathe in this rhythm of life we call ‘the present’.
Summer is hanging on, fall has arrived and they both agreed to share the last day of delicious September with…. ah, me….and you if you’ve got a few minutes to step out side!
Dearest Lila, I adore your Uncle Henry carving! So good to see you. Wasn’t it great fun being uptown in Ortonville for the little summer festival? Shiny vintage cars lining the main street, artists set up showing their talents, businesses inviting us in for special drinks, food treats and conversation. And the music…. I’d follow that Lee Kanten anywhere if he keeps singing those hot summer tunes to me. Excited to see the new Lingonberry pastry shop opening up soon, aren’t you? What a nice event that Miss Katie at the Big Stone Lake Area Chamber and her team put together! I need a new camera. Hubby gave me camera money for Christmas and I spent it on something else. He says I always do this…don’t tell. I better run. You and John have a great trip to Norway this fall. Your friend, Becky
I’ve started my summer shop-hop of special places to visit( and shop) in my own western Minnesota region. First stop; an artist date with friend Bonnie Kleindl in her ‘Shabulous‘ shop on main street of Graceville. Up the road and 3 country-songs-on-the-radio away from the RedBarn. Bonnie and I enjoy so many of the same decorating looks. If it falls under ‘upcycled, repurposed, or banged back together’ most likely we could agree to love it. Toss in some color, purpose and beauty for good measure! Dear Bonnie set out some of my latest amazingly scented ‘Hillside Orchard’ Soy Woodwick candles for her customers to try. She’s already put out the new scent for fall…Pumpkin Pecan Pie! All in a great, old cupboard that some lucky farmstyle-lovin’ girl is going to snap up and cherish in her home. I’ll give you a little photo tour and share just a few of the items you might find at Bonnie’s always changing Shabulous Shop!
So excited to snap some photos that I left my purse and boxes right in the picture. See, anyone can do this:) The new large and bright metal flowers are on my list for next shopping trip. Graceville is a friendly town and look who stopped by(below) to say ‘hi’. Nikki(left) works next door in her beauty shop and Jill(right) owns the local flower shop. Special delivery for lucky Bonnie!
Friends ask that question often. I don’t mind. Life is full and rich with interests, pastimes, diversions, choices, companions. It’s joy for me to know about the happenings in your life! Each spring day in the Minnesota countryside brings pause for my soul to celebrate episodes of large and small abundance. Sun shines, leaves emerge and life unfolds quickly with all to do this time of year on the RedBarn acreage. Some of these things involve a shovel!
Recently, I was invited to attend a product event in celebration of Earth Day. Each of our creative lives are enriched by the resources that come to surround us. I need to listen close for direction. Divinely led, we connect with the talents, ideas, personalities, family and friends and even the ‘aha moments’ that enter our inner doorway. It seems like such a tiny difference one could make to better care for our earth……. but if we each do….. it must add up. Afterall, there are alot of us making small decisions every day on this spinning unit.
I was excited to show the products that filled my table; apple pies baked from stored late fall apples grown within our chemical-free orchard, cloth napkins crafted from vintage tablecloths and rescued fabrics, contemporary candles made from sustainable and clean-burning soy.
I promised I’d share on my blog for special friends out in the world who said they may need to get ahold of me. It’s a full-heart-feeling when the things I share become a blessing, however small, in someone else’s home and life. Needing a little break from rolling pie crust so, please, no more pie orders! I could fly in and talk you through it if you really need me to. Sewing with beautiful vintage fabrics is best described as way-fun and not like work. Can’t wait to get back to it! Beautiful, clean, sustainable candles are simply one of the little pleasures to brighten a home or space.
I’ll try to keep posting and feel free to let me know under comments or ‘contact’ if you need to reach me, friends.
Wishing you abundance and joy in the ‘countryside of life’.
Something about this February week designed to celebrate love. If you let your guard down even a little….it’ll get you! I’m smiling this morning. Time to mail off the Valentines that my lover-boy, now the Grandpa at the RedBarn, and I put together last night for the sweet children who have appeared in the homes of the babes we raised together back-in-the-day.
Do you ever take the time to write out a quote that touches your heart? Something special about the feel of a wooden pencil in the hand. And have you noticed how the words you write down keep reappearing and popping back into your life? No rules; we don’t have to agree with everything that particular person says or feels. Just the words we select. Oh, the beauty of words! It’s our life and we each get to run it…all day long. Aren’t we lucky for that?
In my cherished miscellaneous spot(yes, the junk drawer) near the address book, a small, crumpled, green paper found it’s way to the top this morning. Surely, one random earthly-bliss moment in the past must have caused me to select these words for Valentine thoughts of today. Ahhh, sweet Valentine’s week! I hope it get’s you…right there in the heart!
“It matters not who you love, where you love, why you love, or how you love. It matters only that you love.” -John Lennon
January takes a bad rap! In truth, she brings exciting new adventures and beginnings each time she comes around the calendar. I was reminded of that today as I was the lucky one to join this group of beautiful woman for breakfast at the Inadvertent Cafe in our great little town of Clinton, Minnesota.
Each one of us shared a bit of who we are and what is presently on our radar for hopes and dreams…..how we find contentment in a Minnesota winter….what we are creating….. and plans ahead for each of us.
Trust among old and new friends is something you can feel. And it’s such a good feeling. We quizzed and questioned, shared ideas and resources, encouraged and made plans with one another. Really, we had come together to talk about known common interest and we did get to that after our good food and splendid introductions. Wool/natural fiber soap making, yarns, the beauty in creating, wearing and using natural products. I loved hearing about the animals and how they are cared for in a special way so they can ultimately share their renewable goods. It’s an exciting conversation.
An opportunity to show support for hard-working, talented, people who are producing products to seriously desire. Right here in Big Stone County of rural Minnesota in January, no less!
Kathy Krier is the owner of ‘Calvins Goat Milk Products'(FaceBook page). As luck would have it, she is planning an open house on her farm operation this next Saturday,January 17th. It’s going to be a great chance to see her farm operation and give her beautiful goat’s milk soap and lotion a try!