In Person Learning is back! Praise the LORD.

Avery has to be there at 7:30, so she didnt get a pic with everyone.  In spite of hardly knowing anyone  at her new school, she has told me that she would rather be there than homeschooled 😂.
So, off to 9th grade she goes.

Mask on, mask off.

Everyone was literally jumping for joy to get to go back to school. 
I was so excited for them to go and thought I would love to be home and be by myself, but truth be told I cried at every drop off and missed them all day.  I thought I would get so much done, but I really just putzed around all day waiting for them to come home.

Also, Aves got her braces off 😄
And after crying to Jeff and being a complete emotional wreck many times throughout the pandemic, I convinced Jeff that I needed a trampoline for therapy. 
We alllllll use it for therapy now.
Burk's theme for this year is Trolls world tour and all of the grades are a different type of troll.  Shea is the country troll for first grade and Maggie (and Evelyn) are opera trolls in kindergarten.  Shea got eagle leader of the month for September and Mags got the principals award!

 It was all so different this year and I cried while they sang the school song watching the principals on the tv for good morning burks, but the teachers made the best of it that they could and all the kids still had a great time.  I miss us all being together at school, but I am still so thankful that they are able to at least go and be in the building.
Cant wait for this damn pandemic to over.


Virtual School in a Pandemic + Carlos


Despite everything being so different, we kept the tradition of Dairy Queen, we just took it to the park and met up with every one we could to talk about how insane our first day was.

Today was also the day that Jeff drove to Amarillo to pick up Carlos, our new golden retriever, and bring him home.  He was the best first day of school present we could ever hope for.

Let's just say that I am not the best teacher, but thankfully we made it through our first day, and luckily its Thursday and so we only have one more day until the weekend.  The scheduler's really knew what they were doing when they eased us into pretending we can homeschool.


Kindergarten, middle school and the end of an era

At the beginning, there is no line where you start and they begin. You are one. You share space and food and sleep. You spend your days and nights meeting their every need. You have no idea what the hell you’re doing, and you doubt every step, but you are there. 
Then come steps. And food and words. 

And you feel the little chasm between you expanding. 

Ouch- it hurts. You flinch. 

You make a note to see how you can stop this from happening again. 
You pick them out of ball pits and off of hot cement. You tickle them until your fingers cramp and recite books from memory. 
Somehow though, the chasm looks wider. But you “made every moment count”. Why is it growing so fast? 
You sign up for gymnastics and find new parks and pull them closer every night even when you are too tired for bedtime. 

But the chasm grows, still. 

They learn to ride bikes and play piano, and you both try out road trips. You hear that you must let go so they can fly, but it’s foreign. 
What does that even mean- ‘flying’? You are both happy on the ground. 
Moments rush by too fast to grab hold of, and you realize you are watching the chasm grow and grow and grow out of your control. You hold tighter with every earthquake. 
Then one day, knuckles white, you look up to see them bracing themselves to leap over the chasm, 
You cry out to warn them- don’t go!- you know how dangerous it is. 
And suddenly you realize they are airborne. 

An eternity passes, and you watch them land solidly on their feet. And, before they turn to walk on, they scan around to find you. You meet their eyes, and with all the courage you honestly didn’t know you had, you both smile a smile so full of pride and love and joy.
And you surrender. 
It’s in that moment that you realize the chasm isn’t just a place of fear and darkness, it is the place where wings are formed. 

*I cant handle that red carpet! I cry every time.
(and here is a little video of the ride to take Shea to school)

IMG_4271 from kristen barstad on Vimeo.


The Screenery

Speaking of arenas...
We started The Screenery.
Let me back up.
We were in Round Top with Bryan and Becca last year and came upon these incredible vintage silk screens from an abandoned textile mill in the Northeast.
And they are so beautiful.
Then, there was a rainbow,
And then there were TWO rainbows.
Obviously we had to buy some. 
We bought ten.
We felt so big time.

We came home and hung them on the wall and took photos of them.  We had planned on using them to make a wall in the kids room to separate their room (which we did, more later).

People came over and we gushed about them like school girls, and a few of our friends decided they wanted to buy some.
So, we sold a few.

A few months passed and the original owner who we bought the ten from, Kevin, called us and asked us if we wanted to buy some more.  He had received the final shipment of the rest of the mill and decided he wanted to sell some to us.
We drove down there and talked about maybe getting 10 more.
We bought 50.
So, here we are with 60 screens.  We have to sell them.  I have a slight panic attack at this amount of money being spent and this time dedication, but I press on.  We come up with a name and a logo and start staging and selling them.

We have such incredible and supportive friends who bought some, staged some, and just encouraged us through all of it. 

I really cant put into words what it has meant having such incredible support from our friends. They tell their friends, they hang them in their house, use them for events, help me sell them in the shop, hand out my card, talk about them on social media- all of it. It all just means so much.

Then, Kevin needed to sell them all.  Yup, heard that right- ALL OF THEM.
I had no interest in more screens at all, but Jeff kept trying to talk me into buying a few more.  Eventually I consented to a few more and found out that it was all or nothing.  He needed them all gone and wasn't taking no for an answer. 
Thats when we got 450 screens.
Our incredible friends helped us sort them in the cold rain until they were ALL put away and organized.  I told you, they are incredible.
If you thought 450 screens was enough for Jeff Barstad, you are wrong.  
A mill in Brooklyn that still activity prints got in touch with Jeff or he found them, one way or another they sold us their Dad's old wooden screens that they didnt have room for.
I guess I should have been stressed at this point, but I truly had so much peace.  I know God was guiding us to this from the rainbow to the 100s of screens, and He has proven that over and over again.

The wooden screens have almos sold out since we bought them.  They are all gorgeous and unique, and we have had so much fun staging them.
This summer God continued to affirm this crazy decision when we were asked by Patina Green owner Kaci Lyford if we wanted to be a part of a show that she was creating.  It would hold antiques she had collected in Europe, my screens, a vintage collector from Austin and Mish Mash.  It was a dream come true. It's called East End Salvage.

We had an absolute blast at the show.  From setting up to tearing down- it was hot, I won't lie- but it was so much fun.
In the midst of all of this, there are some screens that have rips and tears in them and I am embroidering on them.  I want to be able to turn something that people may see as broken and give it a new life.  That has also been so much fun.

 I even travel with them.  If they fit in Jeff's truck with all of our stuff, I bring 'em.
After the show, Rachel asked if I wanted to have a booth with her at the antique mall.  We had a blast making it look how we wanted it to look and creating a back drop.  A booth/show truly is my love language.
Its called The Storied Shoppe.

Then we added some screen to the Celebrate Always booth and Lins came down to help me embroider a giant 7 footer.  We had the best week working literally from lunch until past dinner for days on end.  I want to do it again.

Then Cornerstone Ranch used some screens for their gala.
I am still embroidering the screens and try and challenge myself to new ways of doing this with each screen and I'm learning a lot as I go.

This one sold to my friend Steve, who was a part of Kaci's shows with us. I cant put into words what it means to me.  He owns a store in Austin where he sells vintage pieces from all over.  He has vendors and all kinds of beautiful things in his store and he chose to buy my piece.  It is just so incredible humbling and encouraging.  
Kaci threw another East End Salvage show that we were so thankful to be a part of and we built a screen house out of our screens.  It was OUT OF CONTROL COOL.

I think that pretty much catches us up. 

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