Janesville59°

Christmas boutique features artisans' work

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Kayla Bunge
November 5, 2007
— It was the coldest weekend in January when Judy Halpin and Sharon Paar walked into an old barn on County H.

“My feet ached it was so cold,” Halpin said.


The barn has since been restored—and come next weekend, it’ll be home to a warm, cozy Christmas shop.


The Christmas Barn, W4449 County H, Elkhorn, opens Friday.


It began on a whim, when Halpin and good friend Lydia Thomas attended a craft show at Paar’s home in December 2006.


“I told her, ‘You should open a little boutique,’” Thomas said.


Paar already had been thinking of such a venture modeled after a Christmas shop in a barn in Stevens Point, but she was looking for two or three local women to help her.


Before she knew it, three women had joined her: Halpin, who used to own an antique store in Elkhorn, and Thomas and Kris Chase, co-owners of Curves for Women in Elkhorn. Paar, an experienced crafter, was a partner in the Nest Egg in Beloit. Together the four have more than 40 years of business experience.


The women wanted their shop to be anything but typical, so they sought out the work of local and regional artisans. They went to juried craft shows in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois looking for items to fill the 1,800-square-foot barn.


“We all have a little different tastes, and we take that as a plus,” Thomas said. “If we see something at a flea market, we don’t fight over it. If all four of us liked the same thing, we probably wouldn’t have a good store.”


From the work of an award-winning photographer, to stained glass jewelry, to handcrafted baskets and traditional Christmas décor, the barn will boast a variety of items in all kinds of styles, Paar said.


Halpin said the shop’s atmosphere is “cozy,” with natural light streaming in through the barn windows and items displayed on antique furniture.


THE CHRISTMAS BARN

Location: W4449 County H, Elkhorn


Hours: Open seasonally every weekend from Friday, Nov. 9, through Sunday, Dec. 23. Hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.


For more information: Send an e-mail to christmasbarn@elknet.net

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