Hoarding pays off!
Who could have guessed that components I'd hoarded in 2010 for failed products would take on an entirely new purpose in 2020?
2010 saw numerous new additions to the HoofPrints product line; embroidered garments utilizing fabric appliqué technique, beautiful, locally made Vera Bradley style purses, and custom made dog treat pouches. I'd learned the hard way on previous endeavors - not to trust that manufacturers will continue to produce specialty items - and I'd definitely put fabrics printed with horseshoes and dog treats in that category. So I hoarded up a bunch of it.

Sadly, the resulting products did not sell as well as expected. I packed all that sweet fabric away in a huge box, and put that in the "wtf-do-I-do-with-this?" section of shelving in the warehouse - which happens to be right outside my office door - so I get to experience a nice dose of guilt/frustration when I pass by and look at the ever accumulating reminders of failed products and things that didn't go as planned.

Then, COVID-19 happened.
Never in a million years would I have imagined a HoofPrints catalog with face masks. But, 2020 saw me sourcing that very thing from a couple artisan makers who'd adapted their businesses to producing these. I found a nice selection of likely horse and dog themed masks; settled on one in particular for the catalog that had horseshoes on it.
Thankfully, the retail gods were merciful this time - and I found out before catalog went to print that the black horseshoe fabric was no longer available.

Another stroke of luck happened when I remembered that I might have some horseshoe print fabric of my own in that big box that had been tormenting me daily for 10 years. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I did have some; a LOT of it, and several other patterns that I had completely forgotten about:
And... not only did I have multiple cool fabric options for horse and dog lover masks; I had coordinating fabrics that would work great for the new reversible option that I'd just brought on board.
I sent the fabrics off to the artisans, and the ladies got right to work on the first batch. They turned out great, as evidenced here by the new Horseshoes and Hay Bales reversible pattern. This style includes a removable/replaceable PM2.5 filter, and has an a moldable metal strip inside that lets you snug the mask up close to the bridge of your nose - a definite must for those of us struggling with fogged up glasses.
And, for once, my hoarding has paid off!
Stories: How COVID-19 has affected life and work at HoofPrints
First, we washed our hands a LOT more often. Being farm folks, I never thought I'd see the day when I would feel more compelled to wash my hands after returning from running errands, than I do after feeding the horses or petting the dog.
But that's what we did. A lot. Fortunately, the artisan-made Horseshoers Hand Soap's all natural ingredients are both gentle and effective.
This soap is designed specifically for farriers. The essential oils used assist in removing the hoof smell, leaving a pleasing licorice / peppermint aroma.
Just because the artisan formulated this soap for farriers, doesn't mean we regular folks can't enjoy the benefits too! The odor-killing properties will freshen up your hands after everything from onion chopping to sheath cleaning and other smelly farm chores.
Horseshoers Hand Soap is easy on your skin. Hand sanitizer, not so much.
All that washing and sanitizing keeps the virus away (hopefully) but it's murder on your hands. I'd not seen my hands in this much distress since the last time I canned beef. Here's a story about that:
Canned beef. I joke that it is the only reason husband Rob has put up with me this long... I will never forget the first time I made it.

Him: "That seems like an awful lot of work. Once it's done, what do you use it for?"
Me: "Any dish that calls for beef - beef & noodles, barbecue, vegetable soup... since it's already cooked and ready to eat all I have to do is combine the ingredients and heat."
Him: "You mean I can eat it right out of the jar?!?"
Me: "Yup."
...and we lived happily ever after.
The aftermath of canning beef and pandemic hand-washing is the same
Serious wreckage happens to your hands when you’re going from handling raw meat to sterile jars over and over for days. The last batch of beef I canned was about 100 pounds worth. At 7 jars in each batch (about 7 batches) that’s a whole lot of hand washing. Fortunately, I have the perfect remedy for dry skin, cuticles and nails; not matter what the cause.
HoofPrints’ Horse Woman's Balm was formulated especially with equestrian hand care needs in mind, but it also works perfectly for healing in the chapping that happens with frequent hand washing needed for things like canning beef and braving a pandemic. I found that if I slathered this stuff on at night before going to bed, wore a pair of thin cotton gloves while sleeping, my hands were almost as good as new by morning! It’s all natural, made in Indiana, USA by a small, woman-owned company. And it smells GREAT.
We're a reclusive bunch anyway; and we took our governor's plea for folks to stay home & refrain from unnecessary public outings to heart
When it wasn't fit to do outside projects here on the farm, I parked my butt in my most comfortable recliner, wearing my most comfortable lounge pants. These stretchy, silk-like lounge pants are a HoofPrints exclusive. They're printed all over with a super detailed horseshoe photo pattern. The 00% polyester machine washes and dries with no special coddling.
Unlike most "novelty" products that are, well, a novelty - and not much else as far as utilitarian sturdiness, these are loaded with good details that you'd expect to see in a more expensive product.

Not only do they have a covered elastic waist for a neat look (who doesn't want that in their lounge pants?) they've also got a built-in drawstring - great news for those of us whose tummy is a little (lot) bigger than we'd like it to be. And it's not just any drawstring - this one's a chevron-woven, FLAT, cotton blend. Unlike their round counterparts, these drawstrings actually stay tied like they're supposed to.

And... they have POCKETS! How can one devote complete brainpower to serious lounging, when you've got no place to stash your phone on long trips to the fridge? Or if, (heaven forbid) you're feeling puny and need to keep a fistful of tissues on hand at all times?
At only $29.95, these are a tri-fecta of uniqueness, comfort and utility.
While I was at it, I used that recliner time to de-stress with some coloring
Horsey coloring books have been around for a while; I remember what a treat it was to get my hands on one of these as a kid, and here I am diving into them again a half-century later, distracting myself from a myriad of things in our world that I mostly don't understand, and definitely can't control.

I invite you to do the same. HoofPrints has a fun variety to choose from; covering all subjects horsey - anatomy, art, trivia and more. Below is one of my own efforts; a page from the Horse Anatomy Coloring Book. At first, I started to get all up tight - worrying about what color I should make each bone... 
"Duh - I don't think that's how it's supposed to work! I was a more than a little embarrassed that this 'relaxing' hobby was stressing me out already. So, I regrouped and looked at it in a different way."
I looked at all the beautiful colors in my pencil set that I had not used since college. The browns and greys were all worn down to nubs, but many of the bright colors had never been touched to paper. This time around, rules went out the window, and I made good use of them on the background.
Lucy snuggled up beside me in her blanket on the recliner, and as I colored, I couldn't help but read some of the informational text that was printed along with the picture. Did you know that a normal adult horse skeleton contains 205 bones? But that variations are possible; hocks can contain six or seven bones? And tails can vary from fifteen to twenty-one vertebrae? Forelimbs and hind limbs each contain twenty. The Horse Anatomy Coloring book examines both the internal and external structures, with all clearly labeled. It's only $4.95 here.
If you're looking for something a little more studious - check out this brand new book for us science nerds who also love horses
Horse Brain, Human Brain: The Neuroscience of Horsemanship - Getting smart about how horses and humans think, act, and work together
An eye-opening game-changer of a book that sheds new light on how horses learn, think, perceive, and perform, and explains how to work with the horse's brain instead of against it.

In it, brain scientist and horsewoman Janet Jones describes human and equine brains working together. Using plain language, she explores the differences and similarities between equine and human ways of negotiating the world. Mental abilities - like seeing, learning, fearing, trusting, and focusing - are discussed from both human and horse perspectives. Throughout, true stories of horses and handlers attempting to understand each other - sometimes successfully, sometimes not - help to illustrate the principles.
ABOUT THE COMPANY
Gina Keesling started HoofPrints in 1986 to provide helpful promotional materials for farrier husband Rob. Along the way she added a fun selection of horse and dog products geared toward women of a certain age. This newsletter is emailed to subscribers a few times a month. Watch for sales, stories and more.
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I have awesome customer service reps available 24/7 to take your order or answer questions at 765-724-7004, or email gina@hoofprints.com