Homegrown in the Heartland
Have you ever seen the segment on the Jimmy Kimmel show where they have celebrities read mean tweets about themselves? It’s pretty funny. And, its nice to see that they can have such a sense of humor about it!
We do something similar every Tuesday morning at our staff meeting. Thankfully we don’t get very many mean messages from customers, but we do get a lot of really nice ones! Every time you make an order from our website there is an option to leave us a little comment, and we really love it when you do! Whitney is in charge of packing up most of our retail orders, so she reads all the comments that come through, and she likes to set aside the best ones each week and save them to read aloud to us at our weekly staff meeting. We love it. It’s a highlight of every Tuesday morning around here!
The next time you make a purchase make sure to leave us a note! It won’t go un-noticed. It might just really make our Tuesdays a whole lot better. Also, we really like to hear jokes, funny stories, and your grandma’s secret chocolate chip cookie recipe. Just don’t say anything mean!
:: Carrie ::
Maybe you live in a place where the leaves turn bright colors in the fall. If you do, I hope you take some time out each year to soak it all in. Our fall has been spectacular this year. So beautiful! There’s usually about a two week time period, as all the leaves are changing, when everything is at it’s peak. I always wish that it could last longer, or that the trees looked like that all the time, but then I guess it would just be one of those things that we got used to, and it wouldn’t seem special any more.
I love that there is this surprise every fall. We kind of forget throughout the year, at least I think I do, just how beautiful it is until it happens. There is this burst of awesome, and then it’s over.
I imagine, that when God planned it all out he thought, “Man, this is really going to knock their socks off!” And it does. Every single time.
Hikes in the woods on a perfect fall day are pretty hard to beat.
What’s fall like where you live?
:: Carrie ::
There’s a big tree growing in the Missouri River bottom near our hometown of Columbia, that everyone just refers to as “The Big Tree.”
It’s a burr oak tree, and yeah, it’s really big. It’s trunk is 287 inches around, it’s 90 feet tall, and it has a limb span of 130 feet, which makes it the largest burr oak in Missouri. It’s a landmark around here. It’s big, and majestic, and very photogenic. Everyone knows where the big tree is, everyone has been there, and everyone loves it.
It’s estimated to be at least 350 years old, which means it was a little acorn sprout sometime around 1650. Goodness, this tree has seen a lot. It was there when Lewis and Clark passed by on their expedition to the west. It’s been struck by lightning, and stood tall through floods that rose all the way up to its lowest branches. Last summer’s drought was a stressful time for our big tree. It’s leaves started to wilt, and it started to show signs that it might not make it through. So what do you do when your favorite big tree starts fading away? You water it, and water it, and water it some more.
Earlier this week on the NPR show All Things Considered, they told the story of how the tree’s caretaker and the local community came together to save our iconic tree. It’s a good story. You can listen to it right here.
And, if you ever come to visit and want to see the big tree in person, let us know. We’ll tell you how to get there.
:: Carrie ::
I’ve been spending a lot of time painting, drawing, and designing new things the past couple of weeks, and these guys have been part of my soundtrack. They’re an American folk duo from Charleston, South Carolina that “sound like a punkabilly June and Johnny Cash mixed with New Orleans horns, sixties-era harmonies, and honking organ solos.”
Shovels and Rope.
Required listening for your Wednesday.
:: Carrie ::
It’s True/False weekend in Columbia, one of the best weekends of the year!
We are pretty proud of this big event that takes place in our little town, and proud of the people who put it together and make it happen. It’s amazing to see the amount of volunteers who put their time and effort into helping create an event that attracts people from all over the country. You won’t find a better documentary film festival anywhere! That’s the truth.
We were asked again this year to create a design to be used on t-shirts and other festival merchandise, which we were happy to do! If you are coming to the festival you can find our design, as well as many others, available at the box office.
The guys on the True/False team never disappoint in their ability to bring together a top-notch line-up. I’m looking forward to seeing some great films! I just heard that my favorite movie from last year’s festival, Undefeated, is now out on DVD. It follows an incredible high school football coach, Bill Courtney, through a season of ups and downs at an inner-city Memphis school. It will bring tears to your eyes, and, it won the Oscar! I’ve actually seen it twice, both times in packed out auditoriums, and at one of those showings Coach Courtney was in attendance and spoke after the film. He’s an amazing guy, and it’s an incredible story. Find it, and watch it.
:: Carrie ::
I’m sure you have probably seen this already, but it really hit home for me. I loved it SO much.
And, it’s true.
Every single bit.
So proud of all the farmers in my life.
I just wanted to go ahead and say thanks to those of you who have purchased, or plan to purchase, something from our shop to give to someone special this Christmas season! We are certainly busy packing up orders to be sent out the door, but we wouldn’t want it any other way! The mailman might tell you otherwise. We’ll be sure to bake him some cookies.
In my extended family this year, we traded names, as usual, but our gift giving requirements have changed. We decided that we are all going to give a gift that we either make ourselves, is handmade by someone else, or is purchased at a local independent shop. I think this is a good move, and I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with!
We are hoping that you decide to shop handmade this Christmas! There are SO many amazing and talented people out there who are making products, that in my opinion, are far better than any you could find at the big chain stores. And, giving a handmade gift seems much more personal, don’t you think?
We’ve met and become friends with so many people over the past couple of years who are making a living, just like us, by working really hard and using their creative talents to make beautiful things. I want to introduce you to some of them…
If you are looking for some eye-catching jewelry, check out Lily Dawson Designs. Our good friend Lily Dawson, who lives right here in our hometown of Columbia, is the creative force behind this company. She designs and makes everything you see in the shop, and we’re pretty proud of her!
We met Kate Thomas through the Renegade Craft Fair circuit. Her line of art prints, calendars, and cards sell under the name Little Things Studio. Kate is from Jackson, Mississippi, and is a true southern girl. My hope is that you get to meet her in person someday. Seriously. She is a ray of sunshine, and we LOVE her.
We are pretty big fans of Dolan Geiman, and we always look forward to catching up with him when we visit Chicago. Dolan makes everything from small 10 x 12 inch panel paintings to large mixed media constructions. He calls his style, contemporary art with a southern accent. Dolan, along with his wife and business partner Ali Marie, have been business mentors to us, and we’ve learned so much from them!
Beth Lawrence, aka “Freshie”, creates hammered metal jewelry under the name Freshie & Zero, which is based in Nashville, TN. Freshie and Beth became friends when Beth was living in Nashville, and we have continued to keep very much in touch with her and the goings on of her business. She makes some really beautiful pieces!
These people are all great friends of ours, and tons of fun to hang around with. Check out their shops, maybe go and buy something, and tell them that we sent you!
I couldn’t decide what kind of pie to make for our thanksgiving feast, so I did a quick poll among my siblings and cousins, and this one won. By a landslide. I’ve made it several times before, and it’s always been a crowd pleaser. My brother Mike actually requested it multiple times in the week leading up to thanksgiving. He likes it. A lot.
I can’t remember exactly where I got this recipe, but all that matters is that it’s REALLY good! But don’t just take my word for it, you should make one and taste it yourself. I guarantee you’ll want to make it again.