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Barnwarming

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A few weeks ago we hosted an open house in our work studio!

It’s been a while since we moved into the barn, and you know how it is, it just takes a while to feel settled. We feel like it’s our home now, and we are so thankful for a place to call our own, and for all it has done for our business! If you missed out on reading about how we decided to renovate a 100+ year old barn for our work space start by clicking right here. And, to read about how the whole project progressed click here, and here, and finally here.

It has been a big year of transition for us, in a lot of ways. A lot of really good ways. We’ve grown from just the three of us, to a staff of nine (plus a few extras who help out pretty often). Our product line has been steadily growing all year long, and our list of retailers who carry our products has literally exploded. It’s hard for us to wrap our minds around the growth we have seen. It’s SUCH a blessing.

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We know that we are so lucky to be able to do what we do, and we wanted to have a day of sharing it with all our family and friends.

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Also, we knew that a lot of people were really curious to see the barn, so we opened it up to everyone. And, everyone came!

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A big huge thanks to Whitney for snapping all of these really great photos!

Also, thanks to everyone who came by to see what we have been up to and for supporting us and our dreams in so many ways!

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♥♥♥

Karen, Beth, and Carrie

Settling into our New Studio

A few weeks ago we officially moved into our new workspace, and we are slowly but surely getting settled in. It’s been an adventure – taking a 100+ year old barn and making it into a place that we can use – but we are SO glad we jumped in and did it! To hear the whole story you might want to go back and read this post, and this one too, and finally this one. All caught up? Good.

To get the full appreciation of how much changed take a look at the barn loft before…

Kind of dark, and rustic to say the least…

But it had good bones, and a lot of potential.

And here it is after…

A pretty big change, isn’t it? I still can’t believe that the old barn that I played in as a kid is now where I go to work. It’s really crazy.

We’re thrilled with how everything turned out, it is just what we needed, and it’s made all the difference in the world for us! We still have some details to work on, and some furniture to buy, but it is coming along.

One of the very most difficult parts of the whole process that we found was trying to figure out how to get high speed internet wired into the barn. We are definitely not that far from some highly populated areas, but it seems like we are in a black hole as far as internet service goes. After sending a guy up to the top of the grain bins next to the barn to mount a little receiver, and then running a wire into the barn, it seems to be working well. Most of the time.

We have a lot more work space now for packaging cards and packing orders…

and enough shelf space to keep the inventory nice and organized.

Most of all, it is so fantastic to have a place that is bright and cheery, where we can all work together. EVEN if that means that sometimes I have to shut my door and separate myself from the fun that is happening just so I can concentrate. It’s a good thing.

:: Carrie ::

Paying Attention to the Details

We are getting so so close to being ready to move into our new workspace! It’s mostly done, really. We are just trying to get all of our ducks in a row so that we can make the transition from our current location to the barn quickly and as painlessly as we can – so that our day to day operations are disrupted as little as possible. The plan is for that to start to happen next week! We are SO ready for the change, in so many ways.

I’ll give you the full tour once we are somewhat settled in. Right now things are a bit disorganized, and not so pretty to look at. But here are some of our favorite small details…and it’s the details that give a place character, right?

Some minty green french doors, with antique glass doorknobs.

Nails driven into one of the cross beams, who knows how long ago. They came with the place, we wouldn’t dare pull them out!

And, some green enamel light fixtures from Barnlight Electric. They’re perfect.

:: Carrie ::

 

New Studio Progress

It’s getting close. So close to being done.

The last I left you I think our new workspace had some interior walls framed, and they had begun spraying in the insulation. We’ve come a long way since then. Here’s a little peek at what has been going on…

We have an awesome new staircase.

When we first talked to our builder and told him what we envisioned for our new space we emphasized that we wanted to retain the character of the barn, but we also stressed that we are on a tight budget. He understood perfectly, and we have been amazed at his resourcefulness in finding amazing materials at a low price that are just what we need. We picked the right guy for the job, definitely. For the staircase, he found a local amish guy who cut these huge oak planks that might just be sturdy enough to hold up an elephant. It definitely means business, but it fits in perfectly with the architecture of the barn. We love it.

A couple of weeks were spent installing the panelling on the walls that covers up the insulation. It was a sawdusty mess for a while. Just imagine the loud grinding of the table saw and the buzz of the miter saw, set to the background music of Blake Shelton and all his country music friends blaring on the radio. And the guys yelling out measurements to one another over the sound of it all. A real construction workers environment.

One of the biggest surprises so far is how BEAUTIFUL the floors have turned out. We did nothing to replace any of the old existing floor – they simply fixed a few boards that were broken or seemed weak, and then they sanded the whole thing down a little bit. Then, they put a couple of coats of polyurethane over the whole thing, and it instantly brought out so much COLOR! I wish I had taken some better photos of the floor before, because it is a huge transformation. Also, I can’t believe that I can walk barefoot on those floors now. Unbelievable.

This past week they spent some time cleaning up the big beams and spraying them with a coat of sealer. Next week they will start installing the ceiling, and the painter is coming to begin painting the walls. Things are really going to feel close to being done when that happens. We are busy tracking down furniture for the new space, and picking out light fixtures, and fans, and faucets for the bathroom sink, and all of those things that go with building something new. Or, in this case, giving new life to something that is old.

We are hoping to be able to move in within the next few weeks. Hopefully. We also have the National Stationery Show coming up about two weeks from now, which means we are scrambling to get a bunch of new products finalized and get everything packed and shipped off to NYC. It’s definitely an exciting time!

:: Carrie ::

Studio Progress

How about a little update on our new studio? A few weeks ago I told you that we are expanding our workspace up into the loft of our old barn. It’s a big project, and that’s why we have hired a really great contractor and top notch carpenters to make it happen for us.

Here’s what has been going on so far…

First of all, they actually had to take out some of the old cross beams and raise them up a couple of feet so that we don’t hit our heads on them every time we walk under. They also framed a couple of interior walls, and put in all of the electrical wiring.

One of the biggest changes so far are the two big windows under the peak on both the north and south ends of the barn. We also put in four smaller windows on the west wall. Letting in all that light immediately changed the whole feel of the space. We LOVE it.

New meets old. We are keeping the original framework of the barn exposed because we like the old post and beam construction. Check out the wooden pegs holding it all together. And, some of the posts still have the bark from the tree that they were cut from over 100 years ago!

Last week the insulation guys came and did their job. We decided to go with the foam insulation that gets sprayed in and immediately expands and hardens. There are so many gaps and holes in the walls that it was obviously the best choice to keep this old building warm. Let me tell you, it gets WINDY out on the prairie, and we don’t want any of that cold air getting in.

We had some really nasty winter weather for a while that held things up for a bit, but things seem to be moving a lot faster now! By the end of the week we should have a new staircase so we can actually get to the loft without climbing a ladder. We thought that would be a nice touch.

It’s so much fun to watch it all change and start to become what we’ve been imagining. Slow and steady. We’ll be moving in before you know it.

:: Carrie ::

 

Onward and Upward

We’ve got some big news.

Our barn is in the process of getting some major upgrades. That’s right! The 1canoe2 studio space is expanding! We are so excited. So, so excited!

This is the barn where our print studio is currently located.

And this is our current workspace in the barn. If you have been following us for a while you know that a couple of years ago we moved our printing presses into this little studio space that my dad built for us here. It has been GREAT, and we love it. But, the other half of our business, where all of the packaging and shipping takes place, is currently located in Beth’s basement. It’s true, and yes, it is probably just how you imagine. We are BUSTING at the seams.

We’ve known for a while now that we needed to do something – to find more space – and to find a location where we could have all parts of our business in one place. We weighed several options, and thought really hard about exactly what we wanted and what we think we will need in the near future. We came to the conclusion that the barn where our presses are is really the perfect location for our entire business. It’s located almost exactly half way between Beth’s house and my house, and literally just down the road from where Karen lives. The only problem was that most of the barn was still exactly that – an old barn. But, also, it’s kind of a really awesome old barn, with a lot of potential.

The plan is to completely finish the entire barn loft for our offices and workspace, and to turn the unfinished half of the lower part of the barn into a warehouse type room for storage. We decided a while back that this is the route that we wanted to take, and we hired some builders, but construction didn’t start until last week. Things are moving now, and we cannot wait for it to be done!

Last week we poured fresh new concrete in our entryway…

and also in the remainder of the barn that still had a dirt floor.

Here’s the loft! It’s not much to look at right now, but we have big plans for this space. The barn itself is over 100 years old. Originally my great grandpa, and probably a generation or two before that, stored hay in this loft – floor to ceiling. My whole entire life the loft has been used as a storage space for lumber and other building materials for my dad’s woodworking projects. It’s been the home to many farm cats as well.

Back in December my Dad and I spent a day pulling all of that lumber out of the loft and taking it to another barn on the farm. I was really thankful on that day that I work out on a regular basis because, man, there were some really HUGE planks of walnut and oak up there, but I handled it just fine. I literally had never seen the entire floor before, so to see the whole space empty now is already a big change in my mind.

Right now it is pretty dark up there, but the plans include putting in some big windows to let in a lot of light.

And don’t you worry, those really awesome beams are going to be left exposed. We’re definitely keeping the character of the old barn – just updating it to our specifications.

The whole thing is a little overwhelming, but we couldn’t be more excited. I think it is going to be so amazing to see this barn take on a new life, and I’m really happy that we are doing something that is going to help preserve it for many years to come.

I’ll make sure to keep you updated as things progress!

:: Carrie ::

 

Making an Impression

This weekend I had some help tearing a little old shed down to it’s bare bones.

We stripped the boards off the outside walls, pulled out all the old rusty nails, threw the salvaged wood onto the back of the pickup truck, and took it home.

Why?  Well, we have big plans for this little shed.

1canoe2 is going to be an exhibitor at the New York International Gift Fair in New York City at the end of January.  We went to the Big Apple last May to take part in the National Stationery Show, which was a great experience for us.  We learned a ton.  But we decided that maybe we could find a better niche at the gift show, because we have more than just stationery to offer.

When we were there in May one of the big things we learned is how to really make an impression at a big trade show.  We saw some incredible booths where the exhibitors had put a huge amount of time into planning a display that showed off their product.  We took note.  We immediately had some big ideas of what we would to the next time.

Well, the next time is here.  We’re planning our set up for the gift show and that’s where this little shed comes in.  We’re using the salvaged boards to build the display walls for our booth.  So, why not just go buy some lumber?  Why go to the trouble of salvaging it from an old leaning-over little building?  Well, we decided that we want our potential wholesale buyers to really feel what 1canoe2 is all about.  We want it to  feel like they’re stepping into our studio when they come to visit us.  So, we’re using old weathered barn board.  And as my dad says, “you can’t buy this stuff.”

That’s the plan.  It’s exciting, and a little intimidating.

I’ll keep you updated on the progress.

:: Carrie ::

Holiday Barnwarming Market 2011

It’s that time of year again!  The Holiday season is upon us.  Come out to the barn for a day of local arts and handmade holiday shopping!

You’ll get to shop with some of our area’s best artisans! What better way to support your community than by giving unique handmade gifts? We hand-select local artisans to give you the best of the best when it comes to creativity and quality.

Details:

When: November 26th 2011(Saturday) from 9am-5 p.m.

Where: Shryock’s Big Red Barn (home of the Corn Maze) just 10 minutes East of Columbia.  Click here for directions.

Come finish (or start) your holiday shopping with fantastic local artists!

 

 

10 Years and Counting

10 Years ago my older brother, Mike, decided that we should cut a giant maze into one of our corn fields and open it to the public.  It sounded like a big undertaking, but we went with it.  We created a 14 acre maze, and we really had no idea if people would even want to come wander around in the corn field.  As it turns out, people LOVE it.  This year marks our 10th anniversary!

We’ve kind of created a monster.  The corn maze has become quite the fall attraction here in our little part of the world.  A typical Saturday in October can bring in more than 1500 people.  Yeah, that’s a lot.  Did I mention that things sure are busy around here in the fall?

Over the past 10 years we’ve created some pretty intricate maze designs.  You can see photos of all of them right  here.

This year, being our 10th anniversary we wanted to do something a little special.  It just so happens that another big milestone happened in our family this year as well – Grandma Shryock turned 90 years old!  Mike decided that we should surprise her by making this year’s maze in her honor.  And when I say surprise, I mean surprise.  We planned, and constructed the entire maze without revealing the design.  Then we had an ariel photographer fly over and snap a photo of the entire maze.  We said nothing about this to Grandma until we showed her the photograph at her birthday party.  She was pretty much speechless.  At first she thought it was a joke, but when she realized what we had done she said, “it’s awesome!”

Here is Grandma fishing this summer in our lake.  She was reeling them in left and right that day!

And here’s the photo of the corn maze.  Yep, that’s grandma’s face!

So, if you are in or around the mid Missouri area this fall come on by and see us.  We’ll be open on weekends until November 6th.  

We have pumpkins, and kettle corn (yum!) and hot cider and hot chocolate.

You can roast something over a fire.  May I suggest marshmallows?

You can definitely get lost in the maze for a couple of hours.  If you are brave enough, you can get lost in the maze for a couple of hours in the pitch black at night!

It’s fall on the farm…the best season of all!

:: Carrie ::

Moving Day

Today all of our presses made the trip down the road to our new work space!  It is quite a process to move one press, let alone three.  Luckily we have people with the brains and the equipment to get the job done!

The presses were transported one at a time on the back of a flatbed pickup truck.  The mile long trip down the gravel road didn’t take much time, but it is the loading and unloading that keep us all on edge.  Remember, we’re talking 2000 lb. hunks of cast iron machinery here.

Loading them up for their journey required a forklift, which we have on site.  How convenient!  There is no forklift to be seen, however, at the unloading site.  So, we used a tractor with a loader.

Tractors weren’t designed to transport printing presses.  At least I don’t think that is what they had in mind.  But we made it work.

This is when you hope that my brother, who is behind the controls of this monster machine, doesn’t accidentally hit the wrong lever and drop the press on the ground.

Luckily he didn’t.

Easy does it.

This is the universal signal for “a little to the left!”

Once we had the press on the ground just inside the barn we took it the rest of the way on a pallet jack.  Getting it off the pallet jack onto the floor is a whole other story.  It involves putting wooden blocks underneath the press and lots of phrases like “Carrie, will you stand on the corner here and balance the press so it doesn’t tip over?”  True story.

Everything made it inside safe and sound, but I can’t take you in just yet!  We still have a lot of work to do before we’re ready to actually start using our new space.  But, take a look at the beautiful doors! These doors originally came from the old farmhouse that used to be right here next to this barn.  It is the house that our family used to live in, up until I was about 6 years old, before my parents built the house that they live in now.  I remember these doors as the ones that separated the kitchen from the dining room.  They have fancy glass knobs, and they have been waiting up in the loft of the barn for the last couple of decades.  I’m glad we get to use them.

::Carrie::