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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

Rivercene

I don’t know how much you know about your family history, but the more I learn the more interested I become in knowing about my ancestors – where they came from, how they lived, and what their lives were like. I think one of the best things about being a part of an agricultural based family is that we are literally tied to the land, which has been passed down from generation to generation. It also means that I have a lot of family members from older generations that still live in the area – and they have lots of stories to tell. I love talking to my grandma about her growing up years, and thinking about how much our world has changed during her life time. She rode a horse to school as a kid and later had a job as a teacher in a one room schoolhouse. Now, at age 91, she sends me e-mails and keeps up with all of us on Facebook. Isn’t that crazy?

Last week I visited a big old house that is home to a whole lot of family history on my mom’s side of the family. My great great great grandpa was a steamboat captain. Captain Joseph Kinney. He ran a fleet of steamboats up and down the Missouri River, transporting goods, and was pretty good at it. In the 1860s, he and his wife, my great great great grandma Matilda, built a house on the north bank of the Missouri, just across the river from Boonville, and named it Rivercene.

It’s pretty grand. They held nothing back. The house is three stories, and a basement, and comes in at 12,000 square feet. It has 52 big walnut doors, most of which are ten feet tall, and eleven fireplaces. A few of the fireplaces have marble mantles, and there’s a big brick one in the kitchen. It makes me want to live in a house some day with a fireplace in the kitchen – it’s so cozy. The staircases are the best part, in my opinion. Three different sets of stairs – one big grand staircase in the entryway, a smaller one that zig-zags up the entire three stories to the attic rooms, and another spiral shaped one. Rivercene was passed down through the family for several generations, and up until the early 1990s was owned by my great aunt. She eventually sold it, but I remember going there as a little kid and feeling dwarfed by the size of the house. Lots of rooms and lots of staircases makes for lots of fun when you’re a kid. It’s a hide and seek player’s dream.

The current owners of the house have opened it to the public as a bed and breakfast, and over the Christmas holiday they invited those of us in the family to come spend some time there. They have been working on restoring it back to the way it was originally built – or as close as they can get. It’s still a work in progress, but the best part is that they have also been doing tons and tons of research on the house, and on Captain Kinney and his family, and learning as much as they can about stories and events that happened there.

I’ve always known Rivercene as a part of the family history, but never knew many details. Here are some interesting things we found out…

*  Captain Kinney gave Matilda a budget of $50,000 to build the house. The actual construction cost a little over $24,000, and the rest was spent on furnishing and decorating it.
*  Everyone in Booneville called Rivercene “Kinney’s Folly” because he built right on the bank in the river bottom, which was likely to flood. The house never flooded – not until the big flood in 1993 – 130 years later.
* One of my ancestors, Matilda’s uncle, signed the Declaration of Independence. This kind of blew my mind. His name is Abra Clark. Check the document…he’s there.
*  George Caleb Bingham painted portraits of the Kinneys. There are a couple of small reproductions at Rivercene, but the originals are hanging in a bank somewhere in Kansas City. I might have to go see those sometime.

My Grandpa always said “you don’t want to dig too deep into the family tree, you never know what you might find.” I guess maybe he knew something that we don’t know about! I’m not sure, but it’s a lot of fun to have a place like this to visit.

If you’re in the Boonville area (about 20 minutes west of Columbia, MO) and want to spend a night or two at Rivercene, it is located just across the Missouri River bridge on the north side of the river between Boonville and New Franklin, Missouri.

:: Carrie ::

A Helping Hand

We may have been the operators of a small sweatshop today.

Next week we are scheduled to ship out a huge order to one of our favorite retailers, and we needed some help.  The work wasn’t very exciting, but we asked some of our family members if they’d want to lend us a hand in getting everything packed up and ready to go.  And of course, they said “Yes!” “Sure, no problem!” “You betcha!”  So, today, eleven of us spent about seven hours tying up bundles of recipe cards, and placing barcode stickers on the backs of lots and lots of notepads.  Yeah, I told you it was a huge order.

A big THANK YOU goes out to everyone who pitched in today!  We appreciate your help SO MUCH!  We couldn’t have done it without you. Well, I guess we could have, but we might have had to pull a couple of all nighters, and that wouldn’t have been pretty.  Or nearly as much fun.

I know we’ve said before that we have some great families.  But really, our families are just the best.

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 ::

A new space to call our own

We’ve got some exciting news!

1canoe2 is getting a new workspace!

How did this all happen?  Well, let me tell you.  A couple of years ago, Beth and I got this crazy idea to buy an old Chandler & Price letterpress that weighs a ton.  Literally.  Before we made the trip to Iowa to pick it up we thought we should probably figure out a place for it to reside once we got our hands on it.  We knew putting it in either of our own houses was not an option.  And neither of us have garages.  So I called my dad and we had a conversation that went something like this…

Me:  Hey Dad, Beth and I are buying an antique letterpress.  It weighs about 2000 pounds, is made of cast iron, and we don’t really know how to use it yet.  But we’re going to try.  Can we put it in your barn?

Dad:  Sure!  And, we’ll just use the forklift to move it around, and you can use any our tools, and yeah, go ahead and take over the front room.  We’ll just work around your stuff.

And that is kind of what happened.  We moved right in.  Then the fall season came around.  In my family, fall means harvest time, but it also means corn maze time.  For the last 10 years we have created a maze in our corn field and it has become a fairly large attraction in our area.  People love the maze!

Our little print shop was not a part of the corn maze business plan, so we got moved out.  Moved down the road actually, to my parents garage.  For about three months.

You can see in this picture we’ve gained another press.  And, a guillotine style paper cutter, which isn’t small either.  Printing continued, seamlessly.

After moving back to the barn we acquired yet another press, a Kluge with automatic feed.  This operation is getting serious!

Then my dad and I had another conversation that went something like this…

Dad: Carrie, corn maze season is coming up again before too long.  We’re going to have to find a more permanent place for you girls to go.

Shoot.  We’ve finally worn out our welcome, we’re getting kicked out!

Dad:  I was thinking, we could pour some concrete in the barn by the house, and we could build you your own room.  We could put all your presses and equipment in there, and you girls could just use that room how ever you want.

Me:  Seriously?!  Um…okay!

So that is how this all happened.  See, we told you we have GREAT DADS!!!

This is the barn that we will be moving into soon.  It’s the real deal.  It is probably around 100 years old, but in great shape.  I grew up playing in and around this barn.  It seemed like I was always climbing up into the loft looking for our cats and their litters of kittens.

Here is a shot of early progress.  Concrete has been poured over the dirt floor where our studio will be, and the walls are starting to take shape.

 

How lucky are we?!  The support and encouragement we get from our families is unbelievable.  We’ve got big plans for this room, and we have already rounded up some new furniture to help in organizing the space.  We are extremely excited to move in, hopefully not too many weeks from now!

Don’t worry, we’ll keep you posted.

:: Carrie ::

The Weddin' Season is a Comin'

It’s that time of the year.  Spring weddings are right around the corner, and preparations are being made.  We’ve printed our share of wedding invitations, and it is always nice to be able to help out on someone’s big day!

This time it is extra special.  Some wedding invitations for a cousin that is near and dear to the heart, but far away on the map.  Thank goodness she’s comin’ home to Missouri to tie the knot.

Carrie