This month 1canoe2 will celebrate its second annual Worksgiving, a day to share a meal and share what we’re thankful for before we go our separate ways for family Thanksgivings.

   At the heart of this 1canoe2 tradition is Amy, our Production and Inventory Manager.  She’s small but mighty, and she loves to gather people together and celebrate the important things in life.  Last year’s first annual Worksgiving was a result of her labor of love; Amy cooked all of the food and treated us to a feast.  Her gourmet spread is still mouthwatering a year later: lemon and herb chicken, sausage, wild rice and cranberry stuffed acorn squash, homemade rolls and strawberry jam, pear and blue cheese salad with balsamic vinaigrette, and pumpkin bars with cream cheese icing.

   We filled our plates and sat elbow to elbow, enjoying the food and conversation. Over dessert each person was asked to share something he or she was thankful for with the team.  During that time we cheered for one another, laughed with one another, cried tears of joy and gave hugs to those facing a challenging season ahead.  What began as a somewhat cliché Thanksgiving question became a sincere time of sharing that brought us all closer together.

   Worksgiving taught us that traditions in the workplace are just as important as family traditions, rites of passage that move us forward as an organization.  The time we spend connecting face to face and being thankful for our business and the people who make it work is just as important as the weekly staff meetings, creative meetings, and operations meetings, maybe even more so. 

   We hope that in the busyness of this time of the year that you make time to break from your work to appreciate those who work with and for you.  We'd love to hear what your workplace traditions are and how you work to build a strong, supportive work community.  In the meantime, we’ll be working on pulling out our best recipes so that we can all pitch in for this year's Worksgiving meal!  Sweet potato casserole anyone?

:: Karen ::


Pumpkin-Spice Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting from Betty Crocker

When my mother-in-law suggested a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains for our bi-annual BIG FAMILY VACATION, I have to admit that I met the idea with only luke-warm enthusiasm. Not because I have an aversion to the mountains, but because I’m one of those people who’s not a big fan of the summer heat unless I’m in or near the water. A trip to the steamy, tropical-like forests of Tennessee—with no ocean in sight—wasn’t exactly top on my list. To my delight, however, I was never so happy that I stepped outside my comfort zone.

As we entered the foothills of The Smokies, excitement began to mount. Text messages were flying back-and-forth from car to car (there were four in our caravan!). “How much longer? What are we going to do first? What will the cabin look like?…”

All of us were to share one cabin the entire week. You could say it was like the The Great Outdoors meets National Lampoon’s Vacation (mind you I was very young when these movies were released, but they provide a great visual for those who have seen these 80’s classics). Our cabin boomed with the sounds of young children running, playing, and bickering, along with the adults letting loose a little or scurrying about the cabin in preparation for the day’s adventures. All-in-all, the mountains proved to be a great place to vacation with extended family, because by the end of Day 2 some may need a little more than just their own room or corner of the house to retreat to when someone or something starts grinding on their nerves. I mean, colossal log cabins with private resort-like swimming pools are great, but what’s greater is having a vast mountain range to fulfill your need for space.

I had just two stipulations for our trip to Pigeon Forge: 1) we must go white water rafting, which had always been on my bucket list, and 2) to actually step foot into the mountains, preferably hiking a trail. I’m happy to report that we checked both off of the list, along with many other firsts.

On the docket for Day 3 was white water rafting. We were all a little nervous, but equally excited. Crazy Carl was our guide, and with his cascading brown beard, he embodied a young and free-spirited mountain man. It just made the outing that much more authentic in our touristy opinion.

After a very quick crash course in synchronized paddling, we set off—navigating rapids ranging from Level 1-3. Just baby rapids, really, but we were so proud of our young girls for being brave and meeting every rapid with a smile and let’s-do-it-again attitude. It was thrilling for the adults, so I can only imagine what the experience was like for an eight- and five-year-old. As we approached the bank at the end of our float, I just knew this would be one of my favorite family memories of all time, and I highly recommend this to all families. This segment of our vacation even ended up being the subject of my daughter’s third grade journal.

When the day finally came for our little family (just myself, husband and two girls) to venture into the mountains for our much-anticipated hike, it was hot. And it was humid. But it was also an excursion that we’ll never forget.

We began our journey by hopping on the Roaring Fork Motor Trail from Gatlinburg. The mountains were heavenly. From afar, it was a mystical scene the way the moisture wafted from the treetops, seriously looking like continuous puffs of smoke (imagine that). And inside the forest was just as breathtaking—but almost eerie. The moisture from the trees created a fog-like screen all around us. We were literally in the clouds.

Our target was Grotto Falls, the pinnacle of the family-friendly 2.5 mile hike on the Trillium Gap Trail. And it delivered. The hike was challenging at times but manageable, and the trail was alive with salamanders, frogs, squirrels, and other wildlife. We even encountered a black bear (at which point we circled back to another trail head)! When we finally reached the waterfall, it was so beautiful and refreshing; my iPhone pictures just don’t do it justice.

One of the other jewels we stumbled upon as we slowly made our way out of the mountains in our car was a small general store fashioned from an old water mill. Inside was a treasure trove. Here we purchased our authentic souvenirs, which were nothing you could find in the shops that dotted tourist alley. The cozy shop was stocked with hand-crafted, artisan pieces: wood carvings, paintings, jewelry, soaps, jams, spices, and more. Just my kind of shop, because when I’m on vacation, I always make a point to purchase a one-of-a-kind keepsake made by a local artist. We even took home a colorful children’s book The Great Smoky Mountain Salamander Ball, which was written and illustrated by native Lisa Horstman.

The remainder of the trip was chalked full of tourist attractions, some worth the money but most of them not. We took a few spins on an alpine coaster, oooh’d and ahhh’d our way through Ripley’s Aquarium (totally worth it), shopped and played at The Island, and shut down Dollywood. Still, our favorite experience was the one nature provided for free.

If you aspire to venture off the well-worn tourist path and appreciate the beauty nature provides, be sure to plan a hike during your trip to The Smokies. There’s just no substitute for immersing yourself into the wilderness and awakening your senses with the sights, sounds, and smells of the forest. A trip to the mountains without an authentic mountain experience would be one to regret.

All-in-all, not quite a Griswold family vacation, but it had its moments. Certainly one to put in the photo books.

:: Crystal ::

Today, boys and girls, we have a little lesson about bunting. Or bannering, or flappering, or whatever you want to call these things. It's so simple you could probably figure it out, but a little prodding goes a long way toward actual production. In fact, I think those words have similar etymology. Anyway.

1> Cut yourself a cardboard template. I used a 45 degree angle on my ruler, but you could use a rectangle, star, scallop or just any old shape.

2> Assemble lots of lovely fabrics from your shameful but glorious stash of lovely fabrics. It might work well to use a charm pack precut here.

3> Use a rotary cutter (I love the blades with specialty edges) and cut out, oh, I don't know, hundreds of triangles, or hearts or whatever you're flapperizing.

4> Out of a coordinating fabric, make yourself yards upon yards of bias tape. Don't know how? It's so simple:

  1. a) Figure out how wide you want the fabric ribbon to end up being. I chose 1/2 inch in this case. Don't freak, but here comes some math --- multiply by 4.
  2. b) Cut however much you need -- 10 or 15 feet worth should be plenty. In my case I cut 30 feet worth of 2 inch strips by width of fabric (remember the math?) I sewed the seams together before ironing.
  3. c) Go to the ironing board and fold the sides of the fabric in to meet at the center folding line. AKA fold 1/2 inch in on each side.
  4. d) Fold the folded edges together so you now have a 1/2 inch ribbon with no raw edges.

**side note: you can buy a little tool to help you make bias tape, but I think it’s faster with the basic manual folding.

5> Take your shapes out and tuck the top edge into the fold of the bias tape you just made.

6> Sew endless zig-zag or other decorative stitches down the length of the bias, tucking in your shapies as you go along. No pinning or basting or other non-sense. And since you're leaving the edges raw, it doesn't have to be perfect. It will do just fine when hanging from your picnic table or over the birthday cake, or wherever you choose to festivigate.

By the way, if you're curious about the fabric I used, check out our new collection called Tucker Prairie!

Happy sewing!

:: Beth::

As a creative person, it’s so important to take time to recharge the source of your energy and inspiration. For a couple of years now, I’ve been seeing some of the creative entrepreneurs I admire most going to and posting about Inspired Retreat. After living vicariously through Instagram, and meeting the incredible Amber Housley at the National Stationery Show a couple of years ago, I finally got up the courage to reach out to her and send her a proposal to speak at the 2015 Fall Inspired.

Photo credit: Sarah Frenzel

Inspired is all about creative women entrepreneurs gathering together to learn, listen, and encourage one another. I learned so much from the sessions with amazing women, but I learned so much more from chatting with my dinner partners, roommates, and while hiking to a huge waterfall in the middle of a glorious Tennessee Autumn.

Amber took good care of us, including styling every meal with beautiful tablescapes. I came home with so much swag from washi tape to new socks to inspirational mugs, coozies, and art prints.

We also had some hands-on activities like flower crown making (!!) and a late-night planner session with the incredible Christy Tomlinson.

Photo credit: Sarah Frenzel

I spoke about a topic close to my heart: hiring. One of my closest held beliefs about running a business is that people make all the difference. At 1canoe2, we have an absolutely incredible team of people who make the business GO. It’s truly my proudest accomplishment to have selected and developed a team of people who require very little micro-management, and who continue to achieve great things everyday in the name of 1canoe2. It’s also a huge responsibility to manage them in a helpful, not authoritarian way, and to make sure when adding other team members that I don’t introduce someone to the mix that will make trouble. So I talked about that and had great conversation with some of the folks in that session.

Photo credit:
Sarah Frenzel

Aside from the immense about of positive energy going around amongst these amazing ladies, the retreat was chock full of content, from encouragement sessions with Heather Crabtree and Leah Remillet to technical info like photo styling with the amazing Kim Stoegbauer (also my roomie!) and Periscope lessons with Cathy Olson.

Photo credit: Sarah Frenzel

I think the most meaningful thing I left with is this: no matter if you are an enterprise of one, sewing tote bags in your dining room, or you have 70 employees, we all have something to share with one another, and we’re all in the struggle together. What an amazing feeling!

On the last full day of the retreat, Amber handed us posterboard and big markers, and asked us to write a love note of sorts to our younger selves. What would you like to tell yourself 5 years ago to help smooth out the journey from starting out to success?  Here’s a video with some words of advice for all you out there trying to get your creative self to shine. Take a look at this quick clip:

Video Credit: Nicole V. Cole

:: Beth ::

What a great time of year! Fall seems like a time for fresh starts, at least it does here in our part of the world. It’s a time of sweet relief from the summer heat and humidity. The crisp cool air and the bright colors of the changing leaves seems to bring a sense of energy. How perfect of a time then, to start fresh with a new blog!

Isn’t it great when you come across a book, or a place, or a person that just opens your eyes up to something that you never were aware of before? Something that is new and interesting and makes you think? Something that you really connect with? We love moments like that, and we hope that our new blog is a place where you can find some of those experiences! 

What can you expect to find here? We will be sharing pieces and parts of where we live in central Missouri. We will be bringing you things that we think are beautiful and meaningful. We will be talking about our influences, our discoveries, and the things that are shaping our world. Each of our posts will fall into one of six categories. These six different topics will help guide our thoughts:

Where do your ideas come from? What kinds of things influence you? We get these questions all the time! This is the place where we will attempt to answer those questions. The creative process is deep and complicated, often frustrating, but so beautiful!

We love to get out and see the world! From walks on local trails to trips to the other side of the globe, this is where we will tell you about places that we have explored, and maybe give you some ideas for things that you should get out and see!

There are so many important people who help make what we do possible! We have a great team and we want to tell you about how awesome they are! Here you can find features on our staff team, shops and shop owners who sell our products, and maybe even our trusty mailman who works tirelessly to get you your packages. 

What an adventure it is to run a business! We don’t claim to be experts, but gosh, we have learned a lot along the way so far. This is where we will share thoughts and tips from our experiences in growing and running a creative business. 

We are a crafty bunch, so expect some creative and fun tutorials! How should you be using that 1canoe2 designed fabric? What is a great recipe for blueberry pie? How can I re-use my XL calendar when the year is over? Be on the lookout for some great ideas from our creative team!

This is exactly what is sounds like - delicious things to look at! We are always pulling out the camera to snap shots of things and places that catch our eye. Artwork in progress. Pretty wildflowers growing on the roadside. The beautiful and sometimes overlooked parts of life.

Welcome! We’re glad you are here! We’re excited to get started, and we hope you come back often to visit and see what we have to share!

:: 1canoe2 Crew ::

P.S. If you’re looking for an old blog post, don’t worry! They’re still there. We have them all stashed away in our blog archive.