Sometimes the best talks I have with my daughter are in the car when I can press her a little harder about what happened at school. Instead of “oh nothing”, I get, “today at recess we talked about habitats of big cats and then played big cats which involves chasing a few of our friends.”  And sometimes the best snuggles with my son are had in between putting on socks and shoes before we leave the house. I can breathe in his smell and give him a few extra squeezes that I hope will last him (and me) through the day.

Parents get their quality time in odd places: on the way to tae kwon do or dance rehearsal, and in between swim meets; or in routine activities like watching the sunset on the porch, brushing our teeth, and cuddling during bedtime stories. And while we try to make the most of it, time is a precious commodity - there never seems to be enough of it.

We feel pulled in every direction, we have a huge list of things to do, and the laundry is never completely done. A few too many days can go by and it gets harder to remember the last time baths were taken and rooms were tidied up. I feel lucky when I’ve managed to help them with homework, feed them, check in about their days, and get them bundled up for bed & tucked in until morning.

I wish I could push pause to savor this time with them while they still want to hold my hand (and not just while crossing the street). Without a pause button at the ready, however, I find myself trying to slow down and be more intentional with our time together. Whether it’s throwing rocks in a creek, baking muffins, or painting and doodling, we’ve found a few rituals that keep us grounded as a family, when I can slow down and notice how time moves around and over us.

I’ve always tried to encourage my kids’ creativity but I like to keep it simple - a couple of brushes, a cup of water, some watercolors, and paper. I love seeing how their decision making has changed over the years - how they place colors on the paper, their facility for the medium, and the pride they feel in the final product. The paintings we’ve made together become the records of this intentional time, as if they are markers on a growth chart, but instead of inches grown they track the time spent together.

I recently visited some of my friends and took some of our 1canoe2 watercolor sets and art prints with me. As they painted with their kiddos and I took photos, we talked about motherhood and some of the struggles and triumphs we experience every day. We talked about Mother’s Day and how they typically spend it: brunch, a bike ride, time together.  Eventually, I faded into the background as they settled into being with each other. I got to witness the love and patience on all sides, as they worked together to create something special, a record of their experience.

And when the painting on traditional surfaces was over some of the kids experimented with painting on alternative things like hands and feet. But if there’s one thing we’ve learned while parenting it’s how to go with the flow.

If time means growing up, then let it happen, but be present, slow down, and try to keep a record of those meaningful experiences. And if you choose to make art, the 1canoe2 watercolor set is a great way to start.

:: Kelsey :: 

In honor of Mother's Day, we'd love to hear about your unexpected moments and rituals that make time stand still. What are your most treasured traditions that you share with your kids? Or that you share with your own mother!

Mark your calendars, because the 2016 Annual Everyone Loves Pie Contest is here! 

For anyone new to our 1canoe2 family, every year we host a contest all about pies and prizes! We ask you to bake a yummy pie, take a cute photo of it (presentation does count!), and show it to us via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using the hashtag #1canoe2lovespie.

From there, it's totally up to you! Vote for your favorite pie on the 1canoe2 Facebook page and the pie with the most votes will win a 2017 XL Dwellings Calendar plus 3 butterfly prints! Second and third places will snag a 2017 Great Adventures Calendar and an Eggs and Milk Tea Towel Set.

For inspiration, check out some tried and true recipes on our Pinterest board! We have over 52 recipes waiting to be tasted. Here are two of our favorites: 

Blue Goose Pie

Blackberry Raspberry Lattice Top Pie

blackberry raspberry

Odds are, once you start baking, you won't be able to stop! We can't wait to see what you come up with. The very first year we held this contest, a smashed, splattered, and upside down pumpkin pie was only votes away from taking first place. Anything can happen...and that's the fun of it! So if you're up for the challenge, here are all the details you need to know!

Contest Dates: November 23–November 30

How to enter:
1 ::  Bake a scrumptious pie
2 :: Upload your pie photo to the 1canoe2 Facebook page or post to your Instagram or Twitter. Just caption the photo with the recipe name and hashtag #1canoe2lovespie
3 :: Vote for your pie on the 1canoe2 Facebook page, then share so your friends can vote for you, too!
4 :: The pie with the most votes wins!

1st Place: 2017 XL Dwellings + 3 Butterfly Art Prints (Any 3 butterfly prints of your choosing, unframed)
2nd and 3rd Place: 2017 Great Adventures Wall Calendar + Eggs and Milk Tea Towel Set

Have a great time baking and a wonderful holiday. And don't forget–if you're hosting friends or family, be sure to check out our free holiday place cards to put the finishing touch on your table setting!

:: Claire the Intern ::

If there's one thing that is true about 1canoe2, it's this: we are makers. From the friendship bracelet business I started in my 4th grade desk to the vintage letterpress obsession that eventually became 1canoe2, I've always thought of business as a means to make more money for art supplies. So what could be better than a partnership with another great crafting company, American Crafts?

We've been working really hard on a top secret project. I'm not great at keeping secrets. I'M SORRY. But we have successfully kept this pretty hush hush. 

Deep breath, here it goes: We have created an entire line of crafting supplies! Including washi tape, stickers, custom paper clips, scrapbook paper, and more! It's called Hazelwood, and you'll be able to get it straight from us online, in several big crafting chains, and in your local scrapbook shop!

Here's the eye candy you've been waiting for: 

Scrapbook papers of all kinds, including this incredible wood veneer with laser etching.


Did we mention washi tape? 

This smart little journal which has pockets, a place for you pencil, and a fancy gold elastic band.

Thickers and stickers galore!

Paper clips to help you keep it together:


One of my favorite components to the set are these alphabet stamps which come in a plastic mason jar.

And this date stamp!!


These goodies will be available on our website in early December, so keep an eye out! We also have another big announcement coming in December about another DIY kit. And let's just say this: it's out of this WORLD.  Stay tuned!

:: Beth ::

{Without You Spots | Featured in the Pen Pal Collection!}

When’s the last time you sent someone a letter? Not an email or a sticky note pressed onto their door – I’m talking about good, old-fashioned snail mail. Do you remember how it feels to pick it out, wield your favorite pen, and to pour your thoughts into that card? Unlike electronic communication, the limited space makes each word precious, and when you pull that long-awaited response out of the mailbox, nothing feels better than seeing your loved one’s familiar handwriting spelling out your name.

When you take the time to participate in a written conversation, you start an ongoing relationship that no email chain can replace. Here at 1canoe2, we miss that tangible exchange, and we want to bring it back! Here’s the game plan: 

  1. Pick a pen pal. It can be your grandma, your best friend, or someone you’ve lost touch with – it’s completely up to you.
  2. Break out your favorite card. Write your pal at least once each month. We will send out a prompt every month for inspiration, but you’re more than welcome to start a different conversation!
  3. Share your wisdom. Is there a line in the letter that just speaks to you? Or maybe the envelope is too pretty to keep to yourself? We’d like to see! Tag your favorite pen pal moments on social media with #1c2penpal and we’ll do the same. You may just get some free swag out of the deal ;)

{Bushel and a Peck}

If you’re feeling stressed, don’t be! We’ve got you covered with five easy tips to handwriting letters, brought to you by an honorary 1canoe2er, Whitney. She's pretty much the best, and she gives stellar advice on how to love others with a full heart. In fact, Whitney is the pen pal of our Creative Marketing Director, Haley!

Ready to get going?! Here’s your first prompt: Pick a pen pal and write them a catch-up note to get yourself started. Fill them in on the pen pal details, or just direct them here to get them up to speed. And guess can even choose US as your pen pal! Send the 1canoe2 crew some love and we'll do our best to answer your letters. You can send mail to:

1canoe2 Pen Pal
413 Court Street
Fulton, MO 65251

Now I know what you’re thinking… you’re gonna need some new cards! Well, my friend, you are in luck! Use the code 1C2PENPAL to get 10% off the Pen Pal Collection.

Thanks for joining in the pen pal movement!

:: Claire the Intern ::

A month before my 30th birthday, I started feeling anxious about how I would spend such a milestone of a day. Despite my long history of disliking my birthday (cue ‘its my party and I’ll cry if I want to’), I wanted to focus on the truly great people I’ve been blessed enough to be surrounded with. Quickly, I found myself online booking a cabin in the woods for the weekend of my birthday. I wanted a place that I could retreat to with the people that make life so wonderful. I found a little place 45 minutes away, booked it and started inviting all my people.

As the weekend approached, I was packing up and feeling giddy that I got to spend my birthday this way. I started thinking about how I could create a visual reminder of the weekend and decided to put together a little collaborative art project for everyone to work on while we were at the cabin. The brainstorming began and I started thumbing through an old coloring book of famous artworks that I bought while I was in college. I found a piece I loved by a great folk artist named Grandma Moses and decided to do something with it. I’ve always been drawn to her work and she created most of her pieces late in life. There’s something so hopeful about that and I hope I can still be creating that long!

So, I enlarged the page and cut it up into thirty pieces. I took a stack of the pieces with me to the cabin with some art supplies and had the gals work on them while we chatted and ate (and ate and ate). The rest of the pieces I brought home with me and I stuck them in the mail to friends and family that couldn’t be there. Checking the mail became pretty exciting as the pieces started to return. Each piece had such personality. I’ve got some artistically talented friends who used beautiful drawing techniques and then I’ve got some who rolled their eyes at the thought of coloring and had to be begged to complete a piece. But each one turned out great.

I eagerly waited to assemble all the pieces until I got the very last one. The final product makes me a sentimental mess. It’s a quilted version of the people that make life good. I don’t deserve to have these thirty people along for the ride, but I’m so grateful for them and I’m hoping this artwork will help me remember that on a regular basis.

:: Liz ::

When was the last time you were in your element, completely confident, aware, rising to the challenges facing you, and finding happiness because of it? Maybe you find it happening while you are baking, onstage collaborating with musicians to make harmonious music or, it could even be during the last half-mile of your 10k. Positive psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has given a name for this objective condition: "Flow."

Positive psychologists study patterns of behavior that allow a community and individuals to achieve a fulfilled life. Csikszentmihalyi discovered people find genuine satisfaction during Flow, an “optimal experience” in which the individual feels “strong, alert, in effortless control, unselfconscious, and at the peak of their abilities, characteristics that are often linked to creativity. Csikszentmihalyi believed an individual’s best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile, and while doing so, training us to become more creative.  Csikszentmihalyi suggests those who are regularly in a state of Flow develop positive traits, such as high concentration, improved coping skills, and higher self-esteem.

You may be wondering, “That sounds great, but how do I find my Flow?” 

Fear not, here are some tips:

  • Find a challenge. Choose something that you enjoy doing. It can be anything, whether it’s playing the piano, working on your novel, skiing, horseback riding, playing golf, and so on.
  • Develop your skills in order to be able to meet the challenge. Remember that if something is too easy you will be bored (Think Michael Jordan practicing layups)–and your mind is likely to wander you won’t achieve the flow state, and if something is too hard (Think sewing a dress with no previous knowledge of sewing) you will be overwhelmed and won’t be able to achieve the flow state either.
  • Set clear goals. You want to be very clear on what you want to achieve and how you’ll know whether you’re succeeding. Here’s an example: “I’m going to learn how to play soccer.  I’ll know that I’m succeeding if I can demonstrate fundamentals skills as well understand the rules of the game.
  • Focus on the task at hand. Eliminate all distractions; if your concentration is broken you’re going to exit the state of flow.

Csikszentmihalyi suggests that in order to achieve a flow state, a balance must be struck between the challenge of the task and the skill of the performer. You measure how challenging the activity is versus your level of skill at that particular task. For example, I have never played golf; I will not experience Flow the first time I swing a club. On the other hand, I have studied music since a young age, spending countless hours performing and learning music; therefore I should (And do) experience Flow when tackling a new piece of music. Finding “The sweet spot”, where the level of challenge is high and the skills that you have to meet that challenge are also high, is the point in which you enter the flow state.

Everyone can experience Flow, a state in which we can enjoy the challenge and appreciate the processes necessary to rise to the occasion consistently and become fulfilled.

So, what’s yours?

:: Angela :: Csikszentmihalyi's TED talk on Flow right here.

Handwritten notes are just that: hand-written. They are valuable, they are personal, they are penned not only from your mind but from your very fingertips. A written note is unique and beautiful, creative and concise, and, therefore, more dense than a rambling email or a sprawling text message conversation. Also, space is generally limited on a cut piece of paper which causes one to be more intentional, with at least some forethought required. And finally, they allow (notice I used the word "allow" and not "make" or "force") us to practice our patience; snail mail is exactly as it sounds compared to the instant gratification we've become accustomed to with our beloved SEND button. I'm not saying that there isn't anything good about email, a text message, or a Facebook comment. I am simply saying that all these things have their place and purpose, and that the hand-scribed note is a precious point of contact that needs not be updated, outdated, or replaced. 
My mother-in-law has been sending us letters since my husband and I got married about four years ago. She is by far our most consistent and devoted mail sender, and oftentimes we have another letter in the mail box before we've opened the last. She writes us just to write, to tell us about daily tasks, a trip or some exciting sibling news, to give us a weather update, or to inform us of upcoming holiday plans. I am so grateful because she is faithful without any expectation of reply. I have saved my favorite letters from her - ones that tell of a landmark accomplishment in the family or ones that tell of no accomplishment at all, but give a sweet glimpse into her everyday life. It is a joy to read them now, over dinner or curled up in bed before we fall asleep, but I think the joy will only multiply as time passes. I'm so thankful to have documentation, penned from her hand, of life from her unique perspective. 
There is a sweet woman at my church named Diane. At some point Diane felt called to write a birthday card, every year on each birthday, for all the people she knows in our congregation - and it's not a small congregation. I'm not sure when this started or with how many people, but I have a feeling it's been many years. She's very humble about the whole thing and can be seen weekly, quietly walking around the sanctuary before and after church, often with a stack of cards multiple inches thick, looking for the recipients. Occasionally Diane's card is met with extra thankfulness because it is the only card that some people receive on their birthday. The cards always include an encouraging handwritten note and a bible verse, and no matter what specific words she uses, they all declare "You are important, you matter, you are special, and I am thankful that you were born." Words of truth that we all need to hear and know in a mighty way. 

I know what you're thinking... "I don't have time to send handwritten notes. They are so sloooow." Now, hold on just one hot second, not all things that are slow are bad. Sloths, for example, are extremely slow and extremely cute, and probably very important to the planet in some major way. School zones - let's be honest, safety is an excellent thing, especially when involving children. The dickens, whatever that means, is potentially a good thing. But for real, SLOW DOWN PEOPLE! Things like sweet friendships, delicious wine, and glaciers (yes, glaciers - this is what happens when I recruit my geology-loving husband to the brainstorming session) don't happen overnight, or in an instant for that matter. So I say, take 10 minutes, sit down at your kitchen table and write a little note to someone you love. Address it, lick the envelope, and drop it in your real, post cemented in the ground, have to go outside to the outside, mailbox. I promise, your heart will fill with joy as you write it - it's nearly impossible to avoid joy when practicing gratefulness and encouragement - and it will be a sweet and lovely gift for the one who receives it. It doesn't need to be perfect, and it doesn't even need to be a special occasion. Maybe it's even better if it's not.

Five Tips For Sending Handwritten Notes

1. It doesn't need to be perfect.

Anything you write is lovely. Don't stress out about your handwriting, about if the card is perfect for the occasion, or about if you have to cross a typo out. People will look past all of that in their joy and excitement of receiving your note. 

2. Don't expect a reply.

If you don't hear back from the recipient of your note, it probably didn't get lost in the mail. Most likely, they did indeed receive it and they did indeed love opening it. It's okay to leave it at knowing that you were given the gift of encouraging someone. Don't let a lack of reply stop you from writing other notes. 

3. Do it right away.

I often have really great intentions of writing someone a note, I get the idea at a random moment in my day and think, "I'll do that a little later," and then it slips out of my brain and I never seem to find an opportune time later to actually do it. Here's my suggestion (and something I'm trying to get better at), do it right away. The moment that little idea pops into your head - quick! Grab the nearest note card, greeting card, or scrap of paper, and write down that little bit of love. It really doesn't take that long, don't trick yourself into thinking it does. You can even address and stamp the envelope later if you need to. 

4. Have fun with the envelope.

Use a fun pen, get some colorful tape, google "hand lettered address" and give it a go. This will make that sweet "Oh!! I got a letter!" moment at the mailbox even more fun. Although, if you're feeling particularly void of creativity, don't worry about it. One of my favorite quotes from Elizabeth Gilbert is, "Done is better than good." 

5. It doesn't have to be a novel.

I know, I know, you're using a whole stamp!!! It's OK, really. I promise. A simple and short note is a gift to someone and it's much more likely to get done. If you intend on writing a lengthy update, for most of us, the anticipation of having to set that much time aside will prevent us from making it happen. If you can do it, good for you, but don't be afraid to jot down just a few sweet sentences and send it off.

:: Whitney :: 

**Many thanks to our wonderful guest blogger! Whitney is a former 1canoe2 crew member, but she remains (and will always remain) near and dear to our hearts!

Nothing opens my mind and heightens my senses quite like a good book. I love the entire experience of reading — from going to the library, to browsing endless shelves of lovingly worn books, to finding the perfect one and cracking it open. (Yes, I still go to the library. In fact, I’ve been known to give my coworkers a little flack about actually buying books. Who wants to store all of those?! And Goodness help you if you move houses. boxes are heavy. Think about it.) Anyway, the point is: while I read dozens of books each year, I only own a handful. They are my absolute favorite books that I flip through time and time again. If you’re a read-a-holic like me, check out the list below. You just may find a new addition to your own collection!

The Forest Feast (Erin Gleeson) | First up is The Forest Feast by Erin Gleeson. This is a vegetarian cookbook but I’ve admittedly only made two recipes so far. The real reason this book is a permanent fixture beside my bed is because it is BEAUTIFUL. Each page is a mixture of gorgeously styled photos, watercolor illustrations and hand-drawn lettering. It serves me more as an artist look book than anything else.

With that being said, I do have to mention that both of the recipes that I tried were delicious. Erin’s recipes are short, sweet and super easy to follow! For a non-vegetarian like myself, it looks like it’s going to be a great guide to help me get creative with my vegetables.

Typography Sketchbooks (Steven Heller) | This hefty book is completely filled with hand-drawn typography, something that I can’t get enough of. The book is basically snapshots from a variety of artists’ sketchbooks, each with a different approach to mapping their letters. Some measure out each curve while others go for the "wing it" approach (my personal favorite). Flipping through these pages is a great source of inspiration if you’re thinking up your own typeface.

Travel Guide for the Young, Sexy, and Broke (Off Track Planet) | A girlfriend of mine bought me this book for my birthday and my goooodness how I love it!!! This is possibly my favorite book of all time. But before I go any further – a warning: If strong language and sarcastic quips aren't your thing, you may want to steer clear. To be quite frank, the authors curse a bit. And by a bit, I mean a lot. If you’re okay with that — great! Keep on reading. It's broken up into 3 main sections: Get Inspired, Get Your S*** Together, and Make Yourself Useful. Basically, it gives you a rundown of some seriously awesome things to see around the world, then gives you traveling and packing tips, and then explains some ways you can volunteer while you’re away! The whole book is full of funny but highly useful and unique facts. For example, I personally love that it has a full two pages dedicated to toilets around the world (which could have saved me some serious culture shock in the Middle East). Another thing I love is that this book constantly encourages traveling alone. This may sound lonely or scary, but speaking from experience, it's definitely worth taking what they say to heart and considering a solo trip. Whether you’re a first time traveler or a polished pro, OTP’s Young, Sexy, and Broke is sure to give you some inspiration and tips for your next vacation.

The Crossroads of Should and Must (Elle Luna) | Wow, guys. Talk about a beautiful, inspiring book. Elle discusses the difference between doing what you should do versus doing what you must do — your calling, so to speak. The ideas she presents are extremely simple but profound..I found myself thinking “Exactly! Yes! Why haven't I ever thought of it like that?" Not only are her ideas great, but the book itself is a work of art. Her use of watercolor typography to evoke emotion is simply amazing.

Happiness (Matthieu Ricard) | In the short time I’ve owned this book, I’ve already read it three times. To put it simply — it's wonderful.  Happiness is written by a Tibetan monk (Richard) on the art of happiness. Ricard writes about finding and keeping happiness in terms of Buddhism, but it's not an attempt to sell you on the philosophy of Buddhism. These principles are easy and beneficial to add regardless of your belief system. Explaining it now, it almost sounds like a self-help book but it’s so much deeper than that. Happiness examines how we interpret our feelings, why we have them and what we can do to not simply let our emotions carry us through life, but to take charge and lead ourselves to be genuinely happy and healthy.

In the queue | The next three books on my list to read were all given to me because my friends loved them so much. The first is Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, which Beth recently loaned me. If you recognize that name, it may be because she also wrote Eat, Pray, Love! The book explores creative living beyond fear. Um..yes, please!

Beth also gave me Rising Strong by Brené Brown. The quote on the back of the book explains it all: "The irony is that we attempt to disown our difficult stories to appear more whole or more acceptable, but our wholeness – even our wholeheartedness – actually depends on the integration of all of our experiences including the falls."

The last book was given to me by my great friend, Paul. He's a go-getter if I've ever met one, so it's only natural that he gave me Executive Toughness by Dr. Jason Selk. This is what I have to look forward to: Just as an athlete needs to build his or her muscles to compete on the playing field, you have to train your mind to compete in your field. Executive Toughness is a virtual workout regimen for unleashing accountability, strengthening your focus, and supercharging your optimism in order to consistently achieve at or above your potential. 

We'll see if these make the cut! Do you have any book suggestions that you think may make my bedside stash? Let me know!

 :: Haley ::