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Wed more than 60 years ago, Cliff and Glenny Barnes craft together in Burr Oak

Cliff and Glenny Barnes: A crafting couple


February 4, 2021

Glenny Barnes is showing one of the crocheted Barbie doll wedding dresses she has made. Beside her is a doll modeling a Gone With the Wind style dress she made. Cliff Barnes paints and designs yard ornaments for all seasons during his free time. A few of his creations line his table. He also designs and paints barn quilts.

It could be said that a couple that crafts together, stays together. Cliff and Glenny Barnes, having been married for 61 years and fit that statement. The living room in their Burr Oak home is their work room. It is in this room within a couple of feet from each other that their crafts are brought to life. In one corner of the room is Cliff's small table where he sits and paints his wooden cut outs. In Glenny's comfy chair, she sits and crochets and stitches on her many creations. They like to do their crafting while watching their favorite sports games and shows on the television that is close by.

Cliff retired in 2003 after serving as the local school's custodian. He started his custodian position in 1982 at the Burr Oak Schools. Later when the school consolidated, he worked for the White Rock Schools. He enjoyed his job there. It included making signs and murals.

Always wanting to keep busy he looked for something to do in between his spring and summer interests which include gardening and fishing. He started at home with unique paint by number pictures. One of those hangs above his craft table. He noted creating barn quilts was popular and soon Glenny began checking out the designs and patterns online. Cliff would cut out the 2x2 boards in his shop space in the basement. Then he would bring the boards to the table to draw and paint the patterns. He has made more than 150 barn quilts so far. Some were made for family members. After posting pictures on social media, he began to receive orders.

His barn quilts have gone to states on both coasts and several states in between. Some of his barn quilts have patriotic designs, some feature college team logos and some are made featuring a quilt pattern. Some feature his hometown's water tower. One has the profile of a Burr Oak Brave's Chief. He has made barn quilts featuring K.C. Royals and Chiefs, a hockey team and birds. If he gets requests for a design, he will come up with it. Cliff has also made and painted large checker game boards, that were painted to suit Coca Cola and Mountain Dew fans.

Currently Cliff has been cutting out wooden gnome figures and painting them to suit fans of Kansas State, Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas University and Nebraska of University. He also makes the gnomes to fit with holidays, such as Santas, the Grinch, Nutcrackers, Valentines and Leprechauns. He has made and painted wooden yard art forms such as hornets, dogs, skunks and cows. He has added wooden shelves onto some of these forms that can be placed on a fireplace mantel, a table or a porch railing.

He has created several 2x2 silhouette paintings that included one showing a father and son fishing and one honoring a fallen soldier.

Glenny learned to crochet when young from her Grandmother Fogo. When Glenny's youngest child left for college, she picked up her crocheting needles to keep herself busy and her needles have not stopped yet. She has made baby afghans for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Other colorful afghans have gone to family members. Her favorite items to crochet are dresses and hats for the Barbie size dolls. Her prized two, a flowing Southern Belle white dress that would suit any Gone With The Wind fan, and a lovely white bridal gown with a matching bridal veil.

Though she has made these dresses for others, she has kept two of these creations on her dolls. They are kept in a glass sided and top end table in the living room. "I've always liked dolls and so making these dresses is a fun thing to do." She has crocheted American Indian dresses for larger dolls at a relative's request. She made two she could not part with. Her clothing for the Barbie size dolls includes street dresses, bridal gowns and ball gowns. Those outfits may include shawls and hats to match. She has crocheted Christmas stockings for all their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren designed to match their interests.

Glenny has other creative interests such as making quilt tops. Her hardest one she completed was a Postage Stamp Quilt. Another project is embroidering. Currently she is working on a baby quilt.

Both Cliff and Glenny's craft projects are on display and available at the Grate Gift Shop, next door to the cafe in Burr Oak.

Glenny retired after working 30 years for the Burr Oak and White Rock School Districts, with most of those years serving as the secretary for the district superintendent. The Barnes' enjoy keeping up with their great- grandchildren's school activities including ballgames, along with other family activities. They have four grown children, 11 grandchildren and 12 great- grandchildren. They also are active members in their church in Burr Oak, and help in the Burr Oak Community Club activities.

Recently Cliff and Glenny were honored by their family with a 80th Duo-Birthday Open House in Burr Oak as they both have birthdays about a month apart.


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