About Loryn Dion
Loryn is a senior at Grand Canyon University in Applied Management and Business. She has previously earned her Associates in Communications from Bristol Community College. She realized that she had a skill for writing and a passion for agriculture through her time in the FFA, writing speeches and workshops and learning about agriculture and conservation. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing and enjoying Vermont scenery. She also loves being outside, walking, hiking and staying involved with the agricultural community.
Posts by Loryn
Vermont Craft Council Open Studio Weekend
Memorial Day weekend is usually a time when most New Englanders open their swimming pools, break out the barbecues and attend parades and memorials honoring those that have served our country. Many organizations use this time to open their doors to travelers during the three-day weekend. If you will be traveling May 25th or 26th, one event that is a must-see is the Vermont Craft Councils Open Studio Weekend Tour. This is a bi-annual event, held once in the spring and once in the fall, and is a great time for anyone who enjoys arts and crafting.
Artists throughout southern Vermont will be displaying their work at various showrooms and galleries during the open studio weekend. You’ll be able to find everything from paintings to sculptures to pottery and even wood furniture. A few of our favorite furniture makers in the Dorset area like Steve Holman, Dan Mosheim, Bob Gasperetti and Bill Laberge will be opening their doors to fine furniture and art enthusiasts.
If you are an avid art lover, this open studio weekend is a great opportunity to not only take in various art but you’ll also be able to see the places where artists work and be able to buy or order work directly from the studio and speak to the artist directly. The Vermont Craft Council strives to make this an educational and enriching event for all who participate.
Here you can find a map of all participating artists and what they’ll have on display. Also check out their 10 Ways to Plan your Open Studio Tour, which is full of great tips for scheduling your weekend.
The weather is supposed to be beautiful for being out and about during the holiday weekend, so why not venture to a few southern Vermont galleries for some art enrichment and education. Let us know what you plan to do this weekend here in the comments or on our facebook.
Monday, people across the globe were doing good deeds to help our planet and celebrate nature. Here at Vermont Woods Studios, every day is spent helping our planet (we are the top retailer for locally sourced, sustainably produced furniture, after all) so we took some time out of the day to donate blood at the Vermont Advent Christian Home.
While Peggy has donated before, this would be my first blood donation experience. Being a first time donor, I was a little bit nervous going into it. I had always wanted to donate before, but I am kind of a wimp when it comes to pain so I have always talked myself out of it. But after the events during the Boston Marathon last week, a city near and dear to my heart, I knew that this was a fear I had to get over.
Looking back now, I have to say I kind of enjoyed it! We decided to walk over, since it was only a five minute walk from the office. After a little bit of paperwork and a quick check-up, I was in the chair, ready to donate. The volunteers and American Red Cross workers were very helpful and talked me through every step of the process and answered all of my questions, which helped to ease my mind. The actual donation only took about 10 minutes and it was not as painful as I was expecting it to be. My other fear was fainting after I gave blood (I’ve never fainted before, but there’s a first time for everything!). But after drinking some juice and enjoying some homemade baked goods, I felt fine and was ready to head back to work. For anyone nervous about signing up for their first time blood donation, you have nothing to worry about! It was easy, fun and you’ll feel great about making a difference!
It is a great feeling being able to help those in need. At Vermont Woods Studios, part of our mission is to be an active part of our community and participate in local service projects. I am so lucky to work for a company that is willing to support the causes that not only matter to our mission, but ones that matter to me as an employee. When I brought up to Peggy that I was interested in the blood drive, she, Kendall and Liz all signed up with me. Now who wouldn’t want to buy furniture from people like that?
Wags to Riches Auction
As Heather blogged last week, this past weekend was the annual Wags to Riches Auction to benefit the Windham County Humane Society. Peggy, Douglas and I were in attendance to show our support and represent Vermont Woods Studios.
The night started at 6:00pm with the silent auction, which was broken out into three sections, which allowed people to move around and see everything there was to offer. And with close to 200 items in the auction, there was a lot to see! Light hor d’oeuvres were served as WCHS supporters mingled and bid on their items. Throughout the evening, staff pulled numbers for door prizes and kept everyone updated on when tables would be closing. After the silent auction ended, everyone was seated and the live auction began. It was amazing to see how many people were willing to spend money on multiple items to benefit WCHS. After the live auction, three 50/50 raffle tickets were pulled, in which both Douglas and our friend Annette managed to profit from. We each walked away having donated something to the humane society, either by bidding on an item or making a monetary donation. Annette walked away with a beautiful new Raleigh bicycle, Douglas managed to outbid Peggy on some flowers from Linden Gardens and I was able to score a spa and gym membership.
WCHS managed to sell every item on the list, plus raise an additional $4,000 to buy new computers for their office. We were so happy to be able to donate one of our cutting boards and a vacation trip to such a great organization. Overall, it was a great night and we look forward to the next time we can help out our friends at WCHS.
2013 Interior Design
Many blogs and fashion magazines are starting to release their design trends for 2013, but how do we fit in with the trends while keeping it green? Here are some of 2013′s hottest trends and my tips for turning them green.
Elegant Designs and Florals
Taking inspiration from designers like Cath Kidston and Vera Bradley, floral patterns are making their way back into homes this year. My advice is to skip the floral upholstered sofa and try some artisan paintings in the main rooms of your home. Local artisan shops showcase beautiful paintings and photographs and buy purchasing one, you are helping to support your local economy. Plus, they are unique and it’s easy to find pictures that will match your homes existing decor.
Organic Modernistic Kitchens
It seems like designers are starting to take the green movement seriously. This years kitchen is all about homey, vintage designs that LOOK natural. I say, take it one step further and actually use natural materials in your kitchen. Reclaimed hardwood flooring is very interesting and would look fantastic in any kitchen or dining area. Reclaimed barnwood would also make beautiful cabinetry or recycled furniture.
Lacquer and Shine
This year is going to be all about the shine. Luckily, some of our furniture is available with a non-toxic, low VOC lacquer finish. Get that gloss you love without the harsh chemicals. The environment will be glad you did. Give us a call for more details.
So I know it’s not really a design, but people are craving furniture and designs that are efficient and can have multiple purposes. Maybe like a table that can be used as a chair or a footstool? Or a buffet that would also make a great media center? Don’t worry. If you’re looking for practical, Vermont Woods Studios has you covered!
So it felt a little weird putting this in here, but a trend is a trend! Apparently us women are working men a little too hard because there is a high demand for man caves this year. Treat the guy in your home with something classy for his otherwise masculine space and check out our solid wood media consoles. Perfect for storing entertainment centers, stereo systems or gaming consoles.
What trends are you seeing in the future for 2013?
With a new year comes new designs, fashions and ideas. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be cover different trends that we’ve seen coming up for this year. First up for your 2013 Interior Design Trends: furniture!
In 2013, I think we are going to see many furniture pieces featuring simple lines and functions, much like furniture of the mid 20th century. We’ll have many retro styles making a comeback, such as metal detailing, splayed leg designs and futuristic, modular furniture. Our Moduluxe, Astrid and Contemporary Cable collections are good starting points for this look.
Unique Artisan Designs
Sometimes the best trend is not following a trend at all. Creative, one-of-a-kind designs will be big this year as people start to “de-commercialize” their lives. Whether you’re going for a modern look or a simple shaker style, artisan work is the way to go. Give us a call to discuss some custom options for your home.
Whatever look you decide to go for, make it a green one. Sustainability is starting to become a consumer standard in most industries, including food and fiber, and furniture is no different. Choose pieces that are made from sustained, American forests rather than endangered rainforest lumber. Learn more abut our sustainability standard and what we do to protect our rainforests.
Green New Years Resolutions
Another year has gone by and we’re already looking at 2013! Did you keep your New Years resolutions? I’ll admit it. I never stepped foot into a gym and I still spend too much time on the computer. Rather than making the same New Years resolutions again this year, why not try out some Green New Years Resolutions and create a healthier you and a healthier universe.
Kick Your Bottled Water Habit
Plastic bottles are well-known pollutants, leaking chemicals into our water and polluting our environment. Invest in a reusable water bottle this year and vow to not purchase any bottled water in 2013!
Use Public Transportation One Day A Month
While using public transportation may not be a convenient solution for your everyday commute, committing to using public transportation once a month can help lessen your carbon footprint and save money on fuel. If you don’t have a reasonable means of public transportation in your area, try carpooling!
Invest in Reusable Bags for Grocery Shopping
Plastic shopping bags are filling up our landfills by the gallon. Many shops are starting to hop on the reusable bag bandwagon and offer discounts for bringing your own bags. This is just one of the reasons that taking earth-friendly shopping bags with you on shopping trips would make a great green new years resolutions.
Try One New Organic Food Every Time You Shop
Many foods are now being offered as organic, including popcorn and ice cream. This year, try committing to buying one organic product every time you shop. Organic foods are healthier for you, healthier for the environment and healthier for your local economy.
Buy American Made
I’m sure by now you’ve read all about our successful American Made shopping challenge this holiday season. If you haven’t, we were part of a nationwide movement to generate thousands of American jobs buy purchasing American-made gifts this year. Keep the spirit going and support American jobs all year long by making a conscious decision to purchase American-made goods this year.
Recycle and Compost
If you don’t have a recycling program implemented at your home or office, what are you waiting for?! Make a New Years resolution to start a recycling program in your home, office or town. If you’re already an avid recycler, try composting this year.
Line Dry Your Clothes
Dryers use a very large amount of energy and could cost you up to 10% more on your home electric bill. Line drying your clothes saves time, energy and your clothes will have that fresh outdoor scent without the use of artificially scented dryer sheets.
Buy Less and Simplify Your Life
This green New Years Resolution is simple. Buy less junk you don’t need and get rid of last years junk that you don’t use. On January 1st, go through all of your closets and cabinets and; if you haven’t touched it in over a year, donate it; if it’s broken or threadbare, toss it; or if you think you can breathe new life into it, repurpose or recycle it. Then, all year long be mindful of the things you want to buy. If it’s not a necessity, be strong and say “no”!
What are your green New Years resolutions this year? Let us know here in the comments or on our Facebook page.
Now that you’re green, American-made gift shopping is almost done, it’s time to get ready for your green holiday party! Even if you are hosting a house full of people, it’s no reason to give up on your sustainable values. Here are a few tips to keep your holiday celebrations environmentally-friendly.
While I’ll admit that paper invitations and Christmas cards look great and are fun to receive, think about all of the money and paper you’ll waste sending them out to your friends and family. Try looking into e-invitations this year. You’ll save time, money and paper. Plus most sites let your guests see who else is going and chat with each other about what everyone is bringing.
Even though it’s the winter-time, there are still plenty of ways to shop local for your green holiday party dinner. Many towns and cities have winter markets you can visit to find fresh produce and specialty items. You can also check in to your local butcher for meats customized for the amount of guests that you have coming. He may even be willing to order specialty meats for your holiday party. Don’t forget about local spirits and craft beers! Local breweries and distilleries usually have special holiday beverages available and your guests will be impressed and excited to try something new on your drink list.
Use your Resources!
Don’t bother heading to a department store for decorations. Try finding local holly or fir boughs to create unique and lovely centerpieces and decorations. If you’re not feeling particularly crafty this year, many people sell wreaths, trees and decorations out of their homes during the holidays. Buy from a neighbor and display their hard work for your friends and family to enjoy at your green holiday party.
Skip the bright overhead lighting this year and turn off your ugly, Christmas Story leg lamp (I hope that’s not just my family!). Try lighting holiday scented candles this year. Cinnamon, pine, pumpkin and vanilla are great aromas for setting the mood and the candle light will be very flattering for your home décor.
Try to avoid using paper plates and cups this year. While they may save you on dish-washing they’re definitely not friends of the environment. If you must go with a paper or plastic option, try looking for green brands that make biodegradable and compostable paper-ware.
As always, don’t forget to recycle! Try to reuse or recycle any discarded gift-wrap, compost your meal leftovers and recycle your plates and cups, if you used them.
Sustainable Gifts for You and Your Home
Only fifteen days until Christmas! Better start making out your Holiday wish list! But what to ask for? Have Santa bring you a gift that will give back all year long. Here’s my top four sustainable gift “must haves” for any green home.
Energy Efficient Appliances
Appliances that are energy efficient don’t just look great in your home. They save you major cash! You’ll also reduce air pollution as well as reduce your electric bill. These energy efficient appliances can be any thing from a refrigerator to a new computer, so browse your options! EarthEasy.com put together a great guide on energy efficient appliances.
Gadgets to Help Reach your Green Goal
With Christmas on the way, people tend to forget about the new year almost on us! A great Christmas gift would be a gadget to help you live a more sustainable life throughout the next year. Try asking for a composter to be more eco-friendly or a new bicycle so you can get out of the house and cut down on your automobile use.
This one is a no-brainer. Polywood furniture looks great, is low cost and is made from recycled plastic. Who can argue with this as an addition to your wish list? Even though the winter isn’t the best time to use Polywood, it’s weather resistant materials mean that you can bring them outside for next summer and never worry about them again. Talk about a gift you can use all year long.
Low VOC Furniture
Maybe you just aren’t ready to buy outdoor furniture yet. Our hardwood furniture is made using chemicals with virtually no VOC’s. Make sure your tables, beds and dressers are friends to the environment this Christmas. Buying sustainable furniture is the best gift you can give our environment.
What sustainable gifts and eco-friendly gadgets are on your wish list this year?
If you’re anything like me, the hardest part about the holiday season is finding the right gift for everyone. I don’t mind the price tag or where I have to go to get it, it’s the pressure of finding something that a person will love that always gives me trouble. With the added challenge of finding something American-made this year for our Made in America Shopping Challenge, I seriously considered using the upcoming “2012 Apocalypse” as an excuse for skipping gift-buying altogether. Luckily, shoppers like me have the magical World Wide Web to assist us with our holiday dilemmas. Here’s my guide to finding gifts for the hard to buy for.
Gifts for the Foodie
My Vermont pick for American-made kitchen wares would definitely be Simon Pearce. We’ve talked about their beautiful pottery and glassware before on our Facebook, but I’ll have to mention them again. Any cook would love to have a Simon Pearce piece in their kitchen. If you’re shopping for someone like me who would rather consume the food rather than produce it, check out some locally made specialty stores near you to find scrumptious treats and local delicacies If you’re in Vermont, try Snowflake Chocolate Baskets, Vermont Grafton Cheese Collections or check out the Vermont Specialty Food Association for more ideas.
Gifts for the Animal Lover
Being an animal lover myself, I can assure you that animal people love gifts for their pets just as much as if you’d bought something for them. The Vermonter will love anything from Vermont Gourmet Dog Treats. If you’re looking for something a little bigger, check Just Dog Treats article about American-made dog treats. USA Made Pet Supplies will also give you some great ideas for animal gifts.
Gifts for the Adventurous Friend
We all have that one enthusiastic friend who is always suggesting that you go skiing, mountain climbing, hiking or bike riding with them with them. American Made Outdoors has great gift ideas for those who like hunting, camping, and fishing. Ragged Mountain also has some great toys for the outdoor enthusiast and they’re all American Made.
Gifts for Kids
Children normally won’t care whether their toys are made in America or nut, but their parents will! Check out Toys Made in America for a very extensive list of fun toys and games for kids of all ages that are made exclusively in the US.
Check out our Facebook for more great ideas to buy American made!
Tips for a Green Christmas
Bing Crosby had it all wrong when he sang “White Christmas”. I’d like to think that your days will be much merrier and brighter if all of your Christmases are GREEN! Sustainably green, that is. Enjoy your holiday and give back to nature and to our economy by celebrating a “Green Christmas”.
Your Green Christmas Tree!
Ditch the artificial tree this year and opt for a natural evergreen tree. Many artificial trees are made in China, contain harmful chemicals and once they lose their shape or luster, it’s off to the landfill they go. Buying a cut tree brings a festive aroma into your home, looks better than any fake tree could ever look and acts as a natural bird feeder after the holidays are over that you can place outside. Better yet, try starting a new tradition this year and buy a potted evergreen that you can plant in your yard after Christmas!
Get out of those Walmart lines and support your local business! Or make your friends and family something rather than buying it. Recycled and reused gifts can also be nice ways of sharing vintage presents. You could also give a gift of membership- try a gym membership, guitar lessons, theater tickets or spa day certificates at local venues. A gift of membership saves wrapping paper and reduces driving! Any way you decide to give, just think about your gifts impact on the environment and how you can make small changes to give greener. If you’re thinking of buying American-made to support your local economy, check out our American-made Holiday Shopping Challenge.
Reuse Wrapping and Packaging Materials!
As tempting as the pretty wrapping papers at the department store may be, think about how many resources are waste by just wrapping paper and packaging materials alone. Try using old newspaper comics, fun cereal boxes or real popcorn instead of packing peanuts. Get creative!
Your green Christmas tree deserves some green Christmas ornaments. I found this great resource on everythingetsy filled with tutorials on making your own ornaments. Also, check out her green gift buying guide. It will certainly inspire some greener ideas for your decor and your gifts.
Let me know what your green Christmas ideas are here in the comments or on our Facebook page! And may all your Christmases be GREEN!