Valentine's Day Gift Basket

Is anyone else’s mouth watering? Plus, check out that cutting board! ;-)

 

A Valentine’s Day Gift Basket! – The Perfect Treat for Someone You Love

It’s only the last day of January, but love is already in the air for the folks of Vernon. We were recently asked by the Vernon Free Library if we would like to donate an item for a Valentine’s Day Gift Basket that they’ll be raffling off on February 13th. Being supporters of the local organizations in Vernon (and a lover of chocolate and wine myself) I had to say yes. Our friend, Bronna Zlochiver, came last week to pick up a cutting board to add to the basket and assured me and Douglas that the cutting board was going to make their basket something special. I hate to toot our own horn, but I think she was right!

The Valentine’s Day Gift Basket contains two bottles of French wine & two Riedel wine glasses donated by the White House of Wilmington, 2 blocks of cheddar cheese & a box of Westminster Bakers crackers donated by Grafton Cheese, Brinn chocolates made in Vermont donated by Baker’s Hallmark of Brattleboro, handmade napkins and of course, our very own cutting board made by Ken. Ticket’s are only $1.00 and with a value of over $400, I think it’s quite a deal.

I also just had to post a picture of a basket for everyone to enjoy. This gift is perfect if you’re looking to surprise your special someone with a date night at home this Valentine’s Day. Being single myself, I envy Valentine’s Day gifts, especially ones that involve food. I might have to buy a ticket and enjoy the wine, cheese and chocolates all on my own! Who says Valentine’s day is just for couples anyway?

If you’d like more information about how to win this marvelous basket, contact the Vernon Free Library or give us a call! The drawing is February 13th and tickets are just $1 (or 6 for $5)!

 

| This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios.  Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains. |

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Vermont Tree Society | Conserving Champion Trees in the Green Mountain State
 In doing some research, trying to figure out where this anonymous gift came from, I discovered a couple articles about Loona Brogan.  Loona’s a naturalist in Plainfield, responsible for starting the Vermont Big Tree Society.

Who put this Vermont Big Tree Society 2004 calendar on my desk over the weekend? What a pleasant surprise to see while un-bundling (that’s winter outerwear not cable TV or software programs) on this icy cold Monday morning.  Whoever the Big Tree Elf is, he or she left the calendar open to the August 2004 month where a beautiful photo of our Stonehurst champion Sassafras tree was featured in all it’s glory.

Well we happen to think it’s glorious, anyway.  To others it might look a little nerdy and decrepit but it’s still a beloved old tree and the largest of it’s species in all of Vermont.  I learned from the calendar that the Sassafras is an intolerant (of shade) tree which is common as a pioneer (a hardy species that’s the first to colonize previously disrupted or damaged ecosystems, beginning a chain of ecological succession that ultimately leads to a more biodiverse steady-state ecosystem, ref: wikipedia).    It’s one of only a few tree species who’s leaves come in 3 different shapes.  Plus it’s fragrant and the roots can be used to make sassafras tea!

Sassafras Tree | Vernon Vermont | Big Tree Champion
Last summer, our Windham County Forester Bill Guenther led the 20th Annual Big Tree Tour and stopped by to show his group of treehuggers our sassafras at Stonehurst.

Are you surprised to see how much Vermonters love their trees?  As furniture makers, working with sustainably harvested wood we are especially interested in Vermont’s big trees and the issue of sustainable forestry throughout the Green Mountain State (and beyond).  Vermont Woods Studios was founded on the principles of forest conservation.  Last year we received a $100,000 grant from the states Working Lands Initiative to further our efforts in promoting sustainable forests and the eco-friendly Vermont made furniture produced from them.

Fellow treehuggers– stop by Stonehurst to see Vermont’s biggest sassafras tree.  Then come in and enjoy a cup of tea or hot cider as you browse through the gallery of fine furniture that Vermonter’s are making out of sustainably harvested New England wood.

And whoever the Big Tree elf is, I am sending a million thanks out to you.  Please reveal your identity on our Facebook!

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios.  Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, a 200 year old farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

USA Made Furniture | Handcrafted in Vermont
American made furniture has a great reputation for high quality and compliance with proper environmental, safety and health standards.  Customers  acquire pieces (like this Woodland Table) they can pass down through generations, while also supporting the American worker and American communities.

Made in America Campaign

Remember that ABC World News series where Diane Sawyer and David Muir found a “typical American household” and inventoried everything in it to see what was made in the USA?  Turns out nothing… except the fresh flowers on the table.  Well that series inspired us to pour our energy into a Made in America campaign at Vermont Woods Studios.  We’ve sponsored the Great American Made Gift Challenge every Christmas season for the past several years and of course we put a high priority on promoting Vermont made hardwood furniture.

One reason is that customers often come to us in total frustration after shopping everywhere to find furniture that’s actually 100% made in the USA.  The companies we think of as quintessentially American (ie., Thomasville, Broyhill, Bassett, Ethan Allen, American Drew, Lane, Pennsylvania House, Drexel) aren’t so American anymore.  Often they outsource the majority of their production to China, Vietnam, Honduras, Mexico and other third world countries.  Then they import nearly finished furniture into the USA for a quick insertion of the final screw and call it “American made”.  The trend ebbs and flows with changes in foreign wages and the cost of oil to ship overseas.  When it’s cheaper to produce in the USA they come back, but there’s no long term commitment to the American worker or the American community.

Why Do Customers Care?

Here’s a recent illustration.  Dennis and Douglas and I made a visit to Gardner Massachusetts last month to see our pal Leonard Curcio at Chair City Wayside Furniture.  Gardner used to be “the furniture capital of New England” back in the 19th and 20th centuries.  According to the “Greater Gardner Furniture History Documentary project”, there were over 50 furniture companies in the area.  After over a century of furniture manufacturing, with nearly everyone in the community depending on the industry for support, many companies decided to move their operations overseas for cheaper production.  The community collapsed.  Families with several generations of skilled artisans and woodworkers were suddenly unemployed. Our friend Lenny was one of the few people able to salvage his business in a dying community but he is still suffering today, while trying to hang on.

Our customers want to support people like Lenny and acquire high quality, American made furniture that they will proudly cherish forever.  Supporting American workers and American communities matters to them.

How to Buy 100% American Made Products

If you’re looking for high quality furniture that really is 100% made in the USA, have a look at this excellent article by Mary Efron.  For American furniture and everything else that’s made in the USA, visit AmericansWorking.com or SourceMap .  And maybe stay away from (or at least be suspicious of) the big box stores that make splashy videos about their “American made furniture” but don’t have much to deliver when it comes down to specifics.

Does Pottery Barn Really Have Furniture that's Made in the USA?
I found a beautifully filmed video about American made furniture on Pottery Barn’s website.  But when I searched their website for “furniture made in America”  the result was:  zero products.  If you’re looking for 100% American made products, check out AmericansWorking.com or Vermont Woods Studios for fine hardwood furniture.

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios.  Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, a 200 year old farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom with Marlin Perkins
Marlin Perkins from Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom was my childhood idol.  As a “larger than life” wildlife conservationist, he was succeeded by Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter.  But who is the voice of wildlife conservation today?

If you’re under 50 you probably don’t know who Marlin Perkins was.  When I was a kid, my whole family would sit in front of the TV on Sunday nights and watch Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom*.  Marlin Perkins was the host— kind of a 1960s version of Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter.

Marlin was always venturing into exotic places like the African savannah or the Amazon rainforest, filming wild animals in their natural habitats.  Orangutans, gorillas, kangaroos, pythons, lions, tigers, bears… the whole shebang. He would be holding a chimp and talking about conservation and… oh how I wanted to be him!  Cuddling up with a tiger cub, rescuing a couple orphaned bear cubs — what could be better?

Although I didn’t end up majoring in zoology or doing research for Jane Goodall, my passion for wildlife conservation has stayed with me.  Like most people I went for a “more practical career” and decided to pursue my passion as a hobby.  I visited zoos and natural history museums whenever I could.  I studied wildlife news in National Geographic, World Wildlife Fund, Sierra Club and other green publications. I poured my support into wildlife conservation non-profits.

But the real fun didn’t start along until Kendall and Riley came along.  How convenient?  It seems little boys love wildlife!  We camped out in local beaver ponds and vernal pools getting to know the resident turtles, frogs, salamanders, snakes and such.  We made trips to the rainforest, adopted snakes and started a non-profit called Kids Saving the Planet.  Our adventures in Vermont’s forests and in the Central American rainforests eventually led to the creation of Vermont Woods Studios Sustainable Furniture.   More about that in my next post.

 

* and the Wonderful World of Disney and Ed Sullivan Show, of course

The Vermont Furniture Blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios.  Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, a 200 year old farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

 

 

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

What's Your Passion?
My friend Annette keeps telling me to stop writing about furniture and start writing about my passion… “why are you selling furniture anyway?” So in the next few posts I’ll talk about passion in general and then try to describe what mine is and how it drives Vermont Woods Studios.

Everyone has a passion, right?  Some of us have lots of passions.   Nelson Mandela’s passions were about freedom and equality.   Albert Einstein’s passions were about curiosity and science.  Julia Child was passionate about food. Elvis’ passion was music.

So what’s your passion?  And what are you doing about it?  Plenty of people are out there offering advice:

As a mother of two college students, the question of whether to follow your passion during the critical years of higher education is front and center at my house.   What advice should I give my children?  What advice did my parents give me?  Did I follow it?  What were the consequences?  While I try to get some answers together for another post, give me your advice and wisdom on Facebook or in the comments section below.

Doesn’t everyone deserve to follow their passion at some point in life?

The Vermont Furniture Blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios.  Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, a 200 year old farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.