February 7th, 2014 by Michelle Rooks
One of the things I enjoy most about working at Stonehurst are the flowers Peggy places all over the showroom. You can almost fool yourself into thinking winter is a distant memory – as long as you don’t peek out the windows or make a run to the mailbox.
This time of year is when gardeners start planning for nicer weather. There are two big events that take place in nearby Boston (two hours counts as nearby, doesn’t it?). They are the New England Grows Show and the Boston Flower & Garden Show.
The New England Grows Show is aimed at green industry professionals. If you want to get the latest news in tree care, landscape architecture and design, lawn care, etc. you’ll find the information you need at this trade show. Each year the show draws over 13,000 people. This year’s show is at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center this week, February 5-7. Today is your last chance to catch this great event until next year!
The Boston Flower & Garden Show is held each year at the Seaport World Trade Center. This year the show is March 12-16 and the theme is Romance in the Garden. This show draws more than 65,000 visitors and vendors include suppliers of seeds, bulbs, plants and flowers and the tools to care for them all. There is also décor, artwork and accessories. More than 20 display gardens are set up for inspiring ideas of your own backyard oasis.
So turn your back on the cold and start planning for long days of sunshine. While perusing images of years past I couldn’t help but notice what was missing were some of our durable, recycled plastic Polywood pieces!
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.
January 27th, 2014 by Peggy Farabaugh
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!
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.
January 13th, 2014 by Liz Francese
The invitations are in the mail, the bridal expo is just around the corner and this Valentines day will undoubtedly turn out plenty of men on one knee. What does all this mean? It’s almost wedding season and as, I have finally reached that gag-inspiring time in life when all of my peers are getting married, it’s time to do my part. As much as I balk at the developments taking place between my peers (“she’s marrying WHO?!”), I have to relent and rejoice for those I care about outside of the Facebook. Though each marriage is original, the wedding registry can be a pretty apathetic affair. So, if you’re looking to order off the registry for once or if you have some special newlyweds in your life with birthdays or housewarmings coming up, here are five, off-the-registry, gift ideas.
Out of respect for the gift-givers, most wedding registries are limited to the essentials-yes, a stand mixer is essential-with the mildest bit of unique taste. Beyond the color of that essential stand mixer and the pattern on their bed linens, there is little room for the soon to be completely broke newlyweds to foster their personalities. Gifting a piece of art can not only lighten up a home but draw the newlywed’s attention away from that vacuum cleaner that cost more than its inevitable use.
If you feel uncomfortable picking out décor for someone else’s home, a simple chalkboard can allow the receiver to decorate any way they please. Or, if you have a particularly gifted recipient, a gift card to their local craft store may be the most welcome (and needed) gift for a bare-walled home.
Perhaps this item is just forgotten when signing up for a registry, but it seems highly unlikely newlyweds will have an affordable handy-man on speed dial for every household malfunction. Even if the Mr. is a fairly handy man himself, he may still benefit from some new tools or replacement parts. If you’re not sure where to start, AmericansWorking.com features a page completely dedicated to tools made in the USA.
I was impressed when my sister requested a tent on her registry – not only because I knew her fiancé had changed her from a spider-fearing princess to a rugged camp mom, but because it was out of the ordinary. Thankfully the family of her now husband had respect for the request because my mother certainly wasn’t eager to contribute to another generally expensive, photography/scuba diving/architecture/floral art -esque hobby she might drop one day. Either way, it is nice to think of the utility behind a present and it’s longevity of use.
Miscellaneous Kitchen Supplies
The bride may have thought those flower printed, coral plates were going to match everything from her curtains to her shoes but now they’re the only thing she has in that suddenly wretched color. In kitchens new and old, things may never quite match but having a few out of the ordinary pieces to love can make it all come together.
Vermont Woods Studios features an array of unique kitchen items made in Vermont. The Cricket Table Riser or a lazy susan (in slate or hickory) will come in handy for their first housewarming. A unique wine or pot rack is also desirable but will likely be put on the “after we pay our mortgage” list or purchases.
Give the gift of a night on the town! Tickets to the theater, a movie or a concert could be just what the doctor ordered for the cash-strapped, home-confined couple. Better yet, offer them a new experience by gifting a day pass to a rock climbing gym or a local motor coach tour.
Whatever you decide to give, these unique ideas can be both personable and purposeful!
January 6th, 2014 by Kelsey Eaton
1. Custom Decor: Bold one of a kind pieces are going to be big this year. From unique colorful flea market finds to bold custom furniture pieces–this years interior decor trends might have people asking, “Wow… where did you get that from?!”
2. No more sandy, neutral colors. As mentioned in #1– 2014 interior decor style is going to be defined by color! Pair your wood furniture with bright pillows, lamps, vases, or other decor!
3. Minimalism. Avoid cluttered decor and go for a simplified, sleek look with most of the “drama” in the room coming from bold statement pieces and small colorful accents.
4. Sustainability. Each year, sustainability becomes a more important aspect of interior design. In 2014, this is truer than ever. Furniture and decor made at giant factory warehouses overseas don’t bring in the positive, warm energy that you will get when purchasing furnishings and decor items from small businesses with locally sourced products.
5. Outdoor spaces. While it might not not be the best weather right now (depending on where you are), outdoor decor for summer 2014 will place emphasis on well designed conversation spaces. Meaning that your outdoor decor should be arranged in a way that evokes conversation and bonding between those who enter your space!
All of the interior design trends featured in this post can be mixed and transformed to suit your own personal decor aesthetic and taste. Whether you’re a modern decor lover or someone who is strictly traditional, keep your eyes peeled for these trends as they’ll be popping up all over the place in the next 12 months!
January 3rd, 2014 by Peggy Farabaugh
Since 100 million of us are now stuck in the middle of a blizzard, this might be a good day to curl up by the fireside with your favorite book, a cup of hot chocolate, homemade cookies and a pleasant companion. Like this Vermont Teddy Bear. He’s a recent arrival at Stonehurst, our new fine furniture showroom and art gallery in Vernon Vermont.
In showcasing the best of Vermont handmade home decor and accessories we felt Stonehurst would be incomplete without representation from the world’s largest teddy bear maker. Vermont Teddy Bear handcrafts roughly 500,000/year in Shelburne and Newport, VT. The company was started in 1983 by John Sortino, who sold handcrafted teddy bears in an open-air market in Burlington, Vermont. One of his customers was a tourist who wanted her bear mailed to her home. That request evolved into the “Bear-Gram”, a customized teddy bear placed in a box (complete with an “air hole”) and stuffed with other goodies. The rest, as they say is history.
If you can’t bear the idea of going through another Vermont snowstorm on your own, head on over to VermontTeddyBear.com. It’s not too late to get a Christmas bear like Stonehurst but keep in mind that other holidays like Valentine’s Day (Big Hunka Love Bear) and St Patrick’s Day (Kiss Me I’m Irish Bear) are just around the corner.
December 31st, 2013 by Kelsey Eaton
Now that the holidays are behind us and a fresh new year lies ahead, I can’t help but start thinking about my new years resolutions and the ways in which this year will be different. I’m not one for hoping to lose weight or become rich in the new year, but rather, I hope to make small behavioral changes that can improve communities and help change lives. Shopping small and buying handmade products is one way in which I hope to make a difference this year as someone who loves to shop!
There are many different reasons why shopping handmade is important, and could make a great resolution for you too! It’s important to note that there is no WRONG reason, and that each of us has our own connection with the idea of shopping small.
1) Community: By buying something handmade, you might feel a special connection to the place where you bought it from. That feeling of camaraderie makes your purchase that much more special and important, because you know you are supporting a real person and place and that the maker deeply appreciates creating something special for you.
2) Mindful Spending: A phrase I’ve heard a lot recently is “every dollar you spend is a vote.” This has greatly influenced the way I see my spending, as the things we buy can certainly be seen as an extension of our selves.
3) Love: Buying handmade is a wonderful way to show love and support for a local artist, craftsman, local business, etc.
4) Originality: No two items are ever exactly the same when you buy handmade. Besides being able to customize your item to your liking, you can feel good knowing that your purchase was really made just for you.
5) Eco-Friendly: Shopping small and handmade is usually an indication that you are making a sustainably responsible purchase; many crafters use mostly locally sourced materials and do their best to ensure that their creations don’t have a negative impact on the environment.
Shopping small is important to each of us at Vermont Woods Studios, and its a central part of our mission. By making small changes in your shopping habits, you can be a part of a huge movement to support what matters… the people.
Wishing you a very happy new year filled with love, prosperity, and health!
December 25th, 2013 by Kelsey Eaton
From all of us at Vermont Woods Studios, we’d like to wish you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a new year filled with health, prosperity, and happiness! Thank you so much for your continued support of our business and our mission!
Peggy, Ken, Douglas, Dennis, Neville, Liz, Michelle, Loryn, Sean, Martin, Kelsey, and Nina.
December 22nd, 2013 by Liz Francese
My grandma occasionally calls me indecent names when I forget to call or miss a family get-together. The berating is really a gesture of love (like when she noticed my jeans started fitting a bit tight and she slid the store-bought cookies in my direction) and it really just means she wants me around more often. I don’t miss these occasions out of preference for hanging out with my mean cat, but the three hour commute from Vermont to Rhode Island often deters my ability to swing by on a moment’s notice.
As our family grows larger it is more and more difficult to track down every member for my once in a blue moon trips to the Ocean State. During the holiday season, I can sometimes feel like I’m missing out or even experience a bit of guilt when I miss a get-together. This year, however, I’ve found new ways to connect and enjoy my family; I hope others can use these resources to connect with theirs as well!
First on my agenda this year was getting my new address out to everyone, either directly or by reporting it to the family bulletin board… aka Mom. This way I can be sure to receive photos and cards in the mail. Then, as my co-workers pass by and admire the dimple-dotted cheeks of my nephews and nieces, I can quietly brag about how inevitably cute my future offspring will be.
I only hung my lights this past week so I can’t honestly say I am sending out cards this year. Besides, without kids, who really cares to see my mug on the front of a cutesie shutterfly Christmas card? In all seriousness though, this will certainly be first on my list next year-with or without little feetsie-toed babes.
iPhone Photo Library
My brother also has a telecommuting relationship with my family and, given my grandma’s warm embrace of his every visit, it’s pretty obvious he is better at keeping up with the fam’ than I am. This year, as he adopted his first iPhone, he found yet another way to reinforce the bond: a shared photo library. From the erecting of my parent’s Christmas tree to Gingerbread house decorating and cookie baking, we have shared Christmas moments across distances. We can even send comments and “like” each other’s photos; it’s like a themed, personalized Facebook without all of the ads or other “friends” peering in.
This old, by tech standards, tool works great for those spreading themselves a bit thin this holiday season. After all, each family has at least two sides and when the kids get older, it is common they start dividing their holiday time among their newly formed families. Skype is also great for those with loved ones serving with the military abroad, or working that indecently long yet eloquently paid Christmas shift at the hospital.
Is Skype a bit much for you? Shoot a quick video on your phone or, better yet, give your relatives a call. If you’re lucky, you’ll be put on speaker phone so you can talk to everyone at once.
Eventually, you’ve just got to go visit. Whether or not you can make it on the big day, coming for a short stay in recognition of the holidays is just as valid. If you want to take it a step further, invite everyone to your little visit, like my brother Frank did by hosting Franksgiving. When he knew he would be spending Thanksgiving with his significant other’s parents, he created a whole holiday for himself. The shindig turned into an opportunity for all of our loved ones, especially those with other Thanksgiving plans, to join us at the kitchen table.
December 21st, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
We are so lucky at Vermont Woods Studios! Neville’s wife Carol surprises us with delicious treats every now and then. This week: Christmas cookies and a loaf of stollen. Which is your favorite? Sugar cookies, nut cups, chocolate chips, brownies, gingerbread?
If this is making you hungry and you’re not on Carol’s “Nice List,” not to worry. Check out Vermont Cookie Love. They offer “fresh-baked cookies that we ship the same day they come out of the oven. Or if you want the optimum hot-out-of-the-oven experience, you can buy our frozen cookie dough and bake the cookies yourself. Our cookie dough is all natural, with no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. We source ingredients that are non-GMO, we use no hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, and cookies baked from our dough contain 0 grams trans fat.”
Could be the next best thing to Carol’s cookies. What do you think? Let us know on Facebook or stop by Stonehurst, our new fine furniture showroom and art gallery in Vernon, Vermont. Better be quick though– I’m not sure how long these irresistible Christmas cookies are going to be around.