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.

 

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.

Décor

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.

Tools

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.

Outdoors

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.

Other inventive outdoor gifts could be an outdoor bench (or other outdoor furniture), a bird house or a fire pit.

Outdoor Bench
An outdoor bench is a great addition to a newlyweds first home!

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.

 

cricket-table-riser_01
The Cricket Table riser is as functional as it is fashionable

Entertainment

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!

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.

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?!”

Industrial Furniture Wood and Steel Bridges Bench
This wood and steel industrial styled bench is a one of a kind piece with a unique story. The bold color of the steel in contrast with the toasted reclaimed wood top gives this piece an exciting and stylish juxtaposition, making this piece ideal for any space needing modern rustic flair.

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!

Cricket Radio Luxury Made in Vermont Linen
These Cricket Radio pillows are a perfect example of beautifully colored decor that adds a lovely pop of color to your space. A sampling of Cricket Radio linens are available in our showroom.

  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.

Modern Interior Decor Furniture
This room features modern wood furniture with clean lines, edges, and a unique blend of woods. The decor is uncluttered, bringing the attention to the artisan decor accessories and pops of color.

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.

Harvest Large Cherry Wood Bowl
This large Cherry Wood Bowl is a great example of decorating mindfully. A simple product made of sustainably sourced wood, it can be used in multiple ways and would fit perfectly in any room of the home.

 

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!

Outdoor Furniture Trends 2014
This eco-friendly outdoor furniture set by POLYWOOD comes in multiple colors and is ideal for warm nights with close friends and family. Optional: Add some yummy summery drinks and a BBQ dinner!

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!

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 Teddy Bears are handmade in VT and can be customized with your name or initials
Stonehurst is a “Night Before Christmas” bear but you can order these American made Vermont Teddy Bears for any occasion and have them customized with a name or emblem.

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.

Vermont Teddy Bear waits for Santa on Christmas Eve | Stonehurst Furniture Showroom
Not wanting to miss Santa and his reindeer, our Vermont Teddy Bear sat in front of the fireplace all throughout Christmas eve.

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.

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.

Conscious Shopping 2014

 

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.

Here are some great inspirations behind wanting to shop hand made for 2014:

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!

-Kelsey

 

 

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.