June 13th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
John McCarthy (of McCarthy Signs in Hinsdale) came by the other day to install the sign he’s been handcrafting for Stonehurst, our new Vermont furniture store. What did you think? It’s a 3D wooden sign that John hand-carved. What I love best about it is the level of detail he achieved in carving out the thumbprints that are the tops of the trees in our logo (Cheri Bryant is our logo artist and creator, by the way). Pretty amazing precision, I say. It’s hard to show off John’s talent online but if you’re in the neighborhood, stop by and have an up-close look. Or take Market Survey of America’s word– his company was just voted Greater Brattleboro’s Best Sign Company.
June 11th, 2013 by Loryn DionAll dressed up for Mardi Gras!
They came. They strolled. And they looked fabulous. This weekend, a few members of the Green Team represented VWS at the Strolling of the Heifers parade. This being my first “stroll”, I was excited to see what sights and antics Brattleboro had in store.
The parade featured floats and displays from local businesses and organizations from around southeastern Vermont. Each one had a unique theme that tied into the agricultural theme of the event. One of my favorite ideas was from Edward Jones Investments with the slogan “How’s Your Nest Egg Doing?” with a float that was decorated with some live chickens and eggs. There was also a float for an organization that is near and dear to my heart: a local FFA chapter. And of course, there were plenty of heifers. Their handlers dressed each heifer in beads, flowers and bright colors to match this years Strolling of the Heifers theme, “Running of the Bulls meets Mardi Gras.”Representing the FFA! I walked in many parades and shows as a member, but never in a cow suit!
After the parade was over, the crowd all flooded to The Common to scored some “Strolling Swag” and free gifts from more local businesses. One exhibit in the event was the Woodlands exhibit, which we were a part of. Groups offered educational exhibits and demonstrations about forestry, logging, conservation, invasive species and, of course, the final product of effective forest harvesting, furniture. Vermont Woods Studios shared a tent with Wood-Net, represented by woodworker Rick Gravelin. We showcased our sustainable outdoor PolyWood furniture, while Rick displayed a beautiful assortment of handmade, wooden clocks and watches. Michelle, Peggy and I had so much fun talking with local residents about our furniture and where it comes from and boasting about our new Vernon showroom. Michelle even got to talk about our solid wood dining furniture with Peter Welch, a Vermont Congressman.
Did you attend the Stroll this weekend? Or does your town have a local agricultural fair you enjoy? Tell us about it here or on our Facebook wall!Every year, the stroll has special “sweepers” that follow the end of the parade to clean up the inevitable messes that heifers make. I thought it would be fitting for the sweepers to follow this blog too.
June 5th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Michelle just forwarded me this customer review on our solid wood bookcases:
Hi Michelle, We just wanted you to know how pleased we are with our bookshelf! It is just beautiful, and exactly what we hoped it would be. The construction and craftsmanship is first class, and we could not be happier with it. Please extend our thanks to your outstanding craftsmen/craftswomen for a job well done! We plan to post some very favorable comments about the work you did for us on your website. Is there any other way we could help “spread the word” about the great products and service you are providing, that would be helpful to your business? We want to do all we can to encourage and support builders of fine, American-made, furniture like Vermont Woods Studios. Best regards, Raymond and Bobbie S, Austin, Texas
What a great way to start the day, right? We’re sending our sincere thanks out to Raymond and Bobbie and also beginning to work on a webpage for them and other Vermont Woods Studios fans to publicly gush about Vermont’s fine furniture. Have any other feedback or suggestions for how we can make the most of your testimonials? Post your comments on our Furniture Testimonials page, in the space below, or better yet on our Facebook.
Looking for more detail about how customers like their Vermont made furniture? Check out these other blog posts:
June 4th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Yesterday I traveled to the Paramount Theater in Rutland for Vermont’s First Economic Summit. Where else but Vermont could a small business owner like me elect to join the Governor, many of his Cabinet members and some of the most successful CEOs in the state to brainstorm about our economic future? New York? California? I don’t think so. Only in Vermont.
Anyway, about 125 people gathered to discuss the opportunities and challenges of doing business in America’s greenest state. On one hand our taxes are high, environmental regulations are onerous and the cost of living is barely affordable for most workers. But, somehow we love to live, work and play here anyway.
So we looked at why that is and listed a lot of benefits that Vermont has to offer: beautiful scenery, short pleasant commutes to work, relaxed pace, local economies, vibrant farmers markets and co-ops, fabulous farm to plate restaurants, skiing, hiking, fishing, camping, nice neighbors, working landscapes, clean lakes, rivers and streams, sustainable development and so on. Not to mention easy access to government officials!
Then the task was reconciling the pluses and minus’ of Vermont’s economics in terms of concrete fix-it strategies. We broke out into small groups to focus on: workforce development, the Vermont brand, Vermont infrastructure, Global competitiveness, Innovation and a few other topics. I was lucky to find myself working in the Vermont Brand group with Kathleen Wanner of the Vermont Wood Manufacturers Association VWMA, Lynette Kemp of Vermont’s Department of Taxes (we tried not to hold that against her) and Colleeen Leonard, Vermont’s Working Lands Policy Administrator from the Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets.
At the end of the day all of the small groups presented their ideas and recommendations to a plenary session and we discussed plans to follow through both formally and informally. Now our challenge is to make things happen in a way that preserves Vermont’s pristine rural character and brings economic prosperity to all it’s citizens. Think it’s doable?
You can read more about the Economic Summit on Vermont Digger.
May 28th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Everyone’s heard of the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona but are you familiar with the Strolling of the Heifers? It may not have the cache of Spain’s 100 year old spectacle but then again, you don’t have to worry about getting gored like the 15 people on record for having died during the real thing.
On the contrary, Brattleboro’s bovine parade is all about staying alive and celebrating healthy, local, sustainable living. Check it out along with the Slow Living Summit that takes place concurrently in Brattleboro June 7-9.
Our ace Community Activist, Loryn Dion is the official representative of Vermont Woods Studios at the Heifer’s parade and Slow Living Summit. Loryn’s been working with Bob Bouvier and Rick Gravelin of the Vermont WoodNet to set up a booth to introduce visitors to Vermont’s sustainable fine wooden furniture. We’ll be part of the Woodlands and Forestry exhibit that features demonstrations on forest management, wildlife of the woods, invasive species and much more.
Stay tuned for more details from Loryn and plan to stop by our Vermont Sustainable Furniture booth on the Brattleboro Common June 8 if you can.
May 23rd, 2013 by Loryn Dion
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.
May 19th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
One of the reasons we feel so lucky to be moving in to Stonehurst later this week is that it’s located a block away from the house of a local celebrity (yes, famous people do live here in Vernon– well, famous to us, anyway). Thespian, Michelle Rooks is our new Vermont Woods Studios Customer Service Representative by day. But on weekends, nights and holidays you can often find Michelle “acting out” at Ja’Duke Performing Arts Theater in neighboring Turners Falls, MA.
After her first full week at Vermont Woods Studios, when she was heading home after work on Friday afternoon, Michelle casually mentioned that she was going to perform that night as a French maid in an Alfred Hitchcock thriller called The Rope. She invited us to see the play, but I think she was a bit surprised when Douglas, Liz, Sean, Loryn, Kendall and I all showed up in the front row to cheer her on. We had a great time and can’t wait to attend Michelle’s next couple plays: Les Miserables and Shrek, the Musical.
Michelle has a BS in Journalism and Advertising with a minor in Animal Science. Her professional background includes expertise in the publishing world encompassing such areas as editing, photo manipulation, desktop publishing and proofreading. Customers will appreciate her eye for detail… as do our furniture makers!
Michelle lives down the street with her husband Chris, two beautiful children and Faith, their lovable rescue dog. She is an active volunteer at her church and at the kids’ school. We are fortunate that she’s worked us into her very busy schedule! We love her Midwestern sensibilities and wry sense of humor that keep us grounded, even on our craziest days. Welcome aboard, Michelle!
May 16th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
We’re always looking for an excuse to celebrate at Vermont Woods Studios and– lucky us– this week we had several good reasons. So last night we gathered at the Whetstone Brewery in Brattleboro to welcome Martin Corbin and Kelsey Eaton into the Woods and also… to observe American Craft Beer Week (yes, there is such such a thing).
I’ll post a couple short bios about Martin and Kelsey in the coming weeks but today I thought I should talk up Vermont’s fabulous craft beers so you’ll be able to get out and try them during Craft Beer Weekend.
According to the Vermont Brewers Association there are over 30 brewers in the Green Mountain State, from small specialty brewers like Lawson’s Finest Liquids in Warren,Vermont to nationally recognized brands like Long Trail in Bridgewater Corners, Vermont. “Maybe there’s something in the water. Maybe there’s something in the air. Maybe….. there’s something up here in the mountains. Vermont’s brewers are making magic with it.”
Let us know what your favorite Vermont beer is in the comments section below or on our Facebook!
May 3rd, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Foodies throughout Vermont are celebrating this weekend because Saturday is opening day for many of our farmers markets, including our favorite one– in Brattleboro. I tag along with Chef Annette who visits the market religiously every week to fill her fridge with fresh, organic fruits and veggies. I haven’t been cooking much lately so I just go for the freshly baked breads, local gourmet cheeses and… oh yes… lunch!
Lunch is the best part of Bratt’s Farmers Market. Take your pick: Indian, Malian, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, wood-fired pizza– you name it. Wash it down with steamy country coffee or a glass of the world’s best freshly squeezed lemonade.
The Brattleboro Farmers Market is located on Rte 9 in West Brattleboro. It’s open rain or shine, every Saturday from 9am to 2pm. Farmers will have “springtime harvests of new maple syrup, fresh greens, herbs, rhubarb, eggs and meats, garden plants and flowers, plus well-stored apples, root crops, preserves and jams. Artisans and bakers offer sourdough breads, pastries and treats (many gluten-free choices), granola, fruit wines and sparkling juices, jewelry, pottery, fabric arts, and soaps.”
This Saturday on opening day, there will be music and Maypole dancing by Andy Davis. There’s something for everyone. Call 802-254-8885 for more information. Hope to see you there!
April 27th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Stonehurst construction is nearing completion. In a month or so we should be able to move out of our cramped quarters next to the Vernon Post Office into the 200 year old farmhouse we’ve been renovating for use as a showroom, art gallery and office space. Woohoo!
Unfortunately, before the move we have lots of work ahead in wrapping up renovation activities, cleaning up the construction zone, doing landscaping and making the place worthy of your visit. In light of that, Dennis and Douglas have joined forces in a concerted effort to persuade (coerce?) Ken and me to let go of the “construction debris” (or valuable building blocks for undefined future projects, according to Ken) and get Stonehurst ready for visitors asap.
So with that in mind, I offer these pieces of Stonehurst to you for recycling, upcycling, re-using or re-purposing. Come and get ‘em! If you or someone you know is interested, just give us a call (802-275-5174) and plan to meet us at Stonehurst (538 Huckle Hill Rd, Vernon, VT) after work at 5:30 almost any night for the next week or so.
What’s available? Slate roofing tiles, old timbers, new windows and doors, old bricks, cement blocks, some rebar, insulation, a couple pieces of furniture and cabinetry and a few other odds and ends. Stop by and check it out. Help us salvage what we can from Stonehurst’s former days and while you’re here, have a look into it’s future.