Vermont maple lovers rejoice! This weekend is the 47th Annual Vermont Maple Festival in St. Albans, Vermont! Maple syrup fiends from around the country flock to this three day event, and for good reason. The list of events seem to be endless. There is an opportunity for everyone in your family to enjoy themselves. Many of the events during the weekend are free of charge, too!
Here’s a short categorized run-down for the weekend events.
Relating to maple food:
- Maple Cooking Contest
- Maple Products Contest
- Craft and Specialty Foods Show
- Pancake Breakfast
- Vermont Maple Buffet Dinner
- Craft and Specialty Food Show
- Antique Show
- Youth Talent Show
- Fiddlers’ Variety Show
- Music Shows
- Annual Maple Festival Parade
- Annual Sap Run: 8.5 mile run
- Sugarhouse Tours
Seems like a lot, doesn’t it? That’s not even a list of half of the things you can do during the Vermont Maple Festival! To see a full list of events happening during April 26th, 27th and 28th, visit the Vermont Maple Festival website. Be a part of a great Vermont tradition by heading to St. Albans this weekend! This event has been named a “Top 10 Summer Event” for 2013 by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce.
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?
Bluebird Nesting Boxes Installed, Who Will Move in First?
Back in March I wrote a blog post about our Bluebird nesting box project. Since our new Stonehurst property had the right environment (open grassy fields) for nesting Bluebirds and we had some extra lumber the Green Team went into action. It was a tough winter so it took a bit this year for the snow to finally melt away so we could complete the final phase of our project. Plus that’s about the time Bluebirds return to these parts. But what we really needed was some thawed ground. These nest boxes need to go out in the open field which necessitated driving metal mounting posts a few feet deep into the ground. Bluebirds forage on open grassy ground and we were able to get 4 boxes in. (Bluebirds prefer some space between their nests)
For those of you who may not have heard, Stonehurst is going to be the home of our new Vermont made furniture showroom. Carpenters, plumbers, electricians and painters have been very busy since January remodeling this old farmhouse. According to the latest project schedule we should be able to begin the move in sometime mid May. Everyone here sure is eager to move into our new home! But I suspect the Bluebirds should discover these recently installed nest boxes any day now and will probably be moved and settled in before we do!
In the meantime, I will go up to Stonehurst every few days to check the nest boxes and look for signs of move in. (Bluebirds use grass for a nesting material) While I am up there I will check on our construction team to see when our new nest will be ready. Stay tuned for future blogs to see what our nest box project yields.
Greetings from Southern Vermont on Earth Day! We hope you’re celebrating — perhaps with some local organic food or by joining a community gardening project or cleaning up the roadside or whatever. Last year at Vermont Woods Studios we launched the Green Up Your Workplace Challenge where we used Facebook, our blog and some other physical and virtual venues to promote sustainability at work.
This year we’re swamped with our Stonehurst Fine Furniture Showroom project and haven’t had a chance to launch a 2013 Earth Day campaign. But in lieu of that, I can report that we’ve been very careful to use local lumber and building materials for Stonehurst and we’ve re-used, re-purposed and recycled as much of the original design and structure whenever possible. Stonehurst will truly be a green workplace.
We do have a couple modest Earth Day activities on tap today. We’ll be installing the bluebird nesting boxes we made last month out of a Norway Spruce tree that had to be taken down from Stonehurst in the Fall (because it was leaning on the top of the building). And we’ll be indulging in some local fare for lunch today… maybe from The Blue Moose Cafe or The Works in downtown Brattleboro. If you’re in the Southern Vermont area you know we’re lucky to have many fine farm to plate local eateries to choose from on Earth Day and every day. Maybe we’ll see you at one of them. Bon appetite and Happy Earth Day!
I have a confession to make: I own a particle board bookshelf. You are probably thinking I’m a hypocrite right now, because I work for the finest furniture retailer in Vermont, and I often write about why people shouldn’t buy cheap furniture. Ah, the embarrassment! But let me explain myself. When I was furnishing my first apartment, I found a “deal” online for a “wood” bookcase that was less than $100. Turns out what the box store calls wood is really a piece of particle board laminated with a maple wood print (that started to peel off within a month). It took my roommate and I an entire afternoon trying to put this together – and I think we’re pretty handy women. The bookcase came in a thin, tall box that contained a daunting amount of pieces. As we were putting it together, we realized that there were pieces missing and some of the attachment holes were un-drilled. I still have the bookcase, but there have been a number of repairs to it over the years. I also know that if I want to rearrange the room, everything must revolve around this particular bookshelf, because there’s no way of moving this piece of furniture without it completely collapsing.
Now, I know I can’t be the only person in the world with an embarrassing piece of furniture like this. Is this story sounding familiar to you? Let’s stop wasting our time and money on these frustrating, poorly designed bookshelves. I say we stand together and vow to never buy particle board bookshelves ever again.
Solid wood bookshelves may seem expensive at first glance, but they are 100% worth it. The quality of the sustainably harvested wood, the exquisite craftsmanship, and the luxury white glove delivery make buying real wood furniture worth every cent.
Vermont Woods Studios wants you to get the best deal on your (perhaps first) solid wood bookshelves, so we’re having a sale! We’re offering up to 20% off our hardwood Living Room and Home Office furniture, plus free shipping and a lifetime guarantee! This sale is one week only! Don’t miss out. Start browsing our online gallery today. Feel free to contact our fine furniture specialists with any questions about our Vermont made fine wood furniture.
Forest conservation is at the heart of our mission at Vermont Woods Studios and we’re always trying to raise awareness about where your wood furniture comes from. If you’re committed to buying American made furniture– no worries. Chances are it’s made from legal wood, sustainably harvested from well-managed forests right here in North America.
But if you’re buying imported wood furniture (and according to a Washington Post article 70% of furniture sold in America is imported) then: Houston, we have a problem.
A recent Washington Post article by Brad Plumer entitled Organized Crime is Getting Rich Cutting Down the Rainforest describes how the illegal logging trade has become just as lucrative (and far more destructive) than the drug-trafficking industry. 50 to 90 percent of forestry in tropical areas is now controlled by criminal groups! “A great deal of logging simply takes place illegally — much of it in tropical areas such as the Amazon Basin, Central Africa, and Southeast Asia.” (ref: United Nations and Interpol)
The U.N. estimates that illicit logging is now worth between $30 billion to $100 billion, or up to 30 percent of the global wood trade. That illegal wood is often shipped from pristine rainforests to China, Vietnam and other third world countries where it’s fabricated into low quality furniture which is sold to US consumers. We’ve written quite a bit about the links between rainforest destruction, global warming and the furniture and flooring you choose for your home:
- Blog posts on rainforest conservation and protection of endangered species of the forest
- Tiger Conservation, Rainforest Preservation and Your Furniture
- Forest Conservation is About More than Trees
- Saving The Rainforest: Why Green Consumerism Is Key
- And lots more
If you’re considering buying furniture at IKEA, Home Depot or any big box store… ask where the lumber originates and let us know what you find on our Facebook or in the comments section below. Then re-discover sustainable, American made wood furniture and join us in feeling good about your furniture and your green home.
I don’t know how to describe for you how beautiful Karen Kamenetzky’s fiber art is. It really has to be seen to be appreciated, but I thought I’d make an attempt by posting this screen shot I derived from a Google image search for “Karen Kamenetzky”. Wow. The image above is just my random sampling of Karen’s body of work but look how coherent it is! How can dozens of works, over years (maybe decades?) of time be placed together so randomly and look so integrated? I love Karen’s choice of colors and shapes and the illusion of movement. It’s remarkable, don’t you think?
You don’t see that much fiber art anymore. I’m so happy it’s making a comeback in the vibrant, contemporary works of Karen Kamenetzky. A little bit about the artist:
Karen works out of a typical Southern Vermont studio tucked into the woods of West Brattleboro. “I dye, paint and stitch cottons and silks to create boldly colored wallhangings inspired by microscopic/cellular imagery – a kind of visual invented biology with textiles. I find this imagery metaphorically rich since all change fundamentally happens on this infinitesimal level.” Karen shares information and inside scoops about her work, techniques, philosophy, inspiration and gallery exhibits on her fiber arts blog and on her Facebook.
If you love it as much as I do, you might want to consider attending the Brattleboro Museum and Arts Center Apple Blossom Gala on May 10th at 7pm at Alyson’s Orchard in Walpole, NH where Karen’s “Cellscape II” is up for auction. You could be the lucky bidder and end up taking this piece of fine art home. But even if you’re not you’ll still find “lots of wonderful, innovative art for auction, a good cause, great people, delicious food and a raucous wine tasting!” Hope to see you there.
Back in January we got a phone call from a journalist, Nina Patel who was writing an article about American made furniture for USA Today’s Home magazine. Nina had come across our website while researching USA made furniture and home decor. She become interested in our green mission as well as our promotion of American made products through the Christmas Shopping Challenge we’ve been sponsoring the last couple years. We chatted back and forth for a week or so and Nina gathered lots of information about Vermont Woods Studios. I wasn’t sure which aspects would fit into her article, so we’ve been eagerly awaiting it’s publication to see what she found most newsworthy.
We were excited to see a preview of Nina’s “American Made” story in yesterday’s USA Today Weekend edition of their national newspaper. The full length article is in the Spring 2013 edition of USA Today Home Magazine which you can find at your news stand or online.
It turns out that Nina did highlight information about our sustainable forestry mission as well as our efforts to raise awareness about where your furniture comes from. We are grateful to her for discussing the value of American made, high quality, sustainable furniture in such a high visibility venue. The movement is catching on!
American Made Bedroom Furniture
Our American made bedroom furniture sale wraps up at midnight this Thursday, April 18th with up to 20% savings on real, handcrafted wooden furniture made right here in Vermont. I know you’re used to seeing bedroom furniture sales that advertise 40 or 60 or 80% off when you’re shopping at the big box stores but those companies have to mark up everyday prices in order to mark down for sales. We don’t like that kind of gimmick.
Value is About More Than Price
At Vermont Woods Studios we work very hard to price our furniture accurately and make sure that everyone involved in the purchase has a win: the customer, the craftsman, the forester and logger who sustainably harvest the wood and of course, the environment. We realize that in the age of the Internet, price comparison often rules above all else. So we have a competitive pricing policy to ensure you get the best price available for the quality, shipping and service we offer. And we guarantee our 100% American made furniture for a lifetime of service to you and your family.
When you place a piece of our Vermont made furniture in your home we want you to feel good knowing that you have paid a fair price and obtained a great value. You can see customer comments about price and value as well as customer photos of our furniture on Facebook or in our testimonials page. Want to join the conversation? Comment below, on our Facebook or call Sean (who is– according to Liz–our Customer Feedback Czar) and weigh in with your two cents!
In Vermont, the word “local” is in our DNA. We eat local foods, support local stores, many of us opt for “staycations” to keep money in our local economies. Sometimes, however, “local” isn’t gentle on your wallet. But, there’s a new company in the Green Mountain State that is fusing the “buy local” attitude with a budget.
Localvore Today is similar to Groupon and Living Social in the sense that they are a daily deal company. What separates them from those larger companies is the local edge. They are a Vermont based company with an office at the Burlington water front, and the money from this company never leaves the state. They make a deal with local vendors to sell discounted gift certificates, services, ect. where Localvore Today earns some money off the sales. Vermont residents, in turn, buy these discounted ticket items, getting them to do something, go somewhere, or eat something local. You will never see a discount on this website for a conglomerate chain store or restaurant. Localvore Today is saving Vermonters money, but allowing them to still support the local economy. Plus, they donate 10 cents to Hunger Free Vermont for every subscriber they get. Pretty cool, huh?
We’re currently working with Dan White and Amanda Knowlton at Localvore Today to find ways to collaborate and support each other. It’s always refreshing to work with like-minded companies that are mission driven!