Vermont Woods Studios Handmade Furniture

Celebrate Spring: It’s Boston Design Week

March 19th, 2014 by Peggy Farabaugh

Boston Design Week

For all our interior design friends in around New England, here is a new event you won’t want to miss.  It’s the first annual Boston Design Week, a 10-day citywide design festival starting tomorrow and running March 20-30, 2014.  Boston design organizations, schools, businesses, sponsors and individual designers have over 80 design events, exhibitions, speakers, receptions, behind-the-scene tours, and other activities to spring you into a creative mood.   Better yet, most activities are free of charge and open to the public.

Festivities are designed to “encourage the public to explore architecture, environmental and landscape design, urban design, interior design, fashion, graphic design, photography, product and industrial design, studio design, furniture design, decorative arts, sculpture, textiles, jewelry and more.”

Here are just a few design events you might like to check out:

  • Boston Architectural College presents This Old House, “About the Process: The Production and Design Process of the TV Series, This Old House,” March 25 @ 6:00 pm at “The Beehive” in the BAC Hall, 951 Boylston St. Boston, MA 02116
  • Restoration Resources presents “Designing & Decorating with Salvage” by Joanne Palmisano March 29 @ 11:00 am & again at 1:00 pm at 1946 Washington St. Boston, MA 02118
  • Beth Bourque Design Studio presents “Insight into Furniture Design” March 26 @ 6:00 pm Masterpiece Woodworks Inc, 65 Bodwell St. Avon, MA 02322

Not able to get to Boston this Spring?  Well, how ’bout making a visit to our new fine furniture and home decor showroom at Stonehurst in Vernon, VT?  We’re collecting Vermont’s finest home decor brands (Simon Pearce glass ware, Hubbardton Forge lighting, Laura Zindel ceramics, Anichini linens…) to offer you at this beautiful 17th century farmhouse showroom.  You’ll have easy access to the best of Vermont’s furniture and interior design items all under one roof.  Shop our new to the trade program for interior designers, decorators and specifiers today.

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day from Everyone at Stonehurst!

March 17th, 2014 by Kelsey Eaton

Stained Glass Window from St. Patricks Church

This Stained Glass Window, handcrafted in the 1800′s for St Patrick’s Church in Jaffrey NH, was donated to our Stonehurst Gallery by Annette Roydon.

Our Vermont furniture showroom, Stonehurst, has a lot of interesting history. Besides it’s own history as a former girls boarding house, farm house, and lost ski resort–Stonehurst is also unique in it’s details. We used re-purposed and reclaimed materials as much as we could during the renovation, resulting in a space that is imperfectly beautiful and charming. This stained glass window is an example of just that. Given to us by Peggy’s friend Annette, this window has a great story.

St Patricks Church

St. Patrick’s Church, the original home of our prized stained glass window.

St. Patrick Parish in Jaffrey, NH is set in the foothills of Mt. Monadnock.  It’s a picturesque stone Catholic church built with farmers field-stones at the turn of the century, and still stands today. This stained glass window and three others were removed from St Patrick’s church back in the days when the Catholic Church was modernizing and updating their decor. Annette’s father happened to drive by and saw the windows in a dumpster, and got permission to salvage them.  

6 years ago on Christmas eve Annette’s 1814 farmhouse burned down, and this window was one of the few things that she was able to save. Eventually, she gifted it to Stonehurst and we were ecstatic to make this historic piece a part of our showroom.

This antique handcrafted stained glass window currently sits in our public restroom at Stonehurst. Seems like a funny spot to keep such a special window, but visitors to Stonehurst agree, it’s a great fit for this artistic glass work!

We’d love to invite you to Stonehurst to get a glimpse of this lovely window yourself! Plus, many other little decor details that make Stonehurst much more than just a furniture showroom.

Happy St.Patricks Day!

 |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.|
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Sustainable Eco Friendly Furniture

March 15th, 2014 by Peggy Farabaugh

Sustainable Eco Friendly Furniture from Vermont

With yet another snowstorm on it’s way to Vermont, my mind is longing for Spring. How about you? Perhaps a few images of green grass and the birds and the bees (courtesy of Polyvore) will hurry things along?

In Vermont the seasons are still tied to production of wood furniture.  Winter provides the best opportunity for careful logging because frozen ground is less susceptible to damage.  And Spring begins a new cycle for forest stewardship planning– a process that ensures availability of wood for future generations.  At Vermont Woods Studios that process is led by Lynn Levine (our professional forester) who helps manage the 100 acre woodland that Stonehurst sits upon.  A woodland we’re using to help people understand where their furniture comes from:  trees that are sustainably harvested.

What is Sustainable, Eco Friendly Furniture?

Polywood all weather Adirondack chairs | Recycled plastic milk jugs

These eco friendly Polywood all weather Adirondack chairs are made of recycled plastic milk jugs.  Other marks of sustainability include green certifications, local responsibly harvested wood and use of non-toxic materials.

I just googled “sustainable eco friendly furniture” and came up with everything from IKEA (who was recently suspended from the Forest Stewardship Council FSC for illegally clear cutting 600 year old trees in Russia) to Pottery Barn (well known for  greenwashing campaigns like their eco chic collection). At Vermont Woods Studios  we’ve written a lot about sustainable furniture and how it’s defined.   Because we sell mainly wooden furniture we focus on responsible sourcing, green certification of wood, advantages of local and American made furniture, and the importance of recycled  and handmade furniture.  For examples of a wider variety of eco friendly furniture, check out the latest green furniture articles on Inhabitat.

Why Buy Sustainable Furniture?

“Every dollar you spend or don’t spend is a vote you cast for the world you want.” – L.N. Smith

A couple other reasons that come to mind include:

  • better health for your family (no exposure to the flammables, lead and toxic coatings that are often present in furniture)
  • less investment in furniture over the long run (sustainable furniture is built to last a lifetime so no replacements are necessary) and
  • support for local communities that produce sustainable furniture

Have some reasons of your own?  Let us know on Facebook or in the comments section below.

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IKEA Cuts Down 600 Year Old Trees, Suspended From FSC

March 13th, 2014 by Kelsey Eaton

Intact old-growth forest on land leased by IKEA/Swedwood in Russian

Intact old-growth forest on land leased by IKEA/Swedwood in Russian Karelia. Photo © Robert Svensson, Protect the Forest 2011.

 IKEA: A Trusted Sustainable Furniture Source? Not so quick.

While furniture giant IKEA has been leading campaigns for their use of sustainably sourced cotton, and promoting LED lighting & solar panels in their stores– they apparently made the mistake of not paying attention to where their wood comes from. Already criticized for their staggering wood usage (IKEA uses a whopping 1% of the entire earths forests for their furniture), they are  now facing harsh criticism for cutting down old growth trees in Karelia, Russia.

Swedwood, IKEA’s forestry subsidiary, was given lease to log 700,000 acres of Russian forest as long as they avoided old growth trees and trees in specified protected areas. A recent audit done by the Forest Stewardship Council revealed “major deviations” from regulations, including cutting down 600+ year old trees.

Environmental organizations had been voicing their concern about IKEA’s logging practices in Karelia for years– PFS (Protect the Forest, Sweden) apparently handed Swedwood over 180,000 signatures and a joint statement with criticisms of their forestry practices and demands to transform their habits to protect the valuable old growth forests over a year ago.

 

Protestors with a sign in Swedish that reads: "Hello, our furniture is made of old-growth forests. At IKEA you get low prices at any cost." Read more at http://news.mongabay.com/2012/0530-hance-ikea-fsc-logging.html#eUSKYJMi98gOhYLu.99

Protestors with a sign in Swedish that reads: “Hello, our furniture is made of old-growth forests. At IKEA you get low prices at any cost.”

IKEA’s infraction resulted in the Forest Stewardship Council temporarily stripping them of their certification. Despite the withdrawal of IKEA’s FSC certification for their illegal logging, insufficient dialogue, lack of environmental consideration and work environment issues– many believe that FSC is not addressing key issues.

According to Linda Ellegaard Nordstrom, “The report raises several deficiencies, but does not describe the main problem, which is that pioneer exploitation, with fragmenting and breaking into the last intact forest landscapes and tracts, does not fit to FSC’s principles and criteria. Thus we believe that the FSC label is still far from being a guarantee for sustainable forestry, Together with Russian environmental organizations we have suggested to IKEA that they, as an influential multinational corporation, should set a good example by announcing that they will no longer log or buy timber from intact old-growth forests, whether the forests are certified or not.”

An Ikea spokeswoman told The Sunday Times: “We see the suspension of the certificate as highly temporary. The deviations mainly cover issues related to facilities and equipment for our co-workers, forestry management as well as training of our forestry co-workers,” claiming that they have already corrected most of the violations.

While IKEA announced plans to stop operations in Karelia in 2014, it’s important for consumers to be critical of all businesses claiming to practice sustainability. IKEA is a leader in the furniture industry, using resources unimaginable to a small  business like Vermont Woods Studios. We would love to see them take true accountability for their actions.

logs.IKEASwedwood20.568

Destroyed old-growth forest with piles of timber on land leased by IKEA/Swedwood in Russian Karelia. Photo © Robert Svensson, Protect the Forest 2011. Retrieved from MongaBay.

 

 

 

Responsible forest management is at the heart of our mission as the devastating loss of these old trees is irreversible, and we can only hope that more furniture companies will take note of the criticism that IKEA is facing and take steps towards sustainable forestry. It’s up to consumers to make informed decisions about where they buy the products that ends up in their homes. If certification can’t stop this type of thing from happening, then people must be more careful than ever in picking a company that they care about and trust.

What are your thoughts? Leave us a note in the comments section, or send us a message on Facebook or Twitter!

[Sources: Green Retail Decisions, Sustainable Brands, Triple Pundit]

 

 

|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.|

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Message In A Bottle: Clean up the Ocean!

March 12th, 2014 by Peggy Farabaugh

Treeson Spring Water

Treeson Eco Friendly Spring Water | Change the World

You can help Treeson get their fledgling spring water company off the ground by supporting their campaign at Kickstarter.com.

I don’t usually promote other companies or products unless they’re based in Vermont and related to our environmental mission at Vermont Woods Studios.  But although Treeson is operated in Costa Rica, the company caught my eye because their founding principles are so similar to ours.

Cleaning Up Ocean Plastic Pollution

Owner Carlton Solle took his family on a trip to Costa Rica 5 years ago.  Like me, he was alarmed at the plastic pollution littering that country’s beautiful waters and coastlines.  And like me, he  learned that less than 20 percent of the 50 billion plastic water bottles sold in the United States are actually recycled (the remaining 40 billion end up in landfills, waterways and oceans, or in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch).

Our response to plastic pollution at Vermont Woods Studios was to partner with Polywood in promoting and selling outdoor patio furniture made from recycled plastic bottles.  Carlton’s response was to create Treeson spring water which is packaged in an eco-friendly, biodegradable, collapsible water bottle that comes with a pre-paid USPS postage sticker.  The empty bottle goes in the Mail box instead of the trash.

Replanting the Rainforest

For every bottle of spring water sold, Treeson plants a tree. They are working closely with our friend Kevin Peterson at the Eco Preservation Society to replant the rainforest in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica (this is the area we visited a few years ago and did volunteer work building furniture at a local school).  So far over 38,000 trees have been planted.

Incidentally, Kevin is one of the people who influenced us at Vermont Woods Studios to plant a tree for every furniture sale.

Life Cycle of a Treeson Bottle:  Cradle to Grave

Treeson water bottles are made from plant-based materials and filled with filtered spring water sourced close to each retail territory.  Empty bottles are easily flattened and returned for free (by peeling off the label to reveal a return label) via the United States Postal Service.  The used bottles are then recycled to produce clean energy (with a machine that converts the plant-based material into biogas) that is used to produce new bottles.

Support Treeson’s Kickstarter Campaign

You can help Treeson get their fledgling company off the ground by supporting their campaign at Kickstarter.com.   There you’ll find information and frequently asked questions about their mission, business plans and processes.

We wish them well.  Can companies like Treeson and Vermont Woods Studios really change the world?  Let us know your thoughts on 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, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

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Truly Green Furnishings: Chemical Free, Organic Furniture

March 11th, 2014 by Kelsey Eaton

 

Rustic Barnwood Furniture

This This Rustic Barnwood Sideboard with Ceramic Sink, rich with history and character, is created from high quality, reclaimed and recycled doors, floor boards, siding and other original components of New England’s historic barns. Organic, live-edge buffet top.

Furniture is more than just something we sit on, sleep on, and eat on; our furniture becomes a part of our life story. It’s an integral piece of what makes a house a home. But for the chemically sensitive, or for those who are just serious about not bringing harsh chemicals into their homes, finding the right furniture can seem like an impossible task.

At Vermont Woods Studios, we’re dedicated to providing furniture that is good for your health, home, and the environment.

Our Wood Furniture

All of our furniture (with the exception of our Outdoor line, which is made from recycled milk jugs) is handcrafted in Vermont using real, natural hardwoods. We do not work with inferior substrates like Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF), particle board, or flimsy faux wood veneers.

We work mostly with cherrymapleoak and walnut. Each board in your furniture is selected by hand, and inspected for quality, strength, straightness, grain and color. When requested, we use FSC green-certified lumber, although there is still a premium for FSC certified wood. Sometimes our artisans harvest lumber from the woods on their own property, a sustainable approach that adds another dimension to the story of your furniture!

Toxin Free Finishes

Many of our furniture makers continue to use traditional oil and wax based finishes, but even those that use more modern finishes ensure that they are non-toxic, formaldehyde-free and eco-friendly with little or no Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs).

As concern over indoor air quality continues to grow, many of our furniture makers are moving towards water based finishes. Conventional petroleum based solvents contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are harmful to the atmosphere. While most of these VOCs are released at the time of manufacturing, a small amount remains on the product and can off-gas in the home. Many of our collections can now be requested in a non-emitting water-based finish.

Shopping for Organic Furniture Online

Questions to ask when making decisions on your organic wood furniture:

  • What type of wood is used?
  • Where does the wood come from?
  • How is the wood processed?  Are chemicals used in processing?  What kind of chemicals?
  • What type of finish and/or stain is used?  Is it a low VOC or no VOC finish-stain?  Can you supply an MSDS (material safety data sheet) for the finish?
  • What type of glue is used?  Is it non-toxic?  Does it contain formaldehyde?  MSDS available?
  • Where is the furniture made and by whom?
  • How is the furniture packaged for shipment?

If you have any questions or want to discuss the issues of natural, non-toxic furniture, give us a call or email us at Vermont Woods Studios.  We’ll be glad to help!

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.

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Memories of Pine Top, Southern Vermont’s Lost Ski Area

March 10th, 2014 by Peggy Farabaugh

For all you Pine Top alumni out there, here is a fun email I received from Sally Byrnes Magin who shares her memories of skiing here in the 1950s:

Pine Top Ski Area | Memories from Sally

Memories of Pine Top from Sally Byrnes Magin:  I love the pictures of the ladies sitting on the front porch and the one of Laddie, Elsie and Romey’s dog.

Dear Peggy,

By chance, when googling “Pine Top” for sentimental reasons, I came across the Vermont Woods Studios and Stonehurst website.  After spending many winter vacations as a child at Pine Top, I was so excited to see that you are keeping the memories alive!  My family and our friends, from northern NJ, spent almost every President’s Week in February (from about 1950 until 1958) at Pine Top, learning to ski and having a wonderful time together. In fact, one of the trails that led from the top of the “Tobey” rope tow was named “Stoddard Run” after our friends the Stoddard family.

Eventually, as our skiing skills improved, we branched out to other Vermont ski areas. It was a magical time spent with Elsie and Romey (Racine), Laddie their dog, the kitchen staff, and the local ski instructors at Pine Top.  Our group took over the entire house for a week, and expanded into the “new annex” when it was built.

Some memories that I have of Pine Top are: skiing down the Pelley and Tobey slopes, struggling with those rope tows, the Tiny Tot hill, eating “sugar on snow” in the old warming hut, being excited when the “new” warning hut was built, visiting the farm and cows up the road, the bell that signaled breakfast and dinner, playing board games in front of the fireplace at night, going into Brattleboro to see ski jumping competitions, and how cold the rooms upstairs were in the mornings before the heat came up through the grates. Also, walking back from the warming hut on a cold Vermont night with every star in the sky visible.

Memories of Pine Top | Now Stonehurst Fine Furniture Gallery

The kids always ate first, and I guess we were celebrating someone’s birthday at dinner.   I must have been sitting at the other end of the dining room table (so am not in the picture).

I hope to visit Stonehurst some time in the future and perhaps walk around the property to revisit old memories.             …..Sally Byrnes Magin Township of Washington, NJ

Sally Byrnes Magin | Memories of Skiing at Pine Top

Here’s a picture of me in early 1950′s ski gear, lace up boots, and cable bindings. Those were the days!  By the way, one of those ski instructor’s last name may have been “Herbert”…he taught us all how to ski, and I am still going strong at age 70! … Sally Byrnes Magin

Well, thank you so much Sally for generously sharing your wonderful memories of skiing at Pine Top.  We hope you’ll come up to visit us soon. I think you’ll enjoy the property and all the improvements we’ve made while transforming it into Stonehurst (a showcase for Vermont’s fine furniture and home decor).

Does anyone else out there have Pine Top memories to share?  Send them along!  We’ve got an online compilation of Pine Top stories and yours should be part of it.

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.

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The Renaissance of Handmade Wooden Furniture

March 9th, 2014 by Peggy Farabaugh

The Renaissance of Handmade Wooden Furniture

Even though there’s still snow on the ground we’re thinking Spring at Vermont Woods Studios.  So in anticipation of the rebirth of our green landscape it seems like a good time to talk about the renaissance of handmade wooden furniture.

Last month I took a trip to Manhattan to meet with leaders in the world of home decor and interior design.  We talked about the fact that the past several years have been dominated by modern, contemporary decor with lots of metal, glass, upholstery and synthetics.  Very little wood.  But in 2014 the pendulum is swinging back to home decor that is much more connected to our natural world.  Check out Architectural Digest’s latest interiors page and you’ll find the richness of handmade wood furniture, flooring and accessories throughout.

Handcrafted Custom Reclaimed Wood and Metal Coffee and Sofa Tables

These occasional tables are handcrafted of reclaimed wood and metal by Dan Mosheim and his sons in Dorset, Vermont.  They can be customized online, in our showroom or… take a ride up to Dorset and work directly with Dan in his studio.

In 2014, interior designers and homeowners are looking to be refreshed by the authenticity and organic nature of real wood in their home decor. Reclaimed wood and metal are perhaps the most popular combination for furniture styles we’ve seen this year. The beautiful occasional tables above (handcrafted by Dan Mosheim and his sons) are a great example.

Modern Handmade Wooden Furniture

Copeland’s new Kyoto Dining Furniture Collection is a great example of modern, contemporary wood furniture.  It’s handmade in Bradford, Vermont of sustainably harvested American black walnut wood.

Here’s another example of handmade wooden furniture that’s trending up this Spring.  It’s Copeland’s new Kyoto Dining Furniture Collection– proving that modern and wood are not an oxymoron when it comes to furniture!

Need more inspiration on how to refresh your home with the beauty of handmade wooden furniture this Spring?  Visit the Architectural Digest annual Home Show in Manhattan, March 20-23.  Or make a trip to beautiful Vermont and enjoy the bounty of nature inside our fine furniture showroom and outside on our scenic woodland trails.

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.

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Hardwood Dining Room Furniture Sale: Pre-Spring Savings

March 8th, 2014 by Kelsey Eaton

March-Dining-Room-Sale

Buying heirloom quality dining room furniture online is easy at Vermont Woods Studios. With dozens of timeless Vermont made furniture styles, our dining room furniture sale event is the perfect opportunity to buy!

Did you know that the average person spends almost six and a half years of their lifetime eating food? If we’re spending that much time eating, we might as well be eating on beautiful dining room furniture!  Save up to 20% on all of the Vermont made hardwood dining room furniture you have been wishing for. Order today and receive 10% off one piece, 15% on two pieces or 20% savings when you buy 3 or more pieces! (Plus Free Delivery!)

Our heirloom quality dining furniture is skillfully crafted in Vermont from real hardwoods. Our talented furniture makers build with style, function, and generations of use in mind, giving you the comfort of knowing that you’ve invested in a piece that will truly last. Your new dining furniture can be made from natural Cherry, Maple, Oak, or Walnut woods. So whether you’re shopping for a single piece to complement an existing dining room set or starting afresh, browse through hundreds of pieces of our handmade dining room furniture and you’re sure to find something you love.  Please note that that most of these pieces can be customized to fit your specific space or needs, so don’t hesitate to ask us for help on what you are looking for!

Shop for your new dining room furniture securely, easily, and conveniently from our online store. Or if you prefer contact us at 888-390-5571 to order by phone or discuss your questions about our Vermont made, fine wood furniture. Hurry! Our Summer Dining Room Furniture Sale ends at midnight on March 20th.

*Excludes Copeland, Artisan, Polywood, and Clearance.

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.

 

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VT Mini Vacation Destination: Annual Vermont Chili Festival!

March 7th, 2014 by Kelsey Eaton

Vermont Chili Festival

The crowd gathers at last years VT Chili Festival! Photo via: Farrell Distributing Company.

If there’s one thing that gets people coming from all over the Northeast to Vermont, it’s food. Well, food & beer… and furniture, because we’re fantastic at all creating the best of all three. But this blog isn’t about furniture, it’s about chili, and an entire festival dedicated to this wondrous, tasty concoction.

This weekend marks the 6th annual Vermont Chili Festival! Named one of the top 10 Winter events for the past 4 years by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce. It’s a great VT mini vacation destination because Middlebury is beautiful in and of itself, and the festival has lots to do for the whole family.

There will be activities for the kids, AWARD WINNING CHILI (I repeat, some of this chili is so good it has won awards), live music, face painters, performers, and a beverage tent for the grownups! This whole event will take place on the streets of historic downtown Middlebury. Restaraunts and caterers from around the state have been fine-tuning their chili recepies all year to show it off at this festival, so it’s one not to be missed.

Chili contest starts on Saturday, March 8th, 2014 beginning at 1:00pm! Tickets are $5 for adults and children under 8 are free!

An estimated five-thousand people attended last year’s festival, with even more expected to turn out this year – I wouldn’t miss this one!

Purchase your tickets at their EventBrite page.

PS. To help keep this event as eco-friendly as possible, bring your own spoon to avoid having to use the plastic ones that will end up in a landfill!

 

| 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. |

 

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