January 19th, 2014 by Peggy Farabaugh
Everyone has a passion, right? Some of us have lots of passions. Nelson Mandela’s passions were about freedom and equality. Albert Einstein’s passions were about curiosity and science. Julia Child was passionate about food. Elvis’ passion was music.
So what’s your passion? And what are you doing about it? Plenty of people are out there offering advice:
As a mother of two college students, the question of whether to follow your passion during the critical years of higher education is front and center at my house. What advice should I give my children? What advice did my parents give me? Did I follow it? What were the consequences? While I try to get some answers together for another post, give me your advice and wisdom on Facebook or in the comments section below.
Doesn’t everyone deserve to follow their passion at some point in life?
The Vermont Furniture 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 18th, 2014 by Kelsey Eaton
You might not expect this from a small furniture company in Vermont, but two of us who work here are bellydancers! (I know, weird right?!) I started teaching classes in Brattleboro last summer, and Liz has been taking them with me ever since. Bellydance is a great way to build confidence, positive body image, and it’s a pretty great workout too!
Today, January 18th 2014, I am hosting a bellydance benefit show for the Womens Freedom Center of Brattleboro. The Womens Freedom center supports women who have been victims of domestic violence with Shelter, a 24 hour safety hotline, Support groups, community education, safety planning, and more! They have been a major part of the Brattleboro community and I’m so glad to be hosting this benefit for them.
What’s even greater is the fact that the Brattleboro community (surrounding towns included) have shown an overwhelming amount of support for our benefit show– including Vermont Woods Studios.
On Saturday, January 18th (today!) Vermont Woods Studios has offered to donate $20 from every order to go towards our benefit for the Womens Freedom Center!
If you’ve been thinking about making a purchase but haven’t had the motivation to buy, let this be your motivation & know that your furniture helped support a wonderful cause. Browse our collections of wood furniture.
Not ready to buy but still want to support the cause? Here’s how you can get involved!
January 17th, 2014 by Kelsey Eaton
As the holidays are over and a new year begins, I’ve been thinking a lot about how much time we spend with our families in our dining rooms and kitchens. I traveled to several different homes from Thanksgiving to Christmas and New years–with most of the time being spent around a beautiful dining table with the people closest to me. It was interesting to see how the design of each room really made the space special, and how the furnishings were all so different and unique depending on who’s home it was. I loved seeing ways in which the interior decor and furnishings would match the personality of the home, and those who lived in it.
With dining room furniture, it’s important to buy something that you love. Whether its a long table with enough room for a hoard of hungry and excited guests, or a round table to bring everyone together for conversation; finding the perfect dining furniture is a great way to start out your new year fresh. If not solely for style, than for function too!
Imagine your ideal family dinner, and what kind of furnishings you would have in it. Maybe even browse Pinterest for a little inspiration!
If you’ve found a design or idea that you love, now is the perfect time to purchase your dream dining room furniture! With dozens of styles and collections, we’re sure to have pieces that you and your family would absolutely love to gather around!
From January 17th to January 30th, you can save up to 20% on our handcrafted dining room furniture. Buy one piece and save 10%, buy two pieces and save 15%, or buy three or more pieces and save 20%! Plus, enjoy free shipping and lifetime guarantee with our dining room sale!
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.
*Sale does not include Copeland, Polywood, Artisan, or Clearance furniture.
January 16th, 2014 by Kelsey Eaton
Alongside such romantic places as France, Spain, and Italy– humble Vermont stands strong as one of the top 10 destinations for cheese lovers! Like with most parts of our creative heritage, Vermont prides itself on the high quality product (in this case, Cheddars, Fetas, Gorgonzolas and more!) that cannot be found anywhere else in the United States.
Seriously, we love our cheese. So much that we have a map highlighting 45 different Vermont cheesemakers who “produce over 150 varieties of award winning artisan and farmstead cheese.”
This map from VTCheese.com illustrates the 45 Vermont Cheese Council members and their locations. Click on the map for more detail, and links to individual members!
Do you have any other cheese destinations that you think should have been included in this list? Let us know in the comments section!
January 15th, 2014 by Peggy Farabaugh
One of the hallmarks of Vermont furniture is the finely sanded wood and hand rubbed finish. When you run your hands along the top of these chests or the foot board of this shaker bed, it almost feels like skin– very soft and smooth. So we spend a lot of time talking with customers about how to maintain that beautiful finish after your furniture arrives at home. Like a fine wine, a hand rubbed finish will improve with age. Here are a few tips to care for it.
First check with the furniture maker to see what oil was initially applied and what is recommended for maintenance. For example, the Vermont Shaker Moon bedroom set above is finished with hand rubbed linseed oil. The furniture maker recommends these special care instructions:
When you receive your furniture it may be tacky from the oil finish we have applied in the studio. The entire piece should be wiped with a clean, soft, lint-free cotton cloth. Do not use commercially available polishes or waxes. Wood remains a live medium and can tend to dry out over time. For maintenance– pure, non-toxic linseed oil (such as this Tried and True finish) or any high quality furniture oil (without petroleum dryers or thinners) should be applied immediately after delivery and again every 3-12 months*. Regular oiling will deepen the hand rubbed finish while enhancing the natural beauty of the wood. It will also restore the finish over scratches. Good quality oil products are widely available in better hardware stores. With minor care, this furniture will be enjoyed for years and likely generations to come. More furniture care instructions here.
Whether your wood furniture has a hand rubbed oil finish, a lacquer or poly, routine cleaning will keep it looking good. With an oil finish, it’s especially important to clean up spills quickly before the liquid penetrates into the fibers of the wood. Learn more about dusting (damp cloth or dry?), polishing and cleaning up spills on our furniture care website.
Wood is sensitive to changes in relative humidity. As the weather changes, so does the relative humidity in your home and in the moisture content of the wood in your furniture. This means that furniture is constantly expanding and contracting. Most furniture makers recommend conditions of around 70°F-72°F and a relative humidity of about 50-55% to keep your furniture looking good and lasting a long time.
Many woods, especially cherry are sensitive to light and will change colors when exposed to high intensity light or even sunlight for long periods of time. Here are some tips for controlling light exposure and humidity on the furniture care page of our website.
* How often should you re-apply an oil finish? The furniture aficionado’s rule of thumb is: once upon arrival into your home, then once/week for a month, then once/month for a year, then once per year thereafter. Sounds like a lot of oiling but you’ll end up with the most beautiful patina you can imagine!
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 14th, 2014 by Peggy Farabaugh
Editors note: OK, this is really me (Peggy) but I found this old photo of our Marketing Manager Dennis Shanoff and it got me wondering how we ever survived the early days of start-up.
Eight years ago I started this online furniture store. I had no experience with ecommerce— or any sort of business for that matter. I am a chemist by education and a teacher by trade. I had recently lost my job, I was approaching my 50th birthday and I decided my next career was going to be my last. Thirty years after graduating from high school I would finally take the advice my guidance counselor offered: “follow your passion”.
Fast forward a few years after (a slow) start-up. I’ve just hired a “Marketing Manager”, Dennis Shanoff. It’s his first day on the job. I’m imagining this conversation he’s texting to his wife:
Dennis Shanoff: My boss is a cat
Dennis: sends selfie (above)
Dennis: I’m sitting at a desk in this lady’s spare bedroom trying to figure out how I’m going to build a furniture brand around her passion
Susan: which is?
Dennis: saving the rainforest
Susan: from Vermont?
Dennis: most furniture is made from rainforest woods. Peggy’s trying to raise awareness about that and promote sustainable Vermont made furniture instead
Susan: OK so it’s a stretch. Don’t panic
Luckily Dennis didn’t panic. Four years after what must have been an unnerving first day at work, Dennis Shanoff has helped transform a fledgling start-up that no one believed would ever get off the ground, into a small business with a reasonable chance of long-term survival.
I don’t think our story is that atypical for small businesses in Vermont or throughout America for that matter. It’s full of hopes and dreams and absurdity. Luck, misfortune and determination. But more than anything it’s a story of how a small group of disparate entrepreneurs managed to leverage their differences in an effort to change the world.
My friend Annette thinks I should start reflecting on this unorthodox journey with Vermont Woods Studios and share my memories here and on Medium.com. Maybe others with a passion to make the world a better place will find or offer encouragement. Think? Let me know (on Facebook or in the comments section below) if you’d be interested to read more start-up stories about Dennis, Douglas, Ken and the gang.
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 12th, 2014 by Kelsey Eaton
As you browse through our website, you might notice that some of our photos are a little less than spectacular. This is a problem for some people when buying furniture online because it doesn’t allow you to see how beautiful our wood furniture truly is. Luckily for us (and for our visitors), we now have Nina working with us to get as many beautiful photos as we can of any furniture design that passes through our showroom and when possible, many that go through our craftsman’s woodshops.
Some furniture pieces with new photography by Nina:
Rest assured that we are making our best effort to provide top quality photography that accurately shows the handcrafted quality of our Vermont fine furniture. Keep your eyes on the blog and on our Facebook page for new photo and furniture updates. Interested in checking out more great Vermont Furniture Photography ? Browse through our Pinterest boards for endless inspiration!
January 11th, 2014 by Peggy Farabaugh
I just received my January 2014 edition of the VCE newsletter and wanted to share some highlights with you. VCE is one of my favorite non-profits. It’s a group of dedicated researchers and scientists working to promote conservation and biodiversity in the Green Mountains and beyond.
The hardworking naturalists at VCE have an amazing array of research and citizen science projects going on throughout Vermont. I first learned about them when Kendall and Riley were little and we got involved with vernal pool mapping and spotted salamander crossing projects. Over the years we’ve also participated in the development of a Vermont breeding bird atlas and surveys of Vermont’s butterflies and bumble bees.
Another project I follow is VCE’s Caribbean bird conservation which seeks to protect migratory birds that spend their summers in Vermont and winters in Central America and the Caribbean. This project ties in to our mission of rainforest conservation at Vermont Woods Studios.
If you’re in Vermont or the Caribbean and looking to do some fun and interesting work in conservation, have a look at VCE’s website. It includes a wealth of information and dozens of opportunities to volunteer with like-minded people who love nature and wildlife. As noted on their website, VCE’s success is highly dependent on your help. Their work “gathers strength from volunteers who monitor wildlife in the Northeast and from a network of professional partners that extends from Canada to South America. This approach is successful because conservation is as much about people as it is about science. With a reach extending from northeastern Canada through the Caribbean to South America, our work in wildlife research and monitoring unites people and science for conservation.”
You can meet fascinating people, have some fun and make the world a better place by volunteering as a citizen scientist for VCE. Why not give them a call today?
January 10th, 2014 by Michelle Rooks
Embrace the ice! Bring the outdoors in with black and white photos (thank you to my very talented friend Kathleen Johnson), a clever string
of lights with mirrored garland, bare branches in jars of sand, silver and white throw pillows or ornaments in the same hues in glass jars.
If you’re like me there’s a little feeling of sadness as the holidays wind down. You’ve put away the decorations and it’s too cold to really enjoy the outdoors. What to do…
Rather than cursing the winter frost, why not embrace it? While the old saying is “Don’t wear white after Labor Day” the same doesn’t need to hold true for your home décor. Try these simple and inexpensive ideas to bring a touch of frost to your home.
Many of these ideas are a great way to reuse and recycle. You can be a trend-setter… and green! Here’s another thought. If you were to order Vermont-made hardwood furniture now, about the time you’ve had just about enough of the snow and ice, you could be enjoying your new table or bed.