From all our families at Vermont Woods Studios to you and your family, we send our warmest wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday season.  Here are a few pics of what Christmas looks like at Stonehurst in Vernon, Vermont.  My thanks to the eternally patient and tolerant staff members who humor me along when I get my pesky iphone out and start snapping…

Made in America Christmas Secret Santa gift exchange.
Loryn, Ken and Michelle at our annual Made in America Christmas Secret Santa gift exchange.
Christmas gifts starting piling up as staff brought in gifts for local families in need
Christmas gifts starting piling up as staff brought in gifts for local families in need
Our annual Made in America Secret Santa gift exchange
Tristan, Nina and Megan showing off their Secret Santa gifts
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care...
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care…
Our annual Made in America Secret Santa gift exchange
Rebecca, Mike, Sean and Kyle – always good sports around my camera :)
Our annual Made in America Secret Santa gift exchange
Riley, Dennis and Martin raising a toast to 2015…
Giving-Tree-Drop-Off
Megan delivering gifts from our staff members to the town of Vernon’s Giving Tree.

Please send us your holiday photos or post them on our Facebook.  Merry Christmas!

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.

Merry Christmas from Vermont to the Amazon!
This is the forest we look out on every day from our offices and showroom at Vermont Woods Studios.

A Mission of Forest Conservation

I founded Vermont Woods Studios 10 years ago on a mission of forest conservation.  I was looking for a way to raise awareness about where wood products like furniture and flooring come from.  What many people don’t realize is that when you buy these wood products from big companies like Lumber Liquidators or IKEA, there’s a good chance they’re made from trees that have been illegally clear-cut from the world’s rapidly disappearing rainforests. The idea with Vermont Woods Studios is to provide beautiful, sustainable, American made furniture as an alternative to imported furniture of suspicious origin.

The Vermont – Amazon Connection

Earlier this year, my sons Kendall & Riley and I made a trip to the Amazon rainforest to support the forest conservation efforts of Rosamaria Ruiz at the Serere Reserve in Bolivia.  While there, Riley became friends with Marco Antonio Gonzales Silva, a remarkable young conservationist working on social and environmental projects in the Bolivian Amazon.

Holiday Donation
Marco’s in the middle (red shirt) with Riley and a group of volunteers in Peru.  Help them raise $2500 to fund this year’s Holiday Giving Project which gives children in the Amazon a sandwich, a toy and a hot chocolate for Christmas.

Marco’s Holiday Giving Project

Marco grew up as a “street kid” in Peru, shining shoes for a living.  His dream is to help kids in the Peruvian Amazon, especially those living on the streets and working every day just to feed themselves.  So for the past three years, Marco has been sponsoring a project to bring holiday cheer to these children.  He uses his own money and also fundraises to buy gifts and food for the kids.  Each child receives a toy, a sandwich, and some hot chocolate for Christmas. The cost is about $5 per child.  Marco told Riley that most of these children have never had a toy before and do not yet understand the concept of a toy.

In his first year, Marco was able to donate to 500 kids by himself! With the help of some friends, he was able to up that number to 900 in his second year.  Now in his third year, Marco took to Facebook to ask for help and we’re trying to help make it his biggest year yet!

donation
Children receiving their toys and hot cocoa. In the middle you see just a portion of the children eagerly waiting.

Every Furniture Sale = a $50 Donation

We’re sending Marco a $50 donation for every furniture sale made at Vermont Woods Studios this weekend (Friday, Saturday & Sunday).  The money will be donated through a GoFundMe page set up for Marco by Riley.  The campaign runs until Dec. 14th, 2015 and Riley’s goal is to raise $2,500.  He is promising to match the largest donation (up to $200).  If you’d like to support the cause or learn more about it, please click here for details and a secure donation site.  Even a $5 donation will make a big difference in the lives of these children.  Thanks!

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.

New-Hampshire-Forests
No need to trek through the forest, Christmas tree farms throughout Vermont have you covered!

A Guide to Christmas Tree Farms in Vermont

Being a native New Englander I’ve come to expect a lot out of a Christmas Tree. It can’t be fake, it has to be real. It needs to be a Fraser or Douglas Fir. It has to be naturally even on all sides with no major gaps between branches and it can’t be too tall or short. One of my family’s outings to a Christmas Tree Farm can last hours and usually results in a major family deliberation over which tree to cut down.

Did you know real Christmas trees are great not only for their added ambiance but because they are a renewable and recyclable resource? To help with my idea that real trees trump artificial trees I dug a little into the world of Christmas Trees. According the the National Christmas Tree Association, 85% of artificial trees are manufactured in China and often contain non-biodegradable plastics. Christmas trees from farms are grown as a crop and once they are harvested new seedlings are planted to replace the harvested trees, so the cutting down of a Christmas Tree is actually better environmentally than buying an artificial tree. It also supports local economies!

If you’re like me and need to have the best tree, I’ve gone ahead and compiled a list of a few Christmas tree farms here in Vermont and a provided little information about what each farm offers you!

Christmas Trees of Vermont: (456 Old Connecticut River Road, Springfield, VT 05156) Located just 15 minutes north of the famous Vermont Country Store, this tree farm offers thousands of Fraser Fir trees to choose from. You can cut your own or choose from ones that are pre-cut. There’s a shop on site with complimentary hot cocoa and candy canes, Santa’s cabin, furry friends from the Vermont Humane Society on the weekends and free sleigh rides and tree baling.

The Russell Farm: (1248 VT Route 116 Starksboro, VT  05487) Located just under 40 minutes south of Burlington, VT, the Russell Farm boasts a feel-good family environment. You can cut your own Balsam Fir and catch a ride on a horse drawn sleigh (with a fee) and buy handmade wreaths and garland. You can warm up by a cabin fire and nibble on homemade cookies. You’re sure to feel part of the family!

The Bishop Farm: (Park Farm Road, Springfield, VT 05156) Also located a short 15 minute drive from the Vermont Country Store, the Bishop Farm grows both Balsam and Fraser Fir trees. You can choose your own tree, which the staff will happily cut down for you, or choose from a variety of pre-cut trees. On the weekends you can hop on a tractor ride and they offer free baling, hot chocolate and Christmas candy. They sell tree stands and handmade wreaths, as well. If you’re unable to make the trip, they offer delivery options, just choose the type and size of the tree and it’ll usually ship within 2 days.

Paxton Greens: (97 Stewart Lane, Cuttingsville, VT 05738) Located just 20 minutes north of Okemo and 40 minutes south of Killington, Paxton Greens offers primarily Fraser and Balsam Fir trees. You can cut your own tree, or have a staff member cut it for you as well as choose from from a selection of pre-cut trees. Their Christmas shop sells handmade wreaths, tree stands and has a wood stove you can warm up by. They offer hot mulled cider and the shop has great gift ideas.

Walker Farm’s Elysian Hills: (223 Knapp Road, Dummerston, VT 05301) New to the farm this year, you can cut your own trees on the weekends at the Walker Farm. Staff at the farm will help guide you the cut-your-own section and provide you with a price guide. Their farm store sells wreaths, center pieces and holiday greenery. If you’re in need of warming up after cutting down your tree, stop into the store where they offer free hot cider, hot chocolate and pretzels! You’ll also find fresh Certified Organic veggies, honey, maple syrup and more on sale in the shop!

All the farms supply hand saws-please don’t bring a chainsaw! And they all offer baling and/or netting of your tree. Good luck and may the best tree win!

If you’ve been to a great Christmas Tree farm in Vermont that I didn’t list, please let me know in the comments section!

Sources:
National Christmas Tree Association

Find & Go Seek

 

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.

Pine Top | The Lost Ski Area | Now a Vermont Furniture Showroom and Fine Art Gallery
Pine Top, the Lost Ski Area is now a Vermont fine furniture showroom, art gallery and information center. 

The last few days have brought a bounty of fluffy white snow setting us up for a beautiful first Christmas at Stonehurst.  Ken went out to the old carriage shed and rescued this antique sign that marked entry to the Pine Top Ski Area from the 1940s to the 1960s.  It’s now resting safely in our mudroom (er- entryway) accompanied by all the latest maps, magazines and brochures on Vermont travel (did I mention that we’re now an official Vermont Information Center?  More about that later).

For a small ski area in a small town, it’s amazing how many people have stopped by to tell us stories of when they skied here at Pine Top 50 years ago.  We had a lovely couple from Manhattan visit us a few weeks ago.  They were here to shop for furniture but after looking out the window at the ski slopes and seeing the Pine Top sign, Marcia realized that she had skied here when she was a boarding student at Northfield School (now NMH).  What a coincidence!

First Christmas at Stonehurst is a snowy one!
Signs of a snowy first Christmas abound at Stonehurst, Vermont’s sustainable furniture showroom and art gallery.

Today the sign out front welcomes people to Stonehurst, Vermont’s sustainable furniture showroom and art gallery.  With all the freshly fallen snow, now is one of the prettiest times of year to visit Stonehurst.  If you’re longing for the old fashioned Christmas you remember as a kid, stop by and see us.  We’ve got hot chocolate, warm apple cider and of course there’s always a bottle of red in the wine rack.  Christmas shopping was never this fun, even back in the 1950s!

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.

Attention modern decor lovers! Christmas is almost here! Can you believe it? In a little more than a week, you’ll be gathered around with your closest friends and family enjoying those timeless Christmas tunes, freshly unwrapped gifts, and eachothers company of course! If you’re doing the hosting this year, is your holiday decor ready?

Holiday decor helps to make the day memorable and keeps your home feeling true to the season. For modern furniture lovers, finding the decorations to suit your style might be a tricky task as much of the Christmas decor available is very traditional. Don’t fret, friends! With this list, you’ll find plenty of decor inspiration to suit your contemporary taste!

1. Get colorful!

Holiday-Decor-Bright-Bazaar-Will-Taylor
Photos by Matt Cant for Rue Magazine (shared from design-milk.com)

If you’re tired of the traditional green and red Christmas decoration, or if you are just looking for an alternative to pine needle wreaths, try out this festive idea. Use Christmas ornaments to create a unique wreath arrangement. 

2. Chalkboard Decor.

Chalkboard Decor

Whether you buy a chalkboard, or go pickup some chalkboard paint and craft something yourself– chalkboard “art” is a cute and clever way to post holiday greetings around your home! They are subtle and can easily be changed to flow with the holiday or the season. Depending on the frame, this type of decor is suitable for practically any style home.

3.  Decorative Lighting. 

Amber Lights on Copper Wire

This particular lighting arrangement is made out of decorative string lights. Similar wire- lights can be found at your local hardware store. Find a glass vase or jar that you love, and add eclectic charm to your home. Florescent lighting can ruin the intimate holiday mood, so unique alternative lighting sources like this add warmth and romance to your holiday space.

4. Keep it clean

Modern Christmas Decorations

Clean and clutter free are words that define modern interior decor style, and this photo captures it well. The modest accents such as the red decorative pillows, Christmas themed wall art, and red cart/table highlight Christmas spirit while still keeping the home warm, livable, and modern. Notice the use of the mirror, reflecting the tree lights and adding an illusion of space to the room. Very cool!

5.  Decorative Dishware Decorative Christmas Plates

Dishware is not just for eating off of. Laura Zindel’s beautiful dishware is perfect for a holiday display, as it captures the spirit of the season and the smaller things that make winter what it is. These unique pieces are high-quality works of art that can be cherished for years for both their quality and style. You can find some of Laura Zindels work at our showroom, Stonehurst!

All in all, modern Christmas decorations come in many different forms. From bursts of color to unique displays of light, it is up to you to decide what elements would bring out the personality and style of your home. Hopefully with some of these interior design tips, you’ll have an easy time finding those last minute decor additions to make your home perfect for the holidays.

Feel free to post your Christmas decor photos on our Facebook page, or share your tips in the comments section. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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.