Friday was a festive day at Vermont Woods Studios.  We had our 8th annual company Christmas party and gift exchange.  I picked up our tree at Rotary’s, annual Christmas Tree Sale during my Thursday night shift (the Rotary Club I belong to sells Christmas trees to raise money for it’s Gateway Scholarship Foundation).  Ken brought the tree back to Stonehurst in his Beverly Hillbillies-style trailer and Douglas and our star sales staff put it up and decorated it.  Looks pretty good, doesn’t it?

Of course the tree is local (from Craftsbury, VT) and it’s decorated with memorabilia from Pine Top, the lost ski area that our fine furniture and art gallery now sits upon.  That’s a “rope tow” you see stretching from the bottom to the top of the tree and there are a couple stylish 1950s era skiers ascending it, courtesy of my thoughtful sister, Ann.  There are also some beautiful handcrafted decorations (painted by our friend Donna Scully) which can be purchased in the showroom.

In the afternoon we had a potluck lunch with lots of delicious treats, including the most decadent brownies I think I’ve ever tasted.  Following that (with a little work squeezed in between) was a Yankee swap of American made gifts (somehow Neville managed to take home the most coveted gift– a bottle of Jack Daniels).

After work we all reconvened at Terrazza Restaurant at the Greenfield Country Club in Greenfield, MA to finish off the days festivities.  Does it sound like we do a lot of partying at Vermont Woods Studios?  Well, we try to.  Work hard, play occasionally.  That’s not a bad recipe for success is it?  Let us know on Facebook, what you do to celebrate Christmas with your colleagues.

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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One can only assume when I popped out, kid number 5, over 22 years ago, my mother rationalized, “That’s probably enough- one of them will keep me out of a nursing home.”  Well, the results aren’t in for that prospect yet (the sanity clock miraculously ticks on), though she does occasionally reap the benefits of breeding an army.  One of them- awesome Christmas presents.  When we get our pockets together, the Francese kids can really rev up the opportunity to give back; this Christmas, Mom was blessed with a new coffee table.

Mom’s New Coffee Table

A second-hand store enthusiast, Mom has an eclectic array of furnishings sprinkled through out her home.  When it came to designing this beauty, she had a few goals in mind.  First it had to match a very unique, sofa-table-esque piece she must have found at the corner of Lost and Forgotten.  Of course, the sofa-table thing undeniably brings the room together but it is a one of a kind in terms of build and style. Second, it had to be large enough for five grandchildren to simultaneously play, color and read.  Third, it had to withstand the sticky, smearing, careless hands of those same five grandchildren (with the inevitability of more to come).

Mom’s Small Army

We threw all that into the Vermont Woods Studios custom furniture crock pot and, in due time, served the beauty now resting front and center in the family room.  The top is a natural Cherry with a rustic finish to match the antiquated look Mom loves so much.  The base is Maple, painted black.  I chose Maple for its durability and light color.  Overtime, the Cherry will darken and serve a smooth transition from bottom to top.  And finally the finish-a non-toxic, kid friendly and kid resistant, lacquer.

Mom is thrilled with her new coffee table and the results her small army is yielding. And next year?  Her outdoor coffee table won’t last for long- why not some POLYWOOD furniture that will last a lifetime!

 

Christmas 2013?

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.

Here's a great story and just in time for Christmas.  Resarchers at The University of Chicago did a series of experiments to demonstrate that other animals (besides humans) can be kind, compassionate and unselfish.

They used pairs of rats.  One rat was locked in a tube and the other was free outside the tube.  Free rats were able to figure out how to liberate their imprisoned pals.

So they did.  Pretty cool, right?

But the amazing thing is that even when a favorite treat (chocolate chips!) was placed on the scene, the free rats unlocked their friends FIRST even though they subsequently had to share!   “Basically they told us (freeing another rat) is as important as eating chocolate,” said study author Peggy Mason of the University of Chicago. “That’s a very striking thing.  In some cases, the rats first took the chocolate chips out of a container, but didn’t eat them, then freed the other rat and shared “almost as if they were serving them chocolate.”

So Ken says the lesson is to eat chocolate chips with your friends this Chirstmas, but there might just be something more that we could learn from rats.

Oh, I wasn't going to mention this but it IS a critical part of the study.  Female rats freed their pals every time.  17 of the 24 males did and… sadly… there were days when the male rats took the day off from helping their trapped partner althogether.  But the females never did.

Enough said 😉

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.

Give-hopeAll across the USA people are talking about giving Christmas Gifts that are “Made in America” and– we’re beginning to see some pretty impressive results in the form of job creation.

Well, here’s another way do something great with your holiday shopping.  How about donating to local food pantries and shelters in honor of the people on your Christmas list?  Instead of scrambling around trying to figure out what on earth to get all those people who already have everything, why not honor them by helping someone who’s hungry or cold?

Give the gift of hope to those who have lost hope.  How many parents who were in a position just like you and me very recently–  have no job today?

In our area we have many local organizations in need of donations, including the Reformer Christmas Stocking, Feed the Thousands and The Vermont Food Bank, in addition to local churches that each have a program to give hope and help.  This year the need is more critical than ever.

What’s interesting is that when given a choice, all of the people I polled said they would rather have this kind of donation given in their name than receive another pair of gloves for Christmas.  I bet your friends would say the same.  What do you think?

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.

Made-in-america-shoppingWe're celebrating our Made in America Holiday Shopping Challenge success with a store-wide 15% Off Fine Furniture Sale.  This has been such an exciting week for us, with the ABC World News crew spotlighting our efforts to get friends and relatives to "buy American" this Christmas shopping season.  Manjula and Dennis decided to share our revelry with a big sale– it's store-wide from tomorrow until December 13.

Don't forget to watch us (or set your DVR) tomorrow night on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer and then join with all of us who are promising to buy at least some American made gifts this Christmas– and be sure to get counted on Facebook! 

As a company that sells exclusively American made furniture (Vermont-made, actually) we're psyched to get this level of traction behind our push to create more American jobs.  As consumers, we have the power and what better time than Christmas (when we're each spending an average of $700 on gifts) to excercise that power!

 

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.