Giving Tree
Nina was busy wrapping her presents!

Here at Vermont Woods Studios we are committed to staying active within the community around us. That is why each year we volunteer and donate as much as possible to organizations local to the Vernon, VT area.

This year, the Vernon Town Clerk’s Office, along with the Vernon Free Library and Vernon Girl Scout Troop #40907 joined forces to organize a “Giving Tree”. The “Giving Tree” was a way for people in the Vernon community to donate gifts and items to those in need. Over 30 individuals in this small Vermont community were identified as in need of assistance this Holiday season.

For each person, an ornament was hung on a tree in the Town Clerk’s Office. On the back of each ornament, a person’s age, gender and items they were most in need of were listed. We mostly saw requests for outdoor winter clothes along with toys, crafts and books for the children. Ages ranged from infants to adults.

Giving Tree
One of the many gifts we wrapped, ready to go!

Our team selected five ornaments from the tree and pledged to get every item listed.  We soon learned the project was so popular that the Town Clerk’s office quickly ran out of ornaments but learned of more families in need and created a second batch of ornaments. So we headed back and picked up two more.

Giving Tree
IT guru, Tristan helped with wrapping presents, too!

Members of the Vermont Woods Studios team donated clothing, toys and books as well as went out shopping to purchase new items. Soon our lunch table was overflowing with gifts. Next came an afternoon spent wrapping and organizing the gifts.

On a bone-chilling Monday (one of few this year) we headed back to the Town Hall where the Town Clerk and local Sheriff’s department helped us unload the gifts. From here we’ll let Santa do the rest!

Giving Tree
Megan (far right) stands in front of The Giving Tree alongside Nancy Gassett and Aina Linquist of the Town Clerk’s office, and Deputy Upton from the Windham County Sheriff’s Office

We were happy to help those in need this holiday season and supply them with New England winter essentials and toys to play with. We were even more happy to hear that the community really came together in a big way to help their fellow neighbors and friends in need.

It’s just another reason why we love the community we’re in and we’re happy to share these moments with all of you!

Giving Tree
A few more wrapped presents ready for The Giving Tree

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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.

Vermont Craftsman
A Vermont Craftsman at work on a furniture piece

In the world of Vermont’s Made to Order Furniture there are many advantages:  your furniture is handcrafted especially for you, you can customize it to fit exactly into your space, you can feel good about the fact that your furniture is made from trees that are harvested sustainably with respect for the forest environment, you’re helping to keep American craftsmanship alive & thriving, providing jobs and much more.  But there is one downside to having furniture built just for you:

It Takes Time

Time to Craft

Depending on who is making your furniture (we work with a dozen or so independent furniture makers), and what they’ve already got in their queue, time to complete building the furniture can vary.

The best way to find out the estimated lead times for our furniture is to check the Lead Time tab on the product’s page. You can read more general information about our lead times on our Shipping & Delivery page.

made-to-order-furniture

Time to Ship and Safely Deliver

After the furniture is built, it takes another 1-5 weeks to ship it, depending on where the customer lives.  Fine furniture cannot be FedEx’d (unless maybe it’s an end table or something that’s been designed for quick-ship).  Believe it or not, some of today’s FAST furniture delivery companies have average damage rates of up to 40%!

We’ve learned over the past 10 years of delivering furniture to homes in all 50 states that rushing an order to it’s destination is a gamble.  It might get there safely… then again it might not.  And since our customers are already waiting several weeks for their authentic, made to order furniture, we don’t want to have to call them and say, “sorry your furniture was damaged in transit and we have to re-craft it.  And re-ship it”.

Fortunately our customers understand this and are generally very patient and willing to wait for something that will one day become a family heirloom.

Keeping You Informed

Rebecca, Sean, Michelle and Loryn use a series of emails and phone calls to keep clients in the loop during the crafting and shipping process.  Right after your order, you’ll receive an email acknowledgement asking you to review the order details for accuracy & giving you an estimate of when it will be delivered.  Then when your order is half way through the process, we’ll email you again with an update.  Another communication will arrive when the craftsman has completed your order and we’ve scheduled it for pick-up with our furniture shipping specialist.  Finally when your order is in your area, we’ll connect you directly with our shipper to schedule a convenient time for delivery.  All along the way, you’ll have someone here, that you know by name, to talk to if you have any questions or concerns.  Then after delivery, we’ll email you again to make sure the delivery went well and you’re happy with your new furniture.

Quality, Made to Order Furniture that Lasts a Lifetime

In this world of instant gratification, where most furniture buyers walk into Bob’s Discount Furniture, Ikea or Ashley Furniture and walk out an hour later with something that’s substandard and unsustainably produced overseas by huge multi-national conglomerates, we find ourselves immensely grateful to our customers for their patience in waiting for the real thing.  When buying furniture that’s built to last a lifetime, we hope you’ll feel it’s worth the wait.

Read our previous article on made to order furniture & lead time.

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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.

monarch butterfly chrysalises
Two chrysalises housing monarch pupa

Vermont Woods Studios Prepares Monarchs for Take-off

On a beautiful day straddling the line between August and September, we huddled on the deck of Vermont Woods Studios at our Stonehurst property. Five adults and two children all gazing in mirrored excitement at the progress of our monarch caterpillars as they forge their ways into butterfly-hood.

“I’m going to name him Jeff!” One of the young boys informed the group as Peggy Farabaugh, the CEO of Vermont Woods Studios and head caterpillar-rearer, gently scooped up two prized caterpillars and secured them safely in a jar for the boys to bring to their grandmother’s.

It has been two weeks since the arrival of the caterpillar babies (or larva) and already they are well on their way to adulthood. However, their transformation is far more magical than that of any other aging process. They came to us as tiny creatures no bigger than a grain of rice and have rapidly transformed into vibrant, two inched beauties that scuttle about their mesh hamper confinement eating milkweed and maturing with natural grace.

It is marvelous to watch the caterpillars inch their way to the top of the hamper and methodically suspend themselves upside down in a J shape. This is a signal to the world that the caterpillars are ready to enter the pupa or chrysalis stage of life. The caterpillars work tirelessly in this J-shape to molt their skin and transform their outer appearance into the grass green, gold speckled chrysalis.

“I wonder what they’re doing in there all the time.” Peggy mused, affectionately grooming the caterpillar habitat. The allure of mystery gripped us all as we watched the beautiful chrysalises hang, cautiously enveloping the transforming caterpillar.

In about two weeks the chrysalises will have turned black and the monarch butterfly will be ready to emerge with damp, fledgling wings. In the short span of two hours, the monarch’s wings will dry and it will be lusting for flight. Thus our babies will leave us and safety of the Stonehurst deck.

However, it won’t be a sad day, for on this day we will have reached our goal. With the help of Orley R.  “Chip” Taylor, founder of the Monarch Watch program at the University of Kansas, we will have completed cycle one of the Monarch Restoration project. The Vermont Woods Studios company developed an objective: to help restore the monarch population. Success is heavily contingent on three pillars: milkweed restoration, healthy, migration-ready monarchs and continued research.

Last October and November, Peggy and the Vermont Woods Studios staff went out in search of milkweed. Pods gathered along route 142 were brought back to the studio where seeds were harvested and packaged for distribution.

Seeds were distributed to local gardeners and nature enthusiasts, clients and planted on the Stonehurst property. 1 in 100 milkweed seeds strewn across the earth will produce a plant. Because of these small odds, we chose to carefully plant 80 seeds on the Stonehurst property yielding 80 viable milkweed plants.

Along with learning the importance of carefully planting the milkweed seeds, the Vermont Woods Studios staff have also developed important information for rearing monarch caterpillars:

  • Whenever it is possible, raise the caterpillars in a terrarium
  • Do not allow direct sunlight to hit the terrarium
  • Monarch caterpillars grow quickly and this process can be messy, so cleaning the terrarium frequently is a must
monarch caterpillar on milkweed
One of our monarch caterpillars getting ready to transition into a chrysalis

Once our monarchs are ready for flight, we have one last piece of the puzzle to put in place before we can call the project a success. Chip founded Monarch Watch in 1992 and has been studying monarch migration since 2005. The eastern monarchs born at the end of the summer months have the innate task of migrating to Mexico. This migration will take four generations of monarchs.

Our Stonehurst monarchs will fly just a portion of the way and then stop to lay eggs and die as the new babies begin the growing process and mature to fly their portion of the trip. This process will repeat until the final generation sails over sunny Mexico and makes themselves comfortable for eight to nine months when the United States is again habitable for the return of the monarchs.

How did people come to have such intimate detail about the migration pattern of these tireless creatures? The answer to this is evolving through research, which brings us to the final stage of the project: tagging the monarchs.

Before our monarchs take flight, we will place a small, adhesive tag, provided by Chip and his team on the wings of our monarchs. These tags will signal researchers to know where the monarchs came from and provide other valuable research that will continue to help rehabilitate the monarch population.

As we stand on the deck, without a chill in the air and watch the chrysalises form, we know the journey our caterpillars have before them. We discuss tagging the butterflies with nervous laughter, none of us having ever done it before; but were willing to try because we know that it is one key step in encouraging the comeback of these magical creatures.

(This is part two of a four part blog series on our Monarch Butterfly Restoration Project)

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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.

American Craft Beer Week
Welcoming Martin Corbin (at the end of the table in between Ken and Martin’s girlfriend, Stephanie) and Kelsey Eaton (3rd from right) into the The Woods and celebrating American Craft Beer Week at The Whetstone Brewery in Brattleboro, Vermont.  That’s Loryn on the far left clinking with Michelle.  Nice photoshop work connecting Michelle’s arm to the rest of her, eh?

We’re always looking for an excuse to celebrate at Vermont Woods Studios and– lucky us– this week we had several good reasons.  So last night we gathered at the Whetstone Brewery in Brattleboro to welcome Martin Corbin and Kelsey Eaton into the Woods and also… to observe American Craft Beer Week (yes, there is such such a thing).

I’ll post a couple short bios about Martin and Kelsey in the coming weeks but today I thought I should talk up Vermont’s fabulous craft beers so you’ll be able to get out and try them during Craft Beer Weekend.

According to the Vermont Brewers Association there are over 30 brewers in the Green Mountain State, from small specialty brewers like Lawson’s Finest Liquids in Warren,Vermont to nationally recognized brands like Long Trail in Bridgewater Corners, Vermont.  “Maybe there’s something in the water. Maybe there’s something in the air. Maybe….. there’s something up here in the mountains. Vermont’s brewers are making magic with it.”

In Brattleboro we’re lucky to have several fine breweries including McNeills on Elliot Street and Whetstone Station next to the bridge (and overlooking the Connecticut River).

Let us know what your favorite Vermont beer is in the comments section below or on our Facebook!

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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.

Shaker Furniture: Moving, Shipping and Delivery
Sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun when this customer sent us a nice note about how her Shaker furniture was delivered so professionally by our shippers. Our shipper is an award-winning executive moving company that also ships fine furniture for Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Vermont Woods Studios. We include this service in the base price of our furniture (Free Shipping).

Last week we received an enthusiastic email from a family in California thanking us for the great job our moving company  did with the delivery of their Vermont made Shaker bedroom set:

“I wanted to let you know what a wonderful experience I had with your movers. I had one of your beds shipped to my vacation home in the Sierras. Because the road is very steep and winding, the shipper needed to bring the bed in a special shuttle, the cost of which they covered.  Also, I wasn’t able to be present at the house at the time a driver was available to make the delivery, and was able to arrange to have a concierge service meet the driver and let him into the house to assemble the bed. The shipper offered to reimburse me for the cost of the service (up to $75).

I was told by the concierge that the driver was very professional and efficient. He arrived on time and handled all the details of moving and assembly. It was a pleasure to purchase furniture from you and to work with such an excellent shipper.  Thank you so much!         Best Regards,   Debbie D

We love hearing your Vermont made furniture stories and reviews, whether they’re about the delivery experience or the good times you share around the dining table with family and friends.  Keep ’em coming!  You’re helping us make our systems better.  In this case, the comments went to straight to our shipper where the driver and his manager reviewed them together (maybe someone will even get a well-deserved raise).  Other comments have helped us improve the quality of our Shaker furniture and the logistics needed to get it from the forest to your living room.

So help us Movers and Shakers by sending in feedback about your new Vermont handmade furniture.  Use the comments section below, email us or connect using our Facebook.  Thanks in advance for your feedback!

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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.