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.
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.
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!
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!
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, it can take anywhere from 4-16+ weeks from the day you place your order to the day it is complete. Typically the crafting time is about 8-12 weeks, but specialty items or furniture that’s being made by our most popular craftsmen can take longer.
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.
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
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)
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!
There’s a lot of creative energy at Vermont Woods Studios these days and happily we have a number of talented writers who are willing to share our daily goings on through this green furniture blog. Pictured above are Heather Barrett (left) of Brattleboro VT and Loryn Dion (right) of Northfield MA who work long and hard on many aspects of our Vermont furniture store, including keeping you up to date on the latest office shenanigans.
Holiday Hot Topic: Made in America Christmas Shopping Challenge
The photo above was taken Friday at our “Made in America” Secret Santa party where each of us gave and received American made Christmas gifts. It’s part of our Made in America Holiday Shopping Challenge (we figure with Americans spending about $586 Billion this holiday season, if all of those gifts were made in America it could generate 5.8 million jobs. OK we know that not every gift can or should be made in America, but still shopping “American made” can create a lot of jobs).
Not Just Red, White and Blue– Green Too!
Anyway, if you want to follow these two creative writers you’ll find their contributions right here every week. Besides keeping us up to date on American made Christmas gift ideas, Heather tends to blog about green furniture, Vermont Travel and all things adventurous and exciting in the Green Mountain state. Loryn’s been keeping her focus on Green decor and interior design but you never know what kind of provocative topics she might wander off into.
To stay in touch with Heather and Loryn, subscribe to this blog on the top right or join their conversations on Facebook. And keep a look out for insider secrets from their newly recruited accomplice, Liz Francese who’ll be taking you on occasional trips behind the veil at Vermont Woods Studios Sales and Customer Service. More about Liz coming soon!