November 12th, 2013 by Michelle Rooks
A couple of weeks ago I was walking with my family when I observed the little fellow in the above image making his way across our path. I had heard that Woolly Bears are prominent in folklore as predictors of winter. I thought I’d poke around and see what other indicators we have. Here’s what I found.
Woolly Bears (the larvae of Isabella Tiger Moths): the longer the middle brown band, the milder and shorter the coming winter; the shorter the brown band, the longer and more severe winter will be. The woolly has 13 segments to the length of his body–the same number of weeks there are of winter. From what I can tell of this picture, my little friend only has four solid-brown segments with a couple that are both black and white. Uh, oh.
Black Walnut trees: The thicker the green husk on the Black Walnuts the snowier the winter, because nature knows when the walnut needs more protection from the elements.
Onion skins: If thin, a mild winter is coming.
Corn: Husks are thick and tight and the silks are heavy — these are indicators of a bad winter.
Apple skins: If tough, winter may be as well.
Oak trees: If the ground of your yard, driveway, or porch is covered with acorns, folklore predicts that these same surfaces may be blanketed by snow this winter. This one makes me feel a little bit better about what my Woolly Bear friend told me. Some years we can hear the acorns pinging off the metal roof of our storage shed. This year I haven’t heard any.
The Month of August: For every fog there will be a snowfall. If the first week is unusually warm, the coming winter will be snowy and long. If a cold August follows a hot July, it foretells a winter hard and dry. We’re not far from the Connecticut River and a small area of beaver-created wetlands so fog is not unusual.
Spiders: Spinning larger than usual webs
Honey Bees: will store honey in mass in preparation for a severe winter
Yellow Jackets: build nests either high in trees or in the ground depending on what the coming winter has in store.
Squirrels: If tails are very bushy and/or if they’re more active than usual, a severe winter is on its way. Hmmm, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen an INactive squirrel.
Ant Hills: If they are unusually high in July, it will be cold and snowy. Darn, forgot to measure them last summer.
Thanksgiving Goose: If the breast bone of the Thanksgiving goose is red or has many spots, expect a cold and stormy winter; but if only a few spots are visible, expect a mild winter.
If the first snowfall lands on unfrozen ground, the winter will be mild.
Final assessment: I have no idea what the winter will bring us in Southern Vermont. I’m just grateful I’m only a short walk from Stonehurst!
November 2nd, 2013 by Michelle Rooks
One of the most unique pieces of furniture we have in our showroom and one that gets a lot of attention at the Vermont Welcome Center is the Custom Quilted Vermont Rocking Chair. This is really a chair that needs to be seen in person to be fully appreciated. It is available on our web site in Natural Cherry, Birdseye Maple or Natural Walnut.
The first time I saw it I was reminded of the child’s toy Jacob’s Ladder. The Quilted Rocker is made up of dozens of smooth wood pieces strung together with nylon rope. The look is unique but the comfort is amazing. I had a knitter friend come to visit the showroom and her eyes lit up when she sat in it. “I could see myself doing a lot of knitting in this chair!”
Well, she wasn’t alone. On Halloween we had a visitor stop by just at closing time. “Gene Simmons” was equally impressed though he doesn’t really strike me as a knitter. Actually, that’s my usually mild-mannered husband, Chris, in one of his favorite costumes. And yes, he made it himself…er, the costume, not the chair.
Stop by and try the Custom Quilted Vermont Rocking Chair for yourself. We think you’ll agree it’s not only a conversation piece, it’s a place of comfort.
August 22nd, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Our friends (and shipping partners) Anthony, Tony and Henry brought in two truckloads of Vermont handmade furniture for Stonehurst today and most of it is in walnut and cherry wood. We now have several walnut dining furniture pieces, including this Bistro Table, the Classic Shaker Chair #2 and the American Mission Chair.
Have you noticed that real, solid black walnut dining furniture is becoming rare? If you’ve been shopping and find yourself unimpressed with what you see, there’s a reason for that. Disease and global warming are taking their toll on American black walnut trees, as we’ve described in previous walnut blog posts. Much of the walnut you’ll see in mainstream furniture stores is either imported wood that’s stained dark or walnut sapwood that’s steamed to look like heartwood. Our craftsman, Robin captured my feelings exactly: “natural dark heartwood walnut is so beautiful, nothing compares”.
Fortunately for those searching for real walnut furniture, our craftspeople at Vermont Woods Studios specialize in finding high quality, natural wood that’s been sustainably harvested. The flip side of course is that, because of the relative rarity of walnut, there is a price premium which can be anywhere from 15%-30% per piece.
Almost every piece of furniture on our website can be custom made in walnut, even if the feature photos show cherry, oak or maple wood. Browse through walnut wood furniture photos here.
October 29th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
High quality, real solid hardwood furniture is expensive, no doubt about it. It’s not for everyone. College students are more likely to find suitable furniture at IKEA- that’s for sure. But if you landed on this blog post, you’re probably a homeowner looking to feather your nest for the long term, right? Well we talk to people like you everyday and so we’ve learned a few things about why our customers are looking to buy hardwood furniture.
Check out our cherry and walnut hardwood bedroom furniture set. You just don’t get this kind of smooth, refined patina on pine, spruce or other soft wood furniture. When hardwoods are sanded properly and finished with a clear, non-toxic lacquer or hand-rubbed natural oil, you can run your hands over the wood and it almost feels like skin. No softwood, metal or plastic furniture can give the same tactile sensation that high quality, handmade hardwood furniture does.
Hardwoods like cherry, walnut, maple and oak wood are from deciduous trees that grow slower than coniferous softwood trees like pine, spruce, larch and fir. Thus hardwoods are typically more dense, heavy, durable and, well… hard. They also are fairly non – resinous and close grained so they don’t leak sap and split like pine does. If you take care of your hardwood furniture it will hold up beautifully for many years, even many generations. We are confident enough in our hardwood furniture to back it with a lifetime guarantee.
Many people, especially those with young children are looking for natural, organic furniture to be a part of their healthy homes. They often talk to us about where their furniture comes from too. Hardwood furniture that’s made in America is typically built with wood that’s sustainably harvested from well-managed American forests. Families enjoy breaking bread over a dinner table that’s made in harmony with nature.
OK, I said Top 3 Reasons, but here’s a fourth that I just can’t walk away from. In the long run, high quality hardwood furniture is cheaper to buy than other types of furniture– even IKEA’s. Consider how many times you’ll have to buy a bedroom set or dining furniture over your lifetime if you’re always buying something cheap. We’ve had lots of customers who tell us they’ve been sleeping on a mattress on the floor for a few years while they save up to buy a high quality hardwood bed. I can relate to that.
What are your reasons for searching for hardwood furniture? Let us know in the comments section below or on our Facebook!
October 12th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
If you’re looking for hardwood furniture, there’s a good chance you’re narrowing your wood choices down to the most popular and plentiful species grown here in America such as cherry, maple, oak and walnut. These prized hardwoods are grown sustainably here in the USA with Vermont and New England being a favorite source for many woods.
We like these species because they are well suited to fine furniture making by virtue of their color, strength, hardness, grain patterns and workability. They are also readily obtainable in our local and regional area, making them a sustainable choice. Often our furniture makers will offer two-tone combinations of these hardwoods creating a custom, artisan look and feel to your furniture.
The photo above shows Copeland Furniture’s SoHo Bedroom Set in solid maple and walnut hardwoods. This striking two-tone wood combination has become a best seller in our metropolitan markets, particularly Manhattan, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Homeowners appreciate the modern, contemporary sensibilities of the SoHo solid hardwood design as well as the fine detail and craftsmanship that goes into every custom, made to order piece.
SoHo furniture is also offered in a two-tone walnut and cherry design. Which of these hardwood combinations would look best for your bedroom furniture?
September 10th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Lyndon Furniture has been crafting beautiful fine furniture from real, solid hardwoods for over 30 years and it's become one of our "best value" lines at Vermont Woods Studios. Customers looking for honest, hand crafted furniture that's made of all real, solid wood (without veneers) are drawn to Lyndon.
Their craftspeople are committed to preserving the heritage of American furniture making by combining the best of old world construction techniques and new world precision. What they achieve is an authentic product that's stylish, affordable and designed to last a lifetime.
Lyndon works with local and regional hardwoods, primarily cherrywood, maple, walnut and oak. In addition to making their tables, chairs and beds with all solid wood, Lyndon also constructs their case goods (china cabinets, bookcases, dressers, chests, nightstands and armoires) with solid wood, whereas most manufacturers use veneers on case sides. The only place you'll find veneer on Lyndon pieces is on the backs of case goods and bottoms of drawers– that's to provide for wood movement during changing humidity.
If all solid wood construction is important to you when shopping for handmade furniture, check out Lyndon Furniture on our website. We carry the full line of their products, including customizations and complete custom design. We welcome your questions and specialty orders.
September 8th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
If you're looking for authentic, solid walnut, fine dining furniture, have a look at Catalina. This Copeland set is 100% handmade in America– right here in Vermont.
It's designed with mid-century modern style, including clean unadorned lines and retro-modern shapes and sensibilities. Manjula has arranged our Catalina dining set to make it easy to price and purchase dozens of combinations of tables, chairs and buffets. You can use drop-down menus to price out different choices for arm chairs, side chairs, extension table versus solid top table and buffet sizes.
Customers receive free DIY shipping and discounted white glove shipping when purchasing this furniture as a set so the savings can be substantial. We also offer a lifetime guarantee and a low price guarantee. If you're considering Catalina or any other Copeland furniture I recommend you check out our Top 10 Reasons to Buy Copeland Furniture at Vermont Woods Studios. It really does make a difference where you buy.
Drop us a note below or on our Facebook to let us know how you like Catalina and the many other beautiful furniture collections Copeland crafts right here in Vermont.
August 20th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Manjula has made Copeland's mid-century modern Astrid bedroom furniture our featured collection this week. It's been a best seller, especially amongst city-dwellers looking for a clean, simple look that's also luxurious and stunning.
The Astrid collection is made right here in Vermont of solid wood throughout. It's available in solid cherry, walnut and maple. Manjula has made it easy to shop for and price out dozens of combinations of the collection with these Astrid Walnut Bedroom Furniture Set and Astrid Maple or Cherry Bedroom Set pages. You can use drop down menus to price out any number of options for you choice of chests, dressers, nightstands, beds and mirrors.
Using these sets to purchase Astrid furniture will save you hundreds of dollars (or even thousands, depending on how many pieces you're purchasing) on shipping. If you're serious about purchasing Astrid pieces or any of Copeland's furniture, check out our Top 10 Reasons to Buy Copeland Furniture at Vermont Woods Studios or just give us a call. We'll look forward to helping you transform your bedroom into the sophisticated retreat you've always dreamed of!
July 26th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Walnut furniture has been one of our best sellers this year, in spite of the fact that there is a 10-30% premium on the wood. Walnut wood is becoming rare (due to a disease called Thousand Cankers) so we are super careful about making sure ours is sustainably harvested from forests where re-planting is well managed.
We use a couple different types of American walnut wood for our furniture.
For thick, organic slab tables we often use claro walnut wood from huge old (up to 100 years) shade trees that have been taken down (usually from city streets) because of safety reasons. These slabs typically have beautiful, interesting character resulting from things like burls and branches.
For modern looking furniture, customers generally do not want "character wood" so we use younger walnut trees with straight grain patterns grown in managed forests in the mid-west (since walnut doesn't grow well in Vermont). This is the contemporary SoHo walnut 4 drawer chest, made by Copeland Furniture with solid, walnut wood.
Whether you're shopping for organic, walnut slab tables or Modern walnut furniture, it's important to verify that you are indeed getting real, solid walnut wood, as opposed to cheaper woods that have been stained dark to look like walnut. Be sure to ask your salesperson to confirm the wood type and its origin before you buy. Ask if the furniture has been made from solid walnut wood or walnut veneers.
Learn more about walnut wood and see photos of beautiful walnut furniture on our website. If you take the time to find real solid walnut furniture as opposed to what most stores call "walnut" you'll probably have that furniture for a lifetime. Enjoy it!
May 30th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Custom furniture is a luxury that many customers have given up on prior to discovering our made to order furniture at Vermont Woods Studios. And it's true that if you're going to commission an artisan to design and create unique pieces just for you, there is a lot of work, time and expense that goes into that.
But if you can find a furniture design you love, that you're just looking to modify or customize, then expense may not be an issue at all. Such is the case for our two-tone wood bedroom sets from Copeland Furniture. This SoHo bedroom furniture, for example can be customized online in your choice of 7 different maple and walnut wood combinations at no extra charge.
How about that? Custom furniture at catalog prices. What could be better? Check out our website for other customizable furniture available in two-tone wood combinations, including the the Copeland Berkeley Bedroom Set (with 2 tone cherry and walnut wood) and the Modern American Furniture Collection (customized in your choice of solid cherry, maple, walnut or any two tone combination of these woods). Give us a call with your questions and customizations.