The Giving Tree

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.

Made to Order Furniture: Good Things Take Time

Last updated on August 15th, 2018 at 04:31 pm

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.

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.

Ready For Take-off: Monarch Butterfly Migration

Last updated on November 3rd, 2018 at 12:29 pm

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.

Fine Furniture Characteristics: Solid Wood vs Veneers

Last updated on March 13th, 2019 at 03:07 pm

Typically Vermont furniture can be distinguished from other American made furniture or imported furniture by the extensive use of real, solid wood. American Black Cherry is the wood most often used in Vermont furniture although sugar maple, black walnut, oak and other local species are also popular.

At Vermont Woods Studios we represent woodworkers and fine furniture makers from all across the Green Mountain State so our furniture reflects a wide variety of styles, designs and crafting techniques. Some of our furniture makers work exclusively with all solid wood construction and others employ the use of veneers. So customers often ask us about the difference between the two techniques.

Honestly, with all of our handmade furniture, heirloom quality is the bottom line and that can be achieved using all solid wood construction or with the incorporation of premium quality, high end veneers.

Although Vermont is best known for our all solid wood construction, we have several craftsmen who prefer to incorporate high quality veneers into their designs. This is done when veneers are the best choice for a particular design, rather than simply the most economical choice. For instance, the curved back panel of the Copeland Catalina Bed must be a veneer because it would be structurally impossible to build it out of solids. Copeland’s framed panels, that is panels surrounded on all four sides, are often made of high grade, veneered plywood because in these instances, a solid panel would have the potential to expand and break the frame apart during periods of high humidity.

Plywood is considerably stronger than solids of equal dimension and some furniture makers choose them for Case Backs and Drawer Bottoms for that reason. On each of our furniture product pages you will find a link to the construction details for that product. We urge you to read through the information presented and give us a call with your questions. For the furniture on our website, you will find that when veneers are used, they are the the best choice for the design.

After all this discussion about veneers however, I can say that most of our furniture is still designed and constructed with all real solid wood, sustainably harvested in Vermont or neighboring states. If this is an important feature for you, give us a all and let us know. We’ll help you find the right handmade solid wood furniture for your home.

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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.