Forage Workshop on Blog Cabin!

I am very excited to announce that my driftwood coasters have been featured on the DIY network’s show, Blog Cabin. They are accented the island countertop in the gorgeously redone kitchen.

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50 makers from all 50 states were chosen to have their creations featured as the accents in the cabin. I am very proud to be representing New Jersey. Check out all of the makers in this article  http:/http://blog.diynetwork.com/maderemade/2015/08/20/shop-handmade-from-50-makers-one-in-every-state/

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a little eco friendly packaging tip

This year I have been lucky enough to have Forage items on display in Bluebird Vintage, a great shop in Boonton, NJ. Not only is it a great place for locals to become familiar and browse some of my items but it is also a super place for them to pick up their custom orders! When I drop off their bags of goodies, I of course have to label them so that we know which bag belongs to which person. I’m always trying to use recycled materials for my packaging, but sometimes, well it just isn’t pretty.  For my bag labels, I came up with a cute, easy and eco friendly way to do so. I cut up the back page of old calendars. (you know the page that shows you the tiny version of all the pretty photos or illustrations that will be featured every month?) They make the prefect size gift tag!

I thought I’d pass on this fun idea for you to try with your own gifts. So before you recycle that old calendar, save the last page for your gift tags! Or better yet, if your package is small enough, use the corresponding calendar page for your wrapping paper! They are can be recycled after (re)use!

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*Bluebird Vintage is located at 906 Main Street in Boonton, NJ

Giddy’up

Giddy’up

It’s about the time when the sparkly lights of Christmas are down and the reality of 3 more months of cold grey slush start to make me go crazy (and research warm weather vacations!)  It’s also, not surprisingly, kind of a slow time in the ol’ workshop. The end of the year is a rush of shows and nonstop ornament making, The start of the new year however is completely different. It’s like someone threw me out of a raging party through a revolving door and I stumble out onto a almost empty street. But actually, it’s totally exciting for me. It’s time to dust myself off, and climb back up on to the horse of creativity.

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All these ideas have been popping in my head lately. A lot of them in yoga class, oh it’s so nice to go back to yoga class! (Resolution 1, check!) Most of them are really organic off shoots of what is a Forage staple, wood burned trees. Our hearts on trees ornaments are really wildly popular, so I thought, why not have them around all year long? I have started doing mini hearts on trees for magnets and pendants. Not with initials because they aren’t much bigger than a quarter, but the sweet sentiment is there. A new series of  “Baby’s first Christmas” ornaments is in the works. Something I thought of at a baby shower I was at and wished I had something that I had made to give them. Most recently I was inspired , well by myself, this blog actually. I was rereading an old post about botanical studies and I thought, a botanical study on MUSHROOMS would be such a joy to make. And while I have wood burned them for ages, I thought adding some paint and color would really make them special.Screen Shot 2015-01-17 at 9.06.07 AM

These are ideas that hit me hard, like “why in the heck did I not do these before???” But the raging party was so all consuming and there was just no space for my horse. So while I miss the constant cha ching of my Etsy orders and the sweet and friendly faces of my wonderful customers at shows, this month I’m going to saddle up and ride off into the sunset.

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New leaf(s) in 2015

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So I haven’t really been the best at keeping up with this page since I began just about a year ago, but a a new year brings new beginnings, so I shall begin again.
Also, it doesn’t hurt that I have exciting news to share!
As an avid tree lover (yes I hug them often) I have thought from the beginning that Forage should do more for trees than just celebrate their lovely appearances. I have been a tree planter and tree advocate since I can remember, and I thought it would be great to share that experience with my truly awesome customers. So new for 2015, we will plant trees together! For every sale made in my Etsy shop this year, a tree will be planted in our National Forests though a contribution to the Arbor Day Foundation. This fills my heart will such joy! I hope you will feel part of that as you enjoy your completely sustainable Forage Workshop treasure AND know that we are not only never cutting down trees to make our gifts, but together, we are planting new ones for the benefit of every living thing on earth.

Last thoughts for the year

I suppose it can’t be helped that a little reflection for the year past creeps up on you on New Year’s Eve. Looking back to what has transpired over the last 12 months just fills me with gratitude. I have learned so much, Forage has grown and changed so much! I look forward to the year ahead with wonder and excitement. What’s next for us?! I have some ideas…

But really, before I get ahead of myself and into 2015, I just want to say Thank You. Forage has been so well received by so many (I literally have the best customers on earth) and of course without you, I’m just some lady who hangs out with her cat all day making stuff out of wood. Which I suppose would still be fun, but I appreciate the purpose you all give me.  So Thank You, Thank You, Thank You! and I’ll see y’all next year!

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The beauty in the damage

The beauty in the damage

I have been a wood lover for far longer than I have been a woodworker. I often admired (still do) the beautiful patterns in the wood, the colors , the rings, the stories. But when I first started making my items I was always looking for “clean” wood. I thought my wood burning designs had to stand out against a stark white maple background, but, being a forager, this was not often what I was given. Gathering fallen wood from my property or my friends wood piles or the side of the road, often I get soggy wood that needs to be dried out a bit before I can work with it. This wetness seeps into the wood often creating irregularities and patterns. My frustration has evolved into fascination with these “damaged” pieces of wood that I work with. “Mother Nature’s watercolors” is how I have come to think of it. It turns out that not surprisingly, I am not the only one who has found beauty in the damage. The term for it is spalted, and many a woodworker has come to value these pieces highly.
Perfection is boring, give me your discards any day.

a week of words

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This week, my wood burning has strayed from my norm. Usually I do all nature inspired, organic, designs, but this has been the week of words and numbers. It started with a few custom requests from friends and acquaintances. A date on a baseball bat, a pet food reminder magnet, a note for the delivery guy, and a clean/dirty dishwasher magnet. After the response I got to a picture I posted of the dishwasher magnet, I was pondering whether I should add it to my store, when I got a definitive sign that I should. So I made more. And the words just kept tumbling on after that. New nature slogan magnets, “take a hike” “stay wild” and “go explore” are a few in the new line up (coming soon)

What do you think of this direction?