I’m not exactly sure when I fell in love with hiking. Certainly I’ve been doing it off and on since I was a kid, but that doesn’t mean I always liked it. I remember being younger and lugging my body up some hill and just desperately hoping it would be over soon. Somewhere along the way it changed from a chore to a luxury. Something I try my best to do at least a couple times a week, and something that my vacations are based around.
My husband, then boyfriend, was the one who really reintroduced me back to the outdoors. Three months into our relationship he took me on my very first camping trip. No campsite, no electricity, no running water, no cell service. Just a a decrepit old house in the middle of the woods where he and his friends had gone for years. (Oh did I mention that all his friends who I had yet to meet would be there) Now this could have ended in some serious disaster, but fortunately, his friends were amazing, the place was gorgeous, and I guess I sorta really liked the guy. On this trip, and on many visits thereafter,we hiked though the woods, though fields, though humungous patches of blueberry bushes which all finally took us to a private waterfall. I hadn’t really hiked in years, but it was definitely the slow start to a love story, well two love stories, I mean I did marry the guy!
One of the things I like best about being out on the trail is the sense of community. It’s common polite practice to say hello to everyone you pass by. How nice it that? It’s kinda funny that the normally somewhat rude catch phrase, Take a Hike, is adopted as a tongue in cheek motivational saying. I have included it in my collection of outdoorsy inspiration magnets, and it’s one of my best sellers!
Take a Hike!
Recently I was speaking to a dear friend who (amongst others) encouraged me to tell my stories to you. Nothing epic, just one of my little day to day happenings that maybe made me smile when it happened, maybe made her smile when I told it to her, and maybe it will make you smile when i tell it to you. I was thinking of how to break into this trend of sharing things with all of you, and I thought I’d first share someone else’s story. (I know I’m totally cheating but it’s such a nice one)
I have been making my camping ornaments and magnets for years. I first made them to commemorate a camping trip in Letchworth State park that I took with some of my very best friends. These magnets and ornaments have turned into some of my best sellers and I think that is partially due to my allowing you to make it yours. You choose the tent color, the inscription, the date… I have always valued making something for you that can reflect your special memory as it reflected mine when I first created this little scene
a rainbow of tents on my camping ornaments
Just a few days ago I had a new request for a change in scene. A grandparent wrote to me asking me to change the moon from a crescent to a full. She had taken her grandson on his first camping trip to Big Sur along the California coast and the moon was so full, so big that it really made an impression on them both. I imagined the sea air combined with the smells of the forest, the 2 of them sitting outside their orange tent marveling at the beautiful, humongous moon and I smiled. I’m smiling now picturing that sweet moment. I’m trying my best to capture that feeling on this wood slice ornament for them, so they can look at it every Christmas, and remember that trip and smile.
making it theirs
grandson’s full moon
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.
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/
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!
*Bluebird Vintage is located at 906 Main Street in Boonton, NJ
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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?
I’ve been daydreaming of summer during these cold, seemingly endless, snowy, winter days. You can see where my mind is going in the subject matter of my latest projects. I’ve bee making a lot of landscape and camping scenes and new botanical studies, including these wood burned fern coasters. Hopefully spring will be here soon, here’s to hoping that the groundhog was wrong. These coasters, along with other designs are now available in my etsy shop http://www.etsy.com/shop/ForageWorkshop
I have been thinking about this topic a lot lately. What IS Etsy? I’ve been selling online with Etsy for the last couple of months and have been so immersed in it, that I’ve forgotten that there are still a lot of people out there (I’m looking at you, Dad) that have no clue what it is or how it works. Before I was a seller, or really even a buyer, I thought, like many others, that it was just Ebay for crafters. Not so. Ebay is Etsy’s rough and tumble older brother. Years ago, I was an avid eBayer, buying, selling, the whole bit. And while it is a wonderful platform, and you can literally find ANYTHING there, Etsy is well…more refined. There is no bidding on Etsy, so no wars with strangers or cursing at your computer in the middle of the night when there is 1 minute left in the auction and you have just been outbid. On Etsy, there are many lovely “shops” which are like mini websites with amazingly talented and kind people who will do there best to help you have the best shopping experience out there. There are no “wars”, just sellers helping customers, sellers helping sellers and even customers helping customers! It blows my mind what is possible and how creative people are. Things you never dreamed were out in the world suddenly, you can’t live without. If you didn’t really know what Etsy was about, I hope I’ve shed some light. Go take a look, find something you never knew was exactly what you wanted.