Pallet Bar Set

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One of a kind pallet high top table with two comfy, wide bar stools. The tabletop and seats are finished with 320 grit, making them very smooth. Made 100% from recycled materials!

Three piece set (table, two stools):  $165.00 

(East coast delivery available: please email me for a delivery estimate.)

Posted in pallets, Reclaimed wood, rustic decor, Stools

Treehouse Bird Feeder

IMG_7218.JPGWord is out that this is the place to come if you are an animal in need of a meal.

I’m impatiently waiting for Diesel to come out of his den. I miss my little buddy. The recent blizzard not only confused the birds who had migrated back early but also frustrated me. I was rather enjoying being able to see the grass again after months of only seeing snow. And from the looks of the upcoming weather forecast, Diesel will probably be sleeping a bit longer. Wise chipmunk. Sad me.

I found a large plastic bin of peanuts in the garage the other week. This posed a problem. I hadn’t filled said bin with peanuts. One of my furry friends went through a lot of effort to chew a hole through the sturdy plastic jug that had contained the peanuts and proceeded to move them three feet to this bin. Not the brightest bulb in the box.

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I moved the bin to the back deck, near the bird feeder, with the intention of taking the animal’s cache and putting it in the feeder, and promptly forgot about it.

My parents were over the other day. “Meli,” my mom asked, looking quizzically at the box. “What’s in the bin?”

The color of my face gave me away instantly. I sheepishly mutter, “peanuts.”

They are well aware they’ve raised a daughter who scarily resembles Elmyra from Animaniacs.

I proceeded to forget about the bin once again until the following morning, distracted by yet another crazy storm rolling through the valley. The river had flooded overnight and the rain was still coming down. I was at my computer when I heard an undeniable thwack! thwack! thwack! 

OOPS. I knew right away what that sound was. Something was going after the peanuts.

Sure enough, a not-so-bright gray squirrel was standing on the lid, flipping it up with his teeth and then letting it slam shut, completely unaware of how gravity works.

The bin had about two inches of water in it already from the storm, and I could see peanuts floating around inside.

And then I saw two little paws press against the milky plastic from inside the bin.

I know it makes absolutely no sense to have mouse traps in the cabin, yet go out in the pouring rain to save a water-logged mouse from drowning. But I did it without thinking. I am a caretaker of this cabin and the grounds. That means helping out the mouse that was only in trouble in the first place because of my forgetfulness and my unhealthy obsession with feeding the wildlife.

Whether the squirrel was trying to get to the nuts or rescue a fellow rodent, I’ll never know. I like to think it was the latter.

In honor of the first day of spring, I converted a “fairy house” that I made last year out of scrap wood into a triple decker bird feeder treehouse, complete with a suet holder, peanut tray, and swing. (Still waiting for a bird to test out the swing.) Three different species of woodpeckers have already been regular visitors, grabbing hold of the log frame while taking a snack. All sorts of birds are loving it. So am I.

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Each one of a kind “Treehouse Bird Feeder” comes with a suet holder and one suet cake.

Happy Spring! Don’t forget to stand your eggs on your counter today. Yes, this really is a thing.

Price:  $49

 

 

Posted in Reclaimed wood, rustic decor, bird feeder

Burl Table

Waiting for wood to season is like waiting for a kettle to boil. Times 100,000,000.

I’ve been eyeing up this burl for years. And once I saw what the slices looked like, I HAD to build something with it. Immediately.

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Apparently bar-top epoxy is an impatient girl’s BFF.

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Each pour is the equivalent of 60 coats of poly. This burl table has been topped off twice and is as smooth as glass while sealing the burl.

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Burl Tables: LIMITED stock – let me know if you want to place an order with this precious tree. You’ll not only get a one of a kind piece but also help me manage my wood hoarding. Win-win.

The table pictured is a 20″ end table. Larger and taller tables can be ordered from the burl slabs pictured above!

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Posted in Reclaimed wood, rustic table, Wood slab

Bottle Bird Feeder

There was a glorious stretch of warm weather (50’s and 60’s) recently that melted all of the snow. The birds and I came out of hibernation mode. And, keeping with my basic instincts, I naturally had to feed the wildlife ASAP.  (I know they are probably worse off because I feed them. BUT. Can’t. Help. Myself.)

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The birdies were a bit confused as to how to get to the seed in the bottles. Some spent a concerning amount of time pecking at the glass bottle before finally figuring out where the food was coming out.

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These bird feeders are just downright fun to make from things found around the woods, in my shop, and in the recycling bin. The bottles easily slide out to fill with seed.

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I highly recommend putting bird feeders by a dirty window. Trust me. You’ll thank me later, unless I just have a bunch of groggy birds around these parts.

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Bottle Bird Feeders:  $25-$35 (food and birds are not included)

Posted in Reclaimed wood, rustic decor, bird feeder

Pallet rack w/ earring holder

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A modern twist on a classic pallet rack!  I got back to my roots a bit this week and repurposed some wooden pallets. Over the years, I’ve worked with pallets to transform them into wine racks, magazine holders, book racks, hat/scarf racks, bath racks, etc.  I lived and breathed pallets for a loooong time. So long that I started to lose interest in working with them. I even (gasp) burned some HT scraps instead of using them for signs. I KNOW.

Sometimes it requires stepping away from something to get a fresh perspective on it. Like the other day, I was lamenting to myself about the mess of tangled-up earrings and hair bands I store in a small dish.

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Yeah. Not pretty. And also not practical.

And then it hit me. By adding small dowel rods to a standard pallet rack, you can not only organize your earrings, bracelets, and necklaces, but also have designated spots for toiletries, nail polish, and much more.

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Posted in pallets, Reclaimed wood, rustic decor

Lincoln Log Bench

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I have a super power. For some odd reason, my brain automatically combines idioms. I don’t have to even think about it; it just happens. Not sure when it started, but it’s second nature to me now. When I consciously try to stop it, I can’t. And when I just let it go, I somehow combine two ideas/sentences/idioms and create some warped hybrid. For example, I’ll say, “I am beating around a dead horse.” People look at me, knowing some part of that sounds sort of true, but they can’t quite figure out where I botched it. Yeah, people. I get it. It baffles me as well.

I’m used to the weird look, followed by, “How the heck did you do that?”

I blink. Crap. A ‘Melanism’ must have struck again. “No idea.” I am no longer surprised when people ask me what country I grew up in.

It may be stretching it to call it a super power because I’m also quite aware that, when this happens, I sound like the offspring of Yoda and Dory.

This ‘trait’ of mine makes story telling…unique. It’s not my gifting. I am well-aware of my shortcomings. Doesn’t mean I stop trying, especially if I’m not afraid of potentially sounding dumb around someone.

“Hey, did you hear the story about the old eagle?” I said to a friend recently.  I went on to recall a story my mom told me about what happens to eagles when they get older. But as I recounted the story, my facts seemed a bit fuzzy. Even to me. And they blurred as each sentence droned on.

“And then the old eagle flies waaaaaaay high in the air and dive bombs down to the earth” (I’m certain by this point I’m looking about as crazy as I sound) “…and loses ALL of its feathers.” Wait. This doesn’t sound right. Think, Mel, think! Oh well. Gotta finish the story at this point. Just go with it! Wait, is this it? “And then it hides out on the mountain until the feathers grow back.” Big finish. “And THAT is why it’s called a bald eagle.”

Said friend bursts out laughing. “MEL. NO. That’s not accurate.”

I take some comfort in knowing that the original story passed on to me, while uplifting, was proven to be false.

This is the story my poor mom tried to drive home to me:

The eagle has the longest life-span of its species. It can live up to 70 years. But to reach this age, the eagle must make a hard decision. In its 40′s its long and flexible talons can no longer grab prey which serves as food. Its long and sharp beak becomes bent. Its old-aged and heavy wings, due to their thick feathers, become stuck to its chest and make it difficult to fly. Then, the eagle is left with only two options: die or go through a painful process of change which lasts 150 days. The process requires that the eagle fly to a mountaintop and sit on its nest. There the eagle knocks its beak against a rock until it plucks it out. After plucking it out, the eagle will wait for a new beak to grow back and then it will pluck out its talons. When its new talons grow back, the eagle starts plucking its old-aged feathers. And after five months, the eagle takes its famous flight of rebirth and lives for 30 more years.

Yeah. I wasn’t even close.

While false, it still inspired me as I’ve been intentionally seeking renewal on this cold and quiet mountain. I’m doing what is instinctual right now because I have hope that I can finally, FINALLY be healthy from a 16-year battle with a disease that I have let rob me of so much life and happiness. Whether the facts of the story are fictional or my version of it is far from accurate, Psalm 91:4 holds a promise. “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”

I have benches scattered throughout the woods. From those vantage points, I have watched the eagles soar above the Battenkill valley in all four seasons. If there are more benches in the world, maybe more people will take the time to pause and see the beauty all around them.

So my current mission is to build more benches.

Mission accomplished. Now to figure out how to move this to its new home. How quickly I forget that I told myself I’d start building lighter pieces. Instead, I once again build something that resembles Lincoln Logs on steroids.

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A beautiful reclaimed wood slab treated with Waterlox, reclaimed rough walnut 4×4’s, and black walnut chainsawed logs make up this piece.

Sam tried running off with a log (really, Sampson, REALLY?) until I scolded him.

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When I see those eagles flying overhead,  it’s a reminder of my own painful process of change. I don’t regret the growth process for one moment; I regret not being honest about my daily battle and abuse of food for the past sixteen years. There is so much vulnerability in authenticity that sometimes YOU can’t even handle yourself, let alone admit to others just how bad it is. Because you know some can handle it. And others can’t. And that’s ok. It’s unfair to place unrealistic expectations on people in your life. It isn’t necessarily about who is going to try to pull you out of the abyss when you fall; it’s about who is by your side while you are there in the darkness.

I fell into a trench in Africa a few years ago while running through the village, away from harm,  snapping back and breaking all of my toes at once while a mob scene formed in front of me in the darkness. I was terrified. No, beyond terrified as I lay four feet down in the dark, covered in the filth that those trenches served a purpose for. I don’t know who pulled me out. I was told a group of local men did, and I’m forever thankful to those kind people who helped a stranger. But I will never forget the few friends who wouldn’t leave my side while I was in that trench, who knew the dangers of the scene unfolding around us, who quietly let me lean on them when I could hardly walk on my own after I was pulled out, and who guided me home without ever chastising me for my mzungu ways.

Lauren Bogess wrote recently, “The ghost of voices long past rise up to meet me decades later, in the midst of the darkest season. And I struggle to hold on to what I know is TRUTH. Because this wraps its black fingers around the hearts of all those who are bound to the afflicted. It hurts the entire family. The thing I know most about seasons – is that God made them to change. And it is in the passing through them, the move from one season to the next, that true beauty is brought forth.”

Winter is ending.

And if you see a bench? Why not take some time to sit on it…because as busy as you think you may be, you do have time. Stop looking at your phone. Just be present. You may be surprised to see what you’ve been missing.

Lincoln Log Bench: $175 (seats three people)

If interested in purchasing this one of a kind art piece, please let me know before it goes to a local store!

Posted in bench, Reclaimed wood, rustic decor, Wood slab

Growth Chart

Until recently, there was an old apple tree that stood alone on a hillside overlooking the Bennington valley. If you’ve ever been apple picking or you’ve seen an orchard with these gnarled specimens, you are aware that apple trees are not known for their straight trunks or branches. If you need a straight plank for a project, it’s best to look elsewhere.

But if you fall in love with the twists and curves that made it possible for this tree to bear the weight of its fruit, then there is a lot of potential to turn its wood into something as unique as it was before it left the hillside.

I acquired this unique slab during a wood swap before the harsh winter settled in. I was standing on the hill one morning at a local woodworker’s place, watching the fog that had settled around the monument. As woodworkers tend to do, we talked about the history behind the planks we were exchanging. There is great pride and an equal amount of excitement when talking about these treasures. I have yet to figure out if this is just a New England thing, the company I keep, or  if it’s just a general characteristic of a woodworker. Whatever it is, it’s contagious.

“See over there?” Richard said, shielding his eyes and pointing to his neighbor’s property by the tree line. “My neighbor heard I was in need of apple wood. He just happened to be taking down his old apple tree. I can’t use these pieces if you want them.”

Richard knew me well enough to know this was just a formality; I had trash picked (with no shame) through his burn pile previously to save scraps similar to these.

“YES!” I have stopped trying to hide my excitement over such gifts.

When a close friend asked for a growth chart for her son, I knew that this apple tree would be the perfect medium for it instead of using a typical straight piece of wood like I’ve seen for other growth charts.  My childhood and teenage years consisted of my sisters and I congregating randomly in the bedroom closet doorway and fighting over who grew the most while my parents marked off the wall with a pen or pencil – whatever was the closest. That bit of history is still there.

For Andy’s chart, I added a piece of black walnut shelving and drilled holes for pens/pencils so his parents could always have one handy for charting his growth and so he’d know where to find one easily if he wanted to draw or do homework.

The chart is mounted on a wall with two screws, two feet off the ground.

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Why use a wonky-looking plank for a project that calls for a straight ruler? As apple trees mature, they need to be pruned. As I learned the hard way with my peach tree, I wasn’t doing it any favors by letting the limbs grow any way they wanted. The first time I pruned it, I was embarrassed for the poor tree. It looked like Edward Scissorhands had moved into the neighborhood. But that next year, the tree produced the most amazing peaches I had ever had.

Pruning throughout the life of the fruit tree is essential in order for the tree to be healthy and bear the best possible fruit it can bear.

“I am the vine…”

I can’t think of a better tree for a growth chart.

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Posted in Reclaimed wood, rustic decor, Wood slab