The Wine Table

One. Last. Show.

I ran two full marathons in my life: sheer euphoria and pure hell wrapped up in a not-so-tidy 26.2 mile package. This show season reminds me of the months of training for those and then running the races. Except this time, I’m limping across the finish line.

The weather has made this show season particularly rough. That, coupled with having the bright idea of signing up for shows every weekend for two months straight has left me pretty weary. I know that when I don’t listen to God and pump the breaks on my life, He tends to step in and intervene. That seems to be the case this week.

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Wind gusts from yet another tropical storm whipped through Harvest Fest at Gore Mountain in the Adirondacks last weekend, causing huge pallet racks to break free from their zip tied places on the grid wall and sail in the direction that gravity deemed. I just happened to be sitting under the ones that took flight and now have the bruised imprint of two 3-foot pallet racks across my back and a jacked up left arm where another piece of agony art went careening into my unsuspecting wrist.

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While unpacking my trailer yesterday morning, a groggy bee rallied one last time to sting me multiple times in the left palm.

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I then removed a tote from the trailer, and, forgetting it had poured the night before and my tarp has a hole in it, poured a gallon of water that had collected on the tote’s lid down the front of me until it pooled in my boots.

During life seasons like the one I’ve been in recently, it would be so easy to sullenly sit in a corner, licking my wounds from the ramifications of doing life my way.  I have to remind myself to see the joy in each day and be thankful for the little things, even while in the throes of refinement. That my boots will dry. That I’m not allergic to bees. That I’ve had the chance to travel around the east coast and meet some incredibly talented and awesome people.  That while I have this weird protrusion on my arm, I didn’t break it.  That the pallet rack missed my neck by a few inches. That I’ve had this huge internal growth spurt at the age of 38.

And instead of feeling sorry for yourself, you find yourself smiling at the poignant encounters with others. Like chatting with a 6-year old girl at your booth about school and then giving her a pencil holder full of pencils, to which she responds by rooting through her bag of black and yellow eggs that hold prizes from an egg hunt, cracks one open, and hands me this glittery plastic ring in exchange:

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Or how antique windows and doors keep showing up on my driveway from a kind-hearted neighbor who knows they are treasures to me and lugs them over from all around the area on my behalf.

Or how friends save random pieces of this or that for me to incorporate into a pieces, like this wine table that was inspired by the small metal glass holder you see underneath the 167-year old barn wood table top. Another friend has been on the hunt for sewing machine bases for me, so when I got this antique Singer sewing machine table from him (complete with the sewing machine), I took it apart, painted the base, added a barn wood top along with wine bottle racks I’ve been saving for the right piece, and added the glass holder underneath. It’s like a mini wine bar. Perfect for this last show. It rolls. And it won’t fall off grid wall. And it’s a reminder to celebrate the end of a growth season on Monday, no matter what this weekend holds.

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Find the joy in the little things.

 

(I have two of these wine tables for sale; if you are interested in one, please let me know before Thursday evening as they’ll be road tripping with me to Oyster Bay!)

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Reclaimed wood

Small Stuff

Vermont’s unpredictable weather followed me to Montauk for the two-day craft fair out there last weekend. Gone are the days where you wake up and check weather.com or an app for an accurate reading. I now understand why Vermonters just get up and go and embrace whatever the sky decides to bestow upon them. It’s a mix of sheer optimism and an acceptance that you know you could have sunshine, rain, hail, wind, or snow…in any season.

So when the doppler said no rain on Long Island, even with Hurricane Jose lingering offshore, I believed it. The weather people had to be right. Because I still faithfully wake up and check weather.com like it were a morning devotional. You can’t make an apple an orange.

Friday night was horrible.

First, there were the squalls. Sheets of rain driving down. Then add 40 mph winds. The rain no longer came down. It came horizontally.

Yet I still tried to set up my booth that night. I knew it was a lost cause, but first looked at it as a fun challenge. Optimism reigned. But after a solid half-hour fighting my EZ-Up tent and yelling at it that it needed a new name, the wind then played tug of war, trying to rip said EZ-Up tent out of my white-knuckled grip and into the main drag of Montauk.  I soon found myself in tears under a canopy of soggy white fabric and torn side flaps that longed to be a parachute instead of a vendor tent. The tears soon morphed into a full sob at the realization that I was only getting a small sample of Jose and Maria’s destructive power over that weekend. The four islands I loved the most and found rest and renewal on over the years had experienced apocalyptic devastation. I cried for what was. And I cried for the unimaginable situation that people I had met and hadn’t crossed paths with were facing at that moment. The suffering of others was overwhelming.

Later that night, as a few vendors and I took refuge in a glorious U-Haul trailer, the conversation took a somber turn as we sat near the opening, listening to the angry surf and occasionally checking on our booths to see what inventory was destroyed by the most recent gust, all asking each other, “How did life turn out to look like this?” The excitement of traveling for shows and the “carnie” lifestyle was long gone. I was tired of the weather impacting sales, and disappointed that I was letting it get to my attitude as well. I missed home. A warm bed. A routine that involved more than just working my butt off.

As I emerged from my tent the next day, an old man with a shocking white beard was walking through the grass near my temporary abode. He looked my way and at my truck, then back at me and gave me a thumbs up with a small smile. “Home is where your heart is.” Then he disappeared by the reeds at the edge of the bay.

Indeed, sir. And for now, that means two more weeks of shows and travel and building like mad, and then…

Sometimes life needs a …

Followed by open space. Nothing.

 

(In the meantime, life needs more small inventory that can withstand one more outdoor show in the Adirondacks that’s known for high winds and one huge indoor show by Manhattan where people can easily bring home purchased items via train.)

Trays:

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Barn wood tissue boxes:

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Tool caddies with beer openers (that also function as beer caddies):

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Note or photo holders/wall decor:

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Tin roof sign bird houses:

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If you are looking for something to do these next two weekends, come to Gore Mountain in upstate NY October 7-8 or Oyster Fest in Oyster Bay, NY October 14-15! Thank you friends, family, and repeat customers who have come out to the shows this season. It’s so uplifting to see familiar faces! I truly appreciate the love and support. I hug you all fiercely at these things because you are a reminder of home. (Ye be warned.)

 

 

Posted in Reclaimed wood

Cedar Hope Chest

It all started with a pile of 100-year old cedar siding reclaimed from a house near Stratton, Vermont that a contractor was going to use for a bonfire. (Yeah. I sorta freaked out when I heard that.)

The salvaged cedar became an accent wall.

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Then a waterfall ceiling/wall.

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And it’s in the process of becoming a custom door.

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And I had enough left to make a 5′ long cedar hope chest.

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(Every piece of this is repurposed, from the fabric seat to the super comfy memory foam bench to the cedar siding that smells incredible to the hardware to the red barn wood accent pieces.)

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This is the gift that keeps on giving. I feel like I had a few loaves and fishes that kept multiplying. And continue to do so.

And I just realized I have enough cedar to make ANOTHER hope chest.

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Cedar hope chest: please email me with the size you are interested in (between 2-5 feet) and I’d be happy to give you a quote!

 

 

Posted in Reclaimed wood

Garlic Fest 2017!

It’s a beautiful day in southern Vermont to attend the 22nd annual Garlic Fest, going on all weekend at Camelot Village in Bennington, Vermont!

Roam around and enjoy tons of free samples, buy gifts, participate in cooking demonstrations, listen to live music, and grab something from one of the amazing food trucks or wine or beer tent. Bring the entire family! There is something for people of all ages.

Stop by the “Nature Calls: Reclaimed Wood Designs” booth, conveniently located close to the stage and food trucks, and say hi!

Today and tomorrow, rain or shine, from 10am-5pm!  www.lovegarlic.com

 

 

 

Posted in Reclaimed wood

Barn beam end tables

So simple. Yet so much character.

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Hand hewn barn beams from a 200 year old barn in the Adirondacks…

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…repurposed into one of a kind matching end tables. Sanded and sealed with lacquer.

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Own a piece of history!

 

Barn beam end tables:  $119 per table or 2 for $210

 

Posted in Reclaimed wood

German Beer Hall Table

 

I had an idea for this 6′ x 2′ metal frame even before I purchased it from my buddy’s pickup truck. (These encounters in parking lots must look super shady…)

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Metal frame + matte paint + barnwood = a German Beer Hall Table.

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Yep. More agony art.

Posted in Reclaimed wood

Country tables and benches

The carnies are in town! That means weekends full of free music fests, rides, bands, fireworks, games…you name it.

My busy show season also kicked off in Montauk around the same time the carnivals came to Vermont. Vendors from the northeast sold their hand-crafted items in a juried fair just steps from the beach and within walking distance of downtown. If you’ve been to Montauk, you know that there’s a huge wait list for camping at Hither Hills, and camping is at a premium. Shockingly, vendors were allowed to camp right on the show grounds for a crazy low price.  Tents, u-hauls, and campers dotted the perimeter of the historic grounds, tucked among the trees. Vendors congregated at the end of the show days like a bunch of carnies, displaced for the weekend but part of some dysfunctional family all living in close proximity to each other out of our respective vehicles while peddling our wares during the daylight hours.

If you think about it, traveling to do shows is a lot like living the life of a carnival worker. It can be full of adventure, road trips, great for business, and…exhausting. I’m doing something new this show season; I’ve mostly pursued being a part of large, juried shows instead of the small town ones. That means being on the road almost every weekend in September and October. And after selling out of pallet furniture in just one show at Montauk and not being able to get my act together to build a lot in the winter and spring, I need to start building up a huge stock of inventory in the upcoming month.

And it’ll mostly be large pieces like these.

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Tables. Benches. Chairs. That’s what sells at shows.  Unfortunately, that means the pieces are large and heavy. For years now, people buy an item from me and try to drag it to their cars with a strange look on their face: pure joy for purchasing the one of the kind reclaimed wood piece mixed with an equal amount of pain while trying to figure out how to get the heavy item not only IN their vehicles but then into their homes.

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My work recently gotten the nickname “agony art” by a fellow artist who had a booth space across from me who watched customers leave my booth with purchases all day long.

Every year during the show season, I vow to build smaller and lighter stuff for my sake while traveling and setting up and also for my customers.

It’s not happening. Build what you love and build what people want. Looks like agony art is going to be around for awhile.

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These tables are made from reclaimed barn wood and fence pieces. All different sizes and styles and finishes will be available at the upcoming shows. For more information as to where you can find these pieces at shows this summer and fall, please visit the show schedule link on the home page.

Thanks!

 

 

Posted in Reclaimed wood