Who among us is really ready for summer to end? Not many of us, I am sure. However, as much as we might love fall and winter, it is the absence of the things of nature that we miss so dearly. One way we can continue to enjoy nature in the colder months is to bring a little of it indoors. Enjoying furniture and home decor handcrafted from natural materials inside your home is a creative way to extend the feeling of the warmer months.
This article from houzz.com highlights some great ideas of how to keep a bit of nature, and in some instances a touch of summer, in our homes through Fall and Winter.
What a beautiful day! If we had placed an order for the weather, it would have looked just like it did Saturday.
Sunshine and temperatures that were so comfortable, it was almost shocking!
Although it was the first year for this event, the coordinators were brilliant to choose the day – the same day as the Graffiti Cruise Car Show, which is a well-established event, having run for the past 25 years.
The vendors had awesome wares – hand made baskets, jewelry and pottery, as well as home decor and even hand crafted brooms!
We loved meeting people and sharing Jeff’s talent for making this stickwork furniture. We heard several comments from people that they had never seen anything like this style of artisan furniture before.
The all-sticks version of the Stick-a-Rondack found it’s way to a new home in a garden surrounded by purple coneflowers… I think it will have a wonderful life!
We had quite a few great matches of tic-tac-toe on our board, with one match lasting the better part of 30 minutes! I think the kids were having fun!
We were glad to have been a part of the first ever Arts in the Park in Bucyrus -and look forward to seeing the event grow over the years!
There are certainly a wide array of products available on the market these days for giving your handcrafted stickwork furniture a protective coating. Today I want to share with you the product we favor: Helmsman Spar Urethane by Minwax. We love this product as it gives an excellent protection and it is readily available to most people. It also comes in Gloss, Semi-Gloss and Satin finishes giving us a wide range of sheens for our artisan furniture. Of course our focus for the product started with outdoor funiture, but I have to share that we have used it multiple times on furniture intended for indoor use, and I love the finish inside as well!
We often give the horizontal surfaces of our handcrafted furniture several coats of Helmsman before making them available for sale. These surfaces are the most vulnerable to standing water and UV damage which can lead to issues. We then instruct our customers that the pieces will benefit from additional applications in the following years as a matter of maintenance. Obviously, outdoor furniture will require more maintenance than indoor pieces.
Taking a look at the Helmsman website (http://bit.ly/1oXXAzS), it is really easy to see why we favor this product so much:
Minwax® Helmsman® Spar Urethane is specially formulated as a protective clear finish for exterior or interior wood exposed to sunlight, water, or temperature changes.
Contains UV blockers to reduce the sun’s graying and fading effects.
Forms a protective barrier against rain and moisture.
Special oils allow the finish to expand and contract with the wood as seasons and temperatures change.
Ideal for use on doors, windows, trim, bathroom cabinets, bar tops, kitchen countertops, outdoor furniture.
Here’s a sample of our Stickwork furniture to which we have given several coats of Helmsman Spar Urethane…
I love gardening! Growing flowers, vegetables, fruit trees, plants – you name it, I love to grow it. I can spend hours drooling over seed catalogs and more time reviewing seed packets at the store. I have already started some seeds, and am really ready to get more going. Spring is here and I am ready to dig in the dirt!
Growing flowers in pots is one of my favorite summer-time routines. Around the deck, on the front porch, and hanging baskets. Jeff has handcrafted several stickwork plant stands and Baker’s racks over the years, all of which have supported my flower habit! These pieces are ideal for displaying potted plants anywhere and everywhere.
This year I am starting a clematis plant to grow on the stickwork arbor at the entrance to our walkway. Arbors are such a great way to add a new dimension to a walkway or entry, or a focal point for a garden. Even without a climbing vine the natural materials are pleasing to the eye!
I am excited to use a couple of stickwork garden towers in my vegetable garden this year. They are made of Locust branches, and they are super sturdy! Cucumbers will be taking up residence on these!
One of the reasons we love getting custom orders for our handcrafted stickwork furniture is that we really enjoy creating pieces that are unique ideas from our customers. One such order was a set of 6 bar chairs for a family with 6 kids. The chairs were for the eating bar in their kitchen. Because of the natural materials we use, each chair was unique, making it easy for each child to have a chair of their own.
Another custom order we received was for a mirrored pair of Stick-a-rondack chairs. The customer knew each handcrafted chair would be a one-of-a-kind, but desired to have a touch of symmetry in the design of the chairs that would be placed on her deck overlooking the mountain range.
For Christmas 2012, we received a custom order for a desk and chair from a man who wanted his daughter to have a whimsical and unique place to do her schoolwork.
Our most recent custom order for 8 Stick-a-rondack chairs is well under way – 4 are completed. Each chair has its own unique character, while contributing to the collection that is clearly a one-of-a-kind set.
The unique and creative ideas of our customers fuels our imaginations as well!
I have several favorite tools – all of which have very specific jobs to do in the making of my handcrafted Stickwork furniture. Today I want to show off my hewing hatchet.
I use this tool for many jobs. The job it has been doing most recently has been to “shave” the bark off branches that I am going to be using on some Stick-a-rondack chairs. It does a fabulous job separating the bark from the branch wood. So what makes this tool special? What makes it different than a regular hatchet?
If you look closely, you will see that this hewing hatchet has one side (the left side) that has a flat
surface. Sometimes this is called a flat hatchet, this flat side helps ensure that the natural materials retain their rustic look.
Benches: technically, a long seat for more than one person (merriam-webster.com). We used to see them in many public areas where people congregated for various reasons: train stations, medical waiting rooms, and at the library. It seems that most places have done away with benches in favor of chairs. While chairs are great (we make those too!), benches communicate something entirely different – a willingness to be closer to another.
In today’s world, benches are being used more in personal space areas: decks, patios, and in gardens. A bench is a pleasant place to stop for a bit to rest, to take in the view of the world, to reflect, to make decisions, to have a private conversation. The design of benches varies greatly from very basic and functional to matching virtually any decor.
Some of our handcrafted benches are rustic and made without a back, and can also be used as coffee
tables in a seating arrangement. Others are made with very artistically designed backs that allow them to be both functional as well as art in your garden, or on the deck or patio. We have also made benches that sit low-to-the-ground, especially perfect for around a firepit.
Benches are quite special in the way they bring people together, and we like that!
We love arbors! They add so much to any garden or entry: depth, texture, defined space. Arbors are a great way to accentuate the entry to your home or to your garden. They are truly a form of garden art.
Strictly defined, by thefreedictionary.com, arbors are: A shady resting place in a garden or park, often made of rustic work or latticework on which plants, such as climbing shrubs or vines, are grown. Rustic is certainly one word to describe our handcrafted stickwork arbors! We use all natural materials, predominately logs and branches from downed trees that we salvage.
Our arbors can be made to almost any size. We can customize our artisan arbors to include a seat or bench, and possibly side tables. The roof of the arbors can be gabled or with a hip roof design for larger arbors. The possibilities are only limited by imagination.
Spring is an excellent time of year to get an arbor installed. This assures that the structure is in place for climbing plants prior to the growing season. Alternatively, installations in summer and fall allow for hanging plants as well as the perfect backdrop for potted plants.