2015 Penland Winter Residency:

2015 started off with a big fat dreamy bang!!! 
it got to spend 4 weeks as a studio assistant at one of my most favorite places on earth: 
Penland School of Crafts in the mountains of Western North Carolina.
here are just a few snapshots of a fantastic time in that beautiful place:

... time at Penland is never complete without a good dance party!...
...nor without a challenge that won't push you to think more creatively…
...theres nothing like trying to make a table in a day...
...meeting old and new friends is probably one of the best parts about going to Penland...

..and pushing oneself into all kinds of new directions...

…and persevering even if one fails along the way….
...celebrating your birthday with the loveliest of people...
…and just making stuff...
...presenting….the best group of wood residents a girl could dream of…
thank you all for such an incredible time!

stoney creek hospitality:

wow! i cannot believe its been almost 6 months that i last published a blog! not that i have had nothing to share, its just been a busy time - i will try and recap a little for you: here a fun project i just got to install -

sometime last year my dear friend Jessica - whom i went to college with, and is now a kick ass designer out in Iowa - approached me and asked whether i wanted to collaborate with her on her project: The breakfast room of the new hotel she was designing for stoney creek hospitality. naturally, i said yes!

she had some visions, i had visions, lots of samples went around, and a new logo had been designed.

stoney creek hospitality vision and style is a distinct blend of modern lodge comfort, urban convenience and resort style relaxation. Their logo seems like its 3 urban skyscraper like buildings, with a creek running thru it. The elements are rustic wood, the glitz and glam of glass and the industrial-ness of metal. i took all those elements in, and after a lot of contemplating and pulling my friend Johannah Willsey of Phoenix Handcraft in on the project these were the results.

process shots:

i had the great fortune to go out to Independence, Missouri, where the new hotel was being built, to help with the installation. they were in the final stages of fixing everything up for a March 1st opening, and the place was bustling with excitement

 installation shots:
 part of what we came up with was a wall installation of separate elements - the reclaimed church pews and floating round shelves that were part of this wall had not arrived yet - so cardboard was used as placeholders
 the round cardboard placeholders are eventually going to be shelves. below are a few mini sculptures i built of them on site out of building materials and scraps from the original wall pieces i built.
 finally, the main sculpture - my interpretation of the logo featured at the end of the hallway in the breakfast room:

 it looked stunning on that red wall and was a big hit.
such a big hit, that the owner of the hotel had it moved to the front desk as the statement piece:

now it proudly sits behind the reception desk - and there was even talk about having another one made for a new hotel they are planning on building in Oklahoma in 2016.
i'm all about that.

thanks for reading. hope you enjoyed. its good to be back.

taking apart a wine barrel:

for the recent #wincellartable I built, i got to take apart this wine barrel:
as a woodworker, it boggles my mind how such a thing comes together so perfectly and is watertight.
without any glue or other adhesive.
 no such thing, just steam, fire, 6 rings and 12 pins holding it all together.
but nothing prepared me for what i found on the inside:

gorgeous purple, absolutely divine smelling american oak.
you get what you see. 
there were no filters, no enhancing, noting of such sorts with these pictures.
it is really this purple on the inside of a red wine barrel!
......wonder when i get to take another one apart......


over the past month i have been hard at work making this table for this wine cellar:
pretty much everything was provided by the clients: all the air dried walnut wood came from their property which was dried and stored in a shed and an attic, which we dug out one afternoon. 
it had some of the most beautiful coloring, spalting, grain and warmth to it.
simply gorgeous!! 
it was a little hard to work with, as it was air dried, 
not stacked and weighted properly, so it was very, very warped. 
They have a vineyard and an apple orchard, and either sell their grapes to local vineyards or make their own personal wine. 
therefore, they had this old wine barrel from Horton Vineyards which they wanted me to incorporate.
it was so much fun and it smelled so good!
last but not least, the beast of the project, was a large copper sink, which, next to the staves of the barrel were the driving design for size and proportions, esthetics, etc..
even though this was a project that esthetically is a lot more conservative and traditional 
in design and build, it was still a lot of fun to make. 
many challenges, a lot was learned, and the most important thing, 
the clients were very happy with it!
many, many thanks to my new friend and fellow artist Alana Fuller who helped me with the installation and took these photos.
another post with process/work in progress pictures will come soon.

madison contemplations:

the last piece, "madison contemplations" is a long, tall console:
made from heart of pine church pews salvaged from the storage of an old veterinary clinic in Madison, VA and ash legs that have been stained black. 
i envision this piece in a hallway.
as you come and go, 
let your eyes dance around on the surface of this beautiful wood and all its little details  
.......and let your mind wander..... 

view from belle plaine:

today i picked up the unsold work from the wood work show.
before loading them up, i got a couple pictures of the sideboard i was working on.
the windows were salvaged from "Belle Plaine" farm, just up the road from us here in Madison, VA, 
and were painted with milkpaint, the same color as the shelves on the interior.
 the side and back panels are salvaged wood, some oak some poplar, also from Madison, VA
-i really wish i had taken a photo of the back to show y'all... it looks really good-
and the beautiful cherry is from my favorite lumber yard, C.P. Johnson, in Culpeper, VA
part of me wished it would sell, as i love seeing my pieces find new homes,
but i am excited to now place this piece into our house where it will hold my grandmother's china

new saw horse:

this week i will be heading to Richmond to give a little demo. 
while contemplating what to demo and how - as the space is neither a shop nor a studio of any sorts, 
i came up with this idea to mount my vice to demo making spreaders, spatulas, salad hands, etc
while sitting on it to give it weight so it won't move around too much:
-my summer helper Jesse breaking it in-
the whole sawhorse, show horse, funhorse 
was built with leftover or scrap materials that were in the shop, 
my favorite way to make projects.

and i love it even more, when previously painted things match found ones, like the tail and plywood left over from another project


 i took a few new pictures of recently completed items:
-handled board, cherry or walnut-
-long board - this one cherry, quarter sawn white oak up top-
-spatulas- which for some reason look tiny here-
-saladhands attacking a zucchini-


a few weeks ago, actually it was the day Germany beat Brazil 7:1, 
we had a one of this summer's glorious thunderstorms. 
afterwards, the light outside was very eerie. 
everything had yellowy orange, very dreamlike glow to it: 
these pictures have no filter on them, and did not even begin to capture the beauty that was. 
as the sun set, the colors kept changing, yet the glow remained.

Preservation talley 2014

Last year I kept a count of everything I preserved, so I thought I would give it another try this year. This year it's been a little slower in happening, but things will get done, and I will keep adding to the list as I go along:

1 - pint jar - dried oregano
4 - pint jars - sauerkraut
1 - quart bag - frozen strawberries
1 - quart bag - frozen kiwis
5 - quart bags - frozen blackberries
4 oz jars each of dried various herbs - lavender, basil, chamomile - and i broke the dehydrator, which sucks, as i have so much more oregano, mint, thyme, rosemary, etc to dry!
11 - pint jars - pickled green beans
4 - half pint jars - extra hot and spicy mustard
8 - half pint jars - oregano mustard
9 - pint jars - vodka sauce
4 - half pints - baba ghanoush - frozen
12 - eggplant burgers - frozen
6 - pint jars - enchilada sauce
3 - pint jars - cherry tomato salsa
6 - 4oz jars, 1 half pint jar - beer mustard
8 - pint jars - honey peaches
3 - quart bags - peaches, frozen
6 - half pint jars - pesto, frozen
7 - pint jars - tomato jalepeno marinara
6 - pint jars - pressure canned garlicy green beans
9 - pint jars - pressure canned roasted pepper and tomato sauce
4 - pint jars - pressure canned pasted pepper and venison sausage tomato sauce
8 - pint jars - Apple sauce with ginger

"wood work" - the making of:

below are some pictures of this past month's fast and furious making of items for the "wood work" show i have the pleasure of being a part of at the Art Center in Orange. 
if you follow me on instagram, you probably will have seen most of these under the #artcenterorangevashow. 
they are in no order whatsoever, but i hope you will enjoy:                                           

if you are local, please join me and my fellow woodworkers from the area to the show.
the opening is this Thursday evening, June 12th in the Morin Gallery at the Art Center
on Main Street in Downtown Orange.
Opening Reception from 5.00-7.00 PM
would love to see you there!

farewell my flock:

While we were out of town this past weekend doing a show in Lynchburg, a pesky, scheming fox dug his way under the fence of the chicken habitat and depleted my entire flock of chickens sometime Saturday afternoon.

It was a very very sad day. 
I could tell Robert was very hesitant telling me the news after he talked to his father that morning who had gone over to feed and water them, only to find them dead.
The drive home was hard.
I didn't exactly know what I would find and got more anxious the closer we got to home.
They were my first flock.
I got them 1.5 years ago as baby chicks and have learned so much from them and about them.
A very very depressing sight met us. The yard was covered in feathers, the habitat and coop a white mess, as though it had snowed. In the midst of it all I was able to see my four reds, laying lifeless, eyes closed. dead. The whites were nowhere to be found.

My sweet birds. 
Now they are gone.
Lucretia, my favorite chicken, gone. 
Every. Single. One. 

Thanks to Anita I came home with new baby birds that day. 
She had a few hatch 3 weeks ago, and a few last weekend, so she gave me 6 sweet chicks. 
They are a cross between Black Australorp rooster and a Buff Orpington hen.
they are cuties.
Their peeping and happy chirping made that drive more bearable, and they have been a huge joy and comfort to watch and have around.
Thanks dear friend.

"Timber & Jam"

Anita and I have been friends since we were 16. 
Anita & Tina - 1995/1996
We have known each other more than half of our lifetime. It's pretty incredible to have friends like that and I dare to say that our lives are better because the other one is in it. We have gone our different paths, yet we have made it a point to see each other as often as possible and make those paths cross. 
During these encounters we have always been able to pick up where we left off. 
Those kind of friendships don't come around too often. 

Recently, we have been in the same state and have only been separated by 2 hours, which is a first in a very long time. It has been wonderful. For once there are no continents and oceans between us, and seeing more of each other has truly been inspirational. 
We both love making things from scratch. May it be from rough sawn lumber, stuff that grows in our garden, or simply because it is way better if we make it than if we were to buy it. 
This passion sprung into the form of a new little collaborative endeavor in which we celebrate the handcrafted and homemade. 
We call it "Timber & Jam."
"Timber & Jam" is a collaboration featuring Anita's homemade delights such as jellies, jams, breads and scones and my original handcrafted wooden wares such as cutting boards, spreaders, serving trays, small pieces of furniture, and a few canned goods as well. 
Together, these items are beautiful, fun, cohesive, and complementary and make wonderfully delicious gifts!

Anita's husband Neil designed us a fantastic logo, we threw together a Facebook page you all should check out and "like" and follow us and see where this little project will take us.

We had our debut this past weekend at the "Vintage Lynchburg Spring Market" and it was a big hit. We have had so many people interested in our idea and it was a fabulous event. 

Thank you all for your support, we love making things for you!

dovetailed jewelry box:

a very nice gentleman came to me with a specific request: years ago he had salvaged some very old wormy chestnut out of his uncles dilapidating barn in Maryland. with this wood he wanted me to make his daughter a gift for her upcoming college graduation: 
a jewelry box.
he only gave a few guidelines: he gave me certain dimensions, make it rustic, and highlight the natural beauty of the wood. as much as i love these open projects sometime they make me a little nervous, as you never know what kind of an image they already have in their head. 
the chestnut has so many "flaws" that make it unbelievably gorgeous. oxidized nail holes and spots were hinges used to be, worm holes galore, holes from pegs, cracks and splitting that give this wood so much character and beauty. 
to highlight all this, i kept the overall design very simple and minimalist, so that there would not be any competition between design and material.
laying out all the wood, i selected specific sections from the wood for the individual parts and gave them a sort of purpose. a peg hole became the hole to open the box, really beautiful oxidized nail holes the featured top, a huge spot that must have been left by a hinge became a detail on the back, and so forth
it was challenging at times to work with the chestnut, as it get brittle due its cracks etc, but at the same time it was a very fun and fulfilling project to make. 
he loved it, and i hope his daughter will treasure it for years to come.

close call:

yesterday evening i almost lost my sweet Lucretia bird. 
i was in the kitchen cleaning up after dinner, when all of a sudden i see my brother in law chasing his dog around our yard. all i could see were feathers flying everywhere. 
he had Lucretia. 
i flew out the door and started yelling and going after him, too.
somehow she got away and was deep inside an azalea bush.
she appeared not to be breathing.
after dog and owner left, i saw her little body starting to heave. up and down. up and down.
she was alive!
after watching her a while i left her to regain her composure. 
within the hour she started stirring. 
i went back outside and started feeding the other chickens hoping this would coax her out.
slowly she started coming across the yard, came up to me and ate some treats out of my hand.
i looked her over, and miraculously, despite missing quite a lot of her tail and hind feathers, she seemed unharmed.
-Lucretia in the snow a few weeks back-
this morning i saw her pacing the fence, as she does before she flies the coop.
i saw a chicken go up to her as if she was trying to tell her: 
"don't do that again....remember what happened yesterday?" 
she attempted it though, yet did not make it up on the ledge.
i wonder how long it will take my spunky, freedom loving girl to recover and break free once more.
guess she will always live life on the edge.