Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Heirloom Recipes

This year, in place of purchased gifts, ask your closest friends and family members to write down their favorite recipe on one or more 4"x6" index cards, add their name and the year, and mail them to you.

Collect them all and store them in one of our beautiful outrigger boxes.

During the year, jot down any recipes that were particularly good and worthwhile.

Next year, repeat the process.

Soon, you'll have an amazing collection that will be the treasure of your family and a wonderful gift to pass on  for a family member's wedding or other big occasion. You could even reproduce the cards and present newlyweds with their very own box to continue the tradition!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Capture Those Memories

We are all familiar with the concept of capturing your family's memories on film, be it still images or video footage. But what about all those cute things your kids say? Or those sweet things your spouse does for you? These are memories to treasure, but they've been difficult to keep until now.

With Facebook and Twitter, it's easier than ever to share your little moments with friends and family, but in a month or two, do you remember what phrase your child used or where you were when you heard it? It's best to capture these things as they happen, just like you would with your camera. That way they stay fresh forever.

Here is your project:
  • Buy a small notepad
  • Get a pen
  • When those little moments happen, jot them down
  • Remember to add the date
  • Store them in one of our beautiful boxes, sure to compliment your decor
  • At the end of the year, or as you remember, slip them all into an envelope 
  • Store in your family photo album
Now you can keep and treasure all those little moments forever.

Want to give this as a gift? Sort through your friend's Facebook or Twitter posts and pull down things from their life and give them a box full of memories to start with. Tuck in a notebook and a pen to let them continue a new family tradition!

Friday, December 7, 2012

December Shows

There will be no shows in December.
Aw, that was naughty, not nice of me, to fool you.
Shows will resume in early January.
For now, I am working on my new workshop and more inventory.

Remember: all in-stock inventory can be shipped as quickly as overnight!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Juried Shows

In order to show my work in the best possible venue, I apply only to juried shows .

A juried show is where a panel of qualified jurors sit in a darkened room viewing digital images presented by the show applicants.

The jurors have approximately 7 seconds to view and score four images of the work and the display. The scores are then tallied and the spaces are awarded to the high scorers.

I have been fortunate to participate in over 200 shows.

I prefer to sell my work in this manner because I get a chance to explain the design process as it relates to my love of the medium.

Hopefully I will have a chance to see you walk into my booth someday so check my schedule frequently.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Special Gifts

As you can see, I have been busy with all my helpers building boxes to meet all your gift giving needs this season. Most of my boxes have been bought by someone wishing to purchase a special gift.

They liked the fact that all my pieces were signed, dated and all the different exotic woods used were listed on the bottom. This extra bit of detail shows the recipient, you went out of your way to get them something really unique.

Visit the galleries below to see this seasons gift offerings.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Safe Natural Tea Caddy

If you like loose-leaf tea, you need to store it somewhere. You may have heard a lot in the media lately about BPAs being harmful and how you should be careful where you store your food as chemicals can leech into the food from the container. This is absolutely accurate. With our products you can be sure that we use only the safest and most natural items to make your boxes:

  • No dyes
  • No stains
  • No glues
  • No adhesives
  • No chemical treatments
  • Only all natural wood. 

Whether you choose to store your loose leaf tea directly in the box, or in its original containers, you can be sure it will be safe to use in our boxes.

See our assortment of tea caddies HERE.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Contrasting Woods

I just finished a new series using contrasting ebonies from Africa and Laos. Gabon ebony and black and white ebony create a visual impact as seen below. A great gift to give or keep.
See these wonderful boxes HERE and some samples below.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

November Shows

November 10-11 (Veteran's Day weekend)
Downtown Savannah, GA
Saturday 10am-5pm, Uffizi-inspired art activities for children in the square and studio 10am-2pm.
Sunday 12-4pm
Booth B2

November 16-18
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington DC
Saturday 10am-6pm
Sunday 11am-5pm
$15 General Admission, $14 Seniors, Children under 12 are free
Booth 122

Friday, October 19, 2012

Valet Box

A writer from Info Barrel tells us what a Valet Box is and why all men need one:

I was in my brother-in-laws bedroom the other day helping him with a computer problem that he was having when I looked on top of his dresser. It was a mess of items ranging from credit cards to watches, tie clips and pins as well as a plethora of other items that I could not even see since they were buried in a heap. Having just received a valet box myself not too long ago and resisting using it for as long as I could until my wife forced me to and then becoming a convert, I knew how much a valet box could help him. So expecting and prepared for some resistance I said "You know, a valet box could really help you clean up that mess and bring some organization to your life". Then I got the exact answer that I gave when my wife said the same to me a couple of months ago: "What is a valet box and why would I ever need one?" So here I am to explain to the masses what a valet box is and why every man needs one.

As an executive of a company I often need to dress up for client and company meetings. Being an executive, I am expected to dress the part (even thought I hate it) which means that I need to look good. Wearing a watch, nice cuff links, a tie clip and even a company pin is often a part of the attire that I am expected to wear in order to fit in with the crowd. Over time I have obtained quite a collection of these items and much like my brother-in-law, I used to throw them onto my dresser or in one of my dresser drawers in a big heap of a mess until my wife forced me to use a valet box that my mother-in-law purchased for my birthday.

A valet box is simply a men's jewelry box. I assume that if we called it a jewelry box, no man would ever use it no matter how helpful it was to their life. Although this sounds somewhat effeminate, I can assure you that a valet box is anything but feminine. Valet boxes are created with a man in mind and are usually made from a high quality wood or genuine leather. They are very simple, sophisticated and manly boxes that lack all of the frills and girly aspects of a woman's jewelry box. Valet boxes have all the space inside that a man needs to store his jewelry with spaces for watches, tie clips, credit cards, pins and other small items that men collect over time. Valet boxes usually have a lock with a key which provide additional security for items such as cash and credit cards that are being stored when not in use. Most importantly, valet boxes bring some organization to a man's life and help to protect valuables such as watches so they do not get scratched and dinged.

Although I was hesitant to use my valet box at first, I must admit that now that I have used it for a period of time that it has helped me tremendously with organizing my life. I no longer spend time searching for lost cufflinks or matching tie clips when I am in a rush in the morning. All of my unused credit cards are always stored where I can find them and locked away. Additionally, my watches and other items are continually protected in a proper manner ensuring that they will last a lifetime by being properly cared. This is important because in the long run it will ensure that I never have to go out and shop for another pair of cuff links or a tie clip as a replacement for on that I have lost or broken when I would rather be sitting on the couch and watching the big game on TV.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Wood of the Month - Ebony

There are two main types of ebony and a very small number of others. The main two are:

"Gabon ebony", which is the common name I use for what is also called "Nigerian ebony", "East African ebony", and many other names depending on country of origin. This is what people normally mean when they say "ebony". It's the black kind, although it actually frequently has lighter streaks. It is generally VERY expensive and requires some care in working as it is slightly brittle and prone to cracking.

"Macassar ebony", which is usually a very striped wood with widely varying amounts of light and dark wood. This name is to be distinguished from "Madagascar ebony" which is just another common name equivalent to "Gabon ebony". Macassar ebony is also expensive (all the ebony's are) but is somewhat less delicate to work than Gabon ebony.

Some of the other specialty woods that are occasionally available in the USA, are "pale moon ebony" (aka "black and white ebony"), "mun ebony", and persimmon, which is not normally thought of as an ebony, but which does belong to the same genus.

Some of the wood-producing species that are sold under the names discussed above. All of these have more than one common name (most of them MANY more than one), but I list only one, sometimes two, for simplicity. Many of these are not black. Persimmon, for example, is almost all light colored with a tiny pith area of black. Some of these have no black at all.

NOTE: the names "black ebony", "African ebony", and "streaked (or striped) ebony" are so widely applied to many of the species in this genus that they are almost meaningless.

Friday, October 5, 2012

October Shows

Enjoy live jazz and chat with fine artists in various mediums in Winter Springs this month. Stop by and see us.

October 21-21, 2012
Winter Springs Festival of the Arts
Winter Springs, Florida
Booth 429

The photo at top is from last year's festival.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Healthy Tea

Tea is delicious, good for you, and looks charming in our boxes or caddies.

1. Tea contains antioxidants. Like the Rust-Oleum paint that keeps your outdoor furniture from rusting, tea's antioxidants protect your body from the ravages of aging and the effects of pollution.

2. Tea has less caffeine than coffee. Coffee usually has two to three times the caffeine of tea (unless you're a fan of Morning Thunder, which combines caffeine with mate, an herb that acts like caffeine in our body). An eight-ounce cup of coffee contains around 135 mg caffeine; tea contains only 30 to 40 mg per cup. If drinking coffee gives you the jitters, causes indigestion or headaches or interferes with sleep -- switch to tea.

3. Tea may reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. Unwanted blood clots formed from cholesterol and blood platelets cause heart attack and stroke. Drinking tea may help keep your arteries smooth and clog-free, the same way a drain keeps your bathroom pipes clear. A 5.6-year study from the Netherlands found a 70 percent lower risk of fatal heart attack in people who drank at least two to three cups of black tea daily compared to non-tea drinkers.

4. Tea protects your bones. It's not just the milk added to tea that builds strong bones. One study that compared tea drinkers with non-drinkers, found that people who drank tea for 10 or more years had the strongest bones, even after adjusting for age, body weight, exercise, smoking and other risk factors. The authors suggest that this may be the work of tea's many beneficial phytochemicals.

5. Tea gives you a sweet smile. One look at the grimy grin of Austin Powers and you may not think drinking tea is good for your teeth, but think again. It's the sugar added to it that's likely to blame for England's bad dental record. Tea itself actually contains fluoride and tannins that may keep plaque at bay. So add unsweetened tea drinking to your daily dental routine of brushing and flossing for healthier teeth and gums.

6. Tea bolsters your immune defenses. Drinking tea may help your body's immune system fight off infection. When 21 volunteers drank either five cups of tea or coffee each day for four weeks, researchers saw higher immune system activity in the blood of the tea drinkers.

7. Tea protects against cancer. Thank the polyphenols, the antioxidants found in tea, once again for their cancer-fighting effects. While the overall research is inconclusive, there are enough studies that show the potential protective effects of drinking tea to make adding tea to your list of daily beverages.

8. Tea helps keep you hydrated. Caffeinated beverages, including tea, used to be on the list of beverages thatdidn't contribute to our daily fluid needs. Since caffeine is a diuretic and makes us pee more, the thought was that caffeinated beverages couldn't contribute to our overall fluid requirement. However, recent research has shown that the caffeine really doesn't matter -- tea and other caffeinated beverages definitely contribute to our fluid needs. The only time the caffeine becomes a problem as far as fluid is concerned is when you drink more than five or six cups of a caffeinated beverage at one time.

9. Tea is calorie-free. Tea doesn't have any calories, unless you add sweetener or milk. Consuming even 250 fewer calories per day can result in losing one pound per week. If you're looking for a satisfying, calorie-free beverage, tea is a top choice.

10. Tea increases your metabolism. Lots of people complain about a slow metabolic rate and their inability to lose weight. Green tea has been shown to actually increase metabolic rate so that you can burn 70 to 80 additional calories by drinking just five cups of green tea per day. Over a year's time you could lose eight pounds just by drinking green tea. Of course, taking a 15-minute walk every day will also burn calories.

Source: iVillage

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Watch Boxes

If you are looking for a totally unique Watch Box to own or give, check out one of my handcrafted creations above. Each watch box is a one of a kind heirloom quality piece constructed using traditional joinery and modern adhesives. Each watch box is fitted with hand sewn pillows to support and display each watch.

See all the current styles available here, or request a custom-made box by contacting me here.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Uses for Valet Boxes

Our Valet Boxes make a beautiful keepsake gift for anyone (including yourself). Here are some of the many uses:

End of the day watch, keys, and wallet
Next to the bed for your glasses and ring
Stationery, stamps, pen
Remote controls
Bills, stamps, checkbook, pen
Delicate hair combs
Today's mail
Next to the phone, a pad, pen, and address book
Essential oils
Guitar pics
Extra copies of important paperwork like your will and passports
Love notes/cards to one another
Wedding mementos
A bundle of old letters from a lover or loved one
A list of wishes or goals
Small craft project like embroidery
Keepsakes from a recent vacation

Pokemon/Yugioh cards
Baseball/football cards
Shells or stones
Friendship bracelets/Silly Bands
Report cards/achievements

Did we fail to list a way you use your Valet Box? Let us know!

Friday, August 24, 2012

September Shows

Find us up and down the east coast this September.

August 31-September 3 (Labor Day Weekend)
Long's Park Art and Craft Festival
Long's Park, Lancaster, PA
10am-5pm each day
$8 adults, $10 multi-day ticket, kids 10 and under free, coupon in the link above
Booth 227

September 15-16
Atlanta, GA
10am-7pm Saturday, 10am-6pm Sunday
Booth 39

You may always find our year's listing at our Website.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Host/Hostess Gift

Recently, we suggested bringing one of our lovely tea boxes as a host/hostess gift. But when do you bring your host a gift of this value? We asked leading etiquette expert Emily Post.

When you're the guest of honor
Bring a gift for your host or hostess, or send flowers before the party. After the party, send a thank-you note.

It's customary to bring a gift to a housewarming. It doesn't have to be expensive, but it should be something lasting for the house. 

Overnight stay
A gift is mandatory. You can present the gift upon your arrival, during your stay, or after your exit. The longer the stay, the more expensive or elaborate the gift. For example, for a weekend stay, you may decide to send flowers. If you’ve stayed for three nights or more, a gift certificate to the host’s favorite spa or restaurant would be a good bet. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

August Shows

After a long summer of replenishing our stock and getting in beautiful new woods, we are ready to resume the juried art show circuit and will be traveling in August!

August 10-12
Berkshire Crafts Fair
Monument Mountain Regional High School, Great Barrington, MA
10am-5pm each day
$7 for ages 13 and up, kids 12 and under are free
Booth 63

August 24-26
Berkshire Arts Festival
Ski Butternut, Great Barrington, MA
10am-6pm Friday & Saturday, 10am-4:30pm Sunday
$9 adults, $8 seniors, $5 students, kids under 10 are free, $11 for a weekend pass, coupon in the link above
Booth not yet assigned

August 31-September 3
Long's Park Art and Craft Festival
Long's Park, Lancaster, PA
10am-5pm each day
$8 adults, $10 multi-day ticket, kids 10 and under free, coupon in the link above
Booth 227

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Jewelry Boxes

If you are looking for a totally unique Jewelry Box to own or give, check out one of my handcrafted creations. Each box is a one of a kind heirloom quality piece constructed using traditional joinery and modern adhesives. The miter joints are reinforced with dovetail splines, chevron splines or internal "butterfly" splines running top to bottom.

The veneered lids are glued up in a vacuum bag exerting 1750 pounds of force per square foot assuring a permanent bond. Each box is lined with suede cloth and the trays have removable dividers for added space.

Since I never create two boxes exactly the same, I am constantly searching for new and exciting woods to incorporate into my designs.

See more detail on the box pictured above Here.

Find all my current designs at My Website.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Beautiful Snakewood

Snakewood is an incredibly beautiful wood which originates mostly in Suriname, South America. The specific gravity is around 1.2, making it one of the worlds hardest woods. The part sold as snakewood is really the heartwood of the larger tree. This wood is usually felled with axes and carried on the backs of hard working natives over streams and through snake infested jungle areas. Each tree felled is monitored, and the government has developed a strict permit process to control harvesting. Much of the wood has inferior or no figure, but the small amount that has attractive figure is exported. We use only figured pieces that have high density of figure. All snakewood has at least minute hairline cracks. We take the extra step of soaking some pieces in cyanoacrylate to minimize or eliminate any cracking. Fortunately, if cracks do occur, they can be hidden completely if caught early. We do not recommend attempting to dry snakewood, as this almost always leads to cracking. Being dense, the water content is already very low. To be successful, always have superglue and hardener on hand, cover the piece with plastic completely when not working on it, and seal it completely with a finish that does not allow moisture transmission. Needless to say, the wood should never be allowed to get overly heated or left in direct sunlight.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Summer of...

This is not the summer of shows as we have none scheduled until August. It is also not the summer of rest, as we have been selling a good deal of our inventory at shows and from our website. This is the summer of labors of love as we restock our inventory. This means experimenting with new combinations of woods, revisiting old favorites, making more outrigger boxes, that seem to be popular, and refilling our inventory with humidors that completely sold out!

Since everything is made by hand in our workshop, by the two of us, each one takes a bit of time to put together, but we assure it's quality that way also.

Remember that 10% of every internet sale of our boxes goes to support Children in Distress.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Wood of the Month: Zebrawood

The wood of Microberlinia (also known as Zebrano) is imported from central Africa, (Gabon, Cameroon, and Congo). The heartwood is a pale golden yellow, distinct from the very pale color of the sapwood and features narrow streaks of dark brown to black. Zebrawood can also be a pale brown with regular or irregular marks of dark brown in varying widths. It is almost always quartersawn to get the exciting alternating color pattern.

It is a heavy, hard wood with a somewhat coarse texture, often with an interlocked or wavy grain. The interlocked grain of this wood, like that of many tropical woods, can make it difficult to work. It is also a decorative exotic wood, used in a limited way for veneer, wall paneling, custom furniture, furniture trim, inlay bandings, marquetry, specialty items and turnery. It is also sometimes seen as stocks of handguns or in exotic guitars. In the past, it was used in Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz automobiles. Because of its hardness, it can also be used for skis and tool handles.

Monday, April 30, 2012

May Shows

We have only one show scheduled for May. We'll be busy building new boxes and designing more exquisite ways to store your keepsakes at home.

May 4-6
Brookside Art Annual
Kansas City, MO

Sponsored by the Brookside Business Association, the Brookside Art Annual is celebrating its 27th year! 70,000 people are expected to attend the 3-day event. There are activities for children on Saturday and Sunday, and light music in the evenings. Food booths will be operated by local restaurants. Come see us at booth 72.

Friday 5-9pm
Saturday, 10am-9pm
Sunday, 11am-5pm

View last year's gallery HERE.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Texas Woods

This April, we have 2 shows in Texas. That got us to thinking about the kinds of woods that come from Texas. Since all of our boxes feature wood that is not stained or dyed, the beauty of natural wood shows through, and we think the types of wood that goes into each box is essential.

We use the following types of wood from the continental US:
  • Ash
  • Cedar
  • Cherry
  • Maple
  • Olive
  • Rosewood
  • Mahogany
  • Hack Berry
  • Holly
  • Walnut
  • Walnut Burl
  • Madrone Burl
  • Ambrosia Maple
  • Birds Eye Maple
  • Curly Maple
  • Curly Ash
  • Curly Cherry

The following types of trees grow in Texas:
  • Oak
  • Pecan
  • Ash
  • Mesquite
  • Palm

Only Ash is grown in Texas that we also use in our boxes. In fact, most of our hardwoods come from Asia, Africa, and South America!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

April Shows

Come join us in April to see our beautiful hand-made boxes in the following juried shows:

April 14-15
Art City Austin
Downtown Austin, Texas

"Where the award-winning Austin City Hall rests on the banks of Lady Bird Lake. A gateway for many, a beloved tradition for others, Art City Austin is a temporary art utopia where curious and delightful discoveries await!"
April 21-22
Fiesta Arts Fair
SW School of Art
San Antonio, Texas

     "The art fair is nestled among the shady trees of the school's historic Ursuline Campus adjacent to San Antonio's River Walk, and in the art school's gothic chapel. This event draws over 12,000 people to enjoy art along with regional music and some of the best Mexican food San Antonio has to offer.
     Fiesta Arts Fair has something for everyone – especially children. At the Children's Art Garden, kids work with professional artists and volunteers to create their own mini-masterpieces. From stained glass to clay to creative new Fiesta medals, there is an art project for everyone to discover."

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Wood of the Month: Olive Ash

Olive Ash is a hardwood found in the USA that is most prized for it's burl. It is found in many veneers and is a popular wood for making furniture.

Please note: we use no veneers, but only authentic wood in our pieces!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

March 2012 Shows

We do hope you'll come out and join us in March for either of two wonderful shows.

March 3-4
Gasparilla Festival of the Arts
Tampa, Florida
This outdoor festival features live music, the chance for a child to be an artist-for-a-day, and of course, loads of craftsmen showing their wares.

March 9-11
Vero Beach Art Club
Vero Beach, Florida
Another outdoor showing, this event is under the famed live oaks and will feature over 200 artists!

Additional shows added:
March 16-18
Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival
Winter Park, Florida
Located in Central Park, this show is a community project that features a children's workshop.

March 24-25
Downtown Naples Festival of the Arts
Naples, Florida
In addition to all the art, be sure to catch the lecture series in this arts and culture festival.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Wood of the Month: Chechen

Wood of the Month-----Chechen
(Caribbean Rosewood)

This is a dark-red or brown hardwood, derived from tropical trees. Heavy, hard, and dense, rosewood is noted for its stability and excellent decay resistance. Though commonly used for Oriental furniture, rosewood is now used for traditional European designs, as well as cabinetry. Quality rosewood furniture can be distinguished by silver lines, achieved by polishing with Chinese Tang Oil. This firm luster surface is different from the glossy imitation paint used on more inferior rosewood furniture.

A Brazilian import, is somewhat similar to mahogany, but contains tell-tale nearly black streaks across its reddish wood. Common to nineteenth century European antiques (also used in 18th century), rosewood can be difficult to polish.

Strength: Very strong and hard.
Color: Dark, with some curl. Purple to black.
Texture: Straight grain, medium texture and streaked figure.
Uses: Furniture, cabinetry, paneling, mathematical instruments, brush backs, inlay, sculpture, boat construction, hammer heads, and decorative flooring.

Friday, January 6, 2012