Friday, March 26, 2010

Recycled Button Cards Attached With Hemp

We wanted to offer something to our customers other than beautiful buttons, so we decided to make button cards out of recycled card stock.  Vickie, my wife gets the credit for this one!  She attaches the buttons to the cards with hemp cord. This would enable our customers to receive already packaged buttons to use OR as a unique gift idea. 

Here are some examples:                                                              

    Eastern Red Cedar Buttons

Other than Eastern Red Cedar, we have Red Cherry and Mountain Laurel buttons available.

Red Cherry Buttons

Rugged By Nature Wood Pendants



My new line 'Rugged by Nature!  Earth Day inspired recycled wood pendants.
Handcrafted out of, none other, than my two favorite types of wood to work with;
Mountain Laurel and Eastern Red Cedar
Harvested from old growth fallen trees on the land we will call our permanent home in the near future.

Reclaimed, recovered, recycled, rediscovered and reused are all terms that I refer to wood that has been given a new lease on life.
Environmentally reclaimed woods to me is the obvious choice, because using them replaces the need to harvest new timber.  The wood is already out there, it's just a matter of finding it, cleaning it, and working with it.
I find that using reclaimed wood is definitely worth the extra effort, since many of these woods have more  richness of grain, color, and character.
Some of  the best quality wood comes from old-growth trees. Old growth timber is harder, denser, and more stable than wood from young trees.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mountain Laurel

What is unique about the about the wood I use?  A lot of the things I make are made from Mountain Laurel.

It is said that the Cherokee Indians made pipes, bowls, decorations, utensils, and other household goods out of the wood from Mountain Laurel.  It is a closely grained wood and very hard.

We have many huge Mountain Laurel on our land in the mountains of Virginia. Some of them have gotten so big that they have toppled over.  I began making things out of the fallen Mountain Laurel to use around the cabin.  We found that the wood is very close grained and hard, so each thing I made turned out better than I imagined.  

The Mountain Laurel

The Mountain Laurel growing along the stream and waterfall banks played a large part in the decision as to where we would build our cabin.  We had never seen such gigantic shrubs.  We were not even sure they were the typical Mountain Laurel normally seen in the mountains of North Carolina and Virginia that grow along the Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountains.  After doing some research, we found they certainly were one and the same.

More information on Mountain Laurel here:

Mature plants are 6.5 to 10 feet tall, but may reach up to 40 feet in height.  The leaves are usually 3/4 inch to 4 inches long, and 1 to 2 inches wide.

Mountain Laurel is usually a tall, spreading shrub throughout most of its range, yet in the fertile Blue Ridge valleys and in the Allegheny Mountains of the southern Appalachian Mountains mountain-laurel may attain the size of a small tree.
In 1877, botanist Asa Gray noted at Caesar's Head in extreme northwest South Carolina that the trunks of mountain-laurel reached 50 inches (125 cm) in circumference. Mountain-laurel burl size varies with age. A 600-pound (272 kg) burl has been reported in western North Carolina.

A Mountain Laurel growing along the stream in all its glory!  Note how small the 5 foot 4 inch person looks standing to the left of the Mountain Laurel.  Sort of shows how big the Mountain Laurel is growing next to her even though she is a little distance away.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

All About the Buttons

I have decided to make buttons with the left over materials from my other wood crafting projects, such as environmentally friendly soap dishes, candle holders and rustic twig baskets.  
Wasting great wood is something I did not want to do.  I love to turn something deemed as "leftovers" into something useful.  I look at this as the great term "upcycle".  This has turned into a lot more ideas for future projects, and ideas I actually have not put into use yet. 

Red Cedar Buttons 1 1/2 inch with 4 holes


Mountain Laurel Buttons1 1/8 inch with 2 holes

Read more about Mountain Laurel here

Handcrafted Three Tier Eastern Red Cedar Candle Holder

Handcrafted Eastern Red Cedar Candle Holder

I began to realize that there were multitudes of things I could make from this aromatic beautiful wood called Eastern Red Cedar.  The Eastern Red Cedar has this beautiful red heart, and it grows within as the tree grows older.
I wanted to do something with all the fallen trees that were lying around instead of burning them.  So from that point on, I have been turning the ways of mother nature  into ecologically sound all natural handcrafted household items.  I make candle holders, soap dishes, baskets, bowls, utensils, buttons for Vickie's creative side, and a lot more to come I am sure.

Pictured above is one of the candle holders I have made.  We took it a step further and started making making pure beeswax candles.  They are pictured with the candle holder.  We like to leave the candles unscented, because the beeswax in and of itself has this slight aroma of honey when it's burning.