Archive for the ‘Vendor Spotlight’ Category

Vendor Spotlight: Meadowbrooke Gourds – Black Cat Lanterns

Monday, August 13th, 2012

During the Annual Fall Lighting Sale going on now at Sturbridge Yankee Workshop, there are lots of ways to save on great lighting. For the upcoming Halloween season, consider an alternative accent light. With the help of Meadowbrooke Gourds, you can add festive lighting to your home decor. Let’s take a look below.


Located on a farm at the base of Blue Mountain in Pennsylvania is a small company called Meadowbrooke Gourds. Inspired after a trip to the New England Farm Markets, Benjamin Bear, now owner, began his journey after taking the time to shell out a random gourd one day. Upon removing the seeds and witnessing the potential of a crop that didn’t rot out like the majority of other crops on the farm, one that actually only gained a harder shell, Ben knew he had discovered something special. In 1994, Meadowbrooke Gourds was born and the rest as they say, is history.

Much of what this fun-loving and hard working company of about 20 or so employees does, is developed through personal inspiration and a friendly work environment.  A perfect example of what can be done with the various shapes of the gourds,  is shown here to the left in our Black Cat Head Gourd Lantern. While only having his head, this black cat has a lot to offer your home this Halloween season. Decorate a covered porch or your windowsill to welcome trick-or-treaters. The cat head is accented by an orange ribbon around his neck, representing his collar, and also features a stick tail on the back. This light is on sale now for only $29.95.

Amazingly these hard-shell gourds can be hollowed out and made into a unique lighting source. A simple candelabra bulb (included) is tucked right inside the gourd and provides a soft glow. Gourds can only be grown when and where there is no threat of frost, and in Pennsylvania that typically runs late spring through early fall. The gourds should develop a nice hard shell before the onset of colder weather, before the gourd plant dies; this is when the drying out process begins. As you might assume, smaller gourds dry out faster than larger ones, significantly losing their overall weight. Next, the staff at Meadowbrooke Gourds cleans out the insides of the gourds, so the real excitement of crafting and design can begin. The gourds are smoothed and shaped into the desired form. Artisans then further hand carve and hand paint the necessary details in order to achieve the finished product.

Another Halloween light at SYW is none other than the Black Cat Head’s taller self, our Black Cat Gourd Lantern. Pictured here to the left, this option is now available at only $59.95 during the Fall Lighting Sale. We are proud to support this made in the USA company and share their talent with you this season.


New Hearth Brooms & the Art of Student Craftsmanship

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

You may have noticed our new selection of Hearth Brooms in our Fall 2012 catalog. If not, you can find them on p.55 or by simply clicking on the links and pictures found in this blog post. At Sturbridge Yankee Workshop we are very excited to be carrying these quality, made in the USA, handcrafted brooms. For centuries brooms much like the one seen here to the left, have been used to sweep dirt and dust out of homes, stone castles and even further back in time, to clean the floors of caves. The materials used to create such a sturdy broom, surprisingly really haven’t been changed that much. And the students at Berea College Crafts are following broom making techniques that have forever been apart of our history.

Berea College Crafts trains students in the subjects of ceramics, furniture and woodworking, weaving, and the art of broom making. The college has their own workshop and store, where they construct brooms from start to finish, and sell them now both locally and nationally. The meticulous task of hand braiding and hand rolling the natural broomcorn used to make these brooms, is one that requires a high level of skill and patience. Our Willow Whisp Hearth Broom shown here in the image is one of those handcrafted pieces of true American craftsmanship.

The Willow Whisp Hearth Broom is ideal for sweeping the area around your hearth, or could be used for a small dustpan broom. Featuring multicolored bristles that are attached by a curved, wooden willow handle. What is broomcorn you ask? Broomcorn is a natural sturdy grass that has been the fiber of choice in broom making for at least the last 300 years. Broomcorn is raised for its contribution as a grain, fodder for livestock and interestingly, also for use in molasses production. Once the broomcorn is dried and reaches the desired height, portions are cut down to size, to make  the brooms; and at Berea College Crafts, that’s just the beginning.

Our Cobweb Sweep Broom is a slightly different shaped broom, in that its purpose is to access hard to reach areas, including those pesky cobwebs. Presenting the broomcorn in its natural state, this broom’s handle is made from maple and sassafras, with an attached leather strap. Use these brooms for their cleaning purpose or display as wall decor year round. Both the Willow Whisp and Cobweb Broom are perfect decorations to utilize for the upcoming harvest and Halloween season, as they evoke the presence of bewitching activities.

~Thanks to the dedicated students of Berea College of crafts, we are able to bring you these finely crafted, American made, decorative and functional brooms for your home.


** Vendor Spotlight: Saw Dust City, Made in the USA **

Monday, July 16th, 2012

The story behind Saw Dust City and how it came to be is quite touching and one that we are proud to share with you. Liz and Lanny Collins, husband and wife from Eau Claire, Wisconsin have three children: Morgan, Haley and Reid. The youngest Reid, was born in 1995 and unfortunately due to a severe illness, went through major surgeries during a stay at the Minneapolis Children’s Hospital. Thankfully, the family was blessed with Reid’s miraculous recovery and were able to finally enjoy time all together at home. However, the high cost of medical bills and the importance of not exposing the Collin’s son to many harmful environmental factors, the family needed to find alternative sources for both income and creativity. The story goes, that the following Christmas they made handmade gifts for everyone on their list. Soon the phone began to ring and the rest as they say, is history.


Morgan’s School Project

Originally considering the name ‘Collins Designs,’ Liz and Lanny eventually decided on Saw Dust City, after discovering it was Eau Claire’s nick name while daughter Morgan was doing a school project on the town’s history. This area of Wisconsin is rich in lodging history and Lanny’s grandfather Gerry Miller, was actually a real lumberjack back in the day; hence the Paul & Babe company logo. After five years of working two jobs and multitasking the many facets of business together, Lanny was able to focus solely on Saw Dust City’s success. Today, their shop is located on the north side of Eau Claire with a staff of only 20 employees. Saw Dust City has been recognized nationally and has even had three of their products featured in The New York Times Magazine.

Solid Pine Wood

Unique to Saw Dust City’s relationship with Sturbridge Yankee Workshop, is that they provide us with both furniture pieces and nostalgic, quality made signs. Seen just above is our beautiful Punch-Tin Cupboard. For a classic early Americana look to your kitchen or bedroom, our Punch-Tin Cupboard features solid craftsmanship. The country wheat chaff pattern on the punch-tin gives this cupboard an antique-style appeal. Three handy shelves for your kitchen gadgets, jams, jellies, and baking pans, or use as additional space for linens and clothing. A handy storage piece you’ll use for years, made of solid knotty pine. All of Saw Dust City’s furniture pieces are handmade of solid knotty pine wood. They use screws and plugs, not air nails or staples to secure products together. The natural appearance of knots, variances in color, finish or wood should be expected due to its handcrafted nature. Each and every product that comes from the Saw Dust City shop in Wisconsin is intended to have an old look and feel; thus no two items are exactly the same. Customers can save $50 on a Punch-Tin Cupboard purchase this summer at SYW.

As mentioned above, Saw Dust City uses the highest quality knotty pine wood to create their furniture pieces, and same goes for their vintage farmhouse signs. Signs from Saw Dust City typically have a saw tooth hanger, making it very easy for customers to position them on their walls. In addition, rubbed edges and a natural “distressing” are a characteristic of all our signs from this company. At Sturbridge Yankee Workshop we have a large variety of Saw Dust City signs that cover many themes. New for summer 2012, is our handcrafted Dream Big Sign, shown below. This sign is on sale for $44.95 during our made in the USA sale, going on now.

Green Saw Dust

Saw Dust City is happy to announce that they have been recognized as an entirely “green” company. After research and verification from their lumber supplier, they can proudly say that all of the lumber used to create their products is provided by high quality sawmills who follow Green Forestry Initiatives. It’s not only the wood that’s Eco-friendly, it’s the water based paints they finish with too. Saw Dust City also does their part to take care in all disposal of waste, and recycle as much as possible within their facilities.— Thank you Saw Dust City for providing us with quality, made in the USA products over the years!