February 22, 2014

giveaway!

After every shop update, I'm always feeling grateful. Here's a simple butter knife as a small thank you, hand carved from reclaimed Southern Yellow Pine, complete with some beautifully stripey grain and a wonderfully piney smell. 


WINNER! Randomly selected is Donna Ambiente! Congrats! Send me an email with your mailing address and this little guy is yours. Thanks everyone! Until next time :)

Entry now closed! I will announce a winner tomorrow morning. Thank you all!
To enter, simply leave a comment below. Entry open until Sunday evening, Feb 23, at 6pm EST. Winner will be selected at random. Open internationally.

Remember to leave your FULL name in your comment!

xox
Ariele


February 16, 2014

shop update!

At long last! Months of carving have yielded a big bundle of spoons, along with a couple cutting boards and a carved walnut plate. They will all be posted for sale tomorrow morning, Monday February 17th, at 11am EST.






xo Ariele





December 6, 2013

Flash giveaway!

As thank you for a completely sold out shop, I made a walnut butter knife this morning to give to one lucky person.

WINNER! Congratulations Rachel! {Since there may be a few Rachels, this is the Rachel of the blog "not just passing time"}. Please send me an email with your mailing address and I will have this little bundle shipped out to you first thing on Monday. {ariele@brooklyntowest.com} Thanks to all of you who left a comment! Wish I could make a butter knife for everyone ;)

Entry is now closed! I will announce a winner in thirty minutes.
To enter:  simply leave a comment here. Entry open until tomorrow at 10am EST. One entry per person, please. If your profile is anonymous, I won't know who you are so please leave a full name. Check back here for the winner, who will be drawn completely at random and announced at 10:30 am EST tomorrow, Saturday December 7th. I will ship this knife out immediately so it might even arrive in time for christmas!

Free shipping for US winner, international winner must pay shipping through paypal.

Thanks everybody! And happy holidays from my woodshop to yours ;)

xo Ariele





December 2, 2013

shop is open!

I was on the road yesterday when I opened the shop and horridly forgot to post about it here on the blog. I hope this didn't mess with too many of your plans, but there's still a few lovely things left for sale.You can find them at the SHOP link to the right, or right here.

Hope you all had a wonderful thanksgiving!

Here's a few shots of our trip up to Maine :)

















November 21, 2013

Holiday sale: preview!




Here's a little preview of some of the things that will be for sale in the first week of December {to be announced}.

Have a great week!
A

It's time for more spoons

























Spoons! Cutting boards! I've been busy the last few weeks focusing almost entirely on scooping and sanding walnut. I can barely lift my arms over my head, have a massive bruise on my left palm, and I've become a one-woman experiment on how long it takes for fingerprints to grow back {apparently now is the time I should become a criminal}. All this is just my huge effort to provide you all with plenty of wooden gifts this holiday season. See? See how much I care about you and your gift-giving-cred?! I care. I care a lot.

Anyway, there will be a shop update sometime in the first week of December. Yet to be decided. I'll announce it here when it happens, and in the meantime, check out all the action over on instagram, where I post daily process shots of spoon carving, dog walking, kitty cuddling, and recently, a TON of fall leaves. 

Hope your summer was grand and your winter will be marvelous!
xo
Ariele


August 12, 2013

SPOONS!

Hey everyone, I've finally decided to sell a select number of my hand carved utensils that I've made over the last few months, so head on over to the SHOP button to the right and pick one up!


































xo, Ariele

May 27, 2013

Spoon givaway: Winner!

{There-are-no-losers-we-are-all-winners} AND THE WINNER IS!
 
Congratulations Liane of enhabiten! You are the lucky winner! Send me an email at ariele@brooklyntowest.com with your address and I'll have the little guy in the mail to you this week. Yay!

So, let me just say holy cow. I'm more than thrilled at the amount of enthusiasm and blatant coveting you all have shown for my little spoon. You've made him blush. He's a bit shy and not accustomed to all this attention. So much attention, in fact, there was no way in heck I was about to spend hours writing down six-hundred numbers on pieces of paper for the drawing {no matter how much I prefer to do things the tangible, old-school way} so I used a random number generator plugin instead. Not as cool nor as satisfying as drawing a number out of a bowl, but alas. It did the trick.

Since I love givaways so darn much, I plan on hosting one at least twice a year. I'm certainly going to have another one for the holidays like I did last year, so we'll see what goodies I make between now and then that would work well for it. Also, since I'm not "selling" my spoons, I thought I'd point you in the direction of a charming chap who does. Jarrod Reno was the fella who inspired me to try my hand at it in the first place, so you can head on over and order some of his beauties right here.

Aaaaand that's a wrap! Thank you all so very, very much! I had fun, did you?

xo, Ariele

May 20, 2013

Giveaway! And the magic of spoons.

About a month ago, I went totally spoon crazy. I bought a hook knife on ebay and a chunk of walnut at the lumber store, and started carving my first spoon. I thought I'd get through one, maybe, then toss it aside, move on, and never carve another spoon in my life, but as you see... apparently that did not happen.




What followed was an inability to put down my hook knife. There was just something about being able to carve hardwood like it was butter, scraping out the inside of the bowl and being left with these long, curled up shavings of walnut, that put my mind at ease. The spiraled shavings looked like chocolate and filled up my work tables and my living room coffee table like I was baking an elaborate cake. I wouldn't even sweep them up, because the more that were there, piling up, the more accomplished I felt. I started calling them Therapy Spoons. Need some head-shrinking? Start carving a spoon instead. Seriously. Do it.



Yes, I carved a LOT of spoons {I've since banned myself from carving more for the time being}. What am I going to do with all of them? Well, I plan on keeping a few, and giving away the rest to friends and family. These spoons are an amazing thing to have on hand -- did someone do something nice for you? Here! Have a spoon! Did a friend invite you over for a really lovely brunch? Here! Have a spoon! Oh what, it's your birthday? Here! Have a spoon!


And then came the whining. Yes! I'm talking about YOU! What's a girl gotta do to carve a spoon around here in peace, eh? There was, ahem, a lot of whimpering that taking pictures of hand carved spoons that were unattainable was insanely unfair. *gasp!* How rude of me! My statements of sorry not for sale were met with both sweet understanding and a bit of WTF. Hey, I get it! I'd be mad too!

So, to appease, I'm giving you a spoon. This spoon, to be exact.


It's carved from reclaimed maple, measures 11.5 inches long, with the bowl measuring 2 inches across. It has no intended purpose, so use it as you wish! Scooping coffee grinds? Stirring something yummy? Sitting in a jar on your counter with your other spoons looking pretty?

This contest is now closed! I will announce a winner later today! Thanks peeps!
TO ENTER: Leave a comment here, not anonymously of course. If you have a name that's fairly common please leave your last name, or something distinguishable, so I'm not left with eight Kate's and fifteen Erin's {ya know what I mean}. Entry will be open for one week, ending Monday, May 27th at 11 am EST. 

TO WIN: I will draw a random number {out of a pretty wooden bowl of course!} and the corresponding comment number will be the winner! I will announce the winner on my blog and on instagram next Monday.

{Oh, and I forgot to add that this is open internationally as well. I'm happy to pay for shipping anywhere unless it is somehow ridiculously expensive! In which case a humble Paypal request will be in order. Capiche?}

Fun Fun! I love giveaways! Good luck all!
Ariele


March 12, 2013

happenings

{small updates on some new things, and a mini adventure}

The studio is hanging in there nicely and dust is never under control -- a decent problem to have for a woodshop. I've been building things at my usual pace of slow-and-steady, always hunting for more lath and popping my head into every dumpster I pass, just in case. What's the news? Well, I have an assistant now! Just super part-time but he's been such a help in taking over some of my least favorite parts of the building process. *Ahem* {sanding!}.

Lately I've been noticing that every pattern I make feels like a landscape. Some more literally than others {like this black-mountainous coffee table}, but even the more abstract patterns make me feel like I'm outdoors, painting the scenery expanding out before me. Perhaps this is an important part of living in a city, finding the little ways that we can still see the space around us.




























And adventure! I had a thrilling week of lath scores and exploring, two of my favorite things and it's even better when they are all rolled into one. I was tipped off that an old church down the street from me was being gutted to be turned into condos. It was gut-wrenching to hear about this, and to see it happening, but! One can't spend too many hours sad about unchangeable things, so we found the positive twist in the form of kindhearted demolition-crews who let us inside the towering old beauty to check it out, before it was all gone.


It was stunning and awe-inspiring and sad and thrilling. I was lucky enough to be allowed to take two giant bundles of hundred year old lath from the premises, and the guys helped me stuff it in the back of my car -- utterly perplexed of course, for what on earth could she want with all this crap?

Well, you lovely dust-covered, hard-hat-wearing, cake-eating men {yes, it was one guys birthday and they were chowing down when we arrived} THIS is what I want with all this crap.


Thanks boys! And if you'd like to see more beautiful photographs of the church, taken with a proper camera {as I only had my phone on me} look here.

{Also, go pick up an issue of Kinfolk, Volume Seven! I have a little interview in there and some beautiful photographs by the lovely Nicole Franzen. Go check it out! You can also see some more gorgeous shots of my studio taken by Nicole, right here!}.

February 8, 2013

projects at home

{in which I went mildly insane}


Yes yes! That is a rubber stamp! And yes, I carved it myself and printed it on fabric! I tackled this project a while ago over the holidays, as I tend to go a bit cabin-fever-esque and the crafty side of me comes pouring out during that festive season. Once a year I really need to recharge with a few materials at the opposite end of the spectrum from wood. Let's say... a glue gun, some fabric, maybe some paper, and a sewing machine. Crafty crafty. Switchin' it up. Plus, it's been a while since I did any makeovers or before-and-after funness and I was generally getting the urge to make something for myself --- for a change. So this time around I tackled a big guy: the biggest chair in my fleet whose current upholstery made me feel like a grandma, complete with cat scratched sides and all. Though I think we all know who's fault that is. Ahem.
























I really had nothing against this chair until I got it in my head that it could be improved. The fabric never bothered me much, it was simply an homage to it's era. Era being the late thirties, according to it's label hidden inside the upholstery. It certainly had great texture, I'll give it that.

Of course, I assumed this whole process would take about two days, but it took me three hours just to design and commit to the pattern I wanted for the fabric. So even before I started I was already behind. An omen to how the rest of the project was bound to go.

First order of business: remove the old fabric. Yeck. There's lots of dust, grime, and greasy, disintegrating horse hair in chairs from the thirties, I will tell you that. Second order of business: realize that you hate the weird, old, oddly greenish finish on the wood and decide that it looks horrid with the new linen you have spent good money on. Now you are in a pickle. You are left with a torn-apart, fabric-less, unusable chair and you must suddenly commit an extra ten hours at least to stripping off the old finish on top of everything else. Damn.

So I got an old chisel and went to work. You gotta do what you gotta do. Am I gonna half-ass this project when I'm already going so far as to print my own fabric? No.
























And whaddaya know, after hours of back-breaking scraping, a lot of sweeping, and some serious pain in my hand, underneath that green old mess appeared some beautiful maple. Raw wood! Love it. Okay okay, so I might be doing a teeny bit of half-assing as I'm only scraping off the minimum -- in the areas that are relatively easy to reach. I'm letting some of the old finish stay in a few places and I'm cool with that. Good enough.

Then on to printing! I used the old fabric scraps to trace and cut the new pieces and printed them all individually, as I wanted to control exactly where the pattern went on the chair. For lack of a better idea and the energy to hunt down that idea, I used black acrylic paint. I've got that stuff on my clothes before and it never washed out, so I figure I'm relatively safe on it lasting. But let's not say that I recommend doing the same, just in case I'm utterly wrong and it smudges all over someones ass in the next month. I'll keep you posted.



I ended up re-using the old upholstery nails pulled from the chair to tack the new fabric back on, and when evenly spaced I realized that I liked them exposed {originally the nails were covered over by a corded-trim, stapled on}. Nailing on all those nails took a good three hours, and pulling the fabric tight was a test of patience, but hey, now I fully understand why upholstery is so damn expensive. Next time you see an upholsterer, shake their hand for me would ya? What a job.

Anyway, after all this work, the chair ended up sitting, unfinished, in our living room for... forever.  Since late December. I did all the fun parts and then couldn't bring myself {nor find the time} to upholster the damn seat cushion. I have a lovely tendency to leave some projects half finished and let them stay that way for months {I still haven't grouted the kitchen tiles from like a year ago, and one of the bathroom doors only has one scratchy coat of paint on it. Yikes!}

But at least I know myself and I know that if I wait to post this until the chair is finished, it will be next year, and my poor neglected blog is already falling by the wayside.

So, still cushionless, here it is: TA-DAAAA!!!



































































I'm SO happy with it! And now we have a new goal in life: don't let the cat get his grimy little claws on my damn LINEN.


December 31, 2012

2012 has been fun

{wishing you all a late happy Christmas and an early merry new year}



I've been taking a break from the wood and doing a little cake making instead. And a lot of cake eating. And as a last minute thought I figured it to be the perfect time to wrap up the year with a few of my favorite instagram moments. Wishing you a year full of succulents and cactuses and cake and whatever your hearts may desire! Cheers!






































 Happy New Year!