If I was going to have another kid she would totally be named Molly. But having babies sucks, so instead I bought a larger lathe, Molly. The lathe is my primary tool, I use it for turning (that's the verb for what I do) all my barware, shaving kits, yarn bowls, and ring holders.
Up until this January I've been using my trusty midi lathe. This was the first lathe my dad purchased. The lathe I learned to turned on. It treated me well. The first two years of Almond Brook Crafts were made on that little guy. I learned machine maintenance, heck I think there was even some soldering involved.
But now, because of Molly I've been able to introduce my serving dishes! I'm completely obsessed with these beauties! They are huge! Perfect for those days you remember you're meant to be eating salads and veggies.
Even more thrilling for this former art major, I've started painting the inside of my pieces. I can customize the look to anyone's delight. Recently I made a galaxy themed fruit bowl and slipped in a tiny astronaut for their kindergartner to find.
Using paint and resin I can create intricate paintings, building up layers of depth. My galaxy dish has clouds of color. There are swirls of sparkles. Holding the dish in person you can look into the galaxy, you can see the layers, you can imagine the depth and breadth of the universe.
And I'll never get over my first love, beeswax finished wood. There's such a warmth to wood grain. To me, it says, welcome, feast with me, take a load off. So I continue to let mother nature show off with these beeswax dishes.
Come on over to the shop and check them out! Send me a message and tell me what makes your heart sing, I'll sketch something up for you. These would make PERFECT wedding shower, housewarming or anniversary gifts. Click the pic to check them out!
Happy 4th y’all!
I road tripped with my 2 year old yesterday so let’s go ahead and make a cocktail or five.
Imma do bourbon because ‘Mercia.
Make a simple syrup (cuppa water, cuppa sugar, boil till sugar melts) and steep some strips of lemon zest. Let cool.
Muddle 2 strawberries and a wedge of lemon in a shaker. Add ice and 2 ounces bourbon and an ounce of your simple syrup and shake. Strain into a highball with lots of crushed ice. And top with club soda.
When I was a Girl Scout I went to Mall Madness. It was a lock-in at the local mall. All the area Girl Scouts took over, shops stayed open late, nail polish flowed and I ate too many pop rocks. That's what we did.
And I mean, at the time I thought it was the shit. I bought a shirt I knew my mom would hate (she did) and painted my nails sparkly royal blue.
But I'll be honest, looking back I wish they affirmed a less stereotypical activity. Something empowering, challenging and something I had less exposure to.
Enter an older and wiser me. I was asked to help a friends Girl Scout troop earn their woodworking badge. I jumped at the opportunity! This is exactly what I wished someone had shown me when I was younger!
The one troop has turned to many and I have loved every troop that has come into my shop. They enter my sawdust-covered haven, immediately find themselves smudged though we've not yet begun. I greet them with my signature lipstick, wearing my cute apron as I pass out safety goggles. We tie hair back and get to work cutting, drilling and sanding the wood. I teach them to use drill presses, show them how to operate the band saw.
As we work on our projects we talk about getting out of our comfort zones, caring a little less what others think of us, learning new skills. We don't have to be one dimension, we can be complex. We can wear the lipstick and the safety goggles.
It's a lesson that my troops missed. Complex, interesting and well rounded was not the theme of Mall Madness. I think my young self would have loved the thrill of handling power tools.
If you're interested in bringing your troop to my shop to earn their woodworking, I'd love to have you. Click on the pictures to learn more about what I offer.
I started Almond Brook Crafts at my favorite bar. I stared at those dinky wooden muddlers behind the bar and saw something I could do better. I didn't know anything about business (there is a lot to know about business) but people were so patient with me as I bumbled along.
I wasn't in a great place when I started. I was struggling hard with depression and anxiety. I had a new baby at home and a kid starting preschool. I felt like I was failing at everything around me.
But Almond Brook Crafts was a place to let go of that. A skill I had that required all my attention. A time for the voice in my head to shut up and focus on that dangerous tool we were holding.
I worked on this business through the worst months of my life. I worked on it as I sought treatment. I worked on it as I began feeling better.
I'm very proud to be here today. To have all the friends I've met through ABC. To have more than 150 sales under my belt. I'm braver than I was a year ago. It's so much more than barware to me now.
Thank you for your love and support, it's meant the world to me.
I'm driving to the grocery store when I see it. It is beautiful and I want it. I can't stop thinking of it. I rush my family through the store. We pull over on the way home so I can get a closer look at it. And I must have it. It was just laying there.
Tiny fingers and chubby feet. Top wars, who will be the last top spinning? Rainbows, mermaids, unicorns, ice cream inspired pastels and naturally beautiful wood tones! Along with my coffee, this morning was beautiful. If you know some little hands that could use some old school fun, check out my grab bags!
I've met the best people over a drink. A good drink sparks conversation, loosens the tongue. So let's get to know each other over a cocktail.
In a shaker, muddle 2 strawberries with a slice of lime and a spoonful of sugar.
Add 1.5oz of bourbon and an egg white* and shake.
Add ice and shake more.
Like you mean it.
A little more would probably be appropriate.
Double strain into a lovely glass and garnish with a strawberry.
Lovely. To the introductions! I'm Melania, the owner and craftswoman behind Almond Brook Crafts. In this space we'll be talking about everything from the lumber yard where I source most of my wood and my sketch book, where all good ideas form, to my workshop and the products that I craft. And there will be plenty of drinks and food along the way.
It's going to be great!
*If raw egg scares you, you're pregnant or about to be, you can skip this. Your drink won't be nearly as frothy, but you won't be as scared. Fair trade if you're concerned.