Saturday, April 22, 2017

This Earth Day, We Thank You.

On this Earth Day, we'd like to send a huge thank you to all our Touch Wood clients. People who are making a positive difference in the world. And they are legion.

Chas and Jenna commissioned their rings in the summer of 2013. They sent David two woods from remote Mfangano Island in Western Kenya. Both woods were bits of old fence posts. The two woods are "Kang'o" which Chas believed to be a wild olive (the long lighter piece) and "sangala" which he understood was a species of Sumac. (short reddish piece).

They designed their rings incorporating their two woods and our heritage black walnut.

Chas and Jenna are part of an awesome group of people called Organic Health Response. The organization, founded by Chas, describe their mission as "supporting an ecosystem of diverse community health initiatives on Mfangano Island, Lake Victoria, Kenya." Jenna was a WWOOFer (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) at Joel and Richard’s farm on Mfangano for six months and now serves on the board of directors of OHR.
We invite you to visit the OHR website, like their facebook page and please, get involved!

Kat and Scott's Touch Wood Wedding Rings incorporated a very special piece of wood that was connected to a beloved rescued elephant who lived out the remainder of her life at the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee of which Scott was co-founder. Kat and Scott have dedicated their lives to the care and comfort of elephants.

This couple spearheaded the awesome organization called Global Sanctuary for Elephants. Please visit their site, follow them on Facebook and support their amazing work with Elephants any way you can. There's an online auction coming up on Bidding for Good, June 5th to 13th. 

Elephant Sanctuary Brazil

And, if you are looking for earth friendly rings that offer a kinder gentler way to proclaim your love ~ please be in touch. David and I would love to hear from you!

Thanks again to all our incredible Touch Wood friends ~ you never cease to inspire us.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The dairy cow shelter built by Jenny Barlow

If you've been with us through a season or two, you've likely seen a few photos of this little log cabin. It's one of my favourite scenes to photograph; covered in snow or surrounded by willows and wild roses.
Yesterday, a friend asked me for the story behind the cabin so I thought I'd share it here as well.   The couple we bought these 48 acres from called it "Jeannie Meadow."

This wee cabin of hand hewn logs was built by Jenny Warde; a Cariboo pioneer. She ranched and trapped on this property and built the shelter (I think in the 40`s) to house her dairy cow and her chickens on cold nights. The building had no roof when David and I arrived and was almost crumbled beyond recognition. We took it upon ourselves to save this last remnant of pioneer history. We carefully numbered and dismantled the logs, chose a place of distinction at the entrance to our place, put the shelter back together and created a new roof with handmade shakes.

Jenny was born at Meldrum Creek about 1909. In 1981, the local Tribune newspaper interviewed Jenny and wrote a lengthy article about her life. As Jenny tells it, she always loved to be `way back in the woods`.   She was 7 when she started trapping with her older brothers. Until she was 16, she attended school during the days and tended the trap lines after school. She had 10 siblings, quit school after grade 8 and went to work to help support the family. Jenny married Doug Barlow when she was 23. They had 3 sons; Norman, Dean and Bud (Bud and his wife Jeannie are our closest neighbours and good friends). Doug Barlow died alone of a heart attack when he was out on their trap line. Jenny says it took them 8 days to find him.

Jenny worked with Eric Collier as a hunting guide for a few years. He`s the fellow who wrote Three Against the Wilderness. Collier used to say of Warde that she was `108 pounds of dynamite, and could shoot the eye out of a squirrel at 150 paces.
Jenny is legend in this neck of the woods.
We are humbled and honoured to have this little cabin in memory of her pioneering spirit and as a tribute to the work of her hands.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Right-handed wooden wedding rings

Almost a year ago, we had the pleasure of working with Tina and Ben from Denmark. 
They were really fun to work with and we thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them a little. They commissioned their wedding rings of a deep rich Hawaiian Koa with inlays of Eucalyptus and crushed shell.

A couple of weeks ago, we got this email from Ben with some really pretty pics of their rings resting on Tina's bouquet, and on their wedded hands.
Ben's last paragraph had me in stitches.

"Hope all is well you up your end of the literal woods!
I've been meaning to drop you a line for a while - after we got married in August last year time has just flown on relentlessly, but here you are, some photos of your workmanship in action. I take it from your website, that you have an abundant source of pictures of rings, but I thought just in case you didn't have any of rings shipped to Denmark, exchanged in Copenhagen town hall and photographed in provincial Germany in my folk's garden (our family wedding gig)...;-)

We love our rings. The only challenge arises that we've chosen to go the Scandinavian route of wearing them on the right hand (that's the traditional way around here and at least 50% of people I observe do this) In my job I meet my fair share of ham-fisted engineering dudes who at least half the time are also right-hand-weaponised, and they manage to scrunch my science-lab-boy paws when there is double lording of the rings...But apart from hand-shaking with the Viking descendants all is very well :-)
All the best from us two to you two, hope bush and business is treating you well,

Ben and Tina

 Our love and very best wishes to you two too Tina and Ben.  
And thank you!! 😊

So what do we know about the placement of the wedding ring? 
The established North American wedding industry typically has the wedding ring on the fourth finger of our left hand.  In this vein, the engagement ring is worn 'down the aisle' on the right hand and transferred to the the left hand after the wedding ring is on your finger. 
It's a humbling thing when that symbol of love is a Touch Wood Ring.

If you google the 'right hand / left hand' question you'll come up with a great many articles touting theories and 'centuries old beliefs' for why a wedding ring is 'traditionally' worn on the left hand, fourth finger. 
In some European countries as Ben points out, wearing your wedding ring on your right hand is the norm. 
There's a 2010 blog post from 25karats that gives us a "new millennium guide" to western meanings of a right handed wedding ring. 
Interesting article but ~omg~ I'd have to carry a cheat sheet in my wallet and ask a bunch of really personal questions. It's probably best just to do whatever makes you and your beloved happy!  

Friday, February 03, 2017

February Woods for your Touch Wood Ring

We humans have always had strong ties to trees. Native Americans speak of trees as 'The Standing People'; rocks and boulders are "the bones of the earth".

Trees of every description have carved themselves into our mythologies in an enduring way. Many of the couples we work with choose a particular wood mindful of its mythic or spiritual properties. 
Our Qualities of Wood page has been widely used as a reference over the years. It is one of the most visited pages on our website. 

Clients will often ask about trees that have some personal connection to their beloved. They may want to know which trees are native to a particular country, province or state, or what tree is connected with their birth month. Some are looking for a wood that has a particular attribute like 'new beginnings' (that would be Birch) or one that promotes good health (the Ash tree).

From the excellent and informative Druidry website, here are four trees that are connected to the month of February.  They call them 'Tree Signs'.

Cypress (Jan 25-Feb 3 / Jul 26-Aug 4) - Tree of serenity, new life, and adaptation.
Someone with this tree sign prefers to avoid drama, opting for a peaceful, dreamlike state of being as opposed to any form of disagreement or opposition. Life for them is peaceful and magical.
These are four woods sent to us by a couple a few years ago; Juniper, Oak, Walnut and Cypress.

Juniper, Oak, Walnut and Cypress Woods
The crossed spiraled inlays on Candi's ring (on the left) is Cypress ~ the other woods in this set are those above; the Juniper, Oak, Walnut and Cypress.

Walnut, Oak, Cypress and Oak Wood Rings from Touch Wood Rings
Poplar (Feb 4-8 / Aug 5-13) - Tree of growth, strength, and visualization.
When given this tree sign, one starts off blissful and carefree, only to encounter a few difficult challenges that often become hot dilemmas. But with a good outlook, they naturally persevere.
The cross spiraled inlays on Steve's ring were Poplar ~ from his grandmother's tree.

Walnut Wood Ring with Poplar Inlays, Touch Wood Rings

Hackberry (aka Sugarberry) (Feb 9-18 / Aug 14-23) - Tree of nobility, pride, and dedication.
A tree with many practical mundane uses, Hackberry can guide us wisely through times of transition and inspire creativity. Hackberry has been reported to cause skin irritation so it is not a wood we've used for a ring.  Here's a photograph of hackberry wood from the Wood Database.

Pine (Feb 19-29 / Aug 24-Sep 2) - Tree of health, perseverance, and moderation.
Someone with this tree sign is steady and poised, while moving forward towards progress and success. They often develop a good sense of what is needed physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Touch Wood Ring; Shortleaf, Loblolly and Eastern White Pine
This ring was made of three different pines; Shortleaf, Loblolly and Eastern White Pine.

Denim Pine Wood Ring Touch Wood Rings
David created this ring from what's known locally as 'Denim Pine'.  It's our own pine that was killed by the Pine Beetle.   It's also known as Blue Pine because of the bluish stain the beetles cause. 
So, if you are looking for woods that signify a February birthday or anniversary; any of these woods are great choices. Touch Wood Rings ~ visit us on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. And drop us a note anytime ~ we look forward to talking with you.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Touch Wood ~ Across the Pond

Every day we receive emails from people all over the world. Old friends and new. Every day I am touched by the loving, caring people who take the time to write to us; to inquire about a Touch Wood Ring and to tell us about themselves, their lives and their loves. 

They share their stories with David and I and they put their trust in us. It is a humbling thing. 
Michelle and Tez live in a village in England. There is so much more to their story of course, but briefly; they met in Chester in 2000, they were engaged in 2002 then finally married in December 2016!   And to that we say Congratulations and Much Love!!

Michelle shared with me that "Tez didn't even want a ring as he can't wear one due to his work, and didn't really like rings ~ but when he saw how special Touch Wood Rings were he agreed!! So this was the perfect solution! I discovered Touch Wood Rings when our beautiful friends got two for their wedding and I have ask them to show me their rings every time we meet as I love them so much!"
Below are Michelle's dear friends' rings.  Commissioned in November 2011, Chris and Angela's Touch Wood Rings are English Oak with spiraled inlays of crushed jade.

Michelle and Tez designed their rings incorporating Juniper heartwood, Birds Eye Maple and a mother of pearl inlay for Michelle's ring.  
As David began work on their rings, Michelle and I got to know each other better.  I sent her a pic of our new pup. I admit I am seriously smitten :) It's been six years since we buried our last old pup and David and I were both ready.  Here's the 6 month old addition to our family.

After introducing Kali to Michelle, she invited me to join a small group of friends and their fur babies on Facebook.  I'm really enjoying the group. 

When David completed work on Tez and Michelle's ring we shipped them off across the pond and waited.  In 15 years we've done this thousands of times and we still hold our breath.  

On a Tuesday morning in early December, David and I were in town having breakfast at our favourite diner.  My Messenger dinged.  It was Michelle announcing the arrival of their rings!  She and Tez were home and Michelle shared the opening of the package with us with pics and commentary.  That was So delightful.  To share those moments from half way across the world... David and I were both really touched.

Michelle and Tez were married on the twenty-second of December. Michelle wrote: "The rings have made the wedding! We are overwhelmed with the attention to detail; love; warmth and encouragement from you and David. The whole process from start to end was a really exciting process and brought something truly unique and special to our wedding."

And so ~ here's to the start of a new year, lots of celebrations of love and the beginning of new friendships. Much love to you and Tez, Michelle ~ and to your four legged friends too.

Friday, December 09, 2016

"The most beautiful proposal ... "

Todd and I started our conversations in August of this year.  He talked about being drawn to our work and wanting to create the perfect ring for the love of his life.  Todd was so warm and an absolute delight to work with! A genuinely good soul and a true romantic. 
While we were in the planning stages for Cori's ring, Todd sent along this photograph of himself and Cori, as he wrote; "sharing love and life'.

Shortly after Todd's (oh-my-goodness, this-is-how-it's-done) proposal, we received this heart warming letter from his beloved Cori.  

Dear David and Nicola. Good evening. My name is Cori. We haven't met previously but the two of you were a part of a moment that changed my life.  I am typing now with a beautiful ring on my finger and my new fiance sitting by my side.  

On Friday, November 11th, Todd came into my classroom.  (I'm a 7th grade teacher).  He delivered a single long-stem rose and chatted with my students for a bit.  They, like anyone who meets him, were enchanted.  He then informed them that he would be taking me away for the day.  I was quite surprised, as I had classes to teach.  That was already taken care of, though.  Todd had arranged for the principal of the school to cover for me for the rest of the day.  

Todd and I climbed into his truck and started head south under the guise of going to visit his mom.  He informed me we had one little stop to make first - a short hike.  

On the way down, we marveled at the beautiful landscape as we always do.  Trees in particular draw both of us.  So much so, that at home is a copy of a breathtaking picture book by an author and photographer by the name of Mark Hirsch.  Mr. Hirsch had found a beautiful burr oak in southern Wisconsin and had spent a year taking a picture of that majestic tree every single day.  Different angles.  Different views.  Different lighting.  But all of them were amazing.  He put all of his photographs in a book and Todd gave it to me as a birthday present some time ago.  It is a treasure.  

After a couple of hours of driving, we pull into a cornfield.  Confused, I scanned the landscape...and saw THAT TREE!!! I was absolutely thrilled!  I grabbed his hand and bounded like a kid to the tree, thrilled that he had found it and taken me there.  I still had no idea what was going on.  I was just basking in his sweetness and the beauty of that tree.  After a few minutes, he motioned to a limb and indicated there was something hanging there.  I came to investigate and found the most beautiful ring I have EVER seen.  When he dropped to his knee and asked me to marry him, my heart nearly exploded.

As I cried tears of joy, wrapped in his arms, I noticed a man with a tripod trudging toward us.  Todd had arranged for Mark Hirsch, the author and photographer of that book to come capture our moments!  Not only that, but Todd had received permission from the landowners for the two of us to camp there underneath the branches of that amazing tree.  

Cori's Red Cedar Ring with Birch interior liner and a braided Birch Bark inlay
It was truly the most beautiful proposal I have ever heard of...and I got to stand in the middle of it.  He put so much time and effort into making it special, meaningful and absolutely perfect.  

The ring is such an important and stunning part of making it perfect.  I love it!  I absolutely love it.  It is truly the most beautiful thing I have ever seen and it means more to me than anyone (except maybe Todd) could possibly know.  

Today I went back to work after our wonderful weekend.  Every single person that saw that ring on my finger remarked how beautiful it was, how perfect it was and how it was 'me'.  
The work Todd and the two of you put into making this symbol on my finger is humbling. I can't thank you enough.  The ring you crafted will be on my finger for the rest of my life and I am thrilled, proud and humbled to wear it.  
Filled with love and happiness, Cori 

David and I wish you and Todd a lifetime of Pocket Moment treasures. Thank you both so much for coming into our lives and for sharing with us the immense love you have with each other.  XO  

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Kindred Spirits and their Wooden Rings

A couple of notes from new friends and kindred spirits; Danielle and Brandon of Virginia

"Thank you so much for your beautiful craftsmanship and for your friendly spirit. We have really enjoyed receiving your email updates with beautiful landscape photos. Your thoughtful personal touches have made this process even more enjoyable for us."

And then their rings arrived and they wrote:

"Our rings are even more beautiful in person than they are in photos! I am just mesmerized by how lovely and detailed, delicate yet sturdy they are. We tried them on and they fit, as you said, "like old friends". I think we will have no trouble getting used to wearing them. Thank you for making this whole process so warm and enjoyable. I know we will always fondly remember this experience of watching our most meaningful possessions be crafted just for us. 

I hope rings like this will replace diamonds over time and will recommend Touch Wood Rings to anyone looking for a one-of-a-kind ring. Thank you for your beautiful work and I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!"

Their rings are Black Walnut with inlays of dark green Jade 
bordered by narrow white birch.

Working with Brandon and Danielle was just a dream.  They were so great to work with and we do feel as though we've made some new friends.  
We send our dearest love to you both and look forward to hearing from you again anytime. We hope that your upcoming wedding celebration and the years that follow are as bright and positive as the two of you are ~ thanks for reaching out to us to help you create these symbols of your love for each other. It has been very much our pleasure.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Mulberry, Serviceberry, Chokecherry and Cherry

Is there a type of wood you really love or a tree that's special to you?
Can you picture wearing a ring made from a branch of that tree?

Here are a few examples of David's 'Branch Wood Rings'.

Bill's Mulberry, Apple and Oak Woods above and
his Mulberry Ring with Apple and Oak inlays 

That's Kathy and Val's Serviceberry Wood above and the
Serviceberry Rings David created with cross spiraled Lapis Lazuli inlays 
bordered by narrow Maple

  It's a little like Christmas morning when a parcel arrives with a branch or a rock or a little envelope of dried flower petals from some other corner of the world.  
Someone has thoughtfully gathered and packaged those things and they've entrusted us to make them something beautiful from their raw materials ~ something worthy of their feelings for their beloved.  It's a humbling thing.

Kristen and Dan sent this Chokecherry wood (from their wedding tree)
and these are their Walnut and chokecherry rings.

Drop us an email if you like. We'll let you know how to choose your branch and how best to send your wood, or stones or shell (or coffee grounds or sage or sweetgrass :) just about anything that you'd like David to use a wee bit of in your ring.  

It's one way to make your ring extra special and have it tell your own unique story.

 Here's the stone and shell Abby sent
and her Cherry Wood

And the ring David created for her beloved. 
Greyed Maple with Abby's Cherry Wood and inlay material.

The possibilities are endless.
We look forward to hearing your ideas.
As always ~ thanks so much for stopping by.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

A spur of the moment wedding celebration

Adam commissioned an engagement ring for his beloved Jennifer back in April of this year. When it arrived in the mail Adam wrote to us saying:

I just received Jennifer’s ring. David does amazing work!  Thank you so much.  You guys were so easy to work with and David did a beautiful job.  I can’t wait to give to her!

~ Jen's Touch Wood Engagement ring is Juniper heartwood with Myrtle, Maple and Mother of Pearl ~

On October 5th, Adam wrote:

I meant to contact you months ago but the summer just flew by.  I proposed to Jen and she absolutely loved her ring.  

We were planning on getting married next summer but in a spur of the moment decision we ran off to Banff and got hitched last weekend in a small ceremony with our families.  

We’ve been talking, and were thinking of ordering some wedding rings for next year.  We are not in a rush but were thinking around February-March.

With our spur of the moment wedding we didn’t have any rings so I crafted up some temporary rings the night before – (not quite as nice as David’s work but it did the trick)

We admire Adam's ingenuity and just adore their wedding rings. So sweet ~ and what a great story they have to pass on ...   
Thanks so much to you and Jen, Adam! We loved working with you too and look forward to hearing from you and Jennifer again.  
Much Love and Light to our newlywed friends!