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.