Let the River Flow

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Several months ago, Randy started watching videos about using epoxy with wood. At the time, it was more of a simple curiosity. Then people started asking him about the process. As a result, Randy decided to try his hand and see what happened. As you can see from the above picture, his first try is absolutely gorgeous.

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While some people fill the epoxy to the same level of the wood, we decided to leave it a little lower so to mimic a look of an actual river bed. An added result is that the epoxy really highlights the inverted live edge. I also like the contrast of the very old wood (over 100 year old curly pine roofing underlayment) and the very modern and shiny look of epoxy.

Since we were so pleased with the first try, we then took a piece of cedar that we had already planed and sanded and added a touch of purple epoxy.

I have to admit, I wasn’t 100% sold on the epoxy look, but Randy really wanted to try it. I am so glad he did because it does add a more modern look to the wood that we already love.

 

Welcome To The Dog House

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We are dog people. As our introduction states, we have four furry babies. We’ve adopted from the local humane society, a local rescue, and we even rescued one of our pups from the parking lot of a local grocery store. Needless to say, we do not go out looking for designer breeds. (Ironically, however, it appears that the dog we most recently adopted is a Vizsla, but that is a whole nother ball of wax). Randy often refers lovingly to our mixed breed dogs as mutts. We, therefore, call our latest design the mutt feeding station. The top is made from black walnut, while the legs are pieces of poplar siding from an old barn, and the supports are ambrosia maple.

I absolutely love this piece. We never stain black walnut, so I decided to just use Randy’s oil mixture on all of the wood. Even though they are very different types of wood, they work really well together. It is sturdy, beautiful, and truly one of a kind. While we have decided that we will begin to make several pet related products, every single one will be unique and distinct–just like the dogs for whom we are making them.

 

 

Come See Our Wares

It has been a little over two years since we first opened the doors of ILYM Reclamation Design, and there has definitely been a learning curve. For me, that curve has included learning about different woods, finishes, adhesives–the list could go on and on. As Randy has often said, I am the dreamer. I can see a project in my mind and then it is up to Randy to make it happen. Over time, I have learned the processes that Randy has to go through (sometimes suffer through) to make my dream a reality. Randy, fortunately, has had a leg up on me. Wood has been his passion for a lifetime, but the one thing that we have both struggled with is the business side, specifically, how to get our products out into the big wide world. Randy has always wanted to do arts and craft shows, markets, and such. I, however, haven’t always been sold on the idea.


Our first event, as pictured, was tiny. It was held almost a year ago in the parking lot of a cute farmers market. We sold a few things and had many people take our cards–and it made me realize that Randy was right. We needed to go to these types of events because social media really wasn’t working for us the way we needed it to. As a result, when holiday season was upon us last year, we signed up for several different markets and shows.

As you can see, we have worked on our displays–and continue to do so constantly. We make notes (actual and mental) of what works and what doesn’t. We have noticed that certain products almost always sells, while other products are more of a draw that result in lots of questions and our card being taken for possible custom work. We have come to realize that our entrance/booth fee is more than just a pay to play fee. It is an advertising fee. Therefore, so far this year, we have participated in three markets and shows. We have at least 6 more coming up in the near months. Our scheduled events can be found on our Facebook page.
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The most important lesson that I have learned, however, is that these events are so much fun. Although I am completely out of my comfort zone, I truly enjoy meeting the other vendors and the customers. While Randy can and always has been able to talk to and connect with almost anyone, I am learning to share our passion with people.

Going to the Birds

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A few months ago, after a long day in the shop, Randy decided to make some bird houses in an attempt to relax. He didn’t use a plan, although he did make certain the size of the house and entry hole were the correct size for a blue bird. We took them to a holiday market and sold them almost immediately. Since spring is just around the corner, he has been busy creating new ones. Even though the bluebird houses are the most popular, we have started making them in different sizes for different birds (and are always willing to make custom houses!)

I am loving picking out different stains and finishes for Randy’s creations, and Randy is enjoying a return to his past by remembering all the birdhouses his father made over the years. We have also had fun learning strange facts about birds and their houses. During the last two arts and craft festivals, many people have asked Randy why he doesn’t make his houses open easily so that they could clean them out. Randy’s answer is that the has never made a bird house that can be cleaned because birds will do the job themselves. Not that I doubted Randy, but I decided to google about cleaning out bird houses, and came upon the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918–which makes it illegal to disturb or remove nests with eggs or birds in them. It also makes it illegal to have old nests, feathers, and eggs one’s possession!

I also discovered that there have been numerous studies completed about the benefits of cleaning out bird houses. In a nutshell, there doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer as to if one should or shouldn’t clean out a bird house. Therefore, Randy is going to start making some houses that will open more easily so that our clients can clean to their heart’s content. However, I will be sticking with Randy’s original design and let the birds do their own spring cleaning. I have enough to do already.