Category Archives: What we’re about

Our Store’s Upcoming Christmas Open House & Northern California Shows

We are excited to invite you to our store, Chocolate Soup, for our annual Christmas Open House.

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There will be delicious refreshments throughout the weekend,
including our “chocolate soup.”
Please note that the store will be closed Nov. 2-6 to
transform the store for the Holiday Season.
Also, something new this year! 
As a special treat for our Chocolate Soup Facebook friends,
we will be posting a
“12 Days of Christmas” Sneak Preview
as a countdown to our Christmas Open House. 
Beginning October 26, you will have the chance to see some
of the items we’ll have during the Holiday season! 
Visit the Chocolate Soup Facebook page {here}.
For more information on Chocolate Soup, please visit our website {here}.
Here are some of photos of my furniture and home décor mixed in at Chocolate Soup.

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We will be participating in two Northern California shows this Fall.
We will be bringing lots of new merchandise as well as old favorites —
one-of-a-kind furniture, lamps, shelves, folk art and more!
Always hand crafted with quality and care.
We hope to see you there!
San Mateo Events Center
Friday – Sunday — November 14-16, 2014
For more information about the San Mateo Harvest Festival Show, please visit the Harvest Festival website {here}.
Old Opera House, in Downtown Sonora
Friday & Saturday — November 28 & 29, 2014
For more information about the Home Town Crafters Christmas Faire, please visit their Facebook page {here}. 

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Filed under Accessories, Folk Art, Furniture, Retail Shows, Tour our shop, What we're about

Introducing: The Monthly Spotlight

Think of it as a once-a-month, online “release” party.  Every month we will craft a particularly unique piece of furniture–something really special.  Perhaps it will feature reclaimed wood or salvaged hardware, or a new finish, or metal work.  Perhaps it will be a corner desk, or a utility stand, or a quirky little hall table, or a chest of drawers.  Perhaps it will be something like this:

Once a pile of old pallet wood…

Now a changing table for our grandson, Jacob:

(And when Jacob outgrows it, our daughter can use it as a dry sink–what a lovely two-in-one design!).

Perhaps one of the monthly Spotlights will be just the thing you’ve been looking for, or perhaps it will spark your imagination for a design you would like to commission.  Who knows?

The idea is to keep our creativity flowing, your interest piqued, and to provide a venue by which to give you the very first dibs on our latest work.  More, we hope the monthly Spotlight will give us a forum for showing and telling you more about the process of crafting a piece, from start to finish.  To that end, we hope to provide monthly “Spotlight Previews” when appropriate, possibly depicting the raw materials (could be a pile of old pallet wood, or scraps of select grade maple), or possibly giving you a glimpse at traditional methods of furniture making, such as hand planing or dove-tailing.  Most importantly, we hope this monthly Spotlight gives you a deep sense of the story behind our work, and behind the particular piece featured.

The nuts and bolts:

  • If you haven’t already done it, subscribe to our blog so that you receive an email alert when we publish a new post–and release a new, monthly Spotlight.
  • The spotlighting will begin in February, and subsequent Spotlights will be featured in the third week of each month–some time between the 15th and the 20th of every month.
  • We will note the dimensions and price of each piece.
  • What if you think you’d like to buy the piece?  Give us a call right away–209-742-6624–and we’ll make some arrangements.
  • Spotlight features that are not sold through contact with this blog will go to our room at Chocolate Soup or on the road with us to one of our many weekend, retail shows.

For now, watch closely–February is coming and so is the first Spotlight!

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Filed under Furniture, Monthly Spotlight, Repurposed Materials, What we're about

Welcome, 2012!

(Our booth at Pomona Harvest Festival, our last show of 2011)

We ended 2011 with five Harvest Festival shows (in Pleasanton, Ventura, Del Mar, Sacramento and Pomona) in early December, then happily relaxed into Christmas preparations and festivities.  We were greatly encouraged by the excitement of the response to our booth and products–a heart-felt thank-you to all who came out to see us!  As always, it was wonderful to see and re-connect with long-time customers, and to meet new ones–especially customers from the younger generations.  We discovered again that there really are people out there who hold ‘handcrafted’ as a preferred value, and that there are those who truly care to know the people who made their furniture, home décor, and at this time of year, their Christmas gifts.  We are glad and honored to have been those people for many of you. We hope to deepen our friendships in the coming months and years, and to continue to find ways to unite handcrafter with collector!


In 2012, you can look for the development of our blog and online presence to include:
  • The addition of a photo gallery (thank you for your patience–this has been a long time in coming!)
  • The expansion of the “American Folk Art Review“–a concept we will tell you more about soon, but suffice it to say here that it will give you the opportunity to meet other handcrafters, old and new, through this site, as well as (hopefully!) stimulate conversation around the subjects of folk art, handcraft, reclaimed and re-purposed furniture, and more!
  • A monthly “Spotlight” on a special, one-of-a-kind piece of furniture starting in February

Additionally, we are in the process of establishing our 2012 show schedule, and we plan to add new show venues–we welcome your recommendations and invite you to check in again in the coming weeks to learn if we will be visiting your neck of the woods this year!  If you haven’t done so yet, now is the time to subscribe to our blog so that you are assured, one might say, a place at our “table.”

It will be a while before we are on the road again, so if there’s something you saw at one of the shows that you haven’t been able to stop thinking about, please remember that we are happy to ship our smaller items, such as wall pockets, sconces, folk birds, etc.  Give us a call if you’d like to place an order over the phone: 209-742-6624, or, if you are in California and can make a trip our way, come see us at Chocolate Soup in historic Downtown Mariposa.

Again, our deepest thanks to our customers near and far.  Your support and patronage allowed us to take a full two weeks off from work over Christmas, which we delighted in sharing with our eldest daughter, son-in-law and grandson who were visiting from Vancouver, BC, and with our younger daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter who live just down the road.  What a gift to have the whole family in town!  We hope your Christmas was a graced one, and we wish you peace in the new year.

With gratitude,
Michael and Robbie
(Robbie making Christmas cookies with Jacob)
(Michael walking the property with Jacob and Natalie)

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Filed under Folk Art, Furniture, What we're about

On the floor at Chocolate Soup

Our stock is ever-changing, and the vast majority of our items are one-of-a-kind.  Here are a few of the items in our room at Chocolate Soup at the moment, ready and waiting to find a good home.  Whether or not one of these pieces is just what you’ve been looking for, they may give you a better idea of the range of possibilities and the average prices of our furniture.  As always, feel free to give us a call with specific inquiries regarding a custom order you may have in mind.

If you are able to make it Chocolate Soup to have a look at our work in person, the hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Rustic Round Side Tables made from old barn or otherwise reclaimed wood

Small (15 1/2″ diameter; 25 1/2 ” high)

Stained finish  $119 (not shown)

Painted base  $129

Large (20 ” diameter; 29″ high)

Stained finish $139 (not shown)

Painted base  $149

Bin Tables with removable top for storage

Painted red-over-black base; made from old pallet materials:

20 1/2 ” square top

28″ high


With white base made from antique bin table parts:

23″ square top

28″ high


Aged Black Wine Buffet / TV Console

Comes with three adjustable wine rack shelves and two solid shelves so that you can mix and match according to your needs.

There are two adjustable shelves behind the door and the drawers are deep enough to store CDs/DVDs.

The center panel is removable (accommodating cords should it be used as a TV console).

47 3/4″ wide

13 1/2 ” deep

32 ” high


Hall / Sofa Table made from completely reclaimed materials

Slatted bottom shelf and ceramic knobs on the drawers.

47 1/2″ wide

16 ” deep

30″ high


Turquoise “Cottage” Hutch with antique window and ceramic knob

Adjustable shelf behind the door.

Turquoise over black finish with white door.

24 1/2″ wide at top crown; 19 1/2″ wide at body

12″ deep at top crown; 13″ deep at shelf

64″ high


Also available in red over black with black door and wooden knobs (not shown).

Companion Hall / Sofa Table and Lamp Table with curved legs and cream colored base

Made from completely recycled wood.

Oak table tops, made from old oak crates.

Sofa / Hall Table:

47 1/2″ wide

15 1/2″ deep

30″ high


Lamp Table:

21″ square top

28 1/2″ high


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Reclaim, Repurpose: A Philosophy of Redemption

re·claim (v) : to dismantle and re-mill old, cast-off wood and metal materials, such as pallets, crates, fence boards, barn wood and sheet metal goods to craft into furniture and home décor items.

re·pur·pose (v) : to reuse materials that were originally used for a different, specific, purpose.  For example, an old stairway newel post is made into a lamp base, or old casement windows become the door frames in a hutch:

re·demp·tion (n): looking with a creative eye upon materials that would otherwise be seen as worthless and granting them a new life as something that reveals intrinsic value.

Don’t get us wrong: there is hard, value-adding work involved in the redemption process.  Hours of planing, sanding and piecing together; hours of enriching the finished piece with stains and top coats that mimic the old style, waxed finishes.  But this is work that both participates in and imparts hope–hope that as we use well (or reuse well!) that which we’ve been given, we will both have something of significant value to hand down to those that follow us, and we will leave the goodness of Creation intact for our loved ones to discover and enjoy.  Indeed, this is the hope that one day, all things–lichen-covered, worm-eaten, storm-beaten–will be made new.

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A warm welcome to our new site!

Whether you are a long-time customer or you are encountering us for the first time, welcome to our new blog/website!  What you see now is a little taste of what’s to come–more photos and stories of our heirloom-quality, handcrafted furniture, home décor and folk art is on the way.  For now, please begin to get to know us through this site and do not hesitate to give us a call with further inquiries–we look forward to getting to know you, too!  You can look forward to more photos, sample price lists, and retail show schedules in the not-too-distant future!

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Filed under Furniture, What we're about