Saturday, November 27, 2010

Today we talk about Holly Wood..the wood..

I have been reading and researching the wood that comes from the Holly tree for this wood information installment, and it has been really interesting! I  learned alot that i did not know.

The wood Industry has long prized Holly wood for its very white color ,tight graining and  fabulous sandability. It takes stain well and is used as a substitute for ebony when stained black. It is classically used as the white side of chess pieces when carved, and ebony as the other side. It is also used as a substitute for ivory on piano keys when needed. Faberge made cases for his famously beautiful enameled eggs out of holly!

Holly has over 600 species of plant and only the largest growing is used in the lumber industry. It is Ilex Opaca. Mostly the holly tree or bush is prized for its leaves and berries and thier beauty and properties. Especially in the winter, the holly leaves and berries are used as decorations. The berries are a very important food for birds.
Holly trees are grown all over the world where the climate and soil are right for them. THey are often grown in stands of soft maples and harvested with them. They grow all along the east coast of the us and are grown for thier foliage mostly, and the lumber is used from the trees that are large enough to get boards from. The wood must be harvested after the sap stops flowing , or the color of it will not be white, but become blue,grey or green from spalting.

WE have been searching for some more spalted holly for our hairforks but it is going to be tough to find since this is regarded as a ruined piece of holly lumber.

Other properties and information for the holly wood I found here . It has been regarded as a powerful protective wood, good against evil spirits, poisons,angry elementals and lightning ( i thought that was very interesting!) It is also associated with dream magick and fertility.

I hope you enjoyed this installment of our wood series and if you have any questions please feel free to ask!

Friday, November 26, 2010


Sale time is here in our Etsy shop! WE are offering 15% off everything through monday! today the code you can use at check out is BLACKFRIDAYNOV2010 and it will take the percentage off your order before you check out!
WE sure appreciate everyone who has come by, we have lots of really beautiful forks left in the shop and to be listed over the weekend!!
Looking forward to seeing you there!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sale time starts tomorrow!

Just a quick post today, we are having a sale in our shop starting tomorrow and running through Monday! each day will have a code to use, you must check in  to our shop, facebook page or here to get  the code for the day! tomorrow and Fridays is BLACKFRIDAYNOV2010, type that in the coupon code box at checkout in our Etsy shop and 15% off your entire order! This sale is not in our artfire shop.
We are Thankful for all of our past and future cutomers, and this weekend we will be saying thank you in the wallet!  Looking forward to seeing you at our Etsy shop!
love to you all
Kimi & Stacy

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Woods and Info about them

We have had a lot of questions about our woods of late and we would like to start doing a little series on the different woods, where they come from, if they are in any danger, and thier properties, magical, natural and visual! Hope you will join the tree love train we begin here!

First let me say, i know alot of you are concerned for the future of some species of trees. Stacy and I talk about this alot, as we love trees, and sometimes it feels funny knowing we contribute to them being cut down. But the fact of the matter is, whether we use the wood or not, it will be cut down. Wood has been used forever, as fuel, tools, and all kinds of things. It is strong, regows, its beautiful and every wood has different properties. EBony, for example, has been highly traded and valued even in egyptian times, for its beauty, hardness and ability to keep water rot away.

TOday i want to start with purple heart wood. It comes from Central and south america. Its botanical name is Peltogyne and is also known as amaranth or violet wood. There are 23 species of this flowering tree, and some of them have been overharvested.
I could not find any information about the replanting or farming of the species that are endangered, but i am sure that they are no longer being cut since they are labeled endangered. The company we buy our wood from has been vague about if they recieve thier woods from sustainably harvested places. If we stopped making purple heart wood hairforks, they would still cut the trees down so we look at it as a way for the wood to live a beautiful and forever life.

FOr those of you interested in the magical or healing and natural powers of the wood, i found this information.

The purple heart wood is said to be good for emotional and physical healing, and opening the seat of compassion and generosity.
WHo couldn't use a little more of that?!?

I hope you will leave us any questions you have or suggestions for woods that you would like us to research.
Next we are going to do holly wood!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Stacy and his 40% discount at the manicurist...

 Here is the story behind the hands of Stacy and how they came to be Grah-Toe Studio.
In 1996 Stacy was working at a cabinet shop, and being part of the tough guys in the group went along with the lax safety equipment that was there. Things like that can make the work easier, but when they need to be there, there is nothing that makes up for that time you saved without them.....He was alone making raised panel doors on a shaper, and no hold downs went along with a dull shaper bit as well. Pushing down and forwrad hard against the dull blade, Stacy's left hand slipped into the bit and became as shavings on the floor with the wood...he grabbed his hand to his chest immediately knowing it was not good, and went next door to get help. The people next door thought he had been shot, as the blood on his shirt and where he was holding his chest was profuse. They came and took him to the hospital and he called me at work. I went to the hospital to meet him and take care of all the stuff that gets unfinished when accidents happen. I arranged to go make sure his vehicle was safe, and that he could get his medications and get home and not be alone after wards. I don't know if you realize this, but there are actually surgeons who just do hands, and there aren't many of them. We waited a lifetime in the ER, as all 3 of the hand surgeons were unavailbale and the next one who could would be over. THe fingers were gone on the left hand, in an arc the shape of the blade but ragged. They needed several surgeries to make the skin, bone, nail beds that were partial all liveable.

Many of our Church friends came over and gave us support, hugs, and offered to do anything we needed, they were fabulous. After all the surgeries and the healings, Stacy actually went back to work very quickly, and  needed to be doing something. He worked there 2 more years and then he went to school for retraining into another field, dental lab tech. Now, Stacy was always really good with his hands artistically, and this made him more determined to be able to do even more than he did "with all those fingers in the way".

We had some friends who challenged him to carve one of his wooden chains in a toothpick...that he did, and has done several times now. WE featured a picture of the one we have here on our blog in the past year. Then he started to make tools to help him hold things better to work on them smaller and smaller, and the lab training was going well. AS an aside, after his first few weeks at dental lab school he suffered a heart attack and had bypass sugery..and began school all over that fall...ALl this time, we both wanted to do our art full time, but there was just no way to quit our jobs and do that so we continued on , i was a dental assistant and he was in school and we both loved what we did, and joked that we worked to pay for our habit, which was buying wood and stone and clay to make things!

And so as to keep you interested a few of the standard jokes about his hands involve his discount with the manicurists, his changing jobs and going into worldwide communications..shortwave...that his sign language has suffered terribly as he now mumbles when he signs, and  that God is good all the time, even when you get 40% off at the manicurists...
We have lots to tell in between here and there and how we became full time Grah-Toe Studios and we look forward to sharing the full story with you.....we would love to hear from you and know what you would like to know next?!? or if you have any questions for Stacy, he would love to answer them for you!
We appreciate everyone of you, and this is being told only to share a bit of ourselves with our wonderful customers, not to elicit any type of sympathy as we know that God has a plan in everything, and Stacy has excelled even without a few of his fingers! We hope you  will leave us comments and questions. We look forward to sharing more of our story as it comes!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Every shop on Etsy has a story...

Well, I know WE certainly do! and the other artisans i have met and become friends with all seem to time you shop on Etsy (which you know you will :D) why don't you ask the artisan you are buying from about how they got started, or what inspired the item you bought! It could be the beginning of a wonderful friendship, or a beautiful story to go with your item as a gift!
I am going to tell you about Stacys story in the next week or so, but for now i just wanted to encourage you to enjoy the handmade shopping experience, get to know the artists you buy from and give them a chance to see a bit into your life too!  

Friday, November 12, 2010

Did your hair develop a Dr.Jekyll Mr. Hyde personality when the weather changed?

WOW, my hair is SO different in this cold weather! It is like learning a new head of hair! i have to adjust the amount of Panacea i am using, and i may need to change my shampoos or routine to make up for it.
How is your hair doing in the new season? is it different or the same as it always is? do you have a different routine for your summer vs. winter hair? we would love to hear how you deal with the differences and what they are!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Get Your Grahtoe On : Awesome Wooden Hair Forks

We are honored to have our hairforks reviewd here ont his video by Autumnmagic! Thank you so much for sharing your experience and your beautiful bountiful hair with all of us! We appreciate you so much!!

A new you-tube review of our work! And, Fork for kitty SOLD!!

We are so excited to tell you that the fork for the broken kitty has sold! YIPPEE thank you so much! and we would like to share another artisans work that is going to help that same kitty, this special piece of work she made just for him is amazing!We also want to share with you a video that was made about our hairforks. We so appreciate that she took the time to share her opinions and experience on a video. SHe has a bountiful amount of hair and has allowed us to make some very special forks for her!

We would welcome your comments and your visiting the shop above, which is to look at the listing for kitty but while you are there perhaps you will find that special something you have been wanting for yourself or a gift! she has an amazing talent with metal and glass and i own several wonderful pieces from this shop and they quality is top of the line.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Please help Kitty Oliver-George!

I belong to a team on etsy and one of my teammates is in need of some help. SHe is donating her time and services and shop proceeds to a recovering broken pelvis kitty. Here is his story:

We are donating the proceeds from a hairfork to go to her and several other group members are going to do the same, and shopping at her etsy shop will also help.
This is the fork we are donating, and her shop is

If you are looking for a way to help out this season, and get some gifts or something special for yourself at the same time, this is your chance!
Thank you so much for your consideration and for reading and sharing the story around, that too will be a huge help!
Love to you all

Sunday, November 7, 2010

It's not snowing outside yet, but snowflake adoptions are available at the studio!

We haven't had any snwo at our place yet, although the mountain peaks are white again....i am not looking forward to shoveling out the drive way! but we have been in high snowflake gears in the studio!
Its the time of year to start thinking about decorations and ornaments again and we have been not only making them but finding them on Etsy! there are so many talented artisans making lovely ornaments for your holidays to be glitzy and bright!
For animal lovers, i found the cutest hedgehog ornament made of clay!
If you love snowmen you have got to see this pair!
Porcelain and personalized ornaments abound on Etsy
ANd , of course, there's one of my faves, a hide-a-heart ornament!
So whatever your heart is looking for, try out etsy and support a real person, instead of the mall or chain stores this year!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Tell us about your hair!

We thought it would be fun to have YOU tell us about your hair today!
WE are wondering..why do you want to have long hair? are you trying to grow longer or maintaining it at a length you love? ANd what length is that?
If you have any pictures of your hair that you can share we would love to have you post them on our facebook page, especially if you have one of our hairforks!!

Our making hair forks came from a love of long hair and a need to keep it in an updo safely and securely..with thick hair those plasitc clips spring in about 2 minutes!  and wooden hair forks are actually better for your hair, they don't pull, they give an even hold, and they protect your scalp from the constant rubbing the plastic jaw teeth cause!
Please, tell us your long hair story!!

Just a quick fashion note, Updos are IN this season, and with hats,head wraps, ear warmers, scarves and turtle neck sweaters, its a great time to have your hair in a pretty updo!! Add a few sparkly finishing pins, perhaps from this etsy shop
drop down a single curl or 2 by your ear or eyebrow and you are ready for family gatherings or the opera!
This is also a perfect time for a fabulous pair of earrings!

WE look forward to hearing about your hair journey and goals, and what you do to keep it healthy and safe!

Love to you
Stacy and Kimi