October 18th, 2016
Modern style is in, in Ellen’s Chicago dining room. To complement her colorful palette knife painting and grey upholstered chairs, Ellen chose the Kalispel Dining Table with ebony stain. The Kalispel’s legs are two geometric squares, supporting the mod look.
The square leg shape adds support like a trestle would, so Ellen can have a large surface:
I decided to keep the leaf with the skirt in the table all the time. I can sit 12 people easily. Love it! The men who delivered the table were so nice.
She also asked for a longer custom length, 76”, even before adding leaves. Because we order from real Amish workshops, you can call our customer service representatives and they’ll see if they can get customizations on your furniture.
After all, Ellen’s dining room deserved the perfect table.
October 15th, 2016
Hardwood furniture is the heirloom option for using vertical space. Beth’s new Victorian TV Wall Unit adds visual interest with variously shaped shelves, panels, crown molding and even glass. Oak with Baywood stain adds texture to the dedicated wall space. While the picture shows us how the unit makes Beth’s house a home, Beth wanted us to know it gets the job done:
I got my wall unit on Saturday. It is beautiful and the stain color is good.
October 9th, 2016
When John Pozniak got a Carson Legged Dining Table for his enclosed dining room, he knew exactly what he was doing. The space blends traditional and classic design in a mix of coffees and creams, with a curvy chandelier illuminating Kona-stained brown maple in the center.
John’s response to his new table is as elegant as his dining area:
The table arrived beautifully.
Outstanding work; thank you.
October 6th, 2016
Dan got an Ethan Leg Dining Table to fit the classic modern style of his New York dining room. Cherry wood with Boston finish adds a warmth to this table, making it a contrasting focal point of the room.
Says Dan, I just wanted to let you know that our table arrived today and it looks great! Thank you so much for your excellent customer service and quality products. You can count me as a fan of AFF!
Here is the table adding shine to Dan’s dining set.
September 26th, 2016
Bill and Lisa needed a big, beautiful dining set that could expand for important family dinners. So, they chose a Country Shaker Trestle Dining Table and Sullivan Dining Chairs. The set is quarter-sawn white oak with Michael’s Cherry stain. Here is the set between uses in their gorgeous open kitchen.
Lisa is happy with the table whether she’s taking photos of it or actually living with it.
We always receive multiple compliments from our family and friends when they see our new kitchen table we got about a year ago. We purchased a quarter-sawn oak table than can seat 6 people at our family meals but easily converts into a table to seat 10 with the leaves stowed inside the table. Attached is a picture of our table in our newly remodeled kitchen as well as one with family on Easter.
What a big, warm family for a big hardwood dining table. Thanks for letting us peek into your home.
They even got the dog in the picture.
September 20th, 2016
The Amish have a different way of life. As part of maintaining their lifestyle, the Amish renounce much of what most people would call “modern society.” But there is no doubt that Amish people face modern pressures. How do they respond to them?
What Do the Amish Know About the Outside World?
It is important to note that just because the Amish are living a different lifestyle that does not mean that they are unaware of the modern world and what it means to live in the current decade. In short, the Amish just choose not to partake in much of what the modern world has to offer. This is a stark difference from being unaware of modern developments.
One of the pressures that the Amish invariably face is the lure of technological advancement. The appeal and benefits of modern technological advancements have always been something that the Amish had to address. However, as the rate of technological developments has increased, so too has the potential appeal of modern of that technology, especially for the young.
Technology is changing and evolving at an increasing rate. In fact, the rate of technological change is now seen as being exponential in nature; this means that the potential lure of technology could be harder than ever for the Amish to avoid.
Technological breakthroughs such as nanomedicine, artificial intelligence, human like robots, asteroid mining, large scale space transportation, space colonies and many other scientific marvels that were once in the realm of science fiction are now moving into the realm of scientific fact.
Will There Be a Rise in Isolation?
In the coming decades the Amish may feel more isolated from the rest of society than ever. The world is rapidly evolving and changing and this could lead to the gulf between the Amish and the rest of society feeling more pronounced than in any other time in history. Additionally, the ubiquitous nature of these technologies are such that they may become harder and harder for the Amish to avoid, for example, flying cars zooming overhead, evidence of space travel in the night’s sky and the list goes on and on.
In short, being Amish in the future may prove to be more challenging than it is today. The feeling among some Amish that they are “missing” more than at any other time in history may become more pronounced.
The Influence of Religion
Another key pressure that the Amish will likely face in the future is that most of the areas where the Amish live, for example, the United States and Canada are becoming less religious overall. Studies show that Generation X and Millennials are far less religious than previous generations, and this could add to the feeling of isolation that the Amish will likely feel from the period of accelerated technological advancement that we are entering.
In the past, the rates of participation in organized religion was higher. As a large percentage of Millennials move away from organized religion, the Amish may be seen as more “foreign” than with previous generations. While it is difficult to know for certain that this could further isolate the Amish, it is a realistic possibility.
The combination of accelerated technological advancements and lower Millennial religious participation rates could put more pressure on the Amish than ever before. The lure of modern society, especially on the young, could become more intense and demanding than anything the Amish have ever faced.
Other Potential Rising Pressures
There may be other, more difficult to predict, pressures on the Amish in the coming decades as well. The way that the outside world engages in commerce could change. One example of this change could be in the form of a cashless society.
A cashless society could, ultimately force the Amish to adopt a certain level of technology in order to continue to participate financially in society. Likewise, the Amish tradition of ending education roughly at the eighth grade level could face pressure as well, as international competition becomes more intense and demanding. While it is of course difficult to predict in the near future, the Amish may be required to educate their children beyond the grade school level.
Currently, the Amish face pressure to drive cars, use the Internet and engage in modern society in a variety of ways. However, in the future, these pressures will likely only intensify.
To date, the Amish have resisted those changes quite well, but in the future our rapidly changing society may make it much more difficult for the Amish to avoid modern society. It is possible that modern society may change so much that in order for the Amish to have any meaningful interaction with the outside world they may have to engage in a modest level of adaptation.
In the past, the Amish have adapted on a case-by-case basis to different technologies. Some Amish affiliation have chosen for example to adopt indoor plumbing, pneumatic tools, chain saws and some mechanical devices such as powered lawn mowers and mechanical refrigerators.
An Adaptable and Resilient People
In the future, the Amish will likely once again have to evaluate the changing world around them and decide on what is the best response. One great motivator for change could be a shift in how the world at large addresses commerce.
For the Amish to maintain their way of life and continue to produce their traditional products for the world, it may be necessary for them to adapt what technology they incorporate into their business practices. Historically, the Amish have proven that they are resilient, capable and independent. In the coming decades it is likely that this decidedly Amish traits will be called upon more than ever.
August 19th, 2016
Woodworking is an ancient skill that is still alive and well today. It is no accident that it has endured the test of time. Wood remains one of the most versatile and durable materials on the planet. Thanks to the growing interest in the environment and all things eco-friendly, renewable resources such as wood have taken on a new importance.
Woodworking Will Always Be in Style
One undeniable fact about woodworking is that it will never go out of style. The artistry and beauty of woodworking is such that this craft will always be both practical and have a place in the world of the arts. Just as a sculptor can bring a block of marble or other material to life, the same holds true for a piece of wood in the hands of a skilled woodworker. So let’s explore some of the best ways to learn the ancient skill of woodworking.
Tip #1 Begin by Learning Important Safety Protocols
It is important that we discuss safety before moving on to any discussion. Like many skills, woodworking can be dangerous, especially for amateurs.
Following safety protocols is a must and for woodworking beginners, it is vital to have an experienced woodworker help you gain familiarity with the machines used and the safety protocols for the use of those machines. It is also important to note that working with manual, non-electric tools is often a safer alternative for woodworking newbies than using power tools. Summed up, proceed with caution when learning!
Tip #2 Read Easy to Use Books and E-Books on Woodworking
Learning woodworking can be very exciting and there are many ways to begin the journey. Books, including e-books, can be a great place to begin familiarizing oneself with the basics of woodworking. Many books have blueprints and plans for woodworking projects.
Woodworking books for beginners, such as Woodworking for the Serious Beginner by Pamela Philpott-Jones and Paul L. McClure and The Everything Woodworking Book: A Beginner’s Guide to Creating Great Projects From Start to Finish by Jim Stack are two good examples of woodworking books for beginners, but there are many others.
Woodworking Basics-Mastering the Essentials of Craftsmanship-An Integrated Approach with Hand and Power Tools by Peter Korn and Your First Workshop: A Practical Guide to What You Really Need (Getting Started in Woodworking) by Aime Fraser are two other excellent examples of easy to read guides for woodworking beginners.
Tip #3 Watch YouTube-A Free Guide to Endless Woodworking Tutorials
There are plenty of other options for woodworking beginners beyond books. The Internet is rich in woodworking tutorials and tips. From websites to YouTube videos there exists no shortage of ways to learn more about woodworking. Video sites, such as YouTube, are particularly valuable and useful for newbies.
When it comes to woodworking, seeing actual examples from experienced woodworkers can be rather valuable and time saving. If you are looking to “hit the ground” running with your woodworking, then watching videos is an excellent step to take. Woodworking tutorials are plentiful on YouTube, are easily accessed and are also free. In short, you just can’t beat the price of YouTube’s woodworking video tutorials and information videos.
Two good woodworking series on YouTube come from The Wood Whisper and Steve Ramsey’s Get Started in Woodworking. Ramsey, in fact, has numerous basic woodworking videos.
Tip #4 Visit Woodworking Websites
Also available online are numerous websites that are rich in woodworking information. A couple of good examples of helpful woodworking websites include Bob Villa’s website, bobvilla.com and About.com’s Woodworking site.
About’s Woodworking site includes a range of helpful articles including Safety Rules Every Woodworker Should Know, Top 10 Hand Tools Every Woodworker Needs, Top 7 Power Tools Every Woodworker Should Have, Woodworking Machines, Selecting Lumber for Your Woodworking Projects, The Easy Way to Check for Square and many other articles.
Make.Com Might Just Be Your First Stop
At Make.com, you’ll find articles on Understanding Basic Woodworking Tools, which is a great place to begin if you feel completely lost and want to know where to begin; this quick tutorial of woodworking basics is a great option for amateur woodworkers. The bottom line is that there are more woodworking articles and tips online that most people could ever read.
Tip #5 Try Some Fun and Easy Woodworking Projects
Once you have woodworking basics under your belt, you might want to check out sites like thesawguy.com. The Saw Guy has little gems like the 27 Easiest Woodworking Projects for Beginners, which is packed with basic woodworking projects for newbies to cut their woodworking teeth on. You’ll find everything from a Rustic Candle Holder and a Wooden iPad Dock to a wood rack and a simple table over at The Saw Guy.
Learning Woodworking Has Never Been Easier
Today, thanks to the Internet there exists an abundance of free advice, knowhow, ideas, tutorials and instructional videos on woodworking. Learning the valuable and ancient skill of woodworking has never before in history been this easy or this fun. If you have always wanted to learn how, then now the best time. So don’t wait, instead discover woodworking for yourself.
Experienced woodworkers will tell you that there is no greater feeling than building something wonderful, beautiful and useful with your own hands. Instead of buying an item like a table, why not learn to build your own table? The time investment you make in learning woodworking will be well rewarded.
July 17th, 2016
The history of the Amish in North America is a multifaceted and complex one. The Amish have been in the New World for hundreds of years, and 2016 marks a special occasion. A recent change stands to add a new page to the history of the Amish community. Developments in Bolivia and Argentina have led to new circumstances that stand to change Amish history forever.
The Complex Migration History of the Amish
The Amish did not originate in the North American, instead their roots can be traced to Europe. The Amish are not Mennonites, but they are closely related to the Mennonite community. This fact has become increasingly important in 2016 as the Amish expand beyond North America. The history of the Amish church can be traced back to Switzerland and 1693.
It was in that year that Anabaptist leader Jacob Ammann spearheaded a split that gave rise to the Mennonite and Amish branches. This split has remained to this day. Many Amish families made the trip to the New World in the coming years. Shortly after 1800, several thousand Amish made their way from Europe to North America with hundreds of families arriving.
In Lancaster, Pennsylvania, an Amish community was established in 1760 with another community following in Ohio in 1808. In the 18th Century, large numbers of Amish migrated to Pennsylvania. Over the years, the Amish that remained in Europe joined with the Mennonites, leaving North America as the focal point of the Amish community and the Amish world. In short, the history of the Amish in North America is a very long one.
The Growing Numbers of the Amish People
When most people think about the Amish, they usually think about the Amish living in the United States. Currently, there are over 300,000 Amish in North America, with the bulk of the Amish living in the United States in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana; however, what many don’t realize is that there are Amish communities in other locations as well. Let’s take a closer look at the Amish outside of the United States.
The Bulk of the Amish Reside in North America
While the vast bulk of Amish in North America live in the United States, there are a small number of Amish living in Canada, particularly in Ontario. The number of Old Order Amish living in Canada is about 1,500.
While Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana make up the majority of the Amish in North America, with those states accounting for roughly 190,000 Amish in total, there are several other states with sizable Amish populations. Wisconsin and New York both have around 17,000 Amish residents, Michigan has roughly 14,000 Amish residents and both Missouri and Kentucky have approximately 11,000 Amish residents.
In roughly the last 25 years, the Amish population in North America has increased considerably. In 1984 there were 84,000 Amish in North America and by 1992 this number had surged to 128,000. This study growth has continued and today there are over 300,000 Amish in North America. Prince Edward Island, Canada has a small Amish community.
New Possibilities in South America
The Amish are well established in the United States but have no major presence outside of North America. There have been new developments on this front from South America. The countries producing the most interest are Bolivia and Argentina. These new settlements are the results of an interaction with Mennonite communities in those countries inquiring about affiliation. The communities in Bolivia and Argentina have experienced financial problems in recent years and a growing concern over isolation; this resulted in the outreach. In order for the South American communities to move toward integration with the North American Amish communities, the South American communities have taken steps such as the men growing long beards and the women adopting the bonnet head coverings.
A New Page in the History of the Amish People
There could be many potential advantages for the Amish looking to relocate to South America, such an increase in affordable land. At this point it is uncertain what the future holds for those Amish communities; however, history has shown that the Amish people, despite their rejection of modern technology and advancements, are very resourceful. There is every reason to believe that the Amish will continue to thrive in South America as they have in North America. In the last three decades, North America has witnessed a stunning increase in the numbers of Amish people.
Thanks to the outreach of Mennonite communities in Bolivia and Argentina, we will likely see the number of Amish in the New World continue to grow as it has done for over 300 years. 2016 will go down as being a unique one in Amish history, as it was during this year that the North American community marked its first major migration since European Amish arrived in North America hundreds of years ago.
The history of the Amish is continuing to be written. These unexpected developments in Bolivia and Argentina in 2016 serve as a reminder of this fact.
June 21st, 2016
It is a safe to state that mankind takes wood for granted. A recent study of trees found that there are at least 4 trillion trees on the planet. This 4 trillion number greatly exceeded the estimate. Of course, this doesn’t mean that we now don’t have to worry about the planet, our natural resources or taking care of trees, instead it underscores just how vital trees are to the world as a whole.
Trees benefit mankind in an almost endless number of ways. Trees provide us with everything from shelter to energy, paper and more. We can even use wood to cook just as we our ancestors have been doing for hundreds of thousands of years. Let’s take a closer look at the five of the best ways to cook with wood.
Cooking with Wood Tip #1-Planks
One of the most overlooked ways to cook with wood, but a way that yields amazing taste results is the simple plank. A plank of wood placed over a grill can infuse food with an almost mysterious taste. Since most people never or rarely eat food prepared in this way, plank prepared food has a real wow factor.
Wood planks work extremely well with meat, poultry and fish. Seasonings used on a wood plank also absorb into proteins in a unique fashion helping to create that unusual taste. One good idea is to preseason your wood plank and consider adding an oil,such as avocado oil, to your plank. If you are looking for a way to liven up your next barbeque or party, then you’ll want to experiment with cooking on a wood plank. Many people love this style of cooking so much that they don’t want to go back to barbequing in the old way ever again!
Cooking with Wood Tip #2 -The Wood Fire Grill
Wood fire grills are becoming much more popular these days and for good reason. Wood fire grills help give food a distinctive flavor. Firewood smoke adds an amazing level of complexity to food and, let’s be honest, there is something very primal and satisfying about food prepared on a wood fired grill. Grilling is an activity your whole family can enjoy!
Wood fire grills, like other grills, have the benefit of being easy to maintain and being very flexible. A wood fire grill is very beautiful to look at when in action, and it is possible to prepare a truly wide array of foods.
Wood fire grills make tasty food and have a distinctive fun factor. No doubt about it our second choice, the wood fire grill, is a true winner!
Cooking with Wood Tip #3- Three-Wood Chips on a Gas or Charcoal Grill
Is it possible to use wood chips on a gas grill? Yes! If you want to get that smoky flavor but don’t want to use a smoker, then you’ll love using your gas grill with wood chips. The truth is this approach is even easier than you might believe. There are smoker box made from cast iron and stainless steel that can be placed on your gas or charcoal grill, which work great and provide much of the taste complexity one would expect to find in other options such as planks and the wood fire grill.
Cooking with Wood Tip #4-Smoking
Smoking has an ancient history. For hundreds of years smoking was used as a way to not just cook food but also flavor it and preserve it. There are two different kinds of smoking: the first being wet smoking that incorporates a pan of water into the process. Also there is dry smoking, which uses wood to cook food in a slow fashion. Both methods serve to give food a rich, smoky flavor. A wood smoker is an extremely effective way to smoke meat. Not every wood is a good fit for smoking. Many woods that are free of sap will work well for smoking, but you might want to experiment with different woods to find the one that works best for you.
Cooking with Wood Tip #5-Using Marinades and Seasonings
Any of the four ways to cook with wood outlined above can be improved by the incorporation of seasonings and marinades. Seasonings and marinades add a tremendous punch, kick and unexpected flavor to what wood already brings to the table. The end result can be a taste sensation that is dramatically different than what most people experience in their day-to-day dining experience.
Cooking with wood has a tendency to wow people, especially when done correctly; however, adding the additional taste complexity of marinades and seasonings serves to punch things up to a whole new, bold and exciting level. Marinades with wood planks works particularly well and makes for easy experimentation.
Just before you get started, one reminder that there are some concerns when cooking with wood. In addition to the obvious safety concerns revolving around the proper use of fire, there are some other issues. One easy to overlook issue would be the safety of the wood being used. You should only use untreated wood that is free of chemicals, additives, metal or anything else that could be harmful. In short, it is extremely important that you know what kind of wood you are using and understand its origin.
Cooking with wood can be fun, extremely tasty and allow you to explore your culinary creativity. There is nothing that can replicate the taste achieved by cooking with wood. As an occasional treat it is tough to top cooking with wood. Your ancestors would be proud.
June 1st, 2016
The Pawlowskis in Chicago got an Aspen Dining Table and Jacoby Dining Chairs. With the help of our very human ordering process, they mixed colors and textures to create an elegant but modern dining room.
The broad surfaces of these pieces—the table top and chair seats—are beautiful elm with Miniwax 224 Special Walnut stain. However, the frames of the table and chairs are brown maple with Ebony stain. If you would like a two-tone finish or other customizations for your furniture, just give us a call.
Here is the set in the Pawlowski’s classic modern dining room.
Table and chairs were beautiful… Very high quality craftsmanship. Very happy with my purchase.—Carl Pawlowski