Thanks so much, Nicole, for this opportunity to introduce ourselves to some who may not know of us.
We are Bret and Nadja Van der Stroom, and our Etsy shop is Frost Lane. Although we tend to sell a little of this and a little of that, we mainly sell wooden swords and shields.
Bret—Chief Armorer of the shop—is a joiner and cabinet maker by trade, and so naturally gravitates toward any project that involves wood and woodworking. I (Nadja) stick to the design aspects and all things pertaining to the online shop, as well as schooling our six “product testers”, ages 5 to 15, at home. Home right now is a small farm in rural north-central Tennessee with which some of you may be familiar through my Patch O' Dirt Farm blog, sadly neglected in the last year as my offline life has become more demanding.
Bret and I are both transplants to Tennessee, and have lived in other states and countries. I spent my early childhood in New York City and moved to Munich, Germany when I was 8. Bret was born in Tucson, Arizona, but moved about quite a bit with his engineer father and family. We met in Munich when he was stationed there in the Army, and I came back to this country with him when he finished his term of service, first living in Tucson for 9 years, then moving to Charlotte, NC for 7. We came to Tennessee in 2002. We really love living in the south, although there are little things about urban life I do miss (access to secondhand bookstores, coffee shops and bakeries, for instance!)
Bret is into the third year of building our new home across the border in Kentucky, doing most of the work himself. It's a slow process, but the end is finally in sight!
When we began, we were using scraps of wood from the cabinet shop where Bret worked. We still use upcycled material whenever we can, but because of some of the volume of the orders (Party Packs and the like), we do have to purchase material more frequently now. We generally use birch plywood for our swords and shields, as it has a nice surface for painting and looks good unadorned as well. It has proven to be very sturdy stuff, and the ones we originally made for our own kids—four of them boys—have stood the test of time!
Each piece is cut on a router and sanded by Bret, and then given another hand-sanding by me. On large orders, the kids get involved in the sanding and “quality control.” We have provided swords and cutlasses for themed parties and sold to 'green' shops and Waldorf school stores. And we are happy to do custom orders, so if you have something special in mind, feel free to ask us about it!
Today Frost Lane has a wonderful treat for one of you lucky readers. They are giving away a sword and shield set or a small shield and dagger set (pictured above)--winner's choice.
In addition, Bret and Nadja are offering a very generous 10% off all orders (over $5) through the end of September with the discount code FRONTIERDREAMS10.
Comments closed. The winner is:
Mary - My son would love this!!