Tag Archives: etsy

Storage Warz

Nope, Im not talking about the show, even though I admit it is totally addicting!! Today my friend Jen needs some ideas for toy storage and what to do with a printer when you don’t have a dedicated office.  So I’m going to try and help her out.

Those of you with kids understand what a challenge it is to keep your homes from constantly being overtaken by toys.  Family loves to spoil our little guy with billions of them, especially the ones with a billion more little pieces that can be used as weapons and thrown at our new TV.  He also totally needs a new stuffed animal every time they come to visit, right?  (we still love you and think its cute…)

Having storage options that allow you to easily re-organize the mess at the end of the day will help preserve a little sanity.  It’s good to have options that kids can easily maneuver themselves, so they can learn to put things away all by themselves {someday, Jack}.  When we design a space we take into consideration the style and available space, as well as what types of toys need a home. This will all determine what is the right solution for your space.  Variety is key.

Here’s a good combo of open shelves for display,  closed storage cabinet for messes, and a soft storage basket @ floor for easy access & clean up.  Soft fabric baskets are ideal because the kids can drag them around the space and not hurt themselves, or your precious floors.  Ikea has some great basic budget options, but you can also find lots of cute options on Etsy.

Evie Lala @ Etsy

I found these cotton baskets @ Pottery Barn a while ago.  We have a changing table with open shelves underneath, and since I knew Jack would do his best to pull down the diaper bin everyday I wanted something soft and light.

How awesome are these upholstered cubes?  A padded wall AND storage.  Mess with them by hiding new things in the cubes everyday.   That’s fun.

With Via boxes you can have fun picking colors and designing your own structure.   Let the kids stack/organize them like a set of blocks.  Creativity, structure, balance.  Jen already ordered these and I can’t wait to see what she picked out, great choice.

Kalon Studios has a similar option that are a little larger but less of a storage option.  A set of 3 nesting tables / stools with squares, circles, and lines. You can store the kids and they will have fun crawling through them.

Take an old box and paint it.  How cute are Jack’s handmade owls?

Check out ModBox on Etsy, adorable.

Take an old crate and put it on wheels, kids will love driving it around like a car.

or make/paint your own.

If you have open shelves, take a cardboard box and wrap it in fabric or fun paper.  Cheap but also not the most sturdy so probably want to keep it out of the kids reach.

One of my favorites.  Storage and a bench with soft cushion.

OK, now onto what to do with that not so attractive large box of a printer. They take up a lot of space, so not ideal to sit on the desk if you are limited.  But you also need it to be easily accessible.  Most printers these days are wireless, which means you don’t necessarily have to have it sitting right next to the desk.

For office stuff I gravitate towards storage solutions that don’t look like office furniture.  This is especially nice when you don’t have a designated office and want it to just blend in.  Hideaway!  One of the best solutions I’ve seen is modifying an Ikea dresser so that the drawer face hinges down so you can pull out the entire printer when needed.  Make some holes in the back to run your wires.

You could basically do this with any bureau or cabinet, just takes some handy work.

Young House Love writes about how they used the Effektiv cabinet from Ikea for their printer.

Transform a flea market find.

For a less complicated option you could also make your own “cover” using a wood crate that would also double as a place where you can rest things when not in use.  Picture something like this, flipped over.  Then maybe painted, or embellished with wallpaper.

Well, hopefully Jen that gives you some ideas. Let us know how you make out! And if anyone else has ideas for Jen, shout out!

By the way, Jen writes an awesome blog called Parenture that blends her love for travel with her love for parenting…as she calls it, the “inevitable adventures of parenting.” Check it out!



Filed under Ramblings, Spaces, Store it

Sibel Alpaslan: I am born of clay.

It’s a cold rainy nasty day here in Rowley. Spent the morning at a construction site working through an electrical plan for a home renovation in downtown Newburyport, and then took a break to bring some beautiful pillows to another project in the North End. How fun to be at one project that is just beginning and then to another where I’m just sprinking some finishes touches. Speaking of finishing touches, I wanted to share the work of an amazing artisan right here in Newburyport.

I met Sibel Alpaslan at a craft show in early December – walked past her booth and did a total double take. The more and more I looked at her work, the deeper I fell in love with it. She has an amazing sense of color, texture, and form. She is super sweet and has a real passion for what she does. She recently relocated her designs from her own gallery in Turkey to our local area. She has an etsy store and you will find her at a few local shops as well as craft shows. Here’s a look at some items I purchased when she was here for my last open studio.

I just love the mix of colors on this bowl….how the reds pop. Feels so happy!

The rough texture on this plate and the imperfect form. The colors are of course my favorite blues.

I have an obsession with butterflys, especially blue ones!

Love this little plaque, reminds me of a peacock.

Here’s Sibel’s inspiring artist statement…

I am Turkish, I am a ceramic artist, and I am born of clay! I am from the ancient Anatolian lands that have been called home by Hittites, Ionians, Greeks, Romans, Selcuks, Byzantines, Ottomans, and Turks, to name a few. This is my cultural and artistic DNA, which was instilled in me during my undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Marmara in Istanbul. I think it is part of my artistic responsibility to draw from the previous generations and – through my hands, eyes, and heart – carry that wisdom and spirit into the future, which I did for over ten years in my ceramics gallery in Kusadasi, Turkey.
And now, America is my New World. As I mix my Turkish past with many new American influences, I love the new artistic recipe that I’ve created. In a way, I have become a sort of Turkish artistic ambassador to America.
I see many things, but my subjects select me. I especially feel a deep connection to nature. It moves through me, and I strive to express this feeling in my work. I love the organic feeling of clay, knowing that it comes from the earth. And just as nature constantly surprises and delights me, I often include small, whimsical surprises in my ceramics. After all these years, I still love to play with clay. I still love to shape the mud with love.
Pottery can be a beautiful and personal finishing touch for any space. It can provide an interesting form and a pop of color. Here’s a look at some spaces that use it well….

The pop of yellow, form of the vase, and pattern creates depth in this vignette but in a simplistic way. It would be much less dramatic without but it’s not overdone.

Neutral furnishings, flooring, walls embellished with pops of color in pillows and pottery of varying forms.

Molly Frey always does this well… neutrals with bright pops in accessories. Blues…love it!!

Another Molly Frey kitchen, so pretty.

So the next time you want to add a pop you know where to find an amazing potter who will work with you to do custom pieces. Thanks Sibel for sharing your story with us.

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Filed under Decorate It


For the past month we have been in total craft mode for the holidays, and one material we have a slight obsession with at the moment is burlap.  We knew it was a natural fiber, and that burlap sacks are used to transport vegetables/grains or to cover plants in the winter… but that was about it.  Here’s what we found out.

Jute fibers are extracted by retting (image from Wikimedia Commons)

Burlap is a woven textile that is created most often from jute fibers – the coarse texture is from the skin of the jute plant.  Jute fibers have a high content of cellulose and lignin, an organic substance that binds natural wood and regulates the flow of liquid in plants…which makes vegetables firm and trees tall.  Jute is cultivated from the species of the plant Corchorus, which is predominantly found in the Indian, Bangladesh & Pakistan regions due to their climate (monsoon seasons provide adequate standing water).  The fibers are extracted through a process of retting (dissolving in water) and stripping (scraping fibers from the stem).

The result is a textile fiber that has a large weave pattern and a natural beige color.  It is part cloth and part wood… so it is heat resistant,  strong, breathable (so good in moist environments), and inexpensive!  We’ve been finding it for $2.99/yard.  Best of all, it is biodegradable.

burlap's amazing texture

We’ve seen some amazing interior products made from burlap including carpets, curtains, upholstery, and decorative items.  It is important to note that some burlap may have had chemicals applied to it by the time it reaches you, so good to know where yours is sourced.  Unfortunately this happens a lot with textiles to make them flame resistant, crease resistant, wrinkle free, soft, dyed, etc, etc.  But there are non-toxic options that are good alternatives.  Burlap is flammable so consider where it will be installed.

Since burlap texture is pretty coarse we use it on items meant to be decorative, rather than snuggled with.  Here are some fun ideas that can help bring a little nature inside your home.

our handmade wreath - straw, recycled blend yarn, burlap & vintage buttons

burlap stocking from Elgies on Etsy

burlap stockings from Inhabitation Boheme on Etsy

burlap bird from Our Sweet Home Alabama on Etsy

bu with vintage burlap and nailheads

our pillow with burlap band & vintage wooden button

burlap curtains - add a liner to prevent bleaching from sun

————————————————————————————————————————————         SUSTAINABLE FEATURES OF THIS PRODUCT:


Filed under Textile It