Storage Baskets

My collection of storage baskets in use by my garage entrance. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

My collection of storage baskets in use by my garage entrance. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Storage Baskets

Baskets for storage have become, and continue to be, popular for home decor. In my house, however, they are more than decor, they are practical and handy for a variety of uses sometimes currently addressed with plastic.

I started to collect baskets that would fit my little metal book case at the house entrance from my garage. By having the storage space there, I can easily lean in and grab what I need without dragging mud through the house. Having the items easy to see also help me make sure the supplies are available.

The challenge in getting storage baskets to work for a specific space is to find sizes that will fit. I kept the available space measurement handy whenever I saw a basket so I could easily decide whether it would work.

The other decision is to settle on a basket style that was relatively available and one I liked. I ended up with this large weave basket in a honey color for inspiration.

I look for baskets with this color and weave. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

I look for baskets with this color and weave. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

You can find similar baskets at big box stores. With summer starting, you can also shop garage sales, auctions and thrift stores. Keep one basket handy or take a photo of the basket color and style so you have it easily available to match other finds.

If you are enterprising, you can also take a basket-weaving class and make your own.

If you find something that will work to store items but isn’t a basket, pick something in the same color. On this shelf I have a wooden box with gardening supplies, see the box on the right in the middle shelf.

The baskets make a handy collection point. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

The baskets make a handy collection point. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

In addition to not using plastic and ready storage, now I also have a supply of easy to find baskets that I can use to carry things.

Actually they can also be used for storage in cabinets. I use baskets to sort out my freezer bags and storage containers in my kitchen. These baskets vary in color and weave but all have an easy handle to grab.

Baskets used for storage inside a kitchen cabinet. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Baskets used for storage inside a kitchen cabinet. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Not an issue in most households but in mine, baskets tend to be quickly claimed for other purposes.

This was a woven basket I found at a thrift shop that I thought would work well to store magazines under my den coffee table.

Shirley Honey had different plans for my magazine storage basket. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Shirley Honey had different plans for my magazine storage basket. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

At least the basket made its way under the coffee table. Some baskets don’t make it that far before getting claimed for napping spots.

Storage baskets can also be used next to easy chairs and on top of cabinets. I love having them easily accessible to carry things, even if it is a sleepy cat!

Charlotte

Framing Flower Prints

Framed flower prints now in my basement hallway. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Framed flower prints now in my basement hallway. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Framing Flower Prints

A friend recently gave me these sweet US wildflower prints. No, they are not cut out of a book, the set was a reprint of flower plates found in US Wildflower books. Not wanting to spend the hundreds of dollars to have them professionally framed, I settled with five $2.99 per sheet of art paper a little darker than the actual prints.

A visit to area thrift shops turned up the ten 11x14 inch frames, seven matching and three with thinner frames.

Flower prints raspberry.jpg

They all had some wear along the frames so before adding the prints, I rubbed them with Howard RestorAFinish in Walnut. Counter-intuitive, I know, but over the years I have found using the walnut color on oak, for example, nicely covers nicks and keeps them covered.

After they were dry, I cleaned the glass on both sides, cut the art paper to size and added the flower prints.

I did think through which ones would look better in the different-sized picture frames. For example, I focused on the narrow edge frames at each corner to make sure the flowers were in the right direction.

Flower print thin frame.jpg

The frames were hung so that I can read the flower names as I walk by although I recognize some by sight. The calla lilies, for example, are easy to spot in the flower prints without reading the name on the bottom.

Flower print thick frame.jpg

I also placed the tiger lilies over the wall lamp, which nicely now illuminates the print.

The wall sconce now highlights the tiger lily print. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

The wall sconce now highlights the tiger lily print. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Here are all ten prints now lining my basement hallway. Can you see where the third mismatched frame is?

Here’s a hint, take a look at the print under the wall sconce.

The ten flower prints in my basement hallway. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

The ten flower prints in my basement hallway. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

I didn’t have to polish or do anything else to the wooden frames, with Howard RestorA Finish they now look good as new.

Now to tackle that gold strip on the wall sconce, maybe I should paint that silver?

Charlotte

A Small Garden Flower Bouquet

Uh-oh, is there a rabbit after this beautiful little bouquet of red hybrid tea roses? (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Uh-oh, is there a rabbit after this beautiful little bouquet of red hybrid tea roses? (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

A Garden Flower Bouquet

Of all of the things we can do to decorate our homes, adding a small bouquet of fresh flowers out of our gardens is the simplest, and most enjoyable, thing we can do. Not only does it bring some beauty into the room but you can add whimsy by pairing the flowers with a favorite decorating item.

In my case, the white porcelain rabbit has been a favorite coffee table partner for many years. I confess I make bouquets in relationship to the porcelain piece, such as this little bouquet of red hybrid tea roses I snipped from one of my rose beds.

I have real rabbits in my garden as well so having the little porcelain one inside reminds me of the ones living happily outside. Many are native wild rabbits, released into my garden when I was a rehabilitator for our local conservation office.

To easily add a small garden bouquet to your room decor, cut the flowers early morning and keep them in a vase of water not treated with salt for water softeners. That salt quickly cuts down the time the cut flowers will remain fresh in the vase.

Once you have the vase you want to use, re-cut the stems to the appropriate length. Add a pinch of aspirin to help keep the flowers fresh, then position them where you can enjoy them. Don't place them on top of electrical appliances such as TVs or anything else that produces heat. The heat will cut down the lifespan of the flowers.

Hardly. There is a rabbit but its porcelain and still has the good taste to admire the flowers. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Hardly. There is a rabbit but its porcelain and still has the good taste to admire the flowers. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

These small red hybrid tea roses are sitting on my den coffee table so I can enjoy them when I am working.

I could have cut them with longer stems but I chose to keep them small. The smaller bouquets are easier to incorporate into a room close to where everyone can enjoy them.

Charlotte

Framed Gift Bird Card

I received this lovely hand-painted bird card from a friend over Christmas.

I received this lovely hand-painted bird card from a friend over Christmas.

Framed Gift Bird Card

I know sending cards is not in style any more but I am lucky to still receive them every once in awhile. And when they are handmade, who needs to buy art, here it is delivered to your mailbox.

This past Christmas, a friend sent me this lovely hand-painted bird card, a combination of bluebird and hummingbird on an old printed book page in french with a solid blue paper background.

This friend is going through a very difficult time so I kept the card on my kitchen counter for weeks to keep her in my thoughts and prayers. One morning, I realized I wanted this bird with me every day and found a perfect spot for it on a wall right off my kitchen. 

Taking it with me to a local thrift shop, I found a frame I thought would work to set off the card's blue background. The recycled frame was $2.

I don't always find something that quickly, nor does a frame easily come apart but it was a good start.

This framed print at a local thrift shop was $2 and nicely set off the bird card.

This framed print at a local thrift shop was $2 and nicely set off the bird card.

Carefully removing the backing, I removed the frame, used it for the backing to the card and put it back in the frame. I thought about taking the solid blue card off but on second thought, left it on. I wanted to remember the story my friend had written, and the blue card reminded me.

The print in the frame served as the backing for the bird card.

The print in the frame served as the backing for the bird card.

This way I get to enjoy the card every day I see it without spilling anything on it. 

It's now part of a collection of three similar handmade birds, all cards friends have given me over the years. Love the memories they hold.

Turned out quite nicely, don't you think?

Charlotte

'Tis the Season Framed Button Tree

This is so simple, it would be very easy to make as long as one could find one's button stash.

This is so simple, it would be very easy to make as long as one could find one's button stash.

'Tis the Season Framed Button Tree

Once again, I picked up this little "Tis the Season" Framed Button Tree thinking it would inspire me to make something similar. I ended up framing it and setting it out on one of my side tables. With all of the richness one associates with holiday decorating, this very simple little button tree is a nice contrast.

When I was growing up, we would call these sparse Christmas trees "Charlie Brown trees" after the little Christmas tree with one ornament made famous in the Charles Schultz cartoons.

We also would say Merry Christmas instead of the more prevalent and supposedly politically-correct  Happy Holidays. One year, before 140-character Twitter, I even abbreviated Christmas to Xmas to get it to fit in a headline and someone took issue with the abbreviation....sometimes I think we get too wound around the wrong thing.

A visiting friend noted she would be tempted to make a similar framed tree with t-shirt paints and specialty buttons, certainly an option. How much simpler, though, to raid one's fabric stash and embroidery basket, pull out a remnant, embroider a little tree frame and add buttons from the button jar.

Even the misspelling adds charm, 'tis is short for "It is."

Well, regardless of what you call it or how you frame it, 'tis the season. Merry Christmas!

Charlotte

 

Boo!

One of my colleagues made these charming paper towel ghosts to hang over our office reception area for Halloween.

To make sure no one was really scared, she added little faces to each of the ghosts. The heads are crumpled up paper, although she said she could have used lollipops.
Tape holds the paper in the round head hanging by thread.
Cute project for kids to make.
After spooking, the ghosts can easily be recycled.
Trick or treat!

Charlotte

Welcome

Welcome to Made Just For You.

I started Bluebird Gardens in 1998 on the premise that everyone can make
something; they just don’t always think of it as being special.
In my world, it is the thought that counts.
I’ll let you in on a little secret; making something for someone is
sometimes more fun than giving it away.
I’ll be featuring those wonderful homemade handmade things,
and the people who are special enough to get them.

What are you making?

Charlotte