Blogging Beautiful Baskets!

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I have a special fondness for baskets. I use them for everything….setting out small groups of toys, arranging a family of books together for display, setting out a collection of tools for a small activity, gathering small hand puppets together. If you read here at all, you know how much I adore a charming display of objects in pretty baskets.

Almost all of the baskets I use around my home were acquired through the thrift store for a few cents apiece. The treasure hunt of finding a delicate basket just right for holding a tiny group of acorns is a thrill! I have a basket of books for just about every theme, season, and person in my home – including myself. I have to tell you though, my basket was overflowing with books and periodicals…overflowing into two baskets. The baskets I used to hold my books were a very nice size, but one was oval in shape (as are most of my baskets), and sadly, it wasn’t the sturdiest of baskets. I began to consider purchasing a few quality baskets for some of the books and objects around here that could benefit from a specific size basket made of good quality.

I asked the ladies of 4Real about their favorite baskets. In the responses I discovered a treasure of a source that I can’t wait to share with you! Peterboro Baskets!

Peterboro is a family owned company that has been in the business of making baskets since 1854 and they have a huge offering of sizes and shapes. Now, surely you know that once I saw that this business was family owned and made their baskets right here in the good ole’ USA, offered free shipping, had frequent coupon code offerings and sales, and a variety of nice, large baskets to choose from that I was absolutely drooling at the possibilities.

So, now that you know where to shop πŸ™‚ let me give you a peak at my lovely baskets and how they’re working in my home! I find them to be absolutely captivating in their simplicity. They’re quite sturdy with wide strips of Appalachian White Ash weaving so that they don’t snag delicate books or objects. I ahem initially thought of purchasing just a couple of baskets…but, I was inspired…so….lets just say that we did our part to stimulate the economy!

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Here’s my new book basket. This is the Peterboro large shopper. I did choose most of my baskets from Peterboro’s current tent sale and this is one of them. It’s actually one of two that I purchased. I love that it has handles and easily holds my larger books without tipping. It will live under this sunny window, but I often grab my book basket and go to the couch and read, or a rocking chair in my sunny bedroom so the handles are quite nice for moving the basket. I also really appreciate that the handles fold down. This feature might be overlooked, but I often slide a basket under a table or in a smallish niche and a large, arching handle can get in the way.

I have arranged and rearranged this basket so many times rethinking my book stacks, arranging my easy reading (favorite periodicals like Faith and Family, Mater et Magistra, catalogs I’m marking up) and current reads – I’m only reading 3 books in tandem right now! Here’s how I organize my reading basket:

**Books that I want to read go on the left with the book I wish to start next up front.

**Catalogs that come in the mail go on the right. I keep a pencil and pen in the basket to mark up catalogs as well as a small group of post-its. If there is something I want to order, the catalog stays in this stack towards the back so that when I have saved the money to order the item I can go right to it because I’ve done the research and marked color, size, and other particulars in the catalog already. Confession…I love catalog shopping! If it has been a really long day…you know…one of those days….you’ll probably find me sitting on the couch with a fresh catalog and a pen window shopping! πŸ™‚

**Favorite periodicals stay in a collection on the right as well. I like to find a quiet evening to curl up around a favorite magazine, but if I leave it sitting out it quickly becomes fair game for shredding or getting lost. So – they all go in a stack in my reading basket for when I have time to read them.

**Finally, the books I’m in the middle of reading stay on the right as well. I have a terrible habit of reading multiple books at once. Perhaps it’s the sanguine in me that hops around from one pretty flower to the next so quickly…I don’t know. I do wish I would just pick up one delightful book at a time, but alas… So there are always several books here in the process of being read. I use a pencil for a bookmark. Another confession…I read with a pencil. I underline everything that inspires me. Does anyone else read that way?

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Here’s my large book basket again…with yet another arrangement of delicious book and catalog offerings tucked inside – the first picture of my book basket (above…under the sunny window) is the most current version and I believe the arrangement I will most likely stick with. It was so nice to merge two reading baskets into one! Now, let’s look at those baskets up on my desk! Aren’t they pretty?

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This is the Peterboro Medium Storage basket…bought from their tent sale and I’m sorry to say it looks as if it is no longer available. This one is very similar though – it’s just ever so slightly longer (which wouldn’t be a bad thing in my opinion!). I keep a stash of files and notepads (for journaling my million to-do’s, ideas, craft and book lists) on my desk. This an extension of my file crate system seen here…

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My file crate system is, as you might imagine, mostly inspired from Dawn’s.

In the basket that stays on my desk I keep all those files that contain information I might need to access more often – my “inbox” for all completed work, each child gets a folder as well, all of our records for attendance, grades, etc., planning files, any pertinent files containing info for current studies, and the monthly folders from here….

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I organize my monthly seasonal and liturgical themes in the larger file crate. So, each month gets a Liturgical Year folder and also a seasonal folder. I also keep individual folders up front labeled Ordinary Time, Lent, Easter, Advent, and Christmas. This helps me keep track of and organize my ideas for living out the major seasons of the Church – crafts, recipes, resources, past plans, booklists, art that coordinates with the month or season, poetry ideas, field trip ideas, anything that coordinates! The folders give all of that information a place to land. Behind the monthly folders I keep various folders that help keep information filed and they are sorted by subject. My Montessori presentations are filed in here as well so I can try to keep up with where we’ve been and have a place to drop presentations and any observations I might have scribbled about various work. I actually purged my files and did a little tidying for mid-year record reviews…but I can see that I need to put some more thought into this over the summer. Oh, joy! A summer project already!

….but, I digress.

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This is the Peterboro Office Storage Basket and it works very nicely here on the opposite corner of my desk collecting all those things that are used frequently throughout the day.

Here’s another shot of my desk…I love a simple, uncluttered look! You can see my little bluebird fella’ down there – he makes me happy during the day! I should put him on the nature shelf right now since our February focus is birds and we have an adorable book set out about the bluebird’s nest…but I just can’t part with him! Between the bluebird and the basket you can barely make out my tiny little St. Anne statue. She may be tiny, but she’s so important to my day. I keep her front and center no matter the arrangement on my desk.

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I am using the other medium storage basket right now to arrange a few books for Peanut on his table. I’m trying to convince my husband that another book display method would work here…but I’m not sure he’s on board yet! The basket is quite nice for picking up our stack of books and moving to the couch or a sunny window for reading! See that adorable book down there on the right…Bluebird’s Nest…that’s a tufted titmouse sitting next to it – not a bluebird. No worries though – this morning I found another small bluebird I had (from the Christmas ornaments no less!) and rearranged all of Peanut’s books to reflect the February themes – birds on the nature shelf and St. Valentine in his reading basket – so all is well now with the birds! πŸ™‚ I know you’re relieved. πŸ™‚

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I did find out something so completely interesting when I was researching our February theme…did you know that tradition holds that one of the reasons we associate St. Valentine’s day with love and romance is because of the belief that February 14 is the date that birds are believed to choose their mates for nesting season! What a great connection! Thus, the two themes this month – birds and St. Valentines! πŸ™‚ Anyway, I’m sorry I don’t have updated pictures of the pretty St. Valentine book theme…I hope to get that up in a future post! Just think Tasha Tudor though!

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I have one more office storage basket I have set out for use in my kitchen. It sort of lives on my action center…this useless little triangle counterspace next to my fridge.

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It’s the perfect size for holding all the tools I need to accomplish my weekly meal planning – my calendar, my clipboard (which holds my weekly menu sheets, shopping list, and chore outlines for each room/phase of tidying the home), coupon organizer, scissors, pen, and calculator.

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It was so nice this morning to grab my basket and a couple of favorite Barefoot Contessa cookbooks and plan out our week at the sunny kitchen table. And…it makes the perfect book end to my most frequently used cookbooks! I love how this little basket gathers the little odds and ends that one would use in the kitchen planning and keeps them handy and available! Not many baskets are long enough to hold my clipboard and sturdy enough to still keep them all contained!

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Finally, I had to tell you a little about the basket pictured at the very top of my post…the one pictured here.

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This is the Farmer’s Market Shopper with red gingham liner. Isn’t it the most charming thing you’ve ever seen? The liner is a nice wipe-up friendly vinyl (but it is of a nice heavy vinyl). The weave again is very tight and snug which makes the basket very, very sturdy and equips it for countless tasks requiring a cheery basket. Who doesn’t love red gingham? Originally, I had hoped this would make a nice basket for…what else?…trips to our local Farmer’s Market! But, it is fast becoming one of my favorite baskets from Peterboro. I think it’s the lining that I love so much. It’s not quite as big as my reading baskets are, but it still holds a number of books nicely! So, I reserve the right to re-purpose this basket over and over and over again as time provides it opportunities to serve this family. πŸ™‚

This has been so much fun giving you a little tour of the new baskets! What is so great about a beautiful, sturdy basket is that they are timeless in their function and design. You could find them living and serving in any room of the house with elegant simplicity. Whether you’re inspired to stop by Peterboro baskets (for which, in spite of my excessive gushing, I make no commission πŸ™‚ ), or you have been blessed to find some very functional baskets at the thrift store, or a happy combination of them both, I think baskets thoughtfully set about the home a perfectly lovely thing.

Why not take a little time and walk around freshening your reading baskets, rearranging books and items for display today?

Hope your baskets are filled with beautiful things and joyful reminders!

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11 Comments

  1. Thanks, Jen, for a beautiful post to keep me company (very) early on a Sunday morning! I have such a hard time deciding on baskets that will work in our home, and since we have little thrifting to speak of, I need to order them online.Are the Peterboro baskets sturdy enough to use for the toys of many small boys? Right now I’m using white canvas bins for things like small cars, farm animals, knights, etc. But they get dirty and can’t be washed, and the metal bottoms poke through the fabric after a while. Cheap baskets fall apart in a matter of days, though, and I dislike plastic.

  2. Peterboro does have some great size baskets for holding toys, Angela. They *are* quite sturdy, but I’m certain there is a limit to the abuse even these baskets can take. You might just check out their site. Perhaps even if you don’t care for plastic, a few of those white dishwashing pan-type-bins would work for a while. I don’t care for plastic either, but I have about 8 of these bins I keep stacked in the laundry room and I do find uses for them…everywhere. Once the boys have gotten a wee bit older, you could easily move the plastic bins to serve in the garden or for use with the chickens or some other outside task and then consider some nicer, sturdy baskets for toys.My other suggestion would be to order just one basket of a nice size from Peterboro. The shipping is free, and then you can give it a trial run. Keep the basket out in a living area so you can watch its treatment. If it sees abuse, move the toys into something else and reclaim it as your new reading basket. πŸ™‚

  3. Oh Jen- I flit from book to book, too. The curse of a sanguine ;). And I read with a pencil, underlining just about every fourth sentence, (or copying them down into my journal if they are from the library). I love your baskets- beautiful and cheery for these looooong February days! Bless your week!

  4. Good grief….why do PICTURES OF BASKETS make me so thoroughly happy??? What stains are these? I had another thought…..this would be a good “transfer basket” for going from car to house. Handles, pretty, large…..etc…..Love ’em, Love ’em, love ’em!!!!! (too!)

  5. This was a most special post for me as i love baskets just as much as you. Thank you so much for sharing with everyone and for the supplier link. I’m off to shop and just wanted to leave a comment for you that you truly blessed my day here. God Bless!

  6. This post was so inspiring to me! I don’t have room for a desk in our learning room but I do have that little space by the fridge and I added an extension to the end of our kitchen table for my “desk” and supplies. I found some baskets around the house that would do for the little bill desk, my “school” desk, and current month files. I even took out my plastic file bin of permanent files, put in on the floor and added the current file basket on top. I spent a whole evening happily getting reorganized – just the thing for a February pick-me-up!THANK YOU!!!

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