Or greenish, anyway. I thought I would take a breather from my furniture fail tale to share something with more fun in it, inherently.
Despite my grumpiness on the sofa question, eco-friendly can also be modern, affordable and well-designed. Most people know all about Etsy, the wonderful and wild DIY marketplace in which only the crafty survive. (And I hope you also know about Regretsy, “where DIY meets WTF.” Snicker.)
Etsy, of course, is also a great source of green and handmade items, including decor, toys and organic hand-knitted clothing. I particularly like two wooden toy companies, Little Sapling Toys and The Wood Garden:
In addition, there are adorable prints for the nursery from many artisans, like this one:
(I used Etsy’s formerly-amazing Alchemy function, in which you could dream up what you need and have artisans bid for your attention like courtesans. At least, you used to be able to do this, before the Etsy folks put the function on ice. A replacement is eventually promised, and in the meantime, I gather Artfire’s Forge now does the same thing, so you could try there.)
Basically, I ordered fabric and batting from NearSea Naturals, a wonderful organic fabric company, and had it sent to an crafter (no longer on Etsy), who made this beautiful quilt and bedding set, with simple matching curtain valances:
What I didn’t realize is that babies and toddlers have about as much use for bedding as I have for a sewing machine.
While it’s a devastatingly cute idea to outfit the crib, and all the stores push the stuff, what you really need is a decent organic mattress and fitted crib sheet — the rest is, basically, just an adorable strangulation hazard. (This set, thankfully, is not too babyish, as it will have to do until Maya is a gangly, protesting pre-teen.)
I’ve also asked crafters to design custom items for me on several occasions, including these affordable and sweet decoupage frames with paper I picked out from Scappin’ Sassy (given the materials, I let them off-gas away from the nursery for a month or so before hanging):
Custom pillows are a cheap way to reinvigorate tired or staid old furniture, like this shoe bench, leather chair and 2 rocking chairs (one was my mother’s from when I was a baby, and one we acquired at a yard sale for $5 with no usable cushion).
This makes them new again with modern patterns. Rocking chair pillows, in particular, are usually deadly with quaintness. You could go super-organic with these, as you like and have the budget:
These were all made from my fabric selections by the very talented Maureen of 2 and 2 Together. I re-upholstered the ottoman in the matching fabric (I’m dangerous with a staple gun…).
Etsy also solved a space problem in our narrow cabinets caused by the fact that we have a lot of spices. “Spice” was one of Maya’s first words, so she evidently shares our obsession with star anise.
After weeks of looking in vain for a spice rack that could hold 50+ spices, I found a woodworker, who now has his own on-line shop at Custom Quality Crafts, who made a beautiful, towering solid wood spice rack in a nice cherry stain to match the kitchen cabinets, and at a very reasonable price ($72, plus shipping):
I recycle old spice jars by putting chalkboard contact paper on them. Most of the time, anyway, it doesn’t wear off. We use this when a recipe is missing, oh, je nais se quoi: