Words of late artist Frank Howell...I totally relate!

"There are few days off and no retirement from this entanglement of knowledge, passion and vision that will be molded and converted into creative expression. There are no guarantees of acceptance, understanding or reward, but...the noise inside the mind never ceases. I will paint today, tonight and for as many tomorrows as I am given..." Words of the late artist Frank Howell...

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Creative Kitchen Storage Solution

So, I took a couple of days off to just clean...as I was cleaning, I came up with some things to tell you about.  A creative kitchen storage solution using vintage picnic baskets!

I was dusting and cleaning my picnic baskets, and I thought...this is something that I should share with you.  Not everyone has a very open kitchen like mine, but almost everyone always needs more storage space.  Right?  My kitchen was built just the way I wanted it, without base cabinets.  I don't care much for traditional cabinets; I don't care much for traditional anything...I would rather have a little traditional mixed with the unexpected- Funky- Edgy- Crunchy- Bohemian- Casual.   I just wanted a center island with base cabinets on the kitchen side for cookie sheet, baking pans, muffin tins, pie plates and such, and file drawers on the living room side, with some adjustable shelves to use for display and storage.  My sweet Daddy built my island for me, and it's perfect! 

Island on the right, coming out of pantry...
On either side of my range, I have commercial stainless steel tables, and windows- no upper cabinets at all.  The stainless steel tables each have one shelf at the bottom, which I use for appliance storage, cookbooks, and other things.   I have a large walk-in pantry, so there is really no need for a lot of cabinets.  

Looking from the kitchen into the pantry...
I have my white vintage cabinet from Virginia for my everyday dishes, and the food is all stored in the pantry, along with seasonal decorative props and catering pots, pans and more dishes.  I have never "catered" as a business, but have always cooked masses of food for large gatherings that I hold from time to time at home.  Many of the small things (candle holders, tea light candles, napkin rings, napkins, place card holders, extra flatware...) are easily found when kept organized together in baskets and containers.  These are the things that most people would keep in cabinet drawers, I suppose.  In keeping with my love for mixing things up visually (contemporary with vintage), I use old wooden/wood slat picnic baskets right along with the stainless steel industrial look to hold my small kitchen gadgets. The basket pictured below conveniently holds my folded tea towels and dishcloths, just within easy reach of the sink.

To the right of the range, just below the marble slab that I use for baking, there is a basket with baking gadgets...measuring cups and spoons, microplane zester, gadget for shaving chocolate, and the attachments for my Kitchen Aid stand mixer.

In the corner of the dining area, by the white cabinet, is my "tower of baskets"- each one holding things that I rarely have to get to...such as canning supplies, Christmas and other holiday napkins, and random glass things in the bottom one.  You just have to be careful to make sure that the baskets holding the heavier items are on the bottom.  My cocktail napkin basket is the lightest weight one, and is on the top.

In the front of the island, there is a basket that holds little glass covered dishes that I use for sugar bowls at the coffee bar.  

I only took a few pictures, but I have stuff stored away in picnic baskets all over the house.  It's a favorite storage solution in my studio, where things could turn into a hot mess if not kept organized.  There, because there is so much,  I like to hang little paper tags off to the front so that I can see at a glance what is actually inside, and they make nice flat surfaces on which to display other objects in the studio.  Just to give you ideas- in the studio, a basket holds all types of glue along with the glue guns, extension cords and glue sticks- another holds bits of scrap fabrics- one holds candle making supplies- and yet another one holds soap making supplies. As you can see, they are just great little storage solutions for all around the house.  And, as a bonus, they are pretty!

I love the leather handles on the one above!

This one goes with the same look, but it's actually lined with metal on the inside.  It was a picnic cooler!  How cool is that?  They are hard to find, so if you see one, snatch it up in a hurry!

I love the discoloration around the nails on the top of this one!

I  use OrangeGlo to keep my baskets in tip top shape.  It makes the wood look happy!  Just spray it on a cloth and wipe away the dust... it moisturizes the wood at the same time.

Okay, so this post is looking real natural and brown!!!  So, for a pop of color, I'll just include a really close up shot of a pretty candle that sits on the table, with it's mirrored surface picking up the surrounding color.

Isn't this a pretty complement to the rough texture of all that oak?  

Now I feel much better...and that's what I find myself doing all the time.  Balancing this with that, rough with smooth, old with new, texture with shiny...

Hope I've given you something that was helpful today!  Thanks for stopping by...If you like what you see here, I would love to have you follow me by e-mail.  You can sign up at the top right side under "subscribe"...


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  1. I love using picnic baskets for storage :) I am always on the look out for more ! Thanks for sharing. Your kitchen is lovely. Janita

  2. Thank you for your sweet comment Janita, and I hope you find many more picnic baskets! Thanks for visiting.