Clutter Control a Simple Toddler Play Area

Thank you Brooklyn Limestone readers for your visit today!

I am a minimalist, I always have been, I hope that I always will be. I like lots of open space, I like things orderly, I like white. Those former sentiments are not in line with having a baby/toddler. A baby adds a host of items that you never even would have dreamed you would own, and when they get to the toddler stage, it seems most of those items can usually be found tossed haphazardly across the room in a gust of chaos. Before E. was born we had been living in the country in a large house on 4 acres, we traded that in so we could indulge in the little things like being able to walk to the grocery store and non-well water showers, that move has also compromised our space. We have a much tinier living space now and I was at an impasse as to how to create an area for our daughter to play in that would seamlessly flow with our living area, I didn’t want to do anything permanent as we are renting. I looked into baby gates, all of which were pretty hideous. I then got the idea of using a couple of Ikea Kallax shelves on their sides to create a little play area, the shelves created an open ‘division’ and doubled as much needed toy storage with the added baskets on the bottom of the units. The upper shelves we rotate out toys, putting her current faves out for easy access. If in the evening I feel the desire to have an adult space to relax in, I can easily put all the toys in the storage baskets below (but truthfully I miss her when she goes to bed, so I love to see what she has left out for the day). The storage baskets which initially I thought were just a good idea, have become one of her favorite ‘toys’, it seems kids love to open and close drawers, put things in and take them out, and do it all over again. E. can spend hours just rearranging her toys in the different baskets, good times. [Read more…]

DIY Cold Brew Coffee

How-to Make Cold Brew Coffee via Besotted Blog

My great grandmother always had homemade “coffee concentrate” at the ready in her refrigerator (it was in a tall glass juice carafe with an orange lid – isn’t it strange how childhood details can etch themselves into your memory?). Grandma claimed it made for a proper cup of coffee – flavorful but smooth, without any twinge of bitterness, and it didn’t upset her stomach like coffee from a pot. Well, as any true coffee connoisseur (or mason jar coffee hipster) can tell you, Grandma was right! The cold brew process reduces acidity and concentrates the flavor of the beans, making for a gentler but richer cup.

Whipping up a batch of cold brew has been on my mind for ages,  but I’ve been deterred by the chore of filtering watery grounds through cheesecloth and a strainer – the odds of ending up with a mouthful of coffee grounds or a floor flooded in ice cold coffee seemed high. Then I heard about using a re-usable filter bag instead of a cheesecloth (the same sort of bag that’s used for making almond milk) – hooray! I promptly ordered one, and made cold brew the very next day. My taste-testers positively RAVED (Tristan’s husband requested that she order the filter for their household ASAP), and we devoured the entire 8 cups of brew in 2 days.


2.75 cups coarsely ground coffee beans (I used Trader Joe’s Organic Sumatra beans).

8 cups of good tasting water (definitely use filtered water if your tap water is less than delicious).

Place coarsely ground beans into the filter bag and set in your pitcher / container, then add water (if you’d like to make a different amount of brew just calculate a ratio of 1 part coffee grounds : 3 parts water). Refrigerate for 11-12 hours, then remove the bag of grounds- that’s it, your cold brew is ready to enjoy!

Drink it while it’s fresh! Keep your cold brew refrigerated and use it within 2 weeks (or it will start to taste like chewy old coffee – ew).


Cold: pour over ice, add milk if desired, dilute with water if needed.

Hot : 1 part concentrate to 2 parts hot water or milk.

Note: 1 part ice-cold brew even when added to boiling water makes for a lukewarm cuppa. If you like your coffee HOT, you’ll want to warm up the cold brew portion or at least bring it to room temperature.

We think bottles of cold brew would make for very stylish homemade gifts or wedding favors – don’t you? The link for the labels we created is below – you are welcome to use them too! (personal use only of course)


Here’s the filter bag I used.

This organic hemp bag was tempting too.

Coffee Bean Grinder

Label PDF

Swing Top Bottles

Kitchen Twine (used to tie on the labels)

Photo edited with Foto Rx First Aid Kit: I played Feeling Off-Color to get the white balance just right, and Slight Light at 30% opacity to make it nice an bright. 

P.S. Reading your quotes for our Maybelle Luxe kit giveaway is like a concentrated dose of inspiration! Cruise through if you haven’t peeked yet, and there’s still time to enter if you have a favorite quote to share!

P.P.S. The font I used for the cold brew labels was created for the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum – and it’s FREE! I recommend heading over to download it asap.

Author / Miss Michelle P.

Miss Michelle P. is a photographer, and the co-creator of Foto Rx Premium Photoshop Actions. She lives in the Pacific Northwest. Her muse is light.


DIY Industrial Shelf

AROUND HERE JUNE 21Michelle and I are enjoying our summer (and I hope you are too). I suppose if you are on the other side of the globe than keeping cozy with your winter (hard to envision winter when it’s 90 + out). We are doing a ‘best of besotted’ this week. These are the posts that you found the most interesting or shared with others (we thank you). Hopefully some of these posts will be new to you and just as exciting as it was for others. Enjoy!

I had been seeing these pipe shelves crop up all over the internet and really wanted to try my hand at making one; I had a couple of obstacles 1) I have a hard time following directions 2) I don’t own any real power tools (a drill + mini sander but those don’t really count now, do they?) My husband is not handy but he sure is handsome so there’s that. So here is my “Cliff” notes version of how this came about. Last summer I decided to give it a try. At Home Depot I eyed the plumbing pipes longingly (as one does) when a salesperson asked if he could help me, I told him that I wanted to make a pipe shelf but they didn’t have pipes in the sizes I needed and I didn’t have tools, (insert crazy look here) I showed him some on-line images, and he said no problem they could cut the pipes to any size I needed for a nominal fee. I went home and started figuring out my exact dimensions needed. This is important since a lot of the DIY instructions on-line are for what worked for that individual, if you are going to make this, make it so it works for you. I had a very long narrow closet where I wanted this to go, so I knew my boards/shelves needed to have a narrow profile (these were cut for free to size at Home Depot, I think Lowes does free cuts as well). I used the standard 2′ x 4’s. I chose to make my bottom shelf higher so I could fit my filing boxes in neatly, which were tall and narrow. I also added metal casters so I could easily roll the shelf out of the slim closet and could see everything. It was smooth sailing from there–sanding, stain + polyurethane for the aesthetics, for functionality, I used Gorilla glue and screws to get all the pipe flanges in place and that was it. It was a weekend project because of the staining and wood glue which needed to dry but it comes together so fast and it did not look like a DIY project, in fact I sold it for a pretty penny when I moved and that was out in the middle of nowhere (the photo above was from my Craigslist listing), just imagine if I lived in the city?! I am now wanting to make a whole studio space in our tiny city loft and this image has my wheels spinning.

If you need more detailed instructions for this project I have collected some here:

Industrial shelf (they set their shelves on top of the pipes instead of screwing them directly into the shelves like I did).

Here’s the same concept for a coffee table that I think looks equally as good and would probably be the easiest of all the pipe projects.

Be still my beating heart, the already lovely Roost just got even lovelier (hard to believe but it’s true!) My jaw is still on the floor…

I get a lot of emails each day, but one of my very favorites is the word of the day from Merriam Webster, it not only gives you the word + definition but also the pronunciation and in context examples! It makes me feel like I accomplished at least one great thing each day.

I haven’t been up for doing much lately, but I did download the Graveminder by Melissa Marr (it was on sale!). I am not a big fiction reader but when I do read it I always wonder why I don’t read it more often. I am not that deep into the book, but I’m already impressed with Ms. Marr’s imagination, how did she come up with such things? From the reviews this isn’t even her most creative book, my curiosity has been peaked.

On a whim the other night my husband and I watched Extreme Couponing, my husband is appalled by the stock piling and I agree there’s not a lot I could/would eat (100 packs of hot dogs anyone?) but gosh darn am I impressed by how much these couponers save. It has me motivated to look into it a little further, I found this site that gives you a crash course. I would love to have a stock pile of basics like laundry detergent, wouldn’t you?

The Visual Supply Company aka VSCO has just updated their VSCAM app and I love it even more (if that’s possible). I always recommend it as the app to get if you are trying to recreate that film look with your cameraphone. The app is free and has plenty of filter choices, scroll down here to see some awe inspiring sample images.

Couldn’t get enough of my blogging unsolicited blogging advice? Well here’s some more links to inspire more great content from Alt Summit!

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the co-creator of the world’s best + easiest product photography editing tool-Foto Rx | Shopkeeper’s Helper and one of the writer’s of this delightful blog. Her lofty goal here is to make this a creative resource repository and to inspire you to fall truly, madly, deeply in love with your life.

Free flourish brush download

flourish brushes download via besotted blog

This has been such a roller coaster week for me, I went from having many private pity parties, to utter elation, to feelings of uh-oh how are we going to conquer the next task we have in front of us? Lot’s of self doubt mixed in with a lot of ‘we got this’ and back again. Michelle thinks that lack of sleep would make anyone feel off, rational me says, ‘by Jove, that’s it!’   Irrational me, well, you don’t want to hear from irrational me, just reference the ol’ pity party above. So, yes, it’s been quite the spectrum of emotions this week. I am anxious to delve deeper with you and share our experience with launching a product, marketing on-line authentically and what has worked and what hasn’t. I came to blogging as a way to share my distress with an evil boss (interestingly enough we are actually on very good terms now), but I know the struggle of wanting to do something you love for a living. I believe it’s absolutely possible but it may not look like you originally envisioned, the road to that dream may be a bit bumpy, have an abundance of detours and perhaps you may even get derailed. I have this bit of wisdom for you, something I have been re-reading again and again, from the indefatigable Thomas A. Edison:

I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.

I am completely and utterly grateful for the support of our new company and its launches, it has blown me away. The best part of this adventure is actually accomplishing what we set out to do, we wanted to make something that helped people, helped them make more money doing what they love and to see that it’s working? Freakin’ fabulous! So why the pity parties?  I think it’s easy to reflect on what hasn’t worked in the past and feel like you have wasted time/failed, but maybe I should just focus on what Mr. Edison said….

Michelle photographed this delicious treat we obviously can’t share with you, but we can share the flourishes I made using our brand, spanking new Vitamin L25 | Paper to Pixel Photoshop actions, booya! Go ahead download them here and use them however your heart desires!

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the co-creator of the world’s best + easiest product photography editing tool-Foto Rx | Shopkeeper’s Helper and one of the writer’s of this delightful blog. Her lofty goal here is to make this a creative resource repository and to inspire you to fall truly, madly, deeply in love with your life.


pink cockatoo

What a wonderful and whirlwind week it has been!  We are so happy with our launch of Shopkeeper’s Helper, our photoshop actions that  make product photo editing a breeze. Just when we were about to kick up our heels on the desk, and throw our hands behind our head in the classic relaxation pose we got a mention from Yahoo on Calligraphy making a comeback, really? How about that? We had a lot of  new visitors here and thought we should ramp up our efforts to launch the Lettering Love (working title of course) Photoshop actions set. We are hoping this will help a ton of those lettering artists out there (new and seasoned) to help clean up their lettering and get it ready for use on the web. We are thinking you might just love it.

Today in appreciation for our wonderful week we are making our little birdy print available for download. Michelle sourced it and gave it a little birdy makeover so we could shoot the very challenging white on white image for our pdf and video. You can download it here. Speaking of downloads, by joining our Foto Rx mailing list you will receive a download of a free mini set of Social media template actions, that’s right free and of course you can unsubscribe at any time. Enjoy friends!

P.S. Thank you again to Coco & Mingo for showing off her Foto Rx results!

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