at home with Alfresco

Are you a little bower bird like me? I'm constantly seeing little sparkly 'things' that catch my eye, begging for me to take home. A walk on the beach always ends with my pockets overflowing with seaglass, shells, driftwood or anything mother nature has created that I desire to give a good home.

The question when I return home is, how do I display these little treasures to their best potential? Yes, I can 'pop them in a bowl' but if you're a collector like me, soon enough every spare surface in your home is filled with bowls. One of the most personal and effective ways to showcase your memories and little finds is with a printer's tray. They can be used to house collections of fishing lures, shells, jewellery, baby treasures and basically anything you desire that fits into the spaces.

A printer's tray filled with shells.

A filled printer's tray displayed island style.

We have been sourcing printer's trays for years now and I love seeing how our customers use them. The trays themselves always have a grand story. Once we sourced a full printer's tray case, which housed about 12 trays. It was from an old print house in England and each tray had old-half-peeled stickers with the name of the font it once contained. The trays were used to hold the letters of the alphabet, numbers, and any symbol that is used in print. Gone is the prevalence of these artisan merchants, however, I believe it is now up to us to upcycle the old letters and tools of the trade, giving them a new life.

A stack of old printer's trays in the original cabinet.

A special gift


We have a couple of mother/daughter teams who work in our Bundall store in QLD. My favourite (we are family after all) is Kathy and my cousin Brittany. For Kathy's recent birthday Brittany made up a very special printers tray as a gift. It is filled with shells they have collected together on walks down at Kingscliff beach, little scrabble letters representing the names of people in their family and Brittany painted a love heart on the back of one of the scrabble tiles. It has become a piece of art that hangs proudly in their family room, filled with love and great memories for everyone to share. What more could a mum ask for on her birthday.

Brittany's Tray filled with shells.