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The Sparrow Studio



Filtering by Tag: Rwanda

Design Inspiration With Sarah Caligiuri

Annie Phillips


I’m delighted to introduce you to someone who’s style inspires me, Sarah Caligiuri! You can find Sarah over on Instagram at

A friend of mine told me to follow Sarah’s Instagram account, and I was immediately drawn to the photos of her lovely home due to the cheerful colors and the way she doesn’t shrink back from layering patterns and textiles. Then as I spent more time on her page, I realized that I saw some of the same items on repeat but always in a fresh new way. That appealed to me personally as I try to be a conscious consumer. Before buying something new, I like to shop my mom’s garage or a friend’s closet. And when I am buying things to sell here at The Sparrow Studio, I prioritize products made with upcylced and re-purposed materials, such as our paper bead necklaces, woven grass bracelets, and earrings made from melted down brass padlocks from the junkyard.


Sarah was kind enough to style one of our baskets from Rwanda in several different rooms to share just how she works her magic. I asked her a few questions to explain her process to our community.

The Sparrow Studio: How do you describe your home aesthetic?

Sarah: It’s always hard for me to describe my style, but I guess the best way to sum it up would be global bohemian with an eclectic, wanderlust, colorful, and jungle flair!


TSS: What is your motivation for sharing your home on Instagram, anyway?

Sarah: In sharing my style and home, I hope to inspire people to work with the space they have, whether it be old, small, or rented (like mine). I hope my followers with not hesitate to make their space their own. Anyone can create a personalized sanctuary and have fun doing it! It doesn’t have to be too serious or permanent.

TSS: What tips can you offer to others wanting to re-fresh their homes?

Sarah: I want to inspire people to only bring pieces they love into their home and to rearrange often! It’s important to stay in harmony with your environment. Moving things around can create a whole new feel and flow to your space. Switch around your plants, accessories, pillows, and even your furniture, rugs, and art to give your home a new look. You don’t have to spend money to make your home somewhere magical… whatever way that looks like to you.


Thank you to Sarah Caligiuri for styling one of The Sparrow Studio’s baskets from Rwanda and for sharing your design tips with us!

Our full collection of baskets can be found here! Each basket is purchased at a fair wage and handmade in Rwanda from natural, sustainable plant fibers using traditional techniques. Each basket takes 3-6 days to create and is one-of-a-kind. We work with artisans who set their own prices for these baskets and who create their own designs for each basket. Your purchase supports the local traditions and talents of the Rwandans.

Leave a comment TELLING US YOUR FAVORITE BASKET IN THE WEB SHOP on this blog post below, and we will draw one name to win a Small Market Basket!

THANK YOU! 2016 was a total success!

Annie Phillips

You shopped and pre-ordered and shared about us on social media; and we grew, our artisan partners met goals and felt your love.  The image above is from our Rwandan partner's Christmas party.  Through your donations and purchases, we were able to gift each woman a Bible, a hymn book, and a journal.  If you can't tell, they were VERY HAPPY about these gifts. Tears were shed and shouts of joy shared.  Many women expressed that they thought they'd NEVER own something so precious as a Bible.  They couldn't believe it.  Look at the joy you've given them!  We can't thank you enough.  

We have several great growth markers we'd like to share with you and a few prayer requests. We'll focus on More Than Sparrows, our Rwandan co-op partners, in this blog update.  Annie and I were able to FaceTime with Jane, our NEW manager, and Cheryl, the world's most outstanding volunteer, back in November, and it was such a gift to us.  We learned that, with Cheryl's guidance, the 34 women in the cooperative have created budgets, are earning a steady salary each month, and taking many tangible strides in growing and managing their business.  We are so encouraged by this news!  They are pursuing wholesale orders in Europe and Australia, so if you have any connections with shop owners, please email us (   And if you are in Kigali, please be sure to stop by The Shop Kigali- their retail spot.  

Another great stride, as previously mentioned, is that the fabulous Usanase Jane has grown from being our interpreter and hands on helper to our official manager.  Jane is generous, hard working, smart as a whip, and in the front right of the picture in a white dress.  We are so excited to have her step into this role.  And she is in the midst of filling a giant order for us. Please pray for her as she settles in.  

Changes are also on the horizon for More Than Sparrows, Rwanda has passed a new law saying that co-ops can no longer meet in houses, which is what most co-ops do.  Its what we do. Please pray for the right spot to open for them and for God to provide the finances they need to make the move.

Thank you, again, for your care and support.  Great changes are happening in the lives of our artisans.  Step by step and purchase by purchase we are seeing real growth.  Y'all are amazing. 

P.S. Don't forget to sign up for our monthly newsletter to get insider deals.  We will only ever send you good things!  And we will never share your email.   

You did it!

Annie Phillips


You did it!

Dear Reader,

We want to tell you of a little dream come true. For 2 years Annie and I have been longing for the Rwandan co-op's school age kids to be in school. We have played around with lots of different ideas for sponsorship and incentive programs. And like anything in life there were pros and cons to all our ideas. Ultimately we want the most kids in school for the most years. But we also want to accomplish that in the most dignified manner, where the moms are choosing the schools, the moms are paying for the schools (in Rwanda, that means tuition, books, and uniforms), and the moms are overseeing attendance and schoolwork. The ladies we work with have had many choices denied them in their lives. We don't need to make more decisions for them. We have striven to listen to their goals and then work together to come up with plans to meet those goals. And for the most part the goals are fairly straightforward- to have enough work to feed their families, to have enough work to pay the rent, to have enough work to move away from abusive situations, to have enough work to pay for school. So this year Annie and I set a business goal to purchase three times more product than ever before, with our eye to providing enough work for the ladies to cover school fees. And the ladies set a goal to make enough to pay themselves a monthly salary that would allow themselves to set monthly budgets for themselves and look to the future with hope and sanity. (Have you ever tired to seriously plan for the year ahead but had no idea if you were going to make plenty or zero? It's really hard). That brings me to the happy ending of Chapter One. This week we celebrated good attendance and good grades, really good kids, and really good moms. We celebrated with cake, mother-student relay races, and cash bonuses (because what kid doesn't like a few dollars in his very own pocket for the very first time?) Thank you to all of our donors and shoppers! We humbly and genuinely could not have done this without you.  And a huge thank you to Jane and Cheryl, our leadership on the ground in Kigali, for making it happen.  And if you want to learn even more about this outstanding group at the More Than Sparrows co-op, you can hop over to this guest blog post about a Typical Tuesday.

We hope that your holiday purchases will be reminders in your home of all we have to celebrate- a season to be incredibly grateful, a season when Hope came to the world, and lives changed through generosity and kindness.  Now get to shopping so we can start 2017 off with even more growth and orders for our dear friends in Rwanda!  ;)  Jump over to the SHE Holiday Guide for amazing tips on having a richer, healthier holiday season.  We're so honored to be featured!

And just in case you didn't see the announcement on Instagram , YOU FAR EXCEEDED our goal for our first order with our new partners in Haiti!  We asked you to spend $450, and y'all blew our minds by pre-ordering about $2500 worth of product!  YOU ARE AN AMAZING COMMUNITY, and we are so so very grateful!