Tag Archives: HutchFEST

Handmade & Luxurious

November 5, 2019 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Sarah Parys is the one-woman entrepreneur behind East Parlor, an online vendor of handwoven home goods and accessories. She’s a weaver based in Omaha with an eye for simple, classic looks and stylish color combinations. And, since she makes her products from natural materials such as cotton, wool, and bamboo, she appeals to environmentally conscious shoppers who prefer handmade items over mass-produced, manufactured goods.

“They want the one-of-a-kind thing,” says Parys of her customers.

East Parlor items are available on Etsy, where customers are able to order customized pieces. Parys says many of her goods, such as her large, woven wall hangings, are made without patterns, so each will be unique just by the nature of her process.

Offline, her woven items are available in a few locations. In Omaha, Parys sells her goods through Made In Omaha and at local maker fairs like Hutchfest and Bench: MADE.

One of her customers, Vera Petersen, co-owner and head of community engagement of Bench, bought a scarf and wall tapestry after seeing Parys at local maker fairs. She describes Parys’ products as having a rich, high-end feel to them. You have to touch them to understand the reasoning behind the price, she says.

“It’s almost hard to believe that it’s handmade,” says Petersen. “There’s a good luxury quality about it.”

Parys didn’t set out to work with fibers. While studying at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, she focused on drawing and mixed media. She even sold some of her drawings. Then, a few years ago, she noticed a trend. Tapestry weavings were gaining in popularity, so she decided she’d try it out.

With the help of books and Youtube videos, Parys taught herself the basics. And she loved it. She learned to make more designs and got herself larger and larger looms.

Now, more than four years later, Parys works out of her home. A mom to seven boys, ages 1 to 17, she weaves when she can—typically during naptime and after bedtime.

“It’s not finding the time, it’s making the time,” she says.

She fits her business around family life. A large four-shaft loom rests in the corner of the dining room beside the dinner table and ironing board. She buys most of her yarns online, and some locally at Personal Threads Boutique and ImaginKnit Yarn Shop. A few hand towels she recently made from hemp are stacked on the table. A couple of her pillows are on a chair.

Depending on the size and design of a project, Parys dedicates about two to three hours to weave a scarf; wall tapestries, which tend to be larger, require more than three hours.

With a few years in the business, Parys has learned to simplify her workload to what she knows sells best. “After doing this for a while, I have my staple ones I like to do,” she says. “Simple ones…Tone it back and keep it real simple.”

She’s learned the textures and colors that appeal to a wide audience, and those best-sellers continue to do well.

Petersen bought one of those pieces.

“She has a pattern right now—maroon, white, and a unique blue,” describes Petersen. “That one blew up and everyone loved it, and she made a bunch of them. It was perfect, exactly what I wanted.”

Visit etsy.com/shop/eastparlor to see more of Parys’ work or to purchase a custom piece. 

Pick Your Poison

August 23, 2018 by
Photography by Todd Ashmore, Kathy Rae Photography (provided) and contributed

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Pick of the Week—Saturday, August 25: Like quick road trips? Like books? Maybe even enough that you would like to write one? Then you won’t want to miss the Nebraska Book Festival this weekend in Lincoln. You can catch appearances by authors, workshops, book signings, exhibitors, poetry readings, and family activities. Best of all, you can commiserate with like-minded, book-loving fools about the loss of appreciation for physical, paper books and the enticing smell they emit. Plus, you can swing by the Omaha Publications booth to pick up our latest issues. Read more about it here. (You know you want to.)

Thursday, August 23rd to Saturday, August 25Fashionistas, unite! Omaha Fashion Week started on Monday, but things really get rolling tonight with the Harmony: Featured Designer Showcase. On Friday, you can catch the Movement: Featured Designer Showcase, with the VIP Runway Finale blowing things up on Saturday night. Be sure to arrive fashionably early to these events for the Pretty in Patina pre-parties. Be sure to check out this Encounter story on tonight’s ethereal headliner, AD Delgado. Learn more about this weekend’s schedule and get your tickets for Omaha’s most fashionable affair here.

Saturday, August 25Wondering what to do with that six-pack of Natty Ice your friend left in your fridge? Don’t wait for desperate times. Instead, bring it in for Brickway’s Fourth Annual Beer Amnesty Week. Bring in your swill, and they will replace it with a six-pack of their own flavorful brews for only $1. The week culminates in a fourth annual Slip & Slide Celebration at Sumtur Amphitheater where there will also be giant Jenga, live music, food, and of course, beer. A showing of Back to the Future Part III will happen once the sun goes down on the DeLorean. (And yes, there will be a DeLorean. No, you can’t drive it.) Learn more here.

Saturday, August 25Tired of the usual brunch regime? Check out theAugust Cars & Caffeine show this Saturday at Countryside Village. This is a monthly event from April through October, put on by Countryside Cars and Caffeine on the last Saturday of the month from 8-10 a.m. It’s a good reason to knock the dust off that classic beauty or to show off your new, high-end honey. Find out more here.

Sunday, August 26Get to HutchFEST’s third annual Maker’s Fair this Sunday for all the handmade goods you could want. With over 250 vendors showing off their wares in NoDo, you are sure to find that one thing to tie that room together—or that one thing you didn’t even know you needed until you saw it. Worried this will interfere with your Sunday funday plans? Don’t. There will be beer gardens and bloody mary/mimosa stations throughout, plus brunch-style food trucks on hand to feed your cravings. Throw in live music, lawn games, some swag, and the fact that this event benefits local non-profit New North Makerhood, and there’s really no better way to spend your last day of the weekend. Purchase your tickets (for only $5) here.