Aug 30, 2013

Copy the Look - A Colorful Dining Nook

(Note: This post is for Rachel...who always knows my "pins")

Isn't this little banquette/nook area just so perfect and bright and cheery?  Like a breath of fresh air!

I'd move in if I could, but since that's kinda creepy, I'll use it as inspiration instead.  Here's how you can copy the look for this sublimely fun nook! (FYI: rhyming is awesome)

pillows (clockwise from top) 1, 2, 3, 4 // light // art // rug // table // sheepskin // chair

Some of the items I found are almost identical!  Love it when that happens...means I did my passion (a.k.a. "job") well.  :o)

What do you think of this design?  Would you feel welcomed to dine or inspired to serve a meal in this sort of space?

Aug 28, 2013

Peachy Keen - Are you a fan of peach decor?

Peach is one of those colors you either love or hate.  The color was super on-trend in the 80s, disappeared for a while, and surprisingly has made a major come-back of late!  I tend to not be a major fan of the hue, but then I see these photos and my opinion quickly begins to change...because it really can be quite pretty and not completely girly.  What do you think??






Not quite coral (which is more pink) and not quite orange (which is more red) - peach is a nice soft shade that can go either modern or traditional quite nicely.  And, it makes me feel all Summery!  Are you a fan of the color?  Or does it remind you too much of the 80s?  Do tell!

Aug 26, 2013

Ikea Frame Fix-Up

I couldn't pass up on this 99 cent IKEA frame.  Especially with a tube of gold Rub 'N Buff burning a hole in my craft stash...

After 2 minutes of rubbing and buffing, this bright orange frame turned into a slightly more subtle and on-trend gold leaf-looking frame.

Yes, spray paint would have been easier...but I used what was free (on-hand) and it didn't turn out too shabby.  And, I now have a place to feature my cute little printable that I got last winter from a fundraiser to support the Sandy Hook families. (similar one can be found here)

It serves as a nice reminder to keep things in perspective, let the unimportant things go, and let the little ones be kiddos while they can.

I really like it when the sun shines through the double-sided frame, making the paper look like velum.  It sort of glows!

Anyone else Run 'N Buff anything lately??  Feeling a hankerin' to do something with that little tube of wonder now? Have a happy week!

Aug 22, 2013

A Few New Things

Hey friends!  First off, I thought I'd share a few of my new "buttons" with you.  They're over yonder in the right hand margin and would love to be clicked by you (wink!).

I finally got around to sharing the "why" behind Inspired Whims.  The best part of the new About page?  You get to see a really cute pic of my darling girl.  She's so adorable, I really should charge you for getting a peek at so much cuteness.

The Design Services page tells you about the decorating help I offer to my clients.  Pass this link on to anyone you know who needs some design help.  I'm super affordable, and can help anyone anywhere - no matter how far away.  One of my clients was based out of South Korea when I helped her.  Cool, huh?

And then we have the eye-candy Portfolio page.  This takes you to a collection of some of the rooms I've done in our homes and friends' homes.  A little proof that shoestring-budget decorating can totally happen and look great!

Please check these pages out and let me know what you think of them.  I'd love any feedback.  Positive or negative...all feedback is good!

Next, I thought I'd share some recent decorating acquisitions at our house.  They're pretty raw photos - just quick snapshots of a few finds and quick projects (some finished and some still to be done...).

Sometimes I can't resist something that calls my name at IKEA.  This bowl did just that...yellow, retro-looking, unique.  Bottomline, I said "yes, you can come home with me".

I got my fiddle-leaf fig!!  This guy was on sale at our local nursery, and Homegoods had all their pots on super-sale since it's the end of the season.  And, no, I haven't killed him yet - AMAZING!

A cheap eggplant painting (marked as a "plum" on the price tag) that I found at a flea market in downtown Durham, NC.  We were there for a fun family wedding, and this became my kitschy souvenir.  Why?  I don't know.  But, it's an original oil painting...and I simply couldn't pass it up.

Did you honestly think that the above bowl was my only IKEA acquisition?  Come on - I drive like an hour to get there!!  This $10 pillow cover that I've been lusting over for a while also came home with me.  It will go in my guest room.  You'll see it there soon...

This little diamond-in-the-rough was a Craigslist find.  It's called a "hassock" (i.e. a mini-ottoman).  Yes, it's vinyl.  Yes, I'm crazy for buying it.  But, I can promise you that it will be painted soon and hopefully totally transformed out of it's 1960s glory.  This post on Little Green Notebook had me hankering for something vinyl to paint.  Jenny's transformation of a vinyl office chair is nothing short of amazing!  Her post motivated me to buy this, so you can imagine the magic she worked...

Finally, a little peek at some DIY art we've been creating around here.  My little one is totally into painting, and insists that I sit next to her with brush in hand painting my own masterpiece.  Because of this household fad, we have water colored paintings EVERYWHERE!  I popped this one in a frame because I was a little bit impressed with my "herringbone abstract".

Sorry, if this random post hit you like a 2"x4".  If you're still reading, you must be my mom or someone who loves me for some other (crazy?) reason.  Either way, I love you back!

Aug 20, 2013

Because chalkboard paint never gets old...

While some people may be bored of the chalkboard paint trend by now, I never tire of the limitless possibilities the highly versatile (and oh so forgiving!) paint offers.  It seems every day I come across a new chalkboard paint idea on Pinterest, and can't help but pin-away...just...can't...stop...myself.

This is one bathroom, with two chalk options shown...see how an easy pattern change transforms the look with only 5 minutes and a single piece of chalk?  Love it!


These elegant sconces take "juvenile" up a notch (or twelve), don't you think?  So pretty yet fun!

Why didn't I think of this??  Chalkboard paint on a door...even less commitment than on a wall.

Love this idea so much, that I'd consider doing this on a kitchen wall (inside a pantry would be a safer bet).  Chalkboard paint and chalk virtually transformed a spice rack into an art installation!

Chalkboard stair risers!  These would look great with chalk, or left bare.  Black stair risers add such depth and dimension to a stairwell.

A chalk board globe - I love this idea as a gift for your favorite world traveler.  You could even place "x"s for places you've been.

And, a final idea that may look a little familiar because you've seen in on Inspired Whims before (I can't help but love my own handiwork sometimes...), A DIY chalkboard as easy and sizable wall art!

See any other good chalkboard paint ideas lately?  What do you think of the continued craze?  Do share!

Aug 16, 2013

Today, I'm wishing for this kitchen...

And, tomorrow, I might change my mind...but for today, it's the bright and fun kitchen of my dreams.

Funny thing is, I don't usually like pastel colors.  However, the way the pastel accents colors are used in this space is really calling my name.  Who doesn't fall in love with a light pink mini-fridge when they see one?

It also doesn't hurt that they've got the sublime black transom window casings going on.  ADORE!

So, here's what I'm thinking you could use to recreate the same vintage but fresh modern look...

The tour of the entire swoon-worthy home can be found {here}.  And to give credit where credit is most certainly due, I was first introduced to the above kitchen on Kirsten's lovely Simply Grove blog (a must-add for your reading list).  Happy weekend, y'all!

Aug 14, 2013

Splurge vs. Save Fashion Edition! Leopard Skirt

I can't help but love a leopard piece infused into the wardrobe.  It's sophisticated, yet slightly bold and daring.  And, leopard print is very IN for Fall!  I've already seen leopard shoes, boots, purses, bracelets, sweaters, blouses, and skirts for the upcoming autumn season (and I don't get out much, y'all).

As with everything, moderation is key - only one leopard piece at any one time.  Unless you're auditioning for an off-broadway rendition of CATS. Promise me, ok?

                                                                                     Splurge  |  Save

Both skirts are cute pieces that can be dressed up or dressed down for different occasions.  Leopard print can even serve as a neutral of sorts, since you can pair it with a colored top, a colored bag, or a colored shoe.  Just don't go mixing and matching several colors with it...stick to one added color, like oxblood or emerald or plum, and keep the rest of your palette black, white, brown, or gray.  So pretty!

What other Fall fashion trends are you loving?  I'm also loving all the blue I'm seeing.  I don't typically wear a lot of blue, but I'm really starting to fall for it lately (pardon the pun...ha ha).

Aug 12, 2013

The Best Chocolate Chip Chocolate Cake Ever...

Disclaimer: Rarely do I pat myself on the back for my culinary creations...but this time I SO did.  This cake was phenomenal.  And, it's fail safe.  So easy - just dump everything in a bowl and go.

For cake -
1 box devil's food chocolate cake mix
1 package (3.9 oz) instant chocolate pudding mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup apple sauce
4 eggs
1/2 cup hot brewed coffee
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

For cake topping -
1 tub of dark chocolate frosting
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour a Bundt pan (or poundcake pan, if that's all you or your kind neighbor have...)

2. Dump all cake ingredients into a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth.  Pour batter into prepared Bundt pan.

3. Bake for about an hour.  Cool for a few minutes in pan then carefully remove from Bundt pan and place on a cooling rack.  Let completely cool before frosting.

4. Place opened tub of dark chocolate frosting in microwave and heat for about 45 seconds, or until melted enough to pour.  Stir with a spoon until smooth consistency throughout.  Drizzle frosting over cooled cake then sprinkle mini semi-sweet chocolate chips over entire top surface.

 Wham bam thank you you ma'am!

If you haven't already run to the kitchen to preheat your oven to try this sucker out, perhaps you will now...upon seeing the inside of this decadent chocolate lover's dream.

As you can see, the cake looks pretty good lit.  Didn't melt with 12-ish candles shoved into it.  And, no, my husband isn't 12...we just didn't have 31 candles in our party stash.

And, yes, our clown in the background (a.k.a. friend who moonlights it as a clown) played "happy birthday" on the harmonica for us.  How clutch is that?!?

Oh, I'm pretty sure this is the cutest kid with a balloon animal...ever!  Not that I'm biased, or anything.

Hope you enjoy this miracle cake as much as we did!  It was totally worth stepping off the Paleo bandwagon for a weekend of chocolate indulgence...

Aug 9, 2013

Dorm Room Design Week! Gentleman Scholar's Quarters

Welcome back to our Dorm Room Design Week series!  Today's inspiration board is for the gentlemen scholars in your life.  A little rugged, a little refined, and 100% masculine.  Enjoy!

**This Inspired Whims Dorm Room Design series is graciously sponsored by Campus Book Rentals (  They offer free shipping both ways on rented text books (and yes, you can highlight in the books!).  They also have a program called Rent Back ( that allows you to make money from renting out your old text books.  Wish I had known about this company when I was in college!**  

(click image for a larger view)
1. Rugby Blackout Window Panel, 84" long, navy and white ($89) - Pottery Barn Kids // 2. Not All Who Wander Are Lost, framed ($35) - by CantonBoxCompany on Etsy // 3. Laser Cut Wood Deer Head Wall Trophy ($15) - by TrueAmbition99 on Etsy // 4. Faux Moose Head Trophy Mount w/Antlers White ($70) - by FoundandSouled on Etsy // 5. The Mountains are Calling print ($18) - by BelovedAndCo on Etsy // 6. Vintage Trophy ($32) - by NancyPlage on Etsy // 7. Tailored Stripe Sham ($29 each) - West Elm // 8. Decorative Pillow Cushion Cover, plaid 18" square ($30 each) - kLuxdeco on Etsy // 9. Cream and Brown Monogram Initial Pillow, 20" square ($35) - by ComfyHeavenPillows on Etsy // 10. Vintage Back to School Pennant ($10) - by LacklusterCo on Etsy // 11. Wood and Wire Wall Multi Basket ($99) - PBTeen // 12. Vintage Green and White Dart Board ($30) - by SouthernGilt on Etsy // 13. Industrial Task Table Lamp, Antique Brass ($99) - West Elm // 14. Braided Quilt, in "sable", twin ($129) - West Elm // 15. Basket Weave Jute Rug, 4'x6' ($70) - World Market // 16. Trailblazer Airgo Chair, Armless ($209) - PBTeen // 17. Favorite Throw, red ($23) - West Elm // 18. Tug o Lamp ($99) - The Land of Nod // 19. Dorm Trunk, gray ($209) - PBTeen // 20. Pillow Cover,16" square ($14) - by FashionCutDecor on Etsy // 21. Threshold Accent Table w/Wheels ($56) - Target

This year Campus Book Rentals is partnering with Operation Smile as part of their Making a Difference Program.  Learn more about their efforts to help kids around the world smile for the first time {here}.
Have a happy, smile-filled weekend!  And, all you college kids out there, have a great start to your school year!!
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