Oct 30, 2013

Drumroll...We Have Poofs

I couldn't resist any longer.  I had to saddle up and jump on the paper poof train.  I spotted myriad colors of poofs at our local craft store and grabbed a few packages to decorate our dining room for a Rio de Janeiro themed party we had...and when the party was over the poofs were preserved and lovingly hung in our little one's room.

Aren't they so colorful and bright and fun?  I don't know how anyone couldn't like these lovelies.  They're like a little corner-hanging smile moment.

And, they simply ooze little girl charm.  Heck, they even ooze big girl charm, because I sure do love 'em!  We even successfully used them in a Bohemian Chic master bedroom design {here}.  Who said poofs couldn't be all-grown-up?

What do you think of them?  Do they make you smile too??

Oct 28, 2013

Bananas for Black and White Buffalo Check

So I gotta admit, I've got a major crush on all things black and white buffalo check right now.  Nothing like a clean, crisp, preppy, gingham plaid to get me going.  How could you resist?




Want a little piece of your own action in the buffalo check craze?  Try this pillow to prep up a space with a graphic but classic punch of pattern that goes with just about any color scheme.

Isn't buffalo check a cool pattern?  Any other fans out there??  If buffalo check isn't your thing, perhaps buffalo burgers? (Which also totally rock!)

Oct 25, 2013

My Dream House...A Modern Farmhouse

My hubby and I dream to someday build a small house for retirement that's as compact as possible (minimal amount of stuff and minimal cleaning time), totally functional (it must fit the occasional visitors, our lifestyle/hobbies) and full of style (a decorator's dream).  Anytime I come across cool exteriors or floor plans of small modern houses, I pin them of course!

There is a really cool architecture/construction company I came across on Houzz the other day - GO LOGIC.  They offer pre-fab homes that are likely way out of our future price range, but their floor plans are great at fitting a lot of functionality and style into small, modern, very energy efficient (read: LEED certified), and totally livable homes.

Here are my two favorites:

Clean, simple lines.  Big windows.  High Ceilings.  Screened-in porch.  Check, check, check, and check!  This house is 1000 sq ft with 2 bedrooms (a master bedroom and an office/guest bedroom...plenty for us).  In a perfect world, we'd also have a large garage/barn built adjacent to something like this with a second level apartment (an extra bedroom, bath, kitchenette, and workroom/studio for our hobbies).

My favorite parts of this floor plan? It's a single floor ranch, has a defined entry (a total luxury in a small house), has pretty good storage for it's size, and the kitchen, dining, and living room are all one big space, leading straight onto the back porch.  Quaint but no wasted space.  I'd be turning several of those doorways into sliding doors to open up the flow during the day...

This second house is "big" by our standards at 1500 sq ft and 3 bedrooms, but it would give lots of space for visitors.  I love the red exterior with the metal roof, and the porch.  A large porch is a total must-have for us!

For the downstairs floor plan I really like the separate mudroom/powder bath area, walk-in pantry, and the living room looks like this...

And the dining space looks like this...

The entire home is very warm and inviting to me, even though it's "modern" and clean-lined (almost minimalist) in style.  I LOVE the concrete floors and the warmth of the wood on the ceiling and vertical beams in the corners.  (Wish they showed a photo of the kitchen!)

For the upstairs, I love the laundry nook.  This is the type of sliding door I'd love throughout both these houses...

And, the bedrooms are so full of light with the expansive windows.

Having just one bath upstairs wouldn't be ideal, but it would totally work if it had a sink set-up like this bathroom I found from another modern farmhouse featured in Garden & Gun magazine {here}. (don't you just love the name of that publication??)

Perhaps they could work it into the floor plan for me.  (wink!)

What do you think of these compact modern farmhouses?  Do they tickle your fancy like they do mine?    What's your idea of a dream house?

Oct 23, 2013

Yellow Oil Cloth Solution...of Sorts

Well, a decision was made...no yellow oil cloth for the dining chairs (read about the dilemma here).  I need to find a better fabric - perhaps a laminated cotton (thank you for the suggestion, Mindy!) - to recover the chairs.

So now I have 5 yards of yellow oil cloth laying around if anyone wants some.  Do I have any raincoat makers who follow Inspired Whims?  If so, I'll give you a really good price. ;o)

I did, however, use some of my oil cloth scrap pieces to add to a project I've had laying in wait...so no love lost.

A friend gave me this white Ethan Allen headboard for our guest room, and it had been blending into the "asylum white" walls a little too much.  I didn't want to paint it because I liked the matte white finish to counter such a baroque shape.  My husband wisely suggested backing it with a fabric as a temporary update with a little pop, and that's where the oil cloth came in handy.  (True Confessions: I just tacked the oil cloth to the wall behind the headboard)

I already had some goldenrod yellow in the room with a few small accents like the Anthropologie throw pillow in the top photo and a few other items on the other side of the room (below), so the yellow oil cloth fit right on in.

What do you think of our little update?  Was the yellow oil cloth utilized well??

Any takers for the extra oil cloth?  Make an offer I can't refuse...or any offer at all.

Oct 21, 2013

Yay or Nay? I need your help!!

Situation: I really want to change the upholstery on our dining room chairs.  I love the existing red and white ikat pattern but it's beyond filthy after years of food abuse and you can't clean stains out of it.  I want a fabric that is durable and can stand up to daily wipe-downs.

Plan: Purchase oil cloth (because it's wipe and go ready!) and recover the chairs.  Yellow seemed like a good pick because it's my favorite color and is found in almost every room of the house.  (Plus, the yellow cushion option is a far cheaper alternative to fulfilling my yellow silk curtain dream...)

Dilemma: I tried recovering one of the chair cushions and I'm finding that oil cloth is not nearly as forgiving as fabric when it comes to amateur upholstering.  It doesn't stretch as well thus making it tough to get taut around the edges and especially the corners...

Problem: This is a lot of work!  1 toddler naptime = 1 chair done.  No instant decorating satisfaction here.  I'm having to remove two layers of old fabric (and all 200 staples in the bottom of each chair) because the pattern shows through the oil cloth...so I can't recover six chairs, determine if I like it, then simply take off the oil cloth and return to the ikat.

Help me!  What do you think I should do??

Please do give me your thoughts, recommendations, etc.  Unfortunately, none of my dream chairs are in the budget...

Any chair price times 6 is A LOT of dough, even at IKEA...

Oct 18, 2013

Pumpkin Roll - Round 2

This recipe is a re-post from a couple years ago, but totally worth the repeat.  I'm always on a pumpkin kick in the Fall.  PSL anyone?? (that's a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks for you non-addicts)

This dessert is one of our family's favorite seasonal recipes.  We make it for Thanksgiving and Christmas (and a few times in between too!).  It's based off the traditional Libby's Pumpkin Roll recipe.

Ingredients for cake:
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup Libby's brand 100% pure pumpkin
approx. 1/4 cup powered sugar, to cover tea towel
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Ingredients for filling:
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
6 Tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Grease 15x10-inch jelly-roll pan then line pan with parchment paper.  Grease and flour parchment paper.

2. Set out tea towel on counter and cover with generous sprinkling of powdered sugar. (This is a very important step...if the towel isn't covered in powdered sugar, the towel will stick to the cake and tear it apart.)

3. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in bowl - set aside.  In another large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until thick.  Beat in pumpkin.  Stir in flour mixture then spread evenly into prepared jelly-roll pan.  If desired, sprinkle with walnuts (note: the nuts make it the roll look prettier, but they do make the cake more-likely to crack a bit when you roll it up).

4. Bake for 13 minutes, or until the top of cake springs back when touched.  Immediately loosen and turn cake out of pan onto prepared tea towel.  Carefully peel off parchment paper.

5. Let cake cool down a bit (approx. 3-5 minutes) then place sheet of wax paper over entire surface of cake. Carefully roll up towel, cake, and wax paper together - starting at the narrow end of the cake.  Cool on wire rack until no heat is felt from the roll.  I usually give it a few hours.

6. While cake roll is cooling, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth.  You can place this filling mixture in the refrigerator until the cake roll is completely cooled.

7. Carefully unroll cooled cake and remove layer of wax paper from surface.  Spread filling mixture over cake and re-roll cake (separating it from the towel this time).  Wrap roll in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour before slicing and serving...best if you let it sit in the fridge overnight.  You can sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.

Because it does take some focused effort to craft these rolls, make a few in advance.  They freeze great for future events - the perfect thing to take to a pot-luck, tea, brunch, family dinner, etc.  I promise, this recipe is a big hit with everyone, kids and adults alike!

Oct 16, 2013

Turquoise Ball Mason Jars

I finally bit the bullet and bought some of Ball's 100th Anniversary blue mason jars when I saw them at our local craft store last week.

Aren't they the prettiest shade of blue?  And, I'm sure they'll come in handy for all sorts of uses - as drink glasses, as flower vases, for centerpieces, as gift containers for teachers, etc.  Someone's got to get these and do an entire wedding out of them!

We decided to use them to hold carnations for party centerpieces, and they turned out beautifully!

If you're feeling a little jar envy, you can purchase them online from Ace Hardware or Amazon.  Or, look around town for them at craft, grocery, and hardware stores.

I'm excited to use them over the years - a mason jar is always a useful household item to have around, no matter what color.  Now I'm a little partial to the blue though!

Oct 14, 2013

A Kitchen Aid Mixer from Australia

How's that for a random post name?  And, here it is!

Isn't it the sweetest little painting you've ever seen?  Of course, it has a back story...great things usually do.

So, I happened upon this art while searching the blog-world one day - it was featured a couple years ago on a blog called A Tranquil Townhouse that's sadly no longer active.  The blogger, artist extraordinaire, and photographer behind this little gem is Kerry Martin of Canberra, Australia.   I just had to leave Kerry a comment on the blog post that introduced this painting.  I LOVE yellow, own this very mixer, and always fall for art that immediately makes me smile!

Long story short, I asked Kerry if she would sell the painting to me.

Lesson one, if you love something don't hesitate to inquire about it.  You never know what sort of doors it will open for you!  Kerry kindly replied almost immediately - even on the other side of the world from me - and said she'd love for me to have it.  She asked how much I'd pay for it and I had NO IDEA what to offer.  I didn't want to offend her - I had no experience purchasing original artwork, so I was honest with her and said just that.

Lesson two, be honest.  Kerry replied back again and said the painting was sitting in her garage sale pile and she'd send it to me for the shipping cost alone.  Wow!  I was beyond ecstatic and so touched by her generosity.

A few weeks later, I received a package from Australia with the painting in it.  Giddy with excitement, I emailed Kerry to thank her and ask how I could reimburse her for the shipping.  Guess what??  She said it was a gift and not to worry about reimbursement!  I just wish I could reach out and hug her.

Lesson three, be generous - random acts of kindness can mean a lot to people.  Doesn't that story warm your heart?  It sure made my week!

Kerry is busy pursuing her talents as a photographic artist now.  You must check out her website K.J. Martin - my oh my does she have some amazing photographs.  These are a few of my favorite pieces from her collections:

Aren't they beautiful?  She has an amazing eye for capturing some really awesome moments.

Has anyone done anything extraordinarily nice for you lately?  Thanks again, Kerry, for being a light in my life!

Oct 11, 2013

Pink Donut Birthday Cake

Our little one loves Dunkin Donut's pink frosted donuts with sprinkles...they're her favorite.  And, she's known to have one in hand anytime she helps me grocery shop.  It makes the trip more enjoyable for both of us!

I saw this recipe for Homer Simpson donuts on A Beautiful Mess blog a while back, and thought they were the cutest things.  They sounded tasty too because the frosting is made with real raspberry juice.  

As much as I would have loved to try the recipe (and I still hope to someday!), they ultimately inspired the idea to do a pink donut cake for our little girl's birthday.  Check it out!

Pretty darn cute, huh?  We just used boxed cake mix in a bundt pan, then frosted it with chocolate frosting on the sides and strawberry frosting on top.  Add a dash of sprinkles and that's it!

Everyone loved it...especially our pretty little birthday princess.

Yes, you get to see her too.  I call this photo "anticipation".  Light those candles already!

This one is the "so why do people sing to you on your birthday?" face.

And, lastly the "group blow" shot.  I think we all rally up a breath to help the birthday girl at this point.

Happy 3rd Birthday to my little bundle of crazy joy!  (P.S. make note to always have glow sticks at a party...)

Oct 9, 2013

Two Pretty Autumn-Inspired Wall Colors

Surprise, surprise...they're not red, or orange, or golden yellow.  But they are warm and inviting, rich in tone, and full of depth!

1) A dark blue wall definitely draws you into this space.  Stand-out artwork, white vases and sculptures, and neutral furnishings with rich textures balance out the moody depth of the color. 

For a similar look, try Benjamin Moore's Blue Note (2129-30).

2) An olive green hue creates the perfect ambiance for a relaxation and snuggle station.  Who wouldn't love to have a little area like this in their home?  

For a similar look, try Benjamin Moore's Dark Olive (2130-40).

Have you seen any Autumn colors that have you ready to warm up your space with some fresh paint?  Do tell!
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