Jul 31, 2013

Splurge vs. Save! Botanical Charts

I love scientific (and especially botanical) charts - their schoolhouse vibe gives an air of nostalgia while their aged look provides a vintage feel that other forms of wall art can't portray.  Not to mention, because of their sheer size, they can be a true focal point in a space.



You can find some stellar scientific charts at flea markets, antique stores, and retail shops - but it could cost you a pretty penny.  That being said, I've done some of the leg work (a.k.a. research) to find a botanical chart for less.

That's right!  They look very similar and give off the same beautiful nostalgic vibe, but one will allow you space in the budget to decorate the rest of the room, while the other will leave your budget, well...blown.

Now there's the same look for WAY less!  And, you may ask, "Did you indulge in some botanical chart savings?" Well, yes I did!!

What do you think of this look for WAY less?  Do you like botanical charts or any other scientific charts in home decor?

Jul 29, 2013

Would you dare?? Zebra Wallpaper

I saw this kitchen by designer Ashley Whittaker in House Beautiful July/August 2013 issue a few weeks ago and fell in love with it immediately.  Then I thought to myself, "Oh my, that's zebra wallpaper!" but I still can't help but adore it.  What about you?

You really must see the rest of this little 800 sq ft apartment in NYC.  The light, the color, the detail - it sings!!


Isn't it absolutely darling?  Not sure if my husband could live here (the finishings are a wee bit to feminine for him, I think) but I'm sure the layout would work just fine for us.

Oh, how I miss the concept of compact city living at times!  Then I remember that I have a toddler, and really do appreciate the good 'ol suburbs and the space they offer (at least for now).

Jul 25, 2013

Coffee Ice Cubes + A Give-Away!

Anyone else love some iced coffee?  It's my favorite summer time drink, but I don't like when it gets watered down by the melting ice cubes.  The solution, you ask?  Coffee Ice Cubes!!

This is a brilliant idea, and admittedly it's not mine...I've seen it on Pinterest, heard about it from friends, and finally tried it after my husband suggested that we give it a whirl.  Bottom-line, coffee ice cubes are iced coffee's best friend!

Here's how we make ours...

1) Brew some coffee and pour into ice-cube trays.

2) Freeze until solid.

3) Dump cubes into a bowl.

(looks like brown agate rock crystals...)

4) Mix up some iced coffee - our favorite is Starbucks Via Iced Coffee because it's super flavorful, convenient, and lightly (but perfectly) sweetened.  We don't add a thing to it, but the coffee cubes!

5) Dump your coffee ice cubes in, and go!

As the cubes melt, your iced coffee gets that much better!  

Now for the give-away!

I'll send one lucky reader their very own 6-pack of Starbucks Via Iced Coffee packets.  To enter the give-away simply do one, some, or all of the following. (One entry per comment, so up to 6 entries!)

1. Leave a comment below telling us how you like your coffee - hot, iced, sweetened, not, with milk, without.  
2. Leave us a comment below with your best iced coffee tip.

3. "Like" Inspired Whims on Facebook {here}, AND leave a comment below stating that you did.
4. "Follow" Inspired Whims on Twitter {here}, AND leave a comment below stating that you did.
5. "Follow" Inspired Whims on Pinterest {here}, AND leave a comment below stating that you did.
6. Subscribe to Inspired Whims email posts or RSS feed {here}, AND leave a comment below stating that you did.

The contest ends this Sunday (28 July) at midnight EST.  I'll announce the winner, who will be picked at random, next Monday (29 July).  Make sure to check back then to see if you win!

Jul 24, 2013

Splurge vs. Save! Hand-Dyed Shibori Pillows

I happened upon Rececca Atwood's gorgeous hand-dyed Shibori Pillows on Design*Sponge yesterday and immediately clicked the link to her online store to see how much it would cost to get one (or two!) of these indigo beauties into my hot little hands.
Well...let me just say that despite their swoon-worthy hand-crafted appeal, they don't exactly fit into my "design budget" or even "dream design budget" at $150-$260 a pop!

Then, I was browsing through West Elm's clearance section online today and stumbled upon these very similar Shibori Shams with a near identical print.  And, guess what??  Not only do they come in 3 sizes, they just so happen to be on super sale for only $15-$20 each (pillow filler required, but oh well!).

If anyone else happens to have a similar crush, then you're welcome...don't mention it. (but I did just save you some major dough)

Don't you love it when you find the same look for WAY less??  Now I just need a room to put them in.  Or, maybe I should just take up a new hobby of hand dyeing...

Jul 23, 2013

Breathing New Life into a Dingy File Cabinet

I picked up this old file cabinet from Freecycle (yes, it was free!) and decided I'd use it to store my plethora of craft supplies in my office area.  After it was cleaned up a bit, of course!  Thankfully it was it great shape - very little rust, and just a little dirt.  It was missing a lock, but I'm not too protective of my craft supplies...

(Yes, that's bird poop on the top drawer...just keepin' it real and rustic with y'all)

I decided on a bright green for the paint job, mainly because it's what stood out to me in the spray paint aisle, and I (sadly) have too much yellow going on in my office at the time to justify another yellow object.

After some cleaning, light sanding, dusting, and painting (2 coats).  This is what she looks like now...drumroll, please.

Not bad for looking rather similar to this $200 Bisley two-drawer file cabinet from the Container Store...

Score!  I only bought spray paint - less than $10 for 2 cans.  I'm patting myself on the back right now.

It's also great to know that if I ever tire of the jolly green-ness of the cabinet, I can simply paint it another color with not a single "but this was so expensive..." regret.  What do you think of her?

Jul 22, 2013

Winner Announced! Gift of Glam Give-Away

...Drumroll, please....

Our very lucky winner of two glamorously chic pebble dishes from Erie Drive is:

That means Melissa G. is our winner!!  Melissa, just drop me a line at inspiredwhims@gmail.com and I'll get your prize to you this week.

Thanks to everyone for participating in this give-away.  There will be another (tasty!) give-away this week - so please stay tuned...

Jul 19, 2013

An Unexpected Gift of Glam - And Give-Away!!

Today I was tickled to find a surprise box from Erie Drive containing these lovelies on my front porch today...

Gold Glazed Dauville Pebble Dishes - in small and large

Aren't they the prettiest ceramic vessels?  A dash of gold set in some matte white always brightens my day!  

I envision these pretty little things making a round about the house as I move them from room to room to glam up the joint.  They'd make the perfect little ring holders, change collectors, or catch-alls for any small trinkets you may have.

Now for the best (give-away!) part...

Erie Drive sent me a few sets, so I get to pass one set on to a very lucky reader!

The give-away winner will get their very own set of the gorgeous Gold Glazed Dauville Pebble Dishes (a small and large dish, as seen with the brass elephant above).  To enter the give-away simply do one, some, or all of the following. (One entry per comment, so up to 6 entries!)

1. "Like" Inspired Whims on Facebook {here}, and leave a comment below stating that you did.
2. "Follow" Inspired Whims on Twitter {here}, and leave a comment below stating that you did.
3. "Follow" Inspired Whims on Pinterest {here}, and leave a comment below stating that you did.
4. Subscribe to Inspired Whims email posts or RSS feed {here}, and leave a comment below stating that you did.
5. Leave a comment below telling us about the best surprise gift you've ever received.
6. Leave us a comment below with your favorite way to stash small items.

The contest ends this Sunday (21 July) at midnight EST.  I'll announce the winner, who will be drawn at random, on Monday (22 July).  Make sure to check back then to see if you win...

Happy weekend everyone!

Jul 18, 2013

I'm Loving...Black Window Frames

Like mascara for a window, black window frames definitely make a statement.  The design trend has become very popular of late, and I can't help but love it.  So much so, I see beautiful rooms and think to myself, "Oh, if only they'd paint their window frames black!"

Sort of like this kitchen nook...

Isn't it the perfect candidate for black window frames??  It would be the cherry on top of an already gorgeously designed space!

Here are some great examples of black window frames, in both modern and traditional spaces - the trend is quite transitional for different design aesthetics, which I love about it.  They just seem to finish off any space perfectly.


I really love the last room - the light, the floors, the colorful accents, the white brick walls - a great use of texture.  I'm ready to move in!

Are you ready to bust out the black paint?  I can only imagine the meticulous task of taping off window panes, so I guess I'll have to wait until I fix up a house that needs new (black!) windows.

What do you think of this popular recurring trend?  Would you ever do it in your home?

Jul 16, 2013

Mod Podge + Fabric = Custom Serving Trays

Trays are useful for so many things - serving food/drinks, corralling remote controls on a coffee table, catching keys and sunglasses near the door, holding books on a bedside table, gathering desk items, etc.    This is a simple project that really adds a custom pop to a tray you may have laying around the house.

You know you want to find some scrap fabric and make one...so here's how!

A tray (check the clearance aisle at Marshall's, TJ Maxx, and Homegoods for steals)
Mod Podge
Paint brush - a paint brush provides a more textured finished, while a sponge brush provides a smoother finish

1. Select fabric and cut to size to fit bottom of tray - I usually cut the fabric so it fits 1/8" from the sides of the tray because once the fabric gets wet from the Mod Podge it tends to stretch out and will meet the side.

2. Brush a thin layer of Mod Podge on the inside bottom of your tray, then lay the fabric on top of the wet glue.

3. Press fabric down with a blunt flat edge (I use a pan scraper), ensuring that the fabric lays completely flat and meets the side edges.  Let dry for a while before you begin layering the Mod Podge on top...this prevents any bubbling under the fabric.

4. Once the fabric is dry to the touch, brush the first coat of Mod Podge on top of the fabric.  Make it a thin even coat.  Let dry completely.

5. Once first layer is dry, add subsequent layers until it meets your liking.  The more layers the more lacquered it will look.  I usually do 2-3 layers for this sort of project.  Let dry overnight before placing anything in the tray.

6. Use your tray to serve, hold, or organize.  Possibilities are limitless and these trays can be easily wiped out with water and a rag after spills, crumbs, or messes happen!

I'm using my red and white patterned wood tray as a drawer organizer now, and my yellow and white patterned galvanized tray to corral remotes.  When people come over, I'll convert them to serving trays.  Total cost for both trays and Mod Podge was $15.  A nice and cheap project that adds a nice custom touch to your home!

Have you ever used Mod Podge and fabric for a similar project?  Mod Podge is pretty awesome stuff if you ask me...worth keeping around for a variety of projects.
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