Feb 28, 2014

Office Inspiration: Laid Back Luxury

Soak in the gorgeousness of this office space, y'all...

Oh, to have the dedicated away-from-home space to write and design and create!!  I'm a little (LOT) jealous of Liz Schneider of Sequins & Stripes and Alex Kaehler of Alexandra Kaehler Design and AK Studio - the ladies behind this lovely shared office retreat.

Here's an inspiration board to get your decorating wavelength tuned to the same design aesthetic:

If you're craving to see more...the entire work space - in all it's luxurious but laid back glory - can be toured {here}.  Do check it out!

Have you found a room on Pinterest or in a design magazine that you'd like to copy in your own home?  I can help you do just that with my Inspiration Board design service!  Click {here} or email me at inspiredwhims@gmail.com for more information on this very affordable and super helpful home design service. Have a fabulous weekend, friends!

Feb 26, 2014

Operation Smile & Ceilings that Make me Smile

This post was graciously sponsored by CampusBookRentals.com.  They offer free shipping both ways on rented text books (and yes, you can highlight in the books!).  They also have a program called RentBack that allows you to make money from renting out your old text books.

Now, down to business...my favorite thing about CampusBookRentals.com?  The company partners with Operation Smile and donates to the awesome cause of healing kids' smiles with each textbook that is rented. Now there's a reason to beam from ear to ear!
On that happy note, here are some inspiring ceiling treatment ideas that truly make me smile! 

The below ceiling is covered with gorgeous custom watercolor wallpaper by Black Crow Studios.  Isn't the agate-like detail and color amazing?!?

The moody but ultra-cool look of this matte black ceiling could easily be replicated with chalkboard paint!  If you're feeling crazy, add a cute star or two to make it look like a summer sky.


Why not put the wood on the ceiling instead of the floor?  Such a creative design choice!


How dreamy is this?  Suspended embroidery hoops covered in fabric...so perfect for a playroom or nursery.

I love the drop crown moulding and the way the color is carried down from the ceiling in this space.  It has such a serene cocooning effect!

What a perfect way to add modern industrial detail to a drop-ceiling.  The corrugated metal panels look even more cool rotated in different directions.  This idea would be great for a basement with those dingy white acoustical ceiling tiles!

A red ceiling creates such a pretty glow throughout this space.  This would be a great treatment for any room with white walls and minimal furniture...the ceiling becomes a piece of art as the only major focal point in the space.


Nothing beats a good stripe ceiling in a room that needs to be visually widened.  Just make sure to run the stripes parallel to the shortest side...and don't forget to paint over your painter's tape with the original ceiling color before painting in the stripes (that seals the tape line and keeps you from hours of touch-ups...trust me).


Which ceiling idea sparks your fancy?  See one you'd like to try in your home?  Do tell!

Feb 24, 2014

A tisket, a tasket, a pretty wall-hung basket...

Check out this design inspiration for a cool accent wall idea found in the March 2014 issue of HGTV Magazine...

The global-infused home trend is hot right now, so why not play it up with some beautiful hand-woven baskets on your wall?  You can find very affordable options at places like Cost Plus World Market, Pier 1, Homegoods, TJMaxx, and Marshall's.  Arrange the baskets in an organic design then simply attach them to the wall by tapping a small nail through each basket's center.

After seeing the above photo, I found this unique basket at Homegoods just the other day...

Isn't it beautiful?  I love that's it's a one-of-a-kind work of art hand-crafted by an artisan in Uganda.  And now, it sits happily above the mirror in my office!

It's the perfect pairing with my colorful rug, balancing the bold colors and adding a nice woven texture.  It also does a nice job of raising the sight-lines in the space, drawing the eye up so you appreciate the high ceilings.

What do you think of featuring hand-made baskets as wall art?  Have you seen baskets used in a grouping like the photo from HGTV magazine?

Feb 19, 2014

Get the Look for Less! Round Gold-Gilded Mirror

I totally fell in love with this living space when I saw it in the Feb 2014 issue of Canadian House & Home...

Where do I start??  I love the round gold mirror, the blue velvet sofa, the area rug, the antique chest of drawers, the marble-top table...and, quite frankly, the color palette simply had me at "hello".

I did a little research on the mirror and found it...plus, I found a much more affordable option that was VERY similar.  Drumroll, y'all!  Here they are:

source links: splurge |  save  (plus the rub n buff)

I happen to own the Ikea (a.k.a. "save" frame) myself and have it hung in our entry.  I love the raised lip on this mirror and I can vouch that for the price it's a fabulous find.  It's a bathroom mirror so it has the protective safety film in the case of breakage - an added perk for a home with little ones.

My mirror isn't gold...yet.  I like the stainless steel look it has right now but I love that I will have the option to maybe change it up in the future with just a little tube of Rub 'n Buff.  Just tape off the mirror with some painter's tape and rub away!

Good find, eh?  (That's a little Canadian for you on this wintery day in Boston.)  As always, go forth and save!!

Feb 18, 2014

Wallpaper Alternative 101 - Stencils!

I'm back with a vengeance!  That's right...I'm rearing, ready, eager, and determined to be back and better than ever.  Let's start off with a great alternative for the still-hot (can you believe it??) wallpaper trend.  Stencils!

Wall stencils are a room-changing design option that often take less time, less resources (you don't have to hire someone), and less money than wallpaper.  Plus, it's a far less permanent option as you can completely avoid the trauma of wallpaper removal and simply paint over the stencil design when you're ready for something new.

Here are a few stencil designs by OMG Stencils that I'm totally diggin' right now:

My pick for a bold accent wall...

Moroccan Stencil 17"x11" ($21)

My pick for a kitchen backsplash (looks like tiles but it's not!)...

Honeycomb Hex Pattern 22"x35" ($39)

My pick for a graphic laundry room or powder bath...

Otomi Pattern 22.5"x27.5" ($44)

And finally, my pick for an elegant entryway or dining room... 

The possibilities are truly endless!  Check out the rest of the OMG Stencils collection {here}.  Have you ever used wall stencils?  Any tips or tricks for using them?  Because I'm really feeling tempted to try the technique about now...

Feb 13, 2014

A Little Loveseat Love

In commemoration of Valentine's Day I though I'd share a few of my favorite recent loveseat finds.  Loveseats can be the perfect lounge-worthy addition to a living area that's limited on space, or they can be perfect for creating small conversation areas in an otherwise large room.

Which loveseat do you love best??  If I could pick one, I think I'd go with the buttery brown classic leather option, or if I was feeling a little bold perhaps I'd go with the navy velvet as a wildcard pick.  Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours!

Feb 11, 2014

We're off to Texas!

(super cute print via Stephanie Creekmur)

We're headed to Texas this week to visit family and friends in what we call our Tour de Tejas!  Have a happy week and if you're in a cold climate I'll try to find some warmth for you in Texas and send it your way.

Feb 7, 2014

Valentine's Day Heart Card

I first made this heart card with my Mother's of Preschoolers (MOPS) group when we lived out in Portland OR a few years ago.  Our dear craft leader was so sweet to share it with us and I've always wanted to pass the crafty heart-holiday fun on to you....so here it is!

The card was super easy to make and is perfect for giving as a "heart"-felt card or for displaying as Valentine's Day decor in your home.

Card stock
Painter's tape or another tape that won't permanently stick to your paper
Scotch tape
Paper in several different prints or colors (I used scrap-book paper)


1. Print the below heart pattern from the Iris Folding website {here} then cut out heart to use as your template.

2. Fold your card stock in half into a card shape.  I also trimmed mine a little to make it square.

3. On the inside front of your card, position your heart template and trace around it with a pencil.  Cut along the line.  You will end up with a heart in the middle of your card's front flap.

4. Tape the heart template numbered side up onto a flat surface.  Position the card over it so you see the template through your cut-out, and tape the card down so it will stay in place (remember to work from the inside of the card, as the front of the card will be the "pretty side").

5. Now, cut your patterned/colored paper into 19 strips about 4"x1.5".  Fold strips in half along the short edge so you end up with 19 folded strips all 4" long.

6. Following the numbers, tape strips to the inside of the card along the lines, making sure the folded edge always faces the middle of the heart.  Trim excess paper as required.

photos via

7. Continue to tape your strips in numbered order, 1 through 19, trimming excess paper as needed.  Randomly alternate paper colors and patterns (what I recommend) or follow the color scheme in the pattern guide box above (this will give you a heart where each side of the heart is the same color).

(inside of my card, once completed)

8.  Once finished, flip your card over to the front and revel in your handiwork!

(outside of completed card)

Beautiful, huh?  It reminds me of a two-dimensional origami.  Once you get going, it takes no time at all.  Promise!

If you need additional help, the step-by-step photographed instructions can be found on the Iris Folding website {here}.

Now gift or keep.  I'm guessing you know what I did with mine... (wink!)  Happy heart folding!

Feb 5, 2014

A Gift Idea for You and Your Valentine

We don't really "do" gifts for Valentine's Day (yes, my husband is a lucky lucky man).  Rather, we pick random times throughout the year to buy something special to give to each other.  If I did throw our tradition out the window and give a gift, it would be this...

Our Q&A a Day is a 3-year journal with a question for each day of the year that both you and your mate answer and then share/discuss.  There are a total of 365 questions - each question is revisited on the same calendar day, 3 years in a row.  After the first year, you will be able to look back and see how you answered the same question on that same day the year before.  Make sense?

Some questions are silly and simple like "How would you describe your partner's hairstyle today?" and then some are more thought-provoking like "Where would you like to travel with your partner?" or "What is your top priority today?".  I see this book as a great conversation starter and it would be really cool to see how the questions are answered similarly or differently each year.

What do you think?  Would this be something you and your spouse would enjoy doing together most days?  Any other gift ideas that are good for both guys and gals?

Feb 3, 2014

Heart Shaped Cinnamon Rolls (Round Duex)

Happy February!  Usually January flies by for me but this year it went super slow.  I was ready to get to some heart-themed things for Valentine's Day...and now I can finally get to it!  

We'll start out by bringing back these delicious handmade cinnamon rolls inspired by a recipe featured {here} that are perfect to share with those you love.

Adorable, huh?  Here's how to make them.


For the dough...
3/4 cup part skim ricotta cheese
1/3 cup low fat buttermilk
1/4 cup sugar
2 oz salted butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
9 oz flour (approx 2 heaping cups)
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda

For the filling...
1 oz salted butter, melted
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

For the frosting...
2 oz mascarpone cheese, at room temp
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
(be flexible with these ingredients to make it a nice frosting/glaze-like consistency)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Grease a 8-9" square baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Combine ricotta cheese, buttermilk, sugar, melted butter, and vanilla in a mixer or food processor and mix until smooth - approx 10 seconds.  Add flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda and mix in short bursts just until dough clumps together (don't over mix it).  The dough should be soft and moist, but still appear to be rather clumpy.

3. Dump dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it with floured hands until smooth (about a minute).  With floured rolling pin, roll dough into a 12"x15" rectangle.  Doesn't have to be exact ;o)

4. Now for the filling, brush the dough with melted butter (leave a 1/2" border of the dough unbuttered).  In a medium bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon.  Sprinkle this mixture all over the buttered surface of the dough, then gently pat down so it adheres to the dough.

5. To created the heart shape, carefully roll both long sides toward the middle until they meet.  After the dough is rolled, use a sharp knife to cut equal slices, approx 1" thick.  (I got 9 rolls out of my dough)

6. Gently pinch the bottom (flat side) of each roll until it resembles a heart.

7. Place rolls in greased baking dish.  They will be touching, but that's good!

8. Place in preheated oven and bake for about 30 min, or until golden brown and firm to the touch.

(They don't look so cute now...but they will soon!)

9. Time for frosting!  In a small bowl, mix room-temp mascarpone cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk until smooth.  Add small amounts of milk or powdered sugar as needed to achieve desired consistency.  Spread over slightly warm rolls and let stand for a few minutes before devouring!

These are the perfect treat for teachers, neighbors and friends, or your family for Valentine's Day morning or any day this month!  If you give them a whirl, do let me know what you think of them.
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