Posts Tagged ‘be inspired’


Do you have a pretty jar at home? Fill it with memories. Write down something you did that made you happy, proud, loved… and place it in the jar. Use scrap paper, tiny note cards, or get creative and make mini paper hearts that you can tuck right in.

You might not have time to write down everything you did in your journal that day, or you may prefer to journal only on occasion, but you can certainly find a minute to write down a simple declaration of love; anything smile-worthy. Just a moment in time captured in a few words. 

At the end of each week, take out your notes and read them. Put them back in the jar and keep going. If you prefer, you can read your notes on a special day, each month, or after so many weeks. Once your jar is full, find a new place for your notes, but don’t stop filling your jar.

This is a great idea for Valentine’s Day, too. Have everyone in the family decorate a jar to leave outside their bedroom door, in their room, or tied around their doorknob. Leave notes and candies in their jar all February long. I made felt heart pockets when my children were little. I think I’m bringing back the tradition this year.

P.S. Don’t forget to date your memory 🙂

Kimberly Merritt – http://www.BeautifulLivingBlog.com



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ryan-roche-kitchen-remodelista-10 (1)
Sometimes, my head is so full with details and inspiration, that I have to empty it all out onto a piece of paper. An almost compulsive note-taker, not a day goes by when I don’t see or think of something obscure that I must write down and remember – sometimes it is as normal as a photograph in a waiting room magazine, but other times I am inexplicably captured by the curved shape of sugar in a jar, or the movement of a worm trying to escape a rain puddle in the driveway.

I am not sure if this is normal, but I have come it accept it, and understand that it gives me an appreciation for random moments that would otherwise go unnoticed. Inspiration is everywhere, and while we can’t all wander around gazing into puddles, there is a certain joy that happens when we open ourselves up to always being curious.

Recently, I was invited to write about my design ideas, and to share a favorite color inspiration. Not wanting to copy anyone else, I went back to my love of fashion, and chose a pale pink that I had seen all over the runway; paired dreamily with soft, warm shades of mink and cream it seemed especially perfect for these upcoming winter months.

When I see something that inspires me, I often hold my breath and don’t want to exhale, afraid I will lose whatever beauty is placed in front of me.

One of the most common things that people say is that they don’t know what they like, and I worry that they might be waiting for just one single, gigantic image to appear; something so perfect and spectacular that it will give them all the answers, and then they are done.

But life isn’t like that, and thankfully a home isn’t either; it is a constant, moving part of who we are, and we should swap and change our thoughts and ideas as we go along. Thank goodness for the internet, because if we aren’t inspired by worms in puddles or sugar in a jar, we can log onto a world of wonder at just the click of a button.

Here are some of my favorite places to wander around for inspiration ….

Things Organized Neatly


Rodney Smith and Tim Walker

House of Humble

My Scandinivian Home

The Inspired Room

The Christmas Snail Explained

How to Decorate Like a Parisian


House and Garden UK

The Novogratz Family

Photograph of Ryan Roche’s kitchen from Remodelista 

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pic monkey collage thingsThe other day I went to sleep with most of the windows open. It was one of those deliciously breezy nights, where I almost didn’t care whether I slept or not; all I wanted to do was listen to the trees, feel the cool air, and dream of sweet, Summer days.

But, because of the breeze (enough to send a vase flying, and knock almost everything off my desk) I balled up a t-shirt and put it against the bedroom door to stop it from slamming shut. As I lay back in bed, thinking my lovely thoughts, all I could think of was that I had just crumpled up one of my favorite tops. Yes, it needed a wash, but now it would also be covered in dog hair, the cat will probably sleep on it, and the image of it being on the floor didn’t exactly fit in with all of my idyllic imagining…. So, I got up, put it in the laundry hamper and grabbed a favorite rock off my dresser to place against the door instead (everyone has rocks in their bedroom, right?).

This week, inspired by my favorite rock, I wanted to share with you some photographs of a few ordinary, beautiful things.

Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/

Photograph Credits: CHANDELIER – Wendy’s,  BUTTONS – Kate Kessling,  HELLO MAT – The Store,  PLATES – Pinterest, SOAP DISH Pinterest, MASON JAR SOAP DISPENSER – She Knows,  EGGS – Wendy’s,  SHAVING CUP –  Butcher Shop Glasgow, STRING TIN – Pinterest,  I LOVE CAKE – Pinterest,  ROCK DOOR STOP – Shelterness,  DUTCH OVEN – Ebay

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Dining rooms are the one room in the house that often gets overlooked. Situated somewhere off the kitchen, a hallway, entry, or all three, this room is commonly underused and neglected. Furniture companies want you to buy the matching table, chairs, sideboard…but I love, love, love to decorate this room with unexpected touches and a bit more creativity. Just like the kitchen, a dining room should be a place to gather. Even if you don’t have a formal dining room, the table and chairs that you do dine at are what you need to focus on.

My family and I play board games, read, draw, and basically goof around at our table. It sits between a very large fireplace and a 3-panel glass door that overlooks the backyard, so it’s a cozy place to be in the winter and every other season allowing nature to take part in the fun. Right now, I can see the snow falling and my dogs playing and making tracks that they’ll run through again and again. The birds are eating their food from a feeder tucked away in the apple tree, and pine boughs are gently swaying under the weight of all that snow. Even if we don’t always sit down for dinner, we are always at that table. Decorated with a flat-bottom basket filled with a lantern, tea lights, and a vase of greens, it’s often strewn with books and papers ready to pick up when needed. Life happen at this table—breakfast, lunch, tea, supper, serious and not-so-serious talks, late night homework sessions, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Choose a table you love. Rectangle or square, round (perfect for tight spots) or oval; it should feel good to sit at. Mine happens to be a table that was made for my mother more than 40 years ago. It’s seen its share of everyday living, and because it’s made from a soft wood, I can still see the impression of a word or two every now and then, so it’s draped with a large fabric remnant I use as a tablecloth. Those words etched into its surface are from my children and I couldn’t bear for them to disappear with a sweep of a sander. And let’s not forget the chairs. Don’t bother matching. Swap out the two end chairs for upholstered wing chairs like I do, or swap out side seats for a bench, or better yet, a settee or sofa. Add pillows; toss a throw or two over the backs to make dining, talking, or just being as comfortable as possible. Tables don’t need to be centered in the room either. Dare to move the table to the side of the room so the dining room can now become a multi-functional space.

A dining room should more than just a place to dine, it should be a room used often, and with love.

For more dining room inspiration, check out my other posts here, here, and here.

Kim Merritt – http://beautifullivingstyle.blogspot.com/

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Number 59 was my favorite kitchen ever. In the back of a quirky Victorian home in London, it fed every part of my creative being (I just didn’t know it at the time). Because it went down a step or two, and had a separate door, it always felt like I was going into another world. In reality, years ago, it was probably the Maid’s quarters; a place where they chatted and relaxed after cooking a meal, politely separated from their employers, whispering about the events of the day.


Whenever I opened the door, I didn’t go in there to cook, I just wanted to be there; a fireplace, a table, and some squishy armchairs invited me in, and the warm comfort asked me to stay. I can feel the kitchen as I write this, and remember the shape of the chair that I always sat in (if Sally the dog didn’t get to it first. I think it was actually hers, she just allowed me to borrow it when she went outside). Through the sitting area was the tiny kitchen, and a door leading out to the back garden. Sunny days led to picking flowers and clothes drying on the line, and rainy ones a cup of tea and a slice of cake.

I baked my first ever Victoria Sponge cake in that kitchen, and had my first cup of Earl Gray Tea (which I still don’t like); I felt very grown up when I drank it, knowing it was quite posh, while trying to ignore the perfumed Bergamot that made me almost want to be sick. Even so, making loose tea in a teapot was special, a treat that I never refused (or told anyone that I didn’t really like it).

My Auntie cooked and baked all the time, and the kitchen (to me) was the best room in the house. We would wander in after work, poke around the cupboard, grab a chocolate biscuit, collapse in a chair, and tell her about our day. It was warm, and we would always ask what was for dinner, and when would it be ready. She would keep doing whatever she was doing, and she would listen.
Like many mother’s, she had learned to let us talk, figuring out our own answers by the time we reached the end of the story. Sometimes, there were no words, just a cup of tea, or a nod of the head. It was a safe place to go; a problem solving kitchen.

On Saturday mornings my Uncle loved to cook. After walking the dog, he would make us the most delicious hot sandwiches, and we would just sit and eat, in yummy silence. (Maybe some people would have a nap afterwards, while the rest of us complained about doing the washing up).
It was a quiet part of the week. Our bellies were full, Monday seemed far away, and I think I was quite lazy. I didn’t do my own laundry, but I would happily chat to my Auntie as she folded and ironed for hours on end. I want to believe that she never minded, that she secretly loved the repetition of the iron, and the nice, clean pile of teenage clothes.

Sometimes, it was really hectic, and we would be told to get out of the tiny kitchen; but we never went too far, and we could always curl up with Sally, and wait for things to quiet down.

It wasn’t a fancy kitchen. I couldn’t tell you if the stove was gas or electric, or what the counter was made of, but I know that it was a true gathering room; a magical place that made you feel warm and welcome, where the people in it were far more important than the things….


Wendy E. Wrzos    http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/

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Simple things you can do to make your home merry and bright this holiday season. Like this hot chocolate station. I have a jar of candy canes in a glass hurricane on my kitchen counter for anyone to grab for a quick treat or to use as a stirrer for just about any drink you can think of. Check out this easy recipe for hot chocolate here. (Great gift idea: Set of mugs, homemade hot chocolate mix, cellophane bags each filled with candy canes, mini marshmallows, chocolate kisses, and/or sprinkles.)

Snow globe tutorial can be found over at Pink Pistachio. You don’t even need electric lights. Place a grouping on a table with candles and watch the magic happen. I use kosher salt sprinkled or mixed with white glitter for my snow.

Homemade edible glitter. Use it to top cupcakes or sprinkle it around a cheese platter.

What’s Christmas without cookies? These adorable gingerbread men are even gluten-free. Find the recipe on All Day I Dream About Food.

Don’t forget to deck out your car when you’re decking the halls. I have a wreath with a pretty red bow on my bumper.

Homemade ornaments. These lovely trees are easily made from copies of sheet music (tea-dyed if you’d like) cut into tree shapes and painted with glittery edges. Top with a pretty bow and you’re done. Makes a great gift tag too!

Movie night…and make mine a classic. I know it’s long, but how can you not watch It’s a Wonderful Life at Christmastime? Throw in a bowl of popcorn, turn on the Christmas lights and I’m there.

Images not credited via houzz.comjohnlewis.com, its a stamp thing


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We’ve just had our third frost of the year. The leaves are scattered on the lawn and there is a definite nip in the air. Soon the house will be un-haunted and my harvest decorations will make an appearance. I was inspired by some of the photos I posted to my Pinterest board and I wanted to share some thoughts and ideas on how you too can cozy up your home for fall.

We are fortunate to have an abundance of birch trees here in New Hampshire. I like to use the fallen trees on my property as props. I have a large branch that I use on my porch which I sometimes cover in white lights. I also cut up a tree or two and use the logs as hearth decorations in the warmer months when the fireplaces are no longer in use. But I think my favorite way to use these trees is to cut small logs and then hollow them out to use as containers just like you see in the top left photo above. Simply cut a hole into the center as wide as you’d like and then insert a waterproof container inside. (You can use them as a vases or candleholders.)

Also I’m not a huge wreath fan, but I do like to use them in creative ways. I’m drawn to this berry wreath because of the addition of the letter (cut from sturdy cardstock or thin plywood depending on how protected the door is and then painted), and simple decoration. You could even choose red berries instead and hang it on your door straight through Christmas.

My sister-in-law brought me some Ponderosa pine cones from her tip out west years ago. My collection sits in a half-round basket that hangs on my kitchen wall and I use the rest for decoration. I sit one on top of a candlestick, I use them to hide the Christmas tree base, and I tuck them into my living room bookcase. They are works of art all own their own.

I really want to mix up my Thanksgiving table this year and the photo on the bottom right above is my inspiration. I already have the rattan chargers, the garden statuary, and my Spode turkey plates, now I just have to pull together some other key elements that will combine red, orange, and gold together. These vintage leaf plates from Etsy will do the trick. (Take a look at a few other Thanksgiving table decorations here.)

Nature will always inspire my decorating regardless of the season. I like lots of texture so anytime I can bring something outdoors in, I do. When creating any type of table setting, it’s best to layer a variety of different materials (shapes, sizes, colors) together. If you don’t have rattan chargers, why not use some grapevine to wrap around your dishes. You could even use a grapevine wreath if you find the right size and if it doesn’t happen to be growing wild in your backyard. Dried leaves, branches, berries, pumpkins, gourds…these are just a few of the things that you can use to add style to your fall home and for very little money. And I’m wild about hazelnuts. I use them as filler in decorative dishes, and in glass hurricanes surrounding a candle or two.

Kimberly Merritt – http://beautifullivingstyle.blogspot.com/

images via stylemepretty.com, etsy.com, frenchcountrycottage.blogspot.com, homeiswheretheboatis.wordpress.com, stonegable.blogspot.com, pin4fun8634.blogspot.com, ruthdent.blogspot.com, thefullerview.tumblr.com

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I love cape-style homes. It could be the reason why my own expanded cape would look right at home along the seashore as well as it does here in the New Hampshire woods. During our vacation, I couldn’t help but look at all of the beautiful houses, and every year I snap some favorites. (Forgive the top of the car window. There’s a reason why I call these shots drive-bys.)

I like the house, but what I really liked was the detached garage. (Although I would use a different door material). After building our shed last fall, plans to build a barn or garage like this are never far from our minds.

“A Cape Cod cottage is a style of house originating in New England in the 17th century. It is traditionally characterized by a low, broad frame building, generally a story and a half high, with a steep, pitched roof with end gables, a large central chimney and very little ornamentation.” However, this style home has come a long way. You can find contemporary-style features and wings mixed in with more traditional elements. Cedar shakes or shingles, white trim, wooden shutters and onion-style lanterns are just a few of the typical materials used in the construction and design of a cape-style home. Typically a one to one-and-a-half story house, capes have grown to accommodate today’s style needs. The design was/is also considered practical. Because New England winters can be harsh, the steep roof line prevents excessive amounts of snow from accumulating. This is a must where I live.

Stone and brick are always close behind whether they’re used for the chimneys, walks, or steps. These natural materials are the perfect marriage between style and function.

The interiors of a cape-style home can vary greatly. Natural elements work their way indoors for a casual feel. Driftwood signs, wainscoting (originally used to address moisture in the walls), and painted cabinetry and woodwork are all mainstays. But you can vary the look and feel of the interior greatly mixing a variety of style and materials together to suit your needs. Here are a couple of highlights:

Beach House Chic: Driftwood, rattan, seagrass, starfish, seashell prints, nautical ropes and knots.
Colonial Style: Shaker-style kitchen cabinets, wooden knobs, wood plank back splash, ancestor portraits, wood plank floors, linen checked fabric, 13-arm meeting house chandelier.

The list goes on and on. If you have a cape-style home you’d like to share with me. Drop me a line and I’d love to take a look.

Kim Merritt – http://beautifullivingstyle.blogspot.com/

Images (starting from the top) via personal collection, smg.photobucket.com, reasontobreathe.tumblr.com, cityfarmhouse.com, foleyandcox.com, pasticheofcapecod.com, southernliving.com

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