“To think creatively, we must be able to look afresh at what we normally take for granted. ” ~George Kneller
We all are ‘inspired’ in celebrated and significant ways by the things that we love…whether it is our spouse, our beloved pets, reading a bestselling novella, our favorite musicians, a classic movie, a new recipe for getting healthy or a brand new eatery we found tucked away in the country with the best peach cobbler a la mode we’ve ever tasted…Beauty is also an inspiration …especially in how we embellish and present our homes, created with our personal touches and adored decor items. The things that inspire us, create within us a new strength, purpose as well as courage to live a more beautiful and delight-some life.
Perhaps it is your LOVE for FUN that quickens you to bring forth a patina of diversion, pleasure, amusement, bliss and bright colors?
Are you a fan of “everything Chic'” enjoying a cool, ‘au courant’ exclusive, dapper and dashing, yet at the same time, sophisticated and understated ambiance in your home?
If you are like me, you adore a romantic motif…rooms filled with a touch of glamor, mystery, a picture-book flavor and an abundance of enchantment. 🙂
Maybe you absolutely go wild over a home filled with “Pizzazz.” An ambiance that is not only alluring and captivating, but is graced with abundant charisma and a little extra added “oomph?”
If your heart is partial to French decor, you love the provincial countryside look…a potpourri of rustic, casual yet eminently welcoming furnishings and decor to create a warm and fetching ambiance using an abundance of natural materials.
Many love the Vintage, old world look with its heartening traditional theme and its’ quaint and stunning ambiance.
We all have our own distinctive, unique signature style when it comes to decorating… You are the only one who can capture the essence of each one of your rooms within your home and CREATE them to be Whatever YOU want them to be.”
This vignette is not necessarily just about “creating.” If all of us were given a blank check and could shop on line, go to all of our favorite boutiques, travel to Europe and Spain to buy the finest linens, drop by our nearest Ralph Lauren Furniture store or a Waverly interior decor showroom, and purchase our decorating materials, our homes would look as if they they stepped directly out of a ” Better Homes and Gardens or Veranda magazine.” The key challenge here, is not using a blank check to create the home of your dreams…its using something more personal…Your inbred, talents and creativity to take what you already have in your home, along with your brilliant imagination, some ingenuity, cleverness, individual style and yes, perhaps a few dollars here and there, ( I heavily accent on the FEW, 🙂 but creating your homes ambiance with your own resources, with any muse or muses you so desire.
Everyone has to start somewhere… There are seasons within our lives where our abode is ‘temporary.’ Perhaps you are renting a room in a large home, going to school and only have a small area to display your unique tastes and likes. Maybe you rent a home with a few other men or women and its a potpourri of all of your tastes mixed into one themed abode… (I always think of the popular sitcom FRIENDS and how diverse all their tastes were, especially Rachael and Monica’s home…it was dramatic, colorful and FUN! ) It may be that you have just purchased a brand new home and are deciding on what your “style and patina” will be. Decorating can be astonishingly expensive, (as our lists for items needed to produce a certain ambiance grows faster than the “General Sherman giant sequoia tree in California.”) 🙂 I realized early on in my ‘decorating adventures’…sometimes the money would be plentiful for these much desired , ‘have to have’ items, and at other times, the piggy bank was empty. Thus I learned, first hand, how to take what I have already collected , along with what I’ve learned and captured through many a home decor book and magazine, and began decorating our little haven with “our style’ but with very little cost. Not only was it fun, challenging, and eminently rewarding, but it gave me a great gift I still exercise today… CREATIVITY and using my imagination… (I still love to go shopping and buy something new for the house) but many a time, I choose to re-create a room with my own inventory and a few craft supplies! 🙂 This is my challenge to you within this vignette… and hopefully I can share with you, some inspiring ideas of just how to do that.
If you are not in a “creative mood” as of yet, I think these quotes will inspire you to ‘fire up’ your imagination as well as innovation.
“Nothing encourages creativity like the chance to fall flat on one’s face.” ~James D. Finley
“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!” ~Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!
“The Possible’s slow fuse is lit By the Imagination.” ~Emily Dickinson
“Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. ” ~George Smith Patton, War as I Knew It, 1947
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. ” ~Mark Twain
“Don’t expect anything original from an echo. ” ~Author Unknown
“There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds.” ~G.K. Chesterton
“I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them.” ~Pablo Picasso
“Sometimes imagination pounces; mostly it sleeps soundly in the corner, purring. “~Terri Guillemets
“Imagination is the highest kite one can fly.” ~Author Unknown
“The strongest nation on earth is your imagi-nation. ” ~Matt Furey
“Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent, and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play.” ~Henri Matisse
“I remembered a story of how Bach was approached by a young admirer one day and asked, “But Papa Bach, how do you manage to think of all these new tunes?” “My dear fellow,” Bach is said to have answered, according to my version, “I have no need to think of them. I have the greatest difficulty not to step on them when I get out of bed in the morning and start moving around my room.” ~Laurens Van der Post
“I’m creative – you can’t expect me to be neat too.” ~Author Unknown
I will never forget my first real challenge…It was my favorite month, December,and we were able to move into the most enchanting, historical little cottage home. (It truly was our Christmas gift that year.) But, we did not have the decorating budget for all our hopes and dreams to fix this place up…It was frustrating and disquieting to say the least…(Still overflowing with gratitude that we had such a cozy, storybook new abode, I took what I had and began to make it ours!
“Honey can we afford some paint , masking tape and a few paint brushes?” I asked several months later, ( in a bit of desperation as this little home was entirely too white.) (And a dull white at that.) Kit said Yes! We had so much fun going to Ace Hardware shop, picking out our ‘just right’ paint color shades and then stopping off at Borders to get our cappuccino’s afterwards… dreaming together of what our new little haven would look like with some color.
I don’t need to tell you that once you START adding color to one room, its almost an “obsession” to paint another room…then another. Well…we did. (Thank the Lord it was only a tiny one bedroom cottage home.) 🙂
Our neighbor and one of our best friends Vince, ( a very talented painter and artist) said he would help me…How blessed was I?
The biggest room to tackle was the living room. After much research, (even though it sounds crazy,) we chose a bright, snowy white and soft Iris yellow for the walls along with a rich cranberry red for the French doors and crown molding. Vince taught me how to use masking tape to make stripes and I was having more fun than I dreamed possible. Were my stripes perfectly straight? NO! Was I scared and a little nervous? YES…Did anyone really care if it came out flawless? NO…It was my first attempt at “doing it myself” and if I failed, no one was going to loose sleep over it or go into a dither. 🙂 But, as long as you didn’t look behind my big hutch, it turned out pretty cool!
Here are a few Before and After photos….
For the dining room, we chose a very safe, light, pastel-parasol pink color and picked up a rose stencil at Micheal’s to blend in with the original Persian green crown molding. I also placed my floral border paper in the center of the walls…it was a very subtle change but it livened up the room with a soft, romantic glow…(especially alluring with an abundance of candlelight.)
Before...with the off white, (uninspiring paint color) and After…with the soft, tranquil and serene lulled rose-pink.
Our bedroom was the hardest room to decide the paint color as it was the smallest of rooms. Our first choice? A dark, cranberry red! (We still had paint left.) 🙂 My expertise friend Vince, said ” NO” right off the bat…”Susan, it will make your room look 10 times smaller.” I didn’t listen and ended up doing a lot of work to cover the partial wall I tried in this rich dark color 🙂 (Lesson learned…LISTEN to the experts.) 🙂 I finally chose a Martha Stewart, sky blue and asked my ‘teacher’ to show me how to do a bit of Faux painting…his specialty…And of course, I wanted more stripes! 🙂
A few more Before and After photos
Th easiest room to paint was our county kitchen…I had plenty of yellow paint left so I used it more as an accent color along with my floral stencil…Again, it illuminated the entire ambiance with a beautiful brightness and warmth…we loved it!
Here are a few more decorators styles using creative stenciling, Faux painting and striped walls, to give you some ideas if your ready for a little (fun) work, as well as an inexpensive and colorful change…
I adore the rich, warm golden tone with the artful stenciled ivy…It reminds me of Francis Maye’s villa, ( Bramasole) in Under the Tuscan sun. 🙂 I never would have thought to do horizontal stripes…exceptionally brilliant!
Again, the Faux painted wall is incredibly rich, warm and inviting…I like these birds as well, except (in a small way,) they remind me of Alfred Hitchcock’s movie, “The Birds,” so I could see this inspirational stenciling on a wall in a game room. (A room with an abundance of energy and excitement,) not so much for a room of repose and calmness. 🙂 (That’s just me.) 🙂
Both of these artistic displays are altogether elegant, stellar and very regal!
Another resourceful idea to bring forth a creative change with what you already have, is to repaint your picture frames…
I inherited two of these antiquated glass frames…believe it or not, they hung over my sisters and my twin high beds as we shared a room together growing up. My parents had beautiful ballerina paintings in them. They were off white and very regal looking, (a perfect frame for the celebrated dancers,) but not my taste, (nor hers.) 🙂 One day, (when we were much older,) my sister and I painted these frames with vibrant water colored paint, using the color scheme of Kits and my home. I ended up putting our wedding photos in them and now, as an adult woman, I absolutely love and cherish them as they are inspirationally unique and fit our motif perfectly. (And I get so many compliments on them, especially from antique collectors.)
Taking any wooden frame and making it yours, by antiquating it or painting it according to your color scheme is quick and easy. When finished, its as if you have a brand new picture frame to spruce up your rooms with. Gorgeously done!
Exquisite and romantic.
Another unique idea from this artist… as your painting, mix and match your patterns, using different hues of the same color. One of my dear friends makes these seashell frames from all of her shell collections from Rehoboth beach. Not only are they fascinating and lovely, but they brighten up her classic maritime home here in Delaware.
Something so easy and magical…adding kaleidoscopic color along with your special touch to something we all have within our kitchens.. ROLLING PINS! My amazingly artistic sister made me the one on the left. I display it as decor only. (I use my plain rolling pin for baking.) 🙂
All you need is a little imagination…
When Kit and I moved into our home in Delaware, we were blessed with an over-abundance of WINDOWS! I didn’t have enough curtains for our home, nor did we have the extra cash flow to buy new ones…so I decided to “be creative” and mix a few patterns together for a “potpourri” look for my valance, using a designed floral, white lace sheer as the foundation.
These first two valances are my two windows in the front of the living room. Definitely a little bit of mix and match going on here, but it fits in with our motif! (And cost me nothing.) 🙂
This is my very large window on the side of the living room… I made this valance to look similar but added the red checks and a diverse designed lace fabric… again, its what I had and it worked.
I love this decorators ingenuity and personal creativity with how she used a delicate and splendorous tea cup as her ‘tie back’ for her curtains…it brings such originality, style and felicity.
This has got to take the prize for the most creative...an old, painted window shudder used as a valance…incredibly clever and inventive.
A fabulously stunning, homemade burlap creation!
Not your typical store-bought- curtains…Lovely, innovative and fresh!
Adding the dimensional roses creates an air of “cozy, demure and graceful romance”.
If your home does not have as many windows as you would like, you can make your own “window look” with window boxes or paned mirrors. Bedeck them with a homemade, cheery valance or place a motley bouquet of flowers around it… It creates the ‘illusion of space’ within your home, causing your room to look larger than it really is. (Now if we could just find a way for the sun to grace these paned mirrors with its warmth and sublime radiance.) 🙂
My brother Jim’s home in Newport beach was unbelievably creative with a magical, elfin ambiance…one of the things he did was fill his home with window boxes. (You can use old window shudders along with a window frame or a paned mirror as well.) He added fresh and artificial flowers around his new creation, causing the entire room to liven up with warmth as well as a Junoesque atmosphere. Absolutely stunning! (It was Kits and my favorite spot to sit when we’d go for a visit.) 🙂
You can find these types of mirrors at Hobby Lobby and other craft stores as well as your nearby thrift stores or consignment shops! You will be surprised at the creativity these paned ‘looking glass’s’ will spark within you to ‘make it your own.’ 🙂
To add charm, a touch of elegant style and a create a “look” all your own, making a new topiary tree for your living room or dining room table scape is a great idea and so easy. With a bag of Spanish moss, a few artificial flowers, a dense and hefty twig, a foam ball or shape of your choosing, a glue gun and some ivy, you are set!
The nice thing about creating a topiary tree with green moss is that it’ s interchangeable with each festive occasion you host, as you add new seasonal decor to its foundation for whatever the motif of your room is at the time.
In your playful , adventurous creativity, its fun to go with a very simple, elegant tree , an inspirational cherub motif or a sylvan , enchanted look.
You can’t go wrong with ivy and roses or a topiary tree decked out with colorful berries, apples and pears…
More creative topiary tree ideas…These artist’s work reveal that beauty comes in so many creative ways! Lively and animated as well as romantic and flamboyant .
If you have a grapevine, straw or wicker basket around your house, artificial roses and Ivy, you can turn the ordinary into extraordinary, adding warmth and color and that “something new” we all desire every now an then, to add to our lovely havens.
These flowering baskets are all fabulously unique, expressing each artists style and individual tastes. (I especially love the one with the flowering ‘Tootsie Roll pops.’ Creative and yummy! 🙂
You can always take a basket you have already decorated for a special season, and use it again for the next…
How about a new, colorful way to display your treasured cards, photographs or special concert tickets you want to keep forever? If you have an old cork board laying around, buy some fabric and ribbon on sale. If you do not have a sewing machine, craft shops actually have a supply of a new glue stick that is entirely made just for fabric, (producing the same effect as a tiny needle and thread.) 🙂 I love it!
Each memory board is beautifully done and so diverse!
These Memory boards are shown with a before and after photo to show that you can add as little or as many photos as you’d like , depending upon the room your are decorating.
What a classy office space… this decorator has created her board to fit in perfectly with her motif! Very stunning!
I adore my memory board with the chalkboard… I keep it updated for every season!
How about using an old window shudder with a fresh coat of paint? Brilliant idea!
Creativity with a dancing flame! 🙂
There is no stopping when it comes to ideas for creating color and charm with a candle display.( All with ingredients found right within your home!) (Again, all these creations are diverse and fetching…)
Whoever invented “Puff Paint” is a genius…incredibly inexpensive, this fascinating gem will turn anything in your home into a new, innovative, classy piece of decor.!
These creations are easy to do and definitely something you can personalize and give as a gift or keep for yourself.
This could be YOUR “Great Pumpkin” for the autumn season. It will stay festive for the entire season.
I adore these puff painted snowflakes…what a wonderful idea for a wintry motif.
These next photos are all “gifts’ from my sister who I keep telling you is fabulously creative as well as artistic… She blesses me so!
A monogrammed vintage perfume bottle…
She personalized a framed piece of art with gold puff paint as well as a jewelry holder, a few Christmas ornaments, Grahams Christmas pillow and petite glass vases to match my formal china. The lampshade and puff painted lamp base is displayed in her home. Truly, these are all things she had around her home or picked up at a consignment or thrift shop and customized it herself with the puff paint…What a great invention used with wondrous talent.
Another resplendent transformation. A grapevine wreath (in any shape you choose,) made into a riveting ‘work of art’ with your colors and personal style , creating a beautiful new decor item for your home.
A few beautifully created spring wreaths!
An assortment of dried roses and flowers, (many of which came from floral arrangements I had received and dried after they graced our home with their delightful fragrances,) along with a few sprigs of greens and ivy, along with a ribbon. ( And of course, my faithful glue gun.) 🙂
How about a wreath in a pot!
The wondrous thing about a fresh or artificial green wreath is you can continue to re-create your “work of art’ with the celebration of each season… using whatever you have within your house that you love. I always keep dried roses, babies breath, a medley of wired ribbons, and (as you already know,) bears of all shapes and sizes… 🙂 I have used this green wreath for every occasion you can think of, embellishing it with whatever the festivity calls for! 🙂
OKAY! Tell me one person who at one time in their life or another, has not owned a cherished Teddy bear? (Some of us, 🙂 just never outgrow them!)
If you are a teddy bear lover as I, one way I have curbed my “obsession” to run out and get a new adorable little guy, each time I have a desire to add to my collection (in which I do use as a part of my home decor,) is that I redress the bears I already have…I have had more fun shopping at garage sales and thrift stores for baby clothes with my friends and have acquired many classy and adorable outfits for my bears for under $5.00.
My oldest Teddy bear, (I have had him for 28 years now,) whom I adore, (as he was the one my mom and I picked out together one very memorable afternoon we spent in Laguna beach California.) I can remember us laughing as we saw him amongst all the other bears in this classy boutique….he was quite dapper in his black tux and bow tie. His name is Cornelius and he is still a charmer.
Here is Cornelius (undressed,) awaiting his new outfit for spring.
And a few of my other fair-haired friends…Cornelius’s girlfriend, Hope
Hope and Cornelius together sharing some Hershey’s chocolate Easter eggs…
This is Jimbo… named after my brother Jim, (his nickname)…. he is a wondrous and tangible reminder of my brother as he loved bears…
My bear “JImbo” dressed up as a girl for spring time…(Hey, lets face it, this little guy has a face that can go either way so no one knows… 🙂
Griffin and my two older bears, Katie and Gerrard are all dressed up delivering messages in our little abode with a petite chalkboard, bringing forth personality, warmth and smiles.
The home dressed bears are a lot less expensive than the brand new bears at the Bear Boutiques or online… But just looking at what is new on the market, sure does give you a great idea of what to look for at Garage sales, thrift stores and consignment shops to dress your favorite bears up at home…(I am already on the ‘hunt’ to find the cunning hats on the adorable, debonair duo below.) 🙂
And for all of you “Bunny collectors”….dress up your little guys for the season and bring about a decorative change to your abode! (Add a bit of color and charisma and change the ordinary into something remarkable .)
A few flowering pots filled with sunny yellow flowers, a medley of old books tied with a pastel ribbon and some moss, beautifully transforms these two white ceramic bunnies into a beautiful spring display.
My faithful and poised bunny, dressed up for the season with his topiary tree and flower basket…( all things around my home.)
I had to throw these pics into this blog, as they are just too cute not to share… I found this little dog that looks like Grantham’s twin, so I dressed him up too…Kit keeps this one on his desk…(As his office decor is mainly nautical along with a dog themed motif, (meaning ample photos of Grantham.) 🙂 OK, no more stuffed animals… 🙂
If your creative muscle is becoming toned, here is a more challenging, artistic change to bring forth more beauty and color into you home.
Again, a little paint, your very own unique style and imagination…
The artist who did this is my sister…she has the “free hand” artistic talent that I do not, and I am in awe at her beautiful creations. Here is a before and after photo of an old hutch she refashioned. Amazing!
An old table she painted to bring some creative color and style to her home.
And lastly, a hope chest she made to look old with her antiquated golds and stenciling…
Another artists creatively made over hutch with its array of stenciled flowers and subtle, hushed hues, blended so beautifully together. Both incredibly inspirational!
These two ‘works of art’ are a bit more formal…. Charmingly beautiful!
I adore this blithesome Armoire. From start to finish, its absolutely stunning… I love the color scheme this artist has chosen… This finished piece of art would grace any room in the house.
How about taking an ordinary birdcage in your attic, or a lantern and “dressing it up” a little for a centerpiece or inviting table top in the living room?
The inspiration for the birdcage is the renowned eatery, Mimi’s cafe. Very genius! The lantern is beautifully transformed with a white pillar candle and an array of petite, lulled pink roses…both unique and beautiful!
Its amazing how just a few additions bring life to something within our homes we never think of as a decorative item…
Refreshing, livening and animated ….as well as elegant, regal and formal…both bird cages are breathtaking!
The two lanterns are brought to life with romantic lighting, (whether a candle or designer lights) bringing forth charm and enchantment.
I am continuously amazed at such beautiful talent.
Winsome, invigorating and very chic! These would be perfect displayed in a bay window or in the dining room … bringing a bit of natures majestic beauty inside your home.
How about sconces? I began collecting these after I got married. They are such a fun decor item as you can continuously change them for each season, to set the ambiance of your room.
Wall sconces are an ideal place to bring color, texture and your own style into any of your rooms, hallways or foyers.
Great ideas for the kitchen, living room, study, bedroom or entryway.
We’ve talked about creating beautiful wreaths or topiary trees with everyday things around your home, how about adding one strand of petite amber or white lights for a romantic, cozy ambiance? I love glistening petite lights as they bring enchantment, an elfin magic and a fairytale-like ambiance that livens up our decorative displays.
Homemade pillows! Pillows transform our favorite over sized chairs, couches and our beds in a magical way…and they are so easy to make. (Remember if you do not have a sewing machine, the fabric glue sticks are available at craft stores.)
Soft, elegant and inviting!
Each designers creation is splendidly diverse and eye-catching. I can feel the creative juices flowing. 🙂
If you are blessed to have a Village collection, bring it out of your attic a few times a year, bedecking it with the grandest decor for each season.
Summer in the mountains by the lake…
Autumns brisk days of vibrant colors….
Winters magical wonderland…
Springs allurement of bright blossoms and promise of new life…
A summer celebration of the beloved 4th of July holiday.
One of my best friends Kim created this incredibly statuesque and stirring Village scene for the Christmas holidays in her classy home…Absolutely awe-inspiring. (And she plays the piano beautifully!)
SPEAKING Of Christmas…here are a few wonderful Christmas ornaments to make at home for just pennies…
All of these ornaments are not only innovative and clever, but memorable keepsakes with a homemade touch of love.
Kit bought me this snow lady years ago…she is made to hold utensils in the kitchen…I gathered a handful of twigs from the woods in the meadow and created a decorative snow-lady for any room in the house for our Christmas celebration.
What a wonderful idea…adding a snowman face to a wintry garland, creating an eye-catching Christmas wreath. I am taken aback with all the classy and fun snowmen made out of a potpourri of all types of boxes… Fabulously creative and festive. (Such creative talent.) 🙂
Color changes everything! It creates a mood within your home ‘all by itself.’ If your feeling a need for something new, try creating a new table-scape with a different tablecloth, dinnerware and centerpiece.
There is nothing as enchanting as a medley of vibrant reds and shimmering golds! OK, perhaps white damask linen with formal china and sparkling silver. 🙂 I love changing the mood of our dinning room with table-scape changes.
A baronial autumn celebration…
If your desiring a clean, fresh, calm and soothing ambiance , its hard to outdo the color combination of an alluring, soft yellow highlighted with the gorgeous decorative duo of blue and white? Elegance and serenity all rolled into one. 🙂
When in need of cheer…. a medley of bright COLORS!
Whenever Kit and I go to visit my brother on the west coast, I am amazed at how he turns his beautiful dark wood dining table into a “work of art” bringing forth an ambiance of elegance, grace and convivial spirit, with a beautiful linen cloth, sparkling crystal, baronial china along with fresh flowers and soft candle light. He has blessed us with so many happy memories at this table with all the thought and creativity he puts into his presentation.
A beautifully simple table-scape… a mixture of gorgeous rich woods with white linen…a very classy and galvanic appeal!
A few ideas for creative centerpieces...all homemade with things already within your home, bringing forth wonderment, color and a welcoming atmosphere.
If you already have a three tiered cake plate stand, there are so many creative ways to dress it up for any motif!
Once you have created a birdcage or a topiary tree, remember you can change them at anytime for a seasonal , captivating centerpiece for a special gathering. 🙂
My dear friend Ellie made this innovative Valentines candy/candle holder for me this year…What an awe-inspiring centerpiece idea to have a few of these filled with vibrant red and pink pillar candles. 🙂 I just adore this artists idea of the flowering rain boots for a centerpiece… I am feeling wonderfully inspired…How about you?
Lastly, If you are like me, you have a few cherished plates that you have inherited from someone you love, were given as a gift or have bought on a whim while shopping…(Plates you would not necessarily eat off of, but that are designed for decorative display.) I find when I take them out and create a cozy corner with one of them, I feel as if I have treated myself to something new for my home, all over again… Its fun and ‘different,’ from my everyday decor.
I hope that you have gleaned a few ideas of how to use “what you already have,” (added to your imagination and talents,) to create a medley of warm, colorful and fascinating new looks for your home, when you feel you need a change… Lets face it, we can only move our furniture around so many times.) 🙂
HAPPY CREATING! 🙂
PHOTOGRAPHS: In placing your computer mouse upon any of the photos or graphics, it will display where the picture originated from.