Summer Grilling

ShishKebob

When I think of relaxing summer dinners, I think of grilling cheeseburgers, french fries and corn on the cob. Potato and egg salad sides are also a favorite.  However, color always inspires Ma so the other day we went against the usual and went for the unusual! Shish kebobs were in order with lots of colorful, juicy peppers!
Do bright, summer colors on the grill inspire you?

@erinmcgrathphotography

Hygge and Me

Every evening, I actually look forward to getting my comfy clothes on, relaxing under low light and reading a nice story.  “Getting cozy” fills me with joy. This time of year, Spring, I should be embracing the longer days of sunlight and the outdoors. Instead, I am still as happy as can be quietly unwinding in the early evening hours under my blankets. This feeling is so delightful to me that I even have a special reading nook in the corner of my room with a gray pillow with the word COZY stitched on it. I have often wondered why such simplicity creates such an enjoyment for me… even during the warmer, brighter months. Recently I came across the Danish word hygge (pronounce hue-gah).  It is difficult to translate directly because it’s more of a feeling or state of mind, but it can be compared to “coziness”.  According to the Macmillan Dictionary, it’s defined as “a type of lifestyle practised in Denmark where the focus is on simple pleasures, comfort and cosiness, and spending time with friends and family.”  This interpretation matches me!  Between my great-grandmother having moved to the U.S. from Värmland, Sweden to my other great-grandparents who also moved from Northern European countries, perhaps this could explain the nordic, cozy, hygge feeling that is in my blood. Realizing the meaning of this word actually thrilled me because it’s not just me! It so accurately describes what makes me happy each evening and it makes so much more sense now. Is it a trend? For some, I’m sure. For me, it’s been carried down through my lineage so I will always embrace hygge.  It makes me feel content. It inspires Ma.  Does hygge inspire you… even during the Spring?

 

 

Je ne sais quoi

Do you ever walk into a room and it moves you but you just don’t know why? It’s hard to pinpoint what makes it so special and inviting. Sometimes you have to really look into the details; details such as the wall moldings. It’s a successful room when it grabs you but not for something that shouts why. I find that the moldings are a special touch that really inspire me in a subtle way. They are beautiful when camouflaged into the walls such as the images above.  They work well in many styles whether they are in a traditional room or a contemporary.  Is there a specific image above that grabs you?

Wallpaper

Melody Duck Egg Wallpaper

Wallpaper?! Isn’t that what  people are ripping off the walls of their newly bought homes? Their homes that were recently bought from the original owner of 50 years?  I love the look of so many patterns. Damask, toile, floral and geometric shapes. I am very happy when looking at patterns whether for a pillow, bedding… or just plain old inspiration.  Wouldn’t it be inspiring to have it hanging on a wall in your house? Maybe the 21st century way is to apply it only to an accent wall. What do you think about wallpaper on all four walls of a room versus one wall? Does it depend on which room?  I used to think that applying it to one wall was a cowardly way of using a bold color or pattern but maybe that is the way to go.
What inspires you?

Breezy Bayeaux

Bayeaux, France in Normandy looks like such a gorgeous town. It’s between the port city of Cherbourg and the university city of Caen. I’m now sitting here daydreaming about this place. I find this sort of thing so inspiring!! Do you? Well, I took it a step further and actually found the perfect rental. I was so excited to find a beautiful place by the sea, in a cute town, with a second bedroom with three beds. This is perfect for our family. Now let’s just hope this is still available in a few years. Do you enjoy daydreaming about spending time in a little town by the sea and eating pain au chocolat while eavesdropping in a new language? Even if you know it’s just a daydream?

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First Cozy Blizzard of the Year

SnowStorm

The weatherman goes crazy for storms such as this. I get excited with the anticipation of being stuck indoors and looking out at the bright, beautiful snow. My first item that I must stock up on? Hot chocolate! Blizzard = fire in the fireplace = hot chocolate. Does being cozy, warm and calm inspire you when gorgeous snowflakes fall from the dark sky?

KITCHEN! {sigh}

Screen shot 2013-08-09 at 9.31.54 AMHow can I put this into words.  I beyond love this.  This image will definitely be put aside as a reference for when it’s time to renovate my kitchen. Does this kind of kitchen inspire you?  This is my dream! The flowers add a lot of beauty, too.

Having the Outdoors Indoors

These courtyards are magnificent. When it’s a beautiful day, I could sit outside with the comforts of home. If it’s a rainy day, I could still open up the indoors to experience the outdoors… this is the best of both worlds. They inspire Ma!

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Grand Space of a Loft

 The definition, according to Wikipedia, of a loft apartment is:  it “refers to large adaptable open space, often converted for residential use from some other use, often light industrial.” It’s exciting to have an industrial history to your home. What cool stories are involved when living in a space where chocolate chips were dropped into cookie batter, for example!  A loft can allow you to be creative with clever ways to partition the open space. Do you think a large space separated by bookshelves or a short wall is cozy? There are unconventional details with ceilings and exposed duct work. What if the space has an echo? There are certain aspects of a loft that I do find inspiring, such as the large, multi-paned windows found in some old factories (and in the first loft below). I would love that touch in my own home… in my breakfast nook.

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A Beautiful Table Setting

What is it that creates a beautiful table setting? The centerpiece? Linens? Dinnerware? Needless to say, a beautiful setting on the table is very inviting. I gravitate to my seat and am excited to eat and chat. However, a pile of papers sometimes gravitates to my dining room table before a crowd of dinner guests. These photos are so gorgeous because of the full effect. It’s not just the centerpiece or the flatware but all the pieces combined. I have a simple unified piece in the center of my table. It consists of a round bamboo-type material place mat with two candles and a vase filled with dried lavender from my yard. I now feel inspired to leave out dinnerware… but I need the space for my children to work on their art projects! Is your dining room table usually left casual or formal?

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