Simple Inspirations

Feb 20, 2015

I can't believe it's Friday again, the weeks are just flying by - but I don't mind - I have a trip (or two!) coming up, and I'm so ready to take a break from this cold, wet and snowy weather!

Although we're not going far, Nick and I are going on a bit of a getaway this weekend, actually. We'll be out of the city, near the ocean, and most importantly, without wifi! So in preparation, I made a trip to the library earlier this week to stock up on my favourite crime novels (anything by Ian Rankin and Jo Nesbo) and some home decor mags, of course.  In addition to spending hours reading, I'm looking forward to whipping up a few tasty meals and lounging by the fire; what better way to spend a wintry February weekend?!

In the spirit of a winter weekend getaway, this week's Simple Inspirations is a little round up to reflect our weekend retreat. Even if you're spending the weekend at home, there's lots here to put you in a cozy & relaxed mood.
1. via // i'm going to try making this on saturday night. it's similar to apple crisp except better, because you bake it IN the apple. recipe is included in the link above. 

2. via // comfortable pyjamas are a must for weekends spent lounging. loving the look of tartan this winter, whether in clothing, like these pyjamas, or in pillows and blankets for your home. 

3. via // talk about a stylishly inviting reading nook. as always, i love the mix of vintage (the lounge chair frame) and modern (the sconces and graphic print pillows)...and white!

4. via // speaking of reading,  I just finished this book and in my opinion, it's really worth the read. it took my quite a while to get through, (not always a page turner), and at times was hard to read (after all, it's a true story based on a WW2 POW), but it's a really good story to remind us of the strengths that we have within ourselves. even when we are pushed far beyond what we think we are capable of handling, we can triumph over and survive. 

5. via // a beautiful modern copper lamp to add all the light you need to your reading nook (or bedroom or office). although copper's been trending for a while now, I'm not definitely not getting tired of it yet. if you're hesitant about adding copper to your home, try starting with something small (a copper mug perhaps?) to see how you like it before going all in. 

6. via // what's a cozy and relaxing winter weekend without hot chocolate? this recipe is dairy and sugar free (!). i'll be trying it out this weekend. 

Happy Relaxing!

Ch Ch Ch Changes!

Feb 19, 2015

I haven't posted anything yet this week because I'm working on some updates and changes to the blog (maybe you're noticing some already?). As someone with absolutely zero clue when it comes to websites and coding, the littlest change can literally take me hours.

But I'm hopeful that it's time well spent and that the new additions and changes will make the blog a little friendlier and easier to use and bring it closer to the overall look I have envisioned for it.
There will still be a Simple Inspirations post tomorrow, so be sure to check back. 

In the meantime,  stay in  the loop and connect with me. Follow The Simply Inspired Blog on Pinterest and Facebook to see my current design and decorating obsessions through my latest pins -  plus, lots of helpful links and articles which are posted to my Facebook page. 

Simple Inspirations

Feb 13, 2015

Some Valentine's & love inspired images.

1. via // a cozy retreat for two? yes please. rustic always translates to comfort for me - plush leather seating, stone fireplaces, mood lighting and cozy textures. perfect for a valentine's day weekend getaway.

2. via // red, black and gold is such a timeless combination. as of late I'm especially liking gold accessories in home and in fashion

3. via // there anything more to say? step out of your comfort zone and try a new and scrumptious dessert for the chocolate lovers holiday.

4. via // black and white and love all over. this print is by a talented blogger from Toronto and is now on sale at Chapters. a "lovely" addition to a master bedroom

5. via // valentines is a great time to set technology aside and wrote a good old fashioned love letter; also by the same Toronto blogger. French, donuts, pastels and roses - just the perfect combination of inspiration to me.

6. via // beautiful colours and beautiful flowers. perhaps the ideal substitution for roses?

In a relationship or not, I hope you take some time to give (& receive) a little love this weekend.

DIY Valentine's His & Her Pillowcases

Feb 12, 2015

I've been having such a relaxing day today and am in an especially great mood, because.... we have a snow day! It was nice to have a bit of a slow moving morning, I slept in and then made a hearty "warm me up" breakfast of bacon, eggs and homemade blueberry muffins. Now onto today's Valentine's themed post...

I'm not one to decorate for every holiday and occasion, especially not for Valentine's Day, but I recently purchased so me fabric paint and was experimenting with it. My end result were these pretty cute His & Her Pillowcases. I've called them a Valentine's DIY because they're red and pink, but you could also switch up the colours and use them all year round. 
All you need for this project is red and white fabric paint or a mixture of craft and acrylic, which is what I used. I mixed red fabric paint with white acrylic paint to get the pink, then used a small sponge to make the dots. Next I just wrote out His & Hers using the fabric paint bottle which is shaped like a squirt tube. Just make sure you put something (I used a garbage bag) inside the pillowcase so the paint doesn't go through.

Somebody took note that a photo shoot was happening and had to make an appearance...

Please forgive the bright yellow paint. Since we're planning to do a major overhaul on the master in the near future I haven't bothered to paint it. But I desperately await the day that we can paint over the yellow with white or a light grey. I'll feel so much better then!

Stay tuned tomorrow for the second installation of the Simple Inspirations series. And as always, I would love to hear your comments on the blog, and if you see something you like, feel free to share it!

DIY Wood Sign

Feb 9, 2015

In between writing on The Simply Inspired and working on projects, I follow a ton of other DIY, home improvement and interior design blogs. One such blog, AKA Design (also a Canadian blogger) posted a special date wood sign project a few weeks ago which I thought would be an easy decor project to add to our home. Instead of using a special date, I choose some other numbers that represent something important to both Nick and me - the coordinates for our hometown, St. John's, NL.
Materials for this project:
  • A piece of wood (mine is about 1/2" thick)
  • Dark wood stain
  • Sponge brush for applying stain (can get these at Dollarama)
  • White paint (I used acrylic craft paint)
  • Small paint brush
  • 2 sawtooth hooks
  • Pencil

  • Stain wood using sponge brush, let dry overnight
  • Determine what you would like to write on the sign (anniversary date, child's birthday, date of your first date, street you live on...whatever you like!), you can either use a stencil, or free hand like I did, and write on the wood using pencil first.
  • Trace over your pencil or fill in the stencil with white paint
  • Let the paint dry, then attach the sawtooth hooks to the back, placing each about 1/4 of the way in from each edge.
It doesn't get any easier than that!  

We've positioned our sign above the french doors leading from the dining room into the living room. I love the look of the rustic stained wood against the crisp white wall. Adding personal touches like this DIY Wood Sign really contributes to creating a home full of our individual personalities and preferences.

A few other ideas for wood signs:
  • Paint the wood using chalkboard paint so you can switch up the message on the sign as you please
  • Hang the wood vertically and paint it like a meter stick to measure the heights of your children as they grow
  • Opt to create a pattern instead of using numbers or words by taping off a pattern on the wood then staining over the tape. When you remove the tape your pattern will be displayed by the contrast of the light pre-stained wood and the darker, stained wood.

Friday's New Series | < Simple Inspirations >

Feb 6, 2015

Today's the day! The Friday's List series is officially retiring. Although it was fun, I'm excited to be revealing a new Friday Series.

I wanted to shift the focus from lists about anything and everything, to something more in tune with what this blog is about, which is finding inspiration....being simply inspired. I also thought it was important that the series be useful and purposeful to you who are reading this little blog of mine. The new series, Simple Inspirations, will be a mixed collection of images from around the web that I think (or hope!) you will find either interesting or inspirational, perhaps even both.

I would love to hear your feedback on the new series, is there anything in particular you'd like to see?

1. via // this photo perfectly captures the beauty of mixing textures. the same can be applied to styling your home. if your space is looking or feeling a little drab, try injecting a variety of textures, like leather, wool and cotton.

2. via // a welcoming bed made with fresh and fun prints. my favourite contrast, white and brown. beautiful wood detailing.

3. via // a cozy little nook to help survive the cold and dark winter. neutral colours and natural elements. (anyone else dying to curl up under that heavy wool throw?)

4. via // even more calming & neutral colors. hot pads don't have to be dated or boring. these stylish ones have me thinking of making my own.

5. via // aztec and tribal prints are everywhere right now, whether you prefer it on your clothing or throughout your home decor. if you prefer a small dose, stick with just one pillow, like this one I found on Etsy.

6. via // white and brown again, & of course, stunning nature covered in snow & ice. the winter isn't so bad when you're surrounded with scenery like this.

7. via // most people are packing up for trips to the sunny south, but this image has convinced me that a winter trip to Iceland would be worth it.

As you can tell, I don't have spring on my mind just yet. I am still savouring the last few weeks of winter and the inspiration, natural elements and colours that come with it.

DIY Banner Wall Decor

Feb 4, 2015

I've been spotting some really beautiful and unique wall decor online lately and I'm eager to try and incorporate a variety of decor to my walls. I especially love the colorful woven tapestries that are popping up in my Pinterest feed, like these from Anthropologie.
Since there's no way I could replicate these intricate and detailed tapestries;  I found some other wall decor that I also really love. The much more simple and modern look of the banner below was my inspiration for creating some easy hanging wall decor of my own. 
DIY Banner Wall Decor
I've been searching for something to go above our bed so maybe this will eventually find its home there.

  • Wooden dowel
  • Fabric
  • Needle and thread or sewing machine
  • Permanent marker
  • Iron
  • Scissors
  • String or jute
  • Cut your fabric to size based on the width of your dowel and your preferred length.
  • Fold down the top edge approximately 2"(enough room for your dowel to fit through) and sew.
  • If you wish to use two different fabrics like I did, sew your triangle onto your square fabric and then iron the seam flat.
  • Using permanent marker, write your text.
  • Once complete, insert the dowel through the loop. Tie jute or other string to each end of the dowel to hang your art by.
And that's it! In only a few minutes (literally! I think this took 20 minutes max), you have a new beautiful, unique and handmade banner decor to add to your walls.

DIY Envelope Pillow Slipcover (with Pom Poms!)

Feb 2, 2015

As promised, today I'm sharing an easy tutorial for a DIY Envelope Pillow Slipcover. This tutorial has come in handy for me on several occasions. It's such an easy way to switch up your home decor without having to purchase new pillows. The best part is that you aren't limited to the fabrics selected by retailers, you can customize your pillows by choosing whichever fabrics and patterns  you like. You can choose from even more options when you consider that placemats, napkins, table cloths and curtains will also do the trick.

You will need some basic sewing skills and access to a sewing machine for this tutorial, but I have seen a few similar tutorials online which claim to be "no sew" if sewing isn't an option for you.
Step 1: Measure the length and width of the pillow you wish to cover, from the middle of the edge on both sides. For the Christmas pillow that I'm covering, it measured 16"x15".

Step 2: Cut one piece of fabric to measure the length and width of your pillow, this will be the front piece. For the back piece, you will use two pieces to create the envelope. One piece should overlap the other by approximately 2-4", the total length of the two pieces should still equal the total length of your pillow (in my case, 16"). Iron all of your fabric.

Step 3: To create a neat edge on the back pieces of your slipcover, fold the edge of the fabric down about 1" and iron this down so that it stays in place. Then sew along the edge to create your seam. Do this for both pieces.

Step 4: Lay your front piece down, right side facing you, then lay your two back pieces wrong sides facing you, over the front fabric. The two back pieces should be overlapping. Once all your edges are lined up, pin around the perimeter to hold the fabric in place.

Step 5: Using your sewing machine and a coordinating thread, sew around the edge of your slipcover with a 1/2" seam allowance.  
Step 6: Turn your slipcover right side out and try fitting it on your pillow. If all is in order, turn the slipcover inside out again and snip off the edges of the corners (outside of your seam) to create a nice pointy corner when you poke them out.
Step 7: If you want to add pom poms to the corners of your slipcover like I did; simply make your pom poms (I followed this video), then attach them using basic sewing using a needle and thread. I used transparent thread so the look would be seamless, but a coordinating thread would also work fine.
Step 8: All you have to do now is insert your pillow into the slipcover and enjoy your "new" pillow.

When I first started making slipcovers for my pillows, I was always concerned that I would make them too small, so I would add a few inches to each side. This really isn't necessary. Although it's better to have a bigger slipcover then a smaller one, in my experience, when you measure from the middle of each edge and sew no more than a 1/2" allowance, your slipcover will fit perfectly snug.

There haven't been any major projects on our agenda as of late. Our next task is installing new hardwood floors in the spare bedrooms which I hope to be able to share before and after pictures of soon. In the meantime, I'll be contenting to post some DIY projects for around the house, and on Friday I'll reveal a new Friday Feature. Stay tuned! :)