The Inspired Room

Refining Your Home for Authentic Living™

Invitation to Creative Inspiration Week November 28, 2007

Filed under: Creative Inspiration & Projects,Holidays & Entertaining — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 10:54 pm

The cat is out of the bag! I didn’t want to reveal who was participating in Creative Inspiration Week until my co-conspirators (oh, I mean, co-hosts) in this event were ready, but now that they have made the announcement on their blog, I can let you all know more about what will be going on next week! No more teasers!

Here’s the official scoop thus far (each day I have added another amazing woman to the list of participants, so this is still a work in progress!):

A wonderful boutique, McMaster & Storm, has partnered with me to cook up some creative inspiration for YOU, my most favorite blog readers. I have the best friends, I have to pinch myself! I’ve been so excited about this I could nearly burst trying to keep it all a secret (thus, my many hints and teasers). We plotted and planned and now all is about to be revealed.

Next week at The Inspired Room blog we will be seeing and hearing from around 10 incredibly creative people on what inspires them, see their creative spaces, festive holiday ideas, and more.

Things will kick off on Monday with a special Gift Wrapping Tutorial from the amazing gals Kara & Darcy at McMaster & Storm! They are generously creating ideas to share with all of you, just in time for your holiday wrapping. Hooray! You will need to comment on Monday’s post to be entered into the drawing for their generous giveaway, which is a wonderful gift wrapping kit! Here is a peek, you can go visit McMaster & Storm to see all of the photos and their invitation.

Then, for the rest of next week, we will be sharing all sorts of Creative Inspiration from other amazing women, including Kaari Meng of French General, Sandra Evertson, Lisa Tutman-Oglesby, Alicia Paulson, Vanessa Valencia, and more I will introduce to you as things get underway. Yeah, I’ll say we are in for a treat! There will be another giveaway during the week of the newest book from French General, so you’ll want to visit each day so you don’t miss out on anything!

The goal of this event? I am hoping we will have fun, be inspired, learn something new, rev up our creativity, and meet great people! What could be better than that? Oh, and hopefully winning one of the prizes. That too. And snacks. I think we should have snacks. All parties have snacks. But for this party you can stay in your flannel jammies, no need to get gussied up. You know I love to make new BFF, so feel free to invite your friends if you want to! TTFN!


Creative Inspiration

Filed under: Creative Inspiration & Projects — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 12:34 am
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Hello! As promised, I am back with some updates on our upcoming Creative Inspiration Week! I have just received an email from a really inspiring creative woman (she has been featured in magazines, including Country Living, Martha Stewart and ME Home Companion, & Oprah, and now she will be featured on The Inspired Room! Eeek, I might be getting a little nervous!). She owns a shop (French, no less!), has her own product lines, and is an author. She has so kindly offered to send me a copy of her latest book (yes, as in ‘she has written more than one’) as a giveaway to one of my lucky readers next week! So, in addition to the inspiration she & other amazing women will share with us, we have not one, but TWO fantabulous giveaways in store for next week. I think we are going to feel supercharged with creativity and energy.

Now, so you don’t go away wondering if I am ever going to post anything other than teasers (oh, but how fun it is to dream about next week!), check this out. I am so excited to feature a really great artist today, Anne Harwell. In addition to being a creative artist, she is just a neat person. I encourage you to take a look at her artwork, read about what inspires her, and visit her blog & etsy shop where I just read she is offering a 20% discount on purchases through the 30th of November!

Anne, I am so glad that you agreed to share a little bit about your background and what inspires you!

I don’t have any formal art training, but my parents have always encouraged me to pursue my artistic interests since I was a little kid. They took me and my siblings to art museums, cultural sites and new places. I used to pore over my mom’s design magazines for hours. My mom dabbled in oil painting and my dad with pastels. I had tear sheets from about the age of ten and was obsessed with stationery, art supplies and office supplies at even an earlier age than that. When I was a preschooler, I used to create things out of office supplies when my mom would put me down for a nap. My idea of fun was construction paper, scissors and a bottle of mucilage.

One of my most prized possessions was a miniature red Swingline stapler I got when I was six – better than any toy. Yes, I was weird – an art nerd all the way! When I graduated from high school, my parents owned a home furnishings/decor business and so I went to work for them and also began to sell some of my work there.

Eventually, I got more work in the form of commissions (watercolors, painted furniture, etc.) and my business has developed slowly over the years. I have had my ups and downs, feast and famine, but have learned so much along the way. I have learned not to take myself too seriously and that when people who promise “huge breaks” and then don’t deliver, not to give up or get bitter! It’s important to take everything with a grain of salt – positive or negative. I believe that everything happens for a reason. Don’t get too confident when things are going well and don’t despair when things are tough. You press on in the difficulty, work hard and keep hoping for good! Treat everyone with respect and kindness – how you treat others comes back to haunt you – good or bad. Perseverance in integrity pays off.

My relationship with and dependence on God keep me inspired, along with the loving support of my family. I have also found some great and supportive friends and a real sense of “community” among many of the bloggers and my readers. I had no idea this would develop, so that’s been a real added bonus to blogging. Blogging has also motivated me to keep on more of a “creative schedule”, than fits and starts creatively. It’s so encouraging to receive feedback from my readers and to share with a wider audience my latest projects – keeps me energized.

I have found that it’s important to work hard, but to also allow yourself to do the things that feed your soul, what you were created to do. Sometimes there are sacrifices financially and otherwise, but you know you’re doing the right thing when you’re true to who you are and have that sense of satisfaction in your work.

I love living in Florida – when I am not working there is so much to do! Living on the coast is inspiring in itself with all of the natural beauty, the ocean and endless sunshine. I am really a beach bum at heart – it’s therapy for me. I also love travel, cooking, eating, reading, biking, decorating and spending time with great people who are positive, supportive and challenge me to be my best.

All photos and artwork on this post are copyright Anne Harwell, used by permission



The Big Creative Reveal November 26, 2007

Filed under: Creative Inspiration & Projects — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 11:30 am

Boy do I have a treat for you! I have been working with some very wonderful & talented people to bring you a shot of creative juice next week! YUMMY, just what we need! Tasty creative juice! During the holiday season our creativity is challenged, we need to be organized, want things to look pretty, and want to be inspired to make the most of our holidays and (for some of you) your creative businesses.

Well, I think I have just the perfect week planned starting next Monday. In addition to the real life party I just found out I am hosting in two weeks (eek!), we are going to get festive here again on my blog. Yep! Two marvelous ladies from a fabulous shop are whipping up some gift wrapping ideas you are going to love.

And to make it into a party (What? Who me? No, I don’t have to make everything a party! Alright, yes I do) there is a prize involved. But, wait, there’s more. Just to make sure we feel super festive all week, we’ve invited some other women to contribute to inspiring us with their own creative ideas and spaces. There will be no shortage of creative inspiration of all sorts flowing next week.

Now, you know me. I make things up as I go along. So really, I can’t tell you exactly how this is all going to work. But I can tell you that if you stay tuned, you’ll be the first to know. I’ll update you as soon as thoughts come to mind. And I’ll reveal the shop soon, because I believe the prize photo will be posted on Wednesday! Stay tuned, my little chickadees!

Happy Monday!


Choosing A Color Palette November 24, 2007

Filed under: Decorating Inspiration — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 6:54 pm
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I have been having some fun! No, I haven’t been doing my Christmas decorating like many of you (but I did gather up some inspiration photos for those of you who are decorating already, you can find it here). I really wanted to get my holiday stuff out, but instead of getting my boxes down from the attic my husband decided to clean out the garage. What? He hasn’t cleaned the garage in about four years! Sigh. Oh well. You must take advantage of their motivation to organize, so I guess we will postpone decorating day. I didn’t want to go in the attic alone, you never know what critters might be in there.

Meanwhile, I found a nifty gadget via my new friend Pam from Housemartin blog and soon to be shop Ink & Peat. It is a color palette generator. And I thought some of you might enjoy it too. I’ll do a little demonstration in a minute.

I have also been wanting to share some really beautiful nature photos with you all from another new friend Paula at Neutral Dwelling. Do pay her a visit sometime and tell her how beautiful her photos are, she is a very sweet person and has a great blog, too! I had mentioned at one point that I really needed to get some fungi on my blog, because if you are really hip (which I am not so much) you like fungi in decorating. I didn’t want to be left out of the fungi group. I have learned about fungi decorating from my other friend Vanessa. She always has the best fungi. Anyways, Paula came to the fungi rescue and sent me these beautiful photos to share! So, now, I too have fungi. Thanks Paula! I’m so hip!


I think these photos are beautiful, nature is always so inspiring. Selecting colors from nature can be a great way to choose a color palette. God did such a nice job with His colors, no? We can learn a lot by studying how color works in nature.

For those of you ready to choose a color scheme for a room, website, or are wanting to try something new with your holiday colors, you can use a color generator tool to help in the sometimes daunting process. You just plug in the url of any photo you love and it will give you a complementary color palette. From there you could choose room colors, fabrics, or even holiday decorations that would be inspired by your favorite photo.

To tie in the fungi, just for fun, let’s use it as a basis for a color palette. To demonstrate, check this out! You’ll have to go to the color generator website to try it for yourself, but here is my attempt. If I loved fungi, I could plug in the following photo and voila, a color palette emerges (actually two, one is dull and one is more vibrant). That way you can have rooms that are inspired by things you love!


Isn’t that cool? It is just plain fun. Here are some other internet sites that are helpful to use in choosing color schemes, understanding the psychology of color, emotion associated with color, and other interesting paint and color tidbits. was really fun. They had some beautiful bird photos people had submitted and made color schemes for. Check this one out:


I believe this bird photo is also part of a flickr set from Dailyville

Isn’t that bird gorgeous? There were tons of color schemes made from birds. They were just stunning to look at. I love birds. And fungi. All the cool stuff God made.Fungi photos used by permission. Copyright Neutral Dwelling.


Sweet Escape: Christmas November 23, 2007

Filed under: Creative Inspiration & Projects,Holidays & Entertaining,Sweet Escape — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 10:55 am

Greetings! Now that our bellies are full of turkey and mashed potatoes, and the memory of dead giraffes and mouse remains are behind us (well, the smell lingers on, but nothing a few gas masks and candles can’t handle) we in the U.S. can join everyone else and fully turn our attention to Christmas! Hooray! Hip Hip Hooray! While doing a little research, I found some holiday inspiration for those of you pulling out all your decorations this weekend!

Last week we looked at some unique holiday lights, and if you missed it, the week before we looked at some easy garland to make. Now let’s look at some ideas for themes and trees in general.

So sit back and drink in the inspiration as we fully escape today into Christmas! All of these photos came from Better Homes & Gardens online except where noted.

The top photo (above) shows a cute idea for a white tree, tie on colorful Christmas candies! This would be so cute in an entry or kitchen.

A red & white theme always works for Christmas.

A simply decorated tree works for country & contemporary themes.

Warm greens & whites are a holiday look that is easy to accomplish.

Play up contrasts for more interesting holiday compositions

Coordinate your holiday colors with your every day colors for a pleasing and festive look

Repeat color and shapes for bolder statements

Combine a mostly white scheme with hints of color, and use over scale decorations

Organic elements make beautiful decorations combined with ribbon

Fill in with florals and sparkling shiny leaves

Make your own decorations using cookie cutters (photo from Martha Stewart online.)

Play with horizontal and vertical lines and vary sizes of ornaments

Be unique! Here they added frames, lampshades, mirrors and topped the tree with a chandelier!


Think beyond a star, try feathers or a pheasant tree topper!

Or try making a topper from things you have in your craft supplies!

Use vintage ornaments in new ways. Try putting dowels in tree toppers to create centerpieces.

Put trees on table tops to give some visual drama or elevate a smaller tree to more important status.

White trees with colored ornaments can be a fun change.

Don’t forget to decorate outside! These laminated paper stars make an outdoor tree festive.


This is {not} glamorous November 20, 2007

Filed under: Authentic Living — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 6:53 pm

Do we look ready for Thanksgiving at our house?

My nephew and son have been busy helping out.

Our bathroom cabinet is painted but nothing is put back. We’d work on it but …

We’ve had a little situation.

Ignore the child wearing the undies on his head.

See the vacuum? That is next to my mom, who is trying to vacuum up the DEAD MOUSE! The one we can smell but cannot see. Yep, right on cue. Just in time for Thanksgiving. I am a dead rodent magnet right before parties and holidays. I am not kidding you, my friends will all attest to this. If anything can go wrong just before a party at my house, it will. And it oftentimes involves unpleasantness. Unfortunately, he did not get sucked up by the vacuum so we have to search elsewhere.

While we cannot see him we do see some droppings in our game closet. Yes, where our kids’ games are kept. So sanitary. Knight in shining armor has arrived home and will be searching through Disney Monopoly and The Game of Life very soon.

We will resume our regularly scheduled beautiful inspiring design blog after this brief interlude. I hope. In less than 48 hours I will be serving Thanksgiving in this house. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

PS. Now you have had a glimpse in to our hallway, Project #431 on my To Do list for the next year!