Creating a Nest : 5 Sources of Inspiration

The word "nest" makes me feel all happy inside. Beyond the beautiful imagery of a bird carefully and instinctually creating a home for her littles...I found a lovely definition that describes a nest as "...a place that is warmsafeand comfortable".  I want my home to be all of those things!  But I have to continually remind myself that it doesn't happen overnight. It takes time, effort, and dedication. It is applied in layers...over the years. Building a nest for your family is an ACTIVE PROCESS. One that requires you to be IN your home...spending time there. Showing it love daily. 

I often get emails from friends who tell me they wish they had the creative "eye" for decorating. And while I don't think it's something that comes naturally to all, it can be developed like any skill  and it takes practice! And if you desire to create a nest that is welcoming and beautiful, YOU CAN! If you have $5 or $50, can! 

I want to share some of my favorite sources of inspiration for design and decor...because that's where it begins. If you aren't filled with inspiration to create, nothing much is going to happen. When your heart and mind are inspired, it spills out into everything you do...and that includes your home.


The library is like hitting the inspiration jackpot. I always leave with a  HUGE pile of books. And they are FREE! Mind boggling! :-) Home design books are often large, and only come in hardback. They aren't something that I like to purchase on a regular basis unless I know I will refer to it again and again. So checking them out makes way more sense. 

We have a new library branch in our neighborhood (yay!) and during the grand opening, I picked up a stack of new design books.  I thought I had seen every book out there...but these blew my mind! So delightful. Full of color and whimsy. I especially loved this one called "Happy Home: Everyday Magic for a Colorful Life". Any book that has the words happy, magic, and colorful...ummmmm yes!

How great is this photo?!  Lots of inspiration there for our own white kitchen. I love to pour over every detail and every color combo. Swoon.

library books.jpg

My favorites from the stack above:
I own this one: Decorate (amazing.)
I own this one: Decorate Workshop (double amazing.)
Happy Home: Everyday Magic for a Colorful Life
The Little Book of Big Decorating Ideas



Of course, there is Pinterest. I resisted for a long time...thinking, "why in the world would I need to do something like that?". I laugh at that now, because it brings so much joy! Yes, it's easy to be sucked in (as with any social media)...but it's an incredible way to organize ideas for a project. Pinterest has taken the place of binders bursting with torn out magazine pages and mood boards glued together with Elmer's. I have public boards to share the goodies I've found, and lots of private boards for stuff I obsess about but don't want to blow up my feed with. Like walk-in mountain chicken coops and hairstyle ideas. Pinterest is also the first place I search for tutorials on things like "how to refinish furniture with milk paint" and "gardening in the mountains". I'm constantly pulling up a Pinterest board on my phone when talking to friends (and random strangers) about this or that. What? Doesn't everyone do that?! ;-)

I've heard people complain that they pin stuff but never do any of it...and I think that's OK! You are still looking at beautiful things. Filling your mind with ideas and good quotes and colorful genius. So pin away! Even if it's just to make your heart happy.

Here are some of my personal home inspiration boards:

Home Inspiration 
Lovely Spaces
Outdoor Spaces and Gardens


And personal favorite: MAGAZINES! Pinterest is awesome, but there is just something about holding pretty pictures on glossy pages IN MY HANDS. I have a bit of a magazine obsession. I've overcome it somewhat, but's so hard to resist! There are definitely some magazines that just WOW me every time I open them. Here are my TOP THREE favorite home decorating magazines:

1. Domino (back in print! yesssssss! ...before it came back into print, I actually bought an entire year of back issues on eBay. it's that good.)
2. Country Living (chippy paint heaven!)
3. Better Homes & Gardens (not just for your Grandma!)


This is me with all my rug samples piled on my lap...driving them back to the store. I couldn't stop petting them...."my preciousssssss". Oh they were pretty. The one on the bottom right has been my dream rug for so long...but it's a flat weave and Matt doesn't love flat weave. Hmmmmm....can anyone help me make a case that it won't slip and slide all over?! Even with a pad? He's not convinced :)

I love local stores! There is nothing like seeing colors and textures in different than just looking online. This particular trip was to the Unfinished Furniture Store in Boulder...where they carry my favorite rug company...Dash & Albert. Area rugs and textiles are a huge source of inspiration for me. When designing a room, that's my starting point. A fantastic pattern. A color combo that makes me giddy. I begin there and work everything around it. 

These pieces don't have to be expensive...but in my experience, spending a little more on these pieces is worth it. I purchased one of my favorite rugs of all time 5 years ago. It's been used in 3 RVs and 4 houses and it's still going strong! It's wool. I adore wool. Once you have wool rugs, it's hard to go back...they clean easily and wear like a dream!

I'm on high alert for the perfect rug for our great room right now. I'm pretty sure I have seen every rug that has ever been manufactured and I still haven't made up my mind. But it sure is fun looking!

Some of my favorite rug sources:

Dash & Albert
Joss & Main 
Crate & Barrel
World Market
Pottery Barn Teen
Company C

Curtains are another favorite source of inspiration. I love the patterns and color!  The right curtains can radically change the feel of a room. 

Some of my favorite curtain sources:

Urban Outfitters
World Market
Thrift Stores (vintage twin sheets!)


Saving the best for true love...THRIFTING! There is nothing better than finding exactly what you are looking for at a fraction of the cost. It takes time and foresight and dedication...but the rewards are huge. The majority of my house decor and nearly all of my clothes are found second-hand. The trunk-full of vintage goodness above was found last week at an estate sale in Boulder. It was like taking a time machine back to the 70's...but everything in the house had a price tag. Not pictured...vintage Muppet, Little People, and pristine Strawberry Shortcake dolls. We were in heaven! 

It's garage sale season now too...and that is my ultimate favorite because those prices are usually half of the thrift store! Gleeeeeeee!

Other Online Inspiration:

Apartment Therapy (so much to see! love it. we've been featured here and here)
Flickr group: Corners of my Home

I like to go back and see colors and arrangements I've used in the past. You can see all of the homes we have lived in and loved here.

If you're on Instagram...check out the hashtag #createaspaceyoulove and post one of your own!

A few of my favorite Instagrammers who have a great sense of style:
Tiffani Ruda
Tara Whitney
Natalie Creates
Megan Modderman

So there you have it...
a whole bunch of my favorite sources of happy!
Where do you go to find design inspiration?

Mountain Magic: Learning in Nature


We are still so in awe of our surroundings here in the mountains. There is a magnetic pull to the rocks and trees...and to the highest heights. If I even utter the word "outside"...the girls have their coats and boots on faster than you can say "fairy house"!  


We were inspired by our dear friends at EcoWomb (the family who is traveling in our Live Lightly Tour bus) who have been participating in Mandala Monday on Instagram (#mandalamonday). I was first drawn to nature mandalas by following @faithevanssills and her beautiful creations. I suggested that we try our own hand at it and the girls got busy collecting little bits of goodness. 


While the origins of mandalas stem from Hinduism, we can find and apply truth and beauty in our spiritual walk with Jesus as well. We talked about the circular beauty of creation and the order of nature. Mandalas (nature or otherwise) are commonly used in meditation. I love the idea of using our mandalas as a path for prayer.


The moss we find on the rocks and trees here is so green and lush! I cannot help but to stop and touch it every time I pass by! I've even taken some inside and added them to my succulents.

mossy succulent.jpg

While the big girls are busy racing up the highest rocks, Emma has her own agenda. Wandering and weaving through the trees, laying on her back looking up at the sky, and playing with the doggies. 


While we were exploring, we heard the rumble rumble of Daddy's diesel truck. "He's HOME!" ...they screamed. We walked the property together...planning Airstream parking and gardens. I've been collecting a few mountain gardening tidbits on this Pinterest board, but would love any wisdom YOU can share. I'm thinking raised beds and lots of greens and hardy stuff. I have recently been informed that there is a seed shop in Nederland that ships in awesome alpine/cold weather seeds. I'm sure I can find them online as well...but it's a great excuse to eat at Kathmandu! We have lots of late morning and afternoon sun on the south side of our property (right where Matt is sitting in the photo above) and on the 900 sq ft deck. There are even built-in planters on the deck already! Can you tell I'm getting spring fever?


It seems like we find new nooks and crannies to explore every time we go out...and I'm so excited to start trimming and cleaning and clearing. There are several tent spots tucked away in the rocks, as well as 3 look out spots, which we have affectionately named "Moss Rock", "Inspiration Point", and "The Nest". 

As we walk and climb, we discover that we want to know everything!

What kind of tree is this?! What bird is that? Why is there moss there? How does lichen form? Why is it more windy in the mountains? What kind of animal pooped here? How are pine cones formed? What is the life cycle of a pine tree? How does granite form and how does it change over time?  

The mountains are rich with possibility!


This was the view from Moss Rock yesterday...we can see Denver, Matt's shop in Boulder, our old farm, and even Mt. Evans. Pretty much everything. Lucy said she could even see Paris! We are learning new things daily...just by walking out the door. 

What has been your most impactful nature experience lately? 


Packed Up + Moving In

It's official! We signed on the dotted line and slipped new keys on our keychain. The house closing went perfectly...and it was extra special because my brother, Scotty, was our agent. What a relief to have that part of it ALL DONE! 

packed up.jpg

...and now we're packing up and jumping head first into our house remodel. OUR house remodel. I like the way that sounds! Yay! Instead of renting one big truck, which would be hard to maneuver up the mountain and in the driveway, we took 3 trips up today with smaller trailers. Masterfully packed by my amazing birthday boy. 

We unpacked it all into our studio until the remodel is done. And when I say WE, I mean Matt ;-) He is so incredible  when it comes to logistics and moving. I entertained the girls with hooping and spring rolls and rock climbing while tiny flakes of snow floated down like glitter around us.

Maggie and Maia explored every single inch of the house...sniffing out every animal that has lived there in the past 48 years. Tomorrow, Matt will install fencing in the back so that they can be a little more free to roam. 

We did a lot of measurements and planning. The girls were SO EXCITED to start demolition. So we ripped off a few of the shaker shingles. And then a few more. And then we couldn't stop!


Let's just say we've watched a bit of HGTV lately. See for yourself...


"It's a broken dream house"

"This is AWESOME!!!"

"You're like a dream boy!"

"You're going to TOWN!!"