Although I adore Pinterest, and have spent many a cold winter afternoon “pinning” photos of amazing interiors,  I find that the best way to design my own cohesive space is with a “mood board” or presentation board.

Mood Board Vintage Parlor

Although photographs and Ipad apps are great for overall visual, nothing comes close to actually feeling the fabric textures and metallic finishes and seeing the colors with your own eyes. A large foam core board is the perfect backdrop for taping and glueing bits of photos, fabrics and trims. Board Mid Century Modern

First, of course, you need measurements and a room layout- this Online Room Planner from Urban Barn is fantastic! You plug in your room dimensions, then add in your pieces of furniture and accessories, lighting, structural points and just like that- you have a printable plan!

Urban Barn The Make Room Plans

If you are starting with a clean slate, then you will need to begin with an inspiration- whether its a paint chip, a fabric swatch or photograph of a piece of furniture. In this case, its a gold antique velvet settee that will become the focal point of a victorian parlor.

Mood Board Velvet Settee

That will become your “jumping off” point from which you can then design the rest of the space. For wall and trim colors, I head to my local bigbox hardware store, where they literally have thousands of paint chips to choose from. As you can see, I have accumulated quite a pile of chips- but I never toss them once a project is done- they could just be the very color I need for my next board!

Mood Board Paint Chips

There I can create a palette that is going to work in the room- and those are free for the taking! One of my favorite tasks is choosing fabrics-walking through my local Joann’s or Zimmans is for most people, I assume, akin to walking into a Godiva chocolatier-yummy!!

Board Zimmans Showroom

I could spend hours (and sometimes I do) wandering the aisles, poking through the clearance section, searching for the perfect look and feel of the fabulous fabrics I will be using to create drapes or bedcoverings or toss pillows. And they will happily provide you with swatches of your chosen fabrics that you can take home and add to your board, prior to purchasing an entire bolt. Once you have your pieces, you literally just start glueing in place, and it will soon become clear if everything will work in harmony,

Mood Board Pretty in Pink

or if you will need to edit, either by addition or subtraction. It’s fun, it’s so functional, and it will help you clearly define your new space before you put it in place! Hope your mood is a good one today-after all, it’s almost the weekend! Susan

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Is there an app for that? Essentially everyone I know has a smart phone or a smart tablet or a smart something. Iphone 5Who out there doesn’t play Words with Friends with at least a dozen other people?!? But, as we all know, the free downloads typically have pop-up ads, and some apps can range up to $10 apiece!! So this week’s High Five for Friday goes to Crate and Barrel, who is providing some free iphone/pad/pod downloads-free, that’s right, free!! Just go to www.CrateandBarrel.com/GetTheDownload. There you will find download links for Scrabble, movie trivia, kids books, an Itunes party playlist and more.C&B Get the DownloadAnd the Crate and Barrel website says to check back often, as they will be updating their free downloads and adding more. So a big high five to Crate and Barrel, for not only giving us great design and decorating ideas in their January Inspiration Catalog,

C & B January Inspiration

but for adding a little fun to our Fridays as well! Have a fun weekend everyone! Susan

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Can you believe it’s Friday already?!! The summer flew by, and we are well into fall and then (dread) winter. With the holidays fast approaching, my thoughts are already turning to yummy delicious recipes that I’ll be serving for dinners and parties. Over the years, I have accumulated stacks of cookbooks and printed recipes, some well-loved and worn, most of which now sit idly in my kitchen cupboard.

Although I still enjoy thumbing through hard copies for inspiration, when I need a favorite recipe at my fingertips, I turn to my Desktop Cookbook 

on my Ipad, this week’s High Five For Friday! Feature.

This FREE! app allows me to search for, save, share and print recipes, my own best-loved, and the millions more being added from every cooking source imaginable. Once you download or input a recipe, you save it into a category along with any additional information including the recipe’s origin, how many it feeds, the best wine pairing.

So, so many times I have stopped at the grocery to grab a couple of ingredients for a recipe, without, of course, a shopping list in hand. I just open the app on my phone, look up the recipe and go. Or, I bring a goodie to work (hello, cookie swap!) and everyone asks for the recipe. Just open up the online cookbook and print the requested recipe. A second High Five goes to the Chef Sleeve. The sleeve is a sheer plastic sheet that slides over my Ipad to keep my greasy fingers and messy splatters off the screen, while allowing full touch screen control. Cooking session ended, sleeve tossed, sparkling Ipad. Brilliant! Now, since I do have my cookbook open, I figured I would share one of my favorite fall recipes: Apple-icious Streusal Cake. This cake is so moist and absolutely delicious, is a perfect dessert with ice cream or a treat with my morning coffee. You can use any type of apples- how many bushels have you picked so far this fall?! Just make sure you peel ‘em!

I guarantee this cake will become a family favorite! If you have any questions about the recipe, you know where to find me- in the kitchen, on my Ipad, gathering recipes for the holidays. Unless I am out shopping for shoes for the next fabulous wedding we are attending this weekend. Blog to follow.  Susan

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Inspired. Vintage. Rustic. Country Design...in the suburbs. Because you don't have to live on a farm to create a warm and inviting country-styled home. Follow my DIY junkin' journey as I give tips of the trades and inspired fresh country design ideas to create your own Country Design Home.
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