Into the Garden

Because I have been so remiss in posting this week, today will be an extra full dose of Hilary Inspired for your viewing pleasure!

This time of year is so perfect for spending an afternoon outdoors – cool breezes, mild temperatures, beautiful changing scenery – which is why I chose to visit the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens a few weeks ago and just because it was so darn beautiful outside! Being cooped up in front of the computer all week was making me very anxious to get outdoors. There really isn’t anything more peaceful than quiet moments spent in nature by oneself.

I seem to find endless pleasure and inspiration from observing the subtle changes in texture and color of shriveling leaves and plant life. It’s sad to see the lush, vibrant life of summer fade away but there is a peaceful elegance in it’s departure and one that I think is much better appreciated from close up.

Afternoon walks are especially mesmerizing! Not only do you get the pleasure of considering the intricate leafy patterns created by vines on an old stone wall or worm holes in the trunk of a tree, but the dramatic, jagged lines of late day shadows as well.

Perhaps you will take a moment to relax and reflect, gather and regroup in nature this weekend as well. For those in creative and visual fields who have trouble leaving work behind, think of this as job related research – besides it’s beauty, nature offers an incredible resource of ideas and inspiration!

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Just Greens

Grocery shopping can be difficult and not for the obvious reasons… tempting ice cream selections, long rush-hour lines, the unreasonable desire to eat everything you see while shopping hungry! For me, the most tempting items in the grocery are often the fresh buckets of flowers and greens conveniently placed at both the entrance and exit of the store giving me plenty of time to reconsider my first decision to pass them up. Unfortunately, my recent policy to purchase only essentials from our grocery list doesn’t leave much room for an armful of sunflowers or gladiolas… or does it?

In my attempt to reconcile a floral procurement, I had a brilliant idea (or clever excuse… not sure which). While my grocery budget may not have room for the extra $15 of flowers, it might be able to swing a small $5 increase for a collection of greens. (Notice the persuasive quality of my inner thoughts.) So that’s what I did. No flowers, just greens. They are intended as filler for a larger bouquet but I actually think they’re quite lovely by themselves. And they last forever! I even placed a single branch in a pretty soda bottle beside my computer.

For someone whose mind often wanders to time spent outdoors, these greens are a wonderful reminder of the beauty of nature in the midst of a busy work day.

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Orchids Need Their Sun

Remember that thing I said about Friday’s and sunny afternoons? Well, this time my orchid is the one doing the sun-bathing. (lucky orchid!)

In my attempt to finally become a responsible orchid tender, I have been doing a little research into orchid care. Turns out they they can handle more than I thought! Diffused afternoon light is perfect for their daily dose of rays.

So, my orchid friend takes a field trip to the kitchen every afternoon for some good, wholesome vitamin D. Oh, to be an orchid!

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Fading Colors

I hesitated to post today’s images. I’m sure by now you’re tired of seeing my country bouquet of late summer flowers since their first appearance in THIS post. But I’ve completely enjoyed watching their evolution from fresh, peppy buds to rich, full blooms and now softly faded shadows of those initial blossoms. Surprisingly, I think I prefer the last stage the most! The muddied hue of their petals gives the feeling of time and history and the crinkled leaves against others still fresh and alive creates a beautiful depth within their composition.

By now, they are far past their prime (or even the denouement after their prime), but I still love looking at them everyday. I’ve come to anticipate their ever-changing appearance and will be sad when it’s time to bid them adieu. Looking back, I’m amazed at their remarkably long life. Talk about bang for your buck! Much like this Texas summer, though… dry, shriveled, and long beyond it’s peak, the time has come to move on. David returned to school this week and while that doesn’t mean cooler weather (in fact, far from it) that does mean the beginning of something I have always associated with the Fall season, the Fall school semester. Bye, bye summer… and bye, bye flowers. Thank you for all the beauty in the end!

P.S. I’ve started working with watercolors as you can see by my brushes in the photo above. So far, all my paintings have been very basic and abstract. I can’t wait to paint these flowers next, though. They almost look like living watercolors, don’t you think?

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A Pretty Perch

I have thoroughly enjoyed the finished product of my gallery wall venture (originally featured HERE). Besides it reminding me of a home project I did actually complete (yes, I have trouble with unfinished projects), I also love that it creates such a strong visual statement near the entrance of our home. It greets our visitors with, “Hello! This is David and Hilary’s home and this is some of what we love and who we are!” The bookcases below the gallery play a wonderful supporting role by providing the perfect ledge for additional displays of personal home decoration.

A dear friend of mine visited from Nashville last week and brought these beautiful gladiolas along with her. What a sweet friend… she knows just what I love! The pink, red, and white blossoms added an interesting layer of color and texture against the picture frames and artwork behind them. Since open surface space can be a rare and precious commodity in small homes (and ours is no exception) I am very grateful to have this perfect little perch to rest my flowers on!

Where do you like to place your fresh flowers?

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Happy Flowers

If flowers could speak, these would be singing my song today! After 7 long weeks apart, my dearest husband will be returning from Interlochen, Michigan where he spent the summer on staff at Interlochen School for the Arts. It was a tremendous experience for him, but it is well time for our reunion. In preparing for his return, I snatched this bunch of summer’s harvest while grocery shopping. They aren’t anything fancy or exotic but they fit my mood perfectly! Full of bright cheerfulness, excitement, and energy… a pleasant reminder that today is a special day!

I also discovered the most beautiful blog penned by a terribly talented (yes, it’s just terrible how talented she is!) floral designer (you should see her new website) and all around creative lady from Brooklyn. Amy Merrick of An Apple a Day blog designs fresh, fluid, charming, and simply beautiful floral arrangements. She writes short, witty and sometimes quite compelling commentaries to go along with her photographs and can also be found stepping into stylish cinema at Design Sponge’s “Living In” column. In one fell swoop, Amy has re-committed me to the lifestyle of fresh flowers!

There is no better reason to grace your home with one of nature’s finer gifts than because today is another day, you are still alive, and God has blessed you!

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P.S. Did I mention that I also have an out-of-town guest visiting this week? Lovely Mandy, one of my very best friends! Even more reason to celebrate!!

Instagram = Instant Obsession

I have joined Instagram and am totally hooked! What’s Instagram, you ask? It is a free application available for the iPhone (they’re working on adapting it to other platforms) that allows you to share your candid photos with a community of followers easily and instantly using brief captions and pre-designed filters to create unique and beautiful images. Thanks to my dear friend, Mandy, who introduced me to the app, I now have a Hilary Inspired Instagram channel. Besides the fact that I have become totally obsessed with the whole idea, I love binge able to capture simple moments in life and see them through a different lens… literally! Here are a few of the snapshots I’ve taken since I joined.

Aren’t these filters fun?!

You can download the app for free via The App Store on your phone or computer. If you have an iPhone (remember, more platforms coming in the future if you don’t have an iPhone) join me by searching for the username “hilaryinspired” and clicking the “Follow” button. I’d love to return the favor!!

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Garden Table

Do you wait for an excuse to use your nice tableware like I do? If you have any interest in fully enjoying the finer things in life without the added stress of managing the kitchen, preparing drinks, and keeping up good hostess conversation, I recommend that you change your ways immediately! Take out that china…polish that silver…iron your favorite linens. Rather than missing out on the experience due to a myriad of other hostess responsibilities, try dressing your table with the finer pieces that make you happy on an ordinary occasion and notice how wonderful it feels.

I did and felt special the whole day through! Without putting too much labor into the event, I arranged a few vibrant pink peonies in an old silver pitcher, placed a handful of fresh Granny Smith apples on a silver server, and laid out my favorite garden inspired table cloth. All in all, a lovely summer retreat just steps away from my desk.

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