Posts tagged interior design
Using Pillows to Transition a Room
This post is a part of the Wayfair Homemakers network. I was compensated for this post, but the selections and opinions are my own.

1. Home Pillow 2. Map Pillow 3. Owl Pillow 4. Pink Spots Pillow

When we first moved into our house thirteen years ago, we purchased the most comfortable couches we could find for our living room. The full couch and loveseat are so overstuffed that they fill the room almost on their own. I selected the most neutral tone I could find so that the couches would work with whatever we wanted.

I love these couches. I also hate them. And I'm ready for something with more style and equal comfort.

Our living room is now our art room, and I have big ideas for built-ins, striped walls, and modern furnishings. Right now, though, I have none of those, nor the budget to to make them happen so I'm making incremental steps to transition the room from tired and traditional to something creative and unique.

Pillows are an easy way to transition a room from season to season and now they helping me build my vision for this space with brighter tones and a little humor and playfulness. My friends at Wayfair have a great deal for you, too, if you're ready to start planning your remodel or redesign. The three we have had added a new sense of energy and are setting up the palette for our Christmas tree this year, too. Can't wait to show you that one!


They almost never run coupon codes, but the Wayfair Homemakers get to share this exclusive code!  The code is good for 15% off and is good from now until November 24th. The code is: WFPTP15

Let's spice up our homes, a little bit at a time.

Have a bright weekend, friends!

xoxo, MJ




Living in every room

Some days I get on these thought trains.

  • The ones where I dream of having an incredible house like Soandso. Oh, how amazing it would be to walk in the front door and have all that open space. And that fireplace.
  • The ones where I envision a sunroom, and a deck, and a patio, and a pool...and a studio all added on to the back of our house. How awesome it would be to live with that space added.
  • The ones where I wish we had a larger garage to store more and a a wrap around deck with that porch swing...and to have a lake house like Soandso. Or that vacation home.

Dreaming and working towards goals is incredibly motivational and wonderful. That's not so much where my thought trains take me.

They lead me to Station Disappointment and Dissatisfaction. I have an incredible imagination and 99% of my life it has served as an amazing blessing.



I let it move me to an unsettlement with the goodness around me. Maybe if I'm dissatisfied, I'll get more.

I have a wonderful home (gigantic by world standards) that functions well, fits all of its people and some fish and two cars, and just about anything we want to do as individuals or as a family.

This post is not about my house - how big, how small, how lovely, or how ugly it might be. It's about appreciating what I have, what we have. Some data shows that we, as Americans, are in top 1% of the wealthiest people on the planet.

So, this is about me moving from an imagination - a thought train - of needing more, or at least different, to one of appreciation and gratitude. I'm shedding away some of the old practices and bringing in the new.

I'm challenging myself to a simple task this year (and beyond). Giving myself a little kick in the imagination pants. I have 16 rooms in my house (counting bathrooms, laundry room, mudroom, etc.), and I don't really live in them all. I've been making this effort, slowly, over the last two years, to

  • Declutter
  • Reduce
  • Create space for new imaginations

We've changed our never-lived-in living room to an art room that gets daily use for piano practice and crafting. We've reduced the amount of stuff we have in storage to make room for things we love and want to keep.

But there's still more to do. Before I feel the twinge of jealousy (or at least immediately after), I'm challenging myself to see my own spaces (all 16 of them + garage) with fresh eyes and a sense of gratitude.

Do you live in all your rooms? Maybe it's a hangover from college/apartment life where I functioned from 3-4 rooms....

Want to challenge yourself, too?


PS. Check out Dagmar's list of ideas for kids spaces. I bet you and I could change just a few things to make our children's bedrooms and play spaces feel a bit more creative.

Pop of color in a big boy room
This post is a part of the Wayfair Homemakers network. I was compensated for this post, but the selections and opinions are my own.

My little boy has been in a big boy room for over a year now. I thought that I'd have his new space all decked out and ready to go before he ever moved from his crib and the nursery. But, as it turns out, L had and has a lot of opinions of his own (seems that I raise opinionated people.) So he's had his main furniture pieces (a great bed and dresser with bookshelf), and we've slowly, oh so slowly, been adding bits and pieces of his style into the space.

L loves color especially orange, and, if I'd let him, he'd go construction-zone orange all over. Instead we've compromised with bits of orange and other bright colors sprinkled around. Also, at four, he's a big Disney lover. Just in case that deep passion doesn't last we've expressed that love with accessories that can be moved in and out as his taste grows.

To complete his dresser, L "decorated" the surface with these very cool, colorful favorites. I applauded his choices and promised that we'd keep each of them. To add a few pieces with less shine and squish, I looked to Wayfair I was on the hunt to add texture and dimension, even a vintage flavor, to his room to compliment the warm woods and the worn-in madras plaid.

Red bucket, blue milk crate, green plantstand, and striped pouf all available at Wayfair

I fell for the red bucket first, and I loved that I could search by line to discover some other great pieces that had the same worn charm to contrast the new and shiny that L had picked. The plantstand seemed like a perfect corral for favorite stuffed animals, and small toys could look more precious when displayed in a milk crate.

We added his artwork and very favorite toys. His donut painting from his sister's birthday party served as a bright backdrop to the more subdued tones. And the homemade shoebox frame is a virtual brick for the Lego clock that rests upon it. And finally the rubber dinosaur has a place to rest.

The Disney friends resemble the "Three Men in a Tub" and add a bit of whimsy to the vignette. Also, it's a complete bonus that the green plantstand makes a great imaginary space shuttle, train, and manger when pulled into play!

When my parents visited last weekend, my mom wanted to know where I'd gotten these great antiques for L's room! I snickered and told her they were new from Wayfair I'm still not sure if she believed me. Both pieces have such a nice patina and are made with quality that they make a convincing set of antiques.

His dresser space is now one that is interactive, an open-space toy box, complete with shiny and aged treasures. It's also a space that changes often, as L adds favorites and takes down the plantstand and milk crate to imagine them as some magical addition to his imaginative play.

Stay tuned this summer for a very special piece of artwork that L and I are creating together to hang in his bedroom - it's the perfect DIY for little boys!

So now it's your turn. Are you ready to add some pops of color into your home - indoor or outdoor? The kind folks at Wayfair are letting me giveaway a $100 gift card. All you have to do is comment and link to what you'd purchase with your gift card from Wayfair!! For additional entries, follow Pars Caeli on Facebook and Twitter.

Hurry, hurry, friends, the giveaway will close on May 1 at 12AM EST (only one entry per person). Share this special treat with anyone you know who could use a pop of color in their lives.

Eek! I can't wait to see what goodies you find. Don't forget to link in your comment!

Happy hunting!

xoxo, MJ

a Rafflecopter giveaway


No purchase necessary. By leaving a comment you agree to the rules of this sweepstakes. Each comment to this post equals one entry and must include a name and valid email address to be eligible. A comment must link to a product from to be considered for this sweepstakes. One entry per household. Limited to entrants over 18 in the US and Canada, residents of Florida, New York, and Rhode Island are ineligible to enter. Contest begins as of the time of this post and ends on Thursday, May 1 at 12:00AM EST. The winner will receive a Wayfair gift card/promo code, a retail value of $100 US. The number of eligible entries received will determine the odds of winning. All comments will be numbered in the order they are received and the winner will be chosen randomly by MJ using the Random Number Generator at Winner will be notified by email at the address given in their entry and must respond within 72 hours to receive their prize. If the winner does not respond within that time, a new winner will be chosen. The prize will be provided by Pars Caeli is not responsible for any problems with receipt of the prize. This contest is governed by the rules of Massachusetts, void where prohibited. This sweepstakes is sponsored by Wayfair LLC, 177 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA, 02115.

Showcasing Letterpress Art

The texture. The depth. Taking the letterforms I adore and transforming them into a treasured object.

Hello letterpress.

I fell in love as an undergraduate with a worn, creaky letterpress machine and the beauty it created. I made some extra projects that semester so I could be alone in the studio, setting my own type by hand and adding in each piece of leading.

I'm always on the hunt for wonderful works on letterpress. The works that are affordable - and very easy for me to talk myself into - are greeting cards. And, I know I'm biased, but I feel like letterpress cards are always a little snarkier or punny-ier than your average card, and that is right up my alley.

You'll find these greeting cards all over my home and office. I never put my letterpress behind glass because I want to be able to gawk at the embossing even while it hangs on the wall or sits on a desk.

I've been holding on to two designs with some wonderful blue ink to frame together. To showcase the cards, I grabbed my very old pack of Color-aid papers from art school to find a shade to use for mounting.

Erika from Foxtrot Press gave me this whimsical greeting that makes me smile every time I look at it. It's totally my personality to get really excited with someone before I even know what it is that we're celebrating! I'm easily convinced for the sake of a party.

This card I purhcased many years ago and fits my sense of humor (you know me and my lunchbox note punnies, right?). The layers of embossing won me over - the beautiful, delicate pattern with crisp, line image on top.

I let the cards breathe a bit by putting a small amount of sticky putty in the top open corner.

Do you have any letterpress art hanging around your spaces?

Wishing you all a beautiful Easter. We have some wonderful Church services ahead with family and friends as well as a child and adult Easter egg hunt in our backyard.

xoxo, MJ


Staying Stylish at Home
This is a sponsored post by Kleenex Brand. However, all opinions expressed are my own. I've used Kleenex for many years and carefully selected my favorite designs. I'm excited to share these new additions with you.


Hi friends! I'm partnering with the folks from Kleenex to show off some great design and celebrate 90 years of Kleenex. As a designer, I've appreciated the ways that Kleenex has brought fresh color, clean patterns, and innovative product design to consumers. When I got my first place, a 2BR apartment, I recall fishing through stacks of boxes at my grocery store, in search of the electric daisy design to add some life to my dull apartment bathroom. Maybe old habits die hard because I find myself using Kleenex patterns still to add some interest to our spare bathroom decor.

Two years ago, my husband and I decided to expand our home's capacity to welcome guests, and in so doing, expanded our basement to include a guest bedroom and bathroom while also enlarging the kids' playspace. The bathroom usually serves as a space for the kids to clean up, but also functions as a guest bath when friends or grandparents stay with us. And since I'm also prone to decor attention deficiency (yes, I just made that up), and I love to switch things up by reusing items we have in other parts of the house. So, we decided to keep it neutral. The bathroom has no natural lighting so I find the an injection of color set against the white surfaces really helps keep the space bright.


If it's a classic Normal Rockwell (I love this one, "Freedom from Fear"), I think the paisley works well. Showing off colorful donut paintings from my daughters? I like the saturated tones in the floral pattern. And a simple still life is set off so nicely by the geometric designs.

Which would you choose for your space? Check out the Style Studio to see an abundance of other possibilities...

xoxo, MJ

P.S. And... if online quizzes are your guilty pleasure (ahem, right here), take the "Catwalk or Kleenex" test which to see if you can guess if the design was high fashion or Kleenex. Just taking the quiz enters you into the sweepstakes (which will get you to NYC with 5K). Hurry over - sweepstakes ends today.



Is it finished yet? Please tell me some merry elves snuck into my house last night and hung that last set of lights and put away the final box of Christmas decor for us. I so enjoy decorating for the season, but, man, I am taking soooo long to get to it and through it all this year!

Nevertheless, I've managed to put up all of my favorites, and I'd thought I'd share them with you.

I loooove seeing other people's holiday decor, learning new traditions, sharing great ideas so I'm hoping that if I show you some of mine... well, you'll show me yours, too! Hence the hashtag #deckingyourhalls. Our decorations are simple and mostly homemade so this hashtag is far from showing off a glorious masterpiece display (but if you have one, share that, too!), and it's the longtime treasured objects or sweet new items that I'm hoping to highlight and reshare with all of you. So join in!! I'll be sharing photographs next Tuesday right here!

If you follow Pars Caeli on Instagram (we are friends over there, too, right? @parscaeli), you noticed that my children put up their trees this weekend, and each one reflects a different spirit and joy! My oldest daughter, M, in particular has a special story behind her Christmas tree that I'll be sharing tomorrow here and other places so stay tuned.

Here are some of the holiday delights in my home:

This simple nativity scene that my daughter, C, made at preschool when she was four. Preschool teachers, you do not get enough credit for the innovative projects you develop and complete for little hands. These terra cotta pots and bases, painted and assembled by C are a charming reminder to us of the simplicity of the season.

The Santa Pole is standing proudly in our dining room. A friend made this for us many years ago from lumber, caulking, a Santa hat, and clever painting. We turned it into our Santa Pole, and we use it every Christmas season to measure the height of each child. I love hearing them talk amongst themselves about how "little" they used to be!

Decking the halls big and small, each child adds holiday cheer to their rooms. My grandmother-in-law is a whiz with plastic canvas, and she's made us nearly 100 ornaments. We strung them into a garland for my son's firehouse decorations.

We are a house of many Nativity sets, and this year our largest is right by the front door. It fits with how we interact with the scene. I once learned from one of my fifth grade students an activity leading up to Christmas. When family members were helpful and especially kind to one another, they put a string in Jesus's manger to keep him warm and soften his rest. We began this tradition when the children were toddlers and have kept it up. Next to the Holy Family we keep a carved, heart-shaped bowl, filled with red and green string for our children to use to make a cozy manger. Sweet and simple.

More to share with you!! I hope you'll let us take a look into how you make the season bright at home. Don't forget to add #deckingyourhalls to your photos and tweets!

xoxo, MJ

Inspiration Drawer: Make Yourself Laugh

Helllooo there. I'm excited, friends. Excited to share a new spot on the blog I'm calling Inspiration Drawer. Did I mention I've moved offices? Yes, I have. Not a big move, just one floor down to a similarly sized office space. And I've taken the opportunity to refresh my work space.

Moving always prompts me to reorganize and declutter (both very needed elements in my worklife), and I've created a fresh spot in my desk I refer to as the inspiration drawer. In it are a mixture of print pieces, catalogs, colors, words, and photographs that have interested me for some reason or another. Previously these items were all over in various files and project boxes. Now I have my treasure trove of ideas all in one spot.

And that's what's coming at you on Wednesdays! Inspiration Drawer. Images, words, and ideas that inspire me...and may just stick with you, too.


Today's idea. Make yourself laugh.

What do have in your office space? Diplomas or family photos? Beautiful paintings or collages of prints?

How do these inspire your work? Or do they?

With my new workspace, I decided a change of mood was in order for my environment. And instead of filling my space with images or open spaces that might bring a sense of peace, I opted for bright colors, a leaning toward the impractical, and a sense of humor.

For example, I used to have framed photos of my children and husband that I would call "the most adorable" images I could find. This time I went through my iPhoto storage to find the images that perpetually make me smile or laugh. I remember these moments with such great joy that just seeing the image allows me to hop right back in time.

I decided I wanted these to be a little larger than life so I sent them off to print at Walgreens. 3 days later, I received my 11 x 14 poster prints on really quality paper for a great price. And I love how the black and white turned out!


Looking forward to sharing more...

What do you keep around your workspace to calm, excite, focus, delight you?

xoxo, MJ

Chat It Up: Inspiration Spots

I've been slowly reconfiguring and reimagining our formal living room into an art space for the entire family. It's always had oversized, comfortable couches and a warm floor-to-ceiling window. It now has a piano, and our children's craft table, and my office armoire. Courtesy of Amazon, a wall hook arrived yesterday so that my husband's guitar can adorn the wall.

When I want to dream or write or clear my head, I find myself gravitating to this room. It's free of children's toys, dirty dishes, and unfolded laundry.

And I believe the intentionality of creating a space for a particular purpose has encouraged me to USE it for a particular purpose. My oldest, M, while practicing a new song on the piano, turned to me and said, "Mommy, I just love this room." I nodded in agreement.

With the neverending winter we've experienced in the Midwest, the art room has become my cozy haven. In warm weather, I typically perch myself on our back deck, underneath the blue umbrella that matches the skies I adore.

I've been reading more and more from the writers and bloggers I love, and I keep hearing them tell me to   find a space to create (or make a space where I can create). For some, it's been a local coffee shop or a library. For others, it's a park or their studio/office space at home.

So let's chat it up. Where is your inspiration spot? And if you need one, what must this space have to allow you the freedom to embrace fresh ideas?


 PS. Wanna see my gatherings for a great office space? Check this board.

Itty Bitty Lovelies: The Beauty of Minimal

Hiya, lovely! How's it going? Exciting times around here...It's a great week of the year, the holiest one for Christians, as we gear up for Easter. My family is looking forward to all the services this week (with our oldest in the Church choir) as well as a fun egg hunt and Easter brunch with friends. What have you been up to?

Today I'm bringing you some Itty Bitty Lovelies that work with minimal supplies for maximum results. When you can create a masterful DIY with only a few items it's just that much sweeter, don't you think?

1. Tape saves the day again

Though I love art and photography, I don't have as much of it hanging on my walls or sitting on my shelves as I would like. Why? Frames are costly.

Jordan from Oh Happy Day posted this, and I just have to share it with you. Using kraft tape and some other supplies, she made these gorgeous thin frames for her home. The final look is remarkable, considering the low price of the materials. I am almost convinced that I need to buy my own matte cutter, too ($15).

Can't you imagine these in bright hues for a children's room or a classic black accent on book shelves?

2. Wall gallery for the no budget

Melissa takes us through the art that hangs in her bedroom in this lovely gallery made of simple frames she's purchased from Ikea. I adore the rhythm she's created on her bright walls. And learning the details behind each piece is delightful. It inspires me and reminds me that simplicity is more.

Head over to her blog and see what I mean. I think I'd love seeing all these frames hung really tight together as she has them in some of the photos. Have you created a wall gallery in your home? I'd love to see it!

3. Elegant bracelets for all the gals on your list

When I saw this post, I knew I wanted to savor it for Itty Bitty Lovelies. My good friend Joy from Frock Files has created the purest friendship bracelet that you could wear to the opera or the supermarket and look glamorous.

The way that she's stacked them is divine, and the closure method is genius. These are completely budget-friendly and the perfect spring accessory. Way to go, Joy. You've done it again.

My lovely for the week:

Life is better with friends. Be bold and ask someone, with whom you share common interests but not much time together, to join you for coffee. Invite that family you've been bumping into all over for a simple dinner. Arrange a Google Chat with bloggers you admire. Too often I imagine that others may not have time or an interest to get together, when the reality is, we're all just busy living our lives. A warm invitation does wonders for the spirit.

Let's make this a great week, friends. It's time to contemplate, refocus, and celebrate all that is to come.

xoxo, MJ


A tri- to try for fun

Hi friends. Happy Friday. :) It's been a fun blogging week, and I'm excited to share some special treats for today's Tri- to Try.

And to start it off: the best photo I've ever taken of a fish. Because.

Did you have a cream-filled donut for breakfast? Pick one up and lick the cream first. It's National Cream-filled Donut Day. Of course you might regret it on Saturday when we celebrate the anniversary Alexander Fleming's discovery of penicillin and our good health! September 16 is National Play Doh Day so why not make some playdough at home and mold to your heart's content?!

Let's talk about a Tri- to Try:



Have you stopped over to Louise's site today to see our work? This month's DIY date was a challenge posed by Paige to get all of us bloggers crafting for a great cause. St. Jude's Research Hospital offers its very deserving patients the opportunity to create via the Happy Cart Crafts, aka: baggies filled with all the supplies to make an adorable craft and bring a smile to a young face. I posted one of our crafts on Monday, and I hope to share another with you next week!


When I asked Amy if she could whip up a recipe for Starbuck's Pumpkin Scones, I knew she'd be able to do it. She's always coming up with delectable dishes that make me want to spend my entire Sunday whipping up good smells and yummy bites in the kitchen.

She posted 11 pumpkin recipes that I must try. Highlights include creamy pumpkin pasta, pumpkin butter, and (Yes! Yes! Yes!) homemade pumpkin spice lattes.


Creating a gallery wall is on my fall adventure list. Gabrielle Blair recently posted an amazing selection of gallery wall ideas, and you have to check them out. 22 very different walls await your viewing. My faves? Switchroom's and Bright, Bold, and Beautiful's vintage mix. I am inspired!

Wishing you a bright weekend, friends! What do you want to try?