Inspiration in Idaho

In June, our family travelled to Idaho to celebrate my in-laws' 50th wedding anniversary.  What a memorable time.  I found myself ~ unsurprisingly ~ inspired by everything around me, from flowering trees to white fences to old barns to shaker roofs.  I probably drove the family crazy as I ooohed and aaahhed over things I usually only see in magazines and on blogs.  You must remember, I live in Alaska.  Gorgeous scenery?  Absolutely.  Architecture and quaintness?  Not so much.

As they say, pictures speak a thousand words, so let me show you a few:

Does the red of these barns look good with EVERYTHING, or was it just me??

This little girl was perched on the rail awaiting the buching broncs in Eagle, ID.  Does this not capture the heart and soul of rodeo?

This is Nash, the horse my in-laws pastured during our stay.  We rode him numerous times, each of us, and his patience was so greatly appreciated.  Thanks, Nash, for smelling so like a horse and letting me ride you bareback.  You flooded my heart with childhood memories and happiness.

This fence with the Sawtooth Mountains in the background is perhaps one of my favorite pictures of the trip.  I was continually amazed to see actual ranches like this ~ a way of life so foreign these days:

Loved the window on this quaint barn just outside Ketchum, Idaho:

Look at the shake shingles on this old house!  I could move in yesterday....

About a week into our visit, I came across a lower 48 (that's what we Alaskans call the rest of the US) phenomenon:  HOBBY LOBBY.

Yes, dear friends, this is the first time I actually saw a Hobby Lobby in real life.  I could not wait to get inside.

It was HUGE. 

I knew right away I did not have enough time.  So I headed straight for the hardware aisle, having read in blog land that Hobby Lobby's selection of knobs was abundant and the prices were right. 

I was not disappointed :-)

 I was also touched by the fact that I hummed along to "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" while I shopped.  Upon inquiry at the checkout, I learned that Hobby Lobby is a Christian-based chain!  What's not to love??

Two days before the end of our stay I discovered a fabulously renovated house in Star called The Umbrella Bird.  The owner and her friend paint and sell furniture, and their pieces are nothing short of delightful.  Here is a glimpse:

I had such a wonderful visit with the owner.  She shared many ideas on how they got started in their business, what they found sold best, how they handled special requests for pieces.  Little did I know I was paving a path for myself.....but more on that later.  At the owner's recommendation, I next headed across town to another wonderful shop called Saggy Drawers (gotta love a name like that!) and met the owner, Stacy.  After talking paint and waxes and sales and inspiration for quite some time, I asked Stacy if I could take her picture to post on my blog.  She was happy to oblige, suggesting she pose with her bike outside.  Isn't she cute?  Thanks, Stacy!

I know we've all read about interior designers and artists gaining inspiration from exotic places like Paris, Venice, Sweden and the Orient.  I, too, would one day love to travel to these places, certain my inspirational radar would go absolutely haywire with all the sights, smells and creativity abroad.

However, for those of us bound by young children and economics, a trip to the humble state of Idaho will have to suffice for now.  And after all this trip did for my soul and spirit, Paris will simply have to wait :-)