It’s the time of the season when gardens and inspiration levels seem to be bursting-ripe with fresh growth and ideas. I can’t tell you how I smile with every Meyer lemon, chubby tomato, and fig grown and proudly documented in my Instagram stream, and every incredibly innovative DIY project my talented friends are attempting! They all make me catch my breath. And so I started wondering: What’s the last thing you made that caused you to gasp? Three new friends are getting today’s inspiration session started. Enjoy…and please chime in!

Ruth of Ruth de Vos:
Mandarin preserves. In the last couple of days, I forfeited my regular afternoon sewing session to spend time in the kitchen bottling mandarins and making mandarin marmalade for the first time. Jars of gold!

It makes me ridiculously happy to see them sitting on the kitchen bench-top today. Definitely worth the effort of removing pith and pips — and that’s without tasting them yet. I’ll have to make some more, as we have mandarins coming out of our ears right now.

Hayley of Hayley Mann Design:
The last thing I made that made me gasp was our simple headboard made from a vintage tapestry rug. At the time I bought it, I thought I had no use for it, but it was my favorite color combo — pink and orange — and I just couldn’t pass it up. About a month ago, my husband and I decided it would have a perfect home as our headboard, and I absolutely love the results!

Sarah of Land of Abe:
Roasted carrots. They tasted of earthy caramel and lacked the bitterness that vegetables so often have, and they were nearly effortless. I tossed them with olive oil, salt, and cumin, and then slid them into the oven. I bought the carrots at a farmers’ market rather than my usual grocery store, so they had been tugged from the ground just days before. Fresh vegetables are such a gift! Our little family ate the whole pound in one sitting!


Thank you, ladies, for lighting my creative spark for the day! I’m always on the lookout for cool headboard ideas, Hayley! And the way Ruth and Sarah described their creations made my mouth water. I think I could actually taste those carrots, and I also think I’ll be making something similar as soon as possible! As for the preserves, I wonder if Ruth would send us all a little jar of gold?

Now it’s your turn, friends. Tell me, please: What’s the last thing you made that caused you to gasp?

More delicious photos of those divine Mandarin Orange Preserves here.

P.S. — You can catch all of our Design Mom Asks conversations right here. If you’d like to participate in the next one, drop me a note. I’d love to hear from you!