Inspiration… Everywhere!

Hi Friends!

Early Saturday morning we drove out into the countryside ~ passing lush, green fields, tidy, white farmhouses, and faded red barns. We were both looking forward to being outside in the morning sunshine and soaking up inspiration. As we pulled into the quiet, little town of Morris, our car knew the way to our usual out-of-the-way parking place. (The perfect spot just in case we wanted to carry some inspiration back to the car!)

It was 8 o’clock and Canalport Park was already filled with people. The friendliest people gather at the 3 French Hens French Country Market very early on the second Saturday of each month, from May through October. Everyone is seeking their favorite kind of inspiration!  Young and old, couples, singles, and families with pups on leashes wander through the park in search of antiques, upcycled art, handmade jewelry, artisan soaps, fresh-baked pies and breads, flowers of all kinds, and so much more.  Locally grown produce and a variety of tempting, hot foods and cold drinks often inspire a spur-of-the-moment picnic in the park, too.

As always, my husband and I started off together looking at the tables and displays filled with antiques. Before long, we each ventured off in search of our own favorite types of inspiration. I am drawn to antique furniture, vintage dishes, antique teacups, and interesting stoneware crocks, enamelware pitchers, and Mason jars to hold bouquets of garden flowers. He is drawn to antique books, old tools, and historic memorabilia.

Before long, he will walk across the wooden footbridge crossing the historic I & M Canal ~

to find inspiration

in a quiet walk in nature.


He enjoys hiking the wooded path to the Illinois River

to observe the local fauna and watch all kinds of boats on the river.

This was my Saturday morning ‘Artist’s Date’ seeking inspiration for our home and garden, as I nourished my creative heart and soul.  I have been truly smitten with Farmhouse Style decorating lately. Fresh, white beadboard, walls covered with wood slats, natural wood finishes, and pops of color and natural textures have been calling my name. Old and rustic, yet simple and fresh! What better place to soak up that Farmhouse feeling than in a lovely park in the countryside! I have always been drawn to wooden signs ~ the words, the lettering styles, the rustic textures, and the soft colors. Walking through the 3 French Hens French Country Market felt like I was walking through my favorite Pinterest boards, with inspiration everywhere!

Come on along… so I can show you a few things that caught my eye on Saturday morning!

These muted colors and different textures made my heart sing!

Everything on this table could find a place in our little ‘nest.’

Bunting makes every day feel like a little celebration!

Hand lettered signs add just the right touch of warmth and coziness to any room.

I love the brush lettered style (especially bouncy brush lettering!).

I think I’m going to need some old, rustic barnwood! 🙂

This ‘Artist’s Date’

surrounded me with inspiration… everywhere I looked!

Lettering inspiration embellished

fluffy, white pillows,

embroidered, straw hats,

and more weathered barnwood!

As I walked along the edge of Canalport Park, I came upon something that stopped me in my tracks. Right before my eyes, a Tractor Parade turned slowly onto Illinois Street. Vintage farm tractors and modern tractors of every color and size passed by very slowly. Most of the tractors displayed American flags and many had shade umbrellas, too. A local artisan told me that farmers love to parade through small towns on Summer weekends in their beloved tractors, gathering for breakfast together in a small cafe. I just had to stop and watch…  🙂

This parade brought back such wonderful childhood memories of riding in antique car parades on Summer weekends. My dad drove our Model A Ford Coupe, that he had lovingly restored, blowing the ‘ooh-gah’ horn often. Dad and Mom rode inside the car, while my brothers and I waved to the parade watchers from the rumble seat! 🙂 

It’s such a wonderful thing when people discover their ‘tribe’ of kindred spirits ~

car people, tractor people, boat people, train people,

readers, gardeners, runners, cyclists, collectors, crafters,… ! 

Inspiration is everywhere, if we just take the time to look for it.

More lettering inspiration ~

on rusty metal and rustic paper!


These signs were lettered on upcycled kitchen cabinet doors. What a great idea!

One of them just had to come home to our cozy, little bungalow.

Can you guess which one?

It’s a good thing our perfect, out-of-the-way, parking spot was nearby!  🙂

After two inspiring hours, my husband came to find me in the park.

We had just enough time to look for inspiration in the nearby vintage shops ~

before driving one more hour through the peaceful countryside

to spend a lovely afternoon with our dear family.


Thanks so much for visiting today!

Where do you find inspiration on a Summer weekend?


Perennially yours,

♡ Dawn













28 thoughts on “Inspiration… Everywhere!

  1. Beautiful in every way. I feel I’ve been there with you on previous trips. So, which one came home with you both???

    • It would be such fun to walk through 3 French Hens together, Anne! We try to visit this market once in the Spring, Summer, and Fall. I’ll show you our sign very soon. It’s already hanging in the back hallway! 🙂 Thanks for always joining in the fun here, Anne! ♡

  2. Inspiration is everywhere, isn’t it Dawn? I love when you share your trips to 3 French Hens. We enjoy visiting antique shops whenever we travel. I agree that bunting adds a celebratory note to our homes and is so very British! The hand lettered signs are lovely. Years ago we made a hand lettered sign for our kitchen. I like all of the signs made from cabinetry –my guess is you chose the Always and Forever sign? What a great time you and your siblings must have enjoyed in your dad’s Model A! How fun! I’m glad you both enjoyed an inspirational day. Stay cool, my friend. ♥

    • So true, Martha Ellen! There is so much inspiration around us, but never enough time to complete all of the projects we are inspired to try. I love that you made a sign for your kitchen! What did it say? I liked the Always and Forever sign, but that wasn’t the one that called to me. The sign I chose is already hanging in our back hallway and is the first thing we see when we walk in the back door. I will share a photo soon! 🙂 We have such happy family memories of our Model A family outings and activities with the Model A club! We often wonder who is driving that car now. Thank you for the cool wishes, dear one! We are having a very hot week here. So, I’m doing my weeding very early… in the shade! Sending hugs! ♡

  3. Hi Dawn, Did you buy the sign “Home?” Although since i am late to the game, i see that my first pick of “Home is where story begins?” was not the one you took home. I was not familiar with the 3 French Hens French Country Market, but it sure looks like a great place to visit! i loved seeing your pictures of the many stalls. I also know my Grandson would have loved to see the tractor parade, how lovely! Patty

    • Great guess, Patty!! 😊 It already has a special place in the back hallway. I first learned about the 3 French Hens French Country Market a few years ago when Romantic Homes magazine named it one of the best markets in the country. It’s always fun, filled with inspiration, and has such a friendly, small town vibe. We both enjoy it!! It was really interesting to see all of the tractors passing by!

      Hope to see you at the June papercrafting crop. I’m looking forward to a relaxing day with our creative ‘tribe!’ 😊 Try to keep cool during this heatwave, Patty. I’m so happy that you stopped to visit today! 💗

  4. Dawn, I’ve heard the name of this market. I don’t remember which state it is in, but it sure looks fun! Definitely a place I would love to wander through. Those scenic photos are gorgeous as well. I think I’d have to stroll across the street to enjoy them as well. Glad you got to go!

    • Morris is a small town in Illinois. I know that you would love the inspiration at the 3 French Hens French Country Market, Jann! I can just imagine the ‘nest’ bunting and treasures from that display on your mantel. 🙂 I always feel like I am walking through my Pinterest boards as I wander through the market! It’s a wonderful place to find new inspiration for the things that I already have. It’s lovely to walk along the wooded path down to the river. I just love crossing the wooden footbridge and taking a long walk in nature, too!

      I’ve been thinking of all of the garden gates you shared from Carmel by the Sea, Jann. They would make lovely background pieces in a garden bed or near your Hilltop Cottage! Inspiration is everywhere! Thanks for visiting today, Jann! Have a creative week! ♡

    • It’s always a lovely day when we head out to the countryside and find inspiration at the 3 French Hens French Country Market! That sign was a pretty one, Marcia! But it didn’t come home with us this time. Soon I’ll take a photo of our newest sign. 😉It’s already hanging in our back hallway! So happy that you stopped to visit today, Marcia! 💗

    • Thanks so much, Brenda! We try to visit the 3 French Hens Market once in the Spring, Summer, and Fall. So much inspiration there every time! We love the friendly, happy crowds, too. It feels like a celebration of creativity! Hope you are having happy Summer days with your blossoms and bees, Brenda! 💗

  5. I must admit I haven’t had an opportunity to stroll through such amazing shops in a long time so I appreciated this post. Beautiful items so I’m sure the decision making process was quite difficult. I can only imagine your pulse quickened as you checked everything out. 🙂

    • It’s such a fun place to find inspiration, Judy! The setting is just delightful ~ a pretty park along a tranquil canal. I think you would have been drawn to the beautiful stitched projects! There are so many creative ideas… just never enough time to make them all. This time I was happy just to pick out a handmade sign, bring it home, and hang it up right away. 🙂 It would have been on my ‘Create’ list for a very long time! Safe travels, Judy, as you head to the Midwest for your family reunion. We are having a hot, sticky week here! Make sweet memories! ♡

  6. I hope to get to Three French Hens Market at least once this season! It is a favorite outing for both of us, too. 🙂
    LOVE these signs. Our little parade that would come down our road on the 4th of July had several vintage trailers. This area was farmland once-upon-a-time. It is fun – and a nice childhood memory for you, Dawn.
    I seem to be either busy or a fair share of family right now, so, take my time in the woods around me whenever I can.

    • Perhaps one day we will rendez-vous at 3 French Hens, Penny! We had such fun there in May and June. Each month always has a different feel. I think our next visit will be in October. We love to pick out our pumpkin and gourds there.
      We are both blessed to have such wonderful ‘vintage’ memories, Penny! 😊 I love that you can enjoy peaceful moments in the woods so close to home. It’s so good for the heart and soul, my friend. Thanks so much for visiting today, Penny! 💗

  7. Dawn, you are so right: there is inspiration everywhere, not the least of which lies in the blogging world. I love that you and your husband both find your special paths under the same umbrella so to speak. Oh my gosh I would love this place. Your childhood sounds idyllic! Waving to parade goers from your dad’s lovingly restored car. What a memory. And now you are busy making so many more. I hope we meet one day. Happy summer.

    • You always say the sweetest things, dear Alys! ♥ You would definitely love the 3 French Hens French Country Market. It’s such fun to drive out into the countryside, knowing that inspiration is waiting for us there! I hadn’t thought about our rumble seat rides in years, but as I watched the Tractor Parade, all of the happy memories came flooding back!

      I’m most definitely my father’s daughter. 🙂 My brothers and I had fun times at antique car shows, car picnics, and at Model A Conventions all over the Midwest. I can still remember driving in the slow lane on the highway to our destination! One time we even rode around the Indy race track in a Model A Woody Wagon with friends. After the Model A years, my dad restored a ’57 T-Bird. By then, I was old enough to drive it, top down, with a Beach Boys 8-track tape playing. I thought it was the coolest thing! 🙂 I still adore old cars! Just today, we went to a classic car show and I sent lots of pictures to my dad for Father’s Day! Lots of rumble seat memories today!

      I have a feeling that we will meet one day, Alys! Happy garden days! ♡

      • I’ll bet your dad was thrilled to get those photos, Dawn. What a charming gift. I miss my dad, still, even all these years later. I inherited my love of gardening from him. I think we’ll meet one day, too, Dawn. xo

      • It was such a sweet memory, Alys! Our family always visited this classic car show each Father’s Day as I was growing up. So, I have continued this tradition every year! It keeps us close… across the miles. I’m sure that you feel closest to your dad when you are in your garden. I love hearing the stories about your dad, Alys. We were both blessed to have amazing fathers! Happy Summer solstice, my friend! ♡

  8. I feel like I have been on an artist date with you. My daughter and I spent Saturday looking through the fabric store (it’s and acre of fabric and notions) and then went to the craft warehouse. I would go nuts in those kinds of flea markets. Haven’t seen one of those in years. Loved many of the signs, especially the one about life being better with laughter. What a fun day and I enjoyed it very much. Thank you for taking me along. 🙂

    • Artist’s Dates are so much fun, Marlene! They inspire new ideas with every step. I’m so happy that you and your daughter had a special Artist’s Date! When you wander through a fabric store, it must be the same feeling I get wandering through a paper store. 🙂 On a visit to Arizona, I discovered a wonderful, little shop. It was half scrapbooking supplies and half fabric. Such a perfect blend of colorful inspiration! Their workroom had large tables for scrapbookers, with a plug at each spot for plugging in a sewing machine. I will always remember the beautiful quilts hanging from the walls and the cutest vintage-style aprons! It was really interesting to see the same color trends and patterns in both papers and fabrics! Inspiration… everywhere! I’m heading out to the garden early this morning. 🙂 Wishing you a wonderful day, Marlene! Happy almost-Summer! ♡

  9. What a place! I love the pathway covered in trees. This may be the very place for a scene in a picture book I’m writing. Thanks

    • Hi Myra! I’m just delighted that you found inspiration for your children’s book here! It truly warms this retired teacher’s heart. 🙂 Sharing wonderful books with my students was one of my very favorite parts of teaching! Please keep us posted as you work on your book. Wishing you much success, Myra! ♡

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