Creating A Space That Will Inspire You

I celebrated my b-day on Monday. I spent the early part of the day at the bookstore, then came home to relax, read and just sat outside enjoying a day without a to-do list.

When Ed asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I told him I didn’t need anything, but he insisted on getting me a gift. After a few days of thought, I told him I wanted a second kitchen island cart.

He said, “but there is no room”. I answered that I didn’t want to add another cart in the kitchen, but wanted to add a shelf to the existing one and the only way to do that would be to get a second cart for the parts. We can use the other parts if a part on the original cart gets damaged or make something creative with them.

Movable metal rolling island in a small white kitchen.
The Wheeled Metal Cart Island in My Kitchen

After adding the stainless steel wheeled cart over a year ago, my small kitchen became easier to work in as it created a center island in the work triangle of the kitchen. It took me awhile to find just the right style and size island that could be easily moved. With a few modifications, the cart has exceeded my expectations on how beneficial it became.

Like most of us these days, I am trying to find ways to add a little more comfort and joy to my life and have been tapping into what would make that happen.

Food being chopped on a cutting board on a metal cart kitchen island.

Last week, I mentioned that I am beginning to actually like cooking. Adding more functionality to the island cart is one way to create an inspiring space that makes my little kitchen feel like a chic bistro or Ina Garten’s TV set kitchen. :-)

One of the most important things for me to do when I want to be more productive in anything, is to create an inspiring space to be able to do whatever my interests are in the style I want.

Bloggers craft room tour

I know first hand from creating my studioffice that when we have rooms or spaces in our homes that create the conditions for creativity, they also create the conditions for wellbeing – leading to a happier life.

These are spaces that you can call your own. They can be large or small which you can set up to support you in expressing your creativity, while building your skills and confidence.

When Ed and I were first married and I began to decorate our first house, all I had to claim as my creative space was a gardener’s bench that I organized with my creative supplies on an enclosed porch.

I loved this small space and spent hours there. I had set it up for ease of use to hold everything I needed. On the wall space above it, I had a simple cork board to pin clippings from magazines. It was the old-school way to save inspiration. Way before Pinterest came on the scene. :-)


Over the years and living in different houses, I made sure that I created a space that would work for me for sewing, painting, and running my blog. I found that I would rather have a studioffice/ craft room in a home than a dining room. It all comes down to what is most important to live the life you want in your home.

In college, I had a slide out low-sided box under my bed that held all my crafty supplies. It was small, but I lined it with pretty paper and added smaller boxes inside to hold and organize smaller items like craft paint, sewing notion, ribbons and more. Every time I reached under my bed to use it, my roommates all wanted to partake in whatever I was doing. Having it at the ready, inspired all of us, not just myself.

So don’t think you need to have a lot of room to create an inspiring space where you can partake in a pastime, hobby or to learn something new.

Changes to My Kitchen Island Cart

Here is how I am making my island cart serve as my small and organized chef station to allow me to enjoy the processes of cooking.

My kitchen island after getting a second shelf.
My Kitchen Cart Island Now With Two Shelves
My rolling metal kitchen cart got a makeover. Now it has two shelves and a cutting board.

The top of the island is used for food prep and cutting, so I added a solid cutting board that will not move when in use.

White plates, bowls and ramekins in a wood box on kitchen cart island.

I added the second shelf to hold a new set of dinner plate bowls that are a trending style now. When it is time to “plate” dinner, (can you tell I have been reading cookbooks?)

I can simply reach under the top of the cart to get them. Small ramekins to hold recipe ingredients and my recipe box.

Close up of second shelf added to rolling metal kitchen cart that acts like an center kitchen island.

I am in the process of redoing my recipe box. It is a DIY project that is taking me some time to source the materials. Once it is done, I will share it with you. I am very excited about this and want to make sure I do it right.

After photo showing my rolling metal kitchen island with a second shelf added.

On the bottom shelf is the large wicker basket. I originally stored an air fryer in it, but found that Ed and I were not impressed with it and will sell or donate it.

A large wicker basket on a metal rolling kitchen island filled with least used kitchen tools.

The basket now contains items that we use, but not often. A panini maker, a spiralizer attachment for my KitchenAid stand mixer, and ice cube trays at the ready to fill with herbs to freeze for winter use when I bring in extra from the herb garden.

Kitchen organizing tip for holding a dishtowel on a metal food prep cart.

On the side is a request Ed wanted for the cart, a place to hang the dish towel. Previously it was hung across from the oven which is not close to the sink at all.

I was going to drill a hole in the side of the top, but found that a magnetic hook clip works just fine. :-) I also tried a magnetic hook, but it stuck out too far.

For my birthday, Ed also gave me a gift card to Barnes & Noble. After reviewing quite a few cookbooks online, I went early in the morning to the Barnes & Noble in Columbia to look over a few more in person to make sure they were a fit for me.

Cookbooks I Bought:

LL Balanced and The Forest Feast Cookbooks on kitchen island.

LL Balanced Cookbook – Of all the cookbooks I looked at and I looked at many, the author of this book struck a cord with me. It is not a diet book or following one way of eating, but rather good healthy food prepared by a trained chef.

The Forest Feast – I had met this author at a blogger event in NYC many years ago. I was impressed with her illustrations and lifestyle, but at the time was not into cooking, so I dismissed looking into her cookbook. I am so happy that I have the book now. Such easy and healthy recipes. I have made two recipes so far and thumbs up for both. :-)

I am taking my time to read both of these books like a foodie would – savoring everything mentioned and learning all I can.

How to Create A Space That Will Inspire You


Free printable: Make It Happen

Do you want to do more of something or learn something new and enjoy the process? Just figure out what it is that you enjoy or want to do more of and then create an area in your home that inspires you to do it.

Maybe you have been thinking about making a quilt or knitting sweaters for your family, learning a new language, or making something to sell.

  • Make it happen by making a list of supplies you will need and then finding a space where you can set up and organize it in an inspiring way so that it will be easily accessible.
  • You may have to rethink how you organize a room, closet or cabinet to make your inspiring space come to life.
  • If your space is very limited, you could do what I did back in college and simply add a box or an unused dresser drawer that can be stored under a bed or in a closet. Maybe even a rolling cart that can be easily moved to wherever you need it.
  • Most of all, make sure that you make the space as much of a “dream space” as you can so that you feel inspired.
Veggies being chopped on a wood cutting board on center island of kitchen. Salad bowl and ipad nearby.

My inspiration for my island cart is Ina Garten’s kitchen with a little of that William Sonoma feel thrown in. Having this is what is making me want to actually cook, learn new techniques and to season food to perfection.

Now if only I could create a space that would inspire me to actually like cleaning my house. :-)


Kitchen island cart with cutting board and veggies. Text overlay says Home Decorating and Organizing Setting Up Space that will inspire you.

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  1. Donna Marie says:

    Happy Belated Birthday!!! I am starting to read your blog and I really like it. I am turning 70 in October and I just started walking with my about to be 87 year-old mother so I am doing great! I identify with your ideas and will continue to read your blog. Keep up the good work. (I just became a great-grandmother so I know what you mean when you talk about your granddaughter. There is nothing I am more proud of!!!)

  2. I love your new shelf and I love how you always personalize your spaces to work for you! When my 30-year daughter was a newly mobile toddler, I set up a little sewing area behind my couch! I angled the couch kitty-corner so I could create a little space for myself! It worked like a charm and I made my first quilts in that little sewing “room”. Happy belated birthday!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Bettsi – Sorry for the delay in my response to your comment. Thanks for the belated B-Day wishes. :-) Smart idea to add a place to create and do your own thing, but see your daughter at play in your living room. I remember those days when my girls were toddlers and on the move. They had to be watched every second.

  3. I love your news letter there are so many great ideas! Your craft cabinet is amazing I love it, please keep the great ideas coming and thank you.

  4. Happy Birthday Diane!

    I love all your ideas, especially how your StudioOffice/craft room turned out! Beautiful. You are such an inspiration. It makes me want to remodel my home office. Thanks for all the wonderful organizational ideas.

  5. Barbara Baker says:

    I have enjoyed your blog over the last few years. I saved the one about your hall and the diy grass cloth. I would like to do the grass cloth in my bath. Could you give the instructions again
    Thank you
    Barbara Baker

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Barbara :-) –

      You can find the post I did about DIY grass cloth here:

      If you have any questions, just let me know.

  6. Rachel Perry says:

    Reading this blog post completely inspired me to take advantage of the time I have at home right now and reorganize, reconfigure, and revive my home (well at least start with the kitchen). Thanks so much for posting!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Rachel- Doesn’t it feel good getting reorganized? I am enjoying the process. I did my clothes closet over the weekend and now I am tackling my recipe box.

      1. Rachel Perry says:

        It DOES feel good – and I feel so productive and motivated now! I have ordered organization items for my closet and drawers! Thanks for getting me on this roll!

  7. Sharon Hines says:

    Happy Birthday! I’m always so impressed with your ingenuity and creativity.

  8. I turned 61 on Thursday!!
    I love your Blog…I had many that I have stopped following, but not yours.
    Your Blog is still at the top of my list!
    Thank you for all you do!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Happy 61 Joni! Probably a year we won’t forget with all that is happening in the world. Thanks for reading my blog – you made my day. :)

  9. Theresa Skelly says:

    Belated happy birthday! Thank you so much for the inspiration you bring to me on a very regular basis!
    I really like your stainless cart and now am trying to decide where in my house to adapt your idea! The magnetic bulldog clip is pretty ingenious. I bought two magnetic curtain rods that I put on the side of my dryer to hang small items to dry as well as a hand towel, since it’s next to the utility sink. They work perfectly!
    I followed the advice you gave me a few months ago regarding how to paint a baby crib. It turned out beautifully. I used your Calcium Carbonate recipe with Benjamin Moore Chicago Blues paint and polyacrylic sealer. The paintbrush you recommenced made a HUGE difference for me! Thank you!

  10. Happy Belated Birthday! Mya our birthdays be many. ? Gail

    1. Ugh ? May your birthday’s be many

    2. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Gail – Thank you for the b-day wishes. XOXO

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thank you Edith for wishing me a Happy B-day. :-)

  11. Terri/HoustonLady says:

    Hi Diane
    Happy belated birthday! What a great idea to add a shelf to your cart.
    I have been spending a lot of time in my craft room these days. It seems that I am constantly reorganizing!
    I have a cricut and enjoy using it to make different things especially for my new Granddaughter : )
    Thanks for sharing your new cookbooks. I am always looking for new recipes.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Terri – Congrats on becoming a grandmom to a new little girl. XO I am enjoying my new role and can’t get enough of my Zoe.

      I used to have a Silhouette, but when my old computer crashed, the software I had wouldn’t load up on my new computer, so I haven’t used it. I miss it and have been thinking about getting a Cricut to replace the old model Silhouette. They are fun to use and come up with projects and gifts.

  12. Paige Coggin says:

    He,Diane. I just noticed your blue check kitchen cushion may in front of sink. Do you remember where you got it? Please forgive me if this was in an earlier post. Xoxo paige

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Paige – I have two cushion mats. I switch them out all the time. I love them. Here is the link to the blue and white check mat:

      If you ever want to find something you see in a post, I do try to list and link everything on my SHOP pages under Shop My House that you can find here:

  13. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE reading your blog. I love your island idea and it reminded me of one I had years ago. I always loved rolling my cart over close to my stove top and I was working there. I love having one that I can move. Right now our kitchen has a large 6 foot square island while affords a lot of storage space but it’s also pain to have to walk around. ?.

    Your ideas are always so practical and well thought out. A blessed birthday greeting to you.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Betsy – Thank-your for the birthday greeting and telling me you enjoy my blog. Reading that means so much to me. XOXO

  14. Happy Belated Birthday ?
    Love that you’re getting in to cooking! The cart sure makes a nice island ?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thank you Lynn for the b-day wishes. XO Last night I stayed up to 1:30AM reading one of my new cookbooks. :-)

  15. If you find cute recipe file divider cards, please share! Overhauling my recipe boxes has been a goal of mine during quarantine and I haven’t been able to accomplish this, because I cannot find any cute ready made divider cards, or come up with an economic way to make them myself. Can’t wait to see what you do.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Shawn – It used to be easier to find nice dividers and cards, but with so much being done online anymore, these paper products seem to be getting harder and harder to find. I found what I wanted to make my recipe box and am waiting for it to be delivered. I hope it comes soon. As soon as it does, I will get it made and posted.

  16. Helen E Moss says:

    Happy Birthday!! Remember: sixty is the new forty!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Helen – YES!!!! I still feel 40! :-)

  17. Deb Brennan says:

    What a fantastic use of a compact but super practical island ! I agree that it is so much easier to enjoy cooking when you have a beautiful and functional space do so in ! I’m in process of sprucing up our kitchen on a budget, and I know it will motivate me as well…great job Diane!
    And belated happy bday! I turned 65 this year…you’re still a spring chicken ?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Deb –

      Enjoy sprucing up your kitchen. It can be an enjoyable process getting to style it your way as you find budget friendly options to use. It is the heart of the home so the more we can make it the best space we can for your needs, the better. :-)

  18. Sally Perdue says:

    Happy Birthday Diane! You are such a blessing to so many. Love all of your ideas, you are such an inspiration. Keep the ideas coming! Take care, love from Fresno, CA

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Sally – Thank you for the b-day wishes and becoming a reader. So happy that our paths crossed on the Viking cruise last fall.

  19. Nancy Bowen says:

    what is a dinner plate bowl? never heard of it.
    where to buy it?
    is it a bowl or plate ? can u put pork chop & t-bone steak in it like a plate ?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Nancy – Dinner plate bowls can be used as both a plate or a bowl. They started out being used for “bowl”style meals that are popular now especially with foodies. If you Google – “Bowl Food Trend” you will see just how popular they are becoming.

    2. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Again Nancy – I forgot to add that you can buy the bowl style plates at Target and other home retailers. That is where I bought mine. They come in a few colors. Some are stoneware and other porcelain. Here is the link to the ones I bought:

  20. A birthday to one of the cleverest bloggers out there. I am always inspired by your efforts and appreciate how a little effort can create a treasure. Wishing you a safe, healthy and energized year to come.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thank you so much for the b-day wishes and nice comment. XO

  21. Happy belated birthday! I like practical gifts too! Thanks for all the inspiring ideas! ?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thank you for the bday wishes Sophie XO – Thanks for reading my blog. :-)

  22. Happy Birthday Diane! ???

    I love how your island cart turned out. It’s beautiful! Beautiful basket you have there.
    I’ll check out those cookbooks. It seems like I’ll like them. I enjoy learning new recipes and new healthy ways to cook.
    Thank you so much for sharing your talent and creativity with all of us! Love your blog.


    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Eliana – Thank you for the b-day wishes and taking the time to tell me that you enjoy reading my blog.

      I am enjoying both cookbooks and reading all about the authors. Both have inspiring stories that make the books even more interesting. They each have a blog that you can check out. and

      1. Great! I’ll check their blog out. Thank you for letting me know!
        Looking forward to seeing what you’re doing to post next! ???

  23. Diane, it’s perfect! What great use of space! Oh and Happy Birthday!!!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thank you Cyndi XO

  24. Yeah, when you figure out how to like cleaning house, please let us know!
    To motivate myself, I think of how blessed I am to have this HOME (vs HOUSE) and that makes me want to care for it with a good attitude. It’s a start.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Karen – I agree that we are blessed that we have a home vs a house. There is a big difference.

  25. Happy Birthday!! Thank you for sharing the cookbooks you chose. The second shelf is so functional & looks great.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Holly – If the cookbooks interest you, you can check out each of the author’s websites to get more info. and The

  26. Linda Weeks says:

    Looks like it worked out well for you! Now, what do I get you for your birthday?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Linda – Funny how a simple shelf can make me happy. :-) Having you as a reader is the best b-day present I could ask for. XO

  27. So what did you do with the rest of the second cart you took the shelf from…? Just curious!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Janet – Good question. :-) I can use the other parts if a part on the original cart gets damaged or make something creative with them. I like furniture with wheels so I may add them to a piece of furniture or create something for one of my daughter’s homes.

      1. Judy Becker says:

        Hi Diane,
        I’m one of the newbies to your blog and I’m so glad I found it. You are quite an inspiration to me. I find so many of your ideas so cute and clever. I hope you are having a “happy birthday”! I think I”m probably the oldest of the group. I’ll be 79 next month. I can hardly believe it myself. ha ha Keep up the great work and I’ll keep reading and learning. It’s never to late is it!

        1. Happy belated birthday Diane! I love how you added the second shelf to your cart. So functional. Funny that eating food in large shallow bowls is now a trend! I will have to Google it. My husband and i love eating our salads in our old Pfaltzgraff Yorktowne pattern vegetable bowls. We’re trendy in our late 60’s and didn’t know it. LOL. However this old crockery is getting too heavy. I’ve been thinking maybe some nice lightweight white Corelle would be better suited for us, and would take up less place in the cabinets. I saw some when i linked to your bowls at Target. Thanks!! I really enjoy your creativeness and upbeat blog!! You’re rocking life gurl!!!

          1. Diane Henkler says:

            Hi Deanna – Thank you for the b-day wishes. XO

            I remember that Yorktown pattern. :-) My college roommate had it. Pfaltzgraff is a bit heavy so I understand wanting to get something lighter. Corelle is very light and classic. It will always be in style and like you mentioned – will take up a whole lot less room in your cabinets. Thanks for reading my blog.

        2. Diane Henkler says:

          Hi Judy – I am so happy that you found my blog. Sounds like you are a very happy and active 79. Way to go!!! You are an inspiration!