I knew before I went to California that I was suffering from creative depletion. It happens sometimes when you work alone, when you're creative-for-hire, when the nuts and bolts of running a small business take as much time as the creative work itself, when the only creative stimulus you're getting seems to come from your computer. It's generally temporary, but when you're in it, it feels like you'll never be inspired again. And when that's your business, it's scary.
I went to California not expecting much, just hoping to enjoy time with friends. What I came home with were new skills and practical information, and some fresh creative energy. Lesson learned. I don't just need to be around people when I'm in a rut, I need to be around women who are passionate and excited and geeky in the same ways I am - and I need to learn something new, even if it's something small. (Thank you, ladies!)
I was also able to spend a day exploring Petaluma and Sebastopol's antique malls and shops, which is one of my favorite things to do. That gave me a jumpstart as well. It helps that there was an abundance of all the things I've been loving in the past couple of years - display pieces, labware, vintage industrial, typography, and lots and lots of natural history artifacts - with price tags that felt reasonable, instead of the prices I was seeing when those goods were in short supply.
Next year, I may be sick of natural history and not need quite so much of it in my home. But right now, it's really working for me!
I absolutely adore this mix of display cases with fresh greenery. It doesn't take much, but I think a touch of the outdoors is what makes a room sing. (Sara Sjogren)
The mix of textures - wood, greenery, and glass - feel airy and feminine to me, despite the original uses of these elements. (Sania Pell At Home)
Well made replicas stand in for things we don't want to disturb, like bird's nests. Quail eggs are often found in gourmet grocery stores and these display domes are becoming more plentiful (and less costly). (FinderMaker)
Achitectural salvage, typography, shells, glass, old book pages, and natural fibers coexist harmoniously outside of their natural environments. (via Homes Stories A to Z - check out the tutorial for creating faux coral, too).
Original botanical and bug prints are still pretty expensive, but I believe in the DIY approach using free clip art from sites like Vintage Printable. You can download them and have them printed professionally for a fraction of the cost, or if you have a large scale printer (like some of the Epson photo printers), you can do it at home. (Paige Morse via Design Sponge)
Another version, using butterflies. (via The Estate of Things)
Title Image via Indie Fixx ("Special Collections Natural History" group on Flickr).