In last week's post I mentioned how I like to pick up all kinds of natural bits and bobs when on my walks. So I thought it would be nice for us to discuss creative ways in which we could use the 'goodies' we bring home.
Bombarding our senses with natural sounds, sights, smells etc is really important for our wellbeing - both physically and mentally.
The fact that there are so many apps and downloadable sounds from nature available, not to mention other items like beautifully scented candles, all are testament to the fact that nature is well known to help soothe and calm us.
Anyone who has sat quietly on the beach, in a wood or on a hill will know just how peaceful it is and so useful for reflection and calm.
Sometimes I really struggle to tear myself away.
I can remember one experience when I was a teenager where I had spent such a peaceful afternoon riding my bike in Windsor Great Park (one of my old haunts) that on the ride home I was so emotional at the thought of having to tear myself away and go home.
I don't think I've ever been out on a walk where I haven't come home with my pockets full of interesting things I've found along the way. Whether this is a subconscious way of extending that natural experience for as long as possible or just that I'm a bit of a hoarder I'm not sure - probably a bit of both!
Or perhaps it's just the beauty we see within nature that makes us long to bring it in to our personal spaces, blurring the lines between our indoor and outdoor spaces.
So below I've listed some ideas on how you can use your finds in different and interesting ways. I hope you find it useful.
Branches and twigs - there are so many things you can do with twigs and branches. As you can see from the video above, I have quite a lot of branches which I love to decorate at different times throughout all the seasons.
I need a new lamp for my living room and my plan is to get some really large branches - maybe Silver Birch - and set them in to a concrete base. Then wind the branches with lots of little twinkly lights and some of those amazing large vintage style Edison light bulbs.
Leaves - are so useful for all kinds of crafting projects - even just placing them as an autumnal decorative display in your living room would be fabulous. I'm particularly taken with this driftwood version by The Country Chic Cottage.
There are so many different projects you can try - from leaf rubbing designs to collage. But it's a good idea when planning your project to think about what type of leaf you're going to need.
For example, if you're doing leaf rubbings with crayons, fresh leaves with prominent veins give the best results. When you use fallen autumn leaves they fall apart too easily.
But if you are wanting to glue leaves to an object thin, dry autumn leaves work so much better, preferably pressed flat.
Pinecones - are always at the top of my list and I love hunting around to find ones that are perfect and haven't been nibbled by squirrels!
I have pinecones from all over the place. I brought some gorgeously giant ones back from Italy several years ago which I'm particularly taken with.
I prefer them to look natural but there are so many ways you can use them - from painting them to look like flowers to making cute little birdfeeders for your garden.
And of course, they are brilliant when used to make festive decorations!
I'm particularly loving this lighted pine cone centrepiece from Natural Living Ideas - as I'm sure you've realised by now I'm rather obsessed with twinkly lights so anything that uses those to highlight the beauty of nature is always a winner with me!
Fungi - there's nothing quite like a beautiful autumn display! Obviously I can't recommend that you eat any fungi that you pick, unless you're some kind of fungi expert!
The endless variety of weird shapes and colours makes them perfect subjects to draw and paint. Due to their delicate nature, fungi don't last many days once picked so keeping them in a sealed plastic container in the fridge will help. Or you have the option to take photos in situ rather than picking them and taking them home.
On childhood walks with my grandad we used to bring fresh fungi home and make gorgeous spore prints with them. Once fungi have opened their caps, they release their spores so we would cut off the stalk and lay the cap flat on a piece of paper to create a beautiful spore print which we would then fix to the paper with hairspray.
Here's an example along with a tutorial which you might want to check out. It has some good information regarding fungi as well as how to make a spore print.
I hope this article has given you some inspiration for things you'd like to create?
I've put some project ideas in a special Pinterest folder for you to check out.
I have gone slightly overboard with ideas but hopefully there will be something that inspires you.
There is anything from using twigs and leaves to make paint brushes, beautiful indoor trees made from branches to festive decorations, pressed flower lanterns and herb salves and ointments.
There is something for both adults and children so please feel free to take a look. And don't forget to message me with photos of your creations!