Inspired By Scent

November 18, 2009

I woke up this morning in a creative rut. I don’t know, I felt a bit like I couldn’t think of anything to talk about here, nothing to talk about with my friends, you know… just flat. Feeling flat scares me, as I don’t get this often but notice when it does come it is usually strikes mid November for just a brief period for no explainable reason. I tried to think of what to do to push the rut monster out of my day. So I started to read. Words didn’t help. I flipped through beloved magazines. Nope, visual inspiration didn’t do it either. Maybe I needed to eat? But I just had breakfast, I thought. I did some deep breathing followed by light stretching. I played a little music which was interrupted by ::ring ring:: the delivery man who brought me a small box. Funny, I wasn’t expecting anything. On the outside, a female character hand drawn and on the inside, beautiful tissue paper that smelled of lavender – my favorite scent for over a year now. Lavender is so transporting, isn’t it? It takes me a million miles away to an open space with nothing but sky and field before me combined with a soft breeze and a cotton sundress.

Inspired By Scent

As I unwrapped, I revealed three beautiful things – soap, sugar and a bio bag from terrain at styers. I took one, lavender vanilla sugar, into the kitchen to add to the earl gray tea I had just prepared. One sip, two sips, three sips, yum. As I walked back to my desk I noticed my petite French vintage creamer on the windowsill and the light streaming in looked so welcoming, so come hither for taking a photo. If light had eyelashes, they were beckoning me big time. I lifted the other gift, a bar of skinnyskinny lavender eucalyptus soap to my nose and inhaled – fresh and clear. Suddenly my brain started to tingle and my shoulders relaxed and I felt this rush of thought, color and sound explode within. Out of all the things I thought would inspire and chase away the mood, it was a scent that lifted me up — very unexpected.

Inspired By Scent

Inspired By Scent

Inspired By Scent

Scooping up the soap and the sugar and my camera nearby, I decided to show my dear friend a view of my moment, to capture it for her in a photo as a way of showing thanks. And this is how inspiration is born sometimes, isn’t it?

If you’re in a creative rut, try one or all of the following until you feel better:

1. Healthy food

2. Fresh air

3. Exercise (stretching, running, whatever you fancy)

4. Your favorite drink

5. Music

6. Something visually inspiring (your mood board, magazine, book)

7. Or words… poetry, a novel…

8. Scent: spritz on your favorite perfume, add some rosemary oil to your tub before you step in to shower in the morning, burn incense or a candle, or be lucky enough to have a dear friend send you lavender goodies. :)

And to my dear friend who inspired me today and helped me out of a morning rut, thank you. You know who you are. xo

(images: holly becker for decor8)


  • Reply MiaNostalgia November 18, 2009 at 8:46 am

    Great and inspiring post whith beautiful pictures.
    Sometimes we find inspiration on the most unexpected places.
    I love your creamer, by the way.
    Have a great day!
    .-= MiaNostalgia´s last blog ..Inspirasjon på en mørk og regnfull kveld =-.

  • Reply cary November 18, 2009 at 9:02 am

    Inspiration for me everyday – thats what your voice is Holly!!For reals.Anyhoo…
    When I feel “flat” I run… take a run outside or on my treadmill.Nothing helps me more. Gets the good chi flowing.
    .-= cary´s last blog ..More Carrie Bradshaw…. =-.

  • Reply laura trevey November 18, 2009 at 9:09 am

    so beautiful… wonderful ideas…. very inspirational!
    thank you… xoxo Laura
    .-= laura trevey´s last blog ..Peppermint, 5 by 7 Original Watercolor Painting =-.

  • Reply Shannon at Old World Charm November 18, 2009 at 9:26 am

    It happens to the best of of, Holly. Thank goodness for your dear friend, who helped pull you out of the rut. Whatever you do, keep inspiring us. :-)
    .-= Shannon at Old World Charm´s last blog ..How to Entertain in Style for the Holidays =-.

  • Reply Elize Begic November 18, 2009 at 9:28 am

    Reading this gave me “goosebumps”..You are such a wonderful inspiration Holly!! Thank you.

  • Reply modernemotive November 18, 2009 at 9:46 am

    Great post!

    And beautiful photos.
    .-= modernemotive´s last blog ..Cutting Ninja =-.

  • Reply tiina November 18, 2009 at 9:51 am

    I think I know exactly what you mean. The other day, I was feeling sort of depressed and out of energy, probably because of the gray and all the time more darkening days here in Scandinavia. November seems to be the most challenging time for me to keep my energy level up. I haven’t enjoyed the nights spent at home as much as normally, until when I rediscovered a scent.

    I put a few drops of spicy nutmeg aromatherapy oil in the burner, and lite a candle. In a moment, my apartment that had felt dark and uninspiring started to feel cozy, warm and comfortable, and I started to feel like planning the upcoming Christmas season! The same environment can be seen in both ways, positive and negative. Just have to look at the bright side!
    .-= tiina´s last blog ..{ pecan cheesecake pie } =-.

    • Reply decor8 November 18, 2009 at 9:57 am

      Tiina – I bet it has to do with the season change now that I’m thinking more about this… perhaps it’s that my favorite season (Autumn) has ended — evident in the wind outside removing the last leaves from our trees and this makes me a bit sad. But then, by the weekend when all the lights are up all over the city and there is this magical festive mood in the air, I’m fine again. Huh. This makes the most sense to me. Good thoughts!!!

  • Reply Lydia, Clueless Crafter November 18, 2009 at 10:03 am

    @Tiina and Holly ~ You are both right and I hadn’t realized why I have been a bit teary lately. It’s because we’re in transition – that period between fall and winter- and it can make us feel a bit lost.

    Speaking of lavender, we picked up a linen spray at Kilkenny’s Irish goods store in Dublin. Every time I spray my laundry with it, my world grows bigger and brighter.

    Cheers to scent!
    .-= Lydia, Clueless Crafter´s last blog ..Holidays are Coming! Maxwell’s Maxims for Entertaining =-.

  • Reply Eileen November 18, 2009 at 10:15 am

    Found a new favourite scent myself while in New York this past weekend – Pink Jasmine by Fresh. I just had to have it. I didn’t buy it right away because I had reached my budget but the scent kept coming back to me on that rainy day and kept reminding me of sunnier days and for some reason reminded me of family in England so I went back on Sunday and got it. My husband noticed it right away and loves it. I love travelling and things that remind me of travel like a scent.
    .-= Eileen´s last blog ..November 8, 2009 =-.

  • Reply Daniella November 18, 2009 at 10:28 am

    What a great post! Thanks for this! And lavender is lovely…

  • Reply Rowena November 18, 2009 at 10:34 am

    Hi Holly! This post really made my day! I’m feeling all motivated again!
    Just put on a lovely scent, nice cup of tea, book to read, thanks this is exactly what I needed!

    xo Rowena

  • Reply tiina November 18, 2009 at 10:36 am

    I definitely agree, Holly. There are those few weeks between autumn and holiday feel, and those are the challenging ones. Should always try to plan a trip for that time, even a little vacation cuts the darkest season and makes it feel shorter. I hope we’ll get snow soon here, it makes everything brighter and gets me in the Christmas mood. Let’s cross our fingers for a white Christmas:)
    .-= tiina´s last blog ..{ pecan cheesecake pie } =-.

  • Reply Jen November 18, 2009 at 10:50 am

    Love your blog!! Thank you

  • Reply Erin @ SYL: Slipcover Your Life November 18, 2009 at 10:51 am

    Oddly enough, it’s the walk TO and FROM the gym when I get most inspired…
    .-= Erin @ SYL: Slipcover Your Life´s last blog ..Giveaway Tuesday! =-.

    • Reply decor8 November 18, 2009 at 11:08 am

      Erin – HA me too. I never enjoy the actual experience of being though. Though I found a gorgeous spa + gym a few blocks from me… I am still considering a membership but it is so expensive — it’s what I would expect to pay in LA or NYC, not a little town like mine. But it’s 3 floors and a roofdeck of amazing spaces to relax, exercise, sun bath, oh it’s lovely. But most gyms do not inspire me. This one does. But what I’d have to pay does not inspire my bank account.

  • Reply corry November 18, 2009 at 10:58 am

    That proves again nothing is solely bad. The process from being stuck in a creative rut to getting out of it can be the source of your beautiful blog. That’s how your blogs inspire me. Thanks! Getting a thing back after you loose it could generate special connection and you’ll get more of it. But I am sure there are things that you would never want to loose, no matter how much more you’ll get.

  • Reply Kristin November 18, 2009 at 11:13 am

    I felt the same way this morning. I’m struggling to get out of my creative rut and feel like I’m losing my blogging mojo. This scares me, too. It could also be the season’s change for me… with some stress sprinkled in. (I’m waiting to find out if I’ve been accepted into a graduate program and I have my fingers crossed so tightly that my fingers may break).

    I do see little glimmers of inspiration and that helps. I recently purchased 5 foreign design magazines and they’ve been a great help – so many drool worthy pictures! And I’m looking forward to a mini-vacation I’ve planned with my boyfriend next month – my first vacation since the Summer of 2008! I need to venture into unfamiliar territory, hear the hum of my car’s engine, and walk down streets with unique stores and a coffee in my hand. Just thinking about this trip gets me motivated!
    .-= Kristin´s last blog ..Daily Update + Musings =-.

  • Reply diana strinati baur November 18, 2009 at 11:24 am

    You are such a good blogger, Holly. I love this one.

  • Reply Sophia November 18, 2009 at 11:38 am

    Add YOU to the list…when I feel less creative I just check out your blog ot web page. Thanks, Holly!

  • Reply Kristin November 18, 2009 at 11:51 am

    This is just TOO funny! I left a comment about also being in a creative rut – and waddya know! I received a package from a friend in Canada shortly after. :-) It brightened up my morning ten-fold.
    .-= Kristin´s last blog ..Design Jargon * Herringbone =-.

  • Reply Alisha November 18, 2009 at 11:59 am

    Good tips for getting out of creative ruts. I need those right now!
    .-= Alisha´s last blog ..Abstract Painting (Print) 8 x 10 =-.

  • Reply Diana November 18, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    Sometimes all I need is a little “smell noise” to get going. I keep a few bottles I can pop and sniff while I work – I did recently discover the disastrous effects of incense on my computer, alas!

    Lovely tips, all of which can definitely help when you’re stuck.
    .-= Diana´s last blog ..Vampire Groupie – 10 ml Artisan Perfume =-.

  • Reply coral November 18, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    I think an unexpected package of any kind is so special – it says someone was thinking about you!
    Until very recently I’ve hated anything lavendar-scented. Hilariously, I’ve realized it’s because when I was younger they had lavendar soap in the bathrooms at Outback Steakhouse, and I’ve always associated it with that special brand of fake-classiness of chain restaurants! Who would want their home to emulate that? Now I’m beginning to appreciate the scent on its own!

  • Reply Melissa de la Fuente November 18, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    Oh…you are so lovely Holly and I am so glad your day turned around! :) Lavender sugar…..yum. Me thinks I need some! :)
    .-= Melissa de la Fuente´s last blog ..Tea & Talk: Ghost Patrol =-.

  • Reply Minnie November 18, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    Oh, thank you for this post. I definitely need the creative inspiration. Have been needing it lately, mostly due to time constraints but have been frustrated that my little “creative” time in the day has been fruitless. I have two little kids running around who inspire me greatly with their enthusiasm for all the lovely little joys in life but also leave me drained of physical energy at the end of the day — right when I’m supposed to be doing my “creative work.” It helps to know others face creative challenges too. Thanks again for your words and images. All lovely.
    .-= Minnie´s last blog ..The dreamiest kids’ bookcase =-.

  • Reply Nem November 18, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    How sweet! :)
    .-= Nem´s last blog ..Linlithgow Palace =-.

  • Reply lux November 18, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    Your blog (and a handful of others) are what inspire me in those “rut” moments… I’m up in Portland, OR, where we’re not known to get an alarming amount of sun in the wintery months. Your blog has such bright, refreshing tones that, even from a computer screen, light up my room and definitely set the day’s charm. Thank you!

    I was wondering if you might be able to answer something about that sugar – how can I make something similar at home for holiday gifts? It’s the perfect idea but I can’t find anything on google that is helpful. Any ideas?


    • Reply decor8 November 18, 2009 at 3:03 pm

      Lux – I imagine it’s just sugar mixed with lavender… that’s all it appears to be in the container honestly. :)

  • Reply Annie May November 18, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    Holly, I’ve noticed lately that my eyes are passing by the pictures as I am so consumed in your words. Thanks so much for sharing them! Although the photos are stunning I can always go back and look at those;-) When I am in a rut the gym, good music, and a great candle definitely help, but you know it’s the smile or a hello from a stranger that really uplifts me. It’s almost like a shock to my senses and I realize I am alive and not just going through the motions. Have a lovely day and enjoy the lavender! Oh and the scent that gets me is Jasmine! We used to have a Jasmine bush right outside our window, and oh my it was wonderful!
    .-= Annie May´s last blog ..NY INTERIOR =-.

  • Reply Pam November 18, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    I just baked some vegan banana walnut muffins before seeing this post:)
    really helpful post.

  • Reply Cath November 18, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    Oh Holly… I felt exactly the same way yesterday. So so flat! But after my regular walk from the office to the station and 1/2 an hour of yoga later I felt almost back to my normal self. I spent the rest of the evening writing a card for a dear friends birthday and putting together ideas for the Christmas cards I’m going to be sending this year.

  • Reply ChervelleCamille November 18, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    Beautiful! and you just gave me an idea!
    I too love Lavender. probably one of my favourite sents. And the colour just adds to it. Don’t you think?

    Love when moments like these happen. I’ve been feeling the same way lately, and as a result, this morning I woke up around 6 wide awake and began drawing. Needless to say, dispite the VERY early morning, I felt so refreshed and so pleased. Passion….it brings the sweetest results.

  • Reply arundati November 19, 2009 at 1:53 am

    this is a lovely post…. the pictures are such a mood lifter… thanks for this… looks like a lot of people are in the “flat” mode!!
    .-= arundati´s last blog ..Its that time of the year again…….. =-.

  • Reply decor8 November 19, 2009 at 6:56 am

    thank you all for your encouragement. :)

  • Reply Jessica November 20, 2009 at 1:27 am

    Holly, these photos are breathtaking! Your new camera loves you! :) I really love them, you were always great but the depth of field is a major add to your style. Congrats!

    Oh and of course, glad you found a way to feel better yesterday. I am woefully behind this week on my blogs. Sniff sniff.
    .-= Jessica´s last blog ..The Cocktail =-.

    • Reply decor8 November 20, 2009 at 5:25 am

      Hi Jessica — Thank you so much! I’m using a LUMIX camera, it’s not a DSLR either — I really love it and I’m learning how to use it which is nice. I have a new DSLR from my husband (he passes his stuff down to me when he upgrades) but I don’t even want to try it yet as I’m in LOVE with my Lumix. It finally captures what I see in my head which makes me feel really, really happy.

  • Reply Penny Patten November 20, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    Inspiration always comes from the unexpected, or at a time when your not really looking for it. Oh I can smell that lavender.
    .-= Penny Patten´s last blog ..Decorating For The Holidays =-.

  • Reply Priya January 25, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    I know this is an old post but I came across it only today- I know what you mean when you talk of scents serving as inspiration. I really love the way you write!

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