Creative Motivation

GI-221_1500x300-608x608Dear Reader, on this chilly Thursday, I’d love to know: What, if anything, inspires creativity in you? Because creating is my job, I need to constantly be inspired. Many days, I’m completely on auto-pilot. I’ll throw something on Netflix while I make banner ads at work. Other days, I’ll try and fail to read a complete news article several times. Some days I’m just stuck.

But there are lucky days when I oooooze creative energy. I’ll know just the music to get me in the zone, or I’ll have spent my morning looking at my fav photographer’s work. Sometimes I like to hop onto some different subreddits or twitter to see what other creatives are doing. Getting in touch with a community like that makes you feel a part of something. It’s a lot less isolating? So I’m curious, what kind of stuff gets you in the mood to get those creative juices flowing? For me, a few are:

TychoTycho-Spectre-SC-Visual-TrackSince Tycho is a graphic designer himself, I feel maybe doubly connected to his music. It’s very vibe-y, hazy and not so jarring that I can’t zone out to it. I’ve said before on this blog, but I think extra design goes into Tycho’s sounds. I really feel like he knows how to create atmosphere and mood and evoke lust and longing in a person. I dig his whole brand.

Circa1983 DSC_6169_oCirca1983 is Owen Perry, a British Columbia-based developer/designer who, like me, taught himself how to become a photographer, and has a unique style of processing. His work very much got me more interested in learning about acquiring good gear and go with my gut when editing photos.

SKYRIMDZX6UbEYES, OF COURSE I’M SERIOUS. I would say Skyrim doesn’t just inspire me to create, but it inspires me to be the best version of myself. I listen to the soundtrack, on average, 12 times a month. It’s good for all times of day and all manner of weather. It’s great for taking walks in the woods, along creeks, around lakes, etc. It makes me want to be brave, tough, adventurous and curious. To explore new places and be humble in grand, epic environments. My love for Skyrim is deadly serious.

For other times when I’m searching for a visual jolt to get me going, I have no shortage of inspiration on my Pinterest page. Boards like Design, Outside, and Cabin keep me energized. ✚

Cooking Up Something Good

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Oh, hi. I thought that instead of another cabin post, I would mix it up! I haven’t talked about house stuff in a long time. Generally things are trucking along in the ol’ Royce-Henderson household. One thing I’ve been restless about lately is the kitchen. It’s the one place in the house that isn’t totally how it should be. Whoever the previous owners were who dropped in that countertop and backsplash (and the fake stone linoleum tiles, not pictured), they did a really bad job. The cabinets are clearly original to the house, but they’re old and falling apart. I have brought up to Alan time and time again “When can we remodel the kitchen?” and the answer is usually “never.” But look how dark it is! Of course, the counter space is not something I would give up, but I can think of so many things I’d like to do to this room. KITCHEN-31KITCHEN-1I didn’t realize this until like, last night, but the half-assed solution with the tea towel covering the backsplash sure is cheap and tacky. Alan agreed that it was very dorm room. But replacing a backsplash is surely a ton of work, and expensive, and would put the kitchen out of commission for a while. I can’t have that. I love to cook. The kitchen is my domain (because I’m a woman HA HA HA). But conveniently Anna over at Door Sixteen had this post about Smart Tiles, which are temporary, easy to install, and fairly inexpensive. And they have them at Home Depot, so I’m pretty tempted to run out and get a panel and try it out. The thing is, we don’t know how long we’ll be in this house. If our plan for kids pans out, we’ll need to upgrade in the future. Within the next ten years is likely. So, do we put a lot of work and money into a kitchen we won’t be able to enjoy for many years to come? I suppose not. But, maybe there are subtle improvements (or, budget ones!) that can be done to make our time in this home more enjoyable (because, as I said, I love to cook, and I spend a LOT of time in the kitchen). KITCHEN-2Very sad. So dated. Wow. 76871dff33a98a9d82f76581eb57bfefHere is a very beautiful kitchen that I would like to take inspiration from. See also this clean and bright beauty, and another one (with exposed shelves!) Then of course there’s also Anna’s and Alison’s (who both did big, complete overhauls of their exisiting kitchens). And anything is possible with IKEA:20153_cosk27a_01_PH124154I gone and made a mood board to get all these thoughts out of my head. Fake kitchen planning is seriously stressful. ESPECIALLY when it’s fake, because so many of these good ideas will go to waste. KITCHENThe theme here is pretty evident: Scandinavian whites; warm, natural wood tones; stainless steel; cutesie details. I mean, not only is white a good clean color, but it allows for more light to bounce around. Let’s go through them (clockwise from top left)!

Wall Cabinets – I’m really into this new IKEA line, and Mårsta White seems very cool and modern, while also a little retro. I could see it in a Swedish kitchen in the late 60s-early 70s, and in any modern kitchen today (especially mine). I would redo all the cabinets in the kitchen in this style. And a high cabinet would come in handy as a little pantry and storage area for pots and pans.

Subway Tile – Because obviously!

Wooden Countertops – I quite like the look of these, thought I think they’re much more vulnerable than say, marble or granite (duh). I think little blemishes over time would give great character – you know, a kitchen that has been used well. The main worry would be meat product seeping into the counter, but I don’t put raw meat directly on the counter currently, so perhaps that doesn’t matter.

A Cute Sponge – Because it can’t all be so serious.

A Bear Tea Towel – Because BEARS

Utensil Carousel from JosephJoseph – Look, I’ll be straight with you. I already have too many utensils. I have a bunch I don’t use, sitting in a very lovely ceramic crock by the stove, plus a few bamboo utensils (that I actually do use), AND a little contraption – also by JosephJoseph – where the utensils stack up. It’s very clever, but oftentimes, annoying. It was a gift from my Mother-in-law, so I would feel guilty about replacing it, but this little carousel by JJ was in the MOMA store, sooooooo……..

Minimalist Wall Clock – For style.

Salt & Pepper Grinders – So very cool. I can check this one off, because I went and bought them last night. To be fair, our old pepper grinder broke and it would fall down all the time. These are just ever so lovely.

Ceramic Cooktop – Jury is still out on what kind of cookware I can use on this (I have a few Dansk enamel pots), but we have coils right now on our electric stove, and they’re fucking terrible. Just, so awful. I love the look of this super minimal and futuristic cooktop from IKEA. Like if Apple made stoves.

Kettle – Love that cork. We have a little green kettle right now that is fine, but I want something super sleek now. This is the problem with thinking you know how you want your house to look when you’re still in a phase where colorful = good.

And, the big one, a fridge – The fridge we have now is OK, but I would really really dig one with the freezer on the bottom, they just seem to have more storage and it’s easier too. Plus, Alan and I are both quite tall, and having everything in the fridge at eye level makes sense.

If you made it this far, congratulations! While there are still plenty of other things in our house that can be done (I haven’t even shown you guys the basement!), I will hold on to this kitchen dream, ever so gently. Also, if I price it out and it’s decent, there’s a chance I can convince Alan this is a worthwhile project. Woohoo!

Dreaming and Scheming

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Happy Friday! I’m having one, at least. VSCO, which I’ve been coveting for a long time, offered some free presets this week and I’m in the middle of a trial run of Adobe Lightroom CC so I was like “Hell yeah.” I use a few of the filters on photos I took at Lake Harriet last week when I first got my camera. And I am so, so pleased.
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I love the soft analog feel some of these have. You might be thinking “But wait, why did you just spend $2000 on camera equipment only to have your photos look like they were taken with grainy film?” And to that I say “Shut your goddamn mouth.”

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The new camera can take multiple exposures too, so it really is like film in many regards. It makes me a little regretful though, as I’ve laid out a bunch of cash over the last couple years on actual analog photography. The cost and unreliability of it sort of soured me though. Not that I will get rid of my cameras, but it’s likely they’ll be used less often.

If YOU have Lightroom, and want to have some fun, I definitely recommend downloading the free starter pack.


Another reason I’m so excited about this new development (hahahahahaha) is because Alan and I are going to Atlanta in a couple weeks (my birthday weekend ;-*) for the Shaky Knees Festival. This will be the first time for either of us to be going to multiple days in a music festival. There have definitely been many where we just hit up one day, like Riot Fest a couple years back, or our own Rock the Garden, I went to Lollapalooza once for one day, etc… Anyway, the lineup is pretty exciting.

Except for Sunday, which I’m not so much about. Alan suggested we try to find some museums or state parks around the area instead, because let’s be honest, we might never go to Georgia again. After a little research, and to my great joy, I discovered the Appalachian Trail begins in Georgia, a couple hours outside of Atlanta. I’ve expressed a desire many times in the last year that I want to get into the outdoors more, and see more parks and forests, and I can’t imagine a better opportunity on this trip than to do some hiking in the Appalachians. Of course, the trail we’d actually be on is the AT Approach Trail. But, we’ll reach the Southern Terminus of the trail, and it’s like 8 miles to get there, so like… That would just be a ton of walking. It sounds super hard, and this opens this whole can of worms where I know I’ll want my camera there (and, this actually necessitated the purchase of the Klettersack), and we need to train some.

Still, this was, for the longest time, a trip to a city we had little interest in to do a 3 day music fest, and now has turned into a music festival, plus an exciting hike on a legendary trail. Shit!

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Let’s go to New Zealand, cool?

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This has been a week of frustrations, from bad critiques to dead car batteries, to stressful test results to payroll headaches to bad Morrissey tickets, it’s been one first world problem to the next. I got an inexplicable need recently to go to New Zealand. Go back, I should say. I went there 10 years ago this summer, and I miss it all the time. It’s a completely surreal place. The most diverse landscapes in the world and it’s a tiny little island that often doesn’t make the cut on world maps. I think “my happy place” exists in NZ, but I don’t know if I’ve been there. My “happy place” is a wide expansive lake at dusk, surrounded by mountains and pine trees. Everything is quiet and the water is dark and calm. I don’t know where it is! I need to go find it. In the meantime, only pictures will do… And Lord of the Rings.
(For image sources, click the photos)

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Let’s Furnish my Skyrim Apartment

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Yesterday Ikea announced that it would be bringing the series Nornas to US stores in February. My initial reaction was that holy crap, THIS is where I need to live. Look at those gorgeous floors, the snow-dusted pines, and the bare, natural wood featured throughout. It’s my Skyrim apartment all over the place.

Dedicated readers will know that Skyrim is a topic much touched upon here. I haven’t even played in a while and yet the game continues to influence me IRL. My fixation with adventure combined (this is crucial) with beautiful landscapes undoubtedly started when I obsessively watched Fellowship of the Ring over and over in my youth. I went to New Zealand for a Summer study abroad program as a direct result of my LotR obsession. So, when I started to play Skyrim as an adult, I was brought back into a world of mountains and wintry forests. My Fantasy is a literal fantasy. I want to run around fields and mountains with a sword and shit. Like, it’s serious how much I wish that was my life. If there was a Skyrim/Middle Earth hybrid that existed (probably without Mordor though?) that’d be ideal. Thanks.
This is also why I will probably always be reluctant to start playing Fallout, and when I do, I won’t love it as much as Skyrim. Sorry Alan.


So anyway, this Ikea collection is *really* perfect, and it makes me regret every purchase we’ve ever made in our home. Except the couch I guess can stay. No, our furnishings are great. I just wish this series had been around before. We don’t have anything that is that exposed knotty pine.
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What I love about this collection especially is what it excludes. This is serious no-nonsense furniture. It’s solid, practical design.

Now…If I were going to choose where I’d live in Skyrim, without hesitation I’d say Whiterun. One time I said I’d want to live in Markarth and Alan said he would too, but I didn’t really mean it, and I felt trapped. (LOL)
Skyrim-BreezehomeAnd If I could, I would update the house just a little bit:
e0b39657aa73d8ee0eba9ad7a1416bd4If Whiterun had a coffee shop and wifi I’d be set for life (they already have a bar).

Go ahead and laugh at me now.

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