If I was a "good" blogger—you know, the type who keeps an editorial calendar and plans out content in advance—I would have blogged about this four weeks ago, just in time for you to attempt it yourself.
But alas, I am a lazy blogger and I do not have an editorial calendar for this space. Also: I decided exactly two days before Thanksgiving that I wanted to make a leaf wall, so I don't really know how the pros stage their Christmas parties in July. The optimist in me calls this Living In The Moment and the realist in me calls this Ordinary Procrastination.
I digress. I am having the worst writers block on the planet. Really. Truly. It's excruciating. I have no ideas. No words. No titles. No endings. Nada. My mind is like a giant cotton ball. When I stand in the shower rubbing rosemary conditioner into my hair—which normally triggers a paragraph or two like some weird pavlov's dog trick—my brain is empty.
So here we are.
Back when I was practicing photography, I never stressed out about writer's block too much because when the words failed me, I would turn to photos. I'd book a photoshoot, move my body around someone else's house chasing light, and then hop into Lightroom to make some magic. By the time I got bored with that, the words would return. Back and forth I went—words, pictures, words, pictures—a perfect game of creative ping-pong.
I'm not doing much photography these days—which, as it turns out—sucks for both my bank account and my writer's block. I digress again. With no words in my brain and no photos to play with, I started thinking about my Thanksgiving day table, which sparked a flicker of creative energy in me.
I already knew we would outsource the entire meal to Whole Foods, so I was willing to devote time and energy to the setting and decor. In my head, I could see what it would look like. I had a distinct vision of leaves trailing down the wall, but five minutes into making this idea come to life, I started to doubt everything.
Hmmm, I thought. Does this look dumb?
I taped three more leaves to the wall. Self-doubt settled in, put up her feet, and leaned back with an arrogant smirk.
Having only used the Instagram Stories poll feature once (to determine what people thought was worse: acne or a life without cheese) (they voted life without cheese, but I don't think they understood how bad the acne actually was) (this is a different blog post, more on that soon), this seemed like a good time to try it again.
I took a picture of the wall-in-progress, and asked people to vote: does this look terrible or pretty?
Around 30% of people said it looked terrible right off the bat, which (and I'm embarrassed to admit this) sent me into a minor tailspin.
I briefly considered giving up altogether. Then I briefly considered arranging the leaves around the picture frame gallery that usually hangs on the wall—per twelve suggestions from strangers—even though I secretly thought that would look terrible (no offense).
After hemming and hawing for another half hour, which was no doubt a complete waste of time, I decided to listen to my gut and keep going. And what do you know ... the more leaves I taped to the wall, the more I liked it.
And I guess the moral of the story is this: there is a time and a place to ask for feedback, and there is also a time and a place to listen to your gut and make your own vision come to life for the sole purpose of creating something beautiful for yourself simply because you want to.
Trusting the vision in my head is something I'd like to do better in 2018. Not because what's in my head is always right, or always going to be pretty, or never going to fail, but because part of the creative process is learning to listen to your own voice, too.
Tips + Tricks for Making a Leaf Wall:
1. If you're going to use real leaves, do yourself a favor and press them first. I pressed about 40% of the leaves, and the ones I pressed overnight worked the best (the others curled). To press leaves, I put them in between magazine pages and stacked a few heavy books on top. If that sounds like too much work, you can also buy fake leaves on Amazon for $6 and probably get the same effect.
2. I used blue painter's tape to attach the leaves and it worked like a charm ... didn't leave any marks and was super easy to remove. I also tried glue dots on one leaf and there is still a teeny tiny piece of it stuck on my wall, so don't do that.
3. Obviously I think the leaves look best on a plain wall, but if you have other ideas in mind, trust your vision! This was the closest I found online to what was in my head, but I also liked the look of this and this. If you want to be a real overachiever, you could gold dip the leaves beforehand and that would probably look stunning.
I know; Thanksgiving is over. Feel free to pin this for next year. I only do crafts once in a blue moon but there's a 100% chance you will never see them on this blog before the actual appropriate holiday. Sorry about that.
-Your Favorite Lazy Blogger