Nature: Bringing outside inside

I've been writing about useful objects that I use in my home and in my life. Things that I use in shoots to give spaces and still-lives character, and stuff that makes my home more me. I have done boxes and books and now... nature. Here are some pics for you to spot the nature sneaking in:

I am a big fan of these types of collections: shells, stones, sticks, feathers, pinecones, seedheads, seaglass, fossils. I love the displays in the glass cabinets in museums. I have a Pinterest board all about nature collections. You can see it here. It just makes things more, well, natural! It's just so much better to have some things in your home that have a history and hold memories. A beautiful shell from a wonderful family beach walk, pressed flowers picked on a special day, a stick that looks like a camel (we had one of those for years - but I cannot find it anywhere and that makes me sad). Obviously, we would never take living things (check in the shells!) and only remove things when there is an abundance.

I have shelf shells in the bathroom, sideboard rocks in the livingroom, decorative feathers in a vase in the kitchen. I love how they look sitting with old pieces and with plants.

Glass frames (even when smashed like mine) are perfect for treasures. This pressed buttercup is over 40 years old. My mum and her father in law (my Grandpa, who I never knew) picked these wildflowers while walking when away on holiday, The first holiday my dad's family had without his mum. They lay quietly, pressed between layers of tissue paper and book pages until my mum gave some to me and my sister. I never knew my grandparents but oh my gosh, how much these flowers mean. I can picture my family out on a sunshiney hillside, walking and talking. Sad in the present but saving something for the future. Always press flowers.

My daughters collected these shells, stones and stick on a beach holiday to sunny North Berwick. On that holiday, my eldest dragged around an imaginary dog at the end of a seaweed dog lead, Although we didn't keep the seaweed, (yuck!) I am reminded of this when I pick up these shells. I like to wash them when we get home cause they can get a little stinky. They are used for display, for paperweights, for jewellery, for art, for my work, for games.

This ammonite belongs to my daughter. Her grandparents bought it from a fossil shop. But I want to tell you a story about another ammonite. I was shopping in an antique shop. I bought some bright green beetles for framing for a beetle-enthusiast client and I walked back onto the street. A tall, pink-haired man wearing a utility waistcoat covered in political badges stopped me and asked to see what I had bought. I was a little wary but I also like a chat and we ended up having a lovely conversation about what we had both bought, antiques, entomology, natural history, time. He recommended holding an ammonite every so often. It's over sixty five million years old. It can give you perspective. This is a good life tip.

Do you collect outside things and bring them in? What do they remind you of? Please tell me your nature stories...

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