Over the last few months, we’ve been studying Joy at church: what the Bible says about joy, and about cultivating joy in our lives. One aspect of this is covered in Philippians 4:8. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. While I was listening to the sermon, I couldn’t help thinking about my Instagram account. It sounds silly, as it’s only a form of social media, but for me, that is lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy… It really is a source of joy to me.
I follow lots of stylists and photographers on Instagram, often thinking, I wish I could do that. I’ve followed Katy from Apartment Apothecary’s Instagram feed for several months, and have loved her Styling the Seasons challenge each month. Once or twice, I even thought about joining in, but felt I could never quite manage the photography… or, to be honest, the styling.
Then, this month, Katy announced that the Styling the Seasons challenge would be a flat lay. Now, flat lays are all the rage on Instagram, but I’ve never done one. I use Instagram to share photos with my friends. I don’t have a huge number of followers, but you can find me here. The Styling the Seasons challenge would be linked with Makelight, Emily Quinton’s blog.
Emily’s Makelight Instagram feed is beautiful: simple, elegant florals that really do add joy to my feed. Emily is the master (mistress?) of the flat lay, and as part of this collaboration, she posted a video tutorial online. I admit, in some ways, I felt like a bit of a fraud watching it. I’m not arty or stylish in any way. But the idea had taken root.
I’ve had more time than usual to think about what I could include in this project. When you read the blogposts or descriptions of photographers, I imagine they have whole rooms filled with stylish props. I’m not a hoarder, in fact, I’m the opposite, so I either wanted to buy things I could use a lot, use things I had already, or get things for free.
November is definitely a transitional month. At the start of the month, it was still warm. You didn’t need a coat every day, even in Lancashire. The leaves were coming off the trees and the colours were glorious. Now, at the end of the month, it’s cold, windy and more than a bit grey and miserable. In the last two weeks, Christmas seems to have launched itself across the streets. While we don’t have decorations up yet, there’s a definite sense of sparkle and hope around.
I started by cutting some of these gorgeous red stems from the garden, and the rose hips from along a path near our house. This was the natural element.
For some reason, I can always remember that chrysanthemums are the flower of the month for November. So I got these from our local florist. I liked the echo of the red colour. While I was in the florist, I spotted the pine cone wreath. I thought I could use it again and again. I also liked the structure of it.
I wanted something to bring the light in – the anticipation of Christmas, and the start of advent. I found the candles on offer in Sainsburys, and they fit the bill.
For us, November was a huge month as it was the month of Samuel’s birth. I had to bring that into my flat lay, so I used this gorgeous woodland-themed card.
Finally, the teacher in me felt it was important to mark the month, almost like dating your work. I don’t have full sized Scrabble, which is the trendy version, but I do have Bananagrams!
This November has been one of the most important months of my life. I managed to find 10 minutes to photograph my flat lay, and I’m so glad I did, as for me, it’s a way of marking it. The photography isn’t great, but I’m pleased I’ve had a go.