Hello Winter, My Old Friend
Nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, we find ourselves ensconced in a winter wonderland this week. A new year beginning, the world is covered in a clean slate of fresh snow, and my soul feels content. I have a dear friend who is a source of constant inspiration. As a retired professor of folklore she battles daily the challenges of growing older, but is tutoring me, by her example and great knowledge, in some of life's lessons. To keep her fingers nimble, she types out a few poems each day. She selects these poems from her large collection of poetry books, and sends me an email filled with timely poetry each morning. This morning she sent this poem called Promises by Jackie Kay (1961-), a former Scottish Makar, or poet laureate:
After a bustling Christmas season, I feel compelled to welcome this new year with a calm grounding instead of manic rushing to achieve a long list of resolutions. This year I have forgone formal resolutions, and replaced it with a constant refrain, a personal psalm of sorts, to encourage and enlighten my days. While mine has some personal elements, I was inspired by this line from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's A Psalm of Life : "Act,—act in the living Present! / Heart within, and God o’erhead!"
The phrase "living present" is a simple reminder to enjoy more in each moment, balancing that with not feeling guilt for moments that pass. With snowy days ahead, I am dreaming of all the ways we can enjoy this season, instead of impatiently waiting for the next. I find myself staring through the frosted window panes with a copper kettle (this one was a gift from my husband) heating on the stove and scones warming in the oven.
This winter, I am making time to curl up in wool blankets, cradling cups of tea and good books. I am lighting a candle or building a crackling fire to bring a measure of peace as the storm swirls outside. For the first time I truly feel like saying: "Hello winter, my old friend, come and stay for a while."
Here are a few of resources and things that we will be using over the next month to really enjoy our winter moments:
In the Kitchen
"Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens" are just a few of our favorite things, or so the song goes. A few months ago, the electric kettle we received for a wedding died so my husband gifted me one of these copper kettles as a birthday gift just before Christmas. It's so beautiful with its Victorian inspired shape and brass handle, and just the right size, it is quickly becoming one of my favorite things. With a British husband, we drink so much tea in the winter and it has become a calming ritual in the evening to have just a simple cup of herbal tea. Copper is a natural heat conductor, which allows the water to heat faster than it would with a stainless steel or glass teapot. We love these loose leaf brews inspired by our Harry Potter collection.
I am also eager to spend less on eating out but still enjoy special treats. These scones are just so delicious, both the cinnamon sugar and the pear chocolate varieties. They are simple to make and I always triple batch the recipe and cook one batch and put the rest in the freezer to bake later. I always love to serve and keep them warm with this bread warmer.
And finally, you can't go wrong with a bit of toast. We love to have a slice of toast for breakfast, or as a side to a bowl of piping hot soup. This brass toast stand gets lots of use in our home.
By the Fire
While our days are lengthening incrementally, we are still in the midst of the dark days of winter. The evenings may feel long, but we want to find ways to bring light into our homes. Be intentional about creating a roaring fire in the hearth or create an outdoor bonfire and do a bit of stargazing while bundled against the chill. We love these fire starters or the magic rainbow fire sticks to add a bit of charm to an evening by the fire.
We also love simple moments and things done by candle light. Read a book or eat dinner by candle light. We love these hand-dipped tapers by the London based studio, Wax Atelier. They are so elegant and the colors are just stunning.
Our toast stand also doubles as a book rack. I love to keep my current reads nearby and using this beautiful brass rack helps keep me organized as I work through my books. These are a few of the books on my list this year: Walden, The Romance of Tristan & Iseult, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, and Pollyanna.
Let's don our nightgowns and stockings and wrap up in one of our wool blankets and read by candlelight. This lambswool tartan is exceptionally soft, but our Scottish, Welsh, and recycled wool are not far behind.
In the Snow
The surest way to despise a season, is to forgo being in it. So let us brave the cold, bundle up, and spend time outside. Nature is the most magic of all and we will miss all of its tiny charms if we stay holed up indoors. Put up a bird silo and watch all the birds that come visit this time of year; winter birds need food more than any others. Go for a walk and admire the bare branches of the tree. Capture "snowflakes that stay on your nose and eyelashes". Go iceskating, skiing, sledding, or build a snowman. Hello winter, my old friend.
Shop our Winter Collection.