Tuesday, January 26, 2016

My home this season: January 2016

Green and white is such a nice color palette for January -- calm and serene after the abundance (and maybe even, by the end of it, overstimulation) of the holiday season, but not so austere as to be dreary.

In fact, if January has a color all its own, I think it must be that pale green of those candles up there. I suppose light green is often considered emblematic of early spring, the promise of new grow growth and all that -- but to me it seems just exactly the expression of what is already here right now. Or maybe I'm just taken with how lovely the candles look against those brass candlesticks, who knows?

I'm dipping back into Styling the Seasons, so here are some photos of the Janus-faced arrangement up on my mantel just now.

Looking backward with our postcard travel journal from Montreal*; looking forward with a candle that smells intensely of blossoms.

*(Oh and hey: more Canadian art on the wall above.)

Looking backward with some bulbs started back in December; looking forward with a new bay plant to cook with, replacing the one that had gotten spindly and tired. (I'll move it to the kitchen windowsill soon, but thought I'd enjoy it here for a little while first.)

Those paperwhites won't be good for much longer, will they? No matter, the sideboard's Janus-faced, too: looking backward with a candleholder made from a banister post in my grandmother's childhood home; looking forward with some more bulbs coming along.

How about you -- does your home look backward as well as forward at this time of year, or are you all about the clean sweep?


  1. Oh my, this post has gotten me thinking...

    Green happens to be my favourite colour, and I especially love the chartreuse-y shade of your paper whites (your first picture --- the juxtaposition of the plants with their two shades of green, their contrasting leaf shape, together with the white of your fireplace --- is particularly beautiful to me).

    I think my home mainly looks backwards right now, which is just a little bit depressing, to be honest. On the plant front, I have several ferns which are looking very sad (due to some negligence on my part this past month), and are either needing a drastic pruning and repotting or simply need to be turfed. I always hesitate to buy new plants in the winter, though, for fear the shock of being carried outside through the parking lot will be too much for them, so I face the prospect of bare space if I do get rid of them (which is probably better, both symbolically and aesthetically, so I really should just get on this!).

    I like to save the really thorough clean sweep for spring, when I can crank the windows open (because sunshine and fresh air are incredibly powerful motivators for me!) ... but I do, every January, find myself chafing at the bit, wanting to clear out the old and start afresh. Right now I'm tackling some small projects, which are distinctly of the "let's stop looking backward variety". I had mentioned, in my last reply to you on my last post, that Justin Case was too vocal a presence in my head. Well, I forgot that Sally Sentimentality is also in there, and is even shriller than Justin --- so I'm trying, right now, to deal with some stuff that really shouldn't be this hard, but unfortunately is ...

    1. I like the mixed greens, too! And mixed leaf shapes. Nature is such a no-brainer when it comes to making your home pretty.

      My vote is to cut the ferns back severely, and then baby them. That way by the time it's warm enough to bring new plants in to the house either the ferns will be thriving or it will be clear that you've given them their best chance.

      Oh, Sally Sentimentality. I know her well. I can't wait to see the results of your projects -- I'm assuming this is something along the lines of the things you built with your kids' crib, which I thought were just wonderful. Wishing you ease as you navigate that, sounds like it is bringing up a lot of memories.

    2. Just have to chime in, I once had a student named Justin Case. For real. :-)

    3. Ha! Somehow I don't doubt it. Was it an aptonym?

  2. My house looks both backward and forward at this time of year. I'm still clinging to the lights I put on the mantels in early December. I hate to see them go, and I leave them up because they don't scream Christmas. But...the light is changing and their days are numbered. I still have warm pillow covers on the pillows, but there are fewer throws out. We just haven't needed them as much.

    I try to cling to winter, because I really love it, but I can feel myself beginning to turn ever so slightly toward spring. Our bulbs are coming up. Better to surrender than fight.

    I love the green in your candles, and I'm now thinking I need to make a thrift store run just to get my own set of brass candlestick holders.

    1. Brass candlesticks are very useful indeed! No matter what color candles I put in them, they always seem to look just right.

      Clinging to winter/turning toward spring, yes, that's exactly how I feel too.

      I'm feeling the itch to make another set of pillow covers to swap out for the birds but who knows when I'll actually have time! I think I just volunteered myself to make a pair of baby pants so that's probably first on my list.