These past several weeks have been passing by like a whirlwind. There have been several deadlines to meet and that alone seems to have made time pass quickly. I usually find myself wondering where the day has gone somewhere around 4pm when dusk starts to settle in.
So many people don’t like the winter months. They don’t like the darkness, which makes the days appear even shorter. They don’t like the cold or the snow and ice. They don’t like the cloudy bleakness that is typical this time of year in so many places. I feel a bit out of place because I feel quite the opposite about this time of year.
I don’t know why, but I have never minded the winter season. In fact, I rather like it. I much prefer the cold and crisp air to heat and humidity. I don’t even mind the grey winter days or early darkness, as I have always found warmth and comfort in soft and gentle light. Perhaps that is why I enjoy my “all season tree” so much. As I sit here in the quiet of the mornings, listing to soft music and planning my day, the warm glow of my tree makes things here pleasant and enjoyable. It is a great way for me to prepare myself for the busy day ahead.
I have always felt that way. Even when I had to rush to work in the morning, I never minded being greeted by a blanket of snow. It did take a bit more time to prepare my car and travel to work, but I just adjusted my routine and I don’t ever remember being cross about something as uncontrollable as the weather. Growing up in Chicago, you learn to take what Mother Nature dishes out. Besides, it was wasted energy to think otherwise. It is what it is, and no amount of complaining about it was going to change anything.
In thinking about things, I feel that maybe part of the reason people are so unhappy with winter is because they feel that they lose control of things. These days, people have come to believe that they are in control of just about every aspect of their lives. I am not sure if this is any different than say a hundred years ago, but people today seem to expect to be able to call the shots in just about any situation, and unfortunately for them, weather is something that they just can’t seem to get a hold on.
Sure, people can go on holidays and move to places that are warmer and have a pleasant climate year round, but there will always seem to be others who don’t have that luxury and are left behind to brave the cold. I think I will always be among them.
I realize that cold weather brings hardship for many. Those with health issues and those that can’t get around during the cold weather certainly do have my sympathy. I can understand their frustration and disappointment and I don’t negate their feelings at all. I know that for myself however, winter brings back some wonderful memories of my own childhood. I vividly remember walking home from dance lessons with my friends in the snow, ice skating after school, and Christmas caroling through our south side Chicago neighborhood to earn quarters so we could buy others Christmas presents. I think of home made soup for dinner, and how nothing felt better than a hot cup of cocoa and a cat curled up in my lap before I headed to bed, and playing football in the snow and shoveling driveways after storms came through the area and schools were closed. These memories are triggered each time I feel the cold, crisp air and see snow falling out my window.
Now that I live in the country, there is even more beauty to behold, as the forest behind me as well as the river across the road resembles scenes you see on Christmas cards and post cards. I am constantly in awe at the beauty of my surroundings, and winter time is no exception. I will try to take some pictures in the near future and post them here. I am certain that much of the creative inspiration that I feel is due to my surroundings. And I love to share it with you all.
I am sorry for going off on a tangent, but I awoke today to a beautiful picture of my world here and I couldn’t help but think about these things.
What a beautiful way to start the day.
And now for the business side of today’s post . . .
As I mentioned yesterday, we just finished another site update. I try to keep everything current on the site, and so far we have been doing a pretty good job of doing so. I realize that there are a few areas that need attention, and I will try to get to them soon, but for the most part, we are happy with how things look.
One thing that I was not happy with was that I haven’t posted a new free painting pattern in quite a while. In the past several months, I have been doing more and more painting projects, and that side of my business continues to grow. I have had many new painters sign up for our newsletter and many new customers who have ordered kits and patterns from me. I wanted to add something new for them as a token of my appreciation.
Yesterday I decided to take a portion of my SLDP103 Skating Pond Vignette and offer a couple of the characters as a free sample. Even though I had designed the pond a while ago, when I created it I didn’t have hardly any painters following me. It is one of my favorite designs and I feel that I want to do what I can to get it ‘out there’ and let people enjoy it. I have had several woodworkers ask me for a “scrolled” version of it – without paint, and that is something I am considering in the future as well. But for the mean time, I am offering a free painting packet with two of the pieces (Mr. Snowman and Sonja) as a sample for them to paint.
These are two of my favorite pieces, and I hope that others will enjoy them as well. The pattern is available on our Free Patterns and Resources page as an instant download. I hope that everyone enjoys it.
Today I have some personal things to do, and I am putting on my “elf hat” once again. It is sometimes difficult to write here when I have secret projects that fill my day. Thus the rambling on regarding my memories, etc. But it is also nice to share these memories with you.
I hope you have a wonderful day today. Remember to take the time to enjoy the season, whatever it may bring. Every day we spend on this Earth is special, and as for myself, I am very grateful for each and every moment. Even when not so good things happen, I try to look at them as part of life. There are peaks and valleys for all of us every day, and I don’t believe we are able to fully appreciate one without the other.
Have an exceptional Wednesday.
-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts, Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"