It seems that this year more than ever I have noticed that people seem to have the 'winter blues.' With the holiday season over and cold weather setting in all over the USA and Canada, it seems that most people are dreading the upcoming months of cold and ice.
Here in Nova Scotia, we had a relatively mild December. Usually we are already deep in the grips of cold and ice by the year's end, but this year it was much warmer and there was very little snowfall to speak of. There was just a dusting once or twice that seemed to melt away by the next day.
But it seems that those days are done for a while, as this week the temperatures plunged and yesterday morning I woke up to several inches of snow. We were officially in the grips of winter. Here's what my driveway looked like yesterday:
And looking out my front door in the other direction, toward the river:
I took my photos about four in the afternoon. As you can see, there was a blue haze all day long. We were still getting a dusting of snow throughout the day and we never did have sunshine.
Many people are bothered by this type of weather. But growing up in Chicago and moving here to Nova Scotia nearly eleven years ago, I guess I am kind of used to it. It always has been part of life and the cycle of seasons is something that I am accustom to. I actually like experiencing all four seasons throughout the year and I think if I moved to a different climate that didn't have them, I would miss that experience.
I am a firm believer that our days are (in a large part) what we make them. Each day given to us is a gift and we are fortunate because we have the free will to choose how we want to spend them. I do realize that sometimes we have responsibilities that we may or may not be happy about meeting, but I also find that having a good attitude about things can go far to make the days or situations that may be unpleasant to us a bit more tolerable. It is a philosophy that I try to follow every day of my own life.
Instead of looking at the icy snow with disdain, I try to see in it the beauty that it brings. Here is another photo of the Meteghan River, across the road:
To me, it is as beautiful as a post card. It looks lovely and serene and makes me happy. I try to appreciate it for its beauty, because soon the seasons will change and the same place will take on a different look altogether. Besides – there is nothing I can do about the weather. I may as well enjoy the positive things that I see in each day.
On Tuesday I had a little time to take down my Christmas decorations. This always used to be a sad time for me. I loved having the beautiful decorations throughout the house, and even though I am more low key than I used to be as far as decorating is concerned, I always felt the house was empty and bleak following the Christmas holiday and new year.
It was at this time several years ago that I decided to keep a small artificial tree up all year long, and decorate it for each season. Being a designer, I could justify it because I am always months away from the season I am designing for and I used the 'excuse' that I needed to photograph ornaments. But over the years, I find that I don't need an excuse. It just looks nice and especially in the winter months, it lifts my spirits. That is good enough for me.
I wasn't sure if I was even going to change my tree from "Christmas" to "Winter" this year. I have some nice things for Valentine's Day (even PINK lights!) and I almost skipped right ahead to that. After all – the season will come and go very quickly and soon it will be time to change it again. But as I went to my storage area to retrieve my bins for storing my Christmas stuff, I saw my container that held my "Winter Tree" decorations and I decided to go ahead and use them. Even though it is only for a couple of weeks, the tree is small and requires only a little time to make it look wonderful
I am very happy that I did. As redecorating only took me about an hour and the results really made me feel great about the winter. I truly think that this is one of my favorite themes for my tree.
The tree is all done in beautiful ice blue and silver. I have beaded garland of those colors that go on along with the white lights. At the top, sits a little penguin that my daughter gave me:
I then have four larger flocked polar bear ornaments that I absolutely love! I purchased these last year at Home Depot and I wish I had bought more than one set:
I bought a set of six flocked penguins at the same time. They were also cute and very inexpensive.
Our local store had spun glass icicles that were under $2 each. I put eight of them on the tree:
And I got these pretty clear and blue glass snowflakes from AVON of all places! There were three in a set and I got three sets:
Overall, these few things put together make a beautiful tree!
Instead of a bare corner where my little tree stands, I have a beautiful seasonal 'night light' that gently illuminates the room on these cold winter evenings (or even on those dark, dreary days!)
It surely helps brighten my spirits. And I find myself looking forward to putting it up and that short window of having it here in my living room. It makes me look FORWARD to January – a month that many people dread!
I am not saying that this alone can chase away those winter blues. I know some people have health issues that flare up in the winter or other problems with cold weather and I don't discount that. I am only mentioning this to you all as a possible 'distraction' that may help you get over the hump of winter. (Besides – I love showing off my beautiful little "Winter Tree"!)
It is snowing and windy here today. We are supposed to get a mix of snow and rain and ice today. While the weather may not be optimal to do many things, I take these days to try to catch up a little on the 'inside' things that I have been meaning to do. (Like organizing and making my environment a bit more pleasant, cooking some of my favorite foods, and even working on my "A Perfect World" embroidery piece. And of course – painting and scroll sawing!)
I hope this helps spark some ideas for you all who are not happy with winter. With a little postive thinking and imagination, it isn't too hard to drive away those 'winter blues'!
Have a wonderful Friday!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"