Lovely, summerlike days that occur around October 18 are called St. Luke’s Little Summer in honor of the saint’s feast day. In olden days, St. Luke’s Day did not receive as much attention in the secular world as St. John’s Day (June 24) and Michaelmas (September 29), so to keep from being forgotten, St. Luke presented us with some golden days to cherish before the coming of winter, or so the story goes. Some folks call this Indian Summer, but that officially occurs between November 11 and November 20.
Hello my friends, and Happy Monday! Welcome to part two of last week's Tea post! (Yes, I am a bit "off-schedule" here - but that's the way of things lately! Please see my updated Tea schedule at the bottom of this post.)
Now, to continue with our conversation on "cozy winter nests," I thought I'd share some pictures of my own special spot as well as some thoughts on how to go about creating your own! I'll get to the nest photos in a moment, but to begin with, a quick word about the tea set shown above ...
Some of you might remember this pinecone tea set from the days when my older boys were little. I came across these darling dishes at the Christmas Tree Shoppe for a song and just knew immediately they were perfect for our nature-loving, woodland-based homeschool! My boys and I had "seasonal tea" regularly throughout their childhood and this basically involved milky tea or cocoa (or maybe hot cider) and something yummy (and hopefully homebaked) as well as read-aloud or puppet story. This sweet set began with bowls and plates, but those are long gone! I still have a small set of mugs, the charming tea pot and one little bowl which I use to hold tea bags. Happily nowadays both my younger boys love tea, too - and so the homeschooling tradition continues!
In the above photo we were enjoying a special "candy cane" cocoa for St. Nicholas's Day, our traditional treat on this feast day. I usually hook candy canes on the mugs of hot chocolate (aka bishop staffs), but had forgotten to pick up some natural ones at Whole Foods. (You may recall we have EB on a special diet free of artificial colors and flavors.) So instead, I just added some organic/natural peppermint extract to the simmering milk and mixed it with our homemade hot cocoa blend. ❤
I've been keeping this pretty tea set on a high shelf in my kitchen but have decided to bring it down and keep it handy - it won't get used otherwise! And so our pinecone set has found a home in my "cozy winter nest ... I'm keeping it on a tray so it can be moved about as needed.
(Notice the little Lego on the corner of that table? That would be a Minecraft pick-ax, in case you didn't know.)
Ok, now back to our NEST discussion!
I'd like to first talk about a list I made for myself when I began setting up my nest. I first asked myself some questions about the concept of "keeping cozy" and then brainstormed some general ideas. My first list just appeared rather randomly in my doodle notebook ...
This is my brain dump, and as you can see it's a bit of a mess! I use it for writing out weekend plans and shopping lists ... and lots of odd bits and bobs, too!
I then refined my list to be clearer and more "presentable," lol ...
I'll keep this list in my December planning pages. :)
Here's my own Cozy Winter Nest breakdown. I would encourage you to ask yourself the same questions!
Why? Because there's a long cold winter ahead and instead of dreading it, let's make the best of it. Why not feather a cozy little "nest" for ourselves - a spot exclusively for comfort and joy - where we can hunker and hibernate till spring?
Where? This will be a space where we can rest and replenish our winter "stores" - ideally out of the way of the general household hubbub.
What? What will make this spot comforting? What items will bring joy? This list will be different for everyone!
When? How often can we actually BE in our nest? Will we roost here daily or will it serve as an occasional retreat?
Now, I think I've probably addressed the "Why" question pretty thoroughly by now so let's skip to the "Where." It is my firm belief that your nest can be ANYWHERE ... from a whole separate room to the end of a couch and/or bookcase ... even a dedicated window space can serve to enhance your level of winter coziness.
(I think it's helpful to start by brainstorming WHAT your ideal nest looks like and then look around your home for a fitting spot.)
Personally, my nest needs to be somewhere a little apart from family "traffic," but still close enough that I feel I'm handy to my kids if they need me. So I've claimed a portion of our living room for my nest, and here are some pictures I took the other day ...
This is the epi-center of my nest - Mama's Reading Chair!
It's a bit old, it's a bit squishy - but I love it! I keep a small table next to it for my tea mug (etc.) and I use an ottoman on the other side for planners. There are also plenty of baskets about for books!
(The basket beneath the ottoman holds catalogs and coupons.)
Cats are a nest must-have - even when they're being naughty!
A birdfeeder outside the window is another must ...
And plenty of natural light plus cozy lighting!
Library loans are kept nearby - it's handy to keep them all together.
I like to fill the coffee table with seasonal reading materials ...
And there needs to be special spots for the cats to snuggle in, natch.
Cats are natural-born nesters ... :-)
And blankets are always a draw!
And they too love sunny spots ... in the winter, a south-facing window provides soul-soothing warmth and light.
Other essential nest items not shown include:
journal-keeping supplies: notebooks/binders, pens, scissors, tape, clippings to add
children's storybooks: my nest is a GREAT spot for read-alouds!
music: I like the Pandora app; currently I'm listening to old English Christmas carols.
video: I use my computer for watching DVDs - now showing, "Take Peace: A Corgi Cottage Christmas."
correspondence: notecards, stamps, address book, etc. I'm working on Christmas cards at the moment!
candles: I have scented candles here and there but I like battery-lit ones for every day use.
hand lotion: I keep Curel at my kitchen and bathroom sinks but a tube of lovely rose-scented cream in my nest!
What would you add to my list? :)
As for the "When" question ... well, for myself, I enjoy "nesting" every day. Because I'm up so early, I start my day here (I'm talking 4 a.m.), and I also sit here at least once a day to read with Little Bear and/or Earlybird. On the weekends I try to have a block of time devoted to keeping "office hours," and here is where I like to work. If you're used to being in your nesting space you will naturally gravitate there, but if it's a new idea to you, you may have to create an actual nesting schedule! At least to begin with. Begin by feathering this space as you like, and then consider how often you can indulge in a little nesting behavior. Let your loved ones know this is important to you, and if you have to write it on the family calendar then do just that!
Because a nest of our own is a help as much as it is a haven. It's a place where we might battle winter's darkness and soothe our world-weary spirits. It's a place to cultivate creativity and bask in the comforts of home. Even if all the space you have is a kitchen window-sill, arrange a few special things there (a pot of herbs, a picture frame, a nourishing lotion, a scented candle) and let that be a place you go for a moment of mindfulness each day. ❤
There's so much more to say about the benefits of "nesting" but I will wrap up for now. That said, I would love to revisit this theme after the holidays - say mid-January. The next month is busy for most of us, with Christmas coming and all, but once Epiphany's come and gone, I will take a fresh look at my nest and see how I can spruce it up for the "deep winter" months. I think for many of us there is a sense of melancholy when the festive season has passed and the pretty decor of the holidays has been packed away. But let's not let that happen! We'll come up with a wonderful winter plan and see ourselves through the long cold weeks ahead ...
Now, about my Tea schedule going forward! I have to be honest with you all and myself - I had hoped to sneak in another Tea post mid-week, but instead I will stick to my original schedule and be back on Monday with our next Holiday Tea. Our theme will be "O Christmas Tree" and I will share pictures of our home's holiday decorations, plus we'll talk about the upcoming Winter Solstice.
For now I will say goodbye and thank you all for joining me ... I'd love to hear your thoughts on Cozy Winter Nests so please drop a comment if you have the time! I'd also love to see YOUR Christmas trees, so please consider sending me a picture if you are able: drhanigan AT gmail DOT com.
Take care of yourselves and your loved ones, my friends ... see you here again very soon!