I’ve been reading a lot about the Danish idea of Hygge. It’s a word that roughly translated means “cozy” but encompasses untranslatable feelings of warmth, comfort, and companionship. Hygge is one of the reasons that despite having long cold winters Danes are still ranked among the happiest people on earth. I am not a big fan of winter, after the lights of the holidays go out I usually get a long bout of seasonal affective disorder. Here are some of my hygge inspired coping mechanisms I plan on employing.
- LIGHT: Lots of aromatherapy candles spread throughout the house in energizing scents.
- BLANKETS: big cozy ones in big piles
- COMFORT FOOD: Bowls of Soup, cups of tea, oatmeal, roast chicken
- FRIENDS: I think my winter needs more laughter. A couple weeks ago we went to a neighbors house, I brought cookies and tea. We sat in front of their wood stove and chatted for hours. It definitely brightened my dreary day.
- COZY SHOWS: Thank the Lord that we will have Downton Abbey to look forward to January 4th. (Let me know if you have any other recommendations!)
- WARM CLOTHES: The Danes also say, “there’s no bad weather, just bad clothing”. I think that bundling up and getting whatever sunshine I can would be enormously helpful for my well being.
Do you have any Winter coping strategies?
I was looking over my goals for 2014 and laughing. This year has been an eventful one, but not because I accomplished even half of the things on my list. I have been reminded over and over that as much as I want to plan, sometimes we are called to give in and be along for the ride.
Here is a snapshot of our roller coaster.
It has been amazing to watch these events unfold and see how we have been provided for. We are so thankful that we had an emergency fund in place and very few expenses when Jason got laid off. It made that initial “oh shit” feeling momentary. It also pushed us outside of our comfort zones to go and get some really interesting freelance gigs that we would have been really intimidated by other wise.
And hooray for Baby Harmon!
Other notable highlights
- I had a lovely exhibit and interview with The Table at Brandywine.
- MUSEUMS VISITED: Falling Water, Phipps Conservatory, US Botanic Garden, American History Museum, Lincoln Memorial, National Gallery of Art, Moog Factory
- BEST MEALS: Ethiopian food from Dukem, Egg and procioutto brunch at Lupo Verde, Breakfast from Biscuit Head, Some crazy pork dish from Salsas
- FAVORITE BOOK: The Goldfinch
- FAVORITE MOVIE: Boyhood
- Lilacs from the best neighbors.
- This strawberry rhubarb crumble recipe.
- The Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unkown episode with Rene Redzepi. (Now on Netflix)
- The Detroit Lawn mower gang that maintains the failing city’s parks.
- Alone in the Wilderness is on PBS all the time and it is the most relaxing documentary ever created.
Urban living can be taxing especially in the Summer. It’s hot and smelly, and crime rates go up. I dream of having a Philly version of a Dacha. Dacha’s are country houses outside the cities of Russia where people escape to during the warmer months. They are traditionally pretty rustic with no plumbing or electricity and on less than .15 acres of land. But they are places where the working class are able to escape to the country, to grow their own food, and enjoy nature.
Who’s with me? Plot of land just off the regional rail line?
I had been thinking about getting a new sewing machine. I was making leather baby booties for a craft show and my target special sewing machine was not cutting it. So I started looking on craigslist for possible options, industrial machines were $600+ and I couldn’t justify that investment. I thought that I would pray about it and wait. This would be a good time to mention that I have a weird theory on provisions that you can read here.
So I waited, and then a few weeks later we went on and adventure to Baltimore and I met a nice lady who had been making leather bags. She was showing me her set up when Jason pointed to the machine she was using. It was the exact same kind that we had sitting on our mantle for decoration. It was a machine that Jason had purchased for his Mom as a Christmas gift years before and we inherited it back when Jason’s Mom passed away. It turns out that it is a highly sought after sewing machine because it is so strong. I was so excited that we ALREADY HAD THE MACHINE I NEEDED!
There was a problem though, the machine was locked and not in usable condition. I took it to a sewing machine repair shop in Philly and they said that they could not fix it. I was starting to think that it wasn’t meant to be so I was perusing craigslist for similar machines. I found one that was beautiful, and when I inquired about it I was really disappointed to find out that it had been sold. I noticed the craigslist seller had a couple beautiful machines for sale so I asked where he had his machines serviced in hopes that I could find someone who could fix our sewing machine. It turns out that the seller was a retired sewing machine repair man and said he would take a look at our machine. I drove it to his house and he said no problem, fixed it for a deeply discounted rate and he found me an old antique solid walnut table that was designed for our exact machine. All of it made me so happy! I am so pleased that I will be able to use this machine that has sentimental value to my family to create new heirlooms. What a blessing!
I had such a nice weekend and wanted to share some of my favorite things with you.
- Biking everywhere! I got a new road bike on craigslist and traveling the city this way has been a whole new world. Different parts of the city feel way more accessible.
- I finally got the chance to visit the bulk vintage warehouse in Kensington. The place is HUGE with boxes and boxes of presorted vintage clothing on the cheap.
- I had a the best bagel with cream cheese and home made strawberry and thyme jam from the Soup Kitchen.
- Jason and I biked to Chinatown to check out this restaurant called Tasty Place. It’s in the corner of an underground grocery store. I like it because it’s so hidden and it feels like a secret. I’m also mildly obsessed with salt baked chicken wings with chili sauce. So good!
- The sculptures of Brancusi.
- The “Better Basics” recipes from Martha Stewart. The blueberry skillet pancakes are A+
- This Episode of Craft in America with interviews with the Gee’s Bend ladies.
- The first S’mores of the season | Latch hook | Growing new plants
- This Quote from GK Chesterton:
Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.
- This Song:
I love simple tote bags. I use a leather variation of this everyday and I was inspired to make this canvas one for Spring when I found some great trim at my local closeout fabric store Jomar. This is a great beginner project with a little flair.
Here are the materials that you will need:
- 1 piece of 34” x 15” cotton canvas fabric folded in half
- 2 pieces of 1-2 inch wide of trim
- 2 pockets cut out of your canvas fabric. I uploaded a pattern for you here.
- Straight Pins
- Fabric scissors
- Sewing machine with matching thread
Here is the 3 minute video on how to make the tote:
Please let me know if you have any questions about the tutorial, your feedback is really valuable to me! You can e-mail me here.