January is a nesting month. The pages of the calendar are a bit clearer now, our schedules not quite so demanding. In cozy hibernation, much like artist Amber Alexander’s satisfied bear shown above, we have more time to read the books we’ve been saving, to see the films we’ve been curious about. Time to cook that recipe we’ve wanted to try. To pull out that difficult knitting pattern and work away with no deadline in sight. Time to to clean off our desks, clear the tinsel from our thoughts and prepare for the rest of the year. A wonderful time really, and here are a few of the things I’m especially enjoying whilst hibernating in this, the first month of the year.
Oh, and Amber's wonderful book-reading bear is named Byron and you can see more of her work HERE.
After all the knitting I did for Christmas presents, it’s been fun this month to knit a few special things just for myself and the Songwriter. In the holiday issue of Vogue knitting there were several patterns for cowls, or as I like to call them...Snoods. (Shown here on my two favourite models, who were kind to help out, even though neither of them has any need for warm clothing.) Trust me, these things are fabulous. When the cold winds blow, just tuck your chin down in their wooly warmth, or pull them up over your head. You’ll be in heaven! I am currently working on a splendid hat for The Songwriter. Terribly fun to knit and it reminds me of something Albus Dumbledore might wear.
You can see it HERE.
I’m crazy about these wonderful personalized bookplates, so much so that I gave some to everyone in my book club for Christmas.
So many delightful designs.
A hot cup of Horlick’s Light Chocolate Malt every night by the fire. One of life’s true pleasures in my humble opinion. We don’t have this particular incarnation here in the states, so I have to try and get it shipped in from the UK, but it’s worth every effort. More warming than brandy on a cold winter’s night.
I always feel as if our beloved cottage is really the fifth member of our family, so it seems fitting that its portrait would hang on the walls. Some years back, an artist who often does work for me (in fact, his work is in every room of our house, much like Carl Larsson’s) created such a portrait and we just adore it. If you are fortunate enough to dwell in a house that you love, it is such a delightful thing to have its portrait painted. Patricia van Essche can do just that and can do it beautifully. The illustration below is just one example of her work.
Go HERE to see more.
Fair Isle Gloves
The Songwriter surprised me with a wonderful gift at Christmas. A creamy brown pair of hand-knitted Fair Isle gloves, straight from Scotland. They are sold by Thistle and Broome, a site devoted to the art of my favourite place in the world. From teddy bears to Orkney chairs, dog leads to riding habits - all gorgeous and all handmade in Scotland. I had fallen in love with these gloves a while back. You may choose which of the knitters you’d like to create your very own pair.... mine were made by Agnes Bowie... and they arrive soon after, made exactly to your measurements.
Go visit, go shopping, HERE.
I suppose it’s because my own wedding anniversary occurs this week, but I often think of weddings in January. I catch myself glancing at the bridal magazines, creating whole white rose extravaganzas in my mind as I stand in the check out line at the market. Recently, I have begun to get a bit bored with all the strapless wedding gowns. They all seem so similar to me. Perhaps that’s why this one captured my fancy. If the Songwriter and I were walking down the aisle again this month, this just might be the one I’d choose.
Here in the states, Masterpiece Theatre is currently airing a brand new adaptation of Jane Austen’s, Emma, and it’s a winner. Wonderful performances, with sets and landscapes that are absolutely swoon-worthy. Romola Garai makes the most gorgeous Emma; she plays her with just the right balance of irritating conceit and utter charm. I really think this will be the definitive production of Emma for me from now on.
And on the subject of film.... I am so enjoying watching marvelous Meryl Streep pick up award after award for her perfectly delicious performance in Julie and Julia. So well deserved! How I hope she wins the Oscar!
I adore this Cotton Milk Mask from Mario Badescu. If you’ve been playing outside all day in the cold, it’s just the best thing ever.
Go read about it HERE.
Dogs at Play
Watching Edward and Apple play every day, especially in the snow we had a couple ofweeks ago, is just about the most fun I can think of. Pure abandon. I have recently discovered a blog where everyone can enjoy the happy sight of dogs at play, on the beach no less!
Go take a look HERE.
I dare you not to smile.
These wonderful handmade shoes remind me that warmer weather will be here soon. I can see myself wearing these everywhere come Springtime.
Go see them HERE.
And finally, walks with Edward are fun at anytime of the year, but the winter ones are best. We both want to run. This passage by from a poem by Amy Lowell captures the joy Edward and I both feel when we’re out for a walk in the icy air.
Shining snow crystals rainbowed by the sun,
Fields that are white, stained with long, cool, blue shadows,
Strong with the strength of my horse as we run.
Joy in the touch of the wind and the sunlight!
Joy! With the vigorous earth I am one."
Amy Lowell, from A Winter Ride
So, how about you?
What have you been enjoying about January?