Monday, January 9, 2012

A Quieter Palette Now

A Quieter Palette Now

The colours of Christmas have gone. The house, so recently lavished with shades of scarlet and new penny copper, an iridescence not unlike song that enabled the rooms to lift up their voices like angels, now yields to a quieter palette.

Debussy and Satie have replaced Mozart and Handel.

Icy blues and greys are drifting down like snow.

The calm colours slowly fall and I feel their presence like a comforting hand on my shoulder.

I take deep breaths.

I sigh.

Despite the happy occurrence of my wedding anniversary at the end of the month, January has always tried to lure me into a melancholy mood. Over the years I have learned to outwit its blue intentions by treating the month as a holiday all its own, sweetly special in spite of itself, and to that end....

I fill the house with white flowers.

Hydrangeas, freesia, lily and rose.

My candles are scented with coffee and fir.

I indulge in pedicures and massages.

I see good movies and read good books.

I build roaring fires in the fireplace and curl up with Edward to re-watch Waking Ned Devine, The Secret of Roan Inish and Babette’s Feast.

From the watery depths of lime scented bubble baths I plan the vegetable garden and window boxes of Spring.

I read poetry.

I write.

In other words, I try, as a friend of mine declared as his resolution for the new year, to be “good to myself”.

I highly recommend the practice.

The icy blues and greys of January, though perhaps bleak colours to some, are now, to me, colours of serenity and repose which provide a restful background for a gathering in of myself - my thoughts, my plans, my wishes for the year. I now jealously crave this month and find that just like the hyacinth bulbs now asleep in the garden, I need the tranquil time it offers to be my best self throughout the rest of the year.


If perhaps you have found your spirits a bit sluggish since the departure of the holiday season, here are some colours of January to make you smile.

1. The Return of Downton Abbey

Sunday night!

I cannot wait!


2. Owl Cake

I’m making this cake this week for a little friend who’s a bit under the weather.

I think it will make him smile, don’t you?


3. Winter Yarn Wreath

And I’m making this to make myself smile.

I’m adding a wee bit of lavender to mine.

Read how to make it HERE.

4. Mohawk Hat

No you're right, I’d never wear this.

But you gotta love it.

Find it HERE.

5. Hugo

I highly recommend this magical movie.

The perfect antidote to a cynical world, Hugo is sublime.

And sublimely beautiful.

Especially in 3-D.

Also, The Descendants was wonderful.

And I’m counting the days till The Iron Lady!


6. London Shower Curtain.

I love the city of London in winter.

Even on a shower curtain.

Love this.

Find it HERE

7. Gretel’s Polar Bears

A lot of you know Gretel Parker, Cotswold toy-maker extraordinaire.

Everything she creates is magical, each creature seems imbued with a wee bit of seriousness that I just find irresistible.

Her polar bears are my favourite.

They remind me, of course, of Edward.

Visit her HERE.
And best wishes for your January!


  1. I was just thinking this morning that I am quieter now. There is such bustle in December that when January comes I enjoy the slower rhythm. I truly like 'keeping myself to myself' as I've read in British books. I think we need the balance of people/solitude; noise/quiet; color/pale shades. Beautiful writing, Pamela.

  2. Hello Pamela
    Wishing you a very Happy Anniversary. I love how you celebrate and there is comfort when one withdraws and follows rituals which are calming.
    I love your movie choices and the secret of Roan Innis is one of my favourites. I'm looking forward to Downton Abby too but will miss it on Sunday as I have my art opening.

    Continued peace and harmony


  3. Perfect plans for January - I think it's what Epiphany is all about - restoring oneself with light and harmony.

  4. Your new palette is lovely and restful. I don't know about the Mohawk hat, but the owl cake is sure to bring a smile to your young friend's face.
    When I went back to work on Tuesday I thought 'What a short, quick week this will be', but in reality it felt like an extra-long week. I think it may well be time for a little self-care!

  5. That cake is so adorable! I wish I could create something as beautiful for my little darlings. They'd love it.
    And yes, this year I too will resolve to be good to myself.
    Happy January, Pamela!

  6. Thank you on many levels. There are years that the month of January reveals a dark gray sky inside of me. Other years, I'm content with the fact that January is necessary in the cycle of life.

    Happy Anniversary to you and your SongWriter. Please give Edward a hug for me.

  7. The owl cake is wonderful! It is not surpassed by any "designer cake".

  8. You have listed so many good recommendations, I feel my sprits rise. Happy New Year to you and Edward x

  9. If only my work life could follow some of your marvelous suggestions! We traveled over the holidays and I'm not yet home so Christmas is alive and well at my house least until tomorrow. Our family saw Hugo as our Christmas eve movie and it was a wonderful film for the outing. Funny but I'd heard very little about it before we saw it which is a shame. It was a beautiful film. Happy new year to you.

  10. Thank you Pamela! Any comparison to dear Edward is the highest flattery indeed! Happy New Year to you all, and here's looking forward to Springtime.

  11. Morning Pamela,
    Wonderful ideas for a dull January. I hear from several bloggers about the return of Downton Abbey - you will love it.

    For your movie list - Dean Spanley - A must for dog owners and an altogether beautiful film!

    Enjoy January!

  12. You perked me up, love the cake.
    That yarn wreath is so cute.
    I too get melancholy in Jan. and Feb. Being from the south I always had sun.
    In Maine it gets dark at 4 PM and so overcast, and grey. I will go see these movies, soon as I kick this flu. Happy Anniversary,
    Stay well, take vitiman C.

  13. Such delightful suggestions, especially for all of us here in Michigan, where grey tends to be a constant color companion. I have made a list of your movie suggestions and will spend the afternoon tracking them down! Thank you!!!

  14. Shan't give the game away but look out for Maggie Smiths line about the vase on Sunday night !

  15. Pamela I adore your thoughts and after two surgeries, these are things I need to do right now.

    Your yarn wreath, I don't know where I have been I have not seen anything like it! The owl cake is precious!

    Thank you so much for cheering me!

    Art by Karena

  16. I know two people who need to see this post - one for the Owl Cake, the other for the yarn wreath.
    Thank you for giving a lifting spirit to January; here in southeast MO, it has been shirt-sleeve mild so far.
    One of my missions this season was to remind people the true Christmas season did not end at Dec. 25 but began; the commercial season ended. I have so enjoyed the calm and focus of the Twelve Days of Christmas.
    Congratulations on your anniversary - have a wonderful month; I will follow up your movie suggestions as soon as I see "War Horse." My parents swore my first word was "horse :)."

  17. You always speak to my heart, but, never more so than with this post. Those are three of my favorite movies and I haven't seen them in oh-so-long. I should remedy that, but, first I must watch Downton Abbey. I can't wait!

    Thank you, Pamela, for singing the song of January.

  18. The cake looks yummy and the hat a little mad. I read the Hugo book a few years ago and thought it would make a great movie. I remember the illustrations were fab.

  19. Ah Pamela, you have it just right. January is totally a time to lay back. I love that owl cake.

  20. It seems January and August are the slowest months, unless we plan them to be busy...but one can be busy taking care of one's self..I like an suggestion of yours, anytime.

  21. Brilliant advice Pamela... that is exactly the way to view January...
    Downton Abbey... my favourite... There is also an extra two hour Christmas special that will follow the 2nd series... so you are in for a treat... xv

  22. Oh, hurray for Downton Abbey!!!

  23. awoke this morning at one a.m. with a grand head cold. fixed a cup of hibiscus tea and settled in to check on my favorites...
    low and behold pamela had posted! and enchanting as always.
    i love january. but then i like all new beginnings.
    since i've been up since 1am and it's now almost 6am ... am going back to bed and stuffily await downton abbey tonight! yay!
    tammy j

  24. January is not my favourite month either. After all the rushing about in the heat it's time to be "good to myself". Reading your post and enjoying your list of 7, I can't help smiling. The mohawk hat and the polar bears have me chuckling! Hope you waft through January and feel refreshed by the end of it.

  25. Pamela, I always enjoy your shopping specials, and these are so warming. Love those bears, and the wreath - but will pass on the mohawk thanks!!!

    Tonight's the night - yippie, can't wait as I loved this series (part I) and I know it will continue to be a winner.

    Such a mild January so far - we gardened yesterday (see my post) and thoroughly enjoyed the exercise in the warm sunshine. Hope it continues.

    Mary X

  26. I so love this post; your words of wisdom. Thank You!

  27. What a lovely upbeat post for January Pamela - I love it all and the suggestions you make in it too. The photographs are superb and that owl cake would cheer up the most depressed soul.

  28. Pamela, I used to find the month melancholy as well. But as the years go by I find it a welcome respite from all the madness of the holiday season. I love January now and enjoy the fresh and peaceful nature of the month. Your interests are so similar to mine that I found every one of your suggestions to be a winner. There is indeed so much to look forward to this month! And I am very excited for tonight's return of "Downton Abbey."
    Sunday xx

  29. The Secret of Roan Inish, filmed very near to where we live in Connemara, is just a beautiful all-time favorite. January on the west coast of Ireland, most years, is warmer than my hometown of Boston, asd we are grateful for that. Still green, though I remember the silvers of my New England life still, and the feeling of peacefulness, and a bit of restlessness, too, sor the year to come. Love the Owl Cake!

  30. Thank you for the hot tip about Downton Abby tonight!
    Also, that owl cake will make your friend happy!
    Happy New Year to you and Edward your songwriter~

  31. loved this. i especially love that shower curtain! wow! never seen that before.

    hope you had a wonderful Christmas and new year!


  32. Beautiful post. I love that painting... makes me want to do a portrait with soft and serene colors. Thanks so much for the inpiration!

  33. I too am trying to be good to myself (times are trying). Your post has helped and inspired me, as ever. Thanks for all the ideas.

  34. Owls will make anyone and everyone smile.
    That was an owl happy face.

    -Tuna P.

  35. I love the wreath. I might try my hand at one.

  36. Wonderfully captured, everything! Love the list, I saw Hugo twice with my son (11), he was enchanted and so was I!
    Love also the toys....

  37. Great list in here. The return of Downton Abbey is the best thing to hope for under this chilly weather. wow accounts for sale

  38. Happy January! It is cold but at least the days are getting longer. We're Downton Abbey fans too but it's on too late. It's in our Netflix queue.

  39. If only your thoughts and practices for January were as ingrained on our society as Easter and sounds like the perfect way for everyone's spirit to be carried gently and pleasantly into the new year.
    The owl cake couldn't be cuter, I'm sure it cheered your friend up immensely! All of your picks are wonderful usual!
    New Year's hugs to all...
    xo J~

    (So thrilled the Downton ladies are with us once 'againe' - a lttle British accent to honor the occasion!!)

  40. Plain and is time for you to come back to London... :)

    Jeanne xx

  41. Beautiful post! I would like to make the owl cake for my daughter who is wise as the owls herself; I so want to make this yarn wreath, how delightful! And I also want to thank you Pamela, for a blog recommendation a few weeks ago. I have become quite enamored of Wilf the Pon and his friend Angus, and all the characters in the little French village. I went back and read all the posts from 2009 to the present. Thank you for this teary, but beloved blog referral.

  42. Dear Pamela, oh how this post spoke to me. I long for my quiet moments, can only think when there is silence & love the peace that those moments hold. I love nothing more than a visit to my Mothers cottage out in the wilds, no television phone or computors there, just the wind & the birdsong.

    I love your welcome to January, that is a time & place i struggle with often, but how delicious it sounds to have that space as a month to indulge, I am already marking it into my diary for next year. Thank you!!

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