By the radiator, woolly layers laid out to dry.
On the windowsill, flowers. White ones.
In strollers, toddler cheeks greased to shining with salve, or else red and ruddy and in need of it.
Between the nape of your neck and the thick of your scarf, a rat’s nest.
Bedside, a new novel and a resolve to finish it before February.
In the shower, exfoliants. (Two kinds).
On the floor, pine needles.
En route, a calendar.
On the streets, salt.
In the fridge, a vegetable pot pie.
On fence posts, missing mittens.
On the couch, a slipcover retucked and ready for toddler acrobatics.
In a bag, sneakers and leggings and a lock for the locker.
In process, a scarf.
On stoops, cardboard boxes marked FREE.
Inside, the smell of peppermint and eucalyptus and lavender.
Exciting …what scarf are you making /
the simplest kind!
Can you suggest where to buy knitting supplies and also which exfoliants? I am happy to make mine, because I am desperate and cannot find what I like!
Not sure where you are, but I love the local shop Brooklyn General Store (they also ship!) and Fringe Supply Co.!
Kensington, Brooklyn, so will absolutely check it out! Thanks so much! And thanks re: exfoliants. Will make a sugar one this weekend.
Exfoliant-wise, James got me a Fig and Yarrow scrub for Christmas, but I also have a homemade sugar scrub going!
So beautiful. Glad to read your words on the beginning of a new year.
Are you working on any goals (that you’re interested in sharing)? I’m focusing Acceptance for creating a world with more calm — in my home, in my work and in the larger world. Specifically, cultivating a life with less noise and clutter — less mental clutter, less physical clutter, less emotional clutter. I cannot function well with all that junk although, it “seems” like others are just fine with it which has caused tremendous feelings of being odd, strange, weird and general not fitting in. This year, I am embracing and accepting that I cannot be somebody else. I am who I am and there is NOTHING wrong with craving a life of simplicity. For me, simplicity is more than just a simple home as I have a cozy home with extras but more so, I’m craving a life with less NOISE and clutter! And, that is my goal for ’18 — acceptance and embracing who i am (and that others are exactly who they are).
Here’s to new beginnings and progress and simplicity.
Happy New Year, Erin!
Kelly, on a similar path myself. I love Gretchen Rubin’s rule to Be Gretchen (of course you get to be Be Kelly). That simple mantra has helped me with self acceptance so much. I too am a quiet person who craves calm. And that’s a great kind of person to be.
Thank you, Sasha. I love your name so much, I named my favorite kitty that. 🙂 Happy New Year!
Kelly, you took the words right out of me. You are definitely not alone. Well said!
Oh January is my favorite month of the year! I try and savor every day. Nice long evenings filled with candles and glowing lights in my cozy home. Lots of guilt-free time for my favorite things …. embroidery, hand quilting, knitting, baking while enjoying a fire or binging a good show. I consider it a stress-free extension of the holidays. I wish it lasted longer!
What a lovely mindset, Molly! I usually dread January, but I’m going to practice savoring the enjoyable parts this year.
Agreed: lots to love!
love this too. such an overlooked time! i will be remembering your words while savoring this winter month along with you.
Thank you for that Molly! I tend to get a little down this time of year, but you are right, so much to enjoy.
Reminds me of the children’s book Ox Cart Man. There’s so much delight in hunkering down and keeping hands busy. Thanks for the reminder.
Absolutely loved this post, especially the end
Also, welcome to the world of knitting. You’re going to love it.
Ha, thanks! I’ve been knitting for a long time, but never really advanced past the simplest knit stitch! Maybe this is the year!
If you’re interested in knitting socks, check out The Winwick Mum’s wonderful and simple Sockalong sock tutorial!!!! She goes through everything from different types of needles and ways to do it, with clear directions and pictures! I had only knitted scarves before this tutorial and found it surprisingly easy to make my comfy-cozy wool socks!
You can do it! I learned to knit in a little yarn store in Chicago & love the community of people that gather to knit together, I’m sure there’s similar places in Brooklyn! Also, YouTube is the best knitting tutor, especially late at night ;).
Happy New Year, Erin! This makes me smile – my world looks similar. 🙂 I’m a big fan of January. Bring on the good books, dark thrillers on Netflix, and knitting projects!
When i was younger I loved to go cross country skiing at night in January. Now with kids, I don’t do that very often. BUT! We have a new-ish dog in our house this winter who needs a nighttime walk. So I still get outside at night, and that walk makes me really appreciate the warm couch when I get back home!
Lovely! I love a good nighttime walk!
In the past, I’ve always felt sad after the holidays (Christmas and fall are over! It’s cold! Undecorating is depressing!) but this year I, too, find myself happier and more hopeful than I was last month. Maybe it’s the metaphorical shedding of the past year (which was not my fave) that’s doing it this time around. In short, your post is perfect. Thanks for articulating how I’m feeling!
This was such a beautiful post Erin — both the writing and the photos. It almost read like poetry providing comfort and inspiration at the same time. Thank you Erin!!! Now where are my knitting needles and that book I have been meaning to get to.
Beautiful post! I’ve been having a tough time leaving the holidays behind this year and will use this mindset as my inspiration for the month.
A State of Freedom!
Lovely – your words ring so familiar, and true. Here’s to hope!
Oh, I hope you will consider to continue this kind of format for other months or seasons. Lovely!
On the list for 2018 ;)!
I loved this format, too. But, I love all your musings. 🙂
Love this. Such simple, evocative detail.
Such a lovely post, it made me feel all good inside, thank you.
And, in our apartment:
On the table, birthday cards.
Loved this post Erin. As someone mentioned above: poetry.
Happy New Year to you and James and your little ones.
I liked that. Your words make such nice pictures. Hoping for a good and kind year in 2018 (dare we hope for peaceful?)~warmest greetings from northern New Mexico~
Gorgeous. You’re making me feel way better about January (usually my least favorite month). And inspired to make my own list.
Quick question–what kind of salve do you use for those toddler cheeks? My little one seems to get dry skin at the drop of a hat, especially now that we’re dipping down to arctic temperatures.
Yes! Egyptian Magic and this calendula salve are both terrific!
Love this. Thank you.
More info on the salve, please? My baby’s cheeks are very much red and ruddy and in need of it 🙂 Thank you!
We love this calendula salve from Skipping Goat Farm! Egyptian Magic is another forever-favorite of mine! It’s just olive oil, honey, beeswax, honey, royal jelly, and proplis! It’s a little expensive, but honestly a miracle worker! I’ve made my own, too, which is fun, but a bit more labor intensive and requires the raw materials, of course! Maybe a good idea for a wintry post though! Will think on it! (PS. I imagine this might be the same Cerise who we met on Christmas! Happy New Year!)
🙂 It is me, and I still owe you the email that’s been in my drafts for so, so, so long. Coming to you soon!
And in the meantime, thank you very much and happy to see your post today!
What a lovely post Erin. I am trying my best to embrace the wonders of this month as well. I consider this month a time where we do not have to feel guilty about retreating indoors, as opposed to warmer months. Yay for new beginnings.. while many consider January 1st “just another day,” I consider it a time to reflect on what we do for ourselves, each other, and the world. I am an art teacher, but also a graduate student in Media Literacy and Digital Culture & I frequently mention your blog as an example of a positive, pleasant, and productive form of media. Thank you for your thoughtful posts, as always!
This might be my favorite tea leaves post yet! Just lovely, thank you.
A note about snarly hair: I just cut my longish hair to shoulder length because I could stand it no longer. We’ve been weeks at below zero weather, so hats and balaclavas and hoods and hair tickling my face and tangling. It felt quite liberating to see it hit the floor!
Love this! Curious about your winter workout routine with the sneakers and leggings as I could use a little gym inspiration on these cold and dark days!
Lovely post. Makes me long for New England and the cold winters of my childhood and 20s. Not sure I could ever live through another East Coast cold snap again—California has made me soft!—but I sure do miss the quiet calm of a good snowstorm and all the other wintry things you list so poetically.
January’s always been a favorite month of mine, too. It always feels like clear light to me. Struggling more with it this year but I’m taking a social media break to help me on my way.
oh, beautiful new england. I’m cozied up in pjs, twinkle lights on, tea steeping beside me in Boston as we await the blizzard. I love the forced hibernation!! 🙂
This post has inspired me to observe the little things each day that bring energy and light in these winter months! Thank you.
I was wondering where you got your wooden drying rack from? What a great idea to dry bits and pieces by the fire or radiator. Thank you!
Hi Matilda, Our rack was purchased years ago at a hardware store and it’s really not anything special, but here’s a whole post on the subject! https://readingmytealeaves.com/2017/07/simple-stuff-drying-racks.html
Erin, this was a total delight to read. Thank you! xo
The rat’s nest line made me chuckle – it’s just sooooooo true!
Long time (silent) reader and I loved this post, too. Thanks for sharing your experience of this time of year. Rings true for me as well. Let’s all enjoy and take lots of deep breaths.
How lovely! I especially liked the ruddy cheeked toddler line as I have one of those myself right now.
I adore these words, you truly capture the time. I will print this post and tuck inside my 10 year journal to read every January! XO
Also a scarf in progress, a new book fresh from the library and list of requests so I don’t miss a day of reading, and a large jar of eucerin that goes everywhere I go!
Oh those shiny toddler cheeks! I always remind myself to rub a little into my hands when I’m done greasing up my little guy. Squeezing tiny moments of self-care into the constant moments of kid-care makes a big difference!
I’ve asked this on another post’s comment section, but I think it got overlooked. How do you store your paperwhites in the off season? Do you freeze them, discard and buy new?
I usually compost them! Put in the fridge one year, but they shriveled!
Ooo, the rat’s nest at the nape! Truth!
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