Winter Quiet


January is a quiet month around here. Days of bitter cold and wind mark the days with slicks of snow now and then. Packing away the Christmas trimmings for another year always brings a bit of nostalgia and perhaps more so this year. My sister and I rarely visited each other over the holiday in recent years but so many memories attach to ornaments, especially the ones she had made or specially chose for us.  My sweet niece frequently has spent part of Christmas Day with us and this year she decided to take over our kitchen and make dinner for us and for her parents who were visiting. I know she meant it to be a blessing, and it was… and it wasn’t… I didn’t really know what to do with myself. Dinner was delicious and in a turn about, she left us with all the leftovers instead of taking them home. Changes can be hard.

   20180116_101902      Christmas Cactus     Christmas Cactus

The window garden has been slow this year. While I’ve been anxious to see color and enjoy the blooms, they seem part of the quietness, calling me to quiet myself.

African Violet     African Violet

Amaryllis            Amaryllis

I’ve considered that I left the Amaryllis bulbs outside too long last fall and they decided to prolong their beauty sleep. Finally, they are awake although we may not have bloom until Easter this year!

20171231_091300      20180121_152030      quilt

Do you make resolutions for the New Year? I don’t. But I think clearing clutter, downsizing, and reorganizing run like an undercurrent of my life these days. I’ve done some major work in the area of fabric and thread in the past, but still there is “the suitcase”. It hides our of sight in the back of a coat closet, blocking the way to the Christmas storage. Therefore, at least twice a year, it rolls out and I look through.  Finally, I decided to take out the remains of a duvet cover I made more than 25 years ago.

It was filthy and damaged in our house fire, but I loved it, so I salvaged what I could and washed it many times to remove the dirt and stench of smoke, fading and softening it in the process. A trip to the quilt shop before Christmas and I had the makings of a twin size quilt. This was a satisfying January project. I still have a few blocks and I’m considering them. They will not go back in the suitcase.

                      20180131_124849      recipe project

Another quiet winter project in the making – sorting out the recipes I only used at holiday time and giving them their own binder. I don’t know why I haven’t thought of this before. It will certainly declutter my every day files. And if I am honest in the process, I will discard many unnecessary ideas into the recycling box. This is a hard process, although one I have worked on from time to time. I started collecting cookbooks “with a story” before I was married. I lost quite a few with the fire but — there seem to be quite a few on the shelves; many, lovely gifts.


Blue moon, red moon, eclipse


And the month ends with Holly Berry Day for the Robins! The trees were alive with a flock.

Whispers of Rest

Book club again for February.

I’m grateful for so many things; especially for you who take the time to visit here with me.

Come again, friend.

3 thoughts on “Winter Quiet

  1. Cathy

    Elaine, the hardest thing for me to declutter are paper files. I still have a bankers box of recipes I’ve clipped over the years, have never made, yet the box sits in my laundry room. I had planned to tackle my laundry room declutter project in January–but look! It’s February and the box is still there! Your quilt is lovely. Good for you for getting it out and completing it. I love your header photo–the glass blocks behind the snowmen make it look like a winter scene indeed–especially this winter with our subzero windchill temperatures!

    1. Elaine Post author

      Oh Cathy, I understand the box. I emptied mine maybe 2 years ago. But, I have a drawer of folders, shelves of cookbooks and 6 binders on a counter. I must become ruthless! My daughter moved last year and tells me she kept only a few cookbooks – maybe 6.
      Oh, and to be honest – she started me collecting on-line recipes in OneNote and on Pinterest!!! so I wouldn’t have to deal with the paper… I prefer paper, so I rarely do more than add to the files. Help! I must stop!
      Let me know if you find a good solution to dealing with paper.

      1. Cathy

        Concerning recipes, perhaps for future recipes we need to have one of those 12-month folders where we put recipes we’ve clipped. When we make the recipe and decide we like it enough to make it again, we put it in a permanent binder. When we come round to that month the next year we toss that month’s clippings before we are allowed to put new clippings in. As for my banker’s box–I think I need to empty it into the recycling bin and start fresh! And the clippings sitting in a pile in my kitchen–since they are recent–I’ll look through them once and if I don’t plan to make them within the month, OUT THEY GO! You could do the same with your binders–cull them down to one–throw out whatever you haven’t made in the last year. And the cookbooks, donate half to the library, etc. See it as sharing the joy they once gave you. Hope that helps. Now I have to take my own advice. :-)


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