Create a Happy Place Amidst the February Blahs
February is the shortest month, but darn if it doesn’t feel like the longest! For those of us who live in four-season climes, we get our fill of cold weather in January. By the time February gets here, we are so over it! Not only over the cold, we are over gray and gloomy and how early day becomes night. We sit and mope and wonder, “When will spring get here?”
I dislike wishing my life away. The months and years go by too fast as it is. So I decided to enjoy February. After all, there are good things about February. It is the month of Valentine’s Day, the Mardi Gras, and World Nutella Day! I have found projects that have brightened up my home, my life, and, believe it or not, February. After all, we are indoors more in February. Why not put that time to good use. Forget about drearily gazing out those windows. Concentrate on the indoors where it’s warm and discover how you can make your very own happy place.
Here are a few suggestions to get your creative juices flowing!
Plant a Garden
I your your kitchen! Herbs are pretty and fragrant and there is nothing like herbs that fresh to add flavor to your winter meals. The kitchen window is an ideal location. Line up the little planters along the sill or stick window planter pods right onto the glass. But any spot that gets the sun for about six hours a day will work, so you might look to see where you can hang a Zen Micro Herb Garden that is incredibly stylish and colorful and takes up very little space. If light is scarce, grow lights will do nicely.
Some especially decorative herbs:
- Thai Basil has reddish-purple flower spikes and an incomparable licorice scent.
- Dill’s blossoms are chartreuse-yellow and its foliage feathery.
- Rosemary bears little blue flowers among its shiny green needle-like leaves.
- Greek Oregano has clusters of pale pinkish buds.
- Spearmint is among the most refreshing scents and its flowers are lilac-pink bells.
It’s been said that humans instinctively connect with nature and tending to plants has a very positive effect on your mood and even your mental and physical health.
A print of Turning Over a New Leafcaptures the spirit of your February projects and reflects the lovely leaves of your herb garden in a hyper-realistic style.
Go for the Bold
Paint something a shocking color. Don’t hyperventilate at the thought. It’s only paint and paint can be covered up with another color if you go too far. Start small: one narrow wall, a couple of door panels, an accent table or some stools. Or take a bigger leap and paint an antique armoire a bright blue or an old blanket chest red. Hot pink, lime, orange, yellow all bring warmth and energy into your living space and are the best antidotes to that colorless world outside.
Warning: Do not use more than three colors or tones in one room (two is usually sufficient). There really can be too much of a good thing.
Get Out the Books
Bookcases can be so much of a hodgepodge without rhyme or reason that we avoid seeking out the treasures that reside there. It’s a great February project to de-clutter, clean and revitalize those shelves.
- Remove everything. Make three piles: keep, donate, throw away. Toss the throwaways and pack up the donations.
- See if you can add some of that bold paint we talked about to some of the shelves or the back panels or even along the ledges.
- Return the books to the shelves. Here’s where you can improvise to your heart’s content. On some shelves, have a vertical row of books abutting a horizontal stack. Surely, there are some books with beautiful covers; have those facing outward. Match book cover colors and make blocks of color, either vertically with the spines or in horizontal stacks, that coordinate with the room’s color scheme. Yes, it is time consuming, but you will have an impressive work of art when you are finished, and people will notice!
- Add some of your favorite artifacts between groups of books or atop a stack of books.
- And/or give some of the books a reprieve from the shelves. Add a few to your tablescapes to add interest and complement the other items in size, shape and purpose. That can be an ongoing “rotating library” of reading material. Note: Groups of three or five items on a table make the best designs.
This wise old Nordic Snowy Owlprint is small enough to incorporate into the design of your bookcase or hang as a companion piece to a tablescape.
Metals add instant warmth to your home as well as color and sparkle. Gold, silver, bronze, brass, copper, chrome—take your pick. If you feel hesitant, here are some tips to get you started. But, bottom line, it’s what you like and what makes you feel good.
Have one metal dominant
For instance, if your kitchen has mostly stainless steel, use cast iron or brass for accents. You want to keep the look balanced.
Do not overdo the mix
Have no more than two accent metals, preferably distributed evenly throughout the room. For variety, use two kinds of, say, silver: shiny and brushed.
Balance warm and cool metals
Again, have one metal dominant. A warm color will “pop” when accented with a cool metal and vice versa. Warm metals are gold, bronze and copper. Cool metals are silver, aluminum and stainless steel. Neutral metals are cast iron and any black metal.
Add a mirror
To get the full advantage of the metals, hang a mirror in a strategic spot so that it casts more light around the room and watch the reflections of the metals bounce around.
The Nose Knows
Our sense of smell can aid and abet our sense of sight to clear away the February blahs. Essential oils are a natural way to revitalize your mood and rev up your energy. While your herbs are perfuming your kitchen, try diffusing oils throughout the rest of your home:
Lavender is well known for its relaxation effects. It also lifts up your mood. A bonus is that it can boost your immune system and prevent colds.
Bergamot helps ward off mental and physical fatigue, common during those gray February days.
Lemonboosts your dopamine and serotonin levels, directly affecting your overall happiness. An increase in serotonin alone is equivalent to basking in a ray of sunshine.
Sandalwood is a warm, woody fragrance that is effective at evening out emotions.
Jasmine stimulates the brain, helps uplift your mood and contributes to feelings of optimism.
Once you have conquered February, celebrate with a work of art, The Poppies, for your own special happy place and a beautiful reminder that spring is, indeed, coming.