WOW! IT’S 2015. Didn’t the year fly by? Do we say that every year?

The sun is shining and this morning I took a walk out along the Washington Street town pier. I counted three little boats in the harbor but the seagulls were out in full force. The pier was littered with broken shells, a testament to the ingenuity of the gulls. How did they all figure out exactly how to get a meal. At what height do they have to fly in order to drop the shell so it will open? Sounds silly but it’s what I was pondering as I watched them. Most of all I marveled at the stillness – No seasonal energy. I’ve lived here most of my life and never tire of this time of year.

Since I live in town I don’t consider it a neighborhood. In a neighborhood , it’s assumed there are neighbors. Windows are shaded or shuttered closed until summer. I’m used to it and don’t find it weird, unless a winter houseguest comments about it. Hooray! The holidays are over. Time to regroup. Reorganize your space. Here’s what could sound pathetic. My daily walk to do errands is like a social life. I bump into at least three or four people I know and a little chat in the supermarket is like going to a cocktail party. In ten minutes you catch up with whatever needs catching up with.

If you’re on the same page, you’re embracing January as a sort of selfish month. Need some cozying-up ideas? Make your home the best place to be. No more December brouhaha. I finished my new book before the very last day of the month. – a big goal! The layout is complete thanks to Jon and it’s off to the publisher. That said, cozy, charming, cottage style is on my mind. Here are some ideas for a little warmth, Nantucket cottage style.

  1. Lighting – SO IMPORTANT! Keep it low unless you are reading or doing a task. Not just the wattage, but the height of the lamp as well. Low lighting softens things. Pink light bulbs create a glow in the bedroom. Pink makes dining more romantic. A pink bulb makes people look good in the powder room.
  2. A quilt or wool afghan over the back of a sofa. Patchwork ala Sister Parish – makes a favorite, but tired, upholstered piece even more comfortable.
  3. A small hooked or braided rug in front of the sofa or fireplace, right on top of another carpet – so cottage charming.
  4. Fill a basket or oversized crock with logs for the fire.
  5. Cover a side table with a pure white linen cloth. Arrange framed family photographs on the table. Personal and intimate.
  6. Arrange all your favorite memorabilia around the rooms. Next spring you can pack it all away for an uncluttered cleansing. Kind of like packing all the Christmas decorations away in January. Nice when it’s up and nice when it’s gone.
  7. A mohair or wool throw creates a warm ambience in a room. Buy a pure white puffy comforter during January white sale month. Good month for new linens too! White EVERYTHING!
  8. Group jars, boxes, tins, or pitchers, together on a shelf or countertop. Practical for wooden spoons and cooking utensils.. Fill small pitchers with fresh herbs.
  9. Imitation Lightship baskets, still can’t be beat for holding apples, onions, garlic and other dried goods.
  10. Got a modern sleek kitchen? White, blue and white banded and yellow creamware bowls, for a spot of old-fashioned charm.
  11. Get a lot of bang for the buck with a patchwork wallhanging. Cuts down on noise in a stairway or hall. A great winter project. See my web site: for patterns.
  12. Need to warm an area? Think peach. It always works.
  13. Deep green chinaware on a dark table is sensational – very rich. Team with deep red (cranberry) napkins and placemats. Or pure white!
  14. Rearrange furniture into small, intimate groupings. Change the way you use each room – just for the winter.
  15. Paint your kitchen ceiling in a pale pastel. For ambience: A small table lamp on the counter.
  16. Pine creates a warm country feel and is great with white. Cover a pine table or dresser with a lace runner. Fill a pine armoire with stoneware. If this sounds kind of “grandmotherly”, that’s the point. Gotta mix it with modern for youthfulness.
  17. Wallpaper is in again. Pre-pasted paper is easy to hang yourself. A great winter project. Think hallway or inside of the closet. Too lazy for that? Line your drawers.
  18. Pile books on surfaces– a table near a comfortable chair, a footstool, a small chair, on the floor. The place will look comfortable and lived in.
  19. Use lots and lots of candles in the winter. Light them at dusk. So easy. Nice change!
  20. Rooms can smell cozy. Fill a bowl with pine needles. Simmer cinnamon sticks on the stove. Bake an apple pie. Light pine-scented candles.
  21. Family Treasures: A powder room is the perfect place for an art gallery.

Photo by Terry Pommett. A typical early American quilt pattern