Tuesday, March 07, 2017

On Bleak Days


Bleak weather has now engulfed us for eight months!  Isn't a season supposed to be three months long? Apparently not winter, this year, at least!

Have a look at this scene from my window. Could it get more dull and cold?  

Today I want to share a teacup trio, which was sold at Homegoods, or TJ Max, a store similar to the reject stores in Australia. These cups may also be found at Ross or Marshalls, which are similar stores
The trio was $4.99 and discounted further at the check-out. The cost per item was a little more than a dollar each, and it is always a thrill to get the best bargain for the buck!  By the way, I was told ( but have not researched ) the reason a dollar is called a buck is that the earlier dollar bills had a picture of a buck (deer) on it. Everyone still refers to a dollar as a buck. Also a deer skin, calked a buckskin, was worth a dollar, so a dollar was called a buck. They may have also traded using buckskins, which brought about the saying " worth a buck."
I looked up this brand on the web and learned it is quite a bit more expensive!
Today I wanted to make a video but the weather was getting worse and I had to go out for a few supplies in ordered to spend the next few days sequestered at home.  Of course the invitation to tea is always open to anyone who is getting cabin fever and decides to brave the driving wind and sleet and come on by.
These are the primroses that do well indoors in winter. They look like tiny roses.

When the weather has been bleak for a long time it makes for a very bleak house, too! It is easy to lose ambition and energy and let your creativity fall by the way.  A couple of solutions I have resorted to when the day was just too dreary:

*Get all the daily work done as quickly as possible and get all the children covered up in bed or on the couch with you and watch favorite movies like Wives and Daughters, North and South and and all those others. Even better, create your own movies and watch them.

*While I did use the phrase "as quickly as possible" I do want the say how good it is to slow down and not rush through your day. Hurrying can cause confusion and mistakes, so especially if you have children at home, no matter what age, it is beneficial to live at a pace where your mind keeps up with the speed!

*Add a few water color paintings to your sketchbook, or design some clothes on paper. Make planning sheets for sewing, which include sketches, fabric swatches and event.

*Hand write little story book for your own amusement, illustrating with scrapbook clip art. If others in the home will participate, you can have a book club and make speeches to promote their books.

* Make your own catalog for your family to order from. Include ordering sheets. Offer by description and illustration things you are able to give them. This can include photos, your own stories, artwork, sewing, and other things. 

*Bake a cake, or fill the slow-cooker or roasting pan with a savory dinner. That will fill your home with good scent and give you a little more incentive to endure the day.

*Make a hand printed newspaper about your own home, with your own cartoon strip, your own events throughout the day.

*Make your own magazine. How often have your said you disliked certain things in a favorite magazine? Why not make your own with scrapbook papers?

*Make your own movie.

*Compose your own music and songs.

*On bleak days I tried some DIY things I had always wanted, like making hair spray and cosmetics and skin care from kitchen food supplies. You might have noticed the walnut stain on my hair, the cocoa powder on my eyebrows, the arrowroot powder on the roseacea patches of my face, the beet juice with coconut oil on my lips! Bleak days don't seem to have a hurry to them since they are the best times to try new make-it-yourself things. One bleak day recently a friend came and showed me how to use skincare products that suit "older" skin conditions.

When the bad weather gets your mood so low you feel sick, stop, drop and pray.

*Prepare a basket or giveaway box for someone else who might need the cheering up.

*Dress your best, even if you are not going out. Note in your journal what you wore on the bleakest day of the year. 

*Turn the whole season into Bleak Celebrations at home. Get out the seasonal lights and have a parties at home. It will give you a chance to wear the dressy clothes you rarely use. I read once that winter was the social season in Victorian times.

*If none of the above appeal to you, clean out a drawer or shelf each day of the winter months so the summer will be free of extra work.

*Sort through and eliminate old papers and books.

*Clean up your crafts and sewing.

*Exchange a pile of old magazines with a friend.

*Invent family games of your own and do not use commercial games. You will be pleased with what everyone creates. They do not have to be board games either. One family I know created "bored" games and came up with all kinds of interesting things.

*Instead of Queen for a Day, be Maid for a Day. It is actually a lot more interesting if you research the duties of a maid.

*Rearrange a room in your house and put things in non-typical places to give the room a new atmosphere.

* Make sure you converse with someone every day. I made a video once about how it activates the hearing which activates the mind and how important it is to hear your own family members voices and to interact with them.  

Well ladies I am getting tired just reading this list. I certainly do not wish to imply that these things should be done, or should be done all at once.  In bleak weather it is sometimes just as relieving to make lists of things you would like to do. Sometimes it is enjoyable just to compare lists.

If you tend toward sadness in the dark evenings, it is good to know that it is always more depressing in the evening and that your feelings will lift in the morning.

The tea is made with dried rosebuds and lavender and is supposed to be calming. I once researched the herbs and essential oils Victorian women used in times of grief, low moods, and distress. It was interesting how much of this knowledge is being revived today. There so were many natural things to use for many common maladies.  Lavender  and rose are not among my favorite scents--I prefer orange--but the tea is delicious!  In Victorian times it was claimed that certain scents in sachets tucked inside pillowcases aided in relaxation.


Unknown said...

Very nice list! Creative and informative.

Melissa M. said...

I love your list. I have a hard time thinking of something creative to do that does not involve baking and overindulging on a sugary treat!

Lydia said...

Bleak days seem to inspire baking. I will add an alternative to the article!

me said...

I thought your tea trio looked familiar and then I remembered. As an occasional treat we have in the past gone to the David Austin restaurant for tea and cake. (I live 20 miles from David Austin roses in the Midlands, England). I love their china but it is too expensive for our budget.


£18 is currently nearly $23! It seems you found yourself a bargain :-)

Love your blog Lydia - thank you.

Lydia said...

Marie that is quite a difference indeed. I like the David Austen roses on the teacups in the link you provided.

Susan said...

Dear Lydia you certainly have had more than your share of rainy weather this year.
On bleak days I like to look through my Spring catalogs. I make sure I am on the mailing lists of some gardening, home and dress catalogs. Just at the bleakest time of year the Spring catalogs are in the mailbox. I also have some dvds on hand that cheer my spirits. Rosemary and Thyme is a tv series about two English gardeners that seem to get themselves involved in mysteries. Every frame of the film is filled with beautiful flowers and gardens. It always cheers me. My husband and I like to rent a comedy and have a light dinner wrapped in blankets while watching it. And then there is always a cheerful book and a cup of tea while listening to it rain. Guideposts has a book series called Grace Chapel Inn about three sisters running a bed and breakfast. It is funny and uplifting. When we were children we baked cookies and then played Parcheesi while munching on popcorn.
I hope your weather improves soon.

Sally said...

I live close to David Austin roses in Shropshire England.
The company have a beautiful garden and shop. To visit in June is the most wonderful experience. The scent is intoxicating. I often pass bleak winter days dreaming of a visit to the rose garden. How blessed I am. Regards Sally

Sally said...

I live close to David Austin roses in Shropshire England.
The company have a beautiful garden and shop. To visit in June is the most wonderful experience. The scent is intoxicating. I often pass bleak winter days dreaming of a visit to the rose garden. How blessed I am. Regards Sally

Marilyn @ MountainTopSpice said...

Bleak winter days indeed... yet you have shared some beautiful remedies for them! Currently I am using fun spring fabrics and working on some sewing projects inside because soon the days of spring and summer will be here when I won't have the time to. So I am trying to make the best of these indoor days. I enjoyed all your suggestions. Hope you have a lovely day :)

me said...

Sally, it is probably my favourite place to visit. It never fails to lift my spirit at any time of the year. I enjoy receiving their catalogue during the cold months. Regards from Staffordshire :-)

Lydia, I think your trio is lovely and I would certainly buy a set at that price.

MonicasDaughter said...

I really enjoy your blog. It is so cheerful and inspiring. I enjoy the fact that you are doing what you love, creating things, making a lovely home and spreading joy around to your readers, family and friends. God Bless.

Santie said...

Dear Lydia
It's barely four in the morning in South Africa. A full bellied moon watch over our still and quiet yard but the sun is lazier to rise lately, as we are nearing Winter. A long and brutal summer is finally giving in to colder weather at night, and it is such a relieve.
I came to your blog because I am still awake, and wanted a small respite from my work, a cup of tea by my side and a slice of milktart to sweeten the gift of this early morning. I slept about two hours, then woke with a clear head, and decided to write for a while, as I have a manuscript due at the end of April, and we are leaving tomorrow for 'n two weak vacation Italy. If I push the thought of tiredness that will befall me later today away, it is lovely to be awake at this fresh sweet hour, and it gave me the opportunity to get a head start on Mount Washmore. I will be hanging out my sheets in a few minutes, and as soon as the son is out, it will be dry, and while another load line dries, I can make beds.
Now my cup is empty, the last morsel of sweetness devoured, and I am off. Thank you for offering a quiet, uplifting place to come to.
I am sending you the summer!