We had a relatively normal Christmas, complete with full introvert-style socializing burnout at the end of it. Ha. As much as I was so hoping we could have a “normal” Christmas with visiting and family dinners and all that, and I was so happy that we were actually able to have a couple of smaller gatherings, there was no escaping the fact that long periods of socializing just tire me out completely. It was a happy tiredness, but a tiredness none-the-less. No one quite knows what the next few months of winter are going to look like so I think it was really good for us all to just have those moments where we could just forget everything that’s going on in the world a little bit and just enjoy being with family and eating way too much delicious food… and of course now we’re back to schools and restaurants being closed, but I think we feel a little more ready for it knowing we got to enjoy at least a tiny bit of normalcy before things got out-of-hand again.
I had to miss our winter camping trip. The kids and Chris were still able to go, but Chuckers really wasn’t feeling well and we didn’t want to leave him with anyone, so I stayed home with him. I think it was just food poisoning (he got some new treats for Christmas, which came highly recommended at the pet store) because he was much better after a few days, but I don’t think he’s ever been sick like that before. I was a bit sad to miss out on the all the amazing views of the winter lake and all the chickadee feeding, but it was honestly pretty nice to just have the house to myself and get everything tidied up, cleaned, and organized for the new year.
This is our first January fully running two businesses at the same time and it is intense, let me tell you. We didn’t actually start Art & Spaces until February two years ago, and last year we were in full lockdown for the first part of the year, so this is new to us. I love getting to be a part of so many amazing business owners’ New Year’s goals, but oh wow are we set to be busy this month. I find my own personal January goals are usually quieter and more related to getting organized at home and checking projects off the list while staying cozy inside, so all of this being out and about is taking a bit of getting used to, but I’m embracing it! Honestly, it’s nice to have an excuse to get out. The projects will still be waiting for us at home when/if we get a bit of downtime in our schedule.
I’m STILL decluttering like crazy and it’s my favourite thing. I keep finding new layers to peel back. I just keep feeling like if things seem overwhelming and difficult to take care of around the house with the way our schedule is right now, then that’s just a sign that things need to be simplified even further. I intend to keep going until taking care of everything feels effortless with the amount of time I have available to do it. It’s amazing how your home just kind of stays clean when you get all the junk out. I’ve actually been rewarding myself with decluttering time when I get a difficult task done, so that gives you an idea of how much I’m loving this.
I’ve completely failed at taking myself out for walks for the last six weeks. I think it’s been a combination of fewer daylight hours, stormy weather, and just being busy with holiday activities. January and February are often pretty nice weather-wise here, so I’m determined to keep fitting walks into my schedule because I feel so much better mentally and physically when I do. I actually even enjoy the opportunity to bundle up and get out in the cold for a little bit. I’m aiming for a couple of times a week right now and if I can do that, I think I’ll get a bit of a sense of momentum going. It’s such a simple thing, but for some reason I just have such a hard time convincing myself that it’s OK to take a few moments out of my day to just get outside. Working on it!
NEWS AND FINDS
-I’m promising myself that I’m going to finally give my website a little facelift this year. It’s only about 5 years overdue. I worked with a web designer when I set up the current design, but I think I’m going to try to figure it out myself this time around. It’s something I feel a little silly not being able to do, and the changed I want to make are pretty small, so I’m going to challenge myself a bit.
-I got this sweater shaver for Christmas and if you’ve never used one before, you’re definitely missing out. It works surprisingly-well to refresh well-loved sweaters and I think it’s just a great thing to have around for anyone who loves thrift stores. It really works on any fabric that’s beginning to pill, so it can be super handy for those finds that you love, but that aren’t in like-new condition.
-I can’t believe I’ve gone so long without one, but I also asked for this steamer for Christmas. I knew I needed one, but I didn’t realize just how much I needed one. It’s a complete game changer for my white velvet curtains. I loved them before, but they look even better now.
-I’ve been living in this Patagonia better sweater when we aren’t working. I have the color called “Oyster White”. It’s just so unbeatably warm. The Patagonia ones are basically exactly the same as the LL Bean sweater fleece in terms of warmth and the look of the fabric, but their sizing runs a bit small so always size up when you order from Patagonia. The XS is a good fit for me. These are the perfect sweater to throw on to motivate you to go for a walk on a winter day. They also last forever. I just keep adding to my collection over the years. 🙂
–My fleece tights are back in stock! They seem to go in and out of stock so keep checking back. I do laundry every day and I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve been wearing these pretty much every day.
-I feel like this is the silliest thing. Obviously I’m a big scented candle/home scent person, but I’m not a hug personal scent/perfume person. I got a sample of j’adore by Dior that came with another order though and now I’m hooked. I just enjoyed it so much and now I feel like I need the full size bottle in my life and it keeps popping back into my mind.
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.