It’s starting to feel like spring! And as of March 20th, it’s officially the beginning of this brighter new season. Finally, earlier sunrises, longer days, and if you look closely, the hopeful emergence of tiny buds signaling warmer days to come. The March equinox hails the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. It marks a seminal moment when the sun crosses the celestial equator going from south to north. We love it because it means it’s time to open the curtains, clear out the closets, shake out the rugs and reimagine a lighter, brighter décor story. Here’s what to do:
1. Embrace the Change
We love summer, fall and winter for the same reason we love spring – it’s an opportunity to enjoy all the pleasures that each season brings. Transitioning from winter to spring means not totally letting go of the soft, textured comforts that cold weather demands – but it could mean switching out pillow covers, rearranging tablescapes, putting a new vase collection on the table or introducing a new scent to the house. The idea is to mark the season. The earth is making a slow yet dramatic transition. Make the extra effort and design your surroundings to reflect (and celebrate!) that shift.
2. Reimagine a Focal Point
We love this modern Danish credenza going from piled high with books and stacks of paperwork, to an organized décor pantheon of candlesticks and mercury glass. Taking an isolated, functional space and transforming it into something beautiful, is one of the easiest ways to “redecorate” without tackling the whole house – which as we all know, just isn’t realistic. Mercury glass decor reigns supreme in reflection and adding any light to it (or around it) illuminates a space in spades.
3. Candlelight in Daylight
While winter has us lighting tea lights, lanterns, and candlesticks starting around 4 pm, March and April encourage the lighting of candles in the morning or at lunchtime, and further illuminate the changing daylight coming through the windows. Whether in an office, kitchen or dining room, candlelight during daytime brings a warm element without signaling the end of the day. We need little orbs of glowing positivity, and our mercury glass candle holders are one of the easiest, most elegant ways to achieve this.
4. Take a Walk
Sounds so simple, but many of us have been on a winter schedule that has us indoors for most of the day. Instead of sitting at your desk for lunch or hopping straight into the car after work, take a stroll – especially if you live near wilderness, farmland, a beach or river. Wrap up in something lovely and step out! You won’t regret the peace of mind it brings, and the good ideas that usually come with a stroll.
So let’s get going. It’s time to let the light in, to embrace the longer days, to find the spring in your step (and your decor)! Start at home with simple, intentional visual cues that say, “change is in the air!” Because it truly is.
The Art of Cozy: Channeling the Danish Concept of Hygge
Posted by wiserobot on 02/26/2017
No one knows better than the Danes how to burrow in on a cold night and revel in simple pleasures – hot cocoa, friends gathered around a fire, something sweet to eat. In most places around the world, we call this any night in winter, but the Danish have elevated it to a concept called hygge (pronounced hue-gah) – an obsession with the uncomplicated basics, and the art of making cozy. We have become avid followers of this Nordic practice, with aims to perfect its every nuance! The seasons are no stranger to flower farmer and mandala maker Melissa Glorieux, who let us into her four-hundred-year-old farmhouse for some fireside hygge and chatting. It’s cold here in the northeast and less warm (than usual) everywhere else in the U.S. – so it felt fitting to unpack a delightfully American approach to this charming Scandinavian pastime.
1. Set the stage
“Our house is suited for winter with its dark ceiling beams and weathered, wide-planked flooring from the 1600’s, so hygge suits us, especially living on a farm and paying attention to the seasonality we experience in New England. I love the layering effect of hygge, and not just on people. You almost can’t have enough pillows and warm, natural accents in every room – whether you live in a modern house or an old one like ours. Cozy isn’t just about the weather; it’s a feeling. Hygge is familiar; it’s friendly – the idea that no matter what is happening out there, you’re safe and happy with family and friends in here, together. So the décor has to express that welcoming sensibility.”
2. Natural Elements
“A fireplace or woodstove is the star of the show with hygge – but whether you have one or not, flickering candles and reflective mercury glass will also do the trick. The element of fire and warmth and glow is the goal – and achievable HYGGE with tea light’s dancing flames in beautiful candle holders. Danes burn more candles per head than all of Europe! So don’t feel guilty. It would take a lot to catch up with them.”
3. Relish simple pleasures
“Mindfulness is a big part of hygge – being present to how magical the simple things can be. Hygge reminds us to be mindful in appreciating the basics in life. Much like making mandalas. In many ways, they are symbiotic concepts. Staying warm, gathering in community, having something delicious to sip, the appreciation of whatever weather happens to be brewing outside – just loving it all. Even a storm is cause for celebration, because what is more hygge than cuddling up indoors while the wind whips through the trees and rattles windows? Gratitude and simplicity are essential for honest hygge. Fancy can visit another day, but this one is down to earth goodness.”
4. Earn your cozy
“An important aspect to relaxing inside is working for it! Nordic cultures love to say that ‘there is no bad weather, just improper clothing!’ and living in the northeast, I couldn’t agree more. Go for a walk, take the kids for a sled, spend a day on the slopes – hygge is so much better when you have the contrast of outdoors – and get to come inside. You’ll appreciate that mug of tea so much more after a brisk expedition!”
5. The more the…Hyggier!
“Being alone with a book, a warm blanket and a fire is pretty dreamy, and while hygge is possible when solo, the idea thrives in sharing the energies of community and friendship. One of the aspects I love about hygge is this bonding in appreciation for overlooked magic and joy in life. It truly is the more, the merrier when it comes to these nest-a-thons – especially when the group trades off bringing a card game, a potluck meal, a special hot drink or a record to play. Just invite friends – don’t’ make it fussy – reach out to the old ones, the new ones – the ones you haven’t seen in many busy months. No one can refuse an evening of storytelling by a stoked fire, Linzer torte in hand.”
One of the most daunting holidays to host is New Year’s Eve, for the pressure and expectation around celebrating the close of one year and beginning of the next. Between worrying about how much fun you’re having and who you’re going to kiss at midnight, décor is almost the easy part! Luna Bazaar contributor Amy Swift Crosby took on such a task for an early New Year’s fête, knowing that many local friends would be traveling to exotic locales for the day itself. Here’s what she had to say about all things Auld Lang Syne.
New Year’s Eve: The Event!
“I have always found New Year’s Eve to be a bit anticlimactic. Everyone has their own version of the ideal night – usually from movies! This makes hosting what should be a confetti-happy evening feel like the weight of the world. Knowing that many of us would be far away from each other on the 31st, I chose to collaborate on an early NYE party with my friend (and fellow Luna contributor) Jen Romans Dackert. We intentionally kept it small, inviting three couples to have an intimate gathering over candlelight, wine, and beautiful food so we could talk about the year gone by. I suggested everyone share a highlight of the past year and a hope for the New Year, which made conversation personal yet cozy. It was a big 2016, for so many reasons – some low-key reflection was in order. So I started there – a short guest list of people I love – with the mandate that they come in coat, tie, heel, and dress!”
“It’s fun to have friends dress formally for a night in. But for the concept to truly work – you’ll have to dress up your home as well! I chose dozens of mercury glass votives with turquoise blue candle holders and set them out along the mantel and in clusters around the house. Low light does wonders for a romantic, celebratory mood. It’s foolproof. I dimmed every light in the house and relied on the glow of candlelit mercury glass and punched tin candle lanterns to illuminate everything. Paper lanterns worked well in the foyer because we had the ceiling height to accommodate them. I love metallic party tassels for their shine and shimmer – so I used those to turn up the fun-factor. I invited everyone to choose a record to play in the first hour after all the guest arrived. People love vinyl – it allows them to reminisce in an unexpected way. The record player turned out to be a pinnacle of the party décor – a place of focus for people to gather around.”
“Champagne is a given on New Year’s Eve, and most people feature champagne flutes in their spread. But to spice it up a little, we used vintage inspired glassware with a champagne concoction during dinner, and then for our official toast, moved to the traditional flute. Guests yearn for transitions in the night to feel that a narrative is taking place. I intentionally started us off near the fireplace in the front room, and then moved to the dining room for the meal. It’s fun to feel led through the evening – as though someone has thought of everything. We did dessert in yet another room, festooned with an incredible hand embroidered table runner, and remained there – dancing and listening to pop music until it was almost midnight.”
Amy’s New Year’s Tips:
Decide if you want to go big or go small. Be intentional. Staying small means you get to set a table and talk – with plenty of time for dancing after dinner.
Take a tradition – like champagne – and have a little fun. I added Elderflower and a splash of peach juice to each embossed drinking glass for creative champagne cocktails.
Make a playlist that reflects what you want to do at a particular time of the party. We started with classic vinyl and then switched to an upbeat playlist for post-dinner revelry.
Create a meaningful activity – could be a white elephant gift or a suggested reflection. Guests like to rally around something to do!
The holidays are full of gatherings, and not just on the 24th and 25th. The season beckons family and friends to gather around tables, roaring fires and clinking glasses to revel in the magic that this time of year inspires. Artist, designer and Luna Bazaar contributor Jennifer Romans hosted such a beguiling dinner – set to metallic and unexpected pops of blue. This party goes to show that going beyond green and red is not only welcome – but also refreshingly different in the décor pantheon of Christmas! Here, she shares her approach to celebrating the holidays with all of it’s decorating escapades.
“December is truly one of the most social months of the year. Such a busy time means décor needs wow-factor as much as ease and efficiency. I approached this dinner party knowing that the day-of, I wouldn’t have a ton of time to set up my tablescape. To avoid rushing, I always pull all my candle holders, lanterns, runners, napkin rings, hanging paper lanterns and Christmas ornaments out of drawers and cabinets a week or so beforehand. Pre-producing as much as possible lets you see what you have, and what you’re missing, so you have time to find or replace it. December is no time for stress. You want to have fun and enjoy yourself, not worry about a missing tea light or wrinkled runner!”
“With little kids in the house, I have to be smart about where the décor lives while I’m organizing and setting the party stage. If not, I find that napkin holders become Barbie hats and mercury glass ends up in the bathtub. I solve this by fully decorating one key room – the main party venue – which, in this case, was my formal dining room. We only use it on special occasions, so my kids don’t even notice it when it’s decorated – and that means they don’t touch anything on the tabletop (which is the idea.) I take my time layering this room with just the right accents – selecting placeholders, assigning seats and writing out names – so that it really feels special when you walk in. Revealing the theme to guests is the best part, and you’re not a hot mess from working on it all day!”
“The holidays always put green and red at the center of the color story, but for me, they are a bit expected. Since blue is a consistent accent in my house and also the color of the dining room, I leaned on silver and blue as my core colors – to create reflection and glow. I painted my ceiling blue so that people would feel immersed in the color. Mercury glass candlesticks and adorable place card holders made the tablescape extra festive. I hung shimmering ornaments and paper snowflake decorations throughout the house just a few hours before guests arrived to add touches of holiday flare, then created clusters of votives to illuminate dark entryways and bathrooms. This inviting glow is low-maintenance, yet really high impact – plus everyone looks good in candlelight!”
The Food and Drink:
“With my weekend packed I opted to have the main course, one side dish, and a
fancy dessert catered by a local chef. I was then able to simply add a salad and appetizer to round out the missing pieces. I settled on plain porcelain china for the party since the décor was already so colorfully festive. For drinks, I served assorted wines with a small DIY bar set up in the kitchen. A pro-tip for hosting is to make it so folks can self-serve to some degree. Drinks, cocktail napkins and a light nibble should be easy for guests to find, reach and assemble on their own.”
Jen’s Tips: What host’s really want!
The traditional gift for your host is wine (which is lovely), but if you want to get creative, here are a few ideas to give your host something unexpected – or something they might use all year long.
1. Hill Tribe Handmade Table Runners – simply tie raffia or festive ribbon around the rolled-up runner – you won’t even have to wrap this hand-woven treasure!
2. You can bake or roast nuts or make chocolate bark (see my recipe below). Put in a mason jar for gifting – this presents beautifully.
3. Doilies – The small ones make for pretty little coasters you can wash! Wrap in tissue and pop them into a lovely gift bag. Easy peasy!
4. Napkin Rings – I love gifting these (especially the teal ones) with a simple ribbon wrapped through the holes and tied into a bow.
Ridiculously Easy Chocolate Bark:
3 bags Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips
2c salted cocktail peanuts
2c salted roasted almonds
2c+ mini pretzel twists (GF if preferred)
– Line baking sheet with wax paper (or parchment paper)
– evenly distribute peanuts, almonds and pretzels to fill baking sheet
– slowly heat and melt chocolate chips in a double boiler, stirring occasionally until fully melted (you can fit glass bowl over boiling pot of water if you dont have a proper double boiler)
– pour chocolate over nut/pretzel mixture
– using a spatula, carefully spread chocolate to cover mixture and spread to the edges
– chill to set (approx 30m)
– once set, remove hard chocolate from baking sheet and peel off wax paper from backside. Using a shasrp knife and cutting board, cut chocolate into slightly larger than bite sized pieces.
– store in airtight container in refrigerator