Those late Winter days

These pictures were taken when the outside scenery was still white and crisp. It is unbelievable to think how much nature changes in just four months as we are now basically in Summer and outside everything is green and lush. The late months of Winter are cold, the hours of day light stretching a tiny bit daily. One of my favourite things is to buy flowers for our home, this time around I got pink tulips that had been around for a few days and opened. With the soft and greyish light pouring from the windows I grabbed  the camera and tried to photograph the beauty I experienced.

Winter

This Winter has been one of the best ones with temperatures continuously on the minus side, lots of snow and a reasonable amount of sunny days. In the weekends we make it a priority to step outside after a long relaxed breakfast, fresh air does good to all and makes the return to a warm cozy home one of the best feelings in the world. These are some pictures taken during one of those walks when the camera comes out too.

Christmas wreath

This year inspired by several beautiful pictures of Christmas wreaths,  especially by different people doing their own Christmas wreath, I took action and made our own as well. This is the first time I have made, or even had, a Christmas wreath. I wanted to be mindful about it, wanted to enjoy the process and, more important of wall, leave my usual perfectionism out of my mind.

Sunday morning after a calm breakfast as we all love in this house, despite the grey and wet weather, we headed outside to explore the small forest just outside of our house and picked fallen branches of pine.

Armed with all I needed, I got to work. As I had never made any wreath, and also didn’t really check any instructions on how to make one, I just followed my instinct. I started by bending a couple of the branches and wrapping them around with the brown cord I had with me, when I was almost reaching the end of these branches, I added a couple more locking them together with the same brown cord. I ended up with a somewhat circular wreath that I tried to shape a little better. To add some softness to the pine branches, I added some branches of a plant called kanerva in Finnish (don’t know the name in English) that I had around from Autumn. Every Autumn I buy some kanerva plants, I find them beautiful in white and dark pink colour, they are also rather resistant to the minus degrees some times felt in the Autumns nights.

Once the kanerva branches were added I hung it by our front door, leaving the welcome sign I have in the same place year-round in the centre of the wreath. Later on, I still added small lights around the wreath making it visible in the hours when it is dark outside, which is most of the time at this time of the year.

In the end I was happy to make something for the first time, something beautiful made with branches lying around in the forest ground that will now decorate our outside entrance during this magical time of the year. I enjoyed also photographing this process, gave me the opportunity to experiment with the camera and see the beauty in the small things. Make more of what makes you happy, more and more my motto.

 

Stay present

Sunday, it might have became my favourite day of the week, maybe because many of my Saturdays this year have been like working days, or maybe because Sundays are usually the days for which the to-do lists are shorter and I allow myself to be more lazy. This Sunday started very early, too early for the only day I could sleep in this week but, so it was. It was hard to wake up, I eventually accepted the fact and focused on enjoying this day as much as possible. After a calm breakfast taken while it was completely dark outside, with no one wanting to leave our warm nest, I ventured outside to take the dog out and return some books to the local library. Even though I was just going for a walk around here, I took the camera wanting to notice and capture the beauty I would come across. The intent of taking pictures forces me to be more present, notice what surrounds me, experiment with the camera, forget about the time and other things I planned to do in that day. I listened to music, at times I completely lost notion of space and time, while I looked around and pointed the camera trying to photograph exactly what I was seeing and how I was seeing it. After a few minutes walking I saw a squirrel crossing the road, speeding to the closest tree it could find. When it was high enough, it stopped and looked at me, then climbed some more while I try to capture it. While I walked around the tree to find a good angle to take a photograph, it changed between staring at me and racing and even jumping between trees, I had never seen anything like this. It amazed me how much joy nature can bring in the simplest things, if I am just present enough to notice it.

 

On the way back home I noticed the patterns in the branches of the trees, the last of the berries that are still firmly attached after the Winter has settled in and, most of trees are naked. The day started in the best possible way, simply but yet so wonderfully.

 

Slow Sunday #1

The day started early, I woke up to little feet touching my legs, exactly the same way as I did on Saturday. I was in a deep sleep but, knew that I wanted to enjoy the day ahead we all had together. We stayed in bed for some time, waking up slowly, enjoying the warmth of the bed and all the cuddling, outside it was stick dark. The days are short, becoming shorter every day, it is a season of little light encouraging introspection, coziness and lazy days at home. Today the day was filled with baking, cooking, painting and knitting. I ventured myself with the camera and experimented a little bit, taking pictures using only the scarce natural light there was at the lightest period of the day. Although at times frustrating, it felt liberating to take new approaches in photographing.

Granola was one of the things I made today, I followed a recipe I have made repeated times and always comes delicious. To vary a little bit, I change the sweetener, nuts or the dry suits I add to it. I like the feeling of making our own cereals, of knowing what is in it, this is a nutritious way of replacing the commercial cereals that can be found in supermarket. We eat granola around the year, my favourite way is to add natural yoghurt and the season fruits.

An added bonus of making granola at home is the smell that perfumes the house the rest of the day, a warmth cinnamon scent.

And so it begins…

It took some time to gather the courage to assume I would also want to try to document the happy moments of my life in a beautiful way. After some hesitation, I realised that I didn’t have anything to lose. If it ended up being something I would not be doing for a long time, no harm would come from that. The excitement of something new starting has already brought me contentment and relive from the everyday life pressures.

This picture is a picture taken in the many walks we take in the near by forest. Most of the times in Autumn, but mainly in Winter, it is hard to leave the hours but, when we do we rarely regret. We all come home feeling renewed, lighter and inspired by nature. The warm breath that welcomes us inside as soon as we open the front door feels like a hug. In the weekend our walks are many times taken in the morning, setting the tone for the rest of the day. Thankful for leaving so near by of the forest, giving us the possibility to enjoy these walks and mind freeing experience frequently.