January 05, 2011

January Austerity.

I love the holidays more than any other time of the year.
December to me is full of colours, of red and green, purple and even orange, silver and golden, so vibrant and illuminated. I thoroughly enjoy and give into all the opulence of the Christmas decorations, which is reflected in my home, so abundant with all the nuances of the season.

However, in my perception all this ends as soon as the clock strikes midnight on New Years Eve. It is almost an instant and yet a very effortless transition that takes place within me. Even though the holidays officially end with the commencing Epiphany, in my home they have already concluded.
All the decorations are taken away, tree is cut up and recycled and my entire state of mind craves simplicity.
In my mind, January is colourless and plain. Nevertheless it is also infinitely tranquil, just likes the pristine snow blanket outside. An empty canvas, beckoning to be painted by experiences of the coming year.

Thus my eyes are presently drawn to the plain objects in my home. To that which is austere and modest. Unadorned and humble, yet still so very beautiful, instigating a sense of purification that is so refreshing as we leave the grandeur of December behind.


Elizabeth said...

And after this plain period the abundance of spring will appear. Don't know what it is but the word spring appears a lot in my writing. Hmm..

Sandy said...

I love the images in your mosaic...just beautiful! I love the holidays too...Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years helps make me forgot how dark and dreary it is outside.

But....I'm not one to take everything down once New Years arrives. My decorations are still up and I have even left them up into February some years. I may start removing some this week just in case we do decide to take a trip down to Walt Disney World in Florida sometime in late January/early February.

Had trouble sleeping tonight and I better get back to bed and try to get some rest.

Have a lovely day Zuzana!

steviewren said...

I love the objects in your simple collage, especially the stack of wood.

My decorations are still up, but I'm ready to put them away and get my home back to normal. My daughter hurt her back last week, so I've been at her house helping with the babies a lot instead of packing things away.

Claus said...

How interesting! January to me has a feel of new and fresh, and for some reason, I like to include yellow, green and palettes of beige at home. Since we are in the dry season here in Guatemala, heading towards summer (1 month and a half away!...though we've been experiencing warm and sunny days already!) I have this feeling of jumping into some sort of Spring right after Christmas. Odd, huh?
I will be taking Christmas down over the weekend (we always wait until Jan. 6th.) and cannot wait to give my home a touch and a feel of freshness and new as the year starts.
Love the pine cones, the wood, the candles...such a beautiful collage! your home must feel really comfy :o)
have a lovely day!

Phivos Nicolaides said...

I love January. I was born in January!! :):)

Sumandebray said...

January is for a new beginning ... it is about Hope ..... It is an opportunity to set thing right ...
Have a great year

Sandi McBride said...

I love all the shades of white that are January from the snow to the lowering clouds and the oddity of grey grass that will revive and turn to green in late March. Enjoy January, my friend...for he's enjoying you

Anonymous said...

You can so well express yourself by the written word. You should be an author!
Yes, January is a time to refresh ourselves as the new fallen snow....simplicity. I like that!

S. Susan Deborah said...

"A lovely documentation of seasons and times, coloured through the eyes of Zuzana" would be a fitting title if you ever attempt to write a book compiling all your posts on months, seasons and days. And I am sure that you should do something along those lines.

Zuzana, why don't write something like that. Please think about that.

Joy always,

Bossy Betty said...

So true! The simplicity of small items is lovely in contrast to the glut of the complicated (though wonderful) decorations of Christmas.

Myrna R. said...

By Jaunuary 1st, I too am more than ready to shed the gaudy and delve into the simplicity of warmth and order in my home. Mentally too, I am ready to mellow out, to be still and quiet.

Hope you have a great January.

Christmas-etc... said...

You are a cat person! But of course you are!! I am both a cat and a dog person now. I used to be deathly afraid of dogs until a pure bred German Shepherd (the dog I was most afraid of!) was given to us 15 years ago. laddie, bless his soul, cured me of my fear. We went on to get Harry after Laddie passed away. Harry passed on last summer and until Edward showed up at our door, honestly, I cried every day. I missed my Harry so much. But now we have Edward and he needed us as much as we needed him. God willing, he will heal and live a long and happy life! Thank you for your prayers! I really appreciate them!
PS I used to feel the same way about January until I came to live in Greece. Here it really is holiday time until the 7th - St. John the baptist Day! Lights are blazing tonight and it is so lovely... the leave taking from the holidays is gradual and not as hard on the system.

Sukanya said...

Very True Zuzana.. All the festivity ends with the old year and everything starts afresh in the new year. All those simple things that you've captured still looks beautiful and creates a calm and stable environment.

Have a nice day Zuzana.


Brian Miller said...

i hear you...i feel the same once the years page has turned...love all the woods, rocks, natural elements in your pics....those are soothing to me...

Donna said...

Your plain objects are beautiful. Simplicity is beautiful, too.


Reading Tea Leaves said...

A New Year requires a blank canvas for me too Zuzana, with its endless possibilities and of course spring to look forward to.

I tend to favour a simple and rustic home anyway, so I absolutely love your collage here. Have yourself a tranquil January:-)


bright star said...

More lovely words! The simple things are always the best is not a trite saying. I am afraid January and February are the months I least love mainly because in Cornwall we usually have a lot of rain and the dark ,sombre days sometimes make me sad.I am tring this year to be positive so your post is very helpful. lol Angela

sprinkles said...

Your mosaic is so pretty. It reminds me of a friend's house that I sometimes go to visit. She has all kinds of little goodies. I always try to imagine how I'd try to arrange them all if I lived there.

adrielleroyale said...

As usual, you've pinned it down exactly. In fact I was just looking at all the lights and ornaments and the tree thinking "Ok, it's official, I am so over these, time to take it down!" Although it won't be today... Anyway, winter is such a source of depression for me every year; especially this year knowing that I won't be able to take that tropical vacation. So I am really trying to keep positive and see the beauty that is around me. Thanks for helping me in that! Have a wonderful day!

SandyCarlson said...

Well said. I think of January as a month that is simple and quiet. I love the stillness of midwinter. it is a beautiful thing. The post-Christmas slowing down makes it all the more dramatic.

Anonymous said...

What a great attitude to have.
It's similar for me.
Vhristmas is so busy and tiring, in january i dont work as much and get more time off.
I've noticed you have a very symbolic mind.
A good virtue to possess

Anonymous said...

There is indeed a beauty in simplicity - and that is so clearly shown in your photos and words.

Laura said...

I hear you Zuzana...I am enjoying the simple spare look of the trees behind my house. I find infinite beauty and tranquility in their bare branches and the way they allow the sun and sky to greet me through their spindly, spidery dark fingers.

gentle steps

Sandi McBride said...

My Grandmother always told us that winter was the promise of Spring, Spring the precourser to Summer and Fall the respite from constant sun...I've loved that piece of wisdom since I'm about four years old...you brought it home

Baron's Life said...

You must be a very tidy person...let yourself relax, enjoy the atmosphere. I love looking at the Christmas decorations a little longer than most people do but that's only because I am a very lazy person.
Love your decor and photos...Cheers

Trotter said...

Hi Zuzana! Hope you entered 2011 in great shape!! Today, January 7th, everything is over, it seems... But there will be more nexr year... ;)

Thanks for your comment at Blogtrotter Two, which is visiting the third largest artificial lake in the world (by volume). Enjoy and have a superb weekend!

tony said...

Good Day Zuzana!
Totally off-topic but.........I watched a film called I Am Love last night.I thought it wonderful.Have you seen? I think you might like it too!
Spread The Word!!! xoxo

Velvet Over Steel said...

I love all your 'simple' treatures from your beautiful home!

I used to get kind of sad after Christmas and felt like my house was 'bare' once the decorations were packed away. So years ago I started replacing my existing decorations (pictures, etc.) with Christmas decorations. So when it was time to put them away I would bring out the 'others' decorations that I love and put them back up. Made me appreciate & admire them once more. :-)

I also decorate with a lot of snowman items. So I can move thing around and have 'winter' decorations until February... when I decorate for Valentines. :-)

Have a Wonderful weekend, Zuzana!
Hugs & Lots of Love,

Sandra said...

Love the holidays. Glad when they're over.
But I must say, I also do love the objects in your home. Love the collage of photos.

swenglishexpat said...

Simple is beautiful!

Calli said...

I certainly missed visiting you here, Zuzana. Your objects and photos are great. We have very similar tastes as well as thoughts. I always feel the same come January. It is like cleasing life's palette to create aknew. I love the freshness and the tranquility at the same time.

I had an excellent visit!
xxoo ~Calli

Rajesh said...

Beautifully brought out the feeling as the holidays end. I also feel same.

Auntie sezzzzzz... said...

What a lovely way, to live January.

I love the way your mind works. And I love that you share it, with us.

Gentle Jan. hugs...

Ines said...


I just recognized you at Jeanne´s blog. You look so beautiful and powerful, so I want you to give this as a big compliment for this grey January :-)Your blog looks so wonderful natural- I like it!

Greetings from Ines

Vagabonde said...

I saw your had a white Christmas. Can you believe that it snowed on Christmas day in Nashville (last time was in 1969) and also in Atlanta (last time was in 1882) – children were so excited. I enjoyed your memories of a holiday in the Canary Islands – it must have been so beautiful and it created lovely recollections for you. I hope that 2011 will be especially successful for you in every way.

A Plain Observer said...

Traditionally and culturally for me New Year's Eve concludes the Holiday celebrations. But more than that, when the clock strikes midnight, I believe that what is at that moment will be the rest of the year - crazy, isn't it?
This year I thought of peace, and happiness as the first seconds of the year started. I hope to get both, it would be good, don't you agree?
I always wanted a house like what you seems to be...I just dont have that creativity. Beautiful.

Hilary said...

It's like a sigh of relief after all of the glitz of the past season.

Unknown said...

Zuzana: I love to leave my hand-made wreath up on my outside door through the end of January! But my neighbors have taken down their lights here. You have the most wonderful way of expressing the simpler beauty in our world and I appreciate you!

Have a nice weekend! xoxo!!!

Lynne said...

What a beautiful and interesting post. Interesting because I hadn't really thought about the contrast between December and January. But you do it so well.
Traditionally in the UK Christmas decorations are taken down before twelth night. But driving and walking round the vilage here in Germany, everyone still seems to have their tree up, brightly lit.
Happy New Year to you Zuzana.

Unknown said...

your home is so beautiful. you know how to decorate. I have a new home that is bare, want to come and take a look at it? :-)

beauty is in the simple things of life.

Mimi said...

"purification that is so refreshing as we leave the grandeur of December behind."
beautiful words, Zuzana.
Much though I hate to admit it, we couldn't keep going on the grandeur of December all year round. I find I crave lettuce and simple foods in January - an antidote to all the rich, grand December ones.
Love your mosaic of calming, simple things in your home.

Zuzana said...

Elizabeth, Sandy, Stevie, Claudia, Philip, Sumandebray, Sandi, The Bach, Susan, Betty, Myrna, Ann, Sukanya, Brian, Donna, Jeanne, Angela, sprinkles, adrielle, Sandy, artswebshow, ladyfi, Laura, Baron, Trotter, Tony, Coreen, Sandra (welcome), swenglishexpat, Calli, Rajesh, Amelia, Ines (welcome), Vagbonde, Myriam, Hilary, Michael, Lynne, Doreen and Mimi – thank you everyone for so many words of kindness and compliments on my writing, my pictures and my home.

I am glad that the sentiments of austerity in the first month of the year resonated with so many of you. To me change is vital and I like the different perspective that each season and even each month brings into our life during the yearly cycle. Too much of everything - even something good - detracts from the positive feel.

As always, thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and for your endlessly kind comments.