For years I've been a devoted follower of hygge without knowing it.
Though now I do.
Indeed - there are whole groups of people, an entire country even (Denmark, "hygge" is a Danish word) who promote and embrace the idea of hygge: originating from a Norwegian word meaning "coziness". Though hygge encompasses much more than mere coziness - it means to surround yourself with things, experiences (smells, textures, sights, flavors, sounds), and people you love; creating an atmosphere of comfort, well being, acceptance, relaxation.
(Pronounced, so I've read, heurgha. Go ahead - I'm sure you can do it!)
There are many interpretations of the concept. I've actually just begun a pinterest board devoted to hygge - and things I find hygge-ish. (Yes I just made that word up and yes I know it looks silly.
I probably wouldn't use it in public if I were you.
Especially in Denmark.)
And I'm planning to devote some time during the lovely upcoming winter months to delving deeper in hygge, learning more about its origins while celebrating all those hygge things I already embrace: candlelight, comfortable chairs, pools of warm lamplight (as opposed to that horrid, harsh overhead lighting), teatime, books, leisurely dinners with friends and family, warm blankets, the fire crackling in the stove.
And so, to start, here are a few of the most popular hygge spots in our house. (I've discovered we have many such spots since I've begun looking. More than I would have imagined!)
First off, this is my Lovely Smushy Chair
(yes, that's its official name).
I've had this chair for (I imagine) well over fifteen years. (Actually I very nearly gave birth in it twelve years ago. But that's another story!)
It has a very pretty rounded, "roll over" back and is tufted. It's original fabric is a tea strained, cabbage rose print - originally kinda gorgeous and now very well loved, meaning the arms and front of my smushy chair boast some good sized thin spots and downright holes. Unfortunately I don't actually sew (though give me a glue gun, a packet of safety pins, and some fishing line and it's amazing what I can accomplish!), still I'm planning on ordering some fabric and attempting a slipcover in the near future. (One of those loose, shabby chic numbers - hopefully helping hide any, um...imperfections, my slipcover will undoubtedly have.) But for now it's covered with a large quilt and is happily comfortable.
This is where I read - on my own and to my kids (I was reading this book to my older sons when my water broke with my youngest twelve years ago). Watch tv, write occasionally, sip tea, watch the fire, stare out the window. I've even been known to fall asleep here on occasion (especially on late Christmas mornings, following the early rush).
The pink gilded lamp is an antique (it belonged to my step-grandfather's mother - I fear I have a complicated family history), the table it's on was my tea table as a child (its two matching captain's chairs are on my writing loft). Scott made the ottoman, and we recovered it with the toile a few years ago.
Some of which are kept in this sleigh which sits by my family room desk.
(These will all be put away to await next Christmas when the holidays are over.)
This cozy spot is also in the family room,
(And yes the picture looks fuzzy to me too.
No idea how that happened!)
And yes again, that's an ektorp chair from Ikea (well, Sweden is close to Denmark, home of hygge!)
It usually has a throw or two tossed over it (they were no doubt in the washer when this pic was taken). You can see the Christmas Tree reflected in the windows and the city beyond, A couple of books from afternoon reading time on one of our own "stump tables".
Those two books (I had to make certain), are "The Children's Homer", and "The Stories of Hans Christian Anderson" - who, as luck would have have it, was Danish.
Don't you love serendipity?!
The kitchen table is surprisingly cozy as well.
This is an all purpose table: schoolwork, computer work, drawing, hanging out, crafts, and even the eating of meals all happen here. Often all of those on the same day.
It's looking unusually tidy in this pic, taken right before my bookgroup was set to arrive. Usually it's a piled up hodge podge.
(That's our "grateful tree" on the counter in the background.)
And here's where I'm sitting at this very moment - my family room desk.
We installed the cupboards shortly after moving into Witt's End. The top middle one holds all the electronic gizmos and gadgets which make our surround sound work. (Evidently surround sound is imperative to have in today's world. Hmmmm...)
While all the rest hold desk supplies, a printer, and a good deal of the various books, dvd's and such which we use in our homeschool on a daily basis.
I recovered the bulletin board years ago (here's its too simple DIY) and it's a constantly changing mess of favorite pictures, quotes, and whatever else I think to pin up there. (I don't know if you can make out the large leaf pinned near the top - Little Bit brought it home from our Autumn Pacific Coast trip.)
The basket behind the desk is where (believe it or not) I put all those "important papers and stuff I don't wanna lose". Amazingly enough, when I put them there they stay put.
It's a weird system but it works for me.
This is where I do nearly all my writing - a fan for noise control year round, a small space heater by my feet during the winter months.
In front of my desk is "Mom's Book Basket".
Filled with all the inspirational, motivational, "pondering reads" I mull over from time to time. (As well as a stack of bookmarks and a few empty journals I intend to fill up as soon as I find time.
And there's another post.)
And of course there's always a cuppa tea sitting on my desk. Usually black, with a bit of sugar or perhaps some Italian creamer. Though I have been seen sipping at some Sleepy Time tea of late, with a generous dollop of honey added.
That cupcake is a pumpkin chocolate chip cupcake - leftover from Thanksgiving. I had two for breakfast yesterday when this pic was taken - and honestly lived to regret it.
I fear I overindulged a bit this week. Let's hope I can talk myself into getting back on that treadmill soon.
Though I just see no possible way treadmills can be hygge.
I think I've decided the Word For 2016 will be (drunroll), Hygge.
Hopefully I'll be filling in my hygge pinterest board, making some notes, assembling more ideas, gathering some supplies.
And making 2016 an exciting, fulfilling, wonderfully successful year - all stuffed fulla hygge-ishness.
(More on Hygge coming soon!)