Christmas Zen: Shed Some Holiday Cheer

During the weeks before Christmas, I enjoyed frequenting local garden shops to take in the smell of pine and look at all the holiday decorations.  This year, one neighborhood garden shop had several sheds set up covering their extensive grounds. Each shed held different types of decorations: wreaths, floral arrangements, ornaments, and bells.  I walked inside each one and breathed deeply.  Every particle in my body relaxed in those small cozy spaces.  I felt safe and calm surrounded by nature and seasonal beauty.

I often have thought if I lived in a house and had a backyard, I would love to have my own shed – a she shed.  It would be constructed of unvarnished wood that would weather into a soft gray.  I would paint the interior bright white and have a large set of windows on one wall. It would have French doors to let in as much light as possible.  I would have some simple shabby chic furniture: a table with mismatched chairs and an enormous overstuffed arm chair to sink into while I write and dream.  I would have a cozy rug in blue and green and bookcases to display pottery, books and trinkets I’ve collected over the years.  It would be a shed of my own where I could create and set free my imagination.

As I stepped into each of the garden sheds, I was filled with delight.  The wreath shed smelled like pine, juniper, and cinnamon.  I inhaled the scent and felt so happy.  I didn’t want to leave, but I pressed on to a small shed with floral centerpieces in rustic tins and brass bells.  Another shed contained a display of jingle bells on leather straps along one whole wall.  I stood in the middle of the shed, closed my eyes, and stretched out my arms.  I took in all I could from this special Christmas magic.  I was desperately in need of some holiday cheer.

I spent the better part of an hour wandering from shed to shed looking at my reflection in the glass ornaments, picking up small treasures to decorate my tree, and brushing my hand against prickly pine boughs.  I came in search of the wonder of the season, and I found it here in these rustic sheds filled with joy and light.  The last shed I came to was closed.  I could not enter.  At the threshold was a concrete stature of a frog sitting in the lotus position. Above his head hung a small slate with the words: “Santa is coming.”  I smiled.  All was well with the world.  Santa is indeed coming, and small things still hold great joy.

She Shed Inspiration

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Mindful Style

I have been traveling in southern Maine this past week. While photographing this beautiful landscape, I was struck by how the style of the homes, shops, and public spaces keep a focus on nature. The seaside and its accompanying flora and fauna become part of a peaceful natural decor. The colors: ocean blue, dune grass green, picket fence white, daisy yellow, azalea pink, and cardinal red are repeated in pleasing patterns so restful to the eye and spirit.

I realize that much of the way I design my home and office is with this same emphasis on nature. I often look for ways to bring the outside indoors. I have collections of seashells, sea glass, and beach stones. I bring in wildflowers and make arrangements in jam jars and earthenware vases. In the fall, I will collect pinecones, acorns, and the spiky balls of the Sweet Gum tree and place them in wooden bowls, pottery and baskets. I find comfort in staying connected to my surroundings whether it be ocean, mountains, or forest. I have always found these places a source of relaxation and restoration.

The Maine coast holds a special place in my heart, however. Something about the wide expanse of sand and sea and sky, gives me permission to pause, to breathe in the salty brine, and breathe out all my worries. At the ocean my shoulders relax, and I feel truly at ease. I want to take that feeling with me. I want to create the same mood indoors and keep it all year long. I can bring my seaside escape with me and make it truly part of my surroundings, part of how I feel and who I am.