Winter Blues: Summery Mantle

Our mantle was looking a bit drab with all of the festive Christmas stuff taken down. So I decided to make it more cheerful - while simultaneously willing summer to come - by putting a few beach-like items up there. Of course, I also included lots of candles. Tea lights are probably the most magical winter pick-me-up there is, wouldn't you agree? Their soft glow is so cozy, comforting and warming. When I lighted them last night, Coco oohed and aahed. Then this morning, she exclaimed, "Oh no! Who blew out the candles?!" Teachable moment harnessed. Coco now knows it's not safe to leave candles burning. Oof!
One of my goals for this summer is to collect shells and beach glass for the mantle. They would look so great with these breezy votives and that incredible piece of driftwood J found on the shores of Lake Superior. He carried it, along with Coco in the hiking backpack, for miles! Just let me point out that it is so heavy. That was a labor of love for sure.
Normally I like to do some tall or tall-ish flowers next to this lamp, but right now I'm really digging the clean, sparse look without any. That's the beauty of winter, isn't it? Calm, quiet, space, rest, pause. It gets totally depressing after a while, but it's the key to renewal and rebirth. 
When I lived in Phoenix for a year, my body was confused and longing for winter when it never came. Any time I feel bummed out, I remind myself how much I treasure four seasons. When winter arrives with its silence and stillness, it feels good to retreat, light some candles and look inward. Even though it seems to be slogging on forever, (and I will be positively euphoric to see crocuses, tender blades of spring grass and sunshine!) we are embracing it as best we can: Theo and I are bundling up and getting out for walks almost every day, I've been doing lots of baking, and J and Coco are skiing every weekend. How are you embracing winter?