In the early days of winter, the world seems asleep. We, too, pause for breath. We recharge and rejuvenate. For underneath winter’s quiet blanket, the earth is stirring. This month, renew your spirit: reconnect with the things that excite and nourish you in every season.
Amid the new year’s call for reinvention and revision, celebrate what you already have: your passions. What restores you? What makes you whole?
In our Feed Your Fire Giveaway, we’re providing a grand-prize winner with three Storey titles of the winner’s choosing, plus a $100 gift certificate for necessary supplies—selected by you from our list of retail partners—to ignite your creative spark.
Two runners-up will select a trio of Storey books for their DIY libraries.
To enter, click the Enter the Giveaway button below. You’ll be asked to answer a few brief questions about what you’d like to see in our monthly newsletter. Simply submit your responses to enter the contest.
Entries accepted through January 31.
Full details available when you enter.
From readying beehives for spring to sailing across a frozen pond on ice skates, our authors share their favorite things to do in January.
Hunkering Down in “Bee World”
In January, I hunker down in “Bee World”: my renovated garage. I have cases of beehive parts to assemble, and this quiet time is perfect for the task. The bees are working very hard in the very cold to keep their queens warm, maintaining a temperature of 95 degrees. Soon enough it will be spring, and with warm temperatures come pollen and nectar flows.
For now, I am stocking up on books, cranking up my little shiny blue Vermont Castings stove, curling up with my puppy, and sinking into Ann Patchett’s or William Least Heat-Moon’s newest. I have big trips to plan this year – my 60th birthday is coming in May and adventures await.
Laurey Masterton is the author of The Fresh Honey Cookbook. Visit her website to sign up for her regular newsletter.
The Exquisite Frozen World
As a Californian who transplanted herself into the New England landscape over a decade ago, I still have a strong picture of cozy winters by the fire that I associated with what it would be like to live here: hibernation. Strangely, there is nothing I’d rather do in January than get my toasted self OUTSIDE on the ice. I live on a pond that freezes fast, and the joy I get from skating is like nothing else—fast, free, physical, and surrounded by the exquisite frozen world. And the fire is lit and waiting.
Nicole Blum is the coauthor of Improv Sewing. She blogs with Debra Immergut at Improv Diary.
Some New Small Thing
In January, I don’t ride (wimpy Vermonter). My horse Robins resents the diminished attention and lets me know, meeting me at the door snapping and snarling. So we recivilize each other. I request “head down” or “ears,” then click and treat her for polite behavior. She starts offering it spontaneously, getting more clicks, more treats, and more attention, which is what she wanted all along. And I get the horse I want, one who pricks her ears and gives me soft looks. I’m reminded again that a clicker-trained animal expects stimulation. So I dream up some new small thing to teach her, and we each become the kind of being the other prefers.
Jessie Haas is the author of Horse Crazy! For more from Jessie, visit her blog.
The Backyard Homestead Book of Building Projects
Need more shelves for canning jars or a hoop house for vulnerable veggies? Satisfy your homestead needs by building your own, with experienced woodworker Spike Carlsen as your guide. The Backyard Homestead Book of Building Projects contains easy-to-follow plans for constructing practical fixtures for home, garden, and yard, from root cellar to beehive. This book will inspire beginner and veteran carpenters alike to take up the hammer and nails.
Liven up your living space with decorative details. This makeover project is one that your kids can take part in, and a perfect snow day activity to boot!
1 switch plate
Fabric scrap bigger than the switch plate
Small paintbrush or foam brush
Trace the switch plate.
1. Trace the switch plate onto the wrong side of the fabric. Trace the rectangular opening for the switch and draw an X in the middle of it. Draw another rectangle ½" larger than the switch plate tracing.
Cut out the fabric.
2. Following your markings, cut out the fabric. Carefully cut the X so you have four triangular flaps, taking care not to cut outside the small rectangle.
Apply decoupage medium.
3. Lay the fabric on a flat protected surface with the wrong side facing up. Brush the decoupage medium onto the front of the plate and turn it over onto the fabric, centering it within the ½" margin on all sides.
4. Brush the medium onto the edges of the plate and smooth the fabric around the outside edges and inside the switch opening. Allow to dry completely.
5. Once dry, dab decoupage medium onto the fabric edges on the wrong side of the plate, to paste them securely. Allow to dry.
6. Flip the covered plate over and apply one or two coats of medium over the fabric side of the plate. For a smoother finish, lightly sand between layers.
7. From the front of the plate, locate the screw holes and make a tiny cut into each one with a utility knife or scissors. Screw the plate to the light switch.
Even electrical outlets are an opportunity to add a makeover detail to a freshly painted wall.
In December, Bob Bennett, author of Storey’s Guide to Raising Rabbits, penned a blog post about the versatility of rabbits. There, we met George and Gwen Larue, a Virginia couple who work with troubled teenage girls and who have merged rabbit raising with using animals to help treat emotional trauma in people. In a recent note, George Larue expanded on the amazing impact their rabbits have had in the lives of those in need of comfort and healing:
“We have worked with teenagers in crisis for almost twelve years now. It used to be quite common for our girls to go through depression, anxiety, or other mental difficulties that landed them in the psychiatric wing of our local hospital. Since contacting Bob Bennett two years ago and starting this program, we have not had one incidence of hospitalization.
“One of our recent placements here is a 14-year-old girl. She spent a lot of time in group homes and detention centers. Finally, a family adopted her, but the adoptive father died unexpectedly and the adoptive mother no longer wanted her, so she became an emergency placement with us.
“She says she loves going to the barn and working with the rabbits. Tonight, she said she didn’t want to leave the barn, as she loves it so much. Our rabbits have helped her through a very difficult time in her life.
“My wife and I have worked with over 160 children over the years. I could tell stories for a long time about the amazing results of this piece of our rabbitry.”
For more information about George and Gwen Larue and their work with therapy rabbits, visit their website.
As a subscriber, you’re the first to know about this month’s Fresh Picks Flash Sale: The Fresh Honey Cookbook ebook is just $2.99 for three days only!
On Sale January 3–5
Recommended by the Washington Post as one of the Best Cookbooks of 2013, The Fresh Honey Cookbook is a sweet celebration of honey and the bees that create it. Discover 84 recipes inspired by 12 varieties of honey, and enjoy a seasonal peek at happenings inside the hive.
Missed the Flash Sale? You can still receive The Fresh Honey Cookbook Sampler as a free download on our Fresh Picks page.
This January don’t invent a new you — refuel the old you. Feed your passion for crafts, gardening, or homebrewing. Try a new technique, turn a hobby into income, free yourself from chaos and clutter, and make room for YOU!
Free! The Fresh Honey Cookbook Sampler
Celebrate honey, food, and the bees behind it all. This ebook short is packed with information on tasting honey, honey varietals, seasonal recipes, the winter hive, and the foods pollinated by honey bees.