Is Your Den Ready for Hibernation?

   The temperatures are cooling down, the sun journies lower across the sky, and the moon appears sooner each night. Animals naturally know ts time to get ready to snuggle up in their dens. What is a den? A den, which is also known as a hibernacula, can vary on its function depending on its hibernating critter. They can be anything from a hollowed-out space underneath a tree, that can leave the animal a little exposed to the elements or for the more serious hibenator, a fully insulated den, where they line it with natural materials like leaves and mud. Each animal has to prepare its place of rest according to its needs. Have you gotten your resting place together for the winter? Does your home fit your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs?
   I can defiantly relate to our critter friends. When the temperature drops, I want to retreat inside! Winter is not my favorite time of year at all, and I usually get into a wintery slump around February due to the lack of sun and warm days. So this winter, I'm trying to break the slump by making my art studio a den that I don't mind wintering in! Here are the things I did to help crush my winter blues:

   This past summer, I moved my art room to a brighter corner of the house. I chose the space because it has two windows to let natural light in, and I also have two large studio lamps I can use at night. The walls are white so that the natural light and artificial light can be reflected more throughout the room. Good light is needed while I work so that I can see colors and details better, but it also helps keep my energy and happiness levels up on clod days when I won't go outside. In the winter, I have to make sure that I get enough exposure to some form of light, or I find my self getting down. I need to maintain the right level of energy so I can create new designs and critters for Wildwood Wonder.
   The effect of light can also affect your rest patterns. It's dark at 5:00 pm in the winter compared to almost 9:00 pm in the summer, so I also keep more lights on in my house during the winter to give the same effect and keep my family from wanting to go to sleep at 6:00 pm. Now, on the other hand, I think it is essential to listen to what your body needs. If your body says it tired, then take a nap! I am committing to letting my self take naps on the weekends so that I can refresh and have more energy. During the week I go to bed an hour early if I don't have anything pressing that I have to do.
I have also put an antique couch in my studio space for rest, reflections, and brainstorming sessions. My children can come in an take a nap while I work, and it adds a warm cozy touch to the room.

Staying Warm:
   I'm afraid I'm not like the bear who can deal with a draft. Because the room was originally the garage, I did have to add some physical warmth by getting an oil heater. Which, of course, is used with caution and care. This way, I can stay and work, an if the kids or dogs what to come into the studio for a bit, they can. I also put down a rug to block the cold from the concrete floor underneath, and as a bonus, it adds a cozy look to the studio. Warmth can also go beyond the physical. Your space can look or give off the feeling of comfort. It can be warm and inviting. I have a Himalayan salt lamp beside my couch, and the pink-orangish glow of the light helps set a warm mood throughout the studio. If you are a believer in the health benefits of these lamps, then that's a bonus for your space! I also have them in all of our bedrooms.
   You can also add a sense of warmth to your space by adding your favorite incense or candle. I happen to burn both, and my main scent is Ne Champa. It just fills the air with a clean, warm smell that can leave you with a positive state of mind and calm feelings. You can also find candles in your favorite incense fragrances.

Favorite Things:
   If you are about to spend four months inside, its best to be surrounded by your favorite things! I'm sure you've probably already guessed that art supplies are one of those things. Art uplifts my soul, stretches my creative mind, and comforts my spirit. So, surround yourself with something you enjoy doing, a hobby, craft, or tiny library. You can cuddle up on your couch and read a good book in that great lighting you have!
   I'm also plant-obsessed! I can't go to a garden center without leaving with some new plants. So bring a little nature inside was a must! They make me happy when I look at them and remind me of warmer days. Another one of my favorite things is mushrooms. I'm fascinated with mushrooms, so I've ended up with a collection of them and have them scattered around the studio as little accessories that accompany my art. My collection of ceramic mushrooms and vintage mushroom coffee mugs are reminders of fun antiquing adventures with one of my besties. That best friend happens to be a pretty talented artist herself, whose work is one of the pieces that hang on my art collection wall.  
   The majority of the collection consists of Mississippi artists from all the different places I've visited around the state, or meet at various workshops, markets, and shows. They hold meaning for me, and I can quickly remember those great times with a glance at that wall. It is also a source of inspiration. An example of how several people from the same place can have the same passion for art, use te same colors, same themes, but yet all have their unique take on what they experience and see. There is room for all of us, and we can support each other.  
I hope you've been able to get some ideas for your den. Maybe add a plant or two. Cozy up with your favorite book, perhaps wrapped up in your grandmother's quilt that holds special memories. Fill your space with items that will remind you of sunshine and warmer day.

Happy hibernating,