A ‘Basket of Sunshine’

Hi Friends!

I’m certain that you already have everything

that you need at home.

So let’s create a ‘Basket of Sunshine’ together!

Very often, I reach for a tiny, gem of a book,

The Little Book of Hygge

(Danish Secrets to Happy Living). 

The author of this happy, little book, Meik Wiking, is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute, in Copenhagen. He thoroughly understands hygge (pronounced HOO-GA)… and happiness!

Each time I turn the pages, I feel so inspired by the feelings of well-being, coziness, and togetherness celebrated in Danish homes. Living a simple life, filled with gratitude, can bring such comfort into our busy days. Pure hygge!

Being mindful of the health benefits of small touches of nature also adds feelings of hygge to our homes. It’s no wonder that the Danes are known as the happiest people in the world!

Meik Wiking suggests preparing a Hygge Emergency Kit  filled with essential items for those times when we all need a pick-me-up. Inspired by his list of helpful suggestions, yesterday I created a ‘Basket of Sunshine’ of my very own. I already had everything that I needed right here at home!

I brought up a large, empty basket from my Paper Garden studio downstairs. Instantly, I felt inspired to fill it with ‘happy’ things! The pink and white plaid scarf is one that I brought back from a very special visit to Paris one December. I just love wrapping up in this cozy scarf, overflowing with warm, happy memories! I added some letters and cards from friends and family, too. Writing letters always adds sunshine to my days! Next I tucked in the inspiring book Wabi-Sabi Welcome, by Julie Pointer Adams. I’m enjoying this book immensely as I soak up ideas for embracing the imperfect in our home and inviting friends to gather here. It feels sunny just dreaming up plans as I read!

Next, I tucked in two beloved journals. It gladdens my heart to savor my Morning Pages and my Garden Joys journals from 2017.  I just had to squeeze in two tiny photo albums filled with memories of lovely gatherings with my favorite author, Susan Branch. Looking back at all of the special photos from a book signing event and two enchanting tea parties with Susan fills my heart with the joy of dreams-come-true.

Music always soothes my soul. So, I added a few CDs: Nora Jones’ Come Away with Me is a perennial favorite. Her soulful, jazz vocals are so relaxing! Andean Nation’s Contrasts combines acoustic guitar and the haunting sound of bamboo pipes. I can still feel the warmth of their live performance as we walked through a lovely art fair, one afternoon in the desert Southwest. Instant sunshine!  The Elegance of Pachelbel is such wonderful music for writing and meditation. My heart melts each time I hear Pachelbel’s Canon in D. Nearly ten years ago, an acoustic guitarist played it so beautifully as my dad walked me down the aisle. Joy! Joy! Joy!

Tea makes everything better. So, I added tins of Blackberry Sage and Ginger Peach tea. I tucked in a pretty candle and there was just enough room to squeeze in a small dish of dark chocolate Kisses. Sweet little touches of happiness!

Deciding which cozy things would fill my very first ‘Basket of Sunshine’ was a delight!  I just gathered the items as I wandered from room to room. The whole process felt joyous. Whether it is a cold, snowy day, a time of worry about loved ones facing difficult times, or the need to escape from the news for a bit, now I know just where to turn for an extra dose of hygge. My ‘Basket of Sunshine’ is ready to fill my heart with cozy, happy, peaceful moments!  Every few weeks, it will be nice to add new elements of ‘sunshine’ to this special basket.

Perhaps the idea will catch on… and you will make a ‘Basket of Sunshine,’ too!  We’d love to hear what things you might add to your own basket. Hope you will share with us!

Until next time, stay cozy and be well.

Thanks so much for stopping to visit today!

Warmest hugs!

♡ Dawn





39 thoughts on “A ‘Basket of Sunshine’

  1. How cool! I love your Mary Engelbreit or copy of Mary’s art, tea cup!! Love the commentary too. You are SO artistic. I need to be in your life so that some of it would rub off on me.

    • You are so sweet, Jan! I love my Garden tea cup, too. It’s actually designed by another one of my favorite artists, Susan Winget. Her designs are often found on Lang calendars, cards, and cups. I just adore her artwork! I’m so curious to know what things you would put into your own ‘Basket of Sunshine.’ Hope you will give it some thought, Jan. 🙂 Thanks so much for visiting and joining in the conversation! Warm hugs! ♡

    • Yay, Cathy! My basket wasn’t big enough to hold all of my ideas. So, it will be fun to change the ‘happy things’ every week or so. I know you will feel joyous as you fill your ‘Basket of Sunshine.’ I’m so curious about what you will put in your basket. Let us know what you decide to add! Thanks for always being here, Cathy! ♡

    • Isn’t it fun? I wonder what creative ideas you have for your own ‘Basket of Sunshine,’ Jodi. Perhaps a small, watercolor palette, your favorite cookbook, and some special photos! 🙂 Let us know… Warm hugs, Jodi! ♡

  2. What a warm and inviting post, Dawn, and an inspiration. While I haven’t made a Basket of Sunshine, I tend to keep a basket here and there with items that “gladden my heart”. I love teacups with saucers, but, there is one mug one of my daughters gave to me a few years ago that I often sip tea out of as it reminds me to “be still” and so, I do!
    I have many scarves and wear them all, sometimes using one for a table runner. Now, you’ve given me another idea and that is to nestle one in a basket. Thank you, thank you.

    • Oh, thank you, Penny! It’s so important to be intentional about savoring small moments of joy in each day. So, having a big basket filled with ‘joys’ really struck a chord with me! I love your idea of adding a special mug to my ‘Basket of Sunshine.’ I have noticed you wearing several beautiful scarves, my friend. Lovely scarves are among my favorite treasures, too! Each scarf holds so many memories. They are my very favorite souvenirs of travels in Europe (wearable art and so easy to pack!). I also cherish a few handmade scarves that were gifts from very talented friends. They always add a special warmth to the body, heart, and soul. I can just picture you nestling a favorite scarf into a basket today. my friend. 🙂 It always tickles my fancy to put things together in new ways!

      Penny, this morning when I opened the wooden blinds in our family room, I noticed that the garden gate to my Herb & Tea Garden was standing wide open! I’m curious to know about our mysterious nighttime visitor. I’ll have to look for tracks in the snow. 🙂 Sending warm hugs on a snowy morning! ♡

  3. Dawn, this is such a nice idea. I smiled to myself several times, as you so often influence my thoughts. I love the Lang calendars. Are you surprised? 😉 I also have a basket similar to yours, but I’ve gathered all true emergency supplies there after last year’s crazy rain and floods (and of course fires). I’ll have to pull out another one so I can embrace the idea of a basket of sunshine for my hygge emergencies. I’m just finishing a book called “My Year of Living Danishly.” Have you read it? The author is British, but moves to Denmark with her husband for a year when he lands a job working for LEGO. I fell in love with the culture and the people. I wish we could adopt more of their way of living. She talks about hygge as well. I can mail you my copy if you’re interested. Please just say the word. And finally, I just read the bio of artist Rae Dunn who embraces the concept of wabi-sabi in her work. Sending you a big, virtual hug.

    • Such a happy little thing, Alys! The Little Book of Hygge is filled with inspiration! I’m relieved to know that you have a real emergency basket in place, my friend! So, yes, it would be fun to have a hygge emergency ‘Basket of Sunshine’ ready for those days when we all need an extra dose of ‘happy.’

      Thank you so much for telling me about The Year of Living Danishly! Our library doesn’t have a copy, but I just put a hold on the eBook. I’ve already been enjoying the introduction… and it has captivated me! We have also dreamed about living abroad from time to time. Could you share the title of Rae Dunn’s biography? I keep seeing pictures of her mugs on decorating blogs. I’m completely smitten with the clean, simple look!

      We are kindreds in so many ways, Alys! Lang calendars are a real tradition in our home. I have been hanging the ‘Heart and Home’ calendar, by Susan Winget, in our pantry each year for 30 years! (It’s so funny that I had to teach my husband not to scratch trivial things (like dental appointments) on that beautiful calendar. “It’s only for birthdays,” I would explain! :)) I adore the beautiful artwork on Lang cards, stationery, stacking boxes, mugs,… everything!:) Until recently, the Lang products were produced in the charming, little town of Delafield, Wisconsin. So, every Autumn for over twenty years, we would plan a Girlfriends Getaway to visit Delafield. Their charming shop was in converted, old church. Swoon!! We timed our weekend for their annual Factory Sale. Shoppers were invited into the Lang factory (which looked like a castle). It always felt like a happy holiday party, as all of the Lang fans (more Kindreds!) waited in line for hours to shop for special Christmas gifts! Those were the days!! Sadly, a few years ago, the Delafield factory closed and their manufacturing moved to China. Ever since, we have been concerned about what would become of Delafield. Lang was a major employer for the pretty, little town.

      Alys, I think you would enjoy Wabi-Sabi Welcome, too. I have checked it out from our library several times. Just reading and admiring the stunning photos is a dose of ‘happy.’ I have been reading more and more about the Danish and Japanese philosophies of well-being… and giving much thought to this lovely inspiration! Thank you for always being here, sweet friend, and for always inspiring me with ‘food for thought.’ (0 Smart Points! 🙂 ) Warm hugs on a snowy morning! ♡

      • Oh.my.heart! Thank you for the wonderful links, Alys! I didn’t know anything at all about Rae Dunn, but for the past several months, her beautiful, simple ceramics have caught my eye on many different farmhouse decor blogs and on Instagram. Just this morning, while having tea at a friend’s lovely home, Rae Dunn’s ceramics on the kitchen counter made my heart smile. I just adore these pieces!

        Wabi sabi comes to mind each time I see a mug, bowl, canister, etc. in her unmistakable style. After reading about her, I can tell that Rae Dunn is a a true kindred spirit. I love knowing that she is also a Francophile! 🙂 The simple, black lettering and white space on her designs always feels so calming. 🙂 I’m so grateful that you sent these links, Alys! I hope that one day, one of her clay pieces will be ‘at home’ here! Heartfelt thanks for all that you share, my friend! ♡

      • I learned about Rae Dunn via a friend I’m acquainted with on Facebook. She’s a collector. I met her (Carrie Marie) via a Facebook group for Little Free Library stewards. I crafted a miniature LFL for her a couple of years ago. It’s all serendipity as far as I’m concerned the way we find each other and connect and share and relate. It makes me happy.

      • Alys, it is truly remarkable just how easy it is to connect with kindred spirits across the globe now. Your blog is another very special gathering place for a wonderful group of kind, creative souls! We are blessed by those who inspire us, teach us, and challenge us to grow in so many exciting ways! Thanks for always being here, Alys! ♡

      • I love the story about the girlfriends weekend to the Lang factory. What a shame that they, like so many others, have moved manufacturing to China.

        Dawn, have you kept your old calendars? I challenge myself to repurpose my wall calendars each year. I’ve turned the pages into bookmarks, envelopes, and even made a gift card holder once. I’ve also used them to line drawers. They’re far too pretty to simply recycle.

        I love the “food for thought…zero Smart Points” comment. You’re the best.

      • Alys, I have saved many of my Lang calendars over the years. Right now, the beautiful pages from the Lang ‘Sunflowers’ calendar are repurposed as a colorful banner along one wall in my little Paper Garden studio. Whenever I glance up from my craft table, the bright sunflowers warm my heart!

        I love your annual calendar repurposing challenge! I have created bookmarks using old calendars. Some Lang artwork by Susan Winget and Jane Shasky recently became part of a memory collage that I created. I just love your idea for lining drawers with these beautiful calendar pages! The textured, linen paper is definitely too nice to just recycle. You inspire me in so many wonderful ways, dear Alys! ♡

      • I’m smiling (again). I made a paper banner out of a calendar I received as a gift a few years ago, and hung it in our guest room/my son’s room. (he’s away at college). I found some vintage rayon ribbon at my friend Donna’s booth at Antique Row. It’s the perfect compliment.

      • Kindred spirits, dear Alys! Such a delightful way to welcome your special guests! I just love hearing about all of your creative projects. ♡

    • Isn’t it a great idea? Just imagine all of the wonderful things you could fill your basket with, Judy! The Little Book of Hygge is overflowing with lovely, simple inspiration for living a good life! I intentionally try very hard to carry ‘sunshine’ in my heart, but having a ‘Basket of Sunshine’ is an extra-added dose of ‘cozy.’ 🙂 I think I will reach into my basket on this cold, gray, snowy morning! Please soak up a bit of the South Carolina sunshine for me today… and admire a camellia blossom for me! Have a great day of exploring, Judy! ♡

  4. Your blackberry sage tea sounds so good! I don’t usually drink fruity teas, but oh my. Maybe because it sounds so summery! I have already checked out Wabi Sabi Welcome and it is on it’s way to me. It looks like a delightful book. You have to love Amazon! And while I would prefer to wonder through a book store, I actually live in an area that does not have one! Apparently it is not a priority here! So I rely on Amazon for books. I am not through packing up my basket, but I have my Nest candle (grapefruit), my Earl Grey Creme tea, my book Braiding Sweetgrass, my Journal, pictures of my grandkids…..I am still gathering. Definitely some seed catalogs. This was fun and I could use an afternoon of hygge! Thanks for the quiet reflection this morning and the new book! ❤️
    Off to do my yoga before I head off to work!

    • Kindred spirits, dear Chris! You are so welcome! I think you will love Wabi-Sabi Welcome. Wait until you see the gorgeous photography! One day, I took her book back to the library, just so I could sit and read it by the cozy fireplace there! Julie Pointer Adams inspires readers to embrace the imperfect in our homes and to easily and thoughtfully welcome guests. The Japanese philosophy of Wabi-Sabi is so lovely! The more I learn about hygge and wabi-sabi, the more I want to learn!

      Oh, I would love to reach into your ‘Basket of Sunshine,’ too! A grapefruit-scented candle sounds heavenly! Each time I wander through Crate & Barrel (my favorite store), I linger just to smell their grapefruit candles. Thank you for introducing me to Braiding Sweetgrass, Chris! Our library has the audio version or the eBook available. Which do you think I would enjoy more?

      Yes! Seed catalogs are a definite ‘must’ for a ‘Basket of Sunshine.’ I just added the new catalog from White Flower Farm to my basket. Do you receive their catalogs? If not, you must subscribe. Whenever a catalog from White Flower Farm arrives, it makes this gardener’s heart so happy!

      Special photographs are the perfect things to keep your a ‘Basket of Sunshine,’ Chris! Each photography holds years of memories while capturing a special moment in time. I just have to share… For my Artist Date last week, I went to a Memory Collage class. It was just amazing to create a special collage of the past decade of my life, using black and white photocopies of special photos (all with torn edges). I titled it “The Fairy Tale Girl.” 🙂 I could have used a larger sheet of watercolor paper to hold my collage, since I have so many passions that I cherish! One day, I will copy more photos for another collage. Perhaps, in time, I can create a collage highlighting each decade of my life, to accompany my Memoir Writing. It was such an amazing Artist Date, Chris, because it truly inspired my creativity in exciting new ways!!

      How lovely to begin your day with Yoga before heading off to work. Namaste, dear one! ♡

    • You will just love creating your own ‘Basket of Sunshine.’ Karen! Hope you will share your inspiration. Be sure to come back and let us know what you decide to put in your basket. 🙂 Chris reminded me to add a seed catalog! So, I’m going to add the recent White Flower Farm catalog to my basket. 🙂 There is going to be a whole lot of hygge spreading throughout our little gathering of kindred spirits here. Sharing makes me truly happy! Sending warm hugs, Karen! ♡

  5. Dawn, this is a beautiful idea! We are so lucky today to have beautiful sunshine streaming through our windows. We were able to take our walk outdoors! It’s quite warm for this time of year for us, but I know the days of winter are not over. I have a lovely old basket downstairs that I think I will bring up to fill with sunshine. My basket would be filled with similar items that you enjoy. Noel knitted me a lovely shawl that would go in first. Then I’d add one of my Yankee candles. then my gardening journal and my England journal and my favorite Victoria magazines, my Southern Living magazines as well. I’d have to also add my special Earl Grey Tea that I bought in England. All of my Gladys Taber and Susan Branch books–yes this would all be a sunshine basket for me! Thank you for all the beautiful ideas you share. I love this one! Have a wonderful warm and cozy week, dear friend. ♥

    • Martha Ellen, all of the things in your ‘Basket of Sunshine’ would make me smile, too! It would be such fun to peek into your England journal and your Garden journal (over a cup of tea, of course!). I think I will have to rotate my Susan Branch books into my basket, one-by-one. I just squeezed in her Gratitude book today, along with a pair of cozy, warm socks. I only have one Gladys Taber book, but it definitely belongs in the basket when there is room. Since the ‘Basket of Sunshine’ is still new to us, we can figure out the best ways to make it work. Perhaps after enjoying a special item, we could replace it with another item. Goodness knows, our homes are filled with hygge and all the things that bring us comfort and cozy feelings! 🙂 It’s nice to highlight them and enjoy them from day to day.

      It has been such fun today to hear everyone’s suggestions for adding hygge! I now have three new books that I hadn’t known about on my ‘Must Read’ list. 🙂 It’s so nice that our gardens are sleeping, so that we have more time indoors! I’m so happy that you and Grayden were able to enjoy a walk in the sunshine. We had a warm, rainy day yesterday and woke up to snow today. Such crazy weather everywhere! We will have warm sunshine on Friday, so I’m really looking forward to a long walk with a dear friend in one of our favorite places. Thanks so much for letting us peek into your ‘Basket of Sunshine’ today. Sending sunny hugs, dear one! ♡

  6. Dawn, I would go for the audio version if it were available. I love to listen to audio books on my way to work because it ‘s a 40 minute drive. I learned about this book when Margaret on A Way To Garden interviewed her on Public Radio. http://awaytogarden.com/braiding-sweetgrass-robin-wall-kimmerer/ Hopefully the link will work for you. I just had to have the book after hearing the interview. I have always felt a deep connection to the earth and her book just resonated with me.
    It sounds like you need to do a post on your collage. How interesting! I would love to see it.
    Have a great rest of the week!

    • Thanks so much, Chris, for my new book! They are holding the audio book for me at the library. 🙂 I’m looking forward to learning so much from Braiding Sweetgrass. I don’t usually listen to audio books here at home, but I’m looking forward to trying it! Thank you for the NPR link, too. What a great interview! I’m happy to discover this wonderful gardening podcast, Chris. New learning is most definitely my ‘cup of tea!’ 🙂
      Heartfelt thanks for all that you share, Chris! Enjoy your week, too! ♡

    • You must have been at the forefront of the hygge movement, Sandi!😊 Having a basketful of happy, cozy things nearby feels extra sweet on a cold winter’s day. I’ve been adding a few new things throughout the week ~ warm, cozy socks, a catalog from White Flower Farm, and hot cocoa mix. Best of all, they are all favorite things that I already had here at home! It feels nice to pamper myself a bit with my ‘Basket of Sunshine!’ Thanks so much for visiting today, Sandi! 💗

  7. Dawn, You made my day coming the other night to Artis to see my presentation!! But you blew me away with your gift of JOY!!! I’m a little under the weather so I’m using your gift right now and it’s soothing my soul as I drink!!! How thoughtful of you to think of me!! What a gift you are and I’m GRATEFUL and JOYFUL!!!

    • It’s so important to refill our cup of JOY, Loretta! You bring joy to everyone who meets you. I’m so happy that my dearest friend was with me that evening. We both learned so much! I’m very sorry to hear that you are a bit under the weather today. Winter travel can take its toll on our health. Hope you can rest this weekend, sip tea and cocoa, and recharge. You are doing such important work, Loretta! I wish I could send you a whole ‘Basket of Sunshine,’ dear one. Thank you so much for stopping to visit today! Warmest hugs! ♡

    • Welcome, Latane! Thanks so much for visiting today and joining in our conversation here. 🙂 Marcia knows some of the nicest people! I look forward to your visits in the future. Sending warm wishes on a cold, winter day in the Midwest! ♡

  8. I have such limited space in my little trailer but the idea is just lovely. I have shelves in front of my bedroom window that I have pretty things that make me happy. You did trigger a very important thought about making a little welcome basket for a guest coming to stay for a couple of days. Now I need to decide what to put in it. I know I have seen them here or there but something will turn up in research. I have a basket, now for the good stuff. 🙂 You do inspire me.

    • Such a nice idea to have shelves filled with happy things, Marlene! Just look around your home and choose a few of your happy, cozy things to fill your basket. What a thoughtful way to welcome a special guest! Thanks so much for stopping to visit today, Marlene. You always add a touch of sunshine! ♡

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