COZY N A T U R E
C R A F T
W I N T E R
F O O D
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WA R M T H
CONTENTS Hello Winter: Editor's Letter | Page 9 COZY Playlist Winter 2022 | Page 14 COZY Reading List Winter 2022 | Page 15 COZY Winter Evening Ideas | Page 16 In Season: Winter Foods | Page 20 Cozy Peppermint Hot Chocolate | Page 22 Warm & Spiced Banana Bread | Page 26 A Season Of Snow, A Season of Art Blanket Pattern Mock Fisherman's Rib Winter Scarf The Foundations of Knitting
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Blackout Poem* | Page 47 Guided Nature Walks For Winter | Page 49 Forest Friends: Making Bird Feeders | Page 52 Support COZY | Page 54
*The blackout poem is interpreted from the book "Introduction to Plant Geography" by Nicholas Polunin.
P A G E
COZY / ˈ KŌZĒ/ ADJECTI VE Giving a feeling of comfort, warmth, and relaxation. The sensation of sitting by a fire. The warm feeling you get being wrapped under a blanket with friends.
WARMTH G E T T I N G
C O Z Y
HELLO WINTER AN
EDI TOR' S
Let’s be honest—winter can be a particularly hard season. In a way, the snow naturally lends itself to coziness. When the thermometer dips, big fluffy jackets come out, hats get dusted off, and mittens are remembered. It’s a time of homemade pie and bread, evenings spent by the fire. But just because the season lends itself to cozy things does not mean you can spend every winter without a bit of struggle. For many of us, winter means the onset of seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. It can be hard to smile on a day when the sun sets at five in the evening. We struggle, and that’s okay. Life isn’t always perfect, and that’s okay. I myself had a harder time creating COZY issue two. In the fall with issue one, I felt right at home writing and taking photos. When I stepped outside, things were bright and crisp. The birds were migrating and my garden was bustling with its final harvest. In the winter, the world is…barren. Soft. Lonely. I didn’t even realize how much certain aspects of the season were affecting me until an unusually sunny day late January when I was startled awake by some song birds speaking at my window. Listening to their song, I felt an emptiness fill in my chest—an emptiness I didn't know I had. This winter issue almost felt dishonest at first. How do we find coziness in a time filled with such emotional and mental hardship? What finally brought me to the beauty of winter was none other than tea.
When I think of what “cozy” means, tea is an easy answer. From its various mixed leaves to its inspirational quote tags telling you to "smell the roses" and "listen to your heart," tea is a cozy staple (pretty much anything served warm in a mug is). I believe it was Lin Yutang who once said “There is something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quiet contemplation of life.” If you want to take a moment to breathe, tea is there to help you find that first breath. When I need warmth in the winter, lemon ginger tea with maple syrup is always my answer, or maybe a nice spiced chai with honey. But to be honest, tea has always been a given to me—a box I keep under my bread cupboard. The act of microwaving my water and sitting down with a book was just that, an act. Once I finished my tea, that moment of warmth was over. How could I keep the cold out for longer than a cup? The answer came in my garden. This past summer, I actually grew tea for the first time. During a late night trip to the grocery store, I saw a lone chamomile starter falling asleep by the sliding door. Without really thinking about it, I placed it in my cart. Inspired by my late night find, the next day I returned to pick up another chamomile starter and two tulsi starters for good measure. (I did experiment with growing my own plants from seed, but let’s just say that story didn’t have the best ending.) The act of growing tea was nothing like I’d ever experienced. Compared to my tomato vines and potato sprouts sitting in their neat rows, my tea plants were wild. My chamomile exploded onto the scene with dense foliage reaching left and right. My tulsi was so large, I had to use driftwood to keep it from tangling with my lettuce. The harvesting, to be honest with you, was rather tedious. Chamomile flowers come in bunches that must be carefully cut from their stem…and there’s many of them. Tulsi leaves must be harvested across the plant evenly…and there’s many of them. Most evenings in my garden were spent slowly picking leaves and flowers and dropping them into mason jars. By the time fall rolled around, after hours and hours of work, I had two mason jars of chamomile and six jars of tulsi.
At the end of my harvest, I put my jars in the darkest corner of my kitchen and left them there. I was too afraid to “waste” my hard work by actually drinking the tea. My effort sat idle for months. But when the winter snow came and the sun started resting behind the mountains as early as four in the evening, I knew it was time for the tea. On a particularly cold evening, I cracked open a jar filled with a mix of chamomile and tulsi. The only word I know that can properly describe the smell that hit me is… joy. Summer joy. Warm joy. Cozy joy. Right in the middle of the darkest part of winter, summer was weaving through my bones. While I am sure my tea was no better than the bags you can buy at the store, in that first cup of homegrown tea, I was convinced I was tasting the best thing in the world. Suddenly, brewing tea wasn’t a mundane routine, but something deeply personal. Something really and truly warm. I didn’t just experience coziness, I made my coziness. While many days this winter were hard and long, I knew I always had my homegrown tea to look forward to. It was small, yes, but it was entirely mine, and it filled my heart to the brim. Tea became a reminder—a reminder that warmth, in its own way, will always be waiting for us when we’re ready for it. I found my version coziness this winter, and I hope you find yours too, whether it be small or large, outside or inside, or in your own home or on these pages. Now, let's make some tea and get cozy, shall we?
Waters by Jesse Taylor Every Woman by Vagabon Void by Lil Nas X Lullaby by UMI & Yeek Halley's Comet by Bille Eilish Hold Your Head Up High by Darlingside Evermore by Taylor Swift & Bon Iver Ether Garden by Henry Jamison Heavy by Birdtalker Riverside by Anges Obel Winter by Lisa Hannigan
Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton World of Wonders Aimee Nezhukumatathil The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker Gathering Moss by Robin Wall Kimmerer The Electric Kingdom by David Arnold The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern Wintering by Katherine May Ghost Wood Song by Erica Waters Fun Home by Alison Bechdel Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds A Thousand Beginnings and Endings edited by Ellen Oh Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer The Nature of Winter by Jim Crumley Tangleweed and Brine by Deirdre Sullivan When I Grow Up I Want to be a List of Further Possibilities by Chen Chen Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger Winter: An Anthology for the Changing Seasons edited by Melissa Harrison
Winter is a season of spending time indoors, especially when our evenings become dark and even a bit nippy. Luckily, there's always a way—or two—to stay cozy on a winter night. Tonight, maybe you can... Sample a new tea Play a card game by the fire Read your favorite childhood book series Write a poem for a loved one Make a reading pillow fort Light a candle and curl up under a blanket Start a new knitting project Learn about the stars Tend to your plants Open a new puzzle Try a new cookie recipe Make your own bookmarks Cut out paper snowflakes and hang them in the window Toss on your warmest sweater Go to bed early, sleep in late
FOOD W I N T E R
F A V O R I T E S
Apples Avocados Bananas Brussels Sprouts Cabbage Carrots Chamomile Chives Collard Greens Common Thyme Grapefruit Kale Leeks Mints Oranges Oregano Parsnips Pears Pineapple Potatoes Pumpkin Rutabaga Sage Swiss Chard Tarragon Turnips Winter Squash
COZY PEPPERMINT HOT CHOCOLATE BEGI NNER
It's winter—including a hot chocolate recipe in this issue is basically a necessity. While powdered hot chocolate does the job in a pinch on a frosty day, making your own homemade hot chocolate does more than just satiate your sweet tooth: it puts you in the winter spirit. Made on the stovetop with oat milk, bakers chocolate, and peppermint, this recipe is perfect for a night with close friends. Just remember to grab your favorite mug and your best sauce pan, and you'll be ready to say cheers.
I NGREDI ENTS 2 1/2 cups of oat milk 2 tsp of pure peppermint extract Half a bar of semi-sweet bakers chocolate (56% cacao), roughly chopped 5 tablespoons of maple syrup 1/2 a tablespoon of coconut oil
DI RECTI ONS
Collect your ingredients. Pour your oat milk into a sauce pan. On a medium high heat, let it cook until the milk is frothing and/or bubbling at the sides. Make sure to stir occasionally throughout the cooking period to keep the oat milk stable. Once the milk is heated, add your peppermint (adding or subtracting peppermint to your taste preference). Stir in the peppermint and allow for another full minute and a half of cook time. Once the peppermint is incorporated, add your chopped chocolate, stirring continuously to encourage the chocolate to melt. When the chocolate begins to break down and the mixture begins to turn brown, add your maple and coconut oil. Stir until all ingredients are combined and there are no chocolate chunks left. Taste to see if you need to add ingredients. (You can add/cut it with water if it's too rich for you.) Once you're happy with the taste, take your hot chocolate off of the burner and let it cool down to a drinking temperature. (Tip: make sure to stir the mixture occasionally while cooling so that a film does not form on the surface.) Once the hot chocolate has cooled enough to safely drink, distribute your drink and enjoy it with friends. Note: If saved and refrigerated, the coconut might separate. Simply warm up and stir well to reincorporate. (To avoid separation, drink the day created.) Extra cozy idea: Add a sprig of mint to your cup for some decoration!
WARM & SPICED BANANA BREAD BEGI NNER
Here at COZY, we love lots of flavor. If we can put maple syrup in something, you bet we will—which exactly what we did with our Warm & Spiced Banana Bread recipe. Full of maple, cinnamon, nutmeg, and chocolate, this bread is definitely best saved for desert. (And, you know, second desert.) This is our Editor-in-Chief's secret banana bread recipe, but she's happy to share it with the COZY community. After all, what good is a loaf of bread if you can't share it with friends?
I NGREDI ENTS 2 very ripe bananas 1/4 cup applesauce 1/2 tsp of baking soda 1 large pinch of salt 3/4 cup of white sugar (add or subtract sugar depending on how sweet you want your bread) 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour 1 beaten egg 1 tsp of cinnamon A large pinch of nutmeg, to taste A generous splash of maple syrup, to taste Chocolate chips, to taste
DI RECTI ONS
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Butter/grease a 4x8-inch loaf pan. Set aside. Peel your ripe bananas and put them in a medium to large mixing bowl. Once added, mash your bananas with the back side of a fork until pulverized into mush. Add in your applesauce and stir until combined. Add in your baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix. Now add your sugar, egg, and maple syrup. (Note: Do not be afraid of the maple, just go for it!) Mix. Slowly mix in your flour. Once incorporated, add your desired amount of chocolate chips. Pour your mixture into your loaf pan. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes at 350 degrees fahrenheit. If you insert a knife or toothpick into the batter, it should come out clean (aka, no wet batter). The bread should be a nice golden brown color. Let your bread cool and enjoy! Extra cozy idea: Five minutes before your bread is done, pull it out of the oven and drizzle maple syrup on top of the loaf in a zigzag pattern. Return it to the oven to finish cooking.
CRAFT A R T S
F O R
W I N T E R
A SEASON OF SNOW, A SEASON OF ART WI NTER- THEMED
WRI TI NG
With winter's long nights and chilly mornings, this season provides ample time to sit at your desk (or in your favorite arm chair) and create. As our backyards become full of bare winter trees and snowdrifts, the world is suddenly full of new ideas, places, and creatures to inspire our art. So let's let them in.
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Winter is a time of bare bones. Things stripped down to their roots. Bare trees and bare earth. Write or create a piece inspired by this natural simplicity, and the beauty that can be found at our cores. When it snows, small creatures like mice and moles tunnel through the snow, leaving little lines in the snow showing where they've been and where they want to go. Write or create a piece about the busy life happening in these snow paths. White is the absence of color. Write or create a piece that proves snow is full of vibrancy. Think of winter comforts. Candles, fireplaces, yule logs, hot chocolate, warm mittens—you name it. Write or create a piece about a memory you have surrounding these warm winter things.
"Blow, blow, thou winter wind / Thou art not so unkind." William Shakespeare, "Blow Blow Thou Winter Wind." In this famous poem, Shakespeare declares the winter wind as "not so unkind." Write or create a piece that turns the myth that winter is an unkind season through and through on its head. Right now, spring seeds and bulbs are resting under the warm blanket of the earth, awaiting their May arrival. Write or create a piece from the perspective of a seed sleeping under its earthy blanket. Think of winter activities. Ice skating, snowball fights, sledding, baking cookies, cutting out paper snowflakes, and the like. Write or create a piece about one of your favorite memories surrounding cozy winter activities. A world covered in ice and frost can be both haunting and beautiful, unmoving and alive. Write or create a piece inspired by the cross section of beauty and danger evoked in ice. Only a few forest animals are awake this time of year, and they often make long journeys in search of food and sleep. Write or create from the perspective of a forest creature living a day in the snow. This season is full of silence—of stillness. Write or create based on a strong memory you have about the stillness of winter. Just like some animals, trees hibernate in the winter. Write or create a piece from the perspective of a tree writing its spring to-do list.
The moment snow touches the ground, our blankets come out. There's nothing quite like a handmade blanket, especially when you're the one who made it. To be warm because of something you made, well, that's truly cozy. This chunky blanket in any room that it's looks when you use weight to it, making want to fall asleep.
is not only warm, but it's a statement piece in because of how bold the seed stitch super bulky yarn. Plus, it has a heavier it perfect to bundle up under when you
Whether you want to make a blanket just for you or a blanket big enough to fit two, this pattern will allow you to freely experiment with shapes and sizes. Just know that if this if your first time knitting a blanket, this big project takes a while to knit. But the more you work with your yarn, the more you will become connected to it, making the blanket all the more special.
MATERI ALS Super bulky yarn, approximately 12+/- skeins, dependent on skein yardage (For the blanket pictured, the knitter used well over a dozen MillaMia Naturally Soft Super Chunky 100% merino wool, 55 yds per skein) US size 15 or 17 needles, round 46in to 60in (depending on preference) *Note: It’s recommended you find a color neutral color that will match the room the blanket will be kept in.
ABREVI ATI ONS K P CO BO
knit purl - cast on - bind off
I NSTRUCTI ONS
Row 1: CO desired stitches (stitches must be an odd number) Row 2: K establishing row. Row 3: K1 P1. Repeat across the entire row. Row 4: Repeat row 3 until the blanket reaches your desired size. Second to last row: K final row. Last row: BO and weave in your ends. As always, we'll write that out for those who might need a little more explanation. Casting on requires a bit of measurement. A blanket is a rectangle—what you cast on is the short side of your rectangle. That is the part of the blanket that goes near your head or your feet, so you'll want the blanket to be wide enough to cover your body across (or two bodies across if you want a blanket you can share). Cast on by measuring across your body (or two bodies) and adding stitches in accordance. (We usually keep holding the round up against ourselves as we cast on for a visual measurement.) No matter how many stitches you add, the number must be an odd number. Once you have cast on, complete your first row using the knit stitch. We find this helps you secure your seed stitch. Use the seed stitch for the rest of your project, starting by knitting your first stitch, purling your second stitch, and repeating that process until the end of the row. Seed stitch until your project has reached its desired length (aka, big enough to cover your body from head to toe). Make sure to either measure the length of your body prior to knitting or measure the blanket against your body as you knit. When you're happy with the size, knit your final row, and bind off all of your stitches. Weave in the ends of your project for a clean finish. Let us know how your project goes and show us your completed blanket at @Cozy_zine on Twitter and @Cozyzine on Instagram!
MOCK FISHERMAN RIB WINTER SCARF BEGI NNER
KNI TTI NG
What's a winter knitting season without a scarf or two? Many knitters begin their crafting journey by learning how to knit a scarf. It's essential to have a few scarf patterns in your repertoire of projects, especially when you need to brace for snowy days. This mock fisherman rib scarf—contributed by Margot Nelson —is an elevated take on a simple scarf. It might take a little practice to understand the stitch, but once you master it, you can easily transfer it to future blankets, shawls, and the like. Let's pick up our needles and begin.
ABREVI ATI ONS
Size 4.0 mm straight needles 500m DK weight yarn Tapestry needle
K P CO BO
knit purl - cast on - bind off
I NSTRUCTI ONS
CO 55 stitches Row 1:*K1 P1* repeat steps between ** until end of row Repeat Row 1 four more times (five rows total) Row 6: K1 P1 K1, K until last three stitches, K1 P1 K1 Row 7: K1 P1 K1, *P, insert right needle into bump of the previous row (aka, the middle of the stitch from the row below the one you are currently working on) and stitch on left needle, wrap yarn to knit both loops like normal* repeat steps between ** until last three stitches, K1 P1 K1 Repeat Rows 6 and 7 until scarf measures 62 inches or desired length Repeat Rows 1 through 5 Cast off all stitches and weave in ends using tapestry needles As always, we'll write that out for those who might need a little more explanation. When you start this project, you will cast on 55 stitches and knit the bottom of your scarf border, which is a simple K1, P1, K1 for five rows. At the sixth row, it's time to start the mock fisherman rib stitch. In this new row, K1, P1, K1 (which is the edge of your border), K until the last three stitches, and then K1, P1, K1. In the seventh row, K1, P1, K1, then P1 your first stitch. With your next stitch, insert your right needle into the middle of the stitch on your left needle. Wrap your yarn and perform your modified stitch. P1 your next stitch as normal. Repeat this P and modified stitch until the third to last stitch, and K1, P1, K1. In the next row, repeat row six. Alternate between your knit row and patterned row throughout the project until you've reached your desired length, End with five rows of your border pattern, K1, P1, K1. Bind off. If you need a bit of help understanding the mock fisherman rib stitch, we suggest watching a tutorial or two. Let us know how your project goes and show us your completed winter scarf at @Cozy_zine on Twitter and @Cozyzine on Instagram!
THE FOUNDATIONS OF KNITTING BI RD
SI MPLI CI TY
My love of knitting comes in rows. I was first introduced to the art of knitting sitting on a threadbare bean bag chair in my local library. I was in first grade, barely riding a bike, when my mother had me picking up a set of bamboo beginners needles. In an attempt to channel our creativity, my mother and I had joined a mother-daughter “Beginners 101” knitting class, which was perfect for me, since at the age of six, I was essentially a beginner at everything. Every day, thick balls of yarn were tossed between rows of books with one request, “Knit a scarf.” The teacher showed us the knit stitch, how to hold our needles, and then left us to our own mistakes. It was there in that library on that tattered bean bag chair, knitting the chunkiest rainbow scarf any six-year-old had ever seen, where my love of rows began. I never finished the scarf —there was only one ball of rainbow yarn, and I’d used it all making my scarf an overly-confident 17 stitches across—but that didn’t matter. The rhythm of knitting never left my bones. For years, I would knit every winter. Blankets and scarves were made. Basket stitches and raspberry stitches learned. Project after project, I’d created my own library—not out of books, but out of wool spun into their own fairytales. As a knitter, I tended to keep things straightforward. Square.
If you were to watch me knit, you’d likely catch me steadily moving back and forth across my needles, not really doing any math or intentionally counting, dropping, or adding stitches. I favor simply stitches—knit, purl, stockinet, seed. In my rows and squares, I found a comfortable place. My place. Yet, I always felt pressured to expand my knitting. When I went to college, for the first time I met a community of knitters: Knitters who could, unlike me, craft a sweater or socks or a hand bag like it was as easy as singing their ABCs. In this new community, I felt this need to prove that I too was not only a knitter, but an artist. Someone capable of more than the foundations of knitting. Under the pressure to perform, what resulted were half-finished hats. Yarn meant for socks left abandoned. Knitting needles drifting idle for months on end. In my pursuit of being “impressive” and “complex” with my knitting, I lost the joy I found all those years ago in the library knitting my beloved rows. I missed my blankets, I missed my scarves, and I wanted to go back, but I just kept asking myself, could I really call myself a knitter if I couldn’t even finish a sock? That question kept me in an unhappy place. Until I learned about bird nests. … From the backyards of New England to the wilds of Alaska, most of us have seen or heard the American robin (whether we realize it or not). A migratory bird, robins are one of the first birds to come back to their home at the tail end of winter. You might have seen a robin at your bird feeder or pulling earth worms from your garden. They’re easy to spot with their bright orange chest, joyfully loud song, and their signature bounce as they move about the yard. Even as I write now, looking at the cherry tree out my window, there are robins flitting around the branches, wondering why I am staring at their tree.
The robin is what some might refer to as a “common bird.” Easy to spot and even easier to ignore. But my experience with a particular nesting pair of robins was anything but common. Two summers ago, my mother informed me new neighbors had moved onto our road, neighbors she wanted me to meet. I was expecting to be taken to a door. Instead, I was taken to a bush. There, right by our front door, two robins had made a nest for their upcoming clutch. And what I saw wasn’t just laced vegetation. What I saw happening was an art. The American robin is a master crafter (though most wouldn’t give them such high praise). Their nests, often located five to twenty feet from the ground, are an incredibly sturdy mix of materials. Made by the female, the nest is placed in the crook of a tree. She starts with a layer of grasses, then solidifies the nest with a thick layer of fresh mud, before finishing again with grasses and the occasional tuft of hair or string if she can find it. The nest may look simple, brown topped with more brown and then even more brown, but what results is a strong foundation. The robin’s commitment to a pattern they know works creates a nest that is not easily broken even by the harshest of summer storms. Our robins were particularly dedicated to weaving mud into their nest. They didn’t steal any hair or fiber or ribbons to make their home (which they could have easily done with all of my yarn lying around). Instead, they just kept gathering their mud, earthy and thick and stolen from my mother’s chicken yard, pulling it through their grasses and weighing down their branches. When the female laid her three blue eggs that spring, we were convinced the couple had lost their family to a vicious wind shear that hit just a week later. But, after the wind settled, only a few of the top grasses had blown away. The mud, with the eggs inside, remained—steady and reliable. The couple successfully hatched and fledged all three of their eggs before flying off for the winter. To this day, their brown, no-nonsense looking nest is still sitting strong in our bush. A little weathered, maybe a little more grey, but it’s still there.
After watching our robins, I started to develop a passion for “common birds.” On my daily walks, I started looking for even more nests waiting in the trees above me. What I discovered in the leaves brought me back to my knitting. Take, for example, the nest of the chickadee. A bird that stays in their territory through the winter, chickadees typically start building their nests in the early spring. These tiny black and white birds will often select a hole to start their nest in, such as rotten trees, woodpecker holes, and nesting boxes. Once their territory is selected, the female will build a very modest nest with a understructure of moss. Once she is happy with her bed of green, she will line the moss with a soft materials such as animal hair to make the home cozy for her speckled eggs. With just these two layers, she has a nest to last the season. Barn swallows, collaborative birds who actually build their nests in a pair, prefer eaves, rafters, and cross beams in barns to build their cup-shaped home. The male and the female, like the robin, use mud to create a base for their nest. Barn swallows focus on building up their edges, not resting until they’ve built sturdy sides for their nest. Once satisfied with the cup—about three inches across and two inches deep—they will fill it with grasses and feathers for a bit of added comfort. Even the common crow, a large bird with an even larger personality, has a very basic nest design. Mainly nesting in evergreens, crows will take one to two weeks to create their nest, forming their foundation out of pencil-width twigs carefully selected by both the male and female. Once happy with their sticks, the crows will line their nest with pine needles and soft bark for sitting. Do you see the pattern? The more I learned about these birds, the more I felt connected. Connected to the birds. Connected to the ecosystem. Connected to my craft. Untangled from expectation and rewoven into peace. You see, these “simple birds” making their “simple nests”
are anything but. They might not have the flash and dazzle of a hummingbird nest sewn together with delicate dew-dropped spider webs, or the stunning turkey feathers and horse hairs peeking out of the blue bird nest, but they have something even more valuable: assurance. Assurance that no matter what, this classic, fundamental pattern will not only work, but bring joy, comfort, and something worth creating. Assurance means there is no fear in simplicity, but an appreciation of its steadiness. For me, knitting rows and square projects has never felt mindless but mindful. In knitting from one needle to the next, making my blankets and scarves, I am simply progressing. I am not worried about details. I am not worried about what other people may think. In knitting rows, I know what’s next, and that is all I need from the yarn in my basket. A moment of assurance. Sometimes, there’s comfort in knowing where you want to go. And if there’s anything we can learn from our backyard birds building their nests, it's that a strong foundation does not mean a lack of creativity, but a knowledge of what will keep you whole. So, what’s your knitting rows?
C O N N E C T I N G
W I T H
T H E
O U T S I D E
GUIDED NATURE WALKS FOR WINTER I DEAS
FI NDI NG
Yes, walking in the winter. Not every day is suitable for a walk. Sometimes it's definitely too icy, the snow is too deep, or the sun set far too early. But on the days we do get outside, winter has its own way of connecting with us. Sometimes, winter walks are the ones I look forward to most out of any season. There is a special kind of silence in the winter. You know what I'm talking about, don't you? There's nothing quite like walking out your door after a day of snow fall. The fresh snow muffles your steps and welcomes you to be... still. To be present. When the world is stripped down to its bones, we can really embrace the roots that keep us all standing. Absence welcomes awareness. When you're outside in the winter, and when you're walking with intentionality or a theme, it's a chance to really appreciate every detail of our local forests, mountains, oceans, and streams. So no matter what your landscape looks like this winter, taking guided walk might help you truly find the beauty of this season. Let's pick a theme, or two, and find the adventure waiting for us. ...Just make sure you're warm and cozy, alright? Hats, mittens, scarves, coats, and boots are a must.
Note on accessibility: All activities can be adapted to fit your needs and comfort levels. Change each activity to what’s best for you, whether that’s performing these acts sitting in your backyard, looking at the birds instead of listening to them, or walking with a friend or guide who can help you find specific elements of nature you’re trying to discover
F I ND
In the winter when the trees are bare, the lack of leaves can reveal a certain kind of magic. Without their canopy, winter can show to us trees that look they should belong in a a fairytale. When walking, seek out the trees big and small that look like they've come out of the Narnia wardrobe. Follow gnarled roots and bark patterns that look like faces or a secret messages. Find trees with hidden openings and twisted branches. Seek out the extraordinary. Allow the feeling of wonder to really wash over you as you create your own winter fantasy world.
LI F E
No matter whether you live in an area with snow or not, winter is a time of rest for our ecosystem. Winter does not see the fantastic blooms of spring or the harvests of fall. But that does not mean life has left. Try taking a walk centered around the life left in winter. While you're on your path, locate acorns hanging in trees, pinecones and pine needles still bustling about, grasses and leaves poking out from the snow or dangling from a branch. Embrace the details that refuse to be erased. By seeking the details, you might just find yourself really focusing on just this one, beautiful moment.
While many birds change their habitat in the winter, and many animals decide to take the whole season off sleeping, there are still hidden signs that remain in the snow. While you're walking, look for the small traces left behind by animals. Intentionally seek out abandoned bird nests. Follow mouse trails in the snow (which look like a small, raised tunnel at the surface of a fresh snow fall). If you can, try to find animal tracks like bird prints, rabbit trails, and deer impressions. Focus your walk on the imprints our ecosystem leaves behind for us to discover. Whether you follow trees or animals this winter, let each walk guide you not only towards a bit of fun, but to a connection with the nature blanketing your home. There's always something cozy in our own backyards, and sometimes walking with intention is exactly what we need to find it.
WINTER CRAFTS: FOREST FRIENDS ENGAGI NG
This issue seems to be all about birds! Well, we do love birds here at COZY, and for those birds who do stick around in winter, they often need a bit of our help finding food. Simply put, they need a forest friend. A great way to connect with nature in the winter is through crafting your own natural and safe bird feeders. No matter what crafting materials you have available to you where you live, there's always a fun way you can make a forest friend feeder.
Do you want to build a snowman? If you find yourself with an abundance of snow this winter, a snow person for the birds is exactly what your yard might need. Near any bushes, trees, or other bird habitats close to your home, build a small snow person. Instead of decorating it with hats and gloves, cover its head and body with bird seeds. Try adorning it with peanut hair or sunflower seed buttons. Once you've added enough seed, leave your snow person be and allow the birds to enjoy their snack. Note: This can be adapted for areas with no snow by instead creating seed patterns or stacks on branches and rocks.
Instead of going out and buying a bird feeder this winter, why not make your own out of a pinecone? This craft was contributed by Margot Nelson. First, gather a few pinecones, some peanut butter (or alternative nut butters), bird seed, and twine. Second, tie the twine to the top of the pinecone (aka, the stem) leaving enough room for you to eventually make a loop. Third, spread the peanut/nut butter onto the surface of the pinecone using a spoon or knife. Fourth, put your birdseed on a plate and roll your pinecone in the seed, making sure you cover the peanut/nut butter completely with seeds. Finally, hang your pinecone bird feeder on a branch, porch, or fence and let the birds come lunch! No matter what craft you try, the birds will be thankful. (Just remember to use bird safe seeds and materials!)
SUPPORT COZY ON OUR PATREON CREATI NG
We cannot believe we're at COZY issue two! What was once just a dream is now a magazine that has not one, but two issues. We couldn't do it without you, our COZY community. Thank you, as always, for reading COZY. Our staff is made up of one contributing writer and an EIC that creates most of the magazine (from layout to art to writing and beyond). One day, we would love to see COZY grow like a spring garden, full off contributing artists and writers. Additionally, we hope to eventually produce print issues of COZY. Right now, COZY is an ad-free magazine, meaning we can only reach our goals through the support of our readers. You can visit our EIC's Patreon at patreon.com/gracesafford to support the project and receive Patron benefits such as COZY sneak peeks and early access to each issue of the magazine. Thank you again for being a part of our COZY community. We'll see you in the spring for issue three!
We want to thank our top Novelist Patrons for their contributions to COZY. Thank you: Victoria Charlie D. Ellie T.
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