The cold and dreariness that’s tied to Iowa winters tests my optimism, but I think I’ve found a way to combat it with success. Since the official start to winter doesn’t come until December 21, January and February (and dare I say March, too) leave plenty of time to look at bare trees and gray skies. Sure, a quality snowstorm sprinkles fresh powder on my surroundings and makes me bolt outside to capture a breathtaking Instagram picture. But that does not happen every day. I am constantly looking for creative ways to bring the outdoors inside. In wintertime, my solution is to keep calm and quiet, just like January, but to do it by bringing moments of nature inside and shedding any spirit left from the holidays.

I created a trio of arrangements that are simple and embrace winter’s palette. I stick to my belief of finding beauty even when you think it doesn’t exist.

Simple is sometimes underrated, but I understand its power. This display has an interesting tension that’s a little bit glossy, and a little bit rough. It’s a perfect opportunity for me to use some shapely decorative bowls reserved for sculptural purposes. I have a few with shine and sculptural interest from favorite vendors we have sold in our shop. Sometimes I’ll fill them with Christmas balls, but in this case, I chose some generously sized pinecones left over from holiday decorations and repurposed them for a winter arrangement. Corralled in a gold bowl, it doesn’t ignore glamour, it brings a shine to the room that I particularly love. On that note, I couldn’t help but have a few gold insect objects from my shop around the bowl of pinecones.



Even as a designer who jumps into a scheme of color before one of white, I think having creamware on-hand is always a good idea. Here, I paired it with a variety of eucalyptus, a classic and currently popular greenery that is readily available at grocery markets. I added sage, too, for a bit of fragrance. Then I added, fluffy cotton pods to soften the moment like its loungewear counterparts that make a snowed in Saturday cozy and warm. Basic twine, something I always have on-hand, makes a charming statement wrapped around the vase and tied into a bow.



Finally, candlelight is a sure way to brighten the spirit on a cold winter’s night. I think inexpensive white candles are elegant on their own, but I’m always looking to elevate something basic into something spectacular. Weathered wood candlesticks are abundant thanks to the return to natural materials. I scooped up greens (again, look outside or spend a few dollars at the market for whatever is available) around the glass of these with hot glue. Not to worry. The thin bead of glue will peel off the glass when the greens have had their final moment. I used the high-shine silver tray that I received as a wedding gift to anchor the candlesticks and a scattering of mandarin oranges that sweetens the decoration with bright color.

I know that winter can be long and challenging. But just remember, there’s beauty everywhere, during winter, too.



I disregard a speed dial to the florist for my materials. But I do rely on winter’s comfort ware—a coat, scarf, hat, and mittens—to scour my backyard and the grocery market for some extra pieces to work with.

  • Pinecones—Take a look under your pine and fir trees. And if you have a dozen or so that are spray-worthy painted in gold or silver, all the better.
  • Oranges—Mandarins on the stem are hot in the produce aisle at the moment. While winter citrus isn’t a surprise, this latest grocery star is. It will add a bright colorful moment to the mix of textures.
  • Greenery—No strict rules here. As long as it’s green, it will work and contrast the natural tones. This is a perfect spot for eucalyptus, fragrant sage, and sprigs of pine. If you took liberty and cut your Christmas rosemary trees to flavor your Christmas dinner, forget transferring the remainder of the plant. Keep cutting to add to your arrangements here.
  • Cotton pods—If you don’t know this fluffy gem for anything other than dress shirts and pillowcases, you will. Cotton pods are on-trend and add necessary softness to the super textured pinecones and pine needles that fall from the tree.
  • Twine—Make sure to always have a roll on-hand. It bears function in the kitchen but can give just the right amount of roughness to a look that reads a tad too pristine.
  • Containers—this is not the place to fight with contrasting materials. Creamware with a matte finish, bowls with organic shapes to corral pinecones, and candlesticks in weathered wood will enhance the outdoor nod.