Chef/artist Kyra Alex embraces the cold season



Chef and artist Kyra Alex, owner of Lily's House in Stonington, embraces the slow pace of winter. PHOTO BY JENNIFER OSBORN
Chef and artist Kyra Alex, owner of Lily’s House in Stonington, embraces the slow pace of winter. PHOTO BY JENNIFER OSBORN

Human interaction and a hobby or two will help you thrive this upcoming winter.

Take it from Kyra Alex, owner of Lily’s House in Stonington, who encourages us all to embrace the long, dark, cold season, even if we have another one like the winter of 2015.

“I really do love winter,” Alex said. “I think the first thing you have to do is get right with it being dark.”

“Look at it as a gift,” she advised. “A time to settle down, take stock, renew friendships, hobbies, passions that have been put on the back burner in the busy long daylight months.”

“To me, it’s a mindset,” Alex said. “Winter’s a chance to chill out and relax, read the book you’ve been meaning to read. You’ve got to be good to yourself.”

Her advice: get busy with a pursuit you enjoy and find a community with whom to share it.

“I think that’s huge here,” Alex said. “We can get super isolated.”

Ideally, your community would be a group of people who share your interest, but it doesn’t have to be. Even meeting for coffee and dessert with neighbors can restore spirits.

Alex has a sewing circle she meets with one Monday a month during winter. Someone may bring a new project and they all try it.

“Everyone brings fabrics from their stash,” she related. “It’s stuff you haven’t seen before and you get all excited.

“I look forward to winter because there’s this block of time where I don’t have to do anything.”

A weekly sewing circle keeps Alex busy. PHOTO COURTESY KYRA ALEX
A weekly sewing circle keeps Alex busy. PHOTO COURTESY KYRA ALEX

Are you wondering where to find people with your hobbies? Check out The Ellsworth American’s events calendar, “What’s Goin’ On?” which appears in the Extra section, or look in the classifieds for ongoing classes and groups that meet.

In addition, feed your body well.

“I’m always braising things” in winter, said Alex, who uses bones as well as vegetables to make soups and stews. “I’ll start with a recipe and then tinker.”

Tasty drinks can also help.

Alex’s favorite tea is simple. She puts a tablespoon each of dried elderberries and rosehips into a teacup. Add a few slices of fresh ginger and a cinnamon stick and let steep 20 minutes. Add honey to taste.

Having someone over for tea can help too.

While making the best of things is usually best. You know, living in the moment and all that, it doesn’t hurt to look forward.

To that end, Alex plants seeds in January and February.

“Even if you don’t garden, if you just start a couple of plants it really makes a difference,” she said. “Just seeing those sprouts in February, it’s the best feeling in the world.”

Don’t forget the sun.

“Just getting out in the sunshine for 20 minutes a day is a real mood changer,” Alex said. “If you can just be outside in the sun, I think it makes a big difference.”

One of Alex's winter art projects.
One of Alex’s winter art projects.

You don’t necessarily need to go for a walk. It’s great if you can, but if you’ve gotten several feet of snow and there’s literally nowhere to move, just stand outside your house in the sun for 20 minutes.

Do a project to improve your house.

Alex created artwork using a pair of pictures frames she found for a dollar with a fat quarter of fabric for next to nothing at Marden’s. She cut out the material to fit the frames and attached the fabric with adhesive and let them rest against the wall. Instant art.

 

Jennifer Osborn

Jennifer Osborn

Reporter and columnist at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Jennifer Osborn covers news and features on the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle-Stonington. She welcomes tips and story ideas. She also writes the Gone Shopping column. Email Jennifer with your suggestions at [email protected] or call 667-2576.
Jennifer Osborn

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