The Re-Enchant January Challenge – Week One: Enchant Your Space

Home is where one starts from. As we grow older
The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
There is a time for the evening under starlight,
A time for the evening under lamplight
(The evening with the photograph album).

– T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets, “East Coker”

The January blues. They’re a thing, and they do their level best to creep up on you every year and dim your holiday glow. 

It’s so easy to see why. If you’re a Christmas person, you have to take down your tree (Sara’s is literally crisp right now, and she’s resigning herself to de-ornamenting it later tonight.) The New Year’s champagne is an empty bottle in your recycling. You likely had to go back to work.

It’s very easy to feel sad, unsparkly, and full of cheese right now.

BUT WE REJECT THIS.
(Except the cheese… if that’s your thing, carry on!) 

We were determined to come up with a way to make January feel a little more… enchanted, for everyone. Not in a “Do These 5 Major New Years Resolution Things NOW and Completely Transform Your Whole Life!” kind of way. But in a small, achievable, and fun way.

Welcome to Carterhaugh’s 2021 Re-enchant January Challenge! 

Every week, we’re going to give you a quest. If you’ve taken any of our courses in the last few years, this will sound very familiar! In the past, we’ve kept Carterhaugh quests as an exclusive part of our courses, but after the year we’ve all just had, we thought this would be the perfect time to share a few with everyone. Especially right now!

We decided that the place to start this challenge is in the home. After all, that’s where most of us are spending a lot of our time nowadays. In Rapunzel’s Circle I, which we taught last spring, we talked at length about towers and the tension between feeling trapped and feeling safe, feeling claustrophobic and feeling at home. 

Our first quest in that course was… “to fall a little bit in love with your Tower. Even if the Tower represents change and chaos and all sorts of things that people are wired to dislike intensely. Find one corner of your home, your Tower, that you love. Something that is all yours and reflects you and makes you happy. If you can’t find anything, your task is even bigger: to create one corner, one tiny sliver, that you love.”

In this spirit, this week’s challenge is: Do one (very small) thing to make your living space more magical.

We’re serious – this does not mean that you must re-wallpaper your bathroom. We’re looking for small moments of appreciation and intentional choices to enchant your space.

Find or make a place that feels like home, that feels like your magic. Take a picture of it, or just describe it in words, and tell us why you love it and what it means to you. Post in the comments below or in our Facebook discussion group – we’d LOVE to see what you come up with!

Sara – Decorate Breakfront Bar

I moved at the end of last year, and Jared and I are still putting the house together. One of my very favorite rooms in the house is the dining room. It’s full of old furniture from my grandmother and my mom, and full of memories. Also, I’m obsessed with how the the dark wood looks against the dark blue we painted the walls. (An aside: please don’t move to fulfill this quest, moving is terrible.) One of my favorite pieces is this ancient breakfront that lived in my mom’s old dining room throughout my childhood…and the lion gargoyle who lives on top!

Jared and I (who love going to restaurants and desperately miss going out for fancy cocktails on date nights) decided to convert it to a home bar for the duration of the pandemic. For this quest, I straightened up the “bar” portion and added some magical touches – the reading witch-faerie figurine that Brittany gave me, the coaster from the fairy-tale bar that Jared and I visited in Berlin years ago…

… the wooden bird that my dad carved for me, and the empty bottles of champagne from Jared’s and my engagement and wedding.

I’m pretending that the room is a fairy-tale bar, and it makes me stupidly happy.

Brittany – Put Up Fairy Lights

When Sara first came up with this challenge, I was like YES. Not only was it an awesome idea, but I knew exactly what I was going to talk about! Right before Christmas, I did something I had been meaning to do for a really long time – put fairy lights up in the lofted part of my apartment.

That little space up the spiral staircase!

The space is pretty small, but it’s just PERFECT for a magical little cuddle cave. Josh and I already had our TV up there, along with a huge bean bag couch and tons of pillows and blankets, but it just needed that one extra bit to transform it into a truly enchanted space. I made this little video to show you!

It has v. dramatic music and everything :P.

It took maybe five minutes, a few push tacks, and three sets of these solar-powered fairy lights from Amazon to make it work. You just pop the charger in the window and they automatically come on at sundown – no electricity needed! Granted they’re a bit dimmer (or sometimes even flickerless) on super cloudy days, but overall I am thrilled with how well they work (without going through batteries like there’s no tomorrow OR skyrocketing our electricity bill!) So simple and just an amazing blast of glamour!

We can’t wait to see what YOU come up with! Again, please tell us all about it in the comments below and/or in our Facebook group!

Comments

  1. Sunshine

    I have a special corner where interesting books reside and in that corner there is a fairy, a dragon, a green rabbit, a fox, a butterfly…etc it is my story corner and of course the fairy lights make that area even more magical.

  2. Lauren Reynolds

    This is such a cool and fun idea. January is definitely the time of year when I try to “re-enchant” my work space and bed room. Sadly, (or not sadly) I’m in between homes at the moment looking for a new apartment for me and my best friend and most of my books and creative writing and art stuff with the exception of a few things are in boxes–but I am not letting this get me down and have switched to an editing mode: I’ve already started pumping out submissions and have been editing other works which i have put off for far too long and my best friend and I are currently working on a super cool collaborative fantasy novel series that we describe as “Dark Crystal meets Mad Max”. So, despite living out of boxes right now I’ve been able to get both pats of my creative streak going 🙂

    1. Jody Helme-Day

      Lauren, a “Dark Crystal meets Mad Max” series sounds amazing. Please make it happen! 🙂

  3. Linda Willson

    Oh, Sara and Brittany, what a wonderful idea! I love it. My little place is already very interesting and filled entirely with things I love. My daughter dared to imply that my place is “cluttered!” What? These are all beloved things that I want around me. When friends visit, they either look a bit alarmed and say things like, “Well, ha ha, you’re not a minimalist!” Or they look enchanted and use words like “magical,” “romantic,” “cozy,” or “intimate.” I smile upon these people. So I will have a wonderful time with your challenge. Pictures to follow!

  4. Jody Helme-Day

    I have my own library/office in our place, and have been meaning to paint it ever since we moved in 3 years ago. I aim to get to that this winter, along with doing another de-clutter. I also have another photograph my husband purchased for me from the artist Courtney Brooke I need to have framed and hung http://www.lightwitch.com.
    I love your fairy lights, Brittany, and I’ve been thinking about hanging some over our door walls in our living area. We spend a lot of time there watching movies, and I love the sparkly vibe they would bring. Thank you for sharing the ones you purchased–I love that they are solar.
    Sarah, your bar is gorgeous, and enviously well-stocked. 🙂

  5. Ravina

    This was just the kind of magic January needed;)!! I recently added an antique gilded mirror above my bedroom fireplace and this challenge told me it was time to add some blue twinkling fairy lights to the mantle underneath with a scattering of some sea shell and stone beings and some warm candles. It is reminding me of an ethereal lit portal that one might possibly pass through…hmmm, I’m thinking this could really add some additional magic to my dream time! Thanks for this fun and magical challenge🪄🌟✨!

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