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Summer's End...Part One

Sad at the Thought of this Impending Winter?


For me, my favorite symbol or summertime is the lovely sunflower...

Maybe because of Vincent van Gogh's 1888 many whimsical still-life paintings of sunflowers, or the beautiful poem by William Blake, but just looking at the regal sunflower is a wonderful, elixir of happiness for me.


Ah! Sun-flower


Ah Sun-flower! weary of time,

Who countest the steps of the Sun:

Seeking after that sweet golden clime

Where the travellers journey is done.

Where the Youth pined away with desire,

And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow:

Arise from their graves and aspire,

Where my Sun-flower wishes to go.

Here are some ways to Stretch Out Summer SPARKLE and SHINE:

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PHOTO: Sunburst sunflower by Carmen Zavislake

Things we love so much and miss throughout the Winter:


The sunshine does have a different quality during the colder months, but as long as it is shining, take advantage of it.

PROBLEM: Canadian Winters are long...they seem to go on forever. If you can't go away on vacation to a tropical location then bring the sun to you.

SOLUTION: Take Vitamin D, it has been proven that everyone who lives in Canada can benefit from taking Vitamin D throughout the gloomy Winter months. Get outside for some snowshoeing, or classic cold weather activities like skiing, skating, or just a brisk walk to feel some Winter sun on your face.

If you suffer from Season Affective Disorder, like me, taking your Vitamin D is a MUST!!! There are also many types of SAD Lightboxes and Lamps to suit every need, and many health food shops, and online carry SAD lights and lightboxes.

For complete details as to where to find everything: see the Resource Listings at the end of this blog.

Create your own sunny focal point with a glass Moroccan "Moravian Star" pendant lamp, or a Turkish or Indian glass lantern in a range of vibrant colours. They can be found everywhere at Moroccan decor shops, and even online.

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PHOTO: Bee Amongst Yellow Flowers by Carmen Zavislake


If you are like me and love sunflowers, because they remind me of happiness, and summer sunshine - make sure you always have your favorites on the dining room table. In general, I miss seeing the green grass and thousand shades of green that the leaves and all the colours of the rainbow that flowers can bring.

PROBLEM: Do you hate having to buy flowers every week because they die? Don't like fake flowers either?

SOLUTION: Make a little tabletop herb garden, moss centerpiece, live grass-scape, or terrarium. Buy photos of flowers, they are a great way to keep the vibrancy of spring and summer, and some happy colours into your life and home.

Watch for the next blog September 21st called "Summer's End Part Two: Create Your Own Terrrrarium" and Hold On To Green Through the Winter.


PHOTO: Dappled Sunlight on Rippling Stream by Carmen Zavislake


If you miss the light-hearted, intangible quality of that "certain something", that carefree, relaxing fun that you associate with Summer, hot weather, and feeling the warm sun on your face.

PROBLEM: No fun? Don't grow cold with the ice and snow.

SOLUTION: Go fruity!! Be fruity! Fight the Winter Blahs and Blues with fruit salads, smoothies, fruit-infused waters, or herb infused waters. You don't have to wear it on your head like Carmen Miranda to be the life of the party, just bring a few touches of tropical into your meals, snacks, drinks with more fruit!!! Studies show that eating fruit increases levels of Serotonin, which can improve your mood and control appetite during a season when we tend to pack on weight easily. Also, adding an essential oil burner to your kitchen or bedroom, or work space, is another great way to uplift your spirits, body and soul.

Try eating more fresh, or even frozen, or even dried fruit will do - kiwi fruit, pomegrenate, berries, prunes, apricots, blueberries, and cranberries. You can snack on nuts, nut butter such as almond, cashew, or top your yogurt, or oatmeal with dried or fresh fruit. Add lemon, lime, and orange zest on anything and everything, or put slices in water to add a zing to your water with some fresh mint.

For more info see studies:


  • UpToDate. Healthy diet in adults.

  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Good mood foods to fight winter blues.

Essential Oil Burners and incenses are helpful in the Winter time are: Orange blossom, bergamot, tangerine, lemongrass, patchouli, pine, cedarwood, spearmint, grapefruit, lavender, sandalwood, clove and ginger in what ever combination you see fit, that appeals to you to try in your burner, or try some prepared mood enhancing ones like Body Shop's Home Fragrance Oils: Exotic, Pomegranate & Raspberry, Mandarin & Tangelo, or Sandalwood Ginger.


Miss the way that the light dances on the water's surface, I sure do!! There is a way to create magic with light...add some fairy lights.

PROBLEM: No play of light on the water, because it is frozen.

SOLUTION: Fake it! In this case, faking it is good, lol. There are tiny Chimineas you can buy, that you can put on your table top, or mantle to create some dancing light, even more spectacular, are the Moroccan o Mexican tin/iron cut out lanterns that give off a lovely light effect. Mosaic glass votives are another great way to make the light dance and reflect some sparkle. Glimmer string lights are available in many decor stores. Tibetan salt lamps and votives give a soothing and comforting warm glow to any room, but are also very comforting in cocooning weather like Winter!!!

Natural crystals such as Amethyst, Selenite, Tibetan salt votives are also another way to create some shiny sparkle into your realm. So, pick out a new lighting fixture, lantern, votives, or lamp, of fairy lights - one that is unique, speaks to your style, but most of all makes you feel great when you look at it!!! Moroccan, Mexican, Tibetan, and Indian decor are a great way to bring incredible colour into a space.

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PHOTO: Running Bison Negative Teal and Fuschia by Carmen Zavislake


Hey, why not? Go for what is cute, sentimental, heart-warming, what ever you need to do to get through the Winter, just do it!

PROBLEM: All the little creatures are hybernating for the winter, except maybe a few domestic ducks, and birds. Miss the lovely little creatures of spring and summer?

SOLUTION: Bring a little whimsey and creature comforts into your home or office space with quaint and whimsical animal motifs. Keep the spirit of summer going all year long, not with sea shells and sandcastles, but with quaint touches that remind you of warmer days, like motifs and symbols like bees, ladybugs, rabbits, sparrows, or what ever you like...


PHOTO: Orange Bloom by Carmen Zavislake


PROBLEM: Feeling like you want to curl up and hybernate for the winter, like a bear to a cave? Resist that tempation and create some vibrant zest to your home and office decor.

SOLUTION: Painting a whole room isn't really advisable in the winter, but a small area like a feature wall can be done as a weekend project. If you don't want something quite that permanent, use textile (towels, pillows, window treatments, area rugs) and furniture, and home/office decor such as vases, paintings, dishes, that brings a splash of bright colours.

Try batiks from Thailand, Ikat from Uzbek, Indonesia, Japan or India. Sari cloth from Indian, and lovely and bright coloured Moroccan, Tibetan, and Mexican textiles.

Treat yourself to a new duvet, throw pillows or blanket in solid bold colours of sunlight and spice: yellow, saffron, orange, red, and oxblood, burgundy, purple and fuschia will be sure to keep the blood flowing through the dormant Winter. Again, flowers that are bright like fuschia orchids, sunflowers, poppies, daisies, chrysanthemums, burgundy and purple dahlias create dramatic colours that are sure to get your passions stirring and your blood flowing in the humdrums of colder months.

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PHOTO: Sunlit Thistle by Carmen Zavislake

Keep sparkling and shining this Winter :)

By Carmen Zavislake


© Carmen Zavislake 2014


SAD Lights and Lightboxes:

Verilux lighting:

Lumie body clocks and light therapies:


Noahs Health Food stores (5 locations across Toronto or shop online)

Gifts From the Earth (#320 Unit 3 Danforth Avenue -Toronto)

Tibetan Village Store ( 744 Broadview Avenue - Toronto)

Tibetan Boutique (61 Baldwin Street - Kensington)

Tibet Shoppe (1500 Queen Street West)

Tibetan Emporium ( Roncesvalles/Howard Park - Toronto)


Gifts From the Earth

Herbie's Herbs


Pier 1 Imports has Purple or Orange glimmer strings or "fairy lights" CA$19.95


Body Shop carries Home Fragrance Oils for $5.00 each, they have burners for CA$16.50


Moriavian Star pendant lamp by Hampton Bay available at Home Depot CA$149.99 has a reasonably priced glass lamp by My Danilo Imports:

Star Of Morocco lighting:


Haven Furnishings Toronto:

Casbah Decor:

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