Bring some life into your home this winter with a homemade treasure chest.
Drawers or trays like this one were used in the last century by typesetters to sort letters and symbols. You can find them easily at antique or junk stores, or on eBay. They seem to be in infinite supply, and they come in lots of shapes and sizes, each with a different pattern of dividers. This one cost about $20 at a flea market.
In the drawer tray, each object is framed to highlight its individual charm. The myriad separate spaces with their different proportions dictate a built-in rhythm that guarantees a pleasing, artistic composition.
Honor the seasonal changes in your environment by displaying precious specimens found in your winter wanderings. Even mundane objects—weeds and debris to some—show their true beauty when displayed with reverence. Be sure to involve kids in your foraging; they’re natural collectors and always ready for a treasure hunt.
Even in the dead of winter, you can still find leaves with a bit of their fall color left in them. A delicate feather has almost magical beauty whether the bird is elaborately patterned or more subtly attired.
You’ll be surprised by how abundant berries, nuts, seedpods, and hips are, even in the deep freeze of winter. Looking for these important food supplies will give you new empathy for the birds and other creatures that stay busy foraging all through the cold months. Save a dried flower, maybe something from a summer garden or a bouquet, to remind you of the warmer times behind you and still ahead.
Pinecones, the seedpods of coniferous trees, vary from species to species and change dramatically in appearance through the seasons. Stones and shells can bring a surprising range of color and texture to your display. And don’t overlook found objects made by humans. A piece of old glass or even a rusty bolt can have an intriguing visual story to tell.
Look closely at the stalks and twigs of plants. Some, like these boldly striped ones, have riveting colors or patterns. Bark, whether papery or rough, is another lovely texture to include. (Your treasure box shouldn’t be limited by “look-don’t-touch” rules.) Including moss and lichens not only adds unusual color, it entices tactile exploration.