Daily Dose of Color

Butterfly
Color plays an integral role in our daily lives. It affects our moods, decisions and actions. Let’s take a look at our activities on a typical day to observe how influential color can be.

Sunrise
Most of us rise with the sun and sleep at night. Our internal clocks are preprogrammed for this routine. During the gray days of winter, it’s tough to get motivated. We need that burst of sunshine to jumpstart our morning activities. The longer days of summer encourage more outdoors events, bringing us closer to nature, which energizes our minds and bodies. Vacations are most popular in summertime.

Peach Bedroom
In our homes, the walls, floors, and furnishings vary in color from room to room, often based upon our activities. For example, sunrooms are usually a cheerful yellow, while bedrooms and bathrooms promote relaxation in soothing tones. Choice varies by individual preferences, and emotional responses to those colors, which are affected by memories, experiences, upbringing, culture, etc.  (Photo courtesy AMS Interiors, LLC.)

Fabrics
What about your wardrobe? What colors do you see when you look in your bedroom closet? Do you prefer the warm tones of red, orange and yellow, or do you lean more towards the cooler greens, blues, and purples? Perhaps more neutral colors, such as white, tan, brown, and black are to your liking?  Whatever the colors, you feel good when you wear your favorites and it shows.

Breakfast
You start the day with breakfast, and a great view if you can get it. Fresh fruit brings a natural burst of color and sweetness to an otherwise ordinary bowl of cereal. Maybe you prefer bread or a bagel. It has to be toasted to that perfect shade of light tan or golden brown – nothing else will do.

Kid's Breakfast Cereal
If you’re a kid, you hope breakfast will look something like the photo above. Kid’s cereals are great examples of how color attracts attention, even from the younger members of the family. Hiding a toy inside the box doesn’t hurt, and if it’s part of a collectible set, boxes will practically fly off the shelves.

Traffic Lights
On the way to work, or running errands, drivers are directed to go on green and stop on red. Yellow seems to be a bit confusing. For some it means proceed with caution, but others believe it’s time to stomp on the gas pedal – some more successfully than others.

Police Lights
Depending upon your driving habits, you might see flashing lights like these in your rear view mirror.  As you pull over to the curb, you breathe a sigh of relief when the police car flies past you.  Whew!  That was close!

Gas Pumps
Gas stations have installed color-coded gas pumps to ensure motorists select the correct type of gasoline for their vehicles.

Grocery Store
A quick stop at the grocery store offers a multitude of selections. With so many products competing for your attention, how will you ever decide?

Fresh Produce
When selecting produce, color is the first determining factor for freshness.

Salad
What’s for lunch? Maybe today you’ll have a salad. Notice the amazing combination of colors, shapes and textures. Remember we eat with our eyes first. Looks delicious!

Parking Garage
How about a trip to the local mall? Finding your car in a crowded lot can be a nightmare. Color-coding in the multi-level parking garages saves us a lot of time and frustration. We might not notice what floor we parked on, but the color is easily remembered.

Ski & Outdoor Gear Shop
Inside the shopping mall, retailers vie for your attention and dollars with colorful displays and eye-catching signage.

Coffee
A much needed jolt of caffeine to boost your energy through the afternoon. The brown cup and saucer, and use of aged wood countertops reinforces the natural connection of coffee beans growing in the forest, and builds anticipation for the rich creamy flavors of this hot delicious coffee.

Cheese Burger
The arrival of summer means it’s time to fire up the barbeque grill. Crisp lettuce, and juicy slices of tomato with two kinds of melted cheese on a soft bun make this hamburger a mouthwatering sight to behold.

Sunset
Watching the sunset or sunrise is a worldwide activity. We may not speak the same language, but we share an appreciation of natural beauty. People go to great lengths, traveling vast distances to reach the best vantage points, often atop mountain peaks, where visitors have to stand in freezing cold temperatures, to watch the sun rise or set at the horizon in royal splendor. All those fiery reds, oranges, and yellows in the mornings and magnificent blues and purples at night flash across the sky in a dazzling performance remembered for a lifetime.

Family Room
In the evening, most people unwind in a comfortable family room or great room, surrounded by colorful family mementos, sharing stories of the day and joking about the silly plots of whatever is on television. Earth tone walls, flooring, furniture and furnishings promote relaxation.

Pajamas
It’s time to get ready for bed. You wrap yourself in your favorite pajamas, or sweat pants and a t-shirt – you know the one from your first concert, 10 to 20 years ago. With that wild logo on the front and tour dates on the back, that t-shirt has outlasted the band that inspired it. The color may have faded, and it may be a little ragged around the edges, but it still has years of wear and lots of fond memories attached to it, and no matter what anyone says, you’re not going to part with it! Sweet Dreams!

Happy Crafting!

World of Color: Meanings, Perceptions & Expectations – Part 2

Sunrise
There are times when the sky is so blue that you find yourself daydreaming every time you pass a window. And then there are days so gray and gloomy that it’s hard to believe the sun could be hiding behind those clouds. If you have ever flown on a rainy day, you know how amazing it is to see the sunlight burst across the sky as the plane reaches its cruising altitude, high above the cloud cover. The people on the ground have no idea what a gorgeous day it is. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Part One of this series covered the warm color palette: red, orange, and yellow. Those colors encourage taking action, family activities, celebrations, romance, and getting noticed. In Part Two, you will learn about the hidden meanings, common perceptions and our expectations associated with the cool color palette: green, blue, and violet. When it comes to psychology, there are no “neutral” colors.

Color: GREEN
Four Leaf Clover
Good Fortune & Abundance – “Overnight” successes usually start as ideas, followed by a series of goal-driven steps, which culminate in bringing the dream to fruition. Maybe the luck of the Irish is in knowing when to take a leap of faith?

Emerald & Diamond Ring
Wealth & Prosperity – Prosperity means different things to different people. For some, it’s shiny cars or expensive baubles. For others, it’s getting that big promotion at work. Perhaps one of the best ways to feel prosperous is to surround yourself with family and friends to accompany you on this journey called life.

Sunlight streaming through trees
Grounding & Rebalancing – Feeling out of sorts? Take a walk in the woods. The soft sensation of the grass beneath your feet and rustling leaves in the breeze will rebalance your mind and body.

Mountain Landscape
Natural Beauty, Calming & Relaxing – Scenic landscapes have the magical ability of slowing down the hectic pace of our everyday lives, quieting our minds and relaxing our bodies. When a trip outdoors is not a possibility, viewing landscape paintings and photographs can have the same beneficial effects.

Green Grapes
New Opportunities & Indulgence – Grapevines are the ultimate opportunity seekers. Birds scatter the seeds, and the vines grow wildly, climbing over any and all obstacles to reach the sun. At the end of the day, as you enjoy a glass of wine, remember we owe our thanks to the lowly grapevine’s hardy and tenacious nature.

Cliffside Waterfall
Renewal, Refreshing & Personal Growth – Challenge yourself. Go hiking with friends. Take that trip you’ve been dreaming about. Make time to truly experience the beauty of the world around you. Let your cares melt away as you enjoy some very well-deserved “Me Time.”

Color: BLUE
Butterfly Fantasy
Fantasy & Inspiration – The most fertile ground in this world lies in your imagination. Always the explorer, you never know what wonders lie around the next bend, just waiting to be discovered. What comes next? You decide!

Balloon Dreamscape
Dreams – In dreams, we’re all super heroes. Your feet never touch the earth, and you’re free to fly whenever and wherever you please. There are no rules. Anything is possible. Keep on dreaming.

Sailboats on the Ocean
Refreshing & Relaxing – The gray days of winter are quickly forgotten with the arrival of the brilliant blue skies of spring. When it comes to our precious vacation days, most people are drawn to oceans, lakes, waterfalls, and even the hot tub in your backyard for the soothing, refreshing effects of water.

Sunrise above the earth
Mystery & Wonder –Our bodies, like our planet, are 70% water. We’re more alike than we are different. Seven billion people share this world and we’re changing it for the better, one person at a time.

Swan on a lake
Tranquility, Solitude & Self-Reflection – A swan, silently gliding across pond, is a portrait of grace and beauty. Meditation and personal reflection are enhanced when surrounded by nature. Find a quiet spot. Give yourself the gift of quiet reflection. You’ll be glad you did.

Cookie Monster
Playful – Charming and playful as ever, Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster has been entertaining and befriending kids of all ages for over fifty years. And he hasn’t aged a day! He reminds us to make time to laugh and play every day, and most importantly … eat more cookies!

Color: VIOLET
Twilight
Wishes, Dreams & the Future – We often look to the horizon, wondering what the future holds. Faced with uncertainty, ancient mapmakers used to write, “Beyond here there be dragons.” Turns out there were no dragons, only new friends yet to meet.

Gemstones
Exotic & Regal – The earth provides a multitude of beautiful gemstones, typically worn as personal adornments. It is believed Cleopatra had lapis lazuli and amethyst gemstones ground into powders to make eye shadows. And you thought your makeup was expensive?

Lavender & Butterfly
Sleep Inducing & Mood Enhancing – Lavender is a wonder drug courtesy of Mother Nature. The color and delicate floral scent promote a restful, quiet state of mind and improved sleep.

Silk
Luxury, Passion & Royalty – There’s nothing like the luxurious feel of silk against your skin. The color violet was once reserved for royalty. Today we can treat ourselves to whatever fabrics and colors we choose.

Spa Ambiance
Indulging, Pampering & Pleasurable – Day spas and fitness resorts understand the beneficial physical, psychological and emotional effects of color, fragrance, music, flavors, and simple human touch. By appealing to our five senses, we are transported, if only for a little while, to a place where pleasure reigns and the art of doing nothing is our only pursuit.

Thunderstorm
Powerful & Majestic – Have you ever watched a thunderstorm? It’s so powerful that you can feel the electricity in the air. The landscape changes from one second to the next as bolts of lightning pierce sky in a kaleidoscope of light and color. Mother Nature puts on quite a show and the admission is free.

The Great Ice Cream Color Debate:
Green Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream versus White Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream – one of the most popular flavors of all time. Have you ever considered the color? Should it be green or white? You’re probably asking yourself, “What difference could the color possibly make?” Right?

Here’s where it gets interesting: There’s an expression: “You eat with your eyes first.” You may not be aware of this, but color affects your perceptions of taste. For many people, if the ice cream isn’t green it’s not mint, but it’s not just a matter of color. They actually don’t taste the mint flavoring! For them, it’s vanilla ice cream with chocolate chips. Their sense of taste is overpowered by their visual expectations.

Have you ever been surprised by the flavor of a food based upon its color? What flavor were you expecting? Would changing the color improve the taste? Dr. Seuss once asked, “Would you eat green eggs and ham?”

To read part one of this post, please click here. Need some advice on color selection?  Read this post: “Color Selection 101.”

Happy Crafting!

World of Color: Meanings, Perceptions, & Expectations – Part 1

Rainbow Colors
Color has a huge impact on our lives. Nature envelops us in color on a daily basis, although sometimes we fail to notice. We all have a favorite color. You know the one I’m talking about. While wearing it, you feel fantastic and you say to yourself, “Damn, I look Good!” (lol)  Other people notice too. Compliments are flowing. Is it the color that attracts attention or is it the way it affects your thoughts and behavior?

In this two-part series, you will learn about the hidden meanings, common perceptions and our expectations associated with particular colors. When it comes to psychology, there are no “neutral” colors.

Color: RED
Red Ferrari
Powerful, Energetic & Exhilarating – Secretly many people share the fantasy of being race car drivers. Performance car manufacturers satisfy this need for speed. Red is your color if you want to get noticed. Heads will turn, including local law enforcement, which tends to target red vehicles for speeding.

Red Balloons
Romantic, Spontaneous & Affectionate – Hearts in many forms, such as candy, balloons, jewelry, accessories, and home décor, are given to express love. Red roses are a Valentine’s Day staple.

Fairy Tale
Tempting, Daring & Dangerous – Snow White gave in to temptation by eating the apple and fell asleep.  Do you dare?

Red Gown
Bold, Sexy & Confident – Red screams, “Look at me! You won’t believe what I’m going to do or say next!”

Motivational Scrabble Tiles
Motivational, Courageous & Defiant – Never give up on yourself or your dreams.

Red Velvet Cupcake
Stimulating – In case you didn’t know, Red Velvet Cake is chocolate cake with lots and lots of food coloring. Red is known to stimulate the appetite. My mouth is watering just looking at the photo. (lol)

Color: ORANGE
Friendship
Playful & Friendly – What could be better than watching the sunset with your best friend?

Bonfire
Family & Entertaining – Firelight invites sharing of stories and roasting marshmallows with family and friends.

Halloween Cat
Halloween – Candlelit jack-o-lanterns, black cats and ghost stories are memorable elements from Halloweens past.

Orange Chinese Dragon
Celebrating & Festive – Bright lights and colorful decorations set the stage for getting the party started.

Field of Joy
Joyful, Laughter, & Lighthearted – Happy people are a pleasure to be around.

Orange Leaves
Seasonal, Change – Autumn arrives in flamboyant style with a full color show.  Change is inevitable. Welcome new opportunities.

Color: YELLOW
Yellow Sunflowers
Happy& Uplifting – The sun regulates our internal clocks, making us active during the day and sleepy at night. When it is cloudy and overcast for extended periods of time, we often feel lethargic and uninspired.

Yellow Caution Signs
Cautionary& Stimulating – Who knows what lies around the next corner? No falling asleep on this drive.

Yellow Chick
Warm & Fuzzy – This cute little guy begs to be touched, melting hearts with just one look.

Kermit the Frog
Energizing & Motivational – “Don’t just sit there! Get up & get moving!”

Refreshing Lemonade
Sweet & Tart – A lemonade stand is a summertime favorite & childhood right of passage.

Yellow School Buses
Attention Getting, Childlike, & Unpredictable – In late August, the first sighting of a school bus marks the end of summer and the return to school. If you’re a kid, it’s a bummer. If you’re a parent, it’s the most wonderful time of the year!

I’ll share a little family story with you. I have an aunt, who always wanted a pair of red leather gloves. She doesn’t know why she never bought them, and kept this wish to herself. Why? Did she assume they were too flamboyant? Maybe the color red had “naughty” connotations for her? When she finally mentioned the gloves, I bought her a pair for Christmas. You should have seen her expression when she opened the gift. A smile bloomed as she realized a lifelong wish had come true. Such a simple thing brought so much joy.

Take a look at the colors you’re wearing right now. How do they make you feel? Want to make a change? Could the addition of another color make a difference? Give it a try.

To read part two of this post, please click here.  Need some advice on color selection?  Read this post: “Color Selection 101.”

Happy Crafting!

Color Selection 101

Artist's Paint Palette
Choosing colors is one of the most difficult parts of any project. Fortunately the ultimate artist, Mother Nature, has already done most of the work for us. Below are assorted nature photos to inspire your exploration of the infinite possibilities of color.

The Color Wheel
The Color Wheel
A Color Wheel – all the colors of the visible spectrum, that is, visible to the human eye.

Primary Colors
Primary Colors - Parrot
Primary Colors: Red, Blue, & Yellow – base colors found in nature.

Secondary Colors
Secondary Colors-Butterflies
Secondary Colors: Green, Orange, & Purple – are made by mixing two primary colors together.

Black & White
Black & White - Whale
White & Black – produce shades of color from light to dark. Black and white is a classic combo often used in the textile and interior design industries. Turn the ordinary to extraordinary by adding brilliant jewel tone colors, such as sapphire blue, emerald green or ruby red.

Complementary Colors
Complementary Colors
Complementary Colors: Opposites on the color wheel (red & green; purple & yellow; blue & orange). When used together, they produce the highest contrasts.

Rainbow
Rainbow
All the colors of the spectrum – Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue & Violet – in that exact order can be seen in this rainbow. If you want to create a realistic rainbow effect, be sure to get the color order correct.

Fresh Picked Fruit
Fresh Picked Fruit
Pastel Red, Green, Fuchsia & Orange – These are great spring and summer colors.

Tropical Fish
Tropical Fish
Golden & Reddish Browns with White, set against a Green background – Brown & White are another classic combo, which look great with jewel tones.

Hibiscus Bloom
Hibiscus Bloom
Red, Orange, Yellow & touches of Pink & White – Warm pastels with a dramatic red center attract attention.

Molten Lava
Molten Lava
Black, Orange, & Yellow – These colors remind me of my favorite holiday, Halloween.

Floating Lotus Blossom
Floating Lotus Blossom
Pure White & Yellow offset by Green, Blue & Black – White is such a cool, crisp color in summer, and coordinates with any colors in warm or cool tones.

Field of Tulips
Field of Tulips
Orange, Green, & Yellow contrast with Blue – Pastels come alive with a punch of color.

Peacock Feathers
Peacock Feathers
Blue, Green, Gold, & Black – Exotic & luxurious is the vibe created by these colors. The electric blue set against the black makes a bold statement with the naturally shimmering gold and green.

Cherry Blossoms
Cherry Blossoms
Pink & Blue – In the case of these cherry blossoms, bold colors would be overpowering. Such tiny, delicate blooms call for gentle, soft colors. Is it any wonder these colors are often used for baby nurseries?

Pansies
Pansies
Purple, White & Yellow – The frilled purple petals resemble watercolors, while the yellow centers look like they were hand painted in this striking palette.

Rainbow Lorakeets
Rainbow Lorakeets
It’s hard to believe that one animal could have all the colors of the rainbow, except purple, and yet here it is in two small parrots. If Mother Nature can come with this, imagine what you can do.

Spiral Stained Glass Windows
Spiral Stained Glass Windows
Blue & Red with Green, Orange, Purple & Yellow accents – The spiral draws your eye toward the center, while the blended colors move you along one frame at a time.

Sunset #1
Sunset - Cool tones
Purple, Yellow, & Blue – Cool colors of evening (blues & purples) provide the dramatic backdrop for the vibrant yellow sun setting at the distant horizon. This palette has a dreamy, relaxing quality.

Sunset #2
Sunset - Warm tones
Red, Yellow, & Orange with touches of Pink & Purple – Blended warm colors have an energetic, motivational effect.

The next time you are looking for some color inspiration for your next project, take a look outside. Mother Nature has provided a feast for the eyes. Don’t be afraid to experiment. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.  To learn more about color, please read “World of Color – Part 1” and “World of Color- Part 2.”

Happy Crafting!

Psychology of Color: Brown

Choosing a color is a very personal decision. This article is one in a series to explore our connection to and meanings behind various colors, and their uses in arts and crafts.

Field of Hay Bales

“Back to Basics” brown is present in the landscapes of all climate zones around the world, from polar ice to tropical islands. Brown is associated with everyday expressions, such as being “down-to-earth” and “having your feet firmly planted on the ground.” It engenders warmth, calm, and relaxation, while enabling us to reconnect with nature to reset our internal clocks. As creatures of the land, brown anchors us as we explore, knowing we can always return to home base.

Tigerseye Jewelry

In fashion, brown is considered a neutral, coordinating with all other colors, but it can also lend an air of drama. For centuries, jewelry has been worn as personal adornments, a means of self-expression. In the above photo, Tigerseye, Black Onyx and silver beads create an edgy, statement piece of jewelry. In the necklace on the right, Tigerseye and Natural Mother of Pearl combine with gold accents, for a softer, more refined appearance.

Chocolate Candy Assortment

Surely chocolate is one of life’s pleasures. Candy makers start with selections of rich milk chocolate or decadent dark, and fillings to satisfy any sweet tooth. Colorful candy coatings provide a visually appealing rainbow of choices. When it comes to chocolate, any excuse will do: Happy Tuesday!

Grapevine Wreath

Grapevine is a natural, renewable resource. Variations in the vine thickness, texture, and growth patterns make each completed project a unique creation. Simulating nature, this wreath features tiny leaves and colorful blooms springing forth from the grapevine, essentially bringing the outdoors inside. Hidden among the foliage, the soft pastel eggs, in shades of green and yellow, are reminders of the coming spring.

Knitted Scarf

Novelty tan and white yarn provides texture, shimmer and extra softness in this knitted winter scarf, which spices up an otherwise boring jacket with a little feminine luxury.

Pyrography - Wood Burning Art

What could be more earthy than a nice piece of wood? The words on this plaque were created using a technique called wood burning or pyrography. Specialized pens are used to burn designs onto wood plaques, furniture, decorative pieces, and can also be used on leather. Different pen tips allow the artist to create fine, detailed lines, stippling effects, and shading. Stencils can be used to transfer patterns and designs onto the wood. Due to the high temperatures of the tools, adult supervision is advised for all wood burning projects.

Happy Crafting!