Posts Tagged ‘color’

bright bowls mugs anthro

We are (it’s hardly news) buried in white and gray over here. Dingy snowbanks edged in dirty, blackened ice. White skies blanketed in clouds that foil the sun’s feeble attempts to shine through. Road salt stains on my (black) snow boots. This week had a three-day stretch where we didn’t see the sun. (Though the blue skies are on their way back – I hope.)

blue sky bare branches

Until then, I’m seeking out color wherever I can find it – like this bright display at Anthropologie. Sometimes I drop in on my lunch break just to feast my eyes on the vibrant housewares. It’s food for the eyes and the soul, even if I don’t buy anything (and I rarely do, though I’m coveting one of those London mugs).

I walk by the local flower shop all the time, drinking in the rainbow of color there. Sometimes I buy tulips for my desk, in whatever shade strikes my fancy, but lately, I’m all about the daffodils. They’re so cheerful and sunny, and they remind me of spring in Oxford.

daffodils book desk

I’m wearing a lot of black these days (it goes with everything). But I wear a deep red scarf at least twice a week, sometimes with a slash of red lipstick. When it’s warm enough, I shrug out of my down jacket and don my favorite jade-green wool coat.

katie hot cocoa red cup green coat

I’m knitting myself a bright pink cowl, after finishing that purple wrap. I wear a favorite pink dress about once a week. I use colored Sharpies to make to-do lists at work. And I slip away to Darwin’s whenever I can, sipping my chai amid the walls painted the glorious oranges and pinks of a Texas sunset.

darwins cafe interior cambridge ma

I’m itching for my annual reread of Jane of Lantern Hill, which describes Prince Edward Island in glorious summer color. And I’m waiting for spring, which will bring crocuses and budding trees and blue skies – some day. Until then, I’m getting my color fix however I can.

Where do you find color during the long gray winter?


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I didn’t do a lot of knitting this fall, aside from a few hats for Nest Maine and my annual batch of wee hats for Innocent Drinks’ Big Knit. I only reached for my needles while watching TV, using up scraps from my multicolored stash.

I know the pitfalls of a huge Christmas knitting list, so I limited myself to two pairs of slippers. My mom’s birthday is at the end of January, so I started knitting her a big, cozy cowl this fall, knowing I could save it for her birthday if I didn’t finish it in time for Christmas.

The slippers, the cowl and the three projects I’ve started since Christmas all have one thing in common: my favorite color.

red cowl

This is the cowl I made for Mom – the pattern is Julie’s Stockholm Scarf pattern, simple and squishy and so cozy. (Now I want to make one for myself.)

pink slippers

These wee slippers went to my girl Bethany, who has size 5 feet and gets cold easily. The pattern came from this book of slipper patterns. I made a similar pair for Abi, in red, to replace the now-worn-out felted pair I made her several years ago.

My sister requested a pair of boot toppers like the ones I made for Mom last Christmas. She wanted red, and I was happy to oblige:

boot cuffs button red

I’ve also been doing a bit of selfish knitting: a cozy ribbed cowl in a deep red and a bright pink cabled hat. Because I need some color to combat the relentless white and gray of winter.

Are you making anything colorful during this gray month?

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“I’d never get tired of red,” said the Story Girl. “I just love it—it’s so rich and glowing. When I’m dressed in red I always feel ever so much cleverer than in any other colour. Thoughts just crowd into my brain one after the other. Oh, you darling dress—you dear, sheeny, red-rosy, glistening, silky thing!”

She flung it over her shoulder and danced around the kitchen.

—L.M. Montgomery, The Golden Road

I ordered a copy of Red is Best for a friend recently, and tried to make Jeremiah guess whom it was for. (He hates guessing games, but usually goes along with mine.) “Whom do we know that loves red so much?” I asked. He stared at me and answered, “You!”

Ahem. Well, yes. I bought a red v-neck sweater this weekend, after searching for the perfect one for months. I’ve knitted seven red items (though four are gifts!) since mid-October. My long red wool coat has made its winter debut; I rock the red wellies whenever it rains; and my red Evangeline mitts are getting plenty of play on these cold days. Not to mention my red bathrobe, our red bath towels and dishes and couch slipcover, and all the other red things in our house.

Me in my "Valentine coat"

“You suit red,” my housemate Lizzie used to tell me – though she and other housemates have made fun of me for having enough red and pink laundry to merit its own load. But like Sara Stanley, above, I love red. I do feel cleverer in it – and, even if it’s not Christmas, I also feel festive and jazzy.

Do you have a color you never get tired of? (Any fellow red-lovers out there?)

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I’m still playing along with Autumn Colour Week over at Poppytalk, and today’s hue is orange. The leaves here have been slow to turn this year, and they’re tending toward yellow and red, so these photos are all from last fall. (Doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy them, though!)

So, some orange loveliness for you:

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It’s Day 2 of Poppytalk’s Autumn Colour Week, and I have some cheery yellow for you, beginning with lovely leaves on the Common:

And some mums and umbrellas at a sidewalk cafe:

The leaves are also lovely down on Newbury Street:

And there’s a hint of gold in the sunsets at our beach:

Where is yellow popping up for you this autumn?

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Jan over at Poppytalk is hosting Autumn Colours Week again this year – and she’s starting off with red. It’s my favorite, so I couldn’t resist sharing some happy red bits of autumn with you.

I’ve been hanging out in the Public Garden, wearing my Ishbel shawl:

And admiring one brave red little maple:

I’m still rockin’ my red wellies when it rains:

And savoring every single one of the apples we picked this weekend with friends:

Where are you “seeing red” (in a non-angry way, I hope!) this fall? (P.S.: you can check out the Autumn Colours Week Flickr pool for more photos.)

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Some colorful inspiration for your Monday – designer Jessi Arrington explaining her wardrobe philosophy at TED.

I love Jessi’s cheery, bubbly outlook on life, her can-do spirit, her confidence in rocking new and unusual color combinations, and her sweet Southern accent. She’s inspiring me to rock a little confidence – and a lot of color! – today.

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I started spring-cleaning my closet the other day, weeding out a few items I haven’t worn all winter. While I was at it, I rearranged the items I’m keeping, organizing the tops by color.

And I realized: the number of my gray tops (cardigans, long-sleeved tees and 3/4 sleeve tops) roughly equals the number of my red, pink, orange/coral and yellow tops, put together. I don’t think of myself as a “neutrals” person, but it turns out the color spectrum in my closet leans heavily toward gray and black.

Granted, I own lots of colorful scarves, which pair well with neutral tops – ditto for a few brightly hued skirts, which I’m hoping to pull out soon. But I think there’s another reason, one that sounds depressingly familiar: Neutrals are safe. They go with almost everything.

There’s nothing wrong with safety per se, and I admit it’s nice to have some no-brainer options for getting dressed in the morning. And black can look sophisticated, and gray can be cozy or chic.

But these colors reflect a larger trend in my life of late. I’m still feeling raw and uncertain, still longing to feel settled in this new Boston life, to feel at home in my job and my neighborhood, instead of (still) feeling like the new kid. (It strikes me, as I said to my husband recently, that nearly all the people we call friends up here are fellow transplants, whether they’ve been here eight months, like us, or several years. They all remember what it feels like to be strangers here.)

On mornings when I feel tender and vulnerable, bold color is a risk I’m reluctant to take. I reach for the neutrals, maybe throwing on a vivid scarf, but keeping 90 percent of my body safely covered with black or gray or brown or dark denim.

But as we continue to flirt with spring – whether the day is sunny with soft breezes or grey and rainy, requiring (plaid) wellies and a mackintosh – I find myself reaching for my brighter pieces. That yellow top I found on clearance in February. That melon-colored scarf, that spring-green sweater, that pink v-neck top, that flowered umbrella.

The bright colors may not be safe, but they give my spirit (not to mention my complexion) a boost. Maybe it’s time to splash a little color into the rest of my life. Take a few risks, try a new thing or two, knock off some of the items on my spring to-do list. Maybe, eventually, I’ll feel more at home with color, and maybe that welcome brightness will spill over into the rest of my life.

(As I was writing this post, I realized I’d written a similar piece – called “Stuck in Neutrals” – for the now-defunct Radiant magazine, four years ago this spring. Interesting how some of these issues keep cropping up in our lives over and over again.)

How are you injecting color into your life this spring?

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We’re in that strange transitional season – the calendar says it’s spring; Daylight Savings Time has begun (hallelujah!), and every store window is full of bright, breezy apparel and accessories.

However, this is Boston. Ergo, the mercury still drops below freezing at least once a week; we had hours of snow-rain yesterday; lots of spring rains are imminent; and it’s not nearly warm enough to step out in sandals, sport bare legs, go without a scarf or shed my jacket. Last week, when I wore a spring skirt to church (albeit with tights, boots, a cardigan and a black turtleneck), I heard a cautionary tale from my friend Bob involving his wife, a sundress in March, and pneumonia. (They’ve lived in the Northeast for 43 years. She is, obviously, wiser now.)

I know, I know. It’s not really spring yet, despite the teasing beams of sunshine on Boston Common and the proliferation of spring apparel. What’s a sick-of-all-her-sweaters Texas girl to do?

One answer: Buy orange tulips.

This little bouquet, bought from the nice Asian man who sells flowers at Downtown Crossing, made me SO happy last week.

Answer #2: Incorporate a few springy pieces into the it’s-still-winter wardrobe. (See spring skirt with winter layers, above.) Also: browse the consignment shop for colorful pieces that won’t break the bank. Such as a bright melon scarf, and a sweater the color of tender, new leaves.

Answer #3: Paint my toenails bright pink, even though, as McKay says, no one will see them under my tights and boots. Still, I know they’re pink and that’s what counts.

Answer #4: Soak up every bit of sunshine, whenever I can. Even if it means squinting into the light while I eat my breakfast. (I actually love the mornings I have to squint – the sunshine spilling in the windows is such a gift.)

Anyone else? Color therapy tricks to share?

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Even with the occasional blue-sky day around here, winter still involves a lot of black, gray and brown. The skies are often gray, and it still gets dark early. The piles of snow are rimmed with gray and brown, splashed up onto them by passing car tires and frozen into place. (City snow is NOT pretty – the falling snow is actually a blessed relief when it covers the landscape in a pure white blanket.) And my down coat, my boots, my gloves and lots of other winter accessories are black.

So I’ve been needing some color therapy. Although I don’t usually splurge on fresh flowers, I’ve bought a few bouquets, most recently these cheery daffodils:

I picked up a coral sweater and a bright mustard top off the Gap clearance rack the other day. I’ve been eating lots of bright orange clementines – cheery, healthy and delicious. And I’ve knitted myself a cozy cowl the color of raspberries:

(That’s the honey cowl, doubled up around my neck. Love it.)

What are your color therapy tricks for wintertime?

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