Mr. Roy G. Biv

Mal | Art Process and Creativity,Color study | Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Rainbow fruit

Maybe it’s odd, but I love to organize things in rainbow order. Actually, I’d consider it a kind of coping mechanism. When I get really stressed, something about that old ROYGBIV just soothes me.

When I was little, I would sort everything from t-shirts to pencils to food in this color order. I would line up candies in a spectrum row before I would eat them. M&M’s and Skittles frustrated me because they didn’t have all the right colors. Now that I’m older, I don’t have time to be quite so obsessive about it, but most of my art supplies and clothes are still sorted this way.

Am I the only one?

The Intervention

Mal | Color study,Here and Now,Home,Organizing,Simplicity | Monday, July 6th, 2009

Mom's kits

I’ve written about my mom and her fabric “collecting” in the past. Recently, she asked us for help in creating a functional sewing room in her basement, including purging the fabric she doesn’t intend to use. Naturally, I made arrangements to take time off of work and be there with my sisters.

Fabrics in their natural state

Although she has hoarded for many years, she has never actively sought help, so I was both nervous and relieved as I made the long drive to my parents’ house. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m going to spare you some of the details here, but…

Beginning of Day 2

At the end of Day 1, we were all feeling pretty good about the progress we’d made. Then, after she went to bed, we found a few more of her hidden stashes and uncovered more than twice the amount of fabric than what we had sorted and folded during the entire first day. Let’s just say the task felt pretty daunting at that point.

Folding station

Here’s a folding station. The task of sorting and shelving was pretty monumental, and at any time during the weekend, we had 3 folding stations going at once. I’ll probably put up a tutorial on the folding process, since it’s what I am using to stay organized in my apartment, too.

Mostly, my siblings and niece worked at the folding tables, while I sat knee-to-knee with my mom and talked her through everything. (This is a downside of being a therapist, I guess — when no one else can handle the talking, it falls to you.)

Sorting with mom

I literally spent 3 days handing her fabric, talking her through each stack, and carrying it to her shelves or the giveaway pile. It’s important to note that we went through the entire collection 3 times, each time purging more, until everything she wanted to keep would fit onto the massive shelves.

Bags of fabric

Here’s one of my macho brothers hefting industrial-sized trash bags of fabric out of the house. We estimate that these bags each weighed around 150 pounds, and we filled about 5 of them.

Filled shelves

This is what she was left with at the end of the weekend. It doesn’t account for all of her flannels and other fabrics; we didn’t sort through her books/magazines/patterns; we collected all of her in-progress projects into one place but didn’t get them really put away; and we haven’t even touched her batting and notions. Oh, well. It was a good start.

Pinks, Reds, Yellows

The shelves look nice, but little empty spaces like the one you see above make me very nervous. I hope she doesn’t go out and binge on red-and-white fabrics just because there is room left in that stack. Although we did a good job of clearing things out this weekend, I think we all realize that we are a long way from resolving the underlying behaviors.

Closer up on shelves

Still, I hope she feels as clear-headed and inspired by looking at these shelves as I do when I look at the photos. I love my mom, and I’d do just about anything I could to help foster her creativity and peace of mind.

Granny Day Giveaway Winners

Mal | Color study,Give-aways,Resources | Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Thanks to all who entered the Granny Day Giveaway by choosing a color and associating it with an emotion. Winners are listed below. But first, I thought I’d play along too.

At some point in the last week, my emotional color was yellow — not a nice, warm, orangey-yellow, but a lighter, green-like yellow. These photos were mostly taken around my apartment on Saturday morning.

Yellow mosaic

Unlike many who commented about yellow, I don’t always associate the color with sunshine and cheery mood. This dank, green-ish yellow is more of a desperate color for me — something tight and trapped, something stuck. I don’t know why. Guess its been a weird week.

Before I reveal the winners, I want to give a special nod to Dawn (warning: music plays on her page) who took my Granny Day Celebration one step further and created her own Granny Creed. I love it! The world would be a better place…

At any rate, without further ado, here are the winners of the Granny Day Giveaway. Yup — I said winners plural. Because this is the first giveaway, I thought “aw, heck.” Let’s get crazy.

Congratulations to ecky (no blog) who said: i’d say brown…earthy and calm. (Well, calm can be considered an emotion so there you go!)

Congratulations to gahome2mom whose email with the secret subscription phrase was also chosen. She says: I’m entering to win blue because it makes me feel relaxed. (gahome2mom also entered via twitter. Hip!)

And finally, congratulations to Patricia Ojeda (no blog, but that’s a twitter link), who said: I’m feeling red today! To me, red is an exciting, energizing, and vivid color! Red just screams vitality! This is the way I am feeling today. I love red in the quilts that I sew. There must be a touch of red in every quilt I make. Red makes colors pop! The color red is also in my garden that I planted for spring! Against all the green grass and bushes, red just stands out so pretty! (Patricia also entered multiple ways, so that’s also extra yay-worthy.)

Honorable mentions to Dionne, Margi, Liz, and Elizabeth who went the extra mile and earned the bonus point.

As a final point of interest, here is a list of the selected colors in order of popularity. Interesting trends!

  1. Blue
  2. Green
  3. Pink
  4. Yellow
  5. Orange
  6. Red
  7. Purple
  8. Brown
  9. Aqua/teal
  10. Black
  11. White/Cream

I had a great time with this fun giveaway and it really brought out the lurkers! My feed reader is now bursting at the seams with new blogs that I never would have discovered otherwise. I highly recommend you pop back to the original entry and check out the commenters. Visit a few blogs you’ve never heard of before. Expand your circle and start leaving comments. Let’s get interacting! I know I am looking forward to interacting with you all more.

Please don’t forget — this is just the first of many giveaways I’ve got planned, so you’ll all be able to enter again! I recommend subscribing to this blog so that you don’t miss anything good.

Color Study: Mexico

Mal | Art Journal,Color study,Links to Others | Thursday, April 16th, 2009

Mexico Courtyard

With the Granny Day Giveaway going on, I’m thinking about color this week.

Somehow I had missed (or forgotten) that Geninne lives in Mexico. Her recent post about the colorful country she lives in reminded me of my trip to Mexico from a few years back. (I highly recommend you click over to read that post, as it is very beautiful and insightful. Go ahead. I’ll be here when you get back.)

I first visited Mexico in 2004 for some art therapy classes and was so into sketching and visual journals at the time that I didn’t even take a camera with me! This strikes me as absurd — my first time visiting in a new country and no camera!? — but I sketched my way across the Mexican countryside as evidenced by this photo below:

Sketching (under the arrow)

Yeah, that’s me. Under the orange arrow. Note that I am the only person not paying rapt attention to the speaker, and instead am sketching the cactus to my right. I remember it was bursting with small fruits and I couldn’t NOT capture their deep burgundy-gold-ness. The photo was taken by a friend who sent it to me with a note: “This is what you looked like the whole time in Mexico, FYI.” I think she was a little annoyed, but my sketchbooks from that trip are their own reward.

Mexico Colored House

While I was in Mexico, I read a quote that I thought at the time really summed up my thoughts on color in that country. In hindsight, I think it is rather Aryan-centric and a little class-ist, but I still think it’s interesting:

In Mexico, the people who have no money make their walls beautiful to show off their one element of wealth: COLOR.

— Elena Ponintowska

And, it’s true. My journals from that trip are filled with warm oranges, reds, yellows, and pinks. The blues are really bright, and the greens kind of fade away. Here are a few more scans:

Mexico Fountain

Mexico Blue Sky Church

Mexico Bar

Mexico Umbrella

There’s still time to enter the Granny Day Giveaway. Just think of your current favorite color and an emotion you associate with it. There are 5 ways to enter!

(Note: There are also giveaways at Bumblebeans and Mrs. Schmenkman Quilts. Go stash up while I work to stash down.)

Color study: Pops of red

Mal | Color study | Wednesday, April 8th, 2009


When looking back through 300 or so photos I took of family members, decorations, and celebration folderol at my brother’s wedding, I noticed that each time my eye wandered, it was to capture some out-of-place pop of warm red.










What about you? Are you drawn to a particular color these days?

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