Saturday, January 12, 2013

Some Things from 2012

I learned a lot of stuff this last year that I intend to keep close. I always feel a bit better if I learn something every day. Here are a few things I learned this year that I’d like to share with you.

I learned about a place for everyday people to submit ideas of things that need to be made. You know - like when you are peeling an onion and you have an ah-ha moment and can just "see" the perfect invention but have no idea how to go about getting it made? Like a spray attachment for a lemon or lime. Yup, it attaches right to the fruit. Depress the pump - like the pumps available for oil or vinegar spraying -  and juice comes out in a mist. Isn’t that wonderful? $5.99. Once the product is produced you can buy it directly from the on-line store.

I didn’t learn about TED this year, but I want to make sure you all know about it. Technology Education and Design. TED. Talks from experts on everything; over 1100 talks. TED : Ideas Worth Spreading. Rather than spend 20 minutes looking at an on-line catalogue, or someone else’s wish-list (think pinned things...) why not choose something from the TED list and be entertained, laugh and learn something all at the same time.  I rarely get out of the TED site without some gem to take forward with me. For example, Markham Nolan: How to separate fact from fiction on-line,  or Ben Saunders : Why bother leaving the house? (In 2004 he was the youngest person to ever ski to the North Pole), Mike Rowe: Learning from dirty jobs, or Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are.

For the decorator in you, sign up for Maria Killam’s ColorMeHappy blog. While I don’t agree with everything she says or espouses, she is one of the most important colorists out there right now, and she lives in Vancouver. I heard about her from a colleague of mine who lives  in California. You have heard me talk about undertones, this lady is the expert.  Her column is witty and informative and is another site I rarely walk away from empty-handed.

And my personal favorite for the year: “Letters to a Young Poet” by Rainer Maria Rilke. Ten letters written during  the years of 1903 to 1908 from an older poet (age 29) to a younger poet (age 19).  Best book I ever read.

Happy New Year, and thanks for reading.

Paint Colors for 2013

2013 Color Forecast
For those of you waiting for the 2013 color forecasts, here is the synopsis of the interior colors that we are "supposed" to use in our homes next year. I trust all of you to do what is right for you and your families first, and decorate according to trends only if it really suits your life. I’ll put links to all these sites, and samples of the colors, on my Gallery at my website

Pantone, the self-appointed color doyens, say that the 2013 is the year of “Emerald.” (17-5641)  Their description of this color:  “Lively, radiant, lush.. a color of elegance and beauty that enhances out sense of well-being, balance and harmony.”

Benjamin Moore picked Lemon Sorbet (2019-60). Their reasons? “This beautiful yellow hue harmonizes with other trending pastels in the mint, coral, pink, blue, and vanilla families. Uplifting without being overpowering it is the ideal home paint colour to complement any d├ęcor. It’s the perfect transitional colour between the mid-tones and saturated colours seen in today's home furnishings and the softer, lighter pastels which are emerging for 2013.”

Sherwin-Williams chose Aloe.  This is a greyed pastel green “This is no ordinary pastel — Aloe is funky and glamorous, demure and free-spirited. While Aloe's vibe can verge on retro, when paired with caviar blacks, crisp whites or soft grays, suddenly Aloe has a new soul and attitude. And Aloe is highly adaptable, making it a perfect pick for everyday spaces such as a breezy sunroom or a well-dressed living room.”

The Color Marketing group, which includes Farrow and Ball and Pratt and Lambert chose “Re-blue” ( RGB 90 162 192) “RE” plays on several key lifestyle trends:  REcycling, REnew,  REmember, REwind, REcalibrate, REward and is REliable.   RE-BLUED works well with all colors of the palette.  Blue is embraceable.  Versatile, it can be updated to contemporary status with vibrant tones, or nestled into a heritage feel with those more historic or traditional.”

Style at Home magazine published a great article with the choices from six Canadian paint companies which, with one exception, chose soft pastels for their colors. The on-line article showcases Dulux, Benjamin Moore, Behr, Beauti-Tone, Farrow and Ball and Sico. Their overall take on the color forecasts:  “Modern neutrals with bold hits of electric blue popped up across palettes from a variety of paint companies for 2013."

Happy New Year to all of you. I hope it is a year filled with love and laughter.

Beige and Taupe

Beige and Taupe

Well, that grabbed your attention didn’t it?  Try to hold the excitement down, I know this is gripping stuff.  But -  we need to talk about undertones, and if I had titled this column “Undertones” you most likely would have turned the page. I’ll get to “Beige and Taupe” in a minute.

Why undertones? Well, I was at a clients recently and she was having trouble deciding what color to paint her living room wall. The  current color wasn’t right, and she knew it but she couldn’t put her finger on what was wrong, exactly. The basic color was good, but it just didn’t work. The reason? The brick wall adjacent to it had yellow and orange undertones. The paint had a red undertone. So when we looked at the two walls, we were seeing a red wall beside yellow and orange brick.

Undertone is the basic color from the color wheel. It’s the origin of the color, the true color before it was tinted, or shaded, or grayed. Every color starts at either red, blue or yellow. So, one thing you need to remember is that mixing undertones can create an off-kilter room. Think of olive green (yellow undertones). How well does that mix with a spruce green (blue undertones)?  Not well. Or think of a tomato red sofa (blue undertones) with flame red cushions (orange undertones). Get the picture?

Technically speaking, beige has red, yellow or green undertones. Grey has blue, green or violet undertones. Taupe has pink or violet undertones. I don't know that I've ever seen a  yellow taupe, or violet beige, and you all know that some taupes appear quite mauve, while many beiges have a yellow cast to them.

So, how do you determine the undertone? Look at the color in natural light. Compare it to other colors of similar value; if you are comparing beiges, for example, one will suddenly appear more pinky, or yellowish or greenish than the other.  There is your undertone.

And the general rule of thumb, here, is please do not mix undertones. No red undertone paint beside the orange brick wall. No orange undertone paint on the walls next to the green beige curtain.  Trust your instincts. Chances are really good that you will know when something is off, and chances are really good that the problem is the undertone.

Bathroom Tissue

Bathroom Tissue
I was in the Store-that-shall-remain-nameless the other day getting socks and bathroom tissue. Yes, I shop there on occasion. There, I’ve outed myself. Just like window coverings, I believe in buying what you need at the price you can afford. Shopping around for the best buy is  common, good, fiscal sense. So save some dollars on bathroom tissue - you’ll be surprised - and spend it on a new area rug.

Anyway, I buy bathroom tissue based on two things, ply and price. In my experience, 1-ply rolls disappear twice as quickly as 2-ply rolls and if I have to blow my nose I really prefer the 2-ply. Personal preference. Every time I buy bathroom tissue I think that I should take a few minutes and figure out which one is the best price.

The other day I had a few extra minutes and decided to shake off the shackles of procrastination and just do the work. So, paper and pen in hand I wrote down the skinny on 6  packages of TP (the universal euphemism for the product). Today, I got the prices on 12 more packages. 

Based on price per double sheet, the prices ranged from .09 cents to .66 cents per sheet.  That is a 1300 percent difference in price.  In case you missed it, that is
Thirteen Hundred  Percent.100 sheets of the least expensive stuff costs 90 cents. 100 sheets of the most expensive one costs $6.60.  The average was .34 cents per sheet. I have used both the most and least expensive and, in all honesty, they both seem to do the job satisfactorily, both meeting my “expectations of quality.”  If you use 1 roll of TP every 3 days, the yearly saving could be about 126.00. OK, so maybe not an area rug, but it could be a darn nice hat. Or dinner for two.  Or a nice donation to the Salvation Army or Women’s Shelter Christmas fund.

I don’t endorse products, so here is how to calculate this yourself. Multiply the number of sheets per roll by the number of rolls in the package. Divide the selling price by the number of sheets. If the product is single ply, use half the number of sheets in the calculation.