My Crayon-Filled Life


I've always been drawn to color. From the time I first opened a Crayon box, I drew my version of the world around me in primary colors.

When I was sewing quilts, I used a square piece of cardboard for a pattern, and then traced around bits of fabric with a #2 pencil. I sat many an hour cutting them all out with a quarter inch extra for seams.

Solids and patterns and everything in between. I used every color in the rainbow. And then I stitched them together and quilted them. 

I filled little embroidery boxes with shades of thread in every hue. I was very picky about how the shades of colors were stored. 

Whites, then beige. Yellow, then orange. Pink, then red. Blue, then purple, then green. Brown, then gray, then black. Always the same regimented and successive rows.

My sewing thread was lined up the same way. I loved categorical order.

I got a book and taught myself how to embroider. And then I embroidered the outside of flower petals I appliqued to give them definition.
 

My first home after high school was an old trailer, old and green and ugly as sin. I acquired a bright gold couch that I think came with it. 

My daughter and I lived there for several years. In a little trailer park with a fenced yard. 

I still remember the the canopy of trees overhead that helped cool the temperature in our little tin can home. 

That trailer wasn't much to write home about. 

But then I traded it in for another used trailer, a little larger, that served us until I married a college psychology instructor when I was 20 and my daughter was 3.  

Every home I've lived in since has been a cozy little haven that served as a canvas for my colorful outlook on life. 


Polka dots and checks and stripes were married together in cafe curtains for my windows and pillows for my furniture. 

Cafe curtains were predominant because I only knew how to sew a straight stitch and they were simple. (Remember I flunked Home Ec!)

I gathered little trinkets and linens to fill my nest. Then when I started making quilts, I spread those around as well. 

Books filled in the blanks and house plants softened the corners.

It was home, wherever I landed.


Decorating trends come and go. Burlap and neutrals and distressed furniture. 

Burlap made me sneeze. Neutrals bored me. And distressed furniture was just something I never gravitated to. 

I prefer smooth painted surfaces that become worn the old-fashioned way. 

But to each their own.

Over the years I've left many things behind. Changed directions and moved on. But wherever I live, it will always look like the inside of a Crayon box. 

I don't have a lot of money, but I am rich in the tapestry of colors I love. 
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26 comments

  1. You still embroider beautifully, with words. A tribute to color.

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  2. I started quilting with an adult education class taught at our local middle school. The teacher was from the hills of Kentucky and meandered her way to Northern Ohio and actually was on the board of a museum in Oberlin, Ohio. We spent week 1 working on our templates. We actually used sandpaper, carefully drawing those squares and triangles, measuring our 1/4 inch seams. The sandpaper was used upside down, the grit would grip the fabric. Of course, the more you used it, the more tattered it would be, so you had to cut many to get those exact measurements. And keep checking what you cut. Awww, the days before rotary cutters and quilt rulers. And of course she taught us to sew all by hand. The class was for four pillows and we were to work at home on our new skills. As a working mother of 5, I quickly decided I would rather complete 2 pillows rather than have 4 unfinished projects. I made pillow 1 and 3 with the class. It did teach me the basics of quilting and I have gone on to share with many 4-Hers.

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  3. What a beautiful way to help and encourage others by telling us about your life and how you put a nice home together. A cheerful place to live even on the dreary days or if we are depressed. Thank you!

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  4. Good Morning Brenda: I agree with you and color, I just love to decorate with colors. To me when you decorate with white or beige, it is boring. I have seen some rooms that are done like that & they have been pretty. But, I could not live like that. Our home is filled with color and I am glad that my husband doesn't care what colors I use. He knows to rummage, paint & decorate makes me happy. I use quite a bit of color in most of my quilts too. Color makes us happy, but I know decorating is to each their own. Have a great day!

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  5. Oh I love your crayon colors, always so pretty.

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  6. Fantastic post today. Amen to color.

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  7. I think you have hit on the real message of decorating. However you decorate, it is your home and you have to live in that home. I have always loved an eclectic country cottage style of decor. It has varied somewhat over the years, but I still use pieces I have had for 40 years. I love your crayon box style. xo Laura

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  8. Your cozy home is still one of my favorites in blogland, Brenda! Like you, I gravitate towards color. Thanks for the tip on the Wayfair sale art....I finally got some new pieces for my house - I'm moving some amazing framed local photos from downstairs to my living room - no more blank walls!! It only took me 2 1/2 years to make it happen, oh well!

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  9. "I don't have a lot of money, but I am rich in the tapestry of colors I love."
    what a beautiful thought and a beautiful little home.

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  10. I agree that all the neutral beige/white current fads are lackluster. They leave me feeling chilly and craving color. I hope this trend passes soon because I am tired of magazines filled with pale ghost rooms. I buy very few publications anymore because they all look the same.

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  11. A great reminder that whether our house is large or small we can turn it into a home with with special elements and love. Thanks

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  12. A woman after my own heart. I couldn't have said it better myself. And who knew my daughter would be a crayon, stripper, breaker and throw them in a box kid!GASP! ROFLOL! I love color too!

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  13. Your style is something that you developed for yourself and it is based on what gives YOU a feeling of well being, rather than being based on what the trends are. So even when there is nuttiness going on in the world, or in your apartment complex, you can still have a feeling of contentment in your own space. Your style is appealing to me, and my home looks a bit similar, but while you are drawn toward primary colors, I am drawn toward duller, or more muted shades, such as denim blue, rusty red, sage green, and old gold or pale ivory yellow. I have a rather cheaply made quilt I bought at Big Lots in the early 1990s with those colors in it, and it gets more faded as the years go by. But, I still love it and it's been used in the bedrooms and living room, just as yours have been, and it will continue to be used even though it is not really in style.

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  14. Today's post was poetry. I truly enjoy your memory pieces, but the way you describe your connection to color and what it's meant in your life touched my heart. Brava!

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  15. So very well said Brenda. I love all your color and many of your ideas come to mind any time I'm thinking of doing something different. You and your blog have definitely left a mark on my appreciation for what I have. Thank you for taking the time to share each day. Sandra

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  16. I too have always loved color - not sure the evolution, but there is always color in our house.

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  17. Your first photo with all the colorful quilts is one of my favorites.

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  18. Your way with words is always inspiring. I love that you live a Crayon filled life! It makes me accept that my cluttered look is just me!

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  19. The quilt you feature is lovely...bold and beautiful. Love your words in this post...love your love of color...as a kid, I was always in awe of Crayola's naming of the colors and how they got it just right. :)

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  20. You use color so beautifully, Brenda! Our first home was an old pink trailer...one of my favorite places.

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  21. Love your home, love your quilts, love your homey touches, but most of all I love the way you share your thoughts and your life with all of us. Yours is one of my favorite blogs.

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  22. This is purely poetic, Brenda. You remind us all to be thankful for home.

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  23. I actually have several boxes of crayons that I've never used and I keep them to look at all the colors every so often! Weird, huh? I love color, too, but I also have this neutral, burlappy, white and cream side to my taste also. I kind of blend the two in various, sort of subtle ways.

    I loved reading your description of your sense of, and love of, color. It is a fine piece of writing and a sweet glimpse of who you are. Thanks for sharing it.

    Yes, what would our world be if everything was in black and white?

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  24. You found the words that so many of us can't and expressed it beautifully. My first home was a "tin can" too--in the Southwest!!--and I can still remember the sound of rain on the roof. How sad some people settle for Display #3 at a store for their house. Your home should reflect who you are--and you've done that so well.

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  25. Your home is beautiful and I envy you. Wish I had your ability to decorate.

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  26. What a cozy corner to sit and read or have a cup of tea! Love your colorful style Brenda.

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