Saturday 21 March 2009

Colour collecting.

Decorating our first house from top to bottom, inside and out, was a mammoth task which began 5 years ago and is now, thankfully, complete [ish]. A task which had an unending knack for revealing nasty surprises such as: the need to completely re-wire the electrics, a whole central heating system connected to a single 3-pin plug and a half-landing being held up by a few nails and positive thinking alone!

We lived and - quite literally - breathed the scraping, filling, sanding and painting process. I would long for a weekend, somewhere in the mists of a golden future, where I could wear something other than my paint, filler and caulk smeared jeans and hoodie. James and I would be working away at some laborious necessity and together ponder the mystery which was: how would we fill our days once we no longer had to decorate or dig our free time away?

We know the answer to that now. It goes along the lines of: we sleep, we eat properly, dress nicely, have a life and visit shops which sell things other than undercoat, fire surrounds and gravel. Hell, there's some weekends when we simply mooch, potter and amble, with nary an iota of nostalgia for those DIY-days.

Don't get me wrong though, there were some things I did enjoy about the process. Particularly those which related to the choosing and shopping side of things rather than the oh-joy-I'm-up-to-my-scalp-in-dust....again moments. And one of the best things about the whole interior decoration side has got to be having a genuine excuse to go around collecting these:

Colour swatches.

I adore colour swatches. In my world colour swatches are for life ...not just for redecorating purposes. They are perfect items. They fulfil my craving to look at and arrange colours. It's something that I've always done, ever since being tiny, when to sit and arrange my Crayola Carousel and 100 Felt tip pens into a gradual, accurate rainbow of tonal wonder was an activity in itself. And, as this activity did not necessarily lead to me using them for anything ... similarly, sneaking the odd colour swatch into my pocket doesn't necessarily result in me buying any paint.

I did however, buy this [from Paperchase]: I had to. But, again like the paint swatches, just because I bought a notebook it didn't strictly mean I was going to write in it ... not straight away anyway. It must be close to 6 years since I bought it and for all that time it has been admired, displayed and loved ... but never used ... until now. My current notebook [which travels to work with me every day] is rapidly filling up so I've decided to initiate this one into holding all my ideas for papercrafting projects. And what better way to separate individual categories of project than creating subject dividers from ... well, the choice was obvious wasn't it? Some of the swatches I've used as dividers were ones I found tucked inside this book:

If any of my colour-based brain-leakings have struck a chord with you then, seriously, you should treat yourself to this book, it's a wonderful collection of colour discussions, schemes and swatches. During the entire re-decorating process Choosing Colours by Kevin McCloud [who I won't hear a word against!] was the equivalent of baby bible to a first time mother. I referred to it for reassurance and advice at least once a day! [Sir] Kevin was like a midwife helping me deliver beautifully harmonic and interesting colour schemes! Aahhhhh this kind of talk will make me broody for a fresh new house if I'm not careful.

So yes, I found some swatches tucked into the front of it, ones which I'd brought home when we we're looking for a bright coral shade for one of the walls in our bathroom in 2006. Well, I say 'we' were looking for a bright coral shade yet what I really mean is 'I' looked, and discussed, and debated the various depths of pigment and tonal qualities while James just looked blank and nodded at what he thought were appropriate moments.

It's not that he didn't care it's just that .... he's colour blind.

I know.

Ironic eh?


  1. Ha! I can so relate! I'm still finding colour swatches from when I first moved in 8 years ago- and I even made some pictures with them too!
    May have to take a look at your bible since I'm feeling ready to embark on redecorating again- just don't tell DH- the flat was mostly decorated when he moved in so he's never seen me in my 'paint the house in my pyjamas at 5 in the morning' mode!

  2. Ah yes! I have a collection of Dulux colour swatches too. Not for purposes of choosing colours for walls mind you ... simply to use as decoration on scrapbook layouts.

    Loving your latest notebook :)

  3. OOOH I love colour too. I can hardly resist buying a towel in every colour when the display them in a rainbow!
    I love your little colour notebook - paint swatches - mmmmmmmm!

  4. I'm so glad that I'm not the only one with a "thing" for Kevin McCloud!

  5. That is a fantastic idea. Love how the notebook is just like a swatch.

  6. Oops wrong sign in info lol. Try again.

    That is a fantastic idea. Love how the notebook is just like a swatch.

  7. Ooh! Snap! Yes me too with the colour swatches, they're often in my collages especially if it's a certain type of turquoise I need, it's lovely to have a choice of shades. Plus they're free!
    Lovely photos these, the hand-drawn type and the colour blocks are yummy together.

  8. Great idea for dividers - your notebook looks wonderful!


Thanks for leaving me a comment, asking me a question, sharing your own story or just randomly saying hello.