Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Living (with) Color


What is it that I'm thinking about when I throw all this stuff together, be it a fabric collection, a room or a single pillow? The answer might be the subject of a book one day, but for now, all I know is that in all those instances and more the process is just the same. Does it interest me? Have I seen it before? Does this feel new? Am I comforted by it? Would I wear it if it were a dress? Would I hang those colors on my wall? Am I cheered by this? These are the types of questions I ask myself when I am working at developing palettes and prints.


Sometimes looking at a combination like the pillow above, I think of my personal favorite color Q&A:

What makes a group of colors go together?

I do.

I know you would have enjoyed the look on my color theory professor's face when I answered with that 17 years ago. Back to today, I feel exactly the same way, only a bit more experience with the mix.

I had hoarded that center vintage barkcloth for months waiting for a good way to use it. Then for reasons that I'm not sure I can explain, that fabric seemed to marry the two moods of Garden Party and Drawing Room so well, that I created one big happy family with a pieced pillow. Now the feel of that single pillow has inspired a few other acquisitions for the living room.


I have really been enjoying working my new fabrics into the house and as a confessed serial wall painter I am about to make some more changes around here. I've been living with this blue in the living room for a few months and I am finally getting to know it better. The color feels just like water to me and always makes me want to put fresh flowers against a bare spot of it. The ceramic lamp I recently found at an antique shop and sometimes when we're watching movies it just decides to shut off. Then on. This doesn't bother me for some reason.


I have been on the hunt for small yellow vases to add to a few that Jeff's Grandma gave to me. No particular sort in mind, just that they be small and vaguely yellow. Guess what? Yellow vases are VERY hard to find! So whether I'm flea marketing, thrifting, or new goods shopping, I keep my eyes peeled. It's actually become like this thrilling challenge since they seem to be few and far between. The fact that it excites me so much when I find one, makes me wonder if I'm getting enough oxygen, but no matter. Pretty yellow vases.


Or pretty yellow tie backs sometimes can ignite the same happiness! Flea Market find.


So much happiness that the second of the pair has been sitting on the floor all day because I couldn't wait to take a picture of the first. I made two new curtain panels out of this print, and I am so happy with how cozy they make the room feel. I'll show you a room shot one day soon.


And what makes this vintage light fixture go with the rest of the room?


more soon, xo,Anna


  1. What a gorgeous look into your process!

  2. Your sunny summery room makes my heart ****SING**** What fun vases and pillows and so on!!

  3. Gorgeous, simply gorgeous! All the yellows, blues, and reds, I love it! Thank you so much for sharing.

  4. Anonymous7:11 PM

    You're too cool, AMH. I adore ~ no wait ~ I ADORE those tie-backs & that lamp! A flea-marketer after my own heart! Hey ~ I just found out that my client is flying me out to Quilt Market in Houston in October ~ It'll be great to see you!


  5. Anonymous7:48 PM

    Everything that you have and everything that you do is just soo gorgeous. But WHERE do you get the time. Where do you park your invisible plane? Where do you hang your Wonder Woman leotard??? Jen

  6. Anonymous7:49 PM

    Kiss Kiss....
    I LOVE it when you talk decorating - and I'll keep my eye open for yellow vases for you. I'm kind of partial to that color too.


  7. Oooh, I love that vintage light fixture! Is that a flea market find also? I need to do some research and find out if there are any flea markets around here...

    And proof that yellow is a good decorating color! My boyfriend is against all things yellow involving decor. I will have to continue educating him.

  8. Oh I agree a zillion times over! I somehow buy all these random treasures, and my love for all of them just make them 'coordinate'. I thumb my nose at all colour schemes and all coordination!!

  9. Anonymous8:35 PM

    I like your confident attitude :o) The questions you described at the very beginning are really interesting because you look at fabric from more than just one angle... you kind of approach it like it really is multi-purpose and let it be the diverse medium it is. Take care & I hope you're having a wonderful Tuesday!

  10. Just beautiful - all of it! And I was laughing so hard at "Frazzy Dazzles" comment above about the Wonder Woman costume - I totally agree with her.


  11. Anonymous8:42 PM

    I love hearing the inner thoughts of a design process, so thanks for that!

    Also, wondering what the blue paint is?? (You may have mentioned in an earlier post but didn't see...)I used Benjamin Moore's Harbor Fog in a small playroom for my kids and it reminds me a lot of your color.

  12. There are not flea markets where I live, and I am so jealous when I see other peoples great finds. What a GREAT room.

  13. Anonymous9:33 PM

    I love how the random thoughts really come together in a beautiful color scheme. And I especially love those curtains with the pretty tie back. So refreshing and charming and glamorous too.

  14. I love your new Garden Party line! We are remodeling our home and I am going to make curtains and pillows I can not narrow it down to one fabric pattern so I think it will be a mix of a few! Thank you for being so inspiring! Meg

  15. It's like you were tiptoeing around in my dreams, picking this color, grabbing that, mixing up those, and voila! A room even prettier than I could have possibly imagined. So, is your schedule free next week? Could you swing by and wave your magic wand over my house as well? ;)

    Oh, and by the way, love the little yellow vase in the front, the Anthropologie one. I bought the turquoise and orange one, and it was the prize for my blog giveaway a couple of weeks back. Don't worry, I bought myself a second to keep...

  16. I totally agree with you about combining colors. I hate it when someone tries to teach my why colors go together and which ones go together. Colors go together if they look good together! What more do you need to know?

  17. i want to live in your house. your family is so big, you probably wouldn't even notice me, right?


  18. Anonymous1:38 AM

    Every time I see pictures of your house I want to jump up and add color to mine!

  19. I think that is the exact right philospophy to have- that you are the one who makes things work because your space should be Your Space. I love all the color- and the sweet little patterns and the beautiful textures. That yellow lamp is divine- I think I would forgive it's finicky nature as well. We have a lamp you turn on and off by touching it which seemed great at first. Now the dog is constantly finding ways to touch it and it keeps going on and off and dimming and on and off and... you get the picture. Annoying when you are trying to read.

  20. Anna Maria - can you please share the name of the blue paint color and where you purchased it? I really enjoy reading your postings about decorating! Thank you!

  21. Beautiful! My favorite is the curtain tie backs.

  22. You have completely confirmed how I feel about color!

    It's me, gosh darnnit!

    ^_^ Thanks^_^

  23. Anonymous7:46 AM

    Yellow is such a happy color, isn't it?

  24. Anonymous7:47 AM

    I've been wondering how you choose your colors and fabrics, and now I know. Can you please be my personal interior designer? ha ha

  25. one of my professors once said that there's no such thing as colors that do or don't go together, it depends on the designer to make them work together and use them in ways that work. i've always thought that was a fascinating challenge, and is one of my favorite elements of design -- and i always like seeing surprising combinations in your work.

  26. Thanks for sharing all of these little glimpses into your thought process about design and color. I will also keep an eye out for gorgeous yellow vases!

  27. Anonymous9:46 AM

    I do love the way you combine color and pattern in your surroundings, its always such a joy to stop by here and see it. I have to tell you a funny story, do you know that my old computer would crash *every* time I tried to pull up your blog ? I decided it was because that computer couldn't handle the big burst of color you had over here.

    And just for the record, my new computer likes it just fine : )

  28. Happy Wednesday Anna, Just had to write you! I must be going through a "yellow phase"?...Right now, I am so loving yellow! Your pillows are great!...love the mix of prints & colors...but those "tie-backs" are just incredible & lamp!..& vases, etc!...Heidi XO

  29. I wish you could come here and help me decoratemy house! Your place is sobeautiful. I do a lot of artwork (can that actually be called 'work'?) But I am so challenged with putting things together in a room. UGH! So challenged that I have fairly bare walls, bare floors, and only papers, and junk sitting on any level surface I own.
    Can I twll you just how much I LOVE that antique light fixture in the lastphoto? It. is. gorgeous!

  30. Anonymous10:26 AM

    Oh wow, I LOVE these pillows. And all the pretty vases.

    I began my first quilt recently, and despite the many hours I've already toiled away on it, I am so unsure of how all the fabrics are going together that I've been inclined to just scrap it and start over. Maybe I ought to take a hint from you...

  31. And can I tell you just how poorly I type?!?

  32. You are making a "yellow" lover out of me. The vases, the tiebacks, the fabrics - so soothing!

    Please do check your lamp for shorts in the wiring. I'd hate for something to happen to your beautiful home


  33. I am constantly amazed and inspired by the way you put colors and textures and patterns together. It is a feast for my eyes! This post just makes me want to be bold. Thank you so much for sharing in your process a little.

    P.S. I think this is a great subject for a book some day.

  34. I really loved reading this post. I'm always fascinated by where people get their inspirations, and how that translates into their fabric choices, designs, etc. So thanks for sharing with us! This has made me very motivated. Oh...and please do show us a picture of the entire room! I'd love to see it.

  35. Anonymous11:48 AM

    I love that vintage barcloth fabric! You should design a fabric something like that it goes so well with your garden party fabric! xo Shannon

  36. Anna Maria, have you seen Bridgman Pottery's shop on Etsy? She has little yellow bud vases, just beautiful.

    Loved your pillows!

  37. I love your answer to your "what makes these colours go together?" question. That's simply brilliant. How many times have I watched a design show and the designers will say that thing "doesn't go", "that colour doesn't match" etc etc. Ultimately it all goes, I mean it's all on earth. haha

  38. gorgeous curtains. I love the way you combine colours. you are fearless, and it shows so beautifully in your home.

  39. I keep thinking "I wonder where her professor is right now and do they realize how much talent Anna Maria had, waiting to burst out!" I think your colors go together because you are partial to bright, clear colors and so they tend to "go together". That being said, you have proven that most people speak from personal preference, not necessarily fact. I was the kind of little girl who created in the face of "shouldn'ts". One of my elem. art teachers told me green and purple didn't go together. "HA!" I thought. Any chance I have to use them together to this day, I do... they go superbly together!!!

  40. Hi Anna!

    Just wanted to let you know that I was talking you up in an interview on Poppytalk :) See her post on July 21st!

    I will be in touch soon!

  41. I just wanted you to know that I really love your Garden Party fabrics especially the vintage looking roses.I couldn't decide which colourway to order so I bought ice and olive.Then went back for teal!
    I'm not sure what I will make of them.Maybe nothing I might save them just to admire!

  42. How utterly gorgeous it all is. And I am the lucky winner of Valerie's Anthropologie vase - I shall have to get me a pile of your fabric to make cushions to match!

  43. Your blue paint couldn't go with your new curtains any better. love it!

  44. Sigh! Love stopping by!

  45. Anonymous7:29 AM


    The pillow. The vases. The tieback. The vintage-possible-fire-haszard-lamp. Love it all.

    You mix antique/vintage so well with your bold, happy fabrics.

    For me: "Just keep trying. Just keep trying." I'm getting there...

  46. My goodness Anna. You inspire me more with one blog post than entire magazines! I adore your bold use of color, it makes me feel a little more brave in my own home.

  47. Anonymous8:08 PM

    I love your attitude about you being the one that makes something work in a room or on a piece of clothing! I feel the same way, too. Who needs rules anyway?!


  48. Oh you can make anything look good! :)

    LOVE all the colors. I've ordered my garden party fabrics. CAN'T WAIT for them to be in my hot little hands! :)

  49. Anonymous8:10 AM

    "what makes it go together? me!" i love that! you're inspiring me to trust myself more in finding what i LOVE and just using it!

    i'm sharing your website with everyone i know!

    d-way down south Georgia!

  50. Your home is inspiring and feels so alive.
    I wonder if you have any white spaces in your home. Probably not, am I right? :)

  51. How does your husband feel about your theory of color? I believe that you have to take in considerations others at the time of choosing colors for a home.
    Besides that, I would love to live in yours!

  52. Anonymous9:43 AM

    I LOVE your theory on colors. I think I have lived that way all my life and just now realized it!

  53. Anonymous1:51 PM

    In response to your answer to your favorite question...
    Yes, you do.

  54. Anonymous9:39 PM

    I love the colors of your blog!

  55. I love the hanging lamp! A kitchen wall is painted 50's shade of turquoise. It's so pretty, I'm inspired to paint a living room wall a sunny yellow. After months of living in a "neutral" house for sale (terrible!). We are in our new house, and I am eager to make it mine. Thanks for inspiration (again!).

  56. You sound exactly like my daughter with her color choices. Maybe if we had encouraged her (her younger sister used to refuse to go anywhere with her "dressed like that") she'd be happily designing fabric, too! Your style cheers me.

  57. Anonymous10:18 AM

    I absolutely adore your color sense. Our eyes could be "wired" in the same hue.

  58. Beautiful fabric, I don't know how I've missed it!

  59. LOVE these cushions and curtains!

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