Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Peaceful Dwelling, Secure Homes

Here's a pasage that I dearly love:
The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.
Isaiah 32:17-18

What a wonderful promise from God! Sometimes, I have strayed from this peace that God promises by letting discord and uneasiness build in my own heart. This affects how I behave in my home.
Usually when this happens, I can trace it back to one of several things occurs:
(1) I am overwhelmed, and I haven't prayed until the point where I have truly cast my burdens on God. Oh, I may have done so in a token manner, but I haven't really stilled and quieted my heart. As a result, I charge into activities, while still remaining anxious in the core of my being. When this happens, it's time for me to repent. It helps to take some extra time out with God, even in the middle of the busiest, most overwhelming day, and draw close to Him. I have to go to Him for peace and for the righteousness that comes through faith in Christ. God promises in the passage above that the effect of righteousness will be quientness and confidence forever.
(2) This happens when I haven't planned well, and have taken on too much. Then, I get flustered, as Martha did, when pulling together a family event or gathering of guests. Then, I place expectations on my family members to help me and bail me out. If they don't meet these expectations, I can become frustrated, critical, or unettled. In those moments, my influence is not one of faith, peace, and righteousness, but of faithlessness. This brings me back to example number one: It's time for me to repent, to draw close to God and to find my rest in Him. Though I've often been tempted with anxiousness when serving guests or when planning events, it's really silly on my part. God has always taken care of these things. I've had a few goofs to laugh bout alter, but never have I ever had a serious disaster occur when showing hsopitality or serving my familiy.
(3) I indugle myself in hormonally inspired feelings. These are a real temptation for some women. However, like all temptations, God gives us the ability to overcome them. (Some women may need to seek medical help in order to deal with severe PMS or peri-menopause). What happens when I indulge in hormonal irritability? At the least, I hurt someone's feelings. At the worst, I influence my whole family to be irritable, too. And, this brings me back to example number one again. It's time for me to repent, apolgize to God and family members, and to draw close to God for peace.
(4) I have let unresolved conflicts build up in my heart. The Bible calls this bitterness and warns in Hebrews 12:15 that bitterness in our own hearts can defile others. Sometimes, these unresolved conflicts are buried deep in my heart and God uses events to bring them to the surface. Once again, it's time for me to repent. God calls me to keep my relationships peaceful by resolving conflicts according to Matthew 18, Luke 7:1-6, and other scriptures. Sometimes, for me, being peaeful in relationships means that I need to give up trying to control other people. Paul said in Romans, as far as it is possible with us, we are to live at peace with all men. We are responsible for our own actions before God, abd we cannot and should not force others to behave according to our expectations.
Of course, the better thing is not to let any of these examples occur in the first place. I love this quote by a woman named Betty Morehead:
"Hebrews 12 says that peace is a by-product of discipline and training; in the same way, a peaceful attitude is the reult of a struggle for righteousness."
For me, a huge key to having a calming and peaceful influence in my home is to stay close to God and to hunger for his righteousness. It means quickly and daily repenting of any sin that would mar my peace. It also means quickly identifying and resolving those things that are not sin on my part, but would still tempt me to be irritable or anxious.

By the way, if you have had a hard time adding comments to a post on my blog, please try again. I think there may be some comments that are not getting through.


Monday, August 28, 2006

From Bluing to (Grand) Babies: Musings on Two Totally Different Subjects

An addendum to my post on bluing. I noticed on my Mrs. Stewart's bottle of bluing that it can be used in swiming pools, bird baths, for white hair (remember bluing counteracts drabness and yellowing), for white-coated pets, and for cleaning crystal and glass. Their web site said farmers use it in troughs, because it has a slight algicide in it. Now, I've only used bluing for the laundry, and I don't plan to use it for anything else in the near future. But, the fact that the manufacturers claim that it is safe enough for these things does strengthen my perception that it is a very gentle household product.

I have a friend who shared how precious the following passage has become to her: But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children-with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. Psalm 103:17-18
She has been through some challenging times in the past few years, so she has been meditating on verses that remind her of God's love. Lately, she has been thinking about this one.
My friend has a toddler grandchild, a newborn grandchild, and a third grandchild on the way. She said, with excitment, "Now, I'm starting to have names to think of when I consider that God's love is with my children's children! Of course, I love them so very much. But, I'm so grateful to know that God's love is with them even more than mine is. His love never fails."
Her words inspired me. I have a newlywed daughter and a son who may soon be engaged to get married, Lord willing. So, if the Lord blesses me with grandchildren, it might be in the next few years. Soon, I may have names to put with the phrase "my children's children", too.
I have always loved psalm 103. I've always loved this particular promise and have often prayed about my future grandchildren. The moment I had my first child, I knew that grandchildren would likely come one day. But, that day always seemed a little nebulous and far away. Now, as more and more of my peers are having grandchildren, the concept is taking definite shape in my mind. And, I am so very grateful that God's love will be with my children's children.
The other day, I was giving in to frustration and moodiness. The thought of this promise snapped me to attention. I don't want to indulge in any form of faithlessness. I want to stay close to God and enjoy how his love surrounds our family.
If your children are too young to be married, you may be too busy raising them to think much about future generations. But, I've learned that it's never too soon to start praying for your grandchildren. And, it's never too early to lean on this promise.


Saturday, August 26, 2006

Borax and Bluing

In the past few years, I've rediscovered two old staples of American house cleaning: borax and bluing.
Recently, I read on another homemaking sight that you can use borax to remove stains from carpets and to freshen them. So, I reached for my trusty Twenty-Mule-Team box and set to work. As I did, I wondered just what is borax and why does it clean. In the past, I have wondered the same thing about bluing. I thought others might have questions, too, so I thought I'd share a little research.
A. Bluing -- Here we go -- back to a lesson on color! Did you know that according to a web site published by Mrs. Stewart's bluing, the human eye can see distinguish between three hundred variations that we loosely label as "white". When it comes to items such as pure white sheets, pure white towels, pure white clothing, we expect to see true white -- which has a bluish hue to it. But, the fabrics from which these items are made naturally have a gray-beige or a yellowish tint. So, manufacturers bleach these products and add an agent that turns the fabric bluer in order to produce a pleasing snowy, white. This is the white that we associate with fresh, clean laundry.
Unfortunately, though white fabric items shine when we bring them home, they become dingy or yellowish when worn and washed repeatedly. This dinginess is a by-product of aging and of the laundry process. It also happens because the original blue that the manufacturers used on fabrics slowly fades.
Bluing is a product that restores the blue hue to white items. The blue counteracts the dinginess and the yellowing. This blue effect is not enough to turn fabric blue; it simply restores enough blue hue to make the fabric look brighter and whiter.
So far, I have used bluing only on whites, but I understand that it does brighten colors as well. This is for the same reason -- Colors that have yellowed and faded in the wash look fresher when the blue hue is restored. Since I have not tried bluing on colors, I can't recommend this yet. I'll do so soon, and, if I remember, I'll post the results.
In the early to mid-1900's, nearly every home laundry room contained a bottle of blueing. For some reason, after the mid-century, people forgot about bluing their whites and thought more in terms of bleaching them. I'm not sure why this happened. Bleach is great for removing stains, and I do use it in the wash-- but on a very limited basis. Bleach does little to counteract yellowing or to return garments to a snow white state. Also, bleaching is hard on fabrics, and reguarly washing items with bleach can cause them to disintigrate. There are many white items that should not be bleached at all.
At the same time that late 1900's consumers started focusing on bleach, companies also developed detergents and other products that claim to restore the blue hue to washable fabrics. Now, these companies do not usually word it that way in their advertising. They are more likely to say something like , "This detergent makes whites look whiter".
According to Mrs. Stewart's Bluing, the reason that so many modern detergents and fabric softeners are tinted blue is because of the early association between bluing and fresh, snowy white laundry. Companies that make such products realized that our parents naturally reached
for products that were similar in color to the wonderful liquid Grandma used to make her whites gleam. So, they added a blue color to their products, and this has passed down through the years so that even today we expect our detergents and fabric softeners to look blue.
However, just because a product looks blue itself does not mean that it will actually add a blue hue to your whites or that it will counteract yellowing. Real bluing is a suspension of a very fine blue iron powder in water. This formula can be counted on to safely restore the blue hue in the fabric and to elimiante a dingy or yellowish tint. Thus, advocates of bluing still believe that adding a bit of diluted bluing to your laundry is the best way to keep the freshness in your whites.
When used properly, bluing is a gentle and safe household product, with no obnoxious fumes. In contrast to bleach, bluing preserves the life of a garment.
B. BORAX is a name that can refer to three related chemical compounds or minerals. Twenty-Mule-Team Borax states that it is a naturally occurring mineral made of sodium, boron, oxygen and water. Large deposits of borax are found in many places of the world. One of these is near a city actually named Boron, California. Today, of course, borax can also be synthesized.
The reason that borax cleans is that it binds to and dissolves dirt particles. It also produces peroxides which bleach items.
I use Borax as a laundry booster, but I'm learning that it has many other uses as well. You can wash trash or garbage cans with a mild borax solution and, then, sprinkle some of the dry powder inside to keep it smelling fresh until the next cleaning. You can use it to remove urine stains and odors from mattresses, as well as to clean bathroom surfaces -- including fiberglass. Borax can soften and condition hard water.
Borax is supposed to keep away roaches, carpenter ants, and fleas. Our family once rented half of a duplex that was infested with roaches coming through the other side. The landlord sprinkled borax on the floor (which, having children, I was not happy about) to drive away the roaches. As far as I could tell, this did not work in our case. I do not know if it was becuase we already had an active infestation or if it was because the borax was not applied at the site where the roaches were living and breeding. (Oh, that gives me shivers just to type that sentence). Anyhow, I would guess that if you do have a pest problem, it's worth a try using borax to get rid of it. Though it is used in some commercial pesticides, it is probably your safest and least toxic option. However, I would be prepared to quickly move onto something else if the borax is not effective in getting rid of your unwanted guests. At any rate, cleaning with it might keep these insects from making themselves at home in the first place.
Despite being used in pesticides, Borax is safe to use around humans. It is even used as a food aditive in certain countries, though that is banned in the U.S. and I personally would not knowingly consume it. I feel safer when using Borax than when using some of the other household chemicals on my shelf. However, I would still urge that you use borax carefully and according to directions. Like all chemicals -- natural or otherwise -- It does have some potential for being harmful if used the wrong way.
If you have a hard time finding borax, look for it by the bleaches. Though it's not strictly a bleach, our local store stocks it in that section.

If you have tried bluing and borax, I'd like to see comments about your experiences with these items. I'd also love to hear from someone who has seen the shift away from these products to newer ones. I'd like to know how you compare borax and, espeically, bluing to other products that claim to achieve the same results.


Friday, August 25, 2006

Mona Lisa's puzzled look

Last night, the movie Mona Lisa's Smile was on TV. I was busy doing something else, but I caught ten minutes of it somewhere in the middle, and I sat down for the last ten minutes or so. From what I gather, it was scened in the mid-1950's. The main character played by Julia Roberts came from forward thinking California to be an art history teacher at ultra-conservative Wellesly. She was alarmed that so many Wellesly girls were seeking their "MRS." degree, and she sought to broaden their thinking. This culminated in her persuading the only married girl in the bunch to dissolve her unhappy marriage and in persuading another to forget her fiance in favor of law school.
Now, I didn't see enough of the movie to critique it or its message. However, it did set me to thinking about the long cultural journey that the first world countries have taken during my own little lifetime. I was born a couple of years later than when the movie supposedly took place -- but my birth certificate certifies that I am, indeed, a mid-1950's antique.
At any rate, in the era of the story and of my birth, the cold war was creating tension. There was a low divorce rate, and more families stayed intact. Unfortuantely, more people were racist, some of them openly and violently so.
The majority of people in my native U.S. went to church. Was that because more people had true faith or because of tradition? Obviously, that's not for me to say.
The first world, particularly the U.S. , was heading into a period of prosperity, which reflected the best of hard work and discipline at its beginning and the worst of materialism at its height.
Some people look back and think that women were depressed by being forced into the role of homemaker. They forget that in this same era, men died at alarmingly high rates from uclers and heart attacks. They got these through the stress of fighting for position on the corporate ladder. "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit" went to an office while his wife stayed home, but he wasn't necessarily happier there than she was in her kitchen. This corporate world angst and materialistic rat race would eventually lead to the sixties cry, "Tune in, turn on, and drop out."
Today, we have eradicated a lot of racism, which is great. We know that since humans are still humans, it will flame up again in some ugly form, but, for now, we can say we have made some great strides in that area. Unfortunately, we have also created a high divorce rate that was unthinkable in the 50's Moreowver, sins that were practiced by a shamed few in private in the 1950's are now practiced openly by many and receive the approval of many more. Fewer people take part in church today, but, perhaps (and this is just a perhaps), those that do participate give it more thought. Schools have attempted to better meet the needs of students, but, in their attempt, they have unwittingly "dumbed down education". Technological and medical advances have been boons to our lives, but also problematic at the same time.
The various political crusades of the past few decades have changed society, for good or for ill. As a certified antique, I have witnessed this change and can attest to it. The fact is, we do live in a society that that is --on the surface -- vastly altered from the fictional one portrayed in Mona Lisa's Smile. It is also transformed from the real one in which I grew up.
The point of view espoused by Julia Robert's character would never raise an eyebrow on any of today's campuses. In fact, I rather imagine that her character would be viewed as being on the conservative side. Today, it's the woman who thinks outside of the box drawn by this character and her real life counterparts who riles people's indignation.
My point is that both critics and fans of mid-twentieth century lifestyles miss an important point. We can and should effect powerful changes through political and social dialog. However, how far can these changes really take us?
It's my impression of Mona Lisa's Smile that the movie dealt in stock characters and revolved around a worn-out plot. It stereotyped all that a person with a liberal, feminist viewpoint would find horrifying about the fifies. The characters seemed shallow and one-dimensional, and the Wellesley setting appeared skewed in order to create the villian of the story -- "the bad old establishment".
Yet, as somone who has not only witnessed a widespread moral decline in the last few decades, but has repented of personally participating in it, I am drawn to equally shallow stereotpyes of teh '50's.. I miss the good things of that mid-century middle-class life had to offer: moms at home, a politer populus, wholesome entertainment, etc. Thus, I'm a sucker for cheerful represenations of these things. I simply prefer my stereotypical images to have a more positive spin than the ones used by the makers of Mona Lisa's Smile.
So, what do we make of the changes we'e been through since the movie took place? The apparently peaceful Eisenhower years and the following tumult of the sixties and early seventies do fascinate us. I think we are still reckoning with the great cultural shifts that occured during that time. But, I think we have to be wary of either villifying or idealizing a particular decade in history.
Political movements come and go. Moral thought and behavior swings from one extreme to the other. Religious ideas come in and out of vogue. When these ideas sweep in, we always think they are new. But, the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible and a thorough reading of history reveal that they aren't.
Mankind sees problems -- real problems. But, mankind attempts to cure these through human philosophy and effort. You see this by all of the "isms" that people championed in the decades right before and right after Mona Lisa's smile took place -- feminism, communism, liberalism, conservatism, socialism, pacifism, federalism, facism, capitalism, etc.
There is a place in life for political "isms". I couldn't make an "ism" word out of the words democracy or political freedom. But, they were causes that people championed to the benefit of our society. I am thankful to be able to vote and to exercise religious freedom, and I am concious that I have these rights because people were willing to die for their beliefs.
I, personally, would love to hold on to the societal advances we have made in my lifetime -- such as dimishing racism -- and yet, I'd love to also reach back and pick up a few of the good things we've lost -- such as a greater respect for manners.
However, when all is said and done, we always have to check ourselves: Are we fighting the right battle? Yes, people looked at the limitations of 1950's society and sought to change them. In doing so, we have gained some things and have lost others.
Mona Lisa's Smilefocused on one narrow struggle particular to that time's feminist movement: Should women consider home and family their career, or should they pursue fulltime careers outside of the home? Like many feminists, the main character saw women who weren't reaching their intellectual or personal potential. She sought to free them by orienting their thinking away from traditional roles and towards new possibilities. The anti-feminist movement has also focused its battle along this same narrow line. It fights to regain the dignity once accorded to women at home. It hopes to broaden a woman's thinking by showing her that marriage and domestic life are not limiting. It is actually a role in which you can exercise your intellectual or personal potential.
Negotiating marriage and outside work is still an important issue for women. But, is it the foundational issue of a woman's life? I think not. Today, we can see that simply moving women from the kitchen to the workplace did nothing to answer the deep questions of their souls. Nor, did it guarantee their happiness.
If, now, we move women back to the kitchen from the workplace, I personally think this is the wiser choice. However, we still will have done nothing to help women determine their true meaning in life.
Society has changed in many ways, and today's woman has all of the opportunities that the character in of Mona Lisa desired for her students. Are we better or worse off because the majority of women now work ouside of the home? You decide.
The larger question is, why do women of the 2000's still wake up every morning with the same questions women had in the 1950's?
Whether they engage in a career or not, women struggle with the same kinds of urgent matters their mothers did: How will we pay to get my car repaired? Can we make this month's mortgage? Why is little Johnny getting in so much trouble these days? Why can't I get along with my husband? Why has my mother always hurt me with her drinking? Will my elderly father still be able to live on his own after his heart surgery, or should I insist he move in with us? To these quandries, the career path has added a few new ones: What kind of career should I seek? Will I get the promotion I want? What should I do about office gossip? Can I find a job that pays more and isn't as boring as this one is? I've made it to the top; now what?
Behind those urgent questions are deeper ones: Who am I? Why am I here? What is the meaning of life in general? What is the meaning of my life, in particular? Why do I feel empty or vaguely guilty? Why don't my relationships ever work out the way I dreamed they would? Why do I keep doing the harmful things I don't want to do? Why don't I ever live up to the good things I want to do? Why do other people act the way they do? Why is there so much suffering in the world?
Behind this second set of questions are the most important ones of all: Who is my Creator? What is this wall of sin I have built between Him and me, and why can't I scale it? Since I can't take it away myself, who will save me? Do I know my Creator and my Savior? Does He know me?
Until a person -- male or female -- finds the answers to this last set of questions -- until he or she is rightly related to God through Christ -- that person cannot answer any of the lesser questions in his or her life. Particulary, a woman will not be able to wisely choose whether she should work fulltime outside of the home or be a fulltime keeper of her home. If a woman discovers the real source of her life's meaning, her labors in any arena will be sweeter. If she doesn't, nothing will completely satisfy her.
As we mentioned earlier, Ecclesiastes says there is nothing new under the sun. Solomon explored all of the questions that women asked in the 1950's and still ask in the 2000's. He started with his focus squarely on God, but he diluted that with false religion. From there, he slipped into the futility of human reasoning. He pondered and pondered the meaning of life "under the sun", or, in other words, from an earthly viewpoint. He tried coming at life from every angle: materialism, hedonism, etc.
As a powerful and wealthy king and as the man on whom God had bestowed much wisdom, Solomon had more opportunity to change his society than any of us do. If any human could have made his culture work the way he thought it should, it would have been Solomon. In all of his meditations and his actions and his projects, he failed, however. He grew more frustrated and bewildered.
Finally, he came back to one solid truth -- the one that made everything else in life fall into place for him. Through the inspiration of God's Spirit, he recorded this truth for our benefit: "Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgement, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil." Ecclesiastes 12:13-14.
Later, Jesus demonstrated that the answer to life is not found in an "ism", but in Him. He said,
"I am the way, the truth, and the life." Again, he said, "Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent."
I believe whole-heartedly that being a keeper of my home, as God commends in Titus Chapter Two, means that I should actually be in the home to keep it. And, I have no trouble sharing with other women why that is my conviction. In fact, I err too much on the side of making that a personal soapbox. When it comes right down to it, however, that is not a good place for me or anyone else to start a convesation. Nor, I pray, is it the main message of my life.
After all, the apostles and the early church did not preach themselves or their personal soapboxes. They did not get sidetracked by social issues. They simply preached the message of the gospel, and they walked as Christ walked Through this message, God transformed people's souls one by one. The results were so powerful that they were accused of "turning the world upside down." Acts 17:6
As Paul said, "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: That Christ died for our sins acccording to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures." I Cor. 15:3.
Now that's the message that will truly change the world and set a woman free.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Adoring Look: Thoughts on Imitating a Young Wife

We are close friends with a delightful young couple who are both spiritual, talented, and creative. As all couples do, they have had some issues to work through. However, I've noticed that whenever the husband talks or shares something in a group, the wife always looks at him as if he is the most fascinating man -- the most compelling speaker -- in the world.
I've started thinking. After twenty-six years of marriage, do I still look at my husband this way? For one spouse to give this kind of non-verbal support to the other not only gives the spouse more confidence to speak. It also directs the attention of others to what the spouse is saying. This can be very helpful when one spouse is shy or reluctant to share in public.
So, this old lady has resolved to imitate the younger lady's example.


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Some reflections on time management for the keeper at home

In a famous book on marriage, the author states that a wife who excels in the domestic sphere must be good at balancing her time. Thus, she might not spend as much time in the kitchen as the neighborhood's best cook, nor as much time scrubbing her floors as her fanatically clean next-door neighbor, nor as many hours playing with her children as the woman at the end of the street. Rather, she is adept at knowing where to put her time and when. When she turns her hand towards an endeavor, she does her best and, consequently, she does it well. But, she knows when it's time to move on to the next thing in her day. Overall, her family's needs are well met and her home is clean, homey, and orderly.
I, personally, have found this blance to be the most challenging aspect of homemaking. I am good at many individual things, but I'm weaker at managing my total time and resources.
When we first married, my husband's career took us away from family and friends to a another state. We did make new friends quickly, mostly from church and through my husband's new job. However, these relationships had not yet had time to develop to the depth of the ones we had back home.
I talked frequently with my beloved mother and with my dear mother-in-law, but I was too far away from them geographically for them to guide me on a daily basis. I had already learned some elements of home tending. But, I was on my own when it came time to put them all together as a new keeper at home.
At the same time, I quit a job in public relations to devote more time to freelance writing. Of course, I also wanted to devote time to my new husband, my new home, and my new church congregation. All of this was exciting and fun, but I had one problem: I didn't quite know how to order my days.
How much time should I spend each day on writing? What should I do if I planned to write, but someone invted me to do something fun or asked me to meet a need? How did I explain to people that though I no outside boss to answer to, I did need to treat some periods of the day as if I were "at work writing"? How far should I do in setting boundaries to protect my "writing time".
On the flip side, I wondered, "How do I write without letting it consume me? Is this taking me away from other priorities? What do I do when everything is "flowing", and I'm tempted to keep writing and writing, while dinner burns? Am I letting this pursuit become an idol in my heart?
Then, there was housekeeping. I sort of knew how to time cooking a meal so that everything came together. But, I had other questions: How do I know when my home is clean enough? How often do I vacuum and dust? How do I organize the items in our household, and how do I keep them that way? How focused should I be on inventorying the items in our pantry? What do I do on the days when I'm sick? Often, I would dab at this and dab at that all day long, only to wonder at bedtime why my house still felt so messy and disorganized.
Keeping a home and running a home business are both open-ended jobs. So, too, is a woman's ministry as a Christian. In none of these three areas do you clock in at 8:00 and clock out at 5:00, leaving your work behind you.
By contrast, I have worked some retail jobs where that is precisely what you do. You have a defined starting time and a defined ending time. You do your best while you are on the job. But, once it ends for the day, you go home. You easily turn your mind to something else.
In regards to being a Christian, managing a home, and working as a freelancer, your home is your office. Even when you sit down to relax, you can spot something that needs doing. You see the mail waiting to be sorted and answered, a manucript to polish, or a few smudges on your living room wall.
Over time, I have learned so much more about managing a home. But even now, I have to keep re-adusting how I spend my time as different circumstances in our life come and go. It's sort of like using a steering wheel to keep a car in the proper lane. Sometimes, you move a bit to the left; sometimes to the right; and, sometimes, you go around a curve.
Great home managers (usually these are women who have been at it a while) intuitively know what needs doing and when. They are in tune with their husband's needs, and they understand how and when to meet those needs. They can sense when to stick to a task, and, thus, it's time to ask the children to play quietly by themsleves for a while. They also know when to interrupt the task in order to spend some spontaneous time with the children. They keep track of when to rotate mattresses, when to mend clothing and polish shoes, and what needs to be done in the yard or garden. They know how to do things themselves, and they know how to delegate, when appropriate.
Great home managers also know how to adjust with the changes in life's seasons. They keep up with the essentials even when there is a new baby in the house or a child is ill. When their children leave home, they adjust easily, for they know how to fill their days with meaningful activities.
Great homemakers also generally happy in their domestic responsiblities. They may not accomplish everything they want to, but they have the peace of knowing that they are tending to what is most important. Because they manage thier overall schedule well, they do not often experience the feeling of working all day with nothing to show for it.
When I was going through my time management confusion nearly 26 years ago, there weren't many written resources available to help. There was no Internet. Many of the homemaking books of that time were focused on how to build a great marriage or how to do some craft or how to cook. Not many of them taught you how to put all of those things together into a workable routine.
Of course, if I had known a little bit more about God's plan at the time, I would have prayed more about my schedule. I would have been at peace about seeking his kingdom first, knowing that he promises that everything will fall into place. And, I would have sought more help from godly women. God has always intended that the older sisters in a church be resources for the younger women.
However, as a young bride, I wasn't fully aware of God's design. And, I was too prideful to admit that I didn't know what I was doing and needed help. I looked around me and thought that everyone else just naturally had everything all together, and that this should come naturally to me, too. That was before I learned that even the "great" homemakers have their challenging days and their weaknesses to overcome.
I remember that my first sweet baby had her days and nights mixed up for some time after she was born. I thought she was the most wonderful baby ever born. I adored nursing her and spending time with her. I fed her totally on demand, and, to this day, I am thankful that I did. But, I did not know that there were gentle ways to help her with her eating and sleeping habits so that we both could get more rest. Nor, did I know how to bond with her without letting my house slide into domestic chaos. I loved my husband dearly, and I put a lot into being his friend and companion. But, he was nearly as exhausted as I was between working full time and covering for me at home. Neither he nor I knew how to make our little nest peaceful with a baby that cried for attention all night long.
When my daughter was around three months old, an older woman from church brought our family a homemade pizza. I remember being embarrassed at not having things "more together" for her surprise visit. I'm certain, however, that God wanted her to drop by at that moment. It opened the door for me to talk about how things were going. She had been unaware of my struggles, but, upon hearing about them, she immediately comforted me. She also gave me some useful suggestions. I did not know to ask for help, but God sent it anyway.
Today, there are more books on time management on the market. There also are a number of home-related web-sites that walk people through the process of what to do and when. For those of us who are "time-management" challenged, these books and web sites can give us new vision for our homes. They can provide some badly needed structure for our days. Some women simply follow the schedule that a particular author has drawn up, and they stick to that. Others look at the author's thinking behind the suggested schedule, and they use what they learn to draw up their own schedule. Either way, books and web-sites can be a boon.
Some people react to books or web sites about home management by becoming even more frustrated. They find it hard to live up to all that an author promotes, and this makes them feel that they are failures.
Or, like me, they try to follow the advice in too many books or web sites all at once. It's better to stick to one simple plan for a while than to try to go in two or more directions.
A third problem is that you may throw yourself into a pre-written schedule without considering God's and your husband's priorities. Remember, you are making a home with your husband, and his goals and needs should take precedence over the plans draw up by a particular author. Remember, too, that author cannot predict what will happen in your home on a particular day. Perhaps your child wake ups with strep throat. Maybe, this is the day you need to get your teeth cleaned. Or, it could be that a neighbor might finally ask you to teach her more about the Bible. In using an author's schedule, you have to allow for unforseen events.
I think we can benefit from any of the homemaking plans on the Internet. The key is to tailor it so that it works for your family and for you. Even Flylady says that if you don't get the things in one of her emails done, just delete that email and start over the next day.
One of my favorite Internet plans for keeping a home is the 12 week grand cleaning plan. I think you can link to that from "Organized Home". If not, you can find it by typing the words "grand cleaning plan" in your search engine. There is also a 12 week grand cleaning plan that is designed to help you get ready for the holiday season.
The reason I like this plan is that you can print it out, and you can use it at your own pace. You can spread out the plan over a period much longer than 12 weeks, if you have to. It also is laid out so that while you are cleaning and organizing, you are also accomplishing the tasks you would do in a spring or fall cleaning. Once you finish the plan, you can start over again. If you do, your home will stay in fairly good order year round.
There are a few other on-line plans thatI like, as well. But, I'll leave it up to you to search for one that works for you.
One of the simplest plans that I've read about is also used by many business managers. You keep a running to-do list, in which you jot down everything that needs to be done in the near future. More importantly, you draw up a daily to-do list. You number the items on the list according to their priority, or you put a star by the two or three most essential. Even if you only manage to accomplish one or two items on your list, you can sleep peacefully knowing that you tended to that which is most important. You can always move those things you didn't get done to another day.
If you do select this method for ordering your time, it is important to be firm in your priorties. Unless you know that you have indulged in some sin like laziness, you cannot allow yourself to feel guilty that you did not get to everything on your list. That defeats the purpose of assigning a level of urgency to each task.
Now, this brings me back to God's plan for learning from your husband and from sisters at church. I have trouble ordering my priorities. (That is, in fact, a major problem for most disorganized people). I tend to think that everything on my to-do list should be a number one priority. Or, conversely, I will get caught up in one project to an extreme and not move on to the next when I should. So, I am grateful for the godly people in my life, who are sounding boards to help me sort things through.
No matter how you do allot your time, remember this bit of advice from a couple of older women, "Be ordered, but not obsessive. Be consistent, but not compulsive."


Sunday, August 20, 2006

Color And You -- Part IV
Your personal coloring
Fans who have read all of the books in the Anne of Green Gables series surely remember one of Anne's pupils. This girl, who had blonde hair and brown eyes, was very proud of being an "October blonde". She took great pains to dress in colors that set off her features to perfection.
Now, none of us want to be as self-focused as Anne's student was. However, she did recognize something about today's topic: Every woman -- regardless of her ethnic background -- has a family of colors that suits her best. The colors within a particular womans color family will not only harmonize with each other, they will reflect a woman's own hair color, skin tone, and eye color.
Through time, there have been a number of theories developed to determine which are a woman's best colors. These theories all depend to some degree on three things: 1) Every woman is somewhere on a scale from light to deep or dark. 2) Every woman is somewhere on a scale from very warm in skin tone to very cool. 3) Every woman is somewhere on a scale from intense or high contrast coloring to either soft, delicate, or or muted coloring.
All of the colors in our clothing fit somewhere on these three scales, as well. Colors that coincide with our individual level of depth and intensity of color, with our warmth or coolness, and with our level of color contrast are the ones that coordinate well with each other and that suit us best. Artists, sewing experts, and fashion experts group colors according to segments of skin colors, hair colors, and eye colors along the three scales. Thus, if a woman can identify that she is within a certain segment, she knows which colors to choose from.
Many people think that color theories began in the 1980's. That is not so. Color typing theories existed at least from the 19th century, if not before. From the dawn of time, women have given some thought to which colors suited them the best. Artists also have sought to paint their subjects in flattering colors and surroundings. As soon as color movies came along, Hollywood began putting certain actresses in certain colors, according to which were most flattering. Famed designer Edith Head drew up a chart for every skin tone, eye color and hair color between dark, dark hair and light, blonde hair However, since color analysis was a fad in the 1980's, many people associate color theory with that decade.
The most famous system of the 1980's was Color Me Beautiful, which divided women into four seasons - winter, spring, summer, and fall. This system recommended a palette of about 40 particular colors for each season.
In the Color Me Beautiful system, winters and summers have cool skintones, while summers and autumns have warm skintones. Summers have softer and lighter coloring and lighter eye color than winters do; winters have deeper coloring or coloring with more dramatic contrast than summers do. Though autumns can be quite fair-skinned, their overall look is deeper and less delicate than that of spring's. Spring will have lighter hair and lighter eyes than autumns will, and her skintone will be delicate and clear.
Later on, these four seasons were refined to include three sub-categories within each season. For example, the summer woman could be light summer, soft summer, or cool summer. This exanded Color Me Beautiful's color categories to twelve. In effect, there are now are six warm and six cool counterparts along a continum from light to dark and from clear to muted in color. Each warm season has a cool cousin, and vice versa. Thus, light spring and light summer colors are related by being light, but spring is warmer and summer is cooler. Deep winter and Deep autumn are releated by being deep, but winter is cooler and autumn is warmer. Cool summer, soft summer, and light summer are related by being cool, but vary in depth and intensity of coloring.
As a general rule, Winters are best in true and primary colors. They should think true, blue, and vivid when they shop. The very fair Winter is more likely to wear icy or deep colors, the Winter with darker skin is better in brighter colors. Winters should avoid any color with a yellow undertone to it. Their best brown is not only cool in tone, but it is so dark that its almost black. Just a few of the many colors that winters can wear are emerald, icy pink, icy yellow, icy green, icy taupe, true gray, navy, aqua blue, royal purple, burgandy and bright burgandy, and fuchsia. Winter is the only season -- with the possible exception of clear spring -- who can easily wear black. They are the only season who can carry off pure white. (Ok, you fellow non-winters, let's be honest: We also want to wear black and white, and no color theory is going to stop us. But, we have to wear black and white remembering that we will never look as fabulous in them as the winter woman does. We also must soften our black with a flattering scarf, a soft white or creamy white collar, or makeup. And, we must pair a stark white blouse with a jacket, vest, or sweater that suits us. Many autumns cannot succesffully wear one bit of pure white, not even in amounts as small as a collar or cuffs. They are better off sticking to their season's oyster white, no matter what. Blondes often love the drama of their blonde hair against the dark color. But, in reality, black does nothing for their skin.)
Summers are best in pastels and soft neturals. They should think about the adjectives blue, pink, and soft when they shop for material or clothing. The very fair summer wears the lighter, brighter, and more delicate colors in her palatte. Brunette summers are better in the deeper or dustier shades of summer, and they can often wear winter's burgandy. Summers should avoid pure white, black, or any color with a yellow undertone. The summer womam's best white is soft white, otherwise known as "winter white" by clothing and cloth manufacturers. Winter white is cool, just as pure white is, but it is softer than pure white. Just a few examples of colors that are great for summer are petal pink, soft yellow, mint green, light rose beige, rose beige, rose brown, cocoa brown, light lavendar, mauve, orchid, dusty pink, dusy rose, rose, light and soft yellow, and watermelon. Though summers thrive on most pastels, they cannot wear the very icy pastels of the winter palatte.
Autumns look best in earthy, yellow, and intense colors of fall. The fair Autumn will look better in the more muted shades. The Autumn with darker skin will tend towards the fall colors that are a bit brighter. Autumns should avoid pure white, black, pink, and any color with a blue undertone. Soft autumns can wear soft navy; other autumns may find that navy is trying to their complexion. Just a few examples of colors that autumns can wear: warm beige, camel, medium camel, coffee, rust, light gold, avocado green, moss green, teal blue, red-orange, and light gold. Autumn's best white is oyster.
Springs are best in crisp, clear, delicate colors. They should think clear, yellow, and bright when shopping. The very fair Spring can be overwhelmed by the brightest spring colors. The Spring with more definite coloring is better in the brightest colors and too pale in the lightest spring colors. Springs should avoid pure white, black, and any color with a blue undertone. Spring's best white is ivory. A few examples of spring's best colors are light and clear warm pink, clear peach, lavendar, dove gray, light camel, warm beige, sunny yellow, spring green, sky blue, periwinkle, light green, light turquoise, and light orange.
One hint: If you are not sure if your skintone is warm or cool, check out your eyes. Are the rims of your irises gray? If so, you are most likely cool-toned -- either one of the winter categories or one of the summer categories.
Another hint: Try wearing your specific best white -- at least a touch of it near your face. You will probably find that it does wonderful things for your complexion. A dress in your season's darkest color, trimmed by a touch of white near worn near the face, can be very flattering (and practical, as the darker color does not show stains)
There are merits and drawbacks to each of the many color categories that have been proposed throughout history. However, since all of them depend on each of the three color scales we mentioned earlier, any one of them can be of value. You will find something in each system to point you in the right direction in making wise color choices.
Depending on where you fit on the scale from cool to warm, light to dark, bright to muted, you may be able to pick up a book or read a website on personal color theory and instanty recognize your color category. In fact, many, many women fall into an easily recognizable color category and have no trouble at all identifying their home on the scales of color.
Think how many women all over the world have light to dark olive-toned complexions, cool dark hair with little to no warm hightlights and dark eyes with little to no warmth in the eyes. This is a very definite coloring type. This category falls within the "winter season" of the Color Me Beautiful color theory, though not all winters have this same exact coloration.
The winter woman has definite coloring and will likely recognize her best color family the moment she learns about it. So, too will the decidely autumn woman, who has some depth to her coloring, with lots of red or gold in her hair, gold in her eyes, and warmth to her skin. She has no trouble seeing that she will be at home in the rich browns, golds, and earthones of fall.
There are some of us who cannot pick our our color family in one reading. We have to put more thought into is. This is probably because we are somewhere near the center on one of at least one of the color scales. Most likely, if we have trouble understanding our personal coloring, we are confused about whether we are cool or warm in skintone We will fall probably fall to one side or the other of the center point between cool and warm, but the difference may be subtle. This subtlety may be hard for the poorly trained or untrained eye to discern.
Many color experts say that people who are near the center of the line between warm and cool have "neutral" coloring and are able to wear either warm or cool colors. My non-expert experience is that a person with "neutral" coloring can get away with crossing the line between cool and warm. However, I agree with the experts who say that even people will more netural coloring will look their best if they can discern whether they are better in a slightly cool palatte or a slightly warm palatte. Besdies, by choosing either warm or cool, women can coordinate around netural accessories more easily. This saves the trouble of buying shoes in both warm and cool seasons. However, if you have coloring that is right around the center of the scale from cool to warm, you will have to decide this issue for yourself.
I, for example, have a cool skintone -- but I am a little warmer in skin, eyes, and hair than "the coolest of the cool". Also, since my hair lightens so much in the sun, the " sun gold" in my hair coveres over my natural ashy sheen. For me, it took a little trial and error to discover settle on the fact that I am cool in skintone. I am, however, obviously in the light to soft range. There's no question on that one. So, taking that as my main color cue, I quickly and easily ruled out any color categories that involve deep coloring, bright coloring, obviously cool coloring, or obviously warm coloring.
In Color Me Beautiful's 12-season systesm, that left me with four categories to choose from.
Looking at the only four categories that could in any way descrbe me, I determined that I fall best into the light summer category. I share some colors in common with my light, warm counterpart -- a light spring woman. The reason that a light spring and light summer can wear some of the same colors is that they are both flattered by colors that are light to medium in intensity. But, the spring woman can wear some warm colors that I cannot -- certainly not near my face -- and I can wear some very cool colors that the light spring woman can't. For example, springs wear olive green well and khaki well. Olive and khaki both wash me out.
Light spring and light summer are both fairly near the line between warm and cool. Warm spring and cool summer are further away from each other on the warm to cool continum.
Soft summer and soft autumn are even closer to each other on the scale from cool to warm than light spring and light summer are. Some women with blue eyes are surprised to discover that they are actually soft autumns, with more warmth and richness in their soft coloring than they would ever have guessed.
Obviously, in this article, I can't explain all of the ins and outs of every method of color typing, nor can I list all fo the colors that suit each color category. (Moreover, I am not qualified to do so, since I am not a professional color analyst). However, let me throw out some questions to ask yourself as you begin to think about your own coloring:
Step back from a mirror first and look at the overall effect. Is the overall effect light, soft, dramatic, warm, cool? Then, consider each individual component: your hair, your skin, and your eyes.
1) Is your coloring deep? Do you have dark hair? Does your hair range from black to deep brown, from a dark chestnut or dark auburn color? Is your hair perhaps a blue-black. Are your eyes also deep? Are they dark brown, brown-black, deep hazel, or dark olive? Is your skintone blue-black, rose-black, beige, olive, or bronze? If so, you will belong to a deep color category, either leaning towards warm or cool. You will probably be a winter or an autumn in the Color Me Beautiful theory. You will wear colors that are medium to deep in range. These colors will have strength and richness.
2) Is your coloring light? Is it delicate? If so, is your hair blonde -- from ash to golden and from light blonde to light brown? (Your hair may darken if you make it a practice to shield it from the sun, and it may lighten when you do let the sun bleach your hair) Is your skintone from light to medium, beige to peach to ivory to rosy? Is there little overall contrast between your hair, your eyes, and your skintone? Are your eyes possibly light blue, gray, green, blue-green, grayish blue-green, blue with white starbursts or a bit of gold around the pupil, gray-blue or blue with brown around the center? (Your eyes will not be brown, deep hazel, or deep blue) If you find yourself in this category, you will wear colors that are light to medium in range. You will most likely be a light summer or a light spring in the Color me Beautiful theory. If you tend towards summer, you will look fabulous in light pink. If you tend towards warm, you will glow in light, clear peach. (There are a few springs who look better in pink than peach, so this is not a fool-proof test. Generally, however, you can choose between summer and spring by looking at whether pink is better or peach is better.). If you tend toward the cooler side, likely your eyes will have a softer, perhaps grayer look. If you tend toward the warm side, your eyes will be be bright and clear -- somewhat like the persons's in the bright category, only lighter. You will wear colors that are light to medium in range.
`3) Is your coloring bright? If so, there will be a lot of contrast between your skin and hair color. Snow White is a cartoon image that exemplifies "bright coloring". Likely, if your coloring is bright, your eyes shine and are clear and bright, rather than soft. Perhaps, your eyes remind people of beautiful jewels, and you often get lots of comments about how pretty and striking they are. Also, your skin is probably clear and may have a transparent look. It may be snow or milk white. Your dark hair means that you will have someting in common with the deep category, and you can wear some of deep's clearer colors. But, in contrast to a true deep, you have an "overall" brightness" that looks better in colors that are bright or clear and true. Not for you is anything that is too muted or too dusty. If you tend towards the cool end of the spectrum, you will be in the winter category of Color Me Beautiful. If you tend towards the warm, you will be a clear spring.
4) Is your overall coloring muted? If so, the intensity in your coloring will be about medium range. Your hair will be ash to warm, dark blonde to light brown. You might think of your hair as being somewhere between blonde and brown, and it is likety to be vari-colored with lots of natural blonde highlights. Like the light person, your hair may lighten or darken depending on sun exposure. Your eyes will be grayed green, hazel, brown-green, brown, medium to dark green, teal, gray-blue. Your skin will be ivory, beige, bronze, or golden. If you lean towards warm, you may have freckles. Some women who are muted feel that they they are "plain", especially if they try to wear the wrong colors. But, actually, muted coloring is rich and soft. If you wear colors that are also rich and soft, you will look beautifully feminine and womanly. Your look will also have just the right hint of authority to it, as well. In your best colors, you are the woman who looks neither as if she is too girlish nor too intimidating.
You can wear colors that are rich, but not deep. Your colors are soft and of medium intensity. You will probably be either soft autumn or soft summer in the Color me Beautiful theory.
5) Is your coloring obviously warm? If so, your hair will be gold, red, or strawberry, or it will have obviously gold, red, or strawberry highlights. Your eyes will have a warm look to them, too. They will be warm green, hazel, topaz, warm blue-green, or teal. Your skin will be golden, beige, ivory, or bronze, and you may have freckles. You will be either a spring or an autumn in the Color Me Beautiful system. If you are spring, your colors will be warm, but they will be delicate and clear. If you are autumn, your colors will be warm, but either deeper or more muted or both.
6) Is your coloring cool and soft? Everyone has a little bit of warmth to their coloring, but it's not easily visible in the truly cool person. The cool woman has little gold or red in her hair, eyes, or skintone. While she won't have have red (reddish brown, copper or ruddy tones) in her skin, she may have obvious pink or rose in her complexion. She may also have a blue or gray undertone. Her skintone will range from fairest beige to rose-beige, to pink, or taupe. Her skin may be "soft " or "dusty" looking. Her hair color will be ash brown, dark brown, or deep ash blonde. Overall, her appearance will give off an ash tone. Because of the ashy sheen to her hair, she may feel that she needs to lighten or highlight her hair. The cool woman does look very natural and beautiful with some well-done highlights. However, if she wears her best colors, she may discover the beauty of her untouched hair and decide not to highlight it after all. This woman grays beautifully to a gorgeious silvery color. As her hair starts to gray, the silvery ash strands may even look like pale, ash blonde highlights. (Lucky woman!) This woman will be a cool summer or a cool winter in the Color me beautiful system.
Many women of African, African-American, Native American, Aisian, or Indian coloring assume that they fall into the deep and cool category, or whatever category in a particular color theory covers dark hair, dark eyes, and dark skin. However, if such a woman steps back from a mirror and looks at the overall effect of her coloring, she may discover that she actually projects a soft, warm, or, even, "lightish" appperance. Doris Pooser and Donna Fujii are two color experts who have put a lot of thought into how to help women of various ethnic backgrounds choose their best colors. At Donna Fujii's commercial web site, she has a free color self-analysis test that will help you deterime your color category -- no matter what your hertiage. If you can find an old book by Doris Pooser in a library, she also outlines categories that will help you even more in this area.
For all women of any heritage, Leslie over at has a free, very thorough, online test to help you determine your color category. In my non-expert opinion, I think her system is the easiest and most accurate free online color test - at least of the ones I've sampled. Most any woman can take her test and discover her best color category. She also offers inexpensive makeup and scarves that coordinate with your particular color season.
No matter what your color category turns out to be, clothing and fabric stores will always offer something that will flatter you. They realize that not all of their customers look good in one group of hues, tones, and, tints, and shades. So, in order to keep all of their customers happy, they offer a selection to flatter all a wide variety of skintones.
If a particular hue, color, or shade is all the rage this year, you'll see lots of it displayed around a store. And, because dark haired, dark-eyed, olive or dark skinned women are so common in many countries, their best colors will be in clear sight, as well. But, if you do a little searching, you will find something that is just right for you -- even if you don't look good in the current fashion favorite or if you don't fit the dark or deep category. Perhaps, your best color will be at the back of a clothing rack or on a bolt at the bottom of a bin, but it will be there, somewhere.
Interestingly, the way that Color Me Beautiful identifies color families as "seasons" works with the seasons of the year. People with "spring" coloring will have the easiest time finding clothing or material in spring, summer in summer, fall in fall, and winter in winter. In the other seasons, they will need to do a bit more hunting to find colors in their palatte.
If you are a bit confused by all of this talk about identifying your own best color catgory, don't fret. And, don't spend a lot of time analyzing yourself to try to make yourself fit into a color category. One important purpose of finding your color family is to be able to choose clothing quickly, allowing you to spend more time on more important things -- such as God, your family, and other people. It should not be a pursuit that takes you away from your priorities. As we mentioned in a previous article, simply pay attention to colors that have brought you the most compliments over the years. Identify what these colors have in common and work from that to figure out why the harmonize with your coloring. Work backwards from this to determine your best color category.
If you still don't see yourself in a category, make up your own personal color theory by creating your own fabric swatches out of colors you know, without a doubt, look good on you. If you do make your own category, you may have to be a bit more careful about coordinating these colors than if you use a palette that has been carefully thought out by someone with an education in color theory. But, even so, your homemade palatte will help you make wiser color choices than you otherwise might.
Why should you care what color season you are? you might ask Well, if you do find a "color family" or color palatte that works for you, it can save you time and money. First, if you stick to your color palatte when choosing colors, you are less likely to make expensive mistakes. You won't buy a length of fabric or a read-made garment just because the color catches your eye, but because you know it is something that will harmonize with your own coloring. Have you ever brought something home, but lost your enthusiasm for it once you actually had to wear it for a while? Or, did you find that you had nothing else to wear with it, and, thus, you had to go out and buy shoes or another garment to work with it? Chances are, this was because you chose the color for the color itself, rather than considering if it harmonizes with you or with the rest of your wardrobe.
(Every Septemeber and October, I get excited when I see fall colors in the stores, and I long to wear some autumn combination -- such as olive green with brick red. I also have a yen to decorate my house in autumn colors. But, I have lived with myself long enough to know that this yearly passion merely reflects an excitment about the arrival of a new and happy season. While I can wear a few fall colors successfully, there are many that make me look washed out, at best. Besides, my enthusiasm for these colors wanes as soon as American Thanksgiving Day passes. By contrast, a true autumn would adore these colors year round. In the other three seasons, I'm consistently drawn to summer colors. So, it would be a huge mistake for me to blow my clothing or decorating budget on autumn colors. That's not to say that I shouldn't enjoy wearing a fall sweater or creating some fall floral decorations. It's just that understanding my best colors helps me not to overdo it here.
Secondly, if you choose from the color family that works best for you, your selections will all coordinate with each other. Thus, you can get buy with a smaller wardrobe. You can keep it fresh by pairing the garments you already have in new ways to make new combinations. You can also choose to work with one of your best neutrals and put more of your clothing bugdet into classic garments made from these colors. You can then add less expensive, fashionable items in colors that work with your neutrals, knowing that you can change them out as you you need to.
Third, if you carry swatches from your color palatte with you, you can enter a store and quickly find those fabrics or readmade garments that work for you. The fabric or garment you choose does not have to match a particular swatch exactly. But, it does need to blend in well.
Finally, if you know your color family and select one of your best neturals to work with, you need only buy shoes and handbags in one netural color that will work with everything in your closet. Thus, you can buy one pair of dressier shoes in your color, one pair of everyday shoes, one pair of sandals or summer shoes, and some tennis or athletic shoes. And, you can buy one all-pupose purse, with the addition of perhaps an evening bag or dressy purse for special occasions.
If you earn money as a seamstress or you work in some field that involves fashion or art, it is helpful to not only understand your own coloring, but the coloring of others as well. This is true, too, if you sew as a hobby and want to make clothing for othrs that they will enjoy.
Some women fear that sticking to one family of colors will be constricting. Yet, since each palatte has a wide variety to choose from and since these colors all work for you, you are not likely to get bored with your family of colors. Also, once you truly understand the principles of color, you can knowledgably borrow a color here and there from other color seasons -- You will be able to identify a few colors outside of your own category that have a lot in common with the ones from your own. For example, because I am cool, I can borrow a few of winter's lighter and softer colors -- provided that they do not overwhelm my fair skin. Because I am light and somewhat warmer than many summers, I can borrow a few soft, light colors from spring and from soft autumn. I have to be careful, however, not to range into spring or autumn colors that are so warm they make my skin look dull. "Borrowed" colors are probably not best for me to wear near my face, unless they are combined in some way with the colors of my true palette. But, likely, they will work well in something like a skirt.
If you read about color theory and instantly spot your own color season, you are ahead of the game. Chances are that you have already instincitvely chosen at least half of your wardrobe in colors that flatter you. Don't try to change the rest of your wardrobe over to your perfect color family all at once. Instead, come up with a plan and work on it over a few years, as your time and budget will allow.
What happens if you do pick one color category, but when you head down that road, you realize that it's not the right one for you? Chances are you picked that category because at least one of the three basic elements of that color season are right for you: light to deep, warm to cool, or level of intensity. If you get even one of these right, they will lead you toward many right colors and steer you away from some unflattering ones.
For example, you might detemine that you are a soft autumn. After a while, you decide that you're not one-hundred-per-cent sold on this color category, so you re-visit the color question. You wonder if you should have chosen warm spring or, perhaps, even soft summer instead. What does this tell you? Warm spring, soft summer, soft autumn all contain colors that are somewhere between light to medium in intensity, rather than being extremely deep, extremely light, or extremely bright. Soft summer is the "warmest" of the cool skin categories, so it's safe to say that even if you are toying with switching to cool, you are not cool enough to be a cool summer or any of the winters. Soft autumn is the "coolest" of the warm seasons. If you realize that you are soft summer, after all, you will simply be moving across the line from the coolder side of warm to the warmer side of cool. It won't be that hard to gradually work your way towards cooler soft summer colors. Or, if you change your mind and decide that you are, in fact, a warm spring, you will be moving from soft autumn colors that are warm, soft, and medium in intensity, to warm spring colors that still light to medium in intensity, only a little warmer and a little more delicate. So, you see, the original decision to go with soft autumn proved that you do have a handle on your coloring. You simply are a bit confused about just how cool or how warm your skintone is and you aren't quite sure just where you fit on the intensity scale. Even if you followed your original mistake and bought some soft autumn colors to wear, these colors will be somewhat in harmony with your light to medium look, your delicate to soft coloring, and your warmish skintone. Perhaps, it would have been better if you had chosen colors that were a tad warmer or cooler or a bit lighter or a bit clearer. But, at least you are in the vicinity of your best range of colors, and it shouldn't be too hard to for you to fine tune your wardrobe over time.
Your soft autumn "mistakes" will flatter you much more than if you knew nothing about color theory and randomly picked very cool, very deep, very bright, or very light things to wear. From this example you can see that even if you are a bit off in your original analysis, your mistakes will at least be heading you in the right direction, instead of away from it.
Our color category usually does not change as we age. Over time, however, we do lose pigmentation and warmth in our eyes, skin and hair. Though the surface of our skin may yellow a bit with time, the true tone or undertone of our skin will actually become cooler. Very fair skinned people may look redder or a bit less fair from sun damage, while other people may look paler than they once did. So, while none of these changes are enough to change our basic category, it may move us toward the softest and coolest color choices in our original palette. We may find that we can no longer wear the deepest, strongest, or brightest shades in our basic palatte. If you are a light summer with clear pink in your palatte, for example, you may move towards a dustier pink.
I've come across a few antique books on sewing or homemaking that do include a separate color category for the woman with completely gray or completely white hair. Perhaps, having some specific guidelines in this area is a good idea. There are certain colors that bring out the beauty of gray or white hair and the accompanying changes in complexion. However, even these old color theories draw distinctions depending on a woman's original coloring. The white haired woman with brown eyes and olive skin, whose hair used to be dark, looks better in certain colors. The white-haired woman with blue eyes and fair, rosy skin, whose hair used to be dark blonde, looks better in other colors. So, your pre-gray or pre-white color category is still a factor.
As mentioned earlier, the cool-toned woman will look beautiful all the way through the process of graying, from the first few silver strands until her head is competely white. The winter woman may not be too fired up about the fact that she will probably start turning gray earlier in life than people in the other seasons do. If she decides to fight this, she will have to find ways to cover gray for many decades. However, her consolation is that whatever gray she has will be pretty.
Many summers have mousy or ashy light brown hair when they are young. While this can be beautiful, many people overlook the beauty of shiny, gleaming mousy brown hair. As the summer ages and her silvery, almost-blonde strands show up, she turns the tables on her warmer friend, who is wondering why her gray does not blend so well with her warmer coloring.
Many color theorists believe that warmer toned people have a harder time graying gracefully. Warm-toned hair tends to come in yellow-gray, rather than silvery in the early stages. Many think thats think that this makes the warm person's overall coloring look dull. They advise people with warm tones to cover strands of gray until the entire graying process is almost completed.
I'm not sure that I would give this same advice. I believe that it's fine if you do want to color your hair. Many, people, however, prefer to gray naturally. If you are in this category, but your gray has a dull yellow cast and you are unhappy about it, there are rinses and shampoos that are designed to take away the yellow and make the gray shine.
Everyone agrees that no matter what a person's color category, completely gray or completely white hair can be gorgeous. After all, Proverbs tells us that a gray head is a crown of splendor.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Color and You -- Part III

Here are some color schemes suggested by Mary Brooks Picken in the 1953 Singer Sewing Book. She is using examples of when you already have one item in place -- say a floor covering or a wall color -- and you need to decorate around it. Keep in mind that she was considering colors that were popular in the mid-twentieth century, and, thus, they may not always jive with today's tastes. However, Mrs. Picken used the basic principles of the color wheel to come up with these, so, according to the principles of color, these schemes are timeless. At the very least, you can learn her thinking about color from these schemes and appy it to today's sensibiliites. Or, you can choose to use one as is. Anyhow, I hope you will enjoy glancing over them:

Floor covering of brown, tan and green, with walls of light-blue green, draperies of dark blue-green, upholstery of brown or copper, and accents of white.

Floor covering of brown, tan, and green, walls of brown, draperies of gold, upholstery of gold or medium green, accents of bright green.

Floor covering of dark blue, walls of yellow, draperies of a yellow, blue, and green print, upholstery of light green, and accents of red

Floor covering of dark blue, striped wallpaper of blue and white and yellow, draperies of yellow, upholstery of yellow or blue, accents of white

Floor covering of mulberry, walls of light gray with pink cast, draperies of wine and gray stripe, upholstery of deep rose, accents of white

Floor covering of mulberry -- walls of floral wallpaper with rose and green, draperies of white or rose, upholstery of pale green or rose, accents of gold.

walls of gray blue, floor covering of delft blue, draperies of yellow and light blue stripe, upholstery of warm yellow or same material as drapes, wine accentss.

Walls of gray blue, floor covering of blue and rose floral, draperies of rose, upholstery of rose or wine, accents of blue.

With natural wood walls with a light finish use walls of light tan, drapes of yellow, upholstery of medium green or a green and brown pring, dark brown accents.

With walls of natural wood, light finish, use blue-green floor covering, light-bluegreen drapes, upholstery of soft red or gold and green stripe, black accents

With drapes that are natural with gold thread, use green-blue walls, dark green-blue floor covering, beige or coral upholstery and lime accents.

With drapes of natural with gold thread, use medium brown walls, beige floor covering, blue-green stripe or brown and white stripe upholstery, coral accents

With drapes of rose and green, use pale green walls, cool red floor covering, upholstery print-multi-color or light green, accents of white

With drapes of rose and green, use soft rose walls, grayed green floor covering, light blue or medium green upholstery

With light green upholstery, use green walls, ivory draperires, dark gray-green floor cover, accents of gold

Wtih upholstery of brown or gold, use beige walls, light clear blue drapes, dark brown floor covering, accents of bright blue

With upholstery of brown or gold, use light green walls, drapers of green and white print, beige gloor covering, accents of orange.

With drapes of a bright red, white, and black print, use white (match white in print) walls, gray floor covering upholstery of white with gred trimming or gray, accents of green With upholstery of rose beige, use walls of light rose, drapes of deep rose, floor covering of medium blue, acents of white.

With upholstery of blue, use light cool gray walls, rose and blue drapes, cool gray floor covering, accents of wine.

She advises: To avoid an overactive, busy feeling in your room, restrict your colors generally to three -- a main color, a secondary color tha blends or constrast pleasantly, and a third taht you use in small quantity for acent. Avodi the restlessness of too many patterned or figured fabrics in one room. It is often effective to combine a plain color with one flowered fabric and one seer striped fabric...If you must live with your decorations for a long time, remember that plain colors are less tiring than figured, and that more coservative schemes are less wwearing to the eye than bolder treaments. A beautiful print of some favorite picture, a motif cut froma apiece of chintz or cretonne, can help you to assemble colors harmoniously.

She also advises: Consider the colors in adjoining rooms, so that you don't have a shocking clash when doors are open between rooms.

For some more suggestions for color schemes, visit Barb Garrett's site over at the Everyday Decorator. She offers a ton of great free advice, especially about using color in your rooms.


Friday, August 18, 2006

Color and You -- Part II

We need to talk just a little more about color theory in this article. Then, in the next, we can move on to the fun stuff!

First, did you know that on average, we women are more aware of color than men are. Moreover, we know more words with which to describe colors?
This is why your husband's eyes glaze over when you ask him if you should paint the bonus room watermelon or light coral-pink.
"Watermelon is a color?" he says. "I thought it was something to eat. Speaking of food, I'm hungry. If you'll excuse me, I'll go fix myself a sandwich."
"Wait. Which of thse do you like best?" you say.
He shrugs. "I don't know. How about....that one?"
He points to a swatch at the top of your discard pile. He has forgotten that you have explained in great detail why it just won't work. Content that he has helped you by being decisive, he's off to the kitchen.
Now, you are left standing knee-deep in swatches. To you, each one has an entirely different effect from the next, so you are intent on finding just the right one. To him, they all look vaguely the same -- sort of a warm, pinky-red -- a color, in fact, for which he has no word to express. So, in his mind, most any in your piles of swatches will do. For him, the selection has been made, and his attention span wanders to something else.
This does not mean that men don't enjoy pleasing colors. They do. Nor, does it mean that they don't want to help us with decisions or that they don't care what the house looks like. They do.
It does mean, however, that they just don't see all of the finer points that we do. Perhaps, we can learn from them not to overly "sweat the details".
There is actually a biological reason for a man's limited concept of color. Some aspects of color perception are tied to the X chromosone, of which men only have one and women have two. Some women -- though not all -- find that along with their two X's, they have inherited a "double portion" of color sense. They simply can see more gradations in color than men can. This is particularly true when it comes to the myriad manifestations of red and orange.
I'm sure conditioning also has something to do with a man's color limitations. I've known men who are architects, home builders, carpenters, house painters, graphic artists, sales-clerks in men's departments, etc., whose color sensitivity would put the average woman's to shame. (I know many men who are more gifted in this area than I am). Usually, these men have reason to be observant about color, and they become adept at working out color schemes or in knowing what colors flatter different complexions.
Generally, though, men do not engage in activities or professions in which an understanding of color is vital. It's enough for them to know that the traffic light is green. They do not need to distinguish whther it's emerald, jade, forest, moss, sage, olive, etc. The possible exception is that men -- from toddler to aged -- do take an interest in the paint and upholstery of cars and trucks.
We women, on the other hand, think about color variations from childhood. Most little girls dream up outfits for dolls. Few boys do. I remember that a doll of mine had a formal gown. I loved everything about that doll dress, including the name of the color-- sea green. I could not wait to grow up and wear something so lovely sounding as that!
Dear hubby and I had not yet met at that time, but I can guarantee you that his G.I. Joe was attired neither in "an outfit" nor in anything labeled "sea green". Joe could choose to wear fatigues or fatigues or... let's see...fatigues.:)
We women also deal with more variations of color in our clothing, beginning in babyhood and continuing through our adult life. Men buy a blue shirt. We select a blouse from periwinkle blue, lavendar blue, indigo blue, true blue, sky blue, cadet blue, gray-blue, etc. They buy a yellow tie. We choose a scarf from lemon, light lemon, butter, maize, etc.
We also stay more in tune with whatever exotic name designers have picked for "the color of the year". Thus, we are comfortable with titles like "Parisian Parfait" or "Frosty Cappuchino" or "Dill" -- names that don't give men much of a clue about what color category we're even talking about.
As women, we often grow up to be the major purchasers of colorful household items. Let's say that this Saturday, our husbands or fathers or brothers all go out to purchase lawn mowers. They will compare things like price, power, effectiveness, and whether they want a push mower or a riding mower. Few of our men, however, will factor color into their choice. They care very little that one is silver-gray with maroon stripes, while another is black with brick-red chevrons on it.
We, on the other hand, think about color even when we are buying something as basic as a dish cloth. Does it really matter in the long run what color a dish cloth is? No. But, aren't most of us attracted to ones that we consider to be pretty or to ones that fit in our kitchen decorating scheme? In the end, we may choose price or practicality over color, but we will likely at least take the color into consideration.
Extrapolate that out to all of the applicances, sheets, curtains, couches, craft materials, sewing goods, carpets, clothing, accessories, etc, that women buy. We women learn by considering color in decision after decision after decision -- over the span of a lifetime. Men, do this, too, but not nearly so often as we do.
So, next time you wear a blouse in this year's"Marvelous Mauve", don't be surprised if your husband says, "You look so pretty in" Just smile, and say, "Thank you."
Now, even though men are biologically limited in their view of color, this simply means that they fall somewhere short of women in their abiliyt ot distinguish from a range of hundreds of thousands of color variations. The number of colors that the human eye and the human brain can process is mind-boggling!
Fortunately, all of these organize neatly into the rainbow or color spectrum. People have taken God's colors of the rainbow and have arranged them in a circle called "a color wheel". You can use the color wheel to identify which colors "go" with which. Of course, you won't hundreds of thousands of colors on the wheel. Who could cope with that! But, you will see the basic categories into which any of these colors fits.
You may have noticed that this article is accompanied by a small illustration of such a color wheel. You probably already own a book about art, quilting, fashion, or decorating that contains a larger color wheel. If you don't, I urge you to buy an inexpensive wheel at a craft store, such as Michael's or Jo-Ann's.
On the color wheel, you will find the three primary colors: red, yellow, and blue. These colors are not made up of any other colors, but they are the basic building blocks from which all other colors are made. For example, we all learn in toddlerhood that if we color with a blue crayon and, then, color over thatwith a yellow crayon, we end up with green.
The primary colors are evenly spaced between the secondary colors. Secondary colors are the colors that consist of equal parts of two primary colors. Thus, we have, as mentined above, green. We also have orange (a mix of red and yellow) and violet (a mix of red and blue).
You will also see tertiary colors on the wheel. These occur when you mix a primary color with its nearest secondary color. For example, you could mix blue with green to make blue-green. You could mix yellow with green to make yellow-green. Other tertiary colors are yellow-orange, red-orange, red-violet, and blue-violet. These colors are called tertiary (having to do with thirds), because they are made up of two-thirds of one color plus one third of another. Blue green is two parts blue and one part yellow.
Some color wheels move on to colors comprised of fourths. These are called quaternary colors.
Remember, all of these colors, from primary to quaternary, can be modified by adding some degree of black and/or white.
Also, remember that you have to add a certain amount of color to color to make up another color. For example, if you add just a hint of yellow to red, you will end up with a yellower hue of red. It will still, however, be in the red family. But, if you add yellow in an amount equal to the red, you will create a third color: orange.

So, what do we do with this color wheel? We use it to create color harmony. The following are some color harmonies that you can use in sewing, in fashion, and in decorating your home. In this article, we will consider these mostly from the aspect of home decorating. (You will also find some good ideas here for quilting Note that many quilts benefit from using off-white or white along with the other colors in the quilt). Later on, we will apply the color wheel to other things, such as dress.

Complementary colors. These are found on exact opposite sides of the color wheel. So, to determine a color's complement, first locate it on the color wheel and, then, note which color is directly opposite. Complementary colors work well together, and, when used properly, they bring out the best in each other. For example, my mother-in-law made a quilt for me ofviolet and soft yellow. Violet and yellow are complements of each other.
Red and green is a popular complementary color scheme. Red and green are strong colors. Thus, we often find this pair used in softened forms, such as shades of red and green, pastel tints of red and green, or tones of red and green. Mint green and pink (tints of green and pink) look wonderful together, because their base colors or hues are complementary.
Blue is opposite orange. This is why a room with lots of light blue in it looks inviting with peach accents. Peach is a tint of orange.
Be wary of using equal amounts of complementary colors, especially in their pure forms. Instead of bringing out the best in each other, they end up competing with one another. You could end up with a dull effect. Let one color be the dominant and use the other in smaller amounts.
Analogous colors are "close buddies" of the color world. You can easily identify them; they sit side by side on the color wheel. In effect, you take neighboring secondary and tertiary colors and use them -- most likely along with the nearest primary color -- in a harmonious deorating scheme. Think of a room done in blue, blue-green, and blue-violet. This particular example may not be your cup of tea, but you can see that these colors do work together. They do not fight each other.
Triad colors are any three colors that are an equal distance from each other on the color wheel. Some examples of triad decorating schemes would be red, blue, and yellow or violet, green, and orange. You can also use any two colors along with white or black Many nations use triad colors in thier flags. The U.S. flag for example is red, white, and blue.
A Monochromaticcolor scheme is based on a variety of tints and shades of one color only. This is an easy and lovely way to decorate. It works best, however, if you give it some "pop" with a few accesories in an accent color. Perhaps, your accent color might be the main color's complement. You can also use a "neutral" color -- such as beige or gray -- in a monochromatic scheme, but you will need touse a variety of textures so that overall look isn't too bland.
White and One-Color is a can't-miss color scheme. True white will go with any color. If you venture into the softer whites or the off-whites, it is best to choose a cool white to go with a cool color and a warm white to go with a warm color. (More on warm and cool later).
A Neutral, plus another color is similar to the white plus one color scheme.
The Split Complementary scheme means that you use one main color with the two colors that are adjacent to the main color's complementary hue. You do not, however, use the complementary hue, itself. Now, when we climb up to this level of color theory, I start getting a little dizzy. But, it's not as complicated as it sounds. Find your main color on the color wheel -- let say red. Now, find red's opposite -- green. But, instead of using one of the various hues of green, look to green's next-door neighbors: yellow-green and blue-green. Next time you are browsing through a magazine and a photograph of a room catches your eye, study it for a moment. Is it possibly decorated in a split complementary scheme? This scheme is very popular, and it can be used to acheive some wonderful looks.

Earlier, I mentioned that some colors are "warm" and and some are "cool". This is true of the colors in our surroundings. It is also true of our own personal coloring -- of our hair, our eyes, and our skintones.
The warm colors are on the side of the color wheel that extends from red to yellow-green. The cool colors are on the side that extends from green-blue to blue to violet. Some cool colors are warmer or cooler than other cool colors, and some warm colors are warmer or cooler than other warm colors. In addition, within one color hue family -- say blue or red -- some hues will be warmer and some cooler than others.
In my article yesterday, I mentioned true red, red with a bit of blue in it, red with a bit of orange in it, and red with a bit of brown in it. If you add a little blue to red, it is still red and still warm, but it moves to the cooler end of red. If you add a little yellow or orange to red, the result is still red and it is very warm. You can warm up a cool color by adding a bit of yellow, orange, or red. You can cool down a warm color by adding blue.
Cool tones recede just a bit into the distance -- consider a room with light, gray walls. Warm colors seem to advance toward you a bit. Think of a room with true red walls.
Cool colors are generally soothing, making you feel cool, calm, and relaxed. Imagine winding down after a hot, summer day in room that is painted blue or pale green or pale violet.
Warm colors stimulate you, making you feel warm, cozy and energetic. A famous fast food chain used bright red in its decorating for the following two reasons: Red stimulated the customer's appetites, and these hungry customers spent more money on food. Also, when surrounded by red, the customers also ate faster. Thus, they finished quickly and left their tables for others. In this way, the fast food chain were able to pack in more customers per hour.
As mentioned, cool tones are great for bedrooms, where you want to relax and sleep. They are also useful along walls with western exposures, where the afternoon sun can make the room feel hot. Warm colors are good for family rooms, where you want to stimulate conversation or activity.
Remember, however, that if you overdo things toward the the cool end, you can end up with a room that depresses everyone. If you overdo towards the warm, you can end up in a room where everyone feels jittery.
Imagine a house in which every inch of the ceiling, floors, and walls is painted gray and every object inside the house is gray. Does this sound inviting? Probably not. Even though gray is beautiful, to be completely surrounded by it would sap your spirits.
Now, imagine a house in which every inch of the ceiling, floors, and walls is painted fire engine red, and every object inside of it is also fire engine red. This sounds a bit more fun than all-gray. But, to spend more than fifteen minutes inside such a place would be nerve-wracking and overwhelming.
Of course, these are extreme examples that no one would employ. Common sense usually keeps us from creating disasters in this area. But, still, it's wise to take the "color temperatures" of our rooms from time to time and adjust accordingly.
Here is where tints, shades, and tones can help a lot. You can soften fire hot red with a bit of white or black. A very toned-down red can be lovely in a dining room. It's rich and warm enough to stimulate conversation and to feel cozy -- but it is cooled down enough to let everyone relax. Family members and guests will not feel jittery or hurried to finish their food. They will enjoy a leisurely, happy dining experience.
Some people call green a "balanced color". It is the closest cool color to the warm side of the color wheel, and you can make it even warmer by adding yellow to it. It neither stimulates you nor depresses you, but it does soothe you. It does not seem to advance, nor does it seem to retreat. After all, green is the backdrop of God's creation, and it is literally the color that "grounds" nature. It's found all around us, in grass, trees, and other plants. Most people feel right at home in green.
Remember, every warm color has a cool compliment, and vice versa. You can decorate a room in basically cozy, warm colors, but you can calm a too warm effect by adding a few soothing accents of a cool complimentary. Or, you can do the opposite. This is probably one reason why we enjoy complementary color schemes so much. They balance cool and warm in a way that makes us feel happy.
When it comes to paint or dye, you can mix certain warm coolors and their cool complements to create a neutral. Neturals can be either warm or cool, if the warm complement or the cool complement dominates. That's why two "beiges" don't always match or two "taupes" don't always look exactly the same.
This is also why browns and grays can be either cool or warm. Think of the difference between cocoa brown and golden brown. Cocoa brown is cool; golden brown is warm. Note that grays which are made from equal parts of white and black are cool. But, grays that are made by mixing complementary colors can have a hint of warm in them.
There is a theory that we are most flattered by colors, hues, tints, shades, and tones that reflect the depth and the value of our own personal coloring. We are at home in colors that are compatible with the various colorations of our own hair, our eyes, and our skin. We may choose these colors instinctively, without knowing why certain colors "feel right" to us.
If we don't recognize why we are drawn to certain colors, we may think that everyone should wear or decorate their homes with the same colors that we do. This is not realistic, however. Think of the mother with cool black hair, milky white skin, and bright blue or violet eyes. Her coloring had a lot of depth and contrast. She has always loved to wear jewel tones and icy pastels, as well pure black and pure white. She tries to dress her eleven year old daughter in the same way, and she wants to paint her daughter's room deep burgandy. But, her daughter has light auburn hair, peachy pale skin, and yellow-green eyes. The daughter's coloration has less contrast and is softer, more muted, and warmer than her mothers. She would be more at home in soft, warm, muted earth-tones. She would prefer to paint her walls a pale peach.
Neither the mother nor the daughter has better taste than the other. Each is simply responding to colors that she intuitively understands and that work for her.
Also, consider the woman with jet black hair, ebony black skin, and black-brown eyes. Her sister has skin that is a yellow-toned brown, warmer brown hair, and golden brown eyes. Likely, though they were raised in the same family, the first will be drawn to cooler colors and the second to warmer colors.
But, personal coloring is a topic for another day.