Browsing Decor and Fashion Category

A Maslow-Inspired Thanksgiving Color Palette

What are the colors of Thanksgiving?
So much more than paint, decorating, or  “trend palettes.”
I wanted to offer some color-reflections for the holiday season, and beyond.

Maslow's Hierarchy - reinterpreted as Thanksgiving colors

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – reinterpreted as Thanksgiving colors

What’s important?
Please share your own inspirations and color-reflections!


Asking the right questions

How to listen: Take a tip from Joseph Albers
Good teaching is more a giving of right questions than a giving of right answers.”

Among the many “what’s the first step” items in the process of a new client-relationship, asking the right questions is at the top of my list.

Of course this also goes for any project, even with people we think we know, since each project carries its own set of circumstances. That’s why I love the above statement by Josef Albers.

Warming up with Red Clay from EcoHues Full Spectrum Paint

While creatively problem-solving, opportunities to learn—and to teach—abound in every project

  • Help clients discover their own personal design styles
  • Introduce new concepts and ideas
  • Interact with clients in an authentic way
EcoHues Full Spectrum Paint - Atlantis and Blue Grotto

“Atlantis,” an EcoHues Full Spectrum color, is on the back wall of dining area and continues into the foyer that is visible from the dining room.


Soft full spectrum colors, kitchen view into family room

Rich soft colors enhance—and subtly define—three connected spaces, with 3 different close colors.

One example, from a client’s note to me
“…you helped take the confusion out of color selection process and opened up our eyes to color choices we never would have thought of using.  We appreciated how easy it was to work with you, and how carefully you listened to our wants and needs.”

It just takes practice!
As artists and designers, it’s so easy to become excited about a project and about our own approach and inspirations. The practice is in listening, and advising while not imposing our personal preferences. It’s really all about the goal for every client.

I’d love to listen. What is your story?

Fashion in Colors

Fashion in Colors (Paperback)

By (author): Paul Warwick Thompson, Yoshikata Tsukamoto, Barbara Bloemink

Color is Life " Wrote the Bauhaus Theorist Johannes Itten,and this is Certainly holds true in the words of fashion and design.

The spectrum of color: content, interest, application, social meanings, trends, materials (to name just a few) naturally includes textile design and fashion. Even if we’re not “fashionistas” (one of those questionable words that somehow actually means something), “Fashion” is in our lives.

Fashion in Colors - the book

Book cover: Fashion in COLORS

Might as well enjoy it!  And to do so, check out Fashion in COLORS, published for the exhibition, “Fashion in Colors,” at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum at the Smithsonian Institute, 2005-2006, curated by Akiko Fukai.

According to the inside cover, the origin of the book was the original exhibition organized by the Kyoto Costume Institute, that was shown at the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto, 2004.

One unique aspect of this book is in the presentation. Sections on artists, designers, and color families make it a unique exploration of color and design. Works by the iconic designers whose names you will recognize are fascinating and the photography is simply astounding. It’s a complete immersion in color, shape, texture, textile design, and information.

List Price: $45.00 USD
New From: $35.00 USD In Stock
Used from: $5.66 USD In Stock

Color on the brain

We’re always looking at color, and talking about color. Somtimes, we’re even applying color. And, in between, we’re seeing, feeling, hearing, smelling and thinking about color.

We don’t even have to be “color-obsessed…,” we just have to be what we are. Human.

We forget from time to time that “color” does not even exist on its own, except where there is light and we are able to recognize it. Then, we assign an identity to what we call the color that we’ve seen. Often we make the understandable mistake of thinking that, while color does matter (and it matters a lot) in so many ways, it is not Really “matter.”  It’s only Perception.

But what a subject! Endless, and so complex. When the ‘buzz words’ about color— from trends to color psychology— are tossed around so glibly, this will give pause to think a bit more about the depth of this vast subject.

With that in mind, I’m delighted to share this video with you. I hope you will share your thoughts after you’ve seen it.

Behind the increasing cost of paint

Here we go again, in Paint as many industries and products.
Yes, prices are going up—again. It used to be that paint was, well, “Cheap!” We always would say, hey, it’s the best way to get the most change for the least money spent.  Big change for small change, so to speak. Whether you’re “into paint” or just buying paint again after a long time away from your paint store, now you might be surprised at the current prices and the projected trend in this direction.

What is the story about the paint price increases? It’s not just for a few “premium” companies, but apparently all across the spectrum of brands, quality and price points.
paint fandeck

What’s in that can of paint?
Basically, all paint colors are made up of tinted bases. In sheens from flat to high gloss, the base material is a combination of materials, but this story is about, essentially,  “titanium dioxide.” That’s what makes the the paint color white, in the can, before adding tints to make Your colors. So, when the cost of that material goes up, so goes the price of paint.

If you’re into the economy of science–or the bottom line on why paint products are continuing to get more expensive– you might enjoy this article.

EcoHues Full Spectrum Paint - Pacific Mist

Boston condo – EcoHues Full Spectrum : Blue Grotto.  Making the most of a can of paint with a minimum of 7 tints in Every color—and not a drop of black or gray.

But OK, I will still say it—Paint is the way to go.  All the more reason why we want to really carefully consider what colors we’re using, and paying for.  And, all the more reason to make the most of the paint we are using—and enjoying.

Indigo Textiles-Technique and History, by Gosta Sandberg

A fascinating historical survey and practical application of the oldest natural dye in use today: indigo. Visit cultures that have used this wonderful dye and learn the chemistry of the dyeing process. Meet artisans from around the world and discover their techniques. Filled with recipes, tips, suggestions, projects. 184 pages (44 in color), 80 b/w illus., 6 5/8 x 9 3/8.

Seriously, I had no idea when I wrote the recent post about Mood-Indigo that this color was going to be such a big thing!  In West Elm, Crate and Barrel, and even Home Accents Today, all have some mention of this mysteriously beautiful and infinitely variable color and dye.

Dare I predict…(even without a crystal ball) that we’ll be seeing a lot more of this very old dye color in mainstream decor, and not just in denim.

INdigo Textiles TEchnique and History

Right here, enough to get started, with numerous great pictures.


So, to hearken back to my long-time fascination with traditional surface design techniques and materials, I found this on my bookshelf.

Dyeing to Try?
For those of you who might take your interest in Indigo to the next level, I encourage you to check out this little volume. You have the instructions Right Here, to do your own Indigo dye work.

List Price: $22.95 USD
New From: $57.26 USD In Stock
Used from: $13.09 USD In Stock

Color of the week? Try, MOOD of the week, INDIGO!

Blues…music, paint, fiber, jewels, feelings.

What’s “Mood Indigo,” anyway?
An audio version of course…this classic!

And another interpretation by Ella Fitzgerald, unsurpassable.

Another way to experience it – Old Levi’s!  In the originals, the dye was Indigo.

Indigo culture is worldwide, a fiber dye and therefore, as with many dye materials, a currency. Whether it’s a paste resist in Africa; Batik  or block-printing in Indonesia; Rice Paste resist or Arashi Shibori in Japan, and any one of the myriad textile design techniques that are part of indigenous cultures worldwide, using Indigo dye is a highly developed craft and art.

Indigo vats in Japan - find out more at Kimono Boy

Vats of Indigo in Japan. Find out more at Kimono Boy

Actually, the inspiration for this post was a recent conversation with a friend who now lives in Santa Fe. She mentioned seeing the premier of the documentary, Blue Alchemy, and hearing about it reminded me of the many ways that I’ve seen Indigo dye used over the years. That conversation brought back many memories of my own personal experiences working with many types of tradition textile decoration techniques and materials. Even now, in fact, I can use Indigo-dyed fibers in my own Tibetan rug designs!

In antique textiles, traditional culture textiles, and modern work, Indigo has a presence all its own.

Hmong Textiles

Textiles made by Hmong people in Vietnam, shown at Kimono Reincarnate blog site.

Indigo pots in Nigeria

Pots of Indigo in Nigerian traditional dyeing

Morris Kennet-Indigo printed textile 1883

Indigo printed textile by Morris Kennet -- 1883!

Indigo is earthy, primal, mysterious, exotic, beautiful, and versatile! What more could we ask of one type of plant?

If this is a subject that interests you, check out this video and other material on the same page. And, Enjoy!

Patterns and Colors in Diverse Places and Spaces

There’s nothing like being in a different location for a while to stimulate a fresh view of colors and patterns.

From the wonderful LACMA museum in Los Angeles to the tiny Japanese variety store, with a home decorating furniture store in the middle of it all, I’m inspired to share a few images for your enjoyment.

I always enjoy connecting patterns and textures. One example:

Los Angeles - LACMA courtyard

Lines, shadows, and textures combine to make interesting patterns


Columns and Trees

Interesting to look at this for repetition of line and texture, in verticals both organic and built.


Then, for something really different, a quick visit to ZGallerie to see what’s up in L.A. decor! (or some of it, anyway)

Bling-y neutrals

You're not in New England anymore, Toto!


Detecting a theme

Do I detect a theme? Never mind, I love the darks with...Kiwi? Lime? Other name for this green?


Summer Turquoise

Summer turquoise is still happening

Check out the colors above with the colors of the items in the Japanese variety store, below!
See anything similar?

Bins of tiny objects

Colors and visual texture remind me of an impressionist painting.



Pens and pencils

These really made me smile. A color palette resource!


Soft colors for lunchboxes

The pattern of pastel colored lunchboxes combines with black-and-white graphic lettering

More pens and pencils

Love the patterns and colors! Can you guess which ones I bought to use?

The Question
What are the paint colors that these images inspire you to use? Single or as combinations, it’s all fair game and I am interested in YOUR favorites!

GoodWeave in the public eye on

Filed under: Blog,Decor and Fashion,Rugs — Tags: , — Barbara Jacobs @ 8:29 am

GoodWeave is a unique organization.
In fact, there are many individual qualities about that are unique.

The focus of GoodWeave is to end illegal child labor in the rug industry. In addition, their mission includes rescuing children from enslavement, and providing education and a better quality of life. A portion of each sale of every GoodWeave certified rug goes toward this goal.

Goodweave one in a million

The GoodWeave mission of freedom from slavery includes rescue, and education of the children.

Just a few the unique ways GoodWeave helps both sides of the equation

  • Provides a resource destination for people who want to help others
  • Provides a way for artists and designers to connect
  • Provides a way for artists to showcase their rug designs, and helps with the business side of artistic rug design
  • Creates an opportunity to enrich the lives of weavers and their families, while enriching the lives of rug customers.
  • From the standpoint of what I like to call “The Human Connection,” Customers of GoodWeave-member rug companies can have the confidence that while enjoying a beautiful work of art for their floors, they are making a positive contribution to the lives of the people who have made the rugs they purchased.

Just last week, aired a brief but meaningful news report on child slavery in the rug industry and GoodWeave’s significant place in working to end these conditions. I hope you take the time to view it.
The video appeared in  World Business Today.



All Tibetan Rugs are Not Created Equal

Filed under: Blog,Decor and Fashion — Tags: , , , , , — Barbara Jacobs @ 11:44 am

It’s a price-conscious world. Nothing new about that, really. But as applies to many things in the world of products and services, the comparison is most accurate when it’s “apples to apples.” Looking at similar qualities, as much as possible.

Take Tibetan rugs, for example. A subject near and dear to my heart as I have a personal interest in what I look at as an art form even though there’s “production” involved. I’m not a weaver myself, obviously—although I have to admit I have a long-time desire to learn to weave, along with many other artisan interests in a variety of media.

The Details make the Difference!
For now, I’ll focus on a few details of construction. Even if you’re looking strictly at cost, these aspects can make a difference.

Knot count
This usually refers to ‘knots made per square inch.”  Typical knot counts are 50, 80, 100…and sometimes fewer or more, depending on the specific design,  materials and textures.

As with most items of high quality, construction is also a factor. For rugs by Silk Road Weaves, we have a  ‘take no shortcuts” approach. Find out more about the rug creation process in our 2-part slide show.

Two main weaving methods
cross-weaving is more secure and durable

  • The traditional Tibetan “cross-weaving” style is more exacting and takes more experience and time to do, and results in a much more durable rug.
  • “Uncrossed” weaving, faster and less durable result.

Wool is typically from New Zealand or the Himalayan mountains. There is a distinct difference in the look and feel of the end result. “Tibetan” rugs made in India or China usually use New Zealand wool and have a more flat-c0lor appearance unless they are artificially ‘aged’ in a chemical wash or with other methods. Rugs made with the long-fiber, high lanolin wool from sheep raised in the high altitude Himalayas have an inherently different look, a more naturally modulated color.

Design style
Some styles are based on a more traditionally “Tibetan” motif, but others often now a more “contemporary” look that fits well with many types of decor.

Who makes it?
Child labor is a huge issue in the rug industry.

GoodWeave is the major non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating child labor and increasing education and community care of weavers’ families. As members of GoodWeave, I and other rug design companies can guarantee with confidence that there’s no child labor in the rugs we offer.

Rugs from Silk Road Weaves are made only by the most experienced adult artisans.
This can have an effect on the cost of rugs in many cases. But even if there’s a slight increase you can be confident that you are also helping someone else at the same time as you are enjoying your rug in your own home. As with other GoodWeave members, a percentage of the cost of our rugs goes directly to ending child labor and improving the weavers’ quality of life. I like to call this quality of human connection “Human Green.”

In the variety of methods used for washing the rug after it’s woven, we always opt for the ‘soap and water’ method, as opposed to the chemical wash that can artificially ‘age’ the look of a rug and may even damage the fibers.

Washing "Loopy/Meandering" from Silk Road Weaves

Shown: LOOPY/Meandering, 100% Himalayan wool from Silk Road Weaves. 8'x10.' The next step is drying in the sun, then trimming and finishing. Fringes will be turned under and bound.

Tips for buying a rug
More about dyes, pile, knot count…and valuable suggestions about what to look for when you’re ready to invest in a rug…regardless of your budget.

Get the best possible, long-lasting value for your money.
It’s ultimately about the Human Connection, that lasts for generations.

I will provide an impartial perspective on your project, helping you create supportive spaces...

Color affects your bottom line. Let color work for you in your workplace, your marketing materials, and your products.

Embrace Color with Confidence! Enjoy the process of making interior and exterior color decisions...