Day 4: Spend an Hour Coloring

After a full, fun day, I was grateful for the hygge activity I selected this morning. I drew this slip of paper:

Spend an hour coloring.

Coloring, especially for adults, was a hot trend a couple of years ago. I don’t hear as much about it currently, however, it is a meditative art form that I still enjoy. I brewed a cup of hibiscus tea, sliced up an apple and gathered supplies.

Day 4: Spend an Hour Coloring

A Coloring Book and Page Chooses Me

In keeping with the game I am playing, I picked up the first coloring book that I saw as I walked into my studio. Enchanted Forest, by Johanna Bradford, snagged my attention. Perfect. My word for 2019 is Enchanted.

Holding the book in both hands I opened to a page, randomly, and laughed. A variety of feathers filled the space. The feather quill is my symbol for this year.

What an accurate portrayal of where I am at this very moment…poised between two worlds. I inhabit that shifting space of overlapping energy as this year ticks down and the next year invites me in.

Day 4: Spend an Hour Coloring

Spend an Hour Coloring

Tonight I took my task very literally. With my hot tea, apples and Crayola colored pencils arranged nearby, I glanced at the clock and began a countdown. I didn’t feel hurried. I knew I would not complete the coloring page in 60 minutes. That wasn’t the point of the activity.

The point was to lose myself in the gentle art of coloring. I enjoy selecting color combos and laying the color down on the page. Shading is something I’ve always done, even when I was a child with a box of waxy crayons. I build color up, and smooth it out, highlighting a section here, shading a bit there.

As I color, my heart rate slows, as does my breathing. My soul expands, my mind quiets and then ponders deeper mysteries.

Da 4: Spend an Hour Coloring

Exchanging Time

My mind focused in on my choice of words, written on the slip of paper. Spend an hour coloring. Spend… Why did I choose that particular word, spend? Why not Color for an Hour? I almost changed the title of the post to the simplified version.

But my mind kept turning over the word spend. The word comes from the Latin expendere, which literally means pay out. I paid out an hour of my time this evening, an hour out of the 24 I was allotted today, in exchange for the simple and satisfying pleasure of coloring.

That realization gave me a fresh perspective. I’ll exchange more of my time, to explore and develop this line of thought. Tonight as I closed my coloring book, and took a deep breath, I declared this:

May I wisely spend the hours and days and months that I have, creating the life I most want to experience. My currency is precious. And it is limited in this life although my soul is boundless. Coloring was worth an hour of my time, in part because of the truths uncovered. May all that I pursue be counted as worthy.

Day 4: Spend an Hour Coloring

National Coloring Book Day

When I realized today was National Coloring Book Day, I knew what I would be doing this evening. The idea behind this quirky holiday, established in 2015 by Dover Publications, is to relax…and color. Although people of all ages are encouraged to grab a coloring book, this celebratory day is especially geared toward adults, who need the reminder more than children do that it’s ok to slow down and be creative.

National Coloring Book Day

Although coloring for adults became a craze fairly recently, Dover Publications marketed the first coloring book geared toward adults in 1970. They now have a full line of coloring books for grownups under the Creative Haven label.

I own a couple of Creative Haven books, and a variety of other coloring books. In between receiving offers on a house and talking to agents and clients, I set up my coloring materials, and decided to be playful in my choice of books. I numbered off the books…14 of them…and then used an online random number generator to make my selection. I got the number 6, which was assigned to Art for Mindfulness – Landscapes. I was ready to color.

National Coloring Book Day

In keeping with my game playing, I also randomly opened the book to a page. This book, which happens to be the first adult coloring book that I ever bought, has a quote that accompanies each coloring page. This is the page I opened the book to.

I love that quote: “There is more to life than increasing its speed.” Mahatma Gandi

The words are so true! I desire to deepen my life rather than speeding it up. What a perfect quote to set the tone for an evening of coloring.

Coloring slows me down. Applying color to paper is soothing and there is a meditative quality to the art and the act of coloring. I enjoy the creative challenge too, of selecting colors and trying out new combinations of hues. I never just color. I shade. I create highlights. I vary techniques. It’s all fun for me.

I didn’t complete my page yet. Real estate work continued throughout the evening. But that’s okay. Elements of my life blend together, as smoothly as the browns and grays and greens of the sandy hillside with the lighthouse perched on top.

I enjoyed the coloring that I did. And I’ll leave this book nearby, as an invitation to pick it up and continue…and celebrate the marvelous colors of my pencils, the world, and my life.

National Coloring Book Day

Going Bohemian in My Backyard 

I am writing my blog post tonight, while sitting in a bohemian tent in my backyard garden. An almost full moon is sliding across the summer sky. I have candles lit and a pot of lemon balm tea near by. Young Living lavender oil is scenting the air, along with the herbs and flowers growing in my garden. I colored in one of my coloring books until it got too dark to see. This…is…bliss. 

Going Bohemian in the Backyard
Inspiration led me here. 

The answer to the question, How shall we play today? seemed to involve coloring. I thought I might gather coloring books and my colored pencils and relax on my bed while a movie played in the background. However, my mind skittered away from that thought whenever I contemplated the idea. 

As I was doing a bit of weeding in the backyard garden, late in the afternoon, I paused, soaking in the beauty surrounding me. Or maybe, I thought, I will light candles in the garden tonight instead. At that moment, the funny quote that says “If you need me, I’ll be in my blanket fort coloring…” came to mind. And with it, the image of a bohemian style tent made out of vintage quilts and linens. 

Yes…yes! There it was. Inspiration, and the day’s creative activity, which included coloring after all. 

Going Bohemian in the Backyard

I created my own boho tent, using one of Greg’s adjustable metal ladders as the frame. A wooden one would work just as well, or two chairs placed back to back. 

Going Bohemian in the Backyard
I layered on the quilts and tablecloths. Bohemian or boho style is about layering. I have many vintage quilts and lace tablecloths that once belonged to Greg’s grandmothers. I gravitated toward a yellow and cream color scheme. 

Initially I had a quilt forming the back wall of the tent, however I realized that might make the interior too warm. I swapped out the quilt for a lace tablecloth, to allow air to circulate. I draped and adjusted until I was pleased with the look, tucking in corners and edges to secure the quilts. I only used one clothespin. I folded a couple of thick quilts to create the floor of the tent and added two small pillows for comfort. 

Going Bohemian in the Backyard
Candles are a must for me. They create such a soft, beautiful atmosphere. Although it is hard to tell from the photos, the candles are all a safe distance away from flammable materials. All of the candles are also in containers, except for the three on candlesticks. I added candles behind the tent as well, so that they would shine through the lace cloth. (Use caution in creating your own boho setting, if using candles, and never leave them unattended.)

Going Bohemian in the Backyard
Going Bohemian in the Backyard
I set up a vintage metal tray to hold a pot of freshly brewed tea, using lemon balm from my garden. 

Going Bohemian in the Backyard

Going Bohemian in the Backyard
What a magical evening. After coloring, I turned so that my back rested against the pillows piled along one side of the ladder, enjoying the candlelight, the night song of insects and frogs, and the cool breeze. I sipped my tea and smiled often as I peeked out the tent opening. 

As a little girl, I loved making blanket tents. The coziness and intimacy within appealed to me. Tonight, I am wondering why I haven’t done this more often. This simple pleasure brings joy to my heart and gladness to my soul. And my inner child thinks this is the best night ever! 

Going Bohemian in the Backyard
Oscar Wilde wrote, “With freedom, books, flowers and the moon, who could not be happy?” 

I would include…and candlelight and a boho tent. Happiness indeed. 

Vintage Page Gets a Fresh Illustration

I am loving the inspiration I am getting from the set of vintage encyclopedias. Printed in 1951, these outdated volumes have no resale value, however, their creative value is high. 

Tonight I had fun creating another artistic project using one of the vintage pages. 

Vintage Page Gets a Fresh Illustration
I carefully removed a page from the “I” volume of the encyclopedias. Using an article about Imagination as my background, I wanted to create a a piece of art that I could frame and display. 

Vintage Page Gets a Fresh Illustration
I sketched and then inked in a dainty milkwort plant, using another vintage page from The Book of Knowledge set as inspiration. I had pre-selected a frame and used the glass as a template to cut the encyclopedia page to the correct size. 

Vintage Page Gets a Fresh Illustration
I enjoyed coloring my completed sketch. The encyclopedia paper is very thin, causing me to color carefully. However, the old paper takes color extremely well. The pencils glided over the page and the colors blended well. 

In a short time, my something-new-from-something-old work of art was completed. It looked great in its simple wooden frame. 

Vintage Page Gets a Fresh Illustration
I knew I wanted to display this artwork in my bedroom. But I didn’t know where I was going to display it, within the room, until I carried the piece through the door. And then it was immediately obvious. Of course. There, on my little bedside table, next to the old phone that Greg’s dad converted into a lamp years ago. The framed art fits perfectly there, a fresh look on an old page, that I created. Behind it all, both figuratively and literally, is imagination. 

And the little milkwort flowers make me smile. 

Vintage Page Gets a Fresh Illustration

Coloring with Cindy Series

Tonight I offer video number two, in a series of coloring how-to videos. People have asked me how to shade or create some of the effects that I do in coloring. Creating videos has been a fun way to share that information, and it pushes me a bit, out of my comfort zone.

Coloring with Cindy Series

For this clip, I did the videoing myself, while also coloring and narrating. Talk about multi-tasking! In addition, there were thunderstorms moving into the area. Although I could hear the low rumble of thunder as I colored, it isn’t evident on the video. However, shortly after I wrapped up, the thunder became quite loud.

Coloring with Cindy Series

I will continue to share videos about different coloring techniques. If you have a question or want to see something specific that would be helpful, please let me know in the comments.

Thank you for watching. And be patient as I perfect my videoing techniques!

I am coloring in Joanna Basford’s book, Secret Garden. The colored pencils I use are the Prismacolor and Crayola brands. You can order all of these items below:

I am an Amazon Affiliate and may make a commission on products sold, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for considering making a purchase of these products, or any other items, through my Amazon link!


An Evening of Coloring

My days have been really full lately. That’s not a complaint at all. I absolutely love my life and my journey. After a busy day I come home, eat a healthy dinner, sometimes do a creative project and write a blog post or two. I’ve looked at the coloring page next to my chair every night for a month, and then after checking the time, I’ve thought, I’ll color on that tomorrow. 

Today I realized I’m up against the clock now. That coloring page, printed from the This Old House website, needs to be finished tomorrow if I’m going to enter it in the contest. 

An Evening of Coloring
So guess what I did this evening?

I came home, rather late, ate a healthy dinner of leftovers…and I colored. I spent the whole evening coloring. Earlier today, I considered not completing the page for the contest. However, the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to make the attempt to get it submitted in time. 

And…I really do enjoy coloring. Laying color on to the page, building up color, creating shading and highlights, is not only fun for me, it is centering, meditative, creative. 

An Evening of Coloring
This is where I started this evening, barely further along than I was a month ago. I filled in sections, one area at a time, using the colors that I felt drawn to. One of the things I love about coloring is how the picture evolves as I work, and often in different ways than I imagined when I began with a blank page. This truly is a creative process and there are no mistakes. What the finished picture becomes is always perfect, as it is. 

That is an important life lesson for me as well. I color in my own life as I go, and I am often just as surprised by what comes together, delightfully so. 

An Evening of Coloring
This is how far I got tonight. I made good progress and I’m pleased with the results. And truthfully, I don’t yet know if I will finish in time. Because tomorrow is another very full day. I will do my best, and enjoy what I do, and live with the “I don’t know” and the outcome. 

Whether I get the coloring page submitted in time or not, I’ve enjoyed the creative process and the lessons learned. It’s all good!

An Evening of Coloring

My First Coloring Video

I’m sharing a fun first tonight, a quick little creative project. I have had several people ask me how I create shading when I color, and give the appearance of highlights. Rather than write about the simple techniques that I use, I decided to create a short instructional video.

My First Coloring Video
I tried setting up something to hold my iPhone  while it recorded my work, to no avail. I couldn’t get the right angle. Special thanks to Greg for being my cameraman and offering encouragement.

Forgive a giggle or two, and a pencil drop…I really just dove right in to this demonstration. It was fun though.

Let me know if this video was helpful! I intend to make a series of coloring videos, each one under five minutes in length, with simple techniques and suggestions. Coloring should be fun, first of all, and art according to the artist’s style and preferences.

Enjoy! Play with shading and highlights. And I’ll see you on YouTube!

My First Coloring Video


You don’t have to own expensive colored pencils. Although I often color with Prismacolor Pencils, I started out with Crayola Colored Pencils and still use them. Check out both brands below:




I am an Amazon Affiliate and may earn a commission on purchases, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for considering making a purchase of these products, or any other items, through my Amazon links!

This Old House Coloring Contest

Tonight’s blog post is brief, and mostly pictorial, as I am working on a couple of different creative projects. Greg drew my attention recently to a coloring contest, sponsored by This Old House and Sherwin Williams. I am excited to participate…any excuse to color is good, after all…and printed out the coloring sheet. 

Although I have until the end of March to submit my finished page, I began coloring tonight. I enjoy very detailed coloring and layering on colors to create depth and shading.  It is not too soon for me to begin! 

This Old House Coloring Contest
Because I am a nerd, and detail oriented, I spent time researching Sherwin Williams’ color of the year for 2017. 

It is Poised Taupe.  Sidenote: I’d love to be the person who names new colors! 

This Old House Coloring Contest
And I studied Sherwin Williams color palettes that complement Poised Taupe, as seriously as I would if I had decided to paint my house exterior. 

This Old House Coloring Contest
This Old House Coloring Contest
Only then did I begin coloring, once I had color palettes in mind and felt inspired. 

This Old House Coloring Contest
A blank coloring page calls forth such creativity from within me. It is an invitation to create with color and shading and highlights. I have barely started, and yet I am enjoying the process very much. Coloring is a meditative act for me, a spiritual practice happily joined with art. 

It doesn’t matter to me whether I win this coloring contest or not. The challenge lies not in competing with others but in doing my best work and having fun while I create. 

Because the play’s the thing. 

Hamlet was remarking about a performance, in which he hoped to gather proof about who killed his father. I mean play, as in having fun and playing. I am playing as I color. I am creating. I am making art a little more robust in my life. 

This Old House Coloring Contest
 You can join in the fun. Go to This Old House on Facebook or HERE

Back to Coloring

I love how inspiration calls to me, as I maintain an open mind and heart. It can arrive and nudge me, or drop a creative idea into my head, in unexpected places, and through unexpected sources. 

Back to Coloring, A Return to My Coloring Books after a Nudge from Inspiration

Today my sister Linda and I took our granddaughters to lunch at one of their favorite restaurants, Chick Fil A. School begins tomorrow, after a long four day weekend. We wanted to get the girls together again before London headed back to Oklahoma. 

A card game came with the girls’ chicken nuggets. Intended as conversation starters, Aubrey opened her deck, selected a card, and read the question: 

If you had free time today, to enjoy a favorite hobby, what would you do? 

Good question! 

We took turns answering. London wanted to skate. Linda picked reading. Aubrey decided she would draw. After sorting through several enticing possibilities, I answered I’d like to color. 

Back to Coloring, A Return to my Coloring Books after a Nudge from Inspiration
That idea stayed with me the rest of the day. As I drove home, well after dark, I thought about the new coloring books I received for Christmas, from Greg, and from grandson Jonathan and his mom. And I tried to recall when I had last enjoyed the meditative art of coloring. It had been too long. The thought deepened into an intention, and I looked forward to gathering my colored pencils and a stack of coloring books when I arrived home. 

What a perfect way to settle in for the evening. 

Back to Coloring, A Return to my Coloring Books after a Nudge from Inspiration

While a cup of hot tea brewed, I returned to my last unfinished project, from the Doctor Who Coloring Book. I felt inspired to add to the coloring page by sketching in a TARDIS in the background. The Doctor’s time machine, cleverly camouflaged as a blue police box, is the quintessential symbol for this long running BBC television show. I like the idea of creating a subtle TARDIS, by way of shading, behind Doctors 9, 10, 11 and 12. 

I became so absorbed in my creation, I forgot about the tea. I am sipping on one strong, and cooled, cup of Scottish tea. 

Back to Coloring, A Return to my Coloring Books after a Nudge from Inspiration

I will enjoy coloring in all of my new books tonight. As I laid color onto the Doctor Who page, I smiled from the pure and simple joy of coloring. I connected again with the pleasure and artistic satisfaction of this hobby, carried forward from my childhood. 

The Lord of the Rings coloring book has rich details and many colorable quotes throughout its pages. It will take me a long time to finish this book, and I am okay with that. It is art, and it will be a work in progress. As I am typing my blog post, the LOTR coloring book is open on my lap, where a scene from the Shire beckons to me. For the first time, I feel drawn to color the pages in chronological order. I will honor that inclination. 

I am grateful for the fun game we played at Chick Fil A this afternoon. And for the invitation that Inspiration offered through a simple question read by a sweet child. 

Yes, I will return to coloring, and open further to where this journey takes me. 

Back to Coloring, A Return to my Coloring Books after a Nudge from Inspiration

The Hedgehog

This was an exciting day, with a twinge of sadness, as the Arkansas house chapter concluded. Greg closed on his parents’ home and we drove away from there, knowing we would not see it again. This evening I returned to drawing a creative action from my glass pitcher, after taking a break yesterday so I could celebrate my grandson with a birthday post. 

Late in the day, I drew this activity: 

Color whimsical animal in EF. 

Again, the perfect arrow to fire after another long day. I was delighted. 

EF stands for Enchanted Forest, a coloring book by Johanna Basford. Within the book are whimsical animals and scenes from the forest. I so enjoyed coloring one of the animals recently, a rabbit, that I looked forward to completing another one. I chose the hedgehog. 

The first whimsical creature that I colored. 

I love these creatures! They are animals morphing into leaves. Or at least, that’s how I viewed them originally. As I colored on the hedgehog tonight, my perspective shifted. I saw that it could be that the enchanted plants in this magical forest may be transitioning into animals! 

Coloring is meditative for me. It slows me down, centers me, restores balance. As I completed my little hedgehog, I felt rested, as if I had taken a nap. My thoughts turned toward the creative activities I’ve drawn this past week, seemingly at random, and I saw the perfection in my journey. 

 Rilynn photo bombs the pic as she checks out my coloring. 

Many of the creative activities that I wrote out and dropped into the pitcher require time to carry out. Although they are intended to be completed within the day, some could take several hours to finish or may necessitate leaving the house. I have already marveled at drawing a rainy day activity on a day when rain was falling. Or selecting one that required me to give away items as we were preparing for a yard sale. 

To draw the coloring activity this evening, so late in the day, amazed me and deeply touched me. I see everything that comes into my life as an ongoing conversation with the Divine. Drawing activities that so perfectly align with the amount of time I have to do them, and the physical ability that I have at that moment to perform them, is part of that conversation. 

The Divine is saying to me, through these simple playful activities written on folded slips of paper, “I see you. I’m aware of you. I’m aware of the day you are having/will have/had. Will you trust me?” 

I answer “I do…” every time I reach into that pitcher, to see what I will draw.  When I began this month this was a creative exercise, something fun to do. I have learned so much about my journey, and how life works for me. I feel humbled and grateful for this time of surrender. It has raised my awareness and deepened my trust. 

This little hedgehog, who is becoming something more as he journeys, became my symbol tonight for this amazing month. Every time I look at him, I will think about what I am learning and who I am becoming as I journey. I named my hedgehog Junebug.