Like enthusiasm

I wish you a candy-colored day of beautiful bling! This image comes to us thanks to a perky Pennsylvania store display, June 2015

I wish you a candy-colored day of bountiful brilliance!
I loved these cute confections in a perky Pennsylvania store display, June 2015.

“Color in a picture is like enthusiasm in life.”Vincent Van Gogh

January paints nature with a muted palette, but that doesn’t mean our days have to be dull during the winter months.  Add some color to your life, literally or figuratively, and get a jump on springtime by animating your mood with some sparkle.

When was the last time you awakened with excitement about the day ahead? Can’t remember? Me either. Time to fix that. Let’s put on some lilting music, or read some uproariously funny writing, or treat ourselves to something out of the ordinary, even if it’s only glittery nail polish or a single fresh flower in a bud vase.  Choose a bright jacket or sweater or scarf and dress with a bit of flair, even if you don’t expect to see anyone.

Grab your camera or smart phone, and take a picture of something whimsical or flashy or adorable, and send it our way.  If you have a completed piece of coloring book art, I’d love to see it!  The world is chock-full of surprises we can unpack for each other without spending a dime, or a lot of time.

Why not trade up from the 8-pack of crayons and use all 64 brilliant colors to design a delightful day?  I’m pouring us some bright red hibiscus tea, and spiking it with black for the energizing caffeine.  On second thought, maybe we won’t need it. I’m feeling more lively already.





  1. What a great reminder… I shall find some bright yarn to work with today!

    • A great idea! I don’t even knit, but sometimes I go down the rows of yarn at the store, enjoying all the types and colors. I love all the variety.

  2. blseibel

    Trying again, lost my first post.

    I love, love, love color. Bright, muted, sparkly, pastel but especially blue. I took past blogs to heart and set down with some tea and a coloring page. It’s not finished, it may take me a while to complete but I will try to post the work in progress if I can figure out how, I lost my first post trying to paste a picture here.

    • blseibel

      My daughter’s drawing


    • I love color too, and anything that gives me an excuse to indulge in it…wrapping paper, Easter eggs, beads, paper crafting, you name it. I see your file in the comments — I can’t see the image but maybe it will appear at the post once I approve the comment. I’ll check…

  3. blseibel


  4. nugget59

    I didn’t put on any bright colors but I did just get back inside from playing in the snow with my very senior dog. A little pastrami and she will try to do all her puppy tricks. Poor girl strained some muscles chasing after me in the yard – but she got the pastrami and we both got to enjoy a break from the recent bitter cold and enjoy the sunshine and the sound of snow melting off the roof and dripping into puddles on the ground. Feels like spring is just around the corner. Have a wonderful day!

    • In this case the colors were psychological, and just from reading your description, I can see a rainbow of fun! I remember when Pasha was getting into his senior years, and he would sometimes strain something when he jumped up too fast. When dogs get old, their bodies have a very difficult time keeping up with all that unbounded exuberance. I hope your sweet friend has many more years of fun and frolic to enjoy with you. Thanks for sharing your play with us – it made me smile!

  5. Sheila

    Julia, I suppose Walter was the brightest thing in my world today. It’s been raining all day. That just made a great reason to recline with my book this afternoon. I’m reading American Housewife and will be glad to send it to you next week when I’m finished, then you can share. It’s a bit contemporary for my taste, didn’t gasp until about the third chapter! 😳Haha.
    I so hope you will have a good weekend. “Hi” to Jeff and Matt. Love, Sheila

    • Sheila, I think Walter would brighten any day, but especially a rainy one. Reading sounds like just the ticket. Probably anything written after Pride and Prejudice would be contemporary for my taste, hee-hee. Seriously, I do like some current stuff, especially if it’s funny, but it does make me feel like someone’s granny. Which I am! 🙂 Just about to go watch Downton Abbey — a nice finish for a pretty relaxing weekend with Jeff recovering from minor surgery on Friday.

  6. I think that’s why I hate taking down Christmas so much. All the bright colors are gone. I don’t wear bright anything in the winter months. You just brought that to my attention. Very little even in summer but I did make a short trip to the fabric store yesterday for my fill. Even bought lots of sparkle pens for the coloring books my sister and daughter love to color. I keep them here for them to sit and play with. Do I color? No, not yet. Maybe I’ll give it a try when I’m caught up on the quilts with their pretty colors. 🙂 Spring will be here before we know it. Have a cheerful weekend. 🙂

    • Marlene, if you’re like me, just having those coloring books and pens there for you as a promise will brighten your day. I love those sparkly pens too, but I didn’t think about using them for coloring…great idea! YES Christmas brightens our winter with lots of color. When I do “12 Days of Christmas” for people, it’s mostly for the purpose of having the little packages serve as a decoration, to add some color to whatever spot they happen to be sitting. But we can brighten up our winter anytime. I do tend to wear lots of black and darker colors in the winter, but this year I bought myself a pink fleece jacket to go with the bright green one I’ve enjoyed so much. Quilts are a fabulous way to enjoy color. I don’t do quilting myself, but I love to look at the patterns. Some of the quilt art I’ve seen is absolutely gorgeous.

  7. Ann

    My camellias are in full bloom. The weather has been so crazy that the early bloomers and late season bloomers are blooming at the same time! Pink, pure white, red, variegated red&white, and different shades of each. My attempts at photos did not do them justice so just imagine and hope that we don’t have a freeze anytime soon.

    • Ann, one of our newer camellias had quite a few blooms on it, but the foliage was so thin and straggly that I was afraid for it to be using all its energy for those gorgeous flowers. However, I think the landscaper had told us it was a “Christmas camellia” that was meant to bloom in December. Judging from the way the flowers look, apparently that’s right. When do your late season bloomers typically flower? I love camellias but really don’t know much about the different varieties. I’m wishing you some warm(er) weather to keep them looking lovely.

  8. Sheila

    Good morning, Julia. Is it snowing there? My granddaughter and Dad are hunting in Stafford and she just texted me that it’s SNOWING! ❄️ She is so excited! I’m not sure that our son-in-law shares her enthusiasm. We don’t see snow often so he probably does! ❄️ Rainy day here. ☔️

    • Sheila, it WAS snowing yesterday, and at times it fell densely enough to be really pretty — though it did not “stick” at all, which was a good thing. It was just enough to give me a reason not to get out and walk. 😀 I hope we will get some sunshine today. I really need to get back into the routine. I’ve been quite a slacker lately where exercise is concerned. Hey, next time your folks come to Stafford for hunting, maybe you can tag along and we can meet up someplace to do some REALLY fun things while they’re out shooting some supper. I’m assuming you mean the Stafford that is just outside Fredericksburg? That wouldn’t be a bad drive for me if we were in DC at the time…although if they are like most hunters I know, they will be up and out WAY, WAY too early for my body clock!

  9. LB

    You have a wonderful way of drawing people in, Julia. I shall wear something colorful when I go to celebrate a friend’s birthday this evening, and think of you!

    • Thanks LB! I need to practice what I preach…I spent yesterday in denim, and I’m sitting here this morning in my trademark black fleece. Not too cheery but at least it’s warm and cozy. 🙂 However, I did add some perky bright beads to my denim jumper yesterday! Hope you had a wonderful celebration.

  10. Sheila

    We’re enjoying the very same moment, Downton Abbey! 💛

    • Oh, wasn’t the wedding lovely? I thought they managed to pull off a lovely frock/coat ensemble for Mrs. Hughes — or should I say, Mrs. Carson? I think even Jeff got a bit choked up at the last when (SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!) Oh well, you know what I’m talking about! 😀

    • Susan, thanks for sharing those Pretty Pictures! I wondered what you meant by “hanging bed.” That is really cool– I’ve never seen anything like it before! Good work!

  11. mmmmm, candy shish-ka-bob’s ! Well now, that’d put some sparkle in your step with a super duper sugar rush….bring it on I say, I’ve been in training over the holidays, ha!

    Honestly, winter can be drab outside right? Everything in shades of white, off white, white’ish grey and finally grey. It’s one reason I so love ocean colours in our home. It always feels a little spa like or perhaps even beachy. Have you ever thought of taking a mixed media art journalling class Julia? It’s a type of loose, colourful art form. Using all types of paint, ink, stains, paper and really whatever you feel like, to express what’s going on in your life or quotes and thoughts. There really aren’t any rules, but a class might be fun to mingle with other gals and learn a paint technique or two. I bet Matt would have a ball too. Here’s a link a fun Pinn

    Just an idea, I know it sure brightens my day…….speaking of colouring life, here’s what I painted yesterday after arriving in Maui, I called it ‘I get around’

    xoxo k

    • K, you are reading my mind…I have been wanting to take mixed media classes for some time now. It finally dawned on me that it’s the perfect art form for someone whose mind goes in a thousand directions at once. Maybe someday…Hey, how on earth are you painting in Maui? Is there a class in your hotel? Thanks for sending the gorgeous colors my way! I love your work!

      BTW I had the most fabulous package arrive a couple of days ago — what fun!!! I loved all of it, but was totally blown away by the nerd socks. I can’t believe our clever squirrel friend in DC was able to have some socks custom made just for me! Just goes to show you what White House connections can accomplish, even in the animal kingdom. If only it was that easy to fix the economy…

      • !! Oh happy day, your very belated Christmas package made it’s way 🙂 Aren’t those socks a gas? Squirrel, books, nerds……well, I knew they just had to be yours. LOL, that squirrel really must have an ‘In’. If he does find a way to fix the economy, send him to Canada! STAT. I thought your economy was rockin’? Seems there’s far less unemployment in the USA than CDA and your dollar is crushing us. We got 1.4582 on exchange before our travel. Eeeek ! Needless to say, I’m not buying much here this trip and thankfully we have a teeny kitchen with a fridge, toaster and microwave. We’ve enjoyed light breakfasts on the patio and lunches too. It’s perfect for me since I practically (happily) live on toast. The fruit is delish and I add egg whites from the microwave made with a slice of cheddar……I should open a kiosk and hang a shingle……’ La Boomdee-Bar ‘ LOL

        Re: Art alla Boomdee on holidays is via a pan of watercolours I brought with and a pad of watercolour paper I also brought. Both easy to pack in my carry on. Just something to mess around with…….since I’m on island time. xoxo K

        • K, I guess everything is relative where the economy is concerned. Ours is pathetic but not the worst, I’m sure. Your vacation diet sounds wonderful. But not as much so as the Hawaiian climate sounds right now– DC is getting a taste of Edmonton weather! WOW I had just written a post about how we hadn’t had any snow yet this year — I guess I’ll have to go back and edit before it publishes. I love that you take watercolors and paper with you on vacation. Way more creative than just the usual tourist camera!

          • I’m hearing all about the big snow storm via the evening news J. Sounds like you’re really getting hammered. Throw in an Arctic wind and you’ll have yourself some Edmonton weather, LOL. Be careful out there too. I’m not sure what we’re going home to, I should check since I’ll be wearing sandals. We cabbed it, so it’s just out of a warm cab, into a warm house. I didn’t make too much more time for painting. Just too much going on in the few days we were here. But it was an awesome distraction for a bit. I wanted to talk to you before we leave, I’ll try again in the AM. xoxo K

            • Hi K, sorry I must have missed you. We just got back into NoVa tonight. I was stuck in Atlanta (which meant more Grady time) because all the DC area airports were closed and my flights were cancelled for two extra days. Just flew out this afternoon. The main roads are just barely cleared here enough to be passable, but the drifts in our front yard are as high as my head in several places. It will take a long time for everything to melt. Everything is closed today and tomorrow; that means a meeting and a doctor appointment for Matt will be rescheduled, but I’m glad to be staying home where it’s safe and cozy.

              I’m so happy you had a bit of aloha to warm your winter!

              • That storm sounded like a total nightmare Julia until as you mentioned, ‘more Grady time’. That’s got to have been awesome. So happy for you and little Grady.
                I must apologize, I decided it was too late to call Saturday night, since it was 9:30 Maui time. Of course, then I ran out of time Sunday morning. So you honestly, you didn’t miss my call. As usual, I was behind. We should Skype soon and really catch up.
                We got home early Monday morning. Then I went to my Art Journal Class for 10am. So it’s been action packed.
                Stay safe, stay warm, stay cute ❤ ❤ x K

                • K, Monday morning before I left, Grady was watching very intently as I brewed my usual cuppa. When I got finished he cried excitedly “Look, Dad! MeMe made tea all by herself!” 😀 I told Drew to be sure Grady understands he shouldn’t try that particular trick yet. It was funny because I assume Grady had decided (based on how we spend the little time we are together) that I was more of a kid than a grownup. He overheard me talking to “Granny” (my mother) one evening and he heard me say “goodnight Mama, I love you.” When I hung up he gave me this squinty-eyed super concentrated look and said “Is that your mother?” I guess it had never dawned on him that “Granny” is my mother! I love being around kids. We forget how much they have to learn and it’s so fun to watch them connect the dots.

                  I’m happy you are home safe and sound, with some warm memories and lots of activity to jump back into. Art Journal Class sounds so fun! We are staying safe and warm, working on “cute” but I still have to channel my inner Boomdee to get anywhere close. 😀 ❤

                  • Yes, jumping back in with both feet to work and house chores. These kitties should be bald by now I’m sure. Soooo, much kitty love on everything, everywhere….hair, hair and more hair.

                    It’s so fun to hear how Grady is getting so smart and inquisitive. He really sounds so articulate for a little dude. I suppose it’s the benefits of having lots of time with mommy and daddy. BTW, I will say you haven’t any challenge at hand to ‘stay cute’ and that’s the just of it, you don’t even need to try xo K

                    • I used to tell Jeff that if we could find a way to convert Pasha’s shed fur into some sort of raw material for something useful, we’d be set for life. We used to brush his undercoat outdoors where I think birds used it for nests, but it only seemed to make it grow back faster. What a mess! Our furry friends are so worth it, though…

                      Grady is quite articulate and observant. You can just see the wheels turning when he watches things. Instead of pitching a temper tantrum when he doesn’t like something, he will try to reason or argue you out of it. I told Drew he will be a lobbyist. Not that I hope he will. 😀

                    • LOL a lobbyist…..good grief, if he filibusters like meme, then he might be well suited for it. You crack me up xo

                    • So far he shows no sign of the uninterrupted chatter that his paternal grandmother can’t seem to un-learn. He’s more like his father and his PaPa– he doesn’t say much, but what he says is articulate and full of content. I’m still working on that particular skill; maybe having a toddler who is better at it will be an incentive. 😀

  12. Michael

    Agree with Search of it all- about the Xmas lights. We decided to leave ours up as long as the Seahawks were winning. So mine are still up. Actually they should have come down last week. And I am still listening to Xmas songs.
    Leaving for Atlanta- NYC next Saturday.
    Have you seen “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” yet? Probably not. Actually I did see a nice movie about hiking-“A Walk in the woods” with Robert Redford and Nick Nolte. About hiking the Appalachian trail.

    • Michael, I’m embarrassed to admit that my tree is still up — mostly because I haven’t been in York Co. for three weeks! And I did not get finished decorating it til the week before Christmas. I was hoping to take it down soon, but don’t hold your breath…I feel a bit better knowing I’m not the only one. Hope you have a wonderful trip to two of my favorite cities.

      No, I haven’t seen the Zombie version of P & P — nor the Zombie version about Abe Lincoln either. For some reason, Zombies don’t interest me too much. I have enough to entertain me with the 100% alive characters. Give me a thriller about space or an interesting mad scientist any day. Re: A Walk in the Woods — I think I may have a book by that title some where, but I haven’t read it. I’ve never been a Redford or Nolte fan, but the trail itself would make the movie worth seeing, I imagine.

  13. Michael

    As you know the Appalachian trail starts near Mt. Olgithorpe at Amicalola State park. It meanders toward Hiawaesee closer to the border. I think the closest I have been is to the trail is Dawsonville where we visited the local distillery and its moonshiner museum built around the local history of a famous Nascar driver whose name escapes me. I did not ?realize you actually enjoy NYC? . But the city kind of grows on you- doesn’t it?
    The book mentions the backscape of the movie “Deliverance” and the beautiful surroundings there. Have to watch that again. I understand Mr. Dickey insisted on the authenticity of his description of those who who live in that neck of the woods. But I find that hard to believe.

    • I’ve seen points in the Appalachian — including Clingman’s Dome (TN), Skyline Drive (VA) and Franconia Notch State Park (NH). I think it would be really great to hike the whole thing, but I’m not sure I could handle the camping at my age. Maybe they should take tour groups with RV’s that travel alongside.

      I know very little about the book or movie of Deliverance. I never had any particular desire to read or see it, especially since I’m not a Burt Reynolds fan. It always sounded sordid to me. I do think that most people, from any region anywhere in the world, probably have bristled at unrealistic outsider views of where they live, so it’s not surprising that Dickey was a bit defensive about it. I’d guess that ignorant, violent and nefarious types are found everywhere, but are not truly typical of anywhere. It makes for the sort of story that sells, though.

  14. Michael

    He is now describing _Bryson- Mt.Washington in Maine. Sounds like it is easy to die there- and many have due to the inclement weather that can change in a New York minute. As far as hiking the trail- I agree. I would like to see the Amicalola lodge and take a day hike from there. Then I could say I did hike the AT. The story behind the trail is pretty interesting. Constructed in two years with minimal funds, and the original idea that it would be a series of art colonies for artists, writers and sculptors to gather and live together creating.

    • Hey, I like the idea of turning the trail into a highway for the arts. Maybe somebody can get that going again. I think it would be great for tourism, as long as they kept it simple and as non-commercial as possible.

  15. Michael

    Oh yea, the tree is still up.

    • I made exactly zero progress on taking ours down this past weekend. 😀

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