Out of the Green: 2018 Colors of the Year

Pantone colors

Rounding up the proclaimed colors of the year for 2018 reveals one thing: we’re done with green. Last year, the bright and neon hues were influenced by Pantone’s Greenery. While the risky tone aspired to feel fresh, Greenery didn’t deliver a universal appeal (creating comparisons to the Mucinex Snot Monster).

This year, neons are out. Nuanced, almost muted, tones dominate all the major paint brands and fashion houses.  While the bright, primary colors pop faithfully as accents, they aren’t overtaking 2018 palettes.

Colors of the Year for 2018


Pantone: Ultra Violet

In my opinion, Pantone remains the truest predictor as they scour all areas for top color trends. This hue feels both fresh and nostalgic, as the muted purple echos royalty while forecasting a turn toward neo-luxury.

“We are living in a time that requires inventiveness and imagination. It is this kind of creative inspiration that is indigenous to PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet, a blue-based purple that takes our awareness and potential to a higher level. From exploring new technologies and the greater galaxy, to artistic expression and spiritual reflection, intuitive Ultra Violet lights the way to what is yet to come.” – Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute.

My main critique is not of the color but rather, the galaxy-inspired styling. It’s derivative and  reflective, mirroring the several-years-old Gen Z affinity for star-scape.

My hope: Maybe Ultra Violet will replace Millennial Pink.

Benjamin Moore: Caliente 

For me, this pick disappoints with its obvious application. Are you updating your oak-cabinet kitchen? Make it look like a bistro with this red. Are you sick of your dull tresses? Add these mulled wine undertones to your brown bob. Did you hit a midlife crisis? Pick the compact SUV without a silver or navy finish.

While this brand is known for timeless selections, this color doesn’t impress. It’s too overdone to feel fresh and too safe to become a real classic.

My thoughts: If I saw this chip, I wouldn’t assume it was part of the Benjamin Moore brand.

PPG: Violet Verbena

PPG created a color that was much more nuanced than I expected from their team. It falls into a similar family as last year’s Shadow from Benjamin Moore. When I saw it, I immediately thought of three literary references:

  • Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austin
  • Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Any tone that takes me away from pure design into another passion is one worth considering. I imagine this as the handmade-purple dye that springs from soaking linen in purple onions.

While the color clearly resonates more as a tame accent wall, I can appreciate the layers of subtlety.

My opinion: It’s the Ultra Violet for people who like to smell their books.

Sherwin Williams: Oceanside

I have tried so hard not to hate this tone. I cannot like it. Jewel tones are so done, like on-clearance-at-Walmart done. Jewel tones will never really be classic and at best their styling becomes tawdry. I only appreciate them as something bourgeoisie, ironic or costumed.

For set design, Oceanside could evoke the flamboyance of a Victorian brothel without defaulting to gold and maroon. For real life, it’s impossible to light in a home and outdated to wear.

The pity? I actually like the name. I wouldn’t paint a cottage this color but, I want to go somewhere with walls painted in Oceanside. I just don’t want it to be this Oceanside.

My issue: I never liked the jewel-tone trend and I’m not going to start liking it now.

James T. Davis: Cozy Cover

My only local choice, Cozy Cover comes from James T. Davis. The tone mimics last year’s similarly subtle hue. A reflective choice, this color uncovers the local tastes, where many families add their warm touch to historical homes.

As someone who constantly covets change, I always appreciate a strong neutral tone. It provides a backdrop to the colorful transitions of life. And who doesn’t struggle to find a decent beige that isn’t too yellow under flourescent lights?

My Take: This local paint brand stays in touch with the needs of the Lynchburg market.

Out of the Green

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Each year, the selected colors are both predictive and prolific. Trendsetters, as always, tells us what to want before we know we want it. My favorites, Ultra Violet and Violet Verbena, take me somewhere – Ultra Violet gallops forward and Violet Verbena swishes backwards. My least liked tones, Caliente and Oceanside, fall flat. They don’t spark a discussion, inspire nostalgia or push the limits of design.

As a whole, these selected tones reflect a push away from last year’s bright and blaring colors. So, I’d like to see what you think.

Which colors are you bringing with you into 2018?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments.



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5 Tips to Rent Like You Own

Orange reading chair

Hello! I’m Danielle and I’m a serial renter. I’ve rented four apartments in seven years, only to move again this spring. While many people see homeownership as both a financial milestone and personal rite-of-passage, I am philosophically linked to the many millennials that reject homeownership. In fact, a segment millennials forgo ownership completely, from cars to clothes to technology. Just check out this infographic from Goldman Sachs to see what I mean. The causes are as various as the people making the choice to perpetually rent. Many can’t afford a home. Others are pursing careers and don’t want to be tied down. Whatever the reasons, there are many people who want to buy a house and simply can’t.

Initially, I saw homeownership as a hallmark of stability. After graduating from college, I worked hard to pay off my student debt and first vehicle. Working through the #adulting checklist, I planned to collect a down payment for a house next. Although it took longer than expected (life happens), I did pull together the funds. My husband and I got pre-approved for a mortgage. We visited a few open houses. But, we never took the next step. Each time we’ve selected to rent over buy, it has been the best choice for us.

That said, renting grates everyone’s nerves at times. The plentiful drawbacks leave many renters wishing they could own.


Home lust – it trips all of us apartment dwellers from time to time. It manifests as a feeling of comparison or a subtle discontentment. Below is a list of reasons you may (mistakenly) hate your apartment with their rebuttals.

1. It’s too small: People tend to expand and outgrow the space available. The trick to enjoying a small space is living with less stuff. It won’t feel small when there is a place for everything. Look through your extra stuff and decide if you want it more than the open and airy feeling.

2. It’s temporary: This mental obstruction keeps a lot of people from enjoying their apartment. They feel like it’s not a “forever home.” Therefore the effort to decorate it seems to be wasted. However, I find a freshness comes from moving around. It makes you really consider filling your home with things you like and will take with you, instead of just buying stuff to fill your current space.

3. It’s up stairs without a yard: While I love a yard, not having one doesn’t mean you’re sacrificing all the green. Ideas for porch and indoor gardens are becoming more mainstream.

4. It’s not custom: Just because you don’t have built-in shelving or a pallet accent wall doesn’t mean you can’t make your space reflect your personality. There are a lot of great temporary ideas to decorate apartments without losing your deposit. Personally, I like to line walls with shelves to create a little gallery.

5. It’s cheap-looking: I’ll admit that I’m not fond of the builder-grade fixtures or the white carpet. However, fixating on it doesn’t make it go away. Instead, I find ways to shift the focus away from the cheap elements and move it to the parts I like. For example, I center furniture around the windows as the focus point. This draws my eye to the view instead of the floor.

Fall in Love Again

Quote from Jane Eyre by Charlotte BronteIn general, I believe that dissatisfaction with temporary situations like renting is the idea that you can’t take ownership of the space. Although there are rules, the environment is yours month-by-month or year-by-year. Besides those four walls, everything inside the home and the decisions about how you use it are yours.

Therefore, I find that the more that I care for my apartment, the more I fall in love with it. Cleaning the windows, wiping the counters and cleaning off scuff marks is not a waste. It’s the gift to myself right now because I live there. Below are ways that I make my rental feel like home.

1. Borrow furniture that works “right now”. When a living situation is temporary, it’s not wise to buy a lot of furniture just for the space. However, many people own more furniture than they are currently using. Ask around to see if someone has an item that will work for your space. If you don’t want to buy a small table, borrow one from a friend.

2. Use art that you like. Although the best design takes the dwelling into consideration, you don’t need to decorate around a temporary living situation. If you have art that you like, hang it up- even if it isn’t in the same style as your abode. You’ll enjoy seeing something that you find beautiful.

3. Store whatever doesn’t fit. Temporary situations are more frustrating if you are tripping over misplaced objects. Consider putting extra decor and furniture aside if it doesn’t have a home in your space. This will make you feel more at peace and settled.

4. Build memories in the space. Plan something fun and take pictures of yourself in the space. It won’t feel temporary if you make it into a home. Creating memories while you are living there will mark the apartment as your home for a season of life.

5. Write a list of what you do like. Maybe the small space is easy to keep clean. Perhaps you get good sunlight through your bedroom window. Find the features that you enjoy and elevate them to celebrate them.

Homeownership may not be one of your milestones, now or ever. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t feel at home in your rental. In fact, you may find (like me) an inspiring freedom in leasing a space. Mentally and emotionally, I’ve truly started to enjoy making little temporary homes.

Tips For Your First Craft Fair

This time last year, I wouldn’t have even considered setting up shop at a craft fair. I had been working on projects for years but never considered my work marketable. However, a little bit of encouragement from friends and fellow artists challenged me to consider bringing my work to the public. As part of that process, I read a lot of advice articles. Some where helpful but many were just sales pitches for printed materials. Continue reading

Myths about “Buying Local” for the Holidays

Local shopping

When I start making my holiday shopping list, my first instinct is to go online. In fact, with all the personality quizzes and free shipping deals, it seems more convenient. But, then I remember that the holidays should include enjoying experiences that make memories. In the local Lynchburg area, great effort is put into decorating the shops and planning holiday events. Also, I consider the economic and environmental impact of purchasing presents locally. Therefore I am attempting to buy all (or most) of my presents from local shops or artists.

Even though I sell handmade goods, I understand the  hesitation to buy local. So, below are several misconceptions about “buying local” for the holidays.

1. Vendors don’t accept returns.

Many vendors and local stores post signs stating “no returns.” While I appreciate the difficulty of returning one-of-a-kind creations, I have starting asking for specifics on return policies. For example, I found a handmade garlic dish for my mom at a local shop. Even though the sign said, “No Returns,” I explained my gift situation to the store owner. She told me that she typically didn’t accept returns because she worked on a consignment system. However, she said if my mom didn’t want the gift, I could bring it back and work out an exchange with the shop. My mom loved the dish so, it didn’t matter. And I had the comfort of knowing I could exchange it.

2. The quality raises questions.

Sure, there are some greedy people out there but, most artists and artisans take great ownership for their work. The community is small and their reputation is fragile. Since everyone is human, mistakes are possible. However, since you are dealing with an individual creator, not a corporation, you can go directly to the source to make it right. As an artist, I would prefer replace a flawed item than ignore the issue. In fact, I have replaced items that were broken through accidents or misfortune because I value the customer-vendor relationship. In general, quality concerns with local shops are ultimately lower than shopping at a big box store or online.

3. Custom ordering becomes a burden.

While custom ordering seems like a neat idea, it also obligates the gift recipient. If you are not sure about commissioning a piece, get the recipient involved. The experience of ordering can be as fun as receiving the final gift. Personally, I like to test the waters by mentioning the artist to the recipient and proposing it as a possible future gift. If the recipient is interested, I set up a call for all of us. Talk about a thoughtful gift that comes from the heart!

4. Tools and supplies fill my own basement.

This is sometimes true. Other times, you really cannot replicate the work of the original maker. Hence, we have Pinterest Fails.  If you want to make it because you enjoy working with your hands, I would encourage it. If you just want to save money, consider supporting a local artist instead. After buying the tools and supplies, you probably will not save a significant amount in comparison to the vendor’s price.

5. Online shopping ensures the best price.

This also may be true but, it side-steps supporting your local community. Also, shopping online not as fun and personal. Instead of interacting with a real person in a festive environment, you are sitting alone on a computer with your credit card. Making these connections is definitely in the spirit of the season.

Last Year’s Haul

As stated on the Verderamade facebook page, I attempted to purchase all of my holiday gifts during Small Business Saturday in downtown Lynchburg. Leaning toward personal minimalism and conscious consumption, I prioritized quality gifts that supported the local economy. Surprisingly, I was able to complete nearly all of my shopping in about 4 hours. While the wind was a bit biting for strolling between shops, I sacrificed smudgy contact lenses and dove into the experience.

“Ok, let’s be organized. Make it fast, make it snappy and if there’s any impulse buying, make it chocolate.” Lorelai, Gilmore Girls

The Plan

I don’t window shop yet, I like to work from lists. So, I put together a walking path for myself and my husband. We parked on Commerce Street, next to Mrs. Joy’s Absolutely Fabulous Treats. From there, we collected coffee and breakfast at The White Hart. Food in hand, we jogged up to Church Street to start at Live Trendy or Die. At Live Trendy, we were made aware of the Find Frosty Scavenger Hunt.

For Small Business Saturday, several shops hid Frosty Figures in their store. Each Frosty earned a stamp with ten stamps becoming a free t-shirt and a chance to win a bigger raffle. From Live Trendy, we followed the course of Main Street, stopping in all the shops on the Frosty Scavenger Hunt. Then, we branched over to Riverviews Artspace to visit Good Karma Tea Company. During our visits, we tasted treats, enjoyed the decorations, collected a few reusable tote bags and somehow got a free pair of wooden earrings. This concluded our downtown shopping and scavenger hunt.

Confession: I derailed at Target

Keeping it real, we left downtown and went to Givens Bookstore. From there, we ran to Target. At Target we bought some groceries, wrapping paper and glittery holiday cards because… Target. Then, I also picked up some crinkly packing paper for all my gift boxes at Michael’s. Finally, I grabbed a cute Marvel superhero ornament at Five Below to add to the set I started for my brother-in-law last year.

Although my attempt at purchasing wholly from small businesses was a little flawed, my spending ratio totaled 85% small business. For someone who grew up next to a New Jersey outlet mall, and only recently converted to supporting local businesses and artists, I am counting it a success.

The Haul

If you’re looking to shop local consider supporting the businesses below. All of the shopkeepers are both helpful and locally minded. In fact, they will often connect you with a great gift at another store or a local source.

For several of my gifts, I opted to put together a mix of local items around  a theme. For example, my sister has recently struggled with perfumes and chemicals (something I went through a few years ago). So, I selected several local body and home products that don’t irritate skin. For some of the couples, I picked consumable kitchen goods that would make special treats like olive oil and spice rubs. By bringing several items together in one gift, I was able to spread out my shopping between several stores while still moving quickly through the gift list. Typically, I struggle with indecision but, I knew I could divide up the goods later at home.

Adult Woman (50s):

Adult Man (50s):

Adult Woman (20s):

Adult Woman (20s):

Adult Man (20s):

Couple, Adult Man and Woman (30s)

Couple, Adult Man and Woman (50s)

  • Novelty Peanuts (Favored Flavors)
  • 10-Minute Bananagrams Book (Givens Books)
  • Latte Bar and Chocolate Bars (Altus Chocolate)

Grandparents, Adult Man and Woman (70+)

Nephew, Child (3 yr)

  • Wooden Stencil Kit (Baby B)

Nephew, Child (1 yr)

  • Stacking Cups (Givens Books)

Family, with young Children:

  • 10ft Jumbo Parachute (Givens Books)

Some of these finds, like the affordable $14 stencil kit, wrecked my local shopping assumptions about price. Also, the experience was less time consuming than expected, as I was able to move quickly through the organized and efficient shops.

To summarize, shopping local is not only a great way to support the community but also a path to thoughtful, unique gifts. All of these items are either Made in the USA, created by local artists and artisans, or sold by small businesses. While you may consider opting for the convenience of big-box stores, I would encourage you to take some time to explore the shops in our community. Weigh in in the comments about your favorite local shops and stay tuned for an upcoming post my personal wishlist.

Vendor Checklist

Getting ready for a fair or festival is an exciting yet, list-worthy process. When I first started selling my art, I (of course) googled checklists about what you will need to bring. Now that I’ve done a few events, I created a list for myself to prepare for each event. Below are my top tips for what should be on your Vendor Checklist.


I take some time to consider how I want to present my brand at the event. This is supported both before, during, and after the event. Signage, business cards, social media, and web presence all alert people to the fact that you’re going to be present at an event. Keeping the brand consistent and clear will help people start to recognize you. It can be as obvious as using the same logo consistently or as subtle as sticking to a few key colors in your booth.


Only the best, cleaned, and presentable pieces come to the event. Every time I start packing up my inventory, I clean up each piece and pack it carefully. If I have improved a certain design, I find ways to get rid of old or inferior inventory. Although it may be unpleasant to bring less inventory, it is important to present your booth with the most sellable items.


Take time to consider what makes sense to bring right now from inventory to supplies. Each situation presents specific needs. With time, you’ll learn to store items such as tents, signs, and backdrops in a way that works best for that specific event. For example, I don’t bring my cash box to every event. Instead, I’ll wear a pouch if the space doesn’t provide a full table.

The Little Things

Finally, I have a list of little things that I keep together in a bag to support every event. I typically keep this in my car so I don’t clutter up my booth.

  • Masking Tape
  • Extra price tags
  • Notebook (for taking custom orders)
  • List of inventory in storage
  • Pen and Markers
  • Extra tent weights

Each time I go to one of these events, I find that I simplify my list more. I’m curious if other vendors do the same. Let me know what you like to bring to fairs and festivals in the comments.


Can I sit here?

riceIt’s time for the introduction and explanation.

Some of you may know me from my past blog, or my social media. Others, may just be led here from an interest in my art. Regardless, my purpose for writing is the same. I just love to connect with creative people.
I consider this a safe space and welcome your comments. In fact, I enjoy virtual discussions and brainstorming. So, please, feel free to add links to your own work in the comments. I moved my blog to be a subset of a business website because my focus has shifted.

I explore local businesses and events. Since I’m currently in Lynchburg, VA, you’ll see a lot of that here. And I don’t talk much about Liberty University. It’s there but, it’s not representative of everything in this town.

I encourage a handmade, minimalist lifestyle.

That’s why I started making and the focus of this writing. Careful consumption is springing up around us and gaining the most traction in online communities.

Feel free to introduce yourself and your blog in the comments!