I love to color. It allows me to relax, indulge my creativity and just think (sometimes deep thoughts).  Those of you who follow Peaceful Patterns Coloring Therapy know the many benefits of coloring for adults, but maybe there is something we may have all missed…

Some of my fondest memories both of my childhood and the growing up years of my 6 children involve coloring together.  It is one thing to tell a child to go get their coloring books and color (usually to get them out of the way, quiet them down or to answer the “I’m bored!” litany.)

Coloring with you kids can be a delight for both of you.  It does indeed calm them down just as it does for adults.  Coloring is a happy time and allows you teaching moments that might not occur any other way.   I remember with fondness the time chatting blithely with my grandmother about pretty much anything that was going on in my head.  When I colored with my children there was real unity and they would open up while coloring unlike other times.

You know the drcrayons-1209804_1920ill.  They come home from school and mom asks: “So how was your day?”.  The child answers (most of the time) with one word.  “Fine.”  At this point you try again… “What did you learn today?”  …  “I don’t remember.”  The book bag gets taken to their room and the next thing you hear from them is, “What can I have to eat, I’m starving.” and so it goes.

I know we are all in a rush these days and often now when children come home from school, the first thing they want to do is get on a tablet or computer or hang out with their cell phone.  When you take time to offer to color WITH them, the focus changes, things calm down and the line to communication opens up.

 

 

Here are a few suggestions to make your coloring sessions with your kids fun and something they will actually look forward to:

  1. Make sure each child has a coloring book they actually like.  Let them pick one out that appeals to them.
  2. Don’t restrict them to “kids” coloring books.  Many adult coloring books are very whimsical and often have more interesting pages that kids can color with great joy and a sense of accomplishment.
  3. Have as many different art supply choices as you can manage: IE Crayons, Coloring Pencils, Markers (broad and fine-tipped), etc.  Don’t break your budget.  You can easily add to your collection of art supplies over time.
  4. Encourage your children (and yourself and your spouse) to display finished pieces in many ways: On family bulletin boards, on the walls in their room, on the fridge or even frame them nicely and use them to decorate your home.
  5. Don’t hammer them with questions while they color.  Let them bring up topics.  You may be surprised what comes out while you are in a safe coloring environment.
  6. Above all…KEEP IT FUN!

Coloring together may be a great new activity for you and your family.  Don’t force it.  Let it happen.  I promise, you will be glad you did.

 

Coloring by yourself is great.  It’s quiet, contemplative and gives you some great thinking time.  One of the reasons I created a “Happy Thought” at the bottom of each of my mandalas is so that the colorist can have something uplifting to contemplate during that quiet time.

But there is another option, because sometimes you just need some face time with someone outside your normal routine.  The solution for this is coloring clubs or coloring groups where you meet in person with other colorists to color, share ideas and get encouragement as well as having some fun time just socializing.

Non-virtual coloring clubs are growing.  All over the globe adults get together to color and chat at libraries, community centers and even in people’s homes.  During the group time, everyone gets out their books, pages and coloring implements and discuss every possible topic.  A lot of coloring groups even supply free pages and coloring pencils for those who just wander in.

You’d be surprised at the variety of adult coloring book styles that show up at these events.  I even had a lady bring a stretched canvas with a coloring design on it and it was really awesome.  One of the ladies in my group actually transfers coloring book patterns onto cloth and embroiders the patterns.  Each person brings their own style and feeling into their work.

Probably one of the coolest aspects of these groups is how supportive and encouraging they are with one another.  Finished pages and pages in progress are shared to complimentary comments and even sometimes applause.  Talk about your confidence boosters!

So how do you find a coloring book group in your area?  A great place to start is MeetUp.com.  Signing up for an account as an attendee is free and they make it simple to keep track of any meetings you sign up for.  You can pick how far you are willing to drive and they take that into account in the search.

Oftentimes you can also check with your local library or community center.  I know there are several of these in my area and there are more all the time.
Another option is to go to a local restaurant with a party/meeting room and ask them if they would let you use the room on a scheduled basis.  A lot of restaurants will let you do this at no charge, assuming that the people who attend will order either something to drink or something to snack on.

What if there isn’t a group in your area?  Start one!  The only thing necessary to start a group is a place to meet and a way to get the word out.  Once you have set a time and a place, you can post on social media.  You can also promote your group on Meetup.com for a very small monthly fee.

Some groups charge some minimal dues, if they have to pay for the space, but most of the time there is no charge to anyone who wants to attend.

Socializing while you color may take you back to childhood memories, coloring with siblings or friends.  It is extremely relaxing and is a great way to make some new friends in a very congenial atmosphere.  I highly recommend it as a great way to enhance your coloring experience.  I find it amazing how people tend to open up and share interesting stories and backgrounds with the people in these group.

Are you a member of a coloring group in your area?  If so, please feel free to share in the comments below.  Do you run a group or wish to promote one?  By all means, do share with us in the comments below.  Please include a way to contact you, so interested parties can find your group.  Thank you.

 

As the first book in the series is now available to purchase on Amazon, I wanted to explain how I approach my coloring sessions.

First, I find a quiet spot in my day. (For mothers with small children, this may be when you put your little ones down for a nap or after you have put them to bed for the night.) I lay out the page I am working on and the media I am using, ie: colored pencils, crayons, gel pens, Glitter Gel Pens (sparkly, sparkly), paint brush pens, markers or even paint.

After I have put my coloring space in order, I like to put on some soothing music. There are a couple of ways you can do this at no cost.

  1. If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can create a playlist of relaxing music.
  2. Pandora is a great free app that can live on your phone or your computer and allows you to create a customized “station” with great relaxing music.  (Note:  If you are using the free version, you get an ad about every 3 or 4 songs.)

Each of the pages in my books has a “Happy Thought” underneath the picture.  I read the thought so I have something uplifting to ponder as I color.

Let your mind drift, focusing only on the process of choosing colors and applying them to the spaces on the page.  My particular approach in my “Peaceful Patterns Coloring Therapy” series is to create interesting spaces for your to color.  There is no right or wrong way to color.  Remember, this is your personal, private space.  No one ever needs to see it, if you would rather not share.

Breath softly from your stomach.  Think about your breathing as you go breathing gently and slowly, filling your lungs with air and expelling stress and anxiety with every exhale.

When we color mindfully, you will notice a few things:

  • You will experience calmness and peace over time.
  • Researchers found that there was often a lowering of blood pressure.
  • When you color before bedtime, you will go to bed with a calm mind and will sleep much better than usual.
  • You will find over time that your ability to concentrate and retain what you are learning will increase.

From time to time, when I am taking an online course, I bring out my coloring supplies and color while I listen.  I find this actually helps me to concentrate on what the instructor is saying and I remember a lot more of what they said.  I don’t know if this will work for everyone as much as it does for me, but it is worth a try.

 

I have no words to express how excited I am to announce the first of a series of adult coloring books intended to relieve stress and anxiety and to give joy to those who either buy them or receive them as a gift. The book is now avaialable on Amazon.com. “Peaceful Patterns Coloring Therapy – Joy is in the Journey” is LIVE.

This being my first foray into publishing, I want you to know that this has been an awesome experience.  I want to thank all of those who have been instrumental in helping me get to this point.

 

When we dream…when we plan…when we conceive of a project, it’s all in our mind, percolating and growing and beginning to take form. As we proceed to create a plan, to assemble our tools and materials and to begin fleshing out the framework for the finished project, it sometimes feels like achieving that goal seems really far away.

That’s the journey I have been on with creating the very first book in a series: “Peaceful Patterns Coloring Therapy – Joy is in the Journey”  A mindful approach to stress and anxiety relief.

So when the delivery guy showed up with a slender box from Create Space, i admit to feeling like a kid at Christmas time.  However, I didn’t just rip it open.  I had promised the fam that I would open it in their presence when it arrived and I had promised my friends and family who could not be there that I would video-tape the unboxing event.

So here it is.  The video of the beginning of my career as a published author.  Without further ado….Drum Roll Please!!!!

 

 

There is such great satisfaction finishing a coloring page. The time creating it is counted as a joy, but there is another thing that makes it even more joyful and satisfactory, sharing it. I feel just like a little kid, “Mommy, see what I made!” resounds in my mind as I complete the cycle…sharing my finished masterpiece with someone else.

However, oft-times I find myself in solitude at that triumphant moment.  What to do?  What to do?

I do color with a weekly coloring group in my community, and we enjoy sharing our finished pieces, but if you are searching for instant gratification in the glow of completing your work of art and if you want a sympathetic and accepting, even (dare I say) enthusiastic audience, then coloring groups online are a good place to go.

Within these groups enthusiastic colorists gladly share their own art with their online coloring buddies.  Comments and encouragement flow back and forth as well as tips and tricks for improving your coloring skills, where to find discount on cool coloring accouterments and the stories behind the pieces make this a rich and enjoyable environment for getting a thumbs up for your efforts.

Don’t be intimidated by those colorists who seem to create breath-taking pieces.  All skill levels are acceptable.  These groups often are made up of thousands of coloring enthusiasts and the reach is worldwide.

Some tips for these groups.

  • Each group has it’s own rules or guidelines.  Be sure to read them and understand them before you post.
  • Before you post, start by reading the posts for the last few days.  It will give you an idea of the personality of that group.
  • Always give credit to the author of the page you are showing off.
  • It lends interest to your post when you mention the media you used to create your finished work, such as:  “I chose to use my Prisma set of coloring pencils.” or “I am using glitter pens to get that effect on the unicorn’s horn.” etc.
  • If you want to get enthusiastic comments and suggestions on your posts, be sure to reciprocate.  More people will be interested in your work, if you take the time and courtesy to comment on theirs.
  • If you can’t say anything nice about a post, don’t say anything at all.  Good advice from a cute little bunny and this holds true for coloring groups.  (Or any forum you may be a member of.)  Just skip over the posts you don’t agree with or you can’t find anything good to say about.  Drama, bickering and unkindness is frowned upon in these groups and has a tendency to get you banned.
  • Don’t spam the group with several posts a day.  It isn’t nice to hog the limelight.  As we all learned in kindergarten, take your turn.
  • If you are a coloring book author, limit yourself to mentions of your books or pages to a few per week (see the group guidelines about this as every group is different).

Here is a list of some of the groups I can personally recommend.  (Please tell them that Peaceful Patterns sent you, wink wink.)

Any or all of these groups should give you hours of sharing your creations with fellow colorists and encourage you in your coloring therapy to continue to enjoy your peaceful coloring journey.

 

I remember hours of time spent with my grandmother, and my sister, coloring and chatting and just enjoying the time together. No television on, no cellphones and rarely a phone call, no criticism but plenty of suggestions and tutorials on how to shade, the source of light, the direction of shadows, the three dimensionality we were trying to replicate, how to blend colors and create new shades.

As an adult, when I color, my mind flashed back to those peaceful hours of mutual enjoyment. These days, I like to first consider and idea, a quote, a scripture or a project I am working on as I color. Happy music is also on the list of creating my peaceful, stress free coloring session. While I let my mind works in the background on that thought I have chosen to contemplate, I focus on the feeling, the colors, the shading, the ultimate look of the coloring page. Although I admit that most of them are not planned.

Since I am a mandala colorist, I actually like to blindly reach into my coloring pencil box and pull out random colors to work with.  Some of these mandalas have turned out surprisingly well.  I really enjoy my random coloring sessions because it is relaxing and delightful to watch the picture almost create itself and reveal its ultimate beauty.

The other fun thing about coloring is, admittedly, showing the finished piece off to someone who cares.  I have joined several coloring groups and post my finished pieces occasionally, but it is even more fun (like the little kid that I am) to show it to a family member or close friend.  I also share finished pieces with my local coloring club.

One of the benefits of mindful coloring is that often, in the course of creating the finished piece, I find solutions and have thoughts that might not have occurred to me in the hectic daily routine.  This is invaluable.  So often we rush through our day through the noise and bustle and frantic pace of modern living never having that quiet space that allows us to really think.

I am ever so grateful for the trend of adult coloring.  It is one of the truly joyful places in my day to day routine.

 

It has been the plan from the moment I decided to publish adult coloring therapy books to donate 50% of my profits from the books to help veterans and their families.  My husband and I are both veterans, as well as all three of our sons, 2 son-in-laws and a daughter-in-law.  Our family has a strong long-standing tradition of service to our country.

The research I have done points to two charities that we are not able to name at this time.  Both of these charities have an “A+ ranking from The American Institute of Philanthropy and are doing important work helping veterans and their families through difficult times.  I can highly recommend them to any of you who feel to make a difference.

The next step for us is to do all the legal stuff that will lead to us being able to support these charities as we move forward. There are some fairly significant costs to registering with all 50 states that will be required and so we cannot say much more at this point except we are considering this. We have no official relationships with either of these charities at this time, but are hopeful that we can do the required paperwork and certification necessary to be able to announce this officially.

When our veterans raise their right hand and swear to protect and serve this nation, they say, “I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

This is a blank check written to their countrymen to serve and protect.  Every one of them knows they could be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice either by death or serious injury and yet, they make this oath in all seriousness to us, citizens of the United States of America.  I feel it behooves us to give back to the men and women and their families (who suffer with their veterans).  It is my hope that the sales of my books in the “Peaceful Patterns Coloring Therapy” series will make a difference in the lives of these heroes and their families.

 

Coloring clubs and meetups are springing up all over the country. Men and women from late teens to elderly are gathering with fellow colorists to color, compare favorite coloring books and pages and get some great face time with real people who love coloring as much as they do.

These groups tend to start small and grow quickly as attendees ask friends to join them. Before you know it, you have a great social group coloring and chatting together. It’s a great way to make new friends and learn new coloring techniques or find out about new ways of coloring or see how other people organize their coloring supplies.

I just started a coloring club here in the Tri-Cities, Washington. We just had our first meeting last week. It was small, but very congenial and one member said she is bringing her grandmother this week (today), so I am assuming everying had as good a time as I did.

So what is the point of this thing that is sweeping the country? Actually, it reminds me of the old time quilting bees where everyone sat around a quilting frame, working on a beautiful hand made quilt. As their needles flashed in the rhythmic and soothing stitching, the ladies talked and chatted, sometimes as a group and sometimes in little side conversations. It was a great way to get to know one another and stay in touch (long before social media) and ultimately everyone usually went home feeling the better for it.

Are any of my readers going to coloring clubs? In my next blog we will talk about coloring groups online. See you then.

 

We are pleased and excited to announce that our first in the series “Peaceful Patterns Coloring Theapy” books, “Joy is in the Journey” will be published on Amazon.com later this month (September 2016).

This is a huge milestone for Peaceful Patterns Coloring Therapy.  This has truly been a joyful journey, learning a new skill and exploring the world of coloring books for adults.   I admit to intense nostalgia as I wrote the dedication, noting the impactful teaching and mentoring of my grandmother, Juanita H. Tussey.

The essence of this book is “A Mindful Approach to Anxiety and Stress Relief”.  Below each mandala is a quote from names you will recognize relating to the idea of joy.  The idea is to read the quote before you start coloring and ponder it’s meaning and relate in a positive way to your life.  The mindfulness of this approach creates a sense of well-being, relaxation and peace that will give you all the benefits research has shown that coloring can achieve.

Seeing the book cover mock up for the first time gave me a feeling I am at a loss to describe, a mixture of joy, gratitude, shock and awe that this dream was quickly becoming a reality.  The test copy of the book will be arriving on Monday, September 15.  It feels like waiting for Christmas morning.  When it comes, I will do a video “unboxing” of the finished product and, of course, I will present it here for all of you who have been following my journey up until now.

Even as we speak I am in the process of creating the next book in the series, “An Attitude of Gratitude”, which follows the same pattern of this first book.  Also, after the test book arrives, assuming everything is as it should be, we will be allowing pre-orders here on our Coloring Books page, so stay tuned.