Many Interesting Facts

Interesting and free educational stuff I find on the web

Are You A Working Mom? Here Are Some Tips For You

Working Moms Need To Master Time Management!

Working mothers are important category of USA economy. Among all groups they are probably the most versatile workers. apart from doing regular jobs, they are also in majority of cases in charge of their households too. Like all mothers they have to balance among common tasks like:

* cleaning
* shopping
* cooking
* helping kids at school work (homework, projects, activities)
* taking work home


and of course

* waiting for stitches in the emergency room
* being a fashion consultant to teenagers
* fishing bubble gum out of kids’ hair
* secretly eating sweets in the bathroom
* discovering leftovers of yesterday’s lunch in schoolbags

but they had to show their max at job too.


Where majority of working mothers work?

The official stats show top fields are:

  • administration (for instance secretaries)
  • education (for instance teachers)
  • health (for instance nurses)

57 percent of women older than 16 years are part of so called labor force. 74 percent of them work full time and 26 are part time employed.

70 percent of women with underage children participate in labor force.


Government studies show that despite some fluctuations working mothers are on the rise. While only 30 percent of mothers with a youngest kid under six years worked full time in 1970, in 2010 about 60 percent of mothers with youngest child under six work full time. In the group of mothers with youngest child between six and eighteen numbers are even higher: from 49 raised to 74 percent.


In 2014 almost 10 millions of single mother families (with kids under 18 years) were registered in USA. Half of these mothers were never married, others were divorced, widowed or separated.


And here is official comparison of women’s earnings against average men’s earnings in 2014:


As you can see, average man’s wage is set on 100 and a single woman without children really doesn’t earn so much less (about 4 percent). Although a gender based wage is still obvious, it really becomes a huge problem when women become mothers.

This can be explained by several major factors, but we’ll not go in details.


Tips for working mothers are similar to other time management tips, but like every group with specific characteristics, they have some specificities. Here is a quick list of tips:

– plan (when you see your day, week or month on a sheet of paper, you’ll more realistically asses what is feasible and what is not);

– set priorities (the secret of happy and successful people is not their efficiency, they in general don’t do more in less time, they just do more important things before less important ones, so in long term they make progress in their lives according to their personal values);


– be realistic (don’t try to squeeze too much obligations into your time table, it’s much better to have achievable goals and occasionally surpass them);

– wake up early (if you wake up before other family members, you’ll get a chance to do something for them or for you without disturbance);

– use evenings (many obligations, like preparing a school bag, can be done in advance, before the morning fever starts, some can be done by others and some by yourself);

– develop routines (if everybody in the family knows who, when, where and how to do what is has to be done, the day will instantly start running smoothly or at least smoother);


– delegate and outsource (certain chores can be done by others, try to assign them to other family members, just keep control of their performance, so you can constantly improve their efficiency and outsource even more);

– divide (have time and place for each of your duties, don’t do multitasking, because it is scientifically proven it is less effective);

– allot (all bigger problems tend to become even bigger if not done fast enough, but can also be split into smaller, easier and less time consuming pieces);

– be picky (only one or two activities per kid in entire year, be present only at certain number of games, parties, celebrations);


– trade (for instance alternate driving kids with a friend, so each one of you can have some extra time for other stuff);

– predict (in time you’ll learn to anticipate most of the unpredictable problems in family and work, so you can think in advance how these can be solved by you, your relatives or your friends, it is also smart to have a backup for each backup);

– have a plan for time pockets (there will always be times when you’ll just wait, so it’s smart to have a list of not so urgent things, like checking the weather forecast, calling a friend, reading an article, answering an email, sort bills, etc. which can be done then, but can also wait for less busy evening, if for some reason there will be no waiting);

– do less (some activities, like checking emails or cleaning the kitchen are repetitive, and really can’t be 100 percent done, so it’s best to do them only few times per day or stop doing at when are already done good enough);

– turn things off (television, computer and phone are among biggest time stealers, what doesn’t mean you have to stop using them, just learn when you want to watch them and when it’s best to shut them down;


– just say no (be aware even super moms are only mere mortals, they all need to sleep, have fun or simply do nothing, so always have empty spaces especially in the beginnings and ends of the days, but also at least on non-busy day in the week);

– analyze (you can’t evaluate your life without clear goals and occasional assessment of your progress, so it’s obligatory to check what you had done, how you could do the same better and what should be done instead, experts on time management recommend to spend at least five to ten minutes on this once per week and suggest Fridays as best day).

If you have some real life tips about time management for working moms, please let me know in comment section!

What is time management?

Effective time management step by step

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

Benjamin Franklin

Simply speaking time management is our futile attempt to control time. Which is impossible task anyway. But while we can’t control time, we can use or waste it in countless ways. In this post we’ll try to find best approaches to planning together with best tips on time management and present some of the most inspiring quotes on time ever.

1. Goals setting

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Our basic goals are the same. To be useful, loved and have some fun along the way. Earn money, make friends, have a family, see the world, … But these goals are too vague. An example of such goal would be:

– I want to be reach.

Much better goal is:

– I want to earn a million dollars.

Bu even better (and very likely more realistic) goal is:

– I want to earn 50 thousand dollars by the end of next year.

2. Prioritize

“You can have it all. Just not all at once.”

Oprah Winfrey

We are very different in this areas of time management. Some live for career, other want to devote their lives to families, and other again are thinking only about fun. Everything is legitimate, until we are satisfied with results, but if we want to achieve anything we always need some kind of plan.

When we start planning, we soon realize our limitations in time, knowledge, money, other resources, … If somebody, for instance, want to get a promotion, he may need to sacrifice time to achieve better education, maybe skip few celebrations or a vacation, …


3. Make a plan

“The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

Abraham Lincoln

A good plan is realistic. It should be as detailed as possible, but also flexible if circumstances change or anything unpredictable happens. Just like prioritization a planning involves making choices. In almost every situation we have several ways to achieve a goal, but not all of them are equal.

The essence of planning is to set a list of possibilities and choose the best one to start with. Typical plan has several stages and at each one of them we can choose from several options. Each option is another compromise between time, energy, knowledge and other resources needed to realize it. In many cases we can choose between different orders of stages too. When we break a simple plan, like buying ingredients for lunch in a supermarket, into basic steps, it soon becomes pretty complex. More demanding plans are of course even more complex.

This is why planners on paper still work best for so many of us. Computer programs, as intuitive and advanced they may be, just can’t offer enough flexibility yet.

4. Act

“A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.”

George Patton

Statics ruthlessly shows that even a perfect planning is not enough. Jared Sandberg actually noticed thirty percent of people spend more time on planning than realizing their plans. Of course an action is never alone, we are always dealing with a set of actions, which are correlated to each other.

Very important part of the action plan is to always trying to work smarter, not harder. Nobody wants to realize a plan just to find out he lost his health, friends, family or something else on the way. We should not hesitate when we come to action, but we don’t want to burn out either.

5. Stay focused

“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.”

Zig Ziglar

We live in the age of constant buzz. There is always a lot of information around and we easily get trapped into non-stop checking our phones, e-mails and social media profiles for updates. Many can spend whole day just to stay in touch with everything, but without any useful results to show.

To stay focused on our goals we can use next tips:

– set milestones, which are easier to achieve, like instead of sending 50 e-mails, try to make it seven per hour

– instantly estimate every action: if it helps you to achieve the goal, do it, otherwise, do something more useful

– say no to every distraction

– keep on track


6. Be positive

“You can’t make up for lost time. You can only do better in the future.”

Ashley Ormon

If everything in life was easy, time management would be completely unnecessary. In real life bad things happen and even with best plans something can go wrong big time. It is very important to not loose the attitude. We have to learn dealing with anger and disappointment which are the inevitable part of life.

If manage to keep smile in bad situations, we’ll improve our chances to het help from other, because everybody prefer to help people with smiles on their faces. We’ll also stop wasting time on complaints and rather use it on solving the situations, which often seen much worse on first look then after few minutes or evaluating with positive attitude. The power of belief is widely known. It can definitely work miracles – even at serious health conditions!

7. Analyze

“The most efficient way to live reasonably is every morning to make a plan of one’s day and every night to examine the results obtained.” – Alexis Carrel

Without proper analysis we can’t estimate our results. This means goals should be measurable with objective measurement. If our goals were set right, that should not be a problem. “Achieve five top three results in tennis tournaments in next season.” is definitely much easier to measure than “Show good performances on the court.”

While there is whole science behind measuring, analysing and interpretation of time management related data, all methods always start with goals and end with reports.

8. Improve

“Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.”

Peter Drucker

When the analysis is done, we should always ask a question: “What can be done better?” This is the area where bad management differ from good one and where great management stands out from the competition. Constant seek for improvement is easily noticeable in business, education and sports.

Without improvement, based on analysis, which can be often simplified as learning from mistakes, but sometimes also characterized by random testing (in marketing sometimes we simply can’t tell if certain tone of purple package can do better than other, so we have to ask test groups or even do split tests in he market), we would probably still live in cages. Or be exterminated by species with better time management techniques …


9. Never ever forget to have fun, to rest, or simply to waste your time

“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”

Marthe Troly-Curtin

Our energy levels are not always high and every battery needs a recharge. Proper rest is important part of time management. While we can at least temporarily improve our results by simply skipping on sleeping, we risk our health on long term. Many studies showed we don’t need time only to rest, we need to spend some time on doing fun things, being physically active, chat, meditate, well, just whatever works for every specific person.

That’s it. If we want to know what is time management, we need to understand all these necessary elements and transform theory in practice. Ready, set, go!

What are the alternative Thanksgiving meals?

Who wants alternatives to turkey for Thanksgiving?

We all know a traditional Thanksgiving calls for turkey, so just to refresh your memory, you can quickly check this facts about turkeys, if you want to impress your host or guests, depending on the role you’ll be in on next celebration of this popular American holiday.

To make even a step further, you can explore some history behind Thanskgiving, where you’ll easily find some surprising information about the menu before a turkey became a standard. Today more than 80 percent of Americans eat it, but this also means the rest eat something else. So how they celebrate Thanksgiving? What are the possible alternatives on the menu?

But don’t expect recipes, look at this article just as kind of inspirational journey in the land of alternative Thanksgiving meals!

If you are just bored by turkey and you can live with the the essentially the same bird, but with a twist, first option to explore is definitely a turducken, sometimes called tur-duc-hen (made of turkey, duck and hen).

(By the way: all used images are public domain and come from Wikipedia and Pixabay – thank you, contributors!)

Let’s take a look:


So what is a turducken?

This is boneless turkey stuffed with boneless duck, which is stuffed with boneless chicken. On the photo above you can see the result which is appropriately cut to show the internal stuffing (cornbread, chicken and duck in layers), but this recipe also has several variations, among some include pig, goose, hot dog(s), tofu and other imaginative contributions to healthy heavy dinner menus of America. Well, there is even a variation which includes 40 birds (12 different species) inside the turkey!

Well, you can still keep things simple, break the turkey tradition while still staying in the range of poultry. A duck, a goose or chicken are all good options and it is up to you how far you want to go with stuffing and flavors. Don’t forget the wishbone!

Dungeness crabs as another alternative idea for Thanksgiving recipe

picture of dungeness crab

Dungeness crabs are popular alternative for turkey in California and other states on the West Coast, where the Dungeness crab season starts just in time for Thanksgiving. You should of course calculate the number of crabs required to satisfy the appetite of your guests, but in general think about grilled version with chili, garlic and thyme. Very interesting addition to the mixture of spices are funnel seeds.

If crabs are not your thing, but still prefer to stay in the water, a halibut can make a lasting impression, if it’s treated with right herbs. Lemon, garlic, thyme and parsley are classics, while only the sky is the limit. Another lovely option is salmon or his cousin trout.

Pork for Thanksgiving?

Turkey may be traditional central figure of this Holiday, but a pork is still one of tastiest alternatives. It may obviously serve the main purpose as the roast or pork loin, but there are also delicious recipes for ribs and of course we should not forget the ham – with or without a bone. To add the holiday feel, we should only use the right spices and maybe a pinch of creativity. Think about honey or maple syrup, almonds or pecans, cherries or cranberries, garlic or mustard, … And the best part? All variations can make great match to mashed potatoes and squash!

pork roast free photo

Need further inspiration? What about the stuffing in decadent combinations as walnut-rhubarb, apple-onion-sage, mushrooms-bread-parsley, …? When you already look for turkey alternatives for Thanksgiving you can explore interesting variations in other areas of traditional Thanksgiving dinner as well.

How about lamb?

Its tender meat is already loaded with flavors which can be further emphasized in a direction of your choice. While marinade is definitely one of the options, you can also go with stuffing or rubbing the meat (make several one or two inch cuts) with herbs and spices chosen by your mood.


Her are few ideas to get your creative juices flow (just don’t drool, please): garlic, lemon, ginger, chili and onion, or minth, cumin, black pepper and yogurt, or rosemary, thyme, honey and balsamic vinegar, or mustard, garlic, rosemary and cranberries, … See? We already have a Thanksgiving feel!

Who wants beef for Thanksgiving?

Apparently every beef lover and every lover of slow cooking as well. Majority of chefs treat the beef as the best sort of meat, so what can be better alternative to turkey for a festive event like Thanksgiving dinner definitely is? Beef comes in wide variety of versions, so you are definitely not limited to roast only. Well, if you make it right and serve with madeira sauce, expect completely different set of words.


Short ribs, brisket, prime rib and other tasty parts of cows are great candidates to charm your guests around the holiday table. They are all good friends with wine and all sorts of vegetables, but to stay faithful to Thanksgiving theme, try to include butternut squash or roasted brussels sprouts or sweet potatoes or green bean or … You know any tasty combination which comes to your mind. Yes, cranberry sauce counts too.

More turkey alternatives for meat lovers

Although a huge piece of meat on the table looks like an inevitable part of tradition, you can stay in more moderate area with still hearty and tasty dishes like different sorts of pies or maybe a pumpkin, stuffed with minced meat (use your imagination), apple and onion, or even a casserole (the fourth Thursday in November can be pretty cold in several parts of the world after all).

meat pie

Vegetarian thanksgiving dinner, anybody?

To recreate the impression of the classic Thanksgiving main dish, you can go bold with a pumpkin stuffed with boiled eggs and cheese and cream and all kinds of roasted vegetables. Stuffing made of onion, mushroom, wild rice and quinoa also sounds intriguing. Or whole wheat and black bean. Or you can decide for something more casual like macaroni and cheese or lasagne with creative additions like hot chili and garlic and roasted pumpkin seeds.

thanksgiving apple pie

To go vegan, you need to skip eggs and dairy products as well. Pies stuffed with pumpkin, different nuts and fruit are already classics, but you can make interesting twists with addition of oatmeal, beans, mushrooms, soy, tempeh, or tofu.


As you can see the spirit of Thanksgiving is not necessary inseparable from the turkey. It is a holiday about family, friendship and all the important thing we tend to forget too often in the hectic times we are living.

So enjoy in creative twists of the recipes with turkey alternatives and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Short History of Vintage Graphic Design

Vintage graphic design in picture books for kids with examples


For today’s post I decided to present some vintage graphics from times when picture books were born as mass media. In the last two decades of 19th century the golden standard for illustrated books for kis were set and they are still applied today. Two of the most influential people were definitely Edmund Evans, one of pioneers of color printing, who offered cheap, yet quality picture books to masses and successfully fused art with commercial product, and Walter Crane (1845-1915), prolific artist with superb sense for details, who was a socialist by heart and sincerely believed art should be applied everywhere and accessible for everybody.

Walter Crane should be also credited as the top designer of his time. Design was the tool to join text and illustration, both already existing in illustrated books for centuries, into new media, called picture books, where everything counts – text, typography, spacings, footer, headers, the arrangement of text, full color and black and white illustrations, full page and double page picture, vignettes, even the quality of paper and binding of the books … He came from a family with a lot of artistic talent. Thomas Crane (1808-1859), his father, was successful portraitist and miniaturist, and his older brother, also named Thomas, was a painter and an illustrator too.

There is not much info about Thomas Crane Jr. available. He was born in 1843, two years before Walter. While the date of his death is unknown, we can pretty safely presume, he died before 1944, what makes his work public domain in EU. We also know, who worked with another artist in the family (a cousin of Crane’s brothers) on several projects. Her name was Elizabeth Ellen Houghton. She was born in 1853 and died in 1922. Her favorite media were watercolors and pencil. Apart from illustrations and paintings, Ellen E. Houghton, as she was often signed, was known by her work on advertising posters.

Thomas and Ellen collaborated on the work, presented in this post as well. She draw figures and Thomas took care about ornaments. Usage of decorating elements, fusion of text with graphics and overall design clearly resembles the style of Walter and here are the typical examples of this Victorian art:

example-cover-vintage-picture-bookAs we can already notice on this cover of old picture book, there are many tiny elements which are not popular in contemporary design of book covers. In 19th century book cover tried to show artistic skills of illustrators and we can clearly see many lovely designs, artistic typography used for names of both artists and there is also the name of the publisher. The main scene is caught in a circl, surrounded with flowers, birds and other small objects, used colors are easy on the eyes and act classy. This is by no means a book which screams BUY ME!, as many do today.



This endpapers with swallows is another proof  of different approach. Endpapers is technically used only to join the covers with the internal side of the book. There is no need to spend a lot of time or many for this. Well, some publishers still pay attention to it, but majority don’t really care about endpapers and use something what is already made, maybe one of pictures from the book, or simply colored paper, matching one of the dominant colors in the book. It’s hard to find somebody who is designing endpapers for modern picture books.


This is internal cover with the same motif of swallows. The title is nicely written on some kind of tag.



Another rarity – decorative initials in this lovely vintage vignette.


This is first full page illustration in the book. We’ll present all full page illustrations, which are made by Elizabeth Ellen Houghton. It is obvious her artistic expression was seriously limited by printing technique with only few colors available. Yellow and blue with basic combinations (greenish and brownish tones are very characteristic for vintage prints) and of course black.


We finally arrived to inside cover with imaginary arranged text.


Content of the book was another opportunity to show artistic skills of Thomas Crane Jr., who’s father was well-known miniaturist. Content section of a vintage book was far from being informative only.


This Houghton’s illustration was already used for the cover, this time we can enjoy in it without a cut.


Now we can see something completely different – combination of text and illustration, blended together with numerous designs by Mr. Crane. These small objects act like some kind of frame and actually distract reader from the story. This is the main reason why we can’t see this kind of design in modern picture books. But we have to admit this view offers many artistic pleasures.


The effect of the frame is even more obvious in the page above.


Now we can enjoy in different, asymmetrical design. Text and illustration are separated with lines, but both artists used lines to connect them in unique way. Ellen Houghton draw a cathedral with emphasized lines and Thomas Crane made kind of wired fence in corners, fused with the text between. The page is well balanced and pure joy for the eyes.


Another full page illustration, this time with few elements similar to ones used by Thomas Crane (text on the wall, details on the pillar and tiles on the floor). Every detail counts.

vintage graphic-design-with-vignettes

Another ‘framed’ illustration, in this case with four symmetrical vignettes.


More frames and more small details, this time in asymmetrical design.


We can’t help to notice how many geometry was included in Ellen Elizabeth Houghton’s illustrations. Circles, squares and triangles.


And more circles, squares and triangles.


Another beautiful example of collaboration of two skilled artists. The whole page is designed to show how hard was the life of washerwomen. Next series of full page illustrations will have to do without a commentary.









And for the grand finale another example of decorated page from vintage picture books:

vintage-decorations-by-thomas-craneAnd the back cover:


A lot of different styles in unique expression of one of many picture books for kids in 19th century. Nice and educating example of vintage graphic design by Thomas Crane Jr. and Ellen Elizabeth Houghton.

50 Shades of Purple

What colors make purple? (with a long list of shades with names)

Or: What two colors make purple?

Simply saying: a purple is a color between red and blue in the color wheel. But as you can see on the picture below where only a fraction of possible mixes of three primary colors is displayed, this definition is in most cases far from satisfactory. There are actually hundreds of different colors, each with a unique name, between red and blue and the word purple is definitely not enough to describe all of them.


There are three colors placed between red and blue with purple in the middle.

A unique definition of purple color does not exist. While every mix of blue and red can qualify, we can, at least, say blue and red are mandatory components. We can add a bit of yellow as well, so all possible brownish tones are candidates too. If we further complicate with an addition of white or black, life becomes really colorful!

If we explore a bit, we quickly find many people use words purple and violet for the same color. Or: they use the same name for different colors, especially if we are dealing with folks with different cultural backgrounds, for instance with Americans and Europeans. Anyways, in general, we expect purple to have a higher degree of red and violet more blue in the mix.

Because there are so many different hues of purple out there, we’ll explore some of them in detail and here is a quick list:


Difference between purple and violet

In optics, things are a bit easier. Violet is so called true color. It has its own space in the spectra (around 750 THz) and purple is simply a mix of two other real colors (red and blue). Our mission is to present 50 different shades of purple with examples and hex codes which can be used in every graphic program, so you can not only easily find and use the right purple shade, but name it (and maybe even find a bit of interesting info about it) as well.

Here are first five for start:


800080 Purple (also Patriarch Purple)
9370DB Medium Purple 
BF00FF Electric Purple
A020F0 Purple (X11)
9F00C5 Purple (Munsell) 

We can already notice some vagueness in the nomenclature. We have the color with simple name purple, there is medium purple and electric purple (with an old name true purple). This color is exactly on the halfway between red and blue and is by artists considered as pure purple, but in the more accurate three-dimensional Munsell’s system we have a different color with the same name. And by the way, Veronica (old name for another shade) or purple (X11) ( a new name for the same shade – this standard is constructed for web browsers) is sometimes called medium purple too!

The purple color is relatively rare in nature and it was for centuries reserved for nobility only. The pigment for purple dye was made from sort of sea snail and for one piece of colored cloth they needed tens or hundreds of thousands of snails, there was a lot of manual work and the procedure was very time-consuming, so you can imagine it was expensive (the price was approximately the same as the price of silver). Because the pigment was produced in ancient city Tyre (today it is part of Lebanon), the dye was sometimes called Tyrian purple. Being the color of kings and emperors, it is sometimes called imperial purple. There are of course other shades, tones, hues and tints with names suggesting its expense and prestige:

66023C Tyrian Purple (also Imperial Purple)
92717C Sovereign Purple
7851A9 Royal Purple
6C3082 Eminence
9678B6 Purple Mountain Majesty

Don’t worry if you find another color with the same name and different hex code, because standards are not unique. Considering the fact some shades are used for many centuries and the color in real life was made from pigments with varying quality, color becoming paler with exposure to the sun and other elements, this is only logic to expect.


In the next set, we can see the association with precious stones and the last color is the color of prestigious US military decoration.


86608E Pomp and Power
B768A2 Pearly Purple
843F5B Deep Ruby
9966CC Amethyst
69359C Purple Heart

Important people in Old Rome adored this color and we can find the shades named after locations in both parts of the Roman Empire. The Eastern part survived longer, so we can’t be surprised to have at least three variations of basically the same color named after Byzantium.


BD33A4 Byzantine
702963 Byzantium
5D3954 Dark Byzantium
682860 Palatinate Purple
66424D Deep Tuscan

As we could easily add another set of purple tones named after places (magenta, for instance) the same is true with flowers as well. We’ll limit with only ten different shades with fuchsia and orchids being dominant representatives.

flowers-of-purple-color915C83 Antique Fuchsia
C154C1 Deep Fuchsia
CA2C92 Royal Fuchsia
563C5C Petunia
DF00FF Phlox

All the names with the word violet are included in the list of violet shades and you can find magenta and additional shade of fuchsia among pinks. We can add the fact phlox, named after the flower is often called psychedelic purple. This color is fluorescent magenta and blue pigments and it was very much in favor in the hippie movement. Jimmy Hendrix was one of the biggest fans.


DA70D6 Orchid
D39BCB Light Medium Orchid
BA55D3 Medium Orchid
9932CC Dark Orchid
CC00FF Vivid Orchid

Another set of purples comes from the garden, this time, we’ll meet few shades of eggplant (aubergine in French) and sweet potato (also known as yam or ube).


D19FE8 Bright Ube
663854 Halaya Ube
614051 Eggplant
430541 Eggplant Purple
990066 Aubergine

We’ll continue our journey through the lands of purples, inspired by nature, in the woods – with five kinds of berries. Again, we’ll skip grapes and plums, to stay within our limit of 50 tones of purple.


873260 Boysenberry
872657 Dark Raspberry
C54B8C Mulberry
FC5A8D Strawberry
FF43A4 Wild Strawberry

Ready for some more … purple? Next set of names is pretty descriptive as is. By the way – purpureus is purple in Old German.

8F00FF True Purple
B39EB5 Pastel Purple
B19CD9 Light Pastel Purple
966FD6 Dark Pastel Purple
9A4EAE Purpureus

Let’s conclude with last set of five purple colors. Blush is a new name for the color which was before called cranberry purple. Pizzaz is used to describe vitality, we have fandango, a dance from Spain and Portugal, Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday in French), the famous carnival in masks, and for the final – a brownish tone called taupe what means a mole in French.

purple-shades-and-tonesDE5D83 Blush
FE4EDA Purple Pizzazz
B53389 Fandango
880085 Mardi Gras
50404D Purple Taupe

This color is definitely one of the most powerful ones with powerful psychological effects and strong historic background and it is still among the most popular colors for special occasion, like weddings or parties, for instance.

personalized-throw-pillow-purplepersonalized-tee-shirts-with-picturesPurple throw pillows and purple tees above are just two of the examples of the popularity of purple colors. They are not meant for everyday use, but rather to make an impression. A lasting one!

Don’t forget – all purples are basically made of two colors only (red plus blue in approximately equal proportions), but the beauty lies in the details … I hope you have found all the purple shades and tones you wanted!

A Flower Wedding

Walter Crane: A Flower Wedding

Summer is popular time for weddings and we have already taken a realistic approach to wedding expenses, but in this post we’ll turn to much more romantic, poetic side of ‘the big day’, which inspired many artists to interpret it in their own unique ways. A Flower Wedding by Walter Crane is actually one of his signature books, where he is able to show his wide range of talents. He wrote the text, chose the typography and made complete design of this book from 1905.


We have already met Mr. Crane at his projects with Mrs. Molesworth where he excelled  in black and white drawings. This time we’ll have a chance to enjoy in Walter Crane’s colors and relatively minimalist scenery with many subtle details by which he was always known for (many experts agree Crane’s best work for children are his illustrations of fairy tales of brothers Grimm). A Flower Wedding is a picture book with series of two page illustrations (so called block pages), so with exceptions of title and closing pages I will present pages in pairs. I also had to correct some minor errors, but I believe the feeling of the book and especially the mastery of the illustrator should be intact.

As I said, book was published in 1905, publisher was Cassell & Company from England. Enjoy in lovely characters, superb selection of colors and the overall fairy feeling!




















If you want to learn more about Mr. Crane, here is another link to find out additional info:

But there is actually no need for additional words, right?

Color Psychology

Color psychology – colours and meanings

Colors effect human behavior what can be (and is) used and abused in numerous ways. This is known and applied in medicine,  sport, marketing, traffic and many more or less important areas of everyday life. We can associate every color with specific mood and different energy, it’s connected with rich symbolism, but there are still too many variables to predict how, for instance, can change of package of a product effect the decisions of consumers.

how colors impact our moods

The effect of colors can be unpredictable

The reason is simple. Our perception of colors is dependent on our environment, gender, age, experiences, religion, nationality … and of course of context of usage. Tribes living in jungle have completely different perception of different hues of green color like people raised in big cities, where green is not nearly as closely connected with survival. Or another example: while blue is in general the most popular color, it is not suitable for food package.

In short: every color has several meanings and these always depend on numerous factors.

What does the color white mean?

White is associated with honesty, innocence, light, peace, perfection, purity and truth. It’s the color of new beginnings, suitable for births, weddings, medicine and science. It’s neutral color which can be used in combination with majority of other colors and is considered as summer color, but as the color of snow it also has cooling effect.

Negative associations of color white: being perceived more as the lack of color than color itself, it can be related with absence, boredom, sterility and is in different cultures color of death and mourning.


White can represent emptiness

What does the color yellow mean?

Yellow is associated with creativity, enthusiasm, happiness, joy, glory, optimism and pleasure. It’s the color of attention, but can be irritating very soon, if used in large quantity. Apart from black and white yellow goes particularly well with blue and green (beware of different shades), but combination with red is not so good idea, because the result can be too aggressive. It is also a color of autumn and its abundance.

Negative associations of color yellow: it’s the color of envy, illness and treachery. Color yellow is also associated with anxiety and irrationality. Remember: it has the power to enhance the experience – in positive and negative ways. In marketing yellow is perceived as youthful, lighthearted, a bit irresponsible and childish. It can be, for instance, used for a sports car, but not for a limousine.


Yellow is very optimistic color

What does the color orange mean?

Orange is color of activity, attention, attraction, energy, excitement, success and youth. Being named after an evergreen tree it is also associated with fruitfullness. The name covers all colors between yellow and red in visible spectra, thus orange is associated with similar characteristics and pairs with the same colors as both os them. It is not so light as yellow and is less aggressive than red.

Negative associations of color orange: orange can be perceived as the color of deceit, flamboyance and immaturity. It’s very visible and captivating color and is often used in dangerous situations, when we want to warn or at least attract attention, like in traffic or for life jackets. Food industry love it as well. While orange is very rare color for cars, an interesting study showed used cars with this color in general lose less value than others. But the reason is probably rarity, not the orange color itself.

what color orange means

Orange is very energetic and exotic color

What does the color red mean?

Red is color of anger, courage, danger, heat, passion, sexuality and strength. Considering black and white are not ‘true colors’, it was the first color which got a name. Being the color of blood and fire, it is strongly connected with love and revolution. It’s the most popular color of flags, no mater if we count number of appearances or measure the red area of an average flag.

Negative associations of color red: it is very aggressive, strongly associated with pain, violence and war. Sport teams love it and a study from Olympic Games in 2004 clearly showed that judges in combat sports, where the final result depends of their scores, preferred competitors in red uniforms. Men find women in red dresses more attractive and redheads have more active sex life. Red increases heartbeat and stimulates appetite. It is very popular in restaurants. Being closely related to more natural brown, designers like it for the color of furniture too. It’s great in food industry, but totally wrong in courtrooms. It’s important to note, with addition of white red as the color of aggression becomes pink, the color of gentleness.

what represents color read

Red is color of sin

What does the color purple mean?

Popular with Emperors and bishops, purple soon achieved a reputation of royalty color. It is color of ambition, extravagance, luxury, magic, mystery, prestige and wisdom. Purple is secondary color, a mixture of red and blue and combines the strength of red with the efficiency of blue. An interesting research showed purple is by far the most popular color among pre-adolescents.

Purple also have negative connotations. It can be understood as a sign of decadence, inferiority and melancholy. Purple, if not used in right context can easily achieve too dramatic effect. Being very rare in nature purple can easily make an impression of artificiality. Definitely not the right color for presenting healthy lifestyle!

What is the difference between purple and violet? Although both colors are often used interchangeably, violet (closer to the blue wavelength) is true color which is seen in spectra of visual light, but purple (closer to the red wavelength) is only made after red and blue are blended.

mening of purple color

Purple makes a great match with gold

What does the color blue mean?

Color blue is closely related with confidence, harmony, loyalty, patience, relaxation, tranquility and truth. It’s especially valued by its calming effect, which is tested by installing blue street lights in differen places of the world. Some report about reduction of criminal acts, but we still don’t have reliable study. Blue is favorite color of most men and women.

Blue can have negative effects in certain situations. Although the color of water and the sky, it is perceived as cold, sad, even depressing. It’s a very popular color of suits in business world, because it suggests loyalty. Hi tech companies like blue in their logos, because it is related with accuracy and reliability. It works in banking and insurance industry, but is not desirable in food industry. It is not only suppressing appetite, blue is associated with decayed foods well. It is much more preferred in cleaning industry.

color blue meaning

Blue is the color of air and water

What does the color green mean?

Green is the color of freshness, health, hope, permission, renewal, safety and youth. The word green (in Germanic languages) has the same root as to grow and grass, what make  a strong association with nature. Medieval brides often wore green to symbolize fertility. It’s the most soothing color in visible spectra and has healing powers. It0s often used in hospitals. When the notorious Blackfriar Bridge in London was painted green, number of suicides dropped by more than 30 percent. Being the color of the banner of Muhammad, it’s the sign of respect and the most important color in Islam. Every Islamic country has some green in its flag.

Negative connotations of green: it can represent materialism and possessiveness. Green is color of jealousy and is color of envy, greed, selfishness. Green is widely associated with inexperience. It is a secondary color and can be made with mixing warm yellow with cold blue, what gives numerous different hues depending on percentage of both. Green is in the center of spectrum, thus represents balance, what makes it suitable for charities, real estates and financial industry aiming at steady growth of profits. Today it is widely used in food industry, where promotes organic products and everything environmentally friendly. Politics try to use it more and more as well.

green color meaning

Green is color of good luck

What does the color black mean?

Black is the color of authority, boldness, control, discipline, elegance, protection and strength. It’s also the color of evil, heaviness, night and witchcraft. Having the power of hiding things it is associated with barriers, emptiness and mysteries. Black is not a true color, it’s actually a mixture of all colors, what means it absorbs all the wavelengths. People wearing black appear thinner (in right combinations and patterns), but black objects look heavier and stronger. While black symbolizes the end, every ending is closely related with new beginning, thus making black the perfect match with white. In combination with yellow or orange it’s the popular warning sign in nature (stripes of the tiger or wasp).

Black has the most of the negative connotations of all colors. It is unfriendly color, it creates fear and people wearing black seem unapproachable. They say a salesman in black can make a lot of sales but no friends. People wearing black appear conservative and serious. It’s very suitable for judges and lawyers. After series of different historical and scientific events it became the color of high fashion. Little black dress and black tie are a must in fashion savvy wardrobes. Sexy black lingerie can create the feeling of mystery in bedroom just like the similar effect is achieved at priest at the altar. Black is also the color of death and mourning.

black color meaning

Black animals are considered as bad omens

The effect of colors is used in psychology and especially in marketing, but when we delve in history of colors, we soon realize the color psychology, with so many variables, it’s not an exact science, but rather kind of art.

Nautical Wedding

Why is Nautical Wedding Theme so Popular?

It’s wedding season, so it seems appropriate to spend more than one post on this important, although (at least lately) a bit old-fashioned subject. At our last meeting I was discussing about the average cost of wedding. Now I want to make one step further and go into details. I noticed themed weddings are becoming more and more popular. Some are related with certain sort of flowers (for instance roses, orchids, fleur-de-lis etc.), other on colors (for instance purple, yellow, pink etc.) and other on something else (for instance tropic, beach, etc.).

Nautical Wedding Theme is among these. I was wandering why, because I don’t think so many girls marry sailors. One obvious reason is probably combination of white (traditional color for weddings) and blue (symbolizes cleanness, purity) look really great and wedding day is of course one of those occasions when everybody wants to look great.

But there must be more. And there is. At least I think I have found more in symbolism of elements which are most often used on wedding themed decoration, favors, bridal showers, even cakes (!) and so on. So when you’ll get a themed invitation, you’ll already know what all the cute symbols mean. Here are only some, but probably enough to get the first grip:

Anchor – one of the most powerful symbols represents safety, stability, with an anchor boat is safely tied in a harbor, dangers are over and after stormy life of a bachelor it is time for new experience of marriage where the concerns are split and joys are multiplied.


Boat – it’s a symbol of traveling together, helping each other, sharing benefits and helping at accidents, what is especially clear from the saying: we are in this boat together, meaning: we are it this situation together, we are not enemies, if one goes down, everybody goes down, if one succeed, everybody succeed

Compass – it always carries the power of four cardinal directions, where east and west as the starting and ending point of the sun are the most important of all, because sun in all cultures represents life, hope, happiness, youth and immortality what can all be found in successful marriage.

nautical-wedding-favorsFish – being a water creature, it is immediately associated with mystery, inspiration, faith and transformation, but also with life and fertility; different religions have different perspective of fish, but it seems each one sees it as a very powerful and positive symbol, especially in Japan with Koi fish, energetic creatures, often swimming in pairs.


Knot – knots are tied with marriage forever, we all heard a saying about a wedding knot, which symbolizes connection, family, union and even immortality, knots as sort of protection with practical and aesthetic features have magical powers in many cultures and are of course essential par of every seaman’s education.


Lighthouse – lighthouse represents hope, safety and spiritual development, it is a sign of welcoming, guidance, positive expectations, expansion of social circles, it is also in relation with plans for the future, it promises new opportunities and calmer waters after the stormy and disorganized life of a single person.


Lobster – it symbolizes determination and strength, thanks to moulting lobster is also strongly associated with change and regeneration, and as predator we can connect it with protection and difficulties what can be fused into one, with marriage easily related word: challenge.

Map – look at nautical chart.

Mermaid – mermaids symbolize seduction, mysterious, often dangerous adventures for travelers and the promise of outrageous treasure to all who will be able to defy their charms and wisely use their powers in their favor, they are connected with beauty, love and persuasion.

Nautical chart – you don’t have to be an expert in symbolism with this one, it is clear that every voyage with a map stands much better chance for success than a simple trip without one, and marriage is exactly tha – a voyage, with many ups and downs, numerous curbs, unpredictable deadlocks, sometimes even without a clear goal, but always with a faithful companion to rely on.


Vintage chart by Walter Crane

Octopus – it is associated with creativity, flexibility and intelligence, what all is needed to survive in the sees and succeed in the marriage, thanks to eight tentacles it is also strongly connected with number eight, the number of power, so octopus was used for many centuries as a symbol of protection as well.

Seahorse – it has different meanings in different cultures but in general it is a very positive sign, related with friendliness, persistence and sharing, despite its fragile look it is also associated with strength and power, sailors consider it as a lucky charm.

Sextant – important tool for navigation, relation with marriage, if it is understood as a voyage, is obvious, maybe we could add Freemasons used a square and compasses with arch which looks like sextant, but is more universal tool, suitable only for skilled builders and was reserved for Past Masters only.

Shell – shell represents something enclosed, limited, can be explained as prison, but it also carries a huge potential, because after opening, shells also represent luxury (they were used as currency in many cultures and in some they still are) and protection (marriage is of course related with family and safety).

Ship (it is not the same as boat!) – travel, good news, material goods, romance, journey, one thing all ships have in common is their ability to pass through rivers, oceans and other waters, carrying their passengers and cargo, many religions associate sailing across the water with afterlife, so connection with ending of one kind of live and starting another, is clear.

Ship’s wheel – as every wheel it symbolizes constant change, movement, travel, but in this case it is also connected with control, ability to navigate among the reefs and find a safe harbor, what emphasizes personal responsibility to one’s own luck

Starfish – it symbolizes brilliance, guidance and healing powers, Egyptian religion associates it with goddess Isis, a guardian to seamen in troubles, Christianity with Virgin Mary, who is in charge of safety for travels, Romans with Venus, goddess of sensitivity and love.


Trident – it is a symbol of power of Greek god Poseidon (Roman god Neptune), who is the ruler of oceans and earthquakes, having three prongs makes it associated to trinity (several religions acknowledge trinity as divine) and superstitions (third time is the charm).

Waves – they symbolize emotions, and wedding can certainly be very emotional experience with complete spectra of feelings, on one side bride’s and groom’s family is loosing a daughter and a son, on the other new paths are opening to be traveled, new experiences, it’s time for crying because one era is ending and time to rejoice over new couple’s hopes and achievements.

Whale – whales symbolize great challenges, exploring the unknown, delving in deepest feelings and finding the ultimate truth, what can be done with skillful navigation and quality communication; with their strength they serve as consolation, protection and inspiration.


Now you know. Next nautical wedding invitation in your mail will bear no secrets to you!



How much does an average wedding cost?

How much does an average wedding cost?

It really depends, but times when pairs made a commitment on the top of the hill or on the edge of the abyss (somewhere, where they were closer to the end of the earth and beginning of the sky) are definitely over. At least in the so called developed world. Global financial crisis had significant impact, so the average cost of wedding dropped after 2008, when it achieved just something over 29 thousand dollars in USA, but it is on the raise again and I am pretty sure 2014 will bring new record.

When I say average, it is obvious, price tag can be much lower and, of course much MUCH higher. Average cost in Alaska is just somewhere about 15, but in New York it can easily climb over 75 thousand bucks. And what is the most popular wedding destination? In USA Las Vegas has no competition with amazing one hundred thousand weddings in a year, following by Hawaii with ‘only’ twenty five thousand wedding ceremonies.

And what is the most expensive wedding ever? This is still marriage of son of Sheik Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum to Princess Salama. In 1981 this party they paid 44 million dollars in Dubai!

This is huge business, real industry which turns around billions and billions of dollars year after year. Last year the number was around 75 billions, if you need more accurate numbers … Do you think the smiles of the couple bellow looks a bit artificial? Now you know why:)


Seven thousand couples marry every day on average in United States only and this leads to seventeens tons of gold per year just for wedding rings!

Unfortunately this is not the only expense for couples who pay at least significant part of the wedding costs in three of four cases. There are 175 guests on average to take care of and they don’t only need food, accommodation and transport, they expect (to some extend) some kind of favors as well. Old times with parents paying for everything are definitely over.

Can we break these expenses at least a bit to see what is to be payed for?


So what is the average cost of a wedding?

Wedding dress: 1.500 (1.000 dress + 500 accessories)

Makeup + hair: 100 (50 + 50)

Entertainment: 1.300 (one man band or DJ is cheaper, live band is expensier)

Flowers: 1.500 (bouquets, decorations, centerpieces)

Gifts + favors: 700

Invitations (with save the date cards, maps, programs) + postage: 700

Jewelry (engagement ring + wedding rings): 4.000

Photography (and video): 2.500

Wedding consultant (planner): 1.300 (full service is expensier, only partial service can be much sheaper)

Limo rental: 400

Location (with additional rentals and food): 10.000


Wedding extras like gifts for flower girls, rehearsal dinners and morning-after brunches are making weddings even pricier, the same is true with more and more popular themed weddings (if certain bride for instance wants to have everything in certain tone of pink) so an average price of a wedding is probably already exceeding 30 thousand dollars.  If we know an average cost of divorce is around 20 thousand additional dollars, I can only wish to live happily ever after to all the newly weds!

How to spot a liar

Signs of lying


If you wonder how to spot a liar, you are not alone. All people lie, all lie much more often than majority would expect and even most of animals lie. Deception is obviously a part of surviving game. But lying is not the only tool we have developed during the evolution. The ability to recognize signs of someone lying can be important weapon too.

So here are the most important signs someone is lying:


– Liar breathe faster, very typical sign is a series of short breath and then a deeper one when a liar tries to ‘reset’ the stressful situation. Of every stress, not only lying, can cause changes in breathing. So pay attention to fast and shallow breaths. They can be telltale signs of lying.



– Liar often tries to suppress the treacherous characteristics of his hands by holding each other, hiding them under the table or putting them in pockets. Folded arms and palms behind one’s back fall into this category. They can also hold an object so hard, their knuckles turn almost white.

– Every lack of gesticulation can be suspicious but it is good to know how much gesticulation is normal for the person in question. Some use full body all the time and some are much more calm. Less obvious are signs of hiding something when liar compensates lack of the gesticulation with self touching, especially parts of the head, like mouths, chin, neck and eyes. These signs are harder to spot but also harder to hide. One typical sign is faked scratching of one of these parts.


– Eyes are on the top of the list when we are looking for signs of lying. But they can be pretty misleading, if we don’t know the person in question very well. Closing one’s lids can be sign of hiding something or just being related to light and visibility. Avoiding eye contact is characteristic for lying but in some cultures too much of an eye contact can be a sign of aggression. Skilled liar will even make prolonged eye contact.

– We can add eyebrows in this group of tell tale signs of lying. Frowning, especially with raised inner edges is very often sign of lying.


– Many muscles around the mouth are hard to control, so they can tell few things about the truth no matter what is actually said. We all know how children cover their mouth when they don’t want to tel the truth and this same sign is still present in later years worth different modifications. Touching, licking or nibbling one’s lips, covering one’s mouth (because of faked yawning or coughing) all fall in this category of tells.


– Beside the obvious – listen what somebody is telling you, you should also try to notice how he does that. It is very important to spot all the deviations. It is not about the tone, repetitions, pauses, it’s about the changes in all these (and other) elements regarding to the normal (stressless) speech of the person in question. Repeating your questions, offering many unnecessary details, avoidance of precise answer can all be signs of lying, but they can be sort of personal style as well.



– In general liar sweets more than somebody who is telling the truth. The reason is simple. To produce a lie, you have to use imagination, planning and all sorts of micro activities which are not necessary when you are only telling the truth. Somebody who suffers of excessive sweating will move more often, for instance cross his limbs, scratch oneself, wipe one’s forehead with handkerchief …


– When we are lying, our bodies produce adrenaline. Heart beats faster and lungs need more oxygen. Side effect of this situation is excessive saliva in our mouth which has to be swallowed what can be visible and this often follows with a lack of saliva, what is compensated with lighter coughs, so called cleaning the throat.

Please note: knowing how to detect lies is not an easy task. It takes a lot of experience and even the best lie detector is always working in gray area. But with practice and non stop learning we can at least spot lighter and darker areas. And these can sometimes make all the difference.