A non-patterned life

So what do your paper towels look like? Seriously, are they patterned, colored or just plain basic white? I ask this because it’s occurred to me lately that I must be completely weird about things like paper goods, dishes, handbags, umbrellas, and all sorts of other everyday things that are not necessarily made of fabric.

The thing that’s brought this to mind just now is that when I went food shopping last week, I had to purchase the giant bulk package of eight rolls of Bounty paper towels, because that was the only package other than the super giant monster pack of 16 rolls that had plain white paper towels in it. (I’m very picky about brands too, which is why I didn’t buy the three-pack of Brawny that were white, but that’s another issue) I’d just told ITMan the week before that we needed paper towels, but not to buy the giant pack of eight rolls since I didn’t think we’d use them all before we moved, which meant that he bought no paper towels at all because all the other packs had printed patterns on the towels, and he knows better.

I suppose I could be considered a certifiable freak about things like this.

UGH. Am I the only person in the world who HATES printed or colored paper goods? Eeeww. ITMan knows by now that colored or printed tissues, TP and paper towels just do not come home from the store. Ever. And this weirdness is not confined to paper goods, oh no. I suppose I could be considered a certifiable freak about things like this.

In clothing, shoes, and accessories like umbrellas and so forth, basic black is the name of the game. Okay, I do have other colors of shoes and handbags, but the overwhelming majority are black, as well as many of my clothes. Plain, unadorned, basic black. It just goes with everything, and maybe that’s what it’s really all about. I used to change my handbag to match my outfit for the day, but that went by the wayside after I had babies. Way too time consuming at that point. So now I pick a purse and use it, sometimes until it dies if it was a really perfect choice in the beginning, and they’re usually black with a very occasional nod to current trends.

When I shopped for dishes, I had a really hard time finding what I wanted, which was elegant, white and fairly plain (there were other requirements as well, like no stoneware and something that didn’t cost an arm and a leg that I couldn’t spare, which made the whole search just maddening). I like things that are smooth, and go together seamlessly. White paper goods and dishes just go with everything, and don’t detract from other beautiful things nearby, like table cloths or pictures on the wall. Similarly, black accessories probably won’t clash with a fabulous fur coat or beaded and embellished jeans. Sorry, but the wacky lime green lizard purse with purple trim and silver studded hardware isn’t going to go with just anything!

So what does all of this have to do with quilting? I’m not really sure, except that maybe it’s partly a control thing. I can control the patterns and colors on quilts and fabric art but not on paper towels or dishes, where some person with a marketing degree gets paid a lot of money to decide what patterns will appeal to the paper towel purchasing masses. Whatever pattern they use, it’s destined to clash with the other decor at some point, and smooth and seamless goes out the window.

And believe it or not, visual chaos affects the flow of creativity. When things around me clash and I have to look at them, it’s not calming or conducive to creativity for me. I can’t focus on whatever creative thing is in my head if whatever is around me is visually chaotic.

Obviously paper goods are going to be used up and thrown in the trash pretty quickly, but you do have to look at them in the dispenser or box in the meantime. Of course, in this particular instance with the paper towels, not only was it a good thing I got the giant bulk package after all, they won’t be around long either. I don’t think realized the amount of paper towels one can go through while cleaning an entire house when moving out! Maybe I should have gotten the 16 roll package after all. The team of Windex, Bounty and Me are on the move!

(See what three days of boredom watching the packing process can do to a person? We’ve all run out of things to do that are any fun at all, so the mind wanders…) 🙂

5 thoughts on “A non-patterned life

  1. Actually, I buy what’s on sale. But, given a choice, I will choose plain vanilla every time. That goes for just about everything. But I DO change my purse to go with my outfit if it’s appropriate. I have seen one too many middle-aged frumps walk into a tony restaurant (or even a wedding reception–gasp) dressed in nice black slacks and silk blouse, hefting a 20-pound, beat-up, brown shoulder bag. Tsk.


  2. Hi Rian! Actually, I do change my purse for “occasions” like weddings and service balls and such. Then it’s the tiny little evening type thing that’s only big enough for lipstick and powder and other true essentials! I completely agree with you there.

    And I suppose that now that my children are both old enough to buckle their own seat belts in the car, I would change my purse if I ever was wearing something that required it, but I go the same places and do the same things most of the time, and my current “uniform” is jeans and a sweater! Thank goodness for working at home!


  3. I’m with you on this. These things matter! White paper products. White or glass dishes. I’ve been using the same general-purpose black purse for, oh, 4 years now (just about time for a new one). I like to avoid visual distractions and clashes. I remove the labels from shampoo or place it in a plain bottle so I don’t have to look at words and clashing colors when I’m in the shower. I have a vision for how I want my environment, and I’m always working toward that, not in an obsessive way, but in a way that’s fun and pleasing. In quilts, we notice colors or patterns that don’t fit, and we work toward our artistic vision. It’s natural to do the same in our everyday surroundings.


  4. Hi Meg! I always wanted my house to look like Better Homes & Gardens had just left after a photo shoot, and you never see shampoo bottles with labels in that magazine! I would love to do the plain bottle thing in the shower too, but I’ve just never gotten to it. One too many things to do, but someday when the kids are gone and ITMan has retired to the golf course or a sailboat, I’ll probably do that.


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