Lemon Yellow

January 24, 2011

Hello Friends, it is Leslie with Color Me Pretty for January. This month I have been thinking about lemon yellow since all of my little lemon trees are dripping with fruit here in southern California, however I was not sure what I wanted to pair with it for this column.

Lemon Yellow

Then I saw Holly’s post on Shane Powers work (his website is here) and I got inspired to pair yellow with craft paper brown, some gray and a little black. Here is the image that sparked some creative projects in my studio…

Lemon Yellow

I printed it out and tacked it to my moodboard and started to think of ways that I could inject a little yellow into my life. Here is my moodboard with Shane’s work as the focus.

Lemon Yellow

After posting Shane’s image on my moodboard along with other bits of inspiration, I looked to it as a visual guide to help me pull this palette in to my life. Here are a few small ways that I turned an inspiring photograph and a pretty palette into something tangible in my own home to enjoy.

Lemon Yellow

Over the holidays I wrapped many of my gifts with Trader Joe’s paper grocery bags. I loved the white hand drawn looking illustrations they had printed on them. Since I have lots of these bags leftover I decided to continue using them for gift-wrap but just turned the paper around so that the holiday illustrations are no longer showing. Even if the outside of the bag may have slightly faded, the inside is that nice craft paper brown. I had fun using an opaque white ink pen to draw, stencil and write on some of the gifts.

Lemon Yellow

I also used Japanese washi tape and some ribbons I had to further decorate my little packages.

Lemon Yellow

I wrapped a container with the paper from the same bags and placed in some of my favorite flowers to further bring sunshine into my home. This is shown on a shelf in my crafting studio.

Lemon Yellow

I decided to add this palette to my inspiration book using some fancy tapes that fit the scheme. Now I can refer to it as a jumping off point for a future project.

Lemon Yellow

I even collected some things that I found in drawers and bins in my studio that fit this color scheme and stacked them on my desk to give me further inspiration.

Lemon Yellow

When combined with pretty yellow fabric napkins, fresh flowers, a gray vase and a crisp white table cover this palette looks sophisticated for a patio lunch or if it’s not warm where you live, an indoor lunch with a touch of Spring.

Lemon Yellow

My studio shelves were rearranged to bring in this palette. Some of the books were wrapped in the paper from the bags and labeled them to identify their contents. The “Don’t Hold Back” print is by artist Nan Lawson.

Lemon Yellow

I thought it may be interesting for a few of you if I shared some of the art projects I do with my four-year-old daughter since she is often dancing around my studio when I am trying to shoot my posts. It is enjoyable for her to work in the colors I am working in and since it was all about yellow, I laid out some supplies for her to use. You can see her work above. A while ago I came across these two really interesting posts about occasionally setting palette constraints for your children in order to teach them more about color and composition. You can read more about this concept from Uniform Natural and Shin + Sons let me know what you think and if you have tried this before and with what results.

Don’t you think this color combination is a nice transition from winter into spring or even from late summer into fall? It is warm and fresh at the same time. I like working in color combination’s that I have not used before because it is a great way to understand new possibilities for projects to come. I hope you enjoyed this series.

Thank you for having me and I will see you next month. – Leslie.


  • Reply Radostina January 24, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    I love your posts, Leslie. They are full of good mood and inspiration for me. Thank you SO much.

  • Reply Stacey Sheppard January 24, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    What a great post and so inspirational. I’ve never really liked yellow that much and I would never have considered using it for an interior. But having seen quite a few images lately of yellow used sparingly as an accent colour teamed with gray I have definitely changed my mind.

  • Reply suzanne January 24, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    very pretty….!
    may i ask, where did you get the white opaque pen? love the look of the white ink against the brown paper ….

  • Reply Cassie January 24, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Wow, there is so much in this post that I love. I love the color scheme and am really loving all the yellow. I’ve turned into a yellow seeker in the last year or so…

    So many beautiful touches! I love that little sign on your shelf that says “‘don’t hold back.” What a great message.

    Have a great week!

  • Reply Heidi January 24, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    Love this creative post!
    Our lemon tree here in Arizona has so many lemons on it that I have also started to use our lemons as decoration and of course begging anyone I know to take some home with them!

  • Reply Jeanee January 24, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    LOVE the giftwrap!!!

  • Reply jenn January 24, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    I love that you featured yellow. And craft paper. Two of my favorites ever. And you’re so right … they’re warm and fresh, which is such a great combination. Especially this time of year!

    Thanks for the Monday morning inspiration :)

  • Reply Ylva January 24, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    love all these pictures! it takes a while to get used to yellow but then … i just can’t get enough!

  • Reply Marie January 24, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    I LOVE yellow :) Lovely inspiration! xoxo Marie

  • Reply iam_artisan January 24, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    Oh I’ve miss your posts… That is truly a wonderful combination… :) the colors look fresh.

  • Reply Ann January 24, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    I really enjoyed this post – it certainly is a vibrant mix and match. You inspired me with your packaging techniques (love the white against kraft paper) so I’m definitely saving this into Pinterest. And what a lovely idea collaging your washi tapes like that, I need to do that pronto. :D

  • Reply Ashley January 24, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    This post really drew me in, thanks so much for all the hard work you put into getting your mood across. Although I’ve never considered yellow one of my “favorite” colors, I have been very drawn to it the past couple of years, and find that it really does invigorate and energize me! I love your mood board and your organizational tools- this inspires me to get more organized with my projects! Your lemon photos also make me want a lemon tree of my very own…

  • Reply Julie the alkaline sister January 24, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Les it feels glorious like a grey rainy day when the sun peeks out! I also LUV how you have shown your daughters work. She will feel honored when she sees her work on decor8 and her moms column. Kids love that positive recognition of their talent. Just having their art work hung publicly in the halls at school is enough to build their creative confidence. Please show more as it inspires us to do more art with our own kids!

  • Reply Tracy Kunzler January 24, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    I’m usually not a big fan of yellow, but seeing it as little pops of color here and there as you have shown has turned me around. I LOVE all the package trim ideas! As always, thanks for the inspiration!

  • Reply Heather @ REOlisticRenovation January 24, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    I am absolutely obsessed with lemons and with yellow! This post is gorgeous! Thank you for putting this together.

  • Reply Dana Barbieri January 24, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    Beautiful Leslie. You have a great job. And you daughter is a great artist!

  • Reply Winter January 24, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    Love the yello- it is a great color- I laughed when you said “dripping with fruit” it is -15 where I am!

  • Reply April January 24, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    I might start journaling everything the way you’ve laid out your inspiration book. What a beautiful way to make a palette!

  • Reply Mona L. Pendleton January 24, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    WOW! What stunning photos and gorgeous palette! Like a burst of sunshine :)

  • Reply Mandy of Kini Style January 24, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    Wow! I love your inspiration book. It is so organized and gorgeous. And the yellow & gray color combo is perfect for spring!

  • Reply Margot Madison January 24, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    Leslie’s posts make my stomach twirl. So talented and inspiring!

  • Reply sarah s. January 24, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Leslie: I love the colors you have chosen this month….yellow is absolutely warm and bright and cheerful….and the pieces on your inspiration board say spring and warmth all over them….my have to go out and try some yellow flowers again….thanks for sharing

  • Reply Ada @ New York January 24, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    Beautiful series Leslie! I was especially drawn to the yellow measuring tape! Funny what we spot when we simply stop and look around .. becoming more aware of our surrounding we see the beauty around us. Thanks for the yellow sunshine today .. much needed since in New York it was 6 degrees at 8am.

  • Reply Charlie January 24, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    Hi Leslie !
    Wishing you a very Happy New Year ! It is so nice to see you back again. the color combinations of yellow and grey is unusual but so beautiful. Thank you once again for the inspiration.

  • Reply Glenda Childers January 24, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    This cold Chicago day can benefit from this beautiful infusion of lemon yellow. Hard to imagine lemon trees growing in your yard in January.
    Thanks, Leslie (and Holly).


  • Reply Vanessa Elizabeth January 24, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    Leslie, I love pops of cheery yellow! Especially on these very rainy January days!

  • Reply Caitlin January 24, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    This is so gorgeous and original! You did so many great things with this palette. And the cataloguing of tapes is just genius, I love it!

  • Reply Michelle Donald January 24, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    Leslie – Everything looks gorgeous and so happy. I particularly love the present wrapped with the yellow measuring tape. It funs it up and makes me smile! Thankyou so much for sharing your inspiring creativity.

  • Reply Margie January 24, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    Missed you Leslie on your own site. Glad you’ re back. Gorgeous as usual.
    Just posted photographs of lemons on my site the other day which turned out quite spiffy! Hugs, Margie

  • Reply Laura Gaskill January 24, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    Yay for yellow! I love this palette, it feels so refreshing and just right for January – and I love seeing your process from inspiration all the way through to finished projects, styled shelves, etc. Just beautiful as always dear Leslie! xo

  • Reply kim January 24, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    Beautiful colours, and an amazing artwork from your daughter! I love it!

  • Reply Tereza January 24, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    Your vase with the yellow flowers is so nice! Thanks for sharing

  • Reply Jess (Where My Heart Is) January 24, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    I have been really into yellow and brown paper lately so was thrilled to see this post. Hadn’t thought to put the 2 together – can’t wait to have a play!

  • Reply Amy January 25, 2011 at 1:05 am

    So pretty! I love how you used the brown paper bags and the yellow is such a great contrast! I wouldn’t want to open such a pretty package and destroy it. I really enjoy your inspiration board, what a great way to come up with color choices for your rooms!

  • Reply notabilia January 25, 2011 at 1:15 am

    Huzzah, Leslie! I was looking out for some Color Me Pretty inspiration.

  • Reply Upscale Downhome January 25, 2011 at 1:31 am

    I’ve been noticing this color scheme of yellow, gray, black and the craft paper tan all over and have been loving it for quite some time. I just made a project using these colors, too. Thanks for the inspiration. I love the fact that you let your daughter paint while you work. I am a teacher and it’s wonderful letting them create as they wish but I can see the thought process behind limiting their choices, too.

  • Reply elsa January 25, 2011 at 2:16 am

    Thanks for the inspiration! My year had kicked off a little dry on the creative front, but this post has kick-started the ideas! I love the tiny glimpse I spotted bottom right on the moodboard of the hot air balloon stamped over a map. I also really like the use of the craft paper to soften and warm up the yellow.

  • Reply Melissa January 25, 2011 at 8:43 am

    lemons cheer me up – they are perfect for a January post! I really loved the peek into your notebook with all the little tags and fancy tapes. Love seeing other peoples notebooks!

  • Reply eva January 25, 2011 at 11:41 am

    I really love the touch of yellow. so inspiring and cool. love this post and hope to see more…

  • Reply lentie January 25, 2011 at 11:57 am

    I love those gifts with the brown paper and pretty accents

  • Reply Lynda January 25, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Hi Leslie! I love how you’ve paired the yellow with brown & gray … it keeps it from being overpowering! So bright and cheerful – especially since it’s very dreary here today. Wonderful ideas … thanks!

  • Reply tiffany January 25, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    Hi Leslie, I am so impressed by your inspritation book. I find it totally…inspiring. I’ve been struggling with getting my ideas organized in an efficient and utilitarian manner. I would love to know if that technique is something that you came upon on your own, or if you learned it. Would also love to see more images of your inspiration book, if it wouldn’t be too much to ask! Thanks!

  • Reply erin January 25, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    wow, this is gorgeous! i always tell myself that i’m going to put more time into my wrapping, but then i don’t do it. i’m officially inspired! thanks so much. :)

  • Reply Jordan - Polkadot Prints January 26, 2011 at 3:26 am

    Such gorgeous styling and photos. Definately creates some happy sunshine! The wrapped presents are gorgeous, and want a fun creative idea for the tape in your inspiration book. I might just have to borrow that!

  • Reply Rachel January 26, 2011 at 5:38 am

    Does anyone know the name of the yellow fabric? Or where I can buy?

  • Reply Kathryn January 26, 2011 at 6:00 am

    I love the delicate yellow butterfly!

    AND anemones are my absolute favourite flower. It was a total wild goose chase to arrange getting them in my wedding bouquet and arrangements, and the day before the wedding the flower lady called and said she got the very last blooms of the season and they didn’t work out. So now I own a bunch of silk anemones….kind of awful, kind of awesome.

  • Reply Elisa January 26, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    i really like the potence lamp in the second pic. nice blog btw :)

  • Reply callie marie January 26, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    so much eye candy in this post, im ready for spring! love the measuring tape wrapping “ribbon” :)

  • Reply casapinka January 26, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    Gorgeous as usual! Really appreciate the color palette since we are snowed in yet again in New England. Lovely.

  • Reply mary jo January 26, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    So glad you’re back! I love the pop of yellow against the craft paper–it’s the best cheeriest color for this time of year.

    xo mary jo

  • Reply Carmina January 27, 2011 at 12:48 am

    Yellow looks good with everything here. One of my favorite colors. Reminds me of summer and ice cold lemonade in the afternoon! A bare wall would look good with anything in this color! Thanks for posting these photos!

  • Reply Chuzai Living January 27, 2011 at 7:54 am

    What a lovely post!!! I love the yellow color that pops in white and gray. It gives a warm feeling of spring approaching and it looks so cheerful. I would love to introduce some yellow into our home. I’ll keep looking for items I can add. I love how you used Trader Joe’s bag for wrapping. Since I live overseas now, I don’t get an access to Trader Joe’s (I miss it!!!), but I will try to find the similar type of bags for gifts. I will also have to look for a white pen. Thanks for the inspiring post!

  • Reply Mariann Rea January 27, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Hi, I’m new here in your blog and I love it! :D
    This post is great because I also love lemon yellow! I am a photographer and last year I was doing a project for an italian restaurant called Limoncello. All their dishes include lemons in some way. So I had to shoot lemons in my back yard and absolutely loved it. The bright yellow gave me so much energy too! :)
    I adore your moodboard and inspiration book! Fantastic!

  • Reply Sarah January 27, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    Thanks for this inspiring and practical post. Your mood board is divine; the cool greys really help the yellow pop!

  • Reply AlexisAnne January 28, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    I am in love with this color pallette. I actually sat down earlier this week and picked out some items for the office of my dreams using these colors! (minus the paper bag brown, but I might think about adding that!) thanks for the beautiful take on it. Here’s my dream office by the way:

  • Reply Pixie January 29, 2011 at 3:08 am

    Loving that color scheme but I am TOTALLY in love with that silver tea kettle! Helloooo Mr. Tea Kettle!

  • Reply Claudia@stonehouselove January 29, 2011 at 5:31 am

    I don’t know how you do it but keep them coming…your images uplift me everytime…like a big dose of sunshine and a breath of fresh spring air!

  • Reply Karena January 29, 2011 at 5:41 am

    Very fun and interesting! Leslie your palette is light and refreshing with the gray countering the lemon just enough! It is so inspiring to try new concepts!

    Art by Karena

  • Reply Person January 29, 2011 at 7:14 am

    I think that should be “kraft paper,” rather then “craft paper.”

  • Reply Rambles with Reese January 29, 2011 at 7:33 am

    This is a brilliant post! I love everything about it – from the yellow to the origin of the author’s inspiration. It was just so much fun to read!


    Have a good weekend!

  • Reply Ann Marie January 30, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Such a lovely color scheme for the last days of winter — preparing the mood for wonderful, colorful spring! My mood is lifted already. Especially enjoy the wonderful gift wrapping ideas. Thank you for your efforts — they do not go unnoticed.

  • Reply claudine January 31, 2011 at 12:18 am

    this post made me think that I need to go out and treat myself to fresh flowers more often – so fresh and lovely!!

  • Reply Kitty January 31, 2011 at 8:32 am

    So inspiring and fresh! I love the way you presented sunshine yellow, so cheerful for the cold winter!

  • Reply Lily from Birch + Bird February 1, 2011 at 6:28 am

    Simply gorgeous, as always, Leslie! This colour combination is one of our absolute favourites and the lemons make me long for summer sunshine! Thank you so much for sharing :)

  • Reply mer February 1, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    love it Leslie. adorable packages as always.

  • Reply lesli February 3, 2011 at 8:53 am

    So pretty! Yellow makes me happy–and I love the flowers!

  • Reply Nini February 15, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    Lovely. Completely inspiring for my next project in my graphic design class.

  • Reply Esti February 24, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    I was looking for some yellow inspiration and here it is! So beautiful. I have always loved yellow and am so happy to see it being used more in decorating.
    Thanks for all the loveliness =)

  • Reply Niki Fulton March 2, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    Loved the post & wonderful photos…..we havent quite got lemons on out trees here in Scotland but the days are getting much longer now and your lemons have really put me in the mood for Spring, thank you.

  • Reply Claire March 11, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    I would love to see your Colour inspiration book in more detail – just to see how you organize it. Im the worst at doing this and I have been trying to get more into creating colour schemes . Im excited about todays posts on byw!

  • Reply Tendenciosa May 20, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    Great color, so inspiring! I want a lemon tree in my backyard, here in Córdoba (Argentina), my city, they grow very well!

  • Reply Jan Berry January 30, 2013 at 12:33 am

    Fabulous .

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