Coloring Books for Grown-Ups

When I was a kid, my mom bribed me with coloring books. I’d sit still in the rose-scented, plastic-wrapped parlors of old aunts–for a coloring book. I’d eat pan-fried chicken livers–for a coloring book. I’d get my long hair chopped into the dreaded pixie cut–for a coloring book.

Folk Art Coloring Book by Lisa Congdon

Between the lines. Outside the lines. Whatever. A fresh coloring page and crisp crayons from a 64-pack felt both orderly and filled with possibility. I still feel that way.

But who knew I was in the zeitgeist until I stumbled on this article in the New York Times: Grown-Ups Get Out Their Crayons!

(OK, maybe not a large, well-peopled zeitgeist, more like a mini-zeitgeist of like-minded colorers.)

I recently opted for the Folk Art coloring book by Lisa Congdon pictured above, but here are some other pages that might inspire.

Clockwise from top left:

Secret Japan by Zoe de Las Cases

Splendid Cities by Rosie Goodwin & Alice Chadwick

Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book by Johanna Basford

The Mindfulness Colouring Book by Emma Farrarons

A Coloring Book: Drawings by Andy Warhol

DIY: Brownstone Matchbox

Time for a new matchbox house! This one is a Brooklyn brownstone, pre-gentrification. Get out your fine-point Sharpies, because the free printable coloring page is here: Brownstone Matchbox by Note: I printed the page at 115% to fit the matchbox I had on hand. You may have to do the same. Happy Spring!

Tried It: Wooden Beads & Tassel Necklace

Recently, I’ve spotted a number of bead and tassel projects on Pinterest. Chunky beads plus mini pony-tail tassels equals a kind of folly that appeals to me. I followed instructions from to make a multi-colored tassel, but if you don’t mind going monochromatic, this how-to from is even simpler.

I used 3/8″ wooden beads and bead cord (twine? I’m not sure what it’s called–sorry!) and embroidery floss for the tassels. I have to confess that the necklace is probably too chunky for me to wear (I’m afraid it bears too near a resemblance to the painted macaroni necklaces preferred by preschoolers). I plan to break mine up into stretchy bracelets with tiny tassels. I’ll let you know how that turns out.

Make: Table Runner

This runner was crazy easy to make–a fabric sandwich edged with bias tape. Sadly, I couldn’t be bothered with photographing each step because as I was sewing, I was binge-listening to all 12 of the Serial podcasts. (Which further illustrates just how beautifully mindless this project is: you can devote your whole brain to murder courtroom drama while you work).

Materials: 1 yard cotton canvas (this print is from the Outside Oslo Collection by Jessica Jones), 2 packages of extra wide, double fold bias tape (3 yards in each package), matching thread.

1. Cut two rectangles to desired length (mine were 55″ long, the width of the canvas).

2. Sandwich the two pieces, bad sides together and sew a 1/4″ seam allowance along each side.

3. Sew on bias tape. As a self-taught seamstress, I didn’t go to bias tape school so I followed these helpful directions from oliver + s.

That’s it. As I mentioned, it’s so simple, you can annex your mind toward more worthy goals, like gobbling up whodunit podcasts.

Creative Kid: Valentine Boxes

We didn’t reinvent the wheel this year. Or the valentine. We trotted out last year’s idea and produced in bulk. My third-grader and I used one of our six snow days here in Boston to assembly-line these valentine matchboxes. I glue-sticked and covered in red construction paper and Zeke heart-stamped. The boxes fit exactly 12 M&Ms each. We ate the extra. (I’m not sure what to do with the surplus matches.)

Happy Valentine’s Day!