Tag Archive for ladies coloring club

An Open Letter of Thanks to DailyMail.com

As one of the earlier media outlets to cover this coloring phenomenon that we (my friends and I) have unexpectedly found ourselves a part of, I want to send you a letter of gratitude. I know this letter is a bit tardy in coming—I’ve had a big chunk of life land my plate recently and it’s been taking quite a bit of my time. It should be noted, however, I am getting this out much sooner than I did my wedding thank yous. So, yay for me, I got marginally better at something over 13 years.

Back to the load of thanks I would like to bestow upon you–in response to the load you have offered to the masses. I am going to systematically go through your article and offer up my thanks on various points.

We will begin with the title.

Thank you for giving the Ladies Coloring Club a cult status.“The Cult of Crayola” is what you called it. Thanks for capturing the true spirit of what is going on here. Although, I wonder, which definition were you implying for us. Religious beliefs regarded as strange or sinister? Or, misplaced or excessive admiration? Either one is fine, and I’ve decided it’s the perfect excuse to serve and drink Kool-Aid. Next we will seek to build a remote compound—probably moving our families and loved ones in with us. I think we will don tinfoil hats for good measure.

Calling me out as a cult leader has given me cause for introspection, and I’m always in favor of self-evaluation. I discovered that Psychology Today has an article on Dangerous Cult Leaders. In an effort to check myself, I read through the 50 qualities of a pathological cult leader. I only have about 40 of the characteristics, maybe 45 if it’s pre-coffee on a Monday, either way I’m well in the safety zone, wouldn’t you say?

Thank you for introducing me with the phrase “Meet the Woman.” It was so clever of you to write that in a way that would imply you yourselves had met me, or spoken to me, or emailed me, or Facebooked me, or had any connection with me whatsoever. (And hold on to that Facebooking thought—I owe you a thanks on that as well.) I suppose I owe a similar thanks to New York Magazine, but they will not be receiving a letter because they did not bestow as many gifts upon me as you did. They too had the element of surprise (no prior contact) but they were so very stingy with the embellishments/misrepresentations. How tactless.

Thank you for emphasizing “judgment free zone”—it proves that you at least skimmed my original post, and found an agenda-like quote. Cults should have agendas. Why else offer the Kool-Aid? I do like how it makes me sound so much more open minded than I really am. It also helps affirm in my heart that I am not a dangerous cult leader (since being judgment-free would seem incongruous with quality number 13 on the list, “Makes members confess their sins or faults publicly subjecting them to ridicule or humiliation while revealing exploitable weaknesses of the penitent.” (Complete article here at Psychology Today.)

I believe that’s all of my thanks in regards to the title. I won’t bother mentioning that we don’t meet weekly.

Now, we move on to the body of your piece, where I also have many thanks to offer you.

Thanks for implying we are a group of New York women. One can never be too careful when leading a cult. You don’t want scary people following you around (and I mean that in the least judgy way possible, of course.) It’s good to throw people off the trail a bit. I mean, people have to really search when they’re on my blog to get any idea I’m not in New York. It’s not like I have the word Minnesota in a big yellow header right in the middle of my page.

Thanks for creeping through my Facebook profile pictures and finding one that makes me look somewhat charismatic (an invaluable trait for cult leaders). There are other pictures you could have chosen. Pictures that would be less likely to attract cult-members. At least the type of cult members I am hoping to recruit.

My other hobby--not squatchin but taking selfies in Target.

It was a nice touch to leave off Facebook as a source and add the caption, “Setting up: Blogger Jenny Fenlason (pictured) held the first meeting of Ladies Coloring Club in February and was thrilled with the response.”

The Daily Mail article about me, that I knew nothing about, and was really, really wrong.

Again, really top notch job implying that you had something to do with me or this picture, and that this is how I get set up for my meetings. I can often be found standing with my hands on my hips, surveying my progress toward worldwide domination, internally uttering something like, “Gee golly and boy howdy, am I pleased with how this cult is coming together.” It would have been better if you photoshopped my Kool-Aid grail into the photo. Maybe next time.

Thanks for your inability to read tone—particularly that which leans more tongue and cheek. I know that any time one sees a meme of the Most Interesting Man, it’s hard not to take things to 11 on the serious-meter. Most of my regular readers know I often use hyperbolic statements as part of my style, but not knowing that about me, it’s much more reasonable to assume a person truly hopes coloring will be a worldwide phenomenon. Although, I suppose there’s a little egg on my face here because it appears that it has indeed become quite trendy.

I hear the music playing–the music that ushers people off of the stage when they become too lengthy in their thanks. So, before I get to thanking the Academy, I have two more thanks I’d like to make sure I get in.

Thanks for teaching me about modern journalism (you’re not the only teacher in all of this, but your example has been most striking). In all of this I’ve learned that journalists can (even if it’s ethically questionable) take pictures off of your personal Facebook page (and I understand privacy settings–but what about the settings on ethics?). They can twist and take quotes out of context. They can re-hash a story they read somewhere and post it as truth they’ve discovered and researched. They don’t even have to contact you and let you know that they have plastered your name, and face, and misinformation on an largely circulated “news” outlet. Ultimately, I have learned to not trust a blasted thing you read on the internet (something I long suspected but have now confirmed from by this first hand experience). And for sure, anytime I see anything being circulated by Daily Mail, I immediately wonder how many inaccuracies there are.

And, even though this isn’t your letter I’d like to add …

Thanks Obama. It was fun to show up in the “news” with you. Thanks for sharing face space with me. I’m sorry that on this particular news day I look happier than you. Consider the hands-on-hip stance for a mood brightener.


Yours Truly,
(Supreme Potentate of the Crayola-Cult)

In all sincerity, I am truly thankful that even with this grossly inaccurate news piece, good things are happening with coloring clubs. I never really imagined a fun and somewhat silly post I wrote would spread like this, and result in so much (any) media coverage. I honestly didn’t think it would take off like it has. Right place, right time–I guess. I love connecting with people from all different places in life and something seemingly simple, like coloring, has allowed that to happen. I’m so happy that people are actually getting together and enjoying an encouraging, relaxing time together. There is so much negativity, and busyness in the world—this is refreshing.

That said, I do struggle with misinformation, I like truth. I also like being sassy. So, this letter has been building in me for a quite sometime. I hope you know I am not bitter, and I can find humor in this, but it is wrong to misrepresent people like this. I forgive you Daily Mail—but consider changing your practices. A simple email would have gone a long way.

Here is the article this letter was written regarding:


Here is the piece by New York Magazine. It was written without my prior knowledge, but is more factual.


I only discovered these articles had written been when Google analytics revealed blog traffic coming from them.

Want to color your way to calm? (Review and Giveaway)

There are a couple of things that I have learned over the past month or two.

I have learned that coloring is very popular with adults. More popular than I realized. So popular it’s making news in a variety of ways. I’ve also learned that there are a whole lot of beautiful, charming coloring books designed by artists intended for adults.

When I started coloring with a group of friends, now recognized as the Ladies Coloring Club, (or Cult of Crayola–depending on where you read about us) I was intimidated by the the adult coloring book genre. But, the more I saw people coloring in them, the more intrigued I became.

My intrigue became genuine interest when I was given a couple of books from the Color Your Way to Calm series by Little, Brown and Company publishers. They sent me two books that are coming out this June: Splendid Cities, and Secret Paris.


Color Your Way to Calm Series

These books are now being passed around at our coloring club gatherings. They are beautiful and charming. Everyone loves them and patiently waits their turn to color in them. It might seem silly, but  for me, the charm of these books can be found right in the first few pages with a cute way to label the books as your own.

Color Your Way to Calm Books


Let me tell you a little more about the Secret Paris book first. One of the nice features of this book is that is provides a variety of pages ranging from simple to complex. If you’re up for the challenge of a geometric design, or a Parisian street, there are options for you. If coloring a little stack of tea cups is more your speed, you will also find pages with attractive, less complex, designs.

Secret Paris Sample Pages

I really enjoy the pages that allow me to embrace my inner French fashion designer. I colored these hats over 3 days of vacation. There are plenty of  object-based, collage-type pages, that are easy to start and stop. And, everyone who thumbs through this book is struck by the simple beauty unexpectedly found in this illustration of a woman’s back.

Secret Paris Adult Coloring Book

The Splendid Cities book combines illustrations of, as the name page states, cities real and imagined. From iconic city scenes such as the Sydney bay, to homes in San Francisco, there are plenty of recognizable locations to color, but there are fanciful imagined scenes as well.

Splendid Cities

The illustrations in this Splendid Cities also seem to be a little more geometric.

Splendid Cities

And while much of it is complex, you will also find simple designs, if that’s what you find more calming on a particular day. This book has the added fun of animals hidden throughout the pages, waiting to be discovered.

Splendid Cities
I really enjoy these books. They have a New York one coming out in the fall that I might just have to put on my Christmas list–or treat myself to.

I loved these so much I asked the publisher for a couple of extra copies to give away and spread the love.

How to Win a Copy!

I am going to be giving away one copy of Splendid Cities, and one copy of Secret Paris.

Here’s how you win:

*Visit the Ladies Coloring Club Facebook page and look for the giveaway post.

*Leave a comment under the official giveaway post answering the question “What is your favorite color?”

*One entry per person. Comments will be entered into a random drawing. Two winners will be selected to win the books. (You’ll have to be surprised at which book you get.)

*Entries must be received by midnight, CST, on Thursday June 4th and a winner will be announced on Facebook. This contest is open to all residents within the United States and is not endorsed or affiliated with Facebook in any way.

Good luck! And, if you want to purchase your own copies of these books, and others in the Color Your Way to Calm series they can be found Amazon. Splendid Cities is here, and Secret Paris is here.

Color on,

How I Came to Color on the News

Things are close to being out of control…

And never has this meme been so fitting.

Ladies Coloring Club--a big deal

It has been quite month for Bright Shiny Things. I still have sticky notes for recipes hanging on my kitchen cabinet that I still hope to get written up sometime, but I’ve been distracted.

I’ve been distracted with the normal things of life, especially as we’re getting ready to wrap up school for the year, but, I’ve also been distracted by coloring books, and crayons. (Insert some cartoonish sound effect of screeching breaks and canned laughter, for lame, un-funny, comedic effect.)

Well, it’s not the coloring that’s distracting me so much–it’s the attention my coloring, or rather my post about, and the group of ladies, who color is getting that’s distracting. Original post here: Ladies Love Coloring–How to start a Ladies Coloring Club.

Warning and background…

Be warned I will probably have a few posts dedicated to this topic, but you survived all of the random Elvis stuff so you can probably survive these posts. (Or maybe you’ll ignore them–but let’s pretend that’s not what you do.)

Be also warned this post is a little lengthy–but I hope you find it interesting or, at the very least, mildly amusing.

Now, the reason I intend a few posts about this topic is because there has been a lot of unexpected things happening. I’m going to go into some specifics on a couple of these happenings in follow up posts, but for now, I will focus on how I specifically came to color on the news.

A few weeks back I noticed a bit of a spike in my blog traffic. People were somehow finding my post and sharing it around Facebook. I don’t have a blog that generally gets a lot of traffic that way. If something gets around the interwebs it’s usually a recipe, and it’s usually via Pinterest.

After the Facebook traffic, there came another spike, this time the traffic was coming from nymag.com. I wondered what was going on. A little bit of research lead me to discover New York Magazine was a pretty decent news/media website (I mean they only have a modest 1.4 million Facebook followers). They had found my post, written about it, and I had no clue. Tell me, if you read it, wouldn’t you have thought we spoke? Or emailed? Or something? Click here for the article.

Shortly after that, people started sending me an NBC nightly news piece about adult coloring (not including us) and something about it sent me over the edge. I was slightly irked that people were publishing articles about me, without my knowledge–and feeling really, maybe, even taken advantage of because of my accidental trendiness. (I’m ok now, don’t think I’m complaining–it just kinda caught me off guard.)

So, I sat down with a cup of coffee at 7 AM. I went to the first news station I could think of. Why? Because they have a morning weather guy that I really like. That was my only criteria for picking them. I found a spot on their website that said news tips. I thought, “well, I didn’t think this was news but…”

I proceeded to (very quickly) write the following letter, which was too long for their website form, and required a direct email. It’s full of typos, which I left for your pleasure, as well as a bit of attitude–but as it turns out, they wanted to talk to me anyway!

Here’s the what I wrote.

Dear People Who Decide What’s News.

I have never written to a television broadcast station before. Forgive me for breaching any typical news-station-letter-writing protocol. (I’m not even sure where to send this—please forward or delete as you see fit.)

I am writing to you because I (and a group of ladies I know) are apparently, and initially unknowingly, a part of a large trend sweeping the country—or at least dusting corners here and there

In January, on a whim, I mused to my husband, “I bet if I started a club for women to come and color—bring you own books and crayons and just sit and color—people would come.” He laughed, scoffed really, and can now regularly be found shaking his head in disbelief. He shakes his head because now adult coloring is being talked about everywhere.

His first head shaking occurred when I was interviewed by NPR about our club. “MPR?” he questioned, “No, NPR!” was my reply. I spoke with NPR for 6 minutes and they witted it down to a few seconds. It can be heard here, on All Things Considered, around the 52 second mark: http://www.npr.org/2015/04/01/396634471/artist-goes-outside-the-lines-with-coloring-books-for-grown-ups

I thought that would be the end of it but I also have a blog. It’s not a real blog, meaning, I just do it for me, and for fun. I don’t network, I don’t sell ads, or do those typical blogger things, but I wrote about our little group on it. Last week, somehow, my post was picked up (without my knowledge) by New York Magazine—New York Magazine! Then the LA times linked to that article, and there continues to be news pieces, national news pieces, about adults who color.

You can find these pieces at these sites: http://nymag.com/thecut/2015/05/meet-the-adults-who-love-to-color.html and http://www.latimes.com/books/jacketcopy/la-et-jc-adult-coloring-books-20150507-story.html

My original blog post is here: http://fenlason.net/BrightShinyThings/ladies-love-coloring-how-to-start-a-coloring-club

Being a passionate lover of Minnesota, it seems a shame to me that the national news is getting to tell the story, of this local group of unassuming trendsetters. If you would like to learn more about our club, and this craziness, I’d be happy to talk to you.

If anyone would like to attend our club you’d be welcome.

There are coloring club rules though: it’s for Ladies, and you have to color at coloring club, but how and what you color is up to you (inside the lines, outside—we don’t judge). If you ever stop by some of our members have vowed to wear their nicest yoga pants.

We don’t claim to have started this trend, it was purely coincidental. We have spun off and inspired a few other clubs to start, and it has been great fun to be a part of what’s happening.

Truth be told I don’t watch the news like I used to—my lifestyle doesn’t allow for it often.

So if you have covered this, I missed it, and you my disregard these ramblings.

Jenny Fenlason
Founding Chair-Color-er of the Ladies Coloring Club

They contacted me that same afternoon. They wanted to feature us that night but we couldn’t swing it, so after some going back and forth we worked it out for them do a story on us and visit our club a week later. You can see the story here.

Since my first contact with the news, another media outlet picked us up–only it’s a tabloid, and it’s all wrong, but it’s given me great fodder for an open letter to them (one of the follow-up). And then, after the story aired, it’s been shared all over the place. It’s a little crazy.


For the record, this is the only news outlet I have contacted personally, besides the short blurb on NPR after I responded to their call for adults who color. Anywhere else you read about me–is not from me seeking it out, and at this point, most of them are not without my prior knowledge (other blogs linking to me are cool–that’s a blogger thing, that’s different).

A lot of good things have come out of the craziness. I’m making new connections and I love connecting with people. So many women have contacted me about our club, or starting their own that we set up a Ladies Coloring Club Facebook page to help people all over connect and color. 🙂

And, I’ve also been given some brand new coloring books that I’ll tell you about in another follow-up post. Maybe even give one away … I’ll work on it.

I think that’s it for now.

I warned you this was long. Sorry about that. Just know, this is only a fraction of the things that have been going on in and outside of my head with this. (Translation: It could be worse.)


Ladies Love Coloring! (How to Start a Coloring Club)

UPDATE: Hi! And wow! This is post really getting around. I’ve set up a Facebook page specifically for our coloring clubs, and others who want to get started, or want to connect with like minded people. Check it out here: http://www.facebook.com/LadiesColoringClub


And now the post you were looking for …


“She posted on Facebook once and you won’t believe what happened next…”

“Ladies Google ‘adult coloring books’ and it’s not what you think…”

“Grown women enter a local coffee shop and no one expected what happened next…”

I’d never stoop to the level of click-bait lines to promote a post, but if I did it would be one of those. And I was really tempted to with this post because, at the very least, some moderately remarkable happened recently.

Shortly after Christmas a friend posted a picture of a coloring book for grown-ups. Seeing it made me think about how much I enjoy coloring. My boys don’t really enjoy it–they draw all kinds of pictures, and battle plans, but never really sit down with a book and crayons, so I don’t get much of a chance to color.

Then this little idea popped into my head, and I vocalized it to my husband, “I should start a Ladies Coloring Club!”

I don’t recall what he said, if anything, but I do recall that his expression was one of incredulity. Undeterred, I continued.

“We bring our own books and crayons–BYOB and C– to a coffee shop and just sit and color. I think it’s brilliant. People will feel relaxed, they don’t have to make awkward eye contact, they can just color and relax and chat.”

And then he said something to the effect of, “You think people would really come to that?”

Now, before I tell you the facts of what transpired next, you must know that if, at any point, I am challenged on an idea, I will in fact fight, and try even harder to prove that I am indeed correct, and brilliant, or at least not completely crazy. So, not only was I excited about my idea, I was dead set on proving him wrong.

And a funny thing happened. I didn’t need to fight for my idea very much. I threw out a vague post on Facebook about the idea.

Ladies Coloring Club

People immediately responded with likes and comments–over 40 of each. Don’t tell my husband, but even I was a little surprised by the response.

Then I set a date and “advertised it”.

Ladies Coloring Club
Then I had about 11 people show up for the first meeting, we posted a group-selfie, and the response was impressive. The comments, the likes, the people wanting to join. Over 100 people were intrigued by this club.

That was January, and we just had our February meeting where 23 people showed up. We more than doubled in attendance and not everyone from the first meeting could make it.(This photo was before everyone had arrived.)

Ladies Coloring Club

There sat twenty three grown women with crayons, and pages, and books, and beverages. Some colored simple childlike pictures, some did elaborate works, some free handed. It was fantastic. Everything I’ve dreamed and more.
Ladies Coloring Club Art

I didn’t intend to blog about this when we started, but now I’ve had a few different people say they’d like to start coloring clubs where they live and wouldn’t it be great if Ladies Coloring Club became a worldwide phenomenon? We can all be connected with the hashtag #ladiescoloringclub (that’s what I’ve been using). Imagine it! Women, worldwide, united in coloring.

I’m encouraging you to start a chapter, it’s simple and here are some tips.

1. Find a casual spot. I prefer a locally run coffee shop, but that’s just me.

2. Pick a time. Evenings (7-9) seems to work best for my club. Once a month.

3. Invite random ladies. Anyone and everyone should be welcome. A few Facebook posts was all it took for me. We started a Facebook group after the first meeting so people could invite others to join, and to make sure no one misses a post about meetings.

4. Strive to keep coloring club a judgment free zone. Inside the lines, outside the lines, it’s not how or what you color–it’s that you color. Maybe someone just needs to scribble as a way to release stress, and that’s ok too.

5. Create memes to remind people of upcoming meetings. Ok, that’s not a necessary step, but fun.


Ladies Coloring Club Meme

What do you think?


Does Ladies Coloring Club sound like something you’d want to attend or start? If so, do it! It’s super easy and low key. If you do start one, and if you post anything on social media consider using our hashtag #ladiescoloringclub so we can see our fellow club members.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, my husband was surprised by the turn out. After our last meeting he said, “I couldn’t get 23 guys to sit and do that if I offered free beer!” but I guess that just proves what I suspected–ladies love coloring.

Be proud of your coloring ladies!