Showing posts sorted by relevance for query coloring books. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query coloring books. Sort by date Show all posts

Monday, July 3, 2017

Reviewing Colorful Pens, Pencils, and Coloring Books

Traveling doodles
I recently spent several days in a row attending presentations. Oh how the time drags when I sit for hours on end. Fortunately, I had several of my InkJoy pens with me, which made note-taking and doodling more interesting. However, I regretted not bringing along some coloring pages or one of my journals with me. I doodled so much on the training handouts that my notes ended up being illegible. With so many different coloring items available, it was an oversight on my part to not take sufficient adult "fidgets" with me. An oversight that won't happen again. I am writing this as both a reminder for myself and a review of some of the best adult coloring and journaling items available.

Adult Coloring Books

Bev shared with us the gift her husband gave her for Valentine's Day - Midnight Garden Coloring Book. Prior to her review of this adult coloring book, I hadn't been aware that coloring books with black backgrounds existed. What a great idea! the black backgrounds result in vibrant finished pages.

Adult coloring books are so much in demand that they are now offered in "travel" or "on-the-go" sizes. These small coloring books are the perfect size for me. They fit in my work bag so I will be able to take them with me everywhere I go. The spiral-bound books are the best for laying the books flat and coloring ease.

on-the-go coloring books with travel pouch included

Colorful Pens

I mentioned my InkJoy pens. I find those ball point pens to be the best for doodling, note-taking, and journaling.  The colors are vibrant, the ink doesn't blob, and InkJoy pens are readily available in local stores and online. I really like being able to journal or take notes in a wide range of colors. one day I may be in a "blue" mood and another day I may want to write in pink, or orange, purple, or brown.

While my InkJoy pens are perfect for doodling, journaling, and taking colorful notes gel pens are better for coloring pages. This highly rated set of premium gel pens include metallic, glitter, and neon colors.

premium gel pens set with case and refills 

Colorful Pencils

I tend toward colored ink and fine-tipped colored markers rather than colored pencils. But I know many people who prefer a quality colored pencil. How fortunate we are that our own Heather has created high quality colored pencils and offers them for sale to the public! If you create with colored pencils you must check out her pencils at Aurora Art Supplies.

Related Link - Beautiful Blank Journals

It never, ever fails... when I'm sitting somewhere and am trying to be attentive, my mind wanders. I come up with the best blog ideas or I remember the forgotten grocery list items. When I don't have a journal available, I write these random thoughts down on scraps of paper, only to loose that scrap of paper. 

I realize that currently, most people write notes and reminders on their phone. I have occasionally sent myself a text message as a reminder. However, I still tend to do better with written reminders to myself. Or some of my thoughts and reminders are too long for a text message to myself. If I put my thoughts or lists in a journal, I can find them later when I need them.

Blank journals come in many shapes, sizes, and attractive designs. They also come in lined and unlined options. I find that I rely on blank journals for writing and remembering the old fashioned way.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Saturday, June 22, 2019

Color Outside the Lines – Reviewing Summer Color and Activity Books for Kids or Adults

Collage created on FotoJet
Summertime brings us wonderful weather for favorite outdoor activities. But sometimes it is too hot to play outside or rainy days force us inside. That's when some indoor activities are needed. 

Television programs and noisy games are fun, but sometimes 'quiet times' are welcome. Having a variety of coloring and activity books can be a perfect fit for such times. 

Coloring Books

Coloring books for both kids and adults are always fun. Here are a couple new ones to try.

Dr. Seuss Coloring Book

Available on Amazon

The Dr. Seuss Coloring Book is filled with playful patterns and intricate images based on everyone's favorite Dr. Seuss characters, this 80-page coloring book will occupy children from age 7 and up all the way to parents and grandparents who remember the lovable Dr. Seuss books. 

The illustrations come from such Dr. Seuss titles as The Cat in the Hat, Oh, the Places You'll Go, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, Horton Hears a Who and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, to name a few. 

Now you can color Dr. Seuss any way you want!

The World of Debbie Macomber: Come Home to Color: An Adult Coloring Book

Available on Amazon

While the kids are coloring Dr. Seuss, mom or grandma fans of Debbie Macomber can enjoy their own coloring book. Based on the Blossom Street and Rose Harbor series, this special adult coloring book has 45 original illustrations that depict scenes from the series. Revisit favorite locales and relive the themes from these favorite Debbie Macomber stories. 

Summertime Activities

See on Amazon

Keep the kids entertained when inclement weather spoils vacation fun or the 'kids' start their “I'm Bored” routines with this fun DIY activity book called The Dad Lab.  The book contains 50 projects in the interesting realm of science and technology. The projects are simple and use materials found around the house.  I can already see that the project “make slime with only two ingredients” is one my young grandsons would enjoy. 

A fun way for mom & dad and grandparents to spend quality time with the kids in a way the kids would also enjoy.


Image from Bev Owens Article
Reviewing Fine Art Colored Pencils
on ReviewThisReviews

Add in some colorful crayons for the kids, and special pens and pencils for the intricate designs for adults and you'll be creating beautiful pages. 

So don't let weather spoil your summer vacation. These coloring and activity books will give everyone hours of fun and enjoyment. 

Check out a variety of fun reviews of other coloring books and coloring pencils on ReviewThisReviews: Coloring Books

(c) Wednesday Elf 6/23/2019

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Reviewing An Adult Coloring Book

Midnight Garden: Coloring For Adults

One of my Valentine gifts this year was a new Adult Coloring book, Midnight Garden. My sweet husband knows me so well! He knows that I love to color and that I love flowers and birds which this book is full of.

I have other coloring books for adults but what I really like about this one is that all of the backgrounds are in black so the colors that I choose to use really pop on each page.

I also love that each page is perforated so that they can be removed before coloring or after. The advantage to removing before coloring is that if I press hard with a colored pencil it won't leave an imprint on the page underneath. I tend to lightly color in spaces but for outlining and some areas I do want to make the color dark.

Coloring is an activity that I have enjoyed for over 6 decades. I can't remember just when I picked up that first crayon but I do know that it was love at first touch and have never really stopped coloring. Naturally, at a young age the coloring was in books for children. As I became old enough to babysit, I would usually encourage the children to color. Sure, I wanted them to enjoy it but it gave me an opportunity to color, too! When my daughters were born, well, you guessed it...they were encouraged to color so that Mommy could color with them. Grandma has coloring books for the grandchildren and of course she has to sit and color with them!

You can imagine my joy when the adult coloring books started to come on the market a few years ago! I don't mind coloring in those little juvenile books but to have images meant for adults to enjoy is just awesome. They certainly present more of a challenge in the art of coloring and are a great stress reliever in the process. Not that I need to be stressed to pick up a colored pencil, crayon or marker; I just love the process as a whole.

Currently, I prefer using colored pencils while coloring. I love the ability to shade that they offer. Sometimes you can do that with crayons and markers, also but the pencils just do a better job in my opinion. The image to the right is a page from the Midnight Garden book that I did with my colored pencils. I just love the way it turned out.

Adult coloring books have become very popular in the last few years. My last trip to the book store was a pleasant surprise with several options available. They have even started Adult coloring clubs in the store. There is enough interest that they have opened the store to the clubs two nights a week. Isn't that cool?

How about you? Do you love to color? When was the last time you picked up a crayon or colored pencil and let your creativity out? It can be very relaxing and almost therapeutic in many ways. There are a lot of times that I will sit down to color a page to allow myself to focus on something else entirely. I may be working on a writing piece and feel a little bit of a block in how I want to write a passage. If I sit down and color for a while, I can think through the blockage. It might not work for everyone but for me it is a way to meditate and come up with a better writing job. Most of the time, I just color for the joy of coloring, though. 

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Monday, August 10, 2015

Adult Coloring Books are all the Rage

It's amazing to me that a new fad has hit the market.  In a time when everyone wants everything done yesterday,  Adult Coloring Books beg for you to take your time!

It seems,  we have found out, that running the rat race is sometimes driving us to a place where we all need just a little bit of quiet and peace.

Adult coloring books are much like the ones we had as children, but the designs are a little more intricate and require a steady hand.

That and a little patience, along with a good supply of coloring pencils or markers will make you an artist of exceptional beauty, brought to life by your own hands.

The Secret Garden is one of these Coloring Books.  I have seen it entirely from cover to cover and they are beautiful in design!  You are free to use your own imagination, pick your favorite predominant colors and  complete them to your own tastes.

The author of these pictures was trying to sell 200,000 copies, so that she would have enough to start another project.  What she did not know is that she would sell over a million copies of her beautiful book.

So, book number two became a reality as well.....

The Enchanted Forest is as beautiful as the Secret Garden and will keep any adult occupied for hours. The best part of this whole coloring book craze is that when you need some peace and quiet, something that will soothe your overworked nerves, you just need to grab your book and turn to the page you last worked on (or start a different one), and within the hour, you will find yourself unwinding and relaxing like never before.

In our busy world, these easy, beautiful and inexpensive books, will save you from many hours of therapy.  We have forgotten how to relax and enjoy the simple pleasures in life.  These Coloring Books are just that, a simple pleasure.

Add some wonderful markers, crayons or pencil crayons and you are all set to go.  I dare you to try it, and I bet you will love it.

Once you have finished one of the pictures, come on back and let us see.......share and let us admire your handiwork or send me the link and I'll post it.....

Just take a look at one of the beautiful designs in the Enchanted Forest...

The Magic Garden and Enchanted Forest are works of Johanna Basford, author and illustrator. I think she has a great future with her designs and I'm grateful that she has shared her talent with us.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Monday, August 7, 2017

Moodle Stressed Review

Moodles - doodles that change your mood.
What is a Moodle? In a Google search, the word "Moodle" brings up a variety of search results. The Moodle I am reviewing is a book series that was designed by the author to improve mood through doodling. This is a book that I personally would have picked up from the shelf, flipped through, then put back on the shelf and wandered away. But after seeing the Stressed volume put to use, I decided that I needed to help spread the word about the Moodle series.  

What is a Moodle and why is there a series?

The Moodle books were written and illustrated by Emily Portnoi. She describes the books as:

"...a new concept in therapeutic doodling - fun doodle books for adults or children, with the power to change your mood"  -- Emily Portnoi

Ms. Portnoi is a Designer, Art Director, and Illustrator. I think that her enjoyment of aesthetics and fun art is easy to see in the pages of her book.

Why I recommend the Moodle Stressed Volume

Since I admitted that this is a book that I would have leafed through then left behind on the bookstore shelf, why would I now recommend that very same book? I recommend it because one of my "kids" recommended it. And I watched as this young person "Moodled" into calmness.

There is nothing new about coloring, doodling, and fidgeting (keeping the hands busy while focusing on a task) as a means of relieving stress or anxiety. Ms. Portnoi writes that her books are a new concept in therapeutic doodling. I don't fully agree with that statement. Doodling/drawing is something that I've done with the kids I work with for just over two decades now (wow, time flies!). Some of the doodles in the Moodle book were very similar to things I've done with the kids over the years.

Are you still wondering why I recommend these books? I can see why you would be wondering that.  Let me explain a little more.

  • The size of the book is a handy size (approx. 6" x 7.8").   
  • The bold print of the illustrations is eye-catching and Ms. Portnoi's illustrations are fun and engaging.  
  • What is new about her books is the variety of activities. All of the suggested doodles are open-ended and can be as brief or detailed as the user chooses.  
  • The page corners are rounded and smooth
  • The pages are thick and a slightly "slick" paper stock (I am not a publisher, so I am unsure of the correct terminology). Not too slick for pens and pencils, but not regular rough paper stock.
  • The feel/texture of the pages were clearly pleasing to the youngster I was with while we colored in the book.

A few quick photos I took of some of the pages in the Stressed volume to show the variety of activities

The book is suitable for pencils, pens, and colored pencils. I did note that my young friend was using markers and gel pens. Some of the most vibrant and "wet" ink markers/pens did slightly bleed through the pages while some of the gel pens did not.

While this book was not my cup of tea, it was clearly very enjoyable for this young person. The activity did in fact improve mood and release stress in a remarkably short period of time. 

As we sat and colored, I realized that I should stock up on some of the books in this series. I think that the book series will be helpful for folks who need to calm, focus, release stress, and improve mood. In my mind, I created a list of some of the people I will recommend the book to - including folks on the Autism Spectrum and who have difficulties with symptoms of anxiety, impulsivity, and ADHD.

The Moodles series offered on Amazon - including Moodles Happy

Related Link

I enjoy coloring and doodling and was recently reminded of the importance of carrying supplies with me. I prefer mandala style coloring pages and discovered these small on-the-go adult coloring books.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Sunday, May 19, 2019

Five Fabulous Fairy Coloring Book Reviews

Five Fabulous Fairy Coloring Book Reviews
Fairies are so enchanting and the coloring books gathered here on this page are lovely. They will please both the children and adults in your life who love to color. They will not just please your child but will also let her develop her imagination while she has fun coloring the drawings. Some of these books will keep the user occupied for hours; others for a lesser time frame.

Any one of the coloring books on this page would be a great idea for Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers or even for birthday party favors at a fairy themed birthday party. There is bound to be a faerie coloring book here that your child will love and there are even some here that you will love. If you're giving one as a gift, be sure to include a box of crayons.

Fairy World Stained Glass Coloring Book

The first book shown here, Fairy World: Stained Glass Coloring Book, is a Dover Little Activity Book. It's a cute little book with thin pages that is recommended for individuals who are between the ages of Kindergarten and Grade 5. The pages are thin so that when you hold them before a light source, the light shines through, giving a stained glass effect.

As a Dover Little Activity Book, it is indeed a small book and not a full-size coloring book and it only has a few images. There is nothing wrong with that as long as you are aware of the fact and don't expect a full-size book.  It's also very affordable at just under $2, making it perfect for those stocking stuffers and party grab bags. Click here to find this Fairy World Stained Glass Coloring Book from Amazon.

Fairy World Stained Glass Coloring BookGarden Fairies Stained Glass Coloring Book

Garden Fairies Stained Glass Coloring Book

Darcie May has created this second beautiful Dover coloring book with fairies nestled among the garden. Once again once they are colored in you can take them to a light source and the stained glass will come to life. Beautiful and bound to be a huge success.

The Garden Fairies Stained Glass Coloring Book is suitable for children over 6 years of age. It has 16 pages done in black and white on parchment paper. Click here to find the Garden Fairies coloring book online.

Amy Brown Fairies Coloring BookFlower Fairies Alphabet Coloring Book

The Amy Brown Fairies Coloring Book

Amy Brown has been painting fairies for more than 20 years. Her artwork features detailed illustrations of fairies. Whether you are a little girl or a grown-up girl who is interested in fairies, you will enjoy this fairy coloring book, which is suitable for children of all ages. It has twenty one-sided pages that measure 8.5 by 11 inches. Click here to find Amy Brown's coloring book on Amazon.

Flower Fairies Alphabet Coloring Book

Your youngster will learn her alphabet and the names of 24 of the most popular flower fairies as she colors in the beautiful pictures presented in the Flower Fairies Alphabet Coloring Book, which features the artwork of Cicely Mary Barker. This book has 24 pages and is recommended for children from Kindergarten age to Grade 2.  Click here to find the Flower Fairies Alphabet coloring book on Amazon.

Fairy Fashion Coloring Book

Fairy Fashion Coloring Book

The Fairy Fashion colouring book presents pretty fairies dressed in the height of fairy fashion. Your fan will love spending time bringing these images to life with color. There are also plenty of cats, squirrels, birds and their friends keeping them company.

The artwork in this book is by Scott Altmann. The Amazon customer reviews bounce around a bit so make sure to check them out before you buy. Many of the issues are with varying tastes for the style of the illustrations.

The Fairy Fashion Coloring Book is recommended for individuals 5 years of age and up. It is a Dover Coloring Book and has 32 pages. Click here to find the Fairy Fashion coloring book on Amazon.

Do you believe in fairies? Do you like fairies? What about coloring books?

See you
at the book store!
Treasures By Brenda

More Fairy Reading:

Fairy Tale: A True Story Movie Review
A lovely family-friendly movie about fairies.

Were The Cottingley Fairies Real or Fake?
In 1917 in Cottingley, Yorkshire, England, a pair of young ladies named Elsie Wright (16) and Frances Griffiths (10) believed that there were fairies in their garden...

Abby Cadabby: Create A Sesame Street Fairy Gift Set

A Few Fairies on eBay
Discover a few select fairy-themed items in my eBay store, Treasures By Brenda.

Fairy Coloring Book

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Friday, June 10, 2016

Review How To Draw Monsters Books for Kids

Drawing Monsters Can Be Fun And Educational!

Drawing monsters is fun and can be educational as well as encouraging a child to stay focused on a task simply because they love it.
Is your child one of those kids who can't seem to sit still for more than two minutes?

If you give him a picture to color does he speed through it, not caring what it looks like, so he can move on to something else?

Do you have to follow along behind him and finish his chores because he zipped through them so he could get that cookie you promised?

Those are the signs of someone who requires instant gratification.  Your child doesn't have time to focus on doing anything well, he doesn't care if he's giving it 100% effort, and he doesn't care what the results are when he's done.  He just wants to complete the task, grab his reward, and move on to the next bright, shiny object.

As an adult, you know your child needs to learn the value of seeing a project through from start to finish and he needs to learn what it feels like to be proud of his work.  But first you have to find a project that will hold his attention!

Every kid likes to draw and who doesn't love monsters!

Draw Manga Monsters!  (XTreme Art)

Recommended for Ages 7-9 yrs

 Draw Manga Monsters! (XTreme Art)Chris Hart is the master of the "How To Draw" books for kids and adults who want to learn how to draw everything from flowers to animals to... well, monsters!

His books are used by teachers to teach drawing in elementary school classrooms and even daycare center operators use them to teach shapes and basic drawing techniques to preschool kids.  His instructions are clear and easy to understand and even if your child isn't reading yet, he'll be able to follow along with the diagrams.

Draw Manga Monsters is a great book for beginners because it has step-by-step instructions, starting with the most basic, simple shapes.  Your child will learn how to turn circles and square and triangles into gruesome, scary or cute monsters.  

Drawing pictures is one of the best ways for you child to develop his fine motor skills - from learning how to handle a pencil to learning to gauge spacing, shape and depth.  And since every kid loves monsters, you know that while they're learning they're also having fun!

Books that Teach a Child to Draw

Books that teach your child how to draw allow him to use his imagination but they also teach him a few things while he's having fun:

 Draw 50 Beasties
  1. Accomplishment:  Drawing is always fun and your child gets to use his imagination.  In the end there's a sense of accomplishment when his monster actually looks like the one in the book.
  2. Creativity:  Your child will learn how to break drawings down into simple shapes and how to use his imagination to flesh out the monsters.  This skill might seem trivial now but it forms the basis of the problem solving skills he'll need later in life.
  3. Eye/Hand Coordination:  Following the guides in the book while he draws his own monsters will help develop your child's eye/hand coordination and improve his skill at recognizing spatial relationships.
  4. Following Instructions:  Who would have thought that something as easy as drawing monsters would teach your child how to follow instructions?  Do you know how many adults are out there who can't pass a test because they can't follow a simple instruction like "Print your name here"? 

How to Draw 101 Monsters: Easy Step-by-step Drawing

Recommended for Ages 5 and up

 How to Draw 101 Monsters: Easy Step-by-step Drawing (How to draw)Dan Green has been a rock star, a newspaper editor and a motorcycle rider, but he has also written humor books and comic strips for Horrible Histories and Horrible Science, which makes him pretty good at drawing cartoon characters.  Especially monsters!

His "How To Draw 101..." books cover all kinds of fun topics - animals, monsters, manga, chibis, fairies, cars, funny people and cartoon characters.   

Don't buy this book for your child!   You'll get addicted! Before you know it you AND your kids will be so busy drawing monsters you'll forget all about the laundry and the housework and the TV show you watch every Tuesday night and...  Yeah!  You get the picture.  This whole series of books is fun for anyone that enjoys drawing.  Even if you can't draw!


 Colored Pencils For Coloring Pages, High Quality Coloring Pencils for Adults, Color Pencil Set For Coloring Books, Writing and Sketching, Set of 48 assorted versatile colors! By Aurora Art SuppliesTM

Drawing Is Fun And Educational
A lot of arts and crafts projects that your children enjoy require at least some adult supervision.  The drawback is you have to show them how to use scissors or how to glue things together.  Most of the time you have to read the directions first and break it down into terms your child can understand.

Drawing is different.  There is no right or wrong way to draw a picture and the only equipment involved is a pencil and a piece of paper.  No matter what the monster looks like when your child gets done it's going to be unique and creative because it comes from his own imagination.

Here are a Few More Favorites in the World of Monster Drawing Books Available

Review How To Draw Monsters Books for Kids written by:
House of Sylvestermouse

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Why I Decided to Create Aurora Art Supplies™ Coloring Pencils...

Review of Aurora Art Supplies Colored Pencils

...And why I am writing a review of my own colored pencils.
Aurora Art Supplies coloring pencils

Ever since I published my first coloring book last year I have been getting lots of letters from fans and questions about which colored pencils I recommend. I also color myself, and my artist husband colors his sketches before he paints, so we have a lot of colored pencils at our house. I wanted to find out which ones are best for which types of coloring so I bought a bunch of them. There is quite a variety of coloring pencils, so it can be an adventure to choose the right ones.

Then in the midst of this experiment, I read that due to the worldwide coloring craze going on, stores are having trouble keeping them in stock! Some people in my coloring groups were telling me that they had to wait for over 3 months to get the ones they want.
A light bulb went off in my head. What if I could create some really high quality coloring pencils that are not so costly as the ones available right now?

So I asked around in my groups for a list of what people are looking for in a coloring pencil. Not everyone wants the same thing of course, but there are some common themes. Colorists want creamy coloring pencils with colors that blend easily. They want a variety of colors. They mostly like hexagonal shaped pencils so they won't roll off the table. They want longer ones. Many coloring pencils come in 5 inch lengths, and people feel ripped off. By the time you sharpen them a few times you are dealing with a stubby pencil. And they want them to be strong enough that they won't break easily. A big request was that the pencils be usable as water color pencils by adding water. And they want them to be affordable. Whew! That's a long wish list!

coloring pencils

But I took my list and started talking to suppliers in China. (I really wanted to find an American supplier, but had no luck, so I went to China. Even some of the most expensive coloring pencils are made there, and the factories are already set up so all you have to do is give them your specifications.) One of the first things on my list of specifications was a larger lead inside the pencil so that the lead would be stronger, and the pencils would last longer. (Of course it's not real lead, and it's non toxic!) Then I made sure mine are 7 inches long. All of those factors mean you are already getting more for your money than you would with a lot of coloring pencils. Then I had the supplier give me lots of different formulas to choose from. I selected a formula that is wax based, but with less wax than a lot of them, and more pigment. This makes it possible to add a little water to your pencil and blend so the result is somewhat like the effect of water colors on the finished art.

For my first product, I chose a set of 48 colored pencils, which gives a variety of colors and since they blend easily you can make other colors by blending 2 or more of them. In the future I will add a set of 72, and a smaller set of 36. I will also add different types of coloring pencils, for example, very soft chalk type oil based pencils. (like Prismacolors) I also plan to add colored markers and high quality artist brushes to my line of products. Aurora Art Supplies™ is just getting started as a company, but it's here to stay. Stay tuned for many more products! You can see the company website here: Aurora Art Supplies™

Here is my first set of colored pencils, available now at Amazon. I already have happy customers. You can see for yourself they are vibrant! I included a mini coloring book of flowers hand drawn by me for the first 1000 customers. I hope everyone will love them!

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Easter and Church A Simple Way to Make It Easy for Children

Children and Faith, Our Duty as Christian Parents and Grandparents During this Holiday Season.

In the last 30 years Church attendance has dropped significantly.  Christians still want to attend services at special times of the year and one of them is coming up very shortly.  There are two major celebrations in the Christian community.  Christmas being the first.  Easter is the Second.  Both of these times in the year are  Holidays, and important in the life of a Christian community.  Christmas we celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ and at Easter, we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus from the Tomb.  Both of these "Holy Days" are usually marked by increased attendance at your local church's worship services.

Easter Church Services

Attending Church services with our family is one of the most wonderful times in a parents and grandparents lives.  It's a great time for us Parents and Grandparents to acknowledge our faith and share it with our families. 

The Question remains, how do we get our children (many of which haven't participated in regular Church Services) to sit quietly at the Services we are attending?  Every parent enters the church with trepidation and fear that their little ones will be disruptive during the Easter Service.

I'm here to tell you that with a little planning ahead, children can and will behave in a way that will not put you to shame.  But it does take some planning.

So let's get to it. Prepare, prepare, prepare!

First of all let's find out how long the church service will last.  Sometimes it will be 30 to 45 minutes and other services may last a few hours.  Knowing how long you need to keep your children engaged will help you plan better. 

Let's assume that services will be about an hour long.  That 60 minutes of quiet time that your children need to get a handle on.

Let's Pack a Church Bag* to take with us to services.  Inside will be all kinds of quiet activities that your children can do when they become restless.  So these are the things I would take along:

*Contents of a great Church Bag

  1. Books, depending on the age of your children, they can be picture books or story books.
  2. Stickers and some paper for them to make their own picture of the Bible story they  will hear.
  3. Coloring books with crayons. (if you have more than one child, make sure you have a book for each one of them!)
  4. Puzzle books, find the words, or crosswords are great!
  5. Small soft Easter type toys, stuffed bunnies, chicks or eggs. You can find some really cute ones here at Coastal Crochet Crafts! 
DO NOT PACK Candy of any Kind.  That would be setting you up for a sugar rush and you don't want to have that during this quiet time.   You should prepare your children ahead of time.  Make it a game to see how long they can be quiet at home, before the Church event happens.  Small rewards for being able to be quiet can help you to increase the time span.  Tell them that they are practicing for the quiet time that they will have to adhere to while Church services are happening.  Practice whispering to each other if conversations need to be had.   Bringing electronic toys to church is not a good idea.  They are very distracting to your child and to others around them.  Even adults are distracted by electronic toys.  Better to stick to bringing a book or two.  Picture books are great and children are always enchanted by stories that they can read.  I happen to like Easter Books that tell the Story of the Resurrection.

There are several available and they will help you to explain to your children what this Season of Easter is all about too!  Children learn from their parents and grandparents about their faith beliefs and it is up to us to encourage that faith.    After Church Services are concluded, I'm sure there will be time for the infamous Easter Egg hunt.  Children especially like this part of the Easter festivities.  Dinner on Easter Sunday will be a gathering of all the family at the table to share in the wonderful foods and desserts that have been lovingly prepared for us.  After all Easter is a whole season of REJOICING!  Everything is new including the seasons.  Everything is in bloom or will be soon.

Please know that most Christians are very happy to see the little ones at church services!  They are a delight to us older folks who remember all to well taking our own children to Services.

Happy Easter to all, The Lord is Risen, He is Risen indeed!

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Reviewing Fine Art Colored Pencils

Use Good Pencils When Coloring or Sketching

Colored Pencils
I mentioned in another post a few weeks back that I love to color in the coloring books that are on the market specifically for adults. What I  am finding is that the quality of the pencils does make a difference in the outcome of your finished piece. I have decided that for future coloring pages, I want to use the fine art colored pencils when I color. 

The picture on the left is an example of one variety of colored pencils (I found the image at Pixabay). Now, I can't tell from the image if they are what is considered fine art pencils or not but they look to be of a good quality. If you have done much coloring or if you are an artist, you know that not all colored pencils are the same. As a general rule the less expensive the the pencil the lower quality of the pencil. With the lower quality pencils the colors are not as vivid, they might not blend well and the end result may not be as vibrant as you want them to be.

I have a birthday coming up and I've decided to ask my family for some Marco Raffine Fine Art colored pencils. They are a better quality than the pencils that I use right now. From what I can tell from my research they would be considered a high end student pencil or a low end artist grade pencil. They are a good choice for me to move up to. Maybe later, I can get some even higher quality colored pencils as I progress in my skills but for now this seems like the logical next step in my growing collection of coloring supplies.

I think that I will be happy with the upgraded quality of these pencils over the ones that I am coloring with now. With the less expensive pencils I can blend and shade and layer but it takes quite a few steps to accomplish the look that I am going for. The Marco Raffine pencils should do a better job with those techniques than the cheaper pencils that I use at the moment.

As much as I love to color and that it relaxes me, I do want to have my finished coloring pages to look a little more refined. My own little pieces of fine art, if you will. As I hone my skills, I would like to frame some of the finished pages at some point and time. I think that I will be happier with a higher grade of pencil and eventually be proud enough of something to frame it.

How about you? Had you considered that not all colored pencils are created the same? Would you be willing to pay a little more if you knew that the quality of the pencil was going to give you better results? Or does it even matter to you?

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Friday, September 9, 2016

Reviewing How To Draw Spongebob: Step By Step

Every Kid Likes To Draw Spongebob Squarepants

If you've been looking for some type of craft project or creative outlet for your child, then you can't go wrong with a How To Draw Spongebob Step-By-Step Guide.
Nickelodeon's Spongebob Squarepants hit TV screens on May 1, 1999.  Since then Spongebob, along with his pet snail Gary and his best friend Patrick Star, have starred in more than 400 episodes of this popular cartoon.

If you've been looking for some type of craft project or creative outlet for your child, then you can't go wrong with a How To Draw Spongebob Step-By-Step Guide.

Kids already know all the characters on the show and what kid doesn't like to draw?  This book will show him step-by-step exactly how to draw his favorite - Spongebob Squarepants.

How to Draw Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants

 How to Draw SpongeBob SquarePants: The Bikini Bottom Collection (Licensed Learn to Draw)
Back Cover Shown Here - Front Cover shown in Introduction
If your child can hold a pencil, he or she is old enough to follow the steps in this book.

Even if they can't read yet, kids can have fun learning how to draw Spongebob Squarepants.   This colorful book shows them every single step they need to take.

How hard can it be?  The guy's a sponge!

That's why this is the ideal first "How To Draw" book for kids who want to learn how to draw cartoons.  Spongebob is basically just a collection of shapes - circles and squares and rectangles.  Put them all together in the right order and Voila!   Spongebob Squarepants! 

Easy, Step-By-Step Guide: Anyone Can Draw Spongebob Squarepants

 Learn to Draw The Best of Nickelodeon: Featuring characters from your favorite TV shows, including SpongeBob SquarePants, The Teenage Mutant Ninja ... and more! (Licensed Learn to Draw)Drawing is fun no matter what your age.  At the end of a stressful day it very relaxing to sit down for a few minutes with a pencil and paper and start sketching away.  You forget all about what went on at the office.  You stop worrying about the kids and their homework, and you just get lost in the simple act of doing something creative.

Kids get even more benefits from learning how to draw.  First, by following along with the steps in this book, they learn how to follow directions.

They also learn what it feels like to try something new, something that forces them to use their imagination and creativity, and they learn what it feels like to accomplish something special.  In our home, I have several framed sketches that our son drew when he was really young.  My mother even framed a drawing he drew for her when he was still in elementary school.  These framed pieces of artwork are cherished treasures to all of us.

You may also enjoy:  How to Draw Monsters Books for Kids

Don't Forget the Drawing Pads, Pencils and Coloring Pencils!

Every kid loves Spongebob.  And most adults do, too.  What better way to introduce your child to drawing than by giving him a guide to draw his favorite cartoon character!   

However, don't forget the drawing and coloring pencils.  Most children use a regular #2 pencil when they doodle on their homework, but they will enjoy art pencils more.  For one thing, they can add color to the sketch.

Now Parents!  
Get ready for the beautiful, frame-able artwork treasure.

Read More Book Reviews On

"How To Draw Spongebob: Step By Step" Book Review Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Monday, August 1, 2016

Review of CreateSpace Self Publishing Platform

Instructions for Publishing Books at

 State Flowers of the USA Coloring Book: For Students and Teachers

Ever since I published my 3 books on CreateSpace people have been asking me how to do that and if I recommend them. The short answer to that is yes, I do recommend them.

The other thing people want to know is if it is hard to do. That is not so easy to answer. There is a learning curve for sure, but I do have some free tools you can use to make it easier. All in all, I think CreateSpace is a fantastic tool for first time authors to get themselves published.

*All the books on this page are my own books I have published at CreateSpace.

Getting Started at CreateSpace 

So here I am going to take you step by step through the process to create your first book on CreateSpace and get it published and listed on Amazon and maybe picked up by booksellers who will also distribute it for you. My first book is on the right and got picked up by 12 other sellers besides Amazon including Barnes and Noble and several teacher websites. I am thrilled! 

The first thing you will need to do is sign up for a free account. Just go to  and follow the easy registration instructions. Once you have an account you will be taken to your dashboard. It looks like the image below. The first thing you do to get started on a new book is to press that Blue button that is just about in the middle of the page which says "Add New Title." If you know the title of your new book just go ahead and add it. Don't worry you can change it before you publish, so  just put something and that way you will have access to the rest of the tools. This is the first part of the setup by the way.  After you have a title, you can just hit the button at the bottom that says "Save and Continue." 


On the right is a photo of the Menu that is on the left side of the setup process once you add a title. You can see that the different parts of the process are listed and when you complete a section it gives you a Green check mark so you always know what else needs to be done. 

The set up process is a series of pages where it will ask you to put in information about your book, so just do each step and hit save. The next thing it will want to know after the title is the ISBN. Now I am a big fan of "free" so I just use their free ones. The only reason to buy your own ISBN would be if you wanted to have books printed by them and then distribute them yourself. I have no idea why anyone would want to do that work though! Later in the process you will see that CreateSpace gives you the option to have your book distributed by Amazon (they own CreateSpace) and also by other online sellers and even by bricks and mortar stores like Barnes and Noble.  I am a big fan of "easy" too! So just use their free one, and go on to the next step, which is the Interior.

In this step, you pick your size and type of printing. You will see a list of formats and there is a button you can click to see the approximate cost to print too. But to save you time here is a page with a list of the sizes and templates you can download to add your content.

Now the next step is the heart of the matter so to speak; adding all your content. The templates are set up for Microsoft Word, or for OpenOffice. I don't have Word, so I use OpenOffice. (because it's free, LOL, just go to and download it! ) I find this to be the hardest part of the process, because you have to make sure your content is exactly the way you want it printed. I have done 2 coloring books and I wanted them to be printed on one side only to make a nicer product for the colorists, so I had to really pay attention to insert a blank page after every image. If you don't know how to use OpenOffice or Word, that is beyond the scope of this article, but I used Google and YouTube and was able to do find tutorials to format everything properly. Just type your question into Google. 
 Shells From the Sea: Coloring Pages and Greeting Cards

Once you are happy with your book, save a copy, and then also use the "export as PDF" function to save as a PDF too, because CreateSpace wants you to upload it in PDF form. But if you ever need to edit it later, you might need the original document, unless you have Adobe software and can edit PDF documents. So just to be sure, I always save the original Open Office document and also a PDF document.

If my instructions are not clear, you can also see lots of helpful tips on the page under the Interior button. Also there is a forum with a community of writers who have compiled a list of frequently asked questions. However, many of them are experienced authors and seem to be a little impatient with first time authors, so I just use Google to ask my questions. For example I might ask "how do I  __________ on a createspace template?" You would think CreateSpace would be easier to ask, but no, Google is. 

Designing the Cover of Your Book on CreateSpace

Next is the cover. They have templates for that too, so just scroll through them till you see one you like. Here's a hint. Under each cover there is a scroll bar to see different versions. The typeface and the colors can often be changed so there are a lot more variations than is apparent when you first look through the cover options. Just pick one you like and upload your image if it calls for one. They often have specific requirements for the images, so if your images are not the right size you will need to edit them. Lots of people have Photoshop but I don't, so I use (yes, it's free) You can upload an image there, change the file size in a few clicks and then you are good to go!

 The Swans of Kensington Garden: A Photo Book of Swans

Speaking of images, they have to be at least 300 dpi for CreateSpace so what should you do if yours are not?  If you have Photoshop, this is fairly easy to fix but if you don't, here is a free software program you can use to change them to the correct dpi. Just go to and download the free software.  

The program can be used for many other things too, but I only use it for changing the dpi and use Picmonkey for all the other things I do with images, like change the exposure and crop, add text, straighten, etc. Picmonkey is much easier to use for those things. But you can't control the dpi with it. A hint when  you use Picmonkey: save the file as the best quality jpg. They call it Sean. Yes it is a bigger file, but it will make your finished book far more beautiful! 

So once you have your interior and cover done, you are ready to complete your setup. This just involves setting the price, telling CreateSpace where you want it distributed and approving the proof. You will be able to check it page by page to be sure it meets your expectations. Once that is done, CreateSpace will also have to examine your proof to make sure it meets their specifications. They will either approve it, or send you a message that it needs to be changed. Don't worry, they will tell you exactly what needs to be changed. 

Here is a photo of the project page that shows all the steps in a graphic so you can see what is done and what needs to be finished. This is a completed book so all my steps are completed and marked with a Green check mark. (I can't publish a coloring book on Kindle so that one has a red button.)

Eventually you will get it approved. I say that because it usually takes a few times before they do approve it. But then, wow, you will have published your first book! Good luck! 

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Review This is Dedicated to the Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor
We may be apart, but You Are Not Forgotten

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