Category Archives arts and crafts

Tuesday Tales: Coloring Books by Millie Marotta

It’s no secret that I love to color. While many are starting to realize the calming effect of adult coloring, I have known this for years. What I love these days is that there are so many book options to pick from. In addition to this, I have grown to appreciate some amazing artists that make these books for us. Thanks to Sterling Books, I was able to check out and review the latest coloring books by Millie Marotta.

Adult Coloring Books by Millie Marotta

Animal Kindom: Color Me, Draw Me – Drawn by Millie Marotta – Published by Lark an imprint of Sterling Publishing –  ISBN 9781454709107 –  $14.95 – Paperback 96 pages

Tropical World: A Coloring Book Adventure – Drawn by Millie Marotta – Published by Lark an imprint of Sterling Publishing – ISBN 9781454709138 – $14.95 – Paperback 96 pages

Inside Mille Marotta books

Both of these books burst onto the scene in September 2015. I had looked at books by Ms. Marotta, but never owned one prior to this. The books are stunning on their own. I could sit looking at her beautiful art because it is calming without pulling out the coloring items. Animal Kingdom is waiting to be colored and is filled with illustrations of whales, owls, flora, and other creatures. In addition to this, there are spaces left by Ms. Marotta with cues around them to inspire your own creativity. Tropical World is filled with images of flowers, birds, butterflies, and reptiles. When I started to use this book, I tried colored pencils since that is what Ms. Morotta suggests for blending and more depth. Prior to this, I used mostly Sharpie markers in my adult coloring books. I knew this was not an option for these drawings since the book has images printed on both sides of the paper. I had to try something that would not bleed through.

Colored Pencils with Millie Marotta Books

I need to get used to colored pencils again. I also tried some gel pens. I really enjoy these because they add sparkle and it’s even more therapeutic to see the strokes of the ink as you color in the spaces. The gels pens worked beautifully on the paper in these books. They did not go through the pages and do extremely well in the small intricate spaces.

Gel Pens with Millie Marotta Books

Another item that I love, is that Millie Marotta has made a video of drawing an image from this book. It truly is fascinating to watch how she creates one of these stunning pieces of art. The process involved to make these books must be a labor or love.

If you are looking for beautiful books to gift to someone this holiday season, I would definitely recommend Animal Kingdom and/or Tropical World. Add in something to color with and it’s the perfect treat that someone may not purchase on their own.

If you could have Millie Marotta create a dream coloring book, what would it be? As always, Tuesday Tales is all about sharing our love of books. What are you currently reading or what was the last book you read?

It's Me

Disclosure: As noted above, I received both of these books from Sterling Publishing to review. No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

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Tuesday Tales: Drawing Animals Shape by Shape

It’s no secret that I love coloring and drawing. From an early age, I would take out Ed Emberley drawing books from the library just to doodle and draw for fun. My boys have definitely caught the drawing for fun bug. We have a great collection of drawing books that the entire family enjoys. When Sixth&Spring contacted me to review the new Christopher Hart book for kids, we said yes and could not wait to check it out.

Family Drawing Time

Drawing Animals Shape by Shape: Create Cartoon Animals with Circles, Squares, Rectangles & Triangles  – Drawing with Christopher Hart  – Published by Sixth&Spring Books ISBN 9781936096954 – $14.95 – Spiral-bound 176 pages –  Ages 4 and up

Drawing Animals Shape by Shape is broken up into different segments by animals of course.There are dogs, cats, farm animals. woodland creatures, safari animals, feathered friends, water animals, reptiles/bugs, dinosaurs, and more fun options in the table of contents. Kids of all ages will see the easy to follow step by step directions using simple shapes layered onto of one another until you see the featured animal friend before you. It truly is fun to see how an oval with some rectangles, circles, and triangles makes Fido the dog’s face come to life. The spiral bound book is filled with over 100 cartoon creatures for your budding artist to replicate.

Drawing Animals Shape by Shape

Moments after the book arrived, the kids ran off with it. They immediately pulled out some notebooks and colored pencils to practice drawing. After some time, they came over to show me several of their drawings. One of the first that was completed was the very fitting Art Loving Hippo.

Art Loving Hippo Drawing

The animals within the book would be great for kids to draw and tell stories, or to create their own fun cartoon stories. The lively creatures within actively engage even those that don’t think they can draw. This book will be on my birthday and holiday gift giving list because it will appeal to a wide variety of kids. Pair this up with a nice drawing notebook, colored pencil set, and voila the perfect creative package. I know my boys are already asking about the original Drawing Shape by Shape – Create Cartoon Characters with Circles, Squares & Triangles. The book has been a great addition to our rainy weather activities and will be fantastic on snow days that are bound to happen in a few months.

Giveaway Time!

Would you like to win your own copy of Drawing Animals Shape by Shape? One random person that answers the following question will receive a copy of the book.

What type of drawing book would you love to see by Christopher Hart next? Remember he already has made over 50 drawing books!

Bonus Entry:

As always, Tuesday Tales is all about sharing our love of books. What are you currently reading or what was the last book you read?

This giveaway ends on Friday, October 23 at 11:50 PM ET. Only open to US and Canadian residents that are 18 and older. 

It's Me

Disclosure: As noted above, I received this family drawing book from Sixth&Spring Books to review. No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

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Coloring Books for Adults

Do you like to color and do you have your own coloring book? Yes, I am talking to the adults out there that are reading this.

 Coloring Books for Adults

When I was in elementary school, my fourth grade teacher used to give us coloring sheets to do when we finished our work. She had markers and colored pencils for everyone to add our own touch to beautiful geometric designs and tessellations. My love for these books carried over to my own classroom many years later. I had them for my middle school students to use when they wanted to decompress.

In recent months, the art of adult coloring has become popular. I watched friend after friend post articles about how helpful coloring can be for adults. Taking time for yourself with a design to color has been proven to help relax individuals and reduce stress for some time.

Stress could be my middle name and I was waiting for the right time to get my own new book. The other night, JSL went with me to the book store where I picked up one of the Creative Haven Find Your True Colors books by Dover Publications. This publisher made many of my favorites when I was growing up. After spending time debating several books, I selected the Mandalas Coloring Book.

That night I had to color. The book was calling my name and my Sharpies were sitting there looking for a project. I started before getting the boys into bed and went back to my design later. I was in love with coloring all over again.

 Creative Haven Mandalas Coloring Book

Since that day, I finished coloring a few more designs.

Beautiful Mandala to color

Little things about coloring amuse me and make me smile. I even adore the design that shows up on the back when the markers bleed through the paper. Do you see anything hidden in this college below? JSL sure thinks that he sees something.

Reverse side of Mandala coloring

I adore this book and hope to take it on our cruise. I can just imagine sitting on a deck of the ship coloring while listening to the ocean.

So tell me, have you picked up a coloring book as an adult? I would love to know what books are your favorites and what medium you prefer to use when coloring.

It's Me

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Time for Sukkot

It’s hard to believe that Sukkot is already here. The holiday season continues with the start of Sukkot at sundown this evening. The kids have been talking about it at Hebrew School. JSL came home with an edible sukkah on Sunday.

Edible Sukkah for Sukkot

Making one of these was something we talked about for a family celebration that I am helping to run. If you are interested in making them, it is very simple. You just need the following items:

      • Paper plates for building – to construct your sukkah on
      • Graham crackers – three squares make the sukkah walls
      • Frosting – holds the pieces together
      • Small pretzel rods – for the sukkah roof
      • Candy pieces – kosher candies like mini chocolate chips, marshmallows, gum drops, fruit shapes, and licorice

Kids can make their sukkah while listening to Sukkot stories like The Vanishing Gourds: A Sukkot Mystery which I shared on Tuesday Tales in the past.

Now I am off to finish preparations for three fun Sukkot related art projects that I will be helping to coordinate over the weekend. I leave you with a fun Sukkot Style spoof from The Maccabeats.

Additional Sukkot posts sharing great projects that my children have done over the years can be found here:

Happy holiday to all that celebrate and please feel free to share how you traditionally decorate your sukkah.

It's Me

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Three Fiber Arts Apps for Android

#VZWBuzz Disclosure A long time ago, I was an elementary school girl learning how to knit on a neighbor’s front porch. In between riding my bike with the kids, several of us used to sit on rocking chairs and knit together. Knitting has always been a passion, but I secretly craved picking up a hook to ease the pain that knitting caused in my wrists.

Last year, I finally taught myself how to crochet using several YouTube videos. Prior to this, I was not very successful with crochet because books just did not cut it. There is just something wonderful about being able to see a person showing the way to work a pattern up with yarn. I am also able to pause it and rewind to see a section over and over until I am successful.

Over the last year, I have often used my android smartphones to keep up on my fiber arts. I can share photos of my creations, ask questions on Facebook groups, and explore new apps that will help my new love for crochet. While there are a lot of apps out there for people that knit and crochet, several of popular ones from yarn companies are only available for iOS. Thanks to this, I was not able to test them out using my beloved Samsung Galaxy S5. While I have an iPad, I utilize my smartphone a lot more when out and about and shopping for craft items and working on a project. Fiber Arts Apps for Android Smartphones The Crochet Crowd App is a favorite of mine. Mikey and the entire Crochet Crowd community were part of the reason that I have been successful with my crocheting adventure. This app does a wonderful job of combining all parts of The Crochet Crowd together. You can:

  • see the latest posts on The Crochet Crowd Facebook page
  • view the amazing collection YouTube tutorials
  • check out the latest crochet challenge
  • view photos of gorgeous creations from other hookers
  • use the yarn calculator to assist with an upcoming project
  • head to The Crochet Crowd website
  • read the latest on Mikey’s blog
  • look for patterns
  • learn how to crochet

The Crochet Crowd Android AppOf course, there is much more to explore on the app. It really is a wealth of information for the new, intermediate, or even advanced crocheter. I know I have my eye on the latest Mystery crochet along that was just revealed and would be a new experience for me to try. Michaels Stores also have an app for Android users. I found this one after I was a bit underwhelmed by another craft stores app. The Michaels Stores contains a lot of items packed all into one resource. You will find:

  • the Michaels Stores weekly ad
  • coupons for your local Michaels Store
  • projects that are not limited to yarn and needle crafts (baking, painting, home décor, kids crafts, and a lot more)
  • product listings by craft type
  • videos will be coming
  • a place to store the project you like
  • listing of events at your local Michaels Store

Michaels Stores App for Android There is a lot more within the app. What I adore is that I can quickly get coupons when I am going to the store to pick up items. If I am looking for a new idea to craft, I can save a project that I like. Later on, I can go back in and find what I need to purchase, along with the project instructions. Another fun feature, I can check the weekly sales and just skip right to the yarn brands. A lot of thought was put into this app and it is great for a fiber arts enthusiast on the go. Knitting Patterns Database is an app that combines tools from many other knitting apps into one location. Within this app you can:

  • store PDF patterns
  • download patterns from locations like Ravelry (you must sign into those)
  • import patterns
  • use their row counter
  • find a calculator to help with yarn substitutions and more

Knitting Patterns Database for Android This app is new to me and I plan on exploring it more this summer as I finish up my latest crochet project. I know I will be able to use it for future knitting works, but there is a way to utilize it for my crochet work as well. What apps have you used for knitting, crocheting, or other crafting? I would love to know so I can add them to my growing collection. Be sure to check out my latest crafting fun by following along on Instagram.

It's Me

Disclosure: As a member of the Verizon Lifestyle Bloggers, I receive devices like the Samsung Galaxy S5 to test out and share ways that I use it in my life. I am a long time Verizon customer, and all opinions are my own.

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