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DIY Custom Wooden Puzzle

Like many others, my mother got really into puzzles during the pandemic. So when Hanukkah rolled around the boys wanted to give her a custom puzzle as a gift. Being a maker I knew we could make one ourselves, and here’s how we did it. With 3 weeks left until Hanukkah and even longer until Christmas you’ve got plenty of time to make a custom gift for the puzzle lover in your life.

To get started you’ll need a puzzle to customize. We wanted a wooden one to be sure it would hold up to being painted then colored. We found this one at our local Dollarama but there are a number of good options on Amazon. You can get a 4-pack of flat puzzles or go for a cube style and make a custom puzzle with multiple images!

Assemble the puzzle over a drop cloth or protective surface. If your puzzle has a gift box or lid you’d like to decorate as well, open it flat. Our box simply unfolded; if yours is glued together you can ease it apart and re-glue it later, or prime it in sections.

You have two options for primer – you can go with a spray primer option like we did, or you can use white gesso and foam brushes and paint it on instead.

Use light, thin coats of primer to get a solid, even coverage. If spraying indoors like I did make sure your drop cloth covers ALL nearby surfaces. (My black dining room chairs now have faint white stripes…oops!).

Once the primer is fully dry you’ll want to disassemble the puzzle and lightly sand the edges of each piece. This will ensure no primer dripped down which could prevent proper assembly later.

Put the puzzle back together and you’re done! You now have a blank, white puzzle and box ready to customize however you’d like.

From this point it’s no longer a tutorial as there are unlimited ways you could decorate your puzzle, but I’ll show what the boys did for their grandmother.

They used the Crayola Air Marker Sprayer Airbrush Kit. I’ve got a full review of the airbrush coming soon but spoiler alert – it’s great! It comes with a few markers in the box but we’ve found that it’s compatible with all Crayola markers that have the same barrel size, so I picked up this pack of 16 Crayola Pip-Squeaks washable markers so the kids would have extra colors to choose from. They worked perfectly with the airbrush and washed off all hands, clothes and my plastic protective cloth.

The boys took turns adding colors to the puzzle and then used the airbrush kit’s included stencils to add little details like the stars and sun.

The primer does keep the water-based marker ink from absorbing as quickly as it would into paper, so it’s a good idea to let it dry fully before handling. While ours was drying the boys took turns decorating the gift box.

They had fun testing out the different stencils and playing with color, and then we let everything dry further.

The final step for the kids was to use glitter glue to add sparkle to the puzzle, and then let that dry as well.

Here’s their completed puzzle:

It reminds me of the tie-dyed scarves we used to hang on our bedroom walls in the 90s!

A combination of the puzzle fitting really well together and the primer filling any residual cracks meant that there was no bleed-through of the primer or marker spray onto the back of the puzzle.

They added more glitter glue to the gift box and a few extra details like a birthday message and some outline work.

I’d accidentally left the plastic window on the box when spraying it so I cut a new square of plastic from some leftover packaging and glued it into place. Then I put the plastic handle back onto the box.

With that the boys had a completely unique gift for their puzzle-loving Bubbie.

There are SO MANY ways you can customize your own puzzle! These can be painted, colored with markers, watercolor, colored pencil, or even decoupage with tissue or thin paper (and then re-cut the puzzle shapes with a sharp blade). You can even play with the texture of the primer you use, like giving a waterfront scene sand medium for the beach and texture medium for the lapping waves. The possibilities are truly endless.

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Play Furniture and Pretend Food From Recycled Materials

November 15th was National Recycling Day and I thought it would be fun to share some toy accessories that you can make by recycling materials you have on-hand.

This all started back when Henri had received a Zhu-Zhu Pets toy hamster for Hanukkah one year. It wasn’t long before his “pet” needed to have its own house and so we adapted a shoe box into rooms with a garage.

Of course every home needs furnishings and that’s where these projects came in. According to Henri there was a bedroom, kitchen and living room, so I tailored what I made to that, but you can easily adapt any of these little projects to your rooms of choice.

The first recycled materials to be used were an egg carton and a plastic bendy straw. Cut out sections of the carton to create different types of furniture.

The cups that hold the eggs became armchairs (when the upper rim was kept on 3/4 of the edge) and a table (when flipped upside down and trimmed to have legs).

Two of the flat base of the egg cups were cut out to become vessels for food and water, and finally the divider piece that separates the eggs was cut out to become a lampshade.

One of the cup bases was painted silver to become a serving plate and the slightly deeper one had the inside painted blue to appear like water. To make the most out of using what I had on hand (pun intended!) I painted them both with nail polish!

The lamp shade was painted Henri’s color of choice with regular acrylic paints and then set aside to dry.

Once dry it was time to assemble the lamp. You need a base that’s sturdy and heavy enough to support the weight of the shade. You could use wood blocks, a little box filled with rice or sand, or anything else heavy enough. I used a few spare washers I found in my toolbox.

I cut a felt circle for the base and hot-glued the washers on top in descending size order, making sure to keep their holes lined up. I also glued a decorative bead to the top of the lampshade.

The shade was filled with hot glue to set the straw in place and then more glue was used to attach it inside the tower of washers.

With that, the little hamster’s living room lamp was complete!

The bendy bit of the straw was a nice touch, allowing the lamp to be angled wherever the little guy needed.

The silver platter received a coat of clear nail polish to seal it and the water bowl was filled with more hot glue to look full.

To make the pretend food for the hamster takes only three supplies – a pool noodle, fabric paint, and scissors.

That’s right – all these little pretend foodstuffs are actually squishies! They’re really easy to make: simply cut pieces of the pool noodle foam into the general shape of the food item then use fabric paint to make them look like their respective foods. A toothpick comes in handy instead of a paintbrush when working at such small sizes. I scaled my foods to the size of the egg carton “plate” and made (clockwise from top right) pepperoni pizza, chocolate chip cookies, donuts, a cheeseburger, and a chocolate cake.

The food storage bin was made from plastic canvas and yarn scraps.

First I made a base large enough to hold all the food. The lid is the same size but less deep, and the faux latch is simply stitched on top. The lid was sewn to the base all along the back edge but I used the same gold yarn as the latch to embroider 2 fake “hinges”.

The living room furniture was painted black and copper “studs” were added with a paint pen. One neat thing about using the egg cups is that the furniture will stack which makes putting it away after playtime that much easier.

Finally the hamster’s cardboard box bed was upgraded to one with a full headboard and footboard, and painted with gold glitter paint.

I used scraps of white felt and stuffing remnants to make a mini mattress and pillow, and leftover sock yarn knit up quickly to make a colorful blanket.

One evening of crafting and by morning the hamster had his house completely tricked out. Henri was really excited to set everything in place and added more to the decor by painting a rug in the living room and even drawing a TV on the wall!

Bonus – I wanted to take some current pics to show how well these little accessories held up after 6 years and we thought it would be really cute to include Jakob’s REAL hamster for scale. Here’s Dusty enjoying a little nap…

…and here he is foraging in the snack box looking to see what other treats there might be.

These were such simple, quick and easy DIYs to make and became playtime accessories that were loved and used over and over, AND held up incredibly well over the years. I hope this post gives you some ideas on how you can recycle items from around the house and give them new life with a new use.


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Mythomorphia’s Chinese Dragon in Pointilism

In celebration of today being “Circle Day“, I’m posting the process of coloring the Chinese Dragon page in Kirby Rosanes’ Mythomorphia coloring book.

Can you tell why I’m posting this today? Look closely – every single drop of color in this image is created with a tiny circle. That’s right- over the course of the entire month of November 2018 I painstakingly tapped markers to the page to color in the whole picture with teensy little dots.

(The glare from my mini clip light makes for a bad photo but was a fantastic way to help see all the millions of dots without going cross-eyed!)

Of course a project of this scale requires fineliners and so I pulled out my pack of Soucolor markers. Not only do they come in 100 colors but while one side has a fantastic brush tip, the other has a 0.4mm fineliner tip, making these markers great for coloring books and perfect for this attempt. (Note: I own these same markers by two different brands. The Soucolor ones only seem to be currently available in sets of 34 but they are completely identical to this 100-count set by Feela that I also use regularly.)

The best way to start a project like this is simply to just begin, so I found a small, contained shape in this lantern and began to tap individual dots of red and yellow, I worked tighter groupings of dots anywhere I wanted to create shading, like in the vertical ridges on the lantern above.

I then found the other lanterns in the image and dotted them with the same two colors, creating patterns and stripes for more interest.

Next I used a brown marker to fill in both areas of cherry blossom branches and two shades of pink for the cherry blossom flowers and blowing petals. I completed the jade charm in the center of the above image and then used the original red and yellow to begin the firecrackers at the bottom.

It’s very peaceful to tap out little dots and then step back and have a complete shaded area of color and to then watch the whole image come together in the same way.

After finishing the fireworks I wanted a change of color so hopped over to some lotus flowers, then a koi, and then a decorative fan.

More fans followed. I’d noted what colors I’d used where so it was easy to have the fan’s cherry blossoms match those of the larger image. I then completed the little temple area in the upper right and the sword just below.

The pewter-look goblet was next, followed by the porcelain china.

Sometimes, when pages are as busy as this, it can be difficult to tell what’s what. For example, I found myself needing to decipher if some curls were clouds or waves. To help visually distinguish individual sections I decided to begin filling in the background. I used two shades of pink and darkened the edges around each icon so that it would have a nice contract against the planned colors for the dragon, clouds and waves.

As background areas were completed and it was easier to pick out clouds vs waves I used different shades of blues and grays to fill in each section.

I moved around the page in this manner, working first the pinks, then blues and grays. If I wasn’t sure yet what a random swirl was then I would fill in the areas around it until it became clear.

I kept going, making more itsy bitsy dots, until the entire background was complete leaving only the central, most important image of the page: the dragon.

For the dragon’s belly I selected two colors that give a golden effect when worked together – a coppery-orange for the darker areas and a ocher-y yellow for the lighter. Each segment was worked with the orange first (as you can see in the upper left) and then finished with the yellow.

I took a video of the process for a closer look:

After completing the belly I used the same golden colors for the dragon’s face and whiskers.

Then I moved on to the dragon’s scales.

I wanted to give him an oil-slick look with purple reflecting to green, so used those shades in tighter and looser groupings to indicate shadow and reflection.

Here’s another video showing a close up with more detail on how the scales were done (above).

Eventually all the scales were done and the dragon was SO CLOSE to being complete! All that remained were the frilly bits along his body, tail and face.

To keep things cohesive on such a busy page I used the same yellow, orange, purples and green and filled in the sections more densely to have deeper, richer sections of color.

And with that, the coloring is complete!

This project was SO much fun to do even though it took SO long to complete. There was something incredibly satisfying about working on each small bit at a time, tapping dot after dot, and then backing up to see how the image all came together.

Kirby’s designs are great for a project like this because there are dozens of self-contained little sections and he includes just enough shading detail to give you a guide to follow.

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Game of Death Cake

Have you ever seen the movie Game of Death?

This award-winning horror movie came out in 2017 and featured a 90s-style game played by a gang of unassuming teens. Unlike Jumanji the consequences of playing this game are a LOT more gruesome and bloody. It also happened to be produced by one of my dear cousins, and he asked if I could make the cake for their wrap party.

This is the “Game of Death” gameboard as seen in the movie:

And this is my cake replica:

With Halloween just around the corner I thought it was the perfect time to share exactly how I made it!

The first step was to get a few good quality images of the prop that I could use for reference.

I was also asked if I could make a gluten-free option so there’d be something for those with intolerances. I was given a few reference images of the deaths and other props being used and when I saw that one character met an untimely end with a broken baseball bat I knew that would be something I could easily sculpt out of gluten-free puffed rice cereal.

While there were a lot of steps in making this cake it only took 3 days from start to finish. I’m going to break down everything but to avoid this being incredibly photo-heavy I’ve grouped the images of each step together.

The first step for all of my cakes is to sketch out an idea. Knowing I needed to transport the cake I went out and bought the largest cake board that would fit in a cake box I could find locally. That let me know what total dimensions I had to work with. That allowed me to size out my cake pans and figure out what would work best for the game cake. I then scaled a clear, top-down view of the game board to the appropriate size and traced it out so I could have an accurately-sized template.

I tried to do as much in advance as I could, as some of the parts would need time to dry or cool. The next task for day 1 was to make the gameboard’s window pane. I’d been asked to write a congratulatory message to the cast underneath, and while I could have simply written the image on a slab of fondant and set it in place I was determined to see if I could make the “glass” too. While browsing my local bulk store I noticed these clear candy mints and thought they’d be perfect!

I crushed the candies in a plastic bag using a meat mallet and then slowly melted the candy powder in the microwave until they reached a soft, pliable stage. Since I had a scale template I was able to test my cookie-cutters to find the right size and then trim off the excess with a kitchen knife. Once my “glass screen” was ready I set it aside to cool and harden.

Still on day 1 I rolled out some white fondant and made the center skull, all the minis, and the curved bits that line each player spot. I also cut out a base to put under the glass screen so I would have somewhere to write the message. Using a fondant roller and mat was really convenient as the roller has level guides so the pieces were all of equal thickness and the mat has measurements built right in.

I then made a large batch of gluten-free puffed rice treats and sculpted them into the two halves of a baseball bat, ensuring they would fit properly on my cake board. (Another benefit of having a scale template!).

The final thing I did on day 1 (not shown) was to bake the actual cake. I was given free reign on flavor and picked vanilla as it would work best with a special request I’d been asked – could I make the cake bleed when cut. I followed my usual methods and baked a bit of extra batter in a mini cake pan as I wanted to test the bleeding effect. I didn’t want to take a chance on the actual cake just in case it didn’t work so this little tester would be perfect.

Day 2 began with making edible fake blood. The best recipe I’ve found is to mix up chocolate syrup (like for chocolate milk) with clear corn syrup and a bit of red food coloring. Adjust the ratios until you get a consistency you like. In a subsequent cake I made a thicker version that is more realistic but for this cake I deliberately thinned it a touch so it would be able to be runny when cut.

I cut a well into my test cake’s bottom layer and iced it carefully so the “blood” wouldn’t soak into the cake itself. I then added the top layer and iced the whole thing and waited a few hours to be sure no red tint seeped through to the exterior. Then my kids helped me cut it and test if it worked:

It did! I was really excited knowing I could add additional wells into the real cake for an even more horrific effect.

I then painted the baseball bat treats with chocolate candy melts. Using a mug warmer was the perfect way to keep the candy warm long enough for me to get both pieces fully coated.

Then I wrapped each half with white fondant leaving the matching edges broken and torn to simulate where the wood would have splintered when the bat snapped in half. I used my fondant detail cutter to fray the edges further and add more realism, and then painted the fondant to look like wood. I’ve used this technique before and have a full tutorial on how to do it here.

With all the accessories and add-ons ready, day 3 was where it all came together!

I leveled my cake and torted it into 3 layers. These cake levelrs make it so easy to divide a cake into multiple levels evenly! The first layer was placed down on a round cake board and then iced, and the second layer was applied. I used a cupcake filler to cut a well in the center as well as add additional little surprise blood spots around the resulting ring. I was careful to not put them too close together so the cake would still have structural integrity, as I knew there would be a lot of fondant on top and I didn’t want it to collapse.

I also made sure to keep the cake bits from the corer as they’d come in handy in a minute.

I iced the middle layer, being careful to not disturb the cut edges too much while still evenly coating them in icing to provide a barrier between the blood fill and the cake itself. Then I carefully filled each well with the blood mixture leaving about a half-inch of space and then plugged the gaps with the cake pieces I’d saved. Finally, I iced the underside side of the remaining tier so when it was flipped onto the cake, the icing completely covered the plugs. This will prevent any of the blood from potentially bleeding into the upper tier.

Now that the cake was fully stacked I was able to use my scaled template to trim it to shape.

I then set the cake into place on the cake board, using a dollop of icing to “glue” it down. It was iced and then covered with gray fondant to match the game in the movie.

Then I used my template to cut out a slab of white fondant and used one of the fondant detail tools to trace each of the sections of the board, leaving imprints on the fondant that I could use as guides. I used edible food markers to color in each section, blending them with water when necessary to avoid too many streaks.

The topper was set into place and the edge trimmed with a border of white fondant. I “glued” each of the pre-made bits in place with a bit of water and then finally wrote the game’s logo on the front edge. (It went on all sides in the movie but I didn’t trust myself to write it evenly 8 times!)

The last step was to use a bit of watered-down fondant to “glue” the bats into place and then drizzle them with the fake blood mixture. I added in a few bits of fondant “gore” as an added touch. 😉

With that the Game of Death cake was complete! We delivered it to set on the final day and from the feedback I received it was a big hit!

(And it oozed “blood” perfectly when cut!)

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Ghost Cupcakes DIY

In today’s post I’m going to show you how to make these fast and easy ghost cupcakes, perfect for Hallowe’en!

The sweet treats can be prepped in advance and top homemade cupcakes or you can pick up store-bought cupcakes and throw the whole thing together last-minute.

I’d seen versions of this style topper on various sites around the internet and put mine together using the features I liked from various ones, plus added my own twist. These and these have fondant over marshmallows but I didn’t like the square look it gave the ghosts. These and these achieve a more rounded look by draping fondant over lollipops, but as my cupcakes were for a party for adults I didn’t think the lollipops would end up eaten. After browsing my local bulk shop I came up with the idea of topping the marshmallows with rounded gumdrop candies.

What you will need for the ghosts:

You can place each ghost in a treat bag and hand out as-is or use them to top homemade or store-bought cake or cupcakes.

Step 1: Assemble your marshmallows, gumdrops and sticks to prepare the ghost bases

Push the lollipop stick up through a marshmallow and halfway into a gumdrop. You can wet the top of the marshmallow first with a thin smear of icing, clear piping gel or light brush of water to help the marshmallow and gumdrop adhere together, however I found that the tackiness on the stick from being shoved through the marshmallow did not make this necessary.

Repeat until you have as many ghost bases as you need, then set them upright by pressing into foam, flower foam, egg cartons, etc…

Roll out your fondant and cut out a circle with your cutter. I topped each gumdrop with a small dollop of icing so the fondant would stick, but you can also use clear piping gel or water. Apply the fondant over the ghost base, centering the circle over the gumdrop and smooth into place. Use your fingers to crease the excess into ghostly folds. Note: don’t apply too much icing/water/gel or the fondant can thin and tear if it gets too wet.

Repeat for each ghost and set them aside in your chosen support so the fondant can set up a bit. If desired prep a cake or cupcakes to be ready for the toppers. I’d baked up some chocolate cupcakes and gave them a thin layer of vanilla icing.

Once the fondant is no longer pliable you can finish off your ghosties by adding black eyes with a black edible marker. You can play around with the eye shape to give them all unique expressions!

Repeat until all your ghosts can see and then set them into your cake/cupcakes (if using). If you are placing them into treat bags to give out as Hallowe’en favors, allow them to air-dry until the fondant sets up.

These were served along with the Paint Nite cake and cookies from my last post, and made for a really fun Hallowe’en party treat table!

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Paint Nite Cake and Cookies

A few years ago I made a dessert for my friend Debbie’s surprise Hallowe’en-themed party. I was given the option to make cookies or a cake, so I chose both! This Paint Nite-inspired cake and cookie set is easy to make and looks way harder than it is!

You can start with a store-bought cake, or bake one yourself and prepare it for decorating with a layer of fondant to look like a tablecloth. I used white so the rest would stand out but you could use any color.

To make the easels you will need narrow rectangular cookies. You can bake your own or go the faster route and buy them! I used Cadbury Fingers but any log or stick-shaped cookie will do. You will need candy melts as the “glue” to hold the easel together so just be sure to match the candy melt color to your chosen cookies. Note- you don’t want to use regular chocolate for this as it will soften at room temperature and your easels will fall apart.

First make an A shape with a cookie going horizontally across two others for the easel’s ledge, and then after the candy melts set up use a 4th cookie as the vertical support leg. It’s easy to work this assembly-line style, being sure to leave enough time for the chocolate to set hard. I found that I only had to hold them in place for about a minute before they were able to stand on their own.

Of course any Paint Nite needs something to paint on! You can bake cookies yourself or use any rectangular cookie that has at least one flat side, like Biscoff, butter biscuits or shortbreads.

To make edible “paint” mix icing sugar with small amounts of water until you get a loose icing consistency. Paint Nite projects often have a gradient background with a silhouette design on top, so I used that style for my mini paintings. I chose Fall colors with pumpkin orange and white for a sunset and as this was a Hallowe’en party I added a black cat on a fence silhouette and full moon. This also worked well with the Paint Nite habit of using few colors in beginner paintings.

I painted the cookies much as you would at an actual Paint Nite – first painting the gradient background, then once dry adding the top layer.

The fun part was making each one just slightly different, while still being the same image – exactly how the results at a true Paint Nite would be. Everyone follows the same process and comes out with mostly the same image yet they’re all slightly unique to the individual artists.

I also used a few extra cookies to write a message for the birthday girl on her big day.

Of course, every Paint Nite requires supplies, so we need to add the solo cups-as-water cups, Styrofoam plate “palettes” and big orange brushes.

I made all the accessories out of scraps of fondant. For the solo cups simply layer a thin strip of white on top of the red before cutting out a strip to roll into a cup shape. The brushes are narrow rolls of fondant with the brush end dipped into the icing “paint”. The plates are small discs of white fondant smeared with dollops of leftover paint from painting the cookies. To make the “dirty” paint water I swirled a bit of each paint icing into clear piping gel.

Staging the table was super fun! Unlike a real Paint Nite where I try to be as neat as possible, here I got to be messy! I “glued” the fondant accessories in place with a small dab of water and then added drips and splatters of the paint to really sell the “end of the night of crafting” look.

I was so thrilled with how the final cake came out! It was one of the most fun cakes to make and allows for a ton of personalization. All the components can be homemade or store-bought which means this design can work with all budgets, and you can tailor the paintings to match any theme.

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The Princess Bride Coloring Book – As You Wish / Westley and Buttercup Silhouette Roses Spread FO

Today marks The Princess Bride movie’s 35th anniversary!* I wanted to do something special for this final post of The Princess Bride Month so I started and completed a brand new set of pages in The Princess Bride coloring book. Nothing is more iconic than Westley’s famous “as you wish” line, so when I turned the page after my current WIP in the book and saw this double-page spread I knew it would be perfect to close out this month’s theme.

I instantly knew I wanted to put a sunset behind Buttercup and Westley and color their silhouettes in solid black. I wasn’t sure, however, if I wanted to mirror the sunset on the hills and have the lightest shades in the center, or if it would look better with the lightest greens to the front and the darker ones in the back.

I decided to pull a trick from my knitter’s handbook and swatch them! I took a clear image of the page and brought it into the Procreate app on my iPad so I could have a digital version to work with. Using the Apple pencil I roughly blocked in the black silhouettes and a quick sunset. I knew I wanted the bushes on the horizon to be dark as they would be backlit, so scribbled those in too. Then I copied the image so I’d have two to work from, and colored in the hills on each, reversing the color order. I quickly preferred the version on the left, so saved it as my reference sketch.

I’d also had the idea of possibly filling in the entire background of the roses page, so decided to test that too. I’m so glad I did as it would have been a TON of work and I really didn’t like the results. I’d also debated outlining the roses in gold and playing with the digital version allowed me to see that I DID like that, all without touching the original coloring page.

With the colors chosen now was the fun part- coloring the page! The entire double-page spread was colored with 12 Crayola Super Tip markers, 1 black Sharpie and 1 Pen-Touch gold metallic fine point paint pen by Sakura.

I chose 5 colors that would make a good sunset gradient and filled in the sunset first, blending the colors together.

Yes. I BLENDED the Crayola markers together! There will be a post coming up soon sharing the technique on how I did it, so stay tuned!

Once the sunset was in place I colored the horizon bushes. The same tip that allows the water-based markers to blend also allowed me to work multiple layers of marker to scribble leafy impressions into the bushes. I also used the same color on the foreground bushes just behind the couple.

Then, using 5 greens for the hills, I drafted out where each color would meet and then blended them in the same manner as the sky.

The final step for the page’s focal point was to color in Westley and Buttercup, and the remaining bit of foreground. Adding the black really made the other colors POP and I could not be happier with how the page was turning out.

For the roses I started by using the same darkest red as for the sunset, to help tie them together. Every rose was completed in the same manner: first a quick outline over the outer edges of each petal and then filled in the rest with a paler pink marker. The end result, using the aforementioned technique, gives a result similar to that you’d get with alcohol markers, with the red and pink blending together to make a soft gradient.

For the leaves I chose the lightest and darkest of the greens from the hills and worked in a similar way as for the roses- first a quick hit of dark green along the spine and lower edge and then blended it out with a light green to fill in the rest of the leaf.

It was repetitive, but easy, and soon enough all the roses and leaves on both pages were complete.

This was the spread at that point. I quite liked it but it felt a bit unfinished. My initial idea was to color the entire background of the left page in black, but as the lettering is created by the voids between the roses the words would have become black as well and I didn’t really want that.

Thanks to my digital sketch I knew I liked the idea of a gold outline around each rose. It wasn’t quite filigree but gave me similar “gold-edged china teacup” vibes. I have a few sizes of Pen-Touch markers and the fine (1.0mm) point was perfect for this step.

The gold outline was the exact finishing touch it needed. When viewed directly (as the upper right of the page) the outline almost looks like a bolder black, throwing the wording into higher contrast. When viewed from an angle (as in the lower left) the metallic gold really shines and gives the romantic, antique feel I was going for.

To further tie the two pages together I added a gold outline to the circle using the same marker, and then both pages were complete.

I’ve reviewed the quality of this book before but wanted to add one more time what a joy it’s been to work on. This movie has been a family classic since my childhood, with us spending many nights watching it by the fire, and all of us able to recite it nearly by heart. I’ve loved it enough to own the movie

on VHS!

…the book…

Check out that blurb on the back!

…and even the POP figures.

My siblings’ kids even have the baby counting book!

Can you count 6 fingers on the Count’s right hand?

I hadn’t known the coloring book existed so it was a real treat to receive from my brother for Hanukkah a few years ago. Not only does it hit my nostalgic feels but the paper quality is great, the images are a great mix of stills and graphic prints, and it holds up very well to a variety of media and can support mixed media. A very high recommend!

And finally, as the final bonus Princess Bride fact: When the weather was particularly cold, André the Giant would place his giant hand over Robin Wright’s head, covering it entirely and keeping her warm. (Source)

*According to most online sources

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The Princess Bride Coloring Book – Copyright Page

Another The Princess Bride Coloring Book longstanding work in progress has been completed! Originally blogged about here, this third Princess Bride Month post is actually the second coloring page in the book itself – the Copyright Info page.

As mentioned in the original post, my plan for the page was start at the sun in the center and work downwards.  I used a few shades of yellow for the sun then started with the oranges, using the darkest color from each section as the palest in the next.  So if the first section used colors A and B as ABABAB then the next section was BCBCBC, then CDCDCD, and so on.  I’d planned the gradation deliberately timed so the blues would hit by the waves, then the teals/greens in the water.

This was all worked using the Derwent Inktense water-soluble ink pencils. You can activate the pencils as you complete each section but I love seeing the contrast between the dry and wetted inks so I’d waited until the entire page was colored before beginning to activate them. I use the Derwent water brushes for the larger areas and keep a blender marker in my water kit specifically for small areas that are easier with a marker point. You can use any alcohol marker brand’s colorless blender though I prefer to keep one in my kit solely for use with water-soluble pencils (and not also use it with markers). The one in my kit is Prismacolor colorless blender and I really like that it has both a bullet nib for fine details as well as a chisel tip in case I should need it.

Here is the full image after all the Inktense was activated.

It’s…okay but I wasn’t wowed by it. Rather than leave it be, I decided to put my gel pens to work. I have so many gel pens and they can start to dry out over time, so it was a fun challenge to put them to good use and match all the Inktense colors to my gel pen swatches.

I used the glitter gel pens from the Gelly Roll 6-pc Stardust collection, the larger (13) Stardust set from the Gelly Roll large pack, and the glitter selection from the Shuttle Art assorted gel pen set. Having a large variety helped me to find matching colors for all the Inktense, which was really great.

You can see the sparkly difference in the sun (above) and the waves (below).

Here’s the whole page complete. I only added accent glitter to the shrieking eels, and I didn’t put any on the ship.

Otherwise the entire page is COVERED in glitter and my inner magpie absolutely adores it!

Bonus: Every post this month will have a fun fact about the movie. This month’s little-know detail: Did you know there was almost a very different Fezzik? When the movie was originally planned to be made in the 1970s, a then-unknown Arnold Schwarzenegger was interested in playing the role. However by the time the movie was actually made he was too expensive to hire! (Source)

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The Princess Bride Coloring Book – Ownership Page

Today’s Princess Bride Month post is the ownership page from The Princess Bride Coloring Book. It has the same carved wood and buttercups as the title page, and features an open book where you can write your name.

I’d written about this page previously and detailed how I tried to match my name to the font style of the text on the facing page. I wasn’t very happy with it until I outlined the book’s letters as well, so the two would visually match.

In the end there wasn’t very much left to do on this page to consider it complete. I added a bit of shading with Polychromos colored pencils and then augmented the heart shape of the florals with a soft blue heart background. I wish I’d done it more diffused but it doesn’t bother me enough to change it at this point.

In random other news – yesterday was this blog’s 18th birthday!

Bonus: Every post this month will have a fun fact about the movie. This month’s little-know detail: Did you know the movie is even a hit with the mafia? Per director Rob Reiner: Yeah, I walked outside the restaurant, and John Gotti was there with six wiseguys. There was a guy beside the limo who looked like Luca Brasi. He looked at me, and said: ‘You killed my father … Prepare to die!’ I almost went right then! [Laughter.] He said, ‘I love dat movie, da Princess Bride!’ (Source)

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The Princess Bride Coloring Book – Title Page

All last month I posted completed coloring pages from my 2019-19-WIP-to-FO Challenge. When I looked through the assortment of pages I’d originally posted to see what was finished, I noticed the cover of The Princess Bride coloring book.

Specifically it was the gold banner in the top corner that caught my eye. 30th anniversary hmmm? I was pretty sure I’d received the book about 4-5 years prior so did a little digging and, sure enough it was 5 years ago, meaning that THIS year will be the 35th anniversary since The Princess Bride movie was released!

The official release date seems to vary, with the majority of sites listing it as September 25th 1987, a few listing October 9th 1987, and one saying October 1st. I’m going to go with the majority on this one and officially designate this September as The Princess Bride month! I’ve got a few long-term WIPs that have finally been finished and will be shared over the month, along with a brand new double-page spread that I completed last month specifically for the 35th anniversary and will have a tutorial to go along with it.

The first of these pages (literally, as it is the first in the book!) is the copy of the title page itself.

Back in 2017 I posted progress pics along with my method for how I’d colored each section. I’d used Derwent Inktense soluble ink pencils for the base layer and then gone over it with Polychromos colored pencils to boost some shadows and add highlights.

I was pretty happy with where I’d left off but decided the page needed a background to properly look complete. I selected 4 shades of green and lightly filled in the page with small sections of each color, being sure to overlap them slightly. I then went in with the Prismacolor Colorless Blender (one of my FAVORITE tools) and blended it out. In the image on the right you can see the left half has been blended but the upper right bit has not.

The background came out exactly as I’d hoped – soft, muted and almost velvety! I’m really pleased with it, and find it gave the page the finished look I was after.

With that, at long last, my very first page from The Princess Bride coloring book was complete. All posts referencing this book can be found via the Coloring page up top, or directly here.

Bonus: Every post this month will have a fun fact about the movie. This month’s little-know detail: The R.O.U.S.s were played by grown men in rat suits! One of them got into a fight with his wife and burned down their kennel, so the film crew bailed him out of jail so he could film the Fire Swamp scene. (Source)

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