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Adult Coloring (and mini adult coloring book reviews)

My resurgence into adult coloring began even before I picked up Zentangle.  Nope, it was way back in 2013.  I don’t remember quite how it started, but I do remember the annoyance of wanting to color, being too lazy to draw my own images, too indecisive to print images off the internet, and the frustration of looking at various stores for coloring books but only finding child-friendly themes.  I didn’t want to color Diego or Elmo (though I would have gladly colored My Little Pony had I found one LOL)…   One day I’d stopped in at Omer de Serre for something else and took a chance on asking an employee if they had coloring books for adults.  He pointed me to a small turning spindle with maaaaybe 9 holders (that’s how NOT popular this was back then).  I was delighted, however, and even more so when I discovered the coolest books – the pages were translucent like velum or onion skin paper, but they had black borders that were opaque.  They were stained glass coloring books, and I immediately grabbed one.  Afraid they’d sell out of the ONE copy they had of the other types of books (again, adult coloring was NOT a thing in 2013!) I also picked up a few others.  They were nothing like the thick volumes you find today, rather they’re thin and printed on regular paper, but had cool patterns like geometrics and paisleys, and sparked something creative in me that I couldn’t wait to try out.

So I did.

I remember wanting to try and do ‘cool’ things with my coloring, not just blindly splash color onto the pages.

Photo 2015-11-30, 10 43 11 PM

This one, for example, is from a book called Masterscapes by Mindware.  The original image had no black space, but I thought it would be interesting to have the squiggles stand out, so I colored in the entire background with a black Sharpie.  I had bought a pack of 50 Crayola fine-tips for the kids, and then kept it for myself, and used the range of colors to fill in the squiggles with a rainbow, beginning with yellow in the top left, and working through the colors until the grays and black in the lower right.

Photo 2015-11-30, 10 42 34 PM

Again trying to be ‘artsy’ with it, I attacked another image from the same book with my black Sharpie.  I decided to give it a story in my head (hush, I’m rolling my eyes at myself too haha) and colored the lion/beast things in fire colors, the lower part with water colors, and then the steam was purple and gray, because the fire and water was mixing… blue and red mixing became purple… yeah.  I know.  Silly.  But it was more fun to think it through than merely scribble.
coloring collage 01

These two are both from the stained-glass book I mentioned above, which is also by Mindware and is called Tesselights.  The top image with the rings was colored somewhere between 2013 and 2014, with crayola fine-tipped markers, while the lower one was colored November 22 2015 with fine and ultra-fine tip markers from the dollar store.  It’s hard to show how interesting they are when a light shines through in a photograph, however for both, the image on the right is with a light overtop, and the image on the left has the light shining from behind.

This does point out one issue you need to be careful with, if you do intend to display these with illumination, like the ones my kids colored that we’ve taped to the window.  I’d missed a spot when filling in one of the purple centers, so the next day, when I noticed, I went back over that section.  In normal light it looks fine, however… when lit from behind the double-inked section is INCREDIBLY noticeable (the large splotch near the top of the lower left pic, if you couldn’t tell).  Photo 2015-11-30, 10 40 29 PM

This image, colored on November 3rd, is from a book called Deco Tech.  I’d gone back to Omer and bought a small pack of 18 double-ended markers, brush and fine tips, for $9.99, and used this image to try them out.  Once again there were no black sections in the original image, it’s just something I like to do when coloring.coloring collage 02

Here’s an example, colored November 8 2015, from the same book.  You can see the original image as it’s published, and then my colored version.  As you can tell I went through and filled in some sections with black.  In some cases, like these two, the black parts were done during the coloring, but other times I go over the entire uncolored image with black first, so when I do sit down to color, I’ve only got what’s left to fill in.

One more note, about Masterscapes and Deco Tech.  The images are printed double-sided, and the paper doesn’t seem much thicker than normal.  Which means that not only did my Sharpies bleed through, but my water-based markers did as well, especially in areas where I made more than one pass of color.  I was lucky in that for most of the images (so far) I had a clear preference for the image on one side of the page over the other, but so as to not lose your money’s worth for half the book, if you intend to use anything other than colored pencils in these books, I strongly suggest photocopying the pages, and coloring those duplicates.  Otherwise I think these (and the other books I bought, whose names escape me at the moment) are lovely, inexpensive books with fun, interesting patterns to color.

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i’m a proud crafty mama!

I’m so proud of Jakob!

For a while now he’s had “His Knitting” on the living room side table. It’s worsted weight, garter stitch and it’s red of course, and every few weeks he asks if he could knit and I remind him how and he does a stitch or two before getting distracted and then I finish the row so we can put it aside again.


Last night after I picked him up from school we detoured at my LYS before going to get his brother. I had Spidey with me to find yarn to BO and work the spines. At the door I happened to notice a knitting nancy…a modern plastic version of the old spool knitters used for “French knitting”. Jakob saw it too, didn’t know what it was, but wanted it. When I explained it could help him knit but faster than the two needles for while he was learning, he really wanted it.  It was the Clover Wonder Knitter.

I think I have an old spool knitter somewhere but have no idea where to look, and this version, while modern and plastic, also has a nice hook, and 3 interchangeable heads with different post numbers, and is designed for working with beads so the central opening is quite large. It’s quite easy to work with because they designed a really smart groove down the side if each post, making it super easy to get the hook down into the stitch to pull up/over.

Today is a ped day for the elementary schools so I sent Henri off to daycare for a rare one-on-one day with Jakob.

After lunch we’re going to the library to get him some audiobooks for bedtime, and then to Tim’s for hot chocolate. But first this morning I taught him to spool knit. And he rocks.


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skin md natural

I don’t often use this blog as product placement, but a while ago I was given a sample of a product on the condition that I write a review about it and post it on my blog…so here I go. If you aren’t interested in skincare products or if you don’t like shameless product placement, then please come back next post. 🙂

I was sent a 4 ounce bottle and 3 sample packs of the Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion.

Wow. I mean really…wow.

I have very dry skin. We run a dehumidifier at home all year ’round, and I work at a store with a door that opens every 5 minutes, letting the air in, right onto me. Both of these factors resulted in me having hands that were ok, but often cracking around the nail beds or in worst cases, on the knuckles. Even worse than that, my face is really dry. I’ve had strangers tell me that there was some dry skin on my nose, and that’s because they were too polite to mention it was also on my forehead, around my eyebrows and elsewhere.

Regular blog readers will know from my weekly photos that I rarely wear makeup. The only thing I do try to use often is moisturizer. I rush to put it on right when I get out of the shower because my skin is so dry that if I wait too long, forget it- all it will do is leave an oily film on my skin.

That’s not the case with this product. Skin MD Natural is the best moisturizer I’ve come across in a long time. It’s billed as a “shielding lotion”, which their website describes as a product to “not only add moisture, but to help stop the loss of your own moisture”.

I love it. First of all, it takes very little. The 4oz bottle is supposed to last 1-2 months. I can agree, you definitely don’t need a lot of this product. A small amount (about the size of a pea) is enough for my face, although I usually cheat and squeeze out a little more, so once my face is done I can rub the rest into my hands.

I haven’t noticed any oily feeling or clammy residue. In fact, I’ve found the opposite. Within a few moments after application, I feel like my face and hands are smooth, dry and silky.

I’ve tried to figure out how to explain the feeling, and I’m afraid that my explanation will throw some people off, but this is what it reminds me of- do you remember when Garnier Fructis shampoos and conditioners came out? Their big draw was how silky they made your hair. Everyone I know used it, including me, and it was true- your hair felt soft and silky and had a great shine to it. A few months later there was a rumor going around NOT to use Fructis because it was a wax, and it was coating your hair, and THAT’S why your hair was shiny. Now, I don’t know if that rumor was true, but that’s kind of how I picture this shielding lotion. It makes me feel like my face is protected and anything that comes at it will be up against an invisible barrier.

For example- I put the lotion on my face one night. The next morning I was rushing to pick up Maaike for the Sally Melville workshop, and I banged my hip into the edge of our kitchen counter. Tears had spung to my eyes before I could react a little more calmly, and I remember wiping them away and being stunned- instead of leaving a wet, streaky trail on my face, every place where I’d wiped away my tears my face was dry. The lotion really did provide a layer of protection.

That might not be the best way of explaining it, but don’t let that deter you. This really is a great product. For the first time I don’t feel like I have to put on a moisturizer every morning. And guaranteed- every time I use it, I catch myself hours later, smoothing my fingers over my skin. I actually made Yannick feel my forehead a few days ago when I couldn’t stop rubbing it and remarking upon how soft it was.

I feel like I’m gushing. I hate gushing, it comes across so fake. Hopefully you know me well enough by now to know that I wouldn’t say I like something if I didn’t. And I like this product.

The company claims its product is all natural. There is a complete breakdown of all the lotion’s ingredients here. Visit that page and you will see why they make the claim of having “the most transparent ingredient disclosure in the industry”.

Where to buy:
There is a store locator on their website but I wasn’t able to find any stores in Quebec that carry the product.

You can also order directly via their website here.

A 4oz bottle (the size of my sample) is $18 (US, probably), and shipping to the US and Canada is $4.95. Shipping to the rest of the world is $7.95. If you order 3 or more bottles, shipping is free.

There are also discounts for bulk orders, as the product is available by the case at a 15% discount, and also by the gallon in a large pump bottle.

Sample packs (3-5 use sachets the same size as wet-wipes at a restaurant) are $2 shipping for 2 free packets.

NOTE: you can also get the free samples by mailing in a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE).

I have to be honest here. I’m a bargain shopper. A remarkable amount of my wardrobe came from Wal-Mart (I know, don’t lecture me), and I practically live in t-shirts from Old Navy’s $4 section. I’m also a hoarder. I occassionally buy facial products (masks, toner, astringent, etc) and then try to avoid using them so they last longer. Of course, by the time I decide that my behavior is silly…they’ve expired.

I can’t imagine that happening with my bottle of Skin MD Natural. I truly love this product. I wouldn’t buy an $18 bottle of lotion at my local pharmacy. I know myself, and without trying it, there is no way that I would justify the price. But having already tried the product…it’s worth it. In fact, I am positive that as soon as my bottle is finished, I will be quickly heading over to the website to order 3 more for myself, and getting free shipping!

The company guarantees your purchases with a full money-back guarantee, refunding not only your purchase price, but your shipping costs too. Talk about a satisfaction guarantee! Off the top of my head I can’t think of other companies who will even refund your shipping costs!

Skin MD Natural’s website, for more information.

21st Century Formulations

9663 Santa Monica Blvd., Ste #860

Beverly Hills, CA 90210


310-858-2992 fax