Thursday, August 09, 2018

Paint & Frame: Botanical Painting: Review & GIVEAWAY

Display your creativity! Paint & Frame: Botanical Painting: Nearly 20 Inspired Projects to Paint and Frame Instantly by Sara Boccaccini Meadows. Textile designer and illustrator Boccaccini Meadows shows you how to create charming mini watercolors in her coveted style. This kit includes a book, watercolor paper and frames. The full-color instruction book has 17 step-by-step watercolor projects. I have listed them all in the Contents below. I have also included a demo video of the Miniature Cacti project from page 32. In it we get a glimpse of Boccaccini Meadows working on an illustration from beginning to end, including painting the frame. Note the watercolor paper and frame in the video. They are the same ones included in the kit. You get five sheets of creamy 4 x 6" watercolor paper and three white 6 x 7" frames. At the very end of this post I have included the Coneflowers project from pages 24 - 27. It's an example of how well all of the projects are arranged. You can see that Boccaccini Meadows includes a specific list of the materials she uses. You may do the same or choose your own. Boccaccini Meadows makes painting very approachable. With her book I feel like I too can create lovely one-of-a-kind pieces and display them. This 96 page paperback was released July 3, 2018 from Race Point Publishing. Get your copy below!


Playing with Color

Botanical Gardens
Prickly Pear Cactus
Ditzy Wildflowers
Summer Floral Pattern
Miniature Cacti

The Beach

Ferns, Moss & Lichen

My Neighborhood
Stoop Plants

And Finally
Decorating the Frames
About the Author

Check out this excellent demo video by Boccaccini Meadows and see how lovely these handcrafted paintings can be!

Pages 38 - 39 of the Butterflies project.

Paint & Frame: Botanical Painting is available worldwide at Race Point Publishing. Check out their unique catalog at Race Point Publishing. Race Point Publishing is a division of the Quarto Publishing Group USA. Quarto has generously offered to giveaway a copy of Botanical Painting! One winner will be selected at random. Open until August 31, 2018. Canadian and USA addresses only. Good luck!

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Princeton size 2 round watercolor brush 
Watercolor pan 
Holbein Acryla Pale Pink gouache 
Holbein Acryla Beige gouache 
Princeton size 0 round watercolor brush 
Fine Line Black Sharpie 
Sakura Pigma Micron Pen (Size 02) 
Winsor & Newton Perylene Green watercolor paint


These flowers always amaze me! They draw me in when I start to see them bloom in the summertime. I love the wide range of colors they come in and the repetitive patterns they make, especially when I see a clump of them from above.

1. Use the size 2 round brush and a watereddown sepia reddish-brown color from the watercolor pan to begin painting the 'noses' of the coneflowers. I paint these as triangles with rounded edges and dot them sparsely around the page.

2. Now it’s time to paint the pretty petals onto some of the flowers. Use the Pale Pink gouache and the size 2 round brush to create thin umbrella-like petals. I like to vary the color of my flowers, so I only use the pink for a few of them.

3. Finish the remaining flowers using the Beige gouache. Set the painting aside to dry for approximately 10 minutes.

4. Using the size 0 round brush, load it with red paint from your pan. Paint little dots on the sepia 'nose' that you painted in step 1. Set the painting aside to dry completely, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Using the black fine line Sharpie, draw a dotted line between the 'nose' of the flower and the petals.

5. Next, use the Micron pen to add line details to the petals; a single line down the center of each petal adds nice dimension.

6. Finally, use the Perylene Green paint to add the stem and leaves and join the flowers together into a bouquet. Set the painting aside to dry completely, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Enjoy your painting!

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Geninne's Art: Birds in Watercolor, Collage, and Ink REVIEW

The wonderful cover of this book caught my attention. Inside is a feast for the eyes. Geninne's Art: Birds in Watercolor, Collage, and Ink: A field guide to art techniques and observing in the wild by Geninne D. Zlatkis. It includes 32 pages of fabulous 8.6 x 10 inch (21.9 x 25.4 cm) original art collage paper. These pages are perforated for easy removal. Geninne shares the intimate details of how she nurtures her creativity. We get to see how she sets up her work space and the tools and materials she chooses. Geninne shows how she uses photography - the details of which find their way into her work. In the chapters on Watercolor, Collage and Drawing with Ink we see her work from field to finish. This book is a keeper. I will read it front to back. I've already had several light bulb moments! The 160 page paperback was released on June 12, 2018 from publisher Quarry Books. Get your copy below!


Birds and Me 

The Studio 
Ways of Working 
Tools and Materials

First Photos
Which Lens and Setting?
Phone Shots
When to Shoot

Vermillion Flycatcher
Notes on Watercolor
The Secret
Mountain Bluebirds

Chilean Pelican on the Rocks
Black-and-White Warbler
Notes on Collage
Cactus Birds
Cactus Wren

Sparrow King
Paint Chips
Notes on Drawing with Ink
Singing Raven
Great Tailed Crackles
Label Birds

Collage Papers
About the Author

Pages 8 & 9.

Pages 4 & 5.

Page 42.

Image on back cover.

Geninne shows you the pages of her book.

Image result for Geninne's Art: Birds in Watercolor, Collage, and Ink: A field guide to art techniques and observing in the wild by Geninne D. Zlatkis.

Birds in Watercolor, Collage, and Ink is available worldwide at Quarry Books, a division of the Quarto Publishing Group USA. Check out their unique catalog at Quarry Books.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Countertop Gardens Review & GIVEAWAY

Curious about growing food indoors? Even if natural light is low? I am. So I decided to check out Countertop Gardens: Easily Grow Kitchen Edibles Indoors for Year-Round Enjoyment by Shelley Levis. Shelly shares a variety of methods for growing herbs, greens, fruits and vegetables indoors. Growing inside has never been easier. You wouldn't believe all of the innovative products designed for indoor growing. Shelly personally tested and sourced those discussed in her book. Alternatively she shows astonishing DIY options. Relying on 20 years of experience, she advises on the best edibles for indoor growing. They include varieties of tomatoes, herbs, mushrooms, peppers, strawberries, root vegetables, alliums, salad greens, sprouts, micro greens and edible flowers - as well as those to avoid. Chapters on Growing Basics (light, photosynthesis, fertilizer, water, air, ph, temperature, humidity) and Troubleshooting are very useful. Shelly is the passionate horticulturist, turned author, speaker and entrepreneur at Sow & Dipity, a thriving gardening blog. Her 160 page paperback from Cool Springs Press was released on June 19, 2018. Get your copy below!


Countertop garden methods

Growing basics

Best edibles for countertop gardens

Countertop growing devices

DIY Countertop gardening


About the author

DIY Countertop Gardening

Water Garden Fish Tank

Mushroom Kit

Hydroponic AeroGarden

Garden In A Bag, Oregano

Window Lettuce Box


Self-Watering Flower Garden Jar - Pansy

Countertop Gardens is available worldwide at Cool Springs Press. Cool Springs Press is a division of the Quarto Publishing Group USA. Cool Springs Press is the leading publisher of step-by-step how-to books for both DIY gardening and home improvement. Check out their unique catalog at Cool Springs Press. Quarto has generously offered to giveaway a copy! One winner will be selected at random. Open until August 13, 2018. Canadian and USA addresses only. Good luck!

This is my Apache chili pepper plant. It's growing in a pot on my patio.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

My Little Princess Review & GIVEAWAY

Looking for a great baby shower gift? I found this lovely baby book for my friend Cheryl. Her daughter Kelsey and son-in-law Tony are expecting their first child. It's a personal scrapbook - My Little Princess: Preserve your baby's most magical firsts & other beautiful memories from Dover Publications. This adorable album is for recording the moments from before birth up to the age of two. The 64 page hardcover reads like a delightful children's storybook. It's large 9.2 x 11.4" (23.4 x 29 cm) pages are on high quality paper that will stand up to use. I know that Kelsey will enjoy documenting her daughters growth and experiences. She'll be guided by prompts to fill in the spaces as indicated with photos, text and more. It makes saving memories fun and easy. An attached pink ribbon ties it closed. Cherish your child's sweet moments forever. Get your copy below! My Little Prince is it's companion book for boys.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Doodled Dogs Review & GIVEAWAY

Are you a cat person or a dog person? Walter Foster Publishing has just released Doodled Dogs: Dozens of clever doodling exercises & ideas for dog people by Gemma Correll. Doodled Cats, also by Gemma Correll, is it's companion book for cat people. I am a dog lover so I chose Doodled Dogs. It's a 160 page compact 6 x 7" hardcover. It's portable format is perfect for artists on-the-go. You only need to add your favorite drawing instrument - pen, pencil, marker, even crayon - because you draw in the book itself. There are doodle prompts and step-by-step exercises. The doodling is simple enough for anyone to do and enjoy. There is lighthearted dog humor throughout in Gemma's popular cartoon style. At the end of the book there's a bonus project to make a dog-doodled mug! This book is designed to both inspire creativity and to entertain. Get your copy below!

Table of Contents

How to Use This Book

Part 1: ALL About Dogs
20 Signs You're a Dog Person
A Day in the Life
Dozens of Dogs
Doodled Dog Faces
Doodled Dogs
Dogs from A to Z
What's in a Name

Part 2: Doodled Dogs Step by Step
French Bulldog
Bichon Frise

Part 3: It's a Dogs World
Dogs in Hats
Funky Furbaby
Anthropomorphic Dogs
Dogs in Costumes
Doggie Digs
Traveling Dogs
Dogs & Cats

Part 4: Dog Doodle Templates
Bonus Project!
About the Illustrator

Pages 14-15


Doodled Dogs is available worldwide at Walter Foster Publishing as is Doodled Cats.  Walter Foster Publishing is a division of the Quarto Publishing Group USA. Walter Foster is one of the most recognized names in art instruction. Check out their unique catalog at Walter Foster Publications. Quarto has generously offered to giveaway a copy! One winner will be selected at random. Open until July 28, 2018. Canadian and USA addresses only. Good luck!

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Back cover of my copy of this cute book.

Sunday, July 01, 2018

KARIDERM - Shea Butter Discovery Kit REVIEW

For the past week I have been discovering the benefits of using organic shea butter on my skin. I came across a Canadian company in Laval, Quebec who have partnered with a women's cooperative of shea butter producers in Burkina Faso, West Africa. Founded in 1998 KARIDERM is a certified organic and fair trade producer of face, body and hair care products made with organic shea butter. I've been testing their Shea Butter Discovery Kit. It does NOT disappoint. The kit is made up of 5 shea butter skin care products including raw organic shea butter. Shea butter is extracted from the fruit of the shea tree found mainly in West Africa. It has been used for centuries by women to nourish and protect skin and hair. To learn more about shea butter and it's benefits, including origins, properties and usage please visit KARIDERM.

Shea Butter Discovery Kit

Raw Organic Shea Butter 
Hand Cream
Organic Lip Balm
Neutral Natural Soap + Argan + Vitamin E
Moisturizing Protective Face Cream Samples x 2

CAD $ 23.95
USD $ 18.75

Kariderm's Organic Shea Butter has a light natural scent. It can be used on skin and hair and has many uses as a beauty supply or in the medicine cabinet for skin irritations.

Kariderm's superior protection Hand Cream has a nice subtle natural scent likely because of lavender and fennel oils. It goes on smoothly and is absorbed well. It feel's light and not greasy. I may have to switch.

Kariderm's Organic Lip Balm smells delicious likely due to the pure extract of Bourbon vanilla and orange oil. It reminds me of the smell of opening a box of fine assorted chocolates. It leaves a nice gloss on your lips. It feels rich and luscious. It's addictive. Did you know shea butter has naturally occurring UV protection? It nourishes and protects lips year round from sun, wind and cold. 

My favorite is Kariderm's Neutral Natural Soap with shea butter, argan and vitamin E. It's 100% vegan and unscented. It lathers nicely. I use it on my face and body. It cleans gently yet thoroughly without stripping the skin. I just might not be able to live without it. They also have a lavender & a citrus shea butter soap that I want to try.

Kariderm's moisturizing protective Face Cream is a star product within the Kariderm line. It is for all skin types. It has a light natural scent. It is recommended you follow a cleanse, tone and moisturize routine.

I found KARIDERM'S natural skin care products to be of high quality. What is remarkable is their efficacy. Organic shea butter is at or near the top of each products ingredient list. KARIDERM is available in Canada and the US online and in storeDelivery is free everywhere in Canada and the continental US with any purchase of $50 or more! I recommend.

Image result for kariderm

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Craft Kingdom Review & GIVEAWAY

I've been exploring The Craft Kingdom: DIY and Craft Projects for Kids and Adults by Eli Maor. Her 112 page paperback contains over 90 no fuss projects for a range of ages, skill levels and interests. It's organized by topic. See the table of contents below. Each of the 13 topics has a variety of projects.  The author likes to use a mix of common craft supplies, household items and recycled materials. All projects contain a supplies list and instructions. There are lots of colorful photos and essential text. Project templates are at the rear of the book. Her brother Elad Maor did the stand out cover design. Looking for inspiration and ideas? Get your copy below!


Nature Craft
Washi Tape
Soap Making
Candle Making
Recycled Art
Fabric and Textile
Paper Napkin

Page 27 The Craft Kingdom.

Simply beautiful DIY gift wrap. And fragrant too. It's from the Nature Craft section. The author recommends going outside to collect raw materials. I have a gift to wrap and since it's summer I thought I'd swap out the pine for lavender cuttings and maybe a sprig of rosemary. I also have lots of kraft paper to recycle from online shopping.

In this video the author demos her toilet paper roll art project from page 54 and 55. It's from the Recycling Art section.

The Craft Kingdom is available at Amazon Canada and Amazon USA. The author has generously offered to giveaway a copy! One winner will be selected at random. Open until July 15, 2018. Canada & the USA only. Good luck!