Sunday, January 19, 2020

Love Grows Here Embroidery KIT Review

Modern hand embroidery takes a fresh approach to stitching! This attractive boxed kit contains everything you need to begin stitching right away - Love Grows Here Embroidery: Modern Patterns for Home and Family by Kathryn C. Dalby. It includes an 80 page instruction book6-inch embroidery hoop, 2 pieces of fabric, 2 needles, 10 skeins of embroidery floss and iron-on transfer sheets. First learn and practice 11 popular embroidery stitches - the straight, running, backstitch, split, stem, satin, surface satin, long and short stitch, fishbone, French knot and fly stitchesEach stitch is clearly demonstrated with large, step-by-step diagram and text instructions. Next make your own unique pieces of stitched art! Choose from 10 charming home and family themed patterns (listed below). Just iron on the design and start stitching. The iron-on transfer sheets may be re-used. The stitching is broken down into small, manageable sections. Tips for personalizing patterns are included. There are so many creative ways to use embroidery. You may also use your new skills to customize clothing and accessories. It's deceptively simple! Thunder Bay Press released the 80 page paperback on September 3, 2019. Get your copy below!


Getting started
How to use this kit


Home sweet home
Like birds of a feather
Love grows here
Home is where the hearth is
Tropical leaves wreath
Floral wreath
Family tree
Hand prints

About the author

Page 10-11 How to Use This Kit.

Five of the patterns in this beginner friendly kit.

Love Grows Here Embroidery is available worldwide at Thunder Bay Press. Thunder Bay Press is an imprint of Printers Row Publishing Group. Check out their catalog at Thunder Bay Press.

My kit. I'm learning the fly stitch on page 42.

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

15-Minute Watercolor Masterpieces Review & GIVEAWAY

Get your paint brush moving! From the founder of DearAnnArtAnna Kolyadich, comes 15-Minute Watercolor Masterpieces, Create Frame-Worthy Art in Just a Few Simple Steps. This colorful new book features 50 step-by-step projects that can be painted in 15 minutes. Her methods have been successfully tried and tested on Instagram by over a thousand people! Begin with the basics - watercolor techniques and exercises. Then practice your new skills painting Beautiful Landscapes, Dreamy Galaxies, Elegant Plants and Foliage, Flowers, Fruits and Sweets, Adorable Animals and Fashion. Each project has an introduction, supplies list, paint colors and color mixing. Clearly written and illustrated instructions make following the lessons enjoyable. Premium lay flat binding allows for hands free use. Practice and learn watercolor in 15 minutes a day! Page Street Publishing released this 208 page paperback on December 3, 2019. A Kindle edition is available. Get your copy below!

Check out Ann's video. I've included it so you can peek inside. See a sample lesson and how she speeds up the paint drying time!

Back cover of my copy.

15-Minute Watercolor Masterpieces is available worldwide at Amazon USA, Amazon Canada and Amazon UK. Page Street Publishing has generously offered to giveaway a copy! One winner will be selected at random. Open until January 22, 2020. Canada & USA only. Good luck!

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Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Meditative Origami Review & GIVEAWAY

It's mindfulness times two! Color and then fold with Meditative Origami: Finding Mindfulness Through Coloring and Origami by origami expert John Montroll. Begin by choosing an image to color. There are 23 detailed illustrations in a variety of patterns such as mehndi, arabesque, seashells, mandala, bird, mosaic, flowers, succulents, fruits and nature. Use your own colored pencils and/or markers to color. Each drawing has an inspirational quote to meditate upon while you're coloring it. A sample page is shown below - the seashells pattern. Remove the page from the pad by cutting along the solid line. I used a paper cutter. You're left with an 8" (20 cm) square. It's a very nice size for folding and the paper is good quality. Pick 1 of 10 origami models to fold. I began with the heart. All of the designs are listed below. Each has large, clearly diagrammed instructions with symbols and text. They conform to the internationally approved Yoshizawa-Randlett system. Dover Publications released the 64 page paperback on November 13, 2019. Get your copy below!


Basic Folds


origami coloring

Seashells Pattern

Meditative Origami is available worldwide at Dover Publications. Dover, Great Books, Variety & Value Since 1941. Check out their catalog at Dover Publications. Dover has generously offered to giveaway a copy! One winner will be selected at random. Open until January 15, 2020. Canada & USA only. Good luck!

Monday, December 23, 2019

Inspired by Nature Sketchbook Review & GIVEAWAY

It's so lovely I had to have it - the Inspired by Nature Sketchbook by award winning Dutch nature artist Marjolein Bastin. It features a unique blend of her nature-filled sketches, completed artwork and blank pages. She favors pencil and paint brush (watercolor) recording whatever piques her interest - places, thoughts and ideas. On the left side of the page are her initial sketches and personal reflections - a diary of sorts. While on the right is a finished painting the sketches inspired - giving a glimpse into her creative process. Following are numerous unlined white pages for you to document your own experiences. These pages have hand-drawn borders or some form of embellishment like a small bird or flower. They measure 6.8 x 8.8 inches (17.3 x 22.4 cm). Attached to the binding is a light blue textile bookmark and at the back of the book a Nature's Finds and Treasures Envelope. Marjoleins love of nature comes through in her artwork. Capture the moments that are significant to you in this beautiful book! If you can part with it, it would make a great gift. Andrews McMeel Publishing released the 192 page paperback on May 14, 2019. Get your copy below!

Marjolein's sketches beside the art they inspired.

Blank pages with hand drawn border.

Blue birds and holly berries.

Back cover of my copy.

The Inspired by Nature Sketchbook is available at Andrews McMeel Publishing. Check out their unique calendar catalog at Andrews McMeel Publishing. AMP has generously offered to giveaway a copy! One winner will be selected at random. Open until January 7, 2020. Canada & the USA only. Good luck!

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Saturday, December 14, 2019

Christmas Inspirations Coloring Book Review & GIVEAWAY

Make it a colorful Christmas with Creative Haven's® Christmas Inspirations Coloring Book by Jessica Mazurkiewicz! This issue features 31 Christmas themed designs with sayings like "Be Merry", as shown on the books cover and sample pages below. These festive designs are printed on good quality 8.1 x 10.6 inch (20.6 x 26.9 cm) white paper. The back of the pages are left blank. All pages are perforated so you can easily tear out, share, display and even frame your works-of-art. For use with colored pencils or markers. Printed in the USA. At $5.99 US and $7.92 CDN you can't beat the price! Creative Haven® is Dover's best-selling series of adult coloring books. Jessica has created dozens of coloring books for Dover, many of which are best-selling titles. Dover Publications released this 64 page paperback on August 14, 2019. There are many benefits to coloring including stress reduction and artistic expression. Get your copy below!

Creative Haven's® Christmas Inspirations Coloring Book is available worldwide at Dover Publications. Dover, Great Books, Variety & Value Since 1941. Check out their catalog at Dover Publications. Dover has generously offered to giveaway a copy! One winner will be selected at random. Open until December 30, 2019. Canada & USA only. Good luck!

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Monday, December 09, 2019

Creative Candle Making KIT Review & GIVEAWAY

Learn to make beautiful handmade candles at home! Creative Candle Making: 12 Unique Projects to Make Candles for All Occasions by Meredith Mennitt. This is a boxed kit. Inside you will find a book, soy wax chips, beeswax sheet, floating candle mold (a heart and a star), mounted wicks, loose cotton wicking and osmanthus flower fragrance. There are enough supplies to make 4 candles - 2 rolled beeswax candles and 2 poured soy floating candles. The 48 page book contains step-by-step instructions for twelve candles. This includes rolled, poured, container, pillar, floating and scented candles. The candle projects are divided into four sections by season - winter, spring, summer and fall. Each project includes colorful photos, a materials list, instructions, a difficulty level and yield. To melt the wax you will need a metal pouring pitcher (about $10, shown below), a pot big enough to fit the pitcher in and a candy thermometer. Ten of the recipes use soy wax flakes and two use beeswax. More of both waxes are readily available on-line. This is a fun kit to try out a new hobby. It takes you step-by-step through the candle making process. Plus you'll learn about candle safety, burning tips and gain knowledge of candle making techniques and materials. No previous experience is necessary. becker&mayer! books released this kit on September 24, 2019. Get yours below!

Project 7: Summer Nights Floating Candles 
Project 8: Beach Bum Sand Candles Project 
9: Modern Pillar Candle 

Project 10: Tea for Two Candles 
Project 11: Coffee Date Candles 
Project 12: Apple Cinnamon Votive Candles

Winter Candles chapter, page 12. Candy Cane Candles (top, left), Cookie Cutter Candles (center) and Beeswax Forest Candles (bottom, left).

Image result for metal pouring pitcher"

An example of a metal pouring pitcher.

Project 1. Winter

Project 4. Spring

Creative Candle Making is available worldwide at becker&mayer! a division of the Quarto Publishing Group USA. Check out their unique catalog at becker&mayer! Quarto has generously offered to giveaway a copy! One winner will be selected at random. Open until December 23, 2019. Canada & the USA only. Good luck!

Friday, December 06, 2019

My Little Crocheted Christmas Review & GIVEAWAY

This book will make you fall in love with crochet! My Little Crocheted Christmas: Festive Projects to Make the Season Bright by Doerthe Eisterlehner. The cover shows only a sample of the delights inside. It's packed with holiday goodies, baubles and items you can crochet to keep or gift. The author's crochet designs are fresh and modern. Her book is divided into 3 chapters Sweets, Gift Ideas and Decorations. All 26 crochet patterns are printed on large, easy to read 20.3 x 27.2 cm (8 x 10.7 inch) pages and include step-by-step-instructions, finishing, a materials list and photos. Each project has a difficulty rating of 1 through 3. Most are a 1 or 2 and can be made relatively quickly and easily. There's a How-To section for beginners where both text and diagram show basic crochet techniques.  The book design is lovely, a pleasure to look at, colorful and engaging, infused with sweetness. Add a touch of handmade to your Christmas! See the complete table of content below. Dover Publications released this 96 page paperback on September 18, 2019. Get your copy below!


Heart Advent Calendar
Donuts 4 You
Tempting Chocolates
Little Nibbles

Polly the Polar Fox
Animal Santas
Cupcake Pincushion
Little Elf Stockings
 Heavenly Wrist Warmers
Decorative Cozy
Finger Puppets

Steadfast Snowman and Busy Santa Claus
Here Comes a Little Bird...
Mouse Concert
Bright Stars
Snowman Candles Cozy
Fruit Ornaments
Sweet Bells
Sleepy Mice
The Stable in Bethlehem
Pastel Fairy Tale Mushrooms
Round Good Luck Charm

About the Author and Acknowledgments

A sampling of the Sweets chapter, pages 6 and 7.

My Little Crocheted Christmas ISBN-13: 978-0486839257 is available worldwide at Dover Publications. Dover, Great Books, Variety & Value Since 1941. Check out their catalog at Dover Publications. Dover has generously offered to giveaway a copy! One winner will be selected at random. Open until December 22, 2019. Canadian and USA addresses only. Good luck!

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Draw Every Little Thing Review & GIVEAWAY

Don't know what to draw? The world around you contains an abundance of drawing inspiration. Learn how to see it with Draw Every Little Thing: Learn to draw more than 100 everyday items, from food to fashion by Flora Waycott artist and illustrator. Flora shares how she learned to look more closely at her environment while developing her own drawing practice. She begins with an introduction that covers How to Use This Book, Finding Inspiration, Tools & Materials, Drawing & Painting Techniques and Color Basics. Her preferred tools are a mechanical pencil and gouache paint, though she also uses black fineliner pens, a nib pen and ink and colored pencils. There are 4 themed sections - Around the Home, Get Outside!, Everyday Life and Around Town. Each of these subjects has several creative prompts and exercises to get you drawing and painting. Lastly, she shows how to use your colored drawings on three lovely paper craft projects. If like me, you adore Flora's work (it has a wonderful folksy charm) and want to glean all of the ideas and tips for drawing and painting you can. Or if you're looking for fun practice, her pretty new book offers a variety of ways to improve your illustrations. Walter Foster Publishing released this 128 page paperback on October 1, 2019. A Kindle edition is available. Get your copy below!



How to Use This Book
Finding Inspiration
Tools & Materials
Drawing & Painting Techniques
Color Basics

Around the Home
Creative Prompt: Vases
Creative Prompt: Today's Outfit
Creative Prompt: Pets
Exercise: Tea Tin
Exercise: Kitchen Shelves
Exercise: Houseplants & Pets
Exercise: Japanese Meal

Get Outside!
Creative Prompt: Gardening Tools
Creative Prompt: Vegetable Garden
Exercise: Plants
Exercise: Local Park
Exercise: Insects

Everyday Life
Creative Prompt: Pencil Case
Creative Prompt: Lamps
Exercise: Desk
Exercise: Office Supplies
Exercise: Sewing Machine

Around Town
Creative Prompt: Bicycle
Creative Prompt: Mailboxes
Exercise: House
Exercise: Cafe
Exercise: Local Map

Crafting Projects
Concertina Book
Card & Envelope

About the Artist

No photo description available.

Japanese Meal Exercise,  page 48.

Image may contain: text

Around Town, page 92. One of Flora's full-page illustrations found throughout on large 22.4 x 29.7 cm (8.8 x 11.7 inches) pages.

Creative Prompt: Today's Outfit

Exercise: Tiny Plants 

Back cover of my copy.

Draw Every Little Thing ISBN-13: 978-1633228016 is available worldwide at Walter Foster. Walter Foster 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. Quarto has generously offered to giveaway a copy! One winner will be selected at random. Open until December 12, 2019. Canadian and USA addresses only. Good luck!

Monday, November 18, 2019

Posh: Planner Review & GIVEAWAY

To help me stay organized and get things done every year I get a new planner. I like to write things down. In 2020 I'll be using the Posh: Planner. It's an undated 12 month/52 week calendar. Because it's undated you can start the year whenever you like. You can also skip weeks or months without feeling like you're wasting pages. I like the covers white tossed floral pattern. Its pink foil sparkles in the light for a unique and elegant look. The bronze-colored spiral binding of this planner allows for lay-flat, hands free use. An attractive blue elastic band marks your page or keeps the planner securely closed. Save things like photos and cards in the convenient double-sided pocket. There are monthly and weekly layout as shown below. I look forward to using the Goals for the month and Customizable Habit Tracker - both found at the beginning of each month. Two pages of stickers make customizing your planner fun. At the back of the planner are sections for Important dates, Things to do, Big ideas, Contacts, Celebrations/Anniversaries, Notes and Doodle/draw/dream. It's dimensions are 18.8 x 1.8 x 22.9 cm (7.4 x 0.7 x 9 inches). How will you stay organized in the coming new year? Andrews McMeel Publishing will release this 200 page engagement calendar on January 2, 2020. It is available now for pre-order. Get your copy below!

A sample month layout.

A sample week layout.

Also available in Pink Silhouette Floral.

The posh planner accessories kit includes stickers, a sticky pad, and flag pads.

The inside cover of my copy.

The back cover of my copy.

The Posh: Planner ISBN: 9781524854782 is available at Andrews McMeel Publishing. Check out their unique calendar catalog at Andrews McMeel Publishing. AMP has generously offered to giveaway a copy! One winner will be selected at random. Open until December 3, 2019. Canada & the USA only. Good luck!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

nugoo's Christmas Tenugui Review

Looking for an alternative to disposable gift wrap? nugoo has some beautiful Christmas tenugui - the original reusable fabric wrap! Why buy any cloth wrap when you can have authentic tenugui made in Japan by skilled craftsmen using the prized chusen method. nugoo's online shop has over 300 designs suitable for a variety of tastes. Their classic and contemporary designs reflect both the change of seasons and holidays. Tenugui may be used to wrap anything from books to bottles, even plants! They add a special touch to any gift, require no scissors or tape and are great for unusual shapes. Just wrap and knot. Recipients can then re-use their tenugui in an infinite number of ways. Tenugui are made of lightweight 100% cotton and measure about 32 x 92 cm (1 x 3 feet). Wrap your gifts in tenugui this holiday season and beyond! It's a stylish alternative perfect for all occasions. The designs in the post are exclusive to nugoo. Tenugui retail starting at USD$10.80 or CAD$15 each. Free STANDARD or EXPRESS shipping for all orders over $100 USD with coupon code: FREESHIPNOV. This offer closes on Friday, December 6th. Get yours below!

Photos (above and below) of my Christmas tenugui spread out on the dining room table and on top of a piece of denim fabric. I love the vivid colors and detailed design. Note that the sides of tenugui are selvage, while the top and bottom edges are cut. This allows for a fringe to develop with use.

nugoo Japan's on-line products include - tenugui, bento® lunch wraps, square cloth scarves, tea, accessories and greeting cards. Their online shop is in English, with prices in US dollars and worldwide shipping. You may also check prices in 14 different currencies including the Canadian dollar, British pound and Euro. Founded in 2006 nugoo also has five retail stores and a cafe in and around Tokyo.

nugoo has assembled some of their favorite things into a variety of deluxe Christmas gift sets. For unique, high quality gifts click here to open!