Shop Handmade: Karla Storey

It’s been a while, but I want to share another handmade shop that I seriously love.

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Karla Storey does the most amazing lettering and I’m totally crushing on her prints. It’s been a little while since I ordered from her and I’m not sure that she even ships prints out anymore, but she does have some available as instant downloads. One of the things I really loved about her work was that she sent out the originals instead of copies, but since she doesn’t have any listed right now I’m not sure if she no longer offers that option or if she’s just not offering it at the moment.

She’s also branched out into t-shirts recently and I kind of love that mom life shirt on her website.

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I have several of her prints up in my little craft nook and they make me so happy. I love decorating with pretty, meaningful art, her prices are really reasonable, and a final really cool thing about Karla is that a percentage of all sales go towards feeding orphans, which really, really makes my heart happy.  Be sure to pop over and check her out!

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Let’s Talk About Adult Coloring Books

So, I was an awkward teenager. I definitely never fit in very well. And for a long time I was embarrassed about this, but I colored until I was about 16 or 17. Like…in Disney coloring books. And I always wished there was something else out there for me to color in, but trust me, I looked, and I never could find anything. (You should remember that this was before the internet!) And after all these years I find out this wasn’t as uncommon as I thought because apparently adults like to color, too. And a lot of them, if the trend of adult coloring books says anything. So even though I haven’t colored in quite a few years (except for a few pages with my girls here and there), I’m pretty thrilled with the selection available now. Now I can color without feeling like a total dork!

So. I now possess four coloring books, a few that were given to me, and a few I picked out myself. I thought I’d go through some of the pros and cons and share my favorite pages in case anyone had any of the same questions that I did. And because I like them and want to talk about them. 😉

Adult Coloring Books

So the first book I received was Fantastic Cities, and Jerm bought it for me off Amazon (a thousand brownie points to the hubs for knowing what I like without even asking!!). This is by far the most intimidating, intricate book of the four. The detail is AMAZING. Also, scary. Like…I don’t even know where to start. Check it out.

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I’m guessing that colored pencils will work best for this book. The pages are thick but the details are so tiny that I don’t know that paint or markers would do very well unless you’re extremely patient and steady.

Next I got the Extreme Wonders Color Art. You can pick this up from Walmart for under $5 and they have a variety of different designs to choose from. I either bought this for myself or it was gifted from maybe Heather. (Sorry, can’t remember.)

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The patterns are pretty detailed and each page has a blank back so even thought the paper is on the thinner side, markers would work. I’m not sure I’d try paint on these books because the paper isn’t very thick, but you may be able to get away with it.

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The Joyous Blooms is probably the book the I like the most. Every page is gorgeous and full of flowers, birds, nature scenes, etc.

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The paper is very good quality and thick enough to use watercolors on, which is my current favorite medium. (I should point out though, that’s it’s NOT watercolor paper). It also takes marker very well and although the pages are double-sided I haven’t had any bleed through issues.

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There are also really cool two page spreads like the butterfly above, which seems to be a unique feature (none of my other books do this). Most of the pages are not abstract, but I just adore the one above.

My last book, Whatever Is Lovely, was sent to me by Blogging For Books to review.

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I love the idea of a worship coloring book and had high hopes for this one. The con to this book is that it’s a compilation of many different artists/authors so I found many of the pages don’t really fit with my personal style preferences – but I do really like some of them. Overall I think I’d rather pick a book by one or two artists that I really like, but I can see how a lot of people might enjoy the diversity. The pages are really thick and the back of each is blank except for a small note about the song, reference, or author. I’ve worked with both watercolors and markers in this book and both worked beautifully.

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(While I did receive this book for review, all opinions expressed are my own.)

So, what do you think about the adult coloring book trend? Which style is your favorite? Do you have any on your wishlist? I’m crushing on all of the Johanna Basford books (check them out here).

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Shop Handmade: Naptime Diaries

One thing that I really started to love in 2015 was supporting small businesses. I’ve been meaning (and meaning…and meaning) to share some of my favorite handmade shops with yall, but I never seemed to quite get around to it, so I decided to start a new series on my blog where I can show off the pretties I’ve been accumulating.

It took me a while to really get into shopping small because honestly, you do pay a little more than you would at a big box store, but I think the quality of the items, the personal touches, and the fact that you’re supporting a real, live person (some of whom share the same interests/beliefs/etc. that we do) more than makes up for it. I’ve met some really sweet ladies while purchasing their items and love knowing that supporting them helps them stay at home with their kids or fulfill a lifelong dream of selling their art or fund an adoption.

I chose Naptime Diaries as my first shop to share with you guys, because I’ve been buying from them for several years and honestly, I just love their work. Their prints and canvases are so pretty and I’ve used their advent devotionals for the last few years and loved them.

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I actually won this canvas in a giveaway and I adore it. i always have it on display somewhere in my home.

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I need to find a home for this one, obviously, but it’s another favorite print.

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These mini prints were part of the advent devotional that i used this past holiday season. They’re amazing quality and I don’t know exactly how I’ll use them now, but trust me, I will find a use for them. 🙂

And my current favorite from their shop right now is this beauty:

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Be sure to check out their shop if you’re looking for some scripture-based wall art for your home. And right now you can take 10% off your order by using the code NEWYEAR10 when you checkout!!

I’d love to hear about your favorite local or online handmade business – I’m always on the lookout to find new makers to follow and support.

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Book Reviews: Trim Healthy Mama Plan and Washi Tape Crafts

Hey buddies, I know it’s been forever since I’ve blogged, but things have been crazy around here and I’ve been contemplating whether or not to continue writing (pretty much for the whole year) and where I want to go with this thing. I think I’ve made my decision, and I’ll be writing more about that soon, but today I wanted to share a couple of thoughts about two fun books I’ve read through in the past few weeks (okay..months. Like I said, crazy around here.)

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The Trim Healthy Mama Plan is the newest of the THM books, but I’d never read the original so it was all new to me. It’s been one of those books I kept intending to read and just never happened, but I’ve been hearing about it for the last several years and finally got around to it at the recommendation of my sisters, two of whom are following this plan successfully. Honestly, I’ve tried a lot of fad diets and I’m still not completely convinced about this one, especially since I haven’t tried it myself yet, but I like their simple approach, which is basiically: Don’t mix carbs and fats when you eat. Let me tell ya, I’ve been struggling to lose weight for several years now and I’m really, really tired of counting calories and not seeing results from my efforts, so I do plan to give this plan a try as soon as I get more familiar with the menu. I thought the book was well-written, easy to follow (not a lot of technical jargon that’s impossible to follow like a lot of diet books), and seriously, the recipes they’ve included actually sound really appetizing, which is a huge plus. (Seriously. Cilantro-Lime Burst Chicken? Yes, please!)  I’ve also talked to (and read about) quite a few people who’ve had great success on this plan. So overall, definitely an interesting read. I’d like to pick up their new cookbook as well.

The second book, Washi Tape Crafts, is a cute little craft book by the author of Mod Podge Rocks (Amy Anderson) and is filled with projects you can complete with washi tape. A super cool thing about the book – it comes with TEN rolls of washi included to try out some of the crafts yourself! I’ve been using washi for a few years now, mainly in journaling and papercrafting, but she has all kinds of cool ideas in this book. My favorites are the following:

I love this tumbler!
I love this tumbler!
The awesome thing about washi is that it doesn't leave residue behind and is repositionable, which makes it perfect on walls.
The awesome thing about washi is that it doesn’t leave residue behind and is repositionable, which makes it perfect on walls.
Make your keyboard pretty!
Make your keyboard pretty!

This book would make a great gift for someone who loves crafting, especially because of the washi that’s included.

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**I received the Trim Healthy Mama Plan from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion and Washi Tape Crafts from the author, Amy Anderson, also in exchange my honest review.

Loving Right Now: Spring 2015 Picks

Time for the next edition of My Current Love List.

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IKEA’s Raskog cart – I’d wanted one of these bad boys for months, so when IKEA dropped the price from $50 to $30 I was all over that.  It’s the perfect solution for all those craft supplies I drag out almost every day and then have to put away.  Now I just keep my handy dandy cart within easy reach and it saves me a lot of time. I love it.

 

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Glad with Gain trashbags – I’m usually pretty okay with buying store brand items, but I learned a long time ago not to do that with trash bags.  I’ve stayed loyal to Glad for a long time, because I’ve never had a problem with the drawstrings or bags themselves tearing, but they’ve managed to reel me in even further with their new Gain-scented bags.  Since Gain is another product I’m willing to splurge on, I’m pretty much in love with these bags, especially since our trashcan is located in my little crafting nook(there’s literally nowhere else to put it).  Now I can sit back there and smell one of my favorite scents of all time – coming from my trash can. Hahaha! They also came in very handy during my spring cleaning, especially when I decided that my girls had waaaay too many clothes and pared their closet down by about two-thirds. Thank you, Glad, for making a bag that won’t rip, even when weighed down by 30 lbs of clothing I never want to see my kids in again.

**I was sent product to try in exchange for my honest review, but all opinions are my own. These definitely would have made my list anyway.  Pretty much anything that has Gain stamped on it makes it’s way to my house eventually.**

 

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Tone Fruit Peel bodywash – I’ve been looking for a good bodywash for a long time.  I’m super picky about scents and most of the time I find scents so overpowering that they almost make me feel sick when I use them.  The Fruit Peel scent from Tone is perfection, a little spicy, a little tangy, and if they ever stop making it I will cry.

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Artist’s Loft Watercolor set from Michaels – These are not high end watercolors ($5 regular price; even less with a coupon), but I adore them.  I have no clue what I’m doing when it comes to watercolors, but I’m having so much fun making giant messes and coloring all the things.

Also on the list, but not pictured:

  • The newest season of 24.  Hello, Jack Bauer, I have missed you and your craziness.
  • Fizzy frozen fruit slushes that are so good I’ve been making them almost every day.  I’ll have to post the recipe soon; they’re perfect for the warmer temps we’ve been having and super easy to whip up.
  • The extended hours of sunlight that spring brings.  I’m never happy that summer is on it’s way, but if it would just stop raining I would really enjoy this season.  It’s been SO WET this year!

Now it’s your turn.  What have you been loving this time of year? Any must-have products that you want to share about?

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Book Review: In This House We Giggle

A few months ago I received a review copy of the book In This House We Will Giggle by Courney Defeo from Blogging for Books. I was excited because I’d heard good things about it, and I’m always on the lookout for good parenting books. The book focuses on encouraging love and laughter in our homes and children’s lives by letting go of some of the rigidity and rules that are often imposed by parents.

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I really wanted to like this book.  Parts of it I really did like, but a lot of it seemed to be recycled material from every other faith-based parenting book out there.  I also didn’t really see how the chapters all tied into the idea of encouraging the lighthearted home atmosphere that was the primary focus of the book.

The pros:

  •  I really, REALLY enjoyed the introduction.  It made me have pretty high hopes for the book.
  • The 12 chapters each focus on a virtue to encourage in your child’s life and were full of good thoughts and advice.
  • I loved the practical applications listed at the end of each chapter.  The activities look fun and worthwhile and I’m sure I’ll end up using some of them.
  • Scattered throughout the book are 60 fun little things to do with your kids to encourage giggles.  I really loved this element.

The cons:

  • If this book had just been about encouraging virtues in your child it would have been excellent, but again, I didn’t really see how the theme of the book tied into the chapters very well.
  • I felt like the author used laughter as a diversion tactic sometimes instead of correcting bad behavior.
  • After that awesome introduction the rest of the book was a bit of a letdown.

This book didn’t end up being what I expected, but I do plan to keep it and incorporate some of the ideas into our family.  I love the idea of focusing on a virtue every month and having practical ways to encourage that.  I also really like some of the activities listed throughout the book and know that being playful with my kids is not one of my strong points, so I’ll be working on that, too. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a fun, practical book that teaches children about Biblical virtues.

**I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.  As always, my opinions are my own.**

Week(s) in Review: February 1-21

You know, it seems like no matter what my intentions, I just can’t get my act together when it comes to blogging regularly. My weeks turn into months and I’m always running behind.  Maybe I’ll get my act together one of these days, but for now I’ll just have to post when I can.

This year is rushing by already and I seriously don’t know how we’re just a week away from March.  March, peoples. That means…spring break, and Daylight Savings Time (that which we do not speak of), and MAD’S BIRTHDAY (gulp), for which I have not prepared one iota.

But back to February.  I don’t remember much about the first week.  We did school, tried to recover from the trip to Colorado (you know, collecting the cat, cleaning the house, doing mounds of laundry), and for a surprise lunch with Heather and Co. who were driving through Dallas on the way home from visiting family. We only had about an hour to visit but it was super fun to see them.  And now every time we drive by Saltgrass the girls ask if Auntie Heather and their cousins are maybe, just possibly, sitting inside.

Thanks for lunch, Heather and Caleb (aka Hulk Hogan).

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Then Friday evening I headed out to Atlanta for a long weekend with my girls, Amber and Lanae. I hadn’t seen them for 10 years and it was a seriously fab couple of days.  We shopped and ate and laughed and shopped and ate some more.

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(And yes, I pilfered some of these photos from the other girls.) We visited First Baptist in Atlanta and heard Dr Stanley preach and we’re pretty sure we’re famous TV stars now because of it (joke).  We also visited the worlds creepiest theater to catch what’s probably the worlds last viewing of Mockingjay and Amber didn’t even have to pull out her ninja knife.  But she did have it ready, you know, just in case. (Seriously, when we came out into the lobby, even the employees had already left. Weird.

So glad I had a chance to reconnect with some old girlfriends; it was good for my soul.

I signed the girls up for a mail swap with some other homeschool kids and they had a blast making, sending, and receiving Valentines.

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In other news, it’s February so our nectarine tree has blossomed…way too early, as always. It’s supposed to freeze this weekend so no nectarines for us. Again.

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Here’s a little update on some of the fun mail I’e received this month:

New oatmeal varieties to try out from Bzzagent – Susannah especially has been enjoying these.  And on a side note, WHY are there instructions for microwaving these oatmeal packets when they always, ALWAYS boil over the sides of the bowls?  Probably the better question is why do I keep trying when I always get the same result? Bzzagent

This fun little box was a giveaway I won recently from Cakes.com  Pretty awesome, because Madeline OF COURSE wants a Frozen themed birthday party so these supplies will come in handy in a few weeks. I love that they included a handwritten note in the box, too.

 

 

 

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This monstrous package came courtesy of Crowdtap, jammed full of Splenda goodies.  I have tons to share with friends and family! Crowdtap Splenda Crowdtap Splenda 2

This delicious little box was from Influenster and the girls pretty much decimated the bottle in a matter of days.  I had a taste and this stuff is pretty amazing (if you like Reese’s PB cups)! Influenster 2

And finally, although I always plan to do a separate review for my Ipsy bags, just in case it doesn’t happen again, here’s what I received this month.  I just opened it up and haven’t had a chance to test anything yet, but this just might be my favorite package from them, yet.

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I think that pretty much wraps up the week(s).  The girls are still fighting sickness (will it ever end?) so we’ve been taking school pretty slow, focusing mainly on math and history and reading.  Hopefully we’ll have some fun projects to share next time.

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