Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Book Review :: Plush Bible Collection, NIV

This week I am reviewing a variety of Bibles here on my blog, and today's review is again from the Plush Bible Collection from Zondervan. I have already reviewed the Plush Bible (NIrV) in Pink Sparkle, but this review is focused on the Plush Bible (NIV) in Purple Zebra
The Plush Bible Collection is a party on the outside, but business on the inside. The Plush Bible (NIV) in Purple Zebra has a vibrant purple zebra-print fabric on a padded hardcover. (The shiny, purple fibers do not easily shed - this seems like a cover that will wear well.) Inside, there is a decorative presentation page. 
The Plush Bible (NIV) in Purple Zebra has black text (including headings) with the words of Christ in red, laid out in two columns. This is the NIV version of the Bible. The text is standard size - not large, but not extra small. There are no study notes in the Plush Bible (NIV) in Purple Zebra, but it does contain some footnotes. There are no maps like you might find in many Bibles. At the back of the Plush Bible (NIV) in Purple Zebra is a "Table of Weights and Measures". 

The Plush Bible (NIV) in Purple Zebra has the basics you need, wrapped up in a pretty cover. I think any girly-girl would love to receive this Bible. 
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Book Review :: Plush Bible Collection, NIrV

This week I am reviewing a variety of Bibles here on my blog, and today's review is from the Plush Bible Collection from Zondervan. I will also be reviewing the Plush Bible (NIV) in Purple Zebra, but this review is focused on the Plush Bible (NIrV) in Pink Sparkle
The Plush Bible Collection is a party on the outside, but business on the inside. The Plush Bible (NIrV) in Pink Sparkle has a bright pink, fuzzy fabric with silver sparkles on a padded hardcover. (The sparkles do not easily flake off and the fuzz does not easily shed - this seems like a cover that will wear well.) Inside, there is a decorative presentation page. 
The NIrV is a simplified version of the NIV, written at approximately a 3rd grade reading level. The NIrV is composed of smaller, easy-to-understand words in shorter sentences than the traditional NIV. 

The Plush Bible (NIrV) in Pink Sparkle has all black text (including headings and the words of Christ), laid out in two columns. The text is standard size - not large, but not extra small. There are no study notes or footnotes in the Plush Bible (NIrV) in Pink Sparkle, just strictly Bible text. There are no maps like you might find in many Bibles. 

Within the text, quotes from other places in the Bible are cited directly (in parenthesis) after the quote. (Example: John 3:3 has a quote from Isaiah 40:3.) 

At the back of the Plush Bible (NIrV) in Pink Sparkle are two study helps: a 5-page dictionary (words & definitions, but no verse references) and lists compiling 92 "Great Bible Stories" (with verse references). The "Great Bible Stories" lists would be great to use for monthly reading plans. 

The Plush Bible (NIrV) in Pink Sparkle has the basics you need, wrapped up in a pretty cover. I think any girly-girl would love to receive this Bible. 
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Book Review :: Adventure Bible for Toddlers by Catherine DeVries

The Adventure Bible for Toddlers is another addition to the popular Adventure Bible line from Zondervan/Zonderkidz. As with the rest of the Adventure Bible line, the Adventure Bible for Toddlers contains many references to "adventure". (It leans toward overkill of the word, in my opinion.)

The Adventure Bible for Toddlers contains 40 boardbook pages (counting front and back side as two pages), featuring 6 stories from the Old Testament and 4 stories from the New Testament. Each story is 4 pages (2 page openings) long.

Old Testament stories:
- "The Adventure Begins" (Creation)
- "Noah's Ark"
- "Moses' Many Adventures" (Moses)
- "Boy Versus Giant" (David & Goliath)
- "Drooling Lions" (Daniel & the lions)
- "Fish Food" (Jonah)

New Testament stories:
- "Jesus Is Born" 
- "Jesus Is Baptized"
- "Jesus and the Children"
- "The Adventure Continues..." (the Gospels)
The art in the Adventure Bible for Toddlers is not like the very cartoon-like drawings you will find in most toddler books, but are rather more on the realistic side. (The illustrations are done by Jim Madsen who also illustrated the NIV Adventure Bible, the NIrV Adventure Bible for Early Readers, and the Adventure Bible Storybook.) Although in general I appreciated the illustrations in the Adventure Bible for Toddlers, I did find one of the illustrations in the story about Jonah to be a bit graphic for my taste. (The illustration shows an angry looking fish spewing a green liquid, along with Jonah, from his mouth. This is accompanied by the story, which says, "Jonah got up and wiped himself off.")

The text is by Catherine DeVries who also wrote the Adventure Bible Storybook. The stories in the Adventure Bible for Toddlers are just that - stories. (They are not quotes from the Bible.)

The title (Adventure Bible for Toddlers) references this being a book for toddlers, but the back cover says "Ages 4-8". In my experience, kids generally tend to get over board books around age 4, so I would go with the "Toddler" on this, not the age recommendation. The boardbook pages are sturdy and the cover is hardback with a slight padding. 

All in all, I think the Adventure Bible for Toddlers is a good book to have to share with your toddlers. With the limitations of a boardbook (not very many pages), you will also want to have other toddler Bible storybooks on hand to share with your little ones to give a more comprehensive overview of the Bible's stories. 
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Book Review :: Sketch! by France Belleville-Van Stone

Sketch! is an inspiring book by France Belleville-Van Stone written with the non-artist in mind. This is not a how-to book or a step-by-step "learn how to draw" book, but is rather a book filled with inspiration, tips, and tricks about drawing daily life.

The author (France Belleville-Van Stone) does not dive into explanations of basic drawing techniques (perspective, form, etc.) in Sketch!, but she obviously has a grasp on these ideas. In fact - although the author claims that she has not "studied art past middle school", she goes on to mention joining a friend in a graphic design class that they were "both taking at the School of Visual Arts". (Doesn't sound like not studying art to me.) Either way, the author is very talented and the "fails" that she shares in her book are still more advanced than many (or all) of my best efforts. 
Overall, I appreciated the book's style - the page backgrounds have the appearance of sketchbook/watercolor paper and there are a variety of examples of the author's art shared throughout the book. The book is well-written (although I did find a few typos throughout the book) and the text kept my interest. 

Sketch! is probably best for a someone that is looking for inspiration but does have a previous grasp on basic art concepts. There is a "Basic Techniques" chapter, but, in my opinion, it is a minor part of the book. The book as a whole focuses on basic black and white (pen/pencil) drawings, with some having color added. (Most of the color added is from watercolor paints.) Chapter 5 does talk about "Going Digital" (including suggestions for 3 iPad apps), but the majority of the book focuses on non-digital sketching.

For me, the major draw (pun intended) of Sketch! is the motivation and inspiration. Chapter 1 ("Preliminaries") is great inspiration for just getting in to the process of drawing, not focusing so heavily on the end result that you miss the joy of the process. The major focus you will find throughout the book is working with what you have on hand, in the time you can find, with the inspiration in the everyday things around you. (The author is not a supply snob.) Chapter 6 ("Prompts") is a great chapter to reference when you just don't know what to draw. There is an A-Z list of a variety of items that are great for sketching, with a little explanation for the how/why of each item. 

All in all, I find Sketch! to be a good motivational book - for drawing anywhere, with anything, on anything.
(And, as a bonus, this is one drawing book I won't hesitate to share with my kids. The drawings are appropriate and family-friendly.)
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy through the Blogging for Books book review program. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Twinery/CardMaker {Blog Hop}

The Introduction:
If you are hopping along with us today: You should have come here from Rebecca VanDeMark's blog. If you did, you are in the right place! Welcome!
If you aren't already a follower, I'd love to have you follow my blog!
If you are on Facebook, please "like" Ink Blots by TRD.

If you are one of my regular readers: Thanks for coming back! I love having you! Please join along in the hop - you can start at the CardMaker blog.

The Hop Order:
CardMaker
The Twinery
Monika Wright
Jeanne Jachna
Amy Crockett
Jaclyn Miller
Mae Nazareth
Rebecca VanDeMark
Tifany DeGough <<< You are here
Noelle McAdams
Stacey Schafer
Melyssa Connolly
Penny Ward
Katarina Damm-Blomberg
Tobi Crawford
Piali Biswas
Suzanna Lee
Denise Hahn
DoBea Alberts
Theresa Momber
Jennifer Cuthbertson
Anita Mulcahey
Andrew Roberts

The Prizes:
The Twinery is giving away 4 fabulous spools of twine - perfect for fall projects:

The Projects:
In my neck of the woods, we seem to have gone swiftly through fall and straight on to winter, but I still enjoyed creating a couple of fall cards for today's hop.
I've been having fun with watercolor paints recently and decided to give it a go on this Fall Greetings card:
After I added the stamped/watercolor flower panel and stamped the sentiment, I finished off my card with some of The Twinery's Solid Cappuccino twine. 

The second card I created is simple - just a bit of embossing, a little stamping, and some twine:
For this card, I kept the palette very simple by finishing it off with some of The Twinery's Solid Honeydew twine
The Twinery's twine is the perfect accent for cards - it ties everything together perfectly. (Literally.)


Thanks for stopping by today!

The Next Stop:


Fall Greetings Card Supplies: 
Twine: The Twinery (Solid Cappuccino); 
Cardstock: Canson (140# Cold Press Watercolor Paper);
Cardstock: My Favorite Things (Replenishments Cardstock);
Stamps: Unity Stamp Company (Flowers from Hey Girl - KOM 5/14; Sentiment from Pumpkin Greetings);
Ink: Ranger (Archival - Jet Black); 

Paint: Master's Touch (Watercolors - Yellow, Orange, Deep Vermilion, Magenta, Blue Green, Yellow Green, Green, Skin Tone, Indian Yellow, Carmine);
Tools: Fiskars (Trimmer, Scissors); Scor-Pal (Scoring Board);



Thanks Card Supplies: 
Twine: The Twinery (Solid Honeydew); 
Cardstock: My Favorite Things (Replenishments Cardstock);
Vellum: Papertrey Ink (Vellum);
Stamps: Unity Stamp Company (Thanks from Sentiments O'Simple);
Ink: Tsukineko (Chalk Ink - Tea Leaves);

Embossing Folder: Craftwell (Teresa Collins Collection - Love Triangles);
Tools: Fiskars (Trimmer, Scissors); Scor-Pal (Scoring Board); Tim Holtz (Tiny Attacher);

Friday, November 14, 2014

Celebrate BIG & Warm Wishes {Craftwell Guest Designer}

{I am today's Guest Designer for Craftwell - check it out!}
I am so excited to be a Guest Designer for Craftwell today! 

Craftwell sent me the Love Triangles embossing folder to work with (from the Teresa Collins Collection) and I had so much fun with it! I created two cards to share with you today:
Both cards used the embossing folder in the same way (I used it to emboss vellum for an overlay), but the results for the cards are very different. I wanted to go bright and fun with the Celebrate BIG card, but keep it warm and cozy with the Warm Wishes card.
The embossed vellum overlay on the Celebrate BIG card is placed over a background that I created using watercolor paints. I punched out a portion of the vellum to highlight the sentiment, then I wrapped the card with twine and added some enamel dot "confetti" to finish it off.
The Warm Wishes card makes me think of a snowy day, sitting in the warm house and drinking some hot chocolate. It is a simple, neutral color palette, but the embossing adds some great texture. 
Thanks for visiting today - have a great day!

Celebrate BIG Card Supplies: 
Embossing Folder: Craftwell (Teresa Collins Collection - Love Triangles);
Cardstock: Canson (140# Cold Press Watercolor Paper);
Vellum: Papertrey Ink (Vellum);
Stamps: Unity Stamp Company (Celebrate Big);
Ink: Ranger (Archival - Jet Black); 

Paint: Master's Touch (Watercolors - Magenta, Orange, Yellow);
Twine: The Twinery (Solid Charcoal); 

Other: Studio Calico (Enamel Dots);
Tools: Fiskars (Trimmer, Scissors); Scor-Pal (Scoring Board); Tim Holtz (Tiny Attacher);


Warm Wishes Card Supplies:
Embossing Folder: Craftwell (Teresa Collins Collection - Love Triangles);
Cardstock: Papertrey Ink (Rustic Cream);
Vellum: Papertrey Ink (Vellum);
Stamps: Unity Stamp Company (Retro Warm Wishes);
Ink: Tsukineko (Chalk Ink - Sahara Sand);
Twine: The Twinery (Solid Natural);
Tools: Fiskars (Trimmer, Scissors); Scor-Pal (Scoring Board);

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Thankful For Our Friendship {The Twinery}

{I'm sharing today on The Twinery blog - check it out here.}
It's that time of year again when many people are focused on the things they are thankful for (followed by a mad rush to shop for all the things they "need" - how ironic, right?).

In my opinion, it's always a good time of year to be thankful - and what better to be thankful for than those around us? 
I created this card and tag combo to celebrate the gift of friendship. It was a simple (& fun!) process involving watercolor paints, stamps, and of course The Twinery's twine. The hardest part of this process was waiting for the watercolor paints to dry. :o)
I chose to use one of my favorite colors of twine - Solid Charcoal. (It is like the little black dress of twine.)
Outside of school when I was younger, I have only recently started getting into watercolors and thought the watercolor background would be perfect for some silhouette stamping. I kept the card and tag very similar which made it a very easy process. After the tag is given, it can even live a little longer as a bookmark. 

Thanks for stopping by today - I am thankful for YOU!


Supplies:
Twine: The Twinery (Solid Charcoal);

Cardstock: Canson (140# Cold Press Watercolor Paper);
Stamps: Unity Stamp Company (Tree of Gratitude: Leaf Silhouette - Layers of Life September 2013; Pumpkin Blossoms - Thankful Sentiment);
Ink: Ranger (Archival - Jet Black);
Paint: Master's Touch (Watercolors - Orange, Indian Yellow, Yellow);
Tools: Fiskars (Trimmer, Scissors); Scor-Pal (Scoring Board);

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Book Review :: Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary (New and Enhanced Edition) by General Editor: Ronald F. Youngblood, Contributors: F. F. Bruce and R. K. Harrison

Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary (New and Enhanced Edition) is a great resource to keep on hand. This is a new/enhanced edition. (A complete revision was done in 1995 - this version includes © dates of 1986, 1995, and 2014.) 

The Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary lists and defines key words based on the NKJV, but also has variants from 5 other translations - KJV, NASB, REB, NIV, and NRSV. The inclusion of all these variations will make this edition easily compatible with pretty much whatever Bible version you have on hand.
The Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary does not only include words found in the Bible - it also includes related themes and ideas, such as "Archaeology of the Bible", "Bible, Interpretation of the", "Bible Versions and Translations", etc. There are also entries for each book of the Bible that include "A Study and Teaching Outline", which are great for a quick overview and reference of each book. There are also a variety of study helps included in the Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary (pages x through xxxviii). The entries range from a single line to multiple pages (there are 12 pages for the entry "Jesus Christ"). 

As the title implies, the Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary includes illustrations (some drawn, some photos) throughout. I must admit that I had higher hopes for the illustrated portion of this Bible dictionary. With "Illustrated" being obviously highlighted in the title, I hoped to see more images (and more prominent images) among the dictionary entries. There are over 1200 pages with over 500 images - I just had hoped the ratio would be weighted a bit more on the illustration side. Even so, the images are definitely a welcome addition to the informative text and will be especially appreciated when using this with a family. I especially appreciate the topographical illustrations which show the surface structure of the land. 
In addition to the photos and illustrations, there are 9 maps in the back of the Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, similar to those you will find in the back of many Bibles. 

The Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary includes the "Fan-Tab™ Thumb Index Reference System" (which I believe is just a fancy term for the index color being visible on the closed page edges - making it easy to find which letter you are looking for). 

All in all, I am happy to have the Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary on our bookshelf and I think it will be a handy resource for our family. 
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Book Review :: Foundations in Comic Book Art: SCAD Creative Essentials (Fundamental Tools and Techniques for Sequential Artists) by John Paul Lowe

Foundations in Comic Book Art is a good resource for anyone who wants to learn more about comic book art. I am going to get it out right now - I have no comic book art background, but was just interested in the concept to help me in some of my designs (and especially was hopeful that this would be good for my almost 9 year old son who loves to draw and I think would be great with the comic book style).

I have mixed opinions about Foundations in Comic Book Art. For one, I learned a lot about the ideas of seeing objects contained within shapes and the perspective of comic book art. But on the other hand, many of the lessons seemed somewhat incomplete (either lacking a real introduction or leaving off before it is all brought to a conclusion). For a book that claims to be foundational, I had hoped for more in this sense - more complete step-by-step. In my opinion, the chapters "Learning to See" and "Perspective Basics" were the most helpful for a beginner. 

I must also say that as far as comic drawing books I have come across, Foundations in Comic Book Art is among the more "mild" in terms of violent images or very graphic drawings of bodies (women in particular)...but I still wish it hadn't included things like a drawing of a woman's backside in a thong (and I don't mean flip flops). I do understand that in general these things are part of comic book art, but I wish that there would be something more family and child-friendly (comic book style) without lacking the important art concepts. This one, unfortunately, I will not be able to share with my family before I glue some pages together. 

For those who are familiar with Photoshop, there are a couple ideas included in Foundations in Comic Book Art on how to use Photoshop in their comic book art. There are also a couple references to Manga Studio. In general, though, Foundations in Comic Book Art mainly deals just with hand drawing and inking. If you are looking for something to help with software-based art, I would suggest looking elsewhere. 

In all, I think Foundations in Comic Book Art could have used more explanations of "why" and "how to" in order to be more useful to a beginner, but it does have some good techniques and ideas. 
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy through the Blogging for Books book review bloggers program. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Book Review :: Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing Deluxe Edition by Sally Lloyd-Jones, Illustrated by Jago, Audio by David Suchet, Foreword by Tim Keller

The new Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing Deluxe Edition is fantastic! The Deluxe Edition includes the book (Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing), two audio CDs, and it all comes in a sturdy storage/display case with a Velcro closure.

Sally Lloyd-Jones is known for bringing us The Jesus Storybook Bible (which is wonderful), and she is back again with Thoughts to Make Your Heart SingThoughts to Make Your Heart Sing is a fantastic devotional for both adults and children. The thoughts come from a variety of directions - historical references, other writers, and of course the Bible. (There is a bibliography & source section at the back of the book - pages 220-224.) Some of the entries may be a bit flowery or abstract for children, but the thoughts are beautiful. (One example is "Sing Your Song!" which isn't referring to the literal act of singing.)

I do feel that Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing will make the most sense to those who have already read The Jesus Storybook Bible. It references words/phrases that are used throughout The Jesus Storybook Bible ("Terrible Lie", "Rescuer", etc.).
As in The Jesus Storybook Bible, the illustrations for Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing are done by Jago. Jago is an incredibly talented artist and the illustrations he has done for Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing are no exception. The illustrations here are a little more "full" (not so simple) and with a slightly different tone than the art he did for The Jesus Storybook Bible, but each and every one is beautiful. The illustrations have a vintage feel to them and are done in beautiful muted colors. 

The Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing book included in this Deluxe Edition seems to be a bit taller and wider than the original. (The book in the Deluxe Edition measures approximately 7 3/4" x 6 1/2" x 3/4", where the dimensions of the original are closer to 7 1/2" x 6" x 1".)

The audio by David Suchet for this Deluxe Edition is amazing. (He also did the audio for The Jesus Storybook Bible Collector's Edition.) In my opinion, he could read the dictionary and I might be temped to buy the audio disc. He brings life to each piece he reads, and is able to keep the attention of my whole family (kids included). The one downside...once David Suchet has read to your kids, they may tell you that you are reading something wrong when you read to them (just because it doesn't live up to his reading skill). I think I can live with that.

Disc 1 contains "Dance!" through "Under His Wings"
Disc 2 contains "Talk to Yourself!" through "By the Hand!"

Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing Deluxe Edition is available today (October 21, 2014).
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.