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.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

All Warriors Have Scars {Unity Stamp Company}

I don't have a project to share today - but I am pretty excited about what I do have to share...new sweatshirts, t-shirts, and a rubber stamp - all featuring my new awareness ribbon design:


Although this is obviously suited for cancer (breast cancer in particular), there are so many different warriors out there - cancer, autoimmune diseases, and more. This image can be used for any of the many warriors you know.

You can find the stamp, shirt, and sweatshirt for sale at Unity Stamp Company.

And...since hope never goes out of style - be sure to check out my All About Hope kit, too!

Thanks for stopping by today!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Book Review :: Love Letters from God: Bible Stories by Glenys Nellist, Illustrated by Sophie Allsopp

Love Letters from God: Bible Stories is a great book that takes you through 18 popular Bible stories (9 from the Old Testment and 9 from the New Testament), with a "Love Letter from God" to go along with each story. Each love letter is adhered to the page, and the contents of the letter can be accessed by lifting the flap. The pages and love letters are a good weight - not exactly as thick as heavyweight cardstock, but not so thin that you should have to worry much about your 4-8 year olds ripping the pages (unless they are generally rough on books). Each love letter beings with "Dear _______," so a child's name can be written in if you choose. At the end of the book is also an invitation to "join Jesus' team" and a blank love letter to God that can be filled in by the child. 

Each Bible story is retold as a story (not the Biblical text). The retellings are cute, but if you are looking for something that is strictly biblically accurate, this book is probably not what you are looking for. (For example, the fruit in the story of "The Sneaky Snake" is referred to over and over again as a "special, shiny apple".) I think it is the same with most Bible story books - with each story the author will take certain creative liberties with the retelling. 

Along with each story is a verse ("God's Wonderful Words to You") that goes along with the theme of the story. (The verse is not taken from the story itself.) Each "Love Letter from God" goes along with the theme as well. The themes are a wonderful start to discussions with your child(ren) about how God is with us, God loves us, we are special to God, and God will never leave us. 
The illustrations by Sophie Allsopp are great. Each full-color, two-page spread gives the child plenty to look at without being overwhelming. The illustrations are mainly hand-drawn, but there are a few scanned/photographed pieces mixed in. I wish the illustrations had all been hand-drawn - the artist is very talented.

I think Love Letters from God: Bible Stories is a great book to share with little ones. This is one of those instances where I think it is important that you go with your gut. If you don't like the idea of an author writing words "from God", this is not a book I would suggest for you. If you don't like the idea of Bible stories told in words other than what is directly written in the Bible, this book is not for you. But, if you like to use a variety of books to tell your children about God and His love, and appreciate the perspective and creativity of a variety of authors and artists - get Love Letters from God: Bible Stories to share with your loved ones.
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, October 3, 2014

Book Review :: Best Party Book Ever! by Editors of Faithgirlz! and Girls' Life Mag

Best Party Book Ever! by Editors of Faithgirlz! and Girls' Life Mag is a fantastic resource for any hostess-with-the-mostess-in-training. 
Although the claim as the "best ever" party book may be a little stretch, it really is a great resource! The photographs in this book are more magazine style than a how-to book style. The photographs are really fantastic, but not exactly helpful if you are looking for a how-to. I would have loved to have seen some diagrams or step-by-step pictures. (For example, in addition to the explanation of how to create an invitation for a specific theme, I would love to see a drawing or picture of an example invitation.) 

With that said, there were a lot of things that made this book fun to look at and to read. I loved how it didn't just dive into themes and color schemes...but went over the idea of how to be a great hostess. (For example, it went beyond saying "be sure sure to introduce your guests to one another", but actually gave the suggestion to think of things your guests have in common to get them comfortable and talking to each other.)

The variety of party ideas in Best Party Book Ever! is great. This isn't just about birthdays - there are also ideas for anytime parties and holiday parties...and even a pet party.

Another fantastic part of this book is the recipe section. There are a variety of recipes for snacks, drinks, sweets, and even treats for "furry friends". Again, the photographs in this section are fantastic. 

All in all, I think this is a great resource for party planning and I think it outshines other party books in the perspective of how to be a great hostess. 
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.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Book Review :: Little Book of Book Making by Charlotte Rivers, Foreword by Esther K. Smith

The Little Book of Book Making by Charlotte Rivers is a great book for anyone who is interested in making handmade books. This is a hardcover book in a handy little size (approximately 7.5" x 7").
The first 4 chapters in Little Book of Book Making are more inspirational than they are instructional. They show examples of "Folded Bindings" (Chapter 1), "Sewn Bindings" (Chapter 2), "Page & Cover Treatments" (Chapter 3), and "Experimental Packaging" (Chapter 4). In each chapter there are photographs of sample works from various artists. There is also information about each artist/studio and about each piece of work that is shown - something that I can only think to compare to a short press release. (As a note, not every stitch/technique mentioned in the text is addressed in the how-to section.) If you were curious, "Experimental Packaging" (Chapter 4) refers to concepts for covers/cover treatments/cases that various artists have used for their handmade books. These chapters (1-4) show a variety of ideas, but do not give you the how-to. 

"Bookmaking in Practice" (Chapter 5) is where you will learn the actual stitches and techniques for creating your own handmade books. 

Let's take a look at what is covered:

Book Styles:
  • Instant Book
  • Accordion Book
  • Flag Book
  • Dragon Book
  • Carousel Book
  • Secret Message Book
Stitch & Binding Styles:
  • Pamphlet Stitch
  • Long Stitch
  • Japanese Stab Stitch
  • Coptic Stitch
  • French Link Stitch
  • Case Binding
Page & Cover Treatments:
  • Suminagashi Paper Marbling
  • Paste Papers
  • Frottage
  • Natural Plant Dyeing
  • Book Cloth
  • Woven Cover
  • Fabric Cover
  • Pillow Book

Although the actual how-to portion of the book is relatively small (just over 50 pages), it really packs a punch. The techniques are clearly explained with step-by-step illustrations (where necessary).

For me, the Little Book of Book Making will be a great resource in my future handmade book endeavors (such as scrapbooks, mini albums, and other craft projects). 
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.