"No Place Like Home" A Fresh Coloring Book for the Home Lover

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts: A Review


Did you know...

Sea otters hold hands when they sleep in the water so they don't float away from each other. How sweet!
An octopus has three hearts while a starfish has no brains.
Ants don't have lungs and bees never sleep.
Owls can't move their eyes but turn their heads some 230 degrees. 
Beaver teeth never stop growing while seahorses have no teeth or stomach.
Sloths climb down to the ground only once a week to poop.
Hummingbirds can fly backwards.
Then there's the ostrich, moose, panda and more.
Are these trivia-style animal facts amazing or what?
Now, pair them with adorable pen and ink illustrations of the animals, some even with thought bubbles, and you have the perfect combination of science and art in a book that kids will love reading over and over. If you are a kid at heart, you'll love it too!
Want more of these humorous facts? 
Be sure to check out Swedish artist Maja Säfström's book, "The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts". 
A great addition to your home library, coffee table and gift directory!

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Woodland Greetings!

Hello there... from the woodlands! Yep, I am talking about creating greeting cards shaped as woodland creatures such as, owls and foxes using Fox Tales Fold-a-Long dies by Jen Long for Sizzix.

In today's tutorial, I have used Sizzix Thinlits Die Set 6PK - Card, Fox Label Fold-a-Long and Sizzix Thinlits Die Set 6PK - Card, Owl Label Fold-a-Long.

Making Fold-A-Long cards are super easy if you know this one little folding trick! Be sure to watch this video before you start as Jen Long herself explains it. All you need to do is fold a 6" x 12" paper in half to measure 6" x 6". 

Then, create the following Sizzix Sandwich: on Sizzix Accessory Standard Magnetic Platform for Wafer-Thin Dies, lay another Sizzix Accessory Standard Cutting Pad. Lay the folded cardstock on the Standard Cutting Pad. Place the base card die from Sizzix Thinlits Die Set 6PK - Card, Owl Label Fold-a-Long, straight edge flush along the folded edge of the cardstock, blade-side down, just as Jen shows in her video. Place the other Standard Cutting Pad on top and pass the whole sandwich through the Sizzix Big Shot machine.

This is what the die-cut base of the Owl Fold-a-Long card looks like.

Fold along the crease lines and see your curved edges match up perfectly as you make the base of this gatefold Owl card.

Now, die-cut the accessories to dress up your Owl Fold-a-Long card. Mind you, you'll need to die-cut a pair of each shape here - crest, eyes, wings and beaks. To die-cut these shapes, create the same Sizzix sandwich as above with these dies from the Sizzix Thinlits Die Set 6PK - Card, Owl Label Fold-a-Long.

I die-cut my Owl pieces out of white cardstock which I painted, but you can choose your favorite colors and patterns of papers.

In the exact same way as the Owl, die-cut all the pieces from the Sizzix Thinlits Die Set 6PK - Card, Fox Label Fold-a-Long.

Here you can see the Fox card all folded and assembled.

Now, you start decorating with your own choice of colors and elements. I used watercolors to paint mine because that's what I love to do!

I also brush-lettered some sentiments in the shaped labels that you tuck inside the cards by placing them in the notches in the back. You can stamp as well.

I hope you enjoyed learning how to make these woodland cuties!

Sizzix Thinlits Die Set 6PK - Card, Fox Label Fold-a-Long 
Sizzix Thinlits Die Set 6PK - Card, Owl Label Fold-a-Long
Sizzix Accessory - Standard Magnetic Platform for Wafer-Thin Dies
Sizzix Accessory - Cutting Pads, Standard, 1 Pair (Mint)
Sizzix Big Shot Machine Only (White & Gray)
Others: cardstock, watercolor paints, paint brush, adhesive

Note: I am a project designer for Sizzix. Sizzix provided me with the above dies to create the above project. If you click the links to buy these dies, I will earn an itsy bitsy portion of the sale. Use the code SZB2015 at checkout. You get 15% off and I get an itsy bitsy portion of the sale. It's win-win!  

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Some Organization Tips From My Studio

Hello there! Hope your hump day is going smoothly.

Today, I am sharing with you a peek into my studio. Since our move to the new home, I haven't had much time to decorate my studio space.  

As with any moving into a new space, there's been a phase of trying to make the furniture that I had fit into the new space, simply because this is a new space plan and it requires creative re-configuration of everything.  

I have swapped furniture between all our rooms. When the arrangements seemed reasonable and tolerable, I set up a basic workspace with only the items that are essential for my ongoing projects. To be honest, I have to admit that much of what I loved in my space previously are still in boxes in the basement.

Here's a view of my desk where I do most of my work these days. There's another table where I shoot my videos. The move pushed me to make room for shooting inside my studio rather than on our dining table. 

Since, I design for a few different companies, I always try to make sure that I keep the products separate from each other and from my personal stash of supplies. Let me show you how I organize my supplies from Richard Garay.  

Along the way, I'll also show you a behind-the-scenes look at my process behind each tutorial I post on this blog.

Here are some ideas that I find helpful in keeping my space organized and accessible.

I buy these scrapbook boxes from Michael's. They come in a few different colors if you prefer your things color coded. I use them to store 12x12 papers and sometimes projects in progress if I have multiple projects going on at the same time. It keeps them flat and dust free.

I plan a lot of my studio organization around office supplies. I have found many uses for these magazine holders aside from storing and displaying magazines. They are great for keeping packs of 8.5 x 11 inches cardstock and other letter sized papers

They are also great for the bigger dies that various manufacturers are launching these days. Standing them up inside the holders makes it easier to get them out. I never stack my dies because I fear that pressure from the top dies will mess up the bottom ones. Besides, that would make it harder to access them.

 Small plastic crates are great for storing ink pads and adhesives. They come in a rainbow of colors you can choose from or keep it unified with just color. 

You could also use wooden crates that are all the rage nowadays. Finding vintage crates isn't always easy, but you can paint and distress your own with unfinished wooden crates sold in craft stores.

Many stamp sets come with matching dies. I store them in their original envelopes to keep them together and stand them inside small crates. One important thing to remember is to not stuff the crates too tight.

I find storing tools like scissors, bone folder, brushes, brayer, etc. in a jar to be the easiest. Here I used a vintage big square green glass jar to match the green of my Richard Garay tools.

I keep the Color Splashes in a small glass tray. This works for me because I have very few of these colors. I'll switch to a crate or box as my collection grows.

I usually start a project in my notebook. I might sketch, jot down some ideas and just plan it out. Next, I'll get the stuff I need out. This is super important when I shoot a video.

With my supplies at hand and plan in place, I proceed to make the project. If it's a step-out tutorial, I take photos along the way.

And of course, I take a few photos of the finished project.

Then it's time to transfer images, videos, etc. to the computer and edit them. After the images are edited and the post is drafted, I email the DT coordinator, the lovely Julie Garcia-Matus the hi-resolution images and links.  

On the scheduled day, my post appears here on my blog and eventually gets shared on social media

And it all happens in this space right now!

Hope you enjoyed today's post and feel free to share your organization tips or ask questions in the comments.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Introducing my new Coloring Book

I'm SO EXCITED to share this news with you!!! I have created a coloring book with my own drawings inspired by my love of all things home.

Let me tell you a little story here.

As a kid, I was always drawing everything around me. We did not have drawing books like here in the States. I still remember my mom rolling out a big rim of drawing paper on the bedroom floor, marking, folding and cutting it and then hand-stitching little drawing books for me. Books that I could carry around easily and draw as I go. I still do that!

When this trend of Coloring books started, I was very happy. I bought and colored several myself. 

I began to notice that most of these pages had very tiny spaces to fill that took a LONG time to color -- as valuable as that exercise of coloring within lines was, it made me feel overwhelmed and somewhat impatient to see the results! I wanted something more like a sketchbook where coloring would feel more relaxing. I was inspired to create something myself that I couldn't find in the market

Around this time, Stampington Publication's The Coloring Studio asked me to create the cover for their premiere issue. There was no stopping for me after that.

I picked a theme: home!

Homes I lived in, visited, saw on commercials, on television, in magazines - homes that left an impression on my mind. And I started drawing. Pretty soon, I had a stack of black and white line drawings. I picked 30 of those drawings and made it into No Place Like Home: A Coloring Book for the Home Lover!

I envisioned these drawings to bring you joy, for you to color with pencils, markers, crayons, watercolors, etc. and frame your favorites as a collection at home.

Working on my coloring book, made me realize how much really goes into creating anything and making it available to others. Apart from the deep need to share a passion, I knew nothing about the process. It was a series of decisions from choosing a theme to a pen to a scanner to whether to make it a digital or physical product. 

A lot of research showed me that a single printable drawing on Etsy ranges in price from $1.67 to $5.00. 

I wanted to offer you the option of being able to print on your choice of papers and the option to reprint if you wanted. But I didn't want my 30 drawings to cost $50.00 to $150.00 or for you to have to spend your precious time scrolling through the hundreds of pages to find what you like.

A printable sketch style coloring book seemed to be the best way to go. So, here it is.


Monday, April 25, 2016

Let's Color!


Hello there fellow bloggers, Mou here with today's inspiration! I am coloring a page with the Faber-Castell Design Memory Craft Art GRIP® Aquarelle Watercolor Pencils.

Adult coloring books are a popular method of de-stressing and I, myself, have picked up a few because I love coloring. 

This is the page I'm going to work on.

You can make a page as colorful as you wish. Today, I'm sticking with shades of Art GRIP® Aquarelle Watercolor Pencils: BLUE set - 139, 140, 141, 143, 144, 147, 154; RED set: 136 and GREEN set: 151. While these colors don't all belong to the same set, they are similar and great for my color palette. You could definitely pick just one set and use those colors.


Here's the colored page done with the Art GRIP® Aquarelle Watercolor Pencils.

Now, since I used watercolor pencils, I get to use a waterbrush to create a softer, blended look. 

Faber-Castell Design Memory Craft Art GRIP® Aquarelle Watercolor Pencils:
BLUE set - 139, 140, 141, 143, 144, 147, 154
RED set: 136
GREEN set: 151
Faber-Castell Design Memory Craft Deluxe Waterbrush
Others: coloring book

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Approval Junkie: A Review

When I first saw the book cover and read the title, all the gold stars reminded me of Max Lucado's You Are Special where the wemmicks gave each other gold stars of approval and grey dots of disapproval. I knew I had to read this book because the title sounded like it could be me! I too am a people pleaser and to some extent, most girls and women I know, are too.

As I started reading it, I laughed out loud at her humor at places and her compounding of words like 'wasband' for ex-husband, 'noga' for yoga pants in which she never really did yoga, or 'yobbling' for yelling while sobbing- drew such vivid mental pictures! Then there were such poignant moments of confusion and sorrow over the loss of her beloved mother, failing of her marriage, struggles with her body image, and more. 

This book is a woman's journey from seeking external approval to accepting that such a quest may not be all in vain after all as long as it is not all we are pining for and are willing to balance it with self-acceptance.

In Faith Salie's own words, "Seeking approval has not undone me. It's done me; ...it's built me." "There is no downside to:

  • Making good grades
  • Doing the extra credit
  • Not doing drugs
  • Praying..."
Approval Junkie is a must-read!

Read more about Approval Junkie here and the author, Faith Salie here.

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."