Thursday, February 18, 2016

On Adult Coloring Books

So, last summer I bought my first adult coloring book.  It was just a little book of flower pictures.  Kind of had this Art Nouveau theme to it.  But, it was pretty great.  I like to color with crayons.  It doesn't give you the control that colored pencils do, or look as wall worthy as some of the finished projects I've seen online, but there's just something about the waxy smell of crayons on paper that I love.

Then, I got the opportunity to review a coloring book for Blogging for Books.  They were going to send me The Time Garden by Daria Song, but due to a shipping delay, they sent me Outside the Lines, Too also.  They are both adult coloring books, but there are definitely some differences.

The Time Garden  is almost a story book, with text and a story throughout.  The pages to color look similar to something from The Secret Garden by Johanna Basford's style.  Lots of small areas, lots to color.  If that's your cup of tea, then you'll probably love this coloring book.  A lot of the pictures spread across both pages.  Some of the pages I really like, like the ones with just a ton of different stars, or flowering tree branches, or balloons.  But others not so much, like the watch cogs, or a bunch of buildings.  It's a sturdy book complete with dust jacket,

Example of a page from The Time Garden

But, this really isn't my style.  I prefer a more traditional coloring book style.  I like a big picture to color with lots of areas for inserting color and my own style.  So, Outside the Lines, Too, was great for this.  In this book, the pages are totally random.  There's everything from geometric prints, animals drawn in cartoon style, a page of just different types of apples with the names of each type written next to it, to ocean waves.  It's got a little bit of everything.  It's a couple hundred pages long, but the pictures are only on the right side of the book.  Flip the page over and you'll find the authors name, work's name, and author's website address, so if you want to frame any of your masterpieces, you can do so without ruining another picture.  The pages are perforated too.

Example of a page out of Outside the Lines, Too

In the end it really comes down to a personal preference.  What kind of coloring do you prefer.  And if you think adult coloring books are immature and a waste of time, well, I think you're missing out.  How much time do we waste watching t.v. or scrolling through Facebook feeds?  Adult coloring books give a little creative outlet, and really are relaxing, without requiring much time commitment or a lot of supplies  There's just something about picking up crayons and just focusing on what to color first that ease away stress.  I think if you're looking for a fun little hobby, buy yourself a book, and a box of crayons (or colored pencils, or oil pastels, or whatever you're into) and just get lost in some coloring- especially if you're the type that doesn't like to devote lots of time to learning new skills or having to purchase a bunch of supplies to get started.

Both these books were provided by Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and impartial review.

Monday, February 8, 2016

February Reading List

Thomas Hardy, C.S. Lewis, Agatha Christie

Another month, another group of books off my bookshelf to read.  I dug out some that have been sitting, patiently waiting for years this time!  Here's what I'm hoping to read in this short month. :)

Murder in Three Acts by Agatha Christie- I love Dame Christie and every now and then, I get a craving for a nice warm mystery.  I have a whole box of hers that I've been collecting since high school, so I really should get them read and pass them on for someone else to enjoy.  It's a Hercule Poirot mystery, and while I've always been more partial to Miss Marple, he's a pretty good egg.  (Haha, get it, because he's always described as having an egg shaped head.  Sorry, cheesy I know.)

Tess of d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy- My classsic pick of the month is not a warm feel good Valentine read.  From what I know about it, it's the story of how Tess messes up her life.  But, it's been sitting on my bookshelf so long, it has a bookplate with my maiden name in it (meaning it's spent more than 8 years sitting on my bookshelf- I'm guessing it's closer to 15).

C.S. Lewis Through the Shadowlands: The Story of His Life with Joy Davidman by Brian Sibley- You know when people ask you if you could invite three people to a dinner party, who would you invite?  C.S. Lewis has always been in my three.  The author The Chronicles of Narnia was a long time bachelor, but finally got married to Joy Davidman when he was 58.  She sounds like an interesting character in her own regard, and I'm looking forward to reading this.

Little Wolves by Thomas Maltman is kind of hard to describe, but involves multiple points of view, a murder, Norse mythology, and mystery, all on the Minnesotan plains.  It's not a very long book, but it's packed full of story.  I hope it resolves all these lines in a satisfactory way.

What are you currently reading?  Or, have you read any of the books on my list?  What'd you think of them?

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Come Get Social With Me!

This week I signed up from Just Bee's Blogging Breakthrough Workshop.  It's targeted for new bloggers, bloggers looking for results, and bloggers wanting to dig deeper into blogging.  It's a great little seminar and with the coupon code on her blog, I was able to sign up for just $18.  I figured I've wasted $18 on a lot of worse things, so it was worth a shot.  Well, it's jam packed with all types of ideas for everything from photography, social media, hosting, and more.  I like that it gave me a jumping off point for a lot of stuff I knew I should probably be doing, but haven't done yet, so it definitely nudged me to make some pages.

First, I finally made a Facebook page for Chair in the Shade.  I've always been leery about getting my private life and my online life too close to each other, but when I started thinking about all the things I could do with Facebook, I finally decided to just take the plunge.  So, there's not much there right now, but if you'd like to stop by and like it, so we can stay connected, that'd be awesome!

Second, I finally got around to creating more professional social media links for all my platforms.  You can now find them all together at the top of the right hand column. Here's  little picture to see what I'm talking about.  It was so easy, I can't believe I waited so long to try it!

Sidebar links

I have links to my new Facebook page, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and even my Etsy account (my shop is currently closed, but you can still see my likes and sign up to be notified when I reopen).

The seminar also got me thinking about some other things, but so far these are the biggies.

Finally, there's only a few days left to enter my giveaway for a $25 gift card to Book Outlet, so if you haven't entered yet, be sure to do so!  Unless you hate books or something...

So, that's what's new on the blog front.  Any tips or hints for blogging related programs or apps you think I should be checking out?  Let me know!

Friday, February 5, 2016

January Book Recap

First month into the year and I got a couple good books read and acquired a few more.  Here's how January shook out.

reading list

So for what I read, I got three of the four books from January reading list read.
  1. Uprooted by Naomi Novik (note: one of my friends is borrowing it so I subbed a similar sized book for the picture above).  This was a good book.  I really liked the first half, the whole setting laid out, and the mystery of The Dragon and everything about the village, but to me, it just felt like the second half just wasn't as amazing.  It was still good, but I didn't enjoy it as much as the first half.  It felt like it was just holding on by it's finger tips.  More characters were introduced, and I didn't feel like all the relationships or reasoning for why certain people acted the way they did was logical but I would definitely read other books by her, and be up for a sequel to Uprooted.
  2. A Little Princess by France Hodgson Burnett.  Okay, I'll admit it.  This book made me cry.  I wasn't  sure how it ended when I started reading it.  I know I've seen the movie and such, but just wasn't sure.  It's an obviously Victorian type story where good is pure good and bad is always bad.  There's not a whole lot of depth to the characters, but it's a children's story and a pretty good one.  Note, at the start of the book, Sara really annoyed me with her solemn, brave, perfectness, but the kid grew on me.
  3. Reluctant Saint by Donald Spoto.  Do you ever realize that there's large chunks of history that you know very little about?  That's how I felt reading this biography of St. Francis of Assisi.  The 1200s are not usually my jam, but this biography made me realize how interesting some of the people were from this time.  I'm not Catholic, but just reading about Francis and all he went through, and how he went from being like the wild child of Assisi to living in a cave and  fasting and praying was just really interesting.  It made me want to find books on St. Clare and Jacoba- two of the women who followed Francis' order, and just learn more about the saints in general.
Books I Acquired
  1. The Mindfulness Habit by Kate Sciandra.  This was on my want list so when it came up on Bookmooch, I had to get it.  I'm always trying to be more in the moment.
  2. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriaty.  This was a gift from my Book and Cuppa partner, Diana.  I haven't read any of Moriaty's books, but I'm really looking forward to giving this one a whirl!
  3. The Door by Margaret Atwood.  I know I've mentioned it like one hundred times before, but I really love Margaret Atwood, so when I found this collection of poems at the library used book sale, I snapped it up. Can't go wrong when it's only 50 cents!
  4. The Snowman by Jo Nesbo.  I'm hoping Jo Nesbo will be able to fill the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo hole in my heart, and again, this was from the library book sale, so not much to lose.
  5. Phantom also by Jo Nesbo.  I'm wondering I have to start this series with book one.  I suppose that'd be the logical spot to start.  This is book nine.
  6. When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro.  I haven't read any Ishiguro's books befoere neither, but since this was at the book sale and so cheap, I snapped it up too.
2016 Totals:
Read 3
Acquired 6

Thursday, February 4, 2016

February 2016 Goal

We're in the second month of year already!  2016 is 1/12 done!  So that means it's time to talk about how January goals went and what I'm hoping to accomplish in February.  First off, here's a recap of January:

The Good

  • Exercised at least three times a week for 20 minutes a time!
  • Had quiet time nearly every day.  (Missed once the whole month!)
  • Finished my 21 Day Cleanse.  (Want to know how it went?)

The Bad
  • Only read three books, instead of my goal of four.  (I'm still okay with that though.)
  • Did horrible about writing Morning Pages.  Did it for maybe the first two weeks and then never again.

Overall, I was happy with how January went and am looking forward to building on that momentum in February, so here's what I want to do this month!

February Goals
  • Increase exercise to five times a week, at least twenty minutes a time.
  • Get back on track with Daily Pages.
  • Read four books. (Five would be even better, but I'd settle for four.)
  • Continue daily quiet time.
  • Really celebrate Valentine's Day- send cards to friends, spoil husband, make treats, etc.  Basically, just make everyone around me feel loved.
  • Make my home feel homier- plan gallery wall of family and friends' pictures, make valance for kitchen window, make curtain for my office.  
  • Try hand embroidery.  I've been looking for a more portable craft, and I always liked counted cross stitch, but hated how if you messed up one square, it could through your whole design up.  I have a Pinterest Board filled with hand embroidery ideas and am looking forward to trying it.
So, that's what's on my agenda.  What are you hoping to accomplish this month?  And be sure to check out the linkup over at My So Called Chaos and A Peek at Karen's World to see what everyone else is planning for too!