This one took me 7 months. I am praying that it makes little children smile. I absolutely loved illustrating this one. Barbara is such an incredible author, poet, and lyricist. She never ceased to amaze me with her unending talents! Stay tuned for more. Those who follow me on Patreon have had a greater behind the scenes tour of this and all of the books I have illustrated. If you think that sounds like something you would be into, be sure to follow me on Patreon. It comes with tons of perks. You can check it out here.
Some days, life just throws a shoe at your head. Then other days, well, blessings (albeit in disguise) fall into your lap. Being disabled and unable to work a traditional job is difficult at best. Especially when your disabilities are not always visible to others.
Sometimes life can be a bit of a struggle. Granted, each day is worth the struggle and I would never change a single aspect of my blessed life. I am absolutely grateful for every day I am allowed to be alive. However, the painful days can sometimes overshadow my gratefulness.
I digress; on to the topic at hand, the next chapter.
Last week, the company I have been illustrating for was handed to me. Literally handed over to me, completely. Although it is hardly a profitable business, it is actually something I love and I am capable of doing and feeling as though I am contributing a little something to the universe. When you cannot sit or stand for a prolonged period of time, traditional employment is impossible. So I am forever grateful for this opportunity!
I have already renamed the business and remade contracts to fill the takeover. Part of me is scared and another part of me is elated. Perhaps my main fear is I will not be able to do it because of my health. I am already so swollen it hurts to move and haven’t slept properly in a week, but I think that the rainbow at the end is worth weathering the storm!
Today I will be reviewing the Perelandra eGuide from Progeny Press. Kira is a huge fan of anything from C.S. Lewis. I believe her obsession began about a decade or more ago, when she first read The Chronicles of Narnia. When Kira learned there was a space, science fiction trilogy from C.S. Lewis, she was all in! You may remember Kira has previously studied about C.S. Lewis. For more on that please see my blog post, here.
Before I go further, I simply must tell you this: Kira LOVES interactive PDF lessons. She says it is much easier and more fun to complete her lessons this way!
Kira loves being able to type all of her answers directly into the PDF itself and save it each time, as opposed to writing everything separately in a notebook. Add to this the fact that Progeny Press makes earning High School Literature credits easy with high school level study guides such as Perelandra – eGuide .
The Perelandra – eGuide was an easy and quick download. It was easier to get the guide than the book itself! After waiting for a couple of weeks on the library to get a copy, we found one online and purchased it. Luckily. shipping was quick, and free, too. If only everything were as quick and easy as obtaining the Perelandra – eGuide from Progeny Press!
Another wonderful aspect of the PDF is the option for me to print it. We share a computer here at home and there are days where I must meet a deadline. When that happens, it is easy to simply print whichever page Kira needs from the incredible Perelandra – eGuide from Progeny Press.
I also love that I have a separate answer key. This makes grading KIra’s work quicker and easier. At this stage, with all the work required for her as a high schooler, quicker and easier is ALWAYS welcomed!
I asked Kira to briefly explain what she loved and did not love about the Perelandra – eGuide from Progeny Press. I also asked her if she would recommend this to other high school home schoolers. This is what Kira said:
“I love this study guide! It is divided into four sections that ensure you have mastered the content of each chapter: Vocabulary, Main questions, Analysis questions, and the Dig Deeper questions. Answering these questions is difficult but not impossible, and quite fun, too. I especially appreciate the vocabulary section, as I am learning many new words from reading Perelandra. My favorite parts are the Dig Deeper questions, which discuss the philosophical and theological view points of the story. I would highly recommend this study guide to anyone reading Perelandra for high school literature.”
We have enjoyed reviewing Perelandra – eGuide from Progeny Press tremendously and look forward to adding more from Progeny Press to Kira’s literature curriculum. Kira expressed her interest in The Scavengers – eGuide next!
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Code For Teens: The Awesome Beginner’s Guide to Programming (Volume 1)
Today I will be reviewing Code For Teens: The Awesome Beginner’s Guide to Programming (Volume 1) from Code For Teens.
All you have to do is pay attention to the world around you to see that this has become an age where technology rules virtually everything in our everyday lives. From social media to banking, it seems as though practically everything revolves around computers and technology! Within as much, it is becoming essential to know how to code. Because of this, I was thrilled to be able to review Code For Teens: The Awesome Beginner’s Guide to Programming (Volume 1) from Code for Teens.
This comprehensive guide will help your student (and you) learn Java the most fun and easy way possible!!!
Kira was extremely excited once she began using Code For Teens: The Awesome Beginner’s Guide to Programming (Volume 1) from Code for Teens. She immediately knew that this hands-on learning structure made all of the difference!
Kira had previously done some minor coding online with other resources and expressed how pleased she was with The Awesome Beginner’s Guide to Programming (Volume 1) from Code for Teens! She said with the other lessons, they would give you the definition, yet not explain the why. With The Awesome Beginner’s Guide to Programming (Volume 1) from Code for Teens, not only do they provide all of the definitions, but they actually delve into the aspects of the how and why. Kira expressed that this made remembering things much easier. I could personally see her enthusiasm grow with each lesson. Each time she would explain to me what she had done and ask me to look at her progress!
The above is a screen shot of one of the Do-It-Yourself drills Kira completed after doing her lesson. Kira was so very proud of herself once she did this!
Each day, Kira spent approximately an hour or so to complete a lesson. She, as instructed, kept a folder with all of her coding lessons that she saved for her “workbook” using our word processor.
Although this is designed for teens, I have decided to learn right along with Kira, as I seriously should have learned all of this years ago. I managed to pick up bits and pieces. However, it may as well have been in Chinese, as none of it really made sense. I fell into a rut of copying and pasting codes for many projects. I found it fascinating that my 14 year old was able to do all of the Do-It-Yourself portions of her work without even looking at the workbook. This helped solidify the fact I surely could do the same at age 45!
Kira has enjoyed Code For Teens: The Awesome Beginner’s Guide to Programming (Volume 1) from Code for Teens so much and is looking forward to next learning HTML and CSS in Volume 2!!!
Kira and I highly recommend Code For Teens: The Awesome Beginner’s Guide to Programming (Volume 1) from Code for Teens to anyone who would like to learn coding.
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Today I will be reviewing Math Refresher For Adults from Math Essentials. The title explains it all! It is a refresher to help us educate our young budding mathematicians. This is the essential tool for me, as I remembered virtually NOTHING that I learned in High School. The closer Kira came to entering High School, the more my anxiety built up. When I received Math Refresher For Adults from Math Essentials, my anxiety eased tremendously. I quickly browsed the pages. Now, I realize that we have Google. It is very easy to simply look things up; however, they rarely are worded in a way I, as a parent, can comprehend. Math Refresher For Adults from Math Essentials is something I could comprehend fully. It is clear, concise, and written intelligently to serve as an essential tool in refreshing your math skills. I found the tips on page 5 exceptionally helpful, and followed their suggestions, which helped tremendously. For me, this book is a God send.
I found that the corresponding video tutorial for each lesson was also incredibly helpful. It is wonderful that they are included with the book, taught by Richard W. Fisher, winner of the Intel Innovations in Teaching Award!
The table of contents became essential, as I wanted to focus on what I had completely forgotten, as well as what Kira is presently learning. From Addition to Algebra, everything is included. I found myself enjoying Math more than I remembered previously. As a matter of fact, I believe I couldn’t stand Math as a child. Perhaps that was because of how I was taught in school. What ever the reason may be, it brought me to a point where I needed this book!
I have enjoyed refamiliarizing myself with Math. I also believe I have learned things that I somehow missed in my former education! This has provided me with the confidence I need to ensure I am providing Kira with the best education possible. It will also help to avoid the frustrations which inevitably would lead to teenage angst and arguments! I never thought I would say this, but I actually like Math now. After all, Math is in every single thing we do, each and every day. Understanding Math better is like being in on a big secret!
It seems my excitement about Math has become infectious! Now, Kira is more excited about it as well. And, here is the biggest surprise of all, my husband! I caught him browsing through Math Refresher For Adults from Math Essentials! This may not sound like a big deal to some people. However, those of you who know my husband, know he simply NEVER reads! I am extremely grateful to Math Refresher For Adults from Math Essentials. This valuable tool has enabled me to have the confidence I need to focus on my daughter’s education fully, sans anxiety and fears.
Written by Richard W. Fisher, winner of the Intel Innovations in Teaching Award, Math Refresher For Adults from Math Essentials, is a valuable resource. Whether you are like me, a home schooling parent, or you are preparing for a test that includes math, I highly recommend Math Refresher For Adults from Math Essentials.
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Hello there! I hope everyone is having a beautiful summer! It still seems odd that it is already summer here. Of course, with a heat index at 103º and over 80% humidity, there is no denying it is a Florida summer. Normally, I would be writing about our epic summer adventures to the state parks or museums. However, this year we have not been able to, as it seems Mother Nature has decided we need rain. Each….and…..every….single….day!
Within as much, we have been spending more time indoors, playing games, and frequenting stores. The latter part is dangerous as an artist. Especially if you are an artist with influential artist friends! I have to find someone other than myself to share the blame with!
Now, I have a propensity to have a million projects going at once. Believe me, this is only a slight exaggeration. Presently, I have 3 paintings I am working on, another 5 that need varnishing, two pendants, 5 VR sculptures, 3 sketches, and then, of course, there are the 30 some odd illustrations I am amidst for the next book I am illustrating, as well as a few commissions. So, artistically speaking, I already had a relatively full plate. And these are just the items I can remember without checking!
Why would ANYONE possibly add more…………………………………….
Then, I decide after my frustrations of hand making cards this past Christmas, that I should return to hand making all of my greeting cards. I mentioned this previously, here.
The image above was from December 2017. Kira was hand making bracelets as Christmas gifts, while I desperately tried to figure out how to hand make shaker cards. Every tutorial included instructions for machines like the Cricut. Trying to be precise with scissors and an exacto was difficult at best! Because I have neuropathy, holding tools is incredibly difficult and painful. I drop things, a lot. The cards each took approximately 3 days to make. My husband would tease me and say I could just buy a box of generic cards for the same price the embossing powders, ribbons, glue, and paper cost. However, I have always had a passion for creating cards. I knew I could do this.
Doing it all by hand without a cutting machine or stampers was a bit taxing. It took more time than it should. I took a short cut, I drew the snow man digitally, printed it up on card stock, and fussy cut him out to add in. I wish I had thought to photograph the other cards I made. I created a total of 6. They all either had the snowman or a reindeer I created. Hardly professional at all, but completely from the heart.
Conceivably, I could do this every year if it were just 6 cards I needed. However, I have 6 siblings; each have their own children, and virtually all of their children now have children of their own. Add to that my blessings of many close friends, and Aunts, Uncles, cousins, and well, the average is well over 100 cards.
Over the years, I have sent less and less cards, despite the fact our family has continued to grow. Every holiday or special event that passes makes me feel a little more guilty for not doing what I really loved to do, all simply because it took more time than I had. As a homeschooling parent, and an illustrator, time has become a very precious commodity.
I had learned about the embossing powders from a dear friend, who mentioned it in passing. When I first acquired the powders and heating tool, I figured it would help me create envelopes for a special envelope group I was a part of. Then I started seeing images of cards on social media that several of my artist friends were making. I was simply enamored with the professionalism and exquisite designs I saw. Then…I…saw it….the…SHAKER CARD! I instantly fell in love. I knew I had to create one. I spent virtually hours watching YouTube tutorials and reading tutorial blogs in my spare time. All, of course, touting their wonderful cutting machines. I already had an over abundance of cutting tools for my pop up greeting cards and kirigami that I had been creating for years. I figured I could do it all myself, not realizing just how long it would take.
This dear friend who first mentioned embossing powder to me then mentioned acquiring a cutting machine, specifically the Gemini Jr. I began to research. The price tag was simply more than I could ever dare dream of. My friend kept sharing pictures, videos and websites. I was slowly falling in love with the idea, slowly realizing I would inevitably acquire some sort of cutting machine.
Fast forward, I am now considering selling these cards. I am attempting to design cards for everyone. I want to create unique cards that cannot be found anywhere else, that perfectly suit sentiments for those who simply do not have the time (like me) to create them! The absolute worst case scenario being I do not sell a single card. But it matters not, as I enjoy the process and now have the means to create my cards for my friends and family for all of our special moments in a fraction of the time, but still containing the full sentiment and still my own magical creation from my heart!
The card pictured above is my first sort-of-successful creation. This is an anniversary card that I am sending to a very special couple. I have enjoyed this process and am forever grateful to my friend for nudging me in the direction of cutting machines!
Stay tuned for more from Papered Creations and Keepsakes!
Creating –and actually using– Watercolor Paints
This is a two part post. In this first part, I will show and tell you how we decided to make our own watercolor paints.
The second part will be how to create a portable watercolor pan set to carry with you or to give as a gift.
Recently, I saw a video on Facebook that touted how easy it was to create your own watercolor paints. As an artist, I spend way too much money on supplies. Water color pans can be outrageously over-priced. The idea of being able to actually make my own thrilled me. This happened to coincide with Kira’s sudden interest in using watercolor paints, as well. I began my search on the internet to find the easiest recipes I could find for safe, non toxic, and simple watercolor home-made paints. Bare in mind, our results are far from professional grade paints, but for the purposes of what we wanted to do, they were perfect!
With a few simple ingredients, you can make watercolor paints while also making a fun science experiment! Kira LOVES all things science, so we had a blast with this. Please note, there are actually hundreds of recipes out there for this. It is really up to you which to choose. We went with the following ingredients because they were easy to obtain and Kira has been wanting to do an experiment where a liquid acts like a solid for a while now.
We used 4 tablespoons of baking soda
2 Tablespoons of white vinegar
Half a teaspoon of light corn syrup
2 Tablespoons of corn starch
Before the next step of adding the food coloring, we decided to play! We enjoyed touching and playing with the liquid that acts like a solid!!!
And finally, food coloring. We used several drops to form the colors. You can add as little or as much as you need for the desired color. Bare in mind, the paints will dry significantly lighter than they first look after mixing them!
We used basic toothpicks to blend the color.
Dry time will vary depending on your home’s temperature, the amount of food coloring, and the container you use to store your paint. We used a mini ice cube tray that came with the mini fridge that I use to store my insulin in. This was the perfect size for the measurements I have listed above. If you are using a larger container, I suggest doubling the size of each ingredient. Ours took about 32 hours to fully dry. Once dried, they look powdery.
We grabbed our watercolor paper and were ready to begin!
We had a blast making and painting with these water color paints. The texture is a bit gritty and hardly professional, as I stated previously. However, as a fun and educational art lesson, these were perfect. We are now prepared to make professional grade watercolor paints once we have used these up entirely.
Please see part two of this post (coming soon, link will be here) to see how to create a portable watercolor pan container to tote your paints or to give as a gift.