Introducing Lucy

Introducing Lucy

I would like you to meet Lucy.

Lucy is a character in my debut children’s picture book where, for the first time, I am both the illustrator and the author.

After years of illustrating, editing, formatting, creating all of the advertising, all the social marketing, creating book trailers, and cover art for children’s books, I have  decided to go ahead and do the one part missing to a picture book’s creation, the authoring.  I had been approached to do so on several occasions over the past couple of years. Not to mention several friends constantly asking why I did not just make my own. Within as much, I decided to dust off the old manuscripts I have had sitting for years.

Although I took Creative Writing in high school, and have always loved to write and create stories, (especially for my daughter at bedtime when she was younger) I never considered making my own children’s book.

I have decided, why not.  If nothing else, I will have a hard copy of my own little story for my daughter, if no one else decides to buy it!

Stay tuned for more about “When Gray Was Blue“!


Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit From ACTÍVA Products (A Review)


Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit


ACTÍVA Products




Today, I will be reviewing, Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit from ACTÍVA Products. 

In the boxWhat is inside? The  Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit comes with two packages of the Rigid Wrap, an 8oz bag of CelluClay, and two photocopied sheets containing the Ridid Wrap general instructions and instructions for 12 projects.

Down side, upon first inspection, the CelluClay is full of holes, leaked all over everything. It all is powdery and gritty as a result.

CelluClay hole

can you read these

Also, I was a bit surprised by the photocopied sheets. They were virtually impossible to read. Thankfully, we also received an eBook,  ACTÍVA Products’ Favorite Sculpture KIDS CRAFTS, which is available to the public with the project ideas.  The eBook contains no instructions for the Rigid Wrap or the CelluClay either, however it suggests visiting their website for more information and help.

I could not manage to find the CelluClay instructions anywhere. Thankfully, Google was my aid, and I found this;


Kira was quite excited to begin.  We craft a LOT in my home. As an artist,  crafting was the first thing I used to bond with my daughter.  I remember finger painting with her before she could fully walk. Thankfully, Kira seems to love crafting too! We have never used a plaster-coated gauze type product. We previously have used molding clay or Sculpey. The idea of creating and not having to bake was quite appealing to me! I let Kira read over the project ideas and decide what she wanted to do.

Kira loved the butterfly idea, however, she was not impressed with the template on the box. Instead, Kira decided to make her own.  I placed wax paper on a table for her to work at. I already knew by the condition the celluclay had left the box in that this would be messy. I cannot even imagine doing this with a child under the age of 10. Mind you, I am an OCD neat freak.


We had both the photocopied instructions and the ebook on hand as we began.

Kira really enjoyed the fact that I let her do EVERYTHING herself. I wanted her to fully learn how to pay attention to instructions!

Per the instructions, drying time depends on thickness and environment. Kira only made two thin layers. After 4-5 hours it was finally dry…or so we thought.  There were no instructions of what to do with the excess around the edges! Kira tried to cut them.  This was DISASTEROUS. Her beautiful work began to rip and tear!

Poor Kira was quite upset.  Now I knew she had not fully followed the instructions, but I was not saying a word.  This was a lesson for her.  Kira loves to assume and think she knows everything some times.  I will ask her something, and before I am even finished asking, she will assume the question and answer. Usually, she is not answering what I was amidst asking at all. The byproduct of being smart is also assuming you know more than what you actually know. I felt that  Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit from ACTÍVA Products would be a wonderful way for Kira to learn to pace and pay attention and STOP assuming. 

So it was back to the drawing board.  Kira had to start all over again. Her template was ruined too.  Having learned her first try was failure, this time around, Kira reread the general instructions for the Rigid Wrap.  Low and behold, she did not do a weave/opposite pattern between her layers.  Kira had laid each layer identical!

This time around, knowing about the edges, we decided she could fold them over the template.  Not exactly ideal, but it worked!

Kira was extremely happy! This time we let it dry over night, just in case.  (For faster drying, there is an option to microwave or use oven. However, as I wanted to keep this as child friendly as possible, we opted to use the air-dry method. ) The next morning, it was fully dry! Kira decided to do a little scrunching to make the face and body. Once it fully dried, she applied acrylic paint.  Kira seemed a bit miffed that the paint seemed to soak in, even though she was not using water. I would suggest using a primer before painting your craft, just in case. We used level 3 acrylics which are thicker than normal. I was surprised to see it soak this paint up.  Three coats, and poor Kira still saw white spots!

Final Product!

I asked Kira for her honest opinion of Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit from ACTÍVA Products.  She said, “It is a LOT of fun to use and I love how you do not have to bake it like Sculpey, because that takes forever.  However, there are disadvantages, although it is easy to use, it is quite messy and takes time to dry”.

Bare in mind, we have only done this one small project.  I have plans for us to make several more, which I of course will share with you all once they are completed.  When I watched the video (link above), I envisioned all the amazing crafts I can create. I personally have never used this type of a product and I absolutely love it. It is a wonderful way for kids to have messy fun! As always, with any project that requires scissors, I highly recommend an adult supervise. The box boasts that it is safe and non-toxic. An extra plus! The eBook ideas are absolutely wonderful. Kira has already picked out several she would like to try.

I have a special mask idea in mind for the upcoming Dia De Los Muertos. I absolutely love the drape molding idea and believe I can make a wonderful mask using a paper plate template! I also am trying to mentally sort a way to create a dragon and a fairy in a full 3D form.  Once completed I will post these.

Kira and I both highly recommend Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit from ACTÍVA Products. 




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A Review of the movie Trust Fund from Mapelle Films and the book Love Was Near


 The movie Trust Fund from Mapelle Films and the book Love Was Near

Today, I will be reviewing, The movie Trust Fund from Mapelle Films and the book Love Was Near.

I was quite excited when I learned that Mapelle Films‘ movie Trust Fund  producer/cinematographer is Isaac Alongi, who just so happened to be home schooled! I am always excited to learn of home school success stories.

My daughter was EXTREMELY excited because there was a book that accompanies the movie.

The movie Trust Fund from Mapelle Films is a modern day parable to the prodigal son. It takes the bible tale and spins it in a fantastical modern view.

I personally found the movie sad. Perhaps as a parent raising a teenage girl in a society that can seem all too selfish is why.  I found myself feeling incredibly sorry for the main characters and their tribulations, albeit extremely unrealistic. The movie drew me in quickly to the classic tale of the older and younger sibling and the oh-too doting father. Unfortunately, the incredulous circumstances, however, left me feeling this was closer to a Disney Fairytale Princess story. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the movie.  I must admit parts had me wondering just how long the movie was.  It seemed a bit drawn out at times, yet other times seemed to somehow skip over details. Bare in mind, this story is geared towards teenage girls, I am certainly no teenager! My opinion means nothing, my daughter’s is the important one.

The accompanying book,  Love Was Near, is a wonderful tool to delve further behind the movie and the main character’s plight and innermost views/thoughts. It contains a way for young girls to further explore their own choices in difficult scenarios. There is even a download study guide to further explore into the movie’s theme.

When I asked my daughter Kira for her honest opinion about the movie Trust Fund from Mapelle Films and the book Love Was Near,  she said this,

“Although it is not the type of movie I would normally watch, as  I like action movies with fantasy, I actually really liked the movie and the way it is a parable for the prodigal son, which is actually my favorite parable to read! The story line is so true to young adults nowadays and I believe it can teach us all a valuable lesson! The book was a perfect companion for the movie.  Although, I think they need a better editor because the grammar and punctuation were atrocious!”





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Art Life Seemingly On Hold

What a hectic July it has been thus far. It is only the middle of July, but it certainly feels like the month should be over.

By this time next month there should not be too much left of my thyroid.  I had an ablation done last week.  I have since enjoyed the subtle teases of me glowing green from my radiation treatment.  If you cannot laugh at yourself, what can you laugh at?  Between the prep for that, homeschooling my daughter, running to and fro between appointments and life in general, I have not had much time for art. I have found the less I create the more moody I become. I sketched a little here and there and managed to eek out a mini canvas painting.  Nothing of consequence and certainly nothing worth posting here.

My boss has left me holding the bag on the next book release. I think he forgets that I am an artist not a publishing company. I illustrated, edited, created all ads, a book trailer, and formatted and reformatted 12 times. If the printer does not like my formatting, then it is my opinion, that my boss can use an actual formatter, not an artist for that task. I bite my tongue, for now.

The heat and humidity seem worse this year. Perhaps it is merely me getting older.

Okay, end of mindless rant.

I hope everyone else is able to have a beautiful Summer!


Fascinating Education, Fascinating Chemistry (A Review)


Fascinating Chemistry


Fascinating Education


Today, I will be reviewing, Fascinating Chemistry from Fascinating Education. 

Science was one of my favorite subjects in school. I always found the how and why of it all very interesting.  I know I can directly attribute my love of science to Mr. Hubert.  I fondly remember this fascinating educator I was blessed to have while I attended Miami Shores Elementary, many, many years ago.  Mr. Hubert made science seem fascinating and magical. His educational approach made all of the difference in my own personal desire to learn all things science.  Between Mr. Hubert and the Mr. Wizard’s Science Show, I was destined to love all things science related! It was no surprise to find that Kira loved science. If you could have only heard the squeal she let out when she learned she would be learning Chemistry!


Fascinating Chemistry from Fascinating Education is simply a wonderful lesson.   Dr. Sheldon Margulies’ approach to science education is quite fantastic.  The lessons’ approach teaches in a straight-forward but fun way, thus enabling the student to not only learn, but to enjoy themselves while doing so.

The layout of the lessons keep your child interested.  Dr. Sheldon Margulies speaks in clear layman’s terms that any child can understand.  The lesson, script, and test layout are a perfect way for any child to grasp.  There are even fun labs. Perhaps my daughter’s (and mine, but shhh, don’t tell) favorite part of any science course! With 12 labs available in this course alone!

Imagine growing your own salt crystals! This first lab was fun and cost us only the few items needed, which we actually already had around the house!  I imagine almost every one would have a jar, water, about half a cup of table salt, stirring rod, fuzzy string or pipe cleaner, and a pencil in their homes.

The lessons can be completed easily one per week.  Each lesson averages to about 45 minutes.  Each of the 19 lessons are exactly what a child needs to grasp the ins-and-outs of chemistry.

My daughter sometimes has a hard time understanding people, especially if they are speaking quickly.  It was wonderful that she was able to go back over what Dr. Sheldon Margulies said as many times as she needed to, or read the script, to fully grasp each and every word.

Although my daughter has not completed the entire course yet, I asked her what she has learned and understands thus far,  I was pleasantly surprised when she answered. Kira quickly boasted about what she has learned of the bond between atoms, the London dispersion force, strong force, and electronegativity! Needless to say, I was quite impressed.

Although not every child is as into science as my daughter is,  Fascinating Chemistry from Fascinating Education is designed to help any child learn chemistry in a fun yet completely educational way!

Kira and I highly recommend  Fascinating Chemistry from Fascinating Education to all home school families. We have enjoyed this experience so very much.  Once Kira has completed her lessons, we are looking forward to completing all of the other courses available from  Fascinating Education!





Disclaimer HomeSchool Review Crew

Beakman’s World was after I graduated high school, so I sadly missed out on that fun and of course this is no longer aired for my daughter to watch.

When I Am Offered Work

No matter how hungry you are as an artist/illustrator, never undercut your self worth. Avoid proposals that are not upfront about how much you will make and what is expected of you! Time and time again people expect art for free…I wonder if they expect all services for free. Can you imagine asking a carpenter to build your home for free? It is disrespectful. Do not even entertain these types. Exposure is NOT payment.