Tag Archives: cats

Celebrating the Creepy and Beautifully Odd: Jasmine Becket-Griffith’s Halloween Coloring Book

IMG_4244
Hurricane loves the vinyl spiders!

Apparently, I’m not the only one in my house climbing the walls in anticipation of this Wednesday. the decorations are all up, the cats that will tolerate clothing have been dressed, and I’ve been binging on Halloween makeup tutorials.

With all the birthday and decorating insanity behind me, I needed a quiet day to color. For me, coloring is twofold, it relaxes me and on a bad day, it makes me feel as if I’ve gotten something accomplished.

I met with Jasmine Becket-Griffith’s husband, Matt at DragonCon. Unfortunately, due to both of us having incredibly busy schedules, we never crossed paths. But! Matt was amazingly helpful, had remembered the email I’d sent Jasmine about the blog and offered a coloring book for review. I ended up buying a second one because the best way to love an artist is to buy their stuff! (I couldn’t decide, and her art really is that good!)

IMG_4491

I’ve followed Jasmine’s art for years, and this coloring book blows me away! There’s a great mix of adult and child level difficulty and with the Halloween theme, the subject matters ranges from creepy to almost…cute.

IMG_4464

The book is full of 96 images on 55 pages of a smooth, heavy artist’s paper. While the pages are not perforated, the book can and does lay flat. Or, if you are like me and prefer to work on a clipboard, excising the pages with a craft knife is simple since the back of each page holds only text describing the picture next to it.

How does that math add up? The 96 images on 55 pages? It’s easy! Jasmine added some of her images in small quartets for a quick color session.IMG_4493

 

I did manage to finish my chosen page, The Queen of Halloween. Which was colored while listening to an audiobook and talking to the cats.IMG_4484

My Halloween Helpers, Zoomie and Pandemonium.

I wish everyone a safe, and Happy Halloween!IMG_4474

Where to buy: You can buy Jasmine Becket-Griffith’s Halloween Coloring Book (SIGNED) at her website for $29.99 USD. You can also buy her other coloring books there as well. You can also find Jasmine’s coloring books on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, for a little less, but they won’t be signed! If you aren’t sure you want to invest in a full coloring book, Jasmine also has a $5 USD Coloring Tier on her Patreon.

Jasmine Becket Griffith’s Art : Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I received this coloring book for free in exchange for a review. The opinions are my own. All art shown on this post is Copyright © Jasmine Becket-Griffith and Copyright©Blue Angel Publishing. The coloring is mine.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Advertisements

The Moonlit Vale: A Mythical Coloring & Art Book by Annie Stegg Gerard

I meet a bunch of talented and artistic people at DragonCon every year, and this year was no exception! I got to talk with local artist Annie Stegg Gerard about the blog and my goals for it. She completely understood, having had her own trials with the boredom that is bed rest. She gifted me one of her coloring books, The Moonlit Vale.

img_4422
Teedle refused to move and so became my easel!

Annie also included this beautiful pencil-case, which I’ve been using for holding the spare markers that don’t fit in my coloring case.

I’ll admit that I’ve been dithering over this coloring book. It’s a LOT more complex than my usual fare, and I’ve been afraid that my coloring skills wouldn’t be able to do it justice. Today I sat down and simply TRIED. It was harder than it sounds.img_4424

Look at this beautiful art! img_4427

The book is small, only 8″by 8″ inches, and has 78 perforated pages. Now, I can’t say that they are single-sided pages, as on the back of each one is a little illustration that you can also color, which is great for people who prefer colored pencils.

img_4425
Isn’t he sweet??

For the marker and gel pen colorists, Annie includes a thick vellum sheet to place behind your artwork to prevent bleed through.img_4423

I absolutely surprised myself! Can’t believe that I managed to make something that pretty…it must be because of Annie’s amazing art. Yup.

img_4429

img_4426
I love this, as the last piece in the book, it warms my heart!

 

Now that I’ve done one piece, I can’t wait to color another! Not only has Annie made Moonlit Vale, which features mythical animals and ladies; but she has also drawn a coloring book called The WildWood Soiree, which features animals in outfits that remind me of both Beatrix Potter illustrations and Brian Jacques’s Redwall series.

Where to buy: You can buy The Moonlit Vale and pencil-case at Annie Stegg Gerard’s website for $30 USD. You can also buy her other lovely coloring book, The WildWood Soiree there for $20 USD

Annie Stegg Gerard’s Art : Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I received this coloring book for free in exchange for a review. The opinions are my own. All art shown on this post is Copyright © 2018 Annie Stegg Gerard. The coloring is mine.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Laughter and Wooden Puzzles: A Computer Catastrophe Review

SC says I’m stubborn. I claim it’s more being so determined that I ignore my limits. The end result is usually the same. I push too hard, and end up in bed staring at the ceiling. Not this time! Well….sort of this time. I spent the day in bed, but thanks to my incredible stubbornness/determination; I had this awesome puzzle to do.  IMG_4263

I really love this box. Artifact Puzzles boxes are sturdy, covered in a ribbed blue cloth that helped my grip and has a little magnet in the lip of the lid for reusability.

Artifact Puzzles are made with environmentally friendly plywood and soy-based inks. The pieces are thick, about 1/2cm, which is great because unlike chipboard puzzles, these will last a really long time if you take care of them. SC still has the wooden puzzle his grandfather made back in the 1950s! (SC Edit: I can’t remember what it looks like, it has no reference image!)IMG_4281

Because the pieces are laser-cut, there is a wide range in shapes available. This includes the themed whimsies! I’m not sure who liked the puzzle more, myself or SC!

IMG_4267
Hurricane really wanted to help with this one! She smelled all the pieces and hid under the lap desk while I assembled.

IMG_4271

This is one of the most delightful puzzles I’ve ever had the pleasure of assembling! Engagingly tricky to assemble, but not so much that it is disheartening; this puzzle brightened an otherwise deary day. I loved the interplay of whimsies and computer technician jokes! I found myself laughing so loudly I woke Hurricane when I found the ID10T ERROR!

IMG_4275
Problem exists between keyboard and chair!

Also giggle-worthy were the computer bugs, test tubes of viruses and random mice!

Then there was this guy, my favorite of the whimsies, a three-part dragon.IMG_4278

All in all, it was a productive afternoon! I got to work this fantastic puzzle, SC got to keep me in bed and resting. CFS is no fun, but I hope that my blogging will help others see that not only are they not alone, but there are tons of fun things to do working around the fatigue.

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: Artifact Puzzles
  • Title: Computer Catastrophes
  • Artist: Randal Spangler
  • Designer: Jef Bambas
  • Year released: 2018
  • Pieces: 182
  • Cut-Style:  Random
  • Finished size: 10″ by 10″ inches
  • Bonus poster: No
  • Made in USA

QUALITY: 

  • Box: 6.5″ by 8.75″ by 1.75″ inches
  • Board: Thick and sturdy wooden pieces
  • Cut: Laser-cut
  • Image Quality: Excellent, great color saturation
  • Finish: Semi-gloss, with great color saturation
  • Puzzle Dust: Nonexistent!
  • Piece shapes: Irregular with plenty of themed whimsies
  • Piece Fit: Loose, but the addition of certain pieces will “lock” a section so that they can be moved in small and medium blocks

Disability Notes: Honestly, I think the review speaks for itself. I managed to assemble this on a lap desk in bed without losing any pieces! I did rely on the advice I’d received that to place the pieces together, they had to be put in from above and not the usual sideways motion.

Where to buy: Computer Catastrophes is available on the Artifact Puzzles website for $40 USD. No sticker shock, here guys! These are high quality, artisan puzzles that will last for decades if well cared for.  These puzzles are a definite birthday/Christmas/Yule/I-messed-up present!

Artifact Puzzles : Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I received a complimentary puzzle from the manufacturer in exchange for review. The opinions are my own.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Memory’s Wake, Mermaids, Fairies and Faedorables…Oh My! Reviewing Selina Fenech

I’ve been a fan of Selina Fenech’s since 2001. Yeah, I’m ancient, I know. I spent entirely too many hours in my college’s computer lab hunting down art to color for my weekly D&D group. When I started PuzzlePaws, I knew I wanted to try to contact some of those artists I fell in love with seventeen years ago.

I got lucky, Selina sent me two of her coloring books to review, and both are very different from the mermaids and fairies that are the backbone of her style.

IMG_4254
Yes, these are different sizes. I’ll get to that.

Firstly is Victorian Romance. Now, there are actually two different versions of this coloring book, one in line art, the other in grayscale. This coloring book is based off of illustrations that Selina did for her Young Adult Fantasy Trilogy, The books are Memory’s Wake, Hope’s Reign, and Providence Unveiled. I haven’t read them (yet!), but all are available through Selina’s website and Amazon.

IMG_4243
Look at this! No-one does a coloring book where you can color men’s outfits! And the background is so complex!

IMG_4242

 

I think I love this coloring book because you don’t have to have read the source material to get a sense of the characters, and the level of detail feeds my desire to color intricate outfits. Both sexes are given great scenes to color, and the romance is sweet, not tawdry.

IMG_4252
I had too much fun coloring this. SC requested the pink hair after I’d done the purple.

The really cool thing in the Victorian Romance Coloring book is that while there are only 25 images; the book is split into halves, and the second half is a set of duplicate images so that you can do each image twice! So if you have a cat-induced coffee accident, or want to see the same image done in a different medium, you can! Each image is single-sided, but if you want to use a wet medium like markers or watercolors, I and Selina both recommend using a protective backing of cardstock.

Now, for the second little book I got!

IMG_4254
Yup! It’s time for Faedorables!

Selina has a line of what she calls “Minis”, coloring books that measure 5 by 7.8 inches. These are meant to be a more portable version of her standard 8.5 by 11 inches coloring books. I’ll admit, I was leery of these minis. I know her art is good, but how would it look or color when shrunk down?

IMG_4256
Okay, they look really cute!

The Faedorable series is meant to be a mix of simple, sweet art with some tricky details, enough to appeal to a range of colorists of all ages. The book I have is actually all 50 images of both the Faedorables:Sweet and Simple and Faedorables:Cute and Creepy books. The images are single-sided and with a cardstock backing took both marker and crayon really well!IMG_4261

I was skeptical, I was worried, I was wrong! The mini-books are fantastic! I’m going to keep mine in my Go-Bag, which is my backpack full of entertainment gear for traveling. If you have a love of coloring and either a Go-Bag or a hospital bag, you might want a Mini coloring book and a pack of whatever your coloring medium of choice is.

Honestly, the last few days have been full of fatigue for me, my CFS was flaring, I thought…until SC and I found out that while at DragonCon we were exposed to a Vendor who came down with Chicken Pox. I’ve had Chicken Pox, but SC hasn’t. SC thinks that due to busting my rump at DragonCon, then dealing with Hurricane Florence, and all the resulting stress, that I’ve managed to have a Mononucleosis relapse. It’s possible, I’ve been sleeping tons, but waking to feel more tired. I’m hydrating and resting (coloring is resting, right?).

IMG_4191
Hurricane is my blanket-buddy. She gets how I feel!

 

Where to buy: You can buy Victorian Romance at Selina Fenech’s website for $11.33 USD. You can also buy Faedorables Minis there for $7.54 USD

Selina Fenech Art : Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I received these coloring books for free in exchange for a review. The opinions are my own. All art shown on this post is Copyright © Selina Fenech. The coloring is mine.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Eric Dowdle’s Harvest Festival: The Pumpkining!

I love Fall. I was born in October, and the season has always been a favorite. There are days that it feels like summer is still in its height, and some where it cools just enough to need a hoodie. Ok, not so much for me….I live in Virginia now. But I grew up in Upstate NY right on the shores of Lake Ontario. Summers were short, “Winter Was Coming” and Fall meant apples, pumpkins, hayrides and giant leafpiles. I went shopping the other day with SC, and the stores are full of Halloween. I had wanted to wait until the First, but this puzzle really captures the memories and mood of Fall for me. What the heck, the Vernal Equinox is later this week, that’s close enough!

I really like Dowdle’s boxing. There is a heavy paper sleeve encasing a pretty little box.IMG_4208

The box is really well constructed, folding around itself and sealing with a Velcro button so that the box is reusable.

Better yet! All Dowdle puzzle come with a mini-poster of the image and a resealable plastic bag. IMG_4211

Now to assemble!IMG_4215

For a 500 piece puzzle, this was really tricky in places. the amazing amount of detail that artist Eric Dowdle puts into his art and the random piece shapes kept me busy all evening! SC even put a few pieces together, commenting that it was harder than it looked.

IMG_4223
Harry Potter Pumpkin!!
IMG_4224
Gotta love Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head
IMG_4226
Candy Corn Pumpkins!
IMG_4228
So many memories! My parents took a bunch of photos like this when I was growing up with my siblings!

SC had to take my finished picture, as I was having a horrible time getting my pictures to come out right. After finishing this puzzle, I have two thoughts. First, now I feel properly ready to Fall, and secondly…I need a pumpkin spice latte, stat!

IMG_4235 (Edited)
SC is a photography genius.
IMG_4233
Pandemonium approves! Puzzles are cat-baths, don’tcha know?

About the Company: Dowdle Puzzles is a part of Dowdle Folk Arts. The artist and owner is Eric Dowdle, who has over 200 folk art paintings, mostly focusing on American cities and national parks.  As well as selling paints, prints, and puzzles, Dowdle is now branching out into coloring books! (I’ll be wishlisting those!) 

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: Dowdle Puzzles
  • Title: Harvest Festival
  • Artist: Eric Dowdle
  • Year released: Unknown
  • Pieces: 500
  • Cut-Style:  Random
  • Finished size: 16″ by 20″ 
  • Bonus poster: Yes
  • Made in USA

QUALITY: 

  • Box: Sturdy and compact, 7.5″ by 7.5″ by 3″, with paper sleeve
  • Board:  Medium weight chipboard, sturdy pieces
  • Cut: Steel-cut Die
  • Image Quality: Excellent, great color saturation
  • Finish: Semi-gloss, with great color saturation
  • Puzzle Dust: Minimal
  • Piece shapes: A good mix of traditionally cut and irregular pieces
  • Piece Fit: Very Good. Some of the irregular pieces make it so that pieces can only be moved in small groups.

Disability Notes: The slightly larger size pieces of the 500 piece puzzle are kinder to the hands while still being complex enough to challenge lovers of larger piece count puzzles. Honestly, I want to try this brands 300 and 100 piece counts for this winter when my hands threaten to swell into claws. I can recommend this for people with mild to moderate arthritis or hand/eye coordination.

Where to buy: Harvest Festival is available on the Dowdle Puzzles website for $19.99 usd. At the time of this post, it is sold out.

Dowdle Puzzles : Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I received a complimentary puzzle from the manufacturer in exchange for review. The opinions are my own.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page.To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Hurricane Florence: Evacuations and Safety

So things got a bit crazy this week. I’d been tracking Hurricane Florence for a while, but after Monday’s post, the Governor of Virginia issued an Order of Evacuation for people living in Zone A.  I live in Zone A and had already had an issue with flooding earlier over the weekend. SC and I were taking no chances. We had to hurry!

Thankfully, one of my best friends has a standing offer for us and the cats. We managed to pack all five cats, a tote-full of puzzles and coloring books, clothes, and the computers in under 10 hours. We did our best to place our electronics and valuables out of the way, but flooding is something that is really hard to predict.

Due to bunking down in my bestie’s sewing room and storm preparations, I don’t have any reviews written up. However, I do have a pair of unboxing videos of puzzles that are currently safe in the Tote of Doom! Please be kind, SC wasn’t able to run them through post-production.

Gearheads website

Artifact Puzzles website

So far, we are safe and warm. SC is making curry in the kitchen while it storms outside. I’ll be posting updates on Twitter as I know what is going on and how bad or not! the damages to our house are.

Target Rich Environment: Book Review

This post is going to be a little different from the ones I’ve done previously. It’s going to be a lot lighter on the pictures, and a bit heavier on words. The reason? This is about a BOOK.

I spent the last week in Atlanta, Georgia at DragonCon. It was loud, there was a metric ton of people sharing the same air, and every possible fandom you could imagine was represented. I got to meet a bunch of my favorite authors, and met authors I had never heard of, but now desperately want to read. I bought Target Rich Environment at The Missing Volume’s booth, and couldn’t wait to read it after con.

Larry Correia is one of my go-to authors. Monster Hunter International (MHI) is a favorite series, I laughed myself sick listening to Tom Stranger on Audible, and am partly through the Deep Six audiobook. I’m a bit of an oddity amongst Larry’s fanbase. I neither own nor overly much enjoy guns or gun-fu; though SC does. I read Larry Correia’s books for the simple fact that his characters feel real. They make me laugh, or cry, or snarl at their stupidity; and the inevitable gun-fu is both well written and engaging.

IMG_3963
Comfy couch, Pandemonium on my lap, and a brand new book!

Target Rich Environment: A Collection by Larry Correia is just that; a collection of the author’s short stories he’s written over the years. There are 14 separate pieces of fiction inside, ranging the gamut from The Wild West to a post-apocalyptic Peter Pan to a full on Lovecraftian horror. Some of the stories were brand new and other were not before released in print, having been Audible exclusives.

I prefer full novels to short stories usually, but this collection I devoured in the course of a few hours.  Honestly, I found my favorites were “The Bridge” and “The Great Sea Beast”. Both these stories contain characters who have so much more depth than just a small short story can hold. I really hope that some of these short stories are turned into their own novels.

IMG_3964
Zoomie proving why one of her nicknames is book-dragon.

SC was thrilled that the last story of the book is “The Adventures of Tom Stranger, Interdimensional Insurance Agent”. He dislikes audiobooks, but had dearly wanted to know why “Hooon!” is the battle cry of all the Correia fans.

  • Title: Target Rich Environment
  • Author: Larry Correia
  • Publisher: Baen
  • Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
  • Story Type: Short story

Where to buy: Target Rich Environment A Collection By Larry Correia is available through Baen’s website, Amazon, The Missing Volume or your local  bookstore. The ebook retails for $9.99 and the hardcover book retails for $25.

Disclosure: I purchased this book. The opinions are my own and are not a reflection of either Larry Correia or Baen Books.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!