Review – Creative Colouring for Grown Ups: Mandalas

Cover of Creative Colouring for Grown Ups: MandalasCreative Colouring for Grown Ups: Mandalas, Various Authors

I think this might be my favourite in the series so far. Unlike most of the other Creative Colouring for Grown Ups books I’ve seen in this series, this has background colours, which can really set the mandalas off if you pick the right colours, and the paper quality seems to be even better, too. The designs are printed on one side of the paper only, too, so there’s even less chance of colour leaking than with other books, like the Japanese patterns book.

There’s a good range of patterns, too, with various different styles. I love colouring mandalas, so that might make me biased, but I’ve really enjoyed doing the designs in this one. Especially because I have new 0.4mm markers and they work quite well with the detailed patterns.

Rating: 5/5


Review – Creative Colouring for Grown-Ups: Japanese Patterns

Creative Colouring for Grown-Ups: Japanese PatternsCreative Colouring for Grown-Ups: Japanese Patterns, Various Authors

I think the Creative Colouring for Grown-Ups range are probably my favourite adult colouring books. They have a ton of designs in them, the paper quality is good (though each page is double-sided, so you have to be careful with anything that might bleed through), and there’s a good combination of finicky detail and bits you can just fill up with colour. (The latter is important for me, being an impatient thing.) There’s plenty of variation in the designs, and they all look good with nice bold felt-tip work. Which is good, because meticulous shading and blending is beyond me.

The patterns themselves… well, some of them don’t strike me as particularly Japanese, but there are some motifs like cranes that wing their way through the book.

Rating: 5/5

Review – Colour Me Mindful: Underwater

Cover of Colour Me Mindful: UnderwaterColour Me Mindful: Underwater, Anastasia Catris

I’m not so sure about this craze for calling adult colouring books a tool for mindfulness. Whatever works for you, I guess, but I use it much more as a way to relax and just… have some fun. The delight is a childish one and I’m totally okay with that, for the same reason I’m totally okay with people reading or doing whatever appeals to them, regardless of age or gender or whatever. Modern life is pretty darn stressful for our monkey brains, and we need to remember to play.

This one delights that kid in me because it’s full of fish that you can colour in improbable combinations of colour. And quite a few turtles, which are just adorable. The paper quality is good; I use felt-tips to colour in, and it doesn’t leak through at all, which is fortunate because there are designs on both sides of all the pages. I have had slight problems with pages curling up, though, when there’s a lot of colour and therefore obviously a lot of ink. I do suggest if you’re going to use felt-tips, markers or paint, you test on one of the blank pages to make sure there’ll be no leakage with your particular implement of choice.

The designs pretty much all have some small fiddly bits, but not so much so that I found it frustrating.

Also, Anastasia Catris apparently lives in Wales, so hurrah for that.

Rating: 4/5

Review – The Colouring Book for Grown-Ups

The Colouring Book for Grown-UpsThe Colouring Book for Grown-Ups, Arcturus Publishing

Quite a hefty collection of pictures to colour here, and an amazing variety, from twee fairies to Chinese dragons and back through mandalas to flowers. It really is just colouring, with no doodling or mindfulness advice, though there is a bit of advice on colouring and using your imagination in the front, which I duly ignored. I’m also duly ignoring the fairies and so on; I really prefer to colour patterns, I’ve found. There’s still a fair amount of that in here.

The paper is quite thin, so if you’re going to use felt tips or markers, you need to put a piece of paper between the pages to protect the next design. Unlike some other books, though, it doesn’t have designs on both side of the pages, so you don’t end up ruining anything as long as you remember to put a piece of paper behind the page you’re colouring.

Rating: 4/5

Review – The Art Therapy Colouring Book

Cover of The Art Therapy Colouring BookThe Art Therapy Colouring Book, Richard Merritt, Hannah Davies, Cindy Wilde

This book has high quality pages, so you can definitely use pens, and there are some lovely designs. They tend to be more finicky — lots of little sections to pen in, rather than big areas to colour — which may or may not suit you. The thing I think is most offputting about this book is that most of the pages are already partly coloured. I’m doing the fox from the front cover, for instance, and it comes with a coloured background and some sections of the head already coloured. Normally, I’m one of those creatures who prefers to colour in the lines and with the colours of nature, so I was a little hesitant about my rainbow fox. On the other hand, sometimes it’s nice to just colour something in differently, and see what it looks like as a complete picture — you might consider the already coloured parts of the pictures to be a sort of challenge to get really creative!

The last third of the book is for ‘doodling’, though there’s some scope for colouring, too. I was less interested in this stuff, and don’t know if I’ll really make use of it. The whole point of colouring books, for me, is that my dubious drawing skills don’t come into it.

Still, high quality book, and some of the multicolour designs come out looking surprisingly good, if you want to try something different.

Rating: 3/5

Review – Art for Mindfulness: Geometrics

Cover of Art for Mindfulness: Geometrics by Andy PaciorekArt for Mindfulness: Geometrics, Andy Paciorek

Yep, I’ve jumped onto this trend. Mostly for the mindfulness aspect, because I got a little book of mandalas to colour and found that it really did help with just staying in the moment and not worrying, because I’d be too busy concentrating on keeping inside the lines and deciding which colours to pick next. The designs in Geometrics are pretty good: obviously, they’re all geometric, and some of them are very complex. It’s not full of massive open spaces to colour, but detail instead. Sometimes I find that a little frustrating, in which case I switch to something else in the same book or in one of the others I have.

I’m using markers with it, and while they bleed through to the other side of the same page, they don’t mark the next page. The quality of the paper is good, and fortunately, the only thing on the back of each design is an inspirational quotation — most of which I like, too; they’re not too syrupy. I think this one will last quite a long time.

In the meantime, hey, it’s 20th August! That means it’s my birthday!

Rating: 4/5

Review – Sockology

Cover of Sockology by Brenna MaloneySockology, Brenna Maloney

I read this on Scribd after browsing through the craft books (where’s the crochet hiding?!). It’s a fun sort of book, with patterns and ideas about how to cut up and reuse socks to make various creatures. I didn’t always find the results attractive, but the patterns could be fairly easily altered. As soon as you figure out how to look at a sock for how you can cut it up and change it, instead of as a sock, you’ve got it.

Not something I’m going to get into, I think — I never seem to have enough socks anyway. But I have a friend or two who might enjoy it…

Rating: 3/5

Review – The Crochet Answer Book

Cover of The Crochet Answer BookThe Crochet Answer Book, Edie Eckman

Note: Received to review via Netgalley.

The Crochet Answer Book is a great resource, especially for people who are just beginning to crochet or who know the basics and want to add some embellishments. It has very clear illustrations and explanations, and shows pretty much everything from both a right-handed and a left-handed perspective — having tried to teach a leftie to crochet, I definitely appreciate that and would probably use this in future rather than trying to crochet left-handed myself or something like that.

Especially useful for me is the stuff about gauge, because I’ve never made anything that needed me to pay strict attention to that. I’m not sure about “answers to every question you’ll ever ask”, but this is definitely a good resource and worth picking up if a Q&A style book seems likely to help you.

Rating: 4/5

Custom Kobo case

The good thing about being crafty is being able to make your own stuff. Coming from a crafty family is even better, because when you’re not sure your crochet will work for what you want to do, there’s always your mother’s sewing. I should probably say up front that if you’re interested in something like this, mostly Mum makes pen wraps, but custom stuff could be negotiated. Her Etsy is here. If you like (fountain) pens, you have lots in common with my mother and should definitely follow that link.

I’ve volunteered at an eye clinic for a while, and now I have a new boss, who very kindly lets me read during downtime. Which we don’t get that much time of, but now I don’t have to stand there looking jealously at the patients reading while they wait when we do. Unfortunately, I have no pockets on my work uniform, and when I have the keys I have them dangling from my lanyard, so I just have to keep handing Extremis (that’s my Kobo’s name: spot the fandom!) to the coordinators to look after when I have to work. This doesn’t work so well.

My solution went something like this: “Muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum. I need a case for my Kobo with a little clip so I can attach it to my belt so I don’t have to carry it all the time at the clinic, Muuuuuuuuuuuuuum are you listening, Muuuuuuuuuuum have you bought fabric for it yet, Muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum when will it be finished?”

(She will probably happily testify that I am indeed that bloody annoying.)

And today I finally have my wish: a lightweight little case that can be clipped to straps to carry, clipped to a beltloop (as in the photo below), slipped in my bag, etc. And it has a little pocket inside, too, for some change or keys or something of that sort.

Photo of my custom Kobo case, with bookworm fabric and my Kobo peeking out Photo of me, wearing a Mass Effect t-shirt and modelling my new Kobo case

(Yes, that is a photo of me, and yes, I think that may well be only the second ever on this blog. Yes, that’s me: short hair that currently needs redyeing but is usually red; chubby; geeky; yes that’s a Mass Effect t-shirt encouraging you to vote Shepard/Vakarian for president/vice president in 2012. And yes, the book my Kobo has active is The Snake Charm, by Laura Lam.)