'This post was originally published in Nov 2017. It was updated in December 2018 to include updated information I wanted to share with you.'
(Yep... affiliate links are included which means, if you buy through me, I get some coffee money ... though not enough for the raisin toast as well. Full disclosure listed below.)
Easy ways to make an Advent Calendar part of your Christmas tradition
Counting down to Christmas is always so much fun.. especially for kids. And an Advent Calendar really helps to make that lead-up time to Christmas more tangible, more comprehensible. It also means that you don't have to answer the ongoing question, "How long until Christmas? When can we unwrap all the presents?"
Why use an Advent calendar?
Sure, an advent calendar looks great as part of your festive decorations as you gradually add, day by day, to the finished calendar. It can add to the Christmas fun. Although there are many calendars with Superhero, Princess or Lego themes, Advent calendars can be found that will keep the focus of Christmas on the birth of the Saviour. And, depending on your choice of calendar, it can help your kids focus on the joy of giving and serving others, too. But these are more difficult to find that you might imagine.
What do I need to consider when choosing an advent calendar?
Well, there are plenty of commercially prepared advent calendars. Some would make lovely gift ideas for friends or family. Some commercially prepared advent calendars present small gifts for each day leading up to Christmas. Some are simple thin boxes with perforated windows with a hidden recess for a small chocolate for each day leading up to Christmas. Others are books with windows or flaps to reveal something of the nativity story as Christmas approaches.
Create a family tradition- your own advent calendar
But an advent calendar is even more meaningful if you can make it yourself and personalise it as a family legacy. The treats and activities created for and added to your advent calendar can revolve around the interests, activities and favourite choices of your family.
And you can create variations for each year.
So, here are a number of such suggestions listed below that you might like to consider. There are 5 selections listed below. But we begin with a bonus calendar ready to download, print and create. There is also a FREE dainty decoration design to print and use on your own tree. Find it following the article.
Then you'll discover:
1. O Holy Night Advent calendar- gradually create your own nativity scene as you countdown to Christmas.
2. Share the Love Advent Calendar- count down to Christmas with simple ideas to share the joy of the season with others.
3. Advent Puzzle Calendar- download and print the pieces that must be assembled day by day to create a finished picture. Find the details below.
4. An Illustrated Advent Calendar- download and print this calendar of illustrations to colour, games and activities
5. The Wonder of the Greatest Gift- this beautiful pop-up book and advent calendar will become a real family treasure. 'This is an heirloom, a Christmas tradition, a wonder for the child in all of us!' (I've bought 2 copies of this book for families of my younger grandkids. They love it!)
Find these and more below....
The Dainty Bauble Advent Calendar
This calendar (find the link for this advent calendar below) is easy to print and create. Check out the simple directions below. Use the back of the decoration to either: a. write a Scripture verse on the reverse b.include a fun activity c. provide instructions or clues to find a hidden treat or d. include all ideas.
You might decide to just attach a small wrapped chocolate or treat to the reverse of the decoration. Or you may keep it simple and glue a second copy of the decoration to the reverse for extra strength and durability.
However you decide to personalise it, this advent calendar combines the elegance of the past with the energy and minimalism of the future. It's sure to become a family treasure.
What you'll need:
*Download and print the files for the 25 decorations. (Print onto a good quality card. You might also want to consider a good parchment or linen textured card.)
*silver cording for the hanger and perhaps paper clips.
* double-sided tape and normal tape.
*small Christmas tree that will look attractive on the table or side table.
1. Download, print and cut out each of the 25 advent calendar decorations.
Use a good quality card and it looks even better if it has a light texture. Print and cut out a second copy if you intend to back each decoration with its twin. It means that it looks great even if the wind blows the decoration to reveal the back. Leave the back blank if you intend writing something on the back or attaching a small treat.
2. Cut a hole in each tab and thread a small piece of silver cord through the hole as the hanger.
3. Make a paper clip hanger if you'd prefer.
If you prefer to have a hanger that's a big more substantial (especially if your kids will be hanging the decorations) you might like to use a paper clip for each decoration. Just tape the paper clip on the back with the loop just visible above the rim of the decoration.
Use a second copy of the decoration and attach on the back to cover the taped paper clip. I used double-sided tape. it's just a bit neater. Sometimes glue can cause the card to slightly buckle. Now slip a piece of thin cord through the loop of the paper clip as the hanger.
4. Use the reverse side for a message or gift.
You don't have to add anything else but if you want, you can write a Scripture verse on the back or a clue to where to find the day's treat. You can also decide on a fun activity for each day: sing your favourite Christmas carol, go out for ice-cream, decorate a gingerbread cottage.. If you don't want to add that info on the back of the decoration, just use slips of paper with the activity or treat written on each piece. Pop all of the papers into a small bucket or container. Your kids can reach in and choose one each day to read and complete.
5. Create a special area for your Advent tree calendar
Set up your small tabletop Christmas tree and start adding one decoration each day leading up to Christmas Day. I found an inexpensive tree at Kmart for about $10. There was a lovely natural-looking bare tree at another store but it was expensive. I think you could make something similar with a good sized branch set into a pot of plaster of Paris.
So.. that's about it.... pretty simple... and you can check out the summary slideshow below.
Oh... and you can find also a FREE pair of Christmas decorations to download and print for your own Christmas tree. Normally, these vintage-inspired decorations would cost $4.95 but they're free for you to download, print and use. See below.
Here are some more ideas that you might like to consider.
1. O Holy Night Advent Calendar
FocusontheFamily has produced a free advent calendar, O Holy Night, plus instructions for an advent wreath.
Download and print the calendar. Then highlight each day leading up to Christmas with a character from the nativity story plus a Scripture reading and devotion. Beginning December 3, your advent calendar builds a nativity scene with the daily characters from the advent calendar.
You'll also find a suggestion for creating an advent wreath to remind your family of God's never-ending faithfulness.
2. Share the love advent calendar:
This resource from iMom focuses on building a legacy of giving with your family.
Each day you'll find sweet and selfless ideas to help your kids experience real Christmas joy through the spirit of giving.
Advent Puzzle Calendar
This Christmas countdown is also a puzzle and provides a daily treat and activity idea.
Download the printable calendar. Then use the instructions to create an advent calendar that must be assembled day-by-day to reveal a beautiful Christmas decor piece. On the back of each card, you'll hide a treat and an activity.
An Illustrated Advent for Families
This advent pack includes 5 weeks of family devotions that focus on a different carol each week.
There are 5 colouring pages that combine to tell the story of Jesus' birth and the advent calendar with fun family activities.
Instructions for creating and illustrated advent wreath with paper candles complete the fun family advent pack.
'This is an heirloom, a Christmas tradition, a wonder for the child in all of us!'
The Wonder of the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp is a beautiful pop-up book with 25 daily readings plus little decorations to hang on the pop-up tree. 'Read your daily love letter from The Greatest Story ever told, right from our genesis beginning to our King’s coming under Bethlehem’s star — so your people know the WHOLE GREATEST STORY, from Creation to His Coming, & how His love has always, always, always been coming for you!'
Disclosure: At Grandma's Place is committed to high standards of integrity and quality. I do not promote any brand I do not believe meets these standards, and I only promote brands I would purchase myself. If I don't love it, and don't think you'll love it, it won't appear on my blog.
I remember when my granddaughter was little, perhaps 2 years old, she would wake early and dance happily down the hallway. Then she would stop, cover her mouth with her hand, and make a noise that was half a cough and half a clearing-her-throat type of noise.
We were all mystified for a while. Did she have a cold? Was she coming down with something?
Then one morning, my daughter came to the end of the hallway and stopped. She frowned, put her hand over her mouth and made the same sound as Rachael. "Ahh.. this sinus so annoys me," she muttered. And the light dawned.
Rachael didn't have a sore throat. She didn't have a cold. She was copying her mother, who struggles with asthma and sinus. She's had it since she was little herself. Little Rachael just did exactly what her mother did, almost every morning.
Kids copy their parents almost without thinking. And gratitude is no exception. The best way to develop thankfulness in our kids is for us to show gratitude first. But there are other worthwhile strategies to encourage your kids to be more thankful. Check out some of these ideas that follow.
1. Remember that children learn best by example.
Kids learn best through copying actions, behaviours and attitudes. Any behaviour I want my children to exhibit, I must master first. So, it's important for me to live it. That means remembering to say 'please' and 'thank you' not just because it's polite, but to teach thankfulness to my children. I can best teach them to be grateful by expressing my own gratitude.
In practical terms, it means that, no matter how small the deed, it's important to give thanks when someone does something for me. I understand that when others serve me or buy things for me, it is only out of the generosity in their hearts, not out of obligation. I want my kids to understand that, too.
It's important to show my children that I appreciate others, that I'm humble enough to accept that I am not entitled to their kindness.
2. Guard your children from that sense of entitlement so they may be free to be thankful.
It's not easy to do when advertisements and social media constantly bombard us with images of amazing items we'd love to own. And you can be sure that your kids will know which of the amazing toys on offer their friends want or own. But it's important to be selective in the number of material things children receive. Yes, I know how hard that is, and it doesn't get any easier when you're a grandmother. How much is enough?
But I also know it important to inspire them to appreciate the things they already have. Often having too much limits a person’s ability to be grateful. So, I try to model a long-term sense of appreciation and resist the urge to give them too much.
Click on the clip below to hear Elisa Morgan, (Focus on the Family.) She provides parents with tips for cultivating a grateful heart in their children when it comes to the issue of possessions.
It also means thanking anyone who presents me with a gift. Sending out a thank you card is important, too, and something that kids should be encouraged to do themselves. Model Elle Macpherson expects her children to promptly send a thank you card for any gifts. Here's what she expects and the consequences she initiates if thankfulness is overlooked.
Your kids might be more enthusiastic about writing thank you cards with these printable cards they can complete themselves.
When I take care of the things I have, I'm demonstrating thankfulness for my own possessions and encouraging my kids/grandkids to do the same. It's another way to help kids appreciate what they already have.
Some parents find it helpful to regularly ask their kids to sort through their possessions and decide which ones are not used much and could be donated to other children who have little themselves.
3. Learn to think about others.
This might be as simple as encouraging your kids to compliment others who have worked hard to finish a special project. Perhaps they've won an award. Maybe they've achieved an important milestone. Talk about it and expect your kids to be encouraging.
Spend time together to help someone less fortunate. There's nothing quite like seeing how others are struggling to encourage thankfulness in our kids. Sure, it's good to talk about the difficulties others may be facing but it's so much more meaningful when they experience it firsthand. So volunteer together. Take time together to help out in the community. There's no reason why kids can't be more proactive in volunteering and helping others in practical ways..
4. Look for amazing moments that happen throughout the day and share your gratitude.
Turn dinner into an opportunity to share the special moments from the day with the whole family. Encourage your kids to list the things that happened to them, things they saw, that made them feel thankful.
Create a family gratitude list or journal, or a thankfulness tree or a thankfulness jar,
Money-saving Mom has a free printable 31-day Gratitude Journal for Kids that you might like to download and use, too.
5. Link your thankfulness back to God, reminding your children about His love and care for us and remembering to thank Him.
Take gratitude walks together and look for things for which you're thankful- warm sunshine, shady trees, the songs of cheerful birds, funny little caterpillars and more. Encourage your kids to do more than just list things they see but to also determine why they're thankful. For example, I thank God that made each bird with its own song, and that not every bird sounds like a crow. :). The birds sound beautiful and helps me identify a bird before I even see it. But it reminds me, too, that He made me unique and special, too.
Always look for the positive. Not everything is going to go well but look at those difficult times as teachable moments, times when you can show your kids that God's hand is in everything even when we can't see it. Yet we can still thank God. Perhaps it rains when you'd planned a trip to the beach. The rain will benefit the farmers who need rain for the strawberry crop- yum! And it might be a great time, instead, to go to the cinema for that movie you'd all wanted to see. These are wonderful opportunities to practise turning complaints into praise.
Okay.. so what about some other fun, family, ideas to focus on and encourage gratitude? Check out these suggestions:
* Learn how to make Gratitude Stones
* Go on a Scavenger Photo Hunt together.
* Make a Kindness ChatterBox (cootie catcher)
* Play a game of Gratitude Pick-up Sticks
* Create and hang up some Thankfulness Wind Spinners
* Smile it Forward with printable Kindness Activities for kids
* 7-Day Gratitude Challenge for Kids
Today, my choice is to foster a genuine sense of gratitude in the hearts of my children that goes beyond a simple habit of being polite. I'll seek to teach my children to use their manners to give thanks but also have a deep appreciation for others. Check out the questions below for reflection.
1. Do I demonstrate gratitude in the way I care for my possessions?
2. How can I foster a deep sense of gratitude in my children beyond simply giving thanks?
3. Why is it best to limit the amount of things I buy for my children?
It’s easy to give thanks when your day is going well. You’re wearing your favourite t-shirt. You got a great parking spot. Your latte is the perfect temperature with just the right mix of espresso shot and milk foam. You get lots of likes on the selfie you posted to Instagram.
But what about those moments when things aren’t going so well? You spill your coffee on your jeans. You have to wait in a long line of customers at the bank or grocery store. You realise the battery in your smartphone is dead.
Giving thanks is crucial. In moments like these, giving thanks is difficult. But giving thanks is also essential if you want to navigate these experiences with a positive outlook. This doesn’t mean being phony or pasting on a smile no matter what.
Good for your health
Yes, thankfulness isn't always easy but it's a great attitude to develop. It's also been found to be good for you. It boosts your immune system, lowers your blood pressure (understandably), makes you more optimistic and produces more resilience.
Take a breath and shift your focus. It’s about taking a moment to reassess and shift your focus. Instead of grumbling about the long line of customers, thank God for the cashier and pray for her family. When your smartphone needs a charge, thank God for all of the amazing technology you have access to.
Choose to turn the uncomfortable moments in life into thankfulness.
But how? What practical ways will contribute to an attitude of gratitude?
1. First, your health does affect your outlook.
If you're overtired or unwell, you will react quickly and without thinking. So.. get plenty of sleep. Exercise! It's been shown to improve your physical and mental health. Drink plenty of water and.. focus on a healthy diet, not fast food.
2. Begin each day with prayer.
Despite your best intentions, it's so easy to be derailed by difficulties, frustrations and, sometimes, the unpleasantness of others. But nothing surprises God. He knows what you'll have to deal with. And He will help you successfully navigate whatever is ahead of you throughout the day.
God, when I’m tempted to complain and grumble, help to stop and shift my focus. I want to be someone who lives in continual gratitude. Let me never lose sight of the blessings You’ve poured out on me.
3. Start your day by noting at least 3 good things
List the things you appreciate and can be thankful for today. If you include your kids in this daily activity, you'll encourage them to be more thankful, too.
(Look out for the upcoming article about teaching your kids to be thankful.)
4. Say 'thank you' to your partner and kids.
Use any opportunity to tell them how much you appreciate them. While it will encourage you to be more grateful of your family, it will also encourage your family and build them up.
5. Start a gratitude journal
Spending some time writing about your day and including details about those things for which you're grateful will inspire you to further develop a thankful attitude. You can use a hardcopy daily journal or take advantage of technology.
There are plenty of journal apps, as well as gratitude journals. Or, try an app like 365 Gratitude. This app presents you with daily inspirational questions and helps you to stay motivated. It tracks your moods and encourages you to journal about your day.
What about the app, Grateful- a grateful journal... or Uplifter app? Check out the overview below.
6. Send thank you notes.
Thinking of others rather than yourself can trigger a strong sense of gratitude. And think about how encouraging and helpful for others to receive a note of appreciation from you. Become a VIP member (free) and download your free gratitude cards to keep as a daily reminder or give to others.
7. Get a gratitude buddy.
Find someone who can encourage you to be more thankful and hold you accountable. (Don't forget, it goes both ways.)
If you're interested in learning more and growing an ongoing attitude of gratitude, watch for the Gratitude Challenge.. coming soon!
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.”
– 1 Thessalonians 5:18, NIV
It's been a tough year. Added to the general busyness of life have come health concerns, family needs, hospital visits and financial worries. I feel a little like Todd Stocker who said, "I wanted to figure out why I was so busy, but I couldn't find the time to do it.” Yes, that just about sums it up.
And the result? I feel exhausted.. constantly. I feel as though I have no energy, for anything.
If you're like me, your busy lifestyle can make finding more energy a challenge. However, these invigorating tips will boost your energy and keep you going. They're simple.. and healthy so including them each day is a wise decision. Certainly, that's my plan for boosting my dwindling energy levels.
Try these tips to maintain the energy you need for your hectic life:
1. Create a regular exercise schedule and stick to it.
Exercise is one of the easiest ways to find more energy on a daily basis. Exercise boosts metabolism and helps you avoid feeling sluggish.
A regular exercise schedule is essential for seeing results. However, you can try different workouts and classes to keep things interesting.
Walking, for instance, can be done anywhere and requires no special equipment. It increases cardiovascular fitness, strengthens bones, reduces excess body fat, and boosts muscle power and endurance. Some would say that, instead of looking for a caffeine hit when you need some energy, go for a walk.
2. Balance your breakfast with both carbohydrates and protein.
Eating a bagel with coffee may be easy in the morning, but you’ll have more energy if you add peanut butter or meat to the bagel. Balancing carbs with protein gives you more energy throughout the day.
How you begin your day is important.. Breakfast matters in the hunt for more energy.
A combination of carbohydrates and protein is one of the best ways to start the day.
Do you love yogurt? Do you crave toast in the morning? You can combine yogurt with toast for a more balanced meal. Eggs and toast are another common breakfast staple that works.
Check out these foods & breakfast options:
* Oats +yoghurt + sliced banana + sprinkle of nuts and seeds
* Wholegrain toast + peanut butter or avocado or hummus, tomato and baby spinach leaves
* Fruit or vegetable smoothies + oats, yoghurt and nuts or chia seeds
3. Try to catch the sunlight.
Sunlight can be an invigorating force.
The brain relies on light to determine sleep and wakefulness patterns. By spending more time in the sun, you can find more energy. Of course you'd be wise to avoid the time of day when UV rays are most intense. But at least 30 to 40 minutes of sunlight a day can make a big difference in energy levels.
4. Use essential oils. Essential oils have the power to change moods and affect stress levels.
Essential oils can be smelled or used on the skin. They can provide an instant energy boost.
Citrus is a popular aromatherapy choice because it has an uplifting aspect to it. Basil can also help you because it wakes up the mind.
Eucalyptus, mint, and rosemary are also useful aromatherapy oils for more energy.
5. Add sweet potatoes to your meals.
Sweet potatoes offer potassium and keep energy levels balanced. They’re also a good source of other vitamins and minerals. They’re known for having high levels of vitamin A. You'll find many recipes now that include sweet potatoes in breads, muffins, as fries and pancakes.
6. Drink green tea.
Green tea has an important amino acid that is linked to helping people stay more energised. I really struggle with this one. I'm not a fan of green tea but I can tolerate it with peppermint or another flavour to disguise it. :)
7. Mash chia seeds and add them to smoothies.
Chia seeds are high in protein and minerals. Mashing chia seeds can make them easier to drink in your smoothies. You can also add them to your food. Sprinkle the seeds on top of salads or casseroles.
8. Stay hydrated in unique ways.
Water is crucial for giving you the energy to keep going during the day. But, it can be challenging to drink plain water and get the required amount.
Make your own infused water by adding fruit and spice to your water to make it unique. You can combine pieces of lemon with pineapple, apple, or blackberries for a different taste. See below to download your own Infused Water recipes cheatsheet.
Another option is using sachets like Twinings Cold In'Fuse. As the promotion states, 'With no artificial flavours or colours (just natural fruit flavours, spices & botanicals), there’s now a natural way to add flavour to your water!'
I like the watermelon, strawberry and mint flavour.
Add more watermelon to your diet.
If you’re trying to stay hydrated, watermelon can help you achieve the goal. It has high water content and gives you more energy. This a very tasty snack to include in your day. Cut it up into chunks and pop into small containers for an easy snack option.
9. Snack on nuts throughout the day.
Are you looking for a fast way to get more energy? Nuts have protein and vitamins. They’re a fast and convenient way to get an energy boost at work or at home. The nutrients in nuts can create lasting energy that goes on for hours.
Simple tricks can help you discover more energy in your day.
These tips will help you stay alert and focused... with more energy. They are simple changes that can make a big difference to your energy levels and your busy life.
( Previously posted - mygrandmasplace.com)
Yep… affiliate links are included which means that, at no additional cost to you, if you buy through me I get some coffee money …though not enough for the raisin toast as well. Full disclosure listed below.)
Whenever my grandkids visit, I always include some art or craft activity as part of our fun together... yes… sometimes even for my grandsons. Though if your boys are like mine, it’s full-on action and adventure that fills their hearts and minds.
But the girls, particularly, like to paint and colour. Little Koti says, “When I know I’m going to colour in, my tummy jumps up and down cos it’s happy.”
When we colour in together, it’s something we all enjoy. It's a simple activity but it creates a special time, a moment that matters with my grandkids. It’s amazing, too, what deep and meaningful conversations happen when we spend time colouring. “Why do bees buzz?” “Why don’t I have a tail like a pony?” “Why are you scared of spiders?” (What sane person isn’t? )
If you also enjoy colouring, the following simple techniques will have you colouring like a pro.
Regardless of the technique you use, colouring is very therapeutic. In fact, some experts suggest that this activity provides the “colourer” with the same relaxing benefits as meditation or yoga. In addition, colouring takes you back to your childhood.
What could be better than that?
Colouring involves creativity.
That’s where technique becomes important. The following information covers five different areas of the craft. This is, by no means, a complete tutorial. But, it’s enough information to get you started. And you'll quickly discover that these techniques will enable you to create realistic colouring results.
Let the learning begin! :)
You have a few choices when it comes to colouring tools. They include:
And, not every medium works with every technique. Markers work better with some things and crayons and coloured pencils work better with others. The best thing to do is have fun and experiment. Chances are, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with your results. You'll soon be colouring like a pro.
There are several things you can use to help you blend colours. All of them are very inexpensive. Here are a few of them:
2. Shading Techniques
Shading techniques typically work better with coloured pencils, like Prismacolor pencils. One of the most successful ways to practice is to use two contrasting colours.
Use the first colour to shade from left to right. Use the second colour to shade in the opposite direction. Practice blending the colours together, in the middle.
The way you hold the pencil makes a difference.
Position it so that most of the tip is in contact with the paper, which makes the colour smoother and helps to reduce the possibility of pencil lines. This is accomplished by holding the pencil somewhat sideways.
Instead of using white and black to do any shadowing it’s better to use colours like dark blue and purple for the dark colours. Use light yellows, for the highlights.
Try to avoid rubbing the colours, in an effort to create the shading you desire. This has a tendency to smear everything together.
3. Doodling (Your Own Image)
When you’re in an artistic mood and there’s no colouring book in sight, why not doodle?
Doodling is actually a great way to improve your artistic skills. The more you relax and let your hand do most of the work, you’re on your way to being a “master doodler.”
Learning to doodle is a lot of fun. You can doodle almost anything, even your own image. It’s probably best to start with basic tools like pencils, inexpensive markers or ballpoint pens. Once you start to get the hang of it, you can always graduate to more expensive supplies, including pastels, chalk and paint.
Doodling, as a beneficial pastime, is probably much more popular than you think. Famous presidents, authors and celebrities all admit to doodling, on a regular basis.
For most people, faces are harder to doodle than flowers, animals and other objects. Interpreting your finished doodle depends on whether you draw yourself or someone else. A simple round face indicates you’re probably a happy person. A brooding expression might mean you’re not particularly sociable.
If you’re a beginner, it’s good to practice drawing the same face with different expressions. This way you end up with a more realistic shape, to refer to in the future. If you’re doodling yourself, look into a mirror or at one of your pictures.
When you’re comfortable with the shape of the face, practice drawing features. Challenge yourself to draw an entire page of eyes, noses, etc. You’ll be surprised by how much you learn.
If you don’t want to draw yourself, try doodling a loved one or famous celebrity. You can even get a little crazy and try your hand at a caricature. There’s nothing wrong with a little more silliness in the world!
4. Gel Pen Techniques with Shading
Many adult colouring fanatics love using get pens to pull off several fun techniques and pretty decent shading. One big benefit of using this type of pen is the fact that the tip stays the same size. It doesn’t change shape like a crayon or coloured pencil. Here are two popular gel pen techniques to consider:
Hatching is easy-peasy. It consists of a bunch of parallel lines or strokes, which results in a uniformed look. You can use multiple colors and angle the lines any direction you’d like. Crisscrossing the lines, makes it even more interesting.
Dot, dots and more DOTS! That’s stippling in a nutshell. Easily change the texture of your drawing by adding some areas of stippling and it's easy with a gel pen.
It’s entirely possible to achieve shading techniques with a gel pen. Yay! However, it does take practice on your part and the blending pen of your choice.
A blending pen, which comes with two tips, is filled with clear fluid. When you draw over a colour, with the pen, that colour blends into the colour or colours next to it. Cleaning the pen is easy. Simply scribble on a piece of paper, until the pen runs clear.
Most artists recommend that you use the gel pens nearest to the outlines of the picture you’re colouring. Then, use the blender pen to draw the colour from the outline to the middle of the section you’re working on.
5. Coloured Pencils 101 – Mixing and Layering
If you’ve never coloured before or haven’t coloured in what seems like a million years, you probably want to start out with the basics and work your way up to “Colour Maestro.”
Coloured pencils are great for this. They’re available a rainbow of colours and a variety of price points, starting out at just a few dollars. The overall cost depends on the brand and quality you prefer.
One of the first rules of basic mixing and layering is practice. It makes sense, right? Like almost everything else, the more you practice, the better you get.
For best results, keep your pencils sharp. This makes it much easier to fill in small areas. Remember, not press too hard. The goal is to build up colour and not continuously break the tip of the pencil.
One important secret of successful layering and blending is colouring on the right texture of paper. You want something with a fine texture, as opposed to a smooth surface. The texture holds the pencil, which allows you to add multiple layers of colour.
The second part of good layering has to do with the colours you choose. Always use complementary colours when blending to create shadows. It’s recommended you never use a black pencil for shading. Doing so, makes the shading look dull and flat.
Complementary colours are those that are situated on opposite sides of the colour wheel… shades of violet-blue and yellow, orange-red and cyan, green and magenta, etc. Always start out with a light color. If you start with a dark one, you won’t be able to see the lighter one.
Because they layer so well, coloured pencils are one of the most preferred colouring tools.
It’s not uncommon to apply three to five different layers, to create a whole NEW colour. How cool is that?
In case you’re not aware, these pencils are waxy. When you press too hard, your colours end up shiny. If this happens, you won’t be able to build up layers. Use even strokes and a light to medium touch.
Adult-related colouring certainly isn’t anything new. In fact, Psychiatrist Carl Jung, began prescribing “colouring therapy” to his patients in the early 1900s. The calming effect (of this activity) stems from temporarily occupying the logical part of the brain, involved with the fear response. In other words, you’re giving your amygdala nuclei a rest.
As the nationwide trend continues to grow, adult colouring books are popping up all over the place including high-end department stores and catalogues. Small town artists are making names for themselves and earning extra income, at the same time.
Have you ever heard of a “colouring club?” Picture yourself relaxing with a bunch of friends, enjoying yummy food and drinks and colouring the picture of your choice. Yes, new groups are forming every week. No professional art experience required.
This is the tip of the iceberg, in regard to the wonderful and expanding world of adult colouring. As you can see, it’s never really been a “kids only” activity… even though many grown-ups secretly disagree.
You can find more inspiration and colouring-in training videos below to add to your new skills.
Remember, if you’re not sure colouring is for you, there’s absolutely no harm giving it a try. Chances are, not only will it be enjoyable, it’ll be addicting too! Try it with your kids.
DISCLOSURE: I may be an affiliate for products that I recommend or link to. If you purchase those items through my links I will earn a commission. You will not pay more when buying a product through my link. In fact, I ofttimes am able to negotiate a lower rate (or bonuses) not available elsewhere.
Plus, when you order through my links, it helps me to continue to offer you lots of free stuff.
Thank you, in advance, for your support.
Previously published on My Grandma's Place May 13, 2017
“Guess what, Nan? We’re coming to stay at your place..It’s so exciting !”
“I know, I know. I can hardly wait.”
Following hard on the heels of the pleasure and excitement I felt at my granddaughter’s words was the thought, ‘How am I going to make this visit special?’ ‘What can I do that will create lasting memories?’
(Yep… affiliate links are included which means that, at no additional cost to you, if you buy through me I get some coffee money …though not enough for the raisin toast as well. Full disclosure listed below.)
If, like me, you’ve gone with the whole down-sizing your home you might not have too much space for full-on, energetic kids. Don’t panic! Regardless of the size of your home, or whether it sits on acres of land or has a postage-sized patio, you can still plan non-stop adventures and fun for your pint-sized visitors.
Choose any of the suggestions below to create a shared time with your grandkids that everyone will long remember. Simple activities shared together can become real ‘moments that matter’ in the memories of your grandkids.
When do your grandkids plan to arrive?
Are they going to stay for just one night or more?
Will they arrive morning or afternoon?
No matter how long they plan to stay, you'll find plenty of fun ideas to keep them busy and happy.
So, let's begin with some morning activities.
After dinner fun
The fun doesn’t have to stop just because it’s getting dark and almost time for bed. Check out these ideas:
Where are they going to sleep?
If you have a spare bedroom with sufficient beds, that’s great. If not, inflatable mattresses on the floor can be lots of fun. Add plenty of soft pillows and covers.
A small tent is another option and you can position it inside or on your patio or decking. I’ve found that most kids creep back inside after about an hour of outdoor camping so be prepared.
Don’t feel that you have to attempt everything on the list. Choose those suggestions that appeal to you or your grandkids.
Although these are simple ideas that don’t take too much preparation or planning, you’ll find that they are ‘moments that matter.’ Your grandkids will talk about this time with you often and with enjoyment. And I hope you’ll enjoy their visit, too.
Oh.. and don't forget to take photos!
A free checklist is available to download below…
Your checklist to preparing a wonderful sleepover. Just click on the image to download,.
DISCLOSURE: I may be an affiliate for products that I recommend or link to. If you purchase those items through my links I will earn a commission. You will not pay more when buying a product through my link. In fact, ofttimes, I'm able to negotiate a lower rate (or bonuses) not available elsewhere.
Plus, when you order through my links, it helps me to continue to offer you lots of free stuff.
Thank you, in advance, for your support.
Life as a grandma.. it's no 'quiet, restful days in the rocking-chair'. It's filled with activity, excitement and lots of family fun. Please share it with me.