Scrappy Squares Blanket Pattern

24 Apr

Introducing the newly revised Scrappy Squares Blanket Pattern. Knit up all your scrap and leftover yarn into this fun and whimsical blanket. Easy to follow instructions with tips on how to create your own fun Scrappy Squares Blanket. 

Available to download from Ravelry here

Available to download from my Etsy shop here

The Message Canvas Bible [Review]

18 Apr

I had the privilege of winning a copy of The Message Canvas Bible, so I’m going to post my review here. This is my first time with a softcover journaling Bible, and I like the flexibility of the cover. However, I know as I fill it up, it will be harder and harder to keep it closed, and I may consider getting a stretchy band to help with that. 

This is the description from the publisher: “Center your heart and mind on the story of God with The Canvas Bible as you color nearly 300 hand-drawn illustrations, including 150 hand-lettered Bible verses. 

Using The Message’s creative language and vivid metaphors, your imagination will be bursting with ideas for crafting, coloring, and drawing. Meditate on the very words of Scripture, and hear God’s voice speaking to your heart.
Make this Bible one of a kind by adding your own beauty and style. Fill the extra space with your own illustrations and prayers. Immerse yourself in the words of Scripture. Decorate this Bible as a gift for someone you love. Slow down as you color and enjoy a more relaxed pace. Let the story of God paint the canvas of your imagination!”
I really like the style of illustrations in this Bible. It reminds me of an adult coloring book the most out of all the illustrated Bibles I’ve seen. I feel like it would be appealing to both men and women, despite the cover being on the more feminine side (the hardcover watercolor cover version would be a more gender neutral option). The illustrations are more geometric with lots of lines and inner repeating patterns that would make for many hours of meditative coloring while reading scripture. 

This is also my first introduction to The Message translation, which is a modern paraphrase of the Bible. I wouldn’t use this translation for a deep Bible study, which is not its intended purpose anyway. It’s intended to be read like a story to make it easier to understand in today’s language. 

One thing to note about The Message is that it only has numbered chapters and the verses are left unnumbered. This is to allow for easier reading, but makes it harder to find a specific verse in a traditional sense of looking up chapter:verse. 

Each book of the Bible has an illustration at the beginning. I like the variety of lettering and styles used to illustrate each start of the books of the Bible. There is also a variety of plain illustrations as well as lettered illustrations that highlight a verse on the page.

The softcover is slightly larger than my Inspire and Illustrator’s Bibles. I have come to prefer single column journaling Bibles, as it makes the text easier to read as well as offers more room for journaling wherever there is poetry (like Psalms). I also really like that the preprinted illustrations are black outlines. My Illustrator’s Bible has gray outlines, and it makes it difficult to see the illustration once it has been colored. 

I spent some time coloring the Old and New Testament pages, and I was happy to find them not too small to color with a colored pencil. I know in my Inspire Bible that some of the illustrations have parts that are too small to color easily, so I found the Canvas Bible slightly easier to color. I’m excited to spend many more hours reading such a unique translation and coloring the many beautiful pages. 

Please note that all pictures contained within this review are my own. I received a free copy from the publisher as part of a contest, and this review was not required as part of my winning. All opinions expressed within are my own. 

Inspire Bible Journaling

10 Apr

It’s been awhile since I’ve journaled in my Inspire Bible, and I recently started using it again. I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I won my copy in the contest right before it was released! I also can’t believe that I’ve been Bible journaling for almost a year and a half now. I haven’t yet “finished” a Bible since I seem to journal in multiple Bibles at once, but I’m hoping this year to retire one or two as I continue my creative art worship.

I had been doing my journaling in my Illustrators Bible for the last 6 months, and it has started getting very full. My time is often limited with two babies now, so I switched back to my Inspire Bible. I like the illustrations better in the Inspire and wanted to do more coloring rather than my own art all the time. 

I’ve also started coloring with my oldest daughter. I gave her a composition notebook to “journal” in as I read Bible verse to her. She may be young (almost 3) but her journal is the first coloring book she reaches for when it’s time to color. I think she likes the blank pages that she can color however she wants. 

For now I write on the back of her pages to document what we talked about and did together. Someday she will be able to look back and read about our special time together learning about God and his word. I hope that by starting her young that I am creating a little journaling buddy for many years to come. 

It’s our special activity to do together since adding baby sister to the family. My days are often very long and very full juggling the needs of two young children. However it’s become a priority for me to set aside some time for myself every day to journal or crochet. These activities help me to cope on days when it’s hard and to keep some identity of myself separate from my children. I love them more than I can ever describe, and taking just a little bit of time for myself helps me to be a better mom for them. 

Bible journaling also helps me focus on my word for the year “grace.” To give grace to myself during this time of transition and adjustment. To give grace to others when my fuse is short and my frustration is high. And to remember that when I fail at all of this, God has given me the ultimate gift of grace through his son Jesus, and He is the one who saves me and sustains me. 

WIP Wednesday: Lipstick Granny Ripple 

5 Apr

For this weeks installment of work in progress Wednesday, I’m featuring my Lipstick Granny Ripple blanket. I started crocheting this blanket last year as a side project for myself to work on between my shop orders. With the rush of Christmas and birth of my second daughter in February, it got pushed aside into a closet. But as April 20 approaches, I wanted to finally finish this blanket that’s been 9 years in the making. 

The reason why April 20 is significant to me is because that is the day my sister Heather died 8 years ago. I had originally started knitting a blanket for her with this yarn to give her for what would end up being her last Christmas, but unfortunately I never finished it in time. The project sat in a bag for many years and several moves before last year I finally decided to repurpose the yarn into a different blanket for myself. The original pattern I picked wasn’t a good fit for this yarn, but for 6 years I didn’t have the heart to undo my work, even if it never made it to my sister. 

Now as the 8th anniversary approaches, I have a strong desire to finally finish this blanket so I can wrap it around my two babies. It’s sad they never got to meet their Aunt Missy, but there are traces of her everywhere in our house. 

The Lipstick Granny Ripple will be just one more memory to add to our family and remember the one who isn’t here. Working on a yarn project has always been a way for me to cope with hard things in my life, so it seemed appropriate to work on such a special blanket this time of year. Someday I hope to tell my girls about the story behind this blanket as they pull it out to play with and cuddle under year after year. We love you Heather, forever in our hearts! 

Hooded Owl Blankets

4 Apr

Last month I added a new type of blanket option to my shop: hooded owls! 

These fun fringe blankets are great for snuggling up and reading a book. The blanket portion is just the right size for wrapping around your shoulders. The oversized hood adds an extra layer of coziness. 

When you’re done wearing your hooded owl blanket, it folds up into an owl pillow!

Custom ordering available in a variety of colors now in my shop. A handmade blanket makes a great gift for yourself or the owl-lover in your life, because everyone needs a handmade blanket!

Visit Kounting Sheep Shop to see all available blanket options for sale. 

All is Bright // Ben-Hur [Review]

3 Apr

All is Bright by Nancy Gunthrie

Due to a mix up with shipping, I didn’t receive this in time to use for Advent last year, so I’m saving it back to use this year. This devotional coloring book includes a family devotion and coloring page for every day of December, as well as additional activities and talking points in the back. The devotions are written by Nancy Gunthrie to provide the spiritual journey through the advent season and set the stage for each illustration. 

The illustrations are detailed and thoughtful, ranging from abstract lines and swirls to hand lettered messages to pictures depicting the nativity. The pages are a nice quality great for coloring with pencils and markers. The size is big enough that several people could gather around the book to color together while still being small enough to be portable. 
I can’t wait to go through this book in December, and I would recommend it to any family looking for a fun but meaningful coloring activity. 

Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Carol Wallace

As an English major in college, I loved grabbing a thick classic and sitting for hours reading. Now as a busy mom of two, it’s hard to find time to read big books like I used to. That’s why I was excited to receive a copy of this adapted version of the classic Ben-Hur story to read. I haven’t ever read the original or seen any film adaptation, so this was my first introduction to the story. 

I was confused by the subtitle “A Tale of the Christ” since the story itself centers around a young Jewish man named Judah Ben-Hur. The text follows him through his journey of betrayal by his close friend Messala, exile and revenge, and eventually an encounter with Jesus that leaves him seeking a path of forgiveness instead. Although he does interact with Jesus, I didn’t feel like this was the main focus of the story, at least in this version. 

The writing itself felt accessible to a wide range of modern audiences while still keeping some of what I assume to be the original language. While reading it, I definitely wanted to go back and read the original version to see what Lew Wallace actually wrote and if the more antiquated language would add to the richness of the plot. At times the story felt a bit flat, which is a downside of reading a condensed version of the original story. 

All in all I found this to be an enjoyable read, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a more modern introduction to the story. 

Please note that all pictures and opinions contained in this review are my own. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale publishers through the book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Mermaid Tail Blankets

23 Nov

Looking for a unique handmade gift to put under the tree this holiday season? Look no further than a handmade mermaid tail blanket, now available to order in my shop!

Available in child and adult sizes. Two styles available and 8 color options to choose from. 
Limited spots available to order. These blankets are made to order in the colors of your choice. Order by November 29th to ensure Christmas delivery! 

These warm and cozy lap blankets are sure to delight any mermaid lover in your life. Visit kountingsheepshop.etsy.com to order today!

Handmade Blankets

2 Sep

Have you seen all the new crocheted blankets now available in my shop?

Blankets are one of my favorite things to make, especially baby blankets. As I start preparing for the arrival of our second baby, I decided I wanted to go back to making what I truly love: blankets. 

I want to enjoy this time while my babies are little, and making other things was stressing me out too much. In an effort to be a happier and better mom for my kids, I decided to transition my shop to crochet blankets only. I am excited about this new phase of my life, and as always I’m thankful for the support I’ve received as I make these changes. 

I have several ready to ship baby blankets available. Mermaid tail blankets are available for preorder in the colors shown or you can custom order and pick your colors. As always, I’m happy to make a custom blanket, so click on one of the custom order options to get started!

Visit kountingsheepshop.etsy.com to see all the new blankets available for purchase! Every baby needs a handmade blanket, so wrap your baby in an one of a kind crochet creation from Kounting Sheep Shop. 

HCSB Illustrator’s Bible [Review]

31 Jul

I have been looking forward to the release of the HCSB Illustrator’s Notetaking Bible for several months now, so I was thrilled to receive a copy to review. However, I wasn’t the only one who was thrilled with this new Bible, and the brown leather copy ended up being claimed by my husband. So after purchasing the purple linen covered version, I can finally write my review now that I’ve been able to use it myself. 

The thing I love the most about this Bible is that the illustrations are much more subtle, modern, architectural, and gender neutral than the Inspire Bible. As soon as my husband and I looked through the Illustrators Bible together, he immediately wanted to start reading and coloring. His positive reaction to the illustrations would definitely make me recommend this Bible to men and women alike. 

This Bible boosts over 600 illustrations, and they are peppered throughout the Old and New Testaments. There are several full page illustrations at the beginning of some books, mainly in the New Testament, but there are a few in the Old Testament as well. The front and back inside covers are fully illustrated, as well as some of the additional pages at the front. 

The only drawback to having over 600 illustrations is that several of the designs are repeated anywhere from 2-5 times, so it is not 600 unique illustrations. Over time once I begin to fill in more and more of the designs, it might become redundant to do the same one over and over again. However, I do like that if I were to mess up on a certain illustration, I would have a chance to redo it in another spot. 

Some of the details are rather small for colored pencils, but that doesn’t bother me too much since I love to use watercolors as my main medium for illustrating in my Bible. If someone were to strictly want to use just colored pencils, I would suggest getting ones that have very sharp points or can be sharpened periodically to maintain a thin pencil for easier coloring. 

Because this is also a notetaking Bible, the pages without illustrations have lined margins. Some of the columns with smaller illustrations also incorporate lines as well, so there is plenty of opportunity to take notes and write out prayers and memory verses. The illustrations are also printed in gray to make them less dominant; you could easily write over top of an illustration of desired. 

Like all journaling Bibles, the HCSB Illustrator’s Notetaking Bible has thin pages and small font, but I have grown accustomed to using these Bibles and find it easy to manage. I also like the fact that this Bible is single column. This Bible is larger than my ESV double column journaling Bible (my husband’s HCSB is pictured above with my ESV), but it is comparable in size to other single column Bibles. 

Overall, I think the HCSB Illustrator’s Notetaking Bible will quickly become a favorite for both my husband and myself. We are excited to study and illustrate God’s Word together with these Bibles. I would highly recommend this Bible to anyone looking to creatively connect with scripture.

Please note that all pictures and opinions contained in this review are my own. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from B&H publishers through the book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Paperback Inspire Bible Comparison

5 Jul

I was able to get my hands on an early copy of the new paperback Inspire Bible, and I wanted to show a comparison with my hardcover Inspire Bible. Both Bibles have the exact same content. There is no difference in the amount of pages and illustrations. 

However, I was disappointed to find that there was an overall size difference. The new paperback is about half an inch shorter, slightly narrower, and then because of the thinner cover, there is a difference in the width. The difference isn’t quite as noticeable when it’s laying flat open, but a decrease in size means a decrease in margin space. I was expecting them to be the same size as far as height and length, so it surprised me to see such a noticeable difference. I didn’t look through all the illustrations in the paperback, but I’m sure there are some pages where the design gets cut off because of the size difference. 

Obviously, since it’s slightly smaller, the paperback is also more lightweight than the hardcover. I think having a lighter option is great for those who want to carry this Bible around a lot. The lower price also makes it more enticing to those with lower budgets. The retail price for the paperback is half the price of the new Large Print coming out in September, so that is definitely a bonus.
Another major difference with the paperback is that the endpapers have no design. The blank edges are great for those who may want to decorate it themselves, or for those who want to add tabs and don’t want to obscure the designed edges on the other versions. Although the cover is mostly decorated, some of the flowers could also be colored in or extra detail could be added to the blank space as well. 

I think over time the paperback version will have the same issue as the softcover version, in that the cover does not stay closed when the Bible is completely closed. That would definitely bother me, and I would either get a cover for it or get a stretchy band to help keep it closed. I cover all of my journaling Bibles with a handmade fabric cover anyway, so this wouldn’t necessarily deter me from buying it, but for those who purchase this Bible specifically for the cover design, that might be a drawback to using a cover. Another thing to note is that the paperback version does not have a ribbon bookmark. Again, not a deal breaker for me, but this might bother others.

Eventually there will be 4 types of Inspire Bibles: the hardcover (teal), the softcover (butterfly design), the paperback (white floral), and the large print (blue cover). I still prefer my hardcover to the paperback, but I think that the paperback will appeal to a lot of people looking for a compact, lightweight pre-illustrated journaling Bible. With all the different types, there is sure to be an Inspire Bible to appeal to a wide range of Bible journalers. 

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