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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. 

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.”

New Pattern: Swiss Cross Blanket

9 Jun

I just released another new crochet pattern: Swiss Cross Baby Blanket. This blanket pattern is great for adding a handmade modern touch to any nursery or toddler room. 

You can get the PDF pattern with written instructions and color chart on Etsy or Ravelry. If you don’t crochet and you’re looking to purchase a Swiss Cross blanket, visit my Etsy shop to see all available blankets for sale or choose custom order to have one made. 

I also have other free patterns and for sale patterns available. You can browse all of them by clicking “My Patterns” in the menu or click here

The Stash

16 Mar
This will be my new front door in two weeks! I’ll be moving out of my parents’ house into my first apartment with my best friend at the end of the month. We are extremely excited, especially since this place will be much closer to our respective jobs for both of us, not to mention it’s exciting to be out on my own for the first time.
And on a yarn related note, I finally can say that my stash is officially Red Heart yarn free! Yes, I am a yarn snob now (no surprise, it’s been for several years now), and especially with living in an apartment, it was time to purge the yarns I wasn’t going to use anymore. This included all Red Heart and Caron Simply Soft; these yarns were what got me started into all this craziness that is fiber arts, but it’s time for a parting of the ways. I know these yarns will be moving to a happy home, just not mine.
I knew that my yarn stash was large, but there’s nothing like boxing it all up to show you just how large it truly is. Okay, so it’s not the largest stash in the world, nor is it large compared to a knitter who owns a house, but for someone in her mid-twenties with only one room to call her own, it could be considered on the large size. And there’s a reason why it’s called “stash,” because I literally had yarn stashed in every available nook and cranny. I tried boxing up all the yarn first, but every time I pulled out something else to pack, I’d find another spot where yarn was just sitting there, waiting to be found, which would then be followed by me saying, “Oh yeah, I remember putting that there!” 
I can say that the upside to having a large stash (well, I don’t really consider downsides to having a large stash either, only upsides, but I digress….) is that now that I’ll be living on an extremely tight budget, I can start working my way through all my wonderful yarn. As I was pulling out every skein of yarn I own, it was fun to think about all the projects I have planned and all the beautiful skeins that I’ve purchased over the years. I very rarely buy yarn just to buy it, I usually have a project in mind, so it definitely brought on a case of “KNIT.ALL.THE.THINGS!” The good news is, my new room will have 2 closets, yes read that, 2 closets! So now I can have one for clothing and one for yarn (and maybe that will help with keeping the stash all in one place). 
And although my roommate is aware of my fiber obsession (more aware than some of my other friends), I’m not sure she will truly realize the full extent of it until she actually lives with me!

Birthday Special

9 Mar

 Just wanted to write a quick post to say that I’m having a special birthday sale in my etsy shop. My birthday is March 13th, so I’m offereing 13% off all purchases between now and March 16th. Just use coupon code “BDAYMAR13” at checkout to receive the discount.

I still have lots of items for sale! And part of the reason why I’m trying to sell all these things is that I’ll be moving out the end of the month. I don’t have space to take these items with me, so help me by snatching them up! Watch for more specials next week, especially on Tuesday.

Texture

28 Feb
Smooth garter stitch never ceases to look good, even in black and white.
stripe, stripe, stripe
For now, this project is a secret, so I’m enjoying taking close-up detail pictures of my work. Knit fabric just appeals to me!

For Sale!

21 Feb

 I just updated my Etsy shop with lots of items for sale. Check out Kounting Sheep Designs on Etsy today!

 

Knit scarves, crocheted accessories, an ebook collection, yarn, project bags, weaving shuttles, a set of light-up crochet hooks. All available now! All accessories are handmade with my own two hands.Yarn and other supplies are brand new, never used items that have been in my stash that can now be in yours!

 

True Love

14 Feb
   
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 
And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. 
As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is LOVE.” ~1 Corinthians 13
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