Take your coloring to the next level with Prismacolor


Are you into coloring? It seems as though “adult coloring” is all the rage these days. There are a plethora of coloring books made specifically for adults who enjoy coloring. In fact, I own about a dozen or so of those kinds of books.

My husband (yes… my husband!) and I have been coloring together for decades. We find it very relaxing. We especially love to color holiday/seasonal coloring pages. I prefer to color cute things. My husband enjoys coloring landscapes or pages with a lot of details.

Every Christmas for the past 20+ years I gift my husband a brand new box of crayons. He prefers crayons that are sharp and he likes having a variety of colors to choose from.

I do a lot of coloring at work. I work with children and they all love to color. As a teacher’s assistant, I make sure to print out new coloring pages for the kids every other week. I take requests and try to find coloring pages that they would enjoy. They tend to prefer popular characters like X-Men, Avengers, My Little Pony, Shopkins, Monster High, Strawberry Shortcake and more. I also look for holiday and seasonal coloring pages too.

The kids I work with are kindergartners. They are not exactly easy on the crayons, markers and colored pencils that we keep in the classroom. For that reason I bring my own coloring supplies with me in my tote bag. I enjoy having a variety of mediums to choose from (crayons, markers, pencils) and I like having coloring pieces that are not broken or worn out.

Here are some coloring pages I did at work during the holidays.

When I sit and color with the kids I use the classroom materials. During nap time (45 minutes) I like to color after I have my lunch. I find it very soothing and relaxing, most especially when I work with two dozen overly energetic children.

Recently I was sent to review a set of fine tip markers and colored pencils from the brand Prismacolor. I have heard of the brand before, and I have seen their products sold online and in local retail stores, but up until now I have never had the opportunity to try them out.

I tend to prefer crayons, but many adult coloring books feature images that are too fine to color with crayons. You need colored pencils or markers to get into every single little detail.

I also like to blend colors. I don’t like using just one color because I think it makes the image look “flat.” I like to add different colors, blend them together, and give an image highlights and shadows to really make it “pop” from the page.

I received a package of 24 colored pencils from Prismacolor.

I like the variety of colors that came in this package. It includes the primary colors as well as different variations of them. It even includes a white pencil. You might think that a white pencils is pointless, but it’s not. You can use it to highlight details in your drawing or coloring page.

The pencils are soft and glide smoothly across the paper. They also blend beautifully.

Here is a piece I am working on. It’s more evident in the photo that I need to blend some areas on the flower better (it doesn’t look like that in person), and do some more shading. Aside from that, I think it’s turning out really nice.

You can tell from the first time that you use these pencils that they are quality pencils. They are not rough and hard like other coloring pencils. These are soft and smooth. These are artist quality pencils.

I also received from Prismacolor a set of fine tip markers.

Some adult coloring books/pages have really find detail. I prefer to use colored pencils for those types of images because it’s easier to get into the tight spots. However I do enjoy the look of a page colored in markers. Most markers are too thick for some areas.

The Prismacolor fine tip markers are VERY fine tip. The tips are incredibly itty bitty. They are great for tiny spaces, but coloring a larger area with them would take forever.

I do have several adult coloring books, and I know that these will come in handy when combined with other markers (regular tipped ones).

I have a few travel adult coloring books. The entire image on each page is very small. These markers are perfect to tote along with those books. They need markers like this.

You can see in the image below just how fine tipped these markers are.

I see in the photo I had places to fill in. In my defense I suffer from Carpal Tunnel, and some days are better than others. I can’t always be perfect when I color. Not only that, I do it for fun and to relax – I’m not entering any coloring competitions. LOL!

If you enjoy coloring or drawing, and you are looking for quality materials, check out the line of products available from Primacolor.

For more information you can visit Prismacolor.com. Primacolor products are available at many retail location across the country, as well as online.

The brand is also available on social media. Their links can be found on the top of their website.

Do you enjoy coloring and/or drawing?

Are you familiar with Prismacolor?


*I received free samples in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

Vote for your favorite from Vans Custom Culture competition


Vans Custom Culture

Growing up I loved being barefoot. The moment I got home from school I would kick off my shoes. I was always playing outside in bare feet too. Maybe that is why I am not much of a shoe person as an adult.

I have a few pairs of shoes but I usually only wear sneakers. I am more comfortable in sneakers than I am in dress shoes. I keep a couple of pairs of dress shoes for special occasions.

My teenage daughter loves shoes. She’s crazy about shoes, bags, jewelry, clothing and makeup. She’s a typical teen girl.

My daughter likes to wear sneakers just like me, but she’s more picky about the ones she’ll wear. One of her favorite brands is Vans. She has a three pairs of Vans sneakers.

Have you ever heard of Vans Custom Culture? I was not aware of this competition until recently.

Vans Custom Culture was created to inspire and empower high school students to embrace their creativity through art and design, and to bring attention to diminishing arts education budgets. Custom Culture is a national high school customization competition using four pairs of blank Vans shoes to be customized around four themes: Art, Music, Action Sports and Local Flavor.

This brief video gives you a little more information about the competition too.


Both of my kids are in high school. I am always amazed by just how talented the students are. Even in middle school and elementary school there have been some students who excelled at art.

I was good at art when I was in high school (it was my best subject). Sadly I think I lost a lot of my creativeness as I got older. These days I find that I doodle more than draw. I guess it’s because I don’t have the time like I did when I was in high school. As an adult I always feel rushed all the time too. When I was younger I took my time to do things.

Vans Custom Culture is a high school competition. Over 2,500 schools are competing for the opportunity to win $50,000 for their school’s art programs. I think this is wonderful. I fully support the arts.

My daughter was in an advanced art class at school and did very well. Sadly the program was cut due to lack of funding. I think that is one of the worse things the school district could have done. I’m sure there were other ways to cut corners. They didn’t have to cut out such an important program.

Vans Shoes

Art inspires people. It’s also a way for students to showcase their talents. Seeing their artwork in local studios and featured around the school is a great way to boost someone’s self esteem and confidence. Art is also a way for people to express themselves and let their inner self shine. Not having these programs is a travesty.

Vans sent the participating school blank (plain white) Vans shoes. For this competition the school’s need to decorate the Vans shoes any way they see fit. When they finished they submitted their designs to Vans for judging. The top 50 entries will be voted on by the public, starting TODAY. Winners from the public round of voting will then be judged internally by Vans. Students representing the top 5 designs will be flown to New York City for the final round of judging. The winning design will win $50,000 for their school’s art programs.

Vans sent me a pair of shoes and some art supplies (markers, paints…) to decorate my own pair of Vans. Needless to say I’m not talented, but I tried.

Shoe 1

Shoe 2

Shoe 3

FYI… Don’t ask kids to help you decorate shoes with markers because they will think it’s OK to decorate their own sneakers that way. LOL!

I had some help decorating the sneakers (from 7 years old to teens).

Even though I won’t be winning any prizes for my shoes, it was still fun to do.

If you would like to learn more about the Vans Custom Culture competition, or to vote for your favorite entry, visit – Vans.com/CustomCulture. In addition, check out the hashtags #VansCustomCulture #ArtEducations on social media.

What do you think about this competition? Do you feel that not enough is being done to encourage children to participate in the arts (art, music, theater…)? Feel free to share your thoughts.



*I was not compensated for this post. I received a pair of shoes and art supplies free to do my design. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Beautiful Art from Fulcrum Gallery



I take great pride in my home. I like it to look neat, clean and well put together at all times. It’s not always easy to keep it that way with a houseful of pets and teens, but I do the best I can.

Over a year ago we had our home on the market. Our agent told us to rid our home of personal photos and things, as well as leave the walls as bare as we could so potential buyers can visualize how their artwork and photos would look on our walls.

We had recently had paneling removed and painted our living room, including adding some nice trim. Our walls were totally bare.

To make a long story short we had to cancel the sale of our condo. We ended up not moving. Meanwhile all the artwork and photos on our walls was now packed away in storage at my father’s home upstate.

For the longest time we’ve had to stare at blank walls. It didn’t bother my husband much but it sure bothered me. I can’t stand blank walls.

I didn’t want to add just anything to our walls. Now that we had the paneling down and the walls had a whole new look I wanted to find something pretty to decorate our walls.


One place I looked for artwork for our walls is FulcrumGallery.com. Fulcrum Gallery literally has hundreds (if not thousands) of artwork to choose from. I spent days scrolling around their site looking for the perfect artwork for my living room. It took me so long only because I didn’t really know what I wanted. I wasn’t sure if I wanted a landscape, abstract, floral or something else.

Fulcrum Gallery makes it easy for consumers to narrow down what they are looking for. Their artwork is broken up into different categories – Styles, Subject, Room, Artist, Product and more.

I did scroll through the suggested artwork for the Living Room and I loved the art that appeared in that category.

I think a huge part of my problem was that I found DOZENS of pictures and paintings that I wanted, and that is no exaggeration.

There are just SOME of the beautiful pieces of art I was considering for our living room (specifically the area above the television set).






You can purchase are framed or unframed. There are a variety of frames and colors to choose from.

It took me a while to narrow down my choice but I opted for a framed print called Fall Pasture by Raymond Knaub.

I opted for the gold frame.


Here is our framed photo (my apologies for the poor quality of the photo).


As you can see our print is not matted. I didn’t want a matte frame. I wanted the full piece of artwork.

The framed print arrived in perfect condition. Fulcrum Gallery makes sure to package your print with great care so that it arrives to you safely. I should have taken a photo of the packaging. I was impressed.

Fulcrum Gallery has artwork available to suite all budgets too. I have seen beautiful prints for as little as $8.00. Even the framing options come in a variety of styles to fit your budget.

They even have a clearance section with prints (unframed) for as low as $4.00! All you would need is your own frame for it.

I prefer to get my artwork pre-framed. That way I can hang it up and enjoy it the moment it arrives.

Artwork is not only a great way to add interest and color to any room, it also makes a great gift. If you know a new homeowner, or a newly married couple, a beautiful piece of artwork would make a fabulous gift. Fulcrum Gallery has their own gift cards that you can give as a gift so the recipient can pick out their favorite piece (or pieces). Gift cards are available in $5 increments. I would LOVE a gift card to Fulcrum Gallery because there are many other pieces I would love to have for my home.





You can even have your own photos turned into framed pieces of art. Visit the site for more information.

If you would like to check out Fulcrum Gallery for yourself visit FulcrumGallery.com. They can also be found on social media (all the links are found at the bottom of their website).

How do YOU decorate your home? Do you love to add beautiful photos, prints and artwork to your walls? Do you have a specific style/subject that you enjoy the most? Feel free to share your thoughts.



*I received a free framed print in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Phyllis Harris Design’s original and customizable illustration prints


Photo Credit: Phyllis Harris Designs

Photo Credit: Phyllis Harris Designs

Last year when we had our condo listed on the market we had to remove EVERYTHING from our home to make it look more spacious and so potential buyers could picture themselves living in our condo with their things, not our things. That meant removing artwork and photos from the walls.

Blank walls drive me nuts!!!!!!

After we ended up taking our condo off the market (after the whole mortgage fiasco) we never put things back up on the walls. My husband still holds out hope that we can try selling our place again, and why mess up the newly painted walls with holes from hanging artwork and photos. As for me, I don’t hold out hope. I just want to see stuff back up on the walls again. I hate staring at blank walls all the time.

I have slowly been hanging up some photos using tacks, not nails. The holes are not as big and they hold the weight of the photo OK. I still have others I want to hang back up but they require nails so I’ll have to sweet talk my hubby until he gives in.

I love having family photos all around my home. I also like to display unique and/or whimsical pieces of artwork around my home. We do have some nice pieces of artwork (not original) of landscapes like a huge garden painting and a New York City skyline wall decal. The rest of my pieces are whimsical and fun because they fit my personality. I also like artwork with nice quotes on them.

I don’t hide the fact that I like cute things. My desk is covered in toys and I still have most of my books from when I was a child.

I recently learned about an award winning illustrator named Phyllis Harris. She’s illustrated over 30+ children’s books. In addition her adorable illustrations have also appeared in numerous children’s magazine publications such as Highlights, Jack & Jill and Humpty Dumpty.

Phyllis launched Phyllis Harris Designs a year ago. It’s an online shop that features 60+ of Phyllis’ colorful and whimsical illustration prints. The prints can also be personalized making them a great gift and addition to any child’s room or nursery.

Her illustrations are sold around the globe with tremendous sales in the U.S., Europe, Asia, Canada, Australia and New Zealan.

Her designs also won her the Red Tricycle’s prestigious ‘Totally Awesome Awards’ in the ‘Wall Art & Accessories’ category, (http://awards.redtri.com/2012/room-decor-accessories). Phyllis was also featured as a top contender in the ‘Martha Stewart American Made Contest’ in 2013.

Phyllis’ illustrations convey messages of hope, joy and childhood innocence. Each print can be customized with the child’s hair color, hair style, ethnicity, name and even a inspirational quote. All prints are signed by Phyllis.

Check out just a small sampling of her sweet designs.


Photo Credit: Phyllis Harris Designs


Photo Credit: Phyllis Harris Designs


Photo Credit: Phyllis Harris Designs



Photo Credit: Phyllis Harris Designs

I received her “Bear Hug” print to review. It’s adorable! It’s very colorful and it makes me smile every time I look at it. The print features several bears hugging each other.

These prints would make a fantastic baby shower and new baby gift. The designs would work with any decor. If you happen to know the theme of the child’s room there are plenty of options to choose from (Giraffe for a zoo theme, Pig for a farm theme, Ballerina for a girl’s room, Boy and dog for a boy’s room…).

I love that they can be customized too. What child doesn’t love to see something with their name on it? It makes it that much special.

Photo Credit: Phyllis Harris Designs - This is the same print that I have.

Photo Credit: Phyllis Harris Designs – This is the same print that I have.

As an adult I love the designs. I think anyone who is truly a child at heart will fall head over heels in love with these designs. I only have one of them (Bear Hugs) but there are four others that I would like to own some day. After all, I do have plenty of wall space at the moment. LOL!

At the heart of Phyllis’ designs is her personal mission to give back to children in need and children battling serious illnesses. She is in partnership with Children’s Mercy Hospitals and clinics in Kansas City, MO. Children’s Mercy Hospitals is an award winning children’s hospital that treats over 500,000 children every year. Yes, you read that correctly – 500,000! It breaks my heart to think that so many children have to be treated for illnesses. And that is just through one hospital system.

Phyllis Harris gives 5% of every print sale to Children’s Mercy to help fight to save these children’s lives. If you would like to learn more about Phyllis’ charitable partnership please visit www.phyllisharrisdesigns.com/GIVING_BACK.html,

Whether you are looking to add some artwork to a child’s room or nursery, or you just want to add a bit of whimsy and childhood innocence to your own walls, check out all of Phyllis Harris Designs at www.phyllisharrisdesigns.com.

You can also check out Phyllis’ adorable illustrations on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.



*I received a free product sample in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Support the Monuments Men in the Search for Lost Art


The Monuments Men Movie Poster

Coming to theaters on February 7, 2014 is a new film written by George Clooeny and Grant Heslov called The Monuments Men. The film was also directed by George Clooney. It stars George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville, and Cate Blanchett.

Based on the true story of the greatest treasure hunt in history, The Monuments Men is an action drama focusing on seven over-the-hill, out-of-shape museum directors, artists, architects, curators, and art historians who went to the front lines of WWII to rescue the world’s artistic masterpieces from Nazi thieves and return them to their rightful owners. With the art hidden behind enemy lines, how could these guys hope to succeed? But as the Monuments Men found themselves in a race against time to avoid the destruction of 1000 years of culture, they would risk their lives to protect and defend mankind’s greatest achievements.

Here is the film’s trailer for your enjoyment.

It looks like a good movie.

I have heard stories in the news recently about recovered artwork.

There is a Monuments Men Foundation that was founded by Robert M. Edsel.

“The Monuments Men and women saved almost five million cultural objects, but so much is still missing. They could be anywhere, in your grandfather’s attic, or hiding in plain sight. I’m thrilled that with the release of the movie, there will be a way for the public to help complete these heroes’ mission. Call 1-866-WWII-ART and find out how you can help,” says Edsel.

You can help by signing a virtual petition at www.SupporttheMonumentsMen.com and supporting their efforts to preserve and protect great cultural works of arts. You can also encourage Congress to support their efforts with a Congressional Gold Medal.

On the website you can find an interactive map where you can find local museums that feature their institutions Monument Men such a personnel who have participated in the campaign or who have helped to rescue art that hangs on their museum’s walls.

You an also call 1-866-WWII-ART to connect directly with the Monument Men Foundation to speak with someone regarding the search for lost art.

The movie studio, Sony, has also developed an educational program geared towards high school and college students, their families and art buffs about the story of the Monument Men. The site is www.MonumentsMenEducation.com. There you can find downloadable lesson plans and videos.

Students are also encouraged to upload photos of local works of art that bet represent their communities on the Tumblr page, www.LocalTreasure.Tumblr.com.

What do you think about the film?

Have you ever heard of the Monuments Men before or how valuable and precious artwork has disappeared during WWII?

The Monuments Men


*I was not compensated for this post. I posted this for the enjoyment of my site readers. Any opinions expressed are my own unless otherwise noted and not influenced in any way.