Wednesday, December 27, 2017

2017 Year in Review (Top Ten Blog Hop 2017)

The Introduction:
If you are hopping along with us today: Welcome! You should have come here from Heather Leopard's blog.
If you aren't already following me, I'd love to have you follow me on my @InkBlotsbyTRD account on Instagram, Ink Blots by TRD page on Facebook, and here on my blog as well!

If you are one of my regular readers: Thanks for coming back! I love having you! Please feel free to join along in the hop.

The Year in Review - Top Fives:
Because I blog a variety of things here (crafts, cards, Bible art & journaling, book reviews, and more) I thought I would do a variation on the top ten idea, and share the top five from a few different categories. And, because I have been a bad blogger (I've had some gaps in my blogging where my projects only made it as far as Instagram or Facebook), not all of these have actually been given air time here on my blog this year.

Top Five Bible Journaling Entries of 2017:
These top five Bible journaling entries were chosen based on their popularity here on my blog (as well as over on my Instagram account). 

You can click each photo below to be taken to the original blog post (where I have a full supply list) or Instagram post...or just go ahead and view them here:

Top Five Cards of 2017:
A few of these top five cards were chosen because they are some of my personal favorites from the year. (And a couple were well loved on my Instagram account, but they didn't make it to the blog...oops!)

You can click each photo below to be taken to the original blog post (where I have a full supply list) or Instagram post...or just go ahead and view them here:

Top Five Bible Recommendations/Reviews 2017:
These top five Bible recommendations are my personal top recommendations from all the Bibles that I have had the pleasure of reviewing this year. 

Here they are with a little description for each:

The Beautiful Word Bible line came out with a "for Girls" coloring Bible version, but for me it is my personal favorite from the line (even though I am not the target age range). The updated images to color really are a step up from some of those in the earlier versions, and I love the added bonus of a cute cover and rounded page corners, all while keeping the original wide lined margins for Bible art & journaling.



The She Reads Truth Bible is a great option for Bible art & journaling, note taking, and more. The interior pages are beautifully designed, and this Bible has some great study helps. The She Reads Truth Bible is a journaling Bible on steroids. (All legal, of course.)


Okay, this isn't technically a Bible (since it is a storybook), but I snuck it into this category. If you don't already have The Jesus Storybook Bible, I recommend getting this version. Not only is there a gorgeous cover, but the pages are larger which results in larger artwork and larger text. Although this Bible storybook is definitely great for kids, it helped me as an adult, and I think anyone (at any age) would benefit from owning it.


The Kids' Quest Study Bible is a fantastic study Bible for kids. It covers some great study basics (who, what, where, when), but also has some informative practical application for kids that I think is wonderful.


The Kids' Devotional Bible is both a Bible and a year's worth of devotional readings for kids. And, as a fun bonus, there is some great line art that could make this a coloring Bible.

Top Five Book Recommendations/Reviews of 2017:
These top five book recommendations are my favorites from all the books that I have had the pleasure of reviewing this year. Most of them are for kids, but they are all well loved in our house.

So that you don't have to judge these books solely on their covers, I'll give a little description for each.

The Marvelous Mud House is...marvelous. It is beautifully written, incredibly illustrated, and has a wonderful message. It really is an incredible book and a peek at a different lifestyle for those of us with easy access to education, large homes, nice cars, and an abundance of toys. It is definitely worth buying...and buying several copies to share with other families.


When God Made You is a positive, uplifting book that celebrates uniqueness and diversity, all in the context of being created by God. It is a literary step above other children's books on the market, in my opinion. The illustrations just add to the incredible confidence-building text in this book and I can't recommend it enough.


Found is taken from The Jesus Storybook Bible, and our family loves owning both. The illustrations in this board book are beautifully done in calm colors and they help create a very peaceful feeling. Our littlest one loves to read Found - and he likes to read it often. It's definitely a keeper!


Noah, Noah, What Do You See? was an instant favorite in our house. It is co-written by Bill Martin Jr. - the author of classics like Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (and other books in the Brown Bear and Friends line) as well as Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (and other Chicka Chicka books). This book is cute and fun to read, definitely a must-have in our house!


Portrait Revolution is all about inspiration (not instruction), but it definitely delivers on being inspirational! Portrait Revolution features portraits (faces from the shoulders up, so it's family friendly), and has sections dividing the art by media, style, theme, and artist. According to my 11 year old artist: "I like all the imaginative ways of making portraits. I like seeing different versions of the same person (subject). There are a lot of drawings with good style." I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone who is wanting to be inspired to create and/or wanting to check out different artistic styles.

The Giveaway:
Whew! We made it! 
(What a year!)

I am SO thankful that you did a little time traveling with me. As a way to say thanks, I'd like to give away some stamps from my stamp company,  Ink Blot Shop, LLC
I'll be sending these three stamp sets to one lucky winner:



To enter:
Leave a comment on this blog post. That's it!

If you would like additional chances to win you can do so in one (or all) of the following ways:
- "Like" Ink Blots by TRD on Facebook. {Please let me know you've done so by leaving an additional comment.}
- Comment on any of my giveaway posts (associated with this particular giveaway) on Facebook or Instagram (@InkBlotsbyTRD).
- Share about and link back to this giveaway on your own blog, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, or anywhere else. {Please let me know where you've shared/linked by leaving one additional comment.}

Rules of this giveaway:
Blog comments for the giveaway will close Sunday, December 31st @ 11:59pm (Eastern) and the winner will be announced Tuesday, January 2nd here on my blog.
- The winner will have 48 hours to contact me with their information.
- Due to shipping costs, giveaways are available to US mailing addresses only.
Please remember to check back to see if you've won.
Disclaimer: This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter.

After leaving a comment, be sure to hop on over to Sue Eldred's site.

Thanks for stopping by today - and may the Lord bless you in the new year!
The full hop list:
Christine Meyer
Kathy Skou
Kathleen Graumüller
Teri Anderson
Susie Bentz
Janice Daquila-Pardo
Giorgia Rossini
Laurel Seabrook
Aimee Kidd
Mary Ann Jenkins
Keren Tamir
Lee-Anne Thornton
Heather Leopard
Tifany DeGough (You are here)
Sue Eldred
Melissa Elsner
Laura Whitaker
Anita Mulcahey
Ashley Smith
Simone Schermann
Shelly Kurth
Monique Liedtke
Suzanna Lee
Kat Benjamin
Wendy Antenucci
Marcia Dehn-Nix
Laura Cox
Irit Shalom
Nicole Martel
Carolyn Johnson
Tenia Nelson
Samantha Taylor
Rebecca Keppel
Judy Hayes
Isha Gupta
Traci Penrod
Tracy McLennon
Karen Hunter
Lyne Blodgett
Anna Sigga
Lisa Moen

Friday, December 8, 2017

Book Review :: NIV Beautiful Word Coloring Bible for Girls

The NIV Beautiful Word Coloring Bible for Girls is a new journaling Bible on the block, and it is a great one! (If you haven't seen my review of the NIV Beautiful Word Coloring Bible or my flip-through of the NIV Beautiful Word Bible, be sure to check those out to get a background on this series of journaling Bibles.) 

The NIV Beautiful Word Coloring Bible for Girls comes in a variety of cover options, but for this review I looked specifically at the teal hardcover. The teal on the Leathersoft™ cover has a subtle shimmer that does not rub off. (The white and pink/coral accents on the cover do not shimmer.) The pages are white with rounded corners and a pinkish-purple ribbon bookmark is attached.

What makes this a "for Girls" Bible? A little bit of text on the spine, on the cardstock slipcover, and on the copyright page. Besides more playful cover options, that's it. I am not a young girl and I will most likely be keeping this one for myself.  
In the NIV Beautiful Word Coloring Bible for Girls, there are 500 verses featured in line art illustrations throughout the wide margins (and some on full pages) of the Bible. The line art is generally done in all black, but there are some illustrations that have both black and gray lines. There is also some artwork that has some very light/thin lines, which in my opinion will likely be hard to color...but the vast majority have a bold line weight. 

If you have seen the Beautiful Word Bible in a full-color version or in the original coloring version, I just want to point out that while the verses that are illustrated are the same, the art is not all the same. Also to note, while the Beautiful Word Bible in a full-color version has colored text headers, the coloring versions have all black text (including the headers). All versions are single column with wide margins. (Margins are lined where art is not present.)

Somewhere around half of the illustrations in the NIV Beautiful Word Coloring Bible for Girls are identical to the original coloring version. I counted in the first 6 books of the Bible and out of 74 illustrations, 33 are the same and 41 are different. In general, there are more bold/modern illustrations in the "for Girls" version - and in my personal opinion most of them are an improvement. (The illustrations are all in the same location as the originals.)

You may also be curious how the Beautiful Word Coloring Bibles compare to the Inspire Bible that has been so popular as a coloring Bible. In my opinion, the Inspire Bible has more detailed illustrations (very flowery and traditionally beautiful) and the Beautiful Word Coloring Bibles have more of a trendy art style. Whichever art style you prefer is going to make a difference in which Bible you might enjoy most for your creative worship time. (If you have a strong preference for a particular Bible translation, that will obviously make a difference as well.)

If you are looking for a journaling Bible and like the idea of having art to color in, definitely check out the NIV Beautiful Word Coloring Bible for Girls.
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy through their book review bloggers program. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Find all my posts pertaining to Bible art or journaling here.

Looking for great stamps to use for Bible journaling? Check out Ink Blot Shop, LLC!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Book Review :: The Marvelous Mud House by April Graney, illustrated by Alida Massari

The Marvelous Mud House is a fantastic "story of finding fullness and joy".
In The Marvelous Mud House, George and Mama George (in Kenya) live in a mud house. They have little, but are content and trust in God to provide. A family from Oklahoma flies to Kenya and meets George and his Mama in the market. They go to their house and see how they live and discover that George can't afford to attend school. After returning to their home in the US, they realize the excess they have and decide to downsize and do extra jobs to help provide school fees for George.

The Marvelous Mud House is beautifully written, incredibly illustrated, and has a wonderful message. My 8 year old said he liked this book because "it shows compassion". I agree. It really is an incredible book and a peek at a different lifestyle for those of us with easy access to education, large homes, nice cars, and an abundance of toys. I think The Marvelous Mud House is a book that is definitely worth buying...and buying several copies to share with other families.
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy through their book review bloggers program. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Book Review :: The Books of the Bible: My Bible Story Coloring Book

The Books of the Bible: My Bible Story Coloring Book is a unique coloring book. It is a coloring book, yes, but it also includes a good portion of the Biblical stories (taken from the NIrV Bible translation). It is like a 2-in-1 storybook & coloring book.
As a coloring book, The Books of the Bible: My Bible Story Coloring Book is a great one. The pages are smooth and white - a good (heavy) stock for coloring. The images to color are very full - not stand-alone images on a page, but rather full scenes that span each 2-page spread. 
What I don't think is clear in the description of The Books of the Bible: My Bible Story Coloring Book is that the text of the stories is basically the NIrV Bible, abridged. (I know it mentions that they are "taken" from the NIrV, but it is actually the NIrV text, just chopped up to make it shorter.) The exact location of the text is not given (I wish it were), but, for example, I looked up the text from "Moses and the Fiery Lawgiving" and saw that it is a compilation directly quoted from Deuteronomy 5:1b-5, 6:20-21, 6:24, 7:7a, and 7:8b (NIrV). Of course, some details of the stories are lost with this method, but the basics are included.  

The Books of the Bible: My Bible Story Coloring Book contains 4 sections with 8 stories per section (for a total of 32 stories). The 4 sections are: Covenant History, Prophets, Writings, and New Testament. Each story includes 4+ pages of a mixture of text and line art to color. (Most stories have one full page without text - just for coloring.) There is a good amount of text given in each story. What I especially appreciated was the variety of stories and topics that are included - many that aren't generally found in Bible storybooks. 

I found The Books of the Bible: My Bible Story Coloring Book to be a really great book - it's a unique 2-in-1 that can span a variety of ages. I definitely recommend it! 
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy through their book review bloggers program. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Book Review :: Adored: 365 Devotions for Young Women

Adored: 365 Devotions for Young Women is a new devotional for young women. 
Since this devotional is for young women, I handed it over to my teen daughter to check out. She said the devotionals are interesting and because they are short they keep her wanting to read more, but she also said that the "message seems the same, said in different ways". (The message being: "You are adored.") She said the devotionals seem easy to relate to, but my be aimed at girls a little older than her since it mentions college several times. She said Adored is good, but not necessarily her favorite devotional. She rates it 4 out of 5 stars. 
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy through their book review bloggers program. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Book Review :: The Beginner's Bible - I Can Read!: Daniel and the Lions' Den

The Beginner's Bible - I Can Read!: Daniel and the Lions' Den is a new book in the  I Can Read! / The Beginner's Bible series. The books in the I Can Read! / The Beginner's Bible series are worded with simpler phrasing and shorter sentences than you will find in other Beginner's Bible books like The Beginner's Bible: Timeless Children's Stories.
The Beginner's Bible - I Can Read!: Daniel and the Lions' Den is a story of Daniel and his interactions with God, the king, and the lions. (You can find the full story in the Bible in Daniel chapter 6.) The Beginner's Bible - I Can Read!: Daniel and the Lions' Den is marked as being written at Guided Reading Level F. There are an average of 10-15 words per page written in large, easy-to-read text. There are big, colorful illustrations in the typical style found in other Beginner's Bible books. The main ideas in the story of Daniel come across in simple sentences, great for young ones. 

The Beginner's Bible - I Can Read!: Daniel and the Lions' Den is a great choice for reading with young ones. 
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy through their book review bloggers program. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Book Review :: God's Treasure Holy Bible (NIrV)

The God's Treasure Holy Bible (NIrV) has a printed hard cover with foiled accents and an attached ribbon bookmark. (There are other cover options available, but for this review I looked at the hardcover version.)
The God's Treasure Holy Bible (NIrV) is the New International Reader's Version (NIrV) version of the Bible. The NIrV is a simplified version of the NIV, written at approximately a 3rd grade reading level. The NIrV is composed of smaller, easy-to-understand words in shorter sentences than the traditional NIV.

The God's Treasure Holy Bible (NIrV) has all black text (including the words of Christ) and brown headings and chapter numbers. The text is laid out in two columns. The text is standard size - not large, but not extra small. There are basic footnotes in the God's Treasure Holy Bible (NIrV) as well as introductions for each book of the Bible. The introductions include a quick overview of who/what will be encountered in the book, important stories, and a list of "Treasure Verses" (which are highlighted with a light brown background in the Bible text). At the back are a "Treasure Verse Index", three lined pages for notes, and 7 full-color maps like you might find at the back of many Bibles.

There are some full-color page inserts that are placed throughout the God's Treasure Holy Bible (NIrV). (The full-color pages are a bit thicker than the text pages.) There are a total of 6 full-color inserts, with a front and back side to each. Each of the inserts are illustrated and have a summarized story version of popular Bible events.

Here are the titles of each of the inserts:
- This Bible Is Given To: (presentation page)
- How To Use This Bible
- God Creates The World
- The Ten Commandments
- Mapping The Bible (two-sided)
- The Riches of God's Word
- Learn To Pray
- Meet Jesus
- Love
- Fruit Of The Spirit
- ABCs Of Becoming A Christian

The God's Treasure Holy Bible (NIrV) has the basics you need, with some nice extras. 
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy through their book review bloggers program. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Book Review :: She Reads Truth Bible (Christian Standard Bible) by Holman Bible Publishers

Looking for more reviews of journaling Bibles? Find them here

Are you looking for the best Bible for Bible art & journaling, or just wanting to get something to help with your Bible study time? 
The She Reads Truth Bible may be your answer! 
It's a great option for Bible journaling, note taking, and more. 
(For the cover style pictured, click here.)

The She Reads Truth Bible is a single column Bible with wide margins, which are great for notes, journaling, and/or art. The unlined margins are a minimum of 1 5/8" wide (so just over 1 1/2") and the pages are 8 7/16" high. I would estimate that on about 1/3 of the pages of Bible text, there is additional margin space (particularly in places like Job and the Psalms). The pages have a mild, creamy white hue to them (they are not bright white, but are also not the yellowish cream color that many journaling Bibles contain). The She Reads Truth Bible contains the CSB (Christian Standard Bible) version of the Biblical text.
The Bible is a little on the hefty side at 2" thick and weighing a little more than 3 1/2 pounds. There are two attached ribbon bookmarks (one white/ivory and one red) that will help in marking the pages you want to find easily again.

The She Reads Truth Bible is one of the most beautifully done Bibles I have seen as far as the interior page design goes. From the clean overall page layout to the easily distinguishable devotional pages to even the maps and table of weights and measures in the back, it is very pleasing to the eye.

Each book begins with a full-page illustration/typography of a key verse - many are single-color, but some are more elaborate. In addition to the artwork, each book has: an introduction, a reading plan (laid out in weeks), and some additional form of study help (map, chart, timeline, etc.).

There are some great extras in the She Reads Truth Bible that you won't find in most journaling Bibles currently available. A total of 189 devotionals (each well placed according to the content and context) are interspersed throughout the text. The devotionals are easily distinguished from the Bible text because of the colored border surrounding them.

At the back of the She Reads Truth Bible you will find: a list of key verses, Genre Guide, the Apostles' Creed, a one-year Bible reading plan, Topical Index, maps, and Table of Weights & Measures.

You really just need to see several sample pages to get the feel for the She Reads Truth Bible, so I figured I may as well make a short flip-through/slideshow out of some additional pictures I took.
Feel free to watch below or click through to view it on YouTube.



All in all, I think the She Reads Truth Bible is a great choice if you are looking for a new Bible.  
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy through their book review bloggers program. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.