My review of the gorgeous NET Abide Bible

#sponsor #partner

I have received the most unique and gorgeous Bible to review, from FrontGate Media. And its format and beauty have absolutely won my heart. Harper Collins/Thomas Nelson, along with Bible Gateway and the Taylor University Center for Scripture Engagement, have created a Bible that totally lives up to its name: “Abide.” Its full name is the NET Abide Bible. I am just filled with joy to share this with you–and also, to tell you that you can not only enter to win a copy for yourself, but that you can also access a free 21-day Bible study!

What is the NET Abide Bible?

The NET (New English Translation) Abide Bible is designed to help you to engage with God’s Word. No matter which book of the Bible, or which chapter or verses you open to, you will find unique, creative, and thoughtful helps which will enable you to approach Bible reading, and even Bible study, in a way that’s quite different from any other that I’ve seen. Specifically, these helps include ideas and specific directions, scattered throughout the entire Bible, for:

  • Contemplation: meditating on, resting in, and listening to what God has to say to you, on each chapter or passage
  • Journaling: responding to what the Scriptures say, whether it’s verses that impact you, questions you have, ideas for putting verses into practice, and more
  • Picturing It: applying your imagination to the text. If you had witnessed the verses as they happened, what might you have apprehended with your 5 senses?
  • Praying Scripture: Praying actual verses, or letting them inspire you to praise
  • Engaging through Art: This Bible includes many reproductions of famous paintings, sculptures, and photographs, with prompts for the reader. These include art of Biblical scenes or passages, or other art which can inspire prayer, with verses to ponder.

Each Bible book begins with a description of what is contained in the book, its historical and literary context, and how readers can prepare themselves for the book, and what God might wish to teach or show them.

This Bible is available in a variety of cover designs (hardback, leathersoft, leathersoft with designs, in a variety of colors). It also has two attached ribbon markers in a satiny finish. It contains a 365-Day Bible Reading Plan, colorful Bible maps, and some thoughts on Bible reading.

My thoughts on the NET Abide Bible

I have to admit to you that I fell in love with this Bible before I ever held it in my hands, and I anticipated reading and engaging with it long before I opened it! I am not a great artist myself; or really even a good one. But I do love beauty, and I am inspired by creativity. In addition, for years I loved teaching the Bible and art to children in a complementary way. So much of the world’s great historical art is based on Bible passages or parables, like Rembrandt’s “The Return of the Prodigal Son” painting, Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel frescoes, or the many paintings of Jesus and moments from His life. But even when a piece of art isn’t specifically of a Bible scene, it can still inspire us to beautiful thinking, remind us of God’s love or creativity, or help us to apprehend something He’d have us to know about Him. The NET Abide Bible reprints dozens and dozens of pieces of art, and directs readers to particular Scriptures plus observing the art, all with the aim of helping them grow closer–to abide–with the Lord. It combines the some of the things I love best in the world–God’s Word, and beautiful art–so that I can draw near to the Lord in creative ways.

Now! This Bible is not only focused on engaging the reader with visual art. Because really, we need to engage with the Lord in other ways as well. The ideas for prayer, the directions for preparing our hearts for what we’re about to read, the journaling directions, the thoughts for meditation and contemplation, are all incredibly rich, quite varied, and also faithful to the text. They’re scattered through this Bible quite thoroughly, so that there is hardly a page without them.

In the end, I think that this Bible is just the thing for anyone who wants to grow closer to God. It is perfect for devotional reading; for daily Bible reading; for family worship times; for teaching children; for listening to God. I so recommend it to you!

Some of my favorite parts of my new Bible

Of course, I LOVE all the art, and being able to use beloved artworks in my quiet times and in order to draw near to God is such a wonderful experience for me. I love the thoughtfully-created prayer, journaling, and contemplative readings. I love the way that the authors of the prayer and journaling prompts cross-reference Old Testament passages with the New Testament, and vice versa. I love that this is the perfect Bible for travel, in that it is sufficient for significant study time even without other study books.

Here are some of my favorite prompt passages (and you’ll see some of my favorite art scattered throughout this blog post!):

  • “READ. In this passage (Isaiah 60:19-61:11) Isaiah provided a poignant picture of God’s planned restoration. As you read, make note of the main improvements God has in store for His people…Ask God to reveal Himself to you more consistently and enable you to confidently look forward to a positive future with Him.” (p. 1020)
  • “JOURNAL Psalm 19:1-14…Where do you see God’s glory in the natural world around you, despite living in a fallen world (see vv. 1-6)? Verses 7-10 call attention to God’s Word. How does reading the Bible revive your soul?” (p. 741)
  • “PRAYING SCRIPTURE (Philippians 3:10-14) Paul knew exactly what he aimed for. He was not floundering or lost. He had a clear goal…But Paul pursued the knowledge of Jesus. He did not dwell on the past; he stretched toward what was ahead (v. 13). What is your primary goal in life?…Ask God to help you press on toward your reward in Christ.” (p. 1660)

Sign up for a free 21-day Bible study

Thomas Nelson Bibles has created a 21-day Bible study on the Gospel of John. It’s full of video teaching, daily devotionals, and a free pdf download of the Gospel of John from the Abide Bible for you to use as you study. Just click on the link below that says “Free Gospel of John Abide Study.”

Free Gospel of John Abide Study

And…enter to win your own copy of the NET Abide Bible!

You can enter a giveaway to win your own copy of the NET Abide Bible. Just click on the link below that says “Enter giveaway here!” That will take you to the Blessed Freebies website where you can enter to win. Enter by July 24, 2022. The winner will be selected on July 25, 2022. Best wishes!

Enter giveaway here!

You can purchase this Bible here:

Just click on the link below to purchase the NET Abide Bible.

Purchase NET Abide Bible

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: I received a copy of this Bible from FrontGate Media. I’ve expressed my own honest opinions in this review.

“Coloring God’s Love for Me: 100 Devotions to Inspire Young Hearts” ~ a JustRead Bookstagram & Review Tour (& giveaway, ends 6/13/22)

#sponsor #partner

I’d love to invite you to learn more about Janae Dueck’s wonderful coloring book and devotional for children! Right now, you can even enter a giveaway to win a copy on Instagram (keep reading for more info on how to enter). First, let me tell you some book details about Coloring God’s Love for Me!

About Coloring God’s Love for Me

⇒ Book Name Coloring God’s Love for Me: 100 Devotions to Inspire Young Hearts

⇒ Author Janae Dueck

⇒ Publisher Tommy Nelson

⇒ Purchase Link #ad

Release Date: June 13, 2022
Genre: Children’s, Devotional, Journal, Coloring Book

Hold on to the Bible’s promises of God’s love, care, and protection with this coloring book devotional for kids. Each devotion includes Scripture, a reflection on the verse using kid-friendly examples, and a coloring page that illustrates the promise.

This activity book for kids ages 6 to 9 features

  • 100 promises based on God’s Word that encourage children to trust the Lord no matter what–through exciting adventures, new experiences, anxieties, challenges, and sad times
  • devotions that guide children toward a better understanding of who God is and His loving plans for them
  • illustrations to color on every page that represent the biblical truths in fun, creative ways

Enjoy hours of coloring God’s promises with

  • sturdy paper perfect for markers, gel pens, crayons, or colored pencils
  • short readings great for family and homeschool devotions, kids’ quiet times, or Sunday School lessons
  • notebook-sized pages that fit just right in a backpack or car seat pocket

Kids will love personalizing this keepsake devotional as they color their way through each promise and reflect on God’s goodness. Coloring God’s Love for Me is a hands-on devotional for kids that makes an encouraging gift for summer vacation, birthdays, Christmas, and Easter.


⇒ Giveaway – (2) winners will receive a print copy of the book via this giveaway–head over to Instagram to enter, following the directions below.

⇒  To Enter, LIKE and SAVE this post, FOLLOW these Instagram accounts: @janae.dueck @tommynelsonbooks @justreadtours, and let us know you did in a COMMENT. Add up to 3 friend TAGS in that comment for BONUS entries.

⇒ VISIT each hosted post of this tour for more entries. Schedule at @justreadtours. (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics. Instagram is not affiliated with nor responsible for this giveaway. Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM EST on June 13, 2022.)

My thoughts about Coloring God’s Love for Me

What an incredibly lovely coloring and devotional journal! And I mean that, not only by the coloring pages in the book, but just as important, with the devotional thoughts and Scriptures that this book is organized around. I am a fan of the Bible journaling and coloring trend that’s been popular for years now; and Janae Dueck takes this trend and makes it accessible and wonderful for younger readers. This book is aimed at the 6-9 year-old age range, but I would say that older readers who enjoy Bible journaling will also enjoy it. (After all–I am a mom, and I loved it!)

In each of the 100 devotions, Dueck begins with a promise, like “Promise 12: God Carries My Worries.” She then offers a Scripture, which is printed on the page under the promise. Then, a devotional expanding on the verse and promise appears on the left side and a line drawing connected to them is on the right side.

The promises touch on many parts of the lives of Christians. Here are some precious promises that kids will love learning:

  • God Keeps His Promises
  • God Heals My Heart
  • I Can Discover Wisdom
  • God Brightens My Life
  • I Can Find Joy in God
  • and lots more!

The coloring pages range from parts of verses (like the book’s last page, modeled on Philippians 4: 19), to simple drawings of animals, to more intricate line drawings with lots of detail. Many times, the theme is echoed on the devotional page, so that coloring can happen on both sides. Children can read and color these devotional drawings on their own, or coloring and reading could easily become part of a parent-child craft and Bible time. Crayons, colored pencils, gel pens, and many markers can be used in this book (although you’ll want to test some markers on unobtrusive pages, just to ensure that you won’t be getting bleed-through).

I am so blessed and encouraged to see that authors, artists, and publishers are creating materials for children to use as they grow in their own faith. I loved the way that Janae Dueck presents ideas and Bible verses for kids, in language and in art form that little minds can comprehend and remember. I recommend Coloring God’s Love for Me for you and your family–especially if you have little ones who love to color and create art. What a beautiful way to weave Scripture into creative moments. Wonderful!

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

Beautiful picture book: “Good Morning, Little One” ~ a review

#sponsor #partner

FrontGate Media sent me the most beautiful picture book, just in time for Easter! Artist Amy Kavelaris painted and wrote Good Morning, Little One to share God’s delight and love for children. It is absolutely gorgeous, and you will definitely want to get a copy of this for your family (or others that you love!). Let me show you some of this wonderful book.

About Good Morning, Little One

In Good Morning, Little One, Amy Kavelaris pairs her beautiful painted animals with Scripture and words to remind children (and adults!) that God is always watching over them, rejoicing over them, and loving them. Subtitled “New Mercies and Prayers to Carry You Through the Day,” this is the perfect book to help establish your child’s faith early on! The endpapers and paste-down of this hardback are a lovely green and have promises from Scripture written in flowing font, with flower around the edges. There’s also a spot for the giver of the book to inscribe it to the child.

The characters in this book are lambs, puppies and bunny rabbits. They’re embraced by their animal parents, who are greeting them with God’s blessings in the new day, and the parents’ trust and belief that God will carry their precious child all day long. There are gorgeous illustrations with those main characters, plus some birds and mice tucked around the corners. Promises of God’s incredible care and love are written on each pair of pages. And, there are some surprises on the pages as well; Amy Kavelaris has tucked the Bible verses that contain the promises in tiny font, so families can do a treasure hunt for them as well as look them up in their own Bibles.

The prose flows gently and pairs perfectly with the pages. On these pages, children are reminded that God protects them, picks them up when they get tired, and will always seek them and find them when they are lost.

On the facing page to the promise that God carries us, children are treated to a visual illustration of what that can look like, where a puppy is carried in a comfy basket (with a plaid cloth) by its fluffy dog parent. (Maybe they are golden retrievers!)

Again and again in this lovely book, readers are treated to the beauty of God’s care for us in its Bible verses and the darling animals which are so beautifully painted by Kavelaris. Children are also encouraged to dance and worship God, to call out to God in prayers, and to remember that God crafted every single part of them. I just loved the pages that remind readers that even if dark moments come, God’s love will still shine brightly on them. This is a message not only that children need to hear, but that parents and grandparents will be comforted by as they share them together.

This book is just such a joy! I love its charming animals and beautiful verses. (The author even included my most favorite flower, peonies!) Its message, that the God who made us loves us, cares for us each day, and is thrilled when we reach out for Him, is the perfect way parents can start each day with their children. This book would be the perfect addition to an Easter basket, or a gift for a new baby; really, it’s the perfect addition to any child’s library. Don’t miss it!

Where you can purchase Good Morning, Little One

You can purchase Good Morning, Little One by clicking on this link from Amazon, Walmart, Christianbook, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. You can also download a charming, *free* Activity Guide to go with the book.

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author. All opinions are my own.

Win a Homeschool Art Gift Set in the Winter Wishes Giveaway Hop (CLOSED)

Congratulations to Janice W., the winner!

Hi there everyone!

I’m joining with a neat group of bloggers for the Winter Wishes Giveaway Hop, hosted by MamatheFox.

This giveaway hop starts on January 16, 2021, and ends on January 31. To check out all the giveaways and prizes you can enter to win, just click on the inLinkz button below (with the blue frog). That will take you to the giveaway page, where you’ll be able to visit each blogger’s giveaway.


And now, for the FINCHNWREN giveaway!

I know that many of your kids’ schools have turned into homeschool (if you weren’t homeschooling already). So, I have some goodies to add some joy and activities to your kids’ art times!



I love adding art to homeschool studies, and I’ve taught art to my son as well as to homeschool groups of elementary-aged students. I love this new book, Art in Action2. It leads students through art studies for 12 different artists (like Manet, Modigliani, Cezanne, Caravaggio, and more), looking at art through the lenses of light/shadow, portraiture, landscapes, and imaginary/legendary creatures. The book then leads students aged 9-12 in creating art projects with paper, paint, scissors, and more, based on each artwork (24 projects in all). It is an awesome book!

In addition, this gift set includes a 5″ x 7″ canvas and a 2-ounce pot of Crayola Washable Kids’ Paint in Copper.


How to enter to win

Simply click on the “Enter here!” link below. That will take you to a Giveaway Tools entry form, where you’ll be able to enter in a variety of ways. Giveaway ends 1/31/21. One winner will be selected to win all 3 items in the gift set. Best wishes!


Enter here!



Enjoy! –Wren



MamatheFox and all participating blogs are not held responsible for sponsors who fail to fulfill their prize obligations.

Create Your Own Collage Giveaway! (Part of the Summer Vibes Giveaway Hop, ends 7/31/20)


**Congrats to Dana R, the giveaway winner!**


Hi everyone!

I know that probably everyone is suffering from coronavirus fatigue. So today, I’m giving away something that I hope will bring one giveaway winner joy, something that can be enjoyed at home! Along with lots of other amazing bloggers, I’m joining in the Summer Vibes Giveaway Hop hosted by Chatty Patty’s Place and The Review Wire. So you’ll also be able to check all those out.



I personally love doing arts and crafts at home. But have you ever experienced that moment when you WANT to do something artsy, but you can’t quite come up with a project? Artist Lizzie Lees has come up with the perfect book for those moments!

Create Your Own Collage is a lovely, vivid, color- and project-packed book for you to make your very own. This book contains gorgeous pages for you to write, paint, draw, and color on; add stickers to (and she’s even included 4 pages of beautiful stickers for you to use); and even some fold-out  pages to make huge collages with!

Here are some examples of the beautiful pages you’ll find to create with. There are city pages that you can personalize and enhance, like New York, London, and Paris. There are pages that you can create greeting cards with. And as I mentioned before, charming stickers! All of these pages have cool graphics and backgrounds that are just waiting for the you to jump into. It’s truly wonderful.



And, I’m also enclosing a pack of Cray-Pas Junior Artist Student Quality Oil Pastels! It’s a 12-pack, and small enough that it’s easy to carry around.


How to enter:

Simply click on the “Enter here!” link below. That will take you to a Giveaway Tools entry form, where you’ll be able to enter in a variety of ways. Giveaway closes on 7/31/20. One winner will be selected to win both the book and the oil pastels. Best wishes!

Enter here!



And now, for the Summer Vibes Giveaway Hop!



You can enter to win lots of other neat giveaways in this giveaway hop, by clicking on the blue InLinkz button below. That will take you to the main giveaway linkup, and you can see more and enter to win!


You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


Enjoy! –Wren

Summer Art Camp Fun for Your Kids (and it’s even online!)

I’m sure that many of us are wondering what kinds of fun we can devise for our kids and families in the year of the coronavirus. In our area, there are still some outbreaks happening although for all intents and purposes, the state government is slowly opening up access to businesses. (With caveats, of course, regarding size of groups and social distancing. And masks.) So many of the things we’d normally do during the summertime may be off-limits to us now. But Heather Wombacher has a wonderful idea for you: online art camps for your kids!

About Heather Wombacher and The Apprentice Art Studios

Heather teaches both art and art history online and in person. She focuses on helping students to really see (art, technique, style, and beauty) and to create art in her classes. Her workshops work well alongside the Classical education method and are suited for children in grades K-12. We’ve been fortunate to take Heather’s class on Van Gogh and learned and put in to practice the master artist’s techniques through mark-making, brush strokes, color, and whimsy. She is a kind and loving instructor who will enable your students to learn and create art while enjoying the process.   Wonderful Watercolor Whimsy 101   At The Apprentice Art Studios website, you can find more information about Heather’s classes. She has A La Carte Classes (Collage, Mark Making, Watercolor Whimsy 101) and an Apprentice Masters Atelier. You can even check out her Free Kids Art Video Lesson! All of Heather’s classes are gently, beautifully, and kindly taught. She instructs on artistic technique and materials and helps students celebrate the creativity that God has placed in each of us. I love her teaching style and her classes!    

2020 Art Camps at The Apprentice Art Studio

This summer, your child (or even your entire family!) can take advantage of Heather’s wonderful teaching style and classes packed with creativity in the 2020 Art Camps series. Each class is priced at $75 (or $100 for the entire family) and the classes will be held online via Zoom. There are two classes:

  • Drawing the Golden Ratio is for older students, grade 5 and up. Students will learn about: positive/negative space; sketching vs. drawing; value; face mapping; and more, using a variety of drawing media. This art camp runs from June 22-26, 2020.

  • The Nature of ART camp is geared for students in grades 2 and up. Students will use recycled materials and nature artifacts to create both a nature journal and art pieces. Mandalas, prints, painting with plants, and a clay project are some of the cool art that attendees will create. This art camp will run from July 6-10, 2020.

How to find out more

Just follow this link to Summer 2020 {Camp HeARTful} Camps and scroll to the bottom of the page, to find out more and to register. (You’ll also be able to see a gallery from last year’s camps.) If you are looking for a beautiful, creative art experience for your child or family, you will love Heather’s art camps! You can also visit Heather Wombacher at her website, The Apprentice Art Studio to learn more about her and her art classes. And to see beautiful art! Heather is also on Facebook on The Apprentice Art Studio page.


I hope all of you are hanging in there as we navigate this weird world of pandemic. Stay well and take care!

Enjoy! –Wren

Holiday Craft with Kwik Stix Solid Tempera Paint Sticks–and a Giveaway/Review! (CLOSED)

#sponsor #partner



Hello, friends!

It’s time for another Kwik Stix project, and giveaway!  Earlier in the semester, The Pencil Grip, Inc. sent us a fabulous 12-pack of Kwik Stix Solid Tempera Paint in Metalix to review at FINCHNWREN.  We loved them so much, and enjoyed our art projects with them so much, that we and The Pencil Grip, Inc. decided to do another art project and review!  The Pencil Grip, Inc. is providing a 12-pack of Kwik Stix Thin Stix Solid Tempera Paint in Classic Colors for one FINCHNWREN reader to win.  Read on to find out more about Kwik Stix, a fun holiday art project you can create at your house, and the giveaway!




What are Kwik Stix?

Kwik Stix are the coolest art medium ever, and they are perfect for creating no-mess art projects!  Kwik Stix are solid tempera paint sticks.  They are non-toxic, designed for ages 3 and up, and are also nut-, egg-, and gluten-free.

If you’ve ever used a glue stick, you’ll immediately recognize and be able to use the Kwik Stix containers.  Housed in plastic with a cap and roller so that the child can roll the tempera stick up and down, they completely remove the usual supplies for painting.  You’ll never need water, cups, paint, or paintbrushes to use Kwik Stix.  Everything you need to paint is contained in the plastic Kwik Stix container!


However, while they remove the messy aspects of painting, the Kwik Stix keep all the beauty and vividness of paint.  The colors are rich and gorgeous, and they can be used on a wide variety of art surfaces, including; paper, wood, canvas, cardboard, plastic, rocks, and sometimes even ceramic!  The paint dries where it’s applied almost immediately.  The Kwik Stix also come in two styles:  the regular sticks, which are 3 1/2″ long and 3/4″ wide; and the Thin Stix, which are 5 1/2″ long and 1/2″ wide.  The regular-sized Kwik Stix are perfect for preschoolers’ hands, but both can be used by students of any age, as long as they’re at least 3 years old!

We also love Kwik Stix because you can easily transport them anywhere, and use them to make art anywhere as well!  You can take them in the car (and use them there), to the park, or to any other place your kids would like to make art.


Our Holiday Art Project with Kwik Stix

We had fun recently making some faux “stained glass” pictures with our Kwik Stix that looked just like a snowy December.  I’ve taught art to coop groups for years, and I love using transparency sheets (remember those from your overhead projector days in school?) to create art.  You can use Sharpies or many kinds of paint—including the amazing Kwik Stix—to  make cool art!  Here’s how we did it…and you can too!


Kwik Stix Solid Tempera Paint sticks (any color pack)
A black Sharpie
White printer paper (one sheet per child)Pencil
Clear transparency sheets (we used 3M Transparency Sheets, available at office supply stores or Amazon) Clear Scotch tape (or other brand)


  1. Draw a simple wintery scene on a piece of printer paper using a pencil.  You could draw trees, a Christmas tree, gifts, a manger, angels, a Hanukkah menorah…whatever catches your fancy!  (If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas just head over to Pinterest and browse there.  They have tons of fun holiday ideas, and I bet you could get some ideas!)
  2. Once you have your line drawing, lay your transparency over the printer paper.  Use two small pieces of tape (1″ to 1 1/2″ or so) to secure your transparency to the line drawing.  (You want to do this because otherwise, your transparency may slide around while you’re working on it.)                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
  3. Now, get your Sharpie and trace over the line drawing.  You’ll end up with an outline (not unlike the lead portions of a real stained glass window) that will tell you where to put the colors.
  4. Using your Kwik Stix, color in your drawing!  Depending on which colors you’re working with, you may find that you need to color several layers if you’re wanting a deeper final color.  However, the transparencies really do take the Kwik Stix well and they dry pretty quickly.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
  5. Last, take your picture and tape it up on one of your windows!  You’ll love seeing the art and the light  shining through the drawing.


Where can you find Kwik Stix?

Kwik Stix are available to buy:

-in-store at Walgreens

-in-store and online at Michaels:

-online at Target:

-online at Amazon:


You can enter to win a set of Kwik Stix Thin Stix!

The Pencil Grip, Inc. has provided a generous gift for a giveaway!  One winner will be selected to win a Kwik Stix 12-PK Thin Stix set.  To enter, simply click on the pink “Enter here!” link below.  That will take you to a Giveaway Tools page where you can enter to win in a variety of ways.  Giveaway closes 12/25/18.  Best wishes!

Enter here!


Enjoy!  –Wren


DISCLOSURE:  From time to time, FINCHNWREN may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog. We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews. We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products. We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.


Practice Your Lettering, Illumination, and Artsy Coloring! Ellie Claire’s Art Journal Trio (Review)


Are you someone who loves Bible journaling?  Coloring, painting, or drawing?  Writing quotes in lovely calligraphy?  Or just taking moments here and there to express your own unique form of creativity?  If you can answer “yes” to any of these questions…or even if you don’t feel that you even are particularly creative, but would like to learn to be…you are going to love the books I’m sharing with you today!  Worthy Publishing generously provided some of their newest Ellie Claire publications for me to use and review.  They sent me copies of these lovely art journals, entitled Faith & Lettering Journal; The Illustrated Word (An Illuminated Bible Coloring Journal); and Illuminate Your Story Journal.  I have had hours of creative time, fun, and enjoyment with them.  Let me tell you more!


Each of these books is a sturdy, hardback book that’s perfectly-sized for the lap or table.  They have fun textures on their covers, touches of fabric or embossing here and there.  Two have pencil or pen holders on their spines, and one has a ribbon bookmark and a stretchy elastic band to hold it closed.  Although the page thicknesses vary somewhat, they all contain beautiful creamy pages with a nice heft.  Illustrations of different types (according to whether the book is for lettering, illuminating, or coloring) pepper the pages, and there are grids, dots, and journal lines to guide your work.  They are beautiful inside and out and are just a pleasure to look at, or to work in!  And now that I’ve given you an overview of the books, I’d like to show you some of the features of each journal.

The Faith & Lettering Journal

If you’ve ever lurked around Pinterest, you’ve probably seen the italic, unusual lettering that people are doing right now in their Bibles or Bible journals.  Have you ever wondered how on earth they wrote so beautifully?  I have.  And I’ve even worked on practicing a simple italic alphabet.  But that’s still pretty far from the lettering I’d love to learn how to do.  Faith & Lettering Journal to the rescue!  This book includes:

  • Full-page quotes and Bible verses on colorful painted backgrounds
  • Pages of alphabets, doodles, and flourishes with lots of room for you to practice
  • Illustrated verses with spaces for you to trace, practice, and repeat
  • Empty pages with dots or grids for you to write your alphabets or verses in
  • Directions and instructions to help you gain mastery in lettering



This is an example of the full-page, colorful quotes and facing blank journal pages throughout the book.  One night I wondered if I could copy the lettering on the adjacent page….and lo and behold, I did!  It was really fun and not too difficult.  I simply worked in pencil (and eraser) word by word and line by line.  Then, I got some gold tempera paint and a very skinny paintbrush and filled in the letters.  (You can see a photo of me painting the gold in the trio pictures below).  In this book, I used mostly pencil (don’t forget the eraser and a good sharpener so your pencil point stays sharp), tempera paint, and thin paintbrushes.  The paint never soaked through the pages, which means you’ll always have a fresh canvas to attempt!



The Faith & Lettering Journal provides a huge variety of alphabets, verses, and lots of instructions for both the novice Bible journal student and the more experienced one.  You don’t have to work the book in order.  Just page through the journal, find something you’d like to try, and jump in!

You can find the Faith & Lettering Journal at the following links:

Barnes & Noble: 


The Illustrated Word

The Illustrated Word (An Illuminated Bible Coloring Journal) might just be the most beautiful coloring book you’ve ever seen.  Its images are taken from the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., which has a quite fascinating collection of historical Bibles, fragments, Books of Hours, and art inspired by the Bible.  In The Illustrated Word, you’ll find images, verses, prayers, and art from a variety of these sources.  The reproduced images are rich and colorful, and the coloring pages taken from these are verses with incredible art, historical images with intricate borders, or even redrawn pictures that resemble stained glass windows.  Lined blank pages round out the journal, so you have spaces to write your thoughts, prayers, or descriptions of the art you’ve created.

Some of my favorite pages included scenes from the book of Esther (taken from an old parchment scroll from Israel), images from a Book of Hours from the 1300s, and a commentary on the Apocalypse from 1420.  How encouraging to think of believers who loved art and God’s Word throughout the ages!  And, to have reproductions and journaling pages of these is a pretty amazing benefit of living in our own day and age.



This journal is printed on thick, creamy pages.  The art media that worked best for me as I created in The Illustrated Word were tempera paint and brushes, or paint pens (my favorite).  I used colored pencils and they looked just fine, but they honestly didn’t provide the vivid colors that I felt these pages deserved.  I even tried my tube watercolors; while the colors looked fantastic on the pages, some of the color did bleed through.  Colored markers are also a great idea, plus they have the fine points you’ll need for some detail.

You can purchase The Illustrated Word at:

Barnes & Noble:


Illuminate Your Story Journal

Have you ever heard of illuminated pages?  The short answer is that monks would copy prayers and Scriptures into handwritten books.  Sometimes these were Bibles, and sometimes Books of Hours (prayers and Scriptures with illustrations).  What they often had in common were illuminated (decorated, ornate paintings) first letters.  These would often be an enlarged letter, surrounded by a painted and golden square, which would be the first letter of the prayer or Bible chapter.  These were often given as gifts from a prospective groom to his fiancee, or to other members of well-to-do families (since literacy in the Middle Ages was generally confined to those and to priests, monks, or clergy).

The Illuminate Your Story Journal was captivating to me, because I had just taught a lesson on Books of Hours to my elementary art class this fall (and had them illuminate their own initials)!  And, this journal even has a short lesson on illuminated art at the beginning, as well as a list of materials and instructions.  You’ll also find practice pages so that you can learn to create illuminated letters.  Each letter of the English alphabet has two decorated (and quite different) versions to draw.  Step-by-step directions and squares are given so that users can draw both the letter and ornate decorations around it, as well as a grid of dots to help you utilize the space.  You’ll find nice thick pages and a wealth of creative ways to illuminate letters.


With this book, I used my gold paint pen, a no. 2 pencil for the original and practice drawings, and colored pencils to color in the letters and decorations.  Colored markers and a fine-tip black ink pen will round out all you need to make beautiful illuminations.  (Although, as always, I love using tempera paint in these books!  For some reason tempera lays nicely on the pages and makes vivid color without sinking through to the other sides of the paper.)

Check out these links to find Illuminate Your Story Journal:

Barnes & Noble:


In closing…

I have absolutely loved using these books myself.  Whether it has been just looking at them on my table, paging through the illustrations, or actually diving in and creating (or attempting to create! :)) beauty, I’ve found them to be such a joy.  Working in these journals has allowed me to step aside to a quiet place.  It has not only produced peace in me as I’ve focused on doing just one thing, creatively; it has lifted my spirit as I’ve been able to notice more of the beauty of the Lord, His Word, and His creation.  What a blessing!

Check these beautiful journals out.  They’d make a wonderful gift for friends or family; for teachers or Bible study groups; or even for you, yourself!

Enjoy!  –Wren


DISCLAIMER:  From time to time, FINCHNWREN may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog. We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews. We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products. We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

Kwik Stix: A Review, a Mini-Art Lesson for You, and a Giveaway (ends 9/21/18)



Hi friends!  I have a new set from Kwik Stix to share with you…and another set for one reader to win!

Kwik Stix has been a family favorite art media of ours for years.  From time to time, we are privileged to receive a new set of Kwik Stix from The Pencil Grip, Inc. to use to create art in our home.  Recently, we received a gorgeous 12-pack of Kwik Stix Solid Tempera Paint in Metalix.  So fun!  Let me tell you more about them and I have a 6-Pack set of Metalix Kwik Stix to give away at the end of the post.



What are Kwik Stix?

Kwik Stix are solid tempera paint sticks.  They give you all the richness and beauty of paint without the mess.  With Kwik Stix, you don’t need water, cups, paint, or brushes.  The tempera paint sticks are housed in plastic containers that are much like glue sticks.  Like glue sticks, they have a cap and a roller which enables the user to roll the paint sticks up and down.

Kwik Stix are designed for children ages 3 and up.  They are non-toxic, nut-, egg-, and gluten-free.  They dry almost immediately after they’re applied.  And, they can be used on paper, wood, cardboard, canvas, and many other surfaces.  (We’ve used them on most of those!)  They come in regular and thin styles.  These Metalix Kwik Stix are the regular size, and measure at a width of about 3/4″ wide and the paint sticks themselves are 3 1/2″.  They’re just perfect for preschoolers’ hands as well as bigger kids’ hands.

Because they’re so self-contained, the Kwik Stix are perfect for travel or car use.  They’re amazing to use at home for either fun or school.  We’ve loved to use our Kwik Stix in our fine art studies in our homeschool.  Here’s the way we used them as we learned about artist Mark Rothko recently!


New Metalix 12-Pack

So—we got to try the newest Kwik Stix 12-pack of Metalix tempera paint sticks.  These come in a gorgeous array of colors:  white, yellow, reddish orange, fuchsia, lime green, dark green, navy, purple, gold, bronze, silver, and black.  Each stick is a beautiful color with metallic flecks in the color, which translate beautifully to paper.

Learning about Rothko with Kwik Stix

Mark Rothko was born in in 1903 Russia (now Latvia) as Markus Yakovlevitch Rothkowitz.  He and his family immigrated to the United States via Ellis Island in 1913.  His family ended up in Portland, Oregon, where he completed high school.  He attended Yale University for several years but did not graduate, athough he received an honorary degree from Yale 46 years later.

Rothko relocated to New York City and attended Parsons The New School for Design in the early 1920s.  He painted in the Modernist style, and was also influenced by German Expressionists.  He taught both painting and clay sculpture at the Center Academy of the Brooklyn Jewish Center for 22 years, as he painted his own artworks.  He painted for the WPA in the 1930s.  During this decade, Rothko began to use color fields in his artwork, using color to express idea and emotion rather than recognizable figures.

In 1938, Rothko became a U.S. citizen.  In 1940, he shortened his name from Markus Rothkowitz to Mark Rothko.  Hitler was growing in power and Rothko was fearful of both deportation and anti-Semitism.  During WWII, influenced by Surrealists like Dali and his work grew more and more abstract.  Rothko began to use huge canvases and enormous blocks of color.  Critics called this new style “multiforms” which became the style Rothko was most known for.


How to create in the style of Rothko using Kwik Stix

Kwik Stix are perfect to use to create your own Rothko imitation!  He loved using vivid, complementary colors to express ideas.  Here’s what we did!

  1. First, Google or Bing “Mark Rothko paintings” and find a painting that particularly appeals to you.  (We selected two of his works called “No. 61” and “White Center” for ours.)
  2. Since Rothko preferred using vertical or “portrait” background for his paintings (instead of horizontal ones), your students can do the same.  Take a sheet of 8 1/2″ x 11″ card stock and cut it in half so that you have two 4 1/4″ x 5 1/2″ sheets.  Turn the sheet into portrait format.
  3. Pull out the Kwik Stix colors that match the paintings.
  4. Start with the lightest colors first and color from side to side.  Work from lightest to darkest and continue to color.  Notice the shadings Rothko used and add additional color where needed.
  5. We used paper napkins to rub different textures into the paint.  Because Kwik Stix is designed to dry so quickly, you have to move quickly on this part.  It’s a great tool to add to a Rothko imitation, though; even though he used large blocks of color he’s renowned for the texture he painted with.
  6. Be sure you cover your entire sheet of paper; paint all the way to the sides.
  7. Ta-da!  Your own Rothko art study.


How to win your own set of Kwik Stix

I have one gorgeous set of Kwik Stix Metalix 6-Pack for one reader to win.  To enter, just click on the Enter here! link below.  That will take you to a Giveaway Tools entry form where you can enter in a variety of ways.  Giveaway ends 9/21/18.  Best wishes!

Enter here!


You can also find Kwik Stix at these retailers:

-in-store at Walgreens

-in-store and online at Michaels:

-online at Target:

-online at Amazon:


Enjoy!  –Wren

DISCLOSURE:  From time to time, FINCHNWREN may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog. We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews. We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products. We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.




Art With Your Kids! A Finchnwren Giveaway (Ends 2/3/18)

I have a super-fun new giveaway for you today…especially if you like to do art with your children or students!



Today I’m giving away a copy of Kid Made Modern by Todd Oldham.  This large, softcover book is packed with tons of modern-ish art projects for you to do with children.  Kids age 14 and under will probably love the projects the most (although adults will too!).

I personally love art books and art projects, whether I do them with my son or in art class with the students I teach.  I so enjoy the way that conversation come to life, and heart issues even emerge and are shared when people are working together on a creative project.  And even if you wouldn’t call yourself an artsy person, the projects in Kid Made Modern are very accessible and many of them are easy to do.  (Others may take more work and attention!)



In Kid Made Modern, you’ll find art projects from categories like:

  • Tape (and you won’t believe the coolness of the project using masking tape)
  • Printing
  • Dye
  • Sewing (both machine- and hand-)
  • Felt
  • and more

Each of these categories features artwork from a famous  Modern artist, then offers creative projects kids can do with their parents…or with some, on their own.  Kids will be introduced to works by Anni Albers, the Eames brothers, Paul Rand, and others.

And what kinds of projects can kids do as they learn about Modern art with Kid Made Modern?  There are almost 50 projects in this book!  Here are just a few:

  • A really cool messenger bag made from duct tape
  • A pet bed
  • Painted polo shirts
  • Dip-dying
  • Woven belts



So….how to enter!

Just click on the pink link below that says “Enter here!”  You’ll be taken to a Giveaway Tools entry form, where you can enter to win Kid Made Modern in a variety of ways.  One winner will be selected after the giveaway closes on 2/3/17.  Best wishes!

Enter here!


Enjoy!  –Wren