The Fabulous New Kwik Stix Thin Stix ~ My Review

The Pencil Grip, Inc. produces some of my most favorite art supplies, which we have adored using in our home.  Recently, they sent me their newest version to review: the Kwik Stix Thin Stix 12 pk.  I’m so excited to share our thoughts and art results with you!


What are Kwik Stix, anyway?

If these amazing art media are new to you, you really will want to know all about them!  Kwik Stix are solid tempera paint sticks which can be used in any situation that the artist would normally use regular paint.  The paint sticks roll up and down (sort of like a glue stick, but with paint instead of glue!) and have a cap which helps keep the paint moist when not in use.  They are safe to use for children from ages 3 and up.

Best of all, you get all the benefits of paint without the mess!  You don’t need paintbrushes, water, painting smocks, or all the other equipment you’d normally need for a paint adventure.  All you need are the Thin Stix and something to paint on!  In our home, we’ve used everything from art journals, to canvas, to stock card, to regular paper, and more.  (Read on to learn about our newest discovery!)

The 12-pk we received contains the following colors:  white, yellow, orange, red, pink, lime green, green, light blue, blue, purple, brown, and black.  Unlike the regular-sized Kwik Stix, which are shorter and chubbier (which enables little hands to hold them well plus provides a nice thick line when painting), the Thin Stix are longer and thinner, measuring at 5 1/2″ long with a 1/2 wide paint tip.  They apply paint that’s both rich and vivid, which a variety of surfaces take well.  The Thin Stix glide smoothly across the page and are just a pleasure to use.

You can read about our experience with the regular-sized Kwik Stix in Metalix and Neon, which we tried and loved last fall.  We used them as we did an art study of Pop Art and two of Vincent Van Gogh’s master works, and they were just incredible!



 Kwik Stix’ Thin Stix are wonderful for:

  • Art Journals

Since we’d used our Kwik Stix beautifully for artist study when we reviewed the Neon and Metalix versions in the fall, I wanted to try the Thin Stix for different types of projects.  This time, my son and I used them in our art journals, which have a thick, creamy, textured feel to the pages:



You can see some of that texture in the tulips picture above, which took the Thin Stix paint quite well.  The paint dried quickly (Kwik Stix’ paint sticks are designed to dry in about 90 seconds), so there was no ending up with paint on my hand from working in a small surface.  I was also able to layer additional color over the tulips to add a bit of shadow and shading; you can see the orange I applied on the left side of both the red tulips and the yellow ones.  This was a free-hand project; we just decided what we wanted to draw and went to town.  Fun!

  • Coloring books

I’m sure you’re familiar with the whole coloring-books-for-grownups movement that’s been so popular lately.  I have a couple of those, and my newest one seemed that it would be perfect for my new Thin Stix!  Because coloring books have more lines that you’ve got to work within, I imagined that these Kwik Stix, which have a narrower tip, could work well within those margins.  I was pleased with the outcome!


  • Art lettering

Recently, I’ve been venturing into the world of creative lettering.  I started with some calligraphy in the fall and, last week, tried a new font that starts with a big penciled letter with space inside.  After you have your outlined letters, you take a fine felt-tip marker and doodle inside the spaces.  Then, the doodles become the letters.


I thought I’d add some paint and color to my recent word doodle BRAVE.  I used the Thin Stix to make the colors pop.  Actually, this is a photocopy on card stock of my original doodle.  The Thin Stix didn’t smear the copy at all, just slid right over it!


  • and even Bible journaling!


It occurred to me when we received the Thin Stix that they might work well for Bible journaling.  One challenge with Bible journaling is finding art media that doesn’t bleed through the thin Bible pages to make the other side unreadable.  I’ve wanted to use paint for awhile in this journaling but have limited myself to colored pencils and felt-tipped markers, just because of the thin pages.  I not only loved the way the Kwik Stix brightened up my drawing, I was astonished at how little they showed up on the preceding page!  (You can see the back side in the photo below on the right.)


Really, your own imagination and the sky are the limit!


ks-thin-stix-pic-3A few more thoughts…

My son, who’s a 9th grader, really liked the new Thin Stix a lot.  He says that they are more accurate, and he likes them even more than our original ones.  (No doubt due to the thinner tips!)

So…who would enjoy these fabulous new Kwik Stix Thin Stix 12 pk?

  • Parents with little ones
  • Homeschoolers
  • Art teachers
  • Bible journal aficionados
  • Any kids, from toddlers all the way up to high schoolers!
  • Basically, anyone who loves working with quality art tools

We love them.  Honestly, every time we have gotten a new set of Kwik Stix paint sticks, we have fallen more in love with the company.  I regularly make art on my own, and I teach art at our local homeschool coop.  But I also like sitting down with my son to create, whether we’re working on an artist study project or just sitting down to play with creating.  It’s a high value for me, because it gives the two of us time for great side conversations.  I also find that creating art is healing, encouraging, uplifting.  Just the process of it builds something in your soul, I believe.  So having our amazing Kwik Stix products, especially our newest Kwik Stix Thin Stix 12 pk, makes creating art so easy and so mess-free.  Plus, in addition to all these great reasons to create, you also end up with beautiful artwork that it’s a pleasure to display!

We happily recommend all the Kwik Stix art media, and especially their newest Kwik Stix Thin Stix 12 pk!



Where can you purchase Kwik Stix Thin Stix?

Kwik Stix Thin Stix at Amazon
Other Kwik Stix products by The Pencil Grip, Inc. at Amazon
The Pencil Grip, Inc.
Kwik Stix on Pinterest
The Pencil Grip, Inc. on Facebook

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.


Kwik Stix’ amazing new Neon and Metalix Solid Tempera Paint Review–& Giveaway!

Earlier this year, we had the pleasure of reviewing the Kwik Stix 12pk for the Homeschool Review Crew.  Now, Kwik Stix has some fabulous new tempera paint sticks, and The Pencil Grip, Inc. sent me and Jackson two packs of their new colors to review:  Kwik Stix Neons 6PK and Kwik Stix Metalix 6PK.  They really are amazing…and YOU can enter to win your very own set of each one!



kwik-stix-metalix-bannerWhat are Kwik Stix?

Kwik Stix are solid tempera paint sticks.  They look a little like glue sticks, and they roll up and down in the exact same manner.  They give you all of the beauty and fun of tempera paint without the stinky and mess!  They’re appropriate for use by children from ages 3 and up.  The special Neon and Metalix sets we received each had 6 Kwik Stix in the packages.

The tip is fairly wide (almost 3/4″) and rolls up and down easily.  You hold the Kwik Stix in your hands like you would a crayon or like a stick of chalk.  Then, you simply draw on your paper, wood, poster board.  We even found a new medium they could be used on…keep reading to learn more!

Kwik Stix’ tempera paint dries in about 90 seconds.  And it’s really mess-free; no paint ending up in unexpected places.  You don’t need water or palettes; the tempera paint is self-contained in the tubes.  And the colors are beautiful and vivid!

kwik-stix-metalix-7Tell me more about the Neon and Metalix Kwik Stix.

With pleasure!  The Neon and Metalix Kwik Stix sets each have 6 paint sticks in their boxes, with beautiful colors in each.  The Metalix set comes in gold, silver, fuchsia, deep green, deep blue, and deep purple.  Each of these has metallic or sparkly glints of color in them, which really enhance the depth of the color when it’s applied to paper or other media.

The Neon paint sticks colors include (all of which are, of course, neon) bright orange, vivid purple, lime green, light blue, yellow, and bright pink.


kwik-stix-metalix-3How we used these Kwik Stix

We’re huge art-o-philes in our home.  We love creating art (whether virtually or in real life) with many different media.  I’m blessed both to teach my own son, plus a coop class of elementary-aged students, in art.  We have used Kwik Stix before (in the larger 12-color pack) and loved the ease and beauty of the tempera sticks!  This time, I thought we’d try something completely different in the art projects we completed for this review.

First, a little Van Gogh!  When I received these tempera paint sticks and saw the Metalix set in particular, I thought immediately of Van Gogh’s Starry Night, with its sparkly stars and moon and accents.  So we began our new Kwik Stix journey with an art project copying Starry Night with the Kwik Stix.  We used both the Metalix and the Neon colors (and I also pulled out our 12-pack of Kwik Stix for extra colors).  First, we drew the outlines of the major landscape items of Van Gogh’s masterwork on stock card paper.  Then, we took our Kwik Stix and began to color.  It was so fun; and I’m very pleased with our results!



Next, I thought we’d try a little Pop Art.  I found some canvas boards for an incredible price last week on Amazon, and while I wasn’t sure that Kwik Stix would play well with canvas, I really thought they would.



kwik-stix-metalix-4I found a fun cat art image on Pinterest, so I drew that lightly on my canvas board, then outlined with a Sharpie.  My son decided to draw free-hand.  We discovered that the Kwik Stix were as fabulous on canvas as they are on paper!  The color is still very vivid and bright; we used mostly the Neons on our canvases but you can also see the Metalix gold and blue in the lower left quadrant of the pop art cat.  It might have taken just a minute longer than the usual 90 seconds to dry, but not much.  And I really liked the finished results.



kwik-stix-metalix-2One interesting thing that happened while I was coloring in the cat was that I colored outside the lines in a couple of places.  I wanted to fix that, so I took a paper towel and scrubbed the spots with my fingernail.  Most of the color came right off and I was able to color over the spots.  I really like the look of the Kwik Stix on the canvas, so we tried another artwork on canvas.

Last, we did another Van GoghStarry Night turned out so well that I wanted to try the artist’s Sunflowers (from the Arles Series).  The colors were just begging to be reproduced with our Kwik Stix!  I have to say that, if you’re doing lessons on Seurat and the Pointellists, or Impressionist art, or (clearly) Van Gogh, Kwik Stix are the way to go!  Your child can mimic the broad or tiny brushstrokes beautifully with these amazing tools.


kwik-stix-metalix-6Our conclusions

You can probably tell that I LOVE these KWIK STIX!  They are so easy to use.  They don’t have a strong smell (or even a smell at all) like many temperas do.  They dry quickly, they glide over the paper (or the canvas), and they are just FUN.  I recommend them to you highly–whether they’re for your homeschool or for a class you’re teaching!

Best of all, The Pencil Grip, Inc. has provided a set of Kwik Stix Neons 6PK and Kwik Stix Metalix 6PK  for one of our readers to win!  Simply enter in the Giveaway Tools form below.  Giveaway ends on Sunday, November 27.  Enter today!


kwik-stix-metalix-5Enter to win Kwik Stix Neon and Metalix tempera paints below!

Be sure to visit The Pencil Grip, Inc. at their social media sites below!

You can purchase both Kwik Stix Neons 6PK and Kwik Stix Metalix 6PK for $5.99 at The Pencil Grip, Inc., and for slightly more than that at Amazon.  Kwik Stix Basic 6PKs and Metalix 6PKs are both available in the stationery aisle at Target.  You can simply click through these links to find out more!

Fat Brain Toys Kwik Stix Page
The Pencil Grip, Inc. at Amazon
The Pencil Grip, Inc.
Kwik Stix on Pinterest
The Pencil Grip, Inc. on Facebook

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.

Our Review of Chara Games’ Cool Board Game: Commissioned

We have had a chance to review something that we normally don’t get to check out: an awesome board game from Chara Games!  It’s called Commissioned and it really is like nothing our family has ever played before.  Let me tell you about our experiences!


commissioned-banner-1What is Chara Games?

Well, first of all, you’re going to want to know what “chara” means.  If you’re a Greek scholar, you already know…but for all of the rest of us, here’s the definition:  “unshakeable joy.”  Now who wouldn’t want to purchase things from a gaming company with a name like that?  Patrick and Katherine Lysaght created Chara Games to produce Christian-themed board games which will bring the whole family together for fun, fellowship, and (of course) joy.  Currently, Chara Games has produced two games;  Commissioned and 3 Seeds, which we’ll be reviewing a little later this month for you.  (Stay tuned for that….after experiencing Commissioned, I have high hopes for more gaming fun with 3 Seeds!)


commissioned-pic-1Commissioned is….

a tabletop board game based on actual history, in which players build the early Christian church, starting in Jerusalem (where, you might know, the Christian church began) and moving out into Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the known world at that time.  The game is designed for 2-6 players, and those aged 14 (or even, perhaps, 13) and up will play and enjoy the game most effectively, although younger players can definitely play with the help of a parent or an older sibling.

Players choose to play as one of the first apostles (Peter, John, James, Andrew, Paul, or Barnabas).  Each of these has a small playing board which describes the apostle and provides instructions for the game and for what happens during each turn.  To begin the game, players are given 6 Faith Cards.  Then, the first player takes the shepherd’s staff and draws a Trial Card, which determines what happens to that player and the board during that turn.  The Trial Card describes a struggle that the apostle or early church faced.  In Commissioned, those trials can include losing a missionary, blocking church growth, losing church members, or imprisonment, to name a few.  There are also increasing levels of difficulty, so once you’ve mastered the basics of the game you can continue to play other interesting challenges.  The goal is to build the Church and start new groups in different regions and cities, along with collecting the books of the New Testament, building your faith deck, and persevering through the trials.  Generally, game play takes about one hour from start to finish.  Watch out, as you don’t want your churches to be extinguished!


commissioned-pic-2How we played it

I am someone who would always rather read directions than watch a video on how to do something.  (I realize in this day and age, I’m in the minority!)  However, this is one time when you absolutely want to watch Patrick Lysaght’s 24-minute “How To Play” video.  (This is found at the Commissioned link.)  This game is so enjoyable, but just reading the directions (which are very clearly written and beautifully illustrated) wasn’t quite enough for us.  So, the first two times my husband, son and I played Commissioned, we watched Mr. Lysaght’s video AS we were playing.  He describes how to set up the board, what each game piece or card does, and then he takes you through playing an actual game.  The first time, we sort of understood it.  But the second time, our reaction was, “OH!  That’s how you do it.  How cool!”

We’re a 3-person family, so we had a perfect number of players (although clearly, we could have had more people over to play and things would also have worked well).


commissioned-pic-3What our family thought

We loved it!  We enjoyed playing a board game together; honestly, we’ve played more cards or video games in the last couple of months than board games.  So it was wonderful to have a fascinating game we could enjoy together.  Our son is 14, so I think it was also good timing for him, as there are some tough things that happened to the early Christian church that do come up in this game; like lions, imprisonment, persecution.  Yet the cool thing is that players can see, in a gaming fashion that I know they can then apply to real life, that tribulations CAN be overcome.  Plus, it’s just fun!

I found it interesting to see how the three of us reacted as we played through the game.  In many ways, Commissioned is a collaborative game, so players work together using their Faith cards to overcome struggles.  My son did a great job in seeing what cards would most benefit us as we worked to overcome the struggle.  My husband is apparently the strategy king; he reminded us here and there how we could move in ways that would benefit the church overall.  Me?  I just loved playing the game with my guys, and being reminded of some of the amazing things God did in the early church.  We all liked the way it gives a very visual image of what life was like in the early church, from a macro perspective.

We say:  big thumbs up!


commissioned-pic-5Who would enjoy Commissioned?

If you, or someone you know:

  • loves tabletop or board games
  • enjoys world-building games
  • has played that Catan game and liked it
  • is looking for ways to enjoy family game time
  • is interested in learning how the Christian church might have spread
  • or is just looking for a fascinating new game…

then you might just love Commissioned!  You don’t have to be a Christian to thoroughly enjoy this game…although enjoying history would probably be a plus.  The game is interesting historically, extremely fun and fascinating to play, and something that we truly enjoyed.  The more you play it, the more you’ll understand it; but those who’ve played world-building, collaborative games before will probably get it immediately.

Honestly, anyone who likes board games should check this out!


commissioned-pic-4You can find Commissioned at:

Visit Chara Games to purchase Commissioned.  And read more about this neat company while you’re there!  Other Crew members of the Homeschool Review Crew also played and reviewed Commissioned.  If you click on the banner below, you can read about their experiences!

3-seeds-reap-where-you-sow-3_zpswpje7juhAlso–we’re really excited about reviewing another game from Chara Games called 3 Seeds.  Keep an eye out for that review, which is coming soon!

Visit Chara Games at their social media sites:
Twitter:  @Charagames

Enjoy! –Wren

Commissioned {Chara Games}Crew Disclaimer

FlipStir Puzzles Review ~ Crazy Puzzle Fun

Recently, our family was able to review a quite unusual product!  Enlivenze LLC has created a puzzle line called FlipStir Puzzles.  They are most unique and amazing–I’ve never worked a puzzle quite like this!  We received the Statue of Liberty FlipStir Puzzle to review for the Schoolhouse Review Crew.


FlipStir Banner graphic

What are FlipStir Puzzles?

FlipStir Puzzles from Enlivenze LLC are puzzle games enclosed in a see-through plastic canister.  The canister has a plastic base (so that it can stand up) and a top, with all the puzzle pieces and a metal “wand” inside.  The puzzle pieces are all jumbled up when you get them, and you use the wand to put all the puzzle pieces in order without taking off the top.  In fact, you can’t take off the top!  You have to solve the puzzle with and only with the wand.

The FlipStir Puzzles come in Level 1 and Level 2, increasing in difficulty, and are recommended for ages 7 and up. FlipStir Puzzles are available in various types:  Rainbow Pencils, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Solar System, and Statue of Liberty.  (And one more that I’ll mention at the end of this review!)


FlipStir bannerA Statue of Liberty FlipStir?

Yes, we received the FlipStir Statue of Liberty puzzle!  This puzzle is categorized as Level 2 in difficulty.  It has 10 puzzle pieces inside the enclosed canister, and the box it comes in has a photo of the completed puzzle so you know what it should look like when you’re finished.  (Just in case anyone doesn’t remember what the Statue of Liberty looks like!)  There are two puzzle pieces with one flat side and one curved; all the other 8 pieces are curved on both sides.  Our job was to fit the puzzle pieces together so that we could see the finished Statue.


FlipStir pic 2Our experiences

Our FlipStir Puzzle box has the following motto:  Shake.  Stir.  Solve.  That’s exactly how  you work this puzzle!  You can see in the picture above, my son Jackson is holding the FlipStir canister with the puzzle pieces all jumbled up; they’ve been shaken and stirred so that there is no order.  You can’t really tell yet that it’s going to become the Statue of  Liberty when solved.

The metal wand running down the center of the canister has a small hook on its end.  With that hook, players capture different puzzle pieces and rearrange them until they’re in order.

So how did that work for us?  All three of my family members worked on our FlipStir Puzzle on and off.  It is not that simple or easy….yet really, it is doable by both children and adults.  Jackson worked on it first.  I worked on it next.  Each of us was able to put different pieces in order.  But it was my IT expert husband, Jackson’s dad, who solved the whole puzzle.  Ta-da!

FlipStir pic 3Hubs thought it was “fun and relatively easy; (he) didn’t think it was relatively complex once (he) figured out what needed to be done.”  I thought it was more difficult than he did though!  I have to admit that I solve puzzles more easily in 2D apparently than 3D; I can see what needs to happen in a flat puzzle better than I can in a three-dimensional puzzle.  Jackson is more like his dad in his abilities though.  He has loved interlocking building toys for years and builds them all the time, so I think he found it more similar to puzzles he’s used to solving.

Some great things about FlipStir Puzzles:

  • They’re a great mental challenge
  • They are really family-friendly—anyone from children to grandparents can successfully play
  • You never lose a puzzle piece
  • The pictures are interesting and colorful
  • Because they’re self-contained, the puzzles are easy to take on car trips or anywhere else, really
  • They are easy to store and don’t take up a lot of room



Flip Stir logoWhere to find FlipStir Puzzles

You may purchase the Statue of Liberty FlipStir Puzzle at Enlivenze LLC.  The 4 different puzzle styles I mentioned above are all available there.  Plus (squee!!) Enlivenze LLC also sells a limited edition Periodic Table of the Elements FlipStir puzzle!  (I think that’s going to have to be a future purchase for us!  We LOVE the periodic table!)

If you love educational games or puzzles, you must check out FlipStir.  Unique, fun, challenging puzzle-solving fun!

You can visit the company’s social media sites for more information!


FlipStir Puzzles ReviewsCrew DisclaimerEnjoy! –Wren

Hey Mama! The Newest Lesson Planner from THE OLD SCHOOLHOUSE

The Old Schoolhouse has so generously provided members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew with a copy of their brand new planner for the coming school year!  I received a copy of the Hey Mama! Print Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017 to use and review.  Just in time, because my current planner closes at the end of June!

Hey Mama! bannerI personally LOVE office supplies.  And school supplies.  So getting my hands on the newest planning tool from The Old Schoolhouse—exciting!


Hey Mama 1

What is the Hey Mama! Print Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017?

This wonderful new publication is a homeschool print planner for this upcoming school year, starting in July 2016 and running through June 2017.  (It’s also available from in a digital version.)  The print version is spiral-bound, with smooth, shiny card stock front and back covers.  And through July 15, The Old Schoolhouse is providing a code so that you can get it at a nice discount!  (Just keep reading for more information on that.)


Hey Mama! 2What will you find in the Hey Mama! planner?

In the Hey Mama! planner, you’ll find the following sections:

  • 2016-2018 yearly calendars, one page each
  • Monthly calendars
  • Fun & encouraging Hey Mama! letters from Gena Suarez, “just another mama” and publisher
  • Weekly planners for your daily and weekly homeschool lesson plans
  • Goal pages for the year, the semesters, and the months
  • Photos and descriptions of the vintage items on the front cover
  • Information on how to create an academic transcript
  • Key information on the U.S., and America’s history and political system
  • and more!



Hey Mama! 3How I used it:

We were blessed to receive this neat planner in late May.  Since it starts in July, I’m not using it yet for recording the homeschool lessons we’re doing this summer.  What I have done, though, is to begin to calendar our upcoming schedules for the summer and fall (coop registration, volunteer days, piano lessons, and so on).  I’ve also used the “Notes” pages (there’s one for each month) to start to list the to-do items I’d like to accomplish during those months.

Hey Mama! 4

I’ve also looked over some of the fun facts pages.  There is a really neat writing prompts section (SO creative!) as well as some story starter pages.  I always love utilizing these for our creative writing times.  And, since the summer reading program in our city started yesterday, I’m looking forward to filling up those “Books Read This Year” pages!

Hey Mama 5

My thoughts:

As I’ve mentioned earlier, I LOVE homeschool and office supplies.  I also love paper lesson and calendar planners.  I have dipped my toes into the world of online planners, but I keep coming back to the paper ones.  I love having something in my hands, first of all.  I find it so much easier to change or alter lesson plans when I write them down on paper (with pencil) to begin with.  And I love how easy they are for me to access, whether I’m near a computer or not; all I have to do is pick up the planner and write!

I love the smooth covers of the Hey Mama! Print Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017.  They’re very comfortable to hold. (Nice if you’re a person who notices tactile things!)  And while the planner contains a year’s worth of pages, it’s still not heavy and is very easy to carry around. The spiral binding is very high-quality, and allowed me to either lay the planner out on the table open, or to flip the front around so that only one page is in view (like you would a spiral notebook).

I love Gena Suarez’ wise and thoughtful letters that are scattered throughout the planner.  I have received The Old Schoolhouse emails for years, even before I began reviewing for TOS‘ Schoolhouse Review Crew, and I have enjoyed her kind and thoughtful words of encouragement and blessing for as long as I’ve been getting them.  Here, it’s really nice to have those thoughts at hand, and I know that they will encourage me throughout the year.

I like the way the Attendance Chart is laid out.  So clear, and easy for me to use (and for my mind to process or calculate).  I like the Weekly Planner layouts, the goals pages, the contact lists page and all the little historical extras that are included.  This year, I’ll be replacing the current brand I’ve been using with the Hey Mama! planner.  I love it!


Hey Mama 6How you can get your own Hey Mama! planner!

The Old Schoolhouse has generously provided a code which will enable you to purchase your own Hey Mama! planner for only $19, including shipping!  You can purchase the Hey Mama! Print Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017   from The Old Schoolhouse.  Use CREWCODE for the discount (this code expires on July 15, so don’t wait!).  I really think you’ll enjoy this wonderful planner!


Coupon Code Hey Mama Planner 2016 2017

You can visit The Old Schoolhouse at the following social media sites:

Twitter:  @TOSMag

Enjoy! –Wren


Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017 ReviewCrew Disclaimer

Homeschool Art with ARTistic Pursuits’ SCULPTURE TECHNIQUE MODEL

This semester, we’ve had another opportunity to use an ARTistic Pursuits Inc. curriculum for our art lessons!

ARTistic Pursuits Model bannerVia the Schoolhouse Review Crew, we received Sculpture Technique Model from ARTistic Pursuits Inc.  to use and review.  With the different ARTistic Pursuits books we’ve used over the years, Jackson and I have been constantly exposed to new art media and projects, many of which were completely unfamiliar to us when we started the various curricula.  This time was no exception!

What is ARTistic Pursuits Inc.?

ARTistic Pursuits Inc. produces art lessons which any homeschooler (whether she thinks she’s artistically inclined or not) can use to teach art to her children.  Their books cover a variety of artists, art techniques, and projects for students from preschool age through high school.  We’ve actually used their books before, and reviewed their Middle School 6-8, Volume 2: Color and Composition and Sculpture Technique: Construct for the Crew.  This time, Jackson was most interested in trying out the Sculpture Technique Model, and we were quite thrilled to be selected to review it!


Sculpture Technique Model 2What is Sculpture Technique Model ?

Sculpture Technique Model is designed to be taught over the course of a year to homeschool students of varying ages, working with a parent.  Students learn and experience the techniques of modeling in art, in the following three units:

  • “Creating Mass with Putty”
  • “Creating Scale with Clay”
  • “Creating Surface with Fiber”

Units first define the subject matter covered in them, and show some real-life examples of that type of art.  Then, author Brenda Ellis describes the materials (the art medium and tools) used as well as necessary safety instructions.  Directions on how to work with the medium are then covered.  Then, the fun begins!  In each unit, numerous project ideas and plans are offered, with materials lists, step-by-step instructions, and photos of various steps and finished projects.  (You do have to purchase materials separately for each of the manuals.)



AP Model 1How we used it

Jackson selected “Unit 3: Creating Surface with Fiber” to work on.  It was completely unlike any art projects we’ve ever done.  And we loved it!

In “Creating Surface with Fiber,” students create a number of different sculptures (both 2D and 3D) with wool roving by “felting.”  Wool roving is wool from a sheep (or alpaca, etc.) that has been “cleaned, carded, dyed, and gathered into long strips (p. 50, Sculpture Technique Model).”  The strips are then either sold in a roll or in a small package (you can see examples of those rolls in the banner at the top  of this post).  The wool roving is ideal for felting, because you’re able to use it to make sheets of felt, or sculptures, with it.


AP Model 2

And what is “felting”?  Felting is simply when you take wool roving (while the wool is still in the long strips) and turn it into felt or felt shapes.  You can do this with sharp barbed needles especially made for felting, which is called “needle felting.”  Or, you can do what’s called “wet felting,” where you use hot soapy water, bubble wrap, and friction to create design and shape with the felt.  We have a needle set for felting, but we stuck with wet felting for now just because neither of us had any experience whatsoever with felting, and I wanted us to gain some good practice and skills with wet felting before we progressed to using tiny sharp objects!  🙂


AP Model 3a

And gain experience we did!  Jackson selected the projects we worked on.  I did the shopping for the materials.  Then, we did the work together to create the various projects.  Each one took about an hour to complete.  We’d leave them out overnight to dry, then the next morning they would be completely dry and ready to display.

We both found the process completely enjoyable!  The wool texture was pleasant to work with.  Because each piece took about an hour of rolling, pressing, and squeezing, Jackson and I took turns (for example, we’d each work on the wool for about 5 minutes at a time, then we’d trade off).  That was great because neither of us got tired of doing it.  It provided time for pleasant conversation, and we really enjoyed working together.  Jackson particularly enjoyed it; he said it was “awesome!”

Each project had very clear step-by-step instructions and photos or drawings, which was so helpful since we’d never done any felting.  The stocking was a bit easier to complete, simply because it was a flat creation and the vase was 3D.  We’ll probably make another vase in the future, just because now we’ve done it once and know a little more experientially about how to make it.

I also appreciated that Brenda Ellis included several color wheels in this unit.  It’s so helpful to know which colors might work well together in a sculpture, and why.


AP Model 5Our conclusions

We definitely recommend Sculpture Technique Model to you!  In fact, I think that of all the ARTistic Pursuits books we’ve used, this one is my favorite.  It introduced us beautifully to the world of fabric sculpture.  And, it has much more in the book (like the units on putty and clay creations) that we still can do!  (Not to mention the extra projects when I’m brave enough to try the needle felting!)

You may purchase Sculpture Technique Model from ARTistic Pursuits Inc..  Definitely take a moment to look at all the other ARTistic Pursuits books available at the company website.  And, you can also learn more of those books which were reviewed by other Schoolhouse Review Crew members by clicking on the banner below!

Enjoy! –Wren

ARTistic Pursuits Inc. ReviewCrew Disclaimer

GREEMU ~ A Review of a New Plant-Based “Emu” Oil

Once again, we’ve had the opportunity to try an interesting natural product from the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  Devonian, a company associated with Koru Naturals (whose products we have seriously adored), has created and produced a brand new oil called GREEMU.  We received a 4-ounce bottle to use and review.

Greemu Devonian Review 

What is GREEMU Oil?

GREEMU Oil is a plant-based beauty oil.  It’s especially designed for those who’d love the benefits of emu oil but would prefer not to use an animal-derived product.  Scientists from Devonian have developed this oil, whose lipids (fats) mimic the ones found in emu oil (myristic, palmitic, palmitoleic, stearic, oleic, linoleic, and linolenic acids) in type and composition.

The major difference between emu oil and GREEMU Oil is that all the oils that comprise GREEMU are from plants.  It’s actually a quite fascinating list!  In GREEMU,  you’ll find Macadamia Seed Oil, Palm Oil (from organic and sustainable sources), Shea Butter, Sunflower Seed Oil, and Rice Bran Oil.

According to Devonian, GREEMU Oil can be used to condition dry hair and split ends.  It can also be used to “protect and nourish” skin.

How we used GREEMU

I have used and appreciated emu oil.  It has so many wonderful properties and is both a great hair conditioner and skin nourisher.  Because of GREEMU’s ingredients, I was particularly interested in using it.  I’d heard great things about macadamia oil and rice bran oil, especially.

But….I  should have paid a bit more attention to the following Safety Warning located at the Devonian website: “GREEMUTM  is for external use only and is not for people allergic to plant oils.”

Well, of course I did NOT take the oil internally.  But apparently I am one of the people who has an allergy to an ingredient!  I’ve never displayed an allergy to any of the listed ingredients.  But here is what happened.

I thought I’d apply the GREEMU to the back of my left hand to begin with, just to ensure things would go well.  It has a texture and consistency quite like the emu oil; a thick whitish oil.  Just as with emu, you don’t have to apply a lot; a few drops go a long way.  I rubbed it into the skin on my hand, where it felt cool and pleasant.  It actually looked and felt very nourishing on my skin, and the dry, tight feeling I’d had before I applied it disappeared.

But then, I started to notice that I had something on my hand (not like lotion or other oils, which seem to sink in and just leave your skin feeling smoother).  Then my eyes began to water.  Then I became congested.  Then I felt uncomfortable.

And THEN I washed my hands repeatedly and took Benadryl!

My symptoms subsided over the next hour, and I did wash my hands several more times.  But clearly, this safety warning applied to me.

Greemu Devonian Review 

In conclusion:

I’d imagine that my experience is not a common one.  I won’t be using the GREEMU Oil again (and actually am passing my bottle on to a friend, whose family’s experiences with GREEMU were marvelous).  However, I do recommend to you that you click on the banner below which will allow you to see others’ reviews and experiences.  That will give you a full picture of GREEMU Oil and its uses and benefits!

You may purchase GREEMU from Devonian.

And be sure to visit Devonian at their social media links!


Enjoy!  –Wren

Greemu Devonian ReviewCrew Disclaimer