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.

B is for Bible Journaling: Blogging Through the Alphabet

Welcome back to Blogging Through the Alphabet!  My friends My friends Amanda from Hopkins Homeschool and Annette from A Net In Time are co-hosting Blogging Through The Alphabet.  This week’s letter is B.




When I first saw examples of Bible journaling on Pinterest, I was immediately captivated.  Then, I was blessed to win my very own Bible journal in a giveaway.  It’s an NKJV Bible designed especially for journaling and creativity, with two-inch wide blank margins on each page.  Some pages have lines for writing.



How does Bible journaling work?

So how does one use a journaling Bible?  You can highlight verses that are special to you.  You can letter a key word or words.  Or you can illustrate a scene from the Bible.  Personally, I’ve been jotting down verses that are meaningful to me as they come to me.  Sometimes, images pop into my mind along with the verses, or that are connected to them in some way.  Then, I’ve drawn them into the blank spaces provided in the Bible.  Sometimes I’ve drawn them on printer paper first, then traced them into my Bible.  I’ve also traced images from a coloring book, then colored them in.  I’ve used colored pencils, erasable colored pencils, Micron pens for outlining and lettering, and I’m looking forward to using paints as well.


blogging-thru-alpha-b-pic-2Why Bible journal?

I can only speak to my own experience.  But sitting down with art media and my Bible is the most wonderful and beautiful adventure for me.  Engaging creative work with Bible meditation (which really does happen as one sits down to illustrate a verse) is peaceful.  Encouraging.  And a new way of worship, for me; another method I can use to seek God in my relationship with Him.  It can bring God’s Word to  life for me in rich and vivid ways.

You don’t need to be a fabulous or experienced artist to Bible journal either; I am neither of those.  But the experience is truly enriching and grace-filled.



Blogging Through the Alphabet Linkup

Just click on the button below and you’ll be taken to the linkup.  You’ll be able to see lots of others’ ideas about the letter B!



Enjoy!  –Wren


Charming, Engaging Book: “When We Last Spoke” ~ a review & giveaway ~ Ends 1/30/17

Recently, I received a most engaging book from FlyBy/Propeller Promotions about a life in small-town Texas to read:  When We Last Spoke by Marci Henna.  (As well as a DVD with a beautiful trailer for the film version of this book, to go along with it!)  Let me share my thoughts about this book with you.  And at the end of the post, you can enter to win a copy of the book and DVD for yourself!




Once upon a time, there were two little girls in Texas.  Their dad was off flying Hueys in Vietnam.  They lived with their mom in Austin.

But Juliet’s and Evangeline’s mother had other plans, plans that included fame and fortune.  She wanted to be a star.  She could sing and tap-dance.  And she had given up acting in New York when she got  married.  So one day, she packed up the girls and drove them to Fireside, Texas, in her 1960 Corvair.  When her mother-in-law Ruby met them at the front door, she told the girls to be good and for Ruby to take care of them; that she’d be in touch.

So began Evangeline’s and Juliet’s new life.  Ruby cooked, canned, gardened, and gathered eggs which she and Juliet sold in town every Saturday.  Walt took Evangeline along as he took care of the calves and fences.  And a beautiful, stable life was created for the girls, even as their hearts always felt the abandonment of their mother (would she have left them if they’d been more well-behaved? was she ever coming back?).  Walt and Ruby adored each other and loved the girls deeply, and they settled in to life in small-town Texas, where everybody knew everybody else (AND their business!).

Dr Pepper.  Skinned knees and Dippity-Do.  Elvis, Thunderbirds, and fiddle music.  Drive-in movies and banana pudding.  Sibling squabbles and sleepovers.  And every now and then, a special box comes from their mother to the girls, with special treats and a note.  They always hope that she’s going to come back for them, though.  There is intrigue that the little girls notice.  There’s the crazy lady who won’t set foot out of her house, that Ruby takes food to.  There’s fashionable Selma Davis with her go-go boots and frosted lipstick.  There’s Walt’s mean mother, who comes to live with them all.  There’s Juliet’s friend Dixie, who’s been spying on Selma and the secret she hasn’t shared with the community.  And there’s the sender of the packages, that the little girls don’t know about.

Come to Fireside and meet Juliet, Evangeline, Ruby, and Walt, and all the rest of the residents.  Author Marci Henna brings small-town Texas in all its glory to life in When We Last Spoke.  The love its residents have for each other, the traditions they uphold, and the vivid pictures of neighborliness and family life, will engage your heart.  And the food they eat–it’ll make your mouth water!  In fact, it sounded so good to me that I included some recipes!


Do you want to try your hand at Ruby’s Texas goodies?

I delighted in the mentions of Ruby’s culinary goodies from the 1960’s and 1970’s Texas.  These aren’t from the author or publisher, but I loved some of them as a little girl myself, and loved the idea of them as Marci wove them into her book.  I found these versions of them online, and included them here for you in case you’d like to try your hand at cooking up some Texas edible memorabilia!

Watermelon Rind Pickles (I am a Texas girl born and bred, but I have NEVER had these.  But Ruby’s sounded so good, I had to include them!)

Golden Westerner Cake (this is actually a pound cake which you can make in two ways, with white or brown sugar)

Homemade Banana Pudding from Allrecipes


More about Marci Henna:

Marci Henna was born in Austin, Texas and lived as a child in Kenya, East Africa with the Wakamba tribe where her parents managed a medical research station. She later moved to the Hill Country ranch which has been in the family since the 1800’s and currently lives in Austin.

Find Marci Henna on social media:

Facebook (
Twitter (
GoodReads ( (


You can purchase When We Last Spoke at:

Softcover (
Kindle (

Trailer on YouTube (


And enter to win your own copy here!

Enter to win a copy of When We Last Spoke, and its DVD movie trailer, for yourself.  Just click on the pink link to go to the Giveaway Tools page to enter.  Giveaway closes at 11:59PM on January 30, 2017.  (Also, Marci will be giving away a free ebook version of the book on Amazon from February 20-24.  So keep your eyes out for that as well!)

Enter here!



Enjoy!  –Wren

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

#Keyword Reading Challenge January: Charles Martin’s “Long Way Gone”

It’s time to check in with the #Keyword Reading Challenge 2017!




I’ve just finished my first book of the year:  Charles Martin’s Long Way Gone.  I recommend it highly!

I discovered Charles Martin last year when I read his phenomenal Water From My Heart.  He’s an incredible storyteller with a wonderful voice.  Mr. Martin deftly unfolds a story to take you places you never imagined that you would go.  His characters, and their stories, are captivating.  January’s #Keyword Reading Challenge 2017 keywords are Court, Fall, Of, Way, Deep, Thousand.  Lots of books out there with those words in the title…but I was thrilled when my copy of Long Way Gone arrived from the library.  Perfect timing for sure.

The story:

Long Way Gone is the story of accomplished musical prodigy Cooper O’Connor.  Raised in the Colorado mountains by his widowed father, Cooper spent his early years traveling around with his dad and Big-Big (their friend and coworker who’s also a former convict).  His father, an honest and godly man, preached the gospel in and around Colorado, and they traveled in the family pickup, listening to and singing along with the radio.  One night, during a service held under a terrific thunder and lightning storm, they discovered that Cooper was enormously and amazing gifted as a musician.  He joins in playing for the services with his dad and Big-Big, and life is good.  He revels in the opportunity to play with his dad, hone his abilities and skills, and praise God.

Yet as he grows up, he notices that he is the really talented one of the trio; the one that people really come to see.  He wants to sign with one of the agents who approaches him, but his dad tells him to wait til he’s older, and to know that the agents really just want what they can get out of him.  Rebellion grows in him, til the day that he takes his dad’s pickup, his favorite guitar, and all the money they have, and heads to Nashville.

Like the prodigal son, Cooper has a hard road ahead of him.  Poverty.  Digging in the trash.  Loss of the things he holds most dear.  But he also has opportunity, in the form of another singer who’ll be the song to his instrument, and he meets her in the form of Daley Cross, up-and-coming star.  The two of them together might just change the music world forever…if Cooper can survive what’s coming.

What I thought:

I was hooked on this story from the very first chapter, where an older (and somewhat wiser) Cooper sees an older Daley (in the form of a hitchhiker).  Life has left a mark on Cooper, and it’s a mark that seems very likely to steal that life from him.

It’s not just Cooper’s story, though.  We come to know his incredible, faithful, loving father.  Big-Big, who got a second chance from Cooper’s dad and held onto it with both hands.  Delicate, trusting Daley, who’s enormously gifted but oh-too-malleable in the hands of others.  Is redemption possible for all of them?

You’ll have to read Long Way Gone to find out.  But I can tell you that I would read this book again and again.  In fact, I blew through it so fast the first time, because I just couldn’t put it down, that I’d read it again just to lovingly wander through Cooper’s story once more.

I think, when you read it, you’ll feel the same!

Hop over to January’s #Keyword Reading Challenge 2017!

Scores of other bloggers will be linking up and reading other books that have this month’s keywords in it.  Click on the button below so you can find some more awesome reads to add to your own list!

Enjoy!  –Wrenkeyword-challenge-january


Gorgeous Board Book to Teach Your Kids “Bible Basics” ~ A Review and Giveaway (ends 1/26/17)

We recently received a fantastic resource for parents and their little ones; Bible Basics: A Baby Believer Counting Primer to use and review from the BlogAbout Blogger Network.  This precious, meaningful little board book uses Biblical principles and truths to teach children their numbers from 1-10.  Its artwork is incredible and its narrative, both beautiful and faithful to Scripture.  Let me tell you more…and at the end of this post, you’ll have an opportunity to win a giveaway for a copy of your own!



About Bible Basics

Bible Basics: A Baby Believer Counting Primer is a sturdy, beautifully bound 7 1/3″ x 7 1/3″ board book.  Authored by Danielle Hitchen and illustrated by Jessica Blanchard, it’s designed to introduce children to principles and foundations of the Christian faith as well as to their first numbers, 1 through 10.  It uses Bible verses, hymns, prayers, history, and simple teaching to bring these tenets to life in ways that even the youngest listener can understand.  Gorgeous artwork accompanies each of the ten principles and makes them vivid and memorable.  Although the size is larger than most board books, it’s still well-proportioned for little hands to hold.  And, the size gives plenty of room for the text and illustrations, printed in readable font.



This is truly a unique and unusual idea for a board book.  It was birthed out of Danielle Hitchen’s question:  how could she teach her babies to know God and to love Him?  What an incredible answer Bible Basics is to that question!  I don’t want to spoil the joy you’d find when you read this book for the first time, so I’m not going to tell you everything that’s in it.  But here’s just a sampling of what you’ll find in this beautiful book:


  • The 9 fruits of the Spirit
  • The 10 Commandments
  • The Trinity
  • The 5 books of the Pentateuch
  • and 6 more!



Ways you could use Bible Basics in your own home

So…I have a confession to make.  We do not currently have a baby or a toddler in our home!  (Our regular readers know that our boy is a 9th grader.)  However, I absolutely adored the idea of this gorgeous little board book and I loved that I could share a copy with one of you!  What I discovered, when I received Bible Basics, is that it’s not only an incredible resource and learning tool for little ones.  It also reinforces the beautiful tenets of Christianity for any believer, be he or she young and fresh, or more seasoned in the faith.

Here are some other ways that I know Bible Basics could bless you!

  • Read it aloud during family worship
  • Use it as a jumping-off point for a study of the Scriptural principles in it (for example, you could study one concept per week and look up related verses that go with each principle)
  • Allow it to inspire your homeschool art times
  • Prop it up on an easel in your home, and display different pages on different days
  • Purchase it for a shower or new baby gift
  • And of course, its primary purpose:  read it to your little ones 🙂



What our family thought

We LOVED Bible Basics!  During our family worship time one week, I read it aloud to my husband and son.  It was so encouraging.  It really made us all think about many of the different truths that make up our relationships with God through Christ Jesus.  And, it blessed us.  I really do think that I could use this to do a deeper study on each item that the author presents, by simply doing a word or topical study in the Bible and using that with my son.

We’re also a family who loves art.  So we weren’t just blessed by the biblical truths of Bible Basics.  We were also really moved to think more deeply about each of the 10 tenets, because of the way that the art helped to unfold those truths.  Plus, they were just beautiful pictures.

My guys knew that this was a book that I’d received for both review and for a giveaway.  But my husband loved it so much, he said, “You can’t give away this book!”  (He was relieved to hear that I received a separate copy to give away to one of our readers.)

We’ll definitely continue to use Bible Basics.  And, I’m going to follow my own recommendation and display the various pages via propping the book up on a small easel, open to one pair of pages at a time.  What better way to enjoy God’s Word and art at the same time?  🙂



My recommendations for you?

Get a copy of this book.  Read it to your little ones…again and again.  Use it for a basis for a deeper study.  And revel in the beauty, grace, and abundance that God offers to us in relationship and salvation through Christ Jesus.  You can find a copy and more (including art prints and a coloring book) at Catechesis Books.

Also, keep an eye out for more books in the Baby Believer Primers series.  This is the first of more to come.



And, enter my giveaway!  The BlogAbout Blogger Network has provided a copy of this wonderful book for one reader.  Just enter below in the Giveaway Tools “Enter Here” link.  Best wishes!

Enter here!


Find Catechesis Books at these social media sites:


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.



A is for Art Supplies

This year, I’m participating in some new and different challenges or linkups.  My friends Annette from A Net In Time and Amanda from Hopkins Homeschool are co-hosting Blogging Through The Alphabet.  I’m excited to join in.  And here’s my first linkup post, for the letter A!



A is for Art Supplies

Specifically, for my favorite Bible journaling art supplies!

I am relatively new to Bible journaling.  I am enjoying the process, but also discovering that every single art medium (and we have a LOT of them at our house) doesn’t necessarily translate well to a thin Bible page.  The challenge is that with a super-thin page of Scripture, it doesn’t take much in the way of applied color to bleed through to the other side, making it hard to read.  I have found (at least with the journaling Bible I have), that it’s almost impossible to keep that from happening completely.  There are three media, however, that work beautifully!


blogging-thru-alpha-a-pic-1Micron Pens

I purchased my Micron Pen set for scrapbooking years ago.  Seriously, YEARS (as in before my 14-year-old son was born).  Obviously, there was quite a lot of time that went by when I didn’t use them.  But when I wanted an acid-free, fine line felt tip pen to use for artwork, I remembered these.

They do bleed through my thin Bible pages a tiny bit.  But, they’re the best felt tip pen I’ve found for Bible journaling.  The line they create is very fine and is perfect for outlining and lettering.  And they really do last a long, long time.



Kwik Stix’ new Thin Stix

In our family, we’re HUGE fans of Kwik Stix Solid Tempera Paint paint sticks.  We’ve used their regular Kwik Stix, the Metalix and Neon versions, and we’ve just received their newest version, the Thin Stix!  (Stay tuned for a review coming on those later this month.)

We love Kwik Stix for their vivid colors, the ease of application, the lack of odor, and how great the finished products always turn out.  I haven’t tried these out on my Bible journaling pages yet, but I am excited to see how they work.  I imagine they’ll partner very well, because with Kwik Stix you get the colorful nature and texture of paint, without the long drying time.





Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils

I love Crayola’s colored pencils.  I’m partial to their Twistables, but purchased the company’s Erasable Colored Pencils for Bible study.  The Twistables are fabulous because you never have to sharpen them.  But I love the erasable features of these.  I have the 24-color pack, which provides a beautiful rainbow for me to color with.  Plus, if I make a mistake, I can fix it!

The Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils hold a sharpened tip well (and for a long time).  The colors are very vivid, and you don’t have to exert a lot of pressure to apply color to paper.





What are your favorite Bible journaling art tools?


Blogging Through the Alphabet Linkup

I’m linking up today with A Net In Time and Hopkins Homeschool   to showcase the letter A.  Hop over and check out the plethora of posts, all with bloggers’ own topics about “A.”  Just click on the purple button!



Enjoy!  –Wren

Cool Reading Challenge that I’m Joining! 2017 Keyword Reading Challenge

If you’ve kept up with the finchnwren blog in any way over the last few years, you KNOW that both Finch and I are booklovers.  We love, love, love books.  Yep, you could probably call us #booknerds.

Which is why I am so happy to have discovered the 2017 Keyword Reading Challenge, hosted  by Claudia at My Soul Called Life.  Claudia has developed a fascinating list of keywords and assigned a group of them to each month of 2017.  Anyone who signs up for this challenge then selects a book title with one of those keywords in it, reads it, and posts a review of it during that month.

I love this!  I think Claudia’s keywords list is incredible, and I know it’s going to keep me on the lookout for amazing reads that I can then share with you all.  As a matter of fact, I already have my book for January 2017 (although I have two books in front of it that I need to finish first!).  In keeping with Claudia’s list, its title contains the word “way.”  (Stay tuned for more on that in a couple of weeks!)


My Soul Called Life

Here’s a list of the keywords for each month of 2017:

JAN- Court, Fall, Of, Way, Deep, Thousand

FEB- And, Rose, Promise, Every, Deception, Blazing

MAR- Shall, Go, By, Silence, Her, Saga

APR- From, Trigger, Tale, His, CrownMist

MAY- Four, Wind, All, Fury, Days, Shade

JUN- Without, Know, Good, Watch, One, Have

JUL- Before, Final, All, Freedom, Life, Dream

AUG- Sun, Infinite, Big, My, Wherever, Most

SEP- Sand, From, Between, Ever, Reasons, Clash

OCT- Darker, You, Ashes, Out, House, Sea

NOV- Place, War, Heart, Why, Give, Meet

DEC- Forget, Twilight, Only, Crystal, On, Will

Here’s how you can participate, too!

Just head over to My Soul Called Life by clicking on the pink link, and you can join it as well!  You don’t have to have a blog to be able to review your books, either.  You can post a review on Goodreads or Booklikes.  There will even be a drawing for a prize, for everyone who posts reviews, at the end of the year!

So looking forward to this challenge!

If you’re a book lover, I encourage you to join in and read along with us this year.  I think it’s going to be amazing.  And just think of all the other cool books you will discover with everyone else’s reads!

Enjoy!  –Wren

My Soul Called Life