How Jade Summer Coloring Books Made Me Learn to Love Coloring People

Even though I have about 50 different adult coloring books, my collection tends to lean towards mandalas and pretty patterns. Coloring people was always very frustrating for me, since my efforts never quite seemed to measure up. Fortunately, I recently stumbled across Jade Summer’s grayscale coloring books.

If you’re not familiar with grayscale coloring, this term simply means that the image is looks a little like a black and white photograph with shading already added to the line art. When you color over top of the grayscale, this adds depth and dimension to your picture with no extra work on your part.

Currently, there are three Jade Summer titles with grayscale people:

These titles have a wide variety of images. Some of the backgrounds are quite detailed, while others put the focus clearly on the people. However, even the pages with detailed backgrounds don’t have a lot of the super tight spaces that require lots of patience to color. Since I color primarily for relaxation and managing anxiety, this low-key approach is much appreciated.

Each print book comes with a code in the back to download a free digital copy. I love this feature because you can print multiple pages of the same image to test color choices or have extras in case you aren’t happy with what your finished image looks like.

My favorite way to color grayscale images is with alcohol markers. I have a few different sets from the cheaper brands on Amazon, but Ohuhu markers are still my favorite. They have quite a few lighter shades, which work best for grayscale coloring because they let the shading in the original image show through clearly. Someday I might be able to swing a small set of Copic markers, but this set suits my needs for now.

I’ve included a few of my own colored pages for your reference, but you can see lots of great examples on the Jade Summer website as well as full previews of what is inside each book. There is also a Jade Summer Artwork Facebook group you can join to connect with other colorists and easily share your work.



Hosting a Frugal Painting Party

I love all things crafty, including painting parties. However, I’m also on a super tight budget. This means that spending $30 to $60 for a one or two hour class is an indulgence I can’t afford very often.

If you’re in a similar boat, try hosting your own frugal painting party. When you shop around, the supply cost is nominal and there are a number of free video lessons you can follow along with from the comfort of your home.

Supplies for a Home Painting Party

Acrylic paints vary widely in price and quality. Liquitex paints are frequently used in the painting classes in my area. You can get a 48 color set on Amazon for about $35.  If that’s too expensive, I’d recommend Apple Barrel acrylic paints. You can typically buy the exact colors you need at Walmart, but there is an 18 color starter set for about $20 online.

For mixing colors, the lid of a plastic ice cream bucket is my favorite palette. Add the paint a little at a time so you’re minimizing waste.

When it comes to brushes, I like to see the product in person before I buy. Check out what’s available at your local craft store. You can either buy them individually or get a set, but you don’t really need as many brushes as you think. Every class I’ve done has used either two or three brushes, so a set of 15 to 20 is probably unnecessary.

Canvases are the most expensive part of acrylic painting, but there’s a cheaper alternative you may not have a considered. Turn some of your Amazon shipping boxes into free painting surfaces! Acrylic paints are perfect for using on cardboard, although you’ll want to whitewash the surface with a thin coat of white paint before you begin.  Instructables has a great post on cardboard acrylic painting with additional details.

Free Online Painting Lessons

The main appeal of a painting class is access to a teacher who can break a picture into more manageable steps. Luckily, there are a number of painting party videos on YouTube that you teach you how to paint from the comfort of your own home.

Here are my favorites:


Painting parties typically include a light snack. Wine and cheese makes for a fun girls night, but your menu is entirely up to you. Infused water made with fresh fruits and veggies is a colorful and healthy choice when paired with mini sandwich wraps.  Penniless Parenting also has lots of ideas for frugal party foods.

Encouraging Creativity

The key to a successful painting experience is encouraging everyone to put their own spin on the project. Choosing different colors or adding special details give the painting a personal touch. Even small mistakes can be part of the charm of the finished artwork. As Bob Ross said, “We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.”

10 Ways to Fake Being a Pinterest Goddess When You’re Broke and Not Very Crafty

Pinterest is the domestic version of the Victoria’s Secret catalog. It sucks you into a world filled with pretty things and unrealistic expectations. Just as we can’t all be built like a Victoria’s Secret Angel, we’re not all meant to be super crafty domestic divas. Luckily, it’s much easier to fake being a Pinterest goddess than it is to convince the world you’re the next Adriana Lima or Alessandra Ambrosio!

Here are some easy tips to help you effortless through a Pinterest-worthy party for all your friends.

1. Instead of Big Projects, Focus on the Little Details
Pinterest is full of elaborate, time consuming projects, but it’s the little touches that make your guests think you’re a crafty goddess who always goes the extra mile. For example, flower ice cubes require no effort at all, yet are sure to impress your guests.

2. Free Printables Are Your New BFF
Free printables are the lazy Pinterest goddess’s best friend. As long as you know how to work your printer, you can seem super crafty with no effort at all. Do a Pinterest search for “Free Subway Art” to find hundreds of adorable printables. Slap your favorites inside a few picture frames and your party decor is done.

3. Invest in Mason Jars
Mason jars are a must-have for the Pinterest goddess. No longer just for jams and jellies, Pinterest has made mason jars a party planning essential. They’re used for decorations, party favors, and even drink containers!

4. Add Glitter
Part of the reason Pinterest has become so popular is the site’s love of all things sparkly. If you don’t have the cash to invest in new party supplies, give your existing stuff a makeover with a coat of gold glitter spray paint. (Glitter spray paint is a fab update for the frames used for your subway art from Tip 2.) For less than $5, your party will look like a million bucks!

5. Break Out the Washi Tape
It sounds fancy, but washi tape is just patterned masking tape. Wrap it around disposable cups and silverware for perfectly coordinated party supplies on a budget. Bonus points if you combine two or more different patterns. Watch out, Martha Stewart!

6. Tiny = Cute
A true Pinterest goddess loves anything in miniature, so appetizers are a great party choice. Meat and cheese or tiny fruit kebabs are easy to make for the domestically impaired, yet adorably festive. Use your washi tape to make tiny flags for the toothpicks if you have enough time.

7. Make Semi-Homemade Desserts
No party is complete without dessert, but don’t feel like you need to bake everything from scratch. Semi-homemade is where it’s at. The popular Kit Kat Cake is easy to fake when you simply add M&Ms and Kit Kats to a purchased bakery cake.

8. Use Mood Lighting to Your Advantage
Mood lighting helps set the tone of any party, while artfully camouflaging dust bunnies, cobwebs, sticky handprints, and whatever other messes you didn’t have time to clean up. A Pinterest goddess has an impressive stash of candles with her at all times. You can level up in the Pinterest party planning game if you put the candles in your mason jars!

9. Smells Matter
Pinterest is all about appealing to the senses, so don’t forget to choose a great smell for your party. Citrus scents like orange, lemon, and grapefruit are an excellent choice for any celebration, as they have an energizing effect. If you can’t find candles in a scent that you like, room spray or a few drops of essential oil placed on the light bulbs will work just fine.

10. Embrace Your Mistakes
A true Pinterest goddess has total confidence in her craftiness. When she makes a mistake, she simply brushes off the project’s imperfections as part of its whimsical homemade charm. What your guests don’t know, won’t hurt them!

How to Make an Easy Origami Top

An origami top is a pretty paper toy or display item.

A folded paper top can be made with three sheets of square paper. You can use any size of square you want, but 6 or 8 inch squares are the easiest to work with.

Choose colors and patterns that coordinate to make the prettiest looking paper top. Construction paper, colored printer paper, adult coloring sheets, scrapbook paper, or wrapping paper will work for the solid sheets if you don’t have origami paper.

1. Make 3 Blintz Bases

To begin, fold all three sheets of paper into a blintz base. A blintz base is made by folding the paper in half along one diagonal. Unfold the paper. Fold the paper in half along the other diagonal. Unfold the paper once more and fold each corner in to meet the center point.

2. Start the Center of the Top

Now you will work on making the center of the top. Take one of the blintz bases and fold each corner into the center once more. Fold the corners into the center a third time to make what is known as a triple blintz.

3. Finish the Center of the Top

Turn the paper over and fold it in half in both directions to make creates along both of the diagonal corners. Flip the paper back over and fold it in half to make horizontal creases in both directions. Squeeze the paper at the corners to make the shape shown in the photo above. The center of your top is now complete.

4. Start the Second Layer of the Top

To make the second layer of the top, place your blintz base in front of you with the folded flaps face down. Fold each corner in to meet the center crease. Turn the paper back over and fold the corners in to meet the center crease a final time.

5. Finish the Second Layer of the Top

Flip the paper over. Fold back each of the corner flaps so they touch the outer points of the square you’ve created. Insert the first layer of your top into the flaps so your model looks like the photo above.

6. Start the Bottom of the Top

To make the bottom of the top, place your final blintz base in front of you. Unfold the paper. Fold the top and bottom edges in to the center. Turn the paper 90 degrees and fold both edges in to the center to form a square.

7. Make a Boat Base

Open out both the top flaps and press the paper down to make triangles. Use the creases made in previous steps as a guide for coaxing the paper into the desired shape. Repeat this process with the bottom flaps. In origami, this form is called a boat base.

8. Make Triangle Points

Turn the paper over and fold it in half towards you. Fold the top left flap forward so it points straight down. Fold the right flap the same way.

Flip the paper over and repeat this process. When finished, your project should look like the photo above.

9. Make Squares

Open one flap and push it flat to form a square. Repeat with the other flap.Flip the paper over and form two squares using the triangle flaps on this side. Unfold the paper so it looks like the model in the photo above.

10. Fold the Corners In

Fold each of the four corners in to make small triangles. On each of the four flaps, fold the outer corners in to meet the middle creases.

11. Create Diamond Points

Open the folds you made in the previous step and flatten each corner into a diamond point as shown in the photo to the left.

12. Finish the Top Base

Fold back each of the four points that meet in the center so they form the outline of a square. Fold the long points back over the triangles so they point to the center of the paper.

13. Complete Your Origami Top

Insert the unit created at the end of Step 5 into the middle to complete your origami top.

Hold the center with your thumb and forefinger to gently spin your new paper toy.

Free Easter Coloring Pages for Adults

Easter is one of my favorite holidays! If you’re busy planning your celebration, why not try printing a few free coloring pages to get you in the holiday spirit? Coloring can be a fun activity for the entire family to enjoy and it’s much less messy than actually dyeing eggs. Add a few jars of colorful jellybeans and some marshmallow Peeps to snack on and you’re all set! (If you can’t decide what colors you want to use, I’d suggest checking out the Spring Pantone inspired color palettes.)

Red Ted Art has single Easter egg and multiple Easter egg coloring pages to print.

U Create Crafts has a “He Is Risen” page that pays tribute to the season.Jade Summer, one of my new favorite publishers, has a free sample page from their newly published Easter coloring book. (I have the digital version of this title and everything in it is adorable!)

Just Color has several Zentangle inspired pages with Easter themes. I love the idea of coloring the eggs and cutting them out to make a garland or place cards for your holiday meal.

Mum in the Madhouse  has Easter egg coloring pages with five different egg patterns to choose from.

The printable bunny coloring page from Mein Lila Park would be cute to use as gift wrap for small treats in an Easter basket when you’re finished coloring.

Dover Publications has six stained glass style free Easter coloring pages for adults to enjoy.

25 Pantone Inspired Spring Color Palettes

Sarah Renae Clark has the best eye when it comes to pairing colors. For your enjoyment, she’s put together a collection of 25 color palettes inspired by Pantone’s Spring 2018 color trends. You can view the entire list on her website or purchase a PDF ebook with all of the palettes together for easy printing and reference. Click here for details.

My three favorite colors from this range are PANTONE 17-3020 – Spring Crocus, PANTONE 14-3207 – Pink Lavender, and PANTONE 18-3838 – Ultra Violet, but I think I’m in love with them all! There are so many fun possibilities that it’s going to be hard to pick just one to color with!

Color Palette Generator: Prismacolor Pale Vermillion and Crimson Red

Pale Vermillion and Crimson Red aren’t really my favorite colors to use, but I think this mandala color palette works well. The Jade Green and Sepia tones serve to tone down the vibrant nature of the colors.

All colors are from the Prismacolor 72 count set, although I believe some of the colors might be found in smaller sets.

  • PC948 –  Sepia
  • PC1803 – Putty Beige
  • PC1201 – Jade Green
  • PC921 – Pale Vermillion
  • PC924 – Crimson Red

The image is from the free Greatest Hits coloring book from Jade Summer. This sampler collection of 50 images includes mandalas, as well as animals, mermaids, flowers, and more.

Color Palette Generator: Prismacolor Lilac and Aquamarine

Coloring is the perfect cure for a bad day. There’s something about combos of lilac and aquamarine just makes me happy!

All colors are from the Prismacolor 72 count set, although I believe some of the colors might be found in smaller sets.

  • PC1007 – Imperial Violet
  • PC956 – Lilac
  • PC1027 – Peacock Blue
  • PC905 – Aquamarine
  • PC992 – Light Aqua

The mandala image is from Ugh, I Can’t Even: A Snarky Mandala Coloring Book by Papeterie Bleu. This book features a collection of quick and easy mandala images with sarcastic and humorous sayings that are sure to turn a bad mood around.

Color Palette Generator: Prismacolor True Blue and Warm Grey

Warm grey and blue is one of my favorite home decor color combos, so I decided to translate this idea into a pretty color palette for a mandala.

All colors are from the Prismacolor 72 count set, although I believe some of the colors might be found in smaller sets.

  • PC901 – Indigo Blue
  • PC903 – True Blue
  • PC913 – Spring Green
  • PC1051 – 20% Warm Grey
  • PC1056 – 70% Warm Grey

The mandala is from Coloring Pages for Adults, a free PDF book available on Wikimedia Commons. This 258-page freebie has mandalas, butterflies, animals, hearts, and more for you to color. I printed my design at 50% scale so it would be small enough to add to a handmade greeting card when I was finished.

Snag a Free Adult Coloring Book from Jade Summer

Jade Summer, owned by Fritzen Publishing, offers a number of adult coloring books covering themes such as animals, flowers, Alice in Wonderland, and more. Visit their website for a number of free downloads, including a free PDF adult coloring book featuring their 50 best coloring pages. (You’ll need to sign up for their newsletter by clicking on the “Join our email list” to get the free book, but the newsletter gives you access to so many great samples that it’s well worth the effort.)

If you love the freebies in this great coloring book, Amazon has all of the Jade Summer titles available for purchase. Most sell for just $6.99, which makes them an affordable addition to your collection.