Book Review & Giveaway: Meditative Arts and Crafts

What a collection! Four Meditative Arts and Crafts - four and yes, count 'em - books on how to find peace and stress release through the art of creation, courtesy of the Quarto Group.

1. Art on the Rocks: More than thirty-five colorful and contemporary rock-painting projects, tips and techniques to inspire your creativity by F. Sehnaz Bac, Marisa Redondo and Margaret Vance. Following a comprehensive overview of the craft, including a review of the tools and materials as well as how to gather and prep stones, three talented rock-painting artists demonstrate a range of techniques and twenty-five step-by-step tutorials on how to create a variety of painted stones featuring patterns, dots, animals, mandalas, nature motifs and more. Art on the Rocks offers a colorful, modern approach to rock painting by taking artists and crafters through a dynamic exploration of techniques and projects that inspire and teach the art of creating beautiful painted stones. Each project includes easy-to-follow instructions and invites creativity and originality, encouraging readers to customize the projects to their own taste.

2. Cut and Create Paper Mosaics - Craft Mosaic-by-Number Artworks with Paper Tiles, Scissors, and Glue: by Chiharu Rosenberg. The pre-printed mosaic pieces in Cut and Create Paper Mosaics help readers create paper mosaics that are rich in color, detail and depth. Readers simply cut and assemble mosaics following the templates and instructions in the book. The five included projects begin with simple mosaic scenes using large pieces and gradually move to more complex works of art with smaller, more detailed pieces. Featuring ten stunning mosaics and all the paper needed to cut and create each one, this is a perfect relaxing all-in-one project for those interested in creating their own masterful mosaics without having to work in ceramic or glass tiles.

3. Drawing Calm - Relax, refresh, refocus with 20 drawing, painting, and collage workshops inspired by Klimt, Klee, Monet and more: by Susan Evenson. This collection of workshops will have artists of all skill levels relaxing and creating elegant, soft pieces of art that inspire calm and well-being. These projects span a variety of mediums, including pencil, watercolor and torn paper collage. Author Susan Evenson presents a collection of beautiful and iconic pieces of art from Gustav Klimt, Paul Klee and Claude Monet for inspiration. The point is not to try to copy the master work of art, but to let it guide the reader on their own, personal journey to calm and inner peace.

4.Perfectly Mindful Origami - The Origami Gardenby Mark Bolitho. Origami expert Mark Bolitho explains how to make perfectly formed origami objects that are pleasing to fold and make. As digital downtime becomes a constant quest in our fast-paced lives, the idea of contemplative, soothing arts and crafts is undergoing a serious revival. Each book contains thirty-two pages of origami paper so that you can try out these mindful projects for yourself. The Origami Garden divides into sections on Flowers and Plants (easy roses, cactus and pot, lilies and water lilies and many other flowers and foliage), Fruit and Vegetables (mushrooms, strawberries, pineapple, pears and chilli pepper) and Garden Life (birds, butterfly and frog).

Making the stress connection

One of the casualties of stress is creativity. Your focus shifts to what is troubling you, generating a slurry of negative thoughts and feelings that slosh away many of the good things in life.

Stress activates a different part of the brain that is concerned with survival - an ancient program that you inherited from those distant club-wielding, woolly-mammoth hunting relatives. When your survival is at risk, the more positive things in life get shoved aside, because you have more "important things to do". Remember that your perception assigns a grade to what it classifies "important" (and dangerous). However, like a teacher who unfairly marked your performance, your perception can be skewed by the interpretation of your previous experiences.

If you have noticed that your ability to be creative has evaporated, pay attention to the poorly-tuned symphony of thoughts and feelings that you are having. Are you suffering from a perfection deception? When do you create, do you automatically label it as "junk", or "not good enough"? That's stress shoving it's way into your life. Perhaps you have those "more important things to do"? Stress, be thy name. You may be so tired that you have no energy to even think about letting yourself play and create. Yes, stress, again.

Re-calibrating and resilience

One of the most satisfying and effective ways to bring peace and a sense of personal growth and accomplishment into your lives is through creativity. Like a homeopathic remedy, like can cure like. If creativity once brought you joy, it can do so again. Make time to do what you love, regardless of what it is. Increase your resilience by accruing interest in the bank of good feelings.

If you're not sure how to get started, this giveaway can springboard you into a refreshing dip into the hands-on process of making art or crafting. Slip into the comfort of an almost meditative focus of creating and take pleasure in the tangible result. Who knows what you'll create and uncover!

Book giveaway for four Meditative Arts and Crafts books

  1. One person will receive four books - Art on the Rocks, Cut and Create Paper Mosaics, Drawing Calm and Perfectly Mindful Origami.
  2. This contest is open to anyone of legal age who has a mailing address in Canada or the US.
  3. Contest closes at midnight PST on Sunday, August 20th, 2017.
  4. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment.
  5. Earn another entry by subscribing to my mostly monthly newsletter.
  6. For extra entries to the giveaway, let's get social:
    1. On Twitter? Share the following: Enter this #bookgiveaway from @AuntieStress for 4 #Meditative #Arts and #Crafts books from @QuartoCreates. Ideal for #teachers, too.
    2. On Google+? Be sure to +MariannaPaulson when you share the link and you’ll earn another entry.
    3. Make your way over to my Pinterest Board called "Giveaways." Earn one entry by clicking "Comment" on the Connecting with Coincidence pin, then leave one. Earn another entry by re-pinning this giveaway announcement.
    4. If you decide to share on one of your other social media sites, be sure to paste in the link in the comment section below so I can enter you in the draw.

Good luck!

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