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Artful Christmas Cards to Make, Enhance, and Color

By Joy Marie Dunlap
LightHome Publications

27695 Blue Diamond Lane
Romoland, CA 92585-9019

This downloadable 48-page e-book is a Christmas-themed art and activity book for all ages. Once you purchase the book, you are able to download it as an Adobe PDF file. To open the file, you must have Acrobat Reader, a free program you can download from the Internet. Once you purchase the book, you may print it as often as you like, for as many children in your family as necessary.

In this book you will find almost everything you need to prepare for Christmas--for the rest of your life! As the title of this book proclaims, there are 14 beautiful old-fashioned Christmas cards you can make by enhancing and coloring. To make these cards, you must have a good color printer. You print the page you want in full color, cut out the picture, and glue it to cardstock to make the Christmas card. Then Mrs. Dunlap gives instructions, as well as a full-color example, on how to enhance the cards with glitter, sequins, pens, markers, and more. If you've ever seen a beautiful vintage card highlighted with glitter and sequins (as was popular back then), you'll have an idea of what these cards will look like when they are completed. In addition, there are two black-and-white Christmas cards that can be printed, colored, and decorated. The instructions for making all these cards are well written and helpful, including plenty of artistic suggestions (for non-artistic folks, like me). Three additional pages of this book are filled with small graphics, both color and black-and-white, that can be cut and pasted into the insides of the Christmas cards (such as candles, decorative wording, etc.) You will also find on these pages some lovely Christmas memories and thoughts shared by Mrs. Dunlap, as well as a couple of hot drink recipes.

Six pages of this book retell the Christmas story from the Bible, along with a sweet commentary by the author and beautiful black-and-white illustrations for students to color.

And here is a summary of the remaining activities in this book: There are two pages for making five beautiful full-color Christmas ornaments. One page is a poinsettia stained-glass bookmark that can be colored and made and then enhanced with sequins or jewels. (This is the craft my daughter loved most, and she will be making several as gifts.) One page includes three gift labels to color, consisting of detailed black-and-white graphics (labor-intensive coloring, but beautiful--and pretty in black-and-white, too). One page has patterns for making sponge stamp wrapping paper, with instructions and examples. Five pages consist of Christmas star stained-glass designs for children to color, in different levels of difficulty (Have you ever seen the graphic coloring books with detailed patterns to color? These designs are similar.). Three pages of this book show full-color pictures of famous Christmas paintings, and include black-and-white line drawings of these paintings with instructions for how older children can try to reproduce the paintings in color (similar to "How Great Thou Art" materials). One page has angels to color, with instructions on "how to color an angel." And lastly, there are three blank Christmas-themed notebooking pages, one color and two black-and-white, with lined writing guides.

I really like how Mrs. Dunlap is able to share her artistic gifts in such a way that even non-artistic people like me can make something beautiful. The projects in this book are varied and simple, with instructions that anyone can follow. And they yield lovely, artful results. These activities are so versatile! They can be done with very young children, or an older student or an adult may hog the whole book to make wonderful cards and gifts. The wide range of activities in this book would enhance any homeschool curriculum or unit study on the subject of Christmas, or it could even be sufficient as a Christmas unit study on its own. If you like lapbooking, this book would enable you to make the most beautiful Christmas lapbook. This book would be ideal for a group activity, class, or co-op, keeping in mind that each family must purchase a separate copy.

As with all LightHome Publications products, the artwork, illustrations, content, and page layout are all done beautifully. LightHome Publications makes over 20 different books that are some of the most delightful homeschool products I have ever seen. Visit their website and download sample pages to see for yourself. This particular book retails for $14.00, and at the time of this review it was on sale for $6.85. The e-books from this company are an excellent value because they are fully reproducible within your family. I also appreciate the very clear copyright policy stated in all LightHome products--that in addition to using as often as needed for your own family, you may reproduce the books for homeschool families who are truly in need. In my opinion, you will not find more aesthetically pleasing products than LightHome Publications. This company is a true gem.

Product review by Camilla Anderson, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, August 2009

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