Friday, July 16, 2021

Creating A Masterpiece Art History Program Review

Disclaimer: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

My family had the privilege of trying the Art History Program from Creating A Masterpiece for this review to use in conjunction with our own curriculum at home. This is a Homeschool Review Crew Review. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family.

Creating A Masterpiece is founded by Sharon Hofer. Sharon traveled all over the world to study art under some of the finest artists of our time at world-renowned art institutes and studios for the past three decades. She learned that anyone can create a masterpiece and started this online art instruction that teaches aspiring artists step-by-step at their own pace to create beautiful art.


Sharon Hofer of Creating a Masterpiece.


The Art History Program is part of the Creating A Masterpiece line of award-winning art curriculum. These lessons will have you learning the same techniques as the art masters through video lessons taught by Sharon Hofer. This program is a great addition to art history studies. Instead of just reading about the great masters of art, you can recreate their masterpieces too! Your student will learn how to recognize and create period specific art styles and master art skills needed to make masterpieces. They will also learn how to use different art media, for example: sculpture, colored marker, fresco, printmaking, acrylics, mosaic, egg tempera, glass etching, etc. The program comes with art supply lists for each project that are set up so that you can purchase all that is needed on Dick Blick, a wonderful art supplier.


This program features:

  1. Styles of Art in History: In these projects students learn how to create fine art that mimic art styles from different periods of the past. For example: Romanticism, Realism, Cubism, etc. Recommended for ages 5 and up.
  2. Historically Themed Projects: These projects can add art to your study of history. For example: a ship in a lagoon representing the Spanish Exploration or a Native American Chief representing life in Early America. Recommended for ages 6 and up.
  3. Exploring the Art of Yesterday: In this project the student will learn to recreate an art piece from Ivan Aivazovsky. Recommended for ages 13 and up. This is a more difficult project.
  4. Capstone Project. These projects are meant to teach the student how to recreate historic masterpieces. These are taught at a masterpiece level and should only be attempted by those who meet Sharon's criteria in the project description.


How We Used This and Our Thoughts:

We were given access to all the art projects from Creating a Masterpiece until December 31, 2021. There were many different art lessons we could chose from, but we focused on the art history sections in Creating A Masterpiece as this is what we were supposed to review. The art was accessed by logging in and clicking STUDIO in the top right corner. Then we scrolled down to the bottom sections because that is where the Art History Programs were located.

We chose three different art pieces to do for this review from The Art History Program of Creating a Masterpiece. The first was the Expressionism Period: The Zebra (Acrylic Painting) from the Styles of Art in History section. This project I will go into more detail than the others and show pictures. We also did the Ancient Egypt: Egyptian Nomads and the Revolutionary War: The Cannon (Ink) from the Historically Themed Projects section.

I wish each art project would have the level clearly stated according to difficulty. Most do in the project description, but some do not say and so this made it harder to choose the project. The ones that do have this label go from 1-5 in difficulty. All three of the projects we chose had the level in the project description.


The Zebra art supply list.


Each project comes with its own art supply list and purchase list. Just click the "View Supply List" button to see the art supply list. This list shows you what art supplies you will need for the individual project and helps you determine quantity depending upon how many students you have doing the same project. There is also a purchase list of the same supplies provided by Creating A Masterpiece in Dick Blick. You can view this list by clicking the "Purchase Supplies" button. If you already have the art supply at home or need more of the item you can easily adjust the quantity of each item and then add the items you do need to your cart to purchase. You can buy supplies from the provided Dick Blick list or buy them elsewhere if you find them cheaper or want to buy locally. I would also suggest watching the first or second video in each project so you know if you need to buy supplies or can use what you have at home. The art supplies listed are highly recommended as they are the best choice for getting the finest results for the art taught. We bought supplies for The Zebra and The Cannon, but had what we needed for the Egyptian Nomad picture at home.

The Zebra purchase supply list.

The Zebra Blick art supplies.

The first art piece I chose to do because it was a level 3 and I wanted to do some painting with acrylics. I chose The Zebra from the Styles of Art in History section. My daughter, Zari's favorite animal is a zebra, so I decided to surprise her with the art piece after I finished it. There are 5 lessons for this project and within each lesson there are two to three sections each in video format so the lessons are broken up and not too long and you can follow along better. The painting style I learned was from the Expressionism Period. I learned that in the Expressionism Period they used color to express emotion. I finished my zebra painting by signing my signature Fina🌙 in the corner. This project would be great for those learning more about the Expressionism Period.


How The Zebra project is laid out.


The second art piece we did was the Ancient Egyptian Nomad scene from the Historically Themed Projects section. It is a level 1 art piece. We used our markers from home because in the video Sharon says not to go out and buy new markers. We also used regular paper because she said we could use that or marker paper, which we didn't have. We picked similar colors as what she chose in the color swatches. This project has one lesson with 5 video sections. We loved how the silhouette of the nomad riding on the camel took shape and the pyramids in the background became colorful with designs.


The Zebra progression.


The third art project we did was The Cannon. This was a project from the Historically Themed Projects section and level 2 in difficulty. We learned a bit about the Revolutionary War by reading the description of the project. The Cannon is a single lesson project that is broken up into 9 sections. This project used ink in an interesting way, like watercolor. Before doing the project we purchased these supplies through Blick as well. The supplies included a Bristol paper pad, a red sharpie twin tip marker, a Tombow dual brush pen, a size 14 flat brush, and a size 0 round brush. We loved learning the technique to making the pen ink look like watercolor. We will be using this technique in other art projects later on.


My finished Zebra painting.


The Creating A Masterpiece Art History Program was a lot of fun. We enjoyed the projects and lessons thoroughly and are excited to do more of the projects. Sharon Hofer is a great teacher and she explains everything well. These projects go very well with a history curriculum. We highly recommend this to anyone wanting to learn more about art and/or the process of making a masterpiece.

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The Creating A Masterpiece Art History Program can be purchased in monthly or yearly subscriptions for $29.99/month or $299/year. Homeschool special rates are always available to those who contact them.  

Read other homeschool curriculum reviews for Creating A Masterpiece Art History Program...
Creating a Masterpiece Art Curriculum

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Home School in the Woods Time Travelers: New World Explorers Review

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

My family had the privilege of trying the Time Travelers U.S. History Studies New World Explorers from Home School in the Woods for this review to use in conjunction with our own curriculum at home. This is a Homeschool Review Crew Review. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family.

Home School in the Woods is a family run business that creates Christian based history curriculum for homeschooling. This curriculum immerses your student in the topic. It is very hands-on with lapbooks, timelines, recipes, art, creative writing, notebook projects, dramatized audio theater, maps, crafts, projects, re-enactments, file-folder games, vocabulary to learn, etc.

The Time Traveler American History Studies are a seven part series that starts with the New World Explorers and concludes at the end of World War II. These are recommended for grades 3-8. There are two different versions you can purchase, a CD version or a digital download version. With the CD version everything that you access and print is on the CD. With the digital download version you download a zipped file, place all of the contents into a folder on your computer, and access it by the start.htm file that is in that folder. We received the digital download version.


Left: Main Menu, Right: Lessons 1-5


We found that there was a lot of preparation that needed to happen before getting started. There is a lot of things needing printed, items needing prepared for crafts and other projects, and general preparation of materials before one can begin the travel. The Beginning of the main menu includes: Acknowledgements / Copyrights and Usage / Bibliography, Introduction, Tips to Consider Before Starting..., and Teacher Helps which gives you a great foundation. Teacher Helps guides you with preparation and organization, gives you a Lesson Planner schedule to help you see an overview of the things being taught and Additional Resources to pull from. It also includes the printables for the 3-Ring Binder Covers and the Teacher Keys for the timeline.

Each study has twenty-five lessons and is supposed to last roughly 5-10 weeks depending upon how quickly everything is completed. These lessons have reading Text Pages and an activity that go with them. Project Pages accompany these to give directions, list of supplies needed, printing instructions, and illustrations for each project and activity. Masters are provided for all printables.

In the Other Resources section at the end of the main menu there are some visuals and directions to help you with the projects, activities, and lapbook. These include: All Master Pages in numerical order, A Gallery of Project Photos (final photos of what projects should look like at the end), and Lap Book Instructions. You can also have your student catch up with the five Project Days that are included in the schedule. The student will compile a lapbook in the 24th lesson. This lapbook is pieced together throughout the studies. The final lesson is a party with a theme that goes along with the series to celebrate the end of the study. These are very flexible and you can pick and choose what projects work best for your family.

You will need a few items to get you through the lessons:

  • Working Printer
  • Color and Black Ink for the printer to cover all the printing that will be happening
  • White and Colored Printer Paper
  • White and Colored Cardstock (this is best, but admittedly we didn't have any of this and used only white printer paper and it worked OK)
  • One 3-Ring Binder for the Teacher's Binder (reading text, project direction pages, the "Guide-at-a-Glance," teacher keys, and any of the other teacher helps)
  • One 3-Ring Binder for the Scrapbook of Sights (student binder for all notebook projects including)
  • Colored File Folders or Colored Pocket Folders with Fasteners
  • Scissors and/or an X-acto Knife (when using an X-acto Knife you will need a thick piece of cardboard or self healing mat to use as a cutting surface)
  • Crayons, Markers, or Colored Pencils to color the pictures, if desired
  • Glue
  • Other Craft supplies specified for each of the different projects that your student wants to do


Lessons for Time Travelers American History Study: New World Explorers:

  1. What is an Explorer?
  2. The Life of an Explorer - Pt. 1
  3. The Life of an Explorer - Pt. 2
  4. Ship Ahoy!
  5. PROJECT DAY - 1
  6. Navigation
  7. Brendan, Eriksson, & Columbus
  8. Cabot & Vespucci
  9. Ponce de León & Balboa
  10. PROJECT DAY - 2
  11. Pizarro & Magellan
  12. Verrazano & Cortés
  13. Cartier & de Soto
  14. Coronado & Drake
  15. PROJECT DAY - 3
  16. Cabrillo & Ribaut
  17. Raleigh & Smith
  18. Oñate, Champlain, & Hudson
  19. Bering & Cook
  20. PROJECT DAY - 4
  21. Pirates! - Pt. 1
  22. Pirates! - Pt. 2
  23. PROJECT DAY - 5
  24. Pulling Together the Lap Book™
  25. Exploration Celebration

Zari coloring the binder cover and spine.


How We Used This and Our Thoughts:
I enlisted my daughter Zari, who was in 4th grade this past school year, to learn about New World Explorers. She has loved doing Home School in the Woods in the past. This is supposed to be for 3rd through 8th graders so most of the projects she did very well on. She did need my help with some of the more advanced projects and writing assignments and it took her a lot longer to get through some of the written assignments than it might have taken for my older kids. I learned quite a bit too while helping her with this study.

We have been learning about an explorer and ship that is tied to the history out here. The Columbia Rediviva was under the command of John Kendrick and Captain Robert Grey. They sailed in the Pacific Northwest for the maritime fur trade. They used the Columbia River as a key transportation route. This ship is said to have been the model for the local high school being "The Columbians". The Home School in the Woods Time Travelers: New World Explorers goes hand-in-hand with what we have been studying.


My girls with a chainsaw carved sea captain sculpture at Rainier Jr Sr High in Dec. 2017.


This study was jam packed with information. This is all about early U.S. History. It is about the explorers that discovered the new world. In the weeks we had before this review we learned about explorers, their life, and ships, etc. There are creative writing, recipes of the era, notebook timeline, factfile cards, file folder games, penmanship pages, notebooking activities, three-dimensional projects, arts and crafts, lapbooking, and a Exploration Celebration to bring the whole unit to a close. We still have not gotten through all the lessons, but we have enjoyed everything that we have done thus far.


Zari coloring the ship and learning about ship's anatomy.

This was differently laid out than the Project Passports I was used to. There were no stops or pretending to be on a trip and these did not have any audio files to listen to. Like Project Passport though, the instructions are not hard, but there is a lot of things to set up and print out initially and throughout the be aware of that and set some time aside to begin with to get things done so you are not overwhelmed.

Zari really liked our project time together the most. She loves art and making things. She especially loved tying nautical knots, making dried apples, making flags, learning about the ship's anatomy, making and drinking lime juice, and singing sea shanties. We can't wait to make the ship out of a large box that we acquired, dress up like pirates or seaman, find constellations in the night sky for navigation, making navigational tools, and make some of the recipes, etc. We are learning a lot and are enjoying every moment. These are so much fun!

Dried fruit was a main staple of food on a ship while exploring.


I highly recommend the Time Travelers American History Study: New World Explorers from Home School in the Woods. This is great for anyone homeschooling who might need some help with teaching about explorers in the new world in a highly educational, fun, and very hands-on way. This is a great stand-alone unit study or can be used to supplement something already being taught. This would also be perfect for those wanting something fun to do with their kids in the summer time. I am looking forward to reviewing more from Home School in the Woods in the future and learning more about United States history with this study!


You can purchase the download version of the Time Travelers U.S. History Studies New World Explorers from Home School in the Woods for $27.95 and CD version for $28.95.

Download the scope and sequence, look at a sample lesson, see photo examples of projects, and watch a video of "What is a Time Traveler" when you click the link above, to get more of an idea about the program.

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Hands On History with Homeschool in the Woods

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Darn Good Yarn One of a Kind Sari Scarf Review

Disclaimer: I received complimentary product through the Apogee Agency in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. Affiliate links may be in this posting. Thanks for supporting my blog.

Darn Good Yarn is an online yarn store that is dedicated to supporting women's economic empowerment, fair trade practices, and principles of environmental sustainability. Not only do they sell many reclaimed and sustainable fibers and lovely yarn, but they also sell project kits, patterns, notions and tools, clothing, accessories, home goods, etc. This is a treasure trove of rare and special items to those who love to knit, crochet, do crafts, or just have something as unique as them.

The One of a Kind Sari Scarves are very distinctive They are great for summer because these scarves are light and airy. Made with 100% recycled materials from reclaimed saris by partner artisans in India and Nepal. No two are alike and these can be worn many different ways. These are a great gift to help give back.



My Thoughts:

I received a One of a Kind Sari Scarf. This one was a gorgeous bright color of red, neon green, and pink with cream as well. It has a leafy heart pattern on it. This particular pattern would be great for Valentine's day. The only problem with this scarf is that when I opened it up and examined it I noticed that it already had a small snag in it before I got to wear it. This flaw was a bummer, but it still is a lovely scarf. I love how they are recycled and made ethically and sustainably. This particular scarf is hand made in India. It is eye-catching and a great piece to frame an outfit with and I love that it has good coverage for more modesty.

This scarf is so versatile! You can wear it as a sarong, headband, hair/head covering or wrap or tie, belt, shawl, neckerchief, or scarf. You can also decorate your home with it, cover a small table, use it as a wall covering/art, tie back curtains with them, or use it as a purse or tote bag accent.

I would recommend these scarves. While you probably won't get this particular scarf I am confident that you will love the one you do get. These scarves make the outfit fun with a splash of color and pattern and would be a great unique gift.


I noticed a small snag in the fabric when I took it out of the packaging (this is quite zoomed in).


Here is a video about them...


It can be worn different ways as you can see...

One of a Kind Sari Scarf worn as a shawl.

One of a Kind Sari Scarf worn as a head covering.

One of a Kind Sari Scarf worn as a sarong (albeit a bit messy one).


You can purchase the Darn Good Yarn One of a Kind Sari Scarf here. Add 2 Scarves to your cart and use code SUNFUN to save! Code expires 7/5/21.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Emily Lex Watercolor Package and Classes Review and May Flowers Giveaway #EmilyLex #Watercolors #WatercolorClass #MayFlowers #favoritethings #emilylexstudio


Disclaimer: I received complimentary product through FrontGate Media in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Emily Lex is an artist that makes pretty watercolor art and words of encouragement. Her work has been featured on HGTV, Better Homes & Gardens, Magnolia Journal and more. She also has a shop full of lovely things that she has created: watercolor workbooks, art prints, Truth for Today cards, Kids Truth for Today cards, Freely and Lightly book, Twirl children's book and stands for the cards. She also teaches online classes on how to paint with watercolor and do fancy penmanship.


Emily Lex package of products.


We received a very generous package for this review:

  • A watercolor flowers workbook
  • A watercolor animals workbook
  • Truth for Today cards
  • Kids Truth for Today cards
  • A brass stand
  • PLUS free registration for all 3 of her online, go at your own pace watercolor classes including one for kids! 


Emily Lex Watercolor Workbooks: Animal (above) and Flower (below).

There are two watercolor workbooks: Watercolor Workbook Flowers and Watercolor Workbook Animals. Each watercolor workbook has you create 10 watercolor pictures with the help of a reference page, instructions, and a faint sketch. They have forty-two 7" x 9" spiral bound lay flat pages professionally printed on slightly textured paper. Each workbook has original watercolor artwork + sketches by Emily Lex. The reference page has a picture of the completed art, paint palette of colors, and simple instructions to help you. The sketch page has a light sketch outline that gets you started with the art. This sketch page can be painted directly onto it because it is made of watercolor paper.


Examples of Emily Lex Truth for Today Cards (left) and Kids Truth for Today Cards (right)


There are two different packs of Truth for Today cards: one regular version and one for kids. Each card set has 31 cards with original watercolor artwork by Emily Lex and a scripture verse. These are 4" x 4" cards made out of 120lb cotton texture eggshell paper. There are also two different types of holders for the cards to sit in: brass and gold card stand. They are both sold separately from the cards. We received brass card holder. It is solid brass with a brushed finish. Emily Lex has three courses you can take: Simplified Penmanship, Simplified Watercolor, and Watercolor for Kids. These classes are online and you can watch them on any device. After purchase you get instant unlimited access to the video course chosen. You can work at your own pace and can pause and replay any lesson at your leisure. Each course has 8-10 video lessons. Supply lists, project templates, and guides are included. Simplified Penmanship is a course to learn better handwriting skills. You can use this to write notes, letters, address envelopes, create artwork, write on a chalkboard, and write legibly and beautifully. Simplified Watercolor is a course that teaches watercolor basics and then helps you create lovely watercolor paintings that you can be proud to display. Watercolor for Kids is a course for kids of all ages. These lessons will teach your young aspiring artist techniques for mixing paint, caring for a brush, and stroke-making, then practice making fun watercolor art cute enough to proudly display.


My Thoughts:

I have not done very much watercolor painting on my own, except for the "Paint With Water" books I did as a child. These were fun, but did not really teach me the fundamentals of how to paint with watercolor. I have always wanted to learn those basics, but never took the time or had the chance. When I received the opportunity of reviewing the Emily Lex Watercolor Package and Classes I jumped at the chance. 

I first received the package of watercolor goodies in the mail and opened it up. There were so many fantastic things inside. I cannot wait to thoroughly dive into everything offered.

I looked through the watercolor booklets and am very excited especially to do the whale in the animals workbook and the sunflower in the flowers workbook...2 of my favorite things! There are so many other pages that look like fun also! The instructions on the reference pages look fairly simple to follow and you can paint directly onto the page with the outlined sketch, so no need for buying a watercolor pad of paper. The sketch makes it very easy to know the outline of the painting and you do not need to know how to draw to do these. There are also blank pages to practice what you have learned with watercolor or just do your own thing. I also love that they are perfect for taking with you on trips or outdoors when the weather is nice and they don't need any screen time to do.

The Truth for Today and Kids Truth for Today cards are just lovely. I love the illustrations from Emily Lex and bible verses on each one. These are gentle reminders of scripture truths. They are a wonderful way to start the morning with and would be great as gifts for someone that needs uplifting. Both sets of cards are great for anyone, regardless of age.

I love how the Truth for Today cards can be displayed in the brass holder that we also received. Make sure to place the cards in it the correct way so that the card angles slightly back not forward this way you can read the bible chapter and verse number. This sleek and stylish brass holder can also hold other things as a recipe card.

Here are my finished art from some of the Emily Lex Simplified Watercolor lessons.

There were three different courses that we were also given: Simplified Penmanship, Simplified Watercolor, and Watercolor for Kids. I have been doing the Simplified Watercolor class. It is a great step-by-step watercolor class for a beginner like me or artists who would like the practice. You can go at your own pace watching the videos, pause at anytime, go back if you missed something, and skip over the parts you already know if you want. In this she begins describing the supplies. I only had a cheap set of crayola watercolors, a nice paintbrush set I got as a gift, and a watercolor pad from my kids using our watercolor crayon set. She said that using the cheap paints would be fine, but as you get better with the art then you might want to purchase a better set and she listed a few. She went over some techniques in the third and forth lessons and then we started painting actual pictures of things. There are also bonus lessons at the end as well. I loved how it also checked off the lessons I had done so that I would know where I was the next time I logged in. I could also still go back through the finished lessons if I needed to. I loved painting the Seascape the most so far, but the Dot Project was fun too. I know that my kids are going to enjoy the Watercolor for Kids class. I looked it over and I might even do the lessons right along with them. The Simplified Penmanship class is going to be very good for me. My penmanship is not too bad, but I would love to do better with my writing and learn some fancy lettering too. I cannot wait to get all the way through these. I have learned so much already and there is so much more to go.

I highly recommend all that Emily Lex has to offer. Her products and classes are so much fun and would make great gifts. I am very pleased with everything we received and want to thank her for being so generous so that we could try a bunch of things. Everything here is fabulous! I encourage you to check Emily Lex out for yourself.




  • Prize: Win the May Flowers Giveaway
  • Host: Emily Lex.
  • Who Can Enter: Open to US and Canadian residents 13 years or older.
  • Selection Process: 3 Winners will be selected on 05/30/2021.
  • Where to Enter: Go to this link and fill out the form to enter.



Purchase products and classes from Emily Lex's Shop.

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