I'm a freelance writer who lives on the Bellarine Peninsula. I enjoy finding new things to see and do in the beautiful area that I live in.
Published December 16th 2013
Here are some Christmas gift ideas for the nostalgic amongst us. It seems that the days of our youth are coming back to the forefront with a variety of items from our childhoods making reappearance in our lives.
Remember the jelly sandals you had when you were seven-years-old? They're back. Remember the Pacman and Space Invaders t-shirts and merchandise? They're back. But now these items are catering for an adult market. Likewise, the activity books that we had as children are coming back, albeit with a more adult twist (especially in the case of one dot-to-dot book!).
Below is a selection of some activity books that have been designed to bring out the child in you.
Who doesn't enjoy colouring-in books? I used to spend hours at the kitchen table, with my cheap $2 shop jumbo colouring-in book and my vast collection of stumpy and well-used coloured pencils. I would make sure that I coloured carefully between the lines, and would fiercely guard my books, lest my younger brothers got their hands on them and 'ruined' the pictures.
Colouring-in books have come a long way since then. The jumbo ones you used to be able to buy everywhere are now difficult to find in the shops, and most of the ones for kids now feature puzzles and/or stickers. But adults are in luck. Some artists have realised that there is still a certain appeal when it comes to colouring-in, and have released some more 'adult-focused' activity books.
Johanna Basford, an illustrator from Scotland, has designed a colouring-in book called Secret Garden which caters to a female audience and features beautiful black and white illustrations of flowers, butterflies and various garden life scenery. The pictures are whimsical and pretty- perfect for a girly-girl or someone who appreciates a little bit of illustrated botany.
For the tougher ones amongst us, there is The Tattoo Colouring Book, which features a fierce-looking tiger head on the cover, in the traditional, rose-surrounded tattoo-style of old days. The pages, which have black and white illustrations and a smattering of gold ink, bring you back to the days when tattoo art specialised in designs that wouldn't look out of place on a sailor- think anchors, skulls, geishas, daggers and snakes. The designs are very old school, and that's the main appeal of this book.
Outside The Lines is a colouring book that has been curated by Souris Hong-Porretta, and features more than 100 artworks from contemporary artists. The pictures have been collected from a variety of illustrators, graphic designers, photographers, fine artists, and other like-minded people, and reproduced so that you can colour them in, and add your own special touch. This book would be perfect for any contemporary art lover.
Forget the simple dot-to-dot books of your childhood, which only went up to 25 dots and made the shape of a duck- these dot-to-dot books are a lot more adult-focused than that!
The 1000 Dot-To-Dot Book is massive (and not just in size). Measuring at over 30cm in length, this poster-sized book features dot-to-dot portraits of 20 iconic figures, including Marilyn Monroe, Alfred Hitchcock, Muhammad Ali, Michael Jackson, Audrey Hepburn, and a host of other famous faces. The beauty of this book is that you don't know who you're actually drawing until the picture starts to take form, as there is no indicator on the page of who it is. Thomas Pavitte, a graphic designer from New Zealand, has crafted these scribble-sketch dot-to-dots (each of which go up to 1000 dots). An easy tear-out perforation means that you can take them out of the book and hang them up on your wall when you're done for a touch of artistic class.
Another offering in the dot-to-dot range is one that I recommend you hide from the children. Taking the adult theme to a new level is Kama Sutra Dot-To-Dot, which, as you can probably imagine, features a variety of sexual positions which you can 'make up' by joining the dots. The book also has instructions for each illustration you complete, just in case the picture doesn't give you enough detail! This little book would be the perfect hens or bucks night present, or a special little stocking-filler for your lover this Christmas.
Admittedly, this one is probably more for kids because it's produced by Scholastic (which is predominantly aimed at children), but Star Wars fans will appreciate this construction book nonetheless. Star Wars Build R2-D2 allows you to bring your favourite robot to life, and contains all the pieces you need to construct your own Star Wars droid (although you will have to buy some glue). The finished cardboard construction measures at 30cm tall, and comes with an illustrated book about the history of R2-D2. Best of all, there are LED lights, a push button to make them light up, and 3 audio tracks that you can insert into your model so that you can have an authentic R2-D2 droid in your possession. This is the perfect gift for any Star Wars fan you happen to know.
If you have ever wanted to construct the Eiffel Tower, the White House or the Sydney Opera House out of cardboard, then this is the kit for you. Origami Architecture allows you to recreate these iconic structures using pre-cut cardstock, and craft glue (you will need to buy the glue separately). The term origami is used very loosely here (origami is the art of paper folding and doesn't really apply to this kit, despite what the box says), but the finished pieces look pretty spectacular when they're done, and people who enjoy architecture will likely enjoy getting this under their Christmas tree this year.