Crack for when your back is whack

Secret Garden Johanna Basford - cover

Remember my sewcation from a weeks ago?  Yeah, I wound up hurting my back big time.  All that leaning over my cutting table while making alterations and assembling (and disassembling) the trench coat muslin was too much in too short a period of time.  Alas, I’m not the sweet young thing I used to be.  I haven’t touched that muslin or my sewing machine in over 2 weeks while my lower back made its way back to (almost) normal.  I’m happy to report that I can now sit down, stand up, and put my shoes on without assistance.

Anyway, while I was nursing my sewing-related injury, I received one of these new-fangled adult coloring books as a gift from a friend, along with a set of colored pencils.  The book is Secret Garden by Johanna Basford, and there are about a million others flooding your local bookstore at this very moment, I assure you.  Since I could carry out this new activity while sitting relatively still in a chair, it was perfect timing.  And you know what?  This stuff is like CRACK.  Crack, I tell you!!  It’s totally addicting.

I’ve spent the past few weeks coloring and being thoroughly delighted by it.  Even John is being drawn into the coloring vortex.  One minute he says coloring “isn’t really his thing,” and the next he’s all “maybe just one more flower…”  LOL.

Behold the fruits of my coloring labor:

Secret Garden Johanna Basford - colored page 1 water well

My first coloring page is a bit of a rainbow.  I used every colored pencil in the box.  I even practiced some shading on various parts of the water well.

Secret Garden Johanna Basford - colored page 2 door and key

For my second page, I used a slightly restrained color palette.  I did some shading on the door and in the yellow leaves, and I kept things fairly symmetrical.  I really like how this one came out.

Secret Garden Johanna Basford - colored page 3 blue background partial

For my third page, I wanted to experiment with coloring in the background.  I took a radial approach and more or less went from warm in the center to cool along the edges.  I colored the background and flowers together as I moved toward the edges.

Secret Garden Johanna Basford - colored page 3 blue background

I’m pretty happy with the finished product!

Truth be told, I’ve spent most of the day today working on my fourth page.  I can’t stop!  I even invested $1.99 in a pencil sharpener… and filed this blog post in “art.”  Hahahaha.  🙂

So what do you think of this adult coloring book trend – yay or nay?  Would you try it?

35 thoughts on “Crack for when your back is whack

  1. I’m totally supporting this trend. It relieves stress and is another way of giving a chance to your creative side.
    I have seen a lot of this coloring book by Johanna Basford, it truly is splendid. And wow, you can color! 😀 The transition from warm to cool colors is amazing.


  2. I’m sorry to hear about your back hurting, i have the same problem everytime I have to work on my patterns, have been seriously thinking of buying one of those tables that architects use. As for the colouring books, I have been doing that a lot with my niece and it is very relaxing and creative, didn’t know there are adults versions though! sounds interesting!!


    • Yes, exactly! I bet many sewists (including myself) would benefit from higher tables that angled forward. All the hours spent drafting and adjusting patterns can add up before you realize you’re hurting yourself!

      As for the adult coloring books, they’re currently VERY popular here in the US. I’m not sure about other countries. Have you seen any in Greece?


      • I haven’t seen any here but I usually go to a store with a specific item in mind (mostly for gifts) and so don’t look much around, I’ll investigate though and since my niece is growing up and we have coloured all the princeses in the world this could be our next step in colouring books 🙂


  3. When I quit smoking 15 or so years ago, colouring was one of the tools I used to help. I only wish there was as many adult books then as there is now. I cheated though, and photocopied my pages so I could do them over and over and over again. I loved it. I preferred markers to pencil crayons, better coverage. 😎


    • What a great idea, Elle! I can see how it could help with quitting smoking, as I find my entire world melting away (along with all its distractions) when I’m coloring. Great idea to photocopy the pages too!


  4. Back problems can be so debilitating so you have my complete sympathy. Maybe raising the height of the table by using bed risers might help in the future.
    As for the coloring-amazing! Lots of thought in planning colors & shading. They would look lovely framed!
    I bought a couple of books for gift-giving at Christmss and today my daughter posted a picture of Koi fish she was coloring last night – relaxing after a very long week with a big project.


    • Yes, I think a higher table surface is exactly what I need. I’m going to look into getting some blocks to put under the legs. I think it would make a big difference. Glad to hear your daughter finds coloring so relaxing! I use it for the same purpose – to de-stress after a hectic day (or week) at work. I was surprised by how well it works.


  5. I’m so sorry to hear that your back has been giving you trouble! I have chronic back pain, so I really have to pace myself with tracing and cutting patterns. Today I put together a pdf pattern, cut out a muslin of that pattern, and traced a Burda pattern, and I am really paying for it this evening. I’m sure tomorrow morning will be terrible as well! 😦

    I’ve been knitting a lot lately, so I have a pain-free craft alternative (for now . . . I’m really hoping I don’t develop one of the stress injuries from knitting that others have told me about!), but I would really like to try coloring. I’ve got a coloring app on my phone but it’s not the same at all. I have a nice set of colored pencils, so all I need is the book. You may have inspired me to pick one up the next time I’m at Joann’s!


    • Gina, I really hope you’re all right today! That’s a lot of work for one day, and I can totally relate to the strain on your back. It’s hard to give up sewing time when you have it, though. I tend to overdo it when I finally find a large block of time!

      I hope you decide to try out coloring. 🙂 I was really surprised by how much I enjoy it. It allows you to be creative in a low-pressure environment. Coloring books are much cheaper than fabric, so no pressure about ruining something precious. It’s just paper! 🙂


  6. So sorry you hurt yourself! Since I experienced terrible back pain a few years past I have made a pact with myself never to sit still for even one hour. When working, I alternate sitting and standing and try to catch a few minutes of yoga in the morning and a walk at lunch. When sewing, I set my alarm to no more than 50 minutes and then go do something physically different – hanging up the laundry, taking a walk, stretching… I hope you find a strategy to enjoy sewing AND your good health!


    • Uta, you are my hero! This is exactly what I need to do. I usually take breaks from sewing every 1-2 hours, stretch, have some coffee, etc., but it’s not quite doing the trick for me. I need to be more regimented about it… and throw in some yoga! I’ve heard that yoga and pilates are great for back pain because it strengthens your core. I have no excuse for putting it off!!


  7. We got a standing desk at work to share amongst the team. It’s brilliant because you can raise it and lower it. The advice is to only stand for 20 minutes at first and then build up. I think it’s great and would love something like it for my sewing desk. Supposedly it’s great for backs, for circulation and for reducing inactivity and therefore obesity


    • Yes, I’ve been wanting a standing desk for a long time now at work, and it would be great for sewing as well. Many of my coworkers have them and love them. You’re right – the best kind is one that raises and lowers, and where you can set it to whatever height you want.


  8. Crikey, sounds like you’ve had a bad time but on the mend. You need to look after it once it’s better and strengthen your core. Not that I’m a model patient with a 6 pack, but it really helps. On the bright side, you might never have known how good you were at colouring in if you hadn’t been laid up! Lovely artwork misses! 😀


    • Haha, good point Ali! 🙂 And yes, I’ve heard so many people tell me that core strength will help with my back problems, and my only excuse for not doing it is pure laziness! As many people say, it’s hard to make the time for it, especially during the week, but I need to make it happen.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I remember this happening to you a while ago, too. I am glad to hear your back is better! It looks like you’ve found a great new pastime. The colors you’ve used are so pretty– I love all the shading. I would frame these and hang them on the walls!


    • Thanks Teri! I’m really surprised by how much I’ve been enjoying it. I guess it’s nice to do something different every once in a while! And yes, I threw out my back about a year and a half ago, but thankfully this time wasn’t nearly as bad. My back was never the same after that first time, so I will have to be extra careful with it from now on. I should have known better this time around though!


  10. I’m sorry about your back! I’m glad you’ve found a proper activity while you recuperate. This also sounds like a very good activity for date night especially if one is less crafty than the other.

    I’m on the fence with this trend though, I keep having this voice in my head telling me I should draw the prints instead of just color them. On the other hand this would not be as relaxing and mindless, wouldn’t it?


    • Yeah, I’m surprised by how much fun it can be for two people to do together. 🙂 I know how you feel about drawing vs. coloring! It kind of feels like cheating, doesn’t it? I tell myself that my goal isn’t to create a prized work of art – just to relax and enjoy a mindless activity, as you said. The fact that all the drawings are in a “coloring book” makes it feel more casual too.


  11. I don’t think it’s weird for adults to colour. I’m not really tempted though. Years ago I got an anatomy colouring book because I suck at remembering all these nerves and muscles and bones that we have inside our body. I simply don’t find it interesting enough to remember their names I suppose and the idea behind the book was that it would help you remember because you are actively doing something with the anatomical structure as you are colouring it in. Don’t know that it really worked in improving my anatomy knowledge but I ended up injuring my arm from doing too much colouring. As a result I’m now wary of colouring books. Last weekend I decorated onesies with some friends using fabric markers though and that was a lot of fun. Can’t say I have a talent for drawing though…


    • That’s interesting! I had never heard of coloring being used as a memory tool, and I actually like the idea of it. Maybe I can use this if I ever teach a biology class. 🙂


  12. It thrills me to no end that you are loving this coloring book so much! 🙂 And HOLY CRAP, your coloring skills totally blow me away!!!!! I am so impressed!!! Please keep sharing your work – I love it! And I’m so sorry you hurt your back again, but I hope it’s much better by now. Sending you lots of love! ❤


    • Thank you!!! This coloring book was the perfect gift. I’m totally hooked on it! Thank you so much for such a lovely gift! 🙂 Have you been coloring too? I want to see your beautiful pages!


      • Yay! You are so welcome, of course! I have been coloring, but it’s not nearly as beautiful as your work. 🙂 I’m super inspired by your designs though and will hopefully have some decent ones to share soon! Enjoy!!! 🙂


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