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Coloring books: Not just for kids anymore

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Remember when you were a kid and could be happily busy for hours with a coloring book and a box of crayons?

Now adults are harkening back to those times with coloring book clubs, including one such club that started up earlier this year in Minnesota.

Jenny Fenlason of New Hope created the Ladies Love Coloring club in January as a way for her and some friends to get together for some social time and to enjoy a no-hassle activity, FOX 9 reports.

About a dozen women came to the club's most recent meeting at Mountain Mudd coffee shop in New Hope, which one participant, Heidi Johnson, calls a "little therapy session," according to FOX 9.

Thanks to social media, interest in the club took off quickly after Fenlason posted an invitation to its first meeting in January on Facebook.

Fenlason wrote about a recent meeting on her blog, Bright Shiny Things:

"There sat twenty three grown women with crayons, and pages, and books, and beverages. Some colored simple childlike pictures, some did elaborate works, some free handed. It was fantastic. Everything I’ve dreamed and more."

The club's rules are simple: BYO coloring book and crayons/pencils/pens, and don't be afraid to color outside the lines.

But it's not just Winnie the Pooh and Dora the Explorer pictures grownups are coloring these days. There's a burgeoning business in coloring books for adults, featuring intricate and very detailed drawings that are far beyond what most kiddie collections contain, New York Magazine reports.

The magazine calls British illustrator Johanna Basford the "queen" of adult colorists. She's published two best-selling adult coloring books — Secret Garden and Enchanted Forestwhich are immensely popular.

Other publishers are also noting the trend. For example, Little, Brown is planning to release a series of four meditative coloring books this year called Color Your Way to Calmaccording to New York Magazine.

So why the growing interest in coloring clubs among adults? Besides their social value, some say coloring is a soothing, low-stress activity that can help people take a break from their daily routines.

Others say the reason may be simpler than that: it's fun.

(If you want to know more about how to start your own coloring club, Fenlason's blog has some tips on how to do it.)

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