A Little Fishy

Several of you asked for a tutorial of this goldfish from the Owin watercolor review the other day, enjoy!

Supplies (affiliate links used)

Happy crafting!

Actually, I think these might be 2nds…

Hi friends! A couple of weeks ago I came across some watercolors by the company O.win. Owin (AKA Aowin) is the same company that makes Pretty Excellent and Paul Rubens watercolors so I was intrigued. They had cute square pans that were a tad larger than typical half pans and come in oversized metal tins. The price was right too (I got the 36 set in a yellow tin for $22! The funny thing was that the 24 sets of paint were the same price. The other thing I noticed is that they used the same exact color numbers as the Pretty Excellent paint set which is my budget pick for watercolors. The only downside to the PE set is that all of the paint come in one molded flimsy plastic tray instead of removable half pans that you can rearrange if you like. I love a good art supply mystery so I ordered a set to review!

As you will see in the video the tin did not latch securely when I got it. I was able to fix that. The lid was warped and a bit annoying to use for mixing as it bounced around but later I pressed down firmly on the lid when it was closed and it seemed to flatten it out so it wasn’t as wonky so I’d try that if you had that issue. A viewer through they might be factory 2nds or tins that didn’t pass quality control and I think she is absolutely right because I looked up this brand on Ali Express and the 36 pan set in the exact same tin and packaging was going for $62.90 and the 24 set was $45. So I really feel like I got a great deal! Also, the listing on Amazon no longer has the 36 set or a restock date so it makes me think it’s a one-and-done type of sale.

Check out the video to see an unboxing, art samples and a comparison to the Pretty Excellent set you hear me recommend so often.


  • Very transparent (except for the lavender and yellow ocher colors)
  • Good color payout
  • Great color selection Activated instantly
  • All colors in their own individual half pans that can be rearranged if desired *the half pas are wider than standard but do fit standard tins as the height is the same.
  • Tin has a large mixing space
  • Comes with a waterbrush
  • Includes swatch card and postcards to paint on
  • Lightfast info included (although not sure if accurate on purples)


  • The tin is larger than normal and the lid was a bit warped
  • White is a warm-toned translucent mixing white (as opposed to Pretty Exellent’s cool and opaque white)

So what would I pick between the Pretty Excellent and the Owin? Well, the paint is identical except for the white. It comes down to your preferences in the tin. the smaller footprint of the pretty excellent set appeals to me more in practical use but having each color in it’s own half pan is very appealing for making smaller travel sets. I think the Aowin set is a better value (if the price remains the same between the two sets) but you should really go for the layout that will meet your needs best. I also like the separate half pans as they are more durable so once the paint is used up I can refill them with tubes paints and use them in other palettes as needed. The bottom line is I like them both and I recommend them to anyone who wants a basic set of watercolors for a good price!

I will post a tutorial of the goldfish painting I showed in the review soon. the 36 set of the Owin watercolors already sold out so I apologize for that but the Pretty Excellent set is always available and often goes on sale. Affiliate links were used in this post, Happy crafting!

Sat Chat: A lotta Kale and a bit of Whining about Winter for your weekend!

Hi friends! It’s cold and I was a bit cranky but I’m feeling better now. Sat chat has that effect on me:) Or I should say chatting with you guys in the comments has that effect on me so thanks for the company!

Stuff I mentioned:

  • The cute Yellow Owin palette arrived, I’ll have a review Monday but as I guessed the paint is the same as the pretty excellent (except for the white oddly) The metal tin is a bit flimsy, if you bought one can you please let me know the quality of your tin? Only the blue one is available in the set of 36 but the other tins are available in the 24 size
  • Cute 50 sheet sticker books *I think they cold out so I’ll try to come up with a DIY version for you!
  • *The 50%off deal on the Critique Club Archives is still on: 2019 archive, 2020 Archive, 2021 Archive *Regular price $60, with coupon $30. Offer good through 1/31/22 Use coupon code LAUNCH50 if the discount doesn’t appear. *Additional tax may apply in some countries. **Each yearly archive compilation contains the 24 real-time tutorials posted in Critique club during the specified year. Prompts and original art critiques are not included in the archives.
  • Frugal Friday, Lily painting and all past videos can be found here

Have an awesome weekend! Happy crafting!

Frugal Friday: Perfect Pastel and Pencil Panels for Pennies!

Sanded paper is crazy-expensive but so lovely to paint on. In today’s Frugal Friday Feature I’ll show you how to make a similar surface for pennies!

  • I am using matboard scraps but you can use any paper you like or even cardboard (keep in mind cardboard is usually not acid free to be sure to use an acid free paper or board if you want it to be archival) I love using colored matboard for this because I have a lot leftover from when I frame my work.
  • You can use either white or clear gesso. White gesso can be tinted with acrylic paint to get the color you desire. Keep in mind the more paint you add the less gritty it will be so I suggest using a small amount of a very dark color. Clear gesso can be applied over colored boards or paper so you can keep the same color. You can even use cardstock for this! You can even apply clear gesso over an underpainting to lock down the color and add back tooth. It’s cool stuff! I like Liquitex Clear Gesso (honestly it’s the only clear gesso I have tried but it’s great!) I also like Jerry’s world’s greatest Gesso in white. *Gesso is an acrylic product so it’s best to wait until temps are above freezing to order it if you live somewhere cold or pick some up at a local store. Do not let this product freeze!
  • Want to DIY some gesso? All you have to do is add something gritty to white paint or PVA glue. I’ve heard people adding marble dust, pumice powder, fine sand, or even baking soda. There’s no harm in experimenting but for work I want to be sure will last I purchase premade gessos on acid-free supports. That’s just me, you do you.

Happy crafting!

From Blob to Bloom!

Hi friends! Today I am going to share a fun project that was experimental from start to finish!

I hope you embrace some artistic play today and try this! If you would like a real-time version of this lesson you can find it in Critique Club. Check out the player below for the timelapse full of tips!

Supplies (Affiliate links used)

I hope you have an inspired day and til next time happy crafting!

Don’t toss those old Christmas cards (or cardstock you don’t like)

Hi friends! Before you toss out those leftover Christmas cards why not turn them into useful boxes for next year? It’s a great way to recycle, or upcycle, those Christmas cards into something useful. You can even use them as drawer dividers or use cardstock to make these whatever size and depth you like!

Supplies needed (Affiliate links used)

  • Old Christmas cards or cardstock
  • Score pal (or ruler and butter knife)
  • Score tape (or strong adhesive)

Directions for making boxes from old cards

  • 1. Cut the card in half at the spine. If your card is really thick you might want to trim 1/16″ off the back portion of the card to make the bottom of the box a touch smaller.
  • 2. Score and fold 1″ from each side.
  • 3. Snip score mark at corners to maker tabs and adhere to the inside of box.
  • 4. Fit the boxes together, it should be a snug fit.

Directions for making boxes from cardstock(I am using 110# card)

  • 1. Determine how large you want your box to be and then add 2″ to that measurement. That is the size for the bottom of the box. Take that measurement and add 1/8″ to it and that is the dimension for the lid.
  • 2. Score, fold and glue the box just like you did for the Chrismtmas card box.

Handy Measurements for boxes to hold greeting card sets:

  • Measurements for a box to hold A2 (5 1/2×4 1/4″) cards and envelopes (these are the cards made from half a sheet of 8.5″x11″ cardstock) Bottom: 6 1/2″x8″ Lid: 6 5/8″x8 1/8″
  • Measurements for A7 (5″x7″) cards and envelopes: Bottom: 7 1/2″x9 1/2″ Lid: 7 5/8″x 9 5/8″
  • You can adjust the depth of the box by adding more to the original measurement and scoring in more for the edge. If I wanted a box that had a 2″ depth instead of a 1″ depth I would add 4″ to my measurement (2″ on each side) as opposed to 2″ (which only gives me 1″ depth on each side) I hope that makes sence.

It’s a pretty simple equation once you get the hang of it. You can also use these boxes to make custom drawer dividers so be creative and have fun with it! Stay tuned for more frugal Friday tips on Youtube and hosted here a few days later: Happy crafting!

Sat Chat with Cattitude!

Hi friends! I hope you are having a lovely weekend and keeping warm if you are in the path of the snowstorms hitting the midwest and east coast USA and Canada. We have had crazy winds and the messy snow and ice are due on Monday. I’m glad Monday is a holiday so hopefully there won’t be many people out on the roads! Anyway, Here is this week’s sat chat!

I just realized that I have yet to blog either of the Frugal Friday Videos so if you want you can see them on YouTube. I’ll get them here eventually, it might not be on a Friday tho LOL!

Stuff I mentioned:

That’s it for today! Happy crafting!

The 4 Crafty Tools that Surprised me!

Hi friends! I was thinking about the supplies and tools I used often and it occurred to me that 4 of the tools I use almost daily were ones I didn’t even really want to begin with. Watch the video to see what they are!

Links to the tools I mentioned (Affiliate)

What are your must-have tools, or tools that you never thought were that great until you used them? I’d love to know in the comments below! Happy crafting!

Brutfuner 50 Macaron Colored Pencil REview

Hi friends! Today I have a review of a beautiful set of pastel-colored pencils. Pastel tones are useful in blending and highlighting and they have been very popular lately, and there have been many sets of pastel-colored pencils popping up. I am reviewing the Brutfuner Macaron set of 50. I was inspired to draw Macarons (and obvious choice I know LOL!)

Full disclosure, These pencils were sent to me to review from Andstal Stationary Shop on AliExpress. There are several different lines of Brutfuner pencils and they all are different. I have the 120 square set which I really like and compared in this video, the Brutfuner 520 colored pencil set which are decent and I also compared in the video to see if the same colors here in there too (and if you have 520 colors you probably have your bases pretty well covered.) That said the lead in the new Brutfuner 50 Macaron set is more pigmented on black and softer to lay down feeling more like a Prismacolor than anything else.

Since this set is pastel tones only it is not a stand-alone set. You will need to pair it with more vibrant and dark colors to get the most from this set but if you have any assorted colored pencils set you should be fine. One more important note before we get to the video, the Brutfuner 50 Macaron color set I am reviewing is different than the Brutfuner 80 pastel set that is on Amazon. I have an email out to Andstal (as they also sell that set) to see how they differ. I’ll keep you posted. EDIT: They just got back to me and the 80 set is an older formula and the colors are not duplicated in the Macaron set. I just wanted to mention it because it is confusing and I have not tried the 80 pastel set (to be honest the colors didn’t look that appealing) so I can’t vouch for the quality and I didn’t want people to buy those expecting the pencils I reviewed. OK, with that out of the way let’s get to the video review!

Product details: 50 pastel-toned colored pencils that look (and are named and numbered) like the Holbein Artists Pencil pastel set of 50 colored pencils. The colors match the Holbein colors too. In my opinion, they feel and laydown identical to Prismacolor Premier soft core pencils.

Brutfuner Macaron and Holbein side by side.

Here is a swatch of the Brutfuner 50 Macaron colors on black and white paper:

And here is the swatch comparing them to similar feeling pencils I own. I know it’s a mess but the Brutfuner macarons are to the right of the comparable color on each brand. I hope it’s helpful. I explain this chart in the last few minutes of the video if you need a translation.


  • Price $17.87 at time of filming (vs $157 for the similar set by Holbein)
  • Color selection (A gorgeous and unique range of pastels)
  • Build Quality (full color dipped barrels with capped ends and gold foil writing)
  • Opaque Blends beautifully
  • Soft lead (should be easy on hands with arthritis)
  • Good color payout
  • Works well with the other pencils I own without a lot of duplications in color


  • Not available open stock (buy you can order the same color Holbein open stock if you run out)
  • No Lightfast info (pastels are generally not very lightfast anyway no matter the brand so keep that in mind)
  • Limited color range, you will want other colors for deeper values to create complex artwork.

Bottom line: I think they are fantastic! They are soft and smooth and the colors are gorgeous. For the way I work they are ideal to use with my other pencils. The range is not as useful on its own but a great booster pack to any soft, wax-based pencils you own and a heck of a bargain. I recommend these! Don’t take my word for it, the Coloring Diva has a couple of informative videos here and here comparing them to the full pastel set of Holbeins and other budget-friendly pastel sets that I do not have. The more you know, right? Thank you for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!