Has it been THAT long? A watercolor tutorial!

Hi friends! I have been doing a lot of painting for a freelance project that I am working on so I did not realize how long it had been since I posted a watercolor painting tutorial! My apologies :) Please accept this humble tutorial (viewer requested) of a stargazer lily (you can find the reference photo  by Tracee Murphy here) for your painting enjoyment.


The watercolor pencils I sketched with can be found here. You can use any brand you like but the Primas are a good value for the quality. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and til next time happy crafting!

Sometimes you just need to relax and color!

Hi friends! We never get too old to color. I think that is why stamping is so popular, we get to be a kid again but this time we get better art supplies (unless you are my kids who get to use all of my stuff LOL!) It was funny, my children (10-year-old twin girls and 12-year-old son) have been on a color by number kick and commandeered my Spectrum Noir pencils to color the intricate designs. They know how to treat nice supplies and so I let them :) I like to see art supplies being used. Don’t let them be too precious that you never use them! I was having a rough time painting day the other day and I realized it was because I was really trying to come up with a nice watercolor tutorial for you guys that I was forcing the process, nothing was working and finally I gave up and decided to color this image: bouseblog I did not attempt to narrate it, I did turn on my video camera in case (despite all other efforts that day) in came out OK and it was really happy with it. The image tool about 17 minutes to color and the card took 4 minutes to make. I sped it up for the video, hope you don’t mind. Video! Supplies:

  • Kuretake Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pens
  • Tombow Blender
  • Archival Ink in Black
  • Fully Content House Mouse Stamp from Stampendous
  • White colored pencil
  • Tile or plate for scribbling markers on
  • Watercolor paper
  • Cardstock and pattern paper
  • Seam Binding/ribbon
  • Bow Making Jig: My hubby makes these out of beautiful hardwoods, if you want to order one you can email me at artstudiosofbangor@yahoo.com with “Bow making Jig order” in the subject line. They are $20 plus shipping (USA Priority mail $6, First Class Canada $10, Everywhere else $15) Let me know where you want it sent so I can apply the correct shipping.

You can use whatever watercolor markers you have for this technique. You can substitute watercolor paper for cardstock but it does not always blend as nicely, I’d test on a scrap of you cardstock first so you don’t waste it. Above linked products are from Hallmark Scrapbook, I am an affiliate there and if you click a link and make a purchase I receive a small portion of the sale.  Oh! They also have all of their We R Memory keepers Punch Boards on sale for 50% off, $9.99 each! And I was thinking of this because I need to make a custom envelope for this card and I could not believe they were all so cheap! I love the envelope punch board because you can make boxes and bows with it too. I am thinking about grabbing the flower punch board while it is on sale, what do you think? Have any of you used it? I like to use flowers on projects and it looks fun! So, the next time you are feeling stressed do a little coloring! I have a new real-time watercolor tutorial filmed and it will be up in a few days, I guess I just needed to chill a bit before that would happen. :D Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

A Blue Ribbon Day!

Hi Friends! I hope you had a great memorial day. Ours was quiet and relaxing and included a quick trip to the pond for a swim. I thought for sure it would be packed but we were the only ones there, then again there was ice in the water a couple of weeks ago LOL! Let me add, the kids swam, I sat on the beach and read. I’m sure many of you had large family get togethers today that might have involved lawn games or other friendly competitions. Wouldn’t it be fun to give the winner (especially if it was a kid) a blue ribbon? Today I’ll show you how easy it is to make one using ribbon from our sponsor Offray.


2 1/4″ Double Faced Satin in Royal Blue
1/2″ Maggie Ribbon in Sapphire
Cardboard or matboard
Glue Dots
Hot Glue or Carpet Tape
Pin back finding
Lighter or Fray Check (to finish ends)
Circle dies (optional)
1/4″ double stick tape or clear glue

1. Glue cardstock to lightweight cardboard (like a cereal box) and cut out circles the size you want the center of your award to be. Cut an extra for the back. OR you can cut the circles from colored matboard. I used circle dies for this.

2. Cut 9″ pieces of both ribbons at an angle for the tails.

3. Use glue or double-sided tape to make a #1 on the cardboard circle in the front and sprinkle with glitter. Let dry if using glue.

4. Using hot glue adhere the end of the wide blue ribbon to the back of the circle. Keep adding glue and pleating the ribbon as you press the edge in the glue. Continue until you have gone around the circle.

5. Glue on ribbon tails. Add finishing circle to the back and glue on a pin back.

Make a blue ribbon for yourself while you’re at it because you’re #1 in my book! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!


A Beginner Oil Painting Tutorial: Roses

Hi friends! Today I am going to share a quick oil painting tutorial with you!


I was having a rough painting day, nothing was turning out right and I hated to trash the watercolor board I was working on so I collaged some book pages on, sealed it with mod-podge then stenciled and smeared it with acrylic paint. Once that was dry it was a perfect surface to use oils on. You can paint oils over acrylics but NOT acrylics over oils. Watch the video to see how I did it and how to fix common mistakes you might make if you are out of practice or using oils for the first time:


I hope you found that helpful. Let me know if you want to see more oil tutorials because I do enjoy working with them. I will go back to the drawing board with the watercolors I was attempting so don’t worry watercolor fans. I think I was having such a hard time because it had been a while since I had a watercolor tutorials so I was pushing myself to create SOMETHING and that pressure just crippled my creativity. I think it happens to us all. It is hard for creativity to thrive under pressure. I have found when that happens to just cut my losses and try something new, AKA oils. How do you overcome a creative block? Let me know in the comments! Have a safe and happy Memorial Day and til next time happy crafting!

DIY Divided Page Protectors and Shaker pockets WITHOUT a Fuse tool!

Hi Friends! Did you see the nifty looking Fuse tool from We R Memory Keepers that debuted at CHA this year? It is a hot tool that allowed you to make shaker pockets or divided page protectors (like for Project Life type projects) out of ordinary page protectors. I liked the ideas of making divided page protectors for stamp storage since I keep all my unmounted stamps in binders and divided page protectors cost 10 times more than the standard ones. However what would I be saving if I dropped $30 on another tool? So I thought of other similar tools I owned and after chatting with Kathy we determined that I should test out my Creative Hot Marks tool (basically a pretty wood burner by Walnut Hallow) to see if it would do the same thing. I was excited to use that tool again because it was all the rage a few years ago but I have not touched it in quite a while. I am happy to report that it does a great job! In today’s video I will show you how! BTW, don’t worry if you do not have this exact tool because I will suggest some other things that will work!


So you might be thinking, oh great, now we need to drop $20 on THIS Creative Hot Marks (Wal-Mart seems to have the best price if you are interested at $19.97 but it is on sale at Joann.com for $22 as well) but you probably have something at home that will work just as well. After posting the video on YouTube many viewers chimed in with their DIY success stories (mind you I have not tried these myself so take care when experimenting and use any heat tool with caution especially if you have kids and pets and ALWAYS unplug it after use!)

More ideas that may work!

  • Hot glue gun (with no glue in it)
  • Food Saver
  • Soldering Iron (preferably a low wattage one or one with an adjustable dial)
  • Small iron
  • Stencil Cutter
  • Regular wood burning tool

Make sure you have a heatproof surface. A glass mat or silicone mat is ideal, you might even want a silicone mat on a glass mat just to be sure you don’t burn or warp anything underneath. If you have tried this (great minds think alike!) already and have another device that will work please let me know in the comments. If you like this tip I would love it if you shared it with your friends on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter or ANY of your social media places. It really helps me grow and I appreciate it so much! Thanks so much for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Win a Pocket Printer! Polaroid Zip Printer Review & Giveaway!!!

Hi Friends! I have a fun post for you today! Last week I was contacted by Polaroid and they asked me if I would like to review their new portable mini printer that prints 2″x3″ photos from your smartphone or tablet. I was a bit worried that I would not be able to figure out how to use it but it was actually very easy. I borrowed my hubby’s smartphone, downloaded the app and was printing in minutes! I had such a ball with this so I asked Polaroid if I could give a printer away on my blog and they said “sure!” You can read more about this printer here, I’d like to know what you like most about this printer and why you would like to win it, leave your answer in the comments and I will pick one lucky reader to win a printer next Friday. This is one of those products that I didn’t know I wanted until I used it. I think this would be such a fun graduation gift for a kid to take off to college since it is small and works with any smartphone. Also, it does not take ink, you just replace the paper like the Polaroid cameras from the “olden” days. See how much fun I am having with and learn how to use it in today’s video!

Video! (PS, I apologies for my giddiness, I was having too much fun with this!)

My Review/Things to consider before buying/Pros & cons:

  • The printer costs about $130 and each print will run you about 50 cents. A 50 pack of paper is $25 (30 pack is $15 and so on) but there is no ink to by because it is in the paper, or the printer is magic, who knows…
  • I think this is a great way to break the disconnect between taking photos with your phone and getting physical print because people seem to have a hard time getting photos off their phones. I also think this would be fun to take to parties because you can share an actual photo with someone and it’s a sticker! Very cool!
  • Cost: It is a $130 investment and you can only print 2″x3″ photos which will cost 50 cents a piece. The quality is better than a photo booth or my old instant Polaroid camera but not as good as a photo lab photo (then again, that could be the fault of my phone) It looks better than the Instax prints I have seen though but again, that is only MY opinion.
  • This won’t replace the need of a large home printer (it is not designed to) but it is a great on the go device. It was not something I thought I wanted but after having it a few days I am in love with it!

I am looking forward to bringing this with me to the stamp show in a couple of weeks, I think it will be fun to scrapbook those memories because we always have such a fun time:) Good luck to everyone who enters the giveaway, be sure to check out the Poloroid ZIP Printer product page on Amazon and then come back and let me know what you like best about it and how you would use it. Oh and if you have any trouble using it just hand it to one of your kids or grandchildren and they will have it printing pics in 30 seconds flat, heck if I can figure it out anyone can LOL! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

4 Million! What? & Fast and Frugal Teacher’s Gifts!

Hi Friends! I just looked at my blog stats and I hit 4 million views today! Wow, thanks so much guys for helping me reach this milestone. In a time where people are saying that blogs are not relevant you have proved the nay-sayers wrong in fact my blog has never been busier, the last million views were gained in 11 months. I am so thankful for that:) Let’s go for another 4 million! Today I have a fast and frugal gift your kids can make for their classmates and teachers (or a gift teachers can make for their students) for the last day of school.


I used 1″x7″ clear cello bags from Papermart. These are the same kind of bags I use to package my earrings, greeting cards and watercolor paintings. They are FDA food safe and crystal clear. Other than that you need cardstock, adhesive (double-sided tape woks great and is easy for kids), stamps & ink, and a brad if you are making a pin wheel favor like mine. Watch the video to see how it is done.


Since I get asked this everyday by someone I will let you know what sizes of clear bags I keep in my studio for various packaging needs. You can package most things with just a few sizes.

1″x7″ – (used in today’s project) also good for chocolate pretzels or test tube looking favors.

3″x5″ – Earring cards, ATCs, Poops & Soups, Candy

6″x9″ –  Greeting cards, favor bags like my S’mores Kit project

11″14″ – Small matted watercolors

16″x20″ – Large Matted watercolors (Actual size is 16 1/4″ x 20 1/16)

You may find other sizes more useful for your particular needs but I love that I can use these for both packaging food and crafts. If you end up ordering a lot of bags (over $200) you will get a 15% discount so it  pays to stock up, maybe go in on packaging supplies with friends. I used to do that when I started out.

Thanks to Papermart for sponsoring this post and thanks to you for stopping by and helping me hit my 4 million views milestone! Happy crafting!


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