Life is Just a Bowl of…Strawberries? {Watercolor Tutorial}

Howdy friends! The other day I reviewed Mijello Mission Gold Pure Pigment watercolors. I had filmed this demo intending to have it on the same video as the review but it was too long and many of you have told me that you prefer the long videos with live narration to speed-paints so I decided to keep it long and post it separately.


Feel free to paint along using whatever watercolor paints you have!

Colors used:
Permanent Rose
Permanent Red Deep
Prussian Blue
Indian Red
Van Dyke Brown
Yellow Ochre #2

Brushes 1/2″ &, 3/4″ flat, #30, #8, #4 rounds

This took just under 40 minutes to paint in real-time. Feel free to speed up or slow down the demo using the setting gear at the bottom of the YouTube player to adjust it for your pace. I think you need to watch this on the YouTube watch page to adjust the setting.

Here is the reference photo I used from Paint my Photo.

Many people have asked me about mixing colors, I have a basic video here, but, if you are looking for an in-depth class I recommend the Craftsy class Improve your Paintings: Luminous Watercolor Mixing. Many people have told me that it was the best class on watercolor mixing that have taken (and it’s on sale for $19.99-regularly $29.99) so I am happy to recommend it to people who are having a hard time with clean bright mixes, plus it is a Craftsy class so you know it is top-notch.  The above link is an affiliate link so if you purchase that class or any others I do receive a small percentage of the sale and that helps me produce free videos for you every day:)


Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Limited Supply Double Gatefold Card & a Giveaway! Stamp School!

Hello friends! Tonight I wanted to do a simple card because I know that many folks that tune in for the Stamp School tutorials are beginners and it takes a long time to build up a stash of supplies. So tonight we are using 1 stamp (it is really 3 stamps but sold as one at Art neko) 2 ink pads and one sheet of watercolor paper or cardstock to make this:


Also I will draw a name from the comments in one week to win the stamps I used so just leave a comment and it could be you! This giveaway is open worldwide:) Yay!


Stamps by Art Neko  *Save 10% off your next order of any size or get free shipping on orders over $50 (whichever discount is greater you get!) just by mentioning thefrugalcrafter!

White watercolor paper or cardstock cut to 5.5″x12″
Dye ink
Washi tape if desired
Stamp: Sakura stamp and 2 blossoms *The entire stamp sheet “Spring in Paris” is on sale for $19.99 (Regular $29.99)
Silk flowers (dollar store)
Round brush and water

1. Score watercolor paper 2″ and 4″ from each edge. Make a notch 2.5″ from top and cut a diagonal line from the nothe to the 4″ score line on each side. This is your card base.

2. Stamp flowers randomly over one side of the paper keeping the center open for writing. Use a wet brush to move stamping ink around. You can also press the inkpad to an acrylic block and use that ink to color the designs. Repeat with another color on the back of the paper.

3. Apply washi tape around the perimeter of the card if desired.

4. Fold in the gatefold sides as shown.

5. Decorate a 1″ strip of paper to use as a “belly band”. You can also write your sentiment on the band.

I must admit, I get a bit carried away with colors and patterns but you can use softer colors and a plain washi tape if you prefer:) Don’t forget to leave a comment on this post for a chance to win the stamps I used from our sponsor Artneko and if you place an order with them be sure to mention “thefrugalcrafter” for 10% off. Thank for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!


Review: Mission Gold Pure Pigment Watercolors

Hi friends! Remember when I was sick during my birthday and I mentioned some misspent time watercolor shopping online? Well, the first of my crafty loot has arrived, my set of Mijello Mission Gold watercolors. I had been hearing about these paints a lot lately because there is a very popular set of 36 colors with a palette that had been going for $57 on amazon (regular $180-$285 on sale at art supply websites) and I was quite tempted to buy them but I did not like the fact that most of the colors were mixed pigments and I prefer single pigment paints due to the fact that they are more vivid and mix well without becoming muddy. A friend had sent me a tube of Peacock Blue (thanks Jacqueline!) and the color was really pretty and vibrant but when I went to mix it with other colors it was very weak. It did not make mud but the color was weaker than the others I mixed it with. So I decided that I would pass on the tempting set. But then I saw that they offered a set of 24 pure pigment colors in larger 15ml tubes for $86 and I decided to take the plunge. The cold medicine made me do it, but I am glad I did!


The 36 set with a palette for $57 that most crafters had been buying had either 5 or 7ml tubes of paint, I heard it both ways and the listing did not specify which, even if the tubes were 7ml the pure pigment set of 24 15ml tubes only worked out to a few cents more per 7ml (not counting the black and white freebies that came with the set.) I feel that a single pigment color is more versatile and more valuable than a mixed pigment color so I was happy to pay the extra. That said, if you don’t plan on doing much mixing the 36 color set is fine. I asked folks on YouTube what they thought of the colors in the 36 color set and my viewers were pleased with the quality. I only had the one tube of mixed colors and it is not fair to judge a line on one tube.

If you want my full review and to see the paints in action watch the video!

Now let’s break it down:

  • No cadmium pigments are used (this can be a plus or a minus, cadmium is toxic)
  • Excellent/Very Good lightfastness across all pure pigment colors
  • Rewets well
  • Lots of reds in the kit, few greens so you will need to mix, the amount of reds might be wasteful to a landscape painters
  • Price: $86 on Amazon but individually the tubes for $15-$30 a pop! This set would cost over $500 if bought open stock at MSRP or over $300 o sale at the major online stores. PS I am not an amazon affiliate so click on an amazon link from another favorite blogger and help support their content:)
  • 15ml is a large tube for watercolor, it will take a while to use them up and you can replace colors as you use them up (however it might be cheaper to just re-buy the set if the price stays low.

I did notice that they relisted this set on amazon for $88 and included a palette with it, I kinda wish I waited for the palette but I have my eye on a Steven Quiller palette for these, I have always wanted one:)

So far I am very pleased with these paints and I look forward to painting more with them. If you have used these or any other Mijello sets and want to rate them in the comments below it would be helpful to fellow readers. I also wanted to let you know that I was not asked to do this review or compensated for it:) I will share a painting done with this set soon, til then, happy crafting!

How to Make a Watercolor Block! Save $$$!

Hi friends! I was struck by an idea the other day that had me running down to my studio to try it! I wanted to make my own watercolor blocks but I did not have the special glue called “padding compound” that manufacturers use to make blocks and pads. I thought about trying mod-podge or one of my thicker white glues but in the end decided I was too lazy to build a device to clamp the block or wait for it to dry. But then I thought of another way!


I used hot glue! And it was perfect! I even took my block to the beach with me and did a little painting on it to test it out. I am so impressed with this that I plan on making many more! Watch the video to see how you can make one too!

Another idea is to buy a pad of watercolor paper and simply seal the other 3 unbound edges of the pad, just be sure to leave a notch for removing the sheets.

Watercolor paper
Regular paper or decorative/scrapbook paper
Hot glue gun & hot glue sticks
Silicone spatula
paper trimmer, knife or scissors
Clothespins or binder clips


  1. Cut papers and cardboard to size and secure with clips.
  2. Apply a bead of hot glue to one edge and smooth with a silicone spatula. For longer paper you might have to do half a side at a time. Make sure all paper edges are coated. Repeat for all 4 sides but make sure to leave an inch unglued on the pad somewhere so you can remove your sheets.
  3. Make a wrap around cover using scrapbook paper.
  4. Insert a palette knife(or butter knife) into the notch and slice off the sacrificial sheet and you are ready to paint!

Will you make one of these? I hope so, they are great for painting on the go this summer! Happy crafting!

Ideas to Package Homemade Treats!

Hi friends! When my kids were little we would go and pick gobs and gobs of strawberries and then I would make jam. It was so good, much better than store-bought! I loved sharing the jam with friends and family. I am not much of a cook so making something people actually wanted to eat felt good:) I love to receive homemade jams, salsa and pickles too. I even love how translucent and pretty they look in the pantry. Since they are lovely on their own it does not take much to get them ready for gifting. I find a simple tag or label does the trick!


I found the round sticky labels at the dollar store but office supply stores also have them and they are not expensive. All you need is a few stamps to gussy up the labels and then you can handwrite on the item and date canned. Another fun idea is to write the recipe on the back of the tag unless it is a secret;)

Video! *Note, the first 4 minutes are talking about options for different types of homemade foods, if you want to jump right into the stamping skip ahead;)


Even if you don’t plan to can this year you can apply this technique to birthday and holiday gifts. Our sponsor Rubber Stamp Tapestry just released 5 new sets perfect for fall, winter and Christmas and you can use the coupon code LABELS to get 20% off (orders of $10+ of mounted stamps. Expires Sunday, July 24, 2016) and stock up so you can be ready…heck, these sets make great gifts too, just sayin’ 😉


I hope this post inspired you to use those stamps, and maybe make some jam! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

We are Painting Sunflowers in Watercolors LIVE!

Hi friends! As usual on Fridays at 12:30pm ET we have a live painting class! This week we will paint sunflowers in watercolors. You can watch live or the replay in the player below but if you want to chat or ask questions live you will want to watch on the YouTube watch page.



Here is a pattern if you want it, only transfer as many details as you need.



Find supplies at our sponsor Jerry’s Artarama:

Watercolor paint (M Graham)
9″x12″ Watercolor paper 140# cold pressed
Brushes (Mimik Kolinski)

Want more inspiration? Enroll in my Craftsy Class at 50% off!

I hope you can hang out live in a few minutes on Youtube and if not the replay will be available:) Happy crafting!

Easy DIY Accordion Book! {Great for summer journaling!}

Hi friends! I have a 15 minute bookbinding project for you today!


These little accordion books are so quick to make that you can make one for each of you kids, grandkids, neighbors and of course yourself! Watch the video to see how!


Directions (for 6″x9″ journal)
1. Cut off a piece of 18″ wide white paper (as long as you like, I used about 12 feet) and accordion fold the paper every 9″
2. Cut the folded stack into three 6″ tall pieces and glue the stacks together so you have one 36 fool long sheet if you were to unfold it (but do not unfold it LOL!)
3. Cut one 6″x9″ cardboard for a cover (or you can make it a bit longer if desired) and cut a 6″x10″ cardboard for the other cover plus spine. cover with pretty paper if desired.
4. Score the longer cover at 9″ & 9 1/2″ for a spine to accommodate the paper, if you are using more paper make the spine gap larger.
5. Add a border of washi tape around the cover if desired.
6. Adhere the first paper in the stack to the front cover and the last paper to the back cover making sure all the paper and covers line up neatly.
7. Wrap a strand of bakers twine around spine of the book every few pages to lock in the pages if desired.

I’d like to thank Papermart for sponsoring this video and thank you for stopping by, til next time happy crafting!

Sometimes Sunshine is the BEST Medicine!

Hi friends! I always thought it was a romantic notion when doctors would prescribe a holiday by the sea to an ailing patient in old English literature. Not that I’m all that well read but the grandmothers doctor did in Roald Dahl’s book the Witches and that’s good enough for me, and that’s some wicked fine literature too! I spent the afternoon at the beach today with a couple of friends and the kids, it was lovely and I feel worlds better for it! Here is a little watercolor sketch I did at the beach today:


Today I have a vloggy haul video.  I had some requests to do a birthday haul so I decided to share the crafty gifts I received!


I want to thank you for following my blog, in the video I mentioned a friend who’s crafty channel was terminated wrongfully and thank goodness she got it back last night. I would hate to lose contact with my crafty peeps and subscribing to my blog (which you probably are since you are reading this, if not there is a box in the upper left hand sidebar of this page) and my email newsletter (which I only send if there is something new and extra exciting!) I am so relieved that my friend got her channel back but it really makes you worry about your livelihood when you make online videos for a living but even worse would be to lose all the connections with your artsy community. Thank you so much for being a part of this community and sharing part of your day with me, til next time happy crafting!

I’m Feeling Better & A Sunflower for You!

Hi friends! I am feeling a bit perkier today! I have rested my voice and my sore throat is pretty much over. I think the hot humid weather helped too but the 10 hours of sleep I got last night probably made the biggest impact on my health:) I also think creating art has a big impact on health and well-being, even if you only have a few minutes. Here is a 10 minute painting you can make!


It is painted with oils and  palette knife. Sometimes trying something new without expectation (like a kid does every time they create) is the best way to enjoy the process of art and the tactile feeling of spreading paint on with a knife definitely brings me back to the days of fingerpainting! Watch the video to see how!


All of the supplies can be found in the July Smart Art Box
***For this week only, you can get 50% Off of ANY Past Smart Art Box purchase with the purchase of a new subscription! Pick any of our wonderful subscription options and get half off the Past Box of your choice AUTOMATICALLY! No coupon codes needed to redeem!

Oil pants (LUKAS)
Palette Knives
5″x7″ painting boards

Other handy materials: paper towels, scrap paper to set your panel on, scrap of plastic packaging to use as a palette

Just have fun spreading that paint around! Thanks for all of the home remedies you share for my sore throat, I tried quite a few too! One of them must have worked but I am not sure which LOL! Thanks for caring and sharing and til next time happy crafting!