I’ve been Doodlewashed & Cotman Review/Demo!

Hi friends! I wanted to share that I was featured on the doodlewash website this week! Doodlewash is the home or world watercolor month and there are lots of inspiring profiles and product reviews on the site. It is worth a look if you like watercolor! I have a much requested review of my own today, a review of my beloved Cotman Watercolors. They are affordable and reliable and easy to find all over the world. Also I will demo the watermelon painting at the end of the video!


Check out the video review here:

Cotman watercolors by Winsor & Newton are probably the most accessible watercolors you can find on a budget. They are available in tubes and pans. Today I will show you the sets I have:
12 sketcher box
24 USA whole pan set
45 UK half pan set
Cotman tubes

Easy to Find
Uses real pigments and most colors are lightfast

These are student grade paints so there is less pigment in there compared to professional paints.

I recommend these to anyone starting out in watercolor or those wishing to try out a new color on a budget. There is noting wrong with these paints and while you might be able to find a better quality paint at a lower price you always know what you will get with these. I give them a thumbs up!

I wanted to thank Aafke Vultink for her idea of saving the wrappers, she gave me permission to share her swatch photo and she explains her process on her blog.


I hope you found this review helpful! For those of you who aren’t painters¬†don’t despair, the kids are back in school so I have more time for more varied projects now! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

The Birch Tree {by request!}

Hi friends! Today I have the much requested tutorial on how to paint this birch tree from my vacation:


Watch the video to see how!

Cotman watercolors
Waterbrush (small and large)
1/2″ zen filbert
140lb watercolor paper

As always use what you have but if you need supplies shopping via the above affiliate links helps support this channel, thanks! Happy crafting!

Let’s Paint a Realistic Raspberry!

Hi friends! Please excuse me if I have more typos than usual in this post, I was up most of the night with a kid with a stomach bug (so much for getting one more beach day in before school starts.) ūüė¶ Today I am going to show you how to use glazes or layers to build up color and detail as we paint a raspberry.


I am using a split primary palette, that means I am using a warm and cool version of each primary. ¬†The colors I am using are from the essential set from Daniel Smith but you can use whatever brand you have. See below for suggestions. If you don’t see a color you have just swatch out the color and look at it and see which way it leans. Honestly, I mix more by eye than color name and you will too as you gain more experience.

Warm red: Pyroll Red, Cadmium red, Scarlet, Pyroll scarlet (look for a red that leans toward orange)

Cool red: Permanent alizarin Crimson, Quinacridone Rose, Rose Madder, Magenta (look for a purple leaning red)

Warm yellow: New Gamboge, Cadmium Yellow, Indian Yellow (look for a yellow that leans to orange)

Cool Yellow: Lemon Yellow, Hansa yellow, Cadmium Lemon, cadmium yellow light (A green leaning yellow)

Warm Blue: Ultramarine (French Ultramarine), cobalt blue (purple leaning blue)

Cool blue: Pthalo blue, Prussian blue (green leaning blue)

Try and get the most clear and vivid colors you can because you can always dull them down but you can’t brighten a dull color. To learn more about a split primary palette view my free tutorial here or for a more in-depth tutorial check out this wonderful Craftsy class. I also wanted to mention that I enrolled in Anna Mason’s excellent Craftsy class Fantastic Fruit Texture and Form¬†ans while her style is very different from mine I am enjoying how she builds up layers of tight detail. I have not got too far into her class but I have already found valuable take-aways (like picking up a small brush once in a while LOL!)

Video! *BTW I am also reviewing and demonstrating the use of a new light box, if you are not in the market for a light box you can skip to 8:45 for the real time painting tutorial. If you are looking for a light box this one has my approval!

140# watercolor greeting card ¬†*these are 3″x5″ but I used 5″x7″ in the video
Daniel Smith essential set watercolors (pyroll scarlet, Quin rose, Hansa yellow, new gamboge, pthalo blue, ultramarine)
Uniball signo white gel pen 
*Note, instead of using the pen you can use masking fluid prior to painting.

Reference photo

Litup Light Box Review

I have to be honest, I was not in the market for a light table but I was intrigued when the company asked me to review this, I typically used transfer paper to transfer my sketches to watercolor paper and that seemed fine. I really did not think I would use a light table that much and they are typically $200-$400 for a decent size table that would be of use to me as an artist.

I was wrong, I can see myself using this every time I paint.
Bright, even, strong light
Sturdy and well made
Easy to set up and use (plug it in, turn it on)
Long enough cord (about 5 feet)
I can transfer a light pencil sketch and use what ever I want (pencil, pen, marker etc) on my good paper and not be stuck with the colors available with transfer paper.
Price, it is on sale for $119.99 (comparable light table at my online art supplier runs $300)

I really can’t think of a negative, I mean $120 is a chunk of money so make sure it is something you will use.

I did not think I needed this but now I am so glad I have it because I can transfer detailed drawings onto watercolor paper with no waxy lines, it will make pen and ink work a breeze too!

I asked about embossing with stencils and they said it should work just be carefull not to scratch the table, I think placing a page protector or clear plastic bag under the stencil will prevent this.

I also want to mention that I have not had this light table long so I can’t comment on how long it will last. The reviews on amazon are excellent though and it has an 18 month warranty.

I give the litup table a big thumbs up and recommend it to anyone wanting a light table at an affordable price. It is on sale for $119.99 (regularly $129.99) during back to school time. You can find out more here.

Disclaimer: I was not paid to do this review but I did receive the Litup light box for free. Links for the art supplies are affiliate links to Simon Says Stamp and I receive a small portion of the sale at no addition cost to you. Thank you for your support and til next time happy crafting!.


Stamp School: Pretty Pop-Up Cards-No Dies Needed!

Howdy friends! OK, I want to see a show of hands, who avoids making pop up cards because they think they are too hard or because you thought you needed an expensive die? OK, now put your hands down, grab your cardstock and scissors and let’s get to work!


I want to point out in the first card I show in the video I had inked the pop-up portion to look like a wrapper around the flowers, I did that by placing a post-it note on each side of the fold and swiping it with a color duster. Also I had stamped ut some individual roses and added them to the bouquet with pop-dots (foam tape.) ¬†I guess I had a brain cramp when I was filming¬†the real one and forgot LOL! Also gluing the foil to the outside of the pop up or adding a scrap of patterned paper would be cute too. The sky’s the limit!


Sponsored by Rubber Stamp Tapestry. Use coupon code: POPUP to save 20% on all $10+ orders of mounted stamps! Coupon expires Sunday, September 4, 2016.

White cardstock
Stamps {Rubber Stamp Tapestry} sets used: Brambly rose, Cherry Blossom
Dye ink (memento)
Craft knife
Stencil brushes or sponges
Foil candy wrapper or wrapping paper
Small paintbrush

Follow along with the video and have fun! I hope you give it a try, and til next time happy crafting!

Live today! Garlic Watercolor/Mixed Media Lesson at 12:30pm ET!

Hi friends! I hope you can join me for a FREE¬†live painting lesson today at 12:30pm Eastern Time. We are painting garlic in watercolor with touches of pen and watercolor crayon but you can keep it traditional watercolor if you like. If you can’t make it live I will have the replay available after:) Here is a color swatch and sketch:


Here is a reference photo I took so you can follow along. Thanks to Dave and Michelle for the yummy garlic from their garden;)


You can watch the live show or the reply in the player below but if you want to chat with fellow painters or ask me questions as we go be sure to watch on the YouTube watch page.

Supplies available from our sponsor Jerry’s Artarama:

Want more water based mixed media? Learn how to incorporate watercolors, watercolor crayons, collage and more in my Craftsy Class at 50% off! When you purchase my class you have access to me in the classroom at craftsy so you can share your work, ask questions and enjoy the supportive Craftsy community. You also get lifetime access to the class so you can enjoy it at your own pace and watch it agian and again if you want!  Also, by purchasing this class (or any other craftsy class via my affilate link) you are helping me be able to produce these free live tutorials each week as well as free daily recorded tutorials and I thank you so much for your support!


I hope to see you live at 12:30! Til then happy crafting!


Nothing Says “PARTY!” Like a Pinata!

Hi friends! I have made so many pinatas over the years that I fancy myself a bit of a pinata expert. Never mind that I can’t remember how to make “n” with the “~” over it, hey, I said I was an expert at pinatas, not typing. Or grammar, or spelling for that matter… But I can make one heck of a pinata!


I love that you can take cardboard, tape and tissue paper and basically make a sculpture that holds candy, whoever thought up pinatas was a genius! I like that the art you make is temporary so there is no pressure to be perfect, just have fun and enjoy the process. I decided this time to show you how to make a pull style pinata. This kind of pinata can be reused if you want. But let’s be honest, most kids want to whack at it and that’s just fine, I am giving you an option. The other plus to a pull style pinata is that if you were a bit overzealous with the tape of glue and the kids can’t break it you have a second candy escape route. Because really, it all about the candy. I mean, you probably could fill a paper bag with candy and hang it from a tree and the kids would be just as happy but it’s fun to make something pretty I think! And because I wanted something pretty I used some sparkly deco mesh and I think it really captured the ethereal l floatyness of the jellyfish.

Watch the video to learn how to make your own!

Knowing how to construct a dome will help you construct other cardboard masterpieces you might want to make and as you saw in the video it was not difficult.

Deco Mesh
Tissue paper
Duct Tape
Box Cutter
Hot Glue

This pinata took less than an hour to make and it was fun to do. You can also do it well ahead of a party so you don’t feel rushed or stressed because that is a total creativity killer. I hope this project inspires your next creation and til next time happy crafting!

Sponsored by Papermart

Stamp School: How to Stamp Plaid

Hi friends! First up I want to announce the stamp winner from the fabric stamping tutorial last week: Rosana! I have sent the winner an email on how she can get her prise so if it is you check your email:)

The other day I shared a cute stamped teachers notepad gift and many of you asked me to show you how I stamped the plaid background. It is easy and you can use any stripe or ribbon stamp you have if you don’t have the plaid stamp I am using.

Watch the video to see how!

I used this stamp from DRS designs, I recommend if you are thinking about buying it you get the unmounted or cling mounted option because if you get the wood mounted one you can’t cut it apart and it will not be as useful plus it will be more expensive.

I had a look around and found some clear sets that would also be good, I think you get more stamps for your money too plus it may help you position them since they are clear. remember you can always mix and match striped and ribbon stamps to get the look of plaid! I love this set: My Favorite Things Plaid background Builder.  *It has the fabric texture! And these: Simon Says Stamp Basic Stripes Set and Simon Says Stamp All Striped Up Bundle.

A YouTube viewer also suggested cutting strips of fun foam to make your own stripes too, clever! Have fun making plaid and til next time happy crafting!


Frugal Planner Update!

Hi friends! Just a quick post and video tonight. I just picked up my new planner insert at the dollar tree and I went with a different style this year and I will show/tell you all about it in tonight’s video!

They had 3 really nice styles to pick from at our local Dollar Tree and I don’t know how long they will last so I wanted to let you know:)

You can find my DIY cheap planner video here,and my plan with me 2016 video here.  Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Tips for organizing and getting the most out of your tubes of paint!

Hi friends! Tonight I am going to show you how I am organising many of my tube watercolors that do not have a dedicated permanent palette. I was concerned about having too many small random homemade palettes to deal with so what I have done is taken the tin that my Qor paints came in and filled it with half pans (or you can use bottle caps, I am sticking to half pans so I can put them in one of my field palettes if I want to at any time) with magnets attached. You are probably wondering why I just don’t glue them to the tin and save money on magnets. Here’s why: I rarely use more than 5 colors in a painting and I wanted to be able to move the pans to the lid with the mixing wells when I am painting and since they have magnets on the bottom they wont slide around on me. As exciting as it is to listen to me talk about this process I’m sure you’d probably rather watch a video so here you go!


I know I covered a lot in this video, here are the references I mentioned.

The gadget I used to get the paint out of the tubes is a tube wringer, Jerry’s has them the cheapest. Don’t bother with the paint saver keys. The one I have is similar to $5.99 model but if you can swing it I’d go with a metal one.

I did find a source of affordable empty half-pans and full pans, I just ordered 40 half and 30 fulls from Jacksons Art Supply on amazon and no matter how many you order (and you can combine half and full pans) it is just one shipping charge of $3.50 from UK to USA. I am not affiliated with Jackson’s or Amazon but it was the best deal I could find (26 cents half/39 cents full.) There is another outfit called Half Pan PH which also has a good price on half pans, they ship out of the Philipines, I have never ordered from them but they just announced global shipping.

The tin came with the Qor set of watercolors. I got a big tin with each set of 6 paints I ordered. They have switched to smaller tins for the small sets because artist complained but i like the big tins. You might ask where you order if you can get a set in a large tin if they still have them. currently Jerry’s has the best price on these at $20.00 (which is a couple bucks less than what I paid sheesh!)

I got the magnets from Oriental Trading but there is nothing special about them, just look for a good price, I got 200 for $6  or you could use rubber cement to tack down your pans but i wanted to be able to move the colors I wanted over to my mixing side so I did not get confused:) and also be able to rearrange them.

I wrote the names on my pans with an ultra fine tip sharpie which I also use to do watercolor pen and ink with:) Someone suggested using a brother label maker to do that so if you have one it’s a great idea. I don’t have one or plan to get one, I can’t even imagine being that organized with life. ūüėÄ

I hope you found this useful. I have lots of room to store and mix paint in this tin and I actually have 2 more of these from the other 2 Qor sets I bought, one is storing random tubes of paint ans the other one is sitting in my “empty box storage” please don’t call hoarders. Erma Bombeck was talking about me and her mother when she said “She never met a box she didn’t like.) LOL, Gosh, I miss Erma. I sure is nice to have your paint organized and ready to go, almost as good as painting with it which I hope you do. Remember it’s not the paint that makes the art, you do that bit:) Have a good night and as always happy crafting!