Can Reviews Really Be Unbiased?

Hi friends! I was listening to a TED talk a couple of months ago and the presenter was talking about how food can taste better when we are on vacation or having a good time. He said you can order the same food or take home a bottle of wine that you enjoyed on vacation but it just doesn’t taste as good as it did when you first tried it. It seems that the mood we are in when we are trying something for the first time can heavily influence how good we perceive it to be. I think we can perceive art supplies to be good or poor depending on our mood as well. That is just one of the ways we can be biased in our product reviews. I will go more into that as well as other ways product reviews might be biased in today’s video!

So we discussed unintentional bias as well as intentional bias or I should say a conflict of interest but there’s more…

Another reason that I didn’t mention in the video is the rise and popularity of hate/rant videos. Honestly it didn’t even cross my mind when I recorded this because I don’t think it’s fun or funny to destroy someone’s business for clicks, views and entertainment but unfortunately many on YouTube do. Titles like “I hate these paints” or “this product’s is a rip-off” or “I got scammed”  get lots of views. Often I see reviewers try a product knowing full well that they are not going to like it just so they can rant and rave about it or they try a complex product for the first time on camera and get frustrated and deem the product worthless. I read comments like “I’m so glad I didn’t spend the money on that!” or “I was going to buy that but not now” and if the product truly is bad that’s fine but more often than not the reviewer has not taken the time to learn about it. These “salty” reviews are so popular and I don’t think the youtubers making them think about the consequences of their actions. I think honesty is the best policy and if there are problems with a product let people know but only after making sure you are using it correctly.

There have been times where I have had a company ask me to try a product and see what I think and when I noticed a problem with it they changed the product and improved it. If I was to rant online about what I didn’t like a fledgling company could go under and we would never see how a good idea could flourish into a great one.

Unfortunately honesty and integrity doesn’t always get the views. It’s not as fun to listen to facts as it is to see someone get all wound up. This makes me sad. On the bright side there are still many talented artists on YouTube that do very unbiased reviews: Steve from The Mind of Watercolor, Marty from Owings Art, Denise from In Liquid Color, Teoh from Parka Blogs and so many more! I say this because I want to be sure you can ascertain whether a reviewer has been serious about testing a product and reviewing it or has a different agenda. The rise of the “drama channel” has infiltrated the art world and lots of people enjoy those videos. Just think about facts vs entertainment. I try to do both but not at the expense of the education and information I am trying to convey.  Nobody can be completely unbiased when we all have preferences and opinions as well as fluctuating moods when trying out products but we can avoid being willfully misleading. I love to watch reviews, I love learning about new products and seeing if what I have already is similar to the new thing on the market. I actually look for reviews on products I own to get excited about using them again!

Why do you watch reviews?  Information, entertainment or both? I think as long as you take them with a grain of salt and maybe look at the past reviews of a person before trusting them completely (so many drama-rant channels) you can figure out what’s what. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!


Sketchbook Sunday: Grapes in Pastel!

Hi friends! I worked with pastels in my sketchbook today!


After looking at this painting I realized that it would work well with oil pastels too. You would build up more layers by coloring over the previous ones to blend rather than using your fingers but the overall steps would be the same. If you are new to oil pastels maybe just do the grapes and leave the background out. For my demonstration I used soft pastels (the chalky feeling kind) and pastel pencils. Watch the video to see the process, it took about 40 minutes but honestly if I fussed less it would have been quicker. 🙂


Want real-time drawing instruction and help when you need it? check out my course Learn to Draw with Lindsay and save 20% with coupon code TRYME


You can join the hundreds of students who have learned to draw confidently and accurately with my ‘draw what you see’ method. You can take as long as you need to complete the course, share your work in the classroom for personalised feedback and even return to the lessons again anytime you like because you get lifetime access! Click here to learn more.

Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!


5 Ways To Make Buffalo Plaid Using Supplies You Already Have!

Hi friends! Today I’ll show you how to use the supplies you already have to make buffalo plaid!


These techniques can be used on paper (we will use paper and make Christmas cards with the results) or on furniture, fabric or home decor.


Get that popular farmhouse chic look with the easy techniques in today’s video!

This video is sponsored by Rubber Stamp Tapestry  Use coupon code: LINDSAY and receive 15% off your retail order of $10 or more of peg stamps, peg stamp sets, and unmounted stamps! Coupon expires a week from this video publication. Continue to receive great deals by becoming a PegStamp VIP here. As a PegStamp VIP you’ll get a weekly deal via email plus links to fabulous tutorials by me, Lindsay the Frugal Crafter and other designers.

Supplies: (for cards)

For the DIY Buffalo Plaid:

  • White and red cardstock
  • Masking tape
  • Striped stencil
  • Red and black ink
  • Fun Foam (aka craft foam)
  • Plastic canvas and heat tool (optional)
  • Chip brush (stiff bristle brush)
  • Sponge blender (A make-up wedge works great!)
  • Acrylic paint
  • Small brayer or roller

Buffalo plaid Techniques:
1. Stencil + Ink applied with blender brush
2. Stencil and inkpad direct to paper (smudge with foam blender)
3. Stencil and acrylic paint dry brushed
4. DIY fun foam stamps to stamp plaid, Bonus! Heat foam with heat tool and press to plastic canvas for a fabric texture.
5. Ink plus small brayer.

If you are doing a home decor project paint your item your base color with acrylic paint (red or white are good bases) and let dry then use masking tape to make stripes like we did with the stencil, dry brush on the second color and let dry. Then remove the first tape and replace it going perpendicular and dry brush the second color again. Please feel free to substitute supplies for what you own. Have fun and til next time happy crafting!


Mini Masterpieces YOU can Paint! (& Tiny Gingerbread House Ornaments!)

Hi friends! I really got a kick out of making these and looking at them hanging on my Christmas tree! They would be really cute on a shelf as well. This project would be a blast to do at a paint party with kids or adults. We will use paint markers making it even more fun and mess free!

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For these mini masterpieces I used low odor oil-based paint markers from our sponsor Pintar. They are vivid, durable and dry with a semi gloss sheen. In addition to the fun project we are creating today these opaque, vivid and waterproof markers are suitable for glass, ceramic, wood, plastic and if you are a rock painter they are great for that too and best of all there is no mess! You get 24 colors- 20 big 5mm tip markers in assorted colors and 4 skinny 1mm tip markers in white, black, gold and silver for $25.97 (list price $62.16.)


Tip: dab a bit of marker color on each cap so you will have a perfect color reference and you can see what you have if they are standing upright in a cup or stored in their box.


Watch the video to see how I created these mini masterpieces inspired by the Mona Lisa, Starry Night and The Scream!

Supplies (affiliate links used)

How sweet do these look on the tree?

Next up is a quick and easy ornament. I was so excited to find a die of a gingerbread house at my local craft store. I had visions of decorating it with ric-rac, buttons and beads… however when I die-cut and assembled one it was so teeny tiny I didn’t know how on earth I would decorate it.


Luckily I had just received these fine tip acrylic paint pens from Pintar! They were perfect to add color and detail to these cute little houses. They have an extra fine, hard, durable tip (like the Extra fine Posca pens) and are suitable for most surfaces. A set of 24 color costs around $23 making them an affordable choice if you want a high quality paint pen assortment.


I recommend you decorate these little gingerbread houses flat, let the paint dry (it only takes a couple of minutes) and then assemble it.


To assemble it I folded on the score lines and then added skinny 1/8″ Scor-tape to the flaps (be sure to tape the ribbon on the un tabbed side of the roof) before pressing the little house closed.


Even though it was smaller than I expected it is still pretty cute!


Supplies for gingerbread house ornament:

These acrylic paint pens are lovely to use. Personally I will be adding them to my art journal stash because they are so fine, clear, opaque and crisp. You can also use them on all the surfaces that the oil based markers can be used on, including fabric, but if you use them on ceramics you may wish to bake them at 350F for 25 minutes to make them more durable. If it were me I’d choose the oil based markers for rocks (I am thinking of the kindness rocks that sweet people are making) because the softer bullet tip will allow for greater coverage and there is more paint in those and I would save my acrylic pens for details on craft and art journal projects. I really hope you give these projects a try! I want to thank Pintar for sponsoring this blog post and thank you for checking it out! Til next time happy crafting!

Let’s Paint a Ballerina for Beginners!

Hi friends! A few people mentioned how much they missed my quicker card size watercolors so today I thought we would do one!


Don’t be afraid of the figure, I have a pattern you can trace or even re-size if you want to make it larger. This sugar-plum fairy would be a lovely Christmas present for any little ballerina you know! The key is to keep details to a minimum and let it be loose.

Supplies available at sponsor Jerry’s Artarama! Use coupon code: frugal20FS49 for 20% off $49 + Free Shipping (Excludes: Sale, Super Sale, Egift Cards, Buy It Try It’s and Vendor restricted items. Look for the green coupon eligible icon on the product listing.

This was a lot of fun to paint, I hope you give it a try! Happy crafting!

Gifts Guide for Artists on ALL budgets!

Hi friends! Last night I posted a 5 for under $25 gift guide for artists and the response was great! People wanted more ideas for different budgets though so below the video I will give you more great gift ideas that can be ordered and arrive in time for Christmas! But first here is my 5 for under $25 gift ideas for artists!

Here are some more ideas no matter what your budget is! Affiliate links are used (if available) in this gift guide. Prices were checked and reported on 12/12/18, I have no control over the linked websites pricing but as of my writing these items are in the stated budgets.

Under $10 gifts:

  • Waffle Flower watercolor swatch card stamp $4: Any artist or crafter would love this to swatch out their paints, markers or colored pencils. Add a waterproof Archival ink pad for $4.27 and to keep it under $10 this clear acrylic $1 picture frame will work in place of a clear acrylic block for stamping.
  • Small Koi Waterbrush $5.40, the brushes are lovely and the come in various sizes and lengths.
  • Set of 4 Pitt Artist’s Pens for $8.13: These waterproof black pens are ideal for sketching (you can watercolor over the dry ink), art journaling or scrapbooking. Even if someone has these they will want more:)
  • Any of the Keep & Carry Art Sets from Royal & Langnickel $4.21 Each keep and carry art kit comes in a sturdy nylon zipper bag and a starter amount of supplies. I have personally tried all of them and can recommend the Pastel (both oil and soft) watercolor and sketching very highly for beginners. The acrylic set is OK for kids but you might want to buy and extra tube of white. I am not a big fan of the colored pencil kit due to the limited color range but for under $5 they are good and the case can be reused to store other supplies when they are used up.

Under $25 gifts: (from the video)


Under $50 Gifts:

  • Waffle Flower Swatch Stamping kit $46: This kit contains the large swatch chart that I use in my watercolor reviews as well as the single swatch, an inkpad and stamp mount so this is good for artists who do not already have stamp supplies. If you just want the stamps or dies you can see them all here.
  • The Portable Painter Palette $27.80: This is my favorite travel palette because it comes with 2 waterbuckets that clip to the ends of the small travel palette. The waterbuckets slide over the palette for compact storage and it even comes with 2 travel brushes! You will need to add your own paint and you can get this intro set of 6 QoR watercolors for $21 to round off the gift under budget.
  • Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils set of 72 $48.72: No matter how many luxury pencils I try these continue to be a soft and blendable favorite!
  • Arteza Watercolor pencils set of 72 $35.99 (use coupon code FRUGAL10 for 10% off at Arteza) and pair it with a Canson Montville hardbound sketchbook for $8 and you are well under budget with a great gift!
  • Ohuhu Alcohol Markers Set of 80 $44.99 *there are smaller sets available if you are on a smaller budget as well as a 100 set if you have an extra $10 to spend.  I recommend at least and 80 set because you need more shades for blending with alcohol markers (especially if they don’t have a brush tip) than other mediums and also since this is a gift you want to make sure they have all they need to get started. Speaking of having everything including the Winsor & Newton Marker pad for $5.99 would be awesome and only bring you $1 over budget.
  • Studio 71 Brush Tip Alcohol Markers set of 48 for $46.97

Under $100 gifts:

Money is no object:

  • Scan ‘n Cut CM350 $227: This is great for any rubber stamper because you can stamp an image and put it in this machine and it will cut it out eliminating the need for expensive dies. This machine retails for $300 and this is the lowest price I have seen. I paid $250 for mine a couple of years ago and it was well worth it!
  • Pan Pastel Full set of 80 pans with sponges and tools $309.26: These gorgeous and amazing pastels would delight any pastel or mixed media artist and even stampers have been really into them lately!
  • Blick Studio Brush Markers set of 96 $199: These markers are as good as copic in quality and now have refills available. I purchased these markers when they came out and they have the same foam nib just like a Copic. (In contrast the Studio 71 brush marker in the under $50 section have a felt nib and eventually will wear down.) These blend well with my Copics so if you wanted to expand your colors down the road you can always add copics with no trouble. Best of all you get 96 blick studio for the same price as 36 of copics.

I hope you enjoyed this expanded gift guide for a variety of budgets. I did some shopping around for you to find the best deals at stores that can ship by Christmas. Affiliate links were used if I had them so I may earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase at no additional cost to you and I thank you for your support! Happy crafting!

I honestly didn’t know if this project would make it…

Howdy friends! Today I have a simple oil painting project for you…


It was simple and yet a challenge, you will see why in today’s video!

This video is sponsored by Smart Art Box. If you would like to receive a box of surprise art supplies in the mail every month consider subscribing, for plans and to see where they ship visit their website.

Supplies: (Supplies came from the November 2018 Smart Art Box, to see if they have any left you can check here, otherwise I will link to products individually. Affiliate links used.)

It’s kinda fun to jump in and create with supplies you didn’t pick for yourself, sure it can be a struggle but that is where you grow! As I always say you succeed or you learn and on a good day you do both! Happy crafting!

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