A Blue Poppy Real Time Watercolor! {greeting card quickie!}

Hi friends! Man, it has been a long time since I did a quick fun watercolor on a Strathmore watercolor card. I want to do more of these and hopefully it won’t take 3 tries to record it next time LOL!

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I used a couple new products from Jane Davenport. Her new mixed media line is hitting stores tomorrow and I have had several viewers asking me to demonstrate the new watercolors and watercolor crayons and I aim to please. Watch the video to see how they perform and hear my thoughts and observations on these new paints!


I had a few people ask me how these compared to Dina Wakley’s new Scribble Sticks as well as Caran Dache Neocolor 2 crayons. There are a lot of points to compare here. Essentially they are all sticks of watersoluble media and you can use whatever watercolor crayons you have to get a very similar effect. You can even use watercolor pencils in some instances. One of the differences between crayons is the waxiness or dryness of the media. Watercolor pencils feel drier to color with where a watersoluble pastel like Prima is very slick and creamy/oily. Caran Dache falls nearer to an oil pastel where Dane Davenport Aquapastels are more dry like a pencil (very much like the ls Derwent Aquatones that were discontinued a few years ago-oh the humanity!) Dina Wakley Scribble Sticks are between the Aquapastels and Caran D’ache on the softness scale. These are small differences. Both Dina Wakley’s Scribble Sticks and Jane Davenports Aquapastels are more bright and transparent than the Caran D’ache Neocolor 2 crayons but that might have to do with the fact that they have a larger range including pastels so they would be overall more opaque (that said I have a hard time getting a vivid red in the Caran D’ache line but THAT said Caran Dache is my favorite watercolor crayon but they also usually have a steeper price tag but Amazon has the set of 15 for less than the two sets I am focusing on here, of course you can’t use a coupon like you can at the Big-Box.) I decided to compare the Scribble Sticks and Aquapastels together because a. I had several people ask me to and b. I already did a comparison on watercolor crayons last year before these came out and c. These are both brand new and aimed at the papercraft market. Here is a photo of both sets of crayons next to their tins.

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I am a sucker for good packaging and they both are cute:) The scribble sticks are a bit larger but not as much as the tin might have you believe. Both sets have an insert to snugly hold the pastels. I’ll probably remove the insert on the DW tin and add some random crayons I have floating around:) Both crayons have paper wrappings to keep your hands clean, it’s pretty standard. The next image is a scan of each set watched so you can see what colors are in each set.


I was happy to see no overlap in color, here I swatched them all together in rainbow order. I think I might have too much free time on my hands.


The Scribble sticks felt softer as I colored with them and filled in the tooth of my paper easier, they were also better for picking up pigment directly from the stick with a brush.  The white crayon can be added to either the other scribble sticks or the Aquapastels to make a color more opaque which will give you the versatility of working on a colored surface or dark painting layer. The Aquapastels had less drag when sketching and coloring which is nice if you want to work quick and they held up to drawing on wet paper without the tip softening. Again minute details but worth mentioning. They felt more like a woodless watercolor pencil only a bit softer than a pencil.  Bottom line I like them both and they work great together. Amazon has the Scribble sticks for $23 and the Aquapastels are $24 at Michaels so they are comparably priced. I hope that helps anyone make a decision on what to get. As for the Glitz Sea watercolor set I found the quality to be the same as the original two watercolor sets she released earlier this year and you can see my full review here.

Phew, that was a long post but I wanted to get the info out while it was fresh in my mind. Will you be checking out any of these new art supplies or adding them to your wish list? Let me know in the comments below!  There will be a live show tomorrow at 12:30pm ET, til then, happy crafting!


Another Cheap Marker Review:)

Hi friends! Today I am going to review and show you how to color with Ohuhu alcohol markers.

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I have seen them online and was curious if they would perform well because they were so inexpensive and the company sent me a set for review purposes. Here is a swatch of the colors in the set:


Here is a link to the set I am reviewing and a coupon code good for 15% off this set: 15Frugal Offer good through 11/15/17 11:59pm PDT. Want tosee how they preform? Watch the video!



Review: These double ended art markers feature a fine tip bullet nib and a chisel tip and are filled with alcohol ink*. They have an oval barrel much like a Copic marker. *3 markers are fluorescent water-based markers/highlighters.

  • Low Price-Around 50 cents a marker.
  • Great selection of colors (77 alcohol pens)
  • Good blending ability.
  • Gray identification band on the end with bullet tip to make finding the fine tip end easier.
  • Markers provided crisp lines on the paper I used with no feathering.
  • Good layering ability (you can layer up colors to get darker shades.)


  • There is no brush nib so blending over a large area or palette blending is limited.
  • One marker arrives with a loose cap but it was easily fixed with a few drops of denatured alcohol-Just make sure you cap them tightly as with ANY alcohol pen.
  • This set could use a medium light violet and medium light brown to round out the colors but you could add those colors in from other brands is you like as long as they are alcohol based.
  • The 3 waterbased highlighters were an odd choice, I’d rather have 3 more alcohol pens (a clear blender, mid violet and light brown) instead of those.

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Bottom line these pens are a steal, I have never tried alcohol pens that were this inexpensive, they are half the price of a Sharpie! I think this is the perfect set for someone starting out or someone who want’s an extra set for travel or for a teen who is getting into markers on a budget. This set is NOT for someone who must have a brush tip marker. I think they are a great buy. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below. Til next time happy crafting!


A cheap Copic Alternative? Studio 71 Dual Tip Brush Marker Review!

Hi friends! When viewers ask me to review a product I try to make it happen. That’s how I happened to find out about the new line of brush tip alcohol pens by Studio 71 from Darice.


I had seen these markers advertised from Consumer Crafts a couple of days before the request came in and I didn’t look twice at them but when I found out they had a brush tip and a chisel tip for a crazy low price I was intrigued! The set of 48 colors I am reviewing today sells for $49.97 currently and the clear blender is $1.47 and USA orders over $49 ship free so that makes the per marker price in the set $1.04. That’s pretty cheap. What to see the quality? Then watch today’s video review! *Even if you don’t need markers I have some blending tips and tricks that will work with any brand of alcohol pens:)


In all honesty the ink that comes in most alcohol pens are about the same quality and all alcohol markers that I have tried work well with other brands. The ink on the paper will practically be the same (in my opinion) no matter what brand you choose. With that said this review will compare the blendability, value and comfort and use of the Studio 71 set of 48 Alcohol pens from Darice. Here is my swatch of the colors in the kit on Neenah Classic Crest paper. Regardless of what brand of markers you have you should swatch them out on the paper you most often use so you can get predictable results in your coloring.



  • Price: $1.04-$1.08 per marker depending on the size set you buy, open stock is $1.47 *this is the least expensive I have EVER seen a quality dual tip brush alcohol marker.
  • Color selection in the 48 pack is superb, I feel like there is just enough shades of each color family that I can blend what I would need in most cases.
  • Marker Nibs: The brush tips make coloring and blending fast and easy and the chisel tip is useful for forcing blends if I am making a big jump in color of if I want to highlight, or lift out, a darker color.
  • Non-roll triangular barrel, comfortable to hold
  • Easy to Remove caps (Also easy to replace caps without worry of damaging the marker tip)
  • Product packaging can be used as a storage case allowing you to store the markers flat or upright. (I recommend storing flat)


  • Not refillable (at this time)
  • As with most art markers there are some duplicates between sets so if you are buying multiple packs check the colors. Spectrum Noir is the only brand I know that has no duplicates between sets/packs. *Note: The Spectrum Noir Core Essentials set from Hobby Lobby WILL have duplicates but not the packs from online retailers like Consumer Crafts or Hallmark Scrapbook. (I just got that info this morning.)

Here are the blending examples from the video. I noted what colors I used next to each shell. I hope you find it useful! You can look up the colors from the swatch above if you are trying to get these blends with other brands of markers as well, like I said, the ink in any alcohol pen is pretty much the same. The quality of the nibs and the price is where the brands differ.


Summary: I found the Studio 71 markers to perform as well as any of my other brush tip alcohol pens. The nib flexibility was between a Copic and a Winsor & Newton Brush Marker (The Copic being a slight bit more flexible but that may be because I have been using it longer.) These markers blended very well and the color selection in the 48 pack contained all of the essential colors needed to produce all the shades I’d need for 95% of my projects. (of course it is easier to blend the more colors you have but this set has a great selection.)

Bottom Line, You can’t go wrong with the quality of these markers for the price. I looked at converting my Spectrum Noir alcohol pens to brush pens but the brush nibs are about $2 each and you can get a whole studio 71 marker for around $1. It comes down to what your needs are, if you want hundreds of refillable markers than this is not for you but if you want great results with a smaller selection of quality pens on the cheap give Studio 71 a try!


I hope you enjoyed the tips and tricks in todays videos. Remember the best supplies to use are the ones you already have but I always enjoy finding out what’s new on the market! Thank you for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!



Chameleon Color Tone Pencil Review {Are They Worth the $$$?}

Hi friends! Today we will take a look at the new Chameleon color tone pencils.

They are dual ended pencils that have 2 shades of the same color on each pencil so all you have to do is flip the pencil around to shade your image.
Cost: $50

  • Easy to use
  • Blends well
  • Little wax “bloom”
  • Highly pigmented
  • Opaque
  • Quicker coloring due to the fact the coordinating shade/highlight color are on one pencil
  • High quality
  • Price (25 pencils = 50 colors-about $1 per color)
  • Strong lead resists breaking
  • Layers well
  • Smooth laydown
  • Intense color can be varied with pressure of coloring
  • Nice packaging serves as a storage caddy so you can see all of your colors when working.


  • Only 25 pencils available for a total of 50 colors
  • Currently no open stock available (they do offer open stock for their markers as well as replacement nibs and ink refills so maybe they will offer open stock pencils in the future)
  • No lightfast rating given (Although the pencils are made from the Breviller company in Austria and is known for quality, it would be nice to have this info though but it is often left out for products aimed at the craft market vs. fine art market.

Watch the video demonstration to see them in action!

These are a medium/hard colored pencil. They are not “creamy” like a prismacolor or as soft as a polychromos. They are wax based but not as waxy as others and burnishing produces very little bloom. These are semi opaque and are nice if you want to color on dark cardstock as well as light. Colors dissolve well with solvent.

Bottom line: I like these for quick and easy coloring. I would still probably take the time to pull out my Coloursoft, prismacolor or Polychomos pencils if I was doing a large serious artwork but for cardmaking and papercrafting I would reach for these first because they are space and time-saving. I like them:)

You can find Chameleon Color tones pencils as well as all of their markers on their website. Click “buy” and select your country and you can get the products worldwide.
In the USA the prices are a bit better on Amazon. They have good prices on their markers too.

You can find the stamp set I used from TopFlight Stamps. Use coupon code thefrugalcrafter10 to save 10% on your order!

What do you think? Are they worth the money? I think they are great for portability and for keeping 50 colors on hand in a small space. They are a bit harder than I like but that keeps them from breaking as easily, again making them portable. Let me know what you think in the comments below and til next time happy crafting!

Rembrandt Watercolor Review & Programming Notes!

Hi friends! First up I want to let you know that I will be away teaching a workshop on beautiful Monhegan Island this week so there will be no live stream on Friday. I do have a long, live narrated watercolor tutorial of peaches in a bowl coming up next Tuesday or Wednesday but I might not have a new watercolor tutorial for you before then. Luckily I have hundreds in the archive so you can check out my vast number of playlists if you are in the mood to paint:) I will have a couple cardmaking videos and a vlog posting this week but I didn’t want my watercolor friends to think I abandoned them:) Hopefully I will return from my trip with lots of new watercolor inspiration and coastal scenes to paint! Today though we have a review of Rembrandt watercolors. There were a great deal on Amazon recently and I grabbed a set, unfortunately they are now almost double the price so if you are interested I’d just keep an eye on them to see if they drop. Here is the video review.

Here are a couple paintings I did with these paints:


I have been painting with my new set of Rembrandt watercolor for a couple of weeks and I am really enjoying them. They are high quality watercolors (with high price to go with them usually) but when I saw a good deal on them I decided to try them.

The paints are available in tubes and pans. I am reviewing the 48 half pan set. You can also get a 12 half pan set and a 24 half pan set. *Note, the half pan sets are usually cheapest at amazon but if you want to refill the pans you will likely get a better price at Jerry’s Artarama, Blick or Cheap Joes.

vibrant colors
26 single pigments *out of 48 set
Wonderful for glazing, colors stay bright and luminous
Nice palette included, no sharp edges

The price has been jacked up on the 48 set since I reviewed it and list price is $510!?!
Two of the reds in the 48 set are very samey (they even use the same mixed pigments) and I found them rather dull, I would much rather have a Quin rose than the carmine or scarlet

This paint is quickly becoming a favorite and if you can try it at a reasonable price (not the crazy list price) I would recommend it. I have also used rembrandt in the tubes and find the quality of that excellent as well. The company who makes Rembrandt also makes a fantastic student line called VanGogh and it is one of the best student paints and I recommend them if the Rembrandt paints are not in your budget.  I hope you found this review helpful and til next time happy crafting!


Easy Peony Flower Painting & Viviva Colorsheet Review!

Hi friends! Today I have a new product review and a tutorial. We will paint a peony flower and learn about Viviva Colorsheets, a new watercolor that comes in a paper booklet.


I recommend using a paper with a good amount of sizing, these watercolors work well on cellulose watercolor paper like Starthmore Visual Journal.

Pros: Very transparent color, convenient to carry (compact), bright concentrated color (a little goes a long way), I really like this for coloring stamped images for cardmaking

Cons: Dye based color may fade easily, limited amount of color on the sheets (vs tubes or pans) might not be the best value for large studio work

Bottom line, these a bright and fun, they can be slipped into a bag or sketchbook for travel. I like them for small sketches or cardmaking. You can find out more about these watercolors here. Happy crafting!

Schmincke Akademie Watercolor Review

Hi friends! Today I have a review of Schmincke Akademie watercolor. They are student grade paint made in Germany. They are hard to find in America (Thank you Dave in Munich for sending these to me for review) but can be purchased affordably in Europe. I have had many requests to review these paints so here goes….


Video review!

Schmincke Akademie is a student grade watercolor that can be found in 24 colors. I am reviewing the 12 color set.


  • Price: Around $25-$40 where available, about half the price of Schmincke’s artist grade Horadam colors
  • Paints uses the same tried and true pigments you expect from quality paint.
  • Nice lightfastness.
  • Clean vibrant colors
  • Good mixing ability
  • Glazes well (2 layers)


  • The tin these came in had raw edges that were sharp as opposed to rolled edges found in most paint tins, not suitable for children.
  • I found the colors to wear down quickly, after a couple small paintings I had noticeable “wells” in the paint pans.
  • If applied thickly or in too many layers it will tend to streak or dry with glossy spots. *a common trait with student paints, par for the course.

Bottom line:
These are a lovely student grade set on par with Cotman, Grumbacher Academy and Van Gogh just be aware that the 12 pan tin might be sharp. I have seen this set packaged in a tin holding 24 colors (room for 12 more) so that might be a better idea for a child or clumsy adult (like me LOL!) I hope you found this review useful and til next time happy crafting!

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