Live Watercolor Lesson Today & Tips for Setting up a Small Art Space!

Edited to add the finished painting. Have an awesome weekend!


Hi friends!  I am so happy I have internet, I was expecting to lose power with the crazy blizzard we had yesterday so I even had a backup video to post if that was the case but that tutorial will wait til Sunday and today we will paint live on YouTube at 12:30pm Eastern Time. During the slow week between Christmas and New Year I set about arranging my winter art space in my office upstairs. Normally I prefer to work and film in my basement but it gets chilly in the winter and loud as you can hear when the furnace kicks on. So in the winter my art area downstairs is more of a storage room and I work in my office. Here is a look at my creative corner.

I thought I’d share this, even though it is not the most beautiful space because it is very functional and a realistic option for many people. Let’s face it, few of us have a spare room we can devote to art. I took over a corner of my unfinished basement 10+ years ago and did the best with what I had. The black fabric hanging from the ceiling is to dampen echo while recording. I am thinking about ordering some acoustic foam panels but as you know I am a resourceful tight-wad LOL:) I found a calendar based on the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and I hung that on my wall. It is one of my favorite productivity books. The small shelf in front of my desk holds my laptop. I try to keep my workspace as clear as possible.  I put my most often used tools on the shelf to my right. If you are a lefty you would probably want the shelf on your left. I took an old spice rack and put in my Prismacolor Pencils and Spectrum Aqua Watercolor pencils as well as a few odd-ball Albright Durer Watercolor pencils and Caran D’ache Supracolor pencils. They all work well together so why not?

Next to that is a bookshelf (BTW all of my studio furniture are cast-offs from other parts of the house emptied during my year-long declutter process) I have my Spectrum Noir alcohol markers and my Studio 71 brush markers and some odds and ends. Alcohol markers play well together too and since I have a lot of them due to reviews over the years I have enough for a full assortment upstairs and downstairs. My kids can help themselves to any of these supplies as well. I have a little bit of everything on this shelf, some watercolor crayons, my Rembrandt watercolor 48 set, a paper trimmer, a tray with mini ink pads and in the tip out bins I have acrylic paint pens, clear stamp blocks, watercolor crayons and a random junk bin. I have my favorite reference books and some art paper pads on the shelf below. Basically I want to have a versatile assortment of supplies to create with on hand so I don’t have to run downstairs all the time to get more supplies. I do keep on shelf empty (under the pencils) for bringing up supplies for particular projects and when I am done it goes back downstairs.

I raised up the height on my drafting table so I can stand or sit to work. I can’t sit too long or my back gets stiff and sore. That is a reminder that I need to move so I will go up and down the cellar stairs a few times to limber up and usually I think of something I need to fetch for a project or I have something to return. Since I work at home I might start a load of laundry, empty the dishwasher or do another chore that is active. I find these small brain breaks help keep me stay fresh and inspired. No two crafters had the same space available but I hope this inspires you to make a spot for art in your home. A card table with a rolling cart under it can house plenty of supplies so see what you can do with what you have. I have a door to my backyard right next to my desk which s great in the spring, summer and fall but this time of year it is drafty so I just sealed it with a weatherstripping kit it and what a difference it made to the warmth of the room. I recommend doing that if you have  a drafty area as it will save you money and will make working more comfy. Here is the view of my backyard. There is also a bird feeder I can watch from my desk:)

I hope you got some ideas there. Now on to today’s tutorial. We will be painting live from this reference photo. I was in the mood for something bright and summery:)

You can watch the live stream or reply in the player below but if you want to chat live be sure to watch on the YouTube watch page. Sarah is not feeling well today but my daughter Maizy will be filing in relaying questions to me.

Supplies (Use any kind you like, I’ll link what I am using below)

I hope you are having a great start to 2018! Good luck digging out if you were hit by the storm. I stepped onto my porch and snapped this pic. I am so glad I kept my porch decorations up, I think I will until the kissing balls start to turn brown, I am so pleased with how well they are lasting and how fresh they still look. See you shortly for the live show! Happy crafting!



And the purge continues…

Hi friends! I know I am in good company when it comes to an overflowing craft space. I know this because of the wonderful comments and stories you share with me each time I post a “Konmari craft room” video. Yesterday I decided to tackle one of my craft room overflow areas: The framing department. I was too overwhelmed by the contents of my craft room when I did my original Konmari craft room declutter to venture into much of the overflow. Also I was really stymied but my framing supplies. About 20 years ago my mom and I bought a ton of mat board from a frame shop that was going about of business. I had learned how to cut my own beveled mats to save money on framing my art for shows and then students asked me to frame their work too. Before long I had a nice custom picture framing side business. Occasionally I had to order in custom colors that I did not have but honestly I was really well stocked with mat board! This stash allowed me to make a nice living from home with low overhead. Everything was bought and paid for so it was all profit after just a couple of jobs. Over the years though I enjoyed framing less and less and I began to see new jobs as “chores” instead of blessings. It is a nice safety net though if times got tough I can always do framing.  I realized that it wasn’t the mat board I was attached to but the security that owning the framing supplies provided me and it occurred to me the reason I didn’t want to deal with that supply was because Even though I didn’t love framing I was not ready to let go of that potential. I was ready to clean out the area I had all of the boxes of mat board in though so I went through the large 32″x40″ sheets of mat board one by one to decide what I could reasonably use in my personal art and odd framing jobs I may with to take in the future. My Hubby actually would like to learn how to cut mats so he might take over that endevor for me! I limited myself to no more than 4 sheets of each color with the exception of white and black because those I have to order in frequently. I got rid of half! What I kept is stored by color families in their original shipping boxes (25 sheets fit in a box and it keeps them flat and clean) and they are under the purple cloth in the corner.


Since I work in a basement I am aware of moisture so previously I had the boxes of mat boards standing in plastic under the bed boxes with the lids removes and I put a sheet of plexiglass between the boxes and the wall and it kept the mat boards perfect. The corner of my craft room I moved them too had a random mish-mash of junk from old frames to old portfolios of art and plywood panels I planned to paint. I had a heavy-duty wire riser (I think it was a  paneling sample display for a hardware store) and it was perfect for holding my boxes of mat boards up off the floor. I did put the risers in a plastic tub as an extra precaution against moisture too. You might remember for my first konmari post that I had a set of shelves in this area but I moved them because they were the reason of the junk corner because I could not reach anything with the shelves there. I took my yarn totes from another corner and swapped them out with the shelves and put my dress form on top and had a bit of fun making a knitting display lest I forget there are 2 honkin’ big totes of yarn there. I don’t often need yarn but I can take down the dress form and display in about 30 seconds if I need too. Also the yarn totes are light enough to pull out of there if I need to get to the mats. This set up is fine since these items are not accessed often. Here is the corner with my shelf where my yarn totes were. I had a couple of kitchen size trash bins holding wrapping paper and strecher bars behind the totes that I had not yet been through (whoops! Missed that on the first round 🙂 LOL) so I put the wrapping paper with my other wrapping supplies and nested the bins together and left the stretcher bar bin as is, you can see the bins next to my white shelf. Ordinarily there is a toaster oven for clay on the bottom shelf but it was in use when I took the photo.


Well that was quite the long intro to today’s video huh? The reason I shared that declutter was because so many people commented on my Konmari One Month Later one of my konmari follow up videos that they had “past business supplies” that they did not want but could not part with and I realized that I had some too. I love how we are learning and growing together!


If you are agonizing over getting rid of something and the 2 question method didn’t work:  try asking yourself why over and over until you come to an answer.

Why am I keeping this? Will i REALLY need it some day? Am I keeping it because I regret buying it but feel ashamed to get rid of it? Was it a mistake purchase to begin with? Am I keeping this to remind myself I made a mistake and this is my punishment? Am I afraid to get rid of this because it is closing the door on the potential of who I once wanted to become? Keep asking yourself why you are holding on to this thing until you get to the bottom of its hold on you. You might be keeping it for a valid reason or because you are comforted knowing that you have it. But if you are keeping it out of shame and regret you can let it go to make room for more positive energy and be wiser in your next purchase. Face it, we all make mistakes but we don’t have to keep paying for the same one over and over again by holding on to possessions that don’t serve us.

Same goes for buying. Why do I want this so badly? Do I want it just because it is new and shiny? Will it fill a need I have that nothing I own does? And so on…dig deep!
I listened to the audio book “The Life Changing Magic of Tiding Up” by Marie Kondo and it changed the way I look at my possessions and helped me clean out the excess. I have more time to spend on things I enjoy because I spend less time managing my stuff and less time cleaning.You can find the book or audiobook here. I also enjoyed her book Spark Joy, it is a more in depth book on the Konmari method.

You can watch the rest of the videos in the Konmari craft room series here, I hope it helps you like it has me. Do you have stubborn posessions you can’t decide on or things you are only keeping “Just in case” let me know in the comments below. Til next time happy crafting!

Craft Table Clean Up and Makeover!

Hi friends! I have been feeling like I was loosing my crafty mojo lately. I’d walk down to my craft area and nothing was inspiring me. At first I thought it was the weather (it’s hard to be inside when it is hot and sunny since we only have 2 months of hot and sunny in Maine and I hate to waste it) but even on rainy days my craft room was bringing me down. I needed to clean and brighten things up and I had a full roll of white shelf liner at my disposal!


I had always intended on painting my table top (which is an old hollow-core door) white but it had never sat vacant long enough to do that so I decided today I would take everything off the tables and cover them with shelf liner and re-evaluate all the stuff on my table while I was at it. You can watch the process in the video below. If I can do it so can you!


All you need for today’s project is a bit of ambition and some shelf liner from our sponsor Papermart!

Many times all we need is a bit of inspiration to improve our mood and surroundings! I hope I inspired you tonight! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Crafty storage on the cheap!

Hi friends! I don’t know how it happens but sometimes I walk into my craft room and I swear that someone has ransacked it…then I remember that it was me not putting stuff away. So, today I went downstairs to work and I needed to clean the place up because I couldn’t think straight with all of the clutter. I did not really have the time to organize but I needed to and then I was very productive the rest of the day. I owe it to these inexpensive bin boxes that I found at Papermart:


Here are some ideas for the bin boxes. If you are going to store your marker pens in them I suggest you flip the boxes on their sides and stack them for storage but you can transport them to your work space and use them upright like this too!

They are meant to hold “parts” like wing-nuts, bolts and screws (hey, if they are meant for wing-nuts they are perfect for me!) so they were plenty sturdy for the craft supplies I needed to corral and because they are rectangle I can put a bunch on a shelf. I was having some issues with the “jewelry department” and whenever I pulled out satin cord or my box of findings I had to use my elbow to keep other stuff from being pulled off the shelf too. I love that I can grab a flat box off the stack and fold it up into a divided bin and I only have to make them as needed. Watch the video to see what I mean.

You will have to keep your eyes peeled for the new boxes I added to my shelf today (I filmed this video yesterday) they look pretty darn good for cardboard I must say! I actually ordered the boxes to make some decorated storage gift boxes for father’s day and I still intend too (fancier than my washi tape decorating LOL!) but for now they are making short work of my random bits and bobs that do not have a home in other containers I own. These containers work out to be about $1.21 a piece but they come 50 to a pack so if you do not need that many or you don’t have a friend to split an order with you could save boxes and make something similar. I used to save the boxes that 3 half gallons of soymilk came in from Sam’s Club to use as 12″x12″ paper storage until I could afford a better solution. Take the idea and run with it!  I hope you found this useful and til next time happy crafting!

Thanks Guys! I Won Best Papercraft Tutorials! {and how I store my paints and brushes}

Hi Friends! Still sick here but better than yesterday. Luckily the basketball tourney games were rescheduled so I didn’t have to go anywhere or miss them. I barely have a voice today but I shot this paint and brush storage video the other day for you.

What do you think of the way I reorganized the brush area? I like being able to pull the little caddy around to hold my palette and water buckets. I took the drafting table that used to be there and brought it upstairs to my office to be able to work in the heat for the winter!


I also wanted to tank you so much for voting for me in the Craftsy Awards! I got 1st place in the Papercrafting Tutorials category! Thanks so much guys! It was really nice news to wake up to this morning! Have a great night and til next time happy crafting!

How to Store It Series! Today: Beads & Jewelry Making Supplies!

Hi Friends! I recently mentioned that I was going to do a craft/art room organization series with you in lieu of a craft room tour this year. I will have all of these videos (along with other storage videos and craft room tours) on this YouTube playlist. I decided to kick of the series with how I store my beads and jewelry making supplies. I might have a lot more, or a lot less than you have but I think this video will give you many options on how to store your stash:

Here is a list of some of the items I showed you:

  • The red and clear cubes are by Ultamate Stacker
  • The test tubes and holder are from Shot Wizard but I got the other ones in the basket from Sam’s Club, they often have them around valentines day for party favors, just empty the gumballs and use the containers for beads!
  • The yellow box is from Harbor Freight.
  • The clear tackle box I use for wire is by Martha Stewart but Plano make a similar one.
  • The tic-tack boxes came filled with low quality beads from Joanns for about $6 but I have seen the boxes empty on Oriental Trading and Wal Mart for $4 empty.
  • The white cardboard box that I have my findings in is by Making Memories but they are out of business, maybe you could use a jewelry box or chocolate box as a similar solution.
  • The clear containers stacked up with paper beads and other odds and ends in are from the Dollar Tree, they are really durable and have useful sized compartments. They seem to always have them in stock too.

I have had many of the things I use for storage for years but if you are creative I’m sure you can find similar storage items around your home or you will hopefully have a good idea what you may want to purchase to make your storage dreams come true LOL! 😀 I know I don’t have the most elegant craft room (it’s a corner of my basement for goodness sake!) but I enjoy it so much because it is cheerful and organized. I hope to help you make a fun place to create too. Let me know if you have and questions and stay tuned for more craft storage and organization videos all month long! Oh, and for those of you wondering how I made out at jury duty I was only picked for 1 case and it should only take a few days in February. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Fabulous DIY Colored Pencil Storage!

Hello friends! I recently mentioned that I had put all of my pastel pencils, watercolor crayons and colored pencils back in the tins they came in. They were previously in a pen rack I picked up at a scrapbook store for $5 when it was closing and I liked having them all out within reach but I got a really nice bar stool from my sister for Christmas so now I like to sit at my high table and work and I can place the tins on my shelf behind me, I have a heater under the table as I explained in my craftroom winter mode video.  Also I wanted them to be portable in case I want work elsewhere, like say upstairs by the fire.  All of my pencils had tins except for my Prismacolors, I got my first set of 60 when I was 5 (my art teacher insisted) and replaced used up ones through the years then got a 144 set 15 years ago and as they would get used up I’d replace them as well. I’d say I have about 175 pencils. So I made a plan and asked my hubby to make it:

DCF 1.0

Want to see it in action, have a look:

Now, I’m not a woodworker but I did measure my box and noted the sizes and materials for you here, I hope it is helpful, if the measurements are odd it could be due to sanding or using up what was on hand.  The removable dividers are 1/4″ plywood while the top and bottom are 1/4″ Masonite, I’m pretty sure you could use all plywood or all Masonite.  I love the Masonite for the lid because it make a really great surface to color on, talk about portable!

DCF 1.0

Use this a guide to design your own. I have some room to grow but if I was going to travel with this I’d put some bubble wrap in ant empty spaces so the pencils would not bounce around in there. Tomorrow I will share a tour of my craft room so you can see how I store other stuff! I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and til next time happy crafting!

%d bloggers like this: