And I almost forgot GELATOS and other gel crayons?  They are wonderful for laying down a quick coating of soft color.  They sort of have the consistency of lipstick and are very blendable and water-soluble. 

Faber-Castell makes Gelatos and I believe them to be the best of the the gel crayons.  But there are a number of other brands that are very good too.  I'll do a review soon.

*What is gesso? 

Gesso is an important art supply to get a canvas ready for painting or to prepare other surfaces like paper for receiving a wet or moist medium. Gesso is very similar to white acrylic paint, only thinner with a chalky texture. It dries hard, making the surface stiffer

I have about 20 some Tombow Dual Brush Pen Art Markers.  I just call them "watercolor markers."  They are water-based and have two points, brush & fine tip as these type of markers usually do.  The brush end is wonderful and is nice and long.  The color flows out smoothly and the color is also smooth and consistent.  The fine tip is good, but I rarely use it. In each of the sets,  a blender marker is included that is colorless and comes in very handy.  I have not used these on watercolor paper.  The blending pen does OK as long as you don't let the colors dry if you are using these for coloring pages, which is what I use them for the most.  Most of the coloring pages will pill a bit even when they are thicker paper, so you have to be careful not to use too much blending and rubbing when using any waterbase pen/brush on most any regular paper outside of watercolor paper.

You can see the links to purchase Tombows or Staedtler Mars  Graphic Duo "watercolor markers" at Amazon.  I use the Mars Graphics too and they are very good, but I give the edge to Tombow as a bit smoother and with a longer brush.  Both are widely available at the craft stores and now Michaels has the Tombows in sets AND individual colors which is great!

Tim Holtz & Tonic recently came out with what has become a very popular stamping platform (sometimes called "stamp positioner.")  It's available at a wide array of online & some offline retailers.  Check around for best price.  You should be able to get it on Amazon Prime for under $25.00.

The Evolution Advanced

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

For your convenience, I have linked big box store coupon page links here.  You can (usually) use their coupons online or in-store.  These are the ones closest to me that I frequent the most.

(I am not compensated by any of these retailers unless noted.)


Perks from Tuesday Morning (you have to sign up.)

Tuesday Morning sells a good selection of discontinued or overstock arts/crafts supplies.  It's always a good idea to check them out.

My local go-to fine art supplier:

​You can sign-up for their coupons, announcements & sales events.

My paint drawer

Click here to check the Amazon price.

Tim Holtz Glass Media Mat

Creating Things to Show or Sell on the Web?

Familiarize Yourself with Copyrights-
Here's a "Copyright Guidelines for Crafters & Hobbyists" PDF from The Blue Bottle Tree by Ginger Davis Allman

I'm sure the creator wouldn't mind my linking this guide...I figure she expected and hoped it would be passed around.

Recommended Supplies

for crafting...(things I use + other good things)

​(this page will be added to and updated regularly :-))

Marvy Uchida Le Plume II. These are very good and I have a small set.  Especially recommended (by Marvy) for use as ink for your stamps.

 Blank journal - should be a heavy-duty wire binding; here is one type that's available @ Plaza Art and other arts/crafts retailers and is designed for art journaling or you may bring your own.  Blank board journal available at Plaza Art:

 or for the Visual Journal  The journal can be as large as 8.5 x 11, but smaller may be better when you're getting started..  Check online or click on links provided.

The wire binding will allow for the extra space you may need for art that is dimensional (and you can remove unused pages if necessary.)  The paper quality should be heavy enough to take some moisture from ink, and other sprayed on or brushed on treatments.  Journal pages may or may not be applied with gesso* before applying any color.  Using gesso will offer some extra strength and prevent or impede bleeding of anything too wet. Some wrinkling will happen no matter when moisture meets paper.

Pens, color pencils, lead pencil (at least one), markers of any and all types. It is not necessary to purchase the most expensive pens and markers, however, they will often give you the best performance without having to work so hard. There are two types of inexpensive markers that I've used with nice results (see pic to right.)Crayola Super-Tips are excellent all-around markers (non-permanent/non-archival) and should be available at most arts/crafts stores and online.  (For proof of what is possible, see the bee post-card I colored to your right using Crayola Super-Tips.)  Faber-Castell, used in the strawberry postcard also makes an excellent value-line or kids marker widely available at stores and online.  When you do more complex coloring and want higher-end performance, then it may be time to invest in the better quality markers.

Please note:  Blending/shading and overall performance with high-end markers such as Copic and Prismacolor Premier and many other quality alcohol marker brands, (the alcohol marker market has boomed) are superior and easier to achieve results with than cheaper non-permanent markers. But if you don't want to or can't make the investment, try some of the lower-priced markers.  Sharpie and Bic Markit are both good mid-range quality markers.  One exception here is to buy a blending marker of some sort to use with alcohol markers. Blending markers are most often available with Prismacolor Premiere, Copic, Spectrum Noir and other high-quality alcohol markers, but you may come across other brands that work well too.  Blending markers have no color; only a clear alcohol-based solution that can help immensely with blending and correcting. I plan to offer some instruction on blending with markers, but there's a lot already on YouTube, so check it out.


Black liner pens.  Stores, both online & off, have many brands to choose from. Sharpie also makes an ultra-fine point pen but the micro-fine point sizes typically .01 - .05. will work the best for outlining (without overwhelming) and adding detail to small areas. The big-box arts/crafts stores like Michaels, Joanns, etc.,  do not generally sell a large variety of high-quality micro-fine point ink pens made for fine art and drafting typically   You will find the most to choose from at fine art supply stores and online.  My favorite is Alvin Techliner.  


Very sharp scissors.  Precision scissors are important and worth a little extra money.  Kiddie scissors will not work here.

Glue/Adhesive: Elmer's Glue or Glue-All (small bottle)or Glue Stick or any glue recommended for paper.  Small adhesive rollers are also good, but you'll go through them quickly if you have a lot of pages.  Stay away from the super-cheap glue sticks...they're only good for the kiddies gluing construction paper.

Eraser(s).  At least one white eraser (will not leave color behind.) If you do not have a white eraser, there are many to choose from.  A kneaded eraser is also suitable, but white is better.    

Inexpensive set of at least 6 colors of acrylic paint.  The Liquitex Basics set of 6 is good, but you can choose what you like.  Here is a link: .  If you are doing acrylic paintings that you want to display or sell, then quality can be more of an issue, but for journaling and casual creating, it doesn't make much difference.

Clipart, photos (non-licensed) and other ephemera (items of collectible memorabilia, typically written or printed ones,) that you would like to use in your journal.  Whatever you use, remember that it may accidentally get damaged, (spilled glue or paint) so if it is precious, please make copies to use in your journal. 


I have a premium account with Freepik and The Graphics Fairy .  With a premium membership, I can reproduce many of the images without attribution (i.e., this image was designed by....) and with no royalty charges.  Always do your best to check for copyright rules and guidelines before using artwork that's not your own. 

Many other elements can be used in mixed media.  Of course you'll want to use interesting paper to cut and paste in a collage-like way, but then you can use buttons, stencils, cheap but interesting broken jewelry and beads (flatter is better) fabric, string, wire, watch parts, small gear parts, foils, wood, molded clay (paper clay is best as it's lighter weight) and more. Get ready to be inspired and have some fun!

DIE-CUTTING (for cards, scrapbooking, journaling or decoupage)

Here are descriptions and pictures of two of the die-cutting machines that I own:

WRMK (We Are Memory Keepers) Evolution Advanced - *This is one great little machine and at a price that's more affordable than many others.  Its big selling point is the fact that rather than having to fiddle with different mats and platforms and shims, (the "sandwich") you can just adjust the dial to get the best pressure.  However, I have still found myself doing a bit of shimming here and there which is sometimes easier than turning the dial to heavier or lighter.  

What has delighted me so much is that in most cases, I can press a thin metal die through with ONE pass and all the detail will show.  With the Vagabond that I write about below, I would have to do a second pass with a different sandwich combination to get the detail. Step 1: Cut, Step 2: Emboss. However, if you use the correct recommended sandwich combos, the Vagabond will give you more consistent clean cuts and even and well-defined embossed designs.  Various weights and types of paper, will, of course, affect your outcome on any machine.

Other conveniences:

-The Evolution Advanced (EA,) when opened for use, will suction to your surface making it stable and preventing you from having to hold it while you cut..

-The EA is light and folds up.

-The EA can be used manually with the handle or you can purchase an additional motor.  This is great if you're traveling and not sure you'll have an outlet.

*Update Jan 2018: I am having some trouble with the pressure dial getting stuck - not all the time, but more than it should for a machine that's less than 2 years old. Without considerable struggling to force some movement, the dial doesn't seem to want to go up or down.  I have even sprayed some WD 40 into the mechanism, but that didn't help.  I can still use it, but have to figure out the needed shimming.  I will have to contact We Are Memory Keepers.  I will write another update after contacting WRMK.  Update April 2018: The gridded mat that came with it has also cracked.  Just too busy lately to contact WRMK, but I will.  I still use this machine though and can use Sizzix mats that seem to work with it just fine.

Vagabond by Sizzix (actually now it's "Vagabond 2,") designed by Tim Holtz. This is a super popular machine (along with the perennial favorite, "THE BIG SHOT." and the BS Pro, BS extended, etc., all by Sizzix,)  has been out for some time.  I figure it's probably due for a makeover, especially in light of the competition of other machines.  At any rate, it is a very reliable and flexible machine, able to cut a wide variety of dies.  It is very well-made and is motorized.  Unlike the EA, there is no manual option.  So if you use it away from home, you should be sure of a nearby electrical outlet.  The Vagabond is very well-built and sturdy.  With that sturdiness, however, you get weight and it's much heavier than EA, so there is some consideration if weight and portability is an issue.  

The Vagabond is the more expensive machine vs. the Evolution Advanced and as noted, it is very well made.  It is designed to look like an old suitcase and comes with vintage looking travel stickers to place on the "suitcase."  I have had virtually no issues of quality with this machine.  You can purchase this or the Big Shot and be assured you're getting a reliable workhorse that will give you many years of service.

Cuttlebug is also a very popular brand of die-cutter, but I have never owned one.  There are many excellent videos on YouTube if you would like to find out more about a Cuttlebug...and there are a number of models.

Brother Scan N Cut is one of a number of electronic/digital brands along with Cricut, Silhoutte and others.  Each brand now has at least one or two or more models.  I would like to own one, one of these days, but right now, I really could not justify the cost.  The prices are going down, but the most popular ones start around the $200 mark.  There are constant sales, however, so you just have to do your homework and check around and read lots of reviews.


Please note:  unless I am referring to a website directly, the links I use are more or less casually chosen as I'm writing and the linked retailers are not selected because of promotional reimbursement (but I might think they're good retailers or good prices.)  If I begin to do promotions or get reimbursed for reviews or product demonstrations, this will be stated clearly.

​​​Arts and Crafts instruction, workshops, mixed media, paper-crafting, including greeting cards, art journaling, arts/crafts product reviews, instructional videos & YouTube videos.

two of my favorite acrylic colors: Winsor-Newton Renaissance Gold (an older tube) and Sky (shimmer) by Hand Made Modern (a Target brand.)

This price is for the manual machine. The optional motor is currently $39 on Amazon.