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.  The journal can be as large as 8.5 x 11, but smaller may be better when you're getting started..  These and other suitable journals are also available online @ Amazon.

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 expensive pens and markers.  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 or scrapbooking)

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 stable.

-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.

Recommended Supplies

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

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

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



Tim Holtz Glass Media Mat

I have also begun to use "watercolor markers (that's what I call them.) Tombow is my favorite brand currently, but there are many brands to choose from.  I will write more in-depth about these very soon.

​I also like Marsgraphic Duo watercolor markers. I have the set of 36.  I just like the Tombow brush tips a bit better.  But the quality of both brands is very high.​

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.

I recently watched Tim Holtz, the wizard & craft guru wunderkind (well, he's probably in his 40's but he has a very young look and spirit....that's him on the far left of photo.)  Tim was demonstrating one of his newest products by Tonic Studios at Creativation 2018; the mega crafts industry association convention held annually in Phoenix, AZ.   

Holtz is also closely associated with and develops products for Sizzix.  He's big in the crafting world

This "wow" new product is called The Tim Holtz Glass Media Mat.  

It's a great idea and will surely be copied, though not exactly, to avoid copyright problems.  (Interesting note, Tim Holtz & Tonic had a suit brought against them over their stamping platform that Misti owner/developer thought was just too close to her design. The suit was settled somehow (or maybe thrown out) and Tonic went back to rolling out the popular TH stamping platform without too much delay in shipping.

But why is the glass mat so great and is it great enough to shell out the $35 - $40 for it?

I don't have one of these mats so this is NOT a product review.  My comments are more like a recap of Tim Holtz's demonstration.  And important note: Right now (April 2018) they're HOT and the first shipments made available to retailers is sold out and will need to be backordered if you're interested in having one of your own. 

The biggest reason to get one of these is because, as Tim emphasizes, the the elevated mat allows you to keep your workspace neat without all your supplies creeping up around you.  This is a big problem for me so I was very impressed by that idea (not that you can't come up with a DIY version yourself, but it probably won't be as nice and cool as this mat.) And then the tempered glass can handle virtually any media that you're using without having anything stick or stain and then you can easily wipe it away with water.  And the tempered glass means that it won't break easily.  You can also use your cutting tools on it as you do with a self-healing mat without any damage to the mat or to the cutting tool.  Of course the mat is made with a measuring grid for easy placement without just eyeballing.

The right side of the mat includes a working area for your inks, markers, watercolors and paints, except alcohol ink.  Alcohol ink will stain this smaller surface so Holtz says that you shouldn't use this media in this area (but you can use alcohol inks in the large glass area.) The removable and replaceable top layer of this smaller working surface is made of a silicone foam that allows your color media to bead up for easy mixing.  

The video is a long one because Holtz is introducing all his new products with Tonic and spends a lot of time demonstrating the glass craft mat that he's obviously very excited about (he calls it a "game changer.")  My comments here are just an introduction to what he talked about and he goes into much more detail.  If you're interested, I would urge you to go to the links I've provided and watch Tim demonstrate the mat and other products.  

Would I buy one?  Yes.  I probably will eventually.  From what I've seen, this is just a great idea and very helpful to artists and crafters in their day-to-day creating.  And the $40 (may be less) is not such an outrageous amount to spend for such a useful too.

The Evolution Advanced

My paint drawer

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

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