Prismacolor Mixed Media set

Prismacolor Mixed Media Set

Love Prismacolor Premier? Looking to graduate from student grade colored pencils to artist grade? Not sure if colored pencils are the medium for you? Have you been looking for a better quality colored pencil to use in your adult coloring books than what your school-age kid uses?

This Prismacolor Mixed Media set has everything you need to get started!

  • 48 Soft Core pencils
  • 6 Art Stix for unbeatable blending
  • 12 Verithin pencils for intricate details
  • 12 Water-Soluble pencils to create liquid effects
  • 1 mini sharpener

With all of this, plus a nifty discount (as of the date of this blog) on the already very reasonable price, how can you go wrong?

This set is great for many types of art, from freehand drawing and blending with Gamsol or other odorless mineral spirits to hours of soothing colouring in adult coloring books. If you’ve had a hankering to try out watercolor, but don’t want the mess associated with paint in tubes and pans, the 12 water-soluble pencils included in this set provide plenty of scope for experimentation.

The ArtStix are woodless colored pencils with the same soft, creamy cores as the Premier pencils, making it easy to layer colours for superior blending and shading.

Prismacolors have a long history of providing richly pigmented artist quality pencils with great lightfast ratings and superb creamy lay-down of color. Generations of artists swear by the Prismacolor Premier pencils, and many use the Verithin for finer details, as the colors blend beautifully with the Premier line.


Try out this set, you won’t regret it. And with the nifty 20% discount available as of the date of this post, you’ll keep some money in your pocket while you enjoy your hobby with more great tools.

Disclosure: This blog often reviews/recommends products from one or more 3rd-party e-commerce sites like Amazon, Etsy, eBay, AliExpress, etc. Please assume that any link you click on will probably result in a small commission paid to me: this commission does not increase the cost of your purchase. Please see the Affiliate Disclosure page for additional details.

 

Rubber Cement Erasers

Rubber Cement Eraser Pick Up

I’ve been using rubber cement quite a lot recently, because I purchased a giant bottle of it on sale from my local art supply store.

Well, the problem with rubber cement is that it oozes everywhere. And worse, it doesn’t always come off neatly. Rubbing with your fingers removes it, but it leaves my fingers feeling weird. So I’ve been looking for a solution.

Turns out, there is this thing called a rubber cement eraser! The Grafix RCPU Rubber Cement Pick-Up is small (2″x2″) and does a nifty job of cleaning up the mess I seem to make every single time I play with the bottle of rubber cement. I’m getting better at spreading the cement thin, but I still have issues with size perception, so I still dab on a bit too much and this eraser is perfect for picking up the excess without damaging the surface.

Bonus: From reading the reviews, it appears to work well at removing masking fluid from art work in progress. I tried it, and am impressed … no more masking fluid fingers when I rub off the masking fluid to get to the next stage of my watercolour (or Inktense!) paintings!

Disclosure: This blog often reviews/recommends products from one or more 3rd-party e-commerce sites like Amazon, Etsy, eBay, AliExpress, etc. Please assume that any link you click on will probably result in a small commission paid to me: this commission does not increase the cost of your purchase. Please see the Affiliate Disclosure page for additional details.

Storage boxes for art supplies

I have a lot of art supplies. A lot. Especially when it comes to markers and colored pencils. Like hundreds and hundreds.

When you have the biggest set of multiple lines of colored pencils and then you go crazy buying Copic markers and Winsor & Newton Pigment markers (which, by the way, need to be stored flat rather than up-ended in a pen holder!) … well, you quickly realize that traditional drawers aren’t going to do it.

Storing the markers and pencils in the tins they arrived in works – to a point. It’s not as easy to see all the colours at a glance, and you wind up with a ton of pencils scattered all over your desktop when you are trying to work on a drawing.

So I finally caved and got real storage. Those pastel storage boxes are really versatile, and there are a bunch of options for the number of drawers you want.

The most popular seem to be the 3-drawer variety and Amazon has even elevated this 3-drawer Art Alternatives pastel box with the Amazon’s Choice label.

It’s gorgeous, nicely finished and stained, lined with foam (model A only … model B ships without the foam!), with dividers inside so you can separate your pencils from your erasers or pastels or pens or whatever. If you are shipped the model without foam, the solution is simple: just line the drawers with shelf liner!

Unfortunately, for all its pluses, this particular brand does not come in a 5-drawer model. And you remember I said I have a lot of art supplies. So I had two choices: either buy multiple Art Alternatives 3-drawer boxes, or find a company that had a larger box. I went with option 2.

The Vencer 5 Drawer Wood Art Storage Box is perfect for my needs: it has 5 drawers, and the price was right. While the box isn’t as nicely finished as the Art Alternatives box, it’s functional and I can paint the outside if it really bugs me.

One minor annoyance was that the dividers are glued in place (unlike the other box), but it was easy enough to wiggle them back and forth until they came off and then I can replace them to where I wanted them! Well, in my case, I simply removed them altogether to make room for more supplies.

Tip: if you find the drawers sticking as you pull them out, simply rub soap along the edge where it sits on the runner … problem solved!

Disclosure: This blog often reviews/recommends products from one or more 3rd-party e-commerce sites like Amazon, Etsy, eBay, AliExpress, etc. Please assume that any link you click on will probably result in a small commission paid to me: this commission does not increase the cost of your purchase. Please see the Affiliate Disclosure page for additional details.

Super Glue … for glasses?

Gorilla Glue Super Glue

Recently, Mum’s glasses broke. The little piece that sits across the bridge of her nose just detached itself on one side and basically rendered the glasses useless. We ordered her a new set right away, but in the meantime she needed something to read with while she waited for her replacement glasses.

I asked around, and while some recommended going to a jewelry store and getting it micro-soldered in place, others suggested super glue. Not just any super glue, but the Gorilla Glue Super Glue.

I’m cheap. So I tried the super glue route, and to my surprise, it worked. This glue works on a variety of materials, including metal, ceramic, leather, plastic, wood and more. For me, the metal-to-metal was all that mattered. Bonus, this dries super fast! They recommend just 10 to 30 seconds. We left it longer, not wanting to take a chance, and it doesn’t seem to have done any harm.

The glasses were useable again, Mum lasted out the wait for the new glasses,  and now she has a spare set in case anything happens to her brand new pair!

Disclosure: This blog often reviews/recommends products from one or more 3rd-party e-commerce sites like Amazon, Etsy, eBay, AliExpress, etc. Please assume that any link you click on will probably result in a small commission paid to me: this commission does not increase the cost of your purchase. Please see the Affiliate Disclosure page for additional details.

 

Scientific Calculators Revisited

Casio FX-300 MS Plus Scientific Calculator

If your kid has recently gone back to school, chances are, he or she will soon be asking for a scientific calculator (probably already has!).

The Casio FX-300MS Plus Engineering/Scientific Calculator is a good all-round scientific calculator that will serve well through high school and undergrad math and science classes.

This one takes a 1.5 volt LR44 battery. The add-on program at Amazon brings the price down quite nicely, so it’s a good idea to just buy a spare when you buy your calculator.

Pros:

  • You can see the whole equation at a glance
  • Nicely sized buttons
  • Large variety of mathematical functions (229, to be precise)
  • Fractions can be viewed as fractions or as decimals
  • Well priced

Cons:

  • Difficult to see the numbers if the calculator is flat on the table
  • Quality Control seems to occasionally miss a defective loose button

All in all, this calculator is a good choice at a great price.

Disclosure: This blog often reviews/recommends products from one or more 3rd-party e-commerce sites like Amazon, Etsy, eBay, AliExpress, etc. Please assume that any link you click on will probably result in a small commission paid to me: this commission does not increase the cost of your purchase. Please see the Affiliate Disclosure page for additional details.

 

So I’m a Spider – So What? [Manga]

So I'm a Spider - So What?

We’ve been reading some manga recently, and after a few series, they all start looking similar. A stand-out is Okina Baba’s So I’m a Spider, So What.

This series is about a girl who is reincarnated into a different world, one that’s more like a video game. She herself is reincarnated as a spider … and as she grows in experience and abilities (see, video game!). There’s a dungeon, and monsters that she has to defeat to level up.

Okina Baba originally presented this as a web novel back in 2015 … the current version is a manga adaptation of that novel by Yen Press, which acquired the rights in 2017.

Not having read the original Japanese, the story still is clearly told from a different world view than that of the average American teen. The series is a fun read, and manages to explore both human and other-world psyches in a light manner.

Well worth the price of purchase, and quite a stand-out in a rather crowded genre.

Disclosure: This blog often reviews/recommends products from one or more 3rd-party e-commerce sites like Amazon, Etsy, eBay, AliExpress, etc. Please assume that any link you click on will probably result in a small commission paid to me: this commission does not increase the cost of your purchase. Please see the Affiliate Disclosure page for additional details.

 

Sharpen your knife

If you’ve got a great set of knives, it becomes rather imperative that you keep a good edge on them.

While daily honing will generally keep the knives sharp enough for vegetables, you do occasionally need to sharpen them with a whetstone.

Our current favourites are these two traditional Japanese sharpening whetstones: The King Deluxe (300 grit) and the King 1000 (1000 grit) whetstones.

Similar to filing anything: first you rub down the edge of the knife at a 5 degree angle using the 300 grit, and then you hone the blade to a fine edge using the 1000 grit stone. Remember to first wet each of the stones, though – a dry stone will cause burrs on the edge!

Sharpen first, then try your ninja tricks with tomatoes.

Enjoy your fine sharpie!

Disclosure: This blog often reviews/recommends products from one or more 3rd-party e-commerce sites like Amazon, Etsy, eBay, AliExpress, etc. Please assume that any link you click on will probably result in a small commission paid to me: this commission does not increase the cost of your purchase. Please see the Affiliate Disclosure page for additional details.

Nail Art Tools

Sometimes, all you want is a manicure. All that lovely fun: creams and buffing cloths and just general lavish pampering!

And, of course, you want to follow up that intensive care with a picture perfect nail job.

But that takes tools, like this lovely, versatile silicone nail art brush from IainStars. This “brush” (a dotting pen, really) makes it easy to draw delicate and intricate patterns on a base coat of your favorite nail color.

The dual silicone tips are firm but flexible, making it a snap to control the pressure and thickness of the pattern. And silicone also means that cleanup is no fuss at all.

So go ahead: this weekend, treat yourself to a home spa routine and then curl up with a great book!

Disclosure: This blog often reviews/recommends products from one or more 3rd-party e-commerce sites like Amazon, Etsy, eBay, AliExpress, etc. Please assume that any link you click on will probably result in a small commission paid to me: this commission does not increase the cost of your purchase. Please see the Affiliate Disclosure page for additional details.

 

My latest art hobbyhorse: Watercolor Pencils

Art is likely to be a major theme on this blog, because art is a huge part of my life.

There’s almost nothing, no stress, no worry, that cannot be soothed by creating something. The zen-like flow state I go into when I’m working on is very similar to meditation, and I always emerge refreshed and renewed.

Sometimes creating art takes just a few minutes, as in this pigment marker sketch above, and sometimes it takes weeks, as when I work on a large project using colored pencils (my favourites are the German FaberCastell PolyChromos pencils and the Luminance line from Swiss manufacturer Caran d’Ache – you just can’t go wrong with either of these sets).

When I want something quicker, I turn to watercolor pencils. I have been loving the Museum Aquarelle line from Caran d’Ache for the brilliant colours. If you’re looking for a more traditional watercolor look to your art, check out the Derwent Watercolour pencils … they’re an absolute dream to work with!

The Museum Aquarelles are brilliantly pigmented, and the resulting work is not very much like a watercolour because of that spectacular colour. Like all Caran d’Ache products, these pencils have a fantastic creamy core and excellent lightfast ratings, so you can use this set to create works you can sell with absolute confidence.

The Derwent Watercolour pencils, as I said, have a more traditional watercolor look and feel, which, as you’d immediately expect, means more pastel shades and a general softer, more flowing result on your finished work.

Both brands are wonderful, each in its own way, and I’ve been loving using both to create art.

What do YOU do when you’re stressed? Working out and “arting” are two of my favourite stress relief options!

Disclosure: This blog often reviews/recommends products from one or more 3rd-party e-commerce sites like Amazon, Etsy, eBay, AliExpress, etc. Please assume that any link you click on will probably result in a small commission paid to me: this commission does not increase the cost of your purchase. Please see the Affiliate Disclosure page for additional details.

Lawyers et al.

I have often wondered why people seem to hate lawyers. I enjoy dealing with them myself, as they are often a much needed help in sorting out annoying issues. Often, even the very suggestion that I will be engaging my lawyers is enough to get the other party’s attention.

Despite that often quoted quip from Shakespeare’s Henry VI, lawyers are generally a useful breed. Love them or hate them, they do serve a useful purpose, more so if, instead of panicking, you prepare some good questions and know your desired result up front.

My experience is that it’s typically people who are afraid of dealing with matters head on that are afraid of lawyers. My only advice to them: in that case, get ready to lose every battle by default if you won’t deal with lawyers.

A good lawyer often will help you get the most out of any awkward situation, and, of course, is an essential ally in a real battle!