There is a lot of talk going around about what is sparking joy in your life. I thought I’d share what art supplies make me happy and that I enjoy using. Please leave comments about what is sparking joy for you! 

Note – I have no affiliations with these products.

Painting –

Brushes – I’ve never spent much on paint brushes and bought whatever was cheap and available. As I’ve taken my art more seriously, I have been trying different products. I bought Simply Simmons round point and flat brushes for both acrylic and watercoloring. I do have a set dedicated to acrylics and WC, since acrylics are very hard on the bristles. For about $2 a brush from, Dick, give them a try. If you want to up the game, try the Escoda Versatil brushes also available at Blick.


Acrylic Paints – Again, I have tried many brands over the years and I love my Golden Acrylics, but my new favorites are Paper Artsy acrylic paints from the UK. The pigmentation is outstanding and they dry with a bit of a chalky finish. Paints come in opaque, semi transparent and transparent. I found mine at, Ephemera –, in Paducah, KY.  The owner, Kristen is happy to ship.

While on the topic of acrylic paints, I can’t say enough good things about, Masterson Sta-Wet Palette. Typically, I mixed my acrylics on a paper plate. More often than not, they would dry out during a session. The Sta-Wet Palette has a special paper and sponge system to keep the paints wet for at least a week #moneysaver! Available at Blick.

Watercolors – Gansai watercolors from Japan have been a staple and are good quality watercolors. What’s igniting joy are watercolors from Daniel Smith and the German brand Schmincke (professional grade Horadam Aquarell). I am really finding that investing in supplies makes a big difference when it comes to pigmentation and mixing colors. You don’t have to go whole hog, just pick up one tube or pan and give them a try. Available on the web.

If you love metallic watercolors, a must have are watercolors from Coliro or Fine Tec both are made in Germany. Colors are simply amazing! Available from Amazon –, or Blick.



Fountain Pens – Either for writing letters or adding detail to watercolors, fountain pens are a must have. A great entry level pen is the Platinum Carbon pen for about $9 and found on Amazon. They come with ink cartridges, but you can buy a converter and buy bottle inks. Step it up a bit and get a TWSBI ECO or a Lamy, both at about $29. I love the Lamy AL Joy with a 1.9 stub. This pen makes my penmanship look great. Both pens are available from Goulet Pen Company – Intimidated by fountain pens? Goulet has a fabulous library of short videos on fountain pens and maintenance. 


Washi Tape – I have too much washi tape and seldom used it as it was stored willy nilly. I found a storage container at Michaels designed just for washi tape with multiple bins to separate colors and themes. Score one for Joy!


Handmade Paper – Through my travels and gifts from friends and family I had tubes of beautiful papers that were stored at the top of the closet. Not likely for me to use them there! I did have to cut them down, but they are now stored flat (key!) in an Itoya 13”x19” porfolio. Genius! 

Ephemera – I am a paperholic and I love all kinds of paper. I have a stash of ephemera and wasn’t using it. Stay tuned! I will be posting examples of how I store it and how I am incorporating it into my artwork! 


Podcasts on Art, Crafting and Pens – I am a lifelong learner and I enjoy online classes and YouTube, but there is something about listening to the radio that I like. I can now combine listening and learning while creating by listening to podcasts. There are many podcasts out there, but here are a few that I have found, Art Supply Posse, Erasable, RSVP, and The Pen Addict.

It’s the Little Things –

Eraser – Hard to believe that I would find joy in an eraser, but I do! My Moo Eraser was only $2.99 and it takes up even the darkest lines and doesn’t leave marks or tear the paper. Available on Amazon.

Teflon Bone Folder – Seriously, is there a difference?? There is and for about $12 this large flat teflon bone folder is triggering joy. Available on Amazon.

Chop Stick Holder – What? How did that end up on the list? Pens and brushes roll off the table all the time. Using a chop stick holder to rest the pen or brush ends that frustration! Shop local to find one!

Soap – Yes, soap. My hands are always full of paint, inks, gesso, etc. and I have tried so many soaps with limited success. I stumbled upon, “The Masters” Artist Soap, and now have clean hands – ah the little things!


Luna – My cat Luna, my constant companion in the studio. She brings me joy each day!

What’s sparking your joy? Please share!

Spark more joy for me by commenting, liking and sharing this post!



Starting with a background that is all black seems quite strange, after all, where is the white space?!? I did just that when I used black gesso on an entire deck of playing cards. The adventure began during a class with Seth Apter, US based mixed media artist, instructor designer and author.  I joined Seth for his, Fifty-Two Card Pick-Up class, at Valley Stamp and Scrap  Using mixed media techniques we created a unique mixed media journal with a deck of playing cards. Techniques included paints, inks, stencils, pencils, stamps and ephemera. 


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Think Spring!!

Here are two quick cards that took less than ten minutes to make. I hope that they inspire you to think that Spring is right around the corner.


The butterflies were die cut from alcohol inked Yupo paper, by Legion Paper, which can be found on Amazon,  Alcohol inks used were Rangers, Tim Holtz inks, Ranger – or Tim Holtz – The two smaller butterflies are Sizzix, Thinlits, Tim Holtz – 661802 – and the big butterfly is from Gina Marie Designs. The Hello stamp is from Studio 18 and the Thank You is a PSX stamp.


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Mixing it Up with Powdered Pigment!


I love playing with dried paint pigment and my favorites are Bisters, Brushos and Color Burst; although, there are other brands available. This techniques uses a stencil to create a very unique image.



  • Tape down stencil to watercolor paper. You don’t want the water to seep under the stencil, so make sure the stencil is flat.
  • Sprinkle Brusho’s (or other dried paint pigment) over the stencil.
  • Spritz the open areas of stencil with water. Blot with paper towel if too wet. I use the actual paper towel roll to roll over stencil to blot. (Save the paper towels. I will show you how to use them in backgrounds in another post).
  • Repeat until desired color is achieved.
  • Blot stencil with paper towel and remove it.
  • Cut image and mount on card base.


StencilGirl Products – Dragon Stencil

Art Profolio holder.

Tip – As you can see the stencil is quite large and bigger than a card size. Cut the rest of the stencil up to make great card or ATC backgrounds.

Storage Tip – I have many stencils and I have found a wonderful storage solution, I use a 14″ x 11″ Art Profolio by Itoya available at Dick Blick –

More Info on Dried Paint Pigments – If you want to see more examples, I have a Facebook group – Bister, Brusho, and Color Burst Enthusiasts, check it out!

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Mail Call! Oh, the cards that I’ve sent…


I recently posted a video from a little girl who received one of my cards and her adorable reaction. I started to think about all of the hundreds of cards that I have sent and if anyone kept them. I actually have been sending a card to each of my three children since they went off to college. All three have kept EVERY card that I have sent! I asked my friends and other family members if they kept my cards and the photos started coming in. Here are just a few of their favorites! Please comment if you want me to provide details on any one.











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Fall Fox Cards!

Everything old becomes new again and that is the case with these cute fox cards made using three dimensional stickers. I found the stickers at, Picture This Scrapbook & They carry a complete line of these stickers for all occasions and each package provides enough stickers for three cards. (The stickers are from the Netherlands and I haven’t found other sources besides this store.) I designed the cards above and the cards below came from a kit sold at the store (they ship).



These cards came as a kit from, Picture This Scrapbook and More.

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Beautiful Cards Using Transparencies!

These unique cards were made using transparencies. I purchased some of my transparencies from Stamp On It – Stamp On It has a great supply with pages and pages of transparencies of different holidays, floral designs, Victorian, nature scenes and religious themes. Stamp, Scrap ‘n More – carries acetates by Susan Louise. Look for the acetates under Speciality Papers. My favorite place to get transparencies is from The Mark-it Place. Jill, the owner, is revamping their website, but you can contact her at and she will send a PDF version of all the sheets.


Transparency from The Mark-it Place

While I purchased these transparencies, if you have a good printer you can take a favorite image and print it directly on a piece of acetate. I really like the acetate from The Paper Cut – for printing transparencies.


Transparency from Stamp On It. Stamp Let it Snow from QKR Stampede –

To create a shimmering and sparkly card, I back the transparency with holographic paper.  Holographic paper can be found at Marco’s Paper – and on Amazon – 


Transparency from The Mark-it Place. Merry Christmas stamp Craft Smart –

I hope that these cards inspire you to try a different technique! Please share my creations using the buttons below. IMG_3396.jpg

Transparency from The Market-it Place. With Caring Thoughts from Stampin’ Up –


Transparency from The Mark-it. Thank for you stamp from Stampin’ Up! –

Sparkly Cards Using Dryer Sheets!

I like to upcycle and figure out creative ways to use products in new ways. These cards were made with used dryer sheets! The dryer sheet adds dimension and the applied glitter makes a beautiful card.



Tim Hotlz Distress Markers where used on this card –


  • If dryer sheet is very wrinkled, iron on lowest heat setting. 
  • Stamp image on card stock with either ink pad or by coloring stamp with markers. If using colored markers, huff on the stamp before stamping paper. A stamp positioner really helps with layering multiple colors.
  • Once ink is dry, place paper in spray box and spray the paper with the adhesive.  Carefully place the dryer sheet on top of card stock.  Run finger over the dryer sheet to ensure contact.  Trim dryer sheet to size of card stock.
  • Spray stamped dryer sheet again with adhesive.  Hold the card stock over the glitter tray shake glitter over the image.  Tap off excess.  Swiffer up excess. 
  • Assemble card.


Poinsettia stamp, Warm Glow, by Penny Black –

Local King Rubber Markers – 


Tim Holtz Paper Dolls and Tim Holtz word stickers –

Stampscapes trees – 


Fall Into Color!

Fall is a glorious time of the year and I enjoy making cards in the beautiful colors of the season. In making this card, I wanted a variety of colors in the card. I found that it is a great way to use the coordinating paper packs that I had accumulated. Since you are using multiple colors you will end up with enough for four cards. The cards could easily be made with colors from any season. 


  • Paper colors of your choice for base. I used paper from The Paper Cut – and Marco’s Paper – 
  • Four papers in coordinating colors. I used Bo Bunny paper – 
  • Gold card stock
  • Cream color card stock
  • Gina Marie Designs Leaf die. I purchased mine from Let’s Create 
  • Fall word die from Cheery Lynn Designs – 
  • Jewel rhinestones to coordinate with paper
  • Tim Holtz Distress ink Carved Pumpkin – 
  • Bone folder – my favorite is Martha Stewart’s
  • Paper trimmer – Fiskars 12” ProCision Rotary Bypass Trimmer – 
  • Tape runner
  • Die cutting machine – Tim Holtz Vagabond 2 – 
  • Piecing tool – Tonic Studios Tim Holtz 372 Retractable Craft Pick – and 
  • Tombow Aqua mono liquid glue – 
  • Foam pop dots
  • Four small bowls
  • Blending tool – I use Tim Holtz blending tool.
  • Paper towel
  • Craft mat – I like the craft mat from Heidi Swapp –



  • It is easier to make four cards at one time for this project.
  • Cut four paper bases cut to A2 wallet size. Fold over and create sharp fold with bone folder.
  • Cut leaf die four times with four different pattern papers using die cutting machine. Place each cut die in a separate bowl to avoid confusion later on. Separate pieces.
  • Cut Fall word die four times from gold card stock with die cutting machine. 
  • From each of the four color papers cut one 3.25” x 1” piece.
  • Cut four cream color card stock pieces 3”x .75”. Blend Carved Pumpkin ink around the edges of the paper with blending tool. Adhere to 3.25” x 1” piece with tape. Adhere Fall word to cream color paper with Tombow glue.
  • Adhere cut frame to card base with Tombow glue. Use pieces from one bowl to fill in one frame section. Move on to next bowl for next section, etc. Blot each section with paper towel to remove excess glue.
  • Adhere Fall to card base with foam pop dots.
  • Adhere jewels to each of the corners.

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