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My go-to Art Supplies

Alrighty… here it is! A little while ago I did a poll on Instagram to see if people would like to know my favourite supplies. The vote was yes so here is that blog post long overdue!

Note: any links are not affiliate links. I am not associated with the brands nor do I represent them. Just sharing what I love to use!

Calligraphy & Lettering Pens

Tombow Fudenosuke Calligraphy Pens

Hands down my #1 favourite lettering pen and go-to for every card! These pens come in a hard tip and soft tip. My first preference is the hard tip which is easier to use as a beginner, but both are relatively easy to control and the hard tip pens also come in 10 vibrant colours now!

Like I mentioned, I use them on cards for the calligraphy and sometimes to outline designs, as well. They are also my favourite for addressing envelopes since they have waterproof ink (can’t stop me now Rain-couver!).

PROS

  • Waterproof ink
  • 10 Colour options
  • easy to control

CON

  • That you have to replace it eventually?

Tombow Dual Brush Pens

These brush pens are a lot thicker and bigger than the Fudenosuke pens and they are water-based which means they’re not permanent but can be used for some pretty watercolour designs!

I use them most for miscellaneous projects like notebooks customizations, quick cards and various lettering projects!

PROS

  • Amazing Colours
  • So Many options for blending colours!

CON

  • a bit pricey (cheaper at Michael’s with a coupon than on Amazon)

Fine Tip Pens

I have gone through a lot of fine tip pens… the Sakura Micron, Zebra Sarasa, Muji gel pens, Staedtler fine liners, Stabilo fine liners, and many others. I loved them all about the same but the one thing that drives me crazy is how the tip becomes a little bit thicker as you write (just gonna happen). But the one I found the last the longest is the Sakura Micron PN (plastic nib). I only really use the black but if you’re looking for nice colours, the zebra sarasa have a wide selection (as well as staedtler triples fine liners and stabilo fine liners).

Watercolour Supplies

Angora Water Colors

I tried a couple different sets and also some random tube paints I found at Homesense. But this one was easily my favourite! The texture was smooth, colours were beautiful (and also mixed nice colours), and it is super portable! This one was given to me as a gift and it has been well worn. Only thing I can’t recommend is the best place to buy it.

Daniel Smith Watercolors

When I was ready to invest in a high quality set of watercolors, I found Daniel Smith to have consistently high reviews! I have not personally experienced comparison with other high end paints but I don’t regret this purchase. The colours are vibrant, the set is gorgeous and even when dry, the paint goes on smoothly. I really enjoyed picking out the colours I wanted in my palette and the carrier is super portable and classy!

Paper

I haven’t really tried a lot of papers but having watercolour paper as opposed to normal cardstock is very important! I’ve been satisfied with the Canson Watercolor paper pads that you can find at any art store. I usually purchase mine at Michaels with a coupon.

Brushes

I’ve used the Michaels brand “Artist’s Loft” brushes and these have been very reliable. But I also use Princeton brushes. I found some at Hobby Lobby and purchased my most recent set through Opus. No complaints, I’ve found both reliable depending on your price range!

Markers

Sharpie Oil-based Pens

For anything permanent, the Sharpie oil-based markers have been my favourite. I’ve used them in various projects such as decorating Christmas ornaments, decorating my Bible or even my laptop. Just keep in mind they will come off non-porous surfaces with rubbing alcohol (or hand sanitizer) so if you need it to hold up to lots of hand contact then you may want to test it before committing. But I love how the tips come in various sizes; even super fine! I usually purchase this one at Michaels with a coupon as Amazon can have surprisingly high costs sometimes.

Kassa Chalk Pens

The best chalk markers when you need erasable! For non-permanent designs, these are my first choice. They come in various colours and two sizes of pen tip. These i purchase through Amazon. Also, they’re a small business!

If you have questions feel free to comment or reach out to me! I’d love to help you get creative!

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Cookies & Christmas Elsewhere

 Christmas Eve is less than one week away, and I am excited! Exams are finally over and now I can freely think about Christmas. This year, I didn’t get around to making Christmas cards (*sad face*) but I added Christmas touches to things elsewhere! Here’s 3 of those things.

 

1. Christmas Gingerbread Cookies

I made these for the first time last year and knew I just had to again! They’re pretty easy to make and super easy to share too! I just got around to the first batch and we’ll have to see how far they make it (they will probably disappear before anyone outside the house sees them… and not because they ran away haha).

 

2. Merry Christmas Tags

I also decided to hand out candy canes to my Sunday school girls and friends. But I couldn’t let them go straight from the box to my friends… so I added a little tag! Had to put my new calligraphy pen to the test.

 

3. Mini Christmas Lights

The warmth these tiny lights have adds so much to the atmosphere of Christmas. It gives such an extra special feeling! I probably have too many of them…

 

But why do I like these things? They’re fun things to get me in the Christmas spirit. They mark the season of Christmas which is a special, unique time of the year where we can celebrate the fact that Jesus was born. I so often forget to remind myself how important this actually is. God sent His Son Jesus to live a perfect life and take my sin upon Himself. Wow! How great is our God!

 

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6

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Christmas Hand Warmer Gifts

I started looking for Christmas gifts early… earlier than my usual. The instant I saw these* hand warmers, I fell in love with them. Mostly because my toes and fingers are always cold. But also because it meant I could make a bunch for under $20. SCORE!!! So now, here’s the details on how I made them.

 

The supplies I used for the hand warmers:

  • 100% cotton fabric
  • Sewing machine & thread
  • Fabric scissors
  • Pinking shears
  • Jasmine rice
  • Funnel

 

First I cut my little squares from the fabric using a measured piece of paper as my stencil. I made each square 4 inches x 4 inches.

 

I had two patterns of fabric because I wanted each hand warmer to have two different sides. I placed them wrong-side together so that the patterns were facing outwards. Sewed them together using a sewing machine with 3/8 inches hanging out from the edge. Started with a backstitch so the end of the threads won’t fray and then sewed all the way around leaving a 1/2 inch to inch of room so I could fill it with rice.

 

Time to pull out the rice! I used jasmine rice because apparently it smells the least funny when microwaved.  I also used a funnel to get the rice into the hand warmer easily.

 

It still got a little messy… but I managed to fill them about 3/4 full. After they were ready, I pinned it and sewed it up.

 

To tidy the edges, I used pinking shears. I didn’t even know they existed until this craft! But they’re the coolest thing. They trim the edges in a cute zig-zag pattern AND it doesn’t fray! I even tried intentionally fraying it and it didn’t.

 

Voila! This was my finished product. I didn’t even have perfect cut lines, sew lines or trimming lines. Yet they’re still adorable! Plus, they work really well. 20-30 seconds of microwaving and they’re nice and hot!

 

Like I mentioned, I was planning to use them as gifts. So I tied them up with some twine, added a tag and artificial berries (from Michaels of course).

 

For the tags I used a water brush, embossing powder and heat. This technique is called embossing. It’s  more effective using ink rather than water though (the merry & bright was done in ink).

 

And I’m ready for gifting mid-way November. WOOT WOOT! Too excited for Christmas already.

 

Now just to make the Christmas cards to go along with them! More crafting in store for me. YAY! Giving gifts is one of my favourite ways to celebrate the season. Not only do I get to craft but I love seeing people light up at little things. It’s another way to show God’s love to my friends.

 

“We love because He first loved us.”

-1 John 4:19

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My Hand Lettering Basics

I love all kinds of writing – simple, fancy, calligraphy, brush lettering, typography. It’s an art form, and I do love all things art. Here are some of the basics I have self-taught myself. I’m no expert, just sharing what helps me!

 

1.Fonts

There are three main basic types of fonts I notice myself using. It’s either printing, cursive or something in between. I like to practice each of them because they all give a different look. In my everyday notes, I use printing. Lately, cursive has been sneaking in a lot more though!

 

2. Caps

Having words in all caps or all lowercase makes a statement too. I really like interweaving both.

 

3. Block or Bubble letters

FUN! Trying either makes words bold or playful. They also leave a lot of room for colouring. Yes, colours!

 

4. Faux Calligraphy/brush lettering

Here it is, the trendy type of hand lettering. This is my actual favourite. When I first started, I usually did faux calligraphy. It’s the easiest one to start with because first you only have to focus on your words. Then you go back afterwards and fill out the thick lines. The key to this is down strokes. Think about when your pen was travelling down and when it travelled up. The places it travelled down is what you want to make thicker.

Brush pens will help you create the thick down strokes as you go, but they’re a little trickier. I’ve only recently started using them after doing a bunch of faux calligraphy.

 

5. Baselines

Huh? The baseline of your letters! When writing anything on line paper, you have one baseline. But after looking up ideas of other peoples’ work, I noticed some of them had a nice bounce to it.

 

6. Extras

For that extra “wow”, here are some of the things I add to my writing.

I like to add dots to the first and last letters. Always three and always at opposite heights. Love the lines too, especially with some faux calligraphy (like the words “send me” below).

Serif vs. sans-serif. The little lines you see on any fonts. I usually only add them to printing, and especially all caps letters.

Shadowing, I ironically forgot to shadow it. haha (But it is in the word “this” in the first picture.) The key to shadowing is imagining a light source coming from a corner of the paper. For example, in the word “this” above, the light source would’ve been in the bottom left corner. In other words, I shade on top and to the right of the letters.

When I say shading, I’m referring to colouring in the letters with an ombre effect. Better with pencil crayons than marker.

 

7. Mix Fonts

I most often mix capital printed letters with the faux calligraphy. The key is remembering that opposites attract! It breaks up the consistency of having only one type of font – although that has its place too.

 

8. Borders

This is another extra thing that is outside the box of writing, but it adds a lot to your work. I love using lines to simply frame it. Flowers and leaves are gorgeous too. And wreaths are really in. (which is a whole other topic!)

 

Then I pull it all together, mix and match and write anything out! My go-to is Bible verses. What better way to think about scripture as I write it out all fancy?

And for some extra inspiration (hopefully!), here’s some more examples of my hand lettering!

Here’s a document I created for a workshop on hand lettering at camp. It includes these basic topics I mentioned. I’m no expert and this is not an exhaustive list by any means, but these are some things I’ve noticed that help me add to my hand lettering. Going through each point and trying different styles is what helps make my writing better and more creative! It gets better after lots of practice, practice, and more practice! And it never goes boring on me.

 

Hand lettering

 

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Painting for Participation

So what exactly do I mean by painting for participation? Well, you see, Halloween is coming up. This year it falls on Tuesday which is when I have one of my linguistics classes. Our (super fun) prof is encouraging us to dress up all Linguistics themed in order to gain an extra participation point! So, of course, I pulled out the paint in order to get that point. Here’s how I designed and made my own t-shirt!

 

The supplies I used:

  • Gildan t-shirt (I got mine at Michael’s)
  • Fabric paint (I used Tulip Soft Matte brush-on fabric paint in Blazin Blue, Diamond Glitter and White)
  • Freezer Paper
  • Paper and pencil
  • Ruler
  • Sharpie
  • Precision cutter/exacto knife
  • Sponge
  • Cardboard
  • Iron

 

First I drew a rough image of what I wanted to put on my t-shirt. This design is linguistics related because I needed it to fit for my class.

 

The little creatures are called “Wugs” and they’re from a language test (they’re also just really cute). I wrote friendship because… well just ’cause I liked it and then I wrote it in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). It’s similar to what dictionaries use to show us how to pronounce a word. But remember you can create any design you want!

 

Once I knew what I wanted on my t-shirt, I ripped off some freezer paper and copied my design in pencil with a few more lines for guidelines (I still freehand everything… to me, if it looks fine, no one will know I didn’t use precise measurements anyways haha). Remember to keep in mind how big it will be on your t-shirt though. You don’t want to design something too big or too small. You could also type out your words in a document if you don’t want to use your handwriting.

 

When I’m happy with how it looks, I trace the lines with Sharpie so it stands out nicely.

 

Then comes the tedious part. Cutting out every piece to create a stencil! All the Sharpie parts come out and don’t forget to keep the little white pieces from inside the letters. And make sure it’s done on a piece of cardboard so your stencil doesn’t end up on your table forever. It may be beautiful, but only on your t-shirt!

 

The last preparatory step is ironing on the stencil. It’s got to be perfect because this is it. Your design is going to be that way! And again, don’t forget those tiny lonesome pieces.

 

Stick that piece of cardboard inside the shirt to prevent it leaking through. And then finally, THE PAINT! I used white paint for all my outlines and a sponge to dab on the paint. I put on three things coats making sure that each one dried before I painted the next coat.

 

When I was done with my outlines, I wanted to add some SPARKLE. I’ve never been the biggest girly girl but I think some sparkle in the right places makes it so much better! I mixed the blue and glitter which ended up being transparent, but it still has a pretty blue tint to it. To apply it, I used a paint brush this time because I was filling in shapes rather than having the stencil make my lines.

 

After it all dried I peeled the stencil off and admired my new t-shirt (though it will inevitably mark me as a bit of a linguistics nerd!)

 

My family has never celebrated Halloween in a “normal” way and we’ve never been trick-or-treating. So, Halloween isn’t a big deal to us, but it sure was fun that because of this holiday I got to make this t-shirt for my university class! Even if only for one participation point!

 

P.S. I’ve also done this craft for groups of people and it’s loads of fun! Everyone (even university guys) felt accomplished to see what they could make.