Showing posts with label art supplies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label art supplies. Show all posts

Monday, August 6, 2018

Mosaics By Maria Review

Looking for mosaic tiles? Glass tiles in the size, shape and color needed for your mosaic tile or glass projects can be difficult to find whether it be an online merchant or bricks and mortar store.

Quality glass tile can be difficult to obtain as brick and mortar stores which carry a wide selection, are very tough to find even in large cities.



I have tried more than a few tile sources and always return to the tried and true online store of Mosaics By Maria.When I was learning to create mosaic tile projects it was my teacher/mentor who referred me to Mosaics By Maria and it was a wise recommendation indeed.

Variety Of Mosaic Tiles


Mosaic tilers and stained glass artists know how much labor is involved with crafting pieces requiring small intricate glass cuts. Pieces take hours to make and the less time nipping glass the better!

Mosaics By Maria offers rectangles, squares, mini rectangles, skinnies in a variety of sizes between 1 inch and 1/4 inch; cut with accuracy for a clean and straight edge. For those of us who tend to wander when attempting to cut a straight line these tiles are perfect for backgrounds as is or can be easily nipped to adjust the size.


Off Cut Mosaic Tiles


Off cut tiles are the remnants or scraps from the cutting of tiles from large glass sheet. Mosaics By Maria always has a large selection of off cuts sold in bulk. The off cuts are all shapes and sizes which are a must have if you tile regularly. I love the off cuts in white and black as these are colors always needed when tiling and the off cuts are a nice saving for your time, tile budget and preventing tiler elbow!


Glass Tile Sheets Offer Convenience


Smaller glass sheets are also available and the main attraction is the smaller size! Glass sheets from commercial suppliers are usually large and difficult to manage for the hobby tiler. The glass sheets must be cut down multiple times before the glass can be sized to a smaller home mosaic pieces. Mosaics By Maria offers 6 inch square glass sheets which are easy to store and easy to use.
I like to use the sheets for projects such as Chauncey The Lion.




Chauncey is made with abstract cuts from a glass sheet to form the lion.





Giraffe Mom made with pre-cut tiles in squares and rectangles nipped to size.


Turning Your Dog Into A Mosaic Tile


Yes, I turned my dog into a mosaic tile as a Christmas gift for Grandma Dog. It may seem a bit overwhelming for a novice tiler to transform a pet into a mosaic tile, but I promise a DIY er can do it. If you are interested in turning your dog or cat (fish, gerbil, rabbit!)into a mosaic tile, I provide a tutorial here.




This project was a combination of using pre cut square tiles and a glass sheet cut abstractly for the background.

Recommendation

I highly recommend Mosaics By Maria for quality mosaic tiles. Check out her new website to order tiles online. My orders have always been shipped quickly, the orders have been accurate and I love the selection of pre-cut tiles to meet all your mosaic tiling needs. Always a pleasure to support a company or service which delivers as promised.

My Favorite Tile Nipper


I'm frequently asked what tile nipper I would recommend. I have definitely tried quite a few and always go back to one of the most affordable nippers which performs well consistently. I have found the Roberts/q.e.p. Glass Tile Nipper far outperforms the much more expensive tile nippers.







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Monday, April 9, 2018

Reviewing the Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Colour Compact

Reviewing the Cotman Water Colours Compact.
Are your friends or family members artistic? Do you need a gift idea for that artist? The Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Colour Compact set is an appreciated gift.

The Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Colour Compact set comes complete with 14 “half pans” of watercolor, a small field brush, and a detachable water cup. Winsor & Newton is a respected name in the world of art supplies and paints. The half pans can be removed and replaced when a frequently used color runs out. Or exchanged for other colors that are needed for the current painting.  The case closes and is slim - easy to slip into a backpack, bag, or purse.

Over the years, I have found that it is difficult to buy gifts for the artists in my family. I would love to be artistic, but I’m just not. So I love to nurture the creativity of the artists who surround me and live vicariously through them. The only problem has been that artists usually have very strong opinions of the supplies they prefer to use. I have found it so intimidating to purchase art gifts over the years that I have usually stuck with the “safe” things. Gift cards. Or the pad of paper that they use the most frequently. Blah. Boring.

Artists are often very particular about certain brushes for certain projects. It’s so overwhelming that I tend to stick with the gift card safety net. However, I occasionally want to purchase something that, over time, he can think, “I remember when Dawn gave this to me”. That would mean that I’ve chosen something useful to him, something he likes, and of good quality.

Apparently, one year, I managed to do that. Time has gone by so I can’t recall what the occasion was. But, I gifted an artistic friend a Cotman Watercolor Compact. 

He is often outdoors; taking long scenic drives, camping, fishing, and hiking on a regular basis. When he goes out he often takes the Cotman Watercolor Compact along. If he sees something that interests him, he does a quick sketch or painting.

I asked him why he likes this item and he went on a long explanation about why certain paints (i.e Windsor Newton Cotman) are of such high quality due to the pigments and how they are made. My eyes glazed over. So he started over and summarized with the following:

“It’s high quality”

“It’s durable. I’ve sat on it and it’s fine”

“Any brand of half pan paint will fit”

“I love the portability”

“It doesn’t become stained except for the creases where you would expect some staining”

“I do prefer Cotman pigments”

“Although the Van Gogh pigments are good too”

“I really have no complaints about it” but then went on to say “the little brush was okay, not the best, but I take my own along anyway”.

Of course he does.




If you have an artist/painter on your gift list, consider the Cotman Watercolor Compact. I think your artist will love it too. I bought this gift years ago (in 2013 if I recall correctly) and have seen first hand that it is still in use and is appreciated. 


A riverside plein air painting (photo taken in 2013)




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Monday, July 3, 2017

Reviewing Colorful Pens, Pencils, and Coloring Books

Traveling doodles
I recently spent several days in a row attending presentations. Oh how the time drags when I sit for hours on end. Fortunately, I had several of my InkJoy pens with me, which made note-taking and doodling more interesting. However, I regretted not bringing along some coloring pages or one of my journals with me. I doodled so much on the training handouts that my notes ended up being illegible. With so many different coloring items available, it was an oversight on my part to not take sufficient adult "fidgets" with me. An oversight that won't happen again. I am writing this as both a reminder for myself and a review of some of the best adult coloring and journaling items available.


Adult Coloring Books


Bev shared with us the gift her husband gave her for Valentine's Day - Midnight Garden Coloring Book. Prior to her review of this adult coloring book, I hadn't been aware that coloring books with black backgrounds existed. What a great idea! the black backgrounds result in vibrant finished pages.

Adult coloring books are so much in demand that they are now offered in "travel" or "on-the-go" sizes. These small coloring books are the perfect size for me. They fit in my work bag so I will be able to take them with me everywhere I go. The spiral-bound books are the best for laying the books flat and coloring ease.


on-the-go coloring books with travel pouch included

Colorful Pens


I mentioned my InkJoy pens. I find those ball point pens to be the best for doodling, note-taking, and journaling.  The colors are vibrant, the ink doesn't blob, and InkJoy pens are readily available in local stores and online. I really like being able to journal or take notes in a wide range of colors. one day I may be in a "blue" mood and another day I may want to write in pink, or orange, purple, or brown.

While my InkJoy pens are perfect for doodling, journaling, and taking colorful notes gel pens are better for coloring pages. This highly rated set of premium gel pens include metallic, glitter, and neon colors.


premium gel pens set with case and refills 



Colorful Pencils


I tend toward colored ink and fine-tipped colored markers rather than colored pencils. But I know many people who prefer a quality colored pencil. How fortunate we are that our own Heather has created high quality colored pencils and offers them for sale to the public! If you create with colored pencils you must check out her pencils at Aurora Art Supplies.



Related Link - Beautiful Blank Journals


It never, ever fails... when I'm sitting somewhere and am trying to be attentive, my mind wanders. I come up with the best blog ideas or I remember the forgotten grocery list items. When I don't have a journal available, I write these random thoughts down on scraps of paper, only to loose that scrap of paper. 

I realize that currently, most people write notes and reminders on their phone. I have occasionally sent myself a text message as a reminder. However, I still tend to do better with written reminders to myself. Or some of my thoughts and reminders are too long for a text message to myself. If I put my thoughts or lists in a journal, I can find them later when I need them.

Blank journals come in many shapes, sizes, and attractive designs. They also come in lined and unlined options. I find that I rely on blank journals for writing and remembering the old fashioned way.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Monday, November 7, 2016

Reviewing InkJoy Pens - Popular and Colorful Pens

The factors that make me loyal to certain brands of pens are: low-cost, high quality, and reliability. I'm not asking for much, am  I? I don't think I am and I've found that with the InkJoy retractable, ballpoint pens, all of those needs are met. Recently, I ran out of my own personal stash of pens at work the other day and I realized I should recommend these pens to others. I should spread the joy. InkJoy pens are my first choice of pens for work and personal writing. 


Highly Recommended - InkJoy Ballpoint Pens by Paper Mate 


There are many reasons I love these pens enough to buy my own for work, rather than use the free pens that work provides.  

Reliability - These pens work every single time I pick one up.  There's nothing worse than being in a meeting, or trying to write down a phone number when someone is speaking quickly, and have the pen not work at all, or work only after your hurridley scribble in order to get the ink flow moving again. Annoying!  

No Ink Blobs - I really, really, REALLY hate running my hand through an ink blob on the paper. Smeary ink and blobs are so frustrating.  My InkJoy pens have never left a blob.


InkJoy colors 20 count
Inexpensive - Each time I purchase a pack of InkJoy pens, I compare with the less expensive "stick" pens.  I'm a penny-pincher so I try to remember to compare costs.  The InkJoy pens are usually slightly more expensive than the stick pens. But not by much. The cost tends to even out as I throw away a few of the stick pens that blob or do not work well. Also, my purchase of InkJoy pens is more costly than the free pens the agency supplies to employees. But I'd rather pay a few dollars for the reliability.

Color choices - At work I am limited to black ink.  When I pay bills, I often rebel and use blue ink. But, when I write journal entries, notes in my day planner, and other personal items, I go for the InkJoy color pens.  It is so much fun to use the variety of colors.


Ballpoint or gel pens - I prefer the retractable, medium ballpoint pens. However, InkJoy also makes a gel pen variety that is very popular. I cannot keep the InkJoy gel pens in my office.


InkJoy black ballpoint


Many Uses for InkJoy Color Pens (ballpoint or gel pens)

  • addressing holiday or special occasion envelopes
  • creation of eye-catching and pretty invitations
  • letter writing
  • scrapbooking
  • journaling
  • drawing and doodling
  • making those to-do and grocery lists more fun
  • gifts for artists, children, people who journal, and so on
  • popular school store item and/or children's rewards
  • and so much more - take a peek at the very short video and just imagine what you could do


Related Links

Journals - Technology makes writing and recording things as easy as a tap of a key or a flip of a switch. But I love journaling. There is something that increases my creativity when I use the process of hand-writing. Read about Writing and Remembering the Old-Fashioned Way

Drawing and Coloring - Colored pencils are a fun and popular way to create and color. Our very own Heather has created her own line of high-quality colored pencils. If you are giving art supplies as gifts or are yourself artistic, check out Heather's introduction to Aurora Art Supplies

Poster-Sized Color - In the event you need BIG and bold colors, for posters and such, Sharpies are amazing. Sharpies come in marker-sized "fine point", "chisel tip", and "extra bold marker point". 
Colorful Sharpies for those large creations



introduction graphic design created by the author using FotoJet




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Why I Decided to Create Aurora Art Supplies™ Coloring Pencils...

Review of Aurora Art Supplies Colored Pencils

...And why I am writing a review of my own colored pencils.
Aurora Art Supplies coloring pencils
Aurora-ArtSupplies.com

Ever since I published my first coloring book last year I have been getting lots of letters from fans and questions about which colored pencils I recommend. I also color myself, and my artist husband colors his sketches before he paints, so we have a lot of colored pencils at our house. I wanted to find out which ones are best for which types of coloring so I bought a bunch of them. There is quite a variety of coloring pencils, so it can be an adventure to choose the right ones.

Then in the midst of this experiment, I read that due to the worldwide coloring craze going on, stores are having trouble keeping them in stock! Some people in my coloring groups were telling me that they had to wait for over 3 months to get the ones they want.
A light bulb went off in my head. What if I could create some really high quality coloring pencils that are not so costly as the ones available right now?

So I asked around in my groups for a list of what people are looking for in a coloring pencil. Not everyone wants the same thing of course, but there are some common themes. Colorists want creamy coloring pencils with colors that blend easily. They want a variety of colors. They mostly like hexagonal shaped pencils so they won't roll off the table. They want longer ones. Many coloring pencils come in 5 inch lengths, and people feel ripped off. By the time you sharpen them a few times you are dealing with a stubby pencil. And they want them to be strong enough that they won't break easily. A big request was that the pencils be usable as water color pencils by adding water. And they want them to be affordable. Whew! That's a long wish list!

coloring pencils


But I took my list and started talking to suppliers in China. (I really wanted to find an American supplier, but had no luck, so I went to China. Even some of the most expensive coloring pencils are made there, and the factories are already set up so all you have to do is give them your specifications.) One of the first things on my list of specifications was a larger lead inside the pencil so that the lead would be stronger, and the pencils would last longer. (Of course it's not real lead, and it's non toxic!) Then I made sure mine are 7 inches long. All of those factors mean you are already getting more for your money than you would with a lot of coloring pencils. Then I had the supplier give me lots of different formulas to choose from. I selected a formula that is wax based, but with less wax than a lot of them, and more pigment. This makes it possible to add a little water to your pencil and blend so the result is somewhat like the effect of water colors on the finished art.

For my first product, I chose a set of 48 colored pencils, which gives a variety of colors and since they blend easily you can make other colors by blending 2 or more of them. In the future I will add a set of 72, and a smaller set of 36. I will also add different types of coloring pencils, for example, very soft chalk type oil based pencils. (like Prismacolors) I also plan to add colored markers and high quality artist brushes to my line of products. Aurora Art Supplies™ is just getting started as a company, but it's here to stay. Stay tuned for many more products! You can see the company website here: Aurora Art Supplies™

Here is my first set of colored pencils, available now at Amazon. I already have happy customers. You can see for yourself they are vibrant! I included a mini coloring book of flowers hand drawn by me for the first 1000 customers. I hope everyone will love them!





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:


The Review This Contributors

Cynthia SylvestermouseCynthia SylvestermouseDawn Rae BDawn Rae BMary Beth - mbgphotoMary Beth - mbgphotoBrite-IdeasBrite-IdeasBev OwensBev OwensWednesday ElfWednesday ElfBarbRadBarbRadOlivia MorrisOlivia MorrisRenaissanceWoman2010Renaissance
Woman2010
Lou16Lou16The Savvy AgeThe Savvy AgeTreasures by BrendaTreasures by BrendaMargaret SchindelMargaret SchindelBuckHawkBuckHawkDecoratingforEventsDecorating
forEvents
Heather426Heather426Coletta TeskeColetta TeskeMissMerFaeryMissMerFaeryMickie_GMickie_G

 

Review This is Dedicated to the Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor
We may be apart, but You Are Not Forgotten

Susan DeppnerSusan Deppner

“As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from purchases.” Disclosure Statement

X