So for today’s blog post I decided to write about the basic watercolor supplies that you should consider if you’re seriously considering to learn or do advance techniques in water color.
First and most important of all is the kind of watercolor paper. This was definitely a game changer for me when I started learning the water colors seriously. The teacher in the class I took put emphasis on the importance of it and she was definitely right. I’d recommend 100% cotton watercolor paper (the brand or type doesn’t matter). It’ll give you the best results. And not getting the results specially if you are a beginner can be quite frustrating. The student grade water color paper is fine if you’re doing line and wash technique but not for wet on wet and glazing etc. My personal favorite is Arches 140 lbs cold press pads. I get them from dick blick or jerry online or even Michael’s with a coupon. If you want to have a more affordable option on a block of watercolor paper I’d say go for Stonehenge aqua or fluid 100% cotton.
Then comes the brushes. For this I love my Black velvet round and flat brushes by Silver bush company. They’re the best ones that I’ve. I also used Princeton brushes initially. Heck I started out with Ikea brushes which are like $2 for a set and managed to achieve good enough results from those too till my fancy brushes arrived. Good brushes are important when you get into advance techniques. For simple coloring even inexpensive student grade brushes do the trick too.
And then comes the paint. I started out with the sketchbook from Sakura Koi. Then I ordered the M. Graham’s fro the recommendation of a youtuber and loved them! But the only problem with them is if you travel with them they leak in the pallete as they are bound by honey I believe. So I started getting Daniel smiths on the recommendation of Sandy Allnock. She even hooked me on to the Silver brushes and never looked back. The Daniel Smith essentials set of 6 tubes is good enough and reasonably priced to start out and you can get various color combinations from these. I wrote a blog post about it http://biamakani.com/color-chart-mixing-tip/
It is very useful for all the combinations you can get with just those 6 colors. Apart from these obvious supplies there are some more that I think would be helpful for you. First is the watercolor click and go cup by Faber castell. it’s easy to stash away and the groves on the top keeps the brushes from rolling around the table. I’ve 3 at my home. For me and my kids. They love to use watercolors too 😉
Another useful thing is a ceramic flower palette or even a plate to mic your colors. Ceramic is important and better after going through my fair share of plastic ones I think because it cleans up completely without staining and lasts longer too. A few pipettes or a dropper bottle is also good if you want to add water to the paints to re wet them. Paper towels or even microfiber cloth are good to blot the brushes. That’s all I can remember now with kids continuously interrupting me. I’ll add more later and more pictures too.
If you guys have any questions leave them in the comments below and I’ll reply to them ASAP 🙂
Have a great Monday!
New year new start I guess 🙂 I’ve been very non serious about blogging since my best buddy created it for me in 2010 I believe. A lot of changes happened in my life since then including doing my MBA, getting engaged during it, getting married after it, moving to the states, having 2 children so on and so forth. But finally at the end of this year it feels like now is the time I finally can do it. At least I’ll challenge myself to keep up with it even if its one post a week to may be 3 if I am feeling adventurous 😉
So for a fresh start I’ve decided to declutter and reorganize my stuff (don’t we all) and for that series my first thing that I tackled was my markers. So I came upon a video by Jennifer McGuire in which she talked about her latest way that she has reorganized her markers ( I’ll link here if I can— Need to learn how to do that) and that gave me an idea to do a twist on in. My markers were organized like her acrylic drawers for 2 years when I had the luxury of a craft room. Then we moved into our tiny home where my craft space is in my kitchen so everything gets into kids hands so I stowed them away. I didn’t make swatches like her that was the only difference.
So finally I got my markers out again. Not making the swatches for my previous 2 again for now (they are swatched on the caps like her previous system) but got Arteza markers on her recommendation and since they don’t have names on them so decided to do it on them. First of all I took a large sheet of watercolor paper and swatched all 48 on them like this with the help of an aqua brush (makes the process super fast) like this:
Then I cut them all into 1 inch strips like these:
Then I cut them into 1 inch squares and laid them down according to the sequence in the tray that they came in like this:
Then I used a scotch tape and taped them onto the individual markers like this. Hopefully I’ll be able to do that to my remaining markers someday. Super helpful.
Then I put them in an acrylic tray organizer from the container store. It’s the luxe acrylic large modular drawer. Initially got it for my makeup years ago but kids got into it so repurposed it for markers and now they fit the large markers like arteza and Tombows perfectly!
If you have tiny little humans getting into them like mine then you can also use these stackable units from ikea called KUGIS (box with lid) like I did previously and still do for all the “overflow” of markers I’ve (I’ve a lot that I intend to use finally) and they stack nicely like this. Perfect to keep away from those curious hands 😉
Hope you found this post helpful. If you’ve any questions leave them on the post below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Hope you get a very good and less colder start than us here for the new year! Cheers 🙂
Finally time to restart my blog after going through the first 3 months of dealing with a newborn and a toddler who turned 3 yesterday! Yikes. Time sure flies by. It’s not like I haven’t been crafting but I either was too lazy to write a post and posted it on Instagram or I totally forgot to take the pictures of the cards before sending them out! I know, a big mistake. But we all learn from our mistakes don’t we?
So since my toddler turned 3 yesterday, I’ll be throwing her a big party next week because I need some time to get together my handmade things that I planned to do for it in the middle of a move. I know. Too much on plate. But hopefully I’ll manage!
So today I am sharing the thank you notes that I am making for the guests that’ll come to the party. For this I am using a majority of Concord and 9th products, my new favorite company. I think I own a lot of their stuff by now (don’t tell the hubby 😉 ).
For the first card I used the concord and 9th Thanks die from their newest release. This die is awesome and I guess this was the one they referred to as Hugs 2.0 their famous hugs die from 2 releases back! I may be wrong. I used it just like you are supposed to line up the hugs die from the video I saw of Greg using that die. You can find it at their Youtube channel. Also Jennifer Mcguire also made a very informative video about it.
Then I covered the thanks word with Versamark ink and Tinsel Gold embossing powder by ranger and heat set that. After that I covered it with versa mark again and put clear embossing powder on it to lock that glitter embossing powder completely and give it a shiny enamel like appearance.
Then I cut 2 panels of wood background card stock into 4 by 1 & 7/8th and glued them on both sides. Lastly I sprinkled some Pretty Pink Posh Birthday sequins mix for Concord and 9th and glued it with Glossy Accents using the Quick Stickz tool. And I was done. Tadaaa!!
(I’ll edit the post tomorrow to add more pics and a few mistakes I made so you can avoid them since my toddler just decided to play with black versa fine ink pad as I am typing this and giving her a bath to avoid black in all over the house is a priority right now. This is what happens when mommy gets to blog. Arghh!!!)
For the 2nd card I used the give thanks stamp set from Concord and 9th and stamped it in rainbow colors using the tombow dual brush markers. Then I took gold Signo gel pen and drew free hand lines around the stamped leaf image to give it a more hand drawn look instead of using the coordinating die that I own 2. Using that in tomorrow’s card which is half done 😉 Then I added dots in the leaves and here and there around the word thanks to give it a more splattered look. Lastly I heat embossed the word thanks since it seemed to have lost between all the colors to make it stand out. (more details, bloopers and pics coming tomorrow). Stay tuned!
Just thought to hop in to give a little tip on a thing I’ve been following these days. I’ve been really trying to master the art of watercoloring these days. A few days ago I took an intermediate online card class about which I wrote a post previously. Nowadays I am doing a #paintalongwithsandy in which basically Sandy Allnock who is an amazing fine artist is doing different landscape videos daily and providing sketches for the watercoloring she is doing so that we can follow along.
So her first exercise was to make a color chart with 6 colors that are basically the cool and warm versions of red, blue and green. The paints that she recommended and everything you can get from her blog post. But the color chart that results with these colors was the most difficult thing in my opinion so I thought about a “technical” and sort of worry proof way to do it and that is the tip I wanted to share with you guys today.
So in her blog post she shows how to mix these colors in to get a wide variety of new colors so that you don’t have to invest in a lot of colors to begin with which was pretty cool. The way she mixes is to take more part of one color and lesser of other to make a new one. Well for me that wasn’t working since sometimes it would either result in a stronger or poorer color since I am not really an expert in color mixing.
Therefore what I did was develop a system to give me consistent results every time I try to get that exact color (I am ocd like that) I took a white laminated card stock. Then I dipped my number 6 round brush in the color and put 2 petal type strokes of that color on the laminated sheet of the same size approximately. Then I took the other color and put one petal like stroke of that color with those 2 colors and mixed them which resulted in the new color. Hope you can get an idea from the pictures since I don’t know if I am explaining it correctly or not. After I was done with the chart I also put the name and proportion of each color mixed on top of the new color for easy and quick reference for next time I want to make that color.
Step one: make a 7 by 7 grid. I used 0.25 inch washi tape instead of masking fluid to get clean straight lines. I also added some crosses to mark the areas where same colors will overlap so that I can leave them blank instead of painting 2 coats of the same color.
Step 2: After marking both grids with colors I mixed them according to 1:2 or 2:1 ratio with the dominant color being on the top of the grid vertically and the other color in lesser quantity i.e one stroke being the horizontal color across the grid
Step 3:Then after mixing and making the color chart I added the ratios on top of each color formed after removing the washi tape and adding black line with a sharpie fine point. I wrote them in pencil in case I mess up the labelling.
Hope you find it helpful. Do let me know if you have any questions regarding any of the steps and I’ll try my best to help you out 🙂
Although false lashes are a huge trend right now, it’s just one of those things that I am just not willing to put my eyes through. I’ve sensitive skin and super sensitive eyes so I’ve to be really careful about what I put on them. I also have medium length (neither very long nor too short so keep that in mind). The hair color on my lashes is dark brown with almost blond at the tips so without mascara they appear shorter than they are but still not so short that I feel not going out without mascara 😉 So in order to achieve the look of longer and fuller lashes, here is what I do.
For this first of all I use an eye lash curler. I’ve the one from Revlon. If you are looking for famous ones Sheisado makes one which is very popular or taste as well. I find that the Revlon one works for me so i didn’t purchase the more expensive one. I use it on my lashes 20 times at the base and 20 times at the top of lashes on each eyes. Be careful with this step. Don’t go over board and put a lot of pressure because that’d just rip your lashes off and don’t pinch your eyes too. It’s not a toy so proceed with caution :p
Then I use the Loreal mascara in the blue tube which has two wands. One that contain the white primer and the other contains the mascara. I only use the white primer side and give my lashes a couple of coats of that white base. I also comb out any spidery effect that I start getting (I just can’t stand that look but some people like it so choose what you wish). Then I let it still for a minute while I work on my other lash doing the same steps. After that I apply a couple of coats for the mascara that I am using those days. Than I comb out and separate the lashes again. BAM you got bigger fuller lashes without all the fake lashes and adhesives which irritates my eyes sometimes.
Technique # 2:
I use this technique only when I don’t have my Loreal primer not available. For this one you’ve to use 2 different mascara formulas i.e one that is waterproof and one that isn’t. I mostly try to use the ones that are the non waterproof ones on daily basis for going out because it it gentler on eyes (you must’ve noticed a theme going on by now :p). So first step is the same i.e curling the lashes with a lash curler. Then I use a few coats of waterproof formula (this helps in holding the curls) and comb it out. Then a couple of coats of non waterproof formula and then a final coat of waterproof one and keep operating the lashes with a lash comb or spooky whatever is available.
Note: It may not work for everyone since everyone has different eyes, length of lashes etc but do try if you want to glam up the eye makeup without going for fake lashes. I only shared because I was asked for it by a few people. Hope you find it useful 🙂
So I’ve recently started taking online card class for watercolors at the intermediate level. Watercolors have always been something that intimidate me and I don’t like being intimidated by anything when it comes to creating :p So I took the beginner level class year and it took some of the fear out of it but I was still unable to venture out much into it. Hence I decided to sign up for the second level class in this series and to follow through with doing the exercises on the daily basis and I must say I’ve mind blown!
This is definitely a must have class for those struggling with or intimidated easily by watercolors. The main instructor is Dawn from Wplus9 and she is AMAZING! I’ve never seen someone explaining the things the way she does when it comes to art and I come from a family of teachers and educators. So it is hard for me to get impressed by someone’s teaching skills but I must say she sure is Awesome (a Bob Ross in her own way) 😉
I am not going to post the pre class exercise because I don’t like the way it is coming out in pictures at all but I am going to post a few things here and there that I learnt from the class. It’s like 5 projects daily so can’t post them all daily so bear with me. They’ll come slowly 🙂 Also I don’t like the way my pictures are coming out for these projects. They aren’t doing them any justice at all. Haven’t seen much sun in the East Coast lately and I’ve terrible lighting at my apartment anyways which isn’t helping much either so will invest in those over the weekend. Hopefully that’ll improve the outcome.
One the few projects that I’ve done is the one is the one below. I used Koi Sakura pocket sketchbook watercolors. These aren’t bad but after making the swatch chart and learning what I learned I know I’ll have to invest in a few good ones soon. One more good take away from the class is that if you want to really learn how to watercolor and enjoy it then invest in good watercolor paper like Arches Cold or Hot press paper as mentioned in this class and boy that is true! I invested in them for the first time and they definitely did make all the difference in the world!
So here is the breakdown of what I used in the first card below:
- Quinacridone Rose, Crimson Lake, Auroline Hue and Purple colors from Koi Sakura Pocket Watercolors
- Arches 140 lb cold press watercolor paper
- Lots of hearts stamp set from simon says stamp for faint outline of hearts that I turned into balloons
- You have my heart sentiment from Roses for you stamp set by Simon Says Stamp
- Ranger Black Sparkle embossing powder
- Uni Ball Signo Golden pen for Balloon Strings
- Wink Of Stella Clear Glitter Pen for adding shimmer to the Black Card Base
- And a lot of Patience 🙂
For the second card below I used :
- Jaune Brilliant, Quinacridone Rose, Crimson Lake and Auroline Hue colors from Koi Sakura Pocket Watercolors
- Arches 140 lbs cold press watercolor paper
- Skinny washi tape to make a grid for the diamond pattern in the background. You could just draw it with a ruler too but my OCD was too strong for the pencil lead to get trapped in the watercolor so I refrained :p
- Glossy Accents to add the Glossy effect to the one Diamond in the middle
- Wink of Stella Clear pen to add shimmer beneath the Glossy Accents on the Diamond
- Sakura pigma Micron pen to handwrite the sentiment (You’re my Diamond in the Rough)
- Sakura Stardust clear shimmer pen to add shimmer to the card base (which is 80 lbs Neenah solar white). Wasn’t going to add shimmer to this one but the Card base white was not going with the ivory tone of the watercolor color paper so had to tone it down.
- And again A lot patience!
You have to remember when it comes to watercoloring you need to have patience especially when it come to air drying it. They will give you the best results. Trust me I’ve tried drying drying with heat gun but after trying air drying I must say the results are worth the patience (which you learn to have a lot of after your baby turns into a toddler :p )
Good luck! Hope you enjoyed the class as much as I did.
PS: I am also submitting this card to the Simon Says Stamp Monday Blog Challenge since I used a fair share of Red Color which is being washed out in the pictures (all if the pretty peach colors are too which is sad 🙁 ) Hopefully it’ll get better by next week!
I must start by saying that I’ve always been tempted to use the skincare devices but my skin been sensitive hesitated at first. Then I took a plunge and tried Clarisonic 3 years ago and got such bad cystic Acne that I totally swore of ever trying any of these hyped about devices. If you are one of those whose skin do well with clarisonic then I envy you! I wish it worked for me.
Then came Foreo Luna. I tried to resist it a lot but after listening to many reviews and reading about it on beautypedia (an excellent resource that I recently found out about) I decided to give this one a try and I must say I was not disappointed!
Foreo Luna is an electronic skincare device that cleans your skin with a technology called T-Sonic technology. It is made up of silicone so it doesn’t harbor any bacteria. When you move this device on your face it sends pulses through T-Sonic technology which is supposed to help to loosen up the gunk, dead skin build up and any makeup read that is left behind from your face.
For those people with a very sensitive skin like mine Foreo Luna is a great option because the silicone bristles on it are quite gentle on the skin. I got the Pink one on Sale which according to their website is for normal/sensitive skin. They claim it to be a facial cleansing plus anti-aging device (can’t attest to the anti-aging claim myself) :p It has 8 speeds, is 100% waterproof so you can use it in the shower and according to them once you fully charge it it’s full charge lasts upto 7 months! But that is with a minute of use daily and I definitely use it more than a minute daily. But still have been using it for 3 weeks now and the charge is still going strong!!
In a nutshell:
Pros of Foreo Luna:
- Non abrasive and extra gentle for us sensitive skin folks
- Upto 8000 T-Sonic pulsations per minute for deep and effective cleaning
- No need for wash clothes ( payee to less laundry :p)
- Quick drying and non porous silicone which prevents bacteria build up
- No need to replace brush heads (how is that for savings and convenience!)
- Small and compact so easy to travel with and store as well (specially since I have a tiny vanity mirror type closet in my washroom!
- No need to charge for several months!
Price but it comes at par with other facial cleansing device and you save money in long run by not having to repurchase the cleansing heads repeatedly!
Here you go. Seems like a paid review now that I read it but I swear it’s not. I paid for it myself out of my own saving 🙁 It is just that great! Try it. You won’t regret it. If you have any more questions about the device that I may not have covered here then ask me in the comments. I’ll try to do my best to answer them. Happy shopping!
I know. I know it feels weird about writing a post about a $200 blow dryer and for it to be a positive one but I just couldn’t help it. So I thought I’d write about why I decided to fork out that kind of money on a blow dryer when the only time I ever forked money over getting a professional to do my blow dry was on my own wedding. That’s it. I could never justify spending that kind of money over hair let alone hair tools. I should also mention that when it comes to hair styling I am very lazy in that department. I can alot hours to do my makeup (if I get that sort of time after becoming a mom), because I find it therapeutic. But when it comes to hair styling I just don’t have the patience to do it although I love it when I have a good hair day but that’s just not my thing. Which brings me to find my search for a fast and less damaging hair styling tool.
Ever since I was 16 my mom got me a hair straightener to manage my thick and frizzy hair on my request. It was like magic. I could straighten my hair in half hour at that age and when I came to USA in my early 20s and the weather of East coast triggered my Psoriasis which lead to a ton of hair loss I still didn’t learn my lesson and continued to use heat on my hair which was falling because now it took me 15 minutes max to get somewhat decent looking hair. But I thought it over after a few months of losing hair and started using a blow dryer that you get from the drugstore to at least not get that much of a heat damage as a straightner caused. It took me a lot of time to achieve the look of somewhat decent hair from the blow dryer which was fine by me but after my daughter was born I just didn’t have any time to fuss with it.
So I started putting my hair in a bun to avoid styling them at all. It went for like 18 months then I realised it is enough. No matter how good of makeup I put on my hair was just messing up my look and started making me look way more aged than I am. So for the ease of use I went back to the old habit of fast styling by a hair straightener. This went for a few months until I stumbled upon a video of someone doing blow dry with the cool setting on a higher end blow dryer which was way quicker and way less damaging to hair. I had that setting on my cheap blow dryer too but the button didn’t lock so I had to hold the button the entire time to blow dry like that which was just too much for me so I quit after like 2 times of doing it.
Then I started to do search for a better blow dryer and came across the awesome reviews of The drybar buttercup blow dryer. I was so skeptical at first that how could anyone justify spending that kind of money on a blow dryer but after reading the features I was sold. It was supposed to be quieter, faster, more powerful and had a cool shot button. On top of that it was manufactured by the same company who make $350 blow dryers and are used in a lot of professional salons. So I thought lets give it a shot. If I didn’t like it I can always return it to Sephora (they have awesome return policy). Hence I took the plunge and I am hooked.
First of all it is definitely way quieter than my cheap blow dryer. No more ringing in my ears from the noise of blow dryer 😛 Secondly it is so fast and powerful that I am just amazed every time I use it and it has been like 6 months of me using it! It takes me 10 minutes to do a quick blow to make my hair look presentable and 20 minutes if I am being very conscious about giving them a straight yet voluminous look. This has completely changed my hair game. I no longer fear blow drying my hair. My thin hair now looks pretty good and voluminous. I have way less hair damage as compared to a hair straightener (no matter what anyone says even if you use the best straightener on the market which I did thanks to my mom’s generosity it still causes way more hair damage than a blow dryer) and I am a living proof of that.
Bottom line: Yes I love this blow dryer and don’t regret splurging on it a bit. If I could do it over again I would get the same blow dryer with extra hair tools and samples for $10 more which was not available at the time I purchased it at sephora. But regardless I love it and feel no shame in admitting that I spend this sort of money on a blow dryer. Oh and by the way I use the cool shot feature to blow dry 80% of my hair and use heat on the remaining 20% to make it sleek. Which means even less hair damage. Hope this post was helpful to anyone who was on edge to spend this kind of money on a hair styling tool. If you are lazy when it comes to hair like me and want lesser damage then go for it. You won’t regret it one bit 😉
Today I wanted to write about the awesome #thedailymarker30day challenge that I participated in which was hosted by the lovely Kathyrac from thedailymarker.com. It was amazing to participate in this wonderful challenge. It totally took me out of the hoarding mode of craft supplies to actually making something. I just can’t be thankful enough to her for that. She is saying she’ll start another challenge soon. Can’t wait for that! So I thought why not share some of the cards I made with you guys? They are all on my instagram account which is @biamakani but having them on my blog seems like a good way to share too along with details about the projects.
For the first day I watercolored a stamp from pennyblack. I just cut the giant birthday cake. Later on I converted it into a card with a golden heat embossed background from an old cupcake stamp that I had.
I also made this “you are picture perfect” card by using stencil from the crafter’s companion in the background & making my own alpha sticker type things. Also used the Simonsaysstamp heart dies to make those glitter hearts that you see from the glitter tape. It was a true labor of love 🙂
On the last day I made this Thank you card fro Kathy for creating this challenge. In this I used a stencil from the crafters companion. Used distress inks to color the flowers & outlined them with pigma micron pen.
These are not all of them but if I start writing about all of them then it would be a very long blog post and boring too. So I urge you to check out my instagram to look at them.
Today I made a Birthday Card using Simon Says Stamp cupcake stamp from the Labelled Love stamp set by Simon Says Stamp to participate in the Wednesday Challenge Blog of Simon Says Stamp. This is the finished card.
1) Firstly I chose the inks that I thought go well together.
2) Then I took a circle die to use as a stencil to draw a circle on a piece of white card stock.
3) Then I stamped the cupcake from “The Labelled Love” Stamp set by Simon Says Stamp in different ink colors that I chose before around the circle.
4) After that I wrote Happy Birthday on the inside of the circle, erased the pencil lines and stamped and die cut the Wish Big sentiment along with heat embossing it & putting it in the center with foam squares.
5) Than I matted it on a black card stock. It is not the regular A-2 sized card but more like a square card. The dimensions of the finished card are 5 by 5 inches so it would definitely need a custom made envelope .
I don’t say this very often but I am actually very pleased with how it turned out. Hope you guys got inspired 🙂