My reviews are based on my personal experience with a product or event. I am not a professional product tester nor do I get paid for any of my blog posts.

The items that I post reviews on, have either been purchased on the internet or through a local vendor. Additionally I will review items that I got on sale, as a gift or as a sample from either the manufacurer or some other source.

Note: always read the manufacturers directions on how to properly use a product and craft carefully. Additionally, I am an Amazon Associate and may earn a few cents (literally) from your clicking on my Amazon links. Since they raised the minimum payout from earnings to $10 I haven't seen a credit for a while but eventually I will get one.

Every penny counts when trying to set a budget to get supplies to use for my reviews, tutorials and hauls. However, you do not have to use my links. You can use your favorite search engine to find the best price for your budget.

A Review of the Strathmore Visual Journal

I recently attended a visual journal workshop at Catalyst in Westminster, California that featured Kari Foteff teaching multi media techniques on Strathmore's new Multi Media Visual Journals.  The class was offered by the Art Supply Warehouse and in conjunction with the fine folks at Strathmore.  
   The mixed media visual journal from Strathmore solves the problem of pages that warp under the weight of different types of media.  The medium-weight paper was specifically created for both wet and dry media applications.  Strathmore offers several papers of different weights and types of paper (Vellum Finish, Bristol, Drawing, Mixed Media, and Water Color) in these journals. 
   The manufacturer claims that folks can use water color, acrylic paint, pen, ink, pencil, crayons, charcoals, markers, collage materials, and even some of the fun texture mediums that art stores carry in these journals.  To give you a better idea of what types of mediums and materials that can be used on these pages, I have uploaded some fun examples of techniques and materials that can be used to decorate these journal pages.

Example 1: Strathmore Mixed Media journal pages painted with Airbrush.

Example 2: Pan Pastels and Stencil used on the journal pages.
Example 3: Watercolor color with pen and ink.

Example 4:  Letraset AquaMarkers water-based twin-tips..

Example 5: Golden's Acrylics and hot sticks.
Example 6: Acrylic paint and colored pencil.
Example 7: Strathmore Mixed Media Visual Journal with acrylics, mulit media and ephemera.
Example 8:  Acrylics, Gesso, Golds liquid medium and various ephemera
Example 9: Liquid Acrylic Artist Ink and calligraphy (paper was smooth enough to utilize modern calligraphy techniques effectively).
Example 10: Card stock, liquid masking medium, water color, and crayons.
Example 11: Pigment Ink Marker 
Additionally, this journal has wire binding which makes it easier to lay flat while you are working.

The workshop was a lot of fun and had a "Mardi Gras" theme.  I wanted to share with our readers some pictures from our workshop and the finished pages made by various students using the materials they had a available to decorate our journal pages.
Example A:

Example B:
Example C:
    It was fun to see how each person used the same theme and materials to create a layout that was reflective of their own style and interpretation.  
    If you are new to the mixed media visual journaling trend, it is mostly the use of different media to reflect the attitudes, values, experiences, and/or thoughts of the person journaling.  It can also include visual images and the written thoughts.   There are many ways to do visual journaling and/or multi media journaling.  A search on Google, YouTube, and other online sources can provide you with more in depth information on this art form.  You can also attend a class at a local art store or find books on the topic.  If you want to learn more and cannot find a local source, Strathmore offers a free online course that you can register for.  They have a great one called "Doodles Unleashed: Mixed Media Techniques" given by Traci Bautista that you can learn some great techniques from, she also has a new book coming out on a similar topic.
   I also found a blog called iHanna,  that has a great tutorial on how to alter a journal.

  • These journals come in three sizes with a choice of several different types of papers.
  • The paper is thick and can hold up well to a variety of media.
  • The books are wire bound which allows for them to be opened flat while working on the pages.

Note:    The price of the books is higher than some lesser quality books, however there are great deals to be found online and at local art supply stores and I found the quality to be worth the expense.
The journal papers can buckle or warp if you do not allow the pages to dry properly before closing the book and/or storing it away.  I also recommend using pallet paper between the pages until the ephemera, glues, media have set.  It will keep the pages from getting stuck to each other. Strathmore offers these books with various types of papers,  so be sure to read the label to make sure you are getting the type of paper you want.  By picking the right paper before beginning your journaling project,  you will not have any unexpected issues or disappointments.

I would love to hear from about your favorite journaling techniques and supplies. Please leave a comment and share your tips.

Easy Craft Ideas Revisted.

This week, I decided to share some informational videos to watch crafting videos made by Craftside for fun quick and easy craft project ideas.

In the following "Look Learn & Create video", learn how to make felted flowers with Craftside blogger/author/craftster Stefanie Girard, author of "Sweater Surgery", from some 
recycled sweaters.  The recycled sweater felted flowers can be used for jewelry, pins and other great accents.

Another great video from Craftside, is a video featuring Lisa Engelbrecht, (author of "Modern Calligraphy" and "Modern Mark Making")

demonstrating some fun and easy calligraphy techniques.  Her lettering can vary from the more modern art letters to traditional calligraphy letters.  She also shows how to use traditional and non traditional inks and paints to use for art lettering.

In this particular episode Lisa Engelbrecht shows how to use the Martha Stewart Glue pens to create fun art letters with foils and glitter.

and in the video below,  that I took of her at my local art supply store, she demonstrates using various inks to create fun art letters and make cool designs.  Her ink work is fabulous and fun to watch.

Have fun week creating.


A Review of the "Star Burst" Jelly Filter Lens for the iPhone 4

There are so many new lenses available for use on the iPhone that choosing one can be overwhelming.  There are macro lenses, fish eye lenses, wide angle lenses and much more.  The prices can vary with each of the retailers.

I recently came across an inexpensive lens at my local "Old Navy" store.  It was on sale for less than a dollar and worth checking out.  It was easy to use.  There is a suction cup surrounding the lens that helps it attach itself to the iPhone.  That being said, the surface must be fairly clean for it to adhere well to the iPhone.  Below are a couple of pics that I took with it. The first is a pic of a green birdhouse without the lens.

Then using the lens.  You can see that it just adds a fun "star burst" type of effect to the picture, which seems to make the colors pop a bit more than the photo I took without the lens.

Anther shot of some hydrangea using the iPhone camera.

The same shot using the "Jelly" lens.

I also found that the lens can be offset a bit to create some other effects.  So here is a pic of a succulent plant that I had in the yard.

Then by off setting the lens and taking a close up of just part of the plant, I was able to capture the image below.

It came out pretty cool.  I have to say that it was a dollar that was well spent.  I have had a bit of fun with this lens.  If you keep your eyes open for good deals on these types of lenses, they can be found pretty cheap and are fun to use.

If you are looking for a more expensive collection of lenses, then you may want to check out the Photojojo site or Amazon to see what is available.


A review of the Southern California Renaissance Pleasure Faire Art Show

The Renaissance Faire has it's own special selection of artwork on display and available for purchase.

On the last weekend of the faire, the local Renaissance Faire showcased the drawings, paintings,  and 

water color work of various artisians and displayed them in the "Friends of Faire" garden.

The various artwork was painted and finished through the run of faire 

and featured various members of the entertainment crew.  Like the one below which 
features one of the members of the royal court.

The selection was very interesting and they had a very kind host who was there to answer questions about the various pieces on display.
Another very cool display was at the opposite end of the faire grounds of a painting in progress.
Here is a close up from part of the same painting.
And a close up of the part that features the queen.

The attention to detail is amazing on this piece, as you can see by looking at the picture below of the queens gown. 
I will write more about some of the various artists at the faire in another post.