I've been on a bit of a spending spree the last few months. Some of it may fall into the category of retail therapy or just the sudden wanting to have (like the new expanded edition of Welsh Quilts by Jen Jones who I got to see when she brought her lecture and quilts to the US) while other purchases were spurred by recommendations (like The Grid Design Workbook as reviewed by Diane Gaudynski here) and the ever enticing sales and discounts. I'm such a sucker for things on sale, free or reduced shipping offers and coupons. But some of the purchases, while perhaps on sale or qualifying for a coupon, have been things I actually need. As I've been thinking how I would quilt the snow-dyed kaleidoscope, I went on a button hunt for the perfect one for its center. The ones shown in the photo above came from 3 different stores, the ones in the center being hand-made. I was sure that one of them would be the perfect choice, that is until the next store where I found the metal button on the right. I find hunting for this sort of thing on-line to be frustrating as you sort of need to hold the item in your hand to get the best idea of its size, color and appropriateness for your project.
Threads are kind of like that too, and while I was in the quasi-big city seeing my doctor, I not only found the buttons but also took advantage of some coupons at JoAnn's to stock up on thread. Nearly out of that sparkly blue thread used on one of the Leaf Clusters, but at 50% off, what else might I pick up that I can't get in my little home town? Again, it's so different standing in front of any thread display vs viewing on line. I swooned over the sparkly red and then noted they carried Sulky's PolyLite. I'd received a complimentary spool of it in a thread order awhile back and was surprised at how much I liked it. Now I stocked up on a few colors at half price...and no shipping! I also had coupons to apply to more clothesline for coiled fabric baskets and eco felt that I sometimes use in lieu of batting.
In the "new obsession gotta have" category, I've bought a new fountain pen and yes, the availability of that color was part of the appeal. It's a fine nib Pilot Metropolitan Pop, recommended as a good, reasonably priced entry level pen, and I can't believe how silkily it glides across the page. I've also been buying different colors of ink for the other pens in my collection, and added the two Noodler inks to my pen order partly because each came with a free pen. Yeah, I'm a sucker for free. And did you know you could buy refillable dry erase pens and ink? That's what you see on the right (the ink is mostly permanent on paper but wipes off non-porous surfaces). The tip is so much finer than the dry erase pens that come with the dry erase boards. I'd just bought a small board with the idea of practicing machine quilting designs on it but I've always struggled with that because of the pens that do not come close to matching the width of the actual quilting lines. It's getting a tryout this week.
Then there were the recommendations for brushes I gleaned from my Sketchbook Skool Class. Longing to add color to my urban sketches and admiring what others were doing with watercolor, I appreciated the handy information. Cheap Joe's is one of my favorite places to look for quality art supplies at reduced prices, and what you see here I think actually is from two orders and fails to include the glue brush and bookbinder needles that got ordered along with the waxed linen thread and awl, on sale of course. But back to the brushes; although I have a little travel set of good quality watercolors, I've been lacking in brushes to take with it. I'd heard of water brushes, and not one to be able to decide between sizes, got both a medium and large one. I have tried these out and they are wonderful in the field, and for what I do, probably wonderful closer to home. The big brush is a legit travel brush with a cap that slips over the other end to extend the length of the handle when in use. Most in the class questioned the teacher's use of such a big brush tip, but then watched as she used it to both lay in color in larger areas and then use the fine tip it comes to in detail work. I've not had a chance to give it a go and am hoping the teacher was right when it comes to my lesser skills. Even at discount and with nylon as opposed to sable bristles, it was not cheap.
My most recent purchase is simply a frill and my falling for a sampler set of brush pens. There are so many different kinds of brush pens on the market, and even though the two I have bought so far were the hands down favorite of different and vastly more experienced sketchers and letterers than I, I have struggled with getting the same kind of effect I see on line with either of them. Maybe I just don't know how to use them yet, or maybe there's something better suited for how I sketch and letter. These weren't any cheaper than if I'd bought them individually (but qualified for free shipping!), but at least I didn't have to pick them out. They are all by the Kuretake company out of Japan and with the exception of the Zig Cartoonist Mangaka Flexible and the Zig Clean Color watercolor Real Brush, there's no English on the packaging or pens. I'll have to keep close tabs on the packing slip and pen packaging so that if I really like one or more, I'll know what to reorder. I've seen that clean color watercolor brush pen demoed on the Joggles.com site here and I may be the most interested in that one as it comes in many colors and might be a substitute for watercolor paint in pans (for what I do). There's also one that is essentially a fountain pen with a brush end rather than a nib, so refillable with fountain pen ink. As for the others, there are a variety of tip sizes (which I suspect may be my issue with my other brush pens) and JetPens.com has a lot of information and even videos to refer to.
So with all these purchases, one might think I'm getting ready to dive into some big project. But no. It feels more like preparation still, gathering up a lot of things I've felt were missing should I get that urge to focus on bookbinding, sketching or that next quilt languishing on the design wall. Retail therapy, a weakness for deals, and that feeling we all get that if we just had more or better tools, we'd quit procrastinating! And perhaps I will. :-)