Forever in our Hearts

We had to say goodbye and my heart is broken.

Trouble deRosier
Born 10/15/10
Adopted 6/25/11
Gone 2/3/23


Forever in our hearts.


How Many Different Colors of Ohuhu Markers Are There?

Last week I reviewed the Honolulu Dual-Trip Alcohol Markers by Ohuhu, which has 320 gorgeous colors. In an earlier post, I shared my initial impressions of Ohuhu's Kaala line, which includes four sets of markers (two with 24 and two with 60). Then I took a deeper dive into the Kaalas after making thank-you cards and drawing a frog. As I mentioned in my posts, the markers in both lines are comparable in performance to high-end alcohol marker brands and have a wide range of beautiful colors. I highly recommend them. The organization, naming, and numbering systems of each line are equally haphazard, which is frustrating, but it doesn't take away from the fact that Ohuhu makes really nice alcohol markers at a very affordable price. 

I recently finished swatching the Kaalas. As I worked on swatch cards, I noticed a few duplications between the sets. (More on that below.) That got me wondering how many duplicates there would be between the 168 Kaalas and the 320 Honolulus. Were my Kaalas duplicates of my Honolulus, just with different tips? Were there any colors in the Kaala line that aren't part of the 320 Honolulus? And if so, how many? Just how many colors of Ohuhu markers are there?


How many different colors of Ohuhu markers are there?

I made a spreadsheet, gathered my swatch cards and markers, and spent hours scribbling notes and trying to find the answer to my question. It shouldn't have been that difficult. Add number of pens in both sets, then subtract any duplicates. Easy, right? Nope! At first, it seemed like it would be that simple. It was not. 

First, I had to eliminate duplicates within the four sets of Kaala markers. Here are the swatch cards: 

And here is the handy chart I made showing the duplicates between the four sets. 

As you can see, there are 16 colors that appear in more than one of the Kaala sets. Of these, two colors (Warm Grey 140 and Black) are in three sets. So the potentially 168 different colors is actually 150. 

Next, I compared those 150 unique colors to the 320 Honolulu colors. There was a potential of 470 colors, but surely there would be quite a few duplicates, right? Actually, no. The only duplicates were Black, YG40, B290, and E440. I was really surprised. Does that mean there are 466 unique colors? 

No. Because that's when I noticed there are duplicate numbers. B290 is in Honolulu with the name Antwerp Blue, while the same number is Sky Blue in Kaala. They are not at all the same color. E440 is Khaki in Honolulu, but Bronze in Kaala. Again, not the same color. So maybe there are 466 unique colors? 

Still no. Because when I compared the swatches of the two YG40 markers (which had the same color names), the colors weren't the same at all. Not even close. So does that mean there are 467 unique colors and I have to think of Honolulu YG40 and Kaala YG40 as different colors? 

Maybe. Honestly, it took me hours to record all this and I'm not 100% confident that I didn't miss something. And there's an entirely different issue I didn't mention, which is that some of the colors have the same names but different numbers. 

Two of the colors with the same name look completely different, Grass Green and Buttercup Yellow (neither of which look like a buttercup at all, but that's a separate issue). The rest of the the same-name-different-numbers are close if not identical. So that means that we need to subtract 7 colors from our total, brining us to 460. 

So maybe there are 460 unique colors of Ohuhu markers, but I won't swear to it. I could easily have made a mistake. I think I'm safe in saying that there are about 460 unique colors of Ohuhu markers. Of course, they could come out with new colors at any time, or discontinue colors. 

Ultimately, no matter how many colors there are, these are good quality markers at an affordable price. The range of colors is enormous, significantly more than you can get with any other brand I'm aware of.  I can overlook the strange color family (dis)organization, the wacky names, and the illogical numbering system, since the performance is what actually matters. 



First Time Trying Gouache - Painting Strawberries

I've been having a lot of fun playing (my focus for 2023!) with the new art supplies I got for Christmas. Among those is gouache. If you're not familiar with gouache, it is a water-based paint. It is similar to watercolor in that it can be re-wetted (unlike acrylic), but is heavier in body than watercolor and dries opaque. Before this project, I'd never used gouache; in fact, it was barely on my radar until I participated in Sketchbook Party and so many of the instructors mentioned it. 

I did a bunch of research to decide what brand of gouache to try. I didn't necessarily need expensive, professional-quality paint, but I definitely didn't want my first experience with gouache to be impacted by the limitations of cheap product. The reviews led me to HIMI's 18-set of gouache, which many artists mentioned as the perfect compromise between price and quality. (Affiliate link here and throughout the post.) I filled a sketchbook page with strawberries for my first time using gouache. 

Gouache comes in tubes and in pans. The downside to pans (or cups, as HIMI calls them) is that once you've opened them, they tend to dry out. But remember, gouache can be re-wetted, just like the 8-pan Crayola watercolors you used in elementary school. 

For my strawberry painting, I used a total of 6 colors: red, pink, two greens, yellow, and black. I started by making blobs of red and pink in my sketchbook, experimenting with mixing the two and adding water to get different colors. I was pleased with how easy it was to use the gouache and how well it covered the page. I was also happy with how many different shades I could make from just the two pans. 

Next, I filled in the background with black gouache. Here is where I could truly appreciate the opaque finish. It covered beautifully and dried much faster than I expected. 

When the black was completely dry, I added leaves and stems in two different shades of green. 

Finally, I used a skewer to dot tiny little yellow seeds onto all of my strawberries. 

Overall, I was very happy with my first dive into gouache. I recommend giving the HIMI set a try. I'm looking forward to diving into it again soon. 


9 Fantastic Places to Learn About Black History in the United States

Happy February! Since today is the first day of African-American History Month (also called Black History Month), I thought this would be a great time to share some of the best places you can travel to learn about the history of Black people in the United States. These museums and historic places demonstrate struggles and triumphs, inventions and innovations, and together shine a light on the Black experience in the US. You can read about our family's visit to each place by clicking the links.


 9 Places to Learn about Black History in the United States


1) Mississippi Civil Rights Museum

Jackson, Mississippi

The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum is one of the best, and most important, museums I've ever visited. It is also one of the most challenging. There is a lot of disturbing content in this museum. You will emerge a better person from having experienced it. 


2) Negro Leagues Baseball Museum 

Kansas City, Missouri

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is packed full of interesting artifacts from men such as Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Satchel Paige, and Roy Campanella, talented athletes who were prevented from playing Major League Baseball during the era of segregation. You don't have to be a baseball fan to thoroughly enjoy this outstanding museum. 


3) Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site

Topeka, Kansas

Anyone who has ever attended school in the US should visit the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site. It is housed in a once-segregated school, restored to its 1954 appearance. Inside, you feel the injustice of legal segregation and the struggles of those who worked so hard to end it. 


The Legacy Museum is the most powerful museum I have ever visited. (The US Holocaust Memorial Museum is a close second.) It is difficult, it is challenging, and it is so, so important. 


5) National Museum of African American Music

Nashville, Tennessee

Our family LOVED this museum. Each gallery, representing different eras in African American music, was packed with interesting things to read, see, and do. Of the many excellent music museums we've visited, this is my favorite. 


6) Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

Birmingham, Alabama

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is an outstanding place to visit on its own, but plan plenty of time to visit Kelly Ingram Park and the 16th Street Baptist Church as well. They're located across the street. Together, they tell so many important stories about the fight for civil rights. 



The International Civil Rights Center and Museum is housed in the actual Woolworth's building where the first lunch counter sit-in took place. That lunch counter is still intact, complete with the original dishes, menus, and everything else. We learned so much during our visit. 


8) Smith-Robertson Museum

Jackson, Mississippi

The Smith-Robertson Museum houses all sorts of exhibits about the history, struggles, and achievements of Black people in America. The building was constructed in 1894 as Jackson's first public school for Black students. The school's most famous graduate is author Richard Wright


9) Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site

Tuskegee, Alabama

The Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site is packed with artifacts and stories about the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African Americans military pilots. Their success was instrumental in desegregating the military. There is so much to see here and so many inspirational stories. 


There are so many more places to learn about Black history, including three we were supposed to visit during our 12-hour trip to nowhere:

  • National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Hotel (Memphis, Tennessee)
  • Stax Museum of American Soul Music (Memphis, Tennessee)
  • Little Rock Central High School National Historic Park (Little Rock, Arkansas)

We have technically been to Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park (Atlanta, Georgia), but only the outside. It was closed due to COVID when we visited. Seeing the inside is high on my bucket list. 

Some of the other sites on my bucket list include: 

  • National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, D.C.
  • Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historic Park (Church Creek, Maryland)
  • National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (Cincinnati, Ohio)
  • American Jazz Museum (Kansas City, Missouri)
  • Whitney Plantation (Wallace, Louisiana)
  • Wright Museum of African American History (Detroit, Michigan)

Do you have any other recommendations for great places to learn about Black history in the US? Tell me in the comments!


Seattle Fun, June 2022

We spent a fantastic three days in Seattle last summer. It was crowded and hot, but neither stopped us from thoroughly enjoying Emerald City, so named because it is the jewel of the Evergreen State. Seattle is a wonderful place to visit, packed with so many things to do and see. 

Seattle Fun (affiliate link)

To make my layout, I chose seven photos that showed the range of things we did. With the exception of the Beneath the Streets underground tour, all of the photos are vibrant and colorful. They served as inspiration for my title work. I needed a pop of color at the bottom of my journaling for balance, so I grabbed an Ohuhu marker that was sitting on my desk. It worked perfectly. 


Conversation Hearts Ninja Valentines

I miss the days when Trevor would make cute homemade valentines for all of his friends. I was thinking back to the Ninjago valentines he made in first grade, which inspired me to make a new version of ninja valentines. They start with a box of conversation hearts, which gave me a great excuse to buy conversation hearts. They're one of my favorite candies. 



Not only are they cute, but posing them is ridiculously fun. Affiliate links below. 


Conversation Heart Ninja Valentines



Wrap the box in black cardstock or construction paper. You can simply wrap it like you'd wrap a present, or you can measure, cut a rectangle to size, and score it along the fold lines to get crisp edges. I prefer that look, so that's what I did. 

Secure the paper with the black painters tape, or glue it directly to the box with craft glue. I used tape. Cut a rectangle from your desired skin tone cardstock, then draw on eyes and eyebrows. Glue the rectangle to the box. 

Cut a pipe cleaner in half, then bend each half in half. Bend the ends to form the hands and feet, then position the arms and legs how you want them. Use several pieces of tape to secure them to the back of the box. 

You can give your ninjas as is. But if you want to write a message and/or include to/from information, write it on a label sticker, then attach to the back of the box. This has the added benefit of further securing the arms and legs.


The Amazing Art of Gwyn Pevonka

One of my favorite Christmas presents this year came from my Aunt Vickie. It's an original artwork from the contemporary painter Gwyn Pevonka entitled "Washington Skies."  

To best understand it, you need to see the side view. 

Pevonka's process begins with painting one layer a day onto a canvas for 20+ consecutive days. Then she carves into the surface to reveal the layers beneath, kind of like the hand-caved candles I was obsessed with as a kid. For some of her pieces, the process stops here. But for others, including the one I now own, she adds those carved bits to the canvas and uses them to make what she calls Acrylic Assemblages. It's a fascinating process. 

I very much enjoyed looking through Pevonka's portfolio to see her range of work. I particularly love her animals, especially this hummingbird. 

Last year, I started a series where I made my own paintings inspired by contemporary artists, including Julie Fei-Fan Balzer and Deb Weiers. I've been thinking about ways to create something inspired by Gwyn Pevonka and have a few ideas I'll be trying out. Stay tuned!

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Weekend Getaway to San Francisco and San Jose

In February 2022, Trevor had a Scout training over a 3-day weekend. We had to drop him off near Berkeley early on a Saturday morning and pick him up in the late afternoon on Monday. We decided to use the time for a much-needed couples' getaway. We spent the rest of Saturday in San Francisco, had dinner in San Mateo, then spent two full days in San Jose before it was time to pick up Trevor. Steve and I had a wonderful time together. 
Speaking of Steve, today is his birthday! Happy birthday, Steve. I'm so excited to celebrate with you. 


Library Roulette, Class 700: William Morris Tiles

For the third craft in my Library Roulette Class 700 project, I painted tiles in my sketchbook. They are based on the artwork of William Morris. More about him in a second. 

The book I chose for 738 (Ceramic Arts) is Tile Style: Painting and Decorating Your Own Designs (affiliate link). The book starts with a detailed history of tiles that is quite interesting. The next part talks about designing with tiles. The second half of the book is about decorating your own tiles and using tiles creatively. There are a lot of neat project ideas, each with detailed step-out photos. I picked William Morris Tiles because painting them would be challenging, yet doable. 

William Morris was a British textile designer (as well as a writer, printer, translator, and conservator, among other things) whose training started in architectural drawing. He moved on to painting, creating images for tapestries and fabrics, wallpaper, furniture, stained glass windows, and more. 

The design featured in Tile Style was created by Morris in 1870. The originals are on display at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. We actually visited the V&A during our 2019 trip, so it's possible I saw them in person. It's also possible I didn't - the museum is enormous and despite our best efforts, we couldn't see everything. 

I didn't have any blank tiles laying around, but I did have lots of blank pages in my new sketchbook. So that's what I used. Tile Style has patterns in the back of the book, so I scanned the design, printed it, scribbled on the back in pencil, aligned it in my sketchbook, and then traced the lines. That gave me the guidelines for painting. 

I started with the flowers, then added the leaves. Then I did something stupid - I outlined the tiles in baby blue. 

I have no idea why I did this. I should have just gone in with the dark blue I was using to paint the background. Instead, I had to cover all of the baby blue, which led to a few lines having to be thicker than I'd intended and more wiggly/slanted than I'd wanted. Oops. 

No matter. The fun was in the actual painting, not the finished results. Since they're in my sketchbook and not painted directly on tiles, it's not like I have to look at the mistakes on a daily basis. In fact, if you'll be painting on tiles, I highly recommend practicing in a sketchbook first!


Washi Tape Valentine Heart Suncatcher

I made another project this week to add to my huge collection of Valentine's Day decorations. This is what it looks like on the wall...

... but it's intended as a suncatcher. Look how pretty it is in our bedroom window, against the bright blue sky. 

The whole project takes about 10 minutes and the end product is so pretty. Note that I used a 20+ year old scrap of patterned vellum, which is really hard to find. It's also hard to find the same washi tapes I used. Below, you'll find affiliate links to non-patterned vellum, different Valentine's Day washi tapes, and other products you'll need to make this.


Washi Tape Valentine Heart Suncatcher



Make a heart pattern, then trace it onto the vellum with the Sharpie. 

Arrange the washi tape in an order you like. Apply the first tape horizontally across the center of the heart (I started with the eye-catching "i ♡ you" tape), allowing the ends of the tape to hang over the edge of the outlined heart slightly. Add each tape above that one until you have filled the top portion of the heart. The size of your heart and the width of your washi will determine how many rows that is. 

Keeping the tapes in the same order, fill in the bottom of the heart. You'll end up with the tapes mirrored across the 'equator' of the heart. Press all the tapes down firmly. 

The black Sharpie line will show through the washi. Cut just inside this line. Then tape your suncatcher to a window and enjoy!

Obviously, you can use this technique for any holiday or occasion. Just change the washi tape and the shape of the vellum. It's such a quick and easy project, one I'll definitely be doing again. 


Product Review: Ohuhu Honolulu Dual Tip Alcohol Markers

As promised, today I'm reviewing the Honolulu Dual-Trip Alcohol Markers by Ohuhu. I was given the markers from the manufacturer, but this is not a sponsored post. As always, everything I say is my own honest opinion. There are affiliate links throughout this post. 

I'm going to start by jumping right in and saying that I love these markers. I'll go into the pros and cons below, but do know that I highly recommend them. This set of 320 markers is a thing of beauty. Every time I see my Ohuhu Honolulu markers in their carrying case, I am instantly happy. Having so many shades at my fingertips is a dream. 


Ohuhu Honolulu Dual-Tip Alcohol Markers, Set of 320

The Carrying Case

The case, which is included with the markers, is soft-sided with six dividers and a pocket for swatch cards and a colorless blender (also included) inside. It has both an adjustable shoulder strap and a handle. It measures approximately 14" x 11" x 7" and weighs around 14 pounds when fully loaded with the markers. It zips securely for transport and is comfortable to hold. A word to the wise: Do not move your case without zipping it, even if you're 'just' moving it upstairs. You might be successful, or you might wish you'd been. Let's just say it takes awhile to pick up that many pens if you drop them. I'm thankful I dropped them before swatching and organizing them.  

The Barrels, Caps, and Tips

The markers have round barrels that are very comfortable in my hand. Little grips on the caps make them easy to open and prevent the markers from rolling away on the table. The color number and name are printed on both caps. The caps could be a better color match to the ink. About 80% of the markers are a decent match, leaving 20% of the caps that range from close-ish to just not true to the ink color. 

Each marker has two tips: a brush tip and a chisel tip. Both are exactly as expected and perform well. I am able to get great coverage and get into tiny spots by using both tips. The tips themselves are double-sided, so if you ever get any fraying, just grab tweezers, pull out the tip, and pop it back in the other direction. You can buy replacement nibs if the second side wears down. I haven't experienced this; my tips are holding up perfectly.  

Something I love about these markers is that, with the caps on, you can easily tell at glance which end has which tip. The grey shows on the brush tip side, even with the caps on. 

The Ink

I am really happy with the ink flow of the Honolulus. It goes on beautifully, dries instantly, blends well, and doesn't smear. A small number of markers bled over the lines a little bit when I was making my swatch cards but that was rare. I haven't had the markers long enough to know if the ink fades over time, but the manufacturer claims it doesn't. 


The Colors

I've never had a set of coloring implements with anywhere close to 320 colors, so I love my Honolulus for that reason alone. The largest crayon set Crayola makes has 152 different colors (and I don't own it); I don't even have a complete set of Prismacolor colored pencils (I have 77/150). So having so many colors is amazing. I can't think of a color that I need that isn't in the set. 

While I love the color palette, I do not like the organization. The color families don't make sense, and the numbering system makes even less sense. Take a look at Color Swatch 2, for example. There are four color families on it, which I have outlined with the appropriate color. They include: R (Red), P (Purple), V (Violet), and B (Blue). The colors are shown in numerical order. 

If you showed me just the colors in the Red color family, I'd be lucky to guess the color family at all. Look at R24 (3rd row, 2nd column). It's called Dark Violet Light. I'm not sure how a color can be both dark and light, but ignoring that... it's Violet. Literally. Why isn't it in the Violet family? There are so many examples of colors that are in one color family that literally have the name of another color family.  

On top of that, the colors within a family aren't numbered in an order that makes sense. I want to be able to pick up any three pens in a row and make a good gradient. But instead, they skip around. The Blue family is decent in its organization, but that's about it. Scroll back and look at the Swatches. The colors could be organized so much better. 

Back to the names. I pulled out 8 markers with names that do not (in my opinion) match their colors whatsoever. Look at the caps and think about what you would call each one. Off the top of my head, I'd call them Pink Blush, Peach, Pale Peach, Pale Pumpkin, Pastel Orange, Pale Mustard, Lime Sherbet, and Mellow Blue. 

Want to know their actual names? I'll mix up the order so that you can guess which is which. They are: Brown Grey, Vivid Blue, Pink Flamingo, Deep Orange, Horseradish, Chocolate Pink, Carmine Red, and Black Brown. 

Don't see any color that could possibly be Black Brown? Yeah, me neither. 

Here are the answers:

Fortunately, the names of the colors don't really matter and I'm free to organize them however I'd like. It just seems like such a missed opportunity. 

The Price

I saved the best for last. The Ohuhu Honolulu set is incredibly affordable, priced around 75¢ per marker. Considering that the quality rivals that of one of the most expensive brands of alcohol markers, which can cost more than $5 a piece, the Ohuhus are such a bargain. To be fair, the Ohuhus aren't refillable and the others are (not to mention their numbering system makes more sense), so it's not quite apples to apples. But still. Get the Ohuhu Honolulu 320-marker set. You won't regret it.