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Right. So... recently (as in, since about for months ago) I have been getting into specialty pens. Specifically brush pens, and fountain pens. But... I am also a cheap so-and-so. Fortunately, the internet exists and there are LOTS of great resources. This post will include a bunch of links to some of these, as well as my thoughts. If this does not interest you, I honestly don't know what to tell you. Wait, yes I do. This next paragraph is for you. Everyone else, fell free to skip down to the third paragraph.

Whenever I started learning about and using ink pens for drawing, the standard advice if you wanted to draw manga (and really, was there anything else we wanted to draw back then?) was to use either Sakura Pigma Microns, or, if you happened to be talking to someone who WASN'T a weeaboo, Staedtler Pigment Liners. At the time, they were a revelation to me. An even line that didn't sputter and smudge line gel pens did! And it came in multiple widths! AMAZING. For a while. And while both are worthy pens, they both wear out fairly quickly, and do not store well. Not to mention, neither has waterproof ink. Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens have all the same properties as the other two, and waterproof ink. But are hard to find, and still wear out quickly. So I went looking for something better.

Fortunately, there are folks on the internet who both have done a LOT of the research for me, and were nice enough to share. is a lovely write up on various art pens. is a very though write up on various bottled inks, with part two here: Unfortunately, the second set of links only really works if I am willing to try the very long learning curve, dexterity dependent, MESSY task of using a brush to ink. I've tried it. It makes my hand hurt, has almost no fine control, is unpredictable, and looks AWESOME. So no good for comicing, but maybe something to play with. Comic tools has several great articles about inking with a brush: All of which is great, but not for me. However, there is also a section on pens on that site: This article, particularly:

And this gets me somewhere. I tried cartage fountain pens like... ten years ago, during an art class. The ones I'd tried were cheap, wide things that I did not care for, but... they last a REALLY long time. I'd tried dip crow quill and kinda liked the variety, but they were WAY too messy and hard to keep an even amount of ink with. That said, while browsing I noticed a few articles. and particularly. And a quick search showed that they had a few cheap options I could try: particularly. Notice especially that jetpens includes which pens work with which converter. VERY handy for a complete newb like myself.

I have since then tried the same pen with a medium nib, and with a medium nib. All of which are lovely to draw with, but have different widths. Further experimentation/research is needed to find which pens correspond to which line thicknesses I like in a felt tip pen. Fortunately, has made all that much easier. Also, I wish I'd seen their fountain pen 101 series sooner:

The really nice thing about all this is that this means there are now a wide variety of bottled inks I can now use in a pen. While the internet warns me it will ruin my pens (all of which were $15 or less) I have been using Dr. Ph Martin's BLACK STAR waterproof india ink and been VERY happy with it so far. I also tried Speedball technical pen ink that came with the ill-fated Rotring Rapidograph Pen I had picked up on clearance (promptly ruined by leaving it with ink in if for more than 8 hours). The Speedball ink worked just fine, but was not as black or waterproof as the Dr Ph Martin's. I tried Higgins ink since I had it sitting around. While it is easy to find at any Michael's, it is not worth using. I also picked up an bottle of Proart india ink, which while waterproof, if neither as black, or waterproof as the Dr Ph Martin's. It is however, slightly cheaper and you get more in a container.

I currently am waiting on an order of Noodler's Polar Black which is actually intended for fountain pens and seems to be the universal favorite for waterproof black ink by fountain pen websites. This is tempting for the chance to try multiple inks, and if I like the ink I've already ordered I may well try the sample pack. Of particular note about ink is that Noodler's website appears to be run by ink geeks:

For REALLY cheap fountain pens, and be worth looking into, as while they are billed as disposable, can be converted to refillable either with a converter or using an eyedropper conversion. I have not yet tried these myself.

Fountain pens are not all I've been playing with, however! I also picked a brush pen: You'll note, unlike the Pentel pocket brush pen I've seen raved about online, this one is refillable with any ink because, once again, it accepts this lovely thing: This article convinced me I did not want to get into the same problem I'd gotten into with felt tip pens with brush tips: I will post if I have any problems, but so far I have been very happy with my brush pen and it's been three months of not-continuous, but weekly use.

In addition to inking brushes, I also picked up a few water brush pens for use with watercolor. While I have nothing useful to say about water color paint or watercolor pencils, the water brush is either a revelation, or useless, depending on the brand I've tried.

Aqua-flo by Royal Langnickel is uesless for watercolor, but works ok if you fill it with watered down ink. The reason for this is they have no valve to prevent backflow, so you end up sucking your pigment into the water canister instead of putting it onto your paper. They come with three different sizes to a package, but the bristles are pretty soppy, and have no 'flick' to them. No good.

I picked up what I think was a re-branded Kuretake Waterbrush ( ) at Michael's, under the brand Ranger ( ) The internet tells me this is actually a re-branded Yasutomo Niji ( ) which would be nice, as they are by far my favorite and easier to find. I have two, filled with different concentrations of watered down Dr Ph Martin's. The effect is really nice, similar to warm gray toned marker shading. I have had NO problems with leaking, or drying out. The brush tip is still lovely and springy. They are ok for use with pan watercolors, but not as nice as even the cheap non-waterbrush brushes I've used in the past.

I suspect water brushes would be LOVELY with liquid watercolors. If I can find a liquid watercolor set online for cheap, I should try them out and see.. they may end up being more economical than markers if so.
rubyredrose: (Default)
So I've decided to get a dreamwidth account,considering LJ's recent unreliability, and that is no longer the be-all, end-all online blog of choice. Don't worry, I plan on keeping my LJ up unless they decide to do anything REALLY obnoxious to the terms of service... >.>;
rubyredrose: (Default)
A recipe from my mother - the branch of the family that is not Polish. As usual, this is the vegetarian version, but the traditional version would have been with meat.

1 Head of Cabbage
1 Large Onion
12ish Small Red Potatoes
1/2 lb. Baby Carrots
1 lb. Frozen Small Baby Lima Beans
2 T Butter
1/2 to 1 t Carraway Seeds

(For a more traditional version, add Kielbosa - A Polish Smoked Sausage)

Start boiling the Lima Beans in a 1-2 quart sause pan, go ahead and add the Butter for flavor.

In a dutch oven (any large pot will do) boil the Potatoes, if you wish, add salt to the water so you need add less salt later. Add carrots 5 minutes later. You will need to watch the potatoes closely after the first 15 mintutes from starting. Check with a fork, a large potatoe should be easy to piece deeply, and slide of easily. Once they are done, drain in collender and put aside (do NOT rinse, you want them to continue cooking).

While the Potatoe and Carrots are cooking, it's time to start cutting up your Cabbage. Remove the outer leaves of your Cabbage, and with a large, sharp knife cut off the "stem." Halve, and then quarter the remaining head of Cabbage. Remove the tough, center stalk. Then, slice the Cabbage quarters into thirds vertially, then cut those in half horizontally. You want chunks of Cabbage approximately three inches long.

Add two cups of water and the Cabbage, cover and bring to a boil (letting it steam), stiring every 5 minutes so as to make sure all the Cabbage cooks. You will cook the Cabbage for 10-15 minutes, until tender crisp(aka: soft yet crunchy). Drain the Cabbage and set aside. In the final pot, add a little Oil, and your spices and cook at medium low heat for a few minutes (until it smells DELICIOUS). Add the rest of the now-cooked ingrediants, stir and taste, adding more Vinegar, Carraway Seeds, Texjoy Oil, or whatever spices it seems to need to taste. This is a very by the seat of your pants recipe - depending on the size of your cabbage, the age and size of the potatoes, etc, will effect your seasoning.

I like it with garlic bread. n__n
rubyredrose: (Default)
Passing along an interesting science article, particularly to ot_atma, but also anyone else interested in MS, schizophrenia, and retroviruses. It appears that Neil Stevenson was right yet again.
rubyredrose: (Default)
I've been thinking... LJ is not what it used to be. So much so that most of the people I cam to this site for are no longer here. With that said, if I left and started something like, say, a blogger to post my art and cosplay on, would anyone miss me? The time limit for answering is the end of the year, as my paid subscription runs out then.
rubyredrose: (Default)
Hat progress pic. I still need to paint it, attach the wheels, attach the cover wires and sew the cover, and make oxen (the ones I wanted to buy turned out to be a) too small and b) long horn cattle. it silly enough?

rubyredrose: (Default)
I don't even have the costume designed yet, but I'm thinking about steampunk weaponry. I'm thinking a gas gun.

The "handle" is this with very little modification other than paint. The backpack will be much harder to find parts for. Any idea where to find a clear plastic tube over a foot in diameter?

** edit **
For tingirl, here's my idea for the wagon-hat. n_n

rubyredrose: (Default)
Since the HELL that was February, March has which I mean no one I know personally has died. Money is tight (that's true for everyone, I know, but..) and work sucks more than previously.

Also, my parents' dog Daisy recently lost the use of her rear legs. We're not exactly sure what happened, if it's a result of her hip displacia, or if she hurt herself while we were at my uncle's funeral, or what. She's got some limited use of one of them, but except for about 3 steps a day, she doesn't. Instead, she drags herself everywhere she goes. She still seems alert and her same "I want to be a part of everything" self,'s heartbreaking to watch. Also, she has been dragging the wrong side of her feet, so they're torn up something awful. My mom has just ordered a doggie wheelchair, and they've been trying various purchased dog shoes. Unfortunately, they're universally made of waterproof material that does not breathe, complicating her foot sores. So I spent last weekend hand sewing doggie boots.

Also, I've gotten SOME work done on my Shanoa cosutme... I've started on the armor (sorry, no pictures) and have been making decent headway on the prop I'm planning. Shanoa has a small list of summons/familiars she can use, and one of them is a 4 legged skull spider. Naturally, I'm making a paper mache puppet of the skull spider. XD

The face part of the skull I made in a similar way to my last Freya mask...I'm using a stiffer paste this time, and this will be covered by newspaper and paperclay later, but..

It attaches to a chopped up sphere made over a balloon, and the legs (made of wire and newspaper) attach to a base made from hanging file folder, steel wire, hotglue, and floral wire.

Expect more progress posts later.
rubyredrose: (Default)
Holidays have come and went, I've got a new craft/art/costuming space set up, and am going to be starting a new water color soon as a gift for mi padre. Asmaria (THANK YOU!!! Let me know when you want to pattern yours..) was a tremendous help in patterning the armor for the costume I want to make (but haven't started on yet.)

However, I really haven't started on anything creative so far this year. Most of this is because January has sucked BALLS. Between the continued construction on the road I live on causing me to have to walk a block from where I can park to my front door (in the dark, muddy street), no less than three deaths of friends/loved ones/relatives, and some very annoying health issues...I haven't got the energy, but less the creative energy to start or work on any of the projects I want to work on. Which I will now list, in no particular order.

- Edith doll
- Shanoa costume
- watercolor for my dad
- comic re-draft and begin laying out the first chapter
- bake something, likely cookies

On the other hand, thanks in large part to my funeral trip, I have finished books and played video games. Um...yay? (I feel so unaccomplished!) Also in no particular order:

- finished Memory Trace and Hotel Dusk room 215
- finished Stardust (Neil Gaiman), Howl's Moving Castle (Diana Wayne Jones), and Neverending Story (Ende)
- am most of the way through my first reading of Making Comics (Mccloud)

Now I'm off to do dishes and perhaps go twosies on a Wii Fit with one of my roomies. Laters~!
rubyredrose: (Default)
So, I hear you like spiders...? Dood, spiders are AWESOME!!1!1

Ahem. Also, I have been playing Bioshock, which squicks me quite badly -- not because of the body horror, or that I haven't played a shooter other than Portal since the ORIGINAL Doom -- but because they use needles for FRIKING EVERYTHING. I can take about an hour of it at a time before I have to turn it off, because needles freak me the heck out.

Also I have been playing Dissidia, which is a quite fun, single player, fanservice game by Squeenix WITH A RAID SCHEDULE. ARG. It's fun, even if the writing it terribad, until you realize that you're in gamer hell banging your head against an unbeatable fight for chump exp and minor treasure you won't use. *sigh*

Letsee...what else? Oh yeah. Check out this CAKE. It is REAL.


Sep. 9th, 2009 12:13 pm
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Back from Dragon*con. I'm glad I did it, not sure I'd do it again. It's a LOT of stress for a con that's so big you can not possibly do everything, or even much of it.

I did wear Freya to a gathering, so there should be photos of the new mask floating around the internets. I'll start looking later. Feet are still healing from all that walking, and well...the Freya feet are the most uncomfortable shoes EVER. I also wore Caprice, but not a single person recognized it. Or at least, if they did no one commented. :(

Lots of interesting panels, the hall costuming was incredible, I didn't even go to the masquerades (multiple!) A quick bingo list of costumes I saw. Spaceman Spiff (with tiger), various Justice League members, LOTS of steampunk, pirates, a REALLY GOOD Big Daddy from Bioshock, an entire Inuyasha cast, various from Bleach, Link and Zelda, various from World of Warcraft, TWO Ward Zabac, a Kefka, the typical FF7 cast, an actually really good Siax, so very much corsetry, and Jesus.

There was also a REALLY TASTY Indian food restaurant that if not for the commute would go again.

Let's see...swag. I picked up: a plush spider puppet with not enough eyes, a rock'n bustle coat, two prints, a d20 bag, some star trek tos pins, a very pretty necklace, a MC Esher dayplanner (thank you, ot_atma!), and a The 9 art book (free!).
rubyredrose: (Default)
Dream pieces:

I remember it started with a neighbor's van somehow backing all the way across the street, into our yard, and into the side(!) of the house I grew up in McKinney. Also, we had dug a HUGE hole which was full of water for some reason or other, which he narrowly avoided. There was somehow no damage, but I had to stop the kid driving from backing up any more. And get the van away from the side of the house.

Then I was with a group of people running through a series of rooms that were like an adventure game where random bits of inventory were useful. For example, there small cubes of colored plastic in each room that matched the carpet. One room needed two flashes of white light to open a door, so I needed all the colors in the spectrum to cast white light.

We also watched Girl Genius, the animated series. The designs weren't bad, just simplified of Agatha's green dress and Gil's current outfit. The casting of the voices wasn't bad, but I remember being put out that even when they were sparking out, they were very calm and understated. :( The part of that show that I remember was Gil and Agatha going on a walk, and Gil's umbrella attracted lightening bolts, which were then used to power a force field so they wouldn't get wet. And Gil grinning like an idiot. n_n

Also, something about early Mickey mouse being made out of sock puppets. But that was frankly too weird to make sense even in dream context.

The important part of all this? I actually remembered a dream about something I actually read, [ profile] tingirl!
rubyredrose: (Default)
So I've been remembering my dreams off and on lately. And all the ones I remember are about comic book characters, for some reason. So you get to share in my unconscious writing what is probably bad fanfiction. Enjoy.

The adventures of Peter Parker pretending not to be Spiderman.
Peter Parker comes home to his (boilogical) parents only to find that the MIB (not the Will Smith version, the make you disappear if you ask too many questions version) are in the process of kidnapping his parents. They're for some reason returned from being in the CIA, or FBI, or whatever secret government conspiracy kept them from raising him, to return to his life and add yet another complication in the horrible life of Peter Parker. Also, they know he's Spiderman. This will be important later.

So Pete's dad is already gone, and they're in the process of chloroforming his mom. Pete then goes ballistic and starts to beat up the MIB while being careful not to do things like web them, or stick to walls. You know, MERELY making bloody pulps out of what used to be a person with your bare hands. And a door frame being applied repeatedly to someone's head. Stuff a normal person could do if sufficiently motivated.

Unfortunately, while he's kicking their butts, they've got a hostage, so he is forced to go along with them into an unmarked gray van (tm) while his mom sleeps off the drugs. However, since he's Spiderman, he's got a few tricks up his sleeves, and manages to free her and himself, escaping the van. It involved a tiny gadget that he got from...somewhere, maybe one of the many evil or not always evil scientists in his life.

Regardless, he's on the run, with a barely coherent 50s era Mother. So where does he go? The house I grew up in, and lived there for 18 years. A lot of my dreams end up there at some point. Anyway. So he's got his mom, but not his dad, and When mpm wakes up, it is apparent she has been brainwashed. She doesn't know he's Spiderman, and thinks she's divorced his dad and they're now living in this house they've come to. Pete meanwhile, is inner monologuing to himself over whether or not it is safe to let her know he's Spiderman. Then he abruptly realizes from what the MIB were saying in the van that THEY KNOW HE'S SPIDERMAN, and are collecting "capes" to do their dirty work for them.

Then, of course, I wake up. A few days later, it's DC time!

The tale of Batman explaining to Supergirl that Superman is being sneaky.
So Brainiac* is trying to shoot nuclear missiles off, and has a super killer robot body made of unobtainium. This presents more of a problem than you'd think for Batman, so he calls Superman for advice, since Brainiac is usually one of HIS villains. Superman, meanwhile is busy being the chauffeur for a bunch of politicians...he's carrying Boeing 737s to a secret location, then diving underwater to drop them off at a submarine.

So he's chatting with Batman using his Blutooth headset while carrying an airplane. But Superman knows what's going on, and even Batman's ultra secure phone line has been compromised. So he tells him he's sitting on a runway waiting for a plane to take off, and it's annoying that he has to take the plane and they won't let him get a pilot 's license so he can fly the plane there himself. He also says he can't talk now because he's stuck on the runway. Batman raises an eyebrow.

Superman meanwhile yells hello to Supergirl (who is conveniently flying by) and that Batman may need some help and for her to stop by and say "hi" for him.

She arrives at the batcave and starts to explain why she's there, and how she doesn't understand what's going on. Robin (Tim Drake, for the record) then explains that Superman is protecting the folks that have the ability to set off nuclear missiles by hiding them, but since Brainiac has the ability to hack all computer systems he couldn't just tell her what was going on. She then realizes that the cal she got from Clark Kent telling her to go somewhere else just carefully calculated so he could intersect her flightpath to tell her to go get help from Badman. Duh.

Just as things are about to get good, however...I wake up. Darn. I wanted to see Batman kick Brainiac's ass.

* Why is my spell check trying to turn Brainiac into Ukrainians? WTF.
rubyredrose: (Default)

1 Chicken, diced and de-boned (substitue 1 lb Quorn)
1 can Rotel tomatoes (substitue salsa)
1 can cream of chicken soup (substitue cream of mushroom)
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 package of corn tortillas (substitue wheat tortillas)
1 lb velveta cheese grated (substitue sharp cheddar)
dash of chilli powder

Brown onion and bell pepper, then add soup, rotel tomatoes, and chilli powder. Add half of cheese. Cook until well blended.

Break tortillas into bite sized pieces. In a casserole dish, layer the totillas pieces with other ingrediants. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.

Cook 30 minutes at 350 degrees F, until cheese is melted.

Modified from a reciepe my father aquired before he met my mother...the copy I have transcripted this from is hand written, and older than I am. n_n
rubyredrose: (Default) not sure how I feel about this. On one hand, making old adventure games available again is wonderful. So is a graphical update, since there are many who will not play the original because of graphic snootiness. See EVERY remake Squeenix has done. On the other freeware? Really? What about the creators? Have you gotten permission from the Coles? What about the Williams? There is nothing on the website to indicate that they are aware of, much less support this. And I spent too much time invested in this fandom to feel entirely comfortable about it. This is not like translating a game in the hopes of building interest so the original company will import the game. It's been released HERE. The company that made it is not longer in existence, as such, but the creators are still HERE. I wonder if they ever got the rights to these games back?


Apr. 26th, 2009 06:53 pm
rubyredrose: (Default)
It has been a good weekend. Much thanks to friends that made that happen. :)

Here for your pleasure is a recipe that timrehix and I made. It was very nummy.

1 pound quorn tenders (faux chicken)
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup frozen green peas
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dill weed
1 3/4 cups vegetable bouillon
2/3 cup milk

2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C.)
2. In a saucepan, combine quorn tenders, carrots, and peas. Add water to cover and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.
3. In the saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and celery seed. Slowly stir in bouillon broth and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Remove from heat and set aside.
4. Place the quorn mixture in bottom pie crust. Pour hot liquid mixture over. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape.
5. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Modified from here:
rubyredrose: (Default)

For togabitoion, and anyone else who hasn't seen it yet. XD


Mar. 7th, 2009 12:12 am
rubyredrose: (Default)
My great grandmother's quick and easy fruit cobbler

1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk
3 cups fruit
1 stick butter

Melt butter in pan. Combine all remaining ingredients except fruit, pour into pan. Add fruit evenly. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, 20 minutes if fruit was frozen, until golden brown. Let sit for 5 minutes, devour.


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