In 2002 we ran away from Illinois where we were born and raised, and started a new life in SW Florida. This blog is about me (an eccentric old artist), ROM (my Real Old Man), Isabella (our neurotic Standard Poodle) and Emmy (our crazy snake killing Jack Russell Terrier). Oh- and the neighborhood old people. Life is good in Florida!


Saturday, December 31, 2016

Dear Women Who Voted For Trump...

Dear Women Who Voted For Trump,

It's New Year's Eve and I just finished watching Suffragette on HBO.  It's absolutely chilling to watch what our grandmothers endured to win women the right to vote. They were beaten and jailed but refused to give up their fight. They endured horrible hardships for years, all so that the women who came after them would have the right to vote. 

In the following years women had to fight for the right to access and use birth control, for equal employment opportunities, for the right to have credit in our own names, for the right to not be raped and beaten by our husbands, and the right to serve in the military. We still to this day fight for equal pay. And still we must fight for control of our own bodies as the right wing anti-choice faction work feverishly to defund Planned Parenthood and reverse Roe vs Wade. 

Generations of women have struggled, suffered and fought to make America better for us, our daughters and grand daughters. And how do we honor them? We elect as President of the United States a man who brags how his fame allows him to grab women by the pussy.

How any woman who has read about the Suffrage Movement, watched the movies "Iron Jawed Angels" and "Suffragette", been subjected to unwanted groping and assault by men, and been belittled for their appearance could vote for Donald Trump, I will never understand. They are an embarrassment to our gender and I have nothing but contempt for them. They chose willful ignorance by over looking Trump's long history of demeaning women in so many ways. Shame on them! 

Though Trump's misogyny is just one of many reasons he is unfit to be President, it's the reason that is most personal to me.  I greet the new year of 2017 with sadness and anger that so many in our country have such disrespect for women that they would elect Trump as President. May your daughters and grand daughters forgive you for voting for Trump... but I won't. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

What The Hell Are You Looking At?

Real Old Man is still working on his light display...

He just finished stringing new lights on the wicker sleigh...

Tragically, the matching reindeer died. I don't remember what they died of but probably West Nile or Zika from the damn mosquitoes that are still alive and active.  Now the sleigh sits there by itself.  I suggested we dress the dogs up, tie them to the front of the sleigh and put them on display for a couple hours every night. But ROM thought that would be mean. Pshaw- they'd love it! They would until Emmy saw a rabbit or a cat or another dog or a raccoon- actually anything that moved... which she would chase while pulling the sleigh and Isabella behind her. And Isabella would totally freak out, convinced the sleigh would overtake and kill her in some violent and bloody way. 

Between the two of us, ROM truly is the nice one. Like today, when I looked out the window and saw Dryer Sheet Lady on top of her house. The woman is 75 years old and doesn't have great balance on flat ground, let alone on a roof. For some reason she decided she had to clean her gutters right then and there. It was late afternoon and beginning to get dark so ROM went over and helped her. I would have called 911 for her if she fell but I wouldn't get on a ladder for anyone. 

But he's just a nice guy, it's his nature.  So many people tell us how much they enjoy his holiday lights and it pleases him to make others happy. Me? I try to be a nice person but sometimes I just have too much fun being a bit twisted. Like after ROM gets all the lights up there's a part of me that wants to sit out in the yard and when cars slow down to look at the display gruffly yell "What in the hell are you looking at?!?" I laugh just thinking about it. 

See? I told you he was the nicer one...

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A Little Paint, A Few Beads and a Couple Dogs...

I finally finished painting our holiday card featuring Isabella and Emmy and setting it up in my graphic program to be printed out on blank Strathmore watercolor cards. I'll then do some finishing touches and line work with ink on each card. And...
...add some beading. 

I need to bead and hand finish 13 cards for the neighbors. I won't bead the cards I mail because in the past beads were crushed when sent in envelopes with no padding. Maybe I'll just add some fine glitter to those.

And I will bake 13 loaves of applesauce walnut bread and whip up 13 small containers of honey butter a few days before Christmas to go with the neighbors cards. Oh, and print out the recipe.

And we still have lights to put up outside. We seem to get slower and slower every year. By the time we're 80 we'll have to start our Christmas preparations in July. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

And The Winner Is....

Remember the recipe for Applesauce Walnut Bread I posted here? It's very good but didn't taste like my old family recipe. I couldn't remember or find my original one but I was sure it called for brown sugar and used chunky applesauce  instead of the smooth kind. So I played with the recipe and came up with one I thought would be more like my original one. 

While the new recipe baked, Emmy helped me clean up the kitchen...

... while Isabella napped (she's such a lazy bitch).

ROM was my more than willing taste tester and the clear winner was recipe number 2! 

As good as the first recipe was, I recommend you go with the new and improved number 2. Or try both recipes and choose for yourself.  I couldn't think of a way to improve the honey butter recipe- it's perfect as is. 

#2 Applsauce Walnut Bread (Winner of taste test)

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 egg
1 cup chunky applesauce
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans if you'd prefer)

Preheat oven 350°F. Mix flour, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves and allspice in large bowl. Set aside.

Beat egg in medium bowl. Stir in applesauce, brown sugar, milk and oil. Add to flour mixture and stir just until moistened. Stir in 1/2 cup of the walnuts. Pour batter into 9x5-inch loaf pan sprayed with Pam. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup walnuts on top.

Bake 55 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and then remove from pan.

Walter and Bertha unpacked their suitcases and settled in for the holidays... 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

We Need A Little Christmas...

On one of his numerous trips to get more lights for his outside display, Real Old Man came home with a tiny Xmas tree to plug into my computer. It gradually changes colors from white, red, green, gold, and blue. Now seriously, how can I not be in the Christmas spirit with this wonderful man in my life? 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Pumpkin Head Baby Jezzuz...

It's my intention to blog every day this month but this will be a brief one. We enjoyed the day at the annual Bradenton Blues Fest and I'm one tired old lady. So as I sit on my ass in front of the TV how about you visit one of my older blog posts... keeping in the holiday and decorating mode I present to you Pumpkin Head Baby Jessuz- click here

Friday, December 2, 2016

Getting My Ho Ho Ho On... A Christmas Tradition

Christmas sweets have been a part of our holiday tradition for as long as I can remember. Some of my best childhood memories are of my mom and grandma spending weeks baking cookies and holiday breads and making an assortment of fudges and candies. We were forbidden to touch any of it until Christmas Eve after all the platters of goodies were delivered to the neighbors and friends. By my early teens my mom had stopped exchanging holiday treats with our neighbors and the tradition seemed to die. 

One Christmas after I became an adult with my own home I got nostalgic and decided to revive the holiday tradition I had enjoyed so much as a child.  That Christmas Eve I had platters filled with cookies, fudge and candies for each of our neighbors... and they were delighted! Especially two older ladies who each lived alone. They said they no longer baked for the holidays since it was just them. I enjoyed it so much it became one of my Christmas traditions. Over the years I lived in different towns and neighborhoods, but I continued my new/old tradition and whoever happened to be my neighbor when the holidays rolled around got a platter of goodies on Christmas Eve. 

When we moved into this senior community I was surprised that none of my neighbors had continued this old tradition. The first year we were here my neighbors were surprised when we delivered our holiday goodies. I kept hearing "oh, you shouldn't have!" or "I feel terrible that I have nothing for you." And I assured each of them that I did this for me as a way to relive those long ago and much loved times with my mom and grandma. Some years I added handmade items like the cute little angels I sculpted and finished off with cloth skirts filled with Hershey kisses or fabric Christmas cards decorated with free stitched embroidery. But three years ago I stopped with the tradition of Christmas platters. And it's now time to revive it once again. 

Just the thought of baking dozens and dozens of cookies and stirring batch after batch of fudge and candies exhausts me. So I've decided to scale way back and will be only baking holiday applesauce walnut bread and whipping up spiced honey butter with the recipes printed on a card. 

As I'm writing this post I'm wondering how many of you have traditions from your childhood that you've continued in your adult life? If not, maybe this post will remind you of a long forgotten family tradition that you could bring back and make your own. 

Here is the front of the recipe card and the recipe printed on the inside. Feel free to take it and make it your own. It is set up to print on a 7" by 5" folded card. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

I Shall Grab December By The Pussy...

... and make her my bitch!

Those of you who have read my blog the past few years know that December has been a struggle for me since my son's death. Last year I completely surrendered to it, like it was a penitence I was obligated to pay. But sadly I ruined the holidays for my Real Old Man. Y'all know how much my man loves the holidays... with his legendary outdoor light displays and festive underwear. Last year the lights were unstrung and the house remained dark. And there was no donning of his Christmas undies. 

Last month I began to feel the start of that now familiar downward spiral. I'm reminded that it's the appointed time for my misery to begin when we switch to standard time and the nights become long. The dreaded month of December is quickly approaching. But what if...

... I refused to indulge in wallowing in past memories and if onlys. Instead I could choose to put all my energy into creating new memories and cherishing what is. I could try my damnedest to make it a great Christmas for my Real Old Man. If not now, then when? Who knows how many more Christmases we will share together? 

I was reminded of that yesterday morning. A new couple had recently moved in a few houses down from us. They're only in their mid sixties, have a couple little dogs and seem happy. Tuesday night an ambulance was called and he was transported to the hospital. By Wednesday morning he was dead. They won't get another Christmas together.  So...

The decorating has started, the yearly original holiday card is being sketched and painted, recipes for yummy holiday treats have been pulled out and we watched our first Christmas show of the season together last night. I'm even digging the sappy holiday commercials. And I'm sure with enough cups of Bailey's coffee my ROM will model his festive underwear on Christmas Eve.

Here's a photo of the start of the decorating. Still a long way to go...


Yes, this December will be my bitch!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Who's To Blame? The Deplorables

There are a lot of fingers pointing at the Democrats right now. Apparently some blame the Dems for America electing The King of Deplorables as the next President of our country.  So it's the Democrats fault that the Republicans chose Trump as their candidate for president? And it’s also the Democrats fault that people found his hate fueled campaign appealing? I keep hearing if the Democrats ran Bernie instead of Hillary that Trump would have been defeated. I find that hard to believe. How could anyone who believed in Bernie and what he represented vote for Trump out of anger and spite? Trump and Bernie's platforms and ideology couldn't be farther apart.
Some are blaming the press for Trump’s win.  Yes, they were hard on Hillary and yes they did air excessive coverage of Trump.  But I would think that anyone of average intelligence and just a smidgen of morals would have been thoroughly disgusted with what we were shown.  We saw him publicly mock and ridicule a man with a disability. Can you imagine being singled out in a large public crowd and openly mocked? And to hear the crowd laugh as you were being humiliated?  If you weren’t horrified and angered by that act of cruelty you truly are deplorable.

We can’t forget Trump’s ugly comment about John McCain. Though he never served one minute in the military, he smugly said he didn’t consider McCain a war hero because he got captured and he only liked people who didn’t get captured.  If you think it’s okay to demean a man who suffered such horrific torture while serving our country you truly are deplorable.
We had the tape of a conversation between Trump and Billy Bush where he openly bragged about grabbing women by the pussy and kissing them without their consent.  And don’t forget his penchant for rating women strictly on their physical looks and publicly demeaning women with cruel name calling. He dismissed women who have come forward and accused him sexual assault by insinuating it couldn’t be true because he found them unattractive.  If you think all this is okay, you truly are deplorable.

I don’t think we’ll ever forget Trump addressing the size of his penis during a national debate. And yes, Rubio started that tawdry exchange, but Trump felt so threatened he needed to publicly tell us that his penis size was "bigly". If you want a president who publicly discusses his penis size, you truly are deplorable.

And then there’s his wall… that he will make Mexico pay for it (if you believe that you’re an idiot).  Because we all know that Mexicans only come here to sell drugs and rape American women. I guarantee you the majority of rapes in America are being committed by home grown violent deviant men- you know, the one’s that feel entitled to grab women by the pussy. In addition to the wall he also said he would round up all the undocumented people and deport them with no exceptions.  Of course reasonable people know this would be an impossible task, but let’s consider for a moment it was possible. Do you have any idea how the cost of groceries would skyrocket without the cheap labor undocumented workers now provide?  (The morality of paying any worker, whether documented or not, such meager wages and no benefits is a worthy topic for another post).  How do we ignore the fact that families would be ripped apart with a mass deportation of people? If you think it’s okay to separate parents from their children, you truly are deplorable.

I could write for hours specifying every disgusting thing Trump has said and done. Ain’t nobody got time for that! The list is so long one could make it their life’s work.  So who is to blame for Trump being elected President of the United States? Every one of you deplorable people who voted for him is to blame.  He’s your President, not mine. He’s now the President of The Deplorables.  Damn pity we can’t keep the Mexicans and deport all The Deplorables.  I think the Mexicans love America more than The Deplorables do.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Ugly Underbelly of America Has Risen...

Usually when I begin to write a blog post I already know what I'm going to write about and have come up with a title. But not today. I'm still reeling from the election results and my thoughts are jumbled.  My rational mind knew that the Bloated Orange One could win, but my heart rejected such a reality. Surely America would never elect such a hateful entitled buffoon? What I didn't realize is how little some   Americans care about women and minorities, the poor, LBGTQ, disabled, immigrants and non-Christians. 

For years we've been warned about the dumbing down of America and now we see how prophetic those warnings were. Years of watching Bravo Real Housewives, FOX News, Breitbart and cable networks pretending to be news groomed us for this debacle. 

America elected a rich privileged elderly orange man- a pussy grabbing, climate change denying, immigrant hating, KKK endorsed, narcissistic sociopath to lead our country. And gave him control of Congress and Senate just to sweeten the pot. 

David Duke is just giddy with the election results:

And it isn't just the KKK we have to thank for the Bloated Orange One. Bible thumping evangelicals did their part. Evidently they're okay with rich powerful men grabbing women by the pussy, as long as women aren't given the right to make decisions regarding birth control/abortion and 
LBGTQ are denied the same rights as heterosexual god fearing people.

As for the white women voters, I can't come up with any reasonable explanation.  

My heart broke when I listened to Van Jones. His words were the last ones I heard before I turned the TV off. 

I'm white, a natural born citizen, heterosexual and in the last chapter of my life so I don't have that much to fear. I'll be dead before the long term repercussions of this election are felt. When I cast my vote it wasn't so much for me, but for the younger generations and the Colombian couple down the street who are struggling to learn English and share cheerful smiles and their delicious sweet desserts with us, the lesbian Latino friends we play Spades with on the weekends, my widowed neighbors who rely on SS and Medicare just to exist, my gay neighbor who shared his red pineapple plant with me and campaigned tirelessly for Hillary and equality, the spirited Black women I've had the privilege of knowing over the years and all the people who are different from me but have greatly enriched my life by knowing them. 

All my life I've often felt out of step with the majority, but never as much as I did last night. The ugly underbelly of America has risen up and cast a shadow over us all. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Who Broke The Twitter?

Once my morning chores are done, I pour myself a cup of coffee and sit down to read my Twitter timeline. That's part of my daily routine. I catch up on news stories, Twitter feuds, and Trump's latest rants. But today shortly after I got on Twitter it went down.

I assumed it was a temporary glitch and would soon be back up. When it didn't come back up after about an hour I googled "Twitter Down" and discovered that there had been a cyber attack on DNS servers for many popular sites such as Twitter, Etsy and Netflix. In fact I discovered this was the second attack of the day. I'm woefully ignorant when it comes to cyber technical stuff, but how in the hell does something like this happen? Is it not possible to make sites unhackable? 

It's scary that hackers can shut down popular websites and social media. The only worse thing than shutting down Twitter is if they shut down Google.  Google took me to Dyn's (the server for Twitter) status page where I learned about today's hacks. 

For years tech experts have warned us of the possibility of cyber war and I'm wondering if this is the beginning. We've already seen the hacked email information released by Wikileaks (and believed by many that the hacking was done by Russian government). And now the attack on the server of popular sites. 

If these damn hackers start fucking with my two favorite things in the world, Netflix and Twitter, I say find them, cut their damn hands off and poke their eyes out! Sound harsh? I don't think so- 

Remember what it was like before the internet? We old people do and we don't want to go back to mailing letters through the USPS. And imagine you're only source of info is an old incomplete set of Encyclopedias sitting on a dusty bookshelf, visiting the public library and the nightly news. Or instead of insulting people on Twitter we'd be forced to insult people face to face. But if we don't have 1000s of followers to witness our clever stingers it would take all the fun out of it.  

And the only way to share photos would be to print them and mail them individually to people. Imagine having to print and mail out a photo of your dinner to 10000s people... every night. Or all those cute cat pics you took today.  

How would the Real Housewives sell all their crap if they couldn't continuously send out tweets promoting their junk? There would be no social media and blog wars between the Real Housewives fans. We'd have to find RH fans in our real life neighborhoods to fight with every night.  That could be dangerous because the only reason there hasn't been RH related murders is because it would be too much trouble to track down the person we happen to hate this week. But if they lived right next door... well, it could get ugly. 

Trust me, we do not want to go back to a life without the internet. So I say find the bastards and make sure they can never ever hack again. 

Friday, September 30, 2016

Death By Loneliness...

It's been so long since I wrote anything here, it took me a few attempts to remember my password.  I just can't seem to get my stride back.  But do you ever get your stride back after the death of your child? I'm beginning to doubt it. Maybe I need a completely new stride instead. And if I create a new stride maybe I'll add in some new hopes, dreams and goals.  We'll see...

And on a cheerier note... we signed our new wills this week- yes, I lied, not a damn thing cheery about it. We made wills years ago after we first moved to Florida but things have changed since then so it was time to redo them. Nothing reminds of your mortality like deciding who gets what when you drop dead, how to dispose of your body, who has your power of attorney if dementia sets in, and who decides to pull the plug if you end up as a vegetable kept alive by machines. All that depressing shit none of us want to think about. But it's the responsible thing to do and shouldn't be dumped on others after we're gone. Leaving all these details to be done by loved ones is a really shitty thing to do. Next week we're going to prepay for our cremations. After doing all these mature and responsible tasks I will need to do something naughty and irresponsible. It's all about balance, people! 

If I haven't depressed you yet, read on...

Yesterday I noticed a couple cop cars and ambulance zooming past my house. Then I saw a canine unit go past. So I went to the sheriff's website where there is a list of dispatched calls and the reason they were called. I saw that there had been a stabbing in my neighborhood. There hasn't been a violent incident here in many years- the plunger assault. I'm sure I wrote about that here... somewhere...

I talked to a couple neighbors to see if they knew anything about a stabbing but no one had heard about it. They told me the man who lived alone at the very end of our street had died but knew nothing about a stabbing. 

I didn't know the man well, but knew his name was Jimmy and occasionally chatted with him when we walked the dogs down there. He walked all hunched over and would turn his head to look at you when he talked but he seemed unable to lift his head upright. But I would see him out for walks and he seemed to get around okay. He even drove his car though I always wondered how he could see with his head tucked down all the time. 

By evening the entire story had gotten out and Jimmy was in fact the person who had been stabbed. His next door neighbors, a married couple, are part timers and were here for a short visit. They always did things with Jimmy when they were here and seemed to be his only close friends. They were getting ready to go back north today, so they were going to spend the day helping Jimmy run some errands. Yesterday morning the neighbor guy went to Jimmy's door to see if he was ready to go. Jimmy didn't come to the door so he assumed he must be in the bathroom. The neighbor went back home, wait a bit and then returned to Jimmy's. But he still didn't come to the door. 

The neighbor tried the door and found it unlocked so he let himself in while calling out Jimmy's name. He found Jimmy with a knife in his chest. The police and ambulance were called but Jimmy was dead. The police investigated and determined Jimmy had stabbed himself in the heart and it was ruled suicide. We think he did it then because he wanted to be sure someone found him rather than to be left decomposing all alone for days. His only friends were leaving and his loneliness must have been overwhelming. 

This is a retirement community of over 200 homes but yet we had a man take his own life because he was lonely. All these people around but none of us noticed a man was dying from loneliness.  And that's a damn shame. 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

An Artful Sunday...

One of my favorite things to do (only topped by going to the beach) is to go to art festivals. Today we had beautiful weather for the Fine Arts Festival in downtown Bradenton on historical Wares Creek put on by ArtCenter Manatee. It was sunny and in the mid 70s. Perfect day to be outside while visiting booth after booth of gorgeous art. I wish I could show you photos of some of the beautiful art we saw today, but I can't. 

More and more artists have signs posted in their booths announcing that no photos are allowed. I used to love blogging about the art I saw and made sure I added links to the artist's website. I've always thought it was a win win for both the artist and me. I had something interesting to share with my readers and perhaps someone reading would click over to the artist's website and buy something from them. 

Most artists have websites where they display their art, so what is the problem with a photo of their work appearing in a blog? I just don't get the paranoia. If someone is going to steal and copy their art work, it can be done from their own websites.  Even if they have a block on to prevent the use of the right clicking copy tool, anyone can merely take a screen capture to snag their photos. Enough about the paranoia and egos of artists... back to the topic of the festival...

One thing I noticed today is the use of copper seems to be a trend. Booth after booth of art of various mediums seemed to find a way to include some use of copper in their work- jewelry, paintings, sculptures and collages. I understand the love of copper- I have it all over my house. We have copper counter tops, copper ceiling tiles (that I made myself) and I often use copper in my own art work. Usually when something becomes trendy I no longer want it, but I don't see me giving up my love of copper anytime soon. 

Here's an overview of the art festival

The festival was set up along side the banks of the historic Wares Creek. What a beautiful sight right in the middle of town. 

The best part of the festival? A sugar cone with two big scoops of strawberry and cheesecake gelato- OMG! Absolutely orgasmic! 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

I Seem To Be....

... a piss poor juggler and not able to do even two things at once. I've been taking a six week online course at Sketchbook Skool and haven't blogged even once since it started. I haven't been tweeting as much as usual either, well other than the night the FBI moved in on the crazies who were holed up at the Oregon wildlife preserve. There was a life feed of the armed thugs phone calls with the equally crazy Gavin Seim, KrisAnne Hall and Michele Fiore. I tweeted up a storm that night! 

Anyway, the course at SBS has come to an end so perhaps I'll be better about updating this blog. Or maybe I'll sign up for another course. Here was my final sketch for the course- the palm tree in my front yard, enlarged and printed out in six 8" by 11" sections. Haven't decided how I'll put it together and display it...

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Creating 2016 My Way

I'm so glad December is over. It was an emotionally exhausting month for me and I hated every single day of it. But it's over... When I got up on the morning of January 1st it was like a huge weight had been lifted off me. I'm ready to participate in life once again. 

I'm starting this year just like I did last year- with an online class at Sketchbook Skool. It's going to be even more fun this year because a couple of my Twitter friends, Jane and Mary, are joining me in the Expressing Class. If any of you reading this decide to take this class with us, give me a holler so I can look for you in class. Don't worry if you aren't a great sketcher as I am only mediocre at best. But if I only did things I was good at all I'd do is sit on the beach, watch TV, eat and sculpt. That's extent of my skills. 

The classes I took last year were Beginning, Storytelling and Playing. I was a bit intimidated as I started the first class but soon was having too much fun. There were some very talented artists in the class but many were inexperienced people just like me who just wanted to learn and do something new. I had only used acrylic paints before so watercolor was a brand new medium for me. 

Although the instructors will tell you all you need for the class is a sketchbook and pen, it's a lot more fun if you have some of the other supplies they teach you to use. I would recommend having:

Sketchbook- I love the wire bound Strathmore Watercolor 140 lb. Visual Journal. The Dick Blick prices are much cheaper than Michael's. I do so much erasing and layers of water colors that the 140 holds up the best for me.

Mechanical pencil- I use a cheap Papermate .7 that I picked up at Target.

Eraser- Some of artists teaching at Sketchbook Skool recommend always sketching with a pen. That didn't work for me as I was so afraid of screwing up that I was paralyzed and afraid to start. I'm much bolder with a pencil and the knowledge that I could erase if I didn't like what I sketched. 

Basic set of watercolors- I use a 24 color set of Sakura Koi Watercolors

Brushes- I use the same brushes I already had for acrylics. I recently invested in some Ninji water brushes that I really like.

Gouache- I use a cheap 24 set of Reeves

Waterproof pens- I like the Sakura Micron and Copic pens. I find I use the black and sepia the most. 

These basic supplies will fill all your needs for the SBS classes and they will last a long time. Here's to creating 2016 in our own individual way- hope I see you all in class!