Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Kit and Kaboodle

Like any one else, I love stuff, and any new stuff that comes my way is greatly appreciated. That's not to say that I like clutter, and am currently attempting to turn my house into a minimalist haven of calm, (with 'Husband' and all his tech that's never going to happen). Ah, one can dream.

Today is rainy old day and after being out of the studio for a while, I feel like a bit of a tidy up before the next painting gets under way. This got me thinking about what else is in there that I just can't seem to manage without, (lots of us have been doing this). Now, most of these treasures are not lavish affairs, some of my favourite bits and bobs are simple things that only really make sense to me to have. But, you may see sense in them too and think to yourself, "well I never thought of that"

So here are my top 10

1. Palettes.

These beauties were bought for me by a most generous and gorgeous friend and I just can't live without them. Just simple flat serving dishes from a home wares store, these little ceramic dishes are used for food, but why not paint. They give lovely smooth mixing, no stress on the brush and go in the dishwasher. With lots of little ones, I can mix colours for several pieces, cover with cling film or another palette, and keep it for later.

The new ones are about the same size as my old palettes with wells. used together, I can be flexible as to where to put the paint and how much I mix.

Perfect size 

2. Engineers Tool Box

My dad has one of these in his garage and it has been in there since I was very small. His one is of course a very vintage affair that I absolutely love, and you can still get them on eBay if you are willing to pay an outrageous price. Well, if you want to jump on the retro bandwagon that's up to you, but I want a working, practical piece of kit, and dad found this one lurking in a local wholesalers. Costco really does seem to stock everything, and I am ever grateful they got these in. They haven't since. A new favourite that has got legs to last.

With loads of drawer space, I can keep all my precious smaller or fragile items nice and safe. The felt lining stops things rolling and moving about when you open and close the drawers, and the front panel locks in place for transporting. The top also lifts open and there's a handle too. Not bad for little more that £30.

Lots of handy drawers, a lift up tray at the top, a carrying handle and a fold up cover and lock
make this practical piece 

3. Lightbox

You may have already seen this one before. A dad creation, made from off cuts of wood, some opaque perspex found in a skip and a tube light. This one has already made its debut on the blog, but it really is a vital piece of kit.

Perfect for transferring traced images onto watercolour paper, this one isn't as powerful as the new LED boxes available now but, 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' works here. Cheap and cheerful, but it works.

from a while ago, but here's the lightbox in action

4. Proportional Dividers.

I could never have afforded these myself as they really are a precision instrument and fabulously useful. My parents bought me these as a Christmas present last year, and I have used them constantly since. Having used these sorts of dividers when I worked on architectural drawings, I have always wanted my own set. If you look around on eBay, you can find some, but there's no guarantee of their precision. Pricey but worth it.

Very worthwhile for sizing up subjects

5. Jeweller's Loupe

My brother bought me this little nugget and I love him more for it, (as a big brother he was a pain when we were kids, but actually he's not bad really). These are pocket sized, go anywhere bits of brilliance that give you the close up view when you really need it. Also great to magnify your finger when you have a thorn or splinter. handy when you paint brambles a lot.

Pocket size with a range of lenses

6. That Little Jar

Yes, it really is called that. One day we were digging in the garden (we do that a lot), when all of a sudden 'Husband' saw a piece of glass buried and stuck fast in the soil. Not wanting to smash it and get dodgy bits of glass everywhere, he carefully dug around it and found a completely unbroken jar. My dad recognised the style as a type of jar from his childhood. so who knows how old it is.

A quick go through the dishwasher and Ta dah! Now I use 'That Little Jar' for all my pencils and nothing else. Well, not all kit has to be sensible. I've got a fabulous mug my mum bought from Oxfam too.

Now how did you manage to stay intact

7. Ear Drops Squashy Thing

Once, I had to get some of those ear drops for 'Husband' as I really thought he was going deaf! The drops worked a treat, but it was the squashy dropper thing that came with them that caught my attention. Basically, it's a big soft pipette that you suck water up with to clean your ears out. Now it's found a new use for dropping just the right amount of Ox Gall into my mixing water. And, as it stands up by itself, you can leave some liquid in it for when you need to change the water. No need to get the bottle out again.

All cleaned out and ready to use for Ox gall

8. Ferrero Rocher Boxes

You can probably tell by now that I like things as cheap as I can get them, the best price of course being free. Who can resist a Ferrero? More likely, who can resist the boxes once they've all been scoffed?

Ferrero boxes are great for storing tubes of paint. Of course you can get all posh about it and get all sorts of expensive trays and boxes, but these plastic boxes have good fitting lids, can go through the dishwasher if there's been an explosion and you can see exactly what you've got in there. Perfect. I use three of them for my reds and pinks, blues and greens, and yellows and golds.

Don't worry if one gets cracked, just buy another box of chocs.
Double the pleasure

9. Rotring Pens

Another blast from the past, these pens have been with me since I was 16 and a trainee draftsman, (or draughtsman). All they have needed over the years is the occasional new nib. There may be new, shiny darlings on the market now, but for me, nothing quite compares with the sheer performance and range of the Rotrings. Lots of sizes for every job.

Oldies but goodies.

10. Panasonic Lumix Camera

Where would I be without my trusted old friend and constant companion. For all the years of the blog and from the day I bought it, I have used my Panasonic Lumix point and shoot every day. I can't take a photo of it, as it's doing it's continuous service taking the photos today. My dad has cameras galore and swears by Canon but if I was to get sentimental over anything, it would be this little camera. Alas though, it needs retiring as it is getting old and slow, and the functions don't always work now (well don't we all have a little trouble from time to time).

When I replace this little gem, it'll be with another, upgraded Panasonic Lumix.  

Back in the day.
All sparkly new and ready to go

11. Magnifying Glass

Well, there's always room for one more. Picked up in one of those mad places where everything seems to be a ridiculously low price, this magnifying glass ticks all the boxes. Good, comfy grip, light in the hand and even more exciting, it lights up! Yes, I kid you not, it really does. On the back, it has a rim of little LED lights to light up the thing you are looking at. Great if you need an extra blast of brightness, especially when closely checking your painting for marks, missed bits or errors. Big thanks to 'Husband' for spotting a useful bargain.

From the back, you can see the rim of lights

And what about the title?

Kit and Kaboodle (or Caboodle)

A collection of things


The words kit and caboodle have rather similar meanings.
A kit - is set of objects, as in a toolkit, or what a soldier would put in his kit-bag.
A caboodle (or boodle) - is an archaic term meaning group or collection, usually of people.
There are several phrases similar to the whole kit and caboodle, which is first recorded in that form in 1884. Most of them are of US origin and all the early citations are American. Caboodle was never in common use outside the USA and now has died out everywhere, apart from its use in this phrase.
The whole kit - the whole of a soldier's necessaries, the contents of his knapsack. From Grose’s Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, 1785.

The whole kit and boodle
"It is probably derived from the Old-English word bottel, a bunch or a bundle, as a bottel of straw. "The whole kit and boodle of them" is a New England expression in common use, and the word in this sense means the whole lot. Latterly, boodle has come to be somewhat synonymous with the word pile, the term in use at the gaming table, and signifying a quantity of money. In the gaming sense, when a man has "lost his boodle", he has lost his pile or whole lot of money, whatever amount he happened to have with him."

What we can't confirm is that the word caboodle migrated from boodle in order to sound better when matched with kit. It is possible that that's what happened, but the dates of the known citations don't support it. Whole kit and caboodle, (1884) is recorded before whole kit and boodle, (1888) and whole caboodle comes well before both, in 1848. Perhaps that's just the inadequacy or either records or research and that citations with the appropriate dates will emerge later.  from 'Phrase Finder' at



shevaun said...

Great top ten, Jarnie!!

Claire said...

Great post Jarnie, love that tool chest and little glass jar, that's special. I also have Ferrero boxes, (yum) they are so handy! xx

Sketchbook Squirrel said...

Thanks Shevaun x

ha ha, they certainly are Claire. I've just put a load of snail shells, (without snail) and feathers in another one. x

Debbie Nolan said...

Dear Jarnie - loved seeing your top ten. You got me thinking about what my ten would be. Thank you for sharing. Hope you are having a great summer day.

Sketchbook Squirrel said...

Hi Debbie, great to hear from you again. Yes, it gets very contemplative when you start thinking about your favourites. Of course there are probably loads to choose from, so tricky. x

Limner said...

This has to be my favorite post about the "necessaries" of painting. It's always interesting to see what other artists use and cannot do without. Your work is admirable. Your posts are something I look forward to reading.


Sketchbook Squirrel said...

Thanks Limner, that is praise indeed. Glad you found the post valuable and interesting.