I usually do a little better with art supplies. I can't go into an art supply store without experiencing an almost irresistible urge to try each medium and buy every single color manufactured in it. All those trays of every color in the spectrum, in oil paint! Pastel crayons! Ink! Colored pencils! Chalk! Water color! Embroidery thread! Yarn! Craft paper! I still remember afternoons of bliss at a neighbor's house with a young friend who had the 64-color Crayola set: magenta, burnt sienna, gold, forest green, brick red, lemon yellow, everything I could possibly want in life.
What really makes my heart race are the 128-color sets, but I usually start with something smaller and try to find out if they've got the bug or not. Perhaps none of these young people have quite the orgasmic reaction I remember from my youth, but they often seem happy to scribble away with their new colored pencils on their suddenly adequate supply of large expanses of paper canvas. Because of course there are the beautiful papers. I generally opt for Strathmore pads, reasonably priced, heavyweight paper with a nice texture, just the thing for engaging one of my young relatives or friends with their new set of colors.
www.dickblick.com is a terrific mail-order resource for art supplies: great discounts and a wide variety of the basics in high-quality versions. In response to a well-timed email promo, I just sent off for some colored pencil sets and paper pads, but in order to get the full value of my discount and free shipping, I was forced to add in some gorgeous bright red Bombay India Ink (for my calligraphy pens) and a handful of tiny, lovely white china bristle paintbrushes. Who ever has anything like enough fine paintbrushes?
The only thing wrong with the dickblick site is that they don't find a way to spread pictures of all the options all over the screen; they make me click through too many pages to get to the good stuff. They'd make a lot more money off of me if they'd recreate the impact of walking into a store and being surrounded by rack after rack of COLOR COLOR COLOR. I want them all.
If not in this generation, perhaps in the next, my eyes will meet the eyes of a kindred spirit on Christmas morning, saying Yes!