Last of the Minis?

I finally sat down and finished up the half-painted minis that have sat on my painting table for the last few months. Two of them were done except for sealing and three had just a few minor details left. With those done, that leaves me only two – TWO! – minis from my forgotten hoard to paint. I’m going to be working on one, but the final one needs a slotted base, which I don’t have, so I won’t complete him until I can scrounge one up.

The first one is actually a plastic mini from the Wrath of Ashardalon board game. I saw Azazel doing this and thought I would give it try. I used the contrast paints, so it’s not very detailed, but it is still loads better than the lump of red plastic it used to be. Someday in the future, when we can play in person again, all the eyeballs will be scary, I’m sure. 🙂

Next up is a dwarf fighter. I’ve been trying out the different contrast paints for hair, and I like how they are coming out. This guy is mostly armor, so not a lot of detail, but I tried to add it in where I could. I painted the rivets bronze as well as the star on his shield. I also think his eyes came out well – some of the best ones I have managed to date.

After the dwarf was an elf ranger. She drove me a bit batty. Her hand/bow had to be attached, which made painting it easier. However, the darn thing did not want to STAY attached. I think I’ve glued it three different times now. Knock on wood she survives on the table.

Lastly, a pair of fighter twins. I don’t know how I ended up with two of these, but I did. There was also a bit of faffing with these, as the bow/quiver was a separate piece. Again, nice for painting, but a pain to attach. They’ll make nice guards or something like. They had a surprising amount of detail, but a lot of it was armor. Still fun to paint, though. 🙂

Now that this lot is done, I can finally move on to my 3D printed Critical Role minis that have been languishing in boxes for almost a year. 😀 And no more faffing about with gluing on arms or bows or quivers or axes or backpacks!

Diamond Painting Addiction

I’m so excited, y’all!

I finished my last diamond painting project – a gift for my oldest – and I’ve been jonesing to start working on another piece. I started out with diamond painting with some mandalas (because of course I did!) and then moved on to a Marvel one for my nephew. After completing both of those, I still wasn’t sure if it was something I’d keep doing.

So I purchased a few more kits to try. The owl (which you can see partial pics of in the link above) was fun and when I finished it, my sister claimed it. I didn’t get any pics of the completed canvas, unfortunately. Then I finished the wolves and am currently waiting on the frame so I can frame it and wrap it for Christmas.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I finished it and my idle hands have been driving me crazy. So when Black Friday rolled around, I thought I would try out a couple of new (to me) diamond painting companies and see how they compared to the kits I was buying on Amazon.

I was sure they’d likely be of better quality. I bought the kits I did on Amazon because I wanted some inexpensive ones to try before I dove in to diamond painting. Some of these kits can be very expensive, especially for something that’s just a hobby. But with the Black Friday sales and my surety that I actually indeed love diamond painting, I decided to buy a few kits.

Diamond Art Club is one of the more popular diamond painting companies. I’ve seen many a YouTuber unboxing their kits and extolling their virtues, so I thought I’d see if they lived up to the hype. They are also one of the more expensive stores. They sell out of items frequently and due to COVID-19, this has been happening on a regular basis. I ordered two different kits from them. I’m not sure when they’ll get here, but I’m so excited to get them!

I also ordered some kits from Treasure Studios Art. They are another company that is recommended. There is a nice focus in the diamond painting community on buying licensed art kits rather than knock-offs, even if that means paying a bit more. I have always been a big proponent of respecting copyrights (due to my teaching background), so I like that these companies pay the artists whose work they are using. They were having a ‘Buy 2 Get One Free’ sale, so I did. I bought 3 kits. This is another company who has shipping delays due to COVID, so I’m not sure when those will get here, either.

After a few days, I was still trying to find something to do with my hands. With no clear idea of when my Black Friday purchases would arrive, I decided to hop on Amazon and find a couple of inexpensive, small kits that I could work on and possibly complete before my larger paintings arrived. I found two, a pretty peacock and a rainbow unicorn. They are on the way and should be here by Friday.

Yesterday, after getting home from work, I found a couple of packages waiting. I assumed they were Christmas presents I had ordered, so I opened the boxes to see what had arrived. Imagine my surprise when I found one of the boxes was from Diamond Art Club! I opened the package to find one boxed kit, but it was huge – much larger than I was expecting. I opened the kit and started laughing.

I forgot that I had ordered a kit from DAC the week before! Isn’t getting old wonderful? It makes for so many nice surprises! 😛 Anyhoo, I opened the kit to find a huge (98cm X 70cm/38.6″ X 27.6″) painting. It’s so big the only place I have to lay it out flat at the moment is on top of my bed. I was so stoked to get it, though, that I kitted up the drills (got all the drills opened and into containers) so I can get started on it. I need to rework a few things to find a big enough space to work on it comfortably, but I’m so excited!

I can say that, even though I haven’t actually started the painting yet, Diamond Art Club is definitely living up to all the hype. The canvas is buttery soft and has scallops around the edges. Those will likely get cut off when it’s framed, but it still looks nice while you’re working on it.

The drill field is nice and colorful and the symbols for the diamond placement are nice and clear. All my previous kits have been double-sided adhesive on the canvas, but this one is poured glue, so I’m curious to see the difference once I start the project.

I was also curious to see the drill quality. The wolf kit that I worked on had quite a number of drills that were misshapen or had weird knobby bits that meant that they wouldn’t lay flat on the canvas. Again, DAC is a company that has gotten raves about their drill quality. So far, I’ve not been disappointed.

The kit included a diamond boat, tweezers, some small baggies, a drill pen, a squishy wrap for the drill pen, and two heart-shaped wax pieces. The diamonds themselves do indeed seem to be high quality – not a misshapen one in sight as I kitted them up into containers. And DAC includes a sticker with the colors and symbols that you can cut up and use on your containers while you paint. The only negative so far has been that the painting has so many colors that I ran out of containers. So, I’ll be buying some more containers, because I love the ones I’ve been using. Once I have those and a place to work, my hands will certainly be busy again!

Diamonds and Wolves

As Christmas gets closer, I’ve been working on a diamond painting for my oldest. She loves wolves and dreamcatchers, so when I saw this diamond painting, I knew she would love it. So the purchase was a win-win – she gets a cool gift and I got the experience of making it for her.

This canvas is bigger than the owl I finished, but it didn’t take as long as I had anticipated, given the larger size. I gave the owl to my sister and she is having her husband mount and frame it for her. I’m hoping he’ll do the same for this one, so it will be ready in time for Christmas.

In the meantime, I’m still trying different stores and canvases to see what I like and what I don’t when it comes to diamond painting. For instance, designs with round drills are more plentiful, as are partial canvases (where only parts of the canvas are covered with drills). I prefer the square drills and full canvases. So now I’m trying a new store, Diamond Art Club, to see the difference in canvas quality and drill quality. Also, they use poured glue rather than double sided tape, so we’ll see if I like them better or not.

I did also splurge on a fancy schmancy drill pen that is a definite upgrade from the cheap plastic drill pens that come with most kits. I’m trying to keep myself from buying a whole bunch of accoutrements that I don’t really need. I did purchase the new pen and I did buy some additional storage, because there are always drills left over. My new kit should be here in just a few days, so I’m excited to have something new to work on over the holidays, and while I’m working from home.

I’m hoping to also spend some time finishing up my last batch of minis. I need to rig up a spray area indoors, as it’s now too cold to spray outside. Lots to do!

Paradox of Change

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

If this year has taught us anything, it’s how to be adaptable to change – whether we wanted to or not. In addition to rolling with the punches from 2020, I’ve been trying to make smaller changes in my life.

Being debt-free is a large goal, but I also have smaller ones. I’ve been trying to get healthier – eat less, exercise more, eat cleaner, that type of thing. What I have discovered while trying to make these changes is that there is what I’m calling the ‘paradox of change.’

The paradox is that if you want to be successful at making changes, you need to stick to a routine. Which is paradoxical, right? Whatever change you’re trying to make isn’t a part of your routine, which is why it’s a change. The trick is to make the change part of your routine, so it becomes something automatic – something you just do without even thinking about it anymore.

Sticking to a routine is hard, but so beneficial. Most people crave the structure of a routine – we are comfortable when things go as expected. And having a routine that fills most of your life means that when something unexpected happens, it’s easier to deal with it. (Although 2020 is sure testing that theory for me!)

As we get closer to the end of the year, I thought things would start to calm down. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case. As things continue to escalate, my job has gone remote. Which is good, but also challenging. Figuring out how to effectively deliver instruction to preschoolers virtually is a challenge – we’ll see how it goes and how well we all (students and teachers) adapt to this new change.

In the meantime, I plan to continue to keep working on the small goals in my life and incorporating them into my daily routine. Here’s hoping I can overcome the paradox of change! 😀

Monday Mandala 69

Mandala_69Still playing around with various zentangles and doodles to fill in spaces so they are intricate enough for coloring.  Not sure I like the brick pattern, but I’m happy with the rest of it.  And as I head for 70 mandalas, I’m amazed that even though it sometimes feels like I’m drawing the same thing over and over, it never turns out the same.  😀

Ch-ch-ch-changes

Photo by Andre Furtado on Pexels.com

Things have been kind of quiet around here because real life has been A LOT lately. I took on a new position at work, which has required more hours than I anticipated. I am enjoying it, so that’s good, but it’s been a bit overwhelming. And, since the one constant of 2020 has been that nothing remains the same for long, there are more changes coming my way.

Staff changes at work mean that I will likely be working even more hours. That means more money (yay!) but less time for other projects (boo!). So I am having to get organized to make sure that I have time to get everything I want to done.

Currently, I have work planned out through the holidays, so hopefully over the holidays I can get a jump on planning for next year. I still have to show up and work my hours, but the back end planning stuff is done. Whew!

I am working on a diamond painting (one of my newest obsessions) and am making a large canvas for my oldest as a Christmas gift. And I have actually started Christmas shopping – something I usually don’t start until December. My budget and my stress levels will thank me as Christmas creeps ever closer. 😛

Sadly, I have done almost no mini painting in the last month or so. I’m going to try and finish up some pieces at least over Thanksgiving, since I have about 5 ‘almost done’ pieces sitting on my painting table mocking me every time I walk by.

This week also marks the last enrollment for my oldest. She has one more semester to complete and she will graduate with her teaching degree AND have no student loan debt! She is making plans to move out when she graduates and I have no doubt that it will be a huge life change for both of us.

That won’t be the only big change – after my oldest graduates and leaves the nest, the rest of the family is planning to move east. Perhaps Maine, perhaps Canada, we’re not quite sure yet. (You can probably guess from the photo which one I’m rooting for!) I’m sure it will be a huge adjustment, as we have lived in the same place most of our lives. We’re also still debating whether we want to rent an apartment, buy a house, or buy an RV. We’ll see.

In the meantime, I want to continue working on having an online source of income so that I can work from anywhere with internet. To that end, I will be working on my Etsy shop, adding items and tweaking how I’m doing things there. I have ideas for additional products that I think will complement what I’ve already got for sale.

I’ve also decided to branch out and set up a TeachersPayTeachers store. After creating so many things for work, I’ve decided to try and make some money creating them for other people to use as well. So many ideas, so little time! I am also hoping to make some changes here on the blog. I received a notice from WordPress about fonts changing, and while it hasn’t made a huge difference in how my blog looks, it seems like a good time to do a refresh of it and make some updates.

So keep an eye out for changes and some milestones. In the next few weeks, I will hit 70 Monday Mandalas, which seems absolutely crazy to me – to think that I’ve been drawing them for over a year now. Wow!

Monday Mandala 68

Mandala_68I’m really digging how this one turned out.  I like the lighter inner flowers contrasted with the darker outer layer.  And, of course, now that I’m seeing it posted, I see a mistake I should fix.  :/   Ah, well, ’tis the sad unfinished life of a creative.  😛