Puzzling Times

I’ve been doing all sorts of things to keep myself occupied, including (gasp!) cleaning my house.  Sometimes, though, I want an activity where I can just zone out – listen to some music, or some of my favorite Forensic Files podcasts and just zen.

Puzzles are one of my favorite ways to do that.  So I pulled our card table out of the garage and set it up in the living room so I have a space to leave the puzzles out until I’m done with them.

I have a handful of puzzles, most of them 1000 pieces.  I’ve put them all together before, but it’s been a while, so I thought I’d do it again.

The first one I picked is an old-timey picture with a western Main Street and trains and mountains in the background:

Puzzle 1

I always start puzzles by separating out all the edge pieces and putting them together first, so I have a starting point.  Invariably, I miss at least one edge piece during the first sorting.  This puzzle was a little easier than some, because the storefronts all had writing on them, which made it easy to put the pieces together.

It went quicker than I thought – filling in all the trees was a pain in the behind, though!

Puzzle 2

It only took me a couple of days to finish this one:

Puzzle 3

Then I moved on to the next one – it only had 500 pieces, so it went more quickly than the first puzzle.  This one is a Route 66 puzzle, with a map of various stops along the way.  I’m saving the Star Wars one until last – it’s one of those that has tiny pictures that make up the bigger picture, and it’s a real doozy!

Puzzle 4

Again, this one was probably easier than some because of all the writing on the various pieces.

Puzzle 5

I did another puzzle, but I forgot to take pictures of it.  Then I put the puzzles away for a bit while I work on painting some miniatures for a painting challenge.  I’m using the card table for that, so that I can leave all my painting stuff out instead of having to pack it up each night off the dining room table so we can eat dinner.

If nothing else, having the card table covered with painting stuff is motivation to get the stuff painted, because it’s messy to look at and drives me crazy! 😛

Painting Challenge

I posted before about the “Paint the Crap You Already Own” challenge by Ann’s Immaterium.  Given that I have roughly 50+ minis sitting around in boxes waiting for paint, I thought I’d join in.  I have extra time right now, so why not finish some of those projects, right?

I have 3 boxes of minis from a Critical Role Kickstarter that I backed last year (gosh, that seems like so long ago!), as well as a ton of plastic Bones and WizKids minis I’ve purchased here and there.  I decided to leave the CR minis for last, since they are 3D printed and are generally much nicer to paint than the others (no mold lines or flash to clean off).

So I pulled out all the minis that were languishing in the drawer, still in boxes, or in various stages of painting:

Mini Challenge 1

The ones at the back are two zombies, who are flanking a Hero Forge mini of one of my husband’s characters.  The zombies are pretty much done, except for the matte finish spray and basing.

The rest of the scattered minis include a troll, a bugbear, a mummy lord, two bandits, another Hero Forge mini, and various pieces of treasure/terrain.  The boxes include mind flayers, pirates, a bat swarm, two golems, gnolls, and a set of familiars.

I pulled everything out of boxes and washed them.  Then I realized I forgot to clean off the mold lines, so I did that, then washed them again.  After drying, I got them ready for a base coat.  I bought cans of Army Painter base paints in white and black, so I took the minis outside and got a base coat on most of them.  For the few that already had a base black coat, I decided to try the zenithal priming method, so they got some shots of white as well.

Here are some of them after base coating:

Mini Challenge 2

Sadly, I haven’t done much with them since.  I did get a matte finish coat on the zombies, so if I can just get them based, they will count as done! The tall guy in the front is a centaur – I forgot about him. 😛

The treasure piles and terrain pieces won’t take long – just a few coats of drybrushing and finish spray and they will be done.  I think my youngest is going to try his hand at painting some of the minis, so we’ll see how it goes.  In any case, at least they are now out of the boxes and sitting on the shelf, taunting me to finish them.  Crossing my fingers I manage to get some of them done – I’d really like to finish all of these so I can move on to the CR minis, because I think those will be fun to paint.

Busier Than Usual

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Credit: Pixabay

You’d think that since I’m spending all this time at home these days, I’d be caught up with my work – perhaps even ahead of schedule!

You’d be wrong.

For some reason, since my children are at home, I am now in charge of making sure EVERYONE gets all their stuff done.  So even though I usually finish each day feeling like I’ve been productive, some days it isn’t MY stuff that I’m getting done.

Argh.

Also, there is a new position opening up at my job in August that I want (hopefully I’m back to work then).  So I’m updating my resume, doing some work creating curriculum, and planning out lessons.  Spreadsheets make my brain hurt. 😦

While all that is good, it means I haven’t been keeping up here like I should.  I’ve been drawing, but I haven’t been doing much writing lately (besides lessons).  I’ve actively been avoiding social media, because it’s too stressful right now.

Rather than sleep all day (which is an appealing thought many days), I’ve pulled out some projects for me to work on to keep me sane.

I love puzzles, so I gathered all the ones I had and I’m slowly working my through them.  (I have pictures of my progress, but I haven’t gotten them off the camera card yet.)

I’m also working on a challenge that Ann over at Ann’s Immaterium posted – to ‘paint the crap you already own.’  I have a lot of D&D minis that have been languishing in drawers for almost a year, so I’m going to try and power through painting them.  So far I have some washed and mold lines removed, some base coated, and some done except for bases.  Again, I have pics, but I haven’t taken them off the camera card.  I’ll try to post them here soon.  I’m not a fantastic painter, but just getting them done and off my plate will be nice. 😀

I have another online class starting tomorrow, so I guess I’d better get busy!

Miniature Painting

With school starting back up and me going back to work, finding time for everything I want to do in my schedule has been nigh impossible.

I have a ton of miniatures waiting to be painted, including my Kickstarter set of all the Critical Role miniatures from Campaigns 1 and 2.

Right now I have about 10 minis base painted with black, waiting for me to sit down with a brush.  I have some zombies in a half-done state and a couple of Hero Forge 3D printed minis waiting as well.

The painting has kind of taken a back seat, not only due to lack of time, but because my regular D&D group has gone online, rather than meeting face-to-face.  I love the flexibility of playing online (who doesn’t want to play D&D in their comfy pjs?!), but I miss playing with minis and maps.

Perhaps I can find another face-to-face group – you know, in all that mythical free time I have! 😛

Here’s one mini I did manage to complete – a pack mule for our party.

Donkey Miniature PaintedHe’s a plain Jane mini, but it was fun to paint something other than a humanoid form for once.  Too bad we only got to use him once or twice before we went online. 😦  But he’s still cute!

Gnome Rogue

Gnome RogueOne of the things I like to do is paint miniatures for my Dungeons and Dragons© games.  My children love to play as well and so we’ve purchased various miniatures for use in our games.

When 3D printing hit the scene years ago, I was excited to see what that would mean for miniatures.  One of the cool things we discovered was a website called Hero Forge.  Using their site, you can customize your miniatures for your player characters.  You can either have them print the mini and ship it to you, or you can purchase the file and print it yourself.  We’ve done both, but our 3D printer just doesn’t do quality minis.

The picture above is a gnome rogue that one of my kids designed for their character.  It’s a gnome rogue printed by Hero Forge in their basic plastic.  I think it turned out pretty well.  Now if I could just figure out how to take better photos!