Too Many Hobbies? Nah.

Photo by Eunice Lui on Pexels.com

I’m starting to think I have too many hobbies.

I have so many projects I want to do I don’t know where to start.

There’s my diamond painting obsession, of course. I’m currently working on a large canvas, though the end of it is now in sight. After three weeks of work, I think I’ll be done with it by the end of this week. Which means I can move on to other diamond painting projects, so yay! 😀

I’ve opened my last batch of unpainted miniatures – the ones from the Critical Role Kickstarter that I got probably over a year ago. After they are done, I will have no more unpainted minis. I’m anxious to see how well they turn out, both because they are 3D printed and because I’m impatient and probably primed them when it was too cold outside. So I’m not sure how well the primer will work – I’ll find out after I’m done painting them.

I want to reorganize my craft/office area. I currently have projects spread out all over the house, and I’d like to contain most of it to one area so that the rest of house isn’t quite so messy. I’ve been fighting with my cutting machine, so I want to move it so that it is wired directly to my PC rather than using Bluetooth. Moving things around will also hopefully let me set up my painting area in the office, so that I can leave it out rather than cleaning up all the time in between paint sessions.

I’d also like to have an area set up for filming for my YouTube videos. I did spring for a fancy light so that my videos will have better lighting than they do currently. I’ve figured out the filming equipment issues, but again, having a dedicated space that I don’t have to set up and tear down each time would be much easier. Speaking of, if you haven’t hopped over to YouTube to check out my mandala videos, could you take a minute and do it now? Follow the link here and if you like what you see, like and subscribe to the channel. 🙂

My diamond painting will probably be done outside the craft area, simply because most of the paintings I have are too large for me to work on comfortably in a smaller area. I don’t like having to roll up my paintings while I’m working on them – I’d rather have them spread out so I can see what I’m doing. I do need better lighting for that as well, so I’m probably going to get a light pad for that. (My birthday is coming up, so I’m waiting to see if I get one as a gift before I purchase one.) The smaller diamond paintings I can do easily anywhere, and I like to diamond paint while my husband watches TV. He works a lot, so it’s nice to at least be in the same room for a small part of the day, even if we are doing different things.

I’ve set myself another reading goal for this year. For the past two years I’ve done this and I’ve managed to beat the goals each year by quite a bit. This year, even though I lowered my goal, I’m already behind, because my other hobbies have taken over a lot of my reading time. That’s okay, though, since I’m enjoying all of my projects, even if I don’t have as much time to read as I want.

We are also back to in-person mode at work, so that is taking up more of my time now than it used to. I have to admit, I prefer the remote option, even though it was less hours and less income. I’m lucky enough that I don’t have to work, but with two kids in college, saving up for tuition is a priority. My oldest will graduate this year, so that will take a bit of the stress off.

In the meantime, I’m continuing to work on alternative sources of income, like my Etsy shop and now the YouTube channel. The listings on Etsy got a bit of a revamp to include a jpg and png in addition to the PDF. That way buyers can put the jpg or png into a coloring program like Procreate if they wish. The YouTube channel will likely be slow going, but I’m looking forward to the challenge of it. Now I just have to add ‘learn marketing’ to my to-do list!

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!

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!

Mo’ Minis

Now that school is back in session and I’m back at work, it’s been an adjustment. For the past several months, I was looking for things to fill my time. Now that I’m back at work (and working more hours), I’m finding it difficult to make time for all the things I want to do. :/

I’m slowly dwindling my pile of forgotten minis, getting them painted and ready for use on our gaming table (which I’m sure we’ll use any day now). I ended up chucking a couple of them into the trash, because after priming them, it became apparent that they would be a pain to paint and probably would still look terrible because of the poor quality of the mini.

I think I’m down to less than 10 minis at this point, which is amazing. Which also doesn’t count the three boxes of CR minis I bought during a Kickstarter last year. BUT – they are 3D printed, and are much better quality than the ones I’ve been painting, so I’m hoping that means they will go faster.

I got a few more completed last week – one has had to return to the paint table for touch-ups, but the rest of the batch is done and now resting comfortably in foam, awaiting their turn on the table.

First up is a fun one – it was meant to be some sort of dragonborn PC mini, but when I went to paint him, I realized his head was missing. So, he is now some sort of reptilian BBEG, made even more scary by his headless state. 😀

After him was another fun one – if only because they weren’t human and I got to paint something besides flesh tone for skin. I think this guy was meant to be a PC mini as well, but I wanted to paint him red and make him look more like a demon, because I don’t own many demon miniatures. I think he turned out great.

Then I moved back into humans – this wizard? mage? sorceress? was interesting. I like her pose and all the details on her belt and belongings. Her pointing hand, however, is a blobby mess. Not sure what happened with the sculpt here, but at least she is done, so – win. 😀

Lastly, yet another fighter PC mini. However, I do like the flaming sword and I bet he gets a lot of use once we are back to in-person gaming. It was also fun to try my hand at painting the flames. It’s not a fabulous job, but it’s not bad, either. I did also have some time in the last month to watch a few tutorials on painting eyes, and I think it made a difference. I didn’t have any minis turning out cross-eyed, and I didn’t have to spend hours trying to hold my shaky hand steady, so again – calling it a win!

I’m currently working on a set of matching guards, another ranger, a dwarf fighter, and some sort of beholder-type thingy. Once they are done, I can move on to the remaining few minis from the forgotten pile. It’s been a learning experience – I’ve been painting for years, but I’ve made a few changes that have definitely made painting more enjoyable for me, and I hope, resulted in a better quality paint job than I was capable of before.

My husband and I are (still) debating whether to invest in a resin printer and start resin printing minis ourselves. There are so many great quality 3D files out there – I’d even love to just be able to resin print my Hero Forge minis. We’ll see. 🙂

Many More Minis

I’m still trying to finish up my batch of forgotten minis.  I’m getting close – I think I have maybe 8-10 left?  I bought more contrast paints a few months ago and I think I’m getting the hang of using them.  At the time, I felt like I bought a lot of brown shades and I wouldn’t use them all, but I have.  I haven’t opened everything I bought yet, and some colors seem to work better than others, so we’ll see how the rest do. I did open the contrast yellow and I am much happier with it than the Vallejo yellow I was using previously for hair.

First up is the fighter.  He was pretty easy to paint since most of him is armor.  However, I did spend some time picking out details on both the armor and shield, just to make him a little more interesting.  His hair didn’t turn out great – for some reason my Vallejo black is very runny.

FighterBut, he is done and ready to go on the table.  After him I turned to an easy job – a pseudodragon or dragon familiar.  I decided to paint it metallic blue.  I had put off painting it because it was in two parts and superglue is not my friend. 😀

However, I faced my fears (and my possibly stuck together fingers) and finished him.

Pseudodragon

He’s a bit plain, but he’s done and ready to use should any of my players decide their wizard needs a dragon familiar.

This next one is one of my last couple of plastic minis.  The detail seemed nice on the bare mini, but like with the last batch, I wasn’t sure how she would hold up once I started painting.

Female Dwarf Fighter

Again, the eyes are not great, but at least she doesn’t look cross-eyed, so I’m calling that a win.  I used some of my contrast browns on her boots and fur cloak, and I love the way they turned out.  I probably could have filled in some of the gaps on her with greenstuff, but since I don’t have any and I have no idea how to use it, I just painted her. 🙂

After the dwarf I turned to an older metal mini.  He’s a bit weird, because his proportions are off.  He’s got a weirdly long torso.  Also, because he’s so old, he’s one of the minis that came with a slotted base.  So, he got a fancy flocked/tufted base to hide the ugly slot.

Blue Fighter

I don’t think he turned out too badly, even if he looks a bit weird due to the proportion issue.  And for once, I think I applied the wash correctly – or at least I got the look I wanted from it.

This last one is a favorite.  I did have to glue on his hand and bow, which was a bit fiddly, but I got it done.  I had more green contrast and Vallejo paint to use this time, so I had fun sticking with the typical green/brown ranger color scheme.

Elf Ranger with Bow

That’s it for this batch of painting.  I have more already sitting on handles, waiting to be painted.  Hopefully they will be a nice change, since a few of them are more monster than PC/NPC types.  I might actually get to use my monster red!

 

 

Busy, Busy, Busy

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Credit: Pixabay

Life has suddenly gotten crazy busy.

I’m hip deep in lesson planning for school.  I’ve started a new diamond painting, this time with square drills instead of round ones.  I’m busily painting minis and trying to improve both my painting and photography skills.

I’m desperately hoping that my black thumb hasn’t killed all my garden plants, though I’ve yet to actually see any produce.  And my children are starting college, so I’m scrambling to pay tuition, buy books, and arrange schedules.

All while trying to get my Etsy business off the group, as well as launch a YouTube channel for my mandalas.  Speaking of, (insert shameless self-promotion here) if you haven’t checked out the mandalas on my Etsy store, you should!  They are larger and more intricate than my Monday mandalas.

Right now it’s just got coloring mandalas, but I’m debating putting some of my stickers up as well, maybe even some of my dot mandalas.  I’ve been hesitant to just jump in before now, but it’s amazing how having to pony up for college tuition can railroad right through your reservations about something!

I did manage to snap some photos of my most recent finished minis – I’ll try to post them later this week.  I think I’m learning how to use the contrast paints more effectively.  Now if I could just find the time to watch some tutorials on painting eyes.

Looking through my files, I found an old mandala I’d drawn using Amaziograph.  I can really see how shaky my hands are when looking at the lines here.

Amaziograph 3

I do like the flow of the design and that it’s fairly simple, but the shakiness of the lines bothers me.  Or does that make it seem more ‘authentic’?  Because it’s not perfect, so it’s clear it’s hand-drawn?  Do you consider it ‘hand-drawn’ if it’s drawn digitally rather than on a physical medium?

So many questions, so little time.  I’ve got to get back to work, so I hope you and yours are all doing well right now in this crazy world of ours.

Still More Minis

I finally managed to find some time to take photos of the miniatures I have completed so far. We’re almost done with the huge cleaning job at my work, so I can begin to concentrate on lesson plans for the coming year. Assuming, you know, school is in session. :/

Anyhow, I’ve been painting whenever I have a spare moment and I’ve managed to complete a fair few of the stockpile. I’m still learning how to use the contrast paints and, at some point, I’ve got to spend some time learning how to do better eyes. The cartoony look is getting old, but at least they are done and ready to go on the table. If we ever play in person again, that is.

First up is a weird magic user figure. This one was plastic, though the contrast paints seemed to adhere well. Some nice detail, even though it is plastic. Not sure what the figure in his hand is supposed to be – some sort of arcane focus? Who knows.

Next up is another magic user, though she could also be used as an NPC – a townsperson or something. I was trying out new paints, so the color scheme is awful, but that just makes her more interesting, I think. That’s my story, anyway. 😛

This lady is one of my favorites so far. A metal mini, lots of details, and a color scheme I’m happy with. Her hands are a bit weirdly sculpted, but I can ignore that for the rest of the detail. I should have photographed her back as well – her hair is a long braid down most of her back and the back of the tabard is as detailed as the front.

Again, the cartoony eyes, but aside from that, I’m really fricken’ pleased with this one. His cape was a separate piece that I attached after painting. I think the color scheme works for him and the wash turned out how I wanted for once. Win!

Another metal mini, with lots of nice detail. I stuck with the green/forest color scheme. I do need to figure out some different options for hair. I almost gave him green hair, but ultimately decided against it.

This guy was pretty easy to paint, but I like how he turned out. His eyes make it appear he is looking up at something – a dragon attacking maybe? Who knows? His sword is a bit wonky, but I was afraid if I played around with it too much trying to straighten it that it would just break off entirely. In any event, another one done.

This last one was a plastic mini, and I almost gave up before I finished. Not a ton of details to paint, but certain poses and things like capes and weapons can make some parts of the mini almost impossible to reach with a paintbrush. Though, of course, you can clearly see the parts you can’t reach. So frustrating! But he is done, and I’m moving on the next batch.

Most of the ones I have left to do involve painting pieces and then attaching them, so I’ve put them off until last. We’ll see if my painting skills (and my patience) hold up.

Two Wizards, a Rogue, and a Centaur . . .

Sounds like the start of a joke, doesn’t it? I’m still plugging along painting my seemingly never-ending trove of D&D minis. I managed to get a few more painted, and I must say, the practicing does help. Of course, so does better paint and paintbrushes!

First up is the wind wizard, as I’ve dubbed him in my head. A plastic mini, so the facial features are not sharp, but I think he turned out okay. My youngest wanted to know why I painted him in Captain America’s colors. Something I hadn’t really thought of – I just wanted him to be showy, because he seems like that kind of wizard.

Next up is the centaur. Now that there are some PC centaurs, I’m curious to see whether any of my players will choose it. I did pick up the new Mythic Odyssey of Theros book, and I would love to run a game using it. We’ll see how the players feel after we are done with all the Icespire Peak add-ons. Not sure if you can tell from the photo, but he is mostly drybrushed, which I think worked out well with all the ab muscles and the horsey bits. 😛

Next up is another wizard. This was a metal mini, and the details were much clearer. His face is a bit shadowed because of his hood, but that works for him. The staff seems a little oversized, but maybe he’s a strong wizard? I used mostly contrast paint on this guy, and I love how he turned out.

Lastly, my current favorite, the rogue. Again, a metal mini, so lots of details. Her eyes are a bit cartoony, but they’re good enough for my shaky hands. A mix of contrast paint and Vallejo paint on her. I’m not sure I’m happy with the leather of her boots, but it’s good enough for the table.

I’m still working on others – plugging away on my vampire and base coating the remaining minis. I do have a couple more completed, but I haven’t had a chance to take photos yet. I’m sure one of them will end up being my new favorite, too. 😀

Miniature Painting

Along with my new obsession with diamond painting, I have continued to paint my trove of forgotten D&D miniatures. I broke down and purchased some of the new contrast paints, and I’ve been building up my colors in those as well as the Vallejo Game Color paints.

I have finally said goodbye to my craft paints and moved to solely using paint made for miniature painting. I’m still learning, but I think I’m getting better?

I started off with some small pieces – some familiars from various packages that I found among the pile of forgotten minis.

First up are the eagle and some sort of tree/woodland creature familiars. The tree was super simple – black primer and some brown and green drybrushing. The eagle had to be glued together and then I used some of the contrast paint on the branch he is sitting on and on his beak. He got a coat of brown, then some tan drybrushing and green on the base.

Familiars 2

The other familiars are a small fairy and a vulture. The fairy was not fun to paint. It is made of plastic and the sculpt was lacking a lot of detail. However, I powered through and got enough paint on it to call it done.  The vulture was another simple and quick job.

Monk

After the familiars, I started working on some of the other plastic minis I had. This monk was purchased for a player at my table, but never got used. Not a lot of detail on this one either, but now she is done.

Next I chose a mini I thought I would have more fun painting.  It was a Hero Forge purchase for a PC my youngest was playing at the time.  Poor Tink sat on the table unpainted for quite a while, then got thrown in a box and forgotten.  But the 3D printed minis generally take paint well and have a nice amount of detail. 

Tink

Again, a simple color scheme, but it did give me a chance to practice painting eyes.  Eyes are so hard to paint, especially with my shaky hands, so if they look close to human, I call it a win. 😛

Following Tink I picked another plastic mini.  I wanted to play around with the contrast paint and see how it took on the plastic.  This mini was supposedly primed, and I wanted to see how the paint performed on it. 

Ranger

The cloak was painted using the contrast paint.  It wasn’t horrible, but I have a sneaking suspicion that repeated handling will end up causing the paint to flake off.  Lesson learned, and I primed all the rest of the plastic minis I had, even if they said they were pre-primed. 

Finally, after struggling with the plastic minis, I chose an old pewter mini to paint next.  I primed it white and then used both contrast paint and the Vallejo paint on it.  It was such fun to paint this one, as there was a ton of detail. 

Dwarf Fighter

I have a soft spot for dwarven fighters, and this one is a favorite of all the minis I’ve painted so far.  I was able to give his weapon, his armor, and his chainmail all different colors, something I hadn’t been able to do before, because my paint colors were so limited.  I love his braided beard and hair – and his bushy eyebrows!

He will certainly get used on our table – if we ever get back to playing face-to-face.  In any case, I can mark these all off as ‘done’ and move on to the remaining pieces.  I’m currently working on a vampire and another ranger.  I’ll post again when I get them finished.