Tuesday Reviews-Day: 5D Diamond Painting Kit

Tuesday Revews-Day

This is a sponsored post: I was provided with product for the purpose of review. Included links are affiliate links.

Have you seen the kits that are like a mash-up of paint by number and cross stitch? They’re called Diamond Painting and you create the picture by applying small resin “diamonds” onto a printed, pre-adhesive canvas. And it’s pretty doggone cool!

NewFrog supplied me with some kits to try out and I had a blast making this pretty puppy picture. A relaxing blast, if there can be such a thing. There is in my world, at least.

I hadn’t heard of NewFrog before they reached out to me, but they carry all sorts of products at very attractive prices. For the 5D Diamond Painting category they have over 6,000 kits to choose from. And I’ve poked around their other arts and crafts offerings and I like a lot of what I see!

There are a lot of pros to a product like this:

  • Incredibly fun and relaxing
  • Near-instant gratification
  • Lots of choices
  • Everything you need in one kit
  • Excellent for home/dorm decor
  • Minimal packaging (perfect for stocking stuffers)

And not many cons. At least not ones that can’t be worked around. The first thing you need to know is that products ship from China, so you’ll need to allow enough time for them to arrive. I think my packages took 10 days or so from the time the tracking information was emailed to me until they arrived in my mailbox.

About the kits, themselves, the only tiny criticism I have is that the bags of resin diamonds aren’t resealable. That was fixed by a piece of tape, but that’s how hard I had to work to come up with a downside to the kits themselves.

Head over to my YouTube channel to see the video of the kit in action!

I Play With Dolls

Just for Fun

Not that that’s anything new to those of you who’ve been around a while.

But it bears stating, flat-out and without shame or censure. Why? Because some people think that collecting dolls and figures (much less playing with them as an adult) infantalises us.Of course, the same person who wrote that article previously penned one in favor of playing with Lego blocks as a platform for information. While clearly the author of both articles has proven himself to be a hypocrite, it does make you wonder what makes one set of plastic parts worthy and others, not.

Not a damn thing.

If it makes you happy and doesn’t a) hurt anyone else or b) impede your ability to meet your commitments (like getting to work, paying your bills, or caring for your family) I don’t think it matters one iota how you like to spend your time. So, you know, to each their own. And the aforementioned author could stand a little bit of perspective.

But anyway!

I actually participated in a photo challenge for the last 6 weeks that centered around one of my newest dolls: a Dal from the Pullip family of dolls by Jun-Planning/Groove. I purchased her because she came in a monkey suit (based on the story of the Monkey King, her style name is “Monomono”) so of course she was the correct first choice but she’s proven to be quite fun to dress up in different looks. Each week of Dalicious (held on the Dolly Market forum) had a theme and we had a week to submit our picture. The winners of the challenge will be announced later today, but I definitely don’t expect to be among that number. I was happy enough to make it through all 6 weeks (we started with just over 30 entrants and ended with just under 20).

Kasia will cast a spell on you!

Kasia will cast a spell on you!

The first round’s theme was Magic and I felt pretty good about my entry. Eagle-eyed readers might recognize the background as my Cabinet of Curiosities from a Gauche Alchemy project which happened to just be the perfect size. Kasia (my doll) is hunched over a cauldron (a 3-footed salsa pot) fitted with a bubbler from my Halloween decoration stash to create the lights and mist.

I don't know what treasure Kasia thought she'd find in this pile of bricks...

I don’t know what treasure Kasia thought she’d find in this pile of bricks…

The second round was Adventure, so I went with the somewhat predictable (but reliable) Indiana Jones tribute. I spent a bit of time each night creating her entire outfit (except the shoes, those I ordered from PullipStyle). I was especially proud of being able to rig her in a somewhat realistic climbing pose without using anything more than the crocheted hemp rope anchored around a brick (out of frame) and around her waist (hidden by the overshirt).

Playing at being a grown-up this week.

Playing at being a grown-up this week (officially Dal is only 14).

Week 3, Vintage, was when time started to get away from me a bit. Still, I managed to pull out a pretty decent picture (I think) and at least I was the only one that went the wine-vintage route. The background is a picture I took of Cobb Lane in Birmingham, AL, many years ago but it came in quite handy for this shoot. The dress is a Barbie outfit cinched in at the back for a better fit.

We missed the mark with this one, I fully admit.

We missed the mark with this one, I fully admit.

Mythology–the theme for week 4–should have been a piece of cake. Unfortunately I was under a time crunch and had way too many ideas and way too little time to do any of them justice. I decided to punt with a Birth of Venus-ish shot, but didn’t want to deal with arranging all that hair into a suitably demur shot, so I sewed a pretty little sheath dress for her (with plenty of pearl details) and that’s about all I can really claim went right. But I got a picture in on time and made it through to the next round.

Kitchen fun is better with friends!

Kitchen fun is better with friends!

It was at this point–Week 5, Cooking–I was able to rally quite a bit and pull out the various kitchen playsets I’d begun collecting last year but never used. I also gave Kasia a friend to interact with in the photo (an Ai doll, Matricaria, made by the same company but of a different line), which I think helped. That mini-mixer is an old clock that I think I got right after high school but have been carrying around all this time–sometimes I’m really glad of my magpie-like hoarding tendencies. (Repainting the oh-so-pink props is on my to-do list; even I have a limit!)

What was that noise?!

What was that noise?!

Ending as it did just after Halloween, it’s no surprise that the final challenge theme was haunted. A combination of our spooky “mirror” decoration and some moody lighting produced what I think is a suitably haunted look. Reflection photos always look a little impressive, even with the fun-house appearance of this one.

Despite my mid-contest slump, I really enjoyed participating in Dalicious and look forward to some more informal challenges that are coming up. Staging and photographing the dolls is a common pastime among the collectors (at least those that de-box and play with their dolls–collectors vary in their stance on that) and one I plan to continue. And it’s good practice for non-doll photography, too: the skills of composition, lighting, and post-production (which is minimal in the above photos) are just as important with small scenes as they are big ones, and a convincing miniatures portrayal is something worth striving for.

Why Creativity Matters to Me

Everyday Adventures
A corner of my studio, The Abyss; 3 shelving units stuffed to the gills with supplies.

One corner of my current studio, aka The Abyss; back when this story happened I had only a fraction of this.

Did I ever tell you the story about my second husband?

Without going into too many reasons he’s an ex, there was one moment in particular I wanted to share:

It was early 2005, we’d been married for just over 2 years, and that morning he was in a bad mood. So bad that it sorta permeated the house. And it happened even before I woke up that Saturday.

I admit, I was a bit chicken-shit and went back to bed to read until the storm-clouds passed or he’d had enough coffee or something.

Apparently I didn’t stay out the way quite long enough.

There was a fight. I don’t even remember how it started or what it was about, all told, but of the things I do remember, I remember him telling me I was absolutely forbidden from taking on another hobby or bringing another thing into his house.*

How many things are wrong with that sentence? I’ll let you figure that out.

That fight ended with him storming out. And in a couple months I’d moved out.

Not because of the hobby embargo, but because he’d come very close to hitting me that day, and it was closer than I really wanted to get.

I wish… I wish I was stronger back then. I wish I hadn’t let his idea that to disagree with him (or, heaven forbid, correct him) was a sign of disrespect. I wish a lot of things about me back then, but I also know that I was just trying to keep the peace and not rock the boat.

They say the biggest regrets are the things you don’t do.

So it was with not a little irony that I realized, a couple years later, with an entire second bedroom to house all of my “craft crap,” that I’d increased my income by 25% writing as the Arts & Crafts Expert for eHow.com. And that he who– despite the higher salary and not having to start over from scratch since it was, by god, his house and all–would call up whining about his lack of money, really shot himself in the foot on that one.

That contract ended in 2009, but the lessons I learned from it and the confidence it gave me to work on my own projects that much harder have stuck around.

Creativity, for me, is about exploration. It’s about doing something with my own hands and mind, of seeing ideas come to life because of something *I* did, because of something I dreamed up. It’s part instant gratification, part humiliation (because things don’t always go according to plan) and part further inspiration.

And it’s a way of looking at life, an I-can-do-that! mentality when so often what we hear is “no you can’t,”  “why bother” or, my personal ‘favorite’, “you’re just wasting your time.”

I’m not saying that by being a little creative each day you’re going to land a job at it or find any sort of fame and fortune–but you might. What’s most likely, though, is a better sense of self, of what you can do with your own two hands, and a helluva lot of pride in your own accomplishments.

So try something new, or something old. Dig out that crochet hook or paint-by-numbers set that’s getting dusty in a box somewhere. Pick up a new hobby, or half a dozen if you’ve got the time. Don’t be afraid to try.

Because the things you regret are the things you didn’t do.

Be creative today.

(*And just so you know, when those things were said I worked full time (like I have since graduating high school), paid my share of our bills and used only my own money for craft supplies, etc. And most of it was kept in the garage because the office we shared was already full of his desk, his computer equipment, and his aquarium. And don’t even get me started about how much closet space he had in 2 rooms and I didn’t.)