Roses and Sparkles!

Since getting started with diamond painting, I’ve been trying to explore the various brands. This week, I worked on a great one. Diamond Art Club was kind enough to send me one of their popular Beginner kits, Rose Sheet Music.

I was surprised by how fast this arrived! The kit is entirely self-contained and neatly packed. The back of the box listed the contents as well as how-to instructions.

The canvas is wrapped around the drills and sealed in plastic. It has to be the softest, most supple diamond canvas I’ve felt. I can see why Diamond Art Club claims they have the softest canvas, they really do! I really like the reusable vinyl bag that holds spare drill bags, the tray, wax, and pen. There are some really nice touches here, the pen has 2 ends, one for single drills and one for 3 drills, as well as a squishy grip that made working easy. IMG_5755

Another of those nice touches is a separate strip that lists the symbols, numbers, and DMC numbers of the drills. Because I dislike working from the plastic bags, I sort them into my drill box.

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I wasn’t originally enthused by the thought of this kit. I’ll admit I have a bias, I like large kits because they have better details. I was honestly surprised! This is a really detailed kit for its size. The adhesive is incredibly sticky, but unlike most kits, doesn’t overlap the canvas borders. The inclusion of special sparkly drills made for a nice touch!

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Speaking of nice touches, not only are the symbols nice and clearly labled; but the canvas has scalloped edges and has stitch edging. This means that unlike cheap canvases, this won’t unravel.

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Diamond Art Club has one of the best taglines I’ve heard. Do What Makes You Sparkle™. It’s fantastic! There are few hobbies I’ve found that makes me relax and smile like this one.

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All Done!

My kit came out so pretty! I love the level of detail, and will definitely be ordering from Diamond Art Club again!

DIAMOND PAINTING SPECS

  • Company: Diamond Art Club
  • Title: Rose Sheet Music
  • Artist: Unknown
  • Number of Colors: 23
  • Coverage: Full
  • Finished size: 20x27cm or 8×10.5 inches

QUALITY: 

  • Box: Small, thin and compact, Easy storage
  • Image Quality: Excellent, great color saturation
  • Finish: Glittery without the glitter!
  • Difficulty Level: Beginner
  • Drill Shapes: Round
  • Drill Fit: Excellent

Disability Notes: I found this kit to be extremely easy to work. The colors/symbols were early to read and having the second heart of wax made it easy to not worry about running out.

Diamond Art Club: Website / FaceBook

Where to buy: Diamond Art Club has a large range of paintings and often runs sales and adding new designs. Rose Sheet Music is available for $22.95 USD.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary Diamond Kit from the manufacturer in exchange for review. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them. All images of Rose Sheet Music are ©DiamondArtClub 2019.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

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Nene Thomas’s Fairy Colouring Book

No, I didn’t misspell coloring. This rare coloring book was published in the UK, so the spelling is British style.  I found this at Nene’s booth at DragonCon last year. It was newly published, and so very pretty! I’ve been a fan on Nene Thomas’s art for years, of course I had to pick it up!

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©2018 NeneThomas

Nene Thomas’s Fairy Colouring Book is 50 beautiful line art images on smooth mid-weight paper. There are the obvious fairies, but Nene also draws amazing horses and butterflies. The images range from being G-rated to artful nudes. While tasteful, this is very much a coloring book for adults, not for anyone under 16.

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There are images for just about every possible coloring medium and skill level. I had to break out the crayons for this lovely knight and her steed.

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©2018 NeneThomas  

I had fun with watercolor brush pens with the butterfly-horse. There is something about the whimsy in these images that makes it okay to break from conventional coloring.

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©2018 NeneThomas  

Disability Notes: Other than noting that some designs have more complicated line work than others, I have no complaints. Those pages are being set aside for a day when my hands don’t shake.

Where to buy: The Fairy Colouring Book is available on at the Fairy Glen website. The book’s MSRP is $15.99 USD.

Nene Thomas : Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I bought this coloring book to use for this review. The opinions are my own. All art shown on this post is Copyright ©2018Nene Thomas and Nemesis Now Ltd. The coloring is mine. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Donation Day! Or, Sharing is Caring.

This is another of those prose heavy posts.

For the last few weeks I’ve been going through my puzzle piles. This has become incredibly necessary as yard sale season progresses. In the summer, when my health allows, I love to shop yard sales, estate sales and thrift stores.  Unfortunately, this means that the number of puzzles I have outnumbers the amount I can feasibly do.

What to do? For me, I share the wealth! I had to face my phone anxiety and call several of the local senior centers, senior homes, and our local children’s hospital. In doing so, I found which places would only receive brand new puzzles and which would happily take used ones.

SC and I sorted and photographed all the puzzles for tax purposes (Remember! Can’t pay the IRS in puzzles).

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Then everything was boxed up for transport. We spent yesterday afternoon driving to 2 different locations for puzzle delivery. One was one of our local Senior homes, and the staff was super helpful and glad of the delivery! They have clients in various states of ability, and my mixed box of puzzles was sure to be a hit.  The second location was the city-run senior center. The staff there was a little less enthused, but still helpful.

SC and I are planning to expand our search area, contacting the local Veterans Association as well as community centers and checking out locations in the next nearest city. I’m getting closer to this blog’s first year anniversary, and it seems that donation days will happen more often as I grow.

Disclosure: Some of these puzzles I bought, and some were given to me  for the purpose of review. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

 

Puzzle by Number, A TDC Games & For Dummies Collaboration

Do you remember the For Dummies books of the nineties and early aughts? I do!(Yes, I’m dating myself, I don’t care.) 

I found this treasure in a lot of used puzzles I bought last winter with a friend. While a lot of the puzzles were in awful shape, this one wasn’t. I knew I had to assemble this puzzle as soon as beach weather came around.

 

Beach Babies is a 1000 piece grid-cut puzzle, with each piece labeled on the back with both letters A-Z and numbers 1-39. Like all Dummies products, this puzzle has easy to understand instructions. While the map and instructions were missing, I found them online at the Dummies Website here.

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I’ve never done a puzzle with numbers on the back before. I did the logical thing and sorted alphabetically.IMG_5733

I tried a couple of different styles of assembly. IMG_5734

First I did lines A,B and C individually. Then I did lines D,E, F and G as a group. This went faster than most puzzle assembly, but was visually boring. So I flipped the sections over, connected them together and started assembling like I normally do. This took longer, but was far more enjoyable. The fact the pieces are labeled on the back helped me place pieces when stumped.

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H3 is missing.

TaDa!! Yes, I know there is a missing piece, but for a used puzzle, I’m super pleased.

I liked how firmly these pieces fit together.  While I haven’t done any other TDC puzzles, I’ll have to start looking for them. This puzzle had pieces that were thin and sturdy, and I could pick up full sections.

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: TDC Games / For Dummies
  • Title: Beach Babies
  • Artist: Donald Zolan
  • Year released: Unknown
  • Pieces: 1000
  • Cut-Style: Grid cut
  • Finished size: 19 X 26 inches
  • Bonus poster: No
  • Made in USA


QUALITY: 

  • Box: Sturdy,  8 x 8 x 3 inches
  • Board: Very sturdy and rigid
  • Cut: Cut with a steel-cut die
  • Image Quality: Excellent
  • Finish: Slight gloss
  • Puzzle Dust: None
  • Piece shapes: Standard 2 knob
  • Piece Fit: Excellent! Really tight, can be picked up entirely

Disability Notes: This sort of puzzle is rather helpful for beginners or people who have difficulty assembling sections that all look the same ie: sky, sand, etc.

Where to buy: At the time of this post, Beach Babies is available for sale on Amazon, for $85.65 CDN. The high price is due to the puzzle being discontinued. 

TDC Games : Website / Twitter

For Dummies : Website / FaceBook / Twitter

Disclosure: I bought this puzzle for the purpose of review. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Cats and Dinosaurs, Summer is Here!

It’s June! June = Summer!

Alright, so I started this blog last July with a Eurographics puzzle, and I’ve been itching to do this awesome puzzle for weeks!

Screenshot_2019-06-04 Dinosaurs, Jigsaw Puzzle at Eurographics

This was one of my favorite finds last winter, when I was out thrifting before the cold weather really hit. Imagine my delight to find a brand new Eurographics still in its plastic!  I love dinosaur documentaries and movies, and my godsons are huge fans, so I have to be able to keep up.

The fun thing about this puzzle isn’t the design or the random cut, but that Hurricane Enlil, my kitten is strangely possessive of it.

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No Mom, these are MY pieces!

Every time I turned around, Hurricane was there. I swear she has a dinosaur as a spirit animal, the way she loved to sit on or near the puzzle.

Kitten craziness aside, this is a fantastically informative puzzle. Under the title is a color coded listing of the different eras and their relation in time to each other. At the bottom of the puzzle is a combination timeline and biological tree showing all the dinosaur family types.

Assembling these timelines was the easiest part of the puzzle. The majority of the puzzle is done in muted earth tones, presumably because it was drawn before the emergence of both the relationship between birds and dinosaurs, and the brightly colored theory. All those earth tones on a beige background, mixed with the random-cut pieces made for a challenge. Add in the fact that my tortoiseshell cat, Zoomie got jealous and deliberately launched herself off the puzzle board, destroying hours of hard work…

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This is after rebuilding the puzzle twice after Zoomie’s tantrums.

Thank goodness for SC. He helped me reset the puzzle to the picture above before bed last night. Mind you, as mad as I was at Zoomie, who almost never sits my puzzles; I was grateful for a chance to watch SC. He relies heavily on pattern recognition to place each piece into its place. Martial Harmony can be as simple as working a puzzle together and appreciating your differences.

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All done! Well…sort of.

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I’m missing my triceratops’ face. I’ve swept the living room, searched under the couch and puzzle board, and it is nowhere to be seen. I’ll wait a few days as I’m certain that it will eventually show up. If it doesn’t, I’ll contact Eurographics’s Puzzle Warranty page.

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: Eurographics Puzzles
  • Title: Dinosaurs
  • Artist: Unknown
  • Year released: Unknown
  • Pieces: 1000
  • Cut-Style: Random cut
  • Finished size: 19¼ x 26⅝ inches
  • Bonus poster: No
  • Made from recycled board and printed with vegetable based ink.
  • Made in USA


QUALITY: 

  • Box: sturdy,  10 x 14 x 2.5 inches
  • Board: Very sturdy and rigid
  • Cut: Cut with a steel-cut die
  • Image Quality: Excellent
  • Finish: Slight gloss
  • Puzzle Dust: Moderate
  • Piece shapes: A good mix of traditionally cut and irregular pieces
  • Piece Fit: Good, a bit loose until the entire puzzle is assembled, pieces cannot be moved in groups

Where to buy: At the time of this post, Dinosaurs  is listed for sale on the Eurographics website for $17.99 USD.

Eurographics Puzzles: Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I bought this puzzle for the purpose of review. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Crown of Shards 2: Protect the Prince

It’s always good to read an excellent book, but if you are like me, you both anticipate and dread the sequel.  Protect the Prince is the second book in the Crown of Shards series by Jennifer Estep. No spoilers, but I can promise that the sequel is just as good as the original! Protect the Prince is an amazing rollercoaster of adventure and intrique!

The book drops on July 2nd, and I cannot be more excited to see other people’s reactions. Here is the blurb from the back of the book:

Magic, murder, adventure, and romance combine in this second novel in the exciting Crown of Shards saga from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Estep.

Everleigh Blair might be the new gladiator queen of Bellona, but her problems are far from over.

First, Evie has to deal with a court full of arrogant, demanding nobles, all of whom want to get their greedy hands on her crown. As if that wasn’t bad enough, an assassin tries to kill Evie in her own throne room.

Despite the dangers, Evie goes ahead with a scheduled trip to the neighboring kingdom of Andvari in order to secure a desperately needed alliance. But complicating matters is the stubborn Andvarian king, who wants to punish Evie for the deaths of his countrymen during the Seven Spire massacre.

But dark forces are at work inside the Andvarian palace, and Evie soon realizes that no one is safe. Worse, Evie’s immunity to magic starts acting in strange, unexpected ways, which makes her wonder whether she is truly strong enough to be a Winter Queen.

But Evie’s magic, life, and crown aren’t the only things in danger—so is her heart, thanks to Lucas Sullivan, the Andvarian king’s bastard son and Evie’s . . . well, Evie isn’t quite sure what Sullivan is to her.

Only one thing is certain—protecting a prince might be even harder than killing a queen…

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There is so much to cover here; assassins from Morta (a rival country) led by the deadly Maeven, the two Andvari princes – Lucas the illegitimate versus Dominic the legitimate, plots and courtly intrigue.

Throughout the book, you see slices of Evie’s old life as the Mutt-magicked royal stand in inform her new life. From Evie’s love of good food, her reliance on her enhanced sense of smell, and to her remembrances of both slights and kindnesses, we see her grow. There are new characters and old ones; each with their own rich backstories begging for books of their own.

The most moving theme in my mind is Evie’s near constant struggle with Imposter Syndrome. She is the Queen, but she was never raised to it and while she wants what is best for her country and people, she struggles with how to make it happen.  What does it mean to be a Winter Queen? And  what does she need to sacrifice to stay alive?

  • Title: Protect the Prince
  • Author: Jennifer Estep
  • Series: Crown of Shards #2
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager
  • Released: July 2, 2019
  • Language: English
  • Format: eArc
  • Pages: 448

 

About the Author:
jennifer-estepJennifer Estep is a New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author who prowls the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea. In addition to Kill the Queen, Jennifer is also the author of the Elemental Assassin, Mythos Academy, Black Blade, and Bigtime series.
For more information on Jennifer and her books, visit www.jenniferestep.com or follow Jennifer on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter. You can also sign up for her newsletter.
Where to buy: Protect the Prince   will be available tomorrow on Amazon in Kindle,  and  paperback. There is also an audiobook available on Audible.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary book from the publisher in exchange for review. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Just Ducky! Crystal Rubber Duck 3D Puzzle

I have a collection that tends to make people laugh. I collect rubber ducks. All kinds, really, so long as they conform to the generally standard ducky shape. When I visited University Games’s booth at Toy Fair, I knew that their Rubber Duck Crystal puzzle had to be my starting point. IMG_5482

I’ve been wanted to assemble this puzzle for ages, but…I listed to SC, who kept telling me how difficult puzzles of this type were. Note to self. Do Not listen to the Spouse-Critter about puzzles! I loved this!  

I’ve never done a 3D puzzle quite like this. The pieces are made of translucent thick plastic (I keep wanting to call it Lucite). There are 43 pieces and the assembly is a matter of trial and error. 

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If you watch my little slideshow, you can see how each layer builds up and interlocks to create a sturdy shape. Not shown are the 2 locking bars and the plastic key. There is a small bar that is inserted into the hole you see in the back-end of the ducky, covered by the tail tip. The second bar is longer and is inserted from the top of the head and locks the whole puzzle into a solid piece. 

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Zoomie supervised the newest ducky build.

Honestly, there were only 2 places I struggled, the neck, and putting on the eye stickers!

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I hate stickers, so my ducky has one eye slightly askew. Other than that, this puzzle only took me about and hour or so. I am definitely going to start looking for more like them!

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: BePuzzled / University Games
  • Title: Original 3D Crystal Puzzle™ Rubber Duck
  • Artist: Not listed
  • Difficulty: 1
  • Year released: 2015
  • Pieces: 43
  • Cut-Style: Knob and Hole
  • Finished size: 22x 22 in
  • Bonus poster: No
  • Made in China

QUALITY: 

  • Box: Lightweight,6 x 4 x 2 inches
  • Board: N/A 
  • Cut: N/A Molded Plastic
  • Image Quality: Excellent, great color saturation
  • Finish: Clear Gloss
  • Puzzle Dust: None!
  • Piece shapes: Knob and Hole
  • Piece Fit: Very good

Disability Notes: This is one of those puzzles that is perfect for bed or couch days. With under a hundred pieces, assembly depends entirely on your level of dexterity or vision. Due to the translucent pieces, I recommend strong light for people with impaired vision. 

Where to buy: Original 3D Crystal Puzzle™ Rubber Duck is available on Amazon, at Walmart, or at AreYouGame.com for $12.99 USD.

A little background, BePuzzled® is a brand that is under the University Games corporate umbrella. So, while BePuzzled® has their own Facebook page, all of their products are found on the UGames website. 

BePuzzled: FaceBook

University Games Puzzles: Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I received a complimentary puzzle from the manufacturer in exchange for review. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

 

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