Friday, February 9, 2018

It's Been Far Too Long...

Hello all of my dear, patient friends...if any of you are still reading this and haven't given up on me. Yes, I am alive. Yes, I still love toys. Yes, I am still crazy busy and unorganized. Yes, I promise that the review posts I talked about last November (yeesh!) will eventually appear.

I don't have much time at the moment, but just wanted to pop in and say hello for all of those who have been wondering if I will ever post again. I'm quite disappointed with myself. I always wanted to keep blogging strong. I didn't want to be one of those blogs that slowly dwindled into oblivion. And yet, here I am, doing just that.

While my blogging has been pretty stinky, I've stayed active on Instagram. These days, that's the best place to find me. We're leaving for my daughters' annual combined birthday trip tomorrow, so there will be plenty of opportunities for toy shopping. Hooray! I'll be sharing pics from our trip as we travel, so you'll want to check it out. :) You can find me HERE.

I've also been trying to build up my writing blog. I even featured my newly acquired Shopkins Happy Places Cutiecorn in my latest post. ;)

I have a lot of projects going right now, from writing to illustrating to driving the girls back and forth to practices. All three girls were cast in a local production of "Annie Jr." ("Annie" with fewer songs and less dialogue). I'm so proud of them and thrilled that they have this opportunity. But also crazy busy. They have practices two to three times a week after school from now through the end of March. Needless to say, I won't have a lot of extra time over the next couple of months, so I hate to promise that I'll be back to regular blogging anytime soon.

Please know, though, that even though I'm not blogging about them as often, I'm still a doll and toy fan and collector. I love all of you and am so thankful for you. I'm sorry I'm so behind on responding to comments, but I do read them and love hearing from you. I'm hoping to get some responses up within the next week.

I'm not going to promise any upcoming posts, because I keep doing that and then failing to follow through. But I hope to have a "real" post up very soon. Until then, like I said, you can find me on Instagram and check out all of the fun pictures from our trip this weekend! :D I can't wait to visit Toys R Us and the Disney Store again.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Few Updates

Hello, everyone! May I just say, you guys are awesome for waiting so long for me to get my act together. This fall brought many new adjustments with the girls' new school, so for a while, it was just easier to play the avoidance card instead of thinking how behind I was on blogging. ;)

I'm about halfway done with my annual Rapunzel and Belle Disney Store doll reviews, so those should be up within the week. Since the reviews are taking longer than I planned (especially since my Belle dolls from prior years are still packed away and I have to find them), I thought I'd tide you over with a few updates.

For those of you who don't follow me on Instagram, I just did a full month's worth of drawings in October, known as "Inktober" for artists. ;) It was a crazy challenge to do one traditional ink drawing per day, but I made it. I think about two or three of them were a day late. ;)

Here are a couple of my favorites:

Fan art from Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George.

Fan art from Tangled

Unicorn!! :D

"Phan" art from The Phantom of the Opera.

Fan art from Beauty and the Beast.

It was great to have an excuse to draw, and I really saw an improvement in my art as the month progressed. :)

Since I now have an indoor cat, I have to rethink the way I display my collections. He loves climbing and has taken quite a liking to my doll rooms, for example. ;) 

To keep my things from getting broken and to avoid situations where I'm annoyed at the cat for something instinctual to his nature, I decided to invest in a couple of display cases from IKEA. They didn't house quite as many of my things as I'd hoped, but it's a start. Here are my displays so far: 

With lights on...

...and without.

I couldn't fit my boxed doll sets in the displays and fit much of anything else with them, so I decided to put them on top with my Funko Pops from Frozen and Tangled.

The top left shelf holds some of my favorites from my Tangled collection.

The next shelf down has some of my Frozen favorites.

Next comes my live-action Cinderella collection.

And on the bottom, my Fluttershy, Minty, and watermelon mini collections. This is the display space I'm probably the least happy about. I might try rearranging it, or I might try displaying something else there instead.

The top right space has my more stylized dolls, like my Pullips, J-Dolls, and Licca.

The next shelf down has my custom dolls. This space will eventually have other dolls, too. :)

Next I have a display of some of my very favorite G1 My Little Ponies.

And the bottom shelf has some of my Hearts for Hearts Girls and mini dolls.

I may change the displays around a bit after a while, especially as I continue to unpack, rearrange, and go through my collections, but this is a nice start. :)

I also hung up three of my little house-shaped shelves again so I could display some of my mini Shoppies and Twozies. 

My toy budget has been much more limited now, but I've still managed to find a few things here and there. ;) 

Ever since I saw the messy-haired Anna Little Kingdom doll from Frozen in footage from last February's Toy Fair, I've been keeping an eye out for her. She never showed up in regular stores, but I just found her at Ross last week for $5!

She comes with an unassembled bed, a Sven pillow, three golden embellishments for her hair and dress, and a sleep mask.

Here she is, all ready for bed.

And catching some Zs with her mask on. ;)

At Target, I found a doll-sized Nutella jar. ;)

And also some Christmas Shopkins. My favorite is the ugly sweater one. :)

It's been thrilling to find so much unicorn-themed stuff around in stores, too. As I said on Instagram, though, I liked collecting unicorn stuff before it was cool. ;)

I also recorded a couple of YouTube vlogs during my absence that shares a bit of what's been going on with me. If you'd like to see the most recent one, you can watch it HERE. (Please pardon my crazy hair...I'd just taken a shower.) ;)

Not much more to report other than that. I've been busy parenting, helping the girls adjust to their new school (which they love), writing, and trying to figure out a better social media/blogging schedule. 

I also got a couple of writing rejections. One for a short story I submitted to a magazine, and one from an editor I met with at Realm Makers for my book. The good news is, in both cases, they liked my writing. It just wasn't a good fit for them. I'm trying to keep pressing on and remember that each rejection is a chance for growth and change. :)

I'm slowly starting to save up for Mount Hermon next year. While I'd be tempted to attend Realm Makers a second time, it's farther away next year, and I really missed Mount Hermon. We'll see how that goes, though. There are still a lot of other things that may need to take a financial priority.

I guess that's all for now. Just wanted you to know that I'm still alive and kicking. ;) Hope to have that review post up soon!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Still Alive

Honest, I am. But I'm discovering that starting your kids at a brand new school can take some serious adjustment, even if your kids are doing well and enjoying that new school.

Sorry to leave you guys hanging for so long. The last few weeks have felt like the inside of a washing machine, or the middle of a merry-go-round on the playground. :} Things will still be crazy for a while, especially since Oldest Gal just started volleyball season. But I hope within the next week or so to get a handle on blogging, writing, and some of the other things that have fallen by the wayside in the past month. ;)

In the meantime, I'm headed to my church's ladies retreat today. While I won't be posting here during that time, I'll be keeping everyone updated on Instagram and Twitter, so you can keep track of my adventures there until I get back. ;)

Have a lovely weekend, everyone! Talk to you again soon.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Blogoversary Giveaway Results!

It's time to announce the winner, folks! We had thirty-two entrants and a total of fifty-five entries including the extra entries for following me elsewhere.

All names were recorded on paper...and thankfully not scattered around the living room when Pumpkin was in a "helpful" mood. ;)

The names were put in a bowl and mixed up carefully. Then Middle Gal chose one name (without looking, of course) to be our winner.

Since Pumpkin seemed to want to get involved, too, I decided to let him announce our winner. 

At first, he just wanted to play with the winner's name...

...and then, he wanted to keep us in suspense. 

But finally, he decided to cooperate. 

Congratulations to our winner, honeysuckle jasmine! :D 

I'll be contacting honeysuckle jasmine today via email. If I don't hear back in a week, a new winner will be chosen.

Thank you so much to everyone who entered, and for all of your lovely comments and wishes. It's so nice to know this little blog has touched so many lives. :) Thanks for sharing this adventure and this crazy doll obsession with me. :)

UPDATE: I've heard back from honeysuckle jasmine, so this giveaway is officially closed!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Last Day to Enter the Giveaway!

Hey everyone! Just wanted to remind you that today is the last day to get your entries in for my blogoversary giveaway. I've had a great response so far and can't wait to see who wins! :)

For full giveaway details, you can check out my post about it HERE.

I just got back from a wonderful family vacation. I haven't had a chance to blog about it, but you can see all my pictures on Instagram.

Have a great week! I'll be back tomorrow to announce the winner.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Create Your Own American Girl Dolls Now Available

Hey guys! Thanks for the great response to my giveaway. It's been fun hearing from so many of you. :)

Just a heads up: American Girl has officially released their "Create Your Own" dolls on their website. You can choose custom face mold, skin color, eye color, hair length, style, and color, outfits, and more. You can even chose from several options to make your doll's personality.

The dolls retail for $200 each, which is a little steep, but considering you get a doll, an outfit, accessories, and the option of glasses, hearing aides, braces, and more, plus the joy of creating your own custom doll, I understand the price.

You can start creating your own dolls HERE. Even if you don't plan on purchasing one, it's fun to try different hair/eye/skin combos. And if you have an account with American Girl, you can save your designs for later. :)

Here are some of the designs the girls and I created (all mini-me dolls):


Oldest Gal's

Middle Gal's 

Little Gal's

Have fun customizing, but be warned: you might just fall down a rabbit hole for a couple of hours. ;)

Monday, August 7, 2017

Blogoversary Giveaway

Hello everyone! Sorry to leave you hanging for so long. I'm back from Realm Makers (which you can read about on my writing blog HERE), managing to survive the over 100 degree weather of our hometown, and in the middle of packing for our last family vacation before school starts. In the middle of the craziness, though, I wanted to uphold a long-standing tradition and do a giveaway in celebration of SEVEN YEARS of blogging at Never Grow Up. Hooray! :D

Because it's been seven years, there are seven prizes for one special reader. Here's a look at what the winner will receive:

A Shopkins Lollipop Soft Top Cutie Car...

...a Kuu Kuu HaraJuku mini G doll... of my original hand drawn artwork pieces on a 4x4 cardstock tile with a protective sheet, signed and colored with ink pen and Copic markers...

...a Shopkins Happy Places Season 3 Jellica Lil' Shoppies doll...

...a Season 2 Hatchimals blind bag...

...and two Disney Store gift cards totaling $10 ($5 each).

Giveaway Rules: 

1. This contest is WORLDWIDE, so any of my readers can enter. :) That being said, I'm not sure if the gift cards work out of the country, so please be aware that this might be an issue.

2. If you are under 18, please get a parent or guardian's permission to enter.

3. To enter, please leave your name or username and email address in the comments below. Comments with email addresses will NOT be published and will only be seen by me.

4. For one extra entry, you may choose one of the following:
     -Follow me on Twitter
     -Follow me on Instagram
     -Follow me on my Never Grow Up Facebook page
     -Follow me on YouTube

NOTE: Please leave me a comment, letting me know what you did for your extra entry so I can count it!

If you are already following/subscribed to any of the above, let me know and I will count it for your extra entry.

5. The contest will be open until Monday, August 14th

6. On Tuesday, August 15th, I will pick one winner through a random drawing, notify them via email, and request their shipping address. The winner will have one week to respond. If I have not heard from them by Tuesday, August 22nd, a new winner will be chosen.

Thank you so much for the past seven years. Your comments, input, and friendships mean more than I can say. :) Can't wait to see who wins!