Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Back From the Christmas Whirlwind ;)

Hey everyone!  No, I didn't fall off the face of the earth...honest. ;)  This is the first year I didn't post a "Merry Christmas" post actually on Christmas Day, and for that I apologize.  Things haven't really slowed down until today.  From the wedding on the weekend of the 20th to Christmas to a fun added visit from Hubby's family yesterday, we've been blessed with days and days of enjoying family and spending time together. :)  It made this Christmas season especially precious, but also rather nonstop. ;)

So, "Merry Christmas" late!  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday celebrating with your loved ones.

I thought I'd share a few of my favorite Christmas goodies from this year:

A nice, colorful display, don't you think?   I'll give you a closer look at some of the items. :)

Two pairs of Frozen socks. :) 

This adorable snowman family made by my dad.  It represents Hubby and me and our three girls.

A new set of colored Sharpies! :D  My mom got this same set for me last year and I've used it a ton.  This new set came just in time, too, as some of the Sharpies from my old set are losing their color. ;) 

The brilliant quilt you see in the backdrop was a present from one of my aunts.  The top was done by someone else, and then she did the border and finished it.  It's absolutely beautiful and goes perfectly with my bedroom colors. :)

In my stocking, I got a set of Jane Austen bandages (sigh-no Mr. Darcy, Mr. Knightley, or Mr. Tilney bandaids inside, but they did include a free prize of a...bacon temporary tattoo...fitting, right?), :} Fluttershy lip gloss and nail polish (to go on my Fluttershy shelf), and this cute Frozen magnet featuring Anna which reads: "I'm not clumsy.  I fall gracefully."  I also got the adorable Belle keychain, which is now attached to my purse.  The sparkly white whirly thing in the front is a cute ornament Oldest Gal made for me. 

Some of my other handmade gifts were these three magnets, all handmade by the girls, and a fun handmade necklace from one of my other aunts.

Little Gal made me the snowman mug at the right of this picture, and my mom got me the Hallmark Belle ornament and the Disney Store Singing Rapunzel Sketchbook ornament. :)

Here's a closer look at the Rapunzel ornament from the front...

...and the back.  I was very pleased with how well it was painted.

This little black button on the back is what you push to make her sing.  She sings part of "When Will My Life Begin" without any instrumentation, just like the singing dolls. 

My Hallmark Belle ornament is lovely, too. :)

Here she is from the back.

My brother and sister-in-law got me both of Pentatonix' Christmas CDs. :D 

And my aunt found me these fun Unicorn Party Pics.  I can't wait to use these! :D

This next present is a very special one.  When I was a little girl, my mom and dad wrapped a present in a Mickey Mouse gift box just like this one.  We always reused our gift bags and boxes, so this little box got reused each year.  As a girl, I was always very excited to see who would get the Mickey box each year. ;)  It is still used every Christmas. :)  

Well, this year, I got my very own Mickey box! :) Apparently this one, still sealed in its original packaging, was at Goodwill for 49 cents!  It was so fun to open this up! :)

The back of the package shows what it looks like when it's in its box form.  

Now we can have two Mickey boxes each year at Christmas! :)  I'm so excited that I get to continue this tradition with my own daughters.  For a while, though, I think I'll just leave this one in the packaging. :) 

It shouldn't surprise you that I ended up with a few doll-sized goodies as well. ;) Here is Coral (aka Caroline) showing off some of the fun things I got.  

You can see she's holding a cute doll-sized apron, given to me by my mom and handmade by best friend's mom, whom I call my extra adopted mom (she doesn't currently have any listings, but her eBay seller account is HERE). :)

What made it even more fun is that I got an apron in my size to match. :) 

My mom also gave me Julie's birthday dress.  Doesn't it look amazing on Coral? :)  It came with a hat and a beaded necklace, but I like it best just by itself.  I'll probably use the hat and necklace with other outfits.

In my stocking, I got two accessories for my dolls. 

The first was this fun mini tape gun.  Now my dolls will have their own tape when they need to ship something. ;)

The second was this cute little chalkboard.  It has a magnet in the back so I can hang it up. :)

I'm also including two ornaments that weren't technically Christmas presents. ;)  I ran an errand for everyone the day after Christmas and found these fun ornaments for half off.

This little paper mache-type Elsa and Anna ornament was only $1.

I'd seen this really cute Strawberry Shortcake ornament before Christmas but wasn't sure I wanted to pay $7 for her.  Paying $3.50 was a lot nicer. :)

Here she is from the back.

Both ornaments will be fun additions to our Christmas tree next year. :)

One of the most exciting and unexpected gifts I got was a new phone: a Samsung Galaxy S5, to be precise. :D  Hubby and I were due for upgrades, and Best Buy had some really amazing promotions going right before Christmas.  Hubby got both of us S5s for $16 total and walked away with $100 in gift cards to Best Buy.  Not too shabby! ;)  

Going straight from a "stupid phone" to a smartphone has been a bit of an adjustment, but not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.  I'm loving my Weight Watchers and Activelink apps, the lovely camera, having customized ringtones and notifications, the voice recorder (for all of those times I get inspiration for my books while I walk), and being able to better communicate with my friends with smartphones. :)   

Here's the back of the phone.  This case was an extra one my brother had, and it's working really well for me. :)

That's about it for the gifts.  Here are some things I want to remember as I think back on this Christmas season:

-Watching Pentatonix Christmas videos with the girls, and listening to Oldest Gal picking up on some of the harmony parts after only listening through once or twice. :)

-Listening to Middle Gal do her first piano prelude at the school Christmas program (with almost no mistakes!) and watching Oldest Gal do her speaking parts and sing her solo.  I'm so thankful for a school where my girls have lots of opportunities to participate in such things, and also where they are free to sing about the true meaning of Christmas. :)

-The opportunity we had to got to my nephew's wedding.  I loved spending time with Hubby's family and sharing the weekend with his parents and the girls. :)

-Listening to Cabin Pressure with Mimi and Hubby.  "Fizz. Buzz. Have a Bana-a-ana." ;)

-Introducing my dad to the "Alice" miniseries.  (He enjoyed it just like I knew he would.) ;)

-Hearing Little Gal's dramatic and heartfelt rendition of "Mary Did You Know" every time she used Mimi's bathroom (it's full of mirrors and has great acoustics). ;)  It became the running joke with all the family.  "Oh, [Little Gal] must be in the bathroom again!  I hear 'Mary Did You Know'."

-My completely crazy idea to do a photo shoot with all twelve of my 18" dolls (plus two of Mimi's and four of Mom's) to use for a nice, big post for Tess and Maggie's blog (the post is still in the works). ;)  I pulled it off, but I officially decided that using eighteen dolls in an involved story photo shoot is TOO MANY.  I think the whole shoot took me about six hours...at least.  Thankfully, I was smart enough to do the shoot two days before Christmas, so I was able to relax and enjoy my family the day of. ;)

-Our crazy but wonderful Christmas Day, involving both my family and Hubby's.  Eating together, watching the five little girls (my three daughters and my two nieces) open their gifts, talking and visiting, taking a long walk after dinner, and more.  It was a day I'll treasure in my memory for a long time. :)

-The added bonus of a visit with Hubby's family yesterday.  It was fun being the hostess (even if I'm a little out of practice). ;)  We ate, visited, watched funny Muppets videos, and listened to Sons of the Pioneers and Riders in the Sky. :)

All in all, December was a wonderful month in spite of the craziness.  I really felt like this was one year when I was able to focus on the real reason for the holiday, the birth of Jesus.  The girls and I had some great talks about Christmas and its meaning.  We got to see pretty Christmas lights, we all stayed healthy throughout the season, and time and time again we saw God's provision and blessings, even when things were tight financially.

I can't believe we're on the brink of another year!  I'm looking forward to 2015 and all God has in store for us. :)

I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday season, too.  What were some of your favorite memories or gifts?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Disney Funko Frozen Pocket Pops :D

Hey everyone!  I'm back from my weekend trip and now working on packing things up to go to my aunt's house for Christmas. :)  The wedding we attended was beautiful and refreshing.  It was great to see two young people so committed to each other and determined to honor the Lord with their lives and their vows to each other. :)  It was also wonderful to spend time with family and friends for the weekend.

One crazy thing about the trip was that, along with no Internet, there wasn't even any cell phone service!  I'm not completely addicted to my phone or anything, but I certainly was made aware of how much I depend on it. :}  While the weekend was great, it was nice to be able to call and text my husband again on the way home. ;)

So, I have a few random posts I'm working on.  I'm not sure how many I'll be able to get through before Christmas, but I thought I'd leave you with one quick one today. ;)

While I was gone, my mom went on an out-of-town trip of her own.  One of her stops was at the local Barnes and Noble, where she found:

Mini Funko Pop Frozen Figures, called "Pocket Pops"!!! :D  They had Elsa, Olaf, and Anna.  

I've seen mini Game of Thrones and DC Comics Funko Pops and was hoping that some of the Disney ones would be made in this mini size.  I was so excited when I got back home and mom showed me her mini collection. :)

Here are views of the boxes on all of the other sides: 

Just like the regularly-sized Funko Pops, the Pocket Pops are enclosed in clear plastic.  They can pop right out for display or play, and then be put back in the packaging.

Here's cute little Anna! :)  

She stands at just about 1 1/2 inches.

Here she is next to my regular Funko Pop Anna for comparison.  There are a few slight differences.  Little Anna's hair is a slightly different shade.  She also is missing regular Anna's freckles and the details on her skirt and bodice.  

I was a bit concerned when I saw that the Pocket Pops didn't come with stands like my regular Funko Pop Anna.  Thankfully, it was very easy to get Little Anna into a standing position, even without a stand of some kind.

The Pocket Pops cost $4.95 each.  They are a fun size and a very reasonable price.  I just wish Anna's eyebrows didn't look quite so severe. ;)

One of the super fun things about these Pocket Pops is that they are just about the perfect size for 18" dolls like American Girl, as Hayden is demonstrating here.

So cute! :)

The boxes work out just about right, too.  You could cut off the little hanging part at the back and it would pretty much look just like a regular Funko Pop box. :)

Of course, the little hanging hole makes it very easy for the dolls to hold the boxes. ;)

I'm not going to do my regular review rating on this post.  One, because I've got limited time, and two, because this is more of a "mini review" anyway (no pun intended). ;)

That being said, I think these Frozen Pocket Pops are adorable and would make great stocking stuffers (or just regular gifts, since we're running out of time for Christmas shopping). ;)  The price is right, they're painted well, and their small size makes them unique and easy to store.  

Here's hoping they make a Pocket Pop Kristoff and Sven, and then maybe some of the other Disney characters, too! ;) 

Hope you guys have a wonderful week in these final days before Christmas! :)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Weekend Wedding

Hey everyone!  I hope you're all having a great December.  I can't believe Christmas is only one week away!!  I did fairly well on my holiday stress until this week.  Then everything just snowballed.  I feel like I've been running around nonstop from project to errand to party this week. ;)  The good news is, I'm pretty much done with my Christmas cards, I'm done with Christmas shopping, and school is officially out for the holidays.  Whew. ;)

Sorry things were rather quiet this week.  (See the above paragraph for a basic explanation.) ;)  They'll be quiet for a bit longer, too.  Tomorrow I'll be leaving first thing in the morning for my husband's nephew's wedding.  I won't be back until late Sunday night, and I will most likely not have any Internet access during that time, so no blogging until I get back.  It's a busy time for everyone, though, so it seems like a good time to take a little break. ;)

I was hoping to "help" Tess with the post she's been working on for her blog before I left, but I just flat ran out of time.  That will have to wait until next week, I guess.

I think that's about it for now.  I've got to get to bed so I have the energy to get up tomorrow. ;)  I'll talk to you guys again next week! :)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Art for Christmas: The Tenth Doctor

I've wanted to try drawing the Tenth Doctor from Doctor Who for a long time, but I never seemed to get around to it...until this week.

Oldest Gal's best friend from school is a huge Doctor Who fan, and she loves David Tennant's Tenth Doctor best of all.  Oldest Gal wanted to get her a present, and we were trying to think of something special for a limited budget. ;)  It seemed like the perfect time to attempt capturing the Tenth Doctor in pen and ink. :)

I started by searching Google images for a good reference photo.  After browsing for a bit, I found this one and thought it had some potential:

Here's the rough pencil sketch I came up with:
[Side note: I apologize for the dark, round smudge that appears on many of these photos.  It's a problem I can't fix with my poor camera's lens.  The actual drawings did NOT have this on them.] :}

Here it is in color:

Unfortunately, this sort of forced perspective is pretty difficult to capture in a drawing, at least for me. ;)  The proportions just seem a little off.  It was super hard to get the sonic screwdriver to look right, too!!

But my biggest disappointment with this one was I felt it didn't really capture David Tennant's face the way I wanted it to.  I made his nose too curved (in my defense, it looked pretty curved in the reference photo), and by trying to portray some of his laugh lines and wrinkles, I think I made him look a little too old.  His eyes aren't quite right, and his mouth ended up looking kind of goofy in its half-open state.

I went ahead and finished the picture anyway, adding a green background.  It seems to look a little better from farther away. ;)

Here's a close up of his famous Converse shoes. :)

So, not too terrible for a first attempt...

...but I wasn't 100% pleased.  I also knew that if I went over to Oldest Gal's friend's house and saw this in her room, it would make me cringe. ;)

I started working on a picture of Ten in profile, but that was a complete disaster and ended up in the trash. :}

So then I found this photo and thought it might be just right.

This time around, I decided to try to kind of "cartoonize" David instead of trying to capture him exactly as he appeared in the picture.  I think it was a good decision; I'm much happier with this picture. :)  His neck is a bit too long, but other than that, I'm pretty pleased.

Here it is with all of the pencil erased.

And here he is in living color! ;)

Since I still don't have a great skin color in marker, I did his skin in colored pencil and the rest of him in marker, like I've been doing for my most recent pictures.

I think this is my favorite shot of the sketch.  My drawing is not an exact replica of the reference photo, but I think it captures the spirit of Ten.  I gave him a little more of a mischievous smirk than he had in the photo. :)  I also made his eyes kind of uneven on purpose, as they looked that way in the photo.

I started with a shadowy background in TARDIS blue...

...and then added a thin line of shading on the other side.

I checked with Oldest Gal, and she decided she would prefer the picture with a completely colored background, so I filled in the rest.  But then I had that pesky white space on the bottom that I normally end up with.  

I decided to go ahead and fill it in, even though it would look a bit weird.  I'm thinking of trying to frame this, and I wanted to have as much colored in as might be needed for the frame.

The bottom section ended up looking water stained.  And don't look too closely at the pin stripes, either...they really don't match! ;)  (I made them too thick and far apart in the first place, so it's not like they were great to begin with.)  At least I can always trim this part if I need to. :)

Overall, I'm super pleased with how Ten turned out, especially for my third attempt ever. 

What do you think?  Does he capture David Tennant's Doctor?  Try squinting...then he really looks accurate. ;)

Hope you enjoyed this little artsy post! ;)  Are any of you making things for Christmas gifts this year?