Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Hello...Remember Me? ;)

Yes, I'm still alive. Just in case you were wondering. ;)

This past month has been nuts. It seems like I blinked and it was over. ;) I'm sure some of you have felt the same way, especially if you have kiddos in school and are winding down to the end of the school year.

So, what have I been up to since I obviously have not had the time or energy for blogging?

Let's see...

I found doll-sized pies at Walmart for 50 cents each for dessert day. The pies came in all sorts of flavors and were greatly enjoyed by both dolls and girls. ;)

Middle Gal set up these last two pictures herself. ;) Sorry the first one is so blurry. I didn't realize it until the dolls were back in their room.

My mom was able to find a Bridge Direct Blueberry Muffin for my Strawberry Shortcake shelf. :D (Finding these dolls has been super tricky in my part of the country.) Now I just need to find Plum Pudding and I'll have all of the Bridge Direct versions of the characters. :)

One of the ladies from my doll club found me a couple of Magic Attic project dolls at a garage sale: 

They're in pretty rough shape. Alison (in the first picture) has super loose arms and a haircut. Rose (in the second picture) has a bad eye and a haircut. Her limbs aren't too bad, though.

Removing their wigs was fairly easy. Alison has some pretty bad pen marks across her belly that make her look a little like Frankenstein's monster.  I'll have to attack them with oxy clean later. 

I was hoping these dolls would be pretty easy to restring, but once I removed Alison's arms, I realized I had my work cut out for me. The head is attached with a zip tie at the neck. The arms have cups inside the body cavity and additional cups inside the small holes in the shoulders. The elastic has to be carefully threaded through them both. Blech. ;) I'll probably have to get help from my stringing mentor with these ones. 

I always feel kinda bad sharing my doll projects on here nowadays, because there's never any guarantee how long it will take me to finish them. I'll try to update you in the coming months when I get around to finishing these gals.

I attended the Women's Spring Event at our church last Friday. It had a bird theme, and I sang "Under His Wings" as part of the special music. I also won a basket full of ocean-themed gifts. (They always give away baskets at the event, but this is the first year I won one of them.) :)

Unfortunately, most of the candles and soaps were too strong for me. It worked out nicely for the girls, though. They got to take them outside and play with them. Middle Gal set up a little garden scene with them. Doesn't it look nice and peaceful? :)

And of course, it wouldn't be the end of the year without the school projects for Open House, right? ;) Here's the aftermath of Saturday's crafting time.

Little Gal's penguin diorama. She did most of it herself (I carved the icebergs for her). Middle Gal drew a backdrop for her wax museum display. She's going to dress up as Louisa May Alcott and pose like a wax sculpture. When someone claps, she'll recite a paragraph she memorized about Louisa May Alcott. (Yes, their teacher is awesome.) ;) Oldest Gal worked on a president poster about F.D. Roosevelt. I didn't get any pictures of that, but she did a great job. :)

On Sunday, we celebrated Mother's Day and my dad's 66th birthday. My daughters sang to me, gave me lovely homemade cards and handmade flowers (pictured above). They also unloaded and reloaded my dishwasher. I felt so loved and special, especially since I'd been a complete bear earlier that week. My girls are so precious to me. 

For his birthday, my dad requested a simple yellow cake with white buttercream frosting. Mimi couldn't handle putting out such a plain cake, so she melted some caramel and formed it into a rose decoration.

Isn't it beautiful? Very fairytale-ish. ;) 

And speaking of such things, I suppose I should update you on my book progress...or lack thereof. ;) 

First, some exciting news...which I already mentioned in my last post. I finally finished my maps of my fairy tale world, which I framed and used as prizes for my $100 Kickstarter backers. Like a doofus, I forgot to take any pictures of them framed, but here's the completed map before framing:

It's not nearly as impressive with all of the pixelation, but I really need to keep the names a secret until I'm closer to official publication. I would love to spill all of my secrets now, but I know that would not be wise. So for now, you'll just have to content yourselves with a partial reveal. I can't wait 'til the day I can show you everything. 

I've struggled a lot with my story ever since returning from Mount Hermon. Several plot devices fell through, and I've had a difficult time figuring out how to fix them. I also needed to rename some of my characters. I realized that four of my twelve main characters had names beginning with "A", which is a big no-no, as it can be confusing for the reader. Of course, at this point, those characters ARE those names, so I essentially feel like I'm murdering them. Two of my characters also may be changing ethnicities, which is also difficult since I've pictured them so strongly a certain way. After lots of dead ends and horrible feelings of worthlessness ("What ever made me think I was a writer?", "I totally stink at this.", "This is officially NOT FUN."), on Monday I finally made myself stop thinking and just sat down and typed. I ended up typing over 2,000 words. They're rough and will need revision, but I must say it was a relief to know I still had some capability as a writer. ;)

I think part of the struggle this month has been that before this I've always written for fun. Now, I'm trying to view my writing more as a potential vocation, which means I have to write even when I don't feel the creative juices flowing. :} It's a discipline, just like anything else. There are a lot of things that come rather naturally to me, writing being one of them. So often, when I find myself challenged by something that usually is no problem, I find it difficult to push through and feel tempted to give up. This new challenge has been a good exercise in patience, discipline, and perseverance. And trust. Trust that God will lead me through this tough story stuff, just like He's led me every step of the way. I need to relax, to stop putting impossible pressure on myself to live up to my own unrealistic expectations. I need to just keep writing, keep learning, keep growing. And eventually, when the time is right, the story will be ready. :}

I guess that's about all I have to share for now. I'm in the process of working on another "real" blog post that should be up either later this week or sometime next week. School gets out next week, so things will be a little crazier for a while. However, once summer is here, I hope to do more reviews and things with the girls. We'll see how that goes. :)

Hope you all had a wonderful Mother's Day weekend and have a great week this week. :)


Kailey Hopkins said...

I'm a writer too, so I totally get it. I once write a short story about two girls named Ella and Laila, but once I had finished, I realized they were more suited to the names Eva and Londen. So I went back through and changed the names. Fortunately, Eva's pretty close to Ella and I'd only mentioned Londen two or three times. Maybe you can find names that are close to the ones you're changing, but that don't start with A, like Cayden instead of Aiden, or Melissa instead of Alyssa. Good luck on your story!

dannyscotland said...

Don't give up on your writing. No famous writer ever sat down at a paper, typewriter, or computer, and spilled out a story in one night. :-) I think it's awesome that you're doing this.

NovaBabe said...

I'm proud of you for your discipline!
Being creative on demand is a lot more difficult than being creative when the mood strikes you.

Thanks for posting, I love reading your blog! I finally started my blog (though the girls are begging me to start theirs! Jaelin doesn't care that Linnea isn't home from the doll hospital, she is ready to blog now, so I may have to let her.)

Dolls, Crafting, and Writing! Thanks for the inspiration to start my own!


Farrah Lily said...

Happy Mother's Day to you as well. Sounds like you had a really sweet day with the girls. I can totally relate to what you are saying about writing and how it is shifting a little from just a hobby to a potential career and the expectations are different now. I really enjoy taking photos and I recently did a maternity shoot for someone and it felt totally different and not as fun. That's great that you carry so much faith that things will be ok and things will work out just as they always do. The maps look amazing!

beastsbelle said...

Thank you so much, everyone. Hearing your understanding and supportive comments gave me so much encouragement. :) 2,000 more words typed today! :D

Inka said...

zachwyciłam się lalą wyglądającą jak młodziutka Pocahontas!

MyLittleMegara said...

You've been awarded! Please don't feel like you have to respond right away- I understand that you're super busy right now living your dreams! :D


MoxieFun said...

Everything is awesome ;-) God bless you!

beastsbelle said...

Thank you, MyLittleMegara! I don't know if I'll get to the blog award response or not...but I do so appreciate you awarding me. :)

Thanks, MoxieFun! God bless you too. :)

Anonymous, I'm sorry I missed your comment the first time around. I'd be happy to discuss the topic you mentioned via email. You can reach me at nevergrowup.beastsbelle@gmail.com. I'd rather not discuss potentially controversial topics in the comments, but keep things doll, toy, or writing related. :)