Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Back to Blogging with a Potpourri Post

Well, not literal potpourri. ;) 

How's everyone been? I hope you've had a wonderful month or so while I've been away from the blogging world. Thank you for being so understanding about my much-needed break. It was great to have some time to focus on my Hubby and the girls as we worked through the yearly back to school transition. 

I didn't accomplish nearly as much as I hoped to, and I've pretty much figured out that I will NEVER be an organized blogger like I'd LIKE to be. (Blogging schedule? What's that?) At the same time, I did make some fun memories and do some of the things on my ever-growing "to do" list.

I kept meaning to get back to blogging earlier than this, but time got away from me. I suppose it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, though, that I made it back in time for the 25th anniversary release of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" on blu-ray tomorrow. ;) I had to get in on that celebration! (And yes, a copy of that WILL be coming home with me, even though I already own pretty much every copy of the movie that exists already. What else is collecting for?) ;)

But back to the whole potpourri thing. ;) I thought it would be fun to share a bunch of random photos from this past month. Most of it is unrelated and simply snippets of news here, a photo of a family activity or new toy discovery there, that sort of thing. I hope you enjoy it. :)

Artsy Stuff:

I'm thrilled to be working on an illustration project with one of my local writing friends who is self-publishing a children's book. Knowing that project is on the horizon, I've been trying to do a little more sketching here and there when I can, a sort of warm up, if you will. ;) 

Here's a progression of one of my most recent pencil sketches:

To be honest, I kind of wish I'd stopped here.

Or maybe here.

The more shading I added...

...the less I liked the results.

A closer look at her face details: 
Ah, well. Live and learn. And all the shading was super relaxing. ;)

In bigger artsy news, I have AT LAST experienced the wonder of working with Copic markers! :D I'd heard a lot about these markers and their amazing quality online. Since I work primarily with markers but wanted a softer, watercolor-type look for my illustrations, I knew these would be a great fit for me. The problem is, they're pretty spendy ($7-$9 per marker). I happened to mention I was saving for some to my writing friend (the one I'm illustrating for), and she offered me the Copics she'd purchased but hardly used, around ten colors from all over the spectrum. I was so excited and grateful! I've since added a few more skin tones and plan to slowly add to my collection as I go. 

Here are two sample sketches I did with my Copics. Yes, this was done entirely with markers!! :D I think I'm in love! ;)

I found this great printable "Hand Color Chart" on the Copic website that serves as a checklist and guide for the different markers. I've filled out the colors I have so far. As you can see, there are quite a few more I could potentially add to my collection. ;)


I had a few other projects, too, like restringing this poor little baby doll for a friend from my local doll club.

Baby didn't have any sort of hooks in his limbs to hold the elastic in place, so I had to fill his neck, arms, and legs with epoxy putty and make my own little metal loops out of wire.

I forgot to take any other pictures of the process, but you'll be happy to know that the procedure was successful. ;) He's now home with his owner again, happily back in one piece. 

I wasn't the only one who indulged in my crafty side this past month. After watching this fun YouTube tutorial about making a dragon out of oven-bake clay a week ago, I decided it might be a fun thing for the girls to try. Especially since Middle Gal has been making animal sculptures out of tin foil for a while now. The fact that tin foil was used as armature inside the clay sculpture made me think of her specifically.

We bought some clay, and the girls dove in. (Oldest Gal wasn't here for this part.)

Middle Gal did a whole page of detailed design ideas, just like the video suggested. ;) Little Gal did a fun sample drawing of one dragon. She knew right from the beginning which one she wanted to do.

Here are their two dragons, ready to go into the oven.

Little Gal decided to design a warrior dragon...

...while Middle Gal went for a rosebush dragon. (You'll find her design for this particular dragon on the bottom left-hand corner of her design page.)

Oldest Gal didn't start her dragon until later, and is actually still in the process of making hers. It's done except for the wings, but we need to pick up more yellow clay before she can finish. Her dragon is a "Spring Dragon." She's working on designs for all four seasons.

Here are Little Gal's and Middle Gal's after baking: 

It was so much fun to see their creative sides come through as they formed and shaped their dragons. We've since found dozens of other tutorials on YouTube for all sorts of clay creations. I love that I can find fun ways to encourage the girls' imaginations and creativity online. :) I think we may need to buy stock in oven-bake clay, too. ;)

Toy Finds:

I did find a few fun new blind bag items and other small toys over the past month.

This little mystery My Little Pony bag was at Target for around $3 or $4.

I ended up with this adorable Applejack. :) 

So cute! :D I love that she has her hat.

I also couldn't resist these cute little mini Chubby Puppies. They retail for around $3, and include one visible puppy and one mystery puppy.

I ended up with the Boston Terrier and Golden Retriever. :)

So cute! I didn't get a picture yet, but these work PERFECTLY as pets for the mini Shoppies. :)

These next ones my mom and I found just today: Mymoji by Funko...My Little Pony Style! 
Back of the package.

We ended up with five of the mane six...because I failed the "feel test" through the packaging and thought the second Rarity was a Pinkie Pie. Not sure how I missed her horn. :} These are super cute, although I could just picture Hubby's face when I brought some home. "You bought...disembodied My Little Pony heads?" :D

I also did a little splurge this past month and bought a Marinette action figure from the Miraculous toy line. While she's fun as Ladybug, I actually prefer Marinette as herself in the show. She's so adorably awkward, in a way I find completely relatable. 

Back of the package.

Marinette is slightly less posable than Cat Noir and Ladybug from the same line (they both have ankle joints as well).

From the back.

She's still super flexible and fun to pose, though: 

She has her earrings from the show, although they're just black instead of ladybug print. I suppose that would be difficult on such small earrings. ;) 

Marinette's sweet face.

Her purse and other accessory (perhaps her art portfolio?).

Family News:

We kept pretty busy over this past month with school, work for Hubby, and other things. 

At the beginning of September, the girls and I got to go to an out-of-town fair with Mom and Dad Prewett. The girls loved seeing all of the animals, like these miniature horses.

There was a rock climbing wall there with $100 in cash at the very top. Anyone who made it to the top and grabbed the cash could keep it. All three girls tried and did a great job, but none of them came home with the money. ;)

We stopped at a local Mexican restaurant for dinner, and I got this sweet pic of Middle Gal and Little Gal together. :)

Oldest Gal's middle school soccer team was cancelled since they didn't have enough players, so the middle school volleyball coaches were sweet enough to let her play. Last Thursday was her first game, and she did a great job! :) It brought back lots of fun memories from high school, when I was the scorekeeper for our school team and cheered my friends on as they played. :)

Middle Gal and Little Gal have been feeling brave when making their lunches, especially after watching "Cutthroat Kitchen" and "Chopped" on Netflix. The other day, I came in to find them narrating their own personal cooking shows as they mixed and chopped (with my help) foods together. 

Little Gal came up with three different dipping sauces for her sandwich bread. The first was honey and butter. (That one was her favorite.) The second was chopped grapes, honey, and brown sugar, which she liked but felt the grapes made it a little too tart. The third was hard boiled egg, olives, and a touch of milk. That one was NOT her favorite. ;) But she still had fun experimenting!

Little Gal's concoction was peanut butter, honey, butter, olives, and garlic salt. She said it was delicious. I decided to take her word for it rather than trying it myself. ;)

This past Thursday was a rough one emotionally. We discovered two newborn kittens shortly after their birth just at the girls' bedtime. One was stuck in a cobweb on one side of the yard, separated from his/her mother and sibling. Oldest Gal freed the kitty from the cobweb and tried to return him, but the mama cat was not a fan of humans and raced away. She never returned, and the kittens didn't make the night. We had a lot of tears the next morning, so much so that the youngest two didn't make it to school.

On Saturday night, I heard more mewing. The same cat had deposited two kittens under a rosebush beside our house. She never returned for them. And then our next door neighbor found a third kitten alone in his backyard. Aside from being skittish, the mama cat appeared to be really young, so we think she might not have known how to properly care for her kittens.

We had decided to try to find a local cat shelter that would take them in. There are far too many cats in our neighborhood already, and we just don't have the time or resources to care for newborn kittens. Since we knew the mother had rejected them and they were going away anyway, we let the girls hold them.

For some reason, we missed Sunday School that morning. ;)

When we came back that afternoon, our sweet neighbor gave the girls some kitten formula and three medicine droppers and let them feed the kittens. 

Feeding newborn kittens is not easy, but the girls had fun doing it. Afterwards, we got warm, damp cloths and helped stimulate them to go potty. (I'd learned about this on several YouTube videos from cat experts.) I did this for Little Gal's kitten as she was NOT interested. ;) 

It didn't seem like much of the formula got in their mouths, but they all went potty and slept, so they must have at least gotten enough to feel a little better.

I'm not sure if our neighbor is still going to take the kittens to the shelter or if he's going to try to feed them himself. Either way, this story won't have the ending the girls are hoping for. 

There are already about thirty cats in our neighborhood, so keeping kittens or getting another cat wouldn't be responsible on our part. Keeping kittens that originally lived on our street but not at our house would also not work in our favor, as they would probably come and go.

So, after the emotional ups and downs of this past weekend, Hubby and I made a crazy decision: we're now looking for a puppy for the girls. A puppy will stay in our yard, will be a great pet, and will hopefully keep the cats away. (I'm a cat person, but thirty is just too many.) ;) 

We'll keep you posted on our puppy progress. Right now, we're in the process of looking at puppies in our local shelters to find the one who's just right for our family. :)

And I do believe with that, you're all caught up! ;) I hope you enjoyed this bit of randomness. 

I have quite a few writing and art-related obligations and deadlines coming up over the next couple of months, so my blogging will probably be a little slow and consist of mostly shorter posts. (No long, involved toy reviews for a while...sorry!) But I'll keep you guys updated on how things are going with writing, family, puppy stuff, and more. :)

Can't wait to get "Beauty and the Beast" on blu-ray tomorrow!!! :D


Anonymous said...

Oh, poor kittens :( People should just neuter their cats, take some responsibility of the animals they own...

But yay, a puppy! That will be super exciting for all of you, especially for the girls :) Do you have a breed in mind?
Take a lot of pictures then, a puppy picture a day keeps the doctor away :D

Meritre said...

Poor little kittens, we had a similar experience a few years ago, but it was only two little ones and they were a bit older. They were just left there without their mom. We took them to a shelter since we already had cats and they were lucky and found a new home within 24 hours.
One of our cats had a similar problem, she didn't know how to take care of her kitten. She had a miscarriage earlyer maybe that was the problem. Luckily her sister was kind enough to take the 'cousin kitty' and raised it with her own cubs.

I love the Elsa portrait you did, it looks more like a human than any other portraits I've seen of Elsa.

Those dragons are super cute, they would make great main characters for a series like My little Pony. Maybe they take care of nature and not fairys as it is stated in many fairy tales :)

And last but not least I have a question. Do you plan getting the Beauty and the Beast mini doll set? (Mini Robby, my girls were overjoyed when they heard the news) And if you get them could you compare Belle with the older Belle doll? It would be a great help since I can't decide which Belle to add to my collection and I can have only one of them. Thank you very much!

Hannah Prewett (beastsbelle) said...

Hi Anonymous! I agree. Our neighborhood is a perfect example of why you should spay or neuter. It's almost to the point that we feel like we should call animal control. There are at least six to seven cats hanging around our yard at any given time. Our next door neighbor (the same one who took in the kittens for now) has captured as many cats as he could and taken them to the vet to get them fixed. It's really great of him, since none of them are even his. He was frustrated after this latest batch of kittens, because he thought he'd caught them all. But there's only so much he can do. It's really great of him to do this, paying for all of the vet bills out of his own pocket when they're not even his pets. :(

The girls are super excited about getting a puppy. :) We went ahead and told them we were looking, but that we'd have to wait for just the right one.

At this point, we're thinking of a lab or something along that line (that's Hubby's favorite breed). We have to stick with a slightly bigger dog since we can't do inside pets (Middle Gal and I end up with tons of flea bites with inside pets). We've found two really cute lab mix puppies in local shelters and are in the process of inquiring about them.

And don't worry, I'm sure the blog and my other social media spots will be full of puppy spam! ;D

Hi Meritre! It's always so sad to see kittens go through that. It was especially tough for the girls. I'm glad they got the chance to feed these last three and feel like they were helping. But it's just a sad situation all around. We're hoping the puppy will help.

I'm so glad the kittens you took to the shelter found homes! :)

Thanks. Lol, the portrait actually wasn't supposed to be Elsa, but now that you mention it, I can definitely see the resemblance. ;) I love it! She's actually a concept sketch of one of my book characters. :)

I'll mention your dragon idea to the girls. They've come up with quite the backstories for their dragons, and love getting new ideas. ;)

I do hope to get the mini Beauty and the Beast doll set, but I've been trying to not spend as much on dolls right now since I have so many other things I'm saving up for. And today, my priority is my Beauty and the Beast blu-ray. ;) But I do hope to get the set soon, and if I do, I'll definitely do a blog review/comparison. :)

Karen K said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I actually thought the first pencil sketch was of you! I could clearly see the resemblance (did I spell that correctly??) right away. And your Middle Gal certainly has a talent for drawing also.

So sad about the kittens that didn't make it. Is there a program in your community or a larger one close to you that offers free spaying? This would be a relief on your neighbor's wallet. But good of him to do what he can. So irresponsible of people to let animals roam freely.

Teresa F.

Carissa said...

Welcome to the world of polymer clay! I've been sculpting with it for 8 or 9 years and its so addicting. (Plus, if you can sculpt you can make your own dolls! What's not to love?) thebluebottletree.com is an excellent resource for all things polymer clay if you haven't stumbled across it already. katersacres.com has a lot of tutorials the girls might like as well.

I don't know what brand you guys tried (it looks like Sculpey III or Fimo) but I'd recommend trying Sculpey Souffle. Its extremely strong when baked correctly and its great for figures like the girls' dragons. Plus its very soft and easy to condition so its perfect for little hands (or weak ones, like mine). I use it for all my dolls. It doesn't come in many colors but it can be mixed, even with other brands :)

I love all the little blind bags that you guys found. The Chubby Puppies are way too cute. A few of them will definitely need to come home with me.

The story about the kittens is so heartbreaking. Its wonderful that the girls care so much and tried to help, but its always really hard when things go wrong. I hope the puppy hunt goes well!

Hannah Prewett (beastsbelle) said...

Hi Karen! I'm sorry it took me so long to publish and respond to your comment. It's been such a crazy couple of days!

I wanted to let you know that I appreciate you coming and sharing your thoughts with me. I can tell this means a lot to you.

In reading back over my post I realized that one of the things I said might be misunderstood. When I talked about how a dog would "stay in the yard," what I meant was that, unlike a cat who will wander all over creation and possibly never return, a dog will stay with us.

We still do plan on keeping our puppy outside primarily, but, aside from the flea issue, one of the reasons is that our house is fairly small but we have a nice-sized back yard (with a new fence going up) where puppy will be safe, but free to run and play. And he/she will not be neglected. We will be out there playing with him/her daily. Little Gal will probably move outside. ;) The puppy will have a homemade doghouse, made by my dad, and will receive lots of love and attention. On particularly cold or hot evenings, there will be a spot in the house for puppy to curl up and join the family.

I hope this eases your mind a bit. We have put a lot of careful consideration into this and would not get a pet if we didn't feel we could give it a loving home.

Hi Teresa! Aww, I'm flattered you thought my drawing was of me. ;) And yes, Middle Gal's artistic talent is growing every day. I'm so excited to see what she'll do with it. :)

I'm not sure if there's any place nearby that offers free spaying, but I should check into it. And yes, it is so frustrating to see the results of people's irresponsible choices. :( I love cats, but the number we have in our neighborhood is just too much! And it's so hard to see little kittens not make it. :(

Hi Carissa! Thank you so much for all of the tips on polymer clay! I'll definitely check out thebluebottletree and Sculpey Souffle! :)

The Chubby Puppies are darling, but be careful! They can be kind of addicting. ;)

Going through the kitten thing with the girls has probably been one of my hardest parenting moments to date. I love the fact that they are so sensitive and kind, but it broke my heart to see them so upset.

The puppy hunting is coming along. We're looking forward to finding the newest member of our family! :)

Farrah Lily said...

Great to see you back! I'm not sure if I could add to anyone else's comments, but just wanted to wish you good luck with the puppy search. I'm sure the right one will land in your lap. :) I'm sorry to hear about the kittens..I worked for an animal shelter for a few years while I was in nursing school so I have also cared for tiny ones as well. Some make it and some don't and it's heartbreaking when they don't. Glad to hear the girls are feeling better about it all. :)

Joanne Mariel Maniago said...

Hello Beastsbelle! Happy Birthday! It is already September 28 in my area. BTW it was my birthday two weeks ago!