Blogmas: Wooden + Dots Ornaments

Hello!

As you may have noticed, and I still don’t know what happened because I had plans, but we didn’t put out any pumpkins this fall. My sister did, she decorated her entire front porch with various sizes of pumpkins, but we did not. I found it very surreal, because that’s my favorite thing to do in September and October is paint pumpkins. After that, I think my body was like, “okay, we need to find an alternative fast!” because this project came out of nowhere, but it ended up becoming a new favorite of mine.

In mid-October, I started looking for birthday gifts that weren’t books (I know it’s shocking!) and I found these wooden shapes and I sort of fell in love with them and then I found ones that were Christmas related and then all hell broke loose in my brain!

In the last year and a half, I’ve been watching a lot of reels and regular videos on YouTube of dot art. I still don’t remember what inspired the find in general, but I’m forever glad it came into my life. I used it in my 3 projects last Christmas. It was only a simple red dot here and there with a Q-Tip but it was still a new thing for me and I loved it. I have been working on it throughout 2021 and I finally felt comfortable enough to use the technique in my new project: the Christmas ornaments!


What you will need for this DIY:

  • Wood cut outs – it’s important for them to be “unfinished”
  • Acrylic paints
  • Paintbrushes
  • Dotting tools
  • Damp washcloth
  • Paint palette or paper plate(s)

Before we get too into this part of the post, I wanted to show you how the ornaments came in the mail.

They were perfectly stuffed into this cute Santa Claus box. I was originally going to get the 160 pieces but I’m glad I switched to the 40 pieces because I would still be painting right now! Anyways, they were four traditional Christmas characters: a snowflake, bell, tree and baubles. You get 10 in each stack, so you have multiple designs you’d like to trade off, you are welcome to do it evenly. If you would like to purchase this set or the others, click here for the Amazon page. You also get clusters of string for each of the ornaments, plus a small bag of metallic beads, but I did not use them.

Raining Dots

I started with the Christmas trees, and I copied the same color scheme I did with my last project, so I mixed my green with a tiny bit of blue and I love how they all came out. After finishing all 10 trees with their base coats, I moved on to the trunk and I poured a small amount of brown into my palette, and I used one layer of paint for that part. I am a lover of DecoArt acrylic paints, (thanks to Lydia May on YouTube!) I usually don’t need more than two coats depending on the shade, and I was very happy with my color choices this time around, including the yellow!

Once everyone was in the process of drying, I switched my attention on my design ideas for a few of my baubles. I knew I wanted to create a series of animals, but I’m not really good at it so I went looking on Pinterest and found a great step-by-step guide of the Fox for my friend Brittany. She was the one who really inspired this part in the first place. I continued to search for guides of the Cow and Pig, but I wasn’t able to find anything, so they were basically all free-foot sketches. After that, I stopped for the day, and came right back to it the next day.

A couple of weeks ago, I was finally able to add another selection of dotting tools. I have the smaller sizes, and I’ve been using them for about a year now and they are very nice for me to grip my toes around and make my dots, but the others are various sizes and I have been wanting to get them for a while now because I wanted to try my foot at the larger dots. I am having issues how to grip them, but I expected that to happen. I knew I wasn’t going to go all out with my designs (honestly, I had the phrase, “less is more” in my mind the whole time!) and I tried to keep it that way.

When I came back to my trees, I was ready to decorate everybody, and I used two colors: yellow and a light gray (I mixed my gray with a tiny bit of white!) and I painted the stars with those colors and would switch the yellow star with silver garland. I was smart with this; I drew out a zig-zag design on most of them and would follow the lines with my dotting tool and I really loved it! Some look like traditional Christmas trees, but there are five of them with the “walking technique” which is coating your desired tool with paint and dotting down the canvas, I love this so much I did it to my Bonsai pot in the spring! My parents saw the final tree with this design, and they love it. Honestly, everyone I’ve shared it to, has expressed the same thoughts too!

So, here are how the trees turned out.

There Goes Rudolph!

The second (or third) shape were the bells. I wasn’t impressed with the bells at all, they were very boring even without paint on them…

My thinking behind them was the golden bells you normally see on pictures, but I could not get the yellow to turn to a pretty gold and I tried like three different times and was only successful after finishing with them. I was so mad at that point, but I moved on though. Since I had 10 of these bells, I was influenced by a fragment of a carol “with silver bells ringing” I kept hearing while doing the base colors and I created the silver hue again for the rest of my bells and I thought they looked so adorable!

I left to dry overnight and I was really worried about how boring they looked, so that night I thought about adding a reindeer face on it and in my dreams they looked so cute and I was over the moon when I started sketching out how I wanted the antlers to go, but once I started doing my dots I got a little worried because the design started to look a little bit like a pair of balls and by my second bell, I became terrified at what was appearing but thankfully my mom thought they were great, especially after I put the eyes and big red nose at the end.

The reindeer/bells are definitely my favorite, even with the cock and balls antlers, they still look amazing! I did a good job on them and that’s something I rarely do when it comes to painting, is enjoy what I am creating, and lately it’s been so fulfilling to believe in my artwork for the first time.

Let It…

For the third ornament, we have snowflakes.

I think both the trees and snowflakes were the easiest to do because they required a small set of skill. You can free hand your designs to make things simple and they would still end up being very beautiful. When I began on the snowflakes though, I thought I would be able to play with my various sizes of tools, but I rarely got away from the blue tool, which is a little bit bigger than the purple tool. I basically treated the flakes like the trees when it came to their designs and used the walking technique quite a bit throughout the process.

And like the trees, I kept my color scheme pretty limited, I only used white for the base and used two different blues, but my favorite shade was the bright, neon like because it reminded me of the Frozen films. I’ll be honest, I had Queen Elsa and Princess Anna (and of course, Olaf too!) in my head all while I was working on these and I’m glad I did because it got me out of my head, and I allowed myself to make mistakes with them because I mean every snowflake is one of a kind so I just left them the way they were… well, some of them! There were 3 that definitely had to be fixed but after I was done, I basically pushed them as far away as possible, so I wasn’t able to add more dots!

The Cast of Characters

Lastly, the bauble balls were my least favorite because I knew what I wanted to do with a few of them and it scared the living daylights out of me! I got through in one piece thank God, but not without psyching myself out in the first round.

So, like I explained above while I was waiting for my trees to dry, I got started on figuring out what I wanted for three of my baubles, the rest was pretty much left until I did the base coats. I treated the baubles like the bells, as I split them up as they were painted in traditional Christmas colors: green and red. I was so worried the red would be too dark for my animal baubles, but thankfully they design held up great against the paint, and I was still able see every part.

My biggest worry now was, do I have a brush that was small enough to paint the character without creating a big mess around it, and I was thoroughly surprised as I found a tiny brush that was not only perfect for the designs, but it quickly became a favorite of mine because it allowed me to gain back some of the control as far as what I wanted to bring into each animal. I didn’t stop using my dotting tools though as I had made the eyes and noses with a small tool, and they turned out as adorable as my Rudolph/reindeers in the end.

When I was done with them, I was fairly tempted to leave the rest of the baubles plain, but I thought they looked too boring for that, and I started experimenting and I made array of different ones but I did one that spells the word “Woof” for a family friend, they have a Pittie and they recently got a Beagle puppy so as my mom told me, “it fits” for them, and then I surprised myself again but creating two baubles in a Ugly Christmas Sweater design and I’m still upset I did just do that with the rest but it was just a beautiful disaster that I need to remember for next Christmas!

Bring Me the Rainbow

My final bauble is very special because it is my nephew’s. Nolan has become obsessed with the moon and rainbows, and since I already got him a Moon phase garland for his room, I figured I needed to bring out his love for the rainbow too, so I reserved a bauble ornament for him. I don’t know why I didn’t do this with my nana’s ornament since she too is obsessed with the rainbow! Oh well, I will make a note of this for next year!

I was thrilled to do this for Nolan but I was also terrified too because I had to use the ruler to create a series of lines for each color, and honestly, this was a doozy! I was having a hard time making six, somewhat equal, lines for each dot and it was a hard task at first but once I got it all figured out, I poured out my paint on my palette and got to work on the actual dots.

This media has also become a favorite of my nephew too. He currently had two or three CDs I’ve made in the last year or so, the first one he just took home and the others I gave him because he kept holding onto them. I think in the new year, I will try to teach him how to do it so he can be excited about his own creations too! Anyways, I used my pink tool, which is the middle size and honestly, it was actually perfect for this design. I was going to use the tiny brush again to remove the empty spaces in between the dots but I stopped myself from doing it and messing the entire ornament up. Nolan was very excited to get his ornament. I don’t think he understood at first why I had given him a different design compared to his mommy’s pink reindeer, but I know he will cherish it nonetheless!

It is strange when a small thought that can appear in the middle of a sleepless night, can grow into such a huge project and yet bring so much good to a slice of the world. Homemade gifts are good for the soul. I give kudos to anyone who has a small business and fix up orders every day, because that is no small feat! As I told my nana the other day, now that I am done painting and the cards were shipped out and people are receiving their ornaments, I still feel like I need to be doing something, and I really hope it was finishing this post.

I really hope you have enjoyed reading my process with this project. It was fun while it lasted, and now I can relax for the rest of this break. If you celebrate Christmas, I hope you have a lovely time with your family, friends and/or pets. For anyone else, have a wonderful weekend!

Book Review: “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll

Hi 🙂

Now that I can watch YouTube on my TV, I’ve been finding different channels to amuse myself, and one day I stumbled on an audiobook. I don’t know why I was so stunned at this, because I’ve seen crazier things! This ultimately made me remember what I had discovered on Spotify a few days beforehand. I’ve been enjoying the various podcasts, mostly the sleep ones and I found one called “The Sleepy Bookshelf” and they have a few of famous books like Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen, The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Braun to listen to until you fall asleep. As much as I thought this was a great idea, some of these books are actually on my TBR so I don’t exactly want to drift off into dreamland while trying to remember the events going on; and the fact that the person reading the books has the perfect monotone voice so falling asleep is somewhat easier than you’d think. Once I saw this pop up om YouTube, I thought I would try it out again and found one that had the full book of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

If you would like to try listening to the book via YouTube, here’s the one I used but there are others out there that include the words just in case you want to read along on the screen.


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ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND (commonly shortened to Alice in Wonderland) is an 1865 novel written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. It tells of a girl named Alice falling through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures. The tale plays with logic, giving the story lasting popularity with adults as well as with children. It is considered to be one of the best examples of the literary nonsense genre. Its narrative course and structure, characters and imagery have been enormously influential in both popular culture and literature, especially in the fantasy genre.

Dodgson’s tale was published in 1865 as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by “Lewis Carroll” with illustrations by John Tenniel. The first print run of 2,000 was held back because Tenniel objected to the print quality. A new edition was quickly printed, released in December of the same year but carrying an 1866 date.

The entire print run sold out quickly. Alice was a publishing sensation, beloved by children and adults alike. Among its first avid readers were Queen Victoria and the young Oscar Wilde. The book has never been out of print. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has been translated into at least 174 languages. There have now been over a hundred English-language editions of the book, as well as countless adaptations in other media, especially theatre and film.

taken from Amazon.

Since I have watched the original Disney adaption of Alice In Wonderland throughout my life, I really tried to turn off what I knew from the film to what I was hearing – unfortunately I wasn’t that successful but then again it happens whenever I read the Harry Potter books too. I can’t change what I know but it is a nice lesson to other book to screen adaptions in the future!

For the most part, the experience was great!

I really enjoyed myself throughout most of the story, but like how I feel about the movie, my interest basically disappears as we get to the ending. I thought it was funny how much the Queen of Hearts is actually a mild character in the book whereas her husband, the King, has a bigger role. The same goes with other characters we are used to be commanding like The DoDo and Mad Hatter. In a way it was strange or I guess in this case “curious” that it doesn’t matter what age we are, but we could be swayed just as easily as Alice figuring out how tall she wanted to be throughout the entire book.

Do bats eat cats? Do cats eat bats?

Alice in general was very sure of herself but had a posh or snub personality to me. Despite not really understanding what was going on at the start of her journey, she never let go of that almost cocky attitude. The author wrote the book in the 1800’s, so children who were born and raised in the middle or higher in their social class, would have that kind of personality, well most of them! So, it was rough to get over my judgement towards her. and frankly I just didn’t care for her at all…Is there anyone out there who does not find the book interesting at all? I am curious about what made you think this wasn’t as thrilling as you thought it would be? Honestly, a part of me wishes I had fallen asleep to it when I found it on Spotify.

If you are a fan of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, what were the elements that pulled you down the rabbit hole? Do you think I should check out “Through the Looking Glass” next? Do you believe I might like this one better?

July Playlist

Hello!

How are you doing?

Since COVID-19 came to town, everything you loved about summer has been modified either in a small or bigger way than you expected! It has affected everyone; people hoped it would be done by the time 4th of July came around, but it didn’t and because of that, cities cancelled their annual fairs and displays of large populated areas to watch fireworks in the evenings.

Thankfully, music is still here for us!

I am actually going to do something a little different today. Before I give you my current list of Top 20 songs for the month, I am going to share a brand new track from a singer-songwriter ÊMIA! She messaged me a few months ago, but there have various things going on and we have both been awful about getting back in our emails to each other. However, I finally had time to get everything straighten out enough to be able to promote her new single “Selfish” off of her debut album that is coming soon!


emiajulyplÊMIA is a singer-songwriter and producer (yay for more female producers!) based in New York. In her first email she sent me and said that I might enjoy her music because she is similar to SCVRINA, which pretty much sold me right away! She’s been known to write her songs with as much emotions as possible.

Here is what I thought of her new song!

When I first listened to the song, I did think she sounds like SCVRINA in that soft voice but her tone is what I found to be quite sassy and almost angry tone, which you don’t find too often along with an upbeat pop song! Everyone tries but rarely does it work as good as you think it would! She also reminded me of Madison Beer too, as she has this fierce cat-like type of mood in her music that I love so much! The only thing I didn’t like so much was the music. However, I think if she was to release an acoustic version I would like it better. The tempo would slow down slightly and you would be able to hear the words and feelings towards the subject in question a little more too!  

What do you think of ÊMIA’s new song “Selfish?” 


I don’t know if this will become a trend on here, but I think highlighting a song like this by an artist or band that nobody’s heard before, could be an interesting addition to these monthly playlists. What do you think?

Now let’s go back to our normal routine. If you want to check out the rest of the songs not listed below, you can (hopefully) click here to be transferred to listen to the others. Here are my Top 20 songs in July!

Daisies by Katy Perry
The Game Is Over by Evanescence
Like That by Doja Cat featuring Gucci Mane
My Immortal by Halocence
Control by Zoe Wees
Drinks by Cyn
I Dare You by Kelly Clarkson
Rewind by Krewella x Yellow Claw
Only God Knows by Of Kings & Country featuring Echosmith
Love Me Anyway by P!nk featuring Chris Stapleton

Now usually, I have a much longer amount of songs featured in this playlist and I do, but they are not regular songs! Earlier this month I was able to watch Hamilton. I have been hearing and loving what everyone has been saying about it for the past several years! And of course, I had my favorites too, so here are my top 10 that I just couldn’t get enough to keep to myself!

Satisfied
My Shot
You’ll Be Back
Helpless
What’d I Miss
The Room Where It Happens
Burn
It’s Quiet Uptown
Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story
One Last Time

Before I finish I wanted to let you know there will be a specie music post next Monday! So, please be on the lookout for that. I’m sorry this turned out to be so long but I couldn’t help myself to limiting the amount of music I listened to this month. Before you leave, please tell me what you were loving this month in the comments section below!

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March Playlist

Hello!

Welcome back to another monthly playlist! I hope you are doing good, and finding your isolation comforting and possibly a little fun here and there.

I started this month on the right foot, as for the last four years, March has become more of a sadder time for my family and I since my papaw’s death. I try not to bring it into my playlist but it’s like my brain likes to have softer sounds around. The first week was nothing but Ingrid Michaelson, Plumb and a little of Dido mixed in there too. If you were to see the collection of songs I put into my Spotify playlist, the first four songs are all in gray/white so I’ve been secretly calling it the “gray” playlist.

Towards the middle of the month though, I found upbeat tunes and wanted to listen to some of my favorite albums, ones that I knew I liked all the way through and this brought me back into my rock phase for a little bit. I listened Halestorm, Icon For Hire, and Within Temptation. I also realized I still had a three hours worth of old school hip hop music videos I could be watching on my DVR, and I started adding some of my favorite tracks like “I Do!” by Toya, “Right Thurr” (Remix) by Chringy featuring Trina and Jeremaine Dupri, and “Snap Yo Fingers” by Youngbloodz featuring Lil Jon, Sean Paul, & E-40.

How about I just give you my Top 20 songs instead of talking about the process? It might be less boring for you too!

Open Hands by Ingrid Michaelson featuring Trent Dabbs
Chocolate & Ice Cream by Plumb
I Choose You by Sara Bareilles
You Will Become by Glen Hansard
Fire Breather by Laurel
Beautiful With You by Halestorm
Don’t Think I’m Not by Kandi
Queen by Loren Gray
Good In Goodbye by Madison Beer
Say So by Doja Cat
Baby, I’m Back by Baby Bash featuring Akon
A Mili by Lil Wayne
Carry On by Ashanti
AM To PM by Christina Milian
Imagine by Ariana Grande
Our Last Gloomy Dance by Diabulus in Musica
All Is Found by Evan Rachel Wood
Zipper by Jason Derulo
Sluil a Run by Ella Roberts
Nobody Wants To Be Alone by Christian Reindl featuring Atrel

I hardly ever play favorites when it comes to my own playlists–especially the monthly ones, but this one just feels different compared to the others. It’s calmer but you can sense the shift on where I was emotionally; for example I associate the month of March with my papaw of course, March Madness, and listening to lots of Celtic Woman. I have my mom to thank for that because a couple of weeks before my papaw died, she found PBS was airing the newest Celtic Woman concert (Destiny) and hearing them sing always gives me a sense of peace.

This month I was allowed to watch some of my favorite Disney movies, but honestly I just wanted to watch Frozen II on Disney+ and now that I have, I am sort of taking advantage of the opportunity and watching classics like Bambi, Alice In Wonderland and even the newest live action film: Aladdin. By the time, this post goes live I’d probably watched the rest! Back to Frozen though, I absolutely loved it! The wait was so worth it, and yes. I am as obsessed with the soundtrack like I am with the first one. I have already learned both “All Is Found” and “Show Yourself” like a pro! I did not know that Evan Rachel Wood could sing so good!

If you would like to check out my Spotify playlist, click here and you’ll hopefully be directed back to my profile. If not, please let me know so it can be corrected!

What are you listening to this month?

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Top 5 Favorite “Into The Unknown” Covers!

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Howdy!

I love Frozen! I only decided to watch it after seeing the SacconeJolys on YouTube. The elder children: Emilia and Eduardo were first obsessed with it and something about them dressing up as Elsa and Anna, just reminded me of my own childhood and how much I still love Disney Princess movies. Afterwards, I had so much joy inside of me and now I am as obsessed as they were, and love knowing they have influenced their younger siblings Alessia and Andrea.

Unfortunately, I haven’t seen the second film and I’ve been really jealous of every and anybody that have seen it. I’ve done the same things I did before watching the first film, which is only knowing about a couple of the characters’ backgrounds and learning one song from the soundtrack! The main theme: “Into The Unknown” sung by the beautiful Idina Menzel, who plays Queen Elsa and Norwegian singer-songwriter AURORA.

I have been thinking about doing this post since the end of January, which is significant because at that time I had found my third favorite cover of the song! In all, I have picked out a good mixture and wanted to share them with you. However, I do not include the band, Panic! At The Disco’s cover because it is on the soundtrack.

1.) Claire Crosby

So, this was the first I found and it started on this mini adventure! Little Claire is seven years old, and at this age she loves everything, especially Disney films! She and the rest of her musical family created a version of their own and I was stunned on how fast they were able to get things together to create this amazing footage!

The video is absolutely adorable as you have Miss Claire walking around this beautiful landscape of broken trees and this eerie lake that definitely gives you those Frozen vibes! She is dressed as both Princess Anna and Queen Elsa throughout the video.

Since this was my first time ever hearing Claire sing before, I was in shock on how much control she has in her voice at such a young age! Of course, she has the help of her parents to keep her voice in a way that will hopefully help ease and make her vocal chords stronger as she continues in age.

2.) Malinda Kat

So, when I found this next video, I actually wasn’t looking, I just stumbled upon it when I was in the mood for choir music inside abandoned churches or Cathedrals because sometimes I enjoy listening to them while I read, and I did find an artist who has two different videos and her name is Malinda. I just fell in love with her voice.  I’d say she has definitely had singing lessons in the past. I found out she had recorded an acoustic version of the Frozen track with some friends Hannah and Tobias and I was just like, “okay, let’s check this one out too!”

This video feels more casual, almost coffee house inspired. Sometimes I like acoustic music, but when it is mixed with a song that is supposed to sound so powerful with Idina’s voice and the orchestra in the background, to see it basically strip down to only an acoustic guitar and what looks to be like a speaker that Hannah is tapping on to sound like drums was really interesting! Another part that I enjoyed was that even though it was so chilled, they kept on belting out the high notes throughout the song and I was surprised on how much it worked together, because I didn’t think it would sound that great keeping that in with this new tone, but like with most things, I was wrong!

3.) Connor Engstorm

This one pulled me as I was busy listening to Malinda’s reindintion, but I think the main reason why I wanted to listen to it is because the title of it said “symphonic metal” and I thought to myself, “this is going to be awesome” and after my first video was over, I switched it to this one.

This video is cute, it really is. It takes place at Grant Central Station in New York City at the beginning of December so there are Christmas lights up all around and everyone is bundled up in heavy jackets and have mittens over their hands and you hear a little bit of heavy metal blaring through your speakers as these two characters are playing cat and mouse on screen! The vocals featured on the song are Anthony Niccolo and his wife Val while Connor is in charge of everything else.

As someone who absolutely loves symphonic metal, I felt as both a critic and lover of this cover. I didn’t know how it was going to sound like at first and I will say, I did not love it right away. This didn’t happen until I actually finished. Anthony and Val have two different styles in their voice. Anthony definitely has that almost glam rock tone about him but Val is more demure to him but not where they are belting out those high notes, that’s when she really shines! I was a bit wary of this transition but ultimately I ended up really enjoying it!

4.) Acapop! KIDS

For this video, you have a fairly large of kids that are singing in acapella, which means there really is no music in the background, but for this performance the kids are creating the beat along with singing; they take turns in the role of singing and becoming the various  instruments. I thought it was very cool to go in this direction, because they made it into a very clear pop song and I think that was the main reason why I liked it so much because they managed to completely change the genre of the song!

5.) Musicality

This cover is the newest to be released to the world, and it resembles the previous video because of the amount of people involved in the project. Here you have teenagers instead of children, so they’ve probably already went through their puberties and their voices have changed and sound older.

One thing that I liked about the video is the look of the space they’re in, it looks as though they are in a newly painted warehouse in all white and they are dressed in winter colors of white, grays, and baby blues. It looks so dreamy and lovely! I think fashion helps bring out the mood of the song especially in the way of the previous group, where they are singing in acapella. The phrase of “less is more” really shines here!

So, I think that is it! If I find any more or you have a cover or video that is not featured above, please send me the link to check it out! Most importantly, you should definitely check out the other videos that everyone I have featured in this post too. Before I go, I’d also like to know your overall thoughts of the new Frozen movie too, just don’t spoil everything for me, okay?

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