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!

30 Lessons I Learned In My 20’s

Hello! πŸ’™

I would be lying to you if I didn’t say I have been thinking about what to talk about in my birthday post for MONTHS!

My mind went from listing thirty various facts that I thought was interesting, then it ranged from other 30th celebrations from all over the world, but I landed at giving you a list of lessons I learned while I was enjoying my 20’s.

Honestly, a part of me totally understands the episode of Friends, where Rachel wakes up, it’s her birthday and she is upset at the whole notion of turning 30 years old and basically panics because she realizes there were a lot of things she hoped to accomplish in those ten years, but she hadn’t and everyone tries to help her feel better and possibly do some of these things afterwards; unfortunately, I’ve never seen the ending result because when I watched that whole, I just pushed it out of my mind. Despite the fact my old self hoped to do some of the same things Rachel wanted, I am happy that I didn’t get it. I actually learned this lesson while in my late teens so it’s something I’ve welcomed with open arms (or legs in my case…) and this ultimately made the decision of theme for this post easier to do.

I didn’t exactly know how I wanted to write this portion of the post, I thought I’d set it up in a couple of sections but I thought it would take forever, so here’s a simple list of life lessons Honestly, this blog is a great map but I thought these would be a great little snapshot into those moments.

πŸ–€ You don’t need to go to college, living as you are can be even more educational
πŸ’œ Being a blogger isn’t a bad thing
πŸ–€ Friendships don’t last forever
πŸ’œ There’s a light at the end of those dark tunnels
πŸ–€ Acceptance is key
πŸ’œ It’s important to find your patience to deal in this fast-paced world
πŸ–€ There’s nothing wrong with wanting life to feel complete at 25, However, when it doesn’t go in the way you want, please kind to yourself
πŸ’œ Being disabled is not a burden
πŸ–€ Cats are life

πŸ’œ Art is not your enemy – find another media to explore
πŸ–€ Working with digital magazines can be fun and are a great excuse to grow as a writer
πŸ’œ NaNoWriMo is no joke
πŸ–€ It’s better to be open-minded than closed off
πŸ’œ Trees are amazing creatures
πŸ–€ It is a hidden talent to kill crickets
πŸ’œ Books are awesome ways to escape life
πŸ–€ Basketball is better than football
πŸ’œ Time heals most wounds
πŸ–€ Becoming an auntie is fascinating
πŸ’œ Put a bird feeder outside of your window

πŸ–€ Fairy lights around the window are a cozy and essential for when you can’t reach the lightswitch on your own without the possibility of hurting yourself
πŸ’œ When pain arises, nap can be necessary
πŸ–€ Having a bit of a green thumb or in this case, a green toe
πŸ’œ Being able to create long and short term goals and keeping them
πŸ–€ Spotify is a lifesaver
πŸ’œ Be a fierce queen (or king)
πŸ–€ Always trust your intuition
πŸ’œ Never stop adapting to your surroundings
πŸ–€ Stay in the moment
πŸ’œ One.

When I started on it, I really tried not to overthink any of them, which is why there are some funny ones throughout too. I wanted to be thorough but not fussy about the things I felt were important to include in this post. I think what helped me the most was listing them all out in no particular order and once you get to a certain number you’re comfortable with, that’s when you can readjust the list itself and I don’t know why, but I always have the most difficult time figuring out the last five of anything, and once I switched to focus my attention on recent discoveries that’s when I felt totally comfortable with its entirety.

If I have somehow inspired you, please understand that I am slowly accepting that term into my life, and its that I ask to comment below your favorite lessons I’ve taught you in the last 10 years or so! I will enjoy to read anything you can list, whether it’s funny or important.

Book Review: “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” by J.K. Rowling

Hello!

Well, this one took me forever to get through–mainly because for a while I was just casually reading this because of its sheer size! I seriously did not think I would be able to finish it this year, but I’m here now and we have much to discuss!

WARNING: If you have not read the books yet and want to sometime in the future, there are spoilers mentioned below so I figured I’d give you a heads up beforehand!


6

Harry Potter is midway through his training as a wizard and his coming of age.

Harry wants to get away from the pernicious Dursleys and go to the International Quidditch Cup with Hermione, Ron, and the Weasleys. He wants to dream about Cho Chang, his crush (and maybe do more than dream). He wants to find out about the mysterious event that’s supposed to take place at Hogwarts this year, an event involving two other rival schools of magic, and a competition that hasn’t happened for hundreds of years. He wants to be a normal, fourteen-year-old wizard. But unfortunately for Harry Potter, he’s not normal – even by wizarding standards.

And in his case, different can be deadly.

taken from Goodreads.

After reading the previous books, I knew going into this that I would be introduced to other things that were clearly missing from the film, but I still haven’t been able to wrap my head around everything! Honestly, there was one thing that annoyed me and it was like it just dragged on with certain sections. Other than that, I didn’t have much to complain about and considering it is 734 pages long, I feel like it was a success!

I always adore when Harry and Hermione go to The Burrow at the end of the summer holidays to spend time with Ron’s family. They may not have much, but you can always feel the love in that house, and with this book we get to meet Bill and Charlie! So, it was incredibly crowded and I can imagine Mrs. Weasley’s mind going to explode with all of those people under one “small” roof–especially with the crazy antics of Fred and George! I think James and Lily Potter would be pleased with how much love that Molly and Arthur care for their son and obvious well-being! I do have to mention that seeing Mrs. Weasley and Bill before the third task was so sweet! I totally cried during this scene because for one, you’re not expecting it to happen and if Harry ever thought he didn’t have supporters outside of Hogwarts in the games, he definitely knew at that moment.

We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.

Another element that isn’t mentioned in the films very much is we get to know more about house elves. What are house elves you ask? Well, they are these strange looking characters that work for the elite families in the Wizardry world. In the second book, “The Chamber of Secrets” we meet Dobby, who has the awful job for caring for the Malfoys. Dobby explained to Harry that elves are not allowed to leave unless they are given a piece of clothing, if their master gives them clothes, they are freed. Well, Harry freed Dobby by masking one of his socks as being from Mr. Malfoy. We get to see Dobby again in this book, and we get to know who exactly creates the daily feasts in the Great Hall. Unfortunately, we get to meet a very caring but heartbroken elf named Winky once we head into the Quidditch World Cup, which by the way, I FINALLY get to know who wins that damn game! I’ve hold it off knowing the truth in case I ever decided to read the series and it was awesome!

Now I will say, I wasn’t a blabbering mess after Cedric’s death like I thought I would; the only thing I could understand it was because I knew it happens and yes, as heartbreaking it is for everyone in the book and the Potter fans, I cried more when Mrs. Weasley surprises Harry than anything else. I do know, there would have been no way in hell I’d be able to replay everything in my mind minutes after witnessing Lord Voldemort coming back and everything that is mentioned in that chapter to retell it all to Dumbledore and Sirius. I mean, that is a lot for a person but given Harry is what? Thirteen in this book? Nobody needs to see that but unfortunately it happens and we have to heal and move on. The only thing that got me through this book was a little voice telling me, “we get to meet Luna Lovegood in the next one!”

I am very proud of myself for being able to finish reading this book. So far, this one is the one trying to come out of its spine! There is a good chunk that is now loose but it tucked back together with its dust jacket in the bookshelf. The next seems to be in better shape but we’ll see towards the middle on how much my cousin loved it! I’m not mad at him on the condition, these are first edition hardbacks, so I’m not terribly upset about their rips and tears, as they remind me that somebody before me definitely enjoyed them multiple times and I am perfectly fine with it!

Have you read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling yet? If you have, what were your favorite parts of the story? For those who watched the film before reading the series, how did you handle the death of Cedric Diggory?

November Playlist

Hello!

I bet you didn’t expect me to be back so soon.

Today is the last day of November, for anyone participating in both NaNoWriMo and Nonfiction November, you should be proud of what you were able to accomplish in the last 30 days! I didn’t join NaNo this year because I’m not in that headspace to write anything for that long, and I doubt I have made any changes in reading the two books I got for this month. It happens… and I’m okay with it!

We are itching closer to Christmas and finally, to the new year: 2021. It seems so crazy how fast this year has went, despite the COVID mess that has taken over 2020! I bring this up because I have always felt November is a weird time for music. We are obsessed with Halloween-y songs and then we are quick to switch to Christmas carols at midnight.

I have to say, I have been doing very well at ignoring the festive commercials on TV and online, and I will be very happy when I can finally watch Christmas movies without being judged by my parents! I have a total of eight films in our DVR at the moment, so I can get my fill and enjoy everything that comes with this time of the year! As far as music goes though, I allow myself to listen to my favorite Christmas songs early, mainly because they tend to remind me of my papaw and so, it is just better for me to cave in now instead of feeling bad about it later.

This year, I am working on my “Ultimate Christmas” playlist on Spotify and will hopefully be speaking about it soon. I will hold off on that for a week or two, until I feel it is ready.

For my November playlist though, I have collected a lot of music that is selected in my “Discover Weekly” every Monday. I am always excited to see what type of music will be unleashed from the moment I hit play, and sometimes they create their own aesthetic but sometimes they reflect whatever genre I’ve focused on that past week and it is always a fun surprise at the start of another week.

Here are my Top 25 for the month!

Talk To Me by Apocalyptica featuring Lzzy Hale
Gravity by Sara Bareilles
Share That Love by Lukas Graham featuring G-Eazy
My Spring Your Fall by Falconsheild
Scars To Your Beautiful by Oceans featuring Anna Murphy
Goddess by Xana
Royals by Lorde
Remember by Leah

You’re Not From Here by Lara Fabian
Eugene by Arlo Parks
Cielo a un Diablo by Maluma
Teeth by Dirty D’Shire
Drew Barrymore by
Bryce Vine
Que Color by Major Lazer featuring J Balvin & El Alfa
Ordinary Day by The Animal In Me
The Purge by Within Temptation
Dream On Me (Stripped) by Ella Henderson

Peer Pressure by James Bay
Lullabies by Yuna
Grip by Seeb
If I Could Turn Back Time by Cher
Betty by Chase Holfelder
Numb by Carlie Hanson
Cold by Crossfade

What I truly love about this list, is its diversity! You have hard rock, pop, and reggaetΓ³n like it is supposed to fit together. I continue to surprise myself on the amount of music I am willing to listen to everyday. The sad part about it is, there’s sadly not a lot of people like me, who are brave enough to be interested in shuffling their music out in the open and enjoy sharing in hopes we create even more fans for these artists and bands, new and old, and honestly the longer I go about this, I tend to enjoy it even more and I think that’s why I still want to do these playlists too.

Before I go, I wanted to let you know that I was able to post a new album review this month. Well, technically, it was an update to an older post I did in 2018, and I was recently told by the artist, that she really loved it, so that makes me really happy! Anyways, here it is, in case you haven’t seen it yet. Oh, and speaking of links, here is the Spotify playlist for November too! πŸ™‚

SIGN from Above by RAIGN

What were you listening to this month? Name one track that you think I should check out below!

snowflake

Photo Diary | Cats & Leaves

Hello!

If you are from the States, I hope you were able to enjoy Thanksgiving yesterday! I know a lot of people were debating whether or not to travel to be with their families for the holidays, so whatever you came to conclusion I still want to wish you a great time anyways!

For this post, I am discussing pretty much everything that happened this fall, including everyone’s favorite: our cats!

The year was somewhat weird, as the transition from summer to fall, was actually smooth compared to the previous years. Here in the Midwest, we tend to go through seasons very quickly! For us, the switch to autumn was fairly nice. I was able to go outside on our deck a lot in August through October, but once the cold finally arrived, it came like a roaring train and I wasn’t prepared for the aches and pain in my body.

While I was in high school, I would go to football games covered with two layers of pants and socks, plus a blanket tucked around the seat of my wheelchair to keep me warm but also lessen the chilling temperature going into my joints and making me feel horrible for the rest of the night. As of gotten older, the pain has been getting worse of course, but at least I’m not sitting outside for two-three hours at a time in the freezing cold and depending on my muscle relaxers earlier than we usually take them.

This fall has been an interesting one, the temperature would go back and forth between in the low 50 degrees to 65-70 degrees in a matter of days! Everytime we would think I would have to stop going out, it would change and the cats and I would enjoy the love and apparently, my comfortable bench to take a little nap on.

I was able to finish five books in the last two months, and in the beginning, the cats didn’t really mess with me or books, but towards the middle of November, they became a little bold and Bear-Bear would just plop down on the pages I was reading, and recently he did it again but this time of just wanting to find a place to sleep, he let me pet him on his side, and considering all of his fur, he is really soft! He and Oscar are the softest cats in our pride – I call them this, because they’re not really “domestic” instead they are more wild as they still eat, birds, mice, frogs, and the occasional bug too.

I love it when the trees change into various colors, but the one person who absolutely hates this season is my dad, he does not care for the leaves in his yard and my mom would reflect this whenever she would sweep away the leaves that would land on our deck. A couple of weeks ago, we had a big collection of leaves in the right corner of the porch and we were just going to leave them there for Nolan, but as we found out this autumn, was our cats loved sleeping on top of them! We have caught Stormy in the leaves the most, but on a day I was out reading and taking photos of everybody for this post, Tavis, who is quickly becoming my sister and brother-in-law’s cat, decided to clean himself and take a little snooze on the pile and well, I just couldn’t help myself…

I’m not really sure what Nolan thinks about the trees shedding their leaves, but I know he is having the same joint problems as his papaw and Aunt Meg though. In the beginning of the new season, he would come over bearing the newly acorns that have dropped from the tree by their house. We have a mug full of like seven acorns and I doubt we’ll ever get rid of them because it was such a sweet thing he did one evening and continued for like two weeks until he started bringing toys over instead.

Since with the COVID-19 mess, he didn’t dress up and go trick-or-treating for Halloween this year. Honestly, he’s still too young to have a lot of candy, especially with his gag reflex still causing him issues here and there. He has been getting better about it though, but we are still very cautious with him on candy in general. Here’s a fun fact for you, he actually doesn’t like chocolate! I think the main reason why he enjoys M&M’s is because they have a color coat around them and he can’t figure it out. Trust me, the day he refused chocolate swirled ice cream freaked me out! My sister was obsessed with anything milk chocolate when we were growing up but her son isn’t a fan out of it! It’s so crazy!

Okay, I think it’s time for the rest of the pictures. Hope you enjoyed our pretty babies!

Okay, we are finally at the end of this post. Unfortunately, it will also be the last until spring comes back around in mid-April. I will try to persuade my mom into bringing one cat into the house while dad is in his mancave this winter, but I might just pay attention to the cat(s) and be less concerned about taking their picture for my blog. I hope to continue these types of posts in the new year!

What did you do this fall? How do you deal with various aches and pains in your body with the changing of the seasons? If you are a cat owner, do your cat(s) respect your space? What is the one thing that they hate the most if you’re not paying enough attention to them?

snowflake