The Magical Mushroom Path

Hello, dears!

A little while ago, I took a walk in the woods which I will never forget. I found a trail of mushrooms leading me into the forest, where I found more mushrooms with more variety than I have EVER seen before! I can’t wait to tell you that story and show you some of my favorite pictures. Continue reading

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The Art Lab, Episode 54: Candy Clouds {+ Welcoming New Artists}

Hello, dears!

Welcome to another Art Lab post. ūüôā Today I’ll be showing you how to paint some lovely watercolor clouds in candy-like colors, and at the end of the post I’ll announce which two artists we have selected to join our team!

But first, the art inspiration for today. Continue reading

The Summer Bored Games: the Finale

Hello, dears!

First of all, I’m SO sorry this took so long to get up! We had a lot going on today and then it took us hosts all way longer to put together this post than we thought. O.o Anyway, HOORAY, today we announce the winners of The Summer Bored Games! WOOHOO! Be sure to also stay tuned for our favorite pictures that you guys sent in over the past month, near the end of this post. Continue reading

Cuteness Overload + A Mysterious Tale

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Hello, dears!

Before reading this post, BEWARE. Extreme cuteness ahead. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. Heh heh, anyway, these little fuzzballs grew SO much since my last baby bunny post, and as anticipated, THEY GOT EVEN MORE ADORABLE.

Megan and I did a photoshoot of the bunnies a while ago and it turned out ADORABLE.

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We were going to put them on grass, but they started eating it and baby rabbits aren’t supposed to eat greens for a few weeks. Just to be safe, we took them to a gravelly spot in front of the big house. I LOVE THIS PICTURE.

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THE FRONT VIEW IS JUST SO…

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The siblings behaved very well around each other, heh heh.

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OKAY I LOVE THIS PICTURE. I can’t believe I got a photo of one of them yawning! AHHHH IT’S SO CUTE.

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This little one was always sleepy. You could pretty much put her anywhere and she’d just start falling asleep on the spot. XD ‚̧

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OH MY, TRIPLE CUTENESS.

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Since they insisted on finding weeds even in the pebbles and nibbling them, we decided to go inside. And we lined them up on the floor and AHHHH I’M MELTING.

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I couldn’t decide which version is better, so here are both. ūüôā Which one is your favorite?

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They are just so sleepy and cuddly! ‚̧

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I love all the variety of colors!

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The peonies were blooming and this one made a great prop… until the bunnies started eating it. XD

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They love licking each other… and you. ‚̧ It’s adorable.

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GUYS. Look at that pile of sleeping fluff. LOOK AT IT!

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SEE? AREN’T THEY THE CUTEST EVER?

But now that the photoshoot is over, I have a story to tell you. *deep breath*

A Mysterious Tragedy

One afternoon Megan came in from feeding the rabbits and said, “I can’t find the baby bunnies. They’re not in their cage, and I saw a black snake go into the garage [where we kept the bunnies].” We tried not to panic and decided maybe they had just hopped out of the cage (Megan said it had a hole) and were hiding. So we went to look, in the rain.

We all kind of held our breath and tiptoed through the door, hoping we wouldn’t see a snake eating… well anyway, we opened the door and saw nothing. No snake, no bunnies. The cage was empty except for Willow, who appeared calm enough. The top had been skewed so there was a hole just big enough for baby bunnies to squeeze through.

We swept the flashlight under the shelves and stuff in the dimness until HURRAH! I FOUND A BABY BUNNY! The little silver one! We caught her and continued our search, much cheered.

Well, we opened cabinets and peered in holes and generally went over the whole garage about three times. No baby bunnies. No black snake. They disappeared without a trace. Except… then Logan remembered that the door to the garage had been open a little while ago¬†and our dog was around. Maggie is a hunter, and the cage was right in plain sight.

Maybe she nosed the cage and enough for the bunnies to get out, and came back later… then again, maybe she made the hole and the bunnies got out and escaped outside through a space by the garage door! So we looked outside, a bit half-heartedly through the drizzling rain, and then, just as we were about to give up hope…

Nothing happened. *sigh* They were just nowhere to be found. And it was still raining.

We went back, and decided to take Willow and Lavender (the silver one) into our basement so nothing would happen to them. And we still don’t know what happened to the rest. Was it the snake? Was it Maggie? Did the babies escape and someday we’ll see an spotted rabbit hopping out of the woods? Who knows. Only God, I suppose.

And that, my friends, is that mysterious, tragic end of all but one of the remaining baby bunnies. *bows head sadly*

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Since that’s kind of an awful note to end on, let me give you some good news. Carmen is keeping Lavender, the one bunny left! She’s getting so big and is SO cute and tame and sweet. Since she’s the only baby for us to handle now, she is extra well-loved and I think she’ll be a wonderful pet even when she grows up. And now, let me end this post with a hilarious picture of our one and only baby bunny:

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ISN’T THAT ADORABLE?! She just stayed there quietly, for quite a few minutes. XD

Well I hope you enjoyed the photoshoot, if not the story. :/ At least we had enough time to get a good dose of cuteness before they disappeared… Which photo was your favorite?OH, and before you go, I have two announcements.

#1: I FINISHED SCHOOL! FOREVER! I AM SO EXCITED. It feels kind of unreal, actually. O.o I feel like I learned a lot, especially in my last year, but it’s so good to be done. And so, so STRANGE. When are you guys getting done for the year (or forever)?

#2: This will probably be the last post for a couple of weeks¬†because¬†we’re moving into the big house!¬†YAAAY! It’s going to be a considerable process to clean basically the whole big house (it is a BIG house), go up and pack and load up our old house in a week or less, and then come down and move in, amongst other (exciting!) plans, but I CAN’T WAIT.

Anyway, I just wanted to tell you so my disappearance online and on email won’t be as mysterious as the baby bunnies’. Even though I’m done with school, I’m still keeping busy, don’t you worry. And get ready for some exciting stuff when I come back!

NOW, you are finally released from this post. XD Thank you ever so much for reading, dears, and please have a lovely day!

***Allison***

3,000 Followers GIVEAWAY!

(Despite what the title seems to proclaim, no, I am not giving away three thousand followers. Sorry about that.)

AHEM. I am very excited to announce¬†a pretty…. um, exciting giveaway in honor of reaching over 3,000 followers! AHH I STILL CAN’T BELIEVE IT!¬†You guys are even more amazing than the giveaway. ūüėÄ ‚ô• I expounded your wonderfulness at greater¬†length in my last post, along with some blogging tips,¬†so be sure to check it out if you haven’t yet. ūüėČ

Anyway, let’s proceed.¬†Are you ready to see what I’m giving away?

OKAY.

What You’ll Win

This¬†is mostly an arts/crafts type of giveaway because I love that sort of thing and I know a lot of you guys do too. Plus, I post about arts¬†and crafts sometimes on my blog, so I thought that would make sense. ūüôā Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll receive if you win:

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  • one super fine-tip pen
  • a pack of six adorable little fox metal clips
  • three cute rolls of washi tape
  • a pack of six fun, wooden mechanical pencils
  • twenty blank ATCs
  • a miniature polymer clay snowy owl, made by me
  • a custom piece of art, to be drawn by me as well
  • a 20% off coupon for¬†The Color Box Studio,¬†my art Etsy shop
  • a paperback copy of the excellent book, Do Hard Things, by Alex and Brett Harris
  • and maybe a little surprise gift – who knows?

TEN DIFFERENT PRIZES FOR ONE WINNER. IS THAT NOT EXCITING? Goodness, I’m getting so excited and I’m not even entering (though I kinda wish I could). XD Okay, now that you saw an overview of each thing, let me tell you a little bit more about them.

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This pen is AMAZING. I know because I have one just like it. It has an incredibly fine tip, perfect for intricate details. (I used this pen for my elephant drawing, a print of which you can buy here at my art Etsy shop.)

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Are these not the CUTEST THINGS? I found them at Hobby Lobby and I love them!¬†I believe they’re supposed to be paper clips, but I think they would also make great bookmarks. ūüôā

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What more can¬†I say? It’s washi tape. You can never have too much washi tape, right? I love these colors and patterns together! ‚ô•

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I have never used these particular pencils before but I really wanted to steal a couple out of the package and give you guys the rest. (Don’t worry, I didn’t.) The package says these mechanical pencils actually have a wood case instead of plastic?¬†Also each pencil comes with three leads, so they should last you a while. ūüôā I also like the cute designs.

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(If you don’t know what an artist trading card is, go here. They’re so much fun!) It’s¬†much more enjoyable¬†to make ATCs when they’re already cut for you, in my experience anyway. Perhaps you could use¬†a few¬†to test out some new art supplies? ūüėČ

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Aww, those eyes! ‚ô• I really like this little guy, but it’s time for him to go to a new home. *Sniff*¬†I made this¬†tiny owl from polymer clay. He comes with a “stone” nest, also made out of polymer clay. See his wistful expression? He wants to come live with you.

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The picture is kind of misleading, but I had to take a photo of something. XD¬†The giveaway¬†prizes¬†include¬†a free custom 8X10″ portrait of your pet, drawn by me, in Prismacolor colored pencil unless you specify otherwise. If you don’t have a pet or you’d rather me draw something else, I can certainly do that¬†(though I reserve the right to refuse anything I think inappropriate, etc.)!

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And as a little bonus, you get a 20% coupon for The Color Box Studio! (You can also use it if you order a custom order.) It will be a code, like a promo code, that I’ll include either when I notify you of winning or else in the package.

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And¬†lastly but not leastly,¬†we have¬†this¬†great book by Alex and Brett Harris called Do Hard Things. My brother and I got a copy of this for our birthdays and it was so good. It’s written to teenagers and is explicitly Christian, but the message is still¬†relevant to everyone, whatever your age or religion. Basically¬†the authors¬†argue that our culture today has pitifully low expectations for teenagers and show how we can overcome the stereotype, so to speak,¬†and use¬†this time¬†to “do hard things” that make a difference both in our lives and the lives of others. Not just randomly do hard things like try to mountain climb without¬†a rope or something, but meaningful challenges that take us out of our comfort zone and into a whole new world. It was a super thought-provoking while still easy-to-read¬†book and really impacted me, in a good way.

And that’s that! NOW. Are you ready to learn the rules for entering?

How To Enter

  • This giveaway is only open to people in the United States. I’m sooo sorry about that, guys, but otherwise the shipping cost gets pretty scary, you know?
  • You must be following my blog to enter. Ideally I’d like for this giveaway to be only for the followers I already have, but that would be too hard to monitor. I don’t want you guys to follow my blog solely so you can enter this giveaway, but I can’t think of a better way to do it and still have it only be for my followers, so… :/
  • As usual, if you’re under 18 years of age, get a parent’s permission before entering. But I’m sure you already knew that. ūüėČ
  • To enter, comment on this post saying that you’d like to enter, and tell me which of these items you’d be most excited to win.

For Bonus Entries…

  • Take my survey for 2 bonus entries. NOTE: This is option is only for my current followers because it’s not going to¬†work very well¬†for you or for me¬†if you¬†fill out a survey for a blog you just found. ūüėČ
  • Share on social media for 1 bonus entry.¬†Choose Pinterest, Facebook, whatever. NOTE:¬†You can only get one bonus entry for this, even if you share several times or on different social media platforms.¬†Of course I’ll be quite happy if you want to share it more than once, but you’ll still earn just one extra entry. Otherwise things could get WAY too complicated. XD
  • Share on your blog for 1 bonus entry. You can add a link to my giveaway to your post or reblog this post – your choice.

Giveaway Deadline

The giveaway starts today, October 16th,¬†2017,¬†and ends October 31st, 2017, the end of this month. That gives¬†you just¬†over two weeks to enter. I’ll post the winner on November 1st!

I’ll notify you by email and comment if you win, but if you don’t respond within a week, I will have to pick someone else. ūüė¶

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OKAY, I think that’s it! Ahhhh yay, I’m finally done! That took forever to write. XD I hope you guys are as excited about the giveaway as I am! If you have any questions, just drop me a comment below.

Have a lovely day, and thanks for reading, dears. ♥

***Allison***

3,000 Followers! {Part 1: THANK YOU +Blogging Tips}

GUYS. I NOW HAVE OVER 3,000 FOLLOWERS.

AHHHH HELP I CAN’T BELIEVE IT! HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? WHAT EVEN- Okay, breathe, Allison. Caaaalm yourself.

Ahem. I’m good now.

I honestly don’t know where to start… I guess with the obvious: THANK YOU! You guys make my day¬†so many¬†days with your sweet comments and hilarious chats in the comment section, and I love reading and commenting on your lovely¬†posts too. ‚ô•

I’m really, really glad I started blogging. For me, blogging isn’t a frustrating, stressful chore – it’s something I love to do! So much so, in fact, that I usually don’t have trouble thinking of things to post or posting often enough – the harder thing is not letting blogging take over my life. XD

My favorite part about blogging is, by far, the people. I love¬†chatting with¬†and getting to¬†know¬†you guys through comments, long emails and even longer handwritten letters (my record is 17 pages XD). I have met so many¬†incredible people in these 3+ years that I am proud¬†to call my friends (truly they are, even if I’ve never met them in real life): Charis, Aria, Clara,¬†K. A., Sassafras, Enni, Josie… I could go on and on, but I won’t overwhelm you with links. XD AHH¬†I keep thinking of more people! Anyway, you know who you are: ‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•.

The point is, I’ve absolutely loved blogging so far, and I have you guys to thank for that. ‚ô•¬†SO THANK YOU. AGAIN.

Alright, now¬†that we’re past¬†the sentimental stuff, let’s¬†get¬†to the¬†other part of the¬†post. ūüôā You may have noticed that the title¬†said something about a¬†Part 1.¬†That’s because…

I’M DOING A GIVEAWAY!

AND A BIG ONE TOO.¬†I’m sooo excited for it and I think you guys will be too, but since it’s going to take quite a while to get the post up and I still haven’t gotten one of the things I ordered, I’m going to do the giveaway post¬†next. In the meantime, I’ll¬†post some hopefully helpful blogging tips and tricks I picked up from my approximately three years of blogging. Yeah, I know, I’m an expert, a veritable blogging veteran. You know I’m being sarcastic, right?

Nope,¬†I’m not a professional blogger and I’m definitely not a famous one or anything, but I guess if you 3,000 of¬†guys liked my blog enough to click follow, I’ve got to be doing something right. Hmm, now to figure out what it is… XD But seriously, what is my trick? I don’t really have one over-arching Blogging¬†Truth¬†actually, except maybe¬†that I try to¬†write posts I would love to read, but maybe these 15 little bits of advice will help. I dunno, let’s give it a try.

 

  1. Running out of space for your pictures? THIS IS A BLOG-SAVER. If your WordPress media space is running out (or already has) when you try to upload your pictures, never fear, my dears! I have¬†come to rescue you.¬†ūüėõ¬†Simply start a random new blog (like blogtouploadpics.wordpress.com or something), and upload your photos to there. Publish the post, and then just copy and paste the photos from the random blog into the actual post you’re working on. That’s what I’ve been doing for quite a while now and it really works! It’s a little more time consuming than normal, but honestly I don’t think about it much anymore. Also, it’s a good idea to resize your photos before putting them on any blog. They upload much faster and take up a ton less space.DSC_3280 (1280x853)
  2. Benefit your readers. Your goal is to leave the reader with something more than they came with – it can be practical knowledge, inspiration, or even a smile on their face, but make it something.¬† You have to earn your reader’s patronage, so to speak. Write posts that you¬†want to read, and most likely, your readers will like them too! Another part of this point is posting long enough posts. If you post, like, one picture (like I used to, *cringe*), it’s hardly worth the time for you or your reader.DSC_3330 (1280x853)
  3. Use¬†proper spelling and grammar.¬†This is so important¬†that you’ve probably already heard it about a million times and wonder why I even bother. But seriously, if a blog post goes like this: “hi guys so here i am again sorry for not posting in so long i don’t know what to post lol srsly tho i need ideas anyway i just came back from a exiting day of school yea¬†lol¬†it was great¬†(not)¬†ok bye,” it is VERY unlikely that I’ll follow it,¬†unless the content is superb. But honestly, if the writing is like that, chances are,¬†their content isn’t going to be that great either. See, using proper spelling and grammar shows that you put time and effort into your blog posts, and readers appreciate that.¬†Bad grammar¬†is like having messy hair and wearing sloppy clothes – it just doesn’t make a good impression.DSC_3264 (1280x853)
  4. Your blog¬†design is important. We’ve all heard not to judge a book by its cover, but we do anyway, right? Same with blogs. If you have an ugly background or a cluttered theme, it distracts readers from your post and really just lowers your blog-quality in general. Besides,¬†it’s much more fun to¬†own a clean, pretty website on which to show off your posts. You can use PicMonkey.com, Canva.com, or other online graphic design websites to create headers, buttons, etc. If¬†you’re not into design, there are plenty of bloggers who¬†would be¬†happy to help (like my sister Megan)! This is something I still need to work on. What do you think, should I update my blog design? I think that might be a good idea…DSC_3335 (1280x853)
  5. Skip the apology posts. I know you feel bad for not posting, and¬†that’s definitely understandable, but you really don’t have to do a whole post about how you’re such a bad blogger and then end up by saying you still don’t know what to post. Readers don’t want to read a whole post of “I’m sorry,” they want you to just go ahead and post some good content! Also, here’s a secret: most of the time no one notices your absence, especially if they already follow, like, a hundred other blogs. As¬†hard as it might seem, the blogosphere will survive just fine for a few days, weeks, or months, without you (or me). *Gasp*
  6. You don’t have to have a schedule. This kind of ties into the last point. You don’t have to force yourself to post, say, three times a week, especially if you don’t have anything to post. If you don’t have anything to post, don’t post! (And see tip #10.) Unless you’re a professional blogger who blogs as a job, you don’t have to have a blog schedule. Now true, it’s good to post regularly. Readers likely will lose interest if you post for two days in a row, then next month, then once a week for three weeks, then a year from then… yeah, try to keep your posting pretty consistent, but don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t get around to posting as soon as you’d hoped.DSC_3334 (1280x853)
  7. Thou shall not steal. Plagiarism is a pretty big no-no with bloggers. Do not take content from another blog without asking them first, and even then, be sure to add a link back to the original author. Especially don’t¬†take pictures or writing from someone else¬†and then pass it off as your own work. It’s fine to use pictures from free photo websites like unsplash.com without linking back, but I like to add a link anyway on the rare occasions I use them, just so people know I didn’t¬†take those amazingly perfect pictures myself. XDDSC_3265 (1280x853)
  8. Use lots of photos. Photos are great attention-grabbers. Readers are much more likely to just skim the post if it’s all a huge chunk of writing with no photos in sight to give their eyes a break from all the words. Besides, photos also add beauty and originality to your blog and make wonderful posts on their own.¬†After all, you have the opportunity to take pictures that no one else can! And here’s another little secret: photography posts are probably my favorite kind to read. ūüėÄDSC_3331 (1280x853)
  9. Format your writing. This goes along with the last point. Headings and paragraphs break your writing into manageable chunks that are just more pleasing to a reader’s¬†eye. If you don’t, people are more likely to think, “Wow, I still have to read all that?” and to just skim through.¬†Make use of¬†(but don’t overuse) the Enter key, and use different font sizes, bolding, or italics to separate your writing into slightly more¬†bite-sized pieces rather than an enormous mouthful.DSC_3263 (1280x853)
  10. Don’t beg for followers. Guys, this is honestly a pet peeve of mine. XD Please, please do not¬†beg people to follow your blog. It’s not very considerate of the other person because it’s really hard for them to say no without sounding rude, even if they’d rather not follow your blog. Besides, you might end up with a whole bunch of followers, but none who really like your posts, so what’s the use?¬†I’m not saying you’re a bad person if you¬†do this¬†– in fact, I’ve found at least one of my favorite blogs/bloggers this way –¬†but in general it’s just better blogging etiquette to ask people if they could check out your blog rather than demanding they follow it.DSC_3329 (1280x853)
  11. Make worthwhile posts. Good content is (obviously) the most important thing for your blog. But what does “good content” mean? Unfortunately, I can’t say, because it differs with each reader’s preference. BUT, I think it involves keeping tags, challenges, interviews, and other kinds of abstract posts to a minimum, while focusing on actual, concrete content, like photography, DIY, writing, practical advice, lifestyle, etc. Basically, try to keep your posts original. Tags can be fun to read, but if that’s all you post, they get old really fast. Plus, anyone and everyone can (and does) post tags.¬†Be unique!¬†Post something that not everyone can – post about crafts you’ve made, photos you’ve taken, recipes you love, even your life. DSC_3261 (1280x853)
  12. Don’t know what to post? Look through your recent pictures (this almost always helps me). Post some of your recent writing. Check your stats to see what your most popular posts are, and make more of those. Look at your favorite blogs for inspiration. But if you still don’t know what to post, don’t post. It’s better to post a little less often than to post poor quality posts about nothing.
  13. Format your links. Okay, this is a very minor point, but it rather annoys me. XD When you add a link, check the “Open link in a new window/tab” box. That way when you click on it, it will open a new tab on your computer and you can still see the post you’re reading on your previous¬†tab. So you don’t have to click the back arrow multiple times to get back to the post you were on. I know, such a hardship. XDDSC_3261 (1280x853)
  14. Want more blog traffic? One of the main ways to do this is to comment on other people’s blogs. But be sincere. Please don’t comment just for the purpose of getting the person to check out your blog. If all you provide in a comment is a link to your blog, I’ll most likely delete it. There are so many wonderful people to “meet” out there. Go find someone who loves the same things you do, and chances are, they’ll be interested in your blog too! Also, blog buttons act like mini advertisements for your blog, which is¬†a great way to spread yourself around. Visit my buttons page for more details.
  15. Have fun. This is important. Have fun with your blog and be yourself! Don’t feel like you have to follow a certain formula or blog calendar to be a good blogger. If you have fun writing your posts and let that authentic joy shine through your writing, readers will appreciate that. In fact, maybe that’s my secret. Maybe you guys enjoy my blog (or at least seem to) because I so enjoy writing it. Whatever the reason, I’m so grateful you do read my blog. I couldn’t do it without you. ‚ô•

So there you have it. Fifteen hopefully helpful tips on how to improve your blog, along with some chrysanthemum pictures I took recently. ūüôā

And that’s it for today, folks! Thanks for reading (and following)! Did you enjoy this post? Did you find my tips helpful? What are YOUR tips for blogging? Also, are you looking forward to my giveaway? I’M SO EXCITED.

***Allison***

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The Color Box {A Story + A Surprise}

GUYS. I AM SO EXCITED! I finally, FINALLY started an Etsy shop for my art, after working on it for quite a while! ūüėÄ AHHH YAYAYAYAY!

Ahem. Anyway, let me tell you a little bit about it and why I’m so excited for it. Click on the picture or the link below it to visit my shop.

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The Color Box Studio

Story Behind the Shop // My Mission:

I’ve loved art my whole life and I’ve always dreamed of selling my art and crafts as a business. It was (and still is) my dream job. That’s why I’m¬†so overjoyed to actually¬†be doing it! I believe God gave me what talent I have to use¬†it for his¬†glory as well as to bring myself and others joy. ūüėÄ I hope to build a collection of fun, beautiful¬†prints that will brighten people’s homes and add unique, handmade pieces to their d√©cor that you can’t buy just anywhere.

Behind the Name

After much deliberation, I named my shop The Color Box Studio because I love colors and have a box of 72 Prismacolor colored pencils that is among my most treasured art supplies. ūüėÄ Plus I just think it’s a cute name. XD

What I Sell

Currently I’m just selling art prints, but I hope to add some original and custom pieces soon. (If you have a custom request, just let me know¬†and I’ll be happy to work with you!)

I¬†have four prints available so far¬†and I can’t wait to add more soon! Here’s a peek at two of the listings, and you can see the rest here.

Click on the pictures to visit the listing.

Red Fox Art 2

Zentangle Elephant Art 2

What is Gicleé?

The type of prints I sell¬†are called gicle√© (pronounced jhee-CLAY). Gicle√©¬†uses a¬†certain process and materials to create super high-quality prints with bright colors and fine detail. I decided on it after¬†some research and trial-and-error, because¬†it’s basically the best-quality art print you can get and looks almost exactly like the original. Each piece of art is printed on thick, white, archival-quality paper to¬†ensure it will last a¬†looong time – a minimum of 80 years! I use this printing company and I absolutely¬†adore their¬†products and customer service.

So yeah! That’s my announcement! ūüėÄ

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Also,¬†since I realize the news is probably not as thrilling to you as it is to me (and this post would be way too short otherwise XD), I wrote a little¬†story for you guys at Mercury‘s suggestion. ūüôā I hope you enjoy!

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The Color Box

The air was heavy that day, laying on her shoulders and sitting on her head like a great flock of birds. It was November, bleak and colorless, and Kira was wandering the streets as usual. Her long, gray-brown hair hung limp and forlorn in the miserable weather and she walked slowly, so she could notice everything.

Kira was an Observer. She collected things with her mind. She had a whole room in her brain filled with the small¬†wonders she had seen: mist rolling in mysterious clouds along the street; a striped snail sliding over a little white mushroom;¬†three cats following an old woman with an enormous straw hat…¬†¬†She never took the things she saw; she just looked, and remembered.

Her favorite part about Observing was the colors. Her city had precious little color to brighten its weary streets, so whenever she found a yellow flower springing from a sidewalk crack or a bright bluebird flashing by, she smiled her soft, slow smile and closed her eyes to be extra sure she would remember it.

Today, a piece of color caught her eye and her heart leapt. It was a color box. She saw it flashing in the sunlight, peeking out from under a heap of dry leaves and crumpled papers, and she hurried toward it.

When she opened it, she breathed a shuddering breath of delight. She had never seen so many colors at once. All the colors of the rainbow, and even more besides! The pencils were lined up in an uneven row, some blunt and some sharp, some tall and some short, and they were all beautiful.

Kira looked at it thoughtfully, and made a decision. For once, Kira collected with her hands as well as her mind. She would use it to draw the best memories in her collection so she could never forget them.

She began at once, smoothing out a crumpled piece of newspaper nearby to draw on. At first she tried a flower, one of her favorite finds. Kira chose a periwinkle blue for the petals and a bright green for the stem and leaves. Her pencil scratched and scraped on the paper. Her eyebrows drew together in concentration and she caught her bottom lip between her teeth to keep it from trembling with excitement. Finally Kira sat up and looked at it.

Her face fell. The colors were beautiful, but the flower did not look like the picture in her head. Kira was discouraged, but then she set her mouth firmly and promised herself that she would make a better one.

All day Kira worked. She drew flowers, she drew snails, she drew her fingertips with their broken nails. A little beetle crawled onto her paper and she drew it too. Twice a pencil got too worn down and she had to take a break to sharpen it with the dull sharpener inside the box. Finally, as the sun was setting, Kira drew the same periwinkle flower one more time. She smiled slowly in satisfaction. It still did not look like a perfect match, but it was much better than her first try.

She could hardly wait to try again tomorrow.

The next day she decided to try and draw the face of the old man who always sat on the weathered bench beside the curb. To her dismay, faces were much, much harder to draw than flowers. But as before, she took a breath, selected a new crumpled piece of paper, and started again. She stared at him for minutes at a time, taking in each wrinkle, each hair, the color of his eyes and skin and lips. And then she drew.

Day after day, she tried again. Sometimes she drew faces of passersby or people who looked out of the windows, but most of all she drew the old man who always stared ahead at nothing, rubbing a thumb over the a brown mark on the thin, wrinkled skin of his hand.

Finally, one day she was satisfied. She looked from her drawing to the old man’s face and grinned.¬†Shyly, she stood up¬†pushed the paper into his lap.

“I drew this for you,” she said quietly. The man blinked and looked down slowly. He stared at the drawing for a long time, and then looked up at the girl. He smiled.

The next day there was an old woman beside the man on the bench. When he saw Kira he beckoned her toward him and said, “Can you draw her too?” Kira could.

Thereafter Kira drew a new person every day. After a while she got tired of drawing with the same colors, so she chose different ones. Kira drew people not in the colors she saw with her eyes, but in the colors she saw inside of them Рthe colors they really were.

Her solemn gray-brown eyes looked at you unflinchingly, looked and looked until you felt she was pulling your secrets, good and bad, from your eyes, and you dropped your gaze. Kira found the secrets one by one and from those she could tell the color of the person. Some people were bright yellow and orange and pastel pink, and others were blue and gray and purple. One man was only black and white.

Every day Kira drew, on newspaper and scraps of cardboard and paper bags. When she was finished, she hung them on lampposts all over the city, so the people she had drawn could find them. Slowly the city grew more colorful. When people saw the drawings they would stop for a second look, and walk on with their inside colors shining more clearly on their faces. And Kira herself was no longer composed of grays and browns but of all the colors of her pencils, for they had bled into her fingers and crept into her heart, so that they were a part of her.

Nowadays Kira still collects things – the room in her mind is heaped to overflowing – but her favorite memory was and always will be, her color box.

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Hee hee, that was a fun little¬†story.¬†ūüôā I hope you liked it and my Etsy shop. What is your favorite listing I have so far? And what is your favorite “color box” – colored pencils, watercolors, markers, etc.?

Thanks for reading, my dears, and have a most wonderful day!

***Allison***

Black Friday Surprises!

Guys, (or rather girls)¬†I super excited to show you the things I bought for Black Friday! We went shopping late Thursday night and a little bit¬†on¬†Black Friday too. Did you go Black Friday shopping? Anyway, let me show you my goodies. ūüôā

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A cute backpack, a beautiful ESV Study Bible, and…¬†(wait for it)¬†a new camera! ūüėÄ ūüėÄ ūüėÄ Woohoo!

The backpack: My old backpack has seen its better days, so I was really happy to find this pretty one at JCPenny. (And if you’re wondering why I need a backpack when I’m homeschooled – I use it to hold my co-op things. ūüėČ )

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Yuck. Not a very good picture.

 

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The Bible: Family Christian Bookstores had a 50% discount off of the whole line of ESV Study Bibles! My old Bible barely had any notes, so I¬†really wanted a¬†Study Bible. And I love this one! It’s¬†beautiful and has lots of footnotes and cross-references and even a few illustrations. (Why why why didn’t I¬†get any¬†pictures of the inside? *facepalm*)

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The cover is imprinted with swirly ivy designs that were quite fun to photograph…

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And the camera! I’m really excited because it’s my first dSLR camera. ūüėĬ†It’s a Nikon d3400, and it came with two lenses – a standard lens and a zoom lens (I think). I might do a review of it later, but for now I’m still learning how to use it. ūüėȬ†There are several things I miss about my old camera (mostly ease-of-use), but I do like how this one has¬†manual aperture and shutter speed options! I can’t wait to take some softened photos of a waterfall.

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For the rest of the post I’m going to dump heaps and heaps¬†of experimental photos on you, so take a deep breath and do some scrolling-finger exercises before we begin. XD

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Aww, Casey kitty!
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WILLOW FLUFFBALL!
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Oh my goodness this might be one of the cutest pictures I’ve ever taken of Willow. XD

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Can you see the improvement on photo quality here versus my last camera? (Snickers does not look impressed with my new equipment, but he DOES look cute. XD)
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I don’t know if it was the camera or what, but Lily was super scared when I took this picture. She was racing around like crazy!

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I love the blurred background and bokeh here! My new camera is good at that.

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Random chicken. XD (I think I was experimenting with aperture.)
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This photo looks dSLR-ish, doesn’t it? I love how the top is in focus and the bottom is blurred. That’s my favorite. ūüėĬ†*Happy sigh*
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Funny Fact: Casey loves this plant. As in, she loves to eat it. XD

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I got a few decent photos in the dark. (And heh heh, I kind of stole this photography idea from my sister who did a beautiful post about it here: https://abarefootgal.wordpress.com/2016/11/27/christmas-light-photography/

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We’re revamping our Schoolroom. This is the Nature Shelf, and more specifically, this is a duck egg in an I-don’t-know-what-kind-of-nest.
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The classic camera-with-its-human picture. XD

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When I turned on the flash it made these little rainbow-y circles appear.
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I really like how these drippy photos turned out. ūüôā

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For some reason, I kinda like this one too. I guess it’s the reflection on the stone or something?

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BOKEH!

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In case you haven’t noticed, I l‚ô•ve waterdrops.
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SUPER CREEPY PHOTO OF OLAF ALERT! She has some serious red eye (perhaps because her eyes are already pinkish-red XD). Yikes. That really is quite creepy. XD

 

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Aww, Liliputian again! I’m pretty pleased that this photo turned out pretty well even though I used flash. My old camera did’t take very good pictures with flash.

Oh my. That was a LOT of photos, wasn’t it? Yikes. Hee hee, I hope you enjoyed this post in spite of (or because of) that!

***Allison***

P. S. I always think of so many things to write for P. S.’s, but when it comes time to actually write them I can never remember what I was thinking… ūüė¶ XD