~ Hello, 2018 ~

It is 2018. IT IS 2018!

Surprisingly, it feels right to say that. I’m usually amazed that the next year has come so fast, and I sort of am this year as well, but it doesn’t feel as weird as usual. 2018 doesn’t seem that strange to type or write, it feels good.

But before I delve into this new year, I wanted to recap the last. So here you go! 2017 in review.

Guys this has been quite the year…

~ Highlights of 2017 ~

  • We bought a new farm.
  • I started a new Etsy shop.
  • I reached over 3,000 followers on my blog.
  • I started my last year of school!
  • I took hundreds (probably over a thousand) photos, and better learned how to use my DSLR. You can find a lot of my favorite pictures from this year here, here, and here.)
  • I made so much art.
  • I (and my friends, of course) deepened friendships both in real life and through blogging. ♥ I especially enjoyed getting to know my blogging friends better – you guys are the BEST, and I love emailing/commenting/writing to you and reading your amazing posts!
  • My siblings and I raised and sold adorable baby bunnies.
  • My family went on trips to Assateague, Chincoteague, and Amelia Island. 😀
  • I played piano for church!
  • We went camping with family.
  • We creamed 150 quarts of corn. O.o
  • We watched the solar eclipse!
  • And so many more memories. ♥

I learned a lot this year, and I feel like God grew me as well (although not in size – I think I’m about done growing now XD). More and more often I found myself stepping back from the moment and seeing the big picture and the small blessings, and realizing that almost every worry loses its urgency and importance in light of eternity.

Ahem. Anyway, before we move on to the goals/resolutions, we must have the obligatory stats, right? XD

~ 2017 Stats ~

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  • Views: 50,174
  • Visitors: 16,171
  • Likes: 10,656
  • Comments: 8,958
  • Total Posts (over all years): 456

~ Popular Posts from 2017 ~

So those are some of you guys’ favorite posts… here are some of my favorite posts. Actually these are just the posts with some of my favorite photos from 2017 in them. 😉

~ Best Photography Posts of 2017 ~

  • Summer 2017: basically summer memories + a selection of summer’s best pictures.

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  • Bunnies in Autumn: One of my very favorite photoshoots of the entire year! EEEE THEY’RE SO CUTE!

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~ Resolutions ~

And now for last year’s goals… Let’s see how I did.

  • Meet at least one more of my blogger friends. Sort of not really? I got to video chat with one of my friends, which was SO fun, and I saw pictures/videos of many others, but sadly I did not meet any in real life. :/ Oh well, there’s always next year!
  • Grow my Etsy shopIf I was talking about my clay Etsy shop… not exactly. If you’re talking about my new art Etsy shop, yes! (Since I have two sales compared to zero when I started. XD) I think this year was sort of a practice run and I’m looking forward to digging deeper into this business in the coming year.
  • Start a Bible journal and keep it going throughout the year. Check! So far I’m in 1 Samuel, and I’ve hand lettered my favorite verse from all the chapters I’ve read so far. I cannot WAIT to see all the journals when I’m done, and I’m definitely going to continue this goal into 2018.

So what is my New Year’s resolution for 2018? Well, it ties in to one of the most important things I’ve learned this year: I can’t do it.

You know on Disney movies how they’re always like, “Believe in yourself”? That’s true, to a point… but only to a point. I’m not saying self-doubt is good or you should hate yourself – not at all! That’s way too far in the other direction.

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BUT. The thing is, I’m a pretty poor thing to believe in. I’m broken and fallen and weak, and so are we all. But even though I know that, sometimes I forget, and think that I know best instead of God.

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Considering moving and selling the farm and other things that are out of my control has shown me that I just can’t do this on my own. I’m not big enough, not strong enough to change the weather or the timing of plans or… well, anything.

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But see, this is not depressing or sad for me – it’s a relief. Because even though I can’t do it, God can – and he will. Why would I want to believe in myself and my weakness, when I can believe in God and his strength? I wouldn’t. I don’t.

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So one of my “New Year’s resolutions” is to believe less in myself and more in God. I’ll have to put it into practice to even complete it, because I certainly can’t do that on my own!

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So yeah. Those are my thoughts (and some pictures) from this past year.

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I can’t wait to see what God will do next year. Eeep, it’s so exciting just thinking about it! Happy New Year’s, guys. I hope it’s the best one so far.

Bring it on, 2018. I can’t do this… but God can.

***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. 😀 ♥ 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. 😉

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. 🙂 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. 🙂

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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! ♥

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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. 🙂 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? 😉

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Aww, those eyes! ♥ 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. 😉
  • 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. 😉
  • Share on social media for 1 bonus entryChoose 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. 😦

_____________________

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. ♥

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, ClaraK. 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: ♥♥♥.

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

Alright, now that we’re past the sentimental stuff, let’s get to the other part of the post. 🙂 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. 😛 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. 😀DSC_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. ♥

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

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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Summer 2017 {Memories + Photos}

Heh heh, I know this is rather late for a summer post, but hey, we haven’t fallen too far into autumn yet, right? (See what I did there?) Anyway, I loved Clara’s summer recap post, so I decided to do one of my own!

Here’s a recap of this summer’s happenings in pictures.

Raising and selling a litter of darling baby bunnies. ♥

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Taking a lovely trip to Assateague and Chincoteague Island.

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Writing and illustrating letters.

Playing piano at the nursing home and filling in for the pianist at church. O.o

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Finding barn kittens.

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All the flowers.

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Watching a cardboard boat race. XD

Working on a project I will hopefully reveal soon… (Here’s a sneak peek:)

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Hayley’s ATC Trade.

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Playing Gaga Ball on the trampoline with my siblings.

Swimming at our neighbor’s pool.

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Re-designing a board game I created. (Sneak peek:)

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Playing games with family and friends.

Saying goodbye to Clementine. 😦

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Making lots and lots of art.

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Taking lots and lots of pictures.

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Pizza and movie nights.

Watching sunsets.

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Helping out at a wedding.

Celebrating fourth of July with family. (Photo credit to my aunt.)

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Going camping in tents with cousins and grandparents.

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Meeting new people and making new friends.

Hatching swallowtail butterflies.

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Cutting and creaming 150 quarts of corn from our sweet corn patch. O.o

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Books.

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Blogging.

Watching the eclipse (even though I got rather poor photos XD).

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Having simply splendid time at Amelia Island with friends.

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Finally watching Star Wars. 😛

The County Fair.

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Starting WordCrafters 3.

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Gardening and canning produce.

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Consuming many 50 cent Frosties at Wendy’s.

Sewing class.

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Video-chatting with a blogger friend.

Making decorations for our monthly church meals.

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Emailing, writing to, and debating with blogger friends. 😀 ♥

CWWC (see my entries here) and BIBPC, (this my latest entry).

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Nature Study with friends.

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Bonfires, big and small.

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Gathering eggs. :/

Megan’s birthday (which included a water balloon fight).

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Family reunions.

Labor Day adventures.

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Making memories. ♥

It was a lovely summer. 🙂 I had a lot of fun but I also learned a lot, I think more in practical knowledge than book knowledge. It’s been good.

How was your summer?

***Allison***

Farewell, 2016 { A Year in Review }

Wait what? Is 2016 really over?

Yeah yeah, I know everyone says that every year. But seriously! I guess we say it because it’s true. It’s hard to believe that though the days sometimes feel endless, the years race by so fast that you barely have time to welcome in one year before the next is banging at the door. Just when you’ve recovered from that New Year’s party, it’s somehow Christmas again. Of course I’m exaggerating, but doesn’t it feel that way sometimes?

Anyway, philosophical-ish discussions won’t change the facts – and besides, the facts are good! 2016 was a wonderful, really big year for me, both in real life as well as blog life. That’s why I made this post: to review some highlights of my year and also to give you something fun to read while you’re waiting for the clock to strike midnight. 😉

Shall we begin? I’ve divided the post into “Life” and “Blog” for easier reading, and I decided to put “Life” first. Heh heh, no pun intended – but actually maybe it was intended. XD

~{ Life }~

  • I started my Etsy shop, Wee Little Crafts, in January, and got 18 online sales over the year (plus a few more in person), 3,469 views, and 145 listing favorites, and 38 shop admirers! Woohoo! 😀
  • I turned 16 in May. O.o
  • And thus I got my driver’s license in October. And also a car. O.o again.
  • Oh, and I got a phone too! Yippee!
  • A less fun but still momentous milestone (wait, does that even make sense?) was getting my wisdom teeth pulled. :/
  • I’m not sure if this counts as “Life” or “Blog,” but I got to meet one of my blogger friends in real life! We had so much fun. *Happy sigh*
  • And I bought a new dSLR camera! It’s a Nikon d3400, and even though I’m not quite a pro at using it yet, I’m really enjoying it!
  • We redecorated our room, and I still love it! Ahh, it’s SO much prettier than it was.
  • I went to the theater and a concert for the first time. I know, I’m very weird. XD (Update: whoops, my sister reminded me that actually I went to that concert in 2015, not 2016.)
  • Our vacation this year took us to Niagara Falls, Macinac Island, the Great Lakes, and a bunch of other exciting places!
  • My fluffball of a bunny, Willow, had baby bunnies! SQUEEE! They were so adorable. *Sniff* We sold them all, but their legacy lives on in my jillions of pictures and blog posts. XD
  • Of the course of this year I became pen pals with three bloggers and email pals with another. 🙂 Thank you for your lovely letters and emails, guys! I’ve had such fun getting to know you better. ♥
  • We added two more pets to our collection: the adorable Holland Lop rabbit Snickers and the also adorable kitten Casey. Well actually she’s pretty much a cat now, but still adorable. 😉
  • We had an EPIC shaving cream fight that I posted about here. So. Much. Fun.

~{ Blog }~

  • Definitely the most major thing in my blog year was being featured on Discover. Oh my goodness guys: a year ago I had almost 60 followers. Now I have… 1,507. WHAT?! WHOA! EEK! And it’s all (well, mostly) because of Discover. I’m so, so thankful God gave me this incredible opportunity, and I hope I can use it for His glory. ♥
  • In other news: blog stats. This year I’ve published 198 posts, and received 7,980 comments, 6,543 likes, and 41,267 views. Just wow. *Faints* Oh my goodness, if I thought last year was a big year, look at this! Ha ha, my first year is just a teensy line. XD OH MY GOODNESS IT’S AMAZING!blog stats 1 (774x486).jpg
  • I met or got to know so many amazing people this year, like Grace, Clara, Hayley, K. A., RebekahChristian Homeschooler, Aria, and soooo many more. I love you guys so much! ♥♥
  • I changed my blog around a LOT, several times, but I have hopefully settled down to a theme and a header I like. I can tell you that the current design is a million times better than it was at first, at least in my opinion. XD
  • Hayley and I started The Art Lab blog, along with Megan and Anika. (And in case you’re wondering, we’re taking a little break over the holidays, but we’ll get back to it in a jif!)
  • Aaand I started WordCrafters this year! You guys have done an amazing job with the stories, although it is taking a bit longer than I thought to complete WordCrafters 2. 😉 But don’t worry, hopefully we’ll finish it soon and we can start on WordCrafters 3! 😀 If you haven’t read the stories yet, click here to read WordCrafters 1 and here to read WordCrafters 2 so far.

Alrighty. Now that we’re done with the highlight reel or whatever, let’s get down to the good ol’ post reviews. 🙂 These are some of my favorite posts from 2016:

Favorite Posts from A Farm Girl’s Life: (click on the picture to visit the post)

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These are some of my favorite snow pictures I’ve ever taken! Especially the last one. I’m still shocked I was able to get that!

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Dewdrops are one of my favorite things to photograph ever. Ahh, so pretty!

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Ohhhh my goodness Casey was ADORABLE!

AWWC Challenge 2: Waiting

I think “Waiting” might be one of the best things I’ve ever written. 😀 There was no picture in the post, so you’ll just have to click here to read it. 😉

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This was the post featured on Discover before my whole blog was. And thus, heh heh, it is by FAR my most popular post, if you decide that by the likes and comments. O.o

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Aaaaaahh! I love our room so much! ♥ It’s changed a little bit from this post, but for the most part it’s still the same. 🙂

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This post is basically a collection of some of my best photos from January-August 2016. 😀 (By the way, I’m hoping you guys didn’t have the same problem as I did: the photos weren’t showing up on this post. PANIC! I hate it when that happens, so I’m just going to hope it was just a fluke that happened to me once… right?)

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Pictures from our vacation to Niagara Falls. ♥

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This is one of my favorite photoshoots because it’s so unique – and we were also on top of a barn roof. 😀 Hee hee!

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All I can say is AHHHHHH THEY’RE ADORABLEEEEEE!

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This might come close to my “Favorite. Photoshoot. Ever.” Seriously though, it might be my favorite photography post of the year, I don’t know. I can hardly believe I didn’t edit those pictures, even though I’m the one that took the pictures! Wow, Lord, you are the “Best. Artist. Ever.” Eeeee! ♥

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I love how this little black and white photography experiment turned out! October was a really good photography month for me, it appears. XD

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I’m pretty pleased with how this post turned out. And I’m so, so happy you guys found it helpful! That really makes my… um… day? Well more than a day but less than a year… Hmm… XD

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Ohhhh my goodness how can fall be so beautiful? Eeek!

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I’m honestly kind of proud of these moon pictures, especially the last one. 😛

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This sisters’ photoshoot was a lot of fun, Megan! ♥ We should really do it again sometime.

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And last but not least… THE CUTEST WITTLE FLUFFBALLS!

A Few Favorite 2016 Posts from the Blogisphere:

How to Be a Ninja by Loren – this is pretty hilarious. XD

Evening Photography Whatever #2 by Loren – and this is gorgeous!

Recent Photography: Moss Forests, Maude, and Little Brothers by Clara – so pretty!

Aaaand pretty much any photography posts by Clara. XD

A Trip to the Apple Orchard by Grace – I love this lovely life/photography post.

A Barn Full of Fluff by Hayley – SO FLUFFY PLEASE HELP ME!

And guys, that’s only a teensy bit of the goodness I read this year. But unfortunately I don’t have time to list all of the wondermous posts I read, so I guess you’ll have to check out the blogs I follow and find out yourself. 😉

Okay guys, bear with me – we’re almost done! I just need to show you some of my…

New Year’s Resolutions:

  • Meet at least one more of my blogger friends.
  • Grow my Etsy shop.
  • Start a Bible journal and keep it going throughout the year.

Well, after all that, all I can say is THANK YOU  GUYS, for the bestest blog year so far. I have loved laughing and learning with you guys so incredibly much. Blogging is such a wonderful part of my life, a part I hope to hold onto for a very, very long time. ♥

I hope you enjoyed this rather lengthy end-of-the-year post, and have a lovely New Year, okay?  I can’t wait to see what exciting things God has in store for me and for you guys this upcoming year. ♥♥♥

With all my love,

***Allison***

A Thankful Post

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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

How was your Thanksgiving, dear readers? Mine was good so far. We already went to two Thanksgiving dinners this week, and we’re going to another one tonight – with shrimp instead of turkey! Mmmmm! And then we’re going Black Friday shopping! So anyway, I decided to make a thankful post, in case you haven’t noticed. 😉

I’m thankful for…

  1. Jesus
  2. Family
  3. Friends
  4. Pets
  5. Our farm
  6. Our house
  7. Homeschooling
  8. Nature
  9. Seasons
  10. Beautiful days
  11. Sunsets
  12. Colors
  13. Electricity
  14. Phones and computers
  15. Blogging
  16. My camera/Photography
  17. Movies
  18. Art
  19. Good books
  20. Yummy food
  21. Soft things
  22. Surprises
  23. Laughter
  24. Sunshine
  25. Beauty
  26. And countless other blessings

I’m so thankful for each and every one of those things, especially the first 6, but this year I have been especially thankful for all my blogger friends as well. I’ve gotten to know so many wonderful girls including (but definitely not limited to) Grace, Clara, K. A., Hayley, Rebekah, Aria, Christian Homeschooler, Misty, and Josie. I’ve loved reading your sweet comments and posts and letters and emails, having hilarious conversations about ferocious purple hippos and whatever-it’s-called-where-a-word-is-spelled-the-same-backwards-and-forwards, and even meeting one of you in real life! I’ve made so many wonderful memories with you guys, and I’m sure we’ll make so many more. ♥ Thank you as well to each of my dear readers for all your lovely feedback and, well, for reading my blog. 😀 I love you guys! ♥

Have a lovely day, dear readers!

***Allison***

1,000 Followers Giveaway!

I STILL CAN’T BELIEVE IT, GUYSSSS! 1,000 FOLLOWERS! EXCEPT BECAUSE I TOOK SO LONG TO POST THIS, NOW IT’S 1,190 FOLLOWERS!!! OH MY GOODNESSSSSSSS! Just think… before being featured on WordPress Discover, I had 150 followers. That’s really pretty great! And now…. *GASP* It’s simply amazing.

Thank you all soooooo, so much! You guys are one of my top favorite parts of blogging. ♥ I’ve met Clara, Grace, Hayley, K. A., Misty, Rebekah, Josie and so many more lovely girls through blogging. I love you! ♥

In celebration of this momentous moment in my blog’s life, I’m hosting a giveaway (in case you haven’t noticed). 😀

» The Prize «

 The prize will include two things:
  1. A miniature garden kit to make a garden similar to this one. This includes the following:

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  • 1 glass terrarium globe
  • A mini-bag of soft, green, dried moss
  • A mini-bag of blue glass pebbles
  • 3 clay succulents (made by me)
  • 1 clay mushroom (made by me)
  • 1 shiny, marbled clay stone (made by me)
  • Plus a few other tidbits I might throw in 😉

2. Your choice of one of the following coupons for my Etsy shop:

  • 30% off any item
  • Free shipping on any item

» How to Enter «

  • If you are under 18, please get a parent’s permission before entering this giveaway.
  • I will need your email address and/or your address so I can notify you and give you the prizes. But of course I will NOT share either of those – they’re safe with me. 😉
  • To enter, comment saying you would like to enter (well duh), and include a bible verse, quote, or riddle (or all of the above) that you like.
  • NOTE: This giveaway is only open to my readers living in the United States. I’m so sorry about that, but shipping gets complicated (not to mention expensive) otherwise. 😥

» To Collect Extra Entries… «

  • Take my survey to collect one extra entry – but please take it only if you actually read my blog or it won’t help me much. 😉 (By the way, this is a new survey, so none of you have taken it yet as far as I know.)
  • Share this post on Pinterest or social media to collect one extra entry. (NOTE: You may share this post as many times as you like, but you still will only get one extra entry.)
  • Share any other post from my blog on Pinterest or social media to get one extra entry. Please pick a post you actually like instead of randomly sharing any post. (Again, only the first share will give you an extra entry, but I’m ecstatic if you want to share more! 😀 )

»When Will This Giveaway Close?«

  • This giveaway will close October 28th at 12:00 am, ET. You have only two weeks!
  • On October the 29th I will announce the winner. I’ll also add the bible verse, quote, or riddle they included with their entry, as well as my favorites from the rest of the participants – just to add a little extra fun. 🙂

AAAAHHH THIS IS SO EXCITING! Thank you guys once again for reading my blog. ♥

***Allison***

Sisters Q&A: Part 1

I’m so excited to present this Sisters Q&A! Megan and I are going to answer your questions – but for the other person. So I wrote out my answers on a separate page from Megan’s guesses, and then we combined them like this…

Let’s see how well Megan knows me. 😉 XD

TheOriginalPhoenix

Why do you blog?

Guess: Because I like meeting new bloggers and writing about my life.

Answer: One of my favorite parts of blogging is interacting with other bloggers and meeting new friends. I also blog because I love sharing my photos, thoughts, writings, etc.!

Zielle

What is your favorite number?

Guess: Three.

Answer: 3

You’re going to a costume party; what would you rather wear?: A bear suit or a lion suit?😄

Guess: Bear suit.

Answer: Uh… a bear suit probably?

What is one of your favorite books?

Guess: THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY!

Answer. THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY SERIES! Guys, you have to read that.

What is your favorite (outside/non-board) game?

Guess: Umm… Refrigerator tag? Well, maybe Psychiatrist.

Answer: Psychiatrist is fun! Have you ever played that?

What is one of your favorite words?

Guess: Fluzzy?

Answer: Uh… maybe fluzzy? (K. A. made it up – it’s a cross between fluffy and fuzzy, and is very helpful when describing ADORABLE FLUZZY BABY BUNNIES!)

What is a superpower you wished you had?

Guess: Flying.

Answer: Flying! Or else being able to transmit thoughts and feelings to someone else and vice versa.

Adoma.Adei

What color will you dye your hair?

Guess: Red maybe?

Answer: I’m not thinking of dyeing my hair any time soon, but if I did, I might do some purple highlights. (‘Cause PURPLE is amazing.)

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If your sister could eat one thing for the rest of her life what would it be?

Guess: Fruit!

Answer: FRUIT!

What is your sister’s favorite thing to do?

Guess: Allison likes art, photography, and blogging.

Answer: Probably blog or be on the computer. 😉 Or else photography, crafts, or reading.

What is your sisters favorite subject in school?

Guess: Nature study.

Answer: Nature Study. I love learning about God’s amazing creation, and drawing the things we learn about in my nature notebook

Does your sister prefer shoes, socks, or bare feet?

Guess: Well, inside, barefeet. Outside (at this time of year) she’d wear flip-flops or barefeet.

Answer: Do you mean outside the house or inside? Inside I prefer bare feet (at least when it’s warm), and outside I prefer shoes.

Hayley

What do you want to do with your life (AKA a job)?

Guess: Maybe sell things on Etsy?

Answer: Keep selling stuff on my Etsy shop! (But make it into a real business). It would also be fun to be a professional photographer. Or an interior decorator! 😀

Lily

Donuts or ice cream?

Guess: Donuts!

Answer: Donuts.

What is your least favorite thing to do?

Guess: Gather eggs.

Answer: I don’t particularly like gathering eggs. :/

Hoodies or cardigans?

Guess: Cardigans.

Answer: Cardigans.

What is your favorite type of cookie?

Guess: Jeff’s kind of cookies? 😛 I forget what they are called. They are like chocolate peanut butter cookies.

Answer: I love molasses crinkles!

Sneakers or boots?

Guess: Boots.

Answer: Boots. (Well, I wouldn’t want to wear them everywhere, but in general I like boots.)


Megan got 15 out of 18 questions right! To see my guesses for Megan, check out her post here.

I hope you enjoyed reading Part 1, guys!

***Allison***

P. S. I made a Facebook account! You can see it here.

Sisters Q&A!

Guess what? Megan and I are going to host a Q&A to celebrate two things: one, Megan’s birthday was August 29th (Happy Birthday to Megan! ♥ ), but also because I HAVE 919 FOLLOWERS OH MY GOODNESS COULD I ACTUALLY GET 1,000 THIS YEAR??? *Takes a deep breath*

Ahem.

But this isn’t just a normal Q&A. This is going to be – *dun duh dun* – a Sisters Q&A!

Say What?

A Sisters Q&A is like a regular Q&A, except we will answer the question for the other person instead of for ourselves. This is Megan’s example question:

Q #1: What is your favorite color?

Megan: Allison’s favorite color is purple.

Allison: Megan’s favorite color is yellow.

Megan and I get a point for each question we answer correctly. If we didn’t answer correctly…

Megan: Um, Allison, my favorite color is hot pink. You didn’t know that? Yellow was my favorite color a long time ago! Like, last week or something.

Allison: Yeah right. You just changed your favorite color RIGHT NOW to make me lose a point! I happen to know that you do NOT like hot pink. Like at all.

Whoever answers the most questions correctly wins the best sister award. (Heh heh, just kidding on that last part. XD )

Let the Battle Begin!

You can ask classic questions (like what is your favorite food) or funny questions (like would you rather wear a little kid princess dress or a striped tie). If you ask questions that depend on the time, like “what are you wearing right now”, that may not work so well. XD

Also, we decided to set a limit of 10 questions per commenter because that could get really long. 😉

Is There a Deadline?

Yes. You have until September the 10th to submit questions via the comments below.

***Allison***

P. S. I have a big prayer request for you guys. My cousin/best friend Leisha is going to have major heart surgery on Thursday. *GULP* Please, please pray for the surgery to go really well and for the recovery to be quick. ♥