Tuesday, December 26, 2023

A Christmas Mystery and Other Stories

     On Saturday my parents came over for dinner. We did some gift exchanging and I figured it was also the perfect time to solve the first mystery; what this mystery book is! I am very pleased to say I have not read this book, or even heard of it. I am also almost finished with a book I am reading and may get into this one next. I have lots of options of what book to read next. I also have one more mystery book that I haven't opened yet. I am going to see how long I can wait before I solve that particular mystery. 
     Speaking of mysteries, on Sunday night I decided it was a good time to play this escape room game. I love escape rooms, whether an actual room or a game, and I saw these at Barnes and Noble and wanted to try them out. The fact that you don't have to have more than one player is a bonus, since I don't often have people to play games with. So I grabbed my game, a glass of mead, and paper and pencil. I got into the game. 
     By the end I was mad at myself and a little bit mad at the game creators. There were clues I solved, that were not technically solved, because I didn't know which piece of furniture had that particular shaped lock on it. There was a clue I solved that said I needed to find an example of the item in one of the pictures... but there was not an example of the item in ANY of the pictures (even after I finished the game and dug out anything I had missed). I ended up having to use way too many clue cards, and more time than expected, to finish. So by the end I was frustrated with how much help I needed, how stupid I felt, and how there didn't actually seem to be a flow to the game that made any sense. You are supposed to solve a clue, open a box/cabinet/etc, and get stuff for the next clue. It didn't actually seem to work that way. So maybe I missed things in the instructions. Maybe I had an off night (I was actually kind of sick that night). Or maybe I am smart but not logical. I have no idea. Not that it's a deterrent, I want to get another of these and try again. I do like puzzles. 
     This is Pink Frathading. Travis named her. When I asked him what I should name my dog he said pink and I said that was a little obvious, how about another name. And he said frathading, which is Travis's word for anything he doesn't know or remember the name of, or anything he wants to know the name of. Pink was a gift from my friend Jaime. She said it was inspired by a conversation we had that I might not even remember. I remember. I said I wanted a dog but I can't afford to get a dog right now and it would not be fair to a dog to leave it alone all day long while I am at work. But Pink Frathading doesn't mind being alone. And it was a really sweet gift. 

     I have not been super prolific with doll making these days but I have finished a couple of dolls. I made this western pleasure doll a couple of weeks ago. I love making dolls in basic black. That's what I wear after all. This lady is sold. 
     I wanted to stick with western pleasure dolls so I got into this one as well. Basic black and white seemed like a fun idea. The black fabric has sparkly silver dots on it. The base fabric in white is also a silver glitter fabric. This is a really basic but also fairly blingy doll. She is currently available. 
     Since I was making dolls with black chaps (which is mostly what I end up making these days anyway) I was running low and needed to reorder. And I made a terrifying discovery! They have discontinued the black Ultrasuede that I use! I have not been able to find it anywhere. I ordered the next thickness that is close, but I definitely do not like it as much. And now I am frustrated about that. This has happened before where I have had some doll making material that I absolutely love, and have used for years, that was easy to get. And then it gets discontinued and I have to try to find a replacement. This is usually when I end up having to waste a bunch of money getting things to try them out, just to find that most of them are not quite right in some way. Honestly, it seems nothing is ever easy. 
     So those are my updates for now. A couple of mysteries solved, a pink dog, and some dolls and doll issues. I do still have other dolls available from my live sale and some of the miniature items as well. Is anyone else wondering how we are pretty much at the end of 2023? I feel like this year went pretty quickly for the most part. 

Friday, December 8, 2023

A Calculated Risk and the Wisdom of Tea

     Travis and I have a coffee date at Starbucks in Barnes and Noble every week. It is kind of an expensive habit, but he is totally worth it. After we have our coffee he goes and picks out a new Little Golden Book. I have no idea why he has decided those in particular are the ones he is going to get, but he does, and that's just how it is. Travis looks through the rack until he finds the book he has pre-chosen. While he is looking he chooses his book for next week. This week, he could not find his book. 
    I happened to be on the group text my work family from last year still chatters in, and I said that it was looking like Travis couldn't find his book. Everyone was concerned and one of my friends actually started searching nearby Barnes and Noble stores to try to find it. Those women are amazing. I said I was just going to ask for help first, and see if that did it. And yes, we found The Little Engine That Could, and the woman was very sweet and acted like it is a completely normal thing for a grown man to be choosing a Little Golden Book. But really, for Travis, it is. He even let me read it to him when we got home, which is not something that always happens. Travis is also 100% capable of reading the book himself. I saw him reading an Anne Rice novel (out loud, so he really was reading it) when he was 7.
     I try not to buy a book every week because I just don't have enough time to read so the book collection can very easily grow very quickly. Which is both a good and a bad thing. I love books. For a lot of years I would reread the same books over and over. I had a variety, but it was comfortable to read a book that I was familiar with. I still have some I would totally reread. Recently though I got back into reading paper books (I was doing solely Nook reading for years because of storage issues). And my other thing is to find a book that calls out to me. If I like the synopsis, I may very well get it. The last two weeks I was lured in my the buy one get one 50% off deal. Because half off books... yes please! I should probably just buy used books, but we are already at Barnes and Noble...
     Anyway, since I got 4 books in the last two weeks I was not going to buy one for myself this week. Self control is a thing I sometimes have. But a book that is basically a blind bag, that also gives me a synopsis of sorts... oh so intriguing! And the sign on the rack said it was a blind date with a book. And I was on a date with Travis. So it seemed like the right thing to do. I have not opened this up, so I still have no idea what it is. The guy at the register said it would be on my receipt so try not to look at that if I wanted to be surprised. Done. I put this under my Yule tree. Maybe it will be a gift for me. Maybe I will open it up and see what it is in a bit. Maybe I will finish the book I am in, which is so good and has quick short chapters, and then read the next book that I decided I MUST read, and THEN maybe the mystery book. We'll see. But I am currently very intrigued by this mystery book. I don't think I have read it. One of the mystery books I am just about positive I have read, even from the very brief description. Anyway, I do not regret buying this book, whatever it is. Now to exercise some self control...

     I have been getting a lot of wisdom from my tea. The brand Yogi has these little messages on the back of the tags on the tea bags. I don't love all of them, but some of them are just what I need to hear. Really, "the only thing that can limit you is believing you are limited. Become Limitless" that is really good advice. I'm working on it. "The worst enemy we have is our own fear" don't I know it. I have not done a whole lot of things because I was afraid. And not that good fear that keeps you from dying, just that fear of the what-ifs and the unknows. If you don't try things in a different way, or sometimes upend everything from the way you have always done it, you may just get stuck in a cycle. Honestly, bravery is not the lack of fear, but doing things even when you are afraid. "life is best lived by focusing on your goals and dancing through all your distractions" I love that one so much. I do actually dance all day long. Anyway, sometimes you get a little pep talk in the oddest of places. You always have to be prepared for something amazing to happen. Even if it's inspiration from tea. 

      Last week I did the packing and shipping from my live sale, I made a couple of dolls, and this week I totally meant to start back to work on dolls yesterday, but I did not. So next week I will start back on making dolls. I do still have a variety of things, including dolls and mystery boxes (and more) that are listed in this post.  I likely would even be willing to accept reasonable offers on things. Especially for multiple item purchases. 

      I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend and finds inspiration in random places. I am hoping to extend my running tomorrow. The last run I did was 3.25 miles, with 1/4 mile intervals of walking and running. Tomorrow I am hoping for a longer time, which will be more actual running as well. And I am hoping to find random inspiration in unexpected places.