Monday, January 8, 2018

What?! It's 2018!

Wow, I cannot believe it is 2018. Where did 2017 go? It flew by! 2017 was a year full of ups and downs. I had many health challenges, but I guess that comes with aging. I turned 65! I still can't get over that. Since I was already retired and on social security and Medicare (I retired on a disability), that part kind of breezed right through. But I am really feeling being 65 in my bones . . . and my joints . . . and my brain!

I have become a little more forgetful. Not anything to worry about according to my Dr. "Natural" at my age. I have noticed my hearing is not as good as it used to be. That can be convenient at times 😉! I also get tired more easily. I know that is a side effect to some of the meds I have to take, so I am glad I don't have to work anymore and can take a little snooze when needed.

Looking back on the year, I am grateful that I have started to turn a corner with my health. I have changed my diet pretty dramatically and it is really starting to show the benefits. I was pre-diabetic, but I no longer am. My cholesterol has gone down far enough that I don't have to take any medication for that anymore, which is nice because that made my joints so much worse. I have something called tempular arteritis, which was scary because the Dr. said it can cause blindness, stroke or aneurism. Yuk! They removed a piece of vein from my temple and put me on a high dose of steroids. The side effects of that drug are bad!  I am happy, however, to report that my inflammation numbers have come way down and I am now on a much lower dosage and some of the other side effects are starting to subside. I have even lost a small amount of weight. Considering that steroids make you gain weight, I feel this was no small feat! I hope to continue to make positive changes and therefore continue to show improvement! OK, enough of that!

In the doll world, my collection has grown exponentially! Dag-nab-it, Mattel, you keep offering such really cute dolls and resistance is futile! I am definitely going to have to thin out some dolls soon -- they have taken over every nook and cranny in the house. I did join a local doll club in August. I joined the Great Lakes Doll Club. One of the things they do is sponsor the Grant a Wish Convention each year. I am finally going to be able to go to that convention! They also clean up and box used dolls to be given to the Salvation Army for donation to families who might not have presents to give otherwise. I personally donated 145 dolls! Of course, most of these were as a result of my desire for articulation for my dolls and were basically new non-articulated hybrids! I dressed 55 of them myself and the others we taken by other members to dress them up. The total donation by the club for 2017 was 640 dolls! I am already working on another box for 2018!

The loss of Vanessa Morrison in 2017 hit the doll community really hard. It was difficult for me for many reasons. I know I along with anyone who knew her will miss her greatly. Sometimes, I still check to see if there is a post from her and remember that there won't be anymore. Vanessa is the person who really encouraged me to play with my dolls. I don't think I would have ever even attempted a body swap had it not been for Vanessa! She always used to talk about how we all "enable" one another in the dollverse I know she would want to be remembered for her undeniable positivity, her extreme talent and her ability to inspire others. I remember that she often would name a doll after people who had meant at lot to her, so I don't think she would mind if I named a doll after her. So here is my Vanessa doll:


The "Selma DuPar James" doll will now be called Vanessa Morris in Hanaly Corners. She will be an Interior Designer/Architect and she will help me get my homes and other structures together. The perfect job for Vanessa, don't you think?!  The other residents of Hanaly Corners are very excited about her arrival and are standing in line to get a chance to discuss what they would like to see!

Selma nka Vanessa is the last of the Harlem Theater Collection by Mattel. She is such a pretty doll and she does remind me of Vanessa!

She will soon have to get out of this beautiful dress and get into some working girl clothes! She is going to be busy!

I have actually set some doll and blog goals for 2018.
  1. Organize dolls and get them in a dedicated doll space. I am happy to report I have already made significant progress on this task. This is requiring a complete rearrangement of my basement recreation area. My dolls have definitely overrun the entire basement. So I am switching things around and my craft room will become the doll room. The larger family area will have the craft and sewing area and a lounge area for my daughter to hang out with her friends. It is scary, but here are some in progress photos:                                 

    This wall previously had a table against it that I used for laying out and cutting fabric. It was also my crafting table. I have moved shelving from the rec room to the doll room.
     
    I moved dolls from other shelves in the rec room to these shelves temporarily. Eventually, these will be converted to living areas. One of these shelves will have things like a classroom, restaurant, shopping areas.
    Because I have to make room in one area to move stuff around, things are quite a mess right now! This used to be where I sewed. My embroidery sewing machine sits here.
    This was my general sewing area. I taught my daughter Alyssa to sew on this machine and is the only one she is allowed to use. It is a very good machine, but not as expensive as my embroidery machine! 
    Yikes, look at all that doll stuff piled up in the corner! What a mess!
    I have a nice, deep window sill in this room. Look at all the dolls it can hold! These are residents of a joint community where we have duplicate mini-mes and post on Flickr. It is called LaurenLand.
    I have actually made more progress on this, so will have more photos to share soon. I am really excited as things are coming together!
  2. Learn how to take better photos. I struggle a bit with setting up photos and applying photo effects. I want to learn how to work more with my camera and take more and better photos.                   
  3. Create more blog posts. I have set a goal of creating at least 1 blog post a month, hopefully 2 posts!                                                              
  4. Write photostories. I enjoy reading photostories so much! I had started out with a few episodes of a photostory about the residents lives in Hanaly Corners, but I have not been consistent. This is for many reasons. With having a more organized and dedicated doll space, setting up for a story should be a little easier and therefore, I should be able to create stories more often.                                  
  5. LIMIT DOLL PURCHASES and sell some dolls. I know I have too many dolls. In order to enjoy them more, I need to sell some dolls. I know I will still buy dolls --- I just can't help myself, but I also know I need to control my doll spending.                                                    
  6. Make more dioramas and diorama items. Make doll clothes. I think once the doll room is organized, I will better be able to create and this will make my other goals more achievable too.                          
  7. Lastly, but not leastly, have fun!
I hope everyone has a wonderful 2018. Have fun playing and sharing! See you soon!

26 comments:

  1. Hi Phyllis!

    I miss Vanessa so much also. She was my mentor. She taught me about blogging and gave me ideas for dioramas and stories. She was a beautiful lady, and I know she'd love the doll you chose to name after her. I'm going to try posting more stories myself this year. I'm glad you're doing so much better healthwise and doll organization wise. Happy New Year! :-)

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    1. Same here! Of course, when I heard the new about Vanessa, I cried. My daughters asked me what was wrong and when I told them she had died, they felt very bad for me. I talked about her often and they knew she was important to me. One of the many things I had admired about her was her positive attitude and that after she had gotten her diagnosis and was aware of her prognosis, she did not let it get her down and she set out to make the most of the rest of her life. So, when life gets me down, my daughter now says to me, "Mom, what would Vanessa do?" It certainly stops to make me think and I really do think it is one reason I am doing better with my health and my goals!

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  2. It's great to read about your plans. What a fantastic initiative to give dolls away, all cleaned up and boxed, children need dolls! Your Vanessa is a lovely tribute to Vanessa Morrison! I wish you a wonderful 2018, with lots of doll fun!
    And thank you again for your comparison photos on Flickr of the male action figures. It's very much appreciated :-)!

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    1. Thanks! I think that is was the doll community is all about. I have had so much help and inspiration from others and I want to pay it forward! I learn something new from everyone and sharing makes the love of this hobby even more enjoyable!

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  3. Oh Phyllis, so sorry to hear you had so many challenges last year, but so very happy you are conquering and moving in the right direction. This post is so very touching. First of all, it's always good to see the goals of another dolly friend and blogger. Then I just love to see your dolly space with what looks like a little city (or at least a township) of dolls! And, like the others, I was really touched by your kind words concerning Vanessa and the fact you have named a doll after her. I too miss her and her doll family. I miss seeing her doll fashions, especially those she created for Dasha, her favorite doll. I too, often go to her site just to look at those fashions. In any case, I wish you the best of health, happiness and lots of dolly goodness in the year ahead!

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    1. Thanks so much, April. Your words of encouragement mean so much to me. I think we all face challenges, don't we? I have learned that the important part is how we approach them. I am trying to stay positive and do what I can to set and achieve goals!

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  4. Beautiful post Phyllis!! You chose the perfect doll to be named Vanessa. Very nice tribute! I miss her dearly!! I like you, have gone over to check her blog just to check...I know there will not be a new post, but I just do. She was also very instrumental in my starting a blog. She encouraged me to do it. The blessing in it all is that we had the opportunity to share the love of dolls with her.

    Phyllis, I pray that your health continues to get better and better. You have made great progress. Your doll room is coming along very nicely! The only resolution that I made in regards to my hobby is that I will do something dol related EVERY day in 2018. Thus far I am in target. I am journaling it to ensure that I stay on track. Many blessings in fulfilling your resolutions. Oh yeh, that is totally awesome that you will attend Grant-A-Wish!! That is also great that your doll club made a huge donation. I would love to donate some dolls. Please send me information as to how and where to send them to.

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    1. So glad you enjoyed reading this post. Thank you so much for your words of support and encouragement. If you want to donate some dolls, you can send them to me and I can deliver them to the club. I still have your email, so I will send you my address.

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  5. So much to love in this post. I am happy to read the praise report concerning your health, and I pray it continues to improve. I love that you renamed Selma for our dear Vanessa. The first thing I did with the birthday wishes doll you sent me was name her Vanessa. Her big smile reminded me of our dear friend. Losing her has been hard for me, too. I get choked up every time I drive past the park where she and I used to meet. She was a beautiful person, and I miss her so much. Best of luck with your blogging goals for 2018!

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    1. Thanks, Jewell! I also love that you named the Birthday Wishes doll Vanessa. I hope we will be seeing her in you blog stories! I just know she is smiling at us from Heaven at the thought of it.

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  6. What a wonderful post, which almost had me in tears! It is absolutely wonderful that you named a doll for Vanessa and now I think I should do the same. I have a beautiful new doll in mind. I am also glad to hear your health has improved. I also turned 65 and have health issues and I know I could take some small steps to improve the quality of my life, so reading this is an inspiration. Good luckwith the new doll space! That will be wonderful when it is finished.

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    1. Oh, Wendy, I am so glad I inspired you! We should keep encouraging each other, don't you think?! I feel whatever small steps I can make are worth it. You know I really feel good about what I am doing with my doll space. So far, it is going well and I can hardly wait to get it in a shape where I can really play with my dolls. Working on it has really lifted my spirits!

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    2. That sounds like a wonderful idea, Phyllis! ❤️

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  7. Omg, you have so many dolls! I wish you accomplishing your goals. You have a great room for spending time with dolls.

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    1. Thanks! I do have a lot of dolls, don't I? And they're not even all in the doll room yet! Not sure all of them will fit, but I am going to do my best!

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  8. Bardzo wzruszający post... na pewne sprawy nie mamy wpływu i to jest smutne. Zawsze jednak możemy pamiętać!
    Życzę Ci również zdrowia, dużo pomysłów na nowe lalki, ubranka i stylizacje!
    Dużo szczęścia w Nowym Roku!

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    1. Thank you! It makes me feel good that you were moved by this post. I think dolls are a good way of helping us to work thru feeling. I also wish for you to have a great New Year and look forward to seeing more of your doll photos in 2018 and beyond!

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  9. You have lots to do. Have fun with it. Your new Vanessa is lovely. It will be nice to see how you re-dress her.

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    1. Yes, I do have tons to do. Good thing I am retired!

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  10. Happy 2018 to you! Sounds like you have a good start on all your plans. I hadn't heard about Vanessa and wondered why she was no longer posting. She will be missed, I enjoyed her blog very much. I love the doll you have chosen to name after her, very beautiful and a nice tribute.

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    1. Thanks! Glad you like my choice for Vanessa. I think she would like it too!

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  11. Hi Phyllis,
    It was wonderful to read about your year and all that you have been through, yet accomplished. I'm so happy you are feeling better and you should be so proud of all that you have done to improve your health!
    I'm sorry to year of your friend Vanessa. I was never able to know her. Does she still have a blog up in her memory? If so, I would like to visit it.
    I think the doll room is coming out great and agree that it will be nice to have an organized space to be able to "play" more with them.
    I think that's my problem now. I'm still very unorganized so when I'm already busy, I couldn't be bothered to get the ones out that I want and do photos shoots. I'm the worse with holiday shoots as I always want to have something doll related to post, but I never get around to it as it seems like too big an undertaking.
    I feel like I need to get rid of some dolls as well, but I, like you, know that I will continue to keep buying as that is half of the fun. ;)
    Plus, there are rumors of so many great Barbies coming out this year that I know I won't be able to resist!!
    Best of luck to you and looking forward to seeing you more in blogland! xo

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  12. Thanks! I do feel good about what I have managed to accomplish this year in spite of the challenges I have faced. The dollroom is getting there, but still a lot to do. It is a bigger undertaking that I imagined and the moving around of furniture and so on is dependent upon the help of other! Yes, Vanessa's blog is still up. I think you will enjoy reading it! http://vansdolltreasures.blogspot.com/

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    1. I did some searching and found the post about Vanessa on the Black Doll Collecting blog. She said Vanessa had nobody to post on her blog if anything happened,so hopefully we can all get the word out to those who have been worried about Vanessa.

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  13. Hi Phyllis, I'm glad you talked about Vanessa. I have been so worried about her and feared the worst. It's sad to hear my fears have come true. How did you find out about Vanessa? I'm thinking there must be a lot of other readers of her blog who are wondering too.I wonder if she had someone who might be able to post something on her blog to let everyone know. Who is taking care of her little dogs I wonder? She created a whole world that we all were very invested in. Very sad.

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    1. I heard about it from Debbie Garrett at Black Doll Collecting. I not only posted something here, but I also posted on my Flickr account as she was also on Flickr. I had also done a search on Vanessa Morrison in Liliburn, GA and found the obituary. I too wish there was a way to post something on her blog, her Etsy account and her Facebook account! I do know that several others have now posted something about Vanessa on their accounts too. I know that her mother was with her during her final days, so I assume her family has taken on the care of her dogs. It's funny, but I also worry about all of her dolls that she loved so much! What will happen to Rod and Daniel and all her other beloved Morristown residents?

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