Bullet Journal – April Cover Page

Almost a whole month behind on my April post, is that a new record?

Things have been strange lately. I’ve been in sort of a funk for a little while now and then I’ve been dealing with a weird stomach bug for the last week, so I’ve just been very down and out of it. That’s more of an update for May I guess.

April overall was a pretty decent month. I went with the rabbit theme for Easter. I was painting and feeling inspired, especially at the beginning of the month. I was feeling pretty good.

Things got a little rocky about half way through the month. Not to get too personal, but there was someone who was important to me that I lost contact with about two years ago. I found out some information about them that was shocking to say the least. I don’t know a lot about the situation, but what I learned just seemed so out of character it was hard for me to process and wrap my head around it.

Have you ever felt that way? Like you thought you knew someone so well and then you find out later that they’ve done something that seems totally out of character. It’s like you never knew them at all. It’s not a good feeling. Especially when it’s someone that you really cared about and trusted.

I tried to keep myself busy after this so that I wouldn’t think about it too much. Not sure if that’s the best coping mechanism, but it’s what’s been working for me. I turned my focus onto my home and did a little redecorating with my back porch. It’s pretty cute now and has become a nice little oasis for me.

So that’s what’s been going on with me. I’ll be back soon with an update for May.

Bullet Journal – March Cover Page


March has been busy! I feel like everything has been go, go, go this month and I haven’t had a moment to really breathe.

Overall it’s been a good month. I was happy to get back to a normal routine after dealing with Freya’s spay last month. It just feels like it’s flown by.

For the cover page I didn’t do anything original. If you look up cover pages on Instagram there’s a million like this. I hosted St. Patrick’s Day at my house and made homemade soda bread. It was really good and it was nice to have my family over for dinner.

I really don’t have that much else to update on. Just keeping busy and working. I’ve had plans almost every weekend in March, so I’m hoping April slows down a little. Guess we’ll see!

 

Bullet Journal – February Cover Page

I’m not going to lie, this is not an original design. The beginning of February was really busy for me and I just didn’t have any ideas for what I wanted to be my cover page. I found this on Pinterest and thought it was really cute, so I went with it, and I’m really happy with how it turned out.

I don’t think I mentioned it in my last monthly update, but I’ve gone back to work 4 days a week with two days in the office. It’s been nice to have a routine again. I have off every Friday to focus on my art and it feels really good to take that time for myself to do something I enjoy. It’s nice also to have it at the end of the week so I can turn on some music to just decompress from the week and paint.

I’ve been doing a pretty decent amount of painting, but haven’t had many sales yet this year. I’m not necessarily worried about that though. I feel like this year is about building up my portfolio and making new pieces to offer on my website so that next year I’ll have this catalog of products that I can just promote and add to.

The second half of February was kind of strange because Freya was spayed. She did well and she’s so active that I was worried she would hurt herself. I had to sedate her a bit, but she seems to be recovering okay and I’m glad it’s over.

I’m ready for March and hopefully some warmer weather. I’m over shoveling and I really just want a nice day where I can clean up my yard and get ready for spring.

One of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManus

I should start this out by saying I was a little hesitant to read this book. I read One of Us Is Lying because I really enjoyed the TV adaptation on Peacock, and the book was just as good. After I finished the book, I realized that the second book in the series wasn’t so much about the original characters but about Maeve and a new group of people that go to Bayview.

At the end of the show, it seemed like the next season would be a continuation of the original Bayview Four’s stories. The book ended differently, so it makes sense that their stories have mostly ended, but I still wanted more of them.

They do make appearances throughout the second book, but the story isn’t about them anymore. This time, the focus is more on Bronwyn’s sister Maeve and her group of friends. A new Simon impersonator has come into the picture and is playing games of Truth or Dare with the students of Bayview.

I was surprised to find how much I really did enjoy this book despite my earlier hesitations. The new characters were interesting and the revelations of secrets kept me reading chapter after chapter. The story had a pretty good twist that was different enough from the first book to keep it interesting. Would definitely recommend continuing the series if you’re a fan of the show and have read the first book.

I’ve seen things about a third book coming in 2023, and I’m pretty sure I’ll read that as well.

Bullet Journal – January Cover Page

This one is super late, but I have a good reason! February has just been super busy for me. Freya got spayed recently, so I’m taking this time during her recovery to finally update the blog.

January was a good month! My theme for the month was “Thirty, Flirty, and Thriving” because I’ve finally entered my thirties!

Being thirty is definitely an exciting and scary time. I feel like I did a lot in my twenties and I’ve looked forward to seeing what my thirties will bring, but it’s also kind of scary.

I’ve been single for a long time, so I think the biggest question I have is whether or not I’ll get married and have children in the next decade. Ten years seems like a long time, but will I really fall in love, plan a wedding, and have kids by the end of it? When you think about it like that, it doesn’t seem like that much time at all.

I feel like I spent a lot of time in my twenties figuring myself out. Who I really am, what I really want, and who I want to be. I’m not sure I have it all figured out, but I’m certainly in a better place and more comfortable with myself going into my thirties.

It’s strange to think back on the last 10 years. I graduated college, made new friends, lost friends, thought I was in love a few times, got a “big girl” job, traveled the world, bought a house, adopted a puppy. It’s been a wild ride.

So here’s to my thirties! And here’s to continuing to grow and learn more about myself!

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Back again with another tv adaptation-inspired read!

The last time I went to a bookstore (which was who knows how long ago) I remember looking at the section of upcoming adaptations and seeing this book. It sounded interesting, but I ended up buying something else instead and adding it to my list of potential future books to read.

I get Peacock for free with my Xfinity account and hadn’t really used it before, but when the Chucky series came out I would go there to watch episodes that I missed and saw One of Us Is Lying had already come out. I binged through the series and had to read the book after that.

The storylines were very similar and I really enjoyed reading the book. There were a few changes made, but overall kept to the same story.

One of Us Is Lying is basically The Breakfast Club with a murder. A group of totally unrelated people end up in detention for reasons that don’t seem to make sense and one of them ends up dead. You spend the rest of the book jumping into each character’s mind and trying to figure out whodunit.

It’s a interesting story with a good amount of twists and a fairly surprising ending. I thought that I had it figured out, but I was only half way there.

I liked how the ending played out in the show better, but it’s always easier to improve on something the second time around. The show also left room to have a second season with the same cast, where I think the sequel to the book is an entirely different group of people. I’m definitely going to read the sequel next, so expect another update soon!

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

It’s been awhile since my last book review, but don’t worry, I’ve still been reading!

I felt like there was a lot of hype for the Hulu adaptation of Nine Perfect Strangers. They had such a great cast and were promoting the show off the success of Big Little Lies. I made sure to watch it every week and it was certainly interesting. I feel like I enjoyed it for the most part. I cared about the characters and was happy with how things ended for all of them. Nicole Kidman’s portrayal of Masha was a bit odd, but kind of worked? Overall, I enjoyed it.

I really liked Big Little Lies and have wanted to read more of Liane Moriarty’s work, so it only made sense to read the book. I think it’s important to mention that Liane Moriarty is Australian and both books take place in Australia, so it’s interesting to me that they’ve been adapted to American locations. I guess this is Nicole Kidman’s doing, right? She has to be the reason these Australian books are being made into American TV.

Anyway…I have to say that I liked the show more than I liked the book. It was still a good read, but I almost wish I would have read it before seeing the show. It just wasn’t as dramatic or interesting and we didn’t get to see as much of the personalities of the characters.

There were quite a few changes that were made when they adapted it into a show, and I think all of the changes were for the better. The biggest ones for me for the house they stayed in and Masha’s character.

In the book they’re in an old Victorian house that has cracks in the plastic and gave me sort of an eerie feeling. I’m assuming that’s what Moriarty was going for, but it seemed like it would be a better location for a ghost story than a meditation retreat. Changing it to a modern facility worked better in the show. Although it didn’t have that eerie, old feeling I think there’s still something creepy about those cold, empty facilities. Almost like Kim Kardashian’s empty, white, seemingly endless hallways.

The other big change was Masha. In the book she was an overweight business executive that didn’t take care of herself and had a near death experience that made her change her lifestyle. Nicole Kidman’s portrayal was also unhealthy, but not quite in the same way. They had similar traumas prior to their NDE, so that was the same, but their personalities afterward were very different.

Both Masha’s pushed the boundaries to extremes with their guests, but while Nicole Kidman’s moves were carefully calculated and kept in control, book Masha really lept off the deep end. They both helped the guests in similar ways, but by the end Nicole Kidman’s character was respected where book Masha should’ve been institutionalized.

I definitely liked the way that the show handled everything better. It felt intentional, where the book made her seem too crazy. It was a good read though. At the end I found myself wanted to just keep reading one more chapter. I was glad too that they tied up all the loose ends by the end and didn’t leave the reader guessing what happened to everyone after they left the retreat.

Bullet Journal – December Cover Page

Happy New Year! I can’t believe we’re already into 2022. Where have the last two years gone?

I guess with the holidays it’s easy to lose track of time, but this December seemed especially fast. I’m not complaining though. I think we all had enough of 2021 and the beginning of a new year feels like we have another fresh start. I know I’m looking forward to what 2022 brings and I feel like others around me are feeling positive about the new year as well.

December was a really interesting month for me. I was worried that the dog ornament orders would slow down and there wouldn’t be as much interest in them as I had in November, but I was surprisingly wrong. I even had people who were ordering ornaments for after Christmas!

It’s crazy because I really didn’t know how this would go or if I was talented enough to actually do this and have people want to pay me to paint something for them. I feel like with every order I’m surprised and thankful that another person is taking a chance on me. It’s really been very exciting.

After Christmas I also received a few messages from people who had received the painted ornaments as gifts and they were very sweet. One woman let me know that she would forever treasure the gift she received and thanked me, it was really nice to hear that and made me feel good about the joy that I can bring to others by doing this.

I’m really looking forward to expanding this and I have so many ideas that I’m excited to share this year. It’s really been great to find something that I enjoy doing and that I feel exciting about working on. I almost feel like I have too many ideas and need to pace myself a bit, but we’ll see how the year goes. Either way, I’m excited for it!

Bullet Journal – November Cover Page

So here we are with another late monthly post. Should I just make this a thing? It does kind of make sense to post after the month has ended. That way I can actually post about how the entire month went for me. Seems to make sense, right?

The theme for my cover page was another one of my costumes this year. I got invited to a friend’s Halloween party and went as a scarecrow with a sunflower painted on my face. I saw it on Pinterest and it was beautiful, and mine turned out pretty well. It took forever though, and was not easy to paint my face in a mirror.

November itself has been kind of a whirlwind. In the beginning of the month, I posted about my hand-painted pet ornaments on Instagram and the response from my friends was more than I ever could’ve expected.

I would’ve been happy to sell just one ornament, and I’ve sold 32 of them! It’s crazy and literally beyond my wildest expectations. I’ve been painting non-stop this month, but it’s so great and I’m really excited to be doing something that I love. Making a little money on the side doesn’t hurt either.

Thanksgiving was really great. It’s always nice to see family and I had a good time. We went to my Aunt Shelly’s house, but I didn’t stay too long because I needed to get back home to my little Freya.

Speaking of Freya, I brought her into the office for the first time this month. She was a little excited and had to check out everything, but she did surprisingly well. She’s really such a good girl and is growing so fast.

The month ended on a somewhat negative note. I was cleaning up my fall decorations and getting ready to decorate for Christmas and I pulled a muscle in my lower back. It was so bad that I was laying on the floor and had to call my sister to help me out. I spent a few days sleeping on the couch, so I wouldn’t have to go upstairs, and even though I have more movement now, I’m still in recovery.

I’m really looking forward to December. It’s so strange that the year is almost over. I swear it just started. The holiday season is definitely my favorite time of the year. I’m looking forward to the food, spending time with family, and that first huge snowfall. I’m really excited to see how Freya reacts to a lot of snow.

Happy December everyone!

It’s Just A Bunch of Hocus Pocus

I Smell Children Hand-Painted Wood Sign

I know we’re past Halloween, but it can still be spooky season in November, right?

I wanted to share a little bit more about what I’ve been working on with my home decor signs. I mentioned it in my last post and I’m really excited and have so many ideas that I’m working on.

In October, I went on a little bit of a Hocus Pocus kick with my Halloween decor. Even painting a huge sign for outside that I had seen on Pinterest.

Every time I’m in home decor stores, it’s hard for me to justify spending money on signs when I know that I can paint them myself. I love painting and often have re-created art that I’ve seen on Pinterest for my home decor.

I decided to give it a shot and paint a few Hocus Pocus themed signs for Halloween, and I think they turned out really well! I know it’s a little late to be promoting them, but I still wanted to share them with the world.

I plan on working on more fall signs next and then some for Christmas. Like I said before, I have so many ideas so I’m really excited to put them to work. I’m going to be selling them on my Etsy Shop: Kayla Cropper Art

This is something that I’m really enjoying doing, so I hope other’s will enjoy my work too. If you have some time, please check it out! 🙂

Amuck! Amuck! Amuck! Hand-Painted Wood Sign

Another Glorious Morning Hand-Painted Wood Sign