My name is Abbey, and there are a lot of unique things about me. First, I'm a right-brained learner. This basically means that I'm blessed with high imagination and cursed with anxiety. Second, I'm a Latter-Day Saint, who is amazed by the goodness of the Lord and all He does for me in my life. Third, I am an unschooler. The biggest lesson I learned from this education is to love learning and to pursue my passions. This blog is a collection of personal musings that will probably fall into one of these catogories. Thanks for visiting!

*All stamps courtesy of Mirz123

Monday, September 23, 2013

Love Notes - Music Style!

My #1 love language is words of affirmations, and although this doesn't necessarily mean that it's my husband's #1 love language, he does appreciate it when I leave little love notes for him (and being a word person, I love writing them!)  It doesn't have to be anything fancy or artsy; a quick note jotted down on a post-it note and stuck to his computer screen lets him know I'm thinking of him.

As fun as love notes are, I wanted to do something extra special for Ben one day.  I was feeling especially full of love for him, and a mere note didn't seem good enough.  So I created my very own musical love note!  This is how it works.  While listening to music from various artists on the radio or at home, I occasionally hear a song that perfectly represents my feelings toward Ben.  I download the song onto iTunes and pick a place I want to start my musical love note (including the entire song would be a bit overwhelming for both the giver and the receiver).  I then write the words of the song and draw pictures to accompany them in a way that's fun and personal.  Below is the cover and first page of the most recent musical love note I made for Ben.  The song is "Gone, Gone, Gone" by Phillip Phillips and I started the note at the bridge ("you're my backbone, you're my cornerstone, you're my crutch when my legs stop moving").

As you can see, the musical love note is nothing fancy.  I made it with copy paper and crayons in just a few minutes.  But it made Ben so happy to receive it.  Like me, music touches him in a very deep way.  And you know what is the best part about making these love notes?  When I take the time and effort to create these kind of things for Ben, my love for him increases as a result.  Some people say love is a verb, not a passive description; in order to feel love, you have to love first.  I believe this is true, because every time I do a little act of kindness for Ben, my love for him grows stronger and stronger.  If I'm feeling needy, I don't always seek affirmation from Ben.  Sometimes, all I need to do is make a little love note for him.  There's something about showing love to someone else that makes me forget my own problems.  It makes his day better, and at the same time, makes my day better, too.  It's a very special and fun tradition that I hope to continue throughout the years.  

Image from FineArtAmerica

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I Miss My Man

Earlier this month, my wonderful husband got his very first nursing job at Alamance Health Care Center.  This is an exciting milestone for both of us since he has been looking for a job for several months without any success.  With this new job, not only will we be financially secure, but Ben will be able to find new fulfillment in developing his new career.  And I get to be the good wife who makes his lunch and leave little notes in his bag.  ^_^  Everything seemed to be going just right.  About a week ago, however, I realized I was getting kind of depressed.  I was spending too much time in front of the computer and eating crappy food.  After some soul-searching, I realize that I'm just missing Ben.  I mean, before his new job, we spent most of the day together.  Even if we weren't directly interacting together, he was always close by.  And sure, we do get to spend a little time together after he comes home from work, but he has a lot of responsibilities outside of his job, too.  On top of that, he has to wake up r-e-a-l-l-y early, so he has to go to bed way before I do.  I'm happy that he's working, and I'm grateful for the money it provides us, and I knew this was coming anyway!  I guess I just didn't realize that I'd have to go through an emotional adjustment.  The first thing I thought of as I started working through my feelings was a hip-hop dance from season 4 of "So You Think You Can Dance."  It was performed by Chelsie Hightower and Mark Kanemura to the song "Bleeding Love."  It's a beautiful and emotional dance that depicts a man getting ready to leave for his job, but the woman wants him to stay and be with her.  He has to go eventually, though, and you can just feel the woman's loneliness as he walks away.  There are many interpretations of the dance, but to me, it represents the turmoil I feel right now.  I miss Ben; I'd keep him by my side all day if I could, but I can't.  I can't be selfish. I know I'll get to the other side of this and be perfectly fine.  After all, Ben is going to have to work for many, many years to come.  But it's okay that I feel a little sad right now.  Some people might roll their eyes at such puppy-dog-like love, but I treasure this stage in our relationship.  Ben and I have only been married for two and half years; our love is still young and not worn down by time and hardship.  My sadness may be silly, but it's real, and it helps me love Ben even more.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Pixelmon - Minecraft and Pokemon Unite

Header of Pixelmon's official website

I love Pokemon and I love Minecraft, and I just discovered the unthinkable.  My two favorite games have been merged into one awesome experience: Pixelmon.  I have known about Minecraft mods for a long time now.  They are variations of the game that are often created by fans and are often free to use.  Below are a few examples:

Image by kingbdogz
The Aether Mod
By creating a special portal, Minecraft players are whisked away to a floating world with new crafting materials (like Zanite and Aerclouds) and new mobs (like Flying Cows and Whirlwinds).

Image by toesmash
This mod adds many industrial materials and crafting options, including: pipes, engines, lasers, and

Image by Paulo Guilherme

More Explosions Mod
Who doesn't enjoy blowing things up?  This mod introduces many forms of explosives beyond Minecraft's standard TNT, including grenades, time bombs, C4, nukes (pictured), and more.

However, since mods are not official additions to Minecraft, it takes some work to install them, and sometimes they can corrupt your game or cause it to crash.  Because of this, I have always been too intimidated to install any sort of Minecraft mod.  I was always content to watch other people on Youtube play them.  Until I discovered Pixelmon, that is.  As I learned more about the mod, the more excited I became.  Over one hundred Pokemon wander the different biomes of Minecraft, able to be captured by Pokeballs you craft yourself.  After catching them, you can battle the Pokemon with wild ones so it can gain experience, level up, and learn new moves.  Despite my past inhibitions about mods, I was eager to try Pixelmon out.

(When starting your first game, you get to pick one of four starter Pokemon:
Bulbasaur, Charmander, Squirtle, or Eevee).

I found this mod installation tutorial by LittleLizardGaming invaluable in installing Pixelmon to my Minecraft.  The person speaks clearly and gives easy-to-follow directions from start to finish.  There are, however, a couple things I realized after installing this mod:

1. Once you install a mod, you cannot switch back to the original Minecraft or another mod without having to remove and reinstall files, sometimes resulting in losing all of your saved games.

2. Mods are more complicated to install in the latest version of Minecraft (v. 1.6.2).  The tutorial video above shows how to install mods in versions 1.5.2 and older.

That being said, after spending hours of tweaking and fiddling, I figured out a way to have two Minecraft launchers on my computer at the same time, one with the original game, the other with Pixelmon.  That way, I don't have to go through the trouble of moving files, reinstalling launchers, or losing my saved games.  I will share how to do this in a future blog post.  Until then, don't be afraid to give mods a shot.  They add variety and excitement to a game that was already incredible.   

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Art - It's Not Just About Drawing (Part 1)

I love to browse artwork on because I am reminded, again and again, that art is not just about drawing.  There are so many beautiful and breath-taking ways to create art that I never knew existed.  Below is a sampling of some of the unique styles of art that I have discovered on that are far beyond paper and pen.  


Sculptures, poseable or not, are abundant on Deviantart.  Wood-Splitter-Lee is by far the most talented sculptress I have ever seen on Deviantart, period.  Her fantasy animals (shown above) are colorful and majestic.  If I had the money, I would buy one of her sculptures in a heartbeat.  *sigh*  Maybe one day...

Clay Miniatures

I never knew clay could look so delicious...  All of these miniature foods, made by the incredible Fairchildart, looks good enough to eat.  They are delicate pieces of art that would look wonderful in a dollhouse.

By Mangakasma
By Origamimodulowe
And I thought folding a paper crane was difficult enough.  @_@  Origami, specifically 3-D origami, is becoming an art sensation that is bright, complex, and requires tons of paper.

By Erez-mor

By ColeHastings
I'm especially a big fan of the awesome monster seat.  :D  These unique pieces of furniture brings a dash of fantasy into anyone's home.

By Create-A-Pendant

By PeregrineStudios

By YelerCrakka

I'm such a sucker when it comes to jewelry, whether it's girly or totally nerdy (the flower is beautiful, but I'm a huge fan of the Zelda ocarina rings and Pokeball bracelet).  If I had it my way, I would order every single piece of custom jewelry on Deviantart.

This post is already huge, and I have many more categories to showcase!  Looks like I'm going to need to write a follow-up blog post about art that's not drawing.  :)  Be on the lookout for the sequel, which will contain more awesome art including:
- Crochet/Felting
- Photography
- Baking
- Face paint/Special effects
- Costumes/Cosplay
- Beading
- Stuffed animals