Friday, December 30, 2011

My Year In Review

What a difference a year makes!  This time last year I was just happy to be alive, after experiencing the worst year of my life.  I truly believe my dolls helped turn it around for me.  Seeing that 10,000 people had viewed my video got me out the bed and creating videos again.  So this has been an amazing year for me. So let's take a closer look.

VIDEOS
I started the year with 6 videos loaded.  Two of those were just random doll videos, not related to doll stories.  I had about 11,000 views for all 6 videos.  Today, a year later, I have 56 videos loaded, with a total of

1,175,982 views!

I have three videos that have gone well over 200,000.  I now better understand the concept of compound interest.  Once a video reached the 100,000 mark, it took no time at all to get to the 200,000 mark.  I noticed I had gone over a million a couple of weeks ago.  I never pay attention to those stats. That's not what's important to me, but due to the YouTube design change, it was now prominently displayed at the top of the page.  It is amazing to me that so many people have watched my videos.  I have received the most wonderful comments along the way.  I have also received incredible email messages, cards and gifts from followers that have expressed elation over the videos.  I have witnessed people in person discussing my characters as though they are real.  It has been a fulfilling experience for me and I get confirmation every day that I am supposed to be doing this.  One of the most touching moments was being IM'd (instant messaged) by one of my 10yr old followers.  She and I had conversed through email on previous occassions.  Right in the middle of her instant message about the dolls, she breaks out with "OMG, I can't believe that I am talking to The One and Only Vanessa Morrison of vansdolltreasures".  It was like I was some superstar.  It was wonderful.

ETSY SHOP
My Etsy shop thrived throughout the year and I saw my requests for commissions steadily increase. (Just got another one last night).  I was very happy to add food to my shop this year.  Next year I hope to design some new furniture pieces, add lots more food, and possibly start selling clothes for the SIS/Chelsea sized dolls.  The shop is pretty much empty at the moment.  I will get back to stocking the store sometime mid-January.

MORRISTOWN
There were approximately 25 families created this year and Morristown was born.  My family room has been completely transformed into this wonderful little town.  Five families got permanent homes  There is now a boutique (Ni'Chalet's) , a hair salon (The Mane Event), a bridal boutique (Bridal Originals), a jazz spot (The Den),  and a whole host of restaurants.  Coming soon will be a grocery store, and the long awaited daycare.

THE BLOG
In 2011, I posted 267 times, so far.  In 2010, I posted only 52 times,  but that was truly an accomplishment considering.  When I started my blog in 2009, I had no clue as to what I would blog about.  I didn't have families in mind at the time and I just wanted to bring attention to my furniture.  How did families come about you ask?  I had all of these loose dolls and I had put them into little groups.  I would name them and a week later forget what their names were and I could never put my hands on the notebook where I wrote down everyone's name.  That's when I decided to just put them into families, name them, and post it on my blog.  This way I would have a permanent, easy to find reference when I needed their names.  That is how this whole putting families on my blog came about.  It was just for my purpose of remembering their names.  Here is a video of the original families I put together.  It was created long before I loaded it into YouTube. The couch that they are sitting on was a sofa that I was trying some new design techniques on.  So that is why it looks the way it does.  I will be doing a new family video as soon as a few more dolls arrive.  Some of the other dolls in this video will be making an appearance next year.  I think there are some large images in this video and it may take a while to play.  You may want to let it play through first then watch it again with out the stopping.



My Greatest Accomplishments for 2011
1) Inspiring others to start blogs.
2) Inspiring young girls to continue playing with their dolls.
3) Getting some of my furniture published in the Fashion Doll Quarterly
    Winter 2011.
4) Meeting some of the most wonderful people.
5) Learning how to cook to the point where I am creating my
    own recipes.

The People
I want to thank all of you who visit my blog, watch my videos, shop at my Etsy store, and encourage me to keep doing this.  I truly appreciate the time you invest in my blog.  It wouldn't be be the same without you.  I would still enjoy it, but it's so much better having all of you with me. 

Special thanks goes out to the following:
Debbie of Black Doll Collecting - for putting up with my craziness, and for keeping us informed about Black dolls.
Paulette of Limbe Dolls - for reaching out to me with picture taking tips in the beginning. Thanks for blessing us with your tutorials, and those amazing stories.
Tracy of Dolls and the City - for your amazing comments and continued encouragement. I feel like I've known you forever.  I look forward to more drama from your city.
Frannie of Thrift Store Dolls - for being such a sweet and giving person and reminding us to check those thrift stores.
Dana of A Philly Collector of Playscale Dolls, and Action Figures - for keeping us informed of different dolls and our foot in the action figure world and blessing us with your Joe's. Where would we be without Joe.
Ms. Leo of  I-Luv-Dolls - for the nice variety of dolls, Etienne, and the other beautiful men you have introduced us to.  [Ms. Leo doesn't know this, but she is like the big sister I never wanted.  ROFL.  She and I have had a couple of spats this past year, but we always hug and make up.  The first spat happened earlier in the year when I suggested she remove her blog approval. (I now know that is a Philly thing.  Kidding.)  The last was our Monster High fight.]  I love you Ms. Leo!
Cecile of Chynadoll Creations -  for reaching out to me on Facebook and joining our blogging family.  You have been a blessing with your beautiful repaints of your dolls and now your furniture.
William of 1/6th Point of View - for allowing yourself to be happy being creative with your dolls and for continuing to bless us with handsome action figures, great stories, and Club Euphoria.
Vickey (Georgia Girl) of Pink Obsession - for your amazing support and for joining our blogging family.
EbonyNicole of BrooklynStarsForever -  for your wonderful photos and for the Blasian experience.  Obsession never looked so good!
Anika of Dollz4Moi Vinyl Musings - for always being there and for reminding me that there is someone out there with WAY MORE doll stuff than I have.
Catherine (Cat) of A Doll Affinity - for being so giving and so sweet and for your amazing hair reroots and  redos, and great stories.
Marta of All4Barbie - for your continued support, your amazingly detailed dios, and for making all those pink playsets look so good.
Loretta of At Home with Loretta - for feeding me this year through your Sunday meal posts, for adopting me as your daughter, and for allowing James (your husband) to blog in your absence.  He is one in a million.
Jorge of Clicking Dolls - for your unique take on the doll world, your amazing photography, and for inspiring me to buy the AA Dallas Cowboy doll.  She is amazing.
robyne of Desperately Seeking Dolls - for being so wonderful. There are a number of dolls in my collection because of your blog alone.  Most notably Sylvia (Target 1.5 Model #8).  Thank you for making me look at my dolls in new light. Thanks for showing me the plane, too.  It was so needed in Morristown.
Emma D - for being such a delightful young girl.  You are so beyond your years and you have renewed my faith in the younger generation.
BrnBetty - for your amazing support, friendship, words of wisdom and encouragement, and for loving my videos soooo much.
mrscarissa - for your continued suppport and friendship.
Dukasha - my Russian connection. You are a wealth of information, especially when it comes to fashion doll kids.  Thanks for keeping me straight with my doll names.
The Doll Divas and Flickr family -  You are an amazing bunch of talented people.  I have spent more money than I care to remember, just from looking at your pictures.

and last but not least, Kenya of Here's the Thing.  I met her on a Blog Jog day.  She is not a doll person, she is a writer and her book The Christopher Chronicles just hit the stores. Christopher is her 6 year old son.  If you want a good laugh, her blog is the place to go.  She is naturally hilarious and she has that "homegirl" vibe about her.  She has a serious crush on my Darius doll, which doesn't surprise me because she favors Halle Berry to me.  That is why we renamed my Halle Berry doll, Halle Kenya Berry.  Kenya, you are one in a million, that's for keeping me in stitches.  The picture of you walking to "Wobble Wobble" can get me laughing any time of the day. I think I'll go play that song right now.

Inevitably I will forget someone, and I do apologize.  You guys know I have a bad memory. Here are a few more peole I want to thank: Dani of Vita Plastica, Susannah of Building of the Priors, In A Dolly's World, Hey It's Muff,  and Dollies Series.  Thanks for your support and your wonderful blogs that have inspired and entertained me throughout the year.

I will be reaching out to other bloggers soon.  Amazing blogs are being added every day.  Don't worry.  You guys know I always share what I find.

Health Update
Some of you know that I am fighting a battle with a cancer that affects my blood cells.  I have done amazingly well this year.  The treatment has worked like a charm.  I feel great and I function like a normal person as long as I take my meds.  Unfortunately, the last few months I have not gotten the best doctor reports and they want to switch me to a new treatment.  One which is incredibly inconvenient and requires a lot more out of pocket money.  I have been praying and asking for prayers that the current treatment will start working again.  I am a woman who believes in the power of prayer.  I go back to the doctor's today, but since the numbers lag by one month, I won't really know if the changes I made this month have made a difference.  My doctor doesn't understand when I tell him, "I can't switch treatments until after Danielle and Rod get married."  He also doesn't understand that Darius and Nikki are in desperate need of their vacation to Aspen and I have to get that done.  These dolls are part of the reason I am still here today, and they are healing me just as much as any medicine.  So for all of you who are praying folks, please put me in your prayers.  One last special thank you to Teddy, my soon to be 19 year old dog,  who shows me every day that life is worth living.  He is a 10 lb miracle with nine lives.  He has survived being run over by a car, a sprained back that was so bad he couldn't walk for months, my ex-husband who hated him, and when he went blind last year, I thought for sure he wouldn't last long.  All that bumping into walls was wearing him out.  He may be blind, but I swear that dog can see now.  He is getting around at lightning speed and hasn't bumped into a wall in over 9 months.  About a month ago it looked like the end was near for him.  I told him it was okay to go.  He didn't eat or drink for several days and literally couldn't move.  I held him and bottle fed him some of the special water I drink.  In two days he was back to normal.  He is now getting around like nothing ever happened.    

I hope this post did not depress you.  So if it did, let's take a look at some of the positives of me getting cancer:
* Morristown, and the videos as they are, would probably not exist.
* I would never have forced myself to learn how to cook well. (It was on my "list")
* I got down to a size 2. Something I never thought was possible.  Thank goodness I didn't stay there long. Size 2 does not look good on everyone.  But in my mind, it was awesome.  Even for a little while.
* My hair is the healthiest it has been since my early 20s. Go figure!  I can't promise future treatments won't take it away, but for now it's nice to have.
* I had wanted to get dental work done for the past 5 years. After fainting from my meds and falling down the stairs, I was forced to use that extra money I had coming on dental work. You guys know without the fall, that extra money would have gone somewhere else.
* I have learned to really appreciate the little things like blooming flowers, perfectly formed clouds in the sky, walking and running, breathing.
* I was an open person before, but now I'm ridiculously open.  It is quite freeing to be able to respectfully say what needs to be said. 
* I no longer waste my time arguing, being upset, holding grudges, and all the rest of that nonsense. When I took a glimpse of the end (and turned back), I no longer wanted to waste anymore precious time on nonsense.  I want to enjoy every moment.
* Decided to debox or sell every doll that I own.  I don't have any kids to pass them on to, and let's think about it.  Can anyone, who is not a doll person, enjoy my dolls better than I can?  H to the No.  Off with those boxes!
* I hug and say "I love you" a lot more.
* Immediately stopped worrying about my retirement fund and my credit score!  That alone was a big weight off my shoulder.  I seemed to be living for these two things alone.
* Best of all,  I MET ALL OF YOU!!!

If this sounds like a farewell, IT IS NOT!  I have way too many stories to tell, dolls to buy, etc to be leaving anytime soon.  I plan to be around for a long time or at least until the dog dies.  LOL!  You have to forgive me.  Laughter has also been great medicine for me, so I tend to find humor in some of the craziest things.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE!

P.S.  There will be a New Year's video.  It probably won't get posted until January 2nd, 2012

26 comments:

  1. Happy New year to you Vanessa and i want to personally thank you for bringing us the wonderful things that you have. You are a huge inspiration to alot of people and your dolls have broughten great joy to us all! If it wasnt for you i wouldnt have ventured out into this world and did anything with my dolls! Someday i would love the honor of meeting you in person and to just give you a huge hug! ""HUGS"" so for now that will have to do! :)

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  2. William - Thanks for your wonderful comments. And for now "HUGS" is more than enough!

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  3. We will be praying for you. God does answer prayers. I can testify to that! Can't wait to see the new food next year. Your blog has inspired me. it helps me explain my crazy doll addiction to people who do not understand it. i.e. almost everyone...lol
    Looking forward to a continued friendship in the new year!

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  4. Aww, your gonna make me pull out my tissue! First I want to thank you tremendously for all your inspiration. It's because of you that I am even on blogspot lol. Thank you for encouraging me to step out of my box and participate in this blogging platform. Second, I too would love the honor of meeting you in person, and just sharing doll stories and yes even our cartoons (with the pj's on lol) and lastly, just know that you have a couple of prayer warriors here with myself and Hampton. The effective, fervent prayers of a righteous man avails much! I am totally inspired by you and look forward to blogging with you in the new year and beyond. Huge hugs and many many blessings. Happy New Year
    Cecile~

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  5. mrscarissa - Thanks. This morning as I was washing dishes, my new way of doing food in the shop came to me. I will reveal it soon.

    Chynadoll - I thought about you prayer warriors and knew I needed to put out a request. So this is the line up Toy Story 1, 2, and 3, Sesame Street, and Curious George. I will bring my Elmos. What did I miss?

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  6. Hi Vanessa,

    I want to thank you for being such a wonderful inspiration throughout the year. I discovered your blog last December and thanks to the beautiful dioramas in your videos, I was inspired to set up about 20 scenes on the display shelves I have in my house. From there I started blogging and shooting photo stories which is the most satisfying work I have ever done. It has been a great honor to meet you in person and I'll be praying for you because I can't wait to see the next videos. Congratulations on reaching 1 million views! My goal is to come in right behind you some day.

    Best Wishes for the New Year!

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  7. Hi Vanessa: Happy New Year. I see this year that has just made ​​a very good job. I love all your families and homes to prepare them with every detail. Your babies are adorable and your videos. I hope that in 2012 enjoy even more of our blogs. We remain in contact blog blog

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  8. Bless you! You and little doggy are an inspiration.

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  9. Vanessa, you are a true blessing and inspiration to us all. I have learned alot from your post and look so forward to each and everyone of them. First of all congratulations on getting over a million reviews...you go girl! Also congrats on accomplishing all goals that were met. You will continue to receive tons of blessings because God looks out for His children. It's okay that your doctor don't understand that Rod and Danielle has to get married or that Nikki and Darius must take the Aspen trip, we all know and understand it. Lol! Happy New Year, I love you and my prayers will continue to go up everyday for great health for you. A new year's video, yay!

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  10. Girl I was already beaming just because I was so happy for you. I love seeing people doing their thing and then when I feel the vibration of their passion come through them and what they are doing it makes me excited. I want everyone to feel this way. THEN I got to the part about me and tears burst to the surface of my eyeballs and I'm grinning so hard my cheeks are going to hurt after while. Sniff sniff! Thank you ;-) okay now let me finish reading!

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  11. First of all, I have to say I am very impressed with your video stats. They are proof that what you are doing has touched the lives of many. I'm sure that makes you feel very good. Congratulations again on getting your furniture published in Fashion Doll Quarterly.

    Secondly, I feel so honored to be among those who received a special thanks. I truly believe people enter the lives of others for a reason. I remember receiving the first email from you asking me to follow your blog. I'm so glad you found me and invited me to be part of your blog family.

    You can continue to count on my prayers and those of my mother and her prayer group. Like you, we know there is power in prayer. With your determination and motivation along with the power of prayer, I know you have a lot more living to do and you will do it! I feel it in my bones.

    Vanessa, you are an inspiration. Keep on writing your doll stories, creating your doll families, videos, furniture, food, and whatever your creative juices inspire you to do.

    I remain a following fan and am always just an email-ear away,

    dbg

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  12. Well I have to admit I had to step away from the computer for awhile after I read the second part. I'm one of those praying folks so - nuff said. And so you "tend to find humor in the craziest things" - dang you had me believing I was really funny ;-)

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  13. Vanessa, Look at all you have accomplished this year! Wish you could send me some of your energy. I love your posts which keep me in suspense and laughing at times.

    Remember you are not alone in this cancer fight, I am there along with you. Ever since I retired this past June and started doing the things I enjoy most my dolls and my other blog about my hometown my levels have been at the lowest they have been in years. Been off my meds since October and will be starting again in January. I also am concerned that the medicine will stop working. I have been blessed since I am one of the lucky ones who have gone almost two years on this medicine. God has a plan for us and I am so happy that he has included your friendship in His plan for me. Will be praying for you this coming year! Have a Happy, Healthy, Prosperous Dolly New Year!

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  14. This post brought tears to my eyes. Wishing you so much love and health in the new year! I am trying to break out of my shy shell and hope to meet you this year, neighbor! My prayers are with you! And Teddy. What a survivor!

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  15. Without a doubt, you are an inspiration to everyone! That's why I do love you my girl! Thanks for all your lovely comments and supporting James...it was appreciated! We both wish you a Happy 2012 Dear Vanessa...Love you! Loretta

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  16. Happy New Year, Vanessa! I'm also very glad to know you. :) There are many doll collectors in Russia, but few of them have a passion for AA dolls as I have, and very few of them love doll kids as I love them, so it's almost impossible to find a collector, who loves AA doll kids, here, in Russia. And you are the very person, who loves the same things in doll collecting, which I love: buying AA dolls, buying AA doll kids and making families with those dolls and kids. :) It's so interesting to look at your doll families and to think about my own. :) Maybe one day I'll also start an English blog to show my dolls and doll families to you and maybe other English-speaking doll collectors, if they are interested. I'm a bad photographer, I don't make doll stories or videos, I don't have free space for making dioramas and I always have problems with doll clothes, because I want not to buy it, but to make myself and never really do it, because at the same time I want it to be perfect, but it is always not. LoL. All this makes me think, that showing my dolls is not a good idea, but sometimes I still want to do it. :)
    I can't pray, but I just wish you good luck, good health, much inspiration, new dolls, new dioramas, new doll stories and videos, and many-many good friends. Friendship is one of the most wonderful things in our life - I'm sure you know it. :)

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  17. Yeah Yeah,Friend!!
    I´m So Happy For This Year Experience You Had!!
    I always said...dolls is a "peace culture",and this small plastic babies could bring us lucky and serenity!!
    Thank you for the mention on your amazing post!!
    I´m waiting fot your new treasures for 2012 heheheheheh!!
    Congratz For Your Amazing Creative Doll´s Job!!
    Take A Tight Hug!!
    HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

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  18. Vanessa, thank you for always inspiring me! Your blog, videos, Etsy crafts, and especially your furniture are truly remarkable! You are so very talented! :)
    I want you to know that I am keeping you in my prayers. I, too, believe in the power of prayer, and I am praying that this year be a much blessed and healthy year for you! Have a Happy New Year! :)

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  19. Vanessa, you are truly the most amazing person I have (never) met, LOL. I want to first say, thank you! Thank you for sharing your gifts with us. Thank you for inspiring us. Thank you for encouraging us to have fun with this hobby and continue to tap into our creativity. Thank you for giving us, something to look forward too and touches each of us. God is so, so good and all things are possible through him. You are definitely in my prayers and I believe with the new year will come new hope and possibilities. I also think Teddy is a trooper. It seems like he has some bad days but gets up and out because he has many more good days ahead.

    Thank you so much Vanessa for being such a pleasant and uplifting person.

    Happy New Year!! :)

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  20. Okay, this post had me totally choked up. It's people like yourself that got me collecting this year in the first place, so to have you thank me is powerful stuff. You're a good egg. Wishing you the best for 2012 and beyond.

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  21. Wishing you a very happy new year. All the best for you and your brave dog.

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  22. Vanessa, my prayers go out to you. You are a true inspiration. I always enjoy watching your videos and visiting your blog. Congratulations on all of your accomplishments:) Adrian

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  23. Dollies Series - Thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers. I look forward to seeing more of your videos in 2012. All the bright colors and Dean always puts a smile on my face.

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  24. I missed this post for months. Months. Thanks for sharing your story and sorry I did not read this post sooner.

    Congratulations on all your accomplishments! I don't recall the first time I landed in Morristown, but it has been a great time. Thanks for being the exuberant and generous woman you are. You have cheered and encouraged me and others more than I or Old Joe can say.

    I will pray for you and for Frannie. Rock on.

    Wait ... Joe says he does not say, "Rock on" - what? Hey, what do you mean, that's corny? Just because Donny Osmond said or sang it ... how dare you? Excuse me, Vanessa, me and an ELEVEN inch fellow got something to settle ....

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  25. It made me sad and grateful but not depressed. I feel lucky to have seen your work and "met" you through your stories.

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    Replies
    1. Valsays - Thank you so much! You kind words mean a lot. Thanks for commenting.

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