ellenmillion: (thud)
Yesterday I:
*Did 3 loads of laundry (washed, dried, folded - 1 of them got put away)
*Wrote a scene in my book (3 to go!)
*Got orders out
*Sent digital subscriptions
*Photodumped
*Weeded email (down to 250 today)
*cleaned the house
*organized my studio - one disaster cabinet in particular, and all the tables
*made Sketch Fest payments
*updated the webpage
*went grocery shopping
*got mail
*swapped out propane tanks
*dropped off my ipad for repair
*meals and dishes, oh my.

Today I:
*Put away the rest of the laundry
*had a playdate
*made a glass bead
*got another load of water
*mailed the hardcopy subscriptions
*finished insurance red tape
*cleaned the house again (because Guppy)
*weeded more email
*paid bills
*packed truck for show tomorrow
*Laid out two coloring book interiors

Tomorrow I:
*have a show from noon to 9! Come see me at the Bear Gallery at Alaskaland (I mean, Pioneer Park) - I will have coloring books and originals and may also be doing on-the-spot sketches!


If you would like to subscribe for a coloring book every month from July-December, I am opening this opportunity until the end of the month! I am unlikely to do a subscription service again, so this is your final chance to get a random awesome coloring book from my collection in your inbox or mailbox every month. It is $35 for digital, $85 for hardcopy (US shipping only).

The free coloring book sampler page this week is from APPLES AND ROSES, here: http://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/coloringbook.php?id=56
ellenmillion: (aahhhhhh)
I was downtown picking up some artwork this morning after dropping Guppy off at preschool, and I stopped in to two of the gift stores downtown with some samples. One place I had to leave a card and a coloring book with a cashier (SHE was super excited, at least), the other I got to hobnob with the owner for a long while, and she ordered some books (and pencil sets), and also signed me up to do a First Friday signing, probably in July when the next Alaska book is out. Woo!

I struck out at Fred Meyers trying to score the baby doll shirt I need. Tomorrow I will brave Walmart before delivering coloring books. Wish me luck!

Now, I have some precious, precious art time since the monster is blissfully napping, and I'm going to go use it!
ellenmillion: (thud)
I'm going through and closing things down bit by bit - all but digital things have been removed from Etsy, and I'm shutting down my Amazon shop next (except what I have in their warehouses). I'm putting up notices at all my various sites, and composing my autoresponder, and going through all my artists and sending out any payments due.

I have wrapped the last of the stocking stuffers, and sent one more gift. (There's another I'd like to send, but I'm waffling over what it will be...)

No one is getting anything major. Guppy is getting a tricycle from one aunt and (I think) a sled from the other. We will be assembling the former on Christmas Eve with eggnog after she's gone to sleep, as is traditional. Hopefully it will be functional. She's getting a Frozen sleeping bag from us, and a stocking with many little things like cranberries and chocolate and popcorn and a pair of mittens and a little Toothless figure. I got Jake (spoiler redacted), and I've already got part of my present: a deliciously thick, soft robe and PJ pants that I got to open last week when I was really sick and needed a big warm bathrobe to pad around in.

Planning to see Star Wars next week, and I'm very excited about it. I have managed to be only very slightly spoiled for the opening and nothing else. SO FAR.

I have no art to share today. We went shopping and monsterus minimus was EXTRA SUPER monstery, and I would cheerfully have traded her to the circus in exchange for a monkey. Or for monkey poop, at times today.
ellenmillion: (Number 1 Dog Ribbon)
Inbox: 15!!!!

That's just one page of things to deal with. ONE PAGE!

Two weeks and one day ago, it was 600, with all the spam already weeded out. There were a few notification-type-things that could just be deleted, a few things that could just be filed, but most of them were legitimate emails that required an actual reply, or some type of action. Boo-yeah.
ellenmillion: (EMG)
More bundles for you today!


Furry Critters Bundle: $12 (10 cards, 4 magnets, 1 mirror-backed keychain)


Phoenyx Bundle: $2 (5 cards)


Romance Bundle: $10 (10 cards, 2 magnets, 1 sticker)

The bundles get a little bit more random as we go along...

Remember to check the master page for currently available bundles: http://ellenmillion.livejournal.com/1403112.html
ellenmillion: (EMG)
Periodically, I sold awesome things through EMG that I didn't make myself.

For example, Oracle of the Dragonfae, which included artwork by several of my artists, and Mythic Oracle with artwork by Ravynne Phelan (then Michele-Lee Phelan!). I also carried Wild Wisdom of the Faery Oracle (Book & Cards) and Pathfinders Animal Totem Deck, but both of those are out of stock.

I DO have several copies of those first listed decks left, however! And I am making them available to you guys for $10 each this month! (Shipping is combined over all orders this month; one deck will fit with most small-item bundles in a small flat rate box, but if you get calendars, coloring books or other larger plan-area items, you'll need to step up to a medium flat rate box. Into which I can squish a great deal!)

(Full disclosure - links above are all affiliate links to Amazon! Click knowingly!)

I also sold cloisonne pins of [livejournal.com profile] ursulav's work in three designs, though these weren't available on the webpage for any length of time:


Cloisonne pins: $10 each. (available: 1 Digger [out of print], 3 Red Wombat, 3 Happy Cthulu)

Also, an update - I have only one of Ursula's Rodents We Have Known calendars left. See all the available bundles and updated specials here: http://ellenmillion.livejournal.com/1403112.html
ellenmillion: (Mmm..)
Portrait Adoption was the first real step that EMG took away from the original giftshop, and ended up being one of the most successful experiments of the business.

The premise of the site is to provide character portraits for gamers and writers who might otherwise commission a portrait... but are perhaps a little cautious about commissioning work from a strange artist. Let's face it, artists can be flaky, and commissioning work can be very disappointing. It's an awesome outlet for artists who like to draw 'random people,' but don't like the pressures of having to work with clients or to deadlines. Portraits are uploaded the site already completed, for 'adoption.' Adoption of a portrait gives the client a large, unwatermarked image of the portrait, and (optionally) a high quality print and a signed certificate naming the portrait to their specification and promising that no other prints will ever be made. The client still gets something one-of-a-kind, but there is none of the usual hassle and headache (and sometimes, heartache!) of the traditional commission process.

As the site developed, we added a customization feature - artists can offer to tweak the portrait a little to make it just a little be more like the client was envisioning. And we also added the Submitted Description option. Clients can give the description of their character - along with their price-range and desired size and media - and all of the Portrait Adoption artists have a chance to try their hand at it. No money changes hands unless the client makes an adoption, and if they choose not to, the artist can offer the portrait generally, or remove it from Portrait Adoption altogether and make prints or merchandise to their heart's content. (This icon is an example of that!) Submitted Description portraits have a relatively high rate of adoption! The site has proven popular with art collectors who want something truly unique, as well as gamers and writers.

The site has come a long, long way... at first, we had a team of artist volunteers who hand-made all the images for the site (do you guys remember that?!), and later a brilliant database-driven site was created that automated big, big chunks of the process. It's a few clicks of work for me now, plus printmaking, and my tools are pretty awesomely powerful. I've just finished a big (BIG) security upgrade, and merged the Portrait Adoption customer logins with the overall EMG logins. I also gave the portrait pages a bit of a polish and added ACEO as a print option. This is the first step in a planned attack of upgrades that will include (eventually!): auctions, originals, better browsing, more rights management (ebook covers, for example!), more categories (RPG illustrations that aren't portraits), shared wishlists, better artist tools, and more. SO much more.

I've got two amazing specials for you as part of our 20 Days of 20 Years celebration.

The first is a free drawing: for every portrait (by any artist) that you add to your wishlist, you are entered in a drawing for a free web adoption of any portrait in my gallery. If you are ordering anything this month (or are a Fantastrix Kickstarter backer with any package that includes shipping!), you will be upgraded to a standard adoption. To add portraits to your wishlist, log in here and browse through all the gorgeous portraits available! If you have a good high-speed connection, you can see an amazing page with thumbnails of ALL the portraits available (nearly 1000!). The drawing is good on all wishlist additions from this weekend through the end of the month; I'll do the drawing the first of November. Everything you add to your wishlist counts in your favor, so don't be shy about adding them!

The second special is half off everything in my portrait gallery! This is my personal gallery, and I've got far, far too many portraits right now. This is your chance to grab any of them at 50% off! Through the end of October, I will refund half of your purchase (before shipping) on any adoption of my work. (I'm sorry, I can't extend this special to other artists, too!)

In any cases where I am shipping you a portrait adoption print, I will upgrade you to the original wherever I still have the original in good shape.
ellenmillion: (dragon hoard)
I expect these to go quickly... and I'd like to give multiple people a chance at them, so please choose just one to start with! If there still any left tomorrow, you can claim a second or third.


Dragon Bundle #1: $20 (7 cards, 3 stickers, 1 magnet, 1 bookmark (shown without tassel, but it will be added!), 1 mirror-backed keychain, 3 mini-totes)


Dragon Bundle #2: $18.50 (7 cards, 4 stickers, 1 magnet, 1 bookmark (shown without tassel, but it will be added!), 1 mirror-backed keychain, 2 mini-totes) GONE


Dragon Bundle #3: $18.50 (7 cards, 4 stickers, 2 bookmarks (1 shown without tassel, but it will be added!), 1 mirror-backed keychain, 2 mini-totes) GONE

Remember to check the main bundles landing page to see all available bundles: http://ellenmillion.livejournal.com/1403112.html

You can place a claim anywhere - Facebook, LJ, etc, but it will be by first come/first served, and Facebook is sometimes flaky about notifying me and is more difficult to figure out when things were posted, so LJ is much safer!

And here's a look at some of my vintage dragon designs:

In 1995, I started offering postcards, and then cards through EMG. These were pretty unimpressive at first, just single-color ink on flecked gray cardstock. It was a few years before I moved into printing my own and offering color.

Candle was one of my first best selling cards, and remains popular. The original was one of my first and only eBay sales:



Here are a few from the archives that... I'm not sure I ever actually OFFERED them through EMG, though I had planned to. If they were available, it was for a very short time:





The same idea, but intended as stationery:



This one was a popular stationery design for a while:



But for stationery sales - and bookmarks! - Northern Lights was by far my best seller:



I later re-did this design in a more square format for cards. And much later, I painted it again in oils. My sister has that painting hanging in her house. I am not done with this design yet. I think I've got at least one more in me.

Now, someone small is insisting I read to her, and we both need some lunch!
ellenmillion: (emgzine)
Since I'm renewing the EMG-Zine.com domain today, it seemed appropriate to feature the anthologies. Some of the best of the first three years of the 'zine, these books are just STUFFED with useful advice, gorgeous art, and personal anecdotes about the art of the business of fantasy art (and writing). Humorous and deeply insightful, these books are a must-have for anyone starting out in the business.

EMG-Zine may not be updating anymore, but our archives - with 84 issues and hundreds of articles! - are a treasure trove of information and entertainment. I do still have expenses associated with keeping the 'zine available on-line, so consider buying one or more of the print volumes, or dropping a few pennies in the donation jar at the site. (You may also pledge credits!)



And, for the remainder of the month, you can get ALL THREE print volumes (a $72 value) for $55. Just let me know, and I will add it your claims. Payments can be made at the end of the month once you've had a chance to see all the sales and available goodies. (Paypal, credit card, check, money order, or EMG credits!)

Did you know that you can download the first volume of the anthology, absolutely free? Right here: http://emg-zine.com/downloads.php

(And yes, [livejournal.com profile] ursulav fans, most of her hilarious columns appear in these anthologies. No real collection would be complete without them...)

We also have one merchandise bundle for today!


Cats Bundle: $15 (6 stickers, 2 magnets, 3 mirror-backed keychains and a button) Gone!

Remember to check the master sale page to see what's still available and see a summary of all the specials. (Ursula's Weird Fruit calendar is now sold out! Meredith's Magic has been claimed!) http://ellenmillion.livejournal.com/1403112.html
ellenmillion: (EMG)
Today's bundles:


Pirates (and a Ninja) Bundle: $12 (7 cards, 3 stickers and a mirror-backed keychain)


Mermaids Bundle: $10 (1 card, 2 stickers, a keychain and a button) Claimed!

These are really a lot of fun to put together! See all of them so far here: http://ellenmillion.livejournal.com/1403112.html

And today, we're looking at calendars!

I had fun with calendars, but the biggest problem with them... they expire. No, they don't go BAD, but almost no one WANTS one after a few months into the listed year. So, they take up a lot of space in storage because I can't bear to throw them out, and later I try sell them for far, FAR less than I paid for them. I... would like to be rid of these, so I am offering them for $5 apiece, 2/$7, 3/$8, 4/$9 or 5/$10. Need a bunch for an art project? Avid collector? How about 10/$12! That's the equivalent of 120 prints. You can't beat that with a stick. Shipping is flat rate priority and about 5 fit in a flat rate envelope. I can stuff about 30 in a large flat rate box; I will hold and combine with other sales this month unless you request otherwise.

I have these available (links go to Amazon, where you can buy them for MUCH more):

Tadpoles We Have Known, Ursula Vernon, 2010
Enchantment and Fantasy, Rachel Anderson, 2010
Weird Fruit, Ursula Vernon, 2009 - ONE LEFT
Fantasy Babies, multiple artists, 2009
Selina Fenech, Fairies and Fantasy Calendar, 2009
Legends of the Sea, multiple artists, 2008
Things That Ought To Be/False Advertising, Ursula Vernon, 2008
Meredith's Magic, Meredith Dillman, 2008 - no link because I only have one! Gone
Rodents We Have Known, Ursula Vernon, 2007
ellenmillion: (EMG)
So I took myself (and Guppy) out to our storage box to see if I had any leftover EMG goodies I could tuck into orders this month - and found an unexpected treasure trove of cards, keychains, mini-totes, pins, stickers, magnets and more (and yes, tea!)! Some of them are best selling designs that are still not punched out. They are all in prime condition, most of them packaged for display, a few of the keychains are a little shopworn. All artists were paid wholesale rates on these items when I packed them up for my big shop shut-down. Most of this artwork doesn't seem to be available anywhere anymore!

I've sorted them into themed bundles, and am letting them go at serious fire-sale rates, first come, first served. I will be releasing bundles most days this month, and all of them will be packed up and mailed early next month - unless you request otherwise.

Shipping and claiming details )

Bundles:

Click the photos for a larger images.


The Everything Else Bundle: $19 (9 cards, 3 bookmarks, 1 magnet, 1 sticker, 2 buttons, 2 mirror-backed keychains, 3 mini-totes)

Older bundles, still available! )

TEA: The teas are high quality pyramid sachets, 20 to a tin. Available flavors: Peppermint (6), apricot/peach green tea (4 - I never carried these, I was planning to introduce this flavor! SO yummy!), oolong (1) and chai (0, labeled). UNLABELED (unless noted). $6 each.

ACEOS: One of the fun things I made myself was blank ACEO cardstock for artists. (ACEO stands for art card edition or original, and indicates artwork that is exactly 2.5 x 3.5 inches. Highly collectible, and great for media experimentation and quick sketching.) See this post for all available art card stock: http://ellenmillion.livejournal.com/1411510.html

Portrait Adoption special: half off all portraits in Ellen Million's gallery! Additionally any time you add any portrait (any artist!) to your wishlist, it counts as an entry in a drawing for a FREE adoption (from Ellen's available portraits!)!

Coloring Books: Fantastrix is released this month! 28 pages of intensely detailed artwork by Ellen - the largest and most complex of all EMG coloring books. Retail price, $9. But bundles of 5 coloring books for $40 and 10 for $70 are available now! See all titles here: http://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/coloringbooks.php

Calendars: $5 apiece, 2/$7, 3/$8, 4/$9 or 5/$10. Need a bunch for an art project? Avid collector? How about 10/$12! That's the equivalent of 120 prints, or about 10 cents per print. You can't beat that with a stick. Shipping is flat rate priority and about 5 fit in a flat rate envelope. I can stuff about 30 in a large flat rate box.

I have these available (links go to Amazon, where you can buy them for MUCH more):

Tadpoles We Have Known, Ursula Vernon, 2010
Enchantment and Fantasy, Rachel Anderson, 2010 (~5 left)
Weird Fruit, Ursula Vernon, 2009 - GONE
Fantasy Babies, multiple artists, 2009 (very few left)
Selina Fenech, Fairies and Fantasy Calendar, 2009 (~5 left)
Legends of the Sea, multiple artists, 2008
Things That Ought To Be/False Advertising, Ursula Vernon, 2008 (~10 left)
Meredith's Magic, Meredith Dillman, 2008 - no link because I only have one! GONE
Rodents We Have Known, Ursula Vernon, 2007 (1 left)

EMG-Zine Anthologies:

Special anniversary bundle, all 3 print copies ($72 value) just $50!!


Periodically, I sold awesome things through EMG that I didn't make myself:



For example, Oracle of the Dragonfae, which included artwork by several of my artists, and Mythic Oracle with artwork by Ravynne Phelan (then Michele-Lee Phelan!). I am making them available to you guys for $10 each this month! (Shipping is combined over all orders this month; one deck will fit with most small-item bundles in a small flat rate box, but if you get calendars, coloring books or other larger plan-area items, you'll need to step up to a medium flat rate box. Into which I can squish a great deal!!)


Cloisonne pins: $10 each. (available: 0 Digger [out of print], 0 Red Wombat, 2 Happy Cthulu)

Sold! )
ellenmillion: (EMG)
In the first week of October, 1993, 17-year-old me overcame my natural shyness to take samples of my stationery - well-received by penpals, but otherwise unreleased to the world - around to my high school acquaintances and friends. A few hundred dollars of heady sales later, the experiment was declared a success, and I buckled down and bought a business license. Started with just $80, Ellen Million Graphics was born!

Four designs were available at first, including this one (which remained a best seller for years!):



and the left two of these images:



To kick off our celebration, I am running a little introductory poll, and giving away the original cover of Dragons, Fairies and Fantasy Horses. The text was printed, then I drew all the figures around it - there are pencil marks on the original indicating where an artist list would go, as well as a few sketch marks. No charge for entering the drawing, just give me your address using the poll! (It will not be used for anything else, promise!)



[Poll #1936641]

Also coming up today: a Guppy-of-the-day, sharing my glee, some cooking, and hopefully a little writing and artwork.
ellenmillion: (sea monster month)
ETA: Sponsorships are closed! The last monster is drawn! Thank you for your support!


I'm drawing Sea Monsters! It's Sea Monster month over at Torn World, and I've made a goal to do 20 ACEO sea monster cards. (ACEOs are art cards that are exactly 2.5 x 3.5 inches - mine all have radiused corners.) I am planning to do all 20 in color, on textured colored paper, as a matched set.

Here are some sneak preview thumbnails of 4 of the 9 I've finished:


From left to right, a pink jellyrigger, an eastern sea serpent, a heat-thief, and a smartarm. (See below for a full list of all the sea monsters I've completed to this point, with links to posted work!)

And, at this point, I'm confident that I will finish the run of 20... so I am opening it up for crowdfunding!

What you get

Free: Help me decide which monster to do next! Periodically, I will put up polls to choose the next monster to draw. Free print winners are [livejournal.com profile] dandelion_diva and [livejournal.com profile] pixiewildflower! You may choose your prints at the close of the project.

All support levels, $1 and up: My gratitude, sneak previews of the cards as they are finished, before they are posted at the Torn World site, and entry into random drawings (see the stretch goals!).

$5 You will receive 5 random ACEO prints by mail, domestic
$6 You will receive 5 random ACEO prints by mail, international

$15 You have your choice of 1 original ACEO OR a set of ACEO prints of all sea monsters - at least 20 cards, and more if we meet stretch goals! You may choose your card at any point, first come, first served, and do not have to choose between these options until the end of the project (however, once you claim a card, that decision is final!). Shipping included.

$25 As above, but you get BOTH an original AND a full set of the prints.

$35 Pick your monster! You tell me which monster you want to see... any Torn World sea monster or scary aquatic animal is fair game, any level of detail you choose. I will include people or scenery on request, do two monsters battling... or having tea... and you get the original card, shipping included.

See a new card you MUST have? After the $25 donation level, you can claim any available original card for an additional $10. (A link will be provided to those who are eligible!)

Claims on originals is first come, first served. Unless you specify otherwise, your sneak previews will be via email, using the email you ordered with. You may use EMG or Torn World credits, just contact me with your desire to do so. All prizes and purchases will be mailed at the close of the project, currently estimated at May 20. Torn World members will be listed as a patron on the cards they claim.


Stretch goals

At $50, I will write up an article collecting the various ways that sea monsters attack, and how to fight them off. We made it! This article is about half done!

At $100, I will do a random drawing of all supporters - including Torn World subscribers - to win an original card from the completed collection, winner's choice of available cards. We made it! Congratulations to [livejournal.com profile] meeksp!

At $125, $150, and $175, I will add sea monsters 21, 22 and 23 to the set, updating on weekends.



$4 from a second extra monster!

At $200, I will do another random drawing of all supporters and write a silly poem to match a poll-selected monster.

At $250, and $275, I will add sea monsters 24 and 25 to the set.

At $300, I will send an extra ACEO print to all supporters, draw monster #26, and do another random drawing, plus write a short story that goes with one of the cards.

Other stretch goals to be added as needed!


Sea Monster Tally



21 / 21 Sea Monsters drawn in May!

See the complete list of finished cards! )
ellenmillion: (aahhhhhh)
I love technology.

Last night at the show I could keep surreptitious tabs on how Guppy was doing without me, and swipe credit cards, which ended up making up about half my sales. Guppy was perfectly cheerful and happy while I was away, much to my relief. Her only fuss was when she got stuck between Jake's chair and the endtable, which is to be expected. She was napping when I left, but quite happy be collected by my sister instead of me when she woke up, ate food (yay, yogurt!), played with her new books, put things in bowls, took things out of bowls, put things back in bowls, got a splashy bath... generally didn't miss me at all. I am very much relieved.


(Not actually a photo from last night, but an awesome one, nonetheless.)

Oh, and the art show went fine, too. The coolest part was getting to try out my phone-swiper, which worked gorgeously. Swipe! Sign on the screen. Funds in Paypal. And I could send a receipt by email or mobile. Bam!

It was really, really fun. I didn't sell a LOT of stuff, but enough to make it worth coming out for, and I saw a lot of old friends and people from my show days. Lots of customers remembered me, and people enjoyed flipping through my book of ACEOs. [livejournal.com profile] laylalawlor and I were tucked away in a less lively corner of the building (a lot of people went directly upstairs), but there was a food table with wine just beyond us, so early in the evening we had good traffic past us. It died off as the cheesecake disappeared.

Here's a shot of my display - you can see Layla's Freebird book as well.



Now, breakfast is ready! Mmm...

Wednesdaily

May. 1st, 2013 11:17 am
ellenmillion: (mad scientist)
Art show hung. Looks great, I think - and there's space for some more pieces if I felt like springing for some more frames. I might hang up one of the stained glass-framed mirrors, actually. And I'd like to polish off a few more ACEOs, too. Hanging was quite fun - the other artist/geeks are awesome, and I think it's a good mix of pieces. The space is wonderful, and winding and large. My show-in-a-box is pretty much ready to go. I need a literature display, still - I think I got rid of my best displays, so I'll have to work something else up. Debating between doing the freestanding pegboard triangle, or doing table-framing pieces with my display board. Table-framing may work better with what I've got. I'll be sharing space with Layla, so I will confer with her... (I wish it were warm enough to spray-paint the pegboard. I have been meaning to do that for several shows now. But no, it's still snowing.) I should print up some more cards, I think. Maybe some bookmarks. I may do some of the old, OLD designs that used to sell really well: Dragonsled and Northern Lights always sold out early. Since my laminator is inside anyway. Wonder if I have any bookmark tassels left...!

Some business emails are off, I'm showered and fed. Guppy was up just before the alarm went off, which is far, far better than 3 AM, but still odd for her. She went back to bed after a few hours. Vacuuming is done, bread and laundry still on the list for today - we're planning pizza tonight!



May launches Sea Monster Month at Torn World! Artists, I would consider it a special amazing favor to me if you wanted to sketch one of our awesome, fabulous sea monsters for publication this month. *puppy eyes* Krakken-like smartarms! Giant, seal-like whalebears! Trapjaw, like an alligator with flippers! Sea serpents! A whale that will destroy you with sonic waves!

And I leave you with a baby escaping her socks:

ellenmillion: (baby kitty)
14 months yesterday!

She eats like a champion, sleeps sometimes, stood up for the first time unassisted the Sunday before last and is on the brink of truly toddling, has a handful of signs (more-please, down, milk, here-take-this, book-read) that she uses reliably and a few words that are really CLOSE to real words (turtle? - tuhtuh, kitty - teetee, she pants when she sees the dog...), plus a dictionary of conversational sounds, and is generally more adorable by the day. I can give her a slice of bread now and she will eat it in bites rather than stuffing it all in her mouth at once. I've just started giving her yogurt in a cup with a spoon, and she is starting to get the idea of self-feeding with it, though it is an extremely messy process right now. I have video of it, but it is quite long. If I figure out how to fast-forward it, I may post it. We still nurse, but much less than before; mostly just for going down to sleep and for midnight snacks.

She loves to pack and unpack things, though the hurricane-hit look to the livingroom attests to the fact that she is far better at the unpacking than the packing. She loves to read and will sit and study her books by herself for long periods of time, then bring them to me with a particular, demanding 'EH!' that requires me to stop whatever I'm doing and read it to her NOW. We have one board book that flips sideways halfway through, and when I try to read it to her that way, she pulls it out of my hands, 'corrects' my orientation and demands I continue. She's getting more dexterous about turning the pages and lifting flaps and such. (Though I still wouldn't trust her with paper pages without supervision... we're missing a few pages of phonebook, as it is.)

With a few exceptions (most recently, Saturday night), she goes to bed willingly. We nurse and she lays down and I put her fluffy blanket over her. She pulls it up over her face, she kicks a few times, she pulls it down and watches me leave. Sometimes there is some mild crying that stops after a few moments. Sometimes we need to go up and lay her back down and remind her that it's time to sleep. Sometimes it takes a few reminders. And... sometimes we give up first. But mostly, she's good about sleeping! She usually takes a solid nap mid-afternoon, though sometimes it's two short ones instead of a long one.

We're wearing 'real' clothes now, not just pajamas... a little girl at toddler time last month gave me the third degree about 'why is your baby wearing pajamas? What color is your house? What color is her crib?' and I figured that it was finally time to put her in actual clothes. I usually have a little time before she strips off her socks and is barefoot... more if I give her socks to play with.

Last night, we graduated from our blow-up duck bath to a big purple tub with handles. She has room to stretch out her legs more and had a grand time splashing and rotating. She loves her baths - removing her from them has led to a short storm of tears lately.

Have a silly photo of a baby wearing fuzzy green ears:


Bear photos will have to follow - I tried a few and ran out of camera battery before I got a really good benchmark shot.

I've made bread and done one load of laundry - still another to fold. A snack is due, bills to pay,, and then some framing for the artshow I'm hanging tomorrow.

I forgot what a pain in the wallet doing art shows can be. I'm glad I had most of what I needed already! They sure do charge dearly for those damage-free hangers, and I'm grateful to the framer at Joanns that pointed out the 'floating frames' that were two pieces of 11x14 glass at half the price a single piece cost from the frame shop... even after their 50% off! (I had 2 11x14 frames with no glass, leftover from older shows.) I'm hopeful that I'll sell something... but honestly not all that optimistic. My best bet is going to be selling a few things at my table during first Friday. I've got stock of my books, coloring books, some stained-glass-framed mirrors, and an assortment of cards, prints and matted originals, plus a book of ACEO originals and prints.
ellenmillion: (Kativa2)
I'm participating in March Boldness, which [livejournal.com profile] elletra introduced me to. Basically, make a bold goal! Declare it and spend March making it happen!

Mine... er... is less bold than perhaps it ought to be: write or draw Every Single Day. So far, so good. Yesterday, I did an ACEO of Newt for Melanie while chasing Guppy, because her comments have been so wonderful to get. Still need to scan it. Today, I worked further on two of my Muse Fusion piece - the self-portrait, and the Dini and Lalya portrait. I should sit down and do some writing next. I'm all inspired, too. Lunch-cooking first, though.

I went out to watch hockey with Jake last night - we were playing our Anchorage rivals, and it was a very exciting game! We won!

Guppy had her 1 year checkup yesterday, and that also went well. The doctor was running late, so I ended up leaving Guppy with the sitter very low on sleep, but it wasn't a complete disaster. She got a clean bill of health - there are no concerns at this point, and she's in excellent shape. She only wibbled a little at the cold stethoscope, and she cried at the shots, but calmed down quickly. Her iron levels are fine, everything looks good!

I have an art show coming up! I will make a bigger deal out of things closer to the date, but it will be opening for First Friday in May, and run for several months. It's a multi-artist show, not just me, but still - art show! I'm excited!

I have orders to work on later today, but now must start lunch... mmm... chicken lemongrass soup!

Friday!

Aug. 3rd, 2012 10:44 am
ellenmillion: (big damn wrench)
And, brrrr! In the 40s this morning, and I'm quite miffed. Where the heck is my summer? There are yellow leaves on some of the trees, and that depresses me.

Cleaned 'toilets' this morning (human and cat) and am waiting for Guppy to wake up to do vacuuming and put in a new load of laundry. I have an OMGEmergency Print Service Order* to work on today and deliver, and some writing schtuff, if I can. Nap would be good, though last night wasn't brutal. (It's all relative.)

Swimming with babies! I have been talking about this with Jake, and would love your thoughts on it - how young did you take your tyke swimming? How'd it work out? Any thoughts beyond 'waterproof diaper' and 'head goes up'? I'd like her to be comfortable with water at a very young age.

I'm thinking about offering one or two commission slots for sketch work, which I seem to be able to manage more reliably than color or ink... would anyone want one? I'm thinking $10 for something about this level. Just fast, low-pressure, discount something to get back in the game. Interested?





*Print service orders are not technically open, but I'm a sucker.
ellenmillion: (big damn wrench)
Our friendly neighborhood fox stopped by again to taunt poor Norway, flipping its looooong, looooong tail at me in scorn as it trotted through. I am going to start keeping the camera by my desk so I can catch some photos of it.

I got my Amazon account wrangled into shape, finally, and have listed the main chunk of coloring books and calendars that I wanted to catch up on: see em here. (I do also have an entry for Family Ties, but do not see a way to offer pre-order. My hardcopies are listed as 'Ready to Ship', so I'm hopeful I'll be able to activate that soon...)

If you have any of these coloring books or books and would be willing to leave a review, I would be slavishly grateful for it! (Likewise, at Smashwords!)

I sent out copies of my resume for two jobs that I am incredibly qualified* for and would seriously kick ass at, that have the extra bonus of being fun things I'd like to do. I sent a query to another opportunity, we'll see how that goes, but it sounded considerably flakier.

And because I had no other paid work on my plate, I jammed forward on Sketch Fest, and the rest of my afternoon is allotted for Commission-Control.

For Sketch Fest (this Friday!!), I have already programmed in some extra goodies for folks. Now, if you're selling your work through the site, you can set a variable hold on the piece for the prompter. It defaults to 1 hour, but if you want it held for 24, 48, 0 (no hold!) or any other whole number, it will do so!

Because so many of the recent improvements have been focussed at people who buy and sell at the site (which does make some sense, because they ARE the ones who are directly supporting these improvements!), I also decided to add the reply function for comments. Now, you can thank someone for their comment directly, instead of just commenting on your own piece and wondering if they'll ever see it. They will also receive an email, though unfortunately, I had to add the email function to the comments to make this happen, so they'll only receive emails on NEW comments (since old comments didn't hold email information).

The other major improvement I made was the Inspired Wall - if you are registered and logged in, you can see all the pieces that have been created from YOUR prompts. (Provided you made those prompts while logged in... I may improve this in the future to go looking for your name, as well, to catch the prompts you left while not logged in...) It shows you finished work, as well as sketches, and puts a gold star on any pieces currently being held for you. I also did some invisible backend things that will make stuff easier for me. All of this overran my paid-for Sketch Fest work-hours budget, but I'm hopeful we'll get enough donations this weekend to cover the time I've already put in.

I have an inspired improvement to add to Fantastic Porfolios soon-ish, too... :) I'm knocking brains together with Janet to figure out how to make it work best.

Additionally, the EMG-Zine guidelines have all been updated with themes through June, 2012.

I get the feeling you guys want me to do something with steampunk... I can take a hint! I'm not sure what, yet, though. And I might side-track on more abstracts, first.

More programming now. And then sketching.



*Well, in one case, incredibly qualified for. In the other, I have taught myself most of what they want and they say specifically they're willing to train...
ellenmillion: (Are You Sure?)
I owe you.

Whether you are one 'my' artists and fellow-collaborators, or 'just' a reader of my blog, one of my customers, or one of my subscribers, a friend, or some beautiful combination of those, I owe you a big fat apology.

My head? Is not in the game right now. I'm not sure how long I've been going through the motions without passion, but it's probably pretty obvious once you're outside my scalp and skull.

Every day, I stare at my projects, cringe at my studio, and I consider closing down my webpages en mass.

I do not, after thought, because of guilt. Because I feel like I owe it to the people who have gotten involved over the years, to keep these projects steaming forward with smiling optimism, capital investment, and unwavering loyalty, even though I have become cynical about involvement, bitter about my work-to-reward ratio and my well of selfless devotion to the cause has run dry and has been sucking at the bottom like a straw in an empty cup.

If that's not a recipe for self-destructive, dead-end burnout, then I don't know what is. The only way I could make this worse is to hide in a corner and let the projects accordion into a trainwreck of delays and flustered disorganization.

Oh... wait.

I do not, after a great deal of soul searching, owe anyone my sanity.

I do owe you transparency, honesty, communication, and prompt service when I've agreed to it, and, this last week in particular, I have failed at that. I am sorry, and am endeavoring to catch up today. I have, in fact, already made some good inroads this morning and am not stopping yet...

I also owe it to myself to stop being a blithering idiot and cut out the things in my life that cause me nothing but grief and stress and guilt. I owe it to myself to do things that I need to do. I owe it to my husband not to throw money and time at a dying project that doesn't even bring me mental reward any longer while he supports and encourages me by working fulltime.

This week, one at a time, I will be going through my outstanding projects and figuring out where they stand, how much work they will take to get up to steam, and making a plan of attack. That plan of attack may include massive trimming of features, major re-design of function, re-allocation of work, or a quick, painless death in a dark room.

I welcome your input and ideas, as I go through this process. Audience enthusiasm is an excellent fuel, and honestly, the lack of this has been a serious dent in my own energy. I am totally willing to shoulder my own fault in that - I have not always nurtured what enthusiasm I have received as well as I needed to so as to sustain it. But I'm also not going to struggle forward to build tools and offer services that no one wants to actually use. Duh.

Tomorrow, in the spotlight, will be EMG-Zine. (As a reminder, we need submissions for our January issue. The theme is creation: http://emg-zine.com/guidelines.php This can be birth, artistic creation, building something... lots of wiggle room in this theme!)

...

Perhaps surprising, I do not feel the slightest bit of guilt for my writing this month, and continue to chisel away at my wordcount. This novel has been tremendously good for me, wherever I take it from here. It has been mine, for me, at every stage, and has served as an anchor of discipline in a period of stress and upheaval. Getting my words down has been cathartic, and kept me on track, and given me something to feel good about accomplishing, where most everything else has been stacked and layered with guilt for not doing more or better. It's my first novel, and I'm allowed - nay, encouraged! - to suck... and that's tremendously freeing. What's more, I have a nagging feeling that there's a good novel in here, and that I might actually discover it.



38724 / 50000 words. 77% done!

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