ellenmillion: (Default)
The battle of the dill ended in retreat - I took the single straggly stem that survived their last onslaught and planted it in a hanging basket. TRY TO GET IT NOW, YOU GERBIL WANNABES.

I also got some lettuce starts, and now I have salad baskets that are safely out of their reach. (Last summer, I tried planting lettuce and it was gone in a day.) I also planted a few potato buckets, so hopefully we'll get a few dozen red potatoes in the fall.

The weekend was pretty well lost to a garage sale, which was wonderful for getting rid of stuff and also put a few hundred dollars in my pocket. We could not have picked a better weekend - it was sunny and warm, with just enough of a breeze to keep mosquitoes down but not blow anything around. For clutter reduction, it was absolutely wonderful - I got rid of our crib/toddler bed, a dresser, an old chair, a sleeping bag, a set of skis, a bunch of clothing, shoes I'll never wear... just stuff. So much stuff.

The people-watching was amazing. People bargained much less than I expected.

Today, it rains. I cleaned up Guppy's bedroom, and did my chores, took some trash into town, got a load of water, and picked up the mail. After three days of no writing, I did get a little over 1000 words in an hour, so hopefully I can get caught up again. I have a piece of artwork for finish for a client first, though, and bellydance tonight.

Today's artwork is a serious throwback. Like 21 years, throwback. I did this design in 1996 for Denali Science Camp, where I was a junior counselor. So many awesome memories!



Now I have a pile of dishes to wash, and some chicken to cut up and cook for a pot pie tomorrow.
ellenmillion: (Default)
Yesterday was very Monday. We spent most of the morning at the tire shop, where we got the incredibly surprising good news (after three hours of waiting) that our 14 year old summer truck tires still had plenty of life left in them, and we did NOT actually need to buy new ones. (To be fair, these tires have been in storage most of those 14 years, but storage in Alaska can be hard on things!) Then we went grocery shopping, and finally came home. I got about 800 words written, and went to bellydance.

Today was super productive. My second load of laundry is in, I've changed the bedding, we went to the farm and got a mower and buckets of dirt and compost for bucket potatoes, I sorted through several boxes of my stuff in the connex box and threw out one box and generated about three boxes of things to sell at a garage sale next weekend. (Shoes I've never worn, old sweaters, candles, knick knacks... I've also been collecting stuff from around the house for about two months now, just trying to find one thing every day and rarely stopping at that. I've got boxes and boxes of things stashed under the stairs ready to go.) I also got my 500 words in, +82, and worked on a commission and got a coloring page juuuuuust about ready to ink. I also got great news from a client! (But I can't share more than that...)

It's been so gorgeous and sunny lately, we've been eating snacks on the porch in the sun, and my garden is going great guns - the violets are riotous, and come back as fast as I pull them up (because they would cheerfully take over the whole thing). I have one strawberry leaf, my delphiniums have spread from one spindly stalk to SIX healthy plants, the tarragon came back, along with TWO of some mystery herb that I planted last year. The chives truck along as always, and I've planted marigolds and dill... which the voles have already eaten half of. Guppy brought home seeds they planted in preschool, so she has her own pot, with marigolds, a scrawny sunflower, and a mystery squash. (We killed her bean, I think.)

Someone small but shrill is demanding my attention now...
ellenmillion: (Number 1 Dog Ribbon)
The weather has been glorious, and after this rainy, soggy summer, we deserve it.

Jake and I uncovered all the firewood so it could dry out a little in the sun, and tackled the disaster area of our downhill 'yard.' We consolidated the remaining woodpiles on this side of the house, which meant pulling up about seven pallets and several very deep stakes, and then moved the truck cap up behind the garage and picked up just a whole lot of general stuff that had accumulated over the past ten or fifteen years. I got to use my awesome garden clippers, and took out a whole forest of tree sprouts, some of them more than two inches in diameter. The view of our forest is much more gorgeous now, and far less hill billy. We just have the snow machine to figure out how to move - it needs to go up by the garage so we can get it running this winter.

The difference is astounding. I wish I'd taken before and after photos.

My arms and legs and back and knees are feeling the work, though. Ow.

I've been getting up before 6 AM every day to work on writing lately, since that seems to be my only chance. It's slow going, but if I write 500 words a day (doable!), I will be done by the end of the month - I'm over 14k now, and liking the story again.

I'm also crawling forward on an art project. "Let's draw lace!" my brain told me. "It will be fun!" THANKS, BRAIN.

I only got to 21 or 22 on Smaugust (and still need to scan them), but it was fun. I'll be refining sketches this month and getting ready for INKTOBER! Because I love Inktober. I am skipping Sketchtember, because I'm not crazy. Much.

Gotta get writing before childmonster rises... going now!
ellenmillion: (juggle)
I had to butcher my garden on Tuesday. I was so pleased that the delphiniums had survived the Sunday hailstorm... and on Monday, the wind knocked most of them over into a big, tangled, broken mess that was smothering my strawberries. Except for two of them, none of the flower stalks were far enough along to bring them inside to bloom... and I'm not even sure about those two. I'm still grieving... you may remember my previous years struggles with these delphiniums - aphids, storms, etc - and this year they were flourishing. I had more than a dozen flower stalks, and they were well over four feet tall. There are three now, and the rest had to be cut back to stumps, even the ones that I had staked. Alas! The many trials of gardening! I wish I had gotten a photo!

In other news, I have SO much news.

I am officially doing a First Friday this Friday, at the lovely Sipping Streams Teashop. There is a Facebook event for it here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1170531656302771

I am also a guest in a multi-artist coloring event on Facebook, with loads of giveaways and contests. My official hour is July 9th, 9-10 AM PST, but I've just opened a pre-contest - color any of my pages and enter for a chance to win your choice of my solo books. Details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/618818858282117

I'm also super excited to announce that I am one of the illustrators for Hidden Youth: Speculative Stories of Marginalized Children - it's funding now on Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1537879721/hidden-youth-speculative-stories-of-marginalized-c

Crossed Genres, the publisher, is one of those places I've always wanted to break into as an illustrator, and by the time I worked up the nerve to apply, I found out they were closing, so when I saw the call for artwork for this, I had to leap on it. I have already started my sketch for it:



I got my coloring books!! I haven't unloaded them all from the car yet, but they are on site! I am filling Kickstarter orders this morning!

I also have a gazillion emails to work with, but I'm making good progress - I got a big freelance project finished up last week, and my not-a-book is ready to go up in just over a week, and the other anthology piece I'm doing is well-sketched, and I'm sending out #junicorn orders today and holy Julymonkeys, I better get going...
ellenmillion: (Number 1 Dog Ribbon)
I cold-called this morning - literally with a phone call - and will be bringing my coloring books to an exciting new local venue for review. Cross your fingers for me. This could be awesome.

In other fabulous news, the test packages I sent to Amazon for fulfillment have sold 8/12 coloring books in just over 2 weeks. Worth doing, and I shall ship some larger boxes that will save me a little on per-item postage next time.

In other, OTHER fabulous news, I got a spot at the UWA bazaar the first week of November. I will be sharing a downstairs spot with [livejournal.com profile] laylalawlor both Saturday and Sunday. We have spot #43, on the middle aisle. (I will not be able to offer coloring books I am not actually IN, but if you are a local interested in purchasing any not-me titles, I can have them available for pickup.)

Yesterday was the Tuesday with No Nap, so I got very little done. Today, I have childcare, and have already (in one hour) done more than I accomplished all of yesterday.

You may recall that my delphiniums last year were a total bust. Not so, this year:



I dispatched two of the voles that were eating my lettuce (and decimated my strawberries and lilies over the winter), but three times in a row now, the live trap was triggered and cleaned out, and left in pieces by the garden. I need a better trap. This was a tiny, plastic mousetrap I wasn't sure was up to voles anyway. I'm resisting the kill-traps because the snap traps caught a bird last year, and I don't like the use of poison. Also, I'd like to keep danger to dog noses and child fingers to a minimum.

Tomorrow is $1 ice cream at the Wood Center. I'll be paying twice that because of parking, but it will still be worth it. Cross fingers for sunny skies!
ellenmillion: (RAGE)
So, I sent out a pile of packages on Wednesday. IMPORTANT packages. Crazy, risk-taking, new-things, world-domination packages. And when I took them to the post office, they scanned them all, as they often do. They are supposed to scan them IN. They unfortunately, managed to scan them all as DELIVERED. As in, delivered right there to the post office in Fairbanks.

I have NO IDEA what this means. When they try to scan them at their real destination, will it throw an error and return them to me? Will the scan get corrected when they check in at their next points along the way? Will they be circular filed as LOST FOREVER because the computer can't figure out what to do with them?!

GUH. Of all the piles of packages that this could have happened to.

NO COOKIE, Post Office. NO COOKIE.

...

In the NO COOKIE category, voles have eaten one of my lettuce plants. I am enraged. There are traps out. BRING IT, RODENTS. You took my strawberries, but you won't take my salads!!

...

I am sketching for Sketch Fest right now! http://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/sketchfest/

I have finished FIVE ACEO sketches, and am very pleased with myself.

Here is my favorite, so far:

ellenmillion: (Number 1 Dog Ribbon)
So this weekend, I got a GIANT picture of dorkulous me on the front of the business section as the newspaper spotlight. It may not be a rocket to fame, but it's still nice exposure. :)

http://www.newsminer.com/business/local-artist-brings-coloring-to-adults/article_d8d4ffec-1258-11e5-a4d5-9f34efd8618f.html

I also sucked in my breath and cold-called the comic shop, then dropped by to show the owner my coloring books - which he promptly bought 15 of wholesale. If they do well, he'll get more!

I'm nearly finished with another coloring book page - just a few cleanups and line weight changes, and I'll be down to 2 left to do - and one of those is basically ready to ink! The other one is getting architectural clean-up now.

The weather has been outstanding. I discovered two baby strawberry plants that I'd forgotten I had planted out in the yard - they (unlike the ones in my garden) were flourishing, with a whole bunch of berry-buds. I transplanted them back to my garden, since the voles are gone for the summer and the spot they were in was right in monster-traffic. I bought some lettuce starts last week, and they are coming along nicely, too. I've beaten back the violets again, and found a few more delphinium starts. I think I ladybugged early enough this year - they all look really lovely. Some forget-me-nots that I didn't think had survived are coming back on the slope by the parking pad - I ripped up some horsetail and fireweed so it could get some more light, and need to take some gloves and choppers out there to get rid of the roses that want to take over the area and choke out my lilacs. All four baby trees are coming in strong.

And our first farm share is tomorrow! I'm so excited!

We've been going for walks, too:


Guppy Long-legs has no problem keeping up with me. And I finally bribed her successfully into holding still long enough to cut her bangs again. I'm long overdue for a highlight, myself. It's been seven months since I last did it, and I look... drab.

I've been toying with the idea of a bold color. I adore those photos of the rainbow ombre hair - has anyone done that? My hair is dark blonde to start with - fine and thin. Should I stick with periodic brightening? Or do something crazy? Pink? Blue? I know nothing about the process.

I'm also toying with the idea of getting rid of our piano.

I love the idea of having a piano. I play it... once a month or so, and only a brief time even then. *shameface* While I want Guppy to grow up with music, I don't know that her instrument of choice will be piano. And our piano is old. Really old. The last two times we've had it tuned, strings have broken, which is expensive. The tuner offered us a new piano for sale, and we could probably get one at a decent price... or continue to pay to maintain this one... or we could get a couch.

The idea of a couch is really appealing. Right now, we have two chairs - mine and Jake's, and no other living room seating. That has worked great for us, but, especially as Guppy gets bigger, it would be nice to have a little more. And the room is just not that big; that piano eats a lot of real estate, and there isn't room for both.

I have some emotional attachment to the piano, since it was the one I grew up with, but I'm not sure that's enough to outweigh the practicalities of the situation.

Alright, back to the art. I would be SO happy if I could finish these all this week and then have the rest of the month for printing and packing up orders.
ellenmillion: (happy bubble fairy)
Remember how we still had banks of snow a few weeks ago?

BAM, summer.

The violets are out and blooming and trying once again to take over the garden plot. I pull them out with abandon, because they are hardy, and the voles apparently don't like them. My delphiniums are also up, and I've spotted aphids already. I bought ladybugs on Friday to combat them early, but came home to discover that they were all quite dead. I traded them in for more lively insects on Monday. (They suspect the fridge by the register got turned up too cold and the poor girls got frozen...)

One lone strawberry plant (out of a dozen) seems to have survived the voles over the winter. There are several sprouts that may be violas (very exciting!) and a handful that look shockingly like cilantro, which shouldn't reseed here one year, let alone two in a row!

I was concerned that all of my baby trees had gotten munched by moose, but two of them are putting out excellent buds - one of the maples and one of the apples. The other two look sadly like dead sticks, but it's early days yet.

REALLY early days. Our rule of thumb has always been that you don't plant anything outside until after Memorial Day. This year, it's been in the 70s every afternoon, all sunny and gorgeous and all the trees are green and covered in leaves. Everything is unfurling as fast as it can.

Guppy and I went to Alaskaland today with [livejournal.com profile] laylalawlor, and it was GORGEOUS. Most of the shops aren't open yet (because it's ridiculously early in the season), but Souvlaki was, so we had a delicious lunch (Guppy devoured a hot dog), and then sketched for a while as Guppy ran around at the train station and decapitated dandelions.

A trip to the hardware store, then gas, groceries, bagels, and a tank of water before we came home. Guppy ate Even More, and went down for a late nap.

I've got World Domination tasks, and Sketch Fest payments to get off, now. Plus another sea monster to scan!

I'll leave you with a photograph of my underwear. (Not on me, of course! This is what I tie-dyed this weekend!)

ellenmillion: (sea monster month)
Happy Star Wars Day! May the fourth be with you!

I had a great sketchy weekend - I did 7 sketches for the Muse Fusion, all of them possibilities for my Sea Monster mini-coloring book. We made the print goal last night! Horrah! I'm really hoping hard that we get to the professional printing goal, because that would mean I can keep this title available. (Otherwise, this crowdfunding project may be your only chance to get one...) See updates and the sketches I did here: http://ellenmillion.livejournal.com/1515101.html

I was feeling pretty low about things on Saturday - I threw $5 at a Facebook campaign and watched 2500 people see it, 3 people like it and a whooping 4 people click the link. (With no sales.) I wasn't about to let it keep me down, and I woke up Sunday to sponsorships that got us right up to the print goal. Another yesterday evening pushed us over, and a few more people are making interested noises. Who doesn't love sea monsters?! I'll be running a poll once I've polished up a few more sketches to see what gets included.

We went for a walk this morning. Most of the snow is gone - there are a few stubborn slopes near the house where there are still a few banks.



I'm thinking garden-y thoughts. I think the chives will come back, but the maze of vole-holes bodes ill for anything else.

We made 15 pounds of blank sausage this weekend. Basically, that's shorthand for ground-up pork, frozen in 1 lb packages. Thaw, add spices, and it's instant sausage. We cooked one of them up with an Italian/Sage recipe and it made the most delicious sausage gravy. Nom!

Not-sleepy-child-monster resisted her nap for so long I'm going to have to wake her up for dinner, but I'm going to steal this time for writing while I can... There's a deadline in 11 days for an anthology that I may still be able to meet. I just need a fabulous idea, and I know where to start looking for one...

Fridaily

Sep. 19th, 2014 03:48 pm
ellenmillion: (cat in hat)
We've been working on 'behaving' with Guppy, and prompting her not to just say "I need (watermelon, favorite toy, etc...)" She is getting good at saying, with perfect diction, "May. I. Please. Have. (Watermelon, etc....)"

It is particularly amusing when she mixes it up: "May. I. Please. Have. Feed the cat!" Or, my favorite: "May. I. Please. Have. Gimmee BACK!"

(She's upstairs right now, 'napping,' and knocking on her crib, saying loudly, "KNOCK KNOCK!")

I'm continuing to slog away at the wood. I met my first goal, which was to get the original pile down to a size that could be covered with one tarp. I think I may finish the whole thing this weekend. Maybe.


I'm not sure this photo does it justice. There's a Guppy for scale in the foreground, but the pile in the back doesn't look as impressive as my muscles say it ought to.

You'll also note that the trees are mostly bare, now. It looks less like fall and more and more and more like winter. My strawberries are VERY CONFUSED, and have put out dozens of new flowers and little hard green berries that have no hope of ripening.

I'd be out stacking more wood now, but my back is asking for a break and I'm trying to be responsive to its whims. Instead? Coloring book work! Back to it!
ellenmillion: (bzzz...)
It's been a busy summer, and I'm VERY sad to see yellow leaves starting to pop out in the trees. My parents will be leaving soon, and I am not feeling like I utilized my time very wisely.

My inbox was over 250 this morning, but I've whittled it to 152. I've also gotten three orders out, framed two pieces, organized the entryway (it tends to collect jackets and bags if I'm not careful), and eaten a piece of pie. Guppy has been on an erratic sleep pattern lately - yesterday, she slept until 11. (Then resisted her nap until nearly 4!) I will probably wake her up at 10 if she's not up on her own by then. (ETA: she woke on her own about 9 this morning!) I'm working on coloring books in all the leftover time - I'm nearly finished with my last piece, and about ready to make final selections. So exciting! So little time left in the year!



Here is Guppy (who needs a haircut), sitting by my garden. You can see that my lilies are FINALLY blooming! There's a little basil over her shoulder, and you can see the strawberries trying hard. And in the far background, the amazing, unexpected violas, which have bloomed ALL summer as hard as they can, despite never being deadheaded. It is a tiny little garden, but I have gotten so much out of it this year!



That's coriander (cilantro gone to seed) hanging off the front, and those big gorgeous dark plants on the left are kale. Chard is having a ball in the front on the left, with the violas, the zucchini is spreading, the violets have taken over the center in the back, the delphinium is nearly gone. There are pockets of strawberries throughout.

Got a handful of maintenance thingies done around the house this weekend - hung a mirror, deep-cleaned the shower, organized most of the fasteners box, and started straightening my workspace. Also groomed the dog and cat (who is not responding to her anti-hyper-thyroid food, yet), and spent some time with family. My Pittsburgh sister went home on Friday! I miss her already.
ellenmillion: (happy bubble fairy)
I'm cheating with today's photo; I took it at the park two visits ago, with my good camera, and only just downloaded it today.



No running around this morning, but we did pick up the bedrooms and change all the bedding, which involved laundry. Guppy loves to help with this, mostly by charging into the giant pile of bedding and saying "I'm SLEEPING!" while kicking and rolling around.

We met a little girl at the park yesterday. I asked her what her name was. "Three," she answered, holding up four fingers. (I think Guppy was an inch taller...)

It was very slightly sunny when I got up - and proceeded to rain on me while I fed the dog. The rain cleared, and I was able to sit on my porch and cut my fingernails in sunshine when Guppy went down for her nap. Yesterday, I got brutal with my garden and took most of the delphinium out, clipping back all the broken stems (all the flowering ones!) and nasty, chewed-up leaves. I also dead-headed most of the violets (they don't need to reseed anymore than they have!) and ripped them back without mercy to give my strawberries, lilies, and the violas some breathing space. We got about 5 more mutant strawberries to eat a few nights ago, taking my cost per strawberry to about $2 apiece. They have volunteered some runners, and seem unphased by the pushy violets. The zucchini plant has TWO fertilized zukes coming in, and I think I caught a third in time, too. The two beautiful plants I thought were non-heading romanescos are actually kale, and will make some delicious quiche. I know this because three of what I thought were broccolis are putting out romanesco heads! Including the two I planted in crappy native soil because I didn't have bed or pot space for them! Whee! Delicious, tasty, wonderful garden. Today with lunch, I had a salad with the last of the lettuce and chard from our farm share, plus chard and chives from the garden, and a tomato from the farmer's market. MMMMM.

(I also ate half a box of macaroni and cheese, and part of a square of fudge, so I probably lost any health points I gained...)

I've got programming thangs to do, and coloring books to work on, so I'm off to stop frittering.
ellenmillion: (Mmm..)
Young Guppy and I went to the botanical gardens this morning - there was BLUE sky, and since I have a membership there, I now want to go every chance that I get. It was GORGEOUS, and I brought my camera. I am already in love with Lightroom, which I (reluctantly) bought for my photography class.



We spent an hour or more there, then went to the store for a whirlwind of grocery shopping, then home to split a box of Mac and Cheeeese (plus bacon and strawberries...), and now she's upstairs making little tiny nap protests that aren't really protests so much as minor announcements that she's not asleep yet and excited conversations with her doll. She should be exhausted - there was a lot of romping!

My own gardens have produced about four strawberries now - delicious, sweet, and tiny! There are a few pieces of broccoli nearly edible, and the chives have put out handfuls of purple flowers. The cilantro has bolted (as it did last year), and I'm letting it go to merry seed to see if I can get it to come back next spring, too. I did get one good serving out of it. The basil is about due for thinning, and I think we'll get a serving or two of little chard. The Romanesque looks gorgeous but isn't producing heads. I caught a bee sleeping in the garden this morning when it was still cold. I did his job for him and pollinated the zucchini, since I FINALLY have two of the right flowers blooming at the same time. There's one growing that I'm not sure got pollinated, so I'm nervously waiting for it to start rotting on its stem. (Note to self: next year, grow more than one zucchini plant.) The broccoli I planted in the native soil have turned BRIGHT orange and produced no fruit, so that was a dead loss. The violas I am leaving unpruned, and they are bright, gorgeous carpets of more flower than green. The violets have all gone to seed and I've been collecting the seed pods and spreading them wild all over the yard in places I'd love to see them grow (but have no high hopes). The aphid-eaten delphiniums are struggling into bloom, and the lilies (quite a number of them, actually!) are still green buds that promise some later color. I'm not sure the little cucumber plant has changed at all. No blossoms!

Is that silence? I'm going to attempt something creative, send some Sketch Fest payments, or poke at emails.
ellenmillion: (baby kitty)
We went to a birthday party on Wednesday, and Guppy discovered the joy of wading pools:



The weather was fine, so I didn't mind that she got a little wet. Then, a little wetter, as some of the kids were slinging buckets of water and throwing balls. Then, she decided to step INTO the pool, with her shoes still on... I caught her after just one foot, but we still cut short our festivities and she learned to say 'soaking wet!' We did stay for hot dogs, and many delicious side dishes, and ice cream punch, all of which were met with great enthusiasm. Sunday, she woke up and demanded more hot dogs, and when I told her we didn't have any, she explained that we could get in the car and go up the driveway for hot dogs.

She was particularly monstery, through the day, and practiced yelling and being upside down, as well as throwing Mom's phone and making a pile. I understand why some species eat their young (Jake argues that this would be a poor return on our investment - she's a spindly little thing, not enough meat). We went for walks both days with Norway - very long walks, considering the length of her legs. She only turned around to come home because I insisted, knowing that I would be carrying her up the last hill, at least. We played in the turtle and walked around the house several times. I sang the Sesame Street theme song seven hundred times. "Suuuuunny days. Mama! Suuuuuunny days! Sing!"

The ladybugs, despite their habit of fleeing my garden after I release them, are starting to make a dent on the horrific aphids on my delphiniums. The cilantro is doing better than it has any business doing here, and everything else is flourishing except the basil, which looks a little traumatized from its re-potting. I'm still thinning out violets and putting them on the slopes that washed out. They aren't exactly spreading yet, but they aren't dead there yet, either, which is as much as I can really hope from that terrible soil. The trench continues to do its work and after several more torrential rains, there hasn't been any more sliding.

The painting in the garage may be finished by tomorrow. I am delighted with our contractors so far - they are going to have the WHOLE thing done in a week (they estimated two), and under budget by a good amount. Then, we can start moving shelving out there, and I will have a MUCH nicer workspace in the basement. (Not that I have much time to USE it right now.)

I do have artwork to share - I will be releasing it here shortly!

And I finished my sketch AND my ink stage for the RTH multi-artist collaboration project, which is a big load off. Bills to pay, today. Laundry, as well, dessert to make, nephew to ferry, and... probably something else I'm forgetting. Inbox is at 80.
ellenmillion: (TW argh)
It rained hard all night, and our bank washed out in two spots. Just surface damage - I can see that it's not going to go down much further, at least, but a bunch of my carefully transplanted violets and grass got washed down to the toe of the slope (where they will probably DIE). One section was between two of the previously washed-out spots, and one was about half the slope of jute mat, which I will now have to untangle and re-staple and I am not looking forward to that at all. I am, in fact, quite stompy and grumpy about the fact that I'm going to be spending Guppy's nap out in the mud and cold instead of finishing up Sea Monster Month. (One package left to send!! And then I'll be DONE.) Or writing! I have the end of the story in sight, and I'm very excited by how it's going. Or drawing! I have two collaborative pieces on my plate, I want to scan the sketches from the garden, I want to start a piece for the dark fantasy coloring book, and I have two pieces I've promised that I am really excited to work on, too.

Have a cheerful Guppy photo:


I have installed Thunderbird as my new email program, and I like it pretty well so far, except that it keeps telling me I've just received 90 new messages when I've only gotten one. Inbox is at 85.

As a note - if you are interested in having me look at your work for publication, it's a good idea not to send three emails in less than 24 hours, two of them identical but 12 hours apart. Better yet, don't tell me in the third email that you actually plan to self-publish, but you just want to know what I think first - oh, and can I tell you how to self-publish? I'm generally happy to share what I know, but if I don't know you, that's a pretty presumptuous thing to ask. I am torn between immediately filing this one (er, these three) in the spam folder, and writing a nice, professional response. We'll see how I feel after mud-mucking this afternoon.

Catbox scooped, vacuuming done, dishes washed, bathroom cleaned, still have laundry to fold, and Guppy needs help putting on a hood...
ellenmillion: (fairysquash)
Yesterday, I went sketching at the Botanical Gardens with [livejournal.com profile] laylalawlor, and it was perfect - I got four sketches done, took some photos, ate some lunch, and the weather was not awful, the mosquitoes were not awful, and the company was excellent. Torn World plotting happened. They've really expanded the garden since I was there last, and there were gorgeous iris in bloom. There's a children's garden in the back that I didn't know about that I will definitely be bringing Guppy to... when the weather improves.

Last night, it started pouring, and it's been drizzly and wet ever since. I'm glad I got the wild buckwheat/black bindweed/morning glory-cousin out of my garden and re-planted yesterday because otherwise I'd be doing it in the mud today.


"My shoes are too big!"

Guppy rose early today, so I haven't had much time for fun things yet. I did get laundry folded and vacuuming done, but still have a catbox to scoop. My inbox is at 97 (*gulp!*) but I hope most of that just needs sorted and thinned.

Now, someone small has eaten all her meat, so we're going to have ice cream!
ellenmillion: (sea monster month)
It's done, done, done! I have half the packages for sponsorships packed and ready to mail - I just need to cut and sign and number a few more postcards and print one more $%&* soldierfish aceo for a set, and I can cross this off my list. The giant lobster isn't up at the site yet because the article hasn't been approved, but it should be soon.



Click for a bigger version at the Torn World site!

Today, there will be a trip to the post office to mail these, and some shopping. I will be baking halibut for dinner, and working on coloring book pages during Guppy's naptime. I need some ideas for things to draw for the Dark Fantasy coloring book. Hmm.

In garden and yard news, my apple trees are setting out lots of leaves! I'm so excited! They aren't just twigs! The maples are being much more slow - I'm concerned that one of them is completely dead. The other has a little sprout coming up from the roots, so something is happening, at least. My strawberries, unlike the last time I tried them, are flourishing, and putting out happy clusters of teeny white flowers. The zucchini leaves look sad, but there are half a dozen blossoms coming in, so it can't be that sad. More little upstart violas are coming in, and they are blooming like little crazy things. The violets are still threatening to take over the entire bed, and every day I thin out two or three and transplant them into the horrible soil where the bank washed out this spring. I would be thrilled to get a bank of violets there, though I have doubts that they will thrive as well there. I was delighted to find that FIVE of my lilies came in - later than I expected, but I'm still super happy. The buds are still little and green, so it will be a while before I know which ones they are. I think it's the yellow day lilies, not the orange tiger lilies. The delphinium is a little curled up and sad-looking. I don't see aphids like I have in previous years, but I'm wondering if it's got little bugs. Oh! And the cilantro is coming back! I never in a hundred years expected cilantro to winter over here! It's still super teeny, but definitely hanging in there, and there's quite a lot of it. The wild chives are looking extra hardy and ready to be clipped. Ironically, the saddest of the plants are the marigolds, which are what I paid the most for.

And bees! We've got bees! Not hornets or yellow jackets, but actual bees! My rookie research says they are Great Northwestern bees, which nearly went extinct in the area, but I've seen them most days now, so I'm tickled that they might be making a comeback. Maybe I won't have to hand-pollinate my zucchinis this year! In related news, I haven't seen any yellow jackets so far, and that makes me even happier.

Aaaaand, a super loud helicopter just went overhead and now the baby is kicking. Time to wrap this up.

Thursdaily!

Jun. 5th, 2014 02:41 pm
ellenmillion: (juggle)
Has it been since MONDAY that I blogged? Goodness.

I've been busy with monster, gardening, and various administrative art thingies. I'm bumping coloring book submissions into high gear: I want to get these together asap! http://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/submissions.php

I've also been working on bits of programming projects. My latest moment of clever was figuring out how to make Facebook pick a particular thumbnail when I posted a link. I've got it working at Torn World and Portrait Adoption - Sketch Fest is next on my list.

I got trees for my birthday and have dug giant holes and filled them with topsoil for them. I was going to buy bags of dirt, but they were $60 for 3.8 cubic feet. I calculated I'd need 9 bags, which - no thank you. So I took the tank out of the pick up and got an entire load of topsoil for that same $60 (approximately 35 cubic feet). The holes were big enough to absorb 3/4 of the load of topsoil - now I'm debating a raised bed of some kind, or spreading it over the side-yard slope. It would be an improvement over the crappy rocky silt there now, but it might be pretty useless, too. I am quite sore from all the dirt slinging and root-chopping and rock-wrangling. But I have two teeny maples and two teeny apples! They look like little branches in the ground right now, but I will love them and water them and say sweet things to them, and hopefully they will not be chewed down to nothing by the moose.

I've signed up for two art classes through the Summer Fine Arts festival! One is for graphic noveling, and one is for digital photography. I'm SUPER excited about them.

We went to the library yesterday but were not early enough to get a slot in storytime this month. Here's Gramma and Guppy exploring the grounds:

Thursdaily

May. 15th, 2014 01:24 pm
ellenmillion: (Number 1 Dog Ribbon)
I have a new poem up for Sea Monster Month: Beneath the Shell. It is free to the public until the end of the month (unless sponsored for $5).

I got some more sponsorships yesterday, so we have achieved the diver for scale, AND the new border. There will be ELEVEN sea monsters on the scale chart, and we're just $20 from getting sea monster territories added to the map program I'm working on!


$180.00 / $200

Sponsor your monster here: http://ellenmillion.livejournal.com/1448256.html

I'm going to close up sponsorships next WEDNESDAY (the 21st) so I can (hopefully) get all rewards finished by the end of the month.

I remembered this afternoon as I was washing dishes that there was a Sketch Fest tomorrow. TOMORROW! I will have the Sketch Fest #50 prizes ready to give out at that time! http://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/sketchfest/

Guppy report: Up early this morning, and full of vinegar. We've danced many dances, stomped a lot (happy stomps), built towers, watched Big Bird, and played outside. Pushing the red chair around saying "VROOM VROOM" has been a favored activity.


"Woah! I'm okay!"

Garden report: The violets are attempting to take over my garden plot. Seriously, they've spread everywhere, and as much as I like them, I don't want a garden of solely violets. I was SUPER relieved to find that my delphinium is coming back. Nearly all the lilies and irises got eaten last spring, and it looks whatever lived last year didn't come back this year. The chives look a little sad, but still struggling forward, and the violas I didn't expect are numerous. There are a few tiny things that MAY be cilantro, which would surprise me a lot (although that plant DID go crazy with flowers last year, so there were a lot of seeds about). I bought a 12-pack of bare-root strawberry plants and put them everywhere (probably too close together, but the last time I tried these, they all died in a week...), and a zucchini plant. Depending on what survives the next week or so, I may try for oregano, which did well last year, or tarragon. It's fun having herbs to eat fresh.

Inbox report: 54
ellenmillion: (fairysquash)
Guppy decided that 5:30 was the time to get up this morning. She had a bit of a nap later in the morning (going down about the time she usually gets up!), but is FIRMLY resisting her afternoon nap. "GAWAGAWAGAWA!" she calls downstairs to me. "OyawahblayahYA," she adds. "Ooooo," when I don't reply. Then a few more "GawayagawaYA"s, some kicking, and another toy hostage is ejected from the crib. We've been doing this long enough for me to eat lunch. I'm close to folding.

I got surprised by a torrential downpour last night while out walking Norway. Rain was running down my arms so hard it was getting into my pockets, and my jeans got so soaked I could feel water running down my shins underneath them. Probably the wettest I have ever been with clothing on. Norway took off for home without me when the thunder started, the little coward. Fortunately, it's a stiff enough uphill - and I was booking fast enough - that I stayed warm and did not arrive home completely chilled. My Gortex kept my core dry, too.

Worse, I was worried all my ladybugs had drowned, as I had released them just before I went on my walk. They are sturdy little beetles, however, and they are out merrily marching all around my garden this morning eating tasty aphids. It rained hard enough to splash dirt several inches up my house from my garden, and my violets are mostly sideways, but the delphiniums look quite happy. (I tied them up a few days ago, or I'm sure they would be slumped, too.)

A good chunk of my Kickstarter experience is written up, mostly during Guppy's nap this morning, and I'm hoping for the rest of it now so I can rehearse a few times and make sure the timing is about right. I doubt I will get a slideshow put together for it; but I warned that I probably wouldn't.

Considering a cup of tea.

And rescuing the Guppy. I think she's run out of toys hostages.

Here is a photo from a sunnier day:

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