ellenmillion: (fairysquash)
May you have many boxes!

We had a quiet, delightful Christmas eve and day. I love my loot - primarily a sock-and-flowerpot snowman from my daughter and a set of burly fireplace tools - and Guppy and Husband both got things they will use and enjoy as well. Guppy is using her new camera everywhere, and has made many things from Playdough and Legos. We had butter meat for dinner, which is to say a rib eye roast cooked to perfection, and a green bean casserole, with butter-drop biscuits. Leftover steak and fresh chicken eggs were breakfast this morning, before we went out and did snow clearing things.


Our Christmas day walk.


My new favorite snowman.

A storm is barreling down on us this week, and we should get even more new snow, possibly with wind and power outages. Alaska is never boring, whatever else it is.

I have artwork to ink, and edits to make on my not-a-book, a year-in-review to look at, goals to post for next year, and I think I may bake cookies...
ellenmillion: (aahhhhhh)
Christmas is galloping down on us! I still have unwrapped presents, and half the things I planned to do this week are not done (and probably won't be), but I am still feeling... good. I don't know if it's the extra 39 seconds of sunlight since solstice, the walk that Guppy and I took out in the woods, that I'm shaking off the last vestiges of this cold, that I put the last careful lines on a lengthy commission, or it's just that I'm finally feeling Christmas spirit, but today is a lovely, snowy day and I'm full of cheer and goodwill.

*throws tinsel everywhere*

I also got a new offering up at Etsy - a collection of mermaid designs, which is a steal at $10 for 10 designs: https://www.etsy.com/listing/487447436/mermaid-coloring-pages-for-adults-10

Friday night before Christmas Eve is a ridiculous time to release anything, from a strictly commercial standpoint, but it's the time I had.



Now I'm going to make some delicious dinner and throw more logs on the fire.

Cheers to all!
ellenmillion: (happy holidays)
A week later, and I finally feel somewhat human. My coughs are down to a dull roar and I'm only about 60% composed of phlegm.

Look! Christmas spirit!



(I am never doing tinsel again... my vacuum cleaner is full of tinsel and pine needles. There is tinsel everwhere...)

Guppy and I had a wonderful romp in the snow today:



Now I have to fill up the stove with wood again and send a few emails so I can check things off of my staggering to-do list.
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.

Tuesdaily

Dec. 15th, 2015 02:12 pm
ellenmillion: (fairysquash)
I'm reveling in the Christmas spirit, enjoying the music, coordinating gifts, wrapping things, watching Guppy rearrange the ornaments on the bottom half of the tree for the seven hundredth time. We had the preschool holiday party this weekend. Guppy said she liked the 'Christmas store with food...' which is a surprisingly apt description, since a big part of it was the silent auction.

I'm making actual social plans, and getting orders out as fast as they come in. (Order SOON for Christmas delivery! Coloring books make awesome, amazing gifts, and come with a free surprise the month of December: http://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/coloringbooks.php And tell people if you'd like them for yourself... they won't know to get them for you if you don't tell them. :P)

I still need to do my November round-up, but I did at least get the Patreon perk for December up - a copy of this to color:


Also up at River Twine: http://www.rivertwine.com/artpageview.php?id=2638
ellenmillion: (fairysquash)
Boxes are in my car ready to be mailed. This is the first time in years that I've mailed actual gifts, and it feels lovely. It's cold in town today, so I will probably wait until tomorrow to send them; we're going to have a lazy day in front of the fire, with one well-bundled walk to hang ornaments on the trees in the forest. We may watch Enchanted. There will undoubtedly be a tea party.

Another #Inktober piece to share:

I had rough-sketched this, and I'm not sure what was going on with the chest piece, but I thought to myself, that looks like a Superman shield... and lo, Superturtle was born. (Original for sale, $20)

I have new artwork up at Torn World, too:
ellenmillion: (working hard)
I am thwarted in my present wrapping/mailing. I am out of tape! I used up my shipping tape, and then my back-up emergency brown shipping tape, the last two rotations of an ancient scotch tape roll, and even some masking tape. I have new shipping tape on order - it's waiting at the post office actually! But it is cooooold today, and we are staying home and keeping the fire going.

We made progress on the bathroom this weekend - cut out a plywood panel and drilled holes in it. I will be sanding and putting down a base coat as soon as I'm sure Guppy is asleep. (She was "talking to Astrid", last time I checked in with her.) Next weekend, we'll get sheetrock up!

I had to shovel off our woodpiles this morning to bring in more wood, and I uncovered the standpipes for our fuel tanks while I was at it. Guppy 'helped.'

And then I packed boxes until I ran out of tape. Mostly gift boxes - coloring book orders are not as brisk as I was hoping for this time of year, and it is almost anticlimactic to get them, they are SO easy to put out now that I've standardized everything. It used to take a WHILE to get each individual order out. I spent time with that order, got to know it, you know? Now, it takes a few seconds, so even when I've got a respectable pile to send, it doesn't feel like it takes any time. Boom, done. This is GREAT, but it leaves me feeling like I'm not selling much, even when I'm doing pretty well.

This weekend, I also spent some time filling up my new tool chest with art supplies. In the way that trying to organize 'one little thing' so often turns out, I basically dismantled my studio and reassembled it better. There were a few 'drifts' of stuff that dated back to 2013, so it was FAR past time for a good cleaning. I generated several large boxes of trash, got rid of an awful cheap set of plastic drawers, and all of my tools are easy to get to and find now. It is SUPER inspiring, actually. I am itching for sit-down-and-paint time. I want to replace my main table still - it got a little sway-backed from the big printer I got rid of last year, and I made myself another foot of space, so I can fit a full 6 foot table in instead of this 5 foot thing. I have incomplete boxes stacked about right now, but I can see through those piles to the very nice space it's going to be, and it's very exciting.

There was a Sketch Fest this weekend, and I got two very rough sketches done. http://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/sketchfest/sketchfestartist.php?id=9&date=70

I've got a new portrait up at Torn World:


Here's another piece from #Inktober that I hadn't posted yet!


I am so pleased with our Christmas tree. It is the prettiest one we've ever had. I will try to get good photos of it soon.
ellenmillion: (thud)
I have been savaging my to-do list, and making good inroads on it, and staying caught up on laundry and orders and life.

We got a Christmas tree on Wednesday, and got lights on it last night. We didn't get ornaments up, in no small part because I spent probably an hour trouble-shooting the string of lights that was half out. (Changed the fuses, twice, then sighed and started going through each $%^**# light looking for the culprit.) It's still gorgeous, and our house smells great!

My novella is back with some copyedits to pick up, but I anticipate those won't take much longer than an hour - it's mostly formatting stuff, plus a few typos, and a few easy details to add. I hope to have that finished today during naptime. I'm hoping it will be up before the end of the year.

I am taking over the Coop Plaza! Not literally, but you can find my work in THREE stores there now. At Alaskana Raven, you will find my complete line of coloring books, including the coloring kits with pencils. At Rings and Things (right across the hall), you will find a few packs of cards, and a selection of prints and matted and framed originals. Upstairs at Woven Sylver, I have coloring books and a dozen of my ornaments. Gulliver's has also been restocked - they have a complete display for adult coloring books. The gift shop at the hospital also has a selection of my coloring books, only available in kits with pencils. So if you're local, support these awesome local businesses! (And me!) (The Comic Shop also has a few of my coloring books, but you may have to ask about them - they may not have ever been put out!)


****


Funny Guppy/husband story:

"I want to do Christmas now!" Guppy told me, dancing around our new tree.

We explained that Christmas was still 23 days away. "Maybe we should do an advent calendar," I suggested to my husband.

"Is that the thing where you give stuff up?" he asked skeptically.

I stared at him for a moment. "That's Lent."

#closeenough


****

Something from #Inktober that I hadn't shared yet:

Prompted by Lorna Cowie

New artwork up at Torn World:


I will be mailing some ornaments this weekend. All the leftovers are posted here with prices and details: https://www.facebook.com/EllenMillionArtistrix/posts/768586066578794

I sold more than half of them at the shows! Including a few that I painted AT the shows. I am working on getting photos of them, because I was really happy with how they turned out!

Alright, I have to get moving - my sleep last night was wretched, and I'm still in my bathrobe, but there are things to do and orders coming in, and Guppy is inviting me to a tea party that involves Lincoln logs and flashcards. She's been cooking frantically, and it would be a shame to let it get cold!
ellenmillion: (aahhhhhh)
I caved and ordered more Copic markers. OH, the pretty, pretty colors! I experimented with a pencil portrait I did for PA and was pleasantly surprised to find that they go over pencil shading with minimal dirtiness. Lots of further experimentation required - I am definitely a lot more awkward with color in general than I should be. It will go up when the PA upgrades are complete.

I should probably get moving on those. Hmm.

I finished the Temperance card yesterday, and that I will show now:



I fear it is too much of an inside joke (she is an old fanfiction character of mine), but I like her anyway.

...

My shoulder, miraculously, is completely better today. I stretched a lot, and did a few exercises I found on the 'you have leprosy' dregs of the Internet. Over the day, it gradually went from 'dying now!' to 'I don't notice this.' By evening, I couldn't even make it hurt. Not going to complain.

...

On the property we rented was a very large, tall tree, a ceiba. The house owners had a platform built on it, and a climbing rig in place. We hired a climbing guide, and braved the climb! None of us had done any climbing before, and the guide waited until we were all the way up to let us know that no party of four rookies had ever made it entirely to the top. He did warn us about the bees nest halfway up. But hey, they weren't stinging bees, just biting. No venom. I went first, and, having no one to compare myself to, figured I should try not to slow everyone else up. I took breaks as I felt they were needed, but basically went right up. Apparently, that qualified me as a natural, and I was appointed the belay for the repel down.

(And the bees didn't bother me in the slightest, though some of the others got bit a few times.)

The view from the top was breathtaking. Out across the Pacific, across acres of jungle. We saw several howler monkeys - including a momma carrying her baby.

The most stressful part of the whole trip was leaving Guppy behind with strangers, but that worked out just perfectly: the climbing guide's wife and 9-year old daughter came with him, and Guppy took one look at the little girl, took her hand, and led her into the bedroom to play. She ate a stunning amount of fruit while we gone, and chocolate granola bars, and sat in the pool, and gave them all pretend food (which the climbing guide's wife thought was hilarious. 'Imagination food!' she said, laughing, in her Spanish accent).

ellenmillion: (thud)
Today, so far, I have scooped the catbox, vacuumed, cleaned the toilet, made granola, baked granola bars, boiled chickpeas and made hummus, hard-cooked eggs, started laundry, washed about a hundred loads of dishes, cleaned my kitchen, read a handful of Guppybooks, changed a poopy diaper, called my mother, put a load of laundry away, and showered. The granola is the best I've ever made, the granola bars (first time trying these!) are amazing, and my house smell great.

I feel like Martha Frigging Stewart.

...

Our house in Costa Rica was just a short drive from several of the most wonderful little beaches.


We didn't have any beach entirely to ourselves, but we were far enough from the crazy-touristy towns that there was plenty of space and privacy. Mornings were best - they were clearer than afternoons, and less hot.

more photos... )
Not a traditional Christmas, by any stretch, but wonderful.

ellenmillion: (aahhhhhh)
Guppy was her usual happy self at the post office and charmed the staff and other customers as we mailed out orders. Then we went to the store and bought a humidifier and groceries and she ate her weight in mozzarella sticks and picked the colors for our new (sale) bathmats.

She's getting terrifically conversational, and she picks up and remembers things that surprise me. We drove past McDonalds, which I pointed out to her. "They have the big yellow slide there," I reminded her. "E-I-E-I-O," she returned.

That led to much singing of Old McDonald. She gets stuck in a feedback loop if I'm not singing with her, and there are about 50 "With a woof woof! With a woof woof! With a woof woof! With a woof woof!"s in a row. Her sense of tune for the rest of it is really coming together. Her raven imitation is improving, too.

...

I have a new digi stamp up at Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/listing/217698108/family-garden-digi-stamp-digital?ref=shop_home_active_1

And a new story at Torn World: http://www.tornworld.net/storypageview.php?id=602 (Previously posted here at Livejournal for a Thimbleful Thursday)

...

Customs going into Costa Rica was actually smoothed over by a very restless, tired toddler who was starting to have a meltdown. They bumped us up to the head of a new line and pushed us right through.

We were renting a house near Dominical, a 3 or 4 hour drive away over roads that had been described as poorly marked and very steep, so we opted for a hotel that night in San Jose. After renting a car and going to the wrong hotel, we ended up on our place for the night and walked to the Walmart next door to stock up. Tired toddler fell asleep on my shoulder as we were leaving, and napped face-down on our bed while we ate sandwiches.

We set off the next morning on our driving adventure!

The roads were not as awful as I expected! Everything but the last road was paved, there were ample shoulders, and if local drivers were... er... lax about the passing laws and speedlimits, they were safe for the most part. The country was steep, beautiful, and it was hot.

We rented a house that we shared with Jake's sister and her husband, up in the hills a short drive from several gorgeous beaches. We had a private pool, and a view of the ocean to the west, perfect for sunsets:


more photos... )

(to be continued!)
ellenmillion: (Mmm..)
Back to the grind! It's a little odd but comfortable to be back in the usual routines: scoop the catbox, vacuum the floor, feed the pets, pick up after the toddler, fill the woodstove, etc, etc. Post for Torn World, check my email, and blog.

I want to carve a little art time into each day this year, and I've got So Many ideas and such a lot of extra inspiration.

I have set the date for the next Sketch Fest: January 23-25! http://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/sketchfest/
The Facebook event is here: https://www.facebook.com/events/869439066411155

It's looking likely the Torn World Muse Fusion will be the same weekend - so far users have said it would be one merry creative weekend, rather than diluting either event. I'm willing to give it a shot. (And hey, it simplifies my scheduling!)

Also for Torn World, a new character I wrote up, Effa: http://www.tornworld.net/members/cisdisplay.php?id=359

She has a lot of fun conflict potential, and I like complicated characters who are generally good, but have wide, unexpected flaws. (Deep-seated prejudice, in this case.) She's adoptable.

...

So, our trip! It was fabulous. We were gone for three weeks total, and I didn't let anyone know because I find it foolish to announce beforehand that my house will be vacant. The pets were safely settled at a pet-sitters, Guppy go her first passport, and we packed the toddler and selves up to travel a few gazillion miles on airplanes. We deliberately set out to do it with carry-ons only... and in fact, just ONE carry-on apiece. We made it work! We did come back with a little more than we left with, so we ended up checking a bag back. (Though technically, we COULD have carried it on.) This goal was greatly simplified by traveling to a hot climate, so we didn't have to worry about warm (bulky) clothing. I would have packed much differently going to, say, Siberia.

We stayed one night in Seattle, just to break up the trip a little. We got a suite with a door, so that Guppy had her own room.

"It's my BEDroom," she said proudly, delighted by having her own bed. "It has a mirror." Then, gravely: "No books, though."

The next three nights, we spent in Orlando. Nights were not as successful as I would have liked - someone did not deal well the heady power of having a bed she could get out of, and I ended up spending several extra hours getting her down. She ended up sleeping on the floor, instead of the couch. The third night, I finally got wise and ordered a crib for her. Worked like a charm.

The first day, we went to Downtown Disney. I wasn't sure if the cover charge for Disneylandworld was really worth it, and there was plenty to entertain us in their free tourist town. We rode on a train that was just her speed:



Floridians thought it was really cold - at 55 degrees. (It is 25 below here today, for a little comparison...)

Here's what Guppy thought of the day:



"I'm smiling!"

(to be continued)

On Leave

Dec. 2nd, 2014 05:07 pm
ellenmillion: (Number 1 Dog Ribbon)
This morning's tasks took significantly longer than I expected, but Amazon, Etsy, and all of the many facets of EMG are now shuttered up for a December hibernation. The autoresponder is on. All the orders are out. Payments are sent, including checks. Patreon rewards are off. My personal site has ordering discontinued. Regular subscribers at Torn World have had their December subscriptions honored in advance. There are 44 emails left in my inbox, but none of them are immediately critical. (I may check in from time to time to reduce the spam and check for emergencies.)

So, off I go at last! I hope everyone has warm and merry holidays, and I will miss you terribly.

I would go so far as to disconnect my router now, but there are too many Netflix shows I want to watch...
ellenmillion: (gotlove)
Who got a cold for the holiday? This girl!

It's fortunately been fairly mellow, so far. I'm drinking lots of tea and water and eating far too many oranges in hopes of fending off anything worse. No one else in the household seems affected yet, and I'm hoping it stays that way.

Here's our turkey for the day:



We're having a pork tenderloin with various casseroles for dinner in a bit. We had pancakes with sausage bits this morning, and pecan pie, cheese, crackers, and olives, plus nearly all of a bag of satsuma oranges.

Food aside, I am very thankful for all the people in my life. I am rich in friends and family, and have so very much to be grateful for that it is sometimes overwhelming. I treasure you all, and don't tell you so enough.
ellenmillion: (doh)
I'm out of Dr. Who to stream.

Season 7?! When will you be out on Netflix??

Woe! Woe!

Also, I took out the Christmas Tree, which was getting brittle and a little faded, but not actually shedding its needles yet. Norway the brilliant caught sight of it as the sun finally rose, and was convinced it was a MOOSE. Or maybe a YETI. Next to the HOUSE! OH NOES! ... and spent about 20 minutes barking at it.
ellenmillion: (happy holidays)
On Sunday, I went for a walk. It was the day after solstice, and the daylight was this brief gasp in the middle of the day, but I was determined to get out. I took Norway, and struck out on the trails that start just out the back of our house. I wore snowshoes, as it had snowed several inches a day for the last couple of days, and was glad I did; the trails were not well traveled.

But someone had definitely been along them since I'd last made the trek. A spot of color caught my eye...

Photos behind the cut... )
ellenmillion: (Number 1 Dog Ribbon)
I took a bold risk and put ornaments on the tree on Friday - but only the cheap little shiny silver balls that I'd gotten on clearance one year. Our special or fragile ornaments stayed in their box, for previously mentioned toddler and pet reasons. I figured I'd see if little fingers stayed away from them on command, or if I could dare to put them on later.

Guppy was enthralled, and eager to 'help' me hang them. I let her hold them for me, and hand them to me one at a time, and I solicited her opinion on where they should go.

She hasn't been as good about leaving them alone as I'd hoped - over the weekend, she brought me several of them. ("Hee-ow!") A few of them had to be put back together, and she hasn't quite mastered putting them BACK. But, she was gentle about it, and there were no actual losses... until Sunday, when the husband gave a giant stuffed Easter chicken an unceremonious kick in the direction of the tree. It hit the tree squarely, causing it to flex and shed half a dozen ornaments, flinging one unlucky sphere back across the length of the house. It bounced off a painting above the kitchen cabinets and ping-ponged down to the floor, shattering into an 8 foot radius of tiny ornament shards.

So, it wasn't the giant dog, the playful cat, OR the toddler, it was the husband, with a stuffed Easter chicken.



I took my sister and nephews for lunch today - yum! Guppy was a doll, if a very sleepy doll at the beginning of the lunch, having fallen asleep on the way to the restaurant. She perked up and ate a dozen crackers and some cheese and crab filling and bread and flirted with people at other tables. We dared to go shopping after that, but she was clearly running out of steam, so we didn't get the second store when we couldn't find what we wanted at the first store. Ah, well! I'm just kicking myself because I think I left the kitty litter in the bottom of the cart when we left. Argh.

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