ellenmillion: (Default)
I owe a weekend report! On Thursday night, I drove out to Chena Hot Springs, all by myself in the van. I camped there overnight, soaked in the morning, and met Layla for a plein air watercolor painting class. Yes, I was torturing myself again with Things I Am Not Good At. Patreon patrons will get a look at what I painted! Friday night I camped out with Layla, Saturday was another day of painting outdoors, and then Saturday night Layla drove back in and Jake left Guppy with the grandparents and drove out in his fancy car. We stayed until Sunday afternoon, soaking and enjoying a leisurely breakfast.

It was a gorgeous time. Sunny weather the first day, threatening clouds the second - but no actual rain until we were tucked into bed, long after a lovely fire and marshmallows.



I brought my iPad and keyboard with me, and actually managed to write a few thousand words, as well! Not-a-book is up to 40k, and I've got just another scene (maaaaybe two) and a fluffy epilogue still to write on it. I've mocked up the cover and drafted the blurb. It feels like it's stampeding to the finish line now! It's eating my brain, big time.

Tomorrow: a massage, the farmer's market, a new artwork release, and maybe a thousand new words, if I'm lucky. All the paid #junicorns are mailed except a few I'll take into town with me tomorrow. (And one more original sale would make me over the moon! I made a special folder at my artist Facebook page to show which originals were still available.)
ellenmillion: (Default)
Have you missed some of my creative updates over the last month? I'm doing monthly roundups to try to keep some sense in the chaos!

April started late - I spent the first several weeks doing a whirlwind grandparent tour of three different states. I attempted #faepril, but burned out after 7 or eight of them, and wasn't particularly happy with any of them. I was also working ridiculous hard on exclusive work that I won't be able to show off until July (except to Patreon patrons!), so it was a brief month from the outside...

Artwork:

My big release was this painting, for 78Tarot:


I also did three rough sketches for Sketch Fest #86: http://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/sketchfest/sketchfestartist.php?id=9&date=86
All of them were for my failed #faepril attempt, none of them were very polished!

Posted at Torn World:


And at Portrait Adoption:



Writing:

A poem for subscribers at Torn World: http://www.tornworld.net/storypageview.php?id=614

Almost no not-a-book writing.


Other:

Livejournal's insistence on adding advertising for visitors (despite my paid account!) was the final nail in that coffin, and I imported my journal to Dreamwidth, which is where my primary blogging now is.

I had a cold for a few weeks of the month. When I went to the doctor, they said 'walking pnemonia?' I said PLBT! and refused to get xrays, and was better then next week.

Favorite photo, Me and Guppy with a GIANT plastic cow: http://hotlink.ellenmilliongraphics.com/ellen/baby/IMG_8554-withagiantcow.JPG
ellenmillion: (Default)
I've done So. Much. Today.

I couldn't point a finger at anything individually grueling, and my to-do list wasn't really that impressive, but I feel like I haven't stopped all day, rushing from thing to thing. It is, at least, a nicer day than yesterday, with spots of sun, and batches of chocolate chip cookies.

I wrote no words today, but I did finish a commission and deliver it, and tweak it, and get it approved! Horrah!

It's pretty hilarious that Jake and I got each other early birthday presents of thermoses without collaborating on it. I got him a tiny 9 oz thermos for his coffee (he was lamenting not being able to find anything smaller than 12 oz), and he got me a thermos for nighttime ice water because I was jealous of the one he had. (I am excited to give him his second present, but his birthday isn't for another few days and he reads my blog, so I can't gush about what I found yet.)

Have a photo from last week when it was ridiculously sunny and hot:


We stopped for lunch at the Pita Place, which has AMAZING falafel, as a treat after the gym. Guppy enjoyed her hummus pita. I'm not sure what the L signifies, except that she was doing her best to be completely loony.

ETA: Woops, didn't post this last night. A great night of sleep later, and ready to tackle the to-do list that is no shorter than yesterday! *cracks knuckles*
ellenmillion: (Default)
The last day of preschool was yesterday! *SOBS*

I got my 500 words (and a little bit) written, and I did a bunch of Torn World admin, and I did some errands, and I made some phonecalls and now I'm looking at my to-do list and remembering the things I forgot I needed to do while I was in town. BRILLIANT. It helps if you use the darned list, self.

I forgot them again today, along with a half dozen other minor things, like my earphones for the gym. We went to get the tires inspected on the truck today, but it's first come, first served, and by the time I'd dragged Guppy out of the house, there was a 3.5 hour wait, which didn't exactly fit the schedule. So we went to the gym, and when I picked her up from an hour of gym daycare Guppy burst into tears and said she waited for me the whole! time! and GUILT SOB GUILT.

We met a dad friend of mine at the park for a surprise (to the kids) playdate and picnic lunch, and I got to carve my first wooden spoon, which was great fun and I didn't lose any fingertips, though I do have a blister now. My first spoon is a bit wobbly and I haven't whittled since I was about eight (and it shows) but I love it!



Waiting for it to dry a bit more before I sand it.

No words yet today, but maybe after someone's bedtime.
ellenmillion: (Default)
The last few days of March, we packed up and went on a whirlwind grandparents tour - 14 days in total, 3 sets of grandparents, with a bonus of 3 great-aunts, 2 great-uncles, 2 aunts, and 1 uncle, spread across 3 states, involving 6 airline flights, none of which were United, so no one got dragged off our flights unwillingly. (Thanks for being awesome, #alaskaair!*)

The trip was about 100 times better than it sounds in the description; it was wonderful seeing everyone, and we're hoping to do it again in a few years. Guppy was AMAZING. She was a five-year-old rockstar: unfailingly polite, resilient to all the sleep disruptions and travel stresses, and more charming and adorable even than her usual fabulous self. Everyone was wonderfully hospitable, and though she always started out shy, she warmed right up to all the strangers and near-strangers in record time.



And yes, to those of you who guessed, Wisconsin was one of our stops. Here's another plastic cow**, this one in front of a cheese outlet store. Her name is Patty, and she is a bench, as well.

I've got a whole bunch to catch up on, but I hope everyone had good times while I was out! I was browsing some social media on my phone, but it was pretty intermittent, and if I've missed anything I should know about, poke me. :)


*This may sound like a very low bar, but actually Alaska Air has been incredibly awesome. Their app is fantastic, their service is great, I feel like a respected sardine, at least, and I love their new extra legroom option.)

**Jake has pointed out that they are undoubtedly actually fiberglass cows, not plastic.
ellenmillion: (Default)


Testing more crossposting things - this time with images!

This particular giant plastic cow was at a gas station that advertised CHEESE - FIREWORKS - GIFTS!

You have two guesses which state I was visiting.
ellenmillion: (fairysquash)
Friday got derailed with emergency unscheduled parent aiding for preschool - and it turned out wonderfully, because it was a special cultural snack day, and I didn't even need lunch afterwards. It all went very smoothly and was fun.

The weekend was useful, but I'll be dashed if I can remember what I did, now. There was dance class, and I think I drew some things, and possibly wrote some things, and I read Castle Hangnail, and there was very good food. Oh! And I got all my Patreon patron packages mailed. They made out like bandits, ya'll. Originals, etched mirrors, art books, coloring pages, magnets...

Yesterday was a day off for Jake, but not for me, and Guppy unhelpfully got up about 40 minutes before the alarm - which isn't really enough time to get her back into bed, so we just got up, and then she fell asleep in the car on the way to preschool. DOH! I worked for about an hour at the library on my next not-a-book (grindingly slow!) and then went shopping before we went home for lunch. Guppy got a good nap, and I, for the first time in as long as I can remember, said 'a nap sounds great!' and also took one, followed by a cup of green tea and a nice productive afternoon. Bellydance was wonderful as always, and I came home to a culinary coup of Porta Rican stew and boxed macaroni and cheese. (They don't sound like they match, but WOW, they really did.)

Today, instead of going to the gym, I took daughter and dog out into the woods. It's been cold enough that the trails aren't rotten yet, like they often are this time of year.

Once they'd both burned off some of their energy, I was even able to let Guppy walk Norway.



I also made about eighty phone calls (I put off making phone calls, so they pile up...) and was on hold with the USPS for 45 minutes to get the Sekrit address to which you send written appeals for claims. They lost a box of coloring books last August and wouldn't let me file a claim while they were doing a search for it... which took them 6 months, and then it was 'too late to file a claim.' So now I have to send them a letter to get my $%&& insurance money out of the box, which barely pays for the time I spent on hold, let alone the value of the coloring books (40 of them! *clutches chest*). AND I get to pay them for a stamp for the privilege.

Have some artwork that I did for the last Sketch Fest, which is now up at Torn World:


(Original for sale, $20)

Now, a cup of tea sounds marvelous, and I've got some art with looming deadlines.
ellenmillion: (fairysquash)
I am a puddle. An absolute puddle.

Sekrit Project is delivered in full. My brain, it is used up. It feels like a raisin in my skull. This was very high-intensity, out-of-comfort-zone, RUSHRUSHRUSH work in an already busy and short month... and I KILLED IT. Seriously, at the beginning of the month, I had two finished pieces and 7 sketches. 28 days later, I have 16 finished high-detail pieces, 16 spot-illustrations with page layouts, and a full color cover. And I don't feel like I let quality slip, either.

(Pst, Patreon patrons have gotten to see a whole passel of sneak previews! You could see them ALL with as little as a $1/month pledge.)

I very much feel like a nap now.

Guppy's birthday was yesterday! She was thrilled with her presents and loved the cupcakes we made for preschool.



How is she five? HOW?

Now I have to go... I dunno. Fold clothes. Wander around the house with glazed eyes going, "What? Who?" Weep into a post-project-let-down bowl of ice cream, maybe.
ellenmillion: (fairysquash)
I'm DONE DONE DONE with the inking of my Big Secret Project. I've erased the pencil and touched things up, and now I'm scanning like a mad thing.

Not-a-book spent most of the weekend (wait, how is it Thursday already??) in the top 500 books, and has since slipped and has been wiggling around 700 since then. Not as good as the first book, but much better than the second. I'm pleased. And sales of the second book got a nice bump, too. I am itching to start on the next one, and got a few words of outline done today while scanning.

It's snowed about 5 inches over the last day, and Guppy and I have been out playing in it whenever possible.

ellenmillion: (fairysquash)


A problem with our chimney cap means our woodstove has been burping smoke into the house with increasing regularity, and yesterday did so severely enough that, after setting up two air purifiers, Jake fled to the garage and Guppy and I bundled up and went for a walk and played in the yard. It was actually grand to have an excuse to go outside and play - it was cold, but really fun, and we were well-dressed. Here are our snow angels. Guppy thought it was very tragic that we could not make a snowman, but there were no snowballs to be made at 20 below.

The ashtray smell is fortunately gone from the house this morning, and I survived another round of parent aide, this time with a topping of Valentine's Party.

I also published a book on Sunday, and am not obsessively reloading the page to check for stats and comments. Well, not too obsessively. I mean, obsessively is comparative, right? *refreshesrefreshesrefreshes*

Going back further, poor Guppy was terribly sick on Friday. I could tell because she was very cooperative about wearing pants. (And also because she kept draping herself over things saying she hurt, and also the throwing up was a pretty solid sign.) She bounced back admirably on Saturday, though we did skip dance class, just in case.

Did I blog on Thursday? I can't remember. Deadlines eating my brain. *runs away to refresh the book page work on the art in NDA.*
ellenmillion: (fairysquash)
I have a crazy amount of things to do today, so its time for a list...

*take out the trash
*change out the catbox
*vacuum

*dishes
*clean toilet
*shower
*ink raven piece
*sketch one new page
*fold laundry
*start new laundry
*Sketch Fest ad graphic
*post Portrait Adoption piece
*review another two chapters of audiobook
*approve submitted description
*update PA race
*update Patreon
*mail Amazon order
*prep dinner
*100 emails deleted or filed or answered, etc. (my inbox is at 589. *dies*) 425
*Start compiling data for taxes

Have a goofy photo from the Seattle Aquarium. (The aquarium visit as a whole was a bit of a whiny tired-child disaster, but there were plenty of spots of fun in it.)

ellenmillion: (fairysquash)
I've had this entry open, blank, since Wednesday, and the days just gallop past before I can capture them.

In unfun things, I have to get my eyeglass lenses replaced because the coating is flaking off. And I had to go to the vet with a limping Norway this morning for more pain meds. Crawling under the porch to drag a 90 lb dog out by his reluctant furry face is not my idea of fun. (I tried many things before resorting to that, including bribery, cajoling, and scolding. Which is starting to sound like my LIFE lately, thanks to living with a four-year-old.)

I did get my not-a-book all formatted and sent off for reader reviews, and I did get some other running around sorts of things done. But today, so far, my house is not vacuumed and I have not washed the dishes yet.

In fun things, it's Sketch Fest! http://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/sketchfest/sketchfestprompters.php

I am trying to motivate myself to do something for a prompt - something fast, because Guppy is in ultra-clingy-not-gunna-nap mode. And I think I never uploaded my piece for last month. Oops.


From several days ago, hiking with Norway. I want to post more selfies this year, not because I'm vain, but because I want to look at myself realistically, and I want to be the kind of person who can post goofy photos without feeling self-conscious.
ellenmillion: (fairysquash)
Starting the year as I mean to go on, adding beauty and art to the world, here is a new piece of artwork available now!


I did this as part of #inktober, but PA artists rose to my challenge last quarter, and provided enough portraits that I'll be posting one a day for the next three months. This is a beautiful "problem" to have. Click to adopt! The original is also available.

There is a Sketch Fest on Friday! https://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/sketchfest/

I traditionally take the month of January off, but this one crept up on me. I will do the Sketch Fest through the weekend as promised, send out payments and such on Monday, then button up and take the last three weeks of the month off to recharge and get ready for the rest of the year. I need a little break where I'm NOT feeling obligated to answer emails and be the boss. (Except of Guppy. But then, we know who's really the boss there.)



The storm brought a lot of fresh snow (15+ inches), and it was very, very windy. We were without power for just a few hours Friday night. The howling wind and lack of nightlights scared Guppy, who came to snuggle with me in bed for a little while before deciding her bed was better after all. My snow-shoveling muscles are quite well-used.

Bellydancing tonight! I'm thinking I'll pick up pizza on my way home as a treat.
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: (fairysquash)
Have you missed some of my creative updates over the last month? I'm doing monthly roundups to try to keep some sense in the chaos!

Artwork:

Only the cover for Wild Teas of Alaska was technically released:



I did paint a few teeny ornaments, as well:



Writing:

13k on my not-a-book, which is AWESOME for me.

Other:

We did landscaping at our house, completely transforming the downhill side of our house in particular. It may actually qualify as a yard now, not just a tangled wilderness of junk we don't know where else to put and scruffy willows.

Everyone in the house was sick at one point during the month, some of us worse than others.

Finished the artwork for and released Wild Teas of Alaska! http://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/coloringbook.php?id=75

Flooded the basement being dumb and ended up dismantling, drying, and reorganzing my entire studio.

Got new furniture for Guppy and completely rearranged her room into something MUCH better. Which was my favorite Guppy photo of the month:

ellenmillion: (fairysquash)
My skeleton army has been decimated! I sold every skeleton ornament I brought except the teeny unicorn skellie, even the ones I did on the spot at the show, and the ones I did Saturday night. As we were closing, I was painting a skeleton commission. I didn't even get a photo of it.

It's safe to say they were a total hit. Ornaments were in general.

Here's one I painted with a lace pattern - I may do more like this; they are very striking:



Coloring book sales were quite slow, though I moved many copies of Serenitrix, and several of the Alaska coloring books. I got to see many dear friends, and the show itself is so well run I'm spoiled for other bazaars.

Next weekend: PopCon! Then, I'm done for the season.

I've got my not-a-book half edited on Friday and had planned to work on it more today, but brain says blaaaaaaaaaah, and I've got some marketing and sales things to work on.
ellenmillion: (fairysquash)
I do not have a sewing machine, and I'm not the amazing seamstress my Mom is, but I do have a hot glue gun and a roll of duct tape. I spent the precious hours of quiet time today making duct tape spikes and cutting out an Astrid (from How to Train Your Dragon) skirt. It turned out AMAZING, and when I got Guppy up to try it on, she refused to.

I've decided that I will go to her Halloween party as Astrid, and she can go as an orphan.

(later)

She decided to try everything on.




BEHOLD my duct tape spikes! And the headband with velcro sizing! The tiny skulls! The cut-up sock arm-warmers! The discount axe! (I do need to re-hot-glue two of the spikes, but it appears to be pretty sturdy as a whole.)

The whole thing was less than $20, and beats the snot out of anything in a plastic bag.

(This did mean no #inktobers today, nor words. IT WAS WORTH IT.)
ellenmillion: (Sketch Fest)


Only bummer? My white paint pen has bit the dust! I've ordered another several, but they may not be here until next week. I am weeping. And also wondering what hot orange dinosaur skeletons would be like...

I got words written this morning during preschool, and also went to the second hand store and bought costume components for Guppy's Halloween costume. She's decided to be Astrid, from How to Train Your Dragon. So I found a striped sleeveless shirt, a pair of socks to cut up for arm warmers, a discount two-edged axe, and a skull necklace to take apart and use as accents. I was thwarted in my attempt to get spike strips for the skirt, so settled on a simple tiered skirt that I think she will wear anyway - she'll wear my belt with it. I am shockingly out of silver duct tape (I have black, blue, orange, and Batman, but no silver), so I will need to get some to make the shoulder guards. Photos to follow once it's all put together.

Not surprisingly, she loves her axe, and is begging me right now to go outside and play dragon with her.

Which I shall now do.

Thursdaily

Oct. 20th, 2016 08:53 pm
ellenmillion: (fairysquash)
Today, we got SNOW.

It was a stay at home day, which was nice because everyone always forgets how to drive the first day of snow, and Guppy wasn't feeling very good, but had a quiet day to recover. We had a crackling fire and I did some laundry and we made a Halloween wreatch from a craft kit. We watched Incredibles, and I snuck in an episode of the Flash while she was napping. I did a lot of artwork that I feel tremendously good about today, and wrote a hard email that I feel was appreciated and also programmed a fab new toy to play with at Portrait Adoption:

http://portraitadoption.com/novelgenerator.php

The idea occurred to me a few days ago, while I was noodling around with things, and it turned out to be relatively simple to write up. I would still like to make a button to share it on social media, and possibly also save your results, but I'm not quite sure how to make that happen. I have a few ideas I could poke at if it's something people decide they want.

THere's also a new sampler page up at EMG, for the Wild Teas of Alaska: http://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/coloringbook.php?id=75


Guppy was feeling enough better at the end of the day to walk up the driveway with me. She was all smiles and glee until I wanted to take her photo, of course.

Looking ahead! I have a few things on the calendar to share with you!

October 30 I will be at Sipping Streams from 1-4 for a fabulous coloring party! Tea, finger food (OMG, so good), a face-painter, free pages, and a chance to use my own high end coloring tools. Don't miss it!

Nov 5-6 I will be at the UWA holiday bazaar, sharing a table with [livejournal.com profile] laylalawlor. I will have painted ornaments and any coloring books that I personally am in.

Nov 11-12 I will be at PopCon at UAF. As time allows, I will be doing on-the-spot commissions of ornaments and sketches.

Nov 18-20 is Sketch Fest #81!

I'm also ruminating something fun and Sketch Fest related for Black Friday...
ellenmillion: (thud)
I'm feeling rather discouraged about my artwork lately. Partly it's my usual 'don't have tiiiiiime to do everything I waaaaaaant,' and partly it's a few unrelated little ego-pops (not getting into projects I thought I was a good fit for, throwing a 40% off sale at my Etsy store last month and getting NO takers). Nothing entirely critical by itself, but sales have been dismal across the board. October is usually my best month, and this one has been absolutely DIRE for me. I am trying not to take it personally or let it slow me down.

Finished #inktober #12 yesterday, but haven't scanned it yet! Wrote some words this morning and think the not-a-book is going to be at least two scenes longer than I thought. Which means six scenes left to write. May have to start getting up early to write again. That was a good way to get words written. It's just haaaaaard to get up, especially now that it's so depressingly dark in the early morning.

Have to make a list, because I'm not going to get through it if I don't make myself accountable:

~Finish laundry (1 load in dryer, 1 in washer)
~wash dishes (left in a hurry this morning and didn't get them done)
~straw on trees, flowerbed, in doghouse (snow coming!)
~cover firewood (snow coming!)

~make a fire (do this first)
~project art - one new sketch, finish one sketch
~start soup? (Confer with husband on soup plan)
~Halloween wreath and monsters with Guppy.
~Unload car and repark
~Newsletter - Brains sale, new sampler, next Sketch Fest!

Note to self: binge-watch Flash is NOT one of these items. Do not get off track. No matter how tempting. Also, I dangerously noticed that Dark Matter has new episodes. And Arrow. And I haven't seen Luke Cage yet. NO BINGE-WATCHING, ELLEN.

Have another shot of Guppy from our walk a few days ago:



Okay, fire first, because fire makes warm makes happy makes work seem more fun.

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