February Goals

February Goals

Life Goals:

  • Start Marvel paintings. I have some fun plans for doing paintings of each of the Avengers. I have a date I’d like them to be done by; hopefully I can make it!
  • Document February in my Smashbook. I got a Smashbook from my best friend for Christmas, and I’ve decided to use it to document each month, and any special trips/events that happen throughout the year! You’ll see January’s pages soon!
  • Order plant/seed catalogs & plan my garden. I know it’s only February, and spring doesn’t really show up in NH until late April, but I’d like to put some time into planning my garden ahead of time this year, especially my flower beds.

Blog Goals:

  • Send out three more emails to artists. I’ve gotten great responses so far to my artist interview requests (two more up this month!) and I want to keep the emails going so I can stay on schedule with those posts.
  • Stick to my blog schedule. January ended up being a total crapshoot for all things blog. Being sick kicked it off, and then even once I was healthy I wasn’t keeping to the schedule I had planned for posts. I definitely want to remedy that this month, especially since I’ve got some posts I’m quite excited about!
  • Finalize the switch to self-hosted! This is the biggest thing I want to talk about. I have it almost finished, layout wise, then I just need to install a few plugins and it’s good to go. However, my subscription to WordPress Custom Design runs out in TWO DAYS. Since I am so close to the final switch, I’ll be opting not to resign up for that, which means things around here may look a little funky if that expires and I’m not done with the new stuff yet. I’m hoping nothing major will be affected, but if things seem a bit wonky, rest assured they’ll be fixed soon and I can show off my new shiny layout!

Hope you have a great month!

Life In Photos #34

Some snaps from the last couple weeks in January.


Static electricity is the best.


He fell asleep with his tongue out…it was so cute!

after nap

While snapping photos for A Day In The Life, I snagged this gem which was her face upon waking from nap and seeing me in the doorway with my camera at the ready!



These were taken from out our playroom window – there was a squirrel party going on! They were climbing all around, right next to the house, and it was hilarious. I love squirrels! Unfortunately the little miss was napping, but my cat enjoyed the heck out of it.

And now a few shots from the ‘snowmageddon’ this past week. Luckily, where I am in NH didn’t get swamped too badly. Only about 10 inches of snow, and it was all super light and fluffy. Perfect for playing in (though terrible for snowman/fort building). Plus, since everything in the entire state pretty much shut down in preparation, the hubs got a free day off from work so we got to spend it as a family. Woohoo!


I love trees in the snow!


Her favorite part of winter is nomming the fresh snow. It’s hilarious.



This is my favorite shot from that day. I love the snow in her lashes, and in general that magical wondrous look that little kids get when they discover something to be fascinated by.

January Goals Wrap Up

january goals wrap up

January was a pretty 50/50 month. The first half was spent ridiculously sick, and that sucked. But the second half was amazing! Filled with friends, laughter, and all around fun stuff. And despite ‘losing’ half the month to sick time, I still did pretty well with my goals!

Life Goals:

  • Put together and order our 2014 Family Yearbook. SUCCESS! It’s in the mail on it’s way to me right now!
  • Begin filling in the journal/scrapbooks I got for Christmas. SUCCESS! I’ve been keeping up on the daily question prompt book, and my January Smashbook pages are just about complete! You’ll be seeing the Smashbook pages on the blog; I just haven’t decided if they’ll get their own post, or if I’ll include them for a WIP Wednesday.
  • Utilize the IGGPPC website more. FAIL. I follow the blog, but that’s it! In fact, I didn’t even sign up for a penpal this round. I actually don’t even feel too bad about it – at the moment, there are just other things I want to focus on instead.
  • Pick a piece of piano music and start learning it. FAIL. This failed goal makes me so sad. I don’t even have an excuse; I just DIDN’T do it. I’ve played maybe twice this month. Ugh. But (staying positive!) I have 11 more months to improve on this goal!
  • Relax! SUCCESS! Seriously, I’ve done a TON of relaxing. I’m slightly ashamed at the amount of Netflix I’ve watched this month. But truth be told, it felt great. And I’m still keeping up with other projects, so no regrets!

Blog Goals:

  • Join Bookworms In Dresses new link up – Fictional Fridays! SUCCESS! I did two this month (Characters I Love to Hate and Manga) and I can’t wait to do more in February! Now to think of topics – any suggestions?
  • Email a few artists about interviews here on the blog. SUCCESS! I even posted my first interview, featuring the beautiful artwork of Rob Ebben. I have February’s all scheduled out already, and I can’t wait to send more emails to get more set up!
  • Make a decision about my new blog design. SUCCESS(ish) Obviously, you can see I have a new layout. I’m actually not 100% in love with it, but it’s the gist of what I’m looking for. At the moment, I am currently in the middle of getting my site set up as self-hosted, so the final layout will be up soon! I’m aiming towards the end of February to have the whole transfer complete.
  • Promote more. SUCCESS! I’ve been promoting posts on Instagram, and I finally got my Pinterest boards cleaned out and went back to pin some of my posts. It’s definitely something I want to continue doing! As for buying ad space, I opted to save my pennies for now.

 Bring it on February!

Indie Buys for January + Thoughts On My First Zines

I went a little overboard on the 1AM Promise this month; instead of only buying one thing from an indie shop, I ended up buying a total of 6 from three different indie writers, and backing two Kickstarter projects….sorry about that, bank account, but it was totally worth it!

First off, since it will be shorter, I’ll talk about the Kickstarters I backed.

#1. Abbadon by Jimmy Palmiotti

Whoo, new graphic novel! It’s funny, I really dislike watching westerns, even what are widely regarded as ‘good’ westerns…I just can not get into them. The only one I’ve really enjoyed was Blazing Saddles…and that has waaaaay more to do with Mel Brooks than anything else. I digress. Despite not enjoying western films, I discovered that I really like reading westerns! I have no idea why, but the setting, style, and mood works so much better for me in book form than movie form. Abbadon looks excellent, I love the art, boom. Backed.

#2. Precious Stone Polyhedral Dice Set

I have to give some massive thanks to Diedre from Geek Pilgrimage for this one! She had a post for this Kickstarter on her blog, and I was immediately intrigued. Now that I have re-fallen in love with D&D after starting my first new campaign in ten years, I’ve been wanting a set of my own dice. Once I saw that they had sets available in Blue Sandstone, it was pretty much an insta-back. They are going to be soooooo damn pretty!! I probably won’t get my set until the end of April, and I am already so excited for it!

Alrighty, now let’s talk zines.

Firstly, I had to order zines from Sonya Cheney. Her blog is where I first heard the word zine, learned about what they are, and decided yup, I need to start reading them. I love her blog, so I figured I’d love her zines too! And I did.


I think the main thing I love about them is how open and honest they are. Sonya talks about a range of topics in these zines, and while each piece may not be connected to the next, the whole zine flows seamlessly. Her writing is wonderful, and I can’t wait to snag the rest she has available! Wonderlust was great as well; a beautiful collection of works from many talented people.

From Pioneers Press I ordered three zines, from two separate writers. I couldn’t help but snap a pic of everything packaged up all cute!


Better Days: Stuff That Helps With All This Anxiety was a little different than I was expecting. It lists tips and tricks to deal with anxiety, but overall it was less personal that I thought it would be. Definitely not bad, but I was a bit disappointed simply as it’s not what I was expecting.


All The Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues by Julia Eff was fucking extraordinary. While it doesn’t quite describe it perfectly, this zine covers events from her childhood and how they’ve affected her as an adult. The subject matter is very heavy, and raw, but it’s the writing that makes it shine. I love her style. She managed to make me feel the emotions she felt at the time (with some really horrible stuff happening), and yet I never pitied her. There is never an ounce of ‘oh poor me’ despite some horrific things happening. Her strength shines through, and while it was very heavy reading, emotionally, it was also beautiful.

The two other zines were also by Julia Eff (it was a two-zine set called Pulling Teeth) and they were excellent as well. I loved that while these were both very short, the layout and design was fantastic. These were much more cut-&-paste than Cowboys, and it really added to the flow of the writing. Also, I loved that these were folded together, and when you unfolded it there is a whole flat sheet of paper full of tidbits to browse.

So after reading my first ever zines, my thoughts are that they are wonderful. As someone who loves memoirs, and personal blogs, these are like dessert forms of that kind of writing. I can already see this becoming a big addiction…I can’t wait until February to order more!


A Day In The Life

This is a post I’ve had planned for a long time, and finally got around to snapping pics for! Today, I want to share a typical day in my life through photos (and the occasional blurb from yours truly). It isn’t quite a photo-an-hour, which I’ve seen floating around the web, but I think this gives a better idea of an average day for me.

8am: Wake Up and Breakfast


9am: Screen Time

Clearly the best position for TV watching.


10am – 12:30pm: Playtime!






12:30pm: Lunch


1:15pm: Quiet Time

She heads into her room for quiet playtime before nap.


I usually spend my time with my kitty and a book, or gaming.

2:00pm: Nap Time


I tend to wait to start art projects until she’s asleep, since nap is never a guarantee.

4:00pm: Snuggles, Snack, & Chores

When she first wakes from nap, she always wants snuggles on the couch for a few!



5:00pm/5:30pm: Cooking

My little’s favorite: Quesadillas.

6:00pm: Dinner


7:00pm: Daddy Playtime



Since she’s with me all day, she likes to have time with just Daddy after dinner. It works great for me, as I get an hour of chill time to do what I like!

8:00pm: Bedtime

8aShe always has Daddy do bedtime reading…it’s so adorable!

9:00pm – Midnight: Party Time!

And by party I mean doing art, playing board games, watching shows, or busting out some computer work!

So that’s a typical day of my life as a stay at home mum. I adore getting to spend so much time with my little miss; it is so unbelievably rewarding! Obviously, I couldn’t capture everything we do, but this is a pretty good roundup. The only thing not pictured is the amount of arts and crafts we do together, but of course in the two days I took these pics, my little wanted to do other things. I hope you enjoyed the little glimpse into my life!

What does a typical day in your life look like? If you end up making a post, feel free to share in the comments; I’d love to check it out!

Also, feel free to leave some feedback about the new layout! I needed a change, and switched to this. I’m not 100% in love with it yet, but for now it’ll do! There’ll be a few more small changes to come, mainly in the sidebar and pages (you may notice a few missing at the moment from the top menu bar…still working on ’em!).

Fictional Fridays #2


Today for Bookworms In Dresses fabulous Friday link-up, let’s talk manga! Manga was a huge part of my life in middle and high school, and also a huge reason I stayed immersed in a love for art. My mum used to work at a school, and she always took me down to Borders (remember those stores?) for their huge one day sale event for educators (aka massive discount on your whole purchase). I still remember the excitement of that shopping day; browsing the shelves of options trying to decide what to read next, the ecstasy of knowing I could pick out five or six volumes instead of just one.

Unfortunately, I don’t still have any of my old manga. I hit a rough patch, money-wise, after splitting from an awful relationship, and ended up selling them for some quick cash. I can’t say I regret it, as I really needed the money at the time, but there are definitely days where I wish I could flip through some of my old favorites. Here are some of my faves from back when I was fourteen and fifteen.

1. .hack//Legend of the Twilight

2. Magic Knight Rayearth

3. Chobits

4. Peach Girl

5. Fruits Basket

Though I adored the story of Chobits, I think .hack was my absolute favorite (okay, tied with Magic Knight Rayearth). When I was reading these, this was pre-MMORPG and the closest thing I had was Neopets. As an RPG lover, the world of .hack was spectacular (you know, other than that whole ‘it’s killing people in real life’ thing). Magic Knight Rayearth was awesome for a similar reason – regular girls who get transported to a magical world and have to kick ass and be heroes?? Um, yes please. My fourteen year old self was over the moon.

Man, now I miss my manga. I think I may have to start collecting these again!

Did you/do you read manga? What are some of your faves?
Don’t forget to check out Fictional Fridays at Bookworms in Dresses!

Artist Interviews: Meet Rob Ebben

One of my biggest goals this year is to start interviewing artists here on the blog! I love to pick the brain of other artists; often times I find that they have the same thoughts and views as I do about things, and that’s always awesome to find in people you admire. Today, for my first artist interview, I’d like to introduce you to the work of Rob Ebben. I came across him on DeviantArt, and fell in love with his artwork. The softness of his portraits, how full of life and emotion they are. Just beautiful. Not to mention his technical expertise – looking at the details in his work is one of my favorite parts; there is just so much to take in!  I hope you enjoy his art (I’ve picked just a few of my favorites from his gallery), and getting to know him a bit as an artist.

1. How old were you when you knew that art would be a permanent part of your life?

Rob Ebben: I would say when I was about seven years old I really took notice to art. I used to draw comic strips of my own after seeing them in the newspaper. I would also write little stories complete with illustrations. I never really showed them to anyone, just kept them to myself, but I was definitely hooked. It wasn’t until I was in High School that I was brave enough to show my art to anyone. The unexpected praise from schoolmates and teachers kind of added fuel to my artistic fire.

2. Do you consider art your career, or more of a hobby?

Rob: Most definitely a hobby. I like the freedom to draw what I want, when I want. I worked for a small company designing t-shirts and I had to draw things two or three times to please a client. I also had to work with deadlines which was very stressful which led to rushed work, so needless to say it was a very short-lived career for me. I HAVE shown my work at a few art shows which to me is a thrilling experience. Instant feedback from people, critiques from art lovers, I usually sit back and listen what people have to say.

3. Did you attend college or university for art? Do you think that has a big weight in how successful an artist can be?

Rob: My only training was High School Art class. I had a very unique teacher who grew up and studied art in Italy. He was full of great ideas and projects for the class to digest and always kept things fresh. After High School was over I started drawing at a furious rate and realized there is no substitute for practice in improving your talents. The four years of art classes taught me much, but with art you never really stop improving. Do I regret not pursuing art at a college level? It’s hard to say. I’m sure there is much theory to be learned but I’m happy with what I know and what I learn after completing each drawing.

4. What is your favorite medium to work with, and what supplies do you prefer?

Rob: My favorite mediums are graphite pencil and colored pencil. I am 48 years old and up until three years ago I used nothing but graphite. Everything was in grey scale. I started to see reference photos I wanted to draw and thought, “This would look so much better in color” so I started playing with color and was instantly hooked. I now have the luxury to see a photo I would like to try to draw and choose black and white OR color. Graphite is still my first choice. I love the look and the way I can work and control its application. I have dabbled in pastel chalk and I love the vibrant colors you can achieve. My goal is to slowly move into oil paint but i am treating colored pencil as a stepping stone to understanding color. When I am comfortable with color i will give oil paint a go. On the side I have also embraced Digital Art. While it may be fun, I much prefer art I can touch. My supplies? I love pencils made by a company called Kimberly but brand isn’t real important with graphite. I use a wide range from the hardest leads (2H-8H) to the softest darkest pencils (2B-6B). I also love mechanical pencil because you always have a sharp point. In my opinion there is only ONE colored pencil. They are called “polychromos” and they are made by Faber Castell. They are expensive, but if you are serious about colored pencils, spend the money and get the 120pc. set. If I wouldn’t have tried these I would have never pursued color. Cheaper brands can be waxy and frustrating to work with. The polychromos are oil based and go on smooth and blend incredibly well. They even can be erased to a certain degree, I just love them.

5. Do you listen to music while you create? If so, what?

Rob: I absolutely won’t draw without music. My art teacher started this. He would play old Italian classics during class and I grew to realize it really does help focus. The music all depends on my mood haha. Ive played drums for many many years so I am a music lover (and hoarder.) I have an obscene music collection.

6. What is your favorite subject for your art (for example, human, animal, abstract, etc)?

Rob: First and foremost I love portraits. I love drawing hair, eyes, and hands. I love studying faces, expressions, and emotion and trying to portray them to paper. My gallery started looking rather repetitive with female portraits, so i started experimenting with still life and landscape. I also love dogs, particularly Chihuahuas, so I had some fun doing a few of my friends dogs.

7. What is your favorite fuel for an art session?

Rob: Fuel meaning what gets me motivated? Seeing my friends art on Deviantart is a huge motivator for me. I will send a WIP (work in progress) photo to a friend to get feedback or some critique. Sometimes I will struggle with a technique or texture and run it by them and go from there. To me the best comment I can get from someone is for them to say “I could tell that was one of your drawings by the style”. I love that I achieved a style people can recognize apart from others.

8. What is something you wish you knew when starting out with art?

Rob: I wish I knew patience early on. I used to start drawings one after the other and get aggravated fairly quick. I found with my art, especially colored pencil, you have to really stick to a drawing. My color drawings tend to look awful at the beginning but at one point it will really start taking shape. So yes…patience. Its also nice that I can afford the quality materials…art can actually be a very affordable hobby in the long run.

9. What is your biggest piece of advice for another artist?

Rob: Draw what you like and it will stay fun. Practice practice practice. Don’t get frustrated; art is a life long learning experience. Try new mediums and mix them, see what you can come up with.

10. Will you share a few artists you admire?

Rob: Awww so many. If you Google these names I’m sure you will fall for their work. Frank Frazetta for his use of oil paint, color, and subject matter. Steve Hanks for his mastery of water color. Jon David Kassan for his stunning realistic portrait work. Those are my top three.

Rob was kind enough to send along a photo of his workspace to share too. It might me just me, but I always love to see another persons creative space!

Rob Ebben Workspace

Thank you, Rob, for answering my questions and for being my first interview!

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing his (gorgeous) work! Check our Rob’s work on DeviantArt, and feel free to give his Facebook page a like too!

Fictional Fridays

I am so excited for my first Fictional Fridays post!! After getting a little burnt with 5 Fandom Friday, I’ll be hopping over to join Bookworms In Dresses fabulous Friday link-up! Fictional Fridays is dedicated to gushing about literary related goodness. Characters! Stories! Book covers! Anything you want – post about it!! I love how it’s open ended, and it’s just the link up I’ve been looking for to pull me out of my Friday funk lately.

I was originally thinking about book characters I love as a topic to discuss here today, but then I realized there was something I wanted to talk about about more: Characters I Love to HATE.

I actually love it when I get truly angry at a character in a book. Why? The above quote sums it up nicely. If I have a mad case of rage towards a character, I definitely care and am invested in the writing enough to be so filled with turmoil. I love that. I love getting the feels for fictional characters, and I am always impressed when an author can churn up some true anger in me. So without further ado, here are my Top Two Characters I Love To Hate.

1. Dolores Umbridge

She is at the very tippy top of my list in terms of nerd rage while reading. I have never been SO ANGRY when reading. There were so many times I sat there, jaw clenched, white-knuckling my copy of Order of the Phoenix whilst reading about her latest horrifying act. I was actually sad when you find out the centaurs did not, in fact, rip her to pieces. I wanted her torn to smithereens, entrails hanging from the Forbidden Forest as a warning to others to not be such a complete douche.

2. Cersei Lannister

I absolutely love what a cold-hearted bitch Cersei is in the books. In fact, I’m not overly enamored with her portrayal on the show – she comes off rather victim-like in some situations and that is just NOT Cersei. She knows what she’s doing. She knows what she wants. And she will do ANYTHING to get it. I love (to hate) that about her. Her cold, calculating manner, her complete disregard for anyone but herself. In the earlier books I was in awe of just how selfish she was. Which made it all the more satisfying as things began to fall apart for her.

Those two have definitely given me the most rage I can think of while reading. There are certainly others I can mention:

Rita Skeeter from Harry Potter (for being such a skeevy jerk), Sansa from Game of Thrones (for her overwhelming naivety), Sandman from the Neil Gaiman comics (while he is the main protagonist, there are many occasions he is just a complete dick), Lucifer from Sandman and his own spinoff series (he IS the devil, I guess it’s not too surprising he would do some angering things). I’m sure I could name more, but that’s a good start.

Are there any characters you just love to hate?

Don’t forget to link up over at Bookworms in Dresses if you join in on Fictional Fridays!

Reeses Spreads: Tasty, But It’s No Nutella

Recently I received a jar of Reeses Spreads courtesy of Influenster to devour sample. I. Was. PUMPED. I didn’t even know this was a thing, but they had me and ‘chocolate and peanut butter spread’.


I set up a little spread for myself, the hubs, my daughter (who was beyond thrilled to get to have a treat in the middle of the afternoon), and we invited our neighbor over too, just to gather another opinion. The question was – what does this taste beston??


The options were: Apple slices, graham crackers, and wheat toast. Both my little and myself liked Reeses Spreads on apples the best. I am a HUGE fan of apples and peanut butter, and this is like a dessert version of that. Both my hubs and our neighbor liked it best on the toast.


How’s the flavor? I think this is where I was surprised the most. First off, it doesn’t taste like a Reeses Peanut Butter cup. In fact, when eaten WITH something, I feel like you hardly even taste the chocolate. It’s like a super sweet peanut butter. Good, but definitely not a great chocolate/pb combo in my opinion. We each tried a little spoonful just by itself, and I find that on it’s own it definitely tastes much more like a Reeses.

Overall, this is good, but I would not purchase this over Nutella any day. It has a good taste, but it’s really just like an overly sweet peanut butter. As someone who purchases natural peanut butter (as in, only peanuts – no added sugar) it’s almost sickeningly sweet, and it doesn’t have enough of a chocolate flavor to balance that out. I am quite intrigued how it’ll be to bake with though – I plan on making up some peanut butter cookies using this in place of half the peanut butter – we’ll see how they turn out!

Current Art Stuff (A Sort Of WIP Wednesday)

I debated not even having a WIP Wednesday, but then I decided even though I don’t have a ton of actual art to share, there are a few things I’d like to talk about! So really, a few of these things are even in pre-WIP stage, where I’m still just working on concepts for projects.

One of my biggest goals this year is to find a direction for my art. I feel like while I love creating, I don’t really have a sense of DOING anything with my art. I like to draw portraits. I like to make paintings. But I feel like I’ve just been bouncing around from individual project to individual project with no real goals for my art. And I’d like to change that! I will still absolutely be making portraits, paintings, and probably lots in between. But I want to give myself a bit more focus for the year, with an actual intention for my art as opposed to my “let’s just draw something” mentality I’ve been rolling with up until now.


Sketch more!! Seriously, I am awful at sketching. I bought a new sketchbook in mid-2014, and there are maybe ten pages filled in. Three of which are from this year. Oy. I really need to work on just sitting down to sketch, without a massive project in mind.

margot meanie mary doodles
Two sketches from this year – fellow blogger Margot Meanie, and a quick cartoon-ish sketch of Mary Doodles while catching up on her YouTube vids!


Drawing without a reference! This heavily ties in to my above focus of sketching more. Every time I sit down to sketch, self doubt always kicks in and screams I can’t possibly draw anything without a reference photo! I NEED to work on getting over that hump. Especially as I know, YES, I CAN draw without a direct reference. I actually have a super top secret idea I’m working on right now for a personal comic, and I can’t wait to get it going. You guys here will definitely be privy to the process – it’s really only super top secret from my family. And since they don’t read my blog, I can share it all here, muahahahaha! Anywho, you’ll be hearing lots more about it.

Other projects? I need to finish my Neil Gaiman portrait, as well as the painting for my hubs and I’ve got some plans to do a Victorian steampunk piece, just for funsies. I think I’d like it to eventually be a painting, but I’ll probably start out with a graphite drawing to get it all down first.

gaiman portrait
Hoping to get this finished tomorrow!

I’ve been ignoring this piece, as the entire bottom half of her body needs to be redone when I paint….not looking forward to that. But I need to suck it up, and get some more work done on it!

That’s what I’ve got on my art plate for now – what are you working on lately?