Can’t fix the world, but I can make silly art, and hopefully it makes someone smile, even for a moment.
Recently we went to a local botanical garden with some friends, which was glorious. I took a million photos of plants and flowers for references, and maaaay have gotten an idea for a new Watcher painting from them. Finished it a week or so ago, and am in the process of getting it matted and ready for sale as soon as I can get the store up and running.
I also gave in to the inevitable and subscribed to Adobe for Photoshop/Fresco for digital art. The other programs I looked at all, while less expensive, all had interface issues that were going to bug the crap out of me in the long run and also have the small problem that pretty much every print site is geared for Photoshop’s formatting options. Maybe someday, when I get better at digital artwork, I’ll switch to something else, but for now here we are. C’est la vie, I guess.
Who’d have thought that trying to find a CPA to work with, at very least long enough to get my tax registration stuff sorted out, if not longer, would turn into a several month long saga? Utterly ridiculous. After having to prod the local Chamber of Commerce to reply to my email for local recs for attorneys and accountants, and then failing to get any of the attorneys suggested to respond, the accounting firms turned out to have similar issues. So, I contacted the local small business associations, and their recs were no better about responding. Finally turned to FB yesterday, and got a rec from a friend that has potential.
Cross your fingers and light a candle for good luck for me. I’m passed the point of tired of fighting with yet another thing that should have been pretty straightforward but is, instead, taking exponentially longer than it ever should have to take care of.
Someday I’ll get to be able to finish getting the store set up…
Welcome to my new home on the Internet! Please excuse the mess, as I’m getting the studio moved from it’s old home at The River’s Wayward Daughter and to this, it’s new official one! That’s right, I’m all official and shit now. Soon, all the monsters and oddities will be here and settled in, and there will be a Real Store for my art, and it’s gonna be great.
After much ado, the paperwork has been submitted and accepted, and as of roughly noon yesterday, May 24, Tricksters Road Studio is now a Really Real Thing! As mentioned previously, I’ll be moving everything over to the new site in the coming weeks, getting my Ko-Fi and Patreon pages, etc. updated accordingly, and…..
Setting up my own actual shop on my own actual site.
So yeah, that’s that. It’s probably going to take a little bit, since I have to do everything manually, but I’m am SO EXCITED to finally be able to get this all set up official-like. Sorry about the chaos, but well, there’s a reason the studio is named what it is. 😀
Seriously, I am ecstatic. This has been something I’ve been trying to make work for so long, and y’all are a huge factor in my finally being able to get here. I genuinely couldn’t pull this off without the support you’ve all given me over the years, and I so very much appreciate it.
It started off as a normal, if deeply irritating, dream of dealing with petty middle-school grade Drama, and ended with me hysterically shaking my limp body, begging it to let me back in and wake up, and then being awake while I woke up, hyperventilating and needing to actually poke myself to make sure I was Really Awake This Time, FFS.
I think I’m just going to work on remembering the bit with the gorgeous flock of grey and burgundy tree toads taking flight, even if I’m somewhat vexed that I wasn’t able to get my phone out in time to take a photo of them…
Today was a Weird Day.
Still thinking I might need to paint the toads, though. They really were gorgeous.
I started working on a new Smol Monster/Watcher painting this week, and came to the point in the process where I have to start thinking about whether I’m going to use watercolor pencils or paint, whether I’m going to outline in black or brown ink, or something else. I decided that I wanted to do a nice sepia outline, but realized that many of the details on this piece are particularly small and I don’t have a Micron pen in size 005 (extremely fine point). So, off to the craft store I hied myself to see if I could find one, or if I would have to order one.
I, um, came back with rather more than a single pen.
In my defense, the india ink and dip pens were *right there* and I’ve wanted to use them again for a while, and my old ink was drying out and well, then I needed cleaning solution, and something to use for an inkwell until I can get a real one, and then I needed storage for all of this, and….
I can’t be trusted around art supplies.
*deletes and redrafts post*
*things explode again*
*grumbles, deletes posts, and redrafts it again*
*things explode. again.*
sounds of hysterical cackling
Quick, Melissa! Write a quick summary and get it posted before things explode again!
The Reader’s Digest Condensed version: It’s been nearly a year since Dad died and everything went to hell and required a restructure of well, close to half of my life. Also, some of my health issues have gotten worse, requiring some life changes to what I can and can’t do. What does this mean? This means that I’ve reached a point where I’m going to make a few minor adjustments, and one big change.
The big change is that the name and associated web address stuff is going to be changing. Why is that? Well, for a variety of reasons, really. I’m giving up on ever doing formal travel blogging (like I’d originally been planning to back when I settled on this name back in 2019), and that was originally what the name was associated with. Between ongoing pandemic, general life, and some medical reasons, it’s just not something I can pursue anymore and, to be totally honest, given everything in the last few years, it’s not something I even *want* to pursue anymore. I could try and keep wrangling it as is, but the reality is that it’s developed a lot of excess baggage for me, and it’s messing with my head.
Also, because I’m formally shifting focus to general writing (may not be travel blogging anymore, but I’m sure gonna keep writing apocryphal folklore and other little story bits), mixed media and digital art, and other random little artish projects, I’m also working on getting an official business license and registration! Which means, I need to actually name, well, my official business.
I’ve been poking at it for months now (okay, honestly, I’ve been trying on studio names like they were ballgowns for years), and nothing’s really been Just Right. They’ve been okay, but not…
Until recently, when I woke up in the middle of the night and just *knew*. I tried it out, wrote it on things, talked about it to the cat, and generally just quietly lived with it for a bit, just to make sure. Still pretty damned sure that it’s Right.
Still got some logistic issues to sort out, but in the next few months I’m going to be hitting the Reset Button and rebranding over to the new name and address (to be announced once I’ve got the paperwork in order for it). So yeah.
It’s mid-October, late in the afternoon. The day is warm and the sky is that piercing blue that only exists for a few brief weeks, contrasting beautifully against the red and orange leaves of the trees. You pull into a small rest area to stretch your legs after several hours of driving, and to maybe get something to eat from the little attached diner. The parking lot is pretty quiet, and it’s a nice day, so you decide to stop and eat at one of the picnic tables off to the side. As you sit down, a flash of color catches your attention.
At a nearby table, a woman is sitting beside a plain brown woven basket filled with what looks to be brightly colored eggs, like the kind you see in the spring. Beside the basket is a handwritten note stating that they are for sale. There seems to be more writing, but you can’t quite make it out from where you sit.
The woman notices you looking, smiles pleasantly, and gestures that you are welcome to take a look. You point at your food, and she nods. After you finish eating and dispose of your trash in a nearby waste bin, you give in to your curiosity and approach her table.
Izbushka Eggs – $6 each
Guaranteed to be mostly helpful.
Not knowing what to make of this, you ask her what an Izbushka egg is.
She smiles and begins to tell you about hand-raised chicken-legged huts. You blink nervously, trying to decide if you’re dealing with a Halloween prank, a local artist, or someone with some sort of mental health issues. As surreptitiously as you can, you glance toward the rest area employees who are leaning against the side of the building on their break, and see that they don’t appear concerned at all, so you’re pretty sure that she’s probably fine. Artist, most likely, then. You relax somewhat and turn your attention back to her, as she tells you about her flock of rare breed izbushka (barely the size of a child’s dollhouse!), and how this particular breed is known especially for their gentle natures, brightly colored eggs, and high rate of beneficial laying, as opposed to most of the larger breeds, who are prone to being more aggressive and liable to lay harmful eggs. Unfortunately, they do have a higher chance of laying neutral eggs, so you’re as likely to get a small roll of stickers or cute pencil erasers as you are magic rings or the like.
She asks if you’re interested in buying one or two and, after a moment’s hesitation, you decide “why not?”. A little whimsy is good for the soul, and it’ll make a good story when you get home. Besides, you’re pretty sure the rest area employees would have stepped in by now if she was any kind of threat or whatever. You pull out your wallet, hand her some money, and select an egg from the basket. Definitely feels like plastic, though it does have a somewhat odd texture that you can’t quite place.
You thank the woman, wish her a good day, and continue on down the road.
Later that night, tucked up in your hotel room, you pull the egg out of your bag. You smile and open it, curious to see what you’ll find.
Inside the pale shell, surrounded by vaguely iridescent fluff of some kind (you think it feels like some kind of unspun fiber, like raw silk maybe, but you aren’t sure), is a small, gold-colored ring. Must be a “magic” ring, you think, and chuckle at the silliness of it all. You go to sleep, pleased with your day’s little side adventure.
It takes you some time to notice it, but whenever you have the ring with you you have strangely good luck finding parking spaces. Always in the most convenient locations no matter how busy or crowded a parking area is. You think of the strange woman at the rest stop and wonder. You shrug, and tell yourself it’s just a coincidence – after all, magic rings and chicken-legged huts that lay eggs aren’t really real – but you also never leave home without the ring and you never have to struggle to find parking again.
(If you liked what you just read, please feel free to toss a few coins at your mostly friendly resident word-witch!)
Auntie Yaga’s Home For Wayward Monsters
Yaga turned on the tv and flopped backwards onto the reclining chair with a groan. She’d been staring at bank and budget spreadsheets for hours, and desperately needed to turn her brain off for a bit.
She’d bought the old farmhouse at auction for practically pennies. It had been empty for a couple of years after the previous owner passed away, and had needed a fair amount of repairs to make it livable again. It had taken months to fix all of the things that had fallen to entropy and reclaim it from the spiders, even with Glatis and a couple of other Lurks helping, but eventually it had been turned into a habitable place again. Unfortunately she’d spent the majority of her savings doing so, and recouping from it was taking longer than she’d hoped, no matter how frugal she was. Due to her rather unique circumstances it was almost impossible to hold down a “normal” job (monsters were not very good at understanding that they couldn’t just show up whenever they wanted), and after the Broom Closet Incident, it had become clear that she had to figure out a non-traditional path of acquiring a paycheck. Sadly, freelance gigs for a folklorist who specialized in childhood monster lore and whose availability was erratic at best were hard to come by and didn’t pay as well as one might wish, which brought her to her nearly empty bank account. She had to find a way to bring in more money on a reliable basis, or else she and the crew would be living in a camper. Again.
A commercial, overflowing with images of tragic puppies and kittens came onto the tv screen, accompanied by a woman singing mournfully about salvation and angels, begging for people to rescue these poor, pitiful animals.
“Hah! Easy for you. Your strays are cute and cuddly and unlikely to give someone screaming nightmares or attempt to eat your houseguests!” she grumbled at the television.
“To be fair, that only happened the one time, and it was an honest mistake,” said a soft, hollow-sounding voice from the dark hallway.
“It was twice, and last I heard, great-aunt Cecilia is still in therapy for it,” she replied.
Glatis chuckled, a low, guttural sound that would have been deeply unnerving if it wasn’t so familiar, as he came into the room. His shadow-black form made no sound as he crossed the ancient floorboards, despite being more than 6 feet tall, with claws that would intimidate a bear. Glatis was a Lurk and had been her dearest friend since elementary school, following a rather unorthodox deal she had offered him regarding her status as a menu option. He was also the reason she lived amicably with a houseful of Humanity’s childhood nightmares.
“Why are you snarking at the television?” he asked as he settled himself on the couch nearby.
Yaga groaned and dropped her head against the back of the chair.
“I need to figure out how to reliably come up with several hundred more dollars a month, and fast,” she replied. “It’s a lot more expensive to run a house and several acres of land then the camper was. At this rate, I’m going to have to hold a bake sale to keep the electricity on.”
“What is a bake sale, and would it help?” came a soft whisper from the shadows behind her. One of the other Lurks, who called herself Marsalette, was tucked in the corner. She’d joined them only a few months before, and was still learning about the human world.
“It’s where humans bake cookies and things and sell them for far less than the amount of work they put in, to fund charity things. Sadly, it wouldn’t really, amusing as it would be to watch you lot try to be tragically adorable at the humans to convince them to buy lemon squares”, Yaga replied. “You can come out and sit with us, you know. It’s okay.”
“I know. I’m comfortable here, though. This house has nice shadows.”
Yaga shrugged amiably. The three sat in comfortable silence for a while, watching the tv. The pet adoption commercial played again in the rotation. Glatis tapped a claw slowly on the wooden end table his arm rested on, thinking.
“There might be something to that idea,” he said, after a moment.
Yaga burst out laughing. “You can’t be serious! Leaving aside the fact that you lot aren’t exactly cute and fluffy by human standards, a number of you are legitimately some of our main predators! There’s no way that I could talk people into giving me money to let you around their children.”
Glatis grinned broadly, the blue light from tv glittering on wickedly sharp teeth. “I didn’t eat you when you were small.”
“Only because you couldn’t catch me,” she replied, sticking her tongue at him. “So, what is this idea of yours?”
“While actual adoption wouldn’t work, aren’t there human organizations that offer symbolic adoptions and sponsorship programs in exchange for things like certificates, tote bags, and that sort of thing for wild animals?”
Yaga chewed on her thumbnail, thinking. There were some major differences and practical concerns she could think of right off the bat.
“There are, but doing something like that would require exposing the fact that you lot are, in fact, real and not just figments of overactive juvenile imaginations. I don’t know that any of us are really up for that, do you?”
“Humans have a remarkable ability to ignore anything that doesn’t fit with their assumptions of how the world really is. Most would assume you were simply creating some kind of interactive artwork and look no further. “
She looked back at the tv, but wasn’t really paying attention to it anymore, still considering the idea. Oddly enough, it did have merit, and Glatis was right that humans don’t like to acknowledge that the world is vastly weirder than they insist it should be. A number of crowdsourcing and support options had sprung up online in recent years, and if she started small she could probably manage to come up with a cute design to put on tote bags and maybe stickers. Maybe a monthly newsletter with stories about the general goings-on around the farmhouse? She wondered if she could convince them to make little ornaments or something that could be periodically auctioned off? She should get a notebook and start making a list of ideas….
She paused in her musing and looked over to see Glatis watching her curiously.
“It might not be a bake sale, but if we can pull this off, we may be able to save the house and not have to crowd back into the camper again, after all. What do you all think about the name ‘Auntie Yaga’s Home for Wayward Monsters’…?”
(If you liked what you just read, please feel free to toss a few coins at your mostly friendly resident word-witch!)