Cat Interference…

Woke up early, not enough sleep, not enough caffeine, did the Quilt National talk, forgot my headphones keep the sound from showing up from my video, oh well, answered questions…

Photo stolen from the QN Instagram. I’ve actually watched all but one of these. I find them fascinating. You can see all of them (they haven’t uploaded this morning’s yet) and all the artist videos for this year on the Dairy Barn YouTube channel. Also, if you want to see my studio tour with sound (because that was missing this morning), you can see it here.

I know. As a teacher, I should remember how this shit works, but my brain was not awake. So there.

I spent the time cutting out Wonder Under, because I find it easier to listen carefully when I am doing something with my hands…

Which, yes, means I finished tracing last night.

So many cat interactions on this…

It took quite a long time to trace, longer than normal.

More complicated pieces than normal? Maybe. Also maybe that I had to think extra hard about overlaps.

I could just blame the cats. They were in the way.

18 hours and about 6 yards. Now I just need to cut them all out.

Yesterday, the man and I did a little driving reconnaissance for some possible training hikes.

Water is an issue. But he has more physical therapy in store and hopefully will be back on the trail in a few weeks or so.

This lizard…I think he’s the one I follow up the steps sometimes.

He jumps up the steps in front of me like he’s showing me the way.

Anyway. The day is half over, because of the talk and the car had to go in and a bunch of school stuff happened (that gave me a headache) and then lunch and I had to record a video for another art group I’m in and it only took about 17 tries to get the words right. I’m tired because I got up too early, but will be walking later. And cutting out lots of Wonder Under. And hopefully crossing some stuff off the to-do list because it’s insanely long at the moment. Stupid long. Maybe nap. Nap sounds nice. I tried it yesterday but cats interfered. Ugh. Ah well. Whatever happens, art will be involved.

Self-Care…

I had a wondrous massage this morning. I feel like the next time my school district says anything about self-care, I’m sending them a bill for massage. I mean, y’all need to put your money where your mouth is. You want me to be more chill and relaxed about the crazy shit y’all throwing at me? Give me a massage every week. We might be able to talk after that. Also, less crazy shit. That would be good. Yes, the school nightmares have begun. I am trying to hold them off until next week, but I need to do a related Zoom today or tomorrow, and there are tons of questions already, so that doesn’t help. I did order all my folders for the year (or at least the first half of the year), so that’s done…plus pens. What teacher doesn’t like pens? Especially fun-colored pens. Yo, district! Buy us nice pens. And make them fun, not just the damn district logo. And those massages. I’m not kidding about those.

Yeah. It’s too bad the people in charge don’t listen to us flunkies.

In preparation for school fucking up my art life again, I’m trying to get this quilt into a good place. Whatever that means. I’ve been tracing every night. It’s harder during daytime…hot…and I am more tired during the day strangely.

They’re LED lights in the light table, luckily, so they don’t put out any extra heat, hallelujah. I bought LEDs for my office/studio, but still need to install them. I hate installing things. Kitten is not really helping here…with tracing or installing.

I’m almost to the 700s, so about 350 pieces to go. Not bad. I’m hoping to be done tracing by the weekend. I’m up into the mountains right now…the trees were really complicated and difficult to trace. I’ve found about 6 pieces I didn’t number so far. I just add ‘a’ to the number if I need to number new ones.

This part is pretty boring to watch or read about, but it’s really nice and meditative for me. I put some show on that I don’t really need to watch and just stand and trace for a couple of hours.

Kitten, as you can see, is helpful wherever I am.

Maybe I should dust my keyboard. She puts her head on the right side, so it’s not dusty there.

I’ve been doing a bunch of computer work lately…for two art groups that have regular posts, one daily on Instagram, which I was able to schedule out until mid-August, and one weekly on Facebook, which is dependent on people sending me info. I check it once a week, and usually it’s an easy setup using Business Suite, but these two were complicated. Ah humans. You complicate things. Plus I’m making a video and a slide presentation for my Quilt National talk this Friday. Taking more time than it should…as always.

I am trying to get back on a regular exercise schedule. The last few weeks have been wonky with travel and visiting folks, but yesterday, I did my normal 3.6-mile neighborhood walk.

There’s always something new to look at…

Mountains in the distance. Yeah, it’s warm here, but not as warm as it will be in a month. Get the hikes in before it’s awful. Gym, pilates, hike, repeat.

The man finally has gotten in to physical therapy and it sounds positive. He’s hoping to get back on the trail in the near future, so life will all be up in the air again, as usual, honestly. School starts in a couple weeks, man will be on trail, blah blah blah. You can see how my art is the constant calm through all of this. It’s night time? What stage of the process are you on? Go do some of it. Spend an hour tracing or cutting or ironing or quilting. It’s a good thing. It gives me a good end to any kind of day (unless the machine is being a big weenie). No I don’t have my machine back…I’m borrowing my mom’s to fix the girlchild’s clothes…I don’t think I can quilt with it. Let’s hope I have mine back before that’s an issue.

OK. Today is more than half over…I’m going to work some more on the stuff for Quilt National, then trace, then pilates, then trace some more. Looking forward to it.

Zen and Chill…

So I’m late writing again. Mondays are just not a thing I do well. I get all tied up in stuff that needs doing and all of a sudden it’s 5 PM and I forgot to eat lunch. OK, I remembered lunch today. I think I’m cooking dinner too, so that ought to be interesting. The plus is that I have new glasses. I mailed a Patreon reward out. I walked to Home Depot and blindly (no glasses) picked out a towel rack. My right eyelid is twitching…this is not a thing it normally does in August. This is an end-of-school-year thing. Sigh.

We got the first official school email. We have to do block schedule (ugh. sigh. I like it for art, but sometimes for science, it limits the number of things I can cover in a week). We won’t know exactly what schedule until about a week before school starts. Fun stuff. No master schedule yet…we think we know what we’re teaching, mostly. It could change. I’m trying to be all zen and chill about it. The eye twitch is probably an indicator that some part of me is not so zen and chill. That part needs to pivot.

Anyway, to remedy all that, I’m working on art stuff. As always. I thought I had finished drawing the current piece, but in the end, added COVID into the sky. It’s not gone.

Putting it in her gut makes sense to me. And then I started tracing…

It’s pretty slow going. There are lots of weirdly overlapping pieces, because the two female figures are blending in. So I have to think before I trace about what goes over or under what’s next to it.

Still, it’s meditative. I’m almost 8 hours in, but I’m only in the 400s.

Big complicated pieces take longer to trace. I’ll hit halfway tonight, I think.

Cats are no help. And the man sits on the couch behind the light table and I keep whacking him in the head with the drawing.

Not on purpose. We did a short walk on Friday. His knee was not happy.

Sigh. Frustrating for him, I know. He has one physical therapy session this week. Maybe they can help.

So many cats getting in the way.

Luna was going to grab Kitten’s tail, but I think she rethought that action.

Here’s Kitten lying in the lid of my embroidery box. So helpful.

Well, normally I use this as a place to figure out what I’m doing today, but today is almost over and I’m still slogging through the to-do list. I was supposed to finish a video for my Patreon yesterday and the website was down, so that still needs to happen. I would like to trace for another couple of hours or so. I did go to the gym today, so that was good. I think a fresh cup of tea and maybe a small snack is what I need, and then check the to-do list and cross some shit off of it (always a fun thing to do), and then get that damn video done. Then I can do art things. I can’t think about school right now (someone should tell my brain that part). We won’t know what block schedule we’ll have until August 6. We go back the 12th. Kids the 17th. I’d like to thank the universe for making us PIVOT again. At the last minute. Still gonna be doing that all year, I see. More art to be made in response.

That Night Thing…

Hey so apparently I drew something really big and sort of complicated but relatively quickly. Especially considering I don’t seem to be able to do much during the day. It’s hot and/or humid and I don’t feel very artistic until it’s dark apparently. There’s about 7 1/2 hours in this drawing…

Which is actually pretty fast, compared to some of the big quilts.

I spend a lot of time staring at the blank spaces.

I darkened some of the lines just so I could see where the trail was and where the human bodies were. Otherwise it’s just a bunch of lines.

Sometimes I need a photo for drawing assistance. I photographed my hand, drew it, then flipped the photo to draw the other hand.

So there’s another figure in the sky.

The girlchild came in before I did the sky and was surprised that I was using pencil. She apparently tells all her friends I draw with Sharpie and no pencil. That is mostly true, but sometimes I use pencil first…especially on a really big piece like this. I moved the figure in the sky three times. But also, I often ignore the pencil lines. The sun got a massive redraw in ink, but the hands didn’t. So there’s that. All the mountains were freehand with pen. The hiker was penciled in.

I finished drawing last night and started numbering.

So having the figures fade into the landscape means more pieces where that happens. Of course. Some crazy pieces too. But OK. I got about 500 pieces into the numbering last night. I’ll finish up today…

I try to be logical, but it’s not always possible. The tree is numbered, but the stuff behind isn’t. I think with this piece, I’m trying not to MISS any of the pieces. I’m sure I will though, because it’s complicated with all the overlaps. I suspect I’ll hit 1500 pieces. You’ll know with the next post. I did take a picture of the whole thing, but it was dark (that night thing), so it was blurry…I’ll try again in daylight.

I get friends visiting…

And the girlchild is here, so the work setup is there on the desk. I’ll be there next Friday for my Quilt National talk. If you’re interested, go here to register to get the link. The talk is at 11 AM Eastern, and I’ll be with three other QN artists, so that will be interesting. I’ll need to make some slides for this thing I think. So that’s on the list for next week.

My machine is in the shop, but I have my old one…unfortunately, it has some major issues. It can handle a straight line for about an inch and a half before I have to shut it down and reset it.

That far. That’s how far I can go. Yeah, I needed to piece a house for the Sue Spargo June blocks. Kind of frustrating. Luckily, the current quilt is at a stage where I don’t need a machine. Hopefully I’ll have the machine back by the time I need it. A small piece of black plastic fell out when I was doing this. That seems problematic. I’ll take this one in after the other one comes back.

So today I will finish numbering and hopefully start tracing it onto Wonder Under. I also need to draw a smaller piece for a Patreon reward, the last one I’m doing. I’m shutting the Patreon down…putting payment on pause for August, and then closing it down completely in September. It was an interesting experiment, but I’m done with it mentally. It’s time. But I want to do the last rewards for those who have been with me.

It’s nice to have a big quilt to focus on instead of school or worrying about smaller pieces. I don’t want to think about school or COVID right now (although now I need to add a virion to the quilt, dammit, because it didn’t happen without some COVID stress). I’ll go do that after I finish this cup of tea and take a shower, I think. More art this week. Busy weekend with lots of meetings…although I may miss one or two just due to timing. Ah well. More socializing is happening. That’s good.

Fading Into the Landscape

Well I missed blogging yesterday. Not sure why. It was a Monday. Mondays mess with my mind even when I’m not even sure that it IS Monday. Blogging schedule is sort of half-assed right now. I slept like crap last night too…heat? sore? brain on fire? Not sure. I’m currently sitting through another 2-hour diabetes webinar. The last one was mostly unhelpful…all stuff I knew. This one might help more, but honestly, it’s more a pathway to the nurses so I don’t have to make appointments to talk to them that take three or more weeks to get. Frustrating process. All this because my numbers don’t make sense. Ah well. At least I am doing something about it.

So I’m tired…this is when the to-do list helps. I can just look at it and pick the things my brain can handle. Later, I’m going to the gym…it’s air-conditioned and I can read for part of it. I’m still on Summer break for a few more weeks. I need a routine I guess.

So Saturday, we went to a local art show. It was OK. Nothing really reached out and slapped me hard, so there’s that, but we also did some walking in the area.

Not a ton…

then stopped to hang out for a while…

We wanted to sit in the sculpture garden, but there was a private event, so no go. Damn those private events.

And then we tried a new restaurant for dinner.

Trying to find a routine for Saturdays again. The man can’t hike, but I can. This makes stuff complicated.

I have to admit to having two days of feeling tired and braindead, maybe a reaction to being out of town?

I did finish all the stitchdown on the May Homegrown Sue Spargo blocks…

I just keep doing these. They are brainless. Because I finished all those other quilts, I need to start something new, and while I’m getting to the brain state that allows that, it’s easier to just stitch stuff down like this. I also traced all the pieces for the June blocks, so today I’ll iron them to fabrics and keep doing the simple stuff.

Although eventually, Sunday night, I managed to cut a big piece of paper and process something that’s been in my head for a few months. Usually I draw in the sketchbook and then enlarge it, but for some, it’s just easier to start at full size on a big piece of paper.

I did start with a pencil sketch this time, just to put things in the right place. For the hiking man, I used a couple of photos I took while he was hiking away from me.

Inking is the next step. Last night, I couldn’t get my head into the next part of the drawing. It might not have helped that Nova was sitting on it.

But eventually she left and everyone left the room and I started to draw out what I had sketched.

I spend a lot of time staring at the drawing, at the blank spaces, during this stage. What’s weird about the drawing stage is that everything has the same weight…it’s just black lines and no color, so in just looking at the drawing, you can’t see what’s in my head. That’s where the female figure is fading into the landscape…in my head. That won’t show up for y’all until I start ironing it to fabrics. So yeah, the figure will fade into the background. Hopefully. If I manage the color well. It’s all colored in my head. Sort of.

Luna has been having some paranoia issues…

Not even sure what she’s staring at.

Kitten just wants to be close to us.

Lots of pets. Lots of squawking. We left for 2 1/2 days. How dare we.

I finally went back to the bird quilt…I got the borders on months ago with all the flowers, but I hadn’t done the embellishment. I finally started last night.

It was just overwhelming at the time. I needed something simpler. There are I think four of every flower, for a total of 24 of the damn things. It’s gonna be a while before I finish this thing, but my stitching group is starting to meet in person again, so this is a good one to take with me to that. Am I nervous about meeting in person? Yeah, a little. My friends are vaccinated, but we meet in a Barnes & Noble and I haven’t spent much time sitting inside anywhere. I figure I can stay masked if I feel weird about it. And maybe I’ll finish this thing.

This reminded me of the few years we had of flat-earthers in class…

Amusing. There’s always some wacky science misconceptions we deal with in class. Well, wacky makes it sound like something that doesn’t really matter, but since a lot of what kids come into class with comes from (1) family or (2) the internet, and we’re trying to teach them to think critically, it’s probably more important that we teach thinking skills than anything else. Maybe if we start every unit with all the misconception memes for that content that we can find…like a pretest? It’s an idea.

OK. Well if I’ve gotten anything from this webinar, it’s that I need to start tracking everything again and maybe even more than I was. I had to drop some balls during COVID teaching, and the diet app lost out to the meditation app. It’s time to go back. Teachers do their reflection over the summer and so we often set annual goals then instead of that New Year’s resolution in January. Back to monitoring…that’s mine. For now. Might be more resolutions later. I’m debating not tutoring this year. It drives me nuts. I’ll probably cave on this one though. Best for kids and all.

Otherwise, today is about doing some yardwork, cleaning the girlchild’s room (because she’s showing up tonight and probably wants clean bedding and maybe my shit off her bed), working on that drawing, and I don’t remember what else. Finish reading my book. School is coming for me. I can feel it. OK, the constant emails and texts from the district and the union are not helping my vacation mind frame, but some exercise will hopefully help with that. When it’s hot, that’s hard. I just need to get off my ass and do it. That’s true for everything, yeah? Get off the ass and do it.

If I Can’t Have You…

I just spent some time in Los Angeles. Why? Well because it was the man’s birthday and usually we go hiking or camping or somewhere in nature, or maybe on walking food-and-drink tours or winery hopping or something like that, but with the Delta variant wandering around and his knee still on rest, I needed to be somewhat creative. So we booked a hotel in Little Tokyo, within walking distance of a bunch of stuff, including some breweries and art museums and a shit ton of ramen (unfortunately, the man is not a ramen fan).

We drove up and stopped at Left Coast Brewing in Irvine…

We had some food and drink. I went to college in Irvine and the men in blue business shirts still frighten me.

After we checked in, we checked out (ha!) two local breweries, Mumford Brewing…

And the Arts District Brewery…

Food was a little more complicated…we ended up back at the Arts District Brewery for food. Eh.

The Arts District area has a variety of restaurants…we just weren’t sold on anything. Well, except Salt and Straw (ice cream), which we had the next night. Not everything is fully open yet either. Although ramen. I could have had a lot of ramen. It’s OK.

We walked around the area a bit…lots of murals. And this neon artist, Lili Lakich

She likes the neon. And her work looks fun…

Our hotel was fine…

Clean and relatively quiet, considering the location. Good views of the haze that is LA. I should clarify that I grew up in LA County and that haze has been around for a LOOONG time.

The next morning, we eventually got up (no cats to stand on us) and headed out for breakfast. This mural is by Bunnie Reiss, who I follow on Instagram.

First time I’ve seen one of her pieces in person…very cool.

We aimed for Grand Central Food Hall, to try out Eggslut.

It was OK. I know. Both my kids think I’m crazy, but it was just OK. Better than McD’s or Starbucks, yes. $10 better? Eh. That juice, by the way…sometimes when they say “triple ginger”, I’m like yah, sure, and it really isn’t that gingery. This was. Totally. More ginger than I’ve ever had. Overpoweringly gingery. ALL the gingers. Not from Eggslut though…juice place across from it in the Food Hall.

So then we had to decide what to do with the rest of our day. It was warm, we were warm, we were kinda tired, the man is sad about his knee, all the things. So we went to The Last Bookstore

It was also OK. I wasn’t really in the mood to shop. I don’t need to OWN more books. I’d like to read more though. There were some interesting art and shops upstairs. Worth a look.

And more murals.

We headed back to Grand Central for a drink (chai for me, beer for the man from a brewing company he recognized) before booking free tickets at MOCA and The Broad (don’t pronounce it wrong…if you’re not from LA, you might not know. OK, I didn’t know.). Some contemporary art? Sure. Especially in air conditioning. Plus things to look at.

Ah ha ha. SEE what I did there? Yeah. I know. Corny. Diet Piece: Moral Kinship, by Samara Golden.

I saw many cool things there. An Asawa. Never seen one in person.

Part of Cromosaturacion by Carlos Cruz-Diez. Green makes your hands look really weird.

Oh yeah, here’s the drawing I did in all the breweries the day before…

And then waiting for The Broad appointed time, we sat in a grove of 100-year-old olive trees and I drew one of them…

Yeah, no leaves. I didn’t get to those.

The Broad was great. I really enjoyed it.

I think the man is not as into contemporary art as I am. Gotta love some Jeff Koons.

There was some Kara Walker, which I’d never seen in person…

Oh man. Amazing stuff.

Just a fun museum.

We asked the staff about these lumps and they didn’t know what they were called and whether they were by an artist or the architects, just that they were watered daily, and yes, dogs pee on them and kids climb on them. Turns out they are called eruptions and they are part of the architectural design.

Even the crosswalks are artsy…

We walked past the Walt Disney center…

It was hotter on that block.

Cool flower…very few plantings in downtown LA. Probably what makes it feel hotter than it is. Plus lots of buildings.

Lots of street art though. I do love me some street art.

That night, we tried Angel City Brewery, which had been closed the day before.

They have a nice outdoor space. We ate there too, but eh. Basically food for three days: Eh. The ice cream at Salt and Straw was amazing. Everything else was eh. Even the chai. Ah well. I should ask the man about the beer. He did not wax poetic. That said, we got out of town and did some things. So that is always worth it. Although one of the things we did was watch Saturday Night Fever (my god, was it always that sexist?) and the sequel (you didn’t even KNOW there was a sequel…feel free to skip it) and something else. And there was air conditioning, which there isn’t here. So that’s good.

And lots of street art and mural. All good.

And then we drove home on Friday through crappy traffic that could have been worse. I finished the binding on the third quilt in the hotel and delivered them all to the photographer this morning. Oh yeah, I drew at Angel City…

I liked the wings on that heart mural.

And then this morning, I found out why all my clean laundry has cat hair on it.

Not really a shocker, but she hasn’t been a laundry basket sleeper before. Much. Ah well. A sign that I should put my clothes away.

Today is quickly disappearing, but we’re gonna walk some and art some and IDK what else, probably watch some bad movie. Oh yeah, and I have Bee Gees songs recurring in my head over and over again and it’s driving me crazy. If I can’t have you, I don’t want nobody baby… Otherwise, it’s all good. One month until I’m in a classroom with kids. Seems like a mistake. More like a woman to me…

Whatever Psychotic Tension Issue…

Well I don’t know what this sewing machine is thinking, but apparently threatening to throw it into the pool worked. Yeah. Because after thread breaking 17 times in an hour, I turned it off, went to bed, tossed and turned about how in hell I was going to fix this issue in time to get the quilt done for a deadline, and then it freakin’ worked. No issues. One thread breakage in two full quilts worth of quilting and binding. No idea why. I didn’t change anything. Same thread, same needle, same settings, no breakage. This is an issue. Inconsistent tension, the feed dogs won’t stay dropped (yes, I free-motion quilted with them up about 2/3s of the time), and when I zigzag, the needle still wanders as far left as it can and I worry about it hitting the foot, but it seemed to know its limits there.

I called yesterday to set up a time for it to be cleaned out and adjusted. It was in last September for that, but then it was in for repair in March because the foot wouldn’t drop down while free-motion zigzagging. That time, it was gone for 5 weeks. So I figured it would be put on a list and I’d bring it in during school some time (usually it’s 6 weeks out for an appointment), but they asked a bunch of questions (it was just in? Did you clean it…that was MY question. What’s wrong with it? I just printed that list out. SIGH.) and now I’m dropping it off today.

Not before I kamikazed and finished both little quilts though…because it was mostly fucking behaving. It will straight stitch just fine, and now that whatever psychotic tension issue is mostly gone (it popped up briefly), I’m not fighting thread breakage constantly. So frustrating. Yes, it is an 11-year-old machine that I got used (barely used…most people don’t use machines like I do) and yes, I probably need to replace it. Damn, though, the last two lasted longer. I think. Maybe not. Sigh. It’s a conversation I will have with the machine guy, but money is not free-flowing and nothing is cheap. I certainly won’t be buying a new machine. And no, Bernina, Pfaff, and Husqvarna don’t want to sponsor my artwork by gifting me a machine. Too many nude parts in my work, I suspect. Plus I swear a lot. LOL. I’m always impressed when people are gifted expensive equipment to make their work. ANYWAY. All that is negative and the positive is that I have two more quilts that are done or almost done.

They’re not very big…I did all the outline quilting on the bottom but not the top…not a single breakage.

Finishing up this one…

I got the binding on it, using a fabric from my stash. No shopping on this quilt. I had everything. I don’t always have enough for binding, but the smaller quilts don’t take a full half yard (or more), so I can usually pull from stash. I finished the hand-stitching last night while watching The Handmaid’s Tale (am I the only one crying through episodes right now?). We only watch one at a time. Can’t binge this thing. I’d lose my mind.

Then once I had called about bringing the machine in and they said yeah! Bring it! I was like, OK, gonna see if I can get the machine to finish the other one that got set aside in March when the machine broke last time.

Quilted like a dream, no breakages at all. Seriously? Fuck you, machine.

Same spool of thread, same needle, didn’t even clean anything out, no tension change, no breakage, no nothing. Well, except the feed dogs kept popping back up. Kind of annoying. Makes it harder to drag everything around, but on a smaller quilt like this, it’s not impossible.

Then got the binding on the other one too, again, from stash.

We’re going to Los Angeles for a few days to celebrate the man’s birthday, so I’ll have to finish the hand-stitching in the car. Or a brewery. Or a hotel room. Whichever works. These two have names, but the hand-appliqued one I finished almost two weeks ago doesn’t. They are all going to the photographer hopefully this weekend though.

And then I have to figure out what’s next. I need to finish a small one for my Patreon, but then I need one for an upcoming “family friendly” show. That phrase drives me nuts. But whatever. It’s in my head and I’ll maybe draw it in the next few days. Need to draw the little one too.

Speaking of drawings, apparently this is Captain Kangaroo…

I wasn’t thinking that when I drew it…although it did make me laugh a lot.

OK, we leave later today. I need to drop off my machine, do a bunch of packing, then drive to LA. Hopefully there will be some walking and eating and drinking and maybe some art and drawing and stitching. Who knows? It won’t be here, though. The boychild will hold down the fort and feed all the animals. I was looking forward to meeting the man on the trails this summer, which unfortunately didn’t happen. He is exercising his knee, though, and hoping to get back on trail in a month or so…but then I have school, so meeting him is much more complicated, especially if he starts from Washington instead of the Sierras. So I guess LA will have to stand in for the Sierras? Not really a fair comparison, but it will have to do.

Totally Off…

Well I’m totally off on everything: blogposting days, artmaking times, blood sugar management, exercise. Hopefully I will do better with everything next week, although maybe I should just do my best and do the things and I don’t know. I mean, honestly, I’m never really sure what day it IS at the moment without looking at the calendar…about 5 times. Today is Saturday and I have two things on the calendar and that’s not too bad. Yesterday, I had a few things, but some got moved. Then I was supposed to drive to San Clemente (about 90 minutes) to meet a friend halfway for lunch, and I got about 10 miles into it and apparently a nail took out my tire. On the freeway, of course. Anyway, so after getting OFF the freeway as safely as possible, getting the nice AAA person to put on the spare, and driving very slowly to the tire place, and getting a new tire, my good friend had made it all the way down here and we had lunch anyway.

I drew at the tire place…

I almost didn’t put my sketchbook in my bag, because I draw when I’m waiting for food, but this was supposed to be more of a social thing, and I probably wasn’t going to draw.

She’s irritated about the tire, but it was a pretty easy fix. Didn’t need to replace all 4, which is good, because I don’t get paid until the end of August. Summer expenses suck.

The place where we got food is no longer seating people outside (sigh), so we took it all to a park…

But they didn’t put plasticware into the bags (apparently we needed to get it, which I’m a fan of doing, so I don’t get random plasticware in my takeout, but no, we didn’t think about it, so we used naan as spoons. Which was a little messy, but the food was good. And there are leftovers. It was a good afternoon.)

Then last night I finally got this little quilt on the machine for stitchdown…

I didn’t get far, but I wanted to get it started. The machine had been acting up with the quilting on the last one, so I was hoping it would behave, and it seems to be. Hopefully that will continue.

I also stitched some more bits and pieces down on one of the April Sue Spargo Homegrown blocks after dinner…

We’re watching Season 4 of The Handmaid’s Tale. I have some issues with this season. It is less believable than previous seasons, so far.

Anyway, I’m hoping to get the stitchdown done today, maybe even sandwich and pinbaste it. It’s not big. I have an idea for the next one…another one of those things that comes into my brain right before I’m about to fall asleep and then doesn’t let me fall asleep. Someone asked about my drawings and whether they are ever happy. Some are. Look more carefully. Yesterday’s was annoyed for good reason. Today I will probably not draw, but maybe she will be tired. Or asleep (I’ve never drawn someone asleep…oh wait, yes I have). Or dancing. You just never know.

See All the People and Do All the Things…

Good morning on the day after fireworks. For those of you with dogs who don’t like fireworks, you are maybe a little exhausted like me, as I listened to the old lady dog pant and breathe way too fast most of the night. Her breathing is back to normal this morning, but it was a long night. She was doing OK until more fireworks at about 1 AM. I also was doing OK until then. I am way too light of a sleeper for this stuff.

Hope your 4th was enjoyable at least, although I spent a good portion of the day thinking about Native American issues (I’m reading The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich) and those who don’t feel like the flag and the pledge of allegiance are for them (I am one of those people and I’m pretty damn entitled). But I did step outside to see a few sets of fireworks…I think only half were legal, which is scary in these dry firelike conditions. You’ll appreciate my photo from the bedroom window.

Yeah. Toldja you’d appreciate it. Best fireworks photo ever. Not sure why I try to take these every year, but I do. EVERY YEAR. I’m rolling my eyes at myself.

Also, this quote…

For those who doubt my patriotism. Exactly.

So much art progress has been made. Well. Has it? I don’t know. Things are getting done. That’s a good thing.

So first of all, official photos of the Quilt National exhibit are here. I will hopefully be there in person in September for the closing ceremony. In all the videos I saw posted, I couldn’t see my quilt, which made me sad, but that’s OK. Because here it is in all its glory, thanks to the QN photographer.

I don’t have the catalog yet, so I can’t tell you who else’s pieces are in this picture…

Looking forward to seeing her in person…for the last time, probably, because she sold. But this show does travel, so maybe she will pop up near me somewhere. Hard to say. Again, you can hear me talk about her here.

So meanwhile, I have one piece on a deadline here, so it makes sense that I worked on anything BUT that piece. I finished the quilting on this 20-year-old piece last week, and Saturday, I put a binding on her.

It’s the first time in a year and a half that I could go to that quilt store without an appointment. They still have really short hours, so during the school year, Saturday would be the only day I could go, but hopefully that will change by the time it’s an issue. Yes, I often am buying backgrounds and bindings at the totally last minute.

I spent time Saturday night (with Kitten) sewing bindings on…

And finished those and the sleeves on Sunday night.

She’s about 30″ wide by 43″ high, and I started her in 2000 or 2001. It’s all hand applique. She’ll get her official photographs when I have the one with a deadline completed.

Then (because still…procrastinating the deadline project) I stitched down Desert Bunny, which has been sitting around waiting since March.

(I’m still working on a name for the other one…there are some in the running, but no decisions yet).

She’s small, so she didn’t take long.

And then I sandwiched and pinbasted her, so now she’s ready for quilting…

Which ALSO wouldn’t take long, but I’m trying to be good and work on the one with a deadline. I was supposed to be in Los Angeles for 2 1/2 days this week, but my niece is coming down this week instead of next week, so we juggled our flexible plans into LA next week….thus juggling my art plans as well…I can’t do certain parts of my art process on the road. Odds are, I won’t be working on the next quilt on the road no matter what, but I’m using that trip to motivate me to iron. Why is ironing an issue? This quilt has a lot of small pieces and it’s sometimes tedious to iron tiny pieces (you’d think I’d learn), but also ironing is hot and the light in here is hot and it’s not THAT hot here (no heat dome…yet), but my hot flashes plus fairly reasonable summer temperatures just add up to ugh. That said, here’s an hour or so of ironing done…

Tiny pieces, relatively small quilt. Crazy amount of work in this one. Ah well…the brain knows what it wants. So I’ll be working on this all week, and hopefully be done for the weekend. We’ll see.

I’ve gone back to drawing before dinner…here is Saturday night, in between starter (we hardly ever get a starter) and dinner.

Keep it simple! These are small. It’s the sketchbook that fits in my purse. I got a new purse, a smaller one, but the sketchbook doesn’t fit. Dammit.

Also, I can’t remember if I posted this…it’s Margaret Fabrizio’s Hello Kitty Meats the Dragon.

I spelled it like she did…it’s not hung up yet because I wanted to put a sleeve on it, and last night, I finally did that. I met Margaret some years back (when she was still 80-something) and we liked each other’s work. She contacted me earlier this year about trading a piece of art, and I agreed, so I sent one off to her of her choice, and I got these wonderful eyeballs (I did pick it for Hello Kitty too) back…so now she can hang on my wall.

I also was cleaning up my blogroll this weekend (like you do…once every 5 years, whether it needs it or not), and noticed that an artist I really enjoyed, Olga Norris, had passed away in 2019. I obviously have not been doing a great job of reading blogs. Every year, at the SAQA auction, I would note the Olga Norris piece and get outbid at a much higher rate than I could afford, sadly. Well, her husband is still supporting his wife’s work and posted photos of her last pieces, and offers them up for postage and donations to a charity of Olga’s choice, which is just amazing, so I will finally be proudly displaying one of her pieces here as well. It does make you think about what will happen to all your work when you die, though. I’m sure my children would love for me to have a plan.

In other news, Kitten is still missing some teeth and makes some funny faces while squawking at me.

And I finally got milkweed seeds to sprout! I started in April and apparently killed off a hundred or so of them, but now! Now I haz babies.

IDK how I will keep the bunnies out of the plants though…gonna have to think that bit through. They’ve even been eating the succulents.

And this…

Makes me want to go through all the birding books we have here…just for stupid things like that.

OK, I’m up to go to the gym, like a good person. I have an appointment at the Apple Store to try to figure out if my phone refusing to connect consistently to Wifi is a hardware issue. And then I’d like to do some more ironing together of tiny little pieces today. Tomorrow will probably involve some art stuff with the niece, which means I might actually see my work in a show IN PERSON. I know. Crazy. And hopefully I will also be able to reschedule all the stuff I already scheduled over in an attempt to see all the people and do all the things because yeah. That.

Cutting Things Out…

I have been asked a few times why I don’t use a cutting machine for my quilts, so I don’t have to cut out all the pieces of Wonder Under or fabric. I recently read Kestral Michaud’s description in SAQA’s magazine of how she uses a Cricut machine to create her quilts. It’s funny, because people always tell me what I do is crazy and I think what she does is crazy (well, it’s all relative, isn’t it?). She claims her process is faster…and maybe it is, but it doesn’t SOUND like it to me. That said, I haven’t compared the two physically and she has. I think my method is easier for choosing a wider array of fabrics, since I’m not having to decide and move pieces around on a computer screen, grouping them together. Otherwise, what she does is fairly similar to what I do…just more tech-infused. Kudos to her for figuring that out…I’m not headed that way soon. I don’t spend a million hours cutting out pieces…the current quilt took about 8 hours to cut out 620 or so pieces of fabric, and other 5 hours to cut out the Wonder Under. Looking at her most current piece, it’s using about 20 different fabrics; my most current quilt used almost 100 different fabrics. My hands are sore after a bout of cutting, but not any more sore than say my abs are after a Pilates workout? I don’t usually cut them all out in one day either…realistically, I have a pretty demanding day job most of the time, so I have limited artmaking time, which means my hands get to rest in between cutting sessions.

Speaking of the most recent quilt, I did finish cutting all the pieces out Wednesday night…

Like I said, about 8 hours to cut them out…they are small and fussy in this quilt.

Then I sorted them last night…

Now I’m ready to start ironing everything together. That part will take a while…lots of little fussy pieces. I do enjoy the process though…this is the first time I will see everything come together, because I don’t color the drawing beforehand…the coloring is all in my head. So expect some pictures after this weekend of that part of the process.

I’m still trying to finish quilting this piece…

I scheduled time yesterday during a stitching Zoom, and then got the call to help move fridges at my parents’ house…so I did that instead. I did a tiny bit before I left, and that’s where I realized that I’d accidentally let the backing fabric fold under on the back…

Whoops. I thought about cutting out all the quilting, but no. It’s not worth it. Some of it will get trimmed off before I bind, and I’ll just put a label on the back that either covers it or explains it…or both.

I also did this…

That left a loop on the front…yes, I could wriggle the safety pin out, but ended up having to rip out the bit that wasn’t working. I’m not a perfectionist quilter, if that isn’t apparent so far. I do spend lots of time making my quilts, but there are lines I am not willing to cross…a level of crazy I don’t need to attain. I respect those who do…I’m just not one of you. And no, I have no idea how I sewed over this without noticing.

So most of it is quilted…I just have a bit, less than a quarter of the top right, that needs doing, and some little filler spaces. Maybe today?

The pup is doing better…he’s eating chicken and rice with broth (fancy stuff) and drank a little water yesterday unprompted, so we think he’s on the mend. Still worrisome, but hopefully will continue to improve. We may never get him to eat regular kibble again, but we’ll see.

In other art news, I have a piece in a show that opens tomorrow in Escondido at the California Center for the Arts…you can see the quilt hanging on the wall in the back.

The piece is Sediment and was in Visions years ago. It was one of the few ‘family friendly’ pieces I have, which was a venue requirement. This is an Allied Craftsman show and the ceramic pieces in the front are all by Linda Litteral. The opening is supposed to be August 26 in the evening; I’ll update you on that when it becomes official. It will be open all summer through August 29.

The man is home, off the trail for now. He’s going to get some medical help and then decide what’s next. He could hop back on and do another portion of the trail once he’s healed.

I drew this last night while hanging out with him, trying to remember bits and pieces of songs that were in his head while he hiked.

I also hiked yesterday, almost 6 miles in Torrey Pines State Reserve…

It was only cloudy and cool for a short part of the hike, unfortunately. The marine layer did not stick around long.

There was a cool breeze for a good chunk of it though.

We did walk along the beach down there as well.

And then came up the steps…

I hiked with actual people! One of the hiking groups I used to hike with all the time did this on Meetup, so it was easy…I didn’t have to plan it myself.

It was a nice small group. So I got my exercise in. I’m currently fighting a nasty bout of heat rash in the armpits though from all the hiking. I get this sort of thing about once or twice a year, usually in summer. I’m usually better about getting it to go away. I get all crazy about dry pits and avoiding my deoderant, which I’m a little allergic to, even though it’s hypoallergenic. At this point, I’m debating whether it’s gone fungal instead of just heat rash. Cortisone doesn’t seem to be working, and it was bad enough last night that I took Benadryl to sleep. It hurts, tingles painfully, no itching. You know how you debate contacting your doctor’s office? I’m at that point. Maybe. Fun stuff. So I’m tired from not enough sleep on top of everything else.

These three (there are three cats…can you see them all?) are adjusting to the bed being more full…

But they’re glad to have the man home.

Ah, plant identification. This is a parasitic plant of some sort. I don’t think I ever saw it when it was alive, but it was all draped around a twisty pine tree…

Not sure what it is…it’s out now. The berries have good staining power too. ID if you can?

OK, so a shower and more caffeine are on the list, and then hopefully I can finish quilting that piece and figure out what binding to use and whether I’ll need to shop for that. Then ironing the other piece together. Maybe a nap. I’m tired. More yardwork? Yeah. Probably that.