Finally Color!

Well the studio is straightened. It’s not clean. It’s really never clean like most people think of clean. There’s just too much stuff in there for it ever to be clean. Most summers I do try to straighten up more than the ‘between-quilt’ straightening, where I just put fabric away and sometimes sweep the floor. I didn’t do that this summer. There’s still papers everywhere (sigh) and general chaos on the floor. It’s just overwhelming to deal with all of it. I’ve got some electrical and sprinkler issues I’m trying to get done before school starts. Those are my priorities. That and a chiropractor. I haven’t been since March 2020. Ugh. But I did put all the fabric away, got most of the cat fur off the blue drawer she’s been sleeping in all summer, cleared off the white table, and swept the floor. So it’s ready for the next quilt.

I finished cutting everything out by cutting all day Monday…I started with the 3 hours of training videos we have to do for school…

So I got through those, and then had a little bit left to cut out (and yes, I still know all the things about pest management, sexual harassment, mandated reporter, and bloodborne pathogens…the trainings don’t change a lot every year)…so I started watching all the Quilt National Artist videos. I got through 16 out of 55.

Cutting everything out took 10 1/2 hours. Then I sorted for another 45 minutes…

They’re in boxes by the 100s…

It makes it easier for me to find things. I lay out 100 pieces at a time and iron those to fabrics…although I say that, and last night, I was already bouncing between the first 100 and the second 100 pieces to find the ones I needed. Because this quilt is nuts…

Overlapping this and that which has to be a different color but only a little different. I hope it looks OK when it’s done. We’ll see.

I didn’t get very far last night…mostly I was cleaning. But it’s a step in the right direction. Remember, I need to be done (hopefully) ironing to fabric by next Tuesday. Actually Monday, so I can pull all the stuff out of the closet. Yikes. That sounds challenging, looking at my week. Sigh. Well. I will have to be more productive in the heat than I have been.

I drew for my Patreon…will be scanning it this morning and getting it posted.

It’s the last Patreon drawing I’m doing. You can still sign up, but it’s reward free! I had a request for a way to just subscribe and not expect anything, so I’ll try to set that up and close down the other tiers.

A bug was on the drawing and I tried to shoo it away and killed it by accident. So it smeared itself across the drawing.

Bugs just suck.

I put a couple things on Etsy the other day, these two hoops…

I have other things that need to go on there…these small pieces just need hanging hoops on them…

And better pictures…these are really dark…

Also, I got into some shows…Earth Matters at the Watermark Art Center in Bemidji, Minnesota, from September 3-October 30. This is Damaging Earth’s Fabric

And then one of my older pieces got into SAQA’s Intersect Chicago booth, which will be open November 4-7. This is Part-Time Oasis

All good news. I had a run of rejections, which is always frustrating. But that seems to happen and then I get into things, and it’s all good. So hopefully that will continue. I will be putting the three newest pieces into the gallery next, and then maybe remembering to update the exhibitions sections. Yeah. I should do that. Uh huh.

OK, I’ve still got errands today, but hoping to do a chunk of ironing as well. It’s still hot here, and the studio has not been getting any breeze. Ugh. This is the time of year when I consider moving the ironing stages into the swimming pool, although the combination of electric iron and water is probably not a good thing. Sigh. Not gonna think about school for a while. Although there are things that need planning. I’m just not ready for them. At some point that won’t matter, but for today, I’m going to try to ignore them and iron away!

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.

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.

Fighting the Machine…

It’s the 12th. In a month, I go back to school. In person. To a room that I haven’t worked in since March 16, 2020. Where, most importantly, I don’t know where anything is because I didn’t have time to put it away logically. This actually doesn’t worry me. I’ll find it all eventually. I just found a cord they probably need in order to use my doc cam. It was under something. I can spend all year searching for stuff, and hopefully have the brains to throw out some stuff I don’t need any more. It’s hard not to hoard! Teaching lends itself to having a stash for when you decide to do some weird lab at the last minute.

I go back to school, though, in a time of ‘do we still wear masks?’ (In California, yes. At least for a while. For me, yes.) Critical race theory…to teach or not to teach? OK, so here’s the thing. Those people (and politicians, who may or may not be part of the human race) who are screeching about what we should be able to brainwash kids about in the classroom have never been in a middle-school classroom. I can’t persuade the flat-earthers and the God-made-all-the-animals-and-humans-aren’t-animals kids (most of the time) that what their parents and/or YouTube taught them isn’t true. It takes years and lots of brain growth and exposure to scientific concepts that disagree with your core beliefs (hey, that’s some brainwashing) before kids start to think…oh…wait a minute…that shit doesn’t make sense. And we don’t set out to teach about racism or sexism or gender or penis size (yup. Big worry amongst the 12-year-old male). It comes UP (OK, did not mean that joke about up and penis size). One boy is talking to the kid next to him about how girls can’t do science because they don’t have the brains for it (yeah, this kid did not come up with this idea on his own…please imagine where he got it from) and then I need to redirect. Strongly. With evidence. Racism? Same deal. Gender? Absolutely. And it was a good almost ten years ago when I said to a kid, “why do you care whether they are a he or a she or something else? Are you gonna date them? Then talk to them first.” This is not new. This is what we do. We facilitate conversations. We provide facts and evidence (y’all, I’m not making any shit up. I teach science, not faith.) and then let the kids go places with it. And then they LEARN TO THINK FOR THEMSELVES. That is my ultimate job…guiding them toward their own learning, showing them how research works, modeling appropriate discussions (unlike what our politicians do; Marjorie Taylor Greene, I’m talking to you). If they can’t do it in school, then where the fuck do you think they should be doing that? We encourage kids to take their ideas home and talk to their families (and then their dad calls me to tell me I’m an idiot because he personally saw the pig with a human face, so he knows humans and pigs can reproduce together) and figure things out. Would you rather have me say, “Sorry, the government won’t let me talk about that…” when it comes up in class? I do worry that some teachers don’t do this…don’t encourage thinking. Certainly, I draw the line when kids want to answer every science question with “God did that.” Explain plate tectonics. God did it. Explain photosynthesis. God did it. Well, OK, you have faith. Great. Move on. Let’s do science.

So yeah. I’m going to keep teaching kids to think. I’m going to keep encouraging them to talk about stuff, as long as they aren’t making someone else feel like shit while they do that, although sometimes that can be difficult. I’m pretty sure that kid who said girls can’t do science didn’t feel great that day, unfortunately. I’m hoping he eventually saw the light though. These conversations were harder to have on Zoom last year…they did happen, but not as often as they do in person. Sigh. School. Not ready for it. It’s a good thing I have another 30 days. I do need more masks though.

Meanwhile, the artmaking has been walloped by my sewing machine being a total asshole. I did most of the stitchdown on Saturday…

The tension was fine for the entire bottom section and half of the top section…

And then it randomly went to hell. I cleaned everything out, rethreaded, and then prayed to the Goddess of the Machine. Because it wasn’t going to behave. The needle kept moving further and further to the left. I would turn the machine off, let it rest, cool off, and then it would keep doing that or nesting thread on the back. Completely random shit. Tension that made no sense.

I’m thinking this machine is reaching the end of its useful stage for me. I did finish one big quilt since it went in to the shop in March…but only one.

I managed to bully it through the stitchdown, and then pinbasted the quilt.

I’ve had continuing problems with the machine, but as long as I take it in once a year and have it cleaned out and adjusted, it mostly works for me. Now it’s not even lasting four months with one quilt.

Then last night, I started the quilting…I was hoping since it was in a straight line, the issue with the needle moving would stop (it has). But instead, the thread keeps breaking.

I think the thread broke about 17 times in an hour. I rethreaded, cleaned everything, replaced the needle, adjusted everything, it’s not the damn thread…it’s the same thread that was just fine in the last quilt that I just finished. I don’t have time for it to go in…there’s a waiting list and I need this quilt done for a deadline. My other machine won’t behave either. I’m frustrated. There’s still things wrong…the feed dogs won’t stay down; they keep popping up, which affects the tension. I walked away from it last night, but will try again today. Unfortunately, sometimes the solution is to keep going and then it randomly and magically starts working. I don’t need a machine that is random and magical. Sigh. I need dependable and consistent.

So that was the weekend, with some other stuff interspersed, like my phone issues are still happening, after doing all the Apple things…so back to the Genius Bar. Sure, I’m lucky to have a phone and a sewing machine…well, I do work a time-consuming job to pay for those things, but not everyone has that opportunity, but if I have paid for those things, I would like them to work properly. None of that is going on at the moment.

I did some wool sewing last night. Just messed up the tree trunk, but let’s say it’s meant to be crooked.

Walked that little beastie with my parents’ dog.

So today. I have errands and I’m going to try to sew. I’ll switch out the spool maybe (although again, it worked fine on the quilt I just finished). I don’t know what else to do, so I’m just going to hope it works. I don’t want to learn another machine to quilt this thing…although I may have to. Mom’s house is just down the road. Although the last time I tried hers, it was impossible. Not sure why. I have a definite way I quilt and the machines are not always in agreement with that. They should be. There is a learning curve. Not sure I have the patience (or time) for that. This is not as stress-free and relaxing a summer as I’d like. I might just grab my book and go take a nap. Or something. Argh.

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.

Take a Break

I just got an email about a call for artists: the gallery is charging $40/entry for an online exhibit. Online. No catalog. Just online. This after two rejections last night. It’s OK. Rejection is part of the game. If you enter, you will be rejected more often than you are accepted. It’s normal. And more people entered than they were expecting. So there’s that. But I’m not willing to turn around and shell out more money (yes, every entry costs money, and not a small amount of it…remember shows with $10 and $15 entry fees? Proof that I am old.) for a show that only exists online. The gallery is nonprofit…usually entry fees pay jurors and provide food and drink for openings, plus keeping the gallery open and staffed. What is this entry fee for except the jurors? It’s not even on the gallery’s website? I don’t understand.

I get to this stage every once in a while, where I’m tired of paying out fees for themes that are just difficult for me to get my head around or for show after show where I can’t get in. It’s OK…then I just make a bunch of work and then eventually something gets in or some new opportunity pops up that doesn’t cost me any money (those are always nice, aren’t they?). I say that as I’m working on a piece for a show with a theme and probably a fee. Ah well. I’ll finish it and then see where my head is at. Right now, it’s hard to know where my head is at. The man is planning to start hiking again tomorrow. He’s been icing his knee (and his beer) at Kennedy Meadows since Friday, trying to decide whether or not to keep going. The knee has not stopped hurting, mind you, despite the rest. Meanwhile, I’m in a bit of limbo over some projects that need to start and scheduling some things, because I don’t know if I will need to (a) still meet him at Kearsarge Pass or (b) come pull him off the trail again. So I do cross things off the list and let a few things just sit there, waiting. I’m still tired…still occasionally grinding my teeth…still in recovery mode. Not sure when all that improves.

Actually, it kind of helps to write the blog and realize how many things I’m working on…so on Friday, I continued outline quilting on the 20-year-old quilt…

Which will eventually need a better name…but I did finish the outlining…

And started the background quilting, which is going to take a while. But it’s started.

I also did some ironing to fabric on the current quilt made for a themed show that will cost money to enter. This is my view while ironing, watching a recorded Zoom of something textile-related.

Can’t remember what. Picking out the sky fabrics here…this was Friday night, I think?

I lose track. Actually, I think it was a Zoom meeting. I had two on Friday and then I watched the recorded talk.

And then on Saturday night, I finished the rest of the ironing for this quilt and organized all the fabrics by color…

I used 99 fabrics and it took 9 hours and 45 minutes to pick them all and iron them to fabric. In general, this is a very muted quilt. The bright colors are in a few small locations. It’ll be interesting to see it all ironed together.

Then last night, I started trimming the pieces…

I haven’t gotten very far…the top left box is all trimmed. The bottom box is to-be-trimmed. It’s gonna be a while.

On Saturday night, when I was done ironing (which was pretty early), I finished up the hand-stitching on this piece, which I’ve been working on for a very long time. How long?

Hmmm. Looks to be around January 11 of this year that I started this. Not bad…I thought it was last year. Only 6 months. Honestly, it’s been almost done for a while. And it’s really not even almost done…everything is just stitched down and I got rid of all the pins. I actually want all of these (there are four now) to have a lot more hand sewing.

I did the first one, bottom left, in February or so of 2020…and the other two after that. They are from Anna Maria Horner shipments, using only the fabrics she sent that month. Hence the crazy combinations. I like them though. It’s a different kind of challenge. There are 6 shipments a year, so I didn’t finish last year’s quite, and now I have two…no three more this year. One just arrived and I cut the background fabric out already and it’s waiting…although I think there is a cat lying on it. Maybe someday I will finish these. Who knows. Maybe they are like sketchbook drawings…just little workings of the brain when other stuff is too hard.

On Saturday, I also went to an actual in-person meeting (outside, in a park, where I got sunburned again in a weird pattern on my back because I thought it was all covered up, but I was stitching and so I was bent over and…duh). It was one of my quilt guilds…and I worked on Sue Spargo’s Homegrown, finishing the third of four blocks for March.

Look! People! In a group! I know. It makes me nervous unless it’s outside. We’ll see how that goes in the future.

Ah yes, and I finished stitching hangers and a label on this one, so it’s off to it’s new owner later this month.

Took forever to finish this one…mostly my fault…combined with school and sewing machine issues. See, I did do a lot…plus bought shelves for the deck for plants to block the neighbor noise and view…working on the plants and pots part. Need more of both.

On Saturday, I hiked a little over 5 miles…it was hot. This is a kite…a bird kite, not a manmade one.

It’s a bird I only see at Sweetwater. Looks like a hawk but mostly white and a little gray. Stared at me.

I didn’t see anyone else out there. Granted, I was hiking during the dinner hour, I think, and it was warm even then.

There’s a lot of flowers still blooming.

I like hiking by myself mostly…

I do listen to music…

I wanted to go further, but the parking lot closes…

Sweetwater River Trail? Or Reservoir? Not sure.

Finally got to the water.

And then headed back…I like this succulent, although I’ve never been able to get it to grow from a cutting.

I don’t take it out of wild parks…just from side of the road bits where I can pick a leaf or a stem.

Maybe I should just figure out what it is and find it somewhere legit that costs money.

Lots of cat pictures…Nova cleaning Luna while I was trying to nap.

I did not nap. Luna then got cranky and started a fight.

Not nap friendly.

When I got back from the hike, Kitten decided my hat was a sleeping space.

Hmmm.

Nova checking out the living room last night…

So today…I’m in a Zoom, watching some art stuff, plus trying to write this. Then I should quilt some more, cut some more, walk some more, and IDK what else. I have a list. Fill the hummingbird feeders. Do some yard work. I need a list for that. I should do that. I should just take a break from expectations, right? Yeah, I’m not very good at that. I’ll keep trying. Without the fees and the rejections, yeah? Don’t enter; you won’t get rejected. But if your work needs to get out there, then you will have to take that chance, spend the money, get it out there.

Check Check Check…

There is an insistent cat head bumping my left elbow as I try to type. I managed to get her away from the keyboard, where she was before, but it’s possible that I’m not petting any of these cats ENOUGH for their preferences. OK, now she’s in front of the monitor, so any typos will have to be blamed on Kitten. And she just whacked me and I’m bleeding. So yeah. Cats. I’m also trying to listen to/watch this week’s artist talks for Quilt National and she’s not happy with my not paying attention to her, so now I’m trying to type with a paper towel held to my wrist so it will stop bleeding. Such a joy.

So somehow, the first week of Summer Break is gone. It’s always such a weird thing, that first week. I seem to waste a lot of time staring at things: books, space, social media, TV, the insides of my eyeballs. This year, I cooked a lot of things this week: wontons (very good), blueberry crisp (very good), lasagne from scratch (very good and will get frozen in batches for future eatings), and lemon bars (we had lemons…they fell apart last night, but they were still warm. I will in fact eat them with a fork if I have to). I’m still exhausted, which might be because I stayed up too late ironing last night and got up early(ish…for break, anyway) to watch the Quilt National thing. By the way, I will be participating in their weekly talks (signups are here) on July 30. You can also see me talk about my quilt here:

I don’t remember what I said. I’m going to watch all of them, honestly…just pick the playlist for this year’s quilts, and maybe even watch the ones from 2019. Why not?! It’s either that or I watch another badly dubbed movie like the last one I watched.

The damn cat is back, headbutting my elbow, decidedly nonapologetic about the divot in my wrist from biting me. My fault for having a calico cat. Feisty beasts.

So what have I been doing? Some errands, some garden stuff. Some house stuff. Some organizing. I can’t quite bring myself to clean out closets yet. I’ve found two things I want to get rid of…the rest is overwhelming. I’ve read a lot. I love reading. I’ve exercised for five days in a row…and my hips are complaining. I think that was from pilates on Wednesday, but I might take today off from exercise, since I know I will be hiking tomorrow hopefully (checks weather app…yes, I can hike tomorrow, as long as it’s not in the mountains, because they have a heat wave and I don’t? Whatever). I’ve also been doing art stuff in between all that, working on quilting a 20-year-old hand-appliqued quilt during the day…

I’m just doing the outlining right now; the background quilting will take a lot more thought and time. I’m not there yet.

I did a little embroidery on Sue Spargo’s Homegrown during book club…

Super slow moving on this one. But that’s OK.

And then I’ve been ironing at night, with a little bit yesterday during my quilt group Zoom.

Some bright colors were added for some small spaces in the quilt…

I’m about 6 1/2 hours into picking fabrics, and not done. It’s not an easy ironing job. So many muted colors that have to contrast with each other. I’m in the 300s somewhere, maybe almost done with them. Yah. Almost done, and I’ve already ironed some of the 400s, so I can safely say I’m at least halfway through. I’m hoping to be done with the ironing Sunday, but I’ve put a bunch of social stuff in the next few days, so I don’t know if that will really happen.

I’m meditating every night, mostly with the help of this cat.

Not help. She hasn’t whacked me for a while though…wait, that’s a lie. She scratched me two days ago because I dared to carry her past the little dog for her breakfast.

Yesterday’s walk almost didn’t happen. I finished making lasagne and then decided to walk.

Which is why I actually ate dinner at 9:22 PM. Not the smartest. Ah well. Routine is not my friend during summer.

This was me at pilates on Wednesday when the instructor told us we could do whatever we wanted with the balls we’d been using during class. Hmm. I did not throw it. I just thought really hard about why I was an adult and shouldn’t throw it.

Hey! There’s the girlchild.

Great picture. Love that face. Boston looks good too.

OK. I need more caffeine. And a shower. And to pick up a library book. Because I don’t have enough books to read. Plus make art. And check off about 20 things off the to-do list. By the end of the week, they freakin’ accumulate and I can’t handle it any more. Check check check. Plus tune out the neighbor woman behind me yelling at her screaming children. I’m thinking the ones below me must be at camp or something, because it is surprisingly quiet down there, except there’s the new house being built two properties below that, so there is NEVER NOT hammering going on except when it’s dark. Hallelujah for sending kids to camp though. I think I need to win some money and buy a second home somewhere with a massive amount of property, away from people and roads and builders and everything but nature. I would really appreciate the shit out of that space, but it would have to be real close…like up in our mountains, because otherwise I would never have time to go there. I could have a second studio there with a separate stash of fabrics, yeah? So I wouldn’t have to haul shit up there all the time. It could be the OTHER project that I only work on when I’m there. OR…get a little trailer and drive all over the US during breaks and make art in the trailer in campsites all over. Yeah. Both of those.

Y’all Can See the Rainbows…

No Zoom teaching ever again. Or at least not for a super very monstrous long time, yeah? I spent yesterday afternoon taking the workstation apart…monitor from the district back in a box (they didn’t give us one until March 2021), extra computer unplugged and divested of my identity, all the school paperwork and notebooks and detritus shoved into my car, packed up, with the bag of extra frogs for dissection next year. All of it. Gone. I was at school by 7:30 AM, had my shit all put away in a variety of random places I will promptly forget before August…I’m gonna have to pull everything out anyway…and back home by 8:45 with a bag of candy for kid rewards and water for me. I packed up all the kid rewards for competitions they won and they are ready to go to the post office. I’m waiting on two Patreon emails to follow through on that task. I read my book for about an hour. Just sat my ass down on the couch with a cup of tea and read dammit. Didn’t worry about what I wasn’t grading or prepping. Didn’t freak out over some parent or kid email. Didn’t look behind me and see the document camera or the pile of school-related art supplies or my grading notebook. All FUCKING GONE. Yeah. I need this to be my home, my art workspace, but not my school workspace. For at least 8 weeks. I’ve never needed to say Fuck You to a school year so badly.

Sigh. Yeah. Brings tears to my eyes just to think about it. Too many kids, too much nonexistent curriculum. Onwards to summer!

I’m going to make art and do some yardwork and some house stuff. Mostly make art. Exercise. Read books. Hike. I set my reading goal for this year at 45 books for the whole year, but with the man gone, I have been reading a lot more. So I’m almost at the annual goal, but there’s 6 months left. I’m OK with that. I’m even almost OK with him leaving to hike again on Monday. He’s going to love the next section, I think. I hope. And I have some plans to meet him along the way. So that is the closest I get to a vacation away from here…and that’s OK. For now.

And drawing…I miss drawing. Damn. Need to draw.

And sleep. I need sleep. More of it. No more 6:15 AMs. Well, there will be a few…there always are. But a few is better than ALL the days. Wow! This summer feels so much better than last summer…although I will miss having the man around. Lots. Saturdays will be weird. I did sign up for a hike with my local group though…first one since just before COVID hit. Looking forward to it. Looking forward to lots of things.

Ah. Deep breaths.

So I straight up didn’t get much done last night…just cut out like 5 pieces of Wonder Under.

OK, maybe 10. I was exhausted. Calli was a big help. Ha! Not.

The night before, I was working on finishing up all the Patreon rewards…I hooped them, then backed them with felt. So I sewed 3 of them Wednesday night and 2 of them last night…oh yeah, I had school for the whole morning, playing games and watching videos with my advisory kids and another class. Then the end-of-year school party, where I saw people I hadn’t seen in 8 or 10 or even 16 months. And then I had a stitching meeting and that’s when I finished the other 2 hoops. Braindead, y’all. Totally and completely braindead. It’s normal! It’ll take me a week to find my brain again. It’s OK. It happens every year.

And my niece released another song last night…

It’s on iTunes and Spotify and probably other places…more of a pop influence on this one than the last two? Maybe? I’m glad she’s found this way to express herself…it’s a good thing to have. Check her out!

And here’s the finished Patreon rewards…whatever doesn’t get sent to a patron goes on Etsy…I’ll let you know.

They’re all 6″ hoops. I am reminded (again) that embroidery takes longer than quilting. And quilting isn’t fast, although this method is faster than what I normally do.

I have some other hoops that have been waiting a long time to be finished too…they are bigger, but will make it on Etsy soon enough. Clearing stuff out! Crossing stuff off! Feeling lighter and freer! Or something.

OK. I need to eat some lunch. Not rushing to do it in between Zooms! Not at 11:05 in the morning! Oh yeah. Teacher on break. Y’all can see the rainbows around me, can’t you?

Right Eyelid Is Twitching…

This is the last Friday of the school year. Well, the last Friday I have kids. I have to check out of school (ha ha ha, wow, might have already mentally done that, not really, because I’m still making stuff for next week and grades aren’t done) next Friday. I’m supposed to clean up my room, but I did that last year, so I guess I just have to make sure whoever’s been in there didn’t leave anything behind, plus drop off all my electronics and make people sign my paper about keys and shit. But TODAY is the last Friday I have students on Zoom. Hopefully EVER. Seriously. Zoom. Ugh. I need a long long long break from teaching, from creating curriculum from scratch with zero help from my district, from sitting in that chair that won’t even stay in the right position any more, because I’ve been sitting in it 5 days a week for a solid healthy chunk of the last 16 months. UGH.

I’m exhausted, but I always am. It feels more exhausted than usual, but that probably doesn’t matter. It feels more emotional than usual, but so has the entire year. I have grades almost done for 2/5 classes. The other 3 will be done by Tuesday. I have a lot going on before that, but I’m going to do my best to get them done quickly.

As you can see, I’m writing end-of-year quiz things and only have half my brain working.

I finished the science one on Wednesday; art is taking me longer. Harder to write those questions, because we didn’t so much study content as technique, and that’s harder to ask a question about with one right answer. So I’m getting there. I need them by Monday. It will be fine.

At the end of the day, I reward myself with artmaking…the drawing got done on Wednesday night…

And then I numbered it.

627 pieces for a quilt this small is a little crazy. Oh well.

At least the pieces are small, right?

And yes, that’s blood on the drawing. I have an owie on my elbow that won’t heal because I keep leaning on it. Maybe when I’m done teaching it will have time to heal up.

Last night, I started tracing the Wonder Under.

Yeah, I’m exhausted, but I feel better if I’ve done something non-school-related every day. Besides watering the plants and feeding the animals. So I do this. This stage is pretty brainless, which is good, because I don’t have much of a functional brain right now.

I had my Zoom stitching meeting last night and worked on (and fucked up on) this…

It’s OK…I didn’t read the instructions right so I’m stitching bullion knots over something I already stitched. No biggie. I did consider not stitching over what I’d done, but the bullions are a stronger line and it needs it.

It’s not the first time I’ve misread the instructions because I was tired and/or doing something else at the same time.

I also did the stitchdown and quilting on the Patreon rewards…

There’s 4 quilted ones and at the moment, one embroidered one.

I decided to quilt them with a layer of batting, but then had a brain fart moment about the batting in a hoop.

But my stitching group had a pretty obvious answer…obvious now that they say it…not so obvious before, because I had set my brain in Search Mode and it still hadn’t come up with an answer.

Anyway, I didn’t have the guts to attempt it last night (too tired, had to make dinner still), so tracing Wonder Under was the much easier option. They will get done next week though.

Wednesday night sky…

And Simba being cute…

His job is to let me pet him when I’m stressed. Which is often at the moment.

OK. Exhausted is still here, despite a full cup of tea in me. Not sure when it will be gone. Today is the last frog dissection too. At least I get to DO something in class instead of just waiting for questions. Teaching online has not been fun. Do not recommend. But please don’t tell me I didn’t do anything this year. I spent more time on my school job this year than I ever have in a million years of teaching, and I’m done. Totally done.

Well. Except I have to get through today and four days next week. Right eyelid is twitching. Uh huh. Friday. It’s Friday.

Mornings Are Loud…

Oh man, apparently a 5-day week is at least 3 days too long at the moment. I will be dissecting frogs today. I did a demo yesterday for a video and completely fucked it up, forgot what the heart looks like, missed a bunch of stuff, said some random stuff. So I deleted it. I’ll try again today for realz with the kids, hope I don’t mess this one up too badly. I’m going to go watch a video of some people who are way more awake and with it than I am. Not that it’s hard to be that. I’m going to bed at a reasonable hour…just can’t fall asleep or apparently stay asleep. Mornings are loud, y’all…really loud. The birds, the sun, just damn loud.

The plus in all this is that the next quilt drawing is coming along, mostly because I’m using the drawing I did in Tehachapi, all stream of consciousness while hanging with the man and watching weird stuff on the telly. Apocalyptic Love, Death, and Rockets, yeah? No, not Rockets…ROBOTS. Oh my. Hello brain. You want a scalpel today? Seems like a mistake, but sure…we’ll give you a scalpel. WTF. ANYWAY. I cut some paper to the right size and added the elements I needed for this theme, and then traced a goodly portion of the existing drawing…

I got the existing drawing transferred onto the new page, which is longer and skinnier, and now just need to do some filler and the sky tonight hopefully. Yes. Too many small pieces. It’s OK. I’ll be OK. I’ll complain about it later, but I’ll be OK.

This is why size of quilt isn’t as relevant to me for price as number of pieces is. I have one smaller piece with over 800 pieces in it that is really expensive…but if you think that each small piece needs to be drawn, traced, ironed, trimmed, and ironed down to the backing, you can see how number of pieces adds up. It’s OK for this one. Just when I get to commissions, it becomes an issue. Keep it simple! The quilt I just finished had 800 or so pieces in it…and it’s much bigger, but the cost will probably be similar to the small one I did a few years back. We’ll see. I haven’t calculated time yet on the new one. I’ve had no time to calculate time!

Anyway, it’s progress. It’s good.

I’ve hiked the last two days, Monday with the boychild and the dog…

The man will hike with me on Saturday.

He’s in recovery mode, which means going to hang out with a bunch of people and eating a lot of sugar. Funny stuff.

He’ll be back on trail next week, and then I’ll see him on the other side of Kearsarge Pass. Somehow. I’m debating hiking part of that, but acclimation could be an issue (starts at 9200 feet above sea level. I live at 400 feet above sea level). We’ll see. It’s supposed to be gorgeous though. I’d like a gorgeous hike or two this summer.

Here he is giving Luna some love.

He was afraid the cats wouldn’t remember him. They did. Right away. Even with all the smelly hiker clothes.

Because I’ve been hanging out with him at night, I’ve been embroidering on the Sue Spargo Homegrown blocks…finished another one of the March blocks…

Crazy little houses. One row of the roof shingles is the wrong thread. Not changing it. Nope.

OK, frogs today. Yup. Gonna go watch that video and make another cup of tea and keep creating random instruction for next week’s weirdness. Then do some exercise and draw some more. Try not to panic at any given time. Good plan.