Antonyms of Fine…

Apparently I have no clue what day it is. Not surprising, really. I get like this over breaks. One day at a time. Do the things for that day, then make a pillow fort and disappear into a book. I had a legit reason…the book was going to be sucked back by the library demons at 2:33 PM today and I needed to finish it before that happened. I’m not entirely sure I understand what happened in the book, but when the fourth (in the trilogy, yes, really) comes out, I will just reread all of the three previous books and maybe it will all make sense. I really liked parts of it; just wasn’t sure how they were related to previous parts. It was confusing.

I really loved that highlighted bit. Because my co-teacher and I joke about everything being fine, but it’s not. It’s just hard this year. So I missed writing the blog yesterday, even though I wrote it down in my bullet calendar list of things to do, which I’ve been mostly ignoring, except for the parts where I have to be places and feed people. This morning I have to be two places. So I’m up because of the dog and the cats, earlier than desired, but whatever. That’s because the boy left and the dog thinks daylight is an alarm clock. He distinctly does not understand sleeping in.

So yeah, I made a lot of food that is still feeding people, and my family showed up…well, some of them anyway.

Minus the last-minute gravy the boychild helped with, so I officially still have never made gravy, and the cranberry sauce I forgot was in the fridge, but remembered. It was good. I never liked cranberry sauce until I had it made fresh.

This was after all the eating and drinking, so most people are smiling. The next day was the Man’s family, well, some of them…

This time before the eating, and at a much prettier table.

Also, I didn’t have to cook, which I appreciate.

And then there’s the artmaking, which I greatly appreciate…I sorted on Wednesday afternoon, while the turkey was cooking and before people arrived…

And then I started ironing to fabric. This piece has relatively few pieces (630) and is smaller (much) than the last one (28×36″ image). Those are little baby mountains…

This was what I had ironed after Thursday, I think…

And yesterday, I graded all morning and through the England v USA World Cup game. It needed to be done. Also someone needed to score, but I guess that didn’t happen. I’m not done with grading or planning. It’s possible that I never will be. I have two harder assignments left to grade and about two weeks more of planning to get me through to December. But it’s been taking me about an hour to plan each day of this unit/project, crazily, so I don’t know that I’ll get that far through. We’ll see. Too much researching shit, trying to figure out how better to present it than our curriculum does (because even when it’s pretty good, it still isn’t).

I also finished my book. But didn’t exercise. There’s 78 things on the to-do list that aren’t done. The Christmas shopping is mostly done, though. I need to assemble some things and I’m waiting on some stuff and I have to pick up one thing today, but otherwise, I might be sorta done. Kind of. More done than I was a week ago anyway.

I spent a goodly chunk of time ironing yesterday afternoon and evening and night though. And that was good. This piece of sky is one of my hand-dyes. I occasionally like to do it myself. Find it fun.

But then I dye things that are hard to use. This will be good sky though. I made it through all the fleshy pieces…they started in the 100s, then through the 200s and most of the 300s, I think.

Of course, I only did the flesh. I still need to do all the non-fleshy bits: the bones, heart, lungs, burning trees, and polluting cars. So that’ll take a while. I might be halfway through? Not sure because of the numbering. Feels like I’m further on than that, but the head is complicated and so is the vomit. So today sometime I’ll work on the bits in the torso that aren’t flesh, and then I’ll have a better idea of where I’m at. I’m also going to pick up a quilt and hopefully hike/walk the dog and the Man. So here’s what I’ve gotten so far…need a bigger box, plus extra points if you can find the cat butt and tail.

Also need to grade at least one of those hellish assignments. Ugh. Don’t feel like it, but it has to be done. I know some people just don’t do any work over break, but it’s looming over me and I know how panicked I would be next week (or tomorrow!) if I hadn’t done what I did. I need my head above the water, not doing that thing where you’re kicking your feet to push your nose and mouth up a little to get air, which was the last three weeks. Sigh.

When I made it to bed, a bunch of animals followed me…Kitten settled down by my feet, which is not normal for her…usually she comes up later and shoves into my back.

She was there for quite a while before she wandered off to sleep on a blanket somewhere less crowded. Simba was squished between us most of the night…

Although this was before the Man came to bed. Luna showed up in the dark. Nova doesn’t come in on the bed any more. She would, but the dog freaks her out. Her loss.

OK. So I’m up. I need to shower, go get my quilt, pick up the Xmas thing, go for a hike, probably eat somewhere in there, grade some shit, plan some other shit, iron fabrics, probably do a date-night thing, and read another book (it’s OK; it’s short). Today is Saturday. I’m just writing that for my own assistance. I need to remember to do all the things tomorrow that get me ready for school, and the more times I remind myself that today is Saturday, the more likely it is that I will remember to do all the things on Sunday that will help me go to school on Monday. I’m glad I’ve had time this week to recharge without students around. To plan without panicking. To get caught up on grading. That’s good. Plus make a bunch of food and freeze it so my December self panics less. These are good things. Maybe next year I can have a break from school that isn’t full of grading and planning (ha!). Next year, I’ll have taught all this once and will have more help. Hopefully. For now, I’m thankful that it’s Saturday and not Sunday. I can do a Saturday.

Loading and Filling…

I spent a chunk of time on Etsy yesterday trying to get 8 new pieces on there. They are all pre-COVID pieces; they just needed to be mounted in a way that made them able to hang. You can find these on Etsy.

My friend Susan talked to me and crafted (she was supposed to be cleaning…but I think we’re always supposed to be cleaning when we craft unfortunately). Plus Kitten was trying to help me do the computer stuff…not.

I’ve been drawing every night…after doing other stuff during the day. Drawing brain seems to prefer nighttime.

I knew there would be swallowing heads in here…kind of a symbol for anxiety or being swallowed by society or government or a political party that doesn’t like women except when they do like them (pussies and pregnancy yes, autonomy and rights no)

I didn’t realize until the middle of the night while trying to sleep that the heads would be filled with words. And then I tried drawing that bottom left bit about 4 times and finally cut that section out and taped a new piece in. I’ll try the redraw tonight…and then it might be done.

Then I can start numbering.

We’re still quilting this beast. And the machine is still possessed. Plus we need to replace some O rings.

More signs of demonic possession.

Kitten is wherever I am.

Simba misses the boychild but appreciates his elephant.

I started this at home and have been trying to write while being at mom’s with the quilting machine. We got to the bottom and have to go back to the top to fill in some wide apart areas we had in the beginning. Not today. Gotta go proofread some stuff, ship one quilt, and deliver another. All good.

Disappearing Fast…

So Summer Break is disappearing fast. Lost two days to a training that could be done in two hours…welcome to the inefficiencies of my day job. Seriously though…wish we could figure that crap out. I’m willing to be professionally developed when it’s actually useful. Not sure this 12 hours will be. That said, this week is still Not School and so is next week. Breathing in and appreciating that. This week, I need to get going on the next art quilt on the off chance I can finish before another deadline (probably not, but I’m going to try). I also need to get some home-related stuff done and I need to get that bed quilt done.

I think we’re at 16.5 hours (which includes about 5.5 hours of practice on muslin). We finally got it to behave appropriately for I think two whole rows, no, two and a half, and then the bobbin thread ran out and then the NEW tablet (mom bought a new one) crashed and then we had to try to restart from there (the app needs a solution for starting mid-row when it crashes) and then the thread broke, so the last row took 45 minutes instead of 11 and a half. Yeah.

But before that, we had weird divots in the stitch and then it would randomly decide to move up instead of staying in a straight line.

I wasn’t kidding when I said the machine was possessed. Inconsistent? Yeah that too. Could very well be user error.

I know with any machine I’m sewing with, I have to get used to it and then I know how to make it work, even if the manual says otherwise. So we’re not there. But we are halfway through the quilting! Mom wanted to rip the straight line, and I’m like NO, we aren’t ripping anything if we don’t have to.

And when I say halfway, I mean I will have to go back and do some filler quilting in between some of the rows (or parts of rows due to demon possession) that are too far apart. But I figure that will be quick. Unlike the rest of it. So probably three more sessions at mom’s? Hopefully? Done this week? I just don’t know. I’ve got a proofreading job coming in this week too, so I need to be home to work on that.

The newest quilt is at the photographer…I did get photos back of Desert Mother though…gotta get her on the website.

I’ve had such a hard time finishing work in the last two years. The day job is a hog.

Every year I say I will work on that, and then I get overwhelmed.

There are lots of super tiny animals in this piece…

Which take forever…

But I love that they’re in there. I also love that I made this totally nonpolitical quilt this year in between what will be more political things because the world is so fucked up at the moment. I know I needed a break after the abortion rights quilt. So this was it…

I feel bad for making nonpolitical quilts sometimes. Plus then people are all OMG that quilt is amazing why don’t you just make those instead of those other ones. Eyeroll. Because the artist brain does not work like that.

Anyway, so there she is.

I did start the drawing on the next one about two weeks ago, pulling from a drawing I did back in November 2021 and then starting to modify it. I had written notes somewhere on what else needed to go on it, but I have no clue where those are. Of course. But I stared at it for a while on Friday night, then went to sleep, and woke up Saturday morning with a goodly chunk of it back in my head, which I wrote down in TWO places…

So as soon as I can get my head out of the exhaustion rut it’s in (too many early morning wakeups for me lately), I will get going on that. Hopefully in about 20 minutes.

Also, I finally finished mounting the last of the pieces that need to go on Etsy…

Trying to get some of these smaller pieces sold and out of here. So now I need to find all the photos I’ve taken as I’ve finished them over the last month, gather all the sizing and pricing info, and post those. I’ll let y’all know when that’s done, but hopefully this week. I also had a plan to put some of my older art quilts on sale…will need to get my act together on that too. You can see how summer/free time gets eaten up, yeah?

We hiked Saturday, but just flat because the Man has a broken toe…slammed it into a chair…

Probably he shouldn’t have hiked because now it hurts more, so also probably I will be hiking alone for the next 5 weeks.

Nova asleep in the heat…

The bunny who keeps eating the flowers of my native plant…

A very confused caterpillar…I’m not sure where it went from the cactus (the milkweed was right next to it)…but I can’t find it anymore.

Ah well.

Want some owl videos?

Three babies…

Haven’t seen the parents for a while (would I know? I don’t know if I would know…but they sound different). One seems to hang out here all the time; the other two seem to range around a bit more. Hoping they find a nest and/or learn to stop yelling all the time (much like the neighbor children?) relatively soon. But I’m glad to add them and their mouse/rat-catching to my ecosystem here.

So today: draw more, Etsy some stuff, go have lunch and hang out with teacher friends without thinking about school, read my book? (it’s nonfiction, but there’s a mystery and I suspect old white men are the perpetrators). Shit. I need to start the crockpot for dinner. Ugh. OK. Better now than having to cook later, right? Yes ma’am. It’s still summer. I am still sort of free from stuff (ha!). Working on Zen.


I’m at that stage of the school year where every morning is exhaustion. Friday was fun with microscopes, but a lot of running around and then trying to get kids focused, then some adult drama that I could do without. This week has some ups and downs for what we’re teaching…today and tomorrow will be a bit of a slog, no matter what I do to prepare them (and me). But I did everything I could this weekend to be ready for it.

I also did a lot of art, which was nice. I even took a class in something I never would have done if my guild weren’t doing it. So that was good. It’s always good to stretch a little to see if something new will work.

So the current quilt…Friday night, so close to done (not really…there are a lot of pieces left in there…they’re just small)…

Saturday night we went to an art opening and got freaked out by small space, lots of people, but then came home and watched a movie and I cut out the rest…

That’s 21 hours and 21 minutes of cutting. Very precise. You want to know how I price my quilts? By my time.

It wasn’t too late yet, so I sorted them too…

So many tiny pieces. You can see the 400s box has most of the big sky pieces in it. Everything else is small as fuck. I know, I know…I designed the thing. I’m the one who is also hoping it’s done in time, but who the hell knows.

And then last night, I started ironing it together…

Somehow I lost a bunch of tree parts already. They could be in the couch, they could never have been cut out (I found one in the pile of trash I save for just these reasons). Who the fuck knows. I don’t. Kept ironing though…

I’m 150 pieces (approximately) in. My goal this week is to get it ironed. Of course, my schedule and exhaustion levels might not help with that. Plus that grading thing. Whatever. Those tiny animals though…they are a time-consuming thing. I have a tortoise and an owl to do tonight. I’m looking forward to seeing how it all looks though…I never see it in full color until it’s ironed, except in my head.

The class I took was on Zoom with David Owen HastingsInspired by Architecture. I borrowed pictures from the girlchild’s travels, although she’ll be hard-pressed to tell what photo I used.

I could make all of those, but I probably won’t. I cut out the pieces for another one…not one of these…it’s somewhere else. In a pile.

David was a great teacher, lots of info, nicely timed, feel good about the process, although it is incredibly outside of my wheelhouse.

I couldn’t help but put some hand-stitching in there. I’m not sure modern is my thing, but it was an interesting class. Certainly this was faster than my normal process.

I was hoping an art reset would help with this week. Maybe it will. I know I came home Friday night incredibly stressed and overwhelmed. I finished grading one thing that might help with the mindset…although there are other things coming to take its place. One of the issues was my septic. The pumpout this year went fine, but my tank is old and there were some issues…the issues started at being around $1200, and now are a partial rebuild…so 5 times that.

I guess it’s a good thing I sold two quilts…I can pay for this and probably my taxes and maybe my property taxes, maybe? But the summer is now unfunded. That’s really how teachers look at summer sometimes…unfunded.

So there’s a bit of panic in my head. I’ll get through. Just unexpected.

Part of trying to reset my mind was cleaning my studio up for yesterday’s class. I had pieced three of these, so I did the other three.

This is from the Molli Sparkles Cut It Up Quilt-Along. I’m way behind, but that’s OK, because it’s just a fun thing I’m doing. When you make the corner pieces, there are leftover triangles. I hate to waste, so I pieced them all…

I’ll trim them up and put them in the quilt somewhere. You can see that mostly I was doing complementary colors: blue/orange, red/green, purple/yellow. Guess that art degree paid off.

Ah yes, well school starts soon. Back to the chaos. And it’s a hot week, so hopefully they can finally get my A/C really running, instead of ignoring actual class temperatures and going on after school is out. Somewhat frustrating. Three more weeks until Spring Break. It also means I think I only have three weeks to finish this quilt. That could be problematic. Ah well…if I don’t finish for one deadline, it will go to another show, won’t it? Yeah. It will. I am frustrated by my inability to get art done this year (and last year…see the pattern?). My day job is taking too much time. More than usual. Sigh. OK. Well. Tonight I dedicate time for art. Hopefully.

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.


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.

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?

Less Cottony

Dear all my youngish neighbors with your little children who have now all installed really bright motion-sensor lights: Do you know that things that MOVE make your lights go on ALL NIGHT LONG…on the other side of the house, where you don’t even know about it, and the things that MOVE are animals, birds, and trees, sometimes bats. Seriously, the wind makes your stupid lights go on and you don’t really NEED them because you’re not out there in your side yard checking out what’s setting them off, BUT THEY ALL SHINE IN MY HOUSE. EVERY DAMN ONE OF THEM. Plus the damn fairy light strings everywhere. Yes, they are nice and pretty, but they don’t need to be on all night. I think they’re still on now and it’s broad daylight. Have you never heard of light pollution?

I hear my parents have a BB gun.

Yes, I am the crazy old lady neighbor. But seriously. So much lighting of spaces where there are no peoples.

Hey, well, it’s Thursday. Somehow I got off my every-other-day schedule and am trying to write on the days when I don’t normally write. Today is a staff meeting day AND a lab day, so this will be hopefully quick. What have I been doing? Well, working on a quilt, of course. And I needed to dye some old quilt blocks for the background of this one.

So I don’t know about you, but I have all the dye supplies ready to go in the cupboard, and can start a small dye job at 9:38 PM on a school night. I don’t usually do this, but it worked. I picked some of the old (really old, because I got them on Etsy a million years ago, but they aren’t in that great condition) blocks and tossed them in a mix of dyes that I thought would approximate the background fabric I already had picked. Left them for 24 hours and got this…

What’s funny about this is when I did the first rinse out of the dye bath, they all were that purply blue color…and by the time they got out of the washing machine, you can see that three were less cottony than I thought. OK. And I’m not sure the one on the bottom left will work…I don’t really want anything that has a lot of contrast. The 5 that worked are probably not enough (although they could be?) so I will probably try again. I did get the subtle changes that I wanted in about half of them, so that’s a success. Sort of.

Then I’ve been picking fabrics for an hour or so each night…

I find it really difficult to stop, actually. I just want to keep ironing. But I need to stick to my earlier bedtime, even though I don’t seem to be falling asleep much earlier. I’m sure I’m getting a little more? Maybe.

I’m averaging about 10-11 hours of artmaking a week at the moment…

That’s much better than the month of March, when I did a lot of nothing on art quilts. No sewing machine? I guess it was an issue. Plus overwork and exhaustion. Now I’m using the art to distract myself from isolation. But it’s also the artwork…and I love that normally. It’s not that I don’t love it now…it just isn’t giving me the same hit as usual.

I’ve been ironing for over 4 hours and I only have 200 pieces ironed down. Not super fast, y’all. There are a lot of fussy little decisions in the stuff on the Earth in this piece. Lots of overlapping colors and bits that require thought.

I finished appliqueing all the bits down to the April Homegrown blocks during one book club this week…

On to May. During the second book club (yes, I did that this week. Nights are deadly empty time.), I drew my Patreon drawing for the month…

And posted it. Talk about multitasking. I do it all the time. It works for me. I know it doesn’t work for some people. Certainly things like sewing and drawing occupy a different part of my mind than the meeting part. So it works. It’s not as effective during staff meetings, when I actually work on schoolwork through them. Those are overlapping parts of the brain and it means I sometimes miss stuff, but since 3/4s of what they talk about right now in staff meetings doesn’t apply to distance learning, I don’t really fucking care. I ask my team when I miss stuff.

I created that slide deck during the last staff meeting for the lab we did this week. And that calendar thing is so true at the moment.

I don’t even deal with one day. It’s sections of days. Morning. Afternoon. Evening. Night. Rinse. Repeat.

Here’s the lab we actually did…cellular respiration…

I have to do it one more time, today. It’s a pain in the butt, but it helps them think about the different types of food. Although then they think that sugar and food are the same thing. Not quite. I’m having a hard time getting a good chunk of them to listen at the moment. Normally, this is almost where we start sex ed and I have their full attention. I think this year will be harder at the end. I guess I will just roll with it. I don’t have control over so much of what goes on with their home lives, their attention spans, and their Wifi.

These two are sweet.

When Luna is not rampaging.

OK, hours of Zooming today followed hopefully by a good long walk and an already made dinner. Then more ironing. I think. Maybe I’ll get through more than 100 pieces in one night.

The Mondayness of It All…

So it’s Monday morning on the first 5-day week back to school…and Zoom is out nationwide. You know, the program we use to actually DO online teaching with the kids? The video thing? Yeah that. I’m amused. It may be back up by the time we start school, but this certainly complicates shit. Last week it was the program we use to log all the kids in…this week, Zoom. I’m ready to go when they are, though. Attendance might be an issue today. I’m laughing.

In other news, it’s still warm here, although it’s cloudy and not so bad at the moment…it’ll get warmer later. I look forward to the months where it’s freezing here (not really, because we don’t get snow) and I have to wear socks. But right now, I’ve got those two fans on me at 8 in the morning and I’m supposed to be working. So I’m going to do that and finish this later. You won’t know the difference, because it will all get posted later. Just know that I thought about starting this in the morning. I even resized all the photos, but the girlchild called and it’s Monday and that’s just a thing. A thing that slows us down. The Mondayness of it all.

It’s still Monday, but now it’s after 6 PM. I just finished working…well, maybe. I really should do more, but I’m not sure I have it in me. I started at 7:30 AM, took a break at lunch and to water stuff after school, then drove to school to drop stuff off, and then back here to finish what’s on my to-do list. There’s still one thing on there, but I’m not sure I have enough brainpower to do it right now. So there’s that.

OK, so Friday, we did cover pages for our first unit, and although most of them did it online using Google searches for images and super-quick font and color choices, I couldn’t help but go old school.

I showed them how to do this, but I think I only had one kid try it. I’m going to color it in and then upload it onto mine…just because. Sigh. I miss this.

Friday night, I walked…first time all week. It was a long and tiring and hot week. Friday was no less long, hot, and tiring…I just couldn’t take the lack of exercise any more.

It was late and kinda cool and sorta nice.

I was a slow-moving sloth in the heat and tiredness of it all though. My feet were hot at the end, so I used the pool…

I’m not much of a swimmer, you may have noticed. Mostly I think the pool is for the dog.

I continued the walk at Lake Murray on Saturday evening, part of my plan to reinstate Date Night out of the house and out and about, minus the crowds at art openings and restaurants…

It was cooler outside…

Plus the whole sitting at home thing just sucks. Ask him…or her…I don’t know how to sex an alien.

I also got some stitching in Saturday night, but mostly I was tired…

Sunday, I used up most of the sourdough starter discard to make the next two weeks’ worth of frozen pancakes for a quick breakfast…

And then Sunday night, after working on school stuff for about 4 or 5 hours, I finished stitching this…

It needs a bath, some ironing, a hoop, and then a place on Etsy.

Then I did the stitch down on this Patreon reward…small is easy!

She got some ironing as well…

And then I pinbasted it…

So she’s ready to be quilted tonight.

The last hour of the evening was dedicated to ironing the newest quilt pieces onto fabric…

I didn’t get far…

Only a few colors so far…

But I did lay out the next 100 pieces of Wonder Under so I’d be ready to go tonight. I hope. Movement in the right direction.

The boychild is cooking dinner. I need to go dip my feet in the pool again. I watered everything, finished a packet for a kid in a shelter, talked on the phone to a bunch of people, made a vet appointment, and I think I’m ready to teach tomorrow. Although I think I have one other thing I need to work on tonight. I just can’t remember what it is. Oh well. So be it.

The Two Newest…

I finally got some new work photographed. I finished one in early April, but like no one was leaving the house then, except the essential workers and crazy people, so I held onto it until I finished the big one in July, and then dropped both of them off. I’m still really paranoid about leaving the house and interacting with humans…it’s like my introversion has gained a legitimate excuse for more hermitude than normal. Hopefully I’ll be able to reverse that…in like a year or so when it’s OK to come out.

Anyway, I keep forgetting to post about these, so here’s Hold On, drawn back in February (?), you know, when COVID-19 was barely a twinkle in your daddy’s eye…

She’s 53” w x 43 ¼” h. She’s obviously about climate change and our general destruction of the planet…

These things are always heavy on my mind…

Although apparently I also had missiles on my mind…something to do with North Korea, I suspect, with the president pissing off people who like to blow shit up.

I put some positive things in there, things we’re trying to put in to counteract the crazy, like those windmills harvesting wind energy.

It might be too little too late, my friend.

Even the bees are dying out. So she’ll get entered in some shows in the next few months.

And then in April, I drew this giant beast of a quilt, Coronawood

She’s 77″ w x 81″ h. Did I say a beast of a quilt? Yeah, she’s large. I just kept drawing until I thought I should stop.

Those angels have shown up in a quilt before…although less angry, I think.

This Earth Mother isn’t really sure how to fix anything. None of them are.

Why Coronawood? In the beginning, and even now, it sometimes seems like this is a movie, a made-up thing, not that I don’t believe in the virus, I really really do…I just don’t believe in all the made-up shit that people are using as excuses to not wear masks, to not stay home, to not slow the spread, to not take this seriously. It’s like a bad movie, made up in Hollywood, like a Sharknado series of the COVID type. And I keep waiting for either all the red shirts to die out (Star Trek reference, sorry, geek alert) or for the good person to show up who will solve it all and make humanity human again.

Seems like I will be waiting for that happy ending for a long time.

Remember Flatten the Curve? They aren’t even saying that anymore because we so obviously couldn’t even do that for very long before our need to party, gather, holiday, dine out, drink in a public establishment, or whatever took over.

This is why I’m teaching at home…for a long time. Because of this virus and our inability in the US to believe in science and elect intelligent officials…or at least officials who have the brainpower to realize they don’t know everything and trust the science to the scientists and the doctors.

This quilt is beautiful and haunting and deadly. I wonder how many COVID quilts I will make before it’s something we can fix or heal or vaccinate or avoid or whatever. Maybe one more? Maybe 200. Hopefully toward the lower number.

Happy Saturday all. I’m gonna take my heat-rashy elbow pits and my tired brain and try to art something before I have to work on school shit all tomorrow. I’ll post these two over on the Recent Work page in a bit with prices…interesting that, a conversation about prices, since another Etsy piece sold yesterday. My prices are all based on how much time each quilt takes to make. It’s actual real math. I have a formula. They’re worth it. Thanks to those who help me make more by taking one or two or three off my hands. I love to make. I also need to pay off my daughter’s college loans and eventually retire from teaching (not soon, don’t panic). So I charge appropriately for the making. Enjoy them!

Permission to Take a Break

I’m not sure when I thought I would write this blogpost. Back in the old days, I would get up around 6:30, take my shower, get dressed, feed the animals I’m responsible for, grab a cup of tea and something that approximated breakfast, and I’d sit down at the computer and bang out a blogpost. I did that almost every day, Monday-Saturday. I took Sunday mornings off most week and the occasional other day, but pretty much this was how I cleared my brain for the day and dealt with any lingering anxieties from weirdass dreams and the previous day’s existence. Then I’d brush my teeth, take my meds, pack my lunch, and drive to work to teach all day. Come home, repeat the next morning. Work was a separate place you went to and although as a teacher, it’s really hard NOT to bring it home, at least it was at a different location and sometimes you’d treat yourself and leave the pile of papers and the work computer AT WORK, where they belonged. Permission to take a break.

Ah, no longer. I basically live in this one room of the house, venturing out only to pee and heat up my tea, with the occasional walk down the hallway just to move my legs. And here I am, at 10:30 at night, writing the blogpost I was supposed to write this morning. In the same place I sat all day. School starts earlier now, so I get up 15 minutes earlier, and granted, this was the first day of online school, so maybe I’ll get into a routine and there will be less morning panic about whether or not I have everything set up right (we didn’t. I was retyping a Google Question at 8:09 AM for a 9:25 AM class, which isn’t actually THAT abnormal, but I don’t like it). Two computers, three monitors, this is before the boychild brought in two pieces of wood that go across from the left desk to the printer shelf, notionally for the mouse…

Or also for a tripod that holds my phone, which is dialed into the Zoom class so I can show the chemistry demo.

That’s calcium chloride, cornstarch, and baking soda on the red plate. Don’t get excited. I didn’t blow anything up, although we had color change, gas, temperature change, and odor, all created in one fell swoop. Fun stuff. Totes would do this lab in person. Maybe in 2021.

School…exhausting teachers everywhere, every August and September, but especially in 2020. Rumor has it my school will be back in person on September 9. And my guess is that it will take about 3-4 weeks before at least one cohort is quarantined. Ah well. It is what it is. Kids will learn something this year. They will survive. I don’t subscribe to the theory that this is going to put them all behind. It might even drill some resilience into them. Some of them. It’s worse for the kids in schools that already struggle to bring kids up…losing a year when they’re already a few behind…but I believe some kids will still get it, they’ll still find a way to learn in the chaos of all this. And it’s not like we did this on purpose, invited a pandemic into our midst. Oh wait. Maybe some people are making it worse. Sigh. Vote dammit. Vote vote vote. Like our lives depend on it.

What else? I did iron the small Patreon piece together on Monday night…

Making small things is sometimes fun…

It didn’t have a lot of pieces and went together fairly quickly, in maybe an hour…

I got it ironed onto a background…

I’m hoping to get it finished this weekend.

I sold two pieces on Etsy, so that was also nice. I figure it’s about 30 decent bottles of wine.

I’m joking. I don’t need that much wine. Not yet. Give me a month and I might change my mind.

Then last night, I cleaned up and set up to iron the new Daughter quilt together. This drawing hangs in the background of my school Zooms, so I have to remember to pin it back up every day before school starts.

There’s boobs on that thing! Oh my. My office isn’t huge…I had two fans going last night, but it was still a million degrees in here.

The ironing board gets moved around and out of the way on a regular basis, then pulled back to the middle of the room for this stage. For reference, the desk setup I showed you earlier is to the right of the top corner of the ironing board. Like RIGHT THERE.

I got just about the first 100 pieces ironed, most of the first human figure.

I’m totally exhausted tonight and not sure I have the energy for any of it. I’d LIKE to iron. I just don’t know if I have the energy. It took about an hour after school started of just sitting there before I could think straight again. And then I did Pilates and book club, which is part of the tired, but they were both things I needed.

It’s still hot here…

Which explains the prostrate animals everywhere.

I think it was actually a tiny bit cooler today.

Definitely cooler out on the deck in the late afternoon…

But also buggy as shit and I was so tired, I needed a cup of tea to do Pilates.

The first week is always exhausting, wherever you are. My team ate lunch in a socially distanced matter, with my being dialed in on FaceTime. We talk about kid issues during lunch, so it was useful. I’m still glad I’m not on campus. I miss everyone, I miss my room, I miss my materials and my setup, but I don’t want to be there right now.

Getting used to early mornings again.

At least the sunrises are occasionally pretty.

I made this Monday. Still not airy enough.

But it tastes good, better than what I get at the store.

This is not the lizard that belonged to the tail from the other night…well, first of all, it’s a gecko, not a lizard…

Second of all, the lizard was tiny and this is not.

I have a fan who lives near where Form Not Function recently opened at the Carnegie Center for Arts & History in New Albany, Indiana. My piece I Can’t Be Your Superwoman is flanked here by Helen Geglio’s Wisdom Cloak: Invisible Visionary on the left and Tracy Taylor’s The Distance Between Us on the right…

Definitely prime real estate on that wall…

Wish I could’ve seen it, but these pictures help…

She won an Honorable Mention, which is nice. Tomorrow, hopefully, I’ll get my act together and post pictures of the two newest quilts, one of which has been done since March or April, but it’s taken me and the photographer a while to get our acts together.

OK, let’s be real…it’s after 11 PM, I’m exhausted after my first day back to work, and I get to do it all again tomorrow. It’s OK if I don’t iron tonight. Tomorrow is another day. I really want to iron. I enjoy this part of the process…but this is also one of the hottest rooms in the house with the lights on…it’s possible I might be able to replace the bulbs in here for cooler ones, which will help, but also it needs to be cooler tomorrow (it won’t be, I don’t think). Ah well. It will be cooler eventually. And I will get used to the schedule and rally sooner. And more often.

So Thursday is for artmaking and Wednesday is for survival and then sleep, which is where I’m headed now…completely backwards to when I usually write. And Friday is just Friday, part of which is Not Here Yet. Man I’m tired. Peace out. See you later.