Spray-Paint the Vegetables*

April 17, 2017

I’ve spent the last two days trying to get through all the have-to’s…well, beyond the art and the grading. I’ve sent all the things I promised to send while I was gone. I’ve filed my taxes. Finally. I even got groceries…so now I can eat. Although the thought of having to cook all my meals again was depressing. Ah well. It can’t all be perfect. Who knows how long I can survive on goldfish crackers and Brussels sprouts. I should probably plant the whole front yard with sprouts…I wonder what weather they prefer. Probably not mine.

I still have 9 assignments left to grade…the same number I’ve had for the last week. That’s next on the list…start banging through some of that. And get pieces ironed down to fabric. I started that last night…worked on it for about three hours even.

I laid out all the 200s…ironed them all down…below is everything it took to make a cell phone with charger and cord. Yeah. Kinda boggling.

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I used a lot of grays and whites…did the bathtub, a Golden Retriever, the phone etc, some pill bottles, a bra and underwear, and a faucet…a washcloth…a soap dish. I think that’s it…

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I stopped right before starting the water because it was around 12:30 AM and I was tired. I’m at about piece 375, so a little more than halfway. Ugh. So I want to be done today, but I don’t know if that’s a thing that can actually happen. I had a lot of other stuff in the last few days to do as well…but I’m running out of time…always running out of time.

While I was gone, Kitten found the blocks I’d been embroidering and apparently deposited hair on them every single day.

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Saturday night sunset…

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Yes, after going through Napa and the Santa Inez Valley, we wine-tasted in San Diego. Don’t judge.

I did some green on here Saturday night…I’m now a day behind again. The green was under Live, a buttonhole stitch, and then continued into the flowers to the left of the L, putting lazy daisy leaves in to fill the space.

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I also finished Block 4 (on the left). The instructions for Block 5 (on the right) don’t come up until April or May…and I’m only on February. I don’t know why I did them out of order like that. Because I thought it would be easier to have the blocks sewn together and all the wool stitched down before embellishing, and then I changed my mind. So January’s three blocks are done.

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The bird, warthogs, and green tree are January…then the sheep is like Block 14 or 15, but it’s one of February’s blocks.

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Then these are the other two February blocks, which had to be sewn together. I started the embroidery last night at my parents’ house…

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Easter was two different houses…and this weird party game. You write a phrase and pass the pile to the next person. They try to draw it, then put your phrase on the bottom. Then the next person looks at the picture and tries to write the phrase describing it. Then again and again. I’m amused that my “Pass the whole pile” turned into “Dodgeball with Special Ed students”…cruel surely.

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And the other one I did, “May the force be with you” devolved into a stoner dude with an obese pony. Huh. None of us should get a job in the movies I think.

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I gave my mom this for her birthday or something one year…so she stitched it and gave it back.

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Unknown year reference…I’m sure something interesting happened then. Anyway. That kinda summarizes my weekend.

Today? I gotta decide what next. I’m thinking it’s coordinate all the clocks in the house. Some are correct, but the one to the left of me is an hour fast and the one on the microwave is an hour slow. And that shit just takes up too much of my brain. Then maybe lunch (yes, late) and debating grades vs dog walk vs tattoo. Yeah well. Can’t say I’m thinking straight yet.

*Beck, Loser

Looking Up…

April 15, 2017

So we made it back, alive and still a bit muddy (one load of laundry is done; the tent and rain cover are out on the deck, waiting for me to have the energy and help to clean it out), still a bit exhausted. Driving through Los Angeles can do that to you. Ahhh, traffic, I miss you not.

It’s the first time I’ve taken a week’s vacation without the fam in about a million years. Being a mom and a financially strangled one at best doesn’t allow for such things, so it was much appreciated. And there will be more, once we do the math and see how bad the money actually was, and then try to focus on future travel plans. There was lots of WOW said; even if you’ve seen them before, the redwoods elicit WOW.

So then I have about 50 pictures of the trees, looking up…

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Because that’s what you do…

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(That was the one non-rainy day on our trip…the day we chose to hike around…)

I’ll have to write a post later this week about the trip, I think. Too many pictures for a Saturday-morning brain.

I did draw each night…well, minus one…

Certainly what I was experiencing ended up in the drawings. The first night, we had set up the campsite and cooked under a lean-to tarp, and sat there listening to the rain for hours. We’d made it to the visitor center and read about local animals and plants, and seen a beetle and lots of ferns and trees.

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That beetle on her cheek was on my sketchbook for a while…I saw his big brother in the bathroom for the next three days. Just hanging out…on the toilet paper rolls…waiting…for something.

We hiked the whole next day, with on and off rain…but a lot of sun. We cooked tacos that night, and tried to get the fire started. I think it lasted a whopping 20 minutes before the rain kicked up again. We had moved the tent by then.

I don’t think this one is done, but I was tired.

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At least one hand is facing the wrong way…or both are left hands…or something.

The last night, we had very little rain (after rain on and off all day, mostly on), but lots of high winds, which is a little nerve-wracking in a forest that really only loses trees to wind and the occasional flood.

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I skipped the next night…but the last night, food was on my mind apparently. And misplaced arms. They’re just wrong, all wrong.

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As part of the last day’s drive, we stopped at the California Fibers’ exhibit at The Blackboard Gallery in Camarillo, California, where two of my pieces are currently hanging through early May. This is Give Me Time

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As always, I love having my photo taken and can’t figure out what to do with my hands.

And here I am with Holding It All In, which is a big quilt…

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I’ll be writing a California Fibers’ post about the show, with details, later this week. I’ll link it here. It’s a nice show…in an interesting space.

I did keep up with these once a day stitches, albeit barely. I did some green lazy daisy leaves on the right with that curly line I added earlier in the week, with the pinky lazy daisy flowers (that’s three days right there)…then a feather fern stitch thing next to the tree trunk (hard to see here) and some star-shaped flowers in red/burgundy with straight stitch green leaves to the right of the feather, under the bird…finishing the thread off with some French knots (or colonial knots, who knows) down the side there.

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I didn’t actually do much stitching (or reading) on the trip. I finally pulled this out the last day for in-the-car stitching (mostly I can’t stitch with curvy roads…or while I’m driving)…finished the tree trunk, which I’d started at the campsite until I couldn’t see in the dark any more, then finished the flower center and started the bird. I think the bird is all that’s left, and then I’ll be done with this one. Maybe tonight. Not sure what my plans look like yet.

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I know they include cleaning and drying these, the second load of laundry, finishing my taxes…

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Working on the current quilt, which has to be done in a week, a ton of grading, some emails/contracts/headshots (ugh) to be sent out, and I don’t even know what else. Trying to get my head around all of it…which I will…eventually…maybe not today. Still looking up…even though the trees are gone…but here, at home, the furry beasts are all around. Both cats slept with me last night (strange), although I did not appreciate Midnight’s hairball extraction in the middle of the night (guess the duvet cover needed washing) or Calli’s early morning plea to pee. And the house reeks of skunk…fun stuff. No one cleaned while I was gone (another wonder of living alone). But I’m glad to be here, in my own bed, surrounded by annoying beasts, where I can make a proper cup of tea whenever I want dammit. (still wanna travel more though)

All Work No Play…

April 13, 2017

You know how that goes…but barely 24 hours out of the mud, after a wild, animal-filled camping trip, listening to my guy analyze Danish wine bars (don’t even ask), having a hard time focusing on anything…have a story of a moth, lots of plant pictures and even more of classic rolling California hills dotted with happy cows and gnarly oak trees. 

Well, those are vineyard grapes…but I have more pictures than I can handle at the moment.

I also got into two shows while traveling, which is awesome. I’ll be home soon enough and will try to sum everything up, although the moth will need a post all to itself really. Glad we finally did this, got the hell out of San Diego, did a vacation with no work, despite the hellacious pile that awaits me at home. 

Free spinach artichoke dip and somebody’s very happy about his beer flight…

More later…we’re still alive…looking forward to seeing my furry babies…

Water Pooling

April 10, 2017

So when the weather app says 0.08″ of rain, that really means it’s gonna rain almost all night, leaving muddy puddles everywhere. The app kept saying rain would stop in 60 minutes. Thirty minutes would go by and it would still be 60 minutes of rain. The plus is the tent only leaked in one place (put a hand towel under it), and though it was cold enough to see my breath, it wasn’t horribly cold. 

All these pictures took a horrendous time to load, due to intermittent cell service…so they’re all out of order and I can’t even see them at the moment. 

Oh there they are…the Eel River. After more than half an inch of rain last night, today eventually got sunny and verging on warm for us Southerners…

We took a 5-mile hike and saw beauty everywhere…

Checking out gurgling streams…

And waterfalls…

Some fungus among us…

Last night, we huddled under a tarp shelter and I drew a bit…

Raindrops and a spotted skunk showed up in the drawing…under the tarp. Hat with lights was helpful…

Made burgers for dinner…after the fire in the pit got rained out…

I finally got almost caught up on this…I was 4 days behind. I did some blue fly stitches in the bottom area, then a bunch of cross stitches in a thread that went from peach to teal, also down in the bottom. Then the fly stitches that look like redwoods in the bottom right, in a variegated green.

Left it at one day behind, losing light.

These are some of the trees above the campground.

And here was our original setup.

Last night’s rain pooled under the tent, so we moved it today. 

Good times. Well fed and hiked. Mostly warm and dry. We will appreciate the hotel bed and shower when we get there. We haven’t killed each other yet, for those who were concerned. And my eye stopped twitching…all good news. 

Happy Cows

April 9, 2017

Well let’s see if I can write a blogpost today…unlike yesterday, when I had to figure out how to fit this…

Into the car. ‘Twas a challenge. This is why all the Subarus you see in camping ads have that pod thing on the top. But I managed. It’s supposed to rain on and off, so there’s a lot of shit in there for trying to keep us dry. We’ll see how that goes. Also there’s a lot of shit to try to keep us warm. Same deal.

I’m currently sitting in a freezing and sorta crappy hotel room (sigh) waiting for my turn in the shower, not motivated enough to go down to the office and check out their Froot Loops, and wondering if there’s even shampoo up here, because I know I left it in the car. Sheesh. 

We drove for about 11 hours yesterday to get to Santa Rosa…

Los Angeles patterns…

Picnic lunch…

The Grapevine…

Rainbow in the Central Valley…

A closeup of the rippling rainbow…

Cows…I don’t have pictures, but we saw cows in dirty yards full of manure and happy cows cavorting in green pastures. I want more happy cows.

Windmills going into San Francisco…

Today we head for redwoods and relaxation (I hope). 

And limited cell service for a while. So peace out!

As We Drift into the Zone*

April 7, 2017

I have another piece on view this weekend. Turmoil is at IQF Chicago and includes my Goddess of Neverending Chaos. I love this piece…

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She is always relevant. Even with both kids gone, my current life is just way too freakin’ overwhelming at the moment. so even though taking time off and wandering around the redwoods is really not gonna get anything done, I need that mental space and time to get through the rest of it. I’m taking stitching, books, hiking boots, and my sketchbook. And Rice Krispy treats. Yeah. Well. I’m lucky in that I have two weeks of Spring Break, so I can come back and kick butt on grading and artmaking when I get back.

I certainly have sucked on the grading front all week. I’ve managed to almost finish one large assignment this week during classes, but I’ve basically come home and done none of it. I couldn’t. Mentally couldn’t. I may regret that at some point, but whatever. I think I’m going into break with only small assignments to grade…well, one larger one, but there’s only 35 of those. That’s doable. There are 10 assignments. Sigh. Dammit. I should finish one of them today and one is extra credit, so only a few kids did it.


So quilt progress. Not great, but there is some. I’m a little over 100 pieces in, out of almost 700 pieces. It’s taken almost 3 hours to do them though. Not sure why. Apparently my brain is slow. I have to say that this is my favorite part of the quilt…picking fabrics…followed by ironing them together. So I will come back from my trip and enjoy the last week off. I hope. But the hours I had in my head about the quilt are getting longer now, because there’s no way I’m going to finish ironing tonight. Honestly, I’ll probably get another hour or two max. I am going to try finish grading one assignment tonight and I have to pack everything. I tried to do some last night again and it was too overwhelming (not a good sign). But I’m hoping with school out of my head (well, as much as it ever is), I’ll be able to get it done. The right eye keeps twitching. Not a good sign. That’s why I’m vacating.

Here’s the fabrics so far…still not much color…and the pieces that are ready for trimming.

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I was thinking of taking the to-be-trimmed pieces with me. I think probably not, but I’ll reconsider. It is a pain carrying that around on a trip with an already full car. So it’s probably easier not to. It’ll only save me an hour or two when I get back. That’s not really enough. If I’d gotten through like 500 pieces, maybe. We’ll see.

But first…surviving today. Not a small task. Yesterday was a stretch for two periods…seriously. I honestly don’t know where I will find the mental strength to get through it today…but I know I will.

*Weezer, Island in the Sun

Restless as the Wildest Way*

April 6, 2017

Here’s a blog post I wrote for California Fibers on the exhibit Time, which just opened at Blackboard Gallery at Studio Channel Islands, Camarillo, California. I have two pieces in the show. I was not there for the opening, but will be stopping by on my trip next week. Give Me Time


And Holding It All In

Are both in the exhibit. I’m looking forward to seeing it…it looks like a beautiful space. The show is up through May 9.

So I knew I had a bag of Wildflowers variegated thread, which has always been one of my favorites, starting when I was a crazy quilter (OK, I’m still a crazy quilter, but I meant a person who made crazy quilts)…I found them!

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This house has a lot of embroidery thread in it, just so you know. But now I have some different thread to use…I get tired of using the same ones over and over. I did the bullion rose under the tree branch, and then used up the rest of the thread in some stem stitching below the tree roots. I actually used two strands of thread, because I couldn’t finish all the bullions otherwise.

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Julie says it looks like a skull. She’s right. For now. Not on purpose.

Then I decided to blow off work completely (whoops…I will probably regret that later…) and start the fabric-picking part of this quilt. It has a top and bottom on the backing…a floor and wall, if you will. The other two bathtubs don’t. Not sure why this one does, but thought I would honor it with two different fabrics.

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I got the drawing hung up and started picking. Honestly, it was a pretty slow start.

That’s a plate of cheesecake laid out in fabric. A first for me.

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I’m really tired at the moment. Here’s the first 100 pieces laid out.

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Here’s the first 50 pieces cut out of fabric. No. I didn’t get very far.

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It took a really long time to decide what color to make the rug. I can’t explain that. It just happened. Greens are complicated. Interestingly, I think all the bathtubs have a green rug. I want a better bathtub…if I can ever afford to remodel the bathrooms here (they need it), a nice bathtub is a requirement. I miss baths.

Anyway, the way I number the pieces on the bathtub means I cut out everything that’s AROUND the bathtub first, and then I do the bathtub, then the water, then the human. I try to be methodical about things sometimes. The first bathtub I did, I think I was not that organized, and it made it a pain in the ass for picking fabrics. Anyway. More tonight. More Friday night, as I try to pack for this trip. Pack for potentially sopping wet and freezing temperatures while sleeping outside and then delightful and sunny while touring wineries. It’s not like I have a wide selection of clothes anyway. Layers!

Deep breaths for today. Spring Break is two days away and the kids know it! There is some dumbassery going on, as usual. And it starts with an early meeting for me…woo hoo!

*Crooked Still, Undone in Sorrow