The Missing Hand…

Yeah. I skipped a day of writing. I don’t know what day it was though, so that’s OK. Been watching NYC weather this pandemic shit and it’s scary. Sending good thoughts to the whole city and everywhere else it looks like that. Certainly, many of us are questioning any sore throat or dry cough or now, digestive issue (dammit, stop eating beans then!), wondering Was that it? Is this the start of it? I think here in San Diego, we haven’t really gotten the full brunt of the virus yet. Give it two weeks. With that, I’m leaving in a few minutes to go distribute lunches to my kids. We’re down to only two people at a time, so we can socially distance.

Tuesday, we walked the dogs…we’re gonna do it again today. My parents are up to twice a day with theirs, which would be fine by me, but the old lady dog can’t do it. She wants to, but it’s too much for her.

We have places we can walk locally…this is just out the front door and sort of through a neighbor’s yard, although they’ve never complained…but now the house has sold, so who knows. We just go quickly and quietly.

There are no actual grapevines here any more.

But I still like the signs.

Mostly empty. We didn’t see any people.

And a lot of plant material. It’s pretty green this year…we’re over 13 inches of rain, which is a lot for us. There’s more coming tonight apparently. But then I think we might be done for a while. It’s cold and windy today…next week, we’re supposed to hit the high 80s. It will be harder to keep people inside.

I got an email today from an exhibit I usually enter, warning us that there are just a few more days to the deadline. It’s weird thinking about future art shows when it seems like the world is about to burn down in a plague. But I guess that’s hope for the future…hope that the venue will still be viable, hope that we will still be able to have art shows. Hope that we’ll all still be here to send work and hang work and see work.

Here was Tuesday’s drawing. I didn’t draw yesterday. I did other stuff.

Maybe I will draw today. So Tuesday night, the man went to bed early, because he’s working these awful long shifts that basically leave time to sleep and eat and little else, so I finished the lettuces on the last of the October Folk Tails blocks.

Although this was the 2015 block of the month, I didn’t start working on it until March of 2016…so I’ve officially been working on it (on and off) for four years. Yeah. You read that right. A lot of times, I just worked on it once a month at my stitching meeting, and then last year, because I was doing the embroidery patterns, I barely worked on it at all.

Anyway, as I finished that grasshopper block (well, it’s missing a road and flowers), I realized it was time to stitch all of it together. Holy moley. I had some larger bits sewn together, but pinned some more parts…

Sewed them until I had two long strips…

There’s still plenty to do…that hen has no feet, for example.

I feel like I’m going to have to go back through all the instructions to fill in everything I’m missing. Plus it needs ten tons of grass sewn everywhere…

And the road needs to be continued down through the bottom three rows…

I stopped there, because I realized I needed to sew over onto the other blocks and they weren’t sewn together yet. Plus apparently a hut is supposed to go there. Uh huh. Barely fits.

And there’s a spare monkey too.

So there’s still plenty to work on. It’ll be another year. Plus borders! But it was exciting to get it to this stage.

Girlchild is still cooking up a storm…and posting artistic photos.

The result of that photo was cheddar scallion English muffin bread. Very good.

So yesterday, I did quilt for a while…although the machine was being cranky…

As always…

Luna was being a pain…kept trying to hide in the quilt and climb everything in the studio while I was on a video call with stitchy friends…

Trying to get the light right, so the computer has to be in a specific place. Interesting commentary for how I’m going to do this when we start for school. There are a limited number of places that are lit right, have seating, and stay quiet even when people are here. And there are a few people here. Four adults take up room. I’m lucky to have a variety of spaces for people to hang out in.

And cats. Cats can hang out too.

While I was on that call, I cleaned up the huge pile of papers and crap on my desk. Well. I cleaned up most of it. I’m not sure what to do with the other part of it.

Wait for another day. Although the word from on high is that I need to start grading things. All right. I’ll do that.

Then last night, I wanted to start the second one of the Applique Stories blocks…Anna Maria Horner sends 8 fabrics and no instructions basically, and then you make a block out of them. Of course, most people make this flowery bouquet-type things, and I make naked women. But I like this…the one on the right is from January’s fabrics and then on the left, you can see what she sent for March.

I picked the backgrounds…which was hard in itself, let me tell you. Trying to find a color that won’t overwhelm the given fabrics, or clash with them either…it’s difficult. The blocks are about 19×20″, a totally random size that I can’t explain. They could be finished together, but it probably makes more sense to finish them separately. I’m not fusing anything…just cutting pieces and then stitching them in place…and then doing some embroidery. Slow work.

That one fabric just damn well set itself up to be breasts…seriously. How could I NOT?

These are a challenge. I would never put these together. I like a challenge.

I wouldn’t even BUY half these fabrics. That’s what I love about this. Really. It’s fun.

I probably did this for 2 or 3 hours last night…walked away, walked back…added a bird. No starting drawing.

No nothing. No more fabrics than those 8. Honestly, those 8 are the challenge.

She was off balance, so I added the hand…here they both are…oh wait, the hand is still missing.

Must have added that later. Oh well. I can keep adding if I want. Tonight I have a Zoom stitching meeting, and my plan is to stitch stuff down during the meeting. The actual stitch down is easier to do while it’s flat, rather than trying to hoop it. The pieces are really only held in place by a few pins.

Anyway. So that was the last two days. I’m coping. I’m not sick (yet?), but question every cough and sore throat tickle. I know people who are sick. I hope everyone is OK. I know the world will be a different place when this is done. I’m sad about that…like all of you. And sitting and waiting is not my superpower…I’m glad I have the art to keep my brain occupied. Maybe tomorrow I’ll show you the missing hand…but I’m thinking she needs fingernails first…

Nature Has No Idea…

Hey. It’s Saturday, right? I’m currently watching a webinar on the SAQA virtual conference that was supposed to be in Toronto…the opportunity to hear and see the speakers is nice, although I missed a lot of yesterday. They were recorded though, so I can watch later. I’ve never been able to actually attend a real conference, so this is nice, plus maybe it helps SAQA cover some of their conference costs from canceling. It’s really important that we try to give back to some of these groups and companies that are hard hit by the community and state shutdowns. As much as we can, anyway. I’m lucky to still be paid under contract, but the future is making me a bit nervous for all of us, in terms of health and money.

Yesterday was a strange day, highs and lows…trying to ignore the lows because they don’t deserve my energy right now.

The boychild and I went for a 6 1/2-mile hike locally, at Sycamore Canyon/Goodan Ranch. It’s not as busy as some of the other locations in the area (just down the road from Iron Mountain), which is better for social distancing.

There were about 4 or 5 other groups we saw over the whole hike, but otherwise it was pretty isolated.

This is obviously a yucca pre-bloom, but it looks different than what I’m used to seeing…

The weather was perfect…not too warm, not too cold, no rain, although it was cloudy for much of it.

Trying to get enough exercise to sleep well and push some of the anxiety away has been difficult. My next step is to try and bookmark some of the videos from the gym and pilates studio and get my butt in gear.

We were really looking forward to our Spring Break trip of California National Parks, but with a cancellation of one of our Airbnbs and yesterday, the parks themselves are closing campgrounds, it seems that we are not going anywhere.

And we’re not sure when that will change, unfortunately. Let’s hope it’s sooner rather than later, but certainly watching the numbers on COVID-19 is not promising. Although California is supposed to be shut down, there are still lots of people going out and doing things…100 kids out in our mountains hanging out together yesterday…because kids think they are immortal, yeah? That’s what they think. Sigh.

For this hike, we go along a ridge and then down into that valley…then through that valley and back up and out. Like twice. It was a bunch of up and down, but nothing undoable.

My legs feel better today. Although this sign makes me laugh every time (it’s for bikes, not humans).

Pretty sure I never hit the 5 MPH mark. And I jogged a little bit (it’s easier to jog going downhill sometimes than walking, although my brain kept saying ‘Now is not the time to break your damn leg, woman!’).

A bunch of fungus among us…

These are fascinating…

This area burned in a wildfire 17 or so years ago…this is a burned log keeping a whole host of fungus alive.

There are signs all over, but this warns me that the next up is that piece…Cardiac Hill.

It’s actually not horrible. I stopped a few times. It’s up. Boychild often ditches me in these situations…

He waits for me at junctions. Lots of flowers around…

Spring is coming…and signs of deer!

Although we didn’t see one in person. Wrong time of day.

We got to the top and found we were victims of assholes…

Apparently this parking lot has an issue with break-ins. It’s pretty isolated. In all my years of hiking, this is the first time we’ve had this happen. There was nothing of value in the car…they just rifled through the glove box and the console. Unhappy with my about-to-expire National Park Pass, my sunscreen, and my umbrella. They got nothing. Stupid. Pain in my butt.

Oh well. I believe in karma.

Seriously. Even when we are locked down in a pandemic, people will be assholes. Hence the lack of toilet paper in our stores. Still. So today, a guy is coming to my driveway and installing a new window (apparently that is an essential business) and I will hand him a check and then disinfect the glass? This is so difficult. Could I live without a window? Sure…

Whatever.

We came home, we tested a Discord server for gaming next week, and the girlchild came home…

It looks like she’s reading to the dog, but she’s not. She was laid off by her company and we suspect trying to get a job is somewhat impossible right now. She’s trying. She’ll try applying for unemployment. And yeah, we flew her on a plane with like 8 other people (JetBlue is starting to ground flights soon, so that might have been one of the last flights that didn’t get canceled). We’re keeping her away from the older people in the family, but we still have two going to work between the two households (mine and my ex’s, and the kids go back and forth until someone gets sick), because they are also apparently essential. I’m lucky to not have any requirements right now beyond checking email, although that may change in the future. She’s not here forever. Just until we figure shit out. By WE I mean HER. Meanwhile, she gets doggy love.

My lemon tree has new leaves…

Nature has no idea. And that’s OK. This bird was bathing in the water in the tray under our Christmas tree, which lives outside on the deck for most of the year.

Now I need a birdbath.

These arrived yesterday, the newest shipment in the Anna Maria Horner Applique Stories. I’m going to make another woman block…and then embroider it.

The fabrics are a challenge. The solid peach is the easy skin color, so I won’t be using it for her flesh. I stared at the fabrics for at least a week last time before deciding what to do. I can use one as a background, although last time, I decided to use something very bland and calm from my stash (maybe that’s what the peach is for?), because the rest of it was so out there. Anyway…expect something to happen with these in the next few days. Because I can. I really like most of them…solids are not my favorites and the lavender roses are Eh, but that’s the best part of this…the olive fabric is such a stretch…I love it.

Maybe this virus lets me just make what I want. OK, I’m still having a hard time with that.

Although I stitched wool for a bit last night (sorry, forgot about a photo…try tomorrow)…I eventually got up off the couch with my post-hike tired self and came in here and started the stitch down…

So meditative. So relaxing. So hard to stop.

Hopefully I can finish today and then sandwich today or tomorrow. The floors need cleaning first. I vacuumed everything even though it’s not my month. I’m sure someone will cover me at some point when I am busy (cough cough).

So yeah, I stitch down all the pieces, because no fusible lasts forever. I’m not halfway done, but I got a good chunk done. I spent the first 20 minutes fighting with the machine to get it to stitch correctly.

Kitten action…

They play any way they can…

There was some play before this.

I was up early this morning because I thought I’d have to take my car in to get the window replaced, but then he called and said he’d be here later…probably safer for both of us than having me sit in a lobby of some repair place (I was going to bring a chair and sit outside).

Nature doesn’t see this morning as any different than any other morning.

Tonight there is a Netflix DVD here, plus we will be supporting some small food business, and hopefully there is stitching and maybe a hike/walk as well. Plus more webinars. And trying to finish my book before it gets returned electronically to the library. Hope you are all healthy and well, and if you are on the front lines in some way, we appreciate you and send you lots of love.

So Close…

I was so close to finishing the cutting-it-out phase last night. It’s hard to stop, but realizing I needed to be up early for another parent meeting persuaded me to stop…plus experience that tells me it doesn’t look like much in that top left box, but it’s probably an hour’s worth of cutting.

Which means I will finish cutting tonight, but probably not start ironing it together until next week. Just because I won’t be around.

This was the setup…there’s all the grading I did, a cat, and my boxes of pieces…

I think I did almost 2 hours of cutting last night, although it didn’t feel like it. Tonight, I need to pack for our weekend trip, make breakfasts for next week, go to Pilates, and grade the last period of the science unit. It’s a lot. I don’t actually know when we’re leaving tomorrow, so I might be able to push packing until then. We’ll see.

I did a little embroidery on this last night…

Gonna outline a heart and arteries. Probably should be using a hoop. I’ll think about it.

I took that photo because the #igquiltfest2020 prompt was Creative Hands…but then I decided to photograph hands I’d made in quilts…

Some new and some old. I make a lot of hands. I also make a lot of uteri. The #marchmeetthemaker prompt was branding…what am I known for? Missing penii. I didn’t post for that one.

OK, so I have a plan to get 14 thousand things done tonight, right?

These guys. There used to be decorative things in these openings and on that bookshelf.

Now there are cats.

I’m tired. Today will be fine. Did I mention I’m still kinda sick? Can’t kick the sinus stuff. It’s low level but annoying. And my brain wants me to be healthy when the coronavirus kicks in, right? Sheesh. I’m floored by the level of stupidity coming out of the government regarding the SCIENCE of all this. But also the mistakes we made because we don’t have scientists in charge. It makes me wonder what politicians are actually good for, if they don’t understand when they are NOT the experts and they need to call the experts in. I think the West Coast is in for a bumpy ride. Plus I gotta make some hand sanitizer that I’m not allergic to. Woo hoo! Yes, wondering what this will do to our Spring Break trip…hopefully nothing…and hoping we get a handle on it and limit the deaths. Sad for families to lose their loved ones this way…surprised my school district hasn’t already started the ‘clean the desks every day’ thing we had to do with SARS. Give it a week.

Peace out. Make art. Wash your hands.

It’s Still OK (or Is It?)…

Signs of recovering delirium…the number of blog titles in a row that have the word ‘ok’ in them. The fact that I don’t know what day it is. Or the date. It’s still February, right? At one point, I duplicated a week in February for our science planning calendar. There was a good reason for it at the time, but I’m wondering if it’s still duplicated and now I will have to repeat a week in February because of that. I had to take a nap after the grocery shopping yesterday. Granted, I had already driven to Encinitas or Carlsbad or somewhere up north to pick up two quilts from a show, so I was already physically doing way more than I had in days, so the nap doesn’t seem so bad, right? Except today I have to go to school, and physically and mentally, that’s a lot more than the grocery shopping.

It’s OK. Really. I have a rolling chair. I can sit in it and maneuver all over the room. I’m sure it will be fine. I might need a nap at lunch. Also fine.

I really was better yesterday, despite the nap.

Saturday night, I finally got all these stitched down…

Now I can start doing random embroidery everywhere on it.

Really, it’s just a plan to use up all the thread in the house. Which will never happen of course. There’s just too much of it. But you can’t say I don’t have a plan.

Yesterday, I even ironed, although that was problematic at some point and I had to sit down.

Somehow in all that, I managed to record an hourlong video of who-knows-what. Don’t worry, Patreon followers…I know how to edit. I’m in the 400s at this point. Not halfway yet, because I got dizzy…and gave up…and went to bed early…but close to halfway. Progress anyway.

I finished the artist book and submitted it.

Can’t say this is my thing.

However, one of the reasons I’m in this group is because they make me do things that aren’t my thing. It’s called Ominous Nature. We’ll see if she thinks it’s too disturbing for the library. Since I have I think THREE more possible library exhibits in the future? It would be good to know what she thinks is disturbing. Sigh. Or I should just become a nature artist. Funny, I think of myself as a nature artist a lot of the time.

Oh yeah. All the fabrics I’ve used on the quilt so far. My brain is still on bouncy mode.

Wish me luck today. Wish my students luck too. And someone save me from a 2-hour staff meeting.

She’s cute, but this is after an hour of early morning rampaging, being kicked out of the bedroom, then let back in an hour later due to crying baby noises, then this is my laundry basket…

before she knocked it over. Uh huh. Evil. And yet, when asleep, adorable.

One of them was on my feet last night. Not sure which one. I can tell them apart by feel…their fur is different.

This one. This one got a water bottle sprayed in his face about four times last night for petulant barking.

Barking at coyotes is understood. It does not need to continue for 20 minutes past the coyote incursion into our sound space. He still likes me this morning apparently…

It’s questionable on my end.

OK, well seems like systems are mostly back to normal. I’ll need naps, I’m still in recovery mode, but there is progress toward normal function. Which means progress toward more art function.

For now? Progress to school. Where that rolling chair is. OK? OK. No more titles with OK.

My Brain Needed Somewhere Else to Land…

Happy V Day to all! I want to say, well, except the assholes, but maybe they need a Happy V Day and that’s why they’re assholes. Now you see how I can teach middle school, although I already know (a) I didn’t get enough sleep because I got sidetracked by making things and (b) I’m missing one SECA today. So it’ll be a challenge, but I think I can do it. It’s not like I have a choice. But here are two examples of my day job. First, it’s the only place I can think of where the words “Then don’t smell the scissors” might come out of my mouth. Followed by this…

SIGH. I only have one period left of these to sit through. And there were some very good ones that restored my faith in humanity. And learning. And schools. And children. This was not one of them. This is what happens when you copy a bunch of shit off the internet that you don’t really understand and then you try to read it and instead of figuring out how to pronounce all the words you copied, you start each word nice and loud and then you are whispering at the end because you don’t have a clue how to say it. WIScon(si…).

I will hopefully be done with these tonight, and that will just leave a bunch of smaller things to grade and a pile of makeups, which will be even bigger by next Friday. Oh. Also an assessment they’re doing today. Shit. OK. Well. Hmmm. This weekend is a clusterfuck already. I guess it will be more of one.

This is why I stayed up way too late last night. My brain needed somewhere else to land or it would never fall asleep.

I did hang out with my stitching group last night, including one member who rarely shows up and another who had moved away for 13 years and came back. THIRTEEN YEARS. Wow. And we’re still meeting. That’s cool. I think I’ve been in this group since I was pregnant with the girlchild, and she’s 22 1/2 now. So that’s a thing. I got to work on Folk Tails, my Sue Spargo Block-of-the-Month from 2015 that might never ever get done…

The cheetah is almost done…but there’s some wiggy flowers that go in the block next. Then I might sew this to the larger bit? Or do I have to finish the other two October blocks to do that? I might. It’s not a fast quilt when you only work on it one night a month and then you didn’t do even that for most of 2019. It might travel to the National Parks with me in April…or it might be too big for that. Hmmm. Hard to say. We’ll see.

Then I came home and graded stuff, one more class of the projects. It was after 11 when I finished. But no way was I going to bed without something. The really lucky bit of going to my stitching meeting was my knowledgeable bookmaking friend, who gave me multiple solutions for how to connect the two pieces I’ve been working on. She was very helpful. So now I have to decide how to do it. Easy? Medium hard? Really hard? Sorta hard but kinda creative? We’ll see. I didn’t do that last night, though. More brain power than I had. Instead I meditatively stitched shit down…

Still working on just getting it all attached so I can take it off the cutting matt and do some more decorative stuff…although I guess I did a little on those leaves. Most of it is stitched down now, which is good, because something good should come of staying up too late. I just kept stitching, thinking “just one more” and then I looked at the time and went “oh shit, no more” and went to bed.

It’ll be fine. It’s Friday. It’s Valentine’s Day (makes middle-school kids crazy). It’s the day before another 3-day weekend. And we’re giving them an assessment that’s HARD. Well, unless you’ve been listening, in which case, it’s pretty damn easy. Gonna go buy a donut reward for the class that earned them, so at least one group of kids won’t totally hate me. Wait. The line at the donut store today might be hellacious. Sigh. We’ll see. I’ll do a driveby.

Getting Loud in Here…

I have a lot of things in my head this morning. Too many things, probably. As usual. I’m having that issue artistically as well…too many projects going on at once. I do much better with just one at a time. Drawings are fine. They’re short and don’t usually require a ton of brain power outside of the actual drawing time. Right now, I have a bunch of projects talking to me and it’s getting loud in here.

So last night, I worked on two of them. It meant I didn’t grade anything. I input grades. I tutored earlier. I graded stuff in class. I just didn’t work on the projects at home. I wanted to art instead. It was late anyway…after tutoring, I had chiropractor and pilates, so by the time I was done with dinner, it was late.

So I did some of the stitch down on this…

Then I’ll do embellishment…

This is just for fun. For something different. I like the idea of it.

I wanted to make sure I did some of the other art stuff as well…and there was no way I was finishing all the stitch down last night, so I timed it off the show I was watching. When it was done, I moved into the other room to work on the current art quilt. I’ll come back to this tonight.

This is moving pretty slowly. It doesn’t help to be gone for three nights. This coming weekend isn’t any better. But it works to iron for an hour or so each night. I think last night I managed 38 minutes before midnight…but it’s 38 minutes of progress.

I ironed an asteroid and some missiles and a volcano. That’s it. Not much. More tonight. So many yellows!

I finished the 200s and did some of the 300s. Only 600 to go! No worries. I also have an artist book I’m working on, but my brain exploded over that last night, so I’ll wait to post on it later, after I’ve made some more decisions.

I resized a bunch of pictures of art we saw in Joshua Tree, but I don’t have time to post them this morning, because I have to find the artists’ names and possible links, and that takes more time than I have. I will get to them…but I did draw while I was there…this was after hiking…the rocks inspired the woman…

This was the night we got there…full moon coming, bunnies in the yard…

None of those cactus anywhere to be seen…and this one the following night…

Inspiration comes from many places.

OK, school, then union meeting, then make Patreon video, and grade stuff? And then artmaking. Full day. As always. Looking forward to the artmaking stuff, that’s for sure.

It’s Not Always Awesome…

For a good 45 minutes last night, lying in bed, trying to persuade my brain to shut up about the tables in my room. We’re doing 3 days of stations, one of which is working directly with me, hoping some small-group instruction will help with what we’re doing next, but also my school thinks this is magical (I think we need smaller groups, but we don’t have time to fix that issue) so my brain sits and worries over moving tables here or there or how to make sure this group is on Station 2 and that group is on Station 3. Fuck my brain. My classes of 36 are going to be fun…let’s just hope they’re still asleep from the weekend and don’t use this as a chance to completely lose it. We have Oreos as bribes.

It was a mentally busy weekend. I did a lot of different things…a whole huge pile of grading, although there is always more. And you never finish.

Saturday, I went to a stitch-in with a new group. I didn’t have any art quilts in a state to travel, so I took some applique I started about a year ago to use these moon-dyed pieces I got from Jude at Spirit Cloth.

This is the Modern Quilt Guild and my work is so NOT modern, but I went anyway. They seem pretty accepting. Swear words were used fairly early on. They are politically in my realm. I think it’ll work. Of course, it’s a Saturday, so I can’t go the next two months. Ah well.

I did finish two of these guys. That’s almost 4 hours of applique. I had one done already.

More embroidery to follow on these.

The rest of Saturday was grading stuff, watching these guys cavort…

(There’s birds out there. Maybe even bugs.)

A relatively quiet dinner with the man (the restaurant was not quiet)…

More cats sleeping.

It is what they do best. Ah yes, I forgot…here are the two drawings (one unfinished) from Friday night at the dive bar, waiting for the band to go on…

I just draw. I don’t think. It’s not always awesome.

Definitely needs more.

Can you see the gigantic moth in this picture? The cats can…

It’s an exciting Saturday night here. I did finally work on the artist’s book. I don’t know where I’m going with it.

I’m just going. Around a corner apparently.

Sunday morning had exercise, more grading, and then an art meeting in the afternoon. Nova looks a little cross-eyed at times.

She has all the dog toys.

Funky flower pods on the way to the meeting. Fuzzy is fascinating.

Honestly there were so many people at the meeting that my introvert self almost left. But I stayed. More art opportunities. I’m feeling overwhelmed at the moment.

At the grocery store, great lenticular clouds.

Weird weather heading our way.

And more floof sleeping.

I got a package of Anna Maria Horner fabrics as part of her Applique Story shipment. I was intrigued by her videos of creating these vignettes using really high color and crazy graphic fabrics. So I used them last night to do this…based on a drawing I started Saturday at dinner.

So yeah, now all that needs to be sewn down. It’s a little crazy. I like it. My brain was all over the place this weekend, I tell you. When that happens, you just have to go with the flow.

Then I sorted all the fabrics that were used in the last quilt, and put them all away.

That means I can start picking fabrics for the next quilt. Hopefully tonight. I’m trying to balance all the things. At once.

Another sleeping animal who doesn’t care about all that.

OK, well now I can go to school and actually figure out what I’m doing with the damn tables. Thanks brain for all that worry. Appreciate it. Hopefully I’ll make it back from school early enough to walk dogs…still chasing the sunlight on that endeavor. Winter sucks for that.