I’ve Got Nostalgic Pavements*

April 11, 2018

Sometimes there’s a moment and it reminds you of a space in the past that was so incredibly different, a moment that should have been the same or similar, and you have a choice: be thankful that the current moment is not like that at all, or worry that all moments will be like that eventually. My brain is a worrier. I spend a lot of time telling that core part of it that those moments aren’t inevitable, that they are the choices of others, sure, and you have no control over those, but that there is a different person in each of those moments, and it’s better to believe (hope?) that this person is better at moments than the last one…or the one before. I think humans are great at hope…it’s what keeps most of us going.

Including that student from yesterday at tutoring who was telling me his plans to play American football and I’m thinking about his grades and, straight up, his size (sure, he’s gonna grow, but maybe not enough), but I’m not going to tell him nope, that’s not your future. I pull out my phone and show him a picture of a former student with not-great grades but an amazing drive and attitude and I tell him about his full college scholarship and his current amazing GPA and maybe just maybe plant some drive or motivation in there, because he has the hope, the hope of a 12-year-old, and I’m not getting in the way of that, and he asks, then can I come back and show you what I did? And I’m like, well hell yeah, I hope you do. I hope you all do.

My car is back. It wasn’t as bad as I feared. It’s funny though…because they want me to bring her in for an oil change every 3000 miles, and I barely remember to check the little sticky thing in the car. I don’t even know when 3000 miles might be. I mean I did 2500 miles last week (whoops, with not enough oil, although THAT light never came on)…but during the school year, I have no idea when that is. And when you’re talking to someone who lives, breathes, drinks cars on a daily basis, it’s hard to explain to them how low the car’s fluids are on your priority list. I mean, I can’t even get the floors and the bathrooms clean at the moment. I swept around the pool last night, but didn’t have time (I was grading) to scoop it all up into the composting trashcan. There’s Too Much to Do. In fact, I stopped typing this for 5 minutes to send a school-related email that I should have sent two days ago. I’m sometimes surprised that my brain can hold onto some of the threads tangled up in there.

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Calli agrees.

Anyway, one more assignment is graded. One more thing to check off the list. That’s a plus. Gotta keep doing those.

I finally got done with that assignment around 9 or 9:30 last night…then spent some time trying to center myself. But almost falling asleep at the same time. Fighting that sleep instinct is the crazy part of my existence. This week I am so tired. And I’m hot-flashing constantly…although that might have been my air conditioning not working at school. OK, no, it’s hot flashes…thought they were mostly done, but apparently not.

And then it was 11 PM and normal people go to bed if they have to get up at 6-something the next morning. But I hate going to bed without some art being made, so I managed to wake up enough…because that drawing had been muttering inside my head all day. So it’s rude not to listen. Get up and grab a pen and do something.

I stared at the paper for a while. I’m not ready to draw the thighs, even though it’s weird to start at the bottom and then jump to the top. It’s weird, but I did it anyway. I’m trying to think about who I was as an artist when I was a kid, when I was in high school and college. It was harder then. I didn’t do it every day. There were many other things to do and I wasn’t always inspired. I love that the inspiration is such a deep well now.

So the head…and the cat…

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And I put roots in…

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Hopefully more tonight, although this evening is a clusterfuck.

I sat on the couch for a moment to finish my thoughts…Simba was happy to be with a human…

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There’s some art stuff coming up in the next few days…the opening of Art That Cuts at Mesa College is Thursday night from 5-7 PM. I’m planning on being there. I have one piece in the show…

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Then Saturday, I have two events…I unfortunately will only be at one. The one I won’t be at is the closing reception of Mind the Gap at Southwestern College on Saturday from 1-3 PM…I’ll finally see the show next week after school one day.

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I’ll be at the artist talk for California Fibers’ Surface and Structure, at the Branch Gallery, Saturday at 2 PM. The show is coming down after the talk, so it’s your last chance to see it. I hope you come by.

See? Busy week in art. Oh yeah, and Fantastic Fibers opened last week I think? Or is it this week. It’s the 14th…right. So that’s in Paducah, KY, at the Yeiser Center, and you should go see that from 5-7 PM. It’s not just quilts, so that is also cool.

Meanwhile, all I know about the girlchild is that she had to walk to the next village (12-15 miles?) and I haven’t heard from her since…it’s possible that I won’t hear from her until she gets back next week. Hopefully all is well and she’s doing interesting things. Crap. Gotta go to work! I love when time just flips by like that.

*Kate Nash, Mouthwash

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Survival Is Insufficient

March 18, 2018

I officially ran out of milk this morning, but I haven’t gotten to the grocery store yet, so I’m using cream in my tea. It’s a bit much…not my favorite taste, but my brain has informed me that the tea is necessary and it’s my fault for remembering a burrito on the way home last night but not milk. To my credit, the burrito place didn’t also carry milk, and I don’t think horchata would be good in tea. So there.

Yesterday I spent 9 hours in the car with the same 3 women (we didn’t lose anyone) avoiding all the Los Angeles traffic (don’t know how) and going to two diverse openings, eating cheese, crackers, pretzels, bread, and a bit of wine. Some tea. Lots of ignoring Siri wanting me to go here or there for no apparent reason. I came home exhausted. I finished my book…this is funny, actually. Apparently the library app tells you how many hours until the book is due, so I’m sitting there with an app that won’t update, finally driving to the house where I’m picking everyone up, reading while pumping gas, trying to finish the book, with 49 pages to go. Nope. We had to leave. Someone suggested going to Barnes and Noble to finish those pages (I was gonna do that). But when I got home with my burrito, I opened the app, expecting the book to be gone, and it was there! So they calculate the 21 days based on the time I checked it out, but it doesn’t actually RETURN until midnight. Oh hallelujah, I finished. I hate not finishing. So that was positive.
The whole day was pretty freakin’ positive. It’s nice to hear people talk about your work. It’s fun to see all the connections between artists in your life and other people too…one of the artists in the second show is married to a man who used to manage a science program I was involved in…so it’s a small world.

Anyway, at some point, I’ll post the two shows…for now, I just have some bits and pieces. The first show is at the Branch Gallery until May 6. I’ll be back on April 14 for the artists’ talk…

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There’s my piece with other members of California Fibers (I’ll post all this later this week)…

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She’s big! But looked nice with the high ceilings. She’s called I Can’t Be Your Superwoman.

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People were asking if it’s my biggest piece. She’s 52″w x 88″h. I have some that are 72″ wide and more squarish…so it’s a crapshoot as to whether she’s the biggest. I’d have to do math to figure that out.

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It has 1323 pieces (approximately)…so a lot. But not as bad as some.

We had plenty of people at the opening, lots of artists.

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We checked out the knitting store next door, and then the fabric store, Sew Together. We did in fact purchase some fabric (shocking). It was different stuff than I usually see down here…they had a class going on while we were there.

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Their bathroom sign.

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Then we kamikazed down to Oceanside…and saw this parked outside the museum…

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Our show Artifacts is part of the big read in Oceanside. The city read Station 11 by Emily St. John Mandel. I read it last year before entering the show. It’s a cool idea.

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My piece, Give Me Time, is part of that show…

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I’ll post more about that show later too…but there were interesting bits from the book all over…

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Waiting outside for my crew to find their ways back out…

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A much bigger opening…

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Girlchild has been a little absent lately, apparently because she’s on Insta instead.

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My friend Susan made these for the March for Our Lives on Saturday…

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We’re watching you! I think that’s what it’s for.

Here’s some of the fabric I bought yesterday…

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Lots of black and white. Plus hedgehogs. Can’t explain that.

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OK, so I have three quilts to deliver to the photographer, I have school stuff to do, there’s the grocery shopping, my head throbbing, and cleaning the studio so I can start picking fabrics tonight for the next quilt. It was a good day, but I’m feeling a bit Hit-by-a-Mack-Truck this morning. Hopefully that will improve over time.


I Couldn’t Get Away*

November 24, 2017

Happy Day after Thanksgiving, the day that splits your friend/family groups in two: either you avoid shopping like the plague or you’ve been doing it since midnight last night. I am the former. I need cat food, though, so I might venture out for that. Maybe. And people food. Although I currently have a turkey in my oven. That’s because I will get no leftovers from the two Thanksgivings I went to, and that’s fine, but I want turkey sandwiches for the next two weeks, and there’s only one way to get that: cook it yourself. It’s easy enough. She brined for a day or so and I tossed her in the oven this morning. I need to make biscuits for tomorrow as well (to go with the poop emoji rolls). But that’s easy to do.

Still on my list: the entire vacation has been all about grading, copyediting, and ironing. I should have been able to finish the ironing last night, but my brain was fuzz…I graded for about 3 hours after Thanksgiving dinner…and then tried to finish the ironing. More about that later.

So my monsters (the ones I birthed) met in Ithaca, NY, for the Day of Food, and I asked for good photos, but didn’t get any of them together (sigh), but got this…

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And this…

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Well. I guess that’s something. They did a great job of making a Thanksgiving feast, although the girlchild used to make pies from scratch (something about a 6-hour drive each way and an essay being due)…

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Here was mine…

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It was good.

Then, like I said, 3 hours of grading. With this guy. No I’m not freakin’ done. Sigh. This one project is taking hours to grade. I’m going to do more tonight. Or at some point today. Who knows when. It needs to be done by Monday.

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So this is all I have left to iron, less than 100 pieces, but it was late and I was tired (it was after midnight by then), so I gave up. Today. I swear. Sometime.

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This box keeps getting fuller and fuller. More and more full. And yet I’m not ready to cut them out. I’m starting to panic on timing.

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I will do what I can…it will hopefully get done. Along with everything else. Maybe I should just stop sleeping. Or hanging out with people. Or both!

Huh. Puppy.

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He’s such a dork.

I keep forgetting to put this link in…this is the blogpost about the show I’m in at the Rose Gallery. I have to write it there, and I don’t want to write it twice…sorry. You will have to go to the link.

Anyway. Today I bust my butt to finish all the things, realizing fully that this will not happen.

*Flock of Seagulls, I Ran (So Far Away)


If I Kiss You Where It’s Sore*

November 17, 2017

Oh hallelujah dear Friday before Thanksgiving Break. Although today will be like managing wild and hungry chimpanzees while holding a chocolate birthday cake, I can see a big fat light at the end of the tunnel…at about 3:30 PM this afternoon, to be specific. Of course, I have 5 assignments to grade (not bad, actually), my author contacted me this morning and his manuscript is ready for copyediting (it’s OK…I asked for it over break…I need the money), and I just made a to-do list for all the shit around the house that needs doing, but hell…I just don’t care at the moment. I want to SLEEP…and most importantly…MAKE ART. Yes. That. With gay abandon. Throw confetti all over me. I wanna art myself into the ground.

Yes, I’m a little punchy and a lot exhausted.

Exhausted after doing this cool rock cycle lab all day, which started with teaching kids how to grate cheese (well, crayons) with a knife, in case they don’t have a cheese grater. Well, no, we were making sediment from a crayon rock.

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And then I missed photographing all the other steps in between because brain fart. Totally. But here it is after we compacted it and then melted it and then blended it and let it cool off.

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So lab days are always exhausting. But it was cool. I have no voice today, but that’s OK.

Then I went to the opening of California Fibers: Points of View at the Rose Gallery, Francis Parker School…there are my three pieces: Feeding Time, BirdWatch, and You Pollute Me. I look like I have a lot more energy than I really did.

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The show is really nice. I’ll post the whole thing sometime in the next few days. Not right now.

I came home after grabbing dinner and sat for a moment, trying to find the energy to do ANYTHING. I had Simba on one side of me and Satchemo on the other. My arms aren’t long enough to show both. No, I don’t need a selfie stick. It’s OK.

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And then, miracle of miracles, I came in the studio and put all the fabric away, cleaned up, and started ironing the new quilt. This thing is gonna be SO FUN.

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OK. Yeah. It’s huge. I get that. But I’m so excited about working on this. Really.

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I have my Nida Powers sign in here now. Although I really wanted it to be one word. I need to put it up on the wall, but I decided doing that on a rolling chair while tired would be a big fucking mistake.

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So I’ll wait. I will fully enjoy the 9 days off I have, even with all the shit I gotta do. It’s OK. I get to make lots of art in the middle of all that. Yay.

Regina Spektor, Better


Read the Lines in My Hand*

April 20, 2017

AAAAAAAAAAAACCCCCCCKKKKKKKKK.

OK. Yeah. Better. Nope. Not really. Realizing how many things are on the to-do list while simultaneously realizing how little time there is to do them. My right eye is twitching again. It’s not supposed to do that on break. And it doesn’t seem to matter that I got a ton done yesterday…today it has multiplied into a monstrously larger amount, I don’t even know how. Part of it is trying to manage four different shows (maybe more?)…finishing work, putting labels on, suspect I need to go shopping for slats or dowels, plus shipping them off…gotta get all that done today and tomorrow. Plus the parentals are gone, so I have their dog on top of mine. And I’m supposed to be deciding what quilts will be in my solo show in July, because I need to know by next Friday. Aack. Double Aack. I have some that are definites (including the one I haven’t finished, oh shit), but I’m blanking on some of the others. Not sure. Need it to fit with the title. Maybe. Maybe it all fits. Who knows? I can’t wrap my brain around it right this minute. Realizing that this weekend is busy as hell, all of a sudden. OK, the realization was all of a sudden…it’s been booked for months.

All I can do is start banging through the list, as always. This is how school stuff doesn’t get done, though…because I’m trying to finish the personal stuff…and that doesn’t even include my original Spring Break goals of finishing all the weeding (ah ha ha ha) and figuring out where all the quilts should be stored and getting my bedroom chaos under control. That shit’s just not happening at all.

So. I got up yesterday and graded one of the longer assignments. Then I started cutting, and I did that for about 4 1/2 hours…

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And then I was done. So 9 hours plus total, I think. And my hand isn’t even that stiff. Good deal.

I had two dogs on the couch with me for most of it…not sure why. I know I’ve been the most boring owner ever this week. Sorry guys.

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Then the third dog showed up and the shenanigans began…

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I ignored them and went on to sorting the pieces out…

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And then came in here and started ironing…

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I am doing all the stuff around the bathtub first…it seems easier that way…

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Well, this tree wasn’t really easy…but it was logical…sort of.

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And I got the cat done after midnight…and that’s where I stopped.

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200 pieces ironed down…only 500 to go. That was my goal for today…I think. I’m not sure I can pull it off though. I have 5 quilts to pull from the pile, check all of them for labels, put labels on those that don’t have them, ship 3 to one location, put 2 in a pile for another location, and then there’s another that’s still in a box that needs to be shipped back. Each batch, I need to look up what else needs to be sent…artist statement? Slats? Return shipping? Who knows. Pain in the ass. Except the work is gonna be out there, so that’s a plus.

Two of the pieces are in this show…which will be up until July 10, I think. The piece on the right is mine, and there will be another smaller piece of mine in the show. I won’t make it to the opening though…it’s free, but you need to register. I think that gets you a free wine ticket though, so you should go.

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And then I’m in this one…but I’m not sure whether it’s just the one piece on the announcement or not. I should be at this opening…

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Anyway, wasting less time here and trying to get everything done without panicking. This is the part where my counselor tells me I must like being overwhelmed because I keep getting into that space. WTF. I don’t know how NOT to get there. Sigh.

*Elliott Smith, Miss Misery


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)


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

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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