We Have Found the Sunz…

and we are lying in them.

I wish I had a kitten mindset…

Or an old lady dog mindset. But no. I am a worrisome adult human type. Although, this was Calli after the first thunder clap the other night…and me after getting an email from the teachers’ union.

It’s fine. I laid on the floor with her later that night for about an hour and a half, and she calmed down. The teacher stuff…it’ll be fine. I don’t agree with all of it, but it doesn’t really matter in the long run. It’s some routine, some normalcy. It might help the kids; might even help some of us.

I drew Thursday night…still trying to make different shapes and deal with spaces slightly differently.

When you have a recognizable style and you’re trying to fuck with it, your brain often goes back to what it’s comfortable doing. Which is good and bad. Stretch. A little. A lot? Always trying to stretch.

This is last night’s drawing…I think it went really well with the figure and maybe I should have stopped there and come back to it? I don’t know. It doesn’t really matter.

I’m just drawing. I was trying to get that feeling in my head that things are so weird and surreal and I can’t get a handle on any of it. So the body is good. Maybe that’s something I’ll save for the next one. With the Coronawood sign. But bigger and higher and something. I don’t know. Just messing around. Late night with a brain that wouldn’t shut up.

I found that damn missing windmill. I was sweeping my office and it just appeared. Fucker.

Maybe it will get its own quilt. Who knows.

Speaking of quilts, I did a little quilting yesterday.

I’m going to do more today. The machine is behaving now and it’s a pretty smooth process.

Still mourning Australia’s devastating fires…

Suspect this will just be a year of mourning.

Girlchild set a video of pup post-bath to this…

He runs around and rubs his body all over the carpet, like he’s a furry vacuum. It’s amusing. He got a bath because he smelled like the salmon oil we put on the old lady’s food for her arthritis. Or her skin. Not sure which.

Last night, we also had gaming…on devices. Multiple devices. Kind of difficult in some ways…

I do always stitch through these…it helps me pay attention.

Got the random hut and monkey stitched on. Now they need embellishment.

Hi Kitten…

It’s Saturday. Our plan is to grocery shop early tomorrow, so list today. We’ll find out today if the kids are here for the next few weeks without trips to their dad’s…waiting on a test result. It’s a beautifully sunny day, so I’m thinking some minor yardwork. Some quilting. I’m going to try some yoga…it’s close enough to pilates. I’m doing something exercise-like every day. It doesn’t feel like enough, but I also know I’m not eating particularly well…unlike most people, I seem to be eating less…not enough food is not the best plan as a diabetic. Next week, I’ll get trained on the new teaching normal and do some planning apparently (no idea what that looks like). My original panic stemmed from an email that we would need to work our regular school day (but at home) every day next week. I cleared a desk, tried to think what staring at a computer for 7 hours straight would feel like. They’ve backed that down a lot in subsequent emails, which helps with the anxiety. It’s more of a go-with-the-flow thing that I can handle. Of course, they train us, and then we have ‘two weeks off’ for Spring Break. It’s just weird. All so weird.

Art today. Definitely. Art and exercise and less of the news.

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…

Be Well, Y’all…

So we have this prediction in the house that March 21 is the day the US will hit the point of pandemic crisis that Italy just hit, with so many cases they can’t help anyone. That gives me 9 days to prepare…a grocery list, mostly for the animals; meds are in house, except one we need for the dog (calling on that today); I counted the toilet paper rolls…I think we’re OK (and I’m not waiting in line at Costco, because that’s just stupid). But more importantly…do I have enough Wonder Under, batting, and thread if I need to make a few quilts. Because I’m assuming schools will close at some point. San Diego is pretty clear of the virus (that we know of) so far…we’re behind the rest of the West Coast anyway. So I think we have that time.

Yesterday was a cluster for making art. I had a meeting run long, and then the grocery store was empty. Made dinner, graded an assignment, and that was basically it. SUCKED. I hate that. Tonight? Ugh. Maybe. Got one assignment done, though. Thanks Kitten for your oversight.

I have a pile of stuff that needs grading, and I know the next five days at school are high-maintenance, so there won’t be any of that happening there. Calli also is closely regulating what I was doing.

Sigh.

#Marchmeetthemaker was about range. It’s true I mostly make art quilts in a specific way about women’s issues and environmental issues. I do branch out though. I draw all the time, and recently made an artist book. I’m messing around with some new ways of making art quilts. I taught a class last year in embroidery on small art quilt blocks. I designed 9 embroidery patterns last year as well.

So all that was new and different. I’m challenged by some of the groups I’m in to do different things, and that is a good thing…although I seem to continue to come back to what I love…which leads to #igquiltfest…why do I quilt?

Ah. Well. Fabric obsession since young childhood. I remember pulling my mom’s box of fabrics she had from pajamas and dresses she’d made out of the cupboard, just to rummage through them. I have an art degree and gravitated to screenprinting, but when I got pregnant, it got too difficult to find the time to make screens, pull prints, clean screens. I never got a full hour or two to do such things, so I flipped to fabric. So much easier to carry around, drop if you needed to, etc. Plus the tactile quality of the fabric…the amazing patterns and colors available. It was a good thing for me. Still is.

Don’t know what she’s saying…but it’s probably along the lines of Pet Me.

OK, off to school. I have so much going on today…hope I make it home at some point. I realize social distancing is a thing, but I’m at school all day and life goes on. I won’t shake people’s hands? I did yesterday. Sigh. OK. Be well, y’all. Stitch on. Stay safe.

Weekend Requests…

Oh my. Friday is tired. Or I’m tired. Not sure which. I’m still fighting the tail end of the flu from two weeks ago…my lungs have crap in them and my sinuses are not happy. It’s not bad. It’s just annoying. Much like some of my students. Nothing is really bad…they’re just annoying. And the unit is actually rolling along pretty well, mostly because we’ve taught this many times before, so it’s comfortable. It’s not a new thing. It’s easier because of that. Which is good. We still need to figure out how to do something that needs the sun on a day it’s supposed to drop an inch of rain, but I’m sure we’ll be fine. FINE I say.

I finished grading one of the big assignments last night. Now I need to start the assessments, which just feel painful. I can’t do that this weekend, though, because it’s my birthday weekend! So we’re leaving town. We’re not going very far, but it’s far enough away from the pile of papers that I won’t be able to do anything with them. Which is OK. Probably that’s a good birthday gift. I’m OK if I’m buried next weekend in papers. It’ll be worth it.

This quilt is going slowly still, although I’ve done a lot on it this week. I keep track of my hours, so I can see a daily, weekly, and monthly hour count. I’ve been way down since November. I’m not really sure why. It feels weird though. This last week was almost a normal amount of artmaking. Anyway, I did finally finish cutting all those pieces out, 806 or so of them…

It actually only took another 25 minutes to finish them, so that was cool. Now they need to be sorted, which probably won’t happen until Sunday or Monday. I do hold onto the cut trash until the quilt is done, just in case I need a small piece of something. It’s easier than cutting a new thing sometimes. I don’t like to waste fabric, which is funny, because I have tons of it and will never run out. Some remnant of my grandmother’s Depression-era sensibilities. So next week, I should be able to start ironing it together. Sounds good!

So last night, I did a little cooking, some exercise, some grading, some reading (I love to read…wish I could do more of it)…but didn’t get around to cutting these out until after 11 PM somehow. I had to pack for this weekend too, so that took up some time. My faithful couch companion…

Who did come sleep with me last night…sometimes when it’s warm, she stays away, but it’s not warm yet. And yeah, the kittens are on the bed too, so it gets a bit crowded. When they’re full size (they’re only 6 months old), it will get worse, I think.

Yesterday’s #igquiltfest was about Quilting on the Go, I think…I often work in other places, although last year, it was all embroidery for some reason. Top left is waiting for the man’s band to go on, top right is the girlchild’s college graduation, bottom left is I think driving to Arizona? and the bottom right is the campground at Bryce Canyon National Park.

We have a trip coming up in about a month, another National Park trip. We’ve talked a little bit about what might happen with the coronavirus here in California and how that might affect us. Our plan is to go with hand sanitizer and soap (if there’s any left by then), but the other part of my plan is what am I going to stitch on during the trip? I stitch in the car, in campsites, by the campfire. I also draw most nights…which is easier than trying to stitch in the dark. But I’m not sure what I want to work on. It needs to be small and portable. We’ll see. I haven’t decided.

#Marchmeetthemaker yesterday was Close Up…which is easy…

People spend a lot of time close up on my quilts. There’s a lot of stuff going on usually. I like to fill all the spaces.

No parent meetings today, hallelujah. I’m not sure how useful one of yesterday’s was…the other one was easy peasy and successful, which is nice. It’s good when you can get a kid the help they need.

I think I need to take the big sketchbook with me this weekend. I want to sit on a deck/porch/something outside with a view and just draw. Will that be a thing? I’m not sure. I’m not totally in charge of this weekend. We’ll put in a request, eh?

I do actually miss these buttheads when we’re gone.

I know they look sweet there, but last night, one of them knocked a guitar over (loud), and the other one climbed halfway up one of my quilts (seriously?). So they got yelled at and/or frightened by loud noises. They are boisterous babies…which I’m sure we will miss at some point.

OK, school. Finish the things. All the things. Ha! So not happening. Then weekend requests: plenty of sleep. Some drawing time. Some physical outside stuff. Some relaxing. Some stitching. Some reading. Some decent food. Some quality time NOT thinking about coronavirus or Trump or the environment or stupid people or school. Aiming for that.

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.