Not a Fast Process…

I’ll finish this post Saturday, but right now, Friday night (actually Saturday morning, because it’s after midnight), there are four people in four different rooms watching four different things: one music, one anime, one racial justice, and one door-is-closed-and-I’m-not-bugging-him (and if I text and ask him, he won’t answer, or he’ll just say WHY. Legit question). You can guess which person is watching which show if you want. I’ll never tell.

OK, it’s Saturday for realz now. Yesterday was weird. I did another retirement meeting…mostly making sure I’m on track (I mostly am…some changes need to happen…one of those changes is NOT somehow finding an additional $26K a year to save somewhere, despite their always recommending it). I had an online art opening webinar, which was cool and weird at the same time (next time, I will remember to have embroidery available so I’m not just staring at the screen for over an hour. I like to listen…but not stare at people’s faces for so long.). You can watch the virtual opening here for For the Love of Gaia, a show about climate change that’s being installed at the International Quilt Museum in Nebraska, available for viewing in August in person. It’s not a short video, but most of the artists talk about their work (I’m at 34:45). And then I walked. I needed to be outside for a while. That’s a pretty common issue for me. Boychild and I had transferred a chunk of the wood debris to my parents’, but the dumpster was full, so my tasks were done (well, are they ever done?), and I just wanted to walk. So I did. And about 5 minutes into the walk, I saw this on the ground…

Hmmm. There is a lot of trash on the side of the road. Some of it is masks and gloves, but other stuff that’s just dropped or falls out of the trash truck is all there too. Hard to say where this came from. Normally I pick up some of the trash, but I’m scared to touch most of it these days. I think this one qualifies.

There was someone on my side of the road at one point, so I crossed over to a side where I don’t normally walk. I always thought this was a bush like the ones we have all over our property, but it’s not…not with that thing.

The name of ours is escaping me at the moment. It’s a word I constantly lose from my brain; I’m not sure why. Probably I will remember it before I finish writing this.

In the art world, I’ve been working on this embroidery…

And I had an in-person, socially distanced social meeting today in a park, and I kept stitching on it.

There is nothing fast about this process, but it is relaxing. I need some of that. Exercise helps too, and being outside, but at the moment, I seem to feel really stressed out. So more of the not-stressful things please and thank you.

I finished ironing all the bits together last night, with the two angels complete…

They will be hanging out in the sky…

With their mask, O2 supply, and nasal probe (no, that’s not a paintbrush…). Plus a few Covid-19 virions as Enemy #1…

I need to piece the background and then iron everything down to it. I have 21 hours into the ironing so far. This is ALSO not a fast process.

On top of that, I’m working on these still…

I have the first 14 blocks done…

I need one more by tomorrow. The next batch will be the same pattern, but with the colored portions on the opposite pieces. That probably only makes sense to me. I need to piece more improv bits to do that. I thought about doing that last night, but was braindead. Ironing was easier. Improv while tired is not a good plan.

And dots…I should be done today, but I didn’t do last night’s and I want to add two more. But here is Thursday night’s dot…

I had to find more beads for it.

It looks like a Christmas wreath.

So I’m a little behind. I had a stitching meeting on Thursday, so I got more grass embroidered on this…

I started at the bottom and am only adding fly stitches. All the other greenery was already there. I’m about three rows up? I think? Although looking at this, I think the lion needs some too. Plus I found a mistake. I had sewn the tree in the bottom left on its individual block, but when it got sewn to other blocks, I added the top fluffy bit. I did not remember to stitch the sparkly shit around it, though, so that got remedied.

It’s probably a good thing I’m re-reading this quilt (aka stitching stuff all over it). It does mean it will probably never be finished.

So California has a resurgence of the virus. I feel weird leaving the house. The social distance meeting I went to today was the farthest I’d driven away from my house in over three months. And I think it was OK. Exercise still feels scary, so I’m researching a good mask for exercising. I think that would make me feel better about being in the pilates studio. There’s a fine line here though. Am I doing more than I was in the beginning? Highly possible. This week, I have two different vet appointments. The following week, another vet plus dentist. The week after? Haircut and eye appointment. I need to keep the vet appointments, but they are very good about limited contact. I can cancel hair and eye if necessary…hell, I can cancel dental as well, but it’s been a while since my last cleaning. These things are harder to do when school is in session, so I often push them into summer and breaks. We still limit our grocery runs and other errands have largely fallen by the wayside. I have some gardening to do, so I might need to run out for plants, but it’s easy to stay away from people in that situation. I saw at least three teachers from my school were hanging out at the beach together, nowhere near social distanced. Sigh. All young.

I just took another hour break in writing this, trying to get a new version of Microsoft Office to install so I can copyedit. I figure my 2013 version is a little old, so I’m hoping this will help me with some of the issues I had last time with conversions between my version and my author’s version. We’ll see. At some point, I’m probably going to need a new computer as well. I’m not there yet.

Here’s Kitten, guarding the drawing. I hung it back up to help me place everything.

The bottom is in three parts right now, with a few other bits and pieces floating around, plus those angels and virions. You can see how big it is here. Well. It’s bigger than that. A little crazy.

Speaking of crazy, this kills me. It’s just so wrong. I know it’s not the first time…

Change needs to happen. I’m doing things on my end. Vote, y’all. Don’t let this sink back down like we have school shootings. Until the next one. Don’t.

Yeah well. And masks. Wear them too. I still don’t have the patience or mindset for making masks. I probably could…I just don’t want to. This is one I ordered from Melly Testa

A fellow artquilter. I actually ordered two styles from her, because I lost two of the ones I had here. Hopefully I will be better with these. Plus, when you purchase an individual #MellyMask through her Etsy, you are purchasing two masks, one for yourself, and one that she will give away to local essential workers. That makes me feel even better, because I can’t even manage my own masks, let alone masks for other people. They are really well made too and comfortable.

OK, it’s Saturday evening now and I will be spending some time with the man, plus doing some stitching. Tomorrow is the last day the girlchild will be here; she’s been incredibly helpful with cooking and shopping…probably saved my butt during the last three months of school. We will miss that and miss movie night with her as well. I always wish we had more time. Tomorrow, I will try to remember to take pictures of her socially distanced with her grandparents and with me before she goes. I also started copyediting today, and I want to just bang that sucker out in the next two weeks, so that’s a goal. And, as always, I have those art goals intermingled with exercise and taking care of the house. Strangely, being stuck at home has made it easier to do some of the garden and yard things I wanted to do, but there’s still a lot of cleaning and organizing in the house that I usually try to do over the summer. Plus quilt plans, yeah? Shows are coming up and I need to think about my artmaking priorities. The topics that are speaking to me now? Pandemic, still, of course; antiracism and how that would look in a quilt from a white woman; and the ever-present climate change that is just as desperate an issue as it was before. OK then. That’s not a demanding list of ideas at all.

Sewing Grass Is Pretty Relaxing.

Here come all the comments about that’s not what I’m supposed to do with the grass. Whatever. Coming to the conclusion that some days are easier for writing the blog in the current times than others. Thursdays are a clusterfuck. I resized photos and then worked and worked and had two stitching meetings but did schoolwork for the first hour plus of one of them, and the time to write never came. So next week, I will schedule more carefully…instead of every other day, there are days when this is easier and those are the days on which I will write. I used to do three days a week…I think I’ll up it to four, but it will be the same four…because I can’t deal with Thursday. This next week, Wednesday and Monday will also be messy, but whatever. So many meetings.

I’m tired this week again…still? I have been ironing until the really late hours and then falling asleep just fine, but between the early morning risings of the man for work (not his fault) and the cats afterward and that thing called daylight and noise, I can’t get sleep when I need it. Nothing new there. I should go to bed earlier, I’m sure. That’s always the case.

So. Progress on the quilt! First of all, I sorted all that Wonder Under…I need one bin for every 100 pieces, so 16 bins…

I label each one with a number, so 0 has pieces 0-99 in it. It takes about an hour to sort a quilt with this many pieces…

Luckily, no kittens were involved. Sorted!

This makes it easier for me to deal with the number of pieces in this thing. Next is the ironing to fabric. I got the fabric put away from before, then hung up the giant drawing so I can see where all the pieces go.

Then I deal with 100 pieces at a time, usually in order.

I bought a new iron. Again. Because I think the nonstick coating on the other one was not working properly. I couldn’t clean it. So hopefully this one will work.

I’ve fused stuff for years and always been able to clean them using Iron Off or just a rag…the old one just kept getting dirtier and dirtier and leaving that residue on the fabric.

This is what it looks like when I pick fabrics…I pick one section of the drawing and pull fabrics for that section, and then lay out the pieces on the fabrics…

And then iron them all down.

A half yard of fabric lasts a long time for me, because even with these relatively good-sized pieces, it’s barely using any of it. So I got some grass and dirt ironed Wednesday night…a good start, most of the background.

Thursday, I did some work during the day with my quilting Zoom.

Mostly I just work and don’t talk too much. I explain that I talk a lot for school, more than I used to maybe. Well. I guess I don’t have five classes a day, so maybe not. It just feels like a lot.

For this section, I actually had to pull pieces from the 1000 box because I have these two death arms, I guess I’ll call them, and they’re the same. Rather than try to remember 10 hours from now which fabrics I used for the first arm, I just did both of them together.

It takes about an hour per 100 pieces to iron…depending on the complexity. So for the first figure, I pulled a run of 6 fabrics, light to dark, and then I lay all the pieces out for that figure. This is the smallest figure on the quilt, so there aren’t a lot of pieces compared to the larger figure that comes next.

Then I iron them all down at once for that figure. While staring at the drawing.

It gets complicated sometimes.

This is part of why I’m up too late. I can’t stop in the middle. Between my brain losing its focus and the kittens fucking with the piles, it’s a pain. So I just iron until I’m done.

Here’s what’s done so far…and the fabrics I’ve used. Not a lot of color yet.

We’ll get there. Figure 1 isn’t completely done…just the flesh parts. She still needs a cytokine storm. And eyebrows and hair. Like you do. I’m in the 200s…but barely.

On to the embroidery…this is Tuesday night…the dot on the far right…

It was fairly simple…

Then Wednesday night, which looked fairly straightforward and then took two hours…and a ton of threads…it’s the one to the right of the sunflower near the threads.

It’s supposed to be a window box of flowers…

Then yesterday’s…I did it during my second Zoom stitching meeting of the day. Two others in the group are doing dots, although one is only doing the ones she likes. It’s the one to the right of the cactus…

It was pretty easy.

So I think today is Dot number 40. Still less than halfway.

When I finished the dot, I went back to the million pieces of grass on Folk Tails.

I’m just going to add grass all over the place until I run out of the two grass thread colors. Maybe. I might buy more. Hard to say. Sewing grass is pretty relaxing.

I might do it forever.

Other things that have been happening, mostly animal related. We had a plank challenge for PE, but Calli really wanted to lie in front of the computer.

I thought about moving her, but then didn’t.

Kitten just sleeps wherever I am.

That’s a lot of cat hair on that chair. This is better than when she tries to whack me with her tail because she wants to sit on the keyboard and mouse while I’m using them. She was playing with Luna for a bit.

Although the heat has slowed the kittens down during the day.

Well that doesn’t look friendly.

We did some hanging out by the pool on Wednesday, which was supposed to be the hottest day.

We put the big girl in the water…

The dog. Not the girlchild. It’s her favorite place to be. She’s kind of a pain about it. I graded while I watched her. Please throw the pinecone.

She likes to fetch them out of the water and then chew them to bits. Hence all the crap you can see on the concrete.

Nova stealing the dog bed from Calli.

Calli always lets the cats win. They have sharp bits.

Even when they’re asleep.

Seriously, she just follows me everywhere and sleeps there. Even on the browns.

Well. It’s already Friday afternoon. I’m so glad it’s Friday, y’all. I need a break from checking all these programs for scores and emailing kids and their parents to get them to show up and do shit. It’s exhausting. Hopefully we’ll go for a walk later…it’s cooler today than it has been. I’m also hoping to do some more ironing and get some schoolwork ready for next week, so I can ignore it tomorrow. I need to water everything and I don’t remember what else. I have office hours in 24 minutes, so I need to pee, get more tea, find my bra and put it back on (sigh), and consider the article I read this morning that said school districts may have to put all the older teachers who are immunocompromised in jobs that keep them away from kids. Ah shit. OK. Well. I have no idea where they’ll draw that line, so I’m going to take my old, diabetic self out of that mindset and into one of getting shit done today. Plus maybe just sitting on the deck for a while with my book. I worked hard this week. As always. I should relax a bit.

An Attempt at Control…

Trying to buy stuff online that I normally buy in a store. On the one hand, I’m grateful I can even do that; on the other hand, it’s not always the right thing or easy to find or possible to get it relatively quickly, whereas if I went to the store, I’d have it, but I’d also have COVID-19 if I did that all the time, and then we’d overrun the hospitals and it would suck for everyone. So I try to think about “do I really need it?” and “can this be put off for a while?” and sometimes that helps, and sometimes it’s just annoying. Much like all of this. We’re grateful we’re not sick and/or dying and that we can be at home and still have money coming in (not looking at the future with that right now, because my salary is paid by taxes and those will be an issue in the future with so many losing their jobs), so we can buy things and decide not to buy things. Each time we venture out for buying (usually food…groceries obviously, and then the occasional take-out to keep restaurants going), we are amazed by what people are not doing…not wearing masks, not keeping their distance…and it makes us wonder what people think about all this. And when people are protesting “their rights” about the virus, when it isn’t just their rights…it’s our rights as well. I guess that hasn’t changed at all…just the focus has…their right to go out vs my right to determine the state of my female body.

It is the state of the world right now…crazy. With an attempt at control. I’m managing small bits of control. I think I have a plan for teaching…for Monday. I’m not sure it will last after Monday, but maybe I have a plan for the week? Who knows.

Friday was just a bit of chaos. I did manage to finish drawing the big one…

The key really was waiting until the baby kittens (who are 7 months old now) are both asleep. Well. They aren’t always asleep at the same times or for the same amount of time, just like real live human children, so to finish the last bit of this…

I had to lock Luna in the bedroom for a bit. Because she wanted to play. With the paper. In a destructive manner.

In doing so, I was able to finish fairly quickly. Well. It took over 13 hours to draw this. I do know a lot of that time was staring off into space, but that’s the thinking part of the drawing and it has to happen. An awful lot of it happens while I’m doing other things (like sleeping), but also when the paper is there in front of me.

For some reason, I thought this was in the 50″-square range. Oh no. It’s way bigger than that.

71″ square. All right then. So then comes the numbering. Also needs to be done when kittens are napping. I did some Friday night…then it was too late and I was tired, so I finished Saturday morning…1541 pieces.

Well. That’s equivalent to last year’s big piece. I’m good with that.

I need something with a large focus right now. So the next step is to trace all the Wonder Under, another task that kittens are highly interested in. Luckily they napped for a good long time yesterday, long enough for me to trace most of the background land…

So that’s a lot of big pieces. I’m expecting to be tracing this all week, hopefully with kittens asleep at useful intervals. Since I’m starting school tomorrow, I don’t have as much flexibility with my time as I used to. So it will be a bit more difficult.

Here are the sweet babies awake and alert.

They have been in high-destruction mode lately. I had to cover this so Nova would stop tearing bits off the top of it…

Here it is before the destruction, with all three cats hanging out in my maker space.

OK, it’s true that large portions of the house are my maker space, and there are many things the cats would like to play with in all of those spaces. I do my best to keep them out of stuff. And then they want to be all cute and cuddly and lovey.

Sigh. Evil beasts. “Oh. You’re on the computer? I’M on the computer too.”

They are sweet, adorable, and monstrous.

In a year’s time, we will miss all the kitten shenanigans. Well, Luna I think has shenanigan as a middle name, so maybe not, and Nova eats paper and plastic now and will probably never stop.

The stitching continues with the snowflake dot.

Easy. Nice to have an easy one. Some are really time consuming.

Like Saturday night’s dot…

The one to the right of the blue thread ball. It looks simple, but it took a lot of time.

I also finished all the official bits on this, and now am just adding lots and lots of grass.

Everywhere. I’ll be here for days. Or until I run out of thread. Whichever comes first.

I’ve been trying to fill the greenery trash cans every week. It’s Spring, so there’s lot that needs cleaning up and trimming and weeding. My partner in yard work has been missing though. I did see some of these…

Which is nice…

I still think someone eats them before they become chrysalises. Sadly.

And the lime from a friend that we planted is growing and flowering…

The boychild did make it out to help me make a decision about a bush we had that the tree guys pushed down by accident. It wasn’t growing in the right direction, so we trimmed it way way way back and we’ll see if it will come back. It has the weirdest seed pods…

So bright! We don’t know what it is though…here’s the leaves and the pods before they dry out.

I have a trashcan and a half full right now…another half to go before tomorrow.

Yesterday brought a long walk…

Same walk as always…

This is where the construction on the path was…they spread a bunch of dirt out and there were just a few footprints…

I think maybe they didn’t want us on there, but whatever.

That’s Cowles Mountain in the distance. Not allowed to go there.

But I can go here…mustard…

And there’s the fam.

We passed each other going opposite ways…

See, it IS Spring…and there are hawks…

OK, there are always hawks…

They left Calli behind because she was limping again. Old lady.

She was very upset at being left behind.

OK. The plan: groceries and tracing Wonder Under and not panicking about school tomorrow. All good. It’s Sunday. I say that to remind myself. I don’t care if you don’t want to know what day it is. I need to.

Last Friday…

Hey. It’s apparently the last Friday of Spring Break. What does it feel like? A regular morning. I’m a little tired because I was awakened by a cat banging on the window blinds because there was a bunny out there, followed by one of those tree shredder things that sound like the branches are screaming when they go in. I’d be really irritated if it were a real Last Friday of Spring Break, like the last day before I had to go back to the stressful classroom and getting up at godawful (for us night owls) times. But in reality, most mornings at the moment, I get to sleep to a decent hour…it’s just a matter of how late I go to sleep the night before, which I do have control over. I’m not getting 8 hours a night, even now, with no real constraints.

I start school Monday. It might actually be easier to have that started and deal with it. I get the most anxious when I don’t have a plan or routine and I don’t know what things will be like. And I’m pretty chill at the moment, for whatever reason. I still don’t have a real great routine, but I’m doing things, making plans/lists, and trying to give myself what I need. When I look at my teaching team, some people are like me and not able to even look at the stuff, let alone figure out how to do any of it. And then some are banging out slide decks and check-in forms, and I’m impressed and thankful that they’ve done that. My brain just isn’t there. Maybe it will get there, but I don’t know when.

So Wednesday, I worked at school again, and remembered to grab a white board, pens, and a notebook. Sometime next week, I’ll grab some lab materials, or actually DO a lab at school and record it. I guess it’s a demo, not a lab, but whatever. It’s way more interesting than the dumbassery the district provided. Then I came back and spent some time on a friendly Zoom with other quilters. I worked on the drawing…

But Nova wanted to be involved…

This is right before that fang went into my toe.

“But I’m so sweet…”. Yes, you usually are, unless you want pets.

When that call ended, we walked the dogs…the old lady seems to have conquered her limp…the dog, not me.

I didn’t take a lot of pictures on that walk.

We did a lot of movie watching that night, so I did some stitching. I did order some dot-specific threads for this project, so I could stop raiding all the block-of-the-month packages. I needed brighter threads too.

I do wish I’d gotten a better royal blue. Turquoise is nice, but…maybe later. So I did the bee dot…

Which was fun…

Kitten was in my space, as always…

I’m really trying to finish the Folk Tails top…so the monkey got embellished…

Girlchild made these awesome conchas…

I’ve been keeping my eyes open for these guys to come back.

I found about three of them. We never got any chrysalises last year…I suspect something is eating them.

Yesterday was a school Zoom and a bunch of work related to it. But afterwards, I sat on the deck with these two watching me.

And I finished my drawing…

I also have my first mosquito bite.

My next Earth Daughter, COVID-19. I couldn’t work on the big drawing because the couch was occupied. Maybe today.

Then we finished the third season of True Detective while I stitched the flower down at the bottom.

A closeup, right side up…

And more work on Folk Tails…I did the hut embellishment and the flowers by the road from a previous month. I needed to sew everything together before I could do that.

The last bit of flowers is down at the bottom. I spent about 30 minutes trying to find instructions for those flowers, and I can’t locate them, even after searching emails from 2015 (it was probably answered in the email group we had back then, but it’s closed now, 5 years later). I can look at the drawing and color picture and figure it out, though, so I’ll get it done. Then I get to add all the grassy bits tonight during gaming. And then put the borders on. Wow! Finishing!

This is last night’s cat convention. They were all considering coming to bed with us.

We have a lot of calicoes here.

OK. It’s Friday. Remember? I want to finish the drawing and do some exercise and write the parent email and make sure everything is done for Monday. I should start with a shower. I’ve been up for a few hours, but I still don’t feel awake. Next week will be interesting with an advisory class every day and office hours four days a week. I’m hoping to take that down to two or three a week…we’ll see. I’m trying not to think about going back to ‘normal’ with no testing. I need information to feel safe. I can’t imagine being in a classroom right now without testing being part of the decision-making process. I understand the financial issues people are having, but when you say ‘only 2-3% fatalities,’ you have to consider that those are real people with families and loved ones, and 2-3% is an awful lot of those. Plus with opening schools, the majority of those fatalities will be teachers or adult staff. We already don’t have enough substitutes. How will that work? Sigh. Whatever. Can’t think about that. Gotta go do the things that help my brain process. That’s art. And exercise. And stitching.

Not Feeling Super Magical

I’m overwhelmed. It’s funny, because I’m not even going to work. We haven’t even started online teaching yet. I just went to two Zoom trainings yesterday and sat through explanations and zoned out, because that’s what a lot of random talking does to me…meanwhile my brain is like, “Well, how is THAT supposed to work?” “How am I going to do THAT?” “What is THAT going to look like?” Much like everyone now is doing about whatever it is they did before and now are doing differently.

Here’s how I Zoom train…

Seriously though, if I have problems concentrating in these things where people natter on for an hour plus and it’s useless, it makes me look seriously at what I might do with my kids. I don’t do a lot of direct instruction in science…because they zone out. But this is a different world. And I’m not just teaching science. I’m barely teaching science. I’m teaching a bunch of other stuff, some of which I think is really lame. Sigh. OK.

So I didn’t get to draw on Monday at all. There was a lot going on during the day and then the kids required family time. Well, the girlchild did…the boychild showed up as well, but he never really requires it. At least not verbally. So I stitched instead. The plus is that I finished the damn road on Folk Tails

So I need to embellish a monkey and a hut, do some guinea hen legs, and then add a ton of grass and flowers. And I’m not allowed to make fun of the characters in Pride and Prejudice…though how can you NOT?

Maybe then I will learn to quilt wool, because this will be the third one of these that I will be finishing. Not any time soon…it also has borders…pretty simple borders, honestly, but they do exist. The other two are pinbasted and ready to go.

Yoga/exercise is difficult in this house without the animals being involved.

We’re lying down. They’re lying down. Monday night also meant doing the top middle dot.

I think the new threads I ordered are coming soon. I hope.

Last night’s was the trellis stitch one…it was so nice before I added the stuff on top that I wanted to document it.

And all the cat/dog hair that this piece attracts. It still looks nice with the stuff on top…

And here’s all 16 so far…

On Tuesday nights, the kids leave for their dad’s house, and the man doesn’t get home until late, because he’s working crazy shifts…so I went for a walk by myself…

It was finally warm today…

I know I’ll complain about it later, but it felt good yesterday.

Here’s where part of the flume trail fell down the slope with all the rain last week.

I got to climb past some major equipment to get here. I did get my three miles in though. Felt good.

Then I started dinner…some potatoes needed using up, so they needed to boil. While that was happening, I did this…

The start of a COVID-19 Earth Daughter. Turning out well. Plus I played some music and tried to ignore the screaming children outside. They eventually went in to bed. Plus it was ‘cold’. I heard them yelling about that. When it’s nice and warm, I should do this more. It’s peaceful. It helped me NOT think about school and how to do things and what kids need and how to get them that. I’m not feeling super magical at the moment.

I did finally get to the big drawing around 11 PM. It’s quieter then. The cats are down or playing elsewhere. The adults are mostly gone to bed/room.

So progress on torso of one and head of the other. Her tattoo says Flatten the curve. I’m still debating the background.

He’s not debating anything.

Except whether the pets and loving make up for us wanting to comb out all his tangles.

Yesterday, after the first Zoom training, which was way too early, and yes, I stayed up way too late the night before, I tried to take a short nap…first one of the quarantine, but then this happened.

He’s on my chest y’all.

Kitten interacting with my sock…

Yes, pajamas. I did not take them off yesterday. I did shower. And put them back on. Whatever. I changed my shirt. And my underwear. Don’t judge.

Our sourdough starter is finally starting.

It’s hard when you don’t pay attention to it.

The mom of one of the girlchild’s friends is a food blogger, and apparently thought we needed these. We will appreciate them, that’s for sure.

She must like my kid a lot.

I found this while doing yardwork on Sunday…

Definitely a hummingbird nest.

So. Things are happening. As with all of you. We are healthy and fed. Some of us are cranky at times. We are all trying to coexist. I’m not sure what this will continue to look like, but for now, this is what it is. I’m distributing lunches again today and then doing a stitching Zoom, although I’m not sure what I’m actually going to work on for that. Or where. That’s the hardest part in this house is WHERE to Zoom. This room has iffy internet, but the other one has people who make noise and/or want to watch movies that yell FUCK all the time, and there’s going to be some issues next week I think. But we’ll figure it out.

Hopefully today I’ll get closer to done on the drawing, get another walk in, and I don’t know what else. That’s all I can commit to at the moment.

Mostly I’ve Been Drawing…

Mostly I’ve been drawing. I’ve also been stitching on wool. And currently I’m watching a hawk in the tree outside my window, because that’s more scientific than some of the stuff I’m supposed to be teaching starting next week. It’s OK. We’ll fix it. It’ll give us something to do. I’m thinking during my online office hours, I can offer short draw-a-longs instead of science…or video of the hawk outside my window. Or the hummingbird nest I found while doing yardwork yesterday. Tomorrow I have two trainings on some of the online stuff we’ll be doing for school. I need a plan. I might have a plan. I certainly made a video for my students yesterday about my plan…which is funny. Because I don’t think I have a plan.

Anyway. Life moves on. We seem to be staying healthy, San Diego is not hard hit (yet?) by this disease, and the grocery stores are getting closer to normal. Not normal, but closer. Still can’t buy flour. We managed toilet paper though for the first time in a month. It’s OK…we had a lot. Cat litter will be the next issue. Although I think I can order that online. It just won’t come for a while.

The weekend was quiet…I did go for a walk on Saturday…

It was a nice day out…there’s that plant that makes the dog smell like maple syrup.

This part of the path had turned into a small stream…

Luckily, mud doesn’t hurt hiking boots. I saw bunches of people out on the street, but on this section, there was no one. Nicer that way. Easier than negotiating what side of the road you’re walking on.

Before I walked, girlchild was smart and sat out and enjoyed the sun.

Hopefully there’ll be more of that this week. The dogs like it too. Although yesterday, the neighbors violated stay-at-home orders and had another family (I suspect cousins) and grandparents there, screaming for hours. Ah, Easter. When God wants you to infect your family. My mom stopped by to drop off handmade Easter cards…but she opened the door and dropped them in (where we disinfected them…not really) and then briefly talked to me from the deck/driveway conduit. Which is much more than 6 feet away. I’m afraid we’ll get them sick…we have two essential workers in constant contact here. I don’t want to be the viral conductor. And today, I’m going back to school to distribute lunches…now with a mask and gloves.

So drawing…I spent over 8 hours ‘drawing’. Because a lot of it is just staring at the paper and trying to decide what goes where next…not actually putting pen or pencil to paper. I am still sketching it out in pencil before I do the ink.

At some point on Sunday, the cats started trying to eat the paper. Because that makes sense…

So I have a bunch of taped bits now. Thanks to this sweet biatch…

She is a sweetheart. Really. Except with paper. Her sister is more predictably evil…

So we have a big piece of paper that looks a lot like a kitten playground.

Mostly fixable. I kept drawing Sunday…

Not my first bat…actually did a lot more on Sunday…

The thought process is slow…but it’s moving.

The top half is done…at least as far as I know, it is. Now I’m in the bottom half.

At some point, the drawing starts to talk to me, and this becomes easier. It’s talking now. I’m thinking another couple of days of drawing and I should be done. Tracing Wonder Under with these cats will be interesting. I do a lot of it when the kittens are asleep. It’s easier than fighting them over the excitement of the big paper. Speaking of excitement…

Well, there’s Calli. She’s old. Toys are exciting though.

Two more dots…the snail on the bottom right…

That cat is so helpful…

Every night, I clear a space for her to sit in all the stitchery madness. Here’s last night’s dot…

Top right, basket of flowers.

And I also worked on the road on Saturday night…

Got a good chunk done while watching True Detective. I just need to connect the bits now, then put some feet on that bird, embellish a monkey and a hut, and then add ten tons of grass and flowers. No worries.

OK, so today I distribute lunches, plus draw some more and make a mask for a desperate friend. Then exercise in some way and stitch some more and tomorrow get my ass out of bed early for some school training. Woo hoo!

After the Rain…

I once again meant to write yesterday. But I have no real schedule at the moment, so everything is just hard to fit in apparently. And it rained all day, nonstop, gray and dropping water from the sky, mostly a lot for us. We don’t need 2″ of rain in a day…let’s spread it out. Some years, that’s all we get. We’re over 19″ for the year. Today is lovely and sunny with big fluffy clouds, though, so I’d better be taking a walk at some point. Remember that thing. Walk. Hopefully that’s the last of the really bad rain. A little rain once in a while would be nice, but yesterday was just cold and wet and damp and never-ending. Well. Until it ended.

Speaking of, we walked on Wednesday…I remember that. Here’s where the kids are blaspheming against my taking pictures of them…

I think today I will be walking by myself. Which is OK. Although a local hiking area I’m often in had a guy with a gun threaten a young female runner. Because now that we’re all wearing masks, rape is OK? Or easier? There are still assholes out there. Always. I’m not actually hiking there now because we’re not supposed to drive places and then hike there. We’re supposed to stay in our neighborhoods. Yes, I’m tired of my neighborhood, but so be it.

I’m still stitching dots…one a day…like an apple but more fun. Wednesday on the right, top.

I finally caved yesterday afternoon and ordered some threads, so I can stop stealing from all the other unfinished kits. Thursday night top right, with cat butt.

She wouldn’t move. And then my favorite this week, Friday night’s on the top right…

That’s 12 done…78 to go. Ha! Makes tears come to my eyes. Someone asked about purchasing this. I don’t think that’s happening. Sue Spargo says it’s 30-45 minutes per dot, and some are, but some are much longer than that. So let’s just say 50+ hours of work. Yeah. At my normal rate, completely unaffordable. I’m OK with that…I’m just doing it to occupy time and my brain and give me a focus each day. And hopefully, when it’s done, 90 days from now, we won’t be quite so socially distant? Maybe? Sigh. That shit scares me. Send the teachers back to school, without testing to see who’s had it and who hasn’t? Nah. But they probably will.

In other news, I started the new drawing. I just randomly cut and taped paper to get this size. It’s a little big for moving around, but I wanted big. I want something in your face. I started drawing in pencil on this one. Couldn’t get my head around it in pen to start.

I usually start with a smaller drawing and enlarge it, and then add around it. But with no access to the copiers, this is what I’m doing. You can see bits and pieces of it have started to appear in ink (there is pencil on there as well). I spend most of the drawing time just staring at it…

Or yesterday, just staring out the window at the rain. So this drawing will take a while. Also, the kittens like to play with the paper, so I try to draw when they are asleep…it’s just easier. Nova already took a bite out of the middle. Art in the time of kittens. So expect to see me drawing this for at least a few more days.

I also continued working on this little quilt and the video of making it.

I think there’s about 20 videos I have to put together and then timelapse or something. I’m not actually sure. I do know it’s at least 2 hours of video…so something has to happen to it.

I did finish it yesterday, so now I can move on to something else. Or keep making little quilts. I don’t know.

All my socializing seems to end up in the end of the week…here was Thursday night’s stitching group…I was working on the road for Folk Tails, which needs a flat space.

I’m in the middle of the big piece right now, which is kind of a pain in the butt.

Then while gaming last night, I did one of the Spargo dots and stitched all these pieces down.

It’s brainless, so that’s easy. There were lots of pieces though. And now I can do embroidery or do more brainless stitchdown. Hard to say which is better for me right now.

This is what gaming looks like at the moment…

Puppy likes girlchild love…

At least he seems to…

Kitten follows me wherever I go. And plops down near me.

Girlchild finally made a dessert/bread without chocolate in it so I can eat it. It’s very good.

There’s been a lot of Bon Appetit in the house in the last few weeks.

OK, well, it’s Saturday. In my future is a walk, some video creation, some drawing, probably some more dot sewing. Tomorrow, we attempt the purchasing of toilet paper…we’ve made it this long without buying more, but now we need it. Hopefully it will not be an issue. Ha! Next week includes a bunch of school stuff in preparation for going online for realz on the 20th. That’ll be different. A schedule might be a good thing for me. We’ll see. Oh yeah, and my credit card had a fraudulent charge on it last night. Fun times. Remember what I said about people still being assholes? Yeah. And no, it wasn’t a grocery store…I’d have some sympathy for that. Anyway, it’s handled. Hope you all are staying well, getting exercise, making some stuff, whether fiber or food, and not stealing people’s credit card numbers. That would be wrong.

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…

In That We Flail…

So this is kind of like summer break for teachers, in that we flail and don’t know what to do next, but also not, because I can’t run all the errands I don’t run during the school year. Or go to the gym more. I did ‘work out’ this morning, best I could with three cats judging me. And trying to sniff me. And getting in the way in general. The world is weird. We’re all negotiating it from different places.

Saturday, I watched/listened to more of the SAQA virtual conference. It was interesting. I stitched during some of it…still working on the Folk Tails Block of the Month from Sue Spargo, 2015. I’m close to the stage where I can sew all of it together…

Which will be interesting. It’s why I was working on some different blocks, because although I’ve dragged this one around on at least three different camping trips, it’s getting too big for that. So I was prepping others for our Spring Break trip, which is now officially and sadly canceled. We might camp out in the front yard, but it won’t be the same. The man and I watched the CNN Pandemic show on Saturday night…probably not the cheeriest stuff at the moment, but we were interested…and I almost finished these two blocks, minus the road, grass, and flowers, which can’t be done until I sew the whole thing together and find the instructions for how to do the flowers…

I think I just have two lettuces to stitch in the vegetable garden. Then October is done and ready to stitch to everything else. I need to add a hut somewhere and a monkey somewhere else, and then IDK what else. It’s nowhere near ACTUALLY done…trust me.

Have you seen Kitten’s eyes? This is the look she gets when I’m convinced she’s staring at ghosts, because when I turn around to see what she’s looking at…

There’s never anything there.

I did a little stitch down after that…just an hour or so. Listened to a podcast about anxiety in a pandemic.

I should meditate more. Exercise more. Yeah, I know.

I’ve had a hard time with #marchmeetthemaker and #igquiltfest lately, but Saturday’s word for one was Change. Well. I do all the things. It feels chaotic and changey right now.

Change can be good or bad. Or both. This one just feels…changey.

Sunday morning dawned sunny-ish and I took myself out onto the deck and drew.

During Winter Break, I did a drawing a day. It’s possible that’s a good thing right now. Although the table needed cleaning (I did it later).

I even recorded some of this for my Patreon folks.

I also recorded video of my reading one chapter of the book that my co-teacher and I are reading to our kids. For those who are actually paying attention. She says there are 4 of them. Well. That’s interesting. I’m wondering if we go to online education on April 20, which seems likely, how many kids will actually show up.

I need to record the next one soon. Well. Before Thursday. I should be able to do that. I’m…not very booked up right now. I also set up my calendar for the new week. It’s mostly empty.

I’m still not grading things until I know if this trimester is going to count.

Sigh. This quilt…I got the catalog for Opposites Attract, which is supposed to open in Australia next month…at the moment, it won’t open in April…but it will eventually. Which is all we can hope for.

I have another quilt UPS is trying to deliver to a venue, shipped before the venue closed. They’re still going to hang the show, but they don’t know if the public will ever see it in person. OK. That’s what we’ve got right now. I said before that I’m lucky I’m not dependent on art income for survival. For now, my teacher salary is intact, so deep breaths. I know people in dire straits, but our household will survive for now.

#marchmeetthemaker yesterday was Tools and Materials…always starting with a sketchbook and pens, then Wonder Under (didn’t make the photo) and fabric, plus scissors and thread and a sewing machine. My gloves…

Seriously need washing…a different view…

You’ll be glad to know I finally got them in the wash today. Yay! They’re nice and clean now.

More stitch down last night…in fact, I finished.

Four hours and 40 minutes total to stitch it all down. Right now, I’m washing batting so I can pinbaste it. Hopefully before dinner.

A view of the back, to be hidden inside for eternity.

This is what kept me up until 1 AM.

Today has been relatively quiet. The man is working 13-hour shifts for three days, and then he’s off for four. He was up early. I wasn’t. By the way, this is the best cat toy ever. There’s one hole we cut in the top, plus the two you can see. They’ve played with this for weeks now.

I can’t even finish a book at the moment. Sad but true. I have a list of things to do, but my brain is fighting it.

This is the stash of glass from boychild digging planting holes in the backyard…it’s like a dump, about a foot or two deep. Old glass mostly…

Weird. We used to be the trash dump?

I sold a quilt on Etsy. Oh hey, I’m on Etsy…the link is in the sidebar. Not that there’s much on there any more…but one of the cat quilts sold, so I took myself and two wipes to the post office, wiped down the self-serve machine, and shipped that baby. I saw two people.

Ah yes, made bean soup. This is my lunch this week…with the additional of bread things.

Girlchild added an egg on top. She’s creative that way. Sounds good though. Beans taste good.

OK, so the day is more than half done. I have batting washing…then I’ll pinbaste. Ready to quilt. I want to draw again today. I’m tired. I think we’ll try to walk the dogs tomorrow. Or at least me. Because that’s two days inside, no, three, and I’m going a little bonkers. Maybe not so quietly. Music helps. I feel bad for canceling on my chiropractor…she’s a good person, trying to stay afloat, I’m sure, but I’m feeling like we’re quarantining mostly here…with girlchild having been on a plane. Maybe it’s pointless because the man is going to work…I just don’t know. It’s hard to know where to draw the line. I don’t want to get her sick if I’m exposed; then she really can’t work. I did go to the store yesterday, but I did my best to stay away from people. It’s hard when they don’t move sometimes. I talked to my neighbors on Friday from about 20 feet away. The pool guy showed up this morning and knocked on the door…it’s a new guy, and he wouldn’t back up. Aargh! People! More people I know are quarantining because of fevers and other symptoms. Stay healthy. Stay hydrated. Stay sane, whatever that looks like. Stay calm, as much as you can.