Following Me Around Like a Fly on a Scab…

Hey, Portland…I like your style. Now the veterans have shown up. Keep being you. We need to be able to protest wrongdoing, especially by the government. Hey, y’all, I’m deep in the summer teacher head of panic and lack of focus. We go back to school in THREE WEEKS. By back to school, I mean on a computer with a bunch of kids I’ve never met. With internet that is rampantly bitchy and flighty as hell. With who-knows-what curriculi. Yeah, I know that’s not a word. I just like it. It’s all good! We will survive. Hopefully. I mean, I say that, but there’s a pandemic on, so some of us (the larger Teacher Us) will not. Hopefully those I know and love will survive…and I’m already pissed off about those who have died and those who will die. I noticed that one of the teachers my kids had is retiring (probably early, probably because of all this)…I didn’t think she was much older than I am, if that…but if she’s been teaching since she got out of college, that would make sense. I’d walk away from it if I could afford it. I can’t though. So there we are. I love many things about teaching (and hate a few too, but mostly those are administrative)…and would totally miss it, but I don’t want to die because of it. No one does. And hospitals are much cleaner environments than middle schools, so don’t use that excuse. I think we should have pandemic-trained staff from a local hospital come train us on cleaning. I know I will be cleaning more because I won’t trust anyone else to have done it well enough. I want to do it well and right. In my spare time. In between planning and prepping and grading. Oh my.

OK, so enough of the worry and anxiety that is following me around like a fly on a scab. I didn’t get much done in the last 24 hours, except delivering a quilt and gaming for a few hours. We survived that…iffy wormhole and all. I stitched during gaming…it helps me concentrate when I’m not rolling dice and throwing out random suggestions for tractor beams and transporting to a fluctuating vehicle.

Green row done, started lighter blue. Hopefully I’ll finish tonight. I’ve got two more to do.

If you look back through my posts, you’ll see that I liked a foundation paper-pieced quilt called the Tattoo quilt, by Berene Campbell of Happy Sew Lucky. I briefly considered paper piecing the damn thing and quickly realized that my sanity is worth more to me than that. Don’t get me wrong, according to those making the quilt (there’s a group going on FB), Berene’s patterns, explanations, and videos are totally what I would need to do an awesome job on this, and the group is very helpful. I actually read a lot of the helping posts, because I like to know how to do things, but I just don’t have the patience for this right now. Plus it’s huge, and the last thing I need is another huge quilt in the house. So I got crazy and decided to do hand applique instead (I’m good at that) and to also shrink it to 50%. Yeah. I told you it was crazy. I redrew all the blocks at 50% for applique…last night, I finished up the last few…

And did the center block, which is larger…

And then inked and numbered all of them…

This one has 100 pieces, but most of them have a lot less than that. Plus yeah, they’re smaller…

Now I just need to see what I have that will work for a background for all of them and start picking fabrics. I do other people’s patterns all the time. It’s the vacation/hobby for the art brain. So when I’m flailing all over the place and can’t focus, this is what I can do. This is easy. So many people don’t understand why I don’t just make art all the time. I can’t. I need a break…sometimes I just need something that someone else designed. Despite my redraw for applique, this is Berene’s design, totally.

My bullet journal font for next week was totally stolen from someone else, and then I messed around with it, because I only had three letters to go from, and then they had a lot more space, so I had to adjust. I had some time this morning and just needed to doodle.

Today is all fabric. And a walk. Plus dinner and a movie. Here. In the home. Where there are no virions rolling around. Hopefully.

So no real quilt work yesterday. Too tired. Dealing with other things. Katie (my parents’ dog) is still here, and although she’s been pretty chill (except when the fire alarm went off to tell me it had a low battery), the kittens have been extremely wary.

Mostly Nova is hiding…

But see that wide-eyed stare? That’s because Katie just came in the room.

Luna’s stare is a little less psychotic-looking, but not by much…

Up high is safe. Today Katie is visiting the ex’s house for a 24-hour respite for the cats. Even my cat hides from Katie, but now they are all out and hopefully relaxing. It’s OK…Katie goes home tomorrow, but she’ll be back in August! Oh boy! Hopefully the cats will get used to her…eventually.

OK, I have a ton of watering to do today. I also need to pick fabrics for a bunch of small quilts and put the binding and sleeves on the big quilt. I should have plenty to work on while watching the movie that has not yet been chosen. I also think I’m supposed to make bread today. Or tomorrow. I think today or I will be hiking and that will be an issue…OK. Plans made. Do float test on starter. Pick some fabrics. No. Sew binding on first. Do the yucky things first. I hate the machine-sewing part on a big quilt. It just takes forever. The hand-sewing part is relaxing. I’m OK with that taking forever. I’ve got some couch time coming up…that’s a good thing.

Usually My Fault…

Well I am mostly braindead today. My fault for going to bed late. It’s usually my fault, eh? Plus yesterday was mostly copyediting and not a lot else. I want to be done with it so I can just do art all the time. I’m getting close. The references were yesterday…today is up in the air. It’s the man’s birthday and we were going to go to the zoo, which is still open, yay, but he’s also braindead, so we’re debating doing it later or doing it another day. Sometimes sitting around and doing nothing all day is a thing. I personally feel like I do too much of that already, but then I remember that if I’m doing that (or doing silly things that don’t further my art or my work in some way), there’s a reason for it. My brain is pretty good at trying to give me space. Like stop reading Facebook or watching the news because all that shit about schools needing to open and withholding federal and state funding if you don’t…sigh, this country is fucked up at the moment. OK, it’s always fucked up, but this is beyond the usual fucked-up mess. Frustrating as hell.

Anyway, so on Monday, I was also not very functional, but it’s because I did the 17 million errands including the dentist and the TB test (which I have to get checked before 1:20 PM tomorrow…no, I don’t have it…how could I? I’m literally around almost no one on a regular basis), and I think that was the first time I had an almost-normal errand run in four months and it killed me. Not really, but I was tired and covered in hand sanitizer by the end of it. By the way, those automatic hand sanitizers? I’m lame when it comes to using those. They scare me. It keeps shooting the sanitizer out while I’m trying to get away from it. Oh yeah, and the dog had his teeth cleaned, so I spent about 2 hours dealing with the vet on either end of that. So it’s no wonder that I got very little else done. I did do a bunch of stitch down, because it was easy to do…

I am 6 hours into the stitch down…I guessed 9-10 hours total and I might be in that range. I am more than halfway now…I’m on the top half of the central figure and then have the two angels. Hopefully I’ll get some done tonight. I’m wavering on when to finish this one. I have to make a new smaller one and have it photographed by August 1. I think. Or I can choose to keep doing this one. I just don’t know. Today is not the day for decision making, that’s for sure. This whole week might be a goner for that.

Sometimes the back is really interesting too. I need to remember to cut pieces for that one corona virion where 4 of the parts disappeared. Maybe after writing this I will remember to do that.

So yesterday, after copyediting, I had no brain left. I just wanted to sit and stitch, but nothing hard. No decisions. So I pulled out the Sue Spargo Homegrown and finished stitching down the rest of February’s houses.

They are comforting in the process and bright colors. Although they are all wonky. I like wonky, luckily. I pulled out March this morning, so I could prep it for the next mental-fail day. Have I done any embellishment on these? No. No I have not. Don’t judge.

So the other crazy thing my brain decided on back in May was to do this Tattoo quilt by Happy Sew Lucky aka Berene Campbell. I sent you to read her reasons for making the blocks in the first place. I think that’s where I originally found her quilt, was in reading about quilt artists who make work in response to shit that’s going on. The graphic quality of her quilt spoke to me as well, and I bought the patterns. I knew they were foundation paper piecing (FPP), which I’ve done exactly one block of…ever. I think in the beginning I thought I might try it again, but no. I’m not. I’m really not. I also don’t want a huge quilt. I don’t have a lot of wall space and wouldn’t put this on a bed with the psychotic animals who live here, so I let it simmer in my brain for a LOOONG time. She’s doing a stitch along of sorts, one block a month; she sends out great info, these are awesome patterns, and the FB page where people are sharing their color versions is great inspiration. It doesn’t hurt that Tula Pink also made one using her fabrics, so people are swooning over it. If that gets Berene more income, I am totally for that. But here I am, not willing to FPP (my sanity is important), but wanting to make it, but not wanting it to be that big. Hmm. Respecting the artist’s work is also important to me, but I did buy all the patterns, so I am less worried about that at the moment. I’m not UNworried about my plans…just less worried.

So yeah. First I cut out a piece of paper the size of the image as she designed them. And I stared at that for a full 2 hours. Maybe. OK. I cut it out, looked at it, and walked away from it. Then came back. Then walked away again. Filed it in the part of my brain that processes art shit and let it do it’s thang.

And then came back and sized it in half. So a 10×16″ block image is now 5×8″. Uh huh. That’s tiny. But doable. Next step…redraw for applique. Yeah. Seriously. It’s my preferred way to make quilts, usually fused applique, but I think for this, it’s simple enough and I get enough satisfaction from the hand applique, that I should do that. I may hate myself after doing all those letters like A and R and P with the fucking tiny holes in them, but I’ve been hand appliqueing since I was in my early 20s and I’m pretty good at it, so whatever. And this is my quilt. I get to do what I want. I started with the block for July, Truth. A good one.

Ah, wonkiness, you are my bestest friend. I’ll go over this with pen and straighten some shit up. And then I did the next three months…

Some are easier to redraw logically than others. But I like it. I’m going to keep going. If you think these are cool, go buy all Berene’s patterns and make her happy too. I realize she might not be thrilled with what I’m doing…it’s hard to know how artists will go with redoing their stuff, like adding to it or using different colors, cool, but redrawing it into a different technique…I just don’t know. ALWAYS buy their stuff before you do anything like this. It’s definitely not cool if you don’t buy their stuff.

Damn, I miss this kid. She’s far away.

Thinking about selling her car.

This cat, thinking about nothing but being right where her mommy is.

Every time. She follows me all over the house. She’s in here now, occupying the green fabric drawer again…as Luna continues to occupy plastic.

She mostly fits in there. It doesn’t look comfortable, but I’m not a cat, so WTF do I know.

OK. I still have no idea what’s happening today, so I’ll start copyediting and see where we go from there. I’m also going to plan on doing some stitch down tonight (or even during the day, you just don’t know!) and maybe some prep on that Homegrown quilt, or maybe I’ll look at my drawn daughters and see if one could be a quilt. Honestly, it’s the 8th of July…could I finish another quilt before the end of the month anyway? I don’t know. I could if I could get my brain in gear and work more hours a day. Uh huh. Anyway. This post was interrupted by the girlchild and car things and lunch. Still nothing has been decided for today. It’s OK. I should go get my TB test looked at. Like now. OK. Plan for short term. Long term will follow.

Merry Quarantine!

Have you noticed some of the weird stuff you’re buying? Or thinking about buying and then not buying because money is kind of an unknown for the future? These are things I would never think about or never buy online, because it’s so much easier to go to the store…some of these things I would never see in my normal day, or it would float past me and be gone before I could act on it, because life, work, etc, the way they were before. This is why a 7-pound box of fabric is showing up on my doorstep today. And why I bought a paper-piecing quilt pattern…hell, noez, I’m not paper piecing. I’m going to redraw it as a fusible or hand applique. I’m not crazy. I just like the imagery. And I’m NOT buying all the weird shit my Pilates teacher keeps recommending. I will just make do with the pillow and plastic bag I’ve been using so far.

Here’s the quilt, the Tattoo Quilt by Berene Campbell. You can see all her stuff on her website and Etsy.

The quilt rightfully won awards. I love the imagery and the ideas behind this quilt (although you know me…I will never do an all-white background on anything). So I got it. And if you buy 10 border blocks, she’s currently offering the center block for free, which is freakin’ awesome. We’ll see what I do with it…and if I don’t do it, then at least I’m supporting an artist who actually does some cool things for her community as well as making quilt stuff for us to do. No. I won’t be paper-piecing it. I just can’t get my head around that shit (and I don’t want to…I know I could).

The big-ass box of fabric was a late-night purchase…but a good one. I do worry about money at the moment…because nothing is guaranteed and there’s some expenses coming up that I wasn’t expecting. But it’s coming today and I’m looking forward to it. Merry Quarantine! Happy COVID-19 Celebration! Blessed Sheltering in Place!

So how’s the rest of it going? Five Zoom meetings yesterday, only one social, another four today, but two are social. I’m not sure I need this much connection at the moment, but at least I will be able to work on art or stitching stuff during the two social ones today. I’m tired…I’m not falling asleep particularly easily (shut the fuck up, Brain), and I have to be up earlier at the moment than my body really wants…plus we’re in that three-day stretch when the man gets up at 4:45 AM and then I have to try to go back to sleep after that. My brain doesn’t like it at all. Oh well. We have jobs. And paychecks.

Teaching this way sucks. Maybe some people like it but I hate it. I just want to do science with my science co-teacher and not do all this other stuff where I’m checking four different programs with 70 million clicks to get the info I need, just to see if kids are working on subjects I don’t like teaching. I hate it. But it’s better than nothing. Please don’t tell me we might be doing this for months. I can handle the 9 weeks we’re doing now. After that, I don’t want to think about that right now. I’ll think about that later.

This was yesterday’s meeting number 3…

I did meetings 3 and 4 outside…it was warm, but not too warm. I drew during the staff meeting because it was pretty repetitive. I stopped during the village meeting, because it was not repetitive and I had to do the things. On the screen. With the stuff. I wasn’t really trying for a message in this drawing…just drawing. I need to do a Patreon drawing by the weekend, but it should be smaller than this. Maybe later today. Girlchild is studying and listening to the official crap from my computer, dogs on the deck beside us. Not bad. Could be worse.

So Tuesday, I was tired of the same old walks. They’ve ‘opened’ the parks and hiking areas (sort of), but you’re not allowed to drive to them, so that still doesn’t help. I live in a hilly area, but there are lots of dead ends, so I checked the map and mapped a new hike, streets I don’t usually go on.

I had no idea how long it would be, but I’m fairly physically healthy and figured if it was really bad, I’d call a kid to come get me…but I wasn’t expecting it to be too bad. There was a new hill or two to climb (not that one)…but the best part was just new stuff to look at…

New houses, new dogs, new plants…this one was fascinating.

And the ever-present weeds…

aka wildflowers. It’s definitely Spring. I did 3.9 miles, so longer than the usual hike, but doable. Next time, I should do a Dead-End Hike and just go in and out of all the dead-end streets. It’s in the 80s today, 90s tomorrow. Makes it hard to just sit inside. Hence the outdoor meetings yesterday. I got no exercise yesterday, nowhere near enough steps in. Lame. Today I did a 27-minute Pilates class just to stretch out my neck and back, because they’ve been bugging me. I don’t really have time to walk today, unfortunately. I guess I could go on the stationary bike. That’s a good idea. Because I can read my book at the same time. I’m not getting enough reading in.

So Tuesday, the kids and dogs left early and the cats rampaged for hours. At some point, Kitten gave up, but the kittens continued.

This was her face while she was watching them race around the house, attacking shit. I kept waiting for a time I could trace stuff, but it took their dad coming home and going to bed for them to leave my shit alone enough for me to be able to work. They slept ALL FREAKIN’ MORNING of course, while I was teaching. Yes, this is just like having small children.

Last night was a late start for tracing as well, but mostly because I had book club and then did the dishes and then stitched the Sue Spargo dot for the day (I don’t want to get behind), and didn’t start tracing until 11: 15 PM.

I’ve done about 2 hours in the last two days, which is funny considering the amount of time I SHOULD have to work on quilts. Sigh. I’m in the 400s somewhere…slow slow slow. Hopefully the kittens will chillax this afternoon while I am in my quilting Zoom so I can do some more tracing. We’ll see.

Tuesday’s dot…is the top one on the far left…fourth from the bottom.

It used lots of colors…

The flower-like one on that top row under the thread. It’s pretty, but it was time consuming. They all are. I’m actually OK with that.

Last night’s was the cactus…which is really cute.

Here’s the closeup…yes, all the photos are taken at night and they aren’t great, but I can’t be bothered to leave the thread out (and forget where it came from, because I’m still borrowing from kits, plus the cats like to play with the balls and spools) and photograph in the morning.

There. The cactus one. I’ve seen today’s. It looks simple, but that probably means it’s not. It’s OK. I chose to do this. It’s fun. It’s a challenge. It’s cool.

Kitten has started bringing me my slippers…and then sitting on them.

Well. OK then. My feet ARE cold. But you should keep it. Obviously.

OK, rest of the day? Eat on time. Do Office Hours with kids. Hopefully someone besides that one lonely kid will show up. Hang out on Zoom with quilting friends and trace Wonder Under. Hang out on Zoom with stitching friends and stitch things. Maybe do more exercise. Maybe read my book. Tomorrow is Friday, hallelujah, because I need a couple of days without Zoom and school…although I have a fiber group meeting on Sunday. On Zoom. Sigh. It’s fine. IT’S FINE. I love seeing you all. I’m just tired of sitting so much and staring at tiny pictures on screens. I need like Google Glasses with Zoom so I can go on a hike while I’m talking to y’all. Not gonna go shopping for that. Nope.