Looks Like a Pillow Fort

The first thing I did this morning was talk to a very nice customer-service rep who was in South Carolina, at which point I realized that there is still a hurricane or stormlike thing (seriously, I don’t watch the news much so I had forgotten and she was asking if it was raining here and I was like heck no, it doesn’t rain in July here like ever almost never and then she told me where she was and I’m sitting there trying to remember about a hurricane or tropical storm and I felt really out of it. Good news…the customer service rep is FINE) or maybe it’s not a hurricane any more, but yeah, so removed from all of that, but really appreciate nice and helpful reps. It’s a shit job and I’m glad we were able to make each other smile today. Even though her company totally fucked up my order. Because she fixed it. And some poor woman somewhere is looking at my offbeat purple bras in her package and wondering why her perfectly normal old-lady white Playtex bras did not arrive. Me too, lady, me too; hopefully you got a nice customer-service person too.

I started not writing this yesterday, like normal. But then I did things yesterday and then the day was over and I hadn’t written. It happens. It will probably happen again some time. It is not the end of the world. I still made art, even SAW art yesterday (WTH?!) and I will write today instead.

Quilt progress! It’s happening. Tuesday I kept ironing…

And more on Tuesday night…

Finished the bottom, more complicated square…and started the top, the sky…

Last night, I ironed the rest of the sky together…

And ironed the whole thing down.

It’s not large. It’s just complicated. Hopefully I’ll start stitchdown today or tomorrow, although there’s lots of stuff on my calendar at the moment. People apparently want to see me. Not sure why.

On Tuesday, I went back to Torrey Pines and hiked with the niece…

I might have damaged her. It wasn’t a super short hike…

I didn’t make her limp, so that’s good. Or she’s faking it.

And then yesterday, we went to the California Center for the Arts in Escondido to see the Allied Craftsmen show there, Crafting Memory.

There’s my piece, Sediment, which was in Visions some years back. This is one of those venues that needs to be ‘family friendly’ but can’t really define what that means. Another art group I’m in is having a show there with a different theme, but I don’t have much that doesn’t have nudity in it, so I’m considering what to do…don’t enter? Enter what I have, which is mostly nudity and let them decide? Or make a new piece? Ugh. It’s a nice space…go see the shows that are there. Definitely worth it. There’s a teacher discount and a senior discount and a student discount. Probably military too.

We’ve been dining at the parents’ house while the niece is here…I walked two dogs with dad last night for the first time in a long time.

I’m tired. Always tired. My hip hurts and it’s hard to find a comfortable sleeping position. This sweet baby wanted to knead my arm with her claws last night…

Really not conducive to sleeping. I think I need some sort of cocoon for sleeping that keeps pokey cats out and cushions all the painful old parts of the body and blocks the sounds of dogs panting and mockingbirds chirping and neighbors dragging trashcans around and isn’t really hot or cold…I’m building this thing in my head and it’s got noise-canceling powers and looks like a pillow fort. Seriously.

OK. Not sure all that’s happening today. It’s the man’s birthday, so dinner out at least, and the niece leaves, so IDK whether we will see her today, and maybe I should shower and have more tea and that would help with the sleepy part. And maybe the brain-working part. Hard to say.

See All the People and Do All the Things…

Good morning on the day after fireworks. For those of you with dogs who don’t like fireworks, you are maybe a little exhausted like me, as I listened to the old lady dog pant and breathe way too fast most of the night. Her breathing is back to normal this morning, but it was a long night. She was doing OK until more fireworks at about 1 AM. I also was doing OK until then. I am way too light of a sleeper for this stuff.

Hope your 4th was enjoyable at least, although I spent a good portion of the day thinking about Native American issues (I’m reading The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich) and those who don’t feel like the flag and the pledge of allegiance are for them (I am one of those people and I’m pretty damn entitled). But I did step outside to see a few sets of fireworks…I think only half were legal, which is scary in these dry firelike conditions. You’ll appreciate my photo from the bedroom window.

Yeah. Toldja you’d appreciate it. Best fireworks photo ever. Not sure why I try to take these every year, but I do. EVERY YEAR. I’m rolling my eyes at myself.

Also, this quote…

For those who doubt my patriotism. Exactly.

So much art progress has been made. Well. Has it? I don’t know. Things are getting done. That’s a good thing.

So first of all, official photos of the Quilt National exhibit are here. I will hopefully be there in person in September for the closing ceremony. In all the videos I saw posted, I couldn’t see my quilt, which made me sad, but that’s OK. Because here it is in all its glory, thanks to the QN photographer.

I don’t have the catalog yet, so I can’t tell you who else’s pieces are in this picture…

Looking forward to seeing her in person…for the last time, probably, because she sold. But this show does travel, so maybe she will pop up near me somewhere. Hard to say. Again, you can hear me talk about her here.

So meanwhile, I have one piece on a deadline here, so it makes sense that I worked on anything BUT that piece. I finished the quilting on this 20-year-old piece last week, and Saturday, I put a binding on her.

It’s the first time in a year and a half that I could go to that quilt store without an appointment. They still have really short hours, so during the school year, Saturday would be the only day I could go, but hopefully that will change by the time it’s an issue. Yes, I often am buying backgrounds and bindings at the totally last minute.

I spent time Saturday night (with Kitten) sewing bindings on…

And finished those and the sleeves on Sunday night.

She’s about 30″ wide by 43″ high, and I started her in 2000 or 2001. It’s all hand applique. She’ll get her official photographs when I have the one with a deadline completed.

Then (because still…procrastinating the deadline project) I stitched down Desert Bunny, which has been sitting around waiting since March.

(I’m still working on a name for the other one…there are some in the running, but no decisions yet).

She’s small, so she didn’t take long.

And then I sandwiched and pinbasted her, so now she’s ready for quilting…

Which ALSO wouldn’t take long, but I’m trying to be good and work on the one with a deadline. I was supposed to be in Los Angeles for 2 1/2 days this week, but my niece is coming down this week instead of next week, so we juggled our flexible plans into LA next week….thus juggling my art plans as well…I can’t do certain parts of my art process on the road. Odds are, I won’t be working on the next quilt on the road no matter what, but I’m using that trip to motivate me to iron. Why is ironing an issue? This quilt has a lot of small pieces and it’s sometimes tedious to iron tiny pieces (you’d think I’d learn), but also ironing is hot and the light in here is hot and it’s not THAT hot here (no heat dome…yet), but my hot flashes plus fairly reasonable summer temperatures just add up to ugh. That said, here’s an hour or so of ironing done…

Tiny pieces, relatively small quilt. Crazy amount of work in this one. Ah well…the brain knows what it wants. So I’ll be working on this all week, and hopefully be done for the weekend. We’ll see.

I’ve gone back to drawing before dinner…here is Saturday night, in between starter (we hardly ever get a starter) and dinner.

Keep it simple! These are small. It’s the sketchbook that fits in my purse. I got a new purse, a smaller one, but the sketchbook doesn’t fit. Dammit.

Also, I can’t remember if I posted this…it’s Margaret Fabrizio’s Hello Kitty Meats the Dragon.

I spelled it like she did…it’s not hung up yet because I wanted to put a sleeve on it, and last night, I finally did that. I met Margaret some years back (when she was still 80-something) and we liked each other’s work. She contacted me earlier this year about trading a piece of art, and I agreed, so I sent one off to her of her choice, and I got these wonderful eyeballs (I did pick it for Hello Kitty too) back…so now she can hang on my wall.

I also was cleaning up my blogroll this weekend (like you do…once every 5 years, whether it needs it or not), and noticed that an artist I really enjoyed, Olga Norris, had passed away in 2019. I obviously have not been doing a great job of reading blogs. Every year, at the SAQA auction, I would note the Olga Norris piece and get outbid at a much higher rate than I could afford, sadly. Well, her husband is still supporting his wife’s work and posted photos of her last pieces, and offers them up for postage and donations to a charity of Olga’s choice, which is just amazing, so I will finally be proudly displaying one of her pieces here as well. It does make you think about what will happen to all your work when you die, though. I’m sure my children would love for me to have a plan.

In other news, Kitten is still missing some teeth and makes some funny faces while squawking at me.

And I finally got milkweed seeds to sprout! I started in April and apparently killed off a hundred or so of them, but now! Now I haz babies.

IDK how I will keep the bunnies out of the plants though…gonna have to think that bit through. They’ve even been eating the succulents.

And this…

Makes me want to go through all the birding books we have here…just for stupid things like that.

OK, I’m up to go to the gym, like a good person. I have an appointment at the Apple Store to try to figure out if my phone refusing to connect consistently to Wifi is a hardware issue. And then I’d like to do some more ironing together of tiny little pieces today. Tomorrow will probably involve some art stuff with the niece, which means I might actually see my work in a show IN PERSON. I know. Crazy. And hopefully I will also be able to reschedule all the stuff I already scheduled over in an attempt to see all the people and do all the things because yeah. That.

Take a Break

I just got an email about a call for artists: the gallery is charging $40/entry for an online exhibit. Online. No catalog. Just online. This after two rejections last night. It’s OK. Rejection is part of the game. If you enter, you will be rejected more often than you are accepted. It’s normal. And more people entered than they were expecting. So there’s that. But I’m not willing to turn around and shell out more money (yes, every entry costs money, and not a small amount of it…remember shows with $10 and $15 entry fees? Proof that I am old.) for a show that only exists online. The gallery is nonprofit…usually entry fees pay jurors and provide food and drink for openings, plus keeping the gallery open and staffed. What is this entry fee for except the jurors? It’s not even on the gallery’s website? I don’t understand.

I get to this stage every once in a while, where I’m tired of paying out fees for themes that are just difficult for me to get my head around or for show after show where I can’t get in. It’s OK…then I just make a bunch of work and then eventually something gets in or some new opportunity pops up that doesn’t cost me any money (those are always nice, aren’t they?). I say that as I’m working on a piece for a show with a theme and probably a fee. Ah well. I’ll finish it and then see where my head is at. Right now, it’s hard to know where my head is at. The man is planning to start hiking again tomorrow. He’s been icing his knee (and his beer) at Kennedy Meadows since Friday, trying to decide whether or not to keep going. The knee has not stopped hurting, mind you, despite the rest. Meanwhile, I’m in a bit of limbo over some projects that need to start and scheduling some things, because I don’t know if I will need to (a) still meet him at Kearsarge Pass or (b) come pull him off the trail again. So I do cross things off the list and let a few things just sit there, waiting. I’m still tired…still occasionally grinding my teeth…still in recovery mode. Not sure when all that improves.

Actually, it kind of helps to write the blog and realize how many things I’m working on…so on Friday, I continued outline quilting on the 20-year-old quilt…

Which will eventually need a better name…but I did finish the outlining…

And started the background quilting, which is going to take a while. But it’s started.

I also did some ironing to fabric on the current quilt made for a themed show that will cost money to enter. This is my view while ironing, watching a recorded Zoom of something textile-related.

Can’t remember what. Picking out the sky fabrics here…this was Friday night, I think?

I lose track. Actually, I think it was a Zoom meeting. I had two on Friday and then I watched the recorded talk.

And then on Saturday night, I finished the rest of the ironing for this quilt and organized all the fabrics by color…

I used 99 fabrics and it took 9 hours and 45 minutes to pick them all and iron them to fabric. In general, this is a very muted quilt. The bright colors are in a few small locations. It’ll be interesting to see it all ironed together.

Then last night, I started trimming the pieces…

I haven’t gotten very far…the top left box is all trimmed. The bottom box is to-be-trimmed. It’s gonna be a while.

On Saturday night, when I was done ironing (which was pretty early), I finished up the hand-stitching on this piece, which I’ve been working on for a very long time. How long?

Hmmm. Looks to be around January 11 of this year that I started this. Not bad…I thought it was last year. Only 6 months. Honestly, it’s been almost done for a while. And it’s really not even almost done…everything is just stitched down and I got rid of all the pins. I actually want all of these (there are four now) to have a lot more hand sewing.

I did the first one, bottom left, in February or so of 2020…and the other two after that. They are from Anna Maria Horner shipments, using only the fabrics she sent that month. Hence the crazy combinations. I like them though. It’s a different kind of challenge. There are 6 shipments a year, so I didn’t finish last year’s quite, and now I have two…no three more this year. One just arrived and I cut the background fabric out already and it’s waiting…although I think there is a cat lying on it. Maybe someday I will finish these. Who knows. Maybe they are like sketchbook drawings…just little workings of the brain when other stuff is too hard.

On Saturday, I also went to an actual in-person meeting (outside, in a park, where I got sunburned again in a weird pattern on my back because I thought it was all covered up, but I was stitching and so I was bent over and…duh). It was one of my quilt guilds…and I worked on Sue Spargo’s Homegrown, finishing the third of four blocks for March.

Look! People! In a group! I know. It makes me nervous unless it’s outside. We’ll see how that goes in the future.

Ah yes, and I finished stitching hangers and a label on this one, so it’s off to it’s new owner later this month.

Took forever to finish this one…mostly my fault…combined with school and sewing machine issues. See, I did do a lot…plus bought shelves for the deck for plants to block the neighbor noise and view…working on the plants and pots part. Need more of both.

On Saturday, I hiked a little over 5 miles…it was hot. This is a kite…a bird kite, not a manmade one.

It’s a bird I only see at Sweetwater. Looks like a hawk but mostly white and a little gray. Stared at me.

I didn’t see anyone else out there. Granted, I was hiking during the dinner hour, I think, and it was warm even then.

There’s a lot of flowers still blooming.

I like hiking by myself mostly…

I do listen to music…

I wanted to go further, but the parking lot closes…

Sweetwater River Trail? Or Reservoir? Not sure.

Finally got to the water.

And then headed back…I like this succulent, although I’ve never been able to get it to grow from a cutting.

I don’t take it out of wild parks…just from side of the road bits where I can pick a leaf or a stem.

Maybe I should just figure out what it is and find it somewhere legit that costs money.

Lots of cat pictures…Nova cleaning Luna while I was trying to nap.

I did not nap. Luna then got cranky and started a fight.

Not nap friendly.

When I got back from the hike, Kitten decided my hat was a sleeping space.

Hmmm.

Nova checking out the living room last night…

So today…I’m in a Zoom, watching some art stuff, plus trying to write this. Then I should quilt some more, cut some more, walk some more, and IDK what else. I have a list. Fill the hummingbird feeders. Do some yard work. I need a list for that. I should do that. I should just take a break from expectations, right? Yeah, I’m not very good at that. I’ll keep trying. Without the fees and the rejections, yeah? Don’t enter; you won’t get rejected. But if your work needs to get out there, then you will have to take that chance, spend the money, get it out there.

Check Check Check…

There is an insistent cat head bumping my left elbow as I try to type. I managed to get her away from the keyboard, where she was before, but it’s possible that I’m not petting any of these cats ENOUGH for their preferences. OK, now she’s in front of the monitor, so any typos will have to be blamed on Kitten. And she just whacked me and I’m bleeding. So yeah. Cats. I’m also trying to listen to/watch this week’s artist talks for Quilt National and she’s not happy with my not paying attention to her, so now I’m trying to type with a paper towel held to my wrist so it will stop bleeding. Such a joy.

So somehow, the first week of Summer Break is gone. It’s always such a weird thing, that first week. I seem to waste a lot of time staring at things: books, space, social media, TV, the insides of my eyeballs. This year, I cooked a lot of things this week: wontons (very good), blueberry crisp (very good), lasagne from scratch (very good and will get frozen in batches for future eatings), and lemon bars (we had lemons…they fell apart last night, but they were still warm. I will in fact eat them with a fork if I have to). I’m still exhausted, which might be because I stayed up too late ironing last night and got up early(ish…for break, anyway) to watch the Quilt National thing. By the way, I will be participating in their weekly talks (signups are here) on July 30. You can also see me talk about my quilt here:

I don’t remember what I said. I’m going to watch all of them, honestly…just pick the playlist for this year’s quilts, and maybe even watch the ones from 2019. Why not?! It’s either that or I watch another badly dubbed movie like the last one I watched.

The damn cat is back, headbutting my elbow, decidedly nonapologetic about the divot in my wrist from biting me. My fault for having a calico cat. Feisty beasts.

So what have I been doing? Some errands, some garden stuff. Some house stuff. Some organizing. I can’t quite bring myself to clean out closets yet. I’ve found two things I want to get rid of…the rest is overwhelming. I’ve read a lot. I love reading. I’ve exercised for five days in a row…and my hips are complaining. I think that was from pilates on Wednesday, but I might take today off from exercise, since I know I will be hiking tomorrow hopefully (checks weather app…yes, I can hike tomorrow, as long as it’s not in the mountains, because they have a heat wave and I don’t? Whatever). I’ve also been doing art stuff in between all that, working on quilting a 20-year-old hand-appliqued quilt during the day…

I’m just doing the outlining right now; the background quilting will take a lot more thought and time. I’m not there yet.

I did a little embroidery on Sue Spargo’s Homegrown during book club…

Super slow moving on this one. But that’s OK.

And then I’ve been ironing at night, with a little bit yesterday during my quilt group Zoom.

Some bright colors were added for some small spaces in the quilt…

I’m about 6 1/2 hours into picking fabrics, and not done. It’s not an easy ironing job. So many muted colors that have to contrast with each other. I’m in the 300s somewhere, maybe almost done with them. Yah. Almost done, and I’ve already ironed some of the 400s, so I can safely say I’m at least halfway through. I’m hoping to be done with the ironing Sunday, but I’ve put a bunch of social stuff in the next few days, so I don’t know if that will really happen.

I’m meditating every night, mostly with the help of this cat.

Not help. She hasn’t whacked me for a while though…wait, that’s a lie. She scratched me two days ago because I dared to carry her past the little dog for her breakfast.

Yesterday’s walk almost didn’t happen. I finished making lasagne and then decided to walk.

Which is why I actually ate dinner at 9:22 PM. Not the smartest. Ah well. Routine is not my friend during summer.

This was me at pilates on Wednesday when the instructor told us we could do whatever we wanted with the balls we’d been using during class. Hmm. I did not throw it. I just thought really hard about why I was an adult and shouldn’t throw it.

Hey! There’s the girlchild.

Great picture. Love that face. Boston looks good too.

OK. I need more caffeine. And a shower. And to pick up a library book. Because I don’t have enough books to read. Plus make art. And check off about 20 things off the to-do list. By the end of the week, they freakin’ accumulate and I can’t handle it any more. Check check check. Plus tune out the neighbor woman behind me yelling at her screaming children. I’m thinking the ones below me must be at camp or something, because it is surprisingly quiet down there, except there’s the new house being built two properties below that, so there is NEVER NOT hammering going on except when it’s dark. Hallelujah for sending kids to camp though. I think I need to win some money and buy a second home somewhere with a massive amount of property, away from people and roads and builders and everything but nature. I would really appreciate the shit out of that space, but it would have to be real close…like up in our mountains, because otherwise I would never have time to go there. I could have a second studio there with a separate stash of fabrics, yeah? So I wouldn’t have to haul shit up there all the time. It could be the OTHER project that I only work on when I’m there. OR…get a little trailer and drive all over the US during breaks and make art in the trailer in campsites all over. Yeah. Both of those.

Good Wontons

My to-do list is still long, but it’s all house- and yard-related…and art. All good things and/or things that need doing. Calling an electrician is on my list for today. Not my favorite thing to deal with, but we’ve accumulated some electrical needs over the last year and I think it’s time. Installations and replacements…need to get done. We’re also rearranging the plant material on the deck and adding some new shelves to try to block more of the neighbors’ pool and kid noise. Probably not really possible to block the noise, but I want to try. But it means I need a lot more plants and smaller or shallower pots for the shelves. I’m starting by looking around my own property…I have lots of empty pots lying around and just need to find, move, add dirt, and locate plants. There’s plenty of work that needs doing…just trimming and weeding would take tons of time…add in planting and moving shit around. I also need to clean out my closet this summer. Really not looking forward to that. Everyone I know did it during COVID, but I didn’t feel motivated. I don’t really feel motivated now, except that I need more room and there’s only one way to get that. Get rid of stuff! Not a bad plan.

Last night was the first one with an empty house again…boychild at his dad’s, man on the trail. Just me and three cats, who were surprisingly quiet. Right now, one of them, Ms. Adventurous, is kamikazing through my fabric in the office as I type, tryna make trouble. The dogs aren’t here yet, so she’s just exploring. For Luna, exploring means knocking stuff over. This room needs organization and cleanup for sure. I have a remodeling plan for this room, and I technically could afford to do it this summer, but I’m not dealing with remodeling this year. Maybe next summer. It needs a new floor and shelves and the wallpaper gone and the popcorn ceiling gone. Lots of work. The work is moving everything OUT of the room (oh god) and then moving it back in. Terrifying thought. Not one I can handle this year.

So artwise, I have a list that I have kept copying over and over, every day, into my bullet journal since my machine had to go into the shop in March. I was on a roll and then I wasn’t. Then I had a deadline and everything else got pushed out of the way. One of the things that got pushed was this little commission…this is the one my machine died on.

All it needed was the quilting and a finish. So I finished the quilting on Monday night…

And I trimmed it and finished the edge as well…I just need a hanging device on the back and a little label, and it’s done.

There are two more here that are in various stages that need finishing…one at the quilting stage and one at the stitchdown stage. So that’s one of my goals for this week. Not necessarily finishing them, but progressing on them at least.

Then obviously I’m working on the next deadline…

It’s another climate change quilt. I’m a little obsessed, I guess. It’s also pollution and general human wastage of the land.

But because of the design, I need to keep all the colors muted. This is very hard for me.

I have to keep reminding myself to put down the bright colors. There are some small sections that will be bright, but mostly this is a muted quilt. The pieces are small…so it doesn’t look like much. I’m actually not sure how far I am, because I keep pulling from later bins. I know I’m in the 100s, but have ironed a chunk of 200s, 300s, and even a few 400s. It’s looking good so far, at least in my mind.

Kitten likes to sleep in the green fabric drawer.

No, that’s not the only green fabric drawer. There are way too many green fabric containers.

Kitten basically follows me wherever I go. This is when I was reading on the couch.

She’s kneading the blanket. She’s very happy.

The other two are adjusting to their dad being gone again.

They’re back to sleeping with me at night and finding me for food reminders. Hey lady! Feed me. Pet me.

We also walked the little dog…

It was hot. You can tell by his tongue shadow. More of that to come, I’m sure. We leave the old lady behind. She likes walks but can’t go very far.

It’s summer, so it’s all about exercise. Here was my second trip to the gym since March 2020.

It’s nice. I missed it. Yes, I’m still wearing a mask. Don’t trust people or variants. So yeah, my exercise plan for the summer is gym, pilates, and hiking. All good.

And on Monday, the boychild and I made one of my favorite meals, time-consuming as all hell.

Can you guess which pan I did and which pan the boychild did? Hint: I’m not neat at anything I do.

They taste good either way. And I get about 4 meals out of my batch. Totally worth it. I just don’t generally have time for it during the school year. Tomorrow, I’m doing lasagne from scratch…same deal. Lots of time in it, but tastes so good. And then I can freeze it and eat it on those nights when I’m the only one here. Maybe not ALL those nights, but some of them.

Good stuff.

OK, it’s late morning now. I did eat and do some stuff this morning…not that I remember what I did, but I did it! I’m still in recovery mode, y’all. It takes at least a week after school gets out before I relocate my brain and start to function well. I have more errands today and even book club tonight. More ironing of fabrics will happen, more reading, more quilting hopefully, and more plant-related stuff. All trying to remember what it looks like to NOT be an incredible stress monkey because of my day job. The last year completely burnt out my brain. I need a break. Planting things and fixing things and ironing things and sewing things…all help. So do good wontons.

Sleepy Slow Fire

I wish I felt like I was prepared to teach today. I actually have no clue what I’m teaching…usually I spend some time on Sunday getting my teacher brain straight, but I lost electricity for 12 hours on Saturday and somehow that befuddled my Saturday brain into Sunday, and Sunday brain is still asleep, so Monday brain, which is mostly useless and panics frustratingly, is in charge, and that’s just a mistake for everyone involved. I miss walking into the prep room and having my co-teacher say, “So…” and we would recap what we had planned for the day and Monday brain would have a chance of getting through. Pandemic teacher brain writes down a plan for each day by class, because gone are the days when you only taught one thing…at least art is on the same page, but I have no actual clue what we’re doing next week and I’m out of town this weekend. That could be problematic. Ah well. Wing it. Again. I have an extra day this weekend, well, technically two because I’m taking Friday off to drive north to the man, even though he will be stuck waiting for me. I can’t plan well enough with fire closures and parts he was gonna walk and then he didn’t and having to book in advance and get a sub in advance and all that crap, so it is what it is. Hopefully it will work better in the summer. This week, it will suck for him and I apologize, but I’m also bringing new shoes and pants that will fit, so there’s that.

I am exhausted this morning. The mockingbird is back and although it was in the periphery of my hearing, it was there. Plus cats wanting to clean all their parts in the middle of the night. On me. Unfortunate.

The pro? I only have to teach 4 days this week and 4 days next week. The con? I need to have everything prepped for a guest teacher who doesn’t currently exist. Minor issue. I’m sure someone besides me will figure that out. Meanwhile, I’m teaching ecosystem services and national parks and illuminated letters and paper engineering. And grading like crazy (still haven’t caught up from last week). And my district wants me to get my head around reflecting on what I’ve learned in the last year, and I don’t do that until I’ve been in a library-book pillow fort for at least two weeks after school ends. So good luck getting anything coherent out of me this week besides fuck you. I mean, that IS coherent, yeah?

OK, so some person fell asleep in their SUV and ran into a power pole with a transformer and knocked it over on Saturday morning (they’re OK), and that meant my power was out all day. I did have non-power-related things to do, like move rocks…

There’s still work to do, but I’m glad to have gotten most of the big stuff in. Some planting needs to happen too, but not during the summer, I think. We’ll see.

Then I went to the quilt store for binding fabric…they still require appointments (although they were fairly empty) and they aren’t open past 3 PM on a weekday, so Saturday is the only time I can go. So I have the binding fabric for my quilt. Then I came back and did some stuff around the house and went on my hike earlier than I would have. They actually closed my road, so the cone guy had to keep letting me out and in (sorry!). At some point, the electricity was planned to be back on at 1:30 PM, but by then, they had revised it to 5:30. Ugh. So I hiked…

It wasn’t actually super warm out there…low 70s and breezy…so perfect.

I found a path across the river that I didn’t know about before…

It’s kind of half-assed and definitely not official, so I’m sure it washes out every winter when there’s actual water, but it was a new path, so I took it.

My plan was to do 5-6 miles, but the new path shortened that to 4 1/2. Not bad for a Saturday though. I’m averaging about 11-13 miles a week at the moment. Not as much as the man does in a day, but I’m not trying to get to Canada and I do work full time, so I’ll take it as a win.

When I got home, I cleaned the entryway floor to get it ready for pinbasting. Oh wait. Why was I ready to pinbaste? Because I finished the stitchdown on Friday night…

So sandwiching was next…and I thought it through, but not all the way, because I was going to have to piece a backing, and there was no electricity, so I was about 5 minutes away from calling my parents to borrow their electricity and iron, and it came back on…which was good. It was 5:48 PM and they had been estimating 8 PM at that point. My camping lanterns were in the garage, accessed by electricity, so it was gonna get dark. It turned out OK in the end…I pieced a backing, laid it all out, shooed all the cats away…

And pinbasted her.

I also trimmed the small Patreon reward pieces…

And ironed them together…

Super small…

And then ironed them to fabric…

Which didn’t take long…

I’m a little behind on these…

But they go quickly…

So hopefully I’ll get them done this week, on top of everything else. I even started the embroidery version of one of them last night…

While standing. Like you do.

And then started quilting…with furry assistants.

That one on the chair is not helpful at all.

The details on this thing are tiny and complicated.

And time-consuming.

There was some cat entertainment in the breaks…

They appear to enjoy it.

So there’s that.

OK. Worky worky work. All day on fire. Sleepy slow fire, but fire nonetheless. Then a walk hopefully and dinnermaking. Plus more quilting. I have shit I need to get done. I can still hear the mockingbird. When the fuck does that bastard sleep? Sigh. Happy Monday y’all. It’ll be over soon enough.

The Machine Is Always Crankballs…

Art Brain is like a little kid who doesn’t like bedtime. I wanted to be done with the stitchdown last night, and if I’d stayed up another hour, I could have done it. In retrospect, since my body refused to fall asleep anyway, I could have just stayed up and stitched and gotten the same amount of sleep, but that’s not how it’s supposed to work. Someone should explain that to my currently very tired brain.

Wednesday night I managed to get the whole thing ironed together, finishing up the face…

And then added the birds…

Then pieced a background, ironed the top of the torso to the bottom of the torso, and pulled it all off the teflon sheet…

And in a total of 13 hours and a few minutes, had the whole thing ironed down to a background…

That’s faster than I have been working. Good sign. Fuck school. Right? I don’t know. Ask me about that next week. I’m always playing catch up with this job.

Then last night, I started the stitchdown during my monthly quilt meeting…

IDK why the machine is always crankballs in the beginning with tension and then it eventually warms up? gets used to it? gives in? and stitches just fine. Annoying.

I took a break at one point to feed the other cats and do some stuff.

Came back and my chair had been occupied. She did eventually shift her butt over to let me sit, and then left because I obviously was hogging the chair. Oh yeah, the other things I was doing included hot-gluing the scratching post back together…

Like you do.

I really wanted to be done with this last night. Like I said, I could have done it. But no.

Just the upper torso, arms, head, and birds left. Then sandwich and pinbaste. Quilt. Bind. Might actually make the damn deadline. Who knows. Made an appointment at the quilt store to get binding fabric tomorrow. It’s the only day they’re open late enough. Frustrating. I miss being able to go over there after work whenever I wanted. I miss lots of things.

I’m working on my annual Patreon rewards.

Got them ironed to fabric. Hoping to get them mostly done this weekend. I have one set up for embroidery, but I haven’t started it. No time!

In other news, the girlchild…

and her dog…or my dog…who the fuck knows who in the family owns this dog…

Putting masks to good use.

The cats?

Would kill me if I tried that.

The man made it to Vasquez Rocks…

aka Star Trek episode location…

My meditation app made me laugh out loud.

Whoops. I really did try to think of a time. Blank.

And this.

Although that’s a blood clot. Or a bus clot. Whatever.

OK. School. Do it. It’s gonna be a long day for that. Then I think more rock hauling for me and the boychild, although he’s working for my dad today too. So we’ll see. Maybe a dog walk. Maybe not. Then finish the stitchdown tonight, maybe wash the floor, maybe pinbaste? That’s a lot for tonight. Maybe wash the floor and pinbaste tomorrow. Might be more realistic after working all week. I need to design (from scratch) a thing for my art students to do next Friday while I am driving to see the man. I need to finish sub plans for that, assuming they can find me a sub on the Friday before a 3-day weekend (ah well, admin can earn their big bucks teaching my hellacious schedule if they can’t find a sub). I need to wash the beeswax out of one composter and hope the bees don’t come back. I need to figure out the summer budget and see if I can actually afford to do more than eat and sleep. Which could be good goals. Add reading…books are free from the library. Make art and try not to need any more supplies (uh oh…do I have batting for this quilt? Yikes. There’s something to figure out like ASAP). OK. Yeah. All that.

Three Birds and an Eyeball…

Hello Wednesday. Pro? You have exercise options at the end of the day and it’s not my turn to cook dinner. Also, you are the third day of science, so mostly I explain the task and then help kids…I don’t have to do the hard stuff today. I say that, but because it’s the day we do the academic part of the assignment, it’s likely that there will be some panicking about not being able to find “the answer”. Because there isn’t one answer. I tried to set up the expectations yesterday, but I will probably have to repeat it about 3200 times. Sometimes that’s OK; sometimes I just find it onerous. Again, I think this is much easier to do in person than it is online. So many things are easier in person than online. Paying bills? Definitely easier online. Absolutely no reason to do it in person. There’s one that’s not easier in person.

So I’m close to being done with the ironing. I think there’s a damn good chance I’ll finish ironing pieces together tonight, and I might even get it all ironed down to the background. I’m sure somewhere in my amazing notebook of everything I’m doing that there is a small mockup of whether or not I have to piece the backing (I’m fairly sure I do), which will minorly slow the process down, but we’ll see.

On Monday night, I got the heart and lungs done and one whole arm.

It doesn’t look like much. I think I only had an hour before bedtime, and I went late, because I wanted to finish the fingers. Fingers are way more complicated than you would think…because I put in all the finger wrinkles.

Then last night, I did the other arm and the start of the head…

I only have about 50 pieces left, but they are tiny and fussy and will take a while.

Three birds and an eyeball, basically. So that’s tonight. And then hopefully get it on a background. So far, I’ve put about 11 hours into the ironing. Mostly I get about an hour to 90 minutes on a work night, especially this year, with trying to go to bed earlier. That second hour I used to iron is being used to meditate and sleep, on the off chance that it will help me balance my brain a bit. Not sure it is helping? But I’m trying. Last night’s meditation…I don’t even think I heard any of it. It’s trying to help me with stress and my brain was all tied up in sad. I’m sure there’s stress in there too, but sad was overwhelming.

Ah well. Moving on. The man is back on the trail today, back to a few terse texts a day, sometimes overtaking each other in satellite space, with lots missed and/or misunderstood. It’s been nice being able to converse more than usual because he had cell service, but I will see him in 9 days. It will be a long drive, but not as long as they will be, and I have a little more warning to plan lessons for next week for the day I will miss from school. Since COVID started, this will only be the second work day I have missed. I probably should have taken more mental health days, but there was nowhere to go to escape the work stuff. So I didn’t.

I’ve hiked over 12 miles in the last 4 days…not much for a PCTer, but for someone who is working full time, not bad.

We went up some hills.

This is how we tire out the little dog. The big dog gets much shorter walks than these.

There was a big up that we didn’t do…mostly because I said no.

I still had to cook dinner.

Long day…

But good hike.

Last night was the regular neighborhood hike…

Walked while the girlchild sent trivia questions via text for her weekly trivia night. We are part of the trivia team.

Luna came out to birdwatch while I was teaching yesterday. This is in fact her normal facial expression…sort of paranoid surprised?

Like, “what the fuck is happening next?!” She’s a strange one.

Nova is more chill…

Yes, all my clothes have cat hair on them. It’s inevitable.

On Monday, we finally got the bigger river rock delivered. I love the big rocks. I loved watching the dumptruck drop them on the ground.

I’m not so much loving lugging them over to the actual streambed, but that’s OK. We’ll do a bit at a time.

Still working on this for my art students. I use it for the demo, so little bits of it get done…

Honestly, I probably won’t finish it. Although I think I need it more finished than this for the next step. I do have a video from the art teacher. I could just use that? We’ll see.

OK, well it’s all science today and grading stuff, hopefully a healthy chunk of it so I don’t have to think about it all week like last week. We were smart and did group assignments last week, so only 7 sets of slides per class instead of 4 times that (although so many kids aren’t turning in work at the moment, so there’s that). I think even parents are checked out, because progress reports didn’t get hardly any emails or flurries of work being turned in. Ah well. It’s been a year. I can’t blame them. Although next year will be a shock for their kids I think, since most will be in person. For me too, I think. Anyway, after school is Pilates (my back will appreciate that) and then ironing after dinner. Hopefully finishing. Then start the stitch down tomorrow…my goal is to get this thing pinbasted over the weekend and start quilting it. I will need a binding fabric. I should think about that, since the local quilt store is still appointment only. I think. Ugh. Such a pain. I never have a big enough chunk for the binding. OK, well it’s in my head now and I will think about it today and decide what to do about it. Until then, thinking about biodiversity hotspots…science lesson.

That Feeling…

Sigh. Mornings. Monday mornings. Monday mornings with 5 weeks of school left. Yeah. You know what I’m talking about. That feeling. Mondays are hard days…school is rapid fire, shorter classes, all of them, boom boom boom no break, plus seesawing from art to science and back to art. My head spins at the end of it. And I never feel ready…even when I plan it all out. I managed to post all of the science stuff on Friday, because the district finally found me another computer I can use while teaching…well, minus some videos I had to do yesterday, explaining all the stuff I’d posted for the kids who (a) don’t come to class and probably won’t watch them anyway and (b) come to class but have shitty internet and/or weren’t listening because it’s Monday and school is hard and why do you want us to get out of bed anyway. Yeah. I’m with you at the moment. Seriously. Although I was awake this morning, because, again, sleeping is not my super power.

I had decided that Saturday was going to be a school-free zone…it’s not something I can pull off regularly, but I thought with the posts done, I could do it. I’m still behind on grading (when am I not?), but it’s not worth the pain and suffering to do it on a Saturday. So I got up and went and ordered the damn river rock for my streambed (I was paranoid about going there; not sure why). Then I came back and cleaned floors and the bathroom (it’s been on the list for a disturbingly long time now). I have one floor left to clean, but I will need to pinbaste a quilt on it, so I’ll clean it right before I do that…hopefully this week? Nah, probably next week. And then I settled down to iron for a good chunk of the day. Actually, first, I ironed on Monday night…I worked until dinner arrived and then ironed after that.

I had to iron all the fussy stuff off to the side and then put it on top of the background fabrics.

Way too fussy to do any other way…with dog underfoot…

She’s old. I just step over her a million times. So then I pulled that off the teflon sheet and put it on top of the dirt…

When everything fits, it’s nice. And then added the water…not clean water, unfortunately.

This quilt is about the damage we do to the Earth with making textiles…the thing I love. It’s a hard thing to think about. Yes, I could use all recycled fabrics, and I do use a lot of fabric that has been donated to me by people who don’t want/need it any more. But it’s hard to kick the fabric habit when it’s (a) your medium of choice and (b) your palette. Yes, I could dye my own, but that doesn’t really solve the problem. It’s agriculture, it’s water, it’s toxins. Sigh. The industries need to change.

On Saturday, I started up again with the right side of the Earth…

And then I went for a hike. But I came back and ironed some more after dinner…more weaving going on to the right…

And then making it fit…

Earth finished. Last night, Sunday, I worked on the figure…

I didn’t get as far as I would have liked, but it was a rough day…lots of work happened. School work. Not the fun artwork. I stopped here because it was getting late and I would have had to sort all the 600s to iron the lungs and heart down.

So that will be tonight. Almost 300 pieces left, so I’m 2/3s of the way through.

I’m hoping to finish ironing this week, then do stitch down by the weekend? Can I do that? Maybe? And then get it pinbasted and start quilting. I’d really like it quilted by the 3-day weekend, so I can do the binding while hanging out with the Man in two weeks, but I don’t think that will happen. Ah well. I will continue, no matter what.

Also, I’ve been working on my annual Patreon rewards. I traced the four small quilt options onto Wonder Under…

And then yesterday, I cut them out…

I’m trying to do a step a day…so today, I’ll iron them to fabrics. Slow and steady. I also marked the first one that will be embroidered…

I was going to start embroidering last night, but my brain shut down at some point. I was also going to draw the next quilt, even though it doesn’t fit any of the stupid themes I’m supposed to be doing for upcoming shows. Oh well. I’ll make it fit.

Saturday’s hike was interesting…I decided about midway to go further than I usually do. Why? Because I can and because I’d like to hike with my hiking group this summer, and their hikes are usually longer.

I started out fine, but got weirded out in an isolated area with just one guy ahead of me who decidedly didn’t look like he was hiking…

The wonder of being a woman hiking alone.

I played it safe and turned around, and then went up another trail.

More reason to hike with my group, I guess.

The timing doesn’t work right now…not until school gets out.

Honestly, I like hiking alone. I get some peace in my head. I don’t want it to be a social event. I’m an introvert. I need some time without interactions with humans. Maybe not as much time as I have right now, but time with people who don’t require anything from me socially is hard to find.

Hi, Simba.

Tummy rubs are nice.

Entertaining the cats is also nice.

OK, I have to start working. Again. After 4+ hours yesterday and who knows how many last week. Never-ending. Hours. Ugh.

Plain Old Hanging Out

I am taking today off work. It’s the first day I’ve taken off all school year, mostly because the thought of doing it was daunting; the prep alone made me want to build a pillow fort around my school computer and torch it. But I want to see the man, and today is the day he comes off trail, so I’m trying to get some school stuff done quickly this morning, and then I’m driving to Big Bear. Long drive. It’s OK. It’s funny; I was looking at where he might be in three weeks, and if it’s Agua Dulce, it’s a shorter drive than Big Bear. Huh. Weird shit that. Anyway. We’ll see if that works. For now, I know he’s about 6 1/2 miles away from where I can pick him up, and he’s already left, but is planning on napping at the pickup point until I get there. No pressure! I still need to make 7 more posts (of 21) for what my science kids are doing tomorrow, plus warmups, plus all the art posts, and I’m fairly sure I need at least one video for art, but that’s gonna have to wait until Sunday when I get back. Everything else will have to wait until next week. Try telling that to a bunch of middle schoolers and their parents: WAIT! Yeah. It goes down well. So probably all of that is the right eye twitching…it’s been coming and going all week. It hasn’t quite settled in to stay, so that’s a good thing.

In awesome news, a piece of mine has been traveling with the For the Love of Gaia exhibit organized by Luana Rubin. She’s been finding new venues, and it will now be at the Birmingham UK Festival of Quilts at the end of July and at the New England Quilt Museum from January through April of 2022 (another good reason to visit the girlchild). My piece You Pollute Me is traveling with the exhibit.

That’s good news…exciting.

In the meantime, I’m still progressing, albeit slowly, on the current quilt. I finished picking all the fabrics and ironing all the Wonder Under down on Wednesday night.

I will admit to staying up too late, which might have contributed to the eye twitch. Oh well.

It took just over 15 hours to choose fabrics for 890 pieces, and there are 133 fabrics in this quilt. Impressive. Could be worse.

And last night, I started cutting out the pieces.

I’m totally on track…this was my plan, to be able to take this with me to Big Bear and sit on a deck and cut shit out while watching the sky change and talking to the man. Hopefully I’ll finish this weekend, and I can start ironing this thing together. I say that as the Work Brain is politely (is it polite?) knocking at the door of my Day Off Brain and saying, “Um. I know you said you were taking the day off, but have you SEEN your to-do list? I mean…”.

Yeah. I’ve seen it. I’ve also read three books in the last week, because my brain is freaking out. One of them was the first Friendship to the Max volume of Lumberjanes. I’d heard of them. I think I even got this a long time ago as a gift, and never got around to reading it. It was awesome, so awesome that I ordered the other 5 and they’re on their way to me.

Yeah. Me too. Although my three are extremely needy at the moment. Every time I sit or lie anywhere, there’s all of a sudden a cat on my leg or chest, poking tiny claws into me, or headbutting my black shirt, so it’s covered in cat hair. They do reduce my stress with all their need of petting though, so that’s a good thing.

OK, I need to post things, finish packing things, and get in the car and drive. Hopefully there will be calm photos of trees and mountains and things in my future. Strangely, the man does not want to hike with me while we are up there (unfortunate…I need exercise), but we will manage some food and jacuzzi and just plain old hanging out.