Great Combination

June 9, 2018

What I’m supposed to be doing right now is finishing my grades for the 2017-2018 school year. You know, the last grades, the final hurrah, the penultimate (penultimate? Or ultimate? There’s some rule about that, but I can’t be bothered to think about it right now) the penultimate no goddammit, it IS ultimate, but I need a bigger better word for that…supreme? Eh. Anyway. It’s the last grades of the year. Until next September, when we do all this over again.

It’s OK…I’ll finish them eventually. But right now, I’m more obsessed with WordPress’ autosave thing not working and having to constantly tell me about its fucked-up self. Surely there’s a fix for that? IDK what…but annoying much guys? Yeah.

So I’m definitely sick now. Thought I beat it, but it’s back with a snotty vengeance. Plus sleep. Man I need sleep. I want a nap right now. But no. I am awake, it is the right time to be awake, I’ve had one cup of tea, I should be functional.

Yesterday, I made no art. I’d like to make some today, but who really knows if that will be possible. The book I’m trying to finish (and keep out of the hands of the e-library) is all I did yesterday and this morning. I’m a third of the way through it…but really, I need to be grading shit. Seriously…even this is a waste of time right now.

So. Artsy photo of one of my last lessons (nice font, eh?0…

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Came home to Katie and a hummingbird…really need to get spot of dust out of phone. Damn Apple for refusing to do that (“we can replace the camera.” “the camera is new.” “oh. well. then. LIVE WITH DUST.”).

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Katie has now gone on to live with my parents like normal. Good thing…the cats can freely wander again.

Boychild checked in from North Dakota. I didn’t know North Dakota could look like this.

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I went to gaming and worked on a mamba…

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Not the dance. While gaming. We’ve been meeting less often…too many other things going on in a variety of lives.

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I got the mamba done…still need to do the wild dog.

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I finished this block, although the instructions say something about some symbol near the hut, and it’s nowhere to be found in the instructions. Huh. Oh well.

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That shit happens.

Anyway. Today, I’m expecting lots of staring at a computer (only two assignments left to grade, but then inputting a million things and finalizing the other shit)…maybe some hand embroidery while watching a movie…not sure if I’ll be able to handle anything else…it all depends on how long all the finalizing the other shit takes. But then I’ll be done with that until next school year, which is always a lovely feeling. The last 4 days of school still suck, because now you don’t even have grades to hold over their heads, but at least I’ll be able to come home each day and just chill. Mostly.

Until then…grades. Snotty nose. Spacey head. Great combination.


Tomorrow Might Be Good for Something*

May 4, 2018

I have my Star Wars shirt on for school. Wait. No I don’t. I have somebody else’s Star Wars shirt on for school (mine is not necessarily appropriate for school, so I borrowed). May the Fourth be with you. I’m prepared for being a hella bitch today in class to keep kids on task. I’m going to engage my inner General Leia. I will only have to do that in two periods…the other three have figured out that they need to work and are doing so. Then we have a talent show at the end of the day. I have no stage talent at all, so I will be in charge of standing over kids and using sign language and my piercing glare to get them to behave (strangely, it works). I’m already cranky and tired, like almost every teacher at my school…it makes you wonder how we survive the last 29 days. I’m never really sure how we do it. With spit and alcohol and an occasional donut. But we do it. State testing starts next week, so the world gets a little wonky for a few days. I think there’s only two kids in my homeroom that might drive me bonkers for 3 1/2 hours of testing. Wait. No. There’s three. Maybe four. Fuuuck. It’s OK. I’ll feed them and use that piercing glare again and more sign language. It’s doable.

I had my monthly stitching meeting last night, but I am feeling a need to get this quilt done ASAP, so I cut things out instead of stitching…

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I got a good chunk of the pieces done…and then I came home and ironed more…although I was tired, and that doesn’t ever help. I finished ironing down the heart-shaped box and started on the hearth.

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Picking the fabrics for that was harder than I expected. The grays of the fireplace are going to be a pain in the butt. I guess the plus is that once I figure out what four fabrics I’m using (stones, shaded stones, grout, shaded grout), I will just have to pile the pieces up and get them ironed. That first part though, picking them? That sounds really exhausting to me at the moment. I bought one gray I thought would work, but now I’m looking at it and I’m not so sure. I guess at some point I will just make a decision about it. It never seems to be as crucial once I get the quilt ironed together…it’s more like, why did I worry so much about that one piece? I guess that is in my nature.

When I was done with decisionmaking, I hung out for a while. There was a cat for a while in there too…

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But the other cat is nervous about hanging out…so she was still in my office. With an ancient art quilt.

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Girlchild was traveling around. She sent me a lemur…

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I still have most of the last 300 pieces to iron down. I have 9 1/2 hours into the ironing, so I underestimated how much time I would spend staring at bins of grays…because mostly that’s what I’ve been doing. I keep thinking there must be another drawer of them somewhere. I have a fabric I want to use and I can’t find it. I’m not sure if it’s in the grays or the blacks…it runs right in between…but I just can’t find it and it’s one of my favorites. Yup. I have favorites.

Anyway, I’m not busy this weekend (yay!). I have gaming tonight, so I’m not expecting much out of myself after that and school…but maybe? And then tomorrow, after taking limpy dog to the vet, I’m hoping to iron. Like until I’m done maybe. And then I do need to grade stuff, but that’s always a thing. Ugh. Maybe that can wait until Sunday. It’s nice to have an unplanned weekend, because the next three are kind of a mess. What’s new? Yeah. At least I can still make art around all that.

*Matchbox 20, Unwell


Grading and Weeds…

April 14, 2018

I got a good night’s sleep last night after an hour of drawing (yes, only an hour…you can thank my day job for that). It was delightful. Except when one of my neighbors was slamming car doors at 1 AM and the puppy decided he needed to protect us from that.

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Seriously, this dog is the biggest (sweetest) asshole there is. I finally got up and sprayed him with the water bottle (No BARK) and he grumbled for a while, let out a few rebellious yips to show I’m not the boss of him, and then went to sleep. Until 3 AM or so when he did it again. Yup. I’ve got control of that beast.

Yeah, I graded last night. I came home and finished the other big assignment that I was supposed to finish over break. I still have more to do, and progress report grades have to be done in about a week, so I’m trying to be on top of it all. LAST PROGRESS REPORT OF THE SCHOOL YEAR. Yeah. That’s good. I like that. I had to really force myself to grade the last period. I wanted to put it off so bad. But no.

So while we were driving around last week, in the middle of the night (well, no, at 3:11 AM when someone in the hotel room next to us was banging on the door and yelling LET ME IN over and over again), I got this amazing idea for a drawing that related to time (one of the topics I need to hit in an upcoming quilt…I have two dueling deadlines of course). I sketched it briefly and described it (the picture is still indelibly inscribed on my brain, so that’s enough), but now I need to get it out of the head and onto the paper. I tried earlier this week and failed, but I will try again. But when I started trying to draw it, I realized it was going to be huge and massive and I like to do at least one really big quilt a year, usually in the summer, but the deadline for what I was trying to do is early June. So then I thought about this other drawing that I started ages ago and needs finishing and would also work (and would be much smaller and doable in the next two months), so I had sort of decided to pull that one out and finish it for that show, and then draw the other one for summer (although there are two other deadlines I’m interested in for early fall, so there’s that as well. Aaugh.). All that decisionmaking, though, made me give up on trying to do that drawing first, so I started this one.

This one is kind of about me as an artist, starting way back, although not TOO way back, because I don’t remember everything, but just thinking back to what influenced me, what kinds of art I’ve made, what’s made me the artist I am…so that’s this. There is, of course, no guarantee ever that it will get into the show for which I make it…that doesn’t bother me at all. It’s an idea that spoke to me and I’m drawing it. All good.

So when I finished grading, I did some more stuff on the one arm in the air, worked on her hair, added lungs and then worked on the other arm, which lead to upper thighs and a uterus (you knew that was coming, yeah?).

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Obviously there’s some stuff that needs to happen in the middle. That’s still whirling around in my head, although a gingko tree is in there somewhere. I used to be a screenprinter; hence the squeegee.

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I did photography when I was younger…but also sewed. I learned to sew when I was 8. I might have embroidered before that. Thread, fabric…all part of me forever. Art also a part of me forever.

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I’m driving to LA today and talking and taking down a show, so I’m not only missing the March for Science (dammit), but also not getting a lot done today in the art world. The show was supposed to be up for another 3 weeks, so I’m more than a little irritated that we have to do takedown today, but whatever. Some people in the art world are flakes…we all know that.

This popped up in my email as being from 9 years ago (I think actually the book I made from these is 9 years old…some of the pictures may be older). It’s my kids and my brother’s kids…all so tiny and cute.

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And smiling! Mostly. Kinda weird. And no, I still haven’t heard from the girlchild. She’s either walking back from that village tomorrow or Monday, so hopefully she’ll reappear. I know she has to check in with her local advisor every two days, and if there were a problem, he would have contacted us, so that’s what keeps me from freaking out. Mostly. Mom brains. They’re so annoying.

Other annoying things: Apple’s new update to iCloud now does not allow me to select multiple pictures. Their solution says to use iCloud on my PC, except it still thinks I have a corrupt database and wants me to sign out of it. That bug has been around for months with no solution. Buggy as hell. iMessage is also still buggy as hell, and that’s on an Apple device. And then one of my local school board members (one I did NOT vote for) is pro arming teachers…unfortunately, I think it’s another two years before we can vote him out. Sigh. Stupid stuff.

So driving to LA…gonna pray to the traffic goddess for no accidents or stupidity (ha!)…hoping for good attendance at the talk and an easy takedown. Tomorrow? Not much to look forward to…grading and weeds. That’s about it.


All That

December 31, 2017

Ah, December 31, the last day of the year, the day you evaluate everything that happened in the last 365 days (hint: you only remember the super ups and downs mostly) and try to make resolutions for the next 365 days. Is it a leap year? Nope. Then I don’t have to come up with a plan for one more day. Oh good.

As a teacher, I usually make my resolutions in June (I am NEVER doing that again, stuff like that) or August (That would be a GREAT idea, but if it’s not, then it just quietly slides back into the mud or I angst about it for a while before it slides). I resolve to keep trying to make art every day, to keep trying to balance my job and my personal life, to keep the house less chaotic. I will fail horrifically at the last two and soldier on with the first. So there we are. I’d like to try to meditate every day again, but I made that resolution back in August and have sucked mightily at it every day since then. I would also like to exercise more…more dog walks, more hikes, and more gym visits. Maybe that’s the only thing I need to keep in my head…it is probably the most important at the moment.

I’m going to make a list of stuff that needs doing around the house…then maybe some of them will happen. My house is seriously in need of repair, after 15 years post-divorce with no spare cash to fix stuff, let alone remodel. I made it through the living room area, but there are other spaces that need help, and maybe this is the year we start that. I guess last year’s great accomplishment was cleaning out the garage…that was 20 years of accumulation. Thanks to the boychild for that assist. Maybe I should aim for this summer being the great studio/office redo…pull the wallpaper and the peeling flooring, which means pulling My Fabric Stash outta here, and then redoing all of it. New window would be nice. Certainly a cleaner space. Not sure it’s doable, but it’s certainly something I can put on the list, maybe price out what flooring would cost for one of the smallest rooms in the house. Next on the list? A bathroom. Or three. A kitchen. See, those are all big expenditures. Not happening with college still on the to-pay list.

But the brain, it thinks about things to change. Actually making change is hardest. As always.

Some things never change. Dog hugs.

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Yesterday, we went to a basic falconry class that was a Christmas present…it was very cool, not just to see the birds up close, but to learn about how they’re trained…and that they can fly away at any time when hunting.

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Beautiful birds…the one above is a falcon; below is a Harris hawk.

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It was a beautiful day, nice location. I’ll hopefully have photos of my experience sometime soon.

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Afterward, there was food and drink…this ice pattern was the closest we got to winter here in sunny Southern California. Where climate change continues to affect us, right?

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I came home and had some time before the next event…realized I was 4 days behind on this and did some filling in at the top to make it less bumpy.

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Tonight will be the last stitch on it.

Then out to see the band, at a campground on the bay. Strange venue, with the band inside this building with the ice cream store, but all the chairs outside. So I sat out there and listened and drew…not surprising to see this after watching them up close.

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I’ve always drawn birds, but rarely look at photos of them. They’re all fantasy birds. These guys had such long feathered legs and a square stance. I put him in this drawing…

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And then drew this after a long, drawn-out and semi-torturous text thread with the kids about dinner tonight, which the parental units rejected in the end. Whatever…

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I’m kind of annoyed with the whole world at the moment. Probably need to get out and about and get some shit done for that to change.

I came home to a cat who wanted to be up close and personal. Not a lap cat. A chest cat. My chin resting on you cat.

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Too close. Can’t stitch. Pushed him off and worked on the blocks from the Social Justice Sewing Academy. Sewing through glue sucks. But I got more done. So that’s a plus.

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I’m not ready to look 2018 in the eye yet. I’m having a hard time getting too excited about it. Maybe that’s why people make resolutions? I don’t know. Like close out the year and write it off, have gratitude for the good things, resolve to change the bad things. Then it’s a tool for change. OK. Well. I’m still gonna have an idiot as President. I’m still gonna be making art about it. I’m working on some other stuff, positive stuff. I made some changes in 2017…I’ll make some changes in 2018. You’ll see them here. Have a good New Year’s Eve tonight…stay safe and warm as needed. Think I’m gonna read my book and go for a walk and stitch some. Cross some shit off a list. Pet some animals. Maybe play a game. Drink some tea. Eat a decent meal or two. Maybe draw. That. All that.


There’s a Secret Magic Past World*

August 5, 2017

My brain appears to be blank this morning. Or at least the part that’s available for writing is blank. There’s another huge part that’s trying to make a Saturday to-do list. I already know the boychild and I will be making a dumpster run, but he’s hiking right now. I didn’t have the energy to get up early to do that. I’m very protective of the right to sleep in…because I spent years getting up early for soccer games and driving to the middle of nowhere to sit on a wet field and wait for games to start. Plus sleep is this thing I’m always chasing…trying to do it right. Such a joke! Because one night of doing it right is never enough. So people tell me to go to bed earlier. OK. So then I can lie there for even longer, trying to fall asleep. This is not a new thing for me. My whole life has been about bad sleep.

So I had a number of hours in sleep mode last night, but I also had all 4 animals in the room. They were fussy after the boychild left to hike. And the neighbor’s workers showed up. Then Kitten had to boisterously clean all her parts and Calli started to whine about going out. Then Simba started with the snorts he does when he wants to get out of the crate. Sigh. Midnight was the only quiet one. So I’m sitting here, a little drugged on not-sleep, and Kitten is next to the computer, sound asleep. I guess I make her sleep through typing and The Cure, but it does not seem fair. Cat naps. Smart beasts.

So back to today. The last Saturday before school starts. (NOOOOOOOOO!!!!) Got some art stuff tonight. Just heard about another one of the art buildings we’ve visited multiple times…they’re kicking the artists out (Glashaus in Barrio Logan, for those who are local and maybe have gone there). Ripples from the horrendous Ghost Ship fire in Oakland. Artists kicked out before fixing problems? Hard to say what’s happening there, but I know it’s frustrating for the artists in 21 art studios there. The downtown studio I used to have is now all living spaces. They could make more money that way. I couldn’t afford a studio any more…gave mine up when I was pregnant with the boychild. But I loved those spaces, free from the house to-do list. No distractions. Just a pure workspace. I’m lucky to have space in my home and to make art that is safe to do in a house (although we set up the garage space so I can screenprint again if I choose to do so). People working in glass and metal or needing space for kilns or whatever, living in rentals…they absolutely need reasonably priced space to work and store materials. This town doesn’t support that…never has. Art is so important to our existence…I wish the money people would see that and make space for it.

I had a conversation with an artist friend the other day about how we create alone so much of the time. She’s older than I am and the going out and interacting with others gets harder, for sure. I’ve gone through times when I really don’t interact with other artists at all. I’m socially not the best in the world (hello introvert), so that doesn’t help. I can see as mobility and energy lessen that it would be more important to save what you had for making art. Hard to explain that to non artists. But these studio buildings help with that. Plus the exhibition space. I’m going to miss the openings there.

Yesterday, I did manage some stitch down at my last summer daytime quilt meeting…Susan is knitting something that is apparently very brain damaging…

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I got more than halfway done, which is good, although I’m still behind. And I’m not sure how much I’m gonna get done today. Gotta go move some trash.

I worked on this at gaming last night, mostly on the top…but I’m a little concerned about the vast difference in sizes. Hmmm.

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I’m pretty sure they should be the same size. Yikes.

Here’s the back of the stitchdown. I got above the midpoint…

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So that was about 2 1/2 hours. Bodes well for a quick finish, but first I need to load a bunch of crap in my car and try to dump it in my parents’ dumpster (I have permission…just trying to beat the neighbor). And pick up my Earth Stories quilt, which is home after a long trip around the United States without any protests, despite the fuss when I originally suggested a quilt that was about birth control and Planned Parenthood. Which is good…I have a show to enter where that would work.

OK, no matter what, I need to just get my act together. It helps that I’ve had a cup of tea while writing this. My brain responds to caffeine well. Luckily.

*Rocky Votolato, White Daisy Passing


It’s More Likely to Happen if I Talk about It

August 2, 2017

This happens every year. I get close to the beginning of the new school year and I decide to just make art nonstop. Like screw the housecleaning and the to-do list. Probably I should be more mature and get the car smogged and the bedroom out of chaos mode (I have two drawers and the hope chest still…just cannot deal. Cannot.). But no. I need this quilt done. I’m irritated that I’ve finished no quilts in months. This one isn’t even that big…although it does have a ton of pieces.

The last week before going back…it just sucks. You realize how many hours you’re going to lose…not just the hours at school, but it’s back to daily grading and planning, to kid problems that never leave your working brain, to adult drama (seriously), to stupid professional development that aims to teach you what you already know (some day they might differentiate…but it hasn’t happened yet), to endless meetings. UGH. I need to change my mindset. Somehow. Maybe if this summer had been more of a recharge and less like hard work. Reminder for next summer, eh? Then again, LAST summer at about this point, I was getting kicked out of an AQS show for an invisible penis. So. There’s that.

Anyway, I had another dental appointment in the morning, but then came back and refused to do anything but art. That’s not true. I moved a few things into the garage. But the humidity is killing me at the moment. Ugh. So I started ironing. Which isn’t hot at all. Stop laughing.

I did the rest of the hills…hard to see it all in this picture. We got oil things and a dam and a cracked highway and a volcano. Like you do. Some power plants.

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I added some oil drums to the top right…

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Then ironed all the bottom stuff to that…

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It’s super long, so that’s harder than it looks to keep it all attached. Right now it’s all rolled up under where I’m ironing. Somewhat dangerous, as I might accidentally iron it all to itself. That would suck.

I did some of this after dinner. I think I was doing blue in the top, above the tree. Just filling in spaces with whatever makes sense.

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Then back to ironing. I did about 5 hours total yesterday…up to almost 14 hours of ironing at this point, but I’m much closer to done now. These flowers were a bit of a challenge.

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Then the body behind it, attaching it all to the bottom bits and building one arm. The hand went in front of and behind the flowers.

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I did some of the torso (the yellow sun thing) and then turned the teflon sideways to do the other arm separately. I numbered it before the torso, but the torso has to be finished before, because it’s behind the arm. Complicated much?

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Awwww. Tiny bird.

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Then I ironed the other arm where it belongs, although it’s not ironed down where the buildings need to go. I just wanted you to see everything I ironed yesterday. It was a lot of little pieces. I gave up when the buildings were next.

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It was after midnight, I was tired, and I didn’t want to deal with all the tiny windows. Although, now it’s morning and I still don’t want to deal with them. Huh.

So then I was trying to figure out how to photograph this thing. Finished, it’s 61″ long…I’m not finished yet.

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This is a slightly better view. You can see I need to finish the torso, the land above it, and her head.

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So I’m in the 1000s. About 320 pieces to go. That’s it. Then iron it to the background and start ironing it down. See now I can see an endpoint, a light at the end of the tunnel. So it’s really hard to NOT work on it right this second. I have about an hour and a half before I have to leave again. But I need to get the dogs. And really I should clean something (ugh I so don’t want to). I could be done with ironing today if I worked hard and if my schedule allowed. Hard to say if that will happen. Stitch down by tomorrow? Quilting by Friday? I don’t know if I can pull that off. Probably not. But I can talk about it. It’s more likely to happen if I talk about it.


Back from That Soul Vacation*

August 1, 2017

It’s frustrating to keep making plans to get a certain amount of art done, and then you end up barely getting anything done, whether it’s because of limited time or because things take longer than you thought they would (my fault for so many tiny pieces) or even both! Which is what I’m dealing with today…along with a cracked filling that needs replacing because I grind my teeth. The same with exercise and cleaning and organizing and getting everything done. Life is time-consuming.

Anyway, I’m back to the dentist today to deal with the filling, unfortunately…but it’s gotta be done. I don’t know what to tell her about grinding my teeth…I was busted for that the first time my freshman year of college. I need to socket the exercise back in regularly. I am definitely a work in progress. Sigh.

I did some of this while I was finishing something else up…more stitching in the bottom left, the lighter color, pistil stitches and fly stitches.

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And I have almost all of these sewn down…just eyeballs and those big yellow flower things. I need this done by Friday. Maybe Thursday. And I was watching the last bit of an episode I can’t watch on the computer…

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So ironing started late. Same time as when I’m teaching, ironically. What else did I get done yesterday? Some major cleaning in the bedroom again (still not anywhere near done), boychild needed shoes, some other stuff. Then I ironed the rocky crotchland.

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So yeah, this sits right above the legs…and then the land sits above it. Normal people might just do one piece of brown behind all the rocks and water. I am not normal. But I like how it looks, so that’s my problem. I didn’t get much more in height yesterday…

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I did start on the land, but you can see there are a ton of tiny pieces here…

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The sheep will look more sheeplike with outlining. Hopefully. So this afternoon, when I’m recovering from the dental crap, hopefully I’ll be ironing. Before that, I’ll be dumping 10 bags of clothing and other crap at the thrift store. It’s progress. I know when I’m done with this, it will be a good thing. It’s just sucking up so much time. This is nothing new, right? I’m so at peace when I’m ironing though. Makes me want to do more. Less likely to grind my teeth, right?

Anyway. Teeth call. Louder than the other things.

*Train, Drops of Jupiter