Quilt with Wild Abandon…

It’s been a few days. I lost track of them, actually. The wonder of a 3-day weekend when I did things that weren’t schoolwork, right? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I worked a big chunk of Monday, grading shit, but mostly I ignored school. Mostly. Not in my head; just in my practice. It’s hard to do that, because the work has to get done sometime. In fact, a chunk of it needs to be done before school starts in 43 minutes, but it’ll happen. Somehow.

So Friday night was the last time I wrote. Since then, I participated in two Craft Napa events, and I have one coming up this weekend. I was waitlisted on one and offered today to take it, but um, yeah, so like, that’s a school day. So I picked another one instead. It’s OK. It’s really just a chance to hang out and do artsy stuff with other artsy people. The actual project doesn’t probably matter.

So Saturday night was a virtual wine tasting…

It was interesting and a good distraction for a Saturday night. We enjoyed it.

Then Sunday morning, I was up early for a recycled plastics sewing class with Natalya Khorover.

Let’s hope the girlchild doesn’t recognize the bag of hers I cut into. I don’t actually have a ton of plastic bags in the house. We have reusable bags, so not many plastic bags make it in here.

I was going to do this long quote, but decided against it…this was more doable.

I got all the letters stitched down. Need more embellishment. I’ll do that…

It was fun to take a class after months and months of not doing it. I’ve always wanted to go to Craft Napa in person, just as a break, but the timing with school is difficult, plus expense. This was very doable.

I did start quilting as well, but I’ve been plagued with thread breakages…

I’ve tried switching out the needles, conditioning the thread, cleaning everything…probably it’s a burr in the thread plate, so I’ll try to deal with that today.

So I got the bottom three layers done, the fire and rocks, basically…

Pretty damn frustrating, if you ask me.

I don’t really need more frustrating things right now.

What else? Dogs.

Lots of animals require attention here. I’m OK with that most of the time.

The man is getting his Pacific Coast Trail permit day today. We think. Hoping for the end of my Spring Break, so we can do a little camping/hiking together before he leaves for potentially 5 months.

I’m almost done with this thing…

A few more TV episodes after dinner and it will be done. Stick it in a frame and mail it to its new owner.

OK, now I can go do the school stuff I need to do and teach all day and then maybe hopefully go for a walk. Then sand down the potential burr on my needle plate and hopefully quilt with wild abandon tonight until I need to go to bed to repeat tomorrow…tomorrow, inauguration day, when hopefully the crazy insurrectionists won’t do something really stupid and irreversible. Sigh. We can all hope for some semblance of order and peace, ’til we return to trying to figure out how to mend a bunch of stuff in our country and help people accept more variety in their worlds than they’re used to. Whatever that looks like…because honestly, some days, I don’t know. Until then, I need to answer an email from a kid that came in at midnight (I ignored it) and do all the shit I forgot to do yesterday. Sigh.

Really Hard Dirt

I meant to write this in the morning, before school, but I worked instead. I thought about writing it in the afternoon, but I had to deliver art supplies to students who can’t leave their homes. I got home after that and had a little time before gaming tonight, but instead of writing this, I talked to my mom about my dad coming home in the next few weeks, which is good news, but a little frightening as well. I’m going to go see him this weekend; I get to talk to him through a window. I could go now, but it’s close to midnight and if I know my dad, he’s asleep. Hopefully. I might go to bed before I ever finish writing this. I was up late last night and didn’t sleep well; I had a really low blood sugar drop, no reason that we could see, and it really messed up my nighttime routine. You know, sleep and all. It took a while to come back up, and then I woke up a few times at night to check it. It’s happened once before, about a year ago, and the phone nurse just keeps asking me if I’m sick and did I eat. Well yeah, I did eat and no, I’m not sick. So I just took my insulin tonight and I’m kinda watching the clock and giving it some time to make sure everything is OK tonight. Hopefully. Because I need the sleep. And I need some time this weekend to get some work done, because I didn’t get any done tonight, art or otherwise. Good thing it’s a 3-day weekend.

Wednesday night, I finished the stitchdown on the current quilt…

It took just under 5 hours to do that…not bad…

I wasn’t sure I’d get her sandwiched and pinbasted last night…it was a long day, and it meant mopping the floor first, but I pulled it off…

Sometimes I have energy and I do shit.

It’s not actually a huge quilt…just has a lot of pieces in it for its size. I should be able to start quilting this weekend; we’ll see how that goes, because Craft Napa started on Wednesday. I was able to hang out in the Welcome group for about 50 minutes, until I had to go to a union meeting. I spent most of Wednesday’s prep period, 5th period while kids were working, the Craft Napa meeting, and the union meeting sorting art supplies for my 72 online art students.

I actually had a fairly impressive stash of colored paper. Anyway, I delivered those envelopes Wednesday night around 8 PM, and then today, hand delivered a few of them. In general, I make them go get them from school. As always, some kid three weeks from now will tell me they didn’t even know about this and it’s not their fault they couldn’t do the project. Sigh. I put a lot of time into my classes. Sometimes I don’t want to, but I really don’t know how to half-ass it. Although I lost my mind on Wednesday when they pushed one of my classes to 40 kids. Apparently that is my line: 40 kids in a class. They fixed it (the kid really was supposed to go to another teacher), but I’m still annoyed with myself that my mindset for the 2nd half of the year went out the window in just three days. That said, they flipped about 5 kids from hybrid to distance and back, and then gave me three additional students, so I suspect my crazy was somewhat justified.

Anyway, I have one Craft Napa class on Sunday and another next Saturday, plus the wine tasting tomorrow night, although after the blood sugar thing last night, I’m cautious about that. No, I wasn’t drinking either last night…you sound like the nurse. No no no no no. I wasn’t doing any of those things. Sigh. Stupid body. I hate when you feel like you can’t trust your body. It sucks. Anyway, knock on wood that it was a one-off. Again. The second time.

I’m still chugging away on this…

I might find the pattern designer at some point and post it with this. I might. I’m using stash. One of the designers I follow was asking if people preferred kits or PDF patterns, and it’s not that I don’t like kits, they’re easy, but I have all the floss in the world (I say that, but I had to buy 3 skeins for this one because they were using all the new colors) and besides, I have a dog who eats patterns, and if it was a kit, I would have to buy another one to get the pattern, unless the designer was really nice (dude, I would totally send pictures), but with a PDF file, you can just print another one.

Kitten agrees.

No art tonight. No energy either. I do however have excited sourdough starter.

Can’t argue with that. I’m making sourdough focaccia tomorrow. Or Sunday. Hard to say. I never get the timing right.

I’m teaching radial zendoodles for warmup this week.

These are the practice ones, which all look like hydras. Really, I’m teaching kids how to fold carefully, because that seems to be the bigger issue.

We got this freebie cat tent when the kittens came over a year ago. Nova would sleep on it. Luna would kamikaze all over it, but this is the first time anyone (Kitten) has slept in it.

We planted the Christmas tree…Calli for size.

Of course, that makes me sad, because in a year, when I check the size again, odds are Calli won’t be around. But she’s cute. I don’t know why I say “we” planted the tree. I whacked the bottom with the shovel to break up the roots and helped shove dirt into the hole, but the boychild did the rest, including digging a hole in rock. Or really hard dirt. Maybe really hard dirt is just rock.

OK, I’m feeling OK. It’s 45 minutes since the insulin. I’m going to test my blood and crawl into bed, hopefully for better sleep than last night. Wish me luck. Then do some exercise this weekend, hang out with some quilt artists, do some schoolwork, quilt a little, see my dad through a window, and hope the body and brain feel better at the end of it.

I See Things…

Impeach. Jail. Hey, have there been any cases yet in the courts brought by people who got COVID from assholes who refused to wear masks in their presence? I wonder. I’m thinking of Representatives Jayapal and Watson Coleman, who were sheltering in a space with Republican (what do you call them when they are House and Senate? The article said ‘lawmakers’, but I’m having a distinct issue with calling them that right now…let’s just call them…) assholes who refused to wear masks, and to quote Rep. Jayapal, “I just received a positive COVID-19 test result after being locked down in a secured room at the Capitol where several Republicans not only cruelly refused to wear a mask but recklessly mocked colleagues and staff who offered them one.” MOCKED. Fuck them. She wants fines levied. I want them arrested. There are diseases out there that carry jail terms.

I’m saying this as my family sits on pins and needles, watching my dad for symptoms (none so far) and I listen to a friend who is losing her mom to this disease, and it’s hard to hear, because I know we’re all a step away, a fucking short step for some of us, from losing someone we love. This thing ain’t over yet. Buckle down and put your fucking masks on.

Do I think it’s worthwhile to impeach the president? Fuck yes. Make a point. Look at the law and how many broke it…in Congress too. You tweeted locations? You’re out. You opened doors? You’re out. You colluded in creating that chaos? GET THE FUCK OUT. The president and his flunkies thought it was funny to rile people up to attack the Capitol. Anyone who thinks arresting those people and putting them in jail or impeaching the president will make things worse…dayum, you have NOT been paying attention. If I, an educated white woman, with all the privilege that brings, am sitting around with a rock in my gut, worried about the state of my country, worried about people with guns who want a revolution (and just to say, I am not and never will be worried about BLM protestors…they aren’t the problem…they’re the voice of the fucking solution), worried about people who think THIS election was stolen, but the last one was somehow different? You don’t have to be woke to see that shit is going down right now, that unity is the last thing we’re getting right now. Unity with terrorists? Fuck that shit. WTF, people. WTF. And if that election was stolen (it wasn’t), there are some senators and congressmen who need to step down, because they weren’t really elected. Ted Cruz, I believe I’m talking to you…and a few others.

I’d love to see the Republican party clean house and go back to the semi-competence of years past, where we hated them for their stupid kneejerk policies about war and the environment and immigration that seem incredibly SANE after the last four years. I honestly think school should be called off for Inauguration Day, because I don’t see us getting through it without some crazy news from somewhere.

Still working on a quilt from all this, somehow. I had one draw itself in my head the other morning while I was in the shower. No time to draw right now. School is overwhelming and exhausting, and we’re only on Day 3. I’m not allowed to talk about any of the above stuff with my students, unless they bring it up, and then only in general terms, no politics. I know. I always roll that way. Although with some of what I teach, it’s hard for my political beliefs NOT to show. I say “where’s the evidence of that” a lot. I taught “coping with stress” yesterday as part of trying to touch on whatever they might be dealing with at home. Uncertainty should be next on my list…but the counseling department hasn’t released that slide show yet.

In the midst of all the political crap, I am trying to be sane about work. Ignoring parent and student emails if they come in after 5 PM…until the next morning. Taking some time at lunch to NOT work. Read my book instead. My book about fairy tales where women are taking the reins. Sigh. I wake up in the mornings to the alarm and I’m in the middle of dreams, dreams where I’m driving away from everything, but I’ve forgotten all the stuff I need, I’m breaking into houses where no one lives and trying to set up shop, but I’ve left my computer (which, by the way, is an Apple 2e from the 80s…no idea why I couldn’t dream a nice laptop instead) somewhere else and I have to go back into the unsafe zone to get it. I’m exhausted and it’s only Wednesday. Yeah OK. We’re back.

This made me laugh. Because hey, I’m Antifa, by the way…antifascist? Totally…

And I wear all black pretty often. So yeah. Blame me for those things that QAnon actually did. And posted all over social media.

I’ve been doing a little stitchdown every night. Actually, the first night, it was a whopping 15 minutes, but I managed 90 minutes Monday and Tuesday nights.

So I have about 3 1/2 hours done, and I made it up into the sky…

Just barely, but I haven’t finished the torso and head of the body…

The machine was being cranky last night after running super smoothly on Monday night. So I took everything apart a couple of times, tore some stitching out, and got it working well again. More tonight. Wait. I think. Honestly can’t remember what tonight is. Oh yeah, it’s Wednesday. Union meeting, pilates, need to deliver supplies to school, don’t know when the fuck I’m going to do that. Really need the art teacher to answer email. My frustration levels with the system are high.

But I should finish up the stitchdown sometime this week and hopefully get it pinbasted this weekend and start the quilting. I did sign up for Craft Napa this weekend, and am taking two classes (but one is next weekend), just for the experience with the teachers. I don’t really NEED to take classes, y’all, but sometimes it’s good to stretch your brain beyond what you’ve been doing.

I walked after work yesterday…

Into the sunset…

And into dusk…it’s staying lighter later…

Need to reinstate walking the dogs with the boychild…soon. Almost light enough for that.

Got a little more done of this…actually, I have more than this done.

Forgot to photograph it last night. Whoops. Oh well, you’ll see it soon enough. This is a pattern and it’s for someone, not me.

Girlchild sent a baby seal photo…

Hope mom is coming back for it.

OK, I’m panicking a little about school today, only because I need stuff decided for tomorrow OR I’m doing it all on my own with so little information. That’s kind of the story of the year. My superintendent reminding me not to politicize shit, but ALSO reminding me of my wellbeing and self-care, while the assistant superintendent sends a crazy (must have been a draft), badly written and honestly accusatory email about how we need to personally instruct each child at their level of reading. You know what? I invite her to teach my one class of 39 with 11 special education students (I have more than one class with 39 kids, by the way), and to show me what that would look like. A personal reading plan for each of those students with no working curriculum at their level. I’d really like to see that. You tell us this and then tell us we can’t have any reading material below a 4th-grade level…when the average reading level at my school is 2nd grade. Way to support us. Thanks.

I’m glad my dad is not showing symptoms. I hope that continues. I’m glad I’m finally at the stitchdown phase of this quilt. I hope I finish it. I hope I can find a way to draw the political turmoil for the next quilt. I want to get plenty of exercise and more sleep (ha!) and work on the rock in my gut. Today, I want the patience to deal with whatever comes up without feeling like I’m losing my mind. And I need another cup of tea. See? I have hope. I look into the future and I see things. Some very far away things, and some that might be this weekend, and in the case of the tea? About 10 minutes from now.

May I…

Well, that came up quickly. I have 5 minutes to write this post. There’s no way I can do that. What happened to the morning already? Oh yeah, I did 5 work things before I sat down to write. Duh. I still don’t know what I’m doing for my art warmup today…should figure that out. My brain is all over the place. AND tired. Not a good combination.

In art news, I finished painting the 4th background…

Saturday night? Because that’s what you do.

Hopefully I will now start drawing on them, instead of being terrified to do anything to them. We’ll see how that goes.

I cut the pieces out for one of my Applique Stories women.

She seems surprised. Need to stitch all this down.

And I finally started stitchdown on the current quilt.

I only got 15 minutes in last night before I persuaded myself to go to bed. Hopefully more tonight.

Kitten is a great support.

Saturday afternoon’s 4-mile walk was full of people…

But mostly flat, and that was requested, so there we are.

Ugh. I’m so tired. It’s OK. I’ll figure my shit out. Hopefully. First day back to school in 2021. May it go well. May I figure out what the hell I’m doing.

That’s What Summer Is for…

Ah yes. It’s late on Friday night. Well, not super late, but late enough that many of you have said goodbye to Friday (if you even know it’s Friday at all) and some are well into Saturday. Or Sunday. I can’t tell. Australia, you are crazy with the days and hours thing and it could be August by now for you all as far as I know. Plus it’s winter and that just blows my mind. In fact, I think I want to live there just for a year or so, just so I can come back and NOT think that August equals hot and February equals rain, but only a little bit, because we are Southern California in a drought for all eternity.

Why am I writing so late? Well, there was a chance on Wednesday of going to the zoo, and that didn’t happen, so today ended up being the only day available forever more that wouldn’t be a weekend, and when you’re trying to avoid people, weekends are not the way to go, so we got our butts out of bed at a reasonable hour and went to the zoo. More on that later, but it was a better social-distancing experiment than I think school will be, although there were times when I thought, oh yeah, this is JUST LIKE what school will be like, and it was mostly when I was around either people or primates. Wait. We’re primates. So it’s the damn primates. We don’t do this well. Although really, I’d rather hang with the orangutans. Not the baboons. Them’s vicious bastards. MORE LATER.

So I wrote on Wednesday last, and Wednesday night, I did some stitch down…

And I kind of got to this point where I said I would use the two meetings (both social, online) I had on Thursday to finish the stitchdown, because I had other stuff (sewing stuff) I had to finish and I needed the machine for that, and I hate switching needles and thread, so I just went for it…

It’s been hot. I have two fans I’m using in here.

And besides having to be the expert on whether or not we should open schools next month [um. If you won’t open a restaurant, why the fuck would you open a school? Because you hate teachers and want them to die? Don’t even ask me about the kids who will get sick and potentially die (none here in the age group I teach, which is great, but won’t continue if we open schools), and worse, take the disease home to family members.]. Wait, I was in the middle of a sentence. Besides having to be the expert on opening schools (no. don’t.), I just stitched.

And at 10 hours and 7 minutes…

I was done. The batting will be here tomorrow, but I had other things I had to get done, so my backing isn’t pieced yet…hopefully Sunday.

My quilt guild had a stitch along for the last 4 or 5 weeks (I can’t count. Please don’t make me.), and I needed to be done by midnight tonight. Yesterday, after finishing the stitchdown, I trimmed all the blocks…except one was too small.

Yup. That red one. I added a strip to make it work. And then I laid them all out again, and because I’d seen some other people spread them out more, I got a stupid bug up my butt and pulled 5 of the blocks out of the center bit, added more white/black, and pushed them into the border…

Because why make it easy? In fact, I have no need for an abstract quilt on the wall, so this needs to be even bigger. IDK what I will do about that, but I did piece the whole center together last night.

And then put the borders on today, after the zoo.

Looks good. All I need to do is decide how I will make it bigger, sandwich, quilt it, bind it, and then toss it on the couch for cats and dogs to sleep on it. Right? Sure. The point is that I finished it on time. The pattern is Abstract Arcs by Cotton and Bourbon. Look! I pieced something.

I’m still trying to finish all the grass on this, Folk Tails, by Sue Spargo. I found another spool of green thread and jokingly said I knew I was done with the grass when I’d run out of green thread. Um. No. So this was after Thursday’s second meeting of the day…

At this point, I think I’m done with the bottom three rows, but when I look at it like this, I see stuff that bugs me…so when I sewed these two blocks, they had the grass already on them, unlike the bits I’ve been adding. But it’s so obvious that it stops at the edge of the block that it bugs me…

So I had to go in and add more grass over the seams to make it look less like straight lines. Taking photos of this stuff helps see crazy things like that, which will drive me nuts if I don’t fix them. Then tonight during gaming, I kept going on the grass…yeah, I know there’s a cat on there, but I might be close to done with grass stitching.

I’m seeing maybe one or two places that need more. “MORE”, because if you look at her photo of it on the website, she added a gazillion more bits of grass from the pattern, and I don’t have that kind of patience. So the next step is to put the borders on. Wow. Another almost finished Sue Spargo Block of the Month. Well done.

So I also drew two more of the tattoo quilt blocks…

Again, these aren’t mine. I’m taking a paper-piecing pattern by Happy Sew Lucky and shrinking it and turning it into applique. I like the images, but I don’t like paper piecing. I also need to draw some stuff for the next Patreon rewards. Maybe that will also be tomorrow. We’ll see.

If you’ve met me more than once or twice, you know this about me.

Strangely, it does not translate to my on-video self.

OK, so the zoo. We were there for about 2 1/2 hours, and at the end, we were mostly done with people. There were more and more who were either lame as fuck about social distancing, or wouldn’t move out of the way so everyone could see the animals, or would get in our personal space, or flat out weren’t wearing a mask. That last category was pretty small, actually, which is a good thing. I feel like all school year, I will be saying, “Mask ON. Six FEET.” T-shirts to come. That said, it was outside and a walk and the baby animals are cute as hell…

The baby orangutan playing with the baby siamang.

They were adorable.

There were lots of sleeping cats…

It was a warm day.

Honestly, even mine sleep in this heat…

Except this guy…

A new dad who kept coming over to this fence to check out mom and babies…

She was, in the way of all new moms, fully into Fuck Off, You Did This to Me, and hanging with the babes.

So the baboons were yelling at each other and chasing each other around the enclosure.

Let me be clear, the ones with penises were chasing each other and everyone else was just running around either trying to figure out what was going on, or trying to avoid it. Just like in real life. So many things to feel about that. We never figured out what was really wrong…also like real life.

This baboon had the best hair.

I mean, I know they groom each other, but my hair NEVER looks that good. I was jealous.

Yes, this is a photo of a tapir peeing in the water. Not because it was peeing but because the pee was making this crystalline pattern in the water…

Which you can sort of see here, but it was much more impressive in person. Me wondering about the chemical properties of tapir pee. Really.

Secretary birds are just weird.

Some guy walked by and said they were ugly. Nah. Just fascinating.

I don’t find many animals ugly. Humans? Well, that’s another story, but it’s really the insides and not the outsides.

Lots of funny little birds to be seen.

This is hanging down bird…

And its twin…wait…it’s still a hanging bird, but this one is doing it wrong…

Or maybe it was called an upside-down bird. Can’t remember. That was its name though…the assumption that it was always upside down.

The flamingos are probably the most photographed bird at the zoo…

Because they’re bright and flashy and right up front.

Otis the hippo was born in 1976, I think.

He’s very still.

This tiger was finding food in hidden locations…

Kudos to the zoo keepers for keeping them hunting…

It was a nice morning out…well worth it. And I felt less violated by people than I do when going shopping, so that was a plus. I’d do it again.

Calli’s not sure.

I took her in the pool for a cooling-off swim…

Yes, Luna is even squishier than she was last time.

I don’t understand this.

We still have monarchs on the milkweed…

Always nice. Oh yeah, and I made blueberry cobbler to use up the berries before they went bad.

I think I like a crisp more than a cobbler, in case anyone is keeping track. There are more berries coming. I’ll make the crisp next week.

OK, it’s late and I’m tired. I’m going to do the dishes I got dirty and then go to bed. Tomorrow, I’ll finish the copyediting and go to the quilt guild zoom, and then see what else I have the energy for…maybe nothing. And that’s OK. I have been working pretty steadily all week. It’ll be nice not to be copyediting or doing school for once. But then we need to do the other fence…so that’s a different kind of work. And more art! I need to make more art. That’s what summer is for.

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.

Damn Society and Its Norms

Yo. I started this a while ago, but boychild ended up on the roof and tools were involved and somehow I was also involved. That’s all you really need to know, except that the cable is now attached again and the palms are mostly trimmed. I also probably have a lot of dirt in my hair, which is awesome, because I had already showered and I have a dental appointment today and no, I’m not showering again. I also have about 17 million errands I need to run, which is nerve-wracking, because you know, virus from hell abounds. San Diego is a mess and I’m kinda glad I sent the girlchild away, because at least she’s in a sane place where people are not dumbasses about masks and sheltering in place, like WTF the beaches on the weekend? Anyway. Sigh. So there’s that.

I did drag the pup to the vet this morning too…he has to get his teeth cleaned so we don’t have to pull more like we did before. Brushing teeth isn’t really successful with him for so many reasons. He was sure we were going for a special mommy-doggy walk this morning…

Poor baby. So sorry. He cried when we pulled up to the vet and then climbed into my lap. I felt horrible. First I ship his favorite person to Boston, then I put him in the crate to sleep last night because the bed isn’t big enough for all the furry beasts who want to be on it, then I don’t feed him breakfast this morning, and then I take him to the vet. I am pure evil. I will give him love and treats when he returns.

So the 4th was pretty quiet here. I copyedited a bunch, and I made my first loaf of sourdough…

Just when most people have given up on it or have truly gotten into their bread groove, I’m just starting.

It needed about 5 more minutes, but it tastes wonderful toasted. Plus our parchment paper sucks, so I’ll have to work on that. Better parchment paper or more flour. Parchment paper is mostly edible.

I also went for a long walk on the 4th…locally, not in the wildlife reserve…although that might have been smart. It was super hot though…

I haven’t tried going back to the gym yet. They opened with limited times and slots last week.

For now, this works. I could go use the machines and then go across the street to the reserve and hike, instead of doing the cardio there. I still need a better face mask for exercising. Working on it.

It was a bright and beautiful day.

Really, I just needed to get out and walk off the week’s stress. After that, we ate dinner and drove over near my parents’ house for a better view of one of the few sanctioned fireworks displays…not that the neighbors didn’t set off a bunch of illegal crap. It’s a good thing nothing burned down. Everything is so dry.

Yesterday, I watered the dog…

I only let her swim a little bit. She gets too tired. But it also cools her off. And then we sit on the deck together (and even the little boy comes out to be a guard dog for all the bunnies on the property)…

It’s all good. Last night, I took some time and stitched while watching the last episode of Unforgotten, Season 3. I got the stuff stitched down for these two blocks, from Sue Spargo’s Homegrown Block of the Month…Kitten did not help. Yes, my windows are crooked.

I’m OK with that. This is mindless stuff, but also achievable. I’m into that right now…stuff that doesn’t take a lot of brain power.

Even this is like that…I stitched down for a couple of hours, with the fan pointed directly at me. Which reminds me, there are two fans in this room. I should plug the other one in too…

This room just gets warm. I should replace the sliding glass door for something more efficient. It’s old and hard to move. I have to go outside and fuck with it and then come inside, and worry about the cats getting out. Sigh. Anyway.

I got all of Figure 3 stitched down, and just need to do the landscape where the gravestone is and up behind her. Plus then finish Figure 2 and the two angels and the skelly and and and. There’s plenty left. I don’t think I’m halfway through yet.

Well, my dental appointment just got moved up two hours because people are canceling…interesting that it’s all last minute. And my laundry needs folding and the palms need trimming and I still have those 17 million errands and I haven’t copyedited anything today. Plus lunch…WTF am I going to do about that now? Sigh. OK. Well, it’s better getting the dentist over earlier and going to get my TB test right after, and then we’ll see what I can handle today. I’m tired as hell from not sleeping well last night (it was hot and I was anxious…welcome to my summer experience). I’m going to go make more tea, put a bra back on (damn society and its norms), and then figure out how to get shit done. Hopefully there will be some copyediting and artmaking at some point. We’ll see.

Something on That Magnitude…

Well, it’s been a rough week. Hopefully next week will feel better. The girlchild is finally in Boston, the sourdough starter and I have been close and complicated, and I have 9 new boxes of fabric. The boxes are new to me, the fabric is new to me, none of it is actually new.

Before you do anything else, watch this video. It’s the 4th of July, a weird one, to be sure, but this is video of Frederick Douglass’ speech about what the 4th means to him, read by his descendants. And it’s hard to hear, because so much hasn’t changed…but they all still have hope. I have hope. Didn’t mean I didn’t cry to hear the words, because honestly, it’s hard to know how to fix it all (burn it all down! and start over…). But watch them. It’s only 6 minutes of your lives. You can give them that.

Yeah. Told you they were awesome. In youth, I see hope.

So. It’s Independence Day. It’s warm, there will be fireworks, but we can’t see them from here, and we can’t gather…so we’re gonna take a drive to my parents’ house and see if we can see them from there. I spent yesterday mostly copyediting…I’m going to do more of that today. I set a goal to be done next Saturday, so I’m sticking to my 4-5 hours a day. Nothing else really needs to get done, although exercise would be nice.

I did finish all the blocks for the Abstract Arcs quilt on Thursday…

They all need to be trimmed and sized…

That’s next week.

I’m not great at piecing accurately. I don’t do it a lot. I did lay them all out and stare at them and move them around until I got this…

I’ll have to stare at it for a while and decide if that’s it. Right now, it looks mostly OK. My real goal was to get the piecing done so I could start the stitch down on the big honking thing that was on my ironing board…

You wanna talk meditative? It’s pushing and pulling this thing under the machine, stitching down every piece. And I did a good job attaching everything in that four hours I took, so it’s been really easy and trouble-free so far (knock on wood, because that’s not always the case).

I am running out of thread, though, and I haven’t considered the background. I don’t really WANT to go to JoAnns for thread (or anything), but it seems we’ve moved past the “only buy stuff online” stage that I was at with the last quilt, and now we are in the “you can go to stores, but be smart about it” stage. There’s probably another 7 hours of stitch down to go…

I am going out more now than I was 3.5 months ago. I don’t necessarily like it, but I try to be careful. I have something right now that needs to go to the post office, another thing where I can go to the post office with it or go to the actual store to return it. They warn that mailing it will take 4-6 weeks to refund. Hmmm. Then I need a TB test for school, which is two trips…one to get poked, one to get the poke seen. Maybe the second part can be a video call? Who knows. They were jerks when I called, so I will find out when I go in. Plus I have dentist next week. And today, I drove to a friend’s house…she’s moving and downsizing her fabric stash. So I benefited…

Oh yeah, that’s exciting. I really do like adopting other peoples’ stashes. I tend to buy the same types of fabrics, and this is a way of infusing my stash with another person’s eyeball. Stuff I never would have bought gets incorporated into my quilts. Now finding room for all this will be a challenge, but the boychild and I were talking about some of the stuff in my office that I never touch that could be boxed up. So now I need some big plastic boxes for the garage, I guess. Summer is all about organization.

It’s also about breadmaking. I started with sourdough starter back in March; then the girlchild came home and took over (I’m pretty sure she tossed my starter and started over). She’s kind of awesome and obsessive about cooking, whereas I am mostly lackadaisical. That’s probably not a great trait for baking bread. Many people have sent me links to easy recipes, but I’m following the one my daughter liked, which is A Beautiful Plate, her artisan sourdough. No, it’s not easy. But I have an expert I can text at any time.

This is useful to me. Plus there’s videos. Here’s my starter after being fed yesterday. Then I incorporated it into the autolyse…

And then I stopped taking pictures. I did a bunch of things to the dough yesterday afternoon and evening, and then it went into the fridge overnight, where it still is…doing its thing. Hopefully later today, that thing will be baking bread that is tasty and has the appropriate number and size of holes in it. We’ll see how that goes.

Anyway, it’s a thing I’m doing. Better than this…

Although that might be a stress reliever of sorts.

Calli needed pool time, so that’s up to me or the boychild now…

She’s old and now gets all the treats. She’s eating a pine cone and just happens to be lying on a plant runner that really should get trimmed the next time I sit out there with her.

She’s a good girl. I keep telling her that. She’s another thing that makes me cry this summer. Ah well. Lots of pets and dips in the pool and maybe even bits of bread, because she really likes bread. A lot.

Luna has picked a box and will be in it. Her feet are the best part.

All the cats have their spots. Kitten has claimed this green fabric drawer.

No one may have fabric from this drawer. Only her.

Here’s the bunny who lives under my front deck and thoroughly irritates the little dog and the cats with its presence.

It’s cute. Watch out for coyotes! We’ve got those, for sure.

OK, so the internet was an asshole while I was trying to write this, so I did some other things, like eat lunch and find the ricecakes the girlchild left here and no one else will eat. I might feel that way about the raisins too, but I’m willing to listen to the boychild on that. I really want to do some creative fabric things right now, but I’m being a responsible adult and will (a) process the video for my Patreon July post, and then (b) do some copyediting. And then we will figure out the whole dinner-on-a-holiday thing and drive to my parents’ house to see if we can observe fireworks. Then back here for sleep and all that. It’s not exciting, but it’s relatively safe, so there’s that. Next week, I will figure out how to buy thread and organize fabric and do all the things I’m supposed to do. Happy 4th for those who celebrate, and if you don’t because you are an American and it doesn’t feel very American, I’m sorry. I love fireworks and staring up into the dark blue sky to see them explode, and I hope you get to enjoy something on that magnitude.

In That We Flail…

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

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

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

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

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

There’s never anything there.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I even recorded some of this for my Patreon folks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seriously need washing…a different view…

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

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

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

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

This is what kept me up until 1 AM.

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

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

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

Weird. We used to be the trash dump?

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

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

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

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

Nature Has No Idea…

Hey. It’s Saturday, right? I’m currently watching a webinar on the SAQA virtual conference that was supposed to be in Toronto…the opportunity to hear and see the speakers is nice, although I missed a lot of yesterday. They were recorded though, so I can watch later. I’ve never been able to actually attend a real conference, so this is nice, plus maybe it helps SAQA cover some of their conference costs from canceling. It’s really important that we try to give back to some of these groups and companies that are hard hit by the community and state shutdowns. As much as we can, anyway. I’m lucky to still be paid under contract, but the future is making me a bit nervous for all of us, in terms of health and money.

Yesterday was a strange day, highs and lows…trying to ignore the lows because they don’t deserve my energy right now.

The boychild and I went for a 6 1/2-mile hike locally, at Sycamore Canyon/Goodan Ranch. It’s not as busy as some of the other locations in the area (just down the road from Iron Mountain), which is better for social distancing.

There were about 4 or 5 other groups we saw over the whole hike, but otherwise it was pretty isolated.

This is obviously a yucca pre-bloom, but it looks different than what I’m used to seeing…

The weather was perfect…not too warm, not too cold, no rain, although it was cloudy for much of it.

Trying to get enough exercise to sleep well and push some of the anxiety away has been difficult. My next step is to try and bookmark some of the videos from the gym and pilates studio and get my butt in gear.

We were really looking forward to our Spring Break trip of California National Parks, but with a cancellation of one of our Airbnbs and yesterday, the parks themselves are closing campgrounds, it seems that we are not going anywhere.

And we’re not sure when that will change, unfortunately. Let’s hope it’s sooner rather than later, but certainly watching the numbers on COVID-19 is not promising. Although California is supposed to be shut down, there are still lots of people going out and doing things…100 kids out in our mountains hanging out together yesterday…because kids think they are immortal, yeah? That’s what they think. Sigh.

For this hike, we go along a ridge and then down into that valley…then through that valley and back up and out. Like twice. It was a bunch of up and down, but nothing undoable.

My legs feel better today. Although this sign makes me laugh every time (it’s for bikes, not humans).

Pretty sure I never hit the 5 MPH mark. And I jogged a little bit (it’s easier to jog going downhill sometimes than walking, although my brain kept saying ‘Now is not the time to break your damn leg, woman!’).

A bunch of fungus among us…

These are fascinating…

This area burned in a wildfire 17 or so years ago…this is a burned log keeping a whole host of fungus alive.

There are signs all over, but this warns me that the next up is that piece…Cardiac Hill.

It’s actually not horrible. I stopped a few times. It’s up. Boychild often ditches me in these situations…

He waits for me at junctions. Lots of flowers around…

Spring is coming…and signs of deer!

Although we didn’t see one in person. Wrong time of day.

We got to the top and found we were victims of assholes…

Apparently this parking lot has an issue with break-ins. It’s pretty isolated. In all my years of hiking, this is the first time we’ve had this happen. There was nothing of value in the car…they just rifled through the glove box and the console. Unhappy with my about-to-expire National Park Pass, my sunscreen, and my umbrella. They got nothing. Stupid. Pain in my butt.

Oh well. I believe in karma.

Seriously. Even when we are locked down in a pandemic, people will be assholes. Hence the lack of toilet paper in our stores. Still. So today, a guy is coming to my driveway and installing a new window (apparently that is an essential business) and I will hand him a check and then disinfect the glass? This is so difficult. Could I live without a window? Sure…


We came home, we tested a Discord server for gaming next week, and the girlchild came home…

It looks like she’s reading to the dog, but she’s not. She was laid off by her company and we suspect trying to get a job is somewhat impossible right now. She’s trying. She’ll try applying for unemployment. And yeah, we flew her on a plane with like 8 other people (JetBlue is starting to ground flights soon, so that might have been one of the last flights that didn’t get canceled). We’re keeping her away from the older people in the family, but we still have two going to work between the two households (mine and my ex’s, and the kids go back and forth until someone gets sick), because they are also apparently essential. I’m lucky to not have any requirements right now beyond checking email, although that may change in the future. She’s not here forever. Just until we figure shit out. By WE I mean HER. Meanwhile, she gets doggy love.

My lemon tree has new leaves…

Nature has no idea. And that’s OK. This bird was bathing in the water in the tray under our Christmas tree, which lives outside on the deck for most of the year.

Now I need a birdbath.

These arrived yesterday, the newest shipment in the Anna Maria Horner Applique Stories. I’m going to make another woman block…and then embroider it.

The fabrics are a challenge. The solid peach is the easy skin color, so I won’t be using it for her flesh. I stared at the fabrics for at least a week last time before deciding what to do. I can use one as a background, although last time, I decided to use something very bland and calm from my stash (maybe that’s what the peach is for?), because the rest of it was so out there. Anyway…expect something to happen with these in the next few days. Because I can. I really like most of them…solids are not my favorites and the lavender roses are Eh, but that’s the best part of this…the olive fabric is such a stretch…I love it.

Maybe this virus lets me just make what I want. OK, I’m still having a hard time with that.

Although I stitched wool for a bit last night (sorry, forgot about a photo…try tomorrow)…I eventually got up off the couch with my post-hike tired self and came in here and started the stitch down…

So meditative. So relaxing. So hard to stop.

Hopefully I can finish today and then sandwich today or tomorrow. The floors need cleaning first. I vacuumed everything even though it’s not my month. I’m sure someone will cover me at some point when I am busy (cough cough).

So yeah, I stitch down all the pieces, because no fusible lasts forever. I’m not halfway done, but I got a good chunk done. I spent the first 20 minutes fighting with the machine to get it to stitch correctly.

Kitten action…

They play any way they can…

There was some play before this.

I was up early this morning because I thought I’d have to take my car in to get the window replaced, but then he called and said he’d be here later…probably safer for both of us than having me sit in a lobby of some repair place (I was going to bring a chair and sit outside).

Nature doesn’t see this morning as any different than any other morning.

Tonight there is a Netflix DVD here, plus we will be supporting some small food business, and hopefully there is stitching and maybe a hike/walk as well. Plus more webinars. And trying to finish my book before it gets returned electronically to the library. Hope you are all healthy and well, and if you are on the front lines in some way, we appreciate you and send you lots of love.