Y’all. Fabric Doesn’t Go Bad…

Damn. I was sure I wrote a blog post on Monday. I blame Daylight Savings…I lost an hour and I lost part of my brain with it, apparently. Still looking for it. Tell me if you see it. It doesn’t have any tags, but it’s running fast and zigzagging so you can’t shoot at it.

So yeah. What the fuck have I been doing anyway? Besides lesson planning and grading and screaming into the void? I still haz no sewing machine (I called. I was desperate. It’s not ready.). OK, I pulled out the old machine and 2 hours later, I found the pedal and the cord for it. It works fine for straight lines and basic stitching. I don’t want to attempt stitchdown or quilting on it. But it’s here for the crazy thing my quilt guild is doing, which involves these, and honestly, the crazy part is me because I wanted rainbows and wasn’t willing to just go with two fabrics.

More on that crazy shit later. When I can get any of it done. It’s straight lines (mostly) and brainless (sort of. there is math).

Meanwhile, I’m still trying to applique this thing by hand.

That fish fabric is some Matisse garden fabric from 20+ years ago. All these fabrics are from 20+ years ago.

(Y’all. Fabric doesn’t go bad.) Hey, so headless, missing fish parts, but getting there. Yes! Those are some Kaffe Fassett fabrics from back then. Even then, I loved his stuff. More on that below.

I’m getting down to the last bits, although this thing will need a bunch of embroidery, because I did that shit on my art quilts back then.

The fish are done. No, I can’t explain this quilt.

Seriously, it’s about childbirth and IDK what else. 21 years ago I had a 4-year-old and a 3-year-old and was working full time as a copyeditor and was still married. So another world, y’all. Another world.

I will finish her though. This year. Maybe even this month.

Back to Kaffe Fassett…I saw the new collection for 2021, started looking at what I wanted. Figured out that I wanted too many of them, so I used my birthday money (and some other money I got, thanks mom and dad) and bought a fat quarter package of all of them.

I will use these until I die. Or I run out. Hopefully the latter comes first. Yes, I washed and dried and folded all of them. I did not iron them. That’s crazy. I’ll iron them when I use them. I bought them from a quilt shop online that I haven’t shopped at before…and they were nice enough to send me a note…

Whoa. They know who I am. So that’s weird? Or cool. Anyway, check them out: StitchCraft. I just searched for that link and saw some other things that are catching my eye (MUST STOP). So I’ll think about those things. Support the indies! Yes, I could shop locally, and sometimes I do, but I also can’t leave the house much and this is faster and easier. Sigh. I miss shopping for fabric when I don’t actually need something specific, just wandering around the shop. I may schedule that.

School. Sigh. It has “this intoxicated thing inside of it.”

I have no idea what this kid is talking about. Although he mentioned atoms and balloons, which was on topic.

Also art. I’m going to have to do the start of a sketchbook page every day I teach art this week and next.

It’s OK. I do them during my prep period. I have to do two of them today, I think. And grade three assignments. Plus late work. It’s OK. Really. I’m sort of resigned to my online teaching existence right now. Because there are only 8 more working days until Spring Break. I may feel differently next week. Or even tomorrow. Or later today. My co-teachers who were recently quarantined (again) are feeling the pain of pivoting (hate that word) back to distance after being hybrid. I guess I’m used to it. It’s not like I have a choice. After break, they are going back to 5 days a week. That will probably be my reality in August. But I’ll be vaccinated and mostly feral. It’ll be fine.

I’m still walking, although I had to be non-strenuous (aka flat) until my stress test.

Lake Miramar has a dirt trail below the paved trail for most of the distance around the lake. Most? At least half.

It was muddy at times, but worth it to be off the pavement.

Almost 5 miles.

More than a little chilly. And breweries have opened up, so we stopped for a freezing outdoor cider before going home.

It was nice. Relaxing. Almost normal. Not really. But better. We were outside for dinner too…also cold.

I’ve been drawing before dinner. It’s good. To draw. I missed it.

Monday’s walk with the little dog, who had some pent-up energy.

Me too, little dog.

Dinner Monday night. Good food, but the recipe said 20-minute prep, and that was an hour.

I did make my own roasted peppers, but still y’all. ‘Twas not fast.

Oh yeah. Go to this link and read this article about how Michaels censored a cross-stitch artist’s book (Stephanie Rohr you can buy patterns there too) they ordered. During Women’s History Month. And then go buy her book from an indie book store. And if you have some extra cash, offer to buy one for someone who doesn’t. I just sent one to one of my daughter’s friends.

Ah Nova. You are the sweetest cat in the house.

OK. School today. Exercise. Hopefully some more poking holes in my fingers with needles (sewing. Nothing weird. Just sewing.).

I Will Ignore Stupid Shit Today

I guess the pro is that March is slipping away from me, disappearing like so much fluff. Spring Break will be here soon, or in my students’ minds, tomorrow (two weeks is kinda like tomorrow). It’s all doable when you break it down into chunks, right? I’m a little concerned that I haven’t finished grading last week’s work…so I’m getting backed up again. It’s a clusterfuck of time, really…takes so much time to make things to use in online school, and then some days, what I’m doing in Zoom is really time-consuming. Yesterday was 9-3 non-stop talking, I think. I was exhausted. Today will be more of the same for art…in fact, I should actually test out what we’re doing in class before actual class time to make sure I know what I’m doing. Like maybe watch the art teacher’s video even. IN MY SPARE TIME. Nah, it’s really good that she makes videos for the kids that I can also use to figure out what we’re doing.

I do want to get more art done, but the sewing machine is clogging up my process, or the lack of sewing machine. Calling today! But I’m still working on the hand-appliqued piece. It deserves to be finished. It’ll look weird with my current style, but that’s OK.

Hi, Simba…and the man…

It’s getting done. I might pull out the old machine tonight though if my baby is not ready. I like sitting and hand stitching, don’t get me wrong, but I need something to get finished for my own sanity right now.

Last night, I hung out on Zoom with my now-biweekly stitching group, which was nice. I’m working on something that hasn’t been published by Spargo yet, so I can’t show it, but it’s also not very exciting at the moment…I’m just sewing flowers on. I have 13 of 24 done. They are time consuming. After the flowers are on, there will be 24 flower centers and about a million little circles that go on. THEN I get to embellish them. So it’ll be a while. She’ll publish the pattern before I finish probably. But it’s been a calming companion since I started working on it at the beginning of the pandemic.

Last night, I managed three pieces on here…two eensy weensy ones and a larger fish body, seen here.

There’s hand embroidery planned for this one. I know this because I wrote it on the pattern. I wrote a lot of things on the pattern, none of them the date. I’m still guessing 2000 though. More sewing, y’all. I need more drawing and sewing.

It’s been raining on and off here for a few days. It’s OK. We need the rain, and it makes for some beautiful skies.

I can’t complain about my view from my home school this year. I’ve seen hawks bank right in front of the window, beautiful skies, hail, clouds, hummingbirds, and the neighbor kids in my driveway with some sort of gun things…OK, that was an issue. I banged on the window and became that bitchy old lady neighbor you all know about…but y’all little shits are not shooting things in my yard. I don’t know if it was birds or bunnies, but get the fuck away with that shit.

Hmmmm. Positive vibes. Calm and relaxed. Time to go grade some shit. Ohhhhmmmmmmm.

May today be calm and peaceful. I will ignore stupid shit today. I will be productive and get shit done. I will pretend those kids doing nothing don’t need a parent contact. Again (the contact, not the pretending…I’m not good at that). I will not stress about the pile of things I need to do, including cleaning the damn house that just gets dirty again anyway. I will send positive thoughts to the frozen chicken in the fridge that needs to be not frozen by tonight for dinner. I will quietly and peacefully flip off any adult who sends me a demanding email, but it will be here, in my house, where they can’t see me doing it (note to self: don’t do it while on Zoom with kids). I will create a mantra that maintains my peace…oh wait…I’ve already got one…ignore stupid shit…ignore stupid shit…ohhhmmmm… I will make art tonight. It will be good.

Not a Prime Number

I turned 54 yesterday. It’s an OK number, divisible by 9 and 3, not a prime number, but it’s good. Yeah, numbers sit in my head in weird ways. What can I say? It was an acceptable birthday. I felt well, got enough sleep the night before for once, had a break from teaching in the middle of the day (prep period…can’t say I was particularly effective, but that happens), exploded some baking soda and vinegar for class, texted about 10 parents about their kids (one was FINALLY a positive, made me so happy; I have so little time for everything, that the positive contacts have been the first to go), went for a non-strenuous walk, and went out to dinner. My Assistant Principal was my waitress…first time I’ve seen her since some time last March, I think.

It’s weird how our brains are training themselves to recognize people with their masks on. So that was cool.

I did not work after 3:30 PM on school stuff. I probably should have, but the world will not end if I didn’t grade an assignment yesterday. It will end because of the patriarchy and/or human stupidity. Straight up.

Really, if there hadn’t been a pandemic, it would have been a great day to take off and hike, if I weren’t on hike restrictions at the moment and we weren’t doing chemistry labs. So there’s that.

In art, we did a little blind contour drawing…

Bowie is looking good.

I also finally pulled one of these out. I bought canvas last May, I think, wanting to try this. Finally painted backgrounds in December? January?

I have about 4 of these done. And the other night, I finally had the guts to draw on one of them.

It’s kind of fun. This isn’t done. And I need a better white. This one isn’t that good. Actually, I need about 700 more colors to make me really happy, but this is good for now.

I also decided to finish this old hand-applique art quilt. It’s been lying around for way too long, and my sewing machine is still at the shop.

It’s a bit of a mess in terms of tiny little pieces, but I haz the skillz. So far, I’m only missing one piece, which isn’t bad. I think I started this in 2000? Something like that. I’m not sure there’s documentation of anything that far back. I used to put dates on the drawings, but this is an enlarged photocopy and the date isn’t on it. I don’t know where the original drawing is. And it pre-dates my writing the blog. So who knows? I can just place it after the last one I know I finished, which was January 2000. After 21 years, it deserves to be finished.

Cat NOT helping with chemistry setup…

One of the reasons starting another quilt in my normal fashion is not really happening right now. Nowhere to do it. Which reminds me, I need to set up for more chemistry demos today. And tonight is a union meeting, and I really do need to grade some things. But hopefully, I’ll get back to either drawing on canvas (and trying to figure out how I will finish those pieces when I am done drawing) or working on the hand applique. May my 55th year on the planet be full of vaccinations, openings of the things that keep me sane (hello art and museums and music and the like), and a shitload of art.

Ah yes, and this guy…

Whose cute little face was poised under my plate the other night, ever hopeful that I will spill all the foods.

Remind Me Not to Do That Ever Again…

Well grades are done. For last trimester. Now I need to start grading the stuff from last week. But it’s a relief to have the big stuff done on time. It meant grading a ton of art stuff at the last minute, so remind me not to do that ever again. I wanted everything clear before the trimester switch. I was expecting a bunch of switching students, and in reality, two switched and I got three new kids. The school has only TOLD me about two of the new kids. I’m wondering if they will ever tell me about the third. This year sucks, y’all. It really does. Plus I have literally no idea what I’m supposed to teach in art today. I know what I’m doing Thursday and Friday, but today is a blank. I’m hoping something exists by my prep period, but if it doesn’t, I’ll be winging it. No stress! Seriously. I’m supposed to increase sleep and reduce stress, and those are proving difficult. This calendar my team gifted me is helping though…

I really need to get my brain in a better place for all of it. I started the daily meditation practice again…although I keep zoning out in the middle of it. I’m not sure that’s OK. Surely it means something. I realized the series I was on, I had started it so long ago that I couldn’t remember the prompts, so I went back to the first one, and zoned out on it too. Sigh. Thanks brain! I did get to a point with meditation where I was pretty comfortable just doing quick meditative check-ins with my brain/body without the daily lesson, but I figure I need more structure with it at the moment. 63 days of school left in this year. We’re 2/3s of the way through. I’m not sure which sounds better. Science and art are roughly planned through the next three weeks…and then there’s nothing! I love nothing. It’s my favorite when it comes to lesson planning.

Grading is a lot of this…

Well I’m still drawing, because I still don’t have my sewing machine and I’m hesitant to start another new piece. This one came from the other one…

Those swallowing heads again. I’ll probably come back to this drawing. I like the start of it.

At dinner on Saturday night, I did this one.

We do go out on Saturdays at the moment, but only to places that have outdoor seating. It’s still a little chilly here at night, but definitely not like back East, so totally doable with the right shoes and jacket on. Once the man leaves on his hike, I probably won’t be doing that for a while, so best to get out and try to have date nights while we can. I missed drawing the last year…it’s been almost a year since schools shut down, yeah? I tried doing a drawing a day or a week, and just couldn’t keep up. Some weeks, I’d be totally planned Sunday night, or even mostly planned Friday night, but lately, it’s been a last-minute rush using my prep periods to get ready for the class right after. Which sucks. So drawing suffered. Art has definitely suffered.

I pulled this out from a million years ago for the #IGQuiltFest Day 7 prompt of Lessons Learned. I’ve been flailing on those prompts as well. Oh well. I used to do hand applique, still do occasionally, but soon figured out that making art quilts this way would take just too damn long.

Although someday I will finish this one. I hope. Maybe this is something I could be doing while waiting for my machine, eh? See. Lesson NOT learned.

Saturday, we walked. I can’t hike until I have my stress test and some other stuff (IDK what the other stuff is right now), but I was antsy as hell on Saturday after finishing grades (I graded through an art group meeting and a quilt guild meeting), so we found a longish mostly flat hike walk to do.

I don’t really know the difference sometimes between a hike and a walk. But this was easy enough.

Long enough to get a decent amount of steps in, but not strenuous.

When I feel like this, I want to climb things and go up and down hills in the back country. But no.

That’s industrial crap in the background. Just look at the river side! Ah well. Hopefully all that will be done and solved soon and I can go back to climbing hills for fun.

Cats…

Kitten is hyperthyroid and needs daily meds now. Luckily she likes pill pockets.

These two were whacking at each other for a good 30 minutes on and off…

Sibling warfare. They do like each other though. Just not all the time. I understand that feeling.

This week is my birthday, and we had dinner with the parentals last night. Both have had their vaccines. I’ve had one, second one is coming up. We (the visitors) stayed masked for a goodly portion of it. But I wanted a photo with my parents. I always forget to take those kinds of photos, and with almost losing dad last year, I wanted to be sure to get a photo.

Look! Mom is still taller than I am! I am the midget of the family.

OK, well, I should go figure out what I’m doing today, especially in art. And hopefully I’ll do some art stuff of my own tonight. And grade stuff. Because that isn’t stopping for 63 more school days.

A Wonderful Place to Be

It’s pouring rain. It’s OK. For one, Southern California needs it. For another, it’s not like I could go anywhere…well, except for a hike, and that’s not happening. I took my second Craft Napa class today, and it was fun. Valerie Goodwin makes these cool map quilts and I’ve always been fascinated with them, so it was interesting to see how she makes them and hear how she thinks.

So yeah, this was kind of a pattern class. We all started with the same basic materials and pattern, but I enjoyed thinking about transparent layers more than I think I ever have…

The map lines use a fabric-cutting machine. My mom only has 2 or 3 of those. Not that I need to do maps. I was thinking scribbles and letters and cursive writing. But I do like maps.

There’s the Acropolis. So I’m still working on this. I had to stop stitching because the paint needed to dry…

Tons more hand stitching, plus machine stitching, plus IDK what else. A fun way to spend the day, anyway. I appreciate the online opportunities to hang out and do fabric stuff I’ve never done before. I don’t need more projects to finish, but there’s something really important in looking at your art in a different way, and looking at other people’s art. I miss that with no exhibits I can go to right now…or maybe just a few? Visions isn’t open…but I guess the show up at Front Porch Gallery has limited hours. Maybe next weekend.

I did get up early (for a Saturday) for that class. Now I am tired. It’s OK. I enjoyed it.

Thursday night, I quilted with my monthly quilting group on Zoom…got a good 2 hours in…

It’s a very detailed quilt, so nothing about this is quick.

But the thread has stopped its psychotic breaking, so that makes it much nicer.

Friday night, after gaming, I went back to the torso area, which has an insane amount of detail…

Got the ribcage and the heart done…

And moved on to the face. I thought we might use the machine for class today, so I stopped there and pulled her off the machine. I have all the sky section and the tree to do, which is a lot, but it also is more than halfway done. Hopefully I’ll get some more done tonight; we’ll see.

I have a bunch of schoolwork to do, as always. I did some of it while on the stationary bike on Thursday night…

It was just posting assignments in each of the classes. I knew this weekend would be kind of full; I usually do this on Sunday, but I have a meeting then. The plus is that it’s done. I still need to make a couple of videos and post all of the art stuff, but since I don’t know what half of that is yet, it’s hard to get it done ahead of time.

Speaking of art, we’re doing cardboard sculpture next, so I’ve been teaching them joining techniques…

I guess the plus is that I don’t have to build my own version of sculpture…just show them how to do the bits and pieces. Twice. Because I have two levels of art. Ugh.

Friday, we took the dogs on a short walk. Calli can’t do the longer ones any more.

But she loves them so much. Simba is a freak…this is his response to bikes.

He basically wants to kill them. Not recommended.

Calli post hike…

Kitten didn’t even go on a hike…

But she is one of the three old ladies in the house.

This cracks me up.

It’s a new world, y’all. Except it’s not. Too many angry upset people out there still. I talk about some of that (and who the hell knows what else!) in a podcast, the Unbroken Chain podcast. I was interviewed by Maura James last weekend and she asked lots of good questions…

If you know me personally, you know I can ramble for a good long time.

Actually, if you read my blog, you already know that.

It’s how my brain works. I have lots of words and lots of pictures and they all need to get out. Here’s a link. Hopefully. If I did it right.

https://www.maurajames.com/podcast/episode/2ffd4eb9/ep-88-not-here-to-make-pretty-pictures-w-kathy-nida

I appreciate her searching me out and caring enough to come up with good things to talk about. Certainly a lot of what I talked about is on my mind for the next quilt. So there’s that.

OK. I’m tired. I’m going to get more tea and decide what’s next. Still waiting for the paint to dry on Athens for me to do the machine stitching, plus I still have a quilt to finish, plus two videos to make for school, and probably there’s a bunch of other shit that needs doing that I’m just not remembering because my brain has been in artmaking mode all day, which is such a wonderful place to be. Yeah. Happy Saturday, all.

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.

It Probably Will Involve Celery…

This week has been interesting. I’m all over the map on what to worry about. Maybe better to not worry. Make something in fabric. Except I don’t have anything ready for my art classes, minor issue, keep waiting for info, but I don’t have any, so I guess we’re making sculpture out of celery and cilantro. It’ll be fine. FINE. I can’t concentrate on much either, so that’s helpful, brain, thanks so much.

I will panic more about school tomorrow. Really. It probably will involve celery.

The quilt is ironed together and I’m ready to stitch it down.

That will hopefully be an easy task. Who knows, though.

I’ve also been trying to finish the painted backgrounds, because I need to clear off the light table for teaching this week. I added the figure for this one.

Again, gonna be drawing on top of them later. Then for the biggest one, I did the figure first…

Shiny wet in the middle. And then started to paint the background.

I have to wait for parts of it to dry before I can paint the next bit.

I’m almost done with it. I’ll be drawing all over this one.

Still cross-stitching this…

I have other things I’ve been working on while watching bits and pieces of non-news TV. Really nice to not watch the news. I also finished a book…because that seemed important at the time…

I wanted to know what happened. Calli did too.

Cat play time…I knocked all the boxes over…

The cats enjoy words like “under” and “in”…

I’m thinking a box fort for the next 76 days (Spring Break). For me. Not the cats. I mean, they can stop by, but I really need the space.

Also this. As art. Because I don’t have enough going on.

It’s OK. It probably won’t happen. My life is about to go into overdrive again. Probably also I need help with the art planning for school. I’m not gonna get it, but I need it.

Today, I’m hoping to finish that one big background, and to start the stitchdown on this quilt. I’m in a quilt guild meeting online right now, so as soon as I finish this, I’ll probably cut some fabric out on the applique stories piece I’m working on right now. I’m tired, but we should walk today and maybe play a game tonight. I think. And tomorrow, I’ll panic about school. For realz.

It’s a Wash

I’m a little slow on documenting stuff these days. I honestly keep losing days. How is it dark already? I remember getting up. What freaking day is it anyway?

I have one week of Winter Break left. I know I am lucky, because many teachers go back tomorrow, and I’d be really not ready to do that. I’m two weeks in to this ‘vacation’ and I’m still grinding my teeth. I think I stopped for two days, but that’s it. My to-do list is heinous. Then I get distracted, like today, obviously, and trim a bunch of plants that have been bugging me for two months, instead of crossing things OFF the to-do list. I mean, the plants didn’t even make it ON the list. Sigh. I think I focus better when I’m totally overwhelmed with teaching, simply because I have no choice. I have to do that…for survival’s sake.

So back to the 48 hours where we ditched the world. We got up the next morning, opened the front door of our Airbnb, and saw the chicken. The man says I have to call him a rooster, because it’s a definite sound difference, but I will argue that he is still a chicken. He kept trying to come in…

Finally shooed him out and figured out he wanted breakfast. I hope he liked it.

The place we stayed was definitely not the Ritz, but it was fun…this was in the bathroom…

And this was embedded in the floor…

What it lacked in niceties (a fireplace, working oven, consistent Wifi), it had in character in spades. After breakfast, we headed out to the Mecca Hills Recreation Area for some hiking. We’d hoped to go to one section, but my car wasn’t keen on the 9 miles of dirt (sand? ruts?) road out to it, so we headed for the Slot Canyon hikes on All Trails. The parking lot was definitely sand, but just off the road and pretty solid.

Again, hiking in washes…although we started in a really big one…

Signs of 4WD vehicles and shotgun shells for a while, but no people…

Eventually we turned into some smaller canyons where only people could go.

It was cold and windy most of the time, and kind of a trudge. Lots of sand and rocks and a slight uphill…

Very little wildlife to be seen, not even birds, and not a lot of living plants.

I like a good hike though. We got to a point where the canyon we were in would require climbing, and that was enough…I spent most of my brain power trying to figure out how to escape the water if it started raining (it wasn’t going to start raining, but I am the paranoid type)…

Weird cactus. So it was about 5.7 miles. Not bad. You have to like sparse desert landscapes and rocks for a hike like this.

We came back and wandered around Bombay Beach for a while to see the sights we’d missed the night before…the balls light up at night…it’s quite pretty…

It’s also an Airbnb. Same owner as ours, across the street. I like ours better because the yard was fenced. Lots of people wandering through the zigzag yard.

Not fancy. Quirky.

The trailers and sheds had art in them too. Interesting place.

Wall of TVS…turn right at the TVs to get to our place.

Down the road from there, is this wondrous beast…

Pretty sure it’s related to the one we saw in Joshua Tree back in February. Oh yeah, it is…Randy Polumbo did both. This is Lodestar; the other was Angel Queen. Fun stuff.

From there, we headed back to the beach, further down from where we were yesterday…

I enjoy random metal and concrete sculpture personally…

And a good sense of humor…

And some good colorful grafitti…

The museum was not open, unfortunately…

And pigeons lived here…

I’d seen photos of this online and was glad to find it…

The hardest part of all these installations is finding artist info to go with them…

All I can tell you is that it is in the Bombay Estates.

Back home for dinner, reading, and drawing, because no TV…fine by me.

Very 70s. That night’s drawing…

And morning chicken…

We stopped by the drive-in on the way out…

And then kamikazed back home after talking to almost no one.

Meanwhile, back here…after New Year’s, I proceeded to make 17 more mistakes on this…had to rip out an entire tree, because it was half a stitch off and that won’t work.

Nope. Wasn’t drinking. Promise.

I’ve been ironing…it feels like this quilt is taking forever. Because it is. I got this leg done so I could insert it into the landscape…

And then worked on building the stuff up on the other side…a cat and a quilt of a cat…

Ironed her separately and put her in the landscape as well.

Here’s some bits and pieces I had left to do…mostly snake and bird, I think.

Progress as of Friday…

Leg in place. It’s just a really detailed piece is all.

Then Saturday, I kept going…

Pain. In. The. Ass. Yeah well. I’ve done the 600s and the 800s and barely started the 700s, plus I think a few of the 900s are done as well. So I have about 300 pieces to go? Or 400? I don’t know.

Great Horned Owl…

Which brings me to one of my Xmas presents, now installed and ready for inhabitants…

My very own owl box. I’m happy. And it’s on a system that can be lowered for cleaning, hopefully not when owls are in it. Awkward maybe. We’ll see.

Other things that happened. This cake made a spaceship on top.

It was the boychild’s 25th birthday yesterday…

His cake request was intriguing. No, I was not smart enough to take a picture of the final product. Apparently it’s better warmed up. IDK. I’m allergic to chocolate.

Coyote print from the front yard. They are here, y’all…right here.

Couple photo from the Salton Sea, stolen from the man.

My eyes might be closed.

So back in March, I asked for paint pens for my birthday…or maybe Xmas last year? I can’t remember. And then when everything shut down, I ordered gessoed canvas. I had see some posts Judy Coates-Perez put on Instagram (it’s a guide on there; can’t remember how to find it, wait, no, go here to her Instagram and then click on highlights and you can get to it there.) for how she paints and then uses the pens to decorate her paintings, and I wanted to try it. It took forever to get the canvas, and then school sucked and summer came and stressed me out with all its We Don’t Know What School Will Look Like shit and then Real School happened and kicked my ass, although at some point, I cut up some of the canvas into smaller pieces with some ideas to make some different stuff. Well, y’all, it’s been on my to-do list since fucking April, and I’m finally doing things with all the paint and pens. OK…just the paint so far, but I’m hoping to get the complicated stuff that requires plastic and water done so I can draw in peace over the next month or so.

Luna inspecting the biggest one. I drew a faint outline of a human figure in pencil on this one…

And on the others. I prepped four of them.

I wanted to just block in some color shapes to start…

I’m not really a painter, but it’s OK, because I’m going to draw all over this, Nida style. I think. We’ll see. Because I usually only draw in black and white and these are colors.

Obviously, right? I’ve got some more painting to do first. But I think this will be a nice change for me. We’ll see how it goes.

Also still baking sourdough, y’all, although the girlchild gifted me a lame, so I can stop using the box cutter to score the bread, and this nice glass starter container, so I can stop using the crappy plastic container.

My starter is still super happy to be alive. So that’s a plus.

From the book I’m reading, Gods of Jade and Shadow

A good thing to remember for the new year. Well, like I said, I have a week before I go back, and now I need to actually do schoolwork (again) this week. I have one ungraded assignment, a few late assignments that kids have turned in, and a bunch of prep to do for all three classes. Science is mostly planned, but there’s details to get done. Art is a clusterfuck. Don’t even ask me, because I don’t know. Plus I’m dealing with the car, my teeth, and who knows what else this week. Making 23 videos about the elements (periodic table elements, not the other kind). And hopefully finishing the ironing of this quilt and the painting of those backgrounds, and somehow steeling myself for the next 6 months of teaching. UGH. I’m so not ready. Luckily I don’t have to be. Yet.

Stop Thinking for a While…

Hello vacation! Or break! Or NO ZOOM ZONE. Whatever you wanna call it, this teacher is on it for three weeks. Don’t get too excited. You should see my to-grade list for that time period…it’s massive. I’m hoping to bang through it quickly though. Although it includes 5 large art assignments. WTF was I thinking? Nothing. No, I was thinking that if they didn’t finish before break, they would throw them away, and no one would have them. So there we are. Anyway, wish me luck on that. I’d like to have everything planned for January (except art, because I need to wait for the other teacher to do some stuff) and graded by Christmas Eve. Could be impossible. We’ll see.

I’m stressed, I need sleep, I need to not be on Zoom a million hours a day. I need exercise and books and sewing and drawing and relaxing. We’re halfway through the longest school year I’ve ever experienced, and it will take everything I have in me to get through the next half. Sure, there’s a few 3-day weekends in there and 2 weeks of Spring Break, but mostly it’s a hellaciously long stretch of ugh. Meanwhile, my neighbors aren’t social distancing for shit, because they are young and apparently can’t get sick or die or get their relatives sick or anything. I don’t even know what to think about that. I think about every interaction I have, every time I leave the house, everything I do that is outside of here. And I’m paranoid as shit about it. Maybe it’s being high risk? Or just naturally paranoid? Anyway. They’re fucking nuts.

So the topic for today is “If I could sew with…”. Hmmm. Is this a person? If so, I want to sew with Queen Elizabeth. I know she learned how. And I’d like to talk to her and meet her dogs. And then I want to sew with Sue Spargo, just to see how her mind works; she’s incredibly creative. And then maybe the BadAssCrossStitch woman, Shannon, just because she sounds interesting and is trying to create community with stitching. Honestly, anyone who’s ever stitched the word “fuck” on fabric…I wanna have a big stitchalong with them. And then I’d like to stitch with about a million of the stitchers I follow on Instagram, because some of them have such interesting and different styles from what I do…I wanna watch them and try to do it that way and maybe just talk to them about birds and cats and pine needles. Or whatever.

Now the other way to look at this is “If I could sew with…” metal. Are we talking materials here? I have done a tiny bit of metal stitching, not the metallic thread, because that is always a pain in the ass, but the twisty stuff, damn, what’s it called, purl? AKA French bullion wire (because it looks like a bullion knot, but wire, not thread). I also have some metal mesh I always wanted to use. There isn’t much stopping me from using metal, but time and ideas…I got close when I stitched on window screen to make my COVID mask.

Not quite metal. Maybe just stitching with different things. Experiment more. In my spare time. Some day, I will have spare time that is not eaten up by grading 17 assignments in a week, and I will have more time to spend on experimentation. Or not.

It’s highly possible I should have looked at the list of blog topics before I signed up to do this. Speaking of, it’s the first day of Winter Break! I like to do a drawing a day over Winter Break. Shall I? Can I? Do I have the fortitude? I have the last two years. Hmmm. Gaming tonight…it’s possible to draw and game.

Meanwhile, I’ve been cutting tiny pieces out…I made it through all of the flesh last night…

I did a lot of it in a stitching meeting, totally exhausted.

Made it into the sky. I’m hoping to be done by Sunday so I can start ironing it together. We’ll see how it goes.

You gotta love your job a lot to answer an email like this…although the suggested answers are pretty valid.

I didn’t use one of them. I wanted to.

Remember back in November when we went up to 29 Palms to help construct that labyrinth? Well here’s a drone view of it…

Linda did an awesome job setting this up and building most of it. So cool.

Got some more artsy shit coming up over break too…mostly looking at other people’s art, but as artists, we need that connection to other people’s work.

But for now, find a sketchbook and a pen for drawing while gaming, plus probably need to see if I can grade a few things, and I need to find some supplies for these classes I’m taking in January, ironically need plastic bags, just the words off them, but I don’t have a lot of plastic because I don’t use it unless I really have to, plus some stabilizer I don’t use either. Maybe mom has some? Who knows. It feels a little lighter having no required work for three weeks…hopefully by the end of next week, it will be a lot lighter. Unlike the summer, I know mostly what the next 6 months of school look like…painful but doable. Summer was so stressful because we knew nothing at all. This is just stress that I know about.

OK. Find sketchbook. Stop thinking for a while.

I Don’t Mind It…

Friday. Finally. I was surprised by my team today. They showed up here at my house (masked and social distanced) with wine and a poinsettia and a calendar of Fuckery (seriously…I’m going to love this desk calendar all year because distance learning will be forever, right?). I appreciate them coming over and sitting on my freezing cold deck in the dark on a Friday. The lack of connection to school is difficult. Really difficult. Even for an introvert.

Today’s blog challenge is ‘most impactful class’. Well, there’s the classes you like and the ones where you walk away and think, I’ll never do THAT again, or That teacher may be an amazing artist (she was), but she’s not a teacher (she wasn’t). I do think of three teachers who guided (pushed and shoved?) me in the direction I eventually ended up wandering off into.

The first was Susan, my original quilt teacher. She can be bossy about doing things “right”, but incredibly creative and supportive when you ignore her advice and do your own shit. I learned most of the basic quiltmaking stuff from her and then took classes from a ton of art quilters to get where I’m at today. Without her groundwork, though, I wouldn’t be able to make what I want.

Early on, I took a class from Joan Colvin. I don’t even remember if she provided pictures to start from. If she did, I didn’t use one. I didn’t even have a drawing. I just made shit up out of my head. But she would walk by my table and make minor suggestions and answer questions, giving me ideas of how to do things in ways I’d never thought of. Probably there’s a bunch of teachers who could have helped me in that way, but she was the first one. At the end of class, she was talking about class samples in quilt shows, and how you had to admit you’d started something in a class, but then she walked up to me and said, “You don’t have to admit you started that in my class. You did that without me.” It wasn’t entirely true, because I hadn’t considered how to make quilts without piecing or hand applique at that point, and how she did it was a significant change in my creation process. I do sometimes work that way now, but mostly not…it’s more the idea of having the fabric do the work of making the image without worrying as much about the process of attachment.

Here’s the Joan Colvin class quilt, A Study in Flesh (1999)…

The other early class was Laura Wasilowski…and again, I’m pretty sure she had patterns available, and in Nida fashion, I just started cutting out a naked woman and made the quilt. This is Fallen (2004).

She was actually started much earlier than the finish date…it took me a while to decide to turn her into a quilt. There are so many things wrong with the piece, but a lot of things are pretty good.

Eventually I took what I learned from all three teachers and turned it into what I do today. I honestly don’t take a lot of classes any more (although I’m doing a few at Craft Napa this year, just for fun). Summer 2019 I took a class in embroidery on paper. I think that was the last one. I don’t have much time outside of work right now, and I’d rather spend it making a new piece.

I think the most impactful class is the one that teaches you techniques or general ideas that push you off a cliff into making your own stuff. I do realize not everyone wants to do that though. I don’t mind it.

Last night, I got some bits in the sky ironed down…

I’m in the tail end of the 700s. Getting there. About to start ironing flesh.

This quilt seems to have a lot of colors in it. I don’t think I’ll get done this weekend. I have a long hike planned for tomorrow and grades are due Tuesday, plus I haven’t even gotten halfway through planning for next week. I worked until almost 11 PM, I think. Shit, it’s almost midnight. Sigh.

What I was doing with 6th grade art…

Should be interesting. They’re engaged in it anyway.

Advanced art is almost done with their self portraits. So much weird stuff I’ve done this year.

We’re almost at the halfway point.

Kitten curled up next to me as I tried to figure out how this stupid curriculum works.

I’m so tired these days. Anyway. I might iron one thing down, just to say I did, and then collapse into bed.