Realize.

I meant to write this yesterday. There are a lot of things I meant to do yesterday. I really should just remember that I am unfocused at least one day a week and that day is often Saturday. At least at the moment. Realize. It’s a word I should pay more attention to. Realize reality? As the county starts to open more things up, it’s harder to get away from crowds of people? Is it OK to go to Target to get pool noodles for shipping? Will I be shipping anything anywhere? Eventually. How do I feel about Target? I don’t know. I don’t know about anything. It all feels uncomfortable at the moment. Realize nothing.

I ironed nothing down on the Covid quilt in the last two days. Three days? Nothing since Thursday night. Let’s put it that way. That sucks. I was really tired on Friday and we had gaming…

I didn’t do anything after that except be tired. I did stitch on some dots…this was Friday night’s…the one under the green spool.

Simple flower shape…

And then Saturday night’s…just under the magenta spool.

I had another late finish and then mental exhaustion.

Pretty rose stitch though.

I also finished the first of the Patreon rewards…

And traced the second one on fabric, although I need to choose threads. And then I traced the Wonder Under and cut it out for the two small quilts.

I was hoping to finish picking fabrics for these yesterday, but brain fog won out.

I have a shit-ton of work to do for school this afternoon, so we’ll see what I get done. When I had finished the other embroidery, I didn’t have the next one ready to go, so I pulled this out of the pile and started on it while gaming.

It’s a Cozy Blue Handmade pattern. I suck at ironing stuff on. I bought this in Boston when I visited the girlchild a year and a half ago. Long time.

What else? The requisite dog and cat pictures…the deck is an appropriate temperature for us to live on some days, super buggy other days, way too hot at times. Simba likes it.

As long as someone is out with him.

Kitten has found another chair to sit on…although right now, she’s in her normal place…

Right behind me.

Simba loves the girlchild. She does not love his ticks.

There are a lot of ticks right now.

Yesterday was warm and tiring.

I agree, Luna…wholeheartedly.

I have a few new babies…I didn’t even do this right, and it made a baby. I’m so happy.

Succulents are amazing.

I think this one is my first…no second grandchild. I think the first one died. Or maybe it was incorporated into this one. But we do spend a lot of time thinking about them…

Yep, that’s our sourdough starter, version 2.0.

We did a short walk with the dogs on Friday, and then Saturday, I did a longer one, later, close to sunset, by myself. Everyone else was gone anyway.

It was relatively cool out, nice day, nice breeze, hazy skies.

Dumbasses on motorcycles zooming around in the valley, polluting the world with their tiny-penis noise. Seriously. Stop.

I like to just listen to the birds…not my neighbor’s lawnmower. He mows so many days. I realize it’s a ride-on and he likes his toys, but ffs, just stop. Let the lawn grow an eighth of an inch before you mow it again dude.

Most people out there have masks, although fewer on the walks in the neighborhood. One in the grocery store with no mask, though. WTF?

Apparently someone is painting these and leaving them around the neighborhood I walk in.

That’s so cool. I love that. More of that shit. More ravens just hanging out on wires.

Less noise pollution.

OK. Well. It’s 3 PM and I probably have at least 2-3 hours of school shit to do, another dot to sew, and then I’d really like to do some ironing. If I can. A good night’s sleep would be good too. One where I woke up the next morning and didn’t feel tired? That would be good. That’s a rare thing though. New week. Get it on.

Sewing Grass Is Pretty Relaxing.

Here come all the comments about that’s not what I’m supposed to do with the grass. Whatever. Coming to the conclusion that some days are easier for writing the blog in the current times than others. Thursdays are a clusterfuck. I resized photos and then worked and worked and had two stitching meetings but did schoolwork for the first hour plus of one of them, and the time to write never came. So next week, I will schedule more carefully…instead of every other day, there are days when this is easier and those are the days on which I will write. I used to do three days a week…I think I’ll up it to four, but it will be the same four…because I can’t deal with Thursday. This next week, Wednesday and Monday will also be messy, but whatever. So many meetings.

I’m tired this week again…still? I have been ironing until the really late hours and then falling asleep just fine, but between the early morning risings of the man for work (not his fault) and the cats afterward and that thing called daylight and noise, I can’t get sleep when I need it. Nothing new there. I should go to bed earlier, I’m sure. That’s always the case.

So. Progress on the quilt! First of all, I sorted all that Wonder Under…I need one bin for every 100 pieces, so 16 bins…

I label each one with a number, so 0 has pieces 0-99 in it. It takes about an hour to sort a quilt with this many pieces…

Luckily, no kittens were involved. Sorted!

This makes it easier for me to deal with the number of pieces in this thing. Next is the ironing to fabric. I got the fabric put away from before, then hung up the giant drawing so I can see where all the pieces go.

Then I deal with 100 pieces at a time, usually in order.

I bought a new iron. Again. Because I think the nonstick coating on the other one was not working properly. I couldn’t clean it. So hopefully this one will work.

I’ve fused stuff for years and always been able to clean them using Iron Off or just a rag…the old one just kept getting dirtier and dirtier and leaving that residue on the fabric.

This is what it looks like when I pick fabrics…I pick one section of the drawing and pull fabrics for that section, and then lay out the pieces on the fabrics…

And then iron them all down.

A half yard of fabric lasts a long time for me, because even with these relatively good-sized pieces, it’s barely using any of it. So I got some grass and dirt ironed Wednesday night…a good start, most of the background.

Thursday, I did some work during the day with my quilting Zoom.

Mostly I just work and don’t talk too much. I explain that I talk a lot for school, more than I used to maybe. Well. I guess I don’t have five classes a day, so maybe not. It just feels like a lot.

For this section, I actually had to pull pieces from the 1000 box because I have these two death arms, I guess I’ll call them, and they’re the same. Rather than try to remember 10 hours from now which fabrics I used for the first arm, I just did both of them together.

It takes about an hour per 100 pieces to iron…depending on the complexity. So for the first figure, I pulled a run of 6 fabrics, light to dark, and then I lay all the pieces out for that figure. This is the smallest figure on the quilt, so there aren’t a lot of pieces compared to the larger figure that comes next.

Then I iron them all down at once for that figure. While staring at the drawing.

It gets complicated sometimes.

This is part of why I’m up too late. I can’t stop in the middle. Between my brain losing its focus and the kittens fucking with the piles, it’s a pain. So I just iron until I’m done.

Here’s what’s done so far…and the fabrics I’ve used. Not a lot of color yet.

We’ll get there. Figure 1 isn’t completely done…just the flesh parts. She still needs a cytokine storm. And eyebrows and hair. Like you do. I’m in the 200s…but barely.

On to the embroidery…this is Tuesday night…the dot on the far right…

It was fairly simple…

Then Wednesday night, which looked fairly straightforward and then took two hours…and a ton of threads…it’s the one to the right of the sunflower near the threads.

It’s supposed to be a window box of flowers…

Then yesterday’s…I did it during my second Zoom stitching meeting of the day. Two others in the group are doing dots, although one is only doing the ones she likes. It’s the one to the right of the cactus…

It was pretty easy.

So I think today is Dot number 40. Still less than halfway.

When I finished the dot, I went back to the million pieces of grass on Folk Tails.

I’m just going to add grass all over the place until I run out of the two grass thread colors. Maybe. I might buy more. Hard to say. Sewing grass is pretty relaxing.

I might do it forever.

Other things that have been happening, mostly animal related. We had a plank challenge for PE, but Calli really wanted to lie in front of the computer.

I thought about moving her, but then didn’t.

Kitten just sleeps wherever I am.

That’s a lot of cat hair on that chair. This is better than when she tries to whack me with her tail because she wants to sit on the keyboard and mouse while I’m using them. She was playing with Luna for a bit.

Although the heat has slowed the kittens down during the day.

Well that doesn’t look friendly.

We did some hanging out by the pool on Wednesday, which was supposed to be the hottest day.

We put the big girl in the water…

The dog. Not the girlchild. It’s her favorite place to be. She’s kind of a pain about it. I graded while I watched her. Please throw the pinecone.

She likes to fetch them out of the water and then chew them to bits. Hence all the crap you can see on the concrete.

Nova stealing the dog bed from Calli.

Calli always lets the cats win. They have sharp bits.

Even when they’re asleep.

Seriously, she just follows me everywhere and sleeps there. Even on the browns.

Well. It’s already Friday afternoon. I’m so glad it’s Friday, y’all. I need a break from checking all these programs for scores and emailing kids and their parents to get them to show up and do shit. It’s exhausting. Hopefully we’ll go for a walk later…it’s cooler today than it has been. I’m also hoping to do some more ironing and get some schoolwork ready for next week, so I can ignore it tomorrow. I need to water everything and I don’t remember what else. I have office hours in 24 minutes, so I need to pee, get more tea, find my bra and put it back on (sigh), and consider the article I read this morning that said school districts may have to put all the older teachers who are immunocompromised in jobs that keep them away from kids. Ah shit. OK. Well. I have no idea where they’ll draw that line, so I’m going to take my old, diabetic self out of that mindset and into one of getting shit done today. Plus maybe just sitting on the deck for a while with my book. I worked hard this week. As always. I should relax a bit.

Not Making Sense

I’m trying to watch a video while I’m typing this, which should be interesting, if I can keep the two things separate and make any sense here. Perhaps I never make sense here. I have to say it’s not my goal, making sense. There’s a song about this. Maybe more than one. I’m watching a fabric designer explain her new line, which won’t come out until 2021 probably. I like listening to her process, and since I can’t meet people in person, this is kind of cool; all the people with daily or regular videos right now are maybe helping with sanity? Who knows.

I’m in between my morning class and science meeting and my afternoon class right now. I’ve peed the dogs and eaten my lunch and tried to figure out what I need to get done for the rest of the day. I need to add some exercise in there somewhere, but it’s starting to get warmer and that’s harder. I want to do it in the dark. There are mosquitoes though. And the dogs can’t deal with high heat. So it’s just a logistical issue. So many things are logistical issues. I forgot to assign something this morning and went to do that and it didn’t work. Three times. So I kept assigning, and then it assigned it once on two classes and three times on the other three classes, and kids are already turning it in on ALL THREE classes (of course), so my Wednesday/Thursday are going to be a self-made (well, tech had its way with me kinda) hellacious fuckbeast. Ah well. What’s new? The kids are doing yardwork for Grandpa and probably they are all infecting each other, which is annoying, but the man is also back at work, even though he’s supposed to have today off, because you know, when you’re the person in charge, you get the shit shift. Unless you’re a shitty boss; we all know about those, they give YOU the shitty shift and they barely work.

I barely see/hear from my boss these days. Which is OK, because there’s enough other stuff to make up for it. This week, we added a new program to track plus a new category of assignments, and I’m about to run screaming into oblivion, but it’s too hot out there for that, so I’m sitting here with the fan on, realizing I have 39 minutes until the next Zoom call. Today is pretty chill, actually; we’ve figured out next week’s science assignments and have the following week fleshed out a little better. Tomorrow will start the crazy race into the weekend.

So the last two days…I did finish cutting out all the Wonder Under last night for the new quilt…

Let’s see if you can tell the difference between 10 yards cut out and 11 yards…from Monday night to Tuesday night…11 1/2 hours of cutting…

Looks the same. But it’s not. Tonight I will be sorting them…or maybe even this afternoon. Hard to say what I’ll be doing after class. My brain is usually pretty fuzzy. I need to check some work, see if kids are turning things in. Set things up for tomorrow. Get my head around my existence. Persuade myself not to eat cookies (pretty easy since we don’t have any). I finished cleaning the office yesterday. All my fabric is put away except for stuff I saved for napkin-making, so I’m ready to iron to fabric. Looking forward to that.

This will be another big crazy complicated quilt…sometimes people wonder why I make them, when they never sell (too big and expensive), but these are the ones that get into lots of shows and win awards, so no, I’ll never make the money back on them, but there is a reward for me in the acknowledgement, but honestly, more so in the time and energy I put into them, that’s a good place for my brain to be, especially when things are hard or complicated, like now. Yes, they’re time-consuming, and no, they won’t sell, but they are the most ME. So I’m OK with that. I’ll get this one done and do a smaller daughter quilt or something after. Maybe. If I feel like it. There are deadlines coming up. I’m just not sure I care about them.

Still doing the dots…here’s Sunday night’s…just under the blue ball of thread…

It was a pretty simple one, even with the trellis-stitch center.

Some of them are amazingly time-consuming. This wasn’t too bad.

Then Monday night’s…just under the blue spool…

I’m getting better at bullions with Razzle, a shiny rayon bitch of a thread…

The center looks like a starfish on its way out. I think I’m on Dot 37 today? Or something. Simba was helping…

He never really helps.

What else is up? So much schoolwork. Yardwork, which brings bug bites. NOT sleep, unfortunately. These guys don’t help with that.

Here’s Kitten bringing me one of my slippers…

She’s a freak. Drops them in the hallway half the time. Every night, I round up my slippers and put them back so she can bring them back to me.

These guys are sweet until they’re not.

They get mopey when their dad is gone and sleep more.

I did walk the dogs, but a shorter walk, yesterday…only 2.3 miles. Like I said, it was hot.

No one else wanted to go…to their credit, the kids did yardwork in the sun all afternoon yesterday too and they were tired. Legit excuse. I just wanted to get out and move. Like every day. Here’s a flower I didn’t see before.

I like to look for the new things or changing things.

Also, Fantastic Fibers is all hung, although no one can go in to see it…yet…

There’s Womanscape on the left…a big complicated quilt from two summers ago that is just weirdly popular. The black and white piece is paper and ink, so not really a quilt…it is by Emily McBride, i never wanted you. On the right, before the corner, is Rachel Major’s Still Life. Just to the right of it, around the corner, is Alicia Decker’s Culture Shock and Hannah Zimmerman’s Place.

Funny, I thought it was huge until I saw it next to that black and white quilt…I need to go look online to see if I can figure out whose is what (not a quilt, see update above). Here we go…on the far left is Orb by Evian Zukas-Oguz.

Originally, this was three different drawings that ran for about 95″ horizontally…and then I pulled it apart, redrew, and added.

It’s always interesting to see what detail shots other people choose.

The show is open for a while longer…Not Open. But there.

Fun masks by Sarah Pramuk, Balaclava Tryptich…might be a little warm for Southern California right now. Pandemic fashion Winter 2020. Seriously, these are NFS because she needs them back.

OK, going to look for names on this…but class starts in 13 minutes, so…I got them! In time. So I can post this right before class starts. Wait. No. After class. My brain. Is fuzz.

The rest of today? Sort Wonder Under, exercise, start ironing to fabrics. Taco Tuesday! All good. This is the part I really like. Need to make some margaritas too. I think I have stuff for that. Maybe. We’ll see.

More OK with a Mask Than a Bra…

Now THAT’s the truth of my current situation.

There was this thing in my head last night that I was going to remember this morning to write about, but no. I was thinking, no, you’re not going to record it somewhere, because you are trying to fall asleep and you are exhausted, and it does not matter if you are exhausted, sleep will still be difficult, and I didn’t record it anywhere and now it is gone. I’m sure it was crucial to your day, to my day, to the development of the world. It probably has to do with people being stupid or making art or teaching, because that’s all I think about these days. But I got sidetracked by emails and plans and whatever my stomach is doing right now. I fed it good things last night and it liked them, but this morning it wants to talk about those things. I’m OK with it shutting up right now.

So even though no one but me was around for dinner last night, I wanted to get takeout, because I was tired and I’ve cooked a lot this week just for me and I’d like a night off, even if it’s by myself, so I picked a restaurant I’ve never been to in real life, mostly because I don’t think the man would eat there…maybe he would, minus all the green things, but that’s difficult. It’s the Garden Kitchen, which they claim is in Rolando, but that’s funny, because I used to live within a short walk of their location and it wasn’t Rolando then. The food was wonderful, even when I had to mess up the presentation by spatulaing it onto a plate (I don’t like eating out of the takeout containers) and it was still the right temperature and wonderful in taste and complicated combinations of stuff. And the old grocery store we went to was now a gym. Maybe it’s nicer to live there now, although the porn bookstore is still there, so maybe not.

The plus is that I have made stunningly awesome progress on cutting out Wonder Under, despite all the shit that’s in my brain. Although sometimes there are creatures who want to interrupt me.

She needs to pee. It’s OK. I took her out. She doesn’t ask anyone but me for some unknown reason. By the end of Friday night, which included a short gaming session to make characters and a movie, I had 5 yards of the 11 cut out.

Saturday included a quilt group meeting and some alone time at night, where I watched another movie, and I got 3 more yards cut out…

Two of them sitting here, which isn’t particularly comfortable, but works better for video meetings.

This is what 8 yards cut out looks like on the right…unless I’ve miscounted. Maybe I did 2 yards during the movie and 1 during the video meeting? I don’t know.

The trash pile is growing…

So if I’m right and there are only 3 yards left, I could do that in the next two nights, I think. I started cleaning the studio on Friday, did a little yesterday, and then gave up. I need to finish that and then sort all the Wonder Under, which will take an hour or so. By Wednesday, I’m hoping to be ironing onto fabric. Even though I won’t have background fabric until Saturday? I think I’ll be OK. At this stage, I only need the background to make sure that anything that will be showing on it will be enough of a contract to show up. This is the fun part! Although it will be long and hot, because ironing when it’s over 90 degrees is always sucky. Oh well. Making art is nice. And hopefully the kittens will stay out of here. This stage was exciting for them on the last quilt too.

I’m still stitching dots on time…Friday’s…

Is the pink dot with 4 leaflike things…

The one to the right of the pink spool. I was waiting for the right design for that shade of pink and finally got it. Generally, I just pick the next dot in the area, but sometimes color is an issue. Like with Saturday’s, the ladybug…on the far right at the bottom…

I wanted a color that contrasted with the red. So not a red dot…

The dark background is unfortunately a little TOO dark for the legs and head. Oh well. I’m not redoing anything.

Here’s the Anna Maria Horner fabrics I got for her color packages…the ones I think I will make into a different version of the naked lady Applique Stories.

We’ll see. It doesn’t have to happen right away, luckily.

Sleepy cats abound in the last two days…Nova when it’s hot…

Kitten follows me and then sleeps…during video meetings…

And movie-watching…

Sometimes they are into everything…like drawers in the coffee table. I thought she was too big for this now. Apparently not.

Sometimes they just want some love…

I will be ON you, even though you are doing something.

In food news, the girlchild is upping her cheese plate game…

And I excited the sourdough starter yesterday…

That IS exciting.

OK. It’s Sunday, which means putting a bra on for the grocery store. Oh yeah, and a mask. I’m OK with that. I’m more OK with the mask than the bra. Then a bunch of school stuff, and hopefully some exercise, because I’m feeling it, and a yard or two of cutting shit out. Plus sewing a dot. And gardening. And getting ready for another 5 days of what school looks like now. Ugh. It’s OK. We’ll make it, whatever it is. The sun is out, the flowers are growing, there’s a possibility of further-away hikes this week, and that is all good.

Ah yes. Teaching children. I remember having this conversation with my brother many years ago, although it wasn’t because he didn’t know the vocabulary.

Notice Something New…

It’s Friday. And I sold a quilt! Woo hoo! Someone from Arizona saw Desert Daughter at the Front Porch Gallery back in January some time, and recently contacted the gallery and it sold! I’m very excited…here it is with Arline Fisch’s wired art.

It’s nice to have people buying work right now…although I will turn around and pay off part of the girlchild’s college loan with it…getting close to done with that, and then all the income from these sales will go into the fund to remodel the bathrooms and kitchen, which really really really need it.

I need to make another Daughter quilt when I finish this big one, which is nicknamed Rona at the moment. I laid out all the Wonder Under I’d traced…

So that’s about 11 yards…one of them isn’t full, but the rest are. That’s a goodly amount.

I started cutting them apart Wednesday night…and luckily, the kittens weren’t interested.

Somewhere in the middle of cutting these out…well, at 1 AM that night, while I was trying to sleep, my brain started to fixate on how freakin’ big this quilt is and that there’s no way in hell I have a background big enough for this, and I don’t really want to piece it, because the quilt has so much detail on it that making the background busy is not a good plan. I hate buying fabric online in this situation because I can’t see the color properly. But one of my local quilt shops is doing one-on-one appointments. I can do that. I texted the owner and I have an appointment (with a mask and maybe gloves?) next Saturday. I need 5 yards for the background and if I’m smart, I’m going to find a couple of possible bindings and buy them too, because I’ll need a yard and a half for that. Fewer trips, better…much as I love fabric, it’s not necessary to be shopping regularly for it.

Thursday afternoon was my weekly stitch-in via Zoom. I actually did schoolwork for the first 45 minutes, but then sat there and cut out a yard of Wonder Under, yard number 2…

Not the most comfortable cutting space, but whatever…does two yards look different than one?

Hard to say…nighttime put me on the couch for yard number 3…

My hand hurts after switching to cutting, but it’s OK…only 8 yards to go…

Three yards seems to fill up the box a bit. I’ll probably get done with these sometime early next week, then sort them, clean my office, and start picking fabrics by next weekend. I’m hoping.

There’s been a ton of overwhelming work stuff going on this week, the second official week of teaching online. Wednesday and Thursday were crazy busy with work and meetings and to-do lists and texts. At some point, overwhelmed was all I felt. Today is better, but now I have to prep a ton of stuff and forms and shit for next week. I’m trying to keep Saturdays free of work, but that’s getting harder.

This was Thursday’s (? or was it Wednesday’s?) attempt to collect data from all the science assignments for all 160 kids…

There are pros to this…I remember how to be outside…although when the high 90-degree temps hit next week, I will NOT be out here.

Another pro…seeing kids in video! I totally miss this kid.

I was so happy to see her. And her happy brother.

I finished stitching the Nasty Woman cross stitch in staff meeting number 1 on Wednesday…

It’s been washed and needs to be ironed and finished into the hoop provided. Then it can go on the wall in my office under my Feminist AF hoop. Where the kids can’t see them.

I worked on this drawing a little bit during that meeting as well.

She has a head now…still not done. This is relaxing too. Seems like Calli is more relaxed than I am…

I had to go get her arthritis meds from the vet, who have a very good setup.

No interaction with other dog/cat parents. Super easy.

There’s not much on my destinations or events at the moment…

Although my phone knows when Summer Break is…it will feel much different this year.

Still sewing dots…Wednesday night was a butterfly…with the metallic thread being a pain in the ass…

Mine got all twisty and had to be stitched down.

And then last night’s…the dot wasn’t quite round, which became very apparent in the stitching…

I ripped the Palestrina knots out once, because I couldn’t get them to go down the middle…finally just left it the second time…

It’s the one on the far right…not round. Oh yeah. Oh well. Butterfly is wonky too.

OK. So what else? Girlchild is socializing with the puppy, who is kinda bitey.

All of us need a chiropractor and/or masseuse. I found an old electric massager (circa 1960-something…came with my house), but everyone is scared of it. I’m not. We also have an amazing stash of heat pads and creams for such types of pain.

This plant is in my yard. I don’t know what it is.

But it probably needs to be planted for real and not just half-assed shoved in a pot.

Speaking of that, I’ve walked three days this week, with the goal each time of noticing something new, a plant I haven’t seen or hasn’t been blooming…this was a great find…

We have agave, but not this type, so I shoved that babe in my pack.

Man that’s bright…

And this is sweet…

Gotta keep those eyeballs open…

Plus it’s good for me to get outside and moving after spending hours sitting in front of a computer.

These guys are either napping intensely or rampaging intensely.

It’s difficult to keep up.

So my goals today include trying to get all the schoolwork I can get done…done. Filling out forms, fixing typos, setting up online posts, attempting a new form of organization to support the kids (and me!). Also I need exercise today. Pilates would be a good choice. I’m also gaming tonight, but will be cutting out Wonder Under as well. Maybe I’ll draw. Maybe I’ll nap (that sounds really good at the moment…REALLY GOOD). Stay safe, stay well, buy some art, make some art, get outside if you can and just soak up some of that Vitamin D. With sunscreen. Seriously.

Taking Scallions for a Walk…

Good news! First of all, I finally finished all that tracing. I haven’t counted the yards of Wonder Under yet, but I will today…I suspect there’s at least 10 yards, maybe more. It was late when I finished last night, and I did have to spray a cat with water twice to finish the last 200 pieces, but I was motivated and she still liked me afterwards (because pets and belly scratches are nice), so we’re good.

I started tracing 11 days ago…

It took 23 hours and 25 minutes to trace 1541+ pieces…

I had to negotiate with kittens, working around my job and their naptimes.

Some days, I only traced for 40 minutes; some I traced for 4 hours.

The next step is to cut them all apart. That’s time-consuming, yes, but I’m hoping it will be less dependent on kitten behavior. We’ll see about that.

I also managed two Sue Spargo dots…still keeping up with one a day. Bottom left…

There’s supposed to be a tiny button in the middle, but…

I forgot about that and kinda like it the way it is. I might find an interesting bead that fits. I had to make it into a flower, because I miscounted the outer fly stitches. I was sure I had an even number. I was wrong. This is why you count twice.

Last night was number 30, the owl, so I am now one third of the way through this…

Here’s the owl again…

I didn’t think it was all going to fit…the key is to just make really small stitches.

My next step is to put all these away. I organized by color…they are (1) the fabrics from the last quilt, (2) stuff I bought just before we shut down, (3) stuff my SIL sent when she was cleaning out her cupboards, and (4) stuff I bought online in the last few weeks. Now to use it all!

Clean first. Use later.

I made it on two walks…it’s definitely cooler than last week, although still warm.

I’m tired of the road. I like walking out in nature. That kid bike was not there in the first picture, but was left there by the time we headed back.

The heat and distance were a bit much for the old lady…

So I let her swim a little afterward. This dog LOVES the pool.

I’m glad someone uses it.

Wildflowers are everywhere. Tuesday, I walked a bunch of scallions over to my daughter at her dad’s house. She’d forgotten them.

Take dogs for a walk? Or take scallions for a walk? Hard choice.

Weird seed pod…

It looks violent.

These cacti are starting to bloom.

But none of the flowers were close enough for pictures. These were…

It was the old lady’s 11th birthday yesterday…

She’s a good girl.

Although a little persistent about the pool thing.

So I’ve done two Zoom meetings so far today…three to go. Ugh. The next three are Boom Boom Boom.

I wish I could be a cat.

I think I’d be a better sleeper if I were a cat. Although apparently I’m not allowed to pee alone.

They really are like little kids. Although…my old lady is in here with me.

Because she follows me everywhere. She brought me three slippers last night.

I don’t know where the fourth one is.

OK, the girlchild is still cooking up a storm…she made English muffins from scratch and they are wonderful…

Especially this one she burned accidentally but that looks like a skull…

She also made cookies, and then photographed them…

Like you do.

And she made pancakes and froze them so I can have them for breakfast…which is awesome.

Plus she scored toilet paper at Costco this morning, so we are set for a couple of months, hallelujah, it’s all good.

OK, three meetings in a row, out by 5 PM? I freakin’ hope so. Then cut some stuff apart. Actually, I may start doing that in the last meeting, although I need to take notes. Ugh. Two computers? Stuck in my office? I’m hoping to do two of the meetings outside. Need some Vitamin D. Do Not Like These Meeting Wednesdays.

I Remember Ye Well…

Mondays are different now. They still feel like Mondays. Sundays are still crazy prep for school, can’t fall asleep because I keep running through how it will all go in my head, literally talking through the script to make sure I’ve got it. I write down the basics, a to-do list, in the morning before my first class, but it still feels crazy, like I’ve never done this before, like I’m gonna fuck it up. Seventeen years in. It’s fine. Really. I’m doing better this week than last week. We have learned from our travails. It will get easier. But normally, by this time of year, we’d have it down, we’d be teaching stuff we know backwards and forwards, and life would be chill. Well, as chill as it ever gets during the school year. Not so this year. This year, not so chill.

Saturday, I spent a good chunk of the day tracing Wonder Under for the new quilt…but first, I had to persuade this sweet asshole (the cat, not the man. He’s sweet. Not an asshole.) to get off the light table. I did record some of the tracing for my Patreon and posted that to my patrons yesterday, just to get an idea of how this works.

It was hot Saturday, so the cats did a lot of sleeping and let me do a lot of tracing…

Well. Eventually.

I’ve got about 8 yards of Wonder Under being filled up at the moment…I started in the 700s on Saturday…

Yes, sleep. Good kitty. And your little sister too…

Although Sunday, they were back to How Can We Be in the Way…

Sunday was a busy day, though, so I didn’t have a chance to trace anything until after 11 PM. Before that, I had an art group Zoom…

Where somehow I got corraled into posting a bunch of stuff…we’ll be doing an art exhibit of masks. So I’ll have to make another one. Apparently.

I also need to start making my Patreon rewards for sticking with me a year. Those are coming up soon. Back to the tracing…I have about 17 hours in and I made it to the low 1000s last night. Getting closer to done! But today is busy and needs to include exercise, plus three meetings/classes, so that’s a lot.

This is Saturday’s dot…it’s upside down in this picture. I really like this one.

Here it is again…right side up…the bottom one.

So much cat hair on black. Haven’t thought about how I will finish this…almost want to stretch it on a frame maybe. We’ll see. Quilting it would be a pain.

Then Sunday’s…wow. What a time-consuming bitch of a beautiful sunflower (you can’t see what I had to do to fix some of those picots).

Luna assisting…

My fingers smelled like the compost. Exciting stuff.

Nice sunflower. Took about 3 hours, I think. Maybe 2 1/2. Couching plus french knots plus picots. Wowza.

Here’s the month of May in my bullet journal, for those who like to see reality plus imperfection.

(The wine was not a factor…I did this earlier). Thursdays don’t really need bigger boxes. Plus document the shit we’re going through. This is how I keep track of life…monthly, weekly, daily. It keeps me on track.

Anyway, it’s all good. I also did some yard work. My goal was to fill two greenery trashcans a week, and I only got one filled, because of the heat. This week will be cooler. I can try again. My grading is done for now…one more thing to do after tonight. I want to be done with tracing by Friday…that’s about 100 pieces a night. That seems doable, although with the heat, the kittens are rampaging around when it cools down, which is when I have time to trace. After this, I cut things out, which will be much easier to do whenever and wherever. I need to decide if I have a suitable background fabric here soon, but ordering that stuff is so hard for me online. Colors are off. I bought a few before all this shut down…in person…ah, fabric stores. I remember ye well. Plus exercise today. I said that already, but I really need it. The heat really threw me. Hope ya’ll are well. I’m tired. We all are, for a variety of reasons. I’m lucky to have people around me who do things. Sometimes.

Stop Saying It…

It’s Saturday. I have declared it a Zoom-free day. Seriously Zoomed out. I do have school stuff to do, but I shifted it until tomorrow. Tomorrow has a Zoom meeting and grocery shopping, so it’s already messy. Today should just be clean and quiet and peaceful. I wish it were cooler so I could walk…maybe I will pull that off later, but it might interfere with dinner. Sigh. I haven’t walked since Tuesday, I think, because of the heat and circumstances of over-Zooming.

I’ve decided that no one can say “I think I had COVID-19 already”. No more. Stop saying it like it’s a good reason to go out and infect people or not. Unless you’ve been tested and you know. Two of the teachers at my school did a small parade for students, which is cool, but they did it IN THE SAME CAR. With no masks. Idiotas. Seriously. What are you thinking? Masks will be mandatory in public starting next Friday here…they’ve been mandatory for essential workers so far and suggested for the public. I’m glad…maybe my grocery store will enforce the sign about masks being required that is in the window now. I’m scared of this thing…scared for me and my friends and family. I hope we all get the super-easy version or even the not-so-super-easy version, where we just feel like shit for a month and then recover. That’s easier than the hospitalized version or the ventilator version or the dead version. But just because you’re healthy and only 30-something doesn’t mean you can’t get it. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

So yes, I remain paranoid. No news there.

I’m currently waiting for the kittens to nap. Yesterday they napped most of the day, and I managed tracing between Advisory and Office Hours for about an hour or so, and then a little bit in the afternoon before they woke up again. Bastards. Nah. They’re cute. Just annoying around big pieces of paper. This was Thursday afternoon’s Zoom, where I didn’t talk much but traced for about two hours. Luna was awake but that was at the end, so I put it all away again.

Calli hangs out with me when she’s here.

It’s gotten really warm in the last few days…this corner of the house gets hit by morning sun, so it can be really warm there.

I’m glad I put LED lights in, because they give off no heat.

I’m in the low 700s, so still not even halfway. It’s not a quick process. I am done with tracing Figure number 2 now, so it’s on to Figure 3.

Last night, I didn’t trace because nobody would chillax and nap. Kitten isn’t the issue. She won’t attack the paper and she moves when I tell her to. Luna? Not so much.

So there’s progress, but it’s slow.

I’ve moved school all over the house this week. Mostly I’m at the desk near the light table, but it was too hot on Friday for that…so I moved into the office. Two computers, only one with a webcam. Plus cat.

It’s crowded in here, not ideal.

I spent a good two hours dealing with video classrooms, then another couple hours putting together the parent email and organizing stuff for next week, making posts and fixing the playlist. So it’s notionally less time than with normal school, but it feels hard right now. I need a better routine. Trying to find everyone’s scores in four different programs, soon to be six? It’s a pain in the butt. Chasing kids down via text and email and phone calls? Also a pain. Explaining the same thing 42 times? No different than in the classroom. I just can’t point to it or show them how as easily. Plus sitting and not moving around is hard for me.

So there’s all the whining out. Again, glad to have a paycheck. Glad to see kids showing up and trying. Love hearing parents say stuff about us in Spanish. I feel for the kids who are dealing with baby brothers and sisters while trying to concentrate on probability and context clues. It’s hard.

Still doing dots…here’s Thursday night’s…

It was a lot of thread colors…just to the right of the cat head.

It took me about an hour and a half while on a stitching Zoom.

Then Friday’s, while on a teacher Zoom…social…apparently…sort of…

It was a simple one, hallelujah…the one right above the blue thread.

It’s a little blurry. Nighttime photography. Ugh. When I finished that, I worked on this some more. It’s not hard…

I’ve got to put some leaves in and I’m done.

On Thursday night, because the kittens weren’t chilling out, I started drawing my April Patreon drawing.

And finished it last night. Today I’ll scan it and clean it up, and post it soon.

I still need to figure out the video for this month and that Space Cat video. Haven’t had the time or mental energy for that.

We need to use the pool more…Simba doesn’t like it, but he does a good doggie paddle.

Calli loves it and would go in every day if she were allowed…

She doesn’t like hot.

I don’t either. I need a better bathing suit though. I don’t like mine.

Kitten enjoys mommy time every evening when I’m stitching or tracing.

These are growing in my yard…fascinating flowers. The leaves poke your eyes out though.

Last photo is the pile of Jane Sassaman fabrics I got in a box from her, mostly discontinued I think. She was cleaning out her studio/stash and offered these up (for money…she’s not crazy)…and I went, hells yeah. I tend not to buy a lot of this type of stuff, because it’s harder to use in the quilts I make, but I’m going to make an attempt.

Why not? Change it up.

So today…some exercise, some tracing, sew a dot, get a dinner from somewhere, and probably watch a movie. Don’t Zoom. Don’t think about school. Don’t think about stupid people who aren’t considering getting sick. Go look at some flowers. Maybe do some yardwork…at least pick up the stuff I cut last night while trying to get the sprinklers to work better. In the dark. Very effective. Stay well, y’all, and stay the fuck home.

Merry Quarantine!

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

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

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

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

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

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

This was yesterday’s meeting number 3…

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

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

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

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

And the ever-present weeds…

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

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

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

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

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

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

It used lots of colors…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Good Easy Place

I’m finally in a good easy place with this quilt. The torture (not really…I like it, but it’s hard to do if you’re not in the right mindset) of drawing it from my head is done. The man gets irritated that I am always doing something else while watching stuff on TV. He wants me to put all my attention there, probably so he doesn’t have to answer my stupid question that would have been answered if all my attention were on the show. I get it. But I don’t do well just staring at a TV. I do much better when the distractable part of my brain is half-staring at the TV (sort of) so the rest of my brain can do the art stuff. I usually have the TV (or computer) on while I’m making art…but not usually podcasts, because I’m constantly having to go back because I didn’t hear what they said, because my brain was only partially paying attention. I do that with TV too…I just try to pick stuff to watch that’s not that crucial. We want to watch Parasite, but that’s subtitles and those are hard for me. I will do it, because it’s supposed to be good, but it will have to be when I’m NOT tracing Wonder Under. Tracing is easier, less focus on trying to make a drawing fill itself in, but you still have to be watching what you’re doing. My brain likes multiple inputs.

So I have been tracing for 3 or 4 days now, and I have about 350 pieces done. Girlchild in the background…can’t remember what we were watching…

Cooking videos? That guy? Bas-something. He’s funny. I can only trace when the kittens are asleep, which seems to currently be when I am also on the computer for school meetings/class. Which sucks.

Also no one can sit on this couch. Well. One person can, but that’s where I sit and everyone else but Kitten (the grown-up one) seems scared to sit there.

Oh well. This is an art house. I’ve got about 6 yards of Wonder Under going at the moment, most of them with big empty spaces that aren’t QUITE big enough for some of the pieces I’m tracing. I keep them all out so I can fill in all the spaces with smaller pieces.

I’m very frugal with my Wonder Under. Which is funny, because it’s pretty cheap. You can see I’m drawing on one piece and I have at least three others lying around in case I need to try to fit a piece somewhere larger.

This is not a fast process, but it’s relatively easy. I find it very meditative.

So does Calli, apparently. She often is lying there while I trace. This was at night…kittens often sleep at night, although not always.

I’ve been tracing for about 7 hours so far…the bigger pieces take longer to draw, so that makes sense. I’m in the middle of the second and largest figure on the quilt. I’ve done her legs and uterus, and just started the ribs when I realized I need to get up at a reasonable hour to teach these days…so I went to bed. I’m watching Big Little Lies at the moment, in between the girlchild’s Criminal Minds, Bon Appetit, and Virgin River. I’m looking forward to more tracing today, after Office Hours and the panic that comes after that when I realize I don’t know what I’m doing, plus a walk, and making dinner. School is different. It’s not just the three hours on a computer…it’s checking what the kids did and didn’t do, previewing everything for the day, making sure I have everything pulled up and/or assigned, making sure I have a to-do list and have finished stuff for that. I don’t like it, but it’s better than nothing.

I’m still stitching on dots…this is a Sue Spargo thing on Instagram and Facebook. It’s a nice distraction during all this crap. Sunday night’s is the sunflower, bottom left.

I had issues with the bullion knots in the slinky thread…

But it turned out fine. I’m really not fussy.

This is Monday night’s cat…top right…

I didn’t have any cat-colored dots, so I went for green because the brown showed up on it.

But it’s a little chaotic. Oh well.

I also finally bit the bullet and started quilting my first ever wool quilt, a Sue Spargo block-of-the-month named Earth & Twig from I think 2012. It’s been pinbasted for a long time. I can’t say I’m the best quilter of wool…it’s the embroidery getting in the way that’s a pain in the ass, but it will get quilted.

This one actually has a lot of open space on it, so that will be interesting. I kind of want to add some quilting to the larger birds and animals as well, but thread color will be an issue. I don’t have the stash my mom has. We’ll see.

I did more yardwork on Sunday…the goal is to fill the two greenery trashcans every week with whatever seems to need pruning, sweeping, or weeding. There’s always a lot of it. This week, we cut up most of an acacia bush we liked but that had been knocked over…to see if it will come back. We also (wait, what’s this WE shit…I did most of it)…I also trimmed the bougainvillea and one large honeysuckle bush on the road, and then weeded sort of randomly. No one in their right mind could get all the weeds and grass that’s out of place, so I just go for what makes sense. I found more caterpillars…

This morning, the milkweed had three. I want more milkweed, but am not shopping at garden centers right now. I can; I just haven’t. And the avocado tree we planted has new growth…

It’ll be a few years before we see avocados on it.

I had one helper yesterday in my Office Hours…

They are not actually very helpful.

He gets a lot of cuddles…and sometimes he gets tired of it.

Like maybe there…

He is a cuddly sweetheart except when you’re combing twigs out of his tail. Then he bites.

This one kneads any sweater or sweatshirt I leave lying on the couch.

And this one needs attention whenever she’s awake. Luckily, she’s old, so it’s not often. She does follow me wherever I am sitting/standing.

This is from the book I finished yesterday…in general, I enjoyed this book, but this was heinous.

Does this mean the author doesn’t understand knitting? Because they aren’t sharp enough for that.

OK. Lots of tracing today. Some exercise. I’m not sure what else. I know I bought a bunch of stuff for painting that will be arriving by the weekend…well, and I just ordered something else that won’t be here for another week, but I can start with what I’m getting. I got a bug. An itch. Something. It’s a paint itch. Don’t question it. It’s related to a bunch of markers I got for Christmas. So I’m looking forward to all the supplies showing up. But first, I need some lunch before Office Hours. Hopefully they will be better today than they were yesterday, but it’s doubtful. Too much staring at a computer screen.