Rainbows and Pirates and Rain, Oh My!

June 27, 2015

First of all, although this image was amazing enough for me to show it to the teens I was feeding…


The photos that had me in and out of tears all night were all those couple photos posted by my friends, same sex and different. It’s funny. I have absolutely no desire to be married, but hearing about their plans and their joy was wonderful. All my love to them…may they do it better than I did. I’m glad they now have a choice. Sometimes the world does stuff that makes sense.

Yesterday, I was determined to get shit done. No really. Drove to Home Depot and bought wood for the living room book shelves, so I can get the books off the floor and art on the walls and finish that shit from last year’s remodel. Now I just need boychild to drive them over to dad’s and cut them and then sand and stain and find some way to hang them, because I didn’t like anything in Home Depot. Or it was too expensive. I just want it fucking done.

I had an extra teenager for a Pirates-of-the-Caribbean-watching festival for quite a few hours, but I did not let that run me out of my living room, because I needed the light table. I asked permission to stay and it was granted. Mostly because I admitted that Johnny Depp was hot. Well. He is.

I had a request for a commission of the breast in a quilt I made last year, but it needed to be redrawn, so I made a run to Fed Ex to copy some stuff after I went to Home Depot. Then I redrew it, moving the top hand and getting rid of some of the chaos behind it. Then I traced it onto Wonder Under.

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I had some cats I had drawn to make as smaller quilts…but they are all curled up. I vetoed a couple others that were similar.

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The one on the bottom left will be more complicated (and expensive) than the other two.

Then I had the simpler version of the heart/hands I did for FFAC, a standing cat, and another owl from one of the bathtub drawings.

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So I think I will start with those and see how they do. Oh here. I found the new breast drawing…

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For those who don’t know where this came from, I had a series of mammograms regarding a shadow in one breast, so I had to go in multiple times over a yearlong period. It was kind of scary at one point when they called me at school to tell me about a followup appointment when my doctor hadn’t had time to check in with me, but it’s all good now. I just have dense breasts. So they make weird shadows. And whatever is in there, it’s been the same size and shape for a good long time, so we’re back to squishing once a year and watching it. Hallelujah. Alien boob.

Anyway, I also finished cutting out the Wonder Under for the next piece I’m working on and for the breast piece. And then I sorted the WU for the larger quilt…

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It only has about 560 pieces in it, and it’s not particularly large, so hopefully it will go quickly. By that time, I’d had enough of Depp and pirates, so I had moved into my office, where the iron and the fabric live. Plus then I got to watch more Star Trek and stop listening to squealing girls. Who are adults really…one is 18 and the other will be 18 in August. They asked permission to marry (jokingly) and I said no…they’re too young. I don’t care about the rest.

Then I got on the floor at about 11:30 last night (Pirates still going on!) and found the fleshtones I wanted to use for the two overlapping figures.

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Along with some brighter pinks for lips and nipples. I wanted to start picking fabrics last night, but once I got the first 100 pieces of Wonder Under laid out, it was 12:30. So I stopped. But I got a lot done yesterday, so I felt OK. Now I’m writing this and on hold with my car insurance company, which doesn’t realize I’m firing it. Whatever. All these things I need to do before I leave today for Los Angeles. Looking forward to the opening. But also a bit apprehensive. That part of town has some significant memories for me and I’m nervous to be going up there. Stupid that a place can do that to us, but our brain remembers things like landmarks and smells and certain phrases, and those things can set us off…and my brain has been a mess the last two days.

I finished reading this…

funny story

It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini…it was good…about a high-school kid fighting depression. It was a bit simplistic in how he solves the issue, but I liked his explanation of tentacles and anchors. Based on Vizzini’s real-life experience on a psych floor in a hospital.

OK. One insurance company fired. Waiting on a callback from the other one. Then off to the Big City.

Omigod. Is that rain? It’s rain people. Rain. The world is a wonderful place.

I See Progress…

June 11, 2015

Even when nothing seems to get done…

I didn’t do anything quilt-related last night. I was too braindead to quilt. I’m likely to sew right through my hand if I try in that mindset. I had a union meeting, the last one of the school year (that’s when you start realizing you’re almost done…when everything is the LAST one of the year). I drew during the meeting, mostly to stay awake…

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I’m not good with late afternoon meetings. Ever. And I’m still working on versions of this drawing for making small quilts this summer.

This one…I don’t know what this one was…

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Nice eyeball though. I’m fairly sure the teacher sitting next to me was confused. I don’t really care, because like I said, I was listening to all that was said…I was just tired and drawing keeps me from falling asleep in long meetings.

I didn’t get home until almost 6 and then had to cook a meal I’d never cooked before, which actually turned out OK, and then I cleaned up and holy crap, I know I did a bunch of school stuff, like 17×4 certificates and analyzed a bunch of data for our fun awards and who knows what else.

I meant to post this earlier this week as one of my small successes, but Tuesday kinda kicked me in the balls, as it were…one of the art groups I’m in, California Fibers, is doing a recycled art show in Los Angeles at The Loft at Liz’s. It’s called Diverted Destruction 8, and it opens June 27 from 7-10. I will be at the opening, barring any crazy life happenings that I can’t control. Anyway, we had a bunch of upholstery samples and some of us used other stuff as well (I used Mariah’s leftovers for the second one) and made work, and Fiber Art Now published an article about us. I was concerned at first because both of mine are nudes, and Quilting Arts won’t do nudes, although Quilters Newsletter Magazine does show my work regularly enough, but the editor was aware of who I was (that in itself is a bit frightening), so one of my entries to DD8 made it in the magazine. The article is well-designed, and each of us sent in a paragraph about the process…

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The show looks like it will be very interesting…although we made two pieces and she’s going to jury from those, so I don’t know whether this one or the other one will be in the actual exhibit…

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There’s mine in the middle at the bottom. Anyway, if you’re in LA that night, stop by. So I got published…and that’s a good thing.

Another good thing is that boychild has been cleaning out his room. He dusted and vacuumed and is getting rid of old stuff and then started cleaning a pile that’s been in the hallway outside his sister’s room for probably a year, maybe longer, and he’s really fucking efficient (unlike me), but he forces me to deal with stuff…mostly by handing it to me as I walk in the door or leaving it in my office. He was looking around the garage again, and I think maybe the week after school gets out, I’m going to spend some time kicking the garage’s ass with his help. I think it’s hysterical that I got an organized neatnik for a son (OK, I’m organized, but not the other thing). Of course, he has more free time than I do.

That’s it. I’d be neater if I had more time (see comic from yesterday).

I forgot this drawing…

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This is definitely going to be one of the Cats of Summer, like last year we had the Birds of Summer? Except I think I want to do a different owl and that heart/hand thing as well, so it won’t just be cats, and I have one dog I want to do. I’m going to aim for 10 different ones, like last year, but I also have another quilt I have to finish before mid-July, so I really need to get started on that one too, because that’s just over a month away. I guess I’ve only been working on the Bathtub quilt since early May, so…except that’s still more time than I have for this one and I’m not done with the Bathtub yet…it’s probably got at least 10-15 hours left in it. SO. Yeah. Luckily there’s only 6 more days of school left, and then I will have (notionally) more free time. I didn’t sign up for workshops at all, because I just couldn’t deal with it, and honestly, there weren’t a lot that I would have found helpful. I hate sitting through useless professional development.

Anyway. I see progress, even though I got very little art stuff done yesterday. Tonight might be better. It might not. I can’t predict it at this point. I know I’d like to get some things done, but I have a lot on my plate up until about 6 PM (or later…might need to hit Home Depot as well, ugh). I really do need to go to work though. That damn job really gets in the way of my getting shit done.

Ah Rejection

May 29, 2015

The quilt peeks its head up from the pile on the chest of drawers, those ready to be rolled up and hidden in the closet until they are called out again. “Mommy, when do I get to go somewhere?” I don’t know, pretty little quilt of mine. I just don’t know. I made you with all the crap and emotions that were deep inside me, poured gallons of salty tears on top of you when I stitched you, there’s probably even blood tacked under some piece or another. I drew your pattern while my brain wriggled around, trying to find a solution to how it felt, to make it better, and dear, sweet, little quilt (who is not so little really, with over 2000 pieces and 140 hours rolling around inside it), you DID make me feel better, and I know that was not your only goal. But it was a good one. And it worked.

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As to why you don’t get to go hang on a wall somewhere? Be patient, my little friend. You have not aged out like some that fill that space in the closet, some that were shown here, there, and everywhere, and some that were rolled up years ago and never go anywhere. Like some people you know, really. Some travel all over, are gone every weekend, have no evening free…and you…you sit here most nights cutting up little pieces of fabric and ironing them back together to make pictures that beg to be seen and never leave.

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So I guess that’s what the internet is for…seeing what doesn’t get in. And the thing is, as I read yet another rejection letter, very nicely penned, with a huge number of entries listed, I knew I wouldn’t get in. I’m not innovative enough. I have no desire to be innovative. Am I cutting edge? I don’t think so, unless cutting edge means not pretty, and I don’t think it does. I’m not using new materials or wildly different techniques, it’s not a new take on an old classic. None of the gimmicks apply. It is simply imagery on fabric…strange imagery at that. Sometimes painful imagery. Sometimes not. Sometimes just plain weird. Hey, it’s my brain. I can’t explain how it works. I just know that it does.

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Fuck. Wait until they see the new one…the bathtub quilt. And there are how many of them in my head? Clamoring to come out? Not to mention those that are already drawn. I’ve never really done a series, and now here I am, putting naked women in bathtubs (it’s been DONE!) with all their shit spread out around them. Just like real life.

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Moving on. Making more. Keep rejecting me. I don’t stop. I’m the Energizer bunny of art quilts.

I’m Just Doing It Different…

May 26, 2015

So I made it home yesterday, and then to pay for taking 2 1/2 days off of my life, I spent the next 8 hours running around like a crazy person, trying to catch up. That part wasn’t fun. At all. And at some point, around 10:30 at night, I quit. I am still feeling overwhelmed this morning…back to negotiating with my brain for a day at a time. “Today we will do this.” And trying not to think about the 70 trillion other things that need doing, but that I can’t possibly deal with right this second. Or even next week. And apparently I’m doing it all wrong anyway.

Giant ass sigh. Today we dissect frogs. Big lab day. I am leaving here early to set up, because I never got there yesterday. Ran out of time. The alarms are on at school at 11 PM, or I would have gone over then. Seriously, I was shopping for dog food at 8:45 last night.

That said, I did have a relaxing weekend (too bad I ruined it with real life, eh?), so that’s kind of a tiny buffer against all the crazy right now.

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It was really cold on Saturday, but this was part of the walking view…

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Bizarre broken panes of glass in the middle of trees…flowers everywhere…

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Birds wouldn’t shut up.

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My parents’ dock with dad’s canoe (took that out on the water on Sunday, when it wasn’t so cold and choppy)…

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The ever-present fog this weekend…or cloud, really. We spent a lot of time driving in clouds.

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There it is creeping into the valley…

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Sunday was nice out on the deck. I drew a whole picture and got sunburnt in the weird places where I forgot to slather on the sunscreen…

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Like the part of my wrist that is normally covered by a watch. It’s burnt now.

Coming home was a lot of putting stuff away, cleaning stuff, washing stuff, making lists, buying stuff, planning stuff, typing stuff, printing stuff.

And around 10:30, I sat down and started cutting these out again…

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I had to stay up pretty late to get the laundry through, so I’m tired this morning. Then again, I’m always tired in the morning, so this is really nothing different.

I know there are lots of people trying to help me, but sometimes the help comes out as criticism. And there was a lot of that yesterday, some of it crazy-from-the-teen’s-mouth criticism (really? How many times do I have to ask before you will just do it?) and yeah, I sat in my office and cried for a bit, because it was all too much and I was obviously doing it all wrong.

Or am I? Because I’m the only one sitting in this chair, carrying all of it on my shoulders, and if there is a lack of understanding, I can’t really do anything about that. I have this huge job that sucks up so much time and energy, and then I try to be an artist on top of that, and woven through the whole mess is this parenting thing, which I do by the seat of my pants and with very little support. And when I get it wrong, I apologize and move on. But it seems like even with all I get done, there are still expectations that I’m not meeting. And yet I know I’m not doing it all wrong…I’m just doing it different. I have to remind myself of that, that my experience is mine…and they’re not seeing what I’m seeing.

You could just take one look at my art and realize that, I guess.

Getting through this week will clear some of this out, I think. Meanwhile, I’m still making art. There’s no magic that fixes the rest.


May 24, 2015

How to clear the mind: read, write, draw, walk, canoe, drink some tea and some wine (not together, yuck), have some good food, watch some apes on TV, and don’t think about school at all. Just push it out and let it fester in the corner for two whole days. It will still be there tomorrow. Nothing will have changed between now and then.

I can’t tell you how much I needed a break, and because I’m not home, I don’t feel required to pick this up, put that away, run that errand, finish that task…I can’t do any of those things until I get home tomorrow, and then I won’t have enough time to finish all that anyway, so I’ll do what I have time for, and push the rest aside until I have more time. My life is such that the crazy expands to fill all my available time if I let it, and I was determined not to allow it for the last two days. I’ve been pretty successful. Well done, child.

I’m probably sunburnt. Oh well. I used sunscreen. We canoed today, not super far, because we’re both out of shape, but it was a good distance to remember how to steer (though some would argue I never remembered that). And the sun was out today, unlike yesterday, when temperatures were dropping to 44 degrees during the day, so it was a much better day to be on the water. 

We walked around a small part of the lake yesterday. I wanted to go on a real hike in the wilderness, but we couldn’t find the damn ranger station and I left my Adventure pass in my car, which is still at the shop, being torn apart. And then it kept getting colder and colder and later and later, so I settled for a few miles on lakeshore paths and roads. Oh well…we got exercise, and that was the important part. My foot was OK, although twingey, so I’ll probably have to test it with a real hike sometime in the near future.

We brought a pile of movies to watch, but the parental DVD player seems dysfunctional, so we picked something off real live TV…not ideal, but it works. I’ve worked on my quilt, cutting pieces out. I’ve drawn.  

  I’ve finished one book (Feed by Mira Grant, definitely worth reading…a much better zombie tale than most of them) and started another. I’ve read some blogs and had the news read to me (wtf Josh Duggar?). I’ve cooked. I’ve eaten. I’ve slept. I figured out that mom was in charge of purchasing the showerhead in her shower, but not the guest showers. Um…Dad? Did you really have a guy who installs bathrooms for a living take a miserable shower with that showerhead? You did, didn’t you. It’s interesting how much difference a good showerhead makes to my mood. I should remember that for future reference. Ten Things That Will Make You Happy: 1. A Damn Good Showerhead. 2…well, I’m still working on the other nine things. I’ll get back to you.

It’s all good. It’s amusing to me how many of my teacher friends got the hell out of San Diego this weekend. It’s cool to see all their posts and photos from all over.

And now I’m looking forward to Mexican food for dinner, reading more of my book, and who knows what else. I think I’ll actually make it through the rest of the school year…at least it’s looking more positive than it was Friday at 3:30 PM.

I Know You Know It…

May 18, 2015

Apparently I like to pick out fabrics…or my mood finally switched on to art mode. Either way, even though I spent a good two hours yesterday arguing with the girlchild by text about whether she had taken my shoes or not or whether I was in the right to demand that my shoes be returned to my house (ah, the wonder of divorce), and then we weren’t speaking to each other for the next 2 1/2 hours, somehow all that shit worked out and I managed to do some grading and make some art.

Actually, first of all, this is a drawing from Saturday…

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Which needs a redraw. I like the hands. I like the belly and crotch area. I need the head further down. I’ll try again. I also went to an art event Saturday night, but I’ll have to deal with that in a later post…too many photos for a Monday morning.

I had mostly cleaned in here Thursday night (yes, I know it doesn’t look clean, but what do you know?)…

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And set up for ironing, did a tiny bit, but then succumbed to cranky exhaustion.

So last night, I managed to avoid both, and made it through all of the first 100 and second 100 pieces…

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There they are laid out by 10s. Very exciting, no? Yes, I’m a little obsessive sometimes. But look at what I can do with it!

Basically, last night I ironed everything together up until the bathtub…here’s the ginkgo tree…

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Some of those browns are just shreds of skinny pieces because I’ve cut so many tree branches out of them.

Here’s what I’ve used so far…not much color.

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There was a dog on a rug, a cat, a ginkgo tree, a pile of clothes, and a pair of shoes.

Next stop? The bathtub. Which might be a bit difficult. I need big pieces for that. Here’s everything I’ve ironed so far…

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I got to piece 229. On this quilt, that’s almost halfway done…which is good, because my brain is realizing I have to get another relatively big one done by mid-July? Ish? And that is closer than it appears in that mirror.

I also started revamping my LinkedIn page to include my editing and proofreading experience, which is old, but still useful. I’m debating joining a couple of groups that might get me work, but school is still hanging over me. My car went into the shop, though, and between it and my house insurance, the next month is going to be ugly…which is a problem, because I don’t get paid over the summer. So I need to get some focus on…realizing I don’t know how to edit electronically (well, I can mark up in Word), and might have to take some courses to figure that shit out. Anyway. I try to worry about the smaller stuff, one bit at a time. College crap. Getting the boychild home crap. Getting through state testing crap.

I aired out the boychild’s room and rewashed his bedding, realized we were still short a pillow and his fitted sheet no longer fit. Elastic with issues…so I made a run to Target for another pillow and a fitted sheet. Set all that up, so he at least has somewhere to sleep. He can work on cleaning the rest of it when he gets home. Asked the girlchild to clean the bathroom, and she tried to blame part of the mess on her brother, who hasn’t been home since January 19. It’s gonna be a fun summer! I know you know it.

More drawing. More art. I was commenting that I find it hard to draw specifically about the relationship I have with my daughter. I can draw about motherhood in general and the stress that goes with it. Earth Mother shows up a lot in my work. But when I try to parse out how the two of us work and why it drives me bonkers sometimes, I just can’t make a picture about it. I can only hope she has a really nice roommate in her dorm who doesn’t kick her out after three months.

It’s OK. I know her worst behavior gets saved up for me. OK. Apparently I have to go to work. Damn paying-the-bills job. And please don’t tell me you want teachers to love their jobs…there isn’t a single teacher out there who loves state testing, and most of us are trashed by the last 6 weeks of school.

Speaking of trashed, I dropped my favorite mug yesterday…

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Dammit. I made it myself. I made another one at the same time, but I’m apparently not allowed to have it back. And the other large mug I had sprung a leak. So I’m fussing around with a tiny mug, checking Groupon for the next coupon for the ceramic painting place.

OK, off to my day, if only to figure out all the ways I have screwed up already. Love Mondays.

The Cutting of the Wonder Under

May 11, 2015

Mothers Day: the only day of the year children will try to feed you and clean up for you. Well, apparently the girlchild last did those two tasks at Christmas, but I’m fairly sure I helped. She did good. Food was wonderful…we will miss her when she leaves. I just don’t pay close enough attention when I cook to do it well. I’m always trying to escape the kitchen to my studio.

I did a couple of drawings this weekend while watching the end of True Detective, which was good. At some point, I couldn’t draw because I was concentrating too hard on the show…always an issue.

But before that, there was this…

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Which I actually want to do over…and this…

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Which might be OK.

And the other 15 drawings are still roaming around in my head, creating havoc with my ability to remember how or when to do anything (or maybe that’s menopause…hard to say).

And then at night, after dinner and cleanup and exercise, I finally got around to this…

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The very titillating Cutting of the Wonder Under.

Stay tuned for many pictures of piles of paper cut out with fusible web on one side. Très exciting.

State testing starts today, so I have to be at school early, because I have duty and I have to get my room set up and all my stuff located. I’m completely unprepared, unfortunately. My brain? Mush. Dammit.


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