Hello Monday…

October 13, 2014

Hello Monday. I was not ready for you. I finished a bunch of stuff this weekend, but not enough (it’s never enough…isn’t that a song? Of course it’s a song.). I don’t feel prepared to face what you will be throwing at me today. For one thing, my voice and throat are significantly challenged (not a good thing for a teacher on the first day of five days…it only gets worse as the week goes on). I think I am officially sick, but with some really low-level viral beast that won’t just come out and make me actually ill. It’s content to lurk in the shadows and make things feel slightly off. I have a formal teacher observation today, though, so I’m thinking through how to teach this lesson without speaking…can I do the whole thing with hand motions? I think I can. At some point, when you’ve been teaching long enough, you can do just about anything.

I worked on the male figure in the quilt last night…I wanted to get it done.

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Looks a lot like the female side, eh? Thought I could do it all in one evening, because it was less complicated than the female…plus I started earlier. Here’s all the 600s laid out.

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I finished the 500s and 600s and did a few of the 700s. OK. Well, I got a significant amount of him done. I balked at the hands (hands are hard. I was tired. Tired and hard do not go together.). I got his sixpack done.

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So tonight I can do the hands and the briefcase and the head maybe. It’s good progress. I’m getting there. It’s moving along.

At that point, I should have been smart and gone to bed. It wasn’t super late though, and I wasn’t tired. At all. Even though it was almost midnight. So I decided to watch the rest of the episode of Star Trek that I had been ironing to, and to work on some hand embroidery until the episode was done, and then maybe I’d be tired…

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Yeah. Right. Made it through a whole ‘nother episode after that before tired hit. Something to do with the cat on the back of my neck? By the way, Data appreciates the embroidery.

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It still wasn’t super late, but it wasn’t early. I seem incapable of going to sleep, or even to bed, at a reasonable hour. Seriously, that damn cat is on the back of my chair right now. Gives me a crick in my neck.

We did have soccer yesterday morning too…not super early, but early enough to set an alarm.

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Everybody loses to this team. They’re good, sure, but they’re also pushy…and not in a constructive way. In a hand-on-the-back kinda way.

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Our girls held their own, though…still lost, but only 3-1, and as you can see above, when their girls threw themselves into ours, most of the time, ours did not fall down. I think girlchild dropped about 4 of their girls just by continuing to stand upright.

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It’s amazing to me to watch 17-year-olds who are about to go to college and play soccer with big scholarships (because one of their worst offenders will probably do just that) and they’re winning by being bad sports. Play the damn game, little girl. When you get beat, you don’t run into someone because you’re pissed.

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Of course, that’s not true. That is what lots of people do…and not just in soccer. You get pissed? You get hurt? You try to take the other person down.

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Soccer as a metaphor for life. Damn that pink vibrates…will be glad when we get back to our normal uniform colors. And one of their parents actually had the balls to come over and tell our girls to calm down? The ref was a good guy, though, and did a good job of calling the dumbass maneuvers.

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So a successful game, even if they lost. You gotta lose sometime, right? Not the green team, apparently. They tried to justify their girls’ behavior, saying “well, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” Um. So when you break someone’s leg? Will it be a problem then?

So. Yeah. I’ve been sitting with Monday for a while now, and it’s still a petulant whiny beast. I’m not sure I want to spend the rest of the day with it. It’s like an immature 7th-grade boy. Ugh. I got no choice. I gotta deal.


Art Weekend

October 12, 2014

I wish it were MORE of an art weekend, like a retreat somewhere with a hot tub and a great natural outlook and lovely meals cooked by someone else and lots of creative time away from my house, which cries out to be cleaned. Because I know those exist. I also know I can’t afford them. So I take what I can get: SAQA opening Friday night. A friend’s husband said my piece at the SAQA show was the tamest thing he’d ever seen out of me. His wife said someone was looking at my quilt and mentioning mental illness, which is amusing, because HER quilt in the show IS about mental illness (it was juried into the show I created called I’m Not Crazy), and Eyeball Tree is about harvesting organs…yeah, it’s weird, but there’s no nudity and them’s the rules. And it’s NOT about mental illness.

Last night was the opening for Quilt Visions (whatever the name of the new version is), and I’ll write about that later…I’m a gonna REVIEW that sucker. Because I’m not in it. And there’s a good reason why. And then it was the second opening (my SIL says I’m not allowed to call it a Soft Opening, because that’s gross) for the Fence/Barda show with a slide show from one of the Mexican artists. So it was a busy night. Weekend. I talked to lots of people about art. Generally that’s a good thing, but my head does it’s weird-ass thing and turns it into sad. I did my best to ignore it. Came home, persuaded myself to start ironing, despite exhaustion. Seriously, I think I’m fighting off a virus. Been exhausted all week, sinuses are clogged up but not like a cold really…maybe it’s just allergies, except I don’t have those! Yeah right. It’s something. I slept a lot Friday night and then woke up and went to the gym, came home, ate and showered, and fell asleep again. That’s telling. Of course, I didn’t sleep WELL Friday night. Or last night. Can’t tell if that’s hormones or stress (can you really separate those two?). Either way, same effect. Napping…when you have time? Might as well nap. I didn’t really have time. I never do. I’m buried in papers that need grading, so I made a concerted effort yesterday and will again today. I need to get caught up before Houston, because the week after I come back, grades are due again. FUCK! And I have another unit finishing up with a test and a journal unit to be graded, which is not a small number of hours. Sigh. What life?

So it makes sense that I just scheduled a hike for next weekend. It’s been a LONG time since I’ve hiked. I’m getting the nonhiking jitters. I need to get out in my boots and pee behind a bush in the middle of nowhere (OK, you’re right…I could do that in my backyard, but it’s not the same). So this balance of sanity and crazy workaholic, school crap and art crap…it’s feeling like a rush, not a good rush, the rush of someone chasing you into a dark alley. I need it to stop. To slow down. I need some relaxation time. I need to learn to do that on my own and not depend on someone else to be the calming influence. To be the relaxation for me. Because I don’t have that and I don’t see having it in the near future…so it has to be me. I have to be able to walk into the house with all my crap and sit down and relax all on my own.

I probably didn’t fall asleep well on my own when I was a kid either (I didn’t. I actually remember that. Hours of tossing and turning and reading books under the blankets.).

So. It would help if I wasn’t chastising myself for not ironing Thursday and Friday nights. I did finally iron last night, because that voice was in my head screaming at me about blowing stuff off (see, I do it to myself…on the other hand, I get stuff DONE.). So I ironed for a couple of hours…

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Still on the female figure. I’m going to do more tonight. I swear. Despite all the work crap hanging over me. Despite a really messy house. I asked the girlchild for 30 minutes of cleaning help today, and I swear she spent 30 minutes telling me why she couldn’t give me 30 minutes. Next time I should just hand her the vacuum and set a timer. No words. Let her scream at me. Maybe she’ll move the vacuum around while she’s screaming. I could push it into her hands, plug it in, and turn it on, and then run away. If I were fast enough and planned my path well enough, I could get her to vacuum the living room.

It would probably be easier to go out on the street and wave a $20 around to get someone to help. And I don’t have it this month…after I pay the Visa bill from hell, we will not be able to buy groceries for the rest of the month. Fun stuff!

I did finish the female figure last night…

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Well, except for the fingers of the left hand, but that’s because they wrap around the hand of the male, and I need to iron him together before I can do that. So he’s next on the list…I’ve been ironing for a little over 7 hours and I’m around piece 570, so about halfway on pieces and halfway on my predicted time. The male will be easier. Female holding baby? That’s a lot of overlapping pieces. The male body is less complicated.

So I’m sticking to my Friday night goal of having it all ironed down. I picked Friday, because I figured I could get it sandwiched and pinbasted over the weekend, but I just realized that I have to stitch it all down first, and I don’t think I figured that into the calculations. Fuck! Seriously running out of time. Maybe if I get it all stitched down by Friday the 24th and sandwiched and pinbasted over that weekend. Then starting to quilt the week I go to Houston. Might work. Tight, though.

One of the annoying things last night is that I kept losing pieces. So I’d cut another one out, because I couldn’t find it (I think exhaustion was part of this), and then I’d find the damn piece in the wrong pile. Gaarg…

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So annoying when I do that. Yes, I get annoyed by wasting that tiny piece of fabric and the tiny amount of time it took me to retrace, recut, reiron, retrim. They add up, though. It’s time I don’t have to waste.

Anyway. So I’m still trying to figure out how to pull off a REAL art weekend…not any time soon, for sure. Too many other things impinging on my time. At least there’s some progress…

 


Recovery

October 11, 2014

I apparently needed some recovery the last two nights. I got home from the drawing thing relatively early (well, for normal people, it would have been bedtime), and I couldn’t focus on ironing or grading (the two things that currently rule my world), so I made a cup of tea and took it to bed with a book. That is one of those things I love to do, by the way, and I rarely do it: read in bed with a cup of tea. I try to fit it in to my weekends, at least once on the two days, but honestly, sometimes it’s just not possible (like this weekend, for example). I’m feeling incredibly overwhelmed with work and life and even art, working my butt off in every realm, so it made sense to just take a break from all of it and read about somebody else’s world.

I was hoping I would be less useless last night, but ha! Oh yeah. So I went to an opening after school and counseling, not a short drive, blood sugar not great (I did not plan well…I plan better for hikes than I do for social events). The SAQA regional exhibit Shades of Passion opened officially last night at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts. It runs through October 29 and is open Tuesday through Friday from 9-5 and Saturdays from 11-3, although I suspect most people see the work when they are there for a performance or event. I think my piece might confuse a few people…

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Eyeball Tree has no nudity, so it was really my only option for entry. There’s a size and content restriction, so I often struggle with finding work in my collection for this show. I do try to have a few smaller, nude-free pieces around for stuff like this. There’s another one I know is coming up next summer for Ventura’s public buildings, so I will need to think about making a few more next year (after I finish the crazy that I’m working on now). That is probably the closest I get to changing my work for upcoming shows…I go through my drawings and find the ones with no nudity and make one or two of those if I like them. Or I don’t. It’s interesting, though, that the two pieces that did get into Visions and Quilt National were both minus nudity.

It was early when I got to the opening, so there weren’t a lot of people…mostly women, some wandering around and asking if this art quilt thang was a new thang. Um. No. But thanks for coming. My pictures are crap and I didn’t even try to write artists’ names down (I blame exhaustion)…

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But there is some very nice work in the show…

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As always, I’m never really sure how the theme pertains to what’s hung.

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But it probably doesn’t matter to those observing.

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I didn’t even get pictures of all the quilts…too many people in the way.

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But it gives you an idea of what’s there, in case you want to stop in and take much better photos than I did.

I have two more openings tonight, one the second soft opening of the FIG show at Art Produce and one is QuiltVisions, which I’m looking forward to, mostly to see what got in, but maybe to see people as well. Depends on how social I’m feeling. Hopefully more social than last night, after more than 8 hours of sleep.

Because what I did when I got home? I waffled. I sat down on the couch and arranged the stuff to be graded. I ARRANGED it. I did not start grading. I made a cup of tea because I was tired. Then I started reading my book. And I kept meaning to stop reading and do some grading or ironing, and then I got distracted by weird bills from Cornell that said the boychild had gone to the doctor, when he says he didn’t. Money’s tight. I’m not paying for someone else’s STD testing. (that’s not really what it was, but you can mess with the boychild pretty easily if you want about that stuff) And then the girlchild came home from Homecoming (came home from…that’s funny) and we finally got the lizard off the ceiling after three days (it’s a really high ceiling…it took a box, a bench, a stepladder, and a duster). And then I was going to try (after second cup of tea) to iron. And then I was just too damn tired. So I went to bed. And about 14 things woke me up in the night, so I am still tired now, but I obviously needed all that sleep.

I will iron today. I will grade today. I will get caught up on something. My goal of being ironed down to the background fabric by next Friday? Um. I don’t know. I’m hoping I can pull it off, but it honestly means I will probably have to get at least 4 hours done this weekend, which I can probably do, unless my brain wanders off and reads a whole book in one evening like it did last night. Stupid brain.

And all the rejection stuff in my head, because rejection is not just living in my art at the moment, I’m just pushing it off into the corner and working. Because if I get enough work done, whether it’s grading papers or ironing tiny pieces of fabric together, I think the rest of it will matter less.


Spending Time with Ink

October 10, 2014

So first of all, as I wrote in the previous post, I really didn’t expect to get into Quilt National or Visions or any of the others that regularly reject my work, but I’ve entered a LOT of shows in the last 9 months, and I do get into a few (SAQA’s regional exhibit Shades of Passion opens tonight with one of my pieces…with NO nudity), but they’re not challenging shows. Some have suggested other shows to enter, and I appreciate that. I do always have a run of show-entering after another rejection. Those pieces are now free to go exhibit elsewhere, and I try to get right on that. So yes, more entries in the next few weeks. As far as the art world is concerned, I do enter art (not quilt) shows…but I find that there is a massive prejudice against fiber art in the other art world, especially if you’re not being innovative with technique…and my technique is born from the quilt world. It’s my imagery that messes with their heads. But being involved with local female artists, I can tell you that just doing female nudes in certain parts of the country will cause an issue. So there are many reasons why my work doesn’t fit into some neat category. And I’m OK with that most of the time. It just gets old to continue to make work that you know is good, that you know is different and challenging and creative…and to have nowhere to show it. I don’t need a tribe to belong to…but I do need a place to exhibit.

Anyway. Moving on. As part of my attempt to remake my life, I sign up for weird shit sometimes…so last night found me in the basement of some downtown building, in a comic shop, sitting at a table drinking Stack wine (have you seen it? It’s very cute.), drawing, while surrounded by nerds. And geeks. And artists. And you could tell most of us were artists (some were attached to artists), because at some point, the room went dead silent…because we were all drawing. A strange social event indeed, but relaxing.

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I did really have a plan for drawing. I have another show coming up that needs a new piece, but I haven’t really fleshed it out in my head, so I just drew kinda like Faulkner writes, without ending my sentences for days…

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That’s how my brain works. How can I fit more things on this page? This drawing is like a Faulkner sentence. I even went back and added more at one point when I was contemplating what to do for the last drawing.

And a few people came up and commented and were appreciative, which is fine. It’s not why I went there. And ostensibly, I failed at the part I meant to do, which was socializing, but there were reasons for that.

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This one actually is prep for the new piece I need to do. Although I’m going to lose the cape. The rest might work, though…but bigger? Maybe. I don’t think I’m allowed to go bigger. We’ll see. Did you know when you Google “hands on hips pose woman,” you get a million images of Wonder Woman? Like that’s the key phrase for her. Like people can’t remember her name. “You know, that superhero woman with her hands on her hips?” Sigh.

I did draw though. So no, I didn’t iron anything last night, because after two days of science professional development and getting up early for that and not getting enough sleep, I was dead tired. I came home, ate some sugar (hello depression!), made a cup of tea, and read myself to sleep.

Oh, yeah, so this drawing. I started drawing this guy across the room because he had an interesting face, and I actually did a pretty good job of capturing his face and expression…like I think he would have liked to have seen this…but THEN…

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Some guy showed up who was friends with the two guys sitting next to me, and started talking about all the women he was fucking and how this one had sort of propositioned him, but she admitted to having sex with 30 guys so far this year, and he wasn’t sure he wanted to, because she wasn’t the right body type for him, but “if she had big tits,” he would. Sigh. So I had to write it. I actually sat there for a couple of minutes and asked myself if I was going to defile the drawing of the nice guy (I don’t actually know if he’s nice) across the way with the crap coming out of this little boy’s mouth, and it’s funny, because I think the other guy at the table, who had been sitting there near me for over 2 hours, I think he was embarrassed, because he realized there were women listening to this guy run on about girls and tits and all this crap, and hell, I would have been embarrassed if he were my friend. So after I wrote it, I decided to pack it in. It was after 10 and I had school in the morning and I was tired and I didn’t want to pay more for parking and little boys. So I left. I said thank you to my host, though. And Batton Lash drew me.

There are worse ways to end the day. This drawing is actually from Wednesday’s union meeting…yes, after 7 hours in a training, I had to hang around at school for 45 minutes and then go back to the district office for a 2-hour union meeting. UGH. Brain dead much? Rough week.

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I did iron Wednesday night, though.

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Legs. Female legs. They look remarkably like male legs (in my drawing at least). I had hoped to get the whole female figure ironed Wednesday night, but I graded stuff and spaced out a little (left most of my brain at the DO), and got yelled at by the girlchild, and made dinner (a damn good dinner too, so there). So I didn’t start ironing until after 10 PM, which is late for a 2+ hour session. And I was exhausted. But still stayed up way too late. I’m not very smart sometimes.

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Or my brain just messes with me.

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Uterus in color.

Ball of cat.

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Lizard on ceiling.

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Too high up to get him down. He’s still there this morning.

I think I just ran out of words. Or energy. Or brain power. Whatever. I drew. Remember I said I would draw once a week? Well, I did.


A Rejected Quilt

October 8, 2014

First of all, I get rejections all the time, and not just in the art world. I’m actually pretty inured to them and take them mostly in stride, and I did this one as well. I didn’t expect to get in. The odds are against it. That said, it’s been I think 8 rejections in a row, with one acceptance that was kind of a given. The piece I’m working on now is an invitational and I was invited almost a year ago, and yes, I’ve been in shows…hell, I’ve got a piece opening in Houston in 2 1/2 weeks. But almost everything I’ve entered since January this year has been rejected.

So you do start to question what you’re doing. No, I’m not going to change and make pretty landscapes or abstract depictions of my feelings towards nature (psychedelic, man), but it’s impossible to be human and NOT say Fuck You a lot and growl a bit and complain about the universe being out to get you, even though you know that’s not really the case. And to wonder if you’re doing it right or whether you’re just wasting everyone’s time, including your own. I mean, maybe the world would be a better place if I spent all that artmaking time cleaning house instead. Or curing cancer.

And when you’re done grousing, you keep working on the fucking masterpiece that is on the ironing board right now, because it DOES have a home, an exhibit (Thank you, Sheila, for believing in me and my work. It’s much appreciated).

Meanwhile, here’s one of the quilts that Quilt National’s jurors rejected…the one I spent all summer on. The one that tears me up just to look at it.

It started out with the nickname of Menopause, because it started out being about THAT. I was having major symptoms of perimenopause, with irregular periods and hormones that were fucking with my blood sugar and my mood (I’m not sure why I’m saying WAS instead of STILL IS), and I was dealing with a severe case of depression brought on by some shitty stuff that happened that was completely unexpected and devastating and basically destroyed some part of my self in my brain, or drove it so deep that I couldn’t access it. Whatever. I’m not sure she’s all there even now, but…anyway. I started drawing in December…and continued in January…and it became this thing. This banner for who I was at the time…for who I didn’t want to be in some ways, but in others? Dammit, she’s standing strong. Leaning a bit. Not happy about it. But she’s upright.

And now, from the other side of the abyss, this quilt…it really holds so much of what I was feeling and experiencing…

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That it might be a good thing it didn’t get into Quilt National, because then I would have had to try to explain it in person, on video, and I would not have been able to stand up and do that.

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There’s so much sadness in this piece…

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And anger. And honestly? So many pieces…

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And it’s made and now I don’t know where it will ever be seen, because it’s kinda big…

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And more than a little scary…

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And just a bit in your face.

This is You Make Me Wanna Die

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It’s 40.5″ wide and 80″ high. And it came out of my head. And it got rejected. And it’s OK. I know it’s a fucking awesome piece. And I hope sometime in the next two or three years (before it ages out of the entry pool) that someone else figures that out.


Need to Find Something Pointy

October 8, 2014

Hello ovary. So nice to have you along for the ride. Perhaps you could stop yelling so loud so I can hear myself think.

There’s something about October’s scheduling chaos that muzzles my brain. There’s too many inputs. I can’t keep everything straight. That damn ovary isn’t helping. I gave it wine to shut it up. It’s not working.

So I didn’t get into Quilt National. I’m not that surprised. Once in 13 years…the odds are against getting in again soon after. But it’s been months of not getting into much. So that critical part of the brain starts to pick apart the work…is it good enough? I think it is. I think these shows are fussy, and my work does not often fit in…much like me. It isn’t the end of the world. I can post pictures now, eh? Fuck you for making me paranoid about that. Let’s get into this century, people.

So it took me a while to get my butt off the couch tonight…exhausted from being at work until almost 5, trying to prep to be out of the classroom for two days, dealing with student issues and detention and tutorial and union crap and whole tons of crazy. I have seen my daughter for a total of about 7 minutes today. Seriously. Someone asked me if I was ready for the empty nest NEXT year, when she goes to college. Hell, she’s mostly gone as it is. It won’t change much. I am staying home tomorrow night with her, because I already know I won’t see her Friday…she’s going to Homecoming and I’m going the SAQA opening at the Poway Performing Arts Center. I was hoping she’d come with me and we could go out to dinner, but it’s OK. I get it. She’s a senior. It’s homecoming. Yeah, it’s dorky…but she still needs to go.

Anyway, exhaustion finally released me slightly…and I started ironing birds…this is the one on the left…

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I’m actually missing the bottom part of the heart in its beak. It’s probably in another box. Or I’ll recut it when I get to the end. If I tried to make these birds into small quilts, they’d be significantly more expensive than the other ones I did. It’s about 100 pieces per bird. And they’re fussy as hell. Kinda fun to draw, though.

I was tired, but wanted to do more than just one bird tonight. Shut up, ovary. So I went for it.

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This crazy balance of Enough Sleep and Enough Art…sometimes I just fight it. Anyway, I knew I wouldn’t go past the two birds though, because the next step is ironing the female figure together…so maybe I’ll start that tomorrow night…here’s the start of it.

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Hell, they’re sorted. She’s a few hundred pieces. At least. I’m still running about 100 pieces per hour. So 3 1/2 hours in, with about 340 pieces done. I’m aiming for 2 hours tomorrow night…completing the female? Is that even realistic? She’s about 230 pieces…so yeah? Maybe? Two and a 1/2 hours might be a better bet. Sigh. I already know I have to be at the district office early for professional development, I have a union meeting AFTER that, and I won’t be home until close to 6. These long days just hurt.

And I’m still bugged by all the rejections this year. Some of the quilts I think are my best? They don’t get in. Anywhere. Makes me think I’m crazy. That all the time and effort I put in is pointless. Damn, so much of my life is like that…so much work, yet pointless. Need to change that feeling. Need to find something pointy.


Prioritize the Many…

October 7, 2014

I’m debating Nanowrimo this year. Since school started, I’ve been finding it harder to find the time and mental space to write…shockingly, since I’m working full time as a teacher and trying to be a regularly working artist as well. But I wrote 1300 words last night. Just like that…Boom! In the book, it’s still Saturday. The book starts on Thursday. I’ve been writing about Saturday for 19 pages. A lot happened on Saturday. At the rate I’m going, the whole book will take maybe a week to take place. Most of it seems to be happening on Saturday…which must be like 46 hours long. Huh. Might need to deal with that issue.

I really enjoy the writing. Strange. It would be nice to make the attempt to write 50,000 words next month. I’d be almost done. Not sure I can do it, but I can make it a goal anyway.

Because I don’t have enough things I’m trying to do? I was really good today, though, despite crashing blood sugar after school (damn Minimum Day schedule fucks with me). I came home and ate (important) and did one household chore on my list and prepped for the sub I have in my classroom for two days so I can do professional development, and I dealt a little bit with grades…I’ll have to finish in the morning. Then I cooked and dealt with girlchild and animals and kitchen cleaning, and finally ironed for a while. I achieved things. I prioritized, but got most of it done. I need to finish my book…it’s way overdue (can’t renew it…there’s holds on it). It really should be a priority. But only so many things can hit the top of the list…

Last night, I started sorting fabrics out…

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It took about an hour and 10 minutes to get through all of them. There were a lot of really small pieces…

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Some of which I’ve already misplaced. I started ironing late last night…

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I tried to number things for logical ironing. Turns out it made sense for picking fabrics, but not for ironing them together. There are arms on either side of the bases of the scales…arm one…

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Holds the Earth…arm 2 holds the heart…

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I’m about 200 pieces and 2 hours in. That means I can estimate about 11 hours total ironing pieces together and maybe two hours to iron it to the background. At the rate I’m going, an hour a night (not so impressive, eh?), I’ll be done on time…still aiming for the 17th, sandwiching and pinbasting that weekend. We’ll see. Ironing is difficult when you’re tired…requires too high a level of concentration for super-tired.

On Sunday, I was at a science discussion for a while, and decided to stitch on birds…

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Still working on these. They take a while to do when you only work on them at night soccer games. But I find it relaxing…to sit in the park listening to people argue scientific theory and ethics and critical thinking while pulling purple sparkly thread through wool fabric. It’s not a bad place to be.

Absolutely exhausted right now. Going to take it all to bed with me. More ironing tomorrow night…because it’s still one of my top priorities…


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