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.


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.

It’s Just Better That Way

May 13, 2015

At certain stages in the creative process, I just flail. It’s like I can’t concentrate, like my brain can’t connect to the piece. I don’t care about it yet. I’m just doing because I know I’m supposed to be doing, and if I’m tired or cranky or otherwise in a moody place (welcome to my world), then I can’t barely force myself to make anything.

Last night was one of those nights. The Should Do’s marched by in a relentless line, and I graded papers, because I have a shitload of journals that got handed in yesterday and the rest of the pile will get handed in today, and that means I will be grading until they bury me in the ground, which might be tomorrow. No matter what, I have no recess, no rest, no time off. I need to grade my ass off. And I did grade some…and when I was done, I exercised, because that is good for me and I miss it, and even though my foot is killing me by the end of the day, I still need to be physically active in a cardiovascular way. Damn doctors making me wait for the referral to the next level though. This is no sprained ankle. It’s not even my damn ankle, you fucking idiots.

Deep breaths. Art brain showed up after all that and suggested drawing or cutting things out (pretty easy to do), but I was beyond tired at that point. I sat and finished watching the show I was mired in, and then went to bed. Woke up depressed because hey! I didn’t make art. DUH. Stupid brain. You should know better. And today is an uber-long school day, thanks to my service to my school as a union rep (hate those meetings…but I can grade or draw during them)…so by the time I get home, I will be exhausted again. It’s never-fucking-ending at this time of year.

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(excerpt from Y The Last Man: Vol 1…a somewhat amusing yet sometimes kneejerk treatise on what the world would be like with no men. Apparently some women would be assholes still…but I’m amused by the y chromosome comment, because some of my smart kids were thinking that through as well when we were learning genetics.)

Note to self: Let art brain win tonight. It’s just better that way.

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.

This Mood

May 9, 2015

So many things achieved. I hate when my mood doesn’t reflect what I’ve gotten done…some of that is moody hormones, unfortunately, but some of it is getting bogged down by other crap that just won’t leave me alone. The little stuff is really getting to me at the moment. Need to dump that mentality. Must be getting to the end of the school year.

My two quilts are going to the photographer today…I dehaired and ironed them this morning, got up a little early to make sure I had enough time. Probably won’t finish writing this before I have to go, but that’s OK. I graded papers last night too. Girlchild and I were going to go to this art and music thing, but it was canceled for the rain (yes. we had rain. a miracle.), so she went off to dinner with friends, while I watched the series finale of Sons of Anarchy. Sheesh. Well, it’s done anyway. I think it’s hard to end a series well (Sopranos for example, not as an example of ending well). At least they got to make a decision about how to end it, instead of just not being renewed.

So I finished tracing the Wonder Under on Bathtub 2 last night…

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And no, Kitten wasn’t helping. She mostly sat around on the papers I needed and then rolled around presenting her belly for petting. Then attacked. It’s nice when she comes out though.

It took almost 8 hours to trace this quilt, which is more than I would have guessed, but there are some whopping big and complicated pieces in the bathtub and water that took more than a minute or two to trace. I usually figure about 100 pieces an hour. Tracing big pieces takes longer than small.

The next step is to cut them all out and then move on to the ironing. I need to clean up the studio first though. There’s some stuff in there that’s been there so long, I don’t know what it is. Time to get it out of the way. Summer cleaning is how teachers think. We don’t Spring Clean. There’s no time. Summer is when our brains like to get rid of stuff and reorganize and move stuff around.

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So that’s on the list. Even starting now, I think. I can’t iron fabrics for the next quilt without some major cleaning in here.

I’ve had some conversations about smaller quilts I can make for sale this summer. I don’t want to do all cats, but I will do some. I’m thinking of a different owl and maybe a raven…and possibly one like the cancer donation quilt I did with the hands and the heart, but simpler. So I’m finalizing all that in my head and figuring out how to fit in at least three major quilts between now and the end of September. Ha! Wow. Crazy much?

Honestly, though, I’m kind of looking forward to putting some sort of plan together for summer work on quilts. It helps school feel less crazy. It helps quiet nights at home seem less lonely. It helps with the frustration of my job. It helps temper the teenaged mutant attitudinal beast who is currently on my couch, bitching about everything I say or do (walking away, my sweet. I love you, but I’m not in the mood). I’m crying at the drop of a hat these days, stupid hormones. Fuck. Going to draw today. Seriously. They’re whirring about in my head, causing strife and stress and nausea (oh wait, those are the hormones, right?). My photographer gave me some really positive comments about the quilts I dropped off…not that I didn’t like them, but I keep having this discussion about pretty versus significant. I prefer the latter. Most people like the former. I have to find the happy place between them for the stuff that sells easily and then keep making the big stinky stuff to keep me sane. Like sanity is my strong point! Whatever.

This mood. Sheeit. Dammit brain, I finished all this stuff. Would you back off for a bit? Sigh. We can engineer bridges, put humans in space for months on end, we know how to replace a lens in an eyeball without stitches, but we can’t find an acceptable treatment for menopausal crap? This world we live in. Don’t tell me it’s equal. It’s not.


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