She Be Done

April 25, 2015

I finished it.

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Last night. Actually early this morning. After midnight. Almost 90 hours since the end of January. But it’s done almost a month earlier than I was hoping. I need to finish the other little one so I can call the photographer. Because y’all probably want to see nice pictures of it, instead of all I can get, which is this…

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Because it’s kinda big and I don’t have anywhere I can lay it out right now, without cleaning a floor, and I really don’t feel like cleaning fucking anything at the moment.

How do I feel about this quilt? It’s nice. It’s pretty. Sigh. And people like it. Maybe that’s all I have to know. I hope it gets into the show for which I made it, because that would be really annoying if it didn’t. I only have one quilt I can enter in that one, because of the silly restrictions. The reality is I might need to make more of these pretty quilts, although probably much smaller if I want them to sell, because this thing ain’t cheap…you can’t put 90 hours into something and sell it for a couple hundred dollars. I mean, you CAN, but it’s fucking stupid.

But I’m telling you, the next three quilts all have fucking uteri in them, so I will feel much better about them. You have to understand that I am currently being ruled by my uterus. It hurts, it bleeds, it is a crazy mess, and all the hormones it and my ovaries are producing so haphazardly are running my emotions all over the map, fucking with my sleep, my brain, everything. Really, I should do…oh shit, I just had some amazing ideas for uterus quilts. Huh.

Crap. I have so much stuff to do right now, and about 25 ideas for drawings just popped into my head. Which makes me want to cry, because my job…the one that pays the bills…it’s really sucking up some major time at the moment and I’m trying not to think about what that might look like next year. Because I’m trying not to assume the worst. I’m trying to just step back and say, yeah whatever. Just tell me what you want me to teach. I’ll come to school every day and maybe I’ll just suck at it. Because I don’t want to spend another 10 hours a week working at a job that really just would take everything if it could. I want those extra hours for art. I might need those extra hours for another job. And it needs to be a job that I don’t take home with me, because I can’t take on anything else at the moment. The emotional crap with having both kids gone and being alone here in this house is bad enough without letting me make art in that time. I need that time in my head for peace. I really do. As I get older, it seems to get worse. I think I spent so many years pushing all that away and doing mom stuff and job stuff and managing everything that after the Big Depression of 2013 (that is still going on some level), I really can’t go back to that. I can’t be that person any more. And honestly? I have a 19-year-old and an almost 18-year-old. I shouldn’t have to be mom at that level any more. And I have enough years into teaching that I shouldn’t have to be working like a first-year teacher. Ha! As we add technology, which I am doing like a crazy person, and change standards. OK. So there is still a major learning curve. But I don’t get excited when you ask me what else do I want to be teaching…I DON’T want to be teaching anything else.

Fuck. I’m a mess. Maybe I should just blow everything off and draw.

Sigh. No, one of those things is financial aid for the boychild. Need that. Another is food and meds for the animals. I need to take care of them. They take care of me. And food for the week. Can’t really blow that off.

Fucking responsible adult brain. I wonder about Picasso. Did he blow off everything else? Probably.

Last night…

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I’m watching DS9 on the righthand computer, the cat is sitting on my lap demanding pets, the school laptop is behind her, where I’m grading assignments on Google Classroom, and three teenaged girls are eating all the pizza in the world in the living room. I don’t even use that TV any more…let alone the VCR. If I ever remodel this room…probably there will be another computer monitor up there. I did get one assignment completely graded though. I’m getting better at doing these. It’s hard in the classroom though, because often the free time I have is when kids are responding to something on my computer, so I can’t grade at the same time…and the app for tablets fucking sucks at the moment. The tablet the school gave me won’t even respond at all, and the iPad, if you click on a student, nothing happens. Same with the phone (not shocking, probably the same app). So I just stand there, trying to figure out what to do with my “free” time. I mean, really, it’s about 10 minutes per period, but yes, I’m that fucking efficient. I can grade 6 or 7 warmups in that time period. I can get through 5 assignments on Classroom. Every 5 counts. So I’ve been bringing my school computer home every weekend instead and trying to make sure I get through an assignment a weekend. SUCKS.

I saw this fabric online somewhere and it poked at me for about three days before I decided I couldn’t live without it.

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Plus I want to draw some more stuff like that, right? Tula Pink. Interesting. So then I tried to find it and found it on sale, and that’s when this happened…

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I can’t really explain it. But there’s Adventure Time and Walking Dead and wooden rulers? I don’t know. Don’t ask. It’ll end up somewhere. I cannot explain my fabric stash. They were all on sale.

By the way, Earth Stories (or most of it) just opened on Thursday at the Kennedy Museum of Art, University of Ohio, Athens. It will be there through early September. So if you want to see my piece and you’re at Quilt National (where my work will NOT be…can I get a high 5?), then head over there in a free moment.

Nida009 copy

Because not only do you get a uterus, but it has a fetal skelly in it. That sucker was a bitch to make.

OK. I’m getting some shit crossed off my to-do list right now.


April 23, 2015

I had a plan for last night. I was going to finish up that small recycled quilt, finish the quilting anyway, and maybe pick a binding for it. I realized (shhh, don’t tell the show organizer) that I put all of Mariah’s fabrics away in my stash, and so the binding might have to be whatever I can find…which is amusing, because she actually had bindings already cut out. Duh.

So I was finishing up grades, because I needed to determine whether two kids could play basketball tomorrow, and I had the music on, because that damn Smiths song (when a doubledecker bus crashes into us) would not get the fuck out of my head, and I was trying to chase it out, and so I was playing some music to do that, when the girlchild texted me from her bedroom (this is a common occurrence) that she was trying to go to sleep and could I please “turn the beats down.” Huh. She clarified that it was easier to fall asleep to my sewing machine, because it was more rhythmic or something. White noise. But she’s having a hard time with school and I basically say the wrong thing all the time (like “I love you.” and “I know you can do it.” and “How can I help you?”. Those are all the wrong things. Honestly I don’t know what the right things are. The Parenting Manual doesn’t cover this situation.), and I felt like as her mom, I probably shouldn’t be negatively affecting her sleep. And I can sew tonight or Friday or Saturday or just about any day. So I didn’t.

I have other stuff to do. So I started numbering. And this is so very exciting to watch. Really. And photograph. And I make mistakes all the time. I posted a picture to Instagram and there’s a double number right there. Space cadet.

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I try to be logical about how I number stuff. All the body parts together. Start at the bottom. On the two bathtub drawings I did, I numbered all the stuff outside the bathtub counterclockwise (I don’t know why…it made sense last night). Then I numbered the bathtub clockwise (OK, I’m fucking nuts…it makes no sense) and anything hanging on the bathtub. Then I did the water. All of it. Then things floating in the water. Then flesh. I don’t know if I will be swearing at myself when I go to iron it all out or not.

But I did Bathtub 4 first…

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Because it was on top. It’s not really upside down. It has about 650 pieces. Not so bad. Although some of them are annoying. I realized how convoluted the bathtub water pieces are gonna be. And the bathtub pieces…I’m gonna need some big pieces of fabric. I might need to go shopping. So sad. Probably because I imagine a white bathtub and blue water. At least I do right now.

I misnumber stuff all the time. Sometimes I double number like 50 pieces or I leave out 50 numbers. It’s because I’m keeping the numbers in my head and my head fucks stuff up. I realized last night that I would be thinking “648” and my hand would either write it backwards (846) or start in the wrong place (486). So that’s not crazy or fucked up or anything. OK, it could be argued that I was tired and it was late at night, but…sometimes I wonder about menopause brain. Because it’s a fuzzy emotional mess sometimes. And how does that help with survival of the species? Makes it easier for predators to find me, because now I am no longer useful to the species’ survival…so I might as well feed someone else. Cheery thought.

I looked at the clock before I started numbering Bathtub 2

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…which really does have an upside-down head in it. I always look at the clock, but it doesn’t necessarily stop me from continuing. It took me just under an hour to number 4…and it was a little after 11 PM. So it seemed reasonable to keep going. I was tired, but not so tired that I would fall immediately to sleep, and thems my rulez. No going to bed until you know you can fall asleep, so there will be less tossing and turning and crying into the pillow (ah, moodiness, you slay me).

It took less time to number this one, because it only has 595 pieces. I think I am going to do it first too. Although its bathtub pieces are even bigger. Pristine white bathtubs (things that do not exist in my house…our one bathtub is that putrid 70s salmon color and clearly not pristine) and water…water is one of those interesting things to color. In real life, it is rarely so blue as we picture it, except apparently in the Caribbean, where I’ve never been (and probably never will be either). Yet I continue to sparkle it blue. Pretty blue. I realize I need to let these two color themselves in my brain for a while. That is how I color them. I don’t do it on paper…it’s all in my head. It’s OK. I need to trace and cut out Wonder Under before I’ll be ready to iron to fabric. That’s a significant number of hours that my brain can spend coloring to its heart’s delight.

I gave up after that and went to bed. I could’ve sewed more binding down. I could’ve drawn the rest of that big drawing or the other long skinny one that’s sorta in my head and needs to be done too. Eh. But it was already after midnight, and although I could picture myself continuing to work, I could also picture how I would have felt this morning (which was hard enough, thank you very much). So I did the mature and responsible thing. Shocking. I do try to balance the crazy with the mature…not necessarily successfully. So there’s some chance of my surviving today. Probably a good thing.


April 22, 2015

Last night was a piece of cake. I managed to enter an art show, make a decent dinner (only a little charcoal was involved…I am not good at paying attention to multiple dishes unfortunately), watched a new interesting show (new to me, True Detective…don’t tell me how it ends please), and then decided with the available brain power, I could probably handle cutting and taping pieces of paper together. It really says something when that’s all you can do at 9:30 at night. OK, I realize most of you are lolling on the couch by then or curled up in bed, but I suck at that.

First of all, I looked at Bathtub 1 and realized that the other end of the bathtub was bothering me, not because it didn’t have a head, but because I couldn’t see the rest of the bathtub. So I added another strip down there…

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And I’m going to have to decide how to handle that, because I really don’t want a head down there, but I’m not sure I can draw the bottom of the bathtub without something of a head popping up. Or maybe I’ll just finish the watery bits that are there? I don’t know. I just know it was bugging me last night.

Then I started taping Bathtub 2 together. I think this is the one I’m going to do first.

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It’s been talking to me for the longest time. Since right after I drew it. And I need a new piece done at the beginning of the summer, so maybe this one is it. Certainly, I need to make a decision soon. Like this week. Because I have the quilting on the other recycled piece and some binding left to sew on the Earth Mother, and then I Have Nothing to Work on. And that is just not allowed. Nor is it healthy. So. Decisions to be made.

Here’s the whole thing…

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It’s not huge. I only enlarged it 250% and it fit entirely on one sheet of paper in my sketchbook (how strange). So. Maybe I number it tonight and see where it’s at.

Then I went to tape Bathtub 4 together (3 is not going to be a quilt)…

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OK. Oops. This happens all the time. I copy in pieces and I miss the stuff in the middle because of the size of the sketchbook and trying to fit it on the copier, but usually I miss stuff in the middle. On Bathtub 1, I had to draw in a small section about 5″ square. It wasn’t hard. Now I need to draw this in. Huh. So I taped a piece of paper in there. I’ll look at it tonight. Maybe.

I have a parent meeting this morning, so I’m rushing. Plus I had to make a lunch this morning. I usually try to do that the night before, but I was too busy cutting things and taping them together. Oh yeah, and I finally did my dishes. Priorities. After all that, I did spend an hour stitching bindings. I need to be done by Sunday for a meeting and then I need to contact the photographer, but I need to finish the other one first. It’s cheaper to have him set up for more than one at a time. And they’re both done early (not needed until June 1 and June 15, I think).

Brain is fuzz. School is stress. Thinking about all that? Eh. Making art instead.


Tip the Balance

April 21, 2015

Usually I write my blogposts in the morning. I used to write them at night. I’d meditate first and then I’d write. Often it would be 1 or 2 AM when I posted, because I wasn’t sleeping hardly at all for about a year. Now it’s easier to go to bed earlier and write in the morning. I suspect the writing is different because of that, but maybe not. Plus I get a few more hours of sleep…not a lot.

I’m writing tonight, knowing I probably won’t post it tonight. I’m kinda hoping that what I do tonight will modify my mood so that tomorrow morning sounds better, feels better, and according to all the happiness mythology, IS better.

It was a difficult day. Kids were not in the mood to do work, and I was asking them to do work. Not particularly hard work, and the ones who know how to do work and like to do it, or at least know that they have to do it, they were doing it. The others were not. My patience was incredibly thin to start the day (lack of sleep? stress? I don’t know. No art for days?), and by the end of the day, our minimum day, I was at nothing percent. Nada. Nichts. Ain’t nobody home. We had a meeting after school that was incredibly depressing…worrying even. And I know I’m not supposed to worry about future events, because there is no point. I’m not supposed to assume next year is going to suck dingdongs because maybe it won’t. I’m supposed to take one day at a time and not think about the future.

I have to tell you, it is a hard habit to break. But I’ve been telling myself that since the meeting, don’t worry, don’t think about the future (except I’m being asked to think about it, so that makes it significantly difficult), the meeting where I almost broke out in tears, and when I have to meet one-on-one later because I expressed my concerns, I will most definitely cry. Because it’s hard to explain to most people what it’s like to feel money stress hanging over you for years. To feel parenting stress solely on your shoulders. Those that have experienced it, they know. But when you then add the stress of trying to balance the parts of your life, and someone wants to add more stuff that you REALLY don’t want to do to a job that already sucks up so much energy and so many hours, and you have fought to keep your hold on the other part of your life, the art part, even just the part where you have time to do the dishes (I haven’t yet since last week), it’s like a tug-of-war game, but it’s not a game…it’s your fucking sanity, it’s your life. And I’m holding the rope and the knot is slipping over the center line, and everything on the other side of the rope (job, money, time, demands of children, demands of boss) is getting heavier and heavier, pulling harder and harder, yanking at me, pulling my shoulders out of their sockets, and I’d really just like to throw my hands up and let go of the fucking rope, let go and walk the fuck away, turn my back on ALL of it.

Yeah. So I’m meditating tonight. And I was drawing earlier. And I’m trying to at least get a tiny grip on some sort of strength to get me through most of tomorrow, because that’s all I need. And then tomorrow night, I can negotiate for Wednesday. And so on.

Tonight though. Geez. Universe. You suck. Walk the fuck away from me. I am not talking to you.

It’s the morning now. So much for my hope for today. I was apparently a horrible person this morning because I suggested watching Friends would not help learn Physics. Huh. What do I know? I love my kids, but going away to college is something they really need to do, not only for their growth and maturity, but for my sanity.

I drew this last night…

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I don’t know what it is about sitting in a bathtub. It reduces stress, makes you feel calmer, but you’re naked, so there’s this vulnerability while you’re in there. You can’t get out quickly, but that’s supposed to be OK. I used to take baths all the time at the old house, prekids, predivorce, prewhatever. The bathtub in this house kinda sucks, plus it’s in the kids’ bathroom. I think if I got into a bathtub right now, I might never get out.

I liked the hand and wineglass in this bathtub drawing…

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But wanted to try to make a better drawing…this was more of a quick sketch one night. So that’s where the second drawing came from (it’s actually the fifth). I don’t know if the other one is done. I have to think about it.

I did all that because my head was a mess. I meditated in the middle of it. I didn’t do anything else last night, because by the time I got home from school and did the grocery shopping that I didn’t have time to do Sunday (forgot the toothpaste, dammit), it was late. And then I was trying to pay the deposit for college and that was apparently too much stress for the girlchild, who admittedly is about to lose all her friends (try to tell her they don’t all go away, but she says I know nothing, because you know, I don’t.), because she went off. And I eventually got it paid, but decided that making dinner was not my problem. I was no longer hungry. I could eat a bowl of fucking Cheerios and I’d be OK. I had used up all my parenting dollars for the night. To her credit, she cooked dinner and fed both of us.

I went to bed and hoped that it would be better today. No comment on that. I can’t judge the whole day on the first 40 minutes. I can’t let the first 40 minutes color the entire day.

Here’s the two birds I almost finished over the weekend…

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I still need to add some of the lighter green to the tailfeathers on the upper bird. I should have done that in the car on the way home on Sunday, but I don’t think I had the energy. I actually don’t remember the car ride back on Sunday. I know I was in the car, because I’m home now.

Seriously though. One of the things I hate about these moods is that I don’t feel like they are entirely situational…I think a big chunk is hormonal, and that is out of my control. My science brain wants to know what percentage is my hormones and what percentage is whatever other shit causes random sadness and depression. I need a mood pie chart. (I just spent ten minutes looking at semi-disturbing pie charts that either blamed moodiness on spilled gin or the genetics of your parents, both probably factors at some point or another.)

Fuck this. I drew. Tonight I don’t know what I will do, but it won’t be school-related. Sorry Mr. Bossman…you didn’t make me want to spend more time doing it. You just strengthened my resolve to keep the balance, perhaps tip it even further towards taking care of me. (In reality, I will find that difficult to do.)

Trigger Warning

April 16, 2015

I’m reading Neil Gaiman’s book of short stories, Trigger Warning, and I’m one of those freaks who actually reads introductions and other frontmatter (whoa, there’s a word from my previous life as a book editor), plus I really like Gaiman’s work, all of it, and then I come to his explanation of the title and the stories he’s written, and he describes “life, which is huge and complicated and will not warn you before it hurts you.” This quote has been sitting in a draft post for a few days, like whenever I started reading this, and this morning, this morning it is true again, because it is always true. And it’s stupid stuff that will hurt you sometimes, stuff you didn’t even see coming at you and that wouldn’t normally bug you, but you woke up in the middle of the night (well, the middle of the early morning, because you don’t go to bed until the middle of the night) and it’s your body that woke you up, because it’s conspiring against you to hemorrhage only in the dark hours when you should be sleeping, and then without warning (see, Gaiman knew about that too), so I guess I should be pleased that at least my body wakes up for such events, so I can do something about it, although the endorphin rush was not necessary, and then in the morning, bleary-eyed, trying to read email and there’s random email, probably a brain fart of some corporate system (go ahead, I know you want to rail against corporate crap, but you use it all the time, even when you do rail against it) and the stuff that comes through derails me so thoroughly that I can’t seem to focus at all this morning.

Which is unfortunate, because I leave in 27 minutes to deal with 140 7th graders.

Whatever. Managing my brain has become a fulltime job. I get a few days off a week, more than I usually did, but apparently this is permanent damage. I really hoped it wasn’t. Maybe I need another two years to get better? Maybe better is never. This is the new better.

Yesterday, by the way, was the worst possible day to go copy drawings. I didn’t even think about it, because I did my taxes in January. So yes, after waiting in line, I commandeered a copier to DRAWING ENLARGEMENT instead of copying all my tax paperwork. (I don’t copy tax paperwork…I do it all online. I don’t mail those assholes shit.) I heard the snotty comments (in Spanish) in line behind me, and all I can say is, don’t leave it to the last minute, sistah. And get off my case. I’m working. And stop assuming us pasty white chicks don’t understand your language. Your grammar sucks.

At home, first of all, I graded papers. Then I hauled my tired self off the couch (first week back to work is always painful) and cooked dinner (reheat from last week’s frozen lasagna, thank god) for me and the girlchild, who forced me to watch multiple episodes of Friends (I may shoot myself soon). At some point, I was finally able to stand up and start cutting and taping. I started with the enlargement of that crazy person I’ve been working on. I only enlarged to 200%, because I realized the finished piece can’t be more than 60″ either direction, and I still need to add another figure…

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Then I tried to figure out how much to add on the bottom (MATH! I needed to finish her legs) and the side. When students ask me “how will we use this when we grow up?” I have answers. Here’s my pile of leftover pieces from cutting it out…

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They’d make interesting quilts in themselves. Abstract cuts like that arm? I can see that as a quilt. No one else can, but I can.

Kitten. You are not helping. I gave her the evil eye…

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And she eventually left to stare out the window instead.

So there’s the original drawing from the sketchbook with the stuff added on top, bottom, and left side.

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Yikes! That’s a lot of space. I don’t need to fill it all. Really. I don’t. OK. It’s hard to NOT want to fill it all, but I will control my vision. It’s going to be a pain to draw it at this size though. I may need to do a pre-drawing, like I did with the first version of this one. We’ll see.

I also copied three of the bathtub drawings.

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And then had this long stupid mental conversation with myself about how I should number them, because I’m sure they will have different names, but they will be called Bathtub 1, Bathtub 2 etc. until I figure out those names, so should that be in the order I drew them? Because I think there are five of them and this is like 1, 3, and 5? Or should it be in the order I make them, which is hard, because I don’t know which one to make first, but I know it won’t be the first one. But I feel like it should still be number 1 because it was? Aargh. Who gives a fuck! Well. Obviously I do. It’s OK. I don’t have to number them until…fuck…until I start taping them together. Like tonight. OK. Decision-making part of brain is offline. Maybe it will recover by tonight. And this decision is so fucking crucial to my life, right? Sigh.

(That outcome is unlikely. The brain recovery one.)

At that point, I was too tired to keep standing and taping and cutting stuff, so I came into the studio/office and starting hand-sewing binding…

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Because it’s 18 thousand miles of sewing and it has to get done at some point. And I was too tired to do anything else. And I took myself to bed earlier than usual (a good thing, considering the middle of the night wakeup call).

I know part of the brain stuff is just pure exhaustion…so I’m trying to be good to myself and push all the bad stuff into the corner behind that pillar over there (ah, meditation training…thank you). First I had to go Google the spelling of pillar because it totally looks wrong. Sigh. Cannot trust the brain. Really can’t.

Oh, and in case you didn’t see this on Facebook, the show I’m in was written up in our local online paper (usually a conservative paper that I never read) and I got into the article…you can read it here…written by a man and not blaming all of our power on the being of woman. Thanks. Appreciated.


Make Art. Make a Lot of It.

April 15, 2015

The first week back after a break from school challenges your voice…lost mine yesterday during 7th period to a coughing fit (the kids are so funny about that…they get worried). It’s back now…sort of…but you go from barely talking to anyone for 16 days to nonstop talking and generally fairly loud for huge portions of time…of course your voice has issues. Tiredness is the next thing that hits you. Even if you try to get the right amount of sleep, if you don’t fall asleep right away or something wakes you up in the middle of the night, then you’re short for the next day and it snowballs by the end of the week. By Friday of the first week back, I’m usually close to collapse when I get home. Plop down in a chair or on the couch and I’m not moving for an hour, except to heat up my tea. That’s what I was like yesterday…taught all day, then did tutorial, then raced the cat to the vet. Got home around 5:30. Collapsed. Eventually I came back to life, but it took a while. And this morning? This morning I feel like a lump of tired. And I slept last night! Seriously, I did. So that’s good, but I think I need a whole ‘nother 8 hours. I won’t catch up again until the end of June.

I worked on this again last night…

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This is the larger version…I did the electrical lines correctly this time because I did the basic outline in pencil first, so the lines would overlap correctly. So I’m happy about that. And there’s a uterus now, because I moved the hand lower.

I usually draw everything in pen without a pencil sketch at all. Sometimes I outline something in pencil because I want to make sure a hand ends up in the right place, or it’s something I’ve never drawn before, like those elephants…I think I used pencil on their general outlines and then went in with pen and did the final drawing. I use whiteout on my drawings when needed, because the drawing is not the final product, so it doesn’t matter if there are corrections on it.

So I think I’m going to go copy this (enlarge it) after school today, because I looked up the guidelines for this show, and the quilt needs to be smaller than I thought. So I don’t think I can draw the second figure on another sheet and try to combine them…it will be too big. I think I will have to enlarge this one and draw the other one directly on the enlargement. Which means I will draw tiny details that will not be enlarged (must remember NOT to do that). Plus I’m going to enlarge two of the bathtub drawings and do eeny meeny miny mo to decide which one gets to come into existence first. I might copy the third one (which is actually the first one) as well and give the poor woman a head. Just for fun.

I don’t want any down time between projects…I was talking to a couple of people who said their muse was absent, that they didn’t have things to work on, no inspiration, too tired, too stressed, and my brain is like WHAATTT??? What IS that? I have too much. Too many deadlines. Too many ideas. Too much stuff just dancing around in there that wants to be made.

I’m not complaining. It’s a good problem to have. But it reminds me of my professor in the UK in college who told me that my method of creating work was faulty, that I would Run Out of Ideas if I kept working like that. Oh yeah? Suck my…cause I haven’t (sounds like a personal problem dude). What’s funny is that he was maybe in his late 20s at the time, and I thought he was an old fuddy duddy. Interesting, because the guy in charge of the whole art program there was much older, and I didn’t have any issues with him.

So ideas? Not a problem. Time? Always a problem.

Before I drew, I did a little quilting…

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It’s hard to quilt when you’re tired. It’s physical…although this one is so small, it’s not really a problem. I’m just doing outlining right now. I have ideas bouncing around my head about how to do the background, and they have not solidified into a plan, so there’s really no point in getting done with the quilting right now. I also have 18 miles of binding to sew down and a bunch of grading to do. I bribed myself last night…you will grade for one episode of this show, and then you can stop and do something artistic. It works. I get a little grading done, but I also get to do what I want. And that is the perennial discussion for teachers…how do I do less work (because you can work nonstop in this job and still never be done) and have a life balance that makes me feel OK about my job and occasionally recharged and even happy? I’m not sure teachers ever really figure it out. We have to keep reminding ourselves how to do it. Walk away sometimes. Say no sometimes, maybe even a lot. Pet a cat or a dog. Hug someone, not a student. I mean, you can hug students too (in an appropriate manner), but there should be other people in your life, people who aren’t teachers even. People who have nothing to do with schools…

In my case, make art. And make a lot of it. All the time.

It’s Over

April 13, 2015

Spring Break, that is. Every year, the end comes with a depressing wail of remembrance of the last X weeks of school, with a realization that you got almost nothing done that was on your list, and that sleep will elude you for months now. Seriously, even though I went in to my classroom yesterday to make sure everything was OK (it wasn’t…and not by my own fault), and I know I have everything copied and planned pretty much for the next four weeks, I still woke up early, completely wired, stressed out, sure I’d forgotten something.

And the fact is, I probably have. So what. I got this.

I’m ahead of the game on the two quilts I wanted to work on over break. I have three assignments I still need to grade. So I’ll do that this week. Somehow. I’m doing OK. The world isn’t going to end because I’m back in school. Hopefully.

So I went shopping Saturday morning for binding fabric for the Ventura quilt. I laid it out on the floor of the quilt shop, which I could do with gay abandon, because there’s no politics, nudity, or violence in this quilt, per Ventura’s guidelines. Y’all realize this is for a juried show that I might not even get juried into, whatever, I did it anyway and someone will show it. Because it’s pretty and has no nudity or violence or politics. Unlike most of my stuff.

When a quilter has to buy “just one piece of fabric,” y’all know how that goes. In fact the binding was the most mellow of all the fabrics I bought…

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On the left, you can see the back of the quilt that needs the binding. At the top, you can see the one I need to stitch down sometime this week.

I spent a couple of hours cutting and sewing on the binding by machine and then pinning it all down…

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It’s about 29 feet of binding and sleeves that I now need to sew down by hand. It’s OK. I’ve got plenty to watch on Tivo. And it’s kind of relaxing to do that anyway. Except for all the pins sticking you. Here’s where 17 people pop in and tell me I should sew my bindings completely by machine (I don’t like how it looks…I’ve done it) or fuse them (same deal) or leave them off altogether (eh). I still follow the rules for some parts of the quilting process (that should stymie my counselor some…she’s convinced my sole purpose in life is to break the rules, and yet, I break so few of them). Anyway. She’ll be done this month easily. The quilt…not my counselor. She’s got tons of work left to do.

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That’s a lot of pins. And sleeves. I put sleeves on the top and bottom on big quilts…the weight of a slat or dowel in the bottom sleeve helps it hang better. I’ve finally got myself trained to do that automatically. It took a year, I think, to get to that point.

Good Kathy.

Then I looked at the clock and ran through the things that were next on my list. I need a couple of drawings to get done, both for possible juried shows. I have a lot of binding to do (obviously) and that other quilt needs to be stitched down, which I didn’t feel like doing last night. So I cut out a piece of paper for one of the drawings (it has to be a specific size). And then I left it in the other room, because trying to draw straight lines to make a box in which to draw sounded like hard work (it was after 10 PM at that point…give me a break). So I had a small drawing that needed to be made into a larger, more complicated drawing, one of two for a show I’d like to be in (jury!), so I sat down with the smaller drawing out and ready, and started making it bigger…

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Obviously, I still have some work to do (and actually, I ran off the bottom of the page, which will be an issue at some point). There will be two figures in this piece, so I have to draw the other one as well, and then copy them and try to fit them together correctly. Sounds like a project for this week (wait a minute…I will probably be brain dead most of this week…maybe not the best choice). I also have two other drawings that I might enlarge and start numbering/tracing. I have deadlines all over the summer…usually they don’t come until late August/early September. Not so this year. It’s not like I was going anywhere anyway. Hiking maybe. Camping maybe. An opening in LA. That’s about it.

One of the (many) things I didn’t get done over break was dying fabric (and socks)…

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It’s all sitting here waiting for me. Plus a box from Dharma is in the living room. I could pull this off on a Saturday morning sometime, but National Cup soccer starts this weekend, so it could be a while. Oh well. I got to hang out with my Belgian sister, I did two hikes, I finished (pretty much) one quilt and got significantly into the next one. College decisions happened (mostly…because nothing is ever set in stone here), I made it through the boychild’s taxes and his FAFSA (one more financial aid application to go). I listened to music and watched movies and read books and got a tiny bit of the yardwork and cleaning done that was supposed to happen. Same with the grading…a small portion was completed. I wouldn’t be Kathy if I were caught up on grading after a vacation.

The rest will come. I’ll figure it out. Back to reality. (More caffeine please. Brain still not online.)


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