Can’t Stop the World*

October 21, 2016

Well first of all, I’ve been working on this beast technically since June, I think, but it’s finally done. I created and edited the Feminist Artists Coloring Book for one of my local art groups, and I’m really excited about it…first because I think it’s an awesome idea and second because now I have the skills to make my own. It has 47 drawings by 18 of our feminist artists, ranging from nice and simple (you could even zentangle a few) to super complicated. Topics are adult, so this is not a kid’s coloring book. It includes three of my drawings, one of which actually exists as a quilt…


You can find it on Amazon here…or if you know me and live locally, send me an email and we’ll figure something out.

Here’s one of my drawings that’s in there.nida_3-revise-small

YES! The next step is to make my own coloring book. Give me a minute to get there though, because I’m a little buried at the moment.

When it gets crazy at school, our natural tendencies come out…this is me and my co-teacher in science. Yes. These are our yearbook photos. Next year, we’ll actually plan ahead and do something even weirder.


Katie was really trying to entertain little Mr. Annoying last night. I was playing tug o’ war with him and then she grabbed the end and dragged him off. I think she was trying to help.


Or she’s just jealous when he gets all the toys (yeah, that).

Eventually the big dogs calmed down, while the little one went on a rampage throughout the house. He’s kinda driving me nuts…


I was trying to work on this. I did OK. There’s a lot left to do. A lot more than I thought.


It doesn’t help that I graded first, so I didn’t even start until almost 11 PM. One of the other artists came over to pick up coloring books, and she said it would look good. I’m still not sure about it, but at this point, I’m just going to keep going.

Because I really don’t have a choice!


The next two deadlines are weighing on me as well.

Meanwhile, this weekend? I’m not getting any of this done. But that’s OK.

*Modern English, Can’t Stop the World

Lovin’ Is What I Got*

October 20, 2016

Ah my brain is fuzz. I blame the 150-pound raccoon on my property. Long story.

So I think I’m done with the quilted piece. I want to trim some of the batting away, but I think as far as the show goes, it’s really done. I may rethink it once this show is over.

So now I have to focus on the nightstand itself. Ugh. My brain. First of all, it’s hard for me to draw on something that is upright in front of me. And not flat. But I started.


I’m not sold on it yet…it needs a lot more. Seriously. This is one side and it’s not done. I kind of hate it at the moment. Artists are supposed to admit that shit. I do have more book pages I can paste on over it if I really hate it.

My brain was blanking last night, though. So I went to bed and started brainstorming other things I would draw on there. Dreams. Hopes. Nightmares. What do we write books about? Why do we read books? Pretty much that’s everything, right? I’ll work on it more tonight. Some of the things I think of aren’t easy to portray in a drawing. Oh well. Still working.

I made it to book club finally last night, after like 5 months of not being able to go. I read all the books for each month. I just couldn’t get there. Amusingly, last night it was about a book I had last read in the mid-80s. But I’ve read the whole series. So I could talk about the whole thing. I just couldn’t remember what specifically happened in the first book. I just wanted to get the hell out of the house and be with other intelligent humans. So I achieved that.

I was amused by this.


Because Calli is on Katie’s bed. Simba is way too small for Calli’s bed (can I please please sleep on the big dog’s bed?), and Katie gets nothing. Simba has to be crated because he doesn’t behave at night.

Eventually everyone got a bed. Even me.

OK. That’s all I got.

*Sublime, What I Got

Big Hands, I Know You’re the One*

October 19, 2016

OK. I’m officially over all these dogs. Scissors chewed up. A drawing by a kid chewed up. One monster stalking my trash can in the studio, trying to surreptitiously sneak shit out of it (Swiffer things, dumbass. Gonna sweep for me?). One big dog peed in the hallway because she’s scared of the dark, even when I escort all the dogs outside for pee excursions. I have a pack that follows me everywhere. There is barking in the small hours of the morning (that’s just one of them…the other two are smartly snoring away on a variety of beds). I can’t even find all the toys to entertain the little bitey chewy animal. Hence the scissors. Bastard.

I didn’t grade last night. Nope. Nuh uh. Did not.

My theory was that I would quilt (because I had the right color of thread) until I was done, and then if there was time, I would grade all the things turned in late. Except then the quilting took almost three hours. And it was after midnight. So I gave up on that plan.

I still think I did the right thing by starting with the quilting.

Morning reminds me that I didn’t get enough sleep. Like I didn’t know that already.

Outlining everything first.


There aren’t a lot of pieces on this one, so it didn’t take long…


And then I started quilting the background.


At one point, I was looking at this vast expanse of white that had to be filled in. Boring! But I powered through (turn the music up louder, bounce a little in your seat as you quilt? Whatever makes you keep going…there was the voice telling me I could be done tonight.).


Because there’s still a lot less quilting than there was on the last piece.


While I was doing this, Kitten kept trying to sleep on the quilt. No. She was squawking at me. And then went over to the bookshelf and kept trying to pull file folders and stuff out of the shelf. I finally cleared her a spot, put a towel in there, and watched her happily curl up in there. Who knows why.


A good hiding spot.

So there it is. And it’s almost done, because at least for now I am not binding it. I want that unfinished look. Like mom didn’t have time to finish it.


So moving on to the nightstand. Maybe this will all make more sense when I have pictures from the installation. Or not. If I ever decide to make it a wallhanging, I’ll have to put a sleeve on it, but for now, it doesn’t need anything else.

I also need to do some drawing for the next three shows. Yikes! The deadlines keep piling up.

As for the dogs, tonight I’m going out. Without them. And I’m ditching them all weekend. By then, maybe I’ll miss them. And one of them will be back at her own home. Where she can pee wherever she likes.

*Violent Femmes, Blister in the Sun

Using Your Headphones to Drown out Your Mind*

October 18, 2016

Artmaking is the core of my existence. It really is. I’m not happy without it. If I look back over the years, when I was just out of school, first married, I made art a few days a week. I actually had a studio downtown for a while, which was nice, but still…I had a life outside of that. I went places. I hung out with my husband. I worked on the yard. Walked the dog. I still did art…probably a good amount, because I made about 6-10 new pieces a year (this is before quilting, so screenprints). I entered shows and got rejections and acceptances and shipped stuff all over the US.

Then the kids came along and that kind of put a minor wrench into it. It was a lot harder to find the time, so I shifted from screenprinting to making quilts, because I didn’t need big blocks of time and I could carry parts of it around with me. It wasn’t a quick shift. It took a long time to figure out how to do what I wanted to do. Sometimes I think I’ve figured too much out about the how…it’s not a challenge any more. And then I remember all the images I want to make into fabric, and I tell myself to shut up. I do about one piece a year that’s a challenge, usually for this feminist artist group I’m in. So I’m good. I usually get significantly frustrated with the process and feel some relief at going back to what I usually do. So I guess that’s good. “I’ll never do THAT again,” is often how I feel after one of those.

Now the kids are at college, gone 3/4 of the year, and even though I do have some social stuff, I mostly do art. Yeah, I’m an introvert, so honestly, at the end of a school day, I need fewer people around anyway. I need some quiet space.

So I have two for this feminist group at the moment…the fabric one is going OK…not TOO out of the box…I pinbasted the top part…batting and a backing even. Like a quilt. Going onto a bed…


So I’m making a quilt of someone sleeping on a bed. To go on a bed. Weird.

My cat…because she’s there almost every night…I’ve always had a cat in the bed.


Here she is modeling for her next cameo


Oh yeah. And before I did all that (and made dinner and graded stuff), I walked the dogs. It was nice. Not hot (unlike what it will be later this week). We got the whole three miles in. Only one horse (two of the dogs go a little bonkers at horses…I have to stand off the trail and rein them in).


I found yesterday very frustrating. I’m getting a lot of that this year. Some difficult kids. Trying to build a relationship with someone who acts like an idiot most of the time is a challenge in itself. I’m not sure I always have the patience for it. Sometimes I’d really just rather find a job that doesn’t follow me home and stress me out. Then just make more art.

*Regina Spektor, Eet

I Can’t Do Much from Way out Here*

October 17, 2016

Yeah. I took the weekend off writing. It really was just that I ran out of time. I regularly take Sunday off, but Saturday started with places I had to be, things I had to do, and I never got caught up enough to write. I got a lot done, though…so I guess that’s good. I’m still a little panicked about deadlines and having too much to do this week, but I’ll survive. I’m a few steps closer to being done with what has to be done.

I had ironing to do on Saturday…but Kitten really thinks of the iron as her own space heater…


I was trying to figure out how to attach the sheet to the background fabric and keep the bottom free, but also leave the possibility of finishing the top as a wall quilt.


For this show, I want it to hang free…but I don’t know if I want that in the long term…


So I figured that out, marked the fabric, cut and washed the background, and then headed off to the Visions opening (more on that later), plus band watching. I draw in bars a lot…this because I like the music, and I do sometimes dance, but I’m often in there for 4 hours or so, and that’s a long time for someone like me to just SIT there. So I draw.


I did two drawings…I don’t think this one is done…


Nice shadows though.

Sunday, after spending most of the day dealing with household stuff and a ton of grading (I think I described it as grading until my eyes bled), I finally got back to the problem…So I didn’t want a visible stitch line, because I want it to look like the sheet is just pulled up. So I started with Wonder Under underneath…


And once I had it attached, I hand-stitched the top and the folds…


Because if I want all that to hold when it’s hung on the wall, it’s got to be more than Wonder Under…you can see the stitching on the back…


Then I laid out the pieces where they belonged. I had to put another layer of white under her butt so the sheet wouldn’t show through so badly.


And then I did the stitch down, which took less than an hour, compared to the two hours it took me to get it all on there today.


I got it all stitched down…here’s the back.


I don’t even remember what my time estimates were before, but the ironing took a lot longer than I thought, mostly because of the sheet. Hopefully tonight I can sandwich it and start quilting. This is a crappy busy week, though, and I still need to draw on the nightstand. Sigh.

I’ll figure it out. I always do. I think I’m OK on time, actually, so I should stop panicking…but this week feels tight already. Starting with today, because I didn’t prep for today’s lab AND I have before-school duty…so I really need to be at school early. I’d much rather make art…honestly.

*Freedy Johnston, Save Yourself City Girl

There’s a Place That We Belong*

October 14, 2016

It’s Friday. That’s a good thing. Unless you’re trying to get a doctor’s appointment as soon as possible. Insert crying/laughing face here. Oh well. Urgent care on Friday after school it is. Nothing major…just an allergic reaction I think. Love my body’s immune system. It goes into overdrive for the stupidest shit. It would be fine if it weren’t constantly evolving. Intelligent design, my ass.

So when I got home and was done with dinner, peppered by texting from the kids about politics (well, the girlchild jumped ship early on that one), I went straight to the studio. I had updated the coloring book files, fixed the two typos and the one picture issue, and submitted the new files for review. This thing is almost done! Hallelujah.

But I also need to finish these two projects for the same deadline.

I ironed…


I lost part of the cat’s ear for about an hour, but then it reappeared. I actually did really well with all these parts…nothing lost permanently.

It was a fussy iron though…lots of tiny pieces.


I originally guessed 2-3 hours and it was just under 3 last night…but I still need to iron it to a background and engineer the sheet part. So that will take a while.

Here’s the second 100 pieces all laid out for me. You can see all the tiny pieces in the top half. Finger wrinkles and baby faces…


So I didn’t really get anything else done last night except this…


Good progress though. Hopefully she’ll get completely ironed down tonight. And maybe even stitched down. We’ll see. That’s the plan anyway.

I have pens for this now, nice new ones. But I didn’t draw last night. I sent this picture to the kids and they were worried about how sad puppy looked.


Well yeah, he’s sad because I won’t come sit with him (I did eventually and then all he did was bite me). I’m not a good dog entertainer when I’m working.

All our ballots showed up yesterday. Time to vote! Then I can really ignore all the drama. I’ve been trying, although the media certainly doesn’t want me to give up on it. Please tell me how I can lose my right to vote. Please remind me that I’m a second-class citizen for having a uterus…god forbid all of us who aren’t straight white males have rights in this world. I’m often confused by the things people say, supposedly intelligent people, about how I’m imagining the war on women, that it’s not really that bad. Oh yeah? BE ONE. That doesn’t even touch on being someone who’s not white or not straight or not a round peg in the round hole. So frustrated with humans right now. Moving to a really big island and taking the sane people with me.

*Peter Gabriel (with Kate Bush), Don’t Give Up

I Follow Where My Mind Goes*

October 13, 2016

Brain muddle. Good description of where your brain goes sometimes, right? I’m sitting here trying to write artist statements for two pieces that aren’t even done. There are days when I can’t explain what I HAVE done…today is apparently not the day to try to explain what’s still unfinished and largely exists in my head.

I didn’t get home until late last night…I’m a union rep, so those meetings just seem to go on forever. And then the parental mail and check up on their stuff. In good news, though, educating children went a little better yesterday after the previous day. I had to be mean to some kids, but that happens sometimes. I think I need a baby gate for one of them. Or an exercise ball (she wouldn’t sit on it).

So I didn’t get started on anything artistic until late. I thought about drawing on the nightstand, but I really need a new thick Sharpie for that. So that’s on the to-buy list for today, along with more milk. Too bad I can’t get those in the same place. I need a general store. Grocery stores don’t cut it. Maybe Target. I was just there Monday night, desperately buying a pair of headphones that didn’t turn out to be so desperate (still a good thing, though, because both of mine stopped working on the same day). I need to finish proofing the coloring book too. That came out of nowhere…this is why my phone calendar is so full of stuff.

So no drawing…I still needed to finish cutting out the pieces for the quilt portion of this thing…so I did that. And then I sorted them. There’s only 200 of them. Well, there’s more than that because I misnumbered, but close enough.


Ideally, after that, I would have gone to my studio and started ironing, but it was after 11 and I was tired. Ugh. This is such a tiring year. So I didn’t. I’m starting to panic about the timing on this project. And trying to write a statement! I need to go back and read the organizer’s info and make sure I’m talking to that. I know I did mentally in the beginning, but I don’t have a clue what I was thinking way back when. In May or June.

Calli distinctly does not give a shit.


Sometimes I wish I could be her.

OK, but I do better if I think this shit out. I need to iron down this quilt top, which will probably take 2-3 hours…mostly because I have to figure out attaching the sheet with the body on top of it. Then I need to do stitch down, which should take less than an hour. Then sandwich and pinbaste it, which ought to be interesting, because of the sheet again. I think this is why I keep delaying work on this…it’s an engineering problem. My SIL asked me last night why I don’t do 3D work, like make a person and stuff them, and all I could think was “because Susan Else rocks it and I can’t think like that.” The construction throws me. But I like it when this art group I’m in makes me think outside my box.

So I’m up to maybe 4 hours. Then it needs quilting. This is where I can cut time if I need to…but let’s say at least 2 hours. I’m not binding it for this show. I just want raw edges. In fact, raw should be in the statement. So I only need 6 more hours. I have Saturday, most of the day…I have Sunday, a little. So maybe that’s my goal…is to finish the quilt part of this thing by Sunday night. Then I can draw a little at a time all week on the nightstand, varnish it on the 24th (shhh…I’m taking the day off), and it should be dry by the opening.

No Problem. I Got This.

Really. I just needed some mental space to place all that work time. Now I can concentrate on sticking to that schedule…

*The Psychedelic Furs, Love My Way