It Froze Me Deep Inside*

March 22, 2018

First of all, you need to go read the girlchild’s last post…it’s from a month ago, but she just posted it (data issues)…just to see how they got their truck across the water to the island. Terrifying to see…but after a month of trying to imagine what she was talking about, nope…it’s crazier than I thought.

Me? I just keep sending her dog pictures to guarantee she’ll eventually come back.

Yesterday was this…

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Every two years, like clockwork, I save some rubber dummies. My brain is still functioning OK, apparently, because I still remember how to do it. I spent the whole time, in between sucking face with that guy, checking up on my students with our online system, because hey…guest teachers allow things I tell them not to allow, and students lie about being done. It’s frustrating, but some part of me laughs and says, well, there will be fewer assignments to grade then, eh? If they don’t turn them in, I don’t have to grade them! OK, that’s how you know a teacher really needs vacation. Yup. One more day of teaching, then a day at the zoo with a bunch of kids I don’t know! Why do the kids who don’t know me pick me as a chaperone? That disturbs me.

Today is crazy hair today. I’m debating if I have the patience for it. Plus I have my last meeting for my observations today, so do I want my hair to be nuts for that? I kinda do. Yeah.

Last night, I went to a slide presentation about hiking in Nepal. Which now I want to do. But elevation has always been an issue for me…well. We’ll have to figure that one out.

I finished ironing last night around 11 PM…about 8 hours for this piece…and 82 fabrics.

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It’s not a huge quilt, so not a big dent in the existing fabric stash, but I think that’s always the case. I buy about 5 new fabrics every time I go in for a background or binding, a 1/2 yard of each, so that’s 2 1/2 new yards coming in (although I didn’t buy a new background this time…I had a few stashed away)…on the bigger quilts, I might use 2 1/2 yards worth of fabric per quilt (just the image…obviously the background and backing are more than that). The only way I could figure out if it’s using that up is to lay all of the stuff out that I ironed and then see what that looks like.

Huh. I might do that tonight. Just for kicks. It’s an interesting thought.

Here’s all the pieces ironed down to fabric…

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Does that look like 2 1/2 yards? Hard to say. But I’ll start cutting out tonight…hopefully I’ll be done cutting by Saturday and I can start ironing? Maybe? It’s gonna be tight. I keep saying that. Based on the last quilt, which is about the same size, although more pieces, I probably have another 38 hours to go on this quilt. Now when I say it THAT way, and consider that it should be at the photographer sometime next Thursday, a week from today, well, that actually sounds more doable than just free-thinking about the time and hoping I’ll make it. This is why I keep track of the times! I think. Well. Anyway. Cutting stuff out tonight…then we’ll see where we’re at. We being me, of course. I still have to grade things and weed the front yard. If there were more than one of me, I could do ALL the things.

*The Cure, In Between Days


Jingling a Wish Coin*

March 21, 2018

Today is weird. Today I have CPR training around the corner from my school while my students decide whether or not to work on the assignment that is due today and will largely color their grades for the next month or so, or whether to fuck around all day and drive some poor guest teacher bonkers. I could probably make you a list right now of the outliers on both sides: the hard workers and the totally-off-taskers…I hope the ones in the middle make the right choice, but with only 3 days left until Spring Break, the odds are low.

Whoa. Three days? Really? Wow. I have to say that this break is needed, but it will also be busy. Hopefully there will be some relaxing in the second week, but you never know. I also have a shitload of work to do for school…by Friday, I will have 2 weeks of warmups, 2 homework assignments, 2 online assignments, a slide presentation, and a full unit. I’m trying to get as much of it done before the break starts as I can, but it’s hard when I get home late from work and need to cook dinner AND I want to make art. Right now the art is winning. As well it should some days. Maybe most days.

Anyway, worst-case, some of it won’t get graded until after break, right? It will not be the end of the world. It’s happened before. We have to take time for our brains to get back to where we can teach without being frustrated again.

Yesterday was twin day, so our team all dressed the same. It wasn’t hard. We all have black and denim.

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When I was done with tutoring and setting my classroom up for the guest teacher, I headed over to get Calli…my ex sent me this picture, because he was leaving and she was still there, but she’s staring down the road at my arriving car…

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She seemed fine…

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Puppy too. Sewing more circles on…I’m getting near the end.

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Then 2 1/2 hours of ironing. I finished up all the little bits of the larger figure: her innards. Then I picked a different run of flesh tones for the two front figures. This was the majority of the rest of the pieces that needed ironing…

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That’s all that’s left to iron…well, and a few bits on the other figure…like her eyeballs. So that’s tonight’s task. I’ve got about 6 1/2 hours in and I’m close to done. I’m expecting to be cutting stuff out starting Thursday night…

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Some of the pieces are pretty small.

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Here’s all the fabrics I’ve used so far…still reaching into the back reaches of the bins to find stuff that has never been cut into…

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That part is actually fun. There’s a lot of red in here.

Here’s the pile to be cut out. This is not a huge quilt, but there’s still plenty of pieces.

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Balance! Balance the grading, the have-tos of fixing car things and yard stuff like weeding and taking an actual travel vacation with the artmaking…which needs to be done a week from tomorrow. Yeah. That’s a little nuts.

*Beck, Go It Alone

Like a Nervous Magician Waiting in the Wings*

March 20, 2018

That did not feel like sleep. I want a do-over. I’m not even really sure what’s up with that…stress about school? Maybe. I have a lot going on with art shows too…which is not a bad problem to have, in that I’m in a lot of shows right now, but there’s some juggling trying to keep track of what needs to go where and when. Especially if I’m going to be gone for a week.

Four years ago this week, girlchild was having back surgery. Today? I wake up to a message that she’s really sick (11,000 miles away), but it’s not malaria, so don’t worry. Oh. OK. Because there aren’t a million other heinous diseases where you are? Sigh. And then she doesn’t answer. Oh well. The program she’s with does keep on top of this stuff…it’s in their best interest to keep the kids healthy.

Yesterday morning’s sunrise. I’m really OK with not seeing sunrises. I’m looking forward to not seeing any next week. And to peeing whenever I need to pee. And??? Making art for hours. Maybe I will just ignore grading. Catch up after break. I might.

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I still hate that they cut down the other tree on the right that made it look an aardvark.

I walked the dogs yesterday. I’m increasingly paranoid about coyotes, even in daylight, so I walked the road to the local park…where I haven’t seen them yet (just heard them). Oh, that’s a lie. I saw one once in broad daylight bound across the trail, looking somewhat surprised that I was there.

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I was testing out this new trail I saw in the middle of the park. The max dog walk is about 3 miles (according to the dogs), so I can’t go from the house all the way around the park…but this trail seemed to cut through the middle. Nah. It didn’t. And there was this guy with a young German Shepherd smoking a cigar in the park. Like dude? This is a natural space where people walk. WTF? I’m betting the significant other was like “You can’t do that in the house.” and he was like “Fine I’ll inflict my disgusting smelly habit on people I don’t live with.” That’s my neighbor too. Ugh.

But it is Spring…I think officially today? Is it today? Yes! Spring equinox!

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And Spring flowers. That’s nice.

I have walked past this house for years as it becomes more and more derelict. There used to be a chicken farm here, and then they sold it to build houses, but the density was too high for the area and it got voted down, I think. So all this is still here. I wish they’d just add it to the empty space beyond it. But no. Probably houses will block this view too.

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So after dinner and some vegging out because exercise, I started ironing again with the plan to keep picking fabrics that haven’t been used as much. I wasn’t as successful here, because I needed certain colors…but this is her hair! I love it…

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I’m just in the mood to do whatever I want with this one. Well, I am sticking with flesh colors for flesh.

I got through most of the 500s and some of the 100s…and all the 600s. I’m really not going in order, so I have no freakin’ idea how much I have left. All the main figure is done, except for heart, lungs, and eyeballs.

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She’s definitely brightly colored. So I have about 20 pieces in the 500s, about 60 in the 400s, all of the 200 and 300s, and some portion of the 100s…most of them, I think. Crap and there there’s still some 600s. Damn. That’s more than I thought last night. I was trying to fall asleep and art brain kept trying to calculate how many more pieces I have to iron. I have a lecture I’m going to Wednesday night. I think I can cut pieces out there? And gaming. I’ve done that before. I really want to be ironing this weekend. I don’t know if I can finish in time otherwise. Watch me not sleep at all over break because I’m trying to finish this. I didn’t start until late last night though…so maybe I’ll be better tonight.

Kitten is back in the batting nest…with an incredibly old piece of mine pinned to the bulletin board behind her. Seriously, it’s so old, I don’t even know how old it is. It has beads on it!

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She looks happy. I’m glad she has a safe happy spot.

Well, hopefully today will go well…yesterday, I had 3 classes that rocked the assignment and then 2 that were a clusterfuck. That’s always nice. Because today they have to use what they did (or didn’t do) yesterday in a group assignment. All hell is probably going to break loose in 4th period. That period exhausts me. I feel like they need a totally different (and lamer) curriculum. They’d be perfectly happy copying notes from a slide presentation, but ask them to do anything that involves critical thinking? Oh fuck no. So there’s that. I will meditate between 3rd (when there is supposed to be an earthquake/fire drill, just to add to the excitement, seriously?) and 4th. I might meditate in the car on the way to school. I’m meditating now to Puddle of Mudd’s She Hates Me…great song for middle-school teachers.

In other dorky news, all the 7th grade teachers are dressed alike today for Twin Day. Yup. That’s a thing. I need to go find some sneakers. I don’t wear sneakers. I wear hiking boots.

Art tonight. For sure.

*Blues Traveler, Run-Around

It’s Much Too Late to Find*

March 19, 2018

So I ended a very busy weekend with a meditative two hours of ironing bliss. Picking fabrics really is one of my favorite parts of the process…I like ironing the piece together as well, but this is where I get to visualize the whole thing and then make that happen with whatever is in my fabric stash. For this new quilt, I pulled whole drawers out and rummaged around at the back, because when I use fabrics, I usually shove them in the front and then they’re the easiest to reach when I go back to that drawer. So I do often use the same fabrics over and over again. I’m trying to use fabrics that I’ve either never used or that I haven’t used in a long time. We’ll see how that goes.

This piece has three figures in it, so I have to pick at least two different runs of flesh tones. I did the first one last night…the stuff on the left is for a different part (pieces I missed ironing when I went through the first time), although the pink and yellow are both part of the flesh.

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Why not!? I can do what I want…it’s my quilt.

Unfortunately, when I numbered this one, I numbered the bottom part of one figure, then the two middle figures, then the top part of the first figure…but I need to iron all the first figure pieces at once so I don’t get confused. So I ironed all the 0-100s and a few of the 100s themselves…then rummaged through the end of the 400 bin (467 and on) and the 500 bin, but minus all the hair and sky bits (don’t need them yet), and then finished up with half the 600 bin. I just need the flesh…not all the extra bits…what you see below is some of the 100s that I set aside (heart etc) and then the 500s I didn’t need yet (mostly hair)…

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Why don’t I just number that way? Guaranteed I’d miss something. I already found one unnumbered piece in there. Had to trace it and number it with an ‘a’.

So in the flesh run, these are all the number 2 pieces…now you see how I have stash from the 1990s still in my studio…even with a ton of pieces, it’s still not a lot of ironing.

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Dirt and water use the most fabric…and sky/space now too, although this quilt has none of that. Some flesh fabrics that I’ve really loved are just tiny scraps now…still usable though! This one has been used before, but it’s been a while. There’s a piece about 18″ x 16″ left of it…so it’ll last for a while.

Ironed pieces on the left…the whole main figure’s flesh is done (not so her heart, lungs, eyeballs)…and on the right, what I used. So far…

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The other two figures are smaller, so I can use smaller pieces of fabric. But they need to be different than the figure behind…so we’ll see how that works tonight. Usually I know how much I’ve ironed, but I really can’t tell…at least 200 pieces? Hard to say because I jumped all over the place.

It’s not like I don’t have 6 drawers of flesh fabrics. Plus I need some vibrant hot pinks for the vulva…oh yeah, because she’s giving birth. Uh huh. So there’s that.

I went to another opening last night…supporting artists in my groups is something I try to do. I have pictures, but no time to post them. The next opening I’m trying to go to is this Friday…we’ll see how that goes. Anyway…here’s a sleepy puppy to amuse you…

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Yes, I have to go to school today. I’m ready (sort of). I even graded a little yesterday. This week will be weird…one day off for training (need to do sub plans) and one day of field trip and play, no teaching. So a crazy week, because it’s also right before Spring Break. And I have 9 days to finish this quilt!!! It’s cool. I got this. Well, at the moment, I got this. Just wait until the universe figures out my schedule and hits me with pneumonia or something else wacky. You know how that goes.

*The Human League, Don’t You Want Me

Survival Is Insufficient

March 18, 2018

I officially ran out of milk this morning, but I haven’t gotten to the grocery store yet, so I’m using cream in my tea. It’s a bit much…not my favorite taste, but my brain has informed me that the tea is necessary and it’s my fault for remembering a burrito on the way home last night but not milk. To my credit, the burrito place didn’t also carry milk, and I don’t think horchata would be good in tea. So there.

Yesterday I spent 9 hours in the car with the same 3 women (we didn’t lose anyone) avoiding all the Los Angeles traffic (don’t know how) and going to two diverse openings, eating cheese, crackers, pretzels, bread, and a bit of wine. Some tea. Lots of ignoring Siri wanting me to go here or there for no apparent reason. I came home exhausted. I finished my book…this is funny, actually. Apparently the library app tells you how many hours until the book is due, so I’m sitting there with an app that won’t update, finally driving to the house where I’m picking everyone up, reading while pumping gas, trying to finish the book, with 49 pages to go. Nope. We had to leave. Someone suggested going to Barnes and Noble to finish those pages (I was gonna do that). But when I got home with my burrito, I opened the app, expecting the book to be gone, and it was there! So they calculate the 21 days based on the time I checked it out, but it doesn’t actually RETURN until midnight. Oh hallelujah, I finished. I hate not finishing. So that was positive.
The whole day was pretty freakin’ positive. It’s nice to hear people talk about your work. It’s fun to see all the connections between artists in your life and other people too…one of the artists in the second show is married to a man who used to manage a science program I was involved in…so it’s a small world.

Anyway, at some point, I’ll post the two shows…for now, I just have some bits and pieces. The first show is at the Branch Gallery until May 6. I’ll be back on April 14 for the artists’ talk…

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There’s my piece with other members of California Fibers (I’ll post all this later this week)…

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She’s big! But looked nice with the high ceilings. She’s called I Can’t Be Your Superwoman.

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People were asking if it’s my biggest piece. She’s 52″w x 88″h. I have some that are 72″ wide and more squarish…so it’s a crapshoot as to whether she’s the biggest. I’d have to do math to figure that out.

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It has 1323 pieces (approximately)…so a lot. But not as bad as some.

We had plenty of people at the opening, lots of artists.

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We checked out the knitting store next door, and then the fabric store, Sew Together. We did in fact purchase some fabric (shocking). It was different stuff than I usually see down here…they had a class going on while we were there.

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Their bathroom sign.

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Then we kamikazed down to Oceanside…and saw this parked outside the museum…

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Our show Artifacts is part of the big read in Oceanside. The city read Station 11 by Emily St. John Mandel. I read it last year before entering the show. It’s a cool idea.

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My piece, Give Me Time, is part of that show…

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I’ll post more about that show later too…but there were interesting bits from the book all over…

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Waiting outside for my crew to find their ways back out…

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A much bigger opening…

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Girlchild has been a little absent lately, apparently because she’s on Insta instead.

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My friend Susan made these for the March for Our Lives on Saturday…

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We’re watching you! I think that’s what it’s for.

Here’s some of the fabric I bought yesterday…

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Lots of black and white. Plus hedgehogs. Can’t explain that.

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OK, so I have three quilts to deliver to the photographer, I have school stuff to do, there’s the grocery shopping, my head throbbing, and cleaning the studio so I can start picking fabrics tonight for the next quilt. It was a good day, but I’m feeling a bit Hit-by-a-Mack-Truck this morning. Hopefully that will improve over time.

When I’m Tired and Thinking Cold*

March 17, 2018

So no art was made yesterday. It happens. I survived work. I got home. I walked the dog…

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Because it was still daylight and he and I needed exercise and it was good, because the poor guy got stuck in the bathroom for another 5 hours later so I could go to this…

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Significant other plays keyboards, back right. Watched the two bands before him as well…parking downtown can be difficult, so I came early. I went to a lot I know and probably paid more than I needed to, but it was easy and close. It was a good show. I thought I’d be too tired to enjoy it, and I almost was, but managed to pull it together. In between shows, I pulled out my iPad and tried to finish the book that is now due in TWO HOURS. Fuck. OK. I am about to go read that, because I think I have like 60 pages left and I can’t renew it and there’s no way I’m paying $16 on Kindle for 60 pages and I don’t want to wait until I can check it out again and try to remember what was happening. Seriously. I read a book in the House of Blues while everyone around me was getting wasted. I am a geek.

I’m leaving for Los Angeles for an opening in about 2 hours and it’s still pouring rain here and I really need it to stop because driving to LA in the rain will suck. It’s not supposed to still be raining here. This is what’s wrong with being dependent on apps for information. My weather app is currently claiming there is a zero percent chance of rain and that is totally untrue. Because that’s rain. Lots of it.

I can’t complain. No one in Southern California can complain. We always need the rain.

In art news, here’s a dance performance group practicing in the space where my quilt is hanging out on the back wall on the left. I thought that was cool.

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So today is all art openings and driving and hopefully because I’m the one driving, I get to decide when we stop to pee. And get more caffeine. And maybe I should pack a sandwich. Yeah. I should. Or something. Because just wine and cheese does not make a healthy meal, and that’s all art openings ever have. Right now, I’m still wearing pajamas because I can’t decide what to wear…it’s St. Patrick’s Day, so green somewhere, but I know I’ll be taking photos in front of my incredibly colorful quilts, so maybe black. Aargh. Can’t think. Not enough sleep. Or caffeine.

I did not clean my studio yesterday, so either I’ll do that tonight when I get back, or tomorrow…so I can start ironing. Except I need to pick a background fabric…luckily I bought more than one last time, so it will be one of those. Yup. No choices.

OK, on with the day…food, pick clothes, get the fuck outta here.

*Boston, More Than a Feeling

Enough to Make My System Blow*

March 16, 2018

I swear this is the third Friday this week. You know how Friday feels for teachers? Not like we’re ready to go out and party, but like hallelujah, I might get to sit down on the couch for a moment and not think about school. Or grades. Or worry about kids. Or what we forgot to do at school. Or go to another damn meeting. But while you’re still at school, it feels exhausting, like you’re done, like the world is ending and you won’t get to rest before it does.

I’m glad to be done with this week. I think it was the labs and the million meetings (damn, I have one this morning again! Fuck! Yes, I just remembered.) and trying to manage materials. Yesterday the little beasts started stealing handwarmers (we use them in one of the labs). So yeah, now those are Schedule A Lab Materials…get them from the teacher and she writes down your name and address when you take them. Seriously.

So there’s that. I’m glad to be done with the labs today. Next week should be easier, despite its proximity to Spring Break.

Tonight my (you know I really hate the word boyfriend…it’s so high school) significant other’s cover band is headlining at the House of Blues, so I’ll be down there hanging out and supporting them and hopefully having a good time. Hopefully I’ll wake up by then too. Then tomorrow, I drive to Los Angeles for the Branch Gallery opening, then to Oceanside for the Artifacts opening, then drop my car full of people, go home, and collapse. That’s my plan anyway. Sunday will be pick up all the pieces, deliver three quilts to the photographer, and groceries. Plus whatever school shit I need to do. Like grade and stuff. Recovery day. It’s a busy three days.

This below from a kid who was pushing all his limits in my class. I took his phone away from him the day before he left (and I didn’t see this warmup until yesterday). He was listening to music in class during a lab. There’s rules for phone use y’all. He knew it, but he cried because he was convinced his mom would take it away for good (he had it back the next day…I swear, if I had to come to school to get my kid’s phone, they wouldn’t see it for at least a month). But even so, he’ll miss me.

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(Um. OK. So I don’t think I’ll miss him? I know that’s semi-horrible, but he was not making good choices. I know he’ll grow out of that. I hope his grandma is OK…).

This was yesterday…

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And this was 4 years ago! I opened the wrong folder and thought WTF? Oh yeah. Valley of the Moon. 2014. Good hike. Second time I’d been there. I’d go back…but I need it to be chilly, not hot.

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So I had my quilt class last night, where really I just hang out at my friend’s house while she tries to sew/knit/fiber things and I try to do whatever I’m doing and we complain about our school district. She’s moving away, far away, when she’s done teaching, and that might be sooner rather than later, which would suck…because this does get me out of the house.

I cut these out…

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For over 3 hours last night, starting at her house and finishing at mine…but I finished. Simba looks upset that I have interrupted his sleep.

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Trash on the left, pieces on the right. Don’t get them confused!

Then I sorted them all…there’s only like 660 pieces, so this is a small one.

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Which is damn good, because I have (wait for it) less than two weeks to finish it.

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I may not succeed. I can tell you that in the last 30 days, I’ve spent over 57 hours working on quilt stuff, mostly the Scoliosis quilt, but also finishing up the Climate Goddess quilt and working on this new one. It averages out to an hour and 30 minutes a day, which is not as much as I’d like, but I do have a day job…which probably takes over 57 hours a week.

OK, but now I’m ready to iron to fabric…well, once I clean the office (hopefully tonight before the show). That will be next week…iron and trim and hopefully start ironing the whole thing together next weekend. Because if I’m going to finish? I’m going to have to go fast. Yup. OK. Got a plan.

*Imagine Dragons, Radioactive