I’ve Got a Head Full of Drought Down Here*

There’s something about the three breaks I get a year as a teacher…work takes up so much mental space that it’s hard to do anything beyond the necessary errands and short, quick self-care, like hikes and art exhibits and music and dinners out with loved ones. Then I get three weeks off, albeit three weeks with the girlchild home and a bunch of holiday requirements, you must be here and there and bring stuff that has to be organized, blah blah blah. That’s not my favorite part of any holiday. And then because I’m a teacher, I have to balance my desire to completely blow off my job for 3 weeks (some manage this…I don’t know how) with the hope that if I work hard enough, I could start teaching again in January with very little backlog. It’s never NO backlog. That’s a joke. But get the big nasty stuff out of the way, for sure. Especially since grades are due when we get back.

But January 1, the new year, is always mentally a place where we evaluate life, love, and the pursuit of happiness, right? OK, teachers do that over the summer too. Plus cleaning…it’s all about cleaning and finishing things, right? I used to always start new projects around Thanksgiving, because I’d have time then to do that, and then with Winter Break I could finish something large. It’s funny…I actually spent more hours making art the last week of school, that crazy-ass week with night-time meetings every day after school, then this week, which has kind of sucked for that, except for the drawings, which honestly are taking around 30 minutes, except that one night I was sick. That took longer. I’m hoping next week has more art time built in, but who knows? Certainly there was no art made yesterday besides the daily draw.

That said, I needed to get a lot of things done…and today will be the same. The bougainvillea got trimmed and the steps swept from when the boychild tossed everything on the roof down. Boychild started working on the disastrous wood pile. I got a bunch of stuff out of the entryway in preparation for Christmas morning here. I put a few more ornaments on my tree. I cleaned the girlchild’s room, which meant putting a bunch of quilts away. I cleaned the studio, so now it’s ready for ironing today, if I get to it. And I sorted through a bunch of started-but-never-finished projects. I like to finish those. I’ve been trying to take on a few each break. I have a binding that’s still not done from summer though! Because that’s hard? No. It’s really not. Just not motivated to finish it.

So I identified 7 projects I wanted to get finished in 2019. Some of them are barely started, one isn’t even anything but a pile of stuff, and on the other extreme, some are very close to being finished. I tried to pick things that could be done while sitting on the couch, in that post-dinner TV-watching time. It’s maybe 30-45 minutes an evening…although sometimes, I don’t do the TV part. And sometimes I grade instead. But in 2017, I made an effort to hand stitch a little every night before grading or other stuff, and if it helps me get these piles of unfinished things done, I’m looking forward to that. So I spent time yesterday finding parts of things that went with all these projects…I’m still missing about 9 blocks of a wool quilt from a million years ago. I know they’re somewhere…I just don’t know where somewhere is. But I have the four borders to work on until I find them.

Now I found this…I think from the trip we took to Oregon? Or maybe this was Sweden? I can’t remember. I wanted handwork…but didn’t get very far. This is not in the Pile of 7.

And I did this after a Susan Sorrell class…

Obviously still needs a face and at least one nipple.

This is block 10 of 12…yes, hand applique. I do enjoy it. This looks really weird at the moment. But with three blocks left…really? I should totally finish this.

Seriously, half the quilt is sewn together. So that’s one of the projects for this year. The Sue Spargo Folk Tails quilt I’ve been working on for a couple of years is also one of them.

This house is 6 of 9…big and colorful and obnoxious use of interesting fabrics (not that you can tell here, because it’s all covered with freezer paper…you’ll just have to trust me). Easy peasy and fun.

So block 7 is already cut out too…so little left to do.

This is an art quilt. I keep finding it and putting it somewhere so I’ll work on it. This is the year to get it done. It’s so close. Really close.

And weird. It’s definitely weird. From probably the early 2000s. I think. I really don’t know. There’s no date on the drawing. But I gave up on hand-appliqueing quilts really early on. And it’s pre-blog. I’ve been blogging for a long time, but not long enough to document this.

What else? A body quilt that needs a lot of hand embroidery that has been sitting around for months. A pile of moons I like but want to make my own. That wool quilt where I can’t find the majority of the blocks. Anyway, I assigned one to each day of the week. Because I was finding it hard to finish things, so if I change it up, maybe I will be more motivated…and obviously, sometimes I won’t work on anything that night, but I figure with 52 weeks in the year, that’s 26 hours or so that might go into that piece. And some of them would be done with just 5 or 6 hours of work. Or at least the handwork would be done and they could go into the machine-work pile. It’s not like I don’t have 4 things already on the list to take their place on the hand-work pile. It’s a plan anyway. Sometimes I’m good at these types of New Year’s resolutions and sometimes I suck.

Simba is looking forward to laptime while I sew.

He’s not a fan of the chair.

Another thing I’m going to try to do is use up more of the larger pieces of fabric I have stashed away for backings. I can piece. I hate it but I can do it. I need to clear space out in my drawers for new stuff…like these.

You’d think I use up a lot of fabric, but I buy more than I use up in a year, I think. OK, I know. But it’s my palette. I don’t use very much of any one fabric in a quilt. Sigh. So going into the drawers and grabbing all the yard pieces of fish fabrics (why so many? I don’t know.) and piecing them into a backing…that’s a thing for 2019. I already have been trying to do that with the bigger fabrics in 2018…all the weird bits I’ve picked up over the years when people clean out and/or die. I’ve been using them. Christmas fabrics too. Good place for them.

A friend of mine grabbed this poster from Mesa College…they were cleaning up. That’s my (sold) quilt on the poster! I love it!

Nice decoration for the door.

So I had all these leeks to use up (still have one giant one left)…and I have this risotto I make that I love, but it takes forever to make. Because risotto. So I always do something at the same time…

And that something is often grading…I’m really happy to say I only have one more class of these to grade.

(And then 6 more assignments, but none of them is as big and hefty as this one.). Stir in broth, grade one kid’s science unit, stir in more broth, grade the next one. Tasted great.

Then I did my 6th drawing in a row…it was late though. Because I was still trying to clean up too.

The days just fly by on break. I try to be efficient. I think I’m efficient. There’s just so many things to get done.

It was midnight when I started cleaning up in here. I was wired by then. Not sleeping. And I wanted it clean in here. So I did that.

Found homes for all of it, straightened up all the Christmas and birthday stuff that was everywhere. Wrapped some of it. Moved some of it. Wasted some time with calendar stuff for the year. I needed to get my head straight over some things. You should stay up until 2 in the morning at least once in a while to remind yourself how quiet and peaceful the middle of the night is. Ignore the morning headache you will inevitably have because you can’t sleep in due to daylight and hungry cats. You will survive.

Girlchild is on her way to the airport! She’ll be here tonight. I’ll be at a show though. I’ll see her at the airport first though, before they drop me at the venue. And tomorrow we’ll start the holiday grocery list.

So I didn’t iron anything yesterday. I didn’t make any progress on the quilt at all, unless you count cleaning the studio. Which I don’t. I mean, it had to happen, but it’s not making art. It’s work. But I’m ready to iron now. I need to grab the drawing and pin it up and sort the first 100 pieces of Wonder Under, and then I can iron. But first? Ha ha ha. Yeah, that to-do list is kicking my ass. Today? Yeah. Maybe some of the things will shift over to next week. We will be walking dogs and hopefully cleaning floors. Some of them anyway. Although it might be better to wait until cooking has happened. Hmmm. Don’t want to do things twice if I don’t have to.

Shingles vaccine is down to just the rash…which is unfortunately worse this morning than this last night…

It’s complicated by some allergic reaction I had to something that bit me last week. But the top two red bits are now connected and growing. Hot and painful to the touch. Fun stuff. No fever or fatigue after the first 24 hours though, so I’m counting myself lucky.

Oh yeah, and I took Christmas cards and a letter off my plate for this year. I can’t deal. I might write something here instead. It’s not a task that anyone helps with, so I’m too overwhelmed this year to deal with it. There’s other stuff that has a higher priority. Sorry. Not sorry. You can read my parents’ letter instead. Oh wait. I kinda got left out of the letter. I have a bunch of people that show up places, but that’s my only mention…Kathy’s bunch. My contingent. We might need to print a revision…the Seattle crew and I have already discussed how to rewrite. I’m sure Dad will be pleased that we critique his version of the State of the Nida Conglomerate.

OK, with that, I’m going to eat something and shower, and then figure out what’s next on the list. I think I need to go to the store. Since I didn’t leave the house at all yesterday, it means I will have to put on real clothes and maybe a bra (I really think those should be optional). May your holiday prep proceed in a timely fashion. And involve cookies. Definitely cookies.

*Sneaker Pimps, 6 Underground

One thought on “I’ve Got a Head Full of Drought Down Here*

  1. Looks like a good list of goals for the new year. I haven’t created any yet, but it seems like I am going to have to. I have to go buy or make cookies. Because you said.


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