I Want a Meaning from the Back of My Broken Hand*

March 20, 2017

I feel like my weekends haven’t had enough art lately. It’s just a lot of work and errands and trying to catch up. Sometimes that stuff is art-related, like this weekend, when I had to pack up two quilts to ship out of here, plus go to a meeting about an exhibit I’ll be in later this summer. But there’s very little doing…and that drives me a little bonkers sometimes. I like those long expanses of artmaking that come with breaks and weekends. A nice 6-hour run of ironing shit down…really helps you get through the week. I think I got about 25 minutes this weekend. Total. Sigh. Maybe next weekend. Life goals.

Whereas my cat has figured it out. Granted she doesn’t have to go to work to support the rest of us. And she’s lying on the drawing for the next quilt.

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Oh, so I got this thing called a Rocketbook, where you can draw or write in it and then basically scan it into your computer. And then when it’s full, you can microwave it up to 5 times to erase everything and start over. This is like crazy science here. But I’m looking forward to trying it out. You have to use special pens, unfortunately…odds are I won’t like them for drawing, but I’ll try it. It sounded so close to what I want, to be able to just download drawings from my head onto the computer. I’ll let you know how it works. You can even code pages to go to certain folders or whatever. So if I wanted to be able to take notes on my staff meetings, since I’m not allowed to do that electronically any more…I could use this notebook and then scan it into a work folder. If I wanted to waste pages on that, right? Well it was a thought. If the drawing doesn’t work out, that’s what I’ll use it for instead.

I am trying to stay caught up with this. I did a rosette stitch row on the left, the darker blue, and then did lazy daisy leaves and a stem in green above it.

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I still need to go back in and fill some of the stuff inside the center bits.

I did a little more on this as well, while finishing up the show I was watching. I don’t like leaving mid-episode.

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Then I went and dehaired this beast again (Kitten really likes to deposit hair on it) and then ironed it, sandwiched it, and pinbasted it. Easy peasy.

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I’m trying to use up weird old fabrics with no other purpose. I really have no clue why I bought this fabric, but I know it was like a million years ago.

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The fabric says 1997…so not as long as I thought, but still a 20-year-old fabric finally getting used. Well hallelujah. Seriously. I don’t know why I bought it. I so never use stuff like this. I was pregnant in 1997. Maybe it was pregnancy brain. Because a baby would want bell peppers and turnips and beets and dancing watermelon ladybugs? I just can’t explain it.

Anyway, in good news, I plan to quilt tonight, although I will probably have to grade first. I did that last night too. I’m permanently behind. WAY behind. Sigh.

So I mentioned last week trying to research some other female or other gendered artists. I started with Toyen, who was born Marie Čermínová, but as an adult seemed to prefer being male. It’s hard to get a good idea of what people wanted or thought if they weren’t big writers. A lot of the information about Toyen comes from other male artists or critics of the era. I can understand being an artist in the early to mid 1900s and preferring male status…because he was able to draw and paint some subjects that women would have been discouraged from picturing. Well, that still happens, doesn’t it?

He was mostly associated with surrealism, with some cubism thrown in, although those teeth in my girdle are neither…well, maybe you could argue surrealism.

Here’s a link to a gallery of some of his art.

Here’s a link to an article about Toyen as a feminist, which other articles have disagreed with. It has a good discussion of why there is so little information about him though, being both Czech and a surrealist.

This article is more background information, with a variety of photos that show Toyen dressed both as man and as woman over the years, which notably is less important than the art itself. But intriguing nonetheless, trying to understand whether the appropriation of male was as a transsexual, or if it was for the freedom of being a male artist. I have to wonder what I would have done in the same situation. I have the luxury of a society that is more accepting of women as artists, even women as artists instead of or at the same time as being a mother. Notice I say MORE accepting…I don’t actually believe a good chunk of society is really accepting of that. But we can get away with it.

Anyway…things to think about. What would you do to be an artist if you had to?

*The Killers, All These Things That I’ve Done


‘Neath the Black, the Sky Looks Dead*

March 18, 2017

I’m thinking that really what I need is to take a day off of work and purchase one of these…

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Hopefully it’s soundproof. I really really like the idea of this. I think the cats would be OK with it if there were a cat flap. I mean, I know they’re selling these mostly for kids, but WTF. This is my dream. Now fill it with pillows and move the alarm clock way the fuck out of the room, and then let me sleep in peace for like a week. I joke about the last time I got a good night’s sleep was before I was pregnant with my son…who turned 21 this year. Yeah. I wasn’t joking. That’s for real.

The mornings have been beautiful this week. One of the benefits of Daylight Savings being gone. It’s gone, right? I can never remember. Is this my life ON Daylight Savings? Or OFF of it?

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And these came yesterday…gonna put them on the car so I can get keyed in all my local parking lots.

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Anyway. I came home from work yesterday and moved everything on my calendar from yesterday’s to-do list to today’s to-do list. I’m not sure it will all get done, but I really couldn’t deal with it. I knew I had a show to go to last night, but later, so I tried to do something useful. For instance, I had three days of 1 Year of Stitches to do…because I just lost it this week apparently. I’ve been really good up until now…never more than a day behind. I had found two batches of some perle cotton in a color range, so I decided to just use one a day. Hence the purple and blue from before. These three are the yellow above the blue wheels (under the tree) and then the orange bullions in the grasses to the right of the tree, and then I went in with the red and filled in the yellow bits, then went down and did some French knots in the fly stitches under the tree.

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I was going to do some fill in around the blue and purple, but I think I want to use something variegated in there. For interest. Maybe today’s…

Here was my lap partner.

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Pyscho puppy was in and out. I just throw balls for him in between taking a stitch. Literally. It’s like one stitch per throw.

Then because I wasn’t budging off the couch until I had to eat and get ready to leave, I finished stitching down all the wool and cotton on the block that’s attached to the third block I was supposed to be embroidering on (if that makes any sense at all…because it only barely does to me)…

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And because I still didn’t have to leave, I started the embroidery on that block…couching a thicker thread with a thinner one…two needles going at once.

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There’s a lot of that in this quilt. I really do find this embroidery relaxing. Sure, I could have come in here and sandwiched the quilt last night, but my feet are hurting…that damn inner-foot arthritis. Only hikers with flat feet get that shit. I guess I need new shoes (not hiking boots…school shoes) again.

Then I went to the show, which was out in the boonies…and actually enjoyed myself…

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Even when the drunk guy tried to drag me out onto the dance floor (foot is still hurting…plus drunk guy)…but it was really late when I got home, so I went pretty much straight to bed.

This morning, I’m trying to be focused. The problem is the number of things on which I need to focus. So my brain is trying to distract itself…like wouldn’t you like to make one of these small quilts next?

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Well yes, I would…however, I can’t. I have a show coming up and I’m trying to stay focused on it and the 17,000 other shows that are picking away at my brain at the moment. At some point, I will just say Fuck You to all of it and do something I want to do. Climate change is poking at my brain at the moment.

Although I found the one I really am doing next, since I got the other rejection, confirming that I’m sticking with bathtubs…and I really like this one. So I’m good.

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There’s even a piece of cheesecake in this quilt (can’t see it in this photo). So that’s cool.

And it only has 695 pieces.

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Wait. Seriously? OK. So get your act together Kathryn, because you’re gone for a week in April. Counting this coming week, that gives you 5 weeks. Dammit. OK. I got this. One of those weeks is Spring Break, so I can put in some serious hours. Don’t think about school and grading…you’ll figure that shit out. You always do. Sleep? You suck at it anyway. I don’t even know why you worry about that.

I did just realize I forgot to schedule the machine in for cleaning/adjustment, so I scheduled that. Right now. In the middle of writing this post. I’ll be done with this quilt, but I’ll still be in the pre-quilting stages of the next one. So that’s awesome.

OK. Get a grip. Make a post-it note list. You know you love those. Maybe eat something and take a shower. And at least one more cup of tea.

Damn mockingbird is still keeping me up at night…a reader suggested I look at Failure to Launch…which I have not seen…but maybe I should…

I guess the difference between me and her is that I’ve read To Kill a Mockingbird…I don’t really want to kill it…I just want it to shut up.

*Soundgarden, Black Hole Sun

 


Take Only What You Need from It*

March 14, 2017

I really enjoyed coming home from school and sitting on the deck in the waning sunshine, the day still a bit warm, but starting to cool off with spring night temperatures. I probably got bit by some overachieving mosquito or seven, but it was worth it to just sit…only 30 or 40 minutes maybe, but better than most days, when it’s zero.

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Of course, part of why I had time to do that was because Calli is injured, so I didn’t walk the dogs today. Calli was convinced I should throw that stick for her. Many days I do, but she’s still limping. I tried to explain that to her, but it didn’t go down well.

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So I had started this drawing a couple of weeks ago. It’s still not going where I want, but since I’m not sure where I want it to go, it was OK to just draw shit.

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Honestly, sometimes it’s OK just to wiggle the pen across the paper in a drawing motion.

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I find myself drawing less than I used to…not enough time to just sit and do that. Life was supposed to get less busy with the kids gone, but it hasn’t really. I’m sure that’s my fault. I’m hoping next year is better, after we have most of our science curriculum set. We’ll see.

I did come home to a jury summons. I haven’t gotten one of those since the kids were little. And they picked not only Spring Break, but the week I’m planning on taking the first vacation I’ve tried to take for more than two days since oh maybe 2013. So yeah. I postponed it to summer…AND moved it out of downtown, so I wouldn’t have to deal with traffic and hellish parking.

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Pretty sure they’ll kick me right off the premises pretty quickly. Maybe I should bring up the missing penis debacle.

I did the buttonhole stitch wheels in blue. There’s gonna be color in between them too…I left room for that.

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And then while waiting for an episode to end, I stitched more wool down…with a puppy.

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This is pretty relaxing as well.

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I didn’t grade last night. We spent about 2 hours after work trying to spend some money we were given for science, more than we’ve ever seen. We wanted to be sure we did it well. I felt like I had worked enough hours yesterday.

Then I finally went in to iron…only the heads left. I always iron the eyes separately and then place them on the face…more likely to get the expression right.

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Crooked eyes can really screw up the faces.

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Yeah. Those eyeballs just floating around.

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Heads done.

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At this point, it was midnight. Of course, I should have stopped there and gone to bed and finished it tonight. Er. Um. I didn’t. I kept going.

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So now she’s all ironed down and ready to go.

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She’s got some batik running blue issues, but I can fix that. You’d think I’d remember to rewash dark blue batik when I use it as a background…but no. After 25 years, I still just go with it. It’s fine…I’ve dealt with it before.

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Anyway, tonight I need to put labels on two quilts shipping to a show and pack those up and another one to ship out this week…so I might not have time to start the stitch down. I don’t expect it to take long though. I’m hoping it will be easier than it was on the last quilt…the tension was a bitch last time.

Anyway. Progress. Meanwhile, both kids are socked into blizzards and school is closed for the day. Actually, Boston hasn’t checked in…I know her school is closed, but not whether they got the snow they were supposed to…but Ithaca just closed. And Cornell rarely closes. Meanwhile, we’re slated to hit 90 degrees today. Wait. Boston (excuse me, Waltham) has reported “quite snowy”. And it’s gotta be a blizzard for Cornell to close.

OK. Well. School. Yeah. No blizzards here.

*MGMT, Kids


Everybody’s Got to Know the Word*

March 7, 2017

Things you’d rather not come home to…

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I got an email about this from my neighbor sometime midday (this is my property, mind you). The water pipe that’s been leaking for weeks…but maybe you could check with me in enough time for me to register a complaint? Or give approval even? But no. Sigh. I wish we had a good enough relationship for that.

It’s OK. When I first got his description of where he was going to dig, I was worried about the tree, but it should be OK.

I got the email at the beginning of a 2-hour staff meeting where I’m not allowed to have technology. How to get through a 2-hour staff meeting? I draw. My brain is in slow-processing mode in the afternoon…always. I’m voted most likely to fall asleep and/or get in trouble. And I can’t remember half the stuff they talk about because I’m not allowed to use technology to document it. I have piles of written notes in random-ass places that I will never find again. I don’t need more of that. So I’ll put it here…

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Of course, I may never see that either. I figure I must have been hungry for this one…

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For a good breakfast. And on fire. Or tired of the discussion…another 30+ pages for the April meeting.

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Yeah. I’m not getting much out of the book study we’re doing. I am drawing though. So I never found the other sketchbook. It’s hiding somewhere, I hope. But I found one I used to carry around. These are oldies…

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I can’t explain why the person who is supposed to be driving is reading a book.

Most of these were done in restaurants, waiting for food. Somewhat disturbing…

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This was my birthday four years ago.

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It never stops, the drawing urge.

I did more leaves. I may do leaves until the end of time. I did a lazy daisy nested in a lazy daisy.

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And then I cut for hours. I refused to do schoolwork. I just couldn’t. And I was hoping to get done with this. But no. You can see what’s left to cut out on the top right.

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I did a lot. I think I even did most of it. But there’s still a hefty chunk in there. At some point, my hands hurt. I’ve been trying a new pair of scissors. They’re nice and sharp, supposed to be ergonomic and for craft cutting, more paper and fabric than just fabric, but the spring action on them is harder to manage. I wonder about whether they think that’s good because I don’t have to pull them open again, but I do use more energy squeezing. I’m always thinking about how I’ll keep making art when I’m ancient…and maybe I’ll stop sewing, which would be sad, and start painting with big wet brushes, a la Matisse in his later years…big paper or canvases on the floor as I wheel myself around, caregivers racing around trying to control the paint splatter. That might be worth it. It’s true I wasn’t always a fabric artist, so I don’t have to be one forever…but the medium seems to have stuck. I’d be sad to leave it behind.

*Cameo, Word Up


Raining in My Head Like a Tragedy*

February 28, 2017

So 3+ inches of rain later, the house is still here, hasn’t slipped down a slope. All the trees are still standing. The pool, which we finally got blue again (I really shouldn’t say WE, because I didn’t do a lot) is now green again. My pool guy is not gonna be happy. I tried to explain the chemistry of rainwater to him, but he likes to blame dirt and trees (there’s no tree stuff in the pool at the moment). Today? Sun. Oh yeah. I can do that. Looking forward to it, what little of it I might see. That blue sky I see out the window looks nice.

There was no need to go out after school yesterday. If I hadn’t been sick, I might have gone to the gym…but since the first thing I dealt with was this…

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I showed her where the open garage door was. She sat down in the rain and looked at me pitifully…and when I came to pick her up, she was sopping wet and kinda frantic. I have two towels in my car for a reason. She was a mess.

Then I graded for a while. At some point, it becomes a lesson in crazy lack of understanding…

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(head. not bread.) Yes, sometimes I have weird warmup questions…makes them think. Some more than others, I guess. (I would not put MY phone into the bread…)

I started doing leaves. It needs a lot more.

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Damp dog trying to get as close to me as possible…after stitching, I finished trimming all the tiny little pieces…

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Some of them really are small…but most importantly, I forgot to number that one on top. Annoying. I’ll figure it out eventually.

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Then I sorted them all. So yeah, I’m sick, but not so sick I can’t make art. It’s a good marker actually…did I go to work (almost always)? Did I make art (need to be able to concentrate and/or stand…so that’s a bit more complicated). Did I eat? (I made breakfast for dinner…was not really in the mood for food…typical when I’m sick). I am not better today, unfortunately. Breathing was an issue last night. Hopefully tomorrow.

It didn’t take long to sort them…it’s a small quilt!

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I keep saying that because it’s kind of a surprise that things aren’t taking days DAYS to get done. I should always do a smallish quilt after a big one, just to give me a good frame of reference. Or maybe it’s like a palate cleanser. And then later, after some smaller ones, I’ll want to get sunk into a big huge one again. That’s usually how it goes. Summer break…big quilt.

That dog never did leave me alone…

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And then, since I wasn’t going to start ironing last night (that’s a bit TOO much standing, plus it was after 11 PM), I tried that drawing again.

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That’s better…although I’ve lost the rest of what was in my head. It’ll come back. At least I got the chains right. Although I might try this again. I don’t know. Sometimes it takes a while to get it right.

Unfortunately I have to be at school early today for a contentious meeting. I love those. Really. (not) With tutorial after school, I should be well and truly exhausted by the end of the day. My goal is to get the fabric cleaned up in the studio, pick a background fabric, and maybe start ironing. I’d like to start…I just don’t know if I’ll have it in me…we’ll see. There’s no planning for sickness in the middle of this crazy schedule…just play it by ear. Hopefully I’ll be feeling better.

*Eurythmics, Here Comes the Rain Again


Let Me Take You There*

February 26, 2017

Well I’m head down (and ass down on the chair) on grading stuff. I even resized the photos for today’s post (yeah, it’s Sunday, but I had an early up and get going, so I’m trying to take advantage of the day and get my work done), and then I forgot to write. I’m taking a break from grading right now, because it’s hurting my head, realizing that I have to rework how we teach one thing that we do all year, because so few of our kids can do it, and we’re more than halfway through the school year.

Anyway. My goal is to do grading now so I can do art later. I started a drawing last night and I’m going to have to restart…but maybe that’s later today. It’s mostly in my head at the moment.

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The world is still pissing me off. Not surprisingly. I solve that by signing petitions and sending emails to my stupid state senator and postcards to the people who need them, and then supporting kickstarters and artists who are making resistance art and donating part of their proceeds (or all, if they’re into that…I think artists need to make a living too) to good causes. Plus making art myself. And continuing to yell out that this shit is not right. Freedom of the press, dammit. Even if you don’t like what it’s saying. I love my country right now for all the parts who are protesting, devious as some of them are (the CPAC Trump/Russian flags…what genius). This is what my country does when there’s a dictator in charge…what you read about in the dystopian novels. This is what we are. We are unfortunately also the stupid stuff. It’s the yin/yang. Can’t have the good protest without the stupid.

I did Friday and Saturday’s stitching yesterday…The tree trunk/branches are done, I think. I might add some more twiggy stuff tonight.

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And before that…I’m stuck with both dogs this weekend, due to my ex being in Boston with our daughter. They needed some exercise yesterday, so I went to Sweetwater to see how bad the crowds were.

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The bridge was all about photo shoots, as far as I could tell…one down at the far end, and then two more when we came back. Weird.

There had definitely been rain out here in the past…I don’t usually walk here, because there’s too many people and bikes, but also fewer coyotes in sight during the day because of that…

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It’s pretty damn green this year…

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Went to the bridge so we could see the stream below…

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Simba likes to stand in big grass.

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We saw another trail camera…but this one had a card explaining it.

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So I emailed her…because she had a bobcat picture and I wanted to know where the fuck THAT was. But also she asked about trail data from hiking apps. And I have that.

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Although yesterday we only did 2 miles. I’ll go back, maybe even tomorrow, and do a longer walk. Until I can go back to the other one with fewer people. I’m not a people person, I guess. I like to be out in nature without humanity mostly.

Anyway, so many art-related things crowding my head today, and work has to happen. I want to finish tracing the other piece today and start cutting it out, but also do that other drawing. Plus I think I’m getting sick…knock on wood. I’ve been healthy for a good long time, but so many students ill is a hard one for even a strong immune system. Gonna go take some more vitamins. Ugh. I don’t have time for sick.

*Led Zeppelin, Kashmir


The World’s in Trouble, There’s No Communication*

February 22, 2017

The big quilt is clean and ready for the photographer this afternoon. 168 hours. OK. So the next one will take less time, for sure (it would be hard not to, honestly). I’m crunched for time, so that’s a good thing. It also means I can’t really stop and take a breath…yet…too many deadlines still. I’m juggling as fast as I can.

So I started tracing Wonder Under for the new one last night…but before I could do that, I had to add a cat. You know, like you do.

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And then a teacup. Again. Necessary.

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Which added 28 pieces. Oh well. So be it. As you can see, when I’m under a time constraint, I still do what the drawing needs.

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THEN I started tracing. These pieces are tiny compared to the last piece. I really tried to keep detail to a minimum…

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Whatever THAT means.

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Anyway, I got about an hour and a half in, maybe 137 pieces? So I’m hoping to be done tracing by the weekend. Of course, there are no more luxurious (ha!) 3-day weekends, so I’ll have to function in sped-up time, like always. Where Sunday afternoons are just for getting my teaching act together and cooking for the week. I get so tired of being the only one in charge of cooking and shopping. Seriously. Could one of you stop by Petco this week and pick up some dog food…I think I’m gonna run out. And the car needs gas. Crap. It needs gas this morning. So I can deliver the quilt this afternoon.

Still working on the tree…one strand of thread. Yes, I know there’s still places to fill in. Be patient.

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There’s the quilt ready to sit in my dog-hair-filled car all day.

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I’m being harassed by a puppy who wants the ball thrown, but won’t bring it to me.

By the way, I bought this pattern for a uterus doll through Knot Hate Project on Ravelry. Because who can resist a uterus doll with a monster eyeball? I kinda suck at crochet, but this is worth fussing through. Plus the money goes to a good cause, Planned Parenthood. So go get one. And then help me crochet the damn thing.

OK, with that, I have to go to school and make sense of the water and carbon cycles. And photosynthesis. Not for me. For 12 year olds. I got it already.

*Joan Jett, Bad Reputation