Well, I Got One Foot on the Platform*

OK. I need another week. I realize most of you don’t get a 3-week break around Christmas, and you think I’m a whiner about this, and maybe I am, but all of the deadlines and to-do list items just slammed into me like a Mack truck and I’m panicking. It’s OK. I do this every Winter Break. But when your diabetes nurse is telling you that stress increases your blood sugar and you’re still trying to get that under control, thinking about stress causing that just causes more stress and maybe I should blow off everything and just go for a long hike. There are many arguments for that.

But I am also a responsible adult. Apparently.

So I drove back from Arrowhead yesterday morning. We all left early to get back to life. And deadlines. And stress. Aack. Seriously. I need to get a hold of this.

So let’s remember this…because it’s pretty. Although effing cold.

I don’t think my feet got warm until like 6 PM yesterday night.

Lots of lolling around with dogs. Reading books. On devices.

I didn’t finish mine, but I checked out three more and then went on airplane mode so the library couldn’t suck back the book that was due yesterday that I’m almost done with but literally have no time to read what am I thinking. Sigh.

Wednesday was the boychild’s birthday. He made everyone dinner and cake, but then the sprinkles container exploded all over the kitchen.

Well then. Impressive.

More sleeping puppy.

We played Settlers of Catan (need to get us some extensions I think) and I drew and if you follow my Insta, you saw the in-progress drawing that I did while gaming. Yes, I’m not a super serious gamer because I draw or stitch (or sometimes grade) at the same time, but I almost won this time. Maybe. Or we all almost won and the girlchild did win. But here’s the drawing…

This one could be a quilt. Totally. In fact, it shall be. I don’t know when though. Don’t ask me that.

Wednesday night’s cutting…I am so far behind on this.

But there is progress. That’s a plus. I didn’t work on it yesterday though. Yesterday I panicked about a piece that is supposed to be done by Sunday, but it would be really convenient if it were done by tomorrow. Noon. So. Yeah. I don’t know if I can pull that off, but it’s what I’m trying to do.

Yesterday afternoon, I trimmed all the pieces for the Project Paint piece…

There’s about 161 pieces I think. Not a ton.

Then I ironed the first section together…

Ironing eyeballs separately. So the inmate I’m working with had painted a young boy picking his nose and playing with a barrel of monkeys…so I did his older sister…

She’s playing solitaire, because her little brother is too annoying to play with. You know. And then I ironed her onto the canvas that he had painted on…

Now honestly, I could stop there. Well, I need to stitch some. But I didn’t stop there. Because I wanted to go beyond relationships between siblings and games and older/younger…I wanted to go out into the big wide world.

So I’ll be working on the top and bottom strips today, then stitching down, and deciding how to finish it. And wondering why I do this to myself, except I think it’s a good cause. I still need to write a response to the inmate as well and figure out how to get it done before noon tomorrow.

Don’t talk to me about the other things I need to do today.

I did have my stitching meeting last night. No, I haven’t implemented my one piece per night thing yet. I’m still on break. Plus I’ve been working on this one at stitching meeting forever. I finished the zebra and started the antelope…

But realized I am probably going to run out of the thread I’m using. I can’t figure out what it is, and I thought I had more of it. I lost the label for it. I haven’t looked too hard yet though. I will see if I can get around the antelope’s body and then maybe find a replacement. I still need to do the other flowers on this block too…but they are on the other instruction sheet…the one I don’t carry around.

It’s interesting. I put stuff on my to-do list that really isn’t necessary, like the drawing a night thing…here’s last night’s.

But I do that for my sanity and to make sure that the job stuff doesn’t take over the world. Because it would if I let it.

OK, I’ve got work to do. Later today? Dog walk and probably phone replacement. And more of this stuff. A drawing. Maybe some stitching. Most definitely trying to finish the Project Paint thing. Some school stuff maybe. Not forgetting about that quilt I have to ship. Aargh. Too much. (Do not ask me about grading. My principal called me yesterday. On break. Yeah. Teaching. The job that sucks up your brain and spits it out.)

*The Animals, The House of the Rising Sun

Time Compression

So I just realized the silly app on my iPad tossed all these photos into the post in backward order. Sigh. No. I don’t have the patience to move them all. Seriously. Hmn. Wait, there might be a workaround…there is! Sigh. Yes, I’m on three different devices up here and none of them is the best for getting stuff where I need it to be. And one needs to be back in airplane mode before it deletes the book that I am reading…I only have 100 pages left to read, but it’s supposed to be due sometime tonight, and I won’t get all those pages read by then. I’m losing time, it seems. It’s always like that in the days before we go back to school. Time compresses strangely and disappears without notice. 

So I wanted to iron the Wonder Under to fabric for the Project Paint piece before I came up the mountain, so I did. Here they are…


Hopefully I’ll get them cut out tonight. I also need to cut the other stuff out, but that’s going to take me longer I think. 

I used all the fabrics from the last big quilt, except I added a few…these…

Nothing much…just needed to fill a space.

Here’s the pile from the last one…the fabrics I used are all on top of the boxes.

Plus random dog toy. I meant to leave for the mountains at around noon…well, it was almost 2 PM. Whatever.

I made it up before dark…ensconsed myself on the couch with the computer, and finished one of the hellish grading things I had created. Girlchild with puppy…also on couch.

It was pretty cold, 30 degrees, when I got here…a delightful 27 this morning. I don’t have clothes for this. It warmed up today, though. Mostly we are all sitting around reading or watching things. It’s the boychild’s birthday and he will be cooking…impressive. The sun is already dropping and I’ve gotten very little done. I’m in the middle of grading another assignment. I didn’t do a very good job in the middle week of getting crap done. Oh well. Being a teacher is a crazy thing sometimes. I can’t be a teacher every day.

I did cut some stuff out last night…not a lot…the grading sucked up my brain.

Plus we played Sorry. I lost. But not as bad as some people. Still a lot of cutting to do.

Still drawing. In space. With aliens.

It will maybe be hard to stop doing this? Or not? I’m not sure. I know you have to do something like 30 days in a row to make it a habit. Meditation too, right? Supposed to be doing that. Ugh. Can’t remember to do everything.

So today was some shopping, wherein mostly the boychild and I stood around and watched the other two buy things, but we realized most of the shoes in the Bass outlet store had names, like people names. So we went around and judged the hell out of that…this was the closest to mine (I’m not a Kathleen), and I was thoroughly offended that I was the bog standard loafer. Ugh.

Although I feel like I could be cheaper. Seriously. I don’t think I even wore these in the preppy high school era of the 80s when they were the thing. I think I had knock-offs for a while, but I mostly gave up on that stuff and went Kmart and thrift shop. Much more my style.

Anyway, back to grading after walking dogs, then cutting things up and another drawing tonight, plus some gaming probably. Maybe I’ll read some more too. Who knows?

First Official Title of 2019

Happy 2019…I woke up to pretty blue skies after yesterday’s cloudy rainstorm. Both Christmas and New Year’s Eve were rainy…not normal for Southern California, but a nice change. We had a quiet evening in…mostly watched a movie and some TV and a bunch of random movie trailers, just so we could see the new year in. This morning, he’s off to gaming and I’m off to Lake Arrowhead to hang with the kids. Of course, I’m not actually packed or ready to go yet, but that’s OK. I have time.

Yesterday was a lot of trying to get things done…I finally pulled out the Project Paint piece, which had been percolating in my mind, and I drew the bits to go around it. I really wanted to add some fabric strips to it…I might even quilt it, but I haven’t decided yet. Certainly I’ll need to finish the edges somehow. But I started with a photocopy of his unfinished painting…

The word is relationships and he went for kids and games and picking his nose, so I added his big sister (even though he’s older than me…I’m a big sister) and then some stuff above and below, with some canvas squares for him to continue to paint in. He says he’s more of an abstract artist, so he can do what he wants in those squares. I’m not sure how the fusible web will work on the acrylic, so that should be interesting. Or complicated. We’ll find out. I like a challenge.

Then I traced all the pieces (there’s only like 160 or so) and cut them out.

I’m hoping to iron them to fabric this morning so I can take them with me and cut them out. I have until the 6th to get this done, and I will only be home on Friday, really. It could be tight. Yikes!

I meant to take down all the Christmas stuff yesterday. I got the tree done and that was it…this was before. I didn’t want to disturb Kitten…

Then again, she keeps eating the pine needles. I also didn’t want to put the tree back outside yesterday because we have a frost advisory tonight, and I think going from inside for 2 plus weeks to outside with frost is a bad plan for transitioning a tree. So I’ll wait until I come back.

I also went and talked to the diabetes nurse and it turns out the real problem is that my insulin dose is way too low, like not even normally low. I’m kind of irritated with my doctor and the pharmacist and the nurse practitioner who managed all this, because honestly, they didn’t. The diabetes nurse, in contrast, was really helpful and gave me guidelines to follow and emailed my doctor with what I should be doing. She’ll call me back tomorrow, when the doc is back in, and hopefully we’ll be adjusting my dosage the way it should have been back in November, and I’ll be feeling better. The feeling of being OFF has been present since the first time they put me on the new meds in July, and with the switch to insulin in November, it just makes me anxious to not understand how to manage the numbers. They’ve been so random. Of course, she talked about stress, which is the hardest thing for me to manage. Ah well. Bring back the meditation. And more hiking. I’m OK with that.

Here was the view from the car on the way back…

So 2019 will bring positive change for all that. Proof is in the sky. Hallelujah.

Kitten came out and sat with us last night for a good long while…same with Satchemo. Someday we’ll have cats who get along. Probably not these two, though…unfortunately. I drew my drawing for the night. Plus cut out a bunch of stuff.

I have a project I’ll be working on later this year where I won’t be able to show ANY of it, so I may go back to this drawing every night thing just to have something to show y’all. Or maybe I’ll do some small quilts at the same time. I drew some last year and never made them. I always have these plans to make smaller things or create a coloring book or sell prints or do Patreon, but then the actual DOING of it is overwhelming and it stops me. I’m not making any resolutions about that. If it happens, it happens.

Last night’s drawing…some influence from the diabetes discussion.

Get that pancreas under control dammit.

I cut things out for about three hours…

I finally see some progress. The first person is cut out, I think (well, the fifth person, because it’s in backwards order in the box) and I’m doing the sun now. I’m taking this with me to Arrowhead, because I can hopefully get it all done. It seems daunting when I say that now. Sigh.

I always feel like there’s not enough time. Because there isn’t.

Here’s all the colors from my year on Instagram. Interesting colors…

Not sure what I think about that, but it’s interesting data. Oh yeah! I made a thing with all of last year’s quilts…I always do that.

Two tiny quilts, one really big quilt, and eight medium-sized quilts of a variety of shapes and sizes. One commission. Five have already been in shows. Not bad. Working on getting the rest seen. Lots of suns and skies and rockets and hearts and rainbows. And cats! Always with the cats. And birds.

May the new year have more of all that and some new stuff as well. Many more finishes and challenges and good health and good people. Plus quiet nights at home and rowdy nights dancing to music and some good food and hopefully good news on the political and human front. Plus less stress or better management of the stress that already exists, or just plain old getting better at ignoring it. And happiness and joy to all. Even to the assholes.

Time Is Weird

Well happy New Years Eve, all. Or for some, you’re already in 2019 and that’s just weird. Time is weird though, so what’s new. Yesterday I didn’t write because I was hiking, which was cool. Today the kids leave for Lake Arrowhead…I will follow them tomorrow, when the wind gusts will kick up to 45 mph, so that will be a fun drive. Plus really cold up there for people who don’t own puffy coats. I have fleece. That’s it. Fleece and Uggs. Prepare to freeze.

It will be fine. I’m looking forward to some artmaking time today, but also to a diabetes educator appointment. My insulin isn’t working right. Or I’m not working right, which is more likely. So I got a last-minute appointment to go in. Apparently no one wants to go to the nurse on NYE, but me…I’m OK with that. I’d rather deal with it now than try to fit it in during school. It’s so difficult to get appointments of any kind around my job. Frustrating. So maybe we can figure out WTF is going on with my body as part of the new year.

But yesterday, we hiked to Eagle Rock, which is on part of the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail). I’ve been there a few times, and it’s a relatively easy hike, but not super short…I think we did 6 1/2 miles.

First we drove way the freak out to Warner Springs…

It was chilly at first, but exercise warmed us up enough to shed the outer layers, even in the shade of the oaks…

It was a beautiful clear day, no wind, just a bit of a breeze…welcome as we got out into the flat areas…

I call this hike mostly flat. My hiking partner did not agree. I think I just forget about the hills after I hike them.

Mostly flat.

There were a lot of people out there, but not too many. Most of them had dogs.

Ah! There’s the eagle in Eagle Rock…and my partner, glad to be halfway. When we started dating, he had written that he liked to hike…

I’m not sure he and I agree on what hiking is…but he’s a good sport about it. Here’s the view of the valley from the rock formation.

The hard rocks that survived erosion over the years…

Proof I was there!

The last time I hiked this was May 2014…more flowers then. More water too, strangely.

There’s this place in Ramona that looks like a total dive from the outside, but is pretty hip on the inside, so we stopped for some food and a drink before driving all the way home.

Came back to lounging tiredly around post-hike, with puppy, who did no hike at all…

He ran around a lot in the morning.

I took a long time to draw this…just tired, I guess.

Yes, that’s T. rex as a spirit animal.

Girlchild eventually showed up again.

Puppy likes her. Although I think he slept on everybody. I haven’t seen the kid much…friends in town.

I finally started cutting out, but late…

It was an Avengers night…but it doesn’t look like I got much done.

Seriously, that’s three hours of cutting. Sheesh.

This is what’s left. A lot.

I’ll do some of that tonight. I’m not a fan of big NYE partying. We have errands to do today and I have that collaboration piece I need to get done by next Sunday, so I should get going on that today. I’ll go to Arrowhead tomorrow with all my crap that needs doing, hang out with the kids etc. for a few days, and head back to face the fact that I’m going back to work. Stressful. Oh well. I had time off…I still have almost a week. Use it wisely.

Hold My Own and Drive*

The new year is creeping up on us. I like to look back at what I made in the year past and think about what I might make in the year future. I already have one quilt in progress that will be done in January (knock on wood), plus two in line behind it that don’t exist even in my head yet…well, the second one does, but only by the seat of its pants. I finished 11 quilts in 2018…one of which was a commission and two of which are tiny, so they don’t really count. Five of the 11 have been in exhibits, which isn’t bad, and I hope the rest will make it out into the world this year. Seven of them were made for specific exhibits in mind, and three of those got into the show they were supposed to be for, which is fine…I’m counting the one or two a year I make for Quilt National and Visions, and I never worry about their not getting in…they will get in somewhere. It’s really just about making a deadline to create a large and meaningful piece.

The one I’m working on now is meant for an exhibit, but can show anywhere. It wanders away from the large and political issues I’ve been working with this last year and goes into my head. Not necessarily a pretty place to be, but that’s what this piece is about and it’s why it had to be made.

The good news on that is that I’ve finished ironing all the pieces to fabric as of about 11:30 PM last night.

There’s a lot of cutting in my future. I’m going to guess about 17 hours of cutting. Realistically, could I be done before I go to Arrowhead next week? Probably not. I have a hike shoved in there and other stuff I need to work on as well. But I’ll get a good chunk of it done, finish it at the cabin, and come back January 3, ready to iron it together. Because then I go back to school and all hell breaks loose and I don’t have as much time to make art again. Ugh. So not ready. One week left. I saved up some of my work to do at the cabin, so no, I haven’t graded anything at all for two days, and barely touched an assignment the two days prior. Oh well. It happens to the best, most motivated of us.

I worked really hard to use as many different fabrics in this quilt as I could. Each head deserved their own vein and heart fabrics. Plus I got to go rooting through bins looking for different stuff. That was fun. Time-consuming, but fun. So this is the most I’ve ever used in a quilt, I think, because normally I try to reuse fabrics throughout the piece to unify it. I don’t need that for this quilt though. No unification needed.

Here’s what 230 fabrics looks like…

The box on the bottom right has all five runs of flesh, one for each figure. They’re all me. I range from pale to pink to purple. Legit. I left out the red I burn in the summer.

I binge-watched the tail end of Fearless and then Seven Seconds, which was troubling and hard to watch, but good. I think I’m going back to The Shield for the cutting stage. Different access to channels in the living room than in my office. I briefly toyed with Derry Girls last night too, which made me laugh. Might be a good plan to watch more of that.

Before I got to do any artmaking last night, I had about 17 errands. I keep saying 17, but of course it was fewer than that. It took 5 hours though, maybe more. This was JoAnns hell. I hate coming here, but there were sales on Wonder Under and batting, and I needed a lot of both. So I waited. And waited.

On all the people who can’t figure out what they need before they get up to the cutting tables, even though they’ve had at least 30 minutes to calculate their shit, plus that one woman who hung out there the whole time, even though her number was well after mine (not in the way or anything). And then the checkout line, with the two old ladies behind me bitching because I wouldn’t let them butt in front of me, because they only had two items (I only had four, and two of them were on the same ticket, so suck me folks.).

That was one of the places I forced myself to go yesterday, and probably the worst, followed by Michaels. Not surprising. But I managed to cross a huge chunk of to-do stuff off the list yesterday (and get nothing else done during the day).

I also washed the quilt that sold over a year ago but was traveling…the future owner is allergic to cats, so I wash at my parents’ house (cat-free) to get rid of the dander (or most of it anyway) and then dry it there, iron it, dehair it as needed, and pack it up there. Seems to work.

I’ll go back in a few days and do all that other stuff so I can ship it off to her. I came back to a sleepy puppy…

He can be a real sweetheart…

When he’s not barking at the zombie apocalypse.

Yesterday’s drawing…more of the spirit animal stuff.

Got my head in that spot, apparently.

Back to the couch around midnight after ironing…communing with three out of the four furry beasts (the other one rarely comes out of my office)…

I didn’t start cutting. I was tired. I went to bed. I feel good that I got all those errands out of the way. There are more of them, I’m sure; there always are, but it was a cathartic moment of crossing things off the list. I finished a bunch of online stuff too, paying for this or that, finding this thing online that I needed. All good. Clearing the way for the new year. May it be full of time for artmaking. Whatever that means.

*Incubus, Drive

To Build a Wall Between Us*

Someone said it was the last Friday of 2018…thus reminding me of what day it was. Good one. Last night, I sat down with my list of errands that I blew off yesterday in order to walk the dogs and iron for over 5 hours…and I made a special post-it note for today of all the things I need to drive around in my car and do today. When I’m teaching, errands get shoved into the few hours before or after school when I can drop by this place or that, or they get shuffled into the weekend. On break, I could go out and do one or two things a day, but then whatever art I’m working on sucks up my brain and I don’t leave the house for days unless forced by others. Yesterday was the oil change…so I had to leave the house TWICE. I know. Crazy. And I did walk out of here with the dogs and come back an hour later. But that’s different. Today I will need to go to a multitude of places and do all the things, because next week is messy and I won’t be able to do that.

The first stop, though, will be the post office to mail off the drawing from 12/26 that sold, so that’s cool. I don’t really think of the drawings as art in their own space…more a means to an end. And the ones I’m doing now definitely aren’t probably maybe going to be quilts, so it’s OK to draw things I would never try to reproduce in fabric. Like this rug…

I’m pretty sure the concentric not-circles don’t line up and if I tried to make it, my brain would explode. But I might redraw it for a quilt, if I wanted to. I really am considering these brain exercises. I’m enjoying it though. I tried to institute a Friday-night drawing plan a few years ago, since I was usually braindead from school and couldn’t function to grade, but honestly, I was too tired to draw a lot of the time too…OR I would want to get right to whatever artmaking I had postponed all week, if I did have any energy. So maybe drawing one night a week is a thing? I do have two drawings I’m supposed to be working on, maybe technically three, and so I should get going on those.

Art takes time. I fight to make sure I have it pushed into my schedule. That’s how I get so behind on school and grading and errands and cleaning house and gardening.

So yesterday, I was hoping to get a big chunk of ironing done…and I did. Here’s the sun…

I like suns. And moons. And stars. They show up a lot.

I’ve had this yellow fabric for a long time. I had a half yard of it, because that’s normally what I buy when I’m filling the stash. This is all that’s left.

It gets hard to fold up into a logical square at this point. But I love this fabric.

Finally Figure 5…so I’ve used a different run of 5-7 fabrics for each. I find that if I don’t challenge myself to use new fabrics, I’ll use the same ones over and over again (like that yellow). So this is a very pink/purple person. Two of the fabrics below had never been cut into…

Challenge accepted.

And there they all are, laid out, ready for ironing.

Now I’m down to the last bits and pieces…

Heart, wings, lungs, grassy chin (you read that right), a bee, and a beetle. That’s it! I’m almost done. Today, surely…

I didn’t clean up much last night, because I did a bit halfway through the day. It was getting all chaotic and confused. I couldn’t find anything.

I’ll organize one more time, into color runs, before the end. I like to see how much of each color I used.

So besides running a bunch of errands and finishing a multitude of little tasks (move the table, bring the plate, pay the bills, put that envelope in the mailbox, return that frame, buy another one, buy this, return that, find those…)…I will be ironing at some point today.

Girlchild and Simba watching some TV show together.

Not sure how much WATCHING the puppy is doing. But he seems happy.

As was Kitten this morning…curled up with me.

I did not want to get up. The other cat made me. He wanted food.

Well, at least I have a plan. (Just don’t ask me how I’m doing on grading right now.) I couldn’t resist this post title. Politics makes my head hurt. Stupid people scared of unreal stuff make my head hurt. There’s so many things that make more sense than a wall…but that’s the problem with government and law…it’s not about sense.

*Crowded House, Don’t Dream It’s Over

He Played It Left Hand*

The dogs are perturbed. The kids just left for a hike without them, leaving them with me, the boring old lady who irons all day. I do actually have a hike planned for next week, and I was going to walk the dogs today, but I’m down a car and don’t want to go to the wildlife area (with coyotes) by myself with the dogs. But I can walk them locally…a little later maybe. I’m not quite awake yet. Fuzzy brain caused by lack of sleep. They did get left alone for a chunk of yesterday…while we cooked pasta from scratch.

This was around the corner from where we cooked…a nice, colorful mural.

We actually were at Hipcooks, next door. The man’s family is large and extended, and we were invited to cook with them…

Wherein he showed a skill for beating eggs that has been previously invisible…

Good to know.

Boychild in charge of a pasta filling…

Pretty sure the girlchild was in charge of mushrooms…but I don’t have a picture of that. Oh wait, I do. She’s texting and cooking at the same time.

Obligatory food picture, first course…

The second course required the pasta attachments…

Mostly we let the kids do that, because they really liked it…but so did this guy. I didn’t take any pictures of the second course. But it was good…and we had a good time. Not rocket science, but an enjoyable afternoon.

We came back home, and predictably, I ironed. This is Figure 4…

I did that before dinnermaking…

At some point, the girlchild came in here to book a flight to Portugal. Of course. Her computer is still on my floor in here.

She brought a dog.

After dinner, I drew this. The birds came from the show I was watching, Seven Seconds.

I don’t know where the rest of it came from. I’m just exercising my drawing brain at the moment…letting it wander aimlessly.

I ironed for about 3 hours yesterday…got into the 1000s…about 2/3rds done.

I started stressing about school and life yesterday. I graded a little, but not a lot. It hurts my head.

I took a break to hang out, and then it got late…so I never put all this away. I just left it piled up.

I’m still ironing all the bits that go with Figure 4. I’m just about to start the snakes that make up her hair. Complicated stuff.

Right now, I’m listening to her snore…

She hides back there and sleeps on piles of batting. Sweet kitty.

Yeah, school stress is keeping me awake at night. Life stress. All the stress. Yes, I’m on break. That’s why I need a walk today. Or something. First I need to find the money for girlchild’s rent and college, and then maybe iron a bit. Then the dogs. Then more ironing. I want to be done with the ironing. Not sure that’s an option today…seems like a lot more hours will be needed. I’m guessing 7. We’ll see.

*David Bowie, Ziggy Stardust