Don’t Tread on Me…

My show is up in Pittsburgh! I’m still hoping to get there to see it, if that’s possible. There are 6 pieces and it’s called Elemental Fiber

It’s in the Society for Contemporary Craft’s satellite space in the BNY Mellon Center at 500 Grant St, Pittsburgh.

It’s an interesting space…open to the public in the Lobby of the Steel Plaza T-Station at Oliver Street and Grant Street in downtown Pittsburgh. The glass also makes it hard to photograph, but I really appreciate their sending me these.

It’s hard to send work off, especially multiple pieces.

It looks good. You should go see it.

I didn’t apply for this show…they contacted me after I didn’t get into another show. Hey, I’ll take this.

I have 6 quilts in the exhibit. I’m not making any comments about the Strip District there. Hmmm. Anyway, if you happen to be in town for Fiberart International…check it out.

I taught the first day of sex ed yesterday…it was pretty chill…mostly looking at what friendship looks like and how you can tell the difference between liking and loving…a difficult concept for many adults. Like that first rush of feeling you have when you are thinking you are falling in love with someone…that’s very different than the love you feel when you have to go through hard shit and you do it together. Or they’re going through hard shit and you are there for them. I think that love is way more important, but I’m not 12. Or an adult who acts 12…most of the time. Teaching middle school means you can access your 12-year-old self quite easily…you see it reflected back at you about 150 times. But in general, in relationships, I don’t do 12.

Tuesdays are long because I do tutoring after school, and then I went shopping for snacks for our state testing days. We asked the principal this year if he could fund the snacks (such a change from the principal who wouldn’t let us have any food or drink, not even gum, because he was afraid they’d get stains on the test booklets)…but there isn’t enough money to do that and pay for the stuff we have to pay for…so every teacher funds that out of their own pocket. There’s no way kids can work that hard for 3 1/2 hours without sustenance. So we feed them.

And then I practiced video editing while cooking dinner…I got my first real Patreon video done and posted. I show the stage I’m at in the quilt and explain a little bit about how I pick fabrics and why everything is organized the way it is. I am still not an awesome video editor, but I’m getting better. It was easier this time. I still watched the instructions video about 3 more times. I’m using Lightworks, which is cool and has a lot of things you can do without a Pro version, but I can’t say it’s very intuitive for a non-video-editing person.

I’ll be doing two videos a month…one kind of a how-to/background of what I do, and one Who Knows What video. I’m thinking art exhibits I go to, or maybe even part of a hike, or watching me draw, or I don’t know. Stuff that fuels the art. I also am writing over there, and people at the $5/month level will get a drawing emailed to them each month. They can stitch it up, make a small quilt (if they’re crazy), color it in, or just stare at it. It’s going to take a little effort to get me on a routine with this, but I’m pretty sure it will get easier with time. It’s nice to make things for people who are helping me make more art.

I did stitch a little after dinner…

I did the arm things…and started the knee things. I’m hoping I have enough green for the rug. I need another bobbin. I should ask about that. I need to prep a new embroidery design for the trip to Boston. I also need to think about packing. Yup.

But last night, I ironed instead…

I have everything almost to the high 600s ironed. I could finish tonight. I think. I’m going to try anyway. This quilt is a little fussy for ironing…there’s lots of little tiny things happening that take some color analysis. Like 12 different blues in one section. Some have to go together and some most definitely shouldn’t. So there’s a lot of staring into space at fabrics. I’m good at that.

Someone sent me this…

Totally feeling it.

Nature Calls…and Then Hits Me in the Ass…

I fell last night while hiking…going downhill, I slipped on some loose rocks. I do fall or almost fall pretty regularly, and that’s why we have padded asses. To land on. Which I did. Unfortunately, there was a large rock where I landed, so I am right now sitting on a softball-sized bruise just to the left of my coccyx. Which I think is intact, because although I feel a bit stiff (and ancient, dammit), there’s no excruciating pain. Good thing really. There’s no ass cast. And trying to keep an ice pack on that part of my body while teaching (or ironing) is not a thing.

So yeah, we hiked with the furry beasts…

We saw a snake right at the beginning, in the parking lot…

It was a little one. But yeah, a Diamondback…

The grasses are going brown…which makes everything look different…

The poppies are gone…but there are still new flowers every time we go out there…

I really should live somewhere that rains more.

Except that would probably drive me nuts…

I really do appreciate all the hikes and being out in nature. Even with the giant ass bruise. Ouch. Poor dead butterfly…

Beautiful though…

Here’s the full Patreon Amanda Palmer picture…we are in the top far right.

Thanks for an awesome weekend y’all.

Speaking of Patreon, I recorded three more short videos last night, so I’m editing tonight. Hopefully those will go up tonight. My second video for the month might well be at Walden Pond…you just never know.

When I got home, I did some things. After dinner, I worked on this sweet thing…who is close to done…

She’s got a rug and some knee and arm designs…and that’s it. I’m hoping I have enough of the green to finish the rug. We’ll see. I should prep the next one or two for the trip to Boston. The last three are smaller…they should take less time. This one has actually been pretty fast, compared to the last two. We’ll see what the final time is though. I’m currently at about 6 1/2 hours. Not bad.

Then I ironed…

That is a run of blue, for sure. I didn’t even finish that section…just the stuff under water. Wait, no. I didn’t finish ALL the stuff under water. The windows aren’t done. I know. It doesn’t make sense right now. It will. More of that tonight. I’m about halfway through the 500s. It’s taking forever, but I am past the halfway mark for sure now. It feels like I might finish. Someday. Hopefully before we leave, but no guarantees. Probably not.

Speaking of leaving, the job calls. Today I start teaching sex ed. I’m not ready. It will be fine. Too much talking though. This week is easy…all relationships and liking vs loving and all that gooby stuff…well, and statutory rape. Fun stuff.

It’ll Be Fine…

Want to watch my video explaining why you should be a patron of the Nida Arts Conglomerate? Here it is. Oh wait. I’m not a conglomerate. But I am a Nida. Watch on…

It’s highly possible that I shouldn’t record videos at 9 PM after going to the gym while waiting for dinner to cook. But realistically, when ELSE am I going to record a video. And hey! Then I edited it! Well. I did, but I didn’t do much to it. Mostly I fucked up a bunch of times and don’t really know what I’m doing (I’m using Lightworks and I watched one 7-minute video and should probably watch a lot more). I’m hoping for more experience with that in the future, which is guaranteed. Really. It is. Here’s the link to the Patreon in case you want to see other stuff.

Patreon sends me an email every day telling me all their success stories. I’m not really worried about being such a huge success that I need to quit my day job. I’d just like to quit the second and/or third job…as I debate when to open my copyediting account back up for the summer. Ugh. So that’s basically what I talk about…why give money to artists? Well, if you like their work and you’d like them to continue to make it, you can buy their work, you can buy products made from their work (embroidery patterns, posters, whatever), and you can support them on Patreon or GoFundMe or Kickstarter or whatever. One of my goals is to get enough money coming in that I can make a coloring book. What about a calendar…I could do that too, but that’s something I need time for…and time is a commodity.

Yesterday, I spent time at the gym. It was nice. I missed it. I got to read my book (which I need to be done reading by Wednesday, for book club). I came home and made dinner, and after that and editing the video, I ironed. I stayed up too late. I admit it. Sigh. My brain was running too fast…one of the hazards of working out late. But I’m not a morning person. I don’t gym in the AM. But I ironed a whole section…that I can’t show you…

I can however show you incredibly vague closeups. Even though I won’t be done ironing this weekend, I will be able to take some of these pieces with me to Los Angeles to cut out, I think. Don’t get excited. I’m not promising anything. I’m driving up to see a concert, sleep, and then drive back. Super quick trip.

It will fuck up the weekend schedule, though. And the man has a show tonight. I’m exhausted at the moment, but will somehow find the energy to go to the show.

So last night, I was done ironing…I didn’t want to start a whole new section and think about it as a whole and all that, so I sat down to watch the rest of the episode of Russian Doll that I was watching…and I can’t just sit and watch things, so I embroidered.

This is another thing I can work on in the car. I love that I pick dark colors, so that all the animal hairs in the house will show up on them. I spend so much time picking hairs off things. Sigh. I do like this red/orange/yellow variegated thread though. It has a nice flow of color. I need to trace the next stuff on this, so I can keep going. All the details. The rest of her hair. Her eyeballs!

Next weekend, I’ll be getting up at ungodly hours due to being back East. Looking forward to that version of lack of sleep. I hope the girlchild is ready for all of us to arrive. This is how far I got before my adult brain started yelling about how late it was.

Looking good. More to go. OK, so a lab at school today, a show tonight with three bands…hoping to go straight to bed after that and then I’ll do 700 things tomorrow. While driving to LA. It’ll be fine. You watch.

Grading Elves. Uh huh.

I’m looking for a good, relatively basic, free video editor recommendation. The internet is not your friend when you’re looking for such things. I could write a post right now about free video editing programs and I have no clue what I’m talking about. If you have a recommendation, let me know. I’m on a PC usually…I guess I could try using the Mac, but it’s my school computer, and I try not to do personal stuff on it. I just need to be able to string videos together really. Maybe someday I’ll get fancy and add titles or music. OK, I can probably handle titles. Maybe. Maybe not THIS week.

It was a long day yesterday…surprisingly tiring. Tutoring means you have to be ON a lot longer than normal. I made it home and was tired. I’m still tired. I even went to bed early, but according to my sleep app, I moved a lot. Or that might have been the cat. It’s hard to say. I do know the hot flashes right now are awful. Seriously, they’ve been horrible for the last week and a half. I’m not sure why, as always…my body refuses to keep me informed. I remember this happening last year, but later, like around the last month of school…they eventually went away. So there’s hope.

I was relieved that all the quilts I shipped across the country last week made it. I don’t really worry about when I send one or two quilts, but I shipped out seven in one day. It made me nervous.

I gave up on trying to grade stuff when I got home after tutoring. I was going to finish the assignment I’d been trying to get done all day, but then the phone rang and it was dinner time and I was tired, so I did this instead.

Cat assistance not particularly helpful. I need to trace the next parts of it…

I got a new tracing paper…it’s supposed to work better. We’ll see. Really the easy thing would be not be stitching these out on black. Duh.

Eventually I got up and went back to nature tv, although this was sad. It makes me sad to see how we’re destroying the world, but it also makes me sad when baby animals get eaten. Last night was both of those…

Speaking of which, here’s an amazing picture the girlchild took…

Unfortunately, those baby bunnies were dinner for someone. Nature, you are such a bitch.

More closeups of fabric, since I can’t show much right now.

Ironing this thing is not going quickly. I’m doubting my ability to get it all ironed by the weekend. In fact, there’s no way. Seriously. I’m only getting in about an hour to an hour and a half a night. I’m only in the 200s right now after three nights. There are 700 pieces to go. I’m going to try not to think about the next two weekends and how I’m not going to be able to work on this. It will all be fine. FIIINNNEEE. That’s what I say about the grading as well. It will all magically get done. By elves. Grading elves. Grading elves who know how to use computers. Yup.

OK, another meeting after school. Then home, need to make lunches for the rest of the week, plus get some grading done, and then ironing, blessed ironing. May there always be progress. And hopefully sleep.

Balance Shmalance.

This month is a little crazy. There’s a bunch of travel, and I don’t really usually travel much. Sometimes to LA for exhibits, one trip during Spring Break, the occasional run to Lake Arrowhead for a few days…that’s it. This month is Boston for the girlchild’s graduation AND a trip to LA to see Amanda Palmer. Looking forward to both, but there’s some prep that’s gotta happen…school prep especially, because I don’t wanna come back to hellishness. I mean, I might come back to that anyway, but balance…balance is this thing I’m always trying to get to and am always so far away from.

I just got a phone call that reminded me I’m not the only one stressed all to hell and back. If you know a teacher, give them a hug. Or a coffee. Or a glass of wine…whatever seems appropriate for that moment.

So I started this weekend with a crazy to-do list and I got a bunch of it done, but never all of it. NEVER. I graded some, I did some school prep, I went to an opening, I wandered around my own block with my neighbors, I raided a friend’s classroom…

So here’s my Patreon page…link is in the sidebar…

I’m working on the first video for it. Need to figure out what editor to use for that. Learning curve!

Then I washed and ironed these guys…

Need to send the official photos over…

Oh yeah, and in my house, if you leave fabric out at all for any period of time…this is what happens…

Cat incursion. Sigh. This was the next morning.

Went to this opening. Will hopefully have a post up later this week on this exhibit.

It’s an interesting show…

Sunday morning, I went to the classroom of a teacher friend who is retiring, and I stole a bunch of books.

Well, she gave them to me…

Along with a bunch of other stuff. I’m terrified to retire because of my classroom. I don’t want to clean it out.

This was on the deck yesterday. What? That cat thinks he’s a dog.

Simba is the only one questioning it. We don’t usually let cats out because of coyotes, but this cat…thinks he’s a dog. He also likes the outside. If we build a catio, it will be because of him.

Calli turned 10 this weekend. The bald patch on her nose has all of a sudden made her look way older.

She also sprained a leg yesterday and is limping around like a…well, an old lady.

After making dinner and grading stuff, I finally headed into the office to start ironing this quilt onto fabric.

I can’t show you much of this. It’s for a show entry and I’m not supposed to show it until jurying is done. So extreme and vague closeups it is! Oh yeah, fabrics…

That light blue one still had Midnight’s fur ALL over it…it came from her favorite drawer. Made me sad to clean it off. She’s only been dead for a year and a half, right? Sheesh. I miss that cat.

I didn’t finish the first 100 pieces. I was distracted. I had a hard time focusing. Hopefully tonight will be better.

Although I already stayed up too late last night. My art brain told me it was OK. Ha! Dumb. ‘Twas not. Too late it was. Today I feel it. OK, ready for school. Then dogs. Then working…school and then art. I can do it all! Balance shmalance.

Collaborate. Future.

So two things in my head this morning (besides why can’t the animals shut up in the morning and allow me to sleep when I obviously stayed up way too late last night doing art stuff)…collaboration and my not-so-successful experience of that, and how to retire sometime 20 years or more from now (because how will I ever be able to afford that).

Collaboration is in my head because I have an opening tonight for a collaborative attempt that did in fact end up making a successful piece, but I guess for me, it’s still not the collaboration I’m looking for. And then I think about how irritated I get with people, and maybe collaboration is a mistake. This project was not a mistake…it’s an awesome idea, and I hope my partner enjoyed his part in the project. A few friends of mine work with Project Paint, a rehab program for inmates in Donovan Correctional Facility. I picked a word (relationships), and was paired with an inmate. He started a painting based on that word, and then wrote me some reflections about his start…and then I was supposed to work from there. That is always the hard part, isn’t it? I stared at it for a while…

And then I decided how to add to it. I had been told to use fabric if I wanted to, because at the beginning, I was saying, hey, I don’t paint, and that was OK. So I sewed right onto that canvas, and then added some stuff above and below, plus some squares for the inmate to add to…

I even hid a barrel monkey down in the ground. Then I made a quilt out of it, so it would be able to hang, and sent it back to my inmate partner. He added to it, but I haven’t seen a written explanation of what he added, which has made it hard to respond again. So I guess I just didn’t.

I’m glad he gave him eyes and a shirt…the show Inside/Outside opens tonight at Art Produce, 6-8 PM.

So I guess I need something different for collaboration. Then again, this project wasn’t about me…it was about the inmate artist. So I hope he got something good out of it. I will keep finding ways to collaborate, and maybe one of them will spark something bigger in me. I’m looking forward to seeing the other work produced as well. And I would totally do it again. I guess I am always open to these weird collaborative attempts.

The second thing on my mind is my future. I have a friend retiring from teaching this year and I’ve been watching her figure this out, knowing that I am years away from doing this. But not a ton of years. At least 10, probably. But certainly, I think money will still be tight, because going through a divorce and putting kids through college has not exactly helped me save for retirement. I’ve done the required stuff; I even have funds from when I was self-employed, but I get screwed by having both paid fully into Social Security and having a state teachers’ fund. I won’t see everything I paid into it and I won’t be able to get enough years in as a teacher, because I started too late. Which sucks, but is. So I need to probably keep working even when I’m done being a teacher. As it is, every summer scares the crap out of me because I never have enough money going in to get me through a very expensive season with no paycheck. I have to time my school credit-card purchases for the next school year so that I will have actually been paid when the bill is due. I often work other jobs (mostly copyediting) on the side during the summer to try to pay the bills. It’s stressful and I don’t like it. I start staring at the bank balance during Spring Break, and sometimes I live on my tax return for that 8 weeks, but this year, that tax return is not only significantly smaller (sigh), but also I turned around and handed it over to my street basically to redo our entire road. Expensive. It’s been about 12 years since we last did it, and a new house being built at the bottom totally trashed one portion of it. So it’s an unexpected expense, but that’s the way it always is. Every year.

So I keep looking for ways to make money that don’t take the huge amount of time that my art does. Although I love making my art. I love taking the time for it. But I also have a bunch of college loans to help pay over the next (ouch IDK how many) few years, and I need extra cash. I need to keep my head above water. I have a week’s worth of paid teacher stuff this summer, and then 7 weeks with no money coming in. OK. I can do this. I do it every year.

So obviously, I started doing the embroidery patterns, which wasn’t really on my radar until I was asked to do them. Cool idea. I want to do a coloring book…I’m hoping to work on that this summer. I say that every year though, so I need to actually DO it this year. And then I finally started a Patreon account. I wrote it all up last summer, planned it even earlier than that, but finally pushed it out this weekend, because they’re changing the pricing structure, and I wanted to be on the earlier version. So it’s out there. Link in the side bar. But I should put one here too…hang on…here it is. It’s hard to ask people for money, to ask them to fork cash out for the crazy shit you do, but there it is. A monthly charge and you get some Kathy. Check it out. I won’t judge you for not signing up…or for signing up. I’m kinda looking forward to doing some different things for the Patreon than what I’ve been doing (adding videos!), so maybe that will leak over onto the blog…who knows?

I also started a Society6 account for wall art and posters…although the girlchild wants a cutting board with a uterus on it (disturbing), so look for that eventually. Yes, I only have one thing up there right now. Another summer project. Feel free to look through my gallery and suggest what you think you might want. I’d appreciate the input. It doesn’t make me much money, but it gets my art out there on people’s walls, so I’m OK with that for now. I don’t have the time, patience, energy, or money to do it myself, but maybe that’s a future thing too.

So here’s last night though…I cooked and graded and then…I sorted Wonder Under…

It didn’t take long…

About 40 minutes…lots of tiny pieces, and then I love it when the fusible separates from the paper.

I don’t really. But I’ll deal with it.

I had help, as always…

Really not helpful guys. You’re the ones who woke me up this morning.

Ugh. Tired. After sorting, I wasn’t ready to go to bed, or ready to come in here and clean so I could start ironing. Not a thing at close to midnight. So I embroidered a little on the third pattern.

I need to wash the other two today and iron them and make a nice picture. Yeah.

I’m doing all the pink/purple first because I think I might run out. I didn’t trace everything either. Because it just rubs off. So that’s OK. Hopefully I’ll get this one done this week. Hopefully I’ll get all the Wonder Under ironed to fabric this week too (that’s the plan). My weekend is busy. I’m looking forward to a weekend sometime in the future where I don’t wake up Saturday morning with a rock in my gut because there’s too fucking much to do. It won’t be any time in the next month. It’s not this weekend, that’s for sure. With that in mind, I need to go get ingredients for an appetizer thing for today, then make that app. Then do something on the to-do list, if not two or three things, before I have to be social. Ugh. OK. I can do it. You might see me doing it even.

Sweatin’ It in Arches

After two nights in Bryce, we drove to Arches National Park, which basically took all day. We went through a bunch of wild landscape, up over a snowy pass…

We were on this scenic highway 12, which was really beautiful, but long. Totally worth it. At some point, we came to Capitol Reef National Park, or maybe Escalante/Grand Staircase was first…I don’t remember.

That looks like Capitol Reef. We ate lunch in a shady spot and then it rained.

Not bad…just enough…

I basically spent the whole day staring out the window at all the weird rocks…especially those green ones.

We didn’t hike…there wasn’t time.

We did get out and look at stuff though…like petroglyphs…

Cool stuff. By the time we made it to Arches, it was after 5 PM, there was no one on staff anywhere, and we had to try to get a tent to stay in rocky ground. That’s our tent in front of their camper (it was the only place the stakes would go in).

And here’s what happened to the mallet.

Oh well. The stakes went in well enough to survive the wind and rain storm the next night.

We got up relatively early the next morning and walked out to the Devil’s Garden area near our campground…this time, we actually camped in the park. With no showers. I remembered that later.

The thing about Arches is that there are arches everywhere…the one below lost a major piece back in the 70s, so you can’t go up to it anymore. I’m OK with that.

It’s pretty huge though.

This is what stopped us going to one of the arches…climbing up this rock fin. Too slippery.

We got about halfway up and stopped. Other people kept going. I’m OK with that too.

Flowers and plants everywhere…a bonus of a rainy spring.

I think you totally miss that in summer. This is Delicate Arch. We did the in-between hike, not the rock-scrambling hike. There are people up there. Not us.

It was also pretty warm in Arches. I don’t do well with warm.

The flowers do though. This is Pothole Arch…fascinating thinking about the science behind all these.

We did all the short hikes during the day…

There were lots of people on these. Pulling a dance move? Nah. Pointing at an arch.

There were lots of them.

So a weird selfie, but mostly was trying to get my feminist shirt, which I hiked in, and a bunch of women told me they liked my shirt. That was cool.

Nevertheless She Persisted applies to many things. Turret Arch…

So I have all these appliqued quilt blocks from 2005-2007 that I did (a friend made the patterns), and some of the places we went are in those blocks…like this one.

This is one of the Windows, North or South…

I think it’s South.

Then we went into town for alcohol, wood, and gas. All important. We came back and tried to hike Park Avenue in the middle of the day heat. Ugh. No. We got about halfway…but I really feel like these rocks should just fall over.

They are illogical. The valley was very warm.

I can’t imagine it in July. Interesting rocks above and below though.

Petrified stream beds. Balanced Rock!

We did over 11 miles of hikes that I counted on this day, but this was like 300 yards off the road…so we walked much farther than 11 miles…just in little bits.

This is Skyline Arch…we hiked out to it.

Because we wanted to see the rock fall…some huge piece fell out back in the 1940s and is lying in the path. Not as exciting as the view up.

Then we headed back to camp…had a snack, refueled packs, and did a longer hike to see Tapestry Arch…

And then Broken Arch…well, flowers first…

And trying to find the path with stone cairns…some big, some tiny…

And wandering around the sandy landscape…until we found Broken Arch…

And a view of where we were hiking next, to Sand Dune Arch…this is the back view of Broken Arch…

At Sand Dune Arch, stupid tourist photos got in the way…this lovely Asian woman is in all my photos because her husband kept saying, “put your arms up.” “Now move forward three feet.” And my patience was wearing thin. His as well…

Although he smiled for me. Heading back toward camp…it was further than we thought…

But there were very few people out there. This funky flower…only the top one can be purple! All the rest are yellow!

Weird. We had a long discussion about open carry in a National Park, because of the guy who was hiking in front of us at Sand Dune Arch, with his gun. To protect himself from??? I just don’t know. Scared old man.

Back to the campsite, where we attempted to clean up enough to go out into public for dinner. Yes! Food cooked by other people in a restaurant! What a concept. We earned it.

Still no shower.

On the way back, we rode through a storm that then chased us into our tent for the night, tensely listening for thunder, planning to run to the car, finally collapsing exhausted by probably 9:30 PM.

The next morning dawned perfectly clear and beautiful…

So we packed up and got ready to leave. We originally had no plan for after this…we’d thrown around ideas, but knew we needed to start heading back home. So in the restaurant in Moab, we made a plan (because we had no cell service in the campsite)…and made a reservation for Tuba City, near the Grand Canyon. A quick day trip through there, then heading home. More on that tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I survived my first day back at school yesterday. I’m exhausted. No shock there. This is puppy love while I’m grading assignments on the stationary bike.

I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. I packed up one quilt, six to go. I traced this piece, ready to embroider…

I’m a little short on two of the colors, so they hopefully will show up in the next week or so. I’ll go as far as I can. I started some of the embroidery on it…just because I need to get them done.

She’s pink and purple for now. And then I cut stuff out for a while.

I went to bed early again…

It’s going to be a rough week. But I’ll get stuff done. I have to.