Day after Day I Get Angry and I Will Say*

October 10, 2017

Hey, so sometimes a thing pops up and you think, hey! That’s cool. That’s really cool. Social Justice Sewing Academy is one of those things. When I was on the web last year, around the time our newest president reared his ugly head, I found the Instagram of a woman, Sara Trail, who was making banners for protests. She had posted patterns online (I think I wrote about her back then). Turns out she works with a group of kids, the Social Justice Sewing Academy, helping them express their ideas…wait, not just IDEAS, but ACTIVIST IDEAS…in fabric. And sewing. I think this is awesome, and they want to expand the program, so there’s a Kickstarter here. Watch the video, read the stuff…just looking at the art they make (their Instagram is @sjsacademy) makes you wanna back them. These kids deserve all the help they can get; I would love to see a program like that down here. Yes, I backed it. You should back it too…not only because it’s fabric, or even because it’s getting the younger generation into fabric, but because these kids have a lot of great political stuff to say and we should expand that to more voices, diverse voices. We’re gonna need some young, strong, loud voices to fight some of the shit being thrown around. She focuses on kids of color, kids who need a voice even more than most. Go. Look. Watch.

More on the eyeball…watched a movie and graded shit last night…

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But sewed two nights of Whites of Your Eyes first…

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Weird puppy…

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So I broke two needles last night AND stabbed myself in the finger with a knife (OK, that was while making dinner and was just lame, but it still hurts this morning). I don’t exactly know how I didn’t see that safety pin, but it’s nice to know the needle can pierce it. Or is it?

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The second needle broke…I don’t even know why. It was not an auspicious start. I think both broke in the first 10 minutes and I swore prodigiously, and then I got my rhythm back and got about an hour and a half of quilting in.

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I didn’t want her to have a weapon, but I wanted her to be able to stop him, to hurt him, to catch attention. So octopus tentacles. Best I could do.

Most of the male figure is done…just his head and one arm, plus the thought bubble…

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And then start quilting the background. Remember not to quilt the background in tiny little squiggles…because there ain’t no time (nor necessity) for that. Start seriously considering the next quilt, because it will be big too…about this size…and it doesn’t exist except as the beginning of a drawing and a list of ideas. Not that it’s a bad thing…drawing it will be nice. No, it’s not a happy topic…still…but it won’t be guns. I don’t know why that makes a difference, but it does. Because I feel like I can make changes about climate but not about guns? Who knows. Because one is nature and what we’ve done to it and one is human nature and that worries me more?

I do have an opening coming up on November 16 at the Rose Gallery at Francis Parker School…three pieces will be in that show, one never-before-seen (except here). The opening runs from 6-8 PM. It’s a really nice space…plus school kids are gonna see my work! OK, I had to do no nudity on this show, but it was worth it.

OK…to the day job, then the night job. Go back that Kickstarter. You know you wanna. And it’s totally worth it.

*Violent Femmes, Add It Up


My Back Is Broad but It’s a Hurting*

October 9, 2017

A little over 6 hours of quilting this weekend…I did more than that of grading and school stuff, unfortunately. It’s not as far as I wanted to be, but it will do. It has to do. It’s what I did.

My niece posted on Instagram yesterday about making Sunday an art day but it’s never enough, and I told her she had to do it every day. She’s young. I didn’t make art every day for a very long time…life gets in the way and then kids. But now it’s a mostly daily practice (unless I fall asleep or have some nighttime activity)…and I think that’s best for me. It helps me process stuff…calms me, helps me be less of the crazy I would be otherwise. My brain goes in circles sometimes, but art helps me reign it in.

This cat is strange. He likes running water.

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This puppy is pitiful.

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And this plug. The extra light I have for my sewing machine hasn’t been working since before the last quilt. I knew I had the old one, so I went and found it, but then tried to pull the plug out. Well I know now why it wasn’t working…that sucker was melted into the surge protector.

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Nothing else was, so it seems like it was the plug’s issue, not a bolt of lightning that I didn’t notice.

I went back to quilting after grading some in the morning. I wasn’t going to, but there’s a lot of late work piling up and I wanted it out of that folder. So I did it.

Then quilted…

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And quilted…still outlining…

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I don’t have a fancy setup…just a big table where I manhandle the big massive fabrickyness of all that. This one is big and…well…big.

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Here’s where I mostly got…the whole chalkboard is done and all of the female figure…

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Except her other arm…I started working on that, and then it was after midnight and a school night.

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Need to remember that shit.

More quilting tonight…maybe I’ll be doing binding next weekend instead of before that. We’ll see. I’m 6 hours in and I suspect there’s a bunch more in my future. Same with the grading.

*Rolling Stones, Beast of Burden

I’d ‘a Danced Like the Queen of the Eyesores*

October 8, 2017

I didn’t write yesterday because I fell asleep Friday night while grading and then got up Saturday and kept grading. No art. Just trying to catch up. Not doing a great job of it. I did finally get to quilting at some point last night…and into the morning. I’m planning on doing today slightly differently. For one thing, I can’t go to sleep at 1:30 AM on a school night.

I lie. I CAN. But I shouldn’t. In fact, for about a year, I did just that. It was bad.

Grading meant cats lying on my stuff. It was hot yesterday, close to 100 degrees. Southern California sucks at Fall weather.

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Then he moved to the notebook. Because I was obviously using it, so lying on it made sense. I picked up his head to put papers under it a few times…

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This one was polite and just laid upon the graded paper pile. Although then I had to extend the pile past her because she was already lying on it.

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I realized I hadn’t touched this in days, so I did 4 nights’ worth…basically finishing the iris of the eye and starting on the white part…

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I keep trying to use a more sketch-like way of stitching, but I’m inherently ordered in how I stitch I guess.

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Then I made it into the quilting space around 10:30 PM…on a day when I had nothing but errands to do. Well. And grading. I was trying to get to a certain point. I did not. I gave up. Interestingly, here’s when I do all my work…after 9 PM.

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Still debating this app. It might work. If I can remember what each icon is for. Plus at some point I’ll probably have to pay to have enough tasks…we’ll see. I don’t think this is one of the ones that charges monthly. I don’t need that level of tracking. And the last one I paid for disappeared with the new iOS…I’m still salty about that.

I’m still outlining stuff…I’ll be doing that for a while.

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That’s a fun heart. I want to do one like that again…much more decorative than in the old days. My hearts really have changed over the years.

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The eyes haven’t changed much…there’s only so many ways to make an eye. That’s not true. That might be a challenge. Huh. I need drawing time. Seriously need it.

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I did her torso and the head, except for half of the hair. I still need to do the other arm, but I’ll do the chalkboard first. I meant to buy thread for the chalkboard when I got the background thread, but I forgot. I’m hoping there’s something in my pitiful stash so I don’t have to go back to JoAnns this close to Halloween. Damn.

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I could have gone to bed at midnight…that’s about when I started quilting the head. But I didn’t. I kept going. I wasn’t tired.

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It’s kind of boggling how much time some of this takes.

My plan for today is to finish up the school stuff that I have to do and then start quilting. I’d like to get the outlining done today. I don’t know if I can, but that’s my goal. Then I can do background quilting all week and hopefully make time somewhere to go buy binding fabric and get it bound early next week. It’s taking too long. It’s not really…I was drawing in mid-August…and basically I’ve worked on it solidly, almost every day, since then. While working full time. But it’s taking up a lot of space in my head. Certainly last night while quilting the path that bullets would take through the head…you can only think about that shit so much before your brain gets tied up in knots.

In other news, the girlchild has been accepted to a school program in Madagascar…you know, where the outbreak of plague is. Yeah. Exciting stuff, but a bit scary for all of us. She’ll have an awesome experience…just getting there will take her two full days. But very cool opportunity…

OK. Work briefly and then quilt until I have to stop…

*The Shins, New Slang

I Wanna Shut the Door and Open Up My Mind*

October 6, 2017

So the only way I know the kids are alive is when they text me. That’s fine…but I can tell the girlchild is buried in schoolwork because all I see of her are her Likes on Instagram. And the boychild will respond to pictures of potential coyote poop and junk mail. I guess the girlchild liked the cute ferret video. I think. I guess all that is good…they responded when I asked about flying them home. It’s just been a real quiet week…

My students are doing a superhero project…some are worried about the drawing part. I don’t know why. Here’s what I drew for them.

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They’re obsessed with the perfect body superheroes. I’m like…why? Dorky kid superheroes!

I made apple crisp this week…because I knew I’d need it. Comfort food. Apple crisp for breakfast is perfectly acceptable. No it’s not. But it’s what’s for breakfast today.

I started quilting last night…late…I had my stitching meeting first. I didn’t get much done…head and tail tufts on the elephant, and then the start of turkey work (guided by Julie, I started making them much tighter) on these, which are apparently cattails. Or is it catails. No. That looks wrong.

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I didn’t even photograph the head and tail tufts. It’s gonna be a rough day. Brain appears to be offline.

Midnight was incredibly interested in the quilting.

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So interested that she left 5 minutes later. I didn’t quilt a lot…just the dirt. I was tired. It was late. Manhandling a quilt at 11 PM after a long day is not easy. Plus I had a tweaked spot in my right hand. Not sure from what…turkey work? Pulling the needle? The gym? It still hurts this morning, although not as much. Inside the hand…probably more stupid arthritis. I have arthritis in one of my feet. Sigh. Old age.

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My weekend is kind of laid out for me: about 5 errands, not desperate mostly. Lots of quilting. Lots of grading.

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Yup. Très exciting. This thing will not quilt fast, that’s for sure. I did already buy the thread for the background quilting. Honestly, it doesn’t sound like a bad weekend, except for all the grading. I expected to get more done in class this week with the kids working on an independent project, but they haven’t been very independent. That’s unfortunate. I will need to bust my butt a little bit this weekend instead.

But first I need to get through Friday at school. Ugh. I’m really not in the mood. More loud music needed.

*Linkin Park, Runaway


You Understand They’ve Got a Plan for Us*

October 5, 2017

I’m realizing this week that I’m not coming home and doing schoolwork. I’m not grading assignments. I’m not being a responsible teacher person. I’m behind and need to get caught up, but I’m not doing it. I will. But this project is driving me. I need it done and out of my head and at the photographer’s so I don’t have to think about it, see it, feel it any more. Plus I’m going a little bonkers because my co-conspirator in furry beast maintenance is not here this week and said furry beasts are being more than a bit demanding.

So yesterday I went to the gym. That was good. I read. I exercised. I zoned out in exercise brain. It’s a good thing.

And then I came home, peed the dogs (which currently requires a couple of leashes and a flashlight due to coyote incursions and massive spider webs), then started part of dinner, showered, came out and checked the timer on the food (16 minutes) and cleaned the entryway floor for later artistic shenanigans. It might be the only way that floor gets cleaned regularly, honestly, because it’s never high on my list. Finally food was ready and I ate and read some more. I do love to read.

Then I had no choice but to get in here and get this thing sandwiched. Huge as it is, this was gonna be a pain.

Iron backing. Trim selvages. Cut in half. Sew halves together. Iron some more. Trim excess off.

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Lay it upside down on the now-clean entryway floor (barely fits). Tape it down as flat as possible (replacement floor in here should be tile…but bigger tiles and less obvious grout).

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Try to figure out how much batting to cut by laying the top out on the chunk of batting I found over the weekend. Cut batting a bit larger than the top.

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See seriously sleeping dog.

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Lay batting out. Iron quilt top and lay it out on top. Try to get it straight. Wish I cut the backing a bit larger to make that easier. Duh.

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Stare at it for a bit. Realize it’s after 11 PM and you will need to finish pinning before you can go to bed. Accidentally spill all the pins onto the quilt. Not what you meant to do.

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Start pinbasting. Look at this view. Disturbing.

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That dog. Seriously.

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Then this one…he’s never seen me do this before. All the cats have an interesting relationship with my quilts. This one wouldn’t listen when I told him to get off.

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The cats never do listen.

This one has learned to stand at the edge and woof at me. Wait. That’s not a cat. And you saw the other dog. Totally ignores me.

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Pinbasted by midnight. Ready for quilting. Getting close to the end. Closer anyway. I don’t kid myself…quilting and binding this sucker is going to take a while. No shortcuts on that part.

I head for bed. Kitten. You need to move.

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I’m tired this morning. And none of the grading got done. Oh well. I worked for 3 hours last night on that quilt. Sometimes that amazes me. I worked all day in the classroom, went to a meeting after school, the gym for almost 2 hours, and then 3 hours of artmaking. I really wanted to sit and watch some light TV and draw with a glass of wine last night after all that kneeling and crawling around on the floor, but then I looked at the clock and it was almost midnight…so I went to bed anyway. Probably the smarter thing to do, but I still want that other time. Maybe tonight? Or not. That really is the part of the balance I haven’t been able to slot in. Teachers. Silly teachers. Always talking about balance and never achieving it. Sigh.

*Big Data, Dangerous

I Can’t Operate on This Failure*

October 4, 2017

I’m ready to be Australia. Well. Except for some of the crazy bugs and spiders. Y’all can keep those. But let’s hand in all the guns. I think the biggest obstacles are the politicians who are more worried about their jobs than their constituents. No automatic or semi-automatic weapons…can you really argue that we need those? You do realize people in Australia can still own a gun, right? There are just strict rules for how and what. I have no problems with strict rules. Can you argue that your right to protect yourself is more important than my approximately 3,300 students’ (over 15 years) right to live? Or the 58 people who died in Vegas? Or the 49 who died in Orlando? Or any young black man wearing a hoodie?

The plus is that I finished stitching down the anti-gun quilt. Let’s be clear…my quilt is Anti-GUN. Because we don’t need them. Not in the numbers we have them. Not for what they’re being used for. Not. I just (in less than 5 minutes) contacted my three federal representatives. Told them to stand up and create legislation and keep fighting for it until it passes. Start there. You can do that.

This is who stares at me on the way home…after I pick her up…

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She wants to know why I’m not petting her. And then why I’m not throwing the ball faster.

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Still working on the eyeball in the top right. It doesn’t look like much right now.

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Then I stitched. Well, I made dinner first. And finished my book…The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet. I liked it. And then I read some Goodreads reviews and felt bad for liking it. And then decided those people had no lives and I was allowed to like it. So there.

Stitching things down…

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Sometimes I really hate America for its aggressive patriotism. I’ve been told so many times to LEAVE because I don’t agree with the majority…and I explain that is why we are here…because our ancestors didn’t agree with the majority and needed to flee…so we took over someone else’s country in a particularly nasty and violent way (somehow it was our inalienable right? I don’t think so…). So I mostly write off anyone who tells me I’m not patriotic when I object…it’s the core part of our country. I’m allowed.

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Ah…this thought bubble. Why do people shoot other people up? Anger? Hate? Fear? Core emotions…that mature brains can learn to manage.

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In a society that appreciates that. Yesterday, in the assignment we’re doing in class, I had told each class “no weapons” for their element superhero. One class started to argue…and I turned and said, “Really? After Las Vegas, you’re going to argue that you need weapons? Solve the problem without them. That’s what I want to see.”

Seriously. America. Solve the problem without guns. Do it. You know you can. We have some of the best brains in the world. Use Them. If you’re a politician scared for your job, then GOOD. Do it anyway. It’s worth it.

I did finish the stitch down, just short of 6 hours.

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The face of gun violence here in America…tonight I’ll sandwich it and pinbaste it…maybe even start quilting. We’ll see. Meanwhile, I started reading a book about violence in Africa. Maybe I should look for something lighter after that.

*Tears for Fears, Pale Shelter

I Won’t Back Down*

October 3, 2017

I keep skimming the news, looking for logical reasons to shoot up hundreds of people at a music concert, but all I see is more evidence that this was planned. Then I try to understand the brain that would do that…and I can’t. I understand anger and sadness and frustration, but not when it turns into that.

The work day wasn’t that hard…it was processing the rest that was hard. So I came home and took the dogs out…

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Three miles (ish) as fast as we could go.

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The sun was trying to beat us back. There’s coyotes out there, so that shit makes me nervous with the little guy…but we made it.

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Good for them, good for me.

After making dinner, I had decided I wanted to do another eye, so I started it randomly on the right.

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I only do one strand a night…this is Sunday’s and Monday’s…

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I saved the blue for the iris, but maybe I’ll keep going with another color instead. I’ll have to see how I feel about it.

Then I had to force myself to get up and go in the office to sew.

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Yeah. Well. Understandable. I realized how long ago Sandy Hook was and it took me that long to be able to process it into a piece of art. Some of that is not wanting to make A work that commemorates ONE event…it’s more about the feelings and ideas behind the event. Certainly Sandy Hook wasn’t the first school shooting, but it was the hardest to process…someone coming in and shooting up little kids for no apparent reason. Having worked in middle and high schools, the reasons to be angry and feel harassed, bullied, oppressed, to the point of thinking a shooting is a good idea? I can imagine that. Unfortunately. But little kids…seems so much worse. It’s not really…it’s innocent people of all ages, isn’t it? And Sandy Hook obviously wasn’t the last.

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I hate that we’re becoming a country where it feels unsafe to do just about anything: go to work, get on a plane, go to a concert, go to school, go to a church, go to the store, the library, wherever. It shouldn’t be like that. There’s nothing about possessing a gun that would make me feel more safe. I have one and some “lone wolf” (really??? he was an older white male…most dangerous species out there, if you ask me) has 20 of them. Legally.

OK. Well. With all that weighing on me (and it IS weighing on me), I have a parent meeting this morning. I haven’t even gotten to Tom Petty…sad sad sad.

So many favorites of his…but this one is making me cry this morning.

*Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, I Won’t Back Down