Pinned Down…

July 28, 2016

Well. It wasn’t the most effective day in the world, but I eventually ripped some usefulness out of it. Proof that I can flail for hours and still look like I got shit done. So yeah. Lack of sleep kicked my ass. I tried napping, but barking dogs and daylight were not my friends. I couldn’t concentrate for many hours, probably due to heat. But when I look at my post-it note for yesterday, I crossed off three and a half things (out of seven), so I did OK. I think. I feel like I’ve been fighting this all summer. All I do is work and sweat and clean and make art and sometimes eat or do random stuff like Shakespeare or art exhibits (OK, those aren’t really random). I’d really like to go on a travel vacation, one that is somewhere cool I’ve never been. I see lots of friends doing these things and I think, well, I could plan a year out and save up for it…in fact there are three possibilities in the next 12 months…but then I get fucked over by a cat swallowing thread and needing surgery. Sometimes I feel pinned down by my own life. An insect struggling with pins in her wings.

The kids are leaving this morning for Arrowhead with their dad and grandpa, an annual tradition that leaves me alone for four days (well, I get the little dog and two cats, so not totally alone). I have a shitload of stuff to do, so keeping busy is not a problem. It’s just that my brain was already in a cranky place…so I’ll have to work that out (drawing?). I even have a fridge full of food, so I could notionally get away with not cooking mostly. Except eating the same stuff over and over gets boring.

If you see me in a wine bar with a sketchbook, feel free to come over. Just don’t ask to see what I’m drawing.

So sandwiching a quilt this big (63″w x 73″h) is a pain. I found four yards of a backing fabric (that’s probably another nod to Sandi Fastnow there…) and pieced it together…then earlier today, I bought batting (and thread…JoAnns still has it, but in smaller spools) and washed it. So I cleaned out the entryway (again) and the floor and kept the dogs off of it while making and eating dinner and then laid it all out and spent an hour lying on the floor pinning. Yeah. I know. Pain in the ass.

IMG_7654 small

I still like her. She hopefully has exhibits in her blood…at least one. I hope.

Simba was pretty good about leaving it alone (notice the ONE paw). He’s confused by my projects, but he behaves pretty well.

IMG_7656 small

Check out all those pins. I finished after 11 PM. I had the fan on me in there as well…way too hot for this. No wonder I had all those weird dreams last night…

IMG_7659 small

There were some fussy bits that wanted to puff up and be cranky…as always. But I think I tamed them.

I had another one to sandwich, but there was no way I was lying on the ground for another hour or so. I’m hoping to do that one today, before the floor gets really dirty again…but honestly? I don’t know where the backing fabric for that one is. It’s one of the Sue Spargo quilts, so it came with a background, and I think I have to piece it as well, but I don’t know what I did with it. Sigh. I am losing my brain.

See how hot it was? Kitten gave up lying on my keyboard and mouse and annoying the fuck out of me while I’m trying to copyedit, and went to lie in the sink.

IMG_7651 small

Way cooler in here mom. You should try it.

OK. Copyediting, then something, then stuff, and things, and then sandwich another, and then start quilting and/or drawing and stuff. Be effective. Efficient. You only have two weeks and a bit before you go back to school. Don’t THINK about that, because you’ll panic, but remember you need to be working better than yesterday. Keep an eye on the post-it.

Post-It Life Management

July 27, 2016

So it’s entirely my fault I don’t have enough sleep in me, because I wanted to be done with the stitch down, and it so encompassed me that I stayed up way too late. I figured no workers would be at the house above me because they poured concrete yesterday (not true…they are up there now, but not making lots of noise…strangely arguing about trapezoids)…but it was chainsaws at 7 AM below me. My fault for having stuff growing over my fence, although they left the volunteer tree that I can’t get at. Sigh. I’m having one of those days where I feel like I can’t do all the things that need doing, but I know part of that is the missing hours of sleep. I will try to work my way through it.

But I did finish the stitch down…so even though I’m like three days late on my mental schedule, I think I’m doing OK. Maybe. Aack. I’m panicking. Part of that is signing up for professional development for school, and realizing how close it is. LOOMING. It does it every year, just about scares the crap out of me. More this year, because I have no idea what I’m teaching.

So I’m making a list for today to help me get through stuff…signed up for a landscaping class for the front yard, mostly about drought-tolerant design and rainwater control…so the boychild can maybe start some of the moving of dirt etc. before he leaves for college. I’m not planting until October at the earliest…it’s just too hot right now. Lists help though. I can focus my brain to make a list and keep checking it all day. Keeps me on task.

So I stitched for 4 hours yesterday, all after 9 PM…first I went down in the garage and found another fan, which I turned on my face…the tower I have was purposely purchased to be lower than the ironing board, so pieces don’t fly when I’m ironing, but it means I sweat like crazy from the boobs up…so this helped immensely. It was a double-fan night…

IMG_7630 small

I finished both boobs, the outstretched arm, and the head. I thought about stopping before I got to the head, because it was 1 AM at that point, but I knew I had work today, and my goal is to sandwich this and the other quilt I have sometime today (I need to check batting too). Plus copyedit. So I knew if I left the stitch down until today, I wouldn’t sandwich until tomorrow. And that still might happen, but it’s more likely to be done today if I finished last night. Besides…I thought I might at least get to sleep until 8 AM…ha ha ha. (and now they’re pressure-washing above me. I give up.)

IMG_7641 small

Wherever I am, they are. This is Simba trying to make friends with Midnight, who made a disaster of my nice piles that haven’t been fully put away yet. Because I’m not sure what to do with them. Actually, I have an idea now…just now…because I need all the college files in here. I use them all the time. But I need to find the rolling file thing that’s in the garage.

IMG_7629 small

Midnight outweighs Simba by probably 4 or 5 pounds. He doesn’t care. Plus she has sharp pointy bits, but she doesn’t really use them on him.

Kitten does. She’s not as tolerant. This is how I know my office is haunted. Kitten stared up in the corner for like 45 minutes. I don’t know what she was looking at, but she was Looking At It. Up There.

IMG_7642 small

This is when I stopped.

IMG_7645 small

Then I did all those nighttime things you do…mostly shutting windows and peeing a dog. So 2 AM before I got into bed. That explains this headache.

She’s all stitched down…I’m sure I missed something. She needs a good ironing…

IMG_7646 small

There’s gonna be a shitload of detail quilting on this…plus a lot of background under that arm. When I get batting, I will need to get thread too, but I’ve heard JoAnns isn’t carrying it any more. It’s hard to buy thread online to match…I’m going to have to figure that shit out today or tomorrow.

I think I’m going to need a nap later. A serious nap. And it will be hot and sweaty. Ugh. But if I get some stuff accomplished today, it will hopefully remove some of this panic. My anxieties are managed by post-its and daily reflection…note to self: buy more post-its (I don’t really need to do that. I have plenty.).

I Swear

July 26, 2016

Life is getting in the way of art. It’s OK. I’m letting it. A high-school friend is down here for about 24 hours, so I’ve been hanging out with her…waiting for her to show up again right now…so I may not finish this in a timely fashion. Oh well. (Obviously I didn’t…because it’s afternoon now.) Besides, they’re pouring concrete at the house above me, so there’s motors and machines and lots of yelling. Somehow the yelling gets stuff done. AND the last chapter of the book I’m copyediting just showed up this morning…so there’s that. And the 17 errands I keep putting off…I’ll be working on those this afternoon. So busy while on vacation! Watching the leftover days of summer tick away. I’m going to have to do lesson prep next week, I think. Crap.

I did get some art time in, though, while waiting and in between stuff…I had enlarged this drawing Friday night after all the sewing machines broke, and then taped it together. Yesterday morning, I added space to all the sides to finish the drawing.

IMG_7624 small

I also penciled in some possibilities, but obviously haven’t had time to really decide what to do with it.

And last night after dinner, I did stitch down some more.

IMG_7625 small

It’s taking forever because I haven’t been home. I’ll get focused soon. Hopefully tomorrow will be very focused. Ha. OK. Maybe. Certainly if the concrete was poured today, they should have to stay away from it for a while, right? No more yelling.

Boychild was trimming upslope yesterday…because it was cooler. Today is Not Cooler.

IMG_7590 small

I appreciate all the shit he does.

So my friend and I went to the San Diego Museum of Art because of the Quilts and Color exhibit, but also saw some other stuff, like this Chinese brush painting…

IMG_7593 small

And some more normal paintings, but I’m less of a fan of the normal. And then lots of quilts…

IMG_7595 small

Lots of log cabins…

IMG_7603 small

Nothing I hadn’t seen before in style, but they are still interesting examples…

IMG_7606 small

This one was silks and the strips were tiny…

IMG_7607 small

Beautiful stuff…

IMG_7608 small

And the old utilitarian tied wool quilts…

IMG_7610 small

Are kinda fun.

IMG_7611 small

An entire room of devotional art…interesting stuff.

IMG_7620 small

And dinner out with the parents and kids. The dog has been in the pool about 700 times. Then she tromps around in the dirt and wants to come back in. Sigh.

IMG_7623 small

If I ever redo the rest of my floors, it’s gonna be easy to clean, but not WHITE tile. Like mottled tiles with dog footprints of all sizes already imprinted on them. So you’ll never know how dirty it is.

So I’m really tired, too much brain exhaustion, don’t feel like stitching or drawing at this very moment in time. Just drank two full glasses of water (dehydration kicks my ass this time of year). So I’m ready to float down a river asleep in a raft. Too bad none of that is available at the moment. I will be better tomorrow. I swear.

I’ll Figure It Out…

July 25, 2016

Some things that were going through my head in the last 36 hours…first of all, hallelujah that the hot weather has broken for now, because I was considering Naked Quilting, and there’s a few things that might be an issue…my kids for one thing, plus the fact that some parts of the body sweat too much and underwear can be a good thing to catch all that wet. Plus needles and scissors and nudity aren’t a good mix.

Second, the heat seems to have nixed the mockingbird. Yeah that bastard has been forcing me to sleep with a pillow over my head for months now, which is significantly difficult when it’s already hot. But apparently heat is not his superpower, and he has shut the fuck up. Hopefully permanently. No, I’m not wishing he were dead, because I’m not 12 years old (OK, let’s not analyze that thought in reference to a certain orange-faced, mop-wearing crazy man at the moment), but I would like him to let me sleep.

What else can I be grateful for this morning? More deadlines? Because I have more of them after yesterday’s fiber group meeting. It’s OK. I have 17 Excel spreadsheets currently in force to help me plan my art doings in the next year, and all of them say STOP trying to plan and just do.

Well, Saturday evening, I gave up on the do for a while (I did stitch stuff down for a good four hours Saturday, so I was no slacker…) and went out to see Arts and Amps at the Karl Strauss Tasting Room (it’s not really in PB…don’t panic). I was hoping for more Arts, but it was mostly Ale and Amps…although some of the beer sales went to help the Orlando victims…OK, not the wire work of fucking ducks…that’s Spenser Little, local wire guy, who I think I’m officially stalking, based on how often I go out to see his work.

IMG_7578 small

He gets around. The reason I knew about this event is a group called Cohort Collective that I follow, because I like a bunch of the artists’ work. And me and the guy were sort of fighting the idea that it was too hot to do anything and too hot to walk anywhere for dinner and we should do something interesting, so this is what we did. Yeah, there was a band. They were OK. The beer was good…but I mostly watched the painters work on this giant piece of canvas that had something else painted on it before they started (obviously), but we got there late, so we don’t know what it looked like before they started. So this was Dolan Stearns, whose style was kinda sloppy when you watched him, but had an interesting effect…

IMG_7579 small

And Christopher Konecki, who I’ve posted about before…we didn’t stick around for his part of the painting…not their fault. We were hungry and the food there wasn’t gonna work. But I was fascinated with how he painted…very different from the other two. Plus he wore gloves.

IMG_7581 small

And Nekoes, who did the beer growlers with faces…a very precise painter.

IMG_7582 small

Yes. I came to watch graffiti artists. Some day I want to try that. Or learn how to do it. I have this garage door. I swear I’ll paint it some day. In my spare time. Here was the commemorative glass…

IMG_7585 small

True, I think. Well. And a sketchbook and a good black pen. Yes. They carded us. We laughed hysterically.

My afternoon yesterday was spent at a fiber meeting, which is where all the new scary deadlines came from…they’re only scary because I’m already overwhelmed, but I’ll figure it out. I did some soul searching last night (OK, it was early this morning, and then I couldn’t sleep, but whatever. Don’t judge.) and I have some plans in place. They don’t involve sitting around and moping about how much I have to do, but I might need more cookies to implement them. Seriously.

I forgot the jalapeno when I did the kamikaze shopping yesterday morning, knowing the girlchild would be cooking but wouldn’t be helping with the shopping. I always forget something, which you’d think would persuade her that she needs to come with me more often, but no.

IMG_7587 small

Then we came home after dinner and I eventually started sewing. Kitten saw a lizard tail briefly and then spent the next 45 minutes sitting there and watching for more. Kitten TV is very slow and boring.

IMG_7588 small

And I stitched more down. I have one arm mostly done, plus all of the torso below the boobs and the whole Earth thing. I have a little over 5 hours in, and today is a bit compromised because a friend is in town. It’s OK…I won’t be getting as much done as I wanted to by now, but it’s not the end of the world yet. And friend time is good time.

IMG_7589 small

I’ll figure it out. I have two other plans in motion right now, although some of it is just in my head (a perfectly reasonable place for it to be, if you ask me)…as I’m sitting here listening to RAIN. That ain’t gonna last. But it’s way better than the alternative.

We’ll See How It Goes…

July 23, 2016

So I almost quit quilting yesterday. Like completely. Like the day got so frustrating (and I’m thinking 105-degree temperatures weren’t helping) that I couldn’t see being a quilter any more. Which is funny, because I got the whole quilt ironed down and I think it looks pretty good…so that’s just lame. But I was so frustrated with machines. And electricity. And motors.

So my machine was acting up a couple of weeks ago, and I just took it in this week to be cleaned (late…I usually do it once a year, and I was about four months late). I told him about the issue, and he determined the drive belt was loose and tightened it, no problem. I picked it up Wednesday.

So I finished ironing the hair yesterday morning…

IMG_7558 small

And then I had to piece the background…so I set everything up, ironed the fabric, and sat down to sew…and I got about 10 inches down the seam, and the needle froze and vibrated again, just like last time. Fucker. Dammit. I stared at it for a while (brain works slow in heat). Restarted everything, and it sewed the rest of the seam. Damn. What am I going to do? I know I want to sew for hours over the weekend, but I’m not going to be able to if it keeps doing that. I don’t want to wait until Monday for him to try to fix it, so I call. How fast can you be there? Fifteen minutes.

Well of course we can’t reproduce it…probably because he has air conditioning and I don’t. But he says he’ll work on it later, after the AC goes off, and see if he can get it to do it again. He does notice the fly wheel getting tighter, which is the other thing I told him.

So he keeps it. OK. I got this. Think about where you put the old machine. I checked one closet. Not there. Garage? Yeah probably. Takes about 10 minutes, but I find it. Bring it back up, plug it in, light works. Well that’s good. Then I spend 30 frustrating minutes trying to find and then put on the foot I use for quilting. It’s funny, because it really is only the last two minutes that count. I must have been doing it wrong the rest of the time. But just as I’m finishing up screwing the foot in, I hear crackling noises and smell burning plastic. Oh crap. I pull the plugs, but there’s already smoke coming out of the back of the machine. Killed it.

I did manage to iron the whole quilt together before I burned out the 6460.

IMG_7563 small

Bloody hell. Machine circa 1977, used to be my workhorse of choice until about three or four years ago. I think only the girlchild has used it in those years. Burned it out. Don’t even know how or why. So I sit there, smelling plastic fumes for about 10 minutes.

Call mom. Mom has machines. So she offers me a Pfaff, but has no free-motion foot. Maybe the Viking foot will work? Nope. Call Jimmy, and he says nope (Jimmy’s the sewing machine guy). Mom says she’s bringing over her Epic. Well that’s what the girlchild and Simba have to say about that…

IMG_7565 small

So this thing is a beast. But it has a lovely large harp (the space between the needle and the right side of the machine. Now I’m sure this is a lovely machine. She shows me how to thread it etc, but it’s got a computer glitch at the moment.

IMG_7567 small

It’s convinced that I have a straight-stitch plate in there, so it won’t let me zigzag. I need to zigzag. I really need to zigzag. It won’t let me zigzag unless I take the plate out and mess with the computer-y bits until it gets tricked into thinking that I switched the plate (I didn’t) so it can try to sew zigzag. But then if anything goes wrong (thread issue, whatever), it resets into straight-stitch-plate mode and I have to go through the whole remove-the-plate, fuck-with-the-computer-y-bits thing again until it wants to let me sew.

I do that seven times. And then I leave the room. I turn the lights out so I’m not wasting electricity, and I go sit in front of the fan on the couch and consider becoming a painter. Or a sculptor. Bronze I’m thinking. Or anything that doesn’t require electricity or a motor or thread or any of that shit.

Yeah. It was a frustrating day. So I pull the sketchbook out. If I can’t sew until I get my machine back, then I can draw the next quilt and get started on Wonder Under for it, right? Oh my. Sketchbook is evil and steals my brain (at this point, it’s after 8 PM and still over 90 degrees, and my brain is fried). I realize I already did this drawing and it’s pretty reasonable. It needs stuff and it’s small, but if I enlarge it, I think I can make it work.

I go to Fed Ex at 8:57 PM. Boychild is a little surprised, but hey, this is how I roll. Fed Ex is delightfully air-conditioned. I should admit that I had problems with the damn copy machine too…it wouldn’t fucking GO a few times until I banged on the Start button about 7 times. Maybe I should stay away from technology completely.

I copy the original at 300% (it was pretty small to start)…but when I get home, I can’t handle anything until I have some tea (I realize in the heat that I wasn’t drinking caffeine, and that would explain the headache) and a big glass of water. Then my brain wanders back and admits it can tape stuff together. So I do that.

IMG_7568 small

I also email a friend of mine who has the same machine I do. My original. She also has a 6460, but I don’t want to kill another one of those. She’s not sewing much, and I pick it up from her this morning. So. (Kathy looks up at the Goddess…yo! Hey! Can I have a high 5 or something? I troubleshot. I improvised. I used all my resources. I did not give up and move into a convent. Can the rest be trouble-free please? Seriously?)

We’ll see how it goes. I have hope.

Close to Done But Not Really

July 22, 2016

Well. It’s official. I thought about school. I ordered the folders my kids use for science notebooks during the year. I keep thinking I’ll be able to get away from paper, but we notice that kids still need to put pencil on paper in order to learn. Technology is incredibly useful, but it’s not the only thing they need. Just the process of copying something by hand from one place to another is much more of a learning process than cutting and pasting…a practice we fight all year round.

But now I can ignore school for another week…seriously, that’s it. Fuck. OK. It’s all right. No worries. I can do this.

I really wanted to be done with ironing yesterday, and surely, if it hadn’t been near on 100 degrees, maybe I could have pulled that off, but I needed a long session in front of the fan to cool off. Yes, there’s a fan in the studio, but it has to be lower than the ironing board, so it doesn’t blow pieces everywhere (I did briefly consider a ceiling fan in here, until I thought about pieces flying about in a tornado-like motion), and for some reason, that’s not good enough. Plus with the light on (I always say I’m going to replace the light, but it’s money and it still works and the bit of Grandma that’s still in me is saving tin foil and rubberbands, and won’t replace a light fixture until the old one dies), it’s really warm in here. Ugh.

That said, I ironed for almost 6 1/2 hours yesterday. This thing is a time-sucking beast. I’m at almost 29 hours…only one other quilt took longer than this to iron together, and this one is gonna beat it. It’s the tiny, fussy details I think. Or I’m just slow this summer. Who knows.

So I ironed a bunch of flowers and a bat and a snake’s tail.

IMG_7541 small

An elbow with some leaves (which I had to pull up to insert a vein later…

IMG_7545 small

Meanwhile, there was no possibility of typing with a cat tail on the keyboard…

IMG_7546 small

The cat is hot. Because it’s hot here. And I can’t even imagine having fur in this heat.

So I had the whole thing on there as I was ironing the arm, but it was just getting too big and hard to manage, so I pulled all of that off the teflon sheets and rolled it up. But you can get an idea of how big it’s gonna be. (Huge. It’s huge.)

IMG_7548 small

And this goes on the end of that arm.

IMG_7549 small

Finally to the head. The face.

IMG_7552 small

I haven’t lost a lot of pieces this time around, but this big one was missing, so I traced a new one on Wonder Under and pulled the fabric for it, unfolded it…and found the untrimmed piece shoved in there. What the heck? Crazy.

IMG_7553 small

So I got half the hair (and a giant fireball of a sun) done…it was almost 1 AM at that point and I was tired.

IMG_7554 small

So even though there were maybe only 50 pieces left, I quit. Because they weren’t 50 easy pieces. And I couldn’t stand up any more. So today, I’ll finish ironing together and then iron it onto the background…and then start stitching down! This is exciting…although probably 4 days later than I wanted to be. Oh well…it is what it is.

I did go to my stitching meeting yesterday, which is probably another reason I didn’t finish ironing…because it’s not portable at this stage…at all. So I worked on the second-to-last bird…and finished it.

IMG_7540 small

Only one to go. Then I can piece them all together and put the borders on and then spend the next year sewing things on the borders (I’m laughing about that). So yeah. Close to done, but not really. Much like many things here in my house. The thing is, I find that if I set smaller goals as part of a larger project, I’m less likely to flail and panic.

Anyway, I’m hoping to be sandwiching the new quilt on Sunday…which means I probably need to look at the batting stash. This sucker is gonna be huge. Plus I want to sandwich the other wool quilt I finished at the same time, so I only have to be kneeling on the tile for one day. Although at the moment, the tile might be the coolest place in the house. Ugh. Heat. If you come here and find me lying on the tile with the dogs, just spray me with water. I’ll pop back up.

And I really need to draw the next one. And do the nightstand. And do the baby owl! Ack.

Guess I’m Done…

July 21, 2016

Well it’s warm this morning. Shocking that summer would bring escalating temperatures. Yesterday I finished the chapter I was copyediting, went to the gym, came back and flailed for a bit, and then went to see Macbeth with the kids and the ex (one of those weird family traditions). So I got almost no ironing done. Which sucks. And I want to get it done today, but am not here in the afternoon…and this part of the project isn’t particularly portable. So. Yeah. Ugh.

The play was nice though…even though I prefer the comedies over the tragedies. Balboa Park was nicely lit, and full of Pokemon Go players…huddles and packs of young people following their phones around. Very amusing.

IMG_7531 small

Girlchild is photobombing the Organ Pavilion…although you can’t really see her…

IMG_7534 small

So I guess it was a break from the standard stuff I do. I came back and ironed, all after 11 PM, and I was already tired…so really, I just did a lung and a heart…

IMG_7536 small

I’m starting the 1500s this morning…have to shower first and think about what I’m taking to my sewing meeting, but otherwise, I can iron. And tonight is free for ironing. Although it’s hot. Did I mention hot? Hot and ironing are not a good combination…but I still want it done. I picked up my sewing machine yesterday, all fixed and clean. It was a drive belt issue…he tightened it right up as part of the yearly service, so no extra charge. I was sorta terrified it would be some huge expensive thang. So that’s good. And she’s ready to sew…I probably am too.

Not that I don’t like this part of the quilt process…it’s cool seeing all the bits and pieces come together into one big picture. But I’ve been ironing this thing for hours. It’s time to quilt for hours. I guess I have to stitch down first, but that will be a day or two…not a week, like the quilting. I have a break before I get the next chapter. Need to use it wisely.

Simba is the fluff eater. If there’s fluff on the floor, he eats it. Kinda gross…but since some of it is his fur? I dunno.

Girlchild was trying to Snapchat with him yesterday, but he’s not always ready for a photo opportunity…so she got this…

IMG_7523 small

Best photo ever of the two of them…

Workers next door doing a lot of yelling back and forth. No music though…I guess they just turn it on when I turn MINE on, which I do to drown THEM out. Meanwhile, I consider what trees I can plant to block more of my view of that house. Sigh. Previous owners were much quieter.

OK, Kitten is on the keyboard and the mousepad, and just put her head on the mouse. Guess I’m done.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 516 other followers