It’s Light.

Pro: It was light when I got to get up. I woke up earlier. My brain was confused. So were the dogs. Plus the man gets up earlier than I do and that wakes me up. Con: I’m still tired. I sorta forgot about Daylight Savings and the time change because my phone did it for me. The clocks in here are still wrong. Whoops.

Saturday I talked to a solar guy…he’s the first one who didn’t say I needed to cut my trees down. He designed a system with the trees. A miracle. This might actually happen. I mean, I’ve grown this one from a tiny plant. It’s a volunteer. I love trees.

Yeah. I know. Trees can cause problems. So can people and I don’t cut them down. Well. Much.

There’s been a lot of dog sleeping going on here…

Lots of dogs too…

And lots of grading. It gets frustrating at times. Sometimes I feel like I’m just recording that they did stuff and I’m not even sure what they’re getting out of it…

Please don’t ask me what she meant by this. I really don’t know. Hopefully texture.

I don’t have any choice with quizzes and tests and projects. I have to grade them. This one amused me.

Physical change vs chemical reaction on scrambling eggs. Yeah. Sigh.

So my co-teacher and I keep searching for the solution to grades. I’m not a fan, but the kids don’t work without something to motivate them, although grades is not always a good motivator. I’m not willing to run a candy-based classroom.

Ah yes. More dogs…not my house, because that fluffy over-shedding one in the middle is not allowed on my couch.

That’s why she looks so guilty.

Meanwhile, Kitten has actually been playing.

She carried that purple mouse into the living room. Brought it right to me.

Good kitty. 6 hours of grading later. Ugh.

I did do art stuff…I went to another opening. This is in Hillcrest…

I think it’s time for another bathtub quilt. Not that my schedule fits that. Wait. A minute. Hmmm. I gots an idea.

I traced Wonder Under finally on Saturday night…see Kitten on her new perch? No fear.

Tracing is meditative. Not enough, because I’ve been grinding my teeth for a few weeks. But better than nothing. Working on that…took a pilates class for the first time yesterday. Gonna try three months. See how it goes.

Core strength would help. Plus my neck and back need it. Strangely, the only thing sore last night was my left foot. It’s better this morning.

I added a space cat to the quilt. I had a conversation with an artist’s spouse on Friday night about the cat in one of my quilts. And I realized this quilt didn’t have one. So I added one.

I guess I’m up to 872 pieces now. I traced again last night…I’m at piece 288. Not bad. I’m looking forward to some down time over Thanksgiving week to get a chunk of this done.

So far, my Thanksgiving plans include cooking my own turkey for December turkey sandwiches, getting my Real ID, going to pilates twice, going on at least one hike, and IDK what else. I guess I’ll figure that out.

Today is prep for a lab and a 2-hour staff meeting. Ugh. Well. OK. First I need to figure out what to do with all these dogs. Doing that now.

Bathtubs and eMusic

To continue the Nida Powers exposé…so the bathtub quilts came from a place of calm, of rest and relaxation…I had seen some bathtub paintings that just showed water and feet (George Bush and then Frida Kahlo…strange order, yes, but that’s the way the brain works sometimes), and I remember the bath (pre-children) as being a quiet, warm, relaxing place where I could read a book or half-sleep-doze-off, with a cup of tea or a glass of wine, a cat often precariously perched on the edge, sometimes a dog asleep on the rug. It was a good place to process some of the brain stuff I’m often plagued with. So I’ve done 5 bathtub drawings in the last few years, all from kind of above and south, if that makes sense. Not all 5 are quilts. Number 3 never will be, because Number 4 is the better iteration of it. Number 1 might be, but someone is missing a head.

In Nida Powers, you can see Numbers 2, 4, and 5 (they all have real names)…and in true Nida fashion, they get more complicated as the numbers get higher…

They are all about the same size, being fully drawn on one page in the sketchbook and enlarged the same (must be 300% I think).

This is Bathtub 2, aka In Deep. It’s about those things that float to the top while you’re half-sleeping in the bath, relaxed. More about the animals…that’s Kitten in the back, I think. And then Ivy, who died a few years back of cancer. Gingko tree, pile of clothes, cup of tea, tennis shoes. Pretty simple.

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Then I did Bathtub 5, Finding Peace. There’s some menopausal stuff in there with the uterus (I still have mine…we just don’t get along). More clothes, a journal, Kitten again, this time it’s wine and meds and an iPhone, a pile of books and embroidery. The owl carries DNA, genetics. The other bird sings of love lost or found…when there’s wings, you just don’t know.

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Then this year, I finished Bathtub 4, Some Like It Hot…definitely another menopause quilt. Flipflops, a book, letters, cheesecake! Calli, clothes, phone, and meds. Kitten again. A glass of wine, floating uterus, graying hair this time, that lost heart, no wings this time.

Art Quilts and Fiber Arts

I don’t know if I’m done with these. It’s a series of sorts…I enjoy the bathtub as a construct, a space in which to draw.

Last night, I was at this electronic music thing, and I was warned that the bathroom had no lock on it, but there was a bathtub in there, in case I wanted to take a bath during a music performance. With no lock. So I drew this…

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And this before that.

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But before I ever got there, I was ironing. I made it into the 600s…still not even fucking halfway. For sheesh.

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Still not a lot of color, but a lot of fabrics on this one. There’s never just the right shade of gray apparently. Or green.

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More in the pile to be cut…these are traveling with me today to the California Fibers meeting. I might as well get ahead on that section of the quiltmaking.

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So another almost 3 hours in yesterday. Hoping for the same today. But it will be late I think.

This is why I really went to the electronic music thing…

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To support my guy. He comes to most of my shows. I go to most of his. It works.

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Ahhh, fairy lights.

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Sitting on an old wooden bench in the middle of dirt and weeds, listening to music and drawing. Not bad. My life is full of weird moments like these, but I enjoy that. People, experiences, observing the birds overhead, the strange corn paintings on that wall, the bang bang of the party next door. I try to make time for plenty of these moments. It’s hard when work and house stuff poke their heads in and mess shit up, but that’s always the case.

Oh shit. I think there was a Bathtub 6 as well. It was creepy. I don’t know that I ever want to make it into a quilt.

‘Neath the Black, the Sky Looks Dead*

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


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

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

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

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

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

Here was my lap partner.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And it only has 695 pieces.

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

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

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

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

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

*Soundgarden, Black Hole Sun


Hermit Quilting Mode

I quilted a lot yesterday…not as much as I could have, because I graded papers and stuff, but mostly I sat down and I quilted…

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I did all the outlining yesterday. I finished off the partial spool of thread and started the full one. Hard to say at the moment if I will need another one. I haven’t made it to JoAnns yet. I went into hermit mode. I do that a lot when I’m quilting. I refuse to leave the house.

That said, what I really need, if I’m going to stay on schedule, is to finish all the quilting in the background as soon as possible, so I can figure out if (1) I’m going to run out of thread and need to buy more and (2) I can buy the binding and get it on before tomorrow’s thing where I will have plenty of time to hand stitch the binding, unlike Monday, where I have to go to work and pretend to be a teacher. Well. It’s professional development, so I have to pretend to be professionally developed.

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The thread hasn’t been breaking, which is nice. I put a new needle in and that seemed to solve the early problems I was having. So yeah. Change your needles. Yes, that means you have to buy more. I should look at my stash and see how I’m doing with that. Note to self.

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At one point, I sewed the edge of the backing into the quilt, but it was easy to release. No biggie. Pay better attention now so you don’t do it again. The background quilting is really just all the stuff at the edges, around the bathtub, so it shouldn’t take long. Put music on and start! Except I’m hungry. The boychild made some heavenly smelling breakfast. Something about cumin and paprika. And salsa. He’s 20 today. Yikes! I have a 20-year-old now. And he cooks with spices! Bonus.

So I guess I need to cook some food now to appease the stomach. And then quilt. And then buy binding and maybe thread. And sew some more. And maybe grade some more. I did some yesterday and it didn’t totally kill me. Mostly. I didn’t copy the drawing because the copy place was closed. So I guess that’s on my list too. As well as make something for tomorrow’s thing. Food. Yeah.

Here’s my view at the moment. A winter pool with lots of trees and blue sky (hard to see that in very bright picture)…

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Trees on all sides (need to clean those windows). I love trees. Surrounded by them. Yes, they can fall down and they drop leaves (I don’t really care about that like some people do)…

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But I’d rather look at trees than houses. I’m expecting a new neighbor up there any week now. It’s been almost a month since it sold. I hope they’re not annoying. Then again, perhaps I am annoying…sewing in the middle of the night with music blasting. It’s probably not too bad now, because it’s cold and the windows are closed…but I do this in summer too.

Food. Then quilting. Worry about other shit later.

It’s OK. I Have a Plan…

Hello 2016. It’s nice to see you. You are bright blue skies and slightly warmer weather. You are currently quiet and peaceful (except for that crazy kitten racing down the hallways chirping at me) and I think you will be a good year. My biggest challenge for the year…at least right now…is money. And balance. It’s always balance though. The art brain wants more time. It always does.

With that, here are the 25 quilts of 2015…


Oh yeah baby. Nice job. Five major pieces, one freakishly long lady, three smaller works, and a host of small pieces for sale…still working on that part. One commission as well. And one ready to be finished hopefully in the next 4 or 5 days. You gotta love starting off the new year with a finish.

I already have plans for the new year of quilts…I have one I started drawing last night (more on that later) that has to be finished next. Then I have a plan for the next one, a la Earth Mother. And I’m hoping for a big one over the summer, like always. I don’t know if I’ll keep doing the smaller ones for sale. I’m going to toss them on Etsy and see how they do. I don’t want to waste time on them if they won’t bring in some extra money. But I’ll consider doing some smaller ones that are more Kathy style and see how those do. I have a lot of drawings I copied last year that I want to try…so this is the year, I guess.

Next week, I’ll be picking the work that will go in the Grossmont show…ironically, most of what’s in that collage up there can’t go to that show because it’s already promised out or traveling. But I have plenty.

So back to the drawing. I didn’t draw much in 2015. There were reasons for that, but I’m hoping to get past those this year. I’ve been working on it. So a week or so ago, I started this one based on those muses I posted earlier in December.

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I’m redoing this. I don’t like the proportions on the middle female. And yeah, I’ll have to enlarge and then add legs once I’ve enlarged. But it’s a start.

But I know I have another deadline coming up and I wanted to work on that one last night. On New Year’s Eve, I like to ring it in with artmaking in mind…so I’ll either be quilting or picking fabric or drawing or something. I was watching science fiction (Ex Machina and then The Zero Theorem), but I had this idea with Kali, the Hindu goddess with all the extra limbs. I had read up on her, but didn’t want to just draw another Kali…and I’ve done multi-limbed women before.

This is another one that will need enlarging so I can add all the stuff that goes beyond the arms…remembering that the max width is 40″ (ha!).

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No problemo. I can do that. It’s more detail than I wanted, and there’s another set of arms…or two more sets. I haven’t decided. In fact, I might just go copy it today like this so I can draw the rest at full size. Maybe. Enlarge 200%? That’s 28″ wide right there. Gives me about 10″ to play with. That’s plenty! (The part of my brain that draws is excited. The part that makes the quilts happen is a little nervous.) So a trip to the copy place today. And the grocery store for the boychild’s cake ingredients. Plus some grading. And a ton of quilting…because I didn’t do much yesterday…

I started…

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I’m most of the way around the outside edge, but I really should have done the bird while I was there and I forgot. Whoops. And there’s a shitload more quilting to do.

It’s OK. I have a plan. Sort of. Balance? Yeah. Working on it.

Got My Music Back

One of the things that came out of the depression I went into July 2013 was that I had a really hard time listening to music. For a good year, huge swaths of my musical library caused me to weep interminably, which really sucked, because I love music. Always have. All types. I’m a total music slut, although the majority of rap, hip hop, and country are outside my music love arena. So usually when I trace Wonder Under, pick fabrics, and cut stuff out, I watch TV…mostly Netflix but increasingly Amazon Prime Video as well, and some stuff on the Tivo, when I’m in the other room. I watch that when I’m ironing the whole thing together too. But when I’m quilting or stitching stuff down, I always used to listen to music…in the early days, to my iTunes, but now mostly Pandora, which is just one HUGE channel of Kathy’s music and everything she likes. I love my Pandora. At the gym, when I’m hiking by myself, when I’m quilting, whatever.

And I couldn’t listen. Because the 80s were reminiscent and the 90s too and then the 00s and fuck me, there was very little that I could listen to. And trying to quilt a million miles an hour while crying was just a recipe for disaster. I did it a lot though. And then I switched to putting on bad TV, or TV I didn’t care too much about, while I was sewing, because it was dialogue and it was easier to take than music. It didn’t trigger anything. I guess music ties into some very deep emotional places in my brain. TV just distracts it. And I needed the distraction. But TV isn’t ideal for quilting and sewing things down, because you’re meant to watch it, and I can’t watch two things WELL at the same time (notice how I didn’t say I couldn’t watch two things at the same time…I am a middle-school teacher. I regularly watch 36+ things at the same time.).

You know what I’m doing right now? Listening to music AND sewing. Ha! Fuck you brain. Finally beat it. How many months. Fuck. Don’t even count. Just say thank you. Now REM’s Everybody Hurts will still kick my ass, my perimenopausal brain’s ass, and make me sob like a motherfucker, but that’s fucking NORMAL. I’m OK with that. I can listen to all the other stuff and sing along and get up and dance sometimes, because that’s what music is supposed to do to you, thank you very much, and if I cry occasionally because it’s a really sad song…there’s another Amanda Palmer one that kicks my ass…The Bed Song.

But see, that shit’s normal. It’s OK to have a song or two that rips your heart out. It’s not OK when it’s 90% of what you’re listening to.

I got my music back bitches. 2015. It’s all good from here on out. Seriously. I feel really good about that.

So yesterday I had a plan to go to the gym and then come back and do quilty things, but I have to be honest. The quilty things were screaming at me, so I ended up just doing that all day, and ignoring everything else. Yup. Again. Because sometimes that’s how I roll. This morning, I still have the same plan, but I’m actually going to go to the gym. Really. I am. First I have to pay out a shitload of money to the kids’ colleges, but then I can go relax by beating myself up on a bunch of machines. I’m OK with that. It feels good.

So what did I get done yesterday? A lot. First I ironed the whole thing down onto the background…I had a couple of dark blues lying around that I bought a while ago for this quilt or for something else. I like dark blue for backgrounds, so it’s never a waste. I liked this one, a batik…

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When I started ironing, I put the bathtub with the figure in it on first, but then remembered not to iron the edges down because there was stuff that had to go under. Well, I mostly remembered. I didn’t iron heavy at this stage, but this is the new plasticky Wonder Under…it came up, but it wasn’t happy about it.

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It didn’t take long to get it all ironed down. And I don’t know what I was looking at yesterday, but my times were completely off. It took 10 hours and 54 minutes to iron the whole thing together and down onto a backing. Not bad.

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I always keep the trash from trimming the fabric until I finish ironing, in case a piece is in there. But then I often forget to look in there for any missing pieces. There were a few. They were small. I recut them. No biggie.

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Then I started stitching down. Because I was committed at that point. I was fairly sure I could finish the stitch down yesterday…

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Midnight really wanted to sit on this. In fact, once I turned around because the boychild was helping me figure out why the damn computer backup wasn’t working, and there she was, plopped right in the middle of it. Damn cat.

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More stitch down. I went fast. I sew like I’m driving a sportscar. I started sewing before I learned to drive. You might say one prepared me for the other.

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When we left for dinner, I wrapped it up around the machine like this so the cats couldn’t sit on it.

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The back is sometimes even more interesting than the front. I look at the back to try to find all the places I missed…I missed quite a few this time, but I fixed them all. So hopefully that was it. I hate fixing them later, because I have to change thread. Annoying. Changing bobbins and changing thread. That reminds me…I need to go thread shopping today. I don’t think I have enough and I don’t want to run out on a holiday. Except maybe JoAnns is open tomorrow. Interesting. They close early tonight but are open tomorrow. OK. Keeping that in mind. I have a spool and a partial of the color I want.

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So that was after dinner, but it was still early (by my clock). So. Hell. I’m all in. I have to clean the floor before I can lay a quilt out (too many muddy feet tromping through there), so I do that. Then I go hunting for a backing…end up using the rest of what I used on the front. I have other stuff I’d rather use, but batiks tend to be wider from selvage to selvage, and I didn’t want to piece it…this size fits perfectly on a batik that’s about 44″ wide…the image is about 34″ wide. I love not piecing (so stop making monstrously huge quilts, woman). Laid it out on the floor, yelled at one cat who tried to use it as a slip-n-slide…

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And pinbasted her.

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It took less than an hour to do that. And the stitch down was only 3 1/2 hours. Speedy. I’m guessing the quilting will be 11-12 hours though. I’m hoping to start today, maybe get in 3 or 4 hours (which means I need to get my butt in gear and get outta here). Yes, I have plans tonight. Sheesh. They’re really complicated, involving food and champagne and movies on a TV probably. And my sketchbook. Because if you can’t quilt your way into the new year, you should draw your way into it, right?

Anyway. It’s in progress. My goal is to have it done, binding on (dammit, I don’t have binding, do I?) by Sunday, so I can sew the binding down at my meeting that afternoon. We’ll see. That’s a lot. The boychild’s birthday is in the middle of that too. Sigh. And I wanted to hike. Balance! Sheesh.

But music. That’s a good thing.

Making Things Flat

Ironing is such a strange activity. Making things flat. No wrinkles. Folding only where you want it. I don’t iron my clothes hardly ever. My iron rarely sees fabric that isn’t in a quilt. And yet, I will iron quilt fabric to fold it up and shove it in a storage container (it folds better when ironed). I don’t iron all of it…just when it comes out of the dryer completely in knots or folded. I love ironing fabric I’ve recently dyed…you can see all the tiny changes in color that happened in the dye process. It’s very relaxing. Put some movie on and spend an hour or so ironing fabric. Ask me to iron your shirt? Yeah. Not happening. I might iron one of my shirts or a pair of my pants if they were awful, and when the boychild was doing college interviews, I ironed his stuff. But the girlchild did her own. Yeah. That was sexist. But she knows how and he does too…he was just being a stubborn widget.

Kids. Sheesh. I am handing them their expiring passports and letting them deal. If they’re smart, they’ll do it here while they have access to a car. It’ll be interesting to see how much mess gets left behind when the girlchild leaves. The boy is neater.

I iron mostly to stick pieces of fabric together to make a picture. Not to make things flat. Which is even weirder. Yes. It is.

So I ironed until the wee hours last night. Actually, it was before midnight. I actually BRIEFLY considered ironing the whole thing onto a background last night, but then it really would have been the wee hours, and I decided that wasn’t a good plan. But I got everything ironed together so far…a whopping 11 1/2 hours. Why? Well the damn wine glass alone was a bitch and a half to iron. Who thought reflections on glass and wine were a good idea? Yeah. The designer Kathy, who never thinks through the production part of the design process. She’s a pain in the ass sometimes.

I had finished the legs and one arm the night before, so I started on the torso…

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Which has lots of overlapping crap on it, making it a minor pain in the ass. Lungs under and blood vessels over. So sometimes I just start putting stuff together and push vessels out of the way.

I ironed the whole wine glass with fingers on a separate section and then put it on top…because it has like 40 pieces in it.

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It actually will turn out great I think in the long run, once the outlining is in there, but it was a pain in the butt…mostly because I ironed one piece in the wrong place and then had to cut a new piece for another section. Who knows what happened to that piece, but I did find the missing purple sock piece (314) hiding in the 700 bin. I had already cut a new one though.

Then it was time for the face…

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I love seeing the face put together, because it’s the character of the piece, and I never really know what it will look like until it’s ironed…

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This quilt is all about perimenopause and getting older. I hate this brain…it forgets shit randomly, acts like a teenager in the worst ways, cries at the drop of a hat, sometimes for no apparent reason. It is frustrating to deal with how the hormones fuck with your brain and emotions…knowing you don’t have enough control over all of it. I should have put more white or gray in her hair, more like my own, but I’ve noticed most of my friends and family that are my age dye their hair. I don’t care about the white…it’s interesting to me. Maybe Bathtub 6 will own the age part more…this was more about the brain. The brain part just sucks.

Here she is hanging off the ironing board. She’s not huge…the final quilt will probably be about 40″ w x 50″ h or so.

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So this morning, I’m going to iron her onto the background and then start stitching down. I think I was supposed to start that Monday, but I didn’t think the ironing would take that long. I guessed 10 hours, and I suspect after it’s all on the background, it will be closer to 13. I’m guessing 5 to stitch it down…we’ll see. I could get that done today if I don’t do anything else (ha!). We’ll see. Sandwich tomorrow? I think I have a big enough piece of batting…and surely I can find a backing in this disaster of a studio.

Kitten says I can…

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Cold weather…cats find the humans and stalk us.

In other news, a friend recently published this book…


Which was reviewed well by Donna Freedman (former MSN Money writer, current freelancer in Anchorage, place of my birth). It is the time of year for thinking about weight loss, right? In my house, there are still Christmas cookies. Makes it hard! Check it out…anything helps, right? Cooking better, eating right, exercising. Means my gym will be way too busy for the next 6 weeks. Oh well. Actually, my gym has new machines that you can sign into, and then it tracks everything on an app. Which reminds me…I should be heading there today as well. Aack. Already overscheduled. Isn’t it vacation? Sigh. Don’t ask me about grades.


I finally made it to the best part of making the quilt. Well, besides the drawing. I love the drawing part, but I usually make quilts a really long time after I’ve drawn them, so that’s a totally separate endeavor in my head. My favorite part of making the quilt is ironing it together. I don’t make a master colored drawing, so I never really know what it will look like until it’s all ironed together. It’s all in my head up until then. My head’s a big place, apparently, with lots of colored drawings in it. And undrawn drawings. And piles of worry. I did try drawing last night, but I’ll need a redo. It’s OK…it’s a process…especially if I haven’t drawn for a while. I can get a little rusty. It’s harder to get what’s in my head out on paper. But it’s coming. Today I think.

Anyway, so you’ll see the not-so-good drawing and then the better one…I promise you. I hide nothing. Well, almost nothing. I’ve hidden how many cookies I’ve eaten in the last five days. But who needs grocery shopping? We have cookies! Breakfast lunch and dinner, there’s cookies. Yeah. I know. Whatever.

So I started ironing yesterday, just like I planned…I didn’t get far.

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OK, I got a little further than this…started on the rug on the right side. But it was a good start. A pile of books, some scissors, some embroidery thread, and a hoop. Because yes, that’s what I have hanging around my bathtub. Just to clarify, I don’t have a free-standing bathtub like this. At all. I don’t even know if I’d like one. I do love baths but don’t take them often because the kids’ bathtub is not particularly comfortable. And cats like to walk the edges. Well, not all cats…just Midnight. And she’s a big fat fluffy cat, and occasionally she falls in. So that frightens me. Well, and taking a bath is such a thing…I used to do it in the old house all the time, especially pregnant. Soaking in warm water. It sounds quite nice at the moment, but I don’t have time. Maybe that’s part of what this series is about…taking the time to soak in the tub with all your things around you, populating the room. Yes, I am admitting now that I didn’t think out this series before I started drawing. Yup. That’s pretty much how I always work. Just start drawing. Sometimes there’s an idea or a spark or a phrase or a theme, but the bathtubs came out of nowhere. That thing I used to do to relax. Hmn.

Anyway, I’m hoping to iron for 4 or 5 hours today. Isn’t that what I said yesterday? Can’t remember. Yup. But I also said iron a few hours yesterday and that turned into about 45 minutes, because it took longer to pack stuff up to ship, and then I finally FINALLY finished the Christmas letter (it’s OK, I titled it Holiday Letter, and it’s still the fucking holidays, so get off my back) and printed it, and now all I have to do is address all the envelopes and put stamps on them and decide if the kids should sign them, and yes, it would have been smart to sign the original before I copied it, but here’s one OTHER thing I decided…sometime between now and the start of the next school year (that’s 8 months from now-ish), I’m buying a new color printer, because mine is crap. It’s seriously older than my divorce and it won’t print color for shit…and I’m done with it. So there. Maybe even in a combo with a scanner so I can get rid of that beast as well. Maybe. I have a small space in here. Because that would be cheaper than copying the letter elsewhere, plus I print color stuff for school sometimes.

So. I did that and I moved money for college, and that’s where my head went down a giant financial rabbit hole, because that’s a whole shitload of money I need to make in the next 5 months. OK. So there it is. I need an extra 1-2 K a month. Deep breaths. I can do this. Probably not if I spend a bunch of time in a bathtub.

Really it’s much better to deal with the short-term goals for today: shower (always a good plan), grocery store (for something besides cookies), clean up a little, maybe even start pulling quilts for the exhibit before I put everything away in my room, and then iron. I’m even going to grade some shit. Seriously. I am.

Bathtubs though. I’m thinking a big deep white bathtub somewhere in the house (is the boychild coming back this summer?). Or maybe just in my head. For now.


Last night was a piece of cake. I managed to enter an art show, make a decent dinner (only a little charcoal was involved…I am not good at paying attention to multiple dishes unfortunately), watched a new interesting show (new to me, True Detective…don’t tell me how it ends please), and then decided with the available brain power, I could probably handle cutting and taping pieces of paper together. It really says something when that’s all you can do at 9:30 at night. OK, I realize most of you are lolling on the couch by then or curled up in bed, but I suck at that.

First of all, I looked at Bathtub 1 and realized that the other end of the bathtub was bothering me, not because it didn’t have a head, but because I couldn’t see the rest of the bathtub. So I added another strip down there…

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And I’m going to have to decide how to handle that, because I really don’t want a head down there, but I’m not sure I can draw the bottom of the bathtub without something of a head popping up. Or maybe I’ll just finish the watery bits that are there? I don’t know. I just know it was bugging me last night.

Then I started taping Bathtub 2 together. I think this is the one I’m going to do first.

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It’s been talking to me for the longest time. Since right after I drew it. And I need a new piece done at the beginning of the summer, so maybe this one is it. Certainly, I need to make a decision soon. Like this week. Because I have the quilting on the other recycled piece and some binding left to sew on the Earth Mother, and then I Have Nothing to Work on. And that is just not allowed. Nor is it healthy. So. Decisions to be made.

Here’s the whole thing…

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It’s not huge. I only enlarged it 250% and it fit entirely on one sheet of paper in my sketchbook (how strange). So. Maybe I number it tonight and see where it’s at.

Then I went to tape Bathtub 4 together (3 is not going to be a quilt)…

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OK. Oops. This happens all the time. I copy in pieces and I miss the stuff in the middle because of the size of the sketchbook and trying to fit it on the copier, but usually I miss stuff in the middle. On Bathtub 1, I had to draw in a small section about 5″ square. It wasn’t hard. Now I need to draw this in. Huh. So I taped a piece of paper in there. I’ll look at it tonight. Maybe.

I have a parent meeting this morning, so I’m rushing. Plus I had to make a lunch this morning. I usually try to do that the night before, but I was too busy cutting things and taping them together. Oh yeah, and I finally did my dishes. Priorities. After all that, I did spend an hour stitching bindings. I need to be done by Sunday for a meeting and then I need to contact the photographer, but I need to finish the other one first. It’s cheaper to have him set up for more than one at a time. And they’re both done early (not needed until June 1 and June 15, I think).

Brain is fuzz. School is stress. Thinking about all that? Eh. Making art instead.


Friday Nights

Some days are just exhausting. Friday nights I often sit down on the couch and never get back up. I was determined to be efficient last night, though. I’m behind in grading, and that’s because technology is not being friendly, but also because I have this assignment I gave and it HURTS to grade it. I graded stories about DNA replication last night for close to 4 hours. Yes, I make my students write stories. Replication is hard. It’s confusing. It doesn’t matter how many times I explain it, they have a hard time with it. So I make them think really hard about it. And then I torture myself, because I have to read all their stories. But when you get a good one (I’ve had three so far…THREE…out of 120?), then you take a deep breath and say “YES. There it is. Understanding.” At some point, I got tired of writing, “Not showing understanding of the process,” because that was a requirement (not just defining words and copying from the book), so I just started writing NSUP. Saved me a lot of writing. I still have one class to go. I couldn’t do any more last night. It was going to kill me.

You have no idea how difficult it can be to grade something you know is hard for students to do…and you know you’ve really done everything you can to get them to understand it, but some of them just aren’t engaged in school and they’re not going to pay enough attention to get it…like when I teach Punnett squares, which are coming up…they either get it (because they were paying attention) or they don’t (because they weren’t). And it’s incredibly frustrating as their teacher. I’m sure some of the crazies out there would say it’s because I’m not a good enough teacher (and we all think that at some point, trust me) or because I don’t make it interesting enough (come to my class…you’ll see), but it’s really because that kid doesn’t have something they need, like a parent at home who tells them school is important, or the meds or support that would help them concentrate, or something else I don’t even know about. By the time we get this far into the school year, I know who they are, the ones who won’t get it. I hope they’ll try, and I don’t give up on most of them, but if you’ve been busting your butt all year with a kid, trying to encourage them, meeting with family, and you still get NOTHING? Hey. That kid over THERE responds when I give him support. I don’t have time for the both of you. Let me know if you’re on board and I’ll be right back there with you, but I can’t spend any more of my limited time with you until you at least follow the simple instructions. I have one kid that loses everything in his backpack and it will take him all period to find a single piece of paper. I can walk over and find it in less than 15 seconds, but it will take him 51 minutes. I could find his stuff for him EVERY SINGLE DAY, but that means the other kid that needs my help will never get it.

It’s an incredibly frustrating job sometimes. So at 9 PM, after three classes of essays, I quit. I decided to try taping another drawing together…and I made the decision to number the bathtub drawings in order of drawing, even if they don’t all become quilts. It’s OK, because it’s really just for accounting purposes (accounting for time). They will probably get renamed at some point.

So I took the headless one and taped it together.

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There was one part missing in the middle (I was not copying intelligently…all the tax-preparing people were hovering over me and making me nervous. YES! I am enlarging pictures of naked women. Walk away!). So I just drew it in…one of the knees. I debated adding some at the bottom and giving her a head, but I kinda like it headless there too. Two headless women. Huh. Please don’t psychoanalyze me.

I taped more on to the top. Will have to figure out what goes there later.

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This is officially Bathtub 1, never finished…notionally because I ran out of paper. It used to really frustrate my 5th-grade teacher, who was an artist, that I couldn’t stay on the paper…that whatever I drew obviously continued out further. She’d try to get me to draw/paint smaller so it would fit, but you could walk into her classroom and figure out which was my work on the wall just by how full the page was. I needed a piece of paper that would enlarge as I drew, so it would fit my ideas. Even now, I just accept that failing of mine. It’s part of how I draw.

I was too tired to tape the other two together, but not quite ready to sleep…so I headed to the office to sew more binding. Because it’s never-ending.

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I teared up at Worf’s wedding (sigh. I am a geek. Possibly an uber-geek. I wanna get married to a Klingon. OK, no I don’t. And he’s too damn cranky.). I didn’t sew for long. Just an episode’s-worth of Deep Space 9, enough to allow the brain to slow down and mellow out for sleep. Besides, I had this on my shoulders…

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She really wanted to sit on my lap, ON the quilt (um no), but settled for being a cat scarf. A cat scarf that occasionally meows. And sometimes catches you with a claw. And is vibrating (not a bad thing).

So I didn’t get much art done, but I got most of the stories graded, so that was a win. Friday nights are never great for me…too tired, too spent, too exhausted, too overwhelmed. I did OK for all that.

This weekend is a whole shit ton of soccer. Plus a Visions opening that I’m hoping I can get to. And very little sleep. And a lot of time spent in a coffee shop in Temecula probably, torturing myself with the rest of the replication stories. Not a lot of artmaking. Can’t be helped.

Found this last night…first of all, do not watch this video if you don’t like natural death…like death in nature. Like you don’t watch Nature because it upsets you. And don’t watch it if you’re Sion…it will give you nightmares. In fact, I couldn’t watch the whole thing in one go. Too many creepy crawlies. Unlike that stupid-ass bird, I wouldn’t go anywhere NEAR that fucker. So I’d be fine.

Holey crap. Yikes. Crawling under the covers now.