Ruh Roh

So today is my first day back at school with kids…my room isn’t totally ready, I don’t have all the materials for a lab I’m apparently doing tomorrow (I feel like I should be more on top of this shit), and the Man tested positive for COVID on Monday. I’m still testing negative, but woke up with what feels like a stuffy nose? I’m writing sub plans in my head for the next 5 days (well, 3, because I don’t have to teach on the weekend, thank god), and it’s a cluster because it’s those first few days when everything is more hands on, supposed to teach them how to exist in my class, and who knows who might BE in my class if (when?) I test positive. I masked all day yesterday, will continue that. But I feel like I’m a giant-ass redwood about to fall, but not yet, maybe today? Maybe tomorrow? I just don’t know. Do I plan the labs and hope I don’t come back to my room being burnt down? I just don’t know. I’m not even done setting up our online classrooms because I just haven’t had time. The district sucking away that Friday planning time really…well…sucked. Yeah! I’m feeling better right now with a shower and a cup of tea in me, my sinuses have cleared, but my voice is off. Hell, I feel off, but that could all be in my head…I’ve done that before. Or my body is fighting it and let’s hope my immune system, two vaccine shots, and two boosters are all stronger than one variant. Ha!

Just stay away from me right now. For so many reasons. I have had a stuffy nose multiple days this summer…allergies related to weather and/or dust. So who knows.

I finished proofreading last night. That’s a good thing. It was kind of a mess. But it’s done. The mess was not because of me…I blame the copyeditor. But hey, IDK what she started with.

I’m still ironing, but pretty damn slowly. I might need to admit that I’m not going to beat that deadline. It’s OK. I have other pieces to enter, and this one will still get done. There’s just something about an insane deadline.

Piles of pieces in the 600s, 700s, and 900s…last night, all I ironed down was the cat. Hardly anything.

I think I did 16 minutes on Monday night and 26 minutes last night. Big time! Better than nothing. It is what it is. Even if what it is is frustrating.

Not a lot of color in this one. Well maybe there is, but it’s all chaotic-looking here. Lots of fleshy bits. I’m still ironing that pile of lungs/heart/whatever. So far behind.

Kitten is still depositing fur on the black fabrics in that box…

I have a piece in this upcoming show.

And another show in September in Liberty Station. I’ll post that one when I get a thingie for it.

OK. Well, I’m going to go do this first-day thing and hope for the best. It’s humid, I’m sweaty, I have meds for a stuffy nose, I have COVID tests (sorry kids, Imma test right now while you’re writing on that paper), I’m going to write sub plans during prep? I think? I honestly don’t know what to do. Right now, I’m going to print my class rosters and get to school and hopefully everything else will make sense from here on out. Wish me luck. Send the anti-COVID thoughts.


Well here we are. Back in. The saddle. School. Meetings and prep today and tomorrow, kids on Wednesday. So incredibly not ready. I would be much more ready if I only had one grade level this year, but that’s not happening. I spent 5 hours over the weekend just finding and trying to make sense of my bulletin boards (gotta get two grade levels up on the wall). It’s all about the staples…

I’ve had to move everything so far to get room for an additional 6-7 units (IDK even how many units I’ll be teaching because I can’t get that far ahead right now). Which means I unstapled everything and then stapled it back up in a different place. It’s all about the staples getting picked up by something other than my feet. Today I have meetings all morning and then this afternoon and most of tomorrow to prep for realz. We’ll see how that goes.

Here’s what 2500 people at a school district conference looks like…

Actually, that picture was probably less than 2500…I didn’t take a photo of the actual conference room (ballroom) we were in (this was breakfast), but it was a lot. Wore a mask. I don’t want to be sick for the first week of school. Was it worthwhile? Eh. Some camaraderie, sure, but we could have done that in a smaller group. One speaker was interesting (because he was funny). The rest? I’d rather be setting my room up. The reason I had to go in over the weekend was because normally they do about 90 minutes on Friday and then we get the rest of the day to prep. We didn’t get that. So that sucks. That’s tone deaf, honestly. But it’s done.

I’m still proofreading. SO CLOSE TO DONE. Hopefully today, although today is kind of a mess. Maybe tomorrow.

I’m also still ironing. I did NOT meet my goal of finishing the ironing this weekend…maybe if I hadn’t had to go in to school over the weekend. And yes, sure, I could have NOT done that and tried to get boards up once school starts, but using last year as an example? I never did it. Never had the time. This year will be similar with two different classes. I will never have time. So I did that. For my sanity. This is Friday night’s progress on the piles of fabric and pieces…

On Saturday, I focused on the main figure, so here’s what she looks like when I’m picking fabrics…

Although I forgot to do the head. Whoops. This is what one fabric of that run looks like…

Not much left of that one after this gets cut out. Which is fine. There is always more fabric.

Saturday night’s final count on the piles…

When I pick the fabrics for the flesh, I lay out all the other pieces too (bones, heart, lungs, hair, etc), but they don’t get ironed down right away. Fleshy bits first, then the rest, which can take a while…

Each pile is some discrete object on the quilt…there’s a pile of arm hair, a needle and some thread, some fingernails. I know those because I ironed them last night…

Still ironing those, honestly. Will be tonight as well. I have no idea how far along I am. I’ve pulled flesh through the 900s, but haven’t ironed all the missing bits in there, back to the 200s, I think. Maybe the 300s. Quite a bit to go. Revised goal? Work as fast as fucking possible this week.

Kitten loves it when I leave these drawers open for her…

She’s still not eating much, but seems perky enough. Comes out for her meds anyway. Wants pets. Still eating pine needles, because that’s a thing. If I could make her food smell like that, maybe she’d eat more of it? Or is it the long stringy stick-like-ness of it? Who knows.

Oh yeah, I drew (and read my book) at the district conference. It made it more bearable…

Too many people. Even if there wasn’t COVID, I wouldn’t have enjoyed being in a space like that with that many people. Lots of bugs in the drawing though.

OK, need to get going, wake up, ready for a meeting with a lot more people, then a smaller meeting, then lunch out (because we don’t get to do that during the school year), then work my ass off in the classroom. I went up and down off the counters about a million times in the last two days, mostly thinking that the next time I’d have to do this…well, I could do it every year, but I’d rather not. So maybe this is it? I spent a lot of time telling myself to be careful and not fall off anything. Oh yeah, and the boards aren’t anywhere near done…I’m missing all the vocab and posters and big ideas and essential questions. For 8th grade, those will get filled in all year, because they flat-out don’t exist yet. So there’s that. Knowing that.

One of the baby owls keeps coming back and hanging out in that tree outside my office window at night. Screeches occasionally. I talk to it. Say hi, how are you, thanks for coming back. Probably it’s coming back for our mouse/rat population (which it is welcome to eat), not for my dulcet tones. I haven’t named it yet. Betty? Betty the Barn Owl? Eh.

Most important part of today…send a thought out to Simba…he’s being left alone all day for the first time in a long time.

Poor pup. OK. Wish me luck for the 2022-2023 school year. I think this is my 20th year teaching? Something like that. Or my 20th starts in February, because I was a mid-year start. Yup. Either way, it’s a lot.

Whatever Psychotic Tension Issue…

Well I don’t know what this sewing machine is thinking, but apparently threatening to throw it into the pool worked. Yeah. Because after thread breaking 17 times in an hour, I turned it off, went to bed, tossed and turned about how in hell I was going to fix this issue in time to get the quilt done for a deadline, and then it freakin’ worked. No issues. One thread breakage in two full quilts worth of quilting and binding. No idea why. I didn’t change anything. Same thread, same needle, same settings, no breakage. This is an issue. Inconsistent tension, the feed dogs won’t stay dropped (yes, I free-motion quilted with them up about 2/3s of the time), and when I zigzag, the needle still wanders as far left as it can and I worry about it hitting the foot, but it seemed to know its limits there.

I called yesterday to set up a time for it to be cleaned out and adjusted. It was in last September for that, but then it was in for repair in March because the foot wouldn’t drop down while free-motion zigzagging. That time, it was gone for 5 weeks. So I figured it would be put on a list and I’d bring it in during school some time (usually it’s 6 weeks out for an appointment), but they asked a bunch of questions (it was just in? Did you clean it…that was MY question. What’s wrong with it? I just printed that list out. SIGH.) and now I’m dropping it off today.

Not before I kamikazed and finished both little quilts though…because it was mostly fucking behaving. It will straight stitch just fine, and now that whatever psychotic tension issue is mostly gone (it popped up briefly), I’m not fighting thread breakage constantly. So frustrating. Yes, it is an 11-year-old machine that I got used (barely used…most people don’t use machines like I do) and yes, I probably need to replace it. Damn, though, the last two lasted longer. I think. Maybe not. Sigh. It’s a conversation I will have with the machine guy, but money is not free-flowing and nothing is cheap. I certainly won’t be buying a new machine. And no, Bernina, Pfaff, and Husqvarna don’t want to sponsor my artwork by gifting me a machine. Too many nude parts in my work, I suspect. Plus I swear a lot. LOL. I’m always impressed when people are gifted expensive equipment to make their work. ANYWAY. All that is negative and the positive is that I have two more quilts that are done or almost done.

They’re not very big…I did all the outline quilting on the bottom but not the top…not a single breakage.

Finishing up this one…

I got the binding on it, using a fabric from my stash. No shopping on this quilt. I had everything. I don’t always have enough for binding, but the smaller quilts don’t take a full half yard (or more), so I can usually pull from stash. I finished the hand-stitching last night while watching The Handmaid’s Tale (am I the only one crying through episodes right now?). We only watch one at a time. Can’t binge this thing. I’d lose my mind.

Then once I had called about bringing the machine in and they said yeah! Bring it! I was like, OK, gonna see if I can get the machine to finish the other one that got set aside in March when the machine broke last time.

Quilted like a dream, no breakages at all. Seriously? Fuck you, machine.

Same spool of thread, same needle, didn’t even clean anything out, no tension change, no breakage, no nothing. Well, except the feed dogs kept popping back up. Kind of annoying. Makes it harder to drag everything around, but on a smaller quilt like this, it’s not impossible.

Then got the binding on the other one too, again, from stash.

We’re going to Los Angeles for a few days to celebrate the man’s birthday, so I’ll have to finish the hand-stitching in the car. Or a brewery. Or a hotel room. Whichever works. These two have names, but the hand-appliqued one I finished almost two weeks ago doesn’t. They are all going to the photographer hopefully this weekend though.

And then I have to figure out what’s next. I need to finish a small one for my Patreon, but then I need one for an upcoming “family friendly” show. That phrase drives me nuts. But whatever. It’s in my head and I’ll maybe draw it in the next few days. Need to draw the little one too.

Speaking of drawings, apparently this is Captain Kangaroo…

I wasn’t thinking that when I drew it…although it did make me laugh a lot.

OK, we leave later today. I need to drop off my machine, do a bunch of packing, then drive to LA. Hopefully there will be some walking and eating and drinking and maybe some art and drawing and stitching. Who knows? It won’t be here, though. The boychild will hold down the fort and feed all the animals. I was looking forward to meeting the man on the trails this summer, which unfortunately didn’t happen. He is exercising his knee, though, and hoping to get back on trail in a month or so…but then I have school, so meeting him is much more complicated, especially if he starts from Washington instead of the Sierras. So I guess LA will have to stand in for the Sierras? Not really a fair comparison, but it will have to do.

Totally Off…

Well I’m totally off on everything: blogposting days, artmaking times, blood sugar management, exercise. Hopefully I will do better with everything next week, although maybe I should just do my best and do the things and I don’t know. I mean, honestly, I’m never really sure what day it IS at the moment without looking at the calendar…about 5 times. Today is Saturday and I have two things on the calendar and that’s not too bad. Yesterday, I had a few things, but some got moved. Then I was supposed to drive to San Clemente (about 90 minutes) to meet a friend halfway for lunch, and I got about 10 miles into it and apparently a nail took out my tire. On the freeway, of course. Anyway, so after getting OFF the freeway as safely as possible, getting the nice AAA person to put on the spare, and driving very slowly to the tire place, and getting a new tire, my good friend had made it all the way down here and we had lunch anyway.

I drew at the tire place…

I almost didn’t put my sketchbook in my bag, because I draw when I’m waiting for food, but this was supposed to be more of a social thing, and I probably wasn’t going to draw.

She’s irritated about the tire, but it was a pretty easy fix. Didn’t need to replace all 4, which is good, because I don’t get paid until the end of August. Summer expenses suck.

The place where we got food is no longer seating people outside (sigh), so we took it all to a park…

But they didn’t put plasticware into the bags (apparently we needed to get it, which I’m a fan of doing, so I don’t get random plasticware in my takeout, but no, we didn’t think about it, so we used naan as spoons. Which was a little messy, but the food was good. And there are leftovers. It was a good afternoon.)

Then last night I finally got this little quilt on the machine for stitchdown…

I didn’t get far, but I wanted to get it started. The machine had been acting up with the quilting on the last one, so I was hoping it would behave, and it seems to be. Hopefully that will continue.

I also stitched some more bits and pieces down on one of the April Sue Spargo Homegrown blocks after dinner…

We’re watching Season 4 of The Handmaid’s Tale. I have some issues with this season. It is less believable than previous seasons, so far.

Anyway, I’m hoping to get the stitchdown done today, maybe even sandwich and pinbaste it. It’s not big. I have an idea for the next one…another one of those things that comes into my brain right before I’m about to fall asleep and then doesn’t let me fall asleep. Someone asked about my drawings and whether they are ever happy. Some are. Look more carefully. Yesterday’s was annoyed for good reason. Today I will probably not draw, but maybe she will be tired. Or asleep (I’ve never drawn someone asleep…oh wait, yes I have). Or dancing. You just never know.

Looks Like a Pillow Fort

The first thing I did this morning was talk to a very nice customer-service rep who was in South Carolina, at which point I realized that there is still a hurricane or stormlike thing (seriously, I don’t watch the news much so I had forgotten and she was asking if it was raining here and I was like heck no, it doesn’t rain in July here like ever almost never and then she told me where she was and I’m sitting there trying to remember about a hurricane or tropical storm and I felt really out of it. Good news…the customer service rep is FINE) or maybe it’s not a hurricane any more, but yeah, so removed from all of that, but really appreciate nice and helpful reps. It’s a shit job and I’m glad we were able to make each other smile today. Even though her company totally fucked up my order. Because she fixed it. And some poor woman somewhere is looking at my offbeat purple bras in her package and wondering why her perfectly normal old-lady white Playtex bras did not arrive. Me too, lady, me too; hopefully you got a nice customer-service person too.

I started not writing this yesterday, like normal. But then I did things yesterday and then the day was over and I hadn’t written. It happens. It will probably happen again some time. It is not the end of the world. I still made art, even SAW art yesterday (WTH?!) and I will write today instead.

Quilt progress! It’s happening. Tuesday I kept ironing…

And more on Tuesday night…

Finished the bottom, more complicated square…and started the top, the sky…

Last night, I ironed the rest of the sky together…

And ironed the whole thing down.

It’s not large. It’s just complicated. Hopefully I’ll start stitchdown today or tomorrow, although there’s lots of stuff on my calendar at the moment. People apparently want to see me. Not sure why.

On Tuesday, I went back to Torrey Pines and hiked with the niece…

I might have damaged her. It wasn’t a super short hike…

I didn’t make her limp, so that’s good. Or she’s faking it.

And then yesterday, we went to the California Center for the Arts in Escondido to see the Allied Craftsmen show there, Crafting Memory.

There’s my piece, Sediment, which was in Visions some years back. This is one of those venues that needs to be ‘family friendly’ but can’t really define what that means. Another art group I’m in is having a show there with a different theme, but I don’t have much that doesn’t have nudity in it, so I’m considering what to do…don’t enter? Enter what I have, which is mostly nudity and let them decide? Or make a new piece? Ugh. It’s a nice space…go see the shows that are there. Definitely worth it. There’s a teacher discount and a senior discount and a student discount. Probably military too.

We’ve been dining at the parents’ house while the niece is here…I walked two dogs with dad last night for the first time in a long time.

I’m tired. Always tired. My hip hurts and it’s hard to find a comfortable sleeping position. This sweet baby wanted to knead my arm with her claws last night…

Really not conducive to sleeping. I think I need some sort of cocoon for sleeping that keeps pokey cats out and cushions all the painful old parts of the body and blocks the sounds of dogs panting and mockingbirds chirping and neighbors dragging trashcans around and isn’t really hot or cold…I’m building this thing in my head and it’s got noise-canceling powers and looks like a pillow fort. Seriously.

OK. Not sure all that’s happening today. It’s the man’s birthday, so dinner out at least, and the niece leaves, so IDK whether we will see her today, and maybe I should shower and have more tea and that would help with the sleepy part. And maybe the brain-working part. Hard to say.

See All the People and Do All the Things…

Good morning on the day after fireworks. For those of you with dogs who don’t like fireworks, you are maybe a little exhausted like me, as I listened to the old lady dog pant and breathe way too fast most of the night. Her breathing is back to normal this morning, but it was a long night. She was doing OK until more fireworks at about 1 AM. I also was doing OK until then. I am way too light of a sleeper for this stuff.

Hope your 4th was enjoyable at least, although I spent a good portion of the day thinking about Native American issues (I’m reading The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich) and those who don’t feel like the flag and the pledge of allegiance are for them (I am one of those people and I’m pretty damn entitled). But I did step outside to see a few sets of fireworks…I think only half were legal, which is scary in these dry firelike conditions. You’ll appreciate my photo from the bedroom window.

Yeah. Toldja you’d appreciate it. Best fireworks photo ever. Not sure why I try to take these every year, but I do. EVERY YEAR. I’m rolling my eyes at myself.

Also, this quote…

For those who doubt my patriotism. Exactly.

So much art progress has been made. Well. Has it? I don’t know. Things are getting done. That’s a good thing.

So first of all, official photos of the Quilt National exhibit are here. I will hopefully be there in person in September for the closing ceremony. In all the videos I saw posted, I couldn’t see my quilt, which made me sad, but that’s OK. Because here it is in all its glory, thanks to the QN photographer.

I don’t have the catalog yet, so I can’t tell you who else’s pieces are in this picture…

Looking forward to seeing her in person…for the last time, probably, because she sold. But this show does travel, so maybe she will pop up near me somewhere. Hard to say. Again, you can hear me talk about her here.

So meanwhile, I have one piece on a deadline here, so it makes sense that I worked on anything BUT that piece. I finished the quilting on this 20-year-old piece last week, and Saturday, I put a binding on her.

It’s the first time in a year and a half that I could go to that quilt store without an appointment. They still have really short hours, so during the school year, Saturday would be the only day I could go, but hopefully that will change by the time it’s an issue. Yes, I often am buying backgrounds and bindings at the totally last minute.

I spent time Saturday night (with Kitten) sewing bindings on…

And finished those and the sleeves on Sunday night.

She’s about 30″ wide by 43″ high, and I started her in 2000 or 2001. It’s all hand applique. She’ll get her official photographs when I have the one with a deadline completed.

Then (because still…procrastinating the deadline project) I stitched down Desert Bunny, which has been sitting around waiting since March.

(I’m still working on a name for the other one…there are some in the running, but no decisions yet).

She’s small, so she didn’t take long.

And then I sandwiched and pinbasted her, so now she’s ready for quilting…

Which ALSO wouldn’t take long, but I’m trying to be good and work on the one with a deadline. I was supposed to be in Los Angeles for 2 1/2 days this week, but my niece is coming down this week instead of next week, so we juggled our flexible plans into LA next week….thus juggling my art plans as well…I can’t do certain parts of my art process on the road. Odds are, I won’t be working on the next quilt on the road no matter what, but I’m using that trip to motivate me to iron. Why is ironing an issue? This quilt has a lot of small pieces and it’s sometimes tedious to iron tiny pieces (you’d think I’d learn), but also ironing is hot and the light in here is hot and it’s not THAT hot here (no heat dome…yet), but my hot flashes plus fairly reasonable summer temperatures just add up to ugh. That said, here’s an hour or so of ironing done…

Tiny pieces, relatively small quilt. Crazy amount of work in this one. Ah well…the brain knows what it wants. So I’ll be working on this all week, and hopefully be done for the weekend. We’ll see.

I’ve gone back to drawing before dinner…here is Saturday night, in between starter (we hardly ever get a starter) and dinner.

Keep it simple! These are small. It’s the sketchbook that fits in my purse. I got a new purse, a smaller one, but the sketchbook doesn’t fit. Dammit.

Also, I can’t remember if I posted this…it’s Margaret Fabrizio’s Hello Kitty Meats the Dragon.

I spelled it like she did…it’s not hung up yet because I wanted to put a sleeve on it, and last night, I finally did that. I met Margaret some years back (when she was still 80-something) and we liked each other’s work. She contacted me earlier this year about trading a piece of art, and I agreed, so I sent one off to her of her choice, and I got these wonderful eyeballs (I did pick it for Hello Kitty too) back…so now she can hang on my wall.

I also was cleaning up my blogroll this weekend (like you do…once every 5 years, whether it needs it or not), and noticed that an artist I really enjoyed, Olga Norris, had passed away in 2019. I obviously have not been doing a great job of reading blogs. Every year, at the SAQA auction, I would note the Olga Norris piece and get outbid at a much higher rate than I could afford, sadly. Well, her husband is still supporting his wife’s work and posted photos of her last pieces, and offers them up for postage and donations to a charity of Olga’s choice, which is just amazing, so I will finally be proudly displaying one of her pieces here as well. It does make you think about what will happen to all your work when you die, though. I’m sure my children would love for me to have a plan.

In other news, Kitten is still missing some teeth and makes some funny faces while squawking at me.

And I finally got milkweed seeds to sprout! I started in April and apparently killed off a hundred or so of them, but now! Now I haz babies.

IDK how I will keep the bunnies out of the plants though…gonna have to think that bit through. They’ve even been eating the succulents.

And this…

Makes me want to go through all the birding books we have here…just for stupid things like that.

OK, I’m up to go to the gym, like a good person. I have an appointment at the Apple Store to try to figure out if my phone refusing to connect consistently to Wifi is a hardware issue. And then I’d like to do some more ironing together of tiny little pieces today. Tomorrow will probably involve some art stuff with the niece, which means I might actually see my work in a show IN PERSON. I know. Crazy. And hopefully I will also be able to reschedule all the stuff I already scheduled over in an attempt to see all the people and do all the things because yeah. That.

The Two Newest…

I finally got some new work photographed. I finished one in early April, but like no one was leaving the house then, except the essential workers and crazy people, so I held onto it until I finished the big one in July, and then dropped both of them off. I’m still really paranoid about leaving the house and interacting with humans…it’s like my introversion has gained a legitimate excuse for more hermitude than normal. Hopefully I’ll be able to reverse that…in like a year or so when it’s OK to come out.

Anyway, I keep forgetting to post about these, so here’s Hold On, drawn back in February (?), you know, when COVID-19 was barely a twinkle in your daddy’s eye…

She’s 53” w x 43 ¼” h. She’s obviously about climate change and our general destruction of the planet…

These things are always heavy on my mind…

Although apparently I also had missiles on my mind…something to do with North Korea, I suspect, with the president pissing off people who like to blow shit up.

I put some positive things in there, things we’re trying to put in to counteract the crazy, like those windmills harvesting wind energy.

It might be too little too late, my friend.

Even the bees are dying out. So she’ll get entered in some shows in the next few months.

And then in April, I drew this giant beast of a quilt, Coronawood

She’s 77″ w x 81″ h. Did I say a beast of a quilt? Yeah, she’s large. I just kept drawing until I thought I should stop.

Those angels have shown up in a quilt before…although less angry, I think.

This Earth Mother isn’t really sure how to fix anything. None of them are.

Why Coronawood? In the beginning, and even now, it sometimes seems like this is a movie, a made-up thing, not that I don’t believe in the virus, I really really do…I just don’t believe in all the made-up shit that people are using as excuses to not wear masks, to not stay home, to not slow the spread, to not take this seriously. It’s like a bad movie, made up in Hollywood, like a Sharknado series of the COVID type. And I keep waiting for either all the red shirts to die out (Star Trek reference, sorry, geek alert) or for the good person to show up who will solve it all and make humanity human again.

Seems like I will be waiting for that happy ending for a long time.

Remember Flatten the Curve? They aren’t even saying that anymore because we so obviously couldn’t even do that for very long before our need to party, gather, holiday, dine out, drink in a public establishment, or whatever took over.

This is why I’m teaching at home…for a long time. Because of this virus and our inability in the US to believe in science and elect intelligent officials…or at least officials who have the brainpower to realize they don’t know everything and trust the science to the scientists and the doctors.

This quilt is beautiful and haunting and deadly. I wonder how many COVID quilts I will make before it’s something we can fix or heal or vaccinate or avoid or whatever. Maybe one more? Maybe 200. Hopefully toward the lower number.

Happy Saturday all. I’m gonna take my heat-rashy elbow pits and my tired brain and try to art something before I have to work on school shit all tomorrow. I’ll post these two over on the Recent Work page in a bit with prices…interesting that, a conversation about prices, since another Etsy piece sold yesterday. My prices are all based on how much time each quilt takes to make. It’s actual real math. I have a formula. They’re worth it. Thanks to those who help me make more by taking one or two or three off my hands. I love to make. I also need to pay off my daughter’s college loans and eventually retire from teaching (not soon, don’t panic). So I charge appropriately for the making. Enjoy them!

Infiltrating Through*

So I knew I wasn’t going to get any art done last night. I had to go get my quilt from the photographer, so I can enter the show today…so here’s the quilt that will hopefully have a name by the time I get home tonight…

It’s about 44×60″. It took 82 hours and 40 minutes to complete, with about half of that in the last week.

It’s about climate change and how we humans negatively affect the universe we live in. Seriously. It’s the universe. We suck.

Although apparently the Humboldt squid will benefit from acid waters and warm oceans. So we’ll have more and bigger of them…I predict all the horror movies of the future will be squids and floods.

Certainly the oceans and wildlife will be affected…they already are.

Bleached coral, dead fish, pollutants in the water as well…we don’t just stop at carbon dioxide and emissions…we forget about how all that affects what we can’t see.

Humans are pretty selfish animals.

You want me to bring politics into it? Stop letting ignorant people make decisions about science…science that it takes many years to study and understand.

Ah yes, and then there’s the plastic trash. Don’t get me started. Take responsibility for your shit, folks. All your shit.

So of course, there’s never a guarantee that anything I make will get into a show. I don’t mind that as much…it will go somewhere, yeah? They always do. And we’re on to the next one. I did finally have an entire quilt draw itself in my head last night. It’s not the next one. It’s not even the next next one. It’s the next next next one, and I won’t be able to show it to you. At all. That’s going to be hard. You know me, I’m constantly posting pictures of everything I’m working on. So yeah, the next three deadlines are now on the table…I have work through June cut out for me. Not actually cut out of fabric though…that would be awesome. 

I did have my stitching meeting last night. This and my general exhaustion from having to be up early every single morning this week meant I got no art done last night. I also didn’t drag my sketchbook out for copying, because we got like an inch and a half of rain (that’s more than our annual since July, by far) yesterday, and I don’t want a wet sketchbook. I’m enlarging today after school. It’s on my calendar. Then I can draw the rest of Head 4 and all of Head 5, which doesn’t exist yet. Then number and start tracing and all that all over again. It’s like I never stop. (I never stop. That’s the tip of the day. Never stop.)

So I worked on these guys for a few hours last night at my stitching meeting instead…

I finished the tree above the giraffe and starting stitching the flowers that are supposed to be on that block. That’s the second block for August…the third is the one to the right of it. 

Then once I was home and my cohort had taken his tired overworked self to bed, I did NOT go to bed, because I was still awake…but I couldn’t deal with real art stuff, so I started sewing stuff down for the October blocks. 

I didn’t get very far…just a veggie patch and part of a hut. The rest is pinned down. I have another block for this month that’s already stitched down…it’s part of the section with the September blocks, all ready for embroidery. After October, I think I have to put the whole thing together, finish all the bits of the road that are wandering about and not connected, and then stitch grass all over the entire quilt. That’s gonna take a while. Then borders. 

Meanwhile, real art tonight. Plus exhaustion. Tomorrow is Christmas shopping at pop-up artsy shops and then an opening. I should grade some shit in there too. I really want to sleep in, but my cohort will be up at 4 AM…I’m less worried about that. I can re-sleep after that. His cat though…man, he’s going to get locked in a bathroom if he’s an asshole tomorrow morning. Seriously. 

OK, but I still gotta get through today…trying to figure out the tail end of this part of the unit, plus feed a bunch of kids, and probably do my duty standing around, guarding the bike rack. Important job. You wish you could do it. (Please come do it for me.)

*Jem, Come on Closer

But Not Right Now

It’s morning. Early. OK. Brain not functioning much…enough to make lunch and breakfast and feed animals and even shower, which includes shampoo and conditioner in that order. At some point during the night, someone (or thing? Creepy) scratched a long red mark on my arm. I don’t remember doing it (Kitten?). Who knows. I do know I didn’t sleep well…second night in the last two weeks when I’ve laid there waiting for sleep to come. Adjusting the body, thinking it’s a comfort thing. Maybe if the position is right, sleep will wander over. Nope! I think most teachers don’t sleep well the night before we go back after a break from school. Running lesson plans over in your head, trying to keep everything straight, remembering your routine, what do I have to do in the morning? That’s me anyway.

The awesome news is that the quilt is done. I can deliver it tomorrow to the photographer and get it back and make the deadline. 

I do have a painful bit on my middle right fingertip at the moment. I remembered a thimble finally (and even found one). I finished both sleeves by 11:30 PM. I don’t have a total time yet…will figure that out tonight, as well as what I might be doing next. I looked up a few deadlines…one is a definite, but I need a size range. The other two are still up in the air. I do have two wool quilts that need quilting…I can work on those until my head figures out the rest. I can draw. I can embroider on the body piece that’s been lying around for years. I can finish that hand applique piece that’s also been lying around for years. Plenty of stuff that pops up when the to-do space empties out.

This was a tense moment. Simba is not always pleased by cat attentions. This one makes him nervous. He loved Midnight, but for some reason, Satchemo is nerve-wracking. 

It was cold, though…they eventually settled, but only briefly.

This guy. I don’t post about him much, but he’s about to start 12 days of work with no break, and I suspect that smile will be gone. He does allow his niece to braid his beard at family gatherings…except for the one time when he had shaved it off…she was so disappointed.

Here’s to mostly tolerant guys who (and I’m quoting an artist’s husband here) put up with the crazy quilters in their lives. It’s gonna be a rough 2 weeks for everyone in this house (well, except the furry beasts and maybe the boychild). I’m looking at early starts every day this week, as all the parent meetings in the world got scheduled this week.

But art. I’m looking forward to maybe just drawing tonight. That would be nice. I think I have to stitch two fish eyeballs on the quilt tonight (OK, it’s not QUITE done). And there’s plenty of school stuff to deal with…always. I think I graded 6 things over break, but I have a ton of lesson planning still left to do. It’s just gonna suck for that stuff for a while, until we get through piloting new curricula. Blech. Not a fan. And I’m not even really piloting this. I keep thinking I should dump it and run for the project-based-learning hills. Next one. Totally not doing the next one. I think. Sigh. I don’t know what I’m doing next. 

OK, well it’s only 3 weeks and then a break again. We can do 3 weeks. But I always have a big project for over break, so I’ll need to figure that out. But not right now.

You Let Your Feet Run Wild*

It’s interesting how short 9 days of vacation feels. Like that’s a good chunk. If I’m driving places and camping and hiking and cooking in 50-mph winds, then it feels like a long time (sorry, just channeling the last trip). But when I sit at home and eat a lot of pretzels and popcorn while running some lame errands and basically make an entire quilt in a week, then it feels like nothing. In the last week, I’ve spent 28 hours making this quilt. In the previous week, a school week, I spent 10 hours making this quilt. So I guess that’s the difference. Close to full-time job (I haven’t done anything today yet…give me time) vs that’s why I don’t sleep much because I do it all after work hours.

Speaking of sleep…I didn’t sleep last night. Seriously I was awake for hours. I don’t know why. Weird though and I feel mostly shattered this morning. Good start.

So the news on the unknown batting is that it worked just fine…a little loftier than what I usually use, but it quilted OK. No bearding, no freaky behavior that I noticed.

I didn’t have enough of the one color of blue thread to do all the outlining and the background quilting, but it did last long enough to do the outlining, so that’s a plus. 

There were a few thread hijinks. I said “You bastard” a lot. IDK whether that’s the thread or the bobbin or the quilt itself. But I said it. In general, though, there were not a lot of issues once I switched out the old needle. 

Although that nest was pretty impressive.


Tiny little eyeballs…

All the stuff that I love about making quilts…

I also made a turkey and mashed potatoes and the family Swiss green bean recipe for dinner…turkey is a little too salty. I didn’t rinse the brine…because one recipe said to rinse it and one didn’t. I should have. But I have turkey for sandwiches for the next two weeks (some in the freezer…don’t panic). I’m happy about that. 

At 5 hours and 45 minutes of quilting, I had finished the outlining. That was before dinner…I think? Maybe? 

I took a break, ate dinner, graded one assignment, and then went back to quilting. At this stage, I need a lot of breaks. My back was hurting. It’s hard to keep going…until you’re close to the end (I almost gave up many times)…then it’s race away until you finish.

Sleepy old lady with her toy…

She’s a good girl.

There’s the whole thing, all squished up for the last bit of quilting the background. 

It was only 8 1/4 hours. Not bad. More than I thought it would be, but that’s OK. Lots of details will do that. So now she’s ready for trimming and binding. I need to go out this morning and buy binding. I will not be going to a big box store for that. Still avoiding JoAnns. She goes to the photographer on Tuesday, so that’s enough time for me to hopefully get the binding and sleeves on and dehair the beast, as well as deal with all the school stuff that needs to be done by Monday (yikes!). And then? I have no idea what I’m working on next. I’m sure there’s a list somewhere, but I haven’t looked at it in months. Maybe something short and fun? Or another deadline. Who knows? Someone should figure that out.

*Kaleo, Way Down We Go