Both of Us Searching for Some Perfect World*

Today is the official start of the school year…you know, the part where you realize on the first day that (a) you are woefully unprepared, even after 14+ years of teaching and (b) that kid who is already annoying will never ever ever be absent. I met and freaked out my first student yesterday. He shook my hand. That’s nice. No really, it is. In general, I really like my students, even the truly annoying ones. When they ask if I missed them, I say “Every day.” Well. Not for all of them. I am brutally honest with some of them, but once they’ve been with me all year, they would expect nothing less. But today…today I just mispronounce about 140 names and try to start memorizing faces. Honestly, though, if I remember a kid’s name on the first day, they were highly notable in one of a few ways, none of them probably good. I do forget them over time, though. I always tell the kids there will be someone else like them in the next year, so one of my old students that showed up yesterday wants me to introduce her to The New Her. Because she thinks they can be friends. I love that. Not upset that she’s not supremely unique…just wants to make friends with herself.

Anyway, we try to start every year with the right positive mindset, to make sure the stuff that always drives us bonkers won’t do that this year (ever hopeful)…meditation and mindfulness has been incredibly helpful with this, although I still honestly suck at it, I think.

I did good yesterday. My room is mostly done…

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I’ve got more fussy bits to do, adding pictures and putting labels on folders. Fun stuff.

And then I went to pick up my quilt from the photographer…I’m still debating the name.

Fiber Artist Kathy Nida

As always, they’re better in person.

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What’s also better is finishing it three weeks before the deadline…

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Mostly because there’s a deadline right after it…

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It’s the smallest and least complicated quilt I’ve made in many a summer. Evidence that the summer was large and complicated.

Made dinner and did two nights’ worth on this…the green feather stitch and red double lazy daisies on the top.

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With both kids gone, I have a lot of animal interaction…

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She knocks everything else off, but generally leaves my teacup alone.

So I have the next deadline. The drawing has one part done. It’s been enlarged and has been sitting around since the beginning of summer, I think. Not that it’s done any good, because honestly, I just throw a bunch of images and shapes and ideas around in my head until it all makes sense. Sometimes I do a bunch of preliminary drawings, just to figure out where my head is going. But last night, I finally sat down with one of the many images in my head and started drawing.

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I got schooled in bullet shape post-shooting, which is fine. I’m actually OK with not knowing what they look like afterwards, but I did change them for the drawing.

This cat has partied too hard.

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And I got to here. I need to enlarge it and combine it with the other piece to figure out what else is going on.

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But by the time I got to that point, the copy place was about to close. I knew I couldn’t get there in time, so I’ll do that after school. The post-it has ideas for what else needs to be on there. Now that I have this, I can try some other stuff out in my head.

So it wasn’t bedtime yet…and this drawing wasn’t done. I think it is now…

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I like how it turned out. She’s way mellower than I feel. Then again, she’s not starting the first day of school in an hour. So hopefully I’ll be drawing again tonight. That’s not a bad place to be.

*Thompson Twins, Hold Me Now

Land of the Some-of-You-Can-Be-Free

Well, America, I’m not very impressed with some of you today. White America especially, some of you are really pissing me off. The thing is, I suspect those who piss me off are probably not reading this blog…because I think that type of person wouldn’t put up with my art either, or my rants. They’re long gone, hiding away in some back-alley private Facebook page, calling me a skanky ho. Well, as long as they spell it right, I’m not bothered by what they call me. I am bothered by their ignorance, their lack of logic (and trust me, I’m not the most logical at times), and their general dumbassery. Their desire to get back whatever they think they’ve lost, to hurt others in the process. As if they have the right to do so. Their hatred. Their need to tear down and break things.

But I’m not sure how to talk to those people. I don’t know how to change the mind of a 20-year-old white male who can’t see his own privilege. I can’t even figure out how to talk to the white folks on my campus who were offended by my students’ anti-bullying and anti-Trump door sign last year. How can you work in my school and espouse the beliefs that you do? I’m like the governor of Virginia…just leave. We don’t want you.

But that doesn’t solve the problem of racism and gender/racial gaps and inequity and what our police would have done if faced with a similar situation except with a less white-washed crowd. It doesn’t solve the problem of how to solve this damn problem! I can’t talk to these people and make any sense of what they say. They feel disenfranchised? Because they’re not better than someone? I’m not sure I care. Except I care that they’re making it worse for the rest of us…no, not just us whitefolks, but everyone else who fills my country. Who make it strong and beautiful and artistic and challenging and entertaining and tasty and sometimes ugly and smelly and warty. I want it to feel safe, not threatened by nuclear war because of stupidity, not mired in fascist Alt-Right idiocy because…shit I don’t even KNOW why. I really don’t.

All I can do is go to school and meet my new mostly refugee and immigrant students, my mostly NOT American-born white students, and teach them how to stand strong and have faith in humanity (some of it anyway) and hopefully some science too. And that not all the white American-born people hate them. Because I don’t. I try not to hate anyone, although a certain orange-faced dickhead certainly gets no kind feelings from me. Or his minions. The ones backpedaling right now as people find them on Twitter or Facebook and out them for their beliefs. Cowards. But even them…I don’t want them hurt. I want them to grow up and change and be more human to ALL humans. I don’t want to kill them or run them over or hang them. OK. Some days I want to put them all on a very hot and dry island somewhere very far away. It’s true. But normally, I don’t want anyone hurt.

It hurts to be an American right now. It shouldn’t. Land of the free, home of the brave. We stole this country, this land, from the First Americans…the least we can do is keep all those who live here safe and give them as much support as we can. Try to make up for previous dumbassery. Try to make it right, best we can. Try to make it better in the future. Starting now.

I finished a quilt yesterday. Post-election, I have focused on women’s rights for a while and now on climate change, although that’s about to change again. There are so many issues that need support. It’s overwhelming sometimes to keep it all in my head. All the quilt needed yesterday was eyeballs…I’d decided not to cut out tiny fucking pieces this time…instead, I would make tiny French knots…this is why I have a thread stash. This is a Finca thread, but a 12…I was looking for a Valdani or Perle 12, but couldn’t find one in the right color, but this is finer than a normal 12.

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This bird originally had two eyeballs, but I decided one was better.

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The sheep and the cows all got to see…

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Tiny little beasts…

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And the fish as well, although I like the whites behind the black on the blue fishies. I also added some ink…

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I took her to the photographer today. Done early!

Then I started sewing the birds together in columns and rows…

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A few beaks got squished in seams…same with some feet. Something to remember as I make more of these. Or not. Here it is all sewn together, after a year of not sewing them together.

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And then the border fabric went on.

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I did cut the fabric for the stems and the 96 colored balls…they are much smaller than I thought they’d be. And I don’t know when I’ll get to them. Sometime, I hope. I have other things to do…processing the American hate of the last few days, moving on to the next art quilt, starting school, sending the boychild back to college. Trying to make sense of the crazy.

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Yeah, Kitten, I know. It doesn’t make sense to me either. I thought we were trying to move past all that into a better existence. I guess you can’t just ignore those people who are so angry at the existence of other. I don’t know how to fix them, though, Kitten. I really don’t.

Please Don’t Bother Trying to Find Her*

Most summers I manage to make some monster of a quilt, something with 2200 pieces that measures the size of a refrigerator or something. Not so this summer. Too much cleaning and other work. I did finish one though. Well. First I have to embroider a bunch of eyeballs that I decided NOT to cut out of tiny pieces of fabric for once. I know, right? I totally forgot about the eyeballs last night. I came home from school exhausted, ordered pizza and sewed binding for about 3 hours straight. Because that was easier than thinking about anything. The quilt goes to the photographer tomorrow, and now I need to do eyeballs this morning. No problem. That’s easy. But I was already in bed and about to turn the lights out when I remembered the eyeballs thing. So I put a reminder on the calendar…so yes, my phone keeps popping up with a reminder that says Embroider Eyeballs.

It’s all good. Artistically arranged puppy good.

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He was helping me. That background…think it came from one of the donated piles of fabric. It got well used. There’s about 5″ of it left, which I could realistically use in a quilt somewhere.

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I’m trying to be a responsible fabric user…haven’t bought a backing fabric in a year or so. I just reduce and reuse.

She’s long and skinny, that’s for sure. About 68″ long (so taller than I am).

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I’ll post official photos next week. I don’t have total hours yet either…since the eyeballs still need embroidery.

One of the things that’s interesting about this quilt is in the time analysis. It’s probably the same size as the Bathtub quilts, except it’s long and skinny. But it had almost twice as many pieces than the most complicated one of the Bathtubs. It took much longer to trace pieces and iron them, but the same amount of time to quilt. The amount of detail is greater, but the length of the stitching line is about the same? This analysis helps me figure out how to estimate future quilts, both time and price. And to try to control some of my detail tendencies…but it does explain why size doesn’t matter.

Which reminds me, The Goddess of Never-Ending Chaos is currently in Birmingham, England, at their Festival of Quilts.

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She no longer belongs to me…but I have another meditation-pose piece in my head at the moment. I should draw that. Is there time for that in my crazy schedule?

More stuff in the feather stitches…straight stitches and some French knots, filling in space. That’s the official title of this thing, by the way…Filling in Space.

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Then my brain froze. I was exhausted by the conference yesterday…really more a matter of too much interaction (900 teachers is a lot of interaction) than actual physical exhaustion, like what teaching does to you. I had to get up way too early and I didn’t sleep well the night before. I seem to be alternating between stressy interrupted sleep and conking out the next night. Fun stuff.

Anyway, I think I was talking about this Sue Spargo BOM Bird Crazy (oh wait, that’s not the real name…that’s what I call it…it’s called Bird Dance) last summer, about all I needed to do was to trim the blocks and sew them together and then put borders on, and I was debating that, because it seemed easier to sew the 96 circles in the border on before sewing the borders on the rest, but they do need to BE in a certain place, and that’s a pain in the butt without having them sewn on. SO. I didn’t do anything. They’ve been sitting in this box on the couch since then. Like a year (I just looked it up. I finished the last bird on July 29 last year…the BOM from 2013.). You have to be impressed by that, right? You don’t even know how many soccer games these bird blocks saw…so with my braindead brain, I went and trimmed all those fuckers down to the same size (well, except for the two that are not quite big enough). Which I was going to do last August. And didn’t. And then once you’ve done that, you’ve got to sew them together because you just cut off all the knots that are keeping the embroidery in place.

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So I laid them out. The cat was NOT helping.

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Luckily I could just follow her picture, because if I’d had to make decisions about what went where, we’d be sitting here in 2020 trying to figure that shit out. And I started sewing them together…until I got distracted by moving the bed and fixing the shower faucet and then stressed out about how I never ever ever get my house clean and organized. EVER. I’m going to finish sewing them together today and put the borders on though, because this is something that can be completed and checked off a list and that’s a good thing right now. I really should be panicking more about school at this point, but I can’t even.

It’ll be a year at least before I get 96 balls sewn on and embellished. No worries about a quick finish on this. And the other BOM of hers that I finished? Still pinbasted from last year. Oh yeah.

So I went to bed way too late last night because I was cleaning at 1 AM, you know, like you do. Because if someone can answer the question of What the Fuck Do I Do with All the School Shirts I Have That I Don’t Like to Wear? Well I’ve got a reward of some type for you. Like a bunch of school shirts I’m thinking. I even got rid of like 5 of them already.

Then the dog started barking early this morning (up way way way too late last night) at the construction next door (will it NEVER END???) and boychild made good smells throughout the house (clearing out the freezer I believe)…

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Both kids can cook. And it’s not because of me. Impressive. He leaves Monday. It’s gonna be a rough week. And I have to try to start drawing the next quilt, because it has to be done in 80 days. Well, before that, so it can be photographed. No problem. (ha ha ha) But first the damn embroidered eyeballs.

*The Zombies, She’s Not There

Tying My Neurons into Knots

Well. That was it. Summer break. Oh thee of little sleep and lots of moving shit around, thy will did not include a big summer quilt like always (there was a quilt…it just wasn’t big). My left eye never stopped twitching (that’s a new one).

My goal this year, because I always have one, is to be more zen. Now the girlchild claims I’m the least zen person she knows, so it should be easier to be More zen. Anyway. Let’s see how it goes.

I did enjoy the sunrise this morning. It was brief, but beautiful.

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Guess I will be seeing more of those. Although normally I wouldn’t be up and showered yet. Today is special for that. Thank you, today, for the sunrise, which makes up for how I feel right now (not really, but maybe it will later).

I’m supposed to be wearing Hawaiian stuff today for the back-to-school conference. All black it is. Because if I were in Hawaii, I’d probably be wearing all black at least one of the days. I don’t own any Hawaiian. I’m not buying Hawaiian. I am the worst team player ever (unless it’s shit I care about…then I’m one of the best).

Midnight hangs out in here. Well. When I’m in here, everyone is in here, except for Simba, who likes the boychild better, because he scratches his belly nonstop and lets him loll all over him.

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One of the biggest problems of the new school year (so far) is that my prep moved to the afternoon, which affects my food schedule. This is a big deal when you’re a diabetic who manages her blood sugar with diet. People say dumbass things like, “Well, just eat during class.” When I’m teaching, I’m pretty fully engaged with what I’m doing. Which is what you WANT for the teacher of your child, right? No way in hell am I gonna remember to eat until it’s too late and I’m shaking. Unfortunately. So I need some solutions. This would be good if I could remember to do it, or not hate the meal by Wednesday if I premake them. Or whatever.

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Girlchild suggested I go to bed earlier so I could get up earlier and prep a meal. Yeah. Well. Just because you go to bed earlier doesn’t mean you will fall asleep earlier. I guess that’s an old-people problem…except I’ve always been like that. So I’m trying to figure that out. Realistically, I have until next Wednesday, because that’s when the kids start.

Anyway, I was determined to finish quilting yesterday so I could go buy binding. So that’s what I did.

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I finished the quilting in the middle of the afternoon, which worked out perfectly, because I went to the fabric store on the way to counseling. I even remembered wiper fluid for the car, after going without it all summer (a mistake). They even tried to upsell me an engine additive. Sigh. No.

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So after that, I spent about 2 hours cleaning the bedroom, including trying to move the bed by myself, which was a huge mistake. But I made major progress in there, which is awesome. What’s not so awesome is how many sets of sheets I have. I’m pretty sure if there’s a zombie apocalypse, sheets are not gonna save me. (I don’t buy sheets. My mom does. It’s a thing. Actually, I buy one set of flannel sheets every 10 years or so, because I like them in winter. Plus they have cool things on them like penguins.)

That said, all the sheets are now homed appropriately. And in an organized fashion (not by set, but by type…I like to mix and match.).

So it was late when I started this. I was working on the bedroom because I had to wash the binding fabric (I wash everything) and then I just kept going on the bedroom. But trimming the quilt was a bitch. Sometimes it is. For one thing, it couldn’t be wider than 24″, so there was that…and then the boxy bit at the bottom wasn’t quite perfectly boxy, so that made trimming it a pain in the ass. Hence all the recuts and recuts and can we trim this shit again?

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But I eventually (sweatily) got there.

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I don’t usually leave more on one or two sides than the others, but I liked how it looked. Kind of like an ancient scroll, the story of climate change in the future, when we are all living on a very small piece of land because nowhere else is habitable. That’s my other nightmare right now, after North Korea bombing San Diego, because it’s a military town…oh, and the Yellowstone Caldera. That too. Because I’m less than 1000 miles away. I don’t want to experience any of those things. And I was only halfway kidding when I told the boychild I was turning the pool into a bomb shelter this fall.

Then the binding went on. I used to always do darker bindings, but that doesn’t always work, especially when the background is already dark. I wanted to stick to that gray blue from the bottom part of the quilt…

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I stayed up way too late, yes. And yes, that’s Bloodline. A cheery show. Really. Tortured people who don’t seem to be able to do it right. A good choice.

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So there she is, staring back at us. The artist’s gaze. I hope you can see the What the Fuck Did You Do in her look. This thing needs a title (and it probably can’t be that…although it’s appropriate to the quilt).

Today I start the new school year. Tonight I (a) move the bed with the boychild’s help and (b) sew down all that binding by hand. And let my brain percolate over the next one, which is tying my neurons up in knots, let me tell you. I can storytell what I want it to say. I’m just not sure how to say that in images. I’ll get there. I’m just not there yet. I do have something else I can work on for the next few days if it’s an issue though, so I’m OK. No worries brave readers. There’s always art to be made.

To Sew This Hole Up That You Ripped in My Head*

Decision overload. I have a broken drawer of fabric. It’s been broken for three months. I can’t replace it exactly…those drawers are a good 20 years old. So either I replace one stack of them, which means everything on top will no longer fit, because the two stacks will be different heights, or I replace two stacks, which means less room than I have now, because the new ones are slightly smaller (but on sale right now). Or I have this new vision, might be a crazy one, of a shelf unit in that space that goes to the ceiling and holds smaller containers. Or even just shelves…the ones that slot in, a la Home Depot…because I could put more in and have more storage than I have now. But that sounds like a major time and work commitment, and now is not the time for that. Seriously. Four days before I go back to school? But I don’t have to DO it now. I just have to commit to a plan.

You know, sometimes people ask why I write this blog, and it really isn’t for you (sorry). It’s a brain dump, a motivational device for getting stuff done, a way to make decisions. It’s like once the words are out of my head I don’t have to worry so much about what was said. I think the shelf system is the way to go. It’s harder and more time-consuming, but it’s also the best solution to the problem. I think. Aargh. For now.

So it won’t get done any time in the next month probably, because I’m upending everything here still. But there’s a semi-plan in place. I just did that in my head. Well…in the part of my head that I just spilled out into the interwebz.

I kept stitching down on Saturday…

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Sometimes I get antsy and I have to get up and walk around, sometimes dance a little in the hallway, yell out a bit, make another cup of tea or heat up the one I haven’t been drinking. I think my teacup is just an excuse to get up and move around…which is a good thing.

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I totally tense up while I’m doing this…

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Anyway, I had a plan to go see some art afterwards, so I HAD to finish (I really do much better with deadlines)…

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And I did. About 4 1/2 hours to stitch her down. Why less than I thought? Because lots of pieces means lots of time in the early stages, but not so much time now, because this is about distance more than quantity, and the distance is small.

I love seeing them from the back…

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I actually look at the back to see if I missed any pieces. I found one and fixed it. There might be more. Hard to say.

Kitten slept the entire fucking time.

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Then Sunday, the boychild and I went at the garage again. He was cutting things up for the dumpster/trash…and I was going through the last of the school stuff and moving all the art up and off the ground.

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I forgot to take a picture of that…really I should do a before/after thing, but we’re still piling stuff that needs to get out of here.

Nighttime found me on the entryway floor, laying her out, ready for pinbasting.

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I had a piece of fabric for the backing that was almost exactly the right size. I also had some batting that was the right size, but then I realized it hadn’t been washed. I use Warm and Natural, and it will shrink when washed. I have had to wash these before, so I always prewash batting. I got the leftover pieces from the community quilts, and that’s what wasn’t washed. So I pulled it all out of my stash and will put it in the bathtub today so it can go back in the stash and be ready to go.

I managed to find an older piece of washed batting that was the right size. And I pinbasted her…

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I did all of the ironing and pinning while I was listening to the annual trainings that teachers have to do: Blood-borne Pathogens, Pesticide Idiocy, and the Mandated Reporter stuff. I love how they blamed teachers for abuse at school. OK. It’s OK. I passed. There’s one more we have to do, but they haven’t MADE IT YET. Because I can blow off stuff until the last minute. OK. I actually can blow off SOME stuff until the last minute, but not without repercussions. Like not sleeping due to my brain worrying about shit over and over again. But don’t make me deal with video trainings once the new year starts. I hate that.

I was behind on this. I did three strands of feather stitching on the top, and then for the fourth night, I did lazy daisies in one of the feather strands. I just wanted some different lines up there.

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That’s 217 days of stitching. Yeah, I looked it up. So there are 148 days left (yes, I used a calculator).

Yes, I’m quilting today. Hopefully for a good chunk of time, although the shit is beginning to pile up…I want her quilted and the binding at least started or on before Friday. Seriously. I was really good yesterday and got almost all of the school stuff sent to the print shop, but I still have one more thing, plus stuff I need to do in the classroom, and the bedroom…holy god, the bedroom is still a freakish disaster. There’s So Much I got done and So Much I didn’t get done this summer. Nothing new there. The garage is a relief (I swear I’ll do a before/after photo thing). The bedroom will be a relief when it’s done.

But I need to start thinking about the next quilt. The drawing is barely started. I have all the ideas and concepts in my head, percolating, but an image hasn’t fully popped through. Hopefully it will some time this week.

OK. Need to get work. Enough thinking here. Need to do.

*Banks, Beggin for Thread

It’s More Likely to Happen if I Talk about It

This happens every year. I get close to the beginning of the new school year and I decide to just make art nonstop. Like screw the housecleaning and the to-do list. Probably I should be more mature and get the car smogged and the bedroom out of chaos mode (I have two drawers and the hope chest still…just cannot deal. Cannot.). But no. I need this quilt done. I’m irritated that I’ve finished no quilts in months. This one isn’t even that big…although it does have a ton of pieces.

The last week before going back…it just sucks. You realize how many hours you’re going to lose…not just the hours at school, but it’s back to daily grading and planning, to kid problems that never leave your working brain, to adult drama (seriously), to stupid professional development that aims to teach you what you already know (some day they might differentiate…but it hasn’t happened yet), to endless meetings. UGH. I need to change my mindset. Somehow. Maybe if this summer had been more of a recharge and less like hard work. Reminder for next summer, eh? Then again, LAST summer at about this point, I was getting kicked out of an AQS show for an invisible penis. So. There’s that.

Anyway, I had another dental appointment in the morning, but then came back and refused to do anything but art. That’s not true. I moved a few things into the garage. But the humidity is killing me at the moment. Ugh. So I started ironing. Which isn’t hot at all. Stop laughing.

I did the rest of the hills…hard to see it all in this picture. We got oil things and a dam and a cracked highway and a volcano. Like you do. Some power plants.

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I added some oil drums to the top right…

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Then ironed all the bottom stuff to that…

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It’s super long, so that’s harder than it looks to keep it all attached. Right now it’s all rolled up under where I’m ironing. Somewhat dangerous, as I might accidentally iron it all to itself. That would suck.

I did some of this after dinner. I think I was doing blue in the top, above the tree. Just filling in spaces with whatever makes sense.

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Then back to ironing. I did about 5 hours total yesterday…up to almost 14 hours of ironing at this point, but I’m much closer to done now. These flowers were a bit of a challenge.

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Then the body behind it, attaching it all to the bottom bits and building one arm. The hand went in front of and behind the flowers.

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I did some of the torso (the yellow sun thing) and then turned the teflon sideways to do the other arm separately. I numbered it before the torso, but the torso has to be finished before, because it’s behind the arm. Complicated much?

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Awwww. Tiny bird.

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Then I ironed the other arm where it belongs, although it’s not ironed down where the buildings need to go. I just wanted you to see everything I ironed yesterday. It was a lot of little pieces. I gave up when the buildings were next.

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It was after midnight, I was tired, and I didn’t want to deal with all the tiny windows. Although, now it’s morning and I still don’t want to deal with them. Huh.

So then I was trying to figure out how to photograph this thing. Finished, it’s 61″ long…I’m not finished yet.

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This is a slightly better view. You can see I need to finish the torso, the land above it, and her head.

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So I’m in the 1000s. About 320 pieces to go. That’s it. Then iron it to the background and start ironing it down. See now I can see an endpoint, a light at the end of the tunnel. So it’s really hard to NOT work on it right this second. I have about an hour and a half before I have to leave again. But I need to get the dogs. And really I should clean something (ugh I so don’t want to). I could be done with ironing today if I worked hard and if my schedule allowed. Hard to say if that will happen. Stitch down by tomorrow? Quilting by Friday? I don’t know if I can pull that off. Probably not. But I can talk about it. It’s more likely to happen if I talk about it.

Back from That Soul Vacation*

It’s frustrating to keep making plans to get a certain amount of art done, and then you end up barely getting anything done, whether it’s because of limited time or because things take longer than you thought they would (my fault for so many tiny pieces) or even both! Which is what I’m dealing with today…along with a cracked filling that needs replacing because I grind my teeth. The same with exercise and cleaning and organizing and getting everything done. Life is time-consuming.

Anyway, I’m back to the dentist today to deal with the filling, unfortunately…but it’s gotta be done. I don’t know what to tell her about grinding my teeth…I was busted for that the first time my freshman year of college. I need to socket the exercise back in regularly. I am definitely a work in progress. Sigh.

I did some of this while I was finishing something else up…more stitching in the bottom left, the lighter color, pistil stitches and fly stitches.

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And I have almost all of these sewn down…just eyeballs and those big yellow flower things. I need this done by Friday. Maybe Thursday. And I was watching the last bit of an episode I can’t watch on the computer…

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So ironing started late. Same time as when I’m teaching, ironically. What else did I get done yesterday? Some major cleaning in the bedroom again (still not anywhere near done), boychild needed shoes, some other stuff. Then I ironed the rocky crotchland.

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So yeah, this sits right above the legs…and then the land sits above it. Normal people might just do one piece of brown behind all the rocks and water. I am not normal. But I like how it looks, so that’s my problem. I didn’t get much more in height yesterday…

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I did start on the land, but you can see there are a ton of tiny pieces here…

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The sheep will look more sheeplike with outlining. Hopefully. So this afternoon, when I’m recovering from the dental crap, hopefully I’ll be ironing. Before that, I’ll be dumping 10 bags of clothing and other crap at the thrift store. It’s progress. I know when I’m done with this, it will be a good thing. It’s just sucking up so much time. This is nothing new, right? I’m so at peace when I’m ironing though. Makes me want to do more. Less likely to grind my teeth, right?

Anyway. Teeth call. Louder than the other things.

*Train, Drops of Jupiter

A Spray of Stars Hit the Screen*

Been up all hours now. Stayed up too late finishing the cutting-out stages on the quilt. Then up bloody early cuz I couldn’t sleep, plus some crazy person drove from Long Beach to buy my serger in the early dawn. I don’t serge. I also don’t early dawn. You don’t even know what a serger is, if you’re one of my non-sewing readers. Do I have non-sewing readers? Probably a few. I can’t even thread a serger. It takes 5 YouTube videos to thread a serger. Certainly not happening with the brain power I’ve got at the moment.

The Don’t Shut Up show is down. I got to leave early to come home and spend two hours writing the blogpost for it. You can see that here, if you didn’t go to the show. Shows are a lot of work, even when you’re not in charge. I still need to suss out the videos I’ve got and post about the artist talk, but that’s not happening today. Straight up, I need a break from all the cleaning and doing shit. Which is silly, because it’s not like I’ve been doing it full time or anything, but it just gets very overwhelming to have to make that many decisions about what to do with stuff and/or how to store it or get rid of it. I found a cardboard box full of silverware yesterday. In my bedroom cupboard. I didn’t even remember its existence. They’re not solid silver, unfortunately, because then maybe I could pay somebody to clear all this out, but they’ll supplement my stash. My eye is twitching again. The internet is ever so helpful. Causes are stress, fatigue, and caffeine. Well yes. I do have those. Thank you, internet.

Anyway, I will deal with the hangers today, but I’m not planning on a lot else. Well, there’s the pile of clothes I just dumped on the bed. More to go through…aaargh.

So yeah, I stayed up way too late last night because I just needed to be done with the cutting out of tiny little pieces…

See…there’s someone who knows how to sleep properly.

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I finished cutting stuff out sometime after midnight. I think it was about 13 hours total.

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And then early this morning, while waiting for the serger woman to show up, I negotiated space on the light table with Kitten…

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Apparently it’s her table, not mine.

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I just worked around her. Like I always do.

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I sort all those tiny pieces out again into bins…they’re easier to deal with 100 pieces at a time…

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I was visited by a hummingbird.

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So this took two hours…and most of the last hour was sorting through pieces like in the bottom box. Tiny pieces. Crazy pieces. Who the fuck thought this was a good idea?

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These pieces are either missing the paper or missing the fabric. Not bad…and that piece 485 is either the gray or the red. I’ll figure it out when I iron it all down.

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All sorted.

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Fourteen boxes of pieces for today’s ironing pleasure. If I can wake up enough to do that. I have shitty role models around me, all of them asleep. Think I’m going to go take a nap with the clothes on my bed. They probably won’t bug me too much…then maybe I’ll be able to iron for a while.

*Siouxsie and the Banshees, Kiss Them for Me

Running in Circles, Coming Up Tails*

So I bought 6 bars of soap in November 2008. I’m allergic to a lot of soap-like things. Hell, I’m allergic to a lot of things in general. Like when I tell people I’m allergic to fish and chocolate, they just lose it…over the chocolate part. Whatever. So I bought these bars of soap online because I couldn’t find it locally any more, and it’s the only soap in the world that I’ve found that doesn’t cause my face to itch like a bitch. So I was running out, getting low, and thinking, shit, I’m gonna have to drop cash on a whole 6-pack. Then I checked Amazon and saw how long they lasted. I’m laughing. I should just buy a lifetime supply now. I’m buying 6 now and I won’t need more until 2026. We probably won’t even use soap in 2026. We’ll just walk into the Tardis and it will deal with the oil and dirt and bacteria, right?

Here’s hoping.

So I’ve been working on the bedroom…which includes scary spaces like the closet and random nightstand drawers. The cats are fascinated, because I leave drawers empty and open and they like to sit in them. It’s going to take a while to clean all that stuff out. And I’m running out of time. I have 16 days, but there are 4 completely booked days already. So I try to clean during the day…it seems to work better…and then do the art at night. I finished ironing everything to fabric yesterday. It took a really long time, 20 hours. For 1320 pieces? I think it was all the fussy grays and greens. Lots of buildings that needed to be next to each other.

Of course, when I moved back to ironing, the cats followed me…and sat in other open drawers.

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I think that cat is why one of my green drawers is broken…and they don’t make this size any more, so if I’m going to fix all this, I have to buy all new, and the sizing is off. Sigh. Pain in the butt. I replaced all the rest of the fabric drawers in the last two years…again, they probably lasted 15 years or more. Plastics. Can’t afford to do anything else in here. Although I might be smarter about what’s there. Put a floor-to-ceiling shelf in and put drawers on the shelves? Sounds expensive. And time-consuming. Back of the brain. Not necessary right now. I’m at the end of the summer…everything has to be necessary to get done.

Speaking of necessary, this quilt needs to get done and photographed. Here’s the tail end of the flesh pieces…

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The face and the neck.

So this quilt used a whopping 139 fabrics…which is a lot, even for me…so that’s where the time comes in…picking each of those out takes more time. Lots of grays and variations on gray.

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Here’s what I have left to cut out…remembering I started cutting them out last week at my quilt meeting…these pieces have been to three meetings and a hair appointment (not mine) so far.

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I am trying to stay caught up on this…so I did something…some sort of fly stitch with straight stitch. On the right side still, down in that wave. I need to do something in the top right now…or go down and finish the bottom. It’s right up on the edge of the fabric.

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Then I cut stuff out for a few hours, with Kitten’s help. She follows me around the house. Although, I don’t know where she is right now?

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The cats seem fascinated by all the spaces I keep opening up in the house when I clean. She’s probably in a drawer somewhere.

I have about 7 hours into the cutting…all the cut-out stuff is on the left and all the to-be cut (which is still the larger pile) is on the right. So another 7 hours? Yikes. I could do that in one day, if I hated my hand and had nothing else to do.

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Yeah, not so much. So probably not finishing until tomorrow…tomorrow when I’m booked almost all day. Then sort and start ironing Thursday night? Or Friday. Friday is wide open…and then next week starts to bog up. Get it all ironed by Tuesday of next week? Then stitch down and quilt…I actually have a small chance of getting it done before school starts. If I stay focused and no other crazy shit happens (and there we are…because that’s why nothing gets done in the time I think it should…because of crazy shit).

I need to start drawing the next two as well. Minor issue. Gonna start with the closet…one thing at a time.

*Coldplay, The Scientist

Not Close Enough for the Champagne to Get Chilled*

Weekends. I got some stitching done in the car yesterday. Got some cutting out done at the meeting. People make fun of me for always working…although there are down times (Saturday nights usually)…but I actually find cutting those tiny pieces out mostly relaxing. So if it’s a meeting, I actually pay more attention when I’m cutting. I know that sounds weird, but the action of cutting keeps the part of my brain that gets off task from affecting the part of my brain that’s listening.

So I listen better when I cut or sew or draw. I’ve had huge issues over the years with mostly control-freak teachers and bosses who believe people are best paying attention when they are staring into your eyes, unblinking. Yeah. Well they’re wrong. Interesting insight for me as a teacher. I totally understand the kids who are trying to read a book while we’re teaching…luckily we do much less of the direct instruction than we used to, so now they have stuff to do. I would have been drawing AND trying to read a book at the same time, so I get it.

So I cut these out during the meeting…got almost two hours in. AND paid attention like a good member.

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So it’s harder to know how much more I have to do, whether I’ve hit the halfway mark anywhere (nope. Bet I haven’t.). I have about 3 1/2 hours into the cutting. Nowhere near half. But that makes sense, because I only exceeded the halfway mark on ironing pieces down sometime yesterday…here’s my fabrics for the bunch of wildflowers she’s holding…

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I had more greens, but turns out I didn’t need them.

I did over 3 hours of ironing again yesterday, mostly at night. I’m 14 hours in, so I think I’m going to go over my 15-hour estimate by quite a bit. Unfortunately. I’ve barely started the 900s, so probably tomorrow will be when I finish ironing. Today is kind of busy.

On the left is all the stuff that’s ironed down. On the right is all the stuff that’s trimmed.

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And here’s the disaster I left on the ironing board last night. Actually, I think I made myself clean it up.

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The pile on the right is all flesh fabrics. Usually I cut all the flesh in one go, but because of how this quilt was drawn, there are little bits of flesh and then big whopping bits of land and all the things on it, so I just keep the pile of flesh fabrics separate and pull them out when I hit the next fleshy bit. Sometimes I write numbers on the drawing for the colors…1 is the lightest, then 2 etc. In case there’s an overlap farther up or the arms need to match the color of the shoulders. The drawing is not sacred in any way.

I did just check and on an average quilt, I hit the halfway point in total construction somewhere in the cutting-out-fabrics stage. So close to halfway but not close enough for the champagne to get chilled. That’s for sure.

So I’ve finished all the flesh up to the shoulders, but all the stuff in the chest area (buildings, sun, nuclear power plants) all need to be ironed. And I saved out the decorative stuff on the arms: waves, veins, tattoos, etc. So I can work on that now, although I think there will be an issue with food at some point, and I have to be two somewheres this afternoon. Sigh. Busy summer.

All the crap from the garage is now on Craigslist though, so there’s that. I’m not quite done dealing with the garage, but it’s manageable now. I think I have to start working on the bedroom honestly. And worry about school? Not yet. Girlchild goes back to Boston tomorrow…feel like I’ve barely seen her, but she has friends she wants to see as well. Shockingly. And I’ve been busy too…not entirely on her.

Anyway. The to-do list is massive. Time is limited. Sleep is optional. With that in mind, I’ve got art to do and cleaning as a backup.