Lovin’ Is What I Got*

October 20, 2016

Ah my brain is fuzz. I blame the 150-pound raccoon on my property. Long story.

So I think I’m done with the quilted piece. I want to trim some of the batting away, but I think as far as the show goes, it’s really done. I may rethink it once this show is over.

So now I have to focus on the nightstand itself. Ugh. My brain. First of all, it’s hard for me to draw on something that is upright in front of me. And not flat. But I started.


I’m not sold on it yet…it needs a lot more. Seriously. This is one side and it’s not done. I kind of hate it at the moment. Artists are supposed to admit that shit. I do have more book pages I can paste on over it if I really hate it.

My brain was blanking last night, though. So I went to bed and started brainstorming other things I would draw on there. Dreams. Hopes. Nightmares. What do we write books about? Why do we read books? Pretty much that’s everything, right? I’ll work on it more tonight. Some of the things I think of aren’t easy to portray in a drawing. Oh well. Still working.

I made it to book club finally last night, after like 5 months of not being able to go. I read all the books for each month. I just couldn’t get there. Amusingly, last night it was about a book I had last read in the mid-80s. But I’ve read the whole series. So I could talk about the whole thing. I just couldn’t remember what specifically happened in the first book. I just wanted to get the hell out of the house and be with other intelligent humans. So I achieved that.

I was amused by this.


Because Calli is on Katie’s bed. Simba is way too small for Calli’s bed (can I please please sleep on the big dog’s bed?), and Katie gets nothing. Simba has to be crated because he doesn’t behave at night.

Eventually everyone got a bed. Even me.

OK. That’s all I got.

*Sublime, What I Got

I Can’t Do Much from Way out Here*

October 17, 2016

Yeah. I took the weekend off writing. It really was just that I ran out of time. I regularly take Sunday off, but Saturday started with places I had to be, things I had to do, and I never got caught up enough to write. I got a lot done, though…so I guess that’s good. I’m still a little panicked about deadlines and having too much to do this week, but I’ll survive. I’m a few steps closer to being done with what has to be done.

I had ironing to do on Saturday…but Kitten really thinks of the iron as her own space heater…


I was trying to figure out how to attach the sheet to the background fabric and keep the bottom free, but also leave the possibility of finishing the top as a wall quilt.


For this show, I want it to hang free…but I don’t know if I want that in the long term…


So I figured that out, marked the fabric, cut and washed the background, and then headed off to the Visions opening (more on that later), plus band watching. I draw in bars a lot…this because I like the music, and I do sometimes dance, but I’m often in there for 4 hours or so, and that’s a long time for someone like me to just SIT there. So I draw.


I did two drawings…I don’t think this one is done…


Nice shadows though.

Sunday, after spending most of the day dealing with household stuff and a ton of grading (I think I described it as grading until my eyes bled), I finally got back to the problem…So I didn’t want a visible stitch line, because I want it to look like the sheet is just pulled up. So I started with Wonder Under underneath…


And once I had it attached, I hand-stitched the top and the folds…


Because if I want all that to hold when it’s hung on the wall, it’s got to be more than Wonder Under…you can see the stitching on the back…


Then I laid out the pieces where they belonged. I had to put another layer of white under her butt so the sheet wouldn’t show through so badly.


And then I did the stitch down, which took less than an hour, compared to the two hours it took me to get it all on there today.


I got it all stitched down…here’s the back.


I don’t even remember what my time estimates were before, but the ironing took a lot longer than I thought, mostly because of the sheet. Hopefully tonight I can sandwich it and start quilting. This is a crappy busy week, though, and I still need to draw on the nightstand. Sigh.

I’ll figure it out. I always do. I think I’m OK on time, actually, so I should stop panicking…but this week feels tight already. Starting with today, because I didn’t prep for today’s lab AND I have before-school duty…so I really need to be at school early. I’d much rather make art…honestly.

*Freedy Johnston, Save Yourself City Girl

You Can Ponder Perpetual Motion*

October 11, 2016

Aargh. I feel like this year is going to burn me out quicker than most school years, and not because of the kids (that’s usually what does it). I’m trying to do all the things I’m supposed to do to handle that, but it doesn’t seem to be enough. Yesterday I had a ton of professional development, although honestly it just felt like another way to make me do more work than I’m already doing. It’s enough to write curriculum from scratch…but to then have to do all this supplementary stuff on the curriculum I just wrote is killing my brain. When I got overwhelmed (and irritated) in the morning, I started drawing. Unfortunately, this is on the back of some crap I’m probably going to need later (and they told me I would need yesterday, but did not).

This is what it looks like when Nida is overwhelmed in a PD…


And it’s not because what they were saying was hard…honestly, I’ve seen most of it before, but then that just irritates me, and then they assigned some really vaguely worded homework for when we next meet, and I just don’t fucking care about their little projects that I have to jump through a hoop for. Let me plan. For god’s sake, let me get some grading done, because I’m buried. Stop telling me I have to do more.

This year. Damn. There are 17 other things I need to manage today that are school-related besides the two additional things that were assigned yesterday. Bastards.

So by the time I got home, I was antsy as hell. I just needed to like RUN somewhere (and my knees don’t go along with that much). I’ve been having a person issue with one of my walking routes with the dogs, so I didn’t want to drag all three dogs through that route…but I needed somewhere close. So I drove to the ex’s house with two dogs and picked up the third dog, and walked their butts off. Mine too…we needed it. OK. I needed it more than they did.

But I came home and dealt with grades, because I lost my prep period yesterday and didn’t have time to get them done. Plus I’m constantly trying to catch up.

Then I sanded this sucker for the nightstand project…in the dark. On the deck. With the dogs. Listening to the yelling down the road from a major accident…I heard it happen and then the yelling started. Sirens. They were yelling about a rollover. Scary stuff. It’s the turn I make onto my road and once a car barely avoided my ex with both kids in the car, taking out a mailbox instead.


Tonight I’m hoping to start gluing shit on it. Not really shit. You’ll see. The holes on the bottom are a bit of an issue. Trying to decide what to do about them. Quick fix. There’s metal screens in there. I don’t want to spend a lot of time dealing with the holes. And I’m not great with a power saw. I have a piece of wood that’s too wide…but it would just be one cut.

Then I settled down with scissors. I thought I could finish cutting these out last night, but I was too damn tired.


I’m maybe halfway done. Another thing to try to get done tonight. And grades. Always grades. In fact, I should be doing more of that right now…sometimes I do feel like a perpetual motion machine…

*Creedence Clearwater Revival, Up Around the Bend

When You Come Undone*

October 8, 2016

I know what I wanted to get to last night artwise and it didn’t happen. I was just too tired. My eyes have really been bugging me…getting all watery and tired. I’m blaming the weather, since we’re back to crazy warm again. Or just overuse. Or something. But I didn’t think I could pick fabrics last night when I couldn’t see straight. Perhaps staring at a computer for hours is part of it.

I came home from work…left there late because we are out in the morning on Monday for some training that I am not trying to think of as a waste of time at the moment. Because they say things like, “We’re giving you time to PLAAANNN…” but then it’s plan for what they think we should be doing and not what we’re really doing. Because this is about language standards in science…because we don’t make our kids write their asses off? And I don’t know what I’m doing? You’re right…a Comp. Lit. degree and years of editing does not mean I can write. Or the 500+ words I write almost every day…whatever. I hate saying whatever all the time, but professional development is meant to push up and support those who need it on some general topic…and if you’ve already got that, then you’re screwed. There’s stuff I need help with and I’ll never get it out of PD. Rant over. Well. For now.

And then the errands for my parental units…lots of work in that. Fought the traffic and finally got home, and my water was off. But the guy who did it was running up the road yelling “Miss! Miss!”. Reminded me of school. Got the water back on (they have to move the pipes due to the new behemoth…house that is being built at the bottom of the road. Dealt with dogs…only two last night. Then I worked. School. For about 5 hours. Straight. Ugh. There’s more. I gotta do more. Maybe not today. We’ll see.

So at 11:22 PM, I was thinking, well…what CAN I do…because standing up and going to the studio and cleaning up enough to start picking fabrics is so totally NOT happening at 11:22 PM on a Friday night after teaching all week.

And that is why I found the big sketchbook in my hand (finally…oh my, what a relief) and I just let the pen drift across the page, and this idea of hands pulling the upper layer apart to reveal something behind, that happened.


It’s weird. And it’s not done. But it felt nice while I was doing it. And that’s the point. That’s what my head needed. And honestly it needs a shitload more of it, because if I’m leaving work on a Friday night and facing the weekend, it shouldn’t feel like I’m trying to shove down a panic attack, and that’s what it felt like. I have some big heavy things that need moving, and I can’t do it by myself…both literally and metaphysically. I need help with that. So there’s that side of it, where I feel like I’m on my own and can’t ask for or find help, and then there’s the part where my job is currently so demanding, both of time and mental energy, that I can’t find the space to make art. To relax.

Anyway. Right now I need to make a bunch of deviled eggs for a potluck/art talk thing tonight where I’ll be one of the talkers. I have my Powerpoint done but I have no fucking clue what I’m going to say. Which is fine. And I’m hanging out with a friend midday, but have stuff on both sides of that which need to get done. So off the chair, out of this room, go get shit done.

*Duran Duran, Come Undone

I’m Just a Soul Whose Intentions Are Good*

September 28, 2016

So instead of just working on the next project (which actually has two parts), I decided to do two at a time. Not really. But last night, I did work on both. One isn’t due until December, so it’s not a rush at all. But it needs more drawing, and sometimes I feel like drawing more than I feel like anything else, so it’s good to have it at a stage where I can do that. The original drawing has actually been lying around for a month or so.

Anyway, after a long parent meeting in a foreign language where we tried desperately to get dad to understand that this kid needs help way beyond our personal abilities (I really hate the law sometimes…I get why it’s there, but it can hogtie us), I came home and actually napped. I always worry when that happens…although I remember coming home from school on the days my mom did her nursing volunteer work and she’d be flat out on the couch, the book folded open on her chest, sound asleep. So maybe being almost 50 and on my feet all day, and then in an hour-long intense meeting, maybe that’s a legit reason to need a nap. I only got 12 minutes, though, so don’t get excited. Because dogs. So I graded. Because I need to catch up. And I entered another show. Because that’s why I’m doing these crazy deadlines.

So I knew what I needed to figure out next…is that figure going to be big enough for what I want? There’s only one way to find out…fold out the damn cot…lay the drawing out…


So there’s an argument for life size, which this is not. But I can visualize the sheet and I think it will be what I want…so back to the drawing board. I cut out the cat that was on there. And then I found one of the cats I did last year that I liked. There’s the original drawing, obviously too big for this.


Meanwhile. Dogs. Sigh. They need more people around them. I did throw things for them…not as much as usual, but a little.


So I drew a new cat. Much better. And more realistic…


Not that realism is what I’m usually going for. And then I drew a new baby.


I think that’s much better. So then I numbered the whole thing…and there were only 200 pieces. Wow. Seriously. That’s doable. Even with all those tiny baby parts.


So now I need to trace it on Wonder Under…but I also need to finish the owl first. So tonight, that’s what I’m going to do. Assuming I don’t fall asleep on the couch. I’m also going to try to get the coloring book into a final stage. Ugh.

So then what next? Well I had this other drawing, the one for the December deadline, and the cat had puked on part of it before I taped it together, so I didn’t know if I’d need to recopy part of it. So I was already standing and cutting and taping…why not keep going?

One of the problems with this drawing was that giant scary bird. That thing needed to go.


So I taped the whole thing together, cutting out puked-on pieces of paper and giant scary-ass birds. And I got this.


She’s not done. Obviously. Well, maybe to me. But if I feel like drawing, she’s there waiting for me.

So yeah. Gotta go deal with an early school meeting. And the aftermath of a local shooting that will hit national news…and rightfully so. Another WTF moment. I wish I could figure out what would fix all that crazy. I’m pretty sure we can’t just move all the clueless people who can’t see the light to an island somewhere. But I guess in El Cajon, you don’t call the police for help, unless you want to get shot. Sigh. Giant-ass sigh.

*The Animals, Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

This Is Heaven to No One Else but Me*

September 27, 2016

Still in that weird wiggle space in between projects. I managed to go enlarge a drawing I did a while back that was a pre-drawing for the bed project…


It’s at 300%…the sheet is going to be a real sheet…which ought to be interesting, if she’s lying on it. I need to redraw baby. I need to probably redraw cat (although I might just use one of the drawings I did when I made all those cat quilts). I need to decide if it’s big enough. I can’t decide whether to go more life size or not. This is a bit smaller. Hopefully I will decide tonight. It might require me to open the cot back up.

Actually, that was the last thing I did last night…first I sewed on three quilt labels…well, I think I sewed one on the night before. Then I dehaired two of the quilts and cut slats and dowels and rolled them up and got them all ready to ship. Plus made labels for that and the boxes I’m sending to the kids. Kitten was not helpful.


Then I came out and colored the cover for the coloring book…


The point is not to color the whole thing. This is not my drawing…it’s Kathi McCord’s. She doesn’t have a website at the moment, but she draws awesomely. We picked her for the cover.

I was too lazy to get up and sharpen any of the pencils, so I only used stuff that had already been sharpened.


Then I went back in the office and uploaded all the corrected pictures and the cover and it all checks out. So hopefully tonight I can figure out the last bit of it, the part where they actually MAKE the damn books. Plus I have two extra pages I can’t figure out how to get rid of, thanks to the damn template they gave me. Whatever. I’m looking forward to making my own version of a coloring book, if it turns out OK. I hope it turns out OK. It would suck if it doesn’t.

Anyway, there’s progress. I do need to do a ton of grading still (always), so I know that will be happening tonight as well. I do pay the price if I go all out on an art quilt for days on end. I need to find a balance, but always feel like it skews toward work more than art. Which sucks.

What I really want to do is draw. Huh. Time. Sigh.

*Sarah McLachlan, Elsewhere

I Slipped Away*

August 29, 2016

Every Sunday, I make a list of all the stuff that needs to be done to get me through the week: lunches, dinners, sometimes even breakfasts when I feel like I need control of that (this week? Yup.). Then there’s the stuff I have to prep for school: update the website, send out a parent email (those haven’t started yet), prep for the week, write warmups etc. I grade papers. Yesterday I even set up the gradebook, because that’s a thing. I grocery shop and run errands if I need to. Laundry. And then, sometime usually after dinner, I get to do what I want. It depends on how efficient I was during the rest of the day. Certainly I woke up yesterday with all of it weighing on me, and then I tried to book through as much of it as possible. I’m sure I forgot something, though.

But I did get to the cutting stage last night. I had to tire the puppy out first, so he wouldn’t try to help…

IMG_8458 small

I threw all the balls for him for a long time.

All the stuff I’d ironed last, all the tiny stuff in the brain cloud above her head, had to be cut out first. I don’t even cut out the tiniest of them, not until I’m ready to iron. But they were all small anyway.

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Doesn’t look like much, but it was about 150 pieces.

It got easier after that, bigger pieces that didn’t require tiny scissors…then medium-sized pieces that are the meat of the thing.

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I got through a good chunk of them, almost 3 hours of cutting, and surprisingly, my hand doesn’t hurt today. But there’s still a ton left. I didn’t even get to the flesh pieces. They’re all piled in the box in backwards order of when I ironed them. So all those inner body pieces, the hearts and lungs, that’s what I’m cutting out now. I’m always amazed that I can look at a little piece as I’m cutting it and know what it is…because they don’t really usually look like anything. But I drew that piece. And then I traced that piece. And then I cut it out of Wonder Under and ironed it to fabric, and now I’m cutting it out again. Somewhere my brain has an inventory of all those pieces, and it knows what each one is. Which explains why I can’t remember anything else some days.

I keep staring at the calendar and then the due dates, and getting a little hyperventilaty. No, that’s not a word. But it should be.

I think I can finish it, but I’m not sure. And there are two standing right on top of it when I finish.

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I didn’t mean to have so many due dates on top of each other. I’ve already ditched another one and revised one of the ones I can’t ditch. But that one got doubled up when I wasn’t looking. Long story. A collaboration I need to get started on…and then one I’m going to simplify…which is what this pre-drawing is for.

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I’m going to draw it bigger, but then I think I’m going to be taking some short cuts. Using a real sheet. Not quilting it maybe. I can quilt it later, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be quilted for this show. I need an old sheet first though. Thrift shop. No pattern, solid color, gray, blue, green, but muted. I think.

Anyway. The brain is working on it. The rest of the brain needs to get to school and figure out the teaching part. Which includes a 2-hour staff meeting after school. I wish they’d figure out that the second hour is a waste of time, because we are all completely checked out. I guess I can grade stuff. Then maybe I won’t have to do that tonight at home. Plan.

*Boston, More Than a Feeling (I never knew the words to this one…always thought it was “I see my derriere walking away.” Which makes no fucking sense, I know. But whatever.)