The World’s in Trouble, There’s No Communication*

February 22, 2017

The big quilt is clean and ready for the photographer this afternoon. 168 hours. OK. So the next one will take less time, for sure (it would be hard not to, honestly). I’m crunched for time, so that’s a good thing. It also means I can’t really stop and take a breath…yet…too many deadlines still. I’m juggling as fast as I can.

So I started tracing Wonder Under for the new one last night…but before I could do that, I had to add a cat. You know, like you do.


And then a teacup. Again. Necessary.


Which added 28 pieces. Oh well. So be it. As you can see, when I’m under a time constraint, I still do what the drawing needs.


THEN I started tracing. These pieces are tiny compared to the last piece. I really tried to keep detail to a minimum…


Whatever THAT means.


Anyway, I got about an hour and a half in, maybe 137 pieces? So I’m hoping to be done tracing by the weekend. Of course, there are no more luxurious (ha!) 3-day weekends, so I’ll have to function in sped-up time, like always. Where Sunday afternoons are just for getting my teaching act together and cooking for the week. I get so tired of being the only one in charge of cooking and shopping. Seriously. Could one of you stop by Petco this week and pick up some dog food…I think I’m gonna run out. And the car needs gas. Crap. It needs gas this morning. So I can deliver the quilt this afternoon.

Still working on the tree…one strand of thread. Yes, I know there’s still places to fill in. Be patient.


There’s the quilt ready to sit in my dog-hair-filled car all day.


I’m being harassed by a puppy who wants the ball thrown, but won’t bring it to me.

By the way, I bought this pattern for a uterus doll through Knot Hate Project on Ravelry. Because who can resist a uterus doll with a monster eyeball? I kinda suck at crochet, but this is worth fussing through. Plus the money goes to a good cause, Planned Parenthood. So go get one. And then help me crochet the damn thing.

OK, with that, I have to go to school and make sense of the water and carbon cycles. And photosynthesis. Not for me. For 12 year olds. I got it already.

*Joan Jett, Bad Reputation

The Pressure of Days*

February 21, 2017

Extra days off, teacher or no, are always appreciated. I’m so busy that I spent most of it working, but I even got some yardwork and a dog walk in yesterday…always a plus. And it’s the last extra day for 8 weeks, so I needed to appreciate the nice weather as well. It’s been so dark and rainy lately that a pretty sunny day was a pleasant thing.

I tried another hiking spot, one that is more populated, hoping to avoid the coyotes. It’s shorter though, so that’s an issue. The eucalyptus were all leaning…


I wouldn’t want to be there in a wind storm. And the little stream had obviously been a significant river at some point in the last month or so…mudflow apparent.


We saw about 5 dogs and 15 people, but no coyotes. I’m sure they’re there, but they weren’t out and about.

Puppy was tired enough after to let me sew the sleeves on the quilt. Done! Well. No.


It took a while. Apparently I sort of tired him out.


Dinner made…but also school lunches, with vodka. Ironic that.


Comfort food. Plus easy.

Then I inked. For about an hour. I haven’t run the hours on this quilt yet.


I’m sure it’s a lot. Wait. I did the math. 163 1/2 hours. Yup. That’s a big one. Started the cut/paste on December 11…so it wasn’t quick either. I blame the inauguration. And school. And my brain.

Then I finished this drawing. It didn’t need much.


And numbered it. 504 pieces.


Not bad. It’s about 24″ square at the moment I think. I should check that. Yeah, she’s got the world in her vagina. Like you do.


And she’s stomping on some peeps.


I stole a bit of that from a previous quilt.


It’s OK. I’m stealing from myself.

So I finally started the tree I keep talking about on this. I did one length of thread in stitching. Because that’s what I’ve been doing all along. It needs roots though.


Puppy continued to snore.


He can be really sweet. Right now, he’s demanding ball throwing…which I am doing from my chair here, bouncing the ball off the closet doors into the hallway. That is kinda how we roll.

So that’s it…time to start the next quilt. It’s small, luckily, although it still has a lot of pieces. It will be (should be) done before Spring Break, and then hopefully I’ll be able to finish another one by my other self-imposed deadline. You know? There’s a couple of ways I can go on that. On the one hand, I didn’t get done what I thought I would get done by now, but then the one I finished is about twice the size of what I thought I was going to do. Plans get revised. Quite often, it seems.

*Elliott Smith, Between the Bars

Hold Me, Wrap Me Up*

February 14, 2017

First of all, Happy V Day. I’m not really a fan of how this day fucks with many people’s heads, but I still think it’s important to spread the love. Lots of hugs today…we need them.


And if you don’t, then just pass it on to someone who does.

I had three dogs for a few days there…mostly the two smaller ones played with each other while the other one stared at me as if I should stop it.


I did not. But Katie is back with my parents now.

So this weekend. Damn. I know I did some stuff. I cooked a lot of things and froze bunches of it for later weeks, packed some other stuff up to eat this week. I know I talked to my daughter twice and my SIL once…well twice, if you count multiple conversations in a day. I know I graded stuff too, but honestly, not too much, because mostly it hurt my brain and took way too much time. And there were other things I wanted and needed to get done. At some point, I just accepted that sometimes talking to real humans is more important than grading shit.

So I had figured out this drawing in my head and I started it at some point on Sunday, before going back to grading…but I fucked up the fingers.


Facing the wrong way…palms of hands up means fingernails behind, not in front. Liquid paper to the rescue.

I penciled in where one of the heads was supposed to go. Yes, I said one.


Yeah. That was a good start. Then I worked on quilting for a while…


That was something I wanted to finish this weekend, but I did not. Because. Shit happens, right? I did get the binding fabric, so I have that available for when I do finish, hopefully tonight, but honestly, probably tomorrow. But I still need to go up one side from the shoulder, over the head and the cloud, and around. Not a small amount, but again, not a huge amount. Close to done.

I wanted to hike the dogs yesterday, but our path is still underwater…


It’s easier to get around it now, though, after two weeks of mostly drying out (we keep getting more rain…two inches predicted for Friday…in California, we don’t ever just the right amount of rain…it’s either not enough or way too much.).

Now that view looks nice, doesn’t it? All green and lush? (well, for California) We got about a 1/2 mile out and I saw three coyotes on both sides of the trail.


Now if it were just me, I’d be OK with that. But Calli is older and Simba is a tasty treat. So I guess we’re not hiking here for a while…until the water disappears so it’s not an easy source for them, or until I get a bigger group of people (hello, children) to go with me. I don’t think they’d come after me with two dogs, but there’s no one else out here most days, so I’m not willing to take the risk.


It sucks, though…the other options are full of other people. Ugh. I like to hike without a million bikes and kids and dogs.

The dogs wanted a longer walk…hell, so did I…


Oh well.

So then I came home and drew this for school.


We couldn’t find exactly what we wanted, so I drew it. I might need to redraw it, but that’s easier the second time around anyway. We’ll see. I still need to do a word bank for it.

I sat and sewed for a bit, making up for Sunday and Monday. And realized at some point that I had both Midnight and Simba were curled up next to me.


I did the bright pink flowers and their centers in Long.


They still need leaves.

Then I went back to the drawing, because it was yelling louder than the quilt…


It’s borrowing ideas from two other quilts (maybe more) at this point, but it’s going where I want/need it to go. It’s not done though. As I went to bed, another idea popped into my head for filling arms/legs. So I wrote it down…maybe tonight. ALL the things are maybe tonight.

Midnight eventually moved behind me on the couch.


A closeup of the faces…because that. Yeah.


You can’t make me. It’s funny…I drew the center face and thought it turned out really well, and then realized I was going to censor her in some way (muzzle, gag, whatever). But I’d already done this perfect face. So duct tape it. And what’s behind still shows, because I want you to see what you’re covering up, what you’re trying to shut up.

So in reality, I didn’t get anywhere near enough done this weekend…which sucks. But it’s not like I did nothing. It’s progress, stuff that needs to get done. I’ll get there. Slowly, apparently, but I will get there.

*Sia, Breathe Me

They Tell Me to Breathe Easy for a While*

February 12, 2017

I didn’t post yesterday because I didn’t do anything Friday but teach and veg out really. Not really, but close enough. It happens. I’m a fan of giving oneself a break when one needs it, best one can. Sometimes the best thing you can do is go to bed early with a cup of tea and read a book. Not that I did that, but sometimes I do.

I have too many things I need to do this weekend. Yesterday I started with the quilting…wanting to be done with the background this weekend. And then I couldn’t stop. I was going to grade stuff first, but I just couldn’t make myself do it. So I didn’t. There’s three days. Surely I can force myself to grade at some point (ugh).

So I fixed the bits I hadn’t stitched down…and then started quilting the background.


Trying to remember to not do it really small and tight…it’s not necessary on this quilt and it would take forever. It wasn’t always easy though…I broke two needles (probably going too fast) and a lot of thread. Sigh. It’s frustrating sometimes. I think I did about 3 1/2 hours or so…and got more than halfway around. So that’s a good sign for today.


Because my goal for today is to finish…so after dental cleaning tomorrow, I can go to fabric store and buy yardage for binding. Seriously. It’s almost done. That snuck up on me.

I have the parental dog at the moment, on top of the other two. It’s OK…she entertains the little one.


When she’s not lying on my floor.

I kept getting distracted while quilting. I need breaks every 45 minutes or so (yeah, I know, it’s supposed to be every 20 minutes, but whatever…I get on a roll)…so I was trying to find the stuff for this quilt. I had all the blocks and the stuff for the borders, but I couldn’t find the instructions until I stood motionless in my living room for about 10 minutes with my eyes closed, visualizing what I had done with it (taken it to stitch meeting to confer with other stitching people about how best to do the borders: attach before or after). Now it’s where it should be.


Not that I have time to do anything about it. At least it’s organized. That helps.

I also tried organizing all the BOMs I have collected. Probably should stop collecting and finish them instead. Easier said than done.


Anyway, eventually, each time, I would come back to quilting.


With or without Kitten’s help.


Well, hello. Get off the quilt.


Mommy, you called me. Did not.

So then last night and this morning, I was trying to make sense of all the shows coming up, deadlines all over my head, images all over my brain…nasty nightmare last night that’s still in my head, but not relevant to ANY of this, dammit.


Straight up, honestly, hard to focus. So I pulled up a calendar this morning on my phone and talked my way through it. “If I do this first, the drawing doesn’t exist, so I need that done by say Wednesday, and if I make that a 6-week quilt, which is one that’s a reasonable size and number of pieces, instead of the crazy-ass thing I’m currently doing, then I could finish it by this date, and that only leaves me this many weeks to finish that one, and that’s not gonna work, and then there’s this other show, and I would have nothing for it, and that’s my local group and I’m a juror/curator/someone in charge, so I want to have something for that, so that’s not gonna work. But what if I do this one and draw that one and then I’d have two of those for that, but no, that still doesn’t solve the problem of having a piece for that show.” Dammit. There’s so many political quilts in my head at the moment that I can’t focus at all. But that’s one thing I need to get through in my head right now. What to do next, with no fucking down time, which is fine, because down time is focused on bad shit and I don’t need that. I need to DO, to MAKE, to SOLVE.

You should go read what I wrote for Through Our Hands though. They approached me and asked me to write about censorship if I wanted, or just about my work. I kinda did both. And that’s where this next drawing was going…

I had had an idea back in November or October? for the local show and I didn’t write it down, but just held on to some piece of it in my head, so last night, while watching Raiders of the Lost Ark for the 17th time (still good, but not the female character…she sucks), I tried to draw it.


So I’m not saying I can’t do this quilt…on a redraw…but this isn’t where I want the piece for this show to go. So I stopped. Right before the big money moment, yes. This is still a thing, it’s just way far fucking out from where I need to be right now. Ugh. So I quit.

And then had that conversation this morning. And then driving home, the entire drawing for the local show popped into my head, PING, repopulating itself as I drove. Seriously, my brain erased bits and then added more and then adjusted and drew more. I wish I could just download that. Well, I can. It’s called drawing. I’m afraid I’m going to lose it. The boychild gave me these artsy notebooks for Xmas. I used to have a small sketchbook for jotting shit like this down, and then got out of the habit. I’m back into it. It sits by the side of my bed or in the living room (I carry it around) and all these ideas get scrawled into it…words and sketches. So I put it in there…and it’s censorship. That’s where I needed to go. Sometimes my brain scares me with its ability to create shit out of almost nothing. Just random ideas and nothing else, and then there’s a picture, all the lines drawing as I watch, often while I’m driving, and it’s just there. Boom.

I know it’s years of practice. But it’s still cool.

The immigration one is in the notebook too…it’s fully drawn in my head too, but I don’t have a place in the schedule for it yet…maybe summer? We’ll see. Because there’s a fine line between making for one’s own self and making to get into shows. I’m always trying to find that balance. There are some this Spring that I’m just having to say no to…I can’t do everything. Shows and drawings.

Anyway. I need to draw today. I think I can do it in about 2-3 hours. Aack! Plus three hours of quilting and then grocery shopping and I thought walking dogs, although maybe that’s tomorrow at this point. Plus grading. Sheesh.

This is the book I’m supposed to be reading for school. Apparently Midnight was offended by it.


Whoops. Seriously. It was the cat. Not me. I actually don’t mind Hattie…I just mind how my district is implementing it…by completely ignoring what he says about how it should be implemented. So they keep calling it Visible Learning, but they’re not actually doing it. They’re micromanaging. Oh well. Trying to keep my frustration low on that. Read the damn book, yell while I’m reading it. Trying to assume best intentions. It’s not worth more energy.

I didn’t stitch Friday, so I did two yesterday…the lazy daisy green leaves around Prosper, and then the blue flowers on them until I ran out of thread.


Still trying to fill in. That’s 42 days. Still want to put a hand and a tree in. So gonna figure that out. Maybe not today.

Today…draw…quilt…shop…cook…clean (seriously. the floors.). But first? Man I’ve got a headache. Splitting. Weather? Probably. Gonna take meds and do the grocery list. Then get my focus on. Art brain demands it.

*Sara Bareilles, Love Song

We Always Take More*

February 7, 2017

Wow. Need focus. I’m trying to relocate my gym/hiking time now that I’m back at school (let’s not talk about how I’ve been back for a month, OK?), and so I did that yesterday…bribed myself with reading my book, and it worked. I really enjoyed working out. But then came back and had to make dinner and deal with some other stuff, and by the end, it was almost midnight. No quilting at all. Sigh. So frustrating. Of course, I’m in that difficult part of the quilt…the part where it feels like it will never be done. Where it just seems endless. Where it’s hard to even sit down at the machine. Where it seems like if I don’t have a big block of time, there is no point in even starting. I have to get my head past that…because I suspect with a few more hours of quilting, ironically I will be able to see an end. Aaargh.

It probably didn’t help that I had a 2-hour staff meeting last night…although it was shorter than that…by 20 minutes? But it was after duty in the crosswalk (prepare to die!) in the rain. I was not in the mood. OK, it’s possible I am never in the mood. That said, I had a professional development on Saturday morning, worst time of the week ever, and I was engaged with the content for the entire 4 hours. Can’t say that happens with PD…certainly hasn’t this year. Luckily because of all the holidays this month, I won’t have to deal with this for another month. I did draw. I just need something that will keep me engaged. I can listen and draw. I can even stop drawing to discuss stuff. (In reality, I can draw and discuss, but people think you’re being rude if you continue to draw while they’re talking to you. Which is too bad. I am listening. I’m just entertaining art brain…like you would a child.)

I had my little sketchbook with me, so everything is tiny.


And perhaps a tiny bit weird…


I didn’t finish this one…


This was after dinner. I did the star stitches in the cretan stitch.


I almost put a tree in. But then I decided to finish dealing with the cretan stitch first. I might change my mind. This stitching helps me relax, find my brain. Except for last night…last night, it just reminded me that I had seventeen thousand other things to do.

I honestly didn’t do anything else artistic. Which explains how frustrated and tense I feel today. Well, partially, because part of it is that I didn’t do any grading either, so that’s weighing on me. Plus we’re trying to plan this unit and it’s taking so much brain power and time. I even need to do a drawing for it, which isn’t hard and probably won’t even take that much time…I just need the mental space to do it. I know there’s a 3-day weekend coming up, but I don’t want to spend all of it working. And I have so much stuff going on this week. I hate feeling this overwhelmed. And I know the only way to beat it is to get more caught up. So work harder. Yeah.

Music helps…here’s a video for today’s title…didn’t realize the song was so old…

*Zero 7, The Space Between

Alright Already We’ll All Float On*

January 27, 2017

OK, I’m getting there. Somewhere. Crap though. I just realized I was supposed to email a photo somewhere and I didn’t do it. Damn. So keeping on top of all the little shit is driving me a bit bonkers. Overuse of the calendar…

So I have a bunch of stuff to do this weekend, as always, but mostly it’s art. Well. And politics. But hopefully that’s a good thing. You don’t stop doing that because of the crazy facing you, because you think it’s not doing anything. You keep doing it because the little stuff will eventually add up and make a difference.

I finished the drawing. I did use pencil to sketch in where the guy would go, just to make sure I didn’t fuck it up at that stage.


My quilts have a lot of detail in them, but not this much. Although looking at this, I think it would make a great quilt. But all those leaves and tree bits! Maybe I could simplify (but then it won’t be as cool). Aack. Anyway, the drawing probably took 5 hours or so over the two days, and that doesn’t count the drawing I did back in December that was sort of a pre-draw to this…which I didn’t like. But it got me here. There were 4 or 5 other false starts. It happens. I’m going to hopefully have some drawing time next week, just because I’ll be somewhere my sewing machine is not.

More of this year of stitches…the variegated green above Long. I’ll probably toss a bunch of french knots in there.


It’s pretty cold at night here. Simba’s nose was apparently cold. So the whole time I sewed and drew, he had it shoved under some part of my body.


I finished the drawing, scanned it, and sent it off to its person. And then started trying to sew. I almost gave up completely on the machine. I had cleaned everything out and rethreaded everything, and the tension was still way off. I don’t know how to open the top part…I’m suspecting I’m not supposed to, but there was a possibility there was thread in there. I haven’t figured that part out, although sewing made a short piece of monofilament pop out. Interesting. Then I switched needle size and it seemed to behave. And then it didn’t. I’m hoping that’s a brief fart of stupidity that won’t continue. I’m frustrated as hell over not getting it to behave.


I didn’t get very far last night. It’ll get done this weekend and hopefully sandwiched as well…even if I have to pull out the old machine to make it work. It worked so well for the last two quilts. Two? Or has it been three? It’s been three. There were some tension issues in the last one. I thought it was just me. Sigh. I don’t have time for this.

*Modest Mouse, Float On

Golden Dreams Were Shiny Days*

January 26, 2017

‘Twas better yesterday. The labs were a bit smoother than before. Mostly I dealt with kids who can’t work with other people. I’m having a hard time getting stuff done at home though. I’m really tired…even went to bed early (ish) last night (before midnight). Really tired is usually a message from the body, and I try to pay attention to those. I didn’t try sewing on the machine yesterday though…another deadline popped up. So I tried to deal with that…a friend has written a performance piece and wanted a drawing. I’ve been sitting on it for months because it was hard to wrap my head around it. I’m not particularly good at drawing to commission. To theme? Even then, it’s a crapshoot. My version of the theme is often not the organizer’s version. I’m not sure my brain sees what y’all see. I don’t know because all I have is my brain, but I know that words and music put images in my head that don’t necessarily match others’ perceptions. I’m OK with that, but in a situation like this, I just have to hope that what I see is what they see (it probably isn’t).

Anyway, I started drawings about 7 times…this one was doing OK until I got to the legs and the guy, but it’s OK…I used it for the next three iterations.


So this is where I’m at now…then I was sort of frozen because I hadn’t put the other figure in and I was afraid I was gonna fuck it up.


So I’ll try to do the other figure and the rest of the tree tonight. So that’s why I didn’t sew, although I could have at that point. Maybe. I just wasn’t in the mood to fuss with the machine.

I spent most of the night with animals…it was cold…


There is no room for people on my couches. At some point, they all moved around and I got three in a row…


I took a break from drawing to do the feathery leaves around the P…


Then I had two of them back…


A yin yang of furballs.


Not the most productive night…but whatever. I’m trying not to get frustrated with myself for not being further along on this quilt, but it is what it is. I’m stressed. I’m feeling overwhelmed. I’m doing the best I can right now. Much like many of us, I think. So hopefully tonight I’ll finish the drawing and then go back to the stitch down. Hopefully the machine will behave.

*Earth, Wind, and Fire, September