We Don’t Notice Any Time Pass*

Insert pithy statement about being a middle-school teacher two days away from a week off from school. Make a Venn diagram about your feelings about the next two days versus break and your students’ feelings about the same. In your case, add in holiday stress because food, family, and travel. Then drop in some missing-your-kids feelings, because they are a million miles away. And take two Motrin for that headache that must be caused by something other than drinking heavily at night, because you didn’t.

I had plans for last night! I got about oh say maybe 45% into my plans and my brain and body gave out. So be it.

Somewhat strangely, on this day last year, I had just started ironing Wonder Under to fabric for my last quilt of 2016. Ironic that, because I did NOT start ironing last night, although that was my plan.

Here’s a puppy for you to look at, because he’s cute. He’s not actually a puppy. He’s over 2 years old. But he will probably always be the puppy because he’s small.

IMG_9064 small

And hyper.

I did French knots on the righthand side to fill in some of the empty space in there.

IMG_9068 small

Apparently empty space offends me. Actually, that might really be true.

I did manage to go shopping for background fabric yesterday, wash all the other things I bought (it was a weak moment), and then make piles of that and all the fabric from the last quilt that need to be put away.

IMG_9070 small

So I guess there’s that, because I didn’t put any of it away. Or start ironing. In fact, I went to bed early, because I knew I’d have to be up early today for another stupid meeting. OK, they’re all stupid at the moment.

I couldn’t decide on a background fabric. I just knew I wanted it to be dark, and these are dark. So it will be one of them and then the other will get used for another quilt…or on the back of this one.

IMG_9072 small

I wish I could say I’d get further along tonight, but I have an opening on the other side of town and it’s a lab day today (gonna melt crayons! in the name of science!), so the odds of my having any energy at all at the end of the day are decreasing rapidly. But I always have hope.

That’s how I get so much shit done. Hope. And crazyassness. Mostly the latter.

*The White Stripes, We’re Going to Be Friends

Please Don’t Bother Trying to Find Her*

The reality is that if you leave me alone long enough with the furry beasts, I will start having long philosophical discussions with them. I’m particularly perturbed that none of them thought it was their civic duty to vote in the last election. I believe I have chastised them appropriately and that will not be the case in 2020. Of course, it’s too late now. They understand that. They are sorry. They will do better next time.

I have to admit that I’m not getting much but art stuff done. I don’t feel like grading things. I don’t feel like yardwork. I don’t feel like anything.

I did about 8 hours of artmaking yesterday, in between…um…what? Well I ran two whole errands. And I cooked a little. But that’s about it. Thanksgiving break is always like this…it’s not really long enough to recover from school AND be a productive human again. So we try to recover and manage all the family stuff, which this year, isn’t much. Last year, I was in Seattle this week…so no artmaking then. I could have gone there again this year, but honestly just needed to hunker down, finish this piece, and start the next five. I think it really is five too. Crazy.

I finished ironing the Wonder Under down to fabric in about 13 hours…way longer than it should have taken for 800 pieces, but whatever. I’m sure there was a good reason.

I made a small body cell in the last piece…and I used ALL the colors.


The last thing I ironed was the cat…


The fabric cat…not a real one…

Here’s all 117 fabrics…also more than I would normally use in an 800-piece quilt.


Not a lot of blue…a lot of gray and brown.

I guess I did clean up the light table. And then I went through the drawings to see if there was another bathtub drawing in there (yes…but I don’t know if I want to make it next…I think it should wait.). And I cut a 24-inch square of paper for a piece that needs to be done in March or April…can’t remember which. I need to look at the calendar and make some quilt plans too. Maybe I will do that today. It’s finally sunny. I could sit out and draw today. Maybe.

It was cold last night, so when I finally sat down to start cutting pieces out, I had three animals at one point…some WAYYYY too close.


They kept moving around. Occasionally dog parts would be on my lap.

Simba needs a bath…but I’m waiting until it warms up a bit during the day before I do it to him.


Like maybe today.

So then I cut stuff out for hours…well, 4 1/2 hours anyway. Which explains why my hand hurts this morning.

I got a lot cut out…although it never looks like much, does it? Trash in the top one, stuff that still needs cutting in the middle one, and cut-out stuff in the bottom one.


My goal today is to finish that and start ironing it together. Finish ironing tomorrow and get to stitch down? Maybe? I hope so. Quilt Thursday? I should check the batting stash, huh. (check. Got batting.) The binding will be another issue, but hopefully that will be Friday. Maybe. I’m still debating the weekend. The copyediting job got kicked until mid-December (not looking forward to having three fewer weeks to complete it)…so Saturday might be a drive and a dinner and another drive. Still debating that.

I’m totally taking the dogs for a walk today though. A long one. Out in the middle of nowhere. Because they need it and so do I. Although the one outside barking at me is currently standing in a pool of water…like that makes sense. I suspect I should also do laundry. I did buy a turkey. I’m going to start brining it today I think. Maybe do that and then walk the dogs. I got a lunch invite. Not sure I’m in the mood for that. I’d have to find the part of my brain that socializes appropriately. Not sure where I put that. Mislaid for the holidays.

*The Zombies, She’s Not There

Saying It’s Not a Catastrophe*

I think my brain just stopped. I woke up to news (again) of internment camps and registries, woke up too early because I have to be at school to help with a rewards breakfast, probably for a couple of Muslim kids, as well as other types of kids…honestly, if we’re going to do internment camps and registries, let’s start with those who kill the most in our country: white males with guns. OK. Once we have that camp going (which probably includes a goodly number of my neighbors and even probably my dad, although not my brother, hallelujah), THEN we can talk about the next largest group who kills people here in the United States. And just a clue…it’s still not Muslims. How does any of this make sense? Is there a white male politician internment camp being planned? I say we pick a state who wants them and put a wall around it. I’m pretty sure I could write an fairly entertaining dystopian (except NOT so unreal and in the future at the moment) novel about this.

I know I’m not the only one waking up every morning at the moment dreading what’s being reported next. I guess there is solace in that. I’m gonna go hug some kids today…ALL of them. I talked to one kid yesterday who hates (with a passion) the US military. You know why? They bombed his town. He lay in (under?) his bed at night listening to glass break and bombs fall, he heard how our soldiers talked to his people, and he hates them. I don’t blame him. We had a good discussion. He doesn’t hate America. He doesn’t hate all Americans. He just hates the military. He’s incredibly intelligent…and I talked to him about finding a place for that anger…about processing it. Meanwhile, very few kids want to say the pledge of allegiance still, and there are days when I feel the same way about it. You want white supremacists and women-haters and Jew-haters and Muslim-haters and let’s just break it down here…HATERS in charge. I don’t get it. I won’t pledge to that.

I made art. Slowly. Tiredly. I went to the gym and the chiropractor before that…so it was already late. I keep forgetting how much I like the gym. I should remember that more often.

You may not know that I have to escort (with flashlight) two dogs outside multiple times a night. They’re both scared of the dark, and one doesn’t like water either (sometimes that shit falls from the sky). I’m not sure I understand why she likes to stand in the ferns, but she does. She’s not peeing. She’s not doing anything but standing in them.


Weird dog.

Here’s all the fabrics I used last night…lots of browns. I just realized I cut out all the dirt except for the dark part around the hole, and I put all those fabrics away. Dammit. I was tired last night.


And I didn’t even use that pink one on the right. It was too much trouble to put it back though. I need to install a light under the desk so I can see the fabrics under there better. Home Depot trip in my future.

Here’s everything I’ve ironed down. I haven’t gotten very far…I’m in the 100s. But it’s taking me forever. Deciding which browns and grays…I stared at the grays for about 20 minutes last night trying to find a lighter brownish gray to go with the other two I’d already picked…this for a mole who is about 2 inches across. Sometimes my brain doesn’t work well. It probably didn’t matter THAT much, but eventually I found a third fabric that worked.


Today is a long day…and I’m not sure I’m ready for any of it. Too tired really to handle it well, I think…and yet I will have to. True for all of us, I guess. Although if you’re one of those who is currently fist-bumping the air over the internment camps, I’d tell you to piss off, but maybe, really, maybe what you should do is come visit my classes for a day. And meet some of them. And tell me why those kids (or their parents) deserve to be harassed. Or you can just quietly decide to stop reading my blog. I really don’t care which you choose.

*Aimee Mann, Humpty Dumpty

I Ran So Far Away*

I’m having a hard time with the artmaking process lately. Most of it is about finding the time, but also just wondering if there’s a purpose to it. Will it solve any of the shit that’s going on right now. And I know in the long run that art and music and drama (the good kind…not the kind I see at school) will be part of the solution, but certainly there needs to be some yelling and protesting and organizing that needs to happen. Just as an antidote to the stupid shit we keep seeing. It’s not enough to just shake our heads and go back in our houses, close the doors, and hunker down on the couch with the TV. You can go check this website out…yeah, it’s a little jokey at first, but there’s some real info on there. It’s a place to start…but acknowledging where many of us are right now. Marching in January is cool, yes…and don’t be one of those haters who thinks it’s childish for us to protest. It’s the American way. We can and you will just have to suck it up and let us. We don’t want anyone to be unclear on how we feel. It needs to be loud and in your face and right now. For as long as it takes. Until my future president disintegrates in a 3-AM Twitter rant about it? Nope. Even after that. But something needs to be happening now and every day without let up until 2020. Maybe after. Maybe forever.

So with all that in my head, I’m working on a piece right now that was started before all that. And it’s got some things that are sort of relevant to how I’m feeling, but it seems a little light and easy when facing the future. Which is fine. I’m not going to stop working on it. It needs to be done. But the next batch of pieces is going to be a bit different. I got some of the solo show worked out in my head last night…and there’s opportunity for me to work some of this out in fabric. And that’s a start. I’ll figure the rest of it out. The politics…the protest…how to make the best change…and that might just be in my classroom, but I think it has to be more.

Meanwhile. Art. I hung the drawing…it’s tall. More of those long skinny ones coming your way in the next few months. You can see some portion of my crazy fabric storage. I cleaned up in there for about an hour before I started last night. It needed to be done.


The triangle of ironing board, iron, and table where all the pieces go…and more fabric storage. Really, this room is all about efficient storage.


From the door…the ironing board gets in the way of computer work during this stage, but I deal. It’s not a huge room.


I laid out the first 100, which were all in the dirt and water.


And I ironed a bunch of dirt fabrics. Although I found one piece in the hallway this morning. Just the Wonder Under. I know puppy ran off with something last night, but I’m not sure how he got it (I must have dropped it), so I’ll have to figure out which fabric it is supposed to be and iron it down.


There’s a lot of brown in the bottom of the quilt.



I didn’t get very far last night, but I did get somewhere. And that’s progress…movement in the right direction. And I also know that it will make me feel better, calm down the brain that keeps waking me up in the middle of the night with worst-case scenarios…I’m still looking at the tax scenario NPR put up and going…fuck…really? My taxes go up significantly. You know why? Because I’m not married. And my kids aren’t in child care. Because they’re cheap right now? Holy shit. That makes my stomach tie in knots. I’m already stressed about paying for college.

OK. Stop thinking about shit that hasn’t happened yet. I mean, don’t stop, because you need to protest that shit in art and in writing and in groups and in politics, but don’t let it take over like that.

Yeah. So. Chiropractor today. Oh hallelujah. It hurts.

*Flock of Seagulls, I Ran

Probably Not Today…

Well the boychild finally made it out of here…knock on wood, because his plane hasn’t left yet. I’m gonna miss him and his sister. But they both made Dean’s List…so I’m proud of them. And I will figure my shit out and find a mental balance with them gone. Probably not today though. Today, honestly, I’m just gonna hold it together long enough to get through the school day. Which I am officially NOT doing right now. Holding it together that is. I do have a job that distracts me from emotional crap, so that should help.

Saturday…it was a challenge. But I finished grading the assignment from hell…and have a post-it reminding me never ever to assign that again. It’s not worth my sanity and the kids don’t take it seriously. So I’m kind of in this Fuck ‘Em mode…which may be the most healthy thing I’ve thought about school for the last two months. Grades are due tomorrow. I haven’t even started them. It’s OK. It won’t take long.

When I finished grading, I ran a million errands, and then walked in here…

DSCN3014 small

This is where I wanted to be all day long. Notice it’s dark. Yeah. It was like 6 PM. I was pretty crankballs by then. Yeah. It’s a mess. I might clean it up when I finish this quilt. Depends.

I knew with the figure being most of this quilt, and with 10 arms that sit behind each other, I was going to need a larger range than normal. So I sat on the ground with the pink bins and my phone flashlight (it’s dark down there…need to install fairy lights or something) and picked a run of 13…plus lip colors off to the right and finger- and toenail color above.

DSCN3015 small

I didn’t use all of them in the end. I used 11. And I added two purples. So it took me 2 hours and 40 minutes just to find each flesh piece and decide what fabric it was supposed to be. And I tried to match pairs of arms on each side, but I don’t know if I was successful.

DSCN3016 small

The flesh pieces ranged from the 0-100 box to the 900 box. So I went through all of them. As I did that, I set aside the non-flesh pieces…the heart, veins, lungs, rocket ship, hair, eyebrows, etc. Two uteri even. Lots of eyeballs. So this below is what I still have left to do.

DSCN3017 small

Then I started ironing all those pieces down to the fabric I’d chosen…here’s number 5 in the range.

DSCN3018 small

Yup. That’s a lot of pieces. Some arms, some fingers and toes, and ribcage parts. That funny bone that sticks out on your foot that probably has a name. I went and looked it up. It’s complicated. You can Google it yourself.

Ironing it all took my Saturday art time to 4 hours plus. Ahhhh. You could hear my brain sigh from there, couldn’t you? Because I was in a dark and angry place over school. And art saved the day. Put my brain back in a decent place.

Here’s all the fabrics I’ve used so far.

DSCN3019 small

And I tried to get them to fit in the box once I’d ironed them, but the flesh pieces were too big to fold into there.

DSCN3020 small

I have no idea how many pieces are left. I think I’ve got 6 1/2 hours in, so maybe another 3 or 4? Just a guess really.

I was at a meeting yesterday and started cutting stuff out. It’s only an hour so far.

DSCN3021 small

But it’s a start. And it’s something to do this week…less than 5 weeks to finish this quilt. Finish ironing pieces by tomorrow night? I have a baby quilt to finish tonight if I can pull it off, plus grades. I tried to finish the baby quilt last night and got everything quilted except the border. I started that and the thread kept getting caught on the spool and doing stupid things, so I quit. I’ll try again tonight. Maybe it will behave better. And if I can be a good girl and get a bunch of the grades done at school today, then I’ll be ironing later? Maybe. Maybe not. Then trim them all by the weekend? It would be nice if I could start ironing it together Saturday, because I actually have time.

Shit. I might actually finish it in time. Don’t hold your breath though.

Ironing Owls…

Yesterday was chaos. Today is Tuesday.

I’m powering through grading as fast as I can. My kids won’t do work unless you tell them it’s graded. Does that mean sometimes I tell them that and then quietly don’t grade it? Yup. Absolutely. So I’m just getting through.

But I set a boundary last night, because now that I’m ironing fabric, I feel like I’m getting into this piece, so I WANT to do more each night. I just have to balance between the two so I don’t end up buried in schoolwork over break. Which I might anyway.

Around 10:30, I started ironing. I’m not going particularly fast at the moment. I did about 100 pieces in an hour and a half. Granted, part of that was a rather large owl, the one that’s here…

Nov 11 15 005 small

Came from this drawing, except he has DNA on him. And I changed the colors. He’s more brown this time. In fact, I didn’t even look at him while I was picking fabrics. Because he could have been the same color, except I couldn’t get to a lot of the gray fabrics because Midnight is still sleeping in the blue drawer. Really I should shut that drawer and then maybe she’d sleep in the one below it and I could get to the gray fabrics. Although I might get to the blues of the water soon, and then we’ll have an issue.

I don’t know what my deal is with owls. Or birds in general. They’re just cool to draw. And they’re supposed to be all mystical and wizardical and wise and shit. There should be more wise going on right now. Not just personally, but worldwide. Certainly here in the US. More wisdom (and I don’t mean age…I mean logical thought about actions and consequences and people’s lives) would not be a bad thing.

So I picked the owl fabrics and a wine bottle and I think that’s it. Kind of pitiful really, although I’m feeling good that I graded an assignment AND ironed fabric. AND cooked dinner.

Here’s the pile of fabrics used so far…

DSCN2648 small

Lots of purples popping in there…even in the owl.

It doesn’t look like much on the right…because it’s not.

DSCN2647 small

It’s only 200 pieces and a bit. Maybe 250. I’m still ironing the stuff outside the bathtub…haven’t even gotten into the bathtub or the main figure. I have stuff every night this week, but think I can come home and iron most nights. I’m scared to make a goal, but let’s hope I’m fully ironed by say Saturday? I don’t even know if that’s possible…then I can cut out in the early part of next week, and then who knows? The kids come home and then it’s Christmas and Winter Break and holy shit, I am so not ready.

The girlchild has planned out her entire break already, so…hopefully we will see her at some point. Boychild will probably be here a good chunk of the time. The animals will have to adjust, which probably means me as well. Food too…no more prepping meals for the week on Sunday, because there’s only me and I don’t want to eat the same thing every night, but I don’t want to cook every night. Adjustments. I sent them both chocolate for finals. They’ve both been sending me videos of cats and other stuff as they distract themselves from writing giant-ass essays. It’s a good thing we didn’t have those distractions back in the day.

OK, another meeting this morning, hopefully less volatile than yesterday’s. Then teaching. Apparently. Yeah.

Go Make Art…

Note to self. When work starts to weigh you down, go make some art. I worked a lot this weekend. I’ve been working a whole lot this year. The last two weeks were mostly work work work. I got a little ahead (well, not ahead, but less behind) on Sunday, so I made art last night when I finished dinner. I came in the studio and deliberately put away all the fabrics I had ironed and ignored the fact that there are still a bunch in the laundry basket outside in the hallway. I hung up the drawing for the new quilt…

DSCN2640 small

This room still isn’t clean. It’s better. It’s not done. Same with the boychild’s room. I sent him a new picture, and he claims he will be sleeping on the couch. Nah. I’m almost done in there. I could legitimately walk in there and pile it all up and drop it in here in about 5 minutes. It just wouldn’t be organized. I’m pretty slow on the organization part. There’s not enough storage space and I don’t want things to disappear for 10 years like before. I didn’t even show you the two quilts that are all blocks that are ready to sash or sew together. The sashing fabric is even in there and washed and sometimes cut into strips. Yeah. That organized.

Then I laid out the first 100 pieces of Wonder Under…

DSCN2641 small

Very exciting. Realized there was a rug under each side of the bathtub that was a fairly large piece of fabric, so there might need to be some coordination on that. So I found all the rug parts in 4 different boxes and did those first.

I was accompanied by this helper…

DSCN2642 small

Who blocked access to two drawers of blue and one drawer of gray fabrics, and pitched a tiny fit every time I opened the top gray drawer. Then when I was on the other side of the room, opening other drawers, she would come over and try to get into them. Very helpful.

This one just sat on the chair.

DSCN2643 small

It’s nice to have them both in here though. Babygirl wouldn’t have allowed it. These two don’t love each other…there’s some tension…

DSCN2644 small

But I think they’re working on it. Like siblings who are tired of sitting in the back seat together.

Here’s everything I used last night…

DSCN2645 small

You can see the cat on the right and my gun-toting Defiance-watching on the left.

And here’s everything I managed to iron last night…

DSCN2646 small

Only 100 pieces. Well, more than that, because I did all the rug pieces. It took me longer than usual, two hours, for maybe 150 pieces. But some of that was just getting my head around the colors. I have two possible backgrounds I’m looking at…they’re both dark dark blue, so it probably doesn’t matter which one I use. I’m just glad that I’m back on track, that there’s progress. I have a couple of things I have to get done over Winter Break besides this one, plus I have to get a significant start on another smaller one by the end of break. There’s only two weeks until break. So I’m hoping to get this ironed onto fabric, trimmed, and ironed down in the next two weeks. That might be a bit much, looking at the calendar, but it’s a good goal.

Saturday night was dinner with this view…

DSCN2638 small

Not a bad view…good company. And I wasn’t grading anything.

Why I Need a Robot

So. The good news is that the girlchild doesn’t have strep, her face has stopped swelling up like a balloon, the cat is back home and feisty about her meds (might be worms), and I actually had dinner before 9 PM last night. I really need a wife. Seriously. A MadMen wife who has dinner on the table when I get home and has done all the laundry and cleaned the house. Except I know that’s totally sexist. OK, I need a robot wife. Totally. I do. Right now, she’s making my breakfast AND my lunch and she made a nice little surprise dessert for me and is hiding it in my lunchbag, because she knows yesterday was a clusterfuck even though all ended well (OK, except for some seriously tiring and frustrating moments with teens, not all of them mine). Is that a bad thing to wish for?

At some point yesterday night, I started cutting out pieces for the Ventura quilt, but I was sitting there in my office, because I couldn’t sit on the couch, because there was a dead body in there (girlchild didn’t leave until after 8), and I was getting crankier and crankier, feeling absolutely disconnected from humanity and frustrated with my existence and my inability to get truly healthy, let alone to the gym like I was supposed to yesterday (ha! at the vet until 7:30 PM) and wondering how to change all that shit, because someone said something about the evening getting better than the day (well, the NIGHT at that point, because I spent the evening at the vet and well into the night in a texting argument with the girlchild that I kept trying to get out of because there was no point), and I thought…well how the fuck is the evening supposed to get better? Because I’m cutting out 900 tiny pieces of fabric? Because I’m watching TV by myself while cutting out 900 pieces of fabric? I mean, yes, it’s relaxing on some level, it’s very meditative, cutting those beasties out, running the scissors along, considering as I cut, what is the most efficient way to cut this tiny piece out or do I want to wait until I’m ironing so I don’t lose it and where are my tiny sharp scissors and maybe I should take that JoAnns coupon and buy me some better scissors (there are a LOT of things that run through my head when I’m making stuff…it’s like Babble City). What WOULD make it better? Ice cream. Cheesecake. Nope, both unnecessary and fattening. A visit from Santa Claus? Eh. A robot cleaning my house? Yeah. THAT would make it better. How about someone sitting next to me and having a conversation and not yelling at me for being stupid or insensitive (I am mostly not either of those things) or complaining or whatever. And joking about whatever we were watching. Or commiserating. Yup. That would have made it better. I need a robot that can do that. And maybe give me a backrub while it’s sitting there. I get a little of that (the connection part…not the backrubs), but not enough apparently to recharge my depleted personal batteries at the moment.

As it was, I was relieved to have everyone more well than I had thought they were in the morning. And then I stopped cutting and got my sketchbook…and the other bathtub drawing that I tried here…

Mar 4 15 002 small

I stared at it for a bit, and then I sat there and drew most of a new one last night…

Mar 20 15 005 small

It’s not done. It needs animals. And maybe a robot! But I got the hands and legs where I wanted them. And it was finer than the other one. And the whole bathtub got in the picture. Yeah. It was really a relief to draw it. It’s been in my head for weeks. There’s another one too. But I don’t know when I’ll be able to draw that one. It’s big.

Before I did all that, while dinner was cooking and girlchild was yelling, I sorted more recycled fabrics from Mariah…the oranges…

Mar 20 15 001 small

And then the reds…

Mar 20 15 002 small

Which included one of my favorites…

Mar 20 15 003 small

I’ve never had the one with the hearts though. I’ll have to find a way to use that in the recycled quilt. Or something.

All folded up and ready to be in the next quilt…

Mar 20 15 007 small

I’m keeping them separate from the rest of my stash right now, so I can make the quilt from them. Then they’ll go play with the others. It really is a random bunch. I still have browns and blacks to sort…and a few yellows. And I never finished the blues.

Then I settled down and cut out little tiny pieces of Ventura for about two hours…

Mar 20 15 006 small

Cut out pieces on the left, trash in the middle, pieces left to cut on the right. It’s gonna be a while.

But I got started. And I’ll try to draw more tonight, to finish up that bathtub…and someday, maybe I’ll have enough of the required shit out of the way so I can start MAKING the bathtub series (ha!). And a robot to clean the bathtub…that would also be good. Actually, enough money to rip out one of the bathrooms and redo it with a NICE bathtub, because ours suck and I miss having baths (they are very relaxing), so that robot needs to come with a trust fund and a remodeling routine. Yup. Robots. That’s the solution.

Tied Up in Knots

You know how when you wash quilt fabric, the edges, the loose threads, they get all tied up in knots? When I iron pieces onto the fabric, I try to cut off as many of those knots as possible, mostly because they take up room in my fabric containers (space is at a premium), but also because they alternately annoy and fascinate me. I’m fascinated by the colors of the threads and the shape of the knots they make. I’m annoyed by how they get in the way, ruin the line of the fabric, waste space.

I’ve got some knots in me that need trimming. They need to go. They’re wasted space.

I spend hours when picking fabrics just unfolding, cutting knotted threads, and refolding the fabrics. It’s a meditative process. There’s a right way to fold them. The folds only go one way. If I cut really big pieces out of the fabric, then I might need to rethink the fold so everything stays in a nice square-ish packet, but usually they just get refolded over and over into the same shape.

I’ve been ironing for almost 9 hours on this piece at this point and I’m up to piece 630. My original ironing estimate was at least 20 hours…I think it will be more than that. Part of that is because I’m only doing an hour or two a day, so it takes me longer to get my brain back into it. The transition times are more frequent. One of the reasons I try to cut out all of a section of the quilt at a time is because there’s less of that down time…but I can’t always stay up really late and blow everything off (much as I’d like to) to make it work.

Tonight, I was working on this little thing…really, it IS little…

Apr 27 14 003 small

It’s about 8″ square…there’s not even that many colors in it. I managed to get all of it done except for the monitor head and the broken chains. I got tired. I only ironed about 110 pieces tonight. That’s been my average for these school nights. And they were all small pieces…

Apr 27 14 002 small

So it doesn’t look like much. Yes, that’s 110 pieces right there. All the other pieces are in another box. I had an art group meeting today, so I took the pieces with me to cut…I got a bunch done…

Apr 27 14 001 small

about two hours’ worth. Not bad. I actually made art for 3 1/2 hours today…more than most weekends, but that’s because I never just sit through a meeting…I’m always doing something.

This is probably what I’ll be ironing tomorrow night, assuming I get grades done and I finish the monitor head…

Apr 27 14 004 small

Not even halfway through at this point. Haven’t even started the main figure yet. Will have to revise my flesh-colored fabrics for that. The ones I’ve used so far for the two smaller figures won’t work. I don’t have big-enough pieces. Besides, I like the main figure to stand out by being different shades of flesh. Hence the need for 500 different flesh colors? Yeah, I don’t know. And yes, there probably are that many here. I have more flesh colors (including the pink range) and green fabrics than any other colors. The least? Yellow. Then orange and red. Weird, huh? I keep trying to get more reds, because I do so many hearts and arteries and veins, but it’s hard to find good reds. I don’t need a lot of orange apparently. Yellow? I use it often enough, but…I really don’t know why I have so few. I know I use the same ones over and over again from quilt to quilt. I don’t have much gray either (by “not much” I mean you know, maybe 100 fabrics…yes, I know how crazy that sounds).

I now have 4 returned quilts in my entryway, and two more coming home in two weeks. I started making a list of new shows to enter in the next few months. I have new work that’s never been in a show. There was a lot of talk of working to a theme at the meeting today…of putting together exhibit proposals with themes in mind. That’s harder for me to do, unless the theme is wildly vague. We’ll have to see how that goes. I also don’t really want to make a quilt for an exhibit with a theme when I don’t know if I’ll get in or not. I have enough pieces that I want to make that fit no theme, and still have one where I chose how I would fit into the theme (and I know they will show the quilt). It seems like I am far enough into the mature artist realm that I don’t need to go backwards.

That said, the work needs to get out of the house and on to a gallery wall. So you have to figure out how to make that happen. Magic!

My whole life would be different with magic, eh? Magic would make it so I could stay up for the next three hours ironing and maybe not have to go to work tomorrow? Magic would erase all the foggy depression that clouds my mind. Magic would clean the house and do all the errands. Magic would fold my laundry and find me happiness…deliver it in a small plastic Easter egg. Open it up and a cloud of happiness spills out.

I might be delirious at the moment. Speaking of delirious, girlchild stopped taking her Benadryl yesterday because it made her tired, and sure enough, those damn hives came back with a vengeance. She texted me from Lancaster…wish she would listen to the doc and her mom occasionally. She did better tonight. Asked me to wake her up at 10:30 (she was tired) to give her the next dose. The screeching I did this morning on the phone must have had an effect…she put the epi-pen in her school bag as well…not sure she can take it there without a note, but I’ll write one just in case. Yeah, I know…teenagers know everything. Moms know nothing. Sigh.

Maybe magic should put me to sleep as well.

Seeing Patterns

I used to always go back and read old blogposts, especially from a year ago or two years ago at the same time of year, to try to remind myself of the fact that I’ve been there before, buried by school or grades, getting lots done over Winter Break, never getting anything done over Spring Break. It helped me see the patterns of my life and not be so hard on myself when I didn’t get everything done that I wanted to get done. I just wanted to improve the bad stuff each year, and I was doing an OK job with that.

But I can’t go back and read the old posts any more. They’re just upsetting. It’s a world that doesn’t exist any more. I don’t even want to read who I was a year or two years ago.

It’s too bad, because it was part of what kept me focused, grounded, at least in terms of making art. It helped me see what goals I was successful with and what goals needed more support. I was able to see progress over time, in the big picture. Now I can only see progress in little pieces. Today, my little pieces were all about the skeleton and the water.

The skeleton actually ended up needing 5 fabrics…

Apr 22 14 001 small

I drew a more complicated skelly this time apparently. This drawing was in fact all about adding detail…to kind of a crazy level. That’s my life, though. All these tiny little details that I’m trying to keep track of, hold on to, and it’s by the skin of my teeth that I manage to get most of it done. It is crazy. But I do it. Not very well, I think, but it gets done.

I was pretty tired tonight, but wanted to get further along than just the bones, so I figured I would need about 10 water fabrics…I laid them out light to dark and started putting the appropriate Wonder Under pieces on top…

Apr 22 14 003 small

but then realized that I meant to do darkest at the bottom, not the top, so I had to flip all the sections. At least I caught that before I started ironing.

The next step is seaweed and fish. I’ve ironed about 250 pieces down at this point, and am about 3 1/2 hours in. I had the same problems with the blue fabrics that I did with the browns…I needed to make sure I had a big enough piece to iron the wider pieces down. Luckily, I seem to have more large blue pieces than brown, probably because I often use blue as a background, and that leaves these random skinny yet wide pieces that work well for water.

Here’s all the fabrics I’ve used so far (well, all the grays and blacks are hiding underneath)…

Apr 22 14 004 small

Doesn’t look like much right now. Fifteen hundred pieces to go! (god, that sounds awful)

Going-back-to-school tired is already catching up with me. I am already behind in everything. I can’t get caught up on anything. I make these silly goals to do 30 minutes a day of cleaning or yardwork, but can’t get motivated or I just forget by the time I get home. I did go to the gym. I went to the bookstore for the girlchild’s AP books. I meditated. I started ironing at a reasonable hour…I just kept going for longer than I should have. So now I am more awake than I was two hours ago, but if I were always going to bed two hours ago, I would make no art, my house still wouldn’t be clean, my yard would still be a disaster…so I would be well-rested, but a total crank.

Doesn’t seem like a good option. I dream of retiring (ha!) and just making art all day. Maybe volunteering somewhere. Maybe traveling. I’m so far away from being able to do any of that. Instead, I’m writing an essay explaining why I should get hired for a summer-school thing (I need the money). I’m paying bills. I’m running errands. I’m cleaning up the girlchild’s dishes yet again and trying to decide how to force the kids to take out the recycling (I put post-its on the TV and computer this morning before I left for school…STILL not taken out…am considering hiding the relevant cords until it’s done, like a crazy ransom thing…leave a note: Your cords will be returned when the recycling makes it out of the house!).

I am usually (in my former life) so much better at straightening up, staying organized. Right now, it feels like a giant flail. Arms windmilling around, trying to catch me as I fall. Hey, I think I dreamed that last night? Or it’s in the book I’m reading. Were there aliens? Too much TV, too many books, too many words.

Last summer, at the beginning, in like June, I ordered fabric and socks for dying. I ordered discharge paste to try a new process of surface design. They’ve been sitting on my office floor since then. It seems like that is my life at the moment, in stasis on the office floor, waiting for me to trip over it yet again, but never to have time to pick it up and DO something with it.

Too introspective for a peaceful night. I’m going to go to bed and read about some other people’s sketchbooks or art. It’s better sometimes not to look too closely at one’s own life. It can be too distracting, disturbing.

Let’s just assume all that bad stuff will just wander away if we don’t look it in the eye.