There’s Still Time to Change the Road You’re on*

November 21, 2017

So I spent a couple hours last night worrying about the girlchild, who was on lockdown in a dorm where a robbery took place at gunpoint. Because we need guns for protection, right? Because if anyone else in that dorm had possessed a gun, a whole lot of people would be injured or dead right now. As it is, everyone was fine, although I think both girlchild and I (and quite a few other parents and students) had the shakes for a while. But please don’t ever say to me that you have a right to carry a gun. Nope. You don’t. Not unless you’re a cop…and even then, I have misgivings because so many of our cops are racist and/or reactionary.

Anyway. That’s done.

I did some lazy daisies on the right that look like bull heads.

IMG_9291 small

And then I ironed all those inner bits and pieces…here’s the layout for the heart and arteries…

IMG_9297 small

And the pile of fabrics I went through last night…another 3 hours or so yesterday.

IMG_9298 small

I’m up to 13 hours in the ironing…with about 400 pieces to go, I figure. It’s not been quick, that’s for sure. Here’s just one of the reds in the heart/arteries section…

IMG_9299 small

Lots of pieces ready to be cut out.

IMG_9301 small

And all the fabrics I’ve used so far…

IMG_9302 small

I’ve been working to 1 AM and then falling into bed exhausted. The nighttime hours are better for this, I find. I did copyedit during the day yesterday…more of that today. I haven’t graded any assignments since Sunday, and I need to do some of that too. So I’m probably not going to finish the ironing today…can’t really blow off the moneymaking part of my week yet. I need to get significantly further along. I do have most of today (I’m hiking tonight), all of tomorrow, a few hours on Thanksgiving (mostly nighttime probably), and all of Friday. But I’m realizing it’s never enough. This quilt has to be done and photographed in less than 40 days. I can do that…but the copyediting has to be done in less time than that, and I have to deal with school. I can’t just push that off. Where do the hours go? Staring at fabric, I think. Mostly. And dealing with dogs. Stupid stuff like eating and peeing. I made lasagne from scratch yesterday…but that’s 3 more dinners on top of last night’s. So that was a good thing.

Sitting here watching a hummingbird on the flowers outside my office window…supposed to be in the 90s today. November, my ass.

OK, so shower, eat, copyedit. Consider venturing out for the chicken broth I should’ve bought on Sunday for the turkey I’m making for myself. Gotta make some rolls too. Should do that tomorrow…

Now get up and go.

*Led Zeppelin, Stairway to Heaven

Advertisements

At Night the Crickets Creepy*

October 24, 2017

Well. After a 10-hour day at work (ugh), I realize that although I wrote this well before I left for school, I never hit the final publish button. I do that now. Tired. Yup. But still gonna aim to draw. Even badly. Bad drawing is better than no drawing.

I’m sitting here trying to get enough tea in me to be functional (let’s be real…semi-functional)…the cold/viral thing is starting to wane, although I mostly collapsed after work yesterday for about an hour. And I’m texting my kids back and forth until they start having a discussion of how to write about torture (ah college…the things you have to write about)…and then I’m really out, because I don’t know that I could ever be pro torture. And honestly I don’t know much about it. Sure, there’s torturing pedophiles and crazy dictators and maybe even the current president (although you know he wouldn’t last long, the big baby)…and since the kids are obviously having this discussion because someone has an assignment due, I’m OK just watching them converse 3000 miles away. I miss them. Lots sometimes. Although I have nothing to add to this discussion but that torture is mean and we shouldn’t do it.

So where am I today? I finished ironing all the fabrics down for the little quilt last night. It’s really not THAT little, but compared to the last one…it’s small. I’m not going to keep going on it right now. I really really really need to start drawing the next one tonight. Somewhere I need to find the brain power for it. So expect a lot of bad starts and flailings on paper with Sharpie tonight. Woo! It’ll be great. Seriously. Maybe it will just spill out of me. Sometimes it does.

More stuff on the right, filling in spaces…

IMG_8581 small

The parental dog is nervous about the new cat…

IMG_8580 small

Satchemo is not scared of Katie.

I started ironing late…had paperwork, school stuff, other crap to deal with…but I didn’t have much left to iron, so I was pretty sure I could finish.

IMG_8584 small

Here’s all the fabrics I used. I really did think it was gonna all be bright colors. It’s hard to know what it will actually look like from this though, because it doesn’t show the mix…there’s a lot of blue in this. The purples take up a lot of space. The browns are all in one section. Same with the yellows really.

IMG_8585 small

There’s the pile…let’s see how long before I actually cut them out.

IMG_8586 small

I did pick up my most recent quilt from the photographer…first one ever with a gun in it? I think? First one on a beige background, that’s for sure. If that’s important…

New work from Kathy Nida

I’m glad she’s done.

New work from Kathy Nida

It was difficult to draw it, to make it, to quilt it. Sigh.

New work from Kathy Nida

Probably not picking this one for my profile picture any time soon.

New work from Kathy Nida

Although those are my kids, my students. Even the annoying ones. We’d protect all of them.

New work from Kathy Nida

Still gotta write a coherent statement on that one. Tonight. I’ll do that tonight. After teaching all day, meeting with admin, duty before and after school in 103-degree temperatures, tutorial, and protesting at a school board meeting. Yeah. It’ll be fine. Really. It will.

I guess it’s good I had another project that was at a good place for occupying my brain for a week or so. It didn’t seem ready to move on right away.

So this was my crew last night.

IMG_8587 small

I told them it was bedtime. Some were more ready for it than others. I get it. I was ready. I’m ready again right now, but it’s morning again, so I can’t really go back to bed. Yet. (growth mindset…that’s a teacher joke.)

Art. Tonight we draw. We draw even if we don’t feel like it. We draw to get to the drawing we need to draw.

*Squeeze, Pulling Mussels from the Shell


I Was Feeling Part of the Scenery*

October 14, 2017

I totally forgot that I have two quilts at PIQF this weekend…so go check them out. They are part of the Threads of Resistance exhibit…

IMG_8443 small

Thanks to Ellen November for the photo…she confirmed that they are not hidden away as well. The Mancusos are kind of used to me I guess. I wanted to go up for this show, but this month is a crazy asshole and that’s not happening.

Speaking of crazy assholes…

IMG_8449 small

So last night, I was ready to sew the binding on, and I realized I had an issue on the back. I should have cut the backing bigger than I did…oh well. So I thought about how to deal with this…because honestly, it’s on the back, so who’s gonna care.

IMG_8457 small

The quilt police and I are not on speaking terms.

I put the miles of binding on…

IMG_8459 small

And then the sleeves…and added a little piece of the background fabric under the sleeve, into the binding seam, so it would cover the small piece that would show.

IMG_8460 small

No one is gonna know…I’ll hand stitch it down while I’m sewing the binding and sleeves down. Problem solved!

Then I went to watch that band I always watch. Crashed their event, bought a glass of wine, then mooched the second one (the table I was sitting at was totally empty). And started drawing. Damn, I miss drawing. Need to shove that into my schedule. I keep saying it and it doesn’t happen.

The wildfires in Northern California are on my mind…

IMG_8465 small

I try to stay out of the newsfeeds, but stories about animals being rescued or still being there after everything burned, or old couples holding onto each other in swimming pools all night. Aargh. The fires aren’t fully contained, evacuations are still happening, the death toll will surely rise. So freakin’ sad.

And I have 17 errands to run, 3 hours (at least) of hand sewing, and at least 5 hours of grading to do. There we are.

*Peter Gabriel, Solsbury Hill


She’s a Bad Mama Jama*

October 13, 2017

Well. Some days one’s plans do not follow one’s plan. It is what it is. I’m grateful that I’m not in the middle of hurricane wreckage or fire danger. Although I keep looking at the sky for some evidence of fire…must be training after the last two big fires down here. There are so many disasters at the moment that it’s hard to know what to support, where to send whatever it is one can send. I did just add wildfires to the next quilt list of ideas. Certainly the amount of plant growth we had in the last year because of all the rain might have been a factor in how out of control these fires were. Although if these were human-set fires, that’s a whole ‘nother level of crazy with which I can’t deal. Humans are pretty fucked-up creatures.

So with all the fuckedupedness swirling around in my brain (that IS a word), I left school yesterday to buy binding fabric for this quilt. It didn’t take long to find one that worked…and a few others, because I like fabric. You might have noticed.

IMG_8430 small

The bottom one is the binding. The top one is sloths. I have no need for sloth fabric. Except sloths. Yes. So that explains a small portion of my stash. And now that I have the orange fabrics home, I think I already have the top one. Sigh.

So I was supposed to come home, eat, and go to the gym, and that all fell to hell at some point. So I graded shit for about 3 hours…well, and dealt with union stuff. I’m pretty sure there was something else I was supposed to do, but whatever. Sometimes that’s just the way shit works out. I think I figured I’d rather grade all that stuff LAST night than tonight. Although I will probably still grade tonight. The never-ending spew of assignments that need attention. The plus is that when I personally counsel kids, they turn shit in. The minus is the spew of emails and stuff that needs 7 clicks to access instead of 1 because it was late.

Anyway, this happened around 10 PM…I hate trimming quilts. It’s a pain in the ass. Some part of me just wants to hack haphazardly at the edges and come what may. And then the ordered part of my brain that wants the focus on the image, not the edges, comes in with the rotary cutter, kneels down on the floor at 10 PM, and carefully cuts, straightens, and measures until it’s square. Not square in shape, but sides perpendicular and square edges.

IMG_8435 small

She’s about 62 x 67″ I think now, finished. The plan tonight is to get the binding on. And email the photographer? I know I want to ink this one too. We’ll see how far I get tonight…I might have another plan that keeps me from getting far on this.

So this year at school…we did a lot of planning last year. This year, we’re tweaking stuff. That means supplementing some of last year’s stuff so we can make sure kids understand the concepts. We were lucky to get a big chunk of money last year for materials and equipment…and we’re making sure we use it. So today, we’ll be doing a demo with some elements, showing the kids some of the physical and chemical changes that can happen to certain types of elements.

IMG_8427 small

And we made a video (well, my coteacher is putting all the clips together into a video) so the kids who were absent can watch what happened…so the workload is still pretty hefty at the moment. In fact, the next unit barely exists, because we didn’t need to teach it to last year’s kids…they got it in 6th grade. So we need to make that happen somehow. I can’t say it’s easier than last year…well, maybe it is, but it’s still pretty time-consuming. I can tell you that dropping acid on metal is fun and so is hitting charcoal with a hammer. I do have a strange job some days. From personal counseling of about 50 kids to hammering elements.

OK. Thinking good (although mostly useless) thoughts about Northern California…and Puerto Rico (because the president won’t)…and everyone who is losing health insurance and Las Vegas, damn the gun people, and anyone else who is staring at their news feed like I am and wondering why. At least it’s Friday. Peace out my loves. But first, this might help…

*Carl Carlton, She’s a Bad Mama Jama


I Never Felt So Much Alike*

October 12, 2017

Hello morning. You are way too dark and you came too early. Ha. Ha ha. Oh dear, my head is not pleased with the lack of sleep. It will have to deal…because…I finished quilting! It was (apparently) loud and fast, but a little over 2 hours later, I was done with the background and all the weird little spaces and the one bit of outlining I missed and the green of the chalkboard. It took a little over 13 hours to quilt the whole thing…less than I thought, but I think that’s because I really did try to reduce the detail in this one to get it done in time.

I was successful. Good to know.

Working on the eyeball still. I’m not sure what I’m going to do when I finish the sclera. Maybe just sew flowers all around it.

IMG_8396 small

We’ll see. Ha. Ha ha. Eyeball. Get it? See? Yeah. Brain. Thanks. My early morning brain is a punny teenager.

IMG_8397 small

Even Midnight doesn’t think it’s funny. Sometimes she gives me these looks while I’m quilting and I think I’ve greatly offended her. This is one of those looks.

IMG_8402 small

Really it was just a lot of beige on beige.

IMG_8403 small

I think that’s the first beige quilt I’ve ever done.

I had a few of these little filler spaces to go back and quilt. The last fiddly bits are always the biggest pain in the ass.

IMG_8404 small

The back. The light color is the chalkboard, which I didn’t quilt tightly at all. It needed some quilting, but not a lot. The crazy stuff on the right is quilting around the atom model.

IMG_8406 small

I laid it out for binding measurements and to do a rough check that I hadn’t missed some totally obvious thing I was supposed to quilt.

IMG_8407 small

The sucker is big…currently about 70×65″…but it will trim down a bit.

I’m not uber-fussy about the quilting. Some people are into very tight quilting, but it’s usually part of their finished image, how they want it to look. I want the fabric to be the image…the quilting works as a drawing line with the outlining, and then to make the background recede…and to hold the damn thing together…but I’m not a fancy quilter. I don’t think my quilts need it.

Oct 12 17 small

There’s the atom from the front. I was lucky and had a green thread that worked well with both greens of the chalkboard.

Today I buy binding fabric and get the binding sewn on so I can do the handwork. That’s going to take about a million years and I have so much grading to do still. Ugh. Oh well. I will be getting it done this weekend. I should email the photographer, right? And then start trying to mentally process the next big one…the due date is a while out, but it’s a big one, so I need to be realistic. Whatever that means. Because I’m a little crazy when it comes to making these sometimes. I do love making them though…even when it hurts to look at them. That’s probably a good thing.

*The Clash, London Calling


I’d ‘a Danced Like the Queen of the Eyesores*

October 8, 2017

I didn’t write yesterday because I fell asleep Friday night while grading and then got up Saturday and kept grading. No art. Just trying to catch up. Not doing a great job of it. I did finally get to quilting at some point last night…and into the morning. I’m planning on doing today slightly differently. For one thing, I can’t go to sleep at 1:30 AM on a school night.

I lie. I CAN. But I shouldn’t. In fact, for about a year, I did just that. It was bad.

Grading meant cats lying on my stuff. It was hot yesterday, close to 100 degrees. Southern California sucks at Fall weather.

IMG_8285 small

Then he moved to the notebook. Because I was obviously using it, so lying on it made sense. I picked up his head to put papers under it a few times…

IMG_8291 small

This one was polite and just laid upon the graded paper pile. Although then I had to extend the pile past her because she was already lying on it.

IMG_8296 small

I realized I hadn’t touched this in days, so I did 4 nights’ worth…basically finishing the iris of the eye and starting on the white part…

IMG_8297 small

I keep trying to use a more sketch-like way of stitching, but I’m inherently ordered in how I stitch I guess.

IMG_8298 small

Then I made it into the quilting space around 10:30 PM…on a day when I had nothing but errands to do. Well. And grading. I was trying to get to a certain point. I did not. I gave up. Interestingly, here’s when I do all my work…after 9 PM.

IMG_8313 small

Still debating this app. It might work. If I can remember what each icon is for. Plus at some point I’ll probably have to pay to have enough tasks…we’ll see. I don’t think this is one of the ones that charges monthly. I don’t need that level of tracking. And the last one I paid for disappeared with the new iOS…I’m still salty about that.

I’m still outlining stuff…I’ll be doing that for a while.

IMG_8299 small

That’s a fun heart. I want to do one like that again…much more decorative than in the old days. My hearts really have changed over the years.

IMG_8300 small

The eyes haven’t changed much…there’s only so many ways to make an eye. That’s not true. That might be a challenge. Huh. I need drawing time. Seriously need it.

IMG_8301 small

I did her torso and the head, except for half of the hair. I still need to do the other arm, but I’ll do the chalkboard first. I meant to buy thread for the chalkboard when I got the background thread, but I forgot. I’m hoping there’s something in my pitiful stash so I don’t have to go back to JoAnns this close to Halloween. Damn.

IMG_8303 small

I could have gone to bed at midnight…that’s about when I started quilting the head. But I didn’t. I kept going. I wasn’t tired.

IMG_8305 small

It’s kind of boggling how much time some of this takes.

My plan for today is to finish up the school stuff that I have to do and then start quilting. I’d like to get the outlining done today. I don’t know if I can, but that’s my goal. Then I can do background quilting all week and hopefully make time somewhere to go buy binding fabric and get it bound early next week. It’s taking too long. It’s not really…I was drawing in mid-August…and basically I’ve worked on it solidly, almost every day, since then. While working full time. But it’s taking up a lot of space in my head. Certainly last night while quilting the path that bullets would take through the head…you can only think about that shit so much before your brain gets tied up in knots.

In other news, the girlchild has been accepted to a school program in Madagascar…you know, where the outbreak of plague is. Yeah. Exciting stuff, but a bit scary for all of us. She’ll have an awesome experience…just getting there will take her two full days. But very cool opportunity…

OK. Work briefly and then quilt until I have to stop…

*The Shins, New Slang


I Wanna Shut the Door and Open Up My Mind*

October 6, 2017

So the only way I know the kids are alive is when they text me. That’s fine…but I can tell the girlchild is buried in schoolwork because all I see of her are her Likes on Instagram. And the boychild will respond to pictures of potential coyote poop and junk mail. I guess the girlchild liked the cute ferret video. I think. I guess all that is good…they responded when I asked about flying them home. It’s just been a real quiet week…

My students are doing a superhero project…some are worried about the drawing part. I don’t know why. Here’s what I drew for them.

IMG_8257 small

They’re obsessed with the perfect body superheroes. I’m like…why? Dorky kid superheroes!

I made apple crisp this week…because I knew I’d need it. Comfort food. Apple crisp for breakfast is perfectly acceptable. No it’s not. But it’s what’s for breakfast today.

I started quilting last night…late…I had my stitching meeting first. I didn’t get much done…head and tail tufts on the elephant, and then the start of turkey work (guided by Julie, I started making them much tighter) on these, which are apparently cattails. Or is it catails. No. That looks wrong.

IMG_8268 small

I didn’t even photograph the head and tail tufts. It’s gonna be a rough day. Brain appears to be offline.

Midnight was incredibly interested in the quilting.

IMG_8259 small

So interested that she left 5 minutes later. I didn’t quilt a lot…just the dirt. I was tired. It was late. Manhandling a quilt at 11 PM after a long day is not easy. Plus I had a tweaked spot in my right hand. Not sure from what…turkey work? Pulling the needle? The gym? It still hurts this morning, although not as much. Inside the hand…probably more stupid arthritis. I have arthritis in one of my feet. Sigh. Old age.

IMG_8263 small

My weekend is kind of laid out for me: about 5 errands, not desperate mostly. Lots of quilting. Lots of grading.

IMG_8264 small

Yup. Très exciting. This thing will not quilt fast, that’s for sure. I did already buy the thread for the background quilting. Honestly, it doesn’t sound like a bad weekend, except for all the grading. I expected to get more done in class this week with the kids working on an independent project, but they haven’t been very independent. That’s unfortunate. I will need to bust my butt a little bit this weekend instead.

But first I need to get through Friday at school. Ugh. I’m really not in the mood. More loud music needed.

*Linkin Park, Runaway