Better Than Pie

Things that keep me up at night: wait. Happy Thanksgiving first. Happy day of eating and family and friends and eating and maybe football or whatever. And sleeping and drinking and avoiding political discussions like the plague.

Things that keep me up at night: my kids. Seriously. They do. Where they are and whether they will survive. Also worrying about whether or not I have enough batting to quilt the damn quilt that is trying to get done. Because today is a freakin’ holiday, duh, and I should have checked that yesterday and gone out and bought batting if I didn’t have enough, because I’m probably going to get to the sandwich stage today and delaying until tomorrow to wait for the store to open (on Black Fucking Friday, oh god) and then buying it and washing it and drying it and THEN sandwiching, and I’ve lost half the day right there.

Damn. Well. I should check now if I have enough, because maybe all that worry is beside the point. I should have maybe gotten out of bed at 3 AM when the rain woke me up (ah beautiful rain, thank you for existing) and done it then.

So the answer is sort of. I have lots of long narrow pieces of Warm and Natural, which is what I prefer to quilt with. I just checked JoAnns hours and they’re really not open today. Tomorrow at 6 AM. Which implies sales and crazy-ass people lining up like loons. So back to the sort of answer. I have a batting remnant that IS big enough…I just don’t know what it is. I used to take classes way back in the day and they would recommend batting types and I would try them out, but I love the W&N because it sticks and I don’t have to quilt super close together and it’s not super lofty. This is not W&N. It might be bamboo, because I remember someone saying how wonderful it was for wall hangings and maybe I bought a small one, and if I did, then I used a piece of it for a smaller quilt, because there is a piece gone. No labeling at all, of course.

On January 10, 2014, I also pulled this piece of batting out (yes, I’m mining the blog for answers to my brain right now)…and I chickened out and didn’t use it, because unknown results! I hate unknown results when I’m on a deadline. It has a weird edge, plus a scrim or something inside it.

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OK, I officially skimmed the entire blog for mentions of random batting (I talk about batting a lot), and there’s nothing. I also checked for the word “bamboo”, but apparently I use the word “bamboozled” a lot, so that was unhelpful. So I’m gonna use it. Seize the day! Even if it might fuck up everything! Of course, I’m not actually ready for it yet. Plus, it’s batting. How bad could it be?

Yesterday, I rolled up the bottom bit and put it aside for a while so I could deal with the head and resultant plumes from that area…

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Head start. Ah ha ha ha.

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Plume to the right is done…plume to the left is started…

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Working on a net full of fish…

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And a boat…most of the plume is done here.

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I did eventually find all the eyeball parts that were missing, but never found the fish part, so I had to recut it. I also found a missing tree part from the 200s…so I inserted that as well. No waste! Well. There’s waste.

And ironed her down…before dinner even. It was a productive day. For art quiltmaking. Not for life in general. It took 13 hours and 46 minutes to iron her together. Not bad.

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She’s ready for stitch down. But first some grading…two assignments down and input into the system, plus a sleepy puppy. And I brined a turkey and hard-boiled a bunch of eggs. But that was earlier. I even put a bra on and went to the store, where I forgot the Miracle Whip but remembered more cheese.

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Cheese is always good. Turkey is in the fridge in the mop bucket. It’s clean (plus it’s in a plastic bag for the paranoid among us). Then I started stitch down. No wasting time! Must finish!

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I got a good 2-hour chunk of it done. My goal is to finish the stitch down before I have to be presentable for social interactions with other humans.

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Besides the two antisocial beasts I live with. You know. They ignore me anyway. Oh, I made deviled eggs this morning. Because I wanted them. So there. Tomorrow I will make turkey and some other stuff so I can have turkey sandwiches for a couple of weeks (I freeze it…don’t panic). But today, I stitch down and hopefully sandwich and pinbaste and maybe even start quilting, if the tryptophan doesn’t kill me. That’s the goal anyway. Better than pie. Well. Pie is pretty good if it’s apple pie.

I Suggest You Switch Your Mind State*

Well, my perfect-laid plans of finishing the ironing yesterday and starting the stitch down did not come true. A shock! Holy crap, is it Wednesday already? Sheesh. This quilt. Life! It takes time, doesn’t it? I’m debating a longer hike for Friday morning, but realistically, it depends on how much I get done between now and then as to whether I can do that. Sigh. Deadlines. Grades. Stuff.

Yesterday I ironed for close to 5 hours. I also graded one assignment and recorded another one that a program graded for me. We walked the dogs. I picked up two of my quilts. I didn’t do a lot of things.

Ironing this quilt has been a challenge. I numbered it in logical order for ironing Wonder Under to fabrics, but it doesn’t iron together in the same order. Hence having to iron the feet (in the 400s) into the 100s of the landscape. So that continued as I ironed upwards from the ground…I got the legs done up until the hips…

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And then started working on the rest of the hill to the right…

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Bobcat and mule deer…

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Some manzanita. And Satchemo…asleep in the sun. He’s there again now.

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Wait. I didn’t iron the cat.

The hill…minus the poison oak.

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The poison oak went in, bridging the hill to the leg…

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Then some dog walking…we did over 3 1/2 miles…

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Mostly trying to tire out the little one…

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Back to the ironing. So when I got to the torso, it was all in the 500s, but the plume of water and trash coming out of the chest is in the 800 and 900s. I couldn’t make sense of trying to iron the whole body without putting the plume in, so I started pulling from the last two boxes.

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And then continued the body above that plume. So I’m about halfway through the 600s, plus I’ve ironed all the 900s and about half of the 800s…although there are a few of those still floating around. Haven’t figured out where they belong yet.

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And I’m missing parts of two eyeballs. Plus a piece of a fish. Huh. Well, hopefully they’ll show up sometime today. So I think I have about 200 pieces left to iron. I think. Honestly, it’s hard to say. I’ve been ironing it together for 9 1/2 hours…at least 2 or 3 hours left, I think. So I should be able to finish ironing today and start stitching down. That’s the plan anyway. Plus grade an assignment or two. And maybe an errand. Sigh. I really don’t want to do anything else…but there’s stuff that needs doing. Hate that. Oh well. Moving on.

*K.Flay, So Fast, So Maybe

Not Sold on That…

Seventeen things on the list for yesterday. I think 5 got done. Not bad. Love the kid who is currently complaining that I haven’t finished grading her late work yet. Nah, I’m doing the on-time work first…all 8 assignments of it. Strangely, every time I finish a task, it seems two more jump up to take its place. I need to be serious about ironing today though…so maybe I do that first. I know from experience, though, that if I do that, I rarely get anything else done. Sigh. Quilt must get done. Grading must get done.

I just read my blog from last year’s Thanksgiving week, and I’m not going to Costco today. I did it last year on this day. It will be hell. It was hell. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe I’ll do a drive-by. We need toilet paper. But not that bad.

Calli wants something here. You can tell by the way she’s looking at me.

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So I ran errands and graded on and off, and then I went to the gym, so the day just sort of slips by. And then I made dinner, but at some point, I started ironing a coyote together. I think it was pretty late, actually. Like after 9 PM.

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I got the hill done behind her…well, not all of it. There’s more on the right. I just decided it would be easier to iron some leg parts in there first.

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Coyote landscape. Fire. Yeah, I drew this before all the fires last week. California fire season…

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Unfortunately inevitable…but not that bad. Not as bad as it was this year.

The other bird. A hill…

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And then I started ironing legs. Up to the knees…actually, I think I got up to the hip on one side, and then realized I hadn’t cut out the other side. I have no idea how that happened.

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Kitten is surveying it all…this was bedtime. After midnight.

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That’s why I’m tired. I go to bed late and then people and animals are up early, and it’s hard to sleep. But late at night is when I get a lot done.

Today I will iron. I will grade one assignment. I will go pick up my quilts. I might take the car in for an oil change. I might go to Costco. But I’m not sold on those two at all.

To Arizona and Back Again…

We’re back. Quick trip. More driving than anything else, I think. It was worth it…I wanted to see the whole Things That Matter exhibit in one place…although now I think I might be able to see it in St. George as well! On the way to Zion for Spring Break anyway. We’ll see.

So I had some pieces left to cut…my plan was to cut in the car, so I set this up…double-boxed. I’ve done this before. It’s a little crazy, but it works.

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Arizona is so flat. This might even be the flat part of California.

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Cutting while not driving…

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We try to do 2-hour shifts…after that, you need a break. This section was pretty, through the Sonoran Desert National Monument. It was the short way around Phoenix to get to Chandler. We never went into Phoenix.

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So we went to see the official opening of the entire exhibit of Things That Matter, an exhibit I was invited to be in last year. The preview exhibition, which didn’t include all the work, was at Visions Art Museum in Spring. I really thought I had done a good job of taking photos at that exhibit, but it turns out I didn’t take hardly any…and this trip was no different. Honestly, my phone camera sucks for this stuff, and the sun was going down and causing issues with lighting. So go see the exhibit or get the catalog on Amazon. Because I suck.

But here is Virginia Spiegel’s Boundary Waters 90 on the left and Pamela Blotner’s Miss Pustelschwein Regrets, a fascinating piece.

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Deidre AdamsConnections and Susan T. Avila’s Time to Relax, which needs a front view to see the words.

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My piece Not Less Than, with Rachel MeginnesDon’t Tell Me It’s Raining, then Catherine Kleeman’s Clean Water and Linda Colsh’s And the Deep River Ran On, on the other wall.

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Paula Chung’s PTSD: Betrayal…amazing stitching in this piece.

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Betty Busby’s Let Your Light Shine

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And another view of my piece that includes Susan Else’s amazing and terrifying When? on gun violence in schools, and Alice Beasley’s very cool From Russia With Love.

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Obligatory photo with my piece…

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Elena StokesHorizon XII-Peace and Quiet

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And another Blotner piece, this with Elizabeth AddisonHanuman’s Journey.

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Please remind me if I go to the St. George installation to take WAY BETTER PHOTOS. Sheesh. And all the pieces. Seriously.

So then we ate and went back to the room and I finished cutting out the quilt pieces. California, Massachusetts, California, Arizona. Impressive.

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It took 13 1/2 hours total. Kind of long.

Back in the room, interesting accent wall, especially this bit, which is totally out of reach, even if you’re standing on the bed.

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But don’t hang anything on it with a coat hanger. Warning noted.

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I drew…this is a baby start for something that’s in my head and is much bigger and fancier. Or more detailed anyway.

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I haven’t been drawing much lately. Need to work on that.

The next morning, after a solid American breakfast, we drove back.

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There was crankiness. Sigh. 10 hours of driving does that. I finished the owl’s eyes though! And the giraffe, but I forgot to photograph him. I still need to finish the hut for that block to be done.

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Now that I’m home and ready to work on the quilt that has to be done in like 7 days, the wool stitching is not really a priority. So yesterday afternoon, I sorted all the pieces…

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Less than an hour for that…

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And then I started ironing…a snake before dinner…

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Then the landscaping starts…hard to do because the water goes over and under the feet, and the water is in the 0-100s box and the feet are in the 400s box, so there was searching and I lost a toe so I had to recut it.

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Then a couple of birds went together…

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And the background behind them…

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Here’s where I’m at so far, with about 150 pieces ironed…well, more because of the toes.

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There’s a hill behind the legs, or two hills really, that have to be done, and another bird in the sky. My goal today is first to bang out the 17 errands I need to do, and then iron until the cows come home. Except also go to the gym, make dinner, and grade at least one assignment. Not a small list. But I’m glad to be ironing. It would be good if I were done with ironing sometime tomorrow and then stitching down. I think I need to be quilting by Wednesday. Seriously. You think I’m joking. I’m not. But first, groceries. There’s no food here. Can’t sustain artistic focus without food.

Getting on a Plane…

So I’m sitting squished in the airport, waiting to board to Boston. Seriously what is it with white males and their elbows. Stay on your side of the chair, man. They say 7 minutes, but I’m in the last group, so I’ll be sitting here a while. I’m OK with that, having finished the draft of the parent email I have to send on Sunday and managed some other shit that needed to be done for school.

I did finally finish the ironing of fabrics last night for the newest piece. Despite only 991 pieces (stop laughing), it took 16 1/2 hours to pick fabrics. I blame tiredness and the need to actually match real live colors of things, instead of the crazy shit I normally do.

The crazy box full of fabrics and everything piled up behind it. It didn’t take long to finish up.


153 fabrics total…quite a lot of natural colors going on in here.


I did actually start cutting stuff out. I’m feeling some time pressure on this deadline.

And I’m taking some of them with me. I left behind the really big pieces, but figured I might get some of these done while watching the girlchild do homework. I’m OK with that.


Group B is in line now…but I’m D…so it will be a while. Looking forward to posting from Boston…

You Would Share Your Last Jelly Bean*

Another shooting. Racists in government. Here in lovely East County, we elect a racist and indicted man who luckily can serve in prison, instead of using our brains. Deep breaths. There were wins. The shooting…none of it will stop unless we change something. Something about guns. And that doesn’t look promising at the moment.

Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to visiting my girlchild this weekend. I haven’t seen much of her since last January. I basically will be following her around as she does all the shit she does, so that will be fine. I will rejoice in her presence. OK, that sounds goofy. I’ll enjoy being around her and maybe sleeping.

Unlikely to be sleeping.

Long day at work. This curriculum is painful. Sigh. Love piloting new curriculum. Not. I was the only 7th grade science teacher at my school during the last curriculum adoption, so I just picked the best book for my kids. Now it’s complicated by all the tech supports (or not, in this case). I wonder why they think middle-school kids don’t need visuals.

I came home and worked for a while. Always. Then ironed. Late. I’m close to done…but not done. This is all the plastic waste that’s in the water plumes…

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It looks pretty benign there.

Puppy love. Much appreciated.

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Calli is still really happy to have her toys back. She hasn’t even destroyed this one. I think it’s because she really loves it.

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So the pile grows. I keep shoving them down in the box. That’s a lot.

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I’m still debating taking them with me to cut out. I probably should. Traveling with this stuff is always nerve-wracking though. What if I lose part of it? I can’t put it in my checked bag…I’m totally paranoid they’ll all disappear. Can you imagine? I’ve only flown with pieces to cut out once. And I put them in my carry-on. But I know I’ll have a lot of waiting time, and yes, I could read a book and grade videos and embroider on my Sue Spargo piece. I’m going to do all those things. But it would be good to spend a few hours cutting these out too.

I think I just persuaded myself. Hopefully TSA won’t want an explanation. It’s OK…I’ll put the scissors in my checked bag. I’m not crazy.

This is all I have left to iron. Hopefully tonight?

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It’s not a lot of pieces, but it’s a turtle and a squid and a sea otter and a jellyfish. Plus a boat and a net and some other fish. Not uncomplicated stuff. That’s why I quit at midnight.

Kitten was there too.

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OK. To work. Another high-maintenance day. And school drama. Always. But leaving tomorrow.

*Zero 7, Somersault

‘Cause There’s Beauty in the Breakdown*

You’d think after a day off, I’d be all rested and stuff, but apparently not eating for the first 6 hours plus of the day throws my body off. It’s still complaining. It will get over it. I did manage 4 hours of ironing and a dog walk in between all the work stuff I did…I wrote sub plans for the two days I’ll be in Boston, I graded half of the videos I needed to watch, I set up at least one post for today, and I finished next week’s warmups (which I have to remember to post while I’m gone). A lot of remembering will need to happen while I’m gone. If I’m smart, I’m going to calendar that shit so I don’t forget. I can schedule things on Google Classroom, but only one class at a time, which is a pain. I might do that anyway, though, because I don’t trust the remembering part of my brain to do it on time. That would be disastrous. The sub would hate me.

So the ultrasound seemed to be a lot of Hold Your Breath and the nice radiology lady wishing my ribs were not where they actually were. I’m only a little bruised this morning. It’ll be fine. I figure they’ll try calling me at work tomorrow and we’ll play phone tag all day, and I won’t get a hold of the doctor until I’m boarding a plane. So there we are. The blood tests have ruled out some of the scarier diagnoses so far, so I’m still betting on an alien. It hurts in exactly the same place it did when I was really pregnant with the girlchild and she was using my organs as soccer balls. (No, I’m not pregnant. That’s not happening. But aliens might.). Anyway. Waiting sucks. As you all know.

So ironing…fitting the flesh pieces together. There isn’t much of this fabric left.

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Then after the ultrasound and FOOD and water, we took the dogs out. It gets dark so early…

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Where the sun is…that’s where Calli and the boychild are…beating me up the hill.

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Calli’s tongue hanging out all over the place…

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So we’re on the way back and there’s this hawk facing away from us, but I start talking to us and it turns its head all the way around to look at us. Piercingly. Thinking WTF is that woman doing.

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Talking to you. That’s what I’m doing. Pretty bird. I don’t think I knew they could do that with their heads, although it makes sense.

I came back, did some work stuff, alphabetized purple and white pieces of paper so I could grade that section of the National Park Project more easily. Then made it back in here for another 2 hours of ironing. I finished all the innards (mostly) before the ultrasound…so then I started on the water plumes that are all over. Mostly I just did the water bits though. There were lots of them…

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This is all the stuff that’s IN the water or ON the water (oil slick etc.) that I haven’t done. That’s tonight, I’m hoping, although it’s a lot to do in one night. Lots of fussy little details.

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Plastic bottles and bags and fish nets and fishing boats and I think there’s a Humboldt squid in there as well. So that’s not a small amount of things that are left. I know I laid out all the pieces through number 991. I know I ironed down all the way through the 700s, and then a goodly chunk of the 800s and 900s were water, so they’re done. That leaves maybe 100 pieces? So maybe I can do it tonight.

Here’s the chaotic pile of stuff I worked on yesterday, plus everything that’s ready to be cut out.

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Then I organized. Much better. Deep breath. I can find stuff again. More color now. You can almost see my left brain fighting with my right brain over this stuff. My left brain wants to go back and organize better by color. My right brain says there’s no point, because we’re going to pull a lot of them back out tonight and mess it up again.

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Hi Kitten. You’re in my chair.

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Like she cares.

Simba is with the boychild, at the ex’s house, so Satchemo was free to sleep in Simba’s bed. The crate is open…I try to remember to check for Satch before I put Simba in there at night…

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Apparently it’s the best bed ever.

OK, high-maintenance school stuff today, waiting on results, tired already. Need to pack, need to finish prep for being gone, need to finish ironing.

*Frou Frou, Let Go