Collaborate. Future.

So two things in my head this morning (besides why can’t the animals shut up in the morning and allow me to sleep when I obviously stayed up way too late last night doing art stuff)…collaboration and my not-so-successful experience of that, and how to retire sometime 20 years or more from now (because how will I ever be able to afford that).

Collaboration is in my head because I have an opening tonight for a collaborative attempt that did in fact end up making a successful piece, but I guess for me, it’s still not the collaboration I’m looking for. And then I think about how irritated I get with people, and maybe collaboration is a mistake. This project was not a mistake…it’s an awesome idea, and I hope my partner enjoyed his part in the project. A few friends of mine work with Project Paint, a rehab program for inmates in Donovan Correctional Facility. I picked a word (relationships), and was paired with an inmate. He started a painting based on that word, and then wrote me some reflections about his start…and then I was supposed to work from there. That is always the hard part, isn’t it? I stared at it for a while…

And then I decided how to add to it. I had been told to use fabric if I wanted to, because at the beginning, I was saying, hey, I don’t paint, and that was OK. So I sewed right onto that canvas, and then added some stuff above and below, plus some squares for the inmate to add to…

I even hid a barrel monkey down in the ground. Then I made a quilt out of it, so it would be able to hang, and sent it back to my inmate partner. He added to it, but I haven’t seen a written explanation of what he added, which has made it hard to respond again. So I guess I just didn’t.

I’m glad he gave him eyes and a shirt…the show Inside/Outside opens tonight at Art Produce, 6-8 PM.

So I guess I need something different for collaboration. Then again, this project wasn’t about me…it was about the inmate artist. So I hope he got something good out of it. I will keep finding ways to collaborate, and maybe one of them will spark something bigger in me. I’m looking forward to seeing the other work produced as well. And I would totally do it again. I guess I am always open to these weird collaborative attempts.

The second thing on my mind is my future. I have a friend retiring from teaching this year and I’ve been watching her figure this out, knowing that I am years away from doing this. But not a ton of years. At least 10, probably. But certainly, I think money will still be tight, because going through a divorce and putting kids through college has not exactly helped me save for retirement. I’ve done the required stuff; I even have funds from when I was self-employed, but I get screwed by having both paid fully into Social Security and having a state teachers’ fund. I won’t see everything I paid into it and I won’t be able to get enough years in as a teacher, because I started too late. Which sucks, but is. So I need to probably keep working even when I’m done being a teacher. As it is, every summer scares the crap out of me because I never have enough money going in to get me through a very expensive season with no paycheck. I have to time my school credit-card purchases for the next school year so that I will have actually been paid when the bill is due. I often work other jobs (mostly copyediting) on the side during the summer to try to pay the bills. It’s stressful and I don’t like it. I start staring at the bank balance during Spring Break, and sometimes I live on my tax return for that 8 weeks, but this year, that tax return is not only significantly smaller (sigh), but also I turned around and handed it over to my street basically to redo our entire road. Expensive. It’s been about 12 years since we last did it, and a new house being built at the bottom totally trashed one portion of it. So it’s an unexpected expense, but that’s the way it always is. Every year.

So I keep looking for ways to make money that don’t take the huge amount of time that my art does. Although I love making my art. I love taking the time for it. But I also have a bunch of college loans to help pay over the next (ouch IDK how many) few years, and I need extra cash. I need to keep my head above water. I have a week’s worth of paid teacher stuff this summer, and then 7 weeks with no money coming in. OK. I can do this. I do it every year.

So obviously, I started doing the embroidery patterns, which wasn’t really on my radar until I was asked to do them. Cool idea. I want to do a coloring book…I’m hoping to work on that this summer. I say that every year though, so I need to actually DO it this year. And then I finally started a Patreon account. I wrote it all up last summer, planned it even earlier than that, but finally pushed it out this weekend, because they’re changing the pricing structure, and I wanted to be on the earlier version. So it’s out there. Link in the side bar. But I should put one here too…hang on…here it is. It’s hard to ask people for money, to ask them to fork cash out for the crazy shit you do, but there it is. A monthly charge and you get some Kathy. Check it out. I won’t judge you for not signing up…or for signing up. I’m kinda looking forward to doing some different things for the Patreon than what I’ve been doing (adding videos!), so maybe that will leak over onto the blog…who knows?

I also started a Society6 account for wall art and posters…although the girlchild wants a cutting board with a uterus on it (disturbing), so look for that eventually. Yes, I only have one thing up there right now. Another summer project. Feel free to look through my gallery and suggest what you think you might want. I’d appreciate the input. It doesn’t make me much money, but it gets my art out there on people’s walls, so I’m OK with that for now. I don’t have the time, patience, energy, or money to do it myself, but maybe that’s a future thing too.

So here’s last night though…I cooked and graded and then…I sorted Wonder Under…

It didn’t take long…

About 40 minutes…lots of tiny pieces, and then I love it when the fusible separates from the paper.

I don’t really. But I’ll deal with it.

I had help, as always…

Really not helpful guys. You’re the ones who woke me up this morning.

Ugh. Tired. After sorting, I wasn’t ready to go to bed, or ready to come in here and clean so I could start ironing. Not a thing at close to midnight. So I embroidered a little on the third pattern.

I need to wash the other two today and iron them and make a nice picture. Yeah.

I’m doing all the pink/purple first because I think I might run out. I didn’t trace everything either. Because it just rubs off. So that’s OK. Hopefully I’ll get this one done this week. Hopefully I’ll get all the Wonder Under ironed to fabric this week too (that’s the plan). My weekend is busy. I’m looking forward to a weekend sometime in the future where I don’t wake up Saturday morning with a rock in my gut because there’s too fucking much to do. It won’t be any time in the next month. It’s not this weekend, that’s for sure. With that in mind, I need to go get ingredients for an appetizer thing for today, then make that app. Then do something on the to-do list, if not two or three things, before I have to be social. Ugh. OK. I can do it. You might see me doing it even.

I Finished…Something.

It’s Saturday. Y’all probably already know this, but I keep having to tell myself what day it is because I conveniently forget when on break. It’s a nice thing to get to that point, except when you have to be somewhere at a particular time and people want you to be there ON time and with all your crap so they can leave with you. So I’m watching the clock and probably need to get my act in gear soon.

In awesomely good news, I finished the Project Paint thing yesterday…in fact, it’s all I finished, although I left the house twice for things I had to do, and in both cases almost got creamed by another vehicle who was driving idiotically in my lane when previously they had NOT been in my lane, so it kinda makes me think I shouldn’t leave the house like ever. Not happening, of course, but it’s what my core brain is saying. Don’t leave! People drive badly! Just stay home! It’s nicer here anyway!

OK, brain, I hear you. Still not happening.

I started with ironing bits together…this is the easy stuff…

These are part of the strips for top and bottom.

I wanted a relationship between the people and the place they live…the bigger place.

And that one monkey made it underground.

Plus a rocket into the sky.

It’s so fast to do these little pieces…

Then I put each one onto a background…

So I could piece things. Here’s where I admit that I suck at measuring and piecing. One reason why I’m not a traditional quilter. The second one being that I hate all that repetition.

I pieced the top, adding a canvas square in there for my collaborator to paint something on.

He says he’s more abstract normally. So he can go sky abstract here if he wants. Or whatever.

And here’s the bottom strip getting stitched down, with another canvas square in the ground…for ground abstract.

We’ll see what he does with these.

This part made me nervous, the stitchdown on the actual canvas, so I tried it out on a scratch piece first.

Seemed to work. So I went for it…

Slow and steady.

I did all of it…with no problems…there’s the back…

OK then. Now piece it all together…strip on top and bottom…

I was thinking about how I didn’t want to bind it, but I needed to finish the edges and figure out how to hang it. I need it to be able to go back to the original guy so he can finish painting, but I won’t get it back before it goes in the show.

So I put wide-enough strips on that I could use it to finish the edges.

Then I made the backing. The rules are that I can’t use a piece of fabric that’s bigger than 6″ square, because they might be able to use it as a disguise.

I’m not arguing with the prison system, but I feel like once you sew them together, they are still a really bad and ugly disguise. Bleck.

Batting, backing, oh I skipped the whole thing where I quilted around each box and then inside the fabric stuff, but I tried the quilting on the paper and decided it would be a clusterfuck.

So I left the center piece unquilted. I pinned the extra around the back and then put two sleeves on, top and bottom, for hanging.

And then sewed the whole thing down…

And stitched the sleeves down. Done. A day early. I still need to do a write up before I leave this morning, but it’s getting delivered today. Whoo! Off my plate! I’ll see it again in May. We’ll see what he does with my crazy. Me? Outside my box. It’s good to do that sometimes.

Speaking of crazy. This dog.

She’s such a weird sleeper.

I finished that other stuff around 9:30 PM after working on it a goodly chunk of the day. Then I drew this…

Cool. I like the idea. Might run further with this someday.

And then I cut stuff out for a little while.

Still way behind where I wanted to be. Oh well. And I’ve graded nothing for two days. Probably need to do some schoolwork. School starts Monday. Ugh. So not ready. Never ready.

And there’s this. The second installment in the weird mailing I got a few weeks ago about an imaginary relative…now bringing in time travel and artifacts and my duty as the descendant of this relative.

I still don’t know who set this up, but it’s cool…we got all the letter snippets into some order and will wait patiently for the next installment. Don’t ruin it! I know it’s a gift thing and I am appreciating the mystery. Plus looking forward to time travel.

OK. Shower, food, pack stuff up to take with me to meeting, long drive to and from meeting, long meeting, need more time before Monday, but maybe it’ll all be OK anyway. Don’t even ask about my blood sugar. It’s a disaster. I am, as always, a work in progress.

Well, I Got One Foot on the Platform*

OK. I need another week. I realize most of you don’t get a 3-week break around Christmas, and you think I’m a whiner about this, and maybe I am, but all of the deadlines and to-do list items just slammed into me like a Mack truck and I’m panicking. It’s OK. I do this every Winter Break. But when your diabetes nurse is telling you that stress increases your blood sugar and you’re still trying to get that under control, thinking about stress causing that just causes more stress and maybe I should blow off everything and just go for a long hike. There are many arguments for that.

But I am also a responsible adult. Apparently.

So I drove back from Arrowhead yesterday morning. We all left early to get back to life. And deadlines. And stress. Aack. Seriously. I need to get a hold of this.

So let’s remember this…because it’s pretty. Although effing cold.

I don’t think my feet got warm until like 6 PM yesterday night.

Lots of lolling around with dogs. Reading books. On devices.

I didn’t finish mine, but I checked out three more and then went on airplane mode so the library couldn’t suck back the book that was due yesterday that I’m almost done with but literally have no time to read what am I thinking. Sigh.

Wednesday was the boychild’s birthday. He made everyone dinner and cake, but then the sprinkles container exploded all over the kitchen.

Well then. Impressive.

More sleeping puppy.

We played Settlers of Catan (need to get us some extensions I think) and I drew and if you follow my Insta, you saw the in-progress drawing that I did while gaming. Yes, I’m not a super serious gamer because I draw or stitch (or sometimes grade) at the same time, but I almost won this time. Maybe. Or we all almost won and the girlchild did win. But here’s the drawing…

This one could be a quilt. Totally. In fact, it shall be. I don’t know when though. Don’t ask me that.

Wednesday night’s cutting…I am so far behind on this.

But there is progress. That’s a plus. I didn’t work on it yesterday though. Yesterday I panicked about a piece that is supposed to be done by Sunday, but it would be really convenient if it were done by tomorrow. Noon. So. Yeah. I don’t know if I can pull that off, but it’s what I’m trying to do.

Yesterday afternoon, I trimmed all the pieces for the Project Paint piece…

There’s about 161 pieces I think. Not a ton.

Then I ironed the first section together…

Ironing eyeballs separately. So the inmate I’m working with had painted a young boy picking his nose and playing with a barrel of monkeys…so I did his older sister…

She’s playing solitaire, because her little brother is too annoying to play with. You know. And then I ironed her onto the canvas that he had painted on…

Now honestly, I could stop there. Well, I need to stitch some. But I didn’t stop there. Because I wanted to go beyond relationships between siblings and games and older/younger…I wanted to go out into the big wide world.

So I’ll be working on the top and bottom strips today, then stitching down, and deciding how to finish it. And wondering why I do this to myself, except I think it’s a good cause. I still need to write a response to the inmate as well and figure out how to get it done before noon tomorrow.

Don’t talk to me about the other things I need to do today.

I did have my stitching meeting last night. No, I haven’t implemented my one piece per night thing yet. I’m still on break. Plus I’ve been working on this one at stitching meeting forever. I finished the zebra and started the antelope…

But realized I am probably going to run out of the thread I’m using. I can’t figure out what it is, and I thought I had more of it. I lost the label for it. I haven’t looked too hard yet though. I will see if I can get around the antelope’s body and then maybe find a replacement. I still need to do the other flowers on this block too…but they are on the other instruction sheet…the one I don’t carry around.

It’s interesting. I put stuff on my to-do list that really isn’t necessary, like the drawing a night thing…here’s last night’s.

But I do that for my sanity and to make sure that the job stuff doesn’t take over the world. Because it would if I let it.

OK, I’ve got work to do. Later today? Dog walk and probably phone replacement. And more of this stuff. A drawing. Maybe some stitching. Most definitely trying to finish the Project Paint thing. Some school stuff maybe. Not forgetting about that quilt I have to ship. Aargh. Too much. (Do not ask me about grading. My principal called me yesterday. On break. Yeah. Teaching. The job that sucks up your brain and spits it out.)

*The Animals, The House of the Rising Sun

Time Compression

So I just realized the silly app on my iPad tossed all these photos into the post in backward order. Sigh. No. I don’t have the patience to move them all. Seriously. Hmn. Wait, there might be a workaround…there is! Sigh. Yes, I’m on three different devices up here and none of them is the best for getting stuff where I need it to be. And one needs to be back in airplane mode before it deletes the book that I am reading…I only have 100 pages left to read, but it’s supposed to be due sometime tonight, and I won’t get all those pages read by then. I’m losing time, it seems. It’s always like that in the days before we go back to school. Time compresses strangely and disappears without notice. 

So I wanted to iron the Wonder Under to fabric for the Project Paint piece before I came up the mountain, so I did. Here they are…

img_9894

Hopefully I’ll get them cut out tonight. I also need to cut the other stuff out, but that’s going to take me longer I think. 

I used all the fabrics from the last big quilt, except I added a few…these…

Nothing much…just needed to fill a space.

Here’s the pile from the last one…the fabrics I used are all on top of the boxes.

Plus random dog toy. I meant to leave for the mountains at around noon…well, it was almost 2 PM. Whatever.

I made it up before dark…ensconsed myself on the couch with the computer, and finished one of the hellish grading things I had created. Girlchild with puppy…also on couch.

It was pretty cold, 30 degrees, when I got here…a delightful 27 this morning. I don’t have clothes for this. It warmed up today, though. Mostly we are all sitting around reading or watching things. It’s the boychild’s birthday and he will be cooking…impressive. The sun is already dropping and I’ve gotten very little done. I’m in the middle of grading another assignment. I didn’t do a very good job in the middle week of getting crap done. Oh well. Being a teacher is a crazy thing sometimes. I can’t be a teacher every day.

I did cut some stuff out last night…not a lot…the grading sucked up my brain.

Plus we played Sorry. I lost. But not as bad as some people. Still a lot of cutting to do.

Still drawing. In space. With aliens.

It will maybe be hard to stop doing this? Or not? I’m not sure. I know you have to do something like 30 days in a row to make it a habit. Meditation too, right? Supposed to be doing that. Ugh. Can’t remember to do everything.

So today was some shopping, wherein mostly the boychild and I stood around and watched the other two buy things, but we realized most of the shoes in the Bass outlet store had names, like people names. So we went around and judged the hell out of that…this was the closest to mine (I’m not a Kathleen), and I was thoroughly offended that I was the bog standard loafer. Ugh.

Although I feel like I could be cheaper. Seriously. I don’t think I even wore these in the preppy high school era of the 80s when they were the thing. I think I had knock-offs for a while, but I mostly gave up on that stuff and went Kmart and thrift shop. Much more my style.

Anyway, back to grading after walking dogs, then cutting things up and another drawing tonight, plus some gaming probably. Maybe I’ll read some more too. Who knows?

First Official Title of 2019

Happy 2019…I woke up to pretty blue skies after yesterday’s cloudy rainstorm. Both Christmas and New Year’s Eve were rainy…not normal for Southern California, but a nice change. We had a quiet evening in…mostly watched a movie and some TV and a bunch of random movie trailers, just so we could see the new year in. This morning, he’s off to gaming and I’m off to Lake Arrowhead to hang with the kids. Of course, I’m not actually packed or ready to go yet, but that’s OK. I have time.

Yesterday was a lot of trying to get things done…I finally pulled out the Project Paint piece, which had been percolating in my mind, and I drew the bits to go around it. I really wanted to add some fabric strips to it…I might even quilt it, but I haven’t decided yet. Certainly I’ll need to finish the edges somehow. But I started with a photocopy of his unfinished painting…

The word is relationships and he went for kids and games and picking his nose, so I added his big sister (even though he’s older than me…I’m a big sister) and then some stuff above and below, with some canvas squares for him to continue to paint in. He says he’s more of an abstract artist, so he can do what he wants in those squares. I’m not sure how the fusible web will work on the acrylic, so that should be interesting. Or complicated. We’ll find out. I like a challenge.

Then I traced all the pieces (there’s only like 160 or so) and cut them out.

I’m hoping to iron them to fabric this morning so I can take them with me and cut them out. I have until the 6th to get this done, and I will only be home on Friday, really. It could be tight. Yikes!

I meant to take down all the Christmas stuff yesterday. I got the tree done and that was it…this was before. I didn’t want to disturb Kitten…

Then again, she keeps eating the pine needles. I also didn’t want to put the tree back outside yesterday because we have a frost advisory tonight, and I think going from inside for 2 plus weeks to outside with frost is a bad plan for transitioning a tree. So I’ll wait until I come back.

I also went and talked to the diabetes nurse and it turns out the real problem is that my insulin dose is way too low, like not even normally low. I’m kind of irritated with my doctor and the pharmacist and the nurse practitioner who managed all this, because honestly, they didn’t. The diabetes nurse, in contrast, was really helpful and gave me guidelines to follow and emailed my doctor with what I should be doing. She’ll call me back tomorrow, when the doc is back in, and hopefully we’ll be adjusting my dosage the way it should have been back in November, and I’ll be feeling better. The feeling of being OFF has been present since the first time they put me on the new meds in July, and with the switch to insulin in November, it just makes me anxious to not understand how to manage the numbers. They’ve been so random. Of course, she talked about stress, which is the hardest thing for me to manage. Ah well. Bring back the meditation. And more hiking. I’m OK with that.

Here was the view from the car on the way back…

So 2019 will bring positive change for all that. Proof is in the sky. Hallelujah.

Kitten came out and sat with us last night for a good long while…same with Satchemo. Someday we’ll have cats who get along. Probably not these two, though…unfortunately. I drew my drawing for the night. Plus cut out a bunch of stuff.

I have a project I’ll be working on later this year where I won’t be able to show ANY of it, so I may go back to this drawing every night thing just to have something to show y’all. Or maybe I’ll do some small quilts at the same time. I drew some last year and never made them. I always have these plans to make smaller things or create a coloring book or sell prints or do Patreon, but then the actual DOING of it is overwhelming and it stops me. I’m not making any resolutions about that. If it happens, it happens.

Last night’s drawing…some influence from the diabetes discussion.

Get that pancreas under control dammit.

I cut things out for about three hours…

I finally see some progress. The first person is cut out, I think (well, the fifth person, because it’s in backwards order in the box) and I’m doing the sun now. I’m taking this with me to Arrowhead, because I can hopefully get it all done. It seems daunting when I say that now. Sigh.

I always feel like there’s not enough time. Because there isn’t.

Here’s all the colors from my year on Instagram. Interesting colors…

Not sure what I think about that, but it’s interesting data. Oh yeah! I made a thing with all of last year’s quilts…I always do that.

Two tiny quilts, one really big quilt, and eight medium-sized quilts of a variety of shapes and sizes. One commission. Five have already been in shows. Not bad. Working on getting the rest seen. Lots of suns and skies and rockets and hearts and rainbows. And cats! Always with the cats. And birds.

May the new year have more of all that and some new stuff as well. Many more finishes and challenges and good health and good people. Plus quiet nights at home and rowdy nights dancing to music and some good food and hopefully good news on the political and human front. Plus less stress or better management of the stress that already exists, or just plain old getting better at ignoring it. And happiness and joy to all. Even to the assholes.