Always Good to Have a Plan

August 20, 2018

Monday morning. You are cool and foggy and mostly quiet, except for that bird with a death wish that just divebombed my office window. Obviously it couldn’t see the cat that just about launched herself through the window screen at it. I have about an hour to get my brain to wake up and hopefully my stomach to stop wanting to regurgitate nothing into the atmosphere. I love these new diabetes meds…I’m nauseated for at least two days after taking them. I thought I was in the clear yesterday because I didn’t feel sick right away, but no…it’s here. Bleck. It’s funny that they advertise weight loss as a side effect. It’s because you’re too sick to eat. It is better this week, though, so far, knock on wood, so that’s a plus. Awake. An hour. Because then I have to meet with the principal (yup, already in trouble…NOOO. It’s a union thing) and I have to have my brains about me for that. And then I have to find everything I shoved into cupboards at the last minute to hide it from the summer school teacher who was in there and only broke one cupboard. Sigh. It’s all good. There are no kids today. Maybe by Wednesday, I will be used to sleep deprivation again. I was even DREAMING when the alarm clock went off. YES. Restorative REM sleep. What a thing. How dare the real world interrupt such bliss. Actually, it was a bad dream, so that’s OK.

So how am I doing on the quilt? I am doing fucking awesome…thank you for asking. I met my goals for the weekend and I am On Track to Finishing. On Time. I even emailed the photographer and reserved time, making sure he wasn’t going on a trip for Labor Day weekend (he’s not). I am On It.

So Saturday afternoon, I finished all the stitch down.

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It was a total of 7 1/2 hours, less than the 10 I was predicting. Once I got the tension problem solved, it went fast. Here’s the back…

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I always check the back for obvious stuff that I missed stitching down. Honestly, it doesn’t usually help. I find them when I’m quilting…the missed bits. People ask why I stitch down…the fusible doesn’t hold particularly well, even when I steam it, so this is my solution.

I take lots of breaks while I’m sewing…my brain (and body) needs them. I was wandering around the yard, cleaning up, watering, and checking on the bougainvillea plants we took down to almost nothing. There’s new growth! On 3 out of 4 of them, at least.

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That was quick. There’s always the chance the 4th one won’t come back…if not, we’ll pull it out and plant a new one. This time I’m not letting them grow up into the trees. I swear.

Then I came back in, realized I had a backing fabric that hadn’t been washed (it smelled like someone else’s laundry), which made me paranoid about shrinkage but also allergic reactions to any chemicals, so I washed it, cleaned the floor in the entryway (that’s why I was outside…recycling stuff from the entryway and putting stuff in the garage). Then made dinner while the laundry was going. Thought about drawing, but didn’t. Then around 9:30 PM or so, I started piecing the backing, ironing it, trimming the batting, laying it all out, ironing the top. I got it all laid out, covering most of the floor, when the man texted that his band was done with their show and he was packing up.

Crap. So I had limited time to pinbaste before he’d be back and wanting to come through that door. Well. I did it. Got it done about 10 minutes before he came home.

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It was a pretty easy process…

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They didn’t need to be pinned close together…the quilt is pretty flat, unlike some of them.

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That’s because it’s mostly applique and very little background showing…

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I have the biggest problems with the ones that have a big piece of background showing in the middle, with big appliques on either side. It’s hard to keep the center flat in that situation.

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I quit there. It was late. I was tired. I hit my mark. All good.

Sunday mornings I do my weekly journal layout…I like color. Buying color pens. Satchemo likes to help as all cats do, by batting at pens and my hand and sticking his claws into things.

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I’ve been calendaring my week like this since the beginning of the year. I think it helps. I spend about 15-20 minutes on Sunday dealing with the whole week and transferring stuff over from last week, and then it’s maybe 1-2 minutes each day, crossing off stuff that got done, adding new stuff, and transferring to the next day. I think I’m better at organizing that way. I still use a variety of online systems as well, but they support each other.

Yesterday afternoon, I started quilting…which is an awful lot like stitching down except with dark thread…

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I found this outside while peeing a dog…I can’t tell if it hatched appropriately or was eaten.

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Dinner included Johnny Depp. Always a good thing. I won a gift certificate to MishMash in Barrio Logan. Good food.

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Although it is in a different location than where it used to be. Use the map, not Yelp.

Then back to the quilting…

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Lots of quilting…

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I finished the whole mermaid and all the watery bits…

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There she is. At this point, I went back and used the monofilament to catch the bits I’d missed…you see that pin in the photo above? It’s marking a bit I forgot to stitch down. Plus there were some other smaller parts that needed stitching.

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I got the flag quilted as well.

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I am moving slowly. Everyone keeps coming in and asking when I’m leaving. I should be leaving now. If it were a real school day, I’d need to leave right now. But it’s not. I just have to be there before the principal’s meeting. So I have time to make the second cup of tea, finish the first one, and make my lunch. Brush my teeth. Pack the car. Pet the cat. Slow start to the second day back. Ugh. I don’t like mornings. I do like this quilt though.

I quilted 4 1/2 hours yesterday. I’m aiming for 4 hours a day. I realize I won’t make that every day, but I also have the weekend. I’m hoping to get binding fabric Friday or Saturday. We’ll see. But there’s a plan there. Always good to have a plan.


You Got Your Manipulations*

August 18, 2018

Checking things off the list. The copyediting is done and sent back to the author. I should’ve finished it a week ago. Oh well. He gave me plenty of time…and I still turned it in two weeks early, so that’s a plus. It’s also off my shoulders. A big plus. We managed pine-needle piles this morning…made some more compost-y heaps on the front not-lawn and prepped the trash can I use for the compost bin with more nicely damaged pine needles. I am not ready (at all) for the start of school, although I have most of my supplies…the ones I know I need, anyway. I’ll figure it all out next week. As always. I’m tryna be chill.

I did stitch some bits down yesterday…and emailed the photographer today, trying to reserve him, forcing myself to pick an end date that is all too soon for finishing this thing. I have enough batting and backing here to pinbaste tonight, which is the plan, after finishing the stitch down and getting the girlchild to the airport. Then quilting…quilting will take a while…here’s Kitten not helping with punctuating dialogue. I hate punctuating dialogue, in case you were wondering.

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Yesterday’s stitch down attempt…a mere hour after the all-day school conference and before girlchild’s birthday dinner.

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I couldn’t handle any more after that. Quilting…will take probably about 20 hours or so…and binding another 8 or 9. And I have two weeks. OK. That’s doable. Ignore the day job and the hike I’m going on. Really. OK. I can do this. I need to finish the stitch down this afternoon though.

Hear that, Kitten? This afternoon. Kitten is lying on my Quilts=Art=Quilts acceptance…

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You Pollute Me will be at the Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center from Oct 27-Jan 8…check it out.

There’s actually no nudity in this quilt. It was originally made for a really nice gallery in a private middle school. It’s still a cool quilt though.

Anyway, I need to do some stitch down. I have 4 hours until my airport pickup…girlchild going back to Massachusetts. I’m going to stop looking at my class rosters and stressing out. I AM. Seriously. There’s no point.

*Tonic, If You Could Only See


Sigh No More, Ladies, Sigh No More*

August 17, 2018

Up with the sun. OK, maybe not quite. I honestly don’t know when the sun comes up until I’m waking up significantly BEFORE that. I’m not a morning person. I’m not even an 8 AM person. Never have been. I do it all the time, get up early…I’m just not happy about it. I went to bed early last night knowing I’d have to be up even earlier than I am on a regular school day, just so I can get to the church on time (OK, that sounds totally wrong if you know me…just know, the first event of the day is at a local church, which yes, I object to…so much for separation of church and state.). Some kid is dropping me off. A teacher friend will ferry me to school. Another kid will pick me up. I don’t wanna try and park with the throngs. I hate throngs…unless I’m dancing at a concert. Then throngs are good…until they spill their beer on you.

WHOA. So philosophical this morning.

I have my computer, my sketchbook, my weekly journal thingie (bujo), my iPad with a hefty book on it that I’m really into and would rather be reading than doing just about anything else, and some snacks, all packed in my bag. I’m ready. Have I told you how much I hate forced professional development? Yeah.

With the new school year starting, teachers set resolutions…we do them now instead of in January. Well, some people do them both times and I often do neither…but my resolution for this year is patience. It’s hard for me to be patient. But the book I’m copyediting right now (and hopefully finishing this weekend) is all about traumatized kids in the classroom. I’m pretty good at patience with most of them…certainly in the beginning of the year. Adults? Not so much. So patience. With the process, with the demands on my time, with kids, with dogs, with cats, with my own children, with my parents, with the bagger at the grocery store (I’m really always patient with them). Patience. Remind me of that some time in October. I’m going to need it.

I had some tasks for yesterday…first, ship these quilts off to Missouri, where they will be in eXtreme Fiber Art at the IdeaXFactory in Springfield. The show opens September 7 and continues through October 26. I’m looking forward to seeing photos.

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It’s nice to be invited into shows. This is my second this year. I’m waiting for my Quilts=Art=Quilts rejection…they’re old school and still send by mail. I know those on the East Coast got theirs two days ago. I’m expecting mine today. Oh yeah, it might be an acceptance, but I just assume rejection so I’m totally thrilled if it’s not. OK, so that’s kind of cynical…but I’ve entered a shitload of shows over the years and been rejected plenty of times.

Kitten will be happy for me. Once she gets her belly clean.

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Or she will be totally sympathetic for about 4 seconds before she whacks me for petting her wrong.

Then I copyedited for a while, finished the first run through finally. And then did more on the stitch down. I’m just short of 4 hours in…

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I finished the entire water area, the volcano, and the brick wall on the left side. So maybe I’m halfway through? Hard to say. I did mean to get more done yesterday, but we went to our annual Shakespeare play last night…in Balboa Park…

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I swear I post this picture or some version of it every year. We ate in the park beforehand and then saw Much Ado About Nothing

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Which I liked. Better than a history anyway. We got home late and I was tired. Plus I knew I’d have to be up at the butt crack of dawn (probably not really…now I’m going to have to look up sunrise…oh damn. I was up before dawn. Fuck me.), so I went to bed (gasp) before midnight. Welcome to my tiredness. Tonight is the girlchild’s last night here, so we are going out for her birthday dinner. Tomorrow I have all day (and night…the man has another reunion gig and I can’t crash those…well, easily anyway) to stitch, so my plan is to get it done and then pinbaste this fucker and start quilting by the end of the weekend. Because then all my days are gone. FOREVAHHHHH. OK. Overdramatic much? I am actually. Sigh.

*Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing


The Last Day of Summer

August 16, 2018

I sort of disappeared for a few days. Not really, because Instagram is easy and I was there, but I feel like it’s hard to write the blog if there’s no real art progress and all I’m really going to say is that I read a lot and hung out a lot and ate some foods. Not that those are bad things…we should all do that at some point in our lives. I just wasn’t motivated to write about it. I find that writing here does motivate me to get stuff done, though, which is mostly why I do it. Plus the whole family knows that if we can’t remember when an event happened, we can just check the blog. Which is how we know Kitten is 10 and not 9 (my phone thinks she’s both 9 and 10, and that’s not possible). Most important use of my blog? Figuring out how old the animals are. Yup.

So we were only at Lake Arrowhead for two nights…a short trip. The girlchild isn’t here for long and I have a pile of crap to deal with before school starts, which officially is tomorrow. We have Shakespeare tonight and a birthday dinner tomorrow night, and then she leaves. And school starts. And life continues.

So here’s three days of Arrowhead in no particular order. Lots of blue skies, cooler temperatures, and lake water.

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Oh yeah, and sleepy dogs. Very sleepy dogs.

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And not dogs. Also sleepy. This is what the week after working 10-hour days all summer looks like. Plus maybe some jet lag.

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She claims I took this picture last year. I did not. It must have been her other mother.

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Views of the lake.

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It was beautiful.

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That’s a huge acorn cap.

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We don’t have a regular boat. We have access to a canoe and a kayak. It works.

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Calli plays in the water, as always…

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There’s a bit of a hike back up to the car…

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I’m obsessed with manzanita at the moment…want one for the front yard…far away from the house.

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We have to haul stuff to and from the dock.

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Like dogs.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of these in the water…

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More dog entertainment. We do a lot of that.

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Girlchild in the kayak…

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While me, the boychild, and my ex all canoe. Yeah, it’s weird that I vacation with my ex, but when your kid is only home for a week, you do shit like that.

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It was a little rough out there…

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Hogging the shade…

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Grandpa comes too…he’s in charge of keys and dogs and boat maintenance. Like the 17 spiders we had to kill in the canoe.

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Everyone reads. Well. The dogs don’t.

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They mostly sleep.

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Even with concrete as a pillow.

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We all had a chance in the kayak in the afternoon…there’s the boychild wandering off.

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Dad sits on the dock with the dogs. I got pulled over by the Lake Association during my kayak trip out. He assumed I didn’t have a boat license. Bam! I did. It was in my bra. I pulled it out. It was exciting. No one else got pulled over. He was probably worried about my technique.

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Whatever. Sitting around on a dock reading is not a bad thing.

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I did finish one binding and started another very-not-important one while watching a video.

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While guess who slept.

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At night we attempted this musical game…and then poker.

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With marbles, because we couldn’t find poker chips.

We had two cars because of the dogs…who found ways to sleep on the way back…

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Home.

I did a final steam iron of the big piece in the afternoon, but then was fighting tiredness and significant nausea all evening. The new meds may be the problem…hard to say. I did finally start stitch down at around 9 PM…and fought the machine for a while. It took about 5 or 6 tries to get the tension right. Aargh. It’s different every time I do it. I had the spool horizontal, but the thread was catching on the spool edge and feeding irregularly. So now it’s vertical and threaded differently than the manual tells me, but it’s mostly working. Remind me to take it in after I finish this one.

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I got most of the water parts stitched down…I still have a little bit of it plus the mermaid’s head to do.

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See? Good tension. Not a rat’s nest. Such a relief.

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I went to bed early because I was tired, but the nausea was still pretty bad. I gave up on water and tea last night and found a ginger ale hiding in my stash. It helped. But it’s way too high in sugar to drink regularly. It’s better this morning, but I’m afraid to eat anything. I barely ate last night.

Anyway, today is full of tons of things…need to find two quilts and ship them out of here, and then copyedit, and stitch down…plus be ready for school tomorrow (ugh. So not ready. Positive attitude! Um. Really. For tomorrow’s conference of random professional development? I don’t have any. Really. Can’t.). Last day of summer. It’s the last day of summer. Sigh. It’s OK…last year, I also felt like I got nothing done all summer. Seriously something wrong with that.


It’s Hard to Walk Away…

August 13, 2018

OK, so I didn’t sleep much. Art brain on a roll. I said I wanted to be done with the ironing before we left for the mountains. I ironed in the afternoon…put all those single leaves together.

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I ironed the bird on her head…

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And a lamp. Of course…because we’re outside…

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Girlchild keeps the puppy happy, as always…

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Then we headed out to dinner with the kids’ cousin from the UK, on a US tour. I think the last time I saw him, he was 5…so that was cool.

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Then I came home and ironed some more…the last figure!

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I didn’t think about race when I originally drew the first drawing, but I wanted to have a diverse group in the finished quilt, so I made sure I picked a variety of color ranges. I really like how this woman turned out.

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And the inevitable cat…

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More single leaves getting put together.

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So it was after 11 PM before I started ironing the whole thing down. Normally I’d iron a piece this big on the entryway floor, but it wasn’t clean, plus it’s horrendously hot in there right now. So I fussed with it on the ironing board until I got all the bits in place.

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The two larger figures got ironed down at the top, and then every leaf got put on individually.

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Not a quick process.

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So there she is. I need to do a steam iron of it before I start stitching down. That’ll be Wednesday.

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It’s huge, by the way. It took 25 hours and 38 minutes to iron together. Yikes! There’s a lot going on in this quilt. The statement will be fun to write.

Meanwhile, the boychild is currently driving me toward Lake Arrowhead, where we’re going to hang out for a few days while the girlchild is here, before school starts. She’s in the other car with her dad and the dogs. I’ve got a couple of quilts that need bindings sewn on…I have 2 or 3 drawings that need development. Plus hanging out and trying to not get sunburnt. Wish me luck. It’s hard to walk away from the quilt at this stage, but I did meet my goal, so that’s a plus.


Just the Way I’m Supposed to Be*

August 12, 2018

This morning has involved maggot collection, pool filling, trying to persuade the cat to catch and eat the fly that is harassing me, and my milk gone bad, so no breakfast tea. I’m not happy about that last one. My office is a disaster, there’s too much on my to-do list, and somehow I’m leaving town in the middle of all that. A bit more panicky than I like, honestly. At some point, life becomes normal again, with the day job and the night job and all the errands in between. But not this week.

I got a couple of hours of ironing in yesterday…not as much as I wanted, unfortunately. Too tired. Awww. Puppy…

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Girlchild came home in the morning and the dogs were very happy.

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So then she went to lunch with a friend and I got this thing ironed…

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I still have a huge pile of leaves that need to be ironed together, but won’t be ironed down until I have the background ready to go.

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So then I started on the second-to-last of the 9 or so figures in this quilt. This is one of the original figures from the drawing I did back in 2012 or so, with arms turning into tree branches.

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It’s hot still. Not as hot as it’s been, but the animals have been suffering as much as I have.

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So I drew this back in 2012 and it wasn’t meant at the time to be Trump, but it certainly looks like him.

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We wanted to go see some art last night, which we did, but mostly we sat and watched my friend Kathleen Mitchell and her studio guys do some glasswork. Freakin’ amazing and fascinating to watch.

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Yes, we went somewhere hot on a hot day…but like I said, it was amazing to watch them work.

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And the outside felt much cooler after hanging out in there.

We had a drink around the corner, where another Gloria Muriel mural dominated the place.

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We had gone in there to wait out the end of an artist talk, so we could go see the art in that gallery without disrupting the talk. The work was by Dave Persué and included paintings for a book he published that he wrote with his mom.

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I bought the book, yeah. I really liked the paintings and the style. The exhibit is The Origins of BunnyKitty: The Book Paintings, and it’s at the Athenaeum Art Center in the Bread & Salt Building in Barrio Logan (1955 Julian Avenue, San Diego 92113) through September 13. Kathleen’s glass studio is down there too. We meant to go to the rest of the Barrio Art Crawl, but got waylaid by glass fascination.

I did finish this before we left, but didn’t take a picture of the whole thing until later. I wanted to iron more, but I was just too tired by the time we ate and got home.

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I’m hoping to get more ironing done today, but I know we have a dinner thing tonight as well, so that will probably cause an issue with artmaking. Plus we’re leaving early tomorrow morning for Arrowhead. Schedules are always adapting. I’m doing what I can. As always.

*Sara Bareilles, Gravity


Master the Weekend

August 11, 2018

Successful day yesterday. I can’t say I did everything, but I did lots of things. Although I did not wrap the girlchild’s present…because it wasn’t on my list. Everything needs to be on the list. I didn’t find the quilt I need to ship (it’s OK, I didn’t even try). I didn’t copyedit. I did go to school, dump a bunch of stuff off there, set up my technology so the interlopers can teach their class next Friday, move all the stuff off the counters that’s supposed to be on the floor, find the table I like that they don’t like and switch it out with the other crappy table they tried to force on me, and GEEZ this was the worst part, after having to sit through an hour’s worth of videos and quizzes about integrated pest management (is it more important than bloodborne pathogens, angry parents, and court-mandated reporter rules?), I found this in my classroom…

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Someone (custodial) left food containers in that trash can. Hence line of ants. Did they not watch the video? I like never ever leave food leftovers IN my classroom…I always put them outside. Sigh. Yes, I aced the IPM quiz. Oh wait, I missed one because there was a timing component or something and I didn’t watch carefully enough to memorize that. But I know how to keep ants out of my damn classroom. So ironic.

I came home and watered the dog.

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This summer has been rough on all of us.

Then I ironed for a while. I WANT TO BE DONE. I don’t know why. There’s just another stage after this one that requires me to sit in this hot little room. Except when I’m sewing, I get TWO fans on me. I can’t use the other fan while ironing because it will blow everything away. I’ve already lost an eyeball (a fabric eyeball, chill out) and found some finger wrinkles attached to my shirt due to the breeze (ah, the breeze, when it happens, it’s delightful).

So I ironed this hand. Ten years from now, people will ask me why that hand is orange. I think most of you know why.

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Then the parents, coming for their baby.

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This…

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On the next thing I was ironing were a lot of these little pieces. Turns out I didn’t need all of them. That happens sometimes.

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Birth control pills…guess she will be short three of them.They won’t fit.

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Let’s hope she’s not really depending on them to keep her unpregnant.

Then off to gaming. No, we’re not done with the game yet. We think every time we meet that it will be the last time, and it’s not. It’s OK. We can handle it. I sewed more embellishment on the blue flowers and worked on the hippo some more.

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The hippo has nostrils and eyeballs, but I’m still working on his ears. Plus you can see the additional flower embellishment. I still need to stitch around them with that hellish thread that ravels like a bitch. Rayons are not my friends.

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And then I managed to continue ironing after gaming, mostly because I drank more water than wine. That has been true all summer. So I ironed that hand and birth control pack on the left and you can see the ICE steal on the right.

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Tiny things like this take a long time to put together. And it needs outlining.

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Then my last goal for yesterday was to get this momma ironed down…

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She’s got some tiny little eyeballs. The iris on the right is the one that has disappeared…I just cut another one.

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Not ironing the baby down yet.

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You can see where she goes on the left.

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So all I have left is about 500 pieces (I’m in the mid 1300s) and two large figures, each of which has about 25 loose leaves with stems that will have to be ironed down to the background one at a time. I could iron the base down to the bottom of this piece, but I suspect it will be easier if I iron the two women together, attach them at the top, where they belong, and THEN try to get the base on, iron the whole thing down to the background, and then do all the leaves. It sounds like a lot because it is.

I’m leaving to pick up the girlchild in about 30 minutes. I have about 18 1/2 hours into the ironing. I probably have at least 7 hours to go. I will probably get some of it done today and tomorrow…hopefully ALL of it, but I can’t guarantee that because plans need to be flexible. I am, as always, panicking about time. 15 hours to stitch down? Maybe only 10? The other big quilt I finished last year was only 7 hours of stitch down. So maybe 10. Then a couple hours to sandwich and pinbaste it. Probably 20 hours to quilt it and another 8 or so to bind it. 45 hours left. Plus the 7 of ironing. That’s gonna be tight. Deep breaths. I can do it. This quilt is going to be epic once it’s done. Until then, my stress about it will be epic. Laughing at that. OK, gotta make more tea. I woke up early with a massive headache. Probably weather related. Oh well. I’ve taken meds and drunk the first cup of tea. I’m ready to see my kid and then master the weekend and whatever comes after.