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.

You Let Your Feet Run Wild*

It’s interesting how short 9 days of vacation feels. Like that’s a good chunk. If I’m driving places and camping and hiking and cooking in 50-mph winds, then it feels like a long time (sorry, just channeling the last trip). But when I sit at home and eat a lot of pretzels and popcorn while running some lame errands and basically make an entire quilt in a week, then it feels like nothing. In the last week, I’ve spent 28 hours making this quilt. In the previous week, a school week, I spent 10 hours making this quilt. So I guess that’s the difference. Close to full-time job (I haven’t done anything today yet…give me time) vs that’s why I don’t sleep much because I do it all after work hours.

Speaking of sleep…I didn’t sleep last night. Seriously I was awake for hours. I don’t know why. Weird though and I feel mostly shattered this morning. Good start.

So the news on the unknown batting is that it worked just fine…a little loftier than what I usually use, but it quilted OK. No bearding, no freaky behavior that I noticed.

I didn’t have enough of the one color of blue thread to do all the outlining and the background quilting, but it did last long enough to do the outlining, so that’s a plus. 

There were a few thread hijinks. I said “You bastard” a lot. IDK whether that’s the thread or the bobbin or the quilt itself. But I said it. In general, though, there were not a lot of issues once I switched out the old needle. 

Although that nest was pretty impressive.


Tiny little eyeballs…

All the stuff that I love about making quilts…

I also made a turkey and mashed potatoes and the family Swiss green bean recipe for dinner…turkey is a little too salty. I didn’t rinse the brine…because one recipe said to rinse it and one didn’t. I should have. But I have turkey for sandwiches for the next two weeks (some in the freezer…don’t panic). I’m happy about that. 

At 5 hours and 45 minutes of quilting, I had finished the outlining. That was before dinner…I think? Maybe? 

I took a break, ate dinner, graded one assignment, and then went back to quilting. At this stage, I need a lot of breaks. My back was hurting. It’s hard to keep going…until you’re close to the end (I almost gave up many times)…then it’s race away until you finish.

Sleepy old lady with her toy…

She’s a good girl.

There’s the whole thing, all squished up for the last bit of quilting the background. 

It was only 8 1/4 hours. Not bad. More than I thought it would be, but that’s OK. Lots of details will do that. So now she’s ready for trimming and binding. I need to go out this morning and buy binding. I will not be going to a big box store for that. Still avoiding JoAnns. She goes to the photographer on Tuesday, so that’s enough time for me to hopefully get the binding and sleeves on and dehair the beast, as well as deal with all the school stuff that needs to be done by Monday (yikes!). And then? I have no idea what I’m working on next. I’m sure there’s a list somewhere, but I haven’t looked at it in months. Maybe something short and fun? Or another deadline. Who knows? Someone should figure that out.

*Kaleo, Way Down We Go

I Need Coherence…Not Gravel

I don’t usually write on Sunday, but I feel like I actually achieved things yesterday, so writing about that makes me feel better. Hey! I achieved things yesterday! OK, that’s it…I’m done. Not really.

I did grade a lot yesterday, lots of school-related stuff got done…for instance, we’re doing this landform project and we have these cards we are going to use, and for some reason, we decided coloring them seemed like a good idea, so we started the teacher’s aide on that, but she was taking forever, so then we tried to speed-color them on Friday and failed miserably, plus apparently I don’t know how to color, ironically, so I brought the rest of them home and speed-speed-colored them yesterday, so I can deliver them to print shop Monday morning to be laminated. For Wednesday.

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Don’t ask why we do this shit to ourselves. It just happens.

Then I had an art meeting, and art meetings always include food and wine, and this was the wine I had. I love the label. It kind of reminds me of the coloring I was doing.

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Maybe next we should graduate to wine labels.

This vehicle parked at the art meeting.

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These are my people.

Came home and graded more stuff…Simba doesn’t lie like this naturally. I’m pretty sure the boychild was pulling things out of his fur and then just left him there.

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That tail is a disaster. He won’t let us comb it, so I just cut knots out when I remember.

So I graded until 9 PM or so and then I was done with that assignment, so I went in and finished quilting…it was about another hour and a half…lots of thread breaking, or it would have been less. Quilting in between the tree branches was kind of a pain.

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It took a little over 6 hours to quilt her. Then I swept the floor and laid her out to be trimmed.

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It took a couple of tries to get it right, but there she is, all ready for binding.

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That should happen tonight, I suspect, or maybe this afternoon if I am really organized (I don’t feel organized at the moment). Oh yeah, and we walked the dogs in there somewhere too. After art meeting with wine and food and before dinner.

This was Friday night, when the boychild kicked all the animals out of his personal space, so they invaded mine.

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Well, except for Kitten. She doesn’t like the others. Sometimes I don’t blame her. And I bathed the Golden as well. Busy day, really. Today will be another…more grading, groceries, school stuff, and hopefully some quilt stuff at the end. I need to start getting my act in gear on the next drawing. It’s rolling around in my head like a destructive boulder that keeps losing small bits. I need coherence…not gravel.

The Slowest Heaving Night*

No, I don’t have stomach flu. It’s just Peter Gabriel in my head.

  1. I believe the internet issue in here is solved (knock on wood, lots). If it’s the computer, we told it to shut up and gave it ethernet. It seems pleased.
  2. I want my rain dammit. You promised rain last night from this crazy little ex-hurricane we have streaming past us to the east, but no. No rain. I’m sad. I miss rain. I don’t miss it enough to move back to where it rained 300 days out of the 310 I was there, but I do miss it a bit. My plants miss it more.
  3. Didn’t we say October would be less tired than September? We lied. At least so far.
  4. When you think you have enough of the right thread to quilt all the background, you will be wrong…not because you read the numbers wrong, but for some completely stupid reason, you have 40 weight AND 60 weight, and you can tell the difference when you quilt with them. Hopefully I can find the same thread after school (and 2-hour curriculum meeting), so I can actually finish the quilting tonight.

I think that’s all the list I have in me. I should go find some pictures. Words are better with pictures. Well, is that true? I have to say that I almost always prefer the pictures in my head over what people do in movies or TV shows. Then again, when talking about my quilts, people say the pictures don’t do them justice…they like them in person. Me too, actually.

Anyway, long day again. I gave a test and screwed something up in 2nd period (it was online), but fixed it by 4th period, so 4 classes are fine and manageable and one is gonna give me hives. OK. At least I know ahead of time.

Then I had a failing filling…so they fixed that. Ugh. At the end of the day. It was pretty trouble-free, but tiring. And then I did the fussy little bits of test grading, the stuff the computer won’t do for us…but I only got about a third of the way through before I gave up. I think that was 9:30 or so.

I really wanted to finish quilting last night. I probably wouldn’t have finished, even if I’d had the right thread. I got about 3/4 of the way around…maybe a little less than that…on the partial spool I had, and then I picked up the other one I had pulled and figured out why it hadn’t been in the same section of the box. I almost always quilt with 40-weight rayon, and I had obviously accidentally bought one spool of 60-weight…which would have been fine if I’d started with it and used it for the whole quilt. You might ask if one can really tell the difference. Yeah. I quilted a little bit and went, NOPE. Not gonna work.

I guess the plus is that I finished all the outlining…that was the darker blue thread.

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Even with Calli lying right on the chair legs so I couldn’t move much. The animals rule this house. We let the old lady do mostly what she wants, except not eat papers if possible.

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So I started quilting under that arm, did the whole right side from her face down, then the whole bottom (where I was in this picture),

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And then partway up the left side, past the cat. And then ran out. I’ll try JoAnns after the curriculum meeting. I will have no brain power left, so I will have to be very careful about NOT picking another spool of 60-weight in my evening post-school exhaustion.

There’s Simba. Because he’s cute. I combed him. Cut a bunch of knots out (easier than having your hand bitten off…he understands the scissors are for helping, but the comb hurts sometimes)…

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And Katie guarding Satchemo. Mostly Katie has been chill this time visiting…not as much cat chasing and harassing as normal. Probably she’s wondering if her parents will ever come back…and maybe she doesn’t care, because she gets lots of pets here.

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Satchemo is just trying to decide with remote to use.

So remember when I wove my strip for the Women’s Voices project? There it is, sewn into the project…third strip from the left. All blues and purples with a thread explosion in the middle.


Nice. OK, so I’m buying thread, coming home, and (realistically) collapsing for a while on the couch, preferably with a book. This is reality, folks. I know how tiring my job is. I also know it’s not just me. We’re all tired. Then at some point, I will find the energy to make dinner. Hopefully (sometimes I don’t…I just do cheese and crackers and a glass of milk. Done!). Then also extremely hopefully, I will finish quilting, so I can buy binding on Friday after school. That’s my plan anyway. I think it will take me about 30-45 minutes to finish quilting, if that. I can do that. Can’t I? Morning self (which is really tired) is predicting what evening self (which will be even more tired) will be able to do. This is how I get myself to do anything honestly. Including grading.

But first, yet another morning meeting. Whoo! Oh my, the internet is so blessedly fast in here. I am very happy about that. I can even play music while I write again. Yay!

*Peter Gabriel, Come Talk to Me

The Perfect Cup of Tea

This morning’s tea is perfect. It’s brewed exactly the right amount of time (not that I ever pay attention to that at all), it’s the perfect temperature, not so hot that it burns my tongue, but not lukewarm and blah. It has just the right amount of milk in it. I’m so happy with my tea this morning. It makes up for whatever crazy thing I did to my overnight oats (from two overnights ago, which might be the issue right there). It’s like eating shoes. With berry seeds.

Long day yesterday…lots of trying to get through demos (and failing…part of the mental problem right there…could not finish). One of the demos failed. Actually failed…not because of something I did (although my co-teacher was considering that in the beginning until I showed her my failing can of soda that wouldn’t sink)…I guess that’s a learning moment right there. We’ve had to scramble so many times when labs didn’t work the way they should.

I had tutoring, where I explained density about 700 times. And then helped kids with barely any English put their thoughts about density on paper. That’s the harder part. Then the blessed chiropractor. I didn’t know my neck was bad until he fixed it. Home to dinner, which I cooked to perfection…no really…it was good. Which is nice, because I’m having it for lunch as well…I think I’m going to run out of lunches this week. I didn’t remember that stuff goes bad, so I didn’t eat things in the right order, so I’m short a meal, I think. I’ll figure it out.

While dinner was cooking (and afterwards), I was trying to set up the tests for today. There are three versions of the test and they’re assigned online. The easy way to do that is just assign the same test to the first 10 kids, the 2nd version to the next 10 kids (alphabetically), etc. But no, I decided to do it by seating chart, so no kid would have the same test next to them. Kinda crazy. Probably fucked it up. After dinner, then I tried to grade some of the essays they wrote a few weeks ago. I got through half of one period. I know we taught this. It hurts sometimes to read the results of my teaching and try to figure out what I did wrong. (It’s not always me.)

Finally in here, the studio…spent a little time on stuff for next week in class, but mostly I quilted. I didn’t feel well at first. Stomach can be iffy some days. Waited it out, felt better, had some more tea (I was tired. That tea wasn’t perfect, but it did its job)…and quilted.

Well, first I stared at this and tried to decide if I was going to do anything on it. I didn’t.

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And then I stared at this, because the other chair had Kitten on it and this is my quilting chair, and it’s pretty uncomfortable to perch on the edge of this one while trying to sew.

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Apparently Satchemo doesn’t like it when I do that either, so he left.

Quilting! I only broke the thread once last night…it was very easy to quilt last night, unlike the previous night.

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So I did lots of outlining…

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Fussy little bits, but satisfying to see them pop with the line.

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It’s like drawing all over again. I really like it.

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So she’s mostly done. I need to do her head and hair and the tree. I even checked my stash and I have thread that will work for the background. So after today (giving a test that has 9 stations of measurement that need managing, then getting a filling replaced), hopefully I will have the energy to finish the outlining and continue on to the background. Get it quilted by the weekend, trim it, find some binding (probably going to have to buy that), then have a do-over on the drawing for the next one…I’m looking forward to that one. Lots of things I care about going into that one. It’s not that I don’t care about this one…it’s just not an issue quilt, and I seem to like those better.

OK, work calls. Loudly. And my perfect cup of tea is now only lukewarm. Sigh.

Make Good Choices

I’ve spent at least an hour in my head trying to figure out when to set up my classroom for tomorrow’s test. I need some of the materials on the desks for today, I have tutoring after school, and then chiropractor right after that. I guess it’s tomorrow morning. But that was the 4 AM brain. Like shut up, 4 AM brain. I could’ve figured that out today some time. I didn’t need to waste sleep time on that. Make good choices, man. Make good choices.

Speaking of good choices, I raced home from work and grabbed the dogs and the boychild and headed out. We have the outside edge of a tropical storm, was a hurricane, hanging around, making it muggy as shit and only 3 drops of rain are allowed to fall, which is crazy stupid. But the clouds look nice.

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We took yet another weird trail. Boychild doesn’t like to do the same path every time. He blames Simba. Maybe the dogs don’t either. They want different smells. Interestingly, if we’d done our normal path, we would have passed the coyote we saw later as well.

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Instead, we kamikazed up this hill…and picked up part of a different trail…

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But there he was, at the junction of the trail we’re normally on. I say he, like I did with the lizard, but maybe they’re both female. We just don’t know.

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It’s closer than I like being to them (I’m sure they’re closer than that on a regular basis, but somehow it’s better when you can’t see them watching you)…especially with the snack we call Simba. It’s easier when I’m not alone though. He stopped and stared at us a lot. I waved and yelled hi.

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Like you do. Hey Julie…does this belong out in the wild? There was more than one of them…the stem at back probably was the tall version before the flowers died. Lily-like.

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Probably doesn’t belong, but who knows. I’ve seen stranger things out there.

I came home and was tired…we did more than we usually do, and I think I was already done in before I started. Lab days with water! Take your life into your own hands. Boychild cooked dinner…’twas good. Then I should have graded some, but I was too tired. Eventually I found the energy to come in here and start quilting…

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But it took a long time to get the tension right, for some reason. I broke the thread like 4 times, re-threaded every time, changed out the needle, swore a bit, and finally got it functional…

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After fighting with it for so long, I didn’t have much patience or energy for continuing to fight the quilt around the machine. I know I got in a little more than an hour though, so that’s progress.

My trusty quilting companions…

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There was a cat in there too. And when I went into the other room, I had 4 out of the 5 with me…2 on the couch next to me. You cannot be alone in this house, not even in the bathroom.

Today is going to be a long day, but I’m hoping to get back in here and quilt some more. It’s honestly not very big, so it shouldn’t take very long. I’m not sure if I have thread for the background though. I should check that. Not right now, though. Right now, I need to get ready for work. Demo day…no down time. Fun stuff.

Over on the Corner There’s a Happy Noise*

Well this is what Friday of the first week of school feels like. That moment when you realize the kid who mouthed off to you yesterday is related to that other kid whose name is legend on campus, and not for good things. When you remember that you haven’t even started to deal with grades yet. That’s next week. Or the parent email. Also next week. Or morning and afternoon duty. NEXT WEEK. And you’re still tired. BUT! There was success last night.

I quilted for four hours last night. Granted, I didn’t walk around as much yesterday as I did the rest of this week, so my recovery time post-school was not as bad. Don’t get me wrong…I lolled around on the couch and read my book while drinking a cup of tea and contemplating how much my feet hurt. Sure. But I managed to get up and make dinner at a reasonable hour and then to go straight in to quilt. At one point, I told myself that when I ran out of thread next, I would go to bed (just before midnight), but at that point, I only had a section that was about 6″ high by 10″ wide to finish. So I did it. Which means yes, I went to bed too late. What’s new?

The quilting took a total of 16 hours…I finished the outlining on the last woman…

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And then quilted the background…

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I need to do some interior quilting in a couple places, but that won’t take more than 10 minutes, and most of that will be finding the thread. Then I’m done and on to trimming this beast and putting bindings on. I’m shopping after school today for binding, so I can toss the fabric in the wash when I get home. I’ll trim tonight and maybe start sewing the bindings on. Ahead of schedule! Which is a good thing.

All under Kitten’s watchful eye.

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So I’ve been watching the bougainvillea we cut down to almost nothing…the last bush wasn’t showing any new growth until NOW…Oh yeah. It’s coming back. Woo!

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That’s in comparison to this overachiever.

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Good plants. Doing their jobs. Probably I should go in and trim off some more of the dead stuff before this one gets too boisterous.

I’m sensing a lot of sleep coming on this weekend (I hope) and getting some stuff done and maybe finishing another book (it’s about all my brain can handle sometimes). And I’m looking forward to sitting on the couch and doing some handsewing while mindlessly bingewatching television, hallelujah for Netflix etc. And I’m hiking. In the dark. Like you do. But now? I have to go to work. More tea please.

*Creedence Clearwater Revival, Down on the Corner