Wheels under $100

December 29, 2017

Well I’m currently sitting in a tire store, waiting on that slow leak finally getting fixed, listening to two evangelists explaining bitcoin to each other. Not by choice. I’m looking at just one more week off of school and a ton of stuff that needs to get done. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed at the moment…had a brief panicked moment on the way over here. There are a lot of people living in my house at the moment and it’s causing some tension…I could do with less of that I guess. I love having my kids home, but there is an adjustment period.

Yesterday was the doc for malaria and typhoid (girl child, not me), then to pick up my quilt and photos. This is Not Less Than…probably the last quilt of 2017.

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She’s 64″w x 74″h…made for a group of fiber artists who have chosen things that matter to them, with the hope of exhibiting all the pieces together at some point. I chose women’s rights as being my thing that mattered. It’s obviously not the only thing I think matters, but my head keeps going back there, especially this year.

Those are the women we all carry in our heads, ancestors, descendants, all throwing out their wants, desires, concerns, what they fought for, what they expect: the right to vote, equal rights, the right to choose, respect for our abilities, our brains, fewer expectations based on our biological parts. So many things.

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This year has been so frustrating politically. I can’t just sit here and ignore warning bells and red flags. I guess this is how I yell at the bullshit.

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So that’s where I’m at with that one.

I did cut some more pieces out on this one. Maybe I’ll finish that today. After I finish all the other crap on the list.

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Sleepy kitty. The dogs are gone more with the kids home. I miss them.

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I finished quilting the one on the right…they’re both ready for trimming. I could do that today as well.

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And grade stuff and put stuff away and finish the holiday cards and and and sheesh. Walk the dogs. That last one is probably a good thing for where my irritable brain is sitting. That one.

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Break the Silence*

December 28, 2017

Who am I kidding? There’s no silence. My head is full of noise. I’m really not focusing at all. It’s OK. I went through the pile of stuff I have in my office/studio (really, it’s both) and found some stuff to work on. I’m not sure why some things just get put aside…I have drawings that are enlarged AND numbered, totally ready to become quilts. Put aside. I have drawings that are enlarged and taped, but need more drawing to bring them to completion. Put aside. Sometimes that’s a lack of further vision. I think it’s more commonly a lack of time. Some other deadline is more “important” for whatever reason. I have quilt tops that are pinbasted, waiting to be quilted for YEARS sometimes. Again, no urgency. I even have a few that are ready for binding…there was one that needed the quilting done, so I had started that a couple years ago after putting it aside for YEARS, because there was a place for it in a show, and then they pulled it. So I never finished…again. It’s kind of a weird quilt anyway…weird for me even. It’s probably OK if I don’t finish it.

So I went through that pile yesterday. Found this. I found this last January too, I think. I even started quilting it, and then I stopped for some reason. Not last January. Might have been when my machine died, whenever that was. Summer 2016? Honestly, it’s all a blur. This thing is old, let’s put it that way. Like early 2000s old. It really was just meant to be a vehicle for hand embroidery, so I’m gonna continue with that thought.

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It was freehand cut with Wonder-Undered fabric. So I haven’t done that in ages. Anyway, there wasn’t much quilting left to do…

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So I did it. Now I should trim it and bind it and then start the hand stitching. I guess technically it could get done in 2017, although that seems unlikely.

Girlchild has been working on our holiday “letter”, which is now a webpage. It was something else, but this makes more sense. It’s not done.

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I need to do my part, and I think she has to finish her part.

Then I found this one, which I’ve dated to about 2007 (wait, I just found a post from December 23, 2007, where I had ironed this one down…obviously this purpose of this blog is to take the place of my brain, since it works haphazardly), based on the other bird-related quilts I did that go with it. It was the last one and obviously never got finished. There’s BirdHead, BirdSick, BirdWatch, and this is BirdLeg. I guess. Something like that.

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Outline quilting first…

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And then background quilting. I didn’t quite finish that before I had to feed every living creature in the house. But one.

Kitten moved around the office based on sunlight. And how annoying she could be by sitting on or in front of things.

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I finally found a campsite I had been researching for about 2 days. That was good. Then we had game night…there’s nothing that brings people together like Cards Against Humanity.

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Puppy sucked at it.

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Then I found Yet Another quilt in progress. This one is from June. Of THIS YEAR. I had some time in between things, so I drew and numbered and Wonder-Undered back in June. And then sometime in the fall, I ironed to fabric. It’s a small quilt (for me), so it didn’t take long. I think it only has about 370 pieces in it. I started cutting them out yesterday, a chilly Satchemo curled up by my hip.

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He’s actually quite warm. I didn’t finish. That’s OK too. So if I were focused, today I would finish the quilting on the foot. That’s what it’s called! BirdFoot…not leg. Damn. My memory is such a faulty hard drive. Then trim the two I finished quilting and find some binding in the stash for them. Bind them. Finish cutting this other one out. Start ironing it together. Grade that pile of stuff I moved onto the couch. Finish the holiday card and address labels. Check my to-do list. I hate that thing. Seriously. Although it keeps me on task. Aargh. If only I could focus. College payments done. Picking up quilt today from photographer, so I can enter the show it was made for…still waiting to hear on another one. Hopefully they will give enough time to ship. Plus I need to email about another one going into two shows. Ah, so busy. I want to draw, but can’t get the brain on task. I’ve spent 50+ years trying to get control of my brain. Ha! Still a work in progress.

*Depeche Mode, Enjoy the Silence


We’ve No Time for Later*

December 23, 2017

OK a bunch of stuff I was supposed to do yesterday didn’t happen, but it’ll happen today, and I went grocery shopping at 8 PM to avoid the crowds, so that was a thing, but I’ll have to go out today to get the 5 weird ingredients the girlchild wants, well, one was buttermilk but that was gone at my local shitty store, so I’ll have to figure that out. It means venturing out into the land of crazy holiday drivers and irritating people and oh man, I’d rather hermit here in the house all day. But no. I will be a good girl (ha!) and shower and get out of my pajamas and do all the things. Including the emails I need to send and the shopping and cooking and whatever other stuff. Oh yeah, finish cleaning the girlchild’s room. I had help yesterday to put the quilts away, but two hours later, I realized I put one away that needs to come back out for a show. Oh well. I’ll have help with that too. It’s nice to have help. Even if they’re all judgy about the boxes I need to deal with that are still in the girlchild’s room. Fabricky stuff with which I know not what to do. It’s unlikely I will solve THAT problem today. Odds are I will just shove the boxes into my room and ignore them for a while longer. No it is NOT OK to just throw that stuff out. That pink fabric with the skulls on it could be useful, crucial even, in a future quilt. You just never know.

Today I need to find fennel and pepitas and brown mustard seeds. Could be a challenge. Remind me next year to tell the girlchild she has to come home in time to do the shopping, because it sucks.

So yesterday morning, I faced the vast expanse of just dark blue that needed quilting. I thought it would be pretty quick because I got about halfway (what I thought was halfway) in an hour, but then I didn’t realize I had a big space on the other side that I had left unquilted. So it was more like 2 1/2 hours of the boychild standing over me, because I told him he had to go to the quilt store with me, because he’s supposed to buy me a gift for another family thing, and he couldn’t decide, so I suggested fabric. I actually really like it when other people pick fabric for me, because they pick stuff I might never buy. And then I have it and use it.

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Sometimes life (and sentences) are too complicated. This is dog on the outside, cat on the inside.

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I finished the quilting in just over 16 hours, so 4 fewer hours than I had predicted. I don’t remember what I predicted for the binding…

I did two nights’ worth on here, all on the left side, filling stuff in still. Looking for something finished-ish by the 31st. Such rules.

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Then I trimmed this beast…she ended up being about 64″w x 74″h.

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Easy to trim. She needs ink too though. Gotta remember that. Here’s the binding fabric and the quilt, all on top of the cat’s chair.

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She does not care. Until I move the chair.

Binding on…lots of maneuvering of big quilt under machine. It took about 3 hours to trim, sew binding and sleeves on, and pin them down for the hand-sewing part. I finished after midnight…

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That red and green fabric fucking vibrates man. Hurts to sew on it.

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Binding pinned…

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Calli lying on it while I’m trying to pin it totally doesn’t help.

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Right now, I’m having a fight with the cat over the chair (she likes this one better…I literally walked away to let the dogs in, just over a minute, and she had hijacked it). I need to eat and shower and do the have-to’s on the list so I can sit on the couch and binge watch something while sewing the 400 linear inches of binding and sleeves down by hand. Before going to get the girlchild, who is finally coming home, and gearing up for two full days of holiday interactions that might just kill this hermity introvert, even if most of them are actually blood relatives. Or maybe because they are blood relatives. At least there will be good food and wine and perhaps some stitching time (easier to do with my own family than with others’ fams). I need to do some drawing too, but think I will let my head just sit with some calm for a while. I need to do that. Notice I didn’t put grading in there. I might grade the one easy assignment. Maybe. Or wait. I’m definitely going to read more of my book…

*Frou Frou, Let Go


I Hide in My Music, Forget the Day*

December 22, 2017

I only quilted 3 1/2 hours yesterday. I got tired. I got into the big blue expanse of the top of the quilt and quit. I need to finish it today and go buy the binding. Then hopefully trim it and sew the binding on…although I might not get through all of that tonight. Hopeful though. I get sidetracked. What threw me off yesterday? Not sure. I did some computer stuff in the morning, then finished the last of the Christmas stuff, hopefully on that too, then came back and printed cards (which no way in hell are getting out of here before Christmas…just so you realize)…

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I was a printmaker before I ever was a quilter. I took a “class” Thanksgiving week (I say class because I already know how to do this, but this was an impetus to do it), carved this linoleum block, and printed some then…and more yesterday. Usually I do a letter as well, but I haven’t been able to deal with that…think I’m going to do something online instead, like a slide show or something.

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But one kid still isn’t home. I’m trying to coordinate grocery lists via text between here and Dallas (don’t even ask), because I’m going to have to shop without her (that was bad planning) tomorrow. So it’s a little chaotic. I only put up a few ornaments and decorations, and I’ll need to clean up a little…well, unless I think about the girlchild’s bedroom. I might panic if I think about that.

So I quilted eventually last night…then ate some food…read my book (it’s a good one)…

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Yeah, that fabric…it’s good that I used it up here…yes, it’s Christmas fabric. Why do you ask?

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I’m trying to quilt big, because this thing is large. I did get all the way around it, except for, like I said, that vast blue expanse in the top section, above the banner. That’s what’s left. It really won’t take me long. I just couldn’t deal with it last night.

Last night, we stayed up (too) late and partially planned our Spring Break trip. Made one reservation, because I panicked. It’s funny, because so many people are talking about bullet journals at the moment. I use something like this plus an online system and a calendar on the fridge (I need visuals!). I even have a drawn plan of my neighbor’s houses and their names in one notebook, because I’m always forgetting that.

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Sure, it would be better if I had an index so I could find shit, but I have done that before, numbering pages on sketchbooks and making an Excel spreadsheet with columns for whether they ever become quilts or not (most don’t). And when…interesting to see drawings come back 6 years later and become something new. But I’m usually not that organized, which is problematic with the two journals I’m currently running. I can never remember what’s in what. One started out for art and is more than half full. I was carrying one around for school, but I think art wormed its way into that one too. Yeah. It did. And there’s only a little school stuff in there. We live on post-it notes at school…we were on real ones (I still use those because I can put them ON my notebook or computer and SEE them), but then we migrated to Google Keep…which is helping. I think. Because we can share notes. It’s not easy to migrate stuff between post-its though…at least, I haven’t found an easy way to do that yet. Plain old cut and paste is how I’m doing it. I wish you could click on it and move it to another note. That would be cool.

So yeah, I’m still pretty old school on art stuff though. I have a white board thing on my door with upcoming deadlines, although I’m about to erase all of them. I have notebooks. I have Google docs with deadlines and entries. The show that was supposed to notify yesterday pulled that date from their online info…sigh. I guess I’m putting everything away in the girlchild’s room anyway. I would have liked to have know beforehand if I needed to pull one out for shipping. So a busy day…but in a good way, I think. I’m not a fan of cleaning, but finishing the quilting will be good. Satisfying. Always.

*Boston, More Than a Feeling


The More I See the Less I Know*

December 21, 2017

Over 6 hours of quilting yesterday…apparently staying in one’s pajamas all day is good for getting work done. I even graded yet another assignment. Piece o’ cake!

Well, it wasn’t a piece o’ cake when I started yesterday. I had a thread breakage, thought I cleaned it all up, rethreaded, and then got these nests over and over again. There was a lot of yelling and usage of inappropriate words. Loudly. Unfortunately, that never really solves a thread nest issue…

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The newer machines are harder to get at the innards, but my machine guy showed me one access point. Ah HA! There’s the bitch that’s fucking me over.

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No real problems after that? Well. Of course. I have to say, I suck at just sitting and quilting. My brain goes kablooey. So I had to get up and do other stuff. Unlike this cat, who slept right there ALL DAY LONG.

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Although he did wake up long enough to clean his head.

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This is about a third of the way through all the outline quilting…

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Ah Midnight. Miss you baby.

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Finally up into the face. I had this goal yesterday to finish all the outline quilting.

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I didn’t quite get there. Almost…the little heads are freakin’ awesome with the outlining done…

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NOW you know why I do teeth.

After dinner, I did more fill-in on this…I think it was on the left side…

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I also stitched down some rhinos…I had the last episode of The Crown to watch and I can’t do that while quilting. I also graded another assignment in there.

These are the July blocks…trying to get all the wool bits sewn down over break so I don’t have to worry about those any more.

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Then back to quilting the miasma of birth control options…the screwdriver is not one of those, by the way…to be clear.

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There’s all the heads!

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They look awesome. I have one arm left to do, plus the moon and stars and an asteroid. Then background quilting. That’s today. I’m at 9 1/2 hours in the quilting. Then tomorrow, off to the quilt store for binding. No way do I have yardage for that at the moment. The back was a glorious mishmash and I’m OK with that…not so much on the binding.

So yeah, I gotta leave the house today. More blood tests, who knows what else? Calli isn’t leaving…

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Silly old lady.

Seriously, I think I am more focused when I have pajamas on. You should try it.

*Red Hot Chili Peppers, Snow (Hey Oh)


I Just Keep Losing My Beat*

December 20, 2017

I think I’m voting today “the day I stay home and don’t go anywhere, not even to take the dogs out.” I wanna lounge around in pajamas and do nothing but read all day. Ha! Because that’s what some vacations should look like, but I’m not in that mode…quilt needs to get done and so do about 12 thousand other things. No reading for you! I tried reading during lunch yesterday, but the girlchild called…so no reading. Have to schedule that stuff apparently.

I graded another assignment last night. Two down, four to go. One of them is big, though. It will take a significant chunk of time. I’m not ready for that yet. (I may never be ready for that. Who am I kidding?)

Yesterday I went back to look at my developing Patreon site. I honestly don’t know if anyone would back me, but I came up with 4 levels of rewards and did some writing on it. It would be more work for me…but potentially could be a good thing? Or not. Waffling like crazy on the time/work commitment. Guess it’s back to the thinking board before I decide.

What I really did yesterday, besides get blood sucked out of me (get to go back, thanks to some weird results…woo hoo!), was work on the quilt…batting and backing on the floor…can’t go much bigger than this.

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Calli gets upset that she’s not allowed to be in the entryway with me…

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In fact, all the animals make an attempt to be in there ON things. The quilt top folded in half on top of the batting…

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And nice and flat…boychild had to maneuver around this to get out the front door. It’s why we have more than one door! Not really. It just happened that way…

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And yes, I have moved the bench and the table to get me more room to lay out quilts before…luckily, I didn’t have to do that yesterday. It only took about 45 minutes to lay it all out and pinbaste it.

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Not the hour and a half I thought it would take the night before. But I was tired. And worried about getting enough sleep. I don’t know why…I’m tired again this morning and definitely didn’t get enough sleep.

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Kitten in the sun…

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Lots of weird animal things going on in the house this week. Boychild just put Simba on the chair, and then Simba thinks he’s not allowed to get down. Or he’s scared to get down. It’s hard to say.

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Someone should clean the counter off. Yeah. Me. OK. Everything is me sometimes. Although boychild has demolished the rotting treehouse quite efficiently. Should send him out back with a chainsaw.

So I started quilting in the afternoon…

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The machine is mostly behaving…some thread issues as I got to the end of a spool.

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And somewhere in here we walked the dogs and I made dinner. Then I filled in more spaces on this…

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And finished stitching down all the wool bits (FINALLY) on the June blocks. That took a long time. Not sure why. I did all the tree spots while watching Westworld…which I’ve decided is all about sex and killing…those are the only human purposes I’m getting out of it. Not sure if I like it or not. Guess that might be the point.

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Then back to quilting. I’ve done both sides of the landscape, both arms up to the shoulders, and the baby.

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That was almost 4 hours yesterday. I’m aiming for 5 hours today. Or more. We’ll see. I don’t really wanna deal with anything else on the to-do list. I took three quilts down from a show yesterday. I need to clean up the girlchild’s room before she gets home Saturday night (although she won’t sleep here until Sunday)…and all the quilts are in there, but I’m waiting on one notification tomorrow, so I made the decision not to clean the quilts up until I heard, so I wouldn’t have to put them away and then pull them back out (wishful thinking?). I’m ignoring the three or four boxes in there that also need to be dealt with.

I’m feeling annoyed by people, so that’s why I wanna hermit. Plus the redo on the blood tests is freaking me out. And the holidays are stressful. I probably need to go on more walks or draw some or just finish this damn quilt so it can get photographed on time. Right? Yeah. Well get on with it then.

*Queen, Somebody to Love


The Long Turtle in Earth’s Core

December 15, 2017

I am extremely confuzzled at the moment. Brain is full of fuzz and I’m trying to get my focus on for school. Boychild is home with no plane drama. Well, he’ll argue that it was delayed, but I’m like, you got OUT. You got here ON TIME. That never happens.

I got about an hour and a half into the stitch down at quilt class last night…at my quilt teacher’s house (you can barely see her on the left). It’s an absolute crap picture, much like my brain function.

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That’s after reading a lot of warmups that went something like this.

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Oh my, a long turtle. I have no clue what he’s talking about. Language learners can be amusing, even when they don’t mean to be. Add in the age (12), and there’s no end to the giggle factor. Or maybe I’m just bordering on hysteria. It’s highly possible. But the more I get graded today, the less I have to do over break. So I’m sticking with it.

May the end of the day come early…may the jerks stay home and be jerks to their parents instead of me. May there be plenty of cookies and wassail (the non-alcoholic kind, at least until I get home) to get the teachers through the day. May the stars align and everyone turn their shit in with the least amount of drama. May my room get clean so I don’t have to come back over the weekend. May I remember to get all the perishables out of the fridge so we don’t come back to a mold collection after break. May I remember to water the plants so they don’t die over break.

I think that’ll do.