I’m a God-Dang Rolling Stone*

October 16, 2017

Monday mornings. You know already what most of the day looks like. It’s gonna be hot. There’s a cool thing you’re doing in science, but then kids have to turn a major assignment in, and that’s always a hassle. “Did you mean TODAY? I’m not ready.” So where I worked over the weekend to make sure stuff was graded and done for YOU, you chose to do nothing, the same kids I caught trying to do their homework in class on Friday. We don’t work at home? I do. Maybe that’s a mistake (I don’t think it is), but certainly it’s something you should know how to do. Being successful in college doesn’t mean getting it all done in class…the same with many jobs. You make time for fun stuff too, true. I do that. Not as well as some of my students, ironically. Ending the day with my favorite past time…a staff meeting. Oh yeah baby.

So in good news, I finished the quilt. My photographer’s not answering email (minor issue)…but it’s ready for photography. It took almost 100 hours. Seriously, like 7 minutes short of 100 hours. I spent a good chunk of time on Saturday and Sunday sewing down binding and sleeves. Big is not fast in this instance…

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Saturday night was out and about…this had no name…but I loved it.

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Plus this sign…

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And these lights…

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Home relatively early, so I did three nights of catchup on this…

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Finishing the eyeball. Still not as free and loose as I’d like, but maybe that’s just me.

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Last night, I inked the quilt…just some additional shading and detail. Sometimes I feel like they need it…sometimes they don’t.

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And then I piled it up on the ironing board, ready for ironing and dehairing for the photographer.

It’s hard when you finish one (late, like 9:30 at night) and you have the next one ready, but you’re not ready to start it…mentally. I often don’t have a lot of down time between pieces, and the next one is a drawing that’s enlarged and ready for all the rest of it. But I needed some space from this last one. I graded for a while…was really efficient for once. But I’d been on Facebook and Instagram, and the #MeToo stuff was getting to me. For one thing, I don’t like following a lot of trendy/fad stuff online. But this was legit, in that I think most men don’t have a clue that every woman or female-identifying person around them has dealt with this…and not just once…many, many times, some violently, some so vague that you didn’t know it happened until you were processing the day in your head. Some annoying, some creepy, some downright scary. It’s harder having a daughter, because you know she’ll deal with it too, and you’re fairly sure you didn’t prepare her for it, especially because she comes home and tells you about some incident where her friend behaved the way you would have, shut it down, but your own kids thought you were just paranoid, when in reality, you’d just tried to impart years of bad experiences, and obviously didn’t say it right. Or because of that mom/daughter thing, she doesn’t listen. She has to make her own experiences, and you hope that it’s more of the mild instances and not the scary ones. The irritating, annoying, is that all you think I’m here for? instances. Instead of the ones where you’ve got your keys in between your fingers and your heart is racing and you’re evaluating all the ways out and how fast you can run. Or even worse, it’s your boss and the way out means losing your job and benefits and you can’t really afford to do that.

So I drew. It’s not an awesome drawing. It’s just a drawing. I’m a visual person. So there it is.

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And I’m lucky to have one of those men in my life who’s sitting there shocked at all the women in his FB feed who are typing out that hashtag, and who comes in and hugs me, says he’s sorry, sorry for all those assholes who don’t get it, who think they’re entitled, who may not even realize what they’re doing, because they don’t think before they act, or worse, those who have thought about it and can’t see why not. Does this hashtag rebellion reduce the impact of what Harvey Weinstein did? Fuck no…because he’s in a position of power, but even those who aren’t think this behavior is OK, and we need all those men who do NOT think it’s OK to yell about it too…because we women already know it’s all too easy to tune our voices out.

On that cheery note, happy Monday. May y’all survive the start of the work week, and maybe the catcalls and abuse will abate slightly today because of everyone putting it out there.

*The Roots, The Seed (2.0)

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I Never Felt So Much Alike*

October 12, 2017

Hello morning. You are way too dark and you came too early. Ha. Ha ha. Oh dear, my head is not pleased with the lack of sleep. It will have to deal…because…I finished quilting! It was (apparently) loud and fast, but a little over 2 hours later, I was done with the background and all the weird little spaces and the one bit of outlining I missed and the green of the chalkboard. It took a little over 13 hours to quilt the whole thing…less than I thought, but I think that’s because I really did try to reduce the detail in this one to get it done in time.

I was successful. Good to know.

Working on the eyeball still. I’m not sure what I’m going to do when I finish the sclera. Maybe just sew flowers all around it.

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We’ll see. Ha. Ha ha. Eyeball. Get it? See? Yeah. Brain. Thanks. My early morning brain is a punny teenager.

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Even Midnight doesn’t think it’s funny. Sometimes she gives me these looks while I’m quilting and I think I’ve greatly offended her. This is one of those looks.

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Really it was just a lot of beige on beige.

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I think that’s the first beige quilt I’ve ever done.

I had a few of these little filler spaces to go back and quilt. The last fiddly bits are always the biggest pain in the ass.

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The back. The light color is the chalkboard, which I didn’t quilt tightly at all. It needed some quilting, but not a lot. The crazy stuff on the right is quilting around the atom model.

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I laid it out for binding measurements and to do a rough check that I hadn’t missed some totally obvious thing I was supposed to quilt.

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The sucker is big…currently about 70×65″…but it will trim down a bit.

I’m not uber-fussy about the quilting. Some people are into very tight quilting, but it’s usually part of their finished image, how they want it to look. I want the fabric to be the image…the quilting works as a drawing line with the outlining, and then to make the background recede…and to hold the damn thing together…but I’m not a fancy quilter. I don’t think my quilts need it.

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There’s the atom from the front. I was lucky and had a green thread that worked well with both greens of the chalkboard.

Today I buy binding fabric and get the binding sewn on so I can do the handwork. That’s going to take about a million years and I have so much grading to do still. Ugh. Oh well. I will be getting it done this weekend. I should email the photographer, right? And then start trying to mentally process the next big one…the due date is a while out, but it’s a big one, so I need to be realistic. Whatever that means. Because I’m a little crazy when it comes to making these sometimes. I do love making them though…even when it hurts to look at them. That’s probably a good thing.

*The Clash, London Calling


I’ll Just Be Myself*

October 11, 2017

Apparently at some point during the quilting, it gets faster and more mindless and I guess even easier because you’re not tracing around things…you’re just filling in space. I don’t really like quilting the backgrounds. It’s boring. It goes on forever. But for some reason, last night it didn’t. It was fast and easy. It was hard to make myself stop and go to bed (although I did). I kept thinking I could go until I finished (that would have been a mistake). Sometimes being an adult with a grownup job just sucks. I’m jealous of friends who can do art all the time (although they don’t…they do other stuff…like sleep and read and raise kids). Kidding. I did quilt for 3 hours last night though.

I did this first though…still working on that crazy eyeball.

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Speaking of crazy…the dinner break required much furry beast interaction…

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And this happened.

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That’s some serious ear cleaning. At least he knows his job. And she doesn’t mind. He tried the other cat too, but he wasn’t having it.

The days I do an hour of tutoring after school, I really don’t feel like coming home and working. So I don’t. Usually. I went straight to quilting after dinner. I finished the little bit of outlining I had left…

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And then started quilting the space around everything.

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I remembered to keep it big and loose instead of tight and time-consuming.

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That was a good plan, because I made it more than halfway around…

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I have about a quarter of the bottom, the left side, and a bit on the top, plus a few inner spaces between arms and armpits. Then trimming it and binding it (that will take a while). But it means I can shop for binding tomorrow. That’s good. That’s more on schedule. Deep breaths…this asshole is almost done. It’s not that I don’t like the quilt…I do (and I really wasn’t sure in the beginning)…I’m just tired of the subject. It hurts to quilt this one. I have a hard time even looking at it.

So. Yeah. There’s that. But now I have to get to school early for a parent meeting. Hopefully one that will go somewhere. Ha.

*The Puppini Sisters, Jilted


Day after Day I Get Angry and I Will Say*

October 10, 2017

Hey, so sometimes a thing pops up and you think, hey! That’s cool. That’s really cool. Social Justice Sewing Academy is one of those things. When I was on the web last year, around the time our newest president reared his ugly head, I found the Instagram of a woman, Sara Trail, who was making banners for protests. She had posted patterns online (I think I wrote about her back then). Turns out she works with a group of kids, the Social Justice Sewing Academy, helping them express their ideas…wait, not just IDEAS, but ACTIVIST IDEAS…in fabric. And sewing. I think this is awesome, and they want to expand the program, so there’s a Kickstarter here. Watch the video, read the stuff…just looking at the art they make (their Instagram is @sjsacademy) makes you wanna back them. These kids deserve all the help they can get; I would love to see a program like that down here. Yes, I backed it. You should back it too…not only because it’s fabric, or even because it’s getting the younger generation into fabric, but because these kids have a lot of great political stuff to say and we should expand that to more voices, diverse voices. We’re gonna need some young, strong, loud voices to fight some of the shit being thrown around. She focuses on kids of color, kids who need a voice even more than most. Go. Look. Watch.

More on the eyeball…watched a movie and graded shit last night…

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But sewed two nights of Whites of Your Eyes first…

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Weird puppy…

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So I broke two needles last night AND stabbed myself in the finger with a knife (OK, that was while making dinner and was just lame, but it still hurts this morning). I don’t exactly know how I didn’t see that safety pin, but it’s nice to know the needle can pierce it. Or is it?

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The second needle broke…I don’t even know why. It was not an auspicious start. I think both broke in the first 10 minutes and I swore prodigiously, and then I got my rhythm back and got about an hour and a half of quilting in.

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I didn’t want her to have a weapon, but I wanted her to be able to stop him, to hurt him, to catch attention. So octopus tentacles. Best I could do.

Most of the male figure is done…just his head and one arm, plus the thought bubble…

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And then start quilting the background. Remember not to quilt the background in tiny little squiggles…because there ain’t no time (nor necessity) for that. Start seriously considering the next quilt, because it will be big too…about this size…and it doesn’t exist except as the beginning of a drawing and a list of ideas. Not that it’s a bad thing…drawing it will be nice. No, it’s not a happy topic…still…but it won’t be guns. I don’t know why that makes a difference, but it does. Because I feel like I can make changes about climate but not about guns? Who knows. Because one is nature and what we’ve done to it and one is human nature and that worries me more?

I do have an opening coming up on November 16 at the Rose Gallery at Francis Parker School…three pieces will be in that show, one never-before-seen (except here). The opening runs from 6-8 PM. It’s a really nice space…plus school kids are gonna see my work! OK, I had to do no nudity on this show, but it was worth it.

OK…to the day job, then the night job. Go back that Kickstarter. You know you wanna. And it’s totally worth it.

*Violent Femmes, Add It Up


My Back Is Broad but It’s a Hurting*

October 9, 2017

A little over 6 hours of quilting this weekend…I did more than that of grading and school stuff, unfortunately. It’s not as far as I wanted to be, but it will do. It has to do. It’s what I did.

My niece posted on Instagram yesterday about making Sunday an art day but it’s never enough, and I told her she had to do it every day. She’s young. I didn’t make art every day for a very long time…life gets in the way and then kids. But now it’s a mostly daily practice (unless I fall asleep or have some nighttime activity)…and I think that’s best for me. It helps me process stuff…calms me, helps me be less of the crazy I would be otherwise. My brain goes in circles sometimes, but art helps me reign it in.

This cat is strange. He likes running water.

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This puppy is pitiful.

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And this plug. The extra light I have for my sewing machine hasn’t been working since before the last quilt. I knew I had the old one, so I went and found it, but then tried to pull the plug out. Well I know now why it wasn’t working…that sucker was melted into the surge protector.

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Nothing else was, so it seems like it was the plug’s issue, not a bolt of lightning that I didn’t notice.

I went back to quilting after grading some in the morning. I wasn’t going to, but there’s a lot of late work piling up and I wanted it out of that folder. So I did it.

Then quilted…

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And quilted…still outlining…

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I don’t have a fancy setup…just a big table where I manhandle the big massive fabrickyness of all that. This one is big and…well…big.

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Here’s where I mostly got…the whole chalkboard is done and all of the female figure…

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Except her other arm…I started working on that, and then it was after midnight and a school night.

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Need to remember that shit.

More quilting tonight…maybe I’ll be doing binding next weekend instead of before that. We’ll see. I’m 6 hours in and I suspect there’s a bunch more in my future. Same with the grading.

*Rolling Stones, Beast of Burden


I’d ‘a Danced Like the Queen of the Eyesores*

October 8, 2017

I didn’t write yesterday because I fell asleep Friday night while grading and then got up Saturday and kept grading. No art. Just trying to catch up. Not doing a great job of it. I did finally get to quilting at some point last night…and into the morning. I’m planning on doing today slightly differently. For one thing, I can’t go to sleep at 1:30 AM on a school night.

I lie. I CAN. But I shouldn’t. In fact, for about a year, I did just that. It was bad.

Grading meant cats lying on my stuff. It was hot yesterday, close to 100 degrees. Southern California sucks at Fall weather.

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Then he moved to the notebook. Because I was obviously using it, so lying on it made sense. I picked up his head to put papers under it a few times…

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This one was polite and just laid upon the graded paper pile. Although then I had to extend the pile past her because she was already lying on it.

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I realized I hadn’t touched this in days, so I did 4 nights’ worth…basically finishing the iris of the eye and starting on the white part…

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I keep trying to use a more sketch-like way of stitching, but I’m inherently ordered in how I stitch I guess.

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Then I made it into the quilting space around 10:30 PM…on a day when I had nothing but errands to do. Well. And grading. I was trying to get to a certain point. I did not. I gave up. Interestingly, here’s when I do all my work…after 9 PM.

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Still debating this app. It might work. If I can remember what each icon is for. Plus at some point I’ll probably have to pay to have enough tasks…we’ll see. I don’t think this is one of the ones that charges monthly. I don’t need that level of tracking. And the last one I paid for disappeared with the new iOS…I’m still salty about that.

I’m still outlining stuff…I’ll be doing that for a while.

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That’s a fun heart. I want to do one like that again…much more decorative than in the old days. My hearts really have changed over the years.

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The eyes haven’t changed much…there’s only so many ways to make an eye. That’s not true. That might be a challenge. Huh. I need drawing time. Seriously need it.

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I did her torso and the head, except for half of the hair. I still need to do the other arm, but I’ll do the chalkboard first. I meant to buy thread for the chalkboard when I got the background thread, but I forgot. I’m hoping there’s something in my pitiful stash so I don’t have to go back to JoAnns this close to Halloween. Damn.

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I could have gone to bed at midnight…that’s about when I started quilting the head. But I didn’t. I kept going. I wasn’t tired.

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It’s kind of boggling how much time some of this takes.

My plan for today is to finish up the school stuff that I have to do and then start quilting. I’d like to get the outlining done today. I don’t know if I can, but that’s my goal. Then I can do background quilting all week and hopefully make time somewhere to go buy binding fabric and get it bound early next week. It’s taking too long. It’s not really…I was drawing in mid-August…and basically I’ve worked on it solidly, almost every day, since then. While working full time. But it’s taking up a lot of space in my head. Certainly last night while quilting the path that bullets would take through the head…you can only think about that shit so much before your brain gets tied up in knots.

In other news, the girlchild has been accepted to a school program in Madagascar…you know, where the outbreak of plague is. Yeah. Exciting stuff, but a bit scary for all of us. She’ll have an awesome experience…just getting there will take her two full days. But very cool opportunity…

OK. Work briefly and then quilt until I have to stop…

*The Shins, New Slang


I Wanna Shut the Door and Open Up My Mind*

October 6, 2017

So the only way I know the kids are alive is when they text me. That’s fine…but I can tell the girlchild is buried in schoolwork because all I see of her are her Likes on Instagram. And the boychild will respond to pictures of potential coyote poop and junk mail. I guess the girlchild liked the cute ferret video. I think. I guess all that is good…they responded when I asked about flying them home. It’s just been a real quiet week…

My students are doing a superhero project…some are worried about the drawing part. I don’t know why. Here’s what I drew for them.

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They’re obsessed with the perfect body superheroes. I’m like…why? Dorky kid superheroes!

I made apple crisp this week…because I knew I’d need it. Comfort food. Apple crisp for breakfast is perfectly acceptable. No it’s not. But it’s what’s for breakfast today.

I started quilting last night…late…I had my stitching meeting first. I didn’t get much done…head and tail tufts on the elephant, and then the start of turkey work (guided by Julie, I started making them much tighter) on these, which are apparently cattails. Or is it catails. No. That looks wrong.

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I didn’t even photograph the head and tail tufts. It’s gonna be a rough day. Brain appears to be offline.

Midnight was incredibly interested in the quilting.

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So interested that she left 5 minutes later. I didn’t quilt a lot…just the dirt. I was tired. It was late. Manhandling a quilt at 11 PM after a long day is not easy. Plus I had a tweaked spot in my right hand. Not sure from what…turkey work? Pulling the needle? The gym? It still hurts this morning, although not as much. Inside the hand…probably more stupid arthritis. I have arthritis in one of my feet. Sigh. Old age.

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My weekend is kind of laid out for me: about 5 errands, not desperate mostly. Lots of quilting. Lots of grading.

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Yup. Très exciting. This thing will not quilt fast, that’s for sure. I did already buy the thread for the background quilting. Honestly, it doesn’t sound like a bad weekend, except for all the grading. I expected to get more done in class this week with the kids working on an independent project, but they haven’t been very independent. That’s unfortunate. I will need to bust my butt a little bit this weekend instead.

But first I need to get through Friday at school. Ugh. I’m really not in the mood. More loud music needed.

*Linkin Park, Runaway