I Need Direction to Perfection*

September 20, 2017

I spent an hour plus last night fighting my internet…slow as heck, same old stuff. Whatever it was, sludge speeds, figured itself out by the time dinner was done, so I could upload photos at the speed of light again (entering a show…yes, hope springs eternal) and do the other internetty things that needed doing. But I had carved out an hour and a bit for grading and then that didn’t happen…and I couldn’t bring myself to sit down and do it after dinner, because I wanted to get to the art stuff, you know? Too many hours of working and you start to go nuts.

So no grading yesterday. None. Sigh. Don’t think about grades being due. You’ll do what you can.

There’s Calli…she’s sick. Some tummy thing. She’s going to the vet this morning…hopefully it’s something simple. Because she doesn’t feel well. Usually she comes down the driveway with me to get the mail. It’s one of the exciting parts of her day.

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Yesterday she just sat there until I started coming back and then she got up and slowly walked toward me. Poor baby.

I did two nights on this…the green feather stitch and blue lazy daisies on the left, building up from the bottom now.

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I guess it’s all either curved lines or straight ones.

Puppy hung out with me on the couch for most of the night.

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See how close he gets? I’m still cutting out…did almost 3 hours last night and I can see progress, the end of the road.

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Although all those octopus bits were a tad annoying. The suckers…that’s what they are.

But it meant I was down in the mostly big pieces of the female figure by the end of the night. Those are the 100s, I think. There’s dirt below…more big pieces. The top box still needs to be cut out, but you can see the box is nearly empty. All the stuff that’s cut out is in the bottom left and the trash in the bottom right.

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I’m pretty close to done I think. Unfortunately, I have a potentially longish meeting tonight, so very little time for grading or cutting…but we’ll see. I’ll still cut stuff…I just may not finish. I’d like to finish…but then I have another meeting Thursday, so even if I finish and sort before that, I won’t be able to start ironing until late Thursday at the earliest. But progress! Remember progress! Because that’s what keeps me going…that and getting to see it finally ironed together and deciding if I actually like it. That’s a big one with this quilt.

Plus the next one is percolating in my head. It’s already started on paper, and it’s gonna be big, but I need to finish this one first. And I might cut myself a break and finish that other smaller one in between. Or not. Hard to say. It’s partially done already.

Anyway, hopefully the dog is better by tonight, the meeting is productive but doesn’t put another piece to be done on my plate (not sure where that would fit), and I get through the cutting stage. My hand would be happy with that.

*The Killers, All These Things That I’ve Done

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An Ocean of Violets in Bloom*

September 19, 2017

Last night I had a great idea for how to write this post. And then I forgot it. This is why I should just start writing it whenever those thoughts pop into my mind. I even have the app on my phone…I’ve written entire posts on my phone…so there’s no excuse. Well, I think the excuse was that I was driving. But whatever that thought, ever so important at the time, it’s gone now. Or not really…because I’ll be driving along and it will pop back in…you know it will.

But for now, the mind is blank. At least on that topic. It’s roiling through a series of other topics instead.

I belong to a quilt guild…just one. I’ve belonged to it since I was about 25 or so, maybe earlier. I was the youngest person there for a really long time…then one woman came who was a year or so younger and another woman brought her daughter. I am no longer the youngest woman there. Which is fine.

I only go about once a year at most…because they don’t have a lot of speakers I want to hear. They used to…or I used to go listen to a lot more? No, I think it really was more art-quilt centered for a few years in the way back, so I saw Laura Wasilowski, Hollis Chatelain, Joan Colvin (that link is a video of Joan, who died in 2007), and Ellen Anne Eddy, along with others. I took classes from most of them, when I could fit them in, so they probably had some effect on me long term, some more than others. I still dye fabric the Ellen way. It may be that I reached saturation…I saw enough techniques that I didn’t need to see more? I went to Patt Blair a few years back because I liked her use of color, and last night, I went to see Sue Carlson for her use of fabric and color. I’m pretty sure I have her first book in here somewhere, so this is not a new fascination with what she does.

It was great to listen to her explain her process over the years…fascinating really. I completely understand the obsession with fabric as the palette. I have some pictures, but honestly, they don’t do justice to the work…although when I got there, a slide show was playing that had me in it (that was weird)…apparently Visions was going to talk about their current exhibits. That’s Carlson’s Dixie Dingo Dreaming

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And one of her fish…

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But really it’s about seeing how she uses ALL the fabrics to build her pieces.

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Aboriginal dot dingo…amazing use of fabric.

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Anyway, I enjoyed it. You should go check out the website and read her blog. Her pictures are way better than mine…

I came home to the two boy animals behaving…

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At one point, I had all 5 animals in one room and no one was hissing, growling, yowling, or barking. It was stupendous. A work in progress.

I did cut things out last night…for almost two hours! Can you tell? I can…barely. The top one is stuff that’s cut out…the bottom left is still to be cut, and there’s the trash pile for just in case.

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Oh yeah…and Satchemo…wanting to be in the middle of things.

Sometimes mornings with all of them are a bit much. Calli wouldn’t eat this morning, someone threw up in the hallway, and Satchemo and Midnight were both in my office sounding off at each other. Whoo!

I did work on the elephant at the meeting until they turned the lights out…a little progress.

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I’ve got nothing else going on tonight, so hopefully there will be another 2 or 3 hours of cutting…maybe I’ll be able to see the difference in the piles by then!

*Prince, When Doves Cry


Face Away and Pretend That I’m Not*

September 18, 2017

Grades are due in a week…it’s part of why I put my head down and put in 10 or so hours this weekend. I got some significant stuff out of the way, but there’s more in the classroom. That plan to spend an hour on the deck drawing? Well it turned into a half hour of talking and a glass of wine, but that was fine. I forget to take that time for myself…there’s always something dragging me back into what I have to do…so it was nice to have someone else remind me. Yo! Go sit outside and relax!

I’m not great at that.

So I didn’t get as much art done as I wanted to, but it’s coming…this is a busy week with lots of meetings, so who knows what’s going to happen. I’d like to be done with the cutting sooner rather than later, but I can’t guess how much longer it’s going to take. I’m over 6 hours in now and it doesn’t seem like I’m half done…although I did a bunch of tiny pieces yesterday and I feel like the rest is mostly larger pieces, so maybe I am halfway? Hard to say.

Lots of numbers and letters…this bit took forever and fussy little scissors.

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You can see them all there…the little triangles will wait to be cut out until I’m ready to iron them down. They get lost too easily.

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So here’s where I’m at…trash box at the top…to-be-cut-out on the left, and stuff I’ve cut out on the right. It seems like there’s still more in the to-be-cut box than the cut box…so I guess I still have a lot to go.

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Usually cutting out takes less time than ironing, so this being halfway would make sense…and big pieces are generally easier to cut out than the fussy little ones.

We’ll see. I’ll be lucky to get 2 hours in tonight…Tuesday might be a little better. Wednesday for finishing? Eh. Maybe Thursday. But ironing together by the weekend? Maybe even Friday night? That would be nice…this thing is taking longer than I thought it would.

Cat standoff…

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Things are getting slightly better. Less growling. Not getting along yet per se, but hey, we’ll take what we can get.

Still working on this…filling in the left bottom. I did a pink and a maroon, lots of French knots and some chain stitch.

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Soon I’ll have to decide what to do with the rest of the left side.

Puppy sleep.

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Spending the whole weekend working makes my brain fuzzy…seriously. It does. Aaugh. This job. It really does try to take over everything. I guess the art is kinda the same way, but I prefer that. Almost every waking moment thinking about art? Not a problem. Maybe it’s because school is such an impossible problem and art is a solution to me.

*Linkin Park, Faint


Impossible to Ignore*

September 12, 2017

I fought dizzy and cold clammy sweats all day, but managed to make art last night, at least for a while. It feels good. I missed it. It gives me focus.

I had already picked and laid out the flesh fabrics for the male figure before I got sick, so it was very easy to jump in and start assigning pieces to colors…

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In fact, I got mostly through the last half of the 600s and most of the 700s with those…the pile on the number 1 fabric was quite large.

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Although I say that, and it still took only a third of the piece of fabric…so a third of a half yard, since that’s what I usually buy.

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I try to fit them as well as possible to not waste fabric, but sometimes you just have little bits and pieces all over.

This is all I have left to iron down…his tattoos, a gun, and the cloud above his head. His hair. His eye. I’m not sure what those little pieces are in the middle. His lips.

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Not much. Not-sick me would have finished last night. I quit right around 11: 15 and tried to go to sleep (ah ha ha…too many things in my head for that…upcoming stressful meeting, student stuff, deadlines, people, a quiz, a show I didn’t get into and why, the next science unit, deadlines, cleaning stuff, did I say deadlines?). So no sleep for me. Well. I’m sure I slept at some point.

The box is full…almost time to start cutting shit out.

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Here’s all the fabrics so far…two runs of flesh tones for two bodies.

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Lots of red and gray.

Anyway, work calls. It always does. I’m still fighting the cold sweats and a voice that’s not quite right. Not sure what to do but keep going. Looking forward to finishing the ironing today though. It’s about time.

*The Cranberries, Dreams


Pulling Your Puzzles Apart*

September 5, 2017

It’s funny…I thought I would have all this time yesterday to iron, but grading took forever, plus we walked the dogs in the much cooler weather. Yeah. This dog…

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The clouds were low and it was in the 70s…a huge change from 109 on Saturday.

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There’s an endangered bird species or two who live here…it’s nice that someone makes their homes decorative.

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We tried a new way back, one we won’t try again, because it goes past a variety of sewage treatment areas.

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Plus at some point it’s just a paved road. Not my first choice, although this piece of equipment was pretty.

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I graded for a couple of hours after that, then cooked dinner and did something on this. Hmmm. French knots in the bottom left, in a variegated thread this time.

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And because we were trying to finish watching the first episode of Ozark and I can’t just sit and watch TV, I kept sewing parts down for the next month’s worth of Folk Tails.

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I think I made eyeballs too.

Finally to the ironing! I finished ironing down all the pieces of flesh from the day before.

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Which probably took close to an hour. And then I started on all those pieces that weren’t flesh but were in the body…there were a ton of pieces in the heart this time, and many more arteries/veins…so the reds were more extensive than normal.

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I don’t feel like I got much done really…just the eyeballs and one tattoo and the bloody stuff. I still have parts of the face, the lungs, the octopus tentacles coming off her hand, and another tattoo.

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I started the bullet trails through her head, but didn’t get to the bullets. They’re lined up on the bottom. Anyway. I’m almost 6 hours into the ironing and I still haven’t gotten to the 400s…some of them are in the hair too. So I guess that will be tonight. I hope. I suspect 15 hours for the ironing is a good estimate…although I hope it will be less. Maybe by the end of the week? This is a tough week…back-to-school night will kick my ass. We’ll see.

Here’s the pile of pieces that are ironed plus the fabrics before I organized them…

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I’m trying to get to bed at a reasonable hour (ha!), which just means midnight instead of 1 AM. So I’ve been watching the clock and making myself stop.

Here’s what I’ve used so far in fabrics…the flesh run on the left at the back of the box…and a ton of reds.

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I have to remember that I have tutorial today after school, so exhaustion will be high. But I don’t have to cook dinner tonight…so that’s exciting. No really, it is.

*Coldplay, The Scientist


From the Mess to the Masses*

September 4, 2017

Three days off is always so nice. The weekend is so rushed when it’s shoved into two days…mostly because teachers need so much weekend time just to prep for the next week, unfortunately. I really enjoy being able to stretch work out a bit with that third day, although I’m sure if I always had three days off, I’d manage to fill them up and feel the same day-before stress I usually get on a Sunday. Too much to do in too little time.

The weather also cooled off considerably, so my brain is back. We got a little rain and it’s about 20-30 degrees lower in temperature. It’s like we’re human again.

I am trying to persuade Kitten to stay in the office for a little while, even with the interloper in the house…it worked for a bit.

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There were treats involved. Who uses an ironing board base as a pillow? Cats are weird.

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Speaking of weird…I almost bought this just for the raccoon. Yes, that’s a Disney princess behind him.

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Majorly weird. And not cheap.

So when we got back from the store (must have food), I started folding and putting away fabric, both from Saturday’s run to get a background fabric (the brownish gray or grayish brown)…the green is for the chalkboard behind her. And some other stuff that leaped into my hands.

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Then I found and sorted by color all the fabrics from the last quilt…

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And put it all away so I could start the next one.

And then I graded for a while. See this stuff? They all do this. Inhabit me with their tails. Plus that’s the gradebook he’s lying on. AND he looks pissed off that I might want to do these things near him.

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Trust me, Satchemo, I feel the same way about grading. But you’re not helping. I need to do more of it today.

Then I hung the drawing…big but mostly square. I’m still not sure how I feel about this one. I mean, I’m making it. We’ll see.

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I tell you that so you don’t think I’m always totally confident about what I’m doing…that there are times when I’m not sure it’s going to turn out well or at all. And I keep doing it.

I just have to hope it works. I started out in the earth, so browns…

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But I quickly got into the flesh run for the first figure in the quilt. She used a run of 7 fabrics, although that brown was only used for one thing. I laid out all the flesh pieces last night…

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Here are all the pieces that are part of the first figure but aren’t flesh…so a lot of artery/heart pieces, some lungs, eyeballs, and I don’t remember what else.

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I’ll get to those today. It means I was almost to the 400s, but I haven’t done all of them. I don’t know what that means in terms of how far I am. I’ve got more to do, for sure. I spent almost 4 hours ironing yesterday and finally had to force myself to stop to go to bed.

She has words on her neck.

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I still have the three lightest fabrics of flesh to iron down…that was 1 AM. There’s a lot in the box…honestly, I need to pull a bigger box for the pieces.

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It’s already full. Ahhhh. I love this part; I really do. That and ironing it together.

OK, today. Well grading, of course. And a dog walk for sure…now that it’s cooler. And then ironing. Lots of ironing. Yay.

*Phoenix, Lizstomania


Crazy Thoughts Have Quick Wings*

August 22, 2017

Eclipses are cool y’all. That’s all I have to say about that.

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NASA has way better pictures than I do…not surprisingly.

I’m realizing that I’m still adjusting to new eating times…blood sugar was wacky yesterday, but then I figured out that we have a different schedule on Mondays. Hence my body’s complete confusion by the end of the day. Working on it. Still. Forever.

I’m a little tired this morning. Sure, I went to bed late, but I do that a lot. Puppy wanted to bark at everything last night though, so I remember 1:53 AM and 3:21 AM and 5:38 AM. I think those were all coyote responses, but I’m not sure. Ugh. Still can’t keep my eyes open all the way. Blargh.

Tired the dogs out after school yesterday…apparently not enough for Simba. We did over three miles…

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I love how the old seed pods are mixed with the new…castor bean plant. Freaky beast.

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I did…um…oh yeah! the three roses on the bottom right. It’s a stitch called rambling rose, which consists of French knots and stem stitches. Very simple.

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I was mostly horizontal with Simba. He liked me then.

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Eventually I made it upright and cooked some dinner. On Mondays, that usually means reheating leftovers…because if I’m not getting back to the house until after 7 PM, it better be easy.

So I had enlarged this one just because I thought it should be a quilt. And I taped it just to get it done. It’s not huge.

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Who knows when she’ll get made…I have a waiting list at this point.

Then I started tracing the newest piece. The pieces are bigger than what I usually do.

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I was really trying to keep it simpler than some of my recent pieces. We’ll see how that goes. I only traced about 87 pieces in an hour. Not bad. Not spectacular. But because I don’t have a lot of grading when I get home at the moment, it means all I have to think about is art stuff. So as long as I can fight the tiredness, I can get some stuff done. That gets harder as the year goes on. That part always stresses me out. I’m trying to keep my head in a positive place about school…I wonder if admin realizes every crazy-ass thing they do, messing with the master schedule, assigning yet another thing to teachers to keep track of, making us do a 2-hour homeroom with lunch 45 minutes late. We absorb all of it, try to cope, adjust the peeing/eating schedules, take lots of deep breaths, and come home and walk three miles out in nature to clear our heads. Yeah. Well.

*Jem, Save Me