I Really Don’t Want to Make Another Quilt about Gun Violence

March 14, 2018

So I’m wearing orange today…#ENOUGH…because dumbasses with guns shoot up schools. And my government lets them…hands them the guns sometimes. And if I were going to head up a committee to “harden up” schools (omg that person has never taught at a Title I middle school), I would not put DeVos in charge of it, because the only words she knows are “vouchers” and “school choice,” and she can’t figure out how to put those in a sentence with “save the kids.” So today sucks. I can’t walk out because my kids won’t get it and I’m responsible for them. I’m responsible for their learning and their safety and their cleanliness and their appropriate behavior in the classroom and a whole host of other things. And none of us get paid enough to stand between a gun and our students but most of us would. But I’m walking out in spirit. I hope you see it, all you NRA supporters who are up for election in 2018. I hope it makes you pee your $1000 pair of pants right down into your real leather shoes.

Meanwhile, back in the classroom, as a teacher, I’m constantly looking at what I’m teaching and trying to decide if they get it. I think on a one-on-one basis, most are sort of getting it, but this group is very slow-moving and often completely off task. And mean. Empathy is hard. It’s hard for some adults. So slogging through that and thinking I suck as a teacher on a daily basis is really dragging me down. I’ve analyzed it. I taught this last year. It’s completely possible for them to do what I ask them to do…but it’s taking me a lot more management than last year. And they’re not being incredibly successful. That may be more about the time of year than about anything over which I have control. Plus middle school reminds you of how little control you really have.

So that’s making the days exhausting.

Last night, I managed to finish the commission quilt. That’s exciting. All the binding and sleeves are done. I need to email the photographer and see if Sunday works for him…and then hopefully I can mail it to the new owners next week some time (oh school, please keep the meetings to a minimum). I do need to put a label on it too. Because it’s a commission that wasn’t from something already in existence (my last two commissions were redos of parts of larger pieces), I’m giving the new owners some time to live with the quilt before they decide if it’s what they really want. I’m hoping it is, but it seems fair to give them a choice. They’ve paid me a percentage for making it so far, so if it comes back to me, I have the quilt and some money for my time. Commissions are strange beasts in art. Useful but strange.

Puppy is helping me sew bindings on while watching one of the funniest episodes of Black Mirror ever (U.S.S. Callister, Season 4, Episode 1)…

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Not an official picture, obviously. I still need to calculate hours etc.

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Now here’s the real crazy. I have two weeks to finish another one. Normally that would be impossible. Certainly looking at the number of meetings I have this week and my disaster of a weekend, you’d say No Effing Way. But the drawing is done, it’s numbered, and as of last night, I’m almost done with tracing the Wonder Under.

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All I have left is the head. The hair is even done.

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About 60 pieces left for tonight. And it only has 664 pieces total (well, there were a few numbering issues). It’s not huge. And after next week, I have a whole week off of school.

Can I do it? Maybe. It depends on a lot of stuff, but I’m going to make an attempt. If I fail, I’ll still have a new quilt made in time for some show, right? I did get into another show, a local one, opening April 12…called Art That Cuts…I think mine qualifies in many ways. It’ll be at Mesa College and I should be there for the opening, assuming it’s at an hour I can go (unlike the one opening tomorrow, yeah?).

Simba is sad when it rains. He doesn’t like to pee or poop when it’s wet. He is a floofy dog. Rain is terrifying.

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And yes, it’s raining again. Hard. Hopefully it will stop by lunch so we can go link arms in the quad against gun violence in schools. I really don’t want to do another quilt about that.

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We Will Run Away to Another Galaxy*

March 13, 2018

Well one meeting down, one meeting fell off the calendar…only four to go. Only four more days of these lab stations too. All the tests are graded, too, so progress! Woo! Yeah! Sometimes I think I need a cheerleader. I’m feeling a little curmudgeonly lately, a whole lot of Get off My Lawn when I don’t even have a lawn. Deep breaths. Look further out. This weekend will be painful but hopefully cool anyway. Then after that, only a week until two weeks off. A deep breath.

I barely slept Sunday night, so by the time I got to the 2-hour staff meeting about feedback (sigh. Really?), I was almost braindead. I seriously couldn’t even string a coherent thought together. So of course that’s what they wanted me to do. Nope. Totally checked out. We had conversations, but like I said before, now, in March, two weeks before Spring Break, is not the time to have a conversation about feedback with our students. Because there’s a lot of feedback going on and not a lot of it sinking in. I love watching videos of kids who totally take feedback and do something with it. I don’t know where that school is. I’m still trying to persuade them that they should put a space after punctuation so they don’t look like illiterate idiots. Maybe if I paid them $100/space they’d do it. Cynical much?

Yeah. My attitude needs an adjustment. An adjustment where I can sleep in post-coyote puppy howling and then pee and eat when I want. An adjustment with no staff meetings.

So I draw during staff meetings. This is small, like 5×7″ I think? I like the lacy bit of roots on the top of her head.

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This one’s probably not done…but since the sole purpose of these is to keep me awake and from standing up and yelling shit about how we already know this crap, why can’t we talk about stuff that would really help, like reinstating teams on campus.

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That plus 1 thing is something the chick in charge of the meeting kept saying…”+1 their learning.” My head banging on desk.

I left school. I ran two errands. I came home. I put everything away. I dealt with all the stupid Monopoly pieces from the grocery store. I’m one piece away from winning a million dollars. It’s OK. I know I won’t win. I did get a free bag from Shutterfly with my own photo on it. Yes, I put one of my art pieces on it. The baggers at the grocery store haven’t said anything yet. I ate dinner. I made really good carrots first. Then I ate them. Eventually I started handsewing binding on again. I got about 3/4 of the way around, minus the sleeves, but I kept stabbing myself in the same spot, so instead of being smart and finding those cool finger protector things that stick to your finger so you don’t have bloody holes in them, I decided to switch over to tracing Wonder Under…in the hope my callus would develop further.

Seriously, though, I’m almost done with that quilt! Exciting stuff. Need to email photographer. Sigh. When am I home long enough to get it to him? I need to put a label on it too.

Wonder Under continued…I’m in the high 400s I think. So only another couple of hours on this. Which is good, because if I have any chance of finishing it, I need to work faster.

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As always. Work faster. Work harder. I won’t be able to do any of it the second week of Spring Break, because I’ll be camping and freezing and hiking and driving and freezing. Should not have looked at those weather reports. Should take long underwear on this trip. Maybe I’m too old for all this camping stuff. Nah.

I shared this video of the Feminism Now show at Shoebox Projects in Los Angeles. I have to laugh at both the mispronunciation of my name (typical, so nothing to freak out about) and calling my work a tapestry. Sigh. Nah, a tapestry is a weaving. Mine is definitely an art quilt. I can’t remember what I called it in the labeling though (certainly not a tapestry, but if I called it fiber art, which is what I usually do in non-fiber shows, then I guess I understand the confusion). She liked it at least. This show goes to Sweden next…

Tonight? Finish binding and sleeves? Trace some more Wonder Under? Yeah. That seems fair.

*MAGIC!, Rude


I’m Near the End and I Just Ain’t Got the Time*

March 12, 2018

Well. Daylight Savings Time flip flop sucks. I’m pretty sure I didn’t sleep last night but I’m up NOW. All the fun of trying to fall asleep early with all the excitement of the alarm going off in the dark! It’s like winter all over again! Sigh. It is kind of a miracle that I’m awake at all, but since I didn’t ever go to sleep, I guess there’s nothing to wake up from. Old lady teacher brain strikes again? Who knows. The 2-hour staff meeting after school is going to be fun. If I stay awake, it will be a miracle.

By the way, I graded nothing this weekend…nothing at all. I was supposed to try, but instead, I tried to finish the quilt…which in the long run, was probably a better way to spend the weekend. Actually, there was an hour and a half in a sailboat (that wasn’t sailing) on the water with wine, cheese, grapes, and friends and family…

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And these guys. Same thing we did back in August, but I think the weather was actually better this time?

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Beautiful sunny day, relatively relaxing.

Then came home and finished all the quilting around the edges. The thread broke about 300 times. Somehow I managed to stay calm and not get frustrated and just tie another knot and start over.

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The tension is off…she’s going in to the repair guy the end of this month. Good timing.

Here’s what I bought yesterday…only two were possible bindings, the top and bottom…which I used on the last quilt as well.

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It was still the best choice for this one…

Cleaned the floor again (lots of leaves from the storm over the weekend), laid it out, and trimmed it.

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It was perfectly square the first time…that never happens.

Put the binding and sleeves on.

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Sat on the couch to pin everything down. Petted the puppy.

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Pinned! Then started the handstitching. Did not finish.

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That’s going to take a while. Not forever though. She should be done this week, so I need to try and get it to the photographer next week, if I can. I might need to put it off until Spring Break. This week is a bitch…not sure next week is any better. I’m scared to look at it. If I can get the daily tasks done, I’ll be doing pretty well…from what I remember, by the end of the week, the tiredness slaps you in the face and you’re all of a sudden used to the time change. Fun stuff.

*Alison Krauss, Can’t Find My Way Home


From the Ranks of the Freaks*

March 11, 2018

I need to go back and read blogposts from previous months of March, to remind myself that this month is a slog…through grades and assignments and trying not to look ahead to Spring Break, because if you do, you’ll forget about the 7 meetings you have this week. OK, I’m not up to 7 yet, but it’s getting there. And two of them are 2 hours long. I just checked. I’m at 6. 6 meetings. Ugh.

My birthday was Friday and I have to admit it was a rough one. I have a friend who always takes her birthday off from school, but her interactions with kids are not as a teacher, so I think it’s easier for her to walk away from it for a day. Ours requires lesson plans and a hope that shit will actually go the way you planned. The kids singing Happy Birthday was alternately awful and heartfelt. I got lots of hugs. But it was still a lab day…and those are hard. I’m not a big birthday person anyway…I just like a little acknowledgement. Middle school is probably too much acknowledgement.

So I decided that I was not working yesterday. I did do a little work, but mostly I quilted. Which was the right thing to do. My brain is still not happy, but art brain had fun.

Really all I’m doing is outlining. It’s the drawing line brought back in…

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It was a rainy day anyway…

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Sure, I had errands I could have done. I could have graded tests. Ugh.

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It was way more fun to finish the outlining. Besides, I had a plan of getting the binding fabric on Saturday, because we have a thing today that will take up some of the afternoon.

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So I just kept going. It’s meditative. It lets my brain relax.

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I haven’t quilted the outside part yet, but that’s tiny and won’t take long. I finished the shoe about an hour before the quilt store closed, kamikazed over there, and picked out two possible binding fabrics (I’m not good at deciding sometimes)…

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Came home, threw the fabrics in the washing machine, and then headed out to two art openings in the rain. I feel like when it rains, the artists need even more support, because fewer people go out in it. More on those shows later this week. I’m way behind in posting about where I’ve been.

This is Friday night, though. I was waiting for my dinner companion to show up, so I was tracing Wonder Under for the next piece. I didn’t quilt Friday night, because I was tired and that’s when I make mistakes. So I traced. Except Satchemo was pretty convinced it was dinner time (it wasn’t).

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Kitten came out and sat with me for a bit. You can see the reflection of the light table in the window. I love my light table. It’s my favorite piece of furniture in the house.

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And here’s back in time to Thursday night, the opening of #MyVoice/#MiVoz, the 11th Annual Dia de la Mujer exhibit at The Front in San Ysidro.

This piece was fascinating…the three parts kept turning, so it was hard to photograph, but I tried! This is Hidden Treasures by Paola Viola, 3rd place in Emerging Artists.

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Another view as the pieces keep twirling…

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And people are hiding behind, reading the pieces…

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This is Hurts Like Hell by Michelle Montjoy.

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This piece is by Kim Niehans, a fellow FIG member. I was tired, so I was bad about photographing the labels, so I don’t know what it’s called. Luckily, I am computer savvy, so I went to her website and checked…and she is so good at posting her work! I love artists who realize they need to post stuff. This is Self Evident

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This is Gail Schneider’s Sally Yates.

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More fiber! This is Will Work for Free by Cat Chiu Phillips…made of fabric from designer bags.

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And one of my favorite FIG artists, Bhavna Mehta’s work in paper and embroidery, Resist with your voice #3.

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She’s got crazy talent…

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I saw the mural at the San Diego Art Institute for this, but love this print too…this is Arzu Ozkal’s San Diego Women in Resistance.

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Detail shots…

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It’s a beautiful piece…

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This is another FIG member, Judith Christensen, and her piece Women’s Work 2015-2018.

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Each piece is part of a list, lots of groceries and other stuff. We all make lists.

FIG member Anna Stump won 1st prize for Established Artist with her Another Fucking Princess piece that was in our Don’t Shut Up exhibit last year (my piece in this show was also in that exhibit).

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This is a detail of Ingrid Hernandez’ Make America Great Again (MAGA)

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Ah yes, Donald Trump on toilet paper. A classic.

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This piece was resin and leaves, very interesting…Mara Nasland, winning 2nd place in Emerging Artist, with her piece Rising from the Ashes, Stronger Than She Ever Was

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Intriguing structure, glowing with light.

So that was Thursday night. I think I have 4 other shows to post about, but not now. Now I need cat food and breakfast and a plan for groceries and maybe a revised birthday sometime in the future. Like a day where I redo it. Redo’s are good.

*Aimee Mann, Save Me


Promises Me I’m Safe as Houses*

March 8, 2018

I left school early yesterday…meaning I walked out the door within 30 minutes of the school day ending. I wanted to walk the dogs…it’s been a while. So I walked in the frong door, put them out to pee, and changed into dog-walking attire…so as soon as they came in, they were excited, running around, woofing woofing woofing. They know what it means.

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This has seemed like the safest place to walk lately, in terms of coyote incursions. We know they’re there…but I’ve never seen them in the 3-mile loop I do with the dogs. Boychild has seen them further out. I figure if I can’t see them, I’m probably OK…

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Plus the dogs like all the good smells…

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And it’s apparently spring there…plus there were 5 runners and at least 5 bikers.

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But there we are. Coyote. On the flat open area. I yelled at him, picked up the little dog, and took the other branch of the trail. He didn’t budge. Even followed us a bit. Sigh. Well next week it will be light longer, so hopefully coyotes subscribe to daylight savings time and will stay hidden for another hour.

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Girlchild says I should walk where there are no coyotes. No such place exists. I know they have a place here…it’s just scary with the dogs.

My TV-watching companion is working hella hours at work lately, so I was on my own for dinner. Read my book…book club is next week already again and I am not done. Nowhere near done.

Then I started quilting. Quilting is relaxing. Meditative.

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Especially when the machine is being nice and stitching with no issues.

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I got all of the water/land of the Earth done, and some of the sky around the figures.

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I did a little outlining on the figures and this caduceus (can’t spell it; can’t pronounce it!).

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Not even halfway, but I did quilt for 2 1/2 hours last night. Tonight I have an opening to go to, so I don’t know how much I’ll get done. We’ll see.

For #marchmeetthemaker, I posted some of my process…because I finally got it down. It helps me get stuff done. What do I do next? I already know. I draw. Then I trace. Cut the Wonder Under. Iron it to fabric. Cut the fabric. Iron the pieces together. Iron it to a background. Stitch it down. Sandwich and pinbaste. Quilt. Bind. Repeat.

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It’s working for me. Has been for quite a few years.

The next two nights are kind of busy, but hopefully I’ll get some quilting in…then finish it up Saturday? I have stuff to do Saturday and Sunday…if I want to buy binding fabric, it probably has to be Saturday. This is part of why I think everything out. When will I have time to go get binding fabric if there isn’t enough of something here? Now Saturday is in my head as Go-Get-Binding day. I might even write it in the calendar (probably should).

Now I should probably get to school…morning meetings suck. And yet they still exist.

*Depeche Mode, Never Let Me Down Again


All the Roads We Have to Walk Are Winding*

March 7, 2018

Well. So. I can finally quilt this thing. I have not been as efficient as I sometimes can be. Not sure why. Lack of rice krispy treats I think. That’s probably a good thing now that I think about it.

I’m finding school frustrating; you may have noticed. I think we work hard at giving kids the supports they need to think without giving them the answers. I’m frustrated at the moment with the lack of try I see. I know, I know, they’re 12. Try is hard. It’s hard for grown adults to get up off the couch and do something every night. It’s not hard for me, really, because I like it. I like it better than the couch. I guess I’m wired slightly differently. I’m OK with that.

So I did tutoring and talked to kids who just didn’t get it. There’s one girl who goes to tutoring every day and does hardly any work. It’s just social. Better than home? Yes, for some kids, school is safer and better than home. OK. Well. I will bury my frustration and keep trying. I’m the adult in there, so I should be able to do that.

Meanwhile, I came home, cooked dinner, ate, and watched some X-Files…sewed some more balls on…see! Progress! I’m doing one color at a time. It’s relaxing.

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No, that’s not parmesan. It’s all my pins. Although it’s cracked. I need a new one…pin container that is.

So I cleaned all the tile floors after dinner and then pinbasted the quilt. I only clean floors when I need to pinbaste or trim quilts…

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Lying around on the ground pinning at 10 PM is the best way to end your day.

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I had a hard enough time getting up off the ground.

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Wow…that’s some foreshortening. No way is that boob that big…

My work made it into Textile Fibre Forum…part of the Threads of Resistance exhibit…

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It’s always interesting to hear someone else write about your work. I didn’t make that piece with the thought of Adam and Eve, but I do see how everyone sees that.

This quilt, Rooted in America, made it into Fantastic Fibers, hallelujah. I’m so glad this piece is going out in the world.

Especially right now…

From last night’s episode of Electric Dreams

Great version of that song.

*Cat Power (and Oasis), Wonderwall


Gonna Give My Heart Away*

March 6, 2018

Sometimes I sit here in the morning, staring at the computer, wondering what it is I want to say. What is important. Or more like, what do I need to get out of my head so I can get through the day and get stuff done. It helps me to parse it out, do this, do that, get this, get that. Each day is a discrete space where these 10 things will happen. It’s OK if some of those 10 things move to another day (that happens all the time) or if other things pop in, but I have a better chance of finishing some of those things if I clear my head and populate it with bullet lists.

Today is teaching renewable vs nonrenewable energy (need to publish the post for that and look up what I thought were reasonable claims from last year). Today I can start grading tests from last week, because grades are done. Today I will be at the tutoring center and I need to go to the grocery store (twice in one week? Bad planning) on the way home. I need to clean the entryway floor so I can pinbaste my quilt (I finished stitch down last night!). I need to cook dinner and pinbaste and hopefully start quilting.

That’s not so bad, right? It all sounds very doable. Other stuff will pop up, but let’s start with that.

Yesterday, I came home and prepped a quilt for delivery to a show today. My mom is delivering it, because all the hours for delivery are during my work day. Sigh. She’s also delivering my co-artist’s piece, because he’s out of state. So that’s not a small thing. I appreciate her doing that. It’s a pain being an artist sometimes.

After dinner, I started working on stitch down. I wanted to finish…at this point, it did not seem like I would…

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There’s always a point where it feels like you will never be done. Last night, I did 12 minutes, then took a 45-minute break (not sure what happened there…probably the dinner was in the oven). Then I sewed for 11 minutes and obviously ate dinner, because there’s a 2-hour break. Then I stitched for 14 minutes and there was a 17-minute break. I think I peed a dog or two and then posted something on Facebook for one of my art groups. Then 35 minutes with a 20-minute dog-playing event? Or maybe the 17-minute break was playing with dogs. A final 32 minutes to finish.

They tell you to take lots of breaks. Luckily (?) I have the dogs to remind me of that.

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All stitched down and draped over the ironing board. Tonight I’ll get her to the next stage…and hopefully beyond.

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I’ve been doing a half-assed job on Instagram with the hashtags #igquiltfest, which is skewed way far toward the traditional or modern quilter, and not the art quilter (which is partially why I did it) and #marchmeetthemaker, which is skewed toward the crafter/artist more…hard to say on that one, because Insta is fucking with my feed and I don’t see everything. Yesterday, I never posted, because one was about photography, and I use a professional photographer now (who is not online, so I can’t point you to him). I was trying to find one of my photos of my old setup with lights and tripod in the entryway, but they’re all hiding from me. Then #igquiltfest is about notions, and I’m not really overtly a notions person. I have the shit I use, but it’s not fancy. I use Machingers while quilting until the rubber wears off, and then I buy a new pair, about one a year. I covet scissors that are easy to use and sharp, because I do a lot of cutting. I need multiple seam rippers, apparently, I need lots of needles because I break them, they get dull, and I’m always quilting in the middle of the night, so I can’t run out and get more. I need safety pins, because yes, I still pinbaste. I’ve tried the sprays and hate them. I use Sharpies when I draw and Pigmas when I draw on my quilts. And the ever-present teflon sheet…I have about 4 or 5 of them. The cats like to chew on them, so sometimes I have to replace them when they get too many bite marks in them.

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That’s it really. But it’s too many words for Instagram, so I put it here. I can’t remember what today is…oh! Scrappy quilts! Well, hell…mine are scrappy to the moon and back. Probably not what the organizers were thinking of, but whatever.

This quilt, We Won’t Go Back, is going to be in Dia de la Mujer, opening Thursday, 6-9 PM, at The Front, Casa Familiar, in San Ysidro. I’ll be there eventually (long drive at the end of a long day).

This quilt, Earth Day, is going to be in Mind the Gap, opening next Thursday, March 15, at Southwestern College, 11 AM-1 PM. I will not be at that one, because well…work. Yeah. Feel free to take pictures and send them to me.

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More later about more shows…

*Portishead, Glory Box (I really like this song, but it’s problematic on the feminism scale. Like why do you need him to help you be a woman?)