Small Hands…

My earliest memory of sewing? I remember trying to embroider (badly), but I don’t remember how old I was. Somewhere in this house are a few pieces of half-done embroidery or cross stitch from that era…definitely younger than middle school. When I was 7 or 8, I used some of my mom’s curtain material, yellow for god’s sake (not a color I ever wear). You cut four rectangles. Two got lace all around the edges. The other two were sewn together on the sides to make a short fat tube, and then gathered at the top, and then somehow you attached the two rectangles to the top of that to make these wing sleeves.

Hell…this might have been the pattern…

My lord, that is ugly. In fact, I have a stash of clothing patterns, also hidden somewhere in this house, which has some pockets of black void that hide an endless number of bizarre things I will never use again. I sewed a lot of my own clothes for a time, even into high school, thus labeling me forever as a strange beast. Nothing has changed since then, except I sew quilts instead of my clothes, preferring to fritter my time away on art rather than making stuff I can wear that costs a ton of money.

I do remember sitting at the Jack and Jill desks my mom had in her weaving/sewing studio that my dad built her, and listening to Muzak versions of the Beatles and The Mamas and the Papas, while I coaxed my mom’s old 1962 Singer (still in my garage even now) up to about 100 miles per hour of straight lines with the occasional zigzag.

Nothing has changed. Well, mom still has the desks, and I sew at my own desk, so there’s that.

I made curtains, I made a couch cover, I’ve made bedding of sorts, lots of clothing, baby quilts, etc. But mostly art quilts. There are over 90 of them here. Storage is an issue.

Anyway. Last night, I finished ironing all the Wonder Under to fabric; it took just over 19 hours.

And 165 different fabrics…

Now I get to cut them all out.

I walked tonight. Made a new friend.

Presumably he doesn’t get out much. Small hands. Stopped at the ex’s house to check out his lights.

Actually, I really needed to pee. Then I put my headlamp on and did the last half mile to home. Cooked dinner, did some grading, tried to finish my book (it’s good!), and now I will start cutting. I might grade something else first. I’m trying to get ahead (you’re never ahead) so I don’t have to work most of break. Ah ha ha ha ha. It’ll never happen. But I’ll try.

Revel In It…

The weather was truly beautiful this weekend…hints of warmth, but cool enough that you might need a sweater at times. Beautiful blue skies, birds singing everywhere, some wispy clouds in the sky…definitely Spring-like. I wish I’d spent more of it outside, but that was the way the weekend went.

I had a huge mess going on in the office/studio…

So I spent time on Saturday trying to get it under control.

I can’t start ironing for a new quilt without putting everything away…I stacked up all the loose fabrics by color and started organizing…

Kitten did not help…

She never does.

Then I went off to meet a friend for pottery painting…and wine…

Very relaxing…came back home and headed out for dinner. There really is no excuse for making my wine green.

Seriously. It wasn’t even St. Patrick’s Day. We came home and put a movie on and I tried to bust out this monster binding that I have not been working on…

I realized I hadn’t finished a quilt yet this year, and that never happens. It’s March! I should finish something. So I’m going to. But not Saturday night…Satchemo was so happy to have both of us on the couch…

He can be a very needy beast.

Now it’s ready for ironing. That table is clear, the ironing board is clear…pretty good.

But there were things to grade and stuff to do…here’s where I sat down and figured out the week…

Someone should clear off the table…again.

Eggshell pieces on the front porch…I haven’t seen any expectant parents around there…

Who knows what happened.

So we had a play to go to in the afternoon, but I wanted all this ready to go for when I came back…drawing hung, boxes of pieces ready to sort.

Background fabric ready to match…oh wait, after dinner, more stitching…

I finished all the binding and one sleeve…just one to go. This thing is huge. Then I graded for a while. I can’t NOT grade right now. Finally though! Into the studio and sorted the first hundred pieces…

It’s all dirt and rocks…

I made a run of 8 for the dirt, plus some other stuff that was in there…roots and a hole or two. Then on to the rocks…

Five different grays for the rocks…

I made it through most of the first 100 pieces…only 700 to go.

I guess I can hope I’ll be done ironing by the weekend. I think it’s unlikely, due to three nights out this week…but I can hope. This is one of my favorite parts, that’s for sure. So I’m going to be putting in some hours on it.

Kitten guarding my space…

But first, I’m going to school and hopefully having a much better day than Friday. Because I might notionally in my head sacrifice someone to the science goddess otherwise. Not really. But seriously, they can’t be as braindead as they were on Friday (sure, they could be worse…). Deep breaths. Positive thoughts. It’s still a gorgeous day. Revel in it.

Watch Her Moving in Elliptical Patterns*

Still tired. Seems puppy has forgotten how to not bark all night. I got the spray bottle and dragged my poor tired old body out of bed about 5 times until he stopped. Even with the coyotes, I’m like, dude, seriously, they’re outside. They’re not even right outside the window, slobbering on the glass. They’re like across a major road. No worries, OK? He grumbled a lot (he really does make a grumbling sound) and turned around on his bed a bunch and yipped a few times, but then either I slept through the rest (not likely) or he stopped.

I think about what I do with the dog and what I do at school with kids, and sometimes there’s not a whole lot of difference. There are kids who have forgotten (sometimes purposefully) how to do their work, how to turn it in, how to stay on task, and I have to stand on them. Not literally, but constantly remind them of what I expect until I get it. Or don’t. Because that happens too. Projects are cool because we see all this great thinking, but also incredibly frustrating, because a lot of our kids can’t handle a project, even when we break it down into daily steps. I walked around yesterday to every table and commented on one single part of the assignment: “You did it. Awesome!” or “You didn’t reply.” or “You haven’t done any of it.” There was very little surprise with the last one…the first one made a lot of kids happy or incredulous that their tablemate had done it. The middle one just caused arguments, “Yes I did.” Try again.

Anyway, today is the last day. They are supposed to do videos today…I’ve already deleted about 5 of them that were way too short. They will love me for that, I guess. I did email them and tell them why. If I don’t delete them, they usually won’t go redo them. “I did it already!” is what I’ll hear. They have the time to redo them…they need to learn that skill, the redo skill. Fixing things!

Anyway, it’s a long time until Spring Break…I can feel it in the air…the kids’ brains disappearing even though they’ve got 6 weeks to get through…us too, I guess.

Yesterday was long and exhausting. I had before-school meetings and after-school appointments and meetings. I took two quilts with me to my stitching meeting so I could do bindings. I was sure I’d be able to finish at least one, but I was sewing way too slowly…and I was late getting there, etc. etc. I have this much binding left…

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From the top down that side and barely around the corner. Of course, then I have two sleeves to sew on as well. But it’s almost done. Honestly I haven’t been working too hard on getting these done, obviously.

I also entered a show last night. I had debated it for a while, but I had a piece that seemed it might work, so I went for it.

Then I debated. I was way too tired to stand…and I’d made some significant brain errors yesterday due to tiredness, so I didn’t feel like ironing. I mean, I WANT to iron…I was just too tired at 10 PM to start. And I knew this week would probably go that way…it’s why I pushed to get started on the ironing earlier in the week. I’m hoping to get some done this weekend.

So I sat on the couch with a couple of animals, including this big goofball. “See my toy? Do you see my toy? I have a toy.” Yes Calli. We all see your toy.

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And I took the drawing from the staff meeting earlier this week, and I drew it bigger and added a head. So it didn’t turn out like I wanted it too (I wanted 5 heads, but I ran out of paper space…a common problem for me), but I just kept adding shit until I thought I was done. It was a good thing to get out of my head.

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I might need to do another one at some point, but this was cathartic for now. Back to the question…are they yelling at each other or trying to eat each other? I don’t know the answer to that. I guess to get 5 heads in there, I’m gonna have to start much much smaller. Good to know that too.

I have gaming tonight, so I know I won’t get to ironing…but I’m hoping I get a good night’s sleep. I do have to deliver a quilt tomorrow, so I should figure out where it is, dehair it, iron it maybe, and pack it up for delivery. That would be smart. And then a 3-day weekend, with at least one full day of grading stuff, but a big chunk of ironing as well…I need that. More fabric meditation.

*Phoenix, 1901

Worry About the Rest of It Tomorrow

Happy holidays y’all…I’m personally looking forward to a couple of quiet hours this afternoon with nothing to do but read or sew whatever I want…as I am not in charge of dinner and have already made the desserts for tonight, although they are Pinterest fails (best kind!). I think everyone is leaving soon except for the cats, at least for a few hours. I did all the food shopping and most of the present shopping, so I deserve some moments…someone else can Google how to cook a leg of lamb.

The animals are getting lots of love from everyone being home…

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I stitched down bindings for about 3 hours on Saturday…with Satchemo as my trusty sidekick…

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I didn’t put much on the tree this year…its branches are still a bit wispy…

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So I made two desserts off of Pinterest, one from the girlchild and one other. This will taste fine, I think (I don’t eat chocolate), but that ganache decoration was a rancid pain in the ass, didn’t stick well (cutting these was fun), and kept bursting through the bag. It’s edible though.

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These lemon cheesecake cookies are supposed to be flat. They’re tasty though. Room temperature probably means when the heat is on (for the butter). Although we are in Southern California, not Boston…

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I finished the binding and sleeves on Christmas Eve, just before the first of three gatherings. I still need to ink the quilt (doing that this afternoon), but she’s going to the photographer tomorrow. Finis!

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First gathering included an art event. Put the plate on your head and attempt to draw a Christmas tree without looking. Girlchild won.

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Impressive. Calli is also enjoying more people (=more pets).

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I caught up last night, two night’s worth on the left side, still filling in black spots.

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Girlchild spent some time this morning with the pups again…

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My dad showed up to Christmas morning in shorts.

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More dog attention. Seriously, they got the best of it. We ate and opened presents, had a brief conversation with my brother (there was drama)…

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Calli got a new ball. She’s happy.

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Simba, Grandma, and the boychild…trying to figure out a phone, I think.

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Notice very little stitching. Yet. I have 4 hours before I need to be anywhere! And I’m done cooking! I have a book due back to the library tomorrow, about an hour of inking to do on the quilt, and a wide variety of stitching things I could work on while watching television with no apparent goals! That might be the best gift of all. I’ll worry about the rest of it tomorrow. Hope the rest of you do the same.

I Can’t Operate on This Failure*

I’m ready to be Australia. Well. Except for some of the crazy bugs and spiders. Y’all can keep those. But let’s hand in all the guns. I think the biggest obstacles are the politicians who are more worried about their jobs than their constituents. No automatic or semi-automatic weapons…can you really argue that we need those? You do realize people in Australia can still own a gun, right? There are just strict rules for how and what. I have no problems with strict rules. Can you argue that your right to protect yourself is more important than my approximately 3,300 students’ (over 15 years) right to live? Or the 58 people who died in Vegas? Or the 49 who died in Orlando? Or any young black man wearing a hoodie?

The plus is that I finished stitching down the anti-gun quilt. Let’s be clear…my quilt is Anti-GUN. Because we don’t need them. Not in the numbers we have them. Not for what they’re being used for. Not. I just (in less than 5 minutes) contacted my three federal representatives. Told them to stand up and create legislation and keep fighting for it until it passes. Start there. You can do that.

This is who stares at me on the way home…after I pick her up…

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She wants to know why I’m not petting her. And then why I’m not throwing the ball faster.

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Still working on the eyeball in the top right. It doesn’t look like much right now.

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Then I stitched. Well, I made dinner first. And finished my book…The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet. I liked it. And then I read some Goodreads reviews and felt bad for liking it. And then decided those people had no lives and I was allowed to like it. So there.

Stitching things down…

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Sometimes I really hate America for its aggressive patriotism. I’ve been told so many times to LEAVE because I don’t agree with the majority…and I explain that is why we are here…because our ancestors didn’t agree with the majority and needed to flee…so we took over someone else’s country in a particularly nasty and violent way (somehow it was our inalienable right? I don’t think so…). So I mostly write off anyone who tells me I’m not patriotic when I object…it’s the core part of our country. I’m allowed.

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Ah…this thought bubble. Why do people shoot other people up? Anger? Hate? Fear? Core emotions…that mature brains can learn to manage.

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In a society that appreciates that. Yesterday, in the assignment we’re doing in class, I had told each class “no weapons” for their element superhero. One class started to argue…and I turned and said, “Really? After Las Vegas, you’re going to argue that you need weapons? Solve the problem without them. That’s what I want to see.”

Seriously. America. Solve the problem without guns. Do it. You know you can. We have some of the best brains in the world. Use Them. If you’re a politician scared for your job, then GOOD. Do it anyway. It’s worth it.

I did finish the stitch down, just short of 6 hours.

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The face of gun violence here in America…tonight I’ll sandwich it and pinbaste it…maybe even start quilting. We’ll see. Meanwhile, I started reading a book about violence in Africa. Maybe I should look for something lighter after that.

*Tears for Fears, Pale Shelter

I Won’t Back Down*

I keep skimming the news, looking for logical reasons to shoot up hundreds of people at a music concert, but all I see is more evidence that this was planned. Then I try to understand the brain that would do that…and I can’t. I understand anger and sadness and frustration, but not when it turns into that.

The work day wasn’t that hard…it was processing the rest that was hard. So I came home and took the dogs out…

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Three miles (ish) as fast as we could go.

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The sun was trying to beat us back. There’s coyotes out there, so that shit makes me nervous with the little guy…but we made it.

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Good for them, good for me.

After making dinner, I had decided I wanted to do another eye, so I started it randomly on the right.

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I only do one strand a night…this is Sunday’s and Monday’s…

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I saved the blue for the iris, but maybe I’ll keep going with another color instead. I’ll have to see how I feel about it.

Then I had to force myself to get up and go in the office to sew.

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Yeah. Well. Understandable. I realized how long ago Sandy Hook was and it took me that long to be able to process it into a piece of art. Some of that is not wanting to make A work that commemorates ONE event…it’s more about the feelings and ideas behind the event. Certainly Sandy Hook wasn’t the first school shooting, but it was the hardest to process…someone coming in and shooting up little kids for no apparent reason. Having worked in middle and high schools, the reasons to be angry and feel harassed, bullied, oppressed, to the point of thinking a shooting is a good idea? I can imagine that. Unfortunately. But little kids…seems so much worse. It’s not really…it’s innocent people of all ages, isn’t it? And Sandy Hook obviously wasn’t the last.

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I hate that we’re becoming a country where it feels unsafe to do just about anything: go to work, get on a plane, go to a concert, go to school, go to a church, go to the store, the library, wherever. It shouldn’t be like that. There’s nothing about possessing a gun that would make me feel more safe. I have one and some “lone wolf” (really??? he was an older white male…most dangerous species out there, if you ask me) has 20 of them. Legally.

OK. Well. With all that weighing on me (and it IS weighing on me), I have a parent meeting this morning. I haven’t even gotten to Tom Petty…sad sad sad.

So many favorites of his…but this one is making me cry this morning.

*Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, I Won’t Back Down

Dreaming of the Dolphin Song*

I think I have now yelled at every animal in the house…well, except Kitten. No. Wait. Yeah, she hissed at me and tried to bop me. I’ve called all of them assholes. Part of it is that I’m the only human here and it shows. The other part is waking up to a massive shooting event just hours after a conversation with my parents about guns in America vs elsewhere. In fact, if I’d checked the news before I went to bed, I probably wouldn’t have slept.

I don’t pray. But Vegas, you have all my good thoughts, all my hopes that the death toll doesn’t rise, that there’s some sort of explanation for this. Who am I kidding? There is no explanation for this. None. I’d like to think that things might change because of this, that those with guns might see the light. But no. They won’t. It’s not THEEEEMMMM. It’s only the OTHER PEOPLE with guns. Fuck.

I am going to be glad when this quilt is done.

So here’s the random shit in my brain this morning. Because my brain is wandering. Saw this…

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Fucked up.

Then there was this. I guess that’s supposed to be an exoskeleton. Or someone doesn’t know that spiders don’t grow bones. Hard to say.

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This is when Satchemo was being nice. There were not nice issues later.

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I was grading stuff and some kid gave me this. Honestly, it reminded me of the boychild, who often peppers text conversations with puppies and kittens. Ironically.

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Good kid. I sewed after dinner. While someone mowed down concertgoers, I stitched down pieces in an anti-gun quilt.

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I sewed down a bullet trail and bullets.

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I didn’t get to the hand that tried to stop the bullets unfortunately. I did sew down all of the female figure and a good portion of the chalkboard behind her.

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I’m using the third trial app for measuring time. I don’t know if I like it yet, but that’s because I still have only one task on it and it’s taking a little bit to get used to it. I need certain information out of it. So we’ll see. I haven’t upgraded yet…waiting to see if it will work for me.

Kitten was waiting for me when I went to bed.

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I tried to go to bed early. Didn’t work. Didn’t sleep well either. Need to leave soon. Feeling out of it.

I did spend some time yesterday pricing out what I want to do in shelves in my office to replace the cracking old plastic drawers…it’s only $864. No biggie. Yeah. OK. Moving on. And that’s with 25% off. Then I looked at my mom’s, which is still Elfa, but a cheaper solution than what I had figured out. I’ll price that one too, but it might be a while before I solve that problem.

Tonight? Walk dogs, cook dinner, pet cats, then sew some more. I don’t think I’ll finish tonight, but maybe? Unlikely. Sigh. Guns. Fuckers with guns.

*Regina Spektor, Folding Chair

There’s a Secret Magic Past World*

My brain appears to be blank this morning. Or at least the part that’s available for writing is blank. There’s another huge part that’s trying to make a Saturday to-do list. I already know the boychild and I will be making a dumpster run, but he’s hiking right now. I didn’t have the energy to get up early to do that. I’m very protective of the right to sleep in…because I spent years getting up early for soccer games and driving to the middle of nowhere to sit on a wet field and wait for games to start. Plus sleep is this thing I’m always chasing…trying to do it right. Such a joke! Because one night of doing it right is never enough. So people tell me to go to bed earlier. OK. So then I can lie there for even longer, trying to fall asleep. This is not a new thing for me. My whole life has been about bad sleep.

So I had a number of hours in sleep mode last night, but I also had all 4 animals in the room. They were fussy after the boychild left to hike. And the neighbor’s workers showed up. Then Kitten had to boisterously clean all her parts and Calli started to whine about going out. Then Simba started with the snorts he does when he wants to get out of the crate. Sigh. Midnight was the only quiet one. So I’m sitting here, a little drugged on not-sleep, and Kitten is next to the computer, sound asleep. I guess I make her sleep through typing and The Cure, but it does not seem fair. Cat naps. Smart beasts.

So back to today. The last Saturday before school starts. (NOOOOOOOOO!!!!) Got some art stuff tonight. Just heard about another one of the art buildings we’ve visited multiple times…they’re kicking the artists out (Glashaus in Barrio Logan, for those who are local and maybe have gone there). Ripples from the horrendous Ghost Ship fire in Oakland. Artists kicked out before fixing problems? Hard to say what’s happening there, but I know it’s frustrating for the artists in 21 art studios there. The downtown studio I used to have is now all living spaces. They could make more money that way. I couldn’t afford a studio any more…gave mine up when I was pregnant with the boychild. But I loved those spaces, free from the house to-do list. No distractions. Just a pure workspace. I’m lucky to have space in my home and to make art that is safe to do in a house (although we set up the garage space so I can screenprint again if I choose to do so). People working in glass and metal or needing space for kilns or whatever, living in rentals…they absolutely need reasonably priced space to work and store materials. This town doesn’t support that…never has. Art is so important to our existence…I wish the money people would see that and make space for it.

I had a conversation with an artist friend the other day about how we create alone so much of the time. She’s older than I am and the going out and interacting with others gets harder, for sure. I’ve gone through times when I really don’t interact with other artists at all. I’m socially not the best in the world (hello introvert), so that doesn’t help. I can see as mobility and energy lessen that it would be more important to save what you had for making art. Hard to explain that to non artists. But these studio buildings help with that. Plus the exhibition space. I’m going to miss the openings there.

Yesterday, I did manage some stitch down at my last summer daytime quilt meeting…Susan is knitting something that is apparently very brain damaging…

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I got more than halfway done, which is good, although I’m still behind. And I’m not sure how much I’m gonna get done today. Gotta go move some trash.

I worked on this at gaming last night, mostly on the top…but I’m a little concerned about the vast difference in sizes. Hmmm.

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I’m pretty sure they should be the same size. Yikes.

Here’s the back of the stitchdown. I got above the midpoint…

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So that was about 2 1/2 hours. Bodes well for a quick finish, but first I need to load a bunch of crap in my car and try to dump it in my parents’ dumpster (I have permission…just trying to beat the neighbor). And pick up my Earth Stories quilt, which is home after a long trip around the United States without any protests, despite the fuss when I originally suggested a quilt that was about birth control and Planned Parenthood. Which is good…I have a show to enter where that would work.

OK, no matter what, I need to just get my act together. It helps that I’ve had a cup of tea while writing this. My brain responds to caffeine well. Luckily.

*Rocky Votolato, White Daisy Passing