When You Gonna Wake Up and Fight*

March 23, 2017

Hey. So. When art brain is on a roll, it’s hard to shut her ass down. Last night, 12:35 AM (let’s remember I have to get up at 6:30 to get to school on time), I’m staring at the current quilt, thinking…wtf. I need to finish this. I need to finish it now. I can do that. Look at clock. Fuck. Dammit. Aargh. So yeah, I COULD finish it, but bedtime would probably have been closer to 1:30. On a non-school night, no problem. Sometimes having so many school nights just sucks. I can’t just head in an hour later and make it up in the evening. Even calling sick is so much of a pain in the ass that I rarely do it. Get a sub. Make sub plans. Figure out how to get the sub plans to school (once showed up, barely walking, still in pjs, feverish, barely post-vomitous, just to dump three pieces of paper on my counter and then drive back home to crawl back into bed). Yeah. Not easy.

Anyway. So. I did NOT finish. Because I am a responsible adult. Mostly. Really.

I did come home and walk dogs…which was a problem because Calli demanded to go. I wasn’t going to take her because she’s still limpy, but she really really wanted to go. So we limped. She’s going back to the vet Friday. If it’s arthritis, then she needs something else.

Julie! Here’s a bigger shot of that weird plant you couldn’t identify before. It’s not a yard plant…out in the middle of all the wild areas. Multiple plants…

IMG_3151 small

Spiky balls. And the flowers are red on top, but the lower ones are yellow. Freaky.

IMG_3153 small

This is Simba when he wants to go outside but doesn’t yet realize it’s raining.

IMG_3159 small

He hates water.

I have had some issues with dinner lately. I just don’t feel like eating anything. And then nothing I have sounds good. I wanted pie last night. I settled for French toast and Brussels sprouts. Why? They are both foreign? European dinner?

IMG_3160 small

It was actually pretty good. Needed sausage. But my store hasn’t had any for a long time. Things to hide in your freezer for weird-ass nights like last night.

I graded…see, I made puppy tired. Midnight’s look is amusing.

IMG_3161 small

Then I added another twig branch thing in the bottom right. Another brown thread.

IMG_3162 small

And then while watching the end of the episode of The Magicians (notice that Midnight is now sitting next to me…puppy’s foot is still over there), I worked on this, the fourth (not fourth) block of Folk Tails…couching threads forever on this one, which is nothing when you consider that each of those brown spots is going to be surrounded by tiny bullion knots. Pray for me.

IMG_3164 small

Finally into the quilting room. Kitten moves over, mostly, and I quilt the background…

IMG_3165 small

I think the quilting took about 4 1/2 hours. But it’s done…

IMG_3167 small

And then I trimmed it…

IMG_3168 small

And I found a binding and cut it and the sleeves…

IMG_3169 small

And that’s when I had that conversation with art brain about the importance of sleep. It doesn’t care. If it were summer break, I would have stayed up. Hell, if it were Friday night, I probably would have stayed up. Wednesday though? Aack. Nope. Too much to deal with at school to do that. Need some reserves to deal with the annoyances.

With that, I have a parent meeting this morning…quilt class tonight, but I won’t have time to put the binding on before I go…which does suck, but it’s not like I didn’t try. Sure I could have NOT exercised…but I needed to do that. So. Priorities I guess. Next quilt is ready to go though.

*Shinedown, Sound of Madness

I Want a Meaning from the Back of My Broken Hand*

March 20, 2017

I feel like my weekends haven’t had enough art lately. It’s just a lot of work and errands and trying to catch up. Sometimes that stuff is art-related, like this weekend, when I had to pack up two quilts to ship out of here, plus go to a meeting about an exhibit I’ll be in later this summer. But there’s very little doing…and that drives me a little bonkers sometimes. I like those long expanses of artmaking that come with breaks and weekends. A nice 6-hour run of ironing shit down…really helps you get through the week. I think I got about 25 minutes this weekend. Total. Sigh. Maybe next weekend. Life goals.

Whereas my cat has figured it out. Granted she doesn’t have to go to work to support the rest of us. And she’s lying on the drawing for the next quilt.

IMG_3085 small

Oh, so I got this thing called a Rocketbook, where you can draw or write in it and then basically scan it into your computer. And then when it’s full, you can microwave it up to 5 times to erase everything and start over. This is like crazy science here. But I’m looking forward to trying it out. You have to use special pens, unfortunately…odds are I won’t like them for drawing, but I’ll try it. It sounded so close to what I want, to be able to just download drawings from my head onto the computer. I’ll let you know how it works. You can even code pages to go to certain folders or whatever. So if I wanted to be able to take notes on my staff meetings, since I’m not allowed to do that electronically any more…I could use this notebook and then scan it into a work folder. If I wanted to waste pages on that, right? Well it was a thought. If the drawing doesn’t work out, that’s what I’ll use it for instead.

I am trying to stay caught up with this. I did a rosette stitch row on the left, the darker blue, and then did lazy daisy leaves and a stem in green above it.

IMG_3088 small

I still need to go back in and fill some of the stuff inside the center bits.

I did a little more on this as well, while finishing up the show I was watching. I don’t like leaving mid-episode.

IMG_3092 small

Then I went and dehaired this beast again (Kitten really likes to deposit hair on it) and then ironed it, sandwiched it, and pinbasted it. Easy peasy.

IMG_3093 small

I’m trying to use up weird old fabrics with no other purpose. I really have no clue why I bought this fabric, but I know it was like a million years ago.

IMG_3094 small

The fabric says 1997…so not as long as I thought, but still a 20-year-old fabric finally getting used. Well hallelujah. Seriously. I don’t know why I bought it. I so never use stuff like this. I was pregnant in 1997. Maybe it was pregnancy brain. Because a baby would want bell peppers and turnips and beets and dancing watermelon ladybugs? I just can’t explain it.

Anyway, in good news, I plan to quilt tonight, although I will probably have to grade first. I did that last night too. I’m permanently behind. WAY behind. Sigh.

So I mentioned last week trying to research some other female or other gendered artists. I started with Toyen, who was born Marie Čermínová, but as an adult seemed to prefer being male. It’s hard to get a good idea of what people wanted or thought if they weren’t big writers. A lot of the information about Toyen comes from other male artists or critics of the era. I can understand being an artist in the early to mid 1900s and preferring male status…because he was able to draw and paint some subjects that women would have been discouraged from picturing. Well, that still happens, doesn’t it?

He was mostly associated with surrealism, with some cubism thrown in, although those teeth in my girdle are neither…well, maybe you could argue surrealism.

Here’s a link to a gallery of some of his art.

Here’s a link to an article about Toyen as a feminist, which other articles have disagreed with. It has a good discussion of why there is so little information about him though, being both Czech and a surrealist.

This article is more background information, with a variety of photos that show Toyen dressed both as man and as woman over the years, which notably is less important than the art itself. But intriguing nonetheless, trying to understand whether the appropriation of male was as a transsexual, or if it was for the freedom of being a male artist. I have to wonder what I would have done in the same situation. I have the luxury of a society that is more accepting of women as artists, even women as artists instead of or at the same time as being a mother. Notice I say MORE accepting…I don’t actually believe a good chunk of society is really accepting of that. But we can get away with it.

Anyway…things to think about. What would you do to be an artist if you had to?

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

‘Neath the Black, the Sky Looks Dead*

March 18, 2017

I’m thinking that really what I need is to take a day off of work and purchase one of these…


Hopefully it’s soundproof. I really really like the idea of this. I think the cats would be OK with it if there were a cat flap. I mean, I know they’re selling these mostly for kids, but WTF. This is my dream. Now fill it with pillows and move the alarm clock way the fuck out of the room, and then let me sleep in peace for like a week. I joke about the last time I got a good night’s sleep was before I was pregnant with my son…who turned 21 this year. Yeah. I wasn’t joking. That’s for real.

The mornings have been beautiful this week. One of the benefits of Daylight Savings being gone. It’s gone, right? I can never remember. Is this my life ON Daylight Savings? Or OFF of it?

IMG_3035 small

And these came yesterday…gonna put them on the car so I can get keyed in all my local parking lots.

IMG_3037 small

Anyway. I came home from work yesterday and moved everything on my calendar from yesterday’s to-do list to today’s to-do list. I’m not sure it will all get done, but I really couldn’t deal with it. I knew I had a show to go to last night, but later, so I tried to do something useful. For instance, I had three days of 1 Year of Stitches to do…because I just lost it this week apparently. I’ve been really good up until now…never more than a day behind. I had found two batches of some perle cotton in a color range, so I decided to just use one a day. Hence the purple and blue from before. These three are the yellow above the blue wheels (under the tree) and then the orange bullions in the grasses to the right of the tree, and then I went in with the red and filled in the yellow bits, then went down and did some French knots in the fly stitches under the tree.

IMG_3038 small

I was going to do some fill in around the blue and purple, but I think I want to use something variegated in there. For interest. Maybe today’s…

Here was my lap partner.

IMG_3044 small

Pyscho puppy was in and out. I just throw balls for him in between taking a stitch. Literally. It’s like one stitch per throw.

Then because I wasn’t budging off the couch until I had to eat and get ready to leave, I finished stitching down all the wool and cotton on the block that’s attached to the third block I was supposed to be embroidering on (if that makes any sense at all…because it only barely does to me)…

IMG_3045 small

And because I still didn’t have to leave, I started the embroidery on that block…couching a thicker thread with a thinner one…two needles going at once.

IMG_3046 small

There’s a lot of that in this quilt. I really do find this embroidery relaxing. Sure, I could have come in here and sandwiched the quilt last night, but my feet are hurting…that damn inner-foot arthritis. Only hikers with flat feet get that shit. I guess I need new shoes (not hiking boots…school shoes) again.

Then I went to the show, which was out in the boonies…and actually enjoyed myself…

IMG_3058 small

Even when the drunk guy tried to drag me out onto the dance floor (foot is still hurting…plus drunk guy)…but it was really late when I got home, so I went pretty much straight to bed.

This morning, I’m trying to be focused. The problem is the number of things on which I need to focus. So my brain is trying to distract itself…like wouldn’t you like to make one of these small quilts next?

IMG_3066 small

Well yes, I would…however, I can’t. I have a show coming up and I’m trying to stay focused on it and the 17,000 other shows that are picking away at my brain at the moment. At some point, I will just say Fuck You to all of it and do something I want to do. Climate change is poking at my brain at the moment.

Although I found the one I really am doing next, since I got the other rejection, confirming that I’m sticking with bathtubs…and I really like this one. So I’m good.

IMG_3067 small

There’s even a piece of cheesecake in this quilt (can’t see it in this photo). So that’s cool.

And it only has 695 pieces.

IMG_3068 small

Wait. Seriously? OK. So get your act together Kathryn, because you’re gone for a week in April. Counting this coming week, that gives you 5 weeks. Dammit. OK. I got this. One of those weeks is Spring Break, so I can put in some serious hours. Don’t think about school and grading…you’ll figure that shit out. You always do. Sleep? You suck at it anyway. I don’t even know why you worry about that.

I did just realize I forgot to schedule the machine in for cleaning/adjustment, so I scheduled that. Right now. In the middle of writing this post. I’ll be done with this quilt, but I’ll still be in the pre-quilting stages of the next one. So that’s awesome.

OK. Get a grip. Make a post-it note list. You know you love those. Maybe eat something and take a shower. And at least one more cup of tea.

Damn mockingbird is still keeping me up at night…a reader suggested I look at Failure to Launch…which I have not seen…but maybe I should…

I guess the difference between me and her is that I’ve read To Kill a Mockingbird…I don’t really want to kill it…I just want it to shut up.

*Soundgarden, Black Hole Sun


Words Make My Mouth Exercise*

March 15, 2017

So I was right. I got no real art stuff done yesterday, except that’s not true. Because sometimes the business of being an artist is what we do. So I sewed two labels on two quilts…

IMG_2978 small

Really exciting stuff. Actually, the really exciting part was trying to find the three quilts that need shipping in the huge pile that’s currently on my daughter’s bed, because I can’t handle my organization system any more, and I really need to tear apart my closet and build something, perhaps before she comes home in May, or maybe she’ll get that internship and I’ll be really sad she’s not coming home, but I won’t have to move all those quilts.

It’s just hard to know what to feel in that situation.

I got one of the quilts packed up for shipping…I’m hoping for the other two tonight.

IMG_2979 small

They need ironing and slats and crap that probably means a trip to Home Depot after school. I’m so glad I think all this shit through (better put that on my calendar or I will totally forget).

Um. What did I do? Oh yeah. I added green grass to the right of the tree…straight stitches with some long lazy daisies interspersed.

IMG_2973 small

And some more of this while hanging out and watching episodes of Walking Dead. I need to do the two eyeballs, the leaf parts and the center of the flower. Then it can get the embroidery done (well, on the left side) and I can retire that packet of papers that I’m currently carrying around in the official bag of shit to be embroidered.

IMG_2974 small

THAT’S why I like to do them in order…so I can take that wad of papers and threads out and put them somewhere organized and only have two or so months in my bag. Right now it’s three? I think? Yeah. I’m stitching on February at the moment…the sheep? That was February. I can’t remember if I started another one? No. I was trying to do this one next. Pretty sure. Yeah. Because the next February one is two blocks in one. Anyway, my brain likes things to work in certain ways, very organized (yeah that right brain/left brain stuff is kind of a crock when you look at mine…and many others). I try to help it with that.

This morning’s sky was beautiful…for just a moment. I used to have a long morning commute to the east…it was a pain in the ass, but the skies were often the best part of my day. I do miss those. I don’t miss the 5 AM wakeup call. I’m really not a morning person.

IMG_2977 small

I need to go to the gym today and pack up the other two quilts. I also want to start stitching down, but that might be too much…we’ll see. I’m still adjusting to the time change…finding it hard to go to bed at a reasonable hour.

I did start researching alternative artists…I started with women, but am realizing that some are more gender fluid than that…which I guess is part of why we didn’t get to study them in school. I think I’ve mentioned before that my art history portion of my degree was based on Janson’s History of Art, which didn’t add female artists until I think 1986. My female art history professor tried to supplement (before the internet) with stuff she’d found, and I obviously did some research on my own as a kid and a college student, but it was hard to find a lot of information in the pre-internet age. So I have a list of over 200 female or other genders to research.

I started with Toyen, a Czechoslovakian transgender artist originally born as Marie Čermínová. She logically found being male in the art world was beneficial, certainly being born in 1902 and living until 1980…it unfortunately makes sense. I wish I had time to finish this post right now and add her stuff, but I have to be at work and the puppy is being an asshole and refusing to come in the house. So I have to go get him…in the bushes. I’m looking forward to this about as much as I would to an enema.

*Violent Femmes, Add It Up

Take Only What You Need from It*

March 14, 2017

I really enjoyed coming home from school and sitting on the deck in the waning sunshine, the day still a bit warm, but starting to cool off with spring night temperatures. I probably got bit by some overachieving mosquito or seven, but it was worth it to just sit…only 30 or 40 minutes maybe, but better than most days, when it’s zero.

IMG_2952 small

Of course, part of why I had time to do that was because Calli is injured, so I didn’t walk the dogs today. Calli was convinced I should throw that stick for her. Many days I do, but she’s still limping. I tried to explain that to her, but it didn’t go down well.

IMG_2951 small

So I had started this drawing a couple of weeks ago. It’s still not going where I want, but since I’m not sure where I want it to go, it was OK to just draw shit.

IMG_2954 small

Honestly, sometimes it’s OK just to wiggle the pen across the paper in a drawing motion.

IMG_2955 small

I find myself drawing less than I used to…not enough time to just sit and do that. Life was supposed to get less busy with the kids gone, but it hasn’t really. I’m sure that’s my fault. I’m hoping next year is better, after we have most of our science curriculum set. We’ll see.

I did come home to a jury summons. I haven’t gotten one of those since the kids were little. And they picked not only Spring Break, but the week I’m planning on taking the first vacation I’ve tried to take for more than two days since oh maybe 2013. So yeah. I postponed it to summer…AND moved it out of downtown, so I wouldn’t have to deal with traffic and hellish parking.

IMG_2950 small

Pretty sure they’ll kick me right off the premises pretty quickly. Maybe I should bring up the missing penis debacle.

I did the buttonhole stitch wheels in blue. There’s gonna be color in between them too…I left room for that.

IMG_2956 small

And then while waiting for an episode to end, I stitched more wool down…with a puppy.

IMG_2958 small

This is pretty relaxing as well.

IMG_2959 small

I didn’t grade last night. We spent about 2 hours after work trying to spend some money we were given for science, more than we’ve ever seen. We wanted to be sure we did it well. I felt like I had worked enough hours yesterday.

Then I finally went in to iron…only the heads left. I always iron the eyes separately and then place them on the face…more likely to get the expression right.

IMG_2960 small

Crooked eyes can really screw up the faces.

IMG_2961 small

Yeah. Those eyeballs just floating around.

IMG_2963 small

Heads done.

IMG_2964 small

At this point, it was midnight. Of course, I should have stopped there and gone to bed and finished it tonight. Er. Um. I didn’t. I kept going.

IMG_2965 small

So now she’s all ironed down and ready to go.

IMG_2966 small

She’s got some batik running blue issues, but I can fix that. You’d think I’d remember to rewash dark blue batik when I use it as a background…but no. After 25 years, I still just go with it. It’s fine…I’ve dealt with it before.

IMG_2967 small

Anyway, tonight I need to put labels on two quilts shipping to a show and pack those up and another one to ship out this week…so I might not have time to start the stitch down. I don’t expect it to take long though. I’m hoping it will be easier than it was on the last quilt…the tension was a bitch last time.

Anyway. Progress. Meanwhile, both kids are socked into blizzards and school is closed for the day. Actually, Boston hasn’t checked in…I know her school is closed, but not whether they got the snow they were supposed to…but Ithaca just closed. And Cornell rarely closes. Meanwhile, we’re slated to hit 90 degrees today. Wait. Boston (excuse me, Waltham) has reported “quite snowy”. And it’s gotta be a blizzard for Cornell to close.

OK. Well. School. Yeah. No blizzards here.

*MGMT, Kids

Oh Mother, Tell Your Children*

March 13, 2017

I realize it hasn’t been very long since I last wrote…although I walked a dog (I think I did that before I wrote last night, because he was being very demanding and I figured he needed it…as did I. I often need a walk.).

IMG_2914 small

I stuck to the streets this time, because I didn’t have much time before sunset and I only had the one dog…and he’s short. Long grass causes issues. It gets stuck in his badly designed fur and turns him green and grassy. Anyway. I walked him past the old chicken farm property, which still hasn’t been turned into the tract homes they said it would be (and I’m OK with that)…

IMG_2908 small

Lots of wildflowers here…did not venture to Anza Borrego this weekend (although I wish I could over the week)…this is a different one, one I don’t remember seeing before.

IMG_2909 small

These are just weird. Nature is so full of weird.

IMG_2911 small

After 3 miles plus (and whatever my ex did to try to tire him out), he finally settled.

IMG_2919 small

It takes a lot to tire that beast out. I graded for a while…it needed to be done, because there’s a pile waiting for me at work as well. It’s never-ending.

I did the purple butterfly wings…they’re actually chain stitches that chain off of each other.

IMG_2920 small

And then, because I was trying to finish watching an episode of something, I found block 3 (which is not block 3, by the way, but block 4, and block 4 is actually block 19 or something. Crazy numbering), which is sewn to block 5, and then started sewing down the stuff on block 5, which is way way way down on the embroidery pile.

IMG_2922 small

I only sewed until the episode was over. Plus I need to find the other three colors of wool. They’re not where they belong. It’s OK. There’s a box. I know they’re in the box.

Then I wandered in here and ironed a cat…

IMG_2924 small

Hard to see on the Tyvek…but it will show up fine on the dark background.

Then did the other arm and the stuff floating around it…

IMG_2925 small

And the teacup on her leg. And We Won’t.

IMG_2926 small

Because (a) everyone can balance a teacup on their thigh in this position, and (b) We Won’t.

IMG_2927 small

What’s left? Three heads. And one speech bubble. The time change screwed me over. Not only did I have to try to go to bed an hour earlier (a rampant failure on my part to actually fall asleep), but I had to be up early for a parent meeting today. When I signed up for it back in January or whenever it was, I didn’t know it was the Monday after Daylight Savings. Or that there would be multiple disturbances in the night (coyotes AND raccoons…a double dog-barking whammy). Anyway. This will be a rough week…it always is. But hopefully I’ll get those heads done tonight and have this thing fully ironed down before I try to go to bed at an unnatural time yet again.

*The Animals, House of the Rising Sun

Time Will Prove Everything*

March 12, 2017

Well apparently every online service I’m using has switched up its format in the last 36 hours…or less. I’m sure there’s a good reason for it. In the case of WordPress, everything that was over here is now over there. It’s OK. I got this.

I meant to write yesterday, but I lost time to taxes. And no, they’re not done. Almost. Well, if by almost, I mean I’ve finished the hour or so it will take me to track down all my teacher expenses. So yeah. TurboTax wants me to file in 4 days, so they should come here and find all those expenses for me. I’ve found all the others.

Meanwhile, doing taxes takes away from very important artmaking time. I think I did a whopping 25 minutes of ironing yesterday and zero so far today (aiming for after dinner, I think). So yeah…I ironed a spool, an embroidery hoop, and a pair of scissors. That’s it.

IMG_2897 small

Still have the other arm and the stuff floating around that hand, plus the three heads, a cat and a teacup. Huh. That’s actually not a small number of pieces. I’m a gonna say I probably won’t be done tonight. Just guessing. Because it’s almost 7 PM and I’m not cooking dinner, because I’m not hungry, because it’s not really 7 in my head, so everything’s gonna run kinda late.

Calli has no break. But signs of arthritis. Poor baby.

IMG_2880 small

So she’s off walk duty for a while. Which doesn’t make her happy.

Gaming on Friday…I’m still stitching. It keeps me awake…I need multiple inputs. It’s interesting though that when I’m really tired, creating shit keeps me awake. So it IS my fault that I stay up late.

IMG_2882 small

I got a good chunk done Friday night…

IMG_2885 small

And then came home and tried to persuade the puppy to come inside instead of trying to chase possums or bunnies, because I was hearing big animals up in the bushes and he wasn’t…so I wasn’t leaving him out there alone with the coyotes.

IMG_2889 small

I did three nights’ worth on this…let’s see if I can remember what I did. I did a light blue bullion and fly stitch above the orange lazy daisies I did last week. Then I added a green fly stitch, but there was still green thread left, so I filled in with a chained fly stitch below the tree roots. And then I did a satin stitch in columns below the orange lazy daisies. It looks kind of like a wall. Maybe.

IMG_2892 small

Back to filling in the spaces.

Kitten during tax time…needing entertainment…

IMG_2899 small

Last night, I finished this block, Block 4 of Sue Spargo’s Folk Tails.

IMG_2905 small

It’s really bugging me that I haven’t done Block 3…but to work on the embroidery, I have to sew on the wool pieces that are on the block that’s sewn to it…like block 15 or something, I think. I may do some of that first…just a bit a day, to get me onto the next one. It bugs me to NOT do it in order. Left brain/right brain crap. I wanna be really creative and all, but only in a certain order. I’m like that with my own stuff too…I like to iron all the pieces down in order. It bugs me inordinately if I’m ironing stuff out of order.

Here’s the three completed blocks…

IMG_2906 small

I don’t think they actually go together like this.

So my plan for the week…finish ironing the current quilt down and get it stitched down and sandwiched…then start quilting by the weekend. Seriously, none of that should take very long. By the end of the week, I’ll know whether I should be making another bathtub quilt or something else. Because time is flying past me. As always. This week is less meeting-heavy, so it should be good for dog walking (well the little dog, anyway) and going to the gym, but also for artmaking. I’m hoping. Let’s not think about the grading (again. as usual.). The left eye tried to twitch this morning and then quit. So that’s a good thing. But right now? I probably need to make dinner (ugh). Because my leftovers are my lunches…so that would be a good thing to have done before tomorrow morning.


*The Smiths, There Is a Light That Never Goes Out (OK, this isn’t actually a quote from the song, but from one of the live recordings when Morrissey proclaims this post-song…2004 apparently).