Read the Lines in My Hand*

April 20, 2017

AAAAAAAAAAAACCCCCCCKKKKKKKKK.

OK. Yeah. Better. Nope. Not really. Realizing how many things are on the to-do list while simultaneously realizing how little time there is to do them. My right eye is twitching again. It’s not supposed to do that on break. And it doesn’t seem to matter that I got a ton done yesterday…today it has multiplied into a monstrously larger amount, I don’t even know how. Part of it is trying to manage four different shows (maybe more?)…finishing work, putting labels on, suspect I need to go shopping for slats or dowels, plus shipping them off…gotta get all that done today and tomorrow. Plus the parentals are gone, so I have their dog on top of mine. And I’m supposed to be deciding what quilts will be in my solo show in July, because I need to know by next Friday. Aack. Double Aack. I have some that are definites (including the one I haven’t finished, oh shit), but I’m blanking on some of the others. Not sure. Need it to fit with the title. Maybe. Maybe it all fits. Who knows? I can’t wrap my brain around it right this minute. Realizing that this weekend is busy as hell, all of a sudden. OK, the realization was all of a sudden…it’s been booked for months.

All I can do is start banging through the list, as always. This is how school stuff doesn’t get done, though…because I’m trying to finish the personal stuff…and that doesn’t even include my original Spring Break goals of finishing all the weeding (ah ha ha ha) and figuring out where all the quilts should be stored and getting my bedroom chaos under control. That shit’s just not happening at all.

So. I got up yesterday and graded one of the longer assignments. Then I started cutting, and I did that for about 4 1/2 hours…

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And then I was done. So 9 hours plus total, I think. And my hand isn’t even that stiff. Good deal.

I had two dogs on the couch with me for most of it…not sure why. I know I’ve been the most boring owner ever this week. Sorry guys.

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Then the third dog showed up and the shenanigans began…

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I ignored them and went on to sorting the pieces out…

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And then came in here and started ironing…

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I am doing all the stuff around the bathtub first…it seems easier that way…

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Well, this tree wasn’t really easy…but it was logical…sort of.

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And I got the cat done after midnight…and that’s where I stopped.

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200 pieces ironed down…only 500 to go. That was my goal for today…I think. I’m not sure I can pull it off though. I have 5 quilts to pull from the pile, check all of them for labels, put labels on those that don’t have them, ship 3 to one location, put 2 in a pile for another location, and then there’s another that’s still in a box that needs to be shipped back. Each batch, I need to look up what else needs to be sent…artist statement? Slats? Return shipping? Who knows. Pain in the ass. Except the work is gonna be out there, so that’s a plus.

Two of the pieces are in this show…which will be up until July 10, I think. The piece on the right is mine, and there will be another smaller piece of mine in the show. I won’t make it to the opening though…it’s free, but you need to register. I think that gets you a free wine ticket though, so you should go.

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And then I’m in this one…but I’m not sure whether it’s just the one piece on the announcement or not. I should be at this opening…

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Anyway, wasting less time here and trying to get everything done without panicking. This is the part where my counselor tells me I must like being overwhelmed because I keep getting into that space. WTF. I don’t know how NOT to get there. Sigh.

*Elliott Smith, Miss Misery


I Tripped and Fell, and Did I Fall*

April 18, 2017

I think I write in the morning most days because it helps me wake up. Drink the tea, spill the beans, get the leftover words out of my head, make plans for the day, make sure art fits in there. Get my head around the day. Of course, it’s also still Spring Break for me…and I’m trying to catch up on almost 4 months of not enough sleep. Ugh. I honestly, right now, on Tuesday, don’t feel like I’m up to surviving the last two months of school. There’s only 38 days. And I’m gone for 2 of them. But it feels overwhelming still. Maybe that’s because we don’t have the first three weeks completely planned. Just maybe. But also because I go back and progress reports are due. I graded two easy assignments yesterday and input a bunch of stuff from the week before break. I have 7 assignments left. That’s an assignment a day (I’m ignoring the one that’s sitting in my classroom…hoping to have time to grade it when I get back).

(Just took a 10-minute break to throw a ball for Simba…he had the rips.)

This year has been stressful. But I’m close to finishing up some of the most stressful parts. So that’s good. I’m looking forward to a summer break, even if I probably have to find work for most of it. I shut down most of the copyediting stuff a month ago when I was getting lots of requests but literally had no free time in which to complete anything. I’ll be opening those up again soon…because I need work for the summer. I still don’t know if either of the kids is coming home; the flights will start being an issue pretty soon. I hope they have somewhere to sleep if I can’t get them home right away…or that they find jobs or internships where they are. I want them to come home, but understand if they don’t. The money that has to be paid out over the summer scares me a bit…even with my tax return, the summer is going to be tight. Need work. Yeah.

So yesterday I finished a bunch of stuff…I also did two days’ worth of stitching on this…the herringbone in the bottom left and then a running stitch from the left side and over the tree…I’m going to thread another color through that tonight.

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So that’s 106 days of stitching…almost a third of a way through the year. Still feels like I will probably fill this up before the end of the year.

I started watching an episode of The Americans while I was stitching and wanted to finish the episode, so I worked on the Folk Tails block…with puppy on my leg (his favorite spot) and Midnight cleaning herself down the couch.

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I forgot to take a picture of what I got done…but it wasn’t much.

I ironed in the afternoon, did the bathtub water. Then cooked dinner and did the stitching above before heading in for the flesh fabrics. I picked a run of 7 flesh colors and some other fillers. This quilt is about aging and menopause mostly…like a lot of the bathtub quilts seem to be…this is the third bathtub quilt I’ve actually made…I think there are 5 or 6 drawings.

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A shot to show you how I use fabrics that change in color sometimes…so yes, I was looking at the drawing and deciding where on the stripes each piece needed to go.

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Not exactly random I guess. I was tired when I finished ironing all the flesh colors, but it was still relatively early, so I kept going…did all the heart/blood stuff and then the fire stuff as well. So all that’s left right now is hair and lungs, mostly.

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Honestly it wouldn’t have taken much time to do it last night, but I was exhausted. I’m not sure why. Just accumulated tiredness still. Like jet lag, but school lag.

Here’s the pile of fabrics I was using by the end of the night. I find these piles happen even when I try to be all organized and keep runs of color together.

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While I’m picking, I can’t be bothered to be organized. I do that when I’m done, pile them all up in the boxes by color, although I was being lazy here…it was almost 1 AM, in my defense.

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And then I moved the ironed pieces into a larger container so they’d have room to breathe. I plan to be cutting these out by tonight…

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I’m going to have to grade something first. I’m more than a little panicked about trying to get this quilt done on time…but all I can do is keep doing until it’s done. Which makes me a bit hermitlike this week. Oh well. I’d probably do that anyway.

*R.E.M., Strange Currencies


As We Drift into the Zone*

April 7, 2017

I have another piece on view this weekend. Turmoil is at IQF Chicago and includes my Goddess of Neverending Chaos. I love this piece…

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She is always relevant. Even with both kids gone, my current life is just way too freakin’ overwhelming at the moment. so even though taking time off and wandering around the redwoods is really not gonna get anything done, I need that mental space and time to get through the rest of it. I’m taking stitching, books, hiking boots, and my sketchbook. And Rice Krispy treats. Yeah. Well. I’m lucky in that I have two weeks of Spring Break, so I can come back and kick butt on grading and artmaking when I get back.

I certainly have sucked on the grading front all week. I’ve managed to almost finish one large assignment this week during classes, but I’ve basically come home and done none of it. I couldn’t. Mentally couldn’t. I may regret that at some point, but whatever. I think I’m going into break with only small assignments to grade…well, one larger one, but there’s only 35 of those. That’s doable. There are 10 assignments. Sigh. Dammit. I should finish one of them today and one is extra credit, so only a few kids did it.

 

So quilt progress. Not great, but there is some. I’m a little over 100 pieces in, out of almost 700 pieces. It’s taken almost 3 hours to do them though. Not sure why. Apparently my brain is slow. I have to say that this is my favorite part of the quilt…picking fabrics…followed by ironing them together. So I will come back from my trip and enjoy the last week off. I hope. But the hours I had in my head about the quilt are getting longer now, because there’s no way I’m going to finish ironing tonight. Honestly, I’ll probably get another hour or two max. I am going to try finish grading one assignment tonight and I have to pack everything. I tried to do some last night again and it was too overwhelming (not a good sign). But I’m hoping with school out of my head (well, as much as it ever is), I’ll be able to get it done. The right eye keeps twitching. Not a good sign. That’s why I’m vacating.

Here’s the fabrics so far…still not much color…and the pieces that are ready for trimming.

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I was thinking of taking the to-be-trimmed pieces with me. I think probably not, but I’ll reconsider. It is a pain carrying that around on a trip with an already full car. So it’s probably easier not to. It’ll only save me an hour or two when I get back. That’s not really enough. If I’d gotten through like 500 pieces, maybe. We’ll see.

But first…surviving today. Not a small task. Yesterday was a stretch for two periods…seriously. I honestly don’t know where I will find the mental strength to get through it today…but I know I will.

*Weezer, Island in the Sun


Restless as the Wildest Way*

April 6, 2017

Here’s a blog post I wrote for California Fibers on the exhibit Time, which just opened at Blackboard Gallery at Studio Channel Islands, Camarillo, California. I have two pieces in the show. I was not there for the opening, but will be stopping by on my trip next week. Give Me Time

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And Holding It All In

Are both in the exhibit. I’m looking forward to seeing it…it looks like a beautiful space. The show is up through May 9.

So I knew I had a bag of Wildflowers variegated thread, which has always been one of my favorites, starting when I was a crazy quilter (OK, I’m still a crazy quilter, but I meant a person who made crazy quilts)…I found them!

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This house has a lot of embroidery thread in it, just so you know. But now I have some different thread to use…I get tired of using the same ones over and over. I did the bullion rose under the tree branch, and then used up the rest of the thread in some stem stitching below the tree roots. I actually used two strands of thread, because I couldn’t finish all the bullions otherwise.

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Julie says it looks like a skull. She’s right. For now. Not on purpose.

Then I decided to blow off work completely (whoops…I will probably regret that later…) and start the fabric-picking part of this quilt. It has a top and bottom on the backing…a floor and wall, if you will. The other two bathtubs don’t. Not sure why this one does, but thought I would honor it with two different fabrics.

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I got the drawing hung up and started picking. Honestly, it was a pretty slow start.

That’s a plate of cheesecake laid out in fabric. A first for me.

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I’m really tired at the moment. Here’s the first 100 pieces laid out.

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Here’s the first 50 pieces cut out of fabric. No. I didn’t get very far.

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It took a really long time to decide what color to make the rug. I can’t explain that. It just happened. Greens are complicated. Interestingly, I think all the bathtubs have a green rug. I want a better bathtub…if I can ever afford to remodel the bathrooms here (they need it), a nice bathtub is a requirement. I miss baths.

Anyway, the way I number the pieces on the bathtub means I cut out everything that’s AROUND the bathtub first, and then I do the bathtub, then the water, then the human. I try to be methodical about things sometimes. The first bathtub I did, I think I was not that organized, and it made it a pain in the ass for picking fabrics. Anyway. More tonight. More Friday night, as I try to pack for this trip. Pack for potentially sopping wet and freezing temperatures while sleeping outside and then delightful and sunny while touring wineries. It’s not like I have a wide selection of clothes anyway. Layers!

Deep breaths for today. Spring Break is two days away and the kids know it! There is some dumbassery going on, as usual. And it starts with an early meeting for me…woo hoo!

*Crooked Still, Undone in Sorrow

 


And I Say It’s All Right*

April 5, 2017

So Kitten is sitting on my pile of things that need to be done by a certain time, and this is what SHE thinks…

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Yeah, I’m laughing too. Except in a psychotic stressed-out overwhelmed kind of hysterical way. It’s OK! I’m fine! No worries! Just don’t look too closely at me, or I might break. If she lies on the deadlines, I can’t possibly finish them. Not my fault!

I know at some point I will feel more organized about my trip and the current project and school and life in general (maybe not) and maybe even mellow out about traveling, but I’m not there yet. Last night, we organized camping stuff and went through and figured out which tent and which chairs and then couldn’t find my rubber mallet. Sigh. Seriously? I know it’s here somewhere. I need a Spring cleaning. I don’t have time for a Spring cleaning. I need a Spring cleaning of my brain. It’s fuzzy in there, a bit moldy, and possible spiderwebby. Not good. The mallet is not where I always keep it. And no one else lives here but those furry beasts. Dammit Kitten. Put the mallet back where you found it.

I’ve been told I can bring no grading with me. I want to bring some books, but can’t even focus long enough to figure out which ones. Oh well. I’ll get there. Wherever there is. I really need Spring Break. As always. Every year.

I finished the wings of the bird. What bird, you say? The weird purple and orange bird to the right of the tree. Can’t explain it.

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Then I got ready to sort Wonder Under. There’s only about 700 pieces, so 7 boxes. Not bad.

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All sorted. Less than an hour.

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If I were less tired and discombobulated I would have started moving into the studio with this, but I’ve been really tired lately. Plus I did a bunch of school stuff before I ever got to that point. So I didn’t. I went to bed early…after I spent a short time with these dorks…

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I was combing out all his stupid Pomeranian knots and fleas (which are horrible this year even WITH meds) and Midnight was cleaning his head. Nice cooperative moment.

So tonight? I need to finish writing that exhibit blogpost. I could not process all the photos last night AND write it…not and keep any level of sanity. I really should go to the gym tonight, but I’m freaking out about getting everything done before Saturday, so no. Not doing it. That’s sort of how this whole year has gone…no time for exercise. No time for anything but work work work. We have this science project we’re designing for when we get back from break, and it’s named after some wildlife refuge or something, but I keep calling it the Gorgonzola project. It’s not that. It’s something culturally appropriate and I just can’t remember that shit right now. It sounds like Gorgonzola though.

OK, though, but tonight, I really want to start ironing to fabric. I’m so not going to get it all done before I leave, but I need a chunk of it done. Really. Seriously. I can’t afford to not get a chunk of it done. Seriously, not counting the ironing and cutting stages, I have about 35 hours of work left on this quilt. That means I don’t leave the house much (well, that would be the case anyway I think). I certainly don’t get the yard weeded…then again, that would probably be true anyway. And I’ll still have to grade stuff. Ack. My eyeballs are popping out of my head. Seriously.

*The Beatles, Here Comes the Sun


The Lengths That I Will Go To*

April 4, 2017

Well odds are that I wouldn’t have finished cutting out all the Wonder Under on Sunday night, even if I hadn’t had to finish the girlchild’s financial aid all at the last minute. Because it took me over an hour last night. And yes, I should have gone to bed earlier…what’s new? It’s done…in a little over 4 hours. Not bad. AND I graded…and tried to write a post about a show I’m in that opened last weekend. Still working on that, because I need more photos from the people who went. Tonight hopefully.

Yesterday was a 2-hour staff meeting. I wish I could say it was full of useful information, but honestly, the first part was stuff I knew and was kind of rushed. They gave us activities but then didn’t talk about them or let us do them. It was weird. The second half, again, might have been useful if it were concrete and not in some dream world where you don’t need to learn math if you’re not going to use it. Huh. I have had a hard time with staff meetings and professional development this year. I’d like to be able to test out of the stuff I already know. I don’t have time to waste. I hate wasting time. It drives me nuts. Next week’s trip, the worst part is the whole day I lose just to getting up to the area where I wanna be. Long drive. Ugh. Anyway. Over the years, I’ve tried a variety of things to keep me from falling asleep in PD/staff meetings, and drawing has always been the number 1 favorite.

This was done in my Rocketbook, and then scanned. I even emailed it to the coworker sitting next to me. He wants to color it.

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It disappeared the left part of the tree root…I think it’s because it’s too close to the QR code. But it turns out pretty good, I think…blacker than the pen I’m actually using. Interesting. I wish the book itself were more sturdy, the covers. It wouldn’t hold up in my bag for a long period of time.

So then I speed graded for a few hours…there’s Kitten hiding behind the monitor.

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I finished one full assignment and the bits and pieces of another one. Six to go. I think. Banging them out. Don’t want a ton of stuff for over break.

Then I headed out for the couch…Simba wanted a belly rub. OK. I can do that.

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And then worked on this…yellow straight and fly stitches around the red flowers at the bottom, then filled the ‘o’ in Prosper with French knots and did some other flower stitches in that area to finish the thread off.

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And then I stayed up too late to finish trimming all of this.

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That’s a whole quilt on the right. Can’t you tell? Tonight, I’ll sort the pieces and clean up in here from the last quilt, and then hopefully start ironing. There’s no way I’ll finish ironing before I leave, but I can get a good start and maybe take the cutting part with me. I’ve done that before. It’s easy stuff to do in the car or sitting in a hotel room. Not that I expect to do much of the latter. We’ll see. Certainly, when I get back, I need to iron everything down (10 hours), stitch it down (5 hours), sandwich it together (1.5 hours), quilt it (12 hours), and bind it (6 hours) in like 7 days. So yeah. That’s a little crazy. Sure, it’ll be vacation, so I could actually pull it off, but I won’t get anything else done. Sigh. Crazy schedule this year.

*REM, Losing My Religion


Oh Please Stay*

April 3, 2017

Crazy weekend. Just absolutely buried in work and barely finished anything. Whole lot of wishful thinking. I had 8 assignments to grade. Now I have 7. OK, that’s an LOL moment. It’s not like I didn’t do anything. I now have new tires, I have the paper I need for a class assignment on Thursday, there’s enough cat food for the next few weeks, I made lunches for the week, and I have a room full of camping equipment…amusingly, for only 3 nights of camping, but with an injection of rain to the mix, so that makes life more complicated. I remember why I planned to leave on the first day of break, instead of giving myself a day to get acclimated and packed, but right now, it just seems like crazy.

Hopefully I’ll get more organized as the week goes on.

The weeds on my property are taking over the world, although this is a very nice picture because of the flowers, and you can’t really tell that all the greenery behind them is weed city.

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I have this goal of filling my two greenery trashcans with weeds every week, so I’ll be done in 2019 or so, but I can’t even manage that some weeks. I did do it yesterday though. Fought the stingy plants (I had gloves, but needed long sleeves and it was too hot for that). I’m unlikely to get another two trashcans filled before I leave. Oh well.

The boychild is hiking over HIS break…he sent me maps, and being his mom, yesterday I printed them out and tried to map out where he would be each night. Like I know what any of this looks like.

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It makes me feel better anyway.

Two nights of stitching on this…the orange that is in the center of the flowers at the top-ish right, then continues in straight stitches around the cretan stitch. Then the flowers in dark red on the right near the bottom. One unfinished…ran out of thread.

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Then I did all those damn bullion knots on Saturday night.

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So the one goal I absolutely wanted to reach over the weekend was cutting all the Wonder Under out. I was FaceTiming the girlchild last night and cutting stuff out when I thought, I wonder when the financial aid deadline is? And I’m not in charge of hers, and I can’t fill out MY part until her dad fills HIS part out, and he had just finished…I only knew because girlchild forwarded me the part she got and asked about it. I thought I had a while. Turns out I didn’t. Crap. So I dropped everything and came in here and finished my part. At about 1 AM. Yeah. Well. I didn’t even know he was done until Friday…so it’s not like I procrastinated a lot. We’ll see.

Hence the unfinishedness of the cutting out, dammit. Sigh.

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I have this week and the week after next basically to get this quilt done. Crikey. I know. Well. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, I missed the opening of the new California Fibers’ show, Time, which opened at the Blackboard Gallery, at Studio Channel Islands. I’ll make it to the show next Friday…it was just too far to go this last weekend.

This is co-artist in the show Lynne Hodgman, closely inspecting my work Holding It All In during installation.

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And the cover picture from the Studio Channel Islands Facebook page…with my work, Linda Anderson’s quilt in the background, and Ashley Blalock’s crocheted piece on the left.

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It looks like an awesome space. I do have another piece in the show as well.

Anyway, now I’m late for school as well. Auspicious start to the week. Late to everything. Sigh. Two-hour staff meeting as well.

*STRFKR, Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second