You Put the Load Right on Me*

November 13, 2017

‘Twas a productive weekend…I finished grading 2 or 3 assignments, didn’t finish a bunch of other stuff, hiked a mountain, cut out a ton of Wonder Under, and replaced the headlight in my car (with help). That was an achievement.

We started late…the goal? Clevenger Canyon South, apparently 4.3 miles (a fact we questioned multiple times), on a day that was supposed to be cooler than it felt. The wonder of San Diego is the temperature can be quite warm in the mountains, even in November.

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We climbed a lot in the first mile…and if you’d told me I was hiking to that rock (and beyond) that you can see on the ridge, I might have given up. But no. We kept going…

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Looking back here on the trail we’d been on before going down into the canyon, where it was obvious one of the fires had gone through here (2007)…

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So this little guy…I just about stepped on him. He never rattled…he never even moved. I noticed him, yelled snake, moved my foot further along than I had been planning, all in a matter of seconds. Yes, I realize we’re lucky he didn’t strike…because that’s a baby rattler and he wouldn’t have known to only dump some of his venom in my calf. It would have been an interesting hike, I guess…

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From further up, the canyon is down where the green is, although there was still no water.

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Evidence of burn even on the rocks…

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Looking to the north…

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And to the south…actually, my car is way way down there…

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This was our goal: two metal chairs bolted to a boulder.

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And a view to die for. Well. Not die. But we were glad to get there…

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It ended up being 4.65 miles, mostly up for the first 1.7 miles.

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And the way down was super fast. Yes…we were to the left of that rock most of the way to the far left peak. We didn’t do the last 0.2 miles to that peak. We had the view already.

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Poles were helpful on the way down. The snake was gone on the way down.

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More evidence of burn…

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And then this was delightful…just remember that what looks like a scary dive bar on the outside houses a lovely bar with cool refreshing drinks and snacks on the inside…

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Then last night, I did some feather stitching on this, above the righthand eye.

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And I cut out a bunch of this…while watching a show in Icelandic. I think I’m semi-fluent now…

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I think this was actually the night before…

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There’s more of that in a bit, but these photos are from the Threads of Resistance exhibit, which made it to the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo in Minneapolis, Minnesota over the weekend. As always, I’m behind the sign…

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And the curtain…

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I kinda wish they wouldn’t hang the signs on the quilts…

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But I’m in good company back there…

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So I’m a woman of a certain age…who knows if and when I will ever have another period (NOT complaining), but the app updated and now it ignores perimenopause completely. I find this highly amusing.

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And kind of a metaphor for women of my age (ignored). Whatever.

I graded more videos yesterday…at 3 minutes per kid, it takes a while, so I poured a hot cup of tea and grabbed my stitching, so I could listen better. It worked.

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I got the hippo done and part of the sun…

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For some reason, this month’s stuff is taking forever to stitch down.

Puppy was tired…but he wanted to be near me and my Wonder Under…

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Sometimes more near than others.

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I did about 5 hours of cutting out yesterday and 2 the night before, so I have a hefty chunk done…ahead of schedule.

Speaking of schedules, I need to get my butt outta here and to work. More progress tonight, I’m sure.

*The Band, The Weight

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I Was Feeling Part of the Scenery*

October 14, 2017

I totally forgot that I have two quilts at PIQF this weekend…so go check them out. They are part of the Threads of Resistance exhibit…

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Thanks to Ellen November for the photo…she confirmed that they are not hidden away as well. The Mancusos are kind of used to me I guess. I wanted to go up for this show, but this month is a crazy asshole and that’s not happening.

Speaking of crazy assholes…

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So last night, I was ready to sew the binding on, and I realized I had an issue on the back. I should have cut the backing bigger than I did…oh well. So I thought about how to deal with this…because honestly, it’s on the back, so who’s gonna care.

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The quilt police and I are not on speaking terms.

I put the miles of binding on…

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And then the sleeves…and added a little piece of the background fabric under the sleeve, into the binding seam, so it would cover the small piece that would show.

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No one is gonna know…I’ll hand stitch it down while I’m sewing the binding and sleeves down. Problem solved!

Then I went to watch that band I always watch. Crashed their event, bought a glass of wine, then mooched the second one (the table I was sitting at was totally empty). And started drawing. Damn, I miss drawing. Need to shove that into my schedule. I keep saying it and it doesn’t happen.

The wildfires in Northern California are on my mind…

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I try to stay out of the newsfeeds, but stories about animals being rescued or still being there after everything burned, or old couples holding onto each other in swimming pools all night. Aargh. The fires aren’t fully contained, evacuations are still happening, the death toll will surely rise. So freakin’ sad.

And I have 17 errands to run, 3 hours (at least) of hand sewing, and at least 5 hours of grading to do. There we are.

*Peter Gabriel, Solsbury Hill


I Hope They Didn’t Get Your Mind*

July 15, 2017

Kitten! It’s really hard for me to type when your head is on the keyboard!

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Apparently I didn’t pay enough attention to her yesterday, because she is very very close to me. Honestly, a little TOO close if you ask me. I have very demanding animals. Simba just wandered in here looking for girlchild, but she’s not here right now. He did his soft demand bark, which usually means he needs to go out…but no…what he wants is for me to locate girlchild and bring her back to him.

So today is a big day for my art…two pieces opened today in Threads of Resistance at the New England Quilt Museum. Both of mine are behind the beige curtain…

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Here are Work in Progress and Absolutely Nothing hanging with My Body, My Rules by Sue Bleiweiss.

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The show is traveling through the end of 2018…you should check it out.

The next cool thing is my Nida Powers opening tonight and artist talk tomorrow, all a little nerve-wracking for the introvert in me, but I will survive.

Meanwhile, the garage…here’s the before picture. You can’t tell from here, but the pile of crap in the middle is as big as a large SUV. Chaos reigned here…

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We’re still not done (you can’t see the driveway here), but the pile in the middle is gone…most of what’s there is school stuff that needs review or delivery to school, a bed that will be sold or junked, and some art I’m trying to decide how to store.

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We took over 10 bags to the thrift shop yesterday, the haz waste appointment is set up for next weekend, and the e-waste that’s on the right side is going today. Then CraigsList for the rest (or a junk pickup if we have to). I could screenprint in here again if I wanted to. I could probably get a car in here if I needed to (not right this second, but when I get done). Boychild has been an incredible help. It’s a real relief to have this done.

Now I need to do a similar task in my bedroom.

Girlchild just pets dogs. She’s not home for long, so we’re OK with that.

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She did go to Ikea with me yesterday to find fabric for my new classroom bulletin boards. I needed one piece of fabric for each unit…so I picked the cheapest stuff…

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Except for one I really really liked. Should be fun…very graphic stuff.

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We did dinner and ice cream out (I never get ice cream)…and then came home and I cut stuff out for three hours…Simba was overjoyed!

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Not really. Eventually Kitten came and sat with me (she really needs attention some days)…

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At close to 12:30, I had this much left to cut out. That’s another hour at least, so I quit.

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Too bad. I really wanted it all done yesterday. Didn’t happen. It might today.

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I need to shower, do the e-waste…debate another opening that is in the middle of the day (ugh), make sure I make it to my own opening…but otherwise, I might have time to sit and cut some stuff out. And then sort it. So when I do get back from the mountains, I’ll have fabric and stuff ready to go. Crap. That probably means I need to clean the studio too. Aack. Sigh. OK. List done.

This has been the last two weeks…I clean the garage and I make art and I try to fit all the other crap in around it. It’s not ideal, but I am getting shit done, and that’s always my goal in the summer.

*Milky Chance, Stolen Dance


I Feel Summer Creepin’ in*

June 16, 2017

I do have to be at school today…my room is a disaster and my co-teacher’s room is even worse, because we piled up all the new equipment and materials in there by unit, so we could try to organize it today. And plan a bit. We’ll see how that goes. My left eye is still twitching like a bitch (not enough sleep yet) and I have no voice again. But that school year is done. Out. On the ground. It wasn’t an easy one. With no state curriculum, we planned from scratch…and now we have to go back and fix it all.

I got home yesterday and the bank had shut down all my accounts again. It took a short while this time to get it all worked out, but I think the problem was Western Union, which we used to get money to the girlchild, because she needed cash for a car and her bank has no branch locally. But the bank has been remarkably unforthcoming and unhelpful. I finally got access to all the old statements (not sure what the issue was really) by filling out a Gallup poll about my experience that the bank sent me. Hello businesses…just saying sorry goes a long way, but it doesn’t fix stupid practices.

Usually after school is out, it takes me at least a week to be really efficient. We only get 8 weeks, which I realize sounds amazing to y’all, but I just got an email about the professional development I have to do…so if I do that before the year starts, that’s 7 weeks. Plus I’m working for the next two weeks, so that’s 5 weeks. I use this time to catch up on all the stuff I can’t do during the school year, because school sucks up holidays and weekends like a dehydrated puppy. Technically, including weekends, I have 55 days before I have to be back. It does not sound like enough. I know people with other jobs are completely jealous, but just come do my job for a couple of weeks and tell me how you feel about it then. Because it is different. I know that because I did your type of job for the first 13 years…and then I freelanced for a while…and now I’m a teacher AND a freelancer. Ugh.

There are days I wake up or go to bed wishing I could just be an artist full time. I know I can’t…I can’t afford it, obviously. But it would be sooo nice to be able to make art every day without all the other stuff. So the three breaks I get each year? I really try to carve out huge swathes of art time in them so I don’t go crazy. I figure if I’m going to work a job that beats you up so badly, I should be able to have the rest of the time for me.

Yeah. Mostly the first week I’m braindead though.

So I got home and the Threads of Resistance catalog was here with my two quilts and statements…really nicely done.

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These two quilts were made right after one another…I think that’s how the tree ended up in both.

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For those keeping track, I think there are 8 or 9 penises (penii?) between the two quilts. I will not be at the opening for this, because it’s the same day as my Visions opening…

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But maybe I’ll get to see it somewhere. Who knows?

So my mom has been amazing and has booked an Airbnb space for the boychild’s college graduation, which yes, is almost a year away.

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Ithaca is tiny…there’s not a lot of options. It will be my parents, the girlchild, me, and my ex, so it had to be big enough to sleep all of us. Now he has to graduate. (He will.)

It was my quilt class night, so I took all the blocks for the Don’t Shut Up community quilt I’m working on…so I could use Susan’s skills and ingenuity to deal with some of these crazy blocks. The wonders of dealing with quilt blocks from non-quilters…

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We tore some apart, sewed some together, and tried to trim others. Fun stuff. You’ll be seeing more of this over the next two weeks. I have a seam ripper injury from last night though…

I finally pulled this out…did two lengths of thread for the last two nights…on the left side again. A yellowish thread with French knots and lazy daisies in the cretan stitch, and then a pinky-purple thread that turned into green…I did lazy daisies and then some French knots around the other yellow stitches.

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Then I sat there on the couch for a long time, trying to be motivated to do anything. I finally got up and traced.

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I’m almost done. Another hour? At most. Lots of big sweeping sky pieces that use up large pieces of Wonder Under. Seriously, I think there are only 40 pieces left to trace. I’m glad I had this prepped and ready to go, because even though I should really be working on other stuff, I can’t get my head around any of it right now. I will HAVE to pretty damn soon, but I’m OK with yesterday and today being lost days for art and copyediting. Saturday though? Saturday I gotta get my act together and be a freelancer.

Midnight expresses her feelings about that. And being hot.

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Sweet fat kitty. OK. Going to school…but no kids makes that easier. I’m wearing my Ms. Marvel t-shirt on the off chance superpowers might help me today.

*Tom Petty, Mary Jane’s Last Dance


Only Gonna Get What You Give Away*

June 13, 2017

I think I could just close my eyes and sleep right here at the desk. I think I slept last night (OK, I know I didn’t the night before…I guess it all catches up with you at some point). I don’t feel awake. Quick, get that first cup of tea down the gullet. The eye is gonna twitch until sometime in July. You know that. It happens almost every year. Especially with what I’ve got going.

The plus? Awards are all done and printed for today’s award ceremony. Only one more day of actual teaching, and it’s only three periods. Anyone can survive that. I hate starting the day feeling like I need a nap though. Brain doesn’t want to stop just because it’s midnight…I have to fight it to sleep. Then waking up is immensely painful.

I finished a bunch of stressful work stuff last night and some art management stuff…I have a quilt that needs to be in Massachusetts by July 1 that is currently in Kentucky. So I had to try to figure out the easiest way to get it there, and it wasn’t by shipping it back to California. OK. Figured that out. Then headed out of the office to this piece…which I use to try to ease my brain into NOT working. I did a variety of stitches, fly and French knots mostly, on the left side, in the cretan stitch on the far left…filler stitching really.

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There will be no sitting on the couch without animals. This one is particularly annoying at the moment, between the cone and the bad-smelling stuff because she really needs a bath and hasn’t been able to have one because of the healing foot. Plus I can’t persuade the two males to do it.

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So then I practiced for summer vacation. Of course, mostly I stared at the paper because I was really tired and totally braindead.

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But there’s a start of something there.

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I think it took an hour just to do that. And there’s a random line off that arm that needs to be gone. I’ll have to see if I can make something out of it.

I’m not entirely sure what the something is, but it’s pen on paper pulling shit out of my brain, and that’s all I can ask for some days.

The Threads of Resistance catalog is available on Amazon…I have two quilts in the show (one of them is currently in Kentucky in Fantastic Fibers)…one is detailed in the 2nd row, left side on the front cover…

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Then one is on the back, 3rd row, third from the left. Yup. That’s a penis. And a uterus. Equal time…

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Not that it happens in real time, right?

OK, well I have to go in early and get some stuff done. Ugh. Have to put away all the stuff that can’t be locked up. Thank you district for wanting to have all the beginning-of-year stuff at our school…adds three hours to my packing up and another three to my unpacking in August. It would be nice to just be able to leave it and trust the teachers not to steal crap, but we can’t do that…especially with all the science materials. Oh well. Three more days with kids.

*Sara Bareilles, Bottle It Up


Sturdy Up Your Heart*

May 20, 2017

I’m frozen again. It’s 95 degrees out there. But my brain. Frozen. Too many things on the list. Dogs have been to the vet…one is now coneless and fancy free…the other is on more meds, a bloody abscess cleaned out, and still a conehead. Fun stuff. The washing machine died (again…it died last August too) last night while trying to finish up the boychild’s bedding. I really don’t have the time to deal with that right this second. Maybe tomorrow afternoon? I just don’t know. This might be an online thing. Trying to decide if it’s worth trying to fix again (I never actually fixed it last time…gave Sears the money to fix it and then spent 4 months trying to get the money back because they said my husband let them in the house and they fixed it. Interesting. I have no husband. Or male who lives here at the moment.) or whether I should just accept that the last 9 months of forcing it to work, even though it was apparently unfixable, was better than I thought I would get. Write that shit off. Because buying major appliances when I have no paycheck during the summer seems like a good plan? Fuuuuck.

Deep breaths. The list is long. I will get through bits and pieces of it, a little at a time.

There’s the nervous conehead at the vet. She gets all freaked out.

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And on the way home, she wouldn’t shift over to give the puppy some room…

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Don’t squish your baby brother.

I’m typing now with this one lying on the caps lock. I keep shoving her over.

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I did do some stitching last night…two nights’ worth on the stitch-a-day…it’s about all I did. I was so exhausted. I’m better today. Got over 8 hours of mostly OK sleep. I really needed it.

I stitched a (dammit…just forgot the name of it) feather stitch in blue and then straight stitches in the purple vine, and then put in a few French knots and a stem stitch under the eyeball to finish the thread. Then I did a pink lazy daisy in the feather stitch and straight stitches off the purple vine.

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Filling space. Plus trying to relax. Then I graded for a while. I’m so incredibly behind, it’s not even funny. Trying to catch up. Frantically.

I did work on this at gaming…

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I did the frog and started the grass…plus the symbol on the tree. Still debating going back and adding bullions to the outside of the tree. Then this one is done. Not taking it with me to Ohio.

It’s funny, I’ll be frantically stitching while gaming, trying to keep myself calm (not) and awake (that works). Stress levels are a little insane at the moment.

I woke to good (but a little scary) news this morning. Both the pieces I entered into Threads of Resistance got in.

This is Absolutely Nothing, originally in an exhibit called Women at War

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And this is Work in Progress, from the exhibit Expressions of Equality.

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These were made one after the other…hence the tree showing up in both…I wasn’t done with that imagery apparently. Much like the bathtubs I keep doing.

So yeah, I didn’t have time to make new work for this show, but I do often roll in those topics anyway. There was a climate change one I wanted to enter, but it was like 2″ too big. It’s all good.

So why is it a little scary? Well. So. A few of my quilts have upset people’s sensibilities. And these two have about 10 penises between the two of them, plus yes, full-on nudity, and one is NOT very nice about how I feel about the way women are treated in society.

So. I guess we prep for the media storm this time…because some of these venues could be an issue. The plus is I know the group that organized this show has my back. Most of them have supported me in the past with personal messages or posts online. So I’m feeling OK about opening some eyes, or getting those heads nodding up and down in agreement. And I know the Mancusos will just invite the press in…still think I should get a kickback on their ticket sales if I make the news again.

The show opens July 15 in Lowell, Massachusetts, at the New England Quilt Museum. And then it travels through 2018. Or longer. So check it out.

Now I gotta get through this to-do list or I’m gonna go crazy.

*The Beautiful Girls, La Mar


Let’s Put Our Heads Together and Start a New Country Up*

May 15, 2017

Well whatever crazy internet thing that was going on has dissipated. My blog hits are back down to normal. Hello normal! Nice to see you too! I often forget there are people out there reading this (hello boychild! I know where you got that photo you sent to the girlchild!). Mothers’ Day. Sheesh…some holiday taken over by the media folks that messes with my head. It’s hard to have them so far away…and looking at pictures of them, trying to decide what to post, well that doesn’t help. Oh well. Moving on…I did get a long FaceTime call with the girlchild at my parents’ house…

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Wherein she tried to explain the chaos of her living and working situation for the next two-three weeks. She still has one final to finish. Then at least two jobs. And living out of a suitcase for a while.

Here’s the photo I found, from 2004…both their hairs are completely different now. OK, well, hers is similar, minus the dorky barrettes. Ages 7 and 8 about…

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And the girlchild posted this…I am just not going to explain it.

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Just to say, well, the kitchen is still a mess and I have a cow costume in case you ever need to borrow one. (And that’s not my wine.)

Yesterday, I found time to weed for a while…the rains this year have kicked my landscaping butt. I was watched by this bunny for all the time it took me to fill one of those big recycling bins. Yes. One.

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That was about a third of the front yard. I didn’t even try to pick the grasslike stuff. I’m gonna weed whack that part. Sorry bunny (he lives under that deck).

In the house isn’t much better. Kitten jumped up to dust this with her paws. Right? That’s what she’s doing up there? Sigh.

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I had three days to catch up on this. I did finish the hand with one of the days, filling in with stem stitch and doing some cross stitches over the seed stitches below. Then I finished the bush to the right of the hand…only half the leaves were done. Then I did some blue fly and lazy daisy stitches in the pink below the bush.

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Back to filling in empty spaces. Still haven’t hit the halfway mark. Embroidery is relaxing though.

Then I retraced some of the pieces (old Wonder Under sucks…which is why Saturday found me at JoAnns with my 50% off coupon buying a new bolt of the stuff), cut them out, and sorted them. Only three bins.

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So easy peasy. Ironing tonight? One would hope. There’s some cleaning that needs to go on in here, the studio. In fact, that’s often the only thing that gets cleaned…the areas where I make art…the entryway floor so I can lay out quilts…etc. Oh well. I do my best.

Also, one of the shows I entered (notifications haven’t gone out yet), Threads of Resistance, posted all the entered work, because it’s an important exhibit even if all the pieces can’t be in the show. You can see the work here. There’s a ton of work, so there will be a ton of rejections…but the work is all out there for viewing. I’m interested to see how what they pick might differ from what I would pick…how to show all the possibilities of resistance with a clear, consistent show that doesn’t violate copyright. That’s a hard one.

OK…working my butt off today and then coming home to be an artist. Oh wait. I’m always an artist. Obviously not a gardener or a housecleaner. I suck at both.

*REM, Cuyahoga