There She Goes Again*

July 14, 2017

Solo show opens tomorrow. Nida Powers. Feeling like I need some Nida Powers today (and this weekend). Looking forward to seeing the show again. And maybe some of you too. Visions Art Museum, 5-7 pm. Then we can talk about introverts and how we have to prepare for openings where you have to be ON all the time (hey, just like school, but with adults! It’s so much easier with 12-year-olds.).

In other news, I got some art shit done yesterday finally, mostly because I blew off the garage stuff. We’re back on garage duty today, trying to get rid of some of the extra stuff and organize the art stuff. Not as easy as it sounds. We gots some e-waste, some haz waste, some furniture, a lot of thriftable stuff, and a ton of nobody wants this shit. Oh, and recyclables. But not enough bins for the last two, so we’ve been cycling it through the trash the last two weeks and will keep doing so until it’s gone. We will NOT be dumping it at the bottom of some street or next to a locked dumpster, because we try to be responsible members of society. Sometimes we suck at it. But not for this.

I forgot! I sold two quilts, even though one is traveling at least through the end of 2018 and the other might be in some shows as well…but Absolutely Nothing (yes, standing on a pile of men)…

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and Holding It All In will be hanging (out) in Palo Alto sometime in 2018 or 2019. I’m looking forward to the photos…and incredibly thankful for the support.

It always feels weird to talk about selling my own art, but I am thankful to those who have supported me over the years. It’s really impossible to be an artist without that support sometimes, especially as I’m weathering the college years. We just went through all the money stuff for the upcoming school year, and for once I won’t be stretching the June paycheck over the whole two months of summer with a giant rock deep in my belly as I get to August and all the college stuff is due. The kids’ college funds did fairly well and their scholarships were incredibly helpful. Plus they both worked hard (and will keep working hard, because they’re not done). It has been (and still is) scary every year when I do the math, but I think we might just survive all this. A miracle maybe.

Last night was mostly about the panel discussion for Don’t Shut Up, though (yes, I stitched through it). And one woman (older than me) said we shouldn’t be bitches (in response to some of the other comments that we SHOULD be) and we shouldn’t alienate those whose minds we were trying to change. It was late, so I didn’t respond there, but I am here. Two problems there: first of all, if I don’t just shut up, smile, and make a sandwich, I get called a bitch. So being a bitch just means taking back my power and being who I really am (I can BE a bitch, but I’m NOT a bitch in general. If I’m being a bitch to you, then step back and figure out where your behavior is at. Because you’re probably being a dickhead.). Second of all, I don’t really care if I alienate the people whose minds we’re changing. Because I don’t actually believe I can change most of their minds unless they’re listening, and odds are they aren’t. So I have this view of me smiling and nodding my head as they spew misogyny and I say nothing. (wow. 17 drawings. Right there. Popped into my head. You wanna know how I get ideas? That’s how.) And there’s no commentary on how they’ve already alienated me with their assumption that I have no rights and don’t know what to do with my own body. Or that I hate men. Or that I don’t want equality…apparently being a feminist means I am all Women First (well, you know, it might be nice for a while). Sigh. I’m all about teamwork and fixing shit together…just go look at the statement for Work in Progress.

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So yeah. I guess that makes me a bitch. I’m OK with that. I know not all males are like that. Most of the ones I know aren’t. I guess my bitchiness kind of self-selects those around me. Whatever.

Well, this bitch got a bunch of stuff done around the panel discussion. I had my quilt meeting (no longer a class…just a hangout really)…and I started cutting out the Wonder Under for the newest quilt. I do have another one that I started cutting back in June, when I just needed something to work on. I have to try to keep them labeled and separate so I don’t get them mixed up. That would not be funny. OK. It might be a little funny, but mostly frustrating.

I’m impressed by Kitten’s attitude.

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Although she looks somewhat psychotic.

Girlchild saved a lizard yesterday, although she screamed when his little feet touched her. He was floating in the pool on the chlorine container. Poor guy. I really need a water solution so living creatures can drink water without my getting more mosquitoes. Seriously.

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So I went to the panel discussion and did two nights’ worth on here, all chain stitch on the right, which is almost done.

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Then I worked on this guy, finishing the hippo and almost finishing the crocodile. I’ll try to finish the croc today maybe. If I feel like it.

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Then I finished the tracing on Long Skinny…without Kitten’s help. She refused to move, even when I draped Wonder Under over her. The tail just thumps instead.

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I needed another couple of hours to finish, apparently. So 1320 pieces traced in just under 12 hours. Not bad. It’s only three yards or so of Wonder Under, because most of the pieces are small. Sigh. My fault. Always my fault.

Kitten is adorable.

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I had started tracing at my quilt meeting, putting in about two hours…and then I kept cutting last night.

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I got about halfway in 2 1/2 hours yesterday.

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Not bad. I don’t remember what I originally said about being done, but I’m hoping sometime tonight. Then sort them. Tomorrow is kind of busy. Pretty sure I can’t start ironing to fabric before I go to the mountains. Damn. So that foils my plan of cutting out pieces while I’m gone. In fact, I’m not sure what I can take with me. I have two drawings that are at the Draw Full Size on a Giant Piece of Paper stage. Hard to do at the cabin. There’s a big table, but not as big as my light table. Sigh. I’ll have to think that through. I can cut out the other climate piece, but it won’t take long. I could just relax and read a book. Yeah, I know. That’s crazy. I could draw other stuff. I seriously don’t know how to just sit there and do nothing. It’s not in my makeup.

OK. Well today is full of clean up and garage and maybe I dunno other stuff besides finishing the cutting. I’ll figure it out. Kids. They’ll be here too. So hangout time. First I need to enter an art show or two. If I can get my head around that.

*The La’s, There She Goes


I Can’t Break Away from This Parade*

July 13, 2017

Artmaking slow. Very very slow. Mostly because last night I didn’t start until 11:45 pm. That’s a late start. But I wasn’t willing to do nothing artful yesterday. And sleeping is an issue. Ugh. Brain needs to turn off or down or go in relax mode. Don’t even ask when I’m going to bed. I’m fully aware it’s too late.

I did do another 3 or 4 hours in the garage during the day. Most of the stuff is packed up for the thrift shop, we researched CraigsList for prices on the furniture we’ve got, and I got most of the art shelves in the garage cleaned up. Boychild did the toolbench, which was a disaster. There’s art files left and then getting rid of stuff, which is always the hard part. But it’s progress…getting close to working on what’s IN the house.

We also did a picnic in the park and then Richard II, so it’s not like I was home a lot in the evening…

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Not a real dead body. I’m not really a fan of Shakespeare’s histories, but there were some funny moments. I did persuade the ex to switch seats with me because the old guy next to me was like constantly in my personal space. Less likely to do that to another man, apparently, because he behaved after that.

I’m reminded that Balboa Park is a nice place to be on a summer evening, something I rarely remember.

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Girlchild only came home for the furries.

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Found this while cleaning out the garage. Apparently art is painful. Or terrifying. One of those.

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I did not finish tracing last night…I’m in the 1100s…so about 200 pieces to go still. And this afternoon and evening are packed, unfortunately. Ugh. I didn’t even take a picture of what I was tracing…mostly buildings and windows.

I’m certainly not getting anything done sitting here. So I’m off. Short but…well…not sweet.

*The Wallflowers, One Headlight


Wave Your Hands in the Air Like You Just Don’t Care*

July 12, 2017

(I use that phrase in my classroom all the time…most of my kids know the reference.) Today’s photos look the same as yesterday’s. But today the girlchild is home for a few weeks, so that’s cool. Although getting her here was a little chaotic. Her car died in a Boston tunnel (and then reanimated) and the ex’s car blew a tire on the way to pick her up. I was impressed by the speed and competence of her dad and brother in re-tiring the car in the dark by the side of the freeway. I provided flashlight support. I’m good at that. OK. I could change a tire if I had to…seriously.

But the artmaking is the same as yesterday and the day before and the whenever I started this. Someone called this process labor-intensive, and that’s true. If I had nothing else going on, I could do it faster, but that’s never the case. One of the reasons I keep a blog is to remind myself of how and what I was thinking in past years. Nope. Summer’s are always like this, where I’m trying to get major house projects done while I have time and help, because I can’t handle it during the school year, and then I feel like I’m not getting enough art done and I never really do the relaxation thing well or right. Whatever right means.

Accept what I can do. Yesterday sucked for that. Except the girlchild’s room got clean. I ended up making 4 rolls of quilts from what was once 3 rolls. Scarily, about 20 quilts are out traveling right now and will need homes at some point in those rolls. I tried to make the rolls small enough for me to manhandle them where they belong too. And put all the old quilts together in the same roll and on the top shelf, because odds are, they aren’t coming out for shows as often.

I had all of them on the girlchild’s bed most of the last 5 months, because I couldn’t deal with the rolls any more. Anyway. They’re all managed now. For now.

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This one. She eats books. Gotta be careful.

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A photo from the Don’t Shut Up exhibit with one of my pieces, We Won’t Go Back.

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That’s my look of utter relief that I had finished the community quilts on time. I got a lot of interest in this piece…which is cool. One guy even recognized it as the same artist as the stuff in the Allied Craftsman show, which came down this week. I had three shows close within a week, so 7 quilts home (or at someone else’s home, because they were nice enough to pick up mine as well as theirs).

So after getting the girlchild to her dad’s house and leaving her there, I did more chain stitch on this…

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And then went back to fighting cats for space on the glass…

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With 1300+ pieces, this is just not a fast process. I figure it’s about an hour per 100 pieces to trace. Cutting stuff out is faster usually. But ironing takes longer…so I figure with 1300 pieces, that’s about 15-16 hours of ironing to fabric. Then cutting again.

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But when someone asked about prices on the piece at Don’t Shut Up, she was so good…admitted it was probably out of her price range because of the detail. Which was true. It’s not the size of the piece that makes it more or less expensive…it’s more about the number of pieces. So small with a lot of pieces is still not cheap. I won’t work for $1 an hour. I do actually keep track of my time on these, so I know exactly how much they’re worth.

So I only got a couple hours in last night (still stayed up too late)…

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I’m still in the main torso area, but both arms are done.

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I quit just before all those buildings with windows. I’ve done just over 1000 pieces, with about 300 to go. That’s it! And I’m just under 10 hours…so a good guess. But I do need to work on the garage and go to the chiropractor today, and it’s our annual trip to Shakespeare. You don’t get choices when the girlchild is only home for two weeks. So Richard II it is. I think.

The panel discussion for Don’t Shut Up is tomorrow evening, from 6-8. You can stop by the gallery and see the show before at 5 pm. I should be there for the discussion…can’t make it earlier. And then next week is the artist walk and talk. I will be there. And this Saturday is my own show opening and Sunday is the artist talk. No stress! I’m trying to come up with a 5-minute discussion of all my work in that show. Yeah! Yikes. Like trying to explain my whole life in 5 minutes. Born, schooled, art the whole time, married, babies, divorced, art art art, teaching, art. Did I say art? Yeah. Lots of soccer. Not enough air conditioning or vacationing. Hiking. Mosquito bites. I guess summer is affecting my summary.

Hopefully tomorrow will have me cutting out Wonder Under instead of tracing it.

*Cameo, Word Up


Earth Below Us, Drifting, Falling*

March 30, 2017

So this is what a quilt looks like at this stage…

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This one is about 3 1/2 yards of Wonder Under, some really big pieces (like the sides of the bathtub) and some relatively small pieces. This one isn’t too bad with the crazy small, because it was drawn small and enlarged, with no additional crazy Kathy drawing after the fact.

It took about 8 1/2 hours to trace the Wonder Under, which is a little long for almost 700 pieces, but not too bad, considering tracing water is a pain in the ass.

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Now I need to cut all those pieces out, but I wanted that done by Saturday so I could start ironing, and that’s not happening. I suspect it will take me 4 or 5 hours to cut them all out and I would need to mostly do that tonight. Yeah. Not. Sigh. OK. Revise schedule. Worry lots. Right eye starts to twitch. Well, it was the left one before. At least they’re both getting a good workout.

I swear, my brain cannot see past April 28th when I have to decide everything in the solo show that isn’t happening until July, but it all has to be done and photographed. After April 28th, I might just collapse on the floor and then piece a 9-patch. Seriously.

Well no…because there are other deadlines…they’re just not right here in my face. I will look at them in a month. See, it sounds so nice when I say I have a month. Except that’s a month where I’m gone for a week. It’s OK. It will all be OK.

See the dogs? They think it’s OK.

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OK, looking at that picture, it might be hard to figure out what dog goes where. I’m not helping. There are two of them.

It looks like I put these in wrong order, but the girlchild was saying SAME to something else. You can see the family resemblance though.

I saw Neil Gaiman speak last night. Very cool. Even though he was tiny down there on the stage, it was nice to hear him talk and read and drink water in the middles of sentences. I did think that was weird.

Well. Tired. Totally. But on to the next stage of the quilt. That’s good. I’m glad.

*Peter Schilling, Major Tom (Coming Home)


Don’t Know What It Means…*

March 29, 2017

Tired this morning. Puppy has been Mr. Barks-a-Lot the last two nights. Not sure what living creature is offending him now…sometimes when he’s barking out the window I think he must be able to see eddies in the wind that none of us can see. Or ghosts. Or he hears dogs barking five miles away and they are warning of impending tsunamis…now he’s got the big one barking too. For nothing, as far as I can see.

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Maybe he’d bark less if he didn’t have all day to sleep. I don’t have this luxury, unfortunately. It’s not all his fault…some neighbor was making noise before 6:30 as well. Sometimes I think I need a padded bedroom, against noise and light and all intrusions. Certainly I’m sure someone’s designed it better than mine. Some noise catcher that grabs unnecessary dog barks out of the air and turns them into something else.

Yesterday we started a new unit, the last one besides the sex ed unit we teach at the end of the year. I kinda went overboard on the cover page. And I still need to color it.

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Which should be less of a priority than grading probably (but is more fun).

Came home and ate and watched Walking Dead with my favorite couchmates…although I was not the lap of choice for once…dog nose being warmed by cat.

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They like each other.

OK, I added some pink to the blue squares at the bottom…straight stitches, lazy daisies, fly stitches.

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They look a little like vulvas. Seems appropriate. There’s too much blue and pink at the bottom…need to fix that.

Then I had a choice. Grade or trace? I really want to hit this deadline. Yes, I still have to grade. I just didn’t have it in me yesterday. I did enter a show, so it was already a late start. I don’t like grading after 9 PM. So I traced…for a long time. In the dark background, you can see puppy…waiting for me to sit with him.

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I got to piece 613, which is the neck. So all I had left was neck, head, and crown of fire (don’t ask), which was about 84 pieces. But it was 12:15 AM. And finishing would have been another hour. And that’s not responsible.

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Aargh. So I guess I’ll have to try and finish tonight…although I am going to see Neil Gaiman tonight.

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Definitely a worthwhile way to spend my time…but it’s hard to walk away from all the crap that needs doing. Workaholic. Yes. So grade if I have time, but definitely finish tracing. Then tomorrow is cutting…schedule is tight. But if I get the whole mess ironed down before we leave on vacation, I could take the cutting task with me. Maybe. I’m a little worried about this timeline, straight up.

*Nirvana, In Bloom


What You Gave to Me the Day I Wandered*

March 28, 2017

Spring Break must be close…I made my trip travel list last night…at least the first version of it. I’ll have to borrow some stuff off my dad, who has all the camping equipment in the world. I’ll need a good book or two to read. I think I’ve actually finished everything that was on my Right Now list…waiting on two books from the library, maybe three. It’s OK…I’m not leaving this weekend. I have NINE whole days of school left before I’m allowed to leave. And in that time, I have 17 thousand things to grade, my taxes to finish, a quilt to get significantly closer to done, and if I look too closely at the house and yard around me, I’ll persuade myself that I shouldn’t take time off.

Yeah. Well. I’m gonna need to take some time. I’m still grading the climate projects. It’s hurting less, because I’m almost done…although trying to watch the videos when Kitten decides she wants my attention and stands in front of the screen is a pain in the ass. I have 18 left. Well, I SHOULD have 18 left, but I’m betting some of those kids didn’t do the video, so that’s much faster to grade, although hard on them.

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That’s the hardest part of creating curriculum…seeing how much work you’re going to have to do before next year so you can get more of what you wanted out of them. I’m trying to be smart and take notes…maybe even start rewriting rubrics now. Maybe.

So I was sitting here writing, listening to the pool motor straining, thinking…what the hell? The water level is high enough. So something’s caught in the basket…go out there. Sure enough. Well that explains the skunk smell. Poor thing…I do like wildlife, even when it smells bad. I’ve pulled possums and gophers out of there before, but never a full-grown skunk. I always feel bad when that happens. Like I should have done something to protect them more. Sigh.

Um. Let’s see…oh yeah, I made boxes out of the triangles at the bottom and added a lazy daisy stitch, and then used up the rest of the thread in French knots, which I do a lot.

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While doing that, three of the four animals in the house came by to lie on me…you can’t see the black one, because I couldn’t get her in the picture as well. You should also be impressed by how my shirt (from school) matches the pajamas and socks I put on when I finally got home last night.

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I got up eventually (it was pretty late by then) and started tracing. I got into the water, which is always a pain in the ass to trace. Figuring out where stuff overlaps and drawing these wild pieces that are all loopy and swirly…can drive you a little bonkers.

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That’s what I get for drawing bathtubs full of water, right? I have not learned my lesson.

So I think I’m in the 400s…like 428 is next or something like that. So I have about 200 pieces to go…but the water ones take longer than normal pieces because they’re so complicated.

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I wanted to finish tracing water last night, just because it’s easier to keep in my head what is overlapping what if I do it all in one go…but then I looked at the clock and it was late. And then I couldn’t even go to sleep, so that sucked. My brain was ready to keep going. To the END! Yeah. Well. That’s the same brain that will get irritated by behavior today, so I have to manage it a bit.

My ex brought me a lemon…with the dog’s pills. She’s now on official arthritis meds, plus more anti-inflammatories, and higher doses of the joint meds she’s been on since she was little, plus some salmon oil. It’s a lot of stuff, but hopefully she’ll feel better.

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She’s obviously aging. Poor girl. I don’t know what to say about the lemon, except that I’m kind of impressed it kept growing, despite its obviously limiting circumstances. It smells very lemony.

So I don’t know if I’ll get through tracing all 200 pieces tonight…which is unfortunate, because I know I have stuff Wednesday night that will go late. And I want to get this thing to the next step. I wonder how hard and fast the next deadline actually is (I’ve been trying NOT to think that, but…it might need to slip a little). Yesterday was a lot of overwhelmedness…too many things to get started and done. A lot of those are still hanging over me today…but that’s kind of been this school year. You are overwhelmed and you will take it all in and breathe deep and then go hike somewhere to try to dispel the panic. Yeah. I could do with less of that. I’m feeling a bit like that lemon.

*The Proclaimers, I’m on My Way


But Forget It All, I Know I Will*

March 27, 2017

I spent a lot of time grading student assignments this weekend. I’d like to say I’m done, but I’m not. I think I have 23 to go…which sounds like a lot to the part of my brain that will have to watch all those videos. I’ll get through them, but I wanted to be done. I often want to be done with the work part so I can go on to the art part…a split in my life, when normal people plop down on the couch and watch some TV to wind down, I’m getting up to stand for the next two hours, tracing. Which is in fact what I did…eventually…

I did finish the other quilt; well, the binding anyway. I need to do some other stuff to it. I think. Photos will follow. It won’t be officially photographed until the end of April, with the other one, which doesn’t exist.

I’m reading this book that I’ll write about later…but I liked this quote in the frontmatter with regard to art…

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And that might have been what Marker referred to (haven’t seen the movie), but in the context of what I’m reading, it becomes much darker. I still like the quote though. More about my reading later…not today; got a parent meeting. I’m already behind and overwhelmed.

I drew this Saturday night while watching the band play…

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I had done a drawing back in January and had some false starts in the sketchbook, so I turned one of them into something.

Here’s another false start…

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We’ll see what I do with that.

I had to take a walk yesterday to clear my head after grading stuff. I was getting irritated. Getting outside and touring the neighborhood trashcans is always nice. (I actually do just look at plants and the sky…the dog is more interested in the trashcans.)

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Wildflowers abound.

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I skipped Saturday’s stitching…so I did two yesterday. I started a wacky bird to the right of the tree. It’s not done. And then I did the blue straight line triangle shapes on the bottom. I saw someone else stitch something like them, so I wanted to put them in there. So I did.

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Still not sure I’ll (a) make it all year on this and (b) have room to stitch all year on this and (c) be able to stitch on it during my trip over Spring Break. But that last bit is fixable and the first bit is no guilt and the middle bit is. Well. It just is.

I then continued to trace Wonder Under for the next bathtub…this will be the third one I actually make of the six or so bathtub drawings I’ve done.

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I got an hour and a half or so in last night…there’s only 630 pieces and I have 350 done.

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I’m hoping to be done Tuesday…then cutting them out…then hopefully ironing down to fabric by the weekend. We’ll see. The timing on this one is really tight.

I got this thing called a Rocketbook. You can draw in it with special pens (downside) and then there’s an app that will scan it and send it where you need it…like all the ones where I mark the rocket picture at the bottom, it will send them where I tell the app all the rockets go. So I can have one for drawings and one for school stuff and one for art notes and one for one art group I’m in, etc.

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The coolest part though is that when the book is full, I can microwave it and it will be blank again. So last night I tested it out with a really quick, simple drawing, just to see how it worked. The pens are OK…they’re erasable though, so that’s cool. Anyway…it’s just something techie that I thought was really cool and wanted to try out. Plus I have a staff meeting today and I’m not allowed to bring tech and this is kind of like tech in that I can scan the notes and mark the apple, and they’ll all go to my Google Drive for school, to the folder I tell it to send all my staff meeting notes. And that’s cool. Even though I’d rather just type them. No time.

OK, parent meeting (OMG, are we just realizing our kids are failing?) and school and at some point I get to make art. My daily goal…get all the other shit done (or done enough) so I can art.

*Squeeze, Tempted