Making Art, Ignoring the Rest…

Well if you ignore most of the stuff on the to-do list, you get a lot of art done. Six and a half hours worth of it. Am I done with ironing? You’d think I would be…but no. Because I found more mistakes. I seriously don’t know where my brain was when I numbered this, and that messed up my tracing…because I trace by number, and I didn’t realize there was another double-numbered section, so I missed tracing about 20 pieces. It’s OK…I figured it out yesterday during that six and half hours!

So I set up my smaller light box and wandered back to it a couple of times, traced the missing pieces, then cut those bits out, and then put them in the pile of to-be-ironed pieces. What a pain.

I did manage to get well past the fucked-up sections though…while watching/listening to the mandated videos I have to get through for school. I get tested on bloodborne pathogens, sexual harassment, mandated reporter duties, and integrated pest management.

Three hours’ worth. Fun stuff. But it’s done. That’s worth it.

These guys…

Mom is ironing. We must sleep. It was hot.

The big girl went in the pool…

She uses the pool the most…supervised, of course, and she can’t swim as well with the back legs any more.

After dinner, there was more of this…seriously down to the last line…a word and a half, plus signing it and dating the speech itself.


More sky ironing. Cat has moved. Sky is dark. I’m still listening to work crap at this point.

I’m not really good at listening, honestly. I space out. But I’ve seen the same stuff over and over again and know most of the answers already. I’m not good with Audible books or podcasts though. I totally zone out when people are talking to me. Just so you know.

Nighttime…she’s still sleeping…old lady.

She’s a good girl. She did move in between, I swear.

So I’m at almost 13 hours of ironing. Sigh. So slow.

I’m much closer to done though…less than 100 pieces, I think…

Just need to finish some of the body parts and the hair, and then decide what to do with the pieces around the edges. Should they all be one color? Should they be different values of one color? Should they be all different colors? I don’t know. Maybe black and white, but then what do you do in the middle? Alternate or find a fabric that is both (that’s not hard…my black and white stash is massive). Anyway. That’ll be a decision for later today hopefully. First I’m going to the gym. Tonight I have a birthday party and a show…so that should be cool…but not really artsy. I was trying to come up with a drawing for the last embroidery last night while I was attempting to fall asleep (a really bad time to be thinking about such things). I think I came up with one, but I need to actually draw it too. OK. Outta here.

Part of the Story

So apparently evil gnomes numbered this drawing. Because there are so many double numbers, I have no freakin’ idea what happened. I must have been really tired or stressed (or both, thinking about what night it was). I screwed up multiple times. I’m like 150 pieces off. I have a’s and b’s to tell the numbers apart for like a stretch of 150 pieces. I’m hoping that after I got to wherever I stopped last night that I caught all the mistakes. One issue was that it’s round and I usually number from the bottom up. But that should have been fine because I did one half first and then the second half. I found one batch of lost pieces…I had numbered one side, started on the second side (with a completely random number…am I losing my mind?), but then realized I never numbered the arms on the other side, so I went back and did them. That does not explain the clusterfuck that was the rest of the numbering in this piece.

I didn’t finish last night. I was too busy trying to find all my mistakes and make sure I traced everything. I’m betting I still missed something. Aargh. Frustration. I don’t need things to take more time right now. I need everything to be very efficient. Fuuuck.

OK. Well. It’s done. The mistakes. They will be part of the story. The crazy story that is me and my art.

So I was at the gym yesterday, reading a book that was recommended to me by someone somewhere that I don’t remember anything about, and I get this…

Yeah. I don’t think the lack of estrogen makes us calmer. Laughing really loudly at that.

I had a stitching meeting in the afternoon…we old ladies chortle about crazy things and discuss how to overthrow the government. You think I’m kidding.

Susan spun, Kelly knitted, I stitched. I finished Earth Mother 8…

Now that’s two that need baths and ironing. One more to go.

And I started the Tiny Pricks project. I thought about how to transfer text and finally said fuck it and started stitching.

I don’t need no stinking markings. The text is from a speech he gave last weekend. It’s a rambling clusterfuck, so I’m just gonna stitch it all until I run out of space.

By the way, this is my country. I belong here. Well, the natives may feel differently, and I am sorry for that. I’m not fucking leaving. That said, if you don’t like us talking back to you and telling you how fucked up racism and sexism and genderism and all the other stupid shit y’all come up with to remove people’s rights…well then YOU can leave. My family’s been here for a good long time, but the reality is that the majority of us are immigrants here. Our families did not start here. We need to accept real life history and stop using this shit as an excuse.

The background of this piece? The signing of the Declaration of Independence…from the country we left. You know, when we immigrated.

Ahhh. Sigh. Just stitching his words pisses me off. I’ll be glad to be done with this. I have a month. I’ve done 10 words.

OK, so here’s one of the numbering mistakes…

That toenail. What the freak was I doing? I just don’t know.

The word of the day is frustration. Followed by breathe.

I traced for three hours last night. I’d like to think I’m more than halfway done, but I just don’t know how many more mistakes I have in this thing. I have to do part of the sky on one side, one whole figure, and the outline pieces. I’ve been tracing for 9 hours. I really should have been done by now, if it weren’t for the clusterfuck that was my brain. I’m on piece 439 of 727 (except there’s really 150 more than that)…so MAYBE there are 300 more pieces. Three hours? Or so. I want to be done today. Not sure I can pull that off, but I’ll try.

OK. Do you ever have a conversation with your brain about how you really need the best behavior from it now? Like please pay attention and function properly? Because sometimes it just wanders off and leaves you with a skeleton crew. Anyway. On to the day. Hopefully my brain will come along.

Double Numbers…

I’m trying to get my butt to the gym this morning. I need food first, and my brain is very discombobulated, and I’m on the phone with the girlchild in Boston, and I’m reading this weird book. Wait. I’m not reading the book right this minute. All these things do not stop me from going to the gym. The food is in the toaster oven and I’m wearing my gym clothes…that’s a start. I might not finish writing this before I decide to leave, but I’m starting it at least.

Focus is an issue. I really need focus. That’s why I make to-do lists, by the way, so when I’m wandering around the house, trying to figure out WTF I’m supposed to be doing, I can look at the list and go, oh hell no, I don’t wanna do that. Ha! And then I do it because it needs to get crossed off. I’m very motivated by crossing things off the list…by not having to move it to the next day. At least I know how my brain works.

Well, so someone gave me this to do the Tiny Pricks project and it’s a little stretchy, plus it’s not a solid base for stitching, and you can’t really see it unless there’s something behind it. So I had this fabric lying around (thanks to whatever person gifted me this, because I just used a chunk of it), and I pinned it down and stitched it…

Not a lot…just enough to hold it…

I ironed it after this. Now it’s ready to stitch. I don’t think I can transfer letters onto it, though. I could write on tracing paper and pin that on and stitch over it and then pull out the paper, but that sounds like a pain in the ass. Sigh. Not sure. I will need to figure that out before 1 PM today, I think. Maybe.

It was hot and humid yesterday. Not as hot and humid as it COULD be, but enough to make that big dog turn over to cool off.

Ugh. I ran a lot of errands yesterday. My doc is on medical leave and we’re still trying to find an answer to the weird pain/discomfort I get randomly, so this substitute doc, who is old and jolly and tells jokes about gall bladder stress tests with pepperoni pizzas, he ordered a bunch of tests and I get to sit around waiting on those. And then I went to JoAnns, which is hell on a good day. So they don’t carry my batting any more, which sucks, because I can’t buy it by the yard locally now. I can buy like a king-size batting and just cut into that, or I can buy a 40-yard roll and store it somewhere. Boychild wanted to know how long it would take to use that up. I usually buy 3 yards at a time, about twice a year, so 6 or 7 years. Nope. That’s silly. Annoying and silly. Then I went to Costco and you know how that goes. It’s just full of people who don’t know how to drive their carts. But I crossed off a big chunk of stuff on my to-do list, plus we have three bags of Ancient Grains now, so that’s good. I’ll deal with the batting later. It’s still on my list, but…I don’t know what to do about it. Make a decision.

I cooked. I exercised. I traced. Kitten is following me everywhere. It’s sweet.

So I was tracing and it was midnight and I’m realizing that I got to piece 323, and I’m looking for 324, and I’m realizing there’s a whole ‘nother set of pieces that’s got the same numbers as what I was just tracing. Seriously? I double numbered 280-323. There’s two pieces numbered 280…two pieces numbered 281. Ah sheet. So the second set all get ‘a’ after them. Plus this thing has 43 more pieces than I thought it did. So much for brain power, eh? Not sure how I did that. But I did.

That’s 280a you’re looking at. And 281a. 282a. Fuck.

I filled one yard of Wonder Under (which JoAnns still carries, but I do buy by the bolt, because I’ll use it much faster and it’s not the size of a fat middle-school kid) and started on a second. I’m almost halfway through. All good things. If I just traced all day instead of running around and doing things, I would be done tomorrow. (not happening)

Oh yeah, if you aren’t a patron of mine and you aren’t on Facebook, you probably didn’t see this video…I posted this publicly so people could get an example of what I do for my patrons…

You can also see it on my Patreon page here. My patrons will get the next part of this sometime this week. I started editing it last night. It’ll be done soon. I’m trying to build alternate sources of income related to my making art, so I can spend more time making art and less time copyediting etc. As I take on a 100K-word job because I need to pay back some college loans for the boy plus trim some trees and that whole thing where you don’t get paid in the summer but you still have to buy supplies for school and food and pay the damn mortgage even though there’s no paycheck coming. That shit is stressful.

Anyway. Selling stuff here and there, trying to figure out whether I can retire ever; these are all on my mind.

Working on the second yard. Up too late.

Then dogs and trash trucks and the man and cats this morning there is no way to attempt real sleep. I should remember that at midnight. Honestly, I was going to stop tracing before I figured out the double-numbering thing, and then I knew it would irritate me enough later to possibly delay my tracing again, so I just did it to get it out of the way.

I ate while writing this. So off to the gym I go. Stitching meeting this afternoon. More tracing tonight. FOCUS DAMMIT.

As We Drift into the Zone*

It’s the weirdest thing. You turn in your last grades of the school year, and all of a sudden, you come home and you don’t have any schoolwork to do. My brain panics a little. Wait. What do I do after work? I don’t have more work? (I mean, I do, but not like grading stuff, which is a never-ending thing along with planning for the whole school year and part of the summer.) I joined this teacher group for the year to try to cut some of my work hours, to streamline the shit so I can enjoy the not-shit more, and so many teachers are already on break and wondering why they can’t get going, why they’re still sleeping in the morning, still in pajamas at 2 in the afternoon. It’s called recovery. And I’m not there yet. My classroom is still a disaster. I’m still teaching sex ed today, plus there’s a school teacher breakfast, so I need to be in early. And then I also have a field trip tomorrow and another award ceremony, and then the sweet horrible wonder of the last day of school. I’m almost done getting everything put away in the classroom. Today I’m typing up the list of hazardous stuff we need to get rid of, so hopefully it can get picked up before they put summer school in my room.

Yesterday was exhausting. This whole last month has been exhausting. Frustrating. Stupid people stuff. Dumb adult drama. Too much work. Soon. Soon it will be done.

So I went home and walked dogs…

We went to the more open space…

The plants are changing color…

It’s been dry and hot in the last week. I had to put the sprinklers back on at home.

They scraped the road…it’s a fire break, so that makes sense. Less chance of getting ticks too, unless you’re the little boy and need to pee by standing on a bush.

No sign of coyotes…although you know they were there.

I know there’s cleaning to do. I need to sew some stuff (quick) for a friend. I need to do my second Patreon video. I found the videos I already recorded and downloaded them. Then I got distracted by something else. Easy to do when the brain is still so overloaded. The men around us teachers keep asking why we’re so irritated, emotional, distant, whatever. Um. So it’s really hard to explain how much emotion and care we put into our jobs. We think about kids nonstop. Not always with irritation! With worry. With sadness. With joy. With hope. So this week, we’re kind of a mess. Come back to me in July and I might have recovered. Mostly.

But I didn’t grade after eating dinner. I worked on this!

I haven’t been working on this at all, because I’ve been doing the embroideries. Which needs to start up again, but I have to do drawings first. Maybe later this week. I have one I want to simplify already. He’s not done, by the way. He needs nostrils and eyes and something on his horns.

I also started cutting stuff out…

I actually did one whole yard and the smaller piece, so I’m more than halfway done. I might be ironing to fabric by Friday. That would be cool. This could be a really fast piece. Of course, that means I’m forgetting all the other stuff that is going to suck up my days in the next week or so. But it’s OK to forget all that right now.

*Weezer, Island in the Sun

Shed Our Skin, Let the Sun Shine In…*

Hello Monday. You woke me up several times during the night, trying to fake me out. Tellin’ me it’s morning when it’s really still the middle of the night. You wouldn’t let me sleep that last half hour at all. And now you’re all gloomy and pissing down spit (which I am totally OK with, so you didn’t get me then…). I don’t feel like I got a weekend at all. But OK. It’s that time of year. I’m about to get some time off…much-needed time. I just need to bully through.

We did go to my parents for Fathers’ Day. I told him all the things at my house that were broken, because that’s what fathers want for Fathers’ Day, right? I also made him chocolate cake. That might have been nicer.

Here’s my guy (not my dad) looking for UFOs after throwing the ball a thousand times for Calli while I was grading…

Seriously. Hours of grading this weekend. And the kids trying to turn stuff in late.

Katie was being weird.

There was a coyote out there…we saw it go by the house on the road, into the driveway and then the lower yard, and across another property. You can just about see it below. Maybe. Middle right…

Scary. We came home and I graded some more and eventually stopped and made art. It’s not that I was done with grades…they are due today, but I can’t do any more until after 2nd period…

I had about 200 pieces left to trace, so I did them. Yes, that means I stayed up too late. Why do you ask? My brain was wired by then. I was wide awake and totally stressed out. I finished tracing…only two yards and a small bit…

It took me about 5 1/2 hours to trace them all. Almost exactly 100 pieces an hour, which is my usual estimate. Tonight I’ll start cutting…because you know why? Tonight I won’t have any grading to do. Because it will be done. For the year.

Then I can start to wade through my gigantic to-do list, but also on that list is the art stuff. So that’s a good thing. Today? Today getting there will be a bit hellacious…but it’ll be good once it’s done.

*Ivy, Edge of the Ocean

Of That You Can Be Sure…

So I’m running with exhaustion right now…mental and physical. But it’s weird, because last night, I easily could have gone to sleep at 11 PM. I was completely done. But I didn’t want to go another night without making any art. So I said, I’ll just trace for 30 minutes…and within about 5 minutes of starting, I began to wake up. The tiredness just sloughed off and I’m thinking I can go for another hour (not a good plan). I ended up tracing for 45 minutes and then made myself go to bed before midnight, because I know today will be tiring and my blood sugar will be off (we have a production in the afternoon, so my lunch is way too early). But I could have gone for another hour…easily.

I did about 90 pieces…I’m at about 316. No. I AM at 316. So another 200 and a bit to go. I could do that tonight, if I didn’t have grading to do. That’s all I’m doing this weekend I think. I have a social thing and I think a family thing, but then grading. Until I die. Or my computer dies. Something. It’ll be fine. I figure I’ll be ready to iron stuff down in perfect timing with the end of the school year, which is nice, because that’s what I’ll need. I also need to make a summer to-do list, because there’s some major stuff that needs fixing. Sigh. I love tasks like that when I don’t have a paycheck coming in.

I’m glad I got up and traced. It makes me feel better. I’m still tired and cranky and feel like I’ve failed at dealing with that one kid who’s driven me nuts all year, but I have to be OK with that. There’s always one. I didn’t kill him. That’s a plus.

In really good news (I don’t know why, because I’m about to design 6 more and then stitch them), I finished the last of the models for the embroidery patterns! A miracle…

Look at all that dog/cat fur! It needs washing, dehairing, and a proper photo. But otherwise, it’s good. I need to put an embroidery page on my website too. SUMMER. So many things for the summer. I’m afraid of the to-do list. I do already have an idea for the first of the next 6 patterns. If you want to purchase any of the patterns (and I think kits should be available soon), they are at the Global Artisans shop. If you do stitch one of them up, I’d love to see it. Meanwhile, I’m trying to figure out how to HIDE a penis in one of the next 6. I don’t usually hide them. They’re usually right out there, easy to find. Kind of like in real life.

Deep breaths. I can see the end of the school year right over there. As I’m finishing up teaching STDs today and turning to HIV…we’re almost done! We finished two proposals for working on school stuff over the summer, though, plus I’ll be at three different conferences about how to change up schools. The work never stops…and I should get paid for most of that for once. But there will be plenty of artmaking…of that you can be sure.

Shine Until Tomorrow*

One of my long-time stitchy friends is moving to Portland this month. It’s OK. That’s where her grandkid is and she’s retiring from teaching (well, at least technically…who knows what the future brings), so it all makes sense. I’ve been quilting with her on and off since I was 23. She is in fact the woman you can blame for my knowing how to quilt at all, although my mom is who you blame for knowing how to sew and having some sort of fabric addiction. That started when I was much younger.

In losing her to Portland, I also lose one of my monthly social meetings…so I’ve been working on options. It looks like SAQA in San Diego may start to rev up a bit, and I even found a meeting space here in El Cajon that we could use if people are interested in meeting. I might even go check out La Mesa, because people get freaked out by my town. It’s safe, people. It’s safe. So I’m kind of looking forward to that, although I don’t know how long it will take to get everything moving. And I hope no one annoying comes to the local meetings. Maybe I’m the annoying one, who knows. Change is never easy, but I guess all the crazy that’s happened to me over the years has helped me deal with some of it. Although I’m gonna miss my friend like crazy, I’m still going to try to find a quilt community that I sort of fit into somewhere besides online.

Last night was the last official meeting of the group, but she’ll be back for a bit in July to pack more boxes and move more stuff. I don’t envy her that. At the meeting, I worked on the last of the printed embroidery patterns that I need to do for now…

It’s almost done…just a little bit at the bottom. Then I need to design 6 more.

I didn’t grade yesterday, but I was at tutoring. That was tiring. After I had dinner last night (super late), I started tracing…

I only got an hour in…I’m tired…

But I’m almost halfway at this point. That’s the wonder of doing a quilt that doesn’t have a lot of pieces.

So sometime this week it should get traced. Although I really need to grade stuff too. Crazy meeting schedule this week. It’s messing with my ability to get that done. Tonight is book club and it’s a million miles away…but I’m going. So there. I read the book. I need a break. Ugh. Long drive. I’m getting old?

OK, I need to get to work and get going on the day. More STDs today…always fun. The school year is winding down. I’m winding up to get some art done. That part is exciting…as always.

*The Beatles, Let It Be