Heads on a Science Apart*

July 21, 2018

I haven’t really been paying attention to the total hours on this thing. I’ve just been head down, tracing. I did another 5 hours yesterday…not as many as I wanted, but I did some other stuff too, so I’m OK with it. I’m in the low 1400s, so I have just under 500 pieces to go…probably about 5 hours. I might get that done today? Maybe? Maybe not? It’s harder to trace in the morning because the sun hits that side of the house and it’s hot. Nighttime is best.

I have 2 1/2 yards cut out. I filled another 2 yards and set them aside for cutting, and then I think there are 3 more yards in process. The big pieces take up a lot of space but are quick to cut out usually. I’ve been trying to lump together like pieces as much as possible, like all the bricks in the walls, because that also makes it faster to iron and cut out.

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Musical interlude by boychild and dogs. Seriously, the Golden sings and the Pom barks.

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Sometimes I wonder how crazy my designs are…see those tiny pieces? Yeah. Birth control pills. Fucking insane.

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I feel like I’ve been tracing for DAYS. Well. OK, it has been a few days.

Only half a gecko. Not even half.

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The other night, I just left the room lights off and had the TV and the light table on. I made it through a couple of series of TV shows: Crossing Lines was OK and Secret City was interesting for the insight into Aussie/China viewpoints. World politics from another place in the world. Anyway, I don’t do a good job of paying attention to shows when I’m tracing, so it’s OK that they were just OK.

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I just have two main figures (and about 17 thousand leaves) to trace. Easy peasy. I should get started on that.

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Satchemo loving the Madagascar iguana the girlchild brought me…

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Great colors. Anyway, gonna go do some more tracing. Oh yeah! I’m at 17 hours and 45 minutes. I was hoping for about 20 hours…think I’m going well over that. Probably 23 hours. That’s my guess anyway. Then cut them out and start ironing. I have no jury duty next week, so I’m planning a vet visit for the UTI dog, call the tree guy back and see if he can do it in the next two weeks, get the Honda serviced and the back window cleaned up…but otherwise, hoping to get to the fabric ironing earlier in the week (it’s supposed to be a million degrees here next week…that will not help). The foot still hurts. No, I didn’t try the pickle juice. I did apply heat and I stretched and I wore shoes while tracing (ugh…too hot). Maybe it helped. It hurt when I went to bed last night, I think because I naturally point my toes when I sleep instead of keeping the foot perpendicular. I do have a night splint, but it’s hot and uncomfortable. Then again, everything is hot and uncomfortable this summer.

Art! Go make art.

*Coldplay, The Scientist

Oh Take Me Anywhere, I Don’t Care*

July 20, 2018

I actually left the house yesterday. I’m kind of in this frame of mind where I would lock myself up in my studio if I had one. But I work all over the house, so I guess my version is the one where I never leave the house except to get the mail. I only left to run errands at first, but then actually went to a social thing (well, one where I could make art as well). I have another errand or two for today, but they could be put off for a day or so. Hmmm.

Anyway, so I did not trace as much yesterday…although I still worked on the quilt for almost 7 hours, so I’m not really chastising myself there. I spent a little under 3 hours cutting 2 yards of Wonder Under out…so that was a good start.

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I had some computer stuff to do yesterday, so Kitten gave me some love.

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I hung out on the boychild’s bed with dogs again. This one is cute, except at 3 AM when he hears zombies. Or raccoons. Or whatever the fuck he hears that puts us all in imminent danger.

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After the boy left with the dogs, Kitten ventured out into the living room for the first time in forever. She’s been weird about coming out since the boy cat moved in (almost a year ago). But last night, she just waltzed out, sat in her favorite spot, and flicked her tail all over the place until he bopped it. Because that’s how he rolls. He sees her and makes a beeline for her but doesn’t usually attack. It’s kinda like he’s saying HI HI HI HI HI over and over again and she’s a little nervous about it.

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I did start tracing after dinner…

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And she eventually settled down in her favorite (most annoying) spot…on what I was tracing. She hung out for quite a while, though.

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Not sure what changed in her mind, but I hope it sticks. Anyway, I traced for about 4 hours…got about 300 more pieces done, so not my goal of 600 or so a day, but that’s to be expected if I’m not home. I finished one graffiti’d wall and have this one to do. Complicated as hell to trace. Probably much easier to iron.

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Anyway, like I said, I could run a couple errands today. I was planning on going to the gym, but my left foot started cramping last night really badly and is still painful today. I’m hydrated, I soaked it in hot water, I tried massaging it, but nothing’s really working. I don’t know what I did, although standing for hours might not be helping. Who knows? I do plan to get through another 600 pieces today…so hopefully that will happen. I already entered an art show before I wrote this, so maybe that’s the only thing I have to do today. I probably need to eat something. And maybe finish my tea. Sleep. I dream of you.

*The Smiths, There Is a Light That Never Goes Out


July 19, 2018

I need to go buy more Wonder Under this morning, because I used about 5 yards of it yesterday and I’m going to run out. Some days, I find it hard to make any art during the day. It’s too hot. There’s too many errands or other distractions. Need to shower, need to eat, need to go to work…but during the summer, I don’t seem to be any better at it. It often takes me until mid-July to hit my stride. It’s like my brain doesn’t really believe it’s vacation until someone says, oh hey, there’s only four weeks left. Aack. There’s all this shit still on my to-do list dammit. And I’m still on call for jury duty. Damn them. But the panic started…the one where I realize how many days I definitely won’t be able to make art due to people visiting, being gone, or pure exhaustion from school shit. So if I want this quilt to be done, I need to get my act in gear.

So I traced Wonder Under for almost 9 hours yesterday. Seriously. And I was antsy about it. I often am. I made myself go for an hour before I was allowed to take a break. For anything. Because I’m the queen of making excuses to wander off. And eventually, I kept coming back…because I set a daily goal (one I probably won’t meet today…exigent circumstances). I wanted to get a third of the way through, so about 600 pieces. And I did that.

It’s not a small drawing. It’s draped over the light table and the couch (note puppy asleep on the couch back, just under the window).

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I was trying to keep this thing simple (ha!), so there are a lot of big pieces that don’t necessarily save space on the Wonder Under.

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So they take longer to trace (longer pencil line) than the small pieces. Hence 663 pieces in almost 9 hours. I usually average about 100 pieces an hour. Not so much yesterday.

I have lots of animal interactions…

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When I’m taking a break, it’s really just to refocus my eyes and sit down for a bit, because I trace standing up and it’s hard to focus on that stuff for a long time without a break. So I walk around and sit for a while and go pee and make some more tea or eat something if it’s time to do that or go walk down the driveway to get the mail.

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Or watch the puppy sleep.

During one of the breaks, I straightened up my desk. It was a disaster. It still kind of is. I need something to put the scissors in and the pens and pencils I’m using right now. I have another container, but it’s already full. I’m not good at getting rid of marking implements. I don’t think that box is best for that. You can see one of the traced yards there…don’t think I can fit any more on it.

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I don’t know why I keep those scissors. They’ve been gnawed on. It hurts to use them. I think it hurts more to throw them away.

More Wonder Under piled up on the drawing…

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I started around 11 AM and finished after midnight the next day. I’ve got about 5 yards in process of being traced. A lot of big pieces means having to start a new yard before the other one is full.

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Anyway, more of that today, although I’ve got two errands to run this morning and a quilt meeting this afternoon. This thing is way too big to bring with me, so I’ll probably bring some Wonder Under to cut up and maybe some wool stuff. Then I’d really like to go to the gym tonight or tomorrow. There’s other stuff I need to do, but I often get into this artmaking mode and then I can’t do anything.

More distractions…puppy in a box.

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There’s this too. This is one of my favorite tops for work (for winter) and I accidentally got bleach on it (dumb move). So I don’t want to dye it. Too hard to match. Then there’s pens…but again, it’s a weird color (Sharpies are useful for black though). So I’m considering embroidery. Except what? And how? It would have to be more all over or viney stuff. So there’s that. I’ve got some time to deal with that.

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But for now, off to buy stuff. And eat stuff. And maybe trace stuff (well, no matter what, eventually I will trace stuff).

The blog title is one of the things I need to buy. I didn’t even know that’s what it was called. You learn something new every day.

Eyes Burn with Stinging Sweat*

June 28, 2018

So the training is done…I’ve spent three days (that’s it!) staring at this in the morning and afternoon…

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I don’t do freeways and traffic for my job any more. I did it for many years, until I was lucky enough to get a job just down the street. I don’t really enjoy it. OK, no one enjoys it. I’ll be doing it again this morning to try to get my car window fixed, but that’s it…until I get called to jury duty downtown. Ugh. OK. Not thinking about that.

I spent all day for three days staring at this…two notebooks, a million highlighters and post-it notes, a computer, a phone, a poor desperate apple that was all bruised and beaten and will come home to go in my compost. I might eat part of it, but mostly not. Plus caffeine. Oh god yes, caffeine. And some people.

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What do I know after all that training? That I am woefully unprepared for the test portion of certification, but that’s fixable. That I’m not starting in 2019. I mean, I might start studying and collecting stuff in 2019, but I won’t start the official process until 2020 at the earliest. I need my district to pay for it and I need to not have to come home some nights and work another job. Yes, I bid on a copyediting job last night. Because I need the money. Let’s hope I don’t have to do it at the same time as jury duty.

It was almost 8 PM when I finished. The moon was out. It was way prettier than this picture can ever show. I miss my old cameras that recorded more than the phone does.

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So after I went and got my annual eye exam, came back and did a sample edit and wrote a bid, and ate dinner and only embellished 2 balls instead of 3…then I numbered the two drawings. Mind you, these are only 5×6″. This one had 90 pieces and the other had 39. Still not small or easy. But they jumped the line because they’re due the end of July…

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Then I traced the Wonder Under for each…it took about 30 minutes to do this more complicated one…

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And about 10 minutes for this one.

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Not bad. I need to trim the Wonder Under today, but then I really need to finish the other two things that are in my studio before I do any more on these two. Luckily those shouldn’t take long. As long as no more crazy shit appears in my inbox or hits my car or gets rescheduled. Seriously. The good news is that my eyes are fine. I didn’t even need new glasses yet. That’s a plus. I’m hoping the car window thing is easily solved (I don’t have a lot of faith in it this morning…men who think they know how women are always wrong…that shit) and I can do the errands I need to do and maybe just stitch this afternoon at my friend’s house, which is what’s on the calendar. I might need a nap. I’m so tired this morning. I’m sleeping in tomorrow. It has been mandated. Someone needs to explain it to the animals so there are no interruptions. Who am I kidding? You know there will be interruptions.

Trying not to assume the worst with the Supreme Court…or with the Janus decision. Politics, man. It’s so hard because you can’t put your head in the sand and ignore it all…that’s what they want. So you have to let it into your head and let the possibilities fester. Like what kind of dumbassery will we have to deal with next?

That’s when I turn to making art. It helps. Not with the lack of sleep, but with the feeling of helplessness this administration has made so pervasive. My faith in humanity is being severely tested.

*Alice in Chains, Rooster

More Than a Little Crazy…

May 30, 2018

Oh hellz ya a long day. Got to school early for a parent meeting where the parent didn’t show. Always nice. Then taught about pregnancy all day…certainly made about a million times more difficult by the fact that we don’t teach body systems any more. Then did tutoring for an hour, mostly sitting by one girl and listening to her mangle words…talked to her mom (well, mom didn’t speak much English) about having the girl read in English to her mom and her brothers and sisters. She says she doesn’t like to read. I asked about magazines and the library. Mom’s all for it. Drove out to my photographer’s, avoiding traffic (but not dumbasses) for once. Got my quilt…he called it “tame” compared to most of mine. OK then. House cohabitant asked me if it had a woman spreadeagled with vulva in full view or an obvious penis. Holy hell, this quilt IS tame. Interesting, because it doesn’t feel that way to me.

This is Heart-Shaped Box

Fort Rosecrans Memorial Day

The first drawing was done in 2014 and had the two main figures in it.

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The fireplace got added earlier this month? I think? No, in mid-April. That’s right. I remember now. I took the trip during Spring Break, and came back and started drawing this full size.

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I added the fireplace and the backpack and the figure on the rug then.

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The figure on the rug has been sitting in my head since July 2014, when I first drew this.

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Weird how my brain works.

Calli is old, but she still plays…she was running around, throwing this up in the air for herself.

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Weird dog. Then she slept for a good long while.

So after dinner, I graded for a bit…I can’t really ignore that. And then I finished tracing the new quilt…It took a total of 11 hours to trace the Wonder Under, and I think I did it all in the last week. Minus graduation weekend.

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It’s a little less than 4 yards of Wonder Under. I found another double-numbered section. Brain fart.

And then I started cutting them out. If I base it on the last one, it’ll be about 6-7 hours of cutting…so 30 minutes last night…

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Two or three tonight and tomorrow night, and hopefully I’ll be done by Friday night…sort them, and start ironing down over the weekend. Sheesh. I really don’t know if I can pull this off.

Simba just wants me to pet him.

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Which I did.

I didn’t get far in 30 minutes last night…

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More tonight. More of the CRAZY tonight, because this is more than a little crazy. Meanwhile, here I am, up early again, for another meeting (parent will show for this one)…just no repeat on the tutoring and quilt pick up today. I have two other errands instead, plus it’s my turn to cook. Twelve days of school left…

Put Your Money Somewhere It Will Do Good

May 25, 2018

So this is really early and only vaguely coherent…either that or it’s really late, but still vaguely coherent. I was trying to get myself to bed early last night to get up for this crazy-ass flight this morning, and honestly, I suck at the relax and go-to-bed part of my life, so we’d watched the end of one of the Marvel movies (don’t have to watch TOO hard) and I was tracing Wonder Under (only got to about 720 or so, more on that later) and then stopped drinking tea (don’t attribute my sleeplessness to that…it doesn’t matter…I’ve tried without drinking it and I still am wired until after midnight) and drank a glass of wine and stopped trying to trace and was trying to actually physically walk down the hallway to the bedroom, but I had this Facebook post I wanted to do for one of the groups I’m in, but I was missing one piece of information. So I went to the website to see if I could find it on my own, and I found out (about a month after the fact) that my gun control quilt, Rooted in America, won 2nd place in Fantastic Fibers. Wow. OK. Wasn’t expecting that (isn’t that the best kind of award? Yes. Yes it is.).

But (and I woke up at about 1 AM on this one) I’ve had this tab open on my computer for a GoFundMe that I really wanted to send some money to, but it’s the time of year when I have to make sure I have enough to get through the whole summer with no paycheck, and I’m not sure of that yet, so I was waiting on the donation until I got through the end of school and all the kid expenses etc. before I donated, because maybe it was going to be a significant donation because I think this group is doing really good work and maybe it was not going to be as significant because two months with no paycheck is kinda painful. So now I can gladly send the larger amount…which makes me happy.

So the awesome cause is one I’ve talked about before, Social Justice Sewing Academy. They’re doing a summer program for kids and will be matched dollar for dollar up to $10K. You should check it out here…and give them some money, if you feel up to it. Not only are their quilts amazing, but the kids they work with are our future and we need to get them involved in politics and change for all our sakes. So as soon as that check gets here, I’m pushing most of it back out into the world to do good.

Meanwhile, like I said, I traced some stuff, but not enough…I shall survive.

I started the fourth yard of Wonder Under…

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I’m in the 700s…

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I misnumbered…again! Pieces 670 to 699, and then I restarted at 670 again. AGAIN. So that’s 29 pieces with a’s on them (all on the back at the moment…hopefully I’ll be able to figure it out in real time when I iron)…plus one that wasn’t even numbered, so it got a b.

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I’m leaving 5 animals in the capable hands of this guy…I’m sure he’s up to it, although he’s rethinking it right about now, when all three will start barking at the arrival of the car to take me to the airport…

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This one was not sure at all last night as to why there was luggage and Katie (my parents’ dog) and all this hustle and bustle…

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They will all be fine. With that, I gotta go get moving.

You Don’t Know Where and You Don’t Know When*

May 24, 2018

Well, the best-laid plans…you know the rest. Yes, the phone has a new battery…that’s the good news. The bad news was the camera has dust in it and they won’t just clean it out (ugh) and I had to drive to the Apple store twice yesterday, which is not a short distance from here. I survived, of course…even hit monster steps hiking all the way across the mall (fast, without stopping for anything, I hate malls) twice. Or four times, depending on how you look at it. I have today to survive (it’s another hike-across-town day…too many errands), then I need to come home and do laundry and pack, so I can get up in the middle of the night and leave town. I’m trying not to panic about getting grades done…or the next quilt, because I was strangely (WTF was I thinking?) believing I could finish tracing Wonder Under last night. What was I smoking? (I don’t smoke…)

So after dinner and running around the house looking for stuff I’m supposed to take with me (I always take kiddie scissors on the plane and couldn’t find mine, but then ended up finding two OTHER pairs of kiddie scissors AND the two tweezers I’d lost. So now I have three tweezers…is it PAIRS of tweezers or SETS of tweezers or just TWEEZERS plural? What is WRONG with me?), I finally got around to tracing Wonder Under at like 10:30. That was not my plan, but it is what happened.

I forgot to photograph the other fabrics I bought when I got the binding fabric.

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I’m actually incapable of buying JUST the binding fabric. It’s crazy to do that. CRAAZY. Probably explains my stash. I don’t actually buy a ton of fabric a year…as you saw on the last one, I’m trying to use up my stash for backings…I do buy backgrounds, sometimes more than one because I can’t decide…but this time, I just bought one. And one binding. And those. Above. Yeah. Well. I like words and weird diagrams and I always need good yellows and pinks and grays and that periodic table just cried out and that brown is a really nice red-brown shade, like the green is a nice mellow medium green. So there’s that.

This is puppy’s face when he might be in trouble.

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Notice the person’s sock and the cat’s tail. There were some inappropriate puppy actions going on. He gets snarly.

So back to the tracing. I think I hoped for another 2 1/2 hours last night, but honestly, I don’t think that would have done it anyway. There’s actually 904 pieces, not 800 and something…plus the little ones sometimes take longer to trace.

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So even though I did the iPhone and the bird carrying the heart and the entire chest with heart and lungs and veins and arteries, I didn’t get a ton done…I’m at piece 627…so 270 or so pieces left. And that’s a good 3 hours. And I don’t have 3 hours tonight. I need to go to bed early and try to sleep so I can function tomorrow. I suck at sleep, as you well know, and going to bed early is usually a no-go…plus I have to pack and all that crap, so I’m already pushed for time. I may not be able to trace at all tonight…or sleep (oh my, laughing semi-hysterically at that one).

Although tracing is the one thing that’s helping me not grind my teeth at the moment. Does this look like an octopus to you? Well it’s a lot of octopus pieces…

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There’s two yards laid out…mostly. I’m still on the 3rd piece…the bottom one is not filled…but there are big arm pieces next and so I’ll need a 4th yard of Wonder Under to get it all done. At least.

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And since I won’t be home until late on Monday night, odds are I won’t get anything else done until Tuesday next week. It’s OK. If it doesn’t get done in time, it will still get done and it will still be an awesome quilt. I’m cool with that. Doesn’t mean I won’t go for it…it’s just not going to be the end of the world if I don’t meet that deadline.

*Modest Mouse, World at Large