Housework (ugh)

The best (perhaps only) thing about clearing the studio floor for vacuuming (ugh) is a little clarity about what to work on next: the thing on the top of the pile.


Not working enough

When I took on a job that has me working from home, I was a bit worried.
Worried about whether I would actually work.

After all, I have a Masters in Procrastination, with a Major in Self-Distraction and these are some of my specialties:

  • like to sleep
  • like to read
  • like to make art
  • like to tweet
  • like to go shoe-shopping
  • like to walk on the beach.
  • With enough time I even like to cook 

There are also the great truths that:

  • the garden needs serious work
  • the freezer needs defrosting
  • the bathroom needs painting
  • so does the pantry
  • what’s that interesting jar back there? – ooh! brandied apricots…

No matter how attractive working from home appears, I cannot expect my customers or employer to step aside for me to do this stuff. Even though all these things are in my face in my work space.

The thing is… there’s NOBODY looking. Nobody to note how much time or effort I put into my day, when I’m in the office or out of it. Nobody to bolster my willpower and reinforce my self-discipline.  I truly had no idea how much of my work ethic is actually located inside other people, and based in their expectations. Also, not so great at resisting temptation. Worrying.

My art work is completely different – it’s all self-driven in terms of content and timing. It’s great if *you* like it, but I really don’t care. I’m learning to do it when the work and I are ready, so rate of progress isn’t a significant measure either. No concerns about Letting Anyone Else Down

I had a lot of worried thoughts about all this.

Tune in tomorrow  – same Bat-time, same Bat-channel – to discover what actually happens

How tidy is tidy enough?

I just read a post on Organising by another bipolar chick. Recognized much of my ‘neat freak’ self there. oooh how I like to have everything in its place.

The writer discussed heping her family understand how much effort she was putting into tidying up after them. It certainly is good to give your housemates/family a chance to realise how much effort *you* are putting into maintaining something they value. They get an opportunity to grow into being able to take care of themselves and others.


It’s also useful to think about whether there is a difference between “how things need to be” and “how I want everything to be”. I’m the first to insist that tidy is more convenient and aesthetically pleasing – but I have learned it isn’t actually mandatory in the home – and sometimes we benefit from finding a middle ground that allows for the preferences of of our homemates.

This is the sweetly reasonable version – the other part is that I finally figured out that Suzy Homemaker was stealing hours from Sarah-the-Artist.  Remember my earlier post on maintenance? Now the tidying is pared down to a fairly relaxed standard. Less junk helps too.

So, I was thinking this is yet another post that isn’t about textile art, but maybe it is after all

Pharmaceutical Comforter

It all started at St Joseph’s Primary School. Back then “fundraising” was known as “collecting for the Missions”. What we collected was tinfoil. I doubt any of my class knew what the Missions were doing, or how our tinfoil would help, but we religiously collected each bottletop (remember them!).

Fastforward at least 30 years to me looking at my foil medication packets. No way can I treat them like rubbish. They represent the best strategy yet in managing my disordered mind… and they’re tinfoil! And look, they’re layered, with air in the middle. In a grid format. Kinda like a quilt really. So, the inevitable quilt project begins

This one has to be functional, of course. Blister packs are a bit stiff and scratchy to make a quilt that is nice to sleep under. After a few samples I decide on a simple half-square triangle block embellished with a packet.

It’s very boring in the middle phase of making and embellishing all the blocks. Now that is done I’m enjoying playing with different layouts. Here’s my favourite so far

More about the making of Pharmaceutical Comforter

Passion vs. maintenance

The word for today was ‘maintenance’ in the sense of all the things I do, or might do, that are *not* my passion. For example: singing the music of JS Bach is one of my passions, whereas vacuuming the house is not. Stitching an original art quilt? Passion. Cooking dinner, not. And yet, some maintenance must be done. Either I do it myself, or charm/coerce/pay someone else to do it on my behalf. Or decide it need not be done at all.

Yesterday I wrote about the need to make my original art quilts – a passion – my first priority. This is still true. But I wonder how much of my time should be given over to maintenance. How much maintenance did Picasso and O’Keeffe do? Going-to-work is maintenance. So is exercise. Maybe an answer is to do the maintenance with great passion too.