Posts Tagged ‘Ann Anastasio’

A Sci-Fi Crazy Quilt

April 4, 2018

When Ann Anastasio and I wrote our first novel, Death By Chenille, we planned to create patterns for the quilts mentioned in the book. I volunteered to make the crazy quilt we described. I thought it would be pretty, and I love to embroider. Well, our third novel, The Chenille Ultimatum, has just been published and I’m finally getting started on the blocks. I have them pieced, but not embellished.

I believe this one will have yellow chevrons

Although we have mentioned this quilt in all three books, we haven’t described it lately so I had to go back and read the description. I’m one of the authors–you would think I could remember my own words. Not so much. “Self,” I said, “this crazy quilt idea is getting crazier by the minute.”

We described one block bisected with an embroidered ribbon

The quilt plays an important role in getting the aliens to trust the humans. The embroidery stitches tell the story of the first time they visited Earth. I had worked out what each stitch meant. Unfortunately, I succumbed to the worst lie writers tell themselves: “I’ll remember this later. No need to write it down now.” Of course I don’t remember what I had in mind and now I have to come up with embroidery patterns that fit.

The cross-stitch tells the story of the first time the aliens visited Earth

Our books are cozy sci-fi, which means the science is wibbly-wobbly because humor is more important than equations (our aliens disguise themselves as bolts of beige fabric, for Pete’s sake), so I’m hoping our readers are the cozy and forgiving sort. I am counting on the kindness of quilters who will agree that a finished quilt is beautiful, even if it doesn’t entirely fit the description in the book.

Luck and wisdom!

Finished Enough to Celebrate

February 14, 2018

Despite an accumulation of small medical woes that have irritated me (who knew toothache could be so debilitating?), I brought two projects close enough to finished that I intend to celebrate.

This is what I made from the collection of blocks I received from The Progressive Party. I decided I didn’t want a classic setting, so I put black strips of varying widths along one side of the blocks. The horizontal sashing includes a flamingo on a skateboard because I found it in my stash and it wasn’t going anyplace else.

The second project is the third novel in the Chenille Series, The Chenille Ultimatum.

Book 3 with Ann Anastasio

In the latest adventure with our quilting heroines, Susan travels to the distant planet of Schtatik to save her mother and daughter, and stop a civil war. You can find it on Amazon here.

Of course, I still have to quilt the top and promote the book, but that is going on another To-Do List. Today’s list is long enough.

Luck and wisdom!

First Discovery of 2018

January 10, 2018

The Progressive Party will start a new round soon, and I resolved to design my project rather than throw a random block in a bag with some fabric that I could reach (which is what usually happens). I hauled out my bags of tree fabric, and made the first happy discovery of 2018.

I’m pretty sure I didn’t make this landscape. I think I got it from Ann Anastasio in a pile of fabric she didn’t want to move to another state. In any event, my Progressive Project once again will be a random piece in a bag with fabric I could reach. So much for new year resolutions.

My replacement iron arrived, and revealed the second discovery of 2018 – ironing is a lot easier with an appliance that works and a clear space to stand.

I must admit that the space around the ironing board is clear because for yet another week I have left the bags that once lived there in the hiding places I stashed them before Christmas. Eventually I will have to bring them back to the sewing room, but that’s a chore for another day.

For now, I will admire the last project I got back from the Progressives. I started with a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired fabric, and they made this.

The new year may bring many more new discoveries and challenges, but one oasis of stability is the creativity of my quilting friends. I hope that 2018 will find you surrounded by creative, supportive people.

Luck and wisdom!

From Orphan Blocks To Art

December 20, 2017

My art critique group challenged itself to transform leftover quilt units – orphan blocks – into another piece. Since I have a boatload of orphan blocks (some of which I inherited from other quilters, don’t ask me how), I was overjoyed by the project. I pulled out some leftovers that Ann Anastasio gave me and started cutting. One of the units looked like it could make a great house. I searched through the pile and found something that I thought would be a blue tile roof. It didn’t turn out that way, but the yellow triangle made a nice capstone for a mausoleum, so I continued with the theme. I call the piece The Road To Quilters’ Heaven.

While I was searching for other orphan blocks, I ran across the center to a space quilt that I never finished. The robot blocks were still on the design wall, so they became part of the new space quilt.

I used Alexandra Von Burg‘s technique for making trees to make a spaceship.

I think using up orphans, scraps and unfinished objects to make new art really is the road to quilters’ heaven. I know it’s made me happy.

Luck and wisdom!

Of Reindeer and Chenille

December 28, 2016

Despite the approach of 2017, or perhaps because of it, I’m starting this post off with something cheerful and cute:

Lani Longshore reindeer

This is a Christmas present from my son. The kids sometimes tease me about my odd collections, but they know how to make me smile. Having something to smile about will be important in the coming weeks, because my Christmas present to myself was permission to ignore the projects in the sewing room.

I did manage to start one project, turning chenille into products that might be marketed with The Chenille Ultimatum. My co-author Ann Anastasio saw a tote bag with raw seams that we thought would work well for chenille.

Lani Longshore chenille tote bag

The bag is made from one long strip of fabric and two small rectangles for side panels. I added the pocket. The raw edges are ideal for chenille, since managing those thick seams isn’t fun at all. Here is the reason I know that:

Lani Longshore chenille pillow

Turning the pillow corners took nearly as long as sewing the entire envelope. I’m not sure if it would be easier to make a round pillow or to try inserting tassels in the corners to hide any irregularities.

Those are questions for another day, however. Today, I’m going to admire my new reindeer, and ignore my projects as my New Year’s gift to myself.

Luck and wisdom!

An Extra Blog For Shameless Self-Promotion

December 12, 2016

 

Ann Anastasio and I entered our second novel, When Chenille Is Not Enough, into a contest on Inkitt.com. You can read it for free, and if you are so inclined you can leave a review. If we get enough people thinking our book is a ripping good yarn, we win. Thanks to the help of Ed at Tech Support, I can now share that link with you: click on link

when-chenille-is-not-enough-2500

When Chenille Is Not Enough is the continuing saga of quilters saving the world from shape-shifting aliens. In the first novel, the aliens assumed the form of bolts of beige fabric. Now they can look like humans, and one is coming after our heroine, Susan. She and her friends still use chenille to save the day, but ice cream figures prominently as well.

Even if you don’t want to read our story, check out InKitt.com. There are tons of books in a variety of genres, and some are free. The people who run the site are trying to find the next big literary thing through crowd-sourcing. Given the state of the publishing industry, this is good for readers and better for writers.

That’s the end of the shameless self-promotion. I’ll be back on Wednesday with my regular reports.

Luck and wisdom!

Surprises

December 16, 2015

This is the season of surprises. Some of the good surprises that have come my way include our Christmas tree.

A tree for the house

A tree for the house

This is how it looked before we smothered it with lights and ornaments. I almost kept it this way, but we’d already brought the decorations out of storage. Given the drought and fires in the region, I was grateful there were Christmas trees available at all. The best surprise is the smell. It is the most fragrant tree we’ve had in years.

Clean enough for now

Clean enough for now

The next surprise is I’ve kept my sewing table clean-ish. Yes, there are still a few stacks to deal with, but the space was cleared enough in time to wrap presents. Then I put the wrapping things back where they belong. That qualifies as a Christmas miracle in my book.

The last surprise came from two artist friends who gave me note cards they’ve made from their own work.

Lani Longshore Ann Anastasio note card

This is Oak Leaves and Acorns by Ann Anastasio. She is a talented fiber artist, and also the co-producer of Art Quilt Santa Fe.

Lani Longshore Kat Mulkey note card

Dot Bees is the creation of Kat Mulkey. She is a fabulous photographer and painter. These cards are going into small frames, then into the sewing room to inspire me.

Luck and wisdom!

Use the Good Stuff First – Quote Challenge

September 23, 2015

The late Doreen Speckmann used to tell her quilt students to use the good stuff first. “If you don’t, when you die your family will turn that fabulous batik you’ve been saving into a clown costume.” Oh, I know all the adages about saving something for a rainy day, and about keeping special things for special occasions. That’s good advice, too, but when your sewing room is bursting at the seams try doing some projects with the good stuff.

Cram as much beauty into your life as you can

Cram as much beauty into your life as you can

You might be worried that the project won’t work and you’ll have wasted your supplies. Ann Anastasio and I taught a workshop called “There’s a Quilt in There Somewhere.” We instructed students to bring the one piece of fabric deemed too wonderful to use. The first order of business was for everyone to cut her special fabric in half. “Look,” we would say, “now you have something left over if you don’t like what you make in class.” It’s amazing how having a reserve opened up the creative floodgates.

A small luxury is still a luxury - enjoy!

A small luxury is still a luxury – enjoy!

So take that special fabric, bead collection, thread collection, notebook or china set off the shelf. Break into the good chocolate, the expensive spices, the great wine. Host an art play date or a party if you want to share, but use the good stuff while you can still enjoy it.

Luck and wisdom!

Flamingo Fan

June 24, 2015

My daughter sent me a link to an article about the passing of Donald Featherstone, the man who created the plastic lawn flamingo (click here). Meredith and I shared a mother-daughter night of vandalism when we planted two of the garish critters on the lawn of my friend, Ann Anastasio. We had to park two blocks away from her house just to make sure we stopped giggling. We didn’t want to be discovered before we could stick the birds in the ground and make our escape.

Ann’s sister Sarah wanted to surprise her for her birthday. I was happy enough to be a partner in crime, but it wasn’t my idea. Part of me was a little sad that it wasn’t my idea. The more I thought about flamingos, the more curious I became about what still remained of that old fad. I started looking for flamingo stuff, and by golly it’s out there.

My own flamingo patch

My own flamingo patch

I even made myself a flamingo tote bag.

Rocking those flamingos

Rocking those flamingos

In honor of Mr. Featherstone and the plastic icon that defined a generation, I would like to collect plastic pink flaming stories. I’ll print them here, with pictures if you have them. If I get enough, maybe I can edit a book and convince someone to publish it. It would be a fragile and funky immortality, but imagine having your byline in a book about pink flamingos. Now stop laughing and write your story.

Luck and wisdom!

Art Quilt Santa Fe 2014

April 30, 2014

 

The fourth Art Quilt Santa Fe was wonderful, as always. I was able to help Ann Anastasio and Gale Oppenhiem-Pietrzak and their fabulous teachers, Betty Busby and Carol Shinn. I also had the chance to learn about a new product (well, new to me), Colorhue Instant Set Silk Dyes.

Experiment with dye

Experiment with dye

Whoever created this product had me in mind. It works on protein-based fabrics (silk or wool), sets immediately, and is reasonably non-toxic. We made a test square first, spritzing the fabric with water then scrunching it to get the pattern. After that, we each made a scarf.

My new treasure

My new treasure

Colorhue is available through Dharma Trading Company. My order of dyes and silk is on its way even as I type. Heaven knows where I’ll put it, but I’ll steal space if I must.

Gale and Ann are working on the details for the next Art Quilt Santa Fe (late April 2015). I’m planning on going out to help again – consider joining the fun!

Luck and wisdom!