Posts Tagged ‘beads’

Improv Art

November 14, 2018

The improvisational piecing panels swam to the top of the nearest pile in the sewing room, so I finished the quilt.

I knew I wanted to do something with the raw edges of the panels, so in the true spirit of improvisational art I used what was at hand. Some thick embroidery thread and beads left from another project either had to go in the very next project or be put away. You don’t need to be psychic to guess what I did.

I’m pleased with the quilt, but I do wish I knew why this one worked and other improv pieces I’ve tried didn’t. Perhaps the stars were in alignment, perhaps I’m honing in my signature color palette, perhaps I like it because people I’ve shown it to like it. Fortunately, I have lots more scraps for more experiments.

Luck and wisdom!

The Landscape of My Memory

January 18, 2017

Once again, the Challenge Group project has given me a chance to explore my beads, my stash, and my world view. The theme is “I Remember . . .” but I’m rapidly reaching that time of life when I really don’t remember. The little gray cells are aging. I thought of the implications of the graying of the gray cells, and started this project in the brain quilt series, which I call The Landscape of My Memory.

My mind as a map

My mind as a map

The central background is one that the Progressive Party made when I asked for small art pieces to embellish. It really is a landscape. I added the borders and the beads. First I quilted lines with little blue crystals that represent those ideas/memories that seem to bubble up without a care in the world. Then I added the pearls, which represent those ideas/memories that bubble up but are actually worth capturing.

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble

The twisted red border comes from my brain fabric stash, and represents my neural network. Bless its heart, it tries so hard. I added some dark beads to represent the little nuggets of neurons that keep hanging in there, anchoring me to reality as best they can.

Work those neural nets

Work those neural nets

The bottom dark gray border represents the memory swamp where ideas go to hide. They aren’t necessarily bad ideas, but they don’t have a lot of staying power. Still, I always have hope that if I’m very lucky, someday I’ll be able to reach those ideas/memories. That hope is represented by the thin line of shiny crystals, just because I can.

Who knows what lurks in the shadows? Not me!

Who knows what lurks in the shadows? Not me!

Luck and wisdom!

Next Steps

November 16, 2016

Before the holidays really kick in, I’ve sorta kinda maybe vowed to clear off my sewing table. I do this every year, sometimes successfully. This is the season when my studio turns into the scary room. We clear out stacks and piles in other rooms to accommodate guests and the Christmas tree and presents needing to be wrapped and extra supplies and . . . anyway, I did finish the tree project

A few beads, a little silk cord, and done!

A few beads, a little silk cord, and done!

I also made a project for myself with another patch from my collection.

Lani Longshore celtic horse

While I was rearranging piles, I found a painted block of Cannon Beach. The block will go on top of a pile for inspiration once the holidays are over and I need something to distract me before I check on all my new deadlines.

Lani Longshore Cannon Beach

Luck and wisdom!

Fun With Glue

November 9, 2016

The latest Challenge project is to find something unique about our area, and translate that into a quilt. There are a lot of things unique to this part of California, but what strikes me is that in any given neighborhood you can find a deciduous tree, a pine tree, and a palm tree. I’ve wanted to do a quilt about those trees for a long time, but I have yet to come up with the ideal design. So, I’m breaking the Challenge rules and having fun with glue.

Lani Longshore tree canvases

The little canvases are 4 inch squares. The fabric is from my extensive collection of tree prints. I whacked off a small piece and made random cuts until I liked the way the motifs looked against the black canvas, then stuck them on with glue stick. The jewels have no symbolic significance, I just like them. For those, I used an all-purpose white glue. I’ll attach the squares with some screw eyes.

Lani Longshore hardware

As you can see, I have S-hooks as well as screw eyes. I may attach some lines of beading to the edges of the canvases. I pulled out this box from my collection, but I will let the piece tell me what sort of beads it wants.

Lani Longshore bead box

While I was assembling the tree canvases, I remembered that I have a collection of appliques. I found one that I thought would be useful to keep me creating art when the ideal design eludes me.

Lani Longshore No Whining

Luck and wisdom!

Anxiety Lesson Two

October 5, 2016

Apparently I didn’t get a good enough grasp on being calm. This was another week of fret fests, although I am delighted to say one issue after another was solved with a minimum of fuss. My family calls me Anxiety Woman, able to leap to the worst possible conclusion in a single bound. In an attempt to train myself to react better next time, I pulled out all my old mantras for courage. Then a new one came my way, in the form of a tee shirt.

Lani Longshore tee shirt

I’m only marginally Celtic, but I’ll take anything that keeps me from running in circles. Even knowing that anger and anxiety are often linked (anger being a fear response in many cases), the shirt makes me laugh, and laughing makes me less anxious, and that’s always a good thing.

Another good thing was finishing one of my Colors of the Vineyard challenges (and I do mean finishing, not abandoning).

Lani Longshore tree

I sewed on the last bead, took a deep breath and said, “Self, this is good.” The sleeve is attached and the label will go on soon.

Lani Longshore tree detail

Even better, it is now a perfectly reasonable time to bring out the Halloween decorations. This year I’m adding a new item.

Lani Longshore pumpkin with crows

The pumpkin is molded from heavy plastic. The beads are ready-made appliques. I couldn’t decide between two of the offerings at the store, crows or bats, so I got both. After all, the pumpkin will be seen from several angles. Why have a blank side when I can have bling everywhere?

Lani Longshore pumpkin with bats

Luck and wisdom!

Managing Days Like These

September 28, 2016

I’m not sure whether my guardian angels are asleep, the household gods are otherwise occupied, or the pixies under the stairs are bored, but for some reason things have been going wrong. Not wrong in the “ohmygod the sky is falling” sense, just “well, that’s something I’d prefer not dealing with at the moment.” For instance, I was making what I thought was great progress on a quilt top when I discovered I hadn’t measured correctly. The good news is I have more fabric for the original project, because the bad news is no amount of reverse engineering will make the units fit. Oh, and now I have a new project (and I’m not certain if that is good news or bad).

Perhaps I can start my architectural series with this mistake

Perhaps I can start my architectural series with this mistake

The other thing that went wrong is really my own fault. I’ve been doing beading on the couch. This is my “set-up.”

Perhaps I should write a book about the lazy woman's guide to beading

Perhaps I should write a book about the lazy woman’s guide to beading

You can see immediately that this is neither a smart nor safe way to keep beads. As often happens, the top came off one of the tubes. The truly amazing news is that the spill was localized, and I rescued at least 99% of the little darlings.

So, what does one do on Days Like These? After I finished pouting, I remembered the mantra of a former boss: “If there are no dead bodies to hide, the problem can be managed.” That’s when I decided to take some time to enjoy the garden.

A lily in the sun

A lily in the sun

This is part of our lily collection. They sit in their beds and bloom their little hearts out.

Beautiful and bizarre, yes?

Beautiful and bizarre, yes?

This is a new plant. We bought it because of the flower, and the vine has rewarded us for our choice.

Just keep growing

Just keep growing

The morning glory is a tough little plant. It simply grows over any obstacles. If I am clever, I will take a lesson from the morning glory, and manage Days Like These by growing, not pouting. Wish me –

Luck and wisdom!

Colors And Vineyards And All That Jazz

September 7, 2016

I’m working on a couple of challenge quilts that may never be finished. Oh, they’ll be turned in, but they both keep telling me there is always room for one more bead.

This looks more like a grape vine if you squint

This looks more like a grape vine if you squint

The challenge is Colors of the Vineyard. I started with the background fabric and put a vine on one and a tree on the other. My usual procedure is to quilt, bead and bind. This time, I bound them in the middle of beading so that at some point I can say the project is done (even if it is merely abandoned).

Beads, lots of beads

Beads, lots of beads

I started beading grapes. That got old real fast, so I started beading around the motifs. Since I bead while watching TV, the needle kind of takes over. It’s like eating popcorn while watching a movie. Suddenly the bowl is empty and you don’t know how that happened. In this case, the fabric is encrusted but I have no idea when it happened.

My mossy tree

My mossy tree

For this quilt, I intended to use a blanket stitch around the tree applique and leave it at that. Then I looked at all my beads, and realized the quilt desperately needed a bit of sparkle.

Finally, a place for these tear drop beads

Finally, a place for these tear drop beads

I’ve been beading this quilt in front of the TV, too, but I forced myself to cover only one side of the trunk. I want it to look like moss.

Auditioning fabrics - better one?

Auditioning fabrics – better one?

I hadn’t intended to enter the tree into the challenge because it doesn’t meet the size requirement. My quilting buddies reminded me that if I made an underquilt the tree would meet the requirements just fine, thank you very much. The above fabric was my first choice (and not just because I could reach it easily).

Auditioning fabrics - better two?

Auditioning fabrics – better two?

This is my second choice. My third choice is to go shopping. I know which path my budget tells me to take, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to listen.

Luck and wisdom!

Where The Buffalo Roam

April 6, 2016

Since I didn’t have a plan for the embroidery on my buffalo collage, I put the threads and a couple of pattern books next to my place on the couch. When I watched TV, I also picked up my needle and thread. Hey, if buffalo can roam, so can my stitching. This is what I had by the end of the week.

Lani Longshore buffalo collage

Most of the stitches came from one of my crazy quilt pattern books.

The stencil is probably an auroch, but that's close enough for me

The stencil is probably an auroch, but that’s close enough for me

The backing comes from leftover pieces in my collection of High Plains and Southwest fabric.

Lani Longshore collage backing

I might add more embroidery later, but for now I’m auditioning beads in my new sorting container, which is the carry-out shell from the really cool cupcake place downtown, Cake Delight. When I finally finish the piece, I’m heading back there for my celebration treat.

Lani Longshore beads

Luck and wisdom!

Catnip

February 10, 2016

Beading is catnip for me. There are few things that have such a calming effect as sitting with a box of beads and an open canvas (or quilt top). This week I had a quilt-ish top to embellish.

Black plastic mesh, quilt patches, ribbon and beads - yowza!

Black plastic mesh, quilt patches, ribbon and beads – yowza!

I let the beads tell me what they wanted. Some of them were quite vocal.

The beads knew exactly where they wanted to be

The beads knew exactly where they wanted to be

Other beads just snagged the thread until the beads bent around to their will.

The big green bead wanted to be part of something small

The big green bead wanted to be part of something small

Some beads didn’t have a clue what they wanted so we’ll have to continue the conversation later.

These beads are considering the next steps

These beads are considering the next steps

Luck and wisdom!

Shiny Object Overload

February 3, 2016

I happened to be in Tucson visiting friends during the Gem Show. We decided to go to one venue (there are venues all over the city). It was amazing and unsettling. For the the first time in my life, I experienced shiny object overload. There was so much to see that I stumbled around like one of the walking dead. And I didn’t buy one single thing.

Yes, I know, astounding but true. There was so much to choose from I couldn’t choose. I saw the rocks with fossils and thought of the fish I bought my husband.

Lani Longshore fish fossil

I saw the rough stones and thought of the polished petrified wood we bought on a family trip.

Lani Longshore petrified wood

I saw all the beads and thought of my partially organized collection.

Lani Longshore beads

After all that thinking, I added another item to my New Year project list. I will organize my beads with an eye to what is missing. That way, the next time I’m at a gem or bead show, I’ll know where I should look to round out my collection. For good measure, I’ll look at my other rocks and gems, just in case there is another collection in my future.

Luck and wisdom!