Posts Tagged ‘clutter’

Creativity with Clutter

October 18, 2017

I made a quilt with tea towels, because I needed to get creative with my clutter.

Scotland forever, warming up my toes

The towels were gifts, so I knew from the get-go that I could never dry the dishes with them. I still wanted to use them, but for the longest time couldn’t figure out how. The absurdities of aging gave me an idea. I very often have cold shoulders and hot feet, so I made a small snuggle quilt. It is also a good size for when my shoulders are hot and my feet are cold.

The borders and binding came from my blue and green fabric drawer. I pulled out the smallest pieces, the ones that were essentially cluttering up the drawer, cut them in strips and sewed until I was satisfied.

My guard hippo and lucky egg

This is one of the non-fabric collections that lives in the sewing room. I call it a decorative display. My family calls it clutter. My friend Bettina suggested I write a story about monsters hiding in the sewing room. I glanced around at my toy collection, and an idea was born.

What secrets does the black-eyed seal hide? Will the roadrunner tell?

I think my toys are cute, but those are the things that make horror stories even more frightening, yes? So, now I’m thinking of the stories as well as the quilts that can come out of my sewing room clutter. There are still a couple of weeks before Halloween, so maybe I’ll come up with something to celebrate, either in words or in fabric.

Luck and wisdom!

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Social Media and the Solitary Quilter

April 26, 2017

Creating art is usually a solo journey. I am lucky enough to have collaborators for some of my fiber art and fiction, but most of my work is done alone. Social media is useful for promoting one’s work, but first you have to get something finished. I started this blog to help me move from solitary quilter in a quagmire of a studio to fiber artist with something to show for it. It was a daunting experiment.

I called this corner Fort Longshore

I’ve worked diligently, finished some things, but my studio still looks like this.

The foundation of a fort on my sewing table

The sad truth is, I have so many stacks of works-in-progess and ideas-that-deserve-more-attention and oh-isn’t-this-a-cute-fabric that my studio will probably always look like the aftermath of a warehouse explosion. However, I figure if one part of social media could make me a little more productive perhaps another part could help as well. Julain Kleist-Corwin, a good friend and wonderful writer, recommended Instagram, and now I’m on that. I believe you can find me as lanilongshore, but if you search under #artquiltsantafe you should find my posts.

My intention is to post once a day, and focus on what I’ve accomplished. Yeah, that was the plan. I’ve already put up many days of flowers blooming in our garden because I did bupkus in the sewing room.

There is always art in the garden

I’ve also posted art quilts I made a long time ago. This is one of them.

Called Window, because it reminds me of a window open to the stars

Blogging once a week helped me to get over my fear of messing up a project, because I wanted to have something to write about. I’m hoping that posting on Instagram once a day will keep me working on a project even when I’m out of ideas because a picture of something is better than a picture of nothing. Check in on my progress (or lack thereof) if you have a free moment.

Luck and wisdom!

Why I’m Still Cleaning

June 17, 2015

Perhaps the question should be why I bother. I took a workshop with Vicki L. Johnson and was shown what is really in my heart – clutter.

Lani Longshore workshop table

This is how my side of the table looked after one hour. We were taking notes for the first twenty minutes, too. Then we started working.

Lani Longshore Sue Stephenson

My table buddy, Sue Stephenson, worked diligently and neatly. I did not. After two hours, my side of the table looked like this.

Lani Longshore workshop table B

I admire Sue’s courage – never once did she show fear at the piles massing at the border.

Lani Longshore workshop table C

Sue gave me a great caption for the photo above, but there was no room to pull out paper and write it down.

Despite the mess, I spent a thoroughly delightful day painting, stamping, and printing fabric.

Lani Longshore leaves

Luck and wisdom!

Again with the lemonade

July 25, 2012

Both of the kids are returning to the nest while they look for work. One just finished a masters degree, the other is still trying to figure out what life, the universe and everything really means. The good news is we can offer them a place to live while they regroup. The bad news (Part A) is I really, truly, absolutely, positively have to remove my stuff from their rooms.

You may recall that I had been keeping fabric in their rooms, our room, the living room, and the garage as well as the sewing room. The bad news (Part B) is that the garage door that we had hoped to have replaced long before this is getting replaced while I’m clearing out the kids’ rooms. We had to have twelve feet (12′) of clear space for the workmen to install the garage door, which meant there was no room for me to squirrel away the fabric. I couldn’t even use a corner as a staging area because there were no empty corners.

The universe had its fun with me, then showed me the way out. Tucked away in a corner of my son’s room were the shelving units he used as a kid to keep his toys in order. My husband even found the connecting pieces that turned the metal grids into shelves. I took the fabric for my prison program (in plastic bins and cardboard boxes), put it in the living room temporarily, and assembled a few of the grids.

 

Bonus points if you see what’s missing

This first effort was essentially a proof of concept experiment – first that I could get the grids together and second that the plastic bins would fit. They did. In fact, I got all of the fabric that had been in the corner stowed away with room to spare.

This is what was in the corner

 

This is how much space it took up on the new shelves

My husband poked his head in the sewing room when I stopped swearing (I said I got the grids together – I didn’t say I found it easy). He took one look at my shelves and cautiously mentioned that they weren’t as stable as one might like. He then offered to help me rebuild the shelf right then and there. This is how much more stuff I got in there once he put the back pieces in:

So we’ve come full circle. The units I bought my son to keep his toys out of my hair are now being used to keep my stuff out of his hair. I still have more units, and more plastic bins. Give me a couple of weeks, and I might even clear out enough stuff along the batting wall to complete my new storage system.

 

Biscuit Month

September 2, 2010

I have a calendar of food holidays, like corn chip day (January 29), waffle day (March 25), and spumoni day (August 21). There are also food weeks, such as fig week (November 1-7), and entire food months. September is biscuit month.

The obvious way to celebrate food holidays is by making the food, but I don’t fancy making biscuits for the next thirty days. However, I woke up to the realization that I have never made a biscuit quilt. Like coming to an intersection and suddenly remembering that in the two decades you’ve lived in this town you’ve never, ever turned left here, the desire to do just that is overpowering. I also thought of all the odd scraps I’ve got, and decided a biscuit quilt would be a good way of using some of them.

I took the first two scraps that came out of the bag, and made a tiny pouch. The instructions I found call for a 4″ square and a 5″ square, but I thought that sounded kind of clunky. While I’m not a big fan of rules in quilting, I have found that smaller is often prettier (I’ve also found that almost everything looks better on point, but that’s an adage for another day).

This is where I started

The pouch before turning

Sewing the tiny pouch was easy, stuffing it was another matter. I couldn’t find the bag of fiberfill. It’s there, in the sewing room, I know it is. I can hear it laughing at me. So, I took a scrap of batting from the trash, sliced and diced it, then filled the pocket.

My first biscuit

So, there you have it – or there I have it, “it” being another project. If I don’t find the fiberfill, I may turn my biscuit into a pincushion. Or a base for a clutterfly (I haven’t forgotten about that project, even if I haven’t done anything with it). In the meantime, there’s always next March – noodle month. Imagine the possibilities.

Nests

July 14, 2010

The next Challenge Group assignment is on the theme of home. We can do anything we want – home as house, home as country, home base (as in baseball), home is where the heart is. Coincidentally, the next all-guild challenge is on the theme of home and hearth. I love having overlapping projects, so I started thinking about what I could do, and how much fabric I could use up (especially the fabric already in piles on the cutting table).

Some of the piles are animal prints, which gave me an idea – I could do a quilt on animal homes. Better yet, I could do a series of small quilts on animal homes, which would eliminate the problem of mashing up fabrics that really do not go together. I’ve made quilts like that before – juxtaposing patterns, colors and themes – to greater or lesser success, but I’m always happy to make life a little easier for myself.

At any rate, in thinking of the various animal homes I would attempt, the idea of bird nests leaped to the top of the list. There are so many different techniques that could be used – some of which I even know how to do – and the possibilities for embellishment are most enticing. Then I looked around the sewing room and realized why the bird nest idea really grabbed me.

I live in a nest.

To be precise, my creative spaces are nests of nests. For example, I have a basket of Halloween fabrics waiting for my attention.

Will a hobgoblin hatch from here?

As you can see, the basket is a nest, and I’ve nestled a spider pin in the collection.

Then there is the nest of “these really belong together” fabrics.

A clutch of cloth

The pile grew too large on the cutting table – it kept falling over whenever I tried to work – so I put it in a lovely purple folding fabric box. A nest.

Then I looked at my writing desk. Imagine my surprise to find that it, too, is a nest.

I used to call it a fort, but I like the connotations of nest better. So now I know what home really is to me – a place to weave my dreams, with bright shiny objects tucked in at random. A nest for those whose wings are of imagination, not feathers.