Posts Tagged ‘collections’

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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Gifts of the Sun (sort of)

August 30, 2017

The Great American Eclipse didn’t go over my house. We had 75% coverage, which was enough for the sky to darken a little and beautiful crescent suns to appear on the patio under the leaf-covered pergola. I wanted to make an art quilt to commemorate this gift from the sun (and moon), and used the American Quilter’s Society free pattern “Luna” as a starting point. The pattern represents a lunar eclipse. I turned my version into a solar eclipse with embroidery and a well-placed button.

The eclipse in felt and thread

The base is a piece of hand-dyed wool felt that fiber artist Gail Sims made. She used leaves she collected from her yard. I liked the idea of showing the progress of the eclipse on the ground, which is the way I watched it.

The well-placed button

The next gifts come from a land of midnight sun. My friend and sister quilter Margaret Misegades was on a cruise to Norway. Knowing my fondness for antlered animals, she found something reindeer at each port of call.

This is adorable

I plan to use my little pitcher for cream once the temperature drops enough that I can drink hot tea again.

Such a grand addition to my fridge magnet collection

The reindeer magnet is remarkably strong as well as just so darn cute. Even my grocery coupons look cool underneath it.

These pencils are wonderful, and I still use pencils a lot, but to be honest I’m thinking about using them as part of a table display for Christmas with flowers – fresh or silk – and maybe one of my birds.

Luck and wisdom!

Choices

February 1, 2017

Anyone walking into my sewing room knows I like to have choices. There are stacks of fabric everywhere, waiting to be chosen for the next project. Sometimes the stacks are organized, and sometimes they just exist.

Lani Longshore fabric stack

I used to feel guilty about this need to collect fabric, until I noticed all the other choice categories around the house. Some are mine alone, like the hand cream collection.

Lani Longshore hand cream

Others are collective choices. The whole family loves tea, so I keep a variety in stock.

Lani Longshore tea

What brought me joy, however, was recognizing I am not alone in my desire for choice. Only one person in the house eats breakfast cereal, and here’s the shelf where the cereal lives.

Lani Longshore cereal

It occurs to me that I will only be judged a hoarder by those who don’t appreciate what I collect. In the greater scheme of things, I am providing employment for those who make and sell the fabric that I love, I use my fabric (albeit slowly) for gifts and to make art, and I try to share when the opportunity arises. That makes for a balanced ledger in my mind.

Luck and wisdom!

Forgotten Collections

August 3, 2016

I cleared off another bit of shelf the other day. Imagine my surprise when I discovered one of my thread boxes also has a collection of thimbles.

Lani Longshore thimbles

I bought most of these thimbles, in person, with my own money. You would think I would remember them. Not so.

Lani Longshore grandmother's thimbles

These are thimbles I remembered that I have. I inherited them from my grandmother. Some of them might be fifty years old or more. I’ll never know, because they arrived in a box after she died. I used to feel sad about that, the not knowing. Given that I’ve forgotten the history of my own thimbles, I’m going to stop feeling sad, and just be happy that I have them, and that connection with my grandmother.

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!

Muddle in the Middle

November 18, 2015

Writers are familiar with the term “muddle in the middle.” It means the hash you’ve made of your story while you were getting from the grab-them-by-the-throat beginning to the eye-popping ending. This week, I created a visual for that phenomenon in my sewing room.

My messy, muddled middle of the room

My messy, muddled middle of the room

I’ve made great progress organizing my two walls of shelves, but in the process I’ve pushed everything to the center of the room. This is a bad thing – not the Cuban Missile Crisis bad, but still not good. I have a project with a deadline, so I have to sort enough stuff to make space at the sewing machine to work on it. More important, I have to avoid the impulse to pile things up in front of my newly organized shelves.

What I cleared out while organizing the other shelves

What I cleared out while organizing the other shelves

All of this happened because I was able to open up some space on the shelves pictured above. I decided to be sensible about filling the holes, and put all of the like things together. That’s when I discovered that the bead collection I thought I had consolidated somehow grew. A lot. It now takes up nearly an entire shelf all on its own.

The second row holds my bead collection

The second row holds my bead collection

Even with the muddle in the middle, I consider my efforts a win. This is the most floor space I’ve had in ages. I’m not saying being able to vacuum the carpet will help my creativity, but it might cut down on the sneezing.

Luck and wisdom!

Labels

January 14, 2015

Labels for people are rarely useful, unless you are planning a potluck. In that case, making sure you invite the people known for their signature dishes – The Fruit Salad Lady (my mom) and The Deviled Egg Lady (my friend Ann), for example – guarantees the rest of your guests are happy. Aside from that, save the labels for your boxes. It should go without saying that you should use the labels you save, but here’s the evidence that I don’t always follow my own advice.

Manufacturer's labels - useless after you've bought the item

Manufacturer’s labels – useless after you’ve bought the item

When I cleared away the piles in front of these bins, I realized I had no idea what was in them. Worse, I couldn’t remember when I had put those bins at the bottom of the stack (which I removed before I took this picture). Clearly, whenever it was I had already decided I didn’t need to get to the bins in a timely fashion.

So, I bit the bullet, pulled out the bins and filled that hole with fabric that I hope to use in the near future.

The box holds pillow forms, the crate fabric - both are open to view

The box holds pillow forms, the crate fabric – both are open to view

The bins held a pleasing variety of treasure and trash. I’ve put the treasure in bins with like items and tossed most of the trash (well, you never know when you’re going to need something to embellish a trashy quilt).

A side benefit of pulling out the bins was I managed to unearth some forgotten fabric collections.

Lani Longshore fabric

It is possible that I collected these black-and-gold fabrics for high school quilts for my kids. Given that my youngest graduated in 2005, I’m guessing I can use the fabric for something else.

There were several other fabric collections that had outlived their project deadlines, but I’m certain I’ll find something to do with them. If all else fails, I’ve got stuff to make backs.

Luck and wisdom!

Why I Collect

July 17, 2013

I quilt, therefore I collect. That’s what I tell myself when I run across something that I can’t recall buying but must have because it’s in my studio.

why-penguin-7-17-13

I probably won’t wear the penguin pin, but I want to keep it. It was given to me, after all, and gifts should be honored.

why-frog-7-17-13

I already have a frog quilt collection. One more for the frog pin won’t be much of a stretch. Well, make it two – I still have plenty of frog fabric.

why-pendants-7-17-13

I have plenty of tree and Celtic-inspired fabric for these pendants. Yes, the pentagram is just as heavy as it looks, but with a little luck and some good stiffener I’ll come up with something.

why-dragons-7-17-13

The dragons, like the penguin, will take more thought. I made one dragon quilt a long time ago, and one quilt with penguin fabric. I know there’s a design out there, somewhere, waiting for me to discover it. In the meantime, I will continue to quilt, and to collect.

This is how it starts

June 6, 2012

You buy a new sweater. It comes with extra buttons. You put them in a safe place. Time passes, you give the sweater away. You still have the buttons.

Your favorite shirt is to too old to wear, but too soft to give away. You use it to polish the silver, but first you cut off the buttons.

Before you know it, you have a button collection.

Sometimes you find a use for the buttons.

Sometimes you find a place to hide them.

Before you know it, the button collection has you. My button collection has me around the throat, but I’m fighting back. I have an idea for a series of quilts that will use a fair few of my buttons. With any luck, I’ll have something to show next week.