Posts Tagged ‘creative life’

Forward and Back

July 19, 2017

The family had a lovely reunion a couple of weeks ago. Knowing that the first week back from vacation is never entirely productive, I’ve made a habit of getting a project prepared before I leave so I’ll have something easy to work on when I return. That planning turned out to be more of a blessing than I expected, because I started feeling under the weather shortly after I returned home. The universe sometimes does that – the two steps forward, one step back thing – so I’m not going to complain (much) that my usual week of less-than-stellar productivity is stretching into two, maybe three.

Luckily for me, my back-from-vacation project was a baby quilt that has been languishing for about a year. Life got in the way when the top was pieced and the quilting part never happened. Now it has. Rather than anguish over a quilting pattern, I let the fabric tell me what it wanted. I also lucked out in finding a new spool of coppery thread that matched nothing but blended with everything. Then the universe really gave me a break and let me unearth a coppery fabric for the binding.

I think this will look great even cut into strips

This fabric has been hiding in the drawer for a long time, waiting for the perfect project. It isn’t alone. I have many fabrics, threads, and embellishments biding their time. While searching through my collections, I unearthed a doily that might go well with a fat quarter a friend gave me.

There isn’t enough contrast between the doily and the light fabric, I know, but I’ll solve that another day. For the moment, I’m going to accept that life, especially the creative life, is all about moving forward and rolling back. There are lessons to be learned in both directions.

Luck and wisdom!

Upgrades – Gift or Curse?

July 12, 2017

Some wretched app on my cell phone absolutely positively had to schedule an upgrade last week. My phone reacted poorly, and I lost all my photos, my Instagram connection, basically anything I actually use. Curses. The good news is once I accepted that I would be without a phone for a while I stopped thinking about it and began to appreciate the gift of time. The hours I  might have been on social media turned into a lovely period for handwork.

I finished the cross-stitch thistle that went off the rails a couple of weeks ago. Now that it is done, I’m actually quite pleased with it.

The next project-in-progress was inspired by some trees I saw on a family trip to Montana. The trunks were straight and tall. I started embroidering lines to represent them. I may or may not add the canopy after I’ve grown weary of laying down straight lines in varying widths. Someone asked what this piece was going to be, but I didn’t have an answer. For the moment, it is simply a bit of beauty to occupy my hands and entertain my eyes.

I still don’t know if upgrades are a gift or a curse. My current phone is toast, so until the new one arrives I’ll be living the unconnected life. At least I know that I can go back to the way life used to be if necessary.

Luck and wisdom!

Going Blank

May 17, 2017

Last week I discussed the quilt top my husband and I are designing together. We started with two collections of hand-dyed solids, which I am showing you now because I’ve never shown you the beginnings before.

Here’s what we bought at the quilt show

We managed to get to the last border before our concepts diverged. I found some other fabrics this week and put this draft up on the design wall.

A double border, dark blue and yellow then light blue and beige

He likes it, I like it – but here it sits. Why, you ask? Because now we have to decide exactly where those stair-stepped borders will actually step. I said he could have final approval, but then the weather got nice and the chores in the garden called him, and deadlines for my latest volunteer position piled up on me, and we have yet to sit ourselves in the sewing room and decide about this last (insert naughty word of your choice here) border.

In the meantime, I would like to begin another project but my mind has gone absolutely blank about what that project should be. Oh, there are stacks and stacks of potential candidates waiting for me, but it seems my brain is stuck spinning its wheels until we make a decision on that border. So now I’m hoping for rain over the weekend just to get him out of the garden so I can get this quilt top finished, at which point we start all over again to design the quilting pattern. Argh.

Luck and wisdom!

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!

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!

Really, Really Tiny Baby Steps

August 24, 2016

I meet challenges one step at a time. Literally. When a new project looks too scary, I do one thing a day. Taking really, really tiny baby steps works for my nerves, but does extend the timeline for my projects. The handbag project is a good example.

The lining pieces are shiny and golden, and that's all that matters

They’re shiny and golden, and that’s all that matters

Although I couldn’t find a pattern that had all the features I wanted, I drafted modifications that should work. Should is such a scary word on so many levels. I took a full day to decide on the fabrics just to avoid starting on step one of the instructions. The lining fabrics came from a package of silkies that waited in a drawer. The pieces aren’t as large as I need, but since they’ll be on the inside who will care?

Lani Longshore handbag hardware

Next came the outer fabrics, which I chose based on the hardware I already owned. That was the first modification, by the way. The pattern calls for a continuous strap, but I wanted to use these clips and D-rings. I found enough scraps of a red linen-like fabric as well as some brown faux leather for the exterior of the bag.

Angled straps, no zipper

Angled straps, no zipper

Here is the first piece I assembled. It came out well enough that I started on the second panel.

Angled straps, wonky zipper

Angled straps, wonky zipper

Notice the zipper on the panel. This is why I nearly failed my home economics class. Zippers and I aren’t exactly mortal enemies, but we for sure aren’t friends. Once I saw how crooked the zipper was I decided my work was done for the day. Tomorrow, seam ripper in hand, I will begin the battle again.

Luck and wisdom!