Decorating and My Writing Life

Years ago, I let the kids dye eggs Ukrainian style. It was an all-day production, but the eggs were worth it. I displayed them every year and bought other eggs for decorations, and even some spring-themed serving dishes for our Easter dinner. Then the kids left for college, and pulling out all the decorations and dishware for just two people didn’t seem worth it.

Yeah, I know, kind of silly. Why shouldn’t I take the time to decorate even if I’m the only one who will see it? And isn’t that the same with my writing life?

My novels aren’t best sellers, and they may never be made into movies. Still, I write because I have stories to tell. Even if I were the only person to read the stories, that’s enough to keep writing (shameless self-promotion alert, all of the Chenille novels are on Smashwords.com, and the last is on Amazon). Deadlines help me to finish the story, so I’ll continue to submit to contests and anthologies, and I’ll still write query letters to agents. Whether I get an award or contract, well, that’s a topic for another blog. For now, I will let the joy of seeing my words come together be worth the effort, just as the joy of seeing my pretty egg collection is worth it.

Luck and wisdom!

Spring Cleaning

 

My stash is full of fabric meant for the perfect project. Backs do not count as the perfect project, which is silly, because even art quilts have their backs showing sometime. Still, it’s hard using the good stuff. Then I put fabric away before going on to the next step in my second Challenge project and heard the voices of all the wise quilters I know. It’s all good stuff, I might as well use it, and spring cleaning is a great excuse to make me use it.

Lani Longshore beet fabric

My second Challenge project for the Easter assignment is based on Russian Orthodox symbols – the Orthodox cross and the habit of dying Easter eggs a deep red (Ukrainians dye pysanky, the elaborate wax resist eggs). Since I grew up eating borscht, I know all about the Russian connection to beets. I unearthed my beet print fabric, used it for the back of the quilt, and used the pattern for my quilt design.

The eggs will come later, along with beads and embroidery
The eggs will come later, along with beads and embroidery

The next bit of cleaning was an experiment for my tree series. The Progressive Party is doing a tree block project later this summer, and I thought I would use a variety of scraps for the trunks. The experiment worked fine, but I realized the trees I made would be way too big for the blocks. A writing friend, Shelia Bali, gave me some fabric (I’m not the only one doing spring cleaning) and one piece was perfect for a background. I decided to choose the scraps I would use, not just take what was near the top of the basket.

Lani Longshore trees

Finally, I cleaned out enough of the green drawer to get a collection of good stuff for the Progressive project.

Assorted greens and background
Assorted greens and background

The fabric hasn’t told me how it wants to be used, but it is very happy to be out of that drawer.

Luck and wisdom!

 

Boxes

A friend of mine held an estate sale a few months ago. I helped out a little, and as one of the thank-you gifts she let me take what I fancied. Tucked away in the kitchen were some darling pink lunch box organizers, and a single pink tea cup with a saucer. I pounced on those like a cat on mice. This week, I made a container for them.

 

A little fabric, a little stiffener, a lot of zig-zagging
A little fabric, a little stiffener, a lot of zig-zagging

 

Since all the items are pink, I grabbed the top of my pink pile and made panels. The pink cord came from the local army surplus/camping gear store. You’d be amazed at the cool stuff for quilters you can find at those kinds of stores.

 

The box itself is simple to make – fabric on both sides of stiffener, zig-zag cording around the edges, zig-zag the panels together. I used the diameter of the plate to establish the size of the panels. I wanted the plate to slip in elastic straps on the outside.

 

Sew a tube, scrunch it, insert elastic.
Sew a tube, scrunch it, insert elastic.

 

The best part of the elastic straps is that I used a strip of non-roll waistband elastic that was too long to throw away but not long enough for most other projects.

 

Criss-cross straps for extra hold.
Criss-cross straps for extra hold.

 

Here are the treasures for my lunch box.

 

My treasures
My treasures

 

Here is the kit all packed and ready to go.

 

My lunch
My lunch

 

While I was making the box, my eye fell on a pile of solids cut in diamonds that I’ve been moving around the sewing room for years. They are so old I don’t remember how I acquired them, although I can guarantee I did not cut them out myself. The latest Challenge project is to represent Easter in fabric. “Self,” I said, “let’s think outside the box about the Easter project.”

 

Let the satin stitching begin!
Let the satin stitching begin!

 

Since I had been zig-zagging like a tipsy bumble bee, I brought out some Pellon Decor, arranged the diamonds on top of it, and dialed down the stitch length. Once that was finished, I dug out a novelty fabric from the back of a drawer.

 

And now to fussy-cut.
And now to fussy-cut.

 

The next step is to apply a fusible backing and cut out egg clusters to arrange artfully over the surface, but that’s a story for another blog.

 

 

Luck and wisdom!