Posts Tagged ‘embellishments’

Luck and Wisdom

February 26, 2014

There are times when I write myself into a corner. I found myself trapped in a chapter of the next book in the Chenille series – The Chenille Ultimatum – and despaired. When I despair, I talk to myself. When I talk to myself, I ask questions like, “Self, what do you need?”

 

Turned out what I needed was luck and wisdom. So I had one of the characters comment on how the universe occasionally rewards our perseverance with luck and wisdom. A few hours later, I finished the chapter.

 

When I rewarded myself with some time in the sewing room, it occurred to me that I was very lucky to have a huge stash of embellishments, a lovely glass bottle, and an open tube of glass bead glue. I’m not always the cleverest person in the room, but I decided I was wise enough to seize the moment.

 

Shiny things!

Shiny things!

 

There is still room for more embellishments, and I’m just the gal to glue them.

 

As an added reward, I found this lovely, gutsy flower shoving through the cracked ground in our back yard after our first rain in months.

 

Growing in spite of it all

Growing in spite of it all

 

May we all be blessed with luck, wisdom and perseverance.

 

Lost Things

January 29, 2014

We lost the power cords to our kitchen appliances. I cleaned out an overstuffed drawer a month ago, and my husband and I agreed that the power cords needed to live someplace else. We’ve forgotten where that someplace else is. I remember the conversation we had about the importance of finding a logical storage site. That’s as far as the little gray cells will take me. This weekend we’re going to go through the kitchen, top to bottom. I shudder to think of the lost things we will find.

 

My kitchen workspace

My kitchen workspace

 

One of the reasons we have open shelves in our kitchen is that I am well aware of my tendency to forget what I can’t see. As with my fabric stash, I’ve bought more than one tin of cocoa powder because I couldn’t remember seeing another one in the cabinet. Don’t even ask about my baking soda collection.

 

The cabinet under the cutting board

The cabinet under the cutting board

 

There are baking pans and microwave dishes hiding in this cabinet that I haven’t thought about in years. I put them here when I didn’t worry so much about bending and twisting.

 

The worse part is, I’m going to have to part with the rediscovered/lost things that I know I’ll never use again. I promised that if the kids don’t want the item and I can’t justify keeping it for a special recipe, it goes away.

 

All of that is making me more determined to use the embellishments in my sewing room as I find them, whether the project calls for those specific items or not. The quilt Mars Via California needed more stuff on it, so I pulled everything I could reach that remotely matched the colors.

 

Mars Via California - my roadtrip quilt

Mars Via California – my road trip quilt

 

When I watched television in the evening, I stitched down beads.

 

Mars detail

Mars detail

 

If I give all my new projects this treatment, I might just use up what I have in a decade or two.

 

 

 

 

Cards and Shiny Stuff

December 11, 2013

Sometimes Christmas boutiques provide more than unique gift ideas. I stopped at a photographer’s booth to look through the cards, and realized that I could use my massive collection of blank cards as Christmas cards. So what if I didn’t have any reindeer or Santas? Or that they weren’t red and green? If I chose carefully and embellished where needed, I could easily tailor the card to the recipient.

 

When I actually looked at my collection, I discovered some of them are ready as is, like this kaleidescope star by Christine McCall.

 

Lani Longshore Christine McCall star

 

With the joy of discovery in my heart, I looked to my embellishments –

 

Lani Longshore bling

 

and other treasures, such as this blinking necklace (thanks, Jeanne Brophy!) that I can wear myself, wind around the dog’s collar, or hide in a floral centerpiece.

 

Lani Longshore necklace

 

The best discovery was the Christmas tree napkins that I bought on sale last year that serendipitously match the wrapping paper I bought on sale this year.

 

Lani Longshore napkins

 

One final note of joy for the season – I finished my mother’s birthday present and mailed it in time! I chose at least one picture from each decade of her life and made a photo quilt. This project was made possible because my husband has created a digital database of our entire photo collection – an incredible gift to the whole family!

 

Lani Longshore quilt

 

 

 

A Fabric Obsession

October 30, 2013

My next quilt project is going to be called Fabric Obsession – Variations on a Theme. Either that, or Fabric Obsession Virus Strains and How to Recognize Them. I had a couple of variation/virus things going on this week. The Halloween fabric kept whispering to me, giving me ideas for more projects.

 

Lani Longshore spider purse

 

I strip-pieced the panel of spider fabric first, then decided the Pixeladies Bellinzona Cube pattern would work just fine. This design has a zipper in it, but the directions are clear enough that even I could assemble the section on the first try.

 

The spider fabric is jazzy enough that the purse did not require embellishment, but these orange beads, which I inherited from my grandfather Fred Rezansoff, begged to be included in the next project.

 

Lani Longshore beads

 

That project also used some of the fabric I couldn’t bear to cut.

 

Lani Longshore Halloween fabric

 

Instead, I made a quilters pop-up book for Halloween. After gluing the base fabric on foam core – cars for the road, the spooky scene for a backdrop – I made cut-outs of a tree and two buildings.

 

Lani Longshore tree pop-up

 

Some of the beads became feet for the base.

 

Lani Longshore bead feet

 

The last step was to make a candy holder from leftover candy corn fabric, and my Halloween display is complete. Let the Trick-or-Treating begin!

 

Lani Longshore Halloween pop-up book

 

Where Random Things Go To Live

September 11, 2013

That’s how my daughter described my decorating style. It does me no good to deny it, so instead I’m turning that bug into a feature. I will revel in my ability to see patterns in otherwise unconnected items. Here is the item that started the conversation:

 

Celtic knots in brass

Celtic knots in brass

 

I decided to buy this brass wall hanging rather than the first one that caught my eye, which was a castle with beads on its turret spires. This piece has beads –

 

Connecting beads

Connecting beads

 

– but the casual visitor’s eye will sweep over it to the next delightful piece in the room. Or so I tell myself. Some of the next delightful pieces are from a long-expired balloon bouquet –

 

Stars on the piano

Stars on the piano

 

– and a visit to a fossil museum gift shop –

 

My very own fossil

My very own fossil

 

– so perhaps I am overestimating the ability of the casual visitor to see the patterns I see.

 

My studio might be a better place to start. At least I have two kinds of ships, and two is a beginning of a pattern. Here is a ship for my space series:

 

Space ships for the Christmas tree

Space ships for the Christmas tree

 

This ship might also appear in my space series, especially the quilts I make to illustrate my novel-in-progress about space Vikings.

 

More embellishments for quilts

Another embellishment for a quilt

 

On the other hand, perhaps I should accept that there is a reason I’m not an interior designer.

 

Gifts to Self

June 20, 2012

Happy Solstice! My summer gift to myself was letting the vacuuming go while I embellished a couple of quilts. I unearthed a bag of treasures intended for the Fish ‘N Cat quilt. First was a sprig of seaweed:

Next was a pair of fish earrings Alison Anastasio gave me:

Alison is the daughter of Ann Anastasio, who worked on this quilt (and is co-author with me of Death By Chenille). These were one of her favorite pairs of earrings when she was younger. She found them recently and didn’t want to toss them but knew she would never wear them again. I promised her I would find a good home for them on this quilt.

I continued working on the quilt from last week, including adding another braid for the top binding:

Then I scattered buttons on the surface to see what it would look like:

In case you were wondering, yes, those are my toes on the bottom braid/binding.

Here’s a close-up of my space ship buttons:

I also auditioned embellishments for the area intended to be a legend. The quilt is an invasion map, so naturally there would be a section explaining the symbols. I haven’t quite figured out how the dragon will explain any symbols – I just like the looks of it.

I spend a lot of time on the floor when I’m embellishing quilts as the buttons and beads tend to fall between the sofa cushions, so tomorrow my gift to myself may very well be doing the vacuuming.

Button Invasion USA

June 13, 2012

Once again the Challenge assignment is helping me clear out stuff. We were tasked with interpreting a piece of literature in fabric. I decided to do some shameless self-promotion (as well as some back story work) and use one of my own stories. I’m writing a novel set in the far future on a planet that has been invaded by Earth. I decided I would make a tapestry suitable for the thirty-whatever century. This is the beginning:

Planet-wide landing zone

The background is from my collection of space-ish fabrics. The planet is a convergence exercise my friend Ann Anastasio gave me when she was clearing out her studio (I’m not sure she meant to do that, but I found a use for it and she hadn’t so there). I tipped the convergence piece on its side to look like a landing zone grid.

From there I added a Celtic twist ribbon, since my humans represent the Third Viking Hegemony, and a Celtic twist was the closest I could get to something a Viking might use.

The quilting represents shock waves around ships.

These will be the ships.

Ed Wood would be proud

I have a huge collection of buttons that remind me of space ships. I intend to use lots of them on this quilt. I also have a huge collection of trims:

I used one on the sides in place of binding.

Underneath that Celtic twist ribbon will be some sort of legend for interpreting the tapestry. I also decided to quilt in some insignia. I have a logo (a Scottish thistle), so it seemed reasonable to assume the invading forces would have something, too. Since I did the quilting with black thread, it is easier for you to see the pattern from my sketch.

I haven’t sewn all the buttons on yet, so you’ll see this again, perhaps with another top using the leftover space ship buttons.

And yes, it feels great to use stuff!

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.

 

 

Permission to Wander

April 25, 2012

A couple of weeks ago I went to a local art gallery to see an exhibit of quilts. The exhibit was smaller than I expected and I had almost an hour before I had to be at a meeting. Not enough time to go home and do something useful, but still too much to squander.

Or was it? I gave myself permission to wander downtown, had a delightful time, and was in a much more receptive state when I finally arrived at my meeting.

That got me thinking about my sewing room, and whether I give myself permission to wander in there often enough. I am constantly collecting materials to inspire ideas –

and supplies –

 

and embellishments –

but when I go in the room I’m there to work. Work implies progress, and progress implies having something to show for my time. Whether it’s a new quilt or a tidied shelf, I want to be able to prove that I haven’t squandered the day.

And yet . . . is flipping through the art books really squandering the day? Is pulling out the drawers and letting my fabric and embellishments inspire me wasting time? If I have the luxury of a day to think, to absorb, to wonder, don’t I owe it to myself as an artist to enjoy it?