Posts Tagged ‘embellishments’

Return of the Deadline

September 24, 2014

Summer is over. The projects on the to-do list are increasingly colored like holidays – black and orange, pumpkin and roasty brown, red and green. Before daylight savings time arrives and the urge to hibernate takes over, I will revisit my calendar and the return of deadlines.

The first thing I need to do is trick myself into finishing things that aren’t going to become presents. This is the little quilt I made from scraps of my Viking journey tote bag.

Lani Longshore Viking quilt base

Here’s a detail view.

Lani Longshore Viking quilt binding

This project has no immediate home, but if I put the embellishments in a basket and put the basket on the couch, I’ve got a better chance of finishing it on those nights when my brain is only good for watching movies.

Lani Longshore Viking embellishments

Remember, finished projects can go in a cupboard, but materials live in the sewing room, taunting you (what, you mean I’m the only one who hears my beads trash-talking?).

The next deadline trick is to take out a UFO for friendship group discussion.

Connections in a quilters brain

Connections in a quilters brain

My art quilt critique group is going to be discussing works-in-series in November. What better time to revisit my brain quilt series? My goal is to cut some of the fabric I’ve collected, piece or applique enough to see what embellishment techniques will work well, and put those on the couch, too.

My hope is that the habit of finishing will carry me through the holidays. Then I hope that momentum will drop-kick me well into the new year.

Luck and wisdom!

Recalculating

September 3, 2014

Despite my best intentions, and a brand new notepad, the new schedule I wrote up didn’t work this week. Part of that was due to the end of summer festivities – Labor Day Weekend and the Scottish Games – and part was due to the tortuous path creativity often takes. Oddly enough, stomping around the house in a snit did not help the creative process. Then I remembered the little voice from my GPS, who finds another way to my destination when I take a wrong turn even though the route is mapped out right there, on the screen. “Recalculating,” she grouses. I did, too.

Lani Longshore Viking tote

My go-to scheme when the task at hand proves difficult is to do something else. Instead of staring at the pile of fabric that wasn’t making itself into my Challenge project, I made a tote bag. I bought two yards of this Viking journey fabric, intending to make a quilt when my story about space Vikings is finished. Since I’m still working on the third book in the Chenille series (The Chenille Ultimatum), the space Viking story is on long-term hold. Instead, I lined the tote bag with space fabric.

Lani Longshore space fabric

I also put some jingly-jangly stuff on the outside of the bag.

Lani Longshore Viking motif keychain

It’s probably no surprise that I have more lovely embellishments. They didn’t quite fit the requirements for a tote bag.

Lani Longshore Viking embellishments

Since it is easier to make a new small project than put scraps away, I started a base quilt that might be a better home for the embellishments. It will also be a nice escape project for the next time I get writers and/or quilters block.

Luck and wisdom!

Spring Snowflakes

May 28, 2014

 

Even without the drought, my part of California rarely sees snowflakes. I’m not complaining, since this gives me a chance to make my own.

Lani Longshore bead snowflakes

I found a cute snowflake form from Beadsmith (click here for the Amazon.com link), and pulled out the plastic beads I inherited from my grandfather.

Lani Longshore plastic beads

He used these to make flowers for his small wood vases. I’ve used them in a few projects, but the little buggers multiply (much like the pieces in my scrap bin). The snowflake project might be the answer I need, since I have a huge collection of stone beads that could also make interesting snowflakes.

I have some ideas for how to use these snowflakes. My gardening friends, for example, might enjoy getting these black and yellow cuties.

Calling all honey bees!

Calling all honey bees!

These could be interesting decorations on gift packages.

Pretty with or without ribbon

Pretty with or without ribbon

I’m not sure I can use the snowflakes as an embellishment on art quilts, but that won’t stop me from trying. The forms are inexpensive, and making the snowflakes takes mere minutes. It’s another addiction, I’ll admit, but it uses up stuff in the sewing room and creates cute things that will go away. That’s good enough for me.

Luck and wisdom!

 

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.