Posts Tagged ‘fish’

Making Do (With Fish)

March 25, 2020

Years ago, I visited an aquarium in Seattle that had an exhibit of baby salmon. I loved the way they moved in the tank, and made an art quilt to capture my feelings. It didn’t work. I had put too much time in the piece to throw it away, but I was too discouraged by my failure to rework it. The top went into a stack until it became the backing for another quilt.

Most of the border had to be trimmed, but I’ve saved those pieces. They may end up in another back, or as part of a scrap quilt.

This is the front of the piece. It was made years ago as well. The two tops were next to each other in a pile, and they worked well together. “Self,” I said, “you can make do with these.” I’ll spend part of my shelter-in-place time during the COVID-19 pandemic beading the quilt. Who knows, by the end of the quarantine period I may actually be happy with it.

Luck and wisdom!

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.


The Best I Can Do

June 26, 2013

Three quilts waited for me this week, layered and basted. The sewing table was cleared (well, cleared enough), but my calendar was not. This was one of those weeks when I had to accept what I accomplished as the best I could do, because life got in the way of quilting.


The good news is, I finished a gift quilt.


Lani Longshore Landon Leveille quilt


This will go to one of my brother’s grandsons. Here is the back.


Lani Longshore Landon Leveille fish


The quilt for my brother’s second grandson is next on the stack to be quilted. Here is the back for it.


Lani Longshore Avery Longshore elephant


The third quilt is the Challenge project. It is much smaller, but will require some embellishment. Lucky for me, I found a new bead shop.


Lani Longshore Challenge


Yes, I know, I probably have beads just like this somewhere in the sewing room, but I think finding the new bead store was my reward for not grumbling when I had to spend a day in an unfamiliar city for family matters. Sometimes, the best you can do is to take the bead in the hand and ignore the bead in the bin.



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.


April 18, 2012

The latest Challenge assignment will again give me a chance to finish a UFO, and again it is a Progressive Party project.

The quilt began its journey as a bordered rectangle of fish fabric. By the end it had blossomed into a fish tank on a book shelf. I was so pleased with it that I set it aside until I had the perfect quilting design for it.

Finished laughing, have you? Of course the perfect quilting pattern never revealed itself, and the darling little fish tank languished in one corner or another for more years than I care to admit. Then came the Challenge assignment – Fish. That’s all, just Fish. I can do anything I want as long as I can somehow relate it to the word Fish. I decided it was time to finish this quilt.

Which isn’t to say I couldn’t have done a brand new fish quilt. I have a sewing room full of fishy things.

One might ask why I have so many fish-related items. I can’t honestly tell you. I don’t eat fish and I prefer dogs as pets, but show me some fish fabric and it’s like putting a 5-lb box of chocolates in front of me. I start drooling, and before you know it my little hand is reaching out to snatch something. Occasionally I make something from my fish fabric –

– but for the most part I just keep adding to the collection. I can only hope that the integrity of the space-time continuum won’t be compromised if I actually use up my pile of fish fabrics.

The Finishing Spree

January 12, 2011

I had a deadline this week – make a tote bag for a gift. The kit I bought could be used for two totes if I altered the instructions slightly, so I did. I made my deadline, and decided to finish up the second tote for me:

Finishing something gave me such a rush of endorphins I decided to pull out some of the UFOs that were within an hour of being done and see how far I could get. First on the list was the GPS bag. My son reminded me that we make our own reality, and if I used the “getting lost” fabric that’s what would happen. My daughter said the balloons wouldn’t work either, so I used fish:

I don’t have pet fish, and I’m a vegetarian so I don’t go fishing, but I really like fish fabric. I don’t even know what kind of fish these are (trout?), but they’re pretty and they’re on their way to someplace wonderful.

Next were two chenille bags. Why chenille? My friend Ann Anastasio and I wrote a novel about quilters saving the world from space invaders called Death By Chenille. I thought it would be fun to carry copies of the book in chenille totes. They languished on my shelf for quite some time, which is actually fine because the book has languished, too (we’re still looking for an agent).

The first bag languished because I tried to make a fancier pocket than usual, and it didn’t quite work. It needed some sort of clasp to make it useful. Without realizing, I had bought the perfect clasp months ago, so on it went:

The second bag languished because it needed a pocket and after the disaster with the previous pocket I was stumped. Today, I just sewed on the first thing that came to hand and called it good.

The pocket still needs something – a button maybe – but for the most part the bag is finished. If my son is correct, and we do to some extent create our own reality, perhaps this will be End of the UFO Year, or at least Beginning of the End of the UFO Year.

The bad fairy of good intentions

August 5, 2010

This has been a productive week in many respects, but not on purpose.

To begin with, I seriously fat-fingered the keyboard. We are digitizing our family photos, and I am in the process of annotating my mother’s family albums. The best way to do that and not go insane is to work in batches. I did that four times in a row; the fifth time, for reasons known only to the Irony Gods, I hit the accept button before I put in a range. As a result, I imported 600 photos to my edit file.

This would be disaster enough, but it gets worse. As well as having all those photos waiting for me, in limbo between being saved for posterity and lost forever in the electronic ether, any new photos that I might upload will go to this same editing file. I was told this was for my convenience, since having one place where all photos could be tagged, logged, cropped, commented upon or otherwise dealt with is more efficient. No one thought of what would happen if I hit the wrong button, which I do on an alarmingly regular basis.

As a result, I have been frantically annotating photos. By yesterday afternoon, I was down to 125. That doesn’t leave much time for clearing out the sewing room, and since I’ve been working on kits and quilts, it’s a true bear pit in there. So, this week I’m going to post from my past.

This quilt is The Painted Ladies.

Ann Anastasio gave the Challenge Group a picture of houses in San Francisco. We sliced the photo into strips, and eleven of us each made a strip. We drew lots, and I won the strips. After it was finished, a member of our group who had moved back to France asked if she could exhibit it at a show there. I’ve never been to France, but at least my quilt has.

Next is Untitled with Fish.

I collected fish fabric for years. When my mother-in-law learned that fact, she suggested I make a quilt embellished with fishing lures. When my neighbor heard about that, she went out and bought me a collection of the shiniest fishing lures she could find. The clerk at the store was appalled at the thought of those lovely lures sewn on to a quilt, but I think they look quite nice. Children also find it attractive, with all those colorful dangling bits and the sparkling metal bits (no, not the hooks – I cut them off). Untitled hasn’t traveled abroad, but it has journeyed to a couple of show-and-tells at elementary schools, as well as a few quilt guilds.

I should be done with the photos by next week and able to upload new pictures. With any luck, I’ll have had some time to get into the sewing room and will have something worth photographing. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy my little strolls into the past, both with my family photos and my quilts.