Posts Tagged ‘gratitude’

Samhain, Start of the Holiday Season

October 31, 2018

You probably know that Halloween is my second favorite holiday, because I’m always rambling on about the candy and the costumes.

My no-mess Halloween pumpkin

I also like Halloween because its roots are from an ancient Celtic harvest festival, Samhain. It is a festival of thanksgiving, and those are useful celebrations. I think of Halloween as the beginning of the holiday season, a time of joy and giving that leads into November’s Thanksgiving. Since I’m a vegetarian, the turkey-ness of Thanksgiving recedes, leaving room for the family-and-friend-ness of Thanksgiving. That leads into December, and all the holidays of joy and gratitude. Then there’s New Year, a celebration of hope and change.

Hidden within all this gratitude and hope is a little fear. Perhaps the new year won’t be as wonderful as we would like, perhaps this is the last time we’ll feel joy, perhaps we aren’t grateful enough. That’s another reason I like to think of Halloween as the start of the holidays, because its roots include a time of fear and wonder. At Samhain, the veil between our world and the spirit world was pulled away, allowing space for the unknown to invade. Halloween reminds me that a little fear can be useful, as long as you don’t let it prevent you from stepping forward in hope.

Thanks, Maya, for the painted fabric!

Luck and wisdom!

When A Quilter Gives Thanks

November 23, 2016

Despite fighting a ridiculously resilient bug (the kind that requires antibiotics, not a call to technical support), I managed to clear off my sewing table. That lasted about a day, and I couldn’t stand the empty space. So I started another project, and got far enough along to call it good. For that, I give thanks.

Lani Longshore twist and turn top

There are a few gift quilts I want to make. This is one of them. None of the quilts I have in mind are Christmas presents. I figured if I could make the tops and backs before the holidays, I would be more inclined to get back into the sewing room in January. It always takes a while to remember what I do around here at the end of a vacation or celebration, so having a project waiting for me is essential.

The other reason I’m giving thanks is I think this is going to become my go-to pattern. I learned it as Twist and Turn.

Lani Longshore twist and turn blocks

The whole thing goes together in a flash, and is ideally suited to my preference of letting the fabric do the work. I hope this Thanksgiving you can find many things, big and small, that you call a blessing.

Luck and wisdom!

Surprises

December 16, 2015

This is the season of surprises. Some of the good surprises that have come my way include our Christmas tree.

A tree for the house

A tree for the house

This is how it looked before we smothered it with lights and ornaments. I almost kept it this way, but we’d already brought the decorations out of storage. Given the drought and fires in the region, I was grateful there were Christmas trees available at all. The best surprise is the smell. It is the most fragrant tree we’ve had in years.

Clean enough for now

Clean enough for now

The next surprise is I’ve kept my sewing table clean-ish. Yes, there are still a few stacks to deal with, but the space was cleared enough in time to wrap presents. Then I put the wrapping things back where they belong. That qualifies as a Christmas miracle in my book.

The last surprise came from two artist friends who gave me note cards they’ve made from their own work.

Lani Longshore Ann Anastasio note card

This is Oak Leaves and Acorns by Ann Anastasio. She is a talented fiber artist, and also the co-producer of Art Quilt Santa Fe.

Lani Longshore Kat Mulkey note card

Dot Bees is the creation of Kat Mulkey. She is a fabulous photographer and painter. These cards are going into small frames, then into the sewing room to inspire me.

Luck and wisdom!

Gratitude for Loose Ends

September 30, 2015

I just returned from a terrific extended holiday visiting family. We all had a wonderful time, but then comes getting back to the real world and remembering what I was doing before I left. Luckily for me, I left some loose ends that triggered ideas for the latest Challenge project.

Lani Longshore strip-pieced Cuba

The inspiration is Cuba – colors, culture, history, whatever. I had an idea – well, the beginning of an idea – well, a tiny thought that could be the beginning of an idea under the right circumstances – and just before leaving for vacation I pulled some fabric from the scrap bin. When I returned, I strip-pieced some of the scraps, drew a pattern of Cuba from a map in an advertisement, and found some fabric for the sea.

Lani Longshore sea fabric

One piece of fabric didn’t look anything like the Caribbean, but went well with a dark green print from the scrap bin.

Lani Longshore Cuba muted

The final shape of the project is still a mystery to me, but I am grateful to have left enough stuff on the sewing table to give me a beginning. If the Lord is willing and the creek don’t rise, this small victory might be enough to get me back into a creative routine.

Luck and wisdom!

The Great Sort-Out

November 13, 2013

You know the warning about making a new pillow for the couch and the curtains look dingy, so you clean the curtains and the walls look dated, so you paint the walls and the rug looks horrible . . . and eventually you’ve redecorated the whole house? That’s where I am. I started a sort-out of the sewing room, and now all the other piles that need organizing are calling my name.

 

This is where it all started.

 

Abby the dog and the bins

Abby the dog and the bins

 

The last of the supplies for the prison quilting program went to their new home. I had a plan for using that new-found space, but I made the mistake of looking in the bins.

 

Part of my collection of reusable stuff

Part of my collection of reusable stuff

 

This is one of two bins that hold my mint tin collection. The Trader Joe’s mints (which are delicious) come in a cute square tin with a clear panel in the lid, perfect for holding beads. I’ve been collecting them for quite a while. Usually I open the bin and toss the tin inside without looking at how many are in there. Now I’m looking. Oy.

Then I went into the kitchen and really looked at the overflow spice stash.

 

The overflow spice site

The overflow spice site

 

I love having herbs and spices on hand, but when the kids moved back home with their spice collections things spiraled out of control. No matter how much cooking and baking I do, the spice stash seems to grow, not contract. Woe to me.

 

As a final exercise in self-punishment, I scanned my collection of notes for books and stories I want to write (or have started writing but put aside for one reason or another).

 

Secret burial ground of many Great American Novels

Secret burial ground of many Great American Novels

 

Attending to these piles will take a lot of time and energy. It isn’t enough to organize the stacks of stuff, I have to do something with them. Organizing – for me, anyway – works really well when I rarely touch the pile again; attending, not so much.

 

Filed and forgotten

Filed and forgotten

 

I organized this small shelf months ago and it is still tidy. Of course, the fact that I haven’t been able to reach it for months might have a lot to do with it being orderly.

 

Perhaps, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I should be grateful for the Great Sort-Out. If I turn this into an early New Year’s resolution, then I can check something off the 2014 to-do list right now. We take our victories where we can.