Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

Next Steps

November 16, 2016

Before the holidays really kick in, I’ve sorta kinda maybe vowed to clear off my sewing table. I do this every year, sometimes successfully. This is the season when my studio turns into the scary room. We clear out stacks and piles in other rooms to accommodate guests and the Christmas tree and presents needing to be wrapped and extra supplies and . . . anyway, I did finish the tree project

A few beads, a little silk cord, and done!

A few beads, a little silk cord, and done!

I also made a project for myself with another patch from my collection.

Lani Longshore celtic horse

While I was rearranging piles, I found a painted block of Cannon Beach. The block will go on top of a pile for inspiration once the holidays are over and I need something to distract me before I check on all my new deadlines.

Lani Longshore Cannon Beach

Luck and wisdom!

Seasonal Petulance

November 26, 2014

This time of year I sink into my own slough of despair, and revel in seasonal petulance. The holidays are too crowded, too commercial, too costly. Whine, whine, whine. I guess the universe got sick of listening to me kvetch, because – try as I might to be grouchy – I have been surrounded by kindness and love. “Self,” I said, “get over yourself.”

A pie crust in waiting

A pie crust in waiting

The first thing I decided to do was give myself permission to celebrate all the holidays in order. Thanksgiving comes first, and I am extraordinarily thankful for my grandmother’s never-fail pie crust recipe.

Original Recipe

2 cups flour

1 cup butter

1 egg, beaten

2 teaspoons vinegar

4 teaspoons cold water

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

Sift dry ingredients together, then cut in the butter. Gradually add the egg and vinegar. Pour water over dough and mix.

My Version

2 cups flour

1 cup butter

1 egg, beaten with 3 teaspoons vinegar (cider or sweet balsamic for a sweet pie, white wine for a savory pie)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

Put the butter and flour into a food processor and pulse until mixture resembles corn flour. Add baking powder and salt; pulse a couple of times. Add egg/vinegar mixture. Blend until smooth. You will need to heavily flour the board and pin when rolling out the dough.

The start of my personal, private Advent calendar

The start of my personal, private Advent calendar

Next comes Advent, which for me means the little calendars with numbered boxes and chocolate prizes. The bad news is this year I missed out on my favorite one – they sold out before I even put it on the shopping list. The good news is, I made my own version with all those mint tins I’ve been saving, and some leftover holiday trims.

Lani Longshore Christmas ornaments

Next comes the Ceremony of the Tree. My daughter has decorated the tree for years, but she won’t be home until spring. I was all set to skip the tree, when I remembered the new ornaments a friend gave me. My daughter has her own favorite ornaments, so this year I’ll put up my new ones and some of the older ones that have been buried at the bottom of the storage box.

Lani Longshore Christmas card

I don’t write the Christmas letter until Christmas day. The cards get sent out sometime between Boxing Day and Epiphany. This tradition stays.

Lani Longshore Christmas fabric

Last is the Time of Forgetting. This is the celebration of discovering you’re a day late and a present short. It’s not the best tradition, but it’s one with a long history in my house. I guess it stays, too.

May your season of holidays – whichever ones you celebrate – be joyous.

Luck and wisdom!


December 12, 2012

I love made-up math days. Ever since the turn of the millennium (and doesn’t that have a lovely ring to it?) I’ve looked forward to the triple digit days. This is the last, although we still have 11/12/13 next year, and 12/13/14 the year after.

While I won’t ascribe cosmic significance to the day (even though it would be fun to try), I can say that it’s been a pretty good week. We got the Christmas tree. It isn’t decorated yet, but the pagan in me always enjoys just having the tree in the house, in all its evergreen glory.

My druid ancestors would be happy

My druid ancestors would be happy

The dog isn’t too excited, but at least she’s leaving it alone.

Such a bored critter

Such a bored critter

I don’t have my moose/reindeer collection out, mainly because the garage is full of the kids’ stuff and I couldn’t get to it. However, I bought a moose ornament over the summer, so that is representing all of its sisters.

moose ornament

Finally, I had an idea of a different kind of vase I could make when a few scraps of ribbon got piled up in the same corner.


I haven’t figured out what I want for a base yet, but I’m confident that will be revealed in good time. For now, I am enjoying a rare moment of calm, peace and joy in the holiday season. I hope y’all are too, and have a great triple digit day.

The Herd

December 28, 2011

My reindeer/moose herd grew this year. It wasn’t planned, but I found two adorable felt reindeer and couldn’t resist.

The dining table was too full of other stuff to hold the group, so I put the reindeer candlesticks on the table and the purely decorative critters on the piano, including my flock of Christmas birds.

Lest you think I’ve been ignoring my sewing room, here are a couple of miniature tree skirts I made for my friend Paula (the one who made the knitted trees from last week):

I also made a few inspirational quiltlets for some writing friends who served on a committee with me:

And a blue star quiltlet for some friends whose son just started basic training in the Navy:

The sewing room is now in full holiday shambles mode – as is the rest of the house – but I’m not going to let that overshadow the season. There’s time enough to clean next year.

Happy New Year!

O! (pick your own holiday) Tree

December 21, 2011

The tree series is working its way closer to the top of the piles. I could say I deliberately chose to start the series during Christmas, inspired by the lovely tree my husband and daughter decorated. That would be a lie, but I could say it.

The truth is, I was programmed to do a tree series. My father loved taking pictures of trees. His mother could identify a tree by its bark. If I had more information about my family, I suspect I would find tree-huggers going back to the Druids.

Aside from my father’s photographs, I also have three other pieces of tree art and eight or nine live trees in the yard (depending on whether you call a lilac a tree or a bush). I also have a collection of tree fabric, so there is no end of inspiration. What has been calling to me most, however, is a three-dimensional tree.

I asked my good friend, writing buddy and sister fiber artist Paula Chinick to make some knitted trees for me. I gave her some rough dimensions, and told her she could use any yarn that spoke to her. I guess the yarn was chattering away, because she made me three delightful trees:


Triangle Tree


Can you see my shadow hand?


Nesting Tree

So, for all of you who make holiday quilts – Happy Chanukah, Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Boxing Day, Happy St. Stephen’s Day, Happy New Year, Joyous Ephiphany . . .


Sense and Flexibility

November 30, 2011

My mother has the gift of intuition. She never let me take ballet lessons because she was afraid it would hurt my feet. When my daughter’s dance teacher started a mothers’ class, I was first to register. Two months later I broke my ankle practicing a tiny leap at home.

My intuition isn’t nearly as good. I usually get everything completely backwards. Now I discover one insight I had that really was accurate.

When my kids were little, I discouraged them from considering organized sports. Between my friends’ complaints and the little voice in my head, I was convinced sports would take over our lives. As it turned out, my son played baseball and football without completely disrupting the family schedule. Even karate didn’t consume all our time, if you don’t count the weeks of preparation before the black belt exams

However – and this is where the prophecy came true – karate did get into my blood. The kids stopped taking classes when they left for college. My husband stopped taking classes this month. I’m still going.

I could have quit at the same time, but I realized I like the same things about karate that I do about quilting. I like the camaraderie, and having a safe setting where I’m pushed to expand my abilities. I’ve even been able to incorporate quilting into karate.

Made for my one and only gold medal

I mention this because tomorrow is the first day of my holiday panic, and the sewing room is not ready. There are piles and stacks and unfinished projects as far as the eye can see. Well, you won’t because I’m too embarrassed to take a picture. Still, I find that I do manage to walk around in that minefield without tripping. Then I realized the strength and flexibility exercises I do for karate allow me to stretch over the stacks, crawl around the piles, hoist the boxes and tote bags.

Although my intuition about sports taking over my life was correct, it wasn’t a warning of coming disaster. Sometimes what we dread turns out to be just what was wanted. So, on this last day of calm before the holiday storm, I leave you with my favorite mantra – Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.

The year is dead, long live the year

December 29, 2010

Holidays wait for no woman. Christmas came, and once again I was surprised. Nevertheless, family members were fetched, food was prepared, presents wrapped, trees decorated (well, a tree). I gathered up my colony of lists, stacked them neatly in a corner, and enjoyed the company of family and friends.

But there is always another holiday on the horizon, and it usually requires a quilt; so with presents, on occasion. This year my family gave me a GPS. They’re hoping a) I will learn to operate this electronic device, b) once I learn, I will actually use it, and c) I won’t get lost nearly as often.

First, I need to make it a case. My husband bought one for it. The packaging declared in large, friendly letters that it would actually fit the model I now own. The packaging lied through its little plastic teeth. One could, with a firm enough hand, get the beastie into the case. Getting it out, well, that took more skill.

Still, it was an excuse to abandon the company of family and friends and retreat to my sewing room to pick out fabric. I couldn’t decide whether I should use something encouragingly travel-related, like these balloons:

or something more in keeping with my unerring ability to take the wrong turn:

Of course, I could go expectation-neutral and use a map fabric. I know I have some. I probably have several different kinds of map fabric, but I think they are in here:

I just didn’t have the courage to attack the stacks. That will be the goal for 2011, and I think I’ve got a chance at achieving it. After all, at the end of 2010 I had reclaimed more floor space than I’ve had in years. If my courage fails again, I’ll just take a look at the present I bought myself and laugh:

Then I will visualize the task as one of of the birds that I used in a table decoration. While I find the bird adorable, it unnerved a few guests:

Having my deadlines stare me in the face is a great motivator, so I expect imagining projects, not just due dates, staring at me should work just as well. Whatever your goals are for 2011, may the year be kind to you and yours!