Posts Tagged ‘ideas’

The Landscape of My Memory

January 18, 2017

Once again, the Challenge Group project has given me a chance to explore my beads, my stash, and my world view. The theme is “I Remember . . .” but I’m rapidly reaching that time of life when I really don’t remember. The little gray cells are aging. I thought of the implications of the graying of the gray cells, and started this project in the brain quilt series, which I call The Landscape of My Memory.

My mind as a map

My mind as a map

The central background is one that the Progressive Party made when I asked for small art pieces to embellish. It really is a landscape. I added the borders and the beads. First I quilted lines with little blue crystals that represent those ideas/memories that seem to bubble up without a care in the world. Then I added the pearls, which represent those ideas/memories that bubble up but are actually worth capturing.

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble

The twisted red border comes from my brain fabric stash, and represents my neural network. Bless its heart, it tries so hard. I added some dark beads to represent the little nuggets of neurons that keep hanging in there, anchoring me to reality as best they can.

Work those neural nets

Work those neural nets

The bottom dark gray border represents the memory swamp where ideas go to hide. They aren’t necessarily bad ideas, but they don’t have a lot of staying power. Still, I always have hope that if I’m very lucky, someday I’ll be able to reach those ideas/memories. That hope is represented by the thin line of shiny crystals, just because I can.

Who knows what lurks in the shadows? Not me!

Who knows what lurks in the shadows? Not 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!

Chenille, Dragons and Licorice Herring

May 14, 2014


My friend Jordan Bernal ( asked me to be part of a blog tour. I’m supposed to talk about my writing process, but since I found these cool licorice herrings and won a bid for two yards of green chenille I’ll write about that, too.

Jordan writes about dragons. She loves dragons, always has. She also loves all things Celtic, so her first book is set in Ireland and her second in Scotland.


Jordan Bernal - photo by Patrick Coyle

Jordan Bernal – photo by Patrick Coyle


You can find The Keepers of Eire on Amazon, but you’ll have to wait for The Keepers of Caledonia.

I write about what I love, like science fiction and candy and odd connections. My fiber art incorporates things I love, too – like science fiction and candy and odd connections.

cover Death By Chenille

cover When Chenille Is Not Enough

The books that Ann Anastasio and I wrote, are writing, and plan to write are about quilters who save the world from alien invasion. We like to think we invented the genre of quilting science fiction. We also claim to have invented quilting vaudeville since we sing and dance about quilts as Broken Dishes Repertory Theatre. Shameless self-promotion – you can find Death By Chenille as an e-book on (click here). When Chenille Is Not Enough is also an e-book on (click here) or a paperback at Amazon (click here).

I think most of us create what we do because it seems like a good idea at the time. The concept of quilters saving the world from alien invasion by smacking them with chenille pillows wriggled into our brains like an ear worm, so we ran with it. It’s lasted through two books, one more in progress and a title for a fourth. Ideas are out there, floating on the breeze, waiting for someone to reel them in for fun and profit.

So I’ll be making something out of the chenille I bought to inspire me while writing the third book in our series, The Chenille Ultimatum. I don’t know what I’ll make – perhaps my own chenille pillow.

green chenille

Two yards of green chenille


I probably won’t include dragons in my stories, but I’ve got one on my shelf.

blue soft toy dragon

My dragon


Heaven knows where the licorice herrings will take me, but they’re very tasty.

licorice herring

Licorice herring – who knew?


If you want to be part of this blog tour and write about your creative impulses, send me a link to your blog and a photo (of you would be nice, of your quilt would work, too). I’ll list those in future posts.

Luck and wisdom!



September 25, 2013

I’ve been thinking about what lies underneath – what is unseen, but necessary for future growth. I wanted to show hibernation for my November calendar project. Starting with floral prints in browns and grays, I strip-pieced a base and embroidered dead plants and roots.

The earth below

The earth below

Stitches with variegated thread

Stitches with variegated thread

My idea got a jump-start with Laura Wasilowski’s hand-dyed embroidery threads.

Color + texture = fun!

Color + texture = fun!

For all the notes, sketches and supplies I keep stacked in the sewing room, my ideas are a lot like roots and seeds hiding under the ground. With the right amount of rain and sunshine, some of them poke through and flower. Others wait for the next season. It’s sort of like magic, until the hard work of growing the project begins.

Habits and Patterns

January 16, 2013

You might have noticed that I collect things. I tell myself they are useful things, but we know that isn’t entirely true. There is one collection that should resonate with all of you, regardless of your craft of choice – the “someday I’ll do this” file.

idea collection

This is one of the piles of patterns, sketches, notes and scribbles for future quilts. Some of them are ideas for projects I can use in my prison quilting class. Some of them have been sitting in this pile – or one of the many other piles scattered around the sewing room – for a long, long time.

The good news is my class makes tops for community quilts, and they have asked for 48″ x 66″-72″ quilts. Now that I have a standard size, I’ve given myself permission to get rid of patterns that don’t fit (especially if I ripped the pattern from a magazine in the ’90s and haven’t touched it since). The bad news is old habits die hard and some of those patterns-notes-random scribblings are going into my personal “someday I’ll do this” file.

Then there’s the new project that came about – writing up my own patterns for blocks that are especially interesting in scraps and/or easy to cut. I know the best method for doing that would be to get software already designed to do just this, but my computer runs on Linux. I’ve seen software curl up its toes and dash screaming from the room when I’ve tried to install it on my computer. So, I am left to do my own designs with my drawing program, which is not as much fun as it sounds.

Then I made a mistake and had a revelation. I hit the wrong button on my camera and discovered it can do party tricks. In particular, it can turn a photo into a drawing.

This is the block in regular mode

This is the block in regular mode

- and this is the block in drawing mode

– and this is the block in drawing mode

“Self,” I said, “why don’t you just take a picture of the block you want and turn it into a drawing. Better yet, take a picture of the drawings you used in old patterns that you’ve already written on graph paper and use them.”

So I did:

Bordered 4-Patch - great in scraps

Bordered 4-Patch – great in scraps

An easy heart - also great in scraps

An easy heart – also great in scraps

Stone Mason's puzzle - good for using up strips

Stone Mason’s puzzle – good for using up strips

Now all I have to do is re-size and input the directions for these patterns – after I double-check the math – but that’s a project for another day.