Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

My Scary Halloween Story

November 1, 2017

I usually write funny stories, so Marlene Dotterer’s challenge to write a scary story really made me work. Since the whole shebang started with critters in the sewing room, I decided to go there for inspiration. This is what I came up with:

Yes, anything can inspire a story – or a quilt

The jeweled spider is an important character, as suggested by Julaina Kleist-Corwin, so it has a prominent position on the tray. I made the ceramic crow and the purple snowflake ornament, but the other pieces are things I found in odd drawers and corners.

This isn’t the first time a sewing room find inspired a story. Another horror story I wrote, “The Family Tree” (published in Eve’s Requiem by Spider Road Press) was inspired by my tree fabric collection. This story is called:

All Over But The Screaming

My sister cornered me in the sewing room, demanding a quilt for her fifth grandchild. She grabbed the amethyst batik I had just made and said, “This will be perfect for little Angelica. Her aura is such a vibrant purple, it’s as if she told you this was what she wants.”

“Angelica hasn’t told me a thing. That batik is going into an art piece I’ve been planning for six months.”

My sister tossed her perfect auburn curls. “But you will be making art. It will cover Angelica instead of hanging on a wall, but it will still be art. I’ll make sure Angelica knows how lucky she is to be related to a famous fiber artist.” She flashed the million-dollar smile I paid for after the car accident, with me at the wheel and her side smashed into a tree.

Every cut I made into that batik felt as if I were slicing into my own heart. Never say no to family, that’s the motto pounded into our heads. I made the quilt with care, but not with love.

I finished the center and realized there was still enough of the batik left for my project if I used something else for the borders of the baby quilt. I searched through my stash for a suitable substitute. A golden leaf print blended well with the other fabrics, as did an aquamarine solid, but both seemed more like afterthoughts than integral parts of the design. While I never apologize for my decisions, I knew my sister would nag me about those fabrics so put them back in the drawer.

I considered a black polished cotton with gray circles, even sent a picture to my sister. She was horrified. “The specter of death is hovering over this quilt,” her text read. “Didn’t you see the ghost in the corner? It’s on the right, near the edge of the screen.”

I stifled the impulse to throw my phone across the room. The talismans my sister had given me at the summer solstice – a ceramic crow, a jeweled spider and other bric-a-brac on a tray – caught my eye. She said it was an altar of protection, and that I desperately needed it. I snatched the jeweled spider and broke one of its legs.

The wire pierced my skin. A drop of blood welled on my finger. As I watched it grow, the blood turned from dull red to a glowing red-orange, like lava. Sparks of light rose along the edges, as if they were bubbles in water about to boil. The sparks flashed diamond-white.

The spider wriggled from my grasp and crawled up my arm. My skin opened everywhere the raw wire touched, bringing pain and heat.

I heard a crackling sound, and the spark bubbles exploded from the blood drop. They scattered about the room. Smoke puffed from each spark. I smelled burning cotton and silk, and the toxic odor of melting plastic.

The spider waved its wire stump at me. “Apologize.” It spoke with a crystalline voice – sharp, high, unyielding.

I tried to sweep the spider from my arm, but the beveled edges of the jewels sliced my hand as if it were so much sandwich meat. My knees buckled. Stacks of fabric tumbled to the floor with me. The air swirled with each avalanche, fanning the tiny sparks into flames.

“Apologize, and I will bite you,” the spider said. “You will die tonight, one way or another. My poison will make your death easier.”

I watched the flames jump from fabric to bookshelf to curtains. The smoke smelled angry. It smelled of my own hate. Now I must choose how I will end, in bitterness or rage.

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Shark Week!

June 29, 2016

There are things I do because I enjoy them, not just to embarrass my children. I wear tie-dye in public, I squeal over puppies, and I watch Shark Week. Don’t ask why I enjoy it – sharks are not my favorite critters, and I don’t like seeing documentaries of animals eating other animals. I just like Shark Week. Since this is Shark Week, here are some of my shark possessions.

Lani Longshore shark peeler

I think I got this as a stocking stuffer one Christmas. It doesn’t work well. Okay, it doesn’t work at all. I’ll keep it, however, because I think it’s cute.

Lani Longshore stuffed shark

This is major cute. Come on – a plush shark, what’s not to love! It’s right up there with plush lobsters and plush armadillos.

Lani Longshore shark chart

This chart was in the latest National Geographic. I might use it in a quilt some day, or I might not. It could be one of those things my heirs unearth and say, “My god, she really was a dotty old bat, wasn’t she?”

Lani Longshore fabric collection

The reason I might use the shark chart in a quilt is that I still have a collection of water fabric. I made one undersea quilt a long time ago, and it’s about time for another.

Until that day, I will continue to embarrass my kids with the tie-dye and the squealing. I won’t embarrass them with Shark Week, however. Who do you think got me hooked on it in the first place?

Luck and wisdom!

Bound With Ribbons

June 22, 2016

I had a little “waste not, want not” talk with myself. Many quilts are stacked up, waiting to be bound. I dreaded the time spent cutting strips, much less choosing the fabric to make binding. “Self, use your leftover ribbon,” I said.

Pink organza ribbon gives just a little sparkle

Pink organza ribbon gives just a little sparkle

I ran out of blue ribbon for my Cuba quilt, so finished it with gold.

My Cuba quilt - blue ribbon on the side, gold on top and bottom

My Cuba quilt – blue ribbon on the side, gold on top and bottom

This quilt was buried in the middle of the pile. I ran out of brown ribbon when I started and didn’t get back to it. There was still gold ribbon on the spool, so I finished it, too.

Lani Longshore floral

The pink quilts were part of a series that I intended to bead. I’ve started the beading, but the exact right design hasn’t revealed itself yet. Until it does, I’ll keep the quilts next to me on the couch and add beads as the mood strikes (or the TV show gets boring).

Lani Longshore beading detail

Luck and wisdom!

Line and Repetition

May 25, 2016

This week I started the to-be-quilted stack. I had no design plans, which means the quilts had to tell me what they wanted. The bad news is the tops refused to talk to me. The good news is my art quilt group is exploring design elements now. I decided to use line and repetition.

Echoing the edges

Echoing the edges

This quilt was easy to start, because the collage style practically screams for repetition. I did one line of beading, then a line of hand quilting. I’ll continue the process until A) I get bored out of my skull, or B) the top is too heavy to lift any more.

One fabric to hold many threads and beads

One fabric to hold many threads and beads

This quilt suggested I start with machine quilting, which is fine, but the center section didn’t want to cooperate. Luckily, I was reminded that one can combine machine- and hand-quilting. So I did. I’ll also add beads (like you thought I wouldn’t).

I recalled having layered more quilts than I actually did. I don’t enjoy layering quilts. That may explain why these tops have remained unquilted for so long. If I’m very clever, I will schedule a time to put tops together with batting and backing. Once it’s on the calendar, I’ll have a harder time ignoring the task.

Luck and wisdom!

The Front Garden – A Progress Report

April 13, 2016

We’ve essentially completed the front garden. Of course, when I say “we” I mean my husband because I have the blackest thumbs on either side of the Mississippi (at least that’s the excuse I give for not gardening). The grass is gone, the weeds are as gone as weeds ever are, and some of the plants are flowering.

The center section iris plot

The center section iris plot

Our son commented on how the spiky weeds actually looked like they belonged below the great log wall, so we bought some spiky lilies to put there.

The great log wall and spiky stuff

The great log wall and spiky stuff

The leucadendron from the back garden gave up the ghost. We replaced it with another one called golden tulip, or some such thing. It advertises beautiful yellow flowers with brown cone-like centers.

The leucadendron is on the right

The leucadendron is on the right

The plants for the charging station boxes are doing well, too.

Lani Longshore planting box

All in all, this is the prettiest our yard has looked since the drought started. With any luck from the gardening pixies, it will continue to be pretty if the drought continues. If so, there may be a quilt in here.

A shrimp plant for inspiration

A shrimp plant for inspiration

Luck and wisdom!

I’m In It For The Trees

January 27, 2016

You know you’ve been a quilter too long when you stop paying attention to the movie because something on the screen sparked an idea for a new quilt. I was watching “War and Peace” and stopped paying attention to James Norton‘s splendid portrayal of Prince Andrei because he was standing by a way cool tree that I thought would make a great focal point for an art quilt.

Not the tree in the movie, but a fine tree all the same

Not the tree in the movie, but a fine tree all the same

This isn’t the first time I’ve been sidetracked by quilt ideas. I attended a concert and forgot all about the music because the light show sparked an idea for a wonderful way to use some of my batiks. I look at the ocean and see how I could strip-piece a wave breaking on the rocks. Don’t even get me started on how a night sky makes me itch to bring out my beads.

The black and white batik uses a frog motif

The black and white batik uses a frog motif

At the moment, I’m particularly struck by trees. I’ve also done frogs, roses, space scenes and maps. I can never tell when the mood will strike for a new series, or why something takes me by the throat and demands I explore it. All I know is that it’s great fun to be inspired, even if I do miss part of the movie.

Luck and wisdom!

Starting the Year with Determination

January 6, 2016

Long ago I gave up New Year Resolutions for New Year Projects. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don’t, but there’s a lot more to be learned from having a project go wrong than from having one’s resolve disappear like the Christmas fudge. This year started with my determination to work on projects even if I don’t have a clear plan.

Basted and ready

Basted and ready

These small pieces have been waiting to be quilted for weeks. That in itself isn’t the problem. I’ve got tops that have been waiting for years to be quilted. The problem is I want to quilt these so I can bead them and use the collection for a quilt show (no, I don’t have a show scheduled, but I have to have a body of work before I can approach anyone to arrange something, yes?). January arrived, as I knew it must, and I decided to let the quilts suggest designs.

When all else fails, follow the lines

When all else fails, follow the lines

The first quilt on the stack had a section that needed a quilting design to keep the fusible applique in place. I followed the lines of the roses. The empty white space seemed to say it wouldn’t object to continuing the rose motif. I liked the result.

Letting my fingers do the work

Letting my fingers do the work

The next section seemed a good candidate for roses, too. I did the work right then, while my fingers still remembered how to flow from petal to leaf. The rest of the quilt went silent at that point. No matter. Tomorrow I’ll start again, determined to listen to the piece. Eventually, it will talk to me.

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!

The Godzilla In Me

May 21, 2014

 

It’s too bad I don’t have any Hollywood connections. My sewing room would have made a wonderful set for the new Godzilla movie.

Lani Longshore sewing table

After the Big Guy stomps through

Like Godzilla, I can cause chaos and mayhem just by walking through the space. I tell myself it is the creative impulse, that I work best surrounded by inspiring fabrics and embellishments. Then I look at the floor and realize I just can’t say no to shiny things and pretty fabric.

Waiting for attention

Waiting for attention

These are the collections of inspiring stuff I hope to get to at some point in my lifetime. I come from healthy stock, but even I have to admit the chances of me finishing all these projects is somewhere between fat and slim.

Makes me wonder if the Big Guy had these moments of creative angst.

Roar!

Roar!

Luck and wisdom!

 

Chenille, Dragons and Licorice Herring

May 14, 2014

 

My friend Jordan Bernal (1dragonwriter.wordpress.com) 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 Smashwords.com (click here). When Chenille Is Not Enough is also an e-book on Smashwords.com (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!