Posts Tagged ‘joy’

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!

Choices

February 1, 2017

Anyone walking into my sewing room knows I like to have choices. There are stacks of fabric everywhere, waiting to be chosen for the next project. Sometimes the stacks are organized, and sometimes they just exist.

Lani Longshore fabric stack

I used to feel guilty about this need to collect fabric, until I noticed all the other choice categories around the house. Some are mine alone, like the hand cream collection.

Lani Longshore hand cream

Others are collective choices. The whole family loves tea, so I keep a variety in stock.

Lani Longshore tea

What brought me joy, however, was recognizing I am not alone in my desire for choice. Only one person in the house eats breakfast cereal, and here’s the shelf where the cereal lives.

Lani Longshore cereal

It occurs to me that I will only be judged a hoarder by those who don’t appreciate what I collect. In the greater scheme of things, I am providing employment for those who make and sell the fabric that I love, I use my fabric (albeit slowly) for gifts and to make art, and I try to share when the opportunity arises. That makes for a balanced ledger in my mind.

Luck and wisdom!

Mary Ellen Hopkins and the Joy of Simple Blocks

November 25, 2015

The holiday season is staring off with three gifts from the universe. First, I finished my project before the deadline. Second, I pulled out my copy of Mary Ellen Hopkin’s The It’s Okay If You Sit On My Quilt Book and rediscovered the joy of simple blocks. Third, I made a special place on the shelves for my Hopkins collection.

hopkins-books-11-25-15

Mary Ellen Hopkins was the first important quilt lecturer I ever heard, and her advice shaped the way I approach the craft. She is the reason I have such an impressive collection of graph paper notebooks – you never know when you’re going to run across a design you can turn into a quilt block.

I wish I could credit Hopkins with an equally impressive collection of finished quilts, but at least I crossed off one more thing on my to-do list. The project with a deadline is for the Progressive Party. I made two blocks for a soft and feminine quilt.

hopkins-floral-block-11-25-15

Pink, green and yellow quilts have the same effect on me as blue and yellow quilts – immediately calming. This block is great for using leftovers from a large-scale print.

hopkins-pink-block-11-25-15

I wanted to add some yellow to this block, too, but the fabrics wouldn’t play nice together. Ah, well, pink and soft green works, too.

Luck and wisdom!

Halloween in Tree and Flower

October 28, 2015

The decorating gods are smiling for me this year. While shopping for something else I found a Halloween tree that is the perfect size for the dining room table.

A bit of wife, and a couple of tiny bats - brilliant!

A bit of wire, and a couple of tiny bats – brilliant!

Also, I decided I didn’t have to sacrifice a squash for Halloween when I found this great polka dot pumpkin.

Shiny dots and glitter - what more could I want?

Shiny dots and glitter – what more could I want?

Even the bushes are cooperating, as our orange begonia is blooming.

Lani Longshore begonia

Technically, this was sold as a peach-colored begonia but I’m calling it orange until the end of the month.

I have a gargoyle named Trevor who lives in the backyard. Next year I may festoon him with colored lights.

Lani Longshore Trevor the gargoyle

Luck and wisdom – and happy Halloween!

The Joy of the Back-up Plan

August 26, 2015

Three – count them, three! – projects presented a back-up plan for my consideration this week. Joy abounds.

Now this is the way to cut corners!

Now this is the way to cut corners!

The embroidery project that was marked in ink came first. Alert reader Violet Carr Moore suggested using hair spray to get rid of the ink. I thought about it, but I quilted the project before I soaked it. I’m pretty sure the ink would seep into the batting, and there isn’t enough hair spray in the world to deal with it. So, I trimmed the piece and put triangles on over the marked corners.

The block is finished, I'm still serene, all is well

The block is finished, I’m still serene, all is well

Next came my serenity story block. My art quilt critique group pointed out a section of a strip of hand-painted raw silk that would work. I beaded three spirals and found some hand-dyed solid strips that went well with a piece of Asian-inspired fabric.

Lani Longshore sashiko sample

Finally, although I am disappointed that I won’t be able to take the sashiko workshop at Amador Valley Quilters I found another piece of Asian-inspired fabric that has a section I can use for a do-it-myself class sample. It won’t be the same as sharing a day of stitching with friends and a good teacher, but it will use up stuff I already have. If I really enjoy it, I can always buy more supplies. If not, well, one less piece of fabric in the pile.

Luck and wisdom!

Ahead of Schedule

April 9, 2014

 

This has been one of those weeks where I check the calendar twice to make sure I haven’t forgotten something. Projects for friendship groups? Check. Deadlines for bills? Check. Short story for anthology submission? Check. The squirrelly part of my brain is chittering, “What are you forgetting? What are you forgetting?”

Until I figure out what I’ve forgotten, I’m collecting fabric for the next projects on the list.

Christmas project, take one

Christmas project, take one

This is the first run at my mother’s Christmas present. She sent me a sample of the colors she wanted. The peach is the right shade, but I’m not sure it is the right print. The luxury of knowing I have time to find a better fabric is worth more than chocolate.

The little scraps will find a home

The little scraps will find a home

The next Challenge project is on the theme of water. I have had this box of sky and water scraps sitting on the shelf for a very long time. It was high on the list of boxes that had to be cleared out. The joy of having one’s procrastination rewarded is almost as wonderful as the luxury of extra time.

Luck and wisdom!

 

Cards and Shiny Stuff

December 11, 2013

Sometimes Christmas boutiques provide more than unique gift ideas. I stopped at a photographer’s booth to look through the cards, and realized that I could use my massive collection of blank cards as Christmas cards. So what if I didn’t have any reindeer or Santas? Or that they weren’t red and green? If I chose carefully and embellished where needed, I could easily tailor the card to the recipient.

 

When I actually looked at my collection, I discovered some of them are ready as is, like this kaleidescope star by Christine McCall.

 

Lani Longshore Christine McCall star

 

With the joy of discovery in my heart, I looked to my embellishments –

 

Lani Longshore bling

 

and other treasures, such as this blinking necklace (thanks, Jeanne Brophy!) that I can wear myself, wind around the dog’s collar, or hide in a floral centerpiece.

 

Lani Longshore necklace

 

The best discovery was the Christmas tree napkins that I bought on sale last year that serendipitously match the wrapping paper I bought on sale this year.

 

Lani Longshore napkins

 

One final note of joy for the season – I finished my mother’s birthday present and mailed it in time! I chose at least one picture from each decade of her life and made a photo quilt. This project was made possible because my husband has created a digital database of our entire photo collection – an incredible gift to the whole family!

 

Lani Longshore quilt