Posts Tagged ‘Lani Longshore’

Queuing

January 16, 2019

My sewing machine is in the shop for some well-deserved cleaning. While I usually take this time to sort, now I am tidying with purpose. I am queuing up a series of projects, like a river of creativity. The first two in line will be the last ones on my list for the guild challenge. Then I get to do this one.

The start of this project came from a workshop by Sandy Corbin. I told myself going in that if the blocks turned out they would become a charity quilt. I also told myself if they were ugly they would be tossed in the bin (I used remnants from other projects, just so I wouldn’t get too angsty over $1.37 worth of fabric). Well, turns out I love the project. It will still go to our guild’s quilt give-away, but I’m going to put it first on my list of new challenge projects as an incentive to keep going.

Luck and wisdom!

Sorting

January 14, 2019

I have found that I remember things better if I write them – really write, not just type (although that helps as well). I have also found that I love notebooks and repositionable tabs. The latter are impulse buys for me, much like candy bars at the grocery checkout stand. Finding a packet in a stack of scraps of paper inspired me to start organizing my writing space by sorting through my instructional notes-to-self.

I will use one of my lovely notebooks and a packet of tabs to write my own personal, private user manual for programs, apps, troubleshooting, and general useful information. In the process, I may actually remember how to make things work when they aren’t (rather than whining to the more technologically savvy people around me).

Luck and wisdom!

What to Name My UFOs

January 9, 2019

I have a support group for my 2019 challenge to finish projects. They came to the meeting with tidy lists of unfinished objects (UFOs). I came with a vision of stacks. Now I am trying to catch up by creating my own list, but what do you call something like this?

This is a stack on my ironing board that I believe I will turn into the Progressive Party star project. I suppose I could name it “star project” and hope for the best.

This is a little trickier. Most of the elements in this box are meant for a crazy quilt, but there are a few things that snuck in when I wasn’t looking. Okay, I tossed them in the box when I was too lazy to put them where they belonged. Still, how to name the collection? I might call it “project in box” as I believe it is the only one in a box in my sewing room.

This is the hardest one. Most of the fabrics come from a row-by-row project. They didn’t play well with the other fabrics, but I think they are destined to live together in another quilt. However, I suspect there are a few surprises in the pile. I see some magazines, and I don’t recall saving other patterns for the row-by-row project. This one can’t be called “project on floor” because there are too many stacks on the floor. I’m not even sure I could number them based on the compactness of the pile.

And this is why I challenged myself to finish half of the projects I could reach, not name.

Luck and wisdom!

A View of the World

January 7, 2019

My father, brother, and son are left-handed. I never realized how useful that would be to me until I started writing science fiction. There’s nothing like having your own view of the world turned on its axis to start the world-building process. A simple experiment will illustrate: try brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand (I’ve done it a few times, and have yet to get through an entire session). Now incorporate what you experienced into a story set on an alien planet, and you’re the one who has to adapt.

My mother burned her right hand as a child, and learned to do some things left-handed. I watched her, and also learned to do some things with my left hand. Neither she nor I are entirely ambidextrous, but I like to try using my left hand for some tasks, especially when I’m thinking about a new world for one of my stories. Get out of your comfort zone on purpose – that’s where the creativity starts.

Luck and wisdom!

Beginning the Year with Clutter

January 2, 2019

At least I can see a bit of carpet!

This is my quilting studio. In fairness, some of the piles are the result of the Christmas clutter, and will be sorted out quickly. The other piles, not so much. Nevertheless, I am optimistic that I can get things under control because several of my projects have firm deadlines and will be leaving the house. That is largely due to the Unfinished Quilt Challenge, where I was once again shown how pathetic I am without deadlines, and accountability. So, I’m telling everyone who will listen and many who won’t that my goal is to get half of the unfinished projects that I can reach finished by the end of 2019. Anyone care to join my challenge?

Luck and wisdom!

Ending the Year with Clutter

December 31, 2018

My desk is the windowsill to my mind

I dream of cleared flat surfaces this time of year. I also dream of a productive daily schedule and a workable writing plan for my novel, but let’s not get greedy. The key (for me) to successfully tackling any goal is accountability, so I’m posting a picture of my work space and announcing that my goal is to be able to walk past it without fear of starting an avalanche. I have wanted my desk to be more organized for ages, but can’t quite let go of the scraps of paper, which are often ideas for stories I will probably never write. I’m not ready to abandon the ideas, but I do need to find a better way of filing them (since filing them in piles hasn’t really worked for me). Suggestions?

Luck and wisdom!

Confessions of a Fruitcake Fan

December 26, 2018

Confession 1 – I like fruitcake. To eat. No, seriously, I have pleasant memories of delicious fruitcake, mostly homemade but some commercially made. This year, I decided to make my own fruitcake. As you can see, it is still a work in progress.

I bought the ingredients, but like many Christmas crafters I ran out of time and energy (that’s confession 2). So here’s my holiday wish for all of you – peace of mind. If the to-do list taunts you, turn those unfinished projects into family stories. I promise, we’ll laugh with you because we’ve all been there.

Luck and wisdom!

Cookie Valhalla

December 24, 2018

Thanks, Walt, for the delicious cookies!

One of my writing groups is mixed genre, and I’m the only sci fi writer. They’ve asked before how I write about a world that doesn’t exist, and I’ve never felt I’ve given them a good explanation. The short answer is you take something you know and push it in another direction. My group likes long answers. Luckily, I was talking to a friend about where fantastic bakers might go when their Final Timers ring, and the term Cookie Valhalla popped in my head. “Self,” I said, “this is your opening.” My next attempt at explaining world building will begin with imagining my favorite people joyfully baking amazing food, doing battle with perfect puff pastry, and ending in an orgy of eating the weapons on the battlefield. How’s that for building a world, eh?

Luck and wisdom!

Story Boards and Story Scrolls

December 19, 2018

Here is a quick(ish) project for those of you who tell stories to young – or at least young at heart – audiences and want a different visual aid. Story boards can be made in minutes with scraps and glue. Story scrolls take a little longer, but use more scraps.

My friend and co-author Ann Anastasio and I made some Sunbonnet Sue story boards for a program we wrote ages ago. I recently unearthed the collection, which includes Sunbonnet Sue in the Odyssey (above), and Sunbonnet Sue on Safari (below). We cut simple shapes, glued them on poster board, embellished with puff paint and hot-glued binding strips around the edge.

For the last Challenge Group project, I made some scrolls from scraps. The assignment was to do something on the theme of A Winter Tale. I went more literal than Shakespearan, and made a set of scrolls. A long scrap of fabric within reach set the dimensions for the scroll. I layered batting and fabric scraps on the wrong side, machine-quilted everything together, and zig-zagged the raw edges. Leftover pieces of a dowel became the spindles, with flat buttons and a pyramid bead hot-glued on each end for finials. I looped one end of the scrolls around each completed dowel, sewed it in place, then attached a ribbon on the back.

I have no idea what sort of tale I might tell to fill a long winter evening, but it will definitely include space aliens.

Luck and wisdom!

Legacy

December 17, 2018

At the end of the year, I look back at my calendar and wonder what on earth I’ve achieved. Some years I have the illusion that my legacy will endure, others not so much. Then I remember the magical thinking of writers. Here is an excerpt from an ancient Egyptian poem called “Eulogy to Dead Authors”: “A man has perished, his corpse is dust, and his people have passed from the land; it is a book which makes him remembered in the mouth of a speaker.”

So, keep on writing, keep on publishing, keep on blogging. Even if our words offer only a fragile immortality, they are our best monuments.

Luck and wisdom!