Posts Tagged ‘mom’


July 24, 2013

Sometimes, the great forces that shape the universe like to tell me that I’m driving the highway of life in a clown car. Last week I wrote about collecting, aka hoarding. This week I unpacked a box that has traveled nearly 5000 miles with my parents’ possessions over the last fifty years. The box had my name on it, although I don’t know if I packed it or my mother did. There were many forgotten treasures from my life in that box. And then I found this:


Lani Longshore doll clothes


I don’t remember sewing doll clothes. Ever. My mother made doll clothes for my collection. Perhaps she tried to entice me to learn to sew those itsy-bitsy things myself. I certainly don’t remember preparing multiple pattern pieces.


Lani Longshore doll clothes pattern pieces


Although the memory cells devoted to this period in my life have obviously taken an extended vacation, I do recognize my own handwriting on the box, and my way of marking small pieces for hand sewing.

Lani Longshore doll clothes


Some things in life really are constants. I guess hoarding is a constant in mine.

Lani Longshore doll clothes



The Last of the Livermore Coffee

October 31, 2012

“I just finished the last of the Livermore coffee. I guess it’s time to go home,” my mother said on the morning she flew back East. Since she was flying into Hurricane Sandy, I was even less happy about her leaving than I normally am. The flight went well, Sandy didn’t cause much damage in her part of Maryland, and we’re already planning next year’s visit. That’s the good news.

The interesting news is the thought train her joking comment produced. No one here drinks coffee, so I only buy it when my mother comes to visit (we have a coffee maker just for her – it lives in the garage 50 weeks out of the year). Buying the right amount of coffee to last her entire trip is a fun challenge, which I usually lose. The same is true of fabric buying – do you get only enough for the project at hand, or do you buy extra? If I buy exactly what I think I’ll need that guarantees I will miscalculate, mis-measure, and mis-sew. If I buy more, the project will come together perfectly and I’ll discover I don’t like the fabric at home nearly as much as I did in the store.

I also thought about the emotional reaction I have when a sentence starts, “This is the last of . . . .” There will be tears shed when I have to say, “This is the last of the Halloween candy.” I don’t always have that reaction to the last of a fabric, no matter how much I loved it. There are times, however, when the last of a certain fabric sends me into a tizzy. I have strips and squares on the side of my batting wall, the last bits of fabric I adored and can’t seem to let go.

Here is the vase I made with (almost) the last of the fabric Mom and I used for the box:

Mom loved it, but had already stuffed her suitcase and carry-on bag. This may end up in her Christmas box.

I haven’t had much time to do anything in the sewing room, except make it even messier (yes, that is possible – difficult, but possible). Today being Halloween, there’s no chance I’ll get to those precariously stacked piles. This is my project for the day:

Waiting to be carved

With both the kids home, I bought a pumpkin for each of them and one for me. Some traditions are too much fun to let go.

I leave you with another tradition that I know my husband wishes I would give up – birds in the centerpiece (and the fuzzy pictures to document them):

A fuzzy Halloween bird for you!

[insert bird here]

Crafting with Mom

October 27, 2010

For as long as I can remember, my parents have always done a project when they’ve come to visit. One year they helped us build a fence, another year a bookshelf in the kitchen. For many years, my mom helped me process the apples from our Granny Smith tree. This year, however, is the first time she and I have ever done a craft project together. For the past week we have been busy with a Christmas project – and having the time of our lives.

We started out with beads that I inherited from my mom’s father. I think he used them to make flowers and stars, but since I don’t have any of those I can’t be sure (I have a lot of his woodworking projects instead). Mom saw the beads and the gears started turning, and before you knew it we had a box full of decorations.

She also brought a fabric project that she had discussed with me before she came out. I told her I had a tote bag full of Christmas fabric just waiting to be turned into something beautiful. Here she is with the works in progress:

I can’t show you the finished projects, (a) because none of them are quite finished and (b) because they’re for Christmas and I promised I would keep some details secret. Nevertheless, I want you to know that I am doing something, because my great plan to have Mom help me clean the sewing room was sidetracked. I can’t honestly say things are much worse than they were in the sewing room, but as you can see, they aren’t any better:

Still, I’ve had a great time doing this project with my mom, and she’s enjoyed working with some of her stuff, some of my stuff, and some of her dad’s stuff. We’re creating 3-generation heirlooms, getting them done before Halloween, and enjoying every minute. I can’t think of a better Christmas miracle.

Cleaning for mom

October 13, 2010

My mom is coming to visit. She keeps a very tidy home. She knows how to organize and keep up with the organizational scheme. She has a house chock-a-block with clean flat surfaces.

Luckily, Mom loves me despite my not having a cleared off counter top to my name.

Still, before I ask her to help me in the sewing room (and believe me, I will) I wanted to make one more push on my own. With the help of my good friend, Linda Ballou, the scrap box under the window is empty. Well, it was empty – it’s full now, but full of project bags. Linda cut all the scraps into usable squares for my class kits. I took project bags that had been stuffed in corners and stacked them neatly in the box. This is progress.

You might notice those two bins under the box. They are filled with bits and pieces of things that might be useful someday. For the time being they’re going under the box. No, it isn’t quite organizing – call it a tactical retreat – but they are out of the way and that’s good enough for now.

I did attack a pile of pre-quilted samples. They were left over from another project. I decided I would use them to practice making woven fabric bowls.

What I learned is that Basket Weaving 101 is harder than you might think.

Finally, I pulled out my collection of Australian-themed fabrics and started on my next Challenge project. The assignment is Dream; I’m going to experiment with some 3-dimensional embellishments, such as the patches sticking out from the center. Those aren’t markers for another row – those are going to be panels that open and close.

I had hoped to show my mom a tidy, organized space when she came for her annual visit, but at least the room is in better shape than last year. Also, every mother loves knowing her children still need her, so I’m going to ask Mom for her advice. She may throw up her hands, she may laugh, but she’s going to be here for two weeks – and I think she’ll take the challenge.