Books to Inspire!

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Every now and then I post about a book I’m reading that inspires me. Last year, around this time, it was Mark Hearld’s artwork and book. But it seems lately I’ve had a passel of books that I just love and I’d like to share them with you, in case you might be interested in one or two of them. Most of these I’ve read in the past two months. One of them I’m reading right now. And one I keep re-reading, even though I got the book last year. I’ll give you the titles and authors with a brief reason why it is inspiring to me.

Arne & Carlos’ Knit and Crochet Garden by Arne & Carlos: There were several patterns that interested me, but what I love most is the weaving of yarn works in and around one’s personal life…in this case their garden! I also loved the blend of knitting and crochet–not being a book with just one or the other featured. I am currently knitting two of the mice patterns from this book, one girl and one boy mouse, along with their clothes. You can follow me on Instagram to view the progress on my Mortimer and Millicent!;) It’s impossible to leave this book without wanting to go find a garden to sit in and knit!

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett (author) and Jon Klaussen (illustrator): This is the one I purchased last year when it won the Caldecott Honor Book Award. I pull it out and read it every few weeks because I love how knitting can change a life, a town, a world. Fabulous illustrations!

Journey by Aaron Becker: Oh my. Words cannot describe the delight I have in this wordless picture book. It speaks volumes to me of how my humble crayon can (and does) take me on wondrous adventures and introduces me to dear friends. Purchased this year as it was a Caldecott Honor Book Award winner.

Paris in Love by Eloisa James (book not pictured): I actually felt like I was with her and her family while they lived for a year in Paris. Laughed my way through the book, and savored the wonderful descriptions of an American woman living in France. This book was on loan to me from a friend and I gave it back to her before I took the above picture.

Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim: I’ve watched this movie (note the VCR version in the photo) many, many times (it may be my all-time favorite!) but have just recently begun to read the book on my Kindle! I love every word of it, the wonderful old-fashioned “voice”, and finding out just how true to the book the film is. Lovely. And FREE on Kindle!!

The Illuminated Life of Maud Lewis/ Capturing Joy/ The Painted House of Maud Lewis: I gave the first book listed here to my mom for her birthday so I didn’t have it for the picture. But I have read all three of them and am so inspired by this artist’s life and work. Though it is a bit painful to read of her debilitating disease and nowhere-near-perfect marriage, it is an amazing account of the human spirit refusing to be squelched by anything! Capturing Joy is a children’s book version of her life and artwork and I plan on sharing it with my students next year!

The Yarn Whisperer by Claire Parkes: Marvelous, wondiferous short essays on life and knitting! Very witty, clever and insightful. This is fast becoming my favorite genre of reading…books about knitting written by knitters.

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi: I started to read this as my youngest daughter Maddie is reading it for her 6th grade english class. She asked me to read it at the same time she was, only a chapter at a time. I. Could. Not. Put. It. Down. Though some of the scenes were ghastly, it is nevertheless an intriguing (if not scathing) commentary on what it means to be civil and civilized. Wow. A Newbery Honor Book.

Surviving the Applewhites by Stephanie S. Tolan: A friend and fellow artist (who is a retired Middle School Media Specialist) gave me this book at Christmas because she said it reminded her of the tales I had told her of my family growing up. Such a delightful read!! And oh my…quite close to home!;)

A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd: I’m a follower of the Nerdy Book Club and a lover of Young Adult Fiction. So when this one came across the Nerdy Book Club recommendation post, I got it to read on my Kindle. I found myself purposefully slowing down so I could savor this book for as long as possible!! Every single word was a snicker of magic to me! I relished and delighted in this book from cover to finish. I want to live in Midnight Gulch! Can’t wait for other books by this author, as this was her very first one!!! And I fear that I shall “need” the paper copy of this book: when I fall in love with a book, I really want the physical version to hold, look at, flip pages, etc. That’s the only downside to a Kindle.

So…what have YOU been reading that has inspired you in some way? Do share!! I’d love to create my next reading list based on your recommendations!

A Connection

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A Connection

Was I cut open so that books could come out?
Or was it to make me an open book, my stories to rout?

To then be stitched up like the spine of a book—
held together when open, is that what it took?

To have a permanent spout for books to come out?
They’ve always been there, they just needed a route?

If I drew a self-portrait of the scar that I carry,
I’m not sure I’d like it—it wouldn’t seem merry.

But perhaps it would celebrate that dear time with God.
I know there are folks who think that odd.

But would I prefer not to expose,
to keep it wrapped up, in my nice pretty clothes?

These books that I’ve made in the following months,
seem like dreams come true, impossibilities once.

And now I hold them, one-two-three;
And there are still more, waiting to be freed.

The New Year holds promise for what lies in store—
another Genevieve, Draw Your Life, and so much more!

Whatever the connection between my scars and these books,
I’m grateful for their being and all that it took.

We just never know what pain will bring…
I’ll rest in its path, His praises to sing.

-jpe
11/22/2013

*****As 2013 comes to a close, I’ve been doing a good bit of reminiscing over the year’s events. Whew! It’s been a full one! Even though there are some parts I wouldn’t want to relive, I’m grateful for every moment of it.  Tomorrow’s post will be the last one for this year! I hope you’ve enjoyed my little holiday present to you of postings every day ’til Christmas. I sincerely wish you all the merriest Christmas and a Happy New Year!

**It’s Giveaway Time!!**

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‘Tis the season for giving and I want in on the fun! For three individuals out there I am giving away one copy each of my three recently published books:

A copy of my new children’s book, Genevieve and the Kite!

A copy of Letters to an Artist, a book of encouragement for creative folks!

A copy of Words On A Line, a book of my poetry!

Here’s how to enter:

If you would be so kind as to advertise this giveaway either via Facebook or Twitter, or any other means you have at your disposal, I would love that! You can use the link to this post or share the post on Facebook.  And then, leave a comment on this post here on the blog OR in the comment section on Facebook, as to how you spread the word, and a way for me to contact you in case your name is drawn. ALSO: Put in your comment which of the three books you would prefer to have!! I’ll try to accommodate your wish when I draw the three names on Friday evening!! This giveaway is open to any who live in the US or Canada. So you have TWO DAYS to enter and participate in the gifting!

Thanks ever so much for sharing Genevieve and my other artistic endeavors with others! I’m so grateful for each and every one who visits my blog.

I’ll let you know the winners on Saturday morning! In the meantime, I hope you’re flying your kite, whatever that may be!

Beyond Imagination

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In the daze (days) following Saturday’s Book Signing and Art Show, I haven’t quite known how to blog about the event. From almost the moment I walked into Southwinds Gallery at 3:45 until I stepped out the door at 6:15, it was at the same time– a blur AND a piercingly memorable evening. I had planned on getting lots of pictures. My husband and I, the gallery owner, and others were so busy we only got a few pics from the event. The above pic was taken by my brother in law…thank you Richard!! That’s my husband Randy peeking over my shoulder. 🙂 I’ll share with you the others I have:

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My arms were full as I walked into the gallery, bringing boxes of both books, Genevieve cards and prints. Already there, was a dear friend and fellow artist from Reidsville, who had driven 40 minutes to come to the show. Any jitters I might’ve had prior to arriving at the show, were seriously calmed seeing Teresa (on the right of my daughter Maddie). She has been a huge encouragement to me both in friendship and in all things creative. After just a few minutes of hello and getting books and such settled, more people began trickling in. My parents, a few friends and some local folks relieved my fear that I might be standing around twiddling my thumbs for two hours.

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But by 4:15 I was anchored to the counter signing books. With the exception of one or two dashes from my signing spot to hug a neck or two, I stood there, writing away. The din of happy voices, laughter, people milling and having a good time was music to my ears. I truly could not believe what was happening.

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Friends and family from so many different walks of my life had made their way to this event. I really wish I had photographs of these dear people to share with you. The memory of them, however, is permanently planted in my heart and mind.  There were friends from Boone days…growing up there and attending Appalachian State University. Several artist friends came out for it too! Also, my knitting friends from 2008 and after came … each not knowing the others were coming.  Friends from church, neighbors, and local Kernersville folks, some of whom I had never met before. Family from Pittsboro. Friends who had moved away from Kernersville in recent years.  All were happily milling around, looking at artwork, catching up with each other, enjoying the food and beverage, and waiting for me to sign their books.

A fellow Kernersville resident and crochet friend of mine, Tammy Hildebrand, is an internationally-known crochet designer. I was humbled and delighted that she would come out for the show, and I enjoyed catching up with her and hearing about her TWO new crochet books coming out in the new year!

At one point as I was madly signing, I looked up to see a sweet face I recognized.  Even though I had only known her as an online friend through Everyday Matters, my blog and Facebook, I immediately recognized her and couldn’t believe she had driven all the way from Galax, VA to come to the show! Deborah Alexander made my night as we finally got to meet face to face. I only wish I had had time to talk with her more!

I wish I could have done that with everyone … to really chat and catch up with each one! But my delight in seeing everyone and meeting new faces while signing books was not dimmed one bit! At 5:45 Angie (the owner of the gallery) and I began to breathe a bit. Then in walks Mr. Whicker with his lady friend (as he calls her:).  I couldn’t believe he actually came out for this. It was a delight to talk with him for a few minutes and show him the paintings of his farm and field where I love to paint. I do so wish I had a picture to share with you. By this point I think my brain was fried!

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As I walked out of the gallery that evening, I had very little in my hands but my heart was filled to overflowing. The success of an Art Show/Book Signing is typically determined by sales. And though I am overwhelmed and delighted by the generosity of so many, I actually determine the success of a show by the number of faces.  I woke the next morning with face after face of dear folks and newly made friends marching across my memory. I got up in the wee hours and went to write down their names, even if it was only their first name I could remember.  I would say this show goes down in my memory history books as one beyond my imagination!!  Thank you to each and every one of you who were able to make it out for this show! The love and support I experienced and carry with me is beyond comprehension. Merci de mon coeur à tous!

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If you were unable to make the show and would still like to see the artwork or pick up a book or two, feel free to go by Southwinds Gallery! Angie has it all up for a little while longer, and this lovely gallery will be the permanent home for Genevieve and the Kite and Letters to an Artist.

Thank you again. For everything!

You’re Invited!

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For the first time in many years, I will have artwork represented by a gallery!! I am so very excited about this upcoming Book Signing and Art Show!! Please consider yourself INVITED!! And come out for a grand time at Southwinds Gallery in Kernersville, NC! Bring your kids, family and friends!! Here’s what’s on tap for the show:

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I’ll be signing copies of Genevieve and the Kite, a perfect Christmas gift for someone on your list.

It’s perfect for children, but also for the older kids at heart!

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All my cards and prints of Genevieve will be there for sale as well!

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I am SO excited about the ART SHOW part of this event! Angela Jarman, the owner of Southwinds Gallery, has chosen lots of my drawings and paintings of Kernersville!! It will really be something to see them up on the walls, available for sale! This one here is of our local Bistro B. Nearly ALL of these paintings and drawings were created on site, meaning that I drew and/or painted them while sitting right there! This one of outside the Bistro B restaurant is no exception. The alley with all their tables and chairs is a beautiful spot for drawing.  Other drawings and paintings are from the Factory, the Ciener Botanical Gardens, Harmon Park, and my favorite field and farm here on Silver Dapple Lane by Mr. Whicker’s farm.

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AND…if all goes well with the postal service, I will also have my soon-to-be-published book, Letters to an Artist!! I’ll sign these as well.

So, all in all, it should be a grand event, fun for everyone!!

Mark your calendars…Saturday, November 23rd, 4-6 pm.

I’d love to see you there!