My 18″ Doll Crochet Designs

Genevieve'sFrenchEnsemble

If Genevieve was an 18″ doll (how fun would THAT be?), she would probably wear a couple of cool crocheted outfits when she isn’t wearing her blue polka-dotted dress!

You may not know about this, but I have two crochet design patterns for 18″ Dolls that are available through Maggie’s Crochet!  This one (pictured above in the drawing of Genevieve), called French Girl Ensemble, includes the beanie hat, bell-bottom pants, cool shrug, over the shoulder purse, and Mary Jane’s. Click here to read more info about this pattern and to purchase.

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And this one (photographed on my daughter’s American Girl Doll), called Ready For Spring, features a pretty dress and shoes, headband for her hair, basket for market or Easter eggs, and her very own bunny. I have fond memories of designing both of these sets as my girls were into American Girl Dolls at the time. Click here to read more info about this pattern and to purchase.

Maggie’s Crochet is based right here in Kernersville, NC! There are many other 18″ Doll patterns as well as a huge inventory of patterns for anything and everything you might want to crochet! Enjoy browsing around her website, complete with instructional videos too! If you love to crochet, this site is for you!

Play!

WhenIKnit2

I’m not very good at this. At least when you consider the inspiration from which I was drawing. As the whims of my creative fancy cycle through their seasons, I often find myself drooling over the work of mixed media artists out there. There are so many, but recently I came across Roben-Marie Smith’s colorful blog and artwork and I was enraptured. Well. Sort of. You see, I LOVE the color, the textures, the layering, the whimsy of it all. But when it comes down to all the papers, paints, pens, glue, scissors, brushes, and-did-i-say PAPERS, strewn everywhere and needing to be stored, I get bogged down. I tend to dabble my creative toes into the mixed media realm for very short periods at a time. It shakes things up a bit, provides new ways to think about things, and offers a no-pressure way to be a kid.

I should say, that though I am no Roben-Marie, this is one of my favorite pages of late! The above pic just doesn’t quite get the color right and doesn’t seem too clear. But I hope you can get the gist of it. Perhaps what is enchanting me about the page is not merely the fun magazine cut-out letters, or the layers of torn papers and paint, or the stenciled lace, or the lovely card glued in, or the few drawn lines of yarn and Genevieve sitting and knitting with her cat Lucy near by. It is the story behind the whole page itself, how it came about, and what it represents to me. Here goes:

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About a week ago, I started to knit the Magic Cake Ruffle Shawl. Oh my. Just making the Cakes of leftover sock yarn on my new Yarn Ball Winder was almost enough. The cute-as-a-button shape of multi-colors sitting there on my desk was almost too much for me to begin knitting with. I know that sounds silly, but I do become quite silly over things like that. Dear me…. Oh. But I digress.

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I am enjoying knitting this shawl as much as I enjoy looking at the Magic Cakes! To see each section of leftover yarn knitted into the shawl is like a page-turning novel where you can’t wait to get to the next chapter! But I started knitting this during some rather dreary days here in North Carolina. Rain upon rain, cloudy skies, dreary darkness seemed to hover over our area for days on end. I do not like days-on-end of dreary weather. Snow would be delightful. But rain and mid-thirty degree weather is just intolerable…it seeps into my head and heart. I plunked down into a chair to knit through the dreariness and an amazing thing happened!

SunOutasIKnit

The sun came out as I knitted! I sat there not realizing at first that the room had grown lighter. And then these stripes fell across my lap and knitting! Sunshine streaming in through the studio/sunroom windows! Glorious, delicious sunshine! It felt as if my clicking needles were batons directing a symphony! The glorious notes of sunshine being called out one by one, chasing away the dreary that had nearly taken up residence in my heart.

I Instagrammed the above pic with the words, “When I knit, the Sun comes out!” And I kept thinking about that phrase for days. It’s very true for me. But the page holds even more meaning. In the small stack of saved papers I have on my drawing table, was a card given to me by a sweet friend years ago. We met at the yarn shop where I was teaching. She wanted private lessons to learn to crochet and thus began a lovely friendship I remember with such fondness. Not only did we share a love for knitting and crochet, but we also LOVED all things French.

WhenIKnitCard

In fact, she and her husband regularly travelled to France and had at one time lived there for a year or so. She and I relished trying to carry on a lunch-length conversation. I was forever digressing into a mish-moshed franglais! :/ I love this card as it reminds me of her! Her writing in French inside the card makes it the perfect addition to this page.

LeftoverPaint

When I had finished the page, I had a fair amount of acrylic paint leftover. (What is it with leftovers these days?) So I turned the page and swooshed the remaining colors around on another page to serve as the background for something else. Or just to stand on its own. I don’t know. I do love it like it is.

If you have the day off today, perhaps you can browse around Roben-Marie Smith’s website. She has wonderful video tutorials and other inspiring posts. This one here includes links to other mixed media artists you might like to visit. And pull out some “leftover” papers, some glue and scissors and paint. It’s a recipe for fun, I can guarantee!

**Wanna know the stuff I used? Acrylic paints, stiff “oil” brush, any ole scissors, Elmer’s glue, papers saved from old cards and their envelopes, paper plate for palette, Bic pen, pencil to use the eraser end for adding yellow dots to the page (works great!). Oh! And a magazine! (I used an old knitting magazine:) You don’t have to have anything fancy to have an evening of creative fun!

Mining for Gold: A Key to Artful Living

MinerGenevieve

Some days can feel heavy, darker than others. The weight of responsibilities is such that you’d rather not have to walk through them. These types of days can come round every so often, or stay for a season. Even at the holidays, we can experience these weighty days … perhaps even because of the holidays! All the shopping lists, the parties, the gatherings, the family events, missing loved ones who are no longer with us, the travel, the wrapping … add to that just regular ole living and working … well, you get the picture.

It seems there are two ways, no maybe three, that we can move through days like this. One would be, I suppose, to simply pull the covers up over your head and not get out of bed. Typically we don’t do that, even if we’d like to! We muster ourselves out of bed and go through the motions. This second way is just to “endure” it, to move through the days’ to-do’s hunkered down in a numb, mechanical sort-of-way. We call it “survival mode”. And it works. But it’s not very fun.

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The third way takes just a bit of thought before the day begins. Sometimes I imagine myself, down on my hands and knees, pushing through the weeds of life, looking, searching, straining to find something lovely. Other times, I imagine I’m headed into the mines. Yes, it’s dark and cold and sooty. I don my head lamp and coat … ready for the search. And I move through my day looking, searching, straining to see the gold I know is hidden there! Sometimes I find several gold pieces, sometimes only one.  But there is ALWAYS something that shines out among the dim (or seemingly dim) days. It may be a simple, but lovely interaction with someone, or an eye-catching color, or a beautiful comment or quote I find. It can be so many things … if we only look for it!

Does this seem “pollyanna” to you? Perhaps. But it makes a difference in my life.  I’m convinced that no matter how dark or blisteringly busy life can get, there is gold somewhere!  It may not be until later that you can see it. Usually, when I’m in “miner mode”, I see lots of lovelies strewn along my path. And then I sit down at the end of the day and record it in my journal, either sketched or written or both! This is living Artfully!! It’s so encouraging to know that when heavy days hit me, I can look back at other days like it, and see the gold I mined.

May your holidays be Mining Days!

BookReadingSigningBookmarkMaking

EclectionLounge

If you’ve never been to Eclection, you need to go! If you’ve been, then you need to come visit again this Saturday!! Not only will you be able to finish off those last minute gifts, but you’ll also be able to listen while I read Genevieve and the Kite! So bring your child/ren or any stray kids who are bouncing-off-the-walls-cuz-they-can’t-wait-for-Christmas!! They (and you!) will be able to make a gingerbread house for a small fee, and a Kite bookmark for free! Plus…you’ll be able to see first-hand the amazing wall Chris (the owner) created!

EclectionWall

And you’ll see where I sit to draw on Fridays with my friend Debbie. We’ve been choosing different views from the Breathe Wine Bar & Lounge area right in the front of the shop where that amazing wall is. Oooh, maybe I’ll even bring my sketchbook and draw a bit! Bring your sketchbook too!

EclectionChair

Hope to see you there! 11am – 2pm! Saturday December 21st! Be there or be … well … somewhere else!! 😉

*****Note on the “Orange Chair” drawing: After I finished the drawing, I realized I hadn’t brought my trusty watercolor palette! (I hate it when I do that!) So I just used my Caran D’Ache Watercolor Crayons. I LOVE those things! You can draw/color with them first and then take a brush or a water brush (as I did) to liquify what you’ve drawn. OR, you can just touch your water brush to the tip of the crayon and then paint with the color you get on your brush! Works great! The only “problem” is that I couldn’t splatter like I like to! But at least I could add watery color!! You might ask Santa for some of these, if it isn’t too late!:)

Macy the Mouse-Part Two

Macy&Genevieve

Macy the Mouse lives in Genevieve’s house
right under the living room chair.
She darts in and out, dodging yarn balls about
but can’t quite make it up the stair.

So downstairs she stays, knowing Genevieve’s ways
are similar to her own.
They both love to make, for making’s sake.
To give or to keep for their home.

Pillows and quilts, sweaters and toys,
Crocheted or quilted or knit
No matter the time it takes to refine
they just couldn’t care a bit.

Sewing and painting, drawing and baking
Macy joins in with care.
But her favorite of all, sitting up tall,
is knitting with Genevieve in her chair.

Clicking away the last hours of the day,
their needles fly through the wool—
When the yarn is gone, their faces shon
and their creative hearts are full!

-jpe
12/2/2013

This is a continuation of the poem I wrote for my friend Ellen, about the little felted mouse she gave me as a present. You can read the first part of that poem here. These poems (there is a third:) evolved over a couple of days … still referring somewhat to my friend, but becoming more just about the mouse herself, or maybe me? The third part will be posted soon! Thank you for continuing to visit here! Macy and Genevieve love it!:)

Book Readings & Winners!

ReadingatLibrary

My sweet sister coordinated some book reading events for me in Boone, NC. So on Tuesday of this week, I drove to my hometown where I grew up from age 5 through college. It was a delight to read Genevieve and the Kite to the children and moms who came for story time at the Watauga County Public Library. The county library is in a new building from the one I remember going to as a child.  After reading the book to them, they made kite bookmarks (like the instructions included in the book 🙂 ).  The librarians there were lovely…they truly seemed excited about my book and invited me to participate in the High Country Festival of the Book in June! Wow! What fun that would be!

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Reading to preschool age children is a completely different experience than reading to 2nd graders! From the library event, I went to my nephew Brayden’s 2nd grade class at Hardin Park Elementary School. It was amazing for me to be in my old elementary school and see the changes that have been made. My first grade class was one of the first classes in this school, built new then, and built in an open classroom style. Over the years they have closed all the classrooms in. It is still a beautiful school, and my sister and I reminisced about our memories of our elementary school days there.

Brayden'sClass

Here’s my nephew Brayden making a kite bookmark with his classmates! He introduced me to them before I read Genevieve and the Kite. Wonderful conversation ensued upon reading to them…they really “got it”. That’s a magical moment!

Brayden'sClassmates

I love seeing the creativity in all their kite bookmarks!! They did a super job designing each of their kites.  In the New Year, I may be back at Hardin Park Elementary School to read to my niece’s class…Kindergarteners!! So fun!

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And now….for the winners to the book Giveaway!! I drew three names from all those who placed comments both here on Drawn2Life and on Facebook. The three winners are…

Lisa…………..Adine…………and Jacquie!!  Only Lisa let me know which book she would like, so she will receive a copy of my book Letters to an Artist!  I have let all three of them know, and so I hope to accommodate the wishes of Adine and Jacquie.  THANK YOU ALL for participating and for sharing the information about these books with others.

Have a lovely Saturday!

You’re Invited!

SouthwindsPostcard

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:

KiteCoverEtsy

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.

LettersCover

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!

When our Best isn’t Good Enough

Mistakes

 

Living Artfully is a journey fraught with surprises both delightful and bothersome. Experiencing a long awaited dream come true, as in the publishing of Genevieve and the Kite, is wonderfully fulfilling. Yet, as it goes out into the world, it brings back responses. Some of them are positive, uplifting, and encouraging. Other responses are dampening, confusing, and in some cases, backhanded swipes at what you’ve made.

There are many ways to weather this vulnerability in the aftermath of putting a creative project out into the world. I won’t explore all of them, but will just say that it has been helpful to me to remember something my husband once said about a knitted sweater I had made him. I was going on about a small “mistake” I had made and didn’t catch until nearing the end. He said (something to this effect): “That is precisely what makes hand knitting so wonderful. It’s the little imperfections that make it so wonderfully human. It is in them that I know it was lovingly made for me by you.”  <sigh>

I can get all balled up in actual or perceived “mistakes” I’ve made in everything I do. The worst is when you thought you had made something just right and it turns out it has flaws of one sort or another. This is art. This is evidence that a human being made it, and made it lovingly, for you.

LettersCover

I will soon have another creative offering to put out into the world. Though I am doing all in my ability to make it just right, I’m sure it will have a flaw or two or twenty.  I’ve compiled my Letters to an Artist into a small book which I hope will be of encouragement to creatives of all types.  Be on the look out for it to be published sometime in November.

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One of the many delightful surprises in the aftermath of publishing Genevieve and the Kite, was an article that came out in our local newspaper last weekend. Wendy Davis wrote a lovely piece about the making of the book, and I could not be more grateful to her for her kind words. I’m trying to get my hands on the article so I can put it here on my blog for you to read. I’ll let you know when I do.

On this first day of November, as a season of thankfulness comes upon us, I hope you’ll be able to revel in the creative works of your hands, no matter how flawed they may seem to you or to others. Don’t squelch your creative voice in the fear that it isn’t good enough.  These mistakes, either real or perceived, are merely places for God to breathe in and through your work.  (Click on the above artwork to view it larger).

Reading “Genevieve and the Kite”

Kite&Genevieve

 

Enjoy this little video of me reading my new children’s book to a class of 1st graders at Redeemer School!

Oh. My. Heart.

Click Here to watch video.