An Everyday Outlet

For Day 6 of #drawtheordinary through Lent, I’m to draw a “wall plug”. I should’ve thought about that wording a bit more because what I meant was “an outlet”.  No matter, plug or outlet, they are both ordinary things. (At least they are to those of us fortunate enough to live in parts of the world where electricity is  available.:)

The crazy thing about all this focusing on the ordinary long enough to draw it in our sketchbooks, is that sparks start flying as we do. Each ordinary sketch of an everyday item ignites a world of thought, delight, and sometimes even…transformation.

I sat for a bit just looking at the simple rectangle with two receptacles noting that there’s a bit of form and shape where the 3 prongs of a plug go in. Then I notice that these three holes look interestingly like a face…or a house – two eyes and a mouth OR two windows and a door. All of a  sudden I’m wondering –

What’s inside this thing?

How in the world does it hold energy or electricity that is accessed merely by placing metal prongs (or one’s fingers) inside?

What magic lies inside those black shapes? Is it a colony of lightening bolts? A family hanging out waiting patiently (or not) for the time when they’ll be put to use?

And so on and so forth…

The crazy…and wonderful…thing about this 20 second reverie is that by simply turning my focus to an ordinary object, my imagination was ignited. It was as if by focusing in on this everyday, typically unnoticed thing in my home, I had plugged into a source of creativity that led me to magical worlds were families of electric bolts live and move and have their being.

This doesn’t happen every single time I draw something. No, sometimes a wall plug is just that…a wall plug. Or outlet. But it is in the focus and attention to things I wouldn’t normally engage with, that creativity is sparked. I can fan it into flame by drawing it and having a bit of fun imagining what these electric bolt people look like. Perhaps they need me to plug my lamp in so they don’t get too bored. Perhaps that little guy up in the right window reached out and zapped me as I sat staring into their home. I dunno. Could be.

What I do know is that I’ll continue peering into ordinary places, drawing what I see there, knowing that sparks may fly in the process. Do jump in on the fun! You’re never too late to join the Lenten drawing party! You can download all the drawing prompts through Lent or simply find ordinary things to draw each day in your sketchbook.

Buen Camino friends!

-Jennifer

*The drawing journey through Lent is blogged HERE, and Instagrammed HERE.

*Inspiration & Instruction for drawing your life is HERE. 🙂

Wind Walking

It’s been a while since I’ve posted any of my poetry. Oh I do have these little rhyming ditties trot through my head now and again. Most of the time I just roll my eyes and go on about my day. But this one “blew through” my head as I woke this morning complete with an illustration. 🙂

I woke to the wind howling in the trees.

“Come walk with me! Won’t you, pretty please?”

I answered the wind by stepping out the door.

Now my hat and scarf…they are no more.

-jpe 2.9.2017

I love wind. Do you? I always have. It seems to call to me, beckon me outdoors, even if just for a bit. Today I shall walk in it. It’s supposed to stick around for the entire day…fun! I s’pose I wouldn’t like wind so much if I lived where the Mistral blows for days and days on end. Although, if I were in Provence, I know I wouldn’t mind it AT ALL!! 🙂

Anyway, I’m headed out the door. I think I’ll leave my hat and scarf inside. 🙂

Who cares about the hair, right? 🙂

(Let’s see just how many smiley faces I can include in one post!)

Did you know that I have a book of my little rhyming poems?

It’s titled Words On A Line. 🙂

Have an Artful Day!!

Could It Be?

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Could it be, in these small un-arted hours, beauty is wrought?

Could it be, in dishes and diapers, laundry and lunches, heaven is laid out?

Could it be, in lack and leanness, provision is lavished?

Could it be, in faces – not fancies – that fullness is found?

Could it be, as I embrace the small, my life is enlarged?

Could it be, that ART is happening even when I’m not making it?

Could it be, in all I feel as futile, God is fashioning beauty?

Could it be, the big life I long for is found in the little life I live?

Could it be, the constraints of time and money, unleash creativity?

Could it be, the pain of not making is simply the longing to be near Thee?

Could it be, this passion that seems to leak out a sieve, is actually being sifted, refined, made pure?

Could it be, even if I had all the time, energy, and provision to do my art, to live the big life I long for, that it would not be enough to satisfy or reach said big life and big art?

Could it be, that in me – a common vessel – resides eternity?

Could it be, that this side of heaven, I’m to weave my little thread, even if it’s the same thread as yesterday, or a new one I find along the way?

Could it be, my daily work is to draw a line from everyday things to eternity and back again.

Could it be, that contained in my insignificant, small life, the realms of heaven abide and He lives in grace and truth abounding?

Could it be, that the King of all nations would be born in a barn and sleep in a trough?

Could it be, that the Master Artist comes to create in humble, insignificant lives?

Could it be, the grandest art is made on the littlest scale?

Could it be, that True Beauty is wrought in lack, insignificance, and tedium?

Could it be I have it all wrong – instead of this life being about ME being able to do my art and thereby live my BIG life…that it is rather about CHRIST, the high and holy one, coming to live BIG in my humble and insignificant life?

Could it be, that my insignificant life is transformed into a magnificent one through the humblest of events – a babe in a manger, Emmanuel, God with us.

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Retuning my heart this day after Christmas, weary from so much merry-making, wondering where the Beauty is, reclaiming what is true and good. May your days after Christmas be magnificently insignificant as the babe weaves His love into your life.

Artfully yours,

Jennifer

Knitterly Sketch Journal Pages

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I’m gonna try to catch you up on my yarny travels of late by way of my sketch journal devoted solely to the items I’ve finished knitting or crocheting.

FINISHED is the key word here. A fiber project I’m working on does not get to be drawn into the journal until it is ALL DONE! Seams made, ends woven in, blocked if needed.

BootiesJournalEntry

This final step is like the icing on the cupcake for me. I love to draw. I love to knit and crochet. So to draw what I’ve knitted or crocheted is an extra boon!

Anna'sBooties Here’s a pic of the sweet little booties I crocheted for a friend who is expecting her first child.

Patsy'sTunicJournalEntry

And this is the page for Patsy’s Perfect Tunic, which I hope you are ALL knitting one of these for yourself (FREE Pattern!) before the cold weather leaves!!!

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Of course, the Everlasting Gobstopper Blanket…it continues to heal and warm and make cosy all who wrap up in it.

WildHareJournalEntry

And the Wild Hare Tunic I knitted last week when the first snow “storm” hit our area. I now have another project begun from this week’s snow storm (actually gave us 7″ of snow instead of 1″). I’ll share it with you another day! 🙂

WildHareFinished

I’ve since finished Rhubarb Blanket and a pair of socks, but they haven’t yet been journaled. Can’t wait to do that!

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Feel free to click on the images to see them larger on your screen.

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AND…if you haven’t yet signed up for my Knitterly Arts Newsletter, PLEASE DO SO!! The next issue is due out in a few days!!! Yay!

Stemming the Tide? or Riding the Wave?

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The above drawing illustrates how I’m experiencing my days lately. The reasons for this are many and varied, not the least of which is just trying to get back up to speed with normal everyday living in the aftermath of major surgery. Life as a pastor’s wife, a mother of three incredibly talented musical kids, and my own enjoyable work as an artist and knit & crochet teacher makes for a lot of variety, but also a very full plate. Oldest daughter is a junior in college, middle son will be graduating from high school in three months and then going off to college, while youngest daughter is in middle school. There are times I’m not sure I’m even stemming the tide, but rather staring blankly at the wall of water coming at me, looming on the horizon. I keep reaching for my knitting needles and my sketchbook. Perhaps they are a life raft, or an anchor, offering some stability in the onslaught of living.

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This (above) is probably a more realistic view of my life right now. Drawing in my sketchbook, knitting as I go, actually allows me to ride the wave of life without drowning. Sure, I may be holding the sketchbook up above the water as it encroaches up my shoulders, but still…these are the things I can hang onto as wave after wave of “Life” hits. Reframing how my life “looks” is helpful, if not crucial, to enduring the current days. Drawing affords us the ability to re-draw, re-make what our feelings may be screaming at us, and allows us to see the bigger picture, rather than succumb to the momentary drama. Knitting reminds us that it is in the stitch by stitch of everyday living that something beautiful is made. I came across this quote by Vincent Van Gogh on a knitting pattern I recently purchased!! How cool is that?

“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.”

Vincent Van Gogh

I’ll keep on riding the wave, surfboarding on my sketchbook, and paddling with my knitting needles and hook. Might not get me very far, but will assuredly keep me afloat. That’s all I need.:)

**NEW! Knitterly Cards and Prints!

Hip Hip Hooray!!

My Knitterly Arts ETSY Shop now has more than just patterns!

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I’m now offering cards and prints of my original watercolor artwork…drawings and paintings of all things yarn!

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Knitting Hands. 5″x5″ Matted Print. $12. Purchase here.

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Knitting Color. 5″x 5″ Matted Print. $12. Purchase here.

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Set of 6 Cards, 3 each of the above images. $14. Purchase here.

And a couple of Genevieve prints are also now available in my Knitterly Arts Shop…

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Drawn2Knit. 5″x7″ Matted Print. $15. Purchase here.

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Drawn2Crochet. 5″x7″ Matted Print. $15. Purchase here.

***More Cards & Prints with a Knitterly twist are coming soon!!

*****To celebrate this big day, I’m offering a discount code for 20% off any item in my Knitterly Arts ETSY shop: Just type in CELEBRATE, to receive your discount!

********Thanks to so many of you who are subscribing to my FREE monthly Knitterly Arts Newsletter!! Click here to sign up if you haven’t yet!

Sketch Journal Your Life in Yarn

Janice'sShawlCrop

I have wanted to do this for a long time! Actually, I do it all the time, in separate journals, some for writing, some for drawing. But I have wanted them to be all in one sketchbook, instead of in and around all the other drawings I make on a daily basis.

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(Cover of newly begun SketchJournal for Yarn Projects)

Several months ago I attempted to designate one sketchbook for only drawings and writings about yarn projects, but then began adding in other sketches and drawings-landscapes, florals, home indoors, people and places I go. I’m determined to keep this sketchbook/journal reserved solely for drawings of my finished yarn works and write a bit around the drawings to describe each one.

NearingtheEnd

One of the things I love most about knitting is the story that gets knitted up into each piece. Things like: who is it for? why am I knitting/crocheting this? why are the specific colors chosen? Is there meaning in the stitch pattern, the color choices, the shape, the fiber, the overall piece being knitted?

BlockingJanice'sShawl

These are the things I want to preserve. Don’t you? Personally, I think every knitter should have a little book or binder somewhere to keep the patterns he/she has knitted, a bit of the actual yarn they used, any notes on how the pattern did or didn’t work, and best of all–a photograph or drawing of the finished item.

ColorFest

This shawl, knitted as a commission for a friend, is a variation on Paula Emmons Fuessle’s Magic Cake Ruffle Shawl. I love this pattern!!! This is my third of these shawls and I’m collecting sock yarns for another. This is quite possibly a fool-proof pattern!! No matter what leftover sock yarns (or other gauge yarns!) you have, somehow they always look super mixed and matched in one of these simple shawls.

JaniceShawlColor

There’s really nothing difficult about it at all! It’s just the unbelievable amount of stitches you have by the time you get to the ruffle! But by then, you are so excited about all the color in your hands, you just keep going, high on color!!

croppedShawldrawing

The final thing I want to do for this journal page is include some pieces of a few of the yarns used in it. Some of the yarns were leftovers of my socks and I used it all up. But I do have some left of the Zauberball yarn (used as the main base of colors, with the other leftovers mixed in here and there). I also have some of the shimmery yarns leftover, so I can add that on the page as well. I might punch two small holes and then thread the yarns through, tying them together. We shall see.

I’ll share more of these pages with you as I go along. There are several recently finished projects I want to add into my sketch journal…

Can’t wait!!

P.S. If you try this, PLEASE send me a pic or a leave a comment here to let me know if you are giving it a go! You can make it as simple or elaborate as you like! Just keep it fun!!

P.P.S. Did you get the word about my new FREE Knitterly Arts Newsletter?? My goal is to send it monthly (possibly more often:) to inspire you in your fiber journey…

Click Here to subscribe!

Crochet2Heal :: Ripple Blanket

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**You will need a cup of tea and a comfy chair to fully enjoy this post. Sometimes I think I need to podcast rather than blog, when I have so much to share! Just sit back and relax while you enjoy the color, stories and links here. 🙂

Several years ago, in a knitting class I was teaching, one of the ladies was crocheting a blanket and told me that she believed hand made blankets had healing properties. Her name was Nita, a lovely, vibrant and interesting woman whom I enjoyed from the moment I met her.

EverlastGobstopperInprogress Every blanket I have crocheted since then, I have thought of her. Every time I’ve put one of my crocheted blankets, over one of my children home from school sick, I have thought of her. And recently, as I crocheted a new Ripple Blanket for my recuperation from surgery, I think of her.

It has been well documented that the act of creativity is a healing endeavor. I absolutely love this short video put out by the Foundation for Art & Healing. Do take a few minutes to enjoy this!

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But I do think Nita is on to something…that the healing properties continue on long after the blanket has been made, to wrap individuals in comforting goodness, to warm them, calm them, and in so doing, to allow healing to occur.

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I began this blanket just before my surgery in early December. I had numerous colors already in my stash and I just added a few others. I chose a simple Ripple pattern, the perfect one being Lucy’s, of the wonderful Attic 24 blog. I wanted something I could easily keep in my head, making the process simple, not requiring a lot of brain power, but allowing maximum “flow”. Perfect for after-surgery days.

And perfect it has been. I really can’t believe it is finished. I almost wish it could keep on going as I am not quite at full speed yet. But now I get to enjoy it on my lap as I watch movies, knitting socks and my Hitchhiker Shawl, drawing in my sketchbook and hanging out with family in the living room.

BigEverlastGobstopper I didn’t realize how large I was making this thing. Just today I draped it over our queen size bed and it reached to the edges and all the way up, just what I wanted so it would cover a person generously!

As I crocheted, I decided to place the rich chocolate brown after every eight colors, but to let those other colors be quite random. These are all acrylic yarns in various brands, chosen purely for their color. I used a size I hook as many of the yarns were more like aran weight, slightly heftier than worsted weight.

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I know that I and my family will enjoy this blanket for years to come. I have so many memories wrapped up in this blanket: crocheting by the Christmas Tree, watching Hallmark movies, laughing with my kids, Christmas Day and New Years…so many good memories in each stitch.

EverlastGobstopperEdges Even the colors somehow say “Holiday” to me. One of the many movies we watched over the holidays was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I have now named this blanket “The Everlasting Gobstopper”, after the bright multi-colored candy by this name in the movie. I love naming my knit and crochet projects. Why is that? Perhaps it’s like naming paintings. Indeed, each yarn project is like a painting itself…colors woven to create an overall image…just one that you wear or use to keep warm. I like that, don’t you?

Gray Winter Days…

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We’ve been having a lot of these. So gray and cold that even trying to get a decent photo of artwork is quite difficult. This was the best I could do today. I’ll reshoot it another day soon!

But as I was walking yesterday, I kept thinking this:

Gray winter days are best enjoyed with COLOR in your hands.

‘Tis true, n’est-ce pas?

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I’ve had some “delight”ful color running through my hands lately and it has made me so happy, nearly forgetting the gray skies outside my window.

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Socks!

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My colorful, Crochet2Heal, blanket which I have renamed and will have a proper reveal very soon as I am only three colors away from being finished!

Hitchhikerin Sun

And my Hitchhiker Shawl. Which I took out on the back deck to knit on one of the very few sunny days we had recently! It was glorious to knit in the sunshine and see the gorgeous colors of AndreSueKnits hand-dyed yarn.

I hope you also have some delicious color in your hands these days!

Delight :: 2015

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Happy New Year to One and All!

This is the word I’ve chosen for this New Year!! Actually, it feels a bit like the word was tugging at my sleeve, asking to be picked up and carried throughout 2015.

As I look down the corridor of 2015, I’m delighted that I don’t have surgery awaiting me! My husband and I both turn 50 this year! Our second child will graduate from high school and go off to college! And our youngest becomes a teenager, turning 13 in just a few days!

I realize there are a lot of unknowns. Whatever this year holds, I want to delight in the little things along the way. I want to find beauty in every moment, whether it be mundane or magical, pretty or painful.

I look forward to delighting in more knitting and crocheting, in teaching others these wonderful skills, in drawing and painting, in creating a book or maybe two.

How about you? Do you have a word for this year? I’d love to hear about it! I plan on posting here much more often, so plan on stopping by as much as you can.

May your New Year be bright and delightful as you take delight and relish each day that is given to you!

**If you’re interested in reading about a couple of other ways I’m approaching this New Year, check here and here on my Drawn2Life blog.