Thankful

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I wonder sometimes if this word may become worn out. Like taffy pulled too thin, or chocolate pie eaten too much, we hear this word bantered around in various ways and forms. It’s always an exhortation, an encouragement, a command to be more thankful for what we have, where we are in life, even to consider being thankful for the not-so-good parts. When we hear something so often we can become calloused to the message, the intent behind the words, and it may go in one ear and out the other.

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And if we do practice a daily awareness of all that we have to be thankful for, we might be left bereft of a language to communicate when we are truly, utterly, grateful beyond words. We may feel we have to resort to saying we are uber-thankful, over-the-top grateful, filled-with-excessive-thanks. A simple thank you ceases to carry the full impact we wish to communicate.

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I find myself in this position after the Art Show that took place here in my little town on Saturday, November 22nd. I’m never prepared for the 3 hour revolving door of friends, family and new supporters. I can’t quite take in that others would want to travel distances to attend the show much less to own a painting or some cards of mine, one of my books, a knitted shawl or cowl. I’m left without words to adequately describe how I feel and thus resort to paint to somehow communicate the bubbling over gratitude that wells up after a show. I am simply…thankful…in all its grand and humbling feelings.

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As human beings our default setting is not thankfulness. Perhaps I generalize too much here. I should say that it is not MY default setting. My default setting tends to be grumbling, not gratitude. And for me, I have to have a daily discipline of searching for things I am thankful for in order to counter the grumbles and hopefully nullify them.

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So I’ll risk overusing this word. I’ll pull it as thin as I possibly can because in doing so, perhaps I’ll see through even the difficult things to the beauty contained therein. I’ll keep eating the chocolate pie of gratitude because it is in doing so that I sense a richness to my life that isn’t there otherwise. I’ll continue painting thankfulness in my everyday life so I can knit into the fibers of my being all the colors, lines, and shapes that make a life worth living.

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May I just say, Thank you? To all who came out for the show. To all who support the art that I am well aware is a gift given to me. To you, dear reader, who tirelessly reads this blog and to those who kindly take time to comment. To all of you…thank you. From the bottom of my grateful heart.

Book Readings & Winners!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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!

A Grand Day for Walking

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We awoke to 25 degree (Fahrenheit) weather…brrrrr! Maddie and I pulled on layers of clothing to stay warm outside for a morning Walk.  We picked up several of her friends on our way to the BB&T Field in Winston-Salem, NC and joined a throng of other winter-garbed folks for a brisk Walk for a worthy cause!

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We walked near the end of the line this year. It’s quite moving to see the ribbon of people wind in front of you, to hear Maddie’s laughter with her friends, to talk with the family who had joined us that day to Walk.  We ate all kinds of yummy foods provided by local sponsors, played in inflatable climbing/sliding structures, and got our faces painted by Sonshyne of the amazing clown duo, Sonshyne and Jots of Circus Daze.

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All in all, the generosity of folks giving to Maddie’s Mission to find a Cure for Type 1 Diabetes, totaled over $800! We cannot thank you enough. But this figure was added to all the others raising money for the cause, which reached a staggering  $378,607.26 and is still climbing as other donations come in. Thank you, thank you for your gracious giving to help find a cure for this disease!! As I walked, I thought of each and every one of who had donated money to Maddie’s Mission.

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And now….for the winner of a free Genevieve and the Kite! Actually, Maddie and I decided, that because we had so many donate, we should offer another prize. So one person’s name was drawn to receive the book, and another person’s name was drawn to receive a set of the new Kite cards! Here are the winners:

Sandra Torguson: Genevieve and the Kite

Ellen and Steve:  one pack of “Kite” cards

Thank you to ALL who gave and walked with us! It could not have been a more perfect day!

P.S. The above drawing was made from the photograph you see here. You all know how much love line drawings….for many reasons, but a major one is how it so beautifully depicts the connection between these sweet friends of Maddie’s.  Though her friends do not have Type 1 Diabetes, they support and care for her in so many lovely ways. This day was just one of the ways that her friends stand and walk with Maddie, supporting her along her path. Thank you Aida, Sigourney, Kaitlyn, Zoe, and Kaley!! Thank you also to the whole Mueller family for walking with us!! Your presence there made the day all the more special to us!

Knitterly Notes

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Have I ever told you I love to knit?  

And so I have…here and here and here. The only thing better than knitting, is to draw or paint what I’m knitting or crocheting. I loved making this little painting of my hands knitting a scarf. Mind you, this lace scarf was begun several years ago…but I have finished it! And I’ll give you a proper reveal soon!

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So here’s the photograph I worked from to create the above painting. I thought you might like to see the reference photo and how it gets translated into line and watercolor. I also thought you might like to see some of the projects I’ve been happily working on of late.

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I knitted this little cupcake hat for my niece’s one year birthday back at the beginning of March, the early days of my U.C. diagnosis. That’s my beautiful sister with her fifth child, Brynley.

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Then I finished this pair of socks, which I wore and wore through the chilly days. For some reason, I kept messing up on grafting the toe together. I’ve done the kitchener stitch successfully many times before, but a brain glitch prevented me from getting it right on both of these socks. Of course, I made it work somehow so the socks hold together without being uncomfortable.

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So, on THIS sock, finished just recently, I was delighted to work the Kitchener stitch correctly! Yay! Maybe my recent surgery re-worked my brain as well!

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And I love the colors in this yarn!!!!!

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This is a random photo of the basket of yarns I used for my Resurrection Shawl

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And this is the beginning of another multi-yarned confection, all in creams and whites! I have quite a vision of this shawl in its finished state…we’ll see how it all turns out.:)

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And a photo of me knitting on our front stoop. This was taken prior to being in the hospital, hoping and praying that the medications I was on would put the U.C. into remission. There’s something about this photo I like… 1. I love knitting outdoors, even if it means wearing a coat and knitted hand mitts. 2. Knitting became synonymous with “hope” during my recent illness. Knitting and Hope…I like that.

Well, that’s enough for now…I’ll share more “knitterly notes” with you soon. I’ll be stocking the Shoppe with some new items soon…more on that coming up!

**Thank you so much for visiting me here on Drawn2Life!! I can’t thank you enough for sharing in these creative ventures with me!

***And…if you ever wanted to take up knitting, try my little photo tutorial HERE. I haven’t yet transferred it over from Drawn2Knit. It will happen someday. For now, check there for free patterns and tutorials.

****ANNDDD….if you’d like to try your hand at drawing/sketching OR need a little boost or encouragement to get back into it…check out my Drawing Your Life Mini Lessons. These were offered last year and still receive a lot of traffic.  I hope it’s helpful to you all!

My Name Was Drawn!!

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It is rare that my name is drawn for a giveaway! Partly due to the fact that I haven’t entered my name in very many giveaways, but that’s because I tell myself I would never win. I have proof in the pudding that I’m wrong!! I just won this awesome set of cards by some pretty fabulous illustrators!

I have long admired the work of Suzanne and Edgar Cabrera, a husband and wife illustrator powerhouse, whose website/blog is called An Open Sketchbook. Please visit their blog and Online shop to browse the marvelous drawings, prints & cards.  2012 marked a huge year for them, launching out on their own to do what they love full-time.  They are doing this while also raising two beautiful twin boys. You can read about them in many of their blog posts. This couple lives and works in neighboring Greensboro. Consider following their blog, or at least “liking” An OpenSketchbook on Facebook, so you can receive all their updates. They have been known to teach a sketching workshop at a little shop in Greensboro, and you might want to attend their next one (when they announce this!:), if you live in the area.

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I am so very thrilled about my gift: 4 awesome designs in a set of cards that I’ll be putting to use right away! My favorite of them all is “Dream Big”…I just love those skinny legs and feet in the big dress up shoes! Should you wish to purchase this set for your very own, click HERE!

Thank you Suzanne and Edgar for my fabulous gift! And for leading the way in following dreams! I hope 2013 brings many of your creative dreams to life! Merci!

Out of the Garden Project’s Honor Card!

Once again, I am honored to have a piece of my artwork chosen (this one above) for this year’s Out of the Garden Project Honor Card!! Beginning very soon, folks will be able to receive a beautifully printed card with the above painting on it as a way of saying thank you for your donations throughout the Holiday Season.  Click here for more information about this wonderful mission to provide meals for children and their families on the weekends throughout the school year.  It is an EXTRAORDINARY  work started by ordinary people.

Don and Kristy Milholin are ordinary people who, like myself, have a love for ordinary things.  I suspect that they, like me, love to see Beauty happen in unexpected places…perhaps even in hopeless places.  The above drawing, I created in my unassuming small town, in a place that is somewhat hidden from plain view.  I did not travel to France to create this artwork.  I did not go trekking in Nepal.  Nor did I stand on the edge of the Grand Canyon.  I sat down in little ole Kernersville, and put pen and paint to paper.  Ordinary stuff.

I imagine Don and Kristy sitting down a few years ago on their back deck perhaps, and thinking they could provide some food for a few kids at a local school in Greensboro.  A fairly ordinary thought: providing food for those who have difficulty getting it.

I think about Don and Kristy a lot. They don’t know this. But I thought about them in the spring, as my neighbors were planting their gardens.  I thought about how a garden starts off with a good bit of enthusiasm, energy, and some resources.  You have this plot of land, some seeds, a hose.  You plow and dig, plant and stake.  You water.  And then…you wait.  At first it seems like it doesn’t really take much, this gardening thing.

But along about mid-summer, your garden goes POOF! And all of a sudden there are more tomatoes and cucumbers than you know what to do with.  The weeds are multiplying faster than you can deal with them.  The ground can’t seem to get enough water.  And you wonder how you’ll be able to bring in the harvest…there aren’t enough hands, resources, or time to do everything.

I’ve wondered if Don and Kristy feel this way when they look at how their ordinary desire to feed a few children and their families has mushroomed to cover over 40 schools in Guilford and Forsyth Counties, providing weekend meals for over 750 school children.  Out of the Garden Project has surely POOFED.  An extraordinary thing has happened in an ordinary place.  Hope is brought to places where it is lacking. Food is provided for children whose families struggle to have this most basic of human needs.

The amazing thing about all of this, is that when ordinary people pool their ordinary resources, EXTRAORDINARY things can happen.

Your “ordinary resource” may be a bit of time to help sort food, bag it, deliver it.  Maybe you have an ordinary talent or gift that can be given in some way.  Or your “ordinary” may be $5, $10 or whatever. Don and Kristy want to thank you for your monetary donations by giving you an Honor Card for every $5.

Won’t you join me, in offering some of your ordinary resources, to accomplish something extraordinary this fall and throughout the holidays:  Food and Hope for every child!

A Line for Maddie

Friends of ours who went to live overseas, said to those of us sending them off, that we were the ones holding the line on the other end for them.  I loved that thought! And, as an artist, the idea that I hold one end of the drawn line as they “draw” the lines of their journey, fascinates, inspires, and touches me deeply.

This is what I envisioned this past Saturday, as we Walked for a Cure for Type 1 Diabetes with our daughter Maddie.  ALL of these people, the long ribbon of folks ahead of and behind us, hold the line for her and for every Type 1 child and adult who lives with this disease. We were ALL connected that day.  All of us joined together by one single line… a HOPE for a cure for juvenile diabetes.

I thought how, for me, this line begins with my daughter and connects to me, my husband (the one carrying the young girls’ jackets:), Maddie’s cousin Zoe, our friend Anna, and all of you!  You who have sent donations (over $500!) and well-wishes and cheers of support for our girl.

Thank you for holding the line for my Maddie! Randy and I are deeply grateful to all of you! Merci.

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Give and You will Receive!

As a special thank you to ALL who have already given and to any who might wish to make a donation to Maddie’s Mission to Cure Diabetes…I will give you a Genevieve Print of your choice!!

Just click on the highlighted words Maddie’s Mission to Cure Diabetes and for any $15 donation or greater, I will send you one of the above Prints of Genevieve (value $12) to thank you!!  You choose which one you want!

This offer closes on Saturday, October 27th, 2012…the day we Walk!!