Drawing, Knitting, Illustration, Crochet…it's all Life, it's all Good!


Meet Mortimer & Millicent

A love story in pictures…

















There are times when you just have to make them. You don’t understand why.

You’re not going to give them to anyone. You want them for yourself.

You know it will take time. A lot of time.

But you just don’t care, ’cause you swooned when you saw this book.

And in and among all the wonderful patterns in that book was a mouse the authors had named Magnus.

There was also a doll named Hippie. And you noticed that the bodies for each of these were knitted quite the same.

So you set about to make a boy and a girl mouse, tweaking ever so slightly the shape of the “snout”.

You also wanted them larger than what was called for in the book, so you chose Worsted Weight Patons Wool to knit their bodies.

Then you chose some lovely cottons to knit up their clothes (all patterns in the book).

Their personalities came out with each stitch.

You relished seeing them come to life.

Even Lucy, your cat, welcomed them with a kiss.

You laughed with delight as you photographed them in your back yard.

And you thought…this is good…they were meant to be.

Just because.

Mortimer & Millicent wish you a very Happy Easter!!

And so do I!

Title of book: Knit & Crochet in the Garden by Arne & Carlos


Collage Eggs Need A Nest

Here’s how it happened:

I’m in Blowing Rock walking the streets with my mom, pressing our noses to the windows. We see these awesome, cool eggs that have been collaged with torn papers.

“Let’s make them…”

That very day we bought plastic easter eggs and glued small pieces of papers onto them in her studio in Boone.


Got home to Kernersville and felt that the eggs needed a nest.

Thought I’d try these glue-yarn bowls/nests I’d seen online somewhere. When I put them in the garage to dry (yarn is dipped in glue and draped over a balloon) I thought they were a fail. They just didn’t seem like they would be stiff enough to hold anything.


So Lucy (my cat) helped me knit these nests with a strand of small wire held along with the yarn. (I thought the wire would help the nest keep it’s shape:).


Love these!


And Macy and her friends like them too!

Then a few days later…

…I happened to be in the garage and I saw those yarn thingys all dried and hardened.



Oh! They did work!


And now I need to make more collaged eggs!

*Seems like I visit the whole eggs-in-a-nest thing every Spring: like here.

1 Comment

Tulip Pair!


The paint is barely dry…and these two fresh off-the-drawing-table tulip paintings are now at Southwinds Gallery here in Kernersville! Be sure to call Angie at Southwinds (993-0818) or drop by the Gallery to see them! Each of them measures 9″x12″. The perfect size for gift giving. Perhaps you have someone you’d like to give a painting to for Easter! Or a hint to your spouse for an Easter gift for you might be just the thing!


These are only a few of the tulips now blooming at our Ciener Botanical Gardens which have just begun to bloom and will be blooming over the next three weeks. When I was there to draw last week, I got to meet the new Executive Director, Mr. John Whisnett (sp?), at the Gardens and he told us how they plant early blooming tulips as well as late blooming tulips so that there’s an abundance for several weeks!  Be sure to visit the gardens for a lovely walk and time to sit and draw, or paint, or knit, or just think.


A Quirk


When I visit a yarn shop, I have a silly quirk:  I see a gorgeous skein of yarn…and when it’s the only ball of it’s colorway in the cubby of other yarns of it’s type…I buy it. This happened to me while visiting my family in Boone. Mom and I went to a lovely yarn shop in Blowing Rock called Unwound.

It does seem silly to buy only one skein of a particular yarn! But you see, there is method to my madness:

First of all…it keeps the one skein of yarn from being lonely there in the shop.

Secondly…it allows my imagination to run wild with possibilities! If I bought seven or more skeins of the same yarn it would likely be earmarked for a particular sweater. Decision made. Half the fun already over. But if I buy just one, then I’d have to combine it and create a one-of-a-kind garment or shawl and THAT, my friends, is just over-the-top fun!

Thirdly…the one skein gets to sit on my desk for a long while as I gaze at it and mull over it’s future possibilities. I often enjoy the look of a skein of yarn just as it is, almost as much as I do when it gets knitted into something. Is that weird? Perhaps this is another quirk.

And finally…the dent in my pocketbook is not nearly so damaging as seven or more skeins of yummy yarn. This is quite possibly the most important of all the reasons, as I do like to be practical. Um….yes, I need to be practical.  I must say that over and over.

The doubly good thing about this particular skein of yarn is that it has around 300 meters in just the one skein! There are numerous shawls these days that you can knit with that amount of yarn, like this one I made last summer. So I could, quite possibly, knit up something using only this skein. But then again, I could create something else, something infinitely more exciting. We shall see. For now, I’m enjoying looking at the skein sitting there in all it’s Possibility Glory!

*Never mind the fact that I made the mistake of telling the yarn shop clerk of my little quirk. She then informed me that there were 11 more skeins of this Noro yarn “in the back” if I wanted more of them. Nah-nah-nah-nah (fingers in my ears). I’d rather believe I rescued this lovely, lonely gem of yarn. A quirk indeed.


Boundaries: A Key to Artful Living


Much is said about this word “boundaries” as it relates to our personal and emotional lives. But it also has great benefit for our creative lives as well. As creative beings we deal with practical as well as emotional issues. Our inner artist will be nurtured when boundaries are set for such things as WHO we allow to see our latest, new-direction artistic ventures; WHEN we “go public” with our art; HOW we receive others’ comments; and WHERE we will go for encouragement and inspiration.

There are also practical ways that boundaries can help us in our artful lives. I like to think of my creative field of play as a broad, wide field of wildflowers with a stream at one side and a line of trees at the other. All of this land is encompassed by a sturdy wooden fence, beautiful with its flowering vines, weathered look, and patched portions. This lovely space is where I draw and paint, knit and crochet, write and illustrate. There have been a few times when I’ve jumped the fence and played with clay and glazes. For a few years I participated in a figure drawing group over in the next holler. And there’s a farm over yonder with sheep where I longingly gaze and wonder if I could learn to spin and dye wool. But for now, I’m happy within the bounds of my little creative field.

Little? There are days when the possibilities that lie within the fences seem overwhelming. So many creative interests. So little time! And there are certain creative ventures both within and without the fences that require resources…money to invest in the possibility, the foray, the accomplishment. How do I deal with the overwhelm of possibility? Some days, not so well. Other days, a little friendly boundary setting gives me a sense of security and focus.

When my children were tiny, they enjoyed playing in their playpen (pack ‘n play:). I started off giving them a bazillion toys to play with in their playpen. I couldn’t understand why, five minutes later, they were unhappy, trying to climb out of the webbed walls. But if I gave them just a few toys in their environs, they were happy for much longer. I surmised that having fewer things to focus on actually allowed them to…well…focus! And thereby enjoy the toy at hand.

I am much like my toddlers were. When I don’t have a nice, soft, webbed boundary around just a few creative possibilities, I feel stretched, unable to focus, scattered and listless. I end up wailing over the fence, longing for whatever is “over there”! All I need is to imagine I am sweetly hemmed in with a few favorite artistic “toys” and I’m a much happier camper, or at least, a bit less of a tormented artist.

So I limit myself. Not for always. And certainly not in a severe way. (Although I do have this nagging thought that if I were really disciplined and severe with myself, I might actually accomplish something huge. But my next thought is that it wouldn’t be nearly so fun! Then I’m off to sketch the cornflowers in the field and to find a ball of yarn in that precise color blue. I choose joy over severity every time. Well, almost every time.)

Anyhoo. To establish these helpful boundaries I ask myself a few questions. There are others, but these tend to guide me pretty well.

1.  In embarking on this creative venture, do I have the time, energy and money to sustain what will be needed to begin and to follow through?

2. Will this creative venture carry a hefty “guilt factor” if I don’t continue with it?

3. What aspect of this creative path can I do on a small scale allowing me to “try it out” without any need to continue with it, unless I want to?

4. Am I willing to give up one or two other creative things to allow room for this new one?

Many times, it only takes #1 to give some focus to what I’m dreaming about or feeling pulled into.  Such was the case with Sketchbook Skool. It looked sooooo fun and inspiring! Shouldn’t I take this course? Don’t I owe it to myself to improve in my drawing skills? But I was/am enjoying the creative things I’m into right now. I knew that in taking the course, I would have to squeeze out a couple of these things to make room for the Skool. I decided to stay put in my little field and not go on a six-week hiking and sketching venture. Hopefully it will still be available in some form for a future time. In answering the above questions, I’m able to establish a soft, webbed area for myself to enjoy the particular materials and creative ideas at hand. If I do choose to give up a thing or two for a time, the boundary allows me to focus on what I’m committing to for whatever amount of time I choose.

Money is a wonderful boundary marker. Living within your provision is not only wise but is honoring to your creativity. Spending far too much on supplies or classes or frames will leave you feeling guilt-ridden at best and disgusted with your art at worst. (Believe me, I’ve been there!) If the money isn’t there…wait. Save up for it. Ask for money for Christmas or for your birthday. And no need to fall into the trap of “but it might not be there if I wait!”. There will always be art supplies, classes to take, frames to buy, and gorgeous colored yarns you feel you “just can’t live without”. Always.

So how do you establish healthy boundaries for your artful life? In what ways do they help you? I’d love to know your thoughts on the matter! I hope you have a happy, creative day playing in your fenced field of creativity!

***This is a different take on a similar topic I wrote about here. In fact, there’s a whole category titled “Artful Living” you can access in the right-hand margin. :)



Be RebElliOus: A Key to Artful Living



“Be rebellious!”

The words flew out of my mouth before I even really thought about what I was saying. Now that I’ve had a chance to think about it…it’s not bad advice.

You see, my friend was telling me how excited she was about starting Sketchbook Skool!! Her face lit up as she spoke of being able to take these classes to learn to sketch and draw. I was/am thrilled for her. “The only thing is…” she said with a furrowed brow, “I’m a bit intimidated.” She went on to talk about how amazing Danny Gregory’s drawings are and how she could  never do something like that. “And…we have to draw in pen!”

Right there is where those two words flew out of my mouth: “Be rebellious then! Draw with a pencil if that makes you more apt to draw. I’m sure Danny Gregory would say so as well!”

I’m actually not sure he would say that, since I am not taking Sketchbook Skool classes (reason for this in an upcoming post). But I DO feel confident that Danny and ALL the amazing instructors in the Skool, want their students to SUCCEED! Part of succeeding is feeling freed up to try…to actually put a mark on a page no matter whether it’s made with a pen or a pencil, a big fat crayon or an oil stick. I could guess at Danny’s reasons for wanting someone to draw in pen and they would all be very good reasons! But as a teacher he would surely want you to take up whatever utensil it is that you feel comfortable with at first. Draw, draw, draw like mad and then at some point give pens a try! All kinds of pens. And then inks, and then watercolors, and then oil pastels, and maybe charcoal, and perhaps even carve your own “bamboo” pen from a chopstick like Stefano does (how cool is that!).

So go ahead and be rebellious as you learn. But in your “rebellion” be sure to soak up every bit of what you can from these teachers. What they have to offer you in the way of techniques, tips, methods, philosophies and inspiration is hard-won! They are the Drawing Gurus. Sit at their feet with sketchbook and pen (or whatever!:) in hand and make marks like mad! And once you’ve tried everything they’ve offered you, then go your own way, do your own thing, carve your own path as an artist.

You are actually being rebellious anytime you draw! You have dared to push back all the stuff that screams for your attention in your life–all the housework, the never ending to-do list, the ringing phone, the snare of online surfing, and you’ve “rebelliously” sat down to do something regenerative, rejuvenating, fun, worthwhile, and even healing!

A little rebellion in your creative life will go a long way to aid you in trying new things, continuing with what feels like it’s gotten old, or just plain scratching an itch to be different in some way. And a healthy dose of it in our personal lives could be good too!


Paint Elsewhere



Besides a sketchbook, you can paint on canvas…


…or on wood…


…or on a birdhouse made of wood…


…that has been sitting around your house for years…




…but was painted an ugly green all over. I like it much better now. Don’t you?

I am now eyeing a piece of furniture in my house.

It could be the next target for the acrylics.

But I’d have to buy A LOT more paint! :)


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 419 other followers