Free Prints for You

Hey all, I’m writing to let you know of a collaboration with Stephanie from Henry Happened to create some free art prints to download for the I Am Loved Make-A-Wish Campaign. There are 3 black and white illustrations to choose from and do what you want with. Download Here.

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And for those of you interested in some personal news, we have been busy setting up our RV to go on the road. We plan on traveling to Texas for the 2013 Circles Conference in September, then going to Alabama, Tennesse, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Illinois and Ohio and then end up in Missouri for Thanksgiving. I will keep you posted a bit here on our travels, but I have been thinking about starting a separate blog specifically for our RV adventure. What do you think?

FTM Illustrations

This month For the Makers unveiled a new website and with it some nifty people illustrations of the team. Katie, Janet, Rachel, and myself are presented in pretty watercolors and ink for the very first time. This illustration project was a good challenge – not too fashiony and harsh, but still chic enough to fit in with the rest of the FTM style.

FTMteam

 

Of course, I had to include the freckles on my nose and cheeks that come out to play every summer. :)

July’s collection is a summery collection of easy silhouettes and unexpected colors. The Rising Tides collection includes all the materials to make a lucite container, resin bangle, beaded necklace, and a fabric case in an African print.

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From the girls:

The Rising Tides collection is sure to cure any lingering wanderlust. It’s an eclectic mix of African pattern, mid-century shapes, mod colorblocking, and irreverent embellishments. This collection of four projects is all about the joy and brightness of long days and hot summer nights. It’s about dancing to the beat of your own drum, happily mixing materials, prints, and colors.

 

On the Road Again, Naturally

I can’t help but laugh at how our time frame for living anywhere has gotten shorter and shorter. When 10 years ago the big dream for my life was to buy a nice large house and settle there for 30 years or so, now that that dream has changed drastically, along with our square footage. Even our last home in mid-town, which I was sure we would put down roots in, I felt in the first month that we moved in that I shouldn’t get too attached. A short year later, we moved downtown.

We’ve been in this missional community for almost 8 months now, and through prayer, we feel God is calling us on a new adventure. One that again, feels scary and weird and full of unknowns.

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We are going on the road – and living in an RV.

We will have a home base in Tulsa where we have family, but will likely be living most of  life on the road, seeing the world God made, meeting new people and forming relationships for the non-profit we formed 2 years ago.

The world seems to me made to wander in, rather than to abide in one corner of it and never see what the rest has in store. -Henry Van Dyke

 

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The Blue Flower is what I long for. I can think of nothing else. The place where I must abide is the place where the Blue Flower grows, and when the call comes, I must follow it. -The Blue Flower

There is a treasure of a book I read recently, an allegory called The Blue Flower. In it, the main character is given a glimpse of  a Blue Flower in a dream, the most beautiful one he has ever seen, and his heart is set on finding it.

I set out on my journey, and my home is at the end of the journey, wherever that may be. -The Blue Flower

This is an allegory for our faith – the kind of faith that forsakes all else for seeking the beauty that abides in it.

Jesus tells a similar parable of hidden treasure buried in a field, a man finds it, then sells everything he has to buy the land and get the treasure (Mt 13).

The RV is a step in this direction. Finding the treasure in the field. Knowing that it’s worth giving up comforts and permanence and lots of other things for. Finding beauty along the way, and teaching our children to do the same – and hopefully revealing more of the Father as we go. I don’t know how long we will have this lifestyle, and perhaps life overseas is next. I don’t know.

I’m just glad I follow a God that calls us out on the water for a really great adventure.

FTM May Lookbook

Wonderful collection for the May box of For the Makers – here a couple of the illustrations. See all four projects, and see the inspiration behind the box and materials.

I loved seeing a peek into their studio this past week when the Martha Stewart Crafts Dept did a mini interview with the girls on how they organize their space. Don’t you love it?

Photo courtesy of Martha Stewart crafts

The Fasting and the Feast

I recently finished Jen Hatmaker’s book, “7 – An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess” and just had to share something with you. If you aren’t already familiar, the book talks about how she did a 7 month fast, exploring 7 different areas each month – clothes, shopping, waste, food, possessions, media, and stress. It’s very anecdotal, to which I probably skimmed through half of it, but the point was good – an intentional reduction, a deliberate abstinence to summon God’s movement. That’s what a fast does – it creates margin for God to move. Here is a rather long, but beautiful excerpt from the chapter on spending that resonated with me.

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Calligraphy and Artwork by evie s. (ie. this is not the cover of the book :)

Sunday at church we sang: ‘God, may we be focused on the least, a people balancing the fasting and the feast.’ I almost came undone. That statement sums up all my tension and hopes for the American Christ follower, the American church, the American me. With good intentions but misguided theology, the church spends most of our time, energy, resources, prayer words, programs, sermons, conferences, Bible studies, and attention on the feast, our feast to be exact.
Now certainly there is a feast, and thank you God for it. Where brokenness and starvation once consumed us, God sets us at a new table:
“Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. O Lord, you preserve both man and beast. How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.” ( Ps. 36:5-9)
This is the feast of the redeemed; Jesus made it possible for the wretched to dine with the Most High, neither offending His holiness nor compromising His justice. For those adopted by grace and faith, He no longer sees our failures or omissions; He only sees the righteousness Jesus covered us with. We stand safely behind Christ, made white-as-snow perfect from His substitution on the cross.
The currency of salvation includes blessings, redemption, fulfillment, peace, healing, sustenance, forgiveness, and hope. Its a spiritual jackpot. For those salvaged from the gutter by Jesus, these are new mercies every morning. We are easily overwhelmed by the goodness of God, which knows no bounds. The gospel is so liberating it is worthy of adoration every single second of every single hour of every single day forever. We will never be the same. This in indeed the feast, and to celebrate it is utterly Christian.
But the feast has a partner in the rhythm of the gospel: the fast.


Its practice is unmistakeable in Scripture. Hundreds of times we see reduction, pouring out, abstinence, restraint. We find our Bible heroes fasting from food- David, Esther, Nehemiah, Jesus. We see the Philippian church fasting from self-preservation, sending Paul money in spite of their own poverty, a true sacrifice. John the Baptist says if we have two coats, one belongs to the poor. The early church sold their possessions and lived communally, caring for one another and the broken people in their cities. We see God explain his idea of a fast: justice, freedom, food for the hungry, clothes for the naked. This balance is a given in Scripture.
If we ignored the current framework of the church and instead opened the Bible for a definition, we find Christ followers adopting the fast simultaneously with feast. We don’t see the New Testament church hoarding the feast for themselves, gorging, getting fatter and fatter and asking for more; more Bible studies, more sermons, more programs, classes, training, conferences, information, more feasting for us.
At some point, the church stopped living the Bible and decided just to study it, culling the feast parts and whitewashing the fast parts. We are addicted to the buffet, skillfully discarding the discipleship required after consuming. The feast is supposed to sustain the fast, but we go back for seconds and thirds and fourths, stuffed to the brim and fat with inactivity. All this is for me. My goodness, my blessings, my privileges, my happiness, my success. Just one more plate.
I think the early church would cover their heads with ashes and grieve over the dilution of Jesus’ beautiful church vision. We’ve taken His Plan A for mercy to an injured lost planet and neutered it to clever sermon series and Stich-and-Chat in the Fellowship Hall, serving the saved. If the modern church held to its biblical definition, we would become the answer to all that ails society. We wouldn’t have to baby-talk and cajole and coax people into our sanctuaries through witty mailers and strategic ads; they’d be running to us. The local church would be the heartbeat of the city, undeniable by our staunchest critics.

When the fast, the death, the sacrifice of the gospel is omitted from the Christian life, then it isn’t Christian at all. Not only that its boring. If I just want to feel good or get self-help, I’ll buy a $12 book from Borders and join a gym. The church the Bible described is exciting and adventurous and wrought with sacrifice. It costs believers everything and they still came. It was good news to the poor and stumped its enemies. The church was patterned after a Savior who had no place to lay his head and voluntarily died a brutal death, even knowing we would reduce the gospel to a self-serving personal improvement program where people were encouraged to make a truce with their Maker and stop sinning and join the church, when in fact the gospel does not call for a truce but a complete surrender.
Jesus said the kingdom was like a treasure hidden in a field, and once someone truly finds it, he will happily sell everything he owns to possess that field. a perfect description of the fasting and the feast. It will cost everything, but it is a treasure and an unfathomable joy. This is the balance of the kingdom; to live we must die, to be lifted we bow, to gain we must lose. There is no alternative definition, no path of least resistance, no treasure in the field without the sacrifice of everything else.

Oh Lord, may we be focused on the least; a people balancing the fasting and the feast.

Illustration and Free Printables for Emma

The February issue for Emma Magazine is out and you can find my free printable and illustration on page 11 – complete instructions to make your own bath bombs and a free printable gift tag to give as gifts.

 

It’s a really pretty issue, so make sure you check out the rest of the magazine, too. Happy Wednesday!

DIY Steel & Ombre Ring

Hey everyone! I have a quick tutorial up over at For the Makers today on how to make a ring from dark annealed steel wire from the hardware store (3!) and embroidery thread. The thread I used was leftover ombre floss from the January box, but you can use any color that you have lying around. Cute and simple.

What is Beauty?

There are some whose idea of beauty is just too small. We tend to make snap judgments about what is beautiful, and what is not. But beauty can be strong and astringent, disturbing, shocking and dark. It can also be  easily overlooked and ignored. I am tired of our culture creating a formula for beauty and dictating it to the masses. Recognizing beauty is not about having good taste. Tastes change as we evolve as a civilization. Trends come and go. Beauty can be a constant. A sunset will always be beautiful, a new life entering the world will always be beautiful.

As a designer, you learn that certain compositions, colors, lines and placement make a better design. If you stick to these basic proven principles, your art should be timeless. Contrived rules without scientific merit should always be questioned. Rules like, “Don’t wear white after Labor Day.”

Explore the perimeter of “good taste.” Don’t get stuck in the rut of trends and fads.  Because while I’ve found that beauty is subjective and depends on the person, it usually stays the same. If I learn to recognize on my own what is beautiful, it doesn’t change. And if I train my eye and heart to find what’s beautiful in even an ugly situation or environment, no matter what happens, that is my constant.

I don’t want to be known for my “good taste.” I want to be able to recognize beauty in unexpected places, and invite others to see it too. Maybe give what’s repulsive a second glance. Great art hasn’t always been in good taste. Before the avant-garde art movements of the twentieth century, it would be interesting to hear the Authority on Good Taste’s response to Picasso’s Guernica. In my view “good taste” can be so confining and restrictive – to the point that it isolates true beauty. 

And here is the moral here. God doesn’t really have good taste when it comes to us.

Picasso said that good taste is the enemy of great art.

Good taste has everything to do with being cultured and refined. Art has everything to do with being human. That’s why I love the Bible. The humans in the Bible are not very refined. And neither am I.

People would always say when I was a kid and say cheer up, God loves you. I would say big deal, God loves everybody, that don’t make me special. That just proves that God ain’t got no taste. And I don’t think he does. God takes the junk of our lives and he makes the greatest art in the world out of it. If God was cultured, if he was as civilized as most Christians wish he was, we would be useless to Christianity. Because God is a wild man, and I hope that over the course of your life you encounter him. – Rich Mullins

Here is what I think - things are lovely not because they are beautiful, they are beautiful because they are loved.  There is something about the things or people you love that you are attracted to and find appealing. But I think we need to enlarge the circle of what we deem beautiful. Love is the vehicle for this. Love invites us as artists to take things that would be considered without value and give it value. Art can be just as much about creative solutions for our world as it is for our own enjoyment and to the glory of God.

What are your thoughts?

Illustrations for Henry Happened

A few months ago I got an email from Stephanie of HenryHappened.com asking for some custom illustrations for her blog. Here is how they turned out – she wanted to go for simple black and white ink drawings for each category.

Go check out her blog, she has some great DIY tutorials and great style tips for your home and your wardrobe.

Happy Monday ya’ll!

Winter

I love winter and I hate it. Being cold is just so miserable, yet I love the cool wintery hue that the world takes on, and especially when it snows – the stillness and wonder that thickens the air and seems to freeze time itself.

I’ve been knitting up some cozy gifts for loved ones. I tried my hand at making these little canvas tags that have thoughtful words stamped on them and sewing them straight on – one of those sweet little details that I love incorporating into gifts.

There is a beautiful pattern for a lacy looking cowl that is just so easy and quick to knit called the Drop Stitch Cowl. If you are a member of ravelry, you can check it out there – tis free!

Since moving, I’m also making it a fun challenge to find natural beauty while living in the heart of the city. My mother gave me her flower presses about a year ago, and I’ve been pressing leaves like a mad woman, in fact it’s an addiction now.

I find God in creation. Connecting with Him in a meaningful way comes easily when I’m in nature. So being in an urban environment makes me miss, well…trees. And flowers. And just the rustic beauty of dirt and earth.

It is not unusual for me to be floored by leaves like the one above, especially the Lamb’s Ear on the far right, that feels just like – a lamb’s ear. And it grows from the ground. Is that not just completely and utterly amazing? God’s handiwork excites and inspires me like nothing else.

You know that behind the watch’s dial the hidden work of springs and gears occurs, and that the movement of the hands across the dial is caused by that hidden working. So too in terms of God’s creation, behind that creation, a hidden, secret working of God’s power and wisdom is occurring, and that only thereby do things operate as they do. This working is not an unconscious operation of a languidly propelled power, but the working of a power that is being led by three truths that fit together. First, the full and rich clarity of God’s thoughts existed in God from eternity. Second, in creation God has revealed, embedded, and embodied a rich fullness of his thoughts. And third, God created in human beings, as his image-bearers, the capacity to understand, to grasp, to reflect, and to arrange within a totality these thoughts expressed in the creation. Beauty, and beyond that, divine glory is the Spirit radiating through what appears before our eyes. -Abraham Kuyper, Wisdom & Wonder