artForSoul

Much to my surprise, the case I made for my Kindle using tiny granny squares inspired a beginner to crochet a case of her own. When she posted it on Facebook, a friend of hers mentioned she’d made a case for her Nook and it got me wondering just how many people are making cases for their eReaders and other tech toys. A quick web search assured me that lots of people are doing this. I’m not the only one who’d rather have a handmade case than one from the store.

There are lots of options for the lover of knitted and crocheted cases. You can shop on Etsy if you don’t feel like you have the time or skill to create your own. If you prefer to make things yourself, you can improvise like my friends did, or there are plenty of free patterns on-line if you don’t feel up to making a case from scratch.

Here are the fun crocheted cases made by Kristen Lamb and Kayla Jayne. Kristen is just learning how to crochet and says it was seeing my case that inspired her to make her own. While her design is simple, the multi-colored yarn gives it pizzazz.

Kristen Lamb's Kindle cover. I love the candy-colored yarn and the curly doodad on the flap.

Kristen Lamb’s Kindle cover. I love the candy-colored yarn and the curly doodad on the flap.

Kayla Jayne said her cover was a fun way to use up some leftover yarn. She even made the button.

Kayla Jayne's Nook Cover, front. Notice the cool bobble button.

Kayla Jayne’s Nook Cover, front. Notice the cool bobble button.

Kayla Jayne's Nook Cover, back. I love that she added decorations.

Kayla Jayne’s Nook Cover, back. I love that she added decorations.

Another example of a simple case that an experienced knitter could easily make is this ribbed version by recipesatrandom.

knitted-kindle-coverRaR

Sometimes projects are easier to handle if you have a pattern. aknitica has a tutorial on how to make her pretty knitted Kindle cover.

Knitted Kindle Cover by aknitica

Knitted Kindle Cover by aknitica

If you’d rather crochet, you can make this fun striped cover by Hesta Villiers with leftover bits of yarn.

Crocheted Kindle Cover by Hesta Villiers

Crocheted Kindle Cover by Hesta Villiers

Perhaps the most versatile pattern I found is the Ultimate Universal Electronics Cozy, which shows you how to make a case for any electronic device you want using a simple trick to ensure a custom fit.

Ultimate-Universal-Electronics-Cozy

There are plenty of other designs and ideas out there. I even found someone who is making lovely album covers using granny squares, which could be adapted to just about any kind of case or cover.

grannycoversPin

All these great designs have me looking around the house to see what else needs a handmade cover. I hope they inspired you, too!

Do you make covers, cases, or bags for your electronic gadgets? If so, please share a picture in the comments. I’d love to see them.

LoveNskill

Last week, I read an inspiring article about making a living as a photographer that really applies to any art form. David DuChemin’s blog post A Bigger Story suggests making your life and your art about what you love. Here’s what he said that spoke to me:

What story are you telling? What bigger ideas are you tapping into? If you don’t know, neither does your audience. This should be a freeing notion for us. Terrifying on some level, sure, because to some extent it requires that we nail our colours to the mast. But isn’t that one of the reasons we love our favourite artists? It takes courage. But it’s still freeing. It provides a framework, a constraint we freely choose, to photograph only what we care about and letting the rest go. No obligation to be someone else, photograph everything under the sun. It’s a freedom from the frantic, noisy climate we live in. — David DuChemin

He’s got me thinking about which colors I should nail to my mast. As he predicts, I am terrified, but I like the idea of being free to be myself in my artistic work, whatever form it takes, and to not worry about the rest.

How about you? Do you know what your art is about already, or is this something you need to think about? Do you feel like your life has a story?

Back in August, I took my parents to the Denver Botanic Gardens to see the Dale Chihuly exhibit. The garden itself is a spectacular place, full of flowers even at the end of the summer, but the giant glass sculptures scattered throughout the grounds took the experience to a new level.

The lily pond has multiple Chihuly pieces in it (you can see three of them here).

The lily pond has multiple Chihuly pieces in it.

As soon as we walked through the gate, I knew we were in for a day full of breath-taking moments. Each time we turned a corner and got our first glimpse of what was coming next, my heart raced. I took a bunch of pictures, trying desperately to capture what I was feeling as I admired the sculpture-filled gardens. Looking at them now, I don’t feel any of my photos do those moments justice.

Fairies were here!

Fairies were here!

The dazzle of the glass sculptures coupled with their gigantic size make them seem like something left by a bling-loving Merlin. They glitter and shine and demand to be noticed. They stand out from the plantings surrounding them. Thanks to their organic shapes, they harmonize with them, too. A sense of magic is palpable as you look at them. It’s hard to believe humans had anything to do with them.

One of my personal favorites.

One of my personal favorites.

And yet, human hands and minds were involved. Dale Chihuly has a huge team of artists who work with him to create his magnificent sculptures. Nearly twenty people were required just to install the show in Denver. And the work doesn’t stop there.

The second time we passed the lily pond, we saw a man standing in the water, bent over one of the twisted glass reeds poking up out of the cattails. When I asked him what he was doing, he held up the spear he had just pulled out to show me. The hollow tube had several inches of water in it.

The man in the cattails is making sure the sculpture survives when cold weather hits.

The man in the cattails is making sure the sculpture survives when cold weather hits.

The water had slowly leaked into the piece over the three months it had been sitting in the water. His job was to take each piece out of the pond, drain the water out, and then return it. Water left to accumulate can freeze and crack the glass, so this sort of maintenance is standard for the installations that are in the water. The show runs until the end of November, and our first frost warnings are already a week behind us, so their preparations were timely.

Despite seeing the maintenance crew at work and hearing about the installation team from a garden staff member, I still came away feeling like I had seen objects created by magic. Great art is magical. Strangers communicate an idea to us by making something with their hands and leaving it behind. We may not hear words, but we react to what we see. We feel emotions and walk away thinking new thoughts and remembering that the world is wonderful and wonder-full. We are grateful to be alive and to have seen what we have seen.

Chihuly is an inspiring artist to watch at work. If you’d like to see more of his art and find out how he makes it, check out the many videos on his web site. They are at the bottom of this page.

The book I’m working on is set in a world overflowing with art of all kinds. When I told her about it, my sister said that one of my characters should wear coats made out of recycled sweaters. I asked her what she meant and she sent me to an Etsy store called dyedtrying. I expected post-apocalyptic patchwork, but owner Amanda Andino Rodriguez makes colorful feminine coats with used knit clothing to order. I especially love the flared skirts and the fairy tale hoods. They’re perfect for my main character’s best friend, who is a professional dancer.

KatwiseBlue

A blue and gray coat (“Katwise” style)

The blue and gray coat from the front.

The blue and gray coat from the front.

Another Katwise coat in a bunch of colors (but what I see is purple).

Another Katwise coat in a bunch of colors (but what I see is purple).

She makes them for kids, too. I want this one!

She makes them for kids, too. I want this one!

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