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The unpacking is nearly complete (no thanks to me - I spent most of my weekend curled up with a crushing headache, while Adam was all productive) but I did manage to make a few things during the week. First, a shout-out and a big thank you! to Lisa from The Helpmates for her review of this muffin mix - I'm a little suspicious of gf baking mixes (they can be dry, or just taste bad) and since they're expensive (at least compared to the cheap Martha White mixes - they're not bad compared to other gf options) I wasn't willing to go out on a limb without someone else trying them first. But after I read her (very positive) review, I made these with raspberries and allergen-friendly chocolate chips in an attempt to curb my craving for Stonemill Bread's white chocolate/raspberry scones (if you're not gf, I highly recommend them!) --- and it worked!

Last week's leftover crockpot chicken became, among other things, my own gf/dairy free version of a California club (my own version, meaning that I omitted the ingredients that I don't like/didn't have access to at the time). In going dairy free because of Brooklyn, I've discovered some interesting preconceived notions that I had about cheese, one of which is its importance to a sandwich. But really, I never put cheese on a sandwich for the flavor - I used it as a sort of glue to keep the loose fillings from falling out. So here's my solution, for anyone who's interested:
---Cut up 1 cooked chicken leg (or thigh, or breast - legs are what we had) into small chunks. Saute it in a small skillet over medium heat in a little bit of butter (I used Earth Balance vegan butter) and season to taste.
---While that's cooking, cut up half an avocado into chunks and stir it into a generous spoonful of mayonnaise (Hellman's is gf/dairy free - if you want to do a vegan version, skipping the chicken, use Veganaise). After the chicken is heated through and lightly golden, add it to the bowl and mix well.
---Spoon your filling onto a slice of bread (I used Udi's) and stick another slice on top of it. Rebutter your skillet and lightly toast the sandwich on either side (I do this because we keep the bread in the freezer, and I never remember to get it out before I actually want to eat it).
---This has lots of possibilities for filling options. Next time, I'd like to add bacon and sprouts... it would also be fun to make an all-veggies version. I might be able to slip in something that I wouldn't normally eat, that way!

Between cooking experiments, I also finished up a couple of patterns (I'm counting that as homemaking, under the header of "She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands" in Proverbs 31:13). I initially completed Aronnax in early December, but after it sat around unphotographed for a month, I unraveled it and redesigned it - and I like it much better now! I think this will be my go-to hat for walks and hikes.

And because I needed an easy, portable project for long stints in the car while we were moving, I also made Quest. My favorite pair of fingerless gloves accidentally went to a new owner several years ago, and I never replaced them. These I like better - plus, they're possum fiber (which is surprisingly soft, and washable). What's not to love? ;)

When I was choosing yarn for Knit the Sky, I deliberately found a luxury fiber for the cloudy days (undyed alpaca/silk blend - the silk causes the earth-toned alpaca to appear metallic). But in knitting with it, I've found that it's changed my perspective about cloudy days, and helped me to look for the beauty even in the dull grey shrouds of winter's chill. Knitting really is therapeutic, in so many ways...

I had a couple of lids left over from the moving and packing, and I wanted some trays (I think I mentioned our issues with unoccupied flat, level spaces last week...) and I wondered if I could make some (because that's how my brain works).

So Brooklyn and I quested to Office Depot for duct and Washi tape, then came home and spent an afternoon experimenting. She was happy, for the most part, to sit at the table with a toy and watch.

It took an entire 20 yard roll of duct tape to cover each one (I did the smaller one first and wasn't as efficient as I could have been), and Brooklyn assisted by inspecting each step to be sure that I had gotten everything smoothly stuck down.

I used the Washi tape to disguise the flaws in my duct tape covering, and to add some color. Adam is going to spray them with clear coat for me sometime this week, and altogether I'm pleased with how they turned out. Huzzah for successful projects! And, since the tape was on sale ($1 off), they ended up costing less than $10 apiece.

Since I had all my tape out, I went ahead and "matted" a cork board. At some point in my teen years I had drawn all over it (frame and cork alike), so I later painted over the whole thing - and it became a boring brown blob. I added a stripe of mustache duct tape (from my Christmas stocking at my in-law's :) and then a little narrow stripe of aqua Washi tape, and I'm much happier with it. Now to remember where I've seen mustache pushpins...

When faced with a decorative need or eating challenge, is your first impulse to figure out your own solution, or look for a solution created by someone else (either through ready-made, or others' recipes and crafty blogs/pins)?


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31 Days of Unraveling Designs

It's that time of year again... the 31 Days writing challenge starts today! Bloggers from all over will be writing every day of the month of October on the topic of their choosing. This will be my fourth year participating - the first year I did 7 for 31, and spent a month going through Jen Hatmaker's book 7. The second year I did 31 Days of Sustainable Dwelling, and wrote about local and fair trade living. Last year I was busy but still wanted to participate, so I went the easy route with 31 Days of Everyday Beautiful.

This year I'm diving into my greatest passion: knitting! I'll spend this month looking at past designs and talking about the inspiration behind them, so there will be plenty of regular life mixed in with the stitching - and there may be discount codes for the patterns that I write about. You'll just have to read and see!

Pattern index:

Pageturner Mitts
Hogwarts House Tie
Urban Artemis
Graffiti for Humanity
Love Out Loud
Strange Jacket


In order to change your knitting, you must first change yourself. I've lost track of how many times I've said that, or how many people I've said it to. Frustrated new knitters wondering why their work is loose or tight or uneven or really anything less than perfect. But something I love about knitting is that it's a record of your inner dialogue. That swatch knit at the yarn store table with a cozy cup of coffee and a helpful (and more experienced) knitter nearby is going to be a lot more relaxed than the sweater begun a week later while sitting next to a hospital bed - just like the knitter.

Unfortunately, this also applies to my own knitting. For years, I was apparently unaffected by the shifts and turmoils in my own life, so I assumed that I was exempt from the rule - when the reality was, in fact, that I wasn't really experiencing any of those on anything deeper than a surface level because everything was deadened by depression. When I finally started to really…


A few years ago, I was introduced to the concept of replacing the traditional list of resolutions with a single word. It appealed to me - I am not a big list person, but I love language and words and meanings and etymology and metaphor and... ahem. Ennyhoo. I liked the idea.
I've never chosen the word. It's always presented itself to me - and last year was no different. Pacific was very insistent, even though I tried to argue with it. Pacific? What does that even mean? What am I supposed to do with that?
But I accepted it, and I'm glad I did. I learned about depth and calm, about storm and nurture, about faith and adventure - and about the unstoppable ocean of God's grace, that overwhelms to fill and cleanse and bring blessings unasked.
So I'm bidding pacific a very fond farewell, and welcoming spark and whatever lessons it would like to bring. I invited it in with a copper wire punctuated with tiny lights and wrapped around my mood board, and I've got an empt…