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Natural Beauty

Mommy fashion, week four: makeup! Now, I am not a big make up person - partly because I object to being held to a false standard (I'm not even painting my imperfect face in order to emulate natural perfection - no, I'm competing with Photoshop. I think not. /end soapbox) and also because we're gluten free and gluten is in a lot of cosmetics (why?) But even if you're not gf and enjoy wearing make up for your own personal reasons, as a mommy (especially as a new mommy, or the mommy of a little girl) less is more. Your eyes and brows and lashes are lovely the way God made them, and instituting farewell-and-greeting kisses with your husband will redden your lips (s'true!) --- but if you insist on creating some sort of smoothing glow, then a Sparkle Bar from Lush is perfect (don't be turned off by the price - I've been using those two regularly for almost three years). Brooklyn is learning to give kisses - which makes me wary of putting anything on my skin, because I know it will end up in her mouth, but Lush lists their ingredients and are a Good company, to boot. So a swipe to each cheekbone with one of these brings a lift to a tired face, and doesn't take time away from more important things.

Going for walks outside with Brooklyn, and thinking about make up, and seeing the number of people who've given up Pinterest for Lent... has gotten me thinking about natural beauty. No, not the "you're beautiful just the way you are" mantra that gets thrown at us in between the ads that tell us we're not --- the dissatisfaction with how we are (however we are) that causes us to spend hours looking at pictures of Perfect People.

When we need inspiration, we should look to God's creation. We cannot envy the talent of the Creator (because we could never attain His perfection or attention to detail), and every inspiration we draw from it and apply in our homes will remind us of the One who gave us the idea in the first place.

For example, why is a dismal greyish brown the neutral we always turn to? "Because it goes with everything." Go outside - what two colors do you see the most of (sans Winter - unless that's your favorite season)? Green and blue. All of the brown in nature is painted over with the new life of green - buds, sprouts, shoots, leaflets, moss --- even pollen and duckweed are green. It's a calming color --- and in the right shade, it goes with everything! Paint, plants, or pillows - the color of new life is an uplifting reminder.

The houses you see on Pinterest and in magazines are just that - houses. They're not homes (especially if you have kids). And if you succeed, by tooth and nail and constant nagging, in recreating one of those houses, you'll lose your home in the process.

There's beauty in nature - emulate it. There's order in nature - nothing wrong with that, either. But there's also the organically unexpected - the vine twisting around the tree, the messy birds' nest nestled among the dogwood blossoms, the lichen overtaking the rock. So embrace life as it happens and know that sometimes couch cushions that are good for fort-building are more important than neatly arranged uncrushed ones.

After completing a couple of projects that I can't tell you about yet, I was itching to start a new design - and I found the perfect inspiration on a recent walk. Can't go wrong with green plant fiber (cotton/linen blend) --- also, my garter stitch isn't perfectly even, and neither are those reeds!

Finally, when all else fails to lift your mood and alleviate your guilt or your envy... let the sun shine in.

How can you focus more on God-created beauty than man-created beauty? (Man-created beauty is excellent in its place - as long as we don't start worshiping the created rather than the Creator)
Please check out this post from last week - last chance to be entered in a giveaway, and a chance to raise awareness about a good cause!


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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…