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Renew, Reuse, Recycle

First, the winner of last Monday's giveaway! Thanks for joining in, everyone - I had a lot of fun, and I'm planning more giveaways in the future! So, pulled from my favorite hat by an adorable baby...

(immediately after pulling it out and opening it up, she tried to eat it --- that's something we'll need to work on, for the future!)

Mommy fashion --- this week: layers! Kind of like scarves, in that cardis can protect your shirt, cover anything that gets on your shirt, and dress up an otherwise dressed-down outfit. They're also fairly readily available... I haven't made it to cardis yet in my research (this one is Banana Republic and probably Not Good) but since they're popular, that means "trendy consignment" type stores like Plato's Closet (or even a thrift shop) will have a pretty good selection (or, if you're a knitter, you can make your own). Regardless of the manufacturing ethics of the item, resale and second-hand is awesome --- using an item until it literally can't be used anymore (and then making something else out it!) prevents the purchase of a new one, and it gets the most possible good out of it (also, in terms of mommy-style, I am much less likely to be unhappy about an irreparably stained cardi that I got second-hand for a couple of dollars than one I bought new for $30 or more - even if it's the same garment in both cases).

Which is yet another reason why I like Kashoan's necklaces - the concept of taking a vintage dictionary or Bible and making a piece of jewelry out of it is so appealing to me. I also love when people (especially artists) sacrifice a part of their profits for a greater cause... I recently read a blog post speaking against our tendency to only give if we get something out of it (eg, buying a $20 Tshirt that gives $5 to some cause, but refusing to give $20 directly to the cause) and while I agree that all of your giving shouldn't promptly give you something material in return, if it's something you need/want and you can support or raise awareness about something good in the process, I'm all for it! Actually, that's why I bought that Mama Carmen's shirt - I was already looking for a Tshirt that was that particular color, and I was able to benefit myself and others with my purchase.

Returning to the topic of reusing until it can't be reused anymore and then making something else out of it, Mum sent me a daybrightener in the mail last week. GreenCraft usually gives me ideas beyond the ones that are actually in the magazine...

...the first of which was to cut a "B" out of the bubble-mailer Mum sent it in for Brooklyn's room. Adam made these awesome frames out of cork and trim scraps for her room, so that we can change the artwork easily. They currently hold a couple of Gingiber prints, a verse from Psalms that I wrote out prettily on a square of vellum, a bunch of dried lavender... but one of them was empty, and this filled it perfectly. But it only used the back half of the mailer, so I was forced to do something with the rest of it.

I chose to make notecards (what else?) Since I was trying to use only things that I already had, I cut a sheet of bristol paper (that I fished out of my art supply crate) into 5.5" by 8.5" rectangles. Any type of cardstock or stiff paper (a manila folder, maybe?) would work.

First, I cut out as many hearts as I could from both of the bubble mailers that I had. For this project, I ended up deciding to only use the floral ones - so I saved the pink ones for a future project. I freehanded mine, so they came out a little asymmetrical and slightly different sizes - if that bothers you, you could create a template and trace them first.

I lightly marked a guide line along one short edge of my notecard, because I wanted to write on it and I can't write straight without one.

Because I wanted to leave room for the hearts, I chose a short greeting. You actually wouldn't have to write anything, if you didn't want to or had brightly-patterned washi tape.

Of course. How else would I tie it all together? I happened to have a roll that matched my hearts (actually, I think that's the first roll I ever bought...) Rub it down firmly, then trim the ends and turn them under (I trimmed those a little too short - they kept trying to pop out later).

Double-sided tape did the trick for adhering the hearts to the front of my card. I love how they stand out because of the bubbley back - now, I just need to get more mail!

How do you extend the useful life of ordinary objects?
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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…