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Authentic Space

An issue that I have with traveling, is that even if you cleaned before you left, you bring a lot of mess home with you. Clean clothes and dirty clothes all jumbled up together, things-I-can't-get-here and gifts from Mum and mother-in-love, all heaped up on and under and around errythang. I couldn't face it on Saturday night when we got home, but on Sunday afternoon I bought a bright bouquet for the-counter-that-would-soon-be-clean, brewed a cup of coffee, put on some music, and got to work.

(There are no before pictures - stopping to take a picture would have been demoralizing and slowed my momentum - trust me when I say, it was a mess by anyone's definition.) One of the items I brought back from Fayetteville is a wicker bench that goes with my old bedroom set - I loved it dearly, being a fan of furniture that can be approached from any direction and sat upon comfortably... and I had completely forgotten about it until Mum offered to let me take it. Now it's acting as a needed third chair at our dining table, replacing a stool that was the same height as the table - I say they all go together, since they're all white. ;)

I finished The Nesting Place, and it was magnificent, and it totally validated my pretty-yet-functional chair collection (see? if they're all identical, it's not a "collection") along with several other things. I need to write a whole post on the book... but for now, I'll just say that whether you're good at interior design or cringe when you walk in your own front door (or just don't really care), this is a wonderful book - because it's more about her life, and how her outlook has changed, than about the perfect way to arrange things on your mantle (because we all totally have a mantle...)

It gave me the idea to hang a cute cotton tea towel in our guest bathroom as a hand towel - it coordinates with the soap dispenser, and I wouldn't let Adam use it to wipe up spaghetti sauce, but clean hands? I don't mind if clean hands are dried on it, so this way it's out being pretty and it can be used in a way that doesn't threaten its continued prettiness. And every time I walk by, I see its reflection in the mirror and it makes me smile. :)

We have some interesting artwork in our home (photos, stuff I've made, artwork given to us as gifts, paintings that were created and left by an evicted tenant and found by Adam when he was doing apartment maintenance...) but this is my favorite: a 2' by 3' panel of cork, subtitled "No Ordinary Days." It's the focal point of our little dining area, and it's pretty much us as a corkboard. The first picture Adam took of us together a few weeks after we met, a subway pass from New York, the sun setting on 2011 (which we both started technically single and ended married to each other), ticket stubs, the current highest scoring Yahtzee card (mine, by a fluke), postcards, a baby card someone sent us with a gift for Brooklyn... I love having a sort of scrapbook that's out where we can see it.

Really, I think that's the crux of successful design - the art of extending yourself into your space using whatever medium you prefer. If we're dishonest with ourselves or our home or how the two relate, it will show up as imbalance and chaos. Our home is a reflection of who we are --- if "who we are" is struggling with something, then we won't be comfortable in our home and neither will anyone else, and that in itself is telling - and so are the books on our shelves, the meals we cook, the music on our stereos, the friends and/or family we invite over (or not), and the clothes and accessories that we wear.

So I actually draw a lot of clothing design inspiration from interior design sources - some people can dress their spaces beautifully (I cannot, as I discovered a few weeks ago while trying to create a wreath using only things I had on hand) --- my forte lies in dressing myself. In creating things that are pretty, comfortable, and functional, all at the same time, so that they can forgotten about until someone pays you a compliment on them. That's my goal, at least... I have high hopes that the linen skirt I'm working on right now will meet that goal - we'll see!

I'm still in the process of making our home user-friendly --- I started with the baby-proofing, and now I'm moving on to the spaces that we share with guests (like that bathroom, and our kitchen) in order to make them as inviting and self-explanatory as possible - after all, I want our home to be a place to share stories, without interruptions.

How is your space a reflection of you? Are there things that you love? things that you'd like to change?


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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…