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Art in Your Life: a challenge

When I'm creating, one of the places that I go for inspiration is... YouTube. The Piano Guys, Pentatonix, Lindsey Stirling... watching people who are passionate about what they're doing helps me in my passion for what I'm doing. I happened onto this one a few weeks ago, and was struck by the creative freedom of mind needed to even think up such a thing:

When you're ready to start creating, where is the first place that you go for supplies? First to your supply drawer or closet or room, then to the nearest specialty store? As a knitter, I head for the nearest yarn shop. If I'm doing a handlettering or calligraphy project, then I seek out a pen shop or an art supply store. Before buying something, I will usually initially try to use something that I already have - and sometimes it leads to creative breakthroughs that I might not have made if I'd just gone and gotten the "right" thing.

But what if we take that a step further - instead of just using things we already have, what if we used them in unconventional ways? Try not to look at things as what they are - look at it like you are an alien from another planet, or someone who's traveled through time, and you have no context to even begin guessing what it's for. (Think the Little Mermaid brushing her hair with a fork.) Or, on the flip side of that, a paintbrush can be used to paint with. But what else can you use... a flower? torn paper? a cluster of pine needles? a rolled strip of fabric? A walk around your neighborhood (whether you live in the country or the city) can yield surprising results.

This doesn't just apply to brushes... you can write or paint with smashed berries. Arm knitting is a wonderful tactile experience. (Following careful research) make a summer salad with edible flowers or some other something that you didn't buy (dandelions are a safe and tasty place to start). Any semi-flat, reasonably porous surface can be written, drawn, or painted on (for that matter, who says it has to be flat?). Hang a dish towel in your bathroom, or a hay rake component on your front door. Our Creator gave us so many raw materials to create with - and as humans, we are so bound by rules and proper-use that we waste much of the potential in the things we have. Don't just think outside the box - cut up the box and make a birdhouse out of it, then let your imagination fly!

Well, what are you waiting for? Go out and look for the art in things that others may be missing!
This post is part of the (in)courager community group that I'm a part of - we're mid-session right now, but head over here for more info!


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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…