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Cool Air and a Clear Head

The cycle of seasons continues to spin, and it's almost Autumn's turn. While I would love to celebrate that with camping, hiking, and sitting-by-a-fire, I'll content myself in this lifestage with walks at the park and hot tea on the balcony in the evenings.

We've been taking advantage of the decrease in temperature by opening our windows at night (three cheers for living on the second floor!) and doing some on-foot exploring that we didn't really have time for last Spring. It's such a blessing that Adam's current job allows for weekends off (except Drill once a month) without the worry of being called in at random.

Last weekend we took a few pieces of furniture back to Adam's parents in Fayetteville, one of which was an upholstered arm chair. It had been the landing place for a square pillow that accompanied our couch and the pillow became homeless in the chair's absence. Because pillow forms are expensive and even my mediocre sewing skills can handle two squares sewn together, I trimmed off the fringe and Brooklyn helped me choose some cute fabric at Hobby Lobby that would go with our kitchen chairs.

The two proper chairs that we have both have cushioned seats - my wicker bench that I love did not. And if sat on in shorts or even a thin skirt, it would leave wicker-marks on the backs of your legs, which wasn't terribly enjoyable. The pillow was a little wider than the seat, but it was also a little flattened, so I made my cover seat-width and wrestled the pillow in --- now it's fluffier, firmer, and the bench has become my favorite seat at the table (just don't look too closely at the bit of hand sewing I had to do in order to close the seam...)

With the shifting seasons, I also tire of whatever same three things I've been making and eating in rotation for the past while - a privileged perspective, I know, but it at least has the effect of inspiring creativity, or, in this case, bringing back childhood memories. The only single-dish meal that I would eat as a kid was Taco Casserole, which has the wonderful bonus of being naturally gluten free.

Brown 1 pound of ground beef. Drain and season (I used half a packet of Simply Organic spicy taco seasoning). In a casserole dish or a couple of loaf pans (which is what I happened to have), layer Fritos, then beef, then as much cheese as you'd like (I was generous with a shredded cheddar jack blend) and repeat once more. Bake on 350 for 20 minutes.

This is especially good for company and/or families with picky eaters - you can serve it taco-style with lettuce, tomatoes or salsa, onions, avocados or guacamole, sour cream and whatever else you'd like on the side and let each person assemble their own plate. It also reheats really well in a toaster oven.

My thoughts swirl with the falling leaves and new ideas abound - delightful possibilities dangerously expand, and when I step out of bed in the morning, there's no knowing where I'll be swept off to!


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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…