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Paper or Plastic? {7 for 31}

This month I'm writing a new post each day about my own version of Jen Hatmaker's 7 experiment. For more posts and an introduction, head hereToday's 7 topic is waste.

Many of the promoted waste-eliminating and environment-stewarding practices are impractical for an apartment dweller. We can't garden or compost, hang our laundry, or re-insulate our home to make it more energy efficient. Our complex doesn't have a recycling option - everything goes into a giant trash compactor. It was a quest trying to find a city recycling facility, and taking items requires loading up my car with recyclables and a baby and driving over there --- a lot more time, effort, and gas expended than just dumping things into a green box on the curb.

Not wanting to use that as an excuse for ignoring the trash aspect of waste, I've chosen to focus on upcycling, instead (which is a lot more fun, anyway). I wanted to go deeper than just lining our bathroom trashcans with plastic grocery bags...

We usually reheat leftovers in the toaster oven instead of the microwave - the extra time it takes is perfect for emptying the dishwasher, wiping down the counters, picking up toys, etc., and (in my opinion) it tastes better. However, that often requires foil to keep things from falling through, and while we do buy recycled foil it's a little difficult for us to then re-recycle it. But the gluten-free piecrust I use for quiche comes in a beautiful aluminum pie tin, so I've been flattening them to use as liners for the toaster oven. They're sturdier than foil and have the added bonus of being washable (and it can still be recycled later, once it gets all black and crunchy because I reheated something cheesy).

I love brown paper bags. I used them instead of boxes when we moved, which was wonderful - but we have quite a stash under the kitchen sink, and aren't planning on moving soon. So besides reusing them as market bags this month, I also cut one up and used it as to wrap a package to mail instead of buying a bubble envelope. Since that didn't use the entire bag, I made 4 sheets of stationery and a matching envelope out of the remaining three sides.

Those are a few ideas I've had - check out Thursday's post to share your upcycling suggestions and to be entered in a giveaway!


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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…