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Checking it Twice

It's a listy time of year - grocery lists, Christmas lists, packing lists, lists of things-to-be-thankful-for... even the list of lists is long.

But things are beginning to be checked off. My knitting class at church is over (and was a smash hit - there's another tentative class set for February) and that just leaves one at STEP next week, and a hat I'm making as a Christmas gift, before my knitting-related obligations are fulfilled.

I was able to get my Christmas cards from one of the ladies in the class - our church's prayer team has a card-making ministry, and they were selling sets of handmade Christmas cards to raise money for postage stamps. So that's locally made, loving-the-city, and they're all different which gives me the fun of deciding which card to give who.

I got out a box to start collecting Christmas gifts in, so that they'll be all in one place as I begin packaging them. Due to no preplanning on my part, I was able to find felted bowls that matched all of the clearance-colored washcloths I knitted over the summer, and all that's left for those is to label my little bottles of hand scrub. Then between Plaid Friday/Small Business Saturday this week and The Little Craft Show next week I'm hoping to have everything gotten or made by the first week in December, and hopefully wrapped shortly thereafter.

Brooklyn's new carseat is installed (hers is convertible - we'll use the rear-facing one with the handle for Sprout) and I made an experimental toy for her in light of all the traveling we have planned over the next monthish. I've seen "I Spy" toys before - filled with bits of plastic, interspersed with small objects to shake and find. I made my own version with a peanut butter jar (it wasn't originally shaped like that, but something strange happened while it was in the dishwasher...), a handful of tiny animals from the zoo gift shop, and some rice. You could put whatever you wanted to in it - and I left quite a bit of space at the top so it would shake easily, but you could leave less to make it more of a challenge for an older child. Adam thought it was wildly entertaining - hopefully Brooklyn will, too. Can you find the kangaroo in the last picture?

Twice-weekly check-ups are still going well (other than Sprout deciding to take a nap right when they got the monitor set up today). I am very much not a fan of early morning appointments, but I used the extra time I spent waiting this morning to write a note to leave in Adam's truck (since he stayed home with Brooklyn) and they were able to combine two visits so I only have one more this week.

Which is good - it means that tomorrow I can tackle pumpkin pies, a small load of laundry, and packing well-rested and with a clear head. Someday we'll probably be the ones hosting Thanksgiving - until then, I'm grateful that we have family to visit.


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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…