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Restrictive Creative

This week's gifts...
1468. A jammy day
1469. An overcast, cool afternoon - warm enough to be outside, but not waspish weather (sun on the siding makes them come out)
1470. A few hours of solitude between Tobin going to bed and Adam getting home
1471. Dempsey Bakery making dairyfree shortbread cookies for Easter
1472. A trip to the zoo, and getting there at the perfect time to help some people with a flat tire 
1473. Dividing-and-conquering to get all of the groceries we needed efficiently, and nearly everything at Whole Foods being on sale (at least $1 off!)
1474. A haircut, finally - I missed three appointments and was getting shaggy about the ears
1475. Adam discovering a paleo food truck (he heard a DJ talking about it on a local radio station) and agreeing to eat there for lunch
1476. Walking a new-to-us part of the Arkansas River trail
1477. The day that Death died
1478. A bath in peace
1479. Tobin sleeping 10 hours straight
1480. 45 minutes of quiet time before Brooklyn woke up
1481. A lovely evening spent with lovely ladies at church
1482. Adam staying up late with me, while I stayed up with a determinedly awake Tobin
1483. Brooklyn bringing Tobin the crinkly triangle so that he, too, would have a toy while we sat on the balcony
1484. The Maumelle library - adorable and conveniently located
1485. #fmfpartysnailmail lists going out
1486. Starting my day in the sun on the back porch - up earlier than I wanted to be, might as well take advantage of it
1487. All five seasons of Fringe on my laptop - Tobin's been staying up late, and it's a good way to stay up with him when our brains are finished for the night

1488. The 100 Days Project - also, the accountability of needing to post daily about it. Keeps me motivated!

I love projects (you probably already knew that, though). Especially the kind that are time-specific, or done with a group. 31 Days. Project 365. Knit the Sky. One Thousand Gifts... and ongoing things like Love the City and Five Minute Friday. They're creative and restrictive all at the same time (which is pretty much the definition of every hobby and pursuit that I enjoy...).

Inspiration tends to find me when I'm under pressure. Knitting is season-specific - if I start a wintery garment in the fall, I need to finish it before spring if I want to wear it that year. The Creative Basics series that Crystal Stine is doing right now has a small daily challenge to complete (and since it's on-going, each task building on the next one, it's important to do each one as it comes). Deadlines also help to keep me on track.

I also desperately need accountability (I fell way behind on Knit the Sky several times - twice because I ran out of yarn and had to wait for more, but a couple of times because I just fell off the wagon and stopped doing my row-a-day). But since 31 Days meant posting every day, that kept me on track - if I slack off on a private knitting project, no one will know, but if someone is following along they'll notice that I missed a day. The same goes for reading a book with a group as opposed to on my own - I'm very self-motivated when it comes to fiction, but sometimes I'll wander away from a non-fiction book unless I know I'm going to need to be able to discuss the next chapter come Monday.

And it's encouraging to see what others are doing - linking up and checking in, sharing hashtags so we can find each other. I can derive motivation from the creativity of others while happily doing my own thing (which is precisely how I, in my introverion, prefer to do things).

So I was very excited when someone posted about the 100 Days Project on Instagram. Pick something - anything - and do it every day for one hundred days, and post about every day to prove you've done it. I chose the oddly specific "write a photo-inspired epigram every day" because that would have me taking a picture every day, writing a poem every day, and also give me an excuse to play with a new-to-me photo editing app that sometimes renders the original subject unidentifiable.

A beginning point, an ending point, inspiration, accountability, and space for creativity - I know that not everything in life works like that, but I'm grateful for the things that do. They act as tiny islands in the sea of daily chaos, marks to keep me on course, and pauses that remind me to breathe.


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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…