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Home is Where the Heart is

The first Whitespace Challenge that stood out to me was sight - altering your view, literally, in order to alter your perspective. I spend a lot of time in a fairly small space, and we're about to have guests for Brooklyn's birthday, so that seemed like a perfect place to start.

Before beauty, a mess. I took most of our art off the walls (it had been hung rather haphazardly when we first moved in, in order to get it off the floor where it was awkwardly propped) yanked some books off the shelves, and rearranged furniture. Brooklyn was exceedingly interested in what I was doing and determinedly got into everything, but Tobin was happy to practice rotations on the new empty space in the middle of our living room floor.

I adore our couch (easy-care suede, purchased from a friend who was moving to a smaller apartment), and the pair of pillows that a friend thoughtfully made for us as a wedding present. I also really like the enormous painting that was left behind by a tenant who preferred painting over paying rent, at the complex in Fayetteville that Adam did maintenance for. You can't tell in the picture, but there are gold and white beads sewn all over the grey part, making it extremely texturally interesting.

The painting had been hung a little low originally and has bugged me for the past year but I hadn't gotten around to moving it. Armed with a hammer and a small pot of spackle, I moved it up and took down the didn't-go-with-anything piece of art that was above the couch. Because that wall is one of the first things you see as you enter our apartment, I arranged four 12"x12" sheets of pretty paper with Instagram prints stuck to their centers, over the couch. Family portraits are practically impossible to coordinate (both logistically and financially), but I did manage to find decent recent pictures of each of us individually.

Besides nicely tying the painting in with the pillows, Brooklyn loves to point at the pictures and identify each of us (it also usually inspires a round of hugs - if you are reminded of someone you love, and they're there, you should hug them. I think that we would all benefit from universal adoption of this concept).

My family is important to me, and I'm grateful for them - but sometimes, between the adorably Instagrammed photos and aw-inspiring Facebook posts, in the thick of late nights and early mornings, of diapers and laundry and books read for the fourtieth time, of Losses of Freedom and Mutual Moments of Selfishness, I need to be reminded.

Beautiful dwelling is surrounding yourself with people you love - and reminding yourself that you do/should love them, when you're tempted to love yourself first.


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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…