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Chalk It Up to the Paint Fumes

I bought a little jar of chalkboard paint at Target the other day. Just a wee thing that I thought might be fun to cover a round table (that I didn't like, and therefore couldn't ruin) that I have on the back porch. I also got a set of permanent chalk pens, thinking I'd write something on the table to break up the expanse of black.

So I opened up a brown paper bag as a drop cloth and painted the table. It was fun. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy painting things. It was also fun puzzling out what to write, that was both appropriate and a good length. {I went with Tolkien: Still round the corner there may wait / a new road or a secret gate / and though I oft have passed them by / a day will come when I / shall take the hidden paths that run / west of the moon, east of the sun.}

There seemed to be quite a bit of paint left, so I painted one of the shelves on my pair of bookcases, one that had a few pencil marks on it. And I liked it so much that (over the course of several evenings) I pulled everything off of both of them and painted the top of every shelf. The effect was rather svelte, in my opinion.

And there was still paint left! I didn't want to write permanently on the shelves, but the chalk pens were so fun that I wanted to write on something else. So I got four wooden letters (L, O, V, and E) and painted them, then wrote out song lyrics across the whole set and hung them in our bedroom.

When I went into the kitchen to rinse my brush out, my eye fell on the square jar on the counter that holds dishwasher detergent packs, and the neat little panels the glass forms. So I painted in one of those, and doodled on it once it was dry.

Now I've only got a dab of it left, but I'm out of ideas - for now. But I think that it was definitely a worthwhile investment of $10, especially if you break it down into cost-per-hour-of-entertainment (which I do, as a knitter).

Beautiful dwelling is being willing to act on the occasional impulse, and adding to the beauty by embracing a creative moment.


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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…