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Coming and Going

This is day 18 in my 31 Days series on sustainable dwelling. For an introduction and more posts, head here!

Fair trade and local fashion doesn't have to be all long, dangly earrings - there are sturdier options, as well! I'm fortunate to live near a great baby store that has a strong focus on local, organic, fair trade, and sustainable products - like their chewable necklaces, pretty for Mama and safe for Baby (this one got Tobin and I through his 9 month wellbaby check).

There are also lots of awesome bags (what mom doesn't need more bags?) - lots of totes like this one from Mercy House, but we also have a slightly smaller zippered pouch that we use for diapers and wipes. Bags are one of my favorite fair trade items, since they come in a wide range of sizes, styles, and prices (and because you can never have too many bags ;)

Adam and I are both shoe people - but baby shoes are so tricky. There are so many adorable, expensive, impractical ones, and really all we want at the pre-walking stage is something to keep Tobin's tiny tootsies warm (I love his 'ittle feet. Brooklyn was born with huge feet, and goes through shoes at an incredible rate). Someone gave us a pair of Ozark Mountain Mama slippers when she was born, and I kept her in them until she outgrew the largest size - they are awesome. Warm, cute, and really hard to kick off. They're also really durable - Tobin was wearing an old pair of Brooklyn's until I was able to buy him his own (which I did, not because there was any kind of wear on her's, but because they were brown with pink toes and some people have a problem with that. I don't mind adhering to gender color norms if it means extra support for a local artisan).

I'd like to know that a child didn't make my child's toys (and that no one will be poisoned if they're chewed on) - so we have several things from Green Toys. They're American-made from recycled milk jugs (yay, ethical and sustainable!) and really sturdy - Tobin loves to chew on the spoons and bang the teacups on the table and there's not so much as scratch on any of them. We also have a Tonka-esque toy truck - it has a flatbed trailer and holds a lovely red race car (a deliberate choice so that they could play with it together). Thankfully, we have a shop here in Little Rock and one in Fayetteville that carry them.

As I was saying about bags... Before I learned about modern slavery and set out to do something about it (by putting my drops in better buckets), I thought that all "fair trade" bags were poorly made from thin cloth, and then marked up unreasonably because of the charitable label. I was so wrong. Pieces made by free women are well-crafted works of art - whether that's here in the US, or globally, like this bag from Joyn. I bought the bag (which is large enough for that Feed Guatemala diaper kit I just mentioned, plus my journal - which is huge - and wallet, without being poufed out of shape) recently, but I know from experience that their products are durable. My wallet is one of theirs - just a little hand block-printed clutch that I use as a wallet, and bought almost four years ago, and it doesn't even have any signs of wear.

I love all of the local and fair trade items that we use on a regular basis - knowing that not only are they doing us well, but we're also helping someone else by using them, too!


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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…