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Never Settle for Good Enough

This is day 6 in my 31 Days series on sustainable dwelling. For an introduction and more posts, head here!

One of my favorite things about supporting small businesses is that you are often simultaneously supporting fair trade. When business decisions are made by people, instead of by panels or committees or The Bottom Line, they tend to be more mindful.

Coffee shops are a perfect example - one in Fayetteville is supplied by a coffee farm run by/supporting an orphanage in South America (Mama Carmen's) and another regularly visits their growers, Instagramming adorable selfies from gorgeous mountainsides, then reminding everyone once the beans are ready and roasted where they came from (Onyx Coffee Lab - they are also committed to sourcing their ingredients locally, so their milk, chocolate, and many other ingredients are supplied by other locals).

As a commodity, it's important to background-check your coffee (and your chocolate). There's too much possibility for underpayment (or worse), as well as environmentally unsustainable practices, and with the West's insatiable appetite for more, the temptation is understandable (if not excusable).

Thankfully, we've always had access to local coffee - there are a few shops here in Little Rock that are great (if not the most convenient choice - I lived in a college town for so long that I'm baffled by cafes that have minimal parking and close at 6pm). And others are beginning to jump on the bandwagon - TOMS has their own line of coffee that is not only ethical, but each bag purchased provides a village with water for a week, if you prefer to brew at home and don't have access to a local cafe.

As much as I love well-made coffee... and tea... and chocolate... and knitting and books and paper and pens (but that's a post for another day) my enjoyment shouldn't be paid for by someone else. But with local businesses and conscious fair trade choices, I can drink my coffee in peace, knowing that it's doing its job on my end (keeping me functional ;) as well as supporting someone else on the other end. Never settle for good enough, indeed.

Beautiful dwelling doesn't sacrifice the interests of others for its own - and sometimes a slightly more expensive or simply less convenient choice has benefits that ripple out beyond momentary enjoyment.


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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…