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Take Me Home, Country Road

This is day 24 in my 31 Days series on sustainable dwelling. For an introduction and more posts, head here!

My passion for supporting brick-and-mortar businesses sprang primarily from living (and working) in Northwest Arkansas, nestled in the Ozark mountains and filled with artists and artisans of all types. So going to funky Fayetteville to visit family also means a chance to reconnect with shops and shop owners that I've been keeping up with via Instagram.

Not that some don't take orders over the phone (there was this shirt, see, that I'd wanted all summer, and then they posted a pic of it on the sale rack last week and there was only one left in my size...) The Mustache (and their sister home-goods store, The Anchor) are some of my favorites to visit/cyber stalk - Mr Mustache's enthusiasm was contagious when I met him at the Fayetteville Welcome Center years ago, and it spread to his shop a few doors down.

The bear is kind of a thing

Those artists I mentioned? Jason Jones has done at least two murals - there are also sundry electrical boxes and storm drains that have beautified by local artists. The storm drain project is to remind people that litter goes straight into the nearest creek - the electrical boxes are just pretty. Brooklyn says we're visiting "Fable," and there is a certain storybook charm to be found amongst the hills and valleys.

clockwise from the top: pistachio, raspberry, chai tea

There are also artists of another sort - people who turn simple things into miniature masterpieces. Alchemy is my new favorite stop - since all they have is tea and macarons, and macarons are naturally gluten free, I can try any flavor that catches my eye. Which, so far, has been all of them - I'm a visual eater, and they have visual appeal down. Even flavors that (to me) sound odd look so delicious that I want to try them.

I still kind of consider Dayspring to be a "local business," since they're located in the area (as is their outlet store...) I'd been eyeing this gem on their website for awhile and was delighted to find it at the outlet while there on an unrelated mission (which was also successful). I also know (because I asked, because I'm like that) that they have a high standard of manufacturing ethics (which, sadly, cannot be said for all "Christian" companies), which makes me glad to support them, knowing that their overt partnerships with companies like Joyn and Village Artisan aren't covering less family-friendly methods used for their other products.

Not that Little Rock doesn't have some great local businesses too - but I've invested in Fayetteville in a way that I haven't had a chance to here yet; exploring, interviewing, frequenting, photographing, working with... There's a sense of home that's deeper than Where My Family Lives - it comes from being with my own peculiar sub-culture that I've only ever found in one other place - and it's a sense that always draws me back.

I'm always on the lookout for great local businesses, wherever I go - my travels (such as they've been) have shown me that brick-and-mortar businesses come in all shapes and sizes, and they all have their own wonderful story.


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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…