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Let Your Hearts Be Light

The month is moving on apace - we added our third Advent candle on Sunday, and Brooklyn calls them "Mommy's, Brooklyn's, and Todin's" because we light them over breakfast and it's we-three sitting there, doing the readings together. She's very excited that we each have a candle, and anxiously waits for them all to drip (our indicator that it's time to blow them out).

All of the shopping is done and everything is wrapped - now I'm on to writing in Christmas cards (I love the assortment I got from our church's card ministry at our yearly local/fair trade/for a cause shopping night - it's so much fun to decide which card to sent which person, instead of just having a box that's all the same).

I was initially sad that this one wasn't in our assortment - until I realized that if it had been, I would have sent it to someone, whereas this way I get to keep it and it has sweet words inside!

On the receiving end, I decided to eek out out meager decorations (a wreath on the door and an ornament each on Brooklyn and Tobin's doorknobs) by stringing the cards we get, banner-like, by our dining table. It was pure coincidence that the first card coordinated so beautifully with the decorations that are usually there.

Love this letterpress card from a local paperie!

Since we're traveling for Tobin's birthday but not for Christmas, I've got everything divided into two boxes - the staying-here-box, for people here or who we know are going to visit, and the going-box, to leave in Fayetteville to be opened on Christmas Day. I'm a little sad that we probably won't get to see my uncle, aunt, and cousins, but I think it will be nice to spend a peaceful holiday at home.

On the receiving end of the gifting - a pretty print by a local artist

The final craft show of the season (for me, at least) was Winter Market at a park here in Little Rock - various local and Etsy-based businesses. It was a manageable size, with a circle of food trucks smelling delicious on one end and various performers in the middle (the color guard was leaving as we arrived, but a choir replaced them and they were lovely). Despite a few ominous sprinkles on the windshield on our way there, the rain held off until later - Cathy and I wouldn't have melted, but Tobin has very strong feelings about being rained on.

I'll leave you with a {gluten free, dairy free, very delicious} cookie recipe - Mum made these at Thanksgiving and I ate most of them, then asked for the recipe so I could take them to a "favorite things" themed party because they're definitely one of mine:

King's Arms Tavern Pecan Cookies

(This recipe dates from the early nineteenth century) 
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour (I used rice flour)Pinch of salt1 large egg white1 cup packed light brown sugar1 cup pecans, very finely chopped
Combine flour and salt; set aside.  In a large bowl, beat the egg white until stiff but not dry.  Beat in the brown sugar a little at a time.  Gradually fold in the flour mixture.  Stir in pecans.

Drop the mixture by small spoonfuls 1 to 1 1/2 inches apart onto parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Bake in preheated 325-degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until the edges are lightly colored.  Cool on the pan until firm, and then remove to wire racks to cool completely.   
Yield: 3 dozen cookies

Regardless of where you are in this season, I hope you'll take a few moments to pause and enjoy some of your favorite things (a hot - or cold - drink, a sweet treat, a nice-smelling candle, a solitary snuggle on the couch, time with someone you love, a night out, an evening in...)

2228. Spending a lovely evening with a lovely group of ladies
2229. A beautiful dinner, lovingly prepared
2230. The biggest shooting star I've ever seen


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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


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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.
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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…