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Fixed Up

I embraced the ___-of-the-month club last year when Fair Trade Friday opened up their earrings of the month option - I was pleasantly surprised by how much fun it is to get a mystery package every month, and ended the year having either loved and kept, or given away as gifts, every pair of earrings I'd received. So when they added bracelets, I couldn't resist. I love bracelets, and I didn't want everyone to get tired of earrings for Christmas ;) This month's, from 107 Market Street, actually evoked a squeak of delight when I opened the envelope, and that was before I saw the recycled aluminum cross (which just made it better).

I love accessories, and clothes - I mean, I make clothes, and make up my own designs. It's kind of a thing. Yet, somehow, my closet has turned into that of a stereotypical college student (which isn't even a fair comparison, since I know college students who dress better than I do). It's not so much that my fashion sense itself has changed - just that I sort of put it in a box, along with my airy tops and cute heels, when I had kids.

So, emboldened by a few friends who had recently signed up, I embarked on a new adventure: StitchFix. Because my issue is multi-faceted - first, there are certain stores I just don't go in (read as: any place other than Target, where I already am because diapers) and certain things that I wouldn't even try on (hello, banana yellow jeans!), second, I'm in such a rut that I keep buying the same things that I already have (but in different colors, based on availability), and third, I always feel rushed while shopping because it's either all of us together as family or I'm out alone needing to hurry back. I felt like this could be a viable solution - things I might definitely wouldn't have picked for myself, and the space to try them on at my leisure (and with the clothes I already have).

I filled out the profile, being as detailed and honest as possible, and specifically requested "layers" (because you're allowed to put special instructions with each order), then waited impatiently. I got the yellow jeans, a teal cardi, a grey and white cardi, an open-backed tank, and a cute long open necklace - along with style cards showing ways to wear each item and a nice note from my assigned stylist explaining why she'd chosen each thing (also, both cardis are American-made, because I mentioned manufacturing ethics - I really appreciated that that was taken into consideration, and I thereby discovered a couple of new brands).

My ultimate goal is to have less clothing, but to use what's left more effectively. I tried everything on with various things I already had, and discovered that I could eliminate 7 garments (mostly things that I was only hanging onto out of necessity, particularly a pair of jeans whose only function was to keep me from doing laundry every four days) by keeping the 4 that they sent, nicen up several things I already own, and wear a pair of shoes that I bought for a wedding (and really like) but didn't have anything to go with. (There was also the "25% off if you keep everything" offer that was a contributing factor - it brought the prices down to something I would have actually considered had I been in a store.)

Not every minimizing-by-improving effort has been an unmitigated success; a long-awaited pair of Nisolo flats turned out to be the wrong size (I looked at all of my shoes, which ranged from a 7 to an 8, and went with the one most similar to the style of shoe I was ordering...) and had to be sent back. But I'm waiting for (hopefully!) the right size - Nisolo is an amazing company, and I've been wanting these shoes for years. It will be worth it.

This is what clothes shopping looks like. Brooklyn needed a new diaper, so Adam took her and I kept Tobin - thankfully, he thought the dressing room mirror was wildly entertaining, but the chair was slick (and slanted backwards...) so I had to rescue him a couple of times as he nearly slid off the back.

It may be an odd application of "adventure," but letting someone else choose clothes for me and ordering something that I hadn't tried on were definitely things I'd never done before - but also, things that I will probably do again (misguessed shoe size and all). I'm still working toward my ultimate goal of less-but-better (especially as we begin looking at homes - I don't want to pass over a home with other features that we'd like, simply because it doesn't have the closet space to hold everything!)

2427. Meeting a fellow mom from church at the park with our littles
2428. Brooklyn playing reasonably well with another child her age (before venturing off on her own to conquer the giant spiral tube slide)
2429. Being able to meet at the park in February
2430. Expendable water - that is, potable water that I could boil noodles in, and then dump down the drain
2431. A jammy morning
2432. Brooklyn excitedly helping me choose yarn for me to knit her a sweater with
2433. Happy erranding, all-four-together, and trying lunch at Dempsey Bakery (instead of just cookies)
2434. House hunting
2435. Good conversations
2436. Hanging out and talking to people after church
2437. Pizza at the park
2438. Starting the week with a clean kitchen and clean clothes
2439. A whole day of knitting and reading and blocks and tea (pretend and actual)
2440. Brooklyn picking up and putting away, properly and without prompting
2441. Tobin singing the "yeah"s in She Loves Me


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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…