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Showing posts from May, 2016

An Ode to the Nester

I first heard of Myquillyn Smith (also known as The Nester) through her sister, Emily Freeman, who's written several books that I've happily devoured and a blog that I love. They're very different, but as we're in the depths of house-to-home-ing, I'm finding Myquillyn's perspective refreshing.

First, her tagline: It Doesn't Have To Be Perfect To Be Beautiful (or #idhtbptbb). This has emboldened me to affix art to the walls with clear pushpins, to leave the inside of a vintage cabinet unpainted (but also to paint the outside), and to embrace the concept (found so often in nature) that all the blue things don't have to be the same exact shade of blue. I don't want to pick a blue, nor do I want the stress (and it would be stress for me) of trying to match every subsequent blue thing I get to the original blue thing. And I don't have to.

In her book and in the Cozy Minimalist class that she has, she says (more than once) to only take advice from pe…


"Er - shall I make a cup of tea?" said Ron. Harry stared at him. "It's what my mum does whenever someone's upset," Ron muttered, shrugging. {from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling}
Tea is my comfort food. It warms me from the inside out when I'm cold - washes down stress and sorrow - nourishes my need for ritual - forces me to slow down as I wait for water to boil and leaves to steep - gives me an excuse to invite a friend over - and something to do when there's an awkward lull in a conversation.
There's so much lore and history, art and science, surrounding it - no matter the mood or situation, a cup of tea is always appropriate (to me). I put a lot of effort into constructing a "tea station" in our new house, practically framing it with a bright yellowy green wall, because something so important to my heart deserves a special place in my home.
So as I write, I sip, feeling the bite of tannins on my tongue and the we…

Looking Out, Looking In

I have thing about being up high. Maybe it's something to do with the elevation I was born at (in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado), or just an general preference, but living at the very edge of a tiny mountain ridge near a vast spread of rice fields is not really my happy place. Thankfully, I don't care how I get up high, so being in a tall building works, too. I enjoyed living on the second floor in our apartment (also, bugs were less of an issue...) but living in a one story house is taking some adjusting.

To compensate, I hung the engineer print Mum got me for my birthday last year above my desk - it's a photo I took looking out the window of the 13th floor office that I worked in in New York. I love that there aren't any definable landmarks so only I know that it's Manhattan, and I love the sensation of looking down from a high place that it gives me.

I wonder, too, if my love of heights has something to do with feeling safe - like I'm out of reach of dang…

In Progress

The full weight of possibility that a house carries has slowly begun to sink in. I realized last week that I can paint, so I went to Lowes and found a magnificent shade of yellowy green called "alchemist" (which is how I knew it was the right color) and painted an accent wall in the dining area. It's the color of the little spore shoots moss sends up, and I'd like to find a giant paper lantern in a recently-rained-on mossy green to replace the somewhat boring light fixture that currently hangs over the table.

I'm discovering that I love color. There are a few that are particular favorites, but simply being surrounded by lots of colors brings me joy. Flirty pinks - passionate reds - confident oranges - sassy yellows - earthy greens - calm blues - elegant purples... They all have a place and purpose (not to mention the possibility of accenting with metallics ;)

With that said, I am over unpacking. Decorating is fun - putting things away is okay, while I'm stil…


I half expected something to happen. I set my cup of tea on the table and turned my back, just for a moment - then whirled back around after a crash and a burst of sobbing. The preschooler sat at the table, crying, and the toddler lay on the floor, tea-drenched and surrounded by the shards of my pretty peacock mug. She had climbed up to take a sip, he had tried to take it from her, and in the ensuing tug-of-war it got dropped. I cleaned it up, consoled them both, and assured Brooklyn that it wasn't anyone's fault, that no one was in trouble, and that accidents happen. (And then my sweet Mum came to visit and brought a replacement, since she was the one who gave it to me for Christmas 5 years ago).
But it got me thinking... I generally only expect negative things. I expect to need gas when it's cold and/or raining, I expect family emergencies when there's a fun outing planned, I expect there to be meltdowns right when I need to start dinner. Then that's what happen…


There's a tension in my neck that's been building for days. It starts in my shoulder and creeps up toward my ear, and every so often it twists a little tighter and clouds my mind a little more. Even though this happens periodically, it's so insidious that it always take me a little while to identify the cause.

First I examine the physical. Am I tired? hungry? experiencing caffeine withdrawal? (Yes, I have an addiction, no, I don't have a problem with that fact.) Do I need fresh air? How long has it been since I took a shower, just standing there and letting the hot water wash over me?
Then, I question my emotions. Am I anxious about anything? neglecting my quiet time? lonely? Have I knitted today? (While knitting brings me joy, its absence is usually indicative of a deeper problem, more than a problem in itself.) And with that last question, I draw closer to the root.

Because when I'm enveloped in a lethargy, not only of body, but also of mind - when I forget ever…

Fairy Farm

I've been slowly unpacking and getting things put together this week (slowly in part because Adam is out of town, and in part because I am done with packing, but the packing isn't done). I'm also trying not to rush things - to take my time and get things exactly how I'd like them. I bought myself the Nester's Cozy Minimalist course and I've really been enjoying working through that (although, it's also slowed me down a little, because she says to do rugs and curtains before art because you may find that you need less art).

I've also discovered (or perhaps remembered) how much I love painting. Adam's mom gave us a cabinet that was her dad's - it's good, sturdy wood with laminate over, cute plastic "glass" panels, and darling mid-century legs on the bottom part - and the perfect place for all of our board games. I found some paint/primer in the garage that the previous homeowners left for us (that turned out to be a sample of what t…


I'm more of a goer than a grower. While Adam has been plotting mowing and weeding and sod, I've been organizing books by the author's country of origin and painting All The Things, and going on lots of errands and adventures ('tis the season for food truck rallies!).
It's my tendency to think that moving forward is the path to improvement, but lately I've been realizing that in order to put down roots, I have to hold still for awhile. The tiny rootlets a seedling produces are wispy at first, and won't ever get bigger, deeper, or stronger if they keep getting broken off during repeated transplants.
So I'm learning to be still - mentally, and physically. The anxiety that causes tells me that I've developed a sort of addiction to always going, always moving - but I know that a deeper peace lies on the other side of the cleanse, along with deeper roots. And a momentary cessation of motion is not the end of progress. I can still "look at God all da…

Motion and Progress

Some people focus on the journey - others, the destination. I'm a journey girl, myself. I will not only stop and smell the roses, I will also take a picture and sit down on the ground to write a poem about them (yes, trying to go on a walk with me is like going on a walk with a three year old). But both of those, journey and destination, imply motion - after the roses have been enjoyed to their fullest extent, I'd like to continue on down the path.

Then, during IF:Gathering, I had a vision of sorts (I say "of sorts" because while I do not doubt that such things happen to others, nor do I discount them when they do, I personally prefer to keep my feet planted firmly on the sandy shore of quantifiable reality, rather than dipping my toes into the ocean of everything-I-don't-know-or-understand). It started at the top of a hill, overlooking a fertile valley. The grass was long and soft and plentifully sprinkled with wild flowers, and a river curved and coiled down b…


Over the weekend, Adam got everything moved (bless him!) and we've spent the past few days getting things into their proper places.

A friend from church came over and put the kitchen together for us (words cannot express how meaningful that was) and we've got most of the major furniture in place. There are a few things on their way, and a few things that need a coat of paint, but it's coming together nicely, given how little time we've actually spent working on it.

It's always an adventure settling in to a new space - figuring out how far to turn the shower knob in order to get just the right temperature, remembering where we put things, and readjusting to life without a microwave (it's crazy how quickly you get used to the convenience of irradiated left overs...)

I found a snail living in the little patch of yard that Mum gave us, when I went to take it into the back yard. I hope we can get settled in just as quickly, and start turning this house into a home!


Some people hate apartments, viewing them as a transitional landing place before a more permanent stop. I am not one of those people. An apartment is the only place where I can live on the second (or higher) floor but only deal with stairs when I leave home (I do love being up high) and maintenance will come and take care of malfunctioning appliances for me (to name a few examples).
I also tend to settle in wherever I am, and if that's an apartment, so be it. There are negatives to every space (awkward floor plans, insufficient cabinetry, loud neighbors...) but there is also always something to love (a nest-like balcony, thick cushy carpet, deep kitchen sinks...)
For the past five years, I've lived in shared spaces - but now we're moving into a house. While I'm deeply grateful for the transition (a backyard for Brooklyn and Tobin to play in, clattering around in the kitchen and doing laundry late at night without worrying about the noise...), I'll definitely miss …

After the Rain

...the rainbow!
she wanted to drive the car - Tobin wanted to fill the gas tank with pebbles
I have deeply enjoyed the 30 day lettering challenge on Instagram - it was good practice, besides being fun
roadtrip knitting - this will be the first design that I get to photograph at our new house!
celebrating a morning of closing paperwork with a trip to the zoo - everyone's being very serious about the rhinoceros
sometimes the wild flowers are the prettiest
an Onyx date night with Adam, while we spent the weekend in Fayetteville helping his brother move
Gifts... 2639. Closing on our first house 2640. Spending a morning at the zoo, all-four-together 2641. A fancy grilled cheese with avocado at Dempsey Bakery 2642. Robin eggs 2643. A military friend of Adam's loaning us his enclosed trailer 2644. Thunderstorms with a cup of tea 2645. Farmer's marketing with Mum, and Brooklyn's delight over a raspberry macaron from Alchemy 2646. Generous family 2647. A coffee date with Adam 2648. Delicious gl…