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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 people who are doing what we want to do in the way that we want to do it - which is so freeing. I don't have to imitate someone with a completely different style than I have, and I also don't have to right to judge them for their choices. We're just different people, that's all.

Also, her ideas start with taking everything out of a room to "quiet" it and then shopping our homes for things we already have that could be used in new ways (she had some great tips in the interview I did with her - note to self: do more interviews. They're fun!), instead of sharing all of the unfeasibly expensive sources for the gorgeous items she has in her own home, as per many decorating guides.

She has a heavy focus on beautiful function, and having our homes work for us instead of us working around them - and on saying nice things about our homes, instead of putting them down all the time. (For example, say, "I love all the light those two big windows let in!" instead of "Look at all the scratches in my bamboo floor...") That validated the putting-together of a tea station, because tea is an important ritual to me, as well as encouraging my Mismatched Seating Collection (the most recent addition to which is George, who is hugged and squeezed, besides being sat upon).

It's also good for cultivating a sense of gratitude instead of one of entitlement. No one's perfect, and really, it's our quirks that make us endearing individuals (if we'll only choose to see them that way). Which gives me good practice in extending grace to the people I live with, as I seek to extend it to the space I live in.

In the end, our homes should serve us, instead of the other way around. I'd love to create a space that we can live in happily (which, for me, is one that is colorful and lovely but also reasonably indestructible because kids) but also feel comfortable inviting others in to - one that is unassumingly beautiful, so that after an initial wash of welcome, it can fade comfortably into the background while we focus on fostering community and forging relationships, instead of worrying about squashing a pillow or leaving a water ring on a table. And I'm grateful for the people, like Myquillyn, who encourage us to do just that.

2722. Making dinner in comparative peace (I usually have one or more small persons sobbing on my ankles)
2723. Tobin eating asparagus
2724. Coffee out with a friend, knowing someone who cares deeply for my Littles was spending time with them
2725. Trying on shorts without an audience
2726. An adorable stool that looks like a furry marshmallow
2727. Going to bed on time
2728. Taking Adam's mom to the zoo, and Loblolly after
2729. Adam home!
2730. Thoughtful commissioned artwork
2731. Tobin sleeping 12 hours two nights in a row
2732. Grilling out
2733. Watching the fireflies rise
2734. A holiday Monday, so Adam had a two day weekend between trips
2735. Practicing peace
2736. The perfect number of stepping stones to repurpose as a pad for the trash can


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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
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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…