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Green and Growing

I'll be honest: I don't really like dirt. Plants and growing-things is cool, but once sweat, pesky bugs, weeds, and hoeing start happening, I lose interest. I tried to circumvent this once by creating a hydroponic ecosystem, but it was less than successful (note: a kiddie pool is shallow enough for roving raccoons to easily catch any fish you may have in it. Rest in peace, Hans, Mar and Nicolo).

But Fairy Farm needs to cultivate more than wonder - I'd like there to be some literal growing-of-things, as well. I want Brooklyn and Tobin to know where their food comes from, and I'd like some of it to come from our back yard. We got a start at early cultivation last week at our Whole Foods' "kid's club." The topic happened to be summer planting, so they read a story about a girl who grew too many zucchini and created a neighborhood produce swap, then a lady from a local garden center talked about propagating plants, and as a demonstration she cut up an airplane plant and sent each kid home with one. Brooklyn has been tending it with adorable enthusiasm. It sits on the kitchen table, and every morning she pokes the dirt with her finger to see if it needs water (which she delights in administering), and it's a recurring conversation topic during meals.

Inspired, my weekend project was painting our dining room window frame green, then selecting a plant and a pot to adorn it with. I hoped it would be high enough up that Brooklyn and Tobin wouldn't mess with it, and that's been somewhat true. Tobin is fascinated by it, stroking the leaves and offering it drinks of water from his water bottle. Nymphadora the dracaena (yes, I named it) is, so far, unoffended by his attentions.

Next I'd like to paint the living room window frame purple and put a plant in it... perhaps Bellatrix the snake plant? I've already scouted for pots, and it's going to be hard to choose - there seem to be an exceptional number of exceptional blue pottery glazes!

More in my area of expertise, I finally finished the curtains for the front door that I started on two months ago. They were practically done, but I had decided to hang them on binder rings and needed to visit a shop in Fayetteville to get them individually in the right size. Mum (who knows the pain of a nearly finished project) sweetly sent them to me, so I was able to get them up. They brighten that wall nicely, and effectively block most of the light that comes in from the street light on the corner (and falls right across the face of anyone trying to sleep on the fold-out couch).

I had scouted the perfect color of yarn for a curtain for the kitchen window, but they only had it in a "mini" skein so there wasn't enough. But Kandy, the owner of the shop, called me a few days ago to let me know that she'd gotten more in and had ordered some of that color on purpose, and would hold it for me to come look at (with no obligation to buy it). I'm planning on going to get it next week, and I've spotted the perfect stitch pattern for it in a new book from the library...

But first, I want to finish this. Six years ago, with no money, Elizabeth Zimmerman's "pi shawl" pattern, and some leftover sock yarn, I started a circular blanket. I've worked on it off and on (mostly off), sometimes stopping because I was out of yarn, or bored, or another project claimed my attention, but I am finally working on the border and the end is in sight. Must keep knitting, must keep knitting...


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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…