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Come Join the Party!

It’s been a few months since the “Big Move” and things are still hopping here at Laundry on the Line.  I love that there are still daily visitors to this space, and that some of you have even signed up to receive my posts by email or RSS feed.  Thanks so much!

But I also feel a little bit like some of you have shown up for a party, only to find that no one is home!    But never fear, the party is still on, we’ve just danced our way to a new location.

All the recipes, sewing inspiration, and gardening adventures are now happening at Artisan in the Woods.  I am also cooking my way through a new cookbook each month (and currently cooking my way through my Pinterest boards!), and have started to share some of the crazy, fun, creative things I do with my students, that you can do with the kids in your life, too!

So come on over and join the party!  And for all of you who have said to me “I used to like reading your blog, but I don’t know how to sign up for your new one” I’ve made it easy for you.  Just head on over and click on one of the subscribe buttons on the right hand side and you’re in!

Can’t wait to see you all there! :)

Goodbye Until Hello

I’m moving!!  Please join me at my new blog, Artisan in the Woods!  (Tutorials, recipes, and all other Laundry on the Line goodness can now be found at the new site!) 

Today marks a very bittersweet day in the life of this blog.  After 2 ½ wonderful years blogging on Laundry on the Line, this will be my last post. 

It has been quite a journey that we have taken together.  From the day I wrote that first post, to this, my 343rd post, it has been a wonderful adventure!

Original Blog Banner

The name itself is something that has become very dear to me.  It wasn’t the name I originally wanted.  In fact, I had a whole host of names I wanted for the blog (none of which I remember now!) but all were already taken when I went to sign up.  So I let it sit for a while, until one day when I was heading outside to (you guessed it) hang my laundry on the line.  The more I thought about it, the more it seemed to fit.  The laundry line, simple as it may be, has always been really important to me (believe it or not I grew up in a place where laundry lines are illegal!)  For me, it is a symbol for living in harmony with the earth, for living simply, for slowing down and being present in the every day moments of life.  It was the one thing I really, really, wanted when my husband and I were looking for our first house (I think hubby was excited that his new wife would be so easy to please!)

And from those first moments it has taken on a life of its own.

When I learned how to sew, it was documented here.  When I came across a new recipe, you heard about it.  As I tried to make sense of life’s twists and turns, that found its way here too.  From the joy of new sprouts cropping up in the garden to the yummy aroma of homemade zucchini muffins, I have shared our life and adventures on these virtual pages.

And then there is you.  The wonderful readers who have joined me on life’s journey.  Some of you are family, some of you are friends, and some of you have become friends through the words we write on each other’s pages.  Some of you I have never had the pleasure of getting to know, but I know that you are reading these words just the same.  I feel truly blessed to have been able to meet you here, to share with you here, to be a part of the same community, although we may live miles and countries apart.

For all of these reasons, it is hard to write this last post.  But it is not really goodbye. 

One of my favourite camp songs has a line in it that says “and although I am leaving and not coming back, I’ll say goodbye until hello.”  And that is how I feel about this goodbye.  Because although I am saying goodbye to Laundry on the Line and “living simply in a complicated world” I am embracing Artisan in the Woods and all of the exciting things that are going to happen there.  And I am not losing anything, for everything from this site is now found at the new one, and all of my recipes and posts are there too.  And there are so many things I can’t wait to add to the new site.  Not just cooking and gardening and sewing and simplicity but tutorials and workshops and ebooks, oh my!   And it is still the place where I will continue to share the little and big things that happen at our little house in the woods. 

And so, with the sadness that one always has in leaving their first home, it is time to say goodbye to the laundry line.  But I know, that although I am leaving something behind, that I have a new home waiting for me, one where I will begin the next chapter of my blogging life. 

So please join me in a fond farewell to “Laundry on the Line” and the fantastic years we have spent together!  You will always hold a place that is dear to my heart.  And then hop on over to Artisan in the Woods and join me as I continue to celebrate all things handmade, homemade, and the art of every day. 

 How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.  ~Carol Sobieski and Thomas Meehan, Annie

Kung Pao Veggies

Every year on Valentine’s Day, Hubby cooks me dinner.  And he never settles for something ordinary, either.  The weeks before he searches cookbooks and online recipes until he finds the perfect dishes.  It is his one day a year to shine in the kitchen!

For the past two years he has made dishes created by Chef Michael Smith (he’s a favourite around here!)  Last year he chose an Asian theme and we feasted on Kung Pao chicken and a cabbage salad with citrus dressing.

And oh the King Pao chicken!  Nutty and creamy and spicy and we were tempted to eat all of it in one sitting.  It is a recipe I have made again several times…..with a few changes of course!

Our new favourite is a vegetarian version (because we still like to eat meatless several nights a week), but keeps the wonderful sauce and is one of our favourite ways to eat cabbage! 

Kung Pao Veggies

  • peanut oil
  • 1 dried chilli, crumbled (adjust amount to your taste preferences)
  • 6 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 2-inch piece of ginger, chopped
  • 1 red pepper and 1 green pepper, seeded and cut into chunks or strips
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 cups of chopped green cabbage
  • 1 cup bean sprouts (optional)

Sauce

  • 2 Tbsp oyster sauce (for a completely vegetarian version, try substituting with soy sauce or tamari or Braggs and a dash of worcestershire – it won’t be the same, but it will still be good)
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 heaping Tbsp natural peanut butter

Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a large mason jar and shake until smooth.

Heat some oil in a wok or large frying pan.  When it’s hot, add the chili and stir.  Then add garlic and ginger and stir again.  Toss in the veggies (except bean sprouts) and continue to stir until the veggies are tender.  Pour in the sauce and stir until thick and bubbly.  (If you want a thicker sauce, simply add cornstarch mixed with water a little at a time until it looks the way you like it.  If things get a little too thick, toss in a little more orange juice.)  Stir in bean sprouts and serve over rice.

Enjoy!

 

I have quite an eclectic mix of books to share today.  I actually allowed myself the pleasure of devouring a few fiction selections in the last few weeks, and devoured they were! :)  I also discovered a new non-fiction favourite and attempted some projects from a crochet book. 

I told you I would come back to this.  The author describes the Renaissance Soul as a person who is multi-passionate.  The kind of person who loves change, variety, and moving in new and different directions all the time.  (She had me from the title – I know who I am!)  I absolutely love this book!  It has been instrumental in helping me to find focus, weigh priorities, deal with my want to do everything and all at once, and with more than a little help from Michelle Ward, is helping me to design a life and business that fits my dreams and personality.  A must read for anyone who struggles with balancing diverse interests and passions.

Ok…I know I’m a little late in picking this one up.  (After all, the book was released years ago and the movie hype has long died down.)  But I’ve never been one to do something when everyone else is anyway….(hmm…or at least not since I left high school…)  I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  I have not seen the movie, so was not tainted by visions of actors dancing in my head.  This book takes you an a journey, lets you spend a year in the life of the author, and allows you to meet a host of wonderful people in the process.  It’s not a high-action, can’t-wait-to-see-what-happens-next page- turner, but it’s honest, engaging, and satisfying.  I will definitely be seeking out more from this author!

This was a book that I loved, until I actually started trying to make one of the projects in it.  I love all of the full-colour photos, the wide range of projects, the fun and casual writing style.  Where I ran into problems was in trying to follow the patterns.  And perhaps I just happened to pick the project with the most errors, but errors there are.  Enough errors to fill two pages on the errata link (although I believe these have been corrected in the 2nd edition), and then I discovered some that were not on the errata list at all!   Although I gained a lot of crochet practice and was really proud of myself for not only finding the errors, but figuring out how to fix them (After all, I’m no expert crocheter)  in the end, it just seemed like too much work and time when there were other projects I wanted to tackle, and I gave up on the book. 

This was a fun read!  Especially if you are a fan of food tv (which I am!)  The characters are interesting, the story enjoyable, and I was happy with the ending.  It’s one of those books that makes you smile and then you pass it on to a friend so they can smile too (which is how I ended up with my copy, which I then passed on to my mom!) 

What books are on your nightstand?  Please share your favourites in the comments – you can never have too many books to read!

I discovered these videos over at Cold Antler Farm and just had to share them with you.  Even if you aren’t a gardener you might get a kick out of them!  This is definitely the way I want to plant potatoes from now on!  :)

Enjoy!

Thursday was one of the most amazing days of my life. 

I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Michelle Ward, the “When I Grow Up Coach” for 6 super exciting, super productive, hours.

And I finally know what I’m going to do when I grow up!  (Or at least what I am going to work towards for the next couple of years!  Not being pinned down to one specific thing is one thing that I have learned is important to me!)

I have to admit it was a little surreal at first.  Michelle is someone I discovered at the Etsy Symposium, and then have been following her blog ever since.  So I am used to seeing her on my computer screen.  But to actually talk to her, one-on-one, it was a little bit like meeting a celebrity at first (not that I have ever met a celebrity!)  And still being a Skype newbie, the whole idea that I can see and talk to someone at the same time still blows my mind (I still own a phone with a cord attached to it, remember?)  But it was well worth a few moments of shyness and jitters and feeling like I am on the Jetsons!

So how did this all come about?

Well…two reasons.  I’ve always felt like I never really knew what I wanted to do “when I grew up,”  not because I lacked ambition, but more because I had too much!   I wanted to do everything!   I liked to sing and dance and act and play the piano and write and I was passionate about food and healthy eating and creativity and kids and animals and the environment and the outdoors and on and on and there just didn’t seem to be a university program out there where you could “major” in everything! :)

I kind of fell into teaching (a story for another day), and I enjoy it (most of the time!) and I am passionate about it, and I love my students, but I also still love so many other things including gardening and writing and sewing and cooking and I am always looking to learn something new.  And teaching is a job that, if you do it right, takes up most of your time.

This year, teaching part-time, has opened up a world of opportunity for me – 6 days a month to do whatever it is that I want to do.

And I feel like I have been spinning my wheels more than ever.  Running in circles because there are so many things I want to do and I keep starting a bit here and then a bit there, and never really feeling like I have accomplished anything.

Then in walks Michelle Ward with a new program she needs a guinea pig for.  And oh, how I love to be the guinea pig.  (You’ve got a pattern to test, I’m your girl!  You want someone to edit your cookbook and try out the recipes – pick me, pick me!  You’ve got a brand new program you want to launch, but someone has to be willing to walk through the learning curve with you, I volunteer!) 

So I jumped at the chance, and it led to some of the best hours of my life.  We spent some time talking, some time working, and all of the time getting closer to the focus that I have been longing for.  I discovered that I am a Renaissance Soul (I’ll save explaining that for a later post) and we develop a plan that is going to allow me to move forward, but always leave room for learning new things.

For the first time in a long time, I am really excited about my life and where it’s going.  I know what I want to do, I know what I am going to do to get there.  Whew!  What an amazing feeling!

And a lot of what I am going to do is going to involve this blog, and Artisan in the Woods, and I can’t wait to get working so I can share all of this awesomeness with you!  There are exciting things coming!

Have you ever had a day like this?  A day that leaves you energized and excited and ready to finally move forward? 

When work, commitment, and pleasure all become one and you reach that deep well where passion lives, nothing is impossible.
– Nancy Coey

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
– Howard Thurman

It has finally decided to be winter.  The ground outside is snow-covered, the temperature has dipped into the negatives, and with added wind chill today and tomorrow I am going to want to spend my time inside next to our cozy wood stove.  But despite the chill, the promise of spring has already entered our household.

The seed catalogues have arrived!

If you are not a gardener, then the arrival of a spring catalogue in January may be nothing more than junk mail to you, and perhaps laughable in its early arrival (which is what I did when the Spring/Summer Sears catalogue arrived at our doorstep before Christmas!)

But to me, the arrival of the seed catalogues marks the beginning of a new planting season.  And in my mind, one of the best parts (because there is no actual work to be done yet, just dreaming!)  :)

And so, I will cuddle by the wood stove, and contemplate what delights will grow in our garden this year.  Will it be a new type of yellow beet?  Will we brave the green caterpillars and try cabbage again?  Oh the possibilities that good earth and a few seeds will provide!

Was that the scent of spring in the air?

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