Archive for the ‘life’ Category

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

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The day before a New Year


It doesn’t seem possible that another year has gone by and we are once again looking at starting a brand new year tomorrow.  When I was younger, each year seemed to stretch out forever, and now they seem to slip by in a heartbeat. 

But despite the speedy passing of each day, I look towards the new year, like so many others, as a “fresh start.”  A blank slate where I can redesign my life, make new things happen, shake off some of the bindings of the past year and begin again.

Which is a lot to put on the turning of a page on the calendar, and yet each year I do it with a hope that there are exciting things waiting for me in the months to come. 

And there always are.  Quite mixed in with the lumps and bumps in the road there are always those moments of excitement and change, the glimmerings of dreams turning into realities.

And it is these moments that I want to dwell on at the end of the year.  There are always the negatives.  But the positives are what we celebrate – and in the strange way that our world and minds work, the more we celebrate the positives, the more positives we find!  (maybe THIS will be the year I become a full-fledged optimist??!! )  I have many hopes and dreams for 2012, but just for today, I am going to quell the dreamer in me that always wants to looks at what’s next. and for once savour and enjoy the joys that have already come to pass.     

Although I have not spent as much time here this year as in the past, I feel blessed to have this place to share my thoughts and ideas, to swap recipes, to share the joy of creating something new with others, to watch our gardens grow, to document the things that happen in my little corner of the world.  I am thankful for each one of you who has shared this year with me, both old friends and new, and look forward to whatever 2012 will hold!

Happy New Year!  Wishing you all the best in 2012!

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It’s done, it’s done, it’s done!  Time to do the dance of joy!

In all honesty, it’s not completely finished, there are a few kinks and things to work out, but it’s my very first website and I am overall quite proud of it! 🙂  Please come and take a look!

Along the way, a few hard decisions had to be made.  Like, what was I going to do with Laundry on the Line?  This has been my beloved blog of several years now, where did it fit in this new space?   I contemplated moving everything over to the new site and combining it all under one name.  And I still might do that.  But for now, I have decided to keep this blog as it is.  (I’m just not yet ready to give up my laundry line!) 🙂  So….the new blog is my new home for art and creative endeavours.  It will be a place where I can get in depth into sewing and creativity, a place for pattern testing and discussions on fabrics and sewing techniques.  It will also be a place where I flex my creative muscles and try new things, like the Art Every Day challenge I am starting tomorrow.

So what does that mean for Laundry on the Line?  It means that this space now has room to be what I have always wanted it to be.  A place to live simply in a complicated world.  A place to garden and cook and appreciate the world around us.  A place to stop and ponder and smell the flowers.  A place for laughter, and friendships, and everyday life.  A place for inspiration too, just of a different sort. 

I hope you will continue to join me here!  And for those of you who love sewing and creating as much as I do, I hope to meet you at the new site too!

Happy Halloween!

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Yesterday, I was outside enjoying the sunshine while I harvested more lettuce, herbs, celery and beans from the garden.

I even took some time to do a photo shoot with a  new sweater friend on such a beautiful sunny day:

This morning I woke up to this:

By lunchtime it looked like this:

Winter is here.  Perhaps this was why I had dreams I was sewing hats and mittens and scarves last night??

No complaints though.  We’ve had a beautiful fall.  And there is something special about the first snowfall – even when it sweeps in like a lion!

Has winter arrived where you live?

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7 Things You May Not Know

I feel very honoured this week to have received a blogging award from my friend Amy at NonMom.  I always enjoy reading her posts (and admire her many talents!) so an award from her means a lot!

In giving this award, Amy asked me to share 7 random things about myself.  So here are 7 things you may not know about me.

1. I don’t have a favourite food.  Every time someone asks me what my favourite food is I kind of stare at them blankly as I reject idea after idea in my head.  I am jealous of people who confidently say “steak” or “bananas” or “my Mom’s chicken noodle soup.”  I don’t even have a top 3, or even a top 5.  It seems strange to me that a woman who spends so much time thinking about and preparing foods can’t pick a favourite, but there you have it.  I don’t have one.     

2.  I have really crazy dreams almost every night that I remember in detail in the morning.  I also have dreams that run in a series, kind of like watching a tv show with each night being the next installment of the story, and I also have dreams for weeks at a time that run on a similar theme (running away from something, for example.)  I often wonder what it all means.

3.  I don’t own a cell phone, I’ve never sent a text message, I still use a VCR, and the main phone in our house has a cord.  And I’m ok with that.

4.  I haven’t watched TV in almost a year.  Now that I’m out of the habit, I don’t know when I used to find the time. 

5.  When I’m reading a good book, I have trouble doing anything else.  I try to get other things done, but I spend most of time thinking about when I’ll get my next chance to read.  And I’ll stay up way too late, convincing myself that I’m not really tired and can read just a few more chapters. (My name is Andi and I am addicted to books.)   Because of this I often have to limit fiction reading to week-ends and holidays. 

6.  I love to learn.  At the moment I am reading books on farming, sustainable living, cooking with traditional foods, running a business, herb gardening, the prophet Elijah, and the art of writing.  Almost every day I listen to recordings of people speaking on a wide range of topics (this is often what I do when I am cooking or sewing.)   If I took every course and class on my list of interests, I could probably keep myself busy for the next several decades.  And when I learn something new, I love nothing better than to share this knowledge with others.  (Which is perhaps why I love blogging so much!) 

7.  Remember those emails that used to get sent around all the time that usually had some beautiful message, or that were just plain funny, but then following the main email there was this huge to-do list and dire warnings: “send this to 7 friends in the next 7 seconds for lifelong peace and happiness, but if you don’t send it on you will be wretched and unhappy and you will experience bad luck for the rest of your life”    The best of these emails I would send on – AFTER I deleted all of that junk at the bottom.  I am a big proponent of no-strings-attached mail.  (and just in case you are wondering, I have not had years of bad luck and unhappiness as a result.)   🙂  I don’t do chain letters either.  For all those who never received their hundreds of postcards, favourite recipes, or pretty panties because of me, I apologise.   I am the weak link in the chain.

As a result of #7, I also don’t believe in giving awards attached with rules.  So I am going to pass on this blogging award with No Strings Attached (I can hear a collective gasp coming from the blogging award followers now.  Please Do Not tell the blogging police where to find me….)  If you want to pass it on, blog about it, share random facts about you, go ahead, but don’t feel you have to! 

But I did want to take a moment to acknowledge one of my favourite bloggers.  (Because why not take a minute to share the love when you can?)  So today, this award goes to…..

Small Town Girl  – I loved this blogger from the moment she shared that clotheslines were one of her favourite things. 🙂  Although we have never met, I consider her to be a friend in the blogging world and always look forward to finding out what she is sewing or cooking, or what exciting thing she is doing with her daughter on Toddler Tuesdays.  I think if she and I lived in the same town, we might be friends in the real world too.  Thanks Small Town Girl, for sharing your life with us on your blog!

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In this moment I have herbs that need harvesting, a project in half-completion in the sewing room, a book half-read whose story dances around my head even when I have decided I MUST leave it and get back to doing something more productive.  My to-do list extends well beyond what time and space will ever allow, as my creative mind dreams up 20 new projects to start before I have even finished the first on the list.

And yet, I can’t help seeking out new inspiration, dreaming new dreams, solving new problems.

Truth be told, I don’t think I’d want to live any other way.

Here are just a few things that have grabbed my attention lately:

Sew, Mama, Sew is posting daily holiday inspiration.  I want to make a neighbourhood of these and isn’t this one of the coolest scrap-busters ever?

I somehow stumbled across a new blog today and am in love with some of the cute crafts!   I am definitely inspired to do something creative with all of the buttons I own.

I was also reminded this morning that what I have is enough, I learned to use picnik and created my own banner for my new Etsy shop (more on that in a few days),  and I discovered this fun Halloween treat  and am busy trying to think of a way to make it without the chocolate.  (I’ll let you know if I come up with something!)

Isn’t it wonderful to be a part of a world-wide community of idea-sharers?   What is inspiring you today?

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Thankful for Beauty

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my Canadian friends and readers!  After a bout of cold weather here (and even a little snow!) we have been blessed with a weekend of summer weather.  I am enjoying the beautiful warm breeze blowing through the window right now and know I will be out in the garden later today, harvesting herbs and cleaning out some spent plants.

On this week-end of thanksgiving, I am so thankful for the beauty that surrounds us.  I am continually awed and inspired by the landscape  here – the rivers, the trees, the hills, the valleys.  How blessed we are to be able to hop into our canoe and enjoy views such as these.

Enjoying it all with the people I love makes it even better. 

What are you thankful for today?

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What Dreams Are Made Of

Last week-end Hubby and I drove to our local farmer’s market to stock up on maple syrup and honey, as well as farm-fresh eggs (oh how I love those dark orange yolks!) and the best melt-in-your-mouth corn we’ve eaten all season.  And then, since we were out that way anyway, we made a special stop.

It may not look like much, but this is the place of our dreams.

Some people dream of fast cars, large houses, and world travel.

We dream of a house built of bales of straw, a pumpkin patch, chickens, and a sky where you can see the stars. 

We dream of a woodshop, a sewing studio, and a house just the right size for our family of two.

And this is  the place where our dreams have come to rest.  In the way that life twists and turns, we know that this may not be the place where our dreams come to be.  And we have already experienced first hand that as life changes, our dreams will change too.  But for today, it is enough to enjoy the view, and to imagine a future where our dreams come true. 


What do you dream about?


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For as long as I have known my husband, he has talked about “One Day” going to Virginia and visiting the great Civil War battle sites.  Well, this summer we made that dream come true by spending 10 days in that beautiful state.

We both loved Virginia, enjoyed the warm weather, couldn’t get enough of the mountain views and appreciated the cobblestones and old charm of the small towns we visited. 

I loved the time we spent together, and I enjoyed expanding my historical knowledge, but I also must admit that I am not quite as passionate as Hubby about standing in historical battlefields and imagining where the troops were lined up and understanding the battle tactics of the generals.

And so, I gave myself a fun photography project.

While hubby immersed himself in history, and spent time getting “just the right shot” of the monuments and other places we visited,  I took photos from another perspective.

Meet Edwin.

Edwin is a small Canadian hippo who conveniently fits in a pocket or purse and who was ready for adventure in Virginia.  My task was to record his journey, and I must admit I had a great time finding creative spots for him to perch at the many places we visited.  And in the end, his photos are a fun and whimsical account of our trip. 

I can’t wait to put his album together.  And it was so much fun, that I think on our next trip (wherever and whenever that may be) this little guy will definitely be tagging along!

Anyone else have ideas for creating special vacation photos?

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Unexpected R&R

I had big plans for the last several days.  I had blog posts to post, friends to see, a job to do, and sewing to begin, not to mention cooking and gardening and taking time to be with friends!  But sometimes life doesn’t go the way we plan it.

And so it was this time.

It seems I contracted some crazy flu virus, and I can’t remember the last time I felt so bad (I actually asked hubby to put me out of my misery, but for some reason he wouldn’t comply)  🙂

And so….I have spent the last several days doing something I almost never do.


And because I have been trying to put a positive spin on things, I tried to look at being sick as a kind of unexpected R&R which I never would have taken otherwise , and tried to make the most of my time of rest.  (This was before, and after, the day I asked hubby to do away with me, I’m afraid in the height of things I was a bit beyond positivity.)

I have big things happening in my life right now.  I’m building a new business, getting ready for a new school year, working on a new website (!) and some exciting changes for the blog, too.  But to make it all happen, I need to take a little blogging break.  I wish I could say I had lots of great guests lined up to post here in the meantime, or that I had filed away several weeks worth of posts like I did last time I was on vacation (you never knew I was gone, did you?), but this time it’s going to be a complete break.  Well…except for maybe once in a while when I might pop in with a photo or two…. (or if you’re still curious about what’s happening in the garden I’ll still be posting on the Facebook page and would love for some of you to chime in too!)

I hope you all have a wonderful August!   


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