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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! 🙂

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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

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Giveaway Day Winner!

The winner of the corduroy purse is darbishar! 

Thank you to all who entered!

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It’s Giveaway Day!

Happy Giveaway Day!  And welcome to all who are visiting today!

Today I am giving away this corduroy satchel. 

It is upcycled from a pair of corduroy pants, and lined with new fabric.

To enter, let me know what great books you have read lately! (This could be anything from fiction to a cookbook to the book you read to your kids before bed last night.)

The giveaway is open to anyone in the U.S. or Canada.  (Please check out my other blog for an international giveaway!)  The winner will be announced the evening of Dec. 16.

Thanks for stopping by!  And have fun entering all of the giveaways!

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Back at it!

I never meant to be away this long.  But life happens, and sometimes things don’t work out the way we plan, right?   But now it’s back to school, back to work, and back to blog (and I have to tell you, I’ve missed it!)

I’m looking forward to sharing some of my adventures from the last few weeks, and I can’t seem to help myself from taking pictures of food (even Hubby chimes in now – “aren’t you going to take a picture of that for your blog?”) so I’ll be posting some new recipes, too.  And sewing projects, and gardening, and random thoughts while I do the dishes…yep…it’s back to blogging as usual.  🙂

Happy September and Back to School!

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I can hardly believe it, but I’ve won the Extreme Makeover sewing challenge!  I was up against some pretty talented ladies!  Thanks to everyone for your support over the last six weeks! (well….seven weeks….we had two weeks for this last challenge.)  I definitely think I’ve stretched myself as a seamstress and I am so happy with my tidy sewing room.

Here is what I made this week:

A trio of aprons.

This one is from the “Sew Liberated” book (I know, it’s been a theme over the last few weeks, but I have loved having the opportunity to sew from it!)  My favourite part is the corset back.  Check this out:

And then I made two half aprons.

This fabric from my grandmother was calling out to be made into aprons.  I sort of made it up as I went, but I got the idea for a bow in the front from this tutorial.  I had a little fabric left so I made a matching bread bag.  It’s just a simple drawstring bag, but I got the idea here.

Then I made a messenger bag and water bottle tote.  I used the bag tutorial here and the water bottle tote tutorial here.  The applique was inspired (again) by Sew Liberated. 

I always carry a reusable bag in my purse, but it is always coming unfolded.  I couldn’t resist this tutorial for a fold-up pocket tote. 

And then I made two skirts.  The first is, once again, from Sew Liberated.  The one in the book is covered with applique, I haven’t decided if I will applique this one or leave it as it is.  I am really happy with the way it turned out, I’m definitely getting more comfortable with knits!

This second one is based on the two-tier skirt from Sew What Skirts.  I love this fabric, and I loved the two-tiered look, but I have come to realize that I just don’t like the look of elastic waist-bands on skirts.  I think I’d like to try one with buttons while I work on improving my zipper skills! 

Finally, I worked on a very special quilt top. I found the traditional pieced blocks among my grandmother’s fabrics (so sorry for everyone who thought I’d pieced the whole thing myself – eek, I didn’t think of that when I was posting it…).  I also found most of the fabrics she had used to make them.  Last week I created the square within a square blocks and made the pieced border.  (That border caused me a bit of trouble.  I have never done anything like it before, and there were times when I wasn’t sure it would be worth it, but I LOVE it on the quilt!)  This is definitely a quilt I will cherish as made by my grandmother’s hands and my own.  In honour of my grandmother I am even considering hand-quilting it, but haven’t decided yet. 

Total fabric used this week:  19 yards

Total fabric used over 6 weeks: 74 yards!!!  If someone had told me you could use that much fabric in a month and a half I wouldn’t have believed them. 

My sewing room has become a much more neat and organized place.

Before:

After:

Before:

After: (that box is history!)

Before:

After:

Whew!  Must be time to go to the fabric store!   (Just kidding….)

Thanks to Wildflowers and Whimsy and Extra Ordinary Bree for hosting the challenge, and thanks to you for joining in on this adventure with me!

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And the Winner is….

Thank you so much to all of you who gave me suggestions and ideas for this blog.  You gave me a lot to think about!  I am so thankful for each and every one of you.  I can’t promise I will do everything, but I definitely have some good ideas going forward, and you can count on some more step-by-step gardening information this year! 

And so, without further ado, the winner of the giveaway is….Corinne!   

(Chosen by a random number generator.  It would be impossible for me to choose between you – if I had time I’d make you all something! )

Thanks again for your input!

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I currently teach a group of students who predominantly prefer to read non-fiction.  I love that they love to learn, but sometimes lament that they are missing out on the fun and enjoyment of reading something just for fun.

And then I remember who their teacher is.

Who their teacher has been for the past two (and in some cases three) years.

There are twenty books currently on my nightstand and only one of them is fiction.

Most of the classroom libraries at my school have a basket or two of non-fiction titles – mine is half and half…and the non-fiction side is growing!

I do love fiction of course.  But I love reading to learn even more. 

I suppose there are worse habits I could pass on to my students?  (And don’t worry, I have introduced them to some great fiction, too!)

And now some nightstand nuggets to pass on to you.

Cook Once A Week

This book has saved me this year.  Trying to juggle my very full-time job and a new fledgling business makes weeknight cooking a challenge.  But I don’t want to compromise on the quality of the meals that we eat (and I still love to cook!)  This book saved the day with great recipes for healthy meals, and a plan to use 3 hours on the week-end to create all of the meal components for the week.  And since there are only two of us, that means lunches too!  I have not followed any of the weekly plains as laid out, but have used some of the recipes (and the concept) to create my weekly meal plans.   The pasta sauce, soups and baked beans have all become household staples. 

Canadian Living: The Slow Cooker Collection

This is now my go-to slow cooker recipe book.  Everything I have tried so far (except for one chili recipe) has been amazing!  I have not always had great success with my crock pot before, but now I use it on a weekly basis.  It is also a beautiful book to look at (not necessary for a good cookbook, but nice for a little bedtime reading….)  I sadly had to return it to the library this week but it is a “must buy.”  My crock pot will be lonely without it!

The Introvert Advantage: Making the Most of Your Inner Strengths

If you are an introvert, or live with an introvert, this is a must read!  It has totally changed the way I think about introverts!  (yep…myself included…..)  The brain research was most fascinating to me (so that’s why everything comes to me in my sleep….) but there were also lots of great suggestions for using the sometimes misunderstood introverted traits to your advantage.   There is also a chapter on introverted children, which gave some insight into some of the behaviours I see in my classroom.  Fascinating.   

The Artist In The Office

I devoured this book in one sitting.  Then I went back and did the exercises.  This is a fun and creative walk through what it is like to be an artist and creative person with a job that may not be so artistic and creative.   There are many great tips and ideas, lots of fun illustrations, and the exercises will change the way you think about both of your jobs.   An excellent book!  I’m going to have a hard time returning this one to the library too! 🙂

What about you?  Are you a fiction reader or a lover of non-fiction like me?  What is currently on your night stand?

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Boho Shoulder Bag

I’ve been involved in secret sewing again.   Although I like to make grandiose claims of being a Secret Sewing Agent (like the secret service…but for sewing)  those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know that what it really means is that I have been pattern testing again.

And now that the news is out, I have an awesome pattern to share with you today. 

It is the Boho bag from Sew Fun Patterns.  First off, it’s big.  Perfect for packing shoes, lunch box, water bottle, a few bolts tied to strings, a blue puppet and several library books (or whatever else I might be taking to school on any given day.  And yes…that really is the contents of my bag today….such is the life of an elementary school teacher.)  Secondly, it has two pockets.  And boy do I ever need to have pockets in my bag.  Ask Hubby sometime how often I misplace my keys.  Or maybe don’t ask him, it’s a bit of a touchy subject.  The pockets are perfect for keys, and also electronic devices.  I actually don’t have any electronic devices (nope, not even a cell phone) but if I DID I know the pockets would be perfect for them.  The bag also looks great and it truly was fun to sew.  Can you ask for anything more from a sewing pattern?

I almost always learn something new when I test a pattern for Sew Fun and this time was no exception.  Check out the cool gathering on the bottom of the bag.  I love the way it turned out and how it makes the bottom into an oval instead of a square. 

For really great pictures showcasing this bag, please check out the Sew Fun website.  The picture of my bag is below, but trust me, it really doesn’t do it justice.  I have all the fabric cut out to make another one with some AMAZING fabric that I can’t wait to show you but as I am in the middle of writing my students’ reports it will have to wait a few more days. 

Did I mention that the bag is reversible?  Just another reason to love it!

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I hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas holiday!  Hubby and I packed up the car on Christmas Eve (and boy was it packed!) and headed over the river and through the woods (literally) to his parent’s house where we spent the holidays with all of his family.  It was a wonderful Christmas full of love, laughter and lots of good food, we certainly could not have asked for anything better.

One of my favourite parts of the week-end was finally being able to watch everyone open their hand-made gifts, and now that they have all been received by their recipients I am equally as excited to share all of my “secret sewing” with you! 

For Hubby I made him a lunch bag using this tutorial.  I toyed with the idea of making a number of more complicated insulated bags, but none of them seemed big enough for the containers we often use for lunches, and because he stores his lunch in the fridge the insulation seemed unnecessary.  Plain and simple won the day!

It’s lined with NASCAR fabric to jazz it up a little. 

For my sister-in-law I made a sewing set. 

The big piece of fabric is a sewing machine cover based on this tutorial.  I had lots of fabric left over so decided to sew up a few accessories. 

A little pin cushion

A needle book.  I have seen several of these on blogs over the years but couldn’t find a tutorial to make one so just made it up!   I’m really happy with the way it turned out.

And finally I made a gathered clutch to hold it all.   This tutorial was a lot of fun, I now understand why everyone seems to be making them.   This was my first zippered bag and I have to say I am no longer afraid of zipper installation. Yay! 

My sister-in-law had also asked for some produce bags (I use them in my fridge instead of plastic) so I made a set of those, too.

For my mother-in-law I rediscovered the joy of paper piecing.  I had forgotten how much fun it is (and also how time-consuming – I was still sewing on the evening of the 23rd – yikes!)  This is my first paper-pieced quilt with such tiny pieces and I am really happy with the way it turned out – and I think my mother-in-law liked it too!

For Hubby and my father-in-law I made personalized mouse pads.  The pads were bought blank and then I used an iron-on-transfer to decorate them with a photo that reflects their interests.   (The canoe is for Hubby)

And finally, I made some handmade ornaments for a good friend of mine.  She has a nativity-themed Christmas tree but happened to mention that she didn’t have any shepherd ornaments.  I can understand why when I tried to find some and come up empty-handed!  Not finding any tutorials on how to make your own shepherd (!) I had to improvise.  Based loosely on penny rugs I rediscovered hand-stiitching and made a felt shepherd and sheep. 

It was a busy week before Christmas (I know, I know, every year I say I am going to start earlier but there I was on December 20th just getting started!), but definitely worth it! 

Did you make or receive any handmade gifts this year?

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