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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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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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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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My Favourite Sewing Sites

Don’t you love it when you find a great new website or blog?  I am constantly amazed at the wealth of information and resources available on the internet and blown away by the generosity of those who spend hours putting together tutorials to share with the world.

And when you’ve found something awesome, what better to do than to share it with someone else?

Here are some of my favourites (some new, some old).  If you have favourites that aren’t listed, please share them in the comments!

CAUTION: visiting the following blogs and websites might make you want to run to the nearest sewing machine and sew until you drop!

For inspiration and tutorials

Sew, Mama, Sew blog – the first sewing blog I ever subscribed to and still one of my absolute favourites.  The forum is also a great place to ask questions and chat with other sewers. 

Make it and Love it – I don’t know how Ashley manages to create so many amazing tutorials, but she does, on what seems to be an almost daily basis.  Watch out – time spent reading this blog can make your “to sew” pile increase exponentially.

Sew Much Ado – another amazing amount of tutorials and a linky party every Wednesday by another talented seamstress (remember Ruby Lou?)

Grosgrain – I only recently discovered this one, but I know I will be back again and again.  On the top of my list are some of the dresses listed under “a frock by Friday” (you’ll find it on the sidebar.)  A free dress pattern followed by five days of sew-a-long how-tos – amazing, right? 

For Patterns

Sew Fun!  If you’ve been around awhile, you will already know how much I love these patterns.  Some of them have recently been released in PDF format for easy access.

Pattern Rescue – a really fun site where you can buy, sell, and trade vintage patterns, as well as find missing pieces to older patterns you might own.  On the recycle page you can pick up patterns for free, you just pay for the shipping.

Pattern Review –  there is a lot on this site I haven’t explored, but the best thing it has to offer (as far as I’m concerned) is reviews of hundreds of patterns!  I visit this site A LOT when I am thinking of purchasing a new pattern, and always find the reviews and photos helpful.  (You will find the link to the reviews on the left side, under sewing reviews.)

For Free Patterns

I know that sounds too good to be true, but lots of fabric designers share free patterns on their sites.

Amy Butler – click on “free patterns” to see all that this amazing lady has to offer.  Many of her quilts have been on my “to make” list for a long time.

Anna Maria Horner – I am a regular reader of Anna’s blog for a number of reasons (oh, the eye candy!), but she also has a number of beautiful patterns for her readers. 

Moda Bake Shop – another place I could spend hours just looking.  “Stuffed Stuff” is one of my favourites – oh so cute! 

So now that you know where I spend my online time, where do you spend yours?  Do you have any great sewing sites to share?

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I’ve been dreaming again.  Not the kind that you have at night (although I certainly have my fair share of those, too!) but the kind of dreams that make you think about all the exciting and wonderful things you could do.

This is nothing new to me, being somewhat of a “dreamer” by nature.  I would need several lifetimes to act on all the ideas for projects that run through my head on a daily basis.  Many of them come in and out and I never think of them again.

But sometimes I have an idea that seems to stick in my head long enough to start looking less like a dream, and more like a possibility.

After attending several online classes recently, I have been inspired to think about setting up an online sewing class.  I love sewing and I love sharing all that I have learned with others (I’m a teacher, after all!).   And with somewhat serendipitous timing, Crissy Heron, at Indie BizChicks.com, is offering a chance to win a spot in her course on how to teach an online class.   (Her site is full of great information on running a business!  If that’s your thing, be sure to check it out!)

So…I’m putting this idea out there, and we’ll see what happens!

What kind of crazy/awesome/exciting ideas are you pondering today?

 

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As I mentioned on Tuesday, Jeannie from Life on the Clothesline is visiting today to share one of her favourite old-fashioned recipes (with a bonus recipe for chicken strips thrown in too!)  This is the second post in her series on recipes from her Gram’s cookbook (sound familiar?) You can check out the first post on her blog.  Enjoy!

Hi!  I’m Jeannie from over at Life on the Clothesline.  My blog is about old timey things, clotheslines, old recipes, crafts… things that my great grandmother would have done.  
 
Gram was my best friend for most of my childhood (always nice to be the favorite of someone isn’t it?) until she passed when I was 16.  When I was little, we’d go and visit her at her house (my grandmother and her lived together for most of their lives… ) where she would always cook our favorite dinner – fried chicken, mashed potatoes, slaw and tapioca pudding with oreos for dessert.  YUM.  Well, grandma would make the pudding, but gram did the rest.  
Gram always waited to start the slaw until I got there, so that I could help.  We’d stand at her kitchen sink, looking out into the yard and driveway, cutting the cabbage up and then slowly shredding it by hand.  She would give me the white cabbage cores to nibble on, always a special treat, and then later, after the slaw was put together, let me “test” it to make sure that it tasted OK.  It was always fabulous and I loved it as much because it really was yummy and also because she made it just for me.
Recently, my mother gave me an old hand written cookbook that we determined was Gram’s wedding shower cookbook.  On my blog, I have started a series of posts of the recipes from this nearly 100 year old book.  The first post was this week, so if you’re into some funky old timey recipes, please stop by and visit.  
 
Now, on to Gram’s Slaw recipe…
Gram’s Slaw
Layer, ending with cabbage:
1 head cabbage, shredded
1 sliced or chopped onion
6-9 large carrots, shredded
1 c. sugar
 
In a pan, boil:
1 c. sugar
1 c. white vinegar 
1 c. canola oil 
1 t. salt
1 t. celery seed
1 T. dry mustard
 
Pour over the cabbage and let sit in a crock for 24 hours.  Stir after the day is up.
 
OK – so some things that I’ve learned over the years… 
 
The bags of shredded cabbage that are next to the bags of pre-washed salad work well for this – you’ll need at least 2 bags.  However, cabbage (and this recipe in general) is super cheap, and if you can stand it, shred it by hand or use a food processor.  That’s what I used and it was super easy.   To core a cabbage, cut  the cabbage into quarters.  
Then, cut out the center white part.  It tastes good, but is tough and hard to chew…
I also used the processor to shred the carrots.  The carrots were not in the original recipe, but don’t change the taste at all and add some pretty color and nutrition to the slaw.  You can use green or purple cabbage, but purple has more nutritional value, so I always go for that.
Please only use white vinegar, apple cider does not taste good in this.  Also, as it will have to sit in the fridge, canola oil is your best bet – not olive oil, which will congeal in the fridge and while taste OK, not look appetisingat all.

Have your cabbage layered in the bowl before starting the vinegar mix.  You want to pour boiling hot vinegar/oil over the cabbage so that it wilts the cabbage as it cools down.  
 
And, as Gram always had fried chicken, I made up some baked chicken strips to go along with the slaw… My 3 year old loved them…
 
Chicken Strips
Oven at 375.
Take 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs.  Pour in 2 T olive oil and mix well with a fork.  Dip the chicken strips into water, then into the bread crumb mix.  Coat well.  Place on a foil lined baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes until the juices inside run clear.
 
 
Enjoy the slaw and the chicken and please let your kids eat the cabbage cores – they really are yummy!

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