Posts Tagged ‘business’

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! ūüôā¬† 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 РI 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 Рyou can never have too many books to read!

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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! ūüôā

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 new shop is here!!

It has been months of work, but it’s finally here.¬†¬† ¬†Introducing, my new shop………

Find me on Etsy!

Find me on Facebook!

I even have a new website/blog coming soon!

I’m still adding and creating items every day, so the shop selection will continue to grow over the next few weeks.

I am really excited about many of the changes I have made to the shop, but am the most happy about finally being able to show you what has kept me from the blog the last few months (you didn’t think I was sitting around twiddling my thumbs, did you?)¬† I still have a few things to do on the new website, but hope to introduce you to that sometime next week.¬† Lots of things happening here at Laundry on the Line!

What’s new and exciting with you?

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This weekend I had the opportunity to stretch my sewing muscles, while at the same time doing some very necessary planning for my business.

The past seven weeks I have been involved in the Right Brain Business Plan Course and have loved this unconventional, visual, and creative way of diving into business planning.¬† (Check out the website if you’d¬†¬†like to know more.)

After spending weeks in working through the steps of business planning, the final step is to bring everything together in a format that resonates with you.¬† (and artistic entrepreneurs have done everything from accordion books to mobiles to altered books.)¬†¬†And just in case you¬† are wondering….no, this is not the type of plan you take with you to the bank! (although that is covered in the course as well.)

I had completely planned to put everything into a scrapbook-type format, and even bought a blank book to house it all, but at the last minute I changed my mind.

I am a sewer, after all.

So I started planning a book made out of fabric, instead of paper, that would incorporate all the elements in a way true to my business.   I discovered this page for inspiration and then I just let the rest develop out of my own imagination! 

Using felt for a base, I put to use my rusty embroidery and hand-sewing skills, and incorporated recycled fabric pieces, quilt cast-offs, and buttons and ribbon from my stash.

I love that feeling of trying something for the first time, that stretching and growing that happens when your brain has to solve new problems and think about materials in different ways.

All of the business elements are tied in or placed in pockets, so that they can be changed and updated as my business grows.

I think this is the perfect housing for my business plan, as well as a fun new way to experiment with sewing and fabrics.  I can definitely see myself making  fabric books or journals again!

How do you like to challenge yourself?  What new skill are you learning, or wishing you could learn?

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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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I spent several years in university studying play, imagination, creativity and learning.¬† I am a strong believer in play-based learning, on encouraging children’s imagination and creativity, and on using dramatic play, the arts, and imaginary worlds, to bring learning alive.¬†¬† It is not uncommon for the students in my classroom to be archeologists, scientists and marketing experts as they venture into ancient Roman ruins, explore life at the bottom of the ocean, and enter into a boardroom discussion on the design of a new children’s toy, all without leaving the walls of our classroom.¬† We also¬†like to hop into paintings, bring story characters alive, and¬†experience¬†historical events first hand.¬†

It is with this spirit, and with great respect for the imaginary worlds of young children, that I embarked on a sewing project for my students as a Christmas gift last year.¬† If you have¬†been reading awhile, you might remember the puppets I created from my students’ monster drawings.¬† You can find them here, here¬†and here.¬† ¬†¬†

I really loved bringing the individual details to life, so when I opened up my Etsy shop, these custom mini-monsters were one of the first things I added to the store.

But I really wanted to take this concept and apply it to something a little bigger, something a little more cuddly.  A kind blog-reading friend graciously allowed me to borrow her children for a test run of the concept, and my first create-a-creatures were born.

I made them out of polar fleece for cuddly softness, and tried to be as true to the original drawings as possible.  I love how unique they are, and must admit it was a little sad to have to pack them in a box and send them away, but I am sure these two creatures were happy to meet their young designers! 

These cuddly custom designed creatures are now available to everyone in the shop. 

I couldn’t resist making a little something for my friend’s youngest daughter, even though she was too little to draw a picture.¬† This is my second attempt at the Black Apple Doll (my first attempt is here), made from flannel and fleece, with a cotton body.¬† ¬† I made the arms and legs slightly bigger this time and am much happier with the result!¬†

I hope all three of them enjoy many days of play with their new friends!
It is a happy talent to know how to play.¬†¬†¬†–Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Don’t you love that feeling when you finish a big project?¬† Especially when you love the way everything looks when it is finished?

That’s the way I feel about this pretty in pink set.¬†

You might remember seeing this quilt in progress.  Here it is, all quilted and ready for its new home. 

The quilting is fairly simple, but I really wanted to showcase the applique and I think the simple outlining of the hexagons and then on the applique itself does that well.

And here is the matching doll quilt:

I worked on both quilts simultaneously,¬† just repeating everything in miniature after working on the big quilt.¬†¬† Although it would have been possible to make the little quilt exactly the same, it also would have made for a very expensive little quilt, which its new doll-owner might not appreciate! ūüôā¬† I think this one is close enough to be cute!

I also made matching curtains and a crib skirt, which (sorry!) aren’t really conducive to pictures until they are installed in their new homes.¬†

And then there were just a few scraps of fabric left…..and I couldn’t resist making just one more thing as a little gift to go with everything else….

She is made from the Molly Monkey pattern at Mmmcrafts, and has been on my “to make” list for years and years (but I have never had a reason to make one before.)¬† I know, I know, she’s not a monkey.¬† I really loved the idea of using the grey with the pink fabrics, but didn’t think grey was very “monkey-ish” so I decided to turn the monkey into a kitty (inspired by some of the photos on the Molly Monkey¬†Flickr¬†group).¬† I later discovered there is actually a pattern for the kitty on the Mmmcrafts Etsy shop, too.¬†

I’m sad to see all of this pink leave my sewing room… but….

on to the next project! ūüôā

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Pretty in Pink

One of the things that I love most about custom sewing projects is that it allows me to create things I wouldn’t have the opportunity to do otherwise.¬†

This week I am designing a baby’s room, which is something I will probably never get to do for myself.¬†

Check out the beautiful palette of pinks this mama picked out:

I am in little girl heaven! 

The fabric on the bottom is actually a set of curtains her friend made and passed on to her.

We thrifted the fabric to make the crib skirt for the baby’s room.

This is an in-progress shot of sewing together the crib skirt. 

She also had me design the crib quilt.  Using the palette of pinks she picked out and her request for flowers and butterflies, this is what I came up with:

The pale pink will be the colour of the curtains, and those little blocks on the side?  That is going to be a matching doll quilt! 

Borders, quilting, and curtains still to come, I am up to my elbows in pink and loving it! 

“Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life”¬†¬†¬† Harvey MacKay’s quote is a truth for me today!

How about you, what is it that YOU love to do?

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Doing What You Were Meant to Do

Hubby has this framed picture in his office.¬† It’s a picture of him, sitting at a desk, with the name of his own engineering company posted as a sign over his head.¬†

He drew it when he was 13.

His parents saved it and presented it to him just after we were married and he decided to leave his job and start his own company. 

It was a sign that he was truly doing what he was meant to do, what he had dreamed of doing when he was younger (even if he didn’t remember it!)

¬†I had a similar moment¬†this week.¬†¬† Nothing quite as profound as hubby’s, but a gentle nod that yes, here I am, week after week, doing what I have always loved to do.

It came in the form of these.


When I was young both sets of grandparents spent the winter in Florida.  Several times my parents took us there for a week to visit them.  These are the journals I kept (on the request of my teachers) during those visits.

And here is the part that made me laugh right out loud.  Look at this entry:

Yes, that’s right.¬† My elementary school former-self was a food blogger years before she knew such a thing existed!

And then there is this one from when I was even younger.

Three years later, my writing has improved, but my topic has stayed the same.

I am sure we did something else other than eat on our trips to Florida, but you wouldn’t know it from reading this journal.

This one in particular makes me giggle. 

Who could imagine paying 14.99 for steak and “other stuff”!!!¬† ūüôā

Have you had one of those moments?¬† A reminder that you are on the right path, doing what you were meant to do?¬† If you have children, have you seen it in them?¬† Those little snippets of¬† passion that makes you wonder….hmmm…is this what they will be doing when they grow up?

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The Family is Growing

I have become quite excited about sweaters lately.  The more I look at them, the more I see animal personalities trying to break free.    Here are a few new additions to the sweater friend family:

I must admit that my house is quickly becoming a bit of a sweater menagerie!  All of these guys are for sale in the shop. 

I still have quite a pile of sweaters to work with, so I don’t think this family is done growing yet.¬†¬†Hippos are quite popular around this house, so I might have to attempt that next, although their big nose might prove to be a challenge!

What are your favourite animals?

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