Tag Archives: blogs

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Felted Sweater Laptop Cozy Tutorial – on the Canadian Living Blog!

I was featured on the Canadian Living blog today!!!  I enjoy the Canadian Living craft blog and was so excited when I was asked to contribute!  On top of the interview, I also created a tutorial for a laptop cozy made from a recycled wool sweater.

This is the laptop sweater my new (to me) MacBook travels in every day.  I’ve had a lot of positive comments on it, and once the sweater is felted, you can whip one up in less than an hour.   So hop on over and learn how to make your own!

It’s been an exciting day! :)

Taking a Different Path

I love blogs. I love getting to know people through what they write and post.  I adore tutorials and Pinterest is my new best friend.  But I am also, admittedly, a bit of a scanner. I am sure you are too.  When you read at least 20 blog posts a day, you start to get selective about what you read.

But there are a few blogs where I read every word, every time.  And my friend Krista’s blog is one of them.

Quite possibly, the reason I read everything she writes is because I know her, like, in real life!  We used to work together, and now that she is at home homeschooling her two amazing boys, reading her blog is a way to stay connected.  It also has a lot to do with the fact that she is an amazing writer.  Once I start, I just have to find out what happens next.  And I know that sometimes she is going to make me cry, and sometimes she is going to make me laugh, and all of the time she is going to speak from her heart.  I appreciate that kind of honesty.

Today, after giving me three cheers on her blog for helping her with her theme and header (have you all discovered picmonkey yet?  Because if not, you need to check it out.  It’s awesome.), she talked about how life sometimes travels a different path than we expect.

And this thought has stuck with me.  Because it is true, isn’t it?  We doggedly try to climb the hill even though our hamstrings are screaming, and rocks are falling on our head, there is a snowstorm, and the bridge is out ahead (okay, maybe it’s not always that dramatic)  and finally, finally, after we have been beaten down to the point of misery, we turn around and head on another path, only to discover that the sun is shining here, the road is easier to walk, and this was the way we should have been going all along.

Now, I’m not saying we shouldn’t persevere.  Because I am all for determination and moving past challenges.  But I’m talking about the times when the door is shut and locked tight and for some reason we insist on banging our head against it in the hopes of breaking it down.

And metaphor aside, I have known my own version of this story.

My husband and I are unable to have children.  We spent six years of our marriage trying to make it happen.  We saw doctors, we read books, we took pills, we did acupuncture, we discussed scientific procedures and adoption.  (That is all a story for another day) At the end of this journey we were left with less than a 1% chance of having children of our own, and a ten-year wait list for adoption.  I can’t tell you how many tears have been shed in this process, how many times hope and disappointment intermingled, how many times I kept beating my fists against a closed door.

And yet, there was another path.  This path has allowed me to spend so much of my life and time with my dear friend’s dear children whom I love with all of my heart.  It allowed me to get to know and love this boy who is gone from this earth, but whose spirit lives on.  And when I wake up at night wishing for just one more day to sit by his side, I am ever so thankful for the path that allowed me so much time to spend with him while I could.  This path has given me a family I love (both by blood and by choice), a husband who continues to be my best friend, and time to do the things I love best (learning, taking classes, teaching, sewing, writing.)

It is not the path I would have chosen.  But I have no doubt in my mind that it is the one I was meant to be on.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11

How about you?  Has there been a time in your life when you have found that there is joy in taking a different path?

Want to learn more about healthy eating? Count me in!

For those of you who have been around this blog for a while, you will know how passionate I am about eating healthy.

 

You will also know that I am always learning more.

And if you’ve known me even longer than that you will know that I was a strict vegan vegetarian for many years, both as a way to stay healthy and to avoid some debilitating food sensitivities.

But it is easy to get off track.  Easy to get back into bad habits.  Easy to let convenience or speed take precedence over health.  (But when we are sick all the time, or our bodies are tired and run down, have we really saved ourselves any time?)

I have been in the downward spiral of health before, the one where we take pills and antibiotics that help at the moment, but the root causes still remain and wellness eludes us.

So I recognize when it starts to happen.  And I know I need to get back on track.

Isn’t it amazing when you have decided something for yourself, and all of a sudden things come into your life to confirm and help you in your goals?

This morning, reading through my favourite blogs on Google reader, I find this post on why it is important to listen to your body on a blog I only recently discovered.

Then I learn that Meghan Telpner is finally going to be offering an e-course!  Meghan is a holistic nutritionist and her blog is full of healthy tips and recipes.  She is the reason I started drinking green smoothies, and her recipe page is full of healthful recipes – even for yummy (but healthy) treats!  Her course offerings have often made me wish that I still lived close to Toronto, where they are held.

But her e-course launches on Monday! A course devoted to healthy eating made easy.  And you can even enter to win a spot on her blog!

And then, in following a link from that blog, I discovered another one, with another treasure trove of recipes and I am now like a kid at Christmas.  Because I get excited about things like healthy recipes!  And I know that excitement will help me to make the changes and adjustments I need to be healthy again.  And to add icing to the cake (make that yogurt icing sweetened with a hint of maple syrup) she is also hosting a giveaway for a chance to win a spot in Meghan’s class.

And so it seems I have no more excuses!  And with fresh veggies starting to grow in the garden, what better time to find new and exciting (and hopefully tasty!) ways to use them?

How about you?  How do you keep on track with eating and living healthfully?

 

Crochet Hook Roll

Have you discovered Sew Can She yet?   Caroline posts a brand new sewing tutorial every day.  It’s awesome!

A few weeks ago she was looking for some volunteers to test some of the tutorials before she posted them.  And since testing is something I love to do, I of course volunteered right away!

My first project – a crochet hook case.  I wonder how she knew I needed one?

This is my old crochet case.  You will notice that the hooks are suspiciously missing.  This is due to the fact that for some reason the hooks keep falling out of their holding slots, and then the case doesn’t actually close when I think it’s closed, and the next thing you know the hooks are scattered all over my yarn drawer.

But no longer.

Check out my beautiful new hook holder!

I followed the tutorial almost exactly, except that I changed where I used the different fabrics in order to make use of what I had left of this beautiful celestial fabric.

Every hook now has its own place, with room to grow.  And I love that there are slots for yarn needles and stitch markers too.

The tutorial for the hook holder can be found at Little Birdie secrets.  Check out Sew Can She for daily tutorials, and look at the archives for even more fabulous sewing tutorials in 6 different categories.

What have you been sewing lately?

What I Want to be When I Grow Up

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

2012 Finish-A-Long

One of my goals for the new year is to finish up some of the UFOs (unfinished objects) laying around my sewing room.  (if you read my other blog, you might remember that I had the same goal for last year and well….life and new projects happened.)  So here I am, ready to give it a go again.

But this year there is a little bit of extra motivation.  During the Sew, Mama, Sew giveaway day, I discovered Quilter in the Gap and was excited to discover that she is hosting a year-long finish-a-long!  It’s always easier to do things with others than it is to try them on your own, don’t you think?  Especially when it includes posting what you plan to do (and what you actually get done) in a very public way!

This post is a bit complicated by the fact that I am not at home to take photos of my unfinished projects (a rule of the finish-a-long) nor will I be at home before the Linky party closes.  So…I am relying on photos I have taken at various points in the past year of projects that I am working on.  (When I do get home I will replace them with better photos if need be!)

So here are my first quarter goals:

1.  Quilt and finish this blue quilt I started that combined blocks that I made with my grandmother’s sampler pieces.

2.  Finally sew these pieces into a quilt top (they have been cut for so long I no longer remember what part of the quilt each fabric is for!)

3.  Finish this little quilt of my grandmothers.  (in the photo, it is on the top of the bin under the ironing board, on the left – I’ll take a better photo later, I promise!)  I had to remove all of the quilting she had done in order to remove the backing off the quilt (it was a stiff, scratchy cotton, probably why she abandoned it) so now I need to find a new fabric for the back and re-quilt it. 

4.  Finish this flowered Christmas wreath I started as well as a tree skirt I never had time to finish before Christmas (our poor tree was skirt-less this year!)  I want to finish them now so I can put them away with the Christmas decorations, and then they will be all ready for next year! (I’ll add a photo of the tree skirt soon!)

  I think I had better stop there as I still have new sewing projects to work on too!   If you want to join in or see what everyone else is working on, check out the Linky Party!

Welcome!

Welcome to my new home on the web!  Although there is still some hammer and nailing going on in the background, and a few changes to come over the next few months, I am excited to be in my new home! 

And what better way to christen a new blogging home than with some new projects? 

This month I will be participating in the “Art Every Day Month” challenge, hosted by Creative Every Day.  The goal is to create once piece of art every day (which is both exciting and scary!)  I am looking forward to all that I will learn and create over the next few weeks and will, of course, post it all here.

 

November is also “Handmade Holidays” month on Sew, Mama, Sew, and although most of my sewing energy is going towards items for the shop, I am sure I will also squeeze in some time to make some handmade gifts of my own (or, at the very least, find lots of inspiration and add to my ever-expanding “to sew” list!)   

It’s always so exciting to have new projects on the horizon, isn’t it?  What will you be working on this month?

The New Website – Hello Artisan in the Woods!

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!

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!

Inspiration

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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