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Rhapsody in Bloom

Butterfly at Luthy Botanical Garden

This weekend was Rhapsody in Bloom, so I got to spend both days enjoying art and nature in the Luthy Botanical Garden. The predicted rain did not materialize, the garden plants and creatures were lovely, the art was lovely, and it was wonderful to see so many people come out to visit the garden and check out the art.

Blue Sky seen from Luthy Botanical Garden

I loved meeting so many new people, and seeing some familiar faces from the RiverFront Market and the Peoria Heights Art Fair. I keep trying to make new things, to keep things fresh and interesting, and this weekend was no different. I stayed up way too late on Friday night making new straight-sided cosmetic pouches. I broke out some of the fabric I have been saving for “just the right project,” and each one was embellished with fancy French velvet ribbon or ric-rac.

Cosmetic Pouches

Three of the pouches in this picture are gone, but I have a few more in the works, and hopefully I’ll be getting a few listed online in the next two days. And they will definitely be putting in an appearance at this weekends’ RiverFront Market. (I loved doing Rhapsody in Bloom this weekend, but I did miss my weekly market time, especially the tomato man and the lettuce guy. I’ll be happy to see them this Saturday!) I hope you had a wonderful weekend, too, and that this week shapes up to be a good one!

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Another Post-Market Post

Where has the week gone? I took a bunch of pictures at the farmers’ market with the intent to blog about them, and now it’s almost time for another market! Actually, until about 5 p.m. today I had it in my head that it was Wednesday. So the week has gone by extra fast for me, because I just lost a whole day. So before it gets any later, let me share some of the pretty things you might have missed at the farmers’ market (we will ignore the ugly things, like the unbelievable humidity!):

Strawberries at the RiverFront Market
Fresh Strawberries and Cherries
Turnips from White Chimney Farm
Ornaments from Toraason Glass

I have a few more pictures from the market on Flickr. I’ll be out there again this weekend (fingers crossed for no rain and low humidity!) If you come out, stop by my booth and say hello. I’ll have some new items this week… maybe I’ll post a peek at them tomorrow.

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Some Market Observations

This weekend was busy (and it’s only Saturday night)! Friday afternoon I drove to the next town over to set up for First Fridays. They shut down the main downtown street, and local restaurants set up some outdoor seating and do a bit of cooking in the street. There was a band (whose cover of Sarah, by Hall & Oates, I thoroughly enjoyed), and local artists set up their tents along the street. The street was full and lively all night long, and the forecast rain never appeared, which was marvelous.

Anodyne Design at First Friday in Galesburg, IL
Anodyne Design at First Friday in Galesburg, IL

This morning was not quite so nice, weather-wise. But a little rain is no reason to miss the first farmers’ market of the season, so we braved the weather and set up downtown. It was clear the rain kept quite a few people away, but I think that just speaks more to the awesomeness of those who did come out. It was nice to see some familiar faces and to make some new friends.

One of my favorite things to do at a farmers’ market or other event is to people watch. It’s endlessly interesting to see the variety of people in this world. (And to see their pets. There were definitely some cute dogs out at the market today.) Some of my favorite observations from this weekend:

Stilts at First Friday in Galesburg, IL
Stilts at First Friday in Galesburg, IL

– watching an older woman dance un-self-consciously to the First Friday band, while everyone else just stood around. It was absolutely refreshing to see someone so much enjoying herself regardless of what anyone else was doing or thinking.

– witnessing a Walk of Shame. The parking lot for the farmers’ market has signs clearly stating that no one is allowed to park in it overnight on Fridays, because we need it for the market early Saturday morning. Not everyone always follows the signs though, and sometimes we have to work around the cars. There was one such car right next to my space today. About halfway through the market, we watched a young woman enter the lot in some fabulous heels that were clearly too fancy for a rainy morning of produce shopping. She quickly walked straight to the car next to us, and drove out of the lot with her hand over her face. But she did have awesome shoes.

– watching a man on stilts gently hold his companion’s (who was not on stilts) hand. And then watching that man on stilts be “stalked” by a gaggle of little boys, who would scream and run with delight whenever he turned and saw them.

– I also met a man with a laugh just like Amadeus today. It was marvelous.

Tomorrow, I plan on checking out the Junction City Art Fair. Some artists who are there that I love: Joan Furilla (fine silver jewelry), Razorberries (quirky watercolor illustrations), and metalME (more pretty jewelry!). And perhaps best of all, it should be sunny, or at least not raining. Hooray!
P.S. Help Anodyne Design grow a little, by nominating it to win a small business grant on Love a Local Business. All you need to do is click the link and leave a comment describing why you love Anodyne Design. If love is too much commitment for you, I’d happily settle for “like a lot.” I love being a small, local (and online) business (although you don’t have to be local to vote!), and it will be easier for me to keep doing that, and doing it well, with a little love from you. Thanks. 🙂

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The Urban Art Co-op

Urban Art Co-opThe Urban Art Co-op is a shop in Collinsville, Illinois that features work by local Illinois artists of both the “traditional-painted-on-canvas” sort and the more crafty, handmade bags and furniture sort. The shop also has an event space and hosts regular art-focused events, such as Wine and Watercolor, which sounds like a fabulous way to spend an evening. If I lived closer to Collinsville, I would definitely be signed up for that.

Ali McCarthy, who runs Urban Art, was kind enough to send me a few photos of my handmade items in her shop. Currently, you can find Anodyne Design wristlets and card wallets, fabric covered journals, keychain pouches, gift tags, and magnets in the shop. Oh, and of course, Little Hootie Owls.

Anodyne Design at Urban Art
Photo by Ali McCarthy
Anodyne Design at Urban Art Co-op
Photo by Ali McCarthy

If you are near Collinsville, which is right by St. Louis, you should really stop in and check Urban Art out. There’s lots more to see there than just what’s in these pictures, and the frequent classes they offer sound very cool. You can find out more about Urban Art on their blog or Facebook.

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Action Shots of a Different Sort

You may have noticed by now that I’m a fan of photos of Anodyne Design items in “action.” Most of these photos come after someone has purchased the item, but it has recently come to my attention that there is whole other realm of possibility for action shots: wandering photographers at craft show and farmers’ markets. Farmers’ markets in particular seem to be especially appealing to the itinerant photographer, and apparently even photographers cannot resist the cuteness of the Little Hootie Owl.

This photo of the Little Hooties recently appeared in the Bloomington Farmers’ Market weekly newsletter:

Little Hootie Owls at the Bloomington Farmers' Market
Photo by Gemma Billings

And this one was taken at the recent craft fair at the FRC:

Photo of Little Hootie Owls by Natural Habitat
Photo by Natural Habitat

Thanks for taking, and sharing, such lovely photos! Oh, and if you happen to be the sort of photographer who’s drawn to farmers’ markets, check out the flickr pool I created for photos taken at the Peoria RiverFront Market. The Market starts up again the first Saturday in June. Bring your camera.

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They Can’t All Be Winners

This weekend I participated in a craft show at the Franciscan Recreation Complex, organized by the Peoria Park District. It was in the same location as the first Fancy Schmancy show last May, which is a lovely park with lush green grass and big old trees filled with allergens. I had the pleasure of sitting directly under one of these trees, and it dropped little presents on me all day.

Anodyne Design at the FRC Craft Show

Holy cow, I had no idea I could have such bad allergies. Thanks, Illinois. I never had allergies before I lived here. Unfortunately, I had a lot of time to think about my terrible allergies, because this craft fair currently holds the title for Least Attended Craft Show of 2010. To those of you who did come out, stop by my booth, or even buy something, thank you!

On the positive side of things, I met some great people, both shoppers and other vendors. In particular, I met the ladies of Garden Glitz, who were my booth neighbors. They were a pleasure to talk with, and their garden art truly does look lovely in sunshine. Not to mention the fact that they recycle old glass pieces into something beautiful, which speaks to my eco-conscious heart. I heard them mention that they will also make custom garden art with your own glass pieces, if you have something special that you don’t quite have a use for.

I also continued to work on my booth set up, and I think I hit upon a great use for the antique shutters I bought a couple weeks ago. I used them to support little “clotheslines,” which I used to pin up my clothespin magnets. It’s always been difficult for me to come up with an attractive way to display these, so I’m extra happy with this one.

Clothespin Magnets on Display

Next weekend will be filled with a much-anticipated visit with a friend, instead of a craft show. Although I won’t be there, a little bit of Anodyne Design will be at the Bloomington Farmers’ Market next Saturday, sharing space with Yellowdragonfly Designs. The next place you’ll be able to find me is at First Fridays in Galesburg, Illinois on Friday, June 4th, from 5-8 p.m. I hope to see you there!

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Peanut Butter Kisses

I baked some cookies today. SciFi Man is crazy about peanut butter, so I made a batch of peanut butter kisses for him. They are so simple and tasty, that if you haven’t made them, you should. Right now. Seriously, how can you go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate?

Peanut Butter Kisses

Peanut Butter Kisses

1 (8oz) package of Hershey’s Kisses
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup white sugar for decoration

Directions

1. Heat oven to 375F. Remove wrappers from kisses.

2. Beat shortening and peanut butter in a large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup white sugar and brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add egg, milk, and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.

3. Shape dough into 1″ balls. Roll in sugar and place on ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately place a chocolate piece into the center of each cookie. Cookie will crack around the edges. Cool on wire rack.

When I make them, I get about 45 cookies. But maybe you want to tell people that it makes a few less than that, so you can keep some just for you.

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Fancy Schmancy Market

Anodyne Design at the Fancy Schmancy Market

This Saturday I spent the day at the Fancy Schmancy Market. The market was held indoors, which was a nice change from last weekend’s cold outdoors event. Especially since it ended up raining this weekend! The market went well, although it was not as highly attended as anyone had hoped. Those who did come by were a pleasure to see, and as usual, I enjoyed talking with everyone who stopped for a moment in my little booth.

When there was a lull in shoppers, I used the time to get to know some of the other vendors there. There were a lot of great people and things at the market: Sea of Glass Designs was there with some really lovely jewelry, Carrie’s Crafty Cottage was there with the cutest hand-knit cupcakes, and Razorberries was there (and I finally got some fabulous notecards).

Big Hoot Owls

There were also some new Big Hoots in my booth this weekend. They are twice the size of the Little Hootie Owls, and perfect for watching over the little ones.  Most of them were gone before noon, so I think I’m on to something here. I’ll definitely be making more. And thanks to a special request, I’ve started branching out into owls made with cotton prints, in addition to the felt ones.

Next weekend, I’ll be participating in the Craft & Vendor Sale at the Franciscan Recreation Complex in West Peoria. This is in the same outdoor location that Fancy Schmancy used last May, so I know it’s a lovely place to go for a little shopping. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed for nice weather. We’ve had enough cold, windy, and rainy Saturdays. There will be more Big Hoots there, and some new wristlets, Little Hootie Owl mobiles, and journals. I should probably get to work on those now…

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Happy Monday! (And did you know about this giveaway?)

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a lovely Mother’s Day weekend. My weekend was a bit spotty. Saturday I set up shop at the Peoria Heights Art Fair. On the upside, I got to meet all sorts of wonderful people. On the downside, it was ridiculously cold and windy! It took me hours to thaw out. The weather was much nicer on Sunday, and SciFi Man and I went out to celebrate a little holiday my family created to celebrate one particularly lucky day back in 1997. We had some delicious Japanese hibachi food. You know, the sort that is cooked right at your table and involves flames and the squirting of sake into the diner’s mouths. Yum!

This week started out with the lovely surprise that Liesl (of Liesl Made, and whose work I adore!) really likes the Little Birds Journal she bought from me awhile ago. I discovered this via her interview on Whimsy House. It’s a good interview– you should take a moment to check it out. As if that weren’t cool enough, the interview is paired with a giveaway. Leave a comment over there and be entered to win one of Liesl’s marvelous Butcher’s Aprons. I’d like to win one myself. I love the combination of gorgeous fabric and simple, clean styling.

Bloomington Farmer's MarketThe Fancy Schmancy Market is coming up this Saturday, so I’ve got a lot of work to do to prepare for that!  Also, the Bloomington Farmer’s Market is starting up this Saturday. And since I can’t be in two places at once, my good friend from yellow dragonfly designs will be there with her jewelry and some lovelies from Anodyne Design. (And in reverse, I’ll have some of her awesome earrings on display at Fancy Schmancy!) The Farmer’s Market runs from 7:30 a.m. until noon, and the Fancy Schmancy Market runs from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. You should stop by and see at least one of us!