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Ice Storm = Productivity

We had our second ice storm in as many weeks today, and it looks like it’s going to continue into tomorrow. It was bad enough that the university was closed and I got to spend the day at home, instead of at work. I planned ahead this time and went grocery shopping yesterday, so SciFi Man and I were able to watch a House episode we hadn’t seen and warm ourselves up with beef stew from the crock pot and biscuits.

Paisley Sea Denim Card Wallet

I also finished up a bunch of card wallets I’ve been working on through the week and listed them in the shop. I’ll try to do a few more tonight and get them listed tomorrow. I’ve got some pretty cranberry red ones coming up next that I think are going to be lovely. One of the wallets I posted today is a bit more environmentally friendly that my other wallets have been. It includes a denim lining made from recycled jeans. The jeans were still in great condition, and I hated to see them go to waste, so they went to wallets instead. I think it makes the wallet a bit more “heavy duty,” too.

If you’ve read many of the recent posts on this blog, you know I’m interested in doing what I can to have a smaller impact on the environment, so the idea of recycling clothing into something new appeals to me. But what do you think of the idea? Would you buy a new product made from recycled fabric?

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Have You Googled Yourself Lately?

Generally, I think it’s a good idea to Google yourself every now and then just to see what you can find. Searching for your name, or the name of your business, online can be a helpful way to see what potential customers and everyone else is going to see when they look for you. Depending on what you find, googling yourself may be the first step in initiating a clean up process (sometimes, occasionally, we may post something online that we really don’t want to share with the whole world) or it can help you to get a better sense of who is interested in you and your product and what they have to say about it.

I am particularly interested in keeping tabs on what other people have to say about Anodyne Design. To that end, I’m a huge fan of Google Alerts. If you haven’t checked out this free tool from Google, you should start today. It’s a very simple and efficient way to keep track of any search terms or phrases you are interested in. Instead of searching for “Anodyne Design” on Google when I think about it (which is something I may forget about for a month), I tell Google that I’m interested in “Anodyne Design,” and it will send me an email when something new with my search term appears on the scene.

Google Alerts are customizable, so that you can tell Google how frequently you prefer to receive alert emails, and what types of searches you would like it to conduct for you (for example, a search of only blogs or a comprehensive search of all the data available to Google.) There is no limit to the number of alerts you can set up, so I have Google set to alert me when something new about “Anodyne Design” appears on the radar, and also when something about “Anodyne Designs” (a frequent misnomer used for my business) appears, among other things.

If you want to use Google Alerts to help you monitor information about your business, I recommend you set up several alerts for your business name, your own name, your business URL, and if you have a website or blog, the name (if different) and URL for those. That should allow you to cast a pretty wide, thorough net over Google’s treasure trove of information. You may be surprised by what you find. Google Alerts have informed me when my recently listed items on Etsy have been added to the Google search results, when another blog has linked to my blog, and I have created a new profile on a site like Blog Catalog.

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Recycled Packaging

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

I have been trying hard to find ways to reduce waste and recycle where I can. Because I frequently make purchases online and send things out to others, I’ve been thinking about packaging. I’ve always saved boxes, but for the past several months, I’ve also started saving envelopes and packing materials. When I send out a book for BookMooch, I have been packing them in reused envelopes. I’ve thought about trying to recycle packing materials for my Etsy orders as well, but I certainly don’t want to look cheap. It’s nice that I may save a bit on envelopes if I can reuse some, but it’s more important to me that I’m not letting them go to waste when they are still perfectly functional.

My solution to this dilemma: a fancy new rubber stamp! A stamp seemed like a good idea for a recycling message, because it’s inherently reusable. I poked around online for a stamp I could use to mark packaging as clearly recycled and wasn’t able to find much. I did find two (only two!) Etsy sellers with recycling rubber stamps, but they weren’t exactly what I was looking for. Sweetpaperie has a lovely recycled packaging stamp, as does Terbearco. Finally, I came across the Roughstock Blog, which had a free recycled packaging image that seemed to be designed just for me. A bit wordier than the other two stamps, I think the Roughstock message most clearly communicated that I was recycling for the sake of recycling and why I was doing that. The image read:

reduce. reuse. recycle.

This packaging has been reused
or made from recycled materials
to ease up on our environment.
Please consider using it again!

Perfect. Except, it wasn’t a stamp. Just an image that I could make into a stamp. My mom, ever the problem-solver, sent me a link for RubberStamps.net, where I could get a custom stamp made with my image for a great price. They made the image into a stamp and it arrived in my mailbox in just a week! And I promptly ran out, got myself a green ink pad (don’t recycling messages look better in green?) and stamped up some recycled envelopes I’d packed some books in.

Do you use recycled packing? If you do, do you mark it in some way? How have the recipients of your reused packages responded?

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Odds and Ends

Today’s post is a little late. I’m blaming it on the snow storm, but really, it’s because I got so caught up in trying to be a winner last night, thanks to the Bloggy Giveaway Carnival, that I didn’t plan ahead for my blog post today. This is also why I don’t do well in Vegas. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, some odds and ends.

  • Don’t forget to enter in the giveaway for an Anodyne Design card wallet if you haven’t already. I’m really excited about giving this away, and I’d love to give it to you.  If you’re lucky. The entry period ends at 9:00 p.m. tonight central standard time, so hop to!
  • Be sure to check out the blog tomorrow to find out which two lucky entrants won the giveaway!
  • Anodyne Design has joined up with Project Wonderful to offer advertising on this blog. For advertisers, it’s a very affordable way to advertise, AND you get to have a say in where your ads appear (unlike Google Adwords). Want to advertise on Anodyne Design? Just click here.
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30 Sales! (A Thank You)

This past week, I reached 30 sales on Etsy. When I started all this back in May, I had no idea that I would being selling on Etsy. And when I start selling in June, I don’t think it ever really crossed my mind that I would sell 30 things. I know it’s not a very big amount, but for someone who just sort of stumbled into this hobby and business, 30 seems huge to me. I am amazed, and so grateful, that 30 people I don’t know have given me a chance. So, thank you buyers. And thank you to those of you who have left feedback for me and the others who may consider buying from Anodyne Design. Each new feedback just makes my day.  Thank you also to everyone who reads this blog. I love your comments, please keep them coming!

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Holiday Shopping Season

Moonlight Garden Card Wallet

With the official start of the holiday shopping season only days away, I’ve been hard at work making up new card wallets and wristlets for the shop. I’ve been working out a new design for the wristlets, and making coordinated wristlet/wallet sets. I’ve got a custom laptop bag I’m working on for a friend, too. All this creating has been fun, but has certainly cut into my blogging, and I’m sorry I disappeared for a few days.

How will you do your holiday shopping? Do you brave the crowds on Black Friday? Do you wait until the last minute to do your shopping? Or will you eschew crowded stores altogether and do your shopping online? I know Etsy will be a great place to do some shopping for handmade gifts. What other unique online shops will you be visiting? (Really, I want to know so I can check them out.)

I normally don’t go out on Black Friday (although I do love bargains!). I usually take my time finding gifts and do a bit of online and offline shopping. As part of family tradition, my father and I wait until Christmas Eve to go out and finish our shopping. It’s crazy, but it’s our thing, and it lets us have some quality father daughter time during the holidays. I know we both look forward to it. After our day of last minute shopping, we finish up with a nice dinner out. My mom, brother, and SciFi Man have been getting a little jealous of our ritual lately, and have been inviting themselves to after-shopping dinner. I can’t really blame them, though. This year, I am planning to go out to JoAnn Fabrics (the best fabric game in my town) on Friday. There’s going to be some good deals. Since I’m planning to make a lot of the gifts I give this year, it would be silly not to try to find a bargain. And after I make the long drive home in December, I know my Dad and I will be waiting until the last minute to finish our shopping together.

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Thank You

Thank You Cards by Chia

I received a package from Chia at Chia’s House of Stir Fry yesterday. It was the best kind of package, with all sorts of goodies. One was a great set of special Thank You cards, each one unique and designed with Anodyne Design in mind. They are the new cards I’ll be sending out with each Etsy order, and they are truly little works of art of their own. I keep trying to convince Chia she should open her own shop. I haven’t succeeded yet, but I know her cards will be loved, even if you have to buy something from Anodyne Design to get one.

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100 Hearts

100 Hearts

On Etsy, you can “heart” items you like. This will add the items to your favorites list (so you can come back and buy them later, or simply admire them while someone else snatches them up) and will add a little tile to the seller’s “Hearts Me” page. Even though not every heart becomes a sale, it does feel good to know that people are viewing your work and liking what they see. It’s a free self-esteem boost. I’ve noticed that it’s something of a milestone on Etsy to get 100 hearts, so I was pleased on Friday when my shop got it’s 100th heart. I took a screen shot to celebrate. Of course, as with many milestones, I’m already looking forward to the next milestone. I’ve also been making sales fairly regularly (although I am a long way from 100!), so perhaps I’ll look forward to my 20th sale next. Thank you to everyone who has hearted my shop, or a specific item (I treasure each one, and I check out each of your stores) or has purchased something from Anodyne Design. You’ve all made my day many times over.

What are your milestones on Etsy or elsewhere, and how do you celebrate them?

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Crafty Business Tips

Craft, Inc. by Meg Mateo Ilasco

Adorn magazine’s blog is having a little giveaway. They are giving away Craft, Inc.: Turn Your Creative Hobby into a Business by Meg Mateo Ilasco to 5 lucky people who comment on the blog entry. The catch? Each commenter must leave a “crafty business tip” in order to enter. What’s cool about this is that Adorn has quickly generated a nice collection of tips for any crafter running a business or planning to start one. Be sure to check out the complete list and enter the giveaway yourself, but here are a few of my favorite tips so far:

  • Build a lightbox (these can be cheap and easy!) for your photography. Good photographs can make a huge difference in how people see your products, and whether they buy them.
  • Use or wear your own merchandise. (And keep extras with you, so when someone admires what you’re wearing/using, you’re ready to show them more and sell on the spot!) Plus, why wouldn’t you want to use your own awesome creations?
  • Communicate promptly and warmly with your customers. Distinguish yourself from other businesses by adding that personal touch that goes hand in hand with handmade goods.
  • Promote, promote, promote. There are so many crafty businesses out there–how can you get your product seen? Start a blog, join flickr, become active in crafting communities. The bonus here is that (hopefully) you’re becoming involved in communities that are satisfying to you beyond just being a way to get yourself known.
  • Always carry your business cards with you. You never know when you’ll need one.
  • Be passionate about what you’re creating, and don’t just follow trends. Make what you love because you love it–that will last longer than what’s in style this season.

Do you have more tips for being/becoming a successful crafty business? I’d love to hear them (and if you want to win that book, you’ll probably want to share them over at Adorn, too.)

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Pretty Magnets

Button Magnets

I made up a batch of pretty magnets today. My fridge has been looking rather messy with its mish-mash of magnets, and I wanted to pretty it up. I did this with some fabric scraps from other projects and do-it-yourself covered buttons. You just cover the button and attach the magnet. And they turned out so nice! I found it so satisfying that I know I’m going to make more, so when the glue sets up on this batch, I think I’ll put them in the shop.

In other news, I finally received the sew-in fabric labels I ordered last month from Namemaker. They are black with white text that reads “Anodyne Design.” I can’t wait to put one in a purse. I think they’ll give my bags a nice, finished look. I also heard my business cards shipped yesterday, so I’m eagerly awaiting those. I love getting mail anyway, but I also love office supplies, so I’ll be pretty happy when they arrive.

Also, I was tagged by Lissa over at Bully Beads to share a few facts about myself. I think I’ll add them to my about me section, so feel free to check there if you want to know more about the woman behind the blog.