Posted on

Happy Earth Day

Today was Earth Day. Over the weekend, Anodyne Design participated in the Earth Day Festival at Forest Park Nature Center. After the recent heavy rains and extensive flooding, and the unseasonably cool weather, I was worried that the event would be a bust. The day was cold, but bright and calm, and people came to the festival in spite of the temperature.

More than once, someone came by my booth to tell me they still had and used something they purchased from me years ago. Someone showed me the wallet her daughter still uses, which I sold to her 4 years ago. Someone else told me that she has several of my bags, each of which serves a specific purpose, and then bought a new one to add to her collection. She mentioned that when she first bought from me, she thought my prices were a little high, but now that she’s seen how well my bags last, she understands.

And it’s true– buying from a small, local business is going to cost you more up front. I can’t compete with an economy of scale, so my materials cost more. But my materials are also of better quality, or come with story behind them (like my wallets made from recycled pants). I make everything myself, which takes time, but it also means that you know who made your wallet, or bag, or owl, and I think that naturally leads to a higher quality of work, because I’m personally invested in each and every piece. And of course, there’s the thing that people mentioned over and over again this weekend– my items last. Buy a coin purse from me and use it every day, and it will still be in good shape in a few years. Buy one from a big store, and chances are, it will start to fall apart before you are ready to buy a new one.

Thanks to everyone who came to the Earth Day Festival, whether you bought something from me or not. It was wonderful to see how many people care about our planet and want to do their best by it.

Here’s a fun Earth Day fact about Anodyne Design: all my Little Hootie Owls are made with felt that’s made from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. No sheep involved, and a few less plastic bottles to find their way into the giant ocean garbage vortex. Yay!

Posted on

First Spring Flowers

A good piece of advice my grandmother gave me: wait to see what pops up in the garden in your new home before you start digging around.

Now that I have a home with a yard, I see what she means. Moving in during fall meant I only got to see the tail end of what was going on in my yard. Now that spring is starting to creep in, unexpected flowers are popping up, too. And just in time… winter was really wearing out her welcome.

I recognize the crocuses, and they are a marvelous splash of color. But there are some things starting to pop up that are a mystery to me, too. Can anyone tell me what these great curled leaves belong to?

Posted on

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!

Posted on

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.

Posted on


April first is not the first day of spring, but today sure feels like it! It’s finally sunny and warm enough to open the windows. The kitties and I are all enjoying the fresh breezes blowing through the house. And just a couple days ago, I finally saw buds on the trees. I can’t wait for the explosion of green that’s about to happen. I thought I should take the camera out and document a few signs of this much-awaited season.

Look at these pretty little flowers I found, just beyond the patio! They are so small, I almost missed them. They remind me of some of my favorite flowers, little white flowers that would randomly pop up in our yard when I was a kid. They were special because they were so small, and because you never knew where they might appear. I’d tell you what they were, but I really don’t know, and searching for “little white flowers” isn’t very productive. (Updated: My mom saves the day! They are Bluets.) I also found some tiny blue flowers, a few dandelions, and some vibrantly green moss. But otherwise, it looks like spring is just getting started around here.

I have also spent the last couple days preparing and sending out applications for several area art shows and farmer’s markets. Should they pan out, I’ll have a busy and fun spring and summer coming up! I’ll keep you posted.

One place I’ll definitely be this month is the Earth Day Festival at Forest Park Nature Center in Peoria Heights. It’s on Saturday, April 24th from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and from what I hear, there will be all sorts of local artists, live entertainment, food, and general earthy goodness. I’ll be featuring my handmade goodies made from recycled materials, such as bags and wallets made from repurposed linens and clothing, and paper goods made from perfectly lovely scraps of paper that would otherwise be trash-bin-bound, like outdated maps. I hope I’ll see you there!

Posted on

A Visit to the Shedd Aquarium

SciFi Man and I spent a long weekend in Chicago. We met up with some of his friends and visited the Field Museum and the Shedd Aquarium. I’ve always had a soft spot for fish and watery places, so I really loved spending an afternoon at the aquarium. They had exhibits covering a wide range of habitats, but my favorite was the Wild Reef exhibit, which was absolutely full of vibrant, beautiful corals and fish.

I also really liked seeing the “coral nursery,” where the aquarium was raising new corals for the exhibit. There were several tanks full of baby corals, and it looked as though two fish were helping to tend them.

Obviously, there was more to see at the aquarium than what I’ve posted here, but I didn’t want to overwhelm you with pictures. You can see more aquarium photos on my flickr stream.

Posted on

Another Day at the Market

Another Saturday, another market day. It was overcast going into sprinkles, and the only sun we had all day came in the form of this lovely sunflower, which SciFi man bought from Green Acres Herb Farm booth. We had one bumblebee who just loved this flower and kept returning to it throughout the morning.

Sunflower at the Market

Even though the weather was dreary, we had a good time snacking on some locally made cookies and talking with the market shoppers who braved the weather. Thanks to those of you who chose today to leave with a new bag or magnet set! It was nice to see some familiar faces in the crowd. I think getting to know the “regulars” is one of my favorite parts of selling at the RiverFront market. It was also good to see that our lettuce guy had returned. We missed him for the last two weeks.

Tomorrow is the second Fancy Schmancy Flea Market of the summer! It’s from 10am – 3pm at the Franciscan Recreation Complex in West Peoria. I definitely recommend you stop by to say hello to me and to check out the rest of the great local artists that will be there.

Posted on

Saturday Ritual

View from the RiverFront Market

My Saturdays this summer have become a ritual. Wake up too early for my liking and pack up for the Farmer’s Market. On the way to the market, pick up two french toast bagels and one container of hazelnut cream cheese, to share with SciFi Man. Spend four hours at the market making friends, people watching, and buying delicious local produce. Our selections vary from week to week, but we always buy something from our “lettuce guy” and the “tomato man.”

The tomato man always draws faces on his unusually-shaped tomatoes. I love that little detail.
The tomato man always draws faces on his unusually-shaped tomatoes. I love that little detail.

After the market, we go out to lunch and then go home for a post-market nap. I love that my Saturdays have fallen into such a nice, predictable pattern, even though the details of people, produce, and restaurants change from week to week. I also love getting an opportunity to interact with my customers in person. Today was a great day for selling my reusable grocery bags (what better place for one of those than the farmer’s market?), and SciFi man was kind enough to capture a shot of one of my bags in action. I love knowing that someone finds usefulness and beauty in something I’ve made.

Reusable Grocery Bag Action Shot!
Reusable Grocery Bag Action Shot!

Do you have a Saturday (or any other day) ritual? What do you do? If you are in central Illinois and don’t already, you should consider adding the RiverFront market to your Saturday ritual. I’m there every week–come say hello!

One of the regular vendors at the RiverFront market always makes these gorgeous bouquets.
One of the regular vendors at the RiverFront market always makes these gorgeous bouquets. My day is a little bit brighter for seeing them!
Posted on

While I Wasn’t Blogging…

View from the tug boat at the Minneapolis Museum of Science

I have been away from the blog for longer than I planned. The past couple weeks have been busy ones. I cut my hand washing dishes and required a few stitches, and that slowed me down for a bit (and got me out of dish duty for awhile!). Then SciFi Man and I traveled to Minnesota and Wisconsin to visit family for a week, timing our trip to fall in between farmer’s market days. We had a great time visiting, sight-seeing, and horseback riding. Horseback riding was a first for me, and one of those things on my must-do-before-I-die list. It was a lot of fun, and I’d love to do it again! I’m not sure if my sister-in-law can say the same though–she was kicked by one of the horses! Fortunately, she wasn’t terribly injured.

The photo above is from our day at the Science Museum of Minnesota. The whole place was filled with children, except for this tug boat that was tucked away in a corner. It was quiet, peaceful, and had some beautiful views of the city and river. While we were there, we visited the Titanic exhibit, viewed our heart rhythms, tested our sense of smell and played with light.