Posted on

Business Planning…

Yesterday, I announced that Anodyne Design had won a small business grant from the wonderful people at Intuit, and I shared my plans for how I would be using that grant to grow and improve my little business. It was exciting to really think about the my “next move,” and I can’t wait to get started!

But the contest isn’t quite over. This week, the 9 finalists from April, May and June will be judged by Seventh Generation co-founder, Jeffrey Hollender, for a chance to win the grand prize of an additional $25,000 small business grant. The judging criteria are simply to find the business that is “most loved by its customers, vendors, employees, or local community.” I have taken a look at the other finalists, and I think it’s going to be a tough call to make. In the spirit of looking to the future of Anodyne Design, whether I were to win the grand prize or not, I have given some thought to how I might best use $25,000.

In addition to my original plan focused on developing the online side of Anodyne Design, I would also start developing an online indie boutique that would provide a home for small, local businesses engaged in environmentally responsible design. As a maker myself, I am always searching for the most eco-friendly materials, and I particularly like to create items that are designed to be re-used, to last, and to replace something disposable. As a shopper, I am looking for the same sort of items, and I don’t think I am alone. This venture would require a new web presence, branding, and advertising.

An extra $25,000 would also make it possible for Anodyne Design to participate in larger in-person events, such as the Renegade Craft Fair and Strange Folk Festival, which require entry fees, travel, and a significant investment in time. One of the joys of being a small business is in being able to interact one-on-one with individuals who share my love of handmade, and I would love to be able to pursue that beyond the bounds of my small town.

I would also be able to invest in some new equipment that would help me to be more efficient and to create items that so far have just been waiting in the “someday” pile. In particular, I would be adding a new serger and a die cutting machine to my arsenal of tools. I will also be able to continue using top-of-the-line environmentally responsible materials. And perhaps most importantly, $25,000 would definitely make it possible for me to expand the space dedicated to my business, which for the moment is only one-half of a small office I share with my husband. I can just imagine how much more productive and creative I could be if I had a little more space.

So this is my plan of action, whether I jump into the fast lane with the grand prize grant, or whether I take it slowly. Either way, it’s going to be awesome. What do you think? Did I miss something, should I being paying more attention to one part of this than another? Like I wrote in my last post, Anodyne Design isn’t much without you, so your input is really important to me as I grow. Let me know what you think!

Posted on

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!

Posted on

Is There Anything Lovelier…

…than a hand-written note?

A small bit of my stationery stash.

I have always had a special place in my heart for pretty stationery. Over the years, I have created a collection of pretty papers and note cards that seems to outpace my opportunities for sending little notes and letters. I will often glance at my stationery stash and wish for a reason to send someone a note by mail. I finally found a reason with a post on IndieFixx this week, in which Jen proposed the Penpal Project. Inspired by some e-mail problems, she thought it would be great to connect IndieFixx readers with one another to exchange real, snail mail letters. I love it! I have already arranged to be penpals with a couple of people, but if you are also interested, send me a message (there’s a link to my email just over there, on the left)! (I’m serious. Let’s be penpals. Who doesn’t love mail?)

Sometimes, it seems like things snowball. And this handwritten-note/stationery love thing is one of them. Just today, I stumbled across a giveaway on Elephantine for some really lovely note cards and gift tags made by Kristin Sanchez. You should definitely take a peek at her charming Etsy shop and sign up for the giveaway. If you win, you can use one of the note cards to send a letter to your new penpal!

Posted on

Happy Weekend!

It’s Friday, and although for some reason I feel like it was just Sunday, it’s about to be the weekend again. I’ve got some fun lunch plans and a craft show I’m planning on visiting this weekend. I plan on doing lots of sewing, too. It’s been awhile since I sat down on my sewing machine, and I really need to fix that.

Some notes from the week…

  • Did you see the giveaway Olive Manna and Hooray Design are doing together? It seems like such a lovely idea to team up like that, and the little cans of goodies are so sweet! You should check out the giveaway, and then stay for the blog, or something like that. They both have great blogs.
  • If you like chickpeas at all, you need to give this recipe for Lemony Chickpea Stir-fry a try. Soon. It’s so very good, and easy. I made it on a last-minute whim this week, and I liked it so much I made it a second time. I served it with some brown rice, cooked in veggie broth. And while you are cooking, make a batch of these Ultimate Double Chocolate Cookies. You won’t regret it, although your waist might.
  • Are you on Twitter? I am, and I was thinking this week that if you aren’t following me on Twitter, you might be missing out on some of the little updates that I don’t think merit a whole blog post, but are still awesome. Like when I tweeted about this fashion no-no. I’d love for you to be my Twitter friend. 🙂
  • I really loved this post on Cicada Daydream, Anatomy of a Cost Effective Project.

What are your weekend plans? Are you relaxing, doing something fun? Going somewhere interesting? Whatever they are, I hope it’s a wonderful weekend!

Posted on

Little Happinesses

Christmas Cactus

Doesn’t it seem like some things make dramatic changes overnight? It seems that way with this little Christmas cactus. I bought the tiny cactus after Christmas last year, when it was droopy, neglected, and on clearance before being thrown out . Over the year, it’s become happy and healthy and put out lots of new leaves. But just this morning I noticed that It’s also covered in buds and one bright pink flower. It’s starting the holiday season a little early, but I’m so happy to see it doing so well!

Other little things making me happy lately:

The fall market season is over! While I loved doing the market, it sure was getting cold, and I’m appreciating being able to sleep in again on Saturdays. I have one more confirmed show lined up for this year (the Fancy Schmancy Holiday Shop on November 14th!), and two potential shows that I’ll let you know about once they’re official. I’m excited to be doing some holiday shows and I’m extra excited that they’ll be indoors.

It’s a little late in coming, but I also wrapped up the contest for a Little Hootie Owl on my Facebook fan page. Lots of you submitted wonderful haikus, and it was so hard to choose just one. The winning haiku was:

cold rain from the sky
strips the colors from the trees
the ground bleeds bright red

What can I say? I have a weakness for fall colors. Even in haiku form.

And finally, today we switched our clocks back an hour for daylight saving time. It’s always nice to get an extra hour, which I promptly spent sleeping in.

Those are some of the little things that are making me happy lately. What little things are making you happy today?

Posted on

A Growing Parliament of Owls

When does a parliament become an army?

My parliament of tiny owls continues to grow! I love these little guys, and making them has almost become addictive. I’ll be listing them on Etsy once I get some decent sun to photograph them in. Until then, you can expected to see them at the Fancy Schmancy Fall Festival down on the Peoria Riverfront this Saturday morning. And if you aren’t in the area (or even if you are!), you can enter to win one on my Facebook fan page. All you need to do is 1) be a fan and 2) write me a little haiku about anything you like. On Saturday, October 17th, I’ll choose two winners, one random and one who writes my favorite haiku, and each one will receive a tiny owl! I hope you’ll play along. Haikus are so easy and fun. (If you aren’t familiar with haikus, they are short, 3 line poems. They don’t need to rhyme. All they need to do is be structured so that the first and last lines each have 5 syllables and the second line has 7.) Good luck!

Posted on

Quilt Giveaway at Don’t Look Now

To celebrate her 100th post on Don’t Look Now, Kellie is having a super generous giveaway! Don’t Look Now is one of my regular blog reads, and I am routinely amazed at the beautiful, creative, high quality work I see there.  Her intricate quilting and applique designs are just so pretty.

Kelly is offering one lucky person who comments on the giveaway post the chance to take home her lovely Lilly Pilly quilt. Check out this pretty quilt:

Lilly Pilly Quilt (Image borrowed from Don't Look Now)
Lilly Pilly Quilt (Image borrowed from Don’t Look Now)

What are you waiting for? Go enter (and spend some time checking out the rest of the blog, it’s worth it)!

Posted on

True Up Side Bet

You may have heard, Sew, Mama, Sew! hosted this massive May Giveaway Day. Lots of great blogs participated and I was amazed at the generosity of creative bloggers. So many amazing people were giving away amazing things. Quilts, patterns, supplies, bags, jewelry. So much goodness. Of course, I’m a sucker for giveaways and I entered a few with little expectation of winning. I’m not the luckiest girl around.

Kim at True Up was so suprised by how many people entered her giveaway for scrap bags that she decided to have a side bet on twitter (@trueup), and invited her followers to guess how many comments she would get by the end of the giveaway. I bet 833, and someone else bet 879, and apparently we were both exactly 23 comments away from the actual number she received. Which makes us both winners! Hooray for winning, and those scrap bags look fabulous. I can’t wait to see what sort of goodies are hiding in there.

This also gives me an excellent opportunity to mention True Up, which is a great blog about all things fabric. Just recently, I’ve learned all about silk and gotten a peek in the Quilt Market. True Up also regularly posts about US and international fabric shop sales, and it’s been great having all that information collected and neatly presented. It’s one of my regular blogs that I follow in my feed reader, and it you haven’t checked it out, I recommend you do so now.

Posted on

A Sunny Saturday

The sun is shining today, I slept in, and my sweetheart took me out for lunch. Mmm, tasty chips and salsa. What a lovely start to the weekend. Yesterday was absolutely awful, weather-wise, with rain and wind and thunder all over the place. The poor kitties had to spend a good portion of their time in hiding. To counter that, I made a couple of sunny, lemony wristlets.

Carefree Wristlet in Lemonade

Isn’t this Alexander Henry fabric just wonderful? I think it would be pretty hard to have a bad day if you were carrying this around, even if it was raining. Another good thing today: Needle ‘N Thread is having a stash giveaway. Share a little bit about how you organize your embroidery threads and be entered to win some pretty new embroidery thread and storage containers. Now who couldn’t use that?

Posted on

Win an Anodyne Design Tote!

Chia’s House of Stirfry (which is a great blog you ought to be visiting anyway) is having a contest! Chia has declared May to be Reader Appreciation Month and to celebrate, she’s going to give away an Anodyne Design tote bag to one of her readers. All you need to do to enter is leave a comment on her blog sometime during the month of May. Maybe you’ll win a cool tote bag, and you’ll definitely discover a cool new blog full of paper and rubber-stamp art info, posts on desert life, tutorials, templates, and more. To learn more about the contest, click here.

Market Flowers Tote

I’m so pleased that Chia decided to thank her readers with one of my bags, and I hope the winner loves it!