Stop Licking Lola

Woah what year!  It’s been a crazy time here at the farmhouse, and I wanted to invite all of you to come join me in the journey 🙂 Nate and I are now co-running our new blog, Stop Licking Lola, which is dedicated to telling our story and sharing with you our adventures.  I still have a blog over at Knitting Naturals too, but I’m keeping that one more focused on business stuff, crafty DIYs, recipes, and the like.  Stop Licking Lola is (in my opinion) more like Homegrown Joy, a fun and casual way for me to share with my followers all sorts of things that happen in my life, with cool pictures and stories.

Please stop by and subscribe to get updates.  I know at least 73 of you signed up for this blog 😀 I expect to see you all over at Stop Licking Lola too!

On to the next adventure!

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Going Through Changes

As you may have noticed, I’ve not posted very much lately.  I’m actually officially announcing that I’m taking a break from this blog to focus my time and effort on building Knitting Naturals.

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I’m working on a series of YouTube videos to promote the shop, showcase new products, and provide tips and suggestions on making other ecofriendly choices in all aspects of life.

My goal is to have at least 50 items in the next month or two (before summer starts in June), which will be pushing myself since I’ve been picking up more hours at my day job.

I do encourage everyone here to visit and follow the blog on Knitting Naturals though!

I plan to return to this beloved blog, and I thank each and every one of you for your support.  I never imagined that people would actually read what I have to write, but I’m very proud and happy with where things have gone 🙂

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I wish all of you the best of luck on your own projects, and will see you soon (hopefully over at Knitting Naturals!)

Awards!

I was honored enough to be nominated by Millie at Millie On Her World for the Reader Appreciation Award, so I’m sharing a bit of the love!

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Rules

  1. Link back to the person who nominated you.
  2.  Attach the icon to your site.
  3.  Answer the attached questions.
  4. Nominate six bloggers who you feel deserve this award and notify them about their nominations.

Questions

1. What is your favorite color?

Green–it’s refreshing and reminds of the wonders of nature, and the possibilities for new beginnings (just like the new green every spring)

2. What is your favorite animal? 

Tigers by far–specifically Amur Tigers

3. What is your favorite non-alcoholic drink?

Chocolate Milk

4. What is your favorite number?

7

5. What is your favorite day of the week?

Saturday

6. What is your favorite flower?

Snapdragons

7. What is your passion?

Doing better for the Earth…and KNITTING!

8. Do you watch television?

Not really, though I love Good Eats and The Office (more so at the beginning of the series, but I’m still a loyal fan)

9. Who is your favorite author?

I love all of Dan Brown’s books, though I don’t have a single favorite author, just a lot of favorite books and series

10. Do you like 80s movies?

Of course!  I am a product of the 80s myself, so how could I not?

11. How do you like your eggs?

I used to like them in a cheese omelette, but I’m no longer eating animal products.  Plant-strong for life!

12. When did you discover blogging?

I guess Xanga was like my first blog, but it was more of an adolescent personal journal than what I would consider a ‘blog’

13. Why do you like to blog?

I can share ideas with people all over the world!

Here are those I’m nominating:

Megan’s Creative Blog

Jilly Bean 2

Eyelah

Eva M Designs

Jessly in Cleveland

Chit Chat and All of That

 

Are You on Auto Pilot?

Do you ever find yourself doing the same things day in and day out, without much thought or effort, like your life is on auto pilot?  Now don’t get me wrong, I think routines are fantastic.  They give structure and comfort to our lives, which can certainly reduce your stress when you don’t need to put a lot of thought into what you have for breakfast or what route you’ll take to work.  I admit I actually look forward to the same awesome bowl of oatmeal with a baked apple and cinnamon in the morning.

But I think often times we put too much of our lives on auto pilot.  I realized this week that I’m bored and unfilled when I go to bed at night.  I get up and go through the same morning routine every day, which I have timed down to the minute.  I go to work the same way, come home and do the dishes, eat dinner, watch some show on my computer, maybe knit a little, and end up going to bed early.  I post the same 3 blog posts every week, buy the same foods at the grocery store, go to the same websites every day.  I don’t feel challenged or inspired by my daily encounters–and while I am very content and have an overall sense of internal calm, I want to feel more alive.

I want to do something fun and exciting, even if that’s just taking a long walk on a different path than usual, or trying some new recipe with an ingredient I’ve never used before.  I left my previous job to enjoy life more, to be less stressed, and to create more happiness in my life and my relationship.

I’m at the point where I need to re-discover and focus on that goal, and I challenge you to do the same.  Are you bored with your daily routine?  Are you on auto pilot?  Try something new today–put together a new outfit from your closet, meet an old friend for lunch, sign up for that class that you’ve been interested in, or help teach someone something new.

If all else fails, simply take a moment to stop, breathe, and enjoy the moment.  Watch the cars drive by the window, close your eyes and focus on your breathing, or watch your dog (or cat) in their own little world.

Do something, anything, different from the ordinary in order to get more out of life and go to bed feeling like you actually lived your life that day, instead of just wandering through it in a haze.

 

Valentine’s Day – Share a Little Love

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!  Remember that today is all about sharing the love–whether you are part of a couple or not, today is the day to tell people how much they mean to you.  Also a great day to eat lots of sweets and chocolate!

 

Love doesn’t make the world go around.  Love is what makes the ride worthwhile. 

– Franklin P. Jones

Giveaway Winner!

I do believe I’m quite a few days late on this announcement, but I wanted to congratulate Ayla for winning the 50 Follower Giveaway!  Yay!

Ayla, please email me your mailing address (at littlenotecrafts@gmail.com) so I can get your jewelry set out to you as soon as possible.

Thanks so much to everyone who participated!  I look forward to the next 50 followers 🙂

10 Awesome Free Tools for Your Small Business (and Your Life)

It hit me today that, WOW, I have a lot going on.  And it sure is overwhelming.  But who’s life isn’t like that?  We all juggle jobs with family and hobbies (if we are lucky) on top of keeping up with everyday life (food, laundry, shower, cleaning–again if you are lucky to get to that).  Now that I’ve opened my second Etsy shop, Knitting Naturals, and acquired a new part-time job, I need to stay organized and on top things more than ever.

Whether you run your own small business or not, these tools have greatly simplified my life and I’ll bet at least a few will work for you too.

1. XMind

This cool brainstorming tool allows you to easily create mind maps so you easily brainstorm and organize your thoughts.  You can create topics and subtopics for your new project, and I’ve found it to be a great tool to organize all the major areas of consideration for our tiny house project.  Start with one of their easy to use templates or begin from scratch, I find this a flexible tool that fits many needs.  You can even attach pictures and documents to your subtopics, upload files, insert a matrix (spreadsheet), and then share your mind map with others.

2. Evernote

I picture Evernote as the digital place for all the notes I have jotted down on Post-Its and scraps of paper on my desk, in random notebooks, and floating around in my purse.  It’s a place to keep quick notes, thoughts, ideas, or pictures, and you can even sync Evernote from your home computer to an app on your smartphone.  No more fumbling for pen and paper when you have a great idea on the road!

3. Dropbox

I only recently started using Dropbox, but I love it already.  Whether you want to share photos and music with friends and family, make documents and spreadsheets available for colleagues, or simply want to sync files between your computer and your phone, Dropbox is a great cloud storage solution.

4. Square

I got my Square to use at craft shows so I can easily accept credit card payments right there.  This is a great advantage and can certainly increase sales when so many people carry a card with them instead of tons of cash.  It’s easy to sign up and they will send you the little square device free of charge, there’s just a small processing fee per transaction.

5. Google Analytics

A must-have for anyone who runs their own website.  See all the details of who is visiting your page and how often to get some insight on what’s happening and be able to make better marketing decisions.

6. Fount

This nifty tool allows you to identify any web font you see.  Find an awesome font on a site and what to use it on your own web page?  Now you can find out the exact name and download it yourself!

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7. Wave Accounting

A 100% free accounting app made for small business owners and freelancers. You can create and send professional invoices, track expenses, create reports, and eliminate accounting headaches.  An added bonus:  Wave will track your business and your personal finances, which I love.  I used to use Outright, but like Wave much better because of this feature.

8. Mail Chimp

Want to start a newsletter for your business to keep customers engaged and up to date on your happenings?  Try Mail Chimp, a free email marketing and email list manager.  Granted, it’s only free up to 2,000 email subscribers, but if you have that many people interested in your business I think it’s probably worth it to upgrade.  You can choose from different templates and create custom lists to focus your promotions and news.

BONUS:

Life Tools for Extra Money Making

These last two sites are actually simple ways to make a little extra money on the side if you have the time.  I’ve enjoyed both with pretty good success, so trust me, they are actually legit operations.

9. Inbox Dollars

Yes, it’s a bit gimmicky, and the site is full of colorful ads and such, but I’ve made some decent cash simply from doing surveys, reading emails, and watching video ads.  You can also browse the offers to earn extra money on services you may already be considering (like Netflix or TurboTax).  It’s helped pay the cell phone bill and buy a night out to eat.  So all in all, not a bad deal.

10. Daily Feats

Earn points for doing daily feats (anything from flossing to eating healthy to volunteering to playing with your kids), then turn those points into rewards.  Rewards can vary (and they change regularly) but are usually coupons or gift cards to different sites.  I’ve seen Ebay gift certificates, gift cards for Starbucks, and coupons for Walgreens.  It’s easy to rack up points, and I’m finding it motivates me to read more, walk my dog, and make sure I get my vitamins in every day.

New Adventures in Knitting Naturals

A few months ago I attended an Entrepreneurship Extravaganza workshop to get some insight and inspiration for LittleNoteCrafts.  Little did I know that I would leave with a terrific, hit-you-like-a-ton-of-bricks, light bulb moment.

I’ve always loved nature and the environment and being outdoors.  I know a lot of people say that, but I’ve always felt I held a stronger conviction to it than most.  As a kid I first wanted to be a vet or a zookeeper so I could care for and save animals.  By the time I graduated college I wanted to work for the National Park System to promote the benefits of parks, recreation, leisure, and conservation.  I even studied abroad in Uganda, East Africa one summer to learn more about national parks, nature conservation, and sustainability.

One of my favorite shots in Africa

One of my favorite shots in Africa

I almost couldn’t believe I hadn’t previously thought of combining this love for nature with my love for knitting, but I’m very excited to announce my new shop: Knitting Naturals!

Knitting Naturals is all about hand knit accessories made from all natural, sustainable, ethically-produced yarn.  I even have my own fancy website!  Very cool, right?  Here are some ways I’m striving to be environmentally-friendly and better the Earth:

  • source all-natural alpaca yarn from local farms
  • use only organic cotton and organic merino wool (read about the harmful processes of non-organic fiber on the Knitting Naturals website)
  • ship products in all recycled or recyclable materials
  • blog about ecofriendly DIY projects to help readers be more environmentally-conscious in their daily lives
  • save for and build a tiny, low-impact, self-sustaining house to serve as headquarters for Knitting Naturals
All Natural Alpaca Wool Fingerless Gloves - Dark Chocolate Brown - Ecofriendly

All Natural Alpaca Wool Fingerless Gloves

Check out www.knittingnaturals.com to read all about the different yarns I’m going to use or learn about the mission and vision of Knitting Naturals.  You can also browse my new Etsy shop, and new items are being added regularly!

I’ve also started a second blog there to show more ecofriendly tutorials and document the planning process for the tiny house.  For anyone who feels strongly connected to this cause, I’ve also included a place to donate towards the tiny house project.  Every donation is greatly appreciated, and shows your willingness to help and support more sustainable ways of living.

I hope you will follow me on this great journey into the world of natural yarns, tiny living, and environmentalism. See you there!

This baby merino sheep sure is happy to be in this field!

50 Follower Giveaway!

That’s right!  I’ve got 50 followers!  Yay!  Thank you to each and every one of you.  I am truly grateful that you enjoy my posts and read my blog.  It’s a great milestone for me and as a thank you, I want to give something away!

I’ve chosen this beautiful necklace and earring set as a prize.  To enter, simply leave a comment on what you like about my blog and/or what you’d like to see more of in the coming year.

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Want extra entries in the giveaway?  Share this post on your own blog, Facebook, Twitter, or other social media page.  Be sure to include in your comment a link where you shared it.

Thank you again!  Have a stupendous day!