Suddenly Single

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Life has a way of surprising us, doesn’t it?

Six months ago I was minding my own business when WHAM! Something sudden and awful destroyed my marriage. The what, who, hows and whys are something to explore on another day, but suffice it to say, I was shattered. After a decade of (what I thought was) wedded bliss, and almost 14 years of intimate friendship, the man of my dreams descended on a very different, and dark, path. It was the middle of summer, the city was exploding with life, energy, and happiness, and I lay on the floor of my living room sobbing as he walked out the door. I was suddenly single. What’s more, I was suddenly a single mom.

The build up to that moment was three months in the making. I was preparing my heart and soul for what seemed inevitable. The break up to end all break ups. No one expected this. Not even me. And perhaps being caught off guard was in itself a blessing. I was the best wife and friend I could be, and everything seemed peachy keen, so this sudden turn was a complete surprise, but I had a clean conscience, knowing I had truly always offered the best of myself.

But breakups are never easy.

When you spend so much of your life living, loving, and growing with someone, only to find that they were not the person you thought them to be, it is devastating. And what’s worse are the endless questions that build up in your brain. You wonder, “Was it me? Did I do the wrong thing? Get the wrong hair cut? Was I not affectionate enough? Had I made the wrong comment?” But in this kind of scenario, you quickly realize, it’s not about you. It’s about someone else being deeply troubled and lost. You realize that, in God’s grace (yes, grace!), you’ve been given a life raft by being left behind. You were rescued from a sinking ship.  Continue reading

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An Indie Biz: Welcoming the New Year

2013 Pierogi Picnic Annual Business Review final

It’s been quite a fruitful year here at Pierogi Picnic – and there’s much to reflect on. Whether perusing through my Etsy sales, looking back at the conjuring of new designs, or basking in the warm glow of gleaming customer reviews, 2013 was the year where my business shined.

Thinking back over the last five years, and the endless toiling to build Pierogi Picnic’s strong foundation, this was the year where the pay offs became clear and tangible. What more could a biz owner wish for?!

So to send off 2013, while joyfully welcoming 2014, I’ve drafted up a visual graphic that looks back on this year’s achievements. Because, after all, what’s the fun of running a small indie biz if I don’t get to celebrate milestones, breakthroughs, and all the success nuggets in between!

And if you’re wondering how in the world I was able to achieve, let alone set my sight on these goals in the first place, consider giving my yearly business planning worksheet a try. Download my customizable, and totally adorable, planning worksheet below to help you get your goals on paper for the year.

Here’s to a fruitful New Year to all the indie handmade business owners out there!

2014 Business Planning Worksheet Graphic from pierogi picnic

Press: Homegrown Illinois

It’s incredible how many blogs are out there – scouring the internet for people and small businesses to feature. Each and every time Pierogi Picnic is scooped up for one, I am amazed that in the vast webiverse, I was somehow found.

And Homegrown Illinois is no different! Featuring artisans and people from our grand little state (is it little?) they recently highlighted me and my biz. I am grateful that from all the stories they could have run, they chose me. Check out the article here.

 

An Indie Biz: Unhappy Endings

Not every design experiment results in a happy ending. I learned this myself after trying time and time again to create a new top that would feature my very-own wycinanki print. Let’s just say that creating a reusable stencil of a highly intricate pattern is not as resilient as it would seem.

After spending hours painstakingly bent over my first wycinanka I eagerly made the first (and final) print using the stencil. Why didn’t it work? Continue reading

An Indie Biz: Keeping Things Fresh

One of the most important, albeit difficult, things for an indie biz is keeping your website alive with activity. Not only should we always be in a state of dreaming and crafting – we need to be using our creativity to make our virtual spaces fun and exciting. What’s the use of handcrafting that adorable new product if your new audience forgets to visit your .com? In the internet age, staying fresh and memorable is the key.

With all the talk of social media this, and Twitter that, it’s easy to get caught up in the new wave of marketing techniques, while forgetting the 21st century basic: your website. Many of your supporters will ‘like’ you on Facebook and follow you on Pinterest, but what about that new fan? If they’re new to virtual networking they may not be headed to the latest and greatest networking page. Instead, they’ll google you and land straight on your .com. That’s why it’s so important to regularly update your site.

Sure you can have fun new posts about your latest inspirations (that’s me to the ‘t!’) but are you changing your layout regularly? Are you enticing the reader to explore your pages? Are you uploading new buttons, photos, banners and other elements to captivate the viewer? Continue reading