October 29, 2008

Do you like the Pass It On Plates concept?

Even though it's not officially the Christmas shopping season until the day after Thanksgiving, everyone is starting to think about Christmas.

What memorable, unique, useful, and green gift can you give to people on your shopping list?

I was shopping for gifty things in my local natural food store when I found a neat gift wrap that uses the tracking number concept: Wrapsacks!

Actually, like Pass It On Plates are more than just a plate, Wrapsacks are more than just gift bag. These re-useable, cloth gift bags have a tracking number sewn into them, and you can track their journey online from their website at http://www.wrapsacks.com/

Plus, the batik fabrics are so much fun - you could use them for Hannukah, birthdays, anniversaries, going away, coming to visit, get well, and congratulation gifts.



October 28, 2008

Where do your readers come from?

I grew up in a multicultural community (ok, not what you think - this was Czech, Slavic, Polish, German, and Scandinavian farm country in northern Wisconsin - with a Finnish 'outpost' a little ways down the road) and have always been curious about other cultures.

Imagine how tickled I was when I looked at my traffic stats and found out that I've gotten a little traffic from http://www.bhuz.com/, Belly Dance Central.

I guess there are some forum posts about DIY Christmas Presents that are sending readers my way. Since I'm not a member, I can't read the posts, but it's so intriguing that I'm getting traffic from there. My only connection to Belly Dancing is my friend Marcy, who took a class. She's actually pretty darned good at it. The way she can move her hands back and forth is mesmerizing.

I'll never forget when I took a much younger Rachel to Marcy's recital and we sat with Marcy's husband and three sons. The two older boys got bored and wandered off, so we watched the show with Nate, who was about 10 or 11. Rachel started to get bored, so I asked Nate if he wanted to go wander around with Rachel.

In his little voice Nate replied,

"Uh, hello? Half-naked dancing women on stage. I'm a guy. I'm staying here."

But I digress.

Since I think a Belly Dancing website is the most interesting and unlikely place I've had traffic coming from, I thought it would be fun to ask:

What's the most interesting - and unlikely - place that your blog has received traffic from?

PS: The Finnish outpost is the little town of Ino, WI. (Pronounced "I know.") Being a Wisconsin town it consists of a crossroads and a bar. Don't blink or you'll miss it. Ino is about 20 or 30 miles from the town of Oulu, WI. (Pronounced "Oo-Loo.")

Oulu is bigger than Ino.
Two bars.


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October 25, 2008

One, two, ... three?

Well I am excited. Really excited. The stars are aligning themselves and things are gettin' good.

This morning I was browsing through my blog reader and saw Kim at Today's Creative Blog featured Pass It On Plates! She has an eye for creative details and I love the amazing blogs she finds and shares. What a huge honor to be featured! Shucks, I feel taller today, I tell ya.

She also showed off the picture of my friend Andi's dresser. You remember Andi? She's the friend who painted this:

The reason I'm so excited is that on November 15, both Andi and I will be at the TOPS 6th Annual Craft Bazaar in Keizer, Oregon. We were just talking yesterday about drumming up some publicity for the sale, and here Kim reads our minds and writes this post.

Now I realize everyone reading this is scattered all over the country/world, but it's still so neat to realize that a few months ago I decided I need more face-to-face selling outlets and the next day Andi said,
"Hey I'm going to sell my painted furniture in a craft bazaar this fall.
Do you want a table there, too?"
Then yesterday we mentioned needing a little publicity and ba-da-bing, here's Kim's post.
Don't things happen in threes?
What should I ask for next?

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October 24, 2008

Another Pass It On Plate

During a recent Google search to see what kind of competition Pass It On Plates has, I found this pretty plate from a store called The Back Porch.

This isn't one of mine, but it's interesting to see the concept and phrase "Pass It On" are catching on. I wish the store said whether this one is ceramic or melamine. I'm guessing it's melamine, based on the $15.99 price tag.

Either way, this is what you get: a plate.

I'm feeling pretty darned good about my Pass It On Plates TM because they come with a re-useable cloth gift wrap, a pretty little doo dad to dress it up, and a paint pen so you can personalize the plate with your name. Plus, each Pass It On Plate TM is numbered and each one has its own Plate Diary TM that tells where it has been and what it has carried.

And it's handmade. J



October 16, 2008

New product in testing mode...

While I can't tell you what new product is being tested, I can tell you it makes it easier to send Pass It On Plates to far away locations.

It's also fine for people who don't bake and great for people who are watching what they eat.

Oh, and can I mention how great this is as a way to spread information about a special cause? (More on that later - some of those particulars are still being worked out.)

I asked a few of my dear friends to test some of these new products.

So, Dear Friends, what did you think? Don't worry about spoilers. If the instructions made sense, were easy to follow and duplicate, and you liked the overall concept, everyone else will find out soon enough. If the product needs more work, I like to think of "spoilers" more as teasers for what's to come.

Thank you!


October 13, 2008

Yes, I am one of the crazy ones

At the marketing seminar I attended last month, there was a lot of inspirational talk about making a difference and changing the world.

We were instructed to network during meal breaks and to sit with someone new when we returned to the seminar room after meal breaks.
I met a lot of very bright, amazing people, including Simon from the Bay Area who has a new product to make cars operate more efficiently and eco-friendly, David and Bruce from Spokane and Phoenix (respectively) who among other things educate people on the importance of investing in precious metals, Louis from Montreal who teaches presentation skills to professionals, as well as Julie and Tracy from the Victoria, British Columbia area who publish books (that's Julie) and manage vacation rentals (Tracy's business) - these two women have developed a Joint Venture to offer a writer's retreat at Tracy's rental property in Peru.

I showed samples of Pass It On Plates to everyone I met and worked on my elevator speech - the 30 second description of what the plates are and what they do. Nearly everyone told me the same thing, suggesting that I take a very particular approach with them - an approach I had first started with as I was developing the plates.

The problem back then was that I was not thinking big enough.

On the last day, all 500 seminar attendees wrote out their marketing plans, then we broke into groups to go over each others' plans and offer "consulting services" to each other to fine-tune those plans. My "Marketing Partners" and I came up with a plan that takes my simple idea and turns it out on a massive scale. I can't reveal what that is today, because some of the legal and tax details are still being worked out, but it's big.
Really big.

While I was there, Laurie B posted a video on her blog.
It gave me goosebumps. My dearest friends use the same adjectives to describe me.
Are you one of the Crazy ones?

The big idea from this crazy one may just change the world.
Watch and see.

October 8, 2008

I think they're creating more work for themselves...

I need to ship out some Original Pass It On Plates but ran out of my extra large USPS flat rate shipping boxes.
"No problem," I thought, "I'll just go back to the Post Office and pick up another bundle of boxes."
Long story short, these boxes have become a special order item only, and the only way I can get more is by ordering a bundle of 10 from USPS.com. So I went online, set up an account, and ordered my boxes. When the order was completed, I received this message:
All free shipping supply items are shipped via Parcel Post within 2 Business Days and should be received within 7-10 Business Days.
Since I have an odd way of looking at things, this message really made me laugh.
Parcel Post, really?
Seven to ten business days, are you kidding?
It just seems silly that they would ship my order to me when they can just throw some on the mail truck and drop them off.


October 3, 2008

Just desperate

Yeah, we bought a condo and move this week.

It's just across the parking lot from where we live, so not a bad move - maybe a quarter mile - but the tornado twins (Mr. Pass It On Plates and our darling daughter) have so much miscellaneous clutter that I will not move for them... and they won't clean up despite all my nagging.

And I'm good at nagging. Well, apparently too good at nagging because they're good at ignorning.

It's nagging karma, I guess.

In the living room we have a large 10 foot wide by 6 foot high bookcase packed full of books. I calculated that we need about 28 paper boxes (the kind offices get reams of paper in) to pack up the bookcase.

Last weekend I worked on packing books and used up the last of the book boxes. With only a few large boxes left, I started packing up some other stuff when I realized I needed some bags. Not just any bags; I needed the gigantic blue bags you can only get at Ikea.

Plus, we were out of olive oil.

Yes, this is how my mind works. Some days it's amazing I can get anything done!
I mentioned the need for bags and oil to Mr. Pass It On Plates and he stared at me. I know he was thinking, "Sheesh Woman, you're just desperate to get out of packing."

I stared back at him and thought, "Man, I'm just desperate to get back up to the city."

I invited him to go with me on my errand for ridiculous necessities but he declined. The Seahawks were playing the Rams and they needed his support. Somehow he's got me convinced that his watching football on tv helps his team win, but I'm not sure of the science behind that. Besides, he's a Vikings fan, so there's no proof he was any help to the Seahawks in the first place.

Anyway, I grabbed the kiddo, hopped in the car and drove up to Ikea (only an hour away - hey, my car gets great mileage!) to buy 6 shopping bags for about a buck each. While in Ikea I examined the kitchens, living room layouts, closets, and the office. *Sigh* Pass It On Plates needs that office with the white cupboards, the big table, and the spacious computer desk...

Then Mr. Pass It On Plates sent me a text: "When you go to TJ's, get some black olive Tapanade."

Uh huh.
"See, you needed me to come up here," I replied.

After we explored all the dream kitchens and dream offices at Ikea we headed out of the city back down to So-Lame Salem, stopping at Trader Joe's to get some decent olive oil and tapenade. They have no Italians or Greeks out here in Oregon, so decent groceries are hard to find in the regular stores. I'm not Italian or Greek, but I would be if I could be. $25 and several other grocery items later I left Trader Joe's at closing time with a ton of empty, flattened boxes.

They were just the perfect size for packing up the rest of the books.

See? I knew what I was doing.


October 2, 2008

Vote now!!

Denise Clenney, of Denise Clenney's Changing Designs has entered a contest at Charming Sam's blog.

Her assignment was to take the image of the formerly lovely lady shown at the left of the above picture, and incorporate it into a new piece of art. Now honestly, all the entries in this contest are very creative and well done. And yes, since Denise is one of my (invisible) friends (that's what I call all my online friends) I'm probably biased. But please go take a look at the contest entries and I'm betting that you'll probably agree that Denise's entry is the most striking, poignant yet funny entry in the group.

Ok, stop dilly-dallying! Go over there and vote!

October 1, 2008

1. We're Moving!
2. Get to know me
3. Mpls food

Pass It On Plates has grown and will soon have its own dedicated studio space! We bought a condo and I'll be busy over the next couple of weeks with moving, cleaning up the apartment, getting rid of misc via Craig's List, and getting settled in the new place. While I'm gone, I'll publish a few personal posts about myself and my family so you can get to know me better.

I usually have so many things to talk about that I don't take the time to invite you in to my home to meet the family. Now's your chance.

Brace yourself.

For starters, we have lived in Oregon for only a few years. Before that, we lived in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-St Paul) for over a dozen years. Our lives out here in the Pacific Northwest are flavored by a Midwestern perspective. We're still impressed by the snow-covered mountains visible from our neighborhood... in the middle of July. We can't get enough of the ocean. Every winter day that we can wear sandals and shorts with our fleece jacket (most any winter day) is deeply appreciated. The absence of mosquitos ... well I don't have to explain how happy we are about that.

On the other hand, being foodies, we miss Minneapolis food. Until just this year we couldn't define Mpls food, and it's still surprising when we realize that the signature dishes of that Scandinavian town are Italian and BBQ. Go figure. (I'll explain Al Capone's Italian influence on the city later.)

Here's a picture of a restaurant we miss: Famous Dave's BBQ.
This particular one is located at Calhoun Square in Uptown Mpls, a hip and upscale shopping mall. This restaurant has a "train" that passes overhead. Ok, it's just sound and theatrical effects, but it makes the atmosphere as good as the food.

Here is Rachel and the rack of ribs that we shared last time we were at Dave's. This was taken in 2006.

Yeah, it's been that long.

... now if only Dave's would open a location here in Oregon...