101 Tips for Small Business

Thought you'd really like this article, "101 Tips from 50 Small Business Bloggers".

Here's a little taste:

"One simple social business policy might be: Be invested. Be human. Be helpful as if the whole company depends on what you say and do, because customer service is the advantage of small business brands."— Liz Strauss, Successful Blog

The 101 tips are arranged in categories like Motivation, Planning, Your Product, Sales, Networking and more. This is a quick and easy read that is well worth it.

We all can use some savvy business tips like this every once in a while.

To your business!

Make a Polka Dot Art Board

I am in LOVE with this polka dot peg board with artwork clips (for her kids' masterpieces) by Chris of Just a Girl!

I found this tutorial by way of Kari at U create (tons of crafty moms are featured here) and couldn't be happier.

After you read the polka dot peg board tutorial, you will want to RUN to the store. Or maybe there is a spare pegboard in your garage that needs some polka-dot-love.

I have just the wall in my laundry room for this peg board. My girls are always bringing me pictures and I would love to display them like this (especially since my refridgerator door is covered).

Maybe I'll put one in my office to clip up that week's orders? That would be fabulous!

Let me know if you get your paint cans out this weekend to make your giant circles like Chris! :)

My Thoughts in the Carpool Line...

I have been away this week...because I have been in the school carpool line.

You too?

I am new to this club, this new stage of mommyhood that starts every morning at 7:30 a.m. in the elementary school carpool line. Do you remember this feeling? Like everything is not quite right? Like leaving your child behind in a strange place for seven hours is just wrong?

We moved to Alabama a little over a month ago and I have really been looking forward to kindergarten starting for my daughter to meet some new friends. Now that it is here, she is not too thrilled with being away from mommy and sister all day long. Today, she climbed into the car after school and said, "I had a great day!" By the time we got home she was asking if she had to go back again tomorrow and then plotting to be sick because, according to her, "You get to stay home from school when you are sick."

I have a lot on my mind these days. Just mommy stuff and business stuff. It is a lot. Enough to make any mom scream out her window and honk her horn in the carpool line. Oh, I almost did it.

The carpool line does give me a bit of time to just sit quietly and think. Thirty minutes in the morning and thirty minutes in the afternoon of waiting, waiting, waiting. My youngest sits in the backseat watching a movie or sleeping and I stare out the windows.

One day I cleaned the inside of my windshield and dashboard with Windex Wipes.

One day I plotted how to tell the crossing guard that yes indeed, she did forget to let our line of cars take a turn TWICE and now I was one of the last cars even though I arrived 30 minutes earlier (watching cars that arrived 1 minute before pass me by).

One day I tried about ten positions for our bright flourescent orange cardstock carpool number. Then I saw a veteran mom clip her number card on child's plastic clothes hanger (for pants) and hang it on her rear-view mirror. So smart! I copied that the next day.

Is it wrong that I want to "craft-out" my orange carpool number card with polka dot ribbons, a scrapbook-style frame and a new funky font for the numbers?

Tomorrow I hope to sketch out the outfits for this weekend's photo shoot that I need to sew (or maybe I'll be adding glitter to my number card).

Boy, I wish I had this In Touch Clutch (tm) by http://downstairsdesigns.etsy.com (pictured above) for my carpool time. Made by a crafty mom of a 4-year-old, she has been super-busy with back-to-school orders. Must be orders from frustrated moms like me who want their front seat to be totally organized and clean. :)

Here's more: Try 34 Things To Do in the Carpool Line from Suite101.com.

I like this blog post on Blisstree.com - "Carpool Etiquette for Dummies".

Surprisingly, I could not find many products geared toward moms livin' it up in the school carpool line. That's a little business niche just waiting for one of you crafty moms to take over (I could charge big bucks for a great idea like that, but I won't). Or should I?

Now you are all caught up with me. For today anyway. :)

What's your favorite thing to do in the carpool line?

AKM Designs Winner Is...

The winner of the AKM Designs 90-label giveaway is Sara, a fun-loving mom of four kids from Missouri. Congratulations, Sara!

This one was so much fun. And while you were commenting your hearts out, another great mom-owned handmade business contacted me to give you some MORE great prizes. :)

Did I tell you that my first-born started kindergarten yesterday here in Birmingham? Oh, I am so proud of her! So grown up.

I must say shopping for school supplies must be some kind of mommy-torture technique they've dreamed up. OMG. What a nightmare. Especially when I was shopping at a new-to-me Target Greatland. Not a good.


Have a super Thursday, Moms!

(True Random Number Generator Min:1 Max:45 Result: 30 Powered by RANDOM.ORG)

90 FREE Labels by AKM Designs

I told you I have another cool giveaway prize for you! :)

Ashley of AKM Designs would like you to get to know her custom address stamp and label shop, so she is giving one lucky winner from Polka Dot Mom three free sheets of 1.5" labels (that's 90 labels). Awesome! (Don't you LOVE the zebra big dot address label above?

This new mom (she has a 4-month-old daughter) from Levelland, Texas has a degree in graphic designs. Ashley began her business making invitations for friends and family as AC Invitations on Etsy. After the birth of her daughter, Ashley wanted to bring her daughter's name as well as her husband's name into the company because of their inspiration and support, so she opened AKM Designs. Her new shop brings affordable labels to market that people can use to create "beautiful mail".

When you see Ashley's designs, you'll know what she means by "beautiful mail". Oh my goodness, these are so original and lovely. She is very talented and I am so tickled to share her shop with you.

For this giveaway, Ashley has come up with a bunch of easy and fun ways for you to enter (up to four entries - oh yeah!).

Visit Ashley's shop and here's how you can enter (please leave a new comment below this post for each separate entry):
  • Inside her Etsy shop, click "Add seller to favorites" (one entry - tell me below)
  • Pick your favorite label design in her shop and tell me (one entry)
  • Tell your blog readers about this fantastic giveaway, then come back here and leave a comment below with your blog post link (one entry)
  • For extra credit, become a follower of Ashley's blog at www.akmpaperie.com (one entry)

This giveaway for three sheets of 1.5" cirlce labels personalized just for you in your favorite design will end on Wednedsay, August 12th (the day my daughter starts kindergarten) at 12:00 am PST.

Good luck!

Whimsy Couture Winner

Congratulations to Deven for winning three free tutorials from Denise at http://whimsycouture.etsy.com/!

Thanks to all who entered. You can still use your 20% off coupon today with code "PolkaDotMom".

More giveaways coming this week!

Comment entry number randomly chosen by www.random.org.

Last Day to Enter Pattern Giveaway

Today is the last day to enter the Whimsy Couture sewing patterns giveaway! :)

Read all of the details here.

Entries closed tomorrow night.