Category Archives: Holidays

Santa_Rules-01

Growing up, it was always my dream to visit the North Pole. It wasn’t until later in life that I realized my reasoning was a little bit different than that of my friends. Forget the toys. I wanted to go to the North Pole to apply for a job.

It sounded perfect.

“A creative work environment. Hot chocolate served year round in the employee lounge. A nice boss. Cool uniforms. And we were going to make things!”

Even at the mall, I was always more interested in what Santa’s helpers were doing than the big guy himself. After all, they had my dream job.

Although I never got my internship at the North Pole, I have realized that he still managed to teach me a lot. So, I bring to you the ever kelly top 8: Small Business Rules I Learned from Santa.

#1 Have a compelling mission statement that others will rally behind.

Santa-rule-one-a

Santa’s sleigh breaks down. The reindeer are out of pixie dust. One toy gets left behind. It’s the central plot of nearly every Santa story ever told.

And no matter what the problem, Santa never has to convince anyone that he has a noble cause. Just think of those poor little girls and boys who will wake up with an empty stocking!

The same can be true in business. If you have a mission that others naturally want to support, you can feel good about spreading the word knowing you’re doing something you (and others) can believe in.

#2 Keep a “naughty” and “nice” list.  Work with the “nice.”

santa-rule3

You can’t always choose, but when you can, it really does make all the difference.

#3 Take regular vacations.

Santa-rules-vacation

You know Santa took this job just so he could have summers off, right?

#4 Delegate.

santa-rule-elves

Everyone needs elves. Even Santa. And he’s magic.

#5 Have a sense of humor.

santa-rules-six

When you feel stressed out, overwhelmed, or unsure, it may be time for a laugh. I once read that while it’s good to be serious about your work, you should not be too serious about yourself. Laughter breaks down walls and helps you get moving again.

Why do you think Santa laughs so much?

#6 Cultivate supportive relationships.

santa-rule-six

We all need a Mrs. Claus in our lives — someone to bake us cookies and cheer us on. Matching outfits totally optional.

#7 Listen to your customers.

santa-rules-seven

Is there anyone better at this than Santa? Reading all of those letters. Getting out into the public. Asking those children one-on-one what they’d like for Christmas. He could teach our social media gurus a thing or two about listening.

And finally…

#8 Tell a story with your brand.

santa-rules-eight

Seth Godin says it best, “If what you’re doing matters, really matters, then I hope you’ll take the time to tell a story. A story that resonates and a story that can become true.”

You’re never too old to believe. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

What about you? Any rules you’d like to add to this list?

Year in Review

2012_thumbnails

Before we get too far into 2013, I wanted to take a few minutes to record a few highlights from 2012.

This was the year for lots of firsts.

  • Rang in the New Year madly wrapping up book projects and photo shoots for my first book, Handmade Hostess.
  • Moved. A lot. Said good-bye to our friends + family in Los Angeles and moved to Bellevue. Lived in a high rise for the first time in my life + enjoyed walking to cafes, restaurants, and the library.
  • Turned in the manuscript+ 160 pages worth of photos and illustrations for the book before I had even unpacked all of the boxes.
  • Celebrated the launch of my first fabric line with Andover Fabrics, Storybook Lane.
  • Had my first booth at Quilt Market — which was harder + at the same time more rewarding than I ever imagined possible. Spent a lot of time hanging out with my parents + brother getting ready for the show. Won 2nd Place Single Booth!
  • Came home totally exhausted, depleted, and melting in our apartment sans AC.  Had the most uninspiring summer ever.
  • Poured myself into the design, illustration, and publishing of my first set of sewing patterns.
  • Shipped orders all over the place from right down the street all the way to Australia and New Zealand.  Finally learned my way around the post office and got a grip on my shipping box situation.
  • 8 months after moving to Bellevue, moved to a much more peaceful spot next to a forest. Settled into our first home.
  • Cut up 20 bolts of fabric for hundreds of kits.   (While moving.)
  • Got my first press mentions in Fat Quarterly, Better Homes and Gardens Quilts + More and FabShop News!
  • Started design on my next fabric collection.
  • (Partially) renovated a house – ripping up carpets, tearing out an old bathroom, and generally making a mess.
  • Entertained our first house guests over Thanksgiving.
  • Fell asleep on the couch on New Year’s Eve after a long day of pulling out nails and sanding trim.  Fell in love with this house + my husband a little more.

2012_thumbnails2

Thoughts.

When I see everything all written down like this, I feel a little less lost. It sure looks better on paper! I am going to tell you very honestly there have been a lot of days this year when I could not see it.

I hope you take some time to record your accomplishments for the year and your hopes for 2013 — even now 2 weeks in.  You’re not too late. Some years when I write it all down or see other people posting about their big milestones, I feel a little bit depressed.  Like maybe the stuff I did wasn’t all that great. I’ve had years where my biggest accomplishment was “survived.”

However, even on those tougher years, I have to admit that it was my year. I made the choices about what mattered most.

I know some of you have such huge outside demands on your time that it’s very hard to carve out time for yourself. There are children to care for, sick family members, or long hours at a demanding job.  If that’s you and you wrote down “survived” then I raise my glass and give you a little toast. Sometimes “survived” is a big deal and very much worth celebrating.

But maybe this is the year you want to move past “surviving” into “thriving.” And while I don’t have everything all figured out, I can tell you that I have learned that it just takes doing the thing — again and again until it’s done. Everything on this year’s list was hard. For each celebration, there were a whole bunch of setbacks and good cries, but if you want something badly enough and are willing to choose it every single day, I think there are very few things you cannot accomplish. In fact, I know that is exactly what some very wise women told me when I started down this road.

It takes a while to believe they are really talking about you.  You have something special + unique to contribute, too.  This year, I want to spend more time here talking about dream building + getting it done, because I know most of us (myself included) want to be more effective in our lives.

Here’s to 2013… I hope you’ll share the journey with me.

Filed under Holidays, Site News. Tagged with , , , , .

Welcome Back

Christmas_vacation

Did you know that this is my favorite time of year in blog-land? I love watching people pop back online one-by-one, waking up from their holiday comas and emerging from their fluffy cocoons, freshly unwrapped presents still clutched in their hands.

Everyone seems to have something new to say. All they really needed was a good nap and a few days of totally indulgent behavior, and everyone is all sorted out again.

If only we could remember to pause that deeply throughout the year.

I enjoy reading everyone else’s resolutions (even if they don’t call them that). I love goal setting, possibly too much, and I always refuse to be rushed by this process. The girls (and guys) who show up on January 1st with a well thought-out list and some cute pinterest-worthy photos to match have me in awe a little bit.  But the truth is that I don’t like to hurry these things or make them too perfect. They need to be dug out, excavated from some place deep.  It’s usually messy. I always like to take a little extra time. But I think those are the best dreams – the ones that are unruly and a little wild. You have to let them take shape their own way. They cannot be contained.

Are you doing any January daydreaming of your own? I will be back with an actual list of goals for 2013 soon, but I’m letting this holiday haze slip away slowly. I want to be fully awake for what’s coming next.

Filed under Holidays. Tagged with , .

Merry Christmas!

EK_card

Popping in from vacation to leave you a little note.

The past month I have been sending off stacks of holiday cards, boxes of goodies (congratulations Narda + Patty!), and lots of last minute pattern orders — but my holiday wishes would not be complete if I did not come back here and thank you for stopping by and reading Ever Kelly. I am so grateful for all of you — both those of you I’ve had the pleasure of “meeting” through e-mails and tweets and Facebook comments — and also those I have not met quite yet.

As I take some time off to spend with my family, I wish you the very best of holidays.

Lots of love, Kelly

Filed under Holidays, Site News.

Christmas Vacation

Santa-rules-vacation

I am taking a bit of my own advice and getting ready to shut down things around here and declare this the kick-off to a much needed vacation!

Unlike Santa, I don’t think I’ll actually make it to Disneyland — but really, anywhere warm and cozy will do. Hope you can find a place to relax as well. If you feel guilty putting your feet up, you can do what I do and call it “gathering strength for 2013.” It sounds so much better than “gorging on holiday goodies and wearing your pajamas all day.”

Filed under Holidays. Tagged with , .

Small Business Rules I Learned from Santa

Santa_Rules-01

Growing up, it was always my dream to visit the North Pole. It wasn’t until later in life that I realized my reasoning was a little bit different than that of my friends. Forget the toys. I wanted to go to the North Pole to apply for a job.

It sounded perfect.

“A creative work environment. Hot chocolate served year round in the employee lounge. A nice boss. Cool uniforms. And we were going to make things!”

Even at the mall, I was always more interested in what Santa’s helpers were doing than the big guy himself. After all, they had my dream job.

Although I never got my internship at the North Pole, I have realized that he still managed to teach me a lot. So, I bring to you the ever kelly top 8: Small Business Rules I Learned from Santa.

#1 Have a compelling mission statement that others will rally behind.

Santa-rule-one-a

Santa’s sleigh breaks down. The reindeer are out of pixie dust. One toy gets left behind. It’s the central plot of nearly every Santa story ever told.

And no matter what the problem, Santa never has to convince anyone that he has a noble cause. Just think of those poor little girls and boys who will wake up with an empty stocking!

The same can be true in business. If you have a mission that others naturally want to support, you can feel good about spreading the word knowing you’re doing something you (and others) can believe in.

#2 Keep a “naughty” and “nice” list.  Work with the “nice.”

santa-rule3

You can’t always choose, but when you can, it really does make all the difference.

#3 Take regular vacations.

Santa-rules-vacation

You know Santa took this job just so he could have summers off, right?

#4 Delegate.

santa-rule-elves

Everyone needs elves. Even Santa. And he’s magic.

#5 Have a sense of humor.

santa-rules-six

When you feel stressed out, overwhelmed, or unsure, it may be time for a laugh. I once read that while it’s good to be serious about your work, you should not be too serious about yourself. Laughter breaks down walls and helps you get moving again.

Why do you think Santa laughs so much?

#6 Cultivate supportive relationships.

santa-rule-six

We all need a Mrs. Claus in our lives — someone to bake us cookies and cheer us on. Matching outfits totally optional.

#7 Listen to your customers.

santa-rules-seven

Is there anyone better at this than Santa? Reading all of those letters. Getting out into the public. Asking those children one-on-one what they’d like for Christmas. He could teach our social media gurus a thing or two about listening.

And finally…

#8 Tell a story with your brand.

santa-rules-eight

Seth Godin says it best, “If what you’re doing matters, really matters, then I hope you’ll take the time to tell a story. A story that resonates and a story that can become true.”

You’re never too old to believe. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

What about you? Any rules you’d like to add to this list?

Filed under Holidays, Inspiration, Site News. Tagged with , , , , , .