how to be successful in small {handmade} business! What do you want to know?

I have some more ideas for this series but first...I want to know what YOU want to know!  Email me (crystal@littlebitfunky.com) or find me on IG (littlebitfunky) or leave a comment here!  I'd love to answer/address anything you can think of!
Pin It!

what i made for monday: zucchini blueberry bread!

I made this last week before we left for the beach, sadly I did not get a photo of it.  I adapted the recipe from one I found that I kind of liked and turned it into one I LOVE!  I like to divide the batter into three smaller loaves, this allows for ease of baking.  I also just threw in the blueberries because I knew they would go bad before we got home, a happy accident!  You could leave out the berries and the nuts and still have an awesome bread BUT with the berries and nuts you can totally justify this as a breakfast food! 

Zucchini bread (with blueberries and nuts)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)
1 heaping cup of blueberries 

  1. Grease and flour three 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  I love that oil and flour in one spray that you can buy!
  2. Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon.
  3. Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients slowly until combined. Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Fold in berries.  Pour batter into prepared pans.
  4. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool on rack (or eat it right away like I like to do!) 
 Hope you love it as much as we did! 
Pin It!

raising my ebenezer - Aaron and the beach.

     As I start this post,  I'm not even sure what to call it.  All I know is that writing it out is part of my healing, my moving on, my getting past this thing that happened to us.  I believe at least two things to be true, 1: God can use all bad to bring good and 2: words are powerful.  Maybe my writing this out and you reading it will cause someone to think twice, or again.  To be a tad more careful in a vulnerable moment and save themselves some grief.  The thing about this is that we may never know directly, the good that is done, at least not until we get to heaven, we just have to trust Him.  As for the power of words, well, often times for me, the "writing it all out" part is the conclusion.  I begin to write and God begins to speak, to me and sometimes others, through the words He has allowed to flow through my mind and into my fingers on the keyboard.  The post is usually the result of several days of heart-mending and praying. 

     So, we spent the last week at the beach.  It was an amazing, unplanned vacation that I will fill you in on later this week.  There are so many great God stories woven throughout that I just have to write them all down, as another Ebenezer to God's amazing grace on me. 

     It was our last day, our last hours on the beach.  We had spent the afternoon swimming and playing in the waves, collecting shells and looking for sharks teeth.  The boys were both saturated with salty sea air and everyone was in high spirits.  We were beginning to wind down our last day there as Aaron and I walked along together, just a few yards from our beach chairs.  Aaron told me he was going back to our chairs, where his brother was, and I pointed them out to him among many others.  I turned towards the ocean and looked up to see Doug coming towards me, about a half a block away.  Doug and I met, chit chatted a little about how much longer we would be there or something like that, I looked up and noticed that Aaron was not at our chairs.  I asked Doug where he was and he had no idea.  I scanned the beach looking for him and there was no sign of him.  I started to walk down the beach and Doug walked the other direction, still both in the "where is he in the crowd" phase, since the beach was still littered with people.  No sign of him.  I kept walking, Doug kept walking.  No sign of him.  Doug and I would make eye contact every so often to let the other know that we still hadn't found him.  Doug searched the dunes, I walked quickly down the shore.  No sign of him. 

     Less than a minute or two into the situation and fear arrived.  We were past the momentary loss of a child that every parent experiences.  Where you lose sight of them in a crowd and locate them quickly, long before you get too nervous.  This was different than that.  This was "how does a five year old get off of the beach THAT fast"?  Only one, terrifying scenario provided a solution.  The beach was crowded, but not so crowded that I wouldn't have been able to see his blond head and blue board shorts.  I wasn't really worried about the sea because we had watched him all week not be able to get out very far too fast...the waves were big and he was little, he would no sooner make a little headway then a wave would deliver him back on shore.  No, my mind immediately went to an image of him being scooped up by a stranger and run off the beach.  My immediate fear was that someone had taken him.  It was the only scene that justified his quick disappearance.

     My mind has never worked so fast.  My fear has never been so intense.  I felt numb and powerless.  I had no control over what was happening to my child, no way to protect him, no power to keep him safe.  Ten thoughts at a time entered my head backtobacktobacktobacktobacktoback.  My mind, in panic mode struggled to remember every memory of Aaron that week as I wondered if they would be my last.

     As I staggered along the beach, desperate in searching for him, looking back to Doug in hopes of seeing him with Aaron in his arms, I spotted a policeman patrolling the beach.  Waving him down I ran to him.  In desperation I yelled to him "my son is gone, he's lost, we don't know where he is".  The policeman took down his basic information: Aaron, five years old, blue and white board shorts, blond hair.  He radioed all of the lifeguards (who were just barely still on duty getting off at 5:30).  He asked for more information: 47 inches tall, bowl cut, lost five minutes ago.  He told me to stay put, don't move, let your husband look, we need to be able to communicate with you.  I froze in place, under no control of my own.  Scanning the beach from where my feet were buried in the sand.  Waiting, trying to remember to breathe, making eye contact with Doug, over a block away.  Waiting, waiting, waiting.

     "They found him, a lifeguard has him".

     On the radio "Did you ask his name? What's his name?"

     "It's Aaron".

     I frantically turn to where Doug is on the beach, waving my arms to signal.  I point him towards the lifeguard that I can't yet see, walking with the boy whose fate we hadn't known for a bit.  I watch until Doug has him.  I thank the policeman profusely and run towards my boy, safe in his dad's arms.  Upon arrival I cannot contain my tears.  Heavy sobs of relief escape me to the point of scaring poor Aaron.  I held them both, right there on the beach, crying into them until I could contain myself.  Breathe, breathe, breathe.

     My sweet, crazy, wild and adventurous boy had known, as soon as he realized that he didn't know where he was, to go to a lifeguard.  He had run off towards our chairs and gotten turned around, something I had done a million times that week.  But he knew, without a single panicky moment, to look for the helpers, to do what we had always told him to do if he got separated.  Just twenty minutes before he got lost Doug had told him again about going to the lifeguard.

     We head back to our chairs together, ready to pack up, to find our neighbors on the beach that day in tears, saying that she had seen what was happening and just started to pray.  She joined us in thankfulness, crying for some time afterwards.   

     We witnessed the enemy's attacks many times that week, but always kept in mind that he is never the winner.  Not even once.  The God who created us had the ultimate power that week.  He guided Aaron to the lifeguard, He placed the policeman in our path.  He kept us from the plans of the enemy to steal and destroy.     

     Our whole ordeal was less than 15 minutes long but it's ripples are still moving outward.  I'm still recovering.  Something like this takes you to a place not often visited, thankfully.  My heart has constantly since gone out to parents who move on from 15 minutes with a different kind of outcome.  I can't even fathom the kind of strength that would take.  If that is you, I pray that you would comment or email me.  I would love to pray for you.  I am not trying to minimize much more serious "missing" incidents but I can promise you that ours was real and deep.  We are so thankful for so much that day.

     So like I said, I believe that God can use all bad for good in some way.  Maybe our story will prompt you to mention the lifeguards to your kids, or put a flag on your beach chairs or who knows what.  I don't even know what I would have done differently that day because we had done it all one hundred times that week.  I just know that writing it all out, takes some of the sting away, brings it out of the dark, where no good can happen and as we lay it out in front of God, we allow Him to work.

     That's what I am praying for, His work.  
Pin It!

how to make freezer jam! {a fun and easy kid activitiy!}

It's berry season here in Virginia!  I love fresh berries and all the yummy treats that come along with making them!  We also have a great local berry farm and as much as I love berries, I also love supporting small local businesses.  So whether I need them or not, I try to make an effort to get out there a couple of times a season!  Our last visit left us with over a gallon of blueberries and two pints of black berries!  Freezer jam is one of my favorite things to do with our berries! So simple and easy!  It's also very kid friendly because there is no heat involved!  The whole process takes less than 15 minutes from start to finish and the results can be enjoyed year round from your freezer!  The best part is that the jam is DElicious! It tastes so fresh and yummy and so much better than anything in the stores! 
For each batch you will need:
2 tablespoons Ball RealFruitTM Instant Pectin - Flex Batch 4.7 oz.
Ball 4-Ounce Quilted Crystal Jelly Jars with Lids and Bands, Set of 12
2/3 cup of sugar
approx 3 1/2 cups of fresh fruit (berries of any sort or peaches) (prepared the fruit mash should be
1 2/3cups of fruit)

Start by washing your berries and picking out any of the undesirables!
Then you can either mash the berries like so (one layer at a time) OR my favorite method is to use my immersion blender.  It makes quick work of all of the berry parts and leaves you with a nicely textured fruit mash. 

Then combine the pectin and sugar, mix them up together.
Add your fruit mash until it's all blended together, stir for about three minutes. 
And then pour into your clean jars, leave about a half inch at the top, allow to sit for 30 minutes undisturbed.  I've frozen these jars for over a year and when defrosted and used they taste just as fresh as when they were made!  
These jars represent three batches of freezer jam.  It's best to make them in small batches to ensure that the pectin will behave properly. 
Enjoy!  I hope you try something new! :)
Pin It!

some hoho love on Thursday!

Just a little peek at some of my favorite orders this week!  Anything you see can be ordered!  Email me at crystal@littlebitfunky.com to order!  Have a great day!
 Star wars! :)
 Every once in a while I find dreamy vintage linens...and they make my most favorite hohos!
The texture of the vintage hohos is by far my most favorite! 
 Do you know someone who just needs a lovey?
 It's amazing to me how I never ever tire of making these guys. :)
And back again, an old favorite!  I still love making these, too!
Pin It!

how to be successful in small {handmade} business! part seven! {How to make money blogging!}


Here is part ONE.  And part TWO. And part THREE. And Four. & Five. Then Six.

     Alright, so last time I promised to talk about blogging and making money from that avenue.  I should start by saying, yet again, this was never an intended route for me to make money.

     I started this blog with the sole intention of using it as a way to show photos of little Moses to his family that lived far away.  Before this blog I used a service that allowed me to upload photos of Moses and share them in a private way but that service cost money.  A free method of doing the same thing was very appealing to me and so I switched over!

     At first I shared this and that from our days.  Stories about our family and what we were up to.  I had no method to my madness and everything was created on a whim.  From day one I just shared what was on my heart and mind.  This blog is completely organically grown.  I knew nothing of SEOs and special words to drive traffic (and still barely do!) but it slowly and surely began to grow.  A community came to life somehow.  For the first time ever, I began to develop friendships with people I knew only through my computer (many of you were around for those first days).  We've watched each other do life from afar, have babies, go through trials and come through the other side.  I've come to be so thankful for people who "live in my computer" as they say.  Blogging made my neighborhood both bigger and smaller at the same time. 

     I think the blind, organic way my blog has grown has been a huge part of it's success.  And yes, I am calling it a success.  I have no real qualifier to add to that to tell you why I think it's a success.  I only have the experience of having benefited from the results of having this blog.  Like flying a kite, you can't SEE the wind but you love to see the kite in the air.  Something like that.  I have lived through the benefits of this blog, financially, spiritually and familial. 

     At some point I stumbled across Blogher.  I have zero recollection as to the how or why I found them.  I only know that at some early point on this blog I came across them and thought "well, if they want to pay me to put an ad up, why not?".  And that relationship was born.  In the early days I'd get a check that would cover the cost of diapers for a couple of weeks and be completely thrilled.  And then slowly, over time,  that income grew as well.  I know it's frowned upon to talk about this subject, that somehow I am to ignore the fact that there are ads on this blog that you see and sometimes interact with but they are there.  I know that they might not be your favorite thing ever and I get that.  But, for a moment, step into my shoes and imagine an opportunity you never even considered, providing you with income you never saw coming and all you have to do is what you are already doing.  Wouldn't you do that, too? 

     Blogher has been a dream to work with.  Their staff is super helpful.  They are considerate of the beliefs and personalities of each blogger they work with.  I have the opportunity to opt-in to every ad campaign and opt out of the ones I don't want to work with.  They answer questions quickly and continue to provide ways for me to make money that I wouldn't normally be making.  Blogher provides for a large chunk of income.  Many months it's more than I would make at a part time job at Starbucks.  And the best part, to me, is that I have complete control over what shows.  I choose the categories and placement.  I think of you a lot when I do this.  I strive for a balance of what I need and what is pleasing to the eye. 

     If you are looking to monetize your blog, Blogher is an awesome place to start.  I've also had good luck with Google Ads and Amazon affiliates.  No matter what you choose to do, read and ask questions.  The ad company should be willing to work with you, if it doesn't, keep looking!       

     In addition to actually providing income, blogging also opens up the door for product reviews (in other words FREE stuff!) but I think that information will be for another post. 
   

Pin It!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
01 09 10 11 12
Blogging tips