how to be successful in small {handmade} business! {part ten- how to handle critics}

Here is part ONE.  And part TWO. And part THREE. And Four
& Five. & Six and Seven. + 8 Also Nine

After a little (unintentional) hiatus, I'm ready to jump back into this series.  I don't have set number of posts but I just plan to continue to add to them over time as things come up.  

Today I thought we would talk about critics and how to handle them.  

This is a tough one.  I'm not sure what is worse, someone copying your work or someone coming out of the woodwork to criticize you? 

Both are rude and inappropriate and both seem to have a following of people who don't have a clue that they shouldn't be doing it. 

I'm not sure when it happened for me, but I do know that at some point along the line, when you reach a certain (usually perceived) place in social media status, you transition from a person with feelings to this "thing" that no longer feels hurt.  At some point in your success you reach a place where people feel it is ok to jump in with their criticisms and harsh judgements.  

I have been criticized for everything from letting my kids jump on a hotel bed to what version of bible I read to beverage choice to meal choice to how I care for my children to using a Bill Cosby quote.  And in general, it is almost always people who I have never heard from before, who have never commented or have not been following me for much time.  Which alone just adds to the hurt because clearly they are casting judgement with little to no information yet STILL feel it is OK to be ugly. 

Over time I have learned better and better how to handle them.  Don't.  If you get an ugly email?  It's not worth your time, delete it and move on.  If you get a comment that is out of left field from someone you have never heard from...delete it.  I have learned that is does not matter how lovingly you present your side, those kind of people (trolls are what they are called on the internet) do not care, they don't want to hear your justifications or defenses.  They want to hurl a stone and sit back and admire their work.  My guess is that these sorts of people are dealing with hurt or anger that has nothing to do with you or your status, your blog post or your IG photo.  Instead they have been hurt and about to boil over and YOU just happened to be the thing they come across first.       

If you are getting ugly things from someone you don't know, it is just not worth your time to reply.  It will only escalate the situation, your best bet and strongest power is to ignore it and move on.  It's the quickest way to diffuse a situation.  If you ignore them, you are denying them what they are looking for and they will move on.  More than likely it's a pattern with that person.  

In fact, on more than one occasion, I have been in the midst of trying to deal with such a person, reached out to a fellow handmade shop owner only to have them tell me that THEY have dealt with that person, and even go as far as to tell me what would happen next (and it DID).    

Something coming from someone, anyone, who does not know you or couldn't possibly have enough information to speak into your life is not worth a blip on the map.  It's not worth your stress or tears.   

And the reason is, unless you have a deep personal relationship with someone, they can't possibly have the ability to speak into your life with wisdom, especially in an unpleasant manner. 

If you get a comment or email of a more kind manner, but still none of their business, you can have a standard reply handy.  Mine sounds something like "Thanks for your concern, however we will have to agree to disagree because I do not have the time, desire or need to defend myself against a stranger". 

I hope that helps a little.  It's one of those things that become easier to do over time but I feel if I had known these things then, my learning curve would have been a whole lot better!


While you are here don't forget to enter to win $100 from Vanity Fair and check out my "One fun thing a day" post sponsored by Frusion! :) 

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inside the little bit funky studio!

Good morning to you!!  Welcome to my little studio!  I've come a long way from dining room table to closet to shared office space to now, this glorious wonderful space that I get to practically live in! :)  I'm in the process of getting some new (old) furniture in my house and some of you will understand why this means ALL THE THINGS in the house get shuffled around.  Earlier this week I took some time clean up, organize and rearrange my studio space and I LOVE IT!  It's amazing how just a little moving around can make a whole place feel new!

Now my studio is officially the dining room in our house, it's off both the kitchen and the living room but I LOVE the location.  I'm never far from anything that is going on but still in my own space.  This summer was a bit crazy so it was in dire need of some attention but now it's all fresh and clean!  I hope you will like peeking around!     

Above is where many of my supplies live and most of my fabric.  The cubbies are from Target!
 The curtains are made from a vintage (hand-sewn) quilt top that I got from Goodwill for $5!  The button rug is from Ikea.
The massive table in here was made by me! The bunting hanging on the wall is made from all vintage sewing supplies! 
This is real life.  The green box on the floor is papers that need to be shredded.  The blue box holds all my receipts, the bulletin holds all my love notes from people like YOU! :)  The washi tape holder is actually a ribbon holder from Joann!
That door is my pantry and down that little hall is the kitchen.  
This is my sewing/printing/working station.  That tall metal cabinet was $5 and holds all of my vintage textiles! 
Hoho fan art is my favorite!  These are a few of the lovely pieces sent to me by hoho fans! I love each piece and what they represent! 
My best girl.  
Work in progress.  Coffee and Netflix are a must.  Currently I am rewatching 30 Rock. 
Beyond the stairs is the living room, just to the left is the front door. :) 
Vintage traveling cases hold supplies, too! 

And my studio mascot, enjoying the new location of her bed that I made from a vintage suitcase and couch legs! 
Hope you enjoyed having a look around! :)

While you are here don't forget to enter to win $100 from Vanity Fair and check out my "One fun thing a day" post sponsored by Frusion! :)
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one fun thing a day {with Frusion Go Wild! Smoothies}

This summer has FLOWN by, don't you agree?  It seems unfair that my favorite season whips by at lightning speed, yet winter seems to last eternally, don't you think?

Somewhere in the middle of the flash of summer, I realized it was slipping through our fingers and wanted to be sure we did something on a regular basis to keep the boys active, engaged and having fun!  Days would just float by where we did little more than watch a movie and play Legos. Not that there is a thing wrong with that, but we all wanted more from our summer.

So I made a promise to the boys, from that day on we would find one fun thing a day to do for each day left of their summer.  Some days it was a bike ride, some days it was a trip to the pool but we gave each day a special purpose.  They immediately looked forward to the days fun thing AND it was great motivation for them to clean up after themselves and obey (two requirements to participate in the daily fun thing).
Some of our ideas were free (our pool membership was already paid for) and some cost a little money (our geode kit was around $20) but we did it!  We took each day and made a memory from it.  One (or two) day(s) we had ice cream for dinner, one day we went to the $1 movie, another day it was a trip to the playground with a slushee. Some days it was as simple as a trip to the pet store. (Do your kids love that too?)

Somewhere along the ride we tried Frusion Go Wild! Smoothies and we all agreed they would be the perfect bring along snack on any of our adventures. (They have a resealable lid making them an excellent travel companion).  I was out of ideas for quick and tasty snacks. Granola bars and pretzels having worn out their welcomes.  The boys immediately loved them, even requesting them in their lunches as summer went away and school began.
 And our adventuring continued!
On some adventures we made new friends. Free local parks are the best!  This little guy was found on our trip to a local national park, almost as good as a petting zoo, with all of the animals we found along the way!

The boys also liked that the Go Wild! Smoothies could go along with dinner as well as with lunch at school.  On this night they accompanied dinner and bingo!
Moses has especially loved them. He says that they taste like a drink yogurt. He is my picky child, but he loves all of the super fruity flavors! It has 2x the calcium than the leading kids’ smoothie so he’s also getting great nutrients.
Now that summer has left us (at least in spirit) I am trying to hold on to the idea that each day should contain a bit of fun, yesterday happened to be pulling carrots from the garden! :) It takes very little effort to find fun and now that we know that, we are after it! 
For more activities to do with your kids, check out the Go Wild! Pinterest page, or follow Go Wild! on Facebook for updates and offers. Also, get a $1 off coupon here!
Be sure to visit the Go Wild! brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ posts!
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Vanity Fair, Empowering Women and $100 Visa gift card!!!

 Hello there!
I was excited to be a part of Vanity Fair®'s "Women Who Do" campaign because I LOVE women who do!  "Doing" is my favorite.  I love a company that encourages women to just be themselves and go for what they are dreaming of in a supportive and wonderful way!  I was recently sent some of their product and as a result did a little research about them!  I was thrilled to find so many wonderful initiatives in place that emphasized empowering women in healthy strong ways!  Ultimately, Vanity Fair® hopes to spark a movement that inspires women to support each other and live their lives according to what makes them happy.
Vanity Fair® has recently kicked off a campaign to go all over in search of women who DO succeed in the day to day struggles that we all face as women!  The moms who go unnoticed for all she does, the female executive working hard to get to the top, the coffee barista working her way through college.  Every day, women everywhere are making it work and Vanity Fair® is seeking to support them (ha! get it?).  
Vanity Fair® has also partnered with Dress for Success® – an organization dedicated to promoting the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, career development tools and a network of support– noticed a need for more intimate apparel to provide its clients. Vanity Fair® saw a welcome opportunity to lend its expertise, resources and extensive product offering to help replenish the lingerie of the non-profit organization. Through this partnership, Vanity Fair® hopes to provide women with the support they need to be successful.  Hooray!!!
On July 17, 2014, Vanity Fair® and Dress for Success kicked off the national LiftTOUR – a nationwide bus tour with a focus on fit and philanthropy. The LiftTOUR will travel across the country conducting bra fittings at major retail locations, and for every woman fit, Vanity Fair® will donate a brand-new bra to the local Dress for Success Affiliate. Between July and the end of October, the LiftTOUR will plan to stop at 70 different locations in 12 major U.S. markets. Because FEELING good about how you are dressed is often key to a woman feeling empowered to DOING good for those around them!
Women everywhere are doing the hard work, running businesses, running families, working at their local churches and shelters, doing the laundry and making business deals.  Vanity Fair is seeking those ladies out to show them support!! 
And as you may know for over 100 years Vanity Fair® has been making style and comfort effortless for every woman, Vanity Fair® offers feminine and beautiful lingerie available in styles that are trend-right and feature sleek fabrics with clean lines for a smooth look under clothes. With sophisticated color palettes and minimalistic prints, Vanity Fair® bras and panties are great for everyday wear.
You can find Vanity Fair® here:
Who inspires you? Tell us in the comments for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card!
Sweepstakes Rules:
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 9/8 -10/19/2014.
Be sure to visit the Vanity Fair brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ posts!
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randomness for Friday.

 There's a lot going on in the land of hohos!  We are working on accepting Fall around here, cute little Halloween hohos sure do help! You can order one by emailing me at :)
And I have been having a lot of fun with my new digital art!  How cute are these buttons?!
And, just for a moment, it's fun to make something other than hohos...
Especially if it's from hoho fabric! :) You can order this fabric (and wrapping paper!!) from my Spoonflower account HERE. :) Coming sooon...Christmas wrap!!
 I love a good custom order! Here is one of my favorites from this week! :)
 I am back in the swing of sending weekly treats in to the teachers, coworkers, mailmen, etc.  This is my favorite way to send in cupcakes so they are a little more safe (and presentable!).  Just a cupcake in a clear hard plastic cup...
 and the whole think in a treat bag!  Even a kindergartener can get it to class safely!
And one more random bit...I have found that these empty Crystal Light containers are great for Moses' stand up lunch box!  I feel so smart.

Hope you have a super weekend! :)

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raising an ebenezer - daycare-less

I admit, it's been a little sparse around here lately.  We've been working ourselves into our new school routine, adding in sports and activities and church stuff all around.  I have been working every minute (literally) of the day to get caught up to life and I can see that happening in the next week and a half or so if I keep it up. 

In the meantime, lunches are being made, treats sent into work, homework completed and all of that.  I haven't had much time for extracurricular creative works or reading but thankfully I serve a God who speaks to me where I am at and He was kind enough to remind me of something yesterday and this morning felt an Ebenezer needed to be raised.  You can read more of them HERE, if you would like.  

The point of an Ebenezer is, in simple terms, to be a reminder.  Something that points you to what God has done for you as a way of reminding you when you need it.  There are many instances in the Bible where God told His people to "raise an ebenezer" and remember.

And this is one of those times.

Both of my children are in school full time this year.  First time ever for this happening.  It wasn't until yesterday driving home from taking them there that I realized that Doug and I had met a goal we had set for ourselves: our children made it to full time school without any need of any form of daycare.  To us, for OUR family, that was a huge desire and need.

I always knew I wanted to be some form of stay at home mom, that I never wanted to entrust the care of my children and all of their firsts to anyone.  Ever.  It's just something I have always felt.  In fact, on our second or third date, I told Doug something similar to "I have no intention of being a career woman, my desire is to stay home with my kids until they are grown" and followed up with "If this doesn't work for you, this should probably be our last date".

And yet he kept me. :) 

Doug and I both knew how we wanted our children cared for, that we wanted a childhood of learning over structured academics during their little years.  We knew that it didn't matter if they could read by two or tie their shoes by three that more studies than not show that it all becomes a wash in kindergarten.  We knew we wanted to protect them and keep them as little as possible for as long as possible.  We knew that the better environment was at home, with me.   

We have faced critics and do gooders who tried to convince us that daycare was a better option.  Or people who thought we were insane for me to quit my job when Moses was born (I made 2/3 of our income and had great insurance at the time).  We have been judged on many levels for not going the way of the world these days but it never really mattered to us.  We always knew what God wanted for us and our boys and we did it.    

And I am sharing this to encourage both you and myself. 

For me, this is a reminder that if God shows us the path He wants us to take for our boys, HE WILL provide the way.  The same that goes for staying at home goes for private school tuition goes for school clothes goes for college.  God will provide. 

For you, take this as encouragement that obedience always pays off.  God has come through for every need my boys had during their baby/toddler years.  He always provided food and shelter and clothes and diapers.  We never had need of anything and it wasn't because we made a lot of money either.  Christmas gifts became diapers, birthday money became the next needed wardrobe on and on, He provided in little ways.  As long as we kept on the path He set before us, we had all we needed and then some. 

If staying at home with your kids is the path you feel led to follow, it may take some scary steps, it WILL take some sacrifices, you will be criticized or maybe assumed lazy because of it.  But none of that matters if you are willing to be obedient.  If we had "figured it out on paper" first, we never would have summoned the courage, instead, we just chose obedience.

And here we are.  Almost eight years later, no debt, no daycare.  And it still doesn't make sense on paper.

*disclaimer* This is NOT an anti-daycare post.  I just knew it was not right for OUR family.  Your family and your path is not my business, only YOU know what God wants for your family and He will certainly bless that too!  :)   

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