20 minute *KID* crafter-how to make a marshmallow catapult!

I made a catapult for the boys a couple of nights ago and it was well received and simple to do!
If you have boys (or girls!) they will love this and you most likely have the supplies on hand!
 It was simple enough that even Aaron enjoyed using it.  Here, in one hand he is catapulting and in the other....hoarding a supply of marshmallows. 
Here is how it is constructed: (idea originally from Family Fun magazine).
Tie two pencils together to form a T.
Punch holes in the box (I used a hole punch) and inch down from the top edge in the locations shown above (two for the pencils and one for the rubber band).
Hot glue  a large button or milk lid or something similar to the end of the pencil.
Using a rubber band (I used two silly bands laced together) lace one end through the end of the box and attach the other end to the opposite end of the pencil holding the button.
That's it...you may have to wiggle the pencils around in the holes to loosen them up...you may have to adjust where the pencils are tied together, etc. :)
You know boys...anything that fires anything is a hit!
 It wasn't long before Moses realized that is could shoot any small thing...like tiny dinos and such.
 After his brother went outside, Aaron had a great time playing with this all by himself.

And eventually he wanted ME to shoot the marshmallows...into his mouth! :)

Have fun making this with your kids!

The winner of the Go! baby is comment number 22 from the top.  If that is you please email me all of your info plus your choices for the three dies!  I don't know who that is...so I'm going to peek.  If I don't hear from you within 24 hours I will choose another winner!

(I do it this way to prevent drive by contest surfers).

Happiest of Mondays to you! xo

candy bowl

Some time ago I wrote a post about sharing
I had had some recent issues with people copying "my" work and it bugged me.  I realized that the best way to defeat that annoyance was to just get over it and give permission to people to use any tutorial I write at will to create and make and do to their hearts content.  And I meant it.  Any tutorial I post here is a gift from me to you.  I hope they inspire you to make a million and one wonderful things...that lead to other wonderful things and on and on.

Any tutorial I post here is something that I will refer to as "free candy bowl" items.

Let me explain.

Let's say I owned a brick and mortar store.  Set in the downtown of the place you live.  Filled with one of a kind things that you can't find anywhere else because I made them myself from my own patterns and processes.  Say in that store, near that checkout counter I kept a bowl of candy.  All sorts of little candies that I kept there for my customers to have and sample for free.  No strings attached...just there for you, if you come in my shop...whether you buy anything or not they are there for you.   They are there just because I love my customers and I like to give a little something back. 

Say you came in my shop and thought...well she is giving away candy, so she won't mind if I take a thing or two off the shelves.  Since she IS giving that candy away and all.  That should be OK.  You don't ask if this is OK...you just do it.  Lots of people do it.  Repeatedly.

No one would think twice if I confronted the thief or even called the cops.  Right?  What if it was a Christian based business?  Still perfectly normal to call the cops and confront the thief, right?

Since I wrote that post some time ago, a lot has changed.  My business has grown and changed.  I am always trying to improve things and have made many changes, some seen and some unseen.  The biggest change or event is that I have gained a copyright on my hohos.  In all of their shapes and forms.  A legal outright protection from anyone taking my idea and running with it. 

Why did I do this with my hohos and nothing else?  Because honestly, most of the items I make are "candy bowl" type items that I have merely put my touch on...pillows, Christmas ornaments, signs, bags, flowers, dresses, etc.  Items that are all made in a million different ways by a million different people.  My hohos are different.  They are an idea that sprung from my mind and created by an idea that I have not seen elsewhere.  Just like a song is specific to a songwriter or a painting is specific to an artist...these hohos are specific to me.  I did not create them from looking at someone else's tutorial.  I did not use anyone else's pattern nor did I glean inspiration from a stuffed animal in my boys' collection.  The hoho is specific to ME.   Hohos are NOT "candy bowl" items.     

I get emails all the time from people looking out for me about bloggers and etsy shops selling items identical to my hohos.  So identical that it is clear that they saw mine and duplicated it.  And yes I DO, kindly inform them of my copyright and ask that they please stop.  And usually I get a kind response back...telling me that they are embarrassed to have done what they've done and they apologize.  And I move on and so do they.  And I think part of why that usually goes so smoothly is that I am suddenly a HUMAN being to them, with feelings and no longer some vague figure on the internet.   I approach them as kindly as I can with a hurt heart.  Bottom line is, stealing is wrong.

Because let me tell you, it's not about someone selling one of my items and making money from it.  Though, if anyone is going to have a toy line with Mattel or Fisher Price with MY hohos it will be me.  No, more than the money, it's the dishonestly that goes along with it.  It genuinely hurts my feelings that someone would take my idea and try to pass it off as their own.  They wouldn't do that to their best friend but the anonymity of the internet oftentimes makes it easier to do things that we wouldn't otherwise do to "real" people.  Some will say that it is accidental...but if you read my blog and frequent my shop...you will not convince me that you fell into your sewing machine and out came a hoho that looks just like mine.

And I am not greedy.  People HAVE written to ask me if they could make a few to give as gifts...people with NO blogs or anything...NO WAY for me to know that they have done it other than them volunteering the information and treating me they way they would their friend...and I have given my blessing.

This business is MY livelihood.  I hope to continue to grow it and grow it until maybe one day I HAVE a brick and mortal store.  If I have to stop a thief THEN I will.  And I maintain the right to do that now. I won't go into the Christian side of this too much...because honestly, I think it's terribly naive to think that because I love Jesus, that means you can walk all over me and have me do nothing to stop it.  Will I still be kind to you? Yes.  Will I be respectful and gracious? Yes.  Will I do my best to ensure that HOW I handle myself will not bring myself or my family shame?  Yes.  Will I stop people from stealing what is mine?  You bet.  Will I fail at all of these things sometimes?  Yes.  But I don't feel that I need to defend myself much here because the great Defender will take care of it.  I will just do my best to ensure that my actions bring Him honor.  

In the meantime, I would love for everyone to keep in mind that if you are reading a blog, any blog, that there is a REAL person behind it.  There is a real person behind every unique item for sale.  There is a REAL person behind this blog.  There is a real person behind my hohos.  I am a mom and a wife and a sibling to many.  I am kind and loving to others...I am generous with time and resources.  I love Jesus.  My feelings get hurt.  I cry.  I laugh until I nearly pass out.  I love Starbucks and fabric.  I forget to respond to emails.  I love to bake.  I have fat pants.  I worry about all the same things ANY woman worries about like feeding my family well or screwing up my children or if anyone noticed me wearing a shirt with someone elses snot on it.  I just want to be treated with respect and honesty.  

And I bet the same is true for any mommy blogger and shop owner, brick and mortar or internet.

I can speak up for myself AND love Jesus too.

happy Friday!

Just wanted to share this photo...it's the first I've been able to take in the daylight of this project and shows all the happy colors a little better. :) I'm hoping the wrinkles and puckers will come out when I frame it. 
 I think this H is my finest work yet. :)
I went to Joannes and bought gobs of fleece and satin to work on some Halloween costume orders.  I was most excited about making this hat...I basically looked at the standard fleece hat for kids (that you can find in a million places) figured out how to make my own version...looked at a photo of Yoda to get the ears right and paid my little model an m&m to wear it for a photo. 
There are a million and one patterns and tutorials out there to make Yoda hats but I didn't want to step on any toes so I was careful to make up my own patterns. 
You want to know the really funny part?  I have never ever seen the movies.  I did go to half of one in high school...but the girlfriend of one of the people we were with had to leave early for curfew so we all left. 
I don't know if it's the cuteness of the model or what...but I think I did a pretty good job. :) If you need a hat to go with your costume this year...email me...I could easily turn this into any number of animals.

And...just a little side note....the TLC website Parentables featured one of my tutorials...go on over HERE to check it out!

And I just wanted to say...if you stop by to read my little blog...if you leave a comment or share something here with a friend...or email me little things you think I would like...or send random things to me in the mail...I am thankful for you.  This blog and the people who participate in it are a huge part of my happy life and I am so blessed by it because of all of you!  So thank you!

personal WIP.

Here's what I am working on as a personal work in progress (WIP) at the moment.
It's an alphabet sampler from Rosy Little Things 
Considering that I don't know anything in the way of real embroidery/crewel work...each letter is taking an hour at least.  If embroidery is your thing, please don't tell me how terrible that is.   And please don't look too closely at my stitch work. 

Even if it's been challenging it HAS Been motivating as I only let myself work on it after I have completed at least ONE custom order (on top of my other duties). 

I'm hoping it will happily hang in the room of my soon to be niece. 
 I have a more boyish type sampler in the works too....for my soon to be born nephew. 
More on that one later.

And just a heads up...my custom order list is growing by leaps and bounds...get yours in SOON so I can be sure to get to it! :) 

Happy almost Friday!  Today is our one day of the week that we don't HAVE to leave the house so I will be taking full advantage of staying home today. :)

boys. end of summer.

We are taking advantage of these last few days of summer.
It's getting tough now that we have something to do five mornings out of seven.  For me, that is tough...I have thoroughly enjoyed those toddler days of lazy activities scheduled around naps and bed times.  Summer, I have a feeling, will become even sweeter to us. 
On the flip side of that though...I LOVE having older children.
I am SO very thankful for this new season of life.  I feel like the last few years of babyhood and toddler hood have been survival years for me.  Tough, tough years.   
I've said before that it has taken me having kids to realize that I am not a baby person.  Not that I don't adore tiny parts and the special time that is having a newborn...but these last few months with older (able to communicate) kids I have really felt like I have hit my stride...I am well slept...life is less crazy with older kids.  Not EASIER but I feel better equipped for the stage we are in now...more so than the tiny person days.  I am grateful for the experiences but looking forward to each new day with these growing little me.
Here's what we've been up to lately... 
We found a special place about 30 minutes outside of Charlottesville..
It's a creek...full of rocks to throw, wildlife to seek out, sticks to hit things with and water to play in...basically everything that a little boy could ask for.
 These photos are from when we went there a few weeks ago...
 ...it was a fun time.  We saw snakes and crawdads and frogs.  The boys were thrilled. 
 A wonderful FREE time with family building forever memories.
 Moses continues to be the funny guy...
 and hoho fills the crazy/naughty position pretty well. 
 We've learned that Aaron will eat ANYTHING on his plate for a mini-ice cream cone.
Moses LOVED going to the dentist again.  LOVE loved.  Like screamed "I"M SO EXCITED" when I told him he had an appointment the next day.
 You never know what superhero will show up to a meal.  Even super heroes need their super foods.
Hoho had his first day of "hoho school".  It's really just the childcare that is provided while I am in a Bible study but hoho LOVES it and calls it hoho school.  So we go with it.  I almost didn't do it this semester due to already being busy so many mornings a week already...but hoho was broken hearted at the idea of no hoho school so I'm doing it.  Maybe God wanted me there?
 Moses also goes to the Bible study childcare...which is better than most Sunday school classes that I have seen so they are both getting some great stuff out of it.  And it's free.  Wonderful and free.  How awesome is that?
 We go on a lot of family dates...sometimes in search of food...
...sometimes in search of adventure. 
Today we picked up Moses from school and went back to our little creek...
Moses was thrilled with the surprise.  Virginia is back to being my favorite again...80's well into September and sometimes October if we're really lucky. 
This barn lives on the way to the creek...these kinds of things are all over...at least anywhere that I have traveled...Virginia Tech fans seem to be everywhere.  My favorite part is that if you tried to pull this off in Blacksburg it wouldn't stay up overnight without being painted over. 

It's my favorite thing about Charlottesville...the loyalty to Hokies. 

We've had some good good days lately...trying to pack in as much as we can before Winter traps us in the house for a couple of months. :)

first day then and first day now.

he's so big and cute here. 
one million question a day minimum from him.
loves his brother.  likes to give his brother the brunt of all things: love, wrestling, elbows, candy stash...
he is a GOOD kid.  everyone likes him.  he had a great first day of school.
and for {my} fun...here's what he looked like this time last year.
there was still baby in there...so cute and squishy. 
where, oh where, has the time gone?

more new.

Can you stand to see more new things?
I had a HUGE spurt of productivity yesterday and managed to get all of this done in ONE day...crazy what you can do when inspiration works with time and everything just flows.
And you have cereal for dinner.  But that is neither here nor there.
Above is an adorable OOPS.  Meant to be an iPad case but ended up too small.  Instead it is perfectly sized as a Nook case or can hold a couple of diapers and wipes.  If you would like to claim it you can for $20 plus shipping...it's nice and padded and once I make some for the store they will be higher in cost.   Just email me! :)
And here is my robot hoho...or robohoho!!!
Available as a custom order...you can choose the color circles you would like! :) ($20 plus shipping)
 And my hoho elephant! I can barely stand how cute he is!  And he's got a little knot tail too!
($20 plus shipping)
And I apologize to my son in advance for this but he was the only model I had access to...
Here he is modeling the princess Leia hat I just finished to go with...
 ...this princess Leia costume!!  Cute and cozy...made from warm fleece for cozy trick or treating.  The belt ties on.  Available as a custom order only (each piece $15). 
It may be wrong but it's SO very cute on him.
And only cost me one small piece of chocolate.

See something you want? Email me. :)

Stay tuned...I have a really fun giveaway coming up!  You guys are the best!


busy busy.

I'm keeping busy AND having fun while doing it. 
Here lately I have had a few of those kinds of ideas that pop into your head and make you crazy until you. get. them. OUT!  This hoho lion is one of those types. :) I LOVE him.  Currently swimming around in my head are also an elephant hoho and a robot hoho...or a robohoho.  :)
Want a custom animal?  Email me and I will see what I can do.
Moses had preschool orientation yesterday.  I ADORE his school and have zero issues sending him there.  He is in the whales class this year...so OF COURSE he needed a whale shirt for the first day, right? 

And soon, I will be adding a handful of Christmas headbands to the shop.  If you would like to get a few at the pre-shop price of $5 each or 3 for $10 for the minis, just email me!  Once they hit the shop, the price goes up a bit. :)

Hope your day is lovely...have you had your first pumpkin spice latte of the season yet?

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