progress?

I've been busy.  Every single minute is full.  The chain reaction continues in the house.
There is not a trip up the stairs that my hands are not full of something that needs to now live elsewhere.  The new studio is coming along?  Yes, that is a question mark.
 I built my desk this weekend...and added a shelf.  And started carting all of my supplies in here from all over the house. 
 I wish I could say this was all of them.  Or even most of them.  But that would be a lie.
I have approximately 1,000 ideas for in here and through out the house. 
But the people I live with insist on things like food, baths and attention.  So it is taking a while.
 But I will get there.  Maybe.
Anyone want to come over and start in on this mess for me?
Or send coffee and chocolate to get me through? 

xo
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updates...

 here's my progress on this project...      i
 j
 k
 l
 m
 n
 o
 p
 q
and r.  I try to make time to do at least one letter a day and I have been doing pretty good with that goal.  I am hoping that once it is all done that the combination of all of them together will had all of my flaws in embroidery skills.
And the boys sleeping in the same room?  Well, if I had known that it would be this easy, I would have done it long, long ago.  I only had to go into their room a couple of times the first night to tell them to cut out the whispering and last night only once.  And the mornings have been just fine too!  They still stay in bed until the clock reads 7:00am. 
Since it seems that it will stick...I made an initial purchase for my new space...above you can see the wood that will be my new desk. 
Let me just say, that if Doug were there for this...it would not have happened.  He hates it when I MAKE things work like this.  I barely had room to get it in my CRV...the front of the wood touched my rear view mirror and I could barely close the back hatch.  I won't even mention the number of "men" who walked by me in lowe's trying to get an 8ft by 4ft piece of plywood off the shelf and onto my cart to get cut...(it was just Moses and I) but I am sure that number is nothing compared to the number of men who walked by me in the parking lot trying to get this beast in the car. 
Sometimes stubbornness is a virtue.  Because I did it.  And then we went through the Chick-fil-a drive through.
And finally a little before and after for you. :)  These hohos are some of my favorite to make.  You can purchase your own keepsake hoho from the shop. It's a great way to put to good use a favorite baby outfit. :)

Hope your weekend is a happy one!
xo
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what i wish num 20.

Welcome to "What I wish I could tell you"...an anonymous platform for bloggers to share what they don't feel free to share on their own blogs.  If you have a story/thought/ache/hurt/feeling/secret/prayer request you want to get out, feel free to email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail.com.  You will remain anonymous to all but me unless you choose otherwise. 
The author of this entry has chosen to share their name.  Say hello to #20: 

~*~
Hi!  My name is Holly.  I blog at Little Bit of Life. 
 
I wanted to share a little bit about my family and why I think it is important for my kids to follow Christ.  I shared a "What I Wish" post with Crystal a while back so if you remember it then you might remember that 1 of my 4 kids is my 12 year old sister.  My family also includes my awesome husband of 14 years, our 14 year old daughter, 11 year old daughter, 6 year old son, and our 2 new kittens!  It sounds overwhelming, right?

1 Corinthians 11:1 says "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ."

I love that verse.  If you ask any one of my kids what is number one in my life they will tell you that God is.  While I am completely and totally in love with the Lord, I understand that I can't force my children to be.  I can only lead them by example and pray that they will put Him first in their lives.  We have established a pretty open line of communication in our home and our children know that they can talk to us about anything.  They face unbelievable pressure and temptation on a regular basis in their lives far from what I remember at such a young age.  I grew up going to church, however behind closed doors my childhood was troubled and very painful.  It wasn't until I was older that I truly understood the love of Christ in my own life and I am still building on that relationship everyday.  
I know this sounds a  bit crazy, but I don't want to be the most influential force in my children's life.  God should be.  I want them to understand His word.  I want them to know that life won't always turn out the way they think it should.  I want them to know that when it doesn't, He will be right there holding them through it all.  I want my children to be confident in their faith so that they may lead others to Him.  I want them to make a difference.  
My job is merely to be an example.  

~*~

Want a turn to share?  Email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail.com. 
Feel free to comment and encourage or just relate and assure.
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chain reaction.

I put the boys in the same room today.
Up until this moment they each had their own space.  And I really liked that.  Really, really liked that.  But.  My business has continued to grow much further and wider than I ever imagined it would.  Last year I made more sewing than I would have using my college degree.  It's so crazy to me.  I am so thankful to be learning and using my skills to help my family out AND I get to be with my boys full time.  Lots of HUGE blessings all wrapped into one.  
I felt like it was time to put them in the same room together, which fits them both comfortably and get my studio space back.  I spent three hours this morning moving and hanging and arranging and cleaning to get them both in there.  And they seemed excited about it.  I am praying the transition will be smooth.  I am grateful that we got to chose this idea and it wasn't chosen for us.   
 And this mess...is my new studio space.  Where every single crafty thing I own will live.  I plan on putting that big white desk under the window and using it as my cutting table.  To the left of the window I plan to build a desk along the whole wall and two or three shelves that will go the length of the wall. 
I think we will sell that couch...and put a huge set of shelves that we already own there.  Want to see why this is all very necessary?
Here's my number one storage space.  I have rearranged and reorganized this spot in every way under the sun.  There is just NO WAY to do it better.  I promise.  Organization is my thing.  The shelf is full to the ceiling.  There is a set of shelves on the left that mirror those seen on the right...those are probably even more full.  You cannot see the floor.  Once I move ALL of this into my new space...all the toys will live in here. 
Here's another hiding spot for things...behind that skirt are crates full of fabric and supplies and my printer.  The printer, my computer and sewing machine will all stay where they are but everything else will go upstairs.   
Here's another spot...those crates have saved me...each that you have seen is FULL of supplies.  That filing cabinet under the desk is full of patterns. 

I also have things hiding:
under my bed,
in my closet
and half of my linen closet. 

Once all of it is united in ONE spot there will be space freed up ALL over the house.  I would be lying if I said I wasn't excited about it. 

All of this will inevitably cause a mass organizational effort and purging of every corner of my house.  Because I know myself.  I have just set off a major chain reaction. 

And it will be awesome. 

Have a link to a favorite craft room?  I would love to see it. 
Got an idea that you think is brilliant for this kind of space?  Please share!

I can't wait to show you photos of the finished space!
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busy-ness.

This "something five days a week" thing is KILLing me. 
We have been busy.  And going. 
I have gotten up an hour before the boys every morning to *try* to catch up to life...it does not seem to be working. 
Regardless of the crazy around us, we took some time to take the boys to a local zoo (Richmond Metro) for a day of family fun. 
The animals were so great...you could get so close...Aaron loved chatting so intimately with these penguins. :) 
 You could feed giraffes.  I did not.  That tongue creeps me out. 
 I had never seen a black and white giraffe before...maybe he is old and has gone gray?
Moses loved this little bird tent...where you could hold out a stick covered with seeds to feed the birds from your hand. 
 He would never have done this last year. :)
 And Aaron is game for anything that Moses will do.
 Another thing Moses would not have done last year...ride a ski lift over all the animal areas. 
And again, Aaron loved that, too.
It was a good day and we have a few more adventures up our sleeves for the boys coming up. 
Which is making me work extra hard to get caught up (and ahead?!).
 I finished the Yoda inspired hat and robe...and had to coax my grumpy model into smiling for me.
Aaaaand chocolate saves the day.
And this was an extremely particular, special, awesome custom order...for a soon to be nine year old who really, really, wanted this for his birthday.  Only problem is...they don't really make them.  Against my better judgement (because I really like the mama of the nine year old) I took the job.  Eight yards of satin, a few times of wanting to stab myself with a seam ripper and frayed satin covering myself and my carpet later and it's done. :) I hope the birthday boy will be pleased. :)

Custom orders continue to flow in...and I am so thankful.  Please be sure to email me with your requests just as soon as you can. :) And if you have emailed me...please know I WILL email you back...I am doing my best. :) 

Yoda, I would be happy to make for you...but please don't request anything with satin. :)

I hope your busy-ness is just as lovely as mine.
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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
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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.
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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!
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