Ok, I'm ready.

Do you see what I made? A HUGE, GIANT Hoho!!!

And one of you can own this one.  Or the next one or the next one or the next one...

You get my drift?

After much pondering and praying and thinking and being open to His will, I kept coming back to basics.

Water.  I've worked with Charity:Water before and loved it.  I love seeing the actual impact of our efforts in helping others.

I kept thinking how much I take water for granted.  Completely.  I wash my hands a million times a day, we refill wading pools dozens of times in the summer, we play in the sprinkler, we take baths and showers, we wash face and water gardens.

ALL things people without fresh water cannot do with any sort of ease.

So for 2013, I've adopted Charity:Water. 

I appreciate all of your input and ideas, each one was taken to heart and thought about.

At the end of the day, I just couldn't get away from the ache my momma heart feels for those who cannot do the same things for their children as I do with ease for mine.

So I set it up...and sent out a letter.  Here's what I said:

Dear friends and family, I've been praying these last few months for a way to use my blog and skills for good, especially good outside of myself. I've been blessed to have found something I LOVE to make and people LOVE to adopt...hohos! It dawned on my that making HUGE hohos up for raffle would be a great way to encourage giving to those in need and a way for me to spread blessings to others.
For the 2013 year, I've adopted Charity::Water for my very own mission. Every $10 donation is equal to one entry into a {what I hope to be} monthly raffle to win that months HUGE hoho!


Charity water helps provide water to people all over the world in need of fresh clean water, something that you and I can use all day long, a million times a day is something that is just a dream for others. Just think for a moment if you couldn't bathe your kids, or fill their wading pool, or give them fresh clean water to drink? Sadly that is a reality for over 8 million people!


You can see a great video about this cause here:
Or track their progress here:
I'm raising money for clean water by making Hohos for Jesus! Water can make such a huge difference in the lives of those without it...just think of hygiene needs or washing food or farming!

Every $10 donation will equal ONE entry into the raffle to win that months HUGE hoho!

Help me raise $5,000 by Apr 7, 2013. Donate to my campaign here:
What's really cool about charity: water is that 100% of the money we raise will directly fund water project costs in the field, and they'll prove every single dollar. When the project we help fund is complete, they'll send us a digital completion report with GPS coordinates and photos of the community we helped. Here's an example.
Every little bit counts, so click here to donate to my campaign.
Thank you for your support! xo,
Crystal


 Want to help me and rejoice like this together at the end of 2013? 



Here's my link, I'd love your help. We're off to a great start! 




 
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my HUGE surprise and my awesome husband.

Remember when I said I had a huge surprise to share?  Well, here he is folks!  A GIANT hoho!  But this isn't just any hoho, he has a very special mission.  This here, is a hoho for Jesus.

Ever since I started this blog, I've wanted to use it as a tool to give back, above and beyond myself.  Over the years, together{!}, we have bought nets to save people from malaria, brought water to villages and helped adoptions come together.  My heart has always been to find the best way I, and WE, could help the most people.  And this little idea was born, led, I felt, by the holy spirit.  

My goal for the new year is to make several of these giants, one at a time and raffle them off.  I want to adopt a charity for the year who will solely benefit from the raffles and sit back and watch God do something wonderful with all of portions put together.  

My first step is to find a charity.  At the moment I feel led to somewhere in Africa, with children as the focus, and I would love to hear any ideas that you may have for a good one.  I want to be able to track our progress {because how great will it be to celebrate at the end of the year?} but other than that I just want to be sure it's  a worthy, solid charity. 

If I could ask one small favor, please do not give me a lecture about how we should help "our own country's kids" before anyone else.  That hurts my heart in a special way for many reasons.  I don't feel that this is how Jesus would have us approach it because He loves them all, equally.  While there are many, many worthy causes here in the States, our government does a much better job of keeping the poor fed than most other countries {and yes, I am familiar with the government plans here in the U.S.}.

More than anything, I just want us to join together for good and make a difference in the real lives of real people.  Feel free to leave your charity ideas in the comments section.  I'll keep you posted about all of the details.    
And today happens to be the anniversary of the BEST day of my life.  I am such a blessed woman to have Doug as a husband.  He goes above and beyond to treat me wonderfully day in and day out.  I cannot imagine my life without this man...therefore I have forbid him to die before me, even by a minute. :)

I am thankful for the man that he is, for the father that he is, how hard he works, and that I never, ever have to question the stability of our marriage or the future of our relationship.

Happy Anniversary to us! :)

xo
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all about the hohos.

This past Christmas season I made over 150 hohos, probably closer to 175 between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
It was crazy town, a blessing, humbling, awe inspiring and wonderful all at the same time.
My favorite part was checking out my IG feed on Christmas day and seeing little ones everywhere enjoying their new little hoho friends.  It made every crazy moment worth it.

Hohos are the only creation that I am always happy to make.  They are each different and quirky.  Each one is unique and made by me in my happy little studio.  Each new one is my new favorite.  Each is a surprise in how they turn out because they aren't planned, they just come together with whatever scraps of fabric inspires me. 

I've made hohos for almost three years now and I've tweaked the pattern to {what I deem as} perfection.  I love the process of creating them. 

It's my most copied creation {and if you are thinking of copying too, first, shame on you! and second, you should know that they are legally protected creations.  They are the only thing I care enough about to copyright}. 

At some point during the Christmas season it dawned on me.  All hohos, all the time.  I should be focusing on making what I LOVE and what happens to sell the best, too!

And so that's what I am doing.  I've been spending some time trying to figure out what my shop will look like in 2013 and the picture above is pretty much it. 

Over the season, I sold the majority of my hohos on my IG feed with a first come first served kind of method.  That worked pretty well but definitely had some kinks that I needed to work out. 

I needed to find a way to feed the hohos to the people who wanted them and preserve my favorite part of the process, the spontaneous creation of them.  In order to make this work for the long term, I needed to enjoy the process and for me that means no custom orders.

My reason for that?  People get crazy about custom orders.  And super picky.  Like "I would like one yellow ear that is 2in long and one ear that is blue polka dotted that is 4in long..." kind of picky.   I've had people disgusted that I used a yellow face in their custom order. 

And that is all well and good for some artists, but for me, that takes all the fun out of WHO the hohos are.  Custom order folks generally don't want me to do ME they want me to do THEM, you know what I mean?

So I thought and pondered how to make myself and everyone else happy.
And here is my solution.

At the beginning of every month I will open up the waiting list for hohos.  The folks on this waiting list may request that their hoho be a girl/boy/starwars/hello kitty/muppets/superhero and that is it.

Once you let me know what you want within the parameters of those choices, I'll send you an invoice, once that invoice is paid, you are OFFICIALLY on the waiting list. 

I'll work in order of who pays first.  My goal will be to finish up the waiting list before the end of each month, along with making lots of "up for grabs" hohos as well. 

Oh, and the waiting list will have a limited number of slots as well.  :) 

So that's how I will be going forward into 2013.  I'm sure I'll have to continue to tweak the process as I go but for now this seems like a good start. 

And though I did close January's waiting list yesterday, since I didn't get this post up in time to do you any good, if you would like to get on the list for this month, I'll take ONE MORE day's worth of orders, though the list is already pretty long.  And I will try to post here every month when the list is re-opened.  Email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail.com TODAY ONLY to get on the list.

And I also have something HUGE to share soon, a fun way to give back and spread a little {a lot} of love. :)

If you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments, I will answer them there. :)

Thanks so much for all of your support and love! You guys are awesome!

xo
 
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a resolution for us all. {read me!}

I'm not sure why but the buzz of society today is to bring down anyone who is deemed "too successful".  Too successful = too evil.  Look around you, a corporation becomes too big = evil.  An athlete becomes to successful = he's greedy/on drugs/evil/etc.  Your neighbor gets a new car = evil/must be doing something wrong to be able to afford that.  A fellow blogger gets a book deal = she must be ignoring her kids to get that kind of success.  On and on and nauseatingly on it goes.  We dissolve others success by finding the root cause of why they REALLY ARE successful.  We don't feel like we can just say they work hard and they deserve it.

In a country founded on do it yourself-ers we have turned on our heads and become "into my selfers".  We are ok with the success of our friends and neighbors AS LONG AS they do not become so successful that we feel we couldn't "catch up".

Recently on facebook I stated:

"Don't blame Pinterest or blogs or Facebook or your neighbor or your friends or anyone else for making you feel like an inferior mother. Blame the fact that you are comparing what YOU are doing with what everyone else is doing. It's YOUR problem to fix and no one else's. I'm tired of the "lets bring down the go-getters because I can't/don't wanna/don't feel like doing what they do" attitude. You do you and I'll do me."

There's a virus going around the internet and it's called "find someone to blame".  We no longer celebrate the go-getter.  We get a pail of rocks and stone her for daring to move faster than us.  

Friend after friend after friend of mine has stopped posting the crafts, kid activities, dinners, projects etc that they make on any form of social media.  Why?  Because instead of being met with "That is awesome, amazing, I love it, go you!" she is met with "Where were your kids?  What kind of drugs are you on to be able to get so much done? What a waste of time to do that for your husband/kids/friends?'.  She is brought to her knees with criticism and harsh words because she is doing something her friends are not.  

And those who criticize usually cite Pinterest as being at fault.  "I've had to stop Pinterest/Instagram/FB because IT makes me feel like I'm a failure as a mom/wife/friend.  Pinterest/FB/IG sets impossible standards to keep up with".   

Step one: stop allowing anything but YOU to dictate how you feel.  YOU choose to let those media outlets make you feel that way.  YOU are the root of that problem.  

Step two: realize that when you are looking at Pinterest/FB/IG you are looking at the collective genius of THOUSANDS of women and not just one. 

As many of you know, I love Wonder Woman and it's not because she looks great in a unitard.  It's because to me, she is my visual reminder of Proverbs 31.  She is strong, confident and goes after what she feels is right, despite the evils of the world.  She knows what's right and she goes after it.  She doesn't check with other super heroes first.  I look at her and I see all of my potential via Proverbs 31. 

The Proverbs 31 woman does not leave her house and go see what her neighbor is up to before setting out to conquer her day.  Part of the reason for not doing that, I think, is because if you leave your "house" unattended for long enough, the burglars will take notice and come to reek havoc, evils will enter in and you will return home to a mess.  

The same goes today.  Before you set out to start your day, take your own inventory, no need to inventory for the neighbors.  Secure your own home, leave no corner for evils to enter into.  

In other words, do not leave your heart and mind unattended while you put someone else's in check.  Seek what God wants from YOU today and you will accomplish all He has in store.  

My most successful days are the ones where I weed out MY wants and focus on His.  He gives us just enough time to accomplish all He has in store for us. 

If you find yourself flustered at the end of the day maybe it's because you have much on your list that He did not put there?  If you are combative with a successful friend maybe it's because you've picked up the wrong "to-do" list and have wasted your time slinging arrows where they weren't meant to be aimed. 

I can tell you that the weight of someones criticism of how you spend your time can weigh heavily on the person you direct it to.  I can tell you that it steals their Joy and burdens them with guilt. 

Until we get over it and realize that it's not us, it's them. 

Can 2013 be the year that we stop comparing ourselves to others and be genuinely happy at the hard earned, honest, success of others? Can we put aside our weapons of mommy war (words, judgements and criticisms) and just learn how to be happy for each other that we are getting done all HE has on our list of things to do? 

If you want to be more crafty, bake more, sew more, read more, be more loving, spend more time with your kids/husband/friends then DO that.  Start.  Go now.  Don't waste another minute trying to knock down the more successful.  That is time that is better spent elsewhere. 

Rejoice with those who rejoice!  Go find someones success to genuinely celebrate!  Be happy at others accomplishments.  The Joy will bounce back and move you forward.  

And if you can't do that...ask for prayer.  Seek help to figure out why you feel the need to bring others down.  And I don't say that lightly.  I say it because a bitter heart is a heavy (unnecessary) thing to lug around.  

Make 2013 the year of the cheerleader and stomp out the trolls that bring the go-getters down.    

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Christmas 2012

Can you handle one more Christmas post?  This Christmas was so phenomenal that I can't NOT write about it at length so I hope you will hang in there.  

If you've been here a while you will know that is was our VERY FIRST Christmas that neither Doug nor I were working retail.  In many ways it felt like our very FIRST Christmas together ever.

In all of our years of marriage we have never had more than a few hours to cram Christmas into and to have days upon days upon days this year was a blessing that I can't even begin to describe.  In Christmases past Doug would have maybe ONE weekend between Christmas and Thanksgiving in which we could "do" Christmas.  And on that weekend he was usually so tired that we laid low and spent time at home.  It's a tough and lonely way to spend the season, especially with small children but never knew any differently.  Most Christmases (and Thanksgivings too) we spent alone because Doug would have to work the day before and the day after so there was no way to travel to see family.  We would rarely make Christmas dinner because Doug would have a couple of short hours to enjoy the day and I didn't want to spend it cooking.

In Christmases past we wouldn't do parades and dinners and hours of cookie baking.  There just wasn't time or energy to do this as a family.    
But this Christmas?  Oh man.  What a difference!  Weekends off and home by 5pm every day goes a long, long way to providing plenty of time for spreading Christmas cheer.  Add to that the fact that the business Doug works for is closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas day and you have the recipe for awesome. 

We were spoiled with time together and Christmas doings.  Doug and I shopped together!
We had time to have friends over to make gingerbread houses!
And still had daylight to spare!
We went to not one but TWO Christmas parades...
 ...the second of which the boys were in!
We enjoyed things like "pajama day" and "red and green day" at school!
We made and decorated gingerbread cookies together! 

We took the boys to see a movie!  This was Aaron's first movie ever (Wreck it Ralph)!
We took the boys to see a live nativity. 
We enjoyed a little Christmas crafting. :) 
We enjoyed spending time with these cuties.  
We baked...
 ...and baked some more!
We went to Christmas Eve service as a FAMILY! :) 
We were silly...
and we laughed a lot! 
There was lots of extra time for cuddling.  
And time for enjoying all sorts of gifts.  
But my most favorite Christmas blessing was that we spent loads and loads of time together. 

I believe that at some point in your life you should be a waiter/waitress and work retail.  It gives you a whole other perspective that just can't get otherwise. 

But I am praying that we have seen the last of those roles.  The way the world is going it's getting harder and harder to find a job that respects the institution of family and all that entails.  We feel so blessed with Doug's new job that on a regular basis we ask each other if this is real life...this new life is still so bizarre to us that I sometimes vaguely fear that I will wake up to find that it's all a dream. 

So for now I will just give thanks, for Doug having a great job, for a husband who works hard for his family, for healthy boys, a marriage that is rock solid and for a life that is better than I could have ever dreamed for. 

I can't wait to see what 2013 holds, can you?
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Top Ten Posts of 2012 and goals for 2013

It's been a good year to be the owner of Little Bit Funky.

I've been blessed with more features than I can list...among my favorites was a feature in Readers Digest, multiple features in popular Canadian magazines, blog features by TLC and Buzzfeed and so many more.  My blessings were more than I could count in 2013 and I am regularly smitten with my job.

I have big plans for 2013, the like of which I have never felt the need to pursue before.  Up until this point I have accepted what has fallen in my lap and worked as hard as I could with that.  This next year I plan on doing a little more pursuing and planning and shifting of things.

For one, I will only be selling hohos in my shop (and patterns).  I am going to work and focus on trying to keep my crafty ADD to a minimum in the shop and instead use that energy to create more "how-to's" here on the blog.

And I'll keep baking.  And sharing my heart and what the Lord is doing there.

I'd love to hear your ideas of what you would like to see featured? 

After you comment with that little nugget of information you can enjoy taking a peek at my top ten posts from 2012.  :)

1.  What I made for Monday - Mini Apple Pies
2.  20 Minute Crafter - DIY Photo Canvas
3.  What I made for Monday - Naughty Naughty Donuts
4.  How to replace your iPhone 4 screen!
5.  How to eat a pomegranate!
6.  Painting wooden spoons.
7.  Handprint snowman ornaments!
8.  20 Minute Crafter - Reindeer thumbprint ornaments
9.  How to turn a mason jar into a spillproof cup (with a straw)
10.  Cinnamon rolls in a waffle iron!

I wish you much love and happiness in 2013.  I am so SO very grateful for each and everyone of you that stop by and say hello.  It's kind of amazing the vast number of friends I have made through this blog, certainly something I never planned on.  But you all have made my neighborhood bigger, my Christmas card list longer and my heart fuller.  Thank you!

Happy New Year!

xo
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a quick idea for your Christmas cards {make them into coffee table books}

Do you keep all of your Christmas cards from Christmases past? I do.  I love to look through them all, it's like a hands on reminder of so many of the blessings in my life, reminders of friends and family and all the good from the past.
Until recently I just kept them in a box and at Christmas time brought them out and maybe put them in a pretty basket or something.  
Then a light bulb went off.  I organized them into years, bought some book rings (from Staples for about $3) and made them into coffee table books.  The boys (and me) already love to flip through them and they look a little more intentional than books thrown in a basket. 
They are also available in larger sizes and silver. 
Just start with your smallest card so you know that both of your holes will fit on all of your cards. :) 
Stack the cards and thread the rings through.
It took me a good chunk of time because I went back and did all the years since we were married but now I just have to keep up with it every year.  
So simple and so awesome. :)

This would be great to do with yearly birthday cards for your kids to add to every year too! 

Have fun making some!
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Our Christmas home...

Christmas has come and gone...but I thought I would take a post to document our Christmas home. 
Moses created some awesome art this season...I LOVE this sweet gingerbread man...
...and this adorable reindeer.  I love seeing his creations and how his art is growing. 
We made gingerbread houses that stayed in tact the whole season.
And this adorable pine cone tree is a favorite creation I have of Aaron's. 

I finally took some time on Christmas Eve to add words to my pallet tree. 


Aaron repeatedly rearranged all of the nativities he could touch so that everyone included could see baby Jesus.  
Art made by friends is best. :) 

Vintage goodness encased in jars. 

We received these ornaments from Doug's grandma.  


This whole red shelf was full of my nativities. 
Christmas tree number one...
...and number two. 
Every nook of our house was full of Christmas.  
In fact, every nook of our hearts was full of Christmas, too.

xo
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