a little recap...

I wanted to thank you again for all of the support and love you have shown me since my posts about my childhood.  Part one is HERE part two is HERE if you haven't read them.

If you were a person with a relatively normal childhood you may not understand the significance of those posts.

The fact that I spoke, out loud, about things that were wrong and unjust was huge.  It's hard to explain the hold that someone manipulative can gain over you.  It's like being frozen but being fully conscience of what you want (and need) to do.  It's like being a prisoner with invisible restraints.

I understand what it's like to be the battered woman unable to leave.  You become stuck.  You are broken down to a point where you can no longer walk.

Writing those posts and sharing them was me throwing off a huge boulder.  I literally sighed as I hit publish.  Even though I feared {and still do} retribution for it, I know that giving it a voice makes me stronger and my past weaker.  It paves the way to healing.  I'm walking a little more free today. 

I'm thankful for all of you who wrote and commented.  Especially those who can relate or are passing my words onto an active alcoholic.  I really hope and pray they make a true difference.

And for those that think I shared too much or I should have stayed quiet or that I should leave the past in the past.  Well,  I'm not exactly sure what to say to you.  But for me, secrets kept in the dark grow.  Hurts and pain become magnified in the darkness.  Keeping quiet magnifies shame.  I KNOW that me sharing my story has helped others and if you think I need to keep quiet because authentic transparency makes you uncomfortable....well that's between you and the Father.  I pray you can figure that our for yourself.

So before I moved on to the more fun posts I have planned I just wanted to say these few words. 

Thank you for reading and thank you for hanging out with me all these years.
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hohos for Easter!!!

Hey there! 

Just wanted to share a little happy with you!  THIS is my job.  Or one of them.

At least a couple of good days a week, depending on what's going on, I get to sit at my machine and make hohos that go out to people all over the world.  Many days Doug will come home from work and I'm like "I make hohos as my job how crazy is that?!".

It's crazy! It's fun and I love it! 

In case you didn't know I have a waiting list.  January is FULL and February is also almost FULL!

If you would like to get on the waiting list to get one by Easter, you need to email me ASAP. :)

Honestly, only for a couple more days will I be able to promise to get you one in time for Easter{which is March 31st}!  You can email at ricracandpompoms @ gmail.com

I don't want to disappoint you so email me soon! :)

And in case you didn't know...in between waiting list orders I list "up for grabs" hohos on my Instagram page.  You can find me as "littlebitfunky" and those hohos are claimed on a first come first serve basis so get your typing fingers ready! :)

I hope you're enjoying your job as much as I'm enjoying mine!

Happy day to you!
xoxo
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Moen Review {and a chance to win $100}!!



 

I am in love.

Completely in love with something I never knew I needed until a couple of weeks ago.

Not so long ago Moen sent me an Arbor with MotionSense faucet to try out and review.   You know, one of those super awesome faucets with a motion sensor in them that you don't have to touch to turn on?

Yes, please!  I was so excited.  I've wanted one of these since they came on the market. The commercials always made me a little green with envy, so I was thrilled to try one out for myself. 

Installation seemed standard, nothing tricky or complex: old one out and new one in, easy as 1, 2 and 3.   You would think it would be complicated with the abilities it has, but there seemed to be nothing to it. 

I'll be honest, the first day took some getting used to but it only felt strange for a short amount of time.


And now?  I have no idea how I would go back.  I am completely spoiled and in love with this faucet.  It has become second nature to everyone in our house to turn it on without touching a thing.

Being an artist and a baker and one who cooks for my family a lot, I am not a stranger to trying to turn on a faucet with the back of my hand because my hands are covered in paint or eggs or batter of some sort.  Now we just have to get close enough to a sensor, either by waving a hand across the wave sensor or by just being near the ready sensor and it pops on, at the perfect temperature at that.  To turn it off either wave by again or move your hands out of the ready sensor zone.  SO easy and surprisingly second nature.


You may also know that I have boys.  Sticky, muddy, dirty little boys who operate in extremes when it comes to water... ALL the way on and either super HOT or super COLD.  With this faucet we were able set the temperature to a perfect degree for hand washing for the boys, and the boys don't have anything to do with how fast it comes out... no more flooding my counter or worrying about them burning themselves.  A total win in my book.

I wish, in the interest of being unbiased, I could offer up one complaint for you but there really isn't one.  It's pretty, easy to use, easy to install, saves water (and work!) and makes my life just a tiny bit easier.

If it's been on your "maybe" list... do it, you won't regret it! Check out their site for product details and where to buy.

In fact, BlogHer and Moen are giving one of you a $100 Visa gift card to help you get one!

To be entered for a chance to win, just leave a comment on this post answering the question: How could Moen with MotionSense make your life easier?


Sweepstakes Rules:
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
b) 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
c) 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
d) 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. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 1/14/13 - 2/15/13
Be sure to visit the Moen brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!
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Thank you...

Just wanted to take a moment to say thank you for your overwhelming support and love from my last post.  I'm without proper words to express my gratitude.  Perhaps they will come in time...

For now, please enjoy this video...gave me a good laugh.  I always wonder what they are saying...


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have you ever...

***This is the hardest, most painful post I've ever written.  Please be nice in your comments.  And if you start reading please read all the way through.  Thanks for being part of my journey.  Writing this frees me from a lot of shame I've carried for a long time.  Here's to healing from the past.***  

**Please also note that the events I will share and relay are of MY opinion and viewpoint as a child/young adult.  I share to help others who struggle with alcohol or who live/have lived with alcoholics.**  

Those who know me may or may not know that I never drink alcohol.

Those who know me a little better may think that it's a "good Christian" vs "bad Christian' sort of issue for me because of my faith.  It's not.  I think the choice whether or not to drink has nothing to do with if you love Jesus or not, at least not for "normal" people.

For me the reason is much, much deeper.  It's only been the last year of my life that I could even SMELL alcohol without having a near anxiety attack.  And that's a true statement.

You see I lived with "the alcoholic" and "the codependent" for eighteen long and hellish years of my life and suffered the results of their behavior for several more.  I firmly believe that my life would have been severely different had alcohol not been as much of my life as breakfast in the morning.    

Consider the following to understand my view:

Have you ever had to listen to late night arguments fueled by drunkenness?
Have you ever you ever had to lie about injuries to "the codependent" under threat of upsetting "the alcoholic"?
Have you ever gone years without seeing your grandparents (with multiple stints) because "the alcoholic" deemed them bad?
Have you had to stop shopping with "the codependent" because you know they shoplift?
Have you ever had to visit "the alcoholic" in jail?
Have you ever had to pretend not to know what pot looked like as "the alcoholic" grew it in your back yard?
Have you ever seen "the alcoholic" in handcuffs? 
Have you been molested on numerous occasions because "the alcoholic" couldn't keep a job and therefore had their family living under iffy conditions?
Have you ever listened to "the alcoholic" and "the codependent" physically fight and scream their way through the night...once the day before you graduated high school...with a friend sleeping on the floor beside you?
Have you ever had to shower in the night in the middle of a dark campground because "the alcoholic" was too drunk to know where he was pissing?
Have you ever been called a slut loudly in front of your best friends by "the alcoholic" because you said hi to a boy at the fair?
Have you ever listened to the rationale of both "the alcoholic" and "the codependent" behind the multiple affairs on each other?
Have you ever had "the alcoholic" have to go talk to "the codependents" employer because they were caught stealing from them?
Have you ever had all of your clothes dyed red because you washed your own clothes...because "the codependent" told you to wash them yourself?
Have you ever had to wait in the car while "the codependent" bought drugs for "the alcoholic"?
Have you ever been called within an hour of giving birth to be told that you are a terrible daughter and sister by "the alcoholic"?
Have you ever been held hostage in "the alcoholic's" home because you came home deciding that the Navy was not for you?
Have you ever been told that you were too dumb for college?
Have you ever witnessed "the alcoholic" piss beside the washer because he was too drunk to realize that it wasn't the bathroom?
Have you ever lived in a house where the tension in the air was so THICK that anyone who visited could describe it to you in as much detail as though it were a physical thing?
Have you ever lived in a home where you waited anxiously for "the alcoholic" to pass out so that the least stressful part of your day could begin?
Have you ever gone to school sick as a dog because it was better than being home?
Have you ever been picked up from school and taken to the home of your molester because "the alcoholic" couldn't be bothered to pick you up?
Has your home life ever been so bad that your best friends grandparents looked into how to get custody of you?
Have you ever had to leave cards and gifts in the middle of the road because "the alcoholic" stormed you out of your grandparents house because they found out that "the codependent" had been bringing you there secretly?
Have you ever been punished for telling the truth?
Have you ever had to constantly choose which parent's side you would be on...knowing that it would be used against the other parent?
Have you ever witnessed alcohol being bought with cash on a daily basis while you had to feel the shame of buying groceries with food stamps....because "the alcoholic" always knew more than their boss and couldn't keep a job?
Has every action you've taken been questioned at length and tears for "obvious" ulterior motives? 
Have you ever witnessed "the alcoholic" scream at your 8th grade teacher, in her yard, because you dared to write that she was "like a mother to you" in your journal, that they read and then held every word against you?
Have you ever been judged and abandoned by all of your family for choosing to step out of the ring and refuse to be hurt anymore...or for your children to be hurt?
Have you ever had "family is FOREVER" used as a way to make you feel guilty for not wanting to be hurt anymore?
Have you ever had to account for the actions of "the codependent" because "they are up to something"?
Have you ever poured your heart out, in a last desperate attempt to "fix" the relationship, sharing all of your hurts and pains from over the years, only to be called a crazy liar and advised to get help?


In short...my heart was soaked in a brine of hurt and pain, bound together for the first 25 years or so of my life by alcohol.  It's hurt me more than any other thing in the world.  It has insulted me, pained me, caused me grief and caused damage to a level that I feel, at times, I have only just begun to heal from.  The scars from alcohol heal about as well as a wound that is constantly scraped with a rusty steel brush.

Because, in fact, it caused repeated hurts.  As I would begin to heal from one incident, I would be buried again under another.  Having never fully healed from the first incident, a new layer was added, then another and another and another.  25 years worth at least.  Or more.  I'm essentially, at my worst, a small child wrapped in a cocoon of pain and anxiety.  Layer over layer over ugly layer.  It's literally a crazy life.  

This previous life of mine still brings me shame.  I feel guilt over things I had no control of.  I have often felt dirty and less than.  Broken and worthless. 

I am still working through anxiety.  And self confidence.  And timidity.   I often struggle to speak up.  I sometimes still have anxiety asking simple questions.  All of these behaviors direct results of living with an alcoholic for so long.  You just never knew what would set them off, make them happy or put you on the wrong list.  You doubt every choice you make and decision you encounter.  Asking to go to a friends house (rarely happened) would cause days of severe anxiety and often I could never gain enough bravery to even ask. 

If you ever meet me in real life, you may notice that I take a while to warm up to talking.  That comes from years of being afraid to say the wrong thing, or too much.

I've had to un-train myself from sitting or standing with a completely closed posture, arms and legs crossed tightly.  Another result of living in fear for so long.

You see, I don't believe that "Family is Forever".  It was used against me for too long.

No, sir.  Not me.  Saying it that way adds a shade of entitlement.  Like "we're gonna be family forever so you better just suck it up and take what I give you".  That's what it has come to mean to me...at least phrased that way.

I feel like I have to work for my right to be part of my kids life forever.  I don't feel entitled to it.  I feel like they deserve my time and love and respect.  Not like "I'm not good enough" but in a they are my fellow children of God and they deserve to be treated that way, kinda way.   

I have the utmost respect for God choosing for me the parents that He did.  I know He had His reasons and I would never doubt them.  Amazingly, I've never had a "Why did you do this to me God?!" phase or moment.  I believe that evil exists in the world to show us how deeply, earnestly and wholly we need God.  The pain of my past has been the fetter that drives me to Him.  It defines my need for Him.

I don't suffer from un-forgiveness.  I was able to work through all of that.  What gets me are the random things that bring up fresh pain.  The normal events that spark a new flood of tears or hurt.  Seeing a friend with her mother.  Reading about someones great relationship with their father.

For a long time I was stuck in their cycle.  On repeat forever.  I chose to step away.  To step out of that cycle.

I had to choose between that family I was born into and the family I chose.  One was hurting the other.  And it had to stop.  It cost me a lot.  But honestly, I trusted and I've gained so much more.  God has given me many mothers.  He has given me many fathers.  He has filled my life with people who want to pour good into it.  His hand is here. 

I haven't heard from my parents since Aaron was about one.  They've seen him once or twice.  Moses has no memory of them.  I was the only part of the equation that I could change.  I lost my brother and my sister.  Both sided with my parents because of course you HAVE to choose in that family.  I also understand that they may not remember the worst of the years.  They were too little.  And for that I'm thankful.  Thankful that they get to go out into their lives less broken and wounded than I was.  I've lost most of my aunts and uncles.  All of my grandparents.  And to be clear, I don't think a single one of the members I lost are bad people.  Not at all.  Some are just people who let their sin hurt those around them.  Others had to choose sides.  And that's OK.  I can only make my own choices.  I just had to make a choice.     

And I would do it again.  The Peace and Joy that exudes in my home is measurable.  We laugh.  We love.  We have fun.  There is no tension.  There is no fighting.  Out of great pain came immeasurable Joy.  We're healthy.  We acknowledge our problems and issues and we lay them at His feet on a regular basis.   

All of that pain.  Years of it.  Years more of recovery.  That is why I don't drink. Ever.

I don't want to even give the smallest chance in the world that my kids ever experience even the remotest speck of what I did.   I'm not convinced that THAT seed of evil potential is not hidden somewhere in my DNA, just waiting for the chance to wake up.  I'm not willing to leave it to chance.

Have I had a drink before? Yes.  I did not get nearly enough in return to gamble with my kids lives.

That may seem severe to you.  And maybe it is but to win big you have to risk big.    

And at this point, I'm winning.  And I would take that chance again for the health of my boys.  All day long.   
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In the Night.

 
I originally posted this story on "Beautifully Rooted" but since that site is ending, I didn't want to lose this post.  I'm currently working on the sequel, though painful as it may be, it will answer the question about why I never, ever drink.   If you didn't catch this the first time, I hope you'll take a few minutes to read it now...

 

"In the Night.

I wake in the night, not sure what has awoken me.  I lay there as still as I can waiting to hear what comes next.  It's not long before I know.  It's happening again.  Another night of yelling, screaming and throwing things.  I can hear every word through the paper thin walls of our trailer.  I roll over and hug myself to the wall.  Praying and hoping that my door doesn't open.  Praying that I won't be called to the witness stand as though our living room had become a court of twisted law.  I hear a muffled cry.  It belongs to one of my smaller siblings.  They've managed to sneak to my room undetected.  They huddle in close and we both lay there pretending to sleep in case the door should open suddenly.

It's funny the things that no one has to teach you as a child that lives in a house of alcohol and violence.  You know not to speak up without ever being told.  You know not to volunteer information because it will be used against you or someone else.  You know to pretend to sleep even though the whole neighborhood is awakened by what is happening.  You know not to talk about anything, ever.  

I glance at the clock.  It's 3:15am.  I know that when I went to bed they were both asleep.  Why does this always happen in the dead of night?  What demons shake them from their slumber and rile them up to the point of screaming and throwing and hitting?

The door opens wildly.  My name is yelled.  I pretend to wake up with a start, rubbing my eyes at the light shining in.  My testimony is needed.  Where did we go today?  Who did we see?  How long were we there for?  It doesn't matter what I say if it doesn't go along with what my father wants to hear.  If my testimony doesn't line up with his theories it's thrown out of court immediately and I'm accused of siding with the enemy, a conspirator in lewd and unsavory behavior.  I'm questioned to the point of tears.  My mind searches frantically for the "right" words and answers.  What will calm the demons?  My efforts hit the wall like jello and drop to the floor.  There is no right answer but I'm still expected to talk.

Eventually frustration with my lack of cooperation in his favor causes him to slam the door and leave me in darkness once again.  Screaming, breaking and door slamming continue into the night until I can no longer keep my heavy eyes open.

I awake the next morning leery to leave my room.  I'm a shell of a human walking through the expectations of my day.  I'm a good student.  I stay quiet and hidden at home as much as possible.  I don't have any dreams or expectations for my life past running at full speed when I hit 18.  My life is void of emotion, too much pain for a child to endure has stripped me of every feeling in the spectrum but fear, guilt and timidity.  If there is a God he can't seem to get through these paper thin walls.

I awake in the night, not sure what has awoken me.  I lay there in the silence trying to decide what it was that stirred me.  I hear a whimper from the other room and slide out of bed to investigate.  In the darkness I peer into the room that my two boys share and find my youngest stirring from a bad dream.  I nudge him enough to bring him out of the dream and into the realization that he is safe.  He calms quickly with a hug and a nuzzle and before I leave the room he is sleeping sweetly once again.
My heart is grateful that the occasional bad dream is the only evil that vexes my boys.  My heart is full of love and thankfulness and peace.  My children live the dreamy childhood that was so far from my own.  The ease and abundance of blessings in my life is something that is brought forth in my list of thanks on a daily basis.  My boys have never been woken in the night to face adult things.  My boys have never been called to testify against a parent.  My boys don't know fear, or guilt or timidity.
My life now is the opposite of that valley from long ago.  Each day, each step, each ascent out of that dark place has been painful.  The whys and wheres and what fors all had to be dealt with.  The Lord has delivered me from a place that was barren of love, grace and favor into a place where my heart can barely contain my Joy.  Slowly he has revealed to me where he was hidden in those days and his plans for their use in my future.

I've been praying for some time for a safe place to tell my story, to use it for good for others, to reach out to those still in the valley and give them a rope to hold onto.  I'm thankful to have found this place and I can't wait to share my life with you." 
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40 ideas num 15 - A ten minute scarf {for under $5}!

 Welcome to my lofty dream of providing you with 40!!! fun activities you can do with your kids!  Many at the drop of a hat!  I bet for many of these you will have the materials you need on hand or can find them at the dollar store or on the cheap at the local craft store!  This list will contain simple, cheap and FUN crafts or activities that ANYONE can do!  And better yet, they will be kid tested and approved!

If you would like to be a guest blogger in this series email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail . com! 
Over Christmas break I promised Moses he could make his very own scarf.  He was so excited to choose his fabrics and get to touch and USE moms sacred sewing machine!!

These scarves take just a few quick minutes (the perfect amount of time for short attention spans), take just a 2/3 a yard of fleece and can be customized as much as you would like!

Want to make one? 
 You will need 12in of fleece in two colors.  This will cost you around $5 or less if you use your Joanns coupons or get it on sale.  If you are really nice to the fabric cutting lady she will make sure your lines are nice and straight.  Or you will need to straighten them up yourself. 

 When the edges are all even and your two pieces match up, open them all the way (you will have two pieces that are about 12in by 48in ) put the right sides together, pin if you want to. 
Sew along each side, lock (knot) the stitches at beginning and the end and stop a couple inches from the end of your scarf.  You will leave the ends open.
 Turn it right side out and repeat the same steps. 
You will end up with ends like this. 
Next you will want to even up the ends of your scarf.  DO NOT cut above where you stopped sewing or your scarf will come un-stitched over time.  Cut below where you locked the stitches.
Using a cutting mat and ruler as your guide, cut your fringe, roughly six inches long and one inch wide. 
Display around your neck proudly. :) 
Just a note, Moses is six- I let him push the pedal and steer the fabric with help. 
Aaron is three, I just let him steer the fabric.  You can help more or less depending on the age and ability of your children.  I did all of the cutting for them.

I hope you love making a nice warm scarf!  Because it's made from fleece it will not fray!

Have fun!
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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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