Should Catholic Makers Share Their Business Secrets?

You put hours of work and research into your crafts, and then someone emails you with, “Could you share how you make your product?” What is the Catholic answer to this situation? It might be a little different than your instinct.

Like most things in life, I don’t think there is a prescriptive “Catholic” answer to situations like this. Womp womp. So, I decided to ask my husband, and he came up with some bangers.

You put hours of work and research into your crafts, and then someone emails you with, “Could you share how you make your product?” What is the Catholic answer to this situation? It might be a little different than your instinct. | diy | diy crafts | life hacks | etsy tips

photo credit | dollar photo club | nikolaydonetsk

So, Mike’s company makes parts for planes that are often used in combat. It is a top secret 007 facility, so they don’t share industry secrets because it is a matter of national security (much fancy). The processes of his company also create jobs for thousands of people, so sharing those things would eliminate the livelihood of tons of people.

Those reasons seem pretty obvious. If it is a matter of security or livelihood for your family or business, then, no, it might actually be wrong to share your secrets.

What about something with lower stakes like personal recipes? If a friend asked you for your recipe at a potluck, 99% of time you would share it. But maybe you don’t want to share your secret sauce because it is special to you – it makes you stand out. And that’s ok to keep it to yourself.

Is what you’re doing something very special to you that makes you unique? In this case, you can choose whether or not to share, and either way is equally fine.

Sometimes the info that you’re being asked for can easily be looked up; it might be public knowledge. While it may be annoying to have to answer these questions for someone when you took the time to figure it all out yourself, the charitable thing may be to share the information or point the person in the right direction to finding it.

Then again, the time that you put into research and development is part of the product cost. If the hours that you put into trial and error and picking and choosing is integral to the quality of your product, sharing might jeopardize that.

Think about the goal of your business. Is it to help humanity in some way? The CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, put it this way: “If we’re all in a ship together, and the ship has some holes in it, and we’re sort of bailing water out of it, and we have a great design for a bucket, then even if we’re bailing out way better than everyone else, we should probably still share the bucket design.”

But maybe your goal is to make some extra money for your family. Is divulging information about your craft going to dilute the field and take away from your income? Or perhaps you just create for fun, and there is no consequence for giving up that knowledge.

In the end, whatever you decide, you do need to respond to inquiries in a Catholic way. It ends up being more about why you choose whether or not to share trade secrets and how you go about interacting with the person asking.

Has this ever happened to you? What was your response?

Check out my shop for your embroidery needs and anxiety remedies.

Fresh Love #ilooktoher

I was scrolling though the Gram the other day (my social media of choice since I had to physically block FB on my phone so I wouldn’t just delete the app and use Safari to get at my people…I have a problem.), and I was really struck by a photo and its caption.

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photo credit: @susana_starbuck

susana_starbuck of Little Flower Studios posted a snap of two delicious bouquets of fresh flowers – which she often does so you should follow her for a little extra beauty in your life. What was different this time is that she captioned the photo, “When I’m pregnant during Lent (which is like always) I have to get creative. This year I’m giving up fresh (and fake) flowers in the house. So obviously I had to stock up this weekend.”

How often does this gal (who also shares my love for hot lipsticks) have fresh flowers around that she can give them up for Lent? I want to have fresh flowers around so much that I need to give them up for Lent. What a beautiful life that would be!

If Susana’s life is anything like the gorgeous photos she takes, I want a little slice of that. I want me some fresh flowers.

Maybe you’re hopespecting some for Valentine’s Day. Or maybe instead of filling your house with mucho disorden, you can make it your new treat yoself gift. I like the latter.

I decided to treat my momma with some nice purples last week. She just got herself two new knees, and that warrants a little floral celebration.

While my mom is a huge flower lover, she was never much of a recipient this time of year. It’s not that my dad is a jerk (he’s totally the best dad ever), it’s just that my mom spent years working in a flower shop ON Valentine’s Day, so she wasn’t around to actually celebrate it herself. She worked for the sole purpose of sending my brother and I to private school. That’s it.

So, beauties for my mommy:

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I feel like Leslie Knope right now loving on these two beautiful women, and that makes TWO Parks and Recs references in one post. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So, add a little fresh to your home with FTD just because, or celebrate your favorite lady this Galentine’s Day (three).

Color Me Prepared

disclaimer stuff: got a product, words are mine, etc.

The little Christmas tree the kids begged me to keep up until Candlemas (hello and goodbye…), is mocking me in the corner. It knows Lent starts next week. Next. Week. As in the 10th.

What are you going to abstain from? How are you going to make it meaningful? What are your grand plans for sainthood? I don’t know!

I do have the coloring pages covered. We all know coloring pages are code for “I don’t have my act together, but I want to live liturgically with my kids.” (p.s. I am working on a new book for families called The Lazy Liturgical. Keep your eye out for it.)

But what if coloring pages weren’t lame, and they were actually, or more specifically,

The kids and I plan on working through An Illustrated Lent for the next 40ish days. Coloring is my jam, and my kids share the love too. It’s the one thing I do right as a parent. (And if you’re looking for over-achiever status, try the Family Edition package with easy and adorable devotion pages.)

And these suckers are HUGE. Check it out. There are nine of these bad boys:


2ft x 3ft x 2 cute feet

These nine original, meditative coloring posters each have a word in the middle to use for reflection, meditation and discussion. I can do that.

So, you just need to go over and get them now. Because Lent is next week. Next Week. And use the promo code CALLHERHAPPY for 20% off because I’m magic like that.



The True Cost of Your Closet

There are two truths that precede this post.

The first is that I am staunchly, whole-heartedly, unapologetically, no exceptions pro-life.

The second is that I understand documentaries have an agenda, but this particular film’s agenda lines right up with mine, so that made this all so very convenient. wink.

You look in your closet for this weeks outfits. Shoes, jeans, yoga pants - even lingerie. But, do you know the real cost of all of that fashion that ends up in your laundry room floor? Who is sewing your latest winter outfits from Nike or fall outfits from Urban Outfitters? Where does your maternity fashion or fall fashion come from and at what cost? Find out how you can be sure your closet is socially responsible while still being fashionable.

image via dollar photo club | saratm

Ever since Mike and I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, we have been looking at our consumer habits much more closely. We didn’t just donate a few things here and there. We got rid of almost half of our belongings, and we are attempting to keep it that way. We’ve noticed that, yes, we have regretted some of the things we gave away, but the freedom of having less has been much more worth it.

Even more worth it is our new outlook on consumption. For years, heck, my whole life even, I have gone through fits where I purged tons of “stuff” from my room or my apartment or house. I didn’t want all of these belongings, and I didn’t want to feel attachment to possessions. But, stuff kept creeping back in.

We all know why that happens. Products promise to fix problems in our life, but, well, they don’t. Instead we are left with more stuff to take care of (goodbye, time), and less money in our accounts. It’s what our society is built on. It’s really hard to get away from. I still struggle with this. I want all the stuff. This will be a lifelong process of unlearning my poor consumption habits.

What I’ve come to realize after our great and final purge (please, God), is that clothing is one of my weaknesses. Raise yo hand up if that is you too. After watching The True Cost, my resolve to fix this part of my life became firm…

But man, can I burn through Target tees and other cheap, expendable clothing. After all, it’s only meant to last for a season, right? But, where is all of that cheap clothing coming from? Sweatshops and poor working conditions are not foreign concepts to us, but they are certainly things that are easier to not think about than to put in the front of our minds when making purchases.

Cheap clothing has its advantages: people who are on a tight budget are able to afford new clothing at these cheap prices, and many people who come in contact with this clothing (from harvest to retail) are making money in the process.

Here is where my problems come in.

Do we accept the fact that workers are being paid pennies per day working in dangerous conditions so that we can fill our closets? Do we tell ourselves that these people need work otherwise they would have no money at all? Is it ethical to justify the abuse and sadness that these humans put up with day in and day out by saying, “well, they are lucky to have a job?”

Are there other alternatives? I can’t fix the garment industry on my own. But, there are ways we can make noise with our dollars. There are other places we can put our money. And yes, that may mean a worker from Bangladesh is not seeing work immediately, but it will also mean that companies are forced to change the way they do business. We cannot accept the fact that a mother must give up her child so that she can make less than a dollar a day in a garment factory where she plays the odds each day of whether she will die from a building fire or chemical exposure.

The alternatives to our shopping desires certainly range in price. We can always buy second hand. This is my favorite way to make sure no new manufacturing is taking a toll on humans or the environment. But, if you are looking for something new, you’re going to pay the price. You’re going to pay that person’s wage and healthcare and so on. Which means you won’t be able to buy as much. But it begs the question: do you need more?

It boils down to a life issue. With this knowledge of where your clothes are coming from and how they are made, can you be pro-life while supporting fast fashion industry that puts profit and quantity over human life?

I think not.

5 Tips for Shopping Smarter


A List of Better Alternatives

Please feel free to add more resources in the comment section. Or, if you know something about these companies that I don’t, let me know. I’m ready to learn!

Second Hand and Resale Stores
People Tree
Lands’ End (nevermind…)
American Apparel (Although I take issue with their marketing practices.)
C&C California
The Good Trade
Fair Indigo

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#5Faves: Ever

Maybe not, like, everrrr, but I had to do something every so slightly epic-ish for my very last 5Faves. Did you read on Monday? Ashley will be taking over while I take a step back in the blogging world to pursue other endeavors of the creative variety.

So, here she be.



Konmari: My house is still crazy awesome put together after Mike and I read The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up. Still. And sometimes we just look around the house and smile at how clean it is. Do yourself a favor.


Seamly: After we completed Konmari, I decided to take a hard look at my wardrobe. Instead of buying a ton of cheap t-shirts each and every season, I wanted to fill my wardrobe with just a few well-made, classic pieces that withstand time. On top of that, I wanted items that were either made in America or made in an ethical manner. Hello, Seamly.


Embroidery Ring: Esmerelda is making me one of these beauties, and I CANNOT wait to wear it each and every day. It’s already my favorite.


Kindle Paperwhite: I am fairly certain I have mentioned this is many previous 5Faves. And Kindle lover or not, you can’t deny that owning one of these babies enables you to read so many more books. I do. I really do. If you’re thinking about buying one for the Christmas season, also consider buying it through this link. It would help me and my fam out with our Christmas shopping too.


Hoover Carpet Cleaner: I might have asked for one of these for my 30th birthday. And I got one. And I spent said birthday cleaning my carpets, and it made me happy. So there’s that.

Some links may be affiliate.

What are your favorite things ever? Tell me in the comments or link up your #5Faves (about anything!) below.  .

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30th Birthday Mess

Instead of writing a bunch of separate posts, you get this big old mess of a post, but it’s my (30th!!!) birthday today, so maybe just roll with me?

Dia de los Muertos

Today is All Souls Day. Remember to pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. And learn more about today’s indulgences here. I’ve got some pics of this year’s sugar skull makeup. See past years here.

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We spent yesterday at the Detroit Institute of Arts where they had an ofrenda exhibit. I was in Dia heaven, while the kids were less than thrilled and more than scared.



made by my cousin, Patti Pfaendtner!

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The best gift? My brother surprising me from Cali <3

Etsy News

  • I’m having a sale in my shop until the end of today. 15% off with code DIADELOSMUERTOS. Get some Christmas shopping done, maybe?
  • Also until the end of the day (7:30 est), there is an Insta-auction going on to support the Van Drie family. Kristen is a fellow Michigan maker, and her family recently suffered the loss of their sweet 6yo daughter Kaylee. Consider supporting her family by bidding on one of the hundreds of donated items in the Instagram auction located at @candlesforkaylee.
  • My friend Kathie just opened up her Etsy shop, and it is just in time for the chill coming in. Adorable hats and high quality photography. I mean, check out my kiddos:


I think my favorite item in her shop right now is the Cinderella hat. Supah clever! Click over and give her a heart on Etsy.


Blog Announcement

Now that my book is done I feel like my blog has come to fruition – like it was all building up to this: a resource to really help people battle a cause I feel passionately about.

I’m not done blogging; I’ll still post here from time to time, but I’m going to focus my efforts on my embroidery shop and (if the winds of the spirit blow me in that direction) homeschooling. Oh, and God wants me to write another book coming next year: The Lazy Liturgical (all about how to celebrate and observe the many feasts and solemnities of the Church without any preparation at all) – so there’s that too. 

Ashley will be taking over 5Faves starting Nov. 11. She’s so incredibly qualified that it ain’t even funny.

And my site will remain as well. Consider it more of a landing page for all things Call Her Happy: the blog, the book, the shop, the girl.

And, if you’d like to keep up with me, I’ll be over on the gram peeking on you too.

El Fin

If you made it all the way down here, good on ya. Leave the names of your faithfully departed in the comment section. I would love to pray for them today.

#5Faves: Mini-Vacay

I’m taking a mini vacation from 5 Faves this week, but I will be back next Wednesday for one final 5 Faves before I pass the torch to Ashley from Big White Farmhouse.


I’m on to greener pastures, my fave-lettes. And Ashley is going to take mucho bueno care of you.

So, link up your faves here this week, watch for one last Call Her Happy 5 Faves next week, and head on over to Ashley’s place after that!


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These are good people.

These here are my people. I implore you – yes, implore – to check out what they have to offer. Why? Because these people (among men-ay men-ay others) made 30 Days to Calm possible. Show them the love they deserve, mmkay? If you do, I’ll be all like

Photo on 4-25-14 at 3.19 PM #4

Into Your Will

Jen started blogging after losing her first son, Levi Anthony, at 22 weeks along in the pregnancy. After seeing how God carried her through the most difficult experience of her life thus far, as well as everything that has followed since then, Jen is learning to trust that God always knows best. She now writes about faith, family, and embracing God’s will in all aspects of life.

D. Michael Designs

D. Michael Designs is a full service design firm that has the ability to take your project from “Conception to Completion.” At D. Michael Designs, we have upgraded our services this year to include a 5 week design schedule which streamlines the process and gets you ready to have your project estimated in a timely fashion, while some of the well-known San Antonio interior designers are taking months to complete!  

 Conversation with Women

A website where Catholic women come together and discuss. They share their stories and support each other in matters of sexuality, marriage, society, and living the faith. Women submit anonymous testimonials of how they have accepted the church’s moral teaching and how they have lived the teaching, struggles and all….most importantly how that moral teaching has born fruit in their lives. The on-line conversations continue through comments and also provide kindling for many off-line conversations.

Mary’s Mantle

Not all women face pregnancy with the support and love of family and friends. Many women who contemplate abortion do so because they feel they have no other choice. There is no one to support them, protect them, or nurture them as they bring new life into the world. Mary’s Mantle was born from the experience of one such young woman. Young, alone, and finding herself kicked out of her family home when they found out she was pregnant, this mother had nowhere to go. Worse yet, those who tried to help her could find nowhere for her to go – there were little to no resources for her as she thought about bringing this new life into the world. Sadly, feeling alone, unloved, and frightened, this young woman ended her baby’s life, though that was not an avenue shehad initially considered at all. The founders of Mary’s Mantle felt that no woman should have to suffer in this way. The doors of the metro-Detroit home opened in June of 2010. Since then, over 40 women and their children have called it home.

Pitter Patter Diaries and Rakstar Designs

Californian by birth. Iowan at heart. Texan by education. Michigander by marriage. Catholic convert from Hinduism. Wife (to Tim), Mother (of 3), Daughter, & Disciple. In this station of life, I am aspiring to become a “seasoned amateur” like my dad before me, both in photography and other art forms, primarily digital design, watercolor, and hand-lettering/calligraphy. With the advent of “the YouTube” and online seminars, I am learning as I go, in photography and in other art forms. Rakstar Designs originally began as a photography studio, but has since evolved as my adventures in the creative process ebb and flow their way through time and space.

Flourish in Hope

Flourish in Hope is a resource of solidarity, encouragement & support for postpartum women, especially those who are battling the darkness of PPD. This space is a safe haven where you can feel affirmed and revived, certain that you are not alone. Know and believe that you are infinitely loved by God! There is abundant hope — you can overcome fear and darkness. You can find joy and peace again. You were made to flourish!

Tattered Pages and Tea

A unique shop in an historic area of East Side Bay City.  We are nestled on the tree lined streets of the Johnson Street Consignment district. Offering used/new books focusing on Ladies’ Literature. Maintained by local book lover, Judi Hayward. We also offer a selection of local authors for your gift giving needs. Offering Marketspice teas to compliment your reads.

Veils and Vocations

A blog and essential oil company rooted in faith. Check out Jennifer’s page for your Young Living questions and needs.
p.s. Today is the last day to preorder 30 Days to Calm and take advantage of the preorder price. Grab yours today, k?

#5Faves: Anxious TV Characters #streamteam

Netflix provided me with a streaming device and free watching privileges, but opinions are all mine.


I’ve mentioned you can preorder my journal now, but someone should get the memo to these fine folks. Here are my five favorite TV characters who should be given a complimentary copy of 30 Days to Calm. Who would you add to the list?

1. Buster Funke from Arrested Development: Honestly, I think any of these characters could use the journal. But Buster? Buster would be my number one…or Tobias…

2. Chris Traeger from Parks and Rec: The tips in this journal might *literally* be life-changing for Chris. And we all know he is about self-improvement.

3. Zoey Hart from Hart of Dixie: Maybe Zoey could use 30 Days to Calm; maybe not, but I’m pretty sure she could hand this out to a handful of people in Bluebell.

4. Jacqueline Voorhes from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: I didn’t add this tip to the journal, but I love Kimmy’s advice to her: jump up and down and chant, “I’m not really here! I’m not really here!” Maybe I add that to the revised version.

5. Arnold Perlstein from the Magic Schoolbus: This kid’s teacher clearly has him all sorts of upset. Arnold can take his 30 Days to Calm anxiety toolbox with him on all of those field trips. Problem solved.

All of these shows can be streamed on Netflix right this very minute. Is instant gratification an anxiety related problem? If so, I don’t want to be cured.

Link up your #5Faves below!

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