diy {notebooks & crayons…to Haiti with love}

When Chris travels the hardest part for me is being the one to stay and not the one to go. His trip to Haiti was no exception – I wanted to go. Since ‘going’ wasn’t the option I had, I wanted to make the most of the opportunity with my kids in regards to them feeling a part of the trip. We have talked daily with the oldest two about what has happened in Haiti and what continues to happen. They have seen pictures. They have heard stories. They wanted to do something too. Since Chris didn’t have much room in his bags to take anything other than medical supplies we had to keep our items small and few. The boys wanted kids in Haiti to be able to color and draw….which I think is also a wonderful way for children to cope amid devastation. So we made little notebooks with crayons attached. Here’s how we did it:

Our supplies – notebooks, crayons, scrapbooking paper, glue stick, 1/4 inch elastic

Step 1: Cover the front of the notebooks. You could leave them as is, but I wouldn’t ever do that for a gift here so I wasn’t about to do it for a gift to be sent….I wanted them to be cute!

Step 2: The boys colored and wrote notes on the first page of each notebook. Biggest Brother wrote, “I love you.” on all of his.

Step 3: Make an elastic band to wrap around the notebook. I cut 2 pieces of elastic (one shorter, one longer). On the longer piece I marked it with a pencil every 1/2 inch, on the shorter piece I marked it every 3/4 inch. Then I sewed the elastic together at the marked spots (shorter piece on top). Finally I sewed the ends of the long piece – forming a band. I know that is not very technical, but I winged it and this is about as good as my instructions can get. Just play with your’s until it fits right!

Step 4: Slide in your crayons. The boys did this and picked what colors to go with each notebook.

Since ours were going to Haiti we wrapped each one in a plastic baggie. The rainy season will soon hit Haiti, hopefully these will help the kids keep their notebooks dry.¬† I also chose crayons since they don’t have to be sharpened and unlike markers they won’t grow dry.

About a week before Chris left Biggest Brother came home with a 100 Day hat from school. I guess each day of school they put a sticker on their hat, then on the 100th day of school they had a big party. Biggest Brother told me not to throw it away (b/c I throw everything away) and that he wanted to keep it forever. Well the day before Chris left Biggest Brother came to me and said, “Mommy I want daddy to take my hat to Haiti to give it to a boy there. I think that would make another boy really happy.” So the hat went to Haiti….and I cried seeing this picture.

When Chris first posted it on his Twitter I called Biggest Brother to come see it. I thought he’d get real excited about it, but he just stood staring at the computer. Then after about 45 seconds he got a sheepish grin and said, “Mommy, it feels really good to give stuff away.”

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  • ten on tuesday » Amber Fischer Photography - [...] i think this is one of the sweetest, most inspiring posts i’ve read in awhile. (not to mention she is a wonderful photographer, so there are lots of [...]

  • emily anderson - what a sweet picture of the little boy in haiti…made my heart melt.
    thanks for sharing.

  • Becca - Those gifts are such a cute and great idea! And the pictures of the hat and your son’s story made me cry! Love those little joys of mommy-hood! Thanks for sharing!

  • Jennifer Ross - This is so special. I am choked up just thinking about how giving he is. Child-like faith comes to mind. Such a special gift from God!

  • Jessica/littlepumpkingrace - I’m such a teary mess now :) I love the notebooks! You are doing such a fine job teaching your boys about helping others in need. I love that he gave his prized hat away – the grin on the little boy in Haiti says it all! God bless your family.

  • Emily - I have been looking at your blog for a few months and I love it for so many reasons. You’re creative, fun, talented…and your little girl is the same age as mine and I love to look at your pictures of her. Anyway, I usually don’t comment, but I couldn’t resist this time, this post is just incredible. I love it!

  • Brooke - Straight from the mouth of babes….seriously. That is the message that cant’ be taught with words. It can be taught with actions. How neat that your boy got to experience the way it feels to give sacrificially. Because for him, that was a sacrifice. It was something he loved.
    So happy that you had that moment.

  • Michelle - Ah that is so precious about the hat! Made me cry too! I love the idea of the notebooks and how you pull your kids into doing these projects and teaching them about it. So awesome!

  • Jeannette Swan - This made me cry – how sweet are those kids of yours, not to mention you and your husband!! And, how amazing you guys got such an awesome pic of the hat being worn by that sweet child.

  • Telise Ensey - This might me the best blog post I’ve ever read (and I’ve stalked a lot)…and its my first comment ever. Had to be moved to it I guess. My boys will be better people because I have been inspired by your mothering.

  • Heidi - What a sweet little boy you have. He is very special. And wise beyond his years.

  • Vane - Loved your story! It made me cry!!!
    Great spirit and great kids!!

  • stephanie - that is amazing. You and your family inspires us to try and do a little more for others who are less fortunate. Thank you for the inspiration.

  • pam - wow…speechless. an amazing story. xo

  • JoAnn - God bless you and your family. What a wonderful inspiration you are and your children are a true reflection of your efforts.

  • Lindsey - Um…. I am speechless. I stumbled upon your blog late last night and I haven’t stopped thinking about how much creativity and inspiration is out there and only a keystroke away. Your gifts you made were so thoughtful and the way you capture each moment with your camera is beautiful and uplifting. I love the 100 day hat (I must start that at our school) and the smile on that little boys face, oh my gosh (tears streaming down face). You are an amazing mother, raising some amazing kids!

    Thank you for inspiring me to give back.

  • Ruth - Ashley, Faith Comes By Hearing–the org. that makes the Proclaimer, is located here, and my closest friends all work there. I’m going to send them the link to your pics. I’m sure they will be pleased to see the Proclaimer in action.

  • Meridith - This is so wonderful! I came over from the link on Balancing Everything, and I’m so glad I did. Cute project, and cute story!

  • emily - not sure if i am over-emotional today, but i just burst into tears reading this post.

  • Jules - Adorable and giving… your son’s 100 day hat giveaway is very touching and inspiring!

  • Learning Lessons « Under Development - [...] I started on my crayon pocket notebooks for Robert that I found here.  Here are my supplies before [...]

  • Marisa Balletti - This is my first time visiting your blog, and I am so amazed by your creativitiy. Then I came across this amazing post and am equally amazind by the wonderful hearts youa nd your family have. The project is brilliant and the look in that little boys face with the hat and the crayons is priceless. What a beautiful thing, and I agree with all the other posts, inspiring. Thank you!

  • shelly kennedy - i am so thrilled to have found you!
    i love your style… and zest!
    ( I found you thru sarah jane)

    my sister-in-law has 3 boys, and a new baby girl,
    and is a photographer! I couldn’t send your link over to her fast enough!

    also…my daughter (12 yrs old) has an effort for giving crayons to kids in under developed areas… check it out!

    i sooo look forward to following you!

    shelly kennedy
    drooz studio inc

  • Stacey - What a lovely post filled with great pictures and a lot of heart! My husband and daughter were packing for a mission trip to Haiti when the earthquake hit. They were a mere 16 hours from touching down in Port-au-Prince. They were to work with New Missions and pass out shoe box gifts. Our prayer is that sometime in the next year they will be able to make that trip!

    Love your blog. Your photos are so engaging!

  • Jen - WOW! That is so sweet, I love the notebook idea. I think I found my Kindergarten send off gift for this year’s kindergarten class.

  • Heloisa - Ol√°…n√£o sou muito boa com o ingl√™s, mas n√£o podia deixar de comentar!!

    Vim ao seu blog atras da luminaria que você fez com o porta revista dai me encantei..

    Mas chegando at√© este post, me senti t√£o feliz…em saber que tem gente que pensa nas alegrias e nas necessidades das pessoas.

    Confesso que estou em l√°grimas aqui pela beleza de gesto…e principalmente pela do√ßura do gesto.

    Parabens pela magnifica educação que voces estão proporcionando aos seus filhos..

    D√° uma vontade de gritar bem alto o que vi aqui nessas fotos..

    Estou orgulhosa mesmo de saber que ainda tem amor no coração dos humanos. Orgulhosa de vocês!!



  • Telma Linhares - Adoro passar por aqui… Voc√™ √© Maravilhosa.
    Um exemplo pra mim.
    Sinto n√£o saber escrever ou falar em ingles, masi lei tudo aqui atrav√©s do tradutor…
    Você me faz ficar mais feliz.

  • 030810: Part 4 « It’s all about you… - [...] this looks like a good idea for the notebook. Also to be in their party pack. Without the crayon [...]

  • Parenting & Crafty Links: fyi@iyk | ImpressYourKids - [...] DIY Notebooks & Crayons…to Haiti with love from Ashley Ann photography {super wow.} [...]

  • Eos Mom - Awesome, awesome, awesome!

    Great gift idea, great donation idea, I love that your son sent his hat and that you have a pic of its recipient. Way to go!!!

  • Janna @ Mommy's Piggy TALES - Record YOUR Youth - I could stare at your photography all day! Especially knowing the touching story about the hat.

  • Bron @ Baby Space - Hi Ashley, I’ve done a post about this inspiring post of yours over on my blog: Baby Space – c’mon check it out! Fantastic idea about making and giving – I love it.

  • Lizzy Reiber - Your photo at the end made me cry like a lil baby. *sigh* Thanks for the reminder that doing a little goes a long way!

  • Pau - I just discovered your blog and this post really brought tears to my eyes…
    beautiful idea!! I love to read that many cried as well.. it goes to show that we are more connected than we like to think sometimes with people or situations completely separate from our daily lives…
    compassion will change the world!!

  • Trysha - Just going through your DIY archives (Hey, Summer is coming and I’ve got 3 boys to entertain, haha) and this totally made me tear up.

    Awesome project for keeping in your purse as emergency entertainment.

  • DIY Notebooks and Crayons - [...] Love these notebooks with crayons always handy. [...]

  • Jenna - This is the most AMAZING idea i have ever come across. I will most definitely be doing this soon. Perhaps I can contact somewhere that has information where I can send a box of these lovely gifts to places that have been hit with devastation recently.

    I am a soon to be art teacher and this touches my heart.

    I had tears come to my eyes while reading this and seeing biggest brother with his hat and then his new friend with the hat on. I just got finished watching Obama give a speech about the death of Bin Laden and tonight has just been full of happy tears!

    xo Jen

  • Sara - I LOVE this post! I thought about making a comment to say what a great idea the notebooks were, but when I saw the hat, that solidified it. Your blog is absolutely fantastic.

  • Trucks and Bugs and Shades of Blue… - [...] You can find out how to make these fun little notebooks yourself¬†over at ¬†Under the Sycamore. [...]

  • Crystal & Co - This would make an excellent birthday party favor!

  • Our Staycation: The “Car Trip” - [...] Crayon Notepads: We took along these party favors that we’d made for our little man’s 1st birthday party! You can find out how to make these fun little notebooks yourself¬†over at Under the Sycamore. [...]

  • Annie K - My husband is a missionary and goes to Haiti several times a year. I am TOTALLY getting a TON of these when school supplies get cheap, and sending them with him! What a GREAT idea!!

  • Mandy - Thanks for sharing! Such a great concept for him to understand already! Hope to find some opportunities to introduce more giving to my kiddos soon!

  • Kassandra @ Coffee and their Kisses - This is beautiful idea and a beautiful story. It brought tears to me eyes.

  • {kaleyann photography} Second Birthday Party - [...] together with a little elastic. ¬†I got the idea for the coloring books from one of favorite blogs, Under The Sycamore, and I knew that I wanted part of the gift to be something that Avery took part in. ¬†She loves [...]

  • Diane - Hi There,
    I love your idea. Very creative. I just returned from Liberia and I had introduced Montessori to the children and teachers. I bought some items that they may incorporate into the work. I had to remember that I was there to suggest and give ideas not change their culture. But I love those kids. I gave Crayola colors as well, I wish I would have thought about what you do. Great example.
    Love it

  • Tiffany - Just saw this post, and it brought tears to my eyes! Such a sweet family! Thanks for sharing!

  • Kristine - I just wanted to say the picture of the little boy wearing your sons hat brought tears of joy to my eyes. Haiti has a very special place in my heart, since two of my nephews were both adopted from Haiti. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Sarah - Tears in my eyes! I went on a missionary internship to the Dominican Republic
    last summer for four weeks, I know the feelings! SO awesome! I can’t wait to make these to take with me next time i go to the DR.. The kids will love th em! Hank you! God bless!


  • Pinterest Love: Party Favors | Sweet Rose Studio - [...] Notebook and Crayons from Ashley Ann Photography [...]

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