This summer an email from Budsies landed in my inbox. I was asked if I’d be interested in trying our their product – custom toys made from children’s artwork. Ummmm, yes. Immediately I though about my 8 year old son and 5 year old daughter. They are constantly creating anything and everything. I asked them draw something they would want to see as a ‘real life’ toy. They went through a couple versions until they both settled on their drawings.

She drew an Elsa doll. He drew a 9 legged cheeseburger with its tongue hanging out that was holding hands with a chocolate chip ice cream sandwich, both covered in hearts – for his sisters. I love that kid.


We sent them off. A few weeks later a box arrived….
9.14budsies-019.14budsies-029.14budsies-039.14budsies-04I don’t think any of us could believe how cool they turned out. My son was especially surprised. I think he drew his with a little bit of a challenge in mind and they met his challenge.9.14budsies-069.14budsies-059.14budsies-089.14budsies-079.14budsies-099.14budsies-10It was pretty fun watching them open the box and see their creations in a form that they can hold.  My son is already trying to figure out a way to create more, order them and start selling…along with how he can publish and sell all the books he has been writing. I love that kid.

back to top share on facebook tweet this post pin site image email a friend
  • Sarah Pratt - That is too cute! My nine year old would absolutely love this company!

  • jenw - Wow! That’s is super awesome. And I love the kids drawings. I especially like how I’m sure the Budsies folks noticed the drawings were inspired by certain movies yet the creations do not look like the movie characters. I’m sure that’s for liability reasons, but I think it’s pretty awesome too!

    Am I the only grownup wanting to draw my own creation and have it made?? LOL!

  • Amy - So phenomenal!!!!

  • steph Griffin - Oh my goodness. I’m with jenw…Totally want to draw something just to have it made into a plushie.Those are incredible!

  • Paige - What a cool idea! Christmas!

  • Megan Romer - Um, wow. Thanks for sharing!

  • Marda - Well how cool is that?? Thanks for sharing!

  • Stephanie - That’s just awesome!!! I love it!

  • Laura Sudderth - That is the neatest thing ever!

  • Haley - I saw your Instagram of Firecracker taking a picture of the cheeseburger/octopus and ice cream sandwich creation. I was wondering what was going on with the stuffed creature. Now that I know, I love it even more. What a fun idea!

  • Emily - That’s so cool! Thanks for sharing!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh my goodness – it made me laugh out loud! I love it!! Great job, kids!

  • Kelleyn - very cool!

  • Diana - Those are awesome!!

  • Hilary Barnett - Amazing!! And so, so fun. My daughter would love these!!

  • Jenny B. - Oh my word! Those are the cutest!! I love that they didn’t just make a stuffed version of the picture, if that makes sense. I’ve seen some like that, and they are really neat and cute also, but these are like they actually interpreted the child’s drawings and created what maybe they were seeing in their minds. I love it!

  • kimberly oyler - those are so cute! and i have to admit, as sad as i was to see the fabric wrapped bed go, i think i really like it green.

  • SophieBugsMom - Oh my gosh!! They are SOOOO awesome!!! I need to look back at some of my big kids artwork from when they were little and make this one of their Christmas presents! Love it!!

  • SophieBugsMom - I just saw that they posted your cheeseburger holding hands with an ice cream sandwich on their August 22nd FB post too!!

  • Amy Espinosa @the little farm diary - Oh my goodness! Who knew? Thank you for sharing!!

  • Luisa - This is the sweetest thing!

  • Steph - Too funny to see this here, I knew the founder of Budsies in high school and a close friend works for them now. Genuinely kind, good people you are supporting by working with this company!

  • Tiffany - I second what L.S. said: “…neatest thing ever!” !! :D *I read the title of this article to my husband and showed him the pictures, and my 5yo daughter was also tuned in– she ran out of the living room, returned a minute later {literally!} w/a drawing of a puppy that she wants sent in, stat! ;) Lol, love it– really, too CooL!!!~! :D *Thanks for sharing {my little artiste appreciates it, especially}!

  • Randi - This is theeee coolest!! How fun!! So great how you captured their faces once they opened them. I’m totally going to have to check this out :)

  • Candice - This is awesome! My son is always trying to make toys from his drawings!

Dirt and brothers go hand in hand around here.

The girls like the dirt for a bit…until they decide they are done being dirty and want clean hands.

The boys don’t understand why I would ever make them wash the dirt off.

They can play for hours in a big pile of dirt. I have to hose down their clothes before putting them in the washer, but it is totally worth it. I want them to have childhood memories full of just being brothers, making up games, getting dirty.

ISO 125, 1/400, f/3.2 85mm lens

9.14dirt-01ISO 100, 1/1000, f/1.8 85mm lens9.14dirt-05ISO 160, 1/2500, f/1.8 85mm lens9.14dirt-02

Notice the girls in dresses in the background…always in dresses, even in the dirt.

ISO 250, 1/4000, f/1.8 85mm lens  ~  ISO 160, 1/2500, f/1.8 85mm lens9.14dirt-03ISO 160, 1/1600, f/3.2 85mm lens9.14dirt-06ISO 500, 1/640, f/4.5 (not ideal settings, I was shooting fast) 85mm lens9.14dirt-07ISO 500, 1/1000, f/4.5 (not ideal settings, I was shooting fast) 85mm lens9.14dirt-08

His brothers were taking too long to bury his legs.

ISO 500, 1/1000, f/4.5 (not ideal settings, I was shooting fast) 85mm lens9.14dirt-09

They are so crazy awesome. Sometimes I just sit back and watch them – baffled and in awe. Growing up with a sister, I had no idea how much fun comes with boys. I just can’t imagine life without 3 young guys and 2 little girls. I’m so, so grateful I’m the one they call mom….even after 500 million loads of laundry and never getting to buy them white shirts!

And just for fun….my oldest in our front yard when he was 4.9.14dirty*If you are interested in learning more about how to use your DSLR (what all those camera settings mean), registration is open for the last SnapShop of 2014. Click here for more details.

back to top share on facebook tweet this post pin site image email a friend
  • danielle - Ha! So true! Mine are perfectly happy with being dirty the rest of their lives :)

  • Paige - Oh my goodness how fun! I watched my two knuckleheads put plastic coffee buckets on their feet and pull each other around the kitchen last night. Who needs American’s Got Talent?

  • Michelle Hill - They made a slide out of a pile of dirt?! They are too cute for words!!

  • Kristin - Thank you so much for bringing back memories of my kids playing in the dirt! One summer our neighbors built an addition, so we had an amazing pile of dirt in their backyard, and the kids spent hours on it. We just left their “dirt clothes” in the garage & didn’t bother washing them everyday…the clothes…we did wash the kids!

  • Ilse - I am kinda depressed right now and looking at those photo’s I’m just thinking… Will you be my mom?

  • Jenny B. - It’s great that they enjoy that stuff! My boys are so different from yours. I often wonder if I’ve done something wrong because they are scared to death of pretty much everything outside and do not like to get dirty. My youngest son announced the other day that he is afraid of butterflies. Seriously. Oh, well… :)

  • Debbie H - I LOVE the last photo. Same cute little face but hair darkened up so much, he looks different now. His expression is pure joy and delight. What a great shot. I’m sure he LOVES seeing this photo of himself.

    My Mom never stressed about dirt when we were growing up, but not all Mothers are like that, Ashley. My Mom used to say “they’re all washable” Your kids are lucky that you do not stress about white staying white. Good for you and them. I love watching your life unfold. Thanks so much for all your sharing.

  • Amy Espinosa @the little farm diary - Being a VERY girly girl growing up, that dirt thing just escapes me! Now, the mom of two boys and two girls, I had to get used to letting them just be free to wallow in the dirt and mud. Boy was that challenging!

  • Ksenia - I totally agree — letting kids get dirty is a must (there are also studies about how it’s really good for their immune system). I’m relatively new to your blog and have binge read a lot of posts (I got here due to my interest in adoption). Do you share anywhere your photo editing process? Thank you!

  • Tracy A - Wow! Look how light big brother’s hair is!!

She’s got a deep liking for colorful washi tape. I have no idea who she got it from. No idea.

She asked me if she could make a bunting for her friend. The mere fact that she used “bunting” in a sentence won me over and I agreed. Together we made a little tape bunting. This is a super fast and easy craft to make with young kids…or by yourself.

She picked the tapes and I folded them over a baker’s twine. Once I folded the tape over, she trimmed the bottoms. The tape was not uniform or cut straight, but that really adds to the whimsy of it.9.14bunting-029.14bunting-04

I asked her to hold it up so I could take a picture to share with other moms in case their kids wanted to make one too. She had a different pose in mind than I did.9.14bunting-059.14bunting-07

We wrapped the bunting around an old postcard and she picked out two cards (she made two buntings) to write a note to her friends. The cards are from Rainy Day Colors – the EXTRA LARGE kids cards are perfect for her because her letters aren’t so small yet.9.14bunting-08

She isn’t a big fan of traditional copying letters or tracing (though we still do that and work on her grip), but she loves sending cards to her friends. I get her practicing handwriting and spelling, she gets to send special notes to her friends. Win. Win.9.14bunting-099.14bunting-109.14bunting-11

And then the race to the mailbox to send them off.9.14bunting-12

Snail mail is one of my favorite things….I need to learn from my daughter and do a better job sending it!

back to top share on facebook tweet this post pin site image email a friend
  • Izzy - This is too cute :) I love thinking of cute extras I can put into my cards!

  • Angela - I spy a leftie! And a young lady who grows more beautiful each day (or at least each blog post!). :)

  • ranee - my daughter is a leftie too and i have a feeling she would love this project also! ditto to the snail mail sentiment as well! thanks for this post!

  • Lauren - That dress! Where did you get that dress?! Beautiful (girl included!)

  • Paige - I can’t believe how old she is looking! My Ty started Kindergarten this fall. This is the year he starts growing up. I capture as many “one more hugs” as possible. Love this last picture of her running with her long dress, looking back. I also love that her hair started out fixed and came down by the end of the post. What a cool idea with the tape.

  • Michelle Hill - I owe my washi tape obsession to you, Ashley :) They are so much fun!! This is such a cute idea, I can’t wait to try it myself. I love that last pic of fire cracker running with her hand holding up her dress- such a cutie!!

  • Haley - This is so cute! I love that she wanted to make something to send to her friend. Also, she does the best posing!

  • ellen patton - I mail cards almost every day. I love mail too!

  • Jenn from Texas - I don’t have anything to say other than I read your blog daily and am so inspired by your heart, your photos, and the way that you really LIVE your life. Thank you for blessing me everyday.

  • kimberly oyler - i made washi tape bunting last year! such a quick and easy project! and i am so jealous of firecracker’s hair.

  • AshleyAnn - Lauren – my mom just got it on sale at Target

  • Jenny B. - SO Sweet!! I’m thinking maybe my boys could make one to use as a Christmas tree garland. Maybe. :) Fun!

  • Andrea Thompson - I discovered your blog a couple of months ago & I am totally amazed by your life, your family, your home and your experiences. Your children are gorgeous and your life & home are so beautifully colourful. Your photography is amazing & I hope to do 1 of your snapshot workshops early next year. xxx

  • Kristi Rediske - so fun-I am going to teach my grandkids this-your daughter is beautiful-really shows in the pictures. She looks like such fun.

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh, she is a girl after my own heart! Great job, firecracker. I know your friends are gonna love your special gift!

  • Amy Espinosa @the little farm diary - Thank you for the reminder! I’m just terrible at sending letters too! It’s always so much fun receiving them in the mail!

  • Missy - SUCH a good idea! I’ve looking for craft projects to do with my four year old girl and we tried this yesterday. She LOVED it. And what’s not to love about cute bunting and surprises in the mail!

  • Diana - Oh my goodness. Everything about this is so precious!!

  • Lynn Brumm - Just amazed with how much she has grown up!! …..literally before our eyes! She is so sweet with her sun-lightened hair and bronzed skin. Such beautiful pictures….as usual!! Thanks!!!

  • haverlee - Oh gosh, that last shot of Firecracker. I feel like it’s a flash forward ten years. Nearly made me misty eyed and she’s not even my daughter!

  • Jess Musumarra - What a great idea! My 5 year old daughter LOVES washi tape and I can see her making tons of bunting. Thanks for sharing.

  • Friday Favorites | Cupcakes and Commentary - […] little bunting craft, made for doing with your favorite five year […]