Her dad was in musicals…not her mom

I saw her headed out back with a guitar and her brother’s hat. I followed her out, knowing she’d go straight for her stage (also known as the picnic table). This girl. I like her. She likes to perform. These were all with my iPhone, which bums me out a bit. I wish they were with my ‘big’ camera and better quality. Nonetheless, I’m thankful I was able to capture it at all!
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Later I told her to go change into her hiking clothes….Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

She’s awesome. Also awesome – her brothers’ faces when she is performing or hiking in ruffles. I think she baffles them a bit.

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  • Michelle H. - This little Firecracker puts a smile on my face EVERY SINGLE TIME I see her! What a character! I am in love with the way you are raising her. Self expression at its finest! Love her!

  • Kari S. - I wish we lived closer to each other because my daughter would love to have a friend like Firecracker!

  • julie - She’s my kind of girl! So much fun she must be to have around.

  • Dana - What a treasure! I have one of those too…so much fun to just follow around????

  • Dana - *dont know where all of those ???? came from????.

  • Jill - Can she get any cuter??

  • Debbie C - Your girl’s got flair. She’s a country star! :) I have a little performer myself…she likes to close her eyes and sway while she croons. So cute but also a little dangerous as she doesn’t always watch where she’s going when her eyes are closed!

  • Katie - Your Firecracker is definitely full of the Joy of the Spirit! ;)

  • Rhonda Elder - TUTU (too too) cute! Can’t wait to see her in concert.

  • Melissa Lively - Most people would never know they came from your iPhone:) That should be a secret:)

  • Irene - I just recently got married and I am hoping that i can get a baby girl that has got some of her spirit and characters! What a blessing to have her around..

  • Momista Beginnings - ha! oh this is great. what a little ham she his. and her left hand! totally stealing the show :) -Misty

  • Laura Sudderth - She is going to be every girl’s best friend…she exudes such grace and confidence.

  • Cassandra H. - What fun! My daughter shares some of the same ruffle loving, singing, performing qualities that Firecracker has & she is baffling her dad right now.

  • Avenlea - I love this!! If you don’t mind my asking, where is the dress she is wearing in the bottom picture from? :)

  • Taylor - She has got to be one of the coolest little girls!



  • Paige - She is just awesomely wonderful. I love the tutu with the boots. How to you get her with your iPhone without it blurring? Is it because there is so much light? My boys won’t ever stand still so a lot of mine are blurring. :(
    Enjoy the sun!

  • tracy a - that girl! she just gets what life is about, eh? you are so good at encouraging her spirit…

  • Karen Davis - If she’d be one to share the stage… her and my little one would be besties… NO LIE! My sweet Charlotte has not a shy bone in her body… our fireplace, is her “stage” :)

  • Mrs Night Owl - You pictures are just absolutely beautiful. You inspire me to take more and capture every moment with the littles because it goes all too fast. Thank you!

  • AshleyAnn - Avenlea – it was a gift from a friend :)

  • kelleyn - Darling!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh, this girl. Watching her grow up will be a pleasure! I can’t wait to watch and cheer from the sidelines!

  • RachelC - She is so awesome. I need a little bit of her care-free living in my life. In fact, I’m going to channel a little of my inner country singer today. Happy Friday!

  • tasha roe - the picture of her on the table is the greatest picture ever!!!!!!!!!

  • Kristin - The 4th photo in the series where you capture her in profile with her hand out is brilliant!! They’re all good but I just love that image. Reminds me of a greeting card my mother would send me with a thinking of you note.

  • elizabeth H - absolutely LOVE these photos!! our Little One is always singing; so much different from her older brothers.
    so,so sweet!!

  • christina larsen - This brought a smile to my face. She is priceless!

an owl from Walgreens


I don’t shop at Walgreens very often, but I stopped in recently. As I was headed to the check out, I saw the cutest little planters for $2.99. So, I thought I’d share my find with you all – in case anyone else is always looking for inexpensive pots.

I added a $2.49 Ikea plant. There were several colors available in the pots…so if you have a Walgreens nearby, there’s my little tip for you!2.14plant-22.14plant-42.14plant-52.14plant-72.14plant-8

I think it would make a fun hostess gift, teacher’s gift or just surprise a friend with one. I should have picked up more!

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  • Krystal - I soooooo want a Walgreens!! I have a thing for owls ( like so many others lol )and plants…..this is the perfect combination! So sad we do not have a Walgreens in Canada :(

  • Bekah Decker - So cute and whimsical!

  • krista - yep, i am pretty sure i need one :)

  • Monica - Cute owl! I like owls :). I will stop today and see if they have still some of that ones . Thanks for sharing. Have a wonderful day!

  • Sara - Thanks for the tip Ashley! I stop in Walgreens way too often, for baby tylenol, milk…diapers. This is a much more fun purchase than those!

  • Necole@seriouslysassymama - They are super cute, and I have a Walgreen’s down the road!

  • Keshia - I share your decorating tips with my husband. I like your style, but mostly I like that you take your space and make it your own.

  • Susie - Cute! I am going to get one too!

  • Trudy - I saw them and was surprised too. I picked up the yellow one.

  • ellen patton - i have an owl collection; i hope to add one of those! thanks!!

  • Skittle - Funny story about one of these owl planters (at least it’s funny to me.) :) A friend of mine had one of these on her mantle, & I was just in love with it. Her’s may have been a little bigger & it had been given to her, so she didn’t know where it came from. One Friday night, all my friends had a surprise party at her house & I “stole” the owl, waiting to see how long it would take her to notice it was gone. The next day she was texting me like crazy, somehow knowing I was the one who would do such a thing. Then began the torture. I named him Larry. And on Facebook, I started posting pictures of Larry doing all sorts of things with my family, talking about how he loved being with us so much & was having so much fun, all the while just torturing my friend. We work together, so of course, she knew she would get him back on Monday, but it was quite entertaining (at least for me & everyone else, not so much for my friend) to torture her all weekend with pictures of how much fun Larry was having with us. But alas, I had to give Larry back. I will be scouring every Walgreens around here trying to find Larry Jr. Thank you so much for this post. And if you’re interested in seeing Larry’s adventures, I would be happy to share the album with you privately (yes, Larry got his very own album on Facebook) if you just let me know how. Again, thanks so much for this post. I am so excited to go hunting for Larry Jr!!!

  • Bri Schaaf - Oh my sakes!!! I’m in love, what fun! I have a new errand for after work today! Thanks for sharing!

  • Taylor - So cute! I love finding little things that have some character!



  • Catherine - so cute! my sons teacher loves owls so this will be a perfect end of year present. thanks for the tip!

  • Mara - Thank you so much! I just picked up one for myself and one for a friend!

  • Terry Hodges - Have you seen the live web cam of the owls in Oklahoma City? Three owlettes have hatched and it is so neat…very educational! http://www.ustream.tv/okcowlcam

  • Amanda Schaumburger - $2.99!? What a steal! I’m going to have to stop in there for one, stat. Thanks for the share!

  • kayla - Cute!

  • Rachel B. - Got a yellow one today! Thanks for the tip!

  • AshleyAnn - Skittle – that is a great story! Thanks for sharing it with me :)

our new step stools

Most of my projects these days are big ones – like painting rooms and tearing out carpet. Not much to post on those things until they are done. I guess I could write weekly painting updates, but that would be pretty boring. I did sneak in a two little projects recently. We needed a couple step stools: one for the studio sink and one for our pull-up bar. I used the Bekvam stools from Ikea at $15.00 each.

For the studio stool, I used basic acrylic paint in Behr “Cool Melon” color. For the pull-up bar stool, I used “Fortune” color inΒ Americana Decor chalky finish paint; it was my first time to try chalk paint.


I’ve never used chalk paint before, but have wanted to try it for a while. My favorite color is green, but it is difficult to decorate with for me. It can be so bold and over powering. I thought I would start with a small stool. Eventually, the stool will be in a room with gray walls and white floors. I used Americana Decor chalky finish paint in the color Fortune. As far as the chalk paint goes, I was a little frustrated at first. It goes on so differently than acrylic paint. However, I soon got my groove with it. I played with adding water and white paint to the green. It was so much fun. Once I added the wax top coat, I understood what all the hype is about regarding chalk paint. I ended up painting a nearby tabletop white too.2.14stool-5

You can see the different tones in the green paint. This is from thinning it with water and also adding some white.2.14stool-6

The step stool in the studio has been super helpful for the kids…and it is cute!2.14stool-8

The green stool will look much better in its new home when its new home is finished! You can see in the pull-up picture the gray I’ve added to the walls. I’d paint the pull-up bar too, but my guys won’t let me!2.14stool-102.14stool-12

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  • kelly - What a great idea! I have one of these stools hanging out in my kitchen. It needs a good sanding, but this would be perfect for it!

  • Anastasia - You are rocking again Ashley:) Great job turning plain stools into bright nice-looking pieces ) Now I am all inspired to go and paint my whole house….wonder what my guys will say to that? :)
    And I absolutely LOVE Ikea! Nicely Done!

  • stephany - I have two of those stools that I haven’t painted yet! You have inspired me…

  • tammy h - Did you use a special tool to paint those neat (as in tidy) grey strips? Even when I use painter’s tape, my paint bleeds.

  • Katie - Love the stools! So cute!
    Just a tip, we have those & added on nail on rubber feet from our local hardware store – so much sturdier that way.

  • Amanda - This is awesome !!! Yay for chalk paint!! I knew you would love it!!!

  • Alison - Green!! Jordan Ferney at Oh Happy Day just did some enviable things with the color green (http://ohhappyday.com/2014/02/studio-kitchen-makeover/). The step stools are ADORABLE! Great color choices.

  • Necole@seriouslysassymama - Green is such a great color. I am thinking about updated my girls room, and using this as the accent. Those stool are on my list for my next Ikea run.

  • AnnMarie - I just got a Bekvam for myself a few weeks ago and painted gold “socks” on it. Spotting the Bekvam stools in people’s house could almost be a game — they’re everywhere! For good reason, though, since they look great and they’re infinitely customizable. And I got such a kick out of the warning sticker Ikea includes with the stools (you can see that here, if anyone’s interested: http://littlelessy.com/2013/05/ikea-bekvam-stool-makeover).

  • Angela - I’m so glad I saw this. I was about to buy some Annie Sloan Chalk Paint to paint my cedar chest. I am excited about this new line I can try for way cheaper. Now just picking a color will be the hard part.

  • Katie S - So what changed about your opinion about chalk paint after using the wax? What is all the hype about? :)

  • Bree - If you have a hard time with them sliding on slick floor, we added rubber from a car belt to the bottom, it was the perfect width, and we just cut it into 4 pieces to fit on the feet. Glued the crap out of them, and haven’t had any issues with it coming off. Ours slid out on my 2 year old and resulted in a busted chin on the cabinet.

  • Taylor - I love updating unfinished furniture and this looks so cute! Did you put a coating on it at all?



  • Tami - Hi, Sorry to bother you. I am just wondering how you got that look on your cement floor? I pulled up the carpet in my daughter’s room and want that same look. Thanks!

  • AshleyAnn - Tami – it is new concrete. When we built the room, we knew we wanted to keep the floors concrete, so the guys that poured the concrete worked hard to get it super smooth. We haven’t sealed or stained it yet.

  • AshleyAnn - Taylor – I did put a clear coat on the pink stool. I have not done any coating on the green one.

  • Izzy - The step stools look so cute I love both colours! The chalk paint looks fun.

  • Jen O. - I’m with Katie S. what changed your mind about working with the chalk paint?

  • AshleyAnn - Katie – before I put on the wax it just felt chalky..not smooth or easy to clean. The wax smooths it all down and adds a hard finish. I’m going to be using chalk paint a lot more now :)

  • AshleyAnn - Jen – I just posted a reply

  • Cat - What do you use for the wax top coat?

  • Michelle W - What a brilliant idea! We have several of these stools in our home but, I never thought to paint them. Such a great way to accent color and cover up stains and footprints on the tops of stools :/ Also, that pull-up bar…family fave :) Miss you Ash!

  • AshleyAnn - I used the DecoArt wax that is part of their line

  • DIY :: Step Stool Update @ bee + daddoo - […] I happened upon this step stool makeover, on Under The Sycamore. Total aside: Allie and I both love this blog. We talk about Ashley Ann like […]