she wanted to make bows

She asks to sew all the time. Sadly, I don’t say ‘yes’ near enough. Sewing doesn’t come easily to me and she needs a lot of help. She found one of my sewing books and really wanted to make some bows for her hair and her sister’s. I knew I’d be making 95% of the bows, and though I wasn’t excited about sewing bows, she was. I want to me more of a “yes” mom than a “not now”, “hold on”, “no” or “maybe later” mom. More “yes” to her and her siblings.

So, we made bows. (I’m not posting a tutorial because we followed a pattern in Simple Sewing by Katie Lewis)

She picked the fabric, the size, and the clips. She did the cutting and a good portion of the sewing. And she beamed.


Before I know it she’ll be the one teaching me how to sew. I’ll probably still be making crooked curtains and lacking patience to measure perfectly. I’ll probably have to call out for her and ask her to come help me figure out the pattern I don’t want to follow. When that day comes, I hope she smiles at me and says “yes”.

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  • mandy - At least you know how to use a sewing machine. I can never thread the bobbin (or whatever it’s called) correvtly. My machine has been collecting dust since I bought it 6 years ago….

  • Sandy c - That bow looks great! Good work Firecracker!

  • Seamingly Sarah - Those are so cute. I’ll have to try them. And I should try to sew with my daughter more often. I tend to say no because her track record proves that she starts, but doesn’t finish. So I have all these unfinished projects laying around in my sewing room and I feel so guilty thinking about getting rid of them.

  • Diane - Oh, I lovvvvvve that proud picture of her smiling with the finished bow!

  • danielle - So sweet! It is hard sometimes saying yes to more work.

  • Kristen - Ashley- I just wrote about this exact thing yesterday. I so want to be the mom that stops saying – not now, in just a minute, etc. and instead say, sure- I’ve got time :)

    I have no patience for sewing either- I count on my mom for all her help ;)

  • Kimberly Oyler - there’s something so special about her. I can’t wait to see who she’ll be when she grows up.

  • Lindsey P - When did she grow up? She looks so big in these pictures! I think it’s the skinny legs!

  • Nini~ - Wow, she’s a great sewist! I am inspired to get my great niece sewing! I love how careful and serious she looks while sewing. Great job Firecracker!


  • Anastasia - What a great way to bond over a project! And that bow came out just perfect! Great Job girls! btw, its a really pretty material that firecracker picked)))

  • Abby May - Aww Firecracker is my kind of girl!

    Way to go Ashley. I’m sure this will be happy memories of sewing with her mama when she gets older. I remember all my memories of sewing with my grandma and I treasure them so much.

  • Birdy - She looks so excited, thankful and beautiful! She definitely will say yes to her mommy and, as she did now, will appreciate the time with you!

    Thankful to see a mother, who really tries to say yes to all of her children. I just guess (because I am not a mother now) that this is the hardest and the most beautiful job…

    have a wonderful weekend

    Love from sunny Germany and the -fatcatconnection-

  • Rikki - So sweet, she did such a good job! I am often mindful of saying “yes” as well, and catch myself during each “too busy” or “not now” moment. She looks just like you too, what a sweet girl!

  • Carrie - Do you have a lefty? My lefty is always challenging my thinking with her “outside the box” thinking. A true creative treasure.

  • Melanie - Cute!

  • Helen - I’m glad you said yes.

  • Cassandra - Cute Cute!! I’ll have to check out the tutorial for my girls, maybe get one done for Easter!

  • Sophia - I’m sure you’ve gotten this before, but I feel like we have a bond! You so frequently express my own desires and hopes. I love sharing motherhood with you.

  • Meg G. - I love that instead of just making them for her (which can sometimes be easier/faster/etc) she’s actively involved in the entire process! What a great way to start learning so young…instead of waiting until her 30′s like I did :) When I have kids I hope I can inspire and help encourage their hobbies and talents like you do with your kids!

  • Lynnie B - You ROCK as a mom!!!

  • Alison - That picture of her sewing, with the pedal up on the footrest, is just adorable! You can tell she is proud of herself. And she’s a better sew-er than I am!

  • Taylor - So cute! You guys did an awesome job!


  • Sarah - ADORABLE!!!!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Great job, firecracker! That bow looks amazing!

  • Kristin S - Oh, Firecracker, you are growing up so beautifully!

  • Ashley Lemaster - Beautiful, Ashley!! My kids love to “sew” although it ends up being a ton of work for me. They have been asking me forever to make pillows and I finally said “yes”. They are wonky in places but they picked out the fabric, etc. and have been parading the pillows around for weeks. Also saying that they “designed” them and constantly telling each other the rationale behind their fabric choices. Obviously they are way more calculated than me. Love it!!

  • Susie - I think I’m in love with Firecracker! And you too, Ashley! You teach your kids life skills and that’s so important. I love these photos of your daughter perched on a step-ladder with the machine pedal under her bare foot! And the fact that she’s a leftie and knows how to use a left handed scissors. I’m a leftie (and sewer too!) Only back in the day, they didn’t ask which hand we wrote with, they just taught everything right handed.

    Kudos to you and your family! You all serve as such positive role models!

  • Eryn - Sweet baby girl! Those pictures of her wearing her bow melted me into a puddle. You could see so much emotion in her eyes! What a great post.

  • Holly and eddie - I love how distracted children get whilst doing activities. These bows are wonderful.

  • Laura - Every time I see her picture I think of the first time I saw her on your blog, I think it was the first time I visited, I’m not even sure what got me here but it was the picture of her, maybe her 2nd birthday and she was out in a field with 2 sticks holding up a banner that you made. She captured my heart that day and continues to now. My daughter is now 19, she loved to create at my side as a child, we took a break (her idea) during her teen years and now we’re back at it. I recently bought a nail gun and so we have been building stuff, fun times!

  • kate - You’re a lovely lovely mama.

  • Heidi Jo the Artist - So special! I love being a yes mom too!

two of my go-to books


I have a very long list of books I want to read. It is super long and it makes me a little sad that I add to the list faster than I check books off the list. I want to read more, but I’m just not in a season for it. One day I hope to be checking off faster than adding. Among my favorite books right now are those that I don’t need to read cover to cover, but instead can pick out pertinent chapters – like crafting books and cook books (this is a new one for me).  There are also two books I pick up throughout the year for ideas regarding holidays and celebrations that fall throughout the calendar year.

Since we are approaching Easter, I want to share those books; I like to use them to help me find ways to make celebrating Christian holidays significant and full of meaning for my family. The first is A Homemade Year by Jerusalem Greer. I started working through this book last year. She touches on several holidays that I did not celebrate growing up. The book is full of crafts, recipes, and ideas for bringing people together. The book follows the calendar year, so it is easy to jump in at any time. It is a really great fit for my family.4.14handmadeyear-2

The second book is Treasuring God in Our Traditions by Noel Piper. I got this book when my oldest was a baby. It has been my go-to book for nearly a decade when I want to be inspired, encouraged and reminded of ways to make our holiday celebrations significant.4.14handmadeyear-44.14handmadeyear-6

I don’t do giveaways very often (except the last 2 weeks!), but Jerusalem offered to let me host a giveaway for her book and I would love for one of you to have this book in your family. It has been such a special gift for my family, I hope one of you enjoys it too!


Prize: 1 copy of A Homemade Year by Jerusalem Greer

1 winner, chosen at random


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  • Chrissy - What a wonderful giveaway. I have a 23 month old and a 3 month old (today!). If I don’t win, I will be buying both of these.

  • AmyK - This would be perfect for my family too! Happy Thursday!

  • Melinda Davis - Love this blog- read it almost daily. Will enjoy reading Ms. Greer’s book and may purchase it if I am not the lucky winner. Warm blessing to Ashley and Chris and her little ones.

  • Faythe - Thank you!

  • Daniela - Love your blog and would love the book!

  • Debbie - These books look lovely

  • Courtney - Those books sound really cool and great for incorporating Jesus into holidays

  • Katie - Thank you! Have been wanting to read this book!

  • Dani M. - That sounds like a near book. Thanks for sharing, Ashley!

  • Lorie Bell - Love these!

  • Jennifer Garcia - These books would be wonderful to receive. My daughter just turned one and I am wanting to be more intentional about how we celebrate the holidays.

  • Amy - I have a pile of books waiting to be read as well! Even so, I am always looking for more. Happy to have your recommendations here. I would be pleased as punch to win this. Thanks for the opportunity! And Happy Easter! He is risen!

  • Jessica - Both look great! Thanks for the recommendations.

  • Jillian - Thanks for the recommendations and the giveaway!

  • Dawn - Books are such treasures. Thanks for sharing these! They both sound wonderful!

  • heather - I would love to win. I’m not in a season of reading either…. One day that will change.

  • jeni - I must read these books.

  • Sara - I totally understand about not being in a season. I am hopeful that my season for books is around the corner. Until then, perhaps this book with help bridge the gap.

  • Hannah H. - looks great!!!

  • Stephanie - I would love to get a book like this. Thank you!

  • Julie - I would love this book!

  • Cheryl - Thank you for the chance to win this book…very thoughtful.

  • Lolly - What a great concept for a book! I love the idea of exploring holidays I might not be familiar with-who wouldn’t love finding new reasons to celebrate?

  • Heidi c - These look amazing – thank you!

  • michelle - Would love to win

  • Kristi Jernigan - I would love this book!

  • Crystal - Thank you for the chance to win!

  • Wendy Ullmer - That looks like a great book. I have 4 boys and I am looking for more ways to be intentional about crafting in our home. Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Giana - Loving these books – always looking for inspiration – your blog provides me with a warm spot in my days!

  • Kathleen Dutill - Looks like a lot of fun and a great way to be inspired. Thanks for sharing!

  • Sarah - That would be a great birthday present.

  • Judy Kay Kyker - I love finding new ways to make our holidays and traditions special.

  • Michelle Hill - This is wonderful. I was just thinking this morning how I would like to start celebrating Easter for what it actually represents and not just bunny rabbits and easter egg hunts. I hope I win :)
    Thank you for the contest! Have a great Thursday!

  • Abigail Carpenter - Sounds like a great resource book. My kids and I love to do crafts and it would be so handy to have something to quickly grab as opposed to spending hours on Instagram;)

  • Fawn - I have had my eye on this book. Thanks for the opportunity to add it to my collection.

  • Leighanna - I would love to add another book to my reading list.

  • traceyo - Sounds fun! Can’t wait to check out the book even if i don’t win!

  • Emily - Your ideas always inspire me. These books sound wonderful. I would live tips on making family time together more significant.

  • Nancy Cresser - I LOVE your blog. These books sound really good. Thank you:)

  • julie - I am in that same season of not making it through books (except the ones I read aloud for homeschooling). But the making memory days are fleeting and so important. What a great giveaway. Thank you!

  • Rachel N. - I’ve spied this book around, looks interesting! Have a blessed Easter Ashley & family.

  • Judy - Jerusalem’s book is on my wish list! :)

  • Mary M - These sound amazing. Thanks for the chance to win!

  • Ashley - Would love to win this book!

  • Brittany A - Would love this book, looks beautiful!

  • Annie - I love Noel’s book! And would love another resource for celebrating well with my family!

  • Michelle - I just bought Noel Piper’s book not long ago after re-reading your post about making an Easter hill. Would love to read a Homemade Year as well!

  • Kelly - that book looks so inspiring… thank you for sharing!

  • Rebecca - I know just what you mean about adding books to the list faster than taking them off. This book seems right up my alley!

  • Megan S - I could not think of a better combination of things; coming together, cooking, and crafting :)

diy {Amanda’s Pinwheels}

A little while back my friend Amanda posted a picture of pinwheels on Instagram. Her instagram & blog are among my favorites. I don’t get a lot of crafting time, so I live vicariously through her. If you are looking for crafty inspiration, I HIGHLY recommend following her blog and IG feed.


I took down the white paper flowers that hung on my chicken wire bedroom wall several months ago. They were old and after years of sunlight hitting them, they needed to be replaced. Originally, I was just going to make new ones. But….it never happened. When Amanda posted that picture I immediately sent her a text and asked if I could buy them from her when she was done using them. They matched my room colors so perfectly. Thankfully, she took me up on my offer.


All I had to do was add hot glue and hang them on the wall. I sit on the couch when working on my laptop…so my view just going a whole lot happier.4.14pinwheels-3

The girls like to play songs on the iPad and then dance in front of the mirror…or lay down and pretend to sleep.4.14pinwheels-5

This is her ‘mean’ face. She makes it and then laughs.4.14pinwheels-7

This girl got to sing with a real microphone on a real stage last night. Granted it was a song about the president’s, but the girl belted it out like it was the soundtrack to The Parent Trap. She’s been practicing a lot.4.14pinwheels-9

I know you will ask….Amanda does not sell pinwheels in her etsy shop. She mainly makes them for craft shows, workshops, her home and now mine. However, I am pretty sure if you email her, you might be able to convince her to sell you some. You can contact her via her blog.

Also…people often ask about dusting things like this. I just use the hose on my vacuum with a nozzle so the suction isn’t so strong.

Thanks Amanda, I owe you big time!


Also….I wanted to let you know who won the giveaways last week. The winners should have already received emails from me and/or the vendors.

Karen Russell’s Making The Shot Three

Mara (maraw….)

Christine (cmg…)

Lori (lrol…)

Artifact Uprising Postcard Pack

Abby (a.b.t…)


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  • Erica Baker - I love the colors of those pinwheels!! Your girls are so cute.

  • Beth @ Sawdust and Embryos - Looooove those colors! These make SUCH a statement! I actually just did a tutorial for making pinwheels on my blog a couple days ago… if your readers are interested. Here’s the link!

  • Bambi - That is so very cute! What a great idea!

    Love from Germany and a beautiful day,


  • Cindy - How do you hang them? I have some but not sure his to hang them on the wall. Thanks!!! :))

  • Debbie C - Your wall is incredible with those pinwheels! It’s like living in an Anthro display! For my daughter’s first birthday I stayed up late hours making pinwheels to go behind each letter of her name and the words “Happy Birthday”. LOTS of folding and gluing…but turned out really pretty.

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - OH these colors! Beautiful!

  • Carrie R - Amanda’s blog/IG is one of my faves!!! This looks fantastic.

  • Mara W - Hi Ashley! Thank you so much for the giveaway! Im a pretty excited winner over here :-)

  • marie - Love all your sweet photos…they’re so colorfilled and happy! Thanks for sharing the link to Amanda’s blog…first crafty thing on my to-do list is her seed bombs! Love them!!

  • Amy Cornwell - Oh my mercy. How gorgeous. I think these need to go in my studio. So lovely!