macrame is taking over

3.28-3There were several requests on Instagram that I post a tutorial for the macrame plant holders I’ve been making this week. I’ve been wanting to make a hanging plant holder for a while, so I finally just tried it. And, it turns out they are so simple and easy. At least the ones I tried!

I followed a tutorial by Hello There Home (click here for the tutorial). I added some scrap fabric to mine as well. I’m thinking of trying some more complicated designs later, but for now these take about 5 minutes, which is about all the crafting time I get.3.28-1

I created a “macrame” pinterest board so it would be easy to share with you a few other tutorials I found. I only have a few on there right now. (click here to go to the pinterest board)


While I was taking plant pictures, she was spinning in the chair. I made sure to hang the guitar high!

3.28-53.28-73.28-8She’s a cutie, for sure. Have fun macrame-ing (pretty sure that is not a word).

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  • Aj - Love! My grandfather made tons of macrame when I was young and to see a piece, especially a plant hanger, makes me think of him!

  • Meg - Random, but the other day when you posted pics of your hubs office and showed the chair that he wanted to have for your kids to visit him, my hubs said “that’s awesome!” He said he would LOVE that! After dropping a few more hints it appears we are on the lookout for a worn leather couch. Apparently it’s always been a dream of his to have a worn leather couch in his office for his kids/visitors to visit on!

  • Erica Baker - What fun little plant holders! I am terrible at keeping plants alive. Maybe I will try again in the spring…

  • amber - My husband plays guitar too. As soon as I saw how high that guitar was, I instantly knew why! Those little fingers love strumming on dad’s guitar…or trying to hold it, or you find them standing on it, or shoving it across the room. Sheesh. Love the macrame holders. I’ve had several pinned for a while. Maybe I’ll give it a shot for real now. :)

  • Peg Powell - While macrame-ing may not be a word, I’m sure it has been used by many of us.

  • Taylor - I love these plant holders! I’m always scared to hang them in my place because I have an apartment, but I’m trying to figure out a cool way to do it without hanging the plants.


  • anastasia - Great idea! And thank you for creating a Pin, now I can save it to my favs as well :)))) Happy macrame-ing :)

  • Stoich91 - Yes, yes, spinning on hanging chairs is actually what they are made for!!! :D

  • William - Hello :). I have to just simply say thank you. As a recent follower, photographer, and father – I just love the photography and how you share and embrace the simple things in life. Your blog brightens my day and for that I am very thankful!

  • Melanie - “Macrameing” is definitely a word in our house! My husband creates contemporary macrame jewelry. Our son is 3 and he is showing interest in “macrameing” as well. So much fun! It is nice to see people taking an interest in the art of knotting. Love the plant hanger.

  • JoLynn - Where did you get that awesome hanging chair from? I love it!!

  • Crystal - There’s just something so sweet and beautiful about seeing Little One “here.” here in your home, her feet on your floor, swinging in your chair. And that it’s all hers too. That you rescued her and gave her this freedom….freedom to “be here” and live. freedom to be a part of this life and story that wouldn’t have been hers. Just so different from the first pictures we saw of her in her orphanage. such a sweet journey. That probably sounds so silly, but it’s so true. It’s just so encouraging and motivating, and always a reminder of so many good things, especially just God’s goodness. Sorry, that is so random, but I always think of it seeing her living her life now. encouraging to think of that’s how God is with us. such blessings to see your pictures..always.:)

  • Annie Niedecken - Holy friggin smokes! I met you this weekend, but hadn’t followed your blog yet. I love, love, love your work, home, crafts, and beautiful family. Thank you for all the inspiration on being creative! Happy day to you!

    Hugs, a

  • Sherry - Now that Hope Spoken is no longer overpowering my mind ;), I am doing this! I’ll send you a picture! Thank you for sharing this, my favorite grandma had these, feels like a little piece of her.

  • jessica - where did you find the 1/8 in. cotton rope? having trouble finding all cotton rope.

dancing in her dreams

I heard a random knocking on the door and opened to see my friend standing there with a GIANT green balloon. What a fun thing to surprise someone with! I mean really, happy just exudes from a giant balloon. Naturally, I felt it necessary to capture any willing kids with my happy balloon. The boys were not even remotely interested; it is a little sad. They are growing up. There was a day not that long ago they would have had a lot of fun running around with a giant balloon. Now they want to shoot it with their dart guns, which I must admit is a different kind of a lot of fun.

The photographer in me wanted to wait until later in the afternoon when the light is so beautiful over the field. But, the mom in me had to agree with the little girl that likes to feel the sun warm on her face. The girls both excitedly got dressed in matching outfits (that big sister picked out). However, once we got outside, little sister decided it was too cold and she ran back inside.

So once again…it was me and my sweet girl. She thinks anything is an adventure if it involves something pretty. I tied the balloon to a suitcase so it didn’t accidentally fly away and then stepped back to just capture her being her. I used my 85mm lens and A Beautiful Mess Actions.

3.26-13.26-43.26-53.26-7She embodies a love of beauty. It is captivating to watch her in her element. At night she asks me to pray that she will dream of sparkles, rainbows, pink flowers and dancing with Jesus. She tells me dancing with Jesus is her favorite dream. I’m not sure there could be a better thing to dream about..I hope her dreams come true.  In a lot of ways I feel like I’ve spent a lifetime dancing with Jesus and I’d have to agree with her…it is my favorite too.

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  • Erica Baker - I love her little floral crown. And her heart. What a fun gift to receive!

  • danielle - Those are beautiful! I love the one of her jumping!

  • Jess - What a beautiful and precious soul. Thank you for sharing her love for beauty and your gift of capturing it. Every day you brighten my world..thank you for that, too.

  • Sarah Pratt - Love!

  • Anna - She is so pretty and so big! It seems like she’s grown so much since January! PS Can’t wait to see your lovely face this weekend. :)

  • Monica - She is lovely! and she has a beautiful hair and soul. Keep dreaming! :)

  • Mel - Wow, in the last picture i thought it was you for an instant!
    I love firecracker, she is one fierce little person!

  • Stephanie - So Beautiful.
    I love the way, she is wearing boots, than only socks and on the last pictures she is barefeet!!!

  • Cindy - Hearing her prayer brought tears of joy! Dancing with Jesus is the best dream! Thanks, as always, for bringing me joy!

  • Kimberly Oyler - annnnnnd thank you for making me cry in the Houston airport.
    also I’m way jealous of her hair.

  • Christina - This makes me so happy. Love starting my day with your blog.

  • Whitney - Oh, I love this. She seems like the most amazing little girl. :)

  • Sarah - I loved this post! I love seeing her joy of dancing and your joy in being her mother. I hope to dance with Jesus like she does too! Thanks for always sharing your family, faith, and life through amazing pictures. I enjoy learning from you.

  • Anastasia - She is an amazing little girl)))) Love watching her dance & sing.
    And these pictures are so beautiful and free….xo

  • Julie - So beautiful and so besutifully written! I’m choked up. Love that girl of yours and love Jesus, too!

  • Lori - Love this! I want to order like 20!!!
    Precious. I dream of the same things as well. Love this and I am sending it to someone who needs to read this. Their little girl is now dancing with Jesus…we all should be so happy with agian balloon. Simple things are the best.

  • Anna @ A Good Home - What a wildly beautifully fun day.

  • Casandra C - I admire her young mind. I was like that too way back when I was in her age. She’s a very talented girl and I wish her the best in the future! :)

  • Paige - I just love this series. My favorite part is as thing progress, we have boots on, then we have just socks and finally no shoes or socks at all. The last one looks so much like her mama with flowers in her hair! Dancing with Jesus is BEST!

  • christina larsen - looks like a lot of fun!

  • Diana - I LOVE the “dancing with Jesus” dream. I’ve never had it myself but that sounds like pretty much the best dream to have!

  • Katie S - Fabulous! The girl, the mom, the photos…just fabulous!

  • Natalie - I don’t know why but this post made me cry! I think it is because my daughter is in this same very sweet, lovely stage too. Every night at bedtime I ask her what she will dream about and it is so precious to hear her answers. I don’t know if I am ready for her to grow out of the balloon stage :)

  • Michelle - I love it here!

  • Barny - Such beautiful photos! great idea and so beautiful

  • elizabeth H - speechless,tears, and LOVE!!!
    it’s my greatest desire that my little girl dances w/ Jesus all her days! xoxo

  • Sandi - Dancing with Jesus – Immediately after the burial of my Dad, my then 5 year granddaughter asked why everyone was crying. We told her we were sad because Great grandpa was no longer with us. She looked so confused. She told us we should be happy because he was dancing in heaven with all our love ones. I will always remember how she didn’t feel sorrow, but joy in my Dad’s happiness in heaven.

    Your daughter’s statement so made me think of this. Thanks for bringing that loving moment back to me again.

  • Sarah - She is just so delightful! What a precious little girl! x

  • Erin - Beautiful and so touching! Made me tear-up with feel good! Thank you!

  • Bri Schaaf - Oh my goodness, the image of dancing with Jesus just killed me. Tears are welling up…so so beautiful! She has such a sweet spirit!! Thanks for sharing your blessings!

  • Stoich91 - Gorgeous everything! Don’t worry about the boys – they have their own sense of beauty that matures with time!

  • Ceri - Oh how I love Firecracker. And big giant balloons. Beautiful pictures. I hope our children’s children will still be able to still enjoy them in the future. (helium shortage. Look it up!)

  • Nori - I love that word image of dancing with Jesus… Made my day!!!

from my weekend

I am so ready for spring to stick around! We had a couple days of 70s and then back to the 50s. Granted, I know the 50s are like summer to some people, but let’s remember I’m a wimp in the cold. And by cold, I mean below 70. We took advantage of the warm weather for a little skip counting practice outside. Anytime I can do something outside instead of inside…I’m going for it.

It feels like it has been months since I enjoyed a small project. We’ve had so many big ones going on, coupled with homeschooling and SnapShops, there just hasn’t been margin for small stuff. This weekend…I rested by enjoying some small projects. I’ve needed to pot a few plants. Originally I was going to use fabric again (like these), but I went for plain white chalk paint instead. I am craving simple and clean these days. I’m sure these will change in a week, but for now it was a little therapeutic to simply paint. I think I might add some stripes. They are going in Chris’ office, so I am resisting my urge to add gold glitter polka dots.3.27-2

One of our big projects has been tearing out the carpet upstairs and putting in wood floors. We got really cheap flooring from Lumber Liquidators with the plan I was going to paint it white. Then Chris got it installed and we were surprised how great that cheap flooring looked. For now, we’re leaving it. (the floors are really dusty in this shot and haven’t been mopped post installation yet).3.27-4

This room was once a nursery. Then a playroom. It is in the process of becoming an office for Chris. The kids are excited the hanging chair is back up. Our oldest has been claiming it the most. I love that it was important to Chris to have a spot in his office that the kids would want to wander in and sit down. I’m thankful instead of pushing them out,  he invites them in and lets them learn from him as he works. He is such a phenomenal dad.3.27-5

I’ve been wanting to make a little macrame plant holder and finally tackled that this weekend too. Had I realized how easy they are, I would have done this project a long time ago. I see many more of these in my future…unless someone intervenes. My mom gave me a really big hanging macrame table my uncle made back in the 70s. I’ve had it for a few years and just can’t figure out where to put it. Someday I’ll find the right spot.3.27-7

And while I was taking pictures in this little area…I snapped one of some of my oldest son’s favorite books. Many of you have asked what he likes to read. He usually reads books over and over again, these are among his favorites (there are many more shelves!).3.27-9

I’m looking forward to a few more little projects this week now that the floors are finally in upstairs!

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  • Birdy& Bambi - Sounds like an awesome weekend! I can’t wait for summer to arrive either!

    Greetings from Germany and something sweet:



  • Erica Baker - The floors look great! Can’t wait to see how you decorate the office.

  • kimberly oyler - love those wood floors! and good news, its going to be around 80 degrees at hope spoken this weekend. better pack those shorts!

  • Kelly - Can you tell us the name/style of the floors? I am looking to put in some new floors and love yours! Thanks

  • Paige - Your photography makes me feel happy. Simple, but not in a unsmart way, just an uncomplicated way. My heart craves uncomplicated. Daily. Family. Contentment. I’m always thankful you share it. Visiting your blog is a long slow breath for me. Remembering to stop and be thankful.

  • danielle - It is so nice to see kids enjoy reading. My oldest devours books also. I like the shelf of his books. I really need to re-organize ours better so mine have full access!

  • Rikki - I love painting those clay pots white, great and simple idea!

  • Catherine - Just wondering if you sealed those clay pots with anything before painting them. Because they are porous, won’t the paint come off after they are watered? I had a really beautiful painted pot someone gave me once but the paint all peeled off eventually because it hadn’t been sealed. Maybe it was a different type of clay though? I see people painting pots all the time on Pinterest and so on and no one ever mentions sealing them. Just curious!

  • Betsy - I love your set of books. I noticed the book Gladys Aylward. The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (Ingrid Bergman)is the story of her missionary work in China!! Wonderful movie. You and your older guys would love it. I try to catch it when I see it coming on!! Blessings!

  • MrsFun - I want to put a swing in the garage but Mr. Fun vetoed it. I also love your lockers and have been on hunt for some, wanting to store baseball gear in them.

  • kelly.r - Love the floors! I’d find it very hard to paint over them!

    LOVE LOVE LOVE that you have such a good reader. I didn’t fall in love with reading until junior high, now I’m an addict ;)

  • Kimberly | Turning It Home - Ashley, thanks so much for sharing pictures of your sons books – it looks like he has similar taste of books to my son. I’ve been on the hunt for the older Hardy Boy’s books at thrift stores, so far I’ve found one – that’s a start! My son is really enjoying The Borrower’s series right now. Wouldn’t it be nice to have little people come out and clean for us after bedtime!? ;)

  • Seriously Sassy Mama - I cannot wait to start some of my little projects I have planned.

  • angie - i love the hanging chair! my grandparents had one in their home since my mother was a child. they recently moved to a care facility and the chair was unknowingly sold by a caring relative. i cried. i have since been on the lookout for a chair to hang in their honor. i spent countless hours reading in the exact spot of your son!

  • Stoich91 - Oh, Narnia! And Tolkien! I can honestly say after years of reading this blog those are the first items I have seen you possess that I have, too! :O :D

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - I completely relate. I have been in purge mode and simple mode and I love it!

  • Jody - Hi ashley!
    Would you mind telling me where you got your hanging chair? I almost bought a vintage one but didn’t — I want one for my four boys! Do you feel it will hold up with your kiddos? Love it. Thanks so much!


  • Lisa - I appreciate the way you remind me of the simple ways to be creative (the less expensive ways) – like the pots! Thank you for that! And that’s a GREAT shelf of books your son loves – some of our faves here as well.

  • Annie Kavanagh - Oh Ashley! When I saw the Hardy Boys books on your son’s bookshelf, I had to tell you about this giveaway of a vintage Hardy Boy book that has been converted to a pen holder. So awesome and with any luck at all you could win it for your son. Now I just have to remember where I saw it. Okay, just found it. Here it is.

  • Jenny B. - The floors look great!! Any chance you’ll share what they are exactly? I made a macrame plant holder in 5th grade (everyone in our class did it). it was so therapeutic to go out in the hallway and work on it when we were finished with our work. We hung them from the coat hooks in the hall while we were working on them. That’s probably my favorite memory from 5th grade. That, and our teacher also made silhouettes of each of us using the overhead projector and then displayed them in the hallway with no names so we could guess who each person was. Fun. Almost all of my favorite school memories are of special projects teachers did that weren’t necessarily part of the traditional curriculum. :)

  • Bon@ A Golden Afternoon - I want to see your Uncle’s table!!! Also, when you stop making plant holders, you’ll start making holders for your shampoo bottles in the bathroom. Then you will know you have a REAL problem. sooo addicting.

  • Amy - You take me back so! When I was young, I had one of those hanging chairs in my room AND a macrame planter that my mom made. So much fun to decorate with things that just bring a smile to your face!

  • Rhonda - May I ask where you found the butterfly poster. Love it!

  • elizabeth H - awww…I remember my oldest curling up w/ these same books just a few years ago!! Our sons should be “book buddies” :0)
    We looooove Christian Hero’s Then & Now!

  • Elizabeth - Yes, please do tell where the butterfly poster came from?

  • Ruth@GraceLaced - That looks exactly like my oldest’s shelf. Those biographies are so great. The one on David Livingstone was the one we were reading when I became pregnant with Number 4, and we all decided to name him Livingstone (we call him Stone.)