One of the hard things about having 4 small kids is not getting to always go to the hospital to visit friends who have just had a baby. I was bummed to miss out meeting Trace when he first arrived, but was so excited to get to stop by his house and meet him this week…just shy of 2 weeks old. His parents are great friends of ours and were actually some of the very first friends to step out and ask me to photograph them when I was just starting out. They are also the type of friends that have always shown genuine interest in my boys and usually smile (or laugh) we they see me and my rowdy crew in the church hallways. T & A, thanks for letting me come over and meet Trace. He is so handsome and I know some older boys who will love to teach him all about legos and wrestling in the future!
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Had to get one of their first son…1109trace-081109trace-09

Can you believe he was awake the whole time and I never heard a cry out of him…he squeaked when I touched him with my cold hands, but that was it. So tiny…1109trace-10

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  • Charity - Yay! I love these two (well I guess thee now) as well! And I haven’t got to see little Trace. Thank you for photographing and sharing the beautiful family!

  • a pocket full of posies - Precious!!! and the one with the “first son” – priceless!
    Blessings!
    Jill

  • Courtney Connelly - T & A, Trace is just precious! Enjoy every minute with him!

  • Rachel - He is so handsome! Can’t wait to meet him in person. What a beautiful family.

  • Lesley - He’s so handsome!!

  • Jamie - Amber, y’all are such a sweet family and these pics reflect that. Beautiful! (I especially like the shot with Cider. LOL) Trace is a doll :)

  • bopha - He is gorgeous and definitely looks like a Dearman. Congrats, A & T, he is perfect and worth that long wait.

  • Julia Leinen - what a beautiful little boy! and he is so blessed to have such amazing parents. thanks for sharing these gorgeous pictures.

  • Julie Beam - T & A, he is absolutely adorable!

  • Aunt Jenn - What a handsome little guy!!! You all are a BEAUTIFUL family and look so happy. We are thrilled to finally have our nephew here. Ash, once again, you rock!!! These are amazing.

  • Amber Dearman - Oh my!! I know we’re biased and think our son is pretty darn cute, but Ashley, you are so good at what you do!!! THANK YOU for capturing our lil man!

  • Sandy Robion - Ashley,
    The pictures of Trace are wonderful. They are a beautiful family.Thank you so much for taking them. Oh, by the way I am Trace’s Nana.

  • Sonja Billingsley - He is precious, cherish every moment. Love to you all. Sonja

  • Jeannette Swan - Amber – you look beautiful! Trace is beautiful too! I can’t wait to be able to spend some time with you guys. Great job as usual, Ashley!

  • Judy - Amber and Todd Trace is adorable I can’t wait to get to see him. Those are the most beautiful pictures. Tell Trace his aunt Judy loves him.

  • Freda - Beautiful baby boy!! Great pictures!

  • PamperingBeki - Ohmygoodness, he’s yummy!

    Those are goreous, Ashley.

First let me say together with many other bloggers, we raised $10,000 on Friday…that’s 1,000 people who will have access to clean water for the next 10 years….thank you.

The temp here dropped big time compared to last week. A week ago my boys were running around in shorts and now it is 45 out. Yuck. I was in the car and realized the heater isn’t working. I complained and grumbled about it a bit…and then walked into my mighty warm house. Then I heard this conversation:

Big Brother (3): Our house is so warm!

Biggest Brother (5): Yep. Did you know there are kids outside right now because they don’t have a warm house to live in? Tonight they will have to sleep on the ground in the cold.

Me: Did you talk about that at school today?

Biggest Brother: No, remember you told me when we made that quilt for a kid that doesn’t have a home.

Suddenly my cold car didn’t seem so cold and I felt ashamed to have been grumbling about it. Today it was 45, in Grand Rapids it was 45 too. I was cold just running from my warm house to my car. I hope my quilt helps provide some temporary warmth for a child who is feeling that bitter cold today too – and comfort to a parent who is unable to keep his/her child warm this winter.

Guess who was looking like a hard core quilter….which I am totally not
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No need to mention how many times I messed up the bobbin and broke the needle….broke it to the point my aunt had to get out her pliers to pull it out. Surprisingly she let me continue after that. Thanks Sandy! (the hair is getting cut on Thursday…and we’ll all be happy to say goodbye to this cute look:) )

1109random-02And my finished first quilt…for Craft Hope. My mom took this picture and I CRACK up everytime I see it. Is it just me or is this not h-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s?

It looks like my two oldest boys are behind the quilt…nope it is me and my 3 year old…and my Converse from the kid’s section at Target.

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And on a totally random note:

Oh the days when he couldn’t get into the cabinets…

1109random-04Oh the days when he couldn’t get into the cabinets…and draw all over his brother’s sight words. Oh the days when I had the energy to stop him instead of just grab my camera and take a picture:)

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  • christina larsen - That is a beautiful quilt. I know it will brighten someones day and keep them warm.

  • karen brown - My kids LOVE to sneak chocolate chips from the pantry. When my daughter was about 20 mo., she lost her pacifier and I found it a couple days later inside the chocolate chip bag. Must have taken it out to help herself!
    Gorgeous quilt too…the colors are great!

  • Kara - Hey girl! That quilt is AWESOME!!! I am dying to come to your house and check out all your incredibly cool design elements!!! Love the big chalkboard and fireplace area!

  • bopha - you did a great job, love the quilt. i am curious as to why you are wearing gloves, is that a quilting thing?

  • Kelly - I’m curious about the gloves too, I’ve never seen that before. The quilt is awesome. I must get to work finishing mine. It is 13 degrees out today and I’m very thankful for a warm house. I was complaining the other day about my seat warmers being broken…at least I have a seat! jeeze. Thanks Ashley

  • AshleyAnn - Aunt Sandy you can correct me here…but I believe the gloves are for traction. As you machine quilt it the gloves keep the fabric from sliding around…at least that is what I understood!

  • amanda torres - I thought the gloves were in case you got your finger under the needle…oops. Great job! The quilt not only serves a beautiful purpose, but it is absolutely gorgeous to look at.

  • Liz - I love it when I catch my girls having conversations like that! It’s a little affirmation that we are doing a good job as parents. What kind of sewing machine did you use? I would love to learn how to quilt but have no idea how to!!

  • Liz - Ok, I just got an idea! You should do CraftShops like your snap shops and teach all your wonderful crafts. I think that would be so much fun!

  • Meagan - Oh, wow! You did such a great job—and look at you getting all fancy with your quilting pattern! Did the machine do that or did you move around, making that pattern yourself? I stuck with a really simple criss-crossing pattern! I feel really guilty, though, because I didn’t get finished in time. Did you send yours last week? I figure, if nothing else, I can give mine to a local charity. Since it’s my first quilt, everyone wants me to keep it for my kids, but the whole point of making it was to give to someone less fortunate… Oh, and what a sweet conversation between your boys! I bet you were proud!

  • Aunt Sandy - Yes, Ashley, you are correct on the glove thing, they give you grip. The quilt turned out really, really great and I am proud to have been a part of your FIRST quilt.
    p.s. the machine is just now getting back to normal. lol

  • Charissa - Oh that is a great chalkboard wall. One that would never work in my house though. ha!

  • pamela - great job! i have the same color ‘keep calm’ print in my house. i love the faux fireplace with the little wooden pieces! it looks so great. also, pottery barn is selling a mirror like that for over $200. i always think, jeez i could make that : )

  • Allison - I would love to know the details on what it takes to make a quilt like that! Maybe for the next DYI post?

  • AshleyAnn - WOW…I am so not the one to give a tutorial on making a quilt. I just pieced the top randomly without measuring. I used my Aunt’s amazing machine for the quilted part. It was just a random pattern I made up as I went…the more random the less you would notice the mistakes!

  • Tess S. - Hi ashley!

    could you send me a message with the names of the fabric you used for this quilt? i recognize the full moon and wallflower by amy bulter but i’m not sure on the others. the colors are beautiful and would look great as an addition to our playroom.
    THANK YOU!

UPDATE: Lisa Johnson is the winner!

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UPDATE: Contest closed with Dana as the last counting commentor…I’ll let you know the winner soon…
gathering

WANTED: my old clean and tidy kitchen!

I have been crafting like crazy…CRAZY!!! Gearing up for the Christmas Gathering. I am a bit nervous – sometimes my taste is a little off from the majority so I hope I don’t bomb. I am presenting after the funniest lady and I am not funny…so if you come pretend like I am and laugh really loud.  If you don’t have tickets, guess what………

I am giving away 2 tickets for Friday night (regularly $20.00 each)!

The contest ends at 5:00pm central time tonight and I will announce the winner later tonight (so you have plenty of time to plan). Sorry for those of you that aren’t local:(

In the comment box let me know what your favorite holiday food is….

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  • melanie - I don’t need tickets for Friday, but I know you’ll do great!!! Sorry I’ll miss it! I love watching you allow the Lord to work in your life through being you and who He created you to be!

  • amanda torres - We do a major baking day, and do a TON of goodies. I love them all, but I think my absolute favorite is the PB Clusters.

  • Jennifer Williams - Green Rice! When we have large get togethers over the holdidays it is always pot-luck. My mom makes this wonderful broccoli and rice casserole that I can not get enough of. It is even better as leftovers!! I don’t need the tickets for Friday either…I will see you on Thursday! The Christmas Gathering a few years ago is what started me on reading your blog! Looking forward to it!

  • Rebekah Jean - I love pies. The taste of pies, the look of pies, the idea of pies, it’s all grand. Cherry pies especially.

  • christina larsen - YOU DON’T HAVE TO INCLUDE ME IN THE GIVE AWAY!!! I AM GOING ON THURS, I JUST WANTED TO COMMENT. Well, I have always loved homemade rolls. However, desserts YUM. And right now my next favorite is roasted sweet potatoes; absolutely divine. No marshmallowed sweet potatoes for me.

  • Melissa Davis - My favorite holiday food is a dessert. They are Swedish Sugar Cookies. The recipe for Krum Kaker Cookies is from my grandma. They are traditionally made on curved pans, so that have a hunch back. We ice and decorate them every year. Hopefully, I can find some time to make them with my dad this year, to give away as presents. Friday tickets would be great. My sister was asking about the Christmas Gathering a week or so ago.

  • Jeannette Swan - Are you kidding, Ashley, you are amazing and everyone will be amazed by your creativity and talent. Thank you for using your God given gifts to bless others! I can’t wait to be inspired!

  • Sarah - Cider… yum yum yum (i guess thats not actaully a food) sooo deserts of all kinds

  • Ryan - I’m out of town during your big event, but I thought I’d answer anyway, since Holiday food is a way of life in my family! :)

    My favorite part of Christmas was always the few days before. My Mom would start baking cookies, banana bread and fudge. Then we’d drive to Kansas to see our family on Christmas Eve. We’d walk into my grandparents house and it always smelled like what I imagine Heaven will smell like: warm ham in the oven, breads baking, cookies cooling and, of course, the Christmas tree. My aunts and grandmother would have the entire dining room table covered in snacks, cookies and other treats.

    To this day, anytime I smell fresh banana bread, it reminds me of my childhood Christmases.

  • Trinity - mmmmmm…..just thinking of all of the holiday food makes me really hungry. My favorite foods are any kind of dips…..yum! Oh, and you will do great Ashley. People love it that your ideas aren’t like everything they have seen. You also make things fun, and you are really good at putting things in simple terms that people can understand.

  • Suzanne Green - My favorite is a cranberry jello salad that we make for Thanksgiving and Christmas! Yummy!

  • Allison - Holiday food is a big tradition in our family. But the main one is, my mom and I each bake several different kinds of cookies and then share them with the rest of the family members! I love the way the house smells with fresh baked cookies. This year, my son will be old enough to help…yeah!!!

  • kate m. - any of the amazing desserts or homemade breads my grandmother makes! mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm :)

  • sheridan - I’m coming Thurs so I don’t need the tickets but Carrie and I will LAUGH our heads off and you will do awesome! We always love what you show us and your taste is awesome don’t worry!

  • katie - My fave holiday food is chocolate chip gingerbread cake! It’s the Williams-Sonoma recipe and I LOOOVE it!

  • Michele V. - I love ham. I love it way better than Turkey. I’m sure
    that’s because it’s not as healthy.

  • jenni - my favorite food during the holidays is broccoli, rice, and cheese casserole! yummy!

  • bopha - i will laugh really, really hard. you will do great like always and will continue to amaze us all with your talent.

  • Stephanie Gwartney - My grandmother’s stuffing and apple pie!!

  • Kenna S - I would have to say that my favorite holiday food would be my nanny’s sweet potato casserole. It’s covered in marshmallows and is soooo low in fat! :)

  • Shanalea - To bad you can’t do it in California so I guess I won’t be needing tickets. I am not quite ready for Christmas so my favorite Thanksgiving food is broccoli rice and cheese casserole. We make it every year and I have now made it my husband’s favorite as well.

  • Lisa Johnson - fudge! To be specific, the still-warm, clinging-to-the-sides-of-the-pot fudge that I always scrape off with a big spoon. My husband’s fudge is definitely the taste of Christmas for me. Yummy!

  • Rachel C - I love green bean cassarole….I could just swim around in it..no really, I could. You are going to be wonderful at the Gathering. Your creativity and artistic flare create beauty that draw people. I can’t wait to see your newest funky treasures.

  • Kara - Sausage balls…at 28, my mom still makes them for me every Thanksgiving & Christmas.

  • Kara - My favorite holiday food is this Pumpkin Cake stuff that Denise Lopez makes. . .so good!!!

  • Lily - You will do great! .. My favorite is pumpkin pie! Yum!

  • MLC - My favorite holiday food is my grandmother’s dressing and since she passed away two years ago, I’m on a major quest to make her recipe taste the way she made it. How is that I can use her exact recipe and yet it not taste like hers? =)

  • Melissa Shepard - broccoli cheese rice caserole and Mimi’s chocolate cream pie!

  • Lisa Keen - my favorite holiday food is chocolate crinkle cookies!!

  • Brandi - My favorite is gingerbread waffles. Mmmm!

  • Autumn - cheesecake…….definitely cheesecake

  • Meagan - That’s awesome! I still haven’t bought tickets! There’s no way people would NOT like your crafts! My favorites are scotcheroos, dream pie, my grandma’s dressing…okay I love it all! I love the holidays!!!

  • Beth - My favorite is my mom’s posole. It’s a New Mexican soup that is absolutely to die for!

  • Dana - My favorite holiday food is a dessert that my mother makes… to die for!

  • Carrie - I’ll be there Thursday with Sheridan! That’s where we heard about you many years ago! I still use your photo idea for Christmas. (Place a photo on the gift) My kids LOVE it! Can’t wait to see what you have this year