In regards to your questions from last week’s questions…I know there are still some left to be answered. I’ll finish answering those next week!

Here are a few answers to yesterday’s post: I tried Snapfish & Shutterfly, but was not pleased with the quality. I have considered using a Blurb book – I like the feature of it being able to be larger than 100 pages. Ultimately I went with MyPublisher because of price. The Blurb and MyPublisher books seemed about equal in price until you factor in 50% off or a Buy One Get One Free coupon (which is a big deal when you are ordering around 400 pages total). I always wait to order my albums until I have one of those coupons. They email me one each year around this time. MyPublisher works like Blurb in that you can pull in all the pictures off your computer, but just use the ones you want. I go through and select my pics because I want to tweak the post processing on them before I pull them into the MyPublisher program. I pick the pictures I want based on what I like and what I don’t want to forget. I probably only end up using 25-50% of the pictures I take. (I’d like to use them all, but my wallet would not like that). MyPublisher does allow for different themes…including text. I choose not to add text because I like the ‘pictures only’ look and I would never get the books done if I added text! We keep journals for the kids.

Here is a link to what I do in regards to saving and backing up my pictures.

I went to the store and can you believe for $5.00 I found the PERFECT fabric?!

Perfect for two new pillows that is.1.10pillow-03

The ability to remove pillow covers is VERY important in my house. Messes happen. Messes happen a lot!

I kept the skirt slit on the houndstooth one and added a vintage button…to allow me to remove the pillow cover.

On the white one I added a flap with vintage trim…to allow me to remove the pillow cover. I like mine better than this $39.00 one.1.10pillow-05

For those wondering why I didn’t do a tutorial on this…I don’t really know how to sew. I make things up as I go and I usually make a lot of mistakes in the process. I should have done a tutorial on what not to do. For instance, when adding a flap to fold over make sure before you sew it that the flap is on the outside not the inside. Otherwise you have to remove a lot of tiny stitches and that is not fun.1.10pillow-06

Since I didn’t do a tutorial, I did think I’d share a few outtakes from my pillow making process. Looking at the chaos surrounding my projects it makes it seem worth it just to buy stuff sometimes!1.10pillow-10

I know this is blurry. She was jumping so fast I couldn’t get any of her in focus. She likes to jump.1.10pillow-111.10pillow-12

And even now as I try to write this post I have a little one trying to crawl off my bed. I’m tired…1.10pillow-14

And for my Friday etsy finds….in honor of Valentine’s Day

valentinesEtsy

Google Reader does not pick up this blog….don’t subscribe.

back to top share on facebook tweet this post pin site image email a friend
  • annie - okay so first i was afraid, because it just didn’t seem to work (the outfit that is), but then i saw the darling pillows – they’re perfect! they look great with the moulded rocker. your crafting looks like mine, lots of (ahem) helpers! love the etsy pics – esp the live what you love – might need to check that one out! happy friday!

  • Jo - Ashley,

    I DON’T KNOW HOW YOU SAY YOU CAN’T SEW AND IT LOOKS PERFECT!!!! I got a sewing machine for Christmas (2009) and i’ve made curtains and pillows and i’m not really satisfied with how i do it. =\ GR! I love the sweater pillow… WOW! Much cuter than the PB one. SERIOUSLY! You did a fantastic job. Like I have said before I really enjoy your blog… it’s very bright, colorful and full of fun kiddos! Always something new!

  • tiny twig - dude, do you EVER sleep?! i am sooooo impressed with you “go-ness”. i feel like with 2 boys ages 3yr and 1yr i’m running around like crazy with them and even getting something creative done every once in awhile is a feat in itself. how do you keep the boys from destroying your house? mine seem completely bent on doing that. :)

  • karen brown - I use my MyPublisher too and it is awesome! Just do a google search for “mypublisher+coupon codes” and I can pretty much always find some sort of coupon. Also, if you are a Costco member, you can login to costco.com and then hit the photo button and you get an automatic 20% off at checkout.

    I am so jealous you are done! I promised some for the g’parents as Christmas gifts and they are still in the works!

  • Christy - Lovin those pillows! The ruffle is so pretty

  • Sara - I love MyPublisher! Just finished my two books. Yes, this year took two albums worth, like 700 pictures. I dislike that after about 60some pages, the program freezes/slows way down. I talked to tech support and they said that the albums will hold 99 pages, but the slowing down was something they have regular complaints about. Thus, my needing two albums with 40 and 60 pages respectively.

    Love the pillows!!! Adorable. The outfit was perfect foil to a segue to the pillows. :D

  • Shannon Phillips - I just almost peed myself laughing so hard at your awesome outfit. I love you girl. Thanks so much for making me smile. You have encouraged me to work on my new pillow covers. Ours too get stained much quicker than I get sick of them and want new ones. (That is very very fast.) ;)

  • candace - I like your version better too! That whop-doodle ruffle is fun. Have you ever used Picaboo albums or just MyPublisher?

  • Emily - I love the pillows! I was recently given some not so cute pillows I had no clue what to do with…I can totally cover them! Thanks for the idea!

  • Anna Joy - those pillows are beautiful! so creative! good find on the cheapie clothes for them!

  • Allison - Love the pillows. By the way, what external hard drive do you have? I have a mac and looked at the apple time machine but it had bad reviews so I feared gettting it. Thanks again!

  • ashlee - you scared me with the outfit:) i love that sweater pillow!! my daughter has a pink cableknit she refuses to wear to it is destined for a pillow!

  • Lauren Roberts - I myself was thinkin “Oh my, she is finally looking way older than she is in that outfit!” Which is really hard for you to do. I like the pillows!

  • Shannon - Ok, this is off subject, but where did you have that big pic over your mantle done, and can we see the full thing. It looks amazing (each of your shoes??) and I just need to see the whole thing!

  • Anna Joy - not old…older-er. :)
    your comment on my blog made my day because, well, you’re my MOM ICON (besides from my own mother, of course). Yay for me. Have a good day and stay warm :)

  • jill tracy - Wowsers–those are too cute. Love them both! Yours is way cooler than than the PB one–seriously!

  • Jodi - Adorable. I love your style!!!

  • Meagan - Haha, you’re so funny! I was thinking, hmmm…that outfit…not loving it… The pillows rock! I agree, you’re way too modest about your sewing skills.

  • Heather - Those pillows ARE so perfect! And what a fun Etsy list this week. I’ve already found 3 thinks I want to make mine!! Have a happy weekend :)

  • amanda torres - I now know why you have 4 kids. With an outfit like that, how can your husband resist all that sexiness!

  • Serena Lowe - I must admit when I saw the outfit….I though this girl needs some help…..then when I saw the pillows, I was relieved!! They are beautiful! I so need to learn to sew!!

  • christina larsen - Love the pillows. I never would have thought to make pillows out of clothing. Maybe I should start shopping in my closet for new pillow fabric. :)

  • Marianne Strong - Love the pillows, too funny, I was not sure where it was going. Your photography is gorgeous!

  • Dick - You don’t look 17 in that outfit. We sure enjoy reading your blog each day

  • Tiffany - I absolutely ADORE all your projects and creativity…your blog has become my number one go to for project inspiration!!

  • Jesse - I love those Mr. & Mrs. pillows! And can totally relate to your crafting conditions.

  • Megan - You are so inspiring! The pillows are darling!!! I am really into re purposing things in 2010:) and I noticed that someone used plastic shopping bags to stuff their handmade pillows with. I am dying to make a pillow filled with plastic bags, so maybe I will grab an old sweater and go for it:)

  • Alba - thanks God the outfit is for pillows! for a moment I thougt you were serious, jejeje. Really nice pillows, anyway. I like your non-sew skills ;-)

  • reyanna - Looks awesome! Way to go! And that Pottery Barn pillow is $39 for the cover ONLY! That doesn’t even include the pillow! LOL. Yours are fabulous! You inspire me so much.

    Thank you! :)

After HOURS chained unhappily to my computer I finally finished our 2009 family albums. I have put all crafty and house projects to the side to get these babies done. So glad it is over! This would be an easy project…the software is fast and simple….but I have a BAGILLION photos! Every year I weed through our pictures and pick my favorites to put into MyPublisher albums. There are lots of album companies online, I go with MyPublisher because of the quailty, but also because I can usually use a 50% off coupon. That 50% is huge when your family album consists of 2 100 page books. I also always order two copies of each book – one for the coffee table for my kids and our friends to enjoy and one copy is stored in our fire safe box. I really don’t enjoy making these because it is such a big and daunting project (since I feel the need to edit and tweak every picture I use in the book). However, with great discipline I finally finished…5 hours before my 50% off coupon expired. I know when they arrive in the mail I’ll be so grateful I took the time to do it. I don’t order a copy for each kid…they can fight over them when I am gone:)

On a totally selfish note, if you think you want to do a MyPublisher album…email me. MyPublisher does a referral program…if I submit your email as one of my referrals, they will email you and invite you to make a book (usually with Buy one Get one free coupon)….and I get a $20.00 credit. I know that is totally selfish, but hey I am all for taking advantage of my blog readers! (kidding – kind of).

1.10MyPublisher

And now back to answering some of your questions from last week:

What camera do you use and what lens do you use the most?

I shoot with a Canon 5D and Canon 30D. I go back and forth between my 85mm f/1.8 and my 50mm f/1.4

What lens would you recommend everyone have?

A 50mm f/1.8 (Canon’s is around $100.00)…not sure about the other brands. The smaller the number after the “f” the more blurry of a background you can achieve.

I love my 50mm lens, but am getting a lot of blurry photos…why?

With every camera lens there is a certain distance from your subject that the lens can no longer focus. To see this get super close to your subject and try to focus, then slowly back up until your hear the ‘beep’ that most cameras make when they focus. I am guessing your blurry pictures are due to either being too close to your subject, the lens is set on manual focus (little button on the lens usually) or you just aren’t focusing before taking the picture. Some cameras allow you to use different buttons for focusing and taking pictures…that way you can focus with one finger and take the pic with another.

What sort of post-processing tools/actions do you use…do you do a lot of post processing or do you pictures look like this out of the camera?

I use Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop, Kubota Actions, Jesh DeRox Fine Art Textures and Totally Rad Actions. I post process everything you see on the blog. Mainly I tweak contrast, sharpening and color. Some pictures have very little if any post processing, others have more. I try to get every picture right ‘in the camera’ – I don’t have a lot of time to sit around and process pictures.

What is your favorite camera setting for shooting active kids?

There isn’t one setting just for active kids. Every picture takes into account the subject, the action, what you are trying to capture, the available light, reflections, etc….they all work together, so I can’t say I have one setting for active kids. A good place to start is the “action” mode on your camera – it usually looks like someone running.

What is a good setting for early morning and afternoon light?

See answer above. Lighting is always different. In general if you have clear skies you can keep your ISO as close to 100 as possible and then it depends on what you are doing portraits (try your Av mode), action (try your Tv mode).

What setting do you use most often and how often do you use your flash?

I shoot fully manual. I usually set my aperture and ISO first and go from there. If I were using one of the automatic creative settings I would probably use the Av mode the most. I rarely use my flash. I really only use it when there is no option for natural light (inside churches, indoor wedding receptions, bedtime, bathtime, etc.). I tend to plan activities with my kids when I know I will have natural light….even do that with DIY tutorials.

What dslr would you recommend for a beginner?

I would stick with Canon or Nikon if you think you’ll want to invest in more lenses or a better camera down the road. For Canon I would go with any version of the Canon Rebel, the Canon 20D, Canon 30D, Canon 40D…depending on your price range. I would get a Canon 30D (model is about 4 years old) over a newer Rebel. That is just me. I am not familiar with Nikon. If anyone has Nikon suggestions, please let them in the comment section.

Google Reader does not currently ‘read’ this blog…don’t subscribe.

back to top share on facebook tweet this post pin site image email a friend
  • Sophie - For Nikon models, I shoot with a D40X. It’s extremely user friendly and I just love the look of the photos from it. As a comparison, my brother has a Canon 30D, and personally, I much prefer the Nikon. Just adding my two cents worth (:

  • Jamie - I have a Nikon D200. It is almost 3 years old, and I take photos EVERY day. It has never given me a problem. I LOVE it. I am not a professional, and have found it very easy to use. They have come down in price considerably since I bought it. I have the two lenses that you recommended….and agree….they are great choices!
    *I would love to be referred to MyPublisher, so I will send an email! thank you!

  • Christy - Ashley I am totally digging these albums,and what a great idea to order 2 books. I wanted to scrapbook mine, but I am so far behind it’s crazy.

  • anne c - geez I love your pictures. Your style is my favorite…your photos are always perfect…exposure, color and so crisp! I get frustrated with myself when my photos don’t look like yours :( I just have to keep learning…

  • Brooke - Your album looks absolutely beautiful darling. If I were your kids, I would be fighting hard for those in the future! Thank you so much for answering the camera questions, I’m a canon shooter myself & any tips are super helpful to me. I use blurb normally to make my books, but it seems like mypublisher might have more freedom than blurb, invite? :)

  • Amy - Ashley I LOVE you books! Thank you for introducing me to mypublisher! I just got my 2009 Family book done too!! I just wish mine looked as fabulous as yours!!

  • Deanna - Oh please go ahead an refer me…..hopefully you’ll have enough referrals to get copies for all the kiddos.

  • monique - A nikon d90 is also a great starter camera and has received great reviews and even does better than some of the more expensive models.

    Great job on your album! I have yet to put one together for myself, so much work.

  • Mara - Sign me up! I am about to have baby #2 and haven’t made a first year book yet for baby #1! Perfect, I have two more months to make it happen!

    I love your book layouts – FANTASTIC!

    Oh, and thanks for answering my question! Super helpful.

  • Susan - Beautiful books! On a photography-related note, how do you organize and store your photos? Do you burn DVD’s, leave them online, etc.?

  • Kari S - Awww! The book is so neat! I seen my head in one picture! LOL! You do such a great job and have a wonderful talent!!!

  • Rebekah Jean - Sure refer me! I’ve been planning to make one of those for a while now anyways.
    I used a Nikon D40 for a while, it was a great beginning camera. It is very simple and easy to navigate.
    I also have the Nikon D300s…it’s wonderful as far as nicer cameras go….not so much a beginner camera.

  • the inadvertent farmer - Ughh I still need to do mine and my coupon runs out at the end of the month…not sure I will make it, sigh.

    I’m not good with time constraints…or constraints of any kind if we’re being honest. Kim

  • Stephanie - I would love an invite to MyPublisher.com! Just finished browsing and was very impressed! Thanks for sharing!

  • Kelli - I would love to make a book! Let me know if you need anything from me to get you that $20!

  • Jill R - It is amazing to see how much they grow in just one year! Definitely worth all that hard work. I meant on the book…but same goes for the kiddos. ;)

  • Kate A - Please refer me! I’m all for helping you get another $20 – you’ll need it with all the gorgeous pictures you take, I’m amazed only have a couple albums! :) Also, if you have experience in this, how does MyPublisher compare with Blurb or Shutterfly? I wish I could see samples to compare in person. I’ve used Shutterfly before and have been disappointed with the quality (thin pages).

  • Katherine M - please send me an email for MyPublisher. Your book is GORGEOUS! Maybe an invite will prompt me to get busy and get my 2009 pics in a book.
    On a different note, I’m so so glad I stumbled across your blog. LOVE it!

  • Amanda - Your album looks fantastic! I also have a GAZILLION pictures to put in an album – what is your process for organizing your pictures and narrowing down to what you’re going to use in your books?

  • jennifer - refer me jkingteach@yahoo.com

  • Jane - Your books look wonderful! How I only wish I had so many beautiful photos to fill mine with.
    Have you ever tried http://www.blurb.com? When I first shopped around for a photobook publisher, I looked through quite a few. What I liked most about Blurb is that you’re not limited to 100 pages, and their prices seem more reasonable. They also have many layouts which allow you to add in text (mypublisher probably has that also, but didn’t at the time when I started with Blurb in 2004 or 2005). The other thing I love is that there is no need to choose your pics ahead of time. You can just drag them into the software directly from your computer file folders where you keep your pictures – super quick! If you’re interested, I can send you an invitation to see one of my books (if you promise to overlook the very amateur, pre-DSLR, point-and-shoot photos.) :)

  • Michelle - I would LOVE to make a book! Put me on your referrals!

  • MJ - Thanks so much for sharing about the MyPublisher books. I’d love to see actual pics of how the books turn out. I’ve never used MyPublisher and am curious to see what they actually look like. My mother-in-law wants a photo book for each year of our 2 year old’s life. She’s offered to buy an additional one for me, so I’m going to get started soon! I will definitely send you my email to list as one of your referrals.

  • anne c - oh and you can refer me too, please! :)

  • Anna Joy - i am soooo doing this! refer me! annajoypham@gmail.com :)

  • Jill - Hi Ashley! I love, love, LOVE your blog! One of my favorites. :) Please refer me for My Publisher. Thanks!

  • Meredith - WOW! Great Books! I would LOVE a referral…Thanks! Question: Do you do the Classic Hardcover Book or the Deluxe and for the format did you use the Just Photos layout? I can’t wait to get started on my first book! Thanks!

  • Julia Crigler - I am totally doing one of these. I have been looking into them and was afraid that I wouldn’t be happy with Snapfish’s quality. Thanks so much for the recommendation. My email is spaldingjulia@hotmail.com. LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog!

  • Melissa Davis - I make a book for both my nephew and my niece each year for their birthday through My Publisher. I have been pleased with the quality. I order the smaller 5×7 books, 2 copies (one for my self and one for them). I didn’t know that My Publisher had a referral program though. Good to know.

  • MJ - Thanks for the referral! :)

    What type of book do you order from MyPublisher? The Deluxe?

  • Emma - Hi Ashley, I love your blog! Motivates me so much! Thank you. Just wanted to know, do you put events that your family go to, such as other kids birthdays etc. into your year album? Also, do you put other special photo occasions of your friends or family, such as a new baby, into your albums or do you just have photos of your family?

  • Valerie - I LOVE your photo books. I’d like to do something like that for my little monkey. I’ve decided to forget trying to scrapbook and go this route instead. I really only like the pictures anyway. His first birthday is coming up, so I suppose I should get started soon! I did a Blurb book not too long ago for my Mom, and I thought the paper quality could be better, but I did like the ability to make it just the way I wanted.

    I found your blog recently and I’m enjoying it. Your kiddos are adorable and your pictures of them are just beautiful. I’d love to be able to do that, but I’ll have to settle for watching you for inspiration!

  • brittany - It was so nice to meet you again at Laurens Birthday! I was just looking at those books! I would love to give you 20$ – please refer me :)

  • shawna - Will you please send me an email referral for mypublisher? Thanks so much! I love your pictures. You are inspiring me to actually make photo albums for my kids.

  • Jill - I would love a referral!

  • Chelsea - I would love a referral too please :) Thanks!!

  • reyanna - I LOVE this! I’m a scrapbooker, but sometimes when I see books like these, I want to chuck the paper and just put a collage of photos in a book like this. :D I do LOVE to create though, and scrapbooking really is a creative outlet for me. And I just love telling stories. :-)

    Thank you so much for sharing your life with us! :)

  • Kasey Laughlin - Hello! I just came across your blog and love your MyPublisher books! I would love to try them out as I am hoping to start 2009′s soon! Can you refer me? :)
    Thanks!

  • Candy Foster - I know I’m way late for this (thanks to computer woes) but is it possible to still get a referral for the My Publisher books? Thanks & I love you blog. Happy to be getting to read it again!

  • tiffany - hi, i feel really strange asking this – and i hope you don’t mind – but i have been reading your blog now for a while (turned on to it by thekitchn/apartment therapy) and with the work your husband was doing in haiti i was just wondering what his profession is…pure curiosity

  • Lindsay - i’d looooooove an invite if the offer still stands.
    lindsaygee@gmail.com

    biggest fan! love you! thanks so much :)

  • Cassie Raney - I’m totally late… but would you refer me for MyPublisher? I so gotta get moving on our family albums!
    cassandraraney@hotmail.com
    Thanks!

  • Hannah Bunker - I know I’m reading this seven months late and commenting but just thought I’d throw in that I shoot with a Nikon D5000 and it’s been a great starter DSLR. All the settings are displayed in the LCD screen and it even has a little visual of the camera lens so you can see what the lens is doing when you are changing your settings. It’s been a great camera. :)

    Love the book idea. I don’t have kids yet but I’ve done that with mine and my husband’s pictures (my bridals, engagements, wedding) but I’ve used shutterfly which has gotten expensive with as many pictures as I put in it. I think I may try MyPublisher next!

Thanks for the suggestion on the tea options yesterday…I will be trying some of those out. I recently went to a shower where the mom-to-be recieved a small can of PlayDoh. The giver (her mother-in-law) said it was meant to be a reminder of the great role a mom plays in molding the heart of her child. What a beautiful picture and fun gift I thought.

We love playing with playdoh at our house. Here is our favorite recipe to make it at home.

1.10playdoh-011.10playdoh-03

Sheer joy. He loves molding his playdoh. As I watched him and thought of playdoh in the context of molding my children, it reminded me of the sheer joy I feel being a mom. I love being a mom….LOVE IT.1.10playdoh-04

It’s a big deal – to mold a child’s heart. A big, fun, exciting, rewarding deal.1.10playdoh-07

And again, to answer a few more of your questions from last week:

Are you planning on adding more kids to your family in the future?

To be honest I wasn’t sure if I wanted to answer this question…it just seemed very personal. However, the more I thought about it the more I knew I wanted to answer it. I love being a mom.  Of course I love my kids, but I just really like them too. I look at big families and smile thinking of how much fun they must have. So, yes, we hope our family expands again….we have dreamed of adopting since before we were married.  We hope to begin the adoption process in the coming year…..

How do you organize your day and have time to blog?

I blog at night and during naps. I usually try to write a couple of posts at a time. My day is fairly organized and scheduled. The kids and I have a daily routine…without it I think I would be sinking rather than swimming….though there are sure days of sinking. I even schedule time during the day for undistracted playing. That might sound sad, but I have learned if I don’t tell myself “this is play time only” then I find myself saying “Just a minute” or “hold on” or answering the phone, checking email, doing laundry, etc. instead of giving my kids undistracted attention from me.  Our schedule is flexible…always room for a friend to stop by or a spur of the moment trip to the park, but when we are doing the day to day the schedule is the only way I can feel some sense of control in “the crazy house” (what I lovingly call my home).

I enjoy this funny little blog and I make time for it for many reasons.  To be honest there are many days I think of stopping because it does take time…and I wonder its value for others and myself. It usually works out that just when I think I’ll stop blogging someone emails or leaves a comment that is just the thing I needed to hear. So thank you.

Where do you get your creative inspiration?

Blogs. Magazines. My kids. My friends. Nature. Just about everywhere and everything really.

Do you sleep?

Like I did before I had kids? NO. Last night I got up at 2am with one boy, another boy crawled into my bed at 4:30am because he “needed to cuddle”, my daughter was hungry at 6am…I slept in between those. If they would all sleep like my oldest then I could answer “Yes” to this question. As much as I would love sleep…I know one day that sweet boy won’t want to cuddle in the middle of the night. I know that all too soon this too shall pass.

back to top share on facebook tweet this post pin site image email a friend
  • Alba - who has kids and sleep all the night? no one I know. It’s a time in our lives that will pass, sooner than we expect. Please, please, please, do not stop blogging, I love your blog and your comments. It’s one of my good moments of the day around 14:00 (local time). Petonets, alba

  • anne c - thanks for sticking with your blog and not stopping…I love reading it everyday and you keep life real. As for the sleep thing.. I am slowly learning to embrace this phase of no sleep. I have to remember that it won’t be forever and God wouldn’t give me anything I couldn’t handle…but that doesn’t mean I don’t miss it from time to time :)

  • christina larsen - I appreciate you taking the time to blog everyday. I sure don’t! :( However, I do start my day off by reading yours. It makes me smile, or think, or it inspires me to think out side of the box.

  • Jodi - Thanks so much for answering the questions. I have thought about doing the 2 posts every time….I should try that.

    I have that same feeling when I see big families (including yours). A big smile.

    Thanks for continuing to blog. Although I know it does take time, it is TRULY appreciated by all.

  • Jodi - PS— even if you didn’t write anything (to save time). The pictures alone are worth a thousand words!!!!

  • amy - Re: the sleep question, that was mine. I guess I meant more along the lines of, do you stay up till 3am crafting and blogging, ie is that where you find the time to do all your projects–at the expense of sleeping! I have two little ones of my own, and we have our share of wake-ups every now and again. I hear that when they are teenagers you can’t get them out of bed…..: )

  • Jody - Ok..I usually don’t write to blogs..but I must now…KEEP WRITING! Your blog adds a small joy to my day. I am a Mom of four boys – four years and under (yep, triplets in there!) and most days I am running from one boy to the other & your blog gives me a time out & GREAT IDEAS for crafts. We’ve made your chocolate cake, your mod podge clothespins & your bird canvas (which inspired me to do more boards – I wish I could send you pictures!!)

    Really, your blog reminds me to stop & enjoy just the fun of the days spent home with my kids & I appreciate your blog. Thank you!

    (P.S. Another inspiration – your photos of details – kids’ shoes! I love it.)

  • Kara P - Just to let you know, I would be VERY sad if you ever stopped blogging!!! You totally inspire me!!!

  • ashlee - please dont stop! i check your blog every morning before my kids get up…it gives me a creative spark EVERYDAY. your photographs are beautiful, your crafting is so doable(is that a word?!), your mothering is inspiring, your craftivism is so generous. you are such a blessing to my life and i KNOW the lives of others. i am so thankful that you take the time to write this blog. God is using you in an awesome way!
    can you share more of your daily schedule? this is something i struggle with so much and I would love to see how you handle it:)

  • Mara - I would understand if you felt you needed to stop blogging. But, I would so sad if you did. Yours is truly one of my favorite blogs not only for the beautiful images, amazing crafts ideas (of which I have tried tons) but also for the realness you bring. I am so inspired by your every post and hope to become a better crafter, photographer, mother and person!

    I wish you the very best luck with the adoption process, as soon as we have our baby boy in April we will be considering adoption as well.

    Thank you for taking the time to listen to your readers and answering our questions.

  • Jill R - Thank you for blogging! On good mornings I am anxiously watching the clock so I can check the new blog post. On crazy days, the blog is my afternoon “treat.” I love your pictures, love your words, love your craftiness, love everything! Your blog is my daily reminder to not take a single day with my boys for granted. What a precious gift!

  • Carla - i think you are a really great example of being a mom. i don’t have kids yet, but i appreciate your ideas and positive outlook on it. and you have such cute ones, you shouldn’t stop! :)

  • lisa - I have to say I was recently introduced to your blog and LOVE it! It makes me smile and I LOVE the pictures. I agree you could just post pictures, they are worth a thousand words. I am expecting our third child and wonder where you find the time to get all the things done in a day.
    Thank you for blogging and welcoming us into your family

  • mandi - i understand setting the undistracted play time. i have to do that too- there are just so many things needing to be done.
    i love being a momma too. it always makes me sad when parents seem to want to rush this process of being little. i enjoy being in the thick of it. like you, the late night cuddles, the early breakfasts (part one and part two), just love it. i think it’s all how you look at it, you know? “a cheerful heart doeth good, like medicine”.

    yep.

  • rachel denbow - Not allowed to stop blogging. Not allowed!
    Someday, when you feel up for it, I’d love a peek at your written out daily schedule. I feel up a creek sometimes with nap times for Ruby being a little unpredictable still and Sebastian needs a little more routine or we’re going to be having hourly battles for the next few years on when it’s time to do what. Right now we give him a list of what comes first, second, third and a 5 minute warning when it’s time to wrap up on thing and move on to the next but the list of things is NOT the same most days and I don’t easily function in a self-imposed structure. I like to see what works for other mamas so I can tailor it a little.

    But…only when you feel like sharing.

  • Sunshine Burns - I truly appreciate your words, your spirit and your blog. It’s such an encouragement to hear (and see the pictures) of your real world/home… I’m a couple of steps behind you as a mother and you have been a blessing and great encouragement to me as I’ve been reading the last few months. It is honoring to see how you are raising your little men (and lady!) to love the Lord! Your post today hit home- scheduling free play time needs to be a part of my day- giving my children disctracted minutes is not the same as sitting down with them with undivided attention! Would you share your rough/loose schedule…!?

  • Ruth - Great post. Being a blogging mother of four who wants to honor the Lord with my time, I’ve had to follow through with many of the same things that you’ve described here. Thanks for sharing–helps to see that I’m not the only one…:)

  • Katy - I was wondering if you might give a tutorial for the awesome ceiling decoration in baby sisters room? pretty please?

  • Melissa - I think one of the reasons I am so drawn to your blog is your confidence, you seem to take on life with open arms with a “come what may” attitude. It really is encouraging to see a little taste of your life, with all it’s mess and joy and color and “real”ness”. It makes me smile and reminds me to be thankful for my own little ones and take advantage of the moments I’m given. it is wonderful that your family is looking to adopt – I hope you do! What a blessing you would be to a child in need of God’s love.

  • Margie - Your blog is totally fab! Glad you take the time to do it, I have found so much inspiration in your posts….the chalk board, your faux fireplace (totally dig it!), your shoe print…..the list goes on and on!
    ‘Sleep’ and ‘Mother’ aren’t two words that usually go together, at least not in my house anyway :0).

  • Yanet - This is the very first blog I read (and I now religiously follow). I found it by Googling some kind of decorating question (which I now can’t remember). I browsed thru it one night for over two hours! Which is a HUGE chunk of time for a mommy of 3. Well, a huge chunk of time for any mommy really. Anyway, I love your decorating style and your little ones are adorable. Not sure if you read all your posts, but I wanted to say: Thanks for the inspiration creatively and to become a better mommy.

  • yeeshan - Hello, I’m a new reader and I love reading your posts. Your photos are fabulous and everything is just so inspiring to me. Thank you for taking the time to blog and I look forward to your new entries everyday!

  • Jennifer Foster - Hey Ashley, we knew you guys from college and were excited to find your blog a little while ago. Thanks for taking the time to share with and encourage your readers. I love your creative ideas of time shared with your little ones and how you are teaching them to love others.

  • Stephanie - Hey Ash! Great post….I too would LOVE to see your schedule. I am still struggling incorporating a new one in the mix (and I only have 2!) so I would love a glimpse of what your day looks like. As always, thank you for being such a blessing. Being authentic and sharing who God made you! Hope you are having a great week!

  • the inadvertent farmer - Being a mom rocks! Adopting is an adventure of a lifetime…can’t imagine my world without my darling daughter, our lives would be much less colorful, and noisy…and dramatic, lol! Kim

  • Kelly - I loved your answers. All of them. But especially the sleep one. I know it passes way too fast so I will give up sleep for middle of the night cuddles anytime!

  • Holly Todd - Submit my email address, I two years behind on photobooks now!

  • vicki - As a mom of three adult children, I can testify that the years fly by. You are wise to recognize the importance of living in the moment. Continue to cherish your precious family,and thanks for sharing your beautiful photographs and sweet blog.