Cora’s Joyful Life

This week my sweet friend Jess is celebrating her daughter’s birthday in a beautiful way. Jess writes the blog The Macs. If you visit her blog, you will leave encouraged and inspired by Jess’ honest and powerful words.

Cora is Jess’ daughter. She would have turned 5 this week.

Cora went to be with Jesus on February 8th, 2009. She was 11 months old.

This week, in honor of what would have been Cora’s fifth birthday, Jess is rallying others to create a Joyful Life Library at the hospital where Cora was treated during the days she battled cancer. Please visit Jess’ blog for more information about the Joyful Life Library, to read Cora’s story, and to support this beautiful gift in Cora’s honor.

Many of Jess’ friends have come together to help support this cause by donating various items…a way to help encourage others to participate. One of the items is a space in a 2013 SnapShop. You can find more information on how all that works on Jess’ blog. The words below are from Jess’s blog….

“Cora’s life was short, but her days with us were PURPOSEFUL and filled with so much JOY.

Today, I will most likely be shedding many tears because I miss my baby girl like crazy.

But along with the tears I want to CELEBRATE because the day I became a mama is definitely a day worth celebrating!

My baby girl changed me (actually, God changed me through her!).

So, let’s celebrate BIG!

Let’s be a BLESSING to others.

Will you join me in celebrating Cora’s JOYFUL life?”

Click here for more information

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  • amber - A long time ago, I found your blog through Jess’ blog. I love that lady & don’t even know her. God is using her & it is beautiful. My heart breaks for her sorrow, but I’m amazed at how she is being transformed through that sorrow. God is faithful.

  • Mirys - Beautiful!!!! Love the story, the pics, the friends you have!

    Kisses and blessings.
    Mirys – from Brazil

  • Jess - Thank you so much for your sweet words, friend. It is so exciting to see so these libraries filling up. Praise God!! Thank you for being a part of this project.

  • Ellen - You have a gorgeous blog!

  • Lauren - So I just read through all 145 pages of Cora’s blog. I cried, laughed, and felt so many emotions through her writing. What amazing strength she has. Thank you for the inspiration.

  • Meg - Ashley thank you so much for sharing Cora’s story. I spent a few hours reading the whole story from the minute she was born. I have 4 girls, 2 of which have had unrelated benign tumors. I am in awe of Jess’ firm foundation of our Father’s promises and comfort. Her story is incredible and heart breaking. Thank you for sharing and posting.

diy {layered fabric hoop}

Well, since several of you requested a tutorial on my fabric hoop from yesterday…here you go:


  • Embroidery Hoop
  • Quilt pieces – I got these from an estate sale. I am guessing you could make your own.
  • Scissors & hot glue gun

You know I like crafts with just a few supplies and steps, this would be another one of those. I really liked the fabric used on the quilt pieces when I saw them at an estate sale, but had no intention of ever trying to make them into a quilt. I use them for random projects all the time. When I was hanging things on that wall in the studio, I had a blank spot to fill. So I just looked around at what I had on hand…and thus this hoop was born.

Step 1: Cut a one inch wide strip of fabric to wrap the hoop

Step 2: Wrap the outside hoop in your fabric, hot glue it at the start and end to hold in place.

Step 3: Place the inner hoop on your work surface. Begin at the bottom, layer the fabric up to the top

Step 4: Place the outer hoop on top and secure it tightly

Step 5: Turn it over and trim off the edges

This was ridiculously easy for me, but I didn’t do the hard part of sewing all those pieces together!

Random side note: while I made this the boys were playing Oregon Trail. Anyone remember that game? We had a long conversation along the lines of, “back when I was a kid we….”

On days he doesn’t go to school, his hair looks like this. Who am I kidding…his hair looks like this most days. Summer buzz cut coming soon.

Happy Crafting to You.

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  • alisha - I love your blog. Your creativity is amazing and inspiring. I wish I had a hoop and cute fabric hanging around!

  • Andy - cute i love it. i also love your katie daisy sweet as honey card. i bought my mom that one for her birthday last year. my kids grandmother name for her is honey. (i may have said this once before.) :)

  • Rachel C - Oregon Trail love!!! I remember always being so disappointed if I died of dysentery. At least there is honor in dying of a snake bite. :)

  • Jen - So super cute! And oh my Oregon Trail!! I loved that game! It was always a favorite on rainy days when we couldn’t go outside for recess! :)

  • Misty - Oh I remember Oregon Trail! Are the graphics any better than they were back then? I’m assuming the game has come a ways from it’s overly-pixelated past ;)

  • Casey - Thanks for posting this! I need to get my sewing machine back from my sister now! I do remember Oregon Trail too, it’s so fun to show your kids things you did as a kid.

  • Steph - You’re so creative! This is such a cute DIY.

  • Carol Paxman - Goodness! I’ve been watching your little family grow for a while now and I have to say that picture of the three boys makes them all look so big! *sigh* Those cute sweeties of yours are growing much too quickly!

  • amber - But he has clean fingers;)! And that hoop is way too cute. Thanks for sharing!!

  • Molly - 1. so cute!
    2. every morning you blog is the first blog i read….it has been that way since i found your blog a few years ago!
    3. my husband is in oklahoma for the next few days for work. you are the only person i “know” from oklahoma so i thought i would tell you:)

  • Necole @seriouslysassymama - I love hoop art. I love all the different patterns.

  • Whitney - I used to cry when my oregon trail people died of dysentary. I didn’t even know what dysentary was. I am a librarian and yesterday at the library, a 7-year old boy asked me if I had seen the movie Space Jam. I told him that Space Jam had come out when I was a kid. He replied, “whoa, it must be a really old movie.” I’m only 26 kid!

  • Gina - I love your hoop!! Crazy cowlic hair is cute, too!!!

  • Deb - This fabric treatment would be so cute on a globe!

  • Melanee - I bought several embroidery hoops awhile back at Michaels. Just hanging on to them waiting for some inspiration. Thank you.

  • Jack - Loving the ‘bed-head!’

  • Kristi - Yup. This is super fabulous and hopefully I can manage to make one soon. I also wanted to ask you (only because I’m nosy)what the significance is of the hanger on the wall. Whenever I saw that before in one of your pictures, I thought it was a fun idea.

  • Modern Day Mummying - This is the loveliest hoop idea I’ve seen yet! I’m going to have to make one for my daughter (and for me)… Thank you for sharing your gorgeous idea Ashley Ann!

    Sophie xo

  • Eva - Your fabric hoop is beautiful!

    And Oregon Trail???? I LOVE it!

    And the hair! Does he have two crowns? Mine does, and if we don’t keep his hair super short, it looks the same…stands up nice and tall back there with no effort! lol

  • Linda - OH my goodness my heart leapt the embroidered house hanging on your wall is the exact one that hung in my home when i was little! I love it. So fun to see it in your collection of goodies! Thanks for sharing :)

  • EmmyA - My son has the same hair. It has always just stood straight up. I don’t even try to fight it anymore because nothing works. When it gets too long and the bed head gets too crazy, I just use pomade to spike it up for church because, really, that’s the only place we go that I care about being presentable. He got a haircut this week.

  • Lisa - Sweet! Thanks for posting. I have a bunch of these that I need to use and hadn’t come up with anything yet.

  • Jess - Oregon Trail? Wow. That’s quite a flashback. :)

    My oldest is on the autism spectrum, and he has decided he won’t have a haircut until the first day of Summer. His last haircut was almost three months ago. LOL!

  • Emily - Oh my I LOVED Oregon Trail!!

  • Jacci - Well, thanks! I actually did have a happy crafting night… made pillow covers from the Amy Butler Bliss fabric I first saw in your home. I got a sample of it in a scrap pack & could not believe how gorgeous the colors were! SO beautiful. Now I have two little pillows of it sitting right across from me. Happy happy :)

    Loved the hoop art. I haven’t jumped on the hoop art wagon, but this is just the kind of project that would get me to! :)

    And I’m glad your boy’s hair looks all wild. ha ha. My son’s does, too. I’m trying to grow it out, but I don’t think it’s going to be lush & wavy – it’s kind of doing the stick up thing like Littlest :)

  • Herta - My Dear Ashley, I hope that you don’t mind the familarity but, you are JOY, what you share with us brings me light and joy. You remind me that life is great in it’s simplicity; fabric scraps, children, mud, laughter, trampolines…I love your generosity in letting us into windows of your life, to me it looks like a life ‘well lived’. Thank you for sharing, keep doing what you do so well, your children and family are lucky to have you.

  • Amanda - Thank you so much for the DIY! I love it and it’s so easy! You’re the best!

  • Kerry@PlentyPlace - Your life has “inspired by God” written all over it! =D

  • elizabeth H - i noticed this lovely little hoop in yesterday’s post …
    {living close to cousins = SUCH a blessing; i couldn’t agree more!}
    so, so CUTE!!
    & your little man’s hair ~ yep, my guy has one just like it!

  • Weekend links - [...] DIY layered fabric hoop :: Under the Sycamore [...]

  • Shauna Noel Reed - 1. um Oregon Trail? awesome. on ipad?
    2. PLEASE tell me where you got the “Kira” outfit??? Ella is wishing to be a barbie character so bad, but i didn’t know there were costumes(at least ones i don’t have to make :)

  • becky @ farmgirl paints - this is da bomb. DA bomb! loved oregon trail:) felt so important in 5th grade when we got to log on and learn.

  • Tracey Bartula - Absolutely LOVE your blog! Thank you so much for sharing…this is random since it is just in the background of your pic, but where did you get the print of the CS Lewis quote? Not seeing that particular design on Etsy! Thanks!

  • Quilted Fabric Layered Hoop {diy} - […] of the crafts I did was inspired from a diy I saw on I have followed her blog for a couple of years and LOVE her house, design inspiration and […]

diy {fabric & felt garland}

I make a lot of garlands.

They are fast and easy to make.

They are colorful.

They give me a sense of accomplishment because I can start and finish one during Little One’s nap time.


I wasn’t sure if I wanted to mix all the colors or keep them more color coordinated. I started by laying out a little bit to get an idea of what I wanted. I decided to go with the mixed colors and the blues.

I just randomly stacked the felt and fabric and them began sewing them all together. Simple.

I hung the blue one with another garland on our new old map.

I mentioned last month that I am really wanting to be more intentional about planting seeds of kindness in those around me. I think these simple garlands would be such a cute little surprise for a friend. I hope to make a bunch to have on hand and send out. If you were to give one as a gift, you could just wrap it around a small piece of cardstock…adhered with cute tape.

Felt circles: Benzie Designs

Map: Tweet Potato Pie

Be Kind & Sweet As Honey Prints: The Wheatfield by Katie Daisy

Fabric hoop: I made that out of quilt scraps

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  • Andy - so cute i love it. i would probably give one to my friend kelly. her house is cute and crafty and i love it. i need to get me a sewing machine so i can make some. :)

  • Necole @seriouslysassymama - Love the fabric hoop. Is it really that easy? I feel like I would be rushing myself to add pieces, and I would run out of time. Silly I know.

  • Marie - I love these cute garlands and the idea of giving them as gifts. I know that both my daughters would love them too! Thanks for the inspiration for a perfect gift for each of them…complete with packaging!

  • Heather L. - Oh so lovely! I love how you are being so intentional about planting seeds of kindness, what a wonderful way to share with others!

  • Savanah - What a lovely idea! Especially giving these as gifts. I’m definitely going to take this to heart :)

  • Dana - Tutorial PLEASE on how you made the fabric hoop…I LOVE it…and the garlands are super, super cute too.

  • jenny - I love garland too! It makes everything feel so happy and festive! I used to only make and hang it for parties and then finally one day I realized that I didn’t just have to hang it for parties, that I could hang them anywhere and anytime around the house…making everyday a celebration!
    Your love for garland has definitely been an inspiration to me. :)

  • Sharon @ Discovering Blog - These really do look fantastic draped all over. They just give a feeling of happiness and comfort. I think even I may be able to swing something like this – thanks for the tutorial!

  • Amy K. - I second the fabric hoop tutorial request! I am working on adding some fun softness to this place, and that would be the perfect addition, perhaps with a garland or two as well. =)

  • The Farmer's Nest - I love it!

  • Annie Page - LOVE garland – oy vey how do I choose which colors. Thanks for the Benzie link! I for one would LOVE to receive a garland, thanks for the idea to pass on!

  • tracy von busch - Oh my gosh!!! You have no idea how many felt circles I have cut by HAND to make a garland like this for my Christmas tree. Seriously hundreds! I am SO ordering the Felt-Fetti next time!!! :) Very pretty and your friends are very lucky to be receiving something so pretty! :)

  • Raimie - Dear Ashley Ann,
    Garlands are such a fun, frugal and fabulous way to make every day feel like a celebration. What a perfect opportunity to send someone a party in an envelope! The colors are gorgeous and the pictures make me happy, a usual, lady!

    Keep up the kindness track, grl! No law against it, always the right thing to do… An your little people can have no greater treasure than to be taught by a faithful example in this.

    Raimie Lu

  • Angie - I love how you decorate with wild abandon. :) Just whatever strikes your fancy. I want to erase all of the rules in my head and just do what I love. That seems to come naturally to you.

  • Hilary B - Ashley! Thank you so much for sharing the links. I love looking at your creations. Any suggestions for those of use without a sewing machine? I’m a glue-gun type of crafter! ;)

  • Amanda - Fabric hoop tutorial!!!! Fabric hoop tutorial!!!! Fabric hoop tutorial!!!! Please (:

  • darcy - so cute!! i could even handle this! and what a fun idea to send them out as gifts! thank you for sharing – - -

  • Robin C. - Giving the gift of garlands would be a great act of kindness. love it. (do you want my address now)? :) smile

  • Jess Musumarra - I love the look of the garland you created and and the color it adds to a space. Roughly how long do you make each garland strip?

  • nancy - Oh yea… that’s SOOO happening.

  • emily jones - These are so cute. I seriously love your brain…how do you come up with things that are so simple and so beautiful? I also love the idea of being intentional about sowing seeds of kindness. We are working on a project to raise money for Compassion International right now for that very reason. If you have a second would you take a look?

  • Ann Bennett - I love it! You’re so creative! (:

  • lindsay - Love the idea of little seeds of kindness. I went to the organ recital in Balboa Park this past Sunday, and some people were handing out info about it sounds like something you could really embrace as part of that.


  • Karen Moseley - Oh Ashley, I just love the “fun factor” and brightness of your home! I want to live there. I do. If you ever need a live in or live out Mama’s Helper, call me! I’d move from snowy MN. in a minute. My parents live in Bella Vista, Ark., so it would be convenient. Seriously though, you truly touch and inspire my soul. We are Sisters in our Lord. That is my favorite part. : )

    Your “Esther” post the other day did something to my heart. I have been feeling like I’m not useful anymore. I was a Pediatric RN and a PreSchool Teacher and a Nanny and I have worked in Group Homes for lids with behavior issues. Oh, and I’ve done Foster Care and Respite Care. So, as you can see, I have a heart for Giving, for Nurturing.

    A few years ago, I lost my lower leg due to a severe infection. And, now I use a wheelchair. Now some would say I’m “disabled”, but I strongly (and cheerfully) disagree! I can still do everything I did in the past. Except walk. But, this Gal can Hop like no one else! I put my wheelchair behind my drivers seat and Hop Hop to the front. I do all of my own errands, etc.

    Sadly, some folks think that because I use a wheelchair, I can’t do anything. Funniest thing to me is when something falls on the floor, they always say “I’ll get that for you”. Come on, I am closer to the ground than they are. ookaaayyy, I am rambling now…

    All of that to say that I was encouraged by your Esther post and while doing laundry in my apt. bldg, later that day, I had the opportunity to Give! A neighbor lady was going out to smoke (yuck) and as we chatted, I noticed her white coat was really, really dirty. She’s a single Mom and when the machines are $1 to was and then to dry a load of clothes..well, I think her coat just doesn’t fit into the laundry budget. I told her that I was washing a white sweater on the Gentle cycle and I’d be happy to throw her coat in with it. She was Thrilled! I used some good old dawn dish soap and let me tell you, that coat looked brand new when it was done.

    Your post made a simple gesture into a Blessing for two people who needed to be Blessed! She was happy with a clean coat, but I can tell you that washing and drying and pretreating all of those stains was a deep, deep lesson for my heart that was longing to be needed!

    Thank You, Ashley for being the Bright and Shining Daughter of The King!
    Love, Karen

  • Anne - they are really beautiful!

  • Zoya - Ashley, what a cute garland! I also love you you gently remind us to be kind and look for opportunities around us to help out those in need and show kindness. It has helped me be more aware of the needs around me and brings m extra joy in my every day life. God bless!

  • kimberly oyler - well you know, i just wouldn’t even be mad if one of these showed up in my mailbox. also that felt fetti is deliciously beautiful. and the hoop thing is genius. you are wonderful.

  • Jen - So cute! :)

    And love the hoop with the scraps! With all your love for wrapping things in fabric, you totally inspired me to wrap a picture frame and I am so happy with how it turned out! Thanks!! :)

  • Alisa Muir - So cute.
    I need to find felt circles local to me as cutting them out SUCKS.. lol

    I had a giggle as I read because I too make far to many garlands. I am unwell at the moment. My kiddos went out for with their dad for a couple of hours which doesn’t happen often at the moment and rather than rest or read.. I made a harland… lol

    Love them. I want to have some in every room.

  • Lori - Sweet and simple. Anyone would be blessed to receive
    one. I think they would bring a bit of sunshine to
    someone’s mailbox. Thinking, as always, why haven’t I learned
    to sew??

  • Elisha Wolter - These garlands are beautiful! I am a bit obsessed with buntings, but I am going to have to get my hands on some felt and make some of these with my fabric scraps! Thank you for posting! They add so much colour and are so pretty and easy too! I love your blue one!…actually I love your entire house!

  • Nataliya - Beautiful. I love garlands and love the idea of giving them as gifts. Very nice way to present them. Thanks for the inspiration:)

  • Lex - These are so cute. I love that you have garland in your house … just always. It’s like a party every day. :)

  • Brooke - every time you sew something i feel like i really need to dust off my sewing machine :)

  • Kristen @ Joyfullythriving - These are so cute! The felt circles are a nice touch to a garland. I’ve now added another project to my “someday” craft list!

  • JaNae - This is so cute! Thanks so much for sharing this. I think that this will be my next project.

    New follower :)

  • Kristin - Think I need to be your “garland friend”. =)

  • Ruth@LivingWellSpendingLess - This is a beautiful project – thanks so much for linking up with LWSL Thrifty Thursday!

  • Weekend Wandering | What I Loved This Week | Living Well Spending Less - [...] darling is this Fabric & Felt Garland from Under the Sycamore?  Of course y’all know I’m partial to anything involving [...]

  • Ashley - Wondering which size and colors you choose on the felt-fetti? I love these banners. So cute!

  • Krystal - That would be the BESTEST gift ever!! I love how cheery they are. I may give it a go and dry making one… the probable dismay of my finger tips ( I think the last time I used a sewing machine was in Home Ec. back in middle School….lol )

  • meg - HI! I’m sending you this mail from Japan!
    I’m a housewife of two daughters and enjoy making bits of everything.
    I found your blog accidentally and enjoyed it very much.
    I’m gonna make a garland like yours.

  • Holly Holloway - I recently made Jesus and the disciples as dolls for the Triumphal Entry. I made a “road” out of felt palms but followed your tutorial on your sewn garland to make my road and linked to this post from my post. Thanks for the help! And your blog is so happy, real and encouraging. Great work!

    Here are my dolls:

  • sunny - So cute and creative! I would love to try this project. Thanks for sharing it :)

  • A Pinterest Christmas – diy felt garland | The Gilbertson Family - […] second garland was inspired by one of my favorite bloggers Ashley Ann at Under the Sycamore. I picked up my Christmas themed fabric and felt at JoAnn’s Fabrics. The small sheets for […]