Last week my oldest daughter wanted to make an apron. I had other things that I had to get done and wasn’t able to work with her on an apron at that very moment. I told her I could help her later sometime or she could just make it by herself. The sewing machine was already out. She picked out fabric, grabbed my good sewing scissors and started cutting. She was giddy with excitement. She looked over at my apron and noticed it has a pocket. She added a pocket to her apron. I gave her a couple pointers on how to attach the neck strap and the ties, but other than that she made her apron on her own.

She is so proud of it.

I hung it in the kitchen on a hook next to my Anthropologie apron. Her wonky, imperfect, frayed edges apron is the most beautiful apron I’ve ever seen. It is perfect.
10.14sewinggirl

She’s been making lots of crepe paper ruffles for friends. Lots. I think I’ll be seeing more aprons now too.10.14sewinggirl-2I don’t really know how to sew, so I’m not passing on great wisdom to her. If anything I am teaching her to sew like MacGuyver, which is practical and gets the job done. We use a few different sewing books for ideas and tips, though I am not the best at following directions. The book we’ve been using lately is Let’s Sew Together by Rubyellen Bratcher. It is full of simple ideas that we can do together. There are couple projects beyond what I can do, so I send her to my mom for those. And it has pretty pictures….I need pretty picture tutorials!

Sidenote: Rubyellen is the author of the blog Cakies – it is one of my favorite blogs. As it gets cold and you find yourself inside more…make a cup of something hot and pin all her DIYS and recipes…and then try them!10.14sewinggirl-4So my girl wanted to make a puppet and puppet theater. I helped her with the puppet and then she took her book over to my mom’s house to make the theater. I actually had to borrow the book back from my mom so I could take a picture to show it to you in this post. I’ll return it to my mom…she and my girl will enjoy making more projects together. And she actually knows how to sew like a seamstress, not like MacGuyver.10.14sewinggirl-7I found this old picture of her. She was two and pretending to use my machine.10.14sewinggirl-8At church on Sunday her teacher talked with the kids about how they are all created with different talents and gifts. She’s been asking me about her gifts and talents ever since. I told her our gifts and talents are often the things we do that make us really happy. She declared she is talented at sewing, crafting and spray painting. I smiled and confidently agreed.

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  • Debbie H - This is priceless. I wish I’d had the patience you have when my children were small. She is SO pretty. And she and the toothless one really could be twins. Their facial similarities are very fun. LOVED her rocking the scarf. ha. And she is not even counting her athletic talents. Fun watching them all grow in the many ways.

  • Skittle - That is definitely the coolest, prettiest, most perfect apron I’ve every laid my eyes upon! She did a great job! I want one! ;)

  • Kimberly Oyler - oh that girl. what a treasure.

  • Amy @thelittlefarmdiary - I just adore seeing her at the sewing machine! Makes my heart sing!

  • Tracy R - This post has put a huge smile on my face and given me an extra skip to start my day! LOVE IT! Her apron is perfect!

  • Reesa - Love it!

  • Kari S. - If Firecracker sells her handmade aprons, I’d like to buy one for my daughter!!

  • Jessica - i love this so much! I really admire how you step back and allow all your kids natural interests and talents to shine through -it’s awesome! What you said at the very end reminded me of a quote I recently read: do what you like to do, it will probably turn out to be what you do best.

  • Jen @ RamblingRenovators - I remember that photo when Firecracker was 2 – how far she has come! That apron is amazing. I hope she passes it and her MacGuyver sewing skills onto her own kids some day. You’re an awesome mama for encouraging her to discover what she loves doing best.

    P.S. I would also say your girl has a talent for making people happy. Her joyful personality always makes me smile.

  • Tiffany - I love your definition of our gifts often times being what makes us happy. It makes it so much easier for our kids to see their gifts on their own! Thank you!

  • steph - This is great! Hey I have a question/request for you. I have a toddler (she’ll be 2 in February, sigh) who is surprising me daily with her interest and talent in arts and crafts. Her teachers are sweet and rave about it. Would you one day some day maybe possible be able to share some crafts you did/do with really little kids? We’ve done play dough and painting and crayons to death, and everything I find just suggests more of the same or things for kids 3 and up. I’d love to foster her interests!!

    Again love the blog, thank you!!

  • Diana - what a great job, Firecracker! thanks for bringing yet another smile to my face.

  • Rhonda - I love how you help your kids grow and develop their own skills.

  • Holly - That is the most beautiful apron I’ve ever seen!

  • Julie - LOVE! seeing a young girl working with a sewing machine! So sweet, and she is creating a life skill she will be always grateful for!

  • jenw - I read this post and thought “I wonder how many readers are too young to know who MacGuyver is??” :) I love that you encourage (or at least let) them try things that most would think are too “old” for them. We do okay with our 5 yo boy…but somethings say no to mostly because it would be too hard for US to work with him to ensure he’s safe. I’ll be looking for more opportunities…but still think the circular saw will be off limits. He’s dying to use that one!

  • Elisabeth - I love that you let her make things on her own! A couple of years ago, a family friend with a 5-year old girl was visiting and I introduced the daughter to a sewing machine for the first time. We just played around with my sewing machine (it is computerized and has some really basic embroidery abilities) and didn’t even make anything, but she was so, so proud that she could use the machine. I can’t wait till she visits again and we can make a skirt or apron!

  • Sarah - This is so sweet! I love that she is already seeking to know more about how God uniquely created her and how she finds so much joy in those discoveries!

  • Crystal - That is so amazingly adorable!! And I so remember that picture of her sewing when she was two, and me thinking that I need to get on the ball with letting my girls sew. And now, firecracker is making aprons, and I REALLY need to get on the ball. I really love this and am so challenged by how much you encourage them to do. :)

  • Karen - I love your blog and have read it for years. My blog reader is a little short on interesting and fun blogs like yours to read. I’d love a list of people’s blogs you love to read and follow.

  • Angela Greenwald - I love that she made her own apron. She will treasure it all the more because she made it. I have a question. I allow my 8 year old to sew on my machine but I’m terrified to not watch her because I’m afraid of her sewing her finger. Do you have a guard on your machine or do you just trust her to keep her fingers out of the way?

  • Amberly Houser - I just wanted to drop you a note and say that you inspired me! I had asked you on IG how old she was. I loved your perspective because my 6 year old has been begging for a sewing machine and I have thought she wasn’t old enough. Well after seeing your post I can say mine is getting a sewing machine for Christmas! I bought it today! Thanks for your insight!

  • lori - Hi! i love your blog and visit it often. You have a lovely family. I especially loved this post because it made me think of my sister and I who our mom started on sewing basics when we were young. Our mom is a wonderful sewer (she resists the term seamstress insisting she is not that talented) and made almost all our dresses including prom and formal dresses, skirts and blouses. I never progressed as far as my sister but I enjoy making simple things and that connection to my mom and sister. I also thought that your daughters interest in sewing might be put to good use with Conkerrcancer.org http://www.conkerrcancer.org/. It is an organization that makes pillowcases for children undergoing cancer treatments. I am not affiliated with the program at all – I saw a news story about it years ago and bookmarked it as a “when I get more time I would like to do this”. anyway I certainly think your daughter could master pillowcases and might like to help other children.

  • Rikki - Oh bless her sweet little heart! I am like you when it comes to sewing, I don’t care to follow directions. I do enjoy sewing though, which my 3 1/2 year old daughter has picked up on. She received a child friendly sewing machine for Christmas last year, but I’ve been afraid to let her really use it. You’re definitely making me feel more confident that it is absolutely ok to let her follow her own little passion and learn to sew.

A surprise package arrived from my friend Jenny filled to the brim with thoughtfulness. She challenges and inspires me in so many ways. She works hard to fill her etsy shop Skippee and donates 50% of the proceeds to Love Without Boundaries.  I’m a big fan, and have been for a while, of Love Without Boundaries. It has been beautiful to watch Jenny be inspired to use her gifts to help children in China through LWB.
10.14skippee-03I told my oldest I wanted to take a few pictures of the bow in her hair. I was just going to take them of her reading on the quilt, but she decided the front porch was a better idea. She is so much fun to photograph. Her little sister decided to join in the posing…her little sister who put up a fight about changing out of her pajamas. It wasn’t a battle worth fighting on that day!10.14skippee-0510.14skippee-0710.14skippee-09The next day we decided to take a group shot in our scarves from Jenny. Jenny did not ask me to share these on my blog, but you guys…they are $12.00 for a scarf and 50% of that goes to Love Without Boundaries. I had to share. Maybe we can empty Jenny’s shop today…that would be fun:)10.14skippee-1010.14skippee-11Buns and scarves. The fuzzy bottom left corner is a little boy hand…girls posing, boys jumping in front of the camera. Life is good.

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  • Jenn - these are so great. thanks for sharing such a fun shop. :)

  • Dawn - Love this! Placed an order! :)

  • Monica - Beautiful girls!

  • Bambi - ‘filled to the brim with thoughtfulness’ I love your words :-)

    Thanks for sharing!
    Plus: some thoughts on God/or lack thereof:

    http://lasagnolove.blogspot.it/2014/10/agnostic-church.html

    I would love to hear your thoughts as a Christain…

    Bambi

  • Melanie - Need more scarves Jenny!!! Just checked and there is only one kids scarf left! Great shop and great post :)

  • Maureen - Cute scarves! I volunteer with LWB. Incredible organization doing incredible work. I will have to buy one! Love that last picture:)

  • Brittany - Wonderful! Rushed right over and ordered some flower clips for my nieces. Cute stuff and a great cause. Can’t wait for her to get some more scarves in! Thank you, as always, for sharing.

  • Jenny - Oh buddy! I am so humbled and honored that you would take the time to mention my shop! Thank you so much! I woke up and I couldn’t believe it~ it was like Christmas. All of the scarves sold out. You seriously have the best fans/followers/readers/friends. I had a tiny sense of what people must’ve felt like when they were mentioned on Oprah’s Favorite Things and then have their stuff all sell out. You have an Oprah effect…you inspire people to do good and be better. I’m so thankful to have an amazing friend like you. *hug*

  • Kate - What a great shop and way to help kids in China! And Ashley, I wanted to say THANK YOU! I took your snapshop phone class in August and loved it all. You have done a great job of organizing all the information and making it easy to digest. I especially loved all your tips on getting your kids interested in photography and ok with having their pictures taken. Your photos and what you share of your life here on your blog are such an inspiration to me to cherish all the moments and enjoy my family!

  • Diana - These are adorable pictures!

  • Jolene - This post is totally adorable! Beautiful girls you have!

  • Holly - Yep, the scarves are sold out!

  • Laura - My how they are growing ! I remember when firecracker was celebrating her birthday with the cute banner you made, she was either 1 or 2. Such sweet girls!

So…I have puppy and dog experts as blog readers! Thank you for all your tips yesterday. The number one suggestion was for the bell system – I’ll be trying that immediately. Thank you all!

I’m a really big fan of baby teeth. I’m sure some of you parents can relate…when adult teeth come in, they look so huge and out of place. I somehow always convince my kids to let me take pictures right before they lose their first teeth. I took a whole series of my six year old (he was five back then) before he lost his first tooth.

Ahh, I do miss that baby tooth grin…

10.14teethy-01He told me yesterday that his first adult teeth are popping through his gums. I asked him if he’d let me capture a few of his gummy grin. He is so goofy. Not a single ‘normal smile’, which is actually very normal for him. Goodness, this guy brings the joy.10.14teethy-0310.14teethy-0410.14teethy-02Of course, he had to demonstrate how his tongue fits through the gap.10.14teethy-05I told him a joke. It might have involved purple, polka dots and his oldest brother….10.14teethy-06He is so awesome. Gummy grins for the win!

I used my 85mm f/1.8 for all of these with the aperture set at f/2.0. It is my favorite lens, but hard to use inside in tight spaces.

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  • danielle - So cute! My six year old has a slight lisp from loosing his front tooth. It makes me smile like a fool at him all the time. He always stops what he is doing and asks me “what?”. I have no answer. Just enjoying him being little a bit longer.

  • rachelzana - I adore toothless grins, and this is a terrific one!

  • Holly - Can you share some of your boys’ favorite jokes? My 8 year old nephew always scowls when I bring out my camera.

  • Lynnie B - OH MYLANTA! He is so stink in adorable!! Being a dental assistant, I love our toothless grin kiddos!! XXOO

  • Molly - Love it!! I am right there with you momma! my 6 year old just lost her two front teeth a few weeks back. honestly we were glad to get those dangling baby teeth out. but i sure do wish the toothless look lasted a whole lot longer. those adult teeth are just not cool.

  • Marsha in OK - Aww… Brings back sweet memories to this mom who is, as of today, no longer a mom to teens. My baby turns 20 today. I’ve been basking in the memories of the different stages of his life! And enjoying photos captured along the way! You never know how your posts are touching others!

  • Debbie H - I’m right there with Marsha, above. My baby turned 19 last week and I’m missing the little days too. I am always sad when babies get their first teeth, and then sad when the baby teeth fall out. The gummy look is indeed so much better than those crazy big teeth. He sure lost A LOT all at the same time! LOL Always around sweet corn time, it seems. LOVE his cowlick also. So stinkin’ cute. And yes — your photos and sentiments do more for people than you could ever dare DREAM to realize, Ashley, as I’m certain many never comment. I’m SO GRATEFUL that you post something here nearly every day. It is such a bright spot for me, or it leads me to sites I never knew about – like TWLOHA.com, SEVENLY, your sister, and many others. Enjoy the beauty of Oct!

  • Kallie - I feel like I just need to say hello. I’ve been a follower. I took your class. I feel like I know you, in the way you know someone you run into the grocery story regularly in a small town. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for living out your Christ filled life. I blog and JUST started photography and I look up to you. Have a wonderful week with all your littles and the darn cute puppy. How could I forget the husband, we all know we couldn’t get on with him!

  • AshleyAnn - Thank you for saying ‘hello’ Kallie and for your kind encouragement!!!

  • kari c - Your blog is an absolute delight to read! Pictures are wonderful too!! Thanks for being a blessing. :)

  • Casey - Cute! my son is just starting to lose his teeth, I’ll have to remember to take some fun pictures of his gaps :)