A couple years ago I went to a local handmade market with my mom. At that point I had been blogging for about 5 years and was somewhat familiar with artists and small business owners in the area (that were active on social media). One artist I had been following was Stacie of Gingiber. Her playful and artistic creations were so different than most on the market. The only thing I really remember about that craft fair was seeing my friend Natalie and getting to meet Stacie.

I’ve been working to stockpile a few quick gifts to use for random occasions and teacher gifts (my kids are in a homeschool co-op like thing and each have a teacher). Gingiber has a cute line of paper goods and I am a sucker for journals – any and all kinds.

2.16gingiber-01Here are a couple gift ideas I have on hand:

  1. I combined the Market List with a ceramic egg holder. I’ll use this for a hostess gift when we go to a friend’s to eat….however, with 5 kids it is more common for us to invite friends over!
  2. The notebooks come in a set of 2, but you could take them apart. I think they make super cute gift just with some fabric wrapped around them, but you could also include a fun pencil or a gift card.

2.16gingiber-04I told Stacie last year that if she ever designed wallpaper to let me know. Well, she recently launched her first removable wallpaper line with Chasing Paper and I couldn’t be more excited for her. I’m trying to figure out a place to put the bunnies in my house!

2.16GingiberallIf I didn’t have to sand down my textured walls first, I’d probably end up using wallpaper everywhere! I have wallpaper in three spots in my house…

wallpaper(Julia Rothman, Orla Kiely, Vintage wallpaper found on Etsy)

 

Just for fun, I created a Pinterst board with wallpaper inspiration…you can click on the link below to see more paper I like!

Follow Ashley Ann’s board wallpaper & stencils on Pinterest.

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  • Jenny B. - Lovely! I really like the egg holder and list combo. That is a great gift idea! I’ve met Stacie before too. She lives near me, and I won her cute little owl calendar at a boutique show a few years ago. :) Last year, when I was shopping for bedding for our new baby, I was surprised to discover her designs at Land of Nod! I’m really happy for her for all her success and how she’s branching out in different ways (wallpaper!). :)

  • jenny - what adorable goods! i like to have gifts on hand as well, and always cards. great source… thank you for sharing! i especially love the markets cards and ceramic egg holder… do you fill it with eggs from your chickens?

  • Tracey vitori - Love these ideas

Almost every Friday morning you can find my grandparents, my parents and my crew piled into three benches at the local donut shop. Homeschooling has it challenges – no doubt. It sure has it perks, too. Weekly donut dates with my grandparents is definitely one of my favorite perks. I have snapped a few pictures over the years with my phone, but last Friday I remembered to bring my DSLR.

My grandparents arrive long before the rest of us. They usually enjoy their daily coffee, the newspaper and visiting with friends while the rest of world is just waking up. I tend to arrive next….sweaty and coming straight from Crossfit. I’ve never been extreme about anything, so it makes perfect sense to eat a donut after working out. My parents tend to roll in next and we all sit around waiting for the kids to arrive.2.16donuts-012.16donuts-022.16donuts-042.16donuts-05 2.16donuts-062.16donuts-072.16donuts-122.16donuts-08He helped her with some tips for opening her chocolate milk.  2.16donuts-092.16donuts-10She’s been asking for a ‘little red hammer’. She tells me she is going to build a house in our backyard and she is going to need a little red hammer and EVERYONE’s help. My grandpa found one of his old hammers and painted it red for her. I think he is just a bit smitten with his great granddaughters.2.16donuts-11There are so many things I love about grandparents and great grandparents. One that stands out is how undivided their attention is for me and my kids. I step back and watch my kids interact with them and it is obvious why grandparents make kids feel so special. They aren’t distracted with to-do lists, checking their phones or really anything else – they give their attention wholly to those they are with…my kids. I’ve learned so much from my parents and grandparents. I learn a little more every Friday morning,

“A life can be launched with as little as a single phrase, an uplifting word, or an act of kindness.

The spirit of a little child is a lot like wet cement.

When a child is young, it takes little effort to make an impression that can last a lifetime. ”

~ Wess Stafford, Too Small to Ignore

Donuts and wet cement…who knew they went so well together?

(my donut tank is from Thug Life Shirts you can use the code UNDERTHESYCAMORE for 15% off)

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  • Kristin - What a gift! My children grew up far away from their greats and grandparents and, while we visited often, the relationships could never be like this. Thank you for sharing this! I am taking notes for when I am a grandparent.

  • Ashley - What a sweet sweet gift to be able to live so close to family. My parents are 8 hours away and both sets of grandparents are 12 hrs away. Treasure every minute of it!

  • Jenn - i needed that quote this morning. i love how undivided their attention is but also need to hear that quote. we have been struggling and it was good words for me to read. thank you

  • Tanya - How awesome to be living so close to family and to have your grandparents still with you. I don’t even need to add: “cherish the moments” because you are doing just fine on your own with that. :)

  • Marsha - I grew up with both sets of grandparents and a set of great grandparents. The older I got the more blessed I knew I was to have them. I’m so thankful your kids are also blessed! And that donut shop? The BEST! I never was a fan of sausage rolls until my hubby picked some up there. We don’t have them often, but when we do it brings back fond and precious memories of my kids’ dad. Not that we need reminders, but…

  • Kara M - I love great grandparents! You are so correct on their undivided attention. My son is so sweet with his great grandma. He will softly put his hands on her cheeks and smile! *melt my heart*

  • amber - Well. This post has a lot of feelings in it! Such wisdom. Such beauty. My Nana (my last living grandparent) passed away in October. We cleaned out her bedroom on Saturday. I miss her. So much. She knew my children. We saw her every week. I miss her. Soak these precious moments up. I know you know that. But how I would love to linger in her presence just one more day…grandparents are truly one of life’s greatest gifts. Thank you for sharing this! People loving people. People truly blessed by family. It’s so life giving. I’m so glad I stopped by today.

  • Diana - This is all just the sweetest (even without donuts). LOVE that your Grandpa made a red hammer just for your daughter. Grandparents are the best!

  • Samantha - That’s wonderful. The little red hammer is so cute. I love the quote at the end…so true.

  • Mandy - So fun to “see” your family!! Makes me miss ALL of you!!! Grandparents and Greats are THE BEST!!!

  • Loan - Life is so hectic but it’s really nice to slow down and enjoy the little things – like donut dates and a little red hammer. Thanks for this perspective.

  • Shannon - i’ve been reading you for years, since before firecracker was born, and i have just loved watching your children grow. I don’t comment nearly as much as I should, but today your post just made me cry and cry. I miss my grandparents SO MUCH, and I hope I foster a love for my parents in my children the way I loved my own grandparents. What a special, special thing this is, to be able to gather the generations for a little fun and a lot of sugar! Cherish this!!!

  • Kim B. - I don’t have kids, but seeing my parents as grandparents to my brother’s daughters is one of the great joys of my life — as it is one of the great joys in each of theirs. Love.

  • Southern Gal - This is just precious. Now you have me wishing for a donut shop in our little town.

  • Rae - “little red hammer”..and how he fulfilled that dream. So sweet <3

  • melissa - This tradition is so neat for all of you! My kids are lucky to have both sets of my husband’s grandparents, too. It’s such a blessing.

  • Nakcus - Treasured moments, beautiful memories, and delicious donuts :)

  • jules - Very special. Stolen moments with the ones you love. You and your family are so very blessed to have your grandparents and parents nearby!

  • Kristin S - This is a gift not many families have in 2016. I haven’t lived anywhere near my grandparents since I was 12 years old and I miss that. Now I have one grandparent left living and she’s on the opposite coast. What a gift you have.

    Oh, and I love the dangling feet in the booths. They won’t always dangle and you have that moment captured beautifully.

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh that quote – I just love it!

Over the last year several people have asked me if I had tried Chatbooks. As a fan of printing pictures and photobooks, I was interested in seeing the product firsthand. SnapShop students often ask me about products too, so I have extra motivation to try out new things in the industry. The concept of Chatbooks is simple – automatic 60 page 6×6 softcover photobooks for $8 a book (from Instgram, Facebook, your phone, or uploaded). I wanted to try it out on my Instagram feed, so I signed up and began with January 2015 for my first book.

chatbooks2.16-01I chose to include the caption and the date with each photo. If the caption is not long, I can get about 60 photos in one book (1 photo per page). It ends up being about 2 months of Instagram photos per book…so $4.00 a month.
chatbooks2.16-02
chatbooks2.16-03chatbooks2.16-05chatbooks2.16-06Here are my thoughts on the product:

The quality is good, not phenomenal. It is about what I would expect for the price, ease and automation. I wish I could control the font size of the captions. Maybe I can and just haven’t figured it out yet. I leave the Chatbooks on my coffee table and the kids are constantly looking through them. For $8.00 it is a great option for me – automatic printing, arrives at my doorstep, not too small, not too big. They are just right for an easy collection of my phone photos.

I don’t feel like they replace high quality photobooks or prints – especially for my DSLR shots. For a fast, simple way to get pictures off my Instagram account and into the hands of my kids, it is a good fit for us. I also like that they are small and don’t take up tons of room. Overall, I’m sticking with the automatic subscription and my crew is having fun with the product – not to mention, it is an exciting surprise when a new one arrives in the mail!

I am not affiliated with Chatbooks in any way. However, they do offer all their customers a code to share with friends. I get a credit and you can get your first book free. If you are looking for a fast, simple and easy way to automatically get pictures in your hand, I recommend trying Chatbooks out…

Use the code: 2Y4QLXLF to get your first book free

 

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  • Rae - What a cute, fun idea! Thanks for sharing your review, Ashley! :)

  • Tiffany - Love this! Very curious on turn around time, one of my children is having a bday soon and I think this would be such a cute gift. As always, thanks for sharing.

  • Lyndsay Almeida - I tried them a couple years ago and wasn’t impressed. Didn’t like that I couldn’t customize more, but you’re right… for the price, what can you say?!

  • Tara S - I’ve been using Chat books the past two years. I would give almost the same exact review. I love that the IG photos are thoughtlessly printed and treasured. My kids love to look through them. I usually bring a few to church. The price is right for me for what you get and the ease of order.

    @Lyndsay Almeida Just to let you know they have really improved the custom features in their app. You can add/delete any pictures you want even in a subscribed book. I usually add a few pictures from my camera roll that I didnt post to IG just to document the memory. They also have a complete custom book option now too. I don’t have any affiliation with ChatBooks, just passing on the info!

  • Byron - I was under the impression that these were only picture books (with your captions included) but there appears to be quite a bit of text on the opposite page of the Turner Falls picture? Do you “build” them each month and then send the results off for printing?

  • Emily @everydaymom - I’m just curious what service you use to make photo books that you LOVE? I’m really bad about getting our photo books printed. By the time I upload all of my photos for the year and start arranging them, I run out of time and energy and end up not ordering them. For that reason, chat books might be a better option. :)

  • Tanya - Good to know, I’ve heard a lot about Chatbooks, but never really looked into them much. Curious: where do you go for high quality photo books?

  • christina - That’s a pretty accurate summary of Chatbooks. I’ve been using then after we go on “girls weekends” to send a fun quick photo recap to those that came. Especially since they are phone photos, it’s lower quality but a nice (and cheap!) way to capture the memories.

  • Samantha - Oh wow!! I’ve never heard of them before, this is definitely something I’m going to try :) Thank you for sharing.

  • Christi S. - I love Chapbooks! I don’t post many pics online so I have it linked to my favorite photos on my phone. It makes sure my photos are enjoyed and not just on my phone. And, at $8, the kids can look through them all they want!

  • Jennifer Haynes - So happy to see you did a review on this.I have had the chatbooks app downloaded on my phone for months now and havent actually pulled the trigger in ordering any. As a lover of printed photos of any kind I may give this a try. At $8 you alomost gotta see it to believe it.

  • Emily - One of my new year’s resolutions is to get my photos off the computer and onto the walls or into books — this is a great option for instagram! Thanks for sharing!

  • AshleyAnn - Tanya – for books with less than 100 pictures (road trips, family portraits, etc.) I use Mpix.com. For books with more pages I use Blurb.com. I prefer the Mpix books – I’ve ordered from Mpix for years.

  • AshleyAnn - Emily- for books with less than 100 pictures (road trips, family portraits, etc.) I use Mpix.com. For books with more pages I use Blurb.com. I prefer the Mpix books – I’ve ordered from Mpix for years.

    I like that the Chatbooks are just automatically done for me. I don’t always like the spacing or the caption font size, but for the price and ease it works.

  • AshleyAnn - Byron – that was just a really long caption I wrote! There are options to build your own book. I just do the auto version, so Chatbooks builds my book for me. I do have the option to change it a couple days before it is shipped. I can delete photos, captions or even add ones that are not on my instagram feed.

  • AshleyAnn - Lyndsay – I just wanted to be sure you saw the comment from Tara…there are more ways to customize now

  • AshleyAnn - Tiffany – I am not sure to be honest. I have it set up on Auto so I really don’t pay attention…they just magically appear in my mailbox :)

  • Christina - I love this idea! How did you start your series in January? Mine will only start all the way back when I joined Instagram.

  • L Olcomendy - Hi. Just a quick note to let you know I saw your “Fairy Mail” sponsor on the left side of this page. I’d never heard of it before, and I will be signing up for it. Just wanted to say thank you. My students will be thrilled to receive some “Fairy Mail”.

    Sincerely, “Mrs. O”

  • AshleyAnn - Christina – I just deleted books (or pictures…don’t remember exactly how it loaded) until I got up to date. I didn’t want to start so far back, but now I kind of wish I had!

  • Christina - Thanks! I figured it out by deleting pictures. I had a hard time wanting to delete any too so it looks like I’ll be getting books for awhile to catch up haha :)

  • Phoebe K - Love this idea! I couldn’t get the code to work, though. Am I too late to use it?

  • Inspiration Round-Up {No. 9} - - […] anything aqua is a winner in my book.} | 3. This. Story. | 4. I just heard of Chatbooks from Ashley’s blog. It looks like an easy {& cheap!} way to make a memory book! | 5. Need some color inspiration? […]