11.15gingiber-01The cutest gift wrap arrived in my mailbox from Gingiber

11.15gingiber-02…only I was not intending to use it as gift wrap. I wasn’t exactly sure how I wanted to use it, but I had three sheets with lots of potential. My favorite paper was the little deer print. I opted to decorate a basic wood tray with it. I use trays all the time and my girls love to play with them.


  • Wood tray
  • Gift Wrap Sheetsย  – mine are from Gingiber
  • Chalk Paint
  • Creme wax (for chalk paint)
  • Decoupageย  Spray adhesive (you’ll see…just read the post)
  • Matte finish spray sealer

11.15gingiber-03I began by painting the edges of my tray with chalk paint. If you have never used chalk paint, it might get lumpy and really thick after sitting for a while (left picture). The great thing about chalk paint is all you have to do is add a little water and stir it good. I do not add water to my paint container. Instead, I use a separate container for mixing the paint and water.11.15gingiber-04After the paint dries, I added a layer of wax…this gives it a really smooth, hard coating.11.15gingiber-06Buff the wax…11.15gingiber-07And now for how my plan failed. My original idea was to use the deer print. I added decoupage to the tray and spread it in a very thin layer. THIN so that my paper wouldn’t wrinkle. I gently added the paper…and wrinkles! I had to pull the paper off. Bummer. I had enough of the same paper to try again. Next, I sprayed the tray with spray adhesive and added the paper. Once it was dry, I added decoupage to the top of the paper…WRINKLES AGAIN. Major bummer. I was out of deer paper with nothing cute to show for it.11.15gingiber-08Thankfully, I still had the other two prints. I cut a piece of the fox print and put it up high, so kids and pets could not reach it. Next, I covered the painted portion of the tray in tape. I used spray adhesive to adhere the paper and a matte finish spray sealer to seal the top. Lots of thin coats. No wrinkles. Victory.11.15gingiber-10And what was supposed to be a cute little deer tray is a cute little fox tray..11.15gingiber-1211.15gingiber-14Also….^^^^new kitchen sink! I’ll post more photos of that later.

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  • Southern Gal - Cute project! I hate the deer print didn’t work. It took me forevah to find the fox in the fox print. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Caroline - Hi Ashley,
    Is there any special reason you use chalk paint instead of normal paint? Especially since you painted wax over?
    Does it make a difference to just use normal paint?

    Would love to know!

    Thanks!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Windie D - thank you for sharing the mistake! so many times we read blogs and how to’s and then we go to try something and it fails! It’s nice to read that people who share crafts also make mistakes ๐Ÿ˜€

    This paper is adorable, btw! i will have to check out that site!

  • Jess - Great tip on the wrinkles. That can be so frustrating! Also – I was glad you told me it was “fox paper” — for some reason my eye focuses on the tan section with green leaves and all I can see is an abstract peacock or ostrich lol (I see the fox now)

  • Jeanne - What a thoughtful, honest, fun post…love all the trials, tribulations! Your end result is super cute.

  • Jenny B. - I’m glad I’m not the only one with crafting failures! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m excited about your new sink! It looks really nice with your countertops and backsplash. Can’t wait to see more!

  • Teresa Edwards - Where do you buy the cute wooden tray? Love this idea…….thank you!

  • Laura - Did you put the decoupage on the tray and the back of the paper and then go over the top of the paper? Wet to dry will cause wrinkles . Stick with the brand you used, mod lodge is a real pain.

A few weeks before my nephew arrived, my sister closed up her etsy shop. Maternity leave has been good for her…for several reasons. Reason one – lots of time cuddling this ridiculously adorable boy:

11.15mhThe second reason: Mom Humor.

Mom Humor is also affectionately referred to as “MH” by me and my sister when we talk about our mom’s humor. The cornier the joke – the more my mom likes it. You will often hear us saying things like, “Well, that was MH.” or “Wow….now that is MH”.

My sister’s MH levels have slowly been increasing in recent years. Then my nephew was born. Something happened…not sure if it was the hormones or just years of learning from the best, but my sister has reached a whole new level of MH. I told my mom that the student has become the teacher.

Lesley is participating in a daily sketch challenge on Instagram. What started as sketches turned into a whole MH series. It might possibly be her greatest work yet, at least in regards to making me smile. Let me introduce you to my new kitchen art:
Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

Here are a few more from the series (there are more not pictured). The hotdog! I might need that one for our camper.

Processed with VSCOcam with m6 presetAt my urging and everyone else on instagram, Lesley is temporarily opening her shop with a small number of 5×7 prints of the designs that can be used as card to mail and then hang as a print. I hesitate sharing that because I have a feeling by the time most of you read this, they will already be sold out. However, if you really want one maybe we can convince her to open her shop again and sell some more.

She’s making my mom proud, one print at a time.

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  • Southern Gal - Maybe having a boy has done that to her. I mean it won’t be any time before he’s introducing his mom and sisters to that boy humor with dad as his accomplice. You know, bathroom jokes and fun stuff like that. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Amy@AtMulberryHill - Oh, yes, Mom humor. (Love your code term.)
    These cracked me up. They would make an awesome set of notecards! Creativity is healing after baby has come. Good for your sister. I love her work.

  • carol - Yep, I am one proud Mama!!!

  • Jeanne - Oh my gosh…love them all…so, so silly!

  • Josephine - In my family we call it Dad humour, but same-same! I love these, deceptively simple, but so clever โ€“ the little faces are killing me! What a talented family!

  • Ana - haha those are so cute!!

  • iamcart - She is wildly talented, love them all!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - I totally love these! She is the cutest.

  • Laura - ACK! I NEED these in my life and my kitchen! PLEASE let us know if/when she re-opens her shop. We remodeled our kitchen about 5 years ago and I have yet to hang anything on the walls because I couldn’t quite find the right thing. And these are it.

11.15pecanbowl-5Our pecan bowl gets bigger and bigger each year. If I have to endure the fall and winter months, at least there are pecans. Granted, I would rather eat my pecans with ice cream on a hot day…I’ll take what I can get. Our generous friends let us come gather pecans at their farm again. Here are links to the last two years: 2014, 2013

11.15pecanbowl-111.15pecanbowl-211.15pecanbowl-3Shaking the pecans from the tree…11.15pecanbowl-4I decided to make a new ‘pecan’ bowl this year. Americana DecoArt released a new line of paint – Americana Decor Maxx Gloss. It has a finish like spray paint, only you can brush it on and use it inside. You can find it at Micheals (in-store, online), Home Depot (select stores, online) and Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores (in-store, online).11.15pecanbowl-6I wanted to do small dots all over the bowl, so I used the end of a paintbrush and practiced a little first.11.15pecanbowl-7I chose to make the bottom more concentrated and then thin out the dots as I got higher on the bowl. Part of me wanted to do a more intricate design, but with kids interrupting I knew I better stick with simple.11.15pecanbowl-9It reminds me of snow falling…feels very ‘winter-ish’ to me. Pecans are the sign that the cold months have arrived and more time will be spent at the table than outside.11.15pecanbowl-10“I make it through the dark, cold months by cracking pecans most nights.ย  It is something I did with my grandma growing up. My grandparents had a huge pecan tree in their little yard. Every year hundreds of pecans would fall to the ground. Weโ€™d make a game of gathering them up and grandma would crack and jar them all. Her freezer was always full of big glass jars of pecans. My grandparentโ€™s kitchen table always had a bowl with shelled pecans on it. As we gathered around that table, it just felt natural to start cracking pecans. When hands are busy, we lingered at the table longer.” – me, 2014 post11.15pecanbowl-1111.15pecanbowl-1211.15pecanbowl-13Letting the kids crack the pecans creates a MESS. Part of me wants to avoid the mess by not letting them join in, but the bigger part remembers growing up cracking pecans with my grandma. I am confident I made a big mess too, but not once do I ever remember her mentioning it.

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  • Aunt Sandy - That sure does bring back memories at Mom and Dads. Mom got such a kick out of cracking and bagging their pecans at that ole kitchen table. They always made sure there was a bowl waiting for the grandkids. Ya there might be a mess, but, that’s easy to clean, memories can’t be swept away. Love it when you share their memories.

  • jodi - Grandmas are amazing that way…maybe it’s that they have the perspective of knowing that the little things really are little things? I love the way you encourage me to live in the moment, Ashley, and not sweat the messes and little things…you challenge and encourage me to be a better mom – I’m forever grateful!

  • Byron - These are the things that let us see the enchantment in the world. Thanks for sharing!

  • Amy@AtMulberryHill - I truly love this. SO adorable and even this non-artistic, but creative person can “draw” something so simple. That paint looks wonderful, too.

  • Diana - That bowl is very cute!! And a great story and family tradition!

  • Jean - “Part of me wants to avoid the mess by not letting them join in” — me, too! But you are much wiser.

  • Paige - Love the bowl! Any tricks for cracking them without the pecans crumbling? We Arnav’s been having issues. Seems like it shouldn’t be hard but last year the kids and I were just breaking them left and right into tiny little pieces. ?

  • Kelly - I read the original post and loved the idea of sitting and shelling nuts and visiting with my kids and the neighborhood kids. So now, through the winter, we have bowls of mixed nuts on the big island in our kitchen and often times on the dining room table as well. The kids make a big mess but they are laughing and chatting the whole time. I always have a bowl of pistachios for the littler ones as they have a harder time with the big nuts. Thanks for a great idea!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Beautifully written, Ashley.