Well here are some answers to the questions you asked last week. I am sure to get behind on the questions in the comment section again, I apologize…..

1. How about a tutorial on the Anthropologie pillow?

Well, that would be easy if I had made one at the time, but I was making it up as I went along. Basically I used a small square pillow, wrapped the tea towel around the pillow, hand stitched all the way down one end, folded the other ends and tucked them inside. Finally I made a small stitch on two sides to keep it all together. That is a terrible answer, but hopefully it will give you a jumping off point.

2. Where is the headband from that the cute girl is wearing in the backpack post?

Her talented aunt made it for her. Maybe I can convince her aunt to come over one day and let me photograph her doing a tutorial on it for all of us….beg Jamie in the comments and maybe it will work. Until then, you can find some similar on etsy. Here are some more super cute ones.

What is your favorite lens, camera, photo tips?

You can find a list of all my equipment on the About Me page under the “info” tab. I need to update all that with new pictures, but it has the basic info. My two favorite lenses are my 50mm f/1.4 & 85mm f/1.8. If I am out with the kids and need wide angle and close up shots I grab my 24-70mm f/2.8 lens.

Here is Sweet P (aka my amazingly cute niece) taken with my 50mm lens.

50mm, ISO 320, 1/200, f/2.8

This is the son of some of our friends…we (obviously) were at the park. I shot this with my 85mm. I love the backlighting. I know a lot of photographers would do a skin correction on his face to remove the yellow cast from the slide. If I actually knew enough about Photoshop to do that, I might, but I kind of like it because it is real….but if I knew how I’d probably like that better!

85mm, ISO 200, 1/160, f/2.0

The 24-70mm is considered a zoom (it goes from 24mm all the way to 70mm)….I use it for most of my indoor wide angle shots.

Here is FireCracker following her brothers out the back door, I am ‘zoomed out’ as far as the lens will let me.

24mm, ISO 400, 1/200, f/7.1

This is the same 24-70mm lens, but ‘zoomed in’ as far as I can. This is my friend’s daughter at a BBQ.  Yes, she has amazing hair.

70mm, ISO 160, 1/320, f/3.2


Where did you get your kid’s Arctic Cat?

Walmart, about 4 years ago. FireCracker prefers to drive herself.

Have you ever thought of homeschooling your kids? Yes….just like we think about private and public schooling. Our approach to schooling is Kid by Kid, Year by Year….our kids are all so different and we recognize what is best for one at a particular time may not be best for another….or that same child at a different time for that matter.

Where do you get your fabric?

Locally, I shop at Sew Flakes in downtown Broken Arrow. Online I just search around etsy by color or designer. You can find some great deals and many more options online.

On average when do you go to sleep and when do you wake up?

I usually get about 7 hours of sleep a night….often interrupted a couple of times….usually I’m up by 6:30am. My friends are trying to convince me to join them at the gym at 5:30am. If Jillian Micheals would meet me there every morning and yell at me (and promise me arms like hers), I’d be all over it….totally my kind of trainer, I don’t want fluffy sweet Bob talk at the gym.

What are your favorite local flea markets, antique shops?

Southern Hospitality & The Hitching Post in Broken Arrow, The RiverCity Trading Post in Jenks, the Saturday Flea Market at the expo in Tulsa.

Where did you get your baby wrap from?

Loveyduds on etsy. In the photo below my mom actually sewed the Amy Butler fabric over the original fabric that was on it when I used it with Littlest Brother. I just wanted to change it up a bit for FireCracker.

How do you organize your kid’s art projects?

We make way too many to keep. I usually display them for about a week and then recycle, compost or trash them. I keep only a handful each year. Right now they are just in a file folder. I am not one to keep stuff very long….

What is going on with the sweet potatoes you are growing inside?

I am not actually growing them for a long term purpose. I like houseplants, but I also kill a lot of houseplants. Sweet potatoes grow in water really quickly. Basically, I like how they look (roots, potato, leaves, water) so I keep them around until they get too big…then I compost them and start again. Like I said before, I am random….thankfully my hubby loves my randomness.

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  • Sarah M - Here is a DIY of that cute headband from blogger Rubyellen from CAKIES! blog:
    http://mycakies.blogspot.com/2010/01/braided-headband-tutorial.html

    Easy peasy!

    Sarah M

  • Stacia - Love the q & a session. Thanks for the sweet potatoe a, by the way. I googled it. Hit Michaels for $1 mason jars. Rescued some sweet potatoes on the verge on suicide in our veggie bowl and now have similar houseplants on our shelf. They are mysteriously beautiful growing this way. Once again, thanks for the inspiration!

  • Hollie - Thank you so much for your answers! and Jaimie – I’m begging begging begging for a tutorial on the to die for cute headband. They would make the perfect handmade gift!! Please??

  • Tammy Kay - I love what you have done to your couch! The sweet potato is random but cool. Great post.

  • Shannon - What a fun q&a! I hope you don’t stress about doing those for us! I love love your blog no matter what you post, and shoot, you can’t share ALL your secrets! Sometimes people just need to find their own creativity and make something new! You are amazing Ashley! Keep it up!

  • Jme - I’m cracking up that something I made is on your question & answer! ha! I actually saw it on a blog, Cakies…. it’s super easy. Here’s the link:

    http://mycakies.blogspot.com/2010/01/braided-headband-tutorial.html

  • RachelC - I LOVE that picture of L. Her serious face is so cute. Love those CURLS!!

  • Sarah - Thanks for sharing your wealth of information :)

  • Shannon - What a fun post! I hope you don’t stress about doing those for us! I love your blog no matter what you post and shoot! You can’t share ALL your secrets! Sometimes people just need to find their own creativity and make something new! You are amazing Ashley! Keep it up!

  • ashley jensen - I am so glad to hear some of your favorite antique shops! I will definitely have to check out the ones in B.A (since I am there a few times a week). There are a couple in Collinsville I visit occasionally but the prices seem high to me. Just because something is old doesn’t mean it needs to be expensive, especially if it isn’t in great condition!

  • Mandy - Coincidence, I just posted about braided headbands today – they’re so easy and fun to make! We did them as a moms group.
    http://craftedition.blogspot.com/2010/09/braided-headbands.html

  • Brooke - Thank you darling. :) I appreciate you answering everyone’s questions.

  • Kara P - I LOVE that you don’t want any “fluffy sweet Bob talk” at the gym! haha! That cracked me up and I am totally with you- Jillian is my FAV!!! You should come work out at Cross Fit with Tim and I. It’s in BA, everyone does the same workout, its competitive, its encouraging, and fun!

  • Amy - Thank you for all the answers!!! Is Sew Flakes open on Sundays? I live in Tahlequah so Sunday is just about the only day we make it to the Tulsa area.

  • Holly Lesue - Thank you for being so real! One of the many reasons why I love your blog!

  • Mara - Thanks for the fun Q&A – I agree, I hope you don’t stress over doing those – but it’s so fun to read them when you do. You have such great ideas, and I love your style. I look forward to reading your blog every day :)

  • amanda torres - Jillian Michaels is my kind of trainer too! I don’t need to be encouraged, I need someone to hack me off. She’d do the job. It reminds of childbirth class. The instructor told the husbands to, “Keep encouraging your wife. Tell her what a fabulous job she’s doing.” I told Steven if he did that, he’d get the look of death. I knew I’d be trying my dardest to get my baby out, and didn’t need some mushy gushy pep talk.

  • Elisabeth - Thank you so much for answering questions. I have one more–but no pressure to answer soon! I like natural light the best, but am realizing that I need an external flash for times when I just can’t get it (like photos in the art studio at my son’s school, and nightime projects). Can you recommend one?

  • Jenny B. - Yea! Some of the questions I was thinking about asking got answered! :) I’m very happy to know that you are, in fact, a normal human who needs sleep. 😉 OK, so here’s a question (forgive me if you’ve addressed it in the past, or if there’s a photo somewhere that would make the answer obvious)… Do you have a TV in your home? If so, do you have cable/satellite, or do you just use it to watch DVDs? I’ve often thought my whole life might be more productive without TV.

  • Jenny B. - P.S. I was shocked to read that your house is only about 1500 sq. ft. You work wonders with that wide angle lens! 😀

  • giozi - Wow.How many question. And you said that there are more. ha ha ha.
    I was interested too about lens, but I have to confess I don’t understand very well. I’v just change my compact camera for my first reflex.
    Thanks for the tips about it. (lenses)

  • Lacey McKay - Oh what fun questions! Thanks for sharing! I love the photo of Firecracker looking out the back door at the tree. One of these days, I would like to come see that famous tree, and maybe have a little picnic beneath the shade of it.

  • Taylor - I made a headband that looks just like that! I posted the tutorial today. Hope it helps those who were commenting about yours :)

    http://www.maryjanesandgaloshes.com/2010/09/braided-headband-tutorial.html

  • Colleen - I hate to add another question when you’ve already been so nice answering so many above, but I am in love with the headband Firecracker is wearing above in the fabric question photo. The one with the red flower and the thin black band. Wear can I find that? I want one for me and my baby girl. So super cute! Thanks a million. I love your blog!!

  • Kristin - You where on my blog with the headbands! :) When I linked to you. They are pretty simple and I don’t have a picture tutorial, but I do give basic instructions with the pics. :)

  • Desiree - I thought of you today when the landscapers were cutting down a birch tree in front of my apartment. I thought, “Ashley would snag some of that wood and make something adorable out of it.” I really wanted, to but I couldn’t justify grabbing the wood and having it sit in my backyard for nine months before I decided to finally throw it away. I was sad that I couldn’t think of anything to do with it.

  • May of MayDae - Yay! Thanks for answering my question about bedtime and wake time:)

  • amber - Crackin me up that in the picture with big brother, he’s not the least bit concerned that he’s upsetting his firecracker sis. Boys…I love em! And amen to Jillian Michael’s arms.

  • Heather - i like random, too. :)

  • kim - i think rubyellen from the cakies blog came up with the braided headband…i made some in high school that were very similar but she has a tutorial on her blog!

    now back to reading this fun post!

  • GRACE HAPPENS - hello! just found your blog and am so glad i did. do you mind sharing the source of the red and yellow floral fabric on the sofa? i am in love with it! off to catch up on your blog. :) grace

So I have come to the conclusion that most of my diy projects are born out of a desire not to go shopping with my kids. We recently replaced the shelves in our living room and I was having trouble figuring out a way to display my mounted photos. I didn’t like them just leaning against the wall. I propped a couple up in front of a jar of vintage wooden spools….then it dawned on me I can saw a slit down the side and stick the mounted photos in! So that is what I did….I am super random, I know.

Supplies: Hand saw, wooden spools, sandpaper

Step 1: Slowly saw a slit in the spool. Getting it started is the hardest part, go slow. Once you get past the edges it cuts very easily. There is probably a way to do this on a power saw, but I was too worried about cutting off my finger….and a hand saw fits in the house where it is air conditioned.

Step 2: Saw all the way to the middle and make the opening large enough to fit the mounted photos. Sand the wood down.

Vintage Wooden Spool Photo holders….one more way to avoid shopping with your kids when you need to display a photo! Of course you have to have wooden spools on hand!

Chris came home and didn’t notice the spools, but when I put a sweet potato on display he noticed that. I grow potatoes inside better than houseplants. I got the paperback book display from my grandpa’s neighbor. She was using it to hold books for a garage sale and told me she wouldn’t sell it. I mentioned my grandpa was her next door neighbor. The next time I was at my grandpa’s he said, “My neighbor left a piece of junk by the garage for you. Take it or I am throwing it away.” Score. My aunt made me a lap quilt…I love it.

And just because it is annoying to me to see glimpses of things and not the whole area….our new shelves (inspired by Anne-Claire Rohe’s). I am not done filling them…someday.

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  • Katie - I love the spool idea!

  • mrs.magoo - Oh my goodness I love it! What a great idea!

  • Jodi - I LOVE your style! These are gorgeous. Where do you get your photos mounted? I love the spools, the potatoes, and the old camera. I found an old kodak brownie on etsy that I put up in my craft room. Love it. Those old chairs look like they were part of an old stadium??

  • Yanet - I avoid going to the store with the boys as much as possible too. Cool idea. Now tell us more about the potato thingy.

  • laura - i’m so glad you included the whole view:). looks great!

  • Stacia - Um… the sweet potatoes have me baffled! Please share. Do they stay in the water or do you move them to a pot of soil? I’ve never seen anything like it!

  • anne c - i appreciate your randomness! espcially when you share it with us!

  • Julie - LOVE this idea. Now if I only had some spools! I think that is the one thing my grams didn’t save :(. If you enjoying growing sweet potatoes try an avocado seed. My kids love to grow them inside and its the same “technique” lol!

  • a pocket full of posies - Brilliant!! (and mighty useful AND lovely too!)
    LOVING the statement on how most of your DIY projects are born! :)
    Blessings!
    Jill

  • Sarah - cool as always!! thanks for sharing

  • Mandi Smith - Spools are soo cute, thanks for the idea, I’m on it :)

  • Timothea - Love the shelves! I’m wondering where you got them (or the components) since I’ve been searching everywhere for some shelves I like. Thanks!

  • jenny - I love the randomness, especially because I have some vintage spools that I have been trying to decide what to do with! Very fun!

    My mom has always grown sweet potatoes in a glass jar..brings back memories. I have always loved the way it looks too.

  • tasha roe - gah!! genius strikes again! i mean seriously!! I have a huge jar of those spools that I bought at a yard sale for $0.50….for the whole jar. score.
    love the diys.

  • Shannon{photos by shannon} - I wish I had a cute little area like that in my house!

  • Lisa P. - That quilt is beautiful! I wish it lived on my bed…

  • Liene - I really love this idea!

  • ellen - that’s what they say about necessity! my friend and i were just talking about which errands you can run with children and which ones you can’t. not that i don’t love my little ones. i do! so much. but sometimes i need to think and that takes a lot of concentration.

    i went to big lots today in search of some of the scrapbook supplies by martha you mentioned. i found some! i wasn’t sure if it was just a fluke or limited to where you are. i’m going to try to use them to make bookmarks for some younger women i’m doing a Bible study with. we’ll see if i can conjure up a smidge of your creativity!

  • D'On - I absolutely LOVE the spool picture holders. What a great idea!

  • Mara - Great idea – love the whole look too, and I agree, it is frustrating when you can’t see how the whole area looks – thanks for posting such a picture! Love your blog! (and by the way, I started following after you were done with professional photography – I love hearing all about your life and your projects – so fun!)

  • Jennifer - yes, I, too, am baffled by the potatoes! How lovely! Please do share on growing them indoors.

  • Katie H. - As you well know we have a lot of these mounted photos in our house and now that we have moved to a new place I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with them. I LOVE THIS IDEA!! Thanks a bunch.

  • Kari - These are AWESOME! Thanks so much for the great tip!

  • Giovanna - Is soooo easy and I never never thing in something like this.

    PLOP!! I need move my head, my mind is moth-eaten

  • Tammy Kay - looks great Ashley.
    I’ve been collecting spools for awhile now. I love your idea.
    I want to make a huge heart out of spools and hang it on my wall.
    I saw it on a blog but can’t remember where.
    Awesome space. I love the drawing of the frame behind the shelf

  • Kristi - What a fabulous idea…I have some spools and I didn’t know what I was going to do with them. Now I do…thanks to you!

  • Jolie - Genius!!! I was just the other day looking at my little pile of wooden spools and wondering what I could do with them…mind if I appropriate your idea?
    And the paperback rack is killing me….want want want!

  • KaraM - How do you come up with these ideas?! It baffles me.

  • Lisa Johnson - love it! I especially love the bookrack story!

  • Rachel - Ooh elegant Ashley! Thanks so much, I’ll be linking.

  • twirling betty - What a brilliant idea – I absolutely love it and it looks fantastic. Thanks for sharing it.

  • FullertonRegan - I just have to tell you… your aesthetic is so, so beautiful. Every peek at your home is so lovely, artistic, inspiring. I would love to capture more of that and find myself incorporating so many of your ideas into my own home (the pencil “frame” with the orange tape… oh yeah, that’s happening soon). I am so glad I found your blog. Thank you for sharing your creativity with all of us.

    xoxo,
    Regan

  • judy - still want to go down south. jar

  • Kristin - I am loving the spools! Such a cute idea. :) Also I love the picture frame that is painted on the wall or vinyl with the taped in picture. Haha I love those little touches of whimsical. :)

  • pamela - i was thinking about the spool project, which i love, and couldn’t help thinking there had to be a safer way. for our fingertips that is! i think if you had a c-clamp and a fine tooth saw it would be a safer. clamp the spool a little below the middle and then saw through. i just know myself and would definitely have bloody fingers if i tried it your way! awesome project though : ) (…as usual!)

  • Brooke - Cute, cute, cute….love the spools, the movie theater chairs.
    I wish I was friends with your aunt :) I did have a friend make me a quilt for Briar with almost all Amy Butler, but oh man, your aunt is awesome. And your mom for making you the cute Amy B. stackers….JEALOUS! :)
    Hope you have a wonderful week!

  • shelley venema - love your blog, my daughter told me about you!

  • JoLynn - Can your aunt make me a lap quilt? 😉 She must be very talented…I’m lovin’ that quilt!!

  • DIY: Candle Picture Holder | Photobooth Montreal - […] great ideas include the wooden spool picture holder from the blog Under the […]

  • PattyB. - Be honest… you’re some kind of Craft Genius, huh.

  • Jade - Going to make these today. Even borrowed a saw. Fingers crossed I don’t lose a digit. :) And I spy a red Craft Hope book on your shelf!!

  • Nancy - What a cute idea! I have loads of these old wooden spools.
    Guess that will be one of my future projects. Thanks for sharing.
    Smiles and Blessings,
    Nancy

  • Andrea - Thank you for posting. I bought wooden spools today with the intention of Googling ideas for use. Cute blog.

  • Nicci Neace - So excited to find your blog!! Please let me know how one enters the guveaways! Looking at your diy projects now. Thanks for sharing!

  • Chris - I love this idea!! Now I just need to find some spools!

  • mihaela - I am so in love with your blog. Everything here is just fits so perfect in any home. i honestly started clicking randomly on your projects just to borrow some ideas for the weekend, but now I’m taking them one by one. Just keep them coming!!! :))

  • Vintage Wooden Spools « Lived-in Home - […]  These wonderfully simple photo holders were created by Under the Sycamore: […]

  • Meghan Hill - This is such a great idea!! I am going to go home today and make lots and lots of these! Thank you:)

  • Mis puertos de esta semana | ¿Mi mundo? Los míos - […] * Ahora solo falta encontrar carretes de hilo de madera:  Marcos de fotos DIY […]

  • Katie@MyDarlingDays - absolutely fricken genius! love this!!

  • Nikki Decker - I love your honesty! Cutting off your finger and working in the a/c would be my first concerns. This looks pretty easy and doable, or at least something I could attempt without hours of my day wasted on what will soon become nothing similar to a craft, more like trash!