Over the last year a few of you have left comments about my MacGyver-ish ways. Whether the comparison is meant as a compliment or not, I always take it as one. I am HUGE MacGyver fan. The man could create anything out of nothing. He never did things the correct way, but made do with what he had and made it work. It wasn’t technically correct, but it worked…which is the whole point. The more I thought about it, the more it made me laugh. “MacGyver Crafting” that pretty much describes how I create. I know that I don’t do things technically right. I don’t know how to read a sewing pattern. I don’t measure anything with rulers. I hang curtains with clothespins because I don’t want to go to the store to pick out a rod!

Then there is Martha. I know people love to hate her, but I think she is pretty genius. Most what bears her name is timeless and beautiful. Back in high school I read Martha Stewart Living instead of whatever magazine most teenage girls read. I bought Martha Stewart Kids Magazine in college because I loved the layout and design…no interest in having kids back then. I’m a Martha fan.

You know those games that ask if you could spend a day with one famous person, who would it be? I want a double date with MacGyver and Martha….we would be trapped in Lowes with no electricity, the plumbing would go out and we’d have 5 hours to remedy all the problems and have the place decorated for a party. Dream date.


In honor of my non-technical ways of crafting I thought I’d share a little diy. I picked up this candle from IKEA and it needed a makeover.

Supplies: Baker’s Twine, fabric scrap, coffee sleeve (surely MacGvyer saved his coffee sleeves)

Step 1: Hot glue the coffee sleeve to the candle

Step 3: After attaching the coffee sleeve, add the fabric and twine

If you are really lucky when you try to take a picture of your eclectic candle, a toddler will do her best to blow it out. I will note, as the candle melts you can see the inside of the coffee sleeve. That doesn’t bother me. I checked with MacGyver and Martha. It didn’t both Mac, but Martha felt I should have covered the inside too.

Another little MacGyver action in my home. I took down a large painting in the living room because I needed it for another project. It left a large hole among all my frames. A trip to the backyard for a sycamore limb and now I have a hanging branch. Odd…probably. A winter bird and doily snowflakes hanging from it make me smile. I’m pretty sure I won’t be hanging the painting back up. I love my branch….MacGuyver thought it would be better for a fire and Martha thought it looked nice, though she noted it would not look good in her Bedford home.

The big painting is getting a makeover. I am having the hardest time picking a paint color for my room. It is driving me crazy. The gray is from Martha’s collection, but I think I’ve nixed it. She has beautiful paint sample cards at Home Depot.

When I picked up my candle from IKEA I also got storage baskets for my random fabric and trims. For someone that doesn’t technically know how to sew I have acquired quite a collection. I hope FireCracker doesn’t want her closet back anytime soon!

So…what famous person would you like to spend a day with?

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  • laura - you are hilarious. love that candle!

  • Kimberlee J. - I’d say Pioneer Woman. She’s famous, right?
    And Oprah. πŸ™‚

  • Jennifer - I think I would spend the day with Drew Brees, the New Orleans Saints quarterback. I could only do this if my kids came along since he is their hero. We would go for some beignets, watch his practice, and then end with dinner.
    http://www.bigdandme.com (if you visit today you can see what my 1 year old “ms. self-sufficient” has been up to)

  • roxanne - I would wanna spend my day with you. YOUR AMAZING!! and i would hope that your amazingness rubs off. lol

  • julie m - I love your style…MacGyver and Martha would be proud.

  • Laurie J - hmmmmm….maybe The Cake Boss? He’s got some crazy fondant skillz and I’ve currently got a little crush. But in a non-creepy way I’d think it would be fun to meet you! πŸ™‚ I’d love to be crafty but I am limited to what can be done with a glue gun and pretty much no creativity!

  • Anna Marie - Hmm…I’m gonna have to go with a double date as well and choose you and Meg. We would go to thrift stores, antique shops, flea markets and maybe do a little crafting to wrap the day up. But I have no idea how we are going to fit all of that into one day. I think we need a weekend πŸ˜‰

  • amanda torres - Definitely The Pioneer Woman. I gonna speak in faith right now. I WILL spend a weekend at her ranch! Amen.

  • RachelC - Well, I was going to say you, but based on the previous comments, it looks like your schedule would be full……so, I will have to settle for Brad Paisley and Rachel McAdams. Brad could teach me how to write fabulous songs, and maybe I could channel a little bit of Rachel McAdams’ character in the Notebook. That character was timeless.

  • BriBedell - I would love to spend my day with Martha for sure, but I think you are pretty cool too and I have neer been to Oklahoma! I live in Michigan…can I visit? LOL

  • Caroline - i’d love to spend a day with you and your kids!
    it should be lovely.
    you are realistically creative and innovative.
    your kids are all so adorable and fun!
    i love the kind of mess you have in your home!
    it’s beautifully messy! πŸ™‚

  • Shannon - Love it!

  • Mariah - I think I’ll just start calling you MacMartha. Get’s the job done, looks pretty, and as a bonus sounds like a tasty sandwich. Who doesn’t want to sound like a tasty sandwich? I think I would like to spend the day with…. Sting. But no, I would be too intimidated. Paul Simon. No, I would be too star struck to even look at him. Oh, this is just too hard.

  • Hannah Bunker - I love the tree branch! And the layout of your frames is great! I always have trouble figuring out how to arrange frames on a wall.

    I would want to spend the day with Carol Burnett. I’ve been a fan since I was in 5th grade (and I’m only 24!). I’ve read everything she’s ever written and pretty much seen everything she’s ever done. We could hang out, sing, talk about her life, and I would share with her how she has influenced mine.

    Actually, I did get to meet her once. I cried. It was one of the most surreal, special moments in my life.

  • Jenn B - I would spend the day with the president – that would be cool to see what his day is really like. Where did you get your couch – I love it!

  • Linden - I would want to spend the day with my husbands grandmother, Patricia Rose. okay she’s not technically famous BUT she does have one of her paintings hanging in George Bush’s Texas Ranch house. I only got to meet her once before she passed away from alzheimers before our wedding. She was the most talented painter I have ever met. Beautiful landscape paintings… they brought much beauty into the world and I would love to have her beauty back for a little while.

  • Anna - With you!!! πŸ™‚
    There are a couple others: Will Ferrell, Wes Anderson, the cast of Glee….but you are number one by far!

  • april's craft nest - okay! i am not the only one. i devoured MS mags in HS. i did not really care about those teeny bopper mags. i had about 10 years of MS mags stored in my gargage(moved with me 4 times). i finally gave those to a friend. and MS KIDS! oh my gosh! i was so in love with those. why did they ever stop. i saved two from years and years ago, WAY before i ever thought i even wanted a child. one had the sheep costume in it and i thought to myself, “self, just in case you ever want kids, THIS is THE costume!” and guess what? i made it this year for my sweet little 2 yrs old lambie! here he is if you want to check him out. http://aprilscraftnest.blogspot.com/2010/11/sheep-birthday-party.html

  • reeve - love, love, love the candle! So simple yet so freakin’ cute! Thanks for sharing:)

  • Julie B - Since I can’t spend a day with Paul Newman πŸ™ I would for sure pick Amy Adams and spend the day trying on fabulous shoes and singing show tunes. I am for sure a nerd. But sometimes my daydreams have nothing to do with my four kids or anything crafty!

  • Shannon Phillips - I am cracking up over here. I love you and your quirky ways.
    This is really stumping me. I can’t think of anyone famous to hang out with.

  • Nancy - What a hoot with my morning coffee. You’re hilarious!

  • Nicole - ooh- love the bins! more info, please?!

  • heather - the candle is fantastic! i’m making one today with my ikea candles. and your branch is fantastic!! i have one that my son broke as he was falling out of a tree (he was fine, but cried because he thought he hurt the tree so we kept the branch) i wrapped it in cream yarn and then hung the paper globes from elizabeth street from it. i adore how it! it’s like my own modern mobile.

  • Alice H - I really want to meet Ree Drummond (aka P.W.) and see M.M.’s bottom in real life. Is that too much to ask??? No!

  • Carrie Rosalind - Beautiful candle! Very MacGyver of you! πŸ™‚

  • Bryn - So funny – I am literally watching MacGyver right now and started reading your post…made me laugh. I have loved this show since I was litle! He is so resourceful!

  • Martina - I love this post. Haha! My husband’s college choir director was friends with Martha (well, actually their daughters were friends, but close enough!) and she said that Martha sleeps sitting up with a pad and a pen in her hand so she’s always ready to record her brilliant ideas when she wakes up. I agree that she’s a genius! And I’m sure she would have covered or painted the inside of that coffee sleeve. I learned from her show that screws on light switch plates should all be turned so the screwdriver slots line up vertically. I’m not a perfectionist by nature but now I always do it!

  • Ali Richardson - Ha ha, this post made me laugh out lour. What a trio you would be in a Lowes! I think I may pick James Taylor and just have him singing in the background all day long. Heaven πŸ™‚

  • Moriah - Paula Dean would definitely be on my list. I secretly wish my two boys will grow up to be like Jaime and Bobbie.

  • gina - πŸ™‚ fun post!

  • the whyte house - this is now my favorite post. only for the macgyver part. πŸ™‚ i died laughing. glad you looked him up…i always spell his name w an extra letter. haha. we LOVED macgyver growing up and always said that richard dean anderson was related to us(my dad’s name was morris dean anderson :)). we thought he was the coolest for having our last name. haha. so that right there should say that i was complimenting you on your macgyver sewing skills. haha!!!

    day out with a famous person?? hmm. not sure. my husband’s semi-famous in this area. a day with just him would be awesome.

    bill cosby. absolutely.

    maybe michael buble. he could sing to me all day. hmmm…maybe that wouldn’t be such a good idea, afterall. i might not wanna go back home and then he’d have to pull out the whole “restraining order” card and his fiancee would go all argentina postal on me… it’s just too close to christmas for all of that nonsense.

    i need humorous and sarcastic boys…
    -chandler bing
    -damon salvatore

    yes, please.
    that would be a good day.

    kind of a random list, there. i’m indecisive. what can i say?

  • Carol V. - Martha would definitely be on my list of famous people to spend the day with.

  • Katie - Amen to reading Martha Stewart magazine in high school and buying the Martha Stewart Kids magazines because of the charming layout… uhh… long before I had kids or a home to be crafting for. Anyway, loved this post. You are so funny and likeable. πŸ™‚

    Also, where do you buy your baker’s twine? Is it just so expensive everywhere?

  • Jamie - That’s easy: I’d love to hang out with the Duggars! I’m a little obsessed with them for a few years now; such good people. Or Reese Witherspoon. I was able to attend a taping of Martha’s show 2 years ago in NYC and her set was amazing. Seriously amazing. I still have my collection of Martha Baby magazines — collected them LOOOONG before I ever thought of being a mom. I wish they’d bring it back. I get defensive when people knock Martha…

  • Trista - I found your blog today, and just read your posts all the way back to October. You are fantastic. I’ve loved every one of your posts on Design Sponge, I just didn’t know it was you. Thanks for the entertainment.

  • Lesley - So, I guess it runs in the family. Remember my young girl obsession with MacGyver? I’m pretty sure Rachel does. Me, Mac and some chips & salsa. Good times.

  • Dacia - I find this post to be quite hilarious! πŸ™‚ I, too, love Martha. Half our of our wedding registry was made up of Martha Stewart products. She is in every room of our home: kitchen (mixing bowls, pans, misc. stuff, bedrooms (linens), bathrooms (curtains, soap pump, etc), and the list goes on. OH! I almost forgot. My craft closet is full of Martha paper punches and tools. I KNOW you have them too! I’ve got my eye on a set of her flour sack towels at Macys, they come in the PRETTIEST colors.

    Which baskets are those? I love them… they look like a remake of vintage gym locker baskets.

    Keep doing what you do MacGyver!

  • Dacia - Oh and I almost forgot. I would like to have a date with YOU! And/or Martha. That would be great.

  • Christie - Is it lame that I almost automatically thought of Joey McIntyre from NKOTB? I think it’s because I watched Oprah’s teenage crush episode when she went out with Jackie Jackson – too funny! In reality, probably Anthony Bourdain.

    Separately, the couch you have in your living room – did you buy it somewhere, or just have the awesome luck of finding it? I have been trying to find a something very similar and have failed horribly.

    Happy Holidays!

  • Carolyn - Hmm…can’t think of any famous people I’d want to spend time with, but I would like to gather up all my friends who are scattered all over the place…collect the whole set and have them in one location! As for your DIY, if there’s one thing you’ve convinced me of it’s that…I need a hot glue gun πŸ™‚ The candle looks fabulous!

  • ingrid blanchette - i’d pick you to spend the day with…and we’d go to that secret rummage place you go to!

  • mandi - Your dream date made me laugh so hard! Lowe’s, problem fixing, the party- hahaha!!!

    My dream date would be with Mary Jane Butters. I’ve been reading her magazine since it was more like a fanzine and I still love her.

    {{{Also- what you said about reading Living in high school- that was me too.}}}

  • Marykay - I LOVE this post! My friends used to call me MacGyvette πŸ™‚ I have had a hard time figuring out who I would like to spend the day with, as if it is really going to happen… But I would want to spend the day with Beth Moore.

  • George - Holy cats! I’m loving the sycamore limb! Sometimes I forget how easy it can be to make a room stand out! Love it. And I’m diggin’ your blog!

    Raised By Wolves

  • Jacqui - Sometimes I feel certain that I am Marthas biggest fan. My cats are named Martha and Stewart, and I strive to incorporate a littler Martha in my life as much as possible! Though, like you, I usually invent my own way of doing things πŸ™‚ Hands down, Martha would be my DREAM DATE!

  • Lila - I would hang out with Jamie Oliver and his gardener. Have you seen his cooking show? Everything he makes he gets from his little garden and everything he makes makes me want to cook! I would love to have garden like his someday. Martha is also a favorite of mine. My friends tease me about it, I’m the one with Martha Stewart Living while they are reading Comso πŸ™‚

  • Sharon - OK, my choice would probably be the lady on Firecracker’s tee-shirt. …Wonder Woman! LOL

  • Juliann - hahaha; Lowes-Mac-Martha-you scenario sounds like a hilarious reality TV show…you should totally pitch it to a network πŸ™‚

  • Devon - Ashley! Oh. My. Goodness. You seriously crack me up woman! I love, LOVE this post! It made me smile, laugh, and wonder what I can do in my house that both MacGyver & Martha would comment about. …and that last photo? Completely drool worthy. I too have compiled quite a collection of fabric (while I am not a “sewer” either. Whenever I see something I love in a fabric store, I simply cannot go home without it! Um… now where can incorporate that storage genius of an idea in my house? πŸ™‚

  • Lindsay - It is so hard to find nice fabric where I”m from? Anyone know where to get a lot of Amy Butler fabrics in Canada??

  • ashlee - why, you, of course:)

  • meg duerksen - macgruber and blizzard man.


  • The Prairie Hen - Dear MMMMMM,
    You are my kinda girl, Ashley! I LOVE Martha! My Mama got my hooked young and when I got married our wedding theme was Martha Stewart meets John Deer!

    I think I’d choose Mary Engelbreit… and that one might come true since she recently agreed to paint a sculpture I made for my dad’s fiberglass animal business!!! Whoo-hooo!

    Dreaming in NE

  • tasha roe - I would have to say Martha or Phil Knight (Nike Founder)
    Always wanted to work for both of them.
    Will Ferrell would be awesome too – I like funny people. πŸ˜€

  • MelissaM - I would love to spend the day with Beth Moore or Anne of Green Gables. Both kindred spirits, full of passion, and entertaining! I love them both!

  • Elise - I know it sounds hokey, but I would love to spend the day with you!! We could have fun and craft and I could steal your couch!! Oh, did I just say that out loud?? I’ve been meaning to ask about your couch…is it a twin sleigh day bed?? I love it!! Oh, LOVE all your candle embellishing, too!!! I’ll link one up to your FB that you inspired.
    Hope you have a Happy Friday!!

  • Missy - This is fantastic! I hope MacGyver and Martha are reading this and it is the inspiration for a MacGyver guest appearance on Martha’s show. We’ll all say we saw it here first! Just gotta say how much I love your blog Ashley! I read it everyday and look forward to it after I get my “chores” done or when nap time comes for the little one. Thanks for sharing so much of yourself. It’s truly a blessing.

    Now, random question – I need a creative idea to cover some couches that I don’t like. Tailored slipcovers are too expensive, other ones don’t fit right. Any brilliant ideas?

  • Jen - I am sooooo coming with you on the MacGyver and Martha dream date. That would be my ultimate as well! I laughed all the way through your post, I could totally see myself right there with you. πŸ™‚

  • Hannah B. - Awesome idea! I too got Martha Stewart Living in high school & bought Martha Stewart Kids in college just for the layout! (which managed to get me some serious weird-stares in the cafeteria) Oh, and do you remember Blueprint? *sigh*… so divine!

  • Amanda - You’re right on the money! I love MacGyver & Martha too! Definitely a dream {double} date….

  • Mindi Patty - I made the candles from this post!!! Check it out. I. Love. It.


  • No Impact Bride - This idea is adorable and we love it so much we’ve included it in our latest post at No Impact Bride. Hope you don’t mind!



  • Repurposed Coffee Sleeve Crafts - […] Coffee Sleeve Candle Cozy | Under the […]

Thank you for all your super kind comments yesterday. Your comments are always so encouraging.

I am grateful you take the time to write them. Thank you.


Today my monthly diy project on Design*Sponge was posted. I thought I’d give you a couple behind the scenes peeks of the project again…

Photo Tip: When you are photographing an item (like for etsy) you don’t need a great studio with tons of artificial lighting. You want a background that adds to, but does not distract from the item. You also want to take advantage of natural light. Here I sat the box on my chair, hung wallpaper (that is waiting to be hung on the wall) over the kitchen counter, turned the box just a bit towards the light and zoomed in. The camera settings for this photo were: ISO 250, 1/80, f/4.0, 70mm.

Do you like ‘behind the scenes’ posts like this for my Design*Sponge and Design Aglow posts? If not, I don’t want to bore you and I’ll stop!

Head over to Design*Sponge today to find the full tutorial (not sure what time it will be posted). I’d love to hear what you think. I’m pretty sure this is my personal favorite diy project I’ve done this year.


I did a little “Day in the Life” post for the domestic wannabe…it is posted today too…

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  • Anna Marie - I enjoy them Ashley, you aren’t boring me. Also, thanks for the great idea about taking Etsy photos. I am always looking for new ways to get good photos of my items.

  • Amy - i don’t think there is a post you could post that i wouldn’t love!

  • Caroline - Oh please Ashley, Continue doing it! your posts are never boring. dont underestimate yourself! i love it as much as other readers do! πŸ™‚

  • Pamela - I love your “behind the scenes” posts. Please keep them coming, they are anything but boring.

  • Yanet - Please don’t stop. I love learning about how you do certain shots and just what’s happening while your posting. It’s fun to see. You do some major multi-tasking like I do and it makes me feel “normal”. πŸ™‚

  • Karla - The wallpaper is lovely!

  • Brianna B. - I LOVE the behind the scenes stuff. I’ve never held more than a camera phone but want to graduate to a big girl camera one day. It’s fun to see how much effort goes into beautiful photos.

  • Jess - Where did the wallpaper come from? I love it!

  • Reidunn - I enjoy all your posts and photos. Yesterdays post I loved. Maybe because I can relate, having two brothers myself. Your guestposting is also great work. Already looking forward to tomorrow and your next blogpost

  • Rebecca - Yes, please do! I’m learning a lot!

    And love, love that wallpaper – will you share who makes it and what the pattern is called?

  • Jennifer Dayman - Love the behind-the-scenes, and the wallpaper! Would you share where you found it?

  • Leah R. - I love ALL your posts! LOL You NEVER bore me, in fact I can’t wait until I see a new post! I especially LOVE when you give tips on camera settings and lighting!

  • colleen - Honestly, i love it all. Especially the part about wii bowling with your family. Our wii broke a few months ago and i really miss “putting a whoopin” on my kids and husband! πŸ™‚ i think you have to be from below the mason dixon to get that phrase! I may be the one getting a new wii for Christmas!

  • Shannon - I agree with the line of thinking that I don’t think there is a post you could post that I wouldn’t love! Can’t wait to see what you do with that wallpaper!

  • kate - keep the behind the scenes stuff coming! i love your blog, and your features on other blogs, too! i have question based on “day in the life” (you might have addressed this at some other time!) i’m curious if you homeschool? or does biggest brother go to school? thanks!

  • Sara - I almost fell of my chair when I saw your wallpaper. I’m in love with that pattern/colors! I tried to get some fabric in it but lost my ebay bid over in England. It may also have something to do with the fact that she didn’t offer int’l shipping. πŸ™‚ I tried anyway. Can’t wait to see what you do with the wallpaper!

  • Katie - i adore the wallpaper! can’t wait to see the diy project, too!

  • Seamingly Sarah - I love the behind the scenes stuff, especially if it’s a photo tip I can relate to etsy. Plus I’ve already started trying some tips you gave for point and shoot cameras and they’ve worked! Thanks!

  • ashley jensen - I loooove behind the scene shots and I never find anything boring on your blog! Please continue doing what you’re doing!!

  • Trinity - I really like them. You have great tips and ideas to photograph things that are actually attainable. When I look at your pictures, I think I could never do that, but when you post behind the scenes things, it makes me want to try. Thanks Ashley!

  • Juli I - Love the behind the scenes info. Please don’t stop sharing. Love all your photo advice. I want to know how your house always looks so clutter-free? I have three kids and the house is always cluttered with shoes, socks, backpacks, toys, etc…what’s your secret?

  • katie - Ha! I was JUST wondering when you’d have another DS feature… YES, please keep the behind-the-scenes photos coming–they give this busy, crafting mom encouragement! πŸ˜€

  • marcy - that wrapping paper rocks!! and the calendar!!

  • Hannah Bunker - That wallpaper is awesome! Would love to know how to get my hands on some!

  • Tricia - Ireally ejoy the behind the scees posts. Actually, I really ejoy all of your posts.

  • Nicole - How timely! Was just wondering how I want to set up some shots of the DIYs I have done with your tutorials to post on FB! πŸ™‚

  • Tricia - Oh, and I need to learn to spell check before I post a comment and I have a three year old crafting play dough Rudolphs on my lap. πŸ˜‰

  • Nicole - Let’s try again!

    How timely! Was just wondering how I want to set up some shots of the DIYs I have done with your tutorials to post on FB!

  • Anna - oh yes, i cannot stand artificial light. natural light makes everything so much fresher and brighter. i like to take my pictures on our kitchen island or my night stand because they have the clean white background. and none of my walls are painted because i like white for my pictures. white…im all about white! have a good day!

  • patti - i love the behind the scenes peek. thanks for sharing!

  • Jennifer - Ashley,
    I love your blog! I read it everyday and I’m so inspired by you! I would love to make this journal. Can you share with me where I can find a date stamper like you used? Thanks and have a blessed day!

  • Lori - i love the behind the scene shots – don’t stop em!!

  • Aunt Sandy - I love, love, love that wall paper!!!!!! Where is going and where did you find it? I am not much on wall paper, but, this one could change my mind!!!!!

  • Lesley - Love this, Ashley! Hey, by the way, I think I have a challenge for you. I found a couple of old film tins (the big, heavy, flat ones) that someone was going to throw away and thought…I bet Ashley could do something with these. So, anyway, that’s your heads up, the next time I see you I’ll give you the tins.

  • Jane - I LOVE all of your behind-the-scenes posts, especially when it involves photography tips. Are you continuting to use your zoom lens more? How are you liking it vs. your 50mm and 85mm primes? I’m agonizing over which lens to get next and can’t decide between another prime and a zoom (already have the 50mm f/1.4).

  • Jen - well…fist off i want to thank you for giving the tip about setting up for an etsy shop. i have a nifty canon, but cannot for the life of me figure how to take perfect photos. secondly, can i say i l.o.v.e your wallpaper. you are so crafty!

  • Kristin - You don’t post anything boring!!

  • Rebecca S. - I LOVE LOVE LOVE the behind the scenes photo tips. Your pictures are always so gorgeous and I love learning from you. Thank you!

  • Sarah S - It’s up! What a great idea! I started taking a photo a day recently with the same purpose in mind. But I am more of a writer than a photographer, so I think I am going to start this in 2011. So neat!

  • Pam @ Keeping Life Creative - I’m with everyone else. . . I love the behind the scenes posts! And I love the calendar idea!

  • Erica - I love the behind the scenes posts!! I also have a question for you…I have an etsy shop and don’t have a fancy camera, just a point and shoot. Do you have any tips for taking photos of objects with a point and shoot? Usually, I go outside to take my pics, but it’s like 3 degrees out there right now, so that won’t work!! p.s. Love the wallpaper!

  • nori - i love the behind the scenes tips! i always stress over how to take pictures of my etsy items… this was SUPER helpful! thank you!!! πŸ™‚

  • Christina - I love seeing how you compose your pictures! I especially love seeing how close you actually get to the things/people you are shooting.. i tend to stay away because I feel like I’m all up in their business, but I know I can get a better shot if I just step closer. These posts help!

  • Marykay - Love the behind the scenes, love the project and love that wall paper!!!!

  • Martina - Yes – and thanks for the photo tip, too! I commented on D*S already but I’ll say it here too: I love this idea. I’m going to do it!

  • Karen - forgot to comment yesterday so I thought I’d add it today. I grew up as the youngest of three- two older brothers all of us spaced two ish years apart and then me- their little sister. I was not spoiled because I was a girl or treated differently or more special but I was one of them and yet was allowed to celebrate being a girl. As we grew older, every time we would have a huge fight, my mom would get really emotional and tell us that we needed to be kind to each other for someday we would really depend on each other and that her prayer for us was to always be close. We are all super close as adults- my moms words and prayers rang true for us. Despite two of us being married and having kiddos now, they are still the first people I call to celebrate joys with or to share struggles with. We dearly love one another and I’m so grateful for a mom who prayed for this and who worked hard to instill this in us. I adore being their little sister and I can imagine your daughter is going to grow up feeling the same way!! There is nothing like having great big brothers!

  • Lindsay - You don’t ever bore. I love all the behind the scenes stuff. LOVE, LOVE IT!

  • the whyte house - you know, it’s hard to walk away from the ashley posts when there are 3 in one day….
    cruel and unusual punishment. πŸ™‚

  • gina - i love your behind the scenes peeks and your wallpaper!!

  • Dick - Always enjoy the behind the scenes. Haven’t seen a post from you that I didn’t like.

  • Bree K - Not Boring! Especially becasue you had a photo tip! Love those!

  • Shea - I definitely enjoy the behind the scenes photos and often enjoy the backstory more than the actual topic. I’m so glad you’re on d*s. And I love this project. I’m trying to figure out who for to make it this year. Well, besides myself! I love the way you record fun things in your daily life.
    Oh and I can’t wait to see that wallpaper in action.

  • Jenny B. - Oh, I love the behind-the-scenes posts – especially seeing how you set up the little photo shoot for your calendar/journal. I would never have thought to use that wallpaper as a backdrop, but once it’s all blurred, it makes the perfect background! I liked what you said on Domestic Wannabe about how being a mom impacts every nook and cranny of your life. πŸ™‚ There are movies I saw before I was a mom, and then again after, and it’s so weird to me how before, I identified more with the daughter character, and now I can relate more to the mom character (I’m thinking of Freaky Friday). Ha! Anyway, thanks again for sharing bits of your life.

  • sarah - What a cute idea. These would be so great for new moms. I never wrote stuff in my kids baby books, but this seems much easier.

  • Gretchen - I love your tips and behind-the-scenes stuff. And the journal is darling.

  • Carolyn - Yes! please keep doing the ‘behind the scenes’ posts. I LOVE beautiful photography (like yours) but I just as much love to see how a beautiful photograph is made. It’s really helpful. I enjoyed reading the guest posts too. Great stuff!

  • Jamie - I love the behind-the-scenes tips; very helpful! And, I can’t wait to see your wallpaper. I love Orla Kiely! I’m trying to figure out a way to get some in my new house. So cute!

  • kari - Love, Love, love your DIY posts and this one is especially nice.

  • Kimber - Keep these coming! I love them! And I love the simplicity of the photo tips!

  • ash - what kind of pie? you should link the recipe.

  • Nancy - I really enjoy all that you post, so don’t stop what you’re doing. You give me great inspiration! Now all I need is a little more time

  • Lynn - Love seeing them, in fact, I get up early just to see what you write everyday! I know…weird but I love your blog!!! You rock that you have so much time, I have one kid and a photography business and have a hard time keeping up and then doing DIY projects…I have bought a lot of stuff with good intentions!!! Maybe tonight I will get done the dot cheese trays I am doing for the holidays!! Then I will post photos!! Thanks for writing everyday…I miss your posts on the weekends, but everyone needs time off!!

  • Margie - It’s nice seeing the behind the scenes…it gives a taste of what it’s really like doing projects when you have little ones running around.

  • Lindsay - I wish i went to YOUR town’s flea markets… I can’t find all the neat things you seem to at mine. I searched high and low today for old postcards…i’ll check out the next flea market…hopefully I find some. Until then, I may replace the cards with pictures or something. Love the idea too much to pass up.

  • jessica h - yes! “behind the scenes” are my favorite part of your posts sometimes! real life…it’s very entertaining πŸ™‚

  • Susan Caing - i’m hooked with your blog. can’t start my work without reading your inspiring daily blog. i’m a new mother of a 1yr old little girl and hoping to have a baby boy.

  • Jeannette - I love everything you do and post!!!!

  • Adrienne B - Love that wallpaper – and LOVE the photo tips… Keep them coming!

  • michelle - I love the behind the scenes! Don’t stop!

    (I love everything else you write too… thank you for taking the time out of your day to entertain all of us.)

  • Lila - I really like the behind the scenes shots. The photography advice is also a really nice touch. Thanks for the tip!

  • The Prairie Hen - Dear Ash,
    I vote “yes” for the behind the scenes… WAY cool!

    Another Blogger in NE

  • yannpendaries - your work is simply superb and I speak geek
    bravo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ;o)

  • amac - I enjoy the sneak peeks. And the project! Incredible!! I just added a date stamper to my wish list πŸ™‚

  • Brooke Whitis - LOVE the behind the scenes…and I LOVVEEEE the wallpaper!! Where did you find that super fun stuff? I want it. πŸ™‚ I am glad we don’t live in the same town. You would come in my house and find all your crafts on my wall…no originality at all…{maybe not entirely true…but …you might feel flattered if you came in. I’m just saying…}

  • Stephanie - I like them very much. Especially when I see craziness going on around you. It inspires me to work on projects in the midst of my “craziness” 4 girls!

  • Julie B - Please please please continue! I learn so much about photography and feel like I can make my own stuff look almost as good as the professionals (you). Well good enough for me and being free! Behind the scene stuff is the best!

  • Leah - Please keep them coming! As a *just for fun* photographer I especially appreciated the photo tips! I love this project and started on it already!

  • Ana - I love the behind the scenes posts! And I find them very useful too.

  • Becca - NOT boring at all! Love it! I found a cute little brown box at Target today that will be perfect since I am not patient enough to try and find a fruit box right now. It was a basic brown box holding 50 white thank-you cards(which I can use) but the little box that held them is what I wanted πŸ™‚ Can’t wait to put it together!

  • Jessica - Yes, love the photo advice!! Not boring at all!

  • Pleasant Vonnoh - I LOVE behind the scenes posts! Love them!

  • JΓΌrgen - Beautiful photos and very good work.
    Thank you, regards.

  • Kelly - I like these behind the scenes posts a lot. It keeps it real and encourages me to know that I can still craft and do creative things even in my new role as mama. Thanks! Kelly

  • Green = Green: Perpetual Calendar | Our Humble A{Bowe}d - […] mentioned that I saw an idea for a perpetual calendar by Ashley AnnΒ for Design Sponge.Β  I always love a good calendar, so I decided to make a perpetual journalingΒ box set.Β  The small […]

  • cleaning my desk {it took a while} » ashleyannphotography.com - […] towel in a berry box from Anthropologie & Perpetual calendar from 1Caneo2 (they based this off my perpetual calendar diy!), Monogram watercolor from Emily;Β Center – journal from […]

  • diy {best of my days 2014} » ashleyannphotography.com - […] The first year we kept this going for a bit with the kids, but then I dropped the ball. This year the older four our getting one in their stockings. I am really going to try my hardest to help the kids do this each night before they go to bed. I think it will be a great practical way to practice gratitude, but it will also be really fun to look back on one day. I keep my own list in my perpetual calendar. […]

  • Holes + Impulse Buy! – Corrie Anne - […] pretty sure it’s a leftover from our wedding!!! Haha. I saw the DIY… oh 4 years ago!!! here, and it would be really simple to do. But I can never commit to tedious tasks like stamping 365 […]

A little while back Amanda asked what I enjoy most about having a girl after three boys. I have thought about that question a lot since she asked it. There is so much I love about my daughter, but it is hard to clearly know what is related to the fact that she is a girl and not a boy. When I first found out she was a girl I was completely overwhelmed with all the girl stuff out there. I did have a mini panic attack in the baby girl section of Target. I considered myself a ‘boy mom’. I would have been overjoyed to have another boy.Β  So now a year and half in I find myself making felt flowers and ruffly bags. I’ve transitioned pretty well I think.

My daughter is fully immersed in boy world…she doesn’t know anything but shirtless, sword swinging, loud brothers. They are her world.

Though her interests are more in cars and weapons…she loves to wear a tutu. I love that the boys encourage her when she does ‘girly’ stuff. They constantly tell her how beautiful she is and like to carry her around (when she will let them). It is important to me that they edify her in her differences and not make fun of ‘gross girly’ stuff’. So I guess one of my favorite things about having a girl after 3 boys is watching how my boys relate to their baby sister.

I also love how her world is her brothers. She can hold her own with them. Tough has never been so cute.

Another one of my favorite things about having a girl after 3 boys is watching her follow their lead. She is fearless, agressive, and bold. There isn’t much dainty and soft about her personality. Her theme song is “Anything you can do I can do better. I can do anything better than you.”

My oldest adores her and puts up with her bossing her way around him. She likes to be close to him.

She is always watching…always trying…sometimes crashing. Nothing cautious about her.

She loves her brothers. She loves to do what they are doing. She loves to destroy what they make.

So I guess my favorite thing about having a daughter after 3 boys is seeing how my boys treat her differently than they treat eachother and how that impacts her. The biggest influences in her life right now are her brothers. It is pretty awesome. I’m pretty sure she is going to enjoy her relationships with each of them as she grows.

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  • Jen - can i say i just love this post. it is so lovely how her brothers look after her, and what a little firecracker she is! you are very blessed.

  • Lindsay - What an awesome post. You’ve captured some great pictures of their relationships – what an amazing thing to be able to look back on later in life!

  • Jen - Love this! We have three boys and my hubby and I are trying to decide about having another. I don’t know whether I’d be thrilled or scared to have a girl now. You’re not making this easier Ashley! πŸ™‚

  • Danielle - I want a girl even more now!!! So cute!

  • Nicole - That last picture is phenomenal. So cute. We just had a girl after two boys and I agree wholeheartedly. So looking forward to watching them grow up together!!

  • Caroline - this is prefectly lovely! i dont know what else to say.
    you’re blessed, Ashley. very very blessed.

  • Liene - I really love this post. Probably because I recognize so much because we have the same family composition, first 3 boys and then a girl. I always thought that until the age of 4 years, gender wouldn’t make a difference. But I do notice now, that girls truly are different. I love that about having a girl after three boys. She makes me look at things at a different angle. But I also love to notice, that on the other hand, some aspects of boys and girls are not gender related, that is a real eye-opener to me too!

  • Krista @ Blue Eyed Yonder - Your pictures capture the ‘three boys and a little girl’ story so well. I love to see how strong she is and how sweet her brothers are to her. Lord help her when she starts dating…or should I say Lord help her boyfriend! Haha! Her brothers will be very protective I am sure. πŸ™‚

  • Amanda D - I have three boys and everyone keeps asking when we are going to try for our girl. I don’t think we are going to try, but your post does put a ? there!!! Your family is so adorable and I love how you capture their personalities perfectly.

  • anne c - I love this! what a lucky little girl…and 3 lucky big brothers! makes my heart melt!

  • Danielle - so sweet.

  • Valerie - I love that first picture with all the shirtless boys and Firecracker. So adorable. She’s a cutie and I think she’s a lucky girl to grow up with 3 older brothers.

  • Anna - what an awesome post! since i was a little girl, i’ve always had this urge to have a house full of boys and one little girl. I too consider myself a “boy mom”. Boys are fun and simple and the way they look at their mamas is incredible. But of course, I need the one girl to teach her all I know about being a woman. I love your kiddos and watching Firecracker grow up around her brothers is so fun! Thank you!

  • Alice H - Could your kids be any cuter? I mean really, they are just absolutely adorable!!! I have one daughter, she is my oldest. And I am so grateful to have a girl. But I think one girl is enough. LOL!

  • amanda torres - Every reason you listed is the exact same feelings I have about Little Miss’ relationship with her brother. I can’t imagine how those qualities I cherish would be magnified with 3 older brothers. Your kids have beautiful hearts, and Firecracker is one tough mamba jamba!

  • Jamie - ditto on the post…I’m in the same boat with 2 boys & then a girl…and you said it PERFECTLY! It’s so precious to watch their relationships – and I LOVE IT!!! πŸ™‚

    on a side note…(and you may have told us this before, but it’s in reference to your ‘everyday’ images), but how do you keep all ur images organized?…and, once you take them, what do you ‘do’ with them? or do they just look that great once you take ’em?
    Do you have a ‘process’ you try to follow in organizing and editing, and does this help?
    {Sometimes, when taking the ‘everyday’ images, they seem to pile up, and then I forget about them until I come across them a month or so later, and then get mad at myself for forgetting, and not DOING something with them!!! I’d LOVE tips on keeping this process more SUCCESSFUL and ENJOYABLE!}

  • giozi - I love it. Is so sweet. You told it in a beauty way.
    Is diferent when the girl is the small. My girl is the big and she is rude with her brother.
    I strager but she loves tea sets and my boy cars, and I don’t teach about it πŸ™‚

    Thanks for sharing your beauty moments with us and your beauty family. God bless you.

  • Gevay - This is so sweet Ashley! I actually teared up a bit! I love sibling relationships.

  • Amy - Beautiful. What I love about your description is that it leaves room for me to imagine how my kids might someday celebrate their own God-given differences, even if they’re not 3 boys + 1 girl (I’ve started with a girl, so that pretty much rules out that combo for me!). I enjoyed this entry so much πŸ™‚

  • Evie - i love this post… i can totally relate in an opposite way. In my family there were 3 girls first then a boy… he was such a little oddity to us older girl siblings, but man did/do we love him. i think of the impact we had on his life… he knows much a/b our “girl world” get is so completely boy. he definitley held his own! he recently graduated from college where he played football and i couldn’t be more proud of him!

  • Evie - um, not sure what just happened there…sorry

  • Jes - “It is important to me that they edify her in her differences and not make fun of β€˜gross girly’ stuff’. So I guess one of my favorite things about having a girl after 3 boys is watching how my boys relate to their baby sister.” Love this point. The entire post, really.

  • Kimberlee J. - This makes me want to have another.
    Almost. πŸ™‚

  • Cate O'Malley - Love this post. I only have two, one of each, and I love seeing their relationship and how my son (older) takes care and looks after his sister. He will play dolls with her willingly and be patient as she makes off with his legos. I love that she has an older brother to protect her and guide her. I always wanted an older brother growing up. I got a younger sister instead.

  • Ashley - that post is so sweet. almost makes me wish I had a bunch of little boys first :o). but honestly? I don’t think I could handle a bunch of little boys!! ha ha.

  • BriBedell - This is my favorite post now! Both our babies are almost the same age and I like to see what your little sister is up to!

  • Whitney - I am a regular reader of your blog, but I have never commented. I just wanted to take the time and say that I love your family. (in a completely non-stalkerish way. ha!) I am a newlywed and all the pictures and stories about your kids make me so excited about the day when my husband and I have children. You seem like such an amazing, inventive, Godly mother. Keep up the good work! You’re a great example to us all.

  • Mallory @ R. Simple Life - I love this post. I would love to have one tough little girl and a handful of boys one day. It just looks like so much fun! (And work… but worth it.)

  • kristy taylor - how sweet! we just had our second child & i am amazed & so grateful for how wonderful our oldest is with him! i worked at a pediatricians office & heard far to many horror stories about siblings beating up there new baby brothers or sisters! what a nightmare! how lucky you are! πŸ™‚

  • Martina - This is such a sweet post. She will grow up to be a grounded, secure and smart woman! Makes me want to call my big brother and tell him I love him!

  • Candy - I have a 7 year old boy, who is ALL boy!!! I love him with all my heart and always considered myself a boy mom as well. In January we will have a little girl and I think I’m most excited by how my son and her interact!!!

  • Amy - What a beautiful post! Those pictures are priceless!

  • Jennifer McEachern - I love your post. We had 2 boys and then our daughter. She is the spunkiest kid who loves light sabers, XBOX controllers, and being pushed in her little car by them. I was so scared to have a little girl but she has been the most amazing delight. Love your site!

  • Kelly - I Love this post! As my daughter is just 6 months old and I adore watching her watch her 3 older brothers. My oldest just adores her and her own personal court jester doing just about anything and everything to make her happy. This inspires me to do a post of the same! Love all the pictures too!

  • ang - Love this post!!! I have 2 boys and a girl and I love to see that relationship progress. Love her little “ugg” boots!!!

  • shawna [of styleberryBLOG] - just have to tell you that watching your baby girl & her brothers always brings tears to my eyes. our girls are the same age & it warms my heart. after struggling with primary infertility & now it seems secondary infertility, i find much joy in watching your kiddos together…& hope to have more in my house someday!

  • the whyte house - hahaha!! so cute!! i love the flip on the bunk bed. i use to pretend like i was a trapeze artist on my bunk. lots of bruises on me. πŸ™‚

  • the whyte house - um, yeah….i have no idea what just happened….i guess try and decipher the message between the numbers and percent signs.

  • jill - We have the same in our family but the girl is the 3rd child. You are so right. What a beautiful family you have!

  • Lisa - What a beautiful post, stuffed full of love. You are so blessed and I am greatful that you share your little belssings with us. They brighten the day and make me think about the babies in my future and what blessings I already have. Thank you.

  • jessica h - awwwwwww! + awesome πŸ™‚

  • LeAnne - A beautiful post. It brought tears to my eyes. I have a 1 1/2 year old girl and 4 year old boy. Seeing how they adore each other warms my heart everyday. Like your little sweetie, she has become his playmate, best friend and constant companion. There’s not a single thing she can’t do or at least makes her best attempt to do that her older brother does. Here’s to little girls that have no fear and brothers to love them forever! ( :

  • megan - So beautiful! We have 3 boys and I hope one day we are able to add a girl into the mix… a little bit of pink in this sea of blue!

  • tasha roe - this post just makes my heart melt!! we have 2 boys then 6 years after the youngest we had a girl. it’s funny how she sets the tone for the house. they love her and play rough with her and she can hold her own as well – jumping off the couch onto the dog-pile with a tutu on. my little lady doesnt take crap from anyone. love that she can hold her own. and i love that her brothers think she’s the world. πŸ™‚

  • emily anderson - please tell me that’s not your foot in that first picture (top right)….LOL.

    i love this post…she is so scrumptious, and somehow reminds me of kohen…must be because of their age.

  • Jodi - I just adore this post. Everything about it makes my heart sing.

    We are trying for number 3 and really don’t care what we have. I would be so happy with a boy but would take another girl in a heartbeat. I do think that it would be fun to see my girls interact with a little brother though–the reverse.

    I am possibly working out a trip to Cado, OK in May for a family reunion, I was thinking it would make the trip even better if I timed it with a snapshops class!!!! We will see………

    Happy Holidays Ashley!

  • Kimberly - Love this post. I love a lot of your posts, but for some reason this one really struck me. I am the youngest of two older brothers. Now I have an older son and younger daughter. I LOVE the dynamic. My daughter is just slightly younger than yours so I see a lot of similarities with them.

    I really enjoy your blog! Great work!

  • Britt - wow I love this post.. I teared up a little bit! I think that is so wonderful how your boys are taking her under their wing. That will be so important as she grows up and is surrounded by strong men who will love her and set a good example for a future boyfriend/husband. Kudos to you for being such an obviously good parent! I popped over from Rachel’s blog. soo CUTE!

  • Linda - LOVE the perspective you have on your daughter, her influence on your sons and their influence on hers. This is a fabulous reflection on family dynamics!

  • shannan - I loved this post so much I had to comment even though I tradionally do not post. I finally had my baby girl this past May after three boys. My boys are 11, 8, and 2. They all share a room (like your boys) and they are so “boyish” it is frightening. But today after I read your post I smiled and teared up a bit when I realized how lucky and great our little girl has it. She is definitely in boy world and her brothers adore her to pieces. They love her girlness and she loves their activeness. I feel really lucky and your post put my thoughts into words. Thanks!

  • Kim - These are the sweetest photos EVER! I had a girl after two boys and she held her own too. The boys were years older, yet there were times they ran from her! Brings back great memories of that time in our lives. Thanks for sharing.

  • Jenny B. - What a great post! I have two boys, and I wonder how it would be having a girl. I’ve said it before, but your photos are SO amazing! I have tried and tried with my dslr to take good indoor shots, but they always turn out yellow and blurry. I’m actually dreading taking pictures on Christmas morning because I know how yucky they’re going to be. πŸ™ Do you have any tips? I’m probably going to have to result to using my pop-up flash. Blah. Anyway… I always LOVE seeing the photos of your kids playing. Thanks for sharing!!

  • Kristin S - And your boys will be better husbands for having a little sister to care for and protect their entire lives.

  • amac - This is such a sweet post! Makes me excited for our family to grow and get a little sibling dynamic going on πŸ™‚

  • ingrid blanchette - wow…this is just beautiful! makes me want to fill our house will a whole lot of babies.

  • nori - omgoodness! those little ugg boots on firecracker… PRECIOUS!

  • Lila - I love this post because I feel like I can relate to your daughter. I was the little firecracker. I’m also the kid who would love to read about what I was like as a child now, so I think your daughter is very lucky!

  • Jess - These pics are priceless! I especially love the shots on the bunk bed! I have two boys and would SO love for them to experience a baby sister. It’s great to hear your perspective!

  • Leanne - ok I love this one. your pictures and story are amazing, and I hope that my little girl can love her brothers so much too.

  • Ashlee - I absolutely adore the tutu.

  • The Prairie Hen - Dear Well Balanced,
    I’t pretty amazing how they each fit into their own little place and being. I have a girl and then two boys and like you I think it’s about watchign how they are and who they make eachother. There is so much influence passed back and forth between them and so much individuality flying through the air in a family. I love it.

    Watching The Circus in NE

  • Katie - I can’t say enough how beautiful this post is. Your children are absolutely precious and very luck to have each other.

  • andrea - You know what I love about your blog? It makes me appreciate the every day mundane parts of life. I don’t have to search to find happiness. I just need to look around me and enjoy my completely crazy, messy, carpooling, laundry folding life! I love that you take pictures of everyday happenings and make them beautiful. Because they are! Thank you.

  • Aimee - I have to say, I love your blog for it’s freshness and honesty, but I love it so much more now, b/c of the way you put this post about firecracker. See, I am firecracker all grown up– three older brothers and ultra head strong. It’s a great life to have and nobody messes with you b/c you can hold your own and if you can’t their are three fellows who have your back! Teach her to appreciate it even though she will feel smothered by their love/meanness/protectiveness.

  • amy - No – no no no no NO!!! I have 3 boys and I thought…it’s over…no chance for a girl…no reason to have another…we are SO done…THEN I see THIS!!!! NOT FAIR…I do NOT want another baby (Yes I do!) and I do NO!T really really really want a little girl (yes I DO!!!!)))) ARGH

  • Colleen - As the only girl with 3 younger brothers, I LOVE this post! I love having all brothers. It has definitely shaped me to be who I am today. I learned loyalty and rough-n-tumble fun with my brothers. We were a gang all by ourselves. And even now that we are grown, we still have a lot of fun together. She is very lucky little girl.

  • Paula Bauhaus - Thanks for sharing this post with me! Beautiful pictures of the children and the way you showed the interaction between them. Having two older boys then a girl later in life, I can relate to the relationship that has developed over time between the children in your photos. Our daughter is twelve years younger than our oldest but she tries to think and act like she’s one of her siblings but loved just the same!

  • Joana - The last picture is so lovely!


  • Camille - I have 2 older brothers and they are my “idols” and I pretty much do everything they do, and I’m 21!! Big brothers are the best!

  • laura - This is just what I needed to see! We just had a girl after 3 boys and I was not wanting the β€œboy” dynamic in our family to change. I love your perspective and now I am more excited to see the result of this addition to our β€œboy” family!

  • Iris Castro - I already saw a bunch of your posts with this little girl and I think she reminds me of the movie ET. She really looks like a little Drew Barrymore! Love your kids!!!

  • A CHILD AGAIN | thesongroom - […] This photo will be found here ashleyannphotgraphy […]

  • Puneeta - Hi Ashley,

    Your website is adorable and full of life!! Just stumbled upon your site and have been reading all your fav posts… and I just love all of them!!! πŸ™‚ :)… I adore your kids, specially your elder son who loves her younger sister and takes care of her so well :):).. I hope and pray that their bond always remains as beautiful as it is now πŸ™‚

    Take care.

  • julie - I found you for the first time today via Pinterest. You have all the qualities of a great blogger: You are succinct in the way you express your thoughts, you take amazing photographs, you have darling kids, and you make really fun-to-read observations. It’s been a real joy reading your posts.