These will join previous years and hang in the stairway. You can see 2009 and 2008’s pictures here. Evidently a yelling shot is always the choice for at least one boy. I wonder which one will still be doing it as a teenager…probably all 4.

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I had been taking some pictures of FireCracker (for a giveaway tomorrow).

When I set her free I came back to find this…they got up their on their own…with the book.

How cute are they?!

Sometimes it is hard being a big brother.

I am thankful for a family that makes me laugh…I can be way too serious sometimes.

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  • Jenn W - I love the wide open mouth kisses! Very sad that my little man has almost stopped giving them.

  • Reidunn - Great pictures as always Ashley!
    You have some beautiful children.

    (I think I’ll have to send you and e-mail to avoid filling your comment section with all that I want to tell you)

  • Lindsey - You have beautiful children! Your pictures are always amazing!

  • Lindsay - Every single one of these pictures is perfect! I think little kids’ jeans (firecrackers) the cutest things in the entire world, or what? They’re so mini and bite size. I could look at baby jeans all day long!

  • karen davis - way too sweet!

  • caro - have a lovely family. Bendiciones para ti

  • allison - beautiful pictures! i love that b&w stripe-y shirt!

  • Jill R - I love Firecracker’s fall look! And what a sweet big brother!

  • andy - love your funny fam pics
    they are great

  • Tawnya - adorable and so NOT mainstream! AshleyAnn–have you been told you look like actress Meg Ryan?

  • Sarah - these made me laugh! did you take them yourself somehow with your amazing skills?

  • Sarah - just looked at 2008 & 2009 pics, your hair looks awesome short!

  • anne c - so so so cute!

  • allison - Hahaha to bum in the face while he’s trying to read! These photos are just amazing.

  • anne c - oh and I LOVE your hair in the family pics!

  • MelissaM - I LOVE LOVE LOVE your family pics! You inspire me so much Ashley! I also love the headband on Firecracker. I read the comments you made about it on Kelly’s blog and went to the etsy site and want one for my ‘lil Lily so bad! Is it on a plastic headband or elastic? So cute on your lil Firecracker. :)

  • Sarah - Love them! And much less stressful then trying to get everyone to sit still and at least look at the camera!

  • Jill E - ah to cute. i love the “i wonder what is in the cupholder maybe i can fit in this cupholder photo.”

  • karen brown - the pics are awesome! your hair is adorable…love it!

  • Erin - So cute! Where is that gorgeous flower headband from? I looooove it!

  • giozi - B&W pictures are amazin, but your babies are adorables.

  • Jane - Totally adorable! I also love the spontaneous moments of sibling love.

  • Kelly Clarke - Wow! You sure are a blessed lady! :)

  • ASH - This way of capturing the family every year beats the portraits that most people get. I like it a lot, especially the picture of you with your son and sunglasses.

  • Andrea Jene - Love the headband!!! So sweet!!!

  • Mandy Ford - How cute! I’m loving that flower hair band! :)

  • Candy Dixon - I love that your pictures are fun and real rather than the posed pictures that “family pictures” have become :)

  • SeaminglySarah - She is getting so big! I just love the family photos and the photos of FireCracker and Big Brother make me ache for the 2nd baby to be here already. God, please help me be patient.

  • tara - this post reminded me so much of this…
    http://cinnamonpost.blogspot.com/2010/08/whats-up.html
    i love it when i find my two like that.
    if only Charlotte was wearing such a gorgeous headband!

  • Lisa P. - Perfect family pictures. They are so real and capture life! Who took them, you?

  • Megan H - Great family pictures. How cute are they in the chair together…I love it!

  • amanda torres - I think ‘big’ brother must be a relative term. She’s not too much smaller. I’d put $$$ on her in a fight with those boys. Lots of $$$. She looks like a sweetie pie, but a fighter!

  • amy jupin - beautiful pics as usual.
    i especially love the pic of the baby kissing your hubby. open-mouthed all the way. true on toddler style!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh, these are so precious! I LOVE the one of you in the sunglasses!

  • OrangeFarmhouse - Maike - Oh my, do you take wonderful family pictures, there just great!
    Love the fact that picts just show how kids are, to cute!

  • Daniela - i love your pictures, one more time!!! lovely!!

  • Lisa Melnick - What a good big brother..he looks like he could endure that all day. I am sure he can’t ..but he looks happy enough at the moment. Great family shots. I just wish I could get everyone with their faces clean at one time.
    Lisa

  • Krista H - Did you buy or make Firecracker’s headband? I love it! I’ve gotten slightly obsessed with making bows and such for my 8 month old daughter, and I’m always in love with the one’s on Firecracker’s head:)

  • Leanne - Oh my gosh I LOVE your family pictures!! that is the best idea ever! I love how Firecracker decided to sit on his lap. what cute kids!

  • Angi - So beautiful. FireCracker is just the most adorable thing ever!

  • Aja - I love your family photos!! So fun! And those pictures of Firecracker and Brother are just too cute. :)

  • Jasie - I think it’s hysterical that she’s trying to sit in his lap. So freaking adorable.

  • Ashey McWhorter - So, so cute! Love the black and whites. Where are your sunglasses from? Love them, too! :)

  • Krista Lund - this post made me smile as all of your posts do!
    i am a working mom and am quite envious of all you SAHMS! lucky lucky you!

  • Heather - love is just oozing out of the screen from this post. it’s so wonderful!

  • Lisa Johnson - Love it! Firecracker is always my favorite, but that picture of Big Brother screaming with the missing teeth- nothing could so perfectly sum up the 6th year of life for a boy =)

  • Jeannette - How did you do the white backdrop – were you outside?

  • Kristy C - Your family is beautiful and so happy!

  • Haylee - Oh My Gosh! I love those open mouth baby kisses they give you like Miss Firecracker is giving her daddy. Oh how I look forward to them with my new little baby! So sweet. All of the pics are awesome! Great series!

  • Lori K - I want that hair thingie she has! for me and for Baby Campbell. Love those pics. My favorite is the biker pose with two things up. Your hair looks fab and so do the glasses on ya’ll.

  • Meredith Treloar - Oh my goodness they are so gorgeous!! What is the age difference?

    Oh and the family photos – stunning especially love the one of you and the boy!! So cool!!

  • Candice - So…where did you get your shades? I love em’.

  • Katie - Too cute not to post about on facebook

  • Mara - Love that gray and red clutch – and what a great cause :)

  • darcy - Oh my goodness Ashley! I come to your blog to just brighten my day. Your kids are always adorable – whether they are laughing, yelling, or screaming. And these are just hilarious – what a patient big brother, especially for his age!

  • Darcy - Wow Ashley! As usual, those are some adorable pictures. And that is one patient big brother, especially for his age!
    I come to your blog just to brighten my day. Thanks for sharing your kids, your talents, and your faith.

  • Ingrid - oh and i ‘like’ you on facebook already – great to see this blog on there (you’re my fav blog for sure!)

  • Natalie - I “liked” you on facebook. It feels weird saying that cause it wasn’t like I un-liked you before, I guess now its just facebook official :)

  • Sarah Frenzel - Great shots! could you please share the etsy store that made that adorable headband!! Love it!

I think a sign of maturity is when one can recognize and admit to areas of their life they are weak in without giving justification for their actions. I wholeheartedly admit my weakness for random chairs. I lose all self control when I see a random chair for under $10.00. I just can’t help myself. For instance this stunner of a dirty chair below. I went estate sale shopping with a friend. Before I walked out the door Chris kindly requested that I not come home with anymore chairs. It was a whopping $5.00. How does one summon enough self control to walk away from that?

It is just perfectly wonderful all clean and in the playroom.

I’m a sucker for all kinds of chairs. This little beauty has been about 4 different colors. I painted it turquoise to go with the party colors. About 2 days before it had been orange and used in a photoshoot.

Some chair purchases were not under $10.00, but Eames chairs are an investment worth making in my opinion. I am weak.

Then there are the truly random, like old movie seats and I don’t even know how to name the round chair.

I have chairs in the garage, on the front porch, in the attic…awaiting their rebirth.

Then there are the chairs that despite how loud I hear Chris saying, “please no more chairs.” I cave to weakness. Chairs are wonderful photo props for all those sessions I am no longer doing.

I bought the vintage school chair and wondered where I was going to put it. The very next day I was on Apartment Therapy and saw this picture of Restoration Hardware’s new line for kids and babies. The chairs are $99.00 each and child sized. However, I loved the look of all those chairs together and thought it would be so perfect in my kitchen. I emailed Chris the photo.

In my email I reminded him that one of the things he loves about me is my need for constant change. I also reminded him how incredibly frugal I am…and sweet talked him into letting me get more chairs. You see, I remembered where I got that first chair.

I went back and got 5 more. I can’t reveal my source…it is not mine to reveal. Sorry. I know I am mean. Biggest Brother loves to clean up really dirty things. Too bad he doesn’t like cleaning up himself as much.

My new dining room chairs. Once I moved them in I stepped back to admire them. My kitchen now has vintage school chairs, a yardstick backsplash, chalkboard, and globes….I’m starting to think I have a weakness not just for chairs, but for old school rooms too.

And the best part…the reason I will admit weakness, but also proudly justify my weakness. My 6 vintage school chairs turned dining room chairs cost me:

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  • Lisa Melnick - So cute. There is this place in Grand Bay Alabama called White House Antiques…she always has cute stuff for good prices. Whenever I leave her store I am so inspired to step out of my comfort zone and change things up…I love chairs too. Your pics are SUPER cute!!
    Lisa

  • Nicole - Oh my – I saw the AT post and immediately went to ebay and craigslist! And you have a WAREHOUSE worthy stash of them somewhere!?!? AAAAARGH! The kitchen is fantastic!!!

  • Dina - I LOVE chairs TOO!!! And my husband feels the same as your’s TOO!!!! :-)
    Your school chairs remind me of when I was teaching in this tiny little town and the school let me bring home about 10 old wooden school chairs. They were just collecting dust in the basement of the school… Can you even believe that??! LOVE this post! I just snagged an old ugly chair from gw a few weeks ago… I am in LOVE! 6 bucks, baby!

  • Sarah - Ashley, I love your decor. So much. I’m starting to decorate my first home :) Will you PLEASE tell me where I can find a chair like your giant round one? I love her. She’s full of character.

  • Evie - what a great chair story! i love people who can look at something like an old beat-up chair and see their potential/possibility. i think thats a gift from Jesus… isn’t that what He did for us, how He would view us? :0) He sees our potential, loves on us… makes us beautiful! :0)

  • beth - i love old chairs too…..and have tons of them like you !
    i always think “photo shoot” or maybe the kids will want them for their apartments. but they never do and yet i keep buying.

    it’s better than gambling, i say.

  • Mandy - What is that giant round chair thing and where do you find something like that – I LOVE it!!!! great job on the awesome deals – you can’t pass stuff like that up!

  • Ellisha Schultz - I share your love for chairs. I’m running out of room to put them in my house =) Glad to know that I’m not the only person with that passion =)

  • laura - whoa, they look just like restoration hardware. amazing! i’m gonna miss the red a little, though:).

  • Sarah - I have a horrible weakness for chairs too! I bought 3 chairs in one weekend about a month ago. They are all waiting for their new life. And my husband also asks me to PLEASE buy no more chairs. We have many. And I always see more I love.

    I wanted to sneak that big round one out of your house, but thought it would have been rather hard to sneak and even if I managed, there wouldn’t have been room in my little car. πŸ˜‰

    I love the new look around your kitchen table :)

  • Shannon - ah-ma-zing! Love the new chairs, what a great find! There is fewer shopping thrills than finding something you LOVE at a price that is out of this world!

    Thrifting is the best, and you have outdone yourself! Way to go!

  • Jeannette - Only Ashley! I love your school house chairs – they look perfect! And, all your other chairs are perfect too!

  • RachelC - That is impressive. Hats off!

  • rachel denbow - Yep. I have twenty chairs in my 1,000 sq. ft. house. Twenty. And five outside on the front and back porches.

    I have two of those chairs mentioned and had to pass on three Heywood-Wakefield school chairs near Pryor this weekend.

    I feel like they are all orphans that need a good home!

  • Shannon{photos by shannon} - Ack! SO jealous!!! I recently found a school desk like this one here http://www.designspongeonline.com/2009/12/sneak-peek-jessica-helgerson-interior-design-2.html/jessica13 for $10 I can’t wait to get cleaned up. I saw that picture too and I wanted to get my hands on some of those chairs sooo bad. They look AWESOME in your kitchen!!

  • Lori K - Ashley!! I love this post…love the whole cotton picking’ story and seeing the evolution of chairs in your home. Can you believe the costs?? I love Restoration Hardware and you did it! Genius! They look great. (look at the cabinet in the restoration picture) pretty cool. metal cabinet all weathered. :0)

  • Shannon{photos by shannon} - Also…I love your collection of chairs! I always find myself navigating towards them too.

  • annalea - hide your source for sure. :) love them. so do other people have stashes of chairs in basements and garages too? cause i am thinking there must be more of us.

  • kristine - what a steal! can’t wait till we have our own home to use some of these ideas!

  • tasha roe - that is beyond insane!! $12?!!!! SCORE!
    i went to our local “antique mall” and saw 2 eames style school desk chair combos for $15 each. i couldnt fit them in my car to get home. went back and they were gone. gah! heartbreaker!

  • Vanessa {Bloom Right Here!} - Love all your chairs! The school chairs in the dining room are wonderful! I love all things “old school.” In fact, we almost bought an old school-turned-house recently. Unfortunately, it was in the wrong school district. :( Oh, those orange Eames chairs – I bought 4 of them yesterday for $2 each!!!! At the same sale I got 4 green industrial metal lab stools for $2 each! Couldn’t pass them up! Obviously you are not the only one with a chair weakness.

  • meg duerksen - awesome.

  • amy - Asley-
    You are truly a girl after my own heart! I have 4 old-fashioend school desks and only two kids. i just can’t help it. And now you have me seriously re-thinking the pink (YES, PINK!) little school chair just like yours there, that I passed up yesterday while antiquing. I kept eyeing it but also kept thinking of what my husband would say : )

    I am in love with your kitchen and chairs…sigh….!!!

  • Anna - Ashley, you have such a great eye when bringing home second hand items. I would have never thought to use school chairs! Could you please post a tutorial on how to clean old upholstered chairs or how to reupholster them? I am wanting to look for an old comfy chair for reading but am scared because I am kind of a germophobe. If I knew how to reupholster or clean the chair, I’d be good to go. Thanks!!!

  • Elisa B. - I love that. You go! What a deal. :)

  • Liene - Beautiful and that for 12 US Dollars!

  • Martina - Great find with the school chairs! And can’t beat that price! Are they not too short? I love the look of Eames chairs and rockers but I’m beginning to think they are just too common for my taste. It seems like almost every one of my favorite home/lifestyle blogger’s houses has one.

  • Lisa P. - I’d love to have some of your chairs. I wouldn’t know where to start looking for such beauties!

  • bopha - quite impressive, but, since they are school chairs do you eat with your elbows in the air? :)

  • Lauren - I am speechless…. I love your new chairs. The idea is awesome… and I am darn jealous of the price!

  • ashlee - wow!!! that looks fantastic! Those chairs would be fantstic in my kitchen:) I will be on the lookout for 8 of them!!!

  • Angela - Oh my! I didn’t think there was anyone out there who had a chair obsession like mine. My husband doesn’t understand it either. I once brought home the frame of a chair – you know, one of those from the fifties with a wooden frame and arms? Anyway, all the stuffing and upholstery had been removed (I’m guessing by a lady who was going to refinish it someday!)so I just threw a stack of blankets on the seat and back, covered it with a cute sheet and listened while all my friends said it was SO comfortable. Funny. That chair never did get refinished.

  • Heather - i love chairs, too. for me it’s the fact that something can cost $5 and be pretty and functional. i’m trying very hard to curb my habit, but it’s hard. really hard.

    your new chairs rock! and that bargain rocks even more!!

    i always loved your orange chairs and just realized from that photo that they are the exact same ones i bought from our church clean out sale! did you say they are eames? for reals? i got both (the only two they had) for $10.

  • christina larsen - OK, you tempt us with things we can’t have. I love those chairs. Would love to know where they come from.

  • Jane - Wow…what a find! The chairs look great!

  • Rachel - i need to make my husband read this post some he doesn’t think my collection of chairs is bad! wondering if you’d ever give some tips on how to print out your pictures so they look like they do on your computer screen. having an awfully hard time getting the color right!

  • Amanda Schultz - Oh how I love chairs, too! I always smile when I read your blog!

  • mamawanderluster - I just posted about those Restoration Hardware chairs too so I am EXTREMELY jealous of your finds! In my dream craft area, I would have a worn harvest table surrounded by those chairs. What is it about the ‘schoolhouse’ look that is so enticing? Maybe we’re all trying to recapture our childhoods just a little bit.

  • Kara - I LOVE the big round chair! This makes me laugh bc ever since u got the “playroom” chair I have been telling my husband I want a chair for our bedroom but I want to get it cheap and he thinks its not possible! I always say “well Ashley found one haha!” I need to know ur sources :) We live in Tulsa also!

  • Philly - It’s so funny. I always hated old things until I found this blog. Loving the inspiration, and what a buy!

  • Helen - LOL – I joked to my Dh once, “You know, if it were up to me we’d probably have a house full of random chairs and vintage stoves. . . ” He just looked at me and I realized, oh yeah, we do.

    But your blog has given me justification to keep going, your house is so cool and almost every room has a second-hand piece that I have too – how often does that happen?

  • Misty - Every time I come to your blog I question my love for modern style because I love your house! and I check the calendar to see how much longer my husband has in the Marines so we can get out and get a house so I can do all this fun stuff! I have a weakness for chairs as well I bought two old school chairs the other day πŸ˜›

  • OrangeFarmhouse - Maike - Still in love with Eames! but the rest of your chairs will do fine here too…

  • susie whyte - you are the rudest person ever. :) lol. i have a huge thing for chairs and dressers. i bought a school chair like those, but the metal is a turquoise color. oh, my. it’s so pretty..and it’s original, not painted. my favorite part. how well are the kids able to reach the table for dinner in those chairs?? that’s the issue we’ve had w my old school chair at the table(the one i use is more from a middle school room). i have claimed it as MY chair for meals. :)

  • julianna richman - sick, and I mean sick.

  • BriBedell - God. You are adorable. Seriously. You make me want to have 4 babies and be crafty to my hearts content! Thanks for being so cool :)

  • jerusalem - i am right there with you – with both the chairs and the one-room-school house vibe! love it all!

  • Leanne - great find! love the new look in the kitchen!

  • Macy Dawn - Ooh! We had a set of four of these chairs at my house growing up. We used those little chairs for everything (fort building especially). I hope that my mom has held onto them all these years because they are the perfect size for little kids and are classic through and through.

    Great find!

  • Amy - I was wondering how you deep clean the chairs that you buy? That yellow one looks so difficult to clean. I just got into buying old/used furniture and I don’t know where/how to start DEEP cleaning..

  • Jodi - Unbelievable! That is amazing! What a score and find. Congrats!

  • cindy - OMG…I live in Mustang, OK and was ready to take off work, jump in my pickup and go get some of these chairs !!! Little disappointed that you can’t reveal your source but very happy that you were able to pick some up. Thanks for sharing all your great ideas with us :)

  • Brooke - You are so AWESOME. I mean really. The fact that you had this vision and made it reality, I just love it. I have this AMAZING fabric I want to cover my dining room chairs with and it looks very much like your blog design. My hubby said it is too trendy and I will get sick of it. I told him I might, but then I will change it. I just changed the chairs a year ago. He is very practical, and I think he sometimes wonders how he married someone so quirky :)
    THanks for coming over to meet my man….it meant a lot! :)

  • courtney - After reading this post, I’m feeling a little obsessed with chairs m’self. Awesome.

  • Kenna S - I think that your affinity for chairs is endearing! You clearly have an eye for what could be.

  • barbara - so not fair! i want some of those chairs. i’m good. i practice the golden rule. i look out for my neighbor. i brush my teeth twice a day. sometimes i even floss. so why can’t i have some of those chairs. just 6. that’s all. see, not too many. i guess i’ll just have to look for them in sunny southern arizona. and then duplicate your fabulous look!

  • patti - amazing.

  • Amber - so not fair!…that you have this amazing ability to see usefulness in just about ANYTHING! love the new school chairs! (and the rest of your house as well!)

  • Desiree - At least it’s a functional fetish. People sit in chairs. I like all of them. The big round chair is especially unique!

  • Casa e Cose - HOLY COW!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love your home. I love the chairs…I wish i could be as convincing with my husband as you are with yours! What an inspiring blog – im so glad i found it!

  • colleen - Love the new look but where do the eame’s chairs reside now? Orange is my favorite color so i hope they have a cool new home!I’m sure you found the perfect place… would love to know where it is!

  • Raychel - Ashley, how is it that you find such AMAZING things!!!????!!!!
    I am so jealous of your ability to find other peoples junk and make into your treasure. You are so creative and you inspire me greatly!!!

  • Devon - When I sat down yesterday with my morning coffee and read this (part of my morning routine) I laughed out loud! How very clever you are! Later on that day when I went and did a little flee market shopping of my own all I kept seeing were chairs. There were chairs EVERYWHERE! Thanks for opening my eyes :)

  • AMS - OMG, I am sooooo relieved to find out I’m not the only one with the constant need to scavenge for vintage chairs… They make me so happy, just staying in my basement, waiting for their turn to be revamped.

  • Angie - You crack me up!!!! You are awesome and all your amazing ideas!

  • Paige - I am so envious that you can find deals like that! I’d probably agree to pay $60 per chair. I love them!

  • Megan N. - So Ashley, get this…Wednesday I read this post. Yesterday (Thurs) I was driving in downtown Healdton America…and what do i see on the side of the road? A sign…Old Healdton Elementary School desks and chair…set $15. Kenna had also seen this post on Wednesday. I immediately called her and asked if she wanted to buy one for the kids. I also bought one for my little JT when he gets older (ck him out on my blog! He’s one cute babe). Not as good a deal as you got, but i was surprised to stumble upon them in Healdton. Chairs look the same as yours and the desks are the ones that the lid lifts up (the kind that used to pinch our fingers!)…had to share this fun buy!

  • Jodi - I liked you on FB!

  • M for Short - Drooling. (And the $12 price tag is equally incredible.)

  • Jolie - Is it also a sign of maturity when you admit you are drooling with envy? Gorgeous chairs – what a find, and what a steal!!!

  • Brittany - Oh I’m so sad you can’t tell us where you got them! I live in NE Oklahoma and have been searching for the last month for chairs like that. Maybe you could give your source my contact info? I love, LOVE to buy some! :)

  • wilson chung - hi there

    i’ve been looking for these school house chairs EVERYWHERE…any chance you can give me even just a hint as to where you got them?? pretty please!!?!

To answer yesterday’s question about my point & shoot…I use a Canon Powershot 870IS. It is a few years older and there are many better options out there now, but I am pretty happy with it. Keep in mind the camera only does so much…

I took down our big shoe canvas in the living room and am replacing it with something else. In the process I went through the digital files of our family pictures from the year’s past. If you haven’t done that in a while, I highly recommend it. Chris and I had a great time looking back and remembering what the kids were like years ago – and our oldest is only 6. I thought I’d share just a few that made me laugh.

This is the kitchen of the first house we bought. I looked up all kinds of ways to paint formica, but ulitmately my dad came over and helped us replace it. When Big Brother (the current 4 year old – I know their names are confusing on here) was a baby I did a camping themed nursery. I painted a big ole’ mural on one whole wall. It took a long time and the hiker guy was really wonky looking. For the rocker in his room I got an outdoor camping chair that rocked. It is funny to look back at our old rooms. One day I’ll look back at pictures of my current house and think, “why in the world did I do that and actually think it looked good? A ruler backsplash…must have been pregnancy brain!”

UPDATE: I DID NOT PUT IN THE PINK FORMICA…I REPLACED IT!!!

This is one of my all time favorite photos of him.

When there were only 2….and they hadn’t discovered Legos.

And then there were three…

Photo Tip: As I looked through old pictures one thing did stand out in the very early years….how I processed the pictures. When we first bought a digital camera and when I first got my dslr the only processing software I had was iPhoto (which has come a LONG way now). Back then all you could really do with iPhoto was mess with the saturation, contrast and change it to Black & White. I made the mistake of messing with saturation too much. I see this a lot still when people are just learning to use photo editing software. There is a fine balance in playing with saturation. You will most notice too much saturation in the oranges and reds of a photo. Skin can quickly become orange when you play with saturation. Be mindful of this when editing your photos. I am by no means an expert on photo editing, but I hope I can learn from my own mistakes.

Photo Tip: Always save the color version of your photos…even if you like it better in black & white. The photo below of Biggest Brother was taken on an overcast rainy day. I caught him drinking rainwater that was dripping out of the gutter (gross I know). I actually liked the color version much better, but in all my digging through files could not find it. I am left with just the black & white, which is better than nothing, but it would have been better to have the color version too. If you play with actions (like I did on the Persimmon Hollow photos yesterday) always save the original!

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  • annie - So here’s my question: What do you do with those big prints and canvas’ that you take down? I have several big prints and couple of canvas’ that I’ve updated with new images and now they reside on the storage side of my basement. Do I keep them forever? I don’t have the stomach to get rid of them – what do you do?

  • Sarah - Ashley, how do you save your pics on the computer? do you have an external hardrive where you save everything too? We have a new computer and an 18month old and the pictures really add up! i’m trying to figure out the best way to save everything without taking up precious space on the computer. Do you have backups on disks? thanks for your thoughts!

  • Elizabeth - One of the best things my husband ever did…okay..he’s done a lot of “best” things…was to make a program (he’s a computer software programmer person..)…that goes through all the photos from all the years…from a particular month and collects them and puts them up as our screen saver….so right now..for September, when our screen saver goes on….all it brings up are all the September photos from all the past years! It is fantastic….!! We love staring at the computer and see all the past years….and it reminds us to do certain things….like, oh this is the month we walk across the bridge to Philadelphia..we have to go do that!

  • Jane - I love looking at old pictures of our kids. Great advice about saving the original files – we are quite obsessive about backing up our pictures as they are our most prized material possessions! We back them up on an external hard drive fairly regularly which is kept in a fireproof safe at home, once a year or so give another external hard drive to keep at my in law’s house and also upload our pictures to a paid Flickr account with no upload limit. This way, if the computer crashes, we have multiple back-ups.

    We have PC computers (got an iMac recently but unfortunately don’t love it yet) and I organize my pictures there by month. For Windows to put them in the correct order, I give the file folder with the month a number and then a name. So now, we are on “93 September 2010” because we’ve had a digital camera now for about 93 months. I rename each file with a date format of 20100914 (1), 20100914 (2), etc. so that they are in chronologic order in my file folders. Often, I am scanning photos of my kids’ artwork, of brochures of places we visit or I take pictures of their 3D creations at a later date and want to be able to give the picture file a name that will put it in the correct chronologic order. My system allows me to do exactly this. This is my main issue with the iMac so far…I am much too used to my system of organizing and iPhoto won’t let me do it this way. I’m rigid, I know.

    You’re totally right about the saturation settings. I know very little about photo editing and that’s been my main tweeking tool, so I have to be careful not to overdo it.

    A few questions for you:
    – How do you organize your photos? If you scan any images, how do you keep track of those?
    – Do shoot in JPEG or RAW format? In an attempt to learn more about Photoshop (I only have Elements at the moment), I bought one of Scott Kelby’s books, but a lot of his topics are on working with RAW files. I wonder if I should be doing this or if this will overload my computer unnecessarily.
    – What would you suggest as a good resource to learn about photo editing? Editing the actual pictures and also adding in the little captions or embellishments that you often have. I love those! Is there a book your would recommend? A website?

    Thanks for sharing your photo tips! I can’t get enough of them and appreciate you sharing your expertise with us.

  • Jane - Ooops…I also wanted to add that the reason I go through the trouble of renaming all of my photos to the numeric date format is that there have been occasions when my date/time is not set correctly on a camera. Or, I get pictures from someone else and their date/time is not set properly. If this setting was always perfect on every camera, it would be easy to keep photos in chronologic order by using the “sort by date taken” tab. But it still wouldn’t solve my problem of putting a pic of a scanned egg carton caterpillar taken a couple of months after its creation in the correct spot.

  • annalea - i am totally guilty of over-saturation. just started editing photos in the last year and a dslr newbie of the last two months.

    but mostly, i had to laugh at the old decorating decisions comment. i mean the stuff i did at our old house i would never repeat, yet it seemed so great back then. :) i wonder what it will be with this place.

  • Ruth@GraceLaced - Eight years ago when I first became a mom, my husband and I wanted an “airplane” room for our baby boy. I painted a runaway on the wall (in perspective) and had airplanesflying in the sky…and an airplane shelf that looked like it was landing. I thought I was SO cool.

  • giozi - I was looking old pictures las week too, I was looking some about my girl. And I see that I have at least 10 originals in 100px I don’t know what I dit with that. :( Well I have more, but one of them I loved it.

    I was startet to take in RAW. I really better, but I don’t understad very well the camera raw yet, and I lost more time now because I edit in Camera Raw and then in Photoshop. And my PC is full now πŸ˜€

    I love your pictures. I always think that your two last boys are very similar, but in the first picture right your boy looks like the youngest.

    I can’t believe that you painted this wall. WOW. You are admirable πŸ˜‰

    I painted something in my room when I was teen, but It was only one tree :), no more, something simple.

    I like to saturated on some pictures, when they are a lot of green, I do it by layers, for clothes, grass, some objects, and try to be care about faces.

    I think that your 3 boys are really really handsome. My Lua is single !!!

    A big hug for you and kisses for your little gentlemen.

  • Jill E - pink formica! that is to good.
    what great old photos. i have been trying to organize and clean our old hard drives from college and convert, darn mac and pc hating each other. in college i was not really taught digital or how to handle files and i have some files that are 100 mb 700 dpi just ridiculous but i had no idea what i was doing. nonetheless file management is one of the hardest things.

  • elizabeth highsmith - your babies are beautiful
    your blog is the cutest thing
    your post on firecrackers name and welcome to life post made me teary eyed!
    you’re appreciated!

    for a photo novice who needs a new camera, would you recommend purchasing a dslr or a point and shoot first?

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh! Great advice… I am always playing w/ saturation. I will be more mindful of that!

  • Lisa P. - OH man – you just taught me that I’m suffer from photo over-saturation! Are there free editing programs that contain more than those original basics?

  • lifeologia - Cute shots of your kiddos.
    And what a mural – you’re a true artist πŸ˜‰

    I hear you about keeping the originals.
    I try to keep them now but there was a phase in my life that it was only BLACK & WHITES.
    I even printed my whole wedding album in b&w (I do have the originals though) but still, I would love to see my wedding photos in colour now – – and to do the whole album (some 120 pages) would be a crazy job!
    I guess we go through phases all the time and then look back and go – what was I thinking???
    But it’s never hurts to take lots of pictures and to just keep them on the hard drive (in colour). What I’m doing now is actually going back a deleting some that lost appeal. I might regret that too – but I need to ‘cleanse’ ;D

  • Stefanie - I know it’s hard to reply to comments so perhaps this can be added to next years online course. Regarding color saturation, I use Lightroom and see on the Development tab the color chart (sort of like a bell curve). My issue is what my monitor shows isn’t always what gets printed. Is there a way to use that color chart to optimize so that you can avoid over/under saturation? And, how do you adjust black and white coloring so that it pops out? I know when I convert my pics to black and white, I have to adjust the hues but mine still don’t seem to be as vibrant. Thanks!

  • Jodi - A great post Ashley. And a good reminder. I am such a beginner at Photoshop and I know one of my biggest mistakes is over editing and over-saturating. I am trying to get a better “eye” on these things!

    We have renovated most of our house, the last thing to do…our kitchen. If it were just wood. It would have been done. I would have DIY’d it in a heart beat but it’s FORMICA! Nothing can be done. The quote to change the doors alone was astronomical. So for now I can only dream of a kitchen and stare at my ugly formica! What were they thinking with that one?

  • Leah Profancik - Awww…I just went through my old digital files too. Nothing quite like that trip down memory lane. Love the screensaver idea someone commented about-I may have to get my computer geek husband to do the same. :) I loved seeing your older photos.

  • Lori K - seriously??? pink formica…that is too funny!!! but hey – you had to be you,right?
    Love the trip down memory lane – it makes me sad because I don’t have really beautiful pics of my kids because we were too poor to take them – I have a few from friends who are good with the camera – so now – I want to get my dslr and really learn so I will have beautiful pics of them going forward. I cherish them every day but to see how fast babies grow is amazing…your are adorable.

  • Courtney - LOVE your blog! and heart. and pictures!
    i’ve read for awhile…not sure if i’ve left a comment.

    anyways…i’ve never used “actions” – do you have a place to recommend starting? that would be free/cheap? to start playing with?

    thanks!

  • Danielle - thanks for the photo tips!

    giveaway today @ calebdanielle.blogspot.com πŸ˜‰

  • Brooke - I just got PHotoshop for my birthday (insert super happy smile) but I’m nervous to leave the comforts of easy old Iphoto! I just read Jane’s comment, and I sure wish my mind worked that way, but it sure doesn’t…..I need to back up more than I do :)

    Thanks for all your amazing photo tips. Very helpful, always. And it’s amazing how much your boys look like…..biggest brother at age 2 and as a little guy looks so much like your two smaller boys now!!

  • Lesley - Wow, I remember that pink formica!

  • Danielle - Thanks for the reminder about contrast! I have a tendency to go crazy with the editing sometimes.

  • Marci - Hilarious countertops! I had to live with pale pink ones for 7 years…just replaced them a week ago! Who in their right mind thinks pink is okay for countertops? No one I say…