Thanks for your sweet words about the shower I threw my sister (yesterday’s post). I’ll post a bit more on some of it on Friday….

Craft Hope Spreading seeds of hope one stitch at a time
If you have read this blog any length of time you know I am a big fan of Craft Hope. I have not participated in every project, but I try to as much as possible. Recently the newest project was announced: collecting wash cloths and soap to aid various organizations in saving the lives of animals affected by the recent BP oil spill.ย  You can read all the details on the Craft Hope site.

I remember seeing the news of the Exxon Valdez spill when I was growing up. It is so difficult to imagine and know that the current spill is massively larger. I wanted to participate in the Craft Hope project, but I also wanted my kids to participate. My kids are at ages where stuff really sinks in for them if we can make it hands on. So before we went to gather supplies to send in, I wanted them to really understand what we were doing.

We started with talking about oil, oil rigs, drilling, and the recent spill. I then let them watch a little video I found on Google that showed the live feed under the water and showed some animals affected.

I purchased a manatee from the Dollar Tree for $1.00 (that is repetitive!) and mixed up some ‘oil’. For my ‘oil’ I used corn syrup and worcestershire sauce.

We put the manatee in a tub of water and then poured ‘oil’ into the water.

In another bucket we mixed soap and water to clean the manatee.

The manatee got a hose down – to be sure all the soap was gone.

Littlest Brother went for a swim in our ‘oil spill’.

The next day we went to the Dollar Tree to gather some washcloths to send to the doctors, scientists and volunteers working to save animals hurt by the oil.

The Dollar Tree has packs of 3 washcloths for $1.00. On the Craft Hope site you can find specifics on what is needed and what is not. You can make your own cloths to send, it was easier for me to involve my kids this way. If your kids are older they might enjoy sewing some washcloths. Keep in mind each cloth will probably only be used 3 times and then no longer used.

Before we mailed off the package the boys wrote notes and drew pictures for those working hard to save the animals.

This was a really fun project for the boys to be a part of. They have radar ears now anytime anyone mentions anything about the current status of the oil spill.ย  I love the concern they have for the animals and the people affected by this disaster. I also love that they feel like they were able to help with part of the solution. Thanks Craft Hope!

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  • Cate O'Malley - I love how involved you got the kids in current events, such a great way to bring the problems of the world closer to home.

  • Evie - what a great way to give your little ones understanding of the oil spill. And then be able to see that they can help.

  • Christy - What a great idea!

  • Grace Soh - The first picture with a smiley stamp on littlest brother head is SOOOOOOOO adorable. Made. my. day. :)

  • Shannon @ What's Up Whimsy - I love how you did this for your kids. It’s so important to get kids involved at a young age. Very inspiring!

  • Shannon - Thank you for sharing this wonderful project. I will be cutting down all my old towels to washcloth size tonight.

    Kudos to you for including the kids. They are going to be some pretty darn amazing adults!

  • Jane - What a wonderful project to do with the kids!

  • Kaylene - We were just talking about this a few nights ago at dinner, We did a example with oil and water and showed what was going on. Ours wanted to go wash some animals, but with a almost one baby sister he realized it would be hard. This is something we could do. Thanks!

  • amy - I know this is not the right attitude to have but I have avoided talking to my kids (3 and 5) about the oil spill because i feel like it is so overwhelming and there is nothing we can really do to help. When the Haiti earthquake hit we baked and sold muffins and raised $500 so I know everyone can make a difference, even a small one. This post makes me feel like we can do something small here, too….and you’ve inspired me. We have talked about having a lemonade stand and wondering where the profits could go…I think buying supplies to send is a wonderful idea and that’s what we’re going to do.
    Thanks so much for sharing Ashley!

  • raychel - Thanks to you, your children will grow up to very smart, aware, and caring young men and women. Kudos to you Ashley!! What a great mother you are, and a great inspiration to the rest of us!

  • patti - what an awesome project. my oldest girl (she’s 5) has been collecting coins in a special box to “save the pelicans” as she put it. we showed her the damage and explained what happened. i think it’s so important to share these types of things with our children. it helps them learn compassion and empathy for others. i know too many parents that hide disasters from their kids. i think living under a rock only makes them less aware of what life is like for others. what you are giving your kids at such a young age is invaluable!

  • Denise - a wonderful way to involve your children, I am inspired.
    thanks for sharing xx

  • Jessica - Ashley, you are amazing! I love that you are teaching your boys compassion and the importance of lending a hand. This project is a great idea. When and if I’m ever a mommy, I hope to be the kind of mommy you are.

  • Barbara - Love how you got the kids involved in such a concrete way. By the way, Firecraker’s onesie is adorable.

  • anne c - Ashley, you get the “Mother of the Year” award in my eyes…and it is only June. You are a wonderful mother! and you are always teaching your children the important things in life. I can’t imagine how much more you do that we don’t even know about. Keep inspiring us daily!

  • julie - Beautiful. Real. Helpful. Life changing. Your sweet examples and hands on reality is changing your little ones to think about the whole world outside their doors and feel like they can actually do something to help. I am so very, very encouraged by you. By them.

  • Lindsay - Thank you for sharing this! My co-workers and I are going to get together and have a wash cloth making party!

  • Heather - this is a fantastic way to explain this horrible situation. my husband was trying to explain it to our six year old and it’s so difficult to. we explained to him what we could do to try and keep this from happening again by trying to use less oil/gasoline. we explained to him that it’s why we chose to use the bus instead of buying another car, etc. i think doing this project with him would help to bring it full circle.

    thanks for always giving us such do-able projects that allow us to teach our children about the world they live in.

    have a happy day!

  • Holly - What a wonderful story! I love that you helped the little people better understand what all of this oil spill business really means. Thanks to you I have joined the project as well and have put a post on my blog to encourage others! :)

  • chantelle - A++ Family! Great idea and super wat to connect with concrete manipulatives and activities.
    The stamp on the forehead of littlest bro is my fav shot ever!!

  • amber - that is awesome. my 3 year old so needs to do this…thanks for sharing. you’re so full of great ideas. i love it!

  • the inadvertent farmer - As always you are an inspiration! Kim

  • bambooska - So inspiring. I hope I’ll do that one day too and teach my kids something (when I have them, right now I’m childless. LOL).

  • Kirsten - Oh, do you mind if I totally steal this idea? I would love to do this with my 6yo. I love the way that you get your kids involved with current events and how you find ways to help them minister to others at a young age. So awesome. Thanks for all the inspiration! Can I be like you when I grow up? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Tweets that mention diy {craft hope for the earth} ยป -- - […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jade Sims, Abi Martin. Abi Martin said: awesome post by one of my faves! […]

  • shelly - What a great idea, I’m so glad you shared this!

  • Kim - Thank you. I so badly needed to be reminded today that the world is bigger than my little problems. You’re an amazing Mum and an inspiring person.

  • Kelly - This is so cool! I love how you made it accessible to your kids. Thanks for sharing. Kelly

  • Missyirene - Hi from ol’ NZ :) I’ve been following your blog for some time but never left a comment. Just want to let you know that your blog inspires me soooo much, and I’m amazed with how you teach your kids to make this world a better place from small simple things. They’re very lucky to be your kids. Keep rockin’!! Irene x

  • zoe - You are such an inspiration!
    Thank you!

  • Sarah - Great project for a good cause. You do such a good job of getting BIG ideas down to a little kid level. I feel horrible for the real animals that are being harmed- but I had to laugh at myself when I was making a sad face for your manatee. When I saw the picture of him in your “oil-spill” I was thinking- poor little guy he never saw this coming.

  • Jodi - This is a fantastic way to help out. I posted on FB and will post on Twitter!

  • Kim - Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I was planning to do the craft hope project with my kids but was struggling with how to help them understand what is happening in the gulf. FANTASTIC ideas right down to the letters of encouragement to those helping the wildlife effected by this catastrophe. I never walk away from your blog without an idea or inspiration. Just wanted to let you know that.

  • Yolanda - You are such an awesome(and incredibly talented)mom!

  • Heather King - Hey girl… love the post, that’s a great idea, but even more then that I like that littlest brother has a stamp on his forehead… crack me up! :)

  • Patricia Teo - This is sooo sweet! It’s brilliant that you always find ways to involve your children and educate them on issues

  • Sarah M - This is an absolutely fantastic idea to simplify and share the news & solutions in a realistic manner for such young kiddos. Thank you for sharing. Although my children are very small (2 under 3), I will be sharing this on FB with my friends.

    Sarah M

  • emily anderson - lovin’ the stamp on little brothers forehead :)

  • Amy Holgersen - What a teachable moment. Thank you for sharing this. I am Florida girl. Born and raised on the Gulf Coast. And this has been devastating to say the least. I *heart* the sense of service and responsibility you are instilling in your little ones!

    I will be borrowing this idea…

  • amber - Thank you so much Ashley for posting this! I have been wondering how we could help in some tangible way and this is the beginning! We are going to send some in to help with the clean-up, along with some Dawn soap too!

  • christina larsen - Great post.

  • Carrie Fay - Thanks for the amazing idea! We shamelessly recreated the project and had a ball. Here is our take on it:

  • kids and craft hope - […] involved with Craft Hope. Ashley did a wonderful demonstration that you can also do for your kids here. Maybe it’s the teacher in me, but show your kids what’s going on. Teach them about the […]

  • allison - This is wonderful. What a great idea!

I got to throw my sister a baby shower over the weekend. I am giddy with excitement to meet my niece, Paisley (love that name!). I am already an aunt…on Chris’ side of the family I have 4 nieces and 4 nephews (ages 21 to 2)! This will be my first niece or nephew on my side of the family. AND since it is my sister having the baby I feel the freedom to push my way into her business….and I will:)I’m not sure the shower reflected my sister’s taste, but I think she liked my hodge podge of randomness! We had a little party under the sycamore in the backyard….

It seemed appropriate to take scraps from Firecracker’s nursery quilt and make some ruffles on the invites. (remember that is Baby Sister’s new online name)

It was an evening party so I had desserts and drinks…thanks mom, dad, grandma & Lars for baking some yummy treats.

Lesley loves chocolate cupcakes with white frosting. Usually my cupcakes look like one of my boys made them.

Meg came to the rescue with this frosting recipe (the end part where you add cool whip)…my cupcakes looked awesome if I do say so myself!

A jar full of advice, so when Lesley wants advice she can get it….more on this project (& a giveaway) on Friday!

Yep, my chair (post 4 hours of deep upholstery cleaning) made an appearance.

Isn’t she a cute little pregnant thing?

Before you email or comment to ask about the invitations, banner and food signs….they all started with this template set from Design Aglow. If you are a photographer YOU NEED TO VISIT DESIGN AGLOW. The products you can purchase there will take your business to new heights. Back when I was shooting for clients I used their holiday card templates and birth announcements. Every now and then I post fun block looking letters, a circle and a square collage of pictures…all products from Design Aglow. Though I don’t currently use the products for clients, I use them all the time for personal projects and gifts. They are so versatile…and no I am not getting paid to promote Design Aglow…I am just a big fan and I think those of you that are photographers are going to be so excited to find it. If you check the blog section of the site, you can find a little post about how I used the Fun & Flirty template for this shower.

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  • laura - love. i’m sure your sister was very blessed! can’t wait for the follow-up posts!

  • Lesley - LOVED the shower, the pics don’t do it justice!! Thanks again for an incredible evening – you blew me away.

  • Amber - Ashley, you make every thing beautiful! Seriously…very impressed.

  • Jamie - Beautiful! Is that a banner made out of vintage hankies/napkins!? Precious. You did an amazing job; so cute! Is that your own collection of vintage dishes? I’m blown away. This looks like the stuff you see in magazines. Great job!

  • Katie - You know how to throw a party! This belongs in a magazine!

  • julie - I love every happy little detail. So my fave type of party. How can I magically get a giant sycamore in my little Cali yard? Love. Love. Love.

    Then there is the Design Aglow’s collage canvas templates.
    I totally fainted. All your fault.

  • ashlee - What a beautiful shower! I adore the eclectic style you have going on:)

  • Jesse - What a beautiful shower!

  • An - I just found your website…LOVE everything!!! Thanks.

  • Kae - I feel like I’m reading a magazine full of beautiful stuff! What a lucky sister you have. God bless you both & your families. All I can say is..beaaauuutifulllll!!

  • DianneLisette - Oh my gosh! Thank you for sharing! The shower looked lovely, and THANK YOU for the tip-off to Design Aglow! What a wonderful resource! I can’t wait to sit down and look through their site!

  • Shannon @ What's Up Whimsy - I can’t wait for the follow up emails on this shower because it looks absolutely gorgeous!! Nice work!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - First of all, that shower is lovely! (Do you need another sister?!). I can’t wait to go play on that website! Thank you for the advice!

  • Maggie - Ashley~ i just spent an hour on this rainy Monday perusing your fabulous blog~ i teared up at all the beautiful photos & stories….I feel a little caught up on your life…and congrats to Lesely~ you are so creative & blessed to have your family near to witness all you have going on. Love to you xo

  • Jill J. - What a beautiful party! It actually makes me want to throw a baby shower.

  • amanda torres - I love the note about not spanking! Too funny!

  • amy - oh, this shower looks like the coolest thing ever. makes me want to be pregnant so i can do this–or wait, i guess it makes me want to have a shower for someone else so i can do all this again. : ) so, so cute! and i love how you added the fabric on the invitations. love it all!

  • robyn - you put a LOT of work into this! your sister is very lucky to have you :)
    and my favorite picture is “please don’t spank my granddaughter”.

  • emily anderson - stop with the beautifulness!

  • Abby - I held a baby shower for my sister at my house just yesterday, too! Baby Scarlett will be here in August. Everything was pink and green for us. I’m still exhausted so no photos up yet on my blog, but soon! We had hoped to have ours outside, but the N.C. humidity (and 95 degrees outside) pushed us indoors.

    LOVE the decor at your shower. Your style is so adorable! I can tell how excited you are to meet the little one!

  • Rachel - I’m fairly new to the blog. Been following now for a few weeks and have gone all the way back to page 20 and read every post in between. does that prove you’ve got a fantastic blog and personality? its great, wonderful, creative and real and I look forward to your posts. thanks for sharing with us all!

  • Heather - oh, wow! so much prettiness in one place. i have to go look at it all again….

  • janelle howard - hey. the pictues were amazing. you did a good job ashley. wish we lived closer so that you could take pictures of my family. talk to you soon.

  • abby - You did such a fabulous job on your sister’s shower. I love all the little details and the overall eclectic look. And I love the name Paisley! So fun!! :)

  • karen davis - what a party!! I love your style, it’s totally my style! simple and fun… and man those cupcakes look YUMMY!

  • Asha - I love the name Paisley, I saw it on another blog and had to compliment the mother. so cute!
    Question, I know your out west, right? any problem with bugs at an outdoor food party? If so, how do you keep the bugs away?

  • Faith - oh, now that’s super cute!

  • anne c - beautiful shower ashley!

  • Sabrina L - I have a now 14 year old niece named Paisley! Such a perfect name for a girl. Your baby shower looked amazing!

  • Amber Zimmerman - What a fun array of decor! Love love what you did! :)

  • An - So I’m looking through your shower post again and I’m hoping in your follow up post you could post some more details about the notes (“When it comes to daddy…”). That is such a great idea. I would love to know what other phrases you had. THANKS!

  • Lindsay - Just found your website, lovin it! And my daughter’s name is Paisley!!

  • Paisley — We Met in a Bar - […] (Check out the rest of this super cute shower here!) […]

  • Kami @ Everyday Heaven - I think this might be the most beautiful shower I have ever seen!

  • tasha roe - lovely baby shower! it was so whimsical and dreamy; simply perfect!
    i love the eckert’s basket!! we have 3 eckert’s orcards near us and pick apples and peaches yearly. fun stuff!

  • A Backyard Baby Shower | The Sweetest Occasion - […] all the details visit Ashley’s blog and check out her DIY tutorial for the decorated note jar. Thanks for sharing, […]

  • Weddinic – Wedding Articles » Blog Archive » A Backyard Baby Shower - […] all the details visit Ashley’s blog and check out her DIY tutorial for the decorated note jar. Thanks for sharing, […]

  • Damaris Palmer - simply breathtaking

  • » A “Paisley” Baby Shower - Divine Party Concepts - […] Baby Shower March 30th, 2011 Tweet This is such a beautiful baby shower from Under the Sycamore that will definitely get you excited about spring.ย  It is filled with wonderful colors and […]

  • gigiofca - Was researching something or other and came across your gorgeous party. Your sister’s so lucky. You did an excellent job!

  • Jess - Hi, Could you tell me the fabrics you used for the invites? And, if there were any others used inthe baby quilt. Thanks bunches!!

  • Cari - Beautiful shower! Can you tell me where you ordered your notecards with the prompts that people filled out? In particular, I am most interested in the phrases used – wonderful idea and much more fun that just plain advice cards.

  • Natalie - Hi,

    this is such an inspirational shower, would you mind sharing the prompts for your lovely cards that you did?

    I hope that I will be able to do something similar for my best friend.
    Many thanks in advance

Remember this post….their family is together at home now!

Complete family pictures to come….once we get together to take them!

Congratulations Jeremy & Melanie –ย  a family of 8 looks good on you.

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  • Shannon Phillips - Goosebumps and tears as I view these photos. I do not know this family but I am overjoyed for them and the life they will be giving their new children. Thanks for posting these photos. Prayers going out to Jeremy and Melanie and all of their children in this transition time.

  • Stephanie - Oh. Love these so much. So neat to see God come through BIG TIME as always. Love Love Love that they are home. THANKS for sharing Ash!

  • emily anderson - oh my gosh!!!! you know how much i love these photos :) so excited for this family that i don’t even know!

  • Christina Larsen - Beautiful. We are coming home from Korea on Wednesday at 10:43 pm. FYI.

  • Liz - The picture are wonderful… I love the look on Melanie’s face… such sheer joy!

  • Stefunkc - So glad you were able to take picture for the family like me that couldn’t be there!

  • Kimberly - You made this cousin’s day!! I was at a workshop all day and was so sad to miss this amazing moment! Abby and I loved these pictures. Thank you so much for capturing this special reunion!! Tears of joy are flowing.

  • Ang - I can’t hold back the tears

  • Patsy - You truly captured the spirit and love of this once-in-a-lifetime event. Watching you at work that morning, I knew this
    precious time was going to be beautifully recorded through
    your eyes. Thank you so much!

  • Amanda - Thanks so much for capturing this moment so beautifully for our dear sweet friends! I am once again reduced to tears! So happy for them!

  • Os Tartarouchos - What a special moment!