The blog needed a facelift. What do you think? There are a lot of changes and I’m going to point those out, but first a little heads up on what to expect in October. For the first time ever I am going to have a theme for the month (we’ll use the word ‘theme’ very loosely). The common denominator for all the post this month will be the number 10….or better said “10 in 10”.

It has been a very, very long time since I unplugged from this blog. I really enjoy this little space online, but I am going to step back for the next two weeks. There will still be daily weekday posts – some by me and some by others. I am so excited about the guest posters I have lined up. I know you are going to enjoy them too. You won’t be able to reach me via email and I won’t be as active on Facebook. I’ll still be checking in here, but mostly I’ll be away.

So get things started on the 10 in 10 theme I thought I’d point out 10 things about this blog you may or may not know…

1. There is an About Me page under the Info tab. You can find a list of my favorite photography equipment, why this blog is called “Under the Sycamore” and a little bio about me.

2. There is a SnapShop page under the Info Tab….more detailed info on the workshops I teach for new dslr owners

3. I’ve listed most of my DIY Projects on a special page…the link is on the Menu bar.

4. I am active on Facebook. You can find a link on the far left side of the blog. Become a fan…I do post a few things there that I don’t post here.

5. I am adding sponsor buttons to the blog. This was a hard decision for me. I love supporting small business and have enjoyed hosting giveaways to help those businesses. However, in recent days the requests to host giveaways has become greater than I can handle. Giveaways will now be limited to sponsors and will take place in one big Giveaway post each month. If you are interested in purchasing a sponsor spot for November, send me and email and I’ll get you the rates (though if you send it in the next 2 weeks expect a delay in my response).

6. My boys have very confusing nicknames on this blog. Here they are Biggest Brother (6 yrs), Big Brother (4 yrs), Littlest Brother (2 yrs). My daughter’s nickname is FireCracker.

7. My Lovelies tab. You can find a little tab on the far left side of the blog. I am somewhat regular about updating this with little lovely things I find online.

8.  I have a new header…one that reflects this site a bit more, so I think. I am very much a photographer, but I find myself more and more in the diy world. I like that world. It makes me happy to open my blog and see photos, japanese masking tape, paper doilies, Katie Daisy and graph paper scallops. I used a lot of products from Pugly Pixel in my blog makeover.

9. The Shopping in Your PJs page is gone. It was getting so full and hard for me to even navigate. I am thinking of ways to bring back something for you all to share your stores. Not sure details, but hopefully I can replace that page with something more effective and user friendly.

10. This week I accomplished a lot in regards to this blog and diy related stuff. Some things that many would consider kind of a big deal. I met a lot of deadlines and even worked out a few things for a magazine. Big deals? When I look at this week….what was really valuable….what was the most important thing I did….laying under our sycamore on a blanket with a 2 year old. This week that was the most valuable and most important thing I did.  Despite how much I enjoy this blog it is just temporary. Holding my boy under the blowing leaves, just being still with him…that is not temporary.

So that is my first 10 for October. I’d love to hear what you think about the makeover!

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  • Rebekah - Loving the header!

  • Sharon Manning - Gorgeous blog makeover – have a wonderful break and look forward to more when you return!

  • Alba - Fantastic as always! I’m always surprised, I don’t understand how you do it with your four kids, the house and the daily homework. Take your time out, but do not forget us! Petonets,

  • Libby - It looks AMAZING!!!! I loved it before but
    I totally love the new look. You are amazing in all you do!!

    And that pic of you and your son is so precious. And you are so very right. I think sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in our blogs.

    Thanks for the reminder!

  • Ivana - I love the new header! Perfect!

  • giozi - I love Katrina’s overlays, but the picture (flash) on the righ can’t see well.
    I have to see ech part, now I only want to say hello, about the picture, and say. I like your new blog look 😉

  • Betsy Jo - Beautiful! ‘Loving it.

  • Jen - I love it, I just wish I could see more of the photos that cycle through the frame in the center of the page.

  • courtney - love the redesign! It is beautiful!

  • Christine - Loving it….you are so creative 🙂 The picture of you and your son is priceless.

  • andy - love the new look
    the header is awesome

  • Kelly Clarke - Love it! BTW… I actually like the sponsor buttons because if I don’t have time to link up to them during your daily posts, now I can easily navigate to them to review when I have time. Enjoy the next two weeks!

  • Brooke - I don’t need to tell you that I love love love your makeover. I love it. I was in a fun old antique mall yesterday and I picked something up and in my mind was cute old Pugly Pixel stuff and your blog (doilies, lace, vintage embroidery). You put into print what my mind loves…if that makes sense. 🙂
    I am so happy that you have amazing priorities. You know your family has to be #1. Since you are so cool, people will want to take up your time, so it’s great that you guard that closely!

  • SeaminglySarah - I like it! To be honest I had forgotten there was a shop in your pj’s section so I never ended up using it anyways. I always check your lovelies tabs though.

    And amen to realizing what is temporary and what is not. What a lovely way to put it. Thanks.

  • Janelle Vano - The new header is perfect! And in addition to all the beautiful DIY projects, I love your positive messages about life and family!! As a single mom to one amazing 15 year old girl, I only wish I had stressed less through the years and taken more pictures to capture more of the simple (but extremely important) moments …But, she was born before digital cameras were affordable. Maybe I’ll go for a walk with my girl today and see if she wants to lay under a tree with me 🙂

  • jenny - love, love, love it! Great job. 🙂

    Enjoy your two weeks….these times and moments with our little ones are priceless and time passes all too quickly.
    Enjoy every moment…a lesson that I am still currently learning myself. 🙂

  • ashley jensen - Oh yes, love the header! I persoanlly have a hard time navigating around your tabs along the left. I hardly scroll over them and and out pops the list (no worries bout it though). I think it is hilarous how you are hiding in alot of your picutres! But I can see the “real” part of you laying on the blanket with your son.

  • amanda torres - I love that even though you have so many awesome things going on, the most awesome thing of all is your kids. You keep things in perspective and inspire others to do the same. New blog=Awesomeness

  • Wendy@ Almota Roses - Just have to say… you inspire me!

  • Shannon{photos by shannon} - Love the new look! I need to go to my facebook and figure out why I am not getting your updates there…

  • Jill R - Love the new look!

  • Jess - Everything looks beautiful like always. I love it. Enjoy your blogging break!

  • Lesley - Love it Ashley! The new header is much more fitting. Great job on the design!!! Enjoy your time away.

  • Tracy - Love the ‘facelift’. You are the first blog I click on every morning…it gets me going for the day! Thanks…

  • Jill E. - i think the makeover looks awesome! the new header loads way better on my computer and i love how it reflects your embrace of your arts and crafts side, which i absolutely love.

  • Tricia - The blog looks great, but more importantly, I wanted to say “Good for you!!”. Enjoy your break. Cuddle those kiddos and we will see you when you get back.


  • Sarah - Very pretty makeover. I love the new header so much.

  • Liz Hurst - Ashley,
    You consistently amaze me! I do not know how you manage everything you do but you are such a blessing to so many!

  • Aja - It looks great! And I love that picture of you and your Littlest Boy.. so cute.

  • mrs.magoo - Love the makeover! Sometimes a little change like this can make you feel so good!

  • Kate A - I have to say – I’ve been checking your blog first thing every morning since before your daughter was born, so it’s going to be sad to have you unplugged for awhile, BUT I completely understand why! ENJOY spending more time with your family and focusing on what is MOST important!

  • Rachel - It is oh so lovely….

  • Lanny Stanard - Love it all….. feels good ! and those kiddo’s of your are so cute 🙂 happy friday !

  • RachelC - Looks great! Have fun relaxing with the fam! BTW — what’s the difference between “sponsors” and “seen here?”

  • Heather - i love what you’ve done! it looks great and feels just like you (the you i’ve gotten to know through this blog). have a wonderful time away!

  • Elizabeth Beattie - Love it to bits and pieces! I grabbed a button for my blog and hit the ‘like’ button on facebook. Enjoy your two weeks!

  • Anna - I love the makeover! It looks so great!

  • anne c - I love the makeover!

  • katrina - your DIY page rulz. i’m going to make time to follow your projects and i’m going to start off with the vinyl chalkboard. 🙂

    i’m happy that clip art has found a sweet and cozy home here, Ashley. i love how you incorporated them seamlessly into your blog design.

    enjoy your time off and happy friday!

  • Joy Andrews - So fun!! Congrats!

  • Jes - Your blog is like a breath of fresh air and the makeover is no exception. Keep up the great work!

  • Lacey McKay - It looks great!

  • MelissaM - Great job! Awesome make-over!

  • kristiina - it definitely reflects you more now–nicely done 🙂 enjoy your well deserved ‘break’. (i don’t know how you keep up with all the posts) we’ll all be here when you get back!

  • Kristi - Well I have to say I got a little teary eyed on that last photo becuase it is so true!! They are growing up so fast and it breaks my heart to think that Aidan will be so BIG so FAST!!! 🙁

  • gina - not knowing you but from reading your blog, i would say the make over is very “ashley-ish”. I love it!

  • Morgan - I love it. You don’t know me and I don’t care. I just want to tell you that you are inspiring – your outlook, your hope, your projects, and your faith. All wonderful. Also your website 🙂


  • tasha roe - ca-ute!!!
    it looks so sweet and inviting.
    i love change. it excites me.
    even more than diy – is that possible? lol

  • KaraM - Makeover is great, of course. I like that you are doing all the giveaways on one post! You have told us about some fabulous shops…lisa leonard & foster kade designs, my favorites!

  • Leanne - I like it. love the picture at the bottom. so cute!

  • patti - looks great here! i love the updates! 🙂

  • lifeologia - OH WOW!
    It looks great Ashley. I love the whole look. It’s so you with the doily right smack in the middle.

  • Philly - Ashley! You won the Tea Collection FB contest. AAAAH, I am so happy for you!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Ashley, it looks amazing! I really love it. Beautiful job and have fun unplugging!

  • Julie A. - I hate change so much I was not happy to see the new header. But gosh darn it! It’s cute and bright and I like it. Well, I’ll really like when I’m done getting over it’s different.

  • Meaghan - Very new reader of your blog, but I have really enjoyed so far! I was directed to this website from HowAboutOrange which showcased your doily bag project. Did it, love it, and I get tons of compliments on my new school bag!

  • magali - Hi,

    I love the makeover,it does say more about the blog.
    I love your DIY projects!!!! and of course adore your photography!!!!

    keep the great work!! Ü


  • Evie - Don’t you just love a makeover! Everthing seems so new and fresh! I especially love your #10… realizing what is most important… LOVE it! Thanks for sharing!

  • Cindy - Love the blog facelift!!! Your new header is so suiting for you… every part of it is so Ashley. BEAUTIFUL!!!

  • shelly@familyblt - the makeover looks great!

  • OrangeFarmhouse - Maike - wow, have the feeling that this blog is going a way you (and me) really like it! Good for you girl! Love it just the way it is and as long it’s you, I’ll be there too! Thanks!!

  • rachel denbow - It looks great!!!

  • kL - love the makeover
    you’ve become my new #1 blog to read
    your daily posts are inspiring & real
    something i adore seeing and reading
    enjoy your down time
    i think we all need to do a little of that
    a little more often 😉

  • meg duerksen - looking good ashleyann!

  • jessica h - amen, sister!!! It sure is a *great* feeling to have a super productive spurt, but NOTHING replaces sweet, simple memories with the ones we cherish?

  • jessica h - (oh, and I do like the new look! yes, very “ashleyann” :))

  • Shannon - I was without internet for a few days and came back to a lovely surprise! Your blog makeover is fantastic. I love the new look and I think you did a great job. You are so inspiring (as always) and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for under the sycamore!

  • susie whyte - okay…i go out of town, take a few days off to edit photos and there’s a new blog look! I LOVE IT!!! i agree–the header is completely you. i love the interchanging photos. i also love that you’re taking a little break. i often get anxiety attacks just thinking about all that you have to do in one day! haha. thanks for sharing your time with us and i look forward to the guest bloggers!

  • Jodi - The makeover is phenomenal! You never cease to amaze me! When they find a replacement for Martha (BTW, I love Martha), you should be first in line. A fresher, modern version! Just sayin’!

  • Candice Forte - I just want to know how you got a 2 year old to lay down next to you. Mine is very sweet, but I cannot imagine him voluntarily laying down like that:). Bottom line…I need to try it and see! I love this picture!

  • Heather - I’m in love with the makeover…adorably PERFECT!

Her next big thing is tackling the swing by herself. Why does she feel she needs to do everything her brothers do….forget the infant swing.

She pulled this dresses out of the folded laundry pile to wear. ???

While she is working on her next big thing I am working on finding another type of Big Thing. Remember last year when I shared about The Christmas Gathering?

I did a bunch of diy projects you can use as gifts.

The audience is always huge….two nights of hugeness.

It is a local Tulsa event that goes on two different nights, about 1200 women each night. You can only get in with a ticket and the tickets sell out EVERY YEAR. The dates are Nov. 18th & 19th. Well this year I am not presenting any of my ideas, but I am helping with a new segment called “The Next Big Thing”. Here are the details:

Tickets to the event go on sale this Sunday (October 3rd). You can buy them in person at The Church at BattleCreek or online (starting Monday go to this site and follow the links to purchase) Remember they sell out every year. This is a super fun event to go as a group of friends…or do it as your Christmas office party for the ladies. For more information or questions contact The Church at BattleCreek (not me!).


On a similar note….Christmas shopping….handmade gifts….check this out next week….


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  • andy - her dress is awesome
    where did you get it

  • Jenn W - I LOVE The Christmas Gathering! I can’t wait!

  • ashlee - wow… im putting my thinking cap on:) your sweetie is beautiful.

  • meg duerksen - she looks JUST LIKE YOU!!!!

  • Hollie - What a smart girl. I wish that dress was in my laundry pile. And I wish The Next Big Thing was on tour, coming to my state. *Sigh*

  • jessica h - oh, how I wish I could go!!! The Christmas Gathering is always *unbelievable!!*

    oh, and that little cutie in the darling green dress makes the cutest faces 🙂

  • Stacy - That is the cutest baby girl I have ever seen! Really – precious!

  • Angela Carter - I just absolutely love your blog! I check it every day and it always, always makes me smile.
    Thank you so much.

  • Leanne - once again, firecracker is ADORABLE! my little miss recently learned how to do the swing too…sigh…I love the last pic.

  • Julie B - Oh my goodness there are ideas going off like fireworks in my head!! I know just what to enter I can’t wait! I love The Christmas Gathering it is sooo much fun.

  • Heather - id pull that dress out of the laundry to wear too.. its adorable and shes adorable!!!

  • Reesa - Ashley-the children are beautiful, I see so much of you and Chris in each of them, I enjoy checking in occasionally to see what fun things you are doing! Really makes me miss the days when mine were small!

  • Meaghan - Firecracker is very adorable and it’s sweet that she wants to try the big swing!

  • crystal - I went to my first Christmas Gathering last year & absolutely loved your DIY projects!!!! I was so excited when I left & I’m so glad to have gotten your blog that night! I made some dry-erase clipboards for Christmas gifts last year & they were a hit! I wanted to make everything that you had presented, but, well, not enough time! I wish you were showing your DIY projects again this year : ( But I’m still excited & can’t wait to see what they have this year!

  • Ian Miller - Yep, she’s a cutie. I especially like the black and white picture.

Today I am excited to announce that I am guesting posting over at Design*Sponge. It’s a little post about how I coveted & ‘stole’ my neighbor’s trash.

Here is the ‘before’:

You have to go over there to see the post, but you can get a peek at the project from these ‘behind the scenes’ photos of my diy studio – complete with sword fighting and cheddar shark attacks.

And for those of you that asked about my new mantle:

I was inspired by Rita Konig’s mantle. In Photoshop I used the action Grandma’s Tap Shoes (by Totally Rad Actions) to give the photos a cohesive look. Then I cropped each image to a 4×4. I then ordered each 4×4 as a 4×6 print. By cropping before I ordered, the print company has to fill the extra space with white. I could have printed each one as a 4×4 but it would have cost more. I could have just printed them as a 4×6 and then cut off the extra 2 inches. By saving them as a 4×4 I had a clear white line showing me where to trim once they were printed. Finally I found the center of my wall and hot glued each photo to the wall. If your paint is old hot glue sometimes will peel off without damaging the paint. Since my paint was new, it will peel the paint when I remove the photos. I don’t really care because by the time I remove the photos I’ll be ready to repaint anyway!

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  • Lindsay - Awesome! I love how it turned out! I can’t wait until I have a house of my own and I can finally decorate!

  • Cara @ Mischief and Laughs - I WILL be doing this after the holidays (I like the mirror and the reflections it provides with candles and stuff at Christmas) but I think I’ll have to glue the pics to something or another besides my wall. Hubby would freak is freak if I hot glued them, even if I told him it would just peel off. Luan is el cheapo, though.

  • amy - oh ashley, if only you made house calls! this looks fantastic and yeah, you pretty much rock.

  • tasha roe - congrats!! that is super cool!!

  • The Lady - Your mantle is genius,lady. Hearts, The Lady of the House

  • Kirra Sue - Love the photo wall! Such a fun idea!

  • ashley jensen - Whew! Look at all those tiny little leaves you cut out! That corner is proablby all my patience (and 3 year old) would allow me to do! Oh, and I saw a children’s school chair like you have at an atique store over the week end and it made me think of you!

  • Heather - that collage is so fantastic! i love how many photos that include you and your husband. i’m terrible at that. my photos only tell the story of my kids growing up, not of how our family evolved. boo. i need to change that.

  • karen brown - you seem to really like totally rad actions. when i looked online, it appears they have several packages. is there one you would recommend if you could only have one? one you use the most? thanks ashley!

  • Jessica - cool! i was thinking you could probably glue the photos to a piece of foam board or something similar as well and just prop it up somewhere or hang it. that way you could even move it from place to place…if you wanted.

  • Hannah Bunker - Do you happen to know what brand of scrapbook paper you used?

  • Leanne - I LOVE that tray! you rock.

  • meg duerksen - so cute….all of it.

  • Lisa P. - I love this idea. I want to try it and put it on a canvas or something.

  • jennifer - LOVE it.

  • Katie - your creativity and style totally inspire me! i love reworking older pieces, so that tray idea looks terrific. and your mantle? i called my husband over and he fell in love, too. thanks!

  • Quincie Cotrill - I love the mantle! Thank you for explaining how you did it! You have so many great ideas and you are truely inspiring! Next question- how do you take pictures with your self in them? i love all the posed and non posed images that you are able to include yourself in. I fear my little ones will grow up and look back at all the wonderful images i have taken of them and say, Mom was never around:((((! I have got to get myself into my pictures and i use a canon 5d. any suggestions?

  • Erika C. - Hello – okay, this may sound like a stupid question, but how in the world do you spray paint it and it not bleed through? Meaning, how do you have such crisp lines?? Everytime I do something like that it bleeds!! (Again, it may sound like a dumb question – thank you!)

  • SeaminglySarah - That was so clever to use some scrapbooking paper as the stencil! I am always amazed to see how other people see something in the trash or the thrift store and see it for what it “could” be. I am so darn pratical sometimes that I can’t see it. I even went into a thrift store yesterday to try and exercise my mind in this regard. No luck. I saw egg cups as egg cups. Pray for me!

    But I am going to go scour my scrapbooking paper and use it with some ink and fabric now. I’ve been into inking fabric lately! ( Thanks for the idea.

  • Michelle - Guess what I scored in a yard sale today … a set of 4 vintage tv trays! I may not have looked twice at them had I not seen your post this week. Now I’m excited to give new life to these useful trays thanks to You!

  • tiffany - you have so much great stuff on here it never ceases to amaze me.

    but, i have a quick question about your concrete table that i love, love, love, love, love – how did they attach the tabletop to the legs of your old table?

    i have big plans to make a concrete table of my own for my new house and that is my biggest question about the project. all of the others i have see inlay into a wooden base and I am not such a fan of that I like seeing the edges of the concrete and just want normal legs.

    thanks so much!

  • kate - i love this photo idea so much! and, i just have to ask, did you add the molding to form a fake fireplace from a bare wall? or was that actually an unusable fireplace? i love that too!

  • Leslie - I love this and am definitely doing it. I also shared it on my blog; check it out:)

    Thanks for the awesome idea!