Wednesday, May 22, 2013

WIWW - Tshirts and Cropped Pants

Because I spend so much time shopping, thrifting, altering clothing and thinking about what to wear, I thought it might be fun to post weekly of what outfits I've put together throughout the week for me or my daughter. I plan to have a WIWW (What I Wore Wednesday) post every week displaying either my style, Widget's style, or both.
My wardrobe was pretty easy going this week. I stuck to the basic tshirts but since it was a bit warmer, I opted for cropped pants instead of regular old jeans.

 Earrings: Gap (Outlet), Top: Target, Pants: JCPenney (altered by me), Shoes: Kohls

 I wore this white shirt and blue pants on Friday when we closed on our new house (wahoo!) and for our Friday date night. The Hubs isn't too keen on colored pants, but I think they're a great fit and a little unexpected.
 Necklace: Paparazzi (Mandy #1768), Top: DownEast Basics, Pants and Shoes: Old Navy
Earrings: NYandCo, Necklace: Paparazzi (Mandy #1768), Top: DownEast Basics
Jeans: American Eagle, Shoes: Target
I knew I'd be running errands all day, so I grabbed a colored tshirt and skinny jeans from my drawer. I rolled the bottom of the jeans because, well...I thought it made the outfit look more thought out :)  I don't normally like being too matchy matchy (green shirt green shoes) in my ensemble color schemes, but since my sandals are two toned, I thought it didn't look too bad. Then, since I was lazy, I pulled my hair up in a sock bun so it would stay off my face while hauling plywood for a future project.
I'm loving this Spring weather here in Missouri, and I'm not looking forward to a HOT summer...I just might need to pick up some actual shorts for when the heat wave heads our way ;)
Where do you buy your shorts or capris? Do you know of any fun stores that carry longer shorts and have them in stock now? I'd love to hear where you love to shop for summer pieces!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Take-A-Look Tuesday with Sugar Bee Crafts

Hey Peeps! I mentioned something really exciting on my Facebook page earlier
(want to follow me on Facebook? click over to 'like' Apples By Ashley)...

I'm co-hosting Take-A-Look Tuesday @ Sugar Bee Crafts!

Want to join in on the fun? I'd love for you to link up your awesome crafty projects
(anything linked up on my blog will also show up on Sugar Bee Crafts as well, and vice versa- so you only need to link up once). 
I can't wait to see what everyone's been up to -  - and who will be the most viewed link - maybe you?
- - just a run down- -
  • Link to a Specific Post, not your whole blog - no more than a couple of posts please
  • Please don't link up anything you've already linked before (like something posted on a previous week)
  • Try to visit a few other people at the party  - everyone loves visits and encouraging comments!  

Now that you've read all the particulars, link away!!!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Third Thursdays with Tash: Strawberry Freezer Jam

Remember, on the third Thursday of {almost} every month, my Sis-in-law, Tash, writes about her recent crafty adventures. Take it away, Tash!
Hello again everybody!  Has the summer heat reached your home yet?  It sure reached our house early.  The nice thing about an early summer is seasonal fruit comes early, and stays for longer.  Rhubarb season lasts until Thanksgiving!  Yummy.  The down side is it doesn’t stay good and fresh for very long.  Strawberries are often wilting in the store.  So when strawberries went on sale, and actually smelled like strawberries, I bought a whole bunch.  It wasn’t until I got home that I remembered that they will rot before I could eat them all.  I needed a plan. 
 Growing up, my family (and all of our neighbors) grew gardens and canned the harvest.  Strawberry jam was at the top of the 'favorite canned goods list', but stirring hot strawberries in 90° plus weather sounded miserable.  Ashley’s hubs, Preston, and my Spencer also grew up on homemade canned goods, but their strawberry jam came out of the freezer.  Can you say solution? 
This is what I did:
I found my package of pectin and followed the simple instructions. 
 Start with a bowl of beautiful strawberries…
and mash them. 
If the end result wasn’t so yummy this would look so sad. 
Then take a bowl full of sugar.  Not a spoonful, a huge bowl full…
and add it to the even bigger bowl of strawberries.
It will look like way too much sugar. 
Trust the recipe and keep stirring.  See it fits!
Now leave the sugary semi-liquid strawberries and move to the stove.  Add water to pectin and bring it to a boil. 
It comes to a full boil quickly. 

Now add the boiling pectin to the strawberries, and stir it in.
Does it look redder to you too?  I promise I didn’t change the color in any photo editing program.  These are all natural. 
Find the mason jars that you have hiding in your cupboard somewhere and clean them VERY well.  Oh and be sure to find more than two, you’ll see why below.
Fill the jars with the sweet strawberry deliciousness, leaving head space for freezing. 
Be sure to make a mess along the way.
TA DA! Now freeze them or just throw it into the fridge and eat it right away.  See the little jar.  It was eaten in a day. 
I can’t believe how easy it was.  Seriously I don’t think I’ll make cooked strawberry jam again.  Freezer jam just tastes better.  Have you ever made freezer jam?  How did you like it?
Have a good month!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

WIWW - Preschool Style

Because I spend so much time shopping, thrifting, altering clothing and thinking about what to wear, I thought it might be fun to post weekly of what outfits I've put together throughout the week for me our my daughter. So starting now, I plan to have a WIWW (What I Wore Wednesday) post every week displaying either my style, Widget's style, or both.

Today's post is mostly focused on Widget. I've been feeling under the weather, and although I have gotten dressed every day I did not put any makeup on or do much with my hair...hence I have very few pictures of myself this week.

Dress: thrifted (online through ThredUp), Leggings: Kids Gap (Outlet), Shoes: Kids Gap (Outlet)

 Peplum Top: I made it, Capris: Target
I noticed as I was going through my pictures that Widget and I had a similar color scheme going on using black and teal. I had 'semi dressed up' for a networking meeting a couple of nights ago. I knew the ladies in our group usually come straight from work wearing business casual, or from home (some, like me own home-based businesses) and wear more than just yoga pants or jeans. I wanted to feel casual, yet put together - so I grabbed a satin neckline t-shirt, black slacks and flirty heels... *Please forgive the blurry picture, the 5 year-old was antsy to get in the car to pick up the babysitter. She was waving the camera around like one of those guys that directs planes from the ground---this is my nervous face (Don't Drop The Camera!!!), but still forcing a smile.
 T-shirt: Banana Republic (Factory), Slacks: White House/Black Market, Shoes: Payless
 Headband: I made it, T-shirt: Walmart (neckline altered by me),
Skirt: thrifted, Tights: PickYourPlum, Shoes: Payless
We got together as a Playgroup a week ago, and the moms made headbands while the kids played. Widget is sporting one of the headbands I made, and I grabbed pieces from her closet that would compliment the headband...can you say Color Blocking for little girls?!?

 This is the pose that Widget picked for her photo shoot...I'm not sure that it's the most flattering, but she's 5 and just wants to be a goof :)

We decided Widget needed an outfit that was more functional for Playgroup this week since we met at a friend's house to feed her chickens and baby goats. And the kids played on a huge pile of gravel (small rocks) and this jungle gym (below). Widget was a little nervous to climb up at first, but she slowly got a little more use to it...I hope she figures out how to play on the playground at school without her Mommy there to hold her butt while she reaches for the next step ;) A mother can only hope, right?

T-shirt: Old Navy, Cargo Capris: thrifted, Ballerina Necklace: thrifted,
Sparkly Hair Accessory: hand-me-down 


What kinds of clothing does your Preschooler or Kindergartener like to wear?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Blog Update: Same Blog...New Name

Hey ya'll! Welcome to Apples By Ashley!
(the blog formally known as How Do U Like Them Apples {or tbfkahdulta for short, just kidding...anyone else a Prince fan? neither})


If you've been following me/my blog for awhile, you may have noticed we (well, really my blog...not me exactly) has undergone a facelift. In the midst of designing business cards for SNAP, I made a few large changes to the blog...such as a new logo, which includes the new name, a complete color scheme update and new web address. You can now find me directly at but will also direct you to the right place.

I am still working on updating my blog, but I plan to post (fun projects, tasty recipes, a little bit of fashion, sewing and altering clothing, and general awesomeness) along the way. My blog, like a living organism, will continue to mature and change in the near future...but hopefully those changes bring you a little closer to knowing me as a person AND me as a Crafter/DIY-er (and all my other glistening facets).

I appreciate all of my lovely stalkers through GFC, but also those that follow in other ways. As GFC is on it's way out (pretty soon, July?), you may need to follow me a bit can Follow my blog with Bloglovin or use your favorite method.

Also, you may notice all my cute green buttons (up on the top right, above my beautiful picture). Please use them to follow Apples By Ashley on:
Pinterest do u like them apples?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Phineas and Ferb Birthday Party - a party in pictures

I am finally posting the pictures from Widget's Phineas and Ferb Birthday Party. It has taken me almost two months to get this post up and running, for some reason Blogger didn't like these pictures :( and wouldn't upload them for a couple of weeks. But now we are good to go, so without further ado, I give you a (slightly blurry) look into the 'Best Birthday Party Ever!' quoting one of the 5 year-olds that attended the fiesta.

But, before we start, do you want to see the invitations that got the ball rolling?

To start the party, we had a Pin the Tail on the Perry game (sorry, no pictures of us playing). You can see where I got the idea, and where to download the file to print your own.

Then we had a treasure hunt...actually we searched for "Bad Beard's Treasure." Each kid started the hunt with their very own Pirate hat. 

The treasure map took them all around the house; first up to my craft room to find Perry tattoos, then to the subbasement for balloons...

Then back to the family room for the final treasure: gold coins...and to be cursed with Bad Beards! Well, our little pirates were actually cursed with awesome MUSTACHES instead. Stick-on mustaches are a lot easier to find then beards ;)

Even I was cursed! I think it's a good look, don't you?

Then I danced in the kitchen to some Phineas and Ferb songs (from the show) as the kids ate lunch. The Menu: Phineas and Ferb shaped Macaroni and Cheese, mini striped jello (Jeremy's favorite dessert) and carrots (for x-ray vision)...the Hubby happened to get this shot of me and Auntie M (who was a BIG help at the party!)

And for dessert? Who wants pie? Lilly doesn't like normal pies (apple, cherry, pumpkin, etc), but she loves Oreo pudding pie.
And then we passed out the Perry Inaction Figures to the kids while they waited for their parents to pick them up. Do you think the kids enjoyed their party favors?

Of course, we had all sorts of Phineas, Ferb, and Perry themed snacks, coloring books, and other paraphernalia all over the place---so parts of the party stuck around the house for weeks to come.

All in all, it was a great couple of hours and we got rave reviews from kids and parents alike :)

Do you have a Birthday party to plan in the near future? Check out my Pinterest Party board for more inspiration on any theme - - and feel free to follow me on Pinterest for sewing, fashion, craft and recipe inspiration.

Well do u like them apples?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

WIWW- SNAP! Attire and More

Because I spend so much time shopping, thrifting, altering clothing and thinking about what to wear, I thought it might be fun to start posting weekly of what outfits I've put together throughout the week. So starting now, I plan to have a WIWW (What I Wore Wednesday) post every week.

First up, let's recap my SNAP! attire:


Shirt: Gap (Outlet) Skirt: thrifted
Cardigan: Old Navy (Outlet), Shirt: Target, Jeans: American Eagle, Shoes: Gap (Outlet)
I love the look of collared shirts under a sweater or cardigan, but I hate when the shirt sleeves bunch up under the sweater or when the layers feel restrictive. My solution: use a sleeve-less blouse/collared shirt under the sweater. This particular shirt actually has a short mandarin collar with ruffles around the neckline. Also, note the lace socks with my shoes...does anyone else like to wear these socks instead of going barefoot in your ballet flats? I know sometimes the extra 'stuff' going on can look funny, but it is way more comfortable for me (and less stinky) if I wear no-show or lace socks.
T-shirt: NY&Co, Jeans: American Eagle, Apron: Lowe's
This is not the best showing of this outfit, but it's one of the best I have. This t-shirt is a bright blue color with tiny white polka dots, and a lower neckline in the back (lower in the back than the front). I like that it is a bit different take on a plain t-shirt without going too bold...and I think the different neckline lends itself to a more fancy feel in an ensemble.
Shirt: White House/Black Market, Skirt: White House/Black Market
I visited my Aunt and Uncle's house while I was in Utah. The cutie next to me is my cousin K (isn't she so pretty?!?). You can't tell, but I am wearing a black pencil skirt (and brightly colored floral heels).
And since being home from SNAP! I've been trying out a few pieces I picked up in Utah -  One piece in particular (a gray vest from DownEast) has been a fun item to work into my wardrobe.
I have always loved the look and feel of a tailored suit, and a three piece suit is even better...and I've been looking for a vest (to replace a tailored denim one I have that doesn't fit anymore). My biggest obstacle was finding a piece that was more fitted and versatile. My new vest is reminiscent of a men's suit, but has a more feminine cut.
Vest: DownEast, Shirt: Old Navy, Jeans: JCPenney, Shoes: Gap (Outlet)
I've tried styling the vest multiple ways, including wearing it open or buttoned. I liked the look of the vest loose over a peasant blouse (even if my hubby didn't think it showed off all of my curves), but I wanted to try something different. I topped off a white 3/4 sleeve t-shirt and multi-colored wrap-around skirt with the vest buttoned, then added nude pumps.
Vest: DownEast, Shirt: Gap (Outlet), Skirt: thrifted, Shoes: Shoe Carousel, Bracelet: Kohl's
What do you think; is the vest too frumpy, or just right? Should I try to tailor it (nip in the sides a bit) or leave it be?
How do u like them Apples?

Monday, May 6, 2013

SNAP! Recap - Lisa Leonard, Balancing Life, and Branding

Again, I am finally sitting down and typing out my notes from SNAP! and thought I'd share a little bit of the Giant-sized 'Ah-Ha' moment I had while in Utah. I will be including my notes, from the different classes I attended, in my posts for the next few days. As you may be able to tell by my notes, I'm a pretty detailed note-taker. If the information does not appeal to you, feel free to skip over the end of the post :) BUT, if you are interested in seeing what the conference and other bloggers' cute clothing looked like...then you might want to scroll through the pictures below.

My third bit of 'Ah-Ha' moment: I don't need to run faster than I have strength...I don't need to keep up with anyone else (other bloggers included) to be successful or happy. I don't need to beat myself up for not posting every day...I can find joy in creating, and if I happen to post something, that's great. I can share my creativity, along side my disappointments, and still be a perfectly imperfect person.

Although I had this thought, it doesn't mean I've been good about follow through...actually, I've been struggling with self worth the past couple of weeks (well, let's be honest...I've been struggling since my problems with ectopic  pregnancies began)-I know I am loved (by the Lord, my family and friends), but I do not feel that I am of any real value or importance to the people I love (besides making food, etc., but others could do that if I wasn't here). I realize this seems contradictory, but sometimes we can know something but feel someway else. It's something I am working on...slowly.

Anyway, onto the pictures:

My blouse has a major fly-away issue; the ruffles do not lay very flat. I've found that wearing the long strand of pearls helps keep the ruffles down, but I also needed to wear my name badge. What did I do? I combined the two pieces into this sassy getup. It definitely took me some finagling (and about 30 minutes of my life), but I think it was worth the effort :)

I ran into an 'old' friend-we lived near each other in Utah a couple of years ago. Nikkala (from The Crafting Chicks) and I have been friends for about 5 years now. Aren't we cute!

Center pieces for dinner (just before Queen Bee Market. Each table had a different word on top.

And my roommate won an Instagram competition during the Queen Bee Market. She won a bag of goodies gift cards and goodies...and 3 more exact bags for her roommates! Wha-hoo! (If you didn't already catch it, I came home with one of those bags).

Below is a summary from my notes in my second class. Feel free to hop over to the girl's sites (linked by each name). (If you do not blog/own a handmade business, my class notes may not appeal to you...feel free to skip the end of the post ;) if needed)

Keynote: Lisa Leonard (Lisa Leonard Designs Blog)
*3 things to remember: 1)willing to change 2)be unique 3)working with bloggers (networking)
*Be kind, warm, responsive to everyone-respond to any reaction with kindness
*make specific time-schedule and plan ahead
*Think vs. feel-find opportunities to grow and run with it
*Guilt doesn't play fair-guilt is very sneaky. Just remember: 'I am imperfect' and let it go! Own your imperfection, then guilt cannot control us so easily.
*As bloggers we usually leave out the conflict component in our story telling...when we are venerable, that's when we can make stronger connections with others. Put yourself out there-share difficulties  (along with creativity and successes) as well as joy.
*Create Joy: it's there to be found, make the decision to search it out. Be confident in everything-we can be happy in life, no matter what else is happening.
*Be positive: sometimes we focus so much on the last 20% of things not done, instead of celebrating the 80% that we've already accomplished.
* Search for inspiration outside of your niche...this can help save you from copying others and work can be more personal, organic and unique

Balancing Life
Becky (Organizing Made Fun) and Lisa (Pennington Point)

Be Specific-find own way
-with goals: know what they are
-with time: what can you invest/what time of day
-with purpose: who you are/what you believe (then everything else will fall into place)

Managing Your Blog {Day to Day}
1. Make a schedule: what and when to post
2. Do a Series: create themes (and let readers know)
3. Sponsored posts: be specific and up-front with the company (have info written out of what you charge and expect)
4. Check your goals: stay consistant, don't get too far off track
5. Behind the scenes: set work hours (responding to emails and dealing with sponsors)
6. Think carefully: be smart about your time

Time Management
1. Calendar
2.Time of Day: know your best time of day to work
3. Weekly writing: work ahead (schedule posts) or work real time
4. Set time limits: have control, stick to your planned schedule
5. Be realistic: how many posts a week and be consistent

1. Plan ahead: budget/timeline/plan/supplies
2. Set aside time: schedule out when to start/complete projects (be prepared)
3. Managing photos: pick what works for you. take time to take good pictures. edit photos all together
4. Use for multiple posts: use one project (like room re-do) and breakout the pictures/details for more posts. remember to use your calendar
5. Etsy shop: {Lisa} work for shop only on Saturday, makes a number of things ahead of time-customize later after purchased

Social Media
1. Schedule posts
2. Creating boundaries-we can focus on what your good at/with
3. Save ideas for later: write down awesome ideas, jokes, thoughts, funny things about yourself (save up to post at a later date-not post all together, could be spam-y)
4. Use your smartphone

Life @ Home
1. Children: (fun time suckers)-do not prefer blog over babies, utilize quiet time/naps
2. Home school
3. School/Activities: work/plan while out of house,  or at bedtime, etc.
4. Husbands: he should always know he is 1st over everything else-utilize his help, include him in your life!
5. Keeping a home: cleaning (split chores by day and use kids to help). plan meals (find ideas @5dinners1hour)

Be Flexible
1. When life happens: little things can interrupt schedules. have goal, but be flexible if something happens.
2. Build a group (of bloggers): create facebook group of 10-ish bloggers (girls got your back)
3. Stay positive
4. In a crisis: plan ahead (stuff happens: internet down, family emergency) pull from friends for help
5. When you don't feel like it: like a job, you can't not go if you don't feel like it. have e3xtra content for the 'bad days.'
6. Know yourself: what works for you. try things out and make changes if needed.

Know what you can and cannot do-know yourself and know your own pace. Hope and prayer are both good tools to keep moving forward.

Becki (Whippy Cake) Lisa (Moxie Pear) and Lara (Less Cake More Frosting)
@whippcake   @moxiepear   @lesscakemorefrosting

*Branding is the world's perception of who YOU are...
*Your brand is your experience and relationship with your audience
  • be relatable
  • connect emotionally (fashion can be really vane and emotional)
*Stay away from over-done themes (chevron, mustaches) when branding your blog/business
*Be specific in your target market
*If working with a designer, help the designer by painting a visual picture of your audience and what goal you are hoping to reach with your brand

When working with a designer
*be an informed consumer (ie. rasterized files vs. jpeg/pdf files)
*Blog headers are not logos

You should know who you are
*pinterest can help you figure out what you like (make a board of stuff you like: colors/styles/food/ads etc.)

Basic logos look better as a watermark (vs. really busy logos)
*best logos need to be good looking in black and white as well as color

Friday, May 3, 2013

SNAP! Recap - Pinterest Tips

Again, I am finally sitting down and typing out my notes from SNAP! and thought I'd share a little bit of the Giant-sized 'Ah-Ha' moment I had while in Utah. I will be including my notes, from the different classes I attended, in my posts for the next few days. As you may be able to tell by my notes, I'm a pretty detailed note-taker. If the information does not appeal to you, feel free to skip over the end of the post :) BUT, if you are interested in seeing what the conference and other bloggers' cute clothing looked like...then you might want to scroll through the pictures below.

My second bit of 'Ah-Ha' moment: Pinterest is a (free) way to market my blog/business...

A fun Pajama Party was held the first evening, and boy, what it packed with all sorts of fun!

Left to Right: photo opportunity on stage, fabric bunting craft, everyone in their PJs (including Kilee and myself), and a shot of me with my fabric bunting and glass jar decorated to match me (future) office/craft room colors (the jar is covered in a variety of Scotch Tape--isn't it nifty how there are so many varieties of tape?)

Refreshments included a Milk bar and Cookie bar. The milk was served with striped paper straws in fun colors...I can honestly say it was my first time drinking through a paper straw and I was surprised. I always figured that the paper straw would melt in the drink and my mouth, but I am happy to report that no melting occurred ;)

The middle picture is one of a few funny outtakes I caught that night. It's too good to miss, so here is it again! I'm sure the girls will love me posting this...(Kilee, Ariean and Mandy---all of whom have AWESOME blogs! Go check them out!!!)

And after the party, we went and checked out our 'decorated door' competition. Who knew all the attendees at SNAP would be so creative?!?! Oh wait, I did!

And, although I purchased my PJ bottoms (from Target), the other gals made theirs...and each picked such cute fabric (which you can't see the best in the picture, but you get the idea).

Below is a summary from my notes in my second class. Feel free to hop over to the girl's sites (linked by each name). (If you do not blog/own a handmade business, my class notes may not appeal to you...feel free to skip the end of the post ;) if needed)

Heather (Whipperberry) and Jamielyn (I Heart Nap Time)
  • Build your brand through the look and feel of not only through your own pictures, but through your pins as well---can your audience trust what you are pinning?
  • Photos are Key: vertical photos, name photos ('save as'), include descriptions/call to action, add your website to description, keep it clean (visually...and verbally)
  • Utilize branding effectively: only use up to (the same) three fonts on pictures (to be recognizable), name Pinterest boards with obvious (not creative) names, add key words to descriptions of boards and pins
  • Always be the original pinner--don't re-pin (go directly to the source and pin from there)
  • The best times to pin are Sunday through Tuesday, from 7-11 am (EST). Saturday mornings are good also.
  • Adding a price to the description may help the item sell faster
  • Present self appropriately and strongly