Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tutorial: Drab to Fab Vintage Silk Flowers

It may be a miracle folks, but I thought I'd squeeze in one last tutorial for the year! Maybe you'll even have time to throw one of these together to coordinate with your New Year's outfit! Unless your outfit resembles mine this new years...the hub's p.j. pants and a cozy sweater! I hope your new years plans are much more exciting!

So as you know my marketing director and I have been working hard to get the new website up for my photography business (Which is now live so check it out!!) Well January also means the opening of my very own studio! I have some incredible sponsors decking it out with handmade props and I wanted to add to the action! Since I don't have girls to dress up I love making headbands for when I get the chance to photograph sweet little princesses! So today was a headband making day!

I wanted something using silk flowers but didn't just want to stick a drab silk flower on a headband I wanted something with a little more oomph!  Then I found these gorgeous brown/tan flowers and I knew I wanted to go vintage...with a little bling! This is what I came up with:

Drab to Fab Vintage Silk Flowers

Step One:
Pick up an assortment of silk flowers & detach from stem. They should just pop right off. 
(I found mine at Joann's)

Step Two:
Pull  green backing & center cluster off so you can separate the petals.

Step Three:
Separate the back petal from the group and hot glue a small felt circle to the back. Careful not to apply glue over the hole in the center. Thread your needle and loop thread at double thickness with a knot at the end. Feed through the felt/hole in petal. (The felt acts as an anchor.)

Step Four:
Thread up through the center hole in your cluster of loose petals reattaching bottom petal to group.

Step Five:
Thread through a button for bling then back down through hole. Repeat this step a few times for strength. Tie off at back when done.

Step Six:
Attach to clip, elastic or headband of your choice and voila! A gorgeous vintage silk flower! I played around with cutting lace petals and adding in randomly. I haven't glued them in yet as I'm still on the fence about it!

Here is another one I made using petals from two different silk flowers some brown feathers and of course a little button bling! (Buttons also from Joann's)


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

FABULOUS GIVEAWAY To Celebrate The New Year!

First off, I hope everyone had an awesome 2010! 
Thank you to all of my readers for making this year one of my best! Your comments and emails over the year have touched my heart, made me laugh, supported me in trial and celebrated my successes! I am truly grateful for all of you!

Some big 2011 changes are in the works for my photography company DoChara Photography, the first being the name! It will now be Jacquilyn Avery Photography and my marketing director and I have been working around the clock to get a brand new website up and running for January 1st! Along with the new name and website I am thrilled to announce the opening of my very own studio! Hooray! No more living room photo shoots! (I think the hubs just might be more excited then I am!) To stock up my new studio with goodies I have acquired a few new sponsors I am so excited to share with you!

The first is an amazing company: Oops I Knit It Again! (Don't you just love the name!)

Sheri who runs Oops I Knit It Again recently sent me this to adorable Chunky Knit Mini Blanket in a beautiful grey/brown color. And I am just dieing to use it in my next newborn session! The blanket is extremely well made and super soft!

But Sheri is not only sharing her talent with me! She is offering one lucky reader their choice of either a Little Man Button Hat or a Little Princess Ribbon Hat! And the best part is you get to choose the color!! I bet everyone has a little someone in mind for one of these hats! They are just way too precious! 

Here's how to enter!

You must be an Aly&Ash follower & leave a separate comment for each entry.

Entry #1: "Like" Oops I Knit It Again on Facebook and tell her Jax@Aly&Ash sent ya!

Entry #2: Have a peek though her shop and tell me your favorite item!

Entry #3: Add Oops I Knit It Again's Etsy Shop to your favorites!

Bonus Entry: Leave a comment letting me know you resolution or goal for the 2011! 

Good Luck & Happy New Year Everyone!! 
The giveaway closes Friday, January 7th at 11:59pm 
& a winner will be announced Monday, January 10th!

Friday, December 24, 2010

2010 Christmas Card - Merry Christmas!

So a tri-fold, front and back card doesn't translate as well digitally but you get the idea!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Another year of stink eye for Santa!

Oh the difference a year makes!! Well...size wise, not so much on the attitude I guess! ;)

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Incredible Christmas Cookie Party - Blog Style!

First of all, welcome to:

We are so excited to put this together and hope you guys will link up your favorite cookie recipes and take a button for your blog to spread the word!

To start things off I'm going to share my Nana's famous Whipped Shortbread cookies with you! These delicious melt in your mouth cookies are a Christmas tradition in my family. My Nana has since passed but my mom makes a HUGE batch, or shall I say several HUGE batches and makes sure everyone in the family is well stocked for the holidays! This was my first year making them myself and I am kicking myself for not doing it earlier because they are sooo easy! I packaged them in green containers I found at the 99cent store and gave them as part of my "neighbor" gifts this year.

 Whipped Shortbread

1 lb Soft Butter
1 tsp Vanilla
1 Cup Icing Sugar
1/2 Cup Corn Starch
3 Cups Flour
Candied Cherries for Garnish
-Makes approx 60 cookies- 


Beat butter and vanilla then gradually beat icing sugar, corn starch and then flour a little at a time. Beat till the consistency of over whipped whip cream.
Drop by rounded teaspoon onto ungreased cookie sheet.
*Tip, line cookie sheet with parchment paper to keep bottoms from browning!
 Garnish each cookie with half a candied cherry.
Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 10-15minutes.
*Every oven is slightly different so keep an eye on them after 10min so they don't over cook.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Super Easy Cheesy Potato Soup & Possibly The Coolest Video Ever!

Super Easy Cheesy Potato Soup

So last Thursday was our Relief Society Christmas Dinner and who is our wonderful enrichment leader...yup, that would be me! In this case that meant baking 15 lbs of potatoes, 2 dozen of my Nana's Whipped Shortbread Cookies (recipe to come later), and 2 dozen rolls. Oh and I threw in 3 dozen peanut butter cookies for our freezer since well...the oven was on and the rolls hadn't risen enough yet. I will admit Asher was very much neglected that day as it was also a travel day for Daddy, to him this meant several episodes of Yo Gabba Gabba so I don't think he minded too much. Anyway my rock star of a committee member Ashley from Cute as a Fox had also made rolls and potatoes and when we were discussing what we should do with the leftovers she suggested Baked Potato Soup. I had never made it before so she forward me a recipe. Well we all know I can rarely stick to a recipe so I read about 3 or 4 different recipes and decided to combine what sounded good and make my own. Here is what I came up with and it was DELICIOUS!!! The hubs and I both went back for thirds...and so here I sit glutted and happy writing out this recipe before I forget!

*All measurements are approximate...did I mention I rarely measure either...oops!* 
6-8 Potatoes Baked, Skinned & Chopped
1 Can Chicken Broth
1 Can Cheddar Cheese Soup
1 Cup Milk
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
1/4 Cup Green Onions Chopped
2 Tbsp Butter
Salt and Pepper to Taste

1. In a large bowl whisk together Cheddar Cheese Soup, Milk and Sour Cream. Set aside. 
2. In a large sauce pan heat butter until melted on medium heat.

3. Add green onion and simmer for 2-3 minutes until butter starts to brown.

4. Pour in Chicken Broth and bring to boil.

5. Add potatoes and let cook for a few minutes.

6. Reduce heat, add soup mixture, salt & pepper and mix well.

At this point I used a potato masher to  break up a few of the chunks & create a variety of texture.

Cook on med/low heat till heated through.

 Bon Appetit!

Now normally this is the point I would try to take and upload an amazing shallow depth of field picture of the soup in a funky bowl with a little roll and a few strategically placed crumbs...but that's not happening. We're in the middle of moving and the fact I even made soup in the first place is a miracle! But I do have possibly the coolest/cutest video ever for you! We had just finished taking a load over to the new house and Asher was in a particularity adventurous mood so the hubs followed him around and put together this little video! (Make sure your speakers are on!) Watching him learn to walk is so entertaining! Asher loves all the room to roam in the new house, I can't wait to be all settled in over there!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Great Baby Name Debate!

Alright you creative geniuses! I am hoping you can help me! The hubs and I can not come up with (agree on) a name for baby boy#2. I honestly feel like we just named Asher, how are we supposed to come up with another one so soon! 

I'm due St. Patrick's day (March 17th) so I have some time but considering we don't even have a possibilities list, stress is starting to creep in! I have been making my eyes bleed looking at baby name lists that contain 10% cute and 90% crap and can't take it anymore! 

So if you don't mind sharing please leave a comment with name suggestions! Names you like, names you've heard, names of your kids if you don't mind me possibly copying. I need all the help I can get! 

And just because I can't put up a post without pictures
here is little baby boy#2 from our last Ultrasound at 18 weeks!
Isn't he so cute already!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

My Silly Boy & Something Fun for AZ Locals!

Last night we met up with some friends at Glendale Glitters to watch my old dance school, The Celtic Dance Academy preform! After the show we walked around a bit, admired the Christmas lights and took some fun pictures. Asher was in such a funny mood and we got some great family "action" shots!

 I just love my silly boy!
Now for the Arizona locals! 
If you're looking for a fun thing to do this holiday season you've got to come see:

After a few years dancing in the show and then two years as assistant director this will be my first year as an audience member and I am so excited for the experience! I truly love this show and really encourage you to go! It's such a sweet take on the traditional ballet with the kick of Irish step dancing!

I'd love to meet up with fellow bloggers in attendance so make sure to comment and let me know if you're coming! Tickets are on sale now and selling fast. (We have completely sold out the last few years so don't delay!) Click {HERE} for ticket information!

Saturday, November 27, 2010


So I don't consider myself a designer but I have fun making cards in Photoshop. Maybe one day I'll get good enough to sell a line, but for now I'll just give them away for free! If you'd like to use any of these cards this year just email me at and I'll customize it for you with your picture, names etc. and send the high res copy back! A great way to kickoff the holiday season! 
Merry Christmas!

Vintage                                                                   Stamp 2


Grandma's Attic

Stamp 1

Cards are for personal use only. All pictures copyright of DoChara Photography.

Thank you to Shabby Princess & Pixels & Ice Cream for your awesome digital scrapbooking freebies that allow me to play!

Friday, November 26, 2010



{click each image to view full size then save to your computer}

I have really liked the Subway Art I've been seeing everywhere but it just doesn't quite match my decorating style so I thought I'd make some myself with a little twist. I designed them to hang in three black frames side by side in this order on my wall. I won't  be putting them up till we are in the new house though!

Anyway I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and aren't running too wild shopping today! If any of you use these print outs I would LOVE to see so please email me pictures at

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Mother's Thanksgiving Plea for Advice: Please Help Me!

Alright ladies, I need help. I am one night away from completely loosing it. Asher WILL NOT SLEEP. I need advice on bedtime routine, what to do when he wakes up, should we ditch bottles all together etc. Asher is almost 14 months old mostly walking, but not talking at all yet. He is a good napper and usually naps once a day but sneaks in a little afternoon cat nap in the car if needed. But here are the problems I'm facing:

Problem #1: We give him water in this bottle during the day he's addicted to it. He whines for it ALL DAY LONG. Which living in Arizona I haven't really cared because he needs to drink water and let's face it, it keeps him quiet and happy in stores and at friends homes etc. He will drink from a sippy cup but it comes out so much faster that he fills his mouth then spits it out and ends up with a soaking wet shirt. He hasn't master the straw sippy yet and mostly gets frustrated with it.

Problem #2: Our current bedtime routine consists of either the hubs or I snuggling up with Asher and giving him 12..yes TWELVE ounces of milk in his Bottles(s) (one ounce less and he screams) to go to sleep. He falls asleep on the bottle and we put him in bed.

Problem #3: Every night before we go to bed we have to sneak in and change his diaper while he's asleep or he'll pee the bed. Stupid 12 oz of milk.

Problem #4: Now is where the big problem comes in. Anywhere between 12:30-2am Asher will wake up. He usually wakes up screaming and won't give up and go back to sleep. On nights that he wakes up and doesn't scream he'll crash around his crib, try to get out and chew the wood crib rail like a freaken beaver. Regardless of the behavior he WILL NOT go back to sleep and days he doesn't start out screaming it will still usually come later. The only way we've been able to get him back to sleep each night is another bottle with water. Usually only 2-4oz does it but still, it's ANOTHER bottle.

Problem #5: After this midnight wake up he repeats this every 2 hours until he's up for good at 7am. You can see why I'm about to loose it!

He was a fantastic sleeper, slept through the night no problem and woke up happy until about 9months. Asher and I went to Canada for a month and everything went to crap. He would constantly wake up in the night and I was worried he'd wake up my parents so I shoved a bottle in his mouth. Yes I take complete blame for this addiction. Ever since this behavior pattern started it has only gotten worse. I need it to stop before baby #2 arrives in March or I may as well check myself into the loony bin. 

What do I do? I'm thinking the 1st step is getting rid of the bottles all together. Cold turkey, pack them up - gone. He can have a sippy cup for his water and milk at night. But how do I transition bedtime? Give him milk an hour before bed so he can pee it out before hand and fall asleep without it? What do you do in your family that's worked for you? Please leave a comment with any advice you have for me! I need it big time. I'm labeling Black Friday as D Day for all this to go down. The hubs will be in town for a good couple days strait to back me up so please, please help!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It's Bitter Sweet: The Great Wall Finished

For those of you that have been reading you know I've had to relocate my craft room a couple times this last year. I was really excited with the last decision to move it back upstairs and just have everything organized in shelves in the guest room. Since I'd always end up pulling supplies out to the dining room table I figure this was the best plan.

A Craiglist shelves super find, some Joanne storage boxes and a few hours of organization later I was in heaven!
 Total project including shelves cost only $200.00! And it's so pretty!! Everything is organized perfectly and makes quick projects so fast!


One of my favorite features is the card station!
The middle pull down shelf makes a great table top for writing cards and notes! I have utilized this feature several times since putting it all together!


Here is another little pretty feature! Ashley from Cute as a Fox made me the Paris picture for my birthday last summer and I just love it!


After a year of debate, paperwork and decision making we are finally selling our house. We found an amazing rental that I am head over heels in love with! (More on that to come!) The problem...the shelves won't work in the new house...ANYWHERE! :( I do have a great new built in area to organize everything close to the dining room but I will be sad to say goodbye to the pretty white shelves. We move in December it looks like I'll be using these pictures in a Craigslist post! Hopefully they will find another crafter as eager to use them as I was.

Monday, November 22, 2010


I feel like i haven't made anything craft wise in FOREVER! After summer travels, morning sickness and now the fact that we are moving I really have zero time. I even had grand ideas of making all my Christmas cards by hand this year...yeah...doubt that will be happening!

But I did find some inspiration today for other projects. Wrapped in a heated blanket drinking some spiced cider this morning I opened my google reader and started browsing. Here are a few tutorials I think are simply amazing and I really hope I can find time to make these!

#1. One Time Use Soap Leaves 
These are so adorable and what a great gift idea! I have so many of these leaves lying around I could make them today! Ohh and I can't wait to see what I can find for a Christmas version...maybe snowflakes?  So fun!
Click {HERE} to view the complete tutorial!

#2. Homemade Christmas Crackers
Christmas crackers have always been a big tradition in my family and I quickly emailed this tutorial to my mom, step mom and sister! I don't think I'll ever buy these again!
Click {HERE} to see the complete tutorial.

#3. DIY Big Box Advent Calendar
Holy freaken awesomness! (really there are no other words!) This may be a bigger project than I can handle this Christmas but eventually I would love to make one for each boy! Hmm....if I made Asher's next year and baby boy #2's the year after then I'd have a good variety of matching paper sets...ok now I'm just rambling! Eek, I'm so excited I just love it!
Click {HERE} to see the complete tutorial!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Tiny Prints Inspired Custom Birth Announcment

My beautiful bestie Claire welcomed the birth of her 2nd child; handsome little Eli, back in September. On a phone call last night she was complaining about the lack of good birth announcement options she'd found in her small Canadian town and I kind of chuckled and said, "Uh Claire...I can make you one!" 
(Sometimes my friends forget I have mad skills!)
Anyway I sent her some American websites to check out for inspiration since I knew she'd already have something in mind and she very quickly replied with an example she loved from Tiny Prints. So I immediately got to work and here is the final product!

Isn't he adorable!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Baby Boy #2 Nursery {Part 2}

It's starting to come together! 
I can't express how excited I am about this room!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It's Slowly Sinking In...

So I'm having a little cry tonight. It's slowly sinking in that one of my best friends is moving away. Like really moving away, to the other side of the country away, and soon.
I'm thrilled for her husband's career accomplishments but I don't want her to go. I want her to stay here so we can keep crafting, shopping, sewing, blogging, eating, shooting (camera not gun), raising our kids, hanging out and having fun together. Is that so much to ask?

I'm honestly not sure what I'm going to do without her.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Baby Boy #2 Nursery {Part 1}

So I finally made some decisions on Baby Boy #2's nursery decor! I am so excited now I can hardly wait to get the room done! Here is a little sneak peek!

My amazing cousin Staci from Just Sew Sassy has been officially contracted to sew me all custom duds for this baby! Yeah she's awesome like that! 

Here is the main fabric & inspiration:

Michael Miller Gray Bicycles

In addition to solids here are some coordinating Michael Miller fabrics I like. 
(The exact ones we'll use are still undecided)

 And look at the little number I snagged of Craigslist today!

This vintage wonder will serve as room decor when I'm not stealing it for photo shoots! 

Here is the crib currently in the lead. 
(We'll be getting the matching dresser etc too.)

Now you can see why I'm so excited!! Oh and I am leaning toward orange as an accent color! 
What do ya think???

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Jared Fowler: Amazing Artist / Free Download

     Jared Fowler’s adventure into music started at the age of 11, when sitting silently at his grandmother’s funeral. As part of the wake, everyone present listened to the music that his grandmother Georgina Palfrey, had written during World War 2, almost 30 years in the past. The revelation came to Jared that music is the transporter of emotion into sound.

     For the next 19 years Jared begin creating music. He received lessons first on banjo for 3 years, which got his fingers moving and ears listening. Then in high school discovering that girls liked smooth guitar more than the twanging banjo, he switched to guitar and only looked back, a few times.

     Since inception, Jared’s music has never been nonsensical or trite. He writes about real emotions, real experiences with real feelings. Every song has a meaning and a story woven into it. Some songs are written with a message intended, others are written as a catharsis to avoid feverish tears. All Jared’s music has meaning, he suggests and promotes his fans to read his lyrics and poetry to better understand him and his method.

     For the better part of the last 7 years Jared has been playing his music all across BC and Alberta. 2 Western Canada tours, countless festivals, and a highly anticipated debut CD put Jared at the top of all the indie music to come from Vancouver.

Currently streaming Made for Me featuring Jared's beautiful wife Angie.

Past and current, counting 93 performances in 2010 alone and continue to include:

Cranberry Festival Ft. Langley
Leigh Square Music Festival Port Coquitlam
Berry Beat Festival Abbotsford
Art on the Farm Chilliwack
BC Songwriters Association Solo Showcase Langley
Canola Festival Fort St. John
Farmers Market Surrey
Western Canadian Tours – Spring and Winter 2010

Love it & want more? Just let him know!
Jared is giving Aly&Ash readers a free download of his song Someone!
Just "like" Jared Fowler on Facebook and leave him
a comment telling him what you think and where you heard him then he'll send you a free download!
Yup, he's just that awesome! So go now and check out more of Jared's songs on facebook!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Wendy's Winner!

I hope you all had a wonderful Halloweekend! I'll be posting pictures from our family's festivities soon but in the mean time here is the winner of the Wendy's Pick Two gift card!
Ginny said...
I'd pick the Apple pecan salad and the baked potato

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Little Vinyl Face Lift!

I love vinyl and I am lucky enough to have an amazing friend who has a fantastic vinyl business and makes me everything I need!
(Love you Marni!) 
Some areas of my house needed a little face lift for fall so here is what I did!

Love love love it! Thank again Marni! 
Everyone make sure you click the button above & check out her blog/website, she's amazing!