Pinspiration Friday {And a Big Announcement!}

For this weeks Pinspiration Friday, please head on over to Chevron Stitches.

What is Chevron Stitches? Well, it is my new blog! The Little Willow Tree has been great, it’s been a great first year, but I have outgrown the vision I had for this blog a year ago and feel that my new blog is more of a representation of who I am and what my purpose is.

It is currently undergoing a major upgrade from the fun little template that is on there now to an amazing design that will soon be revealed. {Blog design by Lauren of The Perfect Pear Design} But I promise you that what I have in store for you over at Chevron Stitches will be better than what I have offered you here.

I have thought long and hard about the decision, to move to Blogger and change the name. I’ve prayed about it too. With some great advice and encouragement from some of my best bloggie buddies and a referral to the amazing Lauren for a blog design, I decided to take that jump. Most of what has held me back is the fear of losing followers and having to rebuild everything back up again. But much like The Little Willow Tree, it will take time and the risk of losing a few of you against continuing to blog that doesn’t leave me feeling fulfilled is a risk I don’t mind taking. But I hope that if you have me bookmarked, saved on your Blogroll or Google Reader, that you will follow me over to Blogger and follow Chevron Stitches.

A lot of the reason why I chose to make the move to Blogger is to make link ups and giveaways not only easier for me, but for you too! Blogger also allows me to customize my posts better as well as the overall look and feel of the blog entirely. Another reason is its all wrapped up and tied with a bow with my Google account so the sharing ability and social networking for myself and the blog are not all over the place. I’m a bit of an organizational freak so having everything in one place for me is amazing!

I really appreciate all that you, my readers, followers, have done for me. Your support in sharing, commenting, participating and giving me feedback has been amazing. I love you guys so much! You make my love for blogging that much more amazing and I want to have all of that with you all over at Chevron Stitches.

So lets add the new blog to your bookmarks, sit back and relax for a bit. The new blog design will be ready very soon and a big, really awesome, reveal will happen. You will not be disappointed! And in the meantime, I’ll be posting over there.

Thanks, again, for all your support!

Xoxo,

Advertisements

You’ve Been Mugged | A Mug Swap!

*Sign Ups are now CLOSED! Thank you to everyone who signed up!*

Who doesn’t love sitting down and enjoying a nice cup of coffee or tea? And what a better season to enjoy all those yummy flavors? {Pumpkin Spice Latté anyone?}

Well…

You’ve Been Mugged! A mug swap to help prepare you for all those yummy flavors and make some lovely friends at the same time! Get warm and cozy in front of the fire and meet…

Heidi from Mustache Mama

&

ME, Ashley Marie.!

When Heidi asked if I’d co-host a mug swap with her I jumped all over that! I had sew much fun with the Sew Swap and have participated in a bunch of other swaps after that; I just couldn’t pass this opportunity up. Plus I’ve been {secretly} wanting one of those herringbone mugs from Target that I never got a chance to get my hands on… {hint hint}. I also need a new mug to pour all these awesome fall flavors in to.

What to do and dates to remember:

-Email one of your hosts that you want to sign up! {We will then send you a few questions to answer}

-Sign ups close October 24th

-You will receive your partner information on October 31st

-Shop for your partner and mail off their mug by November 12th

-Come back to either mine or Heidi’s blog to link up on December 5th

Don’t have a blog? Post your mugs on Instagram using #youvebeenmugged and tag us @mustache_mama and @littlewillowtree

Tons of fun, right?

Hurry and sign up now! We can’t wait to mug you!

*Open to US residents only*

Email:

Heidi: themustachemama {at} gmail {dot} com

or

Ashley Marie.: willow.little {at} gmail {dot} com


Visit Top Mommy Blogs To Vote For Me

Interview | Sassy Lemonade

How fun is that name? I ‘met’ Shannon of Sassy Lemonade on Instagram {gotta love the Insta!} after lurking her handmade jewelry for a while. I’m not a huge jewelry person, but her stuff was hard to resist! I love how unique each and every piece is and well put together too! After having conversations via email, I decided I would love to interview her for the blog! So I gathered up some questions and sent them her way..

Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself outside of your blog and Etsy?

I am a WAHM of four, a military wife, and have a busy life; but I love it

When did you start Sassy Lemonade {Etsy}?

Sassy Lemonade opened August of 2011

Where do you get your inspirations from to create your unique and sassy jewlz?

I make pieces that I would wear and that I wish I had. I’m kind of obsessed with anything that Sparkles.

Do you do any other crafting other than jewelry making?

Right now I only know how to knit scarves hopefully soon will learn to knit something else. Tried sewing once and kind of flunked home ec when I turned in a Pajama bag that was tied with a shoe string. Funny tidbit my Mother taught Sewing Lessons, I didn’t get that gene.

What did you do before Sassy Lemonade?

Besides finding a Roller Derby League, I was a Personal Assistant and a SAHM since 2003.

You were into the Derby life – can you tell us a bit more about that and what your Derby Girl name is?

I Founded DC Rollergirls in 2006 and my Derby name is Miss Priss. I retired officially in 2009 when I found out I was pregnant with my son Derby. Roller Derby was my life for so many years, the thrill and excitement was worth the bruises and broken bones.

Describe yourself in three words:

Loyal, Outgoing, and Spontaneous

Where did the name ‘Sassy Lemonade’ from?

I wanted a name that would reflect me; I’m sort of sassy. Thats the reason why my Derby name is Miss Priss.

Do you do all the home cookin or does the hubbs take care of the meals?

I cook all the meals besides BBQing, I let my husband be in charge of that.

What’s your favorite dish to make {or eat}?

Italian Breaded Shrimp Skewers, they are easy to make and a hit at get-togethers.

You’re participating in the Sew Swap I am hosting {yay!}, but what has been your favorite type of swap you’ve participated and your favorite item received?

Did a Swap that was called My Favorite Things. For 3 months you send a package of items to your partner each month. It felt like Christmas every month.

Cake or pie?

Cake

Thank you, Shannon, for taking the time out for me for this interview! Those shrimp skewers sound yummy and Im envious of your Roller Derby days! You’re definitely one hardcore, fun, and sassy mama!

To find out more of what Sassy Lemonade is up to, be sure to follow:

Facebook

Twitter

Etsy

Pinterest

And see my feature on her blog!

Visit Top Mommy Blogs To Vote For Me

Thankful Thursday Coffee Date with Mustache Mama

It’s time for Thankful Thursday with the Mustache Mama again!

This week I am thankful for my kids. I’ve seen both of my kids grow in huge ways this past month and it makes me so proud and so thankful. Recently I have realized, like really really realized, that being a mother is someone I was meant to be. Looking back in my journey in life I can see moments when God was pressing on my heart to be a mom to Bry and to be a mom again to Oliver. And since I have been able to be home with them and be more involved in their growth, seeing them reach a milestone fills my heart with so much joy. And in return, they’ve help me grow into who I am and have led me to make more positive choices in all our lives.

Im simply just thankful to wake up to my kids’ smiling faces with hugs and kisses and I love you’s.

image


Interview | Sweet Lavender Bake Shoppe

I ‘met’ the girl behind Sweet Lavender Bake Shoppe on Instagram and have been following her ever since. {Turns out, we have a few mutual friends!} She was offering a button swap for her blog and did a featured sponsors post last month; I was so honored to be a part of that. And now I am here to introduce you to her.

Since we don’t live near each other, I sent her over some interview questions and she fired away with awesome, silly, and fun answers. It’s time to meet the girl behind Sweet Lavender Bake Shoppe…

Where did your love of baking stem from?

I sort of developed my culinary addiction when I was a little girl. As soon as I discovered the now-popular “Food Network” Channel, I was hooked! I kid not, I was like…12 years old, glued to the T.V…watching Emeril Lagasse make New Orleans inspired gumbo and loving every second of it. It became my sort of comfort- if I went out of town on vacation with the family, or spent a summer at a relative’s house- I felt at home and less homesick if the darn channel was on. Then, after a few years at college I decided my current career path wasn’t right for me and changed my major within one summer- to Culinary Arts. It was at school that I discovered the art of baking. Not only baking, but fine dining dessert making. Brulees, chocolate and sugar sculpting, tortes and tarts, decadent 12 layer cakes- I was obsessed. So, naturally after graduating with my Le Cordon Bleu degree I worked in fine dining kitchens doing…desserts.

When did you first start baking?
I began baking from a really young age. My first memory of being in the kitchen was in an old house my family lived in- some weekend morning…let’s just say a Sunday for story’s sake- and I wanted to make my mom pancakes. Trying to do it alone (yes, I was at an age I could “cook” alone) I made the batter…using olive oil instead of a neutral oil you’d usually use. I had no clue there was a difference…but boy was there! They were terrible! I since learned to read and follow recipes VERY carefully.
What is your favorite thing to bake for the shoppe?
Since I don’t have an actual shop, my “shoppe” is my teeny tiny kitchen in the home my husband and I share (with our two cantankerous cats). I love making cupcakes actually. I know, super cliche’ but it’s true. They’re my favorite. Cute little individual sized portions of cake- how could you go wrong!? Oh! Then there’s pie too… <— GAW I LOVE PIE! Those would be some favorites. Basically I love baking anything I know I am going to share with loved ones. Sweets make people happy, and I love that aspect of them. It’s a good feeling when something you’ve poured your heart into, is being devoured, loved, and thoroughly enjoyed by the ones closest to you.
What do you like to bake for your home outside of the shoppe?
See above question 😉
How do you balance your baking, Etsy, blog, Instagram, Twitter with your every day life?

HA! WHO KNOWS! I sure as heck don’t. It’s something I honestly struggle with myself. There are days I think I’ve got it covered- the balancing act that is. Then there are days I am so overwhelmed I want to throw my phone and computer out the window and hide in a dark room for weeks. BUT I will say, something I’ve learned over the years is this- you don’t have to do it all at once. It’s ok to get to that email tomorrow. It’s ok if you don’t post that picture to Instagram right away…or at all. That blog you’ve been meaning to get up, can actually wait until you’re rested and ready to pour your 100% into it. No one wants to read 30% of you- that’s lame and boring. If you’re exhausted it will show. Rest, relax, and get to it another day. Take days off. I try to take every Sunday off for personal life, church, whatever. Oh! And another thing I’ve learned- there IS indeed a power button on your phone. Use it. I have to force myself to turn my phone off in the evening, after my husband has come home from work. This blogging business is important…but so are snuggles with the man you love.

Describe yourself in 3 words
Wordy. Honest. Strangely Insecure. Shoot that’s 4! Ooops, now 10! UGHHHHH!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself outside of baking and social networking?
I am a pastry chef, wife, friend, sister, daughter, follower of Jesus, lover of love stories, and literally adore everything sweet. I spend my free time crocheting, reading magazines, dating my husband, coffee dating my girl friends, spending time with my Heavenly Father, or any combination of the two. I can’t help but enter any cooking store, farmer’s market, thrift store or Anthropologie and have a serious problem hoarding cooking/baking books, old thrift store/vintage clothes and aprons. Seriously…my house is bursting at the seams with them. I consider my two cats two of my best friends and I’m not ashamed to say that. They literally crack me up when we have late night girl time over coffee….wait? What? Scratch that.
Would you consider yourself a crafty gal and if so what type of crafts do you like?

I didn’t used to! If you were to ask me this a couple years ago I would have given you an, “Ehhhhhh…” But now- SHOOT! Yeah I guess I am! Some of the things I dabble in are my edible decorations I create for my Etsy store and lately, crocheting. Who wooda thunk? I friggin love crocheting! Remind me to show you this blanket I’m currently making….

Are you a sewer?
HA! No. The end.
We know you love to bake, but what is your favorite thing to make for dinner or does your hubby do all of the cooking?

I am the cooker of the house. I give that boy an A+ for trying though. It’s not his strong suit, but he’s learning! Yay! I’m not a recipe girl, when it comes to cooking. I never have been. If I even open a cookbook or read a recipe it’s more to get the “feel” of the dish, then go on from there. All I need is a 30 second basic read/run through and I’m good to go. So our dinners are different, every.single.night. There is however ONE recipe I do use…and we love it with our whole hearts. I’ve named it, “Virginian BBQ Chicken” and it came from a visit to a dear dear friend in…well…Virginia. She made it for me one night while I was visiting: it was quite possibly the best thing I had ever eaten. I acquired said recipe (which was nameless) and the rest is history. Apparently this chicken is made by the locals of a particular town- they BBQ on the side of the road and you can drive along side and order some! Oh how I wish that was here. They’d make a fortune from us.

Do you have a muse or gain any inspiration from any one person or place?
I gain inspiration from a lot of places and people. There are so many inspiring people and things out there! Some of my more inspiring…inspirations (what the heck?) come from my husband, Anthropologie, blogs I frequent, Pinterest,  Giada De Laurentiis, and everyday experiences.
Any future plans of opening a brick and mortar shoppe?

The question of all questions! Boy how we’ve talked and pondered on this one. I guess the only answer I can give is, “We’ll see! All in His timing”.

{full page feature in Brides mag!}

Thank you Christina for letting me interview you! It was fun, even via email. I hope some day soon I can try one of your cupcakes & pie… two of my favorite sweets. Wait, Cremé Bruleé is too.

To find out more of what Sweet Lavender Bake Shoppe is up to, be sure to follow:

Facebook

Twitter

Etsy

Pinterest

Giveaway…. Almost

I’m really trying to get myself out there more through blogging, Facebook, Twitter, as well as Etsy. I own a shop and one of my life-long goals is to open an actual storefront featuring my handmade products.

What better way to promote myself than to offer up something in return for helping spread the word about me?

Please, visit my Facebook page and ‘like’ it. I currently have 129 ‘likes’ and would like to reach 150 in a week {by Friday the 17th}. If I can reach 150 ‘likes’ by then, I will have a giveaway here on the blog featuring one of my very own handmade products. I wont reveal what it is until I reach that amount, IF reached within the time frame.

So please; share my page with your friends on twitter, facebook, etc. and help me get my name out there! I would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you!

~Ashley Marie.