Archive for September, 2012

Happy Friday everyone! As promised, today I am posting part 3 of the most recent maternity and newborn lifestyle sessions. Today we are highlighting the nursery of a beautiful and very lucky baby girl!

Hello Amanda! I am so thrilled to be able to show everyone your daughter’s beautiful nursery. Thank you so much for taking the time to tell us all about what makes Leala’s room so special!

Q: Firstly, I know that you decorated the nursery yourself. Where did you find your inspiration or ideas for the room?
A: Most of the inspiration and ideas for Leala’s nursery came from Google searches, Pinterest, and the colors of a mix of Potpourri that we have in our guest bathroom. Another inspiration was my mom who is an interior decorator, so naturally, growing up my bedrooms were always beautifully designed. Having my own haven to come home to always provided a sense of comfort and beauty. I’m hopeful that Leala will feel that too.

Q: Did you have a particular theme in mind or a favorite color? What was your starting point for the design?
A: Well I definitely knew from the beginning that our daughter’s room needed to be designed with bright and cheerful colors. She was very active in my belly so we figured a happy colorful room would suit her personality. So I started the design process by looking for art, hoping to find the “inspiration piece”. Google helped with this one, I literally searched for, “happy nursery art” and then came across What a fantastic website for children’s art! I was so excited to find “Cherry Blossom Birdies”. I loved the happy birds and the color pallet of pinks, teals, greens, ivory, and brown. All other aspects of the nursery design developed around that piece.
After finding the art I realized we have a bowl of potpourri in our guest bathroom with those same colors. I’m a visual person and the matching colors of the potpourri further confirmed my decision on the nursery’s color pallet.

Q: Your paint selections are wonderful too and the striped wall is fantastic. Do you recall what colors you used? Did you paint yourself and if so, was it difficult to create the stripes?
A: Thanks! The colors on the walls are from Sherwin Williams. The off white is Roman Column (SW 7562) and the teal is Embellished Blue (SW 6749). My father painted the room for us – what an amazing gift! He’s a great painter and the walls turned out beautifully. He started with the Roman Column on all four walls. Once dry, we both spent probably half a day prepping the back wall for the stripes. We are both extremely detail oriented so as tedious as it was, it ended up being a fun project to work on together (and my husband was more than happy to let us.) We were all relieved though when the prep work was completed. After that, my dad finished the stripes in Embellished Blue.
The most helpful tool we had was our laser level ($15 from Home Depot). Without it, creating straight stripes would have been impossible.
I found a blog online that shared a GREAT tip for painting stripes on a wall. It explained that if you first seal the painters tape with a thin coat of the base color (for us, Roman Column) and let that dry, the striped color wouldn’t bleed through. It worked! We’re all very pleased with how it turned out.

Q: What item do you think had the biggest influence on the design path for the rest of the room?
A: Once again, the piece of art from It inspired every design decision made for her nursery. It was so fun to create a design pallet based on those colors and that happy feeling.

Q: Please tell us about the furnishings and the textiles in the room. Did you shop local for any of the furnishings or decor? If so, what items did you find locally and where?
A: Locally we found the crib at Baby Furniture Plus here in Columbia, SC. I knew I wanted an espresso colored crib to match the brown in the painting, but wanted to make sure that dark color wouldn’t be too overpowering in the room. So we decided to go with a traditional style crib because it was more “dainty” than most of the convertible cribs we saw. I love the lines of the crib, especially the feet as they remind me of a French vintage piece of furniture. I looked for that style of dresser on Craigslist and found one in Charlotte for $50!
I went the Craigslist route because I was inspired by an online tutorial on how to refinish a dresser and wanted to take the DIY plunge. The dresser/changing table required a complete overhaul of stripping, wood filling, sanding, priming, sanding again due to wrong primer, priming again, painting, sealing, and drilling holes for new knobs. The paint color is Sherwin Williams Tame Teal (SW6757) and the knobs are from Lowes and were very similar to the knobs from Restoration Hardware that I originally had my eye on. I considered this my special project for the sweet little girl that was growing inside my belly.
The side table was given to us by my father-in-law. It was originally dark green so I pulled a lime green from the Cherry Blossom painting for a splash of warmth. It was a breeze to paint after the complications of the dresser. The green is from Lowes -Valspar’s Lime Mousse.
I found the ideas for the book shelves and the curtain panels from Pinterest. The book shelves hanging on the wall are actually just spice racks from Ikea. They sell out quickly so I learned after several trips to check their website to make sure they’re in stock. They were a light wood and I spray painted them dark brown to match the crib. The linen curtains were purchased from Bed Bath and Beyond, it was super easy to sew on the Pom Pom Fringe (from Joanns) before hanging.
The rug and glider were gifts from family and both from Pottery Barn Kids. The bookcase was ordered new from JCPenny, I contemplated painting that, but decided to keep its original color. Lastly, the bedding was purchased from an etsy shop – the patterns, ruffles, and colors still make me smile!

Q: I love the different art pieces in the nursery too. Can you tell me about them? Do any of the art items or accessories in the nursery have any special significance to you or your family?
A: Thanks! The monogram over the bed is the newest addition to the nursery. I purchased the wooden letters from and painted them a bubble gum pink. For the background I ended up wrapping a canvas in a beautiful lace from House of Fabrics here in Columbia. Once wrapped, I used craft glue to attach the letters.

The angel wings and frame were in my mother’s home and were given to us when Leala was born. The frame was an antique gold that we decided to spruce up with pink! We love how that turned out.

A few special accessories from my childhood are the mirror, the silver teacup, and the wooden wagon on the last shelf of the dresser. I have fond memories of them all and am grateful my mother saved them for my daughter. Books were always special to Michael and I and we’re hoping Leala will feel the same way – all of the books in her bookshelf, with the exception of the top shelf, are Michael’s and mine from childhood. The booties on the bookcase were made by my husband’s maternal great grandmother, we cannot wait to share that piece of family history with Leala someday. She also has a few hand knitted blankets from her great grandmother and some very loving friends that we wanted to be sure to display.

Now we’re just waiting to put one of our newborn shots above the dresser! Once that’s up, the room will feel complete.

Q: Where did you splurge and where did you save?
A: We splurged on the bedding! And we’re so happy we did. As I previously mentioned, I found the bedding from an etsy shop – once again, thanks to a Google search, this time for “green, pink, and aqua nursery” images. The owner of the etsy shop custom makes all of her bedding. It was a little pricey, but since we saved in so many other areas of the room we decided splurging on the bedding would be ok.

All of the pieces of furniture (except for the bookcase and mirror) were gifts or hand-me-downs from our family – so we definitely saved there. A big THANK YOU to Grandpa Jeff, Grammie, Pop Pop, Lala, Papa Tom, Papa Mike, H-Chie, Aunt Abbey and Aunt Mary Kay for helping make Leala’s nursery so special! We love you!

Q: What would you say was your very best purchase in preparing for Leala’s arrival?
A: To be honest, the nursery is amazing and we cannot wait for her to start enjoying it. But I’d say the most valued purchase to our family is the newborn photography session. The pictures are breathtaking and they captured our family at this moment in time. All members of our family will benefit from them for years to come. Leala is going to love looking back at her beginnings!

Ahem! I would just like to insert here that the previous response was totally unsolicited! Do you see why I think I have the most fabulous clients in the world?!

Q: Is there anything you would change?
A: I’ve been thinking about changing the background of the monogram. I might paint the canvas a lime green, then add the lace back on. I’ll test it out when I find some time.

I’d also change our carpet. That was the original carpet when we purchased our house – it’s in great condition, but I’m not crazy about the color. Maybe down the line.

Tania: I love reading the Q&A and seeing how an idea became a concept,that resulted into a creative venture, that in the end produced such an amazing haven of awesomeness for their princess. Just stunning! I think in life we all that 1 piece of art that inspires us- Love that they used a piece of inspiration and built on it. Their daughter will love that there was so much thought and love put into this! Amazing work Ashley- how blessed they are to have you capture these images!

Kel Ward: I have GOT to stop looking at your Nestorations post! I love decorating and, darn it, I am DONE having babies, but I want to decorate a nursery! Haha. This is GORGEOUS! I love the fun mix of pieces and colors. She did an AMAZING job! I also literally LOL when I saw the last photo. TOO cute!

Amy Medeiros: I LOVE Leala's nursery and hearing all the thought and care that went into it!

Carrie: Oh how gorgeous! And the last shot of the puppy is so adorable!!

Gail: I love these nursery posts! Such sweet treasures to know all the thought that goes into a nursery - and it looks like baby thinks her room is the perfect nest for sleeping! So pretty!!!

amy lenhart: what a gorgeous nursery!!! i totally smiled at the little baby just chilling back in her crib ahaha!! ove the subtle stripes on the one wall!

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This was so much fun to put together. I hope you enjoy this beautiful family’s story as much as I enjoyed creating the images that tell it:)

Ami: They are beautiful prtcuies. I have never seen such professional prtcuies of a newborn. It is amazing. It is great to see the black and white too. Very fun.Caroline

This is part 2 in a 3 part post….a continuation from the latest maternity session post. I enjoyed every moment with this family. These images are from a full newborn session and because this couple was willing to share so much with me, we were able to get an incredible selection of images from their session.

I hope you enjoy looking through the portraits and I think I will let them tell the story! Check back soon for images from their beautiful nursery!!!

Justyna: Sigh... You have such distinct style, so unique and lovely, I just adore every image. Wonderful family and beautiful babe too.

Gail: Whoa! What an incredible variety for this ADORABLE little family! Baby girl has so many sweet expressions and quite the personality for being a newborn! Beautiful work!!!

Diane Richardson: I loved all of the pictures - so sweet and loving.

Barbara: I don't think you'll ever have a hard time getting a babysitter. Leila is precious!

Kara Layfield: I am speechless! These images are pure magic!! You captured beautiful moments that this family will cherish for a lifetime. What I wouldn't give to have images like this when I was a new Mom. Beautiful work Ashley...just beautiful!

debra: I am overcome with emotion looking at this lovely family ! Truly an excellent capture of their love. They are part of my family so naturally I am biased, but the artistic nature of this photo shoot is incredible. You have captured their essence. Baby is a natural beauty, as are her parents. Fantastic job - hope I will get a copy of my own to enjoy :)

Tania: Simply stunning, you work blows me away! I love the colors in life that you capture. Always so fresh and lovely. The baby and her family are stunning! Great work my friend!

Tiara: Adorable family and amazing session. Love the lighting and the ones with Momma and Daddy singing to the baby make my heart melt!

Amanda: Ashley these photos are amazing! Thank you for posting this blog and allowing all of our friends and family to see your gorgeous work! We are so pleased with how all of the pictures turned out, you captured some very special moments to us! Thank you!

Leah: These are amazing! Fantastic pictures of a beautiful family!

Rick Byers: Beautiful pictures of beautiful people.

Amber: Oh Ashley...oh my WORD. I think your work is beyond insanely gorgeous, but this session in particular is just so fantastic!!

Mark Nystrom: Simply beautiful!! How I wish I had pictures like this for my girls and their mom. Great job!! Thanks for sharing.

Amy: Oh Ashley I LOVE these!!!!!!! FABULOUS

Shelby: WoW! You seriously amaze me. Awesome session with this gorgeous family! So much variety and indeed a beautiful story.

Shelby: WoW! You seriously amaze me. This beautiful young family has so many gorgeous images...images that tell such a wonderful story.

Kel Ward: OMG! I just commented on the maternity session, only to see this one! Wow...I'm in AWE of the beauty here. Your work combined with this gorgeous family and their awesome home just makes for a striking combination. Holy cow.

Amy Medeiros: These are all SO gorgeous! Wow, I love them! You got so many amazing shots of this beautiful family and I love all Leala's expressions.

Susie Mandel: Beautiful pictures of a beautiful family, Ashley!

I love maternity sessions. The promise and hope and anticipation that a couple feels at this time is tremendous and I FEEL it coming off of them in a maternity session. And this makes me so happy. Watching their sweet interactions and the tenderness between them and knowing of how happy they are to bring a new life into the world….it is truly a beautiful thing. I feel moved every time I have this opportunity. And grateful.

So, this is the first part in a 3 post series. This couple hired me for their newborn photography session and decided to also have me capture them pre-baby during a maternity session. And we also decided to feature their beautiful nursery in a Newborn Nestorations post. So check back next week for parts 2 and 3. You will love them!

Now on the the maternity images! Enjoy!

Tania: So gorgeous! Love the connection you captured and so sweetly shared! Awesome!!!!

Shelby: There is always a sweet treat when I visit your blog! What an awesome session! LOVE this beautiful Mommy and Daddy interaction and that you took this session into the kitchen! The addition of their fur baby makes this session perfect. Can't wait to see their upcoming sessions!

Kara Layfield: These images are lovely! Mom and Dad are such a cute couple...I love the ones of them eating watermelon in the kitchen. You don't miss a single detail. I cannot wait to see more from this session!

Gail: Oh my goodness - this is one seriously CUTE couple and I bet the baby is ADORABLE! I love hoe you captured their playful personalities in this GORGOUS set! Awesome work!!!

Aunt Mary Kay: This is my precious niece-to-be and her wonderful parents. Our family is so blessed. Thank you for capturing what we have always seen in them. A beautiful couple filled with so much love - they are ready to share with their daughter! Looking forward to part 2 & 3.

Mel: Beautiful and sweet! Love the bottle prep next to the sink and are those ultrasound pictures on the fridge? Too cute!

Kel Ward: I love these! She is drop dead gorgeous, their house is beautiful, and I love the watermelon! Oh, I love the sign on the door too. Adorable! You have such an artistic eye!

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