The Year in Review 2012

A year is a long time when you look back on it.  My mom was here until today so we all filled out some New Year’s Resolutions sheets and shared them.  Here is Boo’s sheet:


The big thing that stood out to me in Boo’s highlights: “Nothing” was hard this year. What a blessing considering the last two years we had. Boo thinks it was all an awesome rollercoaster.  When I think back 12 months it doesn’t even seem like January was part of this year.  Twelve months ago I was starting the new year with more aggressive chemotherapy.


So, the first real memorable event of 2012 was losing my hair:


I don’t remember much about the rest of the first half of the year…..I attribute that to the “fog” of chemotherapy. My posts were all over the place: Cancer, Parenting, Nothing, DIY, Random, repeat.  As I started to look through posts from last year it was hard to pick out any one thing that stood out…..but based on comments and visits……some of your favorite non-DIY posts were:

White Coat Syndrome

Boo Hack

Lisbeth Saaaahl-Laaahnder

Please Comment or Lisa Will Cry (this one might have been cheating from the title….)

A Confession

A Comfort Shower

Mr. LBB: An Interview

Email Love

Email Love Volume 2

Other People’s Cars

My Life is a Lumpy Circle

Only If You Want To

Why I’ll Never Tell You How To Parent

Little House in the Desert


Apparently poop is popular (based on Google searches to my blog too). Human or otherwise:


Pooping and the H Word


And aside from random posts…..this past year I worked as much as I could throughout it all using all my “good days” to squeeze in absolutely every ounce of creativity that I could muster.  Part of owning your own business is that nothing ever stops.  I had to keep going. Sometimes the steroids they gave me would give me a burst of energy….that was a blessing for Boo’s 5th birthday.  With the help of friends and family (and some friends at Krispy Kreme) I was able to put together Boo’s Donut Party. That was definitely a highlight:

Boo’s Krispy Kreme Doughnut Party

Krispy Kreme Doughnut Party via


Krispy Kreme Doughnut Party via


Somehow we were able to launch 2 clothing lines this year (in comparison to last year’s 4 lines). This was probably one of the hardest things I had to do. It’s hard to design and feel truly inspired when you feel crummy. I didn’t even want to look at fabric. The girls did an amazing job putting everything together.  Monika McSweeney photographed the Beaujolais line (Spring 2012).  Monika and Linda Pelk photographed the Electric Youth (Fall 2012) line.  They brought it all to life and I am so grateful!



There were a few new PDF Sewing patterns this year:

The Reversible Bubble Skirt Pattern
The Racerback Tunic/Dress Pattern

The Goto Women’s Top Pattern


Let’s see…..what else… about a few DIY highlights:

Boo and I finally finished her Cinderella button collage:

Cinderella Button Art Collage via (click through to see the "DIY How To" HD  time lapse video)



I decorated my dream tree:

Handmade ornament ideas via

I made a video of all the decor being made and the final tree.  We still can’t stop singing the song around here. I heard Boo say today: Ding-Dongy-Dong, that is the song…..




There were a few more time lapse videos (you can view all Lil Blue Boo videos here)….I’m plotting some new ones. I love the finished results. I’m kind of obsessed with documenting process now.



There were 104 tutorials and downloads posted in 2012 compared to last year’s 104!  The only reason I was able to accomplish that was because of Stephanie Corfee’s contributing amazing artwork and Gayle Vehar’s photography posts. They filled in the gaps for me and now they are part of the team. Lisa helped a lot with photography and Gicela helped with in between steps so I could get projects finished.

A few of my very favorite tutorials from 2012 include:

how to make mini resit photo charms via chalkboard inspiration wall tutorial via

t-shirt transfer doll tutorial via diy suede fringe handbag via

instagram ipad case tutorial via

diy pieced dress tutorial via

stamping with foam stickers tutorial via diy glass cling tutorial via


free vintage label download via

diy journal kit with free download via how to make a rustic tree via


I started a few ongoing series:


peronalized name art via

organizing and preserving family memories via

The Cancer Chronicles was one of those series… blends in nicely with organization, journaling and nursery decor right?


The Cancer Chronicles via




It’s crazy that 2011 was marked by: my father passing away, a miscarriage, cancera 6-inch tumor, trauma surgeons, a car wreck, and aggressive chemotherapy.

2012 was marked by: a change in hair style, kindergarten, remission, walking/talking, a driver’s license, friends having babies, family having babies, friends going to heaven and much in between. What I’ve learned is there is always light at the end of the tunnel….always.

Some of my favorite moments from this year stem from the fact that sophistication follows me nowhere. I think some of the best days come from the ones that seemed to go the most wrong…..twisted but true.

Anyway, I want to thank you for reading. Thank you for sticking with me through all the randomness. Thank you for sharing your stories. Thank you for correcting my grammar. Thank you for your support. Thank you for the love mail AND the hate mail. I appreciate every single one of you more than I’ll ever be able to express.  Most of all, thank you for helping me to spread the message of “Choose Joy”….to date there are EIGHTEEN THOUSAND Choose Joy bracelets floating around!

And…..Boo was right….nothing was hard last year. It all depends on how you look at it.

This is from a post I wrote back in October but it sums up my plan for this coming year:

I took all the sadness and shock I was feeling yesterday and threw it into my work….never once coming up for air. Because that’s what I do. I won’t waste one. single. day. I will live fully….and I will live generously. While I may not always be able to give financially, I know that I can give in other ways: I can give my time. I can give my friendship. I can teach others. I can give away my secrets. I can give encouragement. I can say something kind.  I can smile at a stranger. I can speak up.  I can forgive.  I can pray for others. I can embrace humility.  I can love unconditionally. I can see the good. I can choose joy.

Go on you peeps of awesomeness…

continue being remarkable.

be lionhearted.

be present… here… now.

be kind.

be you.

-Jen Thompson




Here’s to 2013!


  1. Christine says

    Ashley, I found your blog when my mom was dx’d with cancer in late 2011. I worked in the oncology/hematology field prior to becoming a SAHM. i instantly became engrossed in your cancer chronicles and now love ALL your posts. You are SO talented, hilarious, a gifted photographer, so.dang.organized … I’d love to have you visit and whip my photos into organized bliss!
    Here’s to wishing you much happiness and an enema free 2013 :)
    P.S. did anyone recommend the book Nowhere Hair to you for Boo when you were receiving chemo? It’s a pretty cute little book. Mema (my mom) rewrote it to my kids when she lost her hair.

  2. Tleshia Farrar says

    Here’s to 2013~ May God continue to bless your sweet family and your creative spirit!

  3. Ashley says

    SO inspired by you! I love what you do and why you do it. You’re an amazing woman, in so many ways! Thank you, for everything you do!

  4. Kate says

    Ashley, I have loved your blog the whole year, I take much ejoyment from reading each new post. You inspire me with anything and everything. Happy New Year.

  5. says

    I love that Boo wrote that nothing was hard. I need to have her attitude!! I also love that she loves beef stroganoff. We had it tonight. And I’m still flattered that you printed mine out. Next time, I’ll mail you the color versions. 😉 Thanks for the link love. Bring it 2013! It’s going to be a great year. xoxoxo

  6. Morgan says

    I don’t remember how I caught wind of your blog, or the exact date I started reading it, but it’s been a little over a year I guess, because I feel like I lived the year alongside you. I’ve even ordered bracelets and distributed them to all my family and a few friends (and I’m thinking the rest will start finding homes in random places, an idea I obviously am stealing from you). Reading this review reminds me of the power we each have within us, yet most don’t even tap into! Your easy wit, positive attitude, unshakeable faith and endless creativity are addictive, and (even though I don’t have an ounce of creativity to my name) I look forward to reading your blog every day. Thanks for chronicling your life so that others may siphon off your hope. :)

  7. Heather S. says

    To quote Doctor Who, “The way I see it, life is a pile of good things and… bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things or make them unimportant.” :)

  8. Audrey Harris says

    Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful blog and fun stories with us. Choose Joy is my New Years motto. Thanks so much!

  9. ira lee says

    i really love your blog, i mean really truely love it! i love that you are creative, and ocd at the same time (how can i be like this! lol), i love that your child is unique yet structured and respectful, i love all your diys. but most of all i love your spirit. and thru your blog, i have realized that i want my spirit to mimmic yours. you are what i acheive to be. to stay positive, to pray, to teach my kiddos, to create, and to embrace this crazy, busy, wild life. and throughout this past year i have not done all those things. i have let stress, work, situiations get in the way of being who god wants me to be. and that is a loving and giving person. and your last paragraph written in october just rang straight thru to my heart (and made me wish i could pin just words) – i CAN choose joy. my life is a cake walk compared to some. and i need to remember to be grateful, thankful, forgiving, patient, and leave the depression, exhaustion, crankiness behind. i am in control of this life and i have just one, and i want to make it matter.

    so thank you for who you are and for sharing your journey. :)

  10. says

    You are so inspiring — it is amazing what all you accomplished when you consider what you were going through for a big portion of the year. May 2013 bring you and yours continued health and happiness!

  11. Janet says

    Wishing your family great JOY, countless blessings, continued incredible creativity, and love flowing through it all in 2013. In other words, I’m looking forward to reading your graciously shared posts in the coming year as you remind us all to live, love, and spread joy to all around us, use our faced challenges to give others strength to face theirs, and let our creative sparks out to change the world for the better. You and your family are a blessing to others, Ashley.

    With a grateful heart,
    one of countless lives touched by LBB

  12. Debra says

    September last year I was diagnosed with breast cancer, followed by 3 surgeries 2 weeks apart. Chemo began in January for 6 months, followed by 2 months of radiation. All treatment is now done, and life is returning somewhat to normal. I have to admit I envy you your hair. Mine’s not coming back in so well on top (I’m quite a bit older than you). You have been an inspiration and an encouragement to me over this past year, bringing tears and lalughter just at the right times. We also have sewing in common, though mine is smocking and heirloom sewing. I thoroughly enjoy your blog. Thank you.

  13. Doray says

    I live for this site. It is my “refer to blueboo” when struggling over something and I need advice, inspiration or just a f*cking great laugh. I wholeheartedly support the Beer Stand and dress — I recently made a little bubble tunic for my daughter using an old Portland beer shirt. I love it — and so does she. So I don’t give a flying f*ck if anyone else doesn’t.

    I wish I had the ability to create and blog like you do. You are awesome.

  14. Susana Ertac says

    Hi Ashley,
    I met you at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach when you came to visit Elaine Smith [in the battle for your life and coming to support your friends in their time of need] and started following your blog. You are so creative and are such an inspiration in the way you have handled your challenges and chosen joy and have lived each day for your family and for others. Thank you for being a role model and a positive, funny and creative inspiration to us all — your readers and fans.

    Happy 2013! May it be your best year EVER!

  15. Karen B. says

    That video was the first thing I ever saw of LBB. I can’t believe I’ve been following for one year! You are amazing. Thanks for sharing!