what’s in your toolbox: ashley meaders

Ashley Meaders makes stuff. Really happy, clever stuff. Stuff you would want to have in your home, for a party or at your wedding. Ashley is an event designer, Smile Booth designer, Flashdance member, Once Wed collaborator, Design*Sponge contributor and a crafter extraordinaire. And she’s as lovable as the work she creates. I’m so, so excited to introduce Ashley. Get ready to feel . . . well, HAPPY!

Design*Sponge: What is in your toolbox? This can be anything from your favorite products/brands of electric drill, paper, glues and adhesives, paint, primers, digital cameras, etc. It can also be your favorite vintage/found/thrifted objects. What are the tools you can’t live without?

Ashley Meaders: First and foremost is my computer. I definitely can’t live without Illustrator or my email. Then there’s fabric . . . lots and lots of fabric and of course, my Singer scissors to cut all that fabric. I also have a weakness for threads that are shiny and pink.

Design*Sponge: Fill in the blank, “When I am in my studio, I feel _____________.”

CLICK HERE for the rest of Ashley’s interview after the jump!

Design*Sponge: What are on the top shelves of your inspiration library right now? This can be anything from blogs, books, magazines, vintage catalogs/manuals, etc.

Ashley Meaders: I’m the worst about remembering names of blogs and trying to keep up with all of them. I’ve got about 400+ in my reader that I look at whenever I’m in need of a little inspiration. There are just so many good ones out there!

Design*Sponge: How do you keep yourself organized? Time management is often one of the biggest obstacles for creative minds. Do you have an agenda book and do you make “to-do lists?”

I am a firm believer in Post-its. I used to have them all over everything, but it soon became unmanageable and very easy to lose. So, I started using the Stickies program on my computer to my advantage. You get the same satisfaction!

Design*Sponge: If you could have one superhero (or magical) power, what would it be and why?

Ashley Meaders: I would like to be able to fly! Not only would it be extremely cool, but I’m afraid of heights, which isn’t too good when I need to get up on a ladder. If I could fly, then I would never have to worry about falling.

Photo above by Kyle Hale

Design*Sponge: How do you combat creative blocks? What tools do you use to keep your creativity flowing?

Ashley Meaders: It might sound a little strange, but I love walking around Target . . . I always get so inspired there! Something about seeing rows and rows of everyday objects really pushes me to think outside the box.

Design*Sponge: In addition to being an event designer, designer and crafter-extraordinaire, to name a few, what would you like to conquer next?

Ashley Meaders: Haha . . . I guess anything that is thrown at me. I don’t really have a plan, which might be a negative thing at times, but I like to keep my options open . . . any suggestions??

Design*Sponge: Where do you like to shop for inspiration? This can be anything from bookstores, museums, certain parts of New York, flea markets, stores, etc.

Ashley Meaders: I spend a lot of time in Gail K shopping and looking at all the pretty fabrics. I also like to go to Highland Row Antiques and Kudzu.

Design*Sponge: If you could peek inside the studio/toolbox of any designer/artist/craftsman, whose would it be and why?

Ashley Meaders: I would love to peek inside Emma Cassi’s toolbox and see what kinds of goodies she has in there. I’m working on a project right now with lace and beading, and she’s been so inspiring.

Design*Sponge: What is the best piece of advice you have ever received, and what advice would you offer to young artists/stylists/designers?

Ashley Meaders: My mom always told me to be myself, so I’ve tried my best and it has gotten me pretty far. My advice would be the old, wise saying, “It’s impossible to please everyone, so do what makes you happy!”

Design*Sponge: If you could make a master mix-tape of music that is inspiring you at the moment, what would it include?

Ashley Meaders: I never have time to find new music on my own, so I always let Michael over at The Flashdance make my playlists. He comes up with new ones every month that you can download and listen to for free.

Photo credits: Matt and Amber Our Labor of Love

  1. This is the best post in the “whats in your toolbox” series so far! Love having a sneak peek into Ashley’s world.

  2. Kelly says:

    Whoa whoa whoa, this girl’s in Atlanta? I need to be friends with her. haha. (Highland Row and Kudzu are some of my favorite places…)

  3. Muah! to you Ashley. I love your work and get an instant “happy” feeling just seeing the things you create. I love your mantra of just doing what makes you happy, so simple, yet so hard to actually follow through with at times. You’re such an inspiration to me. You give me that bust-out-of-your-boring-cubicle-and-follow-your-dreams kind of motivation. I hope that one day my creative passion can touch people in the way that yours does.

    {and I am a huge fan of Gail K, I could spend hours in that store. xoxo}

  4. simplygrove says:

    Love this interview with Ashley!! She is adorable AND
    talented! Perfect combo:)

  5. annawithlove says:

    love her studio! so creative! :)

  6. Stevie says:

    Target works for me too, but since getting a job in a ritzy
    neighborhood, I have taken to strolling Anthropologie with a

  7. Sarah says:

    LOVE the stickies all over the computer. So funny.

  8. Casey DeLong says:

    Ashley has such a refreshing sensibility for “classy crafts”. Love that she’s from Atlanta. We need more southern delights making names for themselves in the design world. I hope to meet you around town Mrs. Meaders!

  9. holly says:

    love this! i met her at the westelm party, where there was a smilebooth and she is just so lovely and down to earth. cheers to all her success!

  10. Nicole says:

    Ashley is one of my idols, I was so excited to see this interview!
    She’s always so inspiring!!!

  11. Holly Sexton says:

    I was just talking about Ashley Meaders with my friends a few days ago! She has done an amazing job in such a specialized niche industry. I adore her work and am ALWAYS finding myself using images from her for inspiration. Great post!

  12. gia says:

    Oh boyyyy! Another artist interview! They make my day and inspire me for much longer. You should publish these in a book someday and another book with your city profiles.

  13. Love this post and learning a little insight about ashley! love her stuff and just looking at it make me happy!

  14. Oh wow! I love her!!!! I want to be her friend. The End.

  15. Avril says:

    Wow! The stickies on her desktop are a great idea. Fab article! Thank you :)

  16. Karli says:

    LOVE the placecard holders! Such a cute idea. She makes even the stickies on her desk look artistic! SO inspiring.

  17. sanghee says:

    love the brightness and joy in this look! sticky notes rule my life especially in neon colors!

  18. Eva says:

    Wow! These photos are simply awesome! I love the cat photo, the way Ashley answered all of these questions, and that I feel so much better about my sticky-note usage, ha!

  19. g. says:

    completely agree with kate – best post ever! such talent!!

  20. ashley is one of the most talented people i have ever worked with, (which says a lot!) but her personality might just trump her talent! she is sharp, hilarious, and so thoughtful. thanks for featuring someone so deserving of the credit.

  21. This is wonderful! I love the post-it tips and am also a firm believer in them (it’s probably the only organized thing about me). Really lovely interview – very inspiring.

  22. Before, when i saw Ashleys work I thought she was pretty great… now I think she must be some kind of goddess of sorts. just LOVE that a happy life makes for a good one… such a great philosophy. thanks for the extra heart beats :)

  23. if ashley’s happy, everyone is happy! what an amazing creative force – we love you!

  24. Jen says:

    My hero! Thanks so much for featuring Ashley. Her work makes me laugh, and really gets at the heart of the sweet, happy occasions she styles for. Ashley, can I be you when I grow up?

  25. Love Ashley and her work so very much. She is a huge inspiration to the rest of us out there!

  26. very nice pictures i’m very happy that you are happy in your studio, even me with you i will fell happy in my own place because you will create more and more projects that you like but if you are alone. thank you so much for this pictures.

  27. sorry for (fell) i mean feel thank you again.

  28. Callie says:

    i am in love with ashley’s exciting and beautiful expression of her creativity! wow! great feature on a very talented designer and crafter extraordinaire indeed!

  29. Katy says:

    I wish she was my friend! Ashley is so inspiring.

  30. jaine says:

    love your stuff ashley!

  31. ana says:

    loved the interview. loved her projects. thanks for sharing

  32. laurel says:

    What a great interview! I love her thoughts on flying…I have a huge fear of heights too and never thought of it that way!

  33. Holly says:

    what llovely, exuberant delights! I am inspired to go home to my singer right this second. My only comment bent toward improvment might be to clip corners and curves on your pillows (like the duo of hearts) so you don’t get those fabric pulls that distort the shape. Snip, snip and its fixed.

  34. Emily says:

    Ashley is the coolest! Working with her is one the best parts of writing Once Wed.

  35. matt miller says:

    ashley is hands down the raddest person ever. she is
    everything that is fun, beautiful, and exciting about the world. im
    so lucky to know her and work with her so much.

  36. Julia says:

    Everything Ashley touches turns to gold. Pure gold. She’s
    the best!

  37. ashley says:

    thanks so much everyone…i’m blushing!!

  38. caro says:

    everything about this interview is true and even more. she
    is an amazing person to be around. She is inspirational, creative
    and always always happy. wish you the best!

  39. CharZarrr says:

    Question… is there any way to download a larger image of her response to “in my studio I feel: HAPPY” ? I would that as my desktop background :)

    1. grace says:


      i’m afraid that’s the largest image we have. but if you want to email ashley at her site she might have a bigger version you could ask for :)


      grace :)

  40. Brancoprata says:

    ashley meaders inspires me
    ashley meaders makes me happy
    ashley meaders makes me want to do stuff
    ashley meaders, I am a big fan!!

  41. oh goody, an Ashley Meaders spotlight! I just love her and everything she designs. She seems to have a wonderful spirit about her and it truly shows through every little bit of her work. Lovely!


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