Try This: Striped Candlesticks

Make these striped candlesticksThe days may be getting shorter, but that just means dinners are getting more romantic! As sunlight dims, I like to light candles to set the mood for cozy evenings at home. Put on some Ella Fitzgerald, and the atmosphere is complete! I'd been eyeing these gorgeous striped candlesticks at Anthropologie, but I thought I'd try to replicate the look for a little less money. 

Make these striped candlesticksI bought some fall-hued candlesticks from World Market in bordeauxwhite, rust, and olive. Then I selected acrylic paint for the stripes on each color. Regular water-based non-toxic acrylic paint will work with a little patience (just keep dabbing). See my notes about the safey of burning painted candles at the end of this post.

Make these striped candlesticksI used masking tape to make stripes in various widths on the candles, then I dabbed on the paint with a sponge brush. Make sure you don't use too much paint, or it will seep below the tape. It takes about 2-3 light coats to completely cover the wax.

Make these striped candlesticksGently peel off the tape, and now you have some striped candles!

Note: If you have any uneven paint edges, you can use the dull edge of a knife to carefully scrape off the paint from the candle pretty easily. Keep this in mind as you handle the candles, though. If you plan to move them around a lot, you may want to prime them before painting, or the paint will scratch off. (If you do use primer on the candles, do not burn them- unless you are using a water-based non-toxic primer.)

Make these striped candlesticks
Make these striped candlesticks
This project is so simple and makes a fun holiday tablescape for very little money. Take it to the next level with an eclectic array of candle holders. I found a bunch of candlestick holders at the thrift store and painted them all black. So easy—so chic! -Mandi

UPDATE: Some of you have expressed concern about the safety of burning these painted candles, or if they should be for decorative use only. I naively assumed they would be safe to burn because the craft paint I used was water-based and non-toxic. (Note: artists' oil-based/chemical-ridden acrylics are different from the water-based non-toxic craft acrylics.) But I did some research and found that many non-toxic paints may still contain less than 1% of preservatives, such as formaldehyde. Turns out, lots of items many people use everyday that are absorbed/ingested/inhaled have formaldehyde in them, so if this is something you have on your radar (like if you use organic shampoo, avoid decaf coffee, don't use nailpolish— that sort of thing), definitely look for a paint that specifically advertises being formaldehyde free. Look out for heavy metals too, which probably won't be found in water-based craft acrylic paints anyway.

I know some people that won't burn candles in their home at all because of the co2 it releases into the air. However, for use in my home, I'm okay with a little bit of co2 from the candles, and since there is very, very little "non-toxic" paint on these candles, I'm personally okay with the occasional burning of them. You may feel differently about it and choose to only use these for decorative use, or to find formaldehyde free paint, or to skip this project altogether, so I hope I did an okay job explaining what I found in my research so you can make the decision that's right for you. -Mandi

Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited with Stella and Valentine from the Signature Collection.

Creamy Broccoli Pasta

Broccoli PastaBroccoli has always been one of my go-to vegetables. I don't know if I've ever called broccoli my favorite vegetable (likely I have, I get overly passionate about vegetables sometimes). I don't think I've ever had a broccoli obsession. I've had an obsession with kale, green beans, and I'll probably forever be on and off obsessed with Brussels sprouts.

But broccoli, it's always been a stable fall back. If I'm at the grocery store without a plan (which is too often, I really need to get organized), I will always pick up a couple broccoli florets and a red bell pepper.

Broccoli Pasta This dish is all about the broccoli. This does contain cream and cheese, but it's not exactly like alfredo sauce. It's a lot more vegetable-based while still feeling like major comfort food. Also, it's super easy to make. Which I say in almost every dinner idea I show you guys. Guess I'm not a fussy dinner kind of gal. :)

Broccoli pasta ingredientsCreamy Broccoli Pasta, serves 2-3.

1 large head of broccoli (about 10 oz. is what I used)
8 oz. linguine or fettuccine pasta
6 basil leaves
2-3 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Begin by blanching the broccoli just until bright green and softened enough to cut with a fork. Drain from the boiling water and toss in a food processor (or good blender) along with the basil and garlic cloves. Process until well chopped.

Creamy broccoli pastaCook the pasta according to the package directions until al dente. I was using linguine, so this only took about 9 minutes once my water was boiling.

In a large saucepan, combine the broccoli mixture, cream, and egg yolks over medium heat. Stir to combine. If you want a thinner sauce, you can add some of the pasta water or more cream. Toss in the drained pasta once it's ready as well as the cheese. Keep stirring over medium heat until the cheese begins to melt and everything is coated in the broccoli sauce.

Broccoli Pasta  Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking. You can also top each serving with just a little more cheese (I did!). Eat your veggies and enjoy. xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

Stamped Initial Bracelet DIY

Need to make one of these! Stamped Initial Bracelet (click through for tutorial) I am a total sucker for personalized items. As I type this, I'm drinking coffee out of a mug with a big gold "G" printed across it—I just can't help it. Personalizing potential is one reason that I love doing projects with stamped jewelry. I made these hand-stamped necklaces a few months ago, and I still wear them all the time. So I thought it would be fun to make an initial bracelet as well. The other thing I love about stamped jewelry is that it looks really professional, so unless you confess your little DIY secret, everyone will think you special ordered it from somewhere. Sneaky.

Need to make one of these! Stamped Initial Bracelet (click through for tutorial)       Supplies:
- gold coin discs (with holes already punched)
- gold chain
- jump rings
- lobster claw closure
- jeweler's bench block
letter or number punch stamps (I used 6mm size stamps)
- hammer

- tape
- needle nose pliers
- jewelry wire cutters
- rubbing alcohol (70% isopropyl alcohol) and black marker (optional) 

Need to make one of these! Stamped Initial Bracelet (click through for tutorial)        First you'll want to tape the very top and bottom edge of your coin onto your jeweler's block. This will keep your coin from sliding as you stamp and will give you a guide of where to place your stamp (so make the gap just taller than your letter will be). You technically don't have to have a jeweler's block, but I highly recommend it since you will get a much cleaner impression with the extremely hard surface under the coin.

Need to make one of these! Stamped Initial Bracelet (click through for tutorial)    Need to make one of these! Stamped Initial Bracelet (click through for tutorial)     Next, select your letter punch stamp and place it stamp-side down onto the middle of your coin. Use your hammer to stamp your first letter (see this stamping post for technique tips). If you want to make your letter more visible, take your black marker and color in the lines of the letter. Put a small dab of the rubbing alcohol on a paper towel or cotton ball and wipe off the excess marker. That step should remove the marker from the top of the coin, but leave the ink in the letter indent.

Repeat process with each letter until you have all your initials stamped.

Need to make one of these! Stamped Initial Bracelet (click through for tutorial)      Use the jump rings and needle nose pliers to connect your initial letters to each other. Take the wire cutters and cut your two pieces of chain to the desired length. Attach each side to your initial grouping with two more jump rings. Connect your chain ends to the lobster claw closure with two additional jump rings, and you're done!

Need to make one of these! Stamped Initial Bracelet (click through for tutorial)  Need to make one of these! Stamped Initial Bracelet (click through for tutorial)Need to make one of these! Stamped Initial Bracelet (click through for tutorial)   For any stamping project, I definitely suggest stamping some inexpensive practice blanks first, so you get into the stamping rhythm and know how hard to hit the stamping punch (and buying a multipack of discs so you have a few extra is also a good idea). I did one bracelet with my guy's initials, but you can also do your own initials or a combination of two names (like the "M & C" one for my kitties), or even a series of numbers that represent an important date. This bracelet makes the perfect personalized gift as well, and it would be extra cute for a group of people to all have one (like best friends or a bridesmaid's gift). Happy stamping! xo. Laura

Credits // Author: Laura Gummerman, Photography: Laura Gummerman and Janae Hardy. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

Hearts on our Sleeves

Emma and Elsie from A Beautiful Mess  Emma and Elsie from A Beautiful MessEmma and Elsie from A Beautiful Mess Emma ChapmanElsie and I didn't really mean to be so matchy-matchy. We laughed when we realized we were both wearing heart prints (mine on my jacket, hers on her blouse). We are too cool. Obviously.

Coats and jacketsElsie and Emma  Looking over the city  Looking over the city    Looking over the city Looking over the cityElsie and Emma You guys, is it just me or is this the best time of year? Jackets, boots, layers, crisp breezes, hot coffee always being appropriate any time of day—it's just the best, right? And I don't know if it's the anticipation of the busy holiday season or the release from finally seeing new adventures come to life, but this season seems to always be filled with a constant and exciting buzz.

Or maybe it's all that hot coffee that's making that constant buzz. Hmm.

Red scarfPony tails foreverHigh heelsHearts on our sleevesWe worked with our long-time friends and supporters at ModCloth for this autumn-y Sister Style.
Emma: Jacket / Shirt / Skirt / Purse / Boots
Elsie: Coat / Scarf / Shirt / Skirt / Shoes

Emma and Elsie Emma and ElsieWhat about you? Do you have any new adventures happening in your life this season? xo. Emma (and Elsie)

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman. Photography: Sarah Rhodes. Photos edited with Merit, India, and Magnolia from the Signature Collection; and Bella and Light Leak 1 from the Folk Collection.


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