Gem Mirror DIY (+ Easy Glass Cutting Technique!)

Gem Mirror DIY + Easy Mirror Cutting Technique (click through for tutorial)If you saw this post and thought, "Whoa, that looks great! I should make that! Wait, glass cutting? I'm out!" then you probably aren't alone. I had wanted to try mirror cutting for a while now, but just the sound of it gave me the shivers. I think I have a mild case of aichmophobia with some materials (the irrational fear of sharp objects), so the thought of trying to break a mirror into several pointed edges sounded less than ideal. However, life is for facing and conquering your fears, right? I looked up a few tutorials on the technique, and I was shocked at what I found—it looked so easy to do. Of course, I was skeptical that they were just making it look easier than it was, but I asked Josh about it and he said that he had done it before and assured me that, yes, it was in fact that easy. Sweet! I'd been wanting to make a gem mirror for a while, and I thought this would be the perfect technique to learn in order to achieve that goal. Let's do it!

Gem Mirror DIY + Easy Mirror Cutting Technique (click through for tutorial)Supplies:
-glass cutter tool*
-mirror (we used this one)
-metal ruler + marker
-gloves and safety glasses
gem line drawing and cutting guide (right click to download)
-fine grade sandpaper
-contact paper
-X-Acto knife
-gold spray paint
-clear spray paint

*Note: Most of these glass cutter tools come with an area in the top where you can put oil that runs down to the blade, but you don't really need the oil to score the glass. The oil helps keep the blade sharp longer, but you can still cut just the same without it.

Gem Mirror DIY + Easy Mirror Cutting Technique (click through for tutorial)To make your octagon gem shape, first you'll want to cut your mirror into a square. Use a metal ruler and marker to measure out and draw a square the size of your desired finished width onto the mirror (don't worry about the marker, glass cleaner will take it right off). Position your glass cutting tool on your line and place your metal ruler up against the cutting wheel. Use your glass cutter tool to score a line into the mirror that runs the entire length of the mirror (make sure to keep your tool right up against the ruler as you score). You want to firmly score the line in one single pass, so don't go over your line again once you've scored it. You are basically cutting off the entire chunk of mirror that is to the left (or right) of your marked square line. It basically feels the same as cutting with an X-Acto knife. And if you worried it will make a "nails on a chalkboard" sound as you score the glass, don't worry. It hardly makes any noise at all.

Gem Mirror DIY + Easy Mirror Cutting Technique (click through for tutorial)Once your line is scored, scoot the mirror to the edge of the table and line up the scored line with the edge. In one swift motion, push down on the piece you are breaking off and it will snap at the scored line leaving a clean break between the two. It's a bit scary to actually go through with the breaking part because your brain is convinced that the mirror will shatter as soon as you press down. But once you do go through with it, the mirror only makes a tiny snapping sound and you feel a bit silly for building it up so much in your mind.

You'll want to wear gloves and eye protection for this step just to be extra careful, but Josh is a bit of a daredevil as you can see, so he skipped the gloves part. I still felt a little nervous at this point, so I wore really thick leather gloves just to be safe when I did my pieces. 

Gem Mirror DIY + Easy Mirror Cutting Technique (click through for tutorial)Once your four sides are snapped and you have a square, measure, mark, score, and snap off the corners of the square to get your final octagon shape. Clean the lines off the mirror with glass cleaner.

Gem Mirror DIY + Easy Mirror Cutting Technique (click through for tutorial)Now that we have our shape, let's create our gem lines! Cover the whole front of your mirror with contact paper. Use this handy dandy line making and cutting guide that Josh made for you (right click to download) to draw and cut the lines of your gem with your marker and then X-Acto knife. It looks complicated, but just draw and then cut all the lines in the order he has shown. It's a lot easier than you'd think. You can make your lines as thick or as thin as you want depending on the overall size of your mirror, but ours are about 1/4" thick. So we cut 1/8" on either side of the lines. Peel off all the lines to expose the mirror underneath.

Gem Mirror DIY + Easy Mirror Cutting Technique (click through for tutorial)Before painting, use a fine grade sandpaper to lightly sand the edges of your mirror in case there are any sharp spots.

Gem Mirror DIY + Easy Mirror Cutting Technique (click through for tutorial)Spray your mirror with a few coats of  gold spray paint and top it off with a clear coat spray. Use the X-Acto knife to lift up the corners of your contact paper shapes and peel off each piece. I love this part of projects like this. There's something so satisfying about peeling off each square to reveal the design, isn't there? Once all the contact paper has been removed, you're done!

Gem Mirror DIY + Easy Mirror Cutting Technique (click through for tutorial)Gem Mirror DIY + Easy Mirror Cutting Technique (click through for tutorial)Gem Mirror DIY + Easy Mirror Cutting Technique (click through for tutorial)Gem Mirror DIY + Easy Mirror Cutting Technique (click through for tutorial)You can either set the mirror on a ledge or shelf like I did, or you can get mirror clips to install the mirror on a wall. I suggested using the clear coat on top of the gold so you can clean your mirror with glass cleaner as needed, but depending on the paint you use, it may not be necessary (test an area with your chosen paint on a scrap piece of mirror to find out first).

This is the same process you would use to cut clear glass as well, so it's great to have another DIY tool under my belt that I can use without being afraid. I think the final result of our mirror is adorable and looks totally profesh! It would also be fun to do with colored gem lines or make a group hanging with a few different shaped gems (like with an emerald shape and a radiant cut). Think you'll have the courage now to try glass cutting? If I can do it, you can too! xo. Laura (+ Josh)

Credits // Author: Laura Gummerman and Josh Rhodes, Photography: Laura Gummerman and Janae Hardy. Photos edited with Stella from The Signature Collection.

Stir Fry Breakfast Quinoa + Wild Rice

Stir fry breakfast quinoa and wild rice (via abeautifulmess.com)I think more often than not I tend to be a savory breakfast kind of gal. Don't get me wrong, if you run into to me at brunch sometime, I very well might be enjoying French toast, waffles or pancakes. I still like sweets anytime of the day. But, I think I more often, like 85% of the time, prefer a savory breakfast. Especially if eggs are involved. I'm pledging myself as a lifetime member to the runny yolks club. :)

Stir fry breakfast quinoa and wild rice (via abeautifulmess.com)  This breakfast is indeed savory. It's also got a fair amount of spice (which you can easily adjust to your liking/tolerance level). And, the best part, it's full of good things for you to get you fueled up for the day. This would also make a fantastic breakfast for dinner option as well. Have I sold you on this yet? Guys, get some quinoa and let's stir fry already!

Easy breakfast stir fryStir Fry Breakfast Quinoa + Wild Rice, serves 2-3.

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1/2 cup uncooked wild rice
1 red bell pepper
3 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
2-3 eggs
Sriracha to serve

First cook the quinoa and wild rice. The particular rice I was using called for the same ratio of water to grains and cook time as my quinoa. So I was able to cook them at the same time in the same pot. But check packages and cook according to the directions. I prefer to make my quinoa/rice mix a day or two ahead of time and store in a ziplock bag in the refrigerator. Dry quinoa/rice stir fries better than fresh, damp rice. Also, this cuts down on your cooking time. So if you make the quinoa/rice ahead of time, you can throw this breakfast together in 10-12 minutes. 

How to stir fry quinoaMince the garlic, dice the bell pepper and chop the green onions. In a cup or small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar and brown sugar until the sugar dissolves. Set aside until you need it.

In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium/high heat. Cook the bell pepper for 2-3 minutes until it begins to soften. Toss in the garlic and cook another minute. Now add in the cooked quinoa/rice mixture. Pour the sauce over everything and cook for 3-5 minutes until the moisture is gone and the quinoa/rice starts to pop up from the pan. Be sure to stir every once in a while during this process so things don't stick to the pan, but there's no need to constantly stir. Toss on the green onions and turn off the heat, but let the mixture sit and stay warm in the pan while you work on the eggs.

I like to serve one egg per serving, but if you're really hungry, go ahead and make two per serving. Totally up to you. I fry my eggs over medium, but you could also serve them sunny side up or even scramble them. Whatever you like. Serve the egg over the top of the stir fry once everything is ready.

Stir fry breakfast quinoa and wild rice (via abeautifulmess.com) Then add your Sriracha. If you don't like Sriracha, you could add a 1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes to the stir fry instead. I love the complex taste of Sriracha though, and it's easy to make one serving quite spicy while your friend or significant other can choose to keep their's on the mild side. :) Enjoy! xo. Emma

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

Lavender Latte Milkshake

Lavender latte milkshake (via abeautifulmess.com)Who invented milkshakes? I can't decide if I think they were a genius or an EVIL genius. Don't get me wrong, I love that you can use ice cream as a base to create all kinds of variations and tasty treats, but, I mean, it's basically easier to eat ice cream, right? That's sort of dangerous. 

(Insert evil genius cackle)

Not only is this dangerously delicious (I'm crazy for lavender and chocolate, aren't you?!), but it's also super easy to make. I'll show you my quick recipe for making lavender simple syrup and beyond that all you need is ice cream and iced coffee. We got to work with Starbucks on this recipe, and we used their new iced coffee beverage (unsweetened), which makes having iced coffee on hand quite a bit easier. 

Lavender latte milkshake (via abeautifulmess.com)  And I'd just like to point out that you can also use this lavender simple syrup to sweeten your morning cup of coffee (iced or otherwise). So you can save that milkshake for a special treat but enjoy the sweet taste of lavender anytime. Maybe I should count this as a pro tip? :) With this particular iced coffee, I've got enough to keep in the fridge for a while and can break it out for a daily dose of lavender.

Ingredients for lavender latte milkshakeLavender Simple Syrup, makes about 1 to 1 1/4 cups.

1 cup sugar
2/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon dried lavender buds

In a small pot, combine the sugar and water. Whisk over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Now add in the lavender buds and cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes until you can really smell the lavender. You don't want the water to boil during this stage, but hot enough to steep the buds (similar to making tea). Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool (with the buds still in the mixture) to room temperature. Strain the buds from the liquid and store in an airtight container (can be stored at room temperature for up to two weeks).

Now for the milkshake! I created 2-3 servings by combining: 6-7 big scoops of ice cream, 8 oz. Starbucks Unsweetened Iced Coffee Beverage and 1 tablespoon lavender simple syrup. Blend, taste, add more simple syrup if you want a stronger lavender flavor. I prefer to start small and add more as lavender can become overpowering, and it's hard to remove a flavor while it's easy to add. So don't go overboard with the syrup until you see how much you prefer.

And, if it really really bothers you that this lavender milkshake isn't purple, you can totally add food coloring. Your call. I decided to leave the food coloring out as I thought it was lovely enough, but you do your thing.

Lavender latte milkshake (via abeautifulmess.com) I added some chocolate syrup to my glass, poured in the milkshake, and then topped it with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Oh yes, I went there. I say, if you're having a milkshake, why not really go for it. It's a treat after all. Feel free to adjust the thickness to your liking by adding more or less ice cream. Make it your own and enjoy! xo. Emma

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

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Messy Box Is Here!

The Messy Box is here!The Messy BoxHi, friends! I am so excited to share that Messy Box is available for pre-order today and will be shipping out around March 10th. 

Messy Box will ship around the 10th of each month. Each box is filled with items to scrapbook with including paper and cards, stickers, embellishments, and special items! I design each of the kits with my in-house designer, Ryan, and the team at Studio Calico. Each month is color-coordinated and comes with a different technique theme that I will be sharing projects with here on the blog! 

Just like with Happy Mail, you can get an even better deal by subscribing with a larger commitment. We offer 1 ($24.99/mo.), 6 ($21.99/mo.), and 12 ($19.99/mo. best value) month subscription commitments. On the 10th of every month during your subscription, we'll collect payment of the fee stated next to the level of commitment. Your subscription will begin with the first month's shipment in mid March 2015.  The price is valid for the commitment listed. After that, we'll continue your subscription at that price, unless you cancel. 

Here are a few pages I made with the first Messy Box

Messy Box washi tapeMessy Box washi tape One of the special items in this month's Messy Box is a roll of washi tape that has all the days of the week in my handwriting. It's SO fun to play with! 

Introducing The Messy Book by A Beautiful Mess!     I loved playing with these white brads to create a design on top of my photo. Excited to try more of this! 

Introducing The Messy Book by A Beautiful Mess!              This transparency sheet makes a beautiful opener for an album. 

Gold foil chipboard letters in ABM Messy BoxYou know I love all things gold, and this month's kit has a gold chipboard alphabet that is SO cute. 

(I'll share even MORE pages next Sunday! I can't stop playing!!)

Get more information and subscribe here! xx. Elsie 

P.S. We're finalizing some details on our albums and page protectors. We don't have an exact launch date, but it will be VERY soon. We'll post about it here and on Instagram as soon as they're on the shop! (sooo excited!!!) 

Credits// Author: Elsie Larson. Photography by Erin Kunce and Elsie Larson 

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