Frequently Asked Questions

A Beautiful MessWell, hello there. We have compiled all of the questions we are asked most often. We hope you find what you're looking for ...

What camera do you use? We blogged a full list of my camera equipment here.

Who takes your photos? Lots of people. At the end of nearly every post there is a credit line listing who wrote the post and who took the photos as well as any other information we think you might like to know. Sarah Rhodes is our primary photogrpaher, but we all take photos from time to time! 

Which iPhone apps do you use? We like VSCO Cam and Afterlight for filters and color adjustments. A Beautiful Mess (how could we not?) is our favorite for collages and adding text. 

Are you on Instagram? Yep! @ABeautifulMessOfficial is our offical account. @elsielarson + @emmaredvelvet are our personal accounts. 

I love your photography. Can you share some tips? We love sharing photography tips. Here are a few favorite past articles on this subject: Tips For Lifestyle Photography, Tips For Capturing Emotion In Photos5 Tips For Indoor Photos, 5 Tips for Outdoor Photos10 Things Not To Do, Tips For Pet Photography, Tips For Outfit Photos, Tips for Photographing Your Home + 5 Tips For Food Photography

What software do you use? We use Adobe Photoshop Creative Cloud to retouch our photos, edit with actions and create collages for A Beautiful Mess.

How do you draw on your photos? Most handwriting you see on the blog (including the banner) is Elsie's handwriting. She uses the Wacom Bamboo Pen and Touch to draw on photos in Photoshop. You can read about it here.

How long have you been blogging? We celebrated seven years in July 2014. You can read about our adventures over the years here

I'm new to blogging. Can you give me advice? We shared some tips here, co-wrote an article for new bloggers with a blogger we mentored here and shared perspectives on our young industry here

The best piece of advice we can give to a young blogger is to write the blog you want to read. Being good at anything takes time, and blogging is no different. Keep going, be consistent, and make small goals for yourself. 

How did you design your blog? Is there a template I can use? We designed our blog from scratch in collaboration with Promise Tangeman. It was coded by our staff developer, Philip Bowles. And, yes, we're still on Typepad! 

Can I post your DIY or recipe project on my blog? Yes, but please follow these guidelines: You can post one photo of our finished project with a link to our original blog post. You also have our permission to pin our photos on Pinterest. 

DO NOT post the entire content of any blog post, DIY step-by-step photos, or written instructions without written permission. A Beautiful Mess is protected by copyright laws.

If you are a print publication wanting to use an image or have any other questions about usage of a photo of ours, email Sarah: sarah AT redvelvetart DOT com

I want to grow my blog. How did you build a readership? (Elsie) I built a readership over the course of many years. Some things that have worked for me are focusing on quality posts that take a lot of time to write and develop, being consistent (I've been posting almost every day for several years), and being myself. The blog evolves as I (and now Emma) evolve; it's slow and steady. I spend a lot of time planning and developing the ideas you see here on the blog. Nothing happened overnight. I have never paid a penny to advertise A Beautiful Mess; I just kept doing my best and a readership developed over the years. It's the product of hard work, constant evaluation, and lots of love. 

Do you read your followers' blogs? Yes! We click around almost every day. We follow links in comments and comment back as much as we can. We love our readers (that's you!!) and have met some of our best friends through the blogging community!

Why are comments on older posts closed? We started getting tons of spam on really old posts. It was too much to keep up with moderating, so we chose to close comments on blog posts older than one month. If you have a question that's not answered, you can still email us: support AT redvelvetart DOT com 

Can I interview you for my blog/class project/online publication? Although we would love to fulfill every single request we get for interviews and features, we are not able to take on any more at this time. We are trying to conserve our energies for our blog and our business.

I want to submit my home for your "At Home With" feature. Who do I email? Email us your very best photos at: submit AT redvelvetart DOT com. You can read the submission specs here

Do you plan to sell paintings again in the near future? (Elsie) Yes. I am finally working on a new collection of paintings and prints! We hope to launch physical products sometime in 2014. Fingers crossed.

Are you hiring? Any current job openings we have will be posted here. Sorry, we are not accepting interns. 

I'm coming to Springfield! Do you have a list of fun places I should visit? Yes, welcome to our little town! Here's a list of a few places we love: To eat, we like Aviary Creperie, J.O.B., Aunt Martha's Pancake House, Gailey's, Taylor's Drive In and Casper's. Our favorite coffee shops are The Coffee Ethic + Kingdom. Our favorite bar is Scotch & Soda. Don't forget to drop by Elle's for some homemade ice cream. 

How old are you? Elsie is 31. Emma is 28. 

How do you stay inspired and productive? You're in luck! I've written about these subjects in detail in staying inspired + prolific living

Did you change your last name(s)? (Elsie) Yes. In May of 2011 I was married and became Elsie Larson. (Emma) No, Emma Chapman—forever. 

What is your ethnicity? Our mother was born in Caracas, Venezuela where she lived until upper elementary school. Our grandmother is Venezuelan and our grandfather was American. We are 1/4 Venezuelan, and the rest of our family has lived in the Midwest for many generations. 

Are you pregnant? First of all, how rude. I can't believe this is ever a question, but you'd be surprised how often we get asked. 

Second—nope. When one of us becomes pregnant we will announce it. We're both looking forward to that stage in life! 

Do you plan to stay in Springfield, Missouri or move to a larger city? We plan to stay. We love our little town and are deeply rooted here. With that said, we travel as often as possible!

Do you find it hard to work with your sister and husband? (Emma) Sometimes. I love working with both of them as I get to spend more time with them. And I believe they have both contributed a great deal to the success of our little company. Probably the most difficult thing about working with either of them is we sometimes forget to turn off our work brains after hours or on the weekends. It makes the line between your work life and your personal life very, very blurry. I say that, but we all love our jobs and feel really lucky to get to do what we do. So, it's easy to get caught up in things at work too, and I'm thankful I can share that with them.

How do the recipes work on your site? I see you sometimes adapt other recipes, what does this mean? Yes. The blog is our playground to share new attempts, techniques, success, etc. Like many of our readers everyone who regularly shares recipes on this site is self-taught. Therefore, we are always learning. We do share lots of original recipes but when we do adapt someone else's work we always note it as such (much like print magazines or other sites). We also LOVE pointing out great resources, like cookbooks, to our readers. 

Why don't you post more meat recipes on the blog? (Emma) I eat a mostly vegetarian and pescatarian diet. I first took the vegetarian plunge back in 2007 and I love it. I first decided to stop eating meat when I learned about factory farming and many of the cruel practices behind a lot of meat that is readily available here in the USA. I also think that a mostly vegetarian diet makes me feel healthy and is overall better for the environment in that it's more sustainable. That being said, I do occasionally eat meat. I always eat turkey for Thanksgiving every year. And I will sometimes indulge in other meat-based meals maybe 3-4 times a year. But it's rare! So, I don't really cook a lot of meat at my house and therefore have no good recipes to share with you.

Can you make _______ into a vegan or gluten-free recipe? (Emma) When I share recipes I try to note any easy substitutions if I know of them (if I've tried them). I'm not a vegan or gluten-free gal myself, so I often hesitate to post about these types of things as I'm not an expert on them. Many of our awesome readers are, though! So always check through the comments in case anyone has made one of the recipes and has a suggestion or comment on how to make it work for you.

Will ABM ever write a cookbook? Yes, this is one of our goals. Fingers crossed. :)

When is _____ e-course coming out? Our schedule is posted here.

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