Spiced Latte Hand Soap

Make Your Own Spiced Latte Soap (click through for tutorial)Aaaahhhh... seasonal smells. There's nothing better to evoke a happy feeling about a season than one of your favorite scents, am I right? During the fall and winter months, my favorite smells are cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and freshly brewed coffee. They make me feel the coziest. I decided to put all my favorite things into a hand soap because, why not?

Ingredients for Spiced Latte SoapIngredients: 
-2 tbsp mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves (or you can you this magical spice called "Cake Spice")
-1/4 tsp coffee grounds
-1 lb shea butter melt and pour soap base

Supplies:
-measuring spoons
-knife
-silicon cupcake mold
-microwave safe bowl
-wooden spoon or stirrer 

Cube the soap before meltingPlace in a microwave safe bowl to meltStep One: Cut your soap base into cubes. The smaller you cut them the quicker they will melt. Place the cubes in a microwave safe bowl and melt. To avoid burning the soap base, microwave in 30 second increments. If you don't have a microwave at home, you can melt the soap base with a double broiler.

Add cake spiceAdd coffee grounds for exfoliationStep Two: Once your soap base is completely melted, add your cake spice and your coffee grounds.

Stir in cake spicePour soap into silicone moldStep Three: After you get all of your spices stirred in, pour your soap into the silicon mold. You'll want to move quickly with these steps because the soap base cools fast!

Let soap sit until fully hardenedStep Four: Let your soap cool completely before you pop them out of the mold! I usually like to let mine sit overnight to be safe, but it really only takes a few hours. Once you pop them out, it's time to package them up and hand them out to friends!

Make Your Own Spiced Latte Hand Soap (click through for tutorial)I bet this smells amazing- Spiced Latte Soap via A Beautiful MessPerfect for Fall- Spiced Latte SoapNot only does this soap smell wonderful, but the coffee is great for exfoliation! I'll be using these as gifts at various gatherings we have coming up over the next couple of months. This method of soap customization is such a simple way to always have gifts on hand! xo. Katie

Credits // Author and Photography: Katie Shelton. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

Couple's Costumes: The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride Couple Costume           This, my friends, is a dream come true. If you saw the title of this post and thought, "What's The Princess Bride?" then you've just made me feel very old and very sad for the gaping hole in your cinematic library. If you said either, "As yoooooou wiiiiiiiishhh," or, "Inconceivable!," or "Does anybody want a peanut?," then I applaud your dedication to great films, and we are allowed to be friends. Anyway, when thinking of costume ideas for this Halloween, I was a bit stuck until Sarah mentioned the idea of Westley (or the Dread Pirate Roberts I should say) and Buttercup, and I knew instantly that I had to make it happen. I. Love. That. Movie.

It was easy enough to get some pirate items together for Todd's version of Westley (and he was more than happy to shave a creepy mustache), but I knew I was going to have some work ahead of me to recreate Buttercup's red riding dress. I ended up buying a matronly '80s red dress (that was four sizes too big) and used the bodice and neckline as my starting point. I used matching red fabric to make new sleeves and a longer skirt for the bodice, and completed the look with a belt made of gold trim. The sleeves were only the second sleeves I've ever sewn in my life, so I had a lot of prototypes before making the real thing. I think they look pretty good overall, but I couldn't lift my arms up very high, so I guess there's still room for improvement! 

The Princess Bride Couple Costume       The Princess Bride Couple Costume    The Princess Bride Couple Costume     The Princess Bride Couple Costume      The Princess Bride Couple Costume        The Princess Bride Couple Costume         I think this forest is the closest thing we have to a Fire Swamp, so it made the perfect location to test out our costumes. My friend Bethany asked if I needed her to dress as an R.O.U.S. (Rodent of Unusual Size) for the Fire Swamp bits, but as hard as the idea made me laugh, I didn't know where in town I could get an adult-sized possum costume at the last minute. Such a good idea though. The woods we used are a bit out of the way near a trail, so we had to get there on bikes and rollerblades in full costume—we got a few interesting looks to say the least! We also tried to recreate a few of the movie stills. See if you can spot them...

The Princess Bride Couple Costume  The Princess Bride Couple Costume The Princess Bride Couple Costume          The Princess Bride Couple Costume            Overall, I'm pretty proud of my Buttercup dress recreation, and it was a secret wish fulfilled to recreate parts of a movie that was so important to both our childhoods. I know that we will cherish these pictures for a long time to come, and I'll definitely keep the dress around so I can throw it on next time we watch the movie and feel like an extra nerdy fan girl. What movie couple's costume would you love to recreate for Halloween? xo. Laura

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

Scrapbook Sundays: Making Watercolor Cards With Stamping Ink

Make your own watercolor cards for a scrapbook page! (click through for simple how-to!) Hey, guys! This week I'm starting a new feature, Scrapbook Sundays. Each time I'll just share the random projects I've been working on, big and small. I have a pretty epic goal this year to get caught up on my family photo books. I've already got a pretty decent start (completed marriage year 1 and have my photos fairly organized, finally!), but the thing I've realized I'm missing is the weekly habit of making time to work on my books.

Maybe some of you feel the same way? 

I'm hoping my new Sunday feature will be a way for us to stay motivated together. So let's grab a cup of coffee and talk about scrapbooking. Shall we? 

Today I want to teach you to create cards for your pocket pages that look like watercolor paintings made with stamping ink!

How to create a watercolor look with stamping inks!  1. Supplies: 
-a spray bottle (make sure you can set it to spray a fine mist) 
-stamping inks
-an acrylic block

2-3. Smear ink on the acrylic block. 4. Spray water on your inked block until the colors begin to run together. 5. It should look like this. 6. Press a white cardstock card on the stamping block. 

Tip: If you don't have a stamping block, you can use any plastic surface that is wipeable. A piece of packaging would work just as well! 

Watercolor look make with stamping inks!Here's the result! Each impression is a little bit different. I love the natural look. 

Not enough waterJust FYI—this is what happens when you don't spray quite enough water on the block. Some of you might like this look too, but if you don't, just use more water. 

Cards are madeNow that my cards are dry and trimmed, it's time to add words and embellishments. 

I decided to start my Costa Rica pages because the watercolor impressions reminded me of a tropical vacation. As a bonus, it was REALLY fun to go back through our Costa Rica photos. 

Costa ricaI used my new alphabet stamps to stamp the title across two cards. I also did a little bit of stamping on the other cards, used one square for journaling and added the date. All in all, it was a pretty simple page to create, and I love how the watercolor prints mix with the black and white photos. 

Make your own watercolor cards for a scrapbook page! (click through for simple how-to!) Here's my completed page. As soon as I was finished, I knew I wanted to do a full page photo for the page beside it, maybe with a color photo this time. 

A note about album size—over the summer I designed an album system for the ABM shop that will be out after the new year. The size is 9" x 12" and ever since I made that choice, I've been making all my pages in that size even though I don't have any albums in yet. :) I love the format, especially since I don't like to crop my photos to squares, and I use a LOT of full page photos. 

I'll share much more about the album system after I start to receive samples. I can't wait to show you. It was one of the funnest things to design for the shop so far! 

StampingNext up, I printed a full page photo for the next page (9" x 12"). I blocked off space down the center to add stamping and journaling. I probably didn't really need these guides because I'm OK with "eyeballing it", but they were helpful. 

First I stamped a bunch of words all the way down the page. Then I filled in all the gaps with handwritten memories. They are random. I didn't plan anything before I started writing. There may be a spelling error (please don't tell me if there is—I don't want to know). And I LOVE the look of it! 

Words- close upLove ThisHere's the completed page. I think the key here was using a really simple photo. This photo was kinda boring before I added the stamps and handwriting. That's the type of photo to look for if you want to create a similar page. :) 

Supplies used: 
-stamping inks, alphabet stamp, pen: A Beautiful Mess (coming soon!!) 
-handwriting stamps: Ali Edwards 
-doodle stamps: Ashley G/Studio Calico (I think they're sold out.) 
-photos printed with Canon PIXMA iP8720

Two page spreadAnd here are both pages together. I'm happy with how they pair together and now even MORE excited to get our new albums in the mail. Hopefully by the time they arrive, I'll have lots and lots of pages ready for albums! 

Wanna talk about goals? 

So my big goal is to catch up on our family books this year. We're looking forward to starting a family in the near future (not pregnant), and so I feel like this is my window to get caught up. Now, I will say that even though catching up is my goal, it doesn't have to be your goal. Maybe you just want to make some photo books for fun? Or just do one important album like a wedding? Those are great goals. 

So after I realized that I am a crazy person and need to have all our albums done, I made a list of all the books I thought I might want to make. I did this on a flight one day. That list includes an album of our dating years, an album for our wedding, an album for each year we've been married (we're in our fourth year now), and a few other occasions that I have a lot of photos from like Emma's wedding. I also want to make an album about our current home with before/after photos because we dig through our cell phones to show everybody who comes to our house what we started with. 

So yeah, I've got my work cut out for me. And even more importantly than getting "caught up", I want to enjoy the process of making a home for our memories. It's something I've wanted to do for so long, and put off. So the last thing I want to do is rush through it and make it into a chore. I want to enjoy it! That's half the fun, right? 

Alright! I'll be back again next Sunday to talk about paper and scissors and photos. Hope your week is already off to a great start! Elsie 

Credits// Author and Photography: Elsie Larson.

13 Fun Ideas for Halloween

Three fun halloween ideas with printablesHalloween is just around the corner! It's time to put together the final pieces of  your costumes, pick out pumpkins to carve, and do some decorating. Decorating for Halloween is the best. We put together a list of our favorite Halloween decorating ideas, costumes, and treats for you to try this weekend. So, grab some hot cider (doesn't that sound good?) and get in the Halloween spirit. :) First off are these three fun Halloween printables to use for a party table.

Peter Pan and the lost boys costume diyWe love this Peter Pan and the Lost Boys family costume.

Ghost lollipop bouquetThis ghost lollipop bouquet would be a fun gift for a friend or a cute centerpiece for a party.

Easy no-carve pumpkin ideasWant to decorate pumpkins without all the mess? Try these easy no-carve pumpkin ideas (the one with puffy paint is our favorite!)

Chocolate monster bowlsThese chocolate monster bowls would be a fun treat for kids to make, and you can eat them along with your Halloween candy :) 

Make your own skull string artGet crafty and make this skull string art to display on a mantel or shelf.

Super easy ghost decorationsThese super easy ghost decorations are equally cute and spooky.

Pinocchio themed family costumeNeed a family costume idea? This Pinocchio-themed costume is the cutest.

Day of the dead candy party trayHost a party and make this candy party tray for your guests to admire and then devour.

Skull pillowThis cool skull pillow can be made with an old sweater and simple cross stitch.

Candy corn jello shotsYour Halloween party wouldn't be complete without these candy corn Jell-O shots!

Ghost family piñata partyHaving a pumpkin carving party? Surprise your guests with these ghost family piñata's filled with candy. 

Bjork swan dress costume tutorialAnd last but not least, be the star of your Halloween party with this Bjork swan dress costume.

We can't wait to show you the rest of our Halloween goodies next week! - The ABM team

Beaded Looped Clay Necklace

DSC_0615 copyClay bead necklaces are quite popular right now. I could understand if some of you don't like the art teacher look of it, but I do. Make a bunch in a neutral color palette, or go for bright and bold colors for something that stands out. Either way, using oven-baked clay to make beads is a really easy way to create some unique jewelry for yourself (or your friends). Better yet, don't make these alone, and invite your friends to spend an evening making some clay bead necklaces together! 

Supplies:
-2 oz packs of oven-baked clay in various colors
-40" leather cording
-wooden skewer
-parchment paper
-baking sheet
-scissors

DSC_0040 copyDSC_0040 copyStep One: Pinch a quarter of the clay off, roll into a ball, and gently pierce the middle completely through with a wooden skewer. Make sure the hole is large enough for your cording to pass through. This creates the large 1" beads. To make smaller beads (about 1/2"), pinch off an eighth of the clay, roll into a ball, and gently pierce the middle completely through with a wooden skewer. Create a total of 11 clay beads in various sizes for your looped necklace. If you have any extras, you can create more necklaces! 

DSC_0040 copyStep Two: On a baking sheet with parchment paper on top, place the beads and allow to bake per package directions. Usually, it's about 15 minutes for every quarter inch at about 275°F. Once done, allow to cool completely. 

DSC_0040 copyDSC_0040 copyStep Three: Arrange the beads in the order you would like them to be on the cording. This diagram helps illustrate how to loop the beads to create the two tiers of the looped necklace. With one end of the cording, string five beads through to create the top tier. With that same cording end, continue to string five beads through to create the bottom tier, then insert that cording end up through the second bead on the top tier, and continue through the remaining beads on that tier. Add one more bead through that end to finish it off. If you want the necklace to be adjustable, create a sliding knot with the two ends of the cording, or just knot the two ends together for your desired length.  

DSC_0680DSC_0609 copyThese necklaces are so easy to make that you will want to make tons more. Get daring and try other interesting shapes, or paint some designs on the beads to add patterns. These are some other necklaces I made in the past, and it would be fun to try that shape again, but this time with some colorful clay beads. Anyone already try their hand at making some clay bead necklaces? -Rubyellen

Credits // Author and photography: Rubyellen Bratcher. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions

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