Five-Minute Braided Bun

Five minute braided bun via A Beautiful MessHey, friends—it's Katie here to share a quick and easy bun with you today. I don't know how much time you typically have to get ready for the day, but sometimes I have time to really fix my hair before the day's obligations, and other days I just have to do the fastest possible thing and get myself out the door. Having a few quick and easy styles in the ol' hair bank can save you time for other important things... like stopping for donuts.

Step one- braid hairStep One: Go ahead and braid your hair. Nothing fancy here—just your average braid.

Step two- holding one of the three strands and push the other two up as far as you canStep Two: Once you've made it to the end of your hair, take one of your three strands in one hand. Push the braid up to the nape of your neck with your other hand.

Step 3- push hair to nape of neckStep four- roll the tail under and pin into placeStep Three: Once you get the braid up to the neck, begin pinning the braid. As you can see from the photo above, you will have a tail. Don't worry! We'll pin that, too!

Step four- keep pinning under all loose hair is hiddenStep fourStep Four: When your bun is feeling pretty secure, wrap the tail around the base of the bun and pin it in place. Once it feels secure, you're all done!

Five minute braided bunI love this style more than a typical braid wrapped into a bun, because it has a tighter look and feels more secure. Now, go enjoy some donuts! xo. Katie

Credits // Author: Katie Shelton. Photography: Sarah Rhodes. Photos edited with Sunday from the Folk Collection.

Pyramid Light Stand

Pyramid light stand (click through for more before and after pics) So after we recently learned how to wire your own light cords (here's that post), my brain wouldn't stop thinking of ways to make our own lamps and ways to display these in our home. If I'm being honest, the ideas are still flowing, but at some point you have to move on with your life, right? Maybe? Well, in the meantime, Josh and I came up with this very simple pyramid light stand that you could definitely make at home. I'll let Josh explain how he built it as only he can. :)

-doweling ( I used six 48" long, 1/2" pieces)

-light assembly (learn how to make your own here)
-crafting wire or twine
-leather strips (optional)


-measuring tape
-wood glue
-nailer (optional)

Pyramid light stand (click through for more  before and after pics)Pyramid light stand (click through for more  before and after pics)Pyramid light stand (click through for more  before and after pics)Step One: Cut all your pieces to size. I kept the vertical pieces at 48" and cut the base pieces 18" long with 45˚ends. If you want to get fancy, cut a 10˚or so angle off one end of each rod.

Pyramid light stand (click through for more before and after pics)            Pyramid light stand (click through for more before and after pics)            Pyramid light stand (click through for more before and after pics)            Pyramid light stand (click through for more before and after pics)            Step Two: Assemble the base. Fortunately I have a nailer, so it was super easy. If you don't have a nailer, I think if you just used wood glue or hot glue it would be sturdy enough. The light assembly weighs less than a pound, so you should be fine. I applied wood filler in the nail holes when I was done.

Pyramid light stand (click through for more before and after pics)     Pyramid light stand (click through for more before and after pics)     Pyramid light stand (click through for more before and after pics)     Step Three: Before you attach the vertical pieces, sand any filler you might have applied. Drill a hole about 2" from the top on each rod. Thread the crafting wire or twine through the holes. Don't tie together too tight; you still need to position the other ends on each corner of the base. By putting the twine or wire on first, it makes it easier for the legs to stay upright while you attach to the base. Again, I nailed the legs on, but I think hot glue would work great, maybe even better. You're going to be painting over it anyway.

Pyramid light stand (click through for more before and after pics)                     Pyramid light stand (click through for more before and after pics)                     Pyramid light stand (click through for more before and after pics)                     Pyramid light stand (click through for more before and after pics)                     Step Four: We wanted the pyramid to have the "dipped in gold" look. Since our giant vat of liquid gold was being used for something else, I spray painted the legs, which required I tape the legs off. After taping the legs, I wrapped them with paper towels so the paint mist wouldn't ruin everything. You can go for the dipped look, paint it all one color, or try to go for something completely different.

6U8A19306U8A1930Step Five: Stick the cord through the center of the legs and tighten the twine or wire. You can then wrap the light cord around the top, or like Sarah did, wrap a bit of leather to hide the wire. If you have little guys running around your house, you can wrap excess cord around one of the legs so there's less for them to get their little paws on. Speaking of little guys, as with anything electrical in the house, the responsibility rests upon the big guys (grownups) to keep an eye on them. If you don't think this is a safe solution for your household, you shouldn't make it! Safety first.

Pyramid light stand (click through for more before and after pics) Pyramid light stand (click through for more before and after pics)  I love how our pyramid lamp turned out, and Josh has already made a second variation with green paint for our home. Wouldn't these be fun even hung upside down from a very high ceiling? Oh, great... more ideas! I'm going to need a lighting intervention soon. xo. Josh + Sarah

Credits // Authors: Joshua Rhodes and Sarah Rhodes. Photography: Sarah Rhodes. Photos edited with Piper from The Signature Collection.

Fresh Spring Rolls + Spicy Peanut Sauce

Fresh spring rolls with spicy peanut sauce (click through for recipe)Do you have foods in your life that just make you think of someone? German chocolate cake makes me think of my dad (because it's his favorite, and he requests it almost every birthday). And fresh spring rolls make me think of Elsie. She is a fresh spring roll kind of gal. 

So, these are really for her. 

Best fresh springrolls I've gotta hand it to her, she has good taste. Fresh spring rolls are delicious, easy to make, and super healthy. They also look really pretty, so they are a fantastic appetizer (or meal, if you make a lot) to serve to friends or family. It's a dish that will impress, it's just so colorful.

Fresh spring rolls with spicy peanut sauce (click through for recipe)  And don't even get me started on spicy peanut sauce (also called satay sauce). It's just THE BEST. It's perfect with fresh spring rolls, but it's also awesome as a dressing or on a sandwich, although less traditional, I'm sure.

I can't claim any kind of credit for this version of spicy peanut sauce. I've been making it a goal to learn to cook a few more traditional-style Thai dishes, as I love Thai food. And I'm happy to recommend Simple Thai Food. This book rocks. And that's where this version comes from (slightly changed for a smaller portion, as the original recipe makes a ton!).

Veggie options for spring rollsBut first, let's talk about the spring rolls. You can use all manner of vegetables that you like, but here are a few of my favorites for this: lettuce, cabbage, carrots, bell pepper, and cucumber. Anything that can be chopped up into small matchsticks, do so. You'll also want some bold flavors like cilantro and chives. 

Protein options for spring rollsI love fresh spring rolls packed with only vegetables. But, if you're looking to make this into more of a meal, you may want to add some kind of protein. I like to use either cooked shrimped (cut in half) or cooked chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans). 

Best fresh springrolls  You'll also need spring roll papers, which can usually be found in Asian markets or if your local grocery store has an Asian section. 

Once you've made fresh spring rolls once, you'll already feel like a pro because they are so easy. But, in case you've never made them before, here's a quick photo tutorial for you.

How to roll fresh spring rollsSubmerge the spring roll paper in warm water for 20-30 seconds. A pie pan filled with warm water works well here. You'll be able to feel the paper softening under your finger tips, so don't let it soak for too long or it can more easily tear.

Fill with protein (if using), then the bold flavors (cilantro and chives), some veggies, some lettuce, then roll it up. Easy as pie.

Actually, it's WAY easier than pie.

Best spicy peanut sauce recipeSpicy Peanut Sauce, makes about 1 3/4 to 2 cups.
Recipe from Simple Thai Food by Leela Punyaratabandhu

3/4 cup coconut milk (about half a can)
2 tablespoons red curry paste (I used Mae Ploy brand)
1/3 heaping cup natural peanut butter (or make your own)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and heat over medium heat. Whisk as it heats to combine all the ingredients and dissolve the sugar. Bring to a low boil and cook for another couple of minutes.

Fresh spring rolls with spicy peanut sauce (click through for recipe) You can serve the sauce hot or cold, but I prefer it just slightly warm with the fresh spring rolls chilled (just pop them in the refrigerator for a few minutes after rolling them). Enjoy! xo. Emma

P.S. Looks like Shutterbean and I had a similar hankering this week. I love her use of miso in the sauce she made. Yum! I'm gonna try that next time for sure. 

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

Paint Your Own Outdoor Rug!

Such a great idea! Outdoor painted rug DIY (click through for tutorial)        .  When it comes to decorating an outdoor space, rugs are a big deal. They are a great way to add a large amount of pattern or color to an area, and they help create the intimate feel of a living room right in the middle of the outdoors. They can, however, also be a bit of a pain to track down. I don't know if you relate, but I have the hardest time finding outdoor rugs that I really like. It's time consuming enough to find the perfect indoor rug in just the right size, color, and price for your needs, and when you move to the smaller-supplied outdoor category, it gets even more difficult. For that reason I wanted to try a painted rug on our concrete porch this year. I mean, what's better than a rug where you can pick the pattern and colors yourself?

Such a great idea! Outdoor painted rug DIY         Supplies:
-concrete cleaner and scrub brush/broom
-concrete primer
-outdoor porch/floor paint (I used this brand in quart size, but any other recommended brand should work)

-paint brushes
-painter's tape
-craft paper for stencil (if needed)

First you'll want to use a concrete cleaner and brush to thoroughly clean the area you'll be painting. If you have a slightly rough and porous surface, then you'll only need to clean the surface to prep the area. If you have a smooth non-porous concrete, you'll want to consider also using a concrete etcher to open pores in the concrete and absorb the paint more effectively. If you aren't sure if your concrete is porous or not, drip a small amount of water on the concrete—if it soaks into the concrete quickly, it's porous, but if it sits on top before slowly soaking in, then you'll want to use an etcher. 

Such a great idea! Outdoor painted rug DIYOnce the cleaned concrete has fully dried, use a measuring tape and painter's tape to mark off the area that will be your rug (mine is a 5' x 7' area). The tape won't fully stick to the concrete, but it will still help to give you a visual guide as you work. 

Such a great idea! Outdoor painted rug DIY Using a brush, paint your concrete primer within the tape lines and allow the primer to fully dry according to the directions. 

Such a great idea! Outdoor painted rug DIY  While the concrete primer dries, you can work on the pattern for your rug. I like to make mock-ups of patterns in Illustrator first so I can plan out my color placement and size, but you can also just make a quick sketch with markers or pencils, too, if that helps. I chose a kilim-style rug pattern, so I had to make giant craft paper stencils of each of the different-sized geometric shapes. Whoa. There was a lot of measuring and math skills happening to get those shapes just right. I would highly suggest doing a simpler pattern if you aren't a really patient personality—stripes, dots, color blocked patterns are all really cute options that would be way easier to plan out. You can use the painter's tape as a guide or make stencils from craft paper—whatever fits your needs!

Such a great idea! Outdoor painted rug DIY   Once the primer was dry, I filled in the area of the rug with one of my lighter-colored paints.* You'll have to trim the edges of the rug as neatly as you can by hand since you can't rely on the painter's tape to stop the paint in this rough-surface situation. Depending on your pattern and color choices, you may want to paint the bottom color white for your first coat as a primer so your colors look bright and true when painted on top.

Note: The colors I chose for the rug are Valspar Pink Quartz, Valspar Aquatic Mist, Pantone Blithe, Pantone Peony, Clark + Kensington Snow Cone, and Clark + Kensington Yellow Finch.

Such a great idea! Outdoor painted rug DIY     Once the bottom coat was dry, I placed my different-sized stencils on top and used a pencil to trace the pattern directly onto the painted surface. 

Such a great idea! Outdoor painted rug DIY       From there, it was just a matter of filling in all the shapes with my different-colored paints. I had a mix of smaller and larger paint brushes and switched between them as needed. Like I said, I chose what ended up being a pretty time-consuming pattern, so choose a pattern based on how long you want to be outside painting on a concrete slab in summer. It can get hot!

Also, if you find that some colors aren't layering quite right (like painting a light color over a darker color or yellow over a blue-toned color), you might need to do a primer layer of white again in that shape before adding the top color. It's usually easiest to paint darker colors on top of lighter colors, but doing a primer layer is the best way to get around that rule if your pattern calls for it. 

Such a great idea! Outdoor painted rug DIY        Once your pattern is all filled in, allow the paint to dry and keep all people and patio furniture off the paint for as long as the manufacturer recommends so the paint can fully cure. You can check and see if a topcoat sealer is needed with the brand of porch paint you buy, but you most likely won't need one for most porch paints.  

Such a great idea! Outdoor painted rug DIY (click through for tutorial)   Such a great idea! Outdoor painted rug DIY (click through for tutorial)        Such a great idea! Outdoor painted rug DIY (click through for tutorial) Such a great idea! Outdoor painted rug DIY (click through for tutorial)      Such a great idea! Outdoor painted rug DIY (click through for tutorial)    Such a great idea! Outdoor painted rug DIY (click through for tutorial)I would say that I'm happy with my finished rug, but that would be a lie. I'm not happy; I'm thrilled. This is totally a project that I plan to redo each summer to give our space a fresh face each year. I'll probably pick a pattern that's less time-consuming next time, but I'm so happy that I can create whatever I want now and completely customize the look. Think you'll give it a try? What would your dream painted rug look like? xo. Laura

Credits // Author: Laura Gummerman. Photography: Laura Gummerman & Sarah Rhodes. Photos edited with Stella from the Signature Collection.

Chemex Brewing 101

How to brew with a chemexToday we are so excited to welcome two of our favorite baristas, Jason Strother and Isaac Neale, to share their tips and technique for brewing coffee with a Chemex. Jason and Isaac are co owners of Kingdom Coffee & Cycles, one of our very favorite coffee spots in Springfield, MO. You've likely seen (many) photos of us either with coffees from their shop or inside their beautiful downtown location.

Kingdom Coffee Shop in Springfield MOKingdom Coffee in Springfield MOIf you ever find yourself in Springfield, we highly recommend you stop by their shop if you like good coffee and great people. We are stoked to learn from them today.

Isaac and Jason Isaac and JasonChemex is our favorite multi-cup brew method. Chemex filters are 20-30% heavier (more absorbent) to remove undesirable sediment particles and oils, producing a cleaner, sweeter cup of coffee (you can read more about Chemex filters here). The main drawback of using a Chemex is that it is not great for making a single cup of coffee unless you buy the single serving (3-cup) size Chemex.

Chemex requires an overall brew time of approximately 6 minutes. Coffee should be ground medium-fine. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the finest and 10 being the most coarse, this grind would be a 7 or 8. The more coffee you are brewing at a time, the coarser it should be. For this particular set of parameters, it will be closer to 11.

How to grind coffee beansHow to grind coffee beans Supplies:

-Coffee: You’ll need 42g of your favorite medium to light roast coffee.

-Grinder: We are using a Hario Slim Handmill. This is a burr grinder, which produces much more consistent granules than a blade grinder, which is really better suited for grinding spices. Almost any burr grinder is preferable to a blade grinder. We chose the Hario because of its affordability. 

-Scale: We are using the AWS (American Weight Systems) SC-2kg pocket scale. To consistently produce good coffee, it is imperative to measure all of your ingredients. (Too much water, you’ll over extract the coffee; too little water, and you’ll under extract the coffee.) We love this scale because it is affordable, durable, and compact.

-Kettle: We are using a Bonavita 1 Liter Electric Gooseneck Kettle. This kettle is very easy to use. You simply need to fill it, switch it on, and it will kick off automatically when it reaches temperature. You will need your water to be right around 200 degrees for brewing.  A simple way to achieve this is to let your water reach a boil, then let it sit for a minute or two.

-Chemex + filters: We are using the 6-cup Chemex, but these parameters will work with the 6-, 8-, or 10-cup Chemex. We prefer the bleached filters because they give a cleaner, truer extraction, imparting less papery taste to the coffee.

-Coffee cups: Any mugs will do, but make sure you preheat them by filling them halfway full with brew-temperature water to avoid thermal loss to the coffee.

-Timer (or iPhone): Anything that counts in seconds will work fine. Pro tip: You do not need to stop and restart the timer during extraction; you can let it run continuously using a bit of addition.

Step One: The Preparation. Weigh out your coffee (42g) and start heating your water. We are using a brew ratio of 1:15 grams (i.e., 1 gram of coffee to 15 grams of water), so you will need 630 grams of water for brewing and allow for 300 grams to rinse and preheat your vessels. You can go ahead and grind your coffee while you’re waiting for your water to reach temperature.

How to brew coffee with a chemex      Step Two: The Filter. Open the filter and place it in the Chemex with the layered side toward the spout. Rinse the filter with brew-temperature water. Now add your coffee to the rinsed filter. This will help the filter to hold its shape as you remove it to pour out the rinse water. Once finished, place the filter back in the Chemex.

How to brew coffee with a chemex    How to brew coffee with a chemex   How to brew coffee with a chemex  Step Three: The bloom. Wet the grounds with 80-100 grams of water (about twice as much water as coffee grounds) and wait 45 to 60 seconds (depending on the age of your coffee). You should see some bubbles emerge from the grounds. This is trapped gas escaping the coffee, which will allow for a more even extraction. If you don't see any, this might indicate that your coffee is old.

How to brew coffee with a chemexHow to brew with a chemex.    Step Four: The Pour. You will now pour the remaining water (for a total of 630 grams of water) in a circular motion in the center of the grounds. Try to constrain your pour to the area of a half dollar. Avoid pouring water toward the edges, as the water will run down the outside of the Chemex wall without extracting the coffee properly.

How to brew with a chemex.   Step Five: The Finish. Once the stream of coffee exiting the filter slows to a drip, you can remove the filter, grounds and all, and dispose of it (we recommend tossing on your compost pile).

How to brew with a chemex.  How to brew with a chemex. Now you are ready to serve and enjoy! And if you enjoy pretty coffee photos, you can follow Kingdom on Instagram @kingdom_sgf.

Credits // Authors: Isaac Neale and Jason Strother. Photos and Video: Sarah Rhodes. Music: Jeremy Larson. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions

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