8One of my favorite parts of our recent summer vacation was staying at a resort hotel with the most comfortable bed. It was the kind that had crisp white sheets, more pillows than you could count, and a cozy duvet that made you want to stay under it all morning! After a long day tending to the needs of children, that bed was like a big, welcoming hug, and I was determined to recreate a similar resort hotel, spa-like feeling to our own bedroom when we got home. We already had the fantastic duvet insert that will forever have my heart, but I felt our bedding could still use a little love. I wanted to achieve a resort hotel feel without the resort hotel price while still holding on to that tropical summer vibe.

We're excited to be partnering with IKEA, one of our favorite shops for affordable home goods, to share this inexpensive duvet cover makeover! While a great mattress, the perfect pillows, and all white linens will make you feel like you're still on vacation, this hand-dyed, shibori style duvet cover will add that touch of personal style that makes it feel like home. It has just enough of that boho, beachy vibe to bring back those relaxed summer afternoons at the pool, too. I made sure to include nightstand lighting for bedtime reading, fresh flowers in a small vase, and a large textural piece of fiber art above our new NORDLI bed frame to round out the cozy factor. A few throw pillows later and our bedroom felt like our own little vacation spot!

Here are all of the IKEA items used to create this zen space: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

-IKEA DVALA duvet cover
-5 yards of rope or twine
-2 packets of Tulip fabric dye in denim blue
-1/2 cup table salt
-Saran wrap
-1/2" x 6" x 12" balsa wood
-1/2" x 8" x 16" balsa wood
-hand saw 
-rubber gloves
-paint stir stick

Flag FoldStep One: When you take your duvet cover out of the packaging, remove the pillow shams, and then unfold the sides so that you have the first shape shown above. This takes advantage of the already folded shape, but feel free to unfold and refold until you get something similar to a long rectangular shape. Then do a flag-fold technique of sorts by folding triangles back and forth on themselves until you get to the end of your fabric. You'll likely have a little bit left that doesn't form a full triangle, but don't sweat it. 

Bind ThemStep Two: Cut your balsa wood so that you get a pair of triangles that are roughly the same size. You'll be clamping these against your fabric with rope (or rubber bands, wood clamps, etc.) so that the dye doesn't penetrate the fabric in that area. It'll bleed through some, but it'll create a unique resist pattern when you're done. A larger triangle will mean more white space in your design while a smaller triangle will mean less.

StirStep Three: Prepare your dye in a stainless steel sink or large bucket. You'll notice I just used my regular sink, but I had plenty of cleaning supplies on hand to take care of business when I was done. Add two packets of your fabric dye along with enough of the hottest water you can get from your tap to fill about 1.5 - 2 gallons worth. Add 1/2 cup of table salt according to manufacturer's directions and stir.

DyeStep Four: Place the bound duvet cover in the sink so that it's submerged. If it wants to float, place a rock on top of the wood. Stir for 15 minutes almost constantly, and then every now and then for the next 45 minutes. Take it out and let it drip excess water down the drain. Then cover with Saran wrap and let the dye set for 6-8 hours for a deep blue. If you prefer something a little more faded and subtle, you can shorten your wait time to about 1.5 hours. 

RinseStep Five: After your allotted wait time, rinse your dye out with cold water. Wash in warm water with a little color safe detergent and tumble dry low. The color will fade a little after it's been washed and dried, but if you let the dye set for 6-8 hours, you'll end up with a bold blue that feels more like it's been truly indigo dyed.

4Step Six: Insert your duvet cover and enjoy your new look!

3527This type of visual change, along with simple white linens and a few other special details can totally transform the feel of a room! I'm not gonna lie, I've been working from bed instead of at my studio desk every day since this update. Now, if only I could figure out how to arrange room service, I'd be set! 

Have you ever tried dying a project on this scale? It's such a fun way to add some relaxing color and pattern this summer. I'm in love! -Rachel

Credits//Author: Rachel Denbow. Photography: Rachel Denbow and Janae Hardy.

Fried avocado and mushroom tacos (via abeautifulmess.com)Just a few weeks ago I made a version of this dish at my brother's birthday party. He hosted a taco night at his place, and since he knows that Trey and I eat a mostly vegetarian diet, he wanted to have a veggie taco option for us. So he asked me what I thought about fried avocado tacos, and I think the emojis I texted back were surprised face followed by clapping hands.

He enlisted my help in preparing the avocado, and since my six-year-old niece was around and wanted my attention, I quickly enlisted her help too. :) The avocados we had that night were not quite ripe yet (which actually works well if you plan to fry them), so I sliced them up and put Penelope (my niece) in charge of adding the batter. I showed her what to do, and she cautiously got to work while also letting me know when I was going too slow on cutting the avocados. Ha! 

Fried avocado and mushroom tacos (via abeautifulmess.com)  She did not much care for getting the flour and egg mixture on her fingers, but it's pretty unavoidable. Towards the end she turned to me and in a very serious tone said, "Aunt Emma, just so you know, this is the grossest thing I've ever done." 

I about died laughing!

Now I don't advocate (or maybe it should be avocado-cate... heh) deep frying all that often since it's not the healthiest cooking method. But, every now and again it is really fun. I just LOVE a thick, crunchy breading. Growing up I loved fried chicken, so it's fun to deep fry every now and again (although I prefer avocado to chicken these days, but that's just me). In this version, I've added mushrooms, and I have some suggestions for what to top it all with. But honestly, tacos are one of those things that you can easily customize to whatever you have on hand or whatever you prefer, so feel free to change it up. This recipe is just a jumping off point. :) 

Ripe avocadoFried Avocado and Mushroom Tacos, serves two generously

1 avocado (it can be quite firm still)
4-6 oz. bunapi mushrooms (Other mushrooms can work too, but if they are large, cut them in half before battering.)
salt and pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
enough oil to fill a medium to large pot with an inch or so deep
4-6 corn tortillas
2-3 radishes
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
1 small tomato 
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1-2 limes
1 jalapeño, sliced thin (leave the seeds in if you want it very hot, otherwise discard)
shredded cheese, sour cream, or hot sauce

First set up, what I like to call, the deep fry station. For this you'll need three large bowls (can be large cereal/soup bowls), two large plates, a few paper towels, a cutting board and knife, your pot or deep frying vessel, and a deep frying thermometer if using. Divide the flour between two of the bowls. In the third bowl add the eggs and a tablespoon or two of water and whisk well. Add the oil to your pot, set your thermometer in, and turn the heat up to medium/high so that can begin to heat. 

Slice the avocado in half and remove the skin. Slice into 8 pieces total and season with a little salt and pepper. Remove the bunapi mushrooms from their base (usually they are sold so that a large section is all attached to a base, so you're just looking to separate them here). Now dip each item into the first bowl of flour, then into the egg mixture, and then into the second bowl of flour. Place on a clean plate. Repeat until you've battered everything. 

Tips for deep frying avocadoAdd paper towels to the second plate and check your oil's heat. You're looking to reach right around 350°F. Yes, you can just eyeball it if you are too cheap to buy a thermometer. But honestly, it does make it a lot easier, and you can use it to make all sorts of things like candy and marshmallows. Man, you'd think I owned stock in deep fry thermometers. Well, I don't. They just really are pretty useful so I figured I'd just give it to you straight. :) 

Once your oil is ready, add all the avocado pieces to the oil. Cook for about 30-45 seconds (until golden brown), then remove to the plate lined with paper towels. Do the same with the mushrooms. 

Fried mushrooms and avocado tacos Warm your tortillas and assemble those tacos! I know I say you can top these with anything, and you really can, but I do really love the flavor and texture that the red onion, radish, and cilantro add. I always squeeze a lime over tacos just before eating. So serve them with the wedges ready to go if you want to be a professional about it. Oh, and you can totally keep these dairy-free by skipping the sour cream and cheese and just add a little hot sauce. Or you can add the cheese and sour cream. Live your life. Happy taco making! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman.

Pom pom dress   Emma Chapman Pink door Clouds in her eyes Pom pom dress Every now and again I just feel like doing some kind of random, quick project. Just something fun that keeps my hands busy for a while. Usually these are things that can be completed in one or two nights (or a weekend day). You might think that I'm always "making" for my job, and it certainly IS a piece of my job (which I am forever thankful for), but a larger part of my time is spent on emails, behind the scenes administration stuff, and most creative things have to do with recipe development or photography.

But I was just in the mood to sew something, and I guess I was also putting off working on my quilt that I'm trying to complete this year. Ha! So, I added pom pom fringe to this dress, and I like it! It's definitely on the line between so whimsical it should be kids' wear and just plain fun. :) It actually took a bit longer than I thought, as running this type of fringe through my sewing machine was a little more tricky than I initially anticipated. So, I guess I learned something too. :) 

Any random projects from your life lately, sister? 

Emma's pom pom dress Adding pom pom to a dress Pom pom dressEmma's Wearing: Dress c/o Shabby Apple (loved the fit, which is partly why I wanted to update this one as I knew I'd keep wearing it!), Shoes/ASOS, Sunnies c/o Lulu's, and Purse/Oui Fresh

Hey SisterI completely relate with that feeling of needing to create something just-for-fun! This summer I set up a little painting studio in my sunroom, and I've been sneaking in there to make paintings constantly. It feels really good to have a creative outlet and something to look forward to after a long week! 

Ps– your dress is so cute, Emma! 

Hey Sister  Hey Sister  Hey Sister  Hey Sister  Hey Sister  Hey Sister  Elsie's Wearing: Dress/J.Crew (similar, the one I have is out of stock), Necklace/Moorea Seal, Clogs/Swedish Hasbeens, Blanket/Turkish-T

Hope you guys are having a wonderful week! 

Credits//Authors: Emma Chapman and Elsie Larson. Photography by Janae Hardy and Amber Ulmer.

Adventures in stick on subway tile via A Beautiful MessHey, guys! I am so incredibly excited about today's post. As you know I have a major affinity for subway tile. We used it quite a bit in our home remodel. But the installation is both expensive and messy! So in an effort to save some money (and also just try something new!), we decided to use stick on subway tile in our laundry room for the walls surrounding the washer, dryer and sink. 

I spent quite a bit of time searching for the perfect tile design. You can find them all over from the big box stores to smaller companies, but ultimately I chose these tiles from Amazon

My new-ish project assistant, Collin, installed the tiles. So I'm going to hand it over to him to share some tips on installation! He's been working with me for several months (behind-the-scenes on a big 10-room magazine shoot we just did!), and now he's going to help more with DIYs. I never have enough hours in the week to try all the ideas I want to try! Anyway! I'm going to hand it over to him to share the secrets to a really nice installation for your stick on tiles. 

Faux tile 1Cutting: Using a ruler, X-Acto knife and cutting mat, measure your cutting points and score over and over until you cut through the tile. This material is pretty rubbery, so be sure to hold it down/straight while cutting. 

Faux tile 2Faux tile 2Faux tile 2Sticking: When sticking, start from the top, peel down about an inch and line it up, and then continue pulling and sticking slowly. If you pull the entire backing off and try to stick it on all at once, it's easy to mess up the alignment. So take it slow. 

Caulking: I added some white silicone-base waterproof caulk around the sink to make sure it was completely waterproof. You might not need this step if your area won't get wet, although it does make the edges look nicer! 

Warning: It is very sticky! Once it is stuck, it IS STUCK. It will literally rip off your drywall if you try to remove it. For this reason, we wouldn't classify this project under "renter friendly" unless your landlord is OK with you adding these permanent stick on tiles, of course! 

Faux tile 5Measuring to order the correct amount: This tile is a little annoying because each piece is less than a square foot. We ended up having to order more halfway through! Be sure to check the exact measurement of whatever tile you choose and measure your wall to determine the correct amount. 

Adventures in stick on subway tile via A Beautiful Mess (back to Elsie now...) I'm really excited about how this came out. It looks GORGEOUS. So fresh and clean, and the tiles really feel like they will functionally be JUST as good as real tile. It is extremely durable and easy to clean. 

Adventures in stick on subway tile via A Beautiful Mess   Oh! And I know you're probably curious about cost! These tiles cost us about $600 for the two large walls we wanted to cover (it would  be much cheaper if you just did a backsplash). That means that the price was about half of what it would have been to buy the cheapest subway tile and get it installed professionally. So a pretty good way to save a few bucks. 

After doing this, I would definitely recommend it and do it again, especially for a lower priority room like a laundry room or a bathroom. If you had to prioritize real tile in only one room, I would personally choose the kitchen 100% of the time. 

Alrighty! I know you probably want to see pulled-back photos, and I promise they are coming soon! We're polishing up details, and this laundry room will be our next room tour VERY SOON. So excited. On a personal note – it makes such a HUGE difference to love your laundry room. I'm really happy we knocked it out now instead of waiting 2-3 years like we easily could have. xx -Elsie 

Credits//Author and Photography: Elsie Larson and Collin DuPree. 

9This simple, no-sew linen coverlet is one of the easiest ways to add another layer of luxe to any bedroom in the house. It's lightweight, so it's great for summer styling over your favorite bedspread or duvet cover and can easily be made to match your existing decor. The yarn tassels add a ton of texture and interest while the white linen helps brighten any room. Think of it as another accessory for your bed, just like that hand-dyed bolster pillow you've been eyeing. It's also perfectly acceptable for curling up under should you need a nap!

This particular coverlet is sized to fit a full/queen, so if you're looking to fit a twin or king, just measure the width of your mattress and add another 24" to that number to get the length for your coverlet. Most linens will already be 54" wide, but you can cut that down if you'd like a narrower width. I call this a no-sew coverlet because heavy linen looks beautiful with frayed edges. So you can skip the hems as long as you have mostly straight cuts from the cutting counter at your local fabric store and can pull off enough threads for about 1/4" or so of a frayed edge on all four sides.   

-2 yds of 54"-58" wide linen fabric (the heavier the weight, the better)
-1 skein of black worsted weight acrylic or cotton yarn (avoid wool as it will felt or shrink)
-3" embroidery needle
-2"x 5" piece of cardboard
-sewing machine and thread (optional)
-iron and ironing board 

Create TasselsStep One: Pre-wash your linen on a gentle cycle, and then remove it while it's slightly damp for fewer creases. To create your tassels, wrap your yarn around your cardboard 12-15 times depending on how thick you'd like your tassels to be, and then cut through your yarn at the top and bottom of the wraps. This will leave you with two bundles of yarn for two separate tassels. 

2-Tie them offStep Two: Tie a 2" cut of black yarn around the middle of your strands and double knot it as tightly as you can. Trim the ends to be even with the rest of the tassel. Do this a million more times. Just kidding, only about 63 more.

6U8A55303-Stitch them onto linenStep Three: Place your linen on a flat surface and lay your tassels out in a grid to ensure they are evenly spaced on your throw. I left about 12" from each of the short ends to the first row of eight tassels, and then spaced them all out about 5"-6" apart from each other. You can eyeball this or make marks with straight pins or chalk. 

Then thread your yarn through your needle, stitch down through the linen and back up again so that you have a 3" tail left. Place a tassel on top of your stitch and tie a double-knot snugly over the top of it. Trim the yarn so that it's even with the rest of the tassel. Continue stitching them onto the linen until you're finished. 

11When you're finished, you can hem the edges of your linen with a sewing machine for a more finished look or leave them raw. Just be sure the cut lines are even and pull out the loose strings until you have a nicely frayed edge. If your linen is really wrinkled, spray it lightly with the water setting on your iron and iron it upside down so that you're not moving it over the yarn side. Wash your coverlet in a delicate wash and line dry or tumble dry on a low heat and take it out while it's slightly damp to avoid hard-to-remove wrinkles. 

1210Place your linen throw over a patterned quilt and add a few special throw pillows to make your bed feel like a million bucks, or make a slightly smaller one to drape on your couch! It's a great way to add another easy layer of texture and pattern to your space. -Rachel

Credits//Author and Photography: Rachel Denbow and Janae Hardy.


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