DIY Flapper Costume

Easy DIY Flapper CostumeWay before I had ever read about Jay and Daisy, I was a little girl fascinated by flapper culture. I knew about those 1920s rebel-rousers from Saturday morning movies on TV—the grainy ones where nobody talked and the speed of the film seemed unnaturally fast. Those dark-lipped, gum-chewing gals wore old-fashioned dresses and danced the Charleston at light speed, making their swinging arms and legs impossible for me to mimic. (But that's never stopped me from trying!) It wasn't until I was much older that I learned that the style of the flapper was actually very daring for the time, and their bubble gum chewing and flirting just wasn't done by proper ladies. By the time I read The Great Gatsby in high school, my fascination with the era was complete.

I've always thought it would be fun to dress up as a flapper, but alas, I've never been invited to a 1920s party, and for Halloween, I was too busy being Mary Poppins or film noir characters to try out a flapper costume. But this year I finally did it! I found my inner Clara Bow and freaked out my husband when he thought I had chopped off all my hair. Check out how I did it below!

How to make a flapper headbandFLAPPER HEADBAND When I think of flapper accessories, I think of pearl beads. The more the merrier! You could also use a headscarf or turban for your flapper costume, but I decided on a simple pearl headband. I spent a few dollars on these supplies and assembled this headband in less than an hour.

How to make a flapper headbandSupplies:
-pearl beads (in size of your choice)
-feather clip
-sparkly barrette or brooch
-elastic cord (the thinner the better)

How to make a flapper headbandStep One: I cut out two lengths of elastic cord—one about 1" smaller than the circumference of my head, and the other 1/2 the circumference of my head. I knotted off 2/3 of the longer cord and strung the pearl beads onto it. Then I tied the ends together.

Step Two: I strung the smaller cord with more pearl beads and then tied the ends of it to the longer cord from the previous step. You may want to try on the headband to see where you want the pearl strands to be joined. You don't want any slack in either of the strands, or you will have beads falling into your eyes.

How to make a flapper headbandStep Three: I clipped the feather to the end of the longer strand of beads and topped it off with a sparkly crescent barrette. You could also use a brooch, or forego the bling.

How to whip up an authentic flapper Halloween costumeFLAPPER DRESS 1920s dresses had dropped waists and straight silhouettes. Most "good girls" wore their skirts below their knees—but not the flapper! An authentic flapper dress would reveal knees and maybe even a portion of the thigh. I wanted fringe on my dress because that's what I think of when I envision flappers. So I began searching for a simple black dress and bought some fringe to add some flapper flare to it.

Easy Flapper Dress TutorialStep One: Find a black dress suitable for stitching on fringe. I wanted something sleeveless with a scoop neck, because that's what I usually saw in pictures of 1920s fashion, though more important than the neckline is the shape of the dress. Look for something loose fitting (like a shift or drop-waist style) for a period-specific shape. Woven material is better for stitching on the fringe, though I ended up using a knit dress and it worked out just fine. I found my black drop-waist dress on clearance this week at Old Navy for $12.

Step Two: Tweak the dress. I cut off length from this dress so that it covered my tush, but would allow the fringe to move about below the dress hem. Starting at the bottom of the dress, I pinned the fringe around the circumference of the dress, leaving about 2-4" scrap at the end. Why did I leave scrap? Because I was working with a knit dress, I slightly stretched the material as I stitched, which meant I used more fringe than it looked like I would when pinning it.

Note: The dress took me about an hour from beginning to end, and I will warn you— fringe is rather expensive by the yard at Joann, and I used 7 yards! So you may want to buy it for less here on Amazon, use a store coupon, or else just do 2-3 rows of fringe at the bottom of the dress, instead of all over.

Flapper Hair TutorialFLAPPER HAIR & MAKEUP Even if you couldn't find the perfect dress, and your only accessories are pearl beads, you can pull off a flapper style with makeup and a hairdo worthy of a silent movie starlet.


-brows: Keep them long, thin and straight. I didn't want to pluck my eyebrows thin, but I used a sharp pencil to draw a long line down the middle.
-eyes: Use very dark eyeshadow and smoky eyeliner above and below your eyes to give them the soft, romantic look of the day.
-cheeks: Skip the bronzer and go for a light, powdery finish on your face with a pinky blush right at the apples of your cheeks.
-lips: Cover your lips with foundation to disguise their natural shape. Use a dark lip pencil to redraw them in a heart shape, focusing on creating a dramatically sharp cupid's bow (the "v" in the middle of your top lip), and a plump bottom lip only in the middle, then thinning their shape at the edges. Fill in the lips with the pencil then cover with lipstick and set with powder.


When considering what flapper 'do to go for, just remember—there are more options than you might think! Louise Brooks, the quintessential flapper, had a sleek, straight bob with short blunt bangs, while other flappers had chin-length frizzy curls, or finger waves set close to the face, or even long hair pinned around the base of the neck to simulate a bob style. If you need easy tips for creating a period-accurate style, I'd say stick to chin length hair, deep parts, and for straight hair styles, a dramatic curl at each cheekbone.

My hair is fairly long, but I created a faux bob inspired by Clara Bow. Check out how I did it below.

Flapper Hair TutorialStep One: Pull up the top half of your hair into a clip, and braid the bottom half.

Step Two: Wrap the braid in a circle at the base of your head, pinning it into place.

Step Three: Use thin curlers (or good ol' Hot Sticks) on the top of your hair to create frizzy curls à la Clara Bow.

Flapper Hair TutorialStep Four: Curl your bangs (I made waves with a curling iron), put on your headband, and take the curlers out.

Step Five: Spray your hair generously with hair spray and fluff it up with a brush. Spray again.

Step Six: Pin the length of your hair in small sections into the braid bun at the base of your neck. Set with more hair spray.

Tips: To make the style last longer, use mousse or a setting cream before curling your hair. You may want to bring some bobby pins with you in case your style begins coming loose, as mine did in the wind.

Easy DIY Flapper CostumeI finished off my flapper look with black fishnet tights from Target, simple black pumps I already owned, and from the costume store, a long strand of pearl beads and white gloves.

Easy DIY Flapper CostumeSince Halloween is often pretty chilly here in the Midwest, I thought I'd wear this vintage faux fur coat I had bought a few years ago. I think it fits with the look, don't you? It couldn't be warmer!

Easy DIY Flapper CostumeIf I had lived during prohibition, I'm quite certain I would have been a goody-two-shoes, and definitely not a flapper. But for one evening out of the year? It's a character I can really get into. Now where's my bottle of moonshine? -Mandi

Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited with Stella from the Signature Collection and Pearl from the Fresh Collection.

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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 use this magical spice called "Cake Spice")
-1/4 tsp coffee grounds
-1 lb shea butter melt and pour soap base

-measuring spoons
-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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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