Messy BoxHey friends! Happy unboxing day! We're excited to share this month's Messy Box and Happy Mail packages with you! They're really fun. 

If you love surprises, LOOK AWAY! And if you've been thinking of subscribing but want to get an idea of what to expect first, watch the video to see all the items in this month's kits- 


Messy Box  Subscribe to Messy Box here.

Happy MailSubscribe to Happy Mail here.

Happy February 10th friends!! We hope you LOVE your boxes this month. If you have any questions, let us know in the comments! xx- Elsie + Emma 

Sour Cream Waffles with Caramlized Bananas (via Sour Cream Waffles with Caramlized Bananas (via   There's quite a bit going on with these waffles. The batter has sour cream that's balanced with the addition of dark chocolate chips. Then I topped them with half a caramelized banana a big sprinkle of coarse sea salt. So, to recap, we've got: sour, sweet, creamy, salty, and then some delicious flavors like chocolate, banana, and maple syrup. 

It's a lot. But I promise, it's not too much. :)

Chocolate chip sour cream wafflesSour Cream Waffles with Caramelized Bananas, makes four.

3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup arrowroot (or cornstarch)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup oil (I like olive oil but canola or vegetable is good here too.)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate chips

For the caramelized bananas:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 ripe bananas

In a medium to large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, arrowroot, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to blend and remove any clumps. Then stir in the sour cream, milk, oil, egg, and vanilla extract until just combined. Then stir in the chopped chocolate. 

Heat up your waffle iron and cook waffles according to the manufacturer's directions. 

Best waffle recipeFor the caramelized bananas, first remove the peels and cut each banana lengthwise (long way). Then cut in half. You should have eight pieces from the two bananas. In a medium size saucepan, heat the butter over medium/high heat. As soon as it's melted, sprinkle the brown sugar over the butter and add the banana slices over this. Continue to cook for 2-3 minutes, moving the bananas a little bit with a spatula, or giving the pan a quick shake every now and again just to make sure they are not sticking to the bottom. Flip them after a minute or two so each side gets coated in the caramel. 

Sour Cream Waffles with Caramlized Bananas (via  Serve two banana pieces over the top of each waffle and sprinkle with a little coarse grain sea salt just before serving. Happy breakfasting! xo. Emma

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

How I saved $500Hey, friends!! I  recently had my first experience with metal plating, and I wanted to share the results and what I learned with you today. I am by no means an expert on this subject, but it's something I've been curious about since reading about it a while ago on Little Green Notebook and Amber Interiors (two blogs I LOVE if you haven't read them before). 

What IS metal plating? So first, let me explain what metal plating is. It's a technical process where they strip off the existing metal plate and re-do it in your new color/finish. It's not something you could DIY at home. Until recently I didn't even know it was an option! The process is pretty simple. First you have to find a local place that does it. (Search metal plating and call around!) In Nashville we only found one place that does it (Leonard's Plating). Then you take anything you want to re-plate in. (So, for example, I took in mostly faucets and bathroom fixtures. I bought cheap silver ones and had them re-plated in satin brass.) You choose the color of metal and finish you want. They will probably have samples for you to look at. They have all kinds of colors, even copper and rose gold. Then you get a quote. Next, you drop the piece off and pick it up when it's done.  

Why would you need to re-plate something? To me there are only two reasons why I would get metal plating done. Reason A: to save money (which is why I did all of these pieces). To save money you need to do your homework and make sure that the cost of the new item is truly less than the cost of the less expensive item plus the re-plating. Some of my pieces were more worth it than others. I'll explain more below! B: to refurbish vintage. Say you find an AMAZING vintage doorplate or door knocker or other cool find, but it's an ugly color or in poor condition. You could use metal plating to restore it! I would love to do this someday, but haven't had the occasion to yet. 

What kind of things are best to plate? In my experience so far, expensive things! The more expensive, the more you can save. It's not as worth it to do small things like drawer pulls or something like that. But on bigger things, it can be very worth it. The bath faucet and shower set for our master bathroom saved us a lot of money. The price also goes by how large it is, so it probably wouldn't be worth it to plate something larger (like a fireplace grate) because it would end up costing more than a new one. 

Personally, I would reserve metal plating for a last resort. First see if you can find what you want in the finish you want within your budget. And if you can't, then try this as a second option! 

How much does it cost? The price will vary from place to place, so I'll just share how much my things cost, but I'm sorry if it ends up being way different at your local place. (Who knows though, you may get a way better deal than I did!) For a small sink faucet it was about $125. For the biggest thing I did (the faucet for our clawfoot tub), it was $350. Recently I went back in to get a few extra plates done. For three plates  from the bathtub and the drain on the shower, it was $50. So, it really varies, but based on my experience, I feel like you get the best "deal" on the medium sized things. 

Why didn't you just spray paint it or DIY? This is an important question! There are LOTS of things in my home that are spray painted a similar finish. And that's something I am always open to. It is obviously WAY less expensive. 

When to spray paint: It's OK to spray paint things that don't get touched ever or rarely... like a light fixture or a plant stand. Even the legs of my dining room table are painted. They are rarely touched, so the paint has no problem holding up over time. 

When to metal plate: Metal plating is an option for things that need to be touched, cleaned and scrubbed. 

Metal plating One of the first things I did, as a "test", was this faucet for our laundry room. (Forgive the unfinished state of this room. It's pretty low on our priority list still....) I bought this faucet on Amazon for $35 (the exact one is no longer available). It was just an off-brand silver faucet with a shape that I liked. 

It ended up costing $125 to get it plated locally. So the total for the faucet was about $160. If you've shopped for these guys lately (there's a good shopping guide for brass faucets here), they're REAL expensive. They range from about $250 all the way up to a couple thousand dollars. So it's safe to say that this saved a good amount of money... enough for me to want to try it on more pieces.

A couple quick Pros and Cons! 

Pros—I LOVE the finish on this. It's so pretty both in photos and in person. It's very gold, but also totally matte. We saved at least $100, which I was really happy about. Every little bit counts when you're doing a lot of projects at once! The other thing that is really cool is that you can choose your shape. When you're shopping in a specific finish (like brushed gold/bronze), there are not a ton of options compared to silver. So this process opens up all of those options to you as well! 

Cons—It took over a month to get it done, even though it was only supposed to take two weeks. It's SLOW. Maybe the local place you'll find will be quicker, but the one we found is always at least two weeks to a month behind the estimate they give us, and we have to follow up in person because they don't answer their phone. So basically, it can be a lot of extra work. 

Brass shower setThe shower set! This was about $200-$250 for the pieces and the plating (sorry, I can't remember exactly on that one!), and to buy a new set, most of what I've seen starts at around $650 and goes all the way up into the thousands. Safe to say this was more than worth it! 

If I could go back in time, I would be more picky and find a cooler shape for this piece. Oh well! It's still pretty.  

Now, full disclosure—I didn't do every fixture in our whole house brass! A lot of people have asked if we did. But no, it's way too expensive, and we have three full bathrooms. So I didn't go all the way (and don't plan to in the future). I am a fan of mixed metals. I think it looks totally fine, if not better in some spaces (like a kitchen!). For this room, it seemed right to make it fully match, though, since it's the master and the bathroom we will use the most. 

Brass shower set Here's another view of the shower set.  You have to be really careful to take every little piece because they have to plate the tops of the screws as well so everything matches! 

The magic of metal plating Here's the bathtub set that I already talked about above. 

Well, that's all I have for now! My experience with metal plating is limited to these pieces. In the future I hope to try some vintage pieces as well. I hope this was helpful to anyone who loves special metal finishes and is renovating a house on a budget! 

If you have any questions, I'll do my best to answer them! xx- Elsie 

Credits//Author and Photography: Elsie Larson. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess Actions

Love this DIY Wood Bead Chandelier - Click for tutorial  Lighting projects can instantly up the style and feel of a space. Oftentimes it gives the space the extra detail it needs to put it over the top! We were dying to make a wooden bead chandelier, and we love how it all came together. The raw wood beads are my favorite! I love the organic feel of them. 

Love this DIY Wood Bead Chandelier - Click for tutorialSupplies:
-1 hanging basket
-white spray paint
-approximately 700 5/8" wood beads
-approximately 130 1/2" wood beads
-white cotton string
-hack saw or Dremel tool (optional)

Love this DIY Wood Bead Chandelier - Click for tutorial Start by stringing one small (1/2") bead on about 12-18" of string. We tied the small bead to one end of the string and then added eight of the larger (5/8") beads to make one strand of beads. Set aside and repeat, repeat, repeat.

Love this DIY Wood Bead Chandelier - Click for tutorial    Spray paint your basket any color you choose. Once you have several dozen strands made and your basket is completely dry, you will begin attaching the strands to your basket using a double (or triple!) knot. Trim excess string with scissors.

Love this DIY Wood Bead Chandelier - Click for tutorial     We used about 85 strands of beads. This is when a Netflix binge is totally acceptable. Oh, FYI: when we had 80 something strands tied, we decided we didn't want our chandelier to be 4 tiers and quite as big, so we removed the top chains, removed the top tier of the basket with a hack saw and reattached the chains. This is totally optional, and if you want an even larger chandelier, by all means keep the top tier. You will need more wood beads if you choose to keep the top tier.

Love this DIY Wood Bead Chandelier - Click for tutorial      Love this DIY Wood Bead Chandelier - Click for tutorial   This project is super simple but pretty time consuming. It took two full evenings of making the strands. I love it as an accent piece, but it would also be easy and functional to add a plugin light to it. We absolutely love how it turned out and now we want to add wooden beads to everything! Aren't they so fun? -Mallory & Savannah

Credits//Author and Photography: Mallory and Savannah. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

How to make vegan panna cotta (via  Panna Cotta with Pineapple Chia Glaze (via I am definitely a texture person when it comes to food. I love all manner of puddings, custards, cream pies, etc. If I ever lose my teeth, I'll be fine. It'll be all green smoothies and chocolate pudding from then on out. 

Just kidding. And also, WHAT MADE MY TEETH FALL OUT?!?! I've actually had that exact nightmare before. 

Anyway, let's focus. We've got something very important to talk about today and that's panna cotta. For the most part I think of panna cotta in much the same way I think of creme brûlée or pots de creme: namely, a fancy restaurant version of pudding. Of course, they are not all the same. Panna cotta is more often made with gelatin while those other two I listed are baked custards. But what they all have in common is a silky, smooth texture and the ability to make them well ahead of when you plan to serve them. 

So basically, they are a win win in my book. :)

How to make vegan panna cotta (via   I recently got a little bit obsessed with making panna cotta at home. It's not a difficult dish to make; it's actually super easy. But I also wanted to learn to make a vegan version. And I tried out a bunch of different toppings during those trial and error sessions. The result, other than me eating a bunch of panna cotta, is I've got some tips for you no matter which version you plan to make, and I've got a really fun, tropical topping suggestion as well. 

How to make vegan panna cotta (via Bean Panna Cotta, serves 4-5.
Recipe and method first learned and adapted slightly from David Lebovitz

2 cups heavy whipping cream*
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
1 packet gelatin (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
3 tablespoons cold water

*You can use heavy whipping cream for all 2 cups here for a truly decadent dessert. But I've found that this also works very well with a mix of half and half and heavy cream, or all half and half, or even all whole milk. It just depends on how rich you it to be. 

Scrape the seeds from inside the vanilla bean with a tip of a knife. Add these to a bowl with the sugar. Use your clean hands to blend together so the vanilla seeds get mixed into all the sugar. I find that this works better than simply whisking the seeds in after scraping as they sometimes tend to clump together.

In a medium to large size bowl, add the cold water (not hot, this will make your gelatin clump) and sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Set aside.

In a medium sized pot, combine the cream, sugar, and vanilla seeds (which are already mixed into the sugar at this point). Heat the mixture over medium to high heat and whisk just until the sugar dissolves. The mixture should be quite warm, but not so hot that it is in danger of boiling. Pour the warm mixture over the gelatin and whisk together. Now pour into your ramekins or serving glasses and refrigerate for at least four hours or up to three days. 

How to make vegan panna cotta (via Vegan Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta, serves 4-5.
Recipe and method adapted from The Blenderist (If you're vegan, check out her site. It's really good.)

2 cups cashew milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
1 1/2 teaspoons agar powder (sometimes called agar agar or kanten)
2 tablespoons hot water

The ingredient list looks very similar, but the cooking method is a little different as it's important to cook the agar powder much more than you would gelatin. If you don't, it will not set up and you'll be left with a weird, gloopy liquid. Eww. 

Start by scraping the seeds from the vanilla bean into a small bowl with the sugar. Use your clean hands to blend them together so no big masses of vanilla seeds are left. 

In a medium to large pot, combine the cashew milk and sugar with the vanilla seeds. Cook over medium/high heat, whisking to dissolve the sugar. 

While that is heating up, dissolve the agar powder in a small bowl with 2 tablespoons hot water. You want the water very hot here so the agar powder will dissolve. Now add this mixture to the pot with your cashew milk. Continue to cook over medium/high heat for another 5 minutes. The mixture will begin to thicken slightly and easily coat your spoon. 

Pour into your ramekins or serving glasses and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to three days. If you want to create a fun slanted look to your puddings, you can place your glass slanted in a muffin pan before pouring, the mixture will sit up in this position. 

Horned melonAs I mentioned, I made quite a few different toppings while I was testing out each of the panna cotta recipes. One of the toppings involved this fruit you see in the photo above. It's called cuke-asaurus, or horned melon. I randomly saw these in my grocery store and immediately wanted to try it because I'd never eaten one before. Turns out the inside is sort of like a cucumber meets pomegranate. It's filled with seeds (that are quite bland, but edible) and a sort of greenish gel that surrounds the seeds. I made a jelly from the gel, which took a lot of effort as it involved straining out the seeds. And in the end, I just didn't really like the taste of this fruit. And given that it's actually quite a bit of work to get any fruit out of it in the first place, I don't think I'll be buying these again. 

Random story, I know. Just thought I'd share. Have any of you guys tried one of these before? Thoughts?

My favorite topping for these turned out to be a  pineapple and chia glaze. It's very similar to my chia jam recipe, but not quite as thick in consistency. 

Pineapple glaze, can easily top 8-9 panna cotta servings, so feel free to cut in half if you need.

2 cups fresh pineapple, cubed (about 10 oz. or one small pineapple once the top, sides, and core are removed)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (or if you have left over vanilla beans, that could work well too)
2 teaspoons chia seeds

In a small pot, combine the cubed pineapple, sugar, and vanilla extract. Cook over medium heat, stirring so the sugar doesn't stick to the pot for 4-5 minutes until the pineapple releases lots of its juices and becomes soft enough to cut with the side of a fork easily. Use an immersion blender or transfer to a blender to puree. Place back in the pot but reduce the heat to low and add in the chia seeds. Cook for another 5-6 minutes until the mixture begins to thicken. Then allow to cool before you use, it will thicken up more as it cools. 

Panna Cotta with Pineapple Chia Glaze (via  Panna Cotta with Pineapple Chia Glaze (via   If you used ramekins or small bowls for your panna cotta and you want to unmold them before serving, simply run a knife along the inside edges and then submerge the sides (but not the top) of the dish in hot water. Place a serving dish over the top and flip over. You may need to give it a few taps, but it should come out pretty easily. 

If you don't want to bother with unmolding, you can simply serve in small juice or wine glasses, or even leave them in the ramekins. Totally up to you. 

Panna Cotta with Pineapple Chia Glaze (via    Top with the pineapple glaze, and you're good to go. The same day I bought those horned melons I also saw a small container or candied kumquats. I know! It was an adventurous grocery trip. I must have been in a mood. At any rate, I still had some, so I decided to halve them and serve over the top of this batch just because I thought it looked pretty. This is totally optional though. If you don't have candied kumquats but want to add a little something, try a maraschino cherry—then it's almost a Pina Colada panna cotta. :) Enjoy! xo. Emma

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


Check out our new product line,
Photoshop Actions and E-Courses!

Back to Top