Outdoor Cacti BedsToday I thought it would be fun to share a completely random, somewhat long-term, project that we are undertaking in our flower beds. Bye-bye flowers.... haha! 

When we first moved to Tennessee, we were out driving one day and I saw a GIANT prickly pear cactus growing in someone's yard. It was the size of a large bush. It was already getting cold, and I wondered how such a large outdoor cactus was living through the winters. Well, sure enough, I drove by it weekly and even in the snow it lasted. I was blown away. 

Laura found one in her neighborhood as well, and one day when we were at one of our local nurseries, we asked how it was possible for them to live outdoors and if there were more varieties like this! 

We learned that there is only one variety of traditional looking cacti that are actually native to Tennessee. It's the Texas Prickly Pear. We both decided to take a chance on them and plant some at our homes! 

The only downside is they don't really sell the giant ones. You have to get smallish ones and let them grow. And it takes years. But since we're planning to be here for a while, I decided to plant a bunch! 

Now, being the complete psycho that I am, I begged Jeremy to plant them all over the front of our house. But he wasn't into it because of the fact that it takes years for them to get big, and in the meantime the scale would be kind of off.

So we compromised and decided to plant them all around the back part of our house. Maybe a couple by the mailbox too! We had already had a bunch of bushes in the back pulled out when we were painting the exterior, so we decided to start there.

Baby steps! Besides painting the brick, this was our first outdoor project, you guys!! It's happening! 

Outdoor Cacti Beds  Here's the whole bed. Not much to look at yet. I am hoping that at this time next year I can post some pretty significant growth photos. I think a lot of it has to do with them getting the right amount of water and sun during the warm months. My understanding is that they don't really grow in the winter. 

Outdoor Cacti Beds    Outdoor Cacti Beds    For scale. Look how SMALL. 

Outdoor Cacti Beds     Giving hugs because I love them SO MUCH. Even though they're small, I still love how they look and feel like they make this little corner of our outdoor space 10x more charming and personal. 

If you are lucky enough to live somewhere temperate year round, please go out and plant 4-6 new cacti in my honor. DO IT. 

If you live somewhere with all four seasons, like me, and you want to plant cacti, here's what you do! Go to a local nursery (not a big box store, a local store where the people working there really know their stuff!) and ask what options for cacti are cold weather hardy for your area. Maybe you'll learn something new like I did? 

Thanks for letting me share my new obsession. If you have any tips or information on this subject, I'm all ears! xxoo -Elsie 

Credits/Author: Elsie Larson, Photography: Elsie Larson and Collin DuPree. Photos edited with the NEW A Beautiful Mess actions

CanoniP8720Hi, friends! We’re so excited to celebrate the holiday season with the team at Canon USA and give one lucky reader a Canon PIXMA iP8720 crafting printer! This is my absolute favorite printer as most of you already know! It works great on both large and small projects and is perfect for printing borderless photos. I love the quality and am so happy that one of our readers is going to get one! Below are a few of my favorite projects using this printer. Make sure to tag #ABMCrafty on any of the projects you try out!



 Win the Canon PIXMA iP8720 Crafting Printer!

This giveaway is open until 12/2/16 and the winner will be contacted directly.

PS. For all our ABM readers, Canon has a special promo code for the Canon USA shop. Between now and Monday (11/28), you can save an extra $50 off the PIXMA iP8720 by using the code ‘BFSAVE50’. 

Can’t wait to see what you guys make! xo. -Elsie


At Home with Micaela ClouseWe're welcoming interior designer Micaela Clouse to the blog today as she shares her apartment with us! We just love the color scheme she has throughout the space, and the decor looks SO cozy. 

At Home with Micaela Clouse      "From the moment I walked in the door of my 630 square foot apartment, I knew I had to have it. The fireplace was the showstopper for me, but I also fell in love with the high vaulted ceilings, flooding natural light, and coziness of the space. The little details (Saltillo tile below the fireplace, popcorn ceilings—weird love of mine, and cute kitchen) made the apartment feel like home. I've been in my home for three years and would only move in order to decorate a new space. Because who doesn't get that itch to completely redecorate?!

At Home with Micaela Clouse    At Home with Micaela Clouse       "I would have to say my favorite space in my home is my living room–close tie to my bedroom. I love the wall of windows in my living room and the free-standing fireplace. The navy velvet sofa, peacock chair, cactus silk pillows, and record player make it a hard room to leave. I have surrounded the fireplace and filled the room with plants. They love the natural light! This is my favorite room to kick back in with a record spinning, a fire going, and a design magazine in hand.

At Home with Micaela Clouse   At Home with Micaela Clouse        "I have a plethora of favorite items in my home. Namely my couch, coffee table, and bedroom set. My vintage navy couch was an Etsy find. I had it reupholstered and accessorized with a nail head trim. I decorated the couch with a Kantha quilt (also a vintage find), cactus silk pillows from Etsy, and a Mexican blanket. The cowhide rug below the couch was found at an Antique store in Abilene, TX with my grandmother. Abilene is a hidden gem for antique shopping!

At Home with Micaela Clouse "I found my peacock chair at an antique store in Johnson City, TX called Echo. It is my absolute favorite antique store! Perhaps my most unique piece in my home is my coffee table. It is an antique fire pit turned coffee table that my grandmother brought back from a trip to Turkey in the 80s. I love my eye pillow from Urban Outfitters and my Herman Miller style chair from All Modern. My Moroccan pouf is from Etsy and the camel saddle is an Austin antique find. My dining table and chairs (reupholstered in indigo dyed fabric I did myself) are from my grandmother, who passed them down from her mother.

At Home with Micaela Clouse              Quilt/Anthropologie, Blanket/Amazon.

At Home with Micaela Clouse                   At Home with Micaela Clouse         "I've been in my home for three years. When I first moved in it was sparse. Over time, I have thrifted, DIY'd and styled to my heart's content. I have found inspiration in the Southwest and ethnic textiles over the years. Both are represented in my current style."

Thanks, Micaela! You can find her on Instagram here and here, and be sure to visit her interior design site, House by Clouse. xo!

Author: Micaela Clouse. Photography: Molly Winters.


Pie crust cookiesHappy Thanksgiving! We're taking the day off, but since it's an American holiday, we wanted to preschedule something fun for everyone to read. Here's a list of our favorite holiday recipes, including these super easy pie crust cookies

Creamy kale, brussels and cranberry saladThis creamy kale, brussels and cranberry salad packs a lot of flavor and nutrition for a perfect side.

Duchess sweet potato casseroleDuchess sweet potato casserole is tasty alternative to regular mashed potatoes, and it's really pretty! 

Elsie's orange cranberry margaritaThis orange cranberry margarita is one of Elsie's favs!

Foolproof Thanksgiving turkeyIf you're making your first turkey or just wanting to perfect your method, check out Emma's foolproof turkey and gravy tips.

Citrus and pomegranate brussels sproutsBrussels sprouts are a must. You have to try them with citrus and pomegranates.

Sweet potato creme bruleeFor all the crème brûlée fans out there, this recipe is made with sweet potatoes and toasted marshmallows. 

Prosecco and cranberry mimosasTreat your guests to Prosecco and cranberry mimosas. Love that thyme garnish!

Red quinoa, kale and grapefruit saladNeed another salad idea? Make this one with quinoa, kale and grapefruit and homemade vinaigrette.

Bacon and bourbon stuffingYou can't go wrong with bacon and bourbon stuffing. It was a big crowd pleaser at our past Friendsgiving.

Petite pumpkin piesMini pumpkin pies would be a cute addition to a place setting or you could give them as gifts! 

Thanksgiving stove simmersLet's talk about stove simmers for a sec. They are the BEST. Your house will smell amazing for days, and they're a natural alternative to candles. 

Garlic and miso green beansNeed a side dish? Try garlic and miso green beans

Apple pecan piesPecan pie filling and apples? Yes, please! Be sure to add a side of ice cream with these apple pecan pies.

Slow cooker mashed potatoesThe awesome thing about these mashed potatoes is that you can make them ahead of time in a slow cooker.

Turkey shaped cheese trayYes, that's a cheese plate shaped like a turkey, and you should definitely make one!

Cranberry and vanilla bean pie barsI promise this isn't the last cranberry recipe you'll see here because we LOVE them! These vanilla bean pie bars are so good.

Jalepeno popper dipIf you want to make an appetizer that everyone will swoon over, you have to make jalapeño popper dip.

Cranberry jello shotsHoliday cheer in the form of jello shots

Pumpkin pie puddingNeed an easy peasy recipe? Pumpkin pie pudding is the way to go, and it looks fancy. :)

<3 you guys!

DIY Barn Door      Hey, friends! Today I'm really excited to share a DIY that Collin and I worked on. It was over a year in the making... haha! Ever had a project like that that dragged on and on and on? Well, I'm so happy that it's finally complete because it adds SO much to Jeremy's studio both in function and "fashion". Ready to learn how to DIY a modern style barn door??? 

First, let me explain Jeremy's space a little bit and why we chose this type of door! 

You can see from the before photos of Jeremy's studio that we started out with a garage and a very small office. We converted these two smaller spaces into one big space. The office alone was too small to fit all his gear and things and would have felt very squished had we made it work. So since we are planning to live in this home for quite a while, we decided to pull the plug and make him a really nice, spacious workspace. I wanted him to be inspired every day because the main reason we moved to Nashville was for his music career. All. In. 

So after we converted the two spaces into one, we removed a sliding outdoor door that would have looked really silly indoors. The space between Jeremy's control room (where his computer and recording set up is) and the big, open room (the one that looks like a living room) was just an open doorway. 

While this doorway was nice (it lets in much-needed natural light to his control room), it was also problematic because sometimes the two spaces need to function separately. Jeremy frequently works on co-writes and does some production jobs where there are a group of people in his studio space. We really needed a door there for situations like that, but you'll see from the photos below that doors that swung out weren't a great fit for his space. 

Barn doors are really cute and fun, but they're also a great way to save space! You sacrifice wall space, but you gain more because you don't have to pull all your furniture and decor away from the door so it can swing open. 

Here's how to build a modern barn door! 

Modern Barn Door DIY (click through for tutorial) Supplies:
-1/2" hardwood plywood (you'll need 2 4' x 8' boards)
-primed 8' x 5" boards for the trim (I used about 14 boards)
-wood glue
-white satin paint

Modern Barn Door DIY (click through for tutorial) First you'll want to determine the size door you need for your space. It should reach up to the track hardware but still be about 1" off the floor and wide enough to completely cover the door trim. Cut down your hardwood plywood boards to your desired size (the lumber store can cut them for you if you don't have a saw). 

Modern Barn Door DIY (click through for tutorial)  Place your hardwood sheets side by side so that the middle is touching as close as possible. Cut your top and bottom primed 8' x 5" boards to run the length of your door.

Modern Barn Door DIY (click through for tutorial)  Before gluing the boards in place, hang the bottom board a 1/2" off of the bottom of your door so that it will just hover above the floor once installed. When you complete the back side of the door and repeat this overhang on the other side, it will create a channel for your floor guide hardware.

Modern Barn Door DIY (click through for tutorial)  Use wood glue to glue the boards in place and then nail them in to secure.

Modern Barn Door DIY (click through for tutorial)  Measure the sides of the door and cut your side boards to fit snugly in between the top and bottom boards. Glue and nail in place.

Modern Barn Door DIY (click through for tutorial)  Measure the opening and divide into three equal sections. Cut two boards and attach them at those marked lines to create three panels.

Modern Barn Door DIY (click through for tutorial)  Repeat the process and cut three small boards to divide the three sections down the middle to create six sections.

Modern Barn Door DIY (click through for tutorial)         Flip the door over (you may need a buddy for this part!), and repeat the whole process to create the same design on the other side. You can see in the photo above that also hanging the back bottom board 1/2" over the edge has created a channel for your door guide to keep the door from swinging out.

Give your door a few coats of paint and follow your sliding door hardware instructions to hang your door. 

DIY Barn Door Here's how it looks from inside his control room. Pretty, right?? 

The door is heavy and sturdy, but it also glides effortlessly! 

For the barn door hardware, I found ours at Barn Door Hardware

DIY Barn Door Here's how it looks from the other side. 

DIY Barn Door    For the handles we decided to use gold because it ties in with some of his other fixtures. We used these simple Lewis Dolin bar pulls. We've used them often around the house and they've become our go-to. 

DIY Barn Door     Smile, Jeremy! We built you a freaking barn door!!! (Haha—I'm just kidding. You do you!) 

If you guys have any questions about this project, just ask away in the comments! I'm so excited to finally share this HUGE project with you! xx -Elsie 

Credits//Author and Photography: Elsie Larson and Collin DuPree. Photos edited with the NEW A Beautiful Mess actions.


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