Cornbread with bacon glaze (via  I can't really explain why, but lately I've had a craving for cornbread. And I realized that I've never written a single post about cornbread in all my years of talking to you guys online. Which is just nuts to me! Cornbread is one of those obviously-everyone-knows-how-to-make-this foods to me. I grew up eating cornbread. My mother is a big fan of making a large pot of beans for dinner sometimes (mostly black beans), and for the most part, those beans get served with either rice or cornbread. I think that's why I like cornbread with chili too. 

Cornbread with bacon glaze (via you can certainly serve this cornbread with beans or chili. Or you can top it with a little bacon glaze (or substitute facon if you prefer). If you add a sweet glaze to the top of a small slice of cornbread, it almost transforms the dish into a cake.

Also, you'll note that I am the type who likes actual pieces of corn in her cornbread. There are those who do and those who do not, and I am of the first camp. :) Just to settle that controversy right now. 

Even if you didn't grow up eating cornbread, I highly recommend giving it a try along with some beans, or this glaze, or cubed and toasted and tossed over a salad for a different crouton option. It's a very versatile bread, and for me it just feels a little like home. 

Best cornbread recipeCornbread, makes 8-10 servings depending how you slice it. 
Adapted from Mark Bittman's Corn Bread.

1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
1 tablespoon honey
1 egg
1/4 cup whole kernel sweet corn, drained
1 tablespoon butter

In a bowl combine the dry ingredients (the first four listed). Stir to combine and set aside. In another bowl combine the wet ingredients (buttermilk, honey and the egg). Whisk to combine. Stir the wet ingredients mixture in with the dry until just combined. Then stir in the corn.

In a small cast iron skillet or an 8 inch square baking pan, add 1 tablespoon of melted butter to coat the pan. If you're using a cast iron, you can heat the pan on the stove top to melt the butter and just swirl so it coats the entire pan (all the edges). 

How to make cornbreadPour the batter into the butter-coated pan and bake at 375°F for 28-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

If you want to make the bacon glaze, here's what you need:
2 pieces of bacon (or facon)
1 tablespoon butter, melted (or you can use the bacon drippings)
2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Cook the bacon until crispy and then chop into small pieces. In a bowl whisk together the melted butter, honey and powdered sugar. This should form a thick glaze. If it seems too thin to you, whisk in a little more powdered sugar to thicken. Stir in half of the bacon bits. 

Cornbread with bacon glaze (via Top the warm cornbread with a little glaze and then toss on a few more bacon bits. Enjoy! xo. Emma

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

Making these for my next party! 5 Temporary Cake Stand Ideas (click through for more)    If you are the kind of person that loves to throw a party, then you most likely have some sort of "party box" or shelf in your closet that's devoted to party supplies. I had a party shelf, then a box, then two boxes, then more shelves, so I decided it was time to downsize a bit and keep the size a little more manageable. One thing that was taking up a lot of space was serving dishes for cakes/desserts. So I thought it would probably be a good idea to have a few temporary cake stand ideas on hand so I could still have display options for gatherings, but keep less items in my party box the rest of the year. Here's a few of my favorites:

Making these for my next party! 5 Temporary Cake Stand Ideas (click through for more)Make a stand out of cardboard and paper: For this stand I bought two sizes of round cardboard cake boards (in the baking section of most craft stores) and used a glue gun to attach scalloped bulletin board border trim around the edges. Then, I cut 2 pieces of round foam (one shorter for the bottom and one taller for the top), covered those in the same color paper and glued them onto the cake boards to create tiers. 

Making these for my next party! 5 Temporary Cake Stand Ideas (click through for more) Use a scalloped pie or tart pan: If you love cake stands with frilly edges, try using a tart, quiche or wavy-edged pie pan as the top of your cake stand. Just pick up an inexpensive candlestick holder at your local dollar store for the base and paint it to match whatever color your pie pan is. Use some museum putty to create a strong (but temporary) bond between the two while you use it as a cake stand. Then you can separate the items and use them for their original purpose again once the party is over.

Making these for my next party! 5 Temporary Cake Stand Ideas (click through for more)Make a plastic cake stand: One trip to the dollar store and you can snag a plastic wine glass (or margarita glass for a larger base) and plastic plate or charger to temporarily support your cake masterpiece. Just hot glue the base of the glass to the underside of the plate, spray paint if desired, and you're ready to add your treats on top!

Making these for my next party! 5 Temporary Cake Stand Ideas (click through for more)Use terra cotta pots: For this stand, choose a small, but tall, terra cotta pot and glue it to the underside of the saucer for a much larger pot (you can flip the saucer over or use it right side up if you want ridges on the sides of your stand). You can leave the natural finish on the terra cotta, or you can paint the pot with a white primer spray first and then paint it any color you wish.

Making these for my next party! 5 Temporary Cake Stand Ideas (click through for more)  Turn items you already have into a cake stand: Since you can use a removable adhesive like museum putty (or even sticky tack works pretty well) to temporarily join items, try using a plate that you already own (maybe with a pattern or picture) as the top of your cake stand. You can attach it to an upside down jar, cup or candlestick holder, and then return all items to their rightful place once the party is over. Nice!

Making these for my next party! 5 Temporary Cake Stand Ideas (click through for more)        Making these for my next party! 5 Temporary Cake Stand Ideas (click through for more)        Making these for my next party! 5 Temporary Cake Stand Ideas (click through for more)        Just remember, if you are serving something that's not already in a wrapper (like a cupcake), you may not want to put food directly on non-food safe surfaces. So just use wax paper or something else underneath the food when serving. And once the party is over, be sure to recycle any parts of  your stands that you're not keeping.

I'm so glad that there are lots of cute options for quick and temporary cake stands. Now I can have a little more breathing room in my party supplies without having to compromise on style when the next party comes around. Have you made cake stands out of anything unusual? xo. Laura

Credits// Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess Actions

Shapes in bokeh
Today I am going to share a cool look you can achieve using a DSLR camera and a few other supplies. The reason you have to use a DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera is so that you can change your aperture. It also helps to have a prime lens! Ready to get started?
First, what is bokeh?
Bokeh is that beautiful thing in photography that makes the background blurry. Bokeh happens when there is a low aperture. Low aperture causes the subject in the foreground to be sharp and in focus while the background is blurry and melts away. Bokeh is wonderful because when the background is blurred, it brings the attention to the subject! There is a little trick in photography where you can actually turn a blurred light source in the background into a shape! There is a science behind why it happens, but instead of a science lesson, I'll just show you how to make it happen. You don't need much in the way of supplies. 
Shapes in bokeh   Shapes in bokeh
When you place a black piece of paper with a tiny cut out shape over your lens, the background lights will mimic the shape you placed over your lens.
Ready to get started? Here is what you will need:
-DSLR camera and a prime lens (the focal length on this lens is fixed and it doesn't zoom) works best. I am using a 50mm lens and my aperture is set to the lowest number.
-black construction paper (black paper won't allow the light to leak through)
-X-Acto knife or small scissors (you can also use a shape puncher) 
-tape is great if you want extra security
-rubber band
Shapes In Bokeh
Put your lens cap on the black construction paper and trace the cap (it does not have to be perfect). Now make a slightly bigger circle around your lens cap. Starting from the outside circle, cut small triangles out that are pointing to the smaller circle. The finished product resembles a flower. Now in the middle of your smaller circle, cut out your desired shape. Once your shape is cut, place the black paper over your lens and secure it with a rubber band.
Shapes In Bokeh        Next, take your DSLR, switch it to manual and set your aperture to the lowest number. The lower the number, the less depth of field you will have...which results in a great bokeh/blurry background! Turning your camera on manual focus will give you full control of focusing. Play with your focus ring until you see the shapes appear!
Shapes in BokehFor these pictures I used a thin string of LED lights. These lights are really great to practice with! I used these.
Shapes in Bokeh  Shapes In Bokeh   The results are quirky and fun. If you don't want to make your own bokeh kit, you can buy one instead. A premade kit is easy to set up and you get lots of variety with the shapes. It comes with a lens cover that has tabs where you can insert different shapes. Instead of paper, the kit is made from a sturdier plastic material so you get more longevity. I found this kit here.
Shapes in Bokeh         With the kit, just open, read the quick instructions, and you are ready to go.
Shapes In Bokeh      Tips for great bokeh: Make sure that you always have lights in your background. Each light will take on the cutout shape on your camera lens. If you want lots of shapes, then have lots of lights in the background! Also, the bigger the lights, the bigger the shapes. You can use any kind of light: cityscape, stop lights, patio lights, candlelight, indoor lighting...the options are endless! 
Shapes in bokeh     P.S. Still feeling a little lost when it comes to setting your camera? Check out our e-course, DSLR Basics. xo! -Janae
Credits//Author and Photography: Janae Hardy. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

Easy staircase update from abeautifulmess.comIf you've been reading A Beautiful Mess for very long, then you might remember back when we first moved into our studio house and we were planning how we wanted to decorate everything. One dream we had was to add some color or pattern to our entryway staircase. But our big hesitation was we didn't know if we wanted to permanently alter our old (probably original) staircase. The pressure was on for sure!

Recently we decided that before we move, we just had to pull the trigger, but with an update that wasn't permanent. We realized this is also a great opportunity to talk about removable wallpaper because it's a super useful home decor element for those who are looking for a temporary change or for rentals. So we thought this would be a great post to work with, as they are a great source for anyone looking to move (and rent) this year. Several of our friends have used the site when hunting down a rental because it's a trustworthy resource–the reviews are verified as written by actual residents, and the 3D floor plans make it easier to inspect the rental.

Stair makeover with removeable wallpaperHere you can see the before and after. Not a completely different staircase, but man does that pop of pattern add so much personality! Our only regret is that we didn't do this sooner!!! Here are our tips for hanging removable wallpaper in your space.

How to hang removeable wallpaper  Our house is, like I said, an older house (over 100 years old!), which means that most features aren't exact, like the walls don't have exact angles and the stairs are not all exactly the same size. Don't assume, be sure to measure. For us this meant finding the largest stair and cutting out all our papers to that size first.

We bought five panels from Chasing Paper in order to cover our entire staircase, with some scraps left over. 

How to hang removeable wallpaperThen we held the wallpaper up to the stair and folded it if it was too big. This is an easy way to identify your trim line and get your wallpaper to fit exactly as you need on each stair front.

How to hang removeable wallpaper Once you have your wallpaper trimmed to size, remove a strip of the back down the center. 

How to hang removeable wallpaper   Line up your wallpaper and press down in the center. Then remove one side at a time and press in place. Starting in the center gives you more control over the placement than if you start on an edge. 

Stair makeover from abeautifulmess.comI'm SO happy we finally took the plunge and updated our entryway staircase. Hooray! And it's even better that I know we can easily remove this update someday if we choose. Double hooray! Do you have any stairs, bookcases, or built-ins that you plan to add removable wallpaper to this year? xo. Emma

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman. Project Assistant: Laura Gummerman. Photography: Emma Chapman and Elsie Larson. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

So pretty! make your own rose-flavored rock candy (click through for tutorial)       If you've ever had rock candy before, you know that most of the wow factor is in how pretty it looks rather than the flavor. And to be perfectly honest, I think we're all OK with that. However, I thought it would be cool to make a version of the candy that felt a little more sophisticated than your usual blue raspberry flavored kid's treat. Not only can you make this candy at home, but the rose flavoring and the gold flaked accents make this perfect for a pretty wedding or baby shower type of occasion. Ready to get started?

So pretty! make your own rose-flavored rock candy (click through for tutorial)       Rose-Flavored Rock Candy
Adapted from Hard Candy Recipe

3 3/4 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
1 cup water
food coloring (I used pink gel food coloring)
1/2 teaspoon rose extract (use 1/4 teaspoon if you only want a hint of rose)
gold sprinkles (optional)

Cover a cookie sheet (one with sides) with foil and lightly oil the foil so the candy will remove easier. Combine your water, sugar and corn syrup in a medium-sized saucepan. Stir to combine. Place the saucepan over medium heat and warm until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally.

So pretty! make your own rose-flavored rock candy (click through for tutorial)       Once the sugar has dissolved, bring the mixture up to a boil and place a candy thermometer into the pot. Do not stir the liquid during this stage. Watch the pot in the first few minutes and adjust the temperature to find an even boiling point (too high will make it start to spill over the top). Let the mixture boil until the temperature reaches 300° F (it could take 20-30 minutes depending on your pot and type of stove).

Have your extract and food coloring ready because as soon as it reaches 300°, you'll want to take it off the stove and quickly stir in your extract and food coloring. The mixture will hiss a bit at you when you pour them in, but just stir quickly until combined. 

So pretty! make your own rose-flavored rock candy (click through for tutorial)       Pour the mixture into your foil-lined pan, and let it spread evenly across. Keep some potholders underneath as the candy will make the pan really hot.

I would also suggest having some boiling water ready to pour into your pot and dip your utensils in once the candy is poured. Really hot water is the best way to get all that sugar mixture off your cookware and thermometer.

So pretty! make your own rose-flavored rock candy (click through for tutorial)       If you want to add any sprinkles on top of your candy, wait 7-10 minutes until it's cooled down a bit, sprinkle them across the top, and then lightly push them into the candy with the back of a spoon.

So pretty! make your own rose-flavored rock candy (click through for tutorial)       Let the candy cool for about 45 minutes. Then use a hammer to break your candy into whatever size pieces you want (either wash the hammer first or put wax paper on top of the candy before hitting). Now your fancy candy is ready to eat!

So pretty! make your own rose-flavored rock candy (click through for tutorial)       So pretty! make your own rose-flavored rock candy (click through for tutorial)       You can break them into much smaller pieces if you like, but I thought the bigger chunks were so beautiful. I also kept thinking how pretty it would be to use pieces to accent the top of cupcakes or a cake. If you aren't a big fan of rose flavor, just substitute a different flavored clear extract.

If you're wondering how to eat this candy, it's obviously not something that you just swallow whole. You can either break off a piece and suck on it like any other hard candy, or you can crunch on it like you would with a piece of peanut brittle. The rose flavor is unexpected for a candy and I really like how it elevates the treat a bit. I would definitely reserve this candy for adults rather than a kids' party because of the shape, but it would be really pretty in little bags as a favor for guests. Hope you decide to make some for your next event! xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.


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