Palm Springs Theme Baby Shower via A Beautiful MessLet me start off by saying, Laura and I have been planning each other's baby showers for no less than three years now. So it's a dream come true that this stage in our lives is finally here! 

I wanted Laura's shower to be a day she would never forget and that would reflect her style as much as possible. So I filled the house with pink (not hard to do) Palm Springs inspiration (even easier), and more sugar than I even knew was possible (that part was more for her husband, Todd). 

Palm Springs Theme Baby Shower via A Beautiful Mess Palm Springs Theme Baby Shower via A Beautiful Mess Palm Springs Theme Baby Shower via A Beautiful Mess Palm Springs Theme Baby Shower via A Beautiful Mess The succulent and cactus theme for the desserts was so much fun. I hired Leeuw Bakeshop here in Nashville to create these beautiful treats. Her husband even created a cookie cutter from scratch to make these classic car cookies... above and beyond! I was blown away. 

Palm Springs Theme Baby Shower via A Beautiful Mess     Haha—sorry for the bra straps, but here's a pic from getting ready. I decided not to hire a photographer for this party because I wanted to make sure it felt personal and not like a "blog photo shoot". So we kind of just all tag teamed snapping photos. 

Palm Springs Theme Baby Shower via A Beautiful Mess      The sugar cookies definitely stole the show and were gone SO FAST. They were delicious. 

Palm Springs Theme Baby Shower via A Beautiful Mess       Palm Springs Theme Baby Shower via A Beautiful Mess       Palm Springs Theme Baby Shower via A Beautiful Mess       Palm Springs Theme Baby Shower via A Beautiful Mess       The only thing cuter than those treats is Laura (and #gummerbaby too!). So gorgeous!!

Palm Springs Theme Baby Shower via A Beautiful Mess             There were SO many cute little baby things... it was just insane! 

Fun fact—Laura won't allow me to see her nursery (like I can't go into the room, and she won't show me any photos) because she wants it to be a big surprise. Haha! I feel like it's going to be like an HGTV reveal... except her house! She's the best at making everything a surprise and a big event (and I can't keep a secret to save my life). 

Palm Springs Theme Baby Shower via A Beautiful Mess            On the menu we had a big cheese spread, the treats (which you've seen) and a mimosa bar (champagne optional, of course). We also had Laura's mother's famous chicken ball. So good! 

Palm Springs Theme Baby Shower via A Beautiful Mess               Palm Springs Theme Baby Shower via A Beautiful Mess               Palm Springs Theme Baby Shower via A Beautiful Mess               Palm Springs Theme Baby Shower via A Beautiful Mess                 The cactus balloons came from Studio DIY and the rest came from this incredible local shop in East Nashville called Harlan Ruby. Oh and Laura's dress is from here (it's not maternity).

The shower was so much fun. We all ate too many cookies and had the best afternoon celebrating this beautiful family! 

Please take a moment to leave Laura a BIG CONGRATULATIONS! This season is so full of love and excitement. We can't wait to meet baby girl in May! xx -Elsie 

Credits//Author: Elsie Larson, Photography: Elsie Larson, Sarah Blumer and Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with the NEW A Beautiful Mess actions

Peanut Butter and Quinoa Cookies (via     I appreciate the four seasons we get where I live, but I LOVE warm weather. So I am stoked along with all you spring/summer lovers out there. But one thing I run into when the weather turns warm is I become less motivated to turn my oven on. If you're the same, good news—I've got some no bake cookies to share with you today. 

Peanut Butter and Quinoa Cookies (via  Peanut Butter and Quinoa Cookies (via   These cookies are chewy with a little crunch and are totally packed with flavor. Peanut butter is one ingredient we pretty much always have at our house because Trey and I both love it, and it's one of the main ingredients in these cookies. There is also puffed quinoa... I shared a quinoa Krispie treats recipe around this time last year. Coincidence? Yes, but still weird. I guess I just get in the mood for puffed quinoa in March... for some reason. Hmm. 

But if you aren't feeling the quinoa, check the notes below because I've got some substitution options for you—never fear! 

Quinoa cookiesPeanut Butter and Puffed Quinoa Cookies, makes 12

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup natural, creamy peanut butter
1 cup puffed quinoa
1/3 cup chopped nuts (I used slivered almonds)
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips + 1 teaspoon oil
dehydrated strawberries, sprinkles, or toasted seeds for the top (optional)

In a medium size pot, combine the butter, milk, and sugar. Stir over medium heat until the butter has melted. Turn the heat up to high so the mixture comes to a boil. Once it gets to a rolling boil, allow it to cook for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.

No bake cookie recipesThen remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and peanut butter until just melted. This should only take a few seconds. Then stir in the puffed quinoa, nuts, and coconut flakes.

Peanut Butter and Quinoa Cookies (via the cookies onto wax paper and allow to set. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate and oil (in the microwave in 30 second increments or on the stove top). Drizzle over the cookies, and then top with dehydrated fruit or toasted seeds if using. Allow the chocolate to set before storing. 

Peanut Butter and Quinoa Cookies (via Here's a few notes for these guys:

-You can substitute the puffed quinoa for oats, puffed millet, or Rice Krispies cereal. All will work and will result in chewy, delicious cookies, so don't be afraid to swap those out if you like. 

-You can use vegan butter and non-dairy milks in this if you wish to keep it dairy free. 

-You can also substitute the peanut butter for almond or other nut butters, but keep in mind that this change will substantially alter the taste. 

-If you are feeling lazy (I get it, believe me), you don't have to melt the chocolate for the tops. You could simply give your chocolate a rough chop and sprinkle it over the tops of the cookies while they are still warm and setting. I just wanted to dress mine up a little for a more fun look, but the resulting taste of either method would be basically the same. 

That's about it—happy cookie making, guys! xo. Emma

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

So sweet! Fabric Lion Bust DIY (click through for tutorial)          While we are still kind of a long way out in having our nursery ready to go (picture nervous emoji face here), it's been fun getting to start on some DIY projects that I can add into the space once we get all the big things in place (like this cute unicorn photo holder). Another idea that I was on the lookout for was a fabric lion bust to add into the space since lions are one of the animals I've been decorating with, but I couldn't find one for the price I wanted in the color scheme I was looking for. So I decided to tackle the problem head on and make my own!

So sweet! Fabric Lion Bust DIY (click through for tutorial)          Supplies:
-1/2 yard of tan felt or fleece fabric*
-1/8 yard of white felt or fleece fabric
-small piece of pink felt or fleece fabric
-1/2 yard of furry felt or fur fabric in mane choice color (you want this fabric a little stiffer so the pieces stand up when folded)
-fabric scissors
-sewing machine
-rotary cutter, cutting mat, and ruler
-black buttons for eyes
-black embroidery thread
-10"chipboard circle
-hot glue gun
-sewing clamps
-lion bust template (right click to download)

*I got my fabric at JoAnn's, but this is a good online option for fleece.

So sweet! Fabric Lion Bust DIY (click through for tutorial)          Use your templates to cut out your two white muzzle panels, pink nose, and three face panels.

So sweet! Fabric Lion Bust DIY (click through for tutorial)          Use your embroidery thread (I doubled mine over to make it thicker) to add some dots and whiskers to the mouth panels like you see above. For the dots, I would basically come up from the bottom, make a knot, and tie it off on the underside, and for the whiskers I would come up from the bottom, make a knot and then cut the strand as long as I wanted the whisker to be.

There is a right side and underside to most fleece fabric (one side has a better looking nap that's a little furrier), so make sure to keep in mind which is the right and wrong side as you cut and sew pieces together.

So sweet! Fabric Lion Bust DIY (click through for tutorial)          The template for the mouth panels will have two triangle darts where the fabric is to be pinched and sewn together on the back of each panel. As you can see above, once you pinch and sew them, the mouth panels will start to have a bit more of a 3D shape.

So sweet! Fabric Lion Bust DIY (click through for tutorial)          Once your darts are sewn, join and pin the seam where your dots are sewn in, and sew them together with 1/4" seam allowance. Pin in your nose, and sew your nose into the mouth so all three pieces are now the muzzle of the lion (the second picture shows you what it should look like while inside out).

So sweet! Fabric Lion Bust DIY (click through for tutorial)                    Sew your side head pieces together onto your middle face section with a 1/4" seam allowance (as shown above), and then join the bottom seams together as well so it creates what will look like a funnel shape.

So sweet! Fabric Lion Bust DIY (click through for tutorial)          Line up the middle opening of your "face funnel" with your muzzle piece (you want your nose to be centered within that middle face panel), and pin in place. The opening and muzzle circumference need to be the same size to fit together properly, so if you find that your funnel opening is too small, you can cut off some fabric around the opening to make the opening larger (do a little bit at a time, checking the fit as you go), and if the opening is too big, you can increase the seam allowance on the bottom face seam as it gets closer to the opening to make it smaller. Sew your muzzle and face together with a 1/4" seam allowance and turn right side out. 

So sweet! Fabric Lion Bust DIY (click through for tutorial)          Fill your lion head with stuffing until it is overflowing a bit. Then place your chipboard circle at the back of the head and wrap the fabric around the back edge of the circle and use sewing clamps to keep the fabric tight and in place. Check the front of your face to see if you need to add more stuffing in any area or if you need to pull one section tighter or loosen it so that the lion muzzle sits in a good spot (I noticed if it sits up too high on the face, he starts to look more like a mouse than a lion). Once your placement and fill amount is good, use a hot glue gun to secure the edges of the fabric in place around the back.

So sweet! Fabric Lion Bust DIY (click through for tutorial)                 Use your ear template to cut out a tan and white ear piece for each ear (so four pieces total), and sew them together, right sides facing in, leaving the bottom part open. Turn your ears right side out, pinch slightly at the bottom and glue in place onto the chipboard backing (I put them about where the middle piece seams hit the back of the head).

So sweet! Fabric Lion Bust DIY (click through for tutorial)      Take your furry mane fabric and use your cutter, mat, and ruler to cut out 25 strips that are 7 x 1.25" and 25 strips that are 9 x 1.25". 

So sweet! Fabric Lion Bust DIY (click through for tutorial)          Take your 7" strips, fold each one in half (furry side out), and use a bit of glue to glue the cut sides together. Start to glue them to the back of your lion all the way around the edge so they fan out and create the first layer of your mane (just use as many as you need to fill in your circle). Repeat the process with your 9" strips but place them staggered between your 7" strips so they fill in the gaps between them. 

So sweet! Fabric Lion Bust DIY (click through for tutorial)                   Once your mane is looking fine, it's time to add your eyes! Take your embroidery thread, make a knot on one of your center face seams (about 2 1/2" up from the muzzle), thread on your eye button, and then squeeze your lion face together so you can have your needle come out at the opposite seam at the same spot. Pull your thread through and that will secure your first button in place, and then keep pulling a bit so that it will sink in your eye holes and give your face a bit more of a lion shape. Once you like how tight it's pulled, knot the thread to keep it that tight. Add your other button, and knot and trim the thread beneath that button.

So sweet! Fabric Lion Bust DIY (click through for tutorial)       To make a hanger for your animal, you can use a picture hanger centered at the back top of your chipboard backing, and use a generous amount of hot glue to keep the hanger in place. Thicker chipboard may also allow you to screw into it if you want that extra security, but the lion head is pretty light so you should be OK with just the hot glue. Now your lion is ready to display!

So sweet! Fabric Lion Bust DIY (click through for tutorial)       So sweet! Fabric Lion Bust DIY (click through for tutorial)         What a sweetie!! I realized at one point that if you tweaked the colors, left off the mane and whiskers, and moved the ears down a bit, this could also be a really cute bear bust for a bear nursery. I love how this guy came out, and I can't wait to finish up some projects and start to put our baby room area together (I especially love that little pastel rainbow toy!). We are a big "cat" family, so that means we also love "big cats" like lions and tigers and whatnot, and we hope that Baby feels the same way! If you've been looking for a special project to add to a baby or kid's room, this might be just the thing! xo. Laura

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

Make Your Own Gemstone Soaps! (click through for tutorial)Hello! I'm Mary Helen from Mary Makes Good, and I'm over the moon to be joining the team here on ABM. It's pretty thrilling to tell you the truth. I've been following A Beautiful Mess for nearly as long as I've been blogging! (Hint: That's a very long time.) A little about me—I'm a full-time blogger, freelance writer, and DIY beauty formulator living in Austin, Texas. I'm mama to one wild little boy, and spouse to one musical, inventive, and hard-working man who loves to tinker. Right now he is building a hydroponic veggie garden in our garage! I can't wait to get to know the amazing community here on ABM as I share my own DIY projects in this space. Are you ready for my first project? Here we go!

I love playing with glycerin soap. This melt-able, mold-able, easily colorized substance is pure magic. I’ve ogled many a sweet treat or popsicle only to realize that I was looking at soap. With the right technique, I’m sure you could mimic just about anything (or at least anything delicious) with soap.

My favorite experiments with glycerin soap often include swirls of sparkling mica and copious amounts of cosmetic grade glitter. Add a few drops of essential oil, and I’m in heaven. When I first saw a tutorial for crystal soaps on Youtube, I knew I had to try it out.

Make Your Own Gemstone Soaps!  (click through for tutorial)These soaps have been a big hit when I’ve shared them as gifts, and they can add a beautiful detail to a powder room or guest bathroom. Crystal soaps look gorgeous displayed in metal or ceramic soap dishes, or nested with candles and chunky bath salts.

What I love most about this project is the way that it embraces imperfection. Every individual crystal ends up looking unique, making each cluster of crystals its own little work of art. In a way, every mistake adds character and beauty to the final product. Perfect for a messy crafter like me!

Supplies for Making Gemstone Soaps (click through for tutorial)Supplies:
-1 pound clear melt and pour soap base
-colored cosmetic mica (I got mine here)
-iridescent cosmetic glitter
-4-cavity circle soap mold
-small sprayer bottle filled with rubbing alcohol
-skin-safe essential oils (I used lavender)

Make Your Own Gemstone Soaps!   (click through for tutorial)Step One: Cut the soap base into large chunks using a knife and cutting board. You can melt the cut soap in a double boiler on the stove top or in the microwave using a heat-safe container like a large Pyrex measuring cup. Be careful to heat the soap just until it has melted. Overheating the base can cause your soaps to be brittle. Allow the melted base to cool off for about one minute, then stir in up to two teaspoons of your favorite skin-safe essential oil. I used lavender.

Step Two: Fill each cavity of the soap mold about ⅓ of the way up with the clear melted soap base. Spritz the surface of each cavity with rubbing alcohol. This helps the layers stick together. Allow the soap to cool and harden for about five minutes—just long enough to form a thick skin on top of the soap.

Make Your Own Gemstone Soaps!    (click through for tutorial)Make Your Own Gemstone Soaps!     (click through for tutorial)Step Three: Add a small pinch of colored mica and a small pinch of glitter to the melted soap. You may need to re-melt the soap a little if it has hardened up. Just pop it in the microwave or double boiler for a quick heating to warm it back up. Stir the mica and glitter well to break up any clumps. Pour a second layer of soap into your molds, leaving about ⅓ of each cavity empty for the last layer. Spritz with alcohol again.

Step Four: Allow the soaps to cool and harden for another five minutes or so. Again, you want to wait just long enough for a skin to form. Add another big pinch of colored mica to your melted base and stir well. Pour the melted soap into your mold to fill the last ⅓ of each cavity. Spritz the soaps with alcohol to remove any air bubbles on the surface. Set aside the remaining soap base for later.

Make Your Own Gemstone Soaps!      (click through for tutorial)Step Five: Allow the soap to cool for another five minutes. When a thick skin has formed on the top of the soap, transfer the filled mold to the freezer. Chill the soaps for about 20 minutes, or until they can be easily removed from the mold. Turn the soaps out from the mold and onto a cutting board. If the soaps don't release from the mold easily, pop them back in the freezer for an additional 5-10 minutes. 

Tip: If the layers didn't end up sticking together (this happens to the best of us!) use a thin layer of melted soap base to glue the layers back in place. 

Make Your Own Gemstone Soaps!       (click through for tutorial)Step Six: Using a sharp knife, slice each of the soaps into slabs about ¼” wide, then slice the slabs into ¼” pieces. This should give you a whole bunch of tricolored rectangles. Don’t worry if your rectangles are not uniform in shape or size. Little differences in each piece will make the finished product even better.

Make Your Own Gemstone Soaps!        (click through for tutorial)Step Seven: Carve the tip of each rectangle into a crystal shape by slicing the top at several different angles. Save the shards from the cut soaps in a separate pile. Your soaps will look best with a variety of crystal shapes, so this is a great time to get messy. Experiment by slicing at different angles and depths. Really go for it—but be careful of your fingers!

Make Your Own Gemstone Soaps!         (click through for tutorial)Make Your Own Gemstone Soaps!          (click through for tutorial)Step Eight: Reheat the remaining soap base until it is just melted. Add one more pinch of colored mica, and if you are feeling extra glitzy, an additional pinch of glitter. Stir the base to mix in the colors, then pour a very shallow layer of soap (about ⅛”-¼” deep) into the first cavity of your mold. 

This layer will form the bottom of your soap and will act like glue for your crystals. Carefully place crystals into the cavity to fill it up. You can use the crystal shards to fill in gaps or to add height to sections of the soap where you’d like your crystals to jut out farther. If the bottom layer cools and hardens before you are finished, just drizzle a tiny bit of melted soap into empty spaces. Repeat these steps to assemble soaps in the remaining three cavities.

Make Your Own Gemstone Soaps!           (click through for tutorial)Step Nine: Transfer the filled soap mold to the freezer and chill for at least 20 minutes. Gently turn the soaps out onto a clean work surface when they are fully hardened. If they aren’t releasing easily from the mold, just pop them back in the freezer for an extra ten minutes or so.

If you aren’t planning to use your soaps right away, it’s best to wrap them in airtight packaging like plastic wrap or a cellophane bag. Melt and pour soaps tend to sweat in humid environments, so wrapping them up will help keep them beautiful and worthy of gifting!

Make Your Own Gemstone Soaps!            (click through for tutorial)Make Your Own Gemstone Soaps!             (click through for tutorial)You can make these soaps your own by choosing your own blend of essential oils and colored mica. I used a pretty purple mica to create an amethyst soap, gold mica to make citrine, pink to mimic rose quartz, and white shimmer to make my personal favorite of the bunch—quartz crystal. I hope you have a blast creating your own beautiful clusters of gemstone soaps! xo. Mary Helen

Credits // Author and Photography: Mary Helen Leonard. Photos edited with the NEW A Beautiful Mess actions

Reader surveyHey, friends! About once a year we like to put together a reader survey to gather info and advice from you all. The time has come, so we'd love for you to participate!

Our survey is only 30 questions long. It may take you anywhere from ten to thirty minutes to fill out. We don't want to take up too much of your valuable time, but there are a number of questions in the survey that are open, meaning you can write whatever you want (not just multiple choice). You can be brief, or you can give us LOTS to think about—it's totally up to you. At the end of the survey, we've included a special discount code as a thank you for all of you who do take the time to fill out the survey. 

A Beautiful Mess Reader Survey- NOW CLOSED (thank you to SO many of you for responding!!!!!!)

Thank you in advance! xo. Emma + The ABM Team



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