- Grown Up Strawberry Shortcake Shake
- How to Write and Pitch a Book Proposal
- Make Any Box Into a Jewelry Box!
- Peppermint & Eucalyptus Shower Melts
- Laura's Palm Springs Themed Baby Shower
- Peanut Butter and Puffed Quinoa Cookies
- Fabric Lion Bust DIY
- Make Your Own Crystal Soaps
- Reader Survey—We want to hear from you!
- Pet Lovers Shopping Guide!
Once the weather starts to warm up every year, it’s time to catch up on the things I’ve missed all winter long–creamy milkshakes, cold cocktails and fresh berries, to name a few! This vodka-laced strawberry milkshake just happens to check all those boxes. Oh, and don’t forget the shortcake rim... in case you needed one more reason to drop everything and make one right now. This milkshake cocktail is a breeze to whip up–just throw your berries and dairy in a blender. While the shortcake crumbles are getting golden and toasty in the oven, don’t forget to whip some fresh cream to top the whole thing off! It takes 10-15 minutes to make from start to finish and way less time to polish it off. Pro tip: use a straw to to get every last drop! Grown Up Strawberry Shortcake Shake, makes two 1/2 cup water 1/2 cup + 1 teaspoon sugar 1/2 inch slice of shortcake or poundcake 2 cups strawberries 1 cup vanilla ice cream 1/2 cup milk 3 oz. (2 shots) whipped cream vodka 1/2 cup whipping cream Make a simple syrup by dissolving a 1/2 cup of sugar in the water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and remove from heat to cool. Combine the strawberries, ice cream, milk and vodka in a blender, and blend on high speed until smooth. Chop the shortcake into breadcrumb-sized pieces. Toast in an even layer on a parchment lined baking sheet in a toaster oven or in a standard oven at 200º F for 3-4 minutes until golden and slightly dry. Meanwhile, beat the whipping cream until it begins to thicken. Add the teaspoon of sugar, and then continue beating just until stiff peaks form. Add a shortcake rim to your glasses by dipping the glasses into a 1/4 inch of simple syrup and immediately rolling the rims in the shortcake crumbles. Fill the glasses with the strawberry milkshake and top with a generous dollop of whipped cream. Garnish with a strawberry slice. This cocktail reminds me of strawberry milkshakes from my childhood, but the vodka adds a fun grown up twist! If you try this recipe, I’d love to hear how it turns out. Don’t forget to tag your photos #ABMhappyhour so I can see what you make! xo, Kayleigh Credits // Author and Photography: Kayleigh Kosmas. Photos edited with the NEW A Beautiful Mess Presets for Lightroom.
Hi, friends! Today I am REALLY excited because we are opening back up our course, How to Write and Pitch a Book Proposal, written by our friend and literary agent, Lindsay Edgecombe. This course was originally launched in April 2014 and after re-evaluating, adding some new images, sprucing up the text, and just generally giving this course a few updates to make it that much better, we are excited to offer it up to you all again. This course is designed to help aspiring authors take their book ideas and turn them into A+ proposals that will stand out to both literary agents as well as publishers, and hopefully lead to a book deal. How to Write and Pitch a Book Proposal is not overly long—but it definitely has everything you need. I cannot tell you how much I believe in this course, but you don't have to take just my word for it. We were super excited when Anuschka Rees, the author of _The Curated Closet_ (a book we LOVE), agreed to share her story with you: "I’ve wanted to write a book ever since I can remember, but I never actively pursued a career as a writer because, 'There are too many jobless writers already' and, 'It’s close to impossible to get a book deal these days' – that’s what they say, right? It wasn’t until my blog gained some traction (after 3+ years) that I started to think, 'Hey, this stuff that I’ve been writing about… that would actually make a pretty good book!' I started to look around for information about how one might go about not just writing a book, but then also about finding someone to publish it. I eventually stumbled across Lindsay’s course on _A Beautiful Mess_, read the whole thing in one go–and felt very relieved because I now had a concrete roadmap for what I had to do next. The course walks you through every component of a great book proposal, from your pitch letter to your chapter summaries. Two things surprised me initially: for one, that book proposals have a set structure that you need to stick to, and secondly, that a huge chunk of it should be dedicated to marketing. In other words: You need to present your potential publisher with a clear plan of who is going to buy your book and what you will do to promote it. Those chapters were definite wake-up calls because while I had already meticulously planned out each chapter of the book, I had pretty much ignored the entire business side of being an author. Thankfully, Lindsay does a great job explaining both the creative and the business components of the proposal in detail and gives you plenty of ideas for everything. There are also several examples from real authors, which I loved, and of course, lots of insider tips from Lindsay herself. I also found it very motivating that throughout the course, she emphasized that agents and publishers WANT to hear great pitches and are rooting for their authors. That little bit of extra encouragement made me feel like my proposal wasn’t going to end up in the slush pile—at least not if I gave it my best shot. When I finished writing my proposal, I first sent it to the same literary agency Lindsay works at because I felt like I had already gotten to know her and her philosophy through her course. I was going to research more literary agents the next week, but guess what? I didn’t need to because Lindsay replied, we chatted on the phone, and just like that I had found my agent! Within a couple of months, Lindsay had negotiated a book deal for me, and I could start writing my book! _The Curated Closet_ came out in September 2016 in the US and Canada, and is due to be released in several more languages. Right now I am working on my next book. This time I already have an agent, but I am still going to use Lindsay’s course as a guide to fine-tune the overall concept of the book and make sure it’s well thought out from both a creative and a business perspective."-Anuschka Rees If you've ever dreamed of writing a book, this course can help you shape your ideas and maybe even turn that dream into a reality. Here's what you'll learn: •How to know if you're ready to pitch your book •How to write an awesome pitch letter (sometimes called a query) •How to draft an overview of your idea •Crafting an attention-getting biography •How to think about your potential audience •Growing your platform as an author •Drafting a great chapter outline Lindsay has packed the course with encouragement as well as industry insider knowledge from her experiences in the publishing world over the past ten years. The course also includes three sample proposals as a bonus! Giving you even more guides to follow. How to Write and Pitch a Book Proposal is a work-at-your-own-pace e-Course, available for $15 USD. Lindsay has represented Elsie and I for many years. She helped us land our very first book deal, and we are currently finishing up work on our third book. Not only is Lindsay a great agent, she is also a friend, and there is no one else I would recommend learning from more. You're going to love her and her course. :) You can read a bit more about How to Write and Pitch a Book Proposal, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask us in the comments below. Thanks! -Emma Credits // Author: Emma Chapman, Photography: Janae Hardy, Anuschka Rees, and Emma Chapman.
Pretty decorative boxes are one of my favorite things to have around the house (usually in little groupings with other candles or figurine type things). A lot of the time though, I love a box or container, but I'm not sure what to actually store in it! It occurred to me that most decorative boxes are actually the perfect size to be a jewelry box, and with a few quick tweaks, they can be really useful around the house as well as pretty! SUPPLIES: -decorative box with lid (I used this one, but this one would be great too.) -1/4 yard velvet fabric (this is a good pink option) -straight pins and sewing machine -hot glue gun or fabric glue -cotton batting -fabric scissors -cutting mat, rotary cutter, and ruler First you'll want to double over your batting and cut a piece that's as wide as your box and long enough to make a 1" thick roll when all rolled up. If you make them about 1" wide, then you can know how many you need to make to fill your box (a 5" wide box would need 5 rolls, etc.). Cut and roll all your pieces and pin in place for now. Use a cloth measuring tape to measure the circumference of your batting rolls and add 1/2" to your measurement (this will give you a 1/4" seam allowance when you sew it later). Cut your velvet fabric into a rectangle that's 1" longer than the length of your batting roll and as wide as the circumference width found in the first step above. Fold your fabric lengthwise (right sides facing each other) and pin in place. Sew down the open side with 1/4" seam allowance and turn your velvet tube right side out. Stuff your cotton batting into the tube (don't forget to take that pin out!), and repeat the sewing and stuffing process for each batting roll. To close the ends, put a dollop of hot glue (or quick dry fabric glue) directly onto the middle of the batting end inside the velvet tube and fold the bottom of the velvet up into the glue. Add more glue to fold in the sides one at a time, and then use a final drop of glue to fold the top flap down in place. Repeat process on the other side of the tube, and then with each additional tube. Place your velvet tubes snugly into your box, and you just created a new jewelry box! Not gonna lie, I love that marble, pink, and gold combo together, but of course you can do whatever box or color velvet you like! I have a lot of dainty gold stacking rings, so I have to keep ring dishes and boxes all over the house or they get lost really fast! As you can see, it's pretty easy to make your own jewelry holder with whatever box you happen to love, and if you vary the size of the batting rolls, then you can have more or less rows to add your jewelry into. Hope this DIY is just what you need to keep your space useful and pretty! xo. Laura Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with the NEW A Beautiful Mess actions.
Sometimes the closest I get to some spa time is the 5-10 minutes I slip away to take a shower while the kids are napping. It's sacred time, people! ;) Lately I've been trying to think of ways to make shower time a "treat yo self" experience. Yummy smelling shampoos, fancy masks... but recently I've been loving these little DIY shower melts. The peppermint and eucalyptus (with a touch of orange) smell SO incredibly refreshing and always make me feel more awake and ready for my day! SUPPLIES: -corn starch -baking soda -witch hazel -peppermint, eucalyptus & orange essential oils -silicone mold -food coloring STEP ONE: In a bowl, combine 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup of corn starch. Stir. STEP TWO: Slowly add 5 tablespoons of witch hazel to your mixture, making sure you get out any lumps. Once combined, add in a drop of food coloring. I added a touch of green to give it a minty looking color. If your mixture seems a little dry and hard to stir, add just a touch more of witch hazel. Finish by adding in 5 drops of orange, 10 drops of peppermint and 6 drops of eucalyptus essential oil to your shower melts. STEP THREE: Once everything is combined, use a spoon to fill your silicone mold. This recipe made 8 small stars. STEP FOUR: Put your shower melts in the freezer overnight to harden. Keep in a cool place like the fridge to prevent them from melting. When you're ready to use your melts, simply put them in your shower away from direct water so it can melt slowly. I like to put mine on the ledge of the bath in the corner or on a soap holder. For a little boost of smell, add an extra 1-2 drops of essential oil to your shower melt once it's in the shower. Breathe in and enjoy!! These make the perfect gift for anyone in your life in need of some "me time"! ;) Store or give them in a cute jar or bowl, and don't forget to keep them chilled! Lots of love, Sav. Credits//Author and Photography: Savannah Wallace. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.
Let 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). 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. 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. The sugar cookies definitely stole the show and were gone SO FAST. They were delicious. The only thing cuter than those treats is Laura (and #gummerbaby too!). So gorgeous!! 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). 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! 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.
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. 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! Peanut 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. Then 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. Spoon 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. 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.
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! 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 -stuffing -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. Use your templates to cut out your two white muzzle panels, pink nose, and three face panels. 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. 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. 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). 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. 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. 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. 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). 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". 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. 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. 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! 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.
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. 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: -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) 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. 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. 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. 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. 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! 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. 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! 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.
Hey, 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
A lot of our readers tend to share a love of crafts and food, but many of them also share a love of something else—pets! We certainly love our fur babies here at ABM, and we are always looking for cute ways to spoil our little pals (although, let's face it, we do it for ourselves too, right?!). That being said, here's a few ways to show your pro-pet spirit from the practical to the completely-unnecessary-but-really-cute... 1. If you're looking for a sleek feeder for your dog, this elevated side-by-side bowl system will easily fit in with any home decor scheme (the small size works for a cat too). 2. If your dog gives you longing looks every time you eat pizza in front of them, maybe it's time to get them their own slice (looks like supreme to me!) 3. Don't be shy about the _real_ reason you cancel plans every Friday night, you crazy cat lady you... 4. These custom name tags can be made in lots of glitter color options, and it even glows in the dark! 5. This retro-style kitty camper is the perfect lounger and scratcher combo for your fur baby. 6. Don't be fooled, these donuts are actually a yummy treat for your best puppy friend—so cute! 7. So true, right?! 8. You'll love the cat shaped bowls on this feeder, and your kitty will love the side of greens that comes with every meal. 9. Keep your doggy treats accessible but discreet in this pretty white "treats" tin. 10. This cute and funky side table also doubles as a cat hideout/nap zone—everybody wins! 11. Why should you be the only member of your family that gets to have some bling? Treat your dog to a bit of that gold life with this pretty collar. 12. You'll bring a whole new meaning to the term "sushi roll" when you throw these toys around the room with your cat! 13. Walk Fido in style with this colorful retractable leash... 14. ...and don't forget this adorable sweatshirt if it's a bit chilly outside! 15. How sweet would this little bamboo house be for your small dog (or cat) to curl up in? There you go—lots of ways to treat your best bud to something fun! I would swear those doggy donuts were real, so make sure to keep them out of sight of unknowing houseguests, or they may be in for a bit of a surprise! Make sure to check out all the pet projects that we've done to find more ways to display your pet pride! Have fun!