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23 Nov 20:00

Brass Globe Sconce DIY

by A Beautiful Mess

Make this beautiful brass globe sconce! (click through for tutorial)     OK, you guys are going to love this one! I've been wanting to do a light fixture DIY for a while now, but it looked a little too intimidating to jump into, so I kept putting it off. Thankfully our new house forced me into it as we were looking at buying some wall mounted lights for our den and I balked at the price tag of some of the globe sconces I loved. So, what's a girl to do? Make her own, of course! This is probably the most time I've ever spent on a project as far as the preparation stage goes (i.e. figuring out what parts I needed), but thankfully, it's one of my favorites that I've ever done and it is way easier for you to do now that I've already made two and figured out my mistakes—you're welcome! This light will plug right into your wall so you don't have to worry about hardwiring a permanent fixture either. You can move it wherever you like!

Our den is a bit of an odd shape and there aren't really any good spots for floor lamps. So we've been installing new lighting in the ceiling or walls that we can dim as needed to create a softer glow. I mean, we all know there's nothing worse than a harsh overhead light to kill the cozy mood, am I right? Dimmers are my jam.

Make this beautiful brass globe sconce! (click through for tutorial)With dimming being such a key element to the lighting I needed for this room, it was the perfect project to team up with Philips and use the Philips LEDs with dimmable warm glow effect. We wanted a warmer glow, and we really wanted it to last so I don't have constantly take the globe on and off and on and off. So these bulbs were perfect! Perfect warm light, and they last over 22 years! Love them. 

Make this beautiful brass globe sconce! (click through for tutorial) Supplies for one light (listed with the part number in parentheses so you can find each component at this store):

A. neckless frosted globe (GLGB08NLSO)
B. brass canopy (CAS05)
C. dimmer (DI6250I)
D. brass socket cup (CU578)
E. porcelain socket (SO10045C)
F. brass neckless holder set (HONL04BR)
G. 90 degree brass arm (AR90B)
H. silver socket top (comes with part E)
I. snap in lamp plug (PL123PW)

Make this beautiful brass globe sconce! (click through for tutorial)J. slip star lock washer (WASTAR1/8)
K. 2 acorn caps (FI855-8/32)
L. 2 threaded studs (SCS600)
M. threaded hollow steel nipple  (NI1-0X1/8)
N. hex nut (NU233WZ)
O. threaded straight coupling brass (NE438)
P. slip ring with side screw (SRS0-3/8)
Q. washer (WABP1)
R. crossbar and wood or drywall screws for mounting to the wall (not pictured) (CBSV2-3/4)
S. nylon braid lamp wire (not pictured) (WI18SPT1POULW)

-drill with metal drill bit
-allen wrench
-wire strippers

Make this beautiful brass globe sconce! (click through for tutorial)          If you aren't happy with the finish of your brass pieces, polish all the brass before you start. (Wear gloves when you assemble the light or you'll have a few finger smudges to buff out when you're finished.) Take your nylon braid wire and thread it through your brass arm. One side of the arm is a little shorter than the other, and the end of that side is what your socket and globe will attach to.

On that shorter side, slide the slip ring onto the arm (you don't need to tighten it yet), then the gold and silver dome of the neckless holder kit, the brass socket cup, and the silver top of the porcelain socket. Screw in the silver socket top to the end of the brass arm so they are attached and tighten the silver screw on the side.

Make this beautiful brass globe sconce! (click through for tutorial)           Pull back the nylon braid about 1 1/2" from the end of the wire that is through the silver top of the porcelain socket. To keep the braided nylon you cut from fraying, you can hold a lighter under the nylon for a second until it melts the nylon together. Pull the wires underneath apart to separate the wires (you can make a small cut between them to get the separation started), and use a wire stripper to expose about 1" of both the silver and copper wires (you want to leave some plastic covering on the wires near where they meet up).

You'll see on the top of the porcelain socket that there are two screws. One is silver and one is gold. Wrap the silver wire clockwise around the base of the silver screw and tighten in place. Repeat with the copper wire and gold screw.

Make this beautiful brass globe sconce! (click through for tutorial)            To attach the wired porcelain socket to the silver socket top, match up the two screws that are inside of the porcelain socket with the two holes in the silver socket top, and screw the two together through the inside of the porcelain socket.

Make sure when you are wiring light fixtures yourself to follow some common sense guidelines and only use bulbs that have a wattage your socket can handle (the ones I chose can do up to a 660 watt bulb).

Make this beautiful brass globe sconce! (click through for tutorial)             Push the silver and brass domes of the neckless holder back in place and use an allen wrench to tighten the screw on the slip ring. This will keep all those pieces from sliding around while you work on the other side. 

At the other end of the brass arm (the side that will attach to the wall), thread the nylon wire through the threaded straight coupling, and screw the coupling halfway onto the brass arm. Thread the wire through the threaded hollow steel nipple and screw that into the other half of the coupling.

Put the brass canopy onto the steep nipple, then thread through the large washer, the lock washer, then hex nut. Tighten the hex nut in place.

I couldn't find a brass canopy that also had a wire way at the bottom (a hole for the wire to hang down through since we aren't hardwiring it into the wall). So I just used a metal drill bit to make a hole big enough for the wire to come down through.

Make this beautiful brass globe sconce! (click through for tutorial)              Once your wire is threaded down through your makeshift wire way, splice in the dimmer so you can adjust your brightness as needed. Choose where you want your dimmer to go in your cord and peel away about 2" of nylon from the wire. Separate the wires in the area you exposed and cut only the copper wire in the middle of that 2" section (look at the bottom of the wire to see which is on the left and right in case you lost track of which color is where). Use wire cutters to strip each 1" of the copper wire.

Open the dimmer switch, and wrap each end clockwise around the top and bottom screws. Tighten the screws to secure and replace the top on the dimmer.

Make this beautiful brass globe sconce! (click through for tutorial)               Cut the end of the wire to the final length you want for your fixture and pull back the nylon about 2". Pull out the middle section of the snap in lamp plug and you'll see that each side of the plug has either a gold or silver prong that will clamp down into the wire once you insert it. Thread your wire through the back of the lamp plug housing and into the back of the lamp plug middle making sure the copper is on the gold prong side and the silver is on the silver side. Push it through until it won't go any further. Then push the prongs into the wire and snap the middle back into the lamp plug housing.

Once you're all wired up, it's time to attach the light to the wall!

Make this beautiful brass globe sconce! (click through for tutorial)                Mount the flat part of the crossbar to the wall at desired location, and thread in your 2 stud screws all the way until they hit the wall.

Place your brass canopy over the two screws and secure in place with your acorn cap nuts.

Make this beautiful brass globe sconce! (click through for tutorial)                 Make this beautiful brass globe sconce! (click through for tutorial)                 Loosen the slip ring above the brass neckless holder so you can push back the slip ring and brass dome and screw in your lightbulb. Gently angle the silver portion of the neckless holder so that it slides into the inside of your glass globe and center the silver plate in the globe opening.

Pull down the brass dome and slip ring and tighten back in place.* That's all! You're done! Now plug in your light and watch it glow!

*Note: If you need to replace a lightbulb that has burned out, you'll loosen the slip ring and slide the gold dome up again so you can remove the globe and change the bulb. It's not that hard to do, but using a long lasting bulb (like an LED) will ensure you don't have to change it for years!

Make this beautiful brass globe sconce! (click through for tutorial)      Make this beautiful brass globe sconce! (click through for tutorial)        Make this beautiful brass globe sconce! (click through for tutorial)    Make this beautiful brass globe sconce! (click through for tutorial)      The first night we plugged these in we were giddy with excitement. They look so good and I love how we can dim them to whatever brightness we want according to our mood. And the other best part is that I made both of these lights for less than one of the ones I wanted online (each one was less than $100!). BOO-YA! These would be great as bathroom lights as well or on either side of a bed. If you've been looking for a beautiful brass sconce and feel that urge to tackle a new skill, then this is totally the project for you. I can't wait to make more lights, so I guess my future is looking bright! xo. Laura

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

20 Nov 14:24

Brussels Sprout + Purple Potato Hash (aka the best brunch ever!)

by A Beautiful Mess

Dream Brunch!

Brussels sprout and purple potato hashYou guys! Today is a monumental occasion. Because after, oh I don't know, five or maybe six years of asking Jeremy to help me write a recipe post, HE FINALLY CAVED!

We cook together a lot. If there's one thing that months without running water or a stove will teach you, it's that eating out is kind of overrated and cooking at home is a miracle! We've been experimenting with lots of vegetable-based meals lately, and since this one turned out so delish, he agreed to help me make it into a recipe for you! 

Brussels sprout and purple potato hash Brussels sprouts. Historically, they've gotten a bad rap. But in recent years, they're the cool girls at all the hipster restaurants. I'm so happy for them, their time has come! 

Brussels sprout and purple potato hash  Purple potatoes. The prettiest potatoes by a lot. I don't know how or why I never bought them until this past week! 

Anyway! Enough chit chat. I never know the right amount of dad jokes to put into a blog post. Sometimes it's way too much, sometimes it's not enough. Sometimes you're like, "Share WAY more," and sometimes you're like, "Please shut up." Here's the recipe... 

Brussels sprout and purple potato hash    Brussels Sprout + Purple Potato Hash
*serves 1 VERY hungry person or 2 people who are also eating avocado toast. 

3 cups Brussels sprouts 
3 cloves garlic
1/4 onion
1 purple potato
coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
fresh rosemary 
avocado slices 

First, thinly slice the purple potato. Pan fry it with coconut oil (or your oil of choice, butter works too). We like to do this step separately because we like our potatoes very crispy. Plus, they take longer to cook. So let them cook while you're prepping the rest. Then set them aside when they're done. 

Next, fill your food processor with Brussels, garlic and onion and chop your veggies. Process it till it looks about like this- 

Brussels sprout and purple potato hash   Now it's ready to cook! Throw it in a pan on the stovetop with a little coconut oil and the salt and pepper. As you're cooking it, give it a taste and see if you want any garlic powder or more pepper or salt. I feel like we over-garlic all of our food, so I made the recipe "safe". 

When the slaw is almost done cooking, throw the potatoes back in so they can heat up. 

Almost done! Just fry a couple eggs and garnish them with a little paprika, some fresh cut rosemary and some avocado slices. 

Brussels sprout and purple potato hash      Now, dig in! You've earned it. 

xoxo. Elsie + Jeremy  

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

18 Nov 20:00

Chipotle & Pumpkin Veggie Enchiladas

by A Beautiful Mess

Chipotle and Pumpkin Veggie Enchiladas (via  I'm excited to start an official new tag with you guys today! You've probably noticed many of the different tags we use here on ABM. They are located at the top of each post, just after the title. Our tags can alert you to all sorts of things like if a recipe is a main course (meal idea) or side dish (small bites), or even if something is sponsored. If you click on a tag, you'll get transported to an archive page showing you all our past posts that have that tag. It's a pretty handy tool if you're looking for more ideas in a certain category of if you can't find an old post, but you know a few tags it might belong to. 

And today we're starting a new tag called "freezer meals". Lately I've found myself often cooking twice the amount of food I plan to eat and freezing the second meal so that I have something I can quickly throw in the oven on days I just don't feel like cooking or if I've cooked all day for ABM and I don't want to do any more dishes. :) So far this is has been a weeknight dinner game changer for us. This isn't something I do a lot because I don't have a huge freezer, so I really only need a few easy meals saved at a time. But I thought that I could start sharing some of my favorites here on ABM in case you could benefit from a similar practice. 

Chipotle and Pumpkin Veggie Enchiladas (via one is SO flavorful and is super filling while also remaining pretty darn healthy. We're gonna make our own enchilada sauce with just a few simple but surprising ingredients. And then we're gonna smother some corn tortillas filled with loads of good things in that sauce. The story ends with us stuffing our faces AND storing away the same meal to be enjoyed in a few weeks or a few months. 

I'm pretty excited. I hope you are too. OK, let's enchilada!

Bell peppersChipotle & Pumpkin Veggie Enchiladas, makes TWO two serving dinners (that's four servings total).

1 bell pepper
1/3 onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to season
one 15 oz. can prepared black beans, drained
10-12 corn tortillas

For the sauce:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour, but any flour is fine.)
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1/2 cup shredded cheese (optional)

First dice the peppers and onions and mince the garlic. Sauté those three ingredients in 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium / high heat for 4-6 minutes until the peppers soften and just begin to brown. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. 

Peppers and onionsDrain the can of black beans and toss into a large bowl. I like to use a pastry blender to mash some of the beans just to give my filling a different texture, but this is optional. Add the cooked peppers and onions to the bowl and reserve until you are ready to stuff the tortillas.

Enchilada sauceNow it's sauce time! In a good blender, combine the tomato paste, pumpkin puree, chipotle pepper, and 1/2 cup of the vegetable stock. Puree until smooth. In a medium sized pot, heat the 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat and whisk in the flour. This will make a very thin roux of sorts. Add the pureed pumpkin mix and the remaining 1 cup vegetable stock and whisk well.

Freezer dinners Chipotle and Pumpkin Veggie Enchiladas (via To assemble your enchiladas, simply add about 1/3 cup of the sauce to a small baking pan or cast iron pan. For my freezer version, I used a small aluminum baking pan that came with a paper lid—convenient for my purposes. :) Roll the filling up in the tortillas and place them side by side in the pans. Then top with the remaining sauce. Whether you do decide to add cheese to these or not, don't add any to the freezer version because I find that cheese doesn't tend to freeze well. So you can always add it later before baking if you want it. 

Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes. Then top with a little fresh cilantro before serving.

Chipotle and Pumpkin Veggie Enchiladas (via   I love to top this with half a sliced avocado if possible and I suggest you do it. :) Enjoy! xo. Emma

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

19 Nov 19:57

Homemade Hot Cereal Mix

by A Beautiful Mess

Homemade hot cereal mix (via couple weeks ago I came down with a cold. And for me this wasn't a sniffle-for-a-few-days but ultimately you're fine kind of cold. No. This was the kind of cold that rendered me useless for about three days, and I'm a to-do list kind of gal for crying out loud! I ended up having to stay home from a family wedding that Trey and I already had plane tickets and a hotel booked for. I was afraid to let my SIL and her newborn stay over when she was in town for fear her son might catch whatever was knocking me off my feet. Which meant I missed my chance to hold a baby—and guys, I have baby fever, so this put me at an all time low.

I was humbled. I like to think of myself as a fairly healthy and productive gal. The kind that goes to family weddings and holds every baby in sight!

OK, I think I might be oversharing a little. One morning, while I was still feeling pretty sick but was on the mend, I made myself a big bowl of hot cereal. I added all sorts of nuts, fruit and a little maple syrup. I ate it while sipping some lemon tea with honey and it was a comforting moment, to say the least! There's just something about a warm, healthy breakfast. And here's my confession: I ate the same thing for lunch that day too. Of course I'm not saying this hot cereal healed me. It did not. But man did it make me feel better, I guess in the way a warm, nourishing hug might. And good news—hot cereal is great all the time, not just when you're sick.

Hot cereal mix ingredients Homemade hot cereal mix (via  I'm stoked to share my current favorite homemade hot cereal mix with you all. We are partnering with Vitamix on this recipe and I could not be more excited! I found out Vitamix was interested in working with ABM right around the time I was shopping for a new blender, as luck would have it. This was going to be my third blender in under two years. So needless to say, I was excited to try something that promised to be more durable since I love to cook and want something that is going to last. I'll keep you all updated as time goes on, but so far I've been SUPER impressed with my 780 blender. I've already made lots of (green) smoothies, a few soups, and this hot cereal mix a few times and it's pretty amazing how well it works compared to past blenders I've used.

Anyway, hot cereal. Let's do this.

How to make your own hot cereal Make your hot cereal mix in a blender!Homemade Hot Cereal Mix, makes 15-18 servings. Feel free to cut in half if you want to make less.

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup brown rice
1 cup quinoa
1/2 cup flaxseeds
1/2 cup wheat germ*
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup sliced almonds (or other nuts you prefer)

*If you want to keep your hot cereal mix gluten free, then omit the wheat germ.

Place all the ingredients in a quality blender and pulse until well blended. The mixture should be a very coarse powder, not quite as fine as flour but very small pieces throughout. If you want even more control over the texture of your mix, you can pulse each ingredient separately and then combine. That's it! Easy, right? Just store in an air tight container and use whenever you like.

To make hot cereal, cook with a 3:1 ratio of water. I usually cook 1/3 cup hot cereal mix with 1 cup of water for a serving because I like to add lots of nuts, fresh fruit, sometimes nut butter, sweetener and sometimes almond milk. If you don't plan to add much to your mix, then I'd recommend cooking 1/2 cup mix with 1 1/2 cups water for a serving, but this is really up to you.

Bring water with a sprinkle of salt to a boil. Whisk in your hot cereal mix. Cover, reduce the heat, and cook for 8-9 minutes. Remove the lid, stir, and continue to cook for another minute. 

Homemade hot cereal mix (via I do recommend refrigerating your unused mix and here's why: my jar of wheat germ recommends you refrigerate it after opening. So although most of these ingredients are pretty shelf stable without refrigeration, just to be safe I'd still go ahead and refrigerate. But, I'm not a food scientist. This is just my thinking based on the labels I read. 

Guys, you can totally change up this mix however you like! Honestly the possibilities are endless—there so many other ingredients you could add or change up depending on what you have on hand and what you prefer. I totally recommend you make some hot cereal for yourself this week. xo. Emma

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

12 Nov 20:00

Try This: Update Simple Frames With Gold Hardware

by A Beautiful Mess

Ikea frames + this!

Try This- Update Simple Frames With Gold HardwareI am so freaking excited to share today's project with you! Not only is it the first wall art I've put up in my new home, but I think it's my favorite wall art project EVER. 

Start by watching my video–

We teamed up with our longest supporters and friends over at Canon USA for this post. Specifically, we used the Canon PIXMA iP8720 Crafting Printer on their Pro Luster Paper for this one because it handles B&W so well. Plus, it can print up to 13x19, which was necessary for the size of frames I chose.

Try This- Update Simple Frames With Gold Hardware Watch the video above for all the basics on how I created this project. I found my simple white frames at Michael's and here's my campaign hardware. If you don't want to use any tools, you can super glue these to the edges and just omit the screws. I used the super glue to secure them before adding screws (just makes it a bit easier). Just remember to let it dry 100% before continuing. Oh–and here's the ceramic planter set I used to hang my plants. 

HardwareI printed a combination of personal photos, one Dolly Parton pic and a couple prints from Arrow & Apple

Try This- Update Simple Frames With Gold Hardware  Try This- Update Simple Frames With Gold Hardware  Try This- Update Simple Frames With Gold Hardware  Try This- Update Simple Frames With Gold Hardware  Try This- Update Simple Frames With Gold Hardware  Try This- Update Simple Frames With Gold Hardware  The finished wall is light and simple but still detailed and interesting. I love how it really fills up the space without being too busy. Our breakfast nook is starting to take shape! 

It feels SO GOOD to start the decorating process. I can't wait to share more with you! If you have any questions about this project, leave them for me in the comments. And even if you don't have a question, I'm in the mood to chat, so leave me a comment.

Off to plan more GOLD projects because it's addictive! xx- Elsie 

P.S. You can get $50 off the Canon PIXMA MG7720 Photo Printer by using the code 'ABM50', but you gotta hurry because the offer expires on Saturday. 

Credits//Author and Photography: Elsie Larson. Video and Music: Jeremy Larson. Project Assistant: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess Actions

12 Nov 14:00

7 Natural Ways to Make Your Home Smell Great for the Holidays — From the Archives: Greatest Hits

by Taryn Williford

It's said that smell is the sense with the closet ties to memory. As you prepare your home for the holidays with plenty of love, laughter and decoration, don't forget about ambiance. 'Tis the season to dim the lights, put on some soft music and, if you're so inclined, prepare one of these lovely and fragrant little recipes to fill your home with great memories.


10 Nov 19:43

It's going to be okay.

by Matthew Inman
30 Oct 19:01

Design Style 101: Scandinavian

by A Beautiful Mess

Those bunk beds!!!!!! Also: everything.

Dala horses in a Scandinavian dining spaceabove: House & Home via Bright Bazaar

If you've been on the internet lately, you'll know that Scandinavian design is having a moment. And it's easy to see why! Traditional Scandinavian style is simple, clean, cheerful, and very achievable for basically any budget. When you think about this style, usually lots of white springs to mind, but the reality is that Scandinavian design can also have lots of vibrant color and fun patterns.

Rustic Scandinavian dining roomabove: promotional image from retailer Gudruns Joden / below: Sandra Freij

Marimekko covered sofaSCANDINAVIAN PATTERNS

The patterns you'll find in traditional Scandinavian designs are typically simple, botanical illustrations in a symmetrical style. Animals are also common themes, such as the traditional dala horse (as seen in top image), most commonly seen in a poppy red hue. Modern Scandinavian patterns usually have bold colors and graphic, high contrast styles, like the oversize prints and patterns from the Finnish company Marimekko. (above sofa upholstered in Marimekko fabric)

Marimekko patternsabove: Marimekko fabric

Marimekko and Josef Frank patterns in interiorsabove: unknown with Marimekko wallpaper / unknown via homedit

A favorite Scandinavian designer is Austrian born Josef Frank whose patterns exhibited the folk-style traditional to Scandinavian style, but with a mod flair. You can purchase Josef Frank wallpaper and fabric for your home these days, but be ready to pay a pretty penny! Sometimes just investing in a yard or two will give you the perfect pop of pattern in a pillow or chair cover.

Josef Frank wallpaper in a kitchenabove: La Maison d' Anna G. / below: Josef Frank prints available from Svenskt

Josef Frank patterns traditional Scandinavian kitchensabove: Anna Kern for Svenska Dagblaet / Sweet Paul Issue 2

Dutch bedroom and hallwayabove: House to Home / image from the book Scandinavian Design by Lars Bolander

Scandinavian style has a long history, traditionally marked by simplicity, bright whites, natural wood tones, folk style ornamentation, and color washed furnishings and trims. Hues of medium blues, bright reds, and pleasant greens, pinks, and yellows are common throughout Scandinavian design. In old Dutch homes, folks used to build their beds into warm, closet-like spaces, and to save space, would hang spindle-backed chairs on the walls when they weren't being used. The modern version of Dutch and Scandinavian design isn't always about efficiency and space-saving solutions, though it is still both practical and beautiful. A lot of modern, Scandinavian-style homes showcase a mix of the traditional style of almost rustic simplicity alongside the sleek designs of forward-thinking designers who emerged in the 20th Century.

   Classic Scandinavian pieces for modern interiorsSCANDINAVIAN MODERN CLASSICS

A lot of iconic modern designs came from Scandinavian designers in the 1900s, and above you'll see some of the most popular pieces. 

1. Wishbone chair by Hans J. Wegner (knock-off linked to down below)
2. Panthella lamp by Verner Panton
3. Artek stool by Alvar Aalto (knock-off available at Ikea)
4. Egg chair by Arne Jacobsen
5. PH5 hanging lamp by Poul Henningsen
6. Tulip side table by Eero Saarinen (knock-off linked to down below) 

Happy Scandinavian living room interiorsabove: Better Homes and Gardens/ flodeau

How to get the Scandinavian lookGET THE LOOK

Want to add some Scandinavian style to your home but don't know where to begin? These things are a great start, and are pretty affordable too!

1. Bentwood pendant light
2. Flip clock (knock-off of the Karlsson Big Flip clock)
3. Marimekko teapot
4. Candle holder
5. Marimekko cereal bowl
6. Mongolian fur pillow
7. Panton floor lamp
8. Tulip side table
9. Wishbone chair
10. Grid pillow cover
11. Dala horse ornaments

Scandinavian dining room and bedroomabove: House & Home / Anna Kern for Svenska Dagblaet

Simple Scandinavian dining room with lots of white and touches of green and blackabove: Nordic Days


Paring down the color palette in your home and utilizing pops of color amidst a more neutral background is a great way to get the Scandinavian look if you can't really afford to do much redecorating. Instead of dark wood tones, try natural wood colors or painted wood instead. Combine sleek modern pieces like the iconic Panton chair with soft, rustic elements for the effortlessly chic looks shown here. Or it might be easier for you to find an old spindle-back chair and paint it a glossy black for a touch of Scandinavian charm. A classic windsor alongside streamlined pieces (think Ikea if your budget is anything like mine!) is a look that works wonders.

Feminine Scandinavian interior styleabove: Real Living / Martha Stewart / below: Dust Jacket

Modern Scandinavian kitchen in blue and whiteIf in doubt about how to go Nordic, your best bet is to just keep it simple! There is always elegance in simplicity, and I think that's really what we all love about Scandinavian style. -Mandi

Credits // Author: Mandi Johnson. Images: Noted individually.

02 Nov 19:59

Mix and Match to Create a Custom Table!

by A Beautiful Mess

Mix and Match to Create a Custom Table! (click through for more!)  If you've ever had to furnish a new space, then you know all about the hours it takes searching stores, vintage shops, thrift stores, online deal sites, all trying to find the perfect pieces for your home that won't completely break your bank. It's always hard when you have a specific idea in mind but can't find exactly what you're looking for. I wanted a small breakfast table to put next to one of our big windows that looks into our backyard, but I couldn't find exactly what I wanted. I kept thinking, "I wish I could put that top with that bottom," until I realized I could just search for the top and bottom separately, and then put whichever ones I wanted together. YES!

Mix and Match to Create a Custom Table! (click through for more!)For the body, I decided to do a simple 36" round table top (it comes in a couple of different sizes), and I clamped the table to the legs first so I could make sure I liked it in the space before painting and attaching the legs. Looks good to me!

Since I was planning on painting the table (I chose Crystal Coral by Valspar), I bought a cheaper pine top, but if you would rather stain yours or let the wood grain come through, you would probably want to get something a little nicer like one of these hardwood tops instead (they have round and rectangle). You can even buy glass tabletops, but you'll have to use a table base that is one unit rather than 4 individual legs since you can't screw them into the glass. Even Ikea sells table tops if you are looking for more of a dining room table option, or you can make your own table top like Elsie and Emma did. I made the same one Elsie did for our dining room table after I saw how good hers looked (and how easy it was to make!).Mix and Match to Create a Custom Table (click through for more!)
Once you have your table top picked out, it's time to customize the legs! There are lots of options online, but these are a few of my favorites that I found as I looked around. I ended up picking these hairpin legs with a gold finish since I wanted something light that would match the gold fixture I planned to put above the table. A lot of the legs have different color choices and heights, so you can really get what you want for your project. 

1. Hairpin pedestal 
2. Alfred 700
3. Otto 700
4. Hilver
5. Lerberg
6. Traditional Tapered Leg
7. Estelle 700
8. Hairpin Leg
9. Fold Leg
10. Siri 700
11. Original Leg

Mix and Match to Create a Custom Table! (click through for more!)    Most legs can be attached with just a drill and a few screws. Since mine is a circle, I just marked the circle into four even parts and attached the legs on the lines so I knew they were evenly spaced.

Mix and Match to Create a Custom Table! (click through for more!)    Mix and Match to Create a Custom Table! (click through for more!)   Mix and Match to Create a Custom Table! (click through for more!) Mix and Match to Create a Custom Table! (click through for more!)    I love that this project was pretty minimal work for getting the look I wanted, and the subtle gold legs I chose look great with the beautiful brass pendant light above the table. Just a quick coat of paint (or stain) for your top (or nothing at all if it comes exactly how you want it), and you're ready to attach your legs with a drill and a few screws—it's definitely taken me longer to put together furniture that came in a box! The table is a perfect size for the space and has just the right feel since I was able to pick all the elements. So next time you need a table, desk, or even coffee table, don't forget that you can be the boss and pick your own details! I'm so glad that I did! xo. Laura

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

03 Nov 09:30

DIY Belart style clock and cozy kitchen snack bar — Patti and Darin’s MacGuyvered delights!

by pam kueber

retro countertop barWe showcased Patti and Darin’s delightful retro kitchen makeover yesterday. Today: A closer look at two ingenious features — a cute little snack or breakfast bar and a midcentury modern style boomerang clock. They made both of these for under $100 (not including the stools) — using leftover materials and just a few additional purchases.

DIY kitchen snack bar:

retro kitchen

Patti bought the stools on ebay for $80 — they are marked Snyder Philadelphia. She had to cut the legs down to fit under the breakfast bar. She also purchased the hairpin table leg on ebay.

Patti wrote:

I’m very bad at always wanting something unique, one of a kind. Necessity breeds invention, you know, and I can never find EXACTLY what I’m looking for, so I usually have to make it up. For the snack bar, I wanted something simple that looked like it was probably in my kitchen originally (this is a modest ranch), and I wanted a place… to snack!

retro countertop bar

The snack bar substrate is 3/4″ particle board. I bought a 4×8 sheet at Home Depot and had them cut it for me to my rough dimensions because it’s hard for me to handle a full sheet by myself.

retro countertop bar

Anywho, I’m a McGyver-er from way back, so I cabbaged around the garage for scraps. I didn’t have screws short enough to attach the table leg to the bar, so I found a piece of 1×4 to use as a spacer. I attached the table to the wall with leftover shelving corners cut to 24″ and secured into the wall studs.


The bar was going to be 36″ square but it overpowered the space so I cut it down to 30″. And, it’s counter-height, so I had to cut 2″ off the bar stool legs cause they were too high.

DIY boomerang clock — Belart style


Then the wall above was too blah, and I found this clock I loved on eBay but it sold for $810. Yikes! And I thought, hey, I’ll just make my own!

This listing gave me the idea on the shape of my clock. I had laminate left over from the kitchen and particle board left over from a piece of MDF from making my platform bed. I drew out the shape, and Darin cut it out for me because his hand is steadier than mine 😉

The clock is a scrap piece of Masonite board, I drew, he cut. I painted it to match the cabinets, clock mechanism from Amazon for $10.

The 3-6-9-12 spots are biscuits (I have a biscuit joiner!) and I wrapped them with aluminum foil (ha!) and the 1-2-4-5-7-8-10-11 dots are the wooden tip of a paint brush dipped in silver paint and dotted on. Voila!

pattiVoila indeed! Nicely done, Patti, thank you for sharing your design! And, I learned that “cabbage” can be used a verb — I am going to start doing that, too! Yay for all the MacGuyvers among us!

The post DIY Belart style clock and cozy kitchen snack bar — Patti and Darin’s MacGuyvered delights! appeared first on Retro Renovation.

27 Oct 21:54

unfussy eats: chickpea veggie bowl with lemon tahini dressing

by kickpleat

chickpea veggie bowl with lemon tahini dressing | everybody likes sandwiches

Please ignore the bad photos because they do not convey the deliciousness contained within! Bowl eating is my kind of food. A bunch of stuff, usually a mix of vegetables and grains, get mixed into a bowl and covered in a tasty dressing. It’s not fancy, but it’s pretty much how we eat most often around here. I love this bowl dinner because it contains a mix of both roasted and raw vegetables and would be easy to add your own spin based on what you had available.

chickpea veggie bowl with lemon tahini dressing | everybody likes sandwiches

It’s like an elevated salad that totally works for dinner. If you wanted to throw in leftover chicken, tofu or salmon, go right ahead! The dressing is a lemony tasting tahini version with the addition of nutritional yeast. It makes plenty that you’ll have enough leftovers, which is a good thing, as it’s delicious on a green salad too.

chickpea veggie bowl with lemon tahini dressing | everybody likes sandwiches

chickpea veggie bowl with lemon tahini dressing
1 T olive oil
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1/2 onion, large dice
1 t aleppo pepper
1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets
1 can of chickpeas, drained & rinsed
1/2 t cumin
kosher salt
1/2 cucumber, diced
1 red pepper, diced

your favourite cooked grains: I used farro & brown rice

lemon tahini dressing
Recipe adapted from Oh She Glows

1/4 c tahini
1/4 c nutritional yeast
1/2 c freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 T olive oil
2 garlic cloves
3-5 T water

Preheat oven 400F.

Cook  the grain of your choice, if using.

Add diced sweet potato and onion onto a silpat-covered baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with aleppo pepper. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, toss and add in broccoli and chickpeas. Sprinkle with a little more olive oil, if needed, and some kosher salt and cumin. Bake for another 15-20 minutes or until sweet potato is tender.

Meanwhile, combine the dressing ingredients into a food processor until combined and smooth. Add additional water if needed.

In a bowl, add in your cooked grains and top with the vegetable chickpea mixture along with some cucumber and red pepper. Drizzle with tahini lemon sauce and serve with hot sauce, if needed. Serves 4, with additional sauce to be used throughout the week on your favourite salads.

26 Oct 17:00

Dip a Toe Into Bold Color: Painted Ceilings in the Bathroom

by Taryn Williford

Painted ceilings or colored floors? OR BOTH???

The bathroom, to me, is the perfect testing ground for those who are scared to make bold decor decisions. It's a small room (which makes any project you might tackle in there a bit more affordable) and it's not a place where you spend a whole lot of time. So if you, say, make a huge mistake thinking that, yes, fuzzy wallpaper was definitely the way to go... you can at least live with it for a while. It won't be staring you down with it's wrongness in exactly the way a misstep in the living room would.


26 Oct 08:30

Thomas creates a genius retro modern eclectic office / guest house

by Kate

I am loving the bright blue floor color, and the tile work behind the pedestal sink is amaaaaaazing!

retro modern kitchenthomas250Retro, modern, eclectic, colorful and unexpected, Thomas Welles — owner of TG Architecture — has blended old and new together in surprising ways in his 1930s garage turned office + guest suite.  We’ve never seen a space quite like this before — if you pull all the palettes apart, it “shouldn’t” work. But Thomas is a pro: His choices are so artful, that the space turned out off-the-beaten-track perfect. We love it!

vintage chrome kitchen fanWe first discovered Thomas’ unique space when he emailed us about using a vintage fan grille from the stash of NOS Emerson Pryne vent fan grilles from House of Fans in his kitchen. However, when we saw a few glimpses his cottage, we wanted to see the whole thing.

Thomas initially wrote:


Thanks for the compliment.  First I have to say that I love your blog!  I have read it for several years now, and it truly has morphed into a repository of knowledge of early/mid century craftsmanship.

This is a brand new efficiency sized kitchen that I designed for this space, which is a 1930’s garage that I converted to be a flex space (my office/ rec. room/ garden pavilion/ guest house).  We just call it “The Cottage”.

vintage chrome kitchen fan

I had purchased the Emerson Pryne fan cover when your story first ran about them being available through House of Fans. Back then, I was dying to contribute a picture to the original post. but construction was just starting on converting an old garage to a guest house, and now it is just finishing up.

vintage fan grille[Editor’s note: There still are some Emerson Pryne fan covers — in two sizes — left. See this story.]

I had also purchased a Nutone chromed knob but lost it during construction, so the standard Plastic Broan knob is on there temporarily. The larger Broan knob is starting to grow on me, and I am thinking of getting it chromed.

If you look closely, there are a number of other products that you have featured in your blog installed in this little kitchen.

retro modern kitchenretro modern

retro modern

Pam says she loves Loves LOVES the way the laminate goes up to the ceiling. GENIUS! The entire space is genius! She put the word ‘genius’ in the headline. She declares: This is what the future of contemporary mass-market interior design could/should look like!

retro modern

We pounce with questions for Thomas:

… The cabinet maker said he had fun making these
because all he does now is the same
TV show inspired greige/white,
full overlay, granite topped cabinets.

Did you make the cabinets?
I had a cabinet maker build the cabinets. The smaller the kitchen, the more it makes sense to custom build the cabinets to take advantage of every inch of space. I normally would be okay with pre-manufactured cabinets (provided they could do the same design/layout) because of the cost.
retro modernThe cabinets were designed to feel like they have been there for decades. However, they have more modern elements like wide drawers in the base cabinets instead of doors/shelves, and soft close drawer guides.
retro modern
Actually the cabinet maker said he had fun making these because all he does now is the same TV show inspired greige/white, full overlay, granite topped cabinets. The base cabinets were sanded smooth, have a couple coats of paint (spray applied) and a topcoat of high gloss clear. The wall cabinets and shelves are walnut with a satin clear coat. The star shaped vent design in the sink base was based on some vintage atomic starburst laminate I have on my kitchen wall in the main house.
retro modernretro modern
I presume the floor is painted concrete?
That is a heated concrete floor, and the color comes from an acid stain with a sealer. Triple S Chemical Products – Weathered Copper.
retro modernretro modernretro modernAre you a designer?
I am currently starting my own business after working almost 20 years for larger firms. I will be focusing on single family and small multi-family homes, and small commercial in the San Francisco Bay Area. My office will be in this space, which is on the side of my house here in San Bruno.
retro modernretro modernretro modernretro modern
A quick background: I started working on single family houses when I very young, having come from a family that has a small real estate business. After getting my education in Boston, I worked for architecture firms, initially focusing on historic rehab. That focus changed over the years to low-income multi-family housing, although I have also worked on everything from airports to high rises. After my daughter was born, all my priorities changed and l wanted to work for myself on smaller projects. Going back to my roots, as they say.
retro modern

Analyzing this space

Why does this space work so well — considering there are a variety of color palettes, patterns, styles, and finishes going on simultaneously?
Thomas used repetition to give the whole space, both inside and out, a cohesive feeling. How did he do it. By creating repetition and relationships. Some examples we can spot:
  • He’s repeated shapes like the circles in the windows, spun acrylic light fixtures, and NOS Emerson Pryne fan grille cover.
  • He’s repeated colors, such as the vivid bright yellow on the exterior door, kitchen cabinets, tile, patio furniture, and bathroom sink.
  • He’s even been able to skillfully blend five different wall surfaces in this small space: plain painted wall, reclaimed wood wall (which was original to the space, not added), wallpapered wall, tiled wall and laminate wall — by using color. Though all of the wall treatments differ greatly, they all have grey and white in them, which helps mixing them together feel intentional. The grey of the weathered wall blends into the grey and white of the dandelion wallpaper, which blends into the white and grey laminate wall, which blends into the white painted walls and tile with grey grout.
  • Even the patterns that Thomas uses relate to each other — both are dandelions. And did we mention how much we love that Thomas used laminate on a wall all the way up to the ceiling? Amazing!


retro modernretro modernretro modernretro modern

Thomas’ cottage is also a study in textures and temperatures. Note:

  • The rough texture of the reclaimed wood wall next to the smooth texture of the wood ceiling.
  • The visual texture created by the wallpaper and laminate designs next to the texture of the clear spun acrylic lights.
  • The warm wood window frames, cabinets and table near the industrial metal bathroom door and stainless steel refrigerator.
  • The cool aqua floors against the warm yellow cabinets.

Everywhere you look, there are new ‘visual collaborations’ to see.

retro modern retro modern retro modern retro modern

In one last email, Thomas added:

Thank you for making a story about the cottage, I had a lot of fun designing it; and while it is done to the point where we can use the space, there are still things to do (Isn’t that always the case?). I’m trying to find an appropriate exterior light fixture, and will be building some low, built-in bookcases under the two large windows. I am also torn on whether to paint the interior wood wall or leave it like it is… A wall like this is something you see all the time on those home improvement shows, and I normally hate it when I see designers add these indiscriminately. But in my case it was here originally. I figured I could leave it as-is for now, and make a decision later; but I have to admit that I kinda like it and would be just painting it just to buck the trend. I also have to tackle the landscaping. Please disregard the brown lawn; we are in the middle of a drought.

Thomas’ list of resources:

ThomasThomas, your space is a funky, creative retro modern eclectic work of art! Well done. What a great space to work and a fabulous getaway for guests. Thanks so much for sharing it with us!

Interested in working with Thomas? 

Thomas is in the process of building his company website — we will add it to the story when it is up and running — and until then, you can email him at his work address

The post Thomas creates a genius retro modern eclectic office / guest house appeared first on Retro Renovation.

20 Oct 13:21

simple gifts with framebridge.

by erin

framebridge custom framing reading my tea leavesI admit that it feels early to start talking about holiday gifts. But the fact of the matter is that there are some gifts for which a long lead time pays off for everyone involved—givers and recipients. Here’s an idea for one such gift, sponsored by Framebridge.

Anyone who’s been reading for a while will be familiar with my fondness for temporary wall displays. Washi tape and paperclips and tiny tacks pull their weight as framing supplies in my house. I love moving things in and out of the space as makes my sense for my current frame of mind or whim or the particular postcard that came in the mail that day. I have a few of these little corners in my house and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. framebridge custom framing reading my tea leavesBut since Faye was born, I’ve saved a few small bits of ephemera that have taken on a little bit more meaning than the average post-marked envelope. There’s the moon phase calendar that I bought in San Francisco, destined for the nursery that we weren’t sure whether she’d have six months before she was born. There’s the letterpress card that came in a care package sent my way in the late winter that I was pregnant. The card bore the zodiac sign of Gemini, just like the baby in my belly. There’s the small envelope, hand-lettered by my friend Justine with Faye’s initials. For the last sixteen months they’ve each lived in different spots in our home—taped up to the wall; weighted down with paperclips and hung from tacks; propped against the bookshelf.framebridge custom framing reading my tea leavesIn effort to make art out of the ordinary—and in an admittedly sentimental mood—I’d begun to think about preserving them for the longterm. When Framebridge reached out with an opportunity to test-drive their service, I knew immediately what project I would tackle. It would be a gift to the whole family—and something that Faye might eventually take with her into her own home.

I chose simple rectangular frames that matched frames we’ve used for other art in our house. There’s something about a float mount that lends itself to this kind of ephemera, I think, and so I opted to have each piece floated against a white backdrop instead of hidden behind a more traditional mat.  I like the idea that you can still tell that Faye’s initials are printed onto an envelope and that the tape marks where I taped and re-taped the zodiac print are still visible.framebridge custom framing reading my tea leavesNever having used an internet-based framing service before, I admit that I wasn’t sure what to expect. The pricing is vastly more affordable than framing we’ve had done in the past—frames at Framebridge range from $39 – $149 depending on the size of your art—but I wondered if the frames would match the quality that we already had. Would the acrylic that Framebridge uses in lieu of glass meet my standards? Would they get my notes requesting a smaller-than-average border between the art and frame? Happily, the answer in each case was yes. And more than that, the process was simple, quick, and clear from placing my order, to sending in our art, to receiving the framed art back again. framebridge custom framing reading my tea leavesThe finished products themselves are lovely. I made ample use of the special request field available in the Framebridge order process and was able to request a smaller mat size than would have come automatically.  I was super pleased with the understated effect of a more subtle border around these particular pieces. Maybe best of all, the frames arrived ready to hang with small envelopes including all the necessary hardware. Literal minutes after our frames came through the door, we had them hanging in our bedroom.framebridge custom framing reading my tea leavesIf you’re among the most organized among us and already plotting your holiday gifts, here’s a wholehearted endorsement to give Framebridge a try. In our case we were able to elevate the ordinary and add something special to our home without giving up precious space.

In the spirit of holiday giving, Framebridge is offering Reading My Tea Leaves readers 20% off their first order with the code TEALEAVES20. The offer expires 1/31/2016.

This post was sponsored by Framebridge. All opinions are my own. Thanks so much for supporting the brands that support Reading My Tea Leaves.

16 Oct 09:00

Lemon Cupcakes with Lavender Frosting by Jessica

by Jessica

Behold: an adorable cupcake made of flowers and fruit!

I’d always been super wary of lavender in dessert or food in general. I certainly never tasted anything with lavender it in when I was young. And then as I got older and discovered that food could be flavored with that lovely purple thing, I was pretty darn shocked. I think that I was always afraid that my food would end up tasting like flowers? Shows what I know.

Lemon Cupcakes with Lavender Frosting

But! Two very distinct things changed my mind. Big time.

The first: a candle. Yes. A freaking candle. A few years ago, I worked at a candle store (I’m not a crazy cat lady, I’m a crazy candle lady) and one of my favorite scents was lavender vanilla. Seriously, it smelled like an ice cream shop. I don’t know how. It was so warm and inviting and sweet, but not headache-inducing sweet. It made me want to put lavender in some sort of delicious vanilla-infused dessert and consume it immediately.

Lemon Cupcakes with Lavender Frosting

But that didn’t happen. I was still a bit too freaked out, wasn’t confident in my own cooking or baking yet, and decided I’d get my fill of delicious lavender things by … well, by buying and burning all the lavender vanilla candles. Let’s just say that I’m still getting through the hoard.

Lemon Cupcakes with Lavender Frosting

Then. The magic moment. I watched what I can only describe as one of the most wonderful movies in the history of feel-good funny movies: It’s Complicated. And my spirit animal, Meryl Streep, made lavender honey ice cream in the middle of the night when she couldn’t sleep. And darnit, if Meryl (er, her character) was going to make lavender ice cream, then I was going to make lavender ice cream!

So I did. And I have never, ever looked back. Ever.

Lemon Cupcakes with Lavender Frosting

I’ve done the ice cream thing. I even made a lavender vanilla popcorn (candle-inspired, obvi) and I’ve done doughnuts, too. I’ve even done a lavender cocktail. But frosting for bright and citrusy cupcakes? Sounded like the best ever.

Lemon Cupcakes with Lavender Frosting

There a few ways to do this whole lavender thing. First, there is lavender extract. That makes things simple! Second, there is dried culinary lavender. This is what I use most often. I find it brings authentic lavender flavor to food. You can easily infuse milk and cream with culinary lavender but you can also just chop it up and throw it in the food.

Beware though: you only need a teeny bit or else your food WILL taste like flowers. Sort of.

Lemon Cupcakes with Lavender Frosting

Oddly enough, I also had a lemon lavender candle back in the day. This combo wasn’t inspired by that (surprisingly), but it works. Both the cake and frosting are light with just a hint of flavor. I almost like to think of it as vanilla cake with a hint of lemon and vanilla frosting with a hint of lavender. Adorable and cute to serve, delicious to eat, pretty on the eyes. If you have some living lavender around, throw it on top! Be all fancy and stuff.

Lemon Cupcakes with Lavender Frosting


26 Sep 15:43

How to Assemble the Perfect Fall Cheese Board by Gaby

by Gaby

It’s not a party unless there’s a cheese board involved! This season, I’m pulling out all the stops and breaking it down so we can all make the perfect fall cheese board.

While cheese is the most important part of all this, let’s start with all the other festive things that we need before assembling.

How to Assemble the Perfect Fall Cheese Board

Honey. I love to grab a chunk of honeycomb from my market. It pairs well with so many different cheeses—-especially goat cheese!

Fresh fruit. This time of year I like to mix some kind of grapes with fresh figs. It feels very harvest-ish to me, and that’s exactly what fall is all about!

Nuts. You can pick and choose based on your personal preference, but if you’re like me, you’ll add some Marcona almonds and candied walnuts to the cheese board. The almonds are savory and delicious and the walnuts have a little bit of sweetness to them from the candying process. They are a match made in cheese board heaven.

Olives. Because we need a little something briny. Castelvetrano olives are my olive of choice.

And finally, bread sticks and crackers. Grab a few different shapes, flavors and sizes to give the board some personality.

Okay, let’s get into the cheese!

How to Assemble the Perfect Fall Cheese Board

Aged cheese. I love an aged white cheddar. The little crystals that develop within the cheese during the aging process give it a little bit of a crunch, which perfectly complements what we have next!

How to Assemble the Perfect Fall Cheese Board

Soft cheese. I like goat cheese for this. For the one pictured above, I just rolled it in some herbes de Provence and it was ready to go. This one is what you should absolutely try with the honey. It’s a game-changer!

How to Assemble the Perfect Fall Cheese Board

Blue cheese. Any blue will work. I love something that’s a bit more mild and not completely overwhelming, since some people are opposed to blues. I always ask my cheesemonger what low intensity blues they have in stock, and more times than not, it goes over great with my guests. And if not, more for me!

How to Assemble the Perfect Fall Cheese Board

Firm cheese. Like a Mimolette. I used this one for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it’s freaking delicious. Second, it’s orange and I like to give the cheese board some color, since most cheese is white. And third, it’s a little bit sweet and a little bit nutty, and if you have any leftovers, it’s delicious when tossed with some pasta.

How to Assemble the Perfect Fall Cheese Board

Now all that’s left is assembly! Grab a big board and then start arranging. I like to keep things looking bountiful, so I’m all about presentation. Place the cheeses down first and then throw everything else around them. Things can hang off the board, they can be tucked into each other, you can add some of the fresh fruit when you need a colorful moment, and go to town. Voila! The perfect cheese board ready for all your fall entertaining!


06 Oct 09:00

Apple Spiced Pancakes by Dara

by Dara

Apple pancakes mmmmmmm!

Weekends are for coffee on the couch, or outside on our comfy patio chairs in the summertime, and lazy breakfasts. Often my kids make themselves egg sandwiches on the weekend, complete with melted cheese and a side of fruit. However, if I give them the choice, they request pancakes or waffles in a heartbeat. For that matter, they would choose pancakes and waffles for dinner, too. I revel in the fact that I turn into “the best mum ever” when I make the easiest things for dinner!

As summer turns to fall, we start hoarding and eating apples as though they’re going out of style. Apples with peanut butter, apples in muffins and baked apples all grace our table. Last fall we discovered that grated apples make a wonderful addition to pancakes, and blend perfectly with a cinnamon and ground ginger-spiked batter. If you have a nut-free household, just leave out the pecans. I promise that these pancakes will win over every member of the family.

Here’s how to make them!

Apple Spice Pancakes

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt. I used whole wheat pastry flour because I like my breakfasts to be fiber-packed (stops me from snacking on chips before lunchtime!), but all-purpose flour would work just as well.

Apple Spice Pancakes

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs.

Apple Spice Pancakes

Add the maple syrup and milk, and give the whole thing a good whisk. Nonfat milk is what I typically use, but any type of milk will do the trick.

Apple Spice Pancakes

Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture, and stir everything together.

Apple Spice Pancakes

Core a couple of apples (I used Gala) and grate them on the big holes of a box grater. Stir the grated apples and some chopped pecans into the batter.

Heat a cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat, and lightly coat with cooking spray (for the cast iron skillet only). If you have an electric griddle, set it to 375ºF. Any of these will work, but I can never resist the beautiful pattern and texture produced by the cast iron pan.

Apple Spice Pancakes

Using a ¼ cup measuring cup, scoop the batter into the skillet, working with a few pancakes at a time. When the pancakes start to bubble on the surface, flip the pancakes and cook until cooked through.

Repeat with the remaining pancake batter, keeping the cooked pancakes warm in the oven or serving them as you go. My family loves their pancakes fresh out of the pan, so we keep a constant cook-and-eat rotation going. That’s what happens with growing boys in the house!

Apple Spice Pancakes

Serve the pancakes with maple syrup and fresh fruits or nuts. These are perfect for weekend brunch, but the leftover batter is great to have on hand for quick and easy weekday breakfasts!


14 Oct 13:15

At Home With Kimi Encarnacion

by A Beautiful Mess

LOVE the colors of this home, especially the kitchen! Feels modern but also 50s retro.

At Home with Kimi EncarnacionCacti! At home with Kimi EncarnacionToday we are super excited to share Kimi Encarnacion's amazing home with you guys! We found Kimi on Instagram and were instantly obsessed with her space. It's SO fun and colorful, and a vintage-lovers dream! Her personality really shines through. Ready to see more?

Heck yeah! At Home with Kimi EncarnacionFun collectibles via At Home with Kimi Encarnacion"We lucked out when we found this little stucco beauty in San Clemente, CA. You can see the ocean out the front windows. It's pretty sweet. It was in original condition and just minutes from our favorite surf break. I knew it was our house before we walked through the front door. We weren't looking for an investment, we wanted a place we could live in forever. We got it from the original owners who came from Chicago to live the California dream in 1965 and spent the rest of their lives here. We got to keep a lot of their furniture and kitchen items. They must have thought the world of this place cuz you can still feel the love within these walls. 

Pink couch via At Home with Kimi EncarnacionThis chair! At Home with Kimi EncarnacionLiving room via At Home with Kimi Encarnacion"Everything in the house is vintage. Well, except for the sofas.  I had awesome 1950s couches for years that got voted out of the house by my menfolk due to comfort issues. You have to understand, my guys never speak up like that about any of my crazy ideas, so I finally gave in. Ended up being a huge win win! We had the pink and green couches custom made, patterned after classic styles, only made bigger and way more comfy. I love how they turned out. 

Kimi Encarnacion"I collected furniture and tchotchke for years waiting for the day I could turn it all loose in my very own home. It's all junk! Stuff people throw out that I happen to find. I've had a weekly habit of combing thrift shops since I was in high school, so I got in on the glory days of thrifting. Sometimes people just show up with the coolest stuff saying how I'm the only one they know who would appreciate it. The brown plycraft style chair in the front room was from a yard sale. It wasn't even for sale. I just saw it and made an offer. It belonged to the woman's grandma. It came with her from Sweden to the US and stayed with her till she passed away. I also have a favorite junk shop that is stuffed to the ceiling with furniture. They buy up estates, and I have found some awesome stuff there. It's just a matter of looking, really. If you have a strong sense of personal style, it's not hard to keep your eyes open for the best goodies.  

Red and green! At Home with Kimi EncarnacionLove this kitchen! At Home with Kimi EncarnacionLove this wall via At Home with Kimi EncarnacionKitchen cabinets via At Home with Kimi Encarnacion
"I have a big thing for kitschy oriental decor, gnomes, pixies and Christmas stuff. I'm always changing or adding something to the mix. Each time I bring a new piece into the place, it causes this decorating domino effect that ripples thru the entire house. My family says they can never find things. They go to sit in a chair and it's gone! I love change, but I won't bring just anything in. I have to absolutely love it. It has to feel really good. 

Kimi Encarnacion painted floor DIY"About that kitchen floor. The house came with it's original linoleum floors. They looked kind of like yellow spam with lot's of stains and fading. I ended up painting them instead of replacing them. It was way cheaper, plus I'm a small menu kinda girl and floor options tend to blow my mind. And there's that thing how I like everything done as soon as I think of it. I lightly sanded and primed them first. Next, I laid down two coats of flat interior wall paint. Then I filled a spray bottle with watered-down paint and adjusted the nozzle til the paint landed on the floor just right. It's kind of a process. You start in one corner and work your way across. After it's good and dry, top with three coats of water-based polyurethane. This is key and you have to do all three to get it to cover evenly. These floors wear great. I just redid the kitchen after about 8 years of use.

Green bedroom via At Home with Kimi EncarnacionFun vintage via At Home with Kimi EncarnacionWall decor via At Home with Kimi Encarnacion"I'm a total junkie for the way color looks against color. I think all color goes together. For me it's a matter of putting together the right lightness and brightness, using the properties of color to mix and match rather than following color rules. I got on a green and red kick early in life that hasn't seemed to fade. Big, bold color doesn't scare me at all. I've since added gold, peacock blue, a little orange and a lot of pink to my beloved red and green and it is totally working for me. I've only had the white walls in the front of the house for a few months. The airy feel they have in the daylight and the way the colors pop is fantastic. I'm not crazy at all about the way it looks at night though. While I am digging it for now, I can't promise it will last. I'm a color junkie at heart.

Red floor via At Home with Kimi EncarnacionBathroom decor via At Home with Kimi Encarnacion"I won't even begin to pick a favorite room. I love it all. The place is like a time warp. Friends say they get sucked in and can't leave. There's almost always music of some kind. I think there's a guitar in every room and we have big speakers set up in the front and back so you never miss out on the tunes. We've raised our boys here. It's the only house they've ever known. I guess we were serious when we said we wanted a place we could live in forever. This is home."

Thank you so much, Kimi! You can find more of Kimi via Honey of California and on Instagram. xo.

Credits// Author and Photography: Kimi Encarnacion.

13 Oct 13:18

Wooden Box Hanging Planter DIY

by A Beautiful Mess

Make a cute hanging planter from a round wooden box! (click through for tutorial)     I've been trying to think of more ways to add greenery to our new house, and while I love how my hanging gold bowl planters turned out, I needed something that could work on a smaller scale in our dining room area. I was playing around with making holders out of clay, but then I saw these little round wooden jewelry boxes and thought they would be just the right look once they were cut in half. Projects like these are the reason I love having a jig saw—they are super inexpensive and easy to use, but a whole new world of possibilities is opened to you when you have one. Don't be intimidated by the word "saw" because you can totally use this one!

Make a cute hanging planter from a round wooden box! (click through for tutorial)Supplies:
-small wooden jewelry boxes with removable lids
-jig saw
-balsa wood
-1/2" cup hooks
-small gold chain (check chain section of hardware store)
-waterproof caulk and sealer (optional)

Make a cute hanging planter from a round wooden box! (click through for tutorial) Use a small screwdriver to remove the lid from the box. Mark down the center of the bottom and sides of the box to divide the box in half. Use your jig saw to cut the box down the line into two equal halves (go down one side, across the bottom and up the other side).

Make a cute hanging planter from a round wooden box! (click through for tutorial)  Trace the open side of the box onto your balsa wood and cut out a back panel to close in your half box. Use glue to secure the balsa wood to the box and allow the glue to fully dry.

Make a cute hanging planter from a round wooden box! (click through for tutorial)    Paint the outside and top lip of the planter with paint. When the paint is dry, you can waterproof the inside of your planter if you plan on using live plants on your wall. I would seal the inside seams with a waterproof caulk and then spray the inside wood with a waterproof sealer. These are small plants in small containers, so they shouldn't need that much water at one time, but it's good to waterproof them to protect your wall and floor. I have been finding some really good faux succulents at craft stores lately, so I decided to put in real dirt but fake plants. The dirt totally helps trick you into thinking they are real, but you never have to remember to water them—WIN!

Once your planters are painted and sealed, screw in two cup hooks into the top back corners of the planter, and cut your chain to size with chain cutters.

Make a cute hanging planter from a round wooden box! (click through for tutorial)   I made a mockup with tape so I could see where I wanted the planters hung and how far down they should go. I would recommend doing something like this if you are hanging multiples in a group.

Make a cute hanging planter from a round wooden box! (click through for tutorial)        Add your plants into your mini wall planters, and you're ready to hang those babies!

Make a cute hanging planter from a round wooden box! (click through for tutorial)      Make a cute hanging planter from a round wooden box! (click through for tutorial)      Make a cute hanging planter from a round wooden box! (click through for tutorial)      I mean, would you have ever guessed that those planters used to be wooden jewelry boxes?? I love how they look grouped together in staggered lengths, but this would also be a great idea as singles to flank both sides of an entryway mirror or in a grouping with some colorful prints as well. You can also apply the same idea to larger boxes if you want a bigger wall planter. So don't be afraid to play with different shaped boxes if you find some you like. Just another DIY reminder to always "think outside the box"!! ;) xo. Laura

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

22 Sep 13:15

Customize Your Closet Doors With Trim!

by A Beautiful Mess

This would look so good in our house

Customize your closet doors with trim-so pretty! (click through for tutorial)      So, our new bedroom has a bit of a problem. It's a fine room. It's just, well, boring. It doesn't have giant picturesque windows or beams in the ceiling or a fireplace or well, much of anything that can give a room some personality. It's kind of just four walls and a few small windows that are weirdly high in the style of a midcentury modern house. That being said, I've made it my mission to add things into the room that give it some more personality, and I thought that customizing the double closet doors would be a great way to do that. I love all the trimmed closets and doors in Parisian apartments that make the room look so chic and expensive. So I thought it would be fun to add some trim details to our closet and bring a little of that vibe to the space.

Customize your closet doors with trim-so pretty! (click through for tutorial)          Customize your closet doors with trim-so pretty! (click through for tutorial)    Since we had metal doors on the closets, I had to first swap them out with flat front wooden doors the same size so I could build the trim on top of the doors. I couldn't find a link to the doors I bought, but I got them from Lowes so I would try your local home improvement place or door store if you need flat front doors. Each door will probably be installed a little differently, so just follow the directions for the doors you get.

Customize your closet doors with trim-so pretty! (click through for tutorial)   Once those were in, I used a tape about the same width as my trim pieces to decide what type of trim pattern I wanted to do. Since this is my first go at adding trim to doors like this and the trim I picked is already a pattern, I thought I would keep the design fairly simple. Once I had the tape estimate where I wanted it, I used a miter power saw to cut all the pieces to the right length. You can cut and fit trim pieces together at a 45 degree angle, but since I had the patterned trim with the squares, it seemed better to cut the ends off straight instead since it didn't seem like the pattern would line up as well on an angle. Trim wood can be pretty easy to cut by hand as well (especially the pieces that are made of softer wood like mine were). So you can also just use a hand saw and a miter box if you don't have a power saw. For this design I ended up using about 2 8' trim strips per door panel.

Customize your closet doors with trim-so pretty! (click through for tutorial)  Once I had the pieces cut, I used masking tape to hold each piece in place so I could make sure they all fit and so I could center the design. Once I was happy with it, I removed the tape on one piece at a time, used wood glue on the back of each strip, and nailed the trim in place with very small nails. It takes a bit of time to do all that. But're making your doors awesome, so quit whining and get back to work!

SIDE NOTE: Make sure to check and see if your doors fully open once you tape your trim pieces in place. It may sound like a no-brainer, buuuuut I totally forgot to do that, nailed and glued the whole door set in place, and then couldn't open the doors the whole way because the trim was in the way. D'oh! I had to rip off all the trim pieces, switch the door hardware the opposite way so the bad side was on the back, make a few cuts, and redo the whole thing on the other side. No fun at all!!!

Once the glue has dried, you can fill any gaps where the trim pieces come together with wood filler and lightly sand those parts smooth. I really wouldn't skip this step if you can. It helps make the separate pieces all look like one unit. If you get really fancy, you can even fill gaps between the crease where the trim hits the door front (kind of like you would with trim around doors or windows and the wall). 

Customize your closet doors with trim-so pretty! (click through for tutorial) Once your wood is looking good, pull the doors off and use a semi-gloss paint to paint the doors (I chose Beach Blanket by Valspar). Then put your doors back on when dry. I would suggest using painter's tape over the hardware where the doors come together when you paint so the metal doesn't stick together once you close the doors.

Customize your closet doors with trim-so pretty! (click through for tutorial)Drill a hole and install a door pull if there isn't one already on your doors, and your closet is back in business!

Customize your closet doors with trim-so pretty! (click through for tutorial)         Customize your closet doors with trim-so pretty! (click through for tutorial)       I. Love. These. DOORS! They add SO much to the room and look so custom compared to the basic doors that were there before. The trim looks sophisticated, but the color adds a pop of fun that modernizes a classic idea. The first few days of waking up to the new minty doors made me so happy. So even though it was a bit tedious of a project (especially with my big, stupid mistake), it was totally worth it, and I'm so happy with how they turned out. Looks like a good start to de-borifying our room if you ask me! xo. Laura

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

19 Sep 17:42

Pepperoni Pizza Pull-Apart Bread by Joanne

by Joanne

I will eat this WHOLE THING myself. Let's make it.

Every year I get tremendously excited for football season to come around. Not actually because of the football, but because of the football food! It’s funny how football has become so positively associated in my brain solely because of the food. I have absolutely no idea what’s going on in that game.

Pepperoni Pizza Pullapart Bread

This Pepperoni Pizza Pull-Apart Bread is one of my favorite game day recipes. I mean, a cast iron skillet filled with little knots of fluffy pizza dough coated in herbs, cheese, and spicy pepperoni? Such things will always excite me. And it’s so easy to make!

Pepperoni Pizza Pullapart Bread

To get started, combine warm water, yeast, and a tiny bit of sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let it sit for 10 minutes until foamy. When the mixture gets foamy, it means the yeast is alive and well! Let’s proceed.

Pepperoni Pizza Pullapart Bread

Add bread flour, salt, and olive oil to the wet ingredients.

Pepperoni Pizza Pullapart Bread

Use the dough hook to stir the ingredients together until roughly combined.

Pepperoni Pizza Pullapart Bread

Then it’s time to attach the bowl to the mixer and knead with the dough hook for about 10 minutes, until smooth.

Pepperoni Pizza Pullapart Bread

Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for about an hour. It will have doubled in size, like this.

Pepperoni Pizza Pullapart Bread

And you’ll see stretchy, webby dough strands all over the sides of the bowl.

Pepperoni Pizza Pullapart Bread

Roll the dough into a rectangle and divide it into 16 strips.

Pepperoni Pizza Pullapart Bread

Now switch gears and cut some pepperoni slices into small triangles.

Pepperoni Pizza Pullapart Bread

Fry the pepperoni for a couple of minutes until crispy, then add minced garlic and red pepper flakes.

Pepperoni Pizza Pullapart Bread

Toss that around for a minute, then add fresh parsley and turn off the heat.

Pepperoni Pizza Pullapart Bread

Pour the pepperoni mixture into a bowl and combine with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

Pepperoni Pizza Pullapart Bread

Take the 16 dough strips and tie them into knots. Then add them into the pepperoni bowl.

Pepperoni Pizza Pullapart Bread

Give this all a toss until the knots are coated in the cheesy pepperoni goodness.

Pepperoni Pizza Pullapart Bread

Pour everything into a 12-inch cast iron skillet. It will look like there aren’t enough knots to make the skillet full and happy, but don’t worry.

Pepperoni Pizza Pullapart Bread

After another rise, it will look like this. Now the pizza bread is ready for a hot oven, where the dough will puff up and brown.

Pepperoni Pizza Pullapart Bread

Serve the bread warm, and enjoy its fluffy lightness.

Pepperoni Pizza Pullapart Bread



15 Sep 19:00

Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich by Julie

by Julie

Why am I calling these ultimate? First off, I love grilled cheese sandwiches. There are endless combinations, and honestly, since I love cheese, bread, and butter, I don’t think I’ve ever met a grilled cheese sandwich I didn’t love.

I also LOVE making fried egg grilled cheese sandwiches, so I was thinking of how to make an ultimate version. For starters, the egg yolk must be runny. But that’s my preference. You could, of course, customize this part if you prefer scrambled eggs or a completely cooked yolk.

The other components that make this an ultimate sandwich? Bacon and avocado! I love avocado in sandwiches, and bacon, well, who can say no to bacon!

Ultimate Grilled Cheese

To make this sandwich, start by cooking the bacon. I like to cut the pieces in half before cooking. After they finish cooking, place them on a paper-towel-lined plate to allow the grease to drain off until the bacon is cool enough to handle.

Ultimate Grilled Cheese

Next, fry the egg. I have these little mini cast iron skillets that are perfect for frying eggs. Make sure your skillet is well seasoned.

To fry the egg, add butter and let it melt.

Ultimate Grilled Cheese

Add the egg and season with salt and pepper. I cook my eggs for two minutes.

Ultimate Grilled Cheese

Flip and cook for another 45 seconds.

Ultimate Grilled Cheese

Prep the remaining ingredients: grate some sharp cheddar cheese, spread butter on the bread, and slice the avocado.

Ultimate Grilled Cheese

Now it’s time to stack! Turn the heat to medium. Take one slice of bread and put it on the skillet, buttered side down. (By the way, I like to use a nonstick skillet for making grilled cheese. You can use the same skillet you cooked the bacon in, just wipe the pan dry first.)

Add most of the cheddar cheese on top of the bread.

Ultimate Grilled Cheese

Then add the bacon. Mmm, bacon.

Ultimate Grilled Cheese

I like to add cheese on both sides of the bacon so that when it melts, it acts as the creamy delicious glue that holds the grilled cheese sandwich together.

Ultimate Grilled Cheese

Now it’s time to add the rest of the goodies! Add the fried egg on top.

Ultimate Grilled Cheese

The sliced avocado …

Ultimate Grilled Cheese

And then the Muenster cheese. (Muenster cheese rules!)

Ultimate Grilled Cheese

Top with the remaining slice of bread, buttered side up. Cook for 5 minutes, then gently flatten the sandwich. Carefully flip and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, until the other side is nicely toasted as well.

Ultimate Grilled Cheese

A runny yolk, the combination of melted cheddar and Muenster cheese, warm avocado, crispy bacon … Oh yes, this is my ultimate grilled cheese sandwich!

Ultimate Grilled Cheese

What about you? What would you put in your ultimate grilled cheese sandwich?


11 Sep 09:00

Brunch Nachos

by Gaby


Where do I even begin?

I’m an Arizona girl turned California girl, and I believe nachos are a very important part of life. They’re quite versatile, too. You can whip them up at a moment’s notice, and they make particularly delicious lunches and dinners. But have you guys ever had BRUNCH NACHOS? I know, you’re welcome.

Brunch Nachos

My girlfriends and I were off on a weekend getaway in Palm Springs, and our last morning there, we had tons of leftovers for nachos and a dozen eggs. I decided we couldn’t waste any food and we needed to use everything up before packing up the car and heading back to Los Angeles. So brunch nachos were born.

Brunch Nachos

These have everything you put in your regular nachos, with softly scrambled eggs on top. You could easily add a fried egg or two, or perhaps poached eggs, but after making this countless times since Palm Springs, I’ve decided that scrambled is the way I like to go here.

Brunch Nachos

Load them up like the nacho artist you are, and add on different kinds of cheese, beans, corn and eggs. Then pop the whole thing into the oven until the cheese melts. Once the cheese is perfectly melted, quickly top with guacamole, salsa and sour cream.

Brunch Nachos

Then dig in! They are messy, fun to share, and absolutely perfect. You guys won’t be disappointed!


14 Sep 19:00

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

by Erica

This pizza looks meh but I LOVE the use of parchment! DUH!

Some food marriages are a match made in heaven: they were just meant to be. Like cheesecake ice cream, or cronuts, or French onion soup grilled cheese. Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza definitely has a place on that list.

But I wasn’t always so sure it should be. The first time I heard of such a thing, I thought, “How could this possibly be good? Pickles on pizza?!” The first few bites changed my mind. It was amazing how much it actually tasted like a real cheeseburger! It quickly became one of my favorite pizza flavors.

So of course, I wanted to try my hand at making it at home. I threw what ingredients I had on hand onto a thin-crust dough and shoved it into the oven. To my surprise, it was excellent. In fact, my husband said it was even better than our favorite pizza-chain one.

Let me show you the simple steps to make it for yourself!

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

First, you’ll want to get your pizza dough going. I used a thin-crust recipe, but if you prefer a thicker crust, go with that!

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

While the dough is rising, fry some ground beef with onions.

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

Season with salt and ground black pepper. Cook a few slices of bacon as well.

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

About 20 minutes before the dough is done rising, preheat your oven to 450ºF (230ºC). Put a pizza stone in to preheat.

Once the dough has doubled, it’s time to get busy!

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

I like to roll my dough out on a piece of parchment paper—it makes it SO much easier to transfer the pizza to the stone in the oven. I’ve had my fair share of pizza spills. Not fun.

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

Next, I like to spread some butter all over the crust, right out to the edge. This accomplishes two things: it acts as a bit of a barrier so the sauce doesn’t make the crust soggy, and it adds some awesome flavor. You could also use the bacon grease from cooking the bacon instead of butter. That’s what I’m going to do next time, if I remember.

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

Now, squirt some ketchup all over the crust and spread it out with the back of a spoon. Because cheeseburgers and ketchup belong together.

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

Add cheddar cheese. LOTS of cheddar cheese.

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

Sprinkle the ground beef and onion mixture on top.

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

Add 2-3 slices of torn or chopped bacon.

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

Now the best part: pickles! I think this is what really makes this pizza taste like a cheeseburger. I like to use the pre-sliced ones, but you can always slice up whole ones if that’s all you have on hand.

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

Drizzle some mustard on top …

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

And finish it off with an extra squeeze of ketchup.

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

Slide the whole thing onto the pre-heated pizza stone. I find it’s easiest to put the pizza on a wooden cutting board or pizza peel before attempting the big transfer.

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

Bake for about 8–10 minutes, or until the crust is dark golden brown all the way across the bottom (use a metal spatula to lift up the crust and check), and the cheese is melty.

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

Allow to cool a bit, then slice it up using your favorite pizza cutting tool. I like to use a big knife.

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

You guys, you have no idea how difficult it was to take these photos. I just about gave in and gobbled down a slice. It smelled fabulous. I was in agony. I think this is the best pizza I’ve ever made.

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

Notes and tips:

1. I think that freshly grated cheese is much better than the pre-shredded bags you buy at the store. It just melts better in my opinion. You can quickly shred a lot of cheese using a food processor. Of course, the pre-shredded will work in a pinch.

2. I like my pizza crust on the sweet side, so I add a bit of extra sugar to the dough recipe. It helps to balance out the salty bacon and pickles.

3. Don’t cook your bacon too long because (of course) it cooks longer in the oven. Unless you like your bacon super crispy!

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

Also, I’m curious: What do you use to cut your pizza? Scissors? A knife? A pizza wheel? Ulu? Let me know in the comments!


16 Sep 09:00

End-of-Summer Quinoa Salad by Brenda

by Brenda

Every time I bring out the jar of sweet curry from the spice drawer, its warm, intoxicating scent draws little noses from around the house straight to the kitchen. And I don’t blame them. Curry is one of my favorites, too. Its flavor is full of depth from a variety of ingredients, and its scent is almost exotic. I really don’t know how anyone can resist it.

This End of Summer Quinoa Salad with Sweet Curry Vinaigrette is loaded with veggies, fresh from the garden’s harvest. And with a sweet curry vinaigrette, it’s a salad recipe that’s sure to return to your menu planning again and again.

End of Summer Quinoa Salad with Sweet Curry Vinaigrette

I don’t know about you, but it took me more than a few tries to officially hop on board the quinoa bandwagon. But then it finally clicked. The secret formula was in the use of a vinaigrette.

End of Summer Quinoa Salad with Sweet Curry Vinaigrette

I tend to like a variety of textures in my meals, and have always been drawn to the earthiness of grains and seeds. So when quinoa came fully on the scene a number of years ago, it felt like it would be a natural fit for my taste buds. I found myself liking quinoa dishes I’d order at restaurants, but I never really loved it when I made it at home myself.

Until I discovered the magic of folding a flavorful vinaigrette into the quinoa, that is.

A vinaigrette works like magic, soaking into the little nuggets of quinoa, softening it up a bit and infusing it with flavor. And the vinaigrette in this salad is particularly lovely. It’s sweet from honey, tangy from white balsamic vinegar, and warmed by oh-so-wonderful curry. I’ve found myself doubling this portion of the recipe, just to have extra to drizzle over fresh greens for lunch salads throughout the week ahead.

End of Summer Quinoa Salad with Sweet Curry Vinaigrette

Our garden isn’t a large one, mostly consisting of raspberries, strawberries, and tomatoes. This year we added to the mix some snap peas, bell peppers, and for the first time ever, a ground cherry plant (so fun and delicious!). And we always have a nice selection of fresh herbs. I don’t want to know a life without fresh herbs growing in my backyard!

I’ve been making this salad with tomatoes from our garden, yellow squash given to me by friends from church, and sweet corn and peppers from local vendors and farmers markets. This time of year is simply meant for indulging in all the glory from the garden.

End of Summer Quinoa Salad with Sweet Curry Vinaigrette

There’s a bonus with this quinoa salad, too, as it keeps very well for a few days in the refrigerator. I eat it morning, noon, and night. It’s awesome for breakfast with a couple of eggs, tossed with some fresh arugula for a lunch salad, or as a side dish for evening dinner. Bright and beautiful, and super tasty to boot.


22 Sep 09:00

Tomato Ginger Jam by Heather

by Heather

I have had a long and complicated relationship with tomatoes. Let me tell you the story.

I used to hate tomatoes. I just couldn’t do it. Perhaps it was something about those weird, squishy seeds. I remember being very young and watching my baby brother Jonny out in my mother’s vegetable garden. He had a halo of golden curls and chubby cheeks, and everyone would coo over him and fawn over what a good eater he was because he had a mouthful of cherry tomatoes, juice oozing over his chubby little arms as he reached for even more tomatoes. I was so jealous of the way he would win praises just for eating those tomatoes.

Tomato Ginger Jam

Jonny would also win dessert for his tomato-eating prowess. My aunt had a very strict clean-your-plate rule at her house, and while I tried my best with everything else, I just couldn’t get those last few tomatoes down. They were swimming in the bottom of my salad and sadly, that’s where they stayed. Alas, I still remember the gingerbread man I didn’t get.

Then there was that time my grandparents tried to get me to eat tomatoes. My dad’s parents lived right outside Chicago and the hot midwestern summers blessed them with a bountiful vegetable garden. Grampy just couldn’t believe he had a 10-year-old granddaughter who didn’t eat tomatoes. His solution: a fresh garden tomato slathered in mayonnaise. He insisted that I would love it. I don’t know whether I was too scared to tell him that the only thing I hated more than tomatoes was mayonnaise (it’s a well-documented fact) or if I simply hoped against hope that he might be right—maybe two wrongs would suddenly make a glorious right and I would love them both! Well, to his deep shock and horror and to my great disappointment, the mayo-slathered tomato wedge found itself making a very quick trip from my mouth to his spotless linoleum floor. (I know it sounds like I need therapy for my deep emotional tomato-based scars, but actually, that last story made me laugh out loud.)

Tomato Ginger Jam

There is, however, a happy ending to this saga. I did eventually learn to like tomatoes in high school, spurred by a bit of tentative salsa-dipping. You know, where you just get the liquid on the chip? With none of the chunky pieces? From there, I graduated to the real tomato stuff after discovering bruschetta. I think all the balsamic vinegar and fresh basil did it for me.

And now, as an adult, I absolutely LOVE tomatoes! I can finally appreciate their delicate sweetness and yes, even those juicy little bursts of seeds! I grow them in massive quantities in my own summer vegetable garden, and have one child who will eat them, and one who would rather eat anything else. (There’s hope for that one yet. I’m sure of it.)

Tomato Ginger Jam

One of the reasons I love this tomato ginger jam is that it’s sweet, a little spicy and sour, with a deeply concentrated tomato flavor. I love to serve it on a cheese platter (it’s best with goat cheese), but it would also be delicious with grilled fish or on a sandwich as a spread. This recipe also does well doubled, quadrupled, etc. And if I knew anything about canning (it’s on my bucket list), you can be sure I’d be canning an extra supply.


09 Sep 18:58

Baked Cheesy Apple Sandwiches

by A Beautiful Mess

Baked Apple and Cheese SandwichesI love a good baked sandwich this time of year. It's a great compliment to a salad or small bowl of soup. This is one of my favorites. It's sort of a vegetarian twist on the classic croque monsieur. I guess you could call this a croque pomme et fromage, maybe? It's a crispy apple and cheese sandwich. If any of our French speaking readers want to weigh in on this, feel free! 

Baked Apple and Cheese Sandwiches  Whatever you call it, this sandwich has it all: crispy apples paired with melted cheese all baked together on sourdough bread with pesto and spinach. The following recipe allows you to make three or four sandwiches at once, but if you are making less, just cut back on the amount of sauce (béchamel) you make at once.

How to make a baked apple and cheese sandwichBaked Cheesy Apple Sandwiches, makes four.

8 slices of sourdough bread
8 tablespoons of butter, divided
2 tablespoons pesto (store bought or homemade
1-2 apples (depending on size)
8 slices of provolone cheese
2 big handfuls of spinach
3 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup milk
salt + pepper
1-2 teaspoons chopped parsley for garnish, optional

First, I just assemble the sandwiches so they are ready once my sauce is done.

Best baked veggie sandwichMelt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a small bowl or dish. Brush onto the outside of two slices of bread. Assemble the sandwiches so each one has pesto, thinly sliced apple (I like to use a mandoline for this), spinach and a slice of provolone. 

Next, make your sauce by melting the remaining 5 tablespoons of butter in a small pot over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until a thick paste forms. Then whisk in the milk and season with a little salt and pepper. After a minute or so, it will begin to thicken into a gravy. Immediately remove from the heat and pour the sauce over the top of each sandwich. Add another slice of provolone cheese, and then bake the sandwiches under the broiler until bubbly and well toasted. You may need to rotate the pan so each sandwich gets toasted evenly, but just keep an eye on them so they don't burn.

Baked Apple and Cheese Sandwiches Top with a little chopped parsley and serve warm. You've gotta make these sometime this season, guys. They're seriously SO good. If you just can't get behind apples and cheese together, then you could change the apple out for sautéed mushrooms. Up to you. Enjoy! xo. Emma

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

06 Sep 14:20

DEAL: $750 worth of vintage vector graphics for $9

This week’s MightyDeal is $750 worth of vintage-style vector graphics – that’s 150 files across 880 MB – for a mere $9.

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The professional collection of vintage vector illustrations usually sells for $750, but for a limited time only, you can get all 150 vectors for $9. That’s a savings of 99% off the regular price!

Check out the deal here.

07 Sep 13:00

Creamy Double Potato Soup

by A Beautiful Mess

Creamy Double Potato Soup (via  I call this soup creamy because, well, it is, but it doesn't have any actual cream in it. It's got a silky smooth texture and a subtle taste of cheese, but it's still totally vegan-friendly. This is a super comforting soup that you can feel good about eating.

Creamy Double Potato Soup (via guess what else? I make this in my crockpot (also called a slow cooker). So you can throw this together in the morning, set the timer, and have soup ready within 5 minutes of arriving home after work or school later that day. It's like magic. ;)

How to make potato soup in the crockpotCreamy Double Potato Soup, serves 4-5. (or you can save some for another night and serve less)

2 russet potatoes
2 sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon chopped onion (much less than pictured above!)
8-10 baby carrots, or 2-3 regular (I always have baby ones around for snacking)
3 cloves of garlic
32 oz. vegetable stock
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
salt and pepper to taste

First I peeled and gave my potatoes a rough chop. I cut up the onion and minced the garlic. Then I added all that to my crockpot along with the vegetable stock. I set my timer to cook on low for 8 hours.

Easy crockpot soup recipesLater that day I came home and added the nutritional yeast and cayenne. I used an immersion blender to blend everything together right in my crockpot, and that's how I got that silky smooth texture. Then taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Most store bought stocks will vary a great deal in how much sodium they contain, so wait to season with more salt until you can taste the (almost) finished soup.

If you've never cooked with nutritional yeast before, I highly recommend you try it! It's got a cheesy taste to it. So it's a great way to add that flavor without adding any dairy. 

Creamy Double Potato Soup (via Serve with a few chopped green onions, bread or roasted chickpeas. Wear comfy socks and get your Netflix on because this is a sit down and enjoy yourself kind of dinner. :) If you don't consume all the soup in one day, you can freeze leftovers in ice cube trays and thaw the cubes in a pot when you want to eat it another night. Enjoy! xo. Emma

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

04 Sep 13:30

5 Things Holding You Back From Creating a Truly Great Home

by Adrienne Breaux

"Maybe you're busy at work. Or you'd rather just lay around. Or you think you can't do anything because you don't have a lot of money. Or you're not going to be here very long so why bother? Lack of effort — really trying to take the home you've got now and turning it into the home you want today — is a big road block on the road to creating a truly great home."

Want a truly great home? However you define a truly great home for you, there are a few things that can hold anybody back from achieving a great space that brings them peace, motivates them and is a place they love being in. Peruse this list to see if any of these items are keeping you from creating the kind of space you'd like to have.