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21 Apr 19:01

Ikea Restyle: Mid Century TV Stand

by A Beautiful Mess

Ikea Restyle! Make your tv stand more midcentury (click through for more)     If you ask me, technology is probably one of the hardest things to integrate into a thoughtful design. Things like TVs, speakers, DVD players... all that stuff that is necessary if you want to enjoy all that movies and Netflix have to offer, but they can easily cramp your design style and become a bit of an eyesore if you let them. Since we have been trying to keep our 60s ranch in the midcentury vein, I wanted to get a TV stand that would be sleek and modern but also have a bit of that classic vintage flair. Since I couldn't find exactly what I wanted,I decided to take a simple Ikea TV stand (the BESTÅ) and add a few tweaks to elevate the look and make it fit in more with our theme.

Ikea Restyle! Make your tv stand more midcentury (click through for more)                   You can see that it's a great simple shape, but it just needed a bit more personality for it to fit in with our quirky/fun theme. Vintage-inspired gold accents perhaps?!?

Ikea Restyle! Make your tv stand more midcentury (click through for more)
All I needed for this restyle was a drill, painter's tape, a ruler, some gold spray paint, these adorable brass starburst plates, and some beautiful brass knobs for the actual pulls.

Ikea Restyle! Make your tv stand more midcentury (click through for more) To find the middle of the drawers, I made a cross out of painter's tape on what looked like the middle, and then used the ruler and marker to mark where the middle actually was.

Ikea Restyle! Make your tv stand more midcentury (click through for more)  I then used the drill to drill a hole the size of the knob hardware screw into the drawer. I usually like to start with a smaller hole and then use bigger and bigger bits until I reach the desired size. Oh, and make sure to take anything out of the drawers first so you don't drill a hole into your Big Lebowski DVD. Very important.

Ikea Restyle! Make your tv stand more midcentury (click through for more)   Once I had the hole drilled, I put the hardware screw through the back of the hole, attached the starburst plate onto the front, and then screwed the knob on to secure the plate. You could also glue the plate onto the drawer, but if your hardware is tightened well enough, you don't really have to.

Ikea Restyle! Make your tv stand more midcentury (click through for more)       You can see that I also gave the legs a coat of gold spray paint before assembling the TV stand (much easier to do it before than after it's all put together!). Pretty easy, but it's a nice detail on the finished product.

Ikea Restyle! Make your tv stand more midcentury (click through for more)              Ikea Restyle! Make your tv stand more midcentury (click through for more)              Ikea Restyle! Make your tv stand more midcentury (click through for more)              Even though they were small and quick changes, I think the added hardware and gold legs give the stand a more unique look that blends in much better with the rest of the decor. The starburst is a classic midcentury shape and the brass coating makes it pop on the clean shiny white surface. Sometimes all you need is a small change to add that something special! xo. Laura

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

26 Apr 21:12

Kimchi Avocado Quesadilla

by Elise Bauer
Kimchi Avocado Quesadillas

What’s your go-to 15-minute make-it-from-what’s-in-the-fridge recipe? Mine is a quesadilla. Any kind of quesadilla. You’ll always find tortillas and cheese in my fridge. It’s my PB&J.

The great thing about quesadillas? They’re so easy to dress up! Whether it’s with chicken and apples, mushrooms, green chiles, or in this case, kimchi—spicy Korean pickled cabbage.

Continue reading "Kimchi Avocado Quesadilla" »

26 Apr 14:35

a new mattress from leesa.

by erin
Shh.listen

chapinnnnn this mattress is nicce

leesa mattress | reading my tea leaves


This post is sponsored by Leesa, a mattress company with the simple goal: “to help people sleep better”.

I try to shy away from hyperbole. So when I say that our recent mattress upgrade was the most significant change we’ve ever made to our home—ever—I hope you trust that I’m telling the truth.

After nearly ten years of sleeping together on a double mattress—and with the addition of a tiny human who very much enjoys snuggling between her two parents in the early morning—we were ready for a little more leg room. Arm room. Elbow room. Everything room.

Our decision to finally upgrade to a Queen came after our trip to Southern California in early March. Vacations have a way of making you look at your house differently, don’t they? It’s practically required that you sleep better on vacation, but when you have the distinct sense that the better sleep is thanks to your ability to roll over without getting jabbed in the ribcage, and then when it dawns on you that you don’t need to move to sunny southern California to sleep better, but you do need to improve your bed at home, you decide to make a change.leesa mattress | reading my tea leaves


And then, of course, the searching begins. It’s crazy out there in mattress-land. There are so many options and some of them sound stellar on paper but come with a price tag that’s out of reach, or they feel great, but are made from materials that make you cringe. Then there’s the idea that you’re supposed to be able to flop onto a mattress with a salesperson hovering above you and know that you’ve found the right fit for you. 

We’ve been on our Leesa mattress for over a month now and we’ve looked forward to climbing into bed every single night.  

Like other new disruptor mattress companies, Leesa is selling their mattresses direct-to-consumer in boxes that arrive on your doorstep. It’s a little trippy. The compressed mattresses only need to be unboxed and unfurled and they grow before your eyes.
Leesas
leesa mattress | reading my tea leaves are 10” hybrid foam mattresses made with 3 foam layers: A 2-inch top layer is perforated to keep you cool and provide cushiony bounce while two inches of memory foam make up the middle layer for what folks in the biz call “body contouring.” The mattress core is made from a 6-inch dense foam for durability and edge support.

I’ll admit I had some serious reservations about a foam mattress, but I did a little digging and learned that Leesa‘s doing a lot of things right. The mattresses are CertiPUR-US certified, which means they’re free of ozone depleters, PBDE flame retardants, mercury, lead, and other heavy metals. There’s no formaldehyde or phthalates. Instead of the chemical flame retardants—something I was particularly adamant about avoiding—the mattress is covered in a fabric sleeve that’s inherently flame resistant, not coated in toxins. And the mattresses have low-VOC emissions. (We didn’t experience any odor at all when we unfurled our mattress.) Added bonus: Every part of the Leesa is made in the USA.leesa mattress | reading my tea leaves

To put it bluntly: We’ve been resting easy. Really easy. Beyond the incredible added advantage of a larger bed, we’ve been just totally pleased with the whole experience. The mattress shipped quickly and was a breeze to set up. The memory foam means that we don’t get bounced around if one person or another shifts in their sleep. The trim, crisp lines and low-profile of the mattress just look better than our old one—and it can be used on a slatted or platform bed without a boxspring.

We’re especially excited for summertime because the Leesa sleeps really noticeably cooler than our old mattress. We actually started sleeping with an extra blanket on our bed because the difference in heat trapping meant we actually had the luxury of sleeping on the cool side for the first time in nearly ten years.

Matters of materials and sleep aside, Leesa’s social impact programs are also impressive. Leesa’s One-Ten Program donates one mattress for every ten that they sell. Since the program began in January 2015, more than 4,000 mattress have been donated to local partners working to find solutions for problems related to homelessness. Their One-Earth Program plants a tree for every single mattress sold. Leesa has partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation to plant 1 million trees by 2025.
leesa mattress | reading my tea leaves

If you’re interested in giving the Leesa mattress a try, it comes with a 100-day return policy so you can really make sure you’re getting a good night’s sleep. (And if at the end of 100 days, you’re not satisfied, the company will do their best to make sure that your mattress gets donated to an organization that can put it to use.) Best news: Use the code TEALEAVES to get $75 off your order.

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

11 Apr 11:30

baby proof: parenthood.

by erin

baby proof: parenthood | reading my tea leaves



I’m a mother, but more importantly, I’m a parent. And I think sometimes we forget to talk about parenthood.

If you’re into shaking up the way we talk about motherhood and fatherhood and parenthood, read on. If you’d rather a daily dose of roses, I don’t blame you. Here’s a lot of that.

To be clear: I don’t think it’s wrong to talk about motherhood. And the topic of balancing work and motherhood? I could talk about it forever. I wish people talked about it more. I just really wish that the conversation more often included both parents. I wish we didn’t still live in a culture that expects certain roles for women and men when those roles are so often fluid. Everyone’s motherhood looks a little different and everyone’s fatherhood looks a little different. But I think that motherhood and fatherhood don’t have to look so very different from each other. 

I guess what I’m trying to get at—and it feels practically sacrilege to say it—is that I don’t feel like my role as mother is significantly different from James’s role as father. We’re Faye’s parents. We’re here to nourish and teach and protect and buoy her. There are things that I’ve done that biology and circumstance mean that James hasn’t done. And yes, I treasure those things: Carrying my child, giving birth to her, nursing her for twenty blissful (and very long) months. But they are also almost besides the point. We all know that biology doesn’t make a mother anyway.

Some of the ways that our parenthood looks similar is deliberate. We’ve made choices that mean that James does things that fathers don’t always do: He woke up with me for almost every single nighttime feeding of her infancy, so that even in those early days I didn’t feel like I was in it by myself. James takes Faye to most of her doctor’s appointments. I put her to sleep at night for the first half of her little life; he’s put her to sleep at night for the second half. Nine mornings out of ten, James wakes up with her in the morning and makes her breakfast. (I watch Faye slurping up oatmeal from my perch in bed; perk number #1838 of life in a tiny apartment.) Once James is off to work, I take Faye to the park. We’ve divvied responsibilities up as well as we can. I signed us up for birth classes. James found Faye a pediatrician (and then another). But more than any of these particulars, the real point is this: James is as adept a parent as I am in nearly every single way and I’m as adept a parent as he is in nearly every single way. 

My experience has been that of a working mother with a husband who also works, and so my view is necessarily limited to what I’ve lived. But whether or not both parents work full-time, I think equality parenting, to coin a phrase, is possible. It just takes some reframing of responsibilities, some challenging of the status quo, some imagining of a different way of doing things and talking about things.

A few examples of things that could use a shake-up: When people ask me what I do for a living—after I tell them—they often follow up the description of my work with their own addendum.  “And on top of that, you’re busy taking care of that baby.” Totally true. I know that this is meant to be kind. I’m sure that they mean to acknowledge the incredible hard work that it is to be a mother. They want to let me know that they’re aware of the sacrifice, the commitment, the heart-rending pain of preparing a child for the wide world when you just want to watch their chest rise and huff the crook of their tiny necks. I know that they mean to be supportive. But sometimes it also feels like a scolding; that the speaker thinks that by omitting my motherhood from my job description, that I’m denying my motherhood. No one follows up James’s job description with a friendly, “…And the whole fatherhood thing.” I wish they did. Because saying it only to me undermines my career. And not saying it to James undermines his parenthood. We’re both working really hard at this whole parenthood thing.

I’m grateful when people acknowledge that I’m a hard-working mom. But in surprising ways I encounter people using my motherhood as an excuse for me. They might preface an ask with the acknowledgement that I’m a busy mother. Or excuse a little tardiness for the same reason, even if I haven’t used the excuse myself. It seems kind on the face of it, but I’m frustrated by the assumption that motherhood must necessarily impact my work but that it doesn’t also impact James’s work. Sure: Sometimes an email is delayed because Faye needs dinner now, not ten minutes from now. Sometimes I can’t be on a late phone call because I have a toddler who’s sleeping in the next room. But more often, Faye’s not the reason behind whatever it is that happened at all. When an email is late it’s usually because I had too many emails to respond to in a timely manner. Of course, these are examples of people extending kindnesses. The insinuation for many working mothers is that they’re failing at the dual challenges of career and motherhood. On the flip side: No one talks to James about the fine art of balancing his work and his fatherhood. No one congratulates his being a father in addition to pursuing a career. No one wonders if he feels guilty for working. The idea sounds almost preposterous. The absence of concern for a father’s ability to “do it all” comes from not expecting fathers to even try. I’d love if we could start to acknowledge that parents of all genders perform balancing acts. It would be amazing if we asked working fathers how they’re managing to balance their career and their family. It’d be amazing if no one ever asked James if he was going to “babysit” Faye, or gawk at his ability to change a diaper, or wipe Faye’s nose, or put her hair in an elastic. I’d feel so much better about someone letting me off the hook because of my motherhood if they extended the same generosity to James. But until we live in a world where he could invoke his “baby brain” without getting looked at funny, I don’t want to talk about mine.

Coupled with the idea that my motherhood impairs normal brain function is the idea that it’s all consuming. Babies are distracting as all hell. (Toes! Thighs! Giggles!) But my work gets done in spite of—and because—of this. My work gets done because bills need to be paid and careers need to progress and because despite the extreme deliciousness of baby toes, I like to work. And I need to work. I love baby toes and I love work. And James loves baby toes, too. Sometimes he texts me pictures of them smack-dab in the middle of the work day.

Perhaps the most frustrating example of inequality in the way we talk about parenting has to do with childcare. I’m asked on a regular basis what I do about childcare. I don’t mind the question. I’m really happy to spill the details. I love hearing how other people navigate childcare. It’s tricky! There are so many options! But James never ever gets asked this question and it makes me crazy. The implication is that he’s not much interested in the topic. And far worse: that his work is a sure thing, childcare or not, but that mine is dependent on specially procured childcare for me. The truth is that we’re in this together. I want to talk about parenthood because I’m in this for the teamwork. We don’t have childcare because I work, we have childcare because we both work. After Faye was born we looked long and hard at our resources and schedules and together we worked out a system that felt right for both of us. James asked for a change in his schedule that means he can go to work earlier and leave earlier to relieve our sitter and spend time with Faye. I start and end work later so I can do the morning hand-off and spend time with Faye. We both work more or less the same number of hours in a given week. I think lots of families with two working parents figure out this kind of system. And the more that fathers are able to request changes to accommodate their parenting, the more normal it could become. We’d start to see fewer mothers sacrificing their careers and fewer fathers sacrificing their parenthood. I guess my wish is that if we so choose it, more of us could lean into our parenthood and lean into our careers in equal measure. 

My very greatest hope is that by the time Faye becomes a parent, some of this stuff will finally be sorted. I know it’s a tricky subject. There’s room for parenthood to look different in a million different ways and what works for us might not work for you. But I think that change begins at home. And I think that change begins with hashing out tricky things in public places. And so.

New York State just passed a law that when fully rolled out will provide parents (birthing mothers and otherwise) 12 weeks of paid family leave. It’s a massive step forward. I hope we keep moving in that direction. And in the meantime: I’m gonna try really hard to talk about my parenthood. 

#parentlife?

07 Apr 05:26

One Pot Chicken and Orzo

by Elise Bauer
Skillet Chicken and Orzo

A few months ago my wonderful mother made what I thought was Spanish rice (a favorite around here, basically a rice pilaf with tomato) but instead of browning rice to start the pilaf, she browned orzo pasta.

Brilliant! It was so incredibly good. Silky and savory like our sopa seca de fideo angel hair dish, but with little rice-shaped orzo pasta. The browning of the orzo adds a toasty nutty flavor to the pasta.

Continue reading "One Pot Chicken and Orzo" »

04 Apr 18:59

Cayenne and Flaxseed Hummus

by A Beautiful Mess
Shh.listen

MMMMMMM!

Cayenne and Flax Seed Hummus (via abeautifulmess.com)Hummus is one the BEST snack foods, right? It's creamy, flavorful, good for you (unless you're allergic to chickpeas or something), and it goes so well with my other snack love: chips! 

Cayenne and Flax Seed Hummus (via abeautifulmess.com) This version is sort of a surprise. It looks pretty unassuming. And then the initial first taste is pretty, um, normal too. You taste the creaminess of the chickpeas and oil, and you get a little flavor from the lemon and garlic. But then it hits you: spice! This hummus turns up the heat with a little kick from cayenne, one of my all-time favorite spices. You can adjust this based on how spicy you prefer things, but I totally recommend going to the edge of what you think you might like here as it's kind of what makes this hummus fun. :)

Simple hummus ingredientsCayenne and Flaxseed Hummus

1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans)
1 to 2 cloves of garlic, mine was quite large so I left it at just one
1 tablespoon flaxseeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 1/4 teaspoons cayenne*
1 teaspoon salt
juice from half a lemon (approx. 2 tablespoons)
1/3 cup olive oil

*If you aren't sure how spicy you might like it, maybe you tend to like things less spicy, then start with only 3/4 teaspoon cayenne and taste after you've made the hummus. You can always blend more in, but if it gets too spicy for you, then it's pretty impossible to scale it back. I really like this at the 1 1/4 teaspoons cayenne, so that's what I've listed in the ingredients. 

No tahini hummusFirst, drain and rinse the chickpeas. I like to remove the skins as it makes the final texture just a little smoother and creamier. But this is not necessary, only an option. 

In a food processor or good blender, add the chickpeas, garlic, flaxseeds, spices, salt, and lemon juice. Give that a good blend, then turn off your processor and scrape down the sides. If you have a processor (or blender) that allows you to leave an opening in the top while it's running, then use this to drizzle the olive oil in while it runs. If not, just add the oil in 2-3 batches. You don't want to add it all at once as it might not blend as well as if you add it slowly. 

Taste and add more salt, cayenne, or even pepper if you think it needs it. 

Cayenne and Flax Seed Hummus (via abeautifulmess.com)    When you're ready to serve, you can drizzle on a little more olive oil or squeeze on the remaining lemon juice. Whatever you don't consume, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Honestly it will probably last longer than a week, but hummus goes fast at our house so we never have it stored longer than this.

I am really into these blue corn tortilla chips right now, but I also enjoyed this with carrot sticks and even a sliced granny smith apple. The sweet and tart apple went surprisingly well with the heat of the hummus. xx. Emma

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

03 Apr 17:05

Glowing Spiced Lentil Soup

by Angela (Oh She Glows)

065A3820

First off, thank you all so much for your excitement and congrats about our news! I really enjoyed reading your comments and stories. I’m also happy to hear my impending loss of sanity should only be temporary. Truthfully, I’m not sure that I ever got it back after our first!

Second of all, I’ve missed you dearly. I’ve missed blogging. I’ve missed posting recipes. I love sharing my favourite recipes and stories with you guys. Nothing makes me happier than creating something I adore and thinking about you trying it in your own kitchens! It feels so good to have more energy these days and also to wrap up some other massive projects.

Today’s recipe is most likely the last soup recipe I’ll post until next fall (*sad face*), but boy is it a great one to end on. As my dad likes to say, “It’s a humdinger!” Do you remember my Spiced Red Lentil, Tomato, and Kale Soup? Well, this soup reminds me a bit of that one, only it’s even better! Turmeric, coconut, cumin, cinnamon, and cardamom create an incredibly healing and flavourful broth. I always say the test of a “vault-worthy” soup is whether you want to drink the broth on its own, and this one certainly fits the bill. A generous amount of turmeric makes it feel so healthy and powerful. Knowing that turmeric has so many anti-inflammatory benefits is always an added bonus, too!

065A3817

My inspiration comes from a Whole Foods mason jar soup called “Spiced Lentil” that Eric picked up for me on a whim. Well, this soup blew me away. After glancing at the short ingredient list, I knew I could easily recreate it in my own kitchen. Or so I hoped! I scribbled down a recipe attempt and started cooking. The beauty of this soup is that it’s a “pantry” soup. I had every single ingredient on hand (and still do, which explains why I’ve been making it so much). The first batch turned out darn near perfect (actually, we liked my version more), and the second attempt was even better than the first. Poor Eric only got one bowl from the first batch. You gotta be quick around the pregnant lady! I’ll fight you.

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If your weather is still cool, snowy, rainy, and dreary in early spring like it is here in Southern Ontario (we’re getting a snowstorm later today…*cries*), I hope you’ll enjoy this comforting soup. Even if it’s not cold where you are, I’d argue that breaking out into a light sweat while eating this is totally worth it!

glowingspicedlentilsoup

Glowing Spiced Lentil Soup

Vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free

This soup is so quick and easy because there aren’t many vegetables to chop (just garlic and onion—that’s it!) and it relies mostly on pantry staples. It takes 15 minutes prep time (that includes getting the ingredients out), and then it’s hands off while it cooks. Talk about easy! While this soup contains a lot of spices, it's not what I would call "spicy" or "hot". If you do want a kick of heat feel free to add some cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes. Also, feel free to change up the baby spinach for other greens like stemmed kale or chard. This soup is inspired by Whole Foods.

Yield
about 7 cups (1.65 litres)
Prep Time
15 Minutes
Cook time
20 Minutes
Total Time
35 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups (280 grams) diced onion (1 medium/large)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 (15-ounce/398 mL) can diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 1 (15-ounce/398 mL) can full-fat coconut milk*
  • 3/4 cup (140 grams) uncooked red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 3 1/2 cups (875 mL) low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 (5-ounce/140-gram) package baby spinach
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice, or more to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, add the oil, onion, and garlic. Add a pinch of salt, stir, and sauté over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes until the onion softens.
  2. Stir in the turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, and cardamom until combined. Continue cooking for about 1 minute, until fragrant.
  3. Add the diced tomatoes (with juices), entire can of coconut milk, red lentils, broth, salt, and plenty of pepper. Stir to combine. Increase heat to high and bring to a low boil.
  4. Once it boils, reduce the heat to medium-high, and simmer, uncovered, for about 18 to 22 minutes, until the lentils are fluffy and tender.
  5. Turn off the heat and stir in the spinach until wilted. Add the lime juice to taste. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if desired. Ladle into bowls and serve with toasted bread and lime wedges.

Tips:

  • * I tried a version using light canned coconut milk and one using full-fat canned coconut milk, and I greatly prefer the full-fat coconut milk version (shocker, I know). I recommend following suit, but if all you have on hand is light canned coconut milk that’ll work in a pinch—it just won't be as rich and creamy.

065A3797

© copyright 2016 Oh She Glows. All Rights Reserved.
29 Mar 18:59

Tempeh Steaks with Chimichurri Sauce

by A Beautiful Mess
Shh.listen

MMMMMmmmmm

Tempeh Steaks (via abeautifulmess.com)    Tempeh Steaks (via abeautifulmess.com) If you've never made chimichurri sauce before, you really must—it's so good! It is a classic sauce and certainly not my own invention. I've made a few different versions, and I am always amazed how much flavor it adds to any dish. It's especially great on steak. So I thought why not try some marinated tempeh steaks. 

Tempeh Steaks (via abeautifulmess.com)You could serve this over some steamed rice or alongside a salad. Even if you're on the fence about tempeh, I still would recommend giving this recipe a try as it's pretty delicious and super filling. 

How to marinate tempehTempeh Steaks with Chimichurri Sauce, serves two
Sauce recipe adapted from Epicurious

For the tempeh:
8 oz. tempeh
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

For the chimichurri sauce:
1/3 cup parsley
2 tablespoons cilantro
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove of garlic
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil

Cut the tempeh into flanks or cubes. In a small bowl or drinking glass, stir together the soy sauce, molasses, liquid smoke, apple cider vinegar, cumin, and cayenne. Pour a little of the sauce in the bottom of a small baking dish or an oven safe bowl. Add the tempeh. Pour the remaining sauce over the tempeh. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, flipping the tempeh once in the middle of the marinate time. 

ChimichurriBake the tempeh in the same dish, covered with aluminum foil, at 350°F for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 18 to 20 minutes.

To make the sauce, you'll need a food processor or good blender. To the processor add the parsley, cilantro, lemon juice, garlic, red pepper, cumin, and salt. Pulse until well combined. With the processor running (if possible), slowly add the olive oil. 

Tempeh Steaks (via abeautifulmess.com)  Drizzle the sauce over the tempeh steaks and serve with your side of choice. Enjoy — happy healthy dinner to you! xo. Emma

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

28 Mar 16:41

Ham Salad

by Elise Bauer
Ham Salad

One of the best reasons to serve a ham for a holiday dinner or family gathering is the prospect of leftover ham, don’t you think? Ham keeps well and can be used for a hearty ham and bean soup, a pasta dish with peas, or for a crowed pleasing ham salad.

It’s one of those feed-a-lot-of-people comfort food salads that makes you look forward to leftovers.

Put it in a sandwich (or a slider bun!), eat it plain, or add it to macaroni. The basic components of our favorite ham salad are ground or finely diced ham, sweet pickle relish (sweet works better than dill for ham, imho), and hard boiled eggs. Then something for crunch (celery and/or bell peppers) and mayo to bind it.

Continue reading "Ham Salad" »

28 Mar 16:00

spring chicken salad toasts

by deb

spring chicken salad toasts

If taking cubes of chicken and other things chosen for their ability to hold up in a deli case and suspending them in a thick dressing of mayo and seasonings is the winter coat of chicken salad, this is the cardigan, which is to say, I hope everyone is as happy to see it as I am. I live for cardigan weather.

... Read the rest of spring chicken salad toasts on smittenkitchen.com


© smitten kitchen 2006-2012. | permalink to spring chicken salad toasts | 63 comments to date | see more: Celery, Chicken, Cucumber, Photo, Radishes, Salad

23 Mar 11:44

pastel-colored easter eggs, naturally.

by erin

pastel-colored easter eggs with natural dyes | reading my tea leaves

I’m not usually one to care much about what color Pantone decrees to be color of the year. But when they announced the double whammy favorites of rose quartz and a pale periwinkle blue they’ve dubbed serenity, well, they made my head turn. 

To celebrate the season of eggs and make at least a cursory nod to the rest of the design world, I thought I’d make a dozen eggs in those favored Pantone shades using humble vegetables to create the shades: beets for the rose quartz and red cabbage for the serenity.

Happily, making natural Easter egg dye doesn’t take much more skill than being able to chop up some colorful veg and boil it in water. When opting toward subtle pastel colors like these ones, the process is especially quick. 

Here are my basic notes, in case you’d like to make a dozen of your own.

+ To make one cup of dye, you’ll need approximately one cup of chopped vegetable and one cup of water. 

+ I find two cups of dye works well for 6 or so eggs, so I made two batches—one for each color—each with two cups of water and two cups of vegetable. (I mostly eyeballed my vegetable measurements. For reference: 1/4 large red cabbage yielded me ~two cups of chopped cabbage. One whole beet plus the peelings and scraps from two beets I used for dinner earlier in the week yielded ~two cups of beets.)

+ In this ratio of two cups vegetable matter to two cups water, bring your vegetable-filled water to boil and then simmer, covered, for ~15 minutes. The water should be richly colored by the time you’re done simmering.

+ Strain the dye from the sodden vegetables and allow time for it to cool. (I strained mine into mason jars and popped the jars onto the window ledge to speed up the cooling process.) 

+ Once cooled, stir in a tablespoon of white vinegar to help the dye set.

+ Submerge hard-boiled eggs into your dye mixture. I found that six eggs perfectly displace two cups of dye in a quart-sized mason jar. 

+ You’ll note that I used white eggs here to achieve the light shades that I was after; brown eggs work too, but the pink will be more maroon and the blue a shade or two muddier.

+ To achieve the pasted-colored eggs you see here, I submerged my beet-colored eggs for only ten minutes. I allowed my cabbage-colored eggs to sit for ~three hours. Once they’d reached a color I like, I removed each egg from the dye and dried it off with a bit of cotton rag. (If you’d likely deeply colored eggs, you’ll need to leave your eggs submerged over night. But the wait is worth is: you’ll get a deep red and cobalt (see also!)!

+ I love the dusty natural look of eggs without a sheen, but if you want to shine ’em up, a little rub with vegetable oil will give your eggs a glossy shine!

pastel-colored easter eggs with natural dyes | reading my tea leaves

Dyes, cooling on the ledge.pastel-colored easter eggs with natural dyes | reading my tea leaves

Hard-boiled eggs waiting to go into their dye baths.
pastel-colored easter eggs with natural dyes | reading my tea leaves

My pink eggs were a dusty rose after just ten minutes in the beet dye.pastel-colored easter eggs with natural dyes | reading my tea leaves

To achieve the light blue that I wanted, I allowed my eggs to sit in the red cabbage dye for a long time after I’d taken out my pinks! The blues stayed in the fridge for approximately three hours. (Don’t be shy about checking on your eggs to get the color that you’re hoping for.)
pastel-colored easter eggs with natural dyes | reading my tea leaves

Pale blue eggs, dried.pastel-colored easter eggs with natural dyes | reading my tea leaves

The end results were exactly the subtle shades I’d hoped for.pastel-colored easter eggs with natural dyes | reading my tea leaves

What about you guys? Onion skin-dyers out there? Turmeric? Other egg dying traditions I should know about?

11 Mar 18:30

Get Psyched for Spring: 15 Inspiring Outdoor Spaces from Our House Tours

by Taryn Williford
Shh.listen

Okay I want our porch to be as pretty as this. I think we need to get rid of the table and get a bench and a chair and a coffee table out there!!!

While my city keeps teetering in and out of wintertime weather, I've got my sights set firmly (and optimistically) on spring. One way to get into that warm-weather state of mind is to think about all of the wonderful things you're going to do once it hits 75° outside. Think about the picnics you'll have and the patios you'll sit on sipping an iced tea.

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09 Mar 14:17

DIY Leather Tassel Keychain

by A Beautiful Mess

Love this DIY Leather Tassel Keychain - Click for more! Leather is one of the most versatile products to craft with. We love using it in both traditional ways and finding new uses for it. You've probably seen it popping up in a variety of colors, and it's making its way into crafting, home decor, furniture (other than the sofas and upholstery we've seen for decades), clothing, etc. It's obviously been around for a loooong time and been used in just about every way imaginable. We are especially excited about the trend of brightly colored leathers used in home decor and fashion. Today we're super excited to teach you how to make a really simple, cute and inexpensive leather tassel that is perfect for adorning a bag, using as a keychain or even putting on a chain for a cute necklace.

Love this DIY Leather Tassel Keychain - Click for more!  Supplies:
-a 8.5 x11" sheet of leather (We found ours at Michaels that was already cut to size.)
-keychain ring
-scissors
-hot glue and glue gun

Love this DIY Leather Tassel Keychain - Click for more!    First, you'll cut about an inch off of the long (11") side of the sheet.

Love this DIY Leather Tassel Keychain - Click for more!     Then, start cutting long strips on the other end. These are about 1/4" wide. You can totally "eyeball" it, but you could always use a quilting ruler and rotary cutter if you'd like to be exact.

Love this DIY Leather Tassel Keychain - Click for more!       Next, we cut the top in half because we needed a thinner strip of leather to attach the ring. 

Love this DIY Leather Tassel Keychain - Click for more!        Begin rolling your leather, securing with hot glue as you go.

Love this DIY Leather Tassel Keychain - Click for more!        About 1/3 of the way through, stop to add the key ring. We took about a 2" strip and folded it in half over the keyring.  Secure with hot glue. Continue rolling your tassel until it's completely rolled. Secure the end with more hot glue.

Love this DIY Leather Tassel Keychain - Click for more!          Love this DIY Leather Tassel Keychain - Click for more!           Love this DIY Leather Tassel Keychain - Click for more!

We love how simple and cute these little guys are! Is it weird that we want to add tassels to everything? We love them! It would be super cute to make as gifts for friends! What color would you make? xoxo -Mallory & Savannah

Credits // Author and Photography: Mallory Nikolaus and Savannah Kokaliares. Photos edited with Celeste from The Fresh Collection.

03 Mar 13:14

Chicken Cutlets with Caper Sauce

by Elise Bauer
Chicken Cutlets with Caper Sauce

Sometimes, especially after a few days of heavy dinners, all you want is a light, good meal. “Light” as in you’re trying to cut back, and “good” as in, can we make it taste good even though it’s light?

This chicken cutlet recipe, with a caper shallot sauce, is just that, flavorful, filling, and won’t weigh you down. You can make it all in one pot, takes about 30 minutes, and it’s gluten-free too.

Continue reading "Chicken Cutlets with Caper Sauce" »

04 Mar 02:03

As a fan of ridiculously elaborate video game controllers, I am suddenly very excited about Hello, O

by Luke Plunkett

As a fan of ridiculously elaborate video game controllers, I am suddenly very excited about Hello, Operator, a game about juggling (and listening in on) other people’s telephone conversations.

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03 Mar 16:30

How To Make Brioche — Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn

by Emma Christensen

You might not know it, but you need brioche in your life. With this one recipe, you have the power to make not only one gorgeous loaf of bread, but also dinner rolls, hamburger buns, hoagie rolls, cinnamon rolls, monkey bread, and a host of other homemade treats. Learn to make brioche, and you're well on your way to turning your kitchen into your very own bakery.

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26 Feb 04:13

a curious soup: southwest curry chowder

by kickpleat

southwestern curry chowder | everybody likes sandwiches

Thank you for such an overwhelming response to my last post. You really know how to make a girl feel special, really. Please have no fear that this site will disappear because it won’t. Most likely new posts will continue at their lackadaisical pace and I feel good about that. I should be making you a cake, but this soup will have to do.

This humble soup is a bit of a mish mash of everything. A little while ago, I made a vegetarian chowder and my soup-hating husband loved it so I wondered if using a couple of potatoes and some frozen corn, I could turn a lentil soup into something akin to chowder. The answer to this, of course, is yes. Red lentils cook down to an almost creamy texture and there’s lots of chowder textures and flavours with the potatoes, carrots and corn. The coconut milk adds a luscious, silky quality.

southwestern curry chowder | everybody likes sandwiches

There’s curry paste which you’d expect in a curried lentil soup but also a curious addition of asian chili garlic sauce and a very southwestern chili powder – yup, like the kind you add in a big Texas chili. This is a very cosmopolitan lentil soup chowder! It might read as a bit of an oddball on paper, but this soup was delicious. It leans more towards the curry flavours than the southwest, but I do like thinking of this as a chowder so I’m sticking with the name. I went back for a second bowl and the husband thought it was quite tasty, so success! The leftovers that I ate today for lunch were, I think, even better. Not bad for such a wacky seeming soup. A definite bright spot for the end of February.

southwestern curry chowder | everybody likes sandwiches

southwest curry chowder
It’s weird because I was out of onion and normally I’d add at least a half of one to a soup like this. So if you want to add an onion, please go ahead. I probably will do the same when I make it next time. But the really pleasing thing was, this soup tasted amazing without it. Who knew?

2 T coconut oil
2 fat cloves garlic, chopped
1 carrot, finely diced
2 medium potatoes, diced
1 c red lentils
1 t chili powder
1 T (heaping) curry paste (I use Patak’s madras paste)
water or stock (I used chicken stock)
1 T chili garlic sauce (optional)
1 can of light coconut milk
1 c frozen corn
salt & pepper

In a medium-large soup pot, heat coconut oil and add in garlic, carrot, and potatoes and let things sweat it out for a minute or two. Add in lentils, chili powder and curry paste and stir things around so everything is coated. Pour water or stock over everything, covering the vegetables and lentils by about 1 inch or so. Stir in chili garlic sauce, if using. Put on lid and simmer for 20 minutes or until lentils and vegetables are nearly tender. Pour in coconut milk and corn and cook for another 10-15 minutes before serving. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. Serves about 4.

03 Mar 17:14

churros

by deb

churros with chocolate

Prior to a few months ago, the full extent of my understanding of churros was:
  • They’re long cake dougnuts.
  • They must be very difficult to make or they would be everywhere at all times.
  • They cannot be near me.

... Read the rest of churros on smittenkitchen.com


© smitten kitchen 2006-2012. | permalink to churros | 120 comments to date | see more: Chocolate, Doughnut, Photo, Spanish

01 Mar 14:11

Mini Pom Pom Pillow DIY

by A Beautiful Mess

Add pom poms to your pillows for a textured effectDo you ever want to add more interesting throw pillows to your space but need more than your budget would allow? Do you have the itch to sew your own but get sad over the fabric selections available in local chain stores? Enter the mini pom pom. I was inspired by these pillows at Anthropologie and got pretty swoony over that particular shade of yellow on a cream background! I decided to make something similar in the plum and pink tonal pillow and then decided to get experimental with patterned fabrics. The end result is three unique pillows that will surely go the distance in more than one room in our house. 

Pom Pom Pillow DIY for www.aBeautifulMess.com I experimented with attaching my pom poms with felt glue as well as with individually stitched knots and both got a good shake to make sure things weren't going to go flying off. I'm happy to report the felt glue seems to have worked better than I imagined as I literally tried to rip a pom pom off of a pillow and finally gave up. Using the correct adhesive can make or break your project, so don't skimp and adhere these with that decade old bottle of Elmer's glue in the back of your craft bin. I'm watching you!

Supplies
Supplies:
-1/2 yard cotton fabric per pillow
-90-125 pom poms of one color per pillow for larger pillows and 25 small pom poms in a variety of colors for the abstract pom pom pillow
-Poly-Fil stuffing
-12" embroidery hoop
-felt glue
-white cotton thread
-needle and thread
-straight pins
-scissors

Step1Step One: Cut two of the same cuts of fabric down to the size pillow you'd like. I cut my plum fabric to 14" x 14". Measure out how far apart you want to space your poms and mark a grid with chalk on one of the cuts of fabric. It'll dust off easily as you work and after you're done. The larger your poms, the further apart you may want to space them. 

Step2Step Two: To attach your pom poms to your fabric with stitches, place your marked fabric in your embroidery hoop and pull until it's taut. This will keep your fabric steady while you stitch your pom poms on. 

Step2AStep Three:  When stitching your pom poms, stitch through the thick center of the pom pom, not the fluffy edge. Tie the loose ends on the back side in a double knot. 

Glue Poms Another option for adhering your pom poms to your fabric is by using felt glue. Add a generous amount to the back side of each pom pom and set it down on your grid. Allow to dry for 3-4 hours before handling it and stitching your pillow together. These will stay on well if the pillow isn't getting tons of rough use. However, if your pillow is going in a child's room, I suggest stitching your pom poms on to be safe. 

Glue on your mini pom pomsTo make an abstract pillow, start with a cotton fabric with a subtle pattern in a soft color. This will give a layered look without being so busy that you can't see the pom poms. I used the second smallest sized pom poms that were available for most of these. They were about 1/4", or the size of a large pea. Play around with your composition before gluing things on, and then let it rest for the designated drying time. 

Step2Step Four: Place your two cuts of the same fabric (top and bottom of pillow) together with right sides facing each other and pin around the perimeter. Leave a blank space that is about the width of your hand so you can stuff your pillow. 

Step Five: Stitch around the perimeter of your pillow about 1/4" from the edge. Start your stitching on one side of the blank space and end it on the other so that you can still fit your hand through. Remove your pins and trim off the corners of your pillow without getting too close to the stitch line. 

Step4aStep Six: Turn your pillowcase right side out and poke your corners out so they're sharp. Stuff with Poly-Fil and stitch closed with a blindstitch. Toss it on your couch and see how much more fun you are now! 

Abstract mini pom pom pillow tutorialAbstract pillows are just begging for a little experimentation. Maybe you can create a heart-shape out of black poms or spell out a short sentiment such as 'Love You' or 'Holla'. 

Emerald pom pom I love how the emerald pom poms add so much more depth to this simple polka-dot fabric. 

Plum pom pom pillowThis one is my favorite, though. Mostly, I love how the plum helps tone down the hot pink but they are a great pair for adding some color and texture to any corner. 

Pom Pom Pillow DIY for www.aBeautifulMess.com As much as I can lean to the minimalist side of things these days, I do think pillows should feel individually special. I love how these pom poms provide just the right amount of interest and elevate these chain store fabrics to a whole new level. What pom pom colors would you use? -Rachel

Credits//Author and Photography: Rachel Denbow. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

01 Mar 19:59

At Home with Jacqui Saldana in Southern California

by A Beautiful Mess

Amazing nursery tour!Today we are welcoming Jacqui Saldana to the blog! Jacqui's story is so heartfelt and inspiring. Before her son, Ryan, tragically passed away two years ago, she created her blog Baby Boy Bakery to share stories of motherhood and kid-friendly recipes that she made with him. Since then, Jacqui has dedicated her blog to the special times she had with Ryan in many ways, like creating monthly recipe kits that you can use to teach your children how to cook while making special memories. Her daughter, Mila, was born last month (congratulations!!), and we're so excited to share her nursery tour with you.

At Home with Jacqui SaldanaBookcase/The Land of Nod

Gorgeous green crib At Home with Baby Boy Bakery
Doll/Hazel Village

"I worked with The Land Of Nod to create the perfect space where my little girl, Mila, and I could spend time and grow within. When I started the design process with The Land of Nod design team, I started with thoughts of hope for Mila rather than colors or furniture pieces. I wanted what I hoped and imagined for my baby and her future to guide me in the process of creating her space. I began with how I imagine my daughter—unique, soft and subtle with bright streams of wild running through her. From there I decided on bright pops of color set on a backdrop of light and neutral color with wild gold highlights throughout. To carry out the unique element, I settled on this fun green colored crib first and the rest of the furniture fell into place around it. 

"Another gorgeous focal point in the nursery is this fantastic watercolor print. I thought the pink artwork went well alongside the green crib. We had it framed without glass since it was being placed above the crib. The artwork to me is beautifully soft but still makes a fiercely strong statement. Two things I hope my daughter portrays in the future. 

Baby Boy BakeryAdorable baby clothesAt Home with Baby Boy Bakery "Pop Up Greens brought in a tall fiddle leaf fig tree and small succulent in a hand painted moon pot. I also added a snake plant I planted in a basket last year and a tiny cactus I bought at a craft fair. We have definitely accumulated a bunch of beautiful little lady clothes. One thing I like to do is display a few special baby clothes. In Ryan’s nursery, I displayed the outfit he came home from the hospital in. In baby girl’s nursery, I decided to display deliciously girly green dress by Little Minis and comfy cute sweater by Geo Fox Apparel.

Love this teepee! Baby shoes!
Baby shoes/Zuzii

"Even though Mila won’t be able to play inside her teepee just yet, I thought it would be a perfectly fun element to add to her nursery. This beautiful lace teepee with colorful pom pom garland adds a touch of whimsy and I can’t wait to see how she plays amongst it. Right now it sits pretty with a mini gold lounge chair and a handmade dolly waiting to be played with. I also added tiny lights inside for fun nighttime story reading.

Decor detailsRyan's watercolorsFrames/The Land of Nod

"The most important thing for me was to find ways to incorporate my son, Ryan, into his little sister’s nursery. We decided on a gallery wall displaying a few of his art pieces. There are three art pieces Ryan created in the last months he was at preschool—a purple jellyfish made from his small handprint, a bright yellow flying bird and a joyous basket of flowers. The large framed piece is a compilation of artwork Ryan and I did together usually during our craft times on the weekend or before dinner. Now that they are hung, I sometimes go into the nursery and just sit and look at his artwork. I like to think of his tiny hands hard at work creating. I like to think he knew who he was creating these art pieces for. He definitely knew, those flowers were for his little sister.  

Cute shelvingAt Home with Jacqui Saldana  "My son Ryan and I spent a lot of time at Disneyland. It was a our favorite place. I decided to subtly display Ryan’s Micky Mouse ears in the bookcase underneath the window. On Ryan’s 5th birthday last year, I was about 6 months pregnant. We went to Disneyland to celebrate, and while there, we decided to get ‘Little Sister’ Micky Mouse ears. They are now displayed on the white and gold shelves above the changing table. I hope to share memorable moments at Disneyland with this little miss soon. 

At Home with Jacqui Saldana   "You can see how I displayed my hopes for my daughter and our future together with the pieces in her nursery. In my Mila’s nursery, everything tells a story of what was or what will be. I am thrilled to bring her inside and tell her stories of the past and dream together for her future."

Thanks for sharing this special room with us! You can find more of Jacqui on her blog Baby Boy Bakery and Instagram. xo.

Credits // Author: Jacqui Saldana. Photography: Megan Welker.

20 Feb 14:00

15 DIY Projects That Will Convince You to (Finally!) Get a Jig Saw

by A Beautiful Mess

15 DIY Projects That Will Convince You To (Finally!) Get A Jig Saw (click through to see all of them)OK, this is another edition of me begging and pleading with you fellow DIYers to get into the jig saw game. I know, I know, it has a motor and it makes a relatively loud noise, so you're convinced that it's too terrifying or assume it's too expensive to go near. Well, I'm here to swear to you that you are wrong. First of all, you can get a jig saw for under $25. TWENTY FIVE DOLLARS! That coffee phrase sweatshirt you just bought from Etsy cost almost double that, didn't it? Of course they range up to higher prices (like this one) for added speed, etc., but I've been using that inexpensive one for the last two years, and it's gotten all the jobs done. Second, I'll agree with you for a moment and concur that it IS a little scary the first time you use one, but it literally took two cuts to realize that it's pretty much just noisy and that's really the scariest part about it. Trust me on that one.

Why on earth am I so adamant about you guys overcoming a jig saw fear you ask? Well, it's simply because I have been thrilled with how much wider my DIY options have become since I learned to use one, and I want the same for you! They are small and inexpensive compared to a larger power saw (and way less scary), can do curves and shapes instead of just straight lines, and there are so many things you can do with it. To prove my point, I'll show you 15 projects that you can make with the help of a handy dandy jig saw, and I think the projects will do the convincing for me.

First is this adorable mid-century plant stand that Mandi made. She's been using a jig saw for longer than I have and was definitely part of the reason I wanted to learn to use one—I was totally jealous of all the things she was making with it!

15 DIY Projects That Will Convince You To (Finally!) Get A Jig Saw (click through to see all of them) This leather magazine rack is actually the first project that I learned to use the jig saw on. Our profesh builder, Josh, was on our team at the time, and he convinced me to give it a try. So we made this project together, and I'm so glad he talked me into it!

15 DIY Projects That Will Convince You To (Finally!) Get A Jig Saw (click through to see all of them) Now, Elsie's dining room table DIY wasn't made with a jig saw, but it could have been pretty easily. The whole thing is just a series of small straight cuts—perfect for a jig saw!

15 DIY Projects That Will Convince You To (Finally!) Get A Jig Saw (click through to see all of them) Not every project has to be on a large scale. I made these hanging planter boxes out of small wooden jewelry boxes, but I needed an easy way to cut the boxes in half. Jig saw to the rescue!

15 DIY Projects That Will Convince You To (Finally!) Get A Jig Saw (click through to see all of them)   This wooden cutting board DIY is another great small project for a jig saw. And since a jig saw can do curves, you can do whatever shape you want!

15 DIY Projects That Will Convince You To (Finally!) Get A Jig Saw (click through to see all of them)   This DIY metal edge marquee would have been completely impossible without a jig saw. But with one, I could make whatever phrase or font I wanted!

15 DIY Projects That Will Convince You To (Finally!) Get A Jig Saw (click through to see all of them)   How cute is this mini horse bookshelf?? Whether you are making it for a kiddo's room (or just one for yourself!), you'll need a jigsaw to get the job done. And, I just realized that all you have to do is cut out a horn for the forehead and you've got yourself a unicorn shelf instead!

15 DIY Projects That Will Convince You To (Finally!) Get A Jig Saw (click through to see all of them)        This jewelry storage mirror is another project that only needs a few small straight cuts to complete. I still absolutely LOVE this in my bedroom. So helpful for organizing everything!

15 DIY Projects That Will Convince You To (Finally!) Get A Jig Saw (click through to see all of them)        This adorable house-shaped shelf can also be done with a jig saw and would look cute in any kitchen. You could also make it to store nail polish or makeup in a bathroom instead. Love it!

15 DIY Projects That Will Convince You To (Finally!) Get A Jig Saw (click through to see all of them)        Using a jig saw to add trim to closet doors takes the custom look factor to a completely different planet. These doors are totally one of my favorite things in our house!

15 DIY Projects That Will Convince You To (Finally!) Get A Jig Saw (click through to see all of them)           Using the jig saw's ability to cut curves came in handy when I made this plant chandelier for our backyard a few summers ago. The plants grew to hang beautifully by the end of summer, and it was one of my favorite outdoor features for sure.

15 DIY Projects That Will Convince You To (Finally!) Get A Jig Saw (click through to see all of them)           Give your speakers a clean look with these speaker covers (you can make them whatever size you need). It's the perfect solution to blend unsightly electronics into your space.

15 DIY Projects That Will Convince You To (Finally!) Get A Jig Saw (click through to see all of them)           OK, this is probably my favorite use for a jig saw at the moment—a Palm Springs kitty scratch house! For me, this alone is worth the jig saw investment.

15 DIY Projects That Will Convince You To (Finally!) Get A Jig Saw (click through to see all of them)           Making your own custom shape is what a jig saw is all about, so this starburst ceiling medallion DIY is easily done with the right tool (spoiler alert: the right tool is a jig saw). Love it!

15 DIY Projects That Will Convince You To (Finally!) Get A Jig Saw (click through to see all of them)           And just to remind you that a jig saw isn't just useful for wood-related projects, I've included this hanging flower heart decoration. Jig saws are also useful for cutting other types of material like dense foam or styrofoam (it can even cut sheet metal!). It took me only seconds to cut out this giant heart with the saw. I would have been hacking away at it forever with a hand saw or bread knife.

It is true that you can ask some home improvement places to make cuts for you (which will work in a pinch), but to be honest, since I have a jig saw, I usually do it myself so I can be in control of the cuts and make sure they are right (it really sucks to get home and find out they aren't...). A few other tips—sawhorses are really helpful to set your wood on when using a jig saw. (You can get foldable sawhorses that take up way less space.) I use them for lots of outdoor projects, so they are just generally handy to have. Clamps also keep the wood secured to the sawhorse while you cut so it doesn't wiggle around (again, you'll find lots of other uses for those too). Make sure to use eye protection and the right blade for whatever you are cutting (buy a variety pack). If you want a more general beginner's guide to using a jig saw, watch this video to get started! Like I said, the DIY options really open up once you can use a saw that does straight and curved cuts easily—don't be afraid! So, what do you think? Did I convince you to give it a try? xo. Laura

15 Feb 14:12

Palm Springs Kitty Scratch House (OMG!)

by A Beautiful Mess

How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial)                         If you have pets of any kind, you already know the struggle between pet items that are necessary to have around but are not necessarily your favorite thing to look at everyday. I realized that we had a "scratcher" cat pretty quickly once we got our second cat Mac. At some point I noticed that more and more often he'd been trying to scratch up different rugs or furniture pieces. He needed an outlet for his animal instinct to sharpen his claws—a scratcher! I originally made this scratching post for him, which he used right away (which thrilled me of course), but after only a few weeks, he wouldn't use it anymore and back to the floor and rugs he went. I eventually realized that different cats have different scratching "preferences", and he likes to scratch in a horizontal position the best (rather than up a pole). So I got him a scratcher that sat on the floor, and he used it several times a day for months. I could tell how much he loved it. The only thing I didn't love was the look of having the scratcher out in our living room (near the rug he usually liked to scratch on the most). I bought one that was shaped like a little cardboard house (the cutest one I could find), but, eh, it just looks OK for something that sits in my living room. One day when I was lamenting and wondering how I could improve the little cardboard house, I realized that instead of adding to that house, I should make the perfect house (A PALM SPRING HOUSE) for his scratcher instead! If I built a wooden structure that would fit a standard scratching pad, I could replace the pad as needed but keep the adorable house forever! Problem solved.

How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial) Supplies:
-½” thick plywood sheets
-craft paper for template
-jig saw
-ruler
-clamps
-wood glue
-nails and hammer
-paint of choice for house
-removable wallpaper (optional)
-scratching pad insert
-balsa wood
-X-Acto knife and cutting mat
-metal wire and small wooden ball
-hot glue gun

First I had to decide what shape of house I wanted. There are lots of cute Palm Springs house shapes, but I thought a slightly asymmetrical ranch style would work best for this project. Since Mac already has a scratch house, I took a look at his current house to get an idea of the minimum measurements the house and opening would have to be (once I knew it was a size he would fit in, I could adjust the shape aesthetically from there). I used some craft paper to mark out the minimum size the front of the house would have to be, and then proceeded to add the house details from there. I knew I wanted the side opening to be 9.5" tall and 7.5" wide and the floor of the house had to fit the 9.5 x 17.75" cardboard scratching insert. When thinking of how tall to make the sides of the house (so that the roof would still be tall enough for Mac once completed), I also had to take into account the thickness of the 1/2" plywood piece for the floor of the house and the scratching pad height as well.

How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial)   Since the house is too big to give you a template, I'll give you the dimensions of the pieces instead.

A. 19" long and 12" at highest peak and 9.5" at the lower peaks (back wall)
B. Same but reversed and with windows cut (front wall)
C. 9.5" x 9.5" (closed side)
D. 9.5" x 1.75" (piece on open side to keep scratcher in place)
E. 18.5" x 9.5"  (bottom)

Once I had the pattern for each piece, I used my handy dandy jig saw to cut out each piece. JIG SAW TIP: To make a straight cut with your jig saw, clamp a ruler to your wood (parallel to the line you want to cut) so the metal side guide of your saw can run right up against it and give you a perfectly straight line.

How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial)     How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial)     How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial)     When my shapes were cut, I lined up all the pieces to make sure they fit together, and then used wood glue and clamps to glue the pieces together. Once the glue was dry, I nailed each piece into place. It's a little hard to describe in words exactly how the parts fit together, but seeing the photos should make it self-explanatory.

How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial)       How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial)         You can see that I added a recessed front door area simply by cutting out a strip from the front piece a few inches wide where the door should go and adding another piece behind it that was slightly wider than the opening. Pretty neat, huh?

When I went to cut the two pieces to make either sides of my roof, I realized that by making the roof "slightly asymmetrical", I had apparently made the job of creating the roof a lot harder. If I had made the roof a right angle, I could have had the two boards join up quite nicely with one simply overlapping the other where they came together, but an odd angled roof sent me down to my miter saw to try and figure out what weird angle I had created to try and get them to meet up. I eventually got close enough, but it took a few tries!

How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial)           How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial)           How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial)                        I wanted to add some removable wallpaper to the inside of the house to make it feel more finished, and I should have added the wallpaper before I nailed the roof on. Whoops. Made my job a lot harder later! Once my roof was glued and nailed on, it was time to paint! I chose Valspar Tea Rose and Sherwin Williams Dorian Gray for the paint colors and worked on making and painting some window frames and a door out of balsa wood in between coats.

How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial)            How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial)            Once all the paint was dry, I glued the windows and door to the house and made a tiny globe light for the entryway out of a wooden craft ball and some metal wire? I just painted the ball and drilled a small hole into the ball and into the underside of the roof for mounting (a little super glue in each hole will keep it in place). Such a cute detail! I also painted some pin heads gold, cut the pins in half and hammered them into the front door for tiny doorknobs.

My house was almost done, but what's a Palm Springs house without some giant agave plants flanking the front door, right? A few pieces of balsa wood later, I had the entryway of my dreams! 

How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial)              I measured and cut a little notch into the scratching pad (because of the recessed entryway), inserted the pad, and my scratch house was in business! Now, where's Mac to test it?

How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial)                How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial)                    How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial)                How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial)                 How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial)                     How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial)                       Can you even with this house!?! The pink exterior, the wallpaper inside, the hanging globe light and agave—I love it all! As you can see, Mac totally approves of the house, and it's extra adorable when he takes naps in the house in between scratching sessions. He thinks he lives there. Obviously this is now totally something I don't mind having out in the main living space for all to see. So I would consider this project a success for sure. My only problem is that Mac keeps complaining about the lack of a kidney-shaped pool in the back (to drink out of, of course). So I may have to start on an expansion soon! Would your little kitty like one of these? xo. Laura

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

04 Feb 14:09

Creating an Open Closet System

by A Beautiful Mess

DIY open closet system- for those with tiny bedroom closets!When my husband and I purchased our small ranch home, we knew the bedroom closet wasn't big enough for the both of us. So instead of having a showdown at high noon, or doing something even crazier like becoming a wardrobe minimalist, I decided to implement an open closet system onto one of the bedroom walls. What really happened, though, was that we lived with a hodge-podge bedroom for three years, making us feel like we were actually sleeping in a messy closet each night. Not exactly relaxing at the end of the day.

This January I felt super motivated to start fresh on the opposite side of the room with a neater attempt at creating a nice looking closet system. We also finally changed up the light green walls that came with the house for a calmer color scheme to help make our bedroom a more enjoyable place to relax.

DIY open closet system- for those with tiny bedroom closets!Check out how I went about installing and organizing the closet system below!

DIY open closet system- for those with tiny bedroom closets!Step One: Decide where to place the closet system. I originally had mine on a wall with no windows, which didn't end up working well for our room's arrangement. The reason I had decided to place it there was because it gave me more space for my clothes. But recently I decided to downsize my wardrobe and move the closet system to the opposite wall, incorporating my husband's dresser and space for the window into the arrangement.

DIY open closet system- for those with tiny bedroom closets!Step Two: Determine the height for your top shelf by deciding what's important for your shelf spacing.

Option One: Do you have objects you plan to place on the top shelf? If so, use those to space the top shelf brackets from the ceiling. (Be sure to leave a little bit of breathing room!) Or if you are planning to hang dresses, be sure your longer dresses don't drag on the floor. If you have maxi dresses, I recommend making the lower row of clothes shorter than the top row, so long dresses can be hung on the top rod and hang down alongside the clothes on the bottom rod.

Option Two: If you don't have any specific items you plan to place on the top shelf, then grab a hanger and see what your comfortable reach is. Mark your bracket screw holes where you are comfortable reaching, and move onto hanging the brackets.

DIY open closet system- for those with tiny bedroom closets!Step Three: Align your bracket marks with the studs in your wall. Your wall studs will be approximately 16" from the corner of the wall, or evenly spaced 16" apart from each other. Use a stud finder to be sure you're drilling into a stud. You must fasten the shelf brackets into a stud or their will not be stable. The last thing you want is for your entire closet system to come tumbling down in the middle of a peaceful night's sleep!

Tip: Use a level to make sure each bracket's drill holes are spaced perfectly level with each other.

Step Four: Drill into the marks you made with pilot holes a bit smaller than the size of your screws. (Don't worry, I was only posing for the above photo after I had drilled the holes. Baby wanted held, so baby was held for the posing of this picture! No drywall dust fell on this angel face, but this is a pretty realistic look into how I manage to get a lot of things done with a baby!)

DIY open closet system- for those with tiny bedroom closets!
Step Five: Screw the brackets into place, making sure to only tighten the screws once you've made sure the brackets are level with each other. (You can do this by placing a shelf with a level on top of them.)

Step Six: Trim the rods to fit your allotted space using a pipe cutter. I used aluminum conduits for my rods because they were less expensive than the chrome ones at the store. Twist the (black) end of a pipe cutter as you circle it around the circumference of the pipe, making the blade go deeper into the pipe with each round until the pipe is cut.

At this time, you can cut your shelf boards to the same size as your pipes, or note their lengths to have them cut at the hardware store where you plan to purchase the shelving material. My shelves are standard laminate coated particle board, which is inexpensive and perfectly suited for closet shelving.

DIY open closet system- for those with tiny bedroom closets!Step Seven: I used iron-on banding to finish off the cut edges of my shelves. Super simple, and no trimming needed, since the banding came in the same width as my laminate shelves.

Repeat this entire process with as many closet sections as you need or have the wall space to accommodate. I did one section on either side of my window. Hey—the racks of clothes are like added insulation, right?

DIY open closet system- for those with tiny bedroom closets!Step Eight: Fill the rods and shelves with your clothes and storage accessories. I used white baskets to store items that aren't hung, such as purses, scarves, and other less frequently used items up top, and gym clothes and knits down lower for easy access. It's important for me that this system looks nice, so I used the same style of basket for a neat, organized appearance.

DIY open closet system- for those with tiny bedroom closets!Here you can see a bit how small our bedroom is, with the bed in the photo. The doorway off to the right is my husband, Phil's, closet. I'll share more about what space-saving ideas I used on the opposite wall in a later post. But taking advantage of the entire window wall for a closet system has been such a sanity saver!

DIY open closet system- for those with tiny bedroom closets!Creating this open closet system was also a great opportunity to reevaluate which items in my wardrobe needed to go and which of my favorites could stay. Now the trick is to not be so tempted by the clearance rack in stores so my bedroom doesn't become overwhelmed with more clothes than I need. I've noticed the items I rarely wear will eventually acquire dust, which is a great indication that they probably should be ousted from the gang.

So what do you think? Would you ever install an open closet system in your bedroom? -Mandi

Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

22 Jan 19:00

Weekend Organization Inspiration: Small Hallway Storage Projects That Make a Big Difference

by Dabney Frake

Hallways are awkward spots in our homes, both overlooked and undervalued —they're weird in-between places that we pass through multiple times daily, but we don't actually spend a lot of time there. What they don't have to be is a waste of space; with a little time and effort they can be storage powerhouses.

READ MORE »

02 Feb 17:30

How To Edit Your Bookshelves and Start Loving Your Space

by Taryn Williford
Shh.listen

Bookshelves!

Quite like beautiful jewelry, a well-styled bookshelf will always catch your eye. Every bookcase offers an opportunity to display your favorite books and objets in a perfectly styled gallery of sorts. But–again, just like jewelry–too much can definitely be a bad thing. Overloaded shelves will begin to look cluttered and messy if you're not careful.

READ MORE »

01 Feb 13:30

4 Reasons the Julienne Peeler is a Tiny Kitchen Superstar — The Kitchn

by Apartment Therapy
01 Feb 00:49

Homemade Potato Bread

by Elise
Potato Bread

Do you like potato bread? Potato bread is essentially wheat bread with a mashed potato worked into the dough. It has the most wonderful crust, and the light but firm structure, with generous craggly holes make for the most fantastic toast. (All those nooks and crannies? Perfect butter and jam receptacles.)

With all of the artisan breads available at the markets these days it’s a wonder anyone makes their own bread anymore. But I have yet to find freshly baked potato bread at the market, and making it at home is easy, especially if you have a mixer or bread machine.

Continue reading "Homemade Potato Bread" »

02 Feb 03:41

Next Level Vegan Enchiladas

by Angela (Oh She Glows)

20160129 - Vegan enchiladas with cashew cilantro cream sauce (blog) 00756

Before I get to this insanely delicious recipe, I want to let you know what I’ve been up to this month! Some of you have seen on Snapchat that I’ve been behind the lens each day for a very special photography project—which includes shooting more than 60 brand-new recipe photos! It’s been pretty crazy around here and I haven’t had a day off in ages, but it’s really coming together beautifully. Eric even helped me create a dedicated photography space in our empty dining room and it’s been nice to have a set area to shoot (why did it take me so long to do this?). We’re gearing up to share this new project with you late winter, and I appreciate your patience as things will continue to be a bit slower around here as I complete the photography project this month. If you want to see all the behind-the-scenes action, follow along on Snapchat (username: angelaliddon).

I’m also happy to announce that we’re gearing up to kick off a brand-new newsletter! It’s going to be packed with all kinds of beautiful photos, recipes, life updates, tips/tricks, and sneak peeks/insider info (such as on the aforementioned project!). Since it has been so long since I sent out a newsletter (probably 1.5 to 2 years), we’re starting fresh and asking you to sign up again. This is because we want to make sure our subscribers truly want to receive our newsletter; the goal is to connect with you in a meaningful way — not to spam unsuspecting inboxes! I’m all about quality over quantity. Once you’ve signed up you will get an email asking you to confirm your subscription, and you’ll need to click the link to activate the fun. The first newsletter is expected to go out this month with a special Valentine’s Day theme (va va voom!), so keep your eyes peeled! Sign up here:

For those of you who have been asking if my next cookbook has a release date, I’m thrilled to tell you that it will release on September 6, 2016. Not too long to go now! You can now pre-order the book in Canada via Amazon.ca and Chapters/Indigo (many more retailers to come). We don’t have a cover yet, but of course I will share the preview with you as soon as I can!

As you can see there are a lot of fun things coming up in 2016. More on all of this very soon…

This recipe is honestly one of my favourite entrees in a very long time and I’m so excited to share it with you. This is the recipe to make when you want to blow your friends and family away. Trust me on this one. It’s a spin-off of my favourite vegan enchilada recipe from way back in 2011. Why the heck has it taken me so long to make another? Well, to be honest, I didn’t think I could improve upon that recipe, but I was wrong…very wrong. This version is even more flavourful, satisfying, and robust thanks to the addition of smoky roasted red peppers, umami-rich sun-dried tomatoes, and my favourite homemade enchilada sauce. I top it all off with a decadent cashew cream that’s flavored with cilantro, garlic, and lime. Yowza. This is winter comfort food at its best!

veganenchiladas

Next Level Vegan Enchiladas

Vegan, refined sugar-free, soy-free

These mild- to moderate-heat enchiladas will change your life! A delicious homemade Enchilada Sauce smothers a sweet potato, roasted red pepper, sun-dried tomato, and black bean filling wrapped in soft tortillas. After baking, I top it all off with a decadent Cilanto-Lime-Garlic Cashew Cream, green onion, cilantro, red pepper flakes, and chopped avocado. This dish will blow your taste buds away, I can promise you that! Please note that the prep time includes making the enchilada sauce and cashew cream in addition to the enchiladas. Yes, it's a labour-intensive recipe for sure, but you can save time the day of by prepping the cashew cream and enchilada sauce the day before.

Yield
5 to 6 enchiladas
Prep Time
1 Hour
Cook time
45 Minutes
Total Time
1 Hour, 45 Minutes

Ingredients:

For the enchiladas:
  • 2 cups (260 grams) peeled and chopped (1/2-inch dice) sweet potato
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, diced (2 to 2 1/2 cups)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup jarred roasted red pepper, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
  • 2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 (14-ounce) can black beans (about 1 1/2 cups), drained and rinsed
  • 2 1/2 cups Homemade Enchilada Sauce (1 batch)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
  • 5 to 6 medium/large soft tortilla wraps
For the toppings:

Directions:

  1. Prepare the Homemade Enchilada Sauce and soak the cashews for the Cilantro-Lime-Garlic Cashew Cream before you begin.
  2. Lightly grease a large rectangular baking dish (at least 8x12 inches). Set aside.
  3. Add the chopped sweet potato into a medium pot of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 9 to 15 minutes, uncovered, until fork tender. Drain and set aside. You can also steam the potatoes until tender, instead of boiling.
  4. In a large skillet, stir together the oil, onion, and garlic and sauté over medium heat for around 3 to 5 minutes until the onion softens. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  6. Add the chopped roasted peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, cooked/drained sweet potato, spinach, and black beans. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes over medium-high heat, until the spinach is wilted.
  7. Stir in 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of homemade enchilada sauce, followed by the lime juice, chili powder, cumin, and salt. Adjust seasonings to taste, if desired.
  8. Add 3/4 cup of Enchilada Sauce onto the bottom of your casserole dish and spread it out evenly.
  9. Scoop 3/4 cup of the sweet potato and black bean filling onto each tortilla. Roll up the tortilla and place it, seam side down, in the casserole dish. Repeat for the rest. If you have any leftover filling, you can spread it on top of the tortillas. Spread all of the remaining enchilada sauce on top of the tortillas until they are completely covered in sauce.
  10. Bake the enchiladas, uncovered, at 350⁰F for 20 to 25 minutes, until the sauce is a deep red colour and the enchiladas are heated through.
  11. While the enchiladas are baking, prepare the Cilantro-Lime-Garlic Cashew Cream.
  12. When enchiladas are ready to serve, add half of the cashew cream into a baggie, snip off the corner, and “pipe” the sauce all over the enchiladas. Alternatively, you can simply spread or dollop the sauce on top of each enchilada. Garnish with chopped cilantro, avocado, red pepper flakes, and green onion. Serve any remaining cashew cream on the side with a spoon.

Tips:

  • Make it kid-friendly: Omit the cayenne and red pepper flakes.
© copyright 2016 Oh She Glows. All Rights Reserved.
01 Feb 17:03

taco torte

by deb

the taco torte

I have forever seen recipes on TV and around the web for something called Mexican Lasagna, a giant layered casserole that contains pretty much everything we love and cannot get enough of — tortillas, beans, salsa, cheese and then some — but couldn’t bring myself to make one because I make bad decisions based on trivial things, such as the name, which made me cringe (must we blame the people of Naples or Mexico for the unholy ways we Frankenstein their cuisine?) and the fact that I hadn’t exactly run out of excuses to eat tortillas, beans, salsa and cheese yet and thus didn’t need to enlist another one. Don’t worry, Deb is going to see the error of her ways in the next paragraph.

... Read the rest of taco torte on smittenkitchen.com


© smitten kitchen 2006-2012. | permalink to taco torte | 111 comments to date | see more: Appetizer, Beans, Photo, Tex-Mex, Vegetarian, Weeknight Favorite

29 Jan 20:00

Pom Pom Oversized Floor Pillow Tutorial

by A Beautiful Mess
Shh.listen

For Junie? I'm thinking a reading corner with the rug and big pillows!

Make your own comfy floor pillows with this easy tutorial over at www.aBeautifulMess.comI spend a lot of time on the floor at my house! If I'm not crafting on the floor, I'm crawling after a child or reading a story. This can make for sore knees or a numb rear end. So we've recently added a few floor pillows to make things a little cozier. As much as I appreciate a soft place to perch, I also love an excuse to sew something that makes our space even prettier and thought you might want to know just how easy it is to create a few oversized pillows, too.

Floor Pillows with Pom PomsWhen picking out fabric for your floor pillows, you want to think about color and durability. I used quilting weight cotton because I loved the patterns and colors they came in, and I knew the cotton was pretty durable. The navy print is from one of Alison Glass' collections and the black and white is by Melody Miller for Cotton + Steel. These were purchased online from Indeed Fabric if you're interested in some great print options.

If you know your pillows will get put through the ringer, you might want to check out the print options available in canvas or upholstery weight fabrics. You can also make these from canvas drop cloths and print or paint your own designs if you're not finding something you love on the market. 

Floor Pillow SuppliesSupplies for a Rectangular Floor Pillow:
-1 yard of printed cotton fabric
-1 skein of yarn (130 yards)
-2 lbs of polyester fiber fill
-sewing machine
-straight pins
-scissors
-needle and thread
-pom pom maker (optional)

Supplies for a Square Floor Pillow:
-1 1/2 yards of printed cotton fabric
-1/3 skein of yarn (40 yards)
-2 lbs of polyester fiber fill
-sewing machine
-straight pins
-scissors
-needle and thread
-pom pom maker (optional)

FP1If you're making a rectangular pillow with pom poms on the short ends, make twelve pom poms using a designated pom pom maker or another method. Make sure you leave at least three inches of tail length to stitch to your fabric later. If you're making a square pillow, you'll only need four pom poms.

Fp2Fp3Rectangular Pillow

Find the shorter end of your yard of fabric and fold it in half with wrong sides together to create a rectangular shape. Pin your pom poms just to the top layer of fabric with the tails sticking out to the edge and pom poms sticking in about 1" from the edge. Repeat for the opposite end. Again, be sure to only pin them to the top layer of fabric.

Square Pillow

Cut your fabric to get two pieces that measure 27" x 27". Place one of the cuts of fabric on the floor with the right side facing you and pin a pom pom in each corner with the tail facing out and the pom pom facing in. 

FP4For the rectangular pillow, unfold your fabric and stitch a line down the pom pom edge so that you're stitching about 1/2" from the edge. I suggest backstitching (stitching in reverse) over the yarn tails to add extra security. Remove your pins. Repeat for the opposite end.

For the square pillow, stitch over the pom pom tails in each corner a few times using the backstitch button (or reverse), but you don't have to stitch all the way around the perimeter.

FP5For the rectangular pillow, fold your fabric in half with the right sides facing each other and carefully match up your two sides. Pin them together. Be sure your pom poms are tucked in and out of the way. Repeat with opposite end.

For the square pillow, place the second cut of fabric on top of the first with the right sides (printed sides) facing together. Match up your corners and edges and pin together. 

FP6For the rectangular pillow, stitch a second line down the length of your edge but stitch it between the first line and the pom pom so that your first line of stitching doesn't show when you turn it right side out. Trim your tail ends, remove pins, and repeat on the opposite end.

FP7For the rectangular pillow, line up your two long sides to match and pin them together. Stitch down from the top corner about 1/3 of the way and backstitch. Then stitch from the bottom corner up about 1/3 of the way and backstitch. This will leave you about 7" of space open near the center to add stuffing.  

For the square pillow, start in the center of one edge and stitch all the way around about 1/2" from the edge. Stop stitching when you get about 6" away from where you started so you have space to stuff your pillow. 

FP8For both pillows, remove your pins and turn right side out. Be extra careful with your pom poms as you move them through and then push out the corners with your thumb. Fill with polyester fiber fill and stitch closed using a blind stitch with a needle and thread.

Floor Pillow 2Floor Pillow or Bed PillowFLoor Pillow DIY for A Beautiful MessFluff your pillows a bit for an even shape and then find a good book or a craft project to keep you busy and test them out! The rectangular pillow does double duty as an oversized bolster pillow for a queen or king-sized bed but is also really fun on a twin. Not only are these great for extra company or impromptu lounging, they instantly add that extra layer of something special to help a room feel even more inviting. If you've been wanting to learn to sew so you can make even more lovely things for your home and wardrobe, check out our sewing e-Course, Sew With Us. -Rachel

Credits//Author and Photography: Rachel Denbow. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.