Cactus Outline Pillow DIY-template included! (click through for tutorial)            My house has a few themes going on at once: pink, pastels, white fluffy fabrics, cats, and cacti! As much as I love an actual cactus, I do also have an affinity for cactus-related products as well. I love the line-drawn quality of Elsie's light up cactus marquees and thought that style would translate nicely to a pillow DIY too. If you're worried about your freehand painting skills, don't be! I've made a template for you to make it easy peasy. So let's make a cactus pillow!

 Cactus Outline Pillow DIY-template included! (click through for tutorial)Supplies:
-white cotton fabric
-colored cotton fabric (for the back side)
-pillow insert (the template size as is works best with a 17-18" square pillow)
-black fabric paint
-various size craft brushes
-wax paper
-sewing machine
-Cactus Template (right click to download)

Cactus Outline Pillow DIY-template included! (click through for tutorial) First you'll want to print out your template onto the four pages it contains and tape your pages together to create one large outline. Cut your white fabric into a 19 x 19" square so that you'll have an 18" square pillow once you sew it with a 1/2" seam allowance around the edge. Place your template under your white fabric and use a thin marker to trace the design onto your fabric on top (you may need to hold it up to a window or use a light box if your fabric is thick).

Cactus Outline Pillow DIY-template included! (click through for tutorial)  Cactus Outline Pillow DIY-template included! (click through for tutorial)  Once your design is traced, place some wax paper under your fabric so the lines won't bleed through to your work table as you paint. Add a small amount of water to some black fabric paint and use a scrap piece of your white fabric to test out a few painted lines. You want the paint thin enough that it's relatively smooth going onto the fabric, but not so watery that the line starts to bleed out from itself as you paint it.

Cactus Outline Pillow DIY-template included! (click through for tutorial)    Once you get a good consistency, use whichever size brush you want your line thickness to be and simply trace the brush overtop of your pen lines. Experiment with different brush sizes and shapes to see which you like best for your lines. Let your paint completely dry. 

Cactus Outline Pillow DIY-template included! (click through for tutorial)      Cactus Outline Pillow DIY-template included! (click through for tutorial)      I'm making an envelope style pillow. So cut your back fabric color into two 19 x 12" rectangles and fold and sew down a 1/2" seam across the top of each rectangle. Overlap the rectangles seam side up so the right side of your halves are facing your painted pillow half and pin in place.

Cactus Outline Pillow DIY-template included! (click through for tutorial)        Sew a 1/2" seam around the edge of the pillow and cut the four corners of the pillow at an angle as show above (it makes the corners a little neater when it's right side out).

Cactus Outline Pillow DIY-template included! (click through for tutorial)         Cactus Outline Pillow DIY-template included! (click through for tutorial)         Flip your pillow case out the right way and press your seams flat with an iron. Add your pillow insert, and you're ready to display your work!

Cactus Outline Pillow DIY-template included! (click through for tutorial)           Cactus Outline Pillow DIY-template included! (click through for tutorial)           See? Not too hard right? I like that I made the back pink since it adds a peek of color when you view the pillow from the side or above. I think the "drawn" quality of the print has a fun feel to it, and you could even use embroidery thread instead of paint if you wanted to do some needlework with a similar look. It's certainly not hard to place this guy near a fellow cactus in my house (they are everywhere!), but if you're a little wary of the prickles of a real cactus, well, this soft pillow may be just the thing for you! xo. Laura

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

DIY Lip Balm- click through for the full tutorial!         Hi there! We're Britta & Carli from Twinspiration, and we're thrilled to joining the ABM team, as we've been longtime fans. Every month we'll be bringing you small & useful DIY projects that you can conquer in one day! We've been blogging for over three years now and what was once just a hobby has turned into our greatest passion. We hope you enjoy our projects here on A Beautiful Mess!

Let us just say that this is one of our favorite projects for a couple of reasons–it’s super easy and useful. What more could you ask for in a DIY project?! You’ll see that most of our DIYs fall into both of those categories. We love a good, easy project. Once in awhile we enjoy challenging projects that push our DIY skills, but easy is our jam.

We’ve made these balms a few times now, and we love how easy it is to switch them up. For summer months, we love mixing in grapefruit essential oil, but this time around, we went with peppermint since it just felt right for wintertime.

DIY Lip Balm- click through for the full tutorial!Supplies (for two lip balms):
-gold tins
-1 tablespoon coconut oil
-1 tablespoon beeswax pellets
-1 teaspoon almond oil
-essential oils (we used peppermint)
-beads/decorations
-E600 glue 

Once you have everything together, here’s how you make the lip balm:

Step One: In a small dish mix together the coconut oil, beeswax pellets, and almond oil.

Step Two: Microwave for 1 minute, stir, and then microwave for one more minute. We microwaved the ingredients on 100% heat. Caution—dish will be hot!

DIY Lip Balm- click through for the full tutorial! Step Three: Now remove dish from microwave and immediately add 20-30 drops of your essential oil. This may seem like a lot, but you need it to be strong enough to cut through the smell of the coconut oil.

DIY Lip Balm- click through for the full tutorial!  Step Four: Next, pour the mixture into your gold tin. Stop pouring when you reach the top of the tin. No worries if you pour too much, it’s pretty simple to clean up! Allow to cool for 15 minutes, until solid. We like to let ours cool for at least an hour to be on the safe side, but they do solidify fast. Tip—work over wax paper for easy clean up! 

DIY Lip Balm- click through for the full tutorial!   Step Five: Last but not least, glue your beads to the gold tin lid using your E6000 glue. We like to use beads with different textures to make it more interesting. Any pattern will do.

DIY Lip Balm- click through for the full tutorial!                     DIY Lip Balm- click through for the full tutorial!             DIY Lip Balm- click through for the full tutorial!                    DIY Lip Balm- click through for the full tutorial!               DIY Lip Balm- click through for the full tutorial!                 Overall we love how these little balms turned out and the process was way easier than expected. We’ve found they make perfect gifts for your friends & family... our mom uses hers every day! Make a bunch and give out for birthdays, everyone will love them. -Britta & Carli Garsow

Credits // Author and Photography: Britta & Carli Garsow. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

Wooden Animal Photo Holder DIY (click through for tutorial)       Now that I am in the third trimester of my pregnancy (yay!), I can feel the nesting instincts kicking in stronger than ever. So far most of those instincts have been directed towards cleaning, organizing, and spending hours and hours online looking up baby-related items, but I also wanted to make sure that I made a few items for our baby's nursery as well.  Since we will all be "getting to know each other" for a while after she finally gets here, I thought it would be a sweet idea to make her a little photo holder that introduces her to all the members of her new family. I have lots of animal planters, bookends, and figurines around the house, so using a cute wooden animal as the base of the holder seemed like a good way to continue the theme into the nursery as well.

Wooden Animal Photo Holder DIY (click through for tutorial)Supplies:
-wooden animal figurine (I used this adorable wooden unicorn)
-Canon PIXMA TS8020
-brass wire (a thicker gauge like 10 or 14 would work best)
-drill with drill bits
-super glue with a thin nozzle (to get the glue down in the hole)
-wire cutters and needle nose pliers

Wooden Animal Photo Holder DIY (click through for tutorial)           I partnered with our friends at Canon USA on this project, and the first thing you'll need to do is to prepare your photos for printing. Depending on the size of animal you have, you'll probably want to size them smaller or larger to fit the scale, so you can even cut out pieces of paper to a size that looks right, and then measure how big those papers are. Print your photos onto photo paper, and then cut out each photo. For this step I used my new Canon PIXMA TS8020! This new size is more compact, so it fits great in my office space but still produces top quality prints. Plus it comes in 4 different colors and can even print 5x5 squares!! 

Wooden Animal Photo Holder DIY (click through for tutorial) Decide how many holes you want (so how many photo holder sticks you want to come out of your animal) and where you want the holes to be placed. Use a marker or pen to mark the spots for drilling. You can also put painter's tape or scotch tape on the animal and make your marks on that if you want to eyeball the placement first without marking the actual animal. Use a drill with a drill bit the size of your wire to make each hole (about a 1/2" deep hole will do).

Wooden Animal Photo Holder DIY (click through for tutorial)  Put a drop of super glue down into each hole and cut sections of wire that are 1-2" longer than you want their final height to be. Insert your wire sections into each hole.

Wooden Animal Photo Holder DIY (click through for tutorial)  Straighten out your wires and curl the top 1-2" of each wire around a pen or pencil to create a loop of several layers. Use your wire cutters to cut any excess length if needed and make any wire adjustments with your needle nose pliers.

Wooden Animal Photo Holder DIY (click through for tutorial)  Slip your photos in between the loop layers of each wire, and you're ready to display your new photo holder!

Wooden Animal Photo Holder DIY (click through for tutorial)        Wooden Animal Photo Holder DIY (click through for tutorial)  Wooden Animal Photo Holder DIY (click through for tutorial)  Awww, so sweet! This is perfect for a nursery or kid's room, but it's totally something you can make for any age. Don't be afraid to repaint or stain an animal first as well if it's a great shape and size but the wrong color or look. That's another great way to customize it for your space. I've still got a long way to go in getting the nursery ready, but in the meantime, I'll set this little guy on our den shelf until he's got his new home set up. Exciting! xo. Laura

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

 

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cookies (via abeautifulmess.com)I'm filing this one under inspired by childhood favorites. I was definitely one of those picky-eater kids who likely drove my parents completely insane as I refused to eat much besides peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I am not proud of this era of my life, but I must admit that peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are still totally OK in my book. :) 

These cookies are the dessert version, with a cookie base somewhat resembling white bread, and then a peanut butter and jelly jam glaze top. They pair well with milk, as you can probably imagine. 

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cookies (via abeautifulmess.com)  They are also a twist on the classic black and white cookies. I grew up watching Seinfeld after school and always loved the black and white cookie episode. Surprise, the girl with a sweet tooth likes the episode that revolves around being in a bakery. Ha! And the very first time I visited NYC when I was nineteen or twenty years old, I promptly walked into a random corner bakery and bought a black and white cookie like a total tourist. No shame, no regrets. I mean, who could regret buying a cookie? 

If you want to make a homemade version of the classic, then check out the two recipes I used to create this twist version. They both rule and come from sites I love. :)

Peanut butter and jelly cookie recipePeanut Butter and Jelly Cookies, makes 12-15
Adapted from Annie's Eats and Smitten Kitchen Black and White Cookies 

2 cups cake flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder (aluminum-free)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 cup whole milk

For the glazes:
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons jelly or jam
2-3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

In a medium size bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk well to remove any clumps in the cake flour, set aside. 

In a large bowl combine the softened butter and sugar, cream well. Then stir in the egg and extracts. Then stir in the milk until combined. Now add the cake flour mix to the bowl and stir until your cookie batter forms. The batter will kind of be a cross between cake batter and most cookie batters, soft but won't spread much as you spoon it onto a baking sheet covered in parchment or a baking mat. 

CookiesBake at 350°F for 18-20 minutes. The bottom edges of the cookies will begin to brown and the centers should look cooked (and not gooey). Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack. 

In the meantime make the glazes. For each, in a microwave safe bowl or small pot, combine 3 tablespoons of water and 1 tablespoon of light corn syrup. Stir together well as you heat (or, if microwaving, cook for 30 seconds on high and then stir to combine well). Then stir in 1 cup of powdered sugar. Then stir in either 2 tablespoons of jelly or peanut butter, and if the consistency seems too thin and runny, add another tablespoon of jelly or jam. 

GlazesFlip all the cookies over, as you want to glaze the flat bottoms. Add some wax paper under the cooling rack to catch any run off glaze. Then spoon the glazes over half of each cookie. 

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cookies (via abeautifulmess.com) Enjoy! Personally, I like to get a little bit of peanut butter and jelly in each bite, but you can eat these however you like. Just a couple notes here:

-I used a no-sugar added blueberry jam that I love, but if you want your jelly glaze to have a super uniform and smooth consistency, then you might consider going with the real deal childhood grape jelly. I liked the little specks of blueberry you could see in my glaze, and I didn't want to buy a different jelly just for this one recipe, but if the look bothers you, just use something more uniform in texture. 

-You may have some leftover glaze after icing all the cookies. I worked on this adaptation a couple times and found it hard to make just the right amount of glaze. This was as close as I got. The original recipes have you make twice this many cookies, which is great if you want to make that many, but I was aiming to make around a dozen so worked up glaze recipes that corresponded. See what you think and let us know how it went for you. 

Thanks and happy baking! xo. Emma

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

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