Natural Hair Two-Strand Twists

How to Get Natural Hair Two-Strand Twists (click through for tutorial)Hi, guys, LaTonya here! Lately I feel like the question I get asked the most when out and about is: "How'd you get your hair like that?!" Surprisingly, I receive the question from other natural-headed women the most. I've noticed that most of the women I've met have yet to find the right products for their hair, or a go-to style for their hair. Both of these things take time and money, but once you've found what's perfect for you, it's smooth sailing from there on out!
Depending on the day, month, and season, my hair will vary in how "big" it will get, and for me that's okay, most of the time. Thankfully, I can count on my curl pattern to be the same if I follow these exact tips I've outlined here for you. More importantly, by following these steps, I've turned the dreaded "wash day" into a small nap activity! I can hear the " No way!" from the other side of the screen. Seriously, it's true! ;)
Here is how I created my two-strand twist out!
How to Get Natural Hair Two-Strand Twists (click through for tutorial)
When beginning any real style, I always co-wash my hair. In other words, I always wash my hair with conditioner only. This helps keep the moisture locked in. Shampoo strips your hair of vital nutrients, and it's quite difficult to get it back. My natural hair is evidence of what I'm putting in and on my body. For me that means great food, loads of water, and great natural products as well. (Not the hair dye. Nothing about my color is natural, I'm a sucker for light brown.) 
I've noticed that my hair looks so much better in the end if I let it air dry a bit prior to styling. If you have thick hair like mine, this will work wonders for your final style. Also, instead of washing and styling your hair at night, try doing it during the day. You want to let your hair dry out in the twists as much as possible, and it's hard to do so when you're sleeping on freshly twisted, damp hair. 
How to Get Natural Hair Two-Strand Twists (click through for tutorial)
These are a few of my go-to products, and they are what I will use for this twist-out.  
-Wide tooth comb 
-Hair ties
-Curl Mousse
-Miss Jessie's Curly Pudding
-Raw coconut oil 
How to Get Natural Hair Two-Strand Twists (click through for tutorial)   How to Get Natural Hair Two-Strand Twists (click through for tutorial)    After your hair dries a bit, it's time to part it into four sections. You can do so by creating a t shape in your hair. I personally prefer a side part instead of a middle part. So after creating my t, I usually bring more hair over. It's important to part your hair the way you want your hair to lay after you take them out. 
How to Get Natural Hair Two-Strand Twists (click through for tutorial)
Take your coconut oil (or any base moisturizer you use for your hair) and rub it in your palms. After rubbing, you will want to rub your hands in the hair that's out, and then gently untangle it. At this point you can also use your wide tooth comb for gentle detangling, but I always recommend using your hands if they do the trick. Natural hair thrives when it's left alone and isn't pulled on or pulled out in a rough manner. 
How to Get Natural Hair Two-Strand Twists (click through for tutorial)
Then, take a small piece of your hair and separate it into two pieces. Grab a finger tip worth of your styling products. In my case—mousse and curly pudding. Take the tip of your finger and just rub it on your hair from root to tip, and then begin your twisting. 
You want to always try and have smaller twists in your hair if you are trying to create a more defined curl pattern. If you have thick hair and large twists, they will surely come undone and leave you with an uncurled fro. 
When I reach the tips of my hair, I like to grab a little more coconut oil and styling cream to moisturize and lock the ends. 
How to Get Natural Hair Two-Strand Twists (click through for tutorial)       How to Get Natural Hair Two-Strand Twists (click through for tutorial)
Continue to separate hair, moisturize, apply products, twist, and reapply products at the end to lock each twist. 

How to Get Natural Hair Two-Strand Twists (click through for tutorial)         Continue following the same steps with each section. By the third section, you will probably be ready to give up and go on about your merry way with half a head. I know the feeling! At that point I sit and take a break. I try and think about how much money and time I'm saving in the long run by not having to go to the hair salon every few weeks. I think after a few times, your hands get used to doing the style, and they automatically just do the work without you really paying attention to what you're doing. 

How to Get Natural Hair Two-Strand Twists (click through for tutorial)          And you're finished twisting! I like to keep my twists in for the rest of that day and the next day to make sure they're all the way dry. Normally, I will throw on a scarf or a hat, or wear them as is.

 The next day is so incredibly easy. All you have to do is moisturize your hands with your moisturizer of choice and undo your twists.
After taking out your twists, grab your comb and just tease your roots a bit if they're falling a little flat. 
How to Get Natural Hair Two-Strand Twists (click through for tutorial)           This style will last a good week or so for me, with barely any maintenance except a good moisture and large re-twist here and there. It prevents me from touching my hair too much. And it makes my busy days so much easier because I have one less thing to actually do. 
I've fallen in love with this style over the last few months, and I feel like my hair is much more manageable since having this style. With that said, every type of hair is different. We all respond differently to various products, but from what I've gathered, this style is beautiful on almost all grades of natural hair and lengths too! If you have natural hair, and you haven't tried this twist out, I hope you'll give it a go! -LaTonya
Credits // Author: LaTonya Staubs, Photography: Peter Staubs. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.
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Thin Crust Pizza Dough (Yeast-Free!)

The best yeast-free pizza dough recipe (click through for recipe)       If you've ever seen the amazing Bill Murray movie What About Bob?, you already know his theory of the world that claims there are only two kinds of people in it—those who like Neil Diamond and those who don't. Well, I don't know exactly how I feel about Neil Diamond, but that's also how I categorize people, except I substitute ND with pizza. And even within the group of people who like pizza, there are those who like it and those who love it. I really love it. Actually, if I were brave enough, I would admit to you that I had it yesterday for lunch, ate pizza rolls later as a late night snack, and I'm having it again today for lunch. It just always sounds good!

I like all kinds of pizza, but thin crust has a special place in my heart, and I wanted to find a fast and easy thin crust recipe so I could make pizza from scratch more often. If you're wanting to cut down your pizza dough making time, a yeast-free option is the way to go, and I tried a few options before I found one that I think is the best.

The best yeast-free pizza dough recipe (click through for recipe)       Thin Crust Pizza Dough (Yeast-Free), makes two 10" pizzas.
Slightly adapted from this thin crust recipe

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil

Mix your flour, baking powder, and salt together in a mixing bowl. Mix your water and olive oil together in a separate small bowl and add into the dry mixture as you stir. When it's almost combined, use your hands to gently knead the dough together. Add small amounts of extra water if needed. You want your dough to be dry enough that it doesn't stick to your hands, but wet enough to stay together when you squeeze it.

The best yeast-free pizza dough recipe (click through for recipe)       Once the dough is the right consistency, divide it into two balls, cover, and let rest for 10 minutes.

You can roll out your dough between two sheets of wax paper, but I actually like using a lightly floured counter instead (I think I can get it a little thinner that way). You want to get the dough as thin as possible, but shoot for around 1/8" thick.

The best yeast-free pizza dough recipe (click through for recipe)       Turn your oven to 425˚F and lightly grease a baking sheet or pizza pan. Place the dough on the sheet and prebake your crust for about 10 minutes or until the crust just begins to brown slightly.

The best yeast-free pizza dough recipe (click through for recipe)       Add your sauce, cheese, and pizza toppings, and bake your pizza for another 10 minutes or until the cheese and crust are golden brown. Slice and serve immediately.

The best yeast-free pizza dough recipe (click through for recipe)       The best yeast-free pizza dough recipe (click through for recipe)       Your crust should be thin and crispy, so adjust your prebaking times as needed to get that perfect crunchy bite. I'm so glad to finally have an easy and quick thin crust option available for when that pizza craving hits. Which, as you already know, is pretty often. Are you team thin crust or thick when it comes to pizza? (Hint: There's no wrong answer!) xo. Laura

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

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Washi Tape Wall Decor

Make a removeable wall design with squares of washi tape! (click through for tutorial)          It's probably no secret that we love washi tape here at ABM. We use it in projects all the time (like here and here), and we even have our own line of it now too! We're working with our longtime supporters Chronicle Books on this post, who sent us a copy of Fun with Washi! The book is filled with washi ideas we hadn't thought of, and it inspired us to make our own version of their pixelated washi heart, but we decided to do the heart as a wall decal on a much larger scale. Since the washi can be removed whenever you like, this is also a great decor idea for renters and dorm rooms.

Make a removeable wall design with squares of washi tape! (click through for tutorial)           Supplies:
-2" wide washi tape (this brand is the best washi for walls)
-1/4" washi tape 
-X-Acto knife
-metal ruler
-cutting mat

Make a removeable wall design with squares of washi tape! (click through for tutorial)  First you'll want to use the 1/4" tape to make a horizontal grid of lines that are far enough apart to fit your wide washi tape between them.

Make a removeable wall design with squares of washi tape! (click through for tutorial)  Make as many lines as you need to achieve the height that you want (mine is about 40" tall). You'll notice that I made the lines shorter towards the bottom and top so I wouldn't waste any thin tape in places where I wouldn't be putting any squares.

Make a removeable wall design with squares of washi tape! (click through for tutorial)     Next I added some vertical lines to the grid to keep all the hearts in line vertically as well. I marked every other square so I only had to use half the tape, and each space fits two squares with a 1/4" space between them.

Make a removeable wall design with squares of washi tape! (click through for tutorial)  To cut a lot of squares at once, use a large cutting mat and lay several strips of tape back to back horizontally on the mat. Make sure you can see the measurement lines on the top and bottom edge of the mat. Use your X-Acto knife and ruler to cut vertical lines every 2". (I cut down every 2" because that's how wide my tape was, but if your tape is different, then cut your lines using whatever measurement that tape is). You should be able to peel off each square if you just lift a corner with the X-Acto knife.

Make a removeable wall design with squares of washi tape! (click through for tutorial)  All I had to do from that point on was fill in the heart starting with one square at the bottom middle position. Once the shape was as wide as I wanted it, I went straight up, made the little "humps", and back down in at the center. If you want to make this exact shape, you can always just count how many are in each row and go from there. Once your squares are attached to the wall, just pull off the thin tape and stand back to admire your results. 

Make a removeable wall design with squares of washi tape! (click through for tutorial)         Make a removeable wall design with squares of washi tape! (click through for tutorial)        Make a removeable wall design with squares of washi tape! (click through for tutorial)       It's just too cute if you ask me! Make sure to choose a good brand of washi (like the one I linked in the supplies) so you don't have to worry about doing all that work just to have it fall right off the wall. Of course, if you ever move, get sick of it, or have a change of "heart", just peel it off, and you should be good to move on to your next idea! xo. Laura

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


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Petite Pumpkin Pies

Petite pumpkin pie1I'm counting down the days until I get my fill of turkey, stuffing, and especially all those delicious pies. I love pumpkin pie, most pies actually. So I'm sharing with you a pumpkin pie recipe that is really easy to make!

Plus, these petite pumpkin pies are a nice little treat to send your Thanksgiving guests home with. If you attach a small tag with the name of your guests written on it, it would make a great place card too. It's a really sweet way to have a little party favor and place card in one! 

Petite pumpkin pie1Petite Pumpkin Pies, makes about 12-14 3" pies.

Ingredients For Pie Filling:
15 ounces canned pumpkin

14 ounces condensed milk
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt

Pie fillingTo make the pie filling:
In a large bowl, mix all the filling ingredients together.

Ingredients For Pie Crust:
3" aluminum pie tins (purchased from here)

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup ice water

Petite pumpkin pie1Step One: Cut the stick of butter into 1/2" cubes and chill for about 30 minutes to an hour.  

Petite pumpkin pie1Step Two: Combine all dry ingredients in a food processor and mix thoroughly. Slowly add in chilled butter by pulsing. Add the water in a little bit at a time, pulsing between each addition. Pinch together mixture. Tip: If it sticks together, the dough is ready.

Petite pumpkin pie1Step Three: Pour out dough onto a clean work surface and lightly knead together. It may take a bit of work to get all pieces together and formed into a ball. Wrap the ball with plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Petite pumpkin pie1Step Four: Preheat the oven to 425°F. On a clean, floured surface, roll out the ball of dough until 1/4" thick. Place pie tin upside down on the dough, and cut out a circle approximately 1 inch wider than the circumference of the pie tin. Do this for each pie tin. 

Lightly coat each tin with flour (or butter) to help prevent crust from sticking. Place dough cutouts into each tin and gently press down until it is resting on the bottom and sides of the tin. If needed, cut away any excess that is hanging over the edge of the pie tin. Using a fork, press it all around to crimp the pie edges. 

Petite pumpkin pie1Step Five (optional): With excess dough, roll it out until 1/4" thick, and cut out small leaves with a leaf cookie cutter. With a knife, create veins in each leaf. 

Petite pumpkin pie1Step Six: Fill each pie tin with 1/4 cup of pie filling, and place a leaf cutout in the center. Place all the pies on a baking sheet and bake at 425°F for about 10 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 325°F and allow to bake for another 8-10 minutes. Once done, allow to cool on a wire rack for about an hour. 

Petite pumpkin pie1Petite pumpkin pie1Step Seven: Cut out an 8 1/2" x 4 1/4" piece of parchment paper and a 10" x 10" piece of fabric for each pie. Center the parchment paper on top of the fabric, center the pie on the parchment paper, and fold the paper to cover the top of the pie. Fold in the opposite corners of the fabric over the top of the pie, then take the remaining ends and knot them together. Insert a fork, and it's ready for gifting!  

Petite pumpkin pie1Petite pumpkin pie1Petite pumpkin pie1If you don't have time to make homemade crust, store bought pie crust would work too. It would certainly save you time, but either way, the result is delicious. If pumpkin pie isn't your thing, use some other filling.

There are so many ways this gift idea can be customized. I also think wrapping them up in vintage handkerchiefs would be another thoughtful idea. These petite pies would make great year round gifts by just switching out the filling for whatever is in for that season. Happy pie making! -Rubyellen

Credits // Author and Photography: Rubyellen Bratcher. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess Actions

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Tin Punched Votive Candles

Tin-punched candle holders— they're practically free to make!I have absurdly fond memories of childhood crafts. Paper bag puppets, woven baskets, pop-up cards, and yes, even colorful beans glued to a paint-stirrer in the name of a Mother's Day gift for my poor mom. My heart raced with each craft I made. But perhaps my favorite craft was taught to me by my third grade teacher, Mrs. Kendall. She brought in canning jar lids and templates and allowed us to tin-punch ornaments as Christmas gifts for our parents. I loved it!

Recently I saw these charming tin-punched candle holders at Crate and Barrel and immediately drifted off to that exhilarating third grade craft day. I thought making my own version of these candle holders would be terrifically nostalgic, not to mention a great almost-free way to decorate our holiday table.

Make these charming candle holders— they're practically free!Supplies:
-tin can (opened and emptied)
-gold and white spray paint (or multi-surface acrylic paint)
-tape (preferably duct tape)
-printed template (I simply printed out large letters to spell a word, though you can find lots of tin-punch patterns with a quick Internet search.)

-mallet or hammer
-punch or nail
-brush (if not using spray paint)

Make these charming candle holders— they're practically free!Step One: Remove the labels and adhesive from the cans, thoroughly clean each can, then dry completely. I removed the label adhesive with a mixture of olive oil and baking soda.

Step Two: Fill each can with rice and water to the top. Freeze completely. This will provide a stable can for punching, preventing the can from denting or collapsing.

Make these charming candle holders— they're practically free!Step Three: Tape a printed template onto the can by wrapping the can with duct tape. The tape will not stick to a frozen can, but the tape will stick to the paper—hence the wrapping of the can. Use a punch tool or nail to hammer nail-sized holes along the border of the template. Make sure the holes are at least the diameter of a standard nail, or the light will not properly show through the finished candle holders.

After punching the rice and ice filled cans, defrost them in a container of warm water before proceeding to the next step. You don't have to completely defrost— just a few minutes in the warm water will allow you to dump out the rice ice cubes.

Tip: Punch both sides of the can if you plan to place the candle holders down the center of a table— but if you do, plan for the letters being in a different order!

Step Four: Prime the cans. Then paint the inside with gold paint and the outside with white (or the color of your choice). It's important to prime the cans to ensure the adhesion of the paint. While the image above shows brush painting, I found through trial and error that spray paint worked best. I sprayed the insides of the cans with gold spray paint, then after that dried, turned the cans upside-down and sprayed with light coats of white paint.

Tin-punched candle holders— they're practically free to make!Safety Tip: It's safe to burn real candles inside of the finished candle holders, though you should make sure the spray paint has cured for 24 hours. If you are planning on using these before that time, I recommend using LED votives or tea lights.

Tin-punched candle holders— they're practically free to make!This is a great craft to do with children age 9+. You can spell out any word that holds special meaning for your family, or maybe print out some decorative tin-punch templates you find online. Stars or snowflakes would be so charming! -Mandi

Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited with Stella from the Signature Collection.

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