Accent walls that hide TVsIt's been a while since I shared any updates from around my home with you guys. Lately I feel like I have been on a roll! I've been making lots of progress in SOME of the rooms in my house, but most of them still don't feel "done" to me. If that's even a thing. :) But, just wanted to share some progress with you all in our living room. 

Tv living room progressSo I call this our "TV living room" because we have two spaces in our house that function like a living room. One part of our house is a big open-style space that has our kitchen, dining room, my office, and a living room in it. But then there's this other space that we decided to turn into the "TV living room" because it's a fairly dark space (like a movie theatre), and it's separate from the other spaces. So someone could be watching a show but not really be disturbed if someone else is in their home office sewing a late night quilt or something... not that this happens at our house often. Oh wait, yes it does. Ha!

If you think the layout sounds confusing, check out my empty house tour video, as it helps to really show the spaces better than I can explain in text. 

When we bought the house, this room was already really great. All we did was paint the walls white and move in. Eventually I swapped out the light fixture, which was the first big thing that made this room feel more like us. (Also it feels like Beetlejuice to me too – sort of a spider up there!)

Creative ways to hide a TV Creative ways to hide a TVThe second thing is I pretty recently painted this big black stripe on the wall behind the TV. This serves a couple purposes. First, it helps to hide the TV when it's not turned on. I don't really have a big desire to 100% hide my TV in my house because I don't mind seeing them in spaces. But I don't really love when they feel like the most prominent thing in the room. So I like how this helps to blend the TV into the wall, unless it's turned on and we're watching something. 

But the second thing this black accent stripe does is it really showcases the artwork that we hung just above the TV. This is a painting my mother created for my last house, and I'm only too happy that it's getting an even better spot in our new house. Yay!

Emma's living room progress Progressions in photographyAbove the couch I hung a series of photos that shows off an erupting geyser in Iceland. I took these photos while we were visiting there last year. I think Iceland is one of my favorite places I've ever visited. So I've ended up decorating our home with a number of photos from that trip!

Now I must admit, something about the couch area feels a bit off to me. Like maybe our couch is too small for the space? Or maybe I should move it off of the wall some, like maybe it's too far back. I really like this couch as it folds out into a futon, and Trey and I honestly pull it out so we can snuggle and watches movies together at least a couple times a month – so I like the futon feature. But this part of the room really just doesn't feel quite there to me – but it's coming along for sure. 

I think we for sure need a coffee table in front of the couch. I had a DIY idea, but I'm wondering if the room has too much DIY already? Hmm. 

Yellow arm chairI already shared the bookshelf on our back wall and also how I had this armchair reupholstered with a bright yellow fabric. I've been trying to protect it from dark jeans by adding throw blankets now and again. So far it's holding up OK but probably not as well as the last fabric (although I like the yellow color, so whatever!). I also might take the seat cover off and either wash it or have it dry cleaned once a year just to keep it feeling bright and fresh. 

You can see my home office in the background here too. 

Emma's living room progressWe had the cowhide rugs in our last house, and they seem to hold up the best in our house compared to other rugs. Our dogs don't have messes that often (they have a dog door), but when they do, I seem to have much better luck cleaning these cowhides than I usually do with other rugs. So we decided to layer those with an inexpensive basket weave style rug underneath to make this space feel more cozy. 

That's about it. This room still needs some work, but I'm a pretty slow decorator who also tends to change her mind fairly often. So I'm not really in a big hurry. :) Thanks for letting me share! xo. Emma

Room Sources: TV stand/DIY, Light fixture/eBay, Couch/UO, Black chair/flea market, Yellow chair c/o Thrive Furniture, Basketweave rug and metal glass top side tables/Target, Cowhides/vintage + eBay, Tree stump side tables/DIY, Black and white lamp/vintage, Gold lamp c/o Joss & Main, Magazine holder/DIY, Curtains/IKEA, and Large black and white artwork is an original Elizabeth Chapman

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. 

Vibrant floral photo pillow DIYMy childhood summers smelled like freshly cut grass and marigolds, and every time I get a whiff of them while walking through the garden center of my favorite hardware store, it takes me right back. I've got a few marigolds planted on my back porch, but I wanted to find a way to enjoy them even after their blooms faded. So I decided a floral flat lay pillow was exactly what I needed to add a fun reminder of those carefree, childhood summer afternoons to our space. 

To ensure a beautifully printed pillow, we partnered with our friends at  Canon USA to show how detailed and vibrant these fabric printed photos can be. I knew my marigolds would offer a beautiful texture when grouped tightly together as well as a saturated hue. I also wanted to experiment with daisies and a succulent for a variety of patterns, and I love how well the details showed up. My PIXMA iP8720 printer always prints rich color on photo paper, so I wasn't too surprised that it handled fabric like a pro. 

Vibrant floral photo pillow DIY Vibrant floral photo pillow DIY   Supplies:
-1 roll of cotton twill photo fabric
-Canon PIXMA iP8720 photo printer
-1/4 yard of canvas fabric per pillow
-1/4 yard of white cotton fabric if your other fabric isn't very thick (optional)
-12 0z. bag of Poly-fil
-sewing machine
-hand-stitching needle-thread
-straight pins 
-iron and ironing board

Behind the scenesDecide what kind of flowers or other pattern you want to photograph, and then arrange them on a white or colored surface in even, natural light. You can use a white foam board to bounce light off from a dark angle to help diminish shadows, but I had a white wall behind me and a white bedspread on another side, so I didn't use one in this photo. If you want a small pattern, shoot from further away and if you want a larger, detailed pattern, go for a close up. I took a close up of my succulent, and then cropped it tightly before using Photoshop to edit it. The black and white effect really lets the pattern steal the show. 

Succulent photoVibrant floral photo pillow DIY    I cut off an 8.5" x 11" sheet of fabric from my roll and printed one succulent print, one daisy print, and three marigold prints. I turned the first two into small, decorative pillows, but I wanted to make more of a bolster pillow with the marigolds.

The fabric has a paper backing so it fits into the printer just like standard computer paper. Once it has printed, peel the paper backing off evenly so you don't stretch out your fabric. 

Flower photoI laid one marigold print on top of the other with the printed sides facing each other and pinned along one of the long edges, making sure my photos were even. Then I stitched down that line about 1/4" from the edge. 

Vibrant floral photo pillow DIY     Vibrant floral photo pillow DIY      I then repeated that step by placing the third marigold photo on top of one of the prints, lining up my edges, and pinning down the long side. I made another stitch with 1/4" seam from the edge. Then I folded it back and used my iron to press both of the seams flat. 

The next step from the fabric paper manufacturer asks to rinse the fabric for 30 seconds or until the water runs clear. Don't make the mistake of rinsing it longer than that or it'll really fade. You could also use 3M Scotchguard Fabric Protector to ensure you don't have to rinse your ink off too much and that it won't rub off on your clothing or bedding. 

Vibrant floral photo pillow DIY       I then laid my white cotton fabric down, placed my canvas fabric on top of it so that it was right side up, and laid my marigold fabric on top of the canvas so that it was right side down. Then I pinned the perimeter of the three fabrics together to make a sandwich. If your canvas or fabric for the back is thick, you don't need the extra white fabric, but I did need it to help with the daisy pillow because the fabrics I used were a little see through. 

Stitch almost all the way around your perimeter but leave an opening large enough to fit your fist through. This is where you'll add your stuffing later. Trim off your edges and clip corners just above the stitch line.

Vibrant floral photo pillow DIY        Vibrant floral photo pillow DIY          Turn your pillowcase right side out and push your corners out. Iron flat for a finished look. Stuff with Poly-fil until you're happy with the thickness.

Blind stitchUse your needle and thread and stitch your pillow up with a blind stitch. This will close it without affecting the lines of your pillow like it would if you used your sewing machine. 

Vibrant floral photo pillow DIY           Fluff your pillow and find a happy place for it on your couch or your bed! 

Vibrant floral photo pillow DIY            I used a gold pleather material for the succulent pillow and love how much fancier it felt! 

Vibrant floral photo pillow DIY             Floral photo pillows!Floral pillow DIYMix and match a trio for a housewarming gift or a graduate heading off to college. Maybe try out other floral patterns or even favorite snacks. A flat lay of your favorite donuts? Yeah, that could be dangerous if it's the first thing you see each morning. A kale pillow? Ummm... -Rachel

Author: Rachel Denbow. Photography: Rachel Denbow and Janae Hardy.

Smoky Mushroom and Black Rice Sushi (via abeautifulmess.com)I'm back with more homemade sushi – you can see some other rolls I've made this year here and here. But even if you are not a sushi fan or don't see yourself going to the trouble of making sushi at home, I would still recommend you stick around to hear about the mushrooms that go inside this roll. They are smoky, sweet and just super flavorful. They would be amazing on top of a burger, in a grilled cheese sandwich, or maybe even on top of pasta. In a way, I think they almost taste similar to bacon (but not EXACTLY, just similar), so really anything you would add bacon to would probably work well with these mushrooms. 

Smoky Mushroom and Black Rice Sushi (via abeautifulmess.com) Bacon sushi doesn't sound all that appetizing to me, but I promise these are delicious! The smoky mushrooms are paired with avocado and thinly sliced sour apples with a thin radish slice on top. You get a little smoke, you get a little sweetness, add some crunch, and we're in business! 

I experimented with using black rice (sometimes called forbidden rice) in place of traditional sushi rice just to add some extra nutrition and also color. But if you have a big bag of sushi rice already in your pantry, you certainly could substitute. 

Forbidden riceSmoky Mushroom and Black Rice Sushi, makes 4-5 (maki) rolls, serves 2 as a meal

6 oz. portobello mushrooms (approx. 5-6 baby bellos)
1 scant tablespoon liquid smoke
1 tablespoon soy sauce (or Tamari)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
salt and pepper
1 cup black rice + 1 3/4 cups water
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or rice wine vinegar)
1/2 granny smith apple
1 avocado
4-5 sheets of nori or soy wrappers
2 large radishes
soy sauce, wasabi paste, and pickled ginger for serving

Wash and slice the mushrooms into thin strips. In a small bowl, stir together the liquid smoke, soy sauce, and maple syrup. Add the mushrooms to a ziplock bag with the sauce. Seal and toss so everything gets coated well. Allow to sit for at least two hours or overnight (or during the day while you're at work, etc.). 

Smoky marinated mushrooms Bacon mushroomsCheck the rice package for directions and begin cooking the rice. This will probably take around 30 minutes. 

In the meantime, cook the mushrooms with any remaining marinade in a nonstick pan over medium/high heat for 8-12 minutes. Season with a little salt and pepper. You want the excess liquid to be bubbling some as this cooks. It's going to seem quite soupy at first, but as it cooks the liquid will reduce until nearly gone and all that remains are cooked mushrooms with a thick sauce coating. Remove to a plate. 

Once the rice is cooked, remove to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. If you notice any excess liquid as you transfer it from pot to bowl, go ahead and gently tip over your sink to remove that. Allow to sit covered for 10 minutes. You don't want the rice to dry out but letting it sit will help it get a little more sticky. Then stir in the vinegar. 

Slice the sour apple and avocado very thin. Now on a sushi rolling mat, or a kitchen towel lined with plastic wrap, place a sheet of nori. Top with rice and spread into a thin layer. The rice should be sticky but not as sticky as sushi rice. That's OK – it will still roll up nicely. Then add mushrooms, apple, and avocado. Then roll up. Continue until you've used all the rice. Then slice each roll into pieces. 

By the way, I have it on my list to make a sushi rolling video for you guys sometime, as I feel that would be both fun to make and probably helpful to link when I share these posts. So I promise that is coming – hopefully sooner rather than later. :)

Smoky Mushroom and Black Rice Sushi (via abeautifulmess.com)  Clean the radishes and slice very thin. I think a mandoline works best here. Top each piece with a thin slice of radish just before serving. Happy at-home sushi making! -Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman

Double braid tutorial (click-through for the full tutorial)-1In my humble opinion, the best braids are also the easiest – especially when you are doing the braiding yourself! I love little braiding "cheats" and faux braids that give you the look of more complicated styles with half of the work. This double braid is definitely one of those easy cheats! It's a fun style that, even if you're new to braiding, you should be able to achieve, and it pays off with a unique look.   Layered double braid tutorial (click-through for the full tutorial) Step One: Separate your hair into two sections and tie the top section up.

Step Two: Make a simple three strand braid using the hair you left down.

Step Three: Pancake your braid to make it as full and wide as possible.

Step Four: Bring down the hair you tied up before and make another simple three strand braid.

Step Five: Use a few bobby pins to position your top braid in the middle of your bottom braid. Tie the two braids together with an elastic.

Layered double braid tutorial (click-through for the full tutorial)That's it! This is one of the easiest braid styles I've done this summer, but it still looks really cool. The only "trick" is to hide your bobby pins so it looks like one braid. I'm already imagining more ways I can play with this style – maybe a fishtail braid on top instead of a regular one? Or keeping each braid more even in style to mimic a traditional four strand braid... so many possibilities! Cheers, Rebecca.

Credits//Author and Photography: Rebecca Stice. 

3 Natural Products I Am Loving (click through for links)Hi, everyone! I'm taking over Elsie's favorite natural products series this week since she is busy finishing up a new eCourse she's been working on. Trying to go a less toxic route over the past year can be challenging at times, so it's always exciting to share and talk about new products I love whenever I find them!

3 Natural Products I Am Loving (click through for links)It's been a little challenging to find good nail polishes that I like (especially in colors that I like). So I was thrilled when I discovered this Aila 8-free nail polish line. The polish feels thick when applied (in a good way), and you can add the Better Than Gel topcoat for an amazingly gel-like finish and feel. I love this mauvey Petunia shade that adds a little bit of color but is still subtle enough to act as a neutral. I'm hooked!

3 Natural Products I Am Loving (click through for links)I'm a little bit obsessed with face washes. There's nothing that feels quite as good as a clean face at the end of a long day, and this enzyme cleansing oil and makeup remover is a great way to wash away the daily grime. It's a very light feeling cleanser, and it's the first time I've tried using a clay cleansing sponge before, so that's been kind of a fun experience! The sponge is a lot gentler than I imagined (it's kind of a hard material until you get it wet), but it really helps to remove all the makeup. You can get 3 months of use out of one sponge. I do like to take off my eye makeup with coconut oil first, but this is great for the rest of the face.

3 Natural Products I Am Loving (click through for links)Savannah told you guys about Bite Beauty in her post about her natural lipstick favorites, and this Cotton Candy color is the perfect bright photo shoot pink! I tend to wear lighter colors most of the time, but it’s always a good idea to have a bright shade on hand for a punchy photo or just as a mood pick-me-up if you know what I mean. The cool thing about Bite is that their ingredients are all food grade, so you could actually eat the lipstick (which is good because you kind of do anyway as it wears off, right?), and you can get it at Sephora. So you can try all the shades and find your favorite like I did.

3 Natural Products I Am Loving (click through for links)I have to admit that I do kind of love having that little pink heart sponge always hanging up in my bathroom now – so cute! I personally love reading product roundups like these, and I hope you guys have found a few new items that you’d like to try as well! What natural products have you been into lately? xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. 

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