Watercolor Phrase Wall Art DIY (click through for tutorial)           I love craft projects that can also double as wall art once you're done—you get your craft time in for the day, learn a new artistic skill, and hang a cute finished piece on your wall to admire at the end. If the idea of watercoloring your own art scared you in the post title, don't worry. You only need a minimal amount of watercolor skill for this, and if you're a total beginner, this is a great project to learn on and play around with. I consider my watercolor skills to be pretty sub-par, but this was fun even for me to complete. And the tricky looking phrase in the middle of the watercolor? You're going to trace it, dude, so don't let that get you down either.

Watercolor Phrase Wall Art DIY (click through for tutorial)              We're working with our friends at Pentel and using their awesome watercolor set on this project, which is all the more appropriate on Earth Day! Many of Pentel’s products use recycled materials and are designed with the environment in mind. You can see on the packaging exactly how much of each item is recycled. Anyway, it's always fun to learn a company you love is doing its part. You can read more about their Recycology commitment here

Supplies:
-watercolor paper
-Pentel Watercolors, set of 24
-masking tape and board (or flat surface)
-light box or access to a window for tracing
-art masking fluid 
-paintbrushes

Watercolor Phrase Wall Art DIY (click through for tutorial)           First you want to choose a phrase for your wall art. Print out your phrase in a font that you like and in the size you want it to appear on your paper. I would choose a more cursive/handwritten looking font because the more the letters connect, the easier it is to pull off the masking fluid when you're done (this font is a great choice). Put your printed phrase under your watercolor paper and use a light box or hold it up to a window during daylight to see your phrase through the watercolor paper. If your final print size will be smaller than the watercolor paper (like an 8x10" size), draw a box the size of your final print first, and then center the phrase in the middle of that area. If you are using a light box and have your paper flat, you can skip the tracing step and just use your paintbrush to paint in the phrase with the art masking fluid. If you're using the window, use a pencil to first lightly trace your phrase onto the watercolor paper, then fill in the traced phrase with the masking fluid. Allow the masking fluid to dry until it feels only slightly tacky.

Watercolor Phrase Wall Art DIY (click through for tutorial)   Tape your paper down onto a flat surface like a clipboard or piece of wood to keep it flat while it dries and use a brush, cup of water, and watercolors to create splashes of color over and around the phrase. I find it works best to wet the area you want to color first with plain water. Then dip your brush in water again and pick up some color on the palette to transfer to the paper. I basically just chose a few colors that I liked together (that also make pretty colors when they mix with each other) and painted five splashy corners around the phrase in different colors. Then I let them mix together at some point in the middle. Add a more concentrated paint (use less water on your brush) to increase the color and use plain water on a brush to help two colors blend together where they meet up. It's actually a pretty easy look to accomplish once you play around for a few minutes. Just work on blending the colors with more or less water and push and pull the color where you want it to go.

Watercolor Phrase Wall Art DIY (click through for tutorial)   Allow the watercolor to fully dry, and then rub the masking fluid near the beginning of the phrase to start to pull it away from the paper. It's a lot like rubber cement glue, so just roll it into a little ball that you can pick up and start to pull on. It should pull up really easily and reveal a perfectly white phrase underneath. So cool! I did love the warm tone colors in the first one I tried above, but the yellow was a bit too light of a shade to really show the phrase once it was revealed. So I redid it again with some darker cool tones so the white would stand out more.

Watercolor Phrase Wall Art DIY (click through for tutorial)
Watercolor Phrase Wall Art DIY (click through for tutorial)
Watercolor Phrase Wall Art DIY (click through for tutorial)   I love the freeform watercolor look that surrounds the phrase, and I extra love that it's so easy to create. This is a great project to do with a phrase or saying that's special to you or as a gift for someone else too! I love things that are really customizable as far as color choice and size are concerned. This would be a great project to do on a really large scale as well for a big impact. The masking fluid is such a fun tool to play with, and I can't wait to think of lots more projects to use it for soon! xo. Laura

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

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What's the best gold spray paint? If there's one thing we're passionate about, it's gold spray paint (only half serious, but seriously....). 

We often spray paint things for both blog DIY and personal projects. It's the quickest, easiest way to freshen up or personalize something from a thrift shop. It's also a great way to make things match your space! But why am I rambling about the virtues of spray painting. You guys know! :D So, let's talk about what brands of paint work the best because they aren't all created equally. If you've ever needed 5+ coats of spray paint to cover a surface, you know how annoying it is to let it dry between each coat and how gummy and thick it can be. The better the paint, the less coats you should need! 

We've tried them all. And our favorite spray paints are quick coverage (for minimal coats) with a beautiful finished color. Today I thought it would be fun to quickly share our top two favorite gold spray paints.

Our favorite ---> 

What's the best gold spray paint?   The first place winner goes to Valspar's Brilliant Metallic gold spray paint. The first time we tried this stuff, we were pretty blown away at how quickly and how evenly it covered objects. Smooth surfaces or bumpy surfaces—it didn't seem to matter to this paint. Things that I thought for sure would need multiple coats only needed one. So that also saves on the amount you have to buy for a project. It's a win-win! Make sure to let the paint totally dry (for even a couple of days if you can) before really handling the piece, otherwise you'll get a few fingerprints in the paint. The gold tone is a warmer gold and it's not a super shiny finish, so it's better for larger items that you want to look gold, but not too gaudy. If you want a shinier surface to your gold, then I would suggest...

Runner up ---> 

What's the best gold spray paint?  This Krylon Premium Metallic spray paint is a pretty close second to the Valspar paint. In fact, it covers just as well as the first place winner, but it's got a much shinier finish and almost looks reflective on smooth, flat surfaces. Depending on the finish you want, that could be good or bad, but it looks amazing on small objects and makes them appear much more expensive (it's what I used on the planters in the photos). Again, let the paint really dry to avoid marring the shiny surface with your fingers, but you'll be happy with the results. 

Mwahhh! Mmmwah!! 

If you have strong opinions about spray paint, air'em out here in the comments! xx. Elsie 

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

Purr-fect! Kitty coaster DIY (click through for tutorial)           As you may or may not know, I am the official "cat lady" here at the blog. I'm mostly the designated CL because (a.) I'm the only one around here that actually has cats, and (b.) it's totally true. My vet recently sent my cat Charlie a birthday card, and instead of thinking, "Cat birthday card? So dumb!" I thought, "There's obviously been a huge mistake, her birthday isn't until next month! I'll save it for her..." Being the only cat person, I'm usually alerted to any adorable cat-related cuteness, and recently Elsie showed me some precious ceramic cat face coasters that I just about died for. One of the cats had a black and white pattern painted on it that made him look just like a cat I had growing up named Jade (the sweetest Tuxedo cat you'd ever meet), and I thought I should recreate the kitty coaster idea and make them look like my personal favorite felines instead (Jade and my current kitties Mac and Charlie). So fun!

Purr-fect! Kitty coaster DIY (click through for tutorial)Supplies:
-oven bake clay
-kitty coaster template (right click to download)
-X-Acto and plastic clay knives
-nonstick mat and rolling pin
-acrylic paint
-clay sealer

Purr-fect! Kitty coaster DIY (click through for tutorial)         1. Roll out some clay that is at least 5" X 6" big and about 1/4" thick (I use acrylic rulers on either side that are the same height so my clay has an even thickness).

2. Print out the kitty template in the supply list and cut out the middle of the kitty so the outline remains. Use the outline as a template on the clay to trace around the edge with an X-Acto knife or clay knife. Cut the paper circle template on the dotted line and place it on the middle of the clay kitty. Cut out the circle (you can also use a circle cookie cutter here if you have one about the same size).

3. Roll out more clay and cut another kitty face using the paper template, but don't cut a hole in this one (the kitty with the hole will go on the bottom and help create an indent where your cup can rest).

4. Place the kitty without the cutout on top of the one with the hole, and line up all the edges.

5. Smooth the two edges together with the rounded end of a clay knife (or your fingers) to hide the seam.

6. Place the coaster on a piece of parchment paper so it's ready for baking. Then use the pad of your pinky finger to press down the middle of the top layer all the way to the edge so it sinks to the bottom and you have a nice round indent where you can set your cup. Bake according to instructions and allow the coaster to completely cool.

Purr-fect! Kitty coaster DIY (click through for tutorial)          Now comes the fun part! Use acrylic paints to decorate your kitty face however you like! Give it stripes, spots, sleepy eyes...the sky's the limit! Allow the paint to dry fully before sealing with a clay sealer, and you're ready to let your kitty coaster get to work!

Purr-fect! Kitty coaster DIY (click through for tutorial)             Purr-fect! Kitty coaster DIY (click through for tutorial)            So cute! You can also reverse the two layers and put the one with the hole on top for a crisp edge (like the white kitty) instead of a rounded sloped edge if you'd like. I made the grey coaster with the same process but blended together grey and white clay for a more marbled effect (learn to marble clay here). For a finishing touch, glue some felt or cork circles on the bottom of the coasters so they'll slide on a table a little more smoothly.

I love having these little faces around every time I get a drink. They are so happy and sweet and remind me of their real life muses who are usually trying to dip their paws into my drink to see what's inside. I may be imagining it, but all my usual liquids taste a tiny bit better when I'm using these coasters. Makes purrr-fect sense to me! xo. Laura

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

Cookies and Cream Baked Donuts (via abeautifulmess.com)   I must admit that I am a little partial to yeasted donuts (which these are not). But one thing that baked donuts have going for them is they are SO much faster to make. These can be ready to solve your donut craving in about thirty minutes...unless you're the type of baker who listens to podcasts, browses the Internet, and then distractedly starts cleaning or organizing your kitchen while mixing up the batter. Then it might be more like 45 minutes to an hour. :)

Cookies and Cream Baked Donuts (via abeautifulmess.com) These are cake-like in that the crumb bakes up soft and spongey. They are not overly dense like some cake donuts tend to be. And then they get topped with a silky (but not overly sweet) cream cheese glaze. Honestly the hardest thing about making these is trying not to eat too many Oreos in the process. :)

Chocolate baked donutsCookies + Cream Baked Donuts, makes six (double if you'd like a dozen).

3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cocoa
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1/2 tablespoon vinegar (I used apple cider, but distilled white is good too)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Glaze:
3 oz softened cream cheese
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
4-5 centers from Oreo cookies (use the cookies for the top!)

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa so no clumps remain. In a separate bowl stir together the buttermilk, oil, vinegar, and vanilla extract. Combine the wet ingredients in with the dry and stir until combined. 

Slightly spray a donut pan with nonstick cooking spray. Fill with the batter. Bake at 350°F for 14-15 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan for a few minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

Cream cheese glazeFor the glaze, simply whisk together all the glaze ingredients. You want your cream cheese to be very soft so that your glaze will be smooth without big clumps of cream cheese. Taste and add more powdered sugar if you like. Chop up the remaining cookies for the tops of the donuts.

Cookies and Cream Baked Donuts (via abeautifulmess.com)  Once the donuts have mostly cooled (they can still be a little warm, but not hot as that will melt the glaze), pour the glaze over the tops and sprinkle with cookie crumbs. Serve along side a tall glass of milk. That's an order. :) Enjoy! xo. Emma

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

Elsie's home tour (click though for the video tour!)Hi, friends! Today I'm excited to share my video home tour with you. I filmed this on a random Sunday when it was actually sunny here in Missouri (it's been rainy and cloudy a lot lately). It's not perfect and it's really long, but I'm so happy I got to film this little time capsule of our home. I hope you enjoy it! :) 

  

Entryway: Patterned Photo Mat DIYOur White StairwayCustom Stenciled WallTable

Living Room10 Ways To Display Square PhotosAbstract Painted Pillows, Textured Planter, Brass Planters, Hanging Rattan Chair, SectionalRug, My Mom's Paintings

Dining Room: Light FixtureTier Rope PlanterTips for Painting a Dining Room Table, Dining Room Wall Hooks, Stained Wood Wall, DIY Dining Room Table, Bar Cart.  

Kitchen: Hand Stamped Clementine Wall, Wooden Cutting Board DIY, Kitchen Organization, Colored Kitchen Cabinets

(new) Dining Room: Record Frame Instagram Wall, Reclaimed Wood Table and Benches. (Full photo tour of this room coming soon!) 

Playroom: A-Frame Tent. The rest of the projects were featured in our book A Beautiful Mess Happy Handmade Home

Bedroom: Hand Printed PillowsTV Wall Before/After, How to Style a Corner Gallery WallI Like Boring Things Print (free download), Gold Glitter Jewelry Dish, Couch and Loveseat, Coffee Table

Other home posts: My Space to Learn, Laundry Room TourHow to Stock a Bar Cart, Guest Room Cart, Painted Patio Tile, Planting a Cacti Garden, Honeycomb Shelves, Handwriting Statement Wall, Mudroom Organization, and a link to our book A Beautiful Mess Happy Handmade Home 

Thanks so much for reading/watching! Feel free to ask me anything in the comments and I'll do my best to answer! xx. Elsie 

Credits// Author and Photography: Elsie Larson, Video and Music: Jeremy Larson. 

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