AlterYourAlphaBack-to-school season has been reminding me of how quickly my kids are growing, and that I need to not only be taking more photos of them, but to be making more scrapbook pages! I've been scrapbooking a lot more than art journaling this year, and I've really enjoyed getting our memories compiled for the kids to flip through and enjoy over and over again.

I recently noticed my scrapbook alpha sticker stash was almost exclusively black or white, but I wanted something a little different for these pages. So I came up with three ways to make them more fun. These specific stickers are from the scrapbook section at Target and are matte so they took pen and watercolor really well. The two pen techniques would likely work on a variety of matte stickers from different brands, but I can only attest to the watercolor for this particular brand.

CrissCrossALPHAFor the first page, I used my Medium Messy Pen for a thicker line and just drew a crisscross pattern across each letter in my word before adhering it to the paper. You could easily do a diagonal stripe as well. 

PolkaDotAlphaI used the same pen for my next work and just free-handed a polka dot pattern. It helps to do the patterns before you remove them from the sticker sheet so you can get a clean look on the edges. 

WaterColorAlphaFinally, I experimented with a watercolor set (also from Target) and loved the results. Since I was using a large black and white photo, I opted for rainbow colors to help them stand out. I was worried about the stickers warping, but I used a minimum amount of water and they didn't wrinkle or tear at all. These are some tough stickers! 

AlphaExamplesI also used some paper polka dot confetti and plastic hearts from previous Messy Box subscriptions as embellishments on these pages. 

Altered Alpha ImagesI love finding new ways to customize product! It makes it feel like I'm getting a little more bang for my buck when I can make one little change and get a completely different look. How else would you alter your alpha to get a whole new look? -Rachel

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

Tulum day1Beach day Beach day

Happy Saturday, guys! Last weekend I got to spend some time in Tulum, Mexico with friends. It was a short trip, so we really only had two full days there to soak in everything we could. Some of you saw me posting on IG and asked if we'd be doing a city guide. I think it was just too short of a trip to get enough info for a guide together, but I'd be happy to share what we did and loved with you anyway in case you're curious. 

Ziggy'sBeach dayTulum day1 Tulum ruinsBeach picTrey at the beachTulum gangTulum day1  Emma and TreyGitano signOur first day we spent some time on the beach. There was a LOT of seaweed this time of year, so we mostly just hung out in the beach bars but didn't swim much. I really liked Ziggy's, which is where that photo with all the hanging basket-looking chandeliers is from. We also spent about an hour or so visiting the ruins nearby, which was totally worth the short drive. And for dinner that night we went to Gitano, which was really good and had the best atmosphere. We stayed at an AirBnB while we were there. It was a very short distance from pretty much everything, so it was very easy to get around in our rental van. :)

PopsiclesCenotesDos ojos in tulumSwimming in cenotesUnderwater photographyDos ojosSnacks!Tulum in AugustOn our second day we got breakfast, did a little shopping and then got Paletas (at Flor De Michoacan). It was a good morning! Then we drove to Dos Ojos, which is one of the Cenotes in the area. We spent most of the afternoon there swimming and hanging out. In the parking area there was a guy with a cart selling a sort of crepe-like wrap that had bananas and Nutella. So, obviously I got that on the way out. Then we had dinner on the beach at Posada Margherita, which is a charming little Italian spot.

Like I said, it was a short, but awesome trip! I LOVE Tulum and would highly recommend staying there if you are planning a trip to Mexico and don't want to stay on a resort. xo. Emma

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

Great use for extra tiles—make magnets! (click through for more)      I can have fun window shopping for just about anything—clothes, furniture, appliances...It doesn't really matter what it is, I just love to browse. With moving into a new house, I've been spending so much time in home improvement stores lately that I've certainly done my fair share of window shopping down those aisles, which leads to ideas for future projects. Walking near the tile section is one of my favorites, and I always end up dreaming about the marble hexagon tiles. While unpacking my kitchen and art boxes, I thought it might be time to upgrade my magnets for our fridge and storage lockers, and suddenly those tiles popped into my head. I knew they would be perfect to create small geometric magnets.

Great use for extra tiles—make magnets! (click through for more)    You can really use any small tile you want for magnets. Most of them come on a mesh sheet, so you'll have to separate them off the sheet first.

Great use for extra tiles—make magnets! (click through for more)    Once you cut a few free, you should be able to pull the mesh off pretty easily. It may leave a little residue on the back, but it shouldn't get in the way.

Great use for extra tiles—make magnets! (click through for more)    Just use a strong glue to attach magnets to the back of each tile, and you're ready to hold up all your photos and cards for all to see!

Great use for extra tiles—make magnets! (click through for more)    Great use for extra tiles—make magnets! (click through for more)    If you have a bulletin board you could also glue these to a tack and use them as marble pushpins as well. (I saved some tiles to make some of those once I get my art room set up). Since you get so many tiles on a sheet, you'll have plenty to make as many magnets as you want. This was a way easier tile project than last time when I had to rent a tile saw—no power tools required here! xo. Laura

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

Brass Light Fixtures (on any budget!)In my humble opinion, brass fixtures are both the most exciting thing to shop for (they're SOOOO pretty) and the most frustrating (if you're on any kind of budget). They can be pretty pricey! But I have to say I don't always think that is a bad thing. Light fixtures are one of those categories in home decor where you really get what you pay for, so I consider them worth saving up for and sacrificing other things for. As I've been hunting for the perfect fixtures for our new home, I've often chosen less expensive or DIY solutions on other items to be able to afford a fixture because I think they will be the highlight of a room and something we will appreciate for years to come. It's also worth mentioning that many of these companies are producing products that are handmade in the USA.

Today I am here to share beautiful designs at any price range, starting at under $100. Can I get an amen? 

No?

OK...let's get started! 

Brass Light Fixtures (on any budget!) under $100 $100 and under 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11 (plus the mysterious one with no number—oops) 

Brass Light Fixtures (on any budget!) $100-$250$100-$250 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12/13/14/15 (*oops! here's the cute globe sconce with no number!

Brass Light Fixtures (on any budget!) $250-$500$250-$500 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12/13/14 (#8—the first thing I purchased for our new home was a set of these for the living room!)

Brass Light Fixtures (on any budget!) $500-$1000$500-$1000 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10

Brass Light Fixtures (on any budget!) $1000 and beyond$1000+ 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12/13/14 (#7 is Jonathan Adler, but I can't find a link. Let me know if you know the source) And here's the opening image link

Truth be told, I had to cut myself off in this price range because there are a lot of amazing fixtures and I could have found about fifty more. Haha! Can we all just ooh and awe in unison? (Thanks—I needed that...)

Don't forget cool lightbulbs!Just one more thing! Light bulbs. No matter how inexpensive or super expensive your fixture is, cool light bulbs will make it look better and the wrong ones can really cheapen the look. They have a decent selection of Edison-style bulbs at places like Home Depot or Lowes. But for really unique bulbs, my go-to is Schoolhouse Electric and Rejuvenation. *Image above via Schoolhouse Electric

Haha! I hope that was as fun for you as it was for me. I had SO MUCH fun writing this. See something I missed? Leave me a comment with your favorite brass light fixture. I always learn cool stuff from you guys! Don't forget to check out our favorite DIY Brass Light Fixtures as well. xo- Elsie 

ps- If you like this post, please pin it! 

Credits//Author: Elsie Larson. Photography sources linked throughout.

How to make fake polaroid picturesGiant polaroid display In college I was obsessed with all kinds of photography. I took classes on how to develop my own film. I worked part time as a wedding and portrait photographer. And everywhere (cool) I went, I made it a goal at the time to take an instant film picture or two. Because of this era, I have old (square) instant photos of the Mona Lisa, the Eiffel tower, Big Ben, the Empire state building, Platform 9 3/4 (from Harry Potter!), Salvation Mountain, Cinderella's castle at Walt Disney World, and the Lehi Roller Mills (where part of the movie Footloose was filmed). Yeah, it's a random list. I just took my instant camera wherever I ended up and apparently I ended up in some random places. :) 

My giant polaroid displayI have saved and displayed these photos in so many ways over the years. In my first apartment, I taped them up along the top of my kitchen. In my current house, I framed them and hung them in a gallery wall (see here). And now that we're *probably* moving to a new house, it's time for a new display. Trey owns a piano that has been at his parents house for well over 20 years. Neither of us have ever lived in a space big enough for it, but our new house will finally have enough space. So I'm thinking this latest creation will eventually be displayed over the piano. That's my vision. :)

New (gold) printer! (from Canon)I wanted to create a large scale display because I felt that would look more stunning in the space above the piano. The only problem is I only have 8 photos total, and I don't really use an instant camera anymore. I love the framing of the photos though. Working with our friends at Canon USA, I decided to create some additional photos using my PIXMA MG7720. Do you see the printer in the above photo? Oh yes, they have a gold printer now!!!!! I love the new color, and the quality of prints (as always) is topnotch too. 

I could have just printed photos and cut a white border around them in the same size as my existing instant photos. But, I wanted them to really "match" with the slightly off white color as the subtle texture of my existing prints. So instead I took a photo of one of my old instant photos and used Photoshop to replace the inside photo with a new photo, but kept the outer frame. This took a little extra time, but I really like how it turned out because you can hardly tell the difference in all the frames. So my old photos actually look like they fit in instead of sticking out like a sore thumb.

Staining the woodFor the frame of my display I used:

2ft x 4ft plywood
2ft x 4ft plexiglass
2 cabinet pulls
ebony wood stain
power drill + drill bit

The display ended up costing me around $50 (not including the drill, drill bits and stain, which I already had). 

First I stained the plywood. I used a rag (and gloves) to do this because I wanted to create a more textured look. 

Adding the pullsNext I measured and marked where I wanted my cabinet pulls to go. This is how the plexiglass and wood are held together. I left the plastic covering that comes on plexiglass on until I was completely done with my project to help protect it from scuffs. 

Taping down the photosLast I decided where to place my photos. I had printed a little over 30 (plus my existing 8 photos) and taped them in place. I recommend a good, acid free double-sided tape or glue dots for this as I originally tried washi tape and it didn't stick very well. I turned it up on its side and about 1/3 of the photos shifted or fell from their spot—NO! 

How to make faux polaroid picturesCan you spot the instant film from the fakies? You can see I also repeated a few photos as well. 

Giant polaroid display  I really love how this turned out and it was so simple to put together once I had all my photos ready. I can't wait to display this above our piano soon. :) Thanks for letting me share! xo. Emma

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

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