How to Scrapbook Your Memories with Not-So-Good Photos

How to scrapbook your memories with not-so-good photosThis week I want to talk about a subject that's pretty dear to me. How to still make a special scrapbook even when your photos are bad (or non-existent even!). It's not always easy to get good photos during celebrations with friends and family. And you know what, that's a good thing. It's not cool to spend your whole life glued to your camera or worried about how to get a nice photo at a super dark party. With the sun setting earlier, it's not the easiest time of year to get awesome photos of all your fun events. Many times I realize after a party that I have zero photos, or maybe a few grainy selfies with my friends. It's not ideal, but that doesn't have to keep you from scrapbooking your happy memories. 

So if you've struggled with photo guilt, you're not alone! Today I'm here to share a few simple methods for compensating for less-than-perfect photos. 

How to scrapbook your memories with not-so-good photos So our holiday party was this past week. It was an incredibly fun night full of great conversations, amazing food, drinks, and... bad photos. Above you see most of the photos that exist from the whole evening. Not ideal, but I'll show you how I made up for it and still scrapbooked our fun night! 

How to scrapbook your memories with not-so-good photos    Idea 1. Stamp your favorite moments. 

Above are many of the memories that I wish I would have captured photos of. But since I didn't, I stamped them, cut them out, and used them on this cute card. Now our happy memories are present in a cute way, and it really fills out the page with my awesome grainy photos. Try this—it's easy! 

How to scrapbook your memories with not-so-good photos      Idea 2. Use found paper. 

Do you have receipts, menus, or handwritten notes from your night? Above are my toast notes from the party, just cut down. It's a personal detail that may not mean anything to anyone else, but I'll always remember what it is when I look through my book. 

How to scrapbook your memories with not-so-good photos        Idea 3. Journal on your photos.

You can use Messy Pens to do this. They're photo safe. This photo is kinda awful, but the little journaled sentiment helps—I think! 

How to scrapbook your memories with not-so-good photos  Idea 4. Doodle the details.

Last weekend we had a brunch date with the Gummermans. We got a few cute photos, but definitely not enough to share a complete story. So I doodled some of the sweet things from our morning on a card to round out the page. This is an especially good idea when you have an event (like brunch) that doesn't necessarily need any heartfelt journaling, but you'd still like to capture some details about the experience. :) 

I hope these ideas are helpful and encouraging! It's fun to have amazing photos, but when you don't, it doesn't have to stop you from creating a special scrapbook! xx. Elsie

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12 Days of Giveaways: Win a Camera + DSLR E-Course (CLOSED)

Canon rebelCanon rebel It's a bittersweet day because today is our last day of the 12 Days of Christmas giveaway series. That's the bitter part. The sweet part is today one lucky reader is going to win a DSLR camera and our DSLR Basics e-course! It's no secret that we are crazy for photography here at ABM. I can honestly say that learning to take great photos over the years has changed my life in such a positive way! Sure, we take a lot of photos at work. But also, being able to capture all of life's special moments to print for our photo albums means so much to us. So, we can't think of a better gift we'd love to give this season than the tools needed to document your own life. We're giving away a Canon EOS Rebel because we love Canon cameras and their Rebel is the perfect camera to start with. 

Dslr basicsWe are also giving away a copy of one of our latest e-courses, DSLR Basics. This course can help you go from knowing nothing about how to set your camera to feeling confident that you can take pro-level photos no matter what you're photographing. The course also emphasizes finding your own photography style and getting creative. Setting your camera, and photography for that matter, shouldn't be all about rules—it should be fun!

Ready to enter to win? Sign up below, and you'll also see that you can submit more than one entry by following us or signing up for our newsletter. If you already follow us or have already signed up for the newsletter or follow us on Twitter/Pinterest, simply do it again below to receive the extra entries (it won't cause you to receive duplicate newsletters or anything; it's just so we can verify your entry). Good luck! xo. Emma + Elsie

1st Day of Christmas

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We are blown away by all of your support and honored that so many of you entered our giveaways! Love you guys! We'll be contacting the winners directly shortly.

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Paper Ball Ornaments

 DSC_7242 copyAre all your holiday decorations out? If you're still wanting to to add a little more decor, this simple ornament made from cut out circles is something you might want to try. I went for bright colors, mixed with a little bit of black, gold, and silver, and it's just festive enough. I think these paper ball ornaments are so pretty that I might find a little spot in our house to keep some up all year long! 

-cardstock in various colors
-3" circle punch

Step2Step One: Cut out twenty circles for each ball. I used a 3" circle punch because I wanted to make bigger paper balls, and they end up being about 6" across. If you want to make smaller ones, just use a smaller circle punch. 

SuppliesStep Two: From one circle cut out, draw an equilateral triangle and cut that out. That will be the guide for folding each circular piece. 

SuppliesStep Three: Use the triangle cut out as a guide to fold each circular piece. Fold each side in towards the front of the paper. 

SuppliesSuppliesStep Four: To start, paint glue on one flap of two circles and join together. The triangles should point in the same direction. Continue painting glue onto the flaps to attach three more circles to the two; these five circles joined together create the top of the ball.

To create the center of the ball, glue ten circles together, but alternate the tip of the triangles pointing up and down. This then connects to the five previous circles that form the top of the ball.

SuppliesStep Five: Cut out a 16" strand of string (or whatever length you need), knot it a few times so that the knot is large enough that it won't slip through the ball. Insert the loop through the top center of the ball.

SuppliesStep Six: Continue on with the remaining five circles and add those onto the ball making sure that the points all face the same direction. This is the bottom of the ball. 

DSC_7277 copyDSC_7277 copyDSC_7277 copyI think these paper balls could be used for other celebrations throughout the year. It would also be a great alternate for a bow on top of a present. If you want to make a special one for a sweetheart, just write a little message on each circle for them. This would also be cute as a hanging mobile. I could probably go on and on about the different ways this paper ornament ball could be used. I want to plan to make a larger version of my dowel Christmas tree, and hang these paper balls on them! -Rubyellen

Credits // Author and Photography: Rubyellen Bratcher. Photos edited with Valentine from The Signature Collection

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Holiday Tips for Decorating a Small Space

So helpful! Holiday Tips for Decorating a Small Space (click through for more)Decorating a small space can be tricky, especially during the holiday season! This is our second year celebrating in our small apartment, and it's definitely a lot easier than last year. I think when it comes down to it, you've got to change your expectations of what Christmas, or any holiday you're celebrating, is in your mind. Changing your expectations isn't a bad thing at all. But sometimes with a smaller space, you've got to have a bigger imagination and just simply simplify. 
There are a few things that I've learned along the way that I apply when decorating my small space for this wonderful season! 
So helpful! Holiday Tips for Decorating a Small Space (click through for more)        So helpful! Holiday Tips for Decorating a Small Space (click through for more) 1. Try to decorate with more natural pieces and natural tones. When you mix a small apartment and loud festive things, chances are, your space will feel too overwhelming. Instead of a chunky store-bought wreath, we decided to make our own using a few branches from our tree. And instead of having a large holiday table centerpiece, I used a vintage lace tablecloth to give our space a more festive feel. Since the tablecloth is white, it keeps the room feeling a bit more spacious. You can use things found outside as a centerpiece as well (It's also a great way to get the kids involved in decorating).
So helpful! Holiday Tips for Decorating a Small Space (click through for more)  So helpful! Holiday Tips for Decorating a Small Space (click through for more)  2. Decorate with smaller, more sentimental decorations. If you're decorating a small space, it's best to decorate with things on the smaller end. Try using more lights and less ornaments. All the extra stuff just becomes stuff
So helpful! Holiday Tips for Decorating a Small Space (click through for more)     3. Don't be afraid to downsize your tree. Since I have River, and she's at that age of really developing her own voice and expectations, I want to mold her idea of what a grand Christmas is.  Even if we move into a larger space, I don't want her expecting a huge tree every year. Keeping things small and simple, but still beautiful and fun is important. 
So helpful! Holiday Tips for Decorating a Small Space (click through for more)      So helpful! Holiday Tips for Decorating a Small Space (click through for more)      I am so excited for yet another holiday in our small space as an even bigger family! Happy Holidays! -LaTonya
Credits // Author: LaTonya Staubs, Photography: Peter Staubs. Photos edited A Beautiful Mess Actions.
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Sarah's Nursery Tour (Before & After!)

Sarah (& Imogen's) Nursery Tour - Before and After!  I don't know about you other mamas out there, but decorating a nursery became priority number one to me when we got our house! Not that a baby absolutely needs a decorated room, but there's something inside of us that just wants to make a sweet little nest for our baby birds. Or maybe we should all just admit that we're all suckers for cute things. Anyway, this room was the first room we've ever gotten to decorate for our daughter, so I'm really excited to share!

Sarah's nursery tour- before and after!When we moved into this home, the room was painted a pretty blue. I promise you—I didn't hate it (we left the inside of the closet blue), but the room only has one small window, and it felt very dark and closed in. Probably just because I'm a photographer, imagining taking photos in there with a flash just sent shudders down my spine. SHUDDERS. So we knew we would be going bright white with this room too (Valspar—Ultra White), except for our one coral wall (Valspar–Apricot Jam). And guys, it took 4-5 coats of white to cover up that blue. We painted this room every chance we got for a month! You wouldn't believe how dark it actually was! We also had to update the trim to bright white because once we painted the walls white, the trim looked dark tan.

Sarah's nursery tour - click to see before and afters!                Sarah's nursery tour - click to see before and afters!               Sarah (& Imogen's) Nursery Tour - Before and After! Sarah (& Imogen's) Nursery Tour - Before and After!     Whenever I post photos of Imogen's room on my Instagram, the two most asked questions are, "Where did you get that rug?" and "What about that chair!?" The rug was from Rugs USA but is sadly no longer available (sorry, dudes), but our Hopson chair from Joybird is an absolute gem. We loved our Hopson sofa so much (see it in our living room tour here) that we chose the same collection for our nursery chair and opted to go with leather (which I'm so glad we did—you would not believe how many spills this poor chair has endured already!). It's a comfy place to begin our day every morning with a bottle and a book, and it's where we crash in the afternoon when it's time for Imogen's nap. And I have to brag on my grandmother for a second, who made (!!) the really cool long caterpillar! It's one of the most special things in our nursery. We've ended up learning the value of a great doll too—some of Imogen's favorites are from Hazel Village, and our Blabla doll was a gift from our friend Georganne (if you happen to live in Phoenix, her shop Frances is the sweetest spot to shop locally for bebe).

Sarah (& Imogen's) Nursery Tour - Before and After!    Over in our reading corner, our pear print is from Fine Little Day—it was one of the first things we bought for her room. And you know we love our greenery, but there's not very much in here because our little gal loves getting into plants now. If you have a little one that loves their plant grubbing, then you might want to check this post I did awhile back on child and pet-safe house plants. We've already had a scare where I caught her chomping down on a plant. Fortunately I knew it was non-toxic. Girl loves her ruffage.  :)

Sarah (& Imogen's) Nursery Tour - Before and After!   Sarah (& Imogen's) Nursery Tour - Before and After!Sarah's nursery tour - click to see before and afters!         Sarah's nursery tour - click to see before and afters!        Sarah's nursery tour - click to see before and afters!       Before IQ was born, it was time to get a crib, but we were pretty tight on cash. (Planning a long distance move from AZ to MO will do that to ya!) We chose this crib from Ikea, and it has held up amazingly, and I love the simple look of the natural wood! Pretty surprising for a $70 crib! Another thing that has held up well is this strawberry-stamped crib sheet I made. We've now been using it for five months and the colors are still as vibrant as ever, after dozens of washings. And our sweet Roxy Marj lion blanket was a baby present from Elsie + Emma, definitely a favorite around here. :)

Sarah's nursery tour - click to see before and afters!      Sarah's nursery tour - click to see before and afters!     By now, you've already seen this amazing storage bench that Josh made, but just one more time, let's hear it for that guy! He's such a catch and IQ and I are lucky to have him! The layout of this room is a little hard to work with, with two corners of the room having low ceilings, so this bench ended up being perfect for what we needed, and functional on top of it.

We were a little divided on leaving the ceiling fan (practical vs. pretty, the great ongoing debate around here), but in this instance, pretty won out. And in the hot summer months we can always bring a room fan in, right? (This is the argument I used and it worked, FYI. Irrefutable logic!) I love this ceiling pendant we found at Ikea. It gives off a sweet, cozy glow at night.

Sarah's nursery tour - click to see before and afters!    Decorating the changing table area was a hard one because now IQ is at an age where she is constantly pulling at everything/into everything! But we did manage to fit one of Josh's ice cream storm prints on our wall, and she hasn't taken a grabby-handed interest in it so far. The cloud and star mobile was one of our favorite gifts we received before Imogen was even born! It's going to be an heirloom piece for sure—it was made by our friend Jahje, and you can see her shop Baby Jives here. So I totally meant to put some backing or something in front of the frosted glass drawers to mask our disorganization because I'm a professional right? Just kidding. I'm just a parent who feels really proud that everything is even in drawers! If I could give myself an applause emoji right now, I would. :)

Sarah's nursery tour - click to see before and afters!   Sarah's nursery tour - click to see before and afters!  Sarah's nursery tour - click to see before and afters! Thanks for letting me share our sunny little nursery here on A Beautiful Mess!  So parents or parents-to-be: do you have a nursery or a sweet little space for baby? Leave me a link or tag me on Instagram (@arrowandapple), I'd love to see! I love seeing everyone's ideas and how to make your space functional for kiddos. :)  xo- Sarah

Credits // Author: Sarah Rhodes. Photos: Laura Gummerman and Sarah Rhodes. Photos edited with Lillian and Calliope from The Lightroom Collection.

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