Burgers + The Brooklyn Flea Market

Fun date idea! burgers + brooklyn flea marketThe more kids we have, the more I realize that, even though I do love alone time with Peter, days where we adventure around the city as a family of four are in fact some of my favorite. Very favorite to be exact. No matter how many times you've done the same thing in New York City, it really doesn't get old. Everyone is a little bit older, wiser, in a better mood, and there are new strangers to meet and familiar people to catch up with. Each outing is like a mini family reunion for us. Most of our friends are always moving and shaking, and with two kids, we hardly get to fully catch up via phone or text message. So our weekend dates as a family are for those too. 

The other weekend we decided to take advantage of the weather and soak in one of the last days at the Brooklyn Flea. But the Flea can't truly be enjoyed without a full belly for all first. Burgers, the Flea, and a bit of music and visiting friends too. It was fantastic!

Fun date idea! burgers + brooklyn flea marketFun date idea! Burgers + brooklyn flea marketFun date idea! burgers + brooklyn flea marketPart One: Burgers

Peter and I have a long relationship with Pop's, located in Williamsburg Brooklyn. It's one of the many places in Williamsburg where we come back and reminisce each and every visit. A few years back during one hot summer, Peter and I sat on the front bench of Pop's and decided that our daughter River would be named River. I remember that day so clearly, and when River gets older, I want to take her back to Pop's and explain it all to her once again. 

Even though I haven't had a beef burger in 10 years, Peter and I agree that Pop's does the beef and turkey burger just right. Our combination is always topped off with the largest order of soft fried fries to share, and plenty of ketchup for dipping. 

Fun date idea! burgers + brooklyn flea marketFun date idea! burgers + brooklyn flea marketWhat I love about this burger place the most is that it's owned by a local family. The owner's wife and I were pregnant around the same time (she was pregnant with twins) when I was pregnant with River. We try our best to support local family-owned places. We also make it a point to only eat at child-friendly restaurants, like this one. The music is great and loud enough, and it doesn't get too crowded. Both are great if your kids end up crying and if you have a stroller in tow. 

Fun date idea! burgers + brooklyn flea marketPart Two: Flea Market

We are big fans of the Brooklyn Flea market, and make it a habit to roam around, visit friends, and shop a little a few weekends in a month. We have one closer to our home in Fort Greene, but I tend to be a sucker for the Willamsburg one because of the crazy Manhattan skyline you see while shopping. Also, the grassy area with a little train park for our tired toddler isn't too shabby. 

Fun date idea! burgers + brooklyn flea marketFun date idea! Burgers + brooklyn flea marketUsually before we go, I try and purge a thing or two from my closet that I no longer wear or I don't intend on wearing. This helps with the shopping guilt. ;)  Between the inexpensive baby clothes, vintage home accents, and costume jewelry, you've got so much eye candy. The flea market has over 150 vendors (including food), so it's hard to leave empty-handed! 

Fun date idea! burgers + brooklyn flea marketSome people have weird feelings when it comes to purchasing used shoes, not me! I'll take all the vintage oxfords, please and thank you. 

Fun date idea! burgers + brooklyn flea marketFun date idea! burgers + flea market dateSince it's getting colder here in the city, the Flea has moved to a beautiful parent-friendly location in Crown Heights Brooklyn. The new space is a beautiful loft, with over 30,000 sq ft! 

Fun date idea! burgers + brooklyn flea marketThank you for letting me share our typical date as a family here in New York City! 

Credits// Author and Photography: LaTonya Staubs. Photos edited with Bella from the Folk Collection

10 Reasons To Give Scrapbooking a Chance

Reasons To Give Scrapbooking A Chance  This past year I've realized that a lot of my friends are just NOT interested in scrapbooking. When I ask them if they would ever try it, their response is, "Nope. Not for me!"

Their reasons are often that they don't have time, don't like the traditional scrapbook supplies in stores, or the commitment to buy a bunch of "stuff." Sometimes they simply don't like the idea of scrapbooking, saying it feels fussy or old-fashioned. 

I get it. I do. I've struggled with all these things myself. I took a nice six-year break from making any scrapbooks at all, but in the end I did really miss it and decided to reinvent it for myself, my own way.

As I've become more and more open to the idea of calling myself a "scrapbooker," I've been seeing that it is what you make it, that it doesn't HAVE to be cheesy or expensive or incredibly time-consuming. A scrapbook can simply be a prettier photo album, OR it can be really artsy. It can also be both, depending on your mood (I love both, and I'm moody—great!). It is what you make it. 

Today I'm here to convince the inconvincible. Raise your hand if you're like, "No way!" This post is for you. I want to share something that's become a really special part of my life.

Open your heart and grab a cup of coffee... it's time for my sales pitch! (spoiler—I'm gonna convert you!) 

10 Reasons To Give Scrapbooking A Chance   So naturally, we collaborated with our friends at Canon USA on this post because printing at home is kind of a lifesaver for scrapbooking. I need my pictures in way too many shapes and sizes to try to have them printed somewhere. That printer in the picture is the Canon PIXMA iP8720, which as of recently probably gets the most use for my scrapbooking because the wide format lets me print amaaazing quality up to 13x19 inches. 

Now, onto the list:

1. Your photos deserve a real life home (and your phone doesn't count!) 

I have an old cell phone sitting next to my bed. It has a ton of photos on it that aren't backed up. For more than a year now I've been meaning to back them up and print them, and then probably donate the phone to one of the many kiddos in my family that love playing kid games on it. But to be totally honest... I'm lazy. 

That cell phone is just one of MANY places where I have really special memories that haven't been printed yet. 

Scrapbooking makes a home for these memories. It motivates me to get organized. And as soon as I begin, I am SO thankful when I see dozens of wonderful memories that would have been forgotten. 

Your photos deserve an album. One that sits on your shelf for your kiddos and your grandkids to look at. An album that you can flip through one day and remember all these great times that are happening way too fast. 

2. You can scrapbook with your own style, in your own taste. 

I meet many people who think scrapbooking is cheesy. And you know what, they're not wrong. Scrapbooks can be cheesy. 

But you know what, it's your scrapbook, you can make it look however you want

When I made my first family album last year, I realized that I wasn't loving a lot of the scrapbook supplies available in stores. So I focused on lots of big photos. That was how I made it feel like my style, and I loved the resulting look. 

I've seen beautiful scrapbooks that were incredibly minimal, just photos and a few stories included. I've also seen beautiful scrapbooks that were super artsy, pretty much an art journal with photos. Both are great options. It's up to you to decide what fits your style. 

Be encouraged that no matter what your style is, you can make a book that feels like you! 

3. Scrapbook to record stories, because memories lie. 

Memories lie. Jeremy and I remember our first dates differently. Emma and I have lots of childhood stories that are a little blurry on the details, so we tell them differently. Memories change over time. 

But you know what doesn't lie? I journal entry that you wrote at that time. You can look back and read exactly what you thought or felt or experienced at that time. It might be nostalgic or it might make you cringe, but either way it will take you back. 

4. Scrapbooking will make you a better photographer. 

True story. 

When I'm planning to scrapbook, I take more photos. Specifically I take more detail photos. If I'm in the instagram mindset, I might be OK with 3-4 cute photos from a vacation, but if I'm in scrapbook mindset, I'll come home with ten times that many! 

Scrapbooking will motivate you to take more photos of the important stuff (like your family!) and the little things (like your everyday routines). It's a great reminder to tell stories through photos. 

5. Making scrapbooks will help you feel thankful and reflect.  

When I made our first year of marriage book, I had the best time remembering our honeymoon, our first Christmas, our new puppy, and our one year anniversary trip to Hawaii. What a special year! 

Taking the time to make the scrapbook helped me reflect on these happy memories and be really really thankful for them. Since then, each time I pull the album down from our bookshelf, I experience those emotions all over again.

Living with a thankful heart is really important to me, and scrapbooking does a weirdly good job of putting me in that mindset. 

6. Scrapbook to zen out, decompress and relax (glass of wine, optional!) 

It's good to have a hobby you can do at home when you want to relax. When combined with guilty pleasure television and a glass of wine... well, even better I say! 

I like projects I can do with my hands while I hang out with Jeremy, or by myself, at night. It's a good way to unwind, forget about the day, and get ready for sleep. 

7. Scrapbook to be creative.

When I was growing up, art class was always my favorite. I loved the process of getting a new medium (clay, paint, tissue, glue...) and making something creative with it. I still love that ritual today. 

The scrapbooking aisles are filled with new things to try and play with. There is no shortage of new techniques and mediums to experiment with. A lot of my favorite ideas come from taking something that's not necessarily a scrapbook supply (like yarn, contact paper, or watercolor paints) and trying to find a new creative way to use it on my pages. Scrapbooking can be a creative outlet, no doubt. In a way, it's multitasking because you get to be creative while doing something useful (making family albums). 

8. Scrapbook as a gift to your family. 

I love looking at my grandmother's family albums. She consistently created albums throughout her life beginning with the photos that were passed down to her, throughout every stage and season of life (I can look at my dad's first year, or my own first year!), up to the present day. 

If you love and appreciate the albums in your family, use them as an inspiration to get motivated to start your own! They are one of the most precious gifts you can ever make for your loved ones. 

9. Scrapbooking helps you to mark years, seasons, changes and milestones. 

Most of us have a pretty fast-paced life. It's easy for me to look back at my twenties and be like, "WHOA! That went by fast!" But when I look at all the photos throughout those years, it reminds me how full and wonderful those years were. 

Weddings, babies, moving to new homes, new jobs, graduations—these are all seasons in your life that you can document. The process of making these books is good for you to help you process each season, appreciate it, and remember the details while also creating something to look back on in the future. 

10. Scrapbooking is really really fun. 

If you've never tried it, it might be hard to believe. My advice is to just try it! Make one album. Don't worry about whether or not you are going to scrapbook your whole entire life... just try it. 

I love making scrapbooks. It's one of the most fun projects in the world to me. The key is to find your way to do it! You need to love both the process and the end result. So make it as simple and organized or as artistic as you want. I have a feeling that if you find what works for you, you'll become as obsessed as I am! 

10 Reasons To Give Scrapbooking A ChanceI'm here to answer your questions in the comments! So chat with me if you have any questions. xo. Elsie 

Credits// Author: Elsie Larson. Photos: Sarah Rhodes. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

 

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Make a Personalized Phrase Bracelet!

Have to make these! Easy phrase bracelets (click through for tutorial)    If I had to pick one piece of jewelry right now to be my "soulmate" jewelry, I think it would be these phrase bracelets. They are everything I'm looking for in a wearable companion. From the leather strap to the modern gold font and the slightly cheeky phrases, it's the perfect combination to make me say, "Gimmie! I want!" in a very mature and dignified manner. Besides looking so darn cute, the other big plus about these bracelets is that they take just minutes to make, and you can personalize them with whatever phrase or hashtag you want! #yesplease!

Have to make these! Easy phrase bracelets (click through for tutorial)
Supplies:

-flat leather (10mm x 2mm) or oval leather (10mm x 6mm)
-letter sliders (I love this font in either 10mm x 2mm or 10mm x 6mm, and they sell hashtags too!)
-magnetic clasp (10mm x 2mm or 10mm x 6mm)

-jewelry glue

Have to make these! Easy phrase bracelets (click through for tutorial) Cut one side of your leather into a point like the front of an arrow (this makes it easier to slide the letters onto it). Slide your phrase letters onto the leather strap.

Have to make these! Easy phrase bracelets (click through for tutorial)
Trim your arrow shaped end so you have a straight cut instead. Take one of your magnetic clasps, add a small drop of glue into the opening, and quickly place your leather end into the opening. If you have a light colored leather, be careful not to add too much glue, or it will overflow the opening and darken the leather it comes in contact with (you can see it did a little bit on mine). Place the leather around your wrist to determine the length of the bracelet (keeping in mind how much length attaching the other clasp will add or take away). Cut your leather to size and attach the other side of the clasp.

Have to make these! Easy phrase bracelets (click through for tutorial)   Now, some bracelets have beads or parts that are supposed to slide freely on the bracelet, but since you want your phrase to be legible, you probably want them to hang out together in a neat little row. Flip the bracelet over and, starting with the middle letter, place a drop of glue where that letter should go. Slide your letter over onto the glue and let it sit for a moment until the glue starts to set. Repeat the process with the other letters until they are all glued in place.

Have to make these! Easy phrase bracelets (click through for tutorial)     Have to make these! Easy phrase bracelets (click through for tutorial)      I hope you guys are as into these bracelets as I am—I just adore them. I love the personalization aspect, all the different colors you can do, and they absolutely look like something that you bought rather than made. Yes!! And, on top of it all, they make a perfect gift, especially if you and your girlfriends (or sisters/family of course) have a particular phrase or hashtag that's an inside joke. Those are the best. Most of mine are every other sentence from Arrested Development. Unfortunately, those are too long for a bracelet (although maybe we could do "Marry Me" or "Her?"). Either way, here's the breakdown on this DIY: super easy, really cute, great gift idea. What's not to like? xo. Laura

Credits // Author: Laura Gummerman, Photography: Laura Gummerman and Josh Rhodes. Photos edited with Stella from the Signature Collection.

Crochet Basics: Double & Treble Crochet

Have a crochet party with your friends!Hello crocheters! Ready to learn some more stitches? In this series, we've covered the basics of reading a pattern, slip knot & foundation chain, and single & half double crochet stitches. Today you're going to learn how to do double & treble crochet stitches. These stitches are very similar to single and half double, just with slight differences to create more height to the row of stitches, which give a different look to your project. Double & treble crochet stitches are tall, and allow for the fabric that you are making to be looser and more breathable. There's visible space between stitches for a more lace-like effect. These stitches will also work well for making blankets and scarves really quickly. Taller stitches mean less rows to create your project. For this reason, finding a project that uses dc/DC (double crochet) is a great place to start for beginners.

The 3rd swatch (middle right) is double crochet, and the the 4th swatch (far right) is treble crochet, to give you an idea of how much taller the stitches are from single and half double crochet.

Stitch swatches.If you're starting a project, slip knot onto your hook and chain however many stitches your pattern asks or however wide you want your scarf/blanket to be. Then, make the first DC into the 3rd chain from your hook. 

Start with yarning over and insert your hook into the top of the stitch (or into the ch st if this is your first row). Pull the yarn through so that you have 3 loops on your hook. Next, yarn over and only pull the yarn through the first 2 loops on your hook. You should still have 2 loops remaining on your hook. Yarn over again, and pull through those remaining two loops. That's a dc stitch! 

For treble crochet (tr), sometimes called triple crochet, start by yarning over TWICE. That's the difference from dc to tr. After you yarn over 2 times, insert your hook into the 5th chain from your hook and pull the yarn through so you have 4 loops on your hook. You'll do the next step 3 times. Yarn over and pull through the first 2 loops, yarn over again and pull through the next 2 loops, then finally yarn over and pull through the remaining two loops. That's a tr stitch!

Crochet ProjectsPractice these stitches, and I'll be back with some patterns! Once you know how to do the stitches that we've gone over, you'll be able to make all of these projects! Are you ready? -xo Holly

Credits // Author: Holly Neufeld, Photography: Sarah Rhodes. Video: Jeremy Larson. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

Twig & Pom Pom Starburst Wreath

Make a twig and pom pom starburst wreath— It's practically free!Fall is the perfect time for a bit of rustic decor, don't you think? Warm fuzzies are everywhere— in the cozy sweaters, bonfires, pumpkin spice candles, and hot drinks in gloved hands. It just seems like a great time to decorate with wooden, outdoorsy elements. So I thought I'd make a charmingly rustic fall wreath with a nod to a Mid-Century icon most of us can appreciate— the starburst.

Check out how simple it is to make your own!

Make a twig and pom pom starburst wreath— It's practically free!Materials:
-twigs or branches in various lengths (wait to trim down branches until step two)
-chunky, flecked, off-white yarn
-hot glue sticks
-cardboard, masonite, or .25" plywood

Tools:
-pruning shears
-scissors (or jig saw if you're using wood or hardboard)
-big fork
-hot glue gun

Make a twig and pom pom starburst wreath— It's practically free!Step One: Cut out a circle with a hole in the center as the base of your wreath. I used cardboard for mine, but if you are using yours where it will be exposed to the elements, you should cut out hardboard or .25" plywood for this.

Step Two: Use hot glue to affix sticks to the wreath backing. Begin with the longer sticks evenly spaced and fill in with shorter sticks. Try to vary the lengths of sticks randomly. I cut the sticks as I went along.

Make a twig and pom pom starburst wreath— It's practically free!Step Three: Make yarn pom poms to simulate cotton puffs. To make a small pom pom, just wrap some yarn around a fork, then tie a yarn knot in the middle of the fork (enclosing all the loops you made).  Pull the loops off the fork and cut the sides of them with sharp scissors. Trim and fluff the pom pom until you're satisfied with how it looks.

Make a twig and pom pom starburst wreath— It's practically free!Step Four: When you have enough pom poms to cover the interior circle of the wreath, glue them in place. I pushed mine into the twigs a little and used quite a bit of glue to make sure the pom poms were there to stay.

Make a twig and pom pom starburst wreath— It's practically free!Use a ribbon or adhesive strips to hang your wreath. It looks great inside or outside!

Make a twig and pom pom starburst wreath— It's practically free!Make a twig and pom pom starburst wreath— It's practically free!If you're into yarn crafts and have a wooded yard (like me), this wreath can be practically free to make! -Mandi

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

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