Make your own photo collages in photoshop. Get the full post over at www.aBeautifulMess.comI love the look of a grid of photos, so I decided to print them out in the same format as I would arrange them if I were to stick them into a page protector full of squares. I then went a step further and altered the collage to give it a little more depth than just a sheet of paper. As a girl that never does digital scrapbooking, this was a fun way to create a hybrid page of digital work and tactile work to get something I was happy with.

To keep it simple, I chose to use only Instagram photos so I didn't have to think about cropping and resizing my DSLR into squares. I went to my Instagram page on my laptop and clicked on each individual photo that I wanted to incorporate into this page. Then I took a screen grab and opened it up in Photoshop. I hit the crop icon and went up to the top bar to make sure the 1:1 ratio was set to get a square crop. Then I cropped my screen grab so that I was only getting the square photo. I knew I wanted to print onto an 8.5" x 11" photo sheet, so I adjusted the image size of each photo to be 2.7 inches wide (and subsequently high) and saved it. I repeated this process for all twelve of the images I thought I'd like to use.

Next, I created a new image in Photoshop that was 8.5" x 11" to mimic the size of my photo paper. I then clicked on my first photo, hit 'Select All', then hit 'Copy', and then clicked on my new image and hit 'Paste'. I moved it to one corner and then created a new layer for the next image I wanted to add. I brought each image over and played around with the placement until I was happy. Then I merged my layers. Then I printed it out and cropped my edges so that I had an even amount of white on all four sides. 

Photo Collage 1I liked how it looked but wanted to give it more depth, so I cut out three photos that I was okay with losing. If you're thinking ahead on this part, you could just leave those sections blank in the first place. Use an X-Acto knife and ruler to get crisp edges. 

Create a photo collage in photoshop and add embellishments for a little more dimension. Get the full post over at www.aBeautifulMess.comThen I filled in those squares with patterned cards in two sections and used a stamp to create a pattern in the center square. For even more dimension, I cut out a felt heart using the ABM wool felt and stapled a plastic alpha onto another square so that they overlapped the squares just a bit. Then I added a few stickers on top of other squares as well as some journaling. My page was complete! This will go in a page protector but you could also leave room on your edge for a hole punch if you like to keep some pages out in the open. 

Fun Photo CollageI did the same thing with this page but with larger photo sizes. These Instagram images were sized to 3.75" square and then printed out. I didn't do as much to these because I wanted the colors to stand out. I just cut the photo collage so that there were no white edges and adhered it onto another piece of scrapbook paper. I used the chipboard from January's Messy Box for my title and added a little journaling with a Sharpie for a bolder look. It was super easy and a great way to get more of my images from my phone printed off and into my album. 

Make a collage in PhotoshopPhoto Collage in PhotoshopIt's so fun to always experiment with new ways to create a layout, but I also like sticking to some tried and true layouts to keep the process enjoyable. This was kind of the best of both worlds for me. Happy scrapbooking! -Rachel

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

Rosie Clayton's favorite A Color Story filters!Happy Saturday, everyone! Rosie here! I hope you've had a fun time exploring all the fun filters and tools in the A Color Story app.

I'm so excited to share my favorite A Color Story filters for fashion and colorful backdrops, two things I love to photograph most! Although I definitely have a few go-to filters that I check before others, there's no rule as to how each filter will affect your photo—it all depends on the colors and scene that you're working with in your picture. I think this element makes the ACS filters so unique and able to produce the most varied range of images! I'm going to show you a few examples of three types of looks I showcase in my Instagram feed (@rclayton): looks that pop against a colorful background, looks that compliment a colorful background, and looks that match a colorful background. I'll go over each of the filters I used for the photos so you can see how they affect each image.
 
I love working with bright, bold colors that pop and the best way for a look to stand out is for the colors to contrast against your backdrop. I really love color blocking. I think it produces strong images that are balanced and make a statement.  
 
PRIMARY SCHOOL
 
Primary schoolThis photo is edited with Heart Eyes from the Chroma pack. As a general guideline, the Chroma pack is great for bold compositions, colorful subjects, and everyday settings. Heart Eyes adds brightness, pops the colors, whitens whites (or in this case, the sidewalk), and adds a soft, warm effect—here, it helps highlight the yellow in my coat and red in my sweater while making sure the blue of the wall doesn't get too cool.
 
BLUE//STEEL

Blue steelThis photo is edited with Lipstick from the Essentials pack. The filter helps bump up the sweet tones in the pink wall without adding too much warmth to the photo. I also think it brightens and evens my skin tone and makes the blue a bit deeper to stand out against the pink wall.
 
ARRAY OF COLOR
 
Array of colorThis photo is edited with Everyday from the Essentials pack. This is definitely a go-to filter and looks great on practically every photo; I actually try not to use it too much, just so I can force myself to branch out and play with other filters from various packs. Everyday whitens, brightens, and adds a touch of sunny personality to the photo without deviating too much from the original. It's just a nice, overall color booster. Consider it the "date night" version of your photo, still the same but with a little oomph. 
 
Outfits that compliment a colorful wall are so fun to put together because it allows me to stand out from the wall but produces a cohesive image. I try to take a particular color from the wall and use that as the main element of my look. This way, both myself, the outfit, and the wall get the same amount of attention from the viewer and there are several points of interest in the photo!
 
CLOUD NINE
 
Cloud nineThis photo was edited with Punch in the Blush pack. It brightens colors and cools a tiny bit, so it was great for a photo with so many warm colors in it already. I also think it helps give my skin a soft, naturally warm glow.
 
DEGREES OF COLOR
 
Degrees of colorThis photo was edited with Bright from the Organic pack. I find Bright to be the slightly more subtle version of Everyday when you compare the two at the highest opacities. It does exactly what its name says, brightens without de-saturating any colors in the photo.
 
GRIDLOCK
 
GridlockThis photo was edited with Tulip from the Fresh pack. It produces happy colors, highlights bright moments, and whitens whites. It adds a tiny bit of cool, sunshine yellow to the photo so the deep reds become more of a tomato red and the blues are lighter and brighter.
 
Looks that match to a wall are my absolute favorite because the stars really have to align in terms of what I have in my wardrobe and what walls my husband and I find during our mural expeditions. There are varying degrees of how much you can match a wall and different ways to match via color or pattern. I like both and it really depends on the wall we're shooting.
 
MOUTH TO MOUTH
 
Mouth to MouthThis photo is edited with Chroma from the Chroma pack, which again, is great for bold compositions and colorful subject matter. This filter is the bolder version of Everyday and adds a bit more contrast and some very slight blue/grey tones. Here, it deepens the red of the lips and brings out the details in the garage.
 
MAKE AN ENTRANCE
 
Make an entranceThis photo is edited with Star Gazer from the Chroma pack. This filter deepens color, adds clarity, and gives a very slight blue/green tone to your photo. I used it here because I think it made the turquoise pop a bit more. I would say it's the "cooler" counterpart to Heart Eyes in the same pack.
 
PUNCH OF COLOR
 
Punch of colorOK, so I did a little combo action on this photo—Everyday from Essentials AND Summer Day from Blush. Everyday gave me a color boost while Summer Day brightens and warms just a touch!
 
 AROUND THE BLOCK
 
Before + after
This photo is edited with Pop from the Essentials pack. This filter gives photos a brighter, whiter look and overall clean feel without losing details. The colors in this photo are more earthy and muted, so I needed them to come alive. I wanted the colors to pop! You can see how much of a difference there is from the original, but the essence of the photo hasn't changed.  
 
 
Rosie Clayton's favorite A Color Story Filters!Lastly, I wanted you all to see the above filters applied to the same photo, side by side. I set each filter at 50% opacity and chose a photo with various colors mixed with white so it's easier to see the effect each filter has on the photo. 
 
In general, I tend to set my filter opacity at 20%-50% no matter which filter I use, and then I make a few slight adjustments using the Tools. Don't forget to use the Tools. They make a big difference and clean up your edit. No one filter will magically do it all! 
 
I hope this was helpful and showed you that there's no rule for filters, you really have to try a handful to see which looks best for the particular photo. Have fun, play around with your edit, and don't forget to try layering filters too! I hope you'll visit me @rclayton on Instagram and enjoy all the colorful spots and walls I love so much! Rosie
 
Credits// Author and Photography: Rosie Clayton. All photos edited with A Color Story app. 

Make your own comfy floor pillows with this easy tutorial over at www.aBeautifulMess.comI spend a lot of time on the floor at my house! If I'm not crafting on the floor, I'm crawling after a child or reading a story. This can make for sore knees or a numb rear end. So we've recently added a few floor pillows to make things a little cozier. As much as I appreciate a soft place to perch, I also love an excuse to sew something that makes our space even prettier and thought you might want to know just how easy it is to create a few oversized pillows, too.

Floor Pillows with Pom PomsWhen picking out fabric for your floor pillows, you want to think about color and durability. I used quilting weight cotton because I loved the patterns and colors they came in, and I knew the cotton was pretty durable. The navy print is from one of Alison Glass' collections and the black and white is by Melody Miller for Cotton + Steel. These were purchased online from Indeed Fabric if you're interested in some great print options.

If you know your pillows will get put through the ringer, you might want to check out the print options available in canvas or upholstery weight fabrics. You can also make these from canvas drop cloths and print or paint your own designs if you're not finding something you love on the market. 

Floor Pillow SuppliesSupplies for a Rectangular Floor Pillow:
-1 yard of printed cotton fabric
-1 skein of yarn (130 yards)
-2 lbs of polyester fiber fill
-sewing machine
-straight pins
-scissors
-needle and thread
-pom pom maker (optional)

Supplies for a Square Floor Pillow:
-1 1/2 yards of printed cotton fabric
-1/3 skein of yarn (40 yards)
-2 lbs of polyester fiber fill
-sewing machine
-straight pins
-scissors
-needle and thread
-pom pom maker (optional)

FP1If you're making a rectangular pillow with pom poms on the short ends, make twelve pom poms using a designated pom pom maker or another method. Make sure you leave at least three inches of tail length to stitch to your fabric later. If you're making a square pillow, you'll only need four pom poms.

Fp2Fp3Rectangular Pillow

Find the shorter end of your yard of fabric and fold it in half with wrong sides together to create a rectangular shape. Pin your pom poms just to the top layer of fabric with the tails sticking out to the edge and pom poms sticking in about 1" from the edge. Repeat for the opposite end. Again, be sure to only pin them to the top layer of fabric.

Square Pillow

Cut your fabric to get two pieces that measure 27" x 27". Place one of the cuts of fabric on the floor with the right side facing you and pin a pom pom in each corner with the tail facing out and the pom pom facing in. 

FP4For the rectangular pillow, unfold your fabric and stitch a line down the pom pom edge so that you're stitching about 1/2" from the edge. I suggest backstitching (stitching in reverse) over the yarn tails to add extra security. Remove your pins. Repeat for the opposite end.

For the square pillow, stitch over the pom pom tails in each corner a few times using the backstitch button (or reverse), but you don't have to stitch all the way around the perimeter.

FP5For the rectangular pillow, fold your fabric in half with the right sides facing each other and carefully match up your two sides. Pin them together. Be sure your pom poms are tucked in and out of the way. Repeat with opposite end.

For the square pillow, place the second cut of fabric on top of the first with the right sides (printed sides) facing together. Match up your corners and edges and pin together. 

FP6For the rectangular pillow, stitch a second line down the length of your edge but stitch it between the first line and the pom pom so that your first line of stitching doesn't show when you turn it right side out. Trim your tail ends, remove pins, and repeat on the opposite end.

FP7For the rectangular pillow, line up your two long sides to match and pin them together. Stitch down from the top corner about 1/3 of the way and backstitch. Then stitch from the bottom corner up about 1/3 of the way and backstitch. This will leave you about 7" of space open near the center to add stuffing.  

For the square pillow, start in the center of one edge and stitch all the way around about 1/2" from the edge. Stop stitching when you get about 6" away from where you started so you have space to stuff your pillow. 

FP8For both pillows, remove your pins and turn right side out. Be extra careful with your pom poms as you move them through and then push out the corners with your thumb. Fill with polyester fiber fill and stitch closed using a blind stitch with a needle and thread.

Floor Pillow 2Floor Pillow or Bed PillowFLoor Pillow DIY for A Beautiful MessFluff your pillows a bit for an even shape and then find a good book or a craft project to keep you busy and test them out! The rectangular pillow does double duty as an oversized bolster pillow for a queen or king-sized bed but is also really fun on a twin. Not only are these great for extra company or impromptu lounging, they instantly add that extra layer of something special to help a room feel even more inviting. If you've been wanting to learn to sew so you can make even more lovely things for your home and wardrobe, check out our sewing e-Course, Sew With Us. -Rachel

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

Grilled Pineapple Latte (via abeautifulmess.com)We are getting SOOOO close to finally opening our bar, The Golden Girl Rum Club. But I won't lie, I think I've felt that way for about two months now. Construction/renovations pretty much never move as fast as you think they will. But that's a whole different tangent I could go off on for a while, so I'll spare you. For now. :)

But with our bar so close to opening, I've been spending lots of my weekends and evenings sitting in on training meetings where we get to taste all sorts of delicious foods and drinks. (Which is just as fun as it sounds!) One flavor that is fairly prominent on our menu: pineapple! 

Recently we had a recipe development night with our new kitchen staff, and I ended up with about half of a pineapple leftover in my refrigerator afterward. 

Grilled Pineapple Latte (via abeautifulmess.com) Of course I could have just eaten it throughout the week. But then I got this idea in my head that some kind of pineapple-flavored latte could be really fun. So I decided to play around with making a syrup for that, and here's what I came up with. 

Grilled pineapple simple syrupPineapple simple syrupGrilled Pineapple Simple Syrup
Adapted from Imbibe's Pineapple Syrup

12 ounces pineapple
1-2 teaspoons butter or olive oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups water

First, cut away the top, bottom, and outer skin of the pineapple. As I mentioned before, I already had half a pineapple leftover for this. I then cut it into wedges and cut away the center/core. Then I heated up my grill pan (you could totally use an outdoor grill if you wanted here) and brushed it with a little olive oil. I grilled one side of each of the pineapple wedges until I had some nice charred bits. :)

In a large bowl I whisked the sugar into the water until it was completely dissolved. Then I added my grilled pineapple pieces, covered, and let that soak for 24 hours. 

Strain with a fine mesh strainer and store in a sealable jar. It's better if you don't leave any pineapple pieces in the syrup once you're ready to store it. I left a few in for the photo you see above, but then I removed them (and ate them!) before storing. I know, total trick! I just thought it was pretty. 

Grilled Pineapple Latte (via abeautifulmess.com)  I added one tablespoon of syrup to a homemade almond milk latte. You might want to increase this to two tablespoons, but try one first and see what you think.

There are all sorts of ways to make a latte at home. Maybe you have an espresso maker, or you can use instant powders to make it. There are also lots of different kinds of milk frothers available to give you that cloudy top, or you can whisk hot milk by hand. 

I also have added this syrup to club soda and it was AWESOME. It's sweet but also has a little complexity to it with that slightly charred flavor. This would also be really fun to add to a cocktail, although I haven't done that yet. Maybe tonight. :) -Emma

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

The Ultimate Mid Century Style Sofa Guide!You probably already know that I'm a huge vintage lover and collector. It's both a hobby to me and an element of my personal style. 

There are really only a few categories where I prefer to buy new "replica" pieces rather than true vintage. Shoes, for sure. Appliances, for practical reasons. And sofas, for two reasons— 

  1. Cost. Reupholstery is expensive. So unless you find a vintage piece that doesn't need it, that should be factored in. It can more than double the price tag, and may even push the price of your bargain piece into the same range as brand new sofas.
  2. Options. I like to compare my options back to back before making a large purchase. It's so easy to do with sofas. And I like that new sofas can be customized. You typically get to choose the fabric color and the wood or metal color. Plus there are a lot of companies (like Joybird) who will even customize the size to fit your space. I love having choices! 

Today I thought it would be fun to share a guide to some of my personal favorite sofas that are available online! I broke them down into a variety of budgets, and I will note the companies that I have tested or owned as I go through each section. 

Also, please note—I went by retail prices, but many/most of these sites have frequent sales. So definitely watch for those. You can get many of these at substantial discounts just by checking the websites, social media or signing up for newsletters. I'm not an extreme sale shopper, but for purchases like this where you can save hundreds of dollars, I recommend looking into it. ;) 


The Ultimate Mid Century Style Sofa Guide! (click through for links)
$850 and under: 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10

These options are super affordable! Out of these options we've only owned number seven, which Jeremy had in a previous studio, and Emma and Trey have at their home. I don't recommend Urban Outfitters sofas for amazing comfort, but they are very cute with a pretty unbeatable price tag. 

Visually, I'm probably most attracted to number six. That blush pink color is SO gorgeous. 

The Ultimate Mid Century Style Sofa Guide! (click through for links)
$850-$1300: 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12/13

Wow—a lot of really pretty options here. The variety of colors is pretty amazing. I feel like you can find a cute sofa in pretty much any color these days. 

I haven't owned any of these myself, but I've seen the Peggy Sofa in person a LOT (and I talked a friend into buying one—he loves it!). Emma owned a Macy's sofa similar to this one in the past, and it was a great sofa for the price. 

The Ultimate Mid Century Style Sofa Guide! (click through for links)
$1,300-$2,000: 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10

As you go up a bit in the price range, more options for sectionals begin to open up. They're definitely more of an investment, but we love our sectional for both normal nights at home and entertaining. There are rooms that really need sectionals because they can't fit a sofa AND a love seat, but just a sofa would seem much too small. This happened in our last home, and the sectional we bought there works awesome in our new living room as well. 

The Joybird Braxton sofa is what we just got for Jeremy's studio. We got it in that color as well (it's number one), and I really like it. It's more tailored looking than a lot of mid century sofas, which I think makes it feel a bit nicer. It's really comfortable and bigger than it looks (my feet definitely do not touch the ground—haha!). 

-After much thought (probably too much thought? haha!), I just ordered number nine, The Sven Charme Tan Sofa, for our living room (the one with the turquoise floor!). My friend Katie just got the exact same one in black for her home. So I got to try it in person (which helps SO much with these big decisions). I stalked their Instagram like crazy to figure out the true color of the sofa (it's a bit more tan and less orange in all the "real life" photos). I'll post some photos on Instagram when it arrives... I'm really excited to see how the tan leather works with our turquoise floor

I really love the look of the wood details on number six and seven! 

The Ultimate Mid Century Style Sofa Guide! (click through for links)$2,000-$3,500: 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8 (PS. Number 1 is a sleeper sofa!)

On this budget, it's easy to find a nice, big sectional that's great for family life and snuggles! Leather is also an option. I know it's not for everyone, but it does definitely come with some functional perks for those with small children and pets. It's so easy to wipe clean. 

Personal experiences: 

-Number six, the Jane Loft Bi-Sectional from Gus Modern is what I have (and LOVE) in our den. It's big, the shape ages really well and the fabric is a good fit for our two dogs. This was our first sectional and I'm definitely a believer now. I will probably keep buying sectionals in the future for comfy movie night reasons. It's really comfortable. 

-Laura owns number one. She's almost done with that room, so you'll be seeing it in a tour soon. On top of being cute, it's a super functional choice for her because the sleeper sofa gives her an extra impromptu guest room option. She has a lot of out of state family, so more guest space is always a plus! 

As far as personal endorsements go, I have owned and LOVED sofas from Gus Modern, Joybird (I love that they have free swatch kits!), Thrive Furniture and now Bryght (they offer free swatch kits as well!). These are all both beautiful and comfortable options and really high quality. We have also owned two sofas from Urban Outfitters. They are really cute and have great prices, but they can be very firm. That's not to say they're not good options, but it's something to consider and ultimately what really matters is what you need for your budget and lifestyle! 

If you've owned a sofa from any of these places (or have other recommendations), we'd love to hear them. Sofas are a BIG commitment and a scary thing to buy online. So your comments and notes could really help another reader with their choice. :)

xx- Elsie  

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