Book Tour Dates!

Happy Handmade HomeElsie and I are super excited to share a couple of book signing opportunities we'll be hosting this month. If you are in either of these areas and would like to get your copy of Happy Handmade Home signed, please come by!

September 20th- Springfield, MO

We are super excited to be hosting a book signing at our local Habitat for Humanity Restore. Since this book is all about homes and home decor, we thought they would be a fantastic organization to partner with. You can bring your own copy or you can purchase a copy when you arrive. We will have 100 copies for sale ($13 each), and ALL the revenue will be donated to Habitat for Humanity!

We'll announce even more details the week before the event, including a map of all our favorite Springfield spots in case you're from out of town.

Habitat for Humanity Restore
2410 South Scenic Ave.
Springfield, MO 65807
4pm to 6pm

September 27th- Nashville, TN

We feel so grateful Urban Outfitters is carrying our book, and we are stoked to host a book signing at their Nashville store! You can bring your own copy or purchase one there. We'll be bringing a DIY photobooth, so get ready to see our cheesy smiles. :) 

Urban Outfitters
405 12th Ave. South
Nashville, TN 37203
5pm to 7pm

We are hoping to host a West Coast event as well, but we're waiting to hear back from our publishers. We will let you know the details as soon as we can. 

If you are in the area or a short (or long) drive away, we hope you'll come by and say hi. Honestly, it is SOOOO fun when we get to meet many of you in person. It's the best. So please come by if you can.

Let us know if you have any questions or if you plan to stop by one of these dates. xo. Emma + Elsie

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman, Photography: Sarah Rhodes. Photo edited with A Beautiful Mess actions

Modern Peg Rail & Shelf DIY

Make your own peg rail- perfect for accessorizing in the kitchen!Peg rails are handy little fellas to have around the house. They're great for hanging hats, jackets, towels, and well, pretty much anything you can hang or drape on a peg! There's a small wall between the doorway and window in our kitchen, and while I had considered hanging art there, the pragmatic colonial-girl-wanna-be (Felicity Merriman forever!) inside me said, "A shaker peg rail would be perfect!" I checked out a few places online where I could buy a peg rail, but I couldn't find one that fit my exact specifications and style. So I did what any gal with a power drill should do, and that is— I made my own!

Make your own peg rail- perfect for accessorizing in the kitchen!The peg rail I was looking for needed to be something minimal in style, have a shelf, be painted white, and measure just under 24" to fit the space on my wall. I thought about buying this Crate and Barrel peg rail because I loved the style of the minimal pegs, and I could always trim down the sides with a chop saw.... But penny pincher that I am, I wanted to see if I could make one for less money*. Check out the details below to see how you can make your own custom peg rail and shelf!

*If you don't have the tools required, this project will probably cost more than a peg rail you can buy in stores. I have accumulated these tools over time and find them to be very useful for little projects around the house or for the many DIY projects I share here.

Make your own peg rail- perfect for accessorizing in the kitchen!Materials:
-1" x 3" piece of lumber* to your length requirement / 1" x 3" x 2' $3
-1" x 4" piece of lumber* to your length requirement / 1" x 4" x 2' $4
-dowel rod to your diameter requirement* / $2.50
-circular pieces of wood or wood plugs a bit larger than the dowel diameter— buy one for each peg / $1
-Kreg screws for joining the rail to the shelf / $4 for a pack— you will only need a few
-screws for mounting the rail— I only used two / $1.50 for a pack
-drywall anchors if you aren't drilling into a stud / $2 for a pack
-button plugs (size depends on your countersink bit) / $2.50 for a pack
-180 grit sandpaper (not shown) / $3
-stain, primer, and paint as desired / $8 at most
-wood glue / $4

Total Cost (if none of these materials are already in your possession): $35
My Cost (I only needed to buy the wood and mounting screws): $13

-power drill
-Kreg Jig for joining the rail to the shelf (This kit is perfect.)
-hole saw, Forstner bit, regular drill, or spade bit to the exact size of your dowel rod
-regular drill bit for mounting screws
-countersink drill bit (not shown)
-ruler or t-square

*Lumber Selection: I used 24" long pieces of poplar. Don't buy softwood for this project or your pegs may loosen over time. I chose poplar because it's denser than the cheap whitewoods you find at Lowes or Home Depot, and while it usually doesn't stain nicely (unless you find a piece without yellowy grain throughout), it takes paint very well.

*Dowel & Cap Selection: I chose a 5/8" diameter dowel and capped it with a 1" wood circle, but this size isn't narrow enough for many of my mugs. Think about what you will be hanging on the peg before you select the diameter of the dowel and wood circle. Your pegs may need to be narrower than mine.

Make your own peg rail- perfect for accessorizing in the kitchen!Begin this project with the rail and shelf lumber cut to your desired size. If you don't have a saw at home, the lumber yard should be happy to do this for you. My boards were cut to 23".

Step One: Mark the points where you want your pegs to be. I started my outermost pegs at 2.5" from the edge of my rail.

Step Two: Drill holes at the marked points. I used a spade bit here because it's the only thing I had access to when I was working on this project. But it didn't make clean cuts, so I had to fill the chipped areas with wood filler. No biggie, but a Forstner bit or self feeding hole saw would be ideal for this.

Make your own peg rail- perfect for accessorizing in the kitchen!Step Three: Sand the entire rail with 180 grit sandpaper.

Step Four: Using a Kreg Jig and a clamp, drill a few pocket holes where you will connect the rail to the shelf. Make sure you do this on the bad side of your wood, if you have a bad side. I made four pilot holes for my 23" rail.

Make your own peg rail- perfect for accessorizing in the kitchen!Step Five: Clamp together the shelf and rail. Then connect them by driving Kreg screws through the pocket holes you made in step four.

Step Six: Cut your dowels all to the same length. Then sand them down. I cut mine to 2.75" long, but your desired measurement may differ. If you don't have a saw, the lumber yard should be able to make a few cuts for you.

Make your own peg rail- perfect for accessorizing in the kitchen!Step Seven: Apply wood glue to the inside of the peg holes.

Step Eight: The pegs should fit tightly into the holes, so you will probably need to use a hammer to tap the pegs into place. Make sure the pegs don't go through the back of the rail, and be sure they are all the same length from the rail before letting the glue dry.

Make your own peg rail- perfect for accessorizing in the kitchen!Step Nine: After you have made sure all of the pegs are the same length from the rail, wipe away the excess glue on the backside of the rail.

Step Ten: Apply wood glue to the end of the pegs and attach the wooden discs, applying a bit of pressure. Be sure to wipe away any glue that seeps out before it dries.

At this point, the rail is ready to be stained or painted. I used the same brush-on primer and paint I used for refinishing my kitchen cabinets. After a thick coat of primer, I wet sanded the shelf with 400 grit wet/dry sanding paper to make it silky smooth. Then I finished with a coat of paint.

Make your own peg rail- perfect for accessorizing in the kitchen!Step Eleven: Drill pilot holes where you will be mounting the rail, and use a countersink drill bit to carve out a space for the button plugs to go in. Make sure the plugs fit before continuing.

Make your own peg rail- perfect for accessorizing in the kitchen!Step Twelve: Screw the shelf into place on the wall, making sure it's level. If you aren't drilling into studs, you will need to use drywall anchors that, when added up, meet the package's listed requirements to carry the approximate weight you plan to put on the shelf.

Step Thirteen: Cover the screws with button plugs. If your countersink bit was the same size as the plugs, then the fit should be tight enough to make glue unnecessary.

Make your own peg rail- perfect for accessorizing in the kitchen!Make your own peg rail- perfect for accessorizing in the kitchen!I love the modern look that the wooden discs lend to this DIY rail, but if you're having trouble finding a dowel and disc combo that fits your mugs, you may decide to use a traditional Shaker peg instead.

Make your own peg rail- perfect for accessorizing in the kitchen!If you plan on styling your shelf with plain canisters, mugs, or utensils, it would be really fun to paint the peg caps with bright colors or even a dramatic black. I love that this project can be completely customizable to fit the needs of your space. I'm thinking about making one for my bathroom next! -Mandi

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

DIY Crystal Paperweights

How to make your own crystal paper weightsLet me be honest. I never understood the use of paperweights until last month. I always thought they seemed kind of silly. I mean, who really uses those anyway?

So now that my desk is located under an air conditioning vent, and it's been around 100°F outside the last few weeks, all the papers on my desk blow around if I don't put my coffee mug or stapler or something on top of them. It's like musical office stuff on my desktop all day. 

And I found myself wishing for some cute paperweights. It finally happened.

How to make your own crystal paper weights  First I grew my own crystals inside an egg shell. And I loved how they looked, but they weren't quite heavy enough, and they are pretty fragile. So I decided to encase them in a geometric plaster mold. This turned out to be super easy, and I love how they turned out. They are pretty funky little paper weights, but they feel very me, sitting on my office papers. :)

Here's how to make your own plaster mold and how I made these geode paperweights.

Make your own plaster moldSupplies:
-tape (painter's, masking, or duct tape will work well)
-pottery plaster (sold at most craft stores)
-disposable container
-popsicle sticks
-fine sandpaper
-acrylic or craft paint

Step One: Make your own molds from cardboard and tape. I cut out three triangles, all the same size, and taped them together to make mine. I tried spraying one of the molds with nonstick cooking spray before pouring the plaster, but it didn't seem to do much better than the two molds that I didn't spray. So I say skip this step unless it makes you feel better. :)

Pour the plasterStep Two: Mix the plaster according to the package directions in a disposable container using a popsicle stick or disposable spoon. The plaster will heat up as you stir, so be aware of that. Pour the plaster into the molds, a little less than full. Place the geode egg into the plaster, gently pressing it into place. Allow that to fully set (check the plaster package directions for drying times).

Remove the mold once dryStep Three: Peel the cardboard mold off and allow to fully dry (I left mine overnight). Sand the surface and edges.

Paint the dry plasterStep Four: Paint the plaster any color you like! I used a metallic pearl color, as my desk is white, so I thought this would look best on my desk. I think a dark grey or black would also look awesome and make the crystals stand out. 

How to make your own crystal paper weights Notes: First off, keep in the mind that the eggs were originally completely soaked in food dye while the crystals grew. This means, if you didn't rinse and allow the egg shell to fully dry after growing your crystals then you may have excess dye that may seep into your plaster. I had a little of this happen. Once painted it wasn't a big deal, but be sure to get as much dye off the eggs before you move on to this plaster step. 

Second, you may notice that my crystals look a little duller than in the original post. Why? I decided to paint my crystals with thinned (Elmer's) glue. I was hoping this would make them less delicate. I don't think it really helped all that much, and it dulled the overall look of the crystals. So, I say skip that step (which is why I didn't include it).

These would also make a fun gift! I am already getting a lot of use out of them on my desk. :) Thanks for letting me share! xo. Emma

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

ABM Headquarters Tour (Part 1)

A Beautiful Mess offices      A Beautiful Mess offices     I like calling this our headquarters. Makes us seem like we're real big time. The ABM office space has undergone some serious changes this past year as we've grown more than Elsie and I ever expected. And that's probably because we're not the best planners in the world, to say the least.

Today we're excited to share part of our workspace with you. Here's where some of the magic happens. But first, let's take a look at this room before we moved in...

ABM office room beforeWhat I really love about this room is it's almost like a hallway since it leads to so many other spaces. It also has great, old wood floors and a big window (not pictured). We were not as crazy about the wallpaper and border though. Plus we wanted to give this room some more personality. Here's what we did.

ABM coffee cartABM coffee cart ABM coffee cart  First off, every work area needs a coffee cart (or other designated coffee space). We have two non-coffee drinkers on staff, and I have no idea how they function. I would be such a zombie without my morning coffee!

Trey GeorgeLauraPhilip BowlesJosh RhodesThe ABM teamWe originally built this DIY desk so that it could seat six people. And for a long time it did. But as we grew, it felt more and more crowded with everyone's computers, notebooks, cups, and other office supplies. We also found that some people feel more distracted in crowded atmospheres, so their productivity suffered (mainly I'm talking about myself). So, we've worked to create a space that allows us to feel connected without feeling overly distracted. 

This room is shared by Laura, Josh, Philip, and Trey. Plus we all crowd in when the coffee is ready. :)

Lots of lightFavorite cornerA Beautiful Mess offices    A Beautiful Mess offices  Crazy cat lady mugCoat rackDesktop Desk topGreen ceilingReader comment boardTrey George Some of my favorite details in the room include the teal green ceiling, the wall hanging that Laura created last month, and our Favorite Commenter's marker board. On this little white board we write comments that make our day because we have the best readers in all the world. :)

I know some of you are probably already itching to see what's in that room behind Trey in the above photo. Don't worry! I'll be sharing our other "headquarters" post tomorrow so you won't have to wait long. I'll be listing off lots of resources for the things you see in the room in the credits, but if you have any additional questions, just let us know. Thanks for letting me share! xo. Emma

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman, Photography: Janae Hardy. See more about our coffee cart here. Desk/DIY, Chairs/Amazon, giant calendar/Stendig, donut art/DIY, gold plant stand/Target, teal cart/Target, metal envelope/Target, light fixture/West Elm, ceiling color/Pantone Emerald. 

Flower Embellished Photo Art

Turn a simple photo into a work of art with artificial flowers and hot glue.Some people like to make up rules about what kind of art is acceptable in certain areas of a home. Family photos? They're usually banished to bedrooms or dens. I don't particularly like following silly design rules, but instead of blatantly breaking them this time around, I decided to just bend them a little. With a little inspiration and a lot of glue, I transformed this photo of my daughter Lucy into a piece of art perfectly compatible for any room of the house.

I have a soft spot in my heart for frilly mixed media art and collage work with a feminine feel, so of course I fell hard for the work of Ben Giles. I was especially inspired by the movement of paper flowers in combination with photography in his collaboration with Rebekah Campbell for Yen Magazine (seen here) and wanted to create a similar vibe in 3D with supplies I usually have lying about—family photos and artificial flowers. After running to the store for a shadow box frame, I whipped up this darling piece of art in a jiffy. I love it when I'm surprised by how easy a project turns out to be!

Turn a simple photo into a work of art with artificial flowers and hot glue.Supplies:
-shadow box frame
-photo sized to fit the frame (mine is 8" x 10")
-variety of small artificial flowers
-hot glue gun + glue sticks

I made sure this project remains a keepsake by printing the image onto acid-free paper and making sure the glue sticks I used were also acid free. This project was a gift for my sister-in-law, so hopefully she'll be able to treasure it for a long time.

Turn a simple photo into a work of art with artificial flowers and hot glue.I selected a few sprays of flowers that had tiny blooms that slightly varied in size. I wanted a fun, bright feel, so I chose these bright shades of colors in an analogous scheme, or colors that sit beside each other on the color wheel.

Step One: I trimmed the blooms from the artificial stems to create a pile to work with.

Turn a simple photo into a work of art with artificial flowers and hot glue.Step Two: I laid out the flowers without glue to make sure I had a rough arrangement that I liked. I decided to make stripes of colors, sort of like a floral rainbow flowing from Lucy's hand. You can arrange your flowers however you like, letting the white space and composition of the photo help you along. Let your creativity be your guide!

Step Three: Glue the flowers into place with a hot glue gun. When the glue dries, make sure you pull away all of the stray wisps of glue before putting the photo into your shadow box.

Turn a simple photo into a work of art with artificial flowers and hot glue.I love the way the bright colors pop against this light, desaturated photo. From far away it looks like an abstract piece, and up close the texture is surprising.

Helpful Tip: To make sure you like the arrangement of the flowers, it's helpful to look at it from far away, but that's hard to do when it's lying flat. Try taking a photo of the arrangement on your phone or camera and then viewing it at a smaller size before you commit to the arrangement.

Turn a simple photo into a work of art with artificial flowers and hot glue.Turn a simple photo into a work of art with artificial flowers and hot glue.I enjoyed working with this simple photo, but I keep thinking it would be fun to do a close-up shot of Lucy, too, perhaps covering her dress with lots of pretty flowers. There are so many creative options with this project!

P.S. You can see more photos from this mother-daughter fashion shoot right here on my personal blog! -Mandi

Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited with Spring of the Signature Collection.

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