Bowtie Pumpkin Pasta with Sage Butter

How to make homemade pasta (via abeautifulmess.com)  Homemade pasta is seriously probably one of my all time favorite things. That being said, it's certainly not something I make every week because I don't have the time. But I kind of think this makes it even more special since I'm sure if I ate fresh pasta everyday, I would not appreciate it anymore. I would be a pasta snob. 

That would make a great t-shirt right? "Pasta Snob" Oh yeah, I'd wear that. 

Pumpkin Pasta with Sage ButterI'm about to share with you an easy (well, easy for homemade pasta) pumpkin pasta recipe that I like to serve with a little sage butter and parmesan. If you serve it family style, like I've done here, then it can make a really great appetizer or even side dish for a dinner party. People's minds will be blown when you tell them you made the pasta yourself. 

So if you want to blow people's minds, then read on, my friend. If you're like, "No way, I'm cool just serving hot pockets." Then... well... why are you reading this blog post? I mean, I'm all for hot pockets I guess, but we're really coming from two different places on this one. 

Let's make pasta.

How to make homemade pasta (via abeautifulmess.com) Bowtie Pumpkin Pasta with Sage Butter

For the pasta:
2 cups flour
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1/3 cup pumpkin puree (canned)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 to 1/3 cup water

In a bowl combine the flour, eggs, pumpkin and olive oil. Stir to combine. Then begin incorporating the water, 1 tablespoon at a time. You want to add just enough water to create a dough that you can knead. But it doesn't need to be overly wet, so add the water slowly so you don't add too much at once. 

How to make homemade pasta (via abeautifulmess.com)Knead the dough for a minute, then place in a mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow it to rest for 20 minutes.

Divide the dough in fourths and roll out into a thin sheet. You can do this by hand, but I have a Kitchen Aid pasta maker attachment so that's what I always use. You basically slowly feed the dough into the rollers and increase the size (how thin the dough gets) up to 5. If you're rolling it out by hand, just get it as thin as you can without tearing the dough. 

Bowtie pumpkin pasta (from abeautifulmess.com)Then cut into small rectangles and give them a pinch in the middle to make bow ties. This recipe will make around twelve dozen individual bow ties, which is about four times what you see pictured in that very first photo of this post. I'd say that's around 4-5 servings if you're making this a meal. If you're not using all of your fresh pasta on the day you made it, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to two days. Just take care not to store it too cramped together as it could stick. To help this, let them dry out on the counter for 30-40 minutes before storing them. I am of the mindset that if I'm going to make pasta, I want to make enough to at least eat it twice (two days in a row). That might sound strange to you, but it's a bit of work, so why not make a mess one day but reap the benefits for two?

I've never tried freezing fresh pasta, so I don't know how well that works. If anyone has done it and wants to share tips, please do!

To cook the pasta, simply add to a large pot of boiling, salted water and cook for 5-6 minutes. Fresh pasta will cook a little quicker than store-bought/dry pasta. Once cooked, drain and then toss in sage butter, or whatever sauce you're serving these with.

Bowtie pumpkin pasta (from abeautifulmess.com) I served about 1/2 of the total amount that this recipe makes. I made a sage butter by cooking 4 1/2 tablespoons butter with 5 sage leaves over medium high heat just until the leaves began to turn brown. Then I removed the cooked leaves and drizzled the hot butter over the cooked pasta. Top with salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese. Garnish with a few more sage leaves if you have them (they are so pretty!). Thanks for letting me share! xo. Emma

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

How to Marbleize Paper - Trials & Errors

How to Marbleize Paper- plus all the things I did wrong.Maybe it's how we're wired as humans, but designs found in nature seem to be the most loved of all. Take marble for instance. It's the darling material of high style kitchen renovations, and in a much less expensive media, adorns the surfaces of stationery, manicures, and wall art. I've personally been drawn to marbleized wall art recently, as you may have noticed in my Scout & Catalogue for Debbie Carlos poster seen in my living room here. Several of you were curious how to marble your own paper, and I was too! So I set out to learn a new craft, and failed a few times before I succeeded. Check out the different processes I tried below and see which ones I liked the best.

Skip down to Attempt #4 if you want to cut to the chase and aren't interested in the problems I encountered along the way.

How to Marbleize Paper- plus all the things I did wrong.Marbling is achieved by floating pigment on water and laying paper over the water to transfer the pigment design onto the paper. It may seem straightforward until you consider buoyancy and other variables in the mix. My experience was certainly a comedy of trials and errors, but after a bit of experimenting, I hit my marbling sweet spot.

Recommended Supplies:
-medium-weight absorbent paper
-oil paints
-paint thinner
-water basin
-methyl cellulose
-alum
-dropper or syringe
-coffee stirrer or spoon handle
-spray bottle, large brush, or sponge

Avoiding Potential Pitfalls

How do I keep the pigment from sinking into the water? I used methyl cellulose to thicken my water (see instructions later in this post), but still had issues with my pigments sinking. See what happened with each process later in this post, but I'll tell you right now—oil paints are the best for floating on water, but I also recommend that you properly thicken the water.

How do I make sure the design I make in the pigment doesn't float away as I lay down the paper? As I laid my paper across the surface of the water to transfer the design onto my paper, the water below shifted, and the pigments along with it. The best method is to make sure your paper is pliable (not stiff) and wrinkle-free so you can lay down the paper without disturbing the surface of the water. This will ensure the crispest transfer of your design.

What kind of pigment will attach to the paper the best? I found that oil paint created the boldest designs, but most importantly, your paper should be properly prepared first. After transferring the design onto the paper, you'll actually need to rinse off the paper. Normally, this would probably cause the ink or paint to be washed off the paper as well, but if you prepare your paper with alum first, the design will adhere to your paper while the excess paint and water will be rinsed away. Read further in this post for best methods of preparing the paper.

Preparing Your Supplies

Preparing for marbling is very simple, though it does require a one hour wait time. You will need to thicken your water and prepare your paper, both processes requiring rest time afterwards.

Preparing the Water and Tray: If you are working with small scale paper, you can use a baking sheet with walls (such as a jelly roll pan) and just an inch of water. A jelly roll pan will only require about 1 quart of water to fill it, though you will probably want to prepare more water in case you have issues removing unwanted paint from the water between marbling sheets. I stored my excess thickened water in mason jars for later use. If you are using larger scale papers, you will need a large, shallow basin, such as an under-bed storage drawer, which is what I used. This storage drawer required about 3-4 quarts of water.

How to Marbleize Paper- plus all the things I did wrong.Thicken the Water: To thicken the water, you will need methyl cellulose, which is a powdery substance that mixes with water to create a consistency much like a thin gelatin. I prepared my water in a stock pot which has measurements marked out along the inside. Mix 1/4 cup of methyl cellulose with 2 quarts of water for the best marbling consistency. Use a whisk to stir the mixture and let it thicken for one hour. To ensure an even consistency, it's best to whisk the mixture thoroughly every ten minutes, or you'll end up with globs at the bottom of your pan at the end of an hour. After an hour, you may pour the thickened water into your marbling pan and begin!

How to Marbleize Paper- plus all the things I did wrong.Preparing the Paper: You will need to cover your paper with alum in order for the design to transfer from the water to the paper without getting washed away. You may apply the alum with a brush, sponge, or a spray bottle. Mix 1 tablespoon of the powdery alum per one cup of water, and then thoroughly wet the surface of your paper. Lay the paper flat or hang it to dry.

After the paper is dry (about one hour), you'll want to iron it—yes, using an actual hot iron to make sure it is as flat as possible for the marbling process. You may have success with ironing a slightly damp piece of paper to prevent set-in wrinkles.

How to Marbleize Paper- plus all the things I did wrong.Attempt #1: Marbling with Ink & Thickened Water

You may look at the above pictures and think, "Ooooh, this one looks pretty!" Well, that's what I thought too. But when I tried to transfer the pretty design onto the paper, it didn't go so well.

Method: I began with about two inches of thickened water and gently dropped ink directly from the bottle's dropper into the water. I added a turquoise blue and an olive green ink, then swirled them around with the handle of a spoon to make my design. I gently laid paper prepared with alum onto the surface of the water, then carefully peeled the paper away from the water. Because the alum ensures the pigments' adhesion to the paper, I then rinsed the thickened water residue from my paper and was disappointed to see only a faint marble design, as seen below.

How to Marbleize Paper- plus all the things I did wrong.Result: The ink was not staying afloat at the very top of the water, even though my water was thickened. You could still see the design in the water, though it was just below the surface. In addition, the pigment of the ink just didn't seem bold enough to adhere properly to the paper for a crisp design. Maybe it was the colors I used, but I decided to give up on ink and try a different method.

Attempt #2: Marbling with Gouache Paint & Thickened Water

This resulted in such a similar fail as marbling with ink, that I didn't even bother taking pictures of the results. My method was the same, only instead of using ink, I used heavy pigmented gouache water colors which I diluted to the consistency of cream. The pigments were still too soft and still wouldn't stay on the surface of the thickened water.

Attempt #3: Marbling with Oil Paints & Non-Thickened Water

My main issue thus far seemed to be keeping the pigments floating on the water. To solve this, I switched to oil paints, since oil does not mix with water. Ideally, the oil paints would float above the water, so I wouldn't even need to thicken it. Or at least, that was my initial idea.

How to Marbleize Paper- plus all the things I did wrong.Method: I filled a jelly roll pan with water and dropped diluted oil paints onto the surface with a dropper. I could tell as soon as I began swirling that I didn't have much control over the design. I then carefully laid down paper which had been prepared with alum, but the paint was swiftly moving across the surface of the water no matter how delicately I laid down the paper. I tried one without preparing the paper with alum too (the framed one above), which didn't turn out half bad. I did not rinse that one, but I did rinse the pieces which had been prepared with alum.

Result: The oil paint did float without the assistance of a water thickener, and did produce a much bolder design, but the design was very difficult to control as it floated on water which had not been thickened. This observation led me to my final, successful attempt at marbling paper.

How to Marbleize Paper- plus all the things I did wrong.Attempt #4: Marbling with Oil Paints & Thickened Water

Ding ding ding! We have a winner! Now I knew that oil paints were the best for floating on water, I just needed to control them a bit more. So I went back to using thickened water. This was my marbling sweet spot.

Method: I filled my large basin with about two inches of thickened water (see preparation instructions above) and used a decommissioned children's Tylenol syringe to apply my diluted oil paints. I had diluted the thick oil paints with white spirit to get them to the consistency of heavy cream. After dropping the colors into the water, I used a coffee stirrer to swirl them around in a pretty pattern. This is where you can get creative and play around. Then I carefully laid colored paper prepared with alum onto the surface (see preparation instructions above), gently pressing along the back of the paper to make sure no parts of the paper were still raised off the water. I let the paper rest for several seconds, then gently peeled it off and rinsed off the paper in the sink to get off the excess paint and goopy water. I hung the paper to dry, then ironed it flat when it was just slightly damp.

How to Marbleize Paper- plus all the things I did wrong.Result: This method of floating oil paint atop thickened water created the most controlled and bold designs of any method I tried. It is tricky getting the excess paint out of the water in between sheets of paper (lots of sheets of newspaper to draw out the paint), but I loved the way each subsequent print turned out with this method.

How to Marbleize Paper- plus all the things I did wrong.Helpful Tips:

Choose the right paper. The paper you use should be absorbent, but only moderately thick in weight. If it's too thick, like high quality water paper, it will have stiff wrinkles after preparing the paper with alum. Even ironing out the dried paper before marbling will not remove all of the wrinkles and they will keep you from getting a smooth transfer of the floating pigments onto the paper. Colored paper is also a good choice because it already has a nice background hue before adding your marbled design. I was not happy with the performance of watercolor paper in my experiments, but I found that subtly textured art paper, particularly Canson's Mi-Teintes paper, was my favorite. You should be able to find large sheets of this at art supply stores.

Prepare plenty of paper before beginning the marbling process. You'll probably mess up a few sheets of paper before you figure out the best paint consistency, paper laying/lifting method, marbling design for your desired outcome. I started out with plain white watercolor paper, but when I didn't enjoy the results, I had to pause my project for a few hours while I bought more papers, prepared the papers, and waited for the prepared papers to dry before I could iron them and continue my project.

How to Marbleize Paper- plus all the things I did wrong.Marbling is such a free-spirited way of creating art. The results look abstract and natural, making a marbleized print the perfect addition to any wall gallery or even a great stand alone statement piece on your wall. And why stop at wall art? Marbled paper makes great gift wrap and greeting card material. -Mandi

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

March Book Club Selection

All the Light We Cannot SeeJust wanted to let you all know what we'll be reading next month in the ABM Book Club so you can get your copy now. Our awesome copy editor, Sarah, will be moderating, and she has chosen All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I'm stoked because I haven't read a Doerr book (or short story collection) since college. So, we hope you all will join us in March for that. 

Confession: I haven't gotten to start the February book yet. I know! I can't believe the month is already half gone! Luckily I've heard it's a pretty quick read, but I am feeling a little behind, so I'm spending the rest of the weekend snuggled up with some tea and Eleanor & Park. -Emma

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

A Few Of My Favorite Things

Favorite things-bar decor and learning to sewElsie and I haven't shared a favorite things post in too long! I'm making up for it today. Here are some things I'm currently loving and some thoughts for you this Saturday. 

1. I've been looking up lots and lots of pretty bars and cafes lately (like this one, found here). I've been dreaming hard on owning a bar/restaurant for years, and we are finally taking steps to make it happen. So, I've been flooding our partners' email boxes with inspiration. Naturally. :)

2. Over the past three months I've been getting into sewing. I received a sewing machine from my uncle as a wedding gift, and it sat unused for over a year. The shame! What got me going? Well, currently Rachel and Katie are finishing up a sewing e-course we'll be launching soon, and I help edit all the ABM e-courses. So that's put a real bug in my ear about sewing. Secondly, I received a beautiful book by Tilly and the Buttons that is just great, and I've been making some of the projects in that as well. I also love her cutting table hack (pictured above).

Favorite things-cocnut drink and pottery3. I'm currently obsessed with tropical cocktails. Maybe it has to do with my bar dreams, maybe it doesn't. I'll never tell. :)

4. This past month Elsie, our mom, and I have been taking a pottery class through Creava Arts in Springfield, MO (where we live). I've never thrown pottery on a wheel before, and it has been both challenging and really fun! I've found myself appreciating other's pottery even more now that I better understand how much skill is involved in making beautiful pieces like these mugs

Other things I'm loving lately:

-Recently saw The Imitation Game. If you haven't, you should. It's SO good!

-Can I just have your hair for a week? It's so pretty (love your blog too).

-Guys, I don't need anymore shoes right now... but if I did: these

P.S. HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY! Wishing you lots of love this year (getting and giving, it's a two way street)! We're having a low key day, making dinner at home for a few friends and then all getting in our hot tub. You better believe that creme brûlée is on the menu. :) xo. Emma

Credits: Author/Emma Chapman. Photo sources linked throughout.

Work Wears: Messy Hair

Messy hair don't careLately I've been really into the whole not-doing-my-hair look. You know, because it's a "look" and not just me not doing my hair. I mean, look at this way, it makes those days when you do your hair all the more special. 

Guys, here's another edition of Work Wears. You know, that feature where I show you what I wear to work. This past week has been mostly full of shockingly comfy clothes. It's been cold, so that's a factor. And then most days I find myself working on the floor. Did you know most of the DIYs you see on the blog were made while sitting or photographing on the floor? It's true. So short skirts are a tragic choice on those days. :)

Work wears casual outfitGuys, I love these jeans. I don't own a lot of textured pants because the Internet told me that us "pear shaped" gals should avoid them. But what does the Internet know anyway? 

YOU DON'T KNOW ME INTERNET.

Whoa, sorry. Got a little upset there. Guess I'm a little defensive today. (Not really, I'm just joshing around with you guys).

Details: Jeans/Free People, Shoes/H&M, Collared Top/F21, White Top/H&M

Work wears glasses and a skirtOK, so true story. I love this skirt with these shoes. It's my favorite. But, it was snowing the day I wore this. So these shoes make LESS than no sense to wear. I had other shoes with me. I do that sometimes. I just hate getting forced into winter boots for three months straight. I'm a real rebel like that.

YOU CAN TAKE MY SOUL, WINTER! BUT YOU CAN'T TAKE MY OPEN TOE SHOES!

There it is again! Man, I'm hyped up today. Probably too much coffee.

Details: Shirt/Thrifted, Skirt/Madewell, Shoes c/o ShopRuche, Glasses/ ABM for BonLook, Necklace/ DIY coming soon!

Work wears with floral leggingsLeggings are also good if it's cold and you work on the floor often. Just so you know. I love these floral leggings. 

Details/ Sweater/H&M, Leggings and Boots c/o ModCloth

And in case you're wondering how many colored doors we have around the studio house, the answer is four. Ha! Thanks for letting me share and TGIF guys—hope you have an amazing weekend. xo. Emma

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

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