easy and inexpensive velcro bedskirt tutorialVintage headboards are pretty easy to find at antique shops and flea markets, but the caveat is that they usually don't come with bed frames. I wasn't sure how I would make this frameless metal headboard work when I found it last year, but that didn't stop me from taking it home with me! I did what I normally do and just figured it out after the fact. A family member ended up giving us an old, unused metal bed frame that I bolted to the headboard, the ugly steel and a tattered box spring was completely visible underneath the pretty bedding. Not wanting to settle for just any ol' bedskirt for this pretty vintage bed, I figured it was a good candidate for an easy sewing DIY!

This velcro bedskirt was very simple to make and it really elevates the entire look of the bed. I don't have any wasted fabric that rests on top of the box spring, as I would with a normal bedskirt, and if your bed is in the corner, you don't even have to make three sides! I also love how easy the velcro attachment makes pulling off the skirt in case it needs to be washed. Check out how you can make one too!

easy and inexpensive velcro bedskirt tutorialSupplies:
-muslin fabric (check step one to figure out yardage and width) (I used muslin because it's the least expensive white fabric I could find at $2 a yard before my 50% off coupon at JoAnn.)
-trim (I found this fringe inexpensively online through a Chinese retailer)
-sticky-back velcro for fabrics (I used 1.5 packs for a twin bed.)
-straight pins
-matching thread
-tape measure

Not Pictured:
-sewing machine
-iron & ironing board

easy and inexpensive velcro bedskirt tutorialStep One: Take measurements of your box spring. This will determine the lengths of fabric you will cut in the next step.

Measurement one: (Length of bed sides) + (4" hem allowance and overlap allowance) = length of pieces you will cut in step two

Measurement two: (Distance from top of box spring to floor) - (2" hem allowance) - (preferred breathing space below) - (any trim overlap) = width of pieces you will cut in step two

Determining width of muslin to buy:
Multiply "measurement two" x 3 and that is the minimum width of muslin you should buy. My combined total was 36", and thankfully that is a standard muslin width. So I was able to buy one piece of 36" muslin the length of my bed and cut it into three long strips as shown below. Be sure to add about 1/8 yard to the total fabric you purchase to account for shrinking when you wash the fabric before beginning the project.

easy and inexpensive velcro bedskirt tutorialStep Two: Wash and dry your fabric before doing anything! Then cut three fabric strips to the measurements you figured in step one. 

easy and inexpensive velcro bedskirt tutorialIron 1/2" of your fabric edges, and fold it over another 1/2" and iron to make a hem.

Step Three: Pin down the hem and stitch it into place.

easy and inexpensive velcro bedskirt tutorialStep Four: Repeat steps 2-3 for the ends of the pieces.

Step Five: Pin your trim material to the nice edge of your bedskirt and stitch into place.

easy and inexpensive velcro bedskirt tutorialStep Six: Attach the fuzzy and poky sides of the velcro strips together and cut out 1" pieces. Peel off the backs of the fuzzy sides and attach a few inches apart from each other on the top of the back side of the fabric pieces. It's important to use the fuzzy sides on your fabric and the poky sides on the box spring so you can wash them later and not worry about the poky velcro ruining delicates in the washing machine.

easy and inexpensive velcro bedskirt tutorialStep Seven: Peel off the back of the poky velcro pieces that are attached to the velcro on the fabric and push it into the the box spring. Make sure you overlap the pieces at the foot of the bed as length allows.

easy and inexpensive velcro bedskirt tutorialeasy and inexpensive velcro bedskirt tutorialLook how easy it is to remove! No more wrestling with the mattress when the bedskirt needs laundering.

easy and inexpensive velcro bedskirt tutorialThis bed looks 100% better than it did before the bedskirt, and what an easy little sewing project to do! -Mandi

Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

Homemade Margarita Mix (so much better fresh!!)Today I'm excited to share a recipe for homemade margarita mix. It's insanely easy to make, with only two ingredients plus water! The difference between homemade mix and something you buy at the store is kind of insane, though. Sometimes the store-bought mixers can be syrupy and gross. Homemade tastes SO much fresher. Totally worth the effort!

Make your own margarita mix! (cick through for recipe)    Homemade Margarita Mix

1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup lime juice (about 10 limes)

Squeeze the lime juice into a bowl or measuring cup. Heat the water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Let the mixture cool a bit before adding in the lime juice, mix together, and pour into a bottle. Refrigerate the mix for up to two weeks. 

Make your own margarita mix! (cick through for recipe) Make your own margarita mix! (cick through for recipe) Margarita Mix (so much better fresh!!) It's perfect to make a big batch before parties. You can easily tweak the proportions to make a large or small batch depending on how many you'll be serving! 

To make a margarita with this, just mix 1 shot of tequila, half a shot of triple sec and some ice. It's super simple! Don't forget to salt your rim. 

You can make fun variations by using half grapefruit juice, orange juice or berry juice instead of lime juice. I just tried my first bourbon margarita (just sub bourbon for tequila) and it was really fun and different. Don't be afraid to experiment, you really can't mess it up! 

Enjoy..... 

Margarita Mix (so much better fresh!!)   xoxo! Elsie 

Credits// Author and Photography: Elsie Larson. Project Assistant: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess Actions

 

Make your own mermaid doll! (click through for downloadable pattern)     You guys!! I have been wanting to make a plush doll for so many months and I finally got it together these past few weeks. It was SO fun.

My friends' kiddo had a mermaid doll when we were at coffee recently, and I had an OVERWHELMING urge to make some for my niece, Penelope. You know that feeling? 

Anyway! Here's my mermaid doll pattern. I hope you guys get a chance to make one too—

Steps 11. Supplies:

-mermaid patterns: pattern 1, pattern 2, pattern 3 (right click to download)
-cotton fabric (in any skin tone)
-sequin fabric (and interfacing if needed, we used fusible interface)
-yarn for hair and acrylic paint to match yarn color
-fabric glue
-stuffing
-buttons
-sequins to decorate

2. Print our your patterns and cut out your pieces along the dashed lines.

3. Tape the head to the body and the fin to the tail at the dashed line areas so you end up with two patterns. (one for body and one for tail) Fold your cotton and sequin fabric into two layers (right sides together) and use your patterns to cut out the body and tail pieces (add the interfacing to the sequin fabric if you want to). Sew along the edges with a 1/2" seam allowance and leave the top of the tail and bottom of the body open so you can turn your pieces right side out through those openings. Before turning them right side out, cut a few "V" notches into the turns, and then use a long object (like the end of a pencil) to help you push the fabric back through the opening. Once it's right side out, stuff your shape with stuffing to your liking (use the pencil end again to push it into the small spaces), and insert the body into the tail opening. Fold the top open edge of the tail seam in towards the doll and hand stitch the tail to the body.

4. Use acrylic (or fabric) paint to cover the scalp area of your doll (this will help her not have "bald spots" without having to completely cover her hair in yarn—because that would take forever). When you apply the paint, try to use a very light/thin coat. A heavy coat will be too hard to stitch through. ;) 

Steps 25. You don't have to add the Sharpie dots, but I find them helpful to keep the spacing consistent. This is the minimal amount of "hair plugs" needed. If you look at the zoomed out photos of both dolls, the purple hair doll has about twice as much hair. It's easier to style if you put more plugs in, but if you leave it long or in a braid, it looks good either way.

6. Stitch the yarn "hair" into the dotted areas, knotting so it's secure.

7. When you get to the bang area, you can leave a little gap and then cover it with a braid at the end. Stitch on the bangs and then trim them after they are all attached. Then add a little bit of fabric glue to the forehead and style them straight until the glue dries (if they're still a little crazy, like the photo below, just keep brushing them down until they relax). 

Embroider those lashes!  Stitch on some eye details or add buttons for eyes. I'm a fan of the sleepy eyes! 

Make your own mermaid doll! (click through for downloadable pattern)        Don't forget their seashell buttons and sweet necklaces. Done and done! Enjoy your cute dolls. 

Oh, and don't forget—these make great gifts!! 

Make your own mermaid doll! (click through for downloadable pattern)       Make your own mermaid doll! (click through for downloadable pattern)    Make your own mermaid doll! (click through for downloadable pattern)        The hair looks so cute braided too. 

Make your own mermaid doll! (click through for downloadable pattern)Thanks for reading, you guys! If you make one of these dolls, please tag them with #ABMcrafty on Instagram so I can see. My absolute favorite part of craft blogging is seeing what YOU make. xx- Elsie 

Credits// Author and Photography: Elsie Larson, Project Assistant: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess Actions

Creativity is a processI'd like to throw some thoughts about creativity out at you today. This is something that I touched on during my speech at Meet the Blogger this past month, and I just wanted to delve a little deeper into the subject with all of you. Here's the thought:

Creating work or being creative is a process and not a destination. 

I have to admit out of the gate here that this is certainly not my own original thought. In fact, I don't know who thought of this first, but I grew up hearing my mother (a successful abstract artist, among other things) saying something along these lines. Still to this day I'll hear her say, "It's about the process." There's quite a few reasons why I find this thought SO immensely encouraging as someone who strives to live a creative life. 

1. It's OK to suck at first (in fact, it's necessary).

To me, my mother's sentiment of "it's about the process" is a more articulate way of saying, "It's OK to totally suck at something at first." Which is just great because, I don't know about you, but whenever I'm first learning how to do something, I'm usually not very good, at least for a while anyway (and sometimes never, depending on what we're talking about). There are ALL sorts of examples out there of very famous artists, inventors, and other creatives whose early work wasn't critically acclaimed or may have even been deemed a total failure. One that my husband and I always talk about is Louis C.K. We both LOVE his show, Louie. If you haven't seen it, you've got to check it out. It's funny, honest, and shockingly vulnerable at times. It's awesome and has won a few Emmy awards, so it's not just me that thinks so. But this is also the same guy that directed Pootie Tang, which was not, uh, so critically acclaimed, let's just say. I think Louis has even said in some interviews before that he feels that movie is not the work is he most proud of. I am such a big fan of Louis C.K. that I almost even hate to use him as an example, but I think the larger point is that his work is amazing and I don't know if he'd be writing and making the stuff he is now if he hadn't gone through all the other stages that every creative has to go through. If you want to read about some other folks who failed at first, check out this article

Another example I'd like to share is something from my own life. This past year I took my first wheel throwing (pottery) class. I did this just for fun and to spend time with my mom and sister who I had also convinced to take the class too. I have no ambition about pottery in that I don't ever plan to make money or achieve any notoriety in the pottery world. So although I wasn't very good at it at first (and honestly I'm still not very good), it didn't bother me. I just wanted to learn something new and make something for the sheer pleasure of making. And I accomplished those goals easily. 

One thing that this shows me is that when you're first approaching a new creative endeavor, it's best to come at it just for the sheer joy of making and not because you dream of doing it for a living or gaining fame in that field. You very well may be able to do these things, but you'll probably be able to weather the sucking stage better if you don't put so much pressure on yourself. Or at least that's how it is for me. This is probably the number one thing I think about when I see someone just starting a blog or just taking up photography, acting, writing, painting, etc., and they want to turn it into a career. They very well may be able to, BUT they've already set themselves up to enjoy the process (which is necessary, and cannot be skipped no matter how talented you are) so much less. It bums me out for them and makes me nervous that they won't be able to sustain the practice because they never fell in the love with the making in the first place. 

2. It's OK not to share your work that sucks. And it's OK to share it if you want.

Sometimes I feel there's this misconception that if you don't share everything, you're not authentic. And I just can't get on board with that way of thinking personally. Putting your creative work out there is HARD! Like so hard that many people just can't do it and never do. And for that reason today, I'd like to give you permission to not share anything you don't feel ready to share. It's fine. I don't think you're pretending to be perfect if you don't show me all your mistakes. Feel free to go hide by yourself for awhile and just create a bunch of work that totally sucks. You'll learn so much! And I don't think you need to be worried what I think of all that work—it's your creative journey, so feel free to keep it private if you want. 

Now I'm going to tell you the opposite. And that's because if you want to share what you're working on that isn't very good yet, that's perfectly fine too. You'll need to be real with yourself and know that you might get some tough feedback (especially if you're sharing online—the internet can be tough), but you also might need that accountability of putting stuff out there, and I get that too. If you want to share things before you feel you've mastered something, go for it. I think putting work out there is one of the fastest ways to push yourself to the next level creatively because it forces you to face feedback (from others, but also from yourself) and can help to push you forward.

Side note about this: if you see a fellow creative putting work out that you think isn't that great, be honest but kind. The honesty will help them grow and the kindness will be appreciated and repaid to you one day. Karma and stuff. 

3. Your best attempt will ALWAYS be better than your best intentions.

We can fill our lives with excuses if we want to. We're too busy to work on XYZ. We're too tired from work, family, other demands, etc. We're afraid of what others might think. We're afraid of wasting our time. The list could go on and on, couldn't it? 

Don't fill your life with excuses. Finish your best attempt, and when you're ready, put it out there! You will learn and grow so much. No matter what else happens, your life will be enriched from the act of being creative. I know, it probably sounds crazy, but I really think it's true. I think we were meant to make. And the rest is beyond us anyway, so don't sweat it too much. The best thing you can ever do for yourself is set a deadline to finish and hit it. Simple, but SO hard sometimes. 

The bottom line is this: a creative life is a long, messy, and super fun life. It's not all perfect. It doesn't all have to be lived in public. And the most important thing: it's yours to live and to enjoy. I hope you find this as empowering as I do. 

Welp, there's well over 1000 words on the creative process. I don't want this conversation to be one sided, though, so feel free to share your thoughts and comments too. xoxo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photo edited with A Beautiful Mess actions—you should try them. Nudge, nudge.

Make your own pom pom blanket! (click through for tutorial)   While there are still a few warm days here and there, the fall chill has definitely hit for the season (especially at night). It's that time of year for blankets and couch cuddling, so you had better make sure you are stocked up in the blanket department. I love those throws that have big pom-poms attached to the ends, and I thought it would be an easy add that I could do myself to add a little fun. All you really need is a needle, some yarn, and scraps of cardboard to make your pom-pom dreams come true!

Make your own pom pom blanket! (click through for tutorial)
Supplies:
-thick yarn that is machine washable
-blanket with plain ends (i.e. no fringe or tassels unless they can be removed first)
-yarn needle and regular needle
-thread in colors that match your yarn
-cardboard

Make your own pom pom blanket! (click through for tutorial)        To make the pom-poms:

1. Use an X-Acto knife to cut two circles out of cardboard that are about 5 inches wide with a 2 inch hole in the middle. 2. Place your cardboard donut shapes on top of each other and wind your thick yarn through and around the donuts until all the cardboard is covered. 3. If you want an extra fluffy pom-pom, wind around the donuts a second time until you reach your beginning point again. 4. Once you're finished winding, stick your scissors through the yarn and get the blade between your two cardboard donuts. Cut between the donuts all the way around. 5. Cut a piece of thin yarn to tie around the middle of the pom-pom. Place the yarn between the two cardboard layers and tie a knot around the middle tightly. 6. Once your middle is secure, carefully cut out the cardboard donuts and fluff the pom-pom. Use scissors to trim any pieces that are sticking out further than the rest, and use your yarn needle to string your pom-poms and bells onto some thin yarn.

Make your own pom pom blanket! (click through for tutorial)        After you've made as many pom-poms as you want to attach to your blanket, cut three pieces of the same color yarn that are about 20" long. Use your yarn needle to thread them through halfway at the spot on the blanket edge where you want your pom-pom to come out from. Once you do all three, you should end up with 6 strands of equal length.

Make your own pom pom blanket! (click through for tutorial)        Braid the strand together and make a knot where you want the pom-pom to be attached (make it as long or as short as you like).

Make your own pom pom blanket! (click through for tutorial)        Use your needle and thread to attach the pom-pom onto the knot on your braid. Once you've secured all your pom-poms to the braids, you're done!

Make your own pom pom blanket! (click through for tutorial)    Make your own pom pom blanket! (click through for tutorial)        I love the braided look of the strands that connect the tassels to the pom-poms and I made the poms a bit oversized so they would make more of a statement on our new grey sofa. This is totally something that you could do at the bottom or top of a duvet cover or on the ends of pillows as well. And if the yarn and blanket you choose are both machine washable, then you should be able to throw your blanket in the wash as needed. Now that you know how to make the perfect blanket for the fall season, grab yourself a cup of hot chocolate and let's get this snuggle party started! xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

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