3 Easy Crepe & Tissue Paper Halloween Projects

Openingshot copyWe love decorating for Halloween, but we go easy on the scary and go for cute. My girls were drawing some eyeballs to tape around the house, but that's probably as spooky as we get. When I was child, I would trace both my feet, cut out numerous copies, and tape them onto the driveway leading up to our front door. I wanted all who came over to think they were ghostly footsteps. HA! Back then, I wanted more spooky. 

Even though these three simple projects aren't quite spooky, they definitely are festive! Decorating gets crazy this time of year when you have to jump from Halloween to Thanksgiving and then Christmas, so I try to keep it simple. I'll probably put away the accordion bats in November, but the pumpkins and dried Chinese lantern branches can definitely stay out.

Bat Accordion Garland

-bat template
-black tissue paper
-black cardstock (2 sheets)
- 2 6" strands of yarn/string
-double-sided tape
-glue stick

Bat step1Step One: Using the template, cut out 2 bat pieces from cardstock, and about 40 bat pieces from the tissue paper. You can go more or less with the tissue paper cutouts depending on how long you want your accordion garland to be. 

OpeningshotStep Two: Poke two small holes on both cardstock pieces where the X is located, and thread a strand of string through. Knot the ends together. On the side with the knot, cover it with glue using a glue stick, and place a tissue paper layer on top, lining up the edges, and press onto the cardstock. Repeat with the other cardstock bat. 

Bat800Step Three: Place a small piece of double-sided tape in the center spot of that first layer of tissue paper that is attached to the cardstock end. Place another bat layer on top of that. Then place a piece of double-sided tape on each bat wing, then another bat layer on top of that. Repeat this alternating pattern until all the bats have been used. Once you come to the end of the tissue paper bats, still following the pattern you’ve been doing, add the remaining cardstock to the end. 

OpeningshotIsn't it surprisingly easy to make an accordion garland?! It takes some patience adding each layer, but now that I know how to make one, I want to try a couple more in some interesting shapes. 

Chinese Lantern Plant Branch

-orange crepe paper streamer (or tissue paper)
-15/16" foam balls
-glue gun
-glue stick

Cl step1aCl step2Step One: Tear a 5” - 6" strip of crepe paper and place the foam ball in the center. Fold up the short sides, then twist the ends together. Add a dab of glue to hold the twist in place. 

Cl step3Step Two: Once all the balls are wrapped, decide their placement on the branch, add a dab of hot glue to the bottom of each lantern (the opposite end of the twisted side), and attach to the branch. Hold it in place for several seconds until the glue sets. 

Cl stepfinalI love how it kind of looks like a real dried Chinese Lantern branch. If you don't have foam balls lying around, just roll up a little ball of tissue paper for the inside.

Pumpkin Tissue Honeycomb Balls

-5" honeycomb tissue paper balls 
-green crepe paper
-glue gun
-covered stem wire
-wire cutter

Pumpkin step1aPumpkin step1aStep One: Trace the honeycomb ball onto some cardstock. On the traced pattern, taper the ends inward to give the ball a more squatty look, rather than a perfect circle. Use that pattern to shape each honeycomb ball. 

Pumpkin step3
Pumpkin step4a copy
Step Two: Open up the honeycomb balls. Tear a piece of green crepe paper about 3” - 6” long for the pumpkin stem; tear different lengths to create different stem lengths. Twist the ends together and glue one end to the top center of your ball. Cut out pumpkin leaves and glue between an accordion layer near the top center. To add some looped stems, cut some wire about 5” - 8” in length, and wrap your stem-covered wire around a pencil a couple of times. Glue the wire near the top center of the ball.

Pumpkins done copyOur mantel is going to look so festive once I throw a bunch of these pumpkins on it. If you're hosting a Halloween or fall party, orange honeycomb tissue balls in various sizes turned into pumpkins would look great on the tabletops. 

Endingshot copyEndingshot copyEndingshot copyWe're mostly ready for Halloween. We still have a couple costumes to make, but decoration-wise, I think we have it covered. The only thing left is to pick out a real pumpkin and carve it with my children. 

If you want some additional Halloween decor ideas, here's the boo banner I made last year, and these black cats and friendly ghosts lights have always been my favorite. They're kind of spooky, but definitely cute! What are some of your favorite ways to decorate for Halloween? -Rubyellen

Credits // Author and photography by Rubyellen Bratcher. Photos edited with Valentine from the Signature Collection

Try This: Make Photo Booth Strips with Old Photos

How to make and print your own photobooth strips How to make your photobooth strips For over a year now, all my wedding party pictures have just been sitting on a jump drive doing nothing. I did print some for our wedding album, but I always planned to display some of these fun candid pictures. I just didn't have an idea of how I wanted to make that happen.

Honestly, the party pictures are some of my very favorite from the wedding. You get to see everyone cutting loose, making funny faces, utilizing the cheesy props we had, and just generally having a good time. And that's a big part of what I remember from our wedding reception. It was a good time with SO many important people we don't get to see everyday.

So, yeah, the photos, although goofy, are super special to me. I really wanted to find an attractive way to display them at home. And naturally, since we're printing photos, this was a good fit for our Canon USA collaboration.

How to make and print your own photobooth stripsFinally it dawned on me that I should take the photos and turn them into photo booth style strips, and then display them all together. There are probably a million different ways you could do this, but here's how I made mine.  

Use iphoto to send images to your phoneAs I mentioned, these were party pictures that we took with a DSLR camera during my wedding reception. So I first needed to move all the images from the jump drive to my phone as I planned to use the Party Party app to create my photo booth strips. I saved the images to iCloud via iPhoto so I could access them on my iPhone (that was a real iSentence, huh?). 

I also used Photoshop to crop them before I saved them to iCloud, but I also could have done this within the app if I had wanted to. 

Using the party party appNext, I used our Party Party app to group the images by fours into photo booth strips. I used a couple of the black and white filters to give the photos a more unified look, and I also used frame Film 2 to give my strips a border.

I ended up having eighteen strips in all! If I had only had a couple of strips to print, I probably would have just done so directly from my phone. But since I had quite a few, I decided to email them all to myself, and then group three strips onto one paper. That way I wasn't wasting a bunch of extra paper.

An orange printer!Then I printed all my photo strips using our Canon MG7520 printer, which is kind of like our MG7120, but it takes up a little less space and has more ways to connect wirelessly and print. And oh yes, it's an orange printer! 

Cut out photo stripsAfter printing, I cut out my photo booth strips (with orange scissors! So much orange!). Then I covered the back panel of my picture frame with acid free bulletin board paper in black. I used glue dots (found in the scrapbooking section of most craft stores) to adhere the strips to the paper. I ended up needing an additional three photo strips to fill out my frame. So there are actually three duplicate strips in my display, but you don't really notice them as there are so many anyway.

Display ideas for photobooth stripsI removed the front glass panel in most of these photos so you could better see the photo strips. But here's what it looks like with the glass. In case you're curious. :)

How to make and print your own photobooth strips  I am in love with how this project turned out! I can't wait to hang this up in our home! Thanks for letting me share. xo. Emma

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


Delicate Sunburst Mirror DIY

Delicate Sunburst Mirror DIY (click through for tutorial      I tend to forget about them, but mirrors really are wonderful additions to the category of "wall decor." They make spaces look bigger, they reflect light, and they allow you plenty of opportunity to find out that you do in fact have something in your teeth that no one told you about (gee, thanks guys). Elsie wanted to try a mirror DIY for her new office that involved these small wooden matchsticks, and it only took a few seconds of trying different arrangements around the edge before I got excited about the end result. 

Delicate Sunburst Mirror DIY (click through for tutorial    Supplies:
-spray paint
-mirror (we bought this 24" x 24" safety mirror)
-small match craft sticks that are thinner at one end (check your local craft store)
-popsicle sticks
-super glue
-painter's tape

Delicate Sunburst Mirror DIY (click through for tutorial) The first thing I did was make an "X" over the mirror with tape so I could divide the mirror into four equal areas. The goal is to continually adjust your craft stick placement so that by the time you get to the next tape mark, your craft sticks are still pointing directly straight into the center. Because the sticks are thinner at one end than the other, it's really easy to get your design too slanted in one direction without realizing it. If this is the case, they won't meet correctly by the time you make it all the way around. So the tape helps you to adjust the sticks as needed in smaller increments. 

Delicate Sunburst Mirror DIY (click through for tutorial)  OK, so once I had my mirror divided into four parts, it was just a matter of placing the craft sticks (thinner side towards the middle) in a semi-random pattern around the mirror. I just eyeballed the design as I went and pushed some in closer and pulled some out further to make a scalloped pattern around the edge. You can certainly count out how many sticks are in each scallop set to create a pattern, but I liked the look of the pattern being a little imperfect, and it goes a lot faster if you aren't counting every stick exactly.

Once I would get 10-15 sticks lined up, I would place a thin piece of painter's tape over the top of them to keep them together. You'll want to keep your tape towards the inside edge of the sticks because you'll be gluing your supportive popsicle sticks to the middle area (I had to move my tape inwards once I realized that). From that point, you just keep adding more sticks, making sure they point straight inward every so often, and tape them together until you've gone all the way around.

Delicate Sunburst Mirror DIY (click through for tutorial)   For your next step, place some wax paper on top of a large piece of cardboard or foam board and carefully slide your taped frame off of the mirror and onto the wax paper. Place wood glue on the back of the popsicle sticks and place the sticks across the middle of the smaller matchsticks to keep them together. Overlap the ends of each popsicle stick so you don't miss any of the smaller sticks below. You may have noticed in the above picture that I did not remove the mirror before gluing the popsicle sticks on top...

Delicate Sunburst Mirror DIY (click through for tutorial)    ...and this is actually what happened when I tried to remove the frame later to paint it. Some glue had seeped down to the mirror, and I had trouble separating it in one piece. Trust me. Transfer it to the wax paper first! 

Delicate Sunburst Mirror DIY (click through for tutorial)     Feel free to attach any extra popsicle sticks you need to feel that the frame is secured together. 

Delicate Sunburst Mirror DIY (click through for tutorial)      Once the glue is dry, place another board with wax paper on top so your frame is sandwiched between them and flip the boards over so the frame is now facing up (you might want to get help flipping the boards). Once your frame is facing up, you can use as many coats of spray paint as needed with adequate dry time between coats. 

Delicate Sunburst Mirror DIY (click through for tutorial)        Once your paint is dry, use your extra board to flip the frame back over and super glue or epoxy your mirror onto the frame. The mirror you use may already have hangers on the back, but ours didn't. So we used velcro Command strips to attach it to the wall (if you use a safety mirror, they are pretty lightweight).

Delicate Sunburst Mirror DIY (click through for tutorial   Delicate Sunburst Mirror DIY (click through for tutorial  Delicate Sunburst Mirror DIY (click through for tutorial)I like how the delicate pattern of the mirror contrasts with the chunky patterned wall, and because the frame looks like it was such a difficult thing to make, this is a project that doesn't look like a DIY. Although it's nice to have the lightweight and cost-effective features of the safety glass, there are a few angles where the reflection is a little distorted. So if that would bother you, I would just go with a real mirror. There are lots of spaces that you could put this mirror besides an office too. I think it would be darling in an entryway above a side table. Looks like I might be making another one! xo. Laura

Credits // Author: Laura Gummerman, Photography: Sarah Rhodes & Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with Stella of the Signature Collection.

One-Pot Red Wine Pasta

Red Wine One Pot Pasta (click through for recipe)I just love one-pot meals. Sure I love the ease of just throwing everything in a pot and waiting for my dinner to be ready. But what I love most of all is having less dishes. I really, really dislike washing dishes. It just gets old, right? Plus you get the pruny hands and leftover cooking smells. No good.

Cooking comes with dishes. It's the dark side of the moon. Or whatever. I mean, dishes happen and it's generally worth it, but a few less dishes is always a nice thing.

Red Wine One Pot Pasta (click through for recipe)  I first fell in love with one-pot pasta back when I made this version. And I love that you can vary this dish in all sorts of ways. One of my current favorites, that I thought I'd go ahead and share with you, involves cooking the pasta in red wine.

Favorite part about cooking with wine: drinking the remaining wine with dinner. Wine and I are best buds. :)

Dry pastaOne-Pot Red Wine Pasta, serves 4-5

16 oz. pasta (love these little nests of fettuccine, easy to add to a pot without breaking the noodles)
1 small white onion
2 garlic cloves
2 sprigs of fresh basil
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock*
2 cups red wine (any kind you prefer to drink)
3/4 cup water
salt + pepper
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese to serve

*I use vegetable stock most of the time as I don't often eat chicken or beef. Using vegetable stock will turn your pasta a purple-ish brown once it's cooked. If you use chicken (or seafood) stock, the noodles will have a slightly different color than mine (more purple than brown). You can use whatever stock you prefer or have on hand, but I think vegetable or chicken would work best for this dish.

One pot red wine pasta Finely cut the onion and mince the garlic. Add all ingredients (except the Parmesan cheese) to a large pot. Bring to a boil.

One pot red wine pastaReduce the heat to a low boil and cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the noodles are cooked through, remove the bay leaf and basil sprigs before serving.

Red Wine One Pot Pasta (click through for recipe) Top with a little more pepper and the cheese. If you have extra basil, go ahead and toss that on as well. Why not? Live large. :) Enjoy! xo. Emma

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

Make a Hoop Shelf in an Hour!


Hoop shelf (click to learn how easy it is to make)            For some reason lately, I've been trying to figure out a way to make curved pieces out of wood (like this pet bed). It definitely can be done, has been done, but I was looking for a method that doesn't use equipment and time I don't have. I started experimenting with DPI board (the stuff that peg board is made of), and my initial idea was a huge failure. DPI has a somewhat limited versatility (it snaps pretty easily). I'm happy with the piece I ended up with though! It really is a simple and elegant solution if you are wanting to introduce a round shelf to a space in your home– and it cost less than 20 bucks to make. 

-DPI board (you only need one sheet
-a pine board (1 x 6 x 8 would be just enough)
-10 wood screws
-paint & polyurethane 
-saw tooth picture hangers (optional)

-table saw (you could get away with just using a hand saw)
-2 clamps (or a pair of helping hands)

Hoop shelf (click to learn how easy it is to make)Step One: Alright, first things first: cut 2 strips of DPI (each 6" x 48") and one board at 6" x 28 11/16". On either end of those pieces, measure and mark in 3 inches. If you want to know how I got to those measurements, keep reading, or you can just skip right to step two (choose your own adventure style). Since these pieces are going to create the hoop, you can find the length of the middle shelf with a little bit of fun math, or you can just take my word for it. 48 x 2= 96. 96-6 (since you are overlapping each end 3 inches) = 90. So the circumference is 90" (or 7.5 feet).  The diameter of that is 2.39 feet (equation is circumference divided by π). So cut the middle piece at 28  11/16" (2.39 times 12). I'm giving you all the math so you can adjust the size as needed. I think a circumference of 7.5 feet is about the smallest you can get without the DPI snapping when you bend it, but you could go bigger! 

Hoop shelf (click to learn how easy it is to make)Hoop shelf (click to learn how easy it is to make)Step Two: From here, it's just a matter of taking one side of each of the DPI pieces and putting them together, overlapping by 3 inches, then clamping them together. (Clamp on the end of each piece. You want room to screw into the middle shelf.) I made sure to keep the shiny side on the outside. (I think some boards are shiny on both sides.) After I had one side clamped, I caaaaarefully bent the two unclamped ends together, overlapping by 3 inches, and then clamped them. DPI will bend (obviously, I have pictures to prove it), but when you are bending it, do it slowly and without applying too much pressure to one single section, or it will snap. Hardest part right there, but it's not too bad.

Hoop shelf (click to learn how easy it is to make)Hoop shelf (click to learn how easy it is to make)Step Three: Once the circle is formed, and if you did your math right, the center piece should fit nicely. From there, you can hold boards up wherever you want them and mark. Then cut. (I guess you could do that with the middle pieces, but I think if you do the math, it'll be easier to keep the circle true.) If the piece hits right in the middle of the circle, you won't need to cut angles. I like a bit of asymmetry, so I put one vertical piece to the side, and the angle ended up being 30˚, but it will change with location.

Hoop shelf (click to learn how easy it is to make)Hoop shelf (click to learn how easy it is to make)Step Five: After I had the pieces all cut and looking good in their respective spots, I held a speed square up to them while I screwed them in... gotta keep the wonkiness to a minimum.

Hoop shelf (click to learn how easy it is to make)Step Six: Finally, you can just put a screw or nail in the wall, hang the shelf on it, and call it a day. Or spend 5 more minutes and put a couple saw tooth hangers on the back for extra stability. There you go! What was that, like 6 steps? Six easy steps. I guess seven steps if you include painting. I painted the interior boards with a couple coats of gloss white, and the circle has three coats of poly (I lightly sanded between coats). The poly really made it, I think. I'm not sure if you can tell by the photos, but I think it boosted it's appeal by at least 67%. 

Hoop shelf (click to learn how easy it is to make)

Hoop shelf (click to learn how easy it is to make)            Hoop shelf (click to learn how easy it is to make)            What do you think? Could you make this? (yes) Do you like it? - Josh

Credits // Author: Joshua Rhodes. Photography: Joshua Rhodes and Sarah Rhodes. Photos edited with Stella from the Signature Collection.


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