Compound buttersFor Friendsgiving this year I wanted to create something that my coworkers could take home with them afterwards. But I also was prepping an entire meal, so I didn't want to try anything too complicated or time-consuming. 

I decided to make a few different flavored butters, also sometimes called compound butters. These are quick and inexpensive to make, and guests can use them during the dinner party as well as take their favorite flavor home after. 

Honey butterI made honey butter by combining 2 cups softened butter with 1/2 cup honey and a big pinch of cinnamon. You can blend this in a food processor or by hand. Spoon into clean glass jars to store. 

I love honey butter because it was something that was always served at my great aunt Ina's house during Thanksgiving when I was growing up. So not only is it totally delicious, it also reminds me of getting to spend holidays with my entire extended family on my father's side. Lots of folding card tables were involved. :)

Chipotle butterI also made a chipotle butter, inspired by my husband Trey. He loves chipotle anything. :) For this I combined 2 cups softened butter, 3 chipotle peppers, and a couple teaspoons of adobo sauce (all from a can). Blend in a food processor. Or you can blend by hand; just chop up the peppers first. Spoon into clean jars to store.

Honey butterI like to make these a few days before my event for two reasons. One, then I don't need to worry about them as I prep for everything else. And second, the flavors will mingle and intensify over a couple days, making them even more delicious. 

Compound butter party favorsI highly recommend adding handmade labels to the tops of the jars so guests know which is which (even though the color will likely give it away too). If you don't have a big sister with awesome handwriting like I do, you could also use letter stamps or stickers for the labels. 

Honey butter party favorsFlavored butters as party favorsFlavored buttersA few other flavor combinations you could try include pesto, cinnamon sugar, lemon, lime with salt, lavender, or pumpkin spice. You probably already have some great flavor options in your cupboard or refrigerator right now, so feel free to get creative. :) xo. Emma

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

Have to make this! Giant snowflake marquee (click through for tutorial)            Okay, okay, unless you're the type of person who puts up her Christmas tree the day after Halloween (Elsie!!), you may feel it's still a little early for Christmas decor. My husband Todd is a bit of a Grinch and puts up a big fuss if he hears or sees Christmas-related items before Thanksgiving. But I'm a planner by nature, so it's hard for me not to think of projects I want to do months in advance. So, regardless of when you choose to break out all your holiday decor, if you decide to make this project, I think it will be one of your favorites.

Do you remember those "choose your own adventure" books where the story varies based on what choices you make? Well, this is kind of a choose your own adventure light-up sign. You can make a version of this sign out of foam core that will be faster and more inexpensive (but will probably only last you one year), or you can make a wood version that will take a little more time and money (but you can keep it for several holiday seasons to come). I like the idea of being able to use my Christmas decor for more than one year (I will for sure be using this light-up sign from last year again!), so I chose to go the wood route. To bring this sign to life, we're teaming up with Martha Stewart Living and their holiday collection at The Home Depot. Also, be sure to check out Martha's light-up sign in her how-to series. Ready to brighten up your holiday decor?? 

Have to make this! Giant snowflake marquee (click through for tutorial)              General supplies:
-Martha Stewart Living Battery-Operated LED lights
-snowflake template (right click to download)
-drill and drill bits (or paddle drill bits)
-duct tape

Additional supplies for wood version:
-wood board big enough for your desired sign size (thickness is up to you; mine is 1/2" thick)
-jigsaw

Additional supplies for foam core version:
-large foam core boards big enough for your desired sign size
-X-Acto knife, metal ruler, and cutting mat

Have to make this! Giant snowflake marquee (click through for tutorial)Step One: TRACE. First you'll want to trace your snowflake design onto your material. I would suggest taking your downloaded snowflake file to a place like Kinkos or Staples and have it printed on their blueprint printer as large as you want. I wanted a big statement, so I made mine 40" wide. It should only cost around $5-$8 and you can just cut it out, place it on your piece of wood or foam core, and trace around it to transfer your design. If you are a lucky duck and have access to a projector, you can also print your snowflake on a transparency to trace it with the projector instead. I added the dots on the printout to mark where the lights should be based on where I ended up drilling mine, so make sure to mark those dots when you are tracing as well. 

Have to make this! Giant snowflake marquee (click through for tutorial)Step Two: CUT. Okay, here's one part of the process where you can go either the less or more time-consuming route. If you want to use foam core for your marquee, you can just use an X-Acto knife and metal ruler to cut out your snowflake. For a thicker foam core sign, cut out more than one and glue them together. If you choose to use wood for this project instead, you'll need a jigsaw, but if you don't already have one the good news is that they are under $50, easy to use, and you'll have a whole new range of wood DIYs you can tackle from now on. Totally worth it. 

If you choose to use a jigsaw, clamp your wood (or have someone hold it) so that the portion of the wood you are cutting hangs over the side of a table or workbench that's about waist high. Keep the flat metal bottom of the jigsaw close against the top of the wood as you cut into the board, and use the metal guide on the front of the saw to follow your outline. Don't force the saw forward too fast or it won't give you as clean of a cut, so just let the saw go at its own pace. Make all the cuts that you can get to from the outside of the snowflake, and I'll show you how to do the cutouts near the inside.

Have to make this! Giant snowflake marquee (click through for tutorial)
Have to make this! Giant snowflake marquee (click through for tutorial)To make a cutout that you can't get to as easily from the outside edge, you'll need to make yourself an opening near the lines that you want to cut. You can see in the photos above that I drilled holes a bit bigger than the width of my jigsaw blade near the lines that were hard to get to so that way I could start the saw from those holes and go in either direction I needed to from there. 

Have to make this! Giant snowflake marquee (click through for tutorial)     Once your snowflake is cut, you can take a piece of fine sandpaper and smooth any rough edges.

Have to make this! Giant snowflake marquee (click through for tutorial)     Step Three: DRILL. To make your light holes, use a drill bit or a paddle bit that makes a hole big enough to fit your lights through (my bit was 1/2"). A regular drill bit will work just fine for either wood or foam core, but paddle bits tend to give the cleanest holes in wood if you have access to one. Just drill with the paddle bit until the tip just goes through the other side, and then flip the wood and finish drilling the hole from the back. 

Have to make this! Giant snowflake marquee (click through for tutorial)     Step Four: PAINT. You guys know how to do this step. Choose whatever color you like (spray painting is an option too) or add a glitter coat with Mod Podge so the lights have extra sparkle.

Have to make this! Giant snowflake marquee (click through for tutorial)     Have to make this! Giant snowflake marquee (click through for tutorial)          Step Five: ADD LIGHTS. I love these Martha Stewart LED lights because they run on battery packs and you don't have to worry about cords hanging down or having to be near an outlet. They are also great because the front bulb cover can be removed and you can just stick the bulb through from the back and reattach the cover from the front. And the larger bulb really just works for the look I'm going for here. There's not really a right or wrong place to start adding the lights in from the back, so just pick a spot and start adding! It's also okay if you have to skip a bulb to make it to the next hole if the spacing is too far apart on some. I think light-up signs actually look better when they have a few lights behind the sign, as they give it an extra glow against the wall. Use duct tape on the back of the sign to secure any loose lights or wires that might dangle in sight and to secure the battery packs.

Have to make this! Giant snowflake marquee (click through for tutorial)          Have to make this! Giant snowflake marquee (click through for tutorial)          Have to make this! Giant snowflake marquee (click through for tutorial)          Have to make this! Giant snowflake marquee (click through for tutorial)          Have to make this! Giant snowflake marquee (click through for tutorial)          Marquee signs really are the best in my book. Can't you image being cuddled up under this sign with a blanket and hot chocolate this winter? It's the perfect dose of quirky fun to add to your holiday decor, and since the snowflake is also a general winter icon, you can totally leave it up until spring has sprung. Are you up for making a holiday marquee this year? Would you choose the wood or foam core version? xo. Laura

Credits // Author: Laura Gummerman. Photos by: Laura Gummerman and Josh Rhodes. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.
 
SAFETY TIPS: We spoke with our local fire department to double check the safety of this type of project. It's no less safe than a lit Christmas tree, as you'd probably guess. Just be sure to follow these guidelines (if you plan to recreate this project):

-Before purchasing your lights, check for a label of an independent testing laboratory (most commercially sold Christmas lights will have this). Some lights are specially made for indoor or outdoor use; be sure to use lights made for indoor use.

 -Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords, or loose/broken lights.

 -Your finished project should not have any exposed bundles of cords or wires, only the final cord or extension cord so it can safely reach an outlet if you use lights that are plugged in.

 -Just as you would with your house decorations or your Christmas tree, always turn off lights before leaving your home or going to bed.

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Birch tea light holderI love displaying candles throughout my house. Honestly, they don't all get lit that often, but something about just having a few candles out on display makes things seem cozier. There's something so beautiful and peaceful about a little flickering flame. Now that fall is in full swing and the days are much shorter, I've been trying to be extra mindful about trying to light some candles in the evening  for some relaxing ambiance. I've made a birch pillar candlestick holder before, but this time I wanted to do another for some tea lights. It really is so easy; just check it out below...

Birch tea light holderSupplies:
-birch rounds (I used 3" and 6" rounds; I got mine from Michael's, but this one is similar)
-tea lights
-pencil

Tools:
-drill
-1 1/2" drill bit

Birch tea light holderBirch tea light holderStep One: Mark the placement of your tea lights by marking the base of each tea light on the wood round with a pencil. 

Birch tea light holderStep Two: Drill your marked holes as deep as you desire your tea light to sit. For the taller birch round, we went 3/4" deep, but for the shorter round, we only did 1/4" deep. 

Birch tea light holderStep Three: Insert your tea lights in their places and light them up for some cozy ambiance!

BirchtealightsBirch tea light holderSee, it's as easy as 1, 2, 3! I know, it does take a little know-how with the drill, but if you have that (or can enlist someone who does), this project won't take you long at all. I've already used the tea lights a couple times for a craft night with some friends or evening dinners outside. I think a bunch of birch rounds in different heights and widths, with tea lights and candlesticks, spread along the middle of a table would be wonderful decor for your Thanksgiving table. What do you think? Of course, make sure to leave room for the turkey, stuffing, and pie! -Rubyellen 

Credits // Author and Photography: Rubyellen Bratcher. Photos edited with Willis from The Folk Collection

Easy and cheap! Make a statement wall with paint pens (click through for tutorial)      You guys know how much we love statement walls here at ABM (you can see all the previous walls here!), but it occurred to me recently that we haven't done a wall with paint pens or markers yet. I know, I know; shame on us and all of that, but don't yell too hard because I'm about to share one with you today. My musician husband Todd has a music room in our house where he can practice, write, and record, but until lately it's been dubbed the most boring room of the house. He insisted on keeping a giant couch (that he's had for the last 13 years!) in the space, and it felt like it was literally taking up half the small room, so I never really put much effort into decorating it. Once he decided to move the couch to his off-campus studio space, I jumped at the chance to add some personality to his room, and I thought a statement wall recreating this amazing geometric print would be just the ticket for the space. Since the walls are a medium grey color, I decided that a stenciled wall design with a white paint pen would work out perfectly. Here's how I did it:

Easy and cheap! Make a statement wall with paint pens (click through for tutorial)
Supplies:

-scrap cardboard (just ask a local store for boxes if you don't have any; the bigger the better!)
-painter's tape
-thick white paint pen (this one and this one are good)
-X-Acto knife
-push pins to hold template on wall

First I decided how many rows of the pattern I wanted on the wall. Once I chose four rows I measured the wall height, marked the four section measurements on both ends of the wall with a pencil, and used painter's tape to mark off the rows.

Easy and cheap! Make a statement wall with paint pens (click through for tutorial) Once I figured out the height, I got a big piece of cardboard, cut it to the row height, and traced my shape across the cardboard as far as it would go. I alternated the shape orientation so that it would look like an interlocking pattern once all together. Keep the shapes that get cut out of your template since you'll need those in your final step.

Easy and cheap! Make a statement wall with paint pens (click through for tutorial) I used push pins to secure the template to the wall so I could trace without having to hold the giant template in place. Pay attention to where the middle of the wall is, and make sure that you have the middle of a shape line up exactly in that spot. If you line up the middle carefully, the outside edges of the wall will both end at the same point in your pattern.

Easy and cheap! Make a statement wall with paint pens (click through for tutorial) Taking the paint pen, I just traced inside of the shapes and allowed the paint to dry (which it does rather quickly) before going over it a second time. If you have a lot of corners to get into like I did, I would also use a smaller point of paint pen as well so you can get into the corners a little better.

Once you have completed all your outline shapes for that section, remove the push pins and move the template over. Make sure to overlap the first shape of the template with the last shape you traced so that your spacing will be the same throughout. Since it can be hard to get the big template to line up exactly with the ends of the wall, you can use the leftover cardboard shapes that you originally cut from your template for this final step. Trim the cutouts vertically as needed and to use them as smaller templates to complete your shapes right next to the corner wall seam. Once your shapes are all traced, you're done!

Easy and cheap! Make a statement wall with paint pens (click through for tutorial)
Easy and cheap! Make a statement wall with paint pens (click through for tutorial)
Easy and cheap! Make a statement wall with paint pens (click through for tutorial)
The wall only took me a couple of hours to complete, so I was pretty happy with how fast it went, and since I was able to use one paint pen (well, one thick pen and one thin pen for the corners) for the whole wall, the project only cost me around $10 too! Not bad if you ask me. I love the vibe that the geometric shapes add to the space and the room definitely feels like it's got some personality happening now. I will for sure be expecting a lot of love songs to be written about me in this room from now on—I think it's only fair, don't you? xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with Stella from The Signature Collection

How to make paper flowersWith Thanksgiving happening in the month of November, my daughters and I like to do something special for our neighbors and others we come into contact with weekly through their extra-curricular activities. We might drop off breakfast for their dance teachers or bake our neighbors some dessert. It's just a little something to let them know we appreciate them.

Besides food, which usually people take gladly, I thought some pretty paper bouquets would make a nice surprise too. Wouldn't someone handing you a paper bouquet make you smile?! I know it would make us smile for sure! 

SuppliesSupplies:
-paper flower template
-cardstock in various colors
-green crepe paper streamer
-floral tape
-floral stem wire
-glue gun and glue stick
-wire cutter
-scissors

Step1aStep One: Cut your wire to your desired stem length and wrap the entire length of your wire with floral tape. 

O-step1Step Two: Using the template, cut out all the necessary pieces for your paper flower: petals, center, and leaves. Tear two 2 1/2" strips of crepe paper for the calyx. Be sure to cut a slit from the base of the each petal upward to the middle. 

StepthreecollageStep Three: Near the base of the petal, add a dab of glue on one side, and glue the other side of the petal on top. This gives the petal a little bit of an upward curve. You may need to hold the petal in place for a few seconds while the glue sets. Repeat for each petal. After, add a dot of glue at the base of the petal (on top of the overlap section), and layer another petal on top. Continue layering the petals all the way around. It's totally up to you how many layers of petals you would like to create. 

Stepfourcollage
Step Four: Cut out thin strips of paper and glue them to the center of the flower. Next, cut out a small circle and cut around towards the center of the circle, and then glue that on top of the thin strips. 

Another flower center option is to cut a 1" x 4" strip of paper and cut 3/4" slits down along the strip. Add a dab of glue and roll the strip, and glue again at the end to secure. Glue this fringed center to the middle of the flower. Just like there are many petal shapes you could cut out, there are various ways to create the center of the flower. You can have fun mixing and matching the different options. 

Step5collageStep Five: Poke the wire through the center of both 2 1/2" strips of crepe paper, fold about 1/2" of the end of the wire 90 degrees, and add a dab of glue to secure it in place. This green crepe paper acts as the calyx of the flower. Add more glue and attach the base of the flower on top of the calyx. 

Step1

Step Six: Add a leaf to the stem by wrapping the bottom of the leaf onto the stem and then wrapping floral tape around it. 

Paperflowers-horizontalNow, you know the basics in creating simple paper flowers. Have fun experimenting with different petal shapes and centers. You can even use this tutorial to make some giant flowers and use whole sheets of cardstock for each petal. Giant paper flowers would be extra fun to give to someone! 

Bouquet of paper flowersNo matter what, though, whether you give friends a single flower or give them whole bouquets, you're sure to pass good cheer around with this little gift of thoughtfulness. Take it a step further by adding a sweet note to let them know exactly why you are thankful for them. No doubt thankfulness and thoughtfulness are areas we all could probably work on. Don't you agree?! -Rubyellen

Credits // Author and Photography: Rubyellen Bratcher. Photos edited with Imogen from The Folk Collection

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