November Messy BoxHey, friends! I'm excited to share the November Happy Mail and November Messy Box with you today! There are some really cute pieces in both kits!

Here's the unboxing video- 


Happy Mail by A Beautiful MessSign up for Happy Mail here

Messy Box by A Beautiful MessSign up for Messy Box here

If you guys have any questions at all about our subscription boxes, let us know in the comments! xx- Elsie

Awesome Instagram Accounts!  @maradawnHey, friends!! I'm back this week to share more of my favorite colorful Instagram accounts to follow!

@BrightBazaar I love Will. His feed is basically color heaven. I don't know how he finds so many colorful doors. Super powers? 

All this yellow and blue makes me SO happy.

Awesome Instagram Accounts!  @maradawn@ClaireCollected I enjoy following this colorful feed. It's a mix of family moments and colorful interiors. Super fresh! 
Awesome Instagram Accounts!  @maradawn@StudioDIY One of my favorite blogs as well as Instagram accounts! My favorite posts of hers are her dance videos. So funny! 

Awesome Instagram Accounts!  @maradawn@SophLog Love Sophie's use of insanely saturated color. Cotton candy everything. So fun to follow along.

@jenniferlake@jenniferlake Jenn is another person I first connected with through the ABM hashtags! Her feed is insanely gorgeous, colorful and fashionable. 

Go check out all these people, and if you want more, I have Volume 1, Volume 2 and Volume 3 as well! 

I'm thinking the next category I will share is my favorite animal accounts. What else would you guys like to see? 

xx- Elsie 

Turkey and fixings  How to roast a turkey with stuffingTurkey and fixingsFriendsgiving is my favorite post(s) of the year here on ABM. I love cooking. I love photographing food. And I love hanging out with friends. I will say though that doing all of those things at once can be a touch overwhelming. I love hosting the meal, but I do always worry in the back of my mind if we'll have enough food, or if the turkey will be done in time, etc. I suspect that many of you who will be hosting a big meal this year share lots of the same concerns. I must admit that this year I was really feeling like, "I got this." Cooking a big meal was feeling pretty easy...and then I got thrown a curve ball. 

I drove down to Nashville on a Saturday, knowing that we were set to host our event that Monday. With a family vacation happening right after this, it just turned out to be the best date for everyone involved. So Elsie and I went for it. I had already practiced all my recipes. (Except the turkey because I just can't eat a whole turkey. I hate to waste it, so I just don't practice it...I wing it. Ha! Pun!) I drove down with a cooler of my supplies and lots of baking and cooking gear in my car. Elsie had bought the turkey and it was thawing out in Nashville the day before I arrived (more on that in a minute). 

So upon arriving, I learned that Elsie's new oven doesn't have racks. I mean it has racks, but the piece that holds the racks in place is missing. The company is rushing it to us, but it won't arrive until sometime on Monday, and the turkey has to start baking around 8:30am that that's not going to work. The alarms in my brain go off! Danger! Danger! You don't have an oven and almost all your recipes need one! You're in trouble! Friendsgiving is ruined!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And then I calmed down. I started thinking about grilling or smoking our turkey this year because I've been wanting to try that anyway. But with little time to plan and everything being closed on Sunday, this proved to be a bad plan. So I decided we'd just try to "rig" the oven racks, test it on a dish that day, and if it didn't work, reevaluate the plan. We bought four metal loaf pans and set those on the bottom of Elsie's oven (the heating coils are located on the top) then we set the rack on top of the loaf pans. I baked something. Nothing caught fire, smoked, or otherwise seemed to be ruining her oven or what I was baking. And that's how four metal loaf pans saved Friendsgiving this year. Ha!

Easy stuffing recipe A few things were different about our turkey this year:

1. We had to buy a frozen turkey instead of fresh because we were too early. I called two turkey farms in my hometown just to see if they could get me one early, but they could not. I was about a month early, so I can't really blame them. But this meant that our 12lb turkey had to thaw in the refrigerator for three days and it ended up not being completely thawed the night before. So I frantically googled around trying to figure out what to do when your turkey doesn't thaw in time. In the end, I decided to try running cool water over the bird (still in its package) in the sink for about an hour and luckily that did the trick.

2. I decided to skip brining this year. Every year I brine the bird, and so I just wanted to see if it made a big difference if I didn't. My conclusion: I think brining is a little better. Go figure. If you want to read about how I've brined past Friendsgiving birds, you can read about them here: Year 1 / Year 2 / Year 3. I'd have to say that year 2 is probably my favorite so far. 

3. I also decided to try stuffing the bird this year (with bread stuffing). I had never tried this before, so again, just experimenting. My conclusion based on observed data (aka what everyone ate): the stuffing cooked in a casserole dish was preferred to the stuffing that was baked inside the bird. I tried a little of both, and I too preferred the casserole dish stuffing. I like the crispy bits and also I thought the bird stuffing was too moist for my liking. I like a slightly drier stuffing so I can pour gravy on it. :) For our stuffing, I simply used a slight variation of this recipe, but omitted the apples, bourbon and eggs. I only needed a small amount to stuff the bird with and the rest I put in a small casserole pan.

How to make turkey gravyEasy turkey gravyOh yes, turkey gravy. Oh how I missed you. As a mostly vegetarian throughout the year, it might surprise you to know that one of my very favorite things about this time of year is turkey gravy. It's just SO good. You can read my foolproof method for making gravy here. (Spoiler: it's super simple.)

Easy stuffing recipeSo that's the story of this year's turkey, stuffing and gravy situation. I thought I'd have more recipes to share, but like I said, I just wasn't wowed by this one this year. It was good, we ate it all, believe me, but I like to only share my very best here on ABM. But stay tuned because I do have lots of other great Thanksgiving recipes for you coming this week and next. :) xo. Emma

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

Backsplash tiling tipsA couple weekends ago Trey and I undertook what was for us a pretty epic home renovation project. We had decided to tile our kitchen backsplash ourselves. I thought it would be fun to share how it went, some resources and a few tips from our experience. 

How to tile a kitchen backsplash with marble How to tile a kitchen backsplash with marble      How to tile a kitchen backsplash with marble   We had been thinking we'd use white subway tile because it's classic and relatively inexpensive. However, we fell in love with these marbled beveled edge tiles as we were shopping for supplies (they're from Home Depot in case you're curious). They were certainly more expensive than subway tile, but since we've been keeping most of our home renovations relatively inexpensive so far (which I realize is pretty subjective), we decided to splurge and get the pretty tile we wanted. 

In case you didn't see what my kitchen looked like before we moved in, here it is:

Original kitchenBefore we moved in, we had the counter tops replaced (with solid surface) and the cabinets painted white. 

Kitchen before Kitchen beforeSo this was the state of the kitchen backsplash area once we moved in. There had been a brown granite backsplash that matched the counter tops that was removed at the same time, leaving behind some damaged walls. The wall behind the sink area needed new drywall because it was so damaged. 

Before we got started, we watched a few videos and read up on installing tile since it was so new to us. We reviewed Josh's beginner's guide to laying tile from our Habitat project house last year. (Josh—we miss you buddy!)

I also thought these videos/tutorials were really comprehensive and helpful as well: Home Depot / Lowes / Young House Love

Once we felt like we understood what supplies and tools we needed, we measured our wall space and found we had right around 38.5 square feet to cover. We ended up buying 40 square feet of tile just so we could mess up a few since we had never used a wet saw before, and we also have extra we can store and use if we ever need to replace some (or at least, that was our thinking).

Plan and prep surfacesAfter gathering all our supplies, we started off by prepping the walls (cleaning and priming the discolored wall). Then we made a plan for tiling in sections and drew light pencil marks on the wall  just to have a game plan for when we started. Third, we prepped the area by taping off cabinets and covering everything in drop cloths. 

A few tips:

-The tile we ended up loving came on mesh backing. This made it a lot easier to plan and also at times easier to cut with the wet saw (that we rented). If you're tiling a backsplash for the very first time, you might consider looking into tile that comes on mesh just to make it easier on yourself. 

-We also decided to try out premixed mortar and grout (more on that in a second). This made the process faster because we didn't have to measure or mix anything. You just open up the bucket and get going. I don't know how it might compare, since this was my first time tiling, but I did love how this helped speed up the process a little bit (it is a three-day project anyway once you account for all the drying times).

Laying tile yourselfNext it was time to lay the tile. This was easily my favorite part! I really liked smearing the mortar on the walls and also setting the tiles in place. Since Trey and I worked on this together, I mostly did the mortar and he cut and pressed on the tiles. This helped us move faster, although it still took us most of a Saturday to lay all the tile. Also, we bought spacers but ended up not using them. Again, since our tile came on mesh, it sort of spaced itself. Plus with the beveled edges, we pretty much just wanted the tiles to be as close as possible (like they were on the mesh). So we ended up not using our spacers. I think generally speaking, spacers are really important, but due to our particular project, they just didn't come into play for us. 

Another, I guess, special step for our project was that the sealer we bought (made for natural stone like marble) recommended that you seal the tile after laying it but before adding the grout. Then you seal it again after the grout is fully dry. This was supposed to help with grout haze, so we tried that and I think it worked. But I guess I'm not 100% sure since I didn't try it without this step. 

Tip: Buy gloves that fit you well. Sounds obvious, I know. But I didn't do this. I just picked up whatever gloves they had on the shelf at the store and they were way too big for me. This made it more difficult to work with the mortar. Rookie mistake, I'm sure!

How to tile a kitchen backsplash Remove grout to reveal edgesThe next day I worked on the grout. Here's what I learned really fast: I don't really like working with grout. The process of rubbing it all over the tiles is fine. But we picked tiles that were beveled, so this meant cleaning the grooves out more. And since we chose marble tile, everything I read suggested that I needed to avoid grout haze as much as possible because most cleaners don't work well with natural stone. I found the whole process pretty frustrating because I felt like I just couldn't get the grooves or tiles as neat and clean as I wanted. I'm still happy with how it turned out, but grout is not my favorite part. :)

Next time I tile (which will probably be a while, but still), I will for SURE be looking into using a grout bag during this step of the process. I can't say how it might compare, but I didn't realize that was an option until we had already completed our project. My guess / hope is that using a grout bag might make the grouting process a little less messy which could be really helpful if you're working with natural stone and are worried about grout haze. Also the beveled edges on our tile made digging out the extra grout a real chore. So, again, I suspect a grout bag could really help with this as well.

We had to wait about 24 hours before we could seal the marble and grout. Then we added caulk to the seams and edges where appropriate. Caulk was surprisingly difficult too and I've used a caulk gun before! I'm still not 100% happy with our caulk job so I'm considering redoing it. The good news is that it isn't all that hard or expensive to redo caulk—thankfully.

How to tile a kitchen backsplash with marble So, what's my conclusion? Is tiling your own kitchen backsplash worth it? Well, it depends. If the difference between you being able to afford the project or not is doing the labor yourself instead of using a contractor, then I would say it's totally worth it. It's certainly something that can be accomplished by an amateur, but this was probably the hardest and most physically demanding project I've ever done, and I can't say I'm jumping to tile again anytime soon. But, is it worth it? I guess it's up to you, but I'm super happy with the look of our kitchen backsplash and I sort of like that we'll always know that we did it ourselves. But that's just me.

Kitchen progressThe project still isn't 100% complete. I have a few areas around the tiling that need touching up with paint (including the door trim and this strip of outlets that hangs above the counter). I'm also dreaming of some kind of DIY counter top for the cabinets just adjacent to our kitchen (see above where the copper backsplash peeks out). So we've still got a little of this and that to do in this part of the house before it feels "done". But as most of my fellow homeowners know, it's never really "done" anyway. :)

Thanks for letting me share! Hope I didn't scare any of you off from giving it a go if you're interested. If you do go for it, be sure to check out some more comprehensive tutorials as this is really more of an overview with some tips. :) xo. Emma

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

How to make eucalyptus hair wreathsToday I wanted to share our quick and simple method for making eucalyptus hair wreaths for your next gathering. Laura and I whipped up about six of these in an hour or two. They are fun to wear, look great in party photos and (the best part!) smell amazing! 

How to make eucalyptus hair wreaths Needed: Seeded eucalyptus (I got mine at Trader Joe's), floral tape (both the sticky kind and the kind you use to wrap- pictured here), floral wire and scissors. 

How to make eucalyptus hair wreaths  Twist a long piece of wire into a circle that comfortably fits your head. Remember, they're easier to make smaller later than to make bigger, so be a little generous with the size. 

Use the sticky tape to attach individual clippings of eucalyptus all the way around the crown. Repeat until it is full. 

How to make eucalyptus hair wreaths   Use the other floral tape to wrap the wire. It takes a little patience to  maneuver around all the clippings, but it's worth it because this step gives it a more polished, finished look. 

How to make eucalyptus hair wreaths    How to make eucalyptus hair wreaths    We had a little extra help from Dolly. She's very crafty. 

How to make eucalyptus hair wreaths      Ta-da! Aren't they pretty?!! 

How to make eucalyptus hair wreaths       I'll definitely make these for a future party! These are the kinds of detail that make a celebration feel thoughtful and special. 

If you want a more colorful look, see our fresh flower crown tutorial as well! xx. Elsie 

Credits// Author: Elsie Larson. Photography: Collin DuPree and Elsie Larson. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess Actions. 


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