Make Your Own Personalized Photo Ring Dish! (click through for tutorial I love a good ring dish. Especially if you love to do thin stacking rings like I do, it's a really good idea to have a ring dish at strategic locations in your house (next to the bed, in the bathroom, by the kitchen sink) so you always have a spot nearby when you take off your rings. To make the dish extra special, we're teaming up with our long time friends at Canon USA to help personalize these with your own photos and images using water-activated decal paper. Here's how: 

Supplies:
-waterslide decal paper
-scissors
-turpentine
-water-based polyurethane
-foam craft brushes 
-white ring dish (I used these small appetizer plates)
-Canon PIXMA MG7720 photo printer



Make Your Own Personalized Photo Ring Dish! (click through for tutorial)
First you'll want to choose the photo(s) you want to put on your ring dish. Resize your image to fit the bottom of whatever ring dish you choose and print your image onto the decal paper. The PIXMA MG7720 printer works great for this type of project because the printing quality and color is great, and the images look amazing on the dish. Cut out your image and submerge in room temperature water until the decal slides off the backing. Cover the bottom of your dish with a thin layer of turpentine and place your decal on top. Allow decal to completely dry. Seal your plate with a coat of water-based polyurethane, and once the poly is dry, it's time to add your rings! 

Make Your Own Personalized Photo Ring Dish! (click through for tutorial    Make Your Own Personalized Photo Ring Dish! (click through for tutorial    Aren't they so cute?! Since this is a small craft and relatively inexpensive to make, these ring dishes would be perfect presents or favors at a small party (or maybe use a photo of you and your besties and make one for each girl in the group). I wouldn't wash these in the dishwasher, so just wipe out with a damp cloth as needed. Now that I have a bunch of new ring dishes, I guess it's time to go ring shopping to fill them up with goodies! xo. Laura

Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman.

Messybox-verticalHey, guys!! This month's Messy Box and Happy Mail subscription boxes are super fun and full of surprises!! Scroll down to see the unboxing video or hide your eyes to keep it a surprise – it's up to you!!!! 

Messybox-slider4The colors in this month's Messy Box are just SO pretty. Subscribe to Messy Box here

Happymail-verticalAugust's Happy Mail is making me smile! 

Happymail-lifestyle8Subscribe to Happy Mail here.

And here's the August unboxing video! 

Hope you guys have an awesome month getting these boxes in the mail. xx -Elsie 

Credits//Author: Elsie Larson. Photography: Janae Hardy. Video and Music: Jeremy Larson. 

Modern Regency Cabinet made from plain white Ikea cabinets! Click through for the tutorial.Lately it seemed that every improvement I made to our living room was eclipsed by the plastic toy storage bins that lined the entry to the room. Sure, they kept the toys at bay, but they definitely detracted from our enjoyment of the space. You see, we have just one room in our home to relax together as a family, so just one chance at creating a pleasant space for reading, working, hosting gatherings, watching television, and, if you're a 4-year-old, playing with toys. I figured it's only fair to let the kids keep a lot of toys in our living room, but you know what they say about when Mama's happy! So I set out to make our toy storage situation much easier on the eyes. Ikea provided a great starting point, and after a few tweaks, I now have a credenza that I'll enjoy using in any room in the future! Lots of style and loads of storage. Win/win!

I started out with a row of plain white upper cabinets from the Ikea Sektion system and chose the least expensive door option. There are quite a few size options, and by combining cabinets, you can completely customize the size of your credenza. Change up the colors, knobs, and top material, and you can make this Ikea restyle easily fit in with your own style and home!

Before-and-afterI'm so pleased with how sophisticated this cabinet looks after the restyle! Sure, it could have been a more dramatic change with different paint colors or some funkier knobs, but this is exactly what I wanted, and it fits our space (and our budget!) perfectly. Check out how I did it below.

Modern Regency Cabinet made from plain white Ikea cabinets! Click through for the tutorial.Materials:
-1/4" plywood sheet cut into rectangles*
-2 1x8 pieces of lumber cut to the total length of your cabinet (I used clear pine.)
-cabinet knobs with screws (I used these.)
-construction adhesive
-paintable caulk (Optional if you are very picky or do not have good clamps or weights for step one. I didn't end up using caulk.)
-120 grit sandpaper
-400 grit wet/dry sandpaper (not pictured)
-0000 grade steel wool (not pictured – for polyurethane finished pieces only)
-paint + primer for cabinet doors
-stain + sealant of choice for countertop finish (I used diluted white paint and satin polyurethane.)

Tools:
-power drill
-caulk gun
-sanding block (I used one of my children's play blocks with stick-back sandpaper)
-spring clamps (these are good) or heavy weights (cinder blocks, bricks, paint cans, weights, etc.)

*Cutting the Plywood

The amount of plywood sheets you need depends on the size of your credenza. The orientation of the grain is unimportant for the final piece (unless you're staining your doors), so feel free to cut your rectangular pieces along the grain or against the grain as needed in order to get the most out of the sheet. Plywood sheets measure 48" x 96", but you should consider the 1/8" thickness of the saw blade when figuring how many rectangles you can get out of one sheet.

You will need two rectangles for each cabinet door. The first rectangle should be exactly two inches smaller than the dimensions of your cabinet door (W-2" x L-2"), and the second rectangle should be exactly four inches smaller (W-4" x L-4"). I was able to use one sheet of plywood to get all of the rectangles I needed for my project.

Modern Regency Cabinet made from plain white Ikea cabinets! Click through for the tutorial.Step One: Apply construction adhesive to the back of your plywood rectangles and place them centered perfectly onto the front of your cabinet doors. I recommend that you measure as you go, or else place one-inch scrap pieces of wood around the border, ensuring the panels are perfectly centered. Did I do this? No. I just eyeballed it, chiding myself throughout the entire project, though at the end I was very pleased to see that they all seem pretty perfectly centered!

Place pressure along the entire surface of the panels, causing the glue to spread in between the layers. Then clamp all around the edge of the panels until the glue sets up completely. I couldn't find information about the setup time for the adhesive I used, so I left my clamps on for a few hours, then took them off to work on the next door. (I have enough clamps to do three doors at a time. Most normal people probably do not have so many clamps, so this step might be more drawn out for you as you wait for each door's glue to set up.)

Modern Regency Cabinet made from plain white Ikea cabinets! Click through for the tutorial.Step Two: After the glue has completely set up, use a sanding block to sand each level of the paneled door, including the factory-finished surface. I slightly rounded the corners of the plywood panels, just in general making sure that everything was smooth, chip-free, and not sharp. I recommend using a block for this for a more precise sanding job. An orbital sander is not a good choice for this step, because it is too powerful and difficult to control.

If your panels do not sit perfectly flush all around the edges, this is the point where you will want to apply caulk to fill in any cracks. Allow the caulk to cure before continuing to the next step.

Modern Regency Cabinet made from plain white Ikea cabinets! Click through for the tutorial.Step Three: Paint and prime or stain and seal all components of the cabinet.

I edge glued my two 1x8s that I used for a countertop, sanded it down on the top and sides, and white-washed it with a diluted white paint I already had on hand. Then I sealed it with a few coats of satin polyurethane. After the first coat of polyurethane, I sanded lightly with 0000 grade steel wool. I also lightly sanded with 0000 grade steel wool after the last coat of polyurethane.

For the painting process of the doors, I first sprayed them liberally with two coats of primer, and then wet sanded all the crevices and surfaces with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. Wet sanding is simply a process of frequently dunking your sandpaper into water and using the wet sandpaper to sand down the primed surface using the water as a lubricant. This process creates an amazingly silky smooth finish, free of any tiny bumps or roughness that naturally occur during the priming process (whether you've sprayed or brushed it on). Because some areas will no longer be primed after wet sanding, you'll want to spray with another coat or two of primer, and then just lightly wet sand once more before painting with your finish paint. I used a satin finish spray paint for my two coats of paint.

During this time I also painted my door knobs because they were unfinished wood. They were primed and wet sanded just like the doors.

Modern Regency Cabinet made from plain white Ikea cabinets! Click through for the tutorial.Step Four: I waited for the door paint to cure overnight before drilling into them to add the knobs. I marked the center of the doors on their backside and drilled the hole for the screw. I made sure to find the center on the non-paneled side in case my panels weren't perfectly centered, so at least my knobs would be exactly centered and in line with the adjacent doors. Then I screwed the knobs into place and returned the doors to the cabinet, but not without a little squeal and hand clap, maybe.

Note: You may want to countersink your screw holes so the screw head will be flush with the cabinet door. I didn't do this, and a couple of the containers that fit perfectly into my cabinet actually don't let the doors close all the way because the screw head is too big! Gah! Now I have to take off the doors and the knobs and countersink the holes. Bummer, dude.

Ikea Toy Cabinet RestyleBecause this credenza is currently functioning solely as a toy storage unit, I opted not to add legs to the bottom. Elevating the cabinet would just create a difficult-to-reach space where toys can easily become trapped, along with spiders and dust bunnies. But the cabinets are easily anchored together, making this a sturdy piece to attach a set of stylish legs to the bottom. I did add thick felt pads to the bottom four corners of each cabinet in order to lift them slightly, keeping the doors from scraping the floor as they open. We decided not to bolt the cabinets together because we wanted them to remain hole-free, should we decide to reconfigure this piece in our next space.

Modern Regency Cabinet made from plain white Ikea cabinets! Click through for the tutorial.Ikea Cabinet RestyleI'm already enjoying this room so much more, without a row of plastic toy bins greeting me upon entry. Bonus: My kids don't pull out as many toys at once because there is now a door between them and all the toy bins. I guess it's the same principle I apply with candy in the kitchen. (Don't tell the kids about my super secret candy hiding spot out of sight in our upper cabinets!)

Ikea Toy Cabinet RestyleAnother successful Ikea restyle for the books, I'd say! Check out Laura's easy TV cabinet restyle she did recently too. So many options – I love it! -Mandi

Credits//Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. 

There's no place like home There's no place like home There's no place like home There's no place like home There's no place like home There's no place like home There's no place like home Elsie's Wearing: Jacket/Madewell, Dress/H&M, Shoes/Swedish Hasbeens, Bracelets/Madewell

There's no place like home There's no place like home At the end of a long week, there really is no place better than just being at home. These days I treasure it with all my heart. My home is what I make it whether messy or serene. I choose to fill it with the best vibes (and music) every day or to let stress and being "too busy" dampen the mood. 

I'm really embracing this, and owning that the grass is greener literally NOWHERE else. It feels good to have that control over my own surroundings. And it's amazing how far speaking positively about how much I love them has taken me. Instead of being stressed about the next few things on my to-do list, I'm trying to just open my eyes and appreciate how far we've already come. In each day I'm trying to really appreciate and enjoy what's beautiful about this place we call home. 

Honestly, I know that even admitting that I struggle with thankfulness will make someone angry. And I get that. Because to you my Internet home looks so perfect. But to me, it's a real home. A home with a list of things my plumber needs to take care of and dirty dishes and a LOT of laundry to take care of. It's not perfect, just like all homes. 

Similarly my marriage, my job, my body, my schedule... all imperfect things yet I still have so much to be thankful for. 

So I guess that the phase in life I am in right now is about learning to train my brain and my heart to see the good in each day. 

Sorry if this is too somber. Haha! I'm awkwardly passing it along to Emma now... :D 

Emma at home Plant Lady tshirt Dining room table Emma Chapman at homeSister, why so serious? Jk. I've got a homebody heart too. I feel you. Actually July and (soon) August are two months where I'm not traveling for work or fun hardly at all – so I've been filling my nights and weekends with little home renovation projects I've been meaning to get to. Plus binge listening to podcast episodes as I go. And it's been making me SO happy. I also think that in addition to just staying home more, I'm also the type of person who really enjoys routines, which is easier to achieve when you're not traveling. 

And in case you are curious about podcasts I've been enjoying, well, let me fill you in. I'm (once again) way obsessed with Undisclosed. They've just started season two and it's great, but probably going to be heartbreaking just like the first season. Also two good friends of mine started a podcast, and I think it rules. It's called Shailey and Katie. They were kind enough to have me on an episode as well as Rachel Denbow, but I really love it when it's just them too. I know I'm actually friends with them, but I swear listening to their show is like having two friends over while you are painting (or cooking dinner, or whatever you do when you listen to podcasts). And I still randomly listen to episodes of the Smart Passive Income podcast to get my small business idea juices flowing. 

Idea juices... ew. Sorry I said that. 

Emma at home Steve Emma Chapman at home Emma's giant cactusEmma's Wearing: Plant Lady tee/Oui Fresh (order yours now, people!), Vest/Max Jeans via Marshalls, Jeans/F21 plus a bunch of white dog hair because, well, I can't stop holding my dogs even if they shed like crazy, Shoes/Luxury Rebel

What about you? What are some of your favorite reasons to stay home? Are you a crafter, a baker, a candlestick maker? :) xx. Elsie + Emma

Credits // Authors: Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman. Photography: Amber Ulmer and Janae Hardy

Fresh tomato and orange sauce (via abeautifulmess.com)Is there anything better than warm pasta topped with fresh tomato sauce and a little melty cheese? I love many, many food combinations (understatement of the year?), but there is just something so perfect about simple pasta dishes. This is comfort food at its very best. 

Where I live, tomato season is in full swing. I don't currently garden; it's one of those hobbies that I admire but just am not sure I want to dedicate the time to. Not to mention I have a hard time keeping my house plants alive. :) But, I love opening my CSA box to see what goodies we got for the week, and lately it's been full of tomatoes! So I've been experimenting with lots of different tomato recipes. 

Fresh tomato and orange sauce (via abeautifulmess.com) This sauce is very much inspired by a delicious soup I had at Cherry Picker recently. It was a tomato soup that included a bright pop of orange flavor, which I thought was just PERFECT for summer. And that's exactly what this fresh tomato sauce is all about. I def think it would still be completely delicious in the winter months, but the citrus just makes it feel a bit more summery to me. 

If you've never made homemade tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes before, do not be intimidated. It's not hard! It does take some time though, as we'll be cooking the tomatoes for quite a while so our sauce will become thick and flavorful. You don't need to stand over the pot the whole time though by any means, so just plan to get some laundry done or listen to a podcast or something. I wouldn't leave your pot completely unattended, but you certainly don't need to hover. So don't be intimated by the cooking time here. 

Also, if you happen to garden (high five to you!), feel free to double or triple this based on how many tomatoes you have. This is just how many I had on hand, and it will make about 2 heaping cups of sauce. Feel free to make more and freeze if you like. 

Homemade tomato sauceZesty Orange and Tomato Sauce, makes 2 heaping cups

3 lbs. and 10 oz of tomatoes, any variety that you like or have is fine
1/2 white or yellow onion
1 orange
salt, pepper, and a big pinch of cayenne

First heat a large pot of water to boiling. Have another bowl of cold water with ice set to the side. Remove the stem area and slice a small X in the bottom of each tomato. 

Blanch the tomatoes in the boiling water for 30-45 seconds, until you see the skin beginning to peel off. Remove to the cold water. 

How to stew tomatoesRepeat until you've blanched all the tomatoes. Then peel off the skins. 

Cut a whole onion in half, and the half you plan to use, remove any papery skin but leave the onion intact so it's all one big piece (if it falls into two pieces over time, that's fine). Peel the skin from the orange. I use a potato peeler to do this and it works well. You're looking to get big, long pieces of orange skin, but not much of the white pith underneath. A little bit is OK, but aim to get mostly the orange skin and not the white pith as it can be a little bitter. Give the tomatoes a rough chop or blend for a couple seconds in a blender.

In a large pot combine the tomatoes, onion, and orange skins. Season with just a little salt and pepper, but don't go crazy as we'll add more later. Cook over low/medium heat for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. The tomatoes will break down and much of the liquid will reduce.

How to make tomato sauce from fresh tomatoesRemove the onion and orange skin pieces from the pot. Add the juice from half the orange (about 2 tablespoons). Taste and add salt and pepper plus a big pinch of cayenne.

Fresh tomato and orange sauce (via abeautifulmess.com)   Serve this over pasta, gnocchi, or use as pizza sauce. You can refrigerate anything you don't use that day in an airtight container for up to three days. If you plan to store this for longer, I would freeze in a ziplock bag or other airtight container. Enjoy! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman

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