Try This: Hard "Boiled" Eggs (In the Oven!)

How to hard boil eggs in the oven  I love a good kitchen hack. Little tricks that make kitchen chores easier are a big win in my book. Recently I was Googling around for variations on egg salad sandwich. Not for the blog; I was just wanting to make one and was sort of bored of my usual method. That's when I saw a few links that said you could hard boil eggs in the oven.

What?!?! Does that work? Is it weird? Is this an Internet trick or the real deal?

Obviously I had to try it out.

How to hard boil eggs in the ovenI read a couple different sites but ended up basically following this method. You place eggs into a muffin pan. I baked a whole dozen because I was optimistic, but if you don't use all the cups, you can fill the unused ones half full with water so they don't warp as you bake (I also do this when I have one left over from a muffin recipe that just doesn't quite make enough batter).

Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes. Once I removed them from the oven, I immediately plunged them into a bowl of ice water and let them sit for 10 minutes.

How to hard boil eggs in the oven    Then I peeled off the shells. Some articles suggested that this method would make it easier to peel off the shells, but I thought it was basically the same as the traditional hard boiled method. 

But, what I did love about this was my kitchen was significantly less, uh, smelly. You can always tell when someone is hard boiling eggs, as it has a very distinct (and sort of unpleasant) smell. Baking them in the oven definitely reduced the smell, so that was nice.

How to hard boil eggs in the oven One thing I noticed was that a few of my eggs had dark brown spots. I think this was a result of where the egg touched the muffin pan while baking. It didn't change the taste, but the texture in these dark spot areas was different. But they were so small that it was easy to just slice off that small bit. Next time I'm going to try rotating the eggs halfway through baking.

Egg salad sandwichSuccess! And now for egg salad sandwich. I also LOVE to top salads with hard boiled eggs. As a mostly vegetarian, eggs are a great source of protein for me. Thanks for letting me share! xo. Emma

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

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Horse Applique Shirt + Printable Template

Make a vintage-inspired horse applique with this printable templateIn my small city, charming and simple kids' clothes can be hard to come by without spending some extra money at specialty children's shops or getting extra lucky at the thrift store. Nothing against Elsa, but I get a little tired of Disney characters or silly phrases being just about the only options when it comes to fun, inexpensive T-shirts for my toddler. So I got a little creative with a plain T-shirt, adding a cute little horse applique for some vintage-inspired charm. Check out how I did it below, and print the template to make your own kid or adult version!

What a cutieThe horse applique was inspired by this adorable vintage dress I scored at the Salvation Army over the summer, and the striped peplum T-shirt I used as a base was purchased for $6 at Target (here).

Make a vintage-inspired horse applique with this printable templateMaterials:
-shirt or dress (I got my shirt from Target here)
-scrap fabric
-fusible webbing (you can buy this per yard at the fabric store)
-horse template printed onto paper

-fabric scissors

-regular scissors
-permanent marker (not shown)
-sewing machine
-damp press cloth (I used a wash cloth)

Make a vintage-inspired horse applique with this printable templateStep One: Print out the horse template (click here for template) and cut out the shape.

Step Two: Iron the fusible webbing onto the back of the fabric you intend to use for the horse. Follow the directions for the webbing you are using. Do not peel off the back.

Make a vintage-inspired horse applique with this printable templateStep Three: Trace the horse template onto the plastic back of the webbing.

Step Four: Cut out the fabric into the horse shape you just traced.

Make a vintage-inspired horse applique with this printable templateStep Five: Peel the plastic backing off the fabric. I found it was easiest to start on the horse's rump.

Step Six: Position the horse into place on the shirt. Be sure to consider the tail in your placement.

Make a vintage-inspired horse applique with this printable templateStep Seven: Follow the directions for the fusible webbing to adhere the horse to the shirt. I pressed with a damp cloth for 10 seconds using an iron set to the wool setting.

Step Eight: Stitch along the border of the horse, being careful not to sew through the back of the shirt. Then add the yarn to the mane and tail of the horse. I looped the same strand of yarn for this, feeding it into the machine as I went along.

Make a vintage-inspired horse applique with this printable template Step Nine: Trim the mane and tail to a nice length.

Make a vintage-inspired horse applique with this printable templateThat's all there is to it! You can make any kind of animal or shape you want, depending on the templates you can find in books or on the Internet. Or why not get creative and make your own shape? -Mandi

Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited with Stella and Valentine from the Signature Collection.

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A Chocolate Collaboration

Askinosie Chocolate         If you had told me in high school that one day I would get to help in the process of making a chocolate bar, I would have laughed. And yet, it happened. 

First, let me back up and say that I have ALWAYS been a chocolate lover. My mom can tell you stories of how I would eat so much chocolate as a child that I would get headaches, but I kept on eating it anyway. There are numerous photos floating around in my grandmother's photo albums of me holding a half-eaten fudgesicle, chocolate smeared around my mouth. I am a lifetime member of the chocolate lover's club.

Second, Elsie and I have been fans of Askinosie Chocolate for years now. Their factory is just down the street from our studio, and over the years we've gotten to know Shawn, the owner, mainly from visiting his factory and seeing him around town. He's a really cool guy with an absolutely amazing story of how he got into chocolate making. His business's effort to be socially responsible in every way they can inspires Elsie and me to work to be better business owners ourselves. You can read more about his story here if you're interested (be ready to tear up—it's a doozy). Earlier this past year the Askinosie team asked if A Beautiful Mess would be interested in working on their next collaBARation bar with them. Over the years they've made some pretty amazing (and delicious) chocolate bars with companies like Intelligentsia, Zingerman's and Jeni's Ice Cream, to name a few. You can see all their collaBARation bars here.  We couldn't imagine a better just-for-fun project than this!

Askinosie Chocolate     Askinosie Chocolate     Askinosie Chocolate     Askinosie Chocolate     First we met with Shawn and his team and discussed LOTS of different flavor combination ideas. Since there isn't just one flavor that ABM showcases most often, the door was wide open to do something that we were all excited about. We finally landed on toasted coconut. 

Next his team produced around six different combinations for us and our team to try. We all found what we felt was the best of all the options, but man, was it a tough day at the office trying out all that chocolate. :) Then they went to work making the chocolate while we helped out with the design of the package and the poem that goes on the front. 

My favorite part of the entire process was getting to spend an afternoon making some of our chocolate bars with the Askinosie team. We got to temper the chocolate, pour it into molds, and add the toasted coconut to the top. Then we unmolded a few and even got to take some home. It was a total blast!

We take chocolate making and eating very seriously, obviously.

Askinosie Chocolate + A Beautiful Mess  Askinosie Chocolate + A Beautiful Mess  Askinosie Chocolate + A Beautiful Mess  Askinosie Chocolate + A Beautiful Mess  Askinosie Chocolate + A Beautiful Mess  Askinosie Chocolate + A Beautiful Mess  If you like dark chocolate and coconut, we HIGHLY recommend you check out the final product. Thanks for letting us share this just-for-fun collaboration with you. As we say often, we love our hometown (Springfield, MO), as there are so many talented and inspiring people and businesses here. We are proud that we got to work with a few of them this season. :) xo. Emma

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

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Globe Pendant DIY

Wire basket pendant light— easy DIY with no wiring required!I love the easy charm of metal basket pendant lights. You know the kind—the ones that look like simple metal baskets but will set you back a hundred bucks or more at the store. I've seen DIY versions of basket pendants, but have never been a fan of the bare bulb look, and would rather not have to wire a light myself. So I crafted this funky globe version of a basket pendant that looks a little less country with a whole lot of mod. No wiring required, and even better—no bare bulb!

Check out how simple it is to make—just three easy steps!

Wire basket pendant light— easy DIY with no wiring required!Materials:
-acrylic globe (I used this 10" one.)

-2 hanging planter baskets (I used this one.)
-pendant light kit (I used this one.)
-clear tape
-coordinating wire (I found mine in the jewelry section of the craft store.)
-optional: metal spring, long enough to reach across small basket opening

-power drill

-1 5/8" hole saw (self-feeding is best, like this one)

Wire basket pendant light— easy DIY with no wiring required!Step One: Cut a whole in the middle of the acrylic globe. Align the self-feeding center of the hole saw with the dimple in your globe to make sure you're exactly on center.

Wire basket pendant light— easy DIY with no wiring required!Optional Step: If your globe is significantly smaller than the basket you are using, you will need to utilize a spring as a tension device to dangle the globe at the precise height inside the basket. If your globe is large like mine, the globe will fill most of the basket and you don't need anything for cord tension.

A: Stretch a sturdy metal spring from one side of the small basket opening to the other. B: String the pendant light kit through the large factory hole and then the small hole you made in the globe and then through the spring on the basket. The spring will keep the wire centered and sturdy.

Wire basket pendant light— easy DIY with no wiring required!Step Two: Use clear tape to attach the bottom basket to the top basket. Make sure any designs on your basket line up. I had to tape mine again because I had forgotten about that.

Step Three: Wrap small pieces of coordinating wire around the two wire baskets to connect them. Then remove the tape from step two.

Wire basket pendant light— easy DIY with no wiring required!Use a ceiling hook to hang your pendant, or make a floor lamp by using a hanging plant stand or lantern hook like this one from World Market.

Wire basket pendant light— easy DIY with no wiring required!
This project is so easy to customize depending on the size of globe or type of basket you use. So many possibilities! I think it would look really nice to make two of these lights to hang above nightstands on either side of a bed. It's a great temporary lighting solution for renters too! -Mandi

Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited with Stella and Valentine of the Signature Collection.

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Budget & Big Renovations at our HFHS House

Wall paperJust wanted to give you all an update on what progress is currently being made on our project house. In case you missed our last post on this, ABM has purchased a small house we'll be renovating and updating (and sharing all that content on the blog) and then donating to HFHS. We're excited to have new spaces to share with you all, and we're excited to give back to our community in the process. 

Now one thing about buying a house in this kind of condition is... well... there's a LOT of work to do. Not only do we want to make the house look pretty (a.k.a. the fun part!), but we also want to increase the value of the property and, above all, make sure the structure is a safe place to live.

Many of you were curious about how much this house cost. Well, I'm gonna tell you. But first, I should warn many of you that the housing market here in Springfield, MO is pretty awesome, in my opinion. Housing costs in our hometown are pretty low as far as the national average goes.

The project house is 884 sq ft (2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom) and was purchased at $37,500. The house was built in 1921. We had the house inspected before we purchased so we could be aware of any major concerns (I think it's ALWAYS worth it to get an inspection, and in some states/counties it is required by law). Although even with a good inspection, sometimes old houses have surprises in store.

Our first step after purchasing the house was to figure out every big renovation that we wanted to do. We made of list of "needs done" and "would be nice to get done" before pursuing a quote. We have a local contractor we work with when we have updates that are too big for us to DIY. As you know, here at ABM we LOVE to do it ourselves. But sometimes we don't have the knowledge, skill set, or proper supplies to do everything ourselves. We are learning more and more all the time, but for us not everything could be safely DIY-ed. Sometimes you just need a professional. 

So, before I show you the quotes, let's talk overall budget. This house is in a neighborhood where no matter what updates we make it would be difficult to resell the house for $60K or more. There just aren't very many houses in the neighborhood that could be sold for more than this. So, even though we won't be flipping the house (we're donating), it wouldn't make sense for us to invest more than this amount. And with the size of the house (square footage, number of bedrooms, lot size, etc.) it would probably be wise if we kept the entire investment to $55K or less (for anything that could not be removed from the house), as anything above this just wouldn't be realistic for the market value.

We have lots of DIY projects planned for the house already. So this let me know that we could only afford to spend $10K on any of the big renovations we wanted done by our contractor. If we kept that work to around $10K, then we'd still have some wiggle room for all the things we want to do for you guys on the blog. We talked him through our entire list, both the needs and the nice-to-haves, and waited to hear back on the quote...

Over budget!As you can see (or click to enlarge the image if you need), the initial quote came back at $14,453.44. And that didn't include any paint, tile, hardware, etc.

Bummer. That was already almost $5K over our budget even without the additional supply costs. 

Now, like I said, we had included all of our nice-to-have items as well. So these were the first things we considered. Some things we scaled back included the following: we decided to paint the entire house ourselves; we skipped scraping the ceilings, even though we prefer the smooth look to the existing popcorn ceilings; and we decided we could learn to tile the laundry room floor ourselves. We had planned to tile one wall in the kitchen for aesthetic purposes (it's also easy to clean), but we needed to cut that as well. 

The good news is that we didn't need to cut any of the needs on our list. We went back to our contractor and explained the changes we needed and the work we were willing to do ourselves, and we got a new quote...

Better estimateWe were able to get the quote down to $8,949.78. This still didn't include the cost of paint, some tile (we're still adding tile to the bathroom), and a few other items. But this still meant we'd be just below $10K. Perfect!

With the quote worked out, it was time for work to start! Here are some images of the progress that has been made so far.

Wood floors!The carpets have been removed and the house already smells SO much better. We'll have to finish fixing up these old wood floors—but with a little work they're going to look beautiful, we can already tell!

Whoa the bathroomThe bathroom needed a lot of work. It's going to be much more functional and fresh feeling when we're all done.

One update we ultimately decided to include that was sort of a bummer is we are removing the only window in the room. The window was built low and in the shower space. It already showed signs of pretty serious water damage, and our contractor recommended that we remove it, as it would probably continue to be a problem even if we repaired the current damage. Just not an ideal place for a window. We love natural light, so this was a bummer to learn about, but ultimately we don't want an ongoing water damage issue in the bathroom, so it seemed to be the best and most affordable option. If you'd like to know more about this, let us know in the comments and we can blog more about it in upcoming update posts.

Living room and diningKitchen progressSpace for a dishwasher!!!Lots of changes happening in the kitchen already. We plan to update the counters ourselves, but I did want to point out one thing to you all. See that space in the above picture? You know, that dishwasher-sized space?

That's new.

Laundry room surpriseI feel like any house near 100 years old is bound to have at least a few surprises in store. Sometimes good (like those soon-to-be-beautiful wood floors) and sometimes bad. This was our bad news that didn't show up in the house inspection. 

Even though we decided to tile the laundry room floor ourselves, we still needed the subflooring updated, as it was super uneven, and we were concerned about what that meant about the structure. Our contractor and his team got to work on that room, updating the subfloor and the back door (it was in serious need of repair!), and they found that the floor was extremely rotted. Like, one of the men working in the room at one point stepped on an area of the floor, and his foot went through the floor! (He's okay—it was just scary.) This meant the rotted wood needed to get removed, the foundation needed to be updated (this was an add-on to the original house, and the foundation was not properly done, which caused the moisture and eventual rotting wood), and then the new subflooring needed to be put in. So this is going to add cost to the overall project. Bummer—but necessary.

Kitchen floorBut then we got some good news. We had planned to tile the kitchen floor, as the linoleum in there was already peeling up in places. Our contractor removed the linoleum and found wood floors in great condition (similar to the living room). He suggested we skip tiling the kitchen floor to save costs, since we had that surprise rotting in the laundry room that we had to repair. I thought this was a great suggestion! I like tile in a kitchen, as sometimes spills happen, and it's easier to clean up with tile, but it's not necessary.

We'll still have some work to do on the wood floors in the kitchen, but no big deal as we already have that to do in the dining room and living room already.

Blurry selfieBathroom-mirror-in-the-bedroom-blurry-selfie—why not? And yes, I'm a total dweeb! But you've gotta have some fun with all this! So, that's a little more information about our overall budget goals with this project, as well as some peeks at where we are currently with the big updates. Of course, this doesn't cover EVERYTHING, so if you have any questions, let us know in the comments, and hopefully we'll have an answer or can address it in a later post. And I have a feeling we arent' out of the woods yet with the big renovations. Old houses tend to be full of surprises so we'll keep you updated on this fun and beautiful part of the process. :)

We're SO excited you are all on board with the project house with us. It's exciting! xo. Emma and the ABM team.

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions or sometimes not edited at all. :)

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