How to take better pet photosHi! I’m Lindsey from Live Sweet Photography, and I am so excited to share my favorite tips about photographing all those critters in your life! We have quite the furry family at our home, and I love capturing all their cuteness!
Tips for better pet photos!  Tips for better pet photos!Use Natural Light (Whenever Possible!)
I always shoot in natural light when at all possible, and I never use a flash. I do most of my photographing by windows, doorways or outside so I have lots of nice, natural light coming through on my subjects. 
Tips for better pet photos! Tips for better pet photos!    Get On Their Level
When photographing your pets, try getting right on their level. I find that my favorite images of my pets are when I lay down on the floor or ground and get right at eye level with them to take the shot. Or you can move them to your level by allowing them up onto a bed or couch (if that's allowed in your house, of course!).
Tips for better pet photos!
Place Them Somewhere Unexpected
To get some really fun and different kinds of shots, try putting your pet in unique places you normally wouldn’t find them (of course make sure they are always safe and supervised), like in a basket, on the table, in the sink or on a cool chair. Seeing something out of its element often makes for a more unique and interesting image.
How to take better photos of your pets How to take better photos of your petsHow to take better photos of your pets  Shoot Lots of Options
One of the main keys to getting great shots of your pets is taking lots of pictures. When I do a little shoot with our Pearl girl (the pig), I probably shoot about 10-20 pictures to get one great one. Animals are always moving around, so every picture won’t turn out. 
Capturing people with animals is always sweet and creates special images, so don’t forget to photograph your kids or family and friends with your pets. Have your loved one hug or lean into your pet to show more of a connection.
How to take better photos of your pets    How to take better photos of your pets   Try Using Props
I always love to have a little fun with my animal photography every now and then by adding a little hat, crown or other fun prop to make the image a little more interesting or add a pop of color! I had a ball photographing our #chickswithsweets series where I put our baby chicks next to or on top of all kinds of different sweets. When in doubt, always try to think outside the box and just have fun with your images. When I play around and am having lots of fun is always when I get my best pictures!
Above all else—always try to make it fun when photographing your pets. Treats, toys and belly rubs make for happy critters and better pictures! Our Pearl gets lots of belly scratches, cucumbers and carrots (three of her favorite things!) every time I take her picture! I also always try and call it quits while I'm ahead and everyone is still happy and having fun. If your pet just isn’t into being photographed today, take a break and try again later or tomorrow. Remember, you are trying to capture a happy memory of your furry friend!
I hope you enjoyed these fun little tips and have a wonderful time snapping some shots of your furry friends! -Lindsey
You can follow Lindsey and her family's adventures on their blog or on IG @livesweetphotography. You can also shop some of their critter-themed whimsical gifts for the young and young at heart at the Live Sweet Shop (IG @livesweetshop) where they have designed a whole line of critter plushies, pillows, tote bags, shirts and more!
Credits // Author and Photography: Lindsey Bonnice.

Win a Canon photo printer!So excited to bring you a giveaway from our good friends at Canon USA. We actually just started our third year working with them, and we couldn't be happier to be working with folks who share our love for photography and crafting.

Today we're giving away a white Canon PIXMA MG7520 Photo Printer, which is my personal favorite printer in the office. You can ask Trey. I'm kind of dumb about technology sometimes, and it's just so easy to use, and of course the quality is awesome. Here are some of my favorite projects I've made with it over the years:

Photobooth Wall Art // Mineral Photo Display // Document Plush Pillows

Canon Giveaway The giveaway is open until 5/14, and the winner will be contacted directly shortly after. Good luck! xoxo. Emma (+Elsie)

A Beautiful Mess Giveaway Rules 

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Spring Roll Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing (via spring rolls are one of my favorite healthy snacks. The only draw back is they can take a little while to put together since you have to roll up all the prepped ingredients into the wrappers. Not a big deal, but if you're pressed for time, it can be a concern.

Spring Roll Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing (via In many ways, this is the LAZY or quick version of fresh spring rolls. All the ingredients and even a similar peanut dressing, but it only takes about 15 minutes to throw everything together. Perfect for a quick lunch. 

How to cook cellophane noodlesSpring Roll Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing, serves 2 (you can easily make more servings).

For the salad:
1-2 oz. cellophane noodles (about half what you see pictured above, I went too crazy)
1/2 head of lettuce, chopped
1/3 or 1/2 head of red cabbage, shredded
2-3 carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
2-3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
a big handful of peanuts, chopped

For the dressing:
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 tablespoon red curry paste
2 tablespoons natural, creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar (optional, but it does add a nice sweetness)
1/4 cup peanut oil or water (to thin the dressing)

Begin by soaking the cellophane noodles in hot water for 10-12 minutes (check your package directions as soak times can vary). Prep all your vegetables. 

Spicy peanut salad dressingFor the dressing whisk together the first five ingredients listed above. I made my dressing with peanut oil, but you could also use water. The oil adds a richness, but it has a tendency to separate. You can simply whisk it again before pouring it over your salad. Either way, whisk the oil or water in last, slowly drizzling it in as you whisk to help it blend in with the other ingredients. 

Spring Roll Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing (via  Assemble your salad and pour the dressing over the top. Enjoy and happy salad days! xo. Emma

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

Cake standMother's Day is sneaking up on us—are you ready?! If not, you still have time to make your mom something unique and special. Here are 20 handmade ideas you could try. First up, why not make your mom a pretty cake stand

Finger print necklaceYou could make her a real silver necklace with her children or grandchildren's fingerprints. 

Wood burned photo framesMake these wood burned photo frames and fill them with all the people she loves!

Art teacher necklaceIf your mother has a colorful style, you could make her a unique beaded necklace

Homemade soapMake your mom a few homemade soaps with her favorite scents! See our tutorial for making grapefruit and poppyseed bars

Catch allThese jewelry catchalls are easy to make and look so cute on a dresser or bedside table. 

Buffalo plaid stampIf you need some gift wrapping ideas or plan to make your mother a card, consider making your own buffalo plaid stamp (it's easy!).

Lap desksIf your mom is the kind of gal who is often on her laptop, might I suggest making her a custom lap desk?

Bath bombsYou can easily make these homemade bath bombs in any scent your momma loves! 

Homemade cookie butterIf she's got a sweet tooth, you could always make her some homemade cookie butter. Yum!

Beeswax candlesHomemade beeswax candles are always a welcomed gift. 

Modern kiddo artIf she's got some special grandkiddos in her life, she might love to have some of their scribbles turned into modern art

Photo candleUse photos from her life or some pictures from her children to create a few photo candles she can cherish for years to come. 

Ring dishMake your mother her own marbled ring dish this week. 

Photo soapUse some fun photos to make her some photo soaps

Rope coasterYou can easily make these rope coasters and add any colors that you know your mom would love. 

Solid perfumeDid you know that it's super easy to make your own solid perfume!? You can add it to a locket or a store bought container. 

Textured photo frameMake your mom a textured photo frame to add some personality to any wall or table top. 

Wood trivetUse iron-on veneer tape to create these pretty wooden trivets. Perfect for protecting your counter tops from hot pots and pans. 

Textured planterIf your mother has a green thumb, then she might enjoy a few textured planters for her favorite indoor plants.

Make your mom something special this week! xo. The ABM Team

Elsie Larson's Office www.abeautifulmess.comToday I am super excited to share a tour of my office. You've seen it before (here, here + here), but it's been a while, and I almost forgot that I never shared an official tour! Honestly, it's always messy and that's the main reason. But today I am finally ready to share a full tour of my office. Welcome!! 

Sources: Coffee table/made by Josh (similar DIY here), Sofa c/o Joybird (it's the Worthy Loveseat), Wool felt pillows/DIY

Elsie Larson's Office The half-painted door is a project I am still loving! It makes such a visual impact and was super quick to execute. If you're looking for a way to add a splash of color to your room without painting a wall, I highly recommend it! 

Elsie Larson's Office  Elsie Larson's Office  Elsie Larson's Office  Elsie Larson's Office  My office is a creative zone. It's not a super big room (medium size bedroom), and like I said before, it's usually pretty messy. I do projects in here, all my scrapbooking, write blog posts and have meetings with our team. I'm happy that I chose to go pretty colorful with a lot of the decorations and clean white with the walls.

The light is really good in my office, and you'll probably notice that one of my windows is missing a curtain (they went out of stock before I could get one—haha), but it doesn't really bother me since I don't really spend any time in this room during the night (except for our occasional Livestream nights). 

As you can see, I didn't stray too far from my comfort zone color palette (yellow and turquoise). What can I say? I'm predictable. 

Elsie Larson's Office        Elsie Larson's Office        Elsie Larson's Office        Elsie Larson's Office        My color-coordinated paint/paper/ribbon storage is a highlight. The bottom (metal) part of it is something I bought at a garage sale and Josh built the top part for me to store ribbons and paint. I've said before that open storage is a must for me because once I put something in a box or in a closet, I usually forget I have it and never use it. 

Plus anything organized by rainbow color gets bonus points in my book! 

Elsie's Office  Elsie's Office   In the corner I store my printer. It's the Canon PIXMA iP8720 Crafting Printer, and it's the only printer I use for everything, including printing all the photos I use in my scrapbooks and pretty much everything on my walls too. I store most of my scrapbooking supplies in this cabinet. 

The pineapple is from one of our book signings at Urban Outfitters last year. I thought it was really sweet that they took the time to make it for us, so I used it as wall art! 

Elsie's Office    This desk was a fun surprise. After changing my mind repeatedly about what I wanted, I told Josh "surprise me" (which doesn't happen too often...normally I know exactly what I want. So this was Josh's lucky day). I was leaning toward an all white or pink desk (inspired by Jenna Lyons' office, of course), and Josh was inspired by the glossy epoxy top. So that is what happened. Love it! 

See the DIY for the desk here, the rope shelves here and the hanging planters (made with fish bowls) here.

Elsie's Office     I love the top of the desk! Josh used different paint colors and then covered the whole thing with epoxy. It's really fun, colorful and completely practical for everyday work too. 

Elsie's Office     Elsie's Office     These hanging planters are one of my favorite "weird supply DIYs". Who knew that plastic fish bowls could be used to make such pretty, modern planters! DIY here

Elsie's Office        Here's how it looks from the doorway. My small cowhide rug is from here (some of the better prices we've found online). 

Elsie's Office         This sunburst mirror, thrifted/restyled cart and patterned wall were a few of my favorite projects we did in this room. I lost the before photo of this cart, but I wish you could have seen how gross it was before getting a shiny coat of bright chartreuse paint. 

Elsie's Office          Fun stuff. I love details, and as much as I try to focus on purging and organizing, I will never be a minimalist. Thank you so much for taking a look at my office!  

Books and products seen throughout the room: Refinery29: Style Stalking, Design Mom: How to Live with Kids, A Beautiful Mess Happy Handmade Home, Bright Bazaar: Embracing Color for Make-You-Smile Style, Paper to Petal, Vera: The Art and Life of an Icon, Away At Home, kate spade new york: places to go, people to see, Avedon Fashion 1944-2000, Tim Walker Pictures. Home Sweet Home Art Print, To-Do Art Print, Keiko Glasses in Lily White, Pink Cateyes by Crap Eyewear, Face Planters via Urban Outfitters (out of stock now), Geometric Vase/CB2, Teal Lamp/similar. If you have any other questions about where I found things, just ask me in the comments! 

Other favorite home decor posts: Bleach-spotted fabric (I see some curtains using this tutorial in my near future!), Laura's Art Room (just bc it's so cute), Workshop Space Organization, Make a hanging hammock chair, and Emma's Home Office

And see the rest of the ABM Studio tour right here. xx. Elsie

Credits// Author: Elsie Larson, Photography: Laura Gummerman and Elsie Larson. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess Actions


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