Eggnog French Toast

Easy eggnog french toastConfession: I hated eggnog growing up. Do most kids like eggnog? It's sort of weird, right? It's super thick milk that tastes kind of egg-y. Not really kid-friendly.

Plus, lots of eggnogs tend to be spiked. Just for the record, that's not what I tried as a kid. I had the non-spiked version. But either way, I just didn't care for it. 

Easy eggnog french toast Honestly, it wasn't until I tried my first eggnog latte about three years ago that I got hooked. I try to keep the eggnog consumption to a minimum-ish during this season (mainly because there are too many good things to eat during the holidays). But every December I get in the mood to make something with eggnog.

Last year I made eggnog cinnamon rolls. Those are delicious, but they take a little while to make as the dough has yeast. So, I thought I'd make something easier this year. And french toast just sounded right. :)

How to make perfect french toastEggnog French Toast, serves 2-3.

6-8 thick pieces of (day old) bread
2 cups eggnog
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons butter or oil

I'm not joking about day old bread. In my opinion that is the number one trick to making great french toast. Slice your bread thick and then leave it covered or in an open bag overnight (so it gets a little stale). If you just have stale bread on hand, then you're already there!

In a large bowl whisk together the eggnog, eggs, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Dip the bread in the mixture so it becomes complete submerged (if you're mixture is too shallow, flip the bread so both sides get coated.

How to make eggnog french toastHeat a pan over medium heat. Add a tablespoon or two of butter or oil. I actually use a little bit of both because I prefer the taste of the butter but I like how the oil produces more crispy edges. You can choose your own adventure here. 

Cook the bread on each side for 3-4 minutes (or less depending on the thickness of your bread). Once the egg mixture looks cooked on both sides, remove to a plate and brush with a little melted butter (optional, but just do it).

Easy eggnog french toast  Continue until you have cooked all the bread into french toast. To keep the first pieces warm while you cook the rest, you can place them in a warm (200°F) oven. If you have a big, fancy griddle, then you won't have this issue. So... good for you (she said begrudgingly).

Just kidding. Make some french toast this week or weekend—tis the season! xo. Emma

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

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12 Days of Giveaways: Win a Photoshop E-Course (CLOSED)

Photoshop for bloggers giveawayToday is an extra special day for our 12 Days of Christmas giveaway series because 6 lucky readers are going to win our Photoshop for Bloggers E-Course! This course teaches all the basics (and more!) for using and feeling successful in Adobe Photoshop. You will learn everything from the basics of saving and editing, to creating your very own actions! If you want to take your photography to the next level in 2015, this course is for you. You can read more about the course here.

Photoshop for bloggers giveaway  Ready to enter to win? Sign up below, and you'll also see that you can submit more than one entry by following us or signing up for our newsletter. If you already follow us or have already signed up for the newsletter or follow us on Twitter/Pinterest, simply do it again below to receive the extra entries (it won't cause you to receive duplicate newsletters or anything; it's just so we can verify your entry). Good luck! xo. Emma + Elsie

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"Makers Gonna Make" Applique Pillow

Makers Gonna Make applique pillow— tutorial includes a templateI used to have a throw pillow addiction. I was always making new pillows or eyeing them at the store until I finally realized I could't fit any more pillows into my closets, much less on my sofa! But then I saw this funny little throw pillow, and it got the wheels turning. The wheels wouldn't stop turning. I wanted a cheeky pillow so much, but maybe not that exact one. It might give my friends the wrong idea. So I decided to make my own pillow with a saying I can really relate to: Makers Gonna Make.

So that's exactly what I did— I made the pillow. And you can too! Check out how simple it is. I even included a template!

Makers Gonna Make applique pillow— tutorial includes a templateSupplies:
-fabric (1/2 yard for the base and additional fabric scraps in contrasting colors for the words)
-piping (optional)
-fusible webbing (just the size of copy paper)
-Makers Gonna Make template (click to download)
-batting/pillow stuffing (not shown)
-embroidery floss (not shown)

Tools:
-iron
-permanent marker
-straight pins
-fabric scissors
-embroidery hoop
-embroidery needle
-sewing machine

Makers Gonna Make applique pillow— tutorial includes a templateStep One: Trace the template onto the shiny side of your fusible webbing.

Step Two: Iron the fusible webbing onto the contrasting fabric according to the manufacturer's directions. Be sure to leave a tiny corner unfused so step four will be manageable.

  Makers Gonna Make applique pillow— tutorial includes a templateStep Three: Cut out each individual letter.

Step Four: Peel off the plastic backing of the letters, making sure the webbing is adhered to the fabric and not coming off onto the plastic. If you left one tiny corner unfused, this is where you can get started. That part of the webbing will not stick to the fabric, but that's okay, because we will be stitching on top of the letters later.

Makers Gonna Make applique pillow— tutorial includes a templateStep Five: Double up your pillow backing fabric (I used muslin for mine) and cut into two 22" x 15" pieces. (Doubling up the fabric while cutting will ensure each piece is the same size.)

Step Six: Carefully arrange the letters onto the pillow backing fabric. I left a 4" border at the top and bottom of the words, and a 5" border on the left and right side of the words. Lay a damp press cloth onto the fabric, making sure the letters aren't curled up or moved as you do this. Then press the letters, adhering them to the pillow backing fabric according to the fusible webbing's instructions.

Makers Gonna Make applique pillow— tutorial includes a templateStep Seven: Slip the fabric into an embroidery hoop and stitch around the border of each letter. This is where you'll want to have a mini Netflix marathon because the embroidering process will take a bit of time. This step is necessary—if you don't stitch the letters on, they will certainly peel off in time.

Step Eight: While your elves are embroidering for you, you can pin the piping onto the border of the other pillow backing fabric piece, as shown in the above right image with the piping on the inside, and the scrap of the piping facing the outside. Keep the piping at least 1" from the edge of the fabric. Use a special zipper foot to stitch it into place, but don't get too close or your thread might show after the next step. You can get closer when sewing the pillow together in step 9.

Tip: Use a contrasting thread in the bobbin to stitch the piping onto the pillow, and use that stitch as a guide for step nine.

Makers Gonna Make applique pillow— tutorial includes a templateStep Nine: Stack the two fabric pieces with their good sides (piping side and word side) together. Pin them and use a zipper foot to stitch them together. This is where you will want to get closer to the piping. Use the contrasting stitching of step eight as your guide—you want to make sure you are closer to the piping than that contrasting stitch.

Be sure to leave an opening large enough to reach your hand in to fill the pillow with batting.

Step Ten: Fill the pillow with batting and close 'er up with a needle and thread.

Makers Gonna Make applique pillow— tutorial includes a templateMakers Gonna Make applique pillow— tutorial includes a templateThis pillow would make a great gift for a crafty pal—or hey, if I can make room on my sofa for a new pillow, I think you can too! -Mandi

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

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12 Days of Giveaways: Win an Art Print! (CLOSED)

ABM art print giveawayWe are on day seven of our 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway series. Wahoo! Today seven lucky readers will win an A Beautiful Mess art print! You can choose from any single print you love (as long as it's not sold out by the time you choose, of course). 

Ready to enter to win? Sign up below, and you'll also see that you can submit more than one entry by following us or signing up for our newsletter. If you already follow us or have already signed up for the newsletter or follow us on Twitter/Pinterest, simply do it again below to receive the extra entries (it won't cause you to receive duplicate newsletters or anything; it's just so we can verify your entry). Good luck! xo. Emma + Elsie

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Thank you so much for all your support! We'll be contacting the winners directly shortly. If you missed out this time, be sure to keep checking back!

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Scrapbook Sundays: December Daily Begins

1Hi, guys. Happy Sunday! This month I am participating in Ali's #DecemberDaily challenge, which basically means I'm trying to capture photos of my family and friends during the holidays for a fun little scrapbook. I made my first December Daily book last year and had a great experience. So much so that Laura wanted to join in on the fun this year. (Yay!) 

2Just like last year, I am working mostly with Ali's kit. I also have Kelly Purkey's kit and the Gossamer Blue kit (that my pal Ashley G. did some designs for). So yeah... too many kits for one person to possibly use, so Laura and I shared and split them up because #sharingiscaring! Later this month when I share my completed album, Laura will also share hers. 

3The most important part of any scrapbook is the photos. I am carrying around a list to remind myself of photos I want to take. I'm not going to lie—this part is challenging. This week I was a little discouraged at how few photos I got, but I'm determined to keep going and capture some fun memories! 

4In typical Elsie style, I vowed to keep things "super simple"... then five minutes later started tricking out my album cover with a homemade foam stamp. I decided to make my album pretty colorful this year and try to incorporate a lot of black and white photos (my husband LOVES black and white, so that part is for him too). 

5Here's the inside of my cover. It's a bright orange-ish red. For some reason I always have to decorate the inside of these covers. It's so fun. 

6I went ahead and started punching holes. This year I want to try to add a lot of things to my album that aren't in page protectors to spice it up. 

Like last year, I will also store all the holiday cards we receive in the back of my album. 

7Here's my opening page. Just some things I am looking forward to. 

8And I went ahead and created some 3x4 cards for my book since stamping is my current obsession. This was fun. 

9I'll be back later this month, probably right after Christmas to share my completed album! If you want to join in, there's still time! I hope my confession that I didn't really take many photos this week encourages you that it doesn't have to be perfect! These things are never perfect and there are a million different ways to make a scrapbook. The memories you capture will mean 100x more by this time next year when you open your book back up. It's worth the effort. 

OK, guys! I hope you have a great Sunday. I'm off to do a little shopping with Katie and prepare for a busy week. I have barely even started Christmas shopping yet. Lots to do! Sending love your way! xx. Elsie 

Credits// Author and Photography: Elsie Larson. Photos edited with Stella of The Signature Collection. 

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