Sky High Lemon Meringue Pie

How to make tall meringueLemon meringue pie is probably one of my favorite desserts. I just love it! And although it might seem like a spring/summer thing, I totally think a little citrus during these cold months helps keep the winter blues away. But I love the bright, pop of citrus flavor any time of year.

Easy lemon meringue pieI used to find meringue-topped pies really difficult. But over the years I've found a few tricks/tips that help ensure a perfect meringue every time. I'm happy to share my fool-proof tips with you, along with my favorite lemon meringue pie recipe. Are you ready for some citrus in your life?

Lemon pie recipeSky High Lemon Meringue Pie

For the filling:
3/4 cup sugar
5 tablespoons cake flour
3 tablespoons corn starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup lemon + lime juice*
zest from 1 lemon
3 egg yolks

For the meringue:
12 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon corn starch (this helps keep the meringue a little drier, to avoid weeping)
6 tablespoons sugar

*Note: I like to use 1-2 lemons and half a lime for the juice. I know, it's "lemon" meringue pie, so what's that lime doing in there?! I personally think adding a little lime juice creates a slightly more complex/interesting flavor. But, you can use all lemon juice if you don't have a lime on hand or if you're a purist. 

First make the meringue. The reason we make the meringue first is so it will be ready just as soon as our filling is ready. You want to add meringue on top of a HOT filling (not cooled, repeat, not cooled), as this ensures that the bottom of the meringue will begin to cook along with the top and you can avoid a weeping meringue situation.

In a glass or metal bowl with an electric mixer, beat egg whites on high until foamy. While your mixer is still running, gradually add in other ingredients and beat until stiff peaks form, 6-7 minutes. It helps if your egg whites are at room temperature, but if they're not, don't fret. It just may take a bit longer.

Lemon fillingNow on to the filling and pie crust. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Bake your pie crust until almost baked through. I used a store bought crust (the refrigerator section kind), and I actually wish I hadn't for this. This pie has some liquid components (the citrus pudding filling and meringue top), so you really want a drier pie crust or it can get just a little bit soggy. Next time I'll either make my own crust or use a store bought one from the freezer section as I find them to bake a little flakier/drier.

To keep lumps out of your filling, start by sifting together the cake flour and corn starch. In a pot, combine the sugar, cake flour, corn starch, salt, water, zest, and citrus juice. Whisk together over medium heat until warmed through. Pour a few tablespoons of this warm mixture in with the egg yolk (in a separate bowl) and stir to combine. This tempers the eggs, so they won't immediately cook. Once tempered, add the yolks to the milk mixture and bring to a low boil for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly (I prefer a whisk for this to avoid clumps). The mixture will thicken into a pudding/custard. While it's still hot, pour into your prepared crust, top with meringue and bake for 10-12 minutes.

How to make meringue likea proIf your oven runs hot, you may want to reduce the heat to 325°F for this pie as you really want the meringue to have time to bake through before the edges brown too much.

Also, you can see that I baked my pie on a baking sheet. Why? It makes it easier to move this jiggly pie to and from the oven. If you're doing a really tall meringue like this, it's also good to check and make sure your oven racks are placed so they can fit the meringue. I actually removed my top rack before preheating to accommodate the size of this pie. It's not called "sky high" for nothing!

Easy lemon meringue pie Allow to cool for 1-2 hours before cutting into and serving the pie. Enjoy! xo. Emma

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

Stamped Leather Passport Holder DIY

Yes please! Stamped Leather Passport Holder DIY (click through for tutorial)           One of my favorite things about getting into DIY projects is that, while it's an excellent way to learn new skills or save money instead of buying an expensive item, it also just plain makes everything more fun. For example, my husband and I are planning on doing some overseas traveling together this year, and we could just take our passports with us as they are, but why not make a cute passport cover to jazz them up a bit instead? There are some pretty fun options out there, and I liked the ones that had a phrase or cute logo on the front, so I thought I could stamp the front of the cover to make it a little more unique.

I made this tutorial for both those that want to hand sew their cover and those that would rather use a sewing machine instead. You do get the chunkier stitching look and learn a new technique with the hand sewing route, while the machine sewing is certainly the fastest choice, but both options are cool with me. So pick whichever one sounds best to you. 

Yes please! Stamped Leather Passport Holder DIY (click through for tutorial)General Supplies:
-medium weight leather (real or faux)
-metal ruler and rotary cutter
-basting tape
-Staz-On white ink + stamping blocks
-emoji and alpha stamps

For hand sewing:
-leather punch
-waxed thread
-hand sewing needles
-spacer overstitch wheel

For machine sewing:
-leather needles (something like these, just make sure they work with your particular brand of machine)

Yes please! Stamped Leather Passport Holder DIY (click through for tutorial) First you'll want to use your metal ruler and rotary cutter to cut your leather into one larger rectangle that is 20 x 14 cm and two smaller ones that are 5 x 14 cm.

Yes please! Stamped Leather Passport Holder DIY (click through for tutorial)  If you are hand stitching your leather, use your metal ruler and spacer overstitch wheel to mark where to punch your holes all the way around your larger rectangle about 1/2 cm from each edge. If you haven't used one before, just think of it as a rotary cutter that makes marks instead of cutting the leather as you roll.

Yes please! Stamped Leather Passport Holder DIY (click through for tutorial)  Now for both machine and hand stitchers, use the double-sided basting tape to tape the three outside edges of your side flaps to the underside of the larger rectangle (wrong sides together). These will be the pockets that the front and back cover of your passport slip into.

Yes please! Stamped Leather Passport Holder DIY (click through for tutorial)  Machine sewers can now use the leather sewing machine needle to sew all the way around the edge of your passport cover with a 1/2 cm seam allowance. Now hang out until we get to the stamping part below. Make yourself a drink. Re-laaax.

Hand sewers, you'll want to use your leather punch to punch a hole at each of the marks your spacer overstitch wheel made.

Yes please! Stamped Leather Passport Holder DIY (click through for tutorial)  Cut a piece of waxed thread that is long enough to stitch around your passport holder twice (with some extra to be safe) and thread a hand sewing needle at both ends. Go through one of your holes and pull the thread through until you reach the middle point of your thread. 

Now you can either do the hand sewing part the easy way or the more professional way. If you want to go faster, you can sew all the way around your passport holder back to the beginning point with one of the needles and then sew around again with the second thread going through the opposite holes to fill in all the spaces for a continuous stitch. You can see in the photo above how it looks with one round of stitching completed and the second round starting to sew the opposite holes and fill in the gaps. You'll want to come up through a hole (or go into a hole) next to the thread that's already there rather than pierce through the existing thread. That makes the stitching look much cleaner. 

If you want to hand stitch like the pros, you'll take turns stitching through each hole with both needles (this is a great visual tutorial to follow). It takes quite a bit longer to do it this way, but you do get a much cleaner and more even stitch line. I did the professional version on the black holder and the easier on the pink holder. Personally, I would suggest doing the easier version if your thread is the same color as your leather and the pro version if you are doing contrast stitching of a different color (the contrast stitching is a lot more visible). Live and learn, right?

Yes please! Stamped Leather Passport Holder DIY (click through for tutorial)  Either way you choose to hand sew, when you get back to the beginning, sew back through a few holes that have already been sewn. This will secure the ends of each thread. Trim the threads close to the leather and use a lighter to melt the wax thread in that spot (this will secure the thread further). Be careful not to burn your leather. So hold the flame just close enough that you can see the threads start to melt.

Yes please! Stamped Leather Passport Holder DIY (click through for tutorial)       OK, now that all the sewing is done, use your stamping block, ink, and stamps to customize the front of your passport holder. If you're worried about the stamp not stamping evenly since the inside flaps of the passport holder make one edge thicker than the other when closed, you can place two scrap layers of leather in that thinner middle section so it's all the same thickness when closed. Or, you could stamp the leather after it's cut but before you do any of the the sewing part. You can use stamp cleaner on a Q-tip to clean up any stray ink spots after stamping.

Yes please! Stamped Leather Passport Holder DIY (click through for tutorial)       You can also add initials to the inside flap for another personalized touch.

Yes please! Stamped Leather Passport Holder DIY (click through for tutorial)       Yes please! Stamped Leather Passport Holder DIY (click through for tutorial)          Not too shabby, huh? You could also stick your whole passport into one of the side flaps and then use the other to hold your airline tickets or a bit of cash. I thought about adding "HEY HO" on the back of Todd's passport because he's a traveling musician so it makes perfect comic sense. Although, if we are doing song quotes, I should probably make one that says, "come fly with me" and give a nod to my Sinatra obsession. Go on, make your passport cover while you dream of all the places you'll take it to—let's fly away! xo. Laura 

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

Scrapbook Sunday: Playing with the Messy Box

Scrapbooking with The Messy BoxHey, friends. Happy Sunday. This week was pretty awesome because the Messy Box launch was a huge success. I can't describe to you guys what torture it is to design something all year long and not really know for sure if you'll even like it or not. This past week was a HUGE confirmation that you guys want to scrapbook with me. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you

I'm so pumped!

So pumped, in fact, that this week I scrapbooked TWENTY PAGES using this month's Messy Box. (giving myself a pat on the back... sorry!) 

So, you wanna see a few? 

Scrapbooking with The Messy Box I already showed you this one, but here it is again (for context). This is our Marriage Year 4 album (I go by married years instead of calendar years), which begins last May. I originally wanted to do a whole book on just Costa Rica, but after looking at my photos, I felt like that was a little too much. So instead, the first 20 pages (well, 10, front and back) of this album are of Costa Rica. The best start ever to a new of marriage... am I right?

This page is simply a 9x12 photo with this 9x12 transparency from Messy Box layered over it. 

Scrapbooking with The Messy Box  I made these pages a while back, and it feels good to finally give them a home in an album. 

Scrapbooking with The Messy Box   Underwater Go Pro photos? Why yes! You get a gigantic spread. 

Scrapbooking with The Messy BookI used the white brads and confetti to make flowers. Fun, right? Also those little word stickers are from Happy Mail this month (and I cannot stop using them... constantly!). 

Scrapbooking with The Messy Book Here's a detail shot of my string art made with the white brads. I just used a needle to stitch embroidery thread on and then added brads over each corner. This technique could be used to add any number of designs, or even text! 

Scrapbooking with The Messy Book  And a little flower detail! 

Scrapbooking with The Messy Box     OMG. I made a journaling card with the gold foil chipboard alpha. I only wish I had 100 packs of these. They're super fun to use. By the way, this graph paper card is from this pack (very useful for journaling). 

Scrapbooking with The Messy Box      This is one of many all photo pages. I love these. For me, the messy book will be a hybrid of a photo album and a scrapbook. I love the create and "play" aspect, but I also enjoyed completing twenty pages in one and a half afternoons! Best of both worlds? 

Scrapbooking with The Messy Box       Name that tune. Hahahaha! 

Scrapbooking with The Messy Box        This page makes me smile! Another all photo page with one little Messy Box card squeezed in there. The full page photo is one of my favorites from the trip. It's actually an iPhone photo. I am so amazed by the quality of printed iPhone photos. It's pretty great. 

Scrapbooking with The Messy Box         This is my personal favorite, of course. It's not that often that we get really good photos together. My man is just a littttttle bit camera shy. So I treasure what I do get (and print it GIANT). 

Emma called the black and white one, "Jeremy's cologne ad". 

Scrapbooking with The Messy Box          #YAY

You guys had better use those golden hashtags! 

Scrapbooking with The Messy Box           And the last page. I am so proud to have completed this, you guys! I have spent so long being ashamed of all my (really special) unprinted photos, and I'm finally getting caught up. It feels awesome... and I want to help you do it too! 

With that said, let's chat in the comments! What do you want to know or learn about making scrapbooks or photo albums? What is holding you back? What should I share here in future Scrapbook Sunday posts? I want to be a resource for you! 

xx. Elsie 

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

A Few of My Favorite Things

Favorit things-tile and gold foilHappy weekend, everyone! Hope you had a productive week and here's to a relaxing weekend! Just wanted to share a few of my favorite things from Internet surfing this week. :)

1. I'm currently on the hunt for some pretty tile for a new project I'm working on. In love with this company as well as this one. If you have any tile suppliers you'd like to recommend, please let me know! 2. How pretty are these DIY gold foil pillows?! I've got to make something using this technique soon. So cool!

Favorite thing; messy box and easter eggs3. So proud of my sister this week for the launch of our latest subscription: Messy Box! I can't wait to give my own photo albums a major upgrade this year. 4. OMG! I am DYING over these emoji Easter eggs!!!!!

Favorit things; pretty hair and kale stir fry4. Geez your hair is pretty! Inspiring me to keep growing mine out. 5. I shared a quinoa and wild rice breakfast stir fry this week, and then I saw this tasty looking kale and cashew stir fry. Yum! I'm a little stir fry obsessed, so I'll be trying this soon for sure.

Other things I'm loving lately:

-This post on how to start a fashion blog cracked me up!

-As soon as it stops snowing, I'm making this Salted Caramel Coconut Ice Cream.

-According to my astrological sign, I should go somewhere weird/science-y this year. :)

Happy weekend! xo. Emma

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman. Photography: sources linked throughout.

The Messy Book is here!

Introducing The Messy Book by A Beautiful Mess!Hey, friends! I just wanted to post a quick announcement that the Messy Book is now available in our shop! It comes in three colors/designs—

The Messy Book by A Beautiful Mess  Mineral 

The Messy Book by A Beautiful Mess Gray

The Messy Book by A Beautiful MessBlack/White Stripe 

The Messy Book has a fun "to be continued" phrase in the back of each album... 

Introducing The Messy Book by A Beautiful Mess!   ...and it comes with eight page designs (two of each of the four designs so you can test them all out), but if you already know which designs you'll use the most, be sure to stock up on extra page refills too! 

Introducing The Messy Book by A Beautiful Mess! I surprised myself and have been using all the designs so far (I thought I would be an all-square & full-page girl). 

These albums are compatible with all the stuff that comes in the new Messy Box.

We have also stocked some extra packs of soft colored ledger papers in the shop (9x12, 4x6, 3x4, 3x3). Ledger is my favorite and the soft colors make it really easy to journal on, like this—

Scrapbooking with The Messy Box     Thanks so much for sharing my joy in this big release!! After keeping it all a secret and working behind-the-scenes for the past year, it feels AMAZING to be sharing it here and using the products.

I can't wait to see what you make. Please please please share your creations with me on Instagram using #mybeautifulmess xo. Elsie 

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