How to Make Granny Squares (and a Blanket!)

6U8A8786 6U8A8806Baby, it's cold outside! At least, it is in Manitoba. One thing I love to do on a cold winter day is snuggle up under an afghan with a cup of tea. Even if it's warmer where you are, a nice crocheted afghan adds beautiful texture to any space. In this tutorial, as part of the Crochet Basics series, you'll learn how to make a classic granny square. I'll also show you how you can join your granny squares to create a cozy afghan of your own! 

In this video, I demonstrate how to make a 3-row granny square. Choose any yarn you fancy! Check the yarn label to choose the appropriate size of crochet hook for your yarn.

Granny SquareStart with a slip knot on your hook. Ch 4, and insert your hook into the first ch. Slip stitch (sl st) to create a loop.

Ch 3, 2 dc in loop. *Ch 1, 3 dc in same loop. Repeat from * 3 times.

Ch 1, then connect to the third chain on the other side with a sl st into the top ch st. That's the first round!

For the second round, start by ch 4, and in the first space beside that chain, work 2 dc. Ch 1, skip 3 stitches, and work 3 dc in the next space. Ch 1, and work another 3 dc in the same open space.

Ch. 1, move on to the next open space. 3 dc, ch 1, 3 dc. Repeat for each open space on the first round. Once you're back at the first corner, work 3 dc, ch 1, and then sl st into the top of the ch (4th stitch) to connect. 

For the 3rd round, ch 4, 2 dc in the same space. *Ch 1, move on to the next open space on the side, 3 dc, ch 1. Move to the next corner, and work the corner as follows: 3 dc, ch 1, 3 dc. Repeat from * around.

To complete the 3rd row in your granny square, once you've done the final 3 dc in the last corner, ch 1, then insert your hook into the top of the chain (in the 4th stitch). Cut the yarn and pull through. This completes a 3-row granny square!

How to join granny squares step 1-3To connect your squares, start by taking 2 granny squares and put them together with the nicer sides facing in. You can see how the stitches line up nicely.

How to join granny squares step 4.Insert your hook into the corner of both squares.

How to join granny squares step 5.With matching yarn, slip knot onto your hook, and pull the yarn through the corner. Work single crochet stitches in each stitch until you reach the other corner.

How to join granny squares step 6.How to join granny squares step 7.How to join granny squares step 8.From here, you can decide whether you want to continue around the square, attaching 4 squares to the middle square to create a plus sign like in the afghan I made, or you can cut the yarn and attach your squares "end to end" in a long strip, creating rows of squares to later attach using the same sc method. Once all your squares and rows are joined, use a darning needle to weave in all the yarn ends.

6U8A8705 6U8A8802One thing I love about making granny squares, is it's something you can start and finish in one sitting. Sometimes you have time to make one, other times you can make a bunch at one time. Stockpile your squares until you have enough to join them into a blanket! Small blankets make special baby gifts. Definitely something that takes time, but those are usually the gifts that get treasured for a long time. -Holly

Credits // Author: Holly Neufeld, Photography: Sarah Rhodes. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions. 

Scrapbook Sunday: Messy Book + Messy Sneak Peeks!

The Messy Box!Hi friends! Happy Sunday! Today I am excited to share with you the new Messy Box and The Messy Book we have coming out this month. I have been working on these products for more than a year so words cannot describe how happy I am to finally launch them into the world!

Messy Box is our scrapbook kit club that comes with fun papers, cards and embellishments to fit your album each month. 

So here's a quick sneak peek at what's to come and what I've been creating with the new products! 

Introducing The Messy Book by A Beautiful Mess!The Messy Book! I chose 9x12 albums because I love the size. It's smaller (skinnier) than a traditional scrapbook (and doesn't hang off my bookshelf- yay!!) but it's still large enough to not be a mini book. I have been testing the size by making 9x12 pages for the past year and I absolutely love it and can't wait for you to try it! They're my dream scrapbooks. 

Introducing The Messy Book by A Beautiful Mess! Here are the pocket page designs. There is a full size 9x12 page, one with 3x3 squares (perfect for Instagram!), one with 4x6 and 3x4 pockets and one with all 3x4s. I named them after fashion icons, just for fun! 

Introducing The Messy Book by A Beautiful Mess!  Introducing The Messy Book by A Beautiful Mess!  One of the things that makes The Messy Book unique is the colorful inside of each album and the "to be continued" at the back of each book. We are launching soon with three different covers, and there will be more coming out as the year goes on. 

Here are examples of what each page design looks like as a finished product (and I made all these pages with the first Messy Box kit too)! 

Introducing The Messy Book by A Beautiful Mess!     Introducing The Messy Book by A Beautiful Mess!     The full page design, Plain Jane, is one of my favorites because I love large, full-page photos! I almost always use this page design as the opening page for every album! 

Introducing The Messy Book by A Beautiful Mess!       Oh- and here's a peek at some gold chipboard letters that are included in the first Messy Box! It will be available for pre-order this week. 

Introducing The Messy Book by A Beautiful Mess!        Introducing The Messy Book by A Beautiful Mess!        The Westwood page design is the most traditional since it features two 4x6 pockets. 

Introducing The Messy Book by A Beautiful Mess!          Introducing The Messy Book by A Beautiful Mess!          Introducing The Messy Book by A Beautiful Mess!Introducing The Messy Book by A Beautiful Mess!              The Monroe design is my personal favorite since I love squares and typically take most of my photos with my iPhone. I love that you can fit twelve photos per page with this design! 

Introducing The Messy Book by A Beautiful Mess!             Introducing The Messy Book by A Beautiful Mess!             And the Bardot design is fun as well since the photos can be a little larger! 

I really like mixing all the page designs together and plan to use all four, but I think Emma will pick one or two designs to stick with for her all-photo album. I love that it is so customizable! We're planning to share different ways that we and ABM readers use The Messy Books here in the future! 

Introducing The Messy Book by A Beautiful Mess!                    Introducing The Messy Book by A Beautiful Mess!                    One more sneaky peek! The first Messy Box has this pretty transparency sheet. I used it for the opening page of my Costa Rica album. 

Messy Box is not quite up for pre-order yet, but you can sign up for information about it here. Pre-order is in just a few days! I can't wait for these to start arriving at your homes! Getting my first box and book in the mail seriously made my whole month! Happy Sunday you guys. xx. Elsie 

ps. I don't know what day the albums will be available in our shop, but I'll post here and on Instagram when they are! 

Credits// Author and Photography: Elsie Larson. Photos edited with Stella from The Complete Collection

Eleanor & Park (Discussion)

Eleanor and ParkHappy Saturday, everyone! Can you believe the month is already over?! I feel like February absolutely flew by for me (in a  good way). I actually didn't get around to starting the book club book until late last week. I was nervous I wouldn't make it through the whole thing before today because I'm often a fairly slow reader/don't have tons of time to read every week. But, Eleanor & Park turned out to be such a fun, quick read that I blew through it all during two long flights this week. Did you think it was a fast read too?

Before I share any of my thoughts on this book, I do want to warn: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS! So if you haven't finished the book yet, I'd hold off as I'd hate to ruin it for you. :)

These are just a few of my thoughts. Feel free to use these as jumping off points for our discussion, or you can start talking about something totally different that you thought about while reading. 


I feel super conflicted about it. I think my gut reaction was a mix of disappointment and slight confusion. I feel like it's fair to assume that those three words in Eleanor's postcard to Park are, "I love you", but I also think it's vague enough that I didn't feel entirely confident assuming this. So, although it is a happy ending in that Eleanor is safe, it sort of felt a little anticlimactic to me. Not that I necessarily think the book would be better had it ended in a wedding, that didn't seem likely to happen. But it also talks about Romeo and Juliet throughout the story, so I wondered if Rowell would at least leave us with some big final ending. But, maybe that's the point a little bit? What did you think?

2. Eleanor's family situation

For me, it's easy to forget that there are lots of people who grow up in very different family situations than myself. I identified more with Park's family. My parents love each other and love their children. I've always known my parents loved me even if they didn't agree with choices I was making growing up. We had regular teenager problems, but my parents were nothing short of awesome and supportive through it all. We ate dinner together. They taught me to drive a car and took me to get my license. All the "normal" stuff. But it's not normal for everyone. Park experiences this when he is faced with the realties of Eleanor's family. I had a very good friend in high school who grew up in an abusive family. Like Eleanor, she was often in danger but felt trapped because when you're a "kid" with no money, no car, and no one to listen to you, it's hard to get help. So many things that happened to Eleanor throughout the book reminded me of this friend and things she dealt with. I wish no child had to live through situations like that. It's completely unfair. It reminded me that I need to make sure to take opportunities to help others when they come up (and I should probably make them come up more). Sometimes there are opportunities through my church or other organizations, and I should do what I can to help instead of just thinking about it or assuming everyone else is helping so I don't need to.

3. Love is larger than the sum of its parts

Probably one of my favorite things from this book is how Rowell, in my opinion, does a fantastic job of showing how love is always more than the sum of its parts. Like, if you try to break down why you fall in love with someone, it never adds up, right? It doesn't entirely make sense. Watching Eleanor and Park go from two strangers on a school bus who are forced to sit near each other to falling in love and having to be separated by very adult circumstances was sort of amazing. It felt totally natural as you read, but sitting back and thinking how they fall in love, it almost seems too simple or doesn't quite add up. In my experience, that's actually what love is like. It's often awkward and inconvenient, but also inescapable when the real thing comes your way. 

If you can't tell, I really enjoyed this book. So glad we read it this month! I will for sure be picking up Rowell's other book sometime soon. Hope you enjoyed the read this month too. And don't forget, next month we're reading, All The Light We Cannot See, so be sure to pick up or check out your copy soon. xo. Emma

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

February Favorites

Record frame instagram photo wallHappy Friday! February went by so fast, right? Before March rolls around we thought we would go through some of our favorite posts from the month. Ready for a recap? Let's start with Elsie's record frame Instagram photo wall

Easy homemade tomato sauceDouble-stuffed oreo jello shotsHomemade pepper jack crackersBest baked sweet potato friesWe shared some delicious recipes for you to try, including easy homemade tomato sauce, baked sweet potato fries, cheddar chive popoversbowtie pumpkin pasta with sage butter, double-stuffed Oreo jello shots, homemade pepper jack crackers, red velvet baked pancakes, and more!

Hand lettering tips with ElsieElsie's hand lettering tips was one of the most popular posts of the month.

Charleston travel guideElsie and Emma visited Charleston, South Carolina and shared a travel guide filled with their favorite restaurants, shops, and colorful homes.

Upgrade your handbag with colorful spikesWe showed you how easy it is to upgrade a handbag as part of our "Try This" series.

Make real silver jewelry with metal clayDid you know that you can make real silver jewelry out of metal clay? This is one of our favorite jewelry DIYs!

Cold weather photography tipsTry these tips for taking photos in cold weather to get some gorgeous shots during the winter months.

At Home with Kara HauptWe brought back our At Home With series and shared this cute apartment.

Piggy scrapbookElsie and Emma went to meet Priscilla and Poppleton in Florida for Emma's birthday. This scrapbook is the cutest thing ever! 

Graphic embroidered artStatement shower curtain DIYDIY faux stained glassWood burned photo framesWe showed you how to make graphic embroidered art, DIY lap desks, faux stained glass, macrame yarn garland, and wood burned photo frames. We also shared tips and tricks for marbleizing paper and how to make a statement shower curtain

Happy Mail february unboxingThere are so many fun cards and stationary in our February Happy Mail subscription. We have almost sold out this month, so be sure to sign up here if you haven't already. :)

We are so excited to announce that Messy Box is launching in March! Be sure to sign up here to get all the details. xo. -The ABM Team


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