Easy diy light up photo frame (via abeautifulmess.com)Easy light up photo frame (via abeautifulmess.com)  A few months ago. Elsie gifted me this sweet light up cactus for my 30th birthday. I know! She nailed it. :) So far, he has ended up on top of the piano in our living room. I like being able to see the cactus from where I usually am most nights – at the stovetop throwing together dinner. This spot also works well because this corner of the house is pretty dark most of the time, especially at night. So I can just turn the cactus on to add some light. 

I decided to add another (smaller) light up feature to this space since I like it so much. So I made this super simple light up photo frame. For this project, I worked with our longtime friends, Canon USA. One thing I love about this project is ANYONE could make this. I'm all for more advanced projects here and there (I love making stuff!), but it's really fun when you work on something and in the end it turns out to be really cute and really easy to replicate... if folks are so inclined. Here, I'll show you. 

Easy light up picture frame (via abeautifulmess.com) Light-up-photosSupplies:
-a transparency and ink jet printer (I used my Canon PIXMA MG 7720, which I love!)
-plexiglass, mine is 8x12 inches and 1/2 inch thick
-1 white poster board
-1 colored poster board or oversized paper (I used a forest green color to go with my decor)
-LED lights strip (mine is a flexible bar that you can cut to size)
-X-Acto knife
-glue dots

See, pretty simple right? But such a cute little display once you're done. In case you are a video hater (what?!), here are the text instructions:

Make a patternStep One: Print your image onto a transparency. You only need this to be big enough to fill the frame you will create. So it doesn't have to be as large as your plexi. Cut out the transparency, leaving enough space to add glue dots. Adhere the image to the back of your plexi (you decided which side is the back at this point).  

Step Two: Create a pattern for your frame from the white poster board. Mine sort of resembles an instant photo, but you could do anything you like. Your frame could be thick, thin, scalloped, or whatever your heart desires. :) Once you have your pattern, cut out your final frame from the colored poster board or card stock. Adhere to the front of the plexi with glue dots.

Step Three: Measure the lights and cut to size if needed. Adhere them to the bottom of your plexiglass with glue dots.

Easy light up picture frame (via abeautifulmess.com) Display and enjoy! As with any light up project, don't leave the lights turned on when you won't be at home or when you go to sleep. Even though LED lights don't generate heat in the same way other lights do, this is still a good rule of thumb for any lighting in your home, just to be on the safe side. xx. Emma

Street corn pizza (via abeautifulmess.com) Street corn pizza (via abeautifulmess.com) I'd love to have some story about the time I was in Mexico and happened upon a street fair where I had the best elotes and churro of my life. But the truth is, although I have been to Mexico, I did not have elotes (street corn) while I was there. The real reason I fell in love with this dish is because they serve a version of it at our bar, The Golden Girl Rum Club, and it's delicious. 

Elotes pizza (via abeautifulmess.com)Warm, spicy corn doused in cheese, lime juice, and cilantro – yes, please! And then I thought, you know what's really good? Why, carbs on carbs of course. So I turned the whole concept into a pizza. :)

Roasting cornStreet Corn Pizza, serves 4-5 as a meal or more as an appetizer

For the crust:
1/2 cup warm water
1 package, 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
big pinch of sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

For the top:
2-3 stalks of corn
a few slices of red onion (optional)
2-3 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons mayo
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup crumbled cotija
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
handful of cilantro, stems removed
hot sauce (optional)

Dissolve the sugar in the warm water. Then sprinkle the yeast over the top. Allow that to sit and activate for 5 minutes. The yeast should begin to look kind of foamy, a good sign. That means it's doing its job. If your yeast doesn't seem to change at all (doesn't foam), check the expiration date on your container of yeast. 

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, yeasty water mixture and olive oil until a soft dough ball forms. Sprinkle your counter with flour and knead 3-4 times. Lightly oil your bowl (you can use the same one) and return the dough ball. Cover with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free spot for about an hour. 

Weird pizza combosIn the meantime, roast the corn. If your stalks still have their leaves on, that's great. A few of mine had been partially uncovered, I guess in case you didn't know what it was? Hmm. If that's the case, just rub a little olive oil over the exposed kernels. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 400°F for 22-25 minutes. Allow to cool enough to handle, then use a sharp knife to remove the corn from the cob. 

Mince the garlic. I like to use a garlic press here. In a small bowl combine the garlic with the mayo and olive oil and stir to combine. I know this might seem weird for a "pizza sauce", but it's what elotes sometimes get coated in before getting cheese and chili powder, so don't be shy. :)

Roll our your dough and coat with the garlic sauce. Top with the corn and sliced onion if using. Sprinkle on the chili powder and cumin. Bake at 400°F for 12-15 minutes, until the edges begin to turn a dark brown. 

Elotes pizza (via abeautifulmess.com) Remove from the oven and top with the cheese and cilantro. Slice, and just before serving, squeeze a lime over everything and add hot sauce if using. Happy pizza night! xx. Emma

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

Ocean waterfall in Big Sur CASo this is my second year posting a "5 Places I want to go in..." in a row. I honestly view this as more of putting my intentions/hopes out into the universe type of thing. What I mean is, I don't truly expect that I'll get to go to all five places I list. But I think it kind of gives me some ideas of the kinds of things I want to try and do/see travel-wise in the coming year. 

Guys, I got one! Trey and I went to Big Sur, CA last weekend, and it RULED. Trey booked the trip for us as a 30th birthday present to me (I turned 30 this past January). He's a keeper. :) 

So what did we do? Well, I'm so glad you asked. 

Best beaches in big sur Ocean door in big sur Pacific oceanWe flew into San Francisco, which is about four hours away from where we were lodging. Big Sur is a long stretch along the coast between San Fran and LA. This might sound like a long drive, but it's mostly along Hwy 1, which is just beautiful! It goes along the coast so you can see the electric blue Pacific Ocean as you wind along the highway. 

Big sur yurts Inside a yurtWe stayed in a yurt at the Treebones Resort. I would totally recommend them; our stay was great if you like glamping. (I sort of hate that word, but it's also kind of funny I guess.) 

Along with yurts, campgrounds, tree houses, and few other fun lodging options, they also have an AMAZING sushi bar. It only seats 10 at a time, and it was easily the best sushi of our lives (and Trey loves sushi, so we eat it pretty much everywhere we go). The chef, Yancy Knapp, is insanely talented and a super sweet guy. I was seriously inspired by his creations, and I'm not even the biggest sushi fan.

Redwood hiking in big sur Where to hike in big sur Redwood treesEmma and trey in big sur ca Hiking in big sur McWay Falls in Big Sur CA Trey and Abby hiking Best beaches in big sur ca We spent two days (it was only a four day trip total) hiking. I really cannot describe how beautiful Big Sur is. It's probably one of the most beautiful places I've ever been too. You hike through redwood forests as well as see some beautiful beaches all in the same day. We hiked in Limekiln, Salmon Creek, and the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, which is where the famous McWay Falls is located (the waterfall right by the ocean). 

Our friend, Abby, drove down from San Francisco one day to hike and hang out with us. So that was a bonus treat to the trip for sure. :)

Redwood trees  Golden sunsetIf you ever get a chance to visit Big Sur, CA, I highly recommend you do, especially if you like hiking and pretty views. Thanks for letting me share some snaps from our trip. xx. Emma

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

Felt Cactus DIY  When I started brainstorming for our kiddo-friendly guest room, one of the first themes that came to mind was Palm Springs. Not only am I a complete addict for all things Palm Springs, but one of my favorite d.i.y. directions of ALL TIME is turning adult things into kiddo things. Felt desert plants, nods to Frank Sinatra and fun pool floaties and the 1960s... I covered pages and pages in my journal with random ideas for this room. It was a TREAT to work on.... this stuff is magical to me! 

So far I've already shared the gold foiled cactus wallpaper. When it came time to work on the felt plant life, I enlisted Laura's help because this project still haunts my dreams (in the best, most dreamy and slightly-jealous way!) 

Take it away, Laura!! 

Felt Cactus Plush DIY (click through for tutorial)
-green and brown felt
-fabric scissors
-sewing machine
-plastic planters
-pillow stuffing
-embroidery thread and yarn needle
-hot glue gun

First you'll want to mark and cut the pieces for each of the cacti. Each cactus will have 6 matching panels. The smaller cactus measures 22" x 4.5" and the larger is 32" x 5.5". Use a similarly sized bowl to trace the rounded edge at the top. Cut out all your pattern pieces.

Felt Cactus Plush DIY (click through for tutorial)Pair the six panels for each size cactus into pairs of two and sew all the way around the edge of each pair leaving the bottom edge open for stuffing later. Stack the three sewn pairs on top of each other and pin down the middle.

Felt Cactus Plush DIY (click through for tutorial)Use your machine to sew a straight line up the middle of the stack of cactus pairs.

Felt Cactus Plush DIY (click through for tutorial)Now comes the tricky part – stuffing your cactus! It takes a lot more stuffing than you would think (a large bag for each pair), but it's best to stuff as much as you can into each section opening at the bottom and then use a long ruler or stick to push the stuffing all the way up into the cactus. Keep filling and pushing the stuffing up into each section until your cactus takes on its 3D shape. 

Felt Cactus Plush DIY (click through for tutorial)Use your embroidery thread to make knots of fabric down the "spines" of the cactus and hand sew the bottom openings closed so the stuffing can't be pulled out.

Felt Cactus Plush DIY (click through for tutorial)Trace the opening of your planter pot onto some cardboard, and cut the cardboard a little smaller than your tracing. Cut two more holes big enough for each cactus to fit into the cardboard.

Felt Cactus Plush DIY (click through for tutorial)Trace your cardboard onto some brown felt and cut the felt a bit larger than the tracing of your cardboard. Use glue to attach the felt to the cardboard disk.

You can either wedge the cardboard down into the planter or glue it in place, but depending on how sturdy your planter is, you may want to add something heavy in to the bottom so that your tall cactus shoots aren't heavier than your planter, which might cause it to topple over (we added rocks to each plastic planter). Add your cactus into the holes and your cacti are ready for the desert!

Felt Cactus DIY Each cactus is about three feet high, and they make the perfect accents for our kiddo room. I will share more of the WHOLE space with you very soon. 

These can be customized in size, shape or color to make them perfect for your space! 

Felt Cactus DIYThis project makes a huge visual impact, is kid friendly, and honestly makes me smile every single time I walk into the room! 

XOXO! Elsie 

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


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