Twisted crown braid (click-through for the full tutorial)  In summer I like my hair to be as fuss-free as possible. On hot days, I want to go swimming, and taking ages to blow dry my hair afterwards seems like a waste of time. Instead I've found a few braids I can make with wet hair that look pretty but take next to no time. My favorite by far is the twisted crown braid. Crown braids are so lovely but can be a bit tricky to manage (at least for me!), but I've found that wet hair makes it a lot easier to learn this style.

Twisted crown braid (click-through for the full tutorial)Step One: Brush your hair thoroughly. (Wet hair optional, but I personally find it so much easier to do this style with wet hair!)

Step Two: Take two small sections towards the top of your head.

Step Three: Twist these sections toward the front of your face and cross the sections back towards the back of your head.

Step Four: Take the section closer to the front of your face and add some hair to it, twist it towards your face and cross it back towards the back of your head.

Step Five: Take the section of hair that is now towards the front, add some hair and twist it away towards the back of your head again.

Step Six: Continue this process, keeping the twist tight and close to your scalp.

Step Seven: When you get towards the front of your head again, finish off with a simple rope braid.

Step Eight: Take the braid around the crown of your head and pin it in place with a few bobby pins. 

Twisted crown braid (click-through for the full tutorial) That's it! It looks quite fancy, but in reality is pretty easy once you get the knack of it – although my braid always looks better and tighter when I do it with wet hair than when I attempt this with dry hair! If the crown braid is too hard, start with a simple rope braid and work your way up to this style when you get more comfortable with the technique. Bonus: if you leave your hair like this until it dries, it will also give you some nice curls when you let it down. Cheers, Rebecca.

Credits//Author and Photography: Rebecca Stice. 

Make your own natural shower spray! (click through for tutorial)I think you tend to learn most of your main cooking and cleaning habits from whatever you saw your parents do (or not do) growing up. While I have been trying to make a lot of healthy changes in my life in recent years and opt for more nontoxic options, I never really relied on some of the more harsher chemicals to clean my house, and I'm pretty sure that's mostly because that's how my mom cleaned our home growing up. I clean most surfaces with simple soap and water whenever I can get away with it and only pull out the chemicals when something really calls for it (although I'm looking for natural solutions to those situations now too).

This house has the first tiled shower that we've ever had (usually it's the one-piece white plastic shower situation), and I've noticed that the tile and grout seem to have a much greater potential for mildew buildup than the other showers did. The shower also has a dark, multi-colored brown tile (not my favorite as you can imagine), which makes it extra hard to spot mildew buildup as it appears (I used Elsie's beautiful new shower for the pics in this post though – isn't it dreamy?). Thankfully, you can use a shower spray between each shower to help cut down on bacteria growing in the shower and have longer periods between more deep cleanings. And the best part of making this shower spray at home is that it's all natural too!

Make your own natural shower spray! (click through for tutorial)   Natural Shower Spray, makes 2 cups
1 cup water
1 cup white distilled vinegar
10 drops tea tree essential oil* (You can add a few drops of lemon essential oil* to this too if you want a lemony fresh smell.)
spray bottle (you can use a cute plant mister or a larger spray bottle as well)

*Note: There is debate over certain animals (cats especially) coming in contact with too much of certain essential oils like lemon and tea tree. To be honest, there is a very wide range of opinions on what is safe or not safe, so make sure to look up what essential oils you want to use and see if they are OK for your pets. If you are nervous about using the oils in this recipe, then no biggie! Just use the water and vinegar and you will still have a wonderful natural spray that will just be a bit stronger on the vinegar smell.)

Make your own natural shower spray! (click through for tutorial)     Add the water and vinegar to your spray bottle and then drop in your essential oils. Give the bottle a shake to combine, and you're ready to clean! Just spray the walls and door of your shower after each use to keep it cleaner longer.

Make your own natural shower spray! (click through for tutorial)  Make your own natural shower spray! (click through for tutorial)  The tea tree oil is antibacterial, anti-fungal & antiseptic, and the vinegar is a great disinfectant. So they work well together hand in hand. It's best to keep items with essential oils in dark colored containers to preserve them unless they are stored in a cabinet or a dark space when not in use. Like I said, this doesn't replace your routine deep cleanings (and you don't want to use vinegar on natural stone tiles as it can eat away the stone over time), but it should help increase the time between cleanings and allow less buildup in general. Do you have any natural shower cleaning tips that you love to use? xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. 

Pineapple oven mitt tutorial   If I could make a housewarming gift for everyone I knew, this would be it. Seriously, you should probably just go ahead and move this month in case I run out of this fabric. I came up with this pineapple oven mitt design after realizing how perfect the shape would be for such an item, and I just knew a few of you might be feeling brave enough to dust off those sewing machines to make your own. 

As far as sewing projects go, this one is pretty simple and straightforward, so you can finish your first one in about an hour and then whip up your second in about thirty minutes. Cut out all of your fabric at once to make even quicker work of things. They're roomy enough to grab onto things and the pineapple leaves help protect your wrists from hot trays from the oven. As darling as they are, though, you may just want to keep them on display all summer!

Pineapple oven mitt tutorial                Pineapple oven mitt tutorial    Supplies Per Oven Mitt:
-pineapple oven mitt template – Download Pineapple A 1 of 2Download Pineapple A 2 of 2Download Pineapple B
-1/4 yard fabric for pineapple side 
-1/4 yard fabric for shorter side 
-1/2 yard of natural cotton batting
-1/2 yard of Insul-Bright 
-10" of double fold bias tape
-straight pins
-scissors
-iron and ironing board
-chalk (optional)
-sewing machine
-access to printer

Pineapple oven mittsDownload and print out the templates for the oven mitt shape. The pineapple shape will print onto two sheets of paper, so line them up where the dotted lines are and tape them together before cutting it out. Cut along the outside lines and use these as your template when you cut your fabric, cotton batting, and Insul-bright out in the next step. 

Pineapple oven mitt tutorial       For each piece of the template, fold your fabric in half with right sides facing each other. Then place your cotton batting down next, then add your layer of Insul-bright on top of that so that you have four layers on top of each other. Place your template on top of your layers and pin it down with straight pins before cutting through all four pieces. Remove your template and repin all four pieces together. Repeat with the smaller mitt side. Go ahead and plug in your iron so it's ready when you need it. 

Pineapple oven mitt tutorial        Here's a close up of the layers peeled back so that you can ensure the right sides of your fabric are facing each other. 

Pineapple oven mitt tutorial          Place your pineapple shape under your sewing machine and stitch along the perimeter so that you're stitching through all four layers. Leave about  1/4" of room from the edge of the top layer. You'll want to start your stitching near the bottom of the pineapple shape and near one edge, and then stop stitching on the other side about 4" from where you started. This will leave a gap big enough for you to turn the whole thing right side out. 

Pineapple oven mit tutorial Trim your edges and make a very precise cut into each pineapple corner so that you are separating the fabric enough that it can turn right side out and have some stretching room, but not quite to the stitch line or else it'll show a hole on the other side. You can also snip off the top corner of your pineapple points so they don't bunch up when you turn them right side out. Again, be sure not to cut past the stitch line. 

Pineapple oven mitt tutorialPlace your fingers inside your pineapple shape so that they are in between the two layers of fabric, and then turn it right side out. Use the eraser end of a pencil or the cap of a sharpie to help poke your corners out. Once you have everything smoothed out, iron your shape to give it a little more reinforcement. 

Pineapple oven mitt tutorial            Free-hand stitch lines across your pineapple base for a quilted and textural look. Add lines for the leaves as well. Back stitch on the leaf lines where you start and stop and then trim your thread. I like to use a contrasting thread that will show up against the fabric, but the quilted texture will show up regardless. This also helps secure all four layers together. You now have half of your oven mitt done! 

Pineapple oven mitt tutorial           Pineapple oven mitt tutorial             Repeat the same process with the smaller mitt side. I didn't add quilting to this side, but you can if you'd like. Notice I stitched my opening at the bottom of this piece as well so that I could turn it right side out. For extra interest, I pinned a length of double-sided bias tape over the top edge and stitched it on. This just adds another layer of color and gives it a more finished look. 

Pineapple oven mitt tutorial              Place your mitt and pineapple sides together so that the bottoms match up and pin along the perimeter. Starting at the top corner where the two pieces meet, back stitch, and then continue stitching them together until you get to the opposite corner on the other side.

If you would like to add a little loop of bias tape or ribbon to make a little hanger for your oven mitt to be on display, you can add that to one of the corners before you stitch things down. Just be sure to fold it in half and tuck the ends in between the two oven mitt sides so that the top loop is facing inside the pineapple mitt. When it's turned right side out again, it'll face outside the oven mitt.

Pineapple oven mitt tutorial               Turn your oven mitts right side out and iron them flat again. These are one of the most fun sewing projects for your kitchen you'll ever make!

Pineapple oven mitt tutorial   Tie up a stack of mitts with a ribbon and finish it off with a few of your favorite recipe cards, or tuck a trio of bamboo spatulas into the mitt and gift them to your favorite cook. You'll surely be invited over for brownies very soon! -Rachel

Wanting to learn how to sew but not sure where to start? Check out our beginner's sewing e-Course, Sew With Us, and learn all the basics as you create projects for your home as well as your wardrobe! 

Credits//Author: Rachel Denbow. Photography: Janae Hardy and Rachel Denbow. 

Taco TuesdayHey, friends! Let's talk about a subject we are very passionate about... tacos! 

Now, I love myself a fish taco, and I had a falafel taco recently that was life changing. In a serious/romantic moment, I even asked Jeremy if we could become "taco people" together.

He, of course, accepted. 

I'm joking a little, but mostly serious. Recently we drove across town to try a random bar that looked cute online. Well we got straight up catfished because that bar was NOT CUTE in person, but it was worth it all because as we were driving away, we discovered really good tacos. And let's be honest, there was basically a zero percent chance I was going to see that BIG PINK SIGN and not pull over.  

Meant to be. Stars aligned. Destiny. Tacos. <--- a poem 

Oh and here are some outfit photos too! 

Taco Tuesday Taco Tuesday Taco Tuesday Taco Tuesday Taco Tuesday Taco Tuesday Taco Tuesday Elsie's Wearing: Dress/DusenDusen, Sunnies/Wildfox, Jacket/Madewell (embroidered at an event at my local Madewell store), Bag/Oui Fresh

And because it was right next door, we also visited Bobby's Dairy Dip for a cherry milkshake. 

Bobby's Dairy DipBobby's Dairy DipBobby's Dairy DipBobby's Dairy DipBobby's Dairy DipAlright, sister! Take it away! 

Emma Chapman How to wear a bandana Silhouette Emma ChapmanOh man, sister, this makes me wish so bad you were back in Springfield and we were still shooting Sister Style together... because then I would get a taco. Nevertheless, count me in among the "taco people". The other night our brother, Doren, came over on a Sunday night, so a number of things were closed in our town. But we drove almost 20 minutes (which is kind of far considering our city isn't that big) for tacos at a favorite spot – Purple Burrito. Only a few of their locations were open at that time, but we were both in NEED of fish tacos, so we made it happen. :) 

But in these photos, I'm just sipping a latte at Eurasia cafe while Janae patiently snaps a few photos of me. It might not be tacos, but it's still pretty great. Lattes are probably one of my favorite daytime indulgences. I usually get a vanilla latte (how basic!), sometimes with an extra shot of espresso if I want to feel WIDE awake. :) 

Shoes Emma Chapman  Emma's Wearing: Top or trench or dress?/Rom.we, Jeans/F21, Shoes/H&M, Bandana/Hobby store (one of my top hang outs as you can imagine), Purse/Oui Fresh

What about you guys? Are you taco people? What's your latte order? Happy summer vibes to you!!!! xx. Elsie + Emma

Credits // Author: Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman, Photography: Amber Ulmer and Janae Hardy. 

Filled Pancake Puffs (via abeautifulmess.com) Puff pancakes Today I am extra, extra excited because we have two pretty awesome things to share with you. First, a recipe for filled puff pancakes. Yes, little pillowy pancakes that get stuffed with all sorts of delicious things. You might recognize these, as they are sometimes called aebleskivers or appleskives, but I don't think my recipe is in any way an authentic Danish recipe since I am not Danish. So I feel like puff pancakes sums it up well. :) 

Stonewall Kitchen jams and saucesBut what's the second thing? Good, you're paying attention and not completely distracted by the PHOTOS OF TINY PANCAKES. :) The second thing is we got to work with Stonewall Kitchen on this post, and they are currently in the midst of celebrating their 25th anniversary. As a fellow business owner (although our business is much smaller, I must admit), I can't imagine how great it must feel to get to 25 years – what a cool milestone! And they are celebrating by giving away lots of fun stuff. I'll tell you more at the end of the post, promise. But first, let's make some puff pancakes with Stonewall Kitchen. 

Pancake puff recipeStuffed Pancake Puffs, makes around 20 to 22 (easily enough for 3-5 people)
Loosely adapted from the recipe found on the back of my Stonewall Kitchen pancake puff pan

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, divided
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
fillings – more on this below

In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, vanilla extract, and buttermilk. Then in the bowl of a stand mixer, or with an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until very foamy, soft peaks form. 

Add the dry mixture to the buttermilk mixture and stir until just combined; a few small lumps are OK. Then use a rubber spatula to fold the egg whites into the batter. You want to fold in just until they are combined; don't over mix. 

Jams and saucesHeat your pancake puff pan over low/medium heat. Once warmed gently, spray with nonstick cooking spray (I hold my pan over the sink as I do this so any excess can roll off), and fill each hole with one tablespoon of batter. Then add a teaspoon of filling and cover with just a bit more batter (about 1/2 tablespoon or a little less). Allow to cook for a couple minutes, then use a small wooden chopstick or the end of a wooden spoon to gently flip each pancake puff. If you've never made these before, this is honestly just as easy as flipping a pancake – might take you a time or two to get the hang of it, but it's an imprecise and easy thing to do once you try. :) Do use a wooden chopstick or other small wooden stick to turn these so you don't scrape the coating of the pan in the process. Once flipped, allow each puff to cook for another couple of minutes. After your first batch, check one to make sure they are cooking through all the way and adjust your heat if needed before starting the next batch. 

My pan and fillings are from Stonewall Kitchen. I used raspberry peach champagne jam, blueberry rhubarb, mango peach, strawberry vanilla, lemon curd, dark chocolate toffee sauce, and their creamy peanut butter. They were pretty much all AMAZING; I couldn't even pick a favorite if I tried. :) But you can use any kind of jam, jelly, sauce, or nut butter that you prefer. 

Puff pancakes Easy filled pancake recipeYou can brush these with a little melted butter or dust them with powdered sugar if you're really feeling fancy. 

Two quick notes about this recipe. First, you can swap out 1/4 cup of the flour for cocoa if you want to make chocolate pancake puffs. I did this and especially liked it paired with the peanut butter. Second, yes you really should divide the eggs and whip the egg whites. Don't skip that step. I tried a batch where I did this and just whisked in the eggs all together without dividing and whipping the whites, and although it worked, they were not nearly as puffy as my other batch. The overall texture just wasn't as good. It's worth the extra step, trust me. 

So about that Stonewall Kitchen anniversary giveaway – I promised details, and here they are. Over the next two weeks, they are giving away an adorable picnic tote with all sorts of picnic essentials, created by Maine-based Sea Bags and valued at $350! There will be two winners a week! Check it out here. All you have to do to enter is visit the website and enter your name and email. Good luck! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman.

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