Spinach + Artichoke Fondue (via abeautifulmess.com)Confession: I hadn't pulled out my fondue pot in nearly a year before I started thinking about this combination. I know! WHAT WAS I THINKING? 

The worst part is promptly after making another melty pot of delicious fondue, I realized I basically missed this entire past winter season! And clearly, winter is the best season for making fondue (followed closely by every other season). 

I will say though, I'm happy to add another thing to my list of reasons why winter isn't so bad. I will for SURE be remembering this one next year.

Spinach + Artichoke Fondue (via abeautifulmess.com) But in the meantime, I'm still going to make more fondue. It's just SO good. Make this for your significant other for a date night in. Or have a few friends over and make fondue your appetizer instead of your regular cheese plate routine. It's not only TOO delicious, it's also really fun to eat because you get to use poky sticks.

Yes, I'm pretty sure they're called poky sticks and not fondue forks. I mean, that would just be too obvious, right?

Also, I don't think you can really tell from this photo, BUT (drum roll please): I haven't bitten my nails in three weeks. Which for me is huge! I'll probably slip up now that I told you all, but at any rate I'm proud for this moment and I'll just keep plugging away at that goal. I digress, let's get back to the cheese.

How to make fondueSpinach and Artichoke Fondue, serves 4-5 as an appetizer.

6 oz. Gruyère cheese (I know it's pricey, but it's seriously the best!)
2 tablespoons flour
2 oz. cream cheese
2 cloves of garlic
1 cup white wine* (I like chardonnay for this, but choose a brand you like to drink or cook with.)
1/2 cup chopped, fresh spinach
5-6 artichoke hearts, chopped

*If you don't like or can't have alcohol, you can make this with vegetable or chicken stock instead. It's not exactly the same since wine has that delicious, yeasty taste to it, but it's still pretty good. I mean, it's still melted cheese after all. :)

Easy spinach and artichoke fondue First shred the Gruyère and toss in the flour coating all the pieces. Chop your spinach and artichokes so everything will be ready as this doesn't take much time to make once you get started.

Cut a garlic clove in half and rub the inside of the pot with it. Mince the garlic and add it to the pot on medium heat (I have an electric fondue pot, so this is #5 on the dial for me). Add the wine (or stock) and bring to a boil. 

Easy spinach and artichoke fondueTurn the heat down once the wine (or stock) boils, and start adding the cheese. Stir with a wooden spoon (so you won't scrap the bottom of your pot) as you work. Once all the cheese is incorporated, add the spinach and artichokes. Taste and season with a little pepper if you like.

Spinach + Artichoke Fondue (via abeautifulmess.com)  Serve with toasted bread and fresh vegetables. Really anything that can fit on the poky sticks that you like with spinach and artichoke dip will work here. Make this for a party soon! xo. Emma

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

Scrapbook in a Week36a01543277ddab970c01bb0820c470970d-800wiIMG_3030IMG_3071Today we are SO excited to share our latest e-Course with you, Scrapbook in a Week

6a01543277ddab970c01b7c7786ea1970b-800wi6a01543277ddab970c01b7c77cbe8c970b-800wiScrapbook in a Week2In Scrapbook in a Week, instructors Rachel Denbow and Elsie Larson share their step by step guide to finishing an entire scrapbook in just seven days! If you've ever felt overwhelmed about making an entire album, or if you've started multiple scrapbooks but have a hard time finishing anything, this is the course for you. Rachel will guide you through manageably-sized tasks each day and share examples from her album of her son, Smith's, first year, and Elsie will share her wedding album. Each of their albums were created in under a week, and they will share their secrets for starting (and finishing!) a scrapbook you will love for years to come. This is a great course to use over and over again as you work through many albums over the years.

Scrapbook in a Week4Scrapbook in a Week6a01543277ddab970c01bb081fb10c970d-800wiYou can read more about the course and everything you will learn here. Not only do you get all the course materials, but if you act fast, you will also receive an exclusive 3x4 stamp with your purchase (only while supplies last!). 

Course exclusive stampWhether you've never made a photo album before or you feel like a seasoned scrapbooker who needs a little extra push to finish projects, this is the perfect course for you. This course costs $34 USD. Shipping for the exclusive course stamp is included. Click here to learn more. 

IMG_2957IMG_3092If you have any questions, let us know in the comments. We can't wait to see the albums you all are going to create with this course! xo. Elsie, Rachel and the ABM team.

Steel grate memo boardEvery office space needs a bulletin board, if not for organization, then for inspiration! I love seeing creative memo boards from designers I admire—It really inspires me to make and maintain my own mood board of sorts. I loved the idea of making an industrial memo board, and was so pleased to find the supplies were inexpensive and readily available! Check out these simple instructions to make your own and add inspiration to your own workspace.

Turn a steel grate into a memo board— click through for where to buy supplies and how to hang it.Supplies:
-metal grate (You can repurpose salvaged grates if you know of a local store that sells them. I found this shiny new one at Home Depot here.)
-4 cup hooks (Size and length is up to you, but don't get any that are too fat.)
-4 drywall anchors that fit your cup hooks
-power drill with drill bit
-hammer
-level
-pencil

Turn a steel grate into a memo board— click through for where to buy supplies and how to hang it.Step One: Determine where you want the memo board to hang. Hold the steel grate in place and use a level to make sure it's straight. Using a pencil, mark out spots on the wall where you want the hooks to go. This is where you will be drilling holes in the next step and eventually where the hooks will fit between the holes in the grate to support it.

Step Two: Drill holes exactly on center with the marks you made in step one. The holes should be about the size of your drywall anchors. It's better to start with a hole a bit smaller than you think you will need, and then to go back and make it bigger if necessary.

Turn a steel grate into a memo board— click through for where to buy supplies and how to hang it.Step Three: Tap the drywall anchor into place with a hammer. It should be a bit snug, but you shouldn't crush the anchor as you hammer. If the fit is too tight, try a larger drill bit to make the hole a bit bigger.

Step Four: Twist the hooks into place. You might find the next step easier if you wait to place the grate up to the wall before adding the hooks. If so, you can easily take out the hooks and put them back in, thanks to the drywall anchors.

Turn a steel grate into a memo board— click through for where to buy supplies and how to hang it.Step Five: Hang your steel grate using the hooks for support. You can twist the hooks around until you get a good, level fit. My hooks didn't end up exactly where I had wanted them to be, so I tweaked their angles a bit and used a level to make sure my board was straight.

I used a mix of magnets, mini clothes pins, and even mini binder clips to fasten things to my memo board. At the bottom, I used magnetic hooks to hang some thread and scissors. It's nice having a magnetic memo board!

Diy steel grate memo boardIf you want to take your memo board to the next level, check out antique shops and salvage stores to find a reclaimed grate with lots of character. Or, you could buy a new one as I did, but paint it a fun color to match your space. So many possibilities! -Mandi

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

10 EASY DIY Makovers via www.abeautifulmess.comThis post has been brewing in my brain for a while. We do a lot of projects around here. Many are easy, most are budget-friendly, but once in a while this extra magic happens when it's both AND high impact too! Today I'm here to talk about these kinds of X-factor DIY projects. I liken them to my favorite 90s movie... 

She's All ThatHow did I not notice how hot she was? 

Wait a minute... 

She looks exactly the same...all they did was take her glasses off. 

Hmmm.

You can't fool me... 

& before you know it— 

Love. you guys!#magic #love #prom #happilyeverafter 

That's pretty much how a good DIY makeover feels. And it's nice when they're ridiculously easy OR practically free...or when the stars align, both!

With that said, I'll take moderately easy and pretty inexpensive too. I'm not picky. 

My Top 10 Easy DIY Makeovers 
*Use these as a jumping off point to create your own perfect-for-you versions! 

Paint it white1. Don't like it? Paint it white!

Once you join the wonderful world of home ownership, there are no rules except for the ones you impose on yourself. If you don't love it, change it! It's your home. It makes me sad when people live with things they don't like. Laura's white-painted fireplace is a great example! It's not gonna be for everyone, but she hated it and now she loves it. #chooselove

By the way, it doesn't have to be white! I love all the paint colors (OK, OK, mostly just gold, yellow, turquoise and some occasional orange or pink). White is just my go-to because it's timeless, matches everything and quickly brightens up rooms. 

Stamp or stencil a wall2. Stamp or stencil a wall. 

I love this stencil pattern that Mandi used in her bathroom. We're big statement wall fans here and most of ours were done by hand! (see them all here)

While I wouldn't necessarily file all these walls under "easy" (some took a whole day to apply), they are super inexpensive and create a huge visual impact. These walls make excellent weekend projects! 

Paint upholstery3. Paint upholstery

You heard me correctly. If a piece is "too far gone" and reupholstery isn't an option, don't be afraid to paint your fabric. Next time I try this I am going to try a pattern instead of one color all over. If you just have a few stains, add dots! :D 

Add a surprise pop of color4. Add a surprise pop of color! 

This is one of my favorite things we did in my kitchen, and then Emma did it in her kitchen too (the true test, right?). It's so simple, but it really added a lot more personality to my old painted kitchen cabinets. 

Line your shelves5. Line your shelves!

I loved Rachel's clever, custom bookshelf lining. It completely brought that room to life (and was the perfect renter-friendly option too). Lining shelves is a great way to make a space feel more polished and pulled together with minimal supplies and commitment. 

Another fun solution we found was adhering fabric with rubber cement. I recently removed the fabric after more than a year and it didn't leave any marks or residue. 

Highly recommended! 

Tie it together with color6. Make thrifted pieces match with color! 

When we first moved into our current home, we had tons of expenses, and new chairs for our 8 seat table were not at the top of our priority list quite yet (plus I couldn't decide which chairs I even wanted).

I decided to thrift inexpensive, mismatched chairs and paint them all yellow for a quirky (but still matching) look. The result was super cute! We used these chairs for over a year before purchasing a matching set and still have many of them in our house now (randomly scattered throughout rooms).

A lot of you even thought the yellow chairs were cuter and have commented that you miss them. I highly recommend this method for stretching a tight budget or just adding fun color to your dining room! 

Reinvent a %22nothing space%227. Reinvent a "nothing space". 

We all have them. Perfectly good spaces, hallways, maybe even rooms that aren't being used to their full potential. 

Our mudroom organization is a great example. Just by adding a few hooks and some stained crates, we created a cozy space that holds most of our gardening tools and random things that we do not want to misplace, like our dogs' leashes. 

Find those unused spaces in your home and optimize them with a quick, inexpensive makeover! 

Print it big8. Go BIG. 

When it comes to wall art, bigger is most definitely better. We love a good gallery wall, but there can become such a thing as "too many gallery walls". Plus galleries are much more expensive because, in addition to whatever art you curate or photos you print, you have to buy frames for all of them. 

When you find those spaces that need something big, consider blueprint copies. I have several in my home and love the scale and neutral texture they add to my rooms. Here Laura took it a step farther by framing hers in a neon yellow frame. SO cute (it's even CUTER in person). 

Half paint a door!9. Half-paint a door or wall

I've seen half-painted walls all over Pinterest and I love the look. This door in my office only took a couple hours and adds SO much to the space. I would definitely do it again! 

When in doubt... use tape.10. When in doubt, use removable tape! 

This washer/dryer makeover still makes me smile every day. It was super easy to install and has aged perfectly (or would you say, "hasn't aged at all"?). Either way...I would definitely recommend this for anyone wanting to customize a boring appliance. The sky's the limit as far as patterns you can create! 

Here are a couple fun temporary decor ideas we did using washi—a graphic heart and a striped doorway. I took the doorway stripes down while we were shooting our book and have regretted it ever since. 

The fun thing about using tape to create pattern is that it's usually completely removable, so if you're like me and you're afraid of changing your mind, that takes some pressure off. 

One more makeover that I haven't personally done is removing a skirt from a couch! This one is extreme (nerd glasses status) because the couch looks old and "bad vintage", but just by ripping off the skirt, it looks younger and cooler. So if you see a cute vintage couch with a hideous skirt, just take a closer look and see if you could remove it yourself! 

Thanks for reading, guys! If you have any awesome makeover experiences, I would love to hear them! xx. Elsie 

DIY cement side tablesAfter working on the concrete counter tops in our HFHS project house, we were itching to get a little more of that beautiful concrete finish in the space. We thought it might be fun to try to create a few simple, concrete side tables that could be used in the living room or bedrooms. We quickly realized that pouring that amount of concrete could get fairly costly, quick. Plus the side tables would likely end up very heavy. If you don't want to move them around much, then this might be a good thing, but if you'd like to easily move them yourself, it could become problematic. Thinking through this project idea I had a light-bulb moment.

DIY cement side tables What if I tried using the same skim coating technique as we did on the counter tops? Could I create a different shape this way? And it worked even better than we were hoping! So of course, we had to share the results with you all in case you'd like to make something similar or use this technique for a different kind of project.

Here are the supplies needed to make one side table the same size as ours.

SuppliesNote that you can scale this up our down to your liking. Our tables cost less than $50 to make and the shape options are virtually limitless! 

-4' x 8' x 1" insulation foam board (about $15)
-box of HENRY 549 FeatherFinish (about $15)
-can of 3M Super 77 (about $7 online)
-hand saw
-sandpaper (grits ranging from 36 to 120)
-different size trowels
-disposable paint buckets (pack of five is around $3)
-couple of measuring cups
-utility knife
-straight edge
-sander (optional)
-dust mask

Step one: Cut down the foam board. From the 4 by 8 sheet, you can get 18, 16" x 16" squares. The easiest way to cut the board is to measure, mark, then score using a straight edge. After you score the foam, it'll snap cleanly. Once all the squares are cut and stacked, you'll have a cube that's 16"x16"x18".

Foam center for side tableStep two: It's time to get tacky. Super 77 is perfect for this. You'll probably want to do this part outside. Wear gloves and a long sleeve shirt if it's breezy. It can get become a sticky situation. Take the first square, spray an even coat over one entire side. Take a second square and repeat. Wait about 15 seconds, then carefully press the two sprayed sides together, making sure that all the edges line up. Now spray one side of the combined squares and one side of another square. Wait 15 seconds and press the sides together. You're going to repeat this until you've bonded all the squares together. Take your time, make sure all the edges line up. After every three or four squares, I pressed down on the cube with my whole body weight to ensure a good bond. Once you have all of the squares bonded together, wait about 30 minutes before proceeding to Step 3.

Carve the foamStep three: Now for the fun part...shaping the foam. Since this was experimental, I went with a simple tapered cylinder shape. You can do any shape you want, even leave it as a block. Cutting and shaping the foam is easy and fun (and a bit messy). Mark out a rough outline with a Sharpie, and start cutting with your hand saw. Sawing will leave the foam rough and gnarly looking, but don't worry! After you have the shape cut out, it's time to sand. Using the 36 grit will smooth things out quickly. Once you have the overall shape sanded, move to a higher grit and smooth the foam out even more. Don't worry about getting it super smooth, the rough texture is good for bonding the feather finish. At this point you'll want to clean up the waste and foam dust that is everywhere.

Carve and sand the foamStep four: Alright, we are getting somewhere! The foam is shaped and sanded. it's time to apply the cement. Follow the directions for mixing. For the size I worked with, very little was needed per coat. I would only mix about 8oz of water (which calls for 16oz of powder). The first coat is going to fill voids and texture in the foam. Apply a thin coat over the entire foam shape. I found that starting on the side and getting that close to done, and then doing the top works best. Make sure to cover your work surface as this process can get messy. I placed the foam on an old bucket, making it easy to work all the way around. You only have about 20 minutes of working time, so be sure to have all your tools ready, and apply quickly, so you have time to smooth. If you've ever iced a cake, it's pretty similar to that. Depending on how smooth you want the surface dictates how much you'll have to play around with the coats. The smoother you get the surface before it dries, the less sanding you'll have to do! As soon as a coat dries, you can apply another. Each coat makes the surface smoother and smoother. I would apply four or five coats.

Skim coat the foamStep Five: After the last coat dries, you can call it done or get your sanding on. I wanted to achieve a glossy finish, at least for the top part. So I started sanding with about a 100 grit, using a sander, getting rid of nibs, nubs, and bumps. I moved on up, eventually using 2000 grit, which produced an almost mirror-like finish. It was awesome seeing the gray muted surface evolve into a reflective gloss surface! If you plan on sanding, wear a face mask, as dust will be flying, and your lungs don't like being coated with cement particles. Let's keep our lungs happy!

DIY cement side tables  I love that the finished product is durable and sturdy, yet weighs only a couple pounds. Next I'm wanting to experiment with different shapes! -Josh

Credits // Author: Josh Rhodes, Photography: Janae Hardy and Josh Rhodes. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

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