Graphic Embroidered Art

Use a plastic mesh canvas to create a decorative embroidery piece.In the wintertime, I like to cuddle up with a basket of yarn and settle in for a Netflix marathon. The yarn isn't just there as a cuddle buddy, though. No, no! The yarn gets put to work. Normally I like to crochet the yarn into a blanket or maybe a hat for a friend, but lately I've been all about the embroidery. I might not have the patience of a colonial woman when it comes to practicing my stitching with an embroidery hoop and fine linen, but the use of a handy dandy plastic canvas and yarn made this embroidery project pretty easy.

Use a plastic mesh canvas to create a decorative embroidery piece.I love the warmth of the yarn as wall art combined with the fresh appeal of a modern design. You can create your own embroidery design or stick to basic geometrics when it comes to embroidering your own plastic canvas. Check out my tips before you get started on making your own!

Use a plastic mesh canvas to create a decorative embroidery piece.Supplies:
-plastic canvas (aim for the smallest opening that will work for your embroidery needle and yarn— mine was labeled "10 mesh" and can be purchased in a pack here.)
-#18 embroidery needle
-yarn in various colors
-empty frame
-scissors (not shown)

Use a plastic mesh canvas to create a decorative embroidery piece.Step One: Using yarn, block out a space of your canvas according to the opening of your frame. You want the space you're working in to fill the frame perfectly without the frame covering up any embroidery, because in the end, you can't trim away the embroidery if you've made the piece too big.

Step Two: Create the main design of your piece, tying off the ends of each color of yarn on the back of the canvas. After I created the design shown above, I filled in the areas with neutral yarn to create a background (as shown below).

Tip: Be careful not to string the yarn across too great of an area, or the design will become difficult to control. If you pull too tightly, it will bend the canvas, and even a small amount of bending will not be corrected by the stability of the frame when mounting the embroidery piece.

Use a plastic mesh canvas to create a decorative embroidery piece.Step Three: Trim away the excess canvas so it will fit inside your frame. Be sure to remove the blocking yarn from step one. Pop this puppy into a frame, and the project is complete!

Problems to Avoid: I made two big mistakes when working on my embroidery. I began with a 7 count mesh and the holes were too big, making the plastic canvas visible behind my design. I had to rip it out and begin again with a finer 10 count mesh.

Also, I pulled too tightly when making my long strands of black diagonal lines because I wanted to make sure they stayed in place. I ended up having to rip them out at the end because the warped canvas wouldn't straighten out inside the frame. I strung them again, and even though it seemed too loose at first, by the time I got the white diagonals in beside the black, and the whole thing was inside the frame, I could use my fingers to straighten out the lines and put them perfectly in place.

Use a plastic mesh canvas to create a decorative embroidery piece.There you have it— Embroidery art made easy! Change up the style and you can add the perfect little touch of textile art to any wall in your home. -Mandi

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

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FAQ on Capture Real Life in 52 Weeks

Capture Real Life in 52 Weeks FAQsAs many of you already know, earlier this week we launched our latest e-course: Capture Real Life in 52 Weeks. This course is geared toward documenting your life through photo prompts and mini album challenges. You can read more about the course in our announcement post. Many of you have already signed up (hooray!), and we've been getting lots of questions from you. So, today we thought we'd answer some of the most commonly asked questions. If you don't see your question below, feel free to leave us a comment and we'll get back with you.

Are the kits sold out yet?

Not yet, but we're getting close. So, if you're thinking about ordering, do so ASAP. As of yesterday at 4pm CST, we only had 190 left—so order now if you want one!!!!

But, because we are selling out of the kits so fast, we are thinking about ordering a few more. If we do, we'll let you know.

Will I be charged shipping for the kit?

No. Shipping is included in the $36 price. Our goal was to make the kit feel like a free bonus (while supplies last), so you will not be charged extra for shipping.

How many sessions are geared toward making photo albums/scrapbooking?

Twelve sessions are designed to inspire you to make a mini album with all your printed photos, while 40 sessions are photography challenges. The course is designed so you get the option to make a mini album every month of the year. But, if you're more of a photo enthusiast, you'll be happy to hear there are LOTS of sessions (40...to be exact) on taking photos of your real life.

Is this course self-paced?

Yes! We've created the course so there is a session to complete every week for a whole year, but if you find that life gets busy, it's OK! You will continue to have access to the course so you can work at your own pace.

Do I need any special equipment or supplies to complete this course?

No! Other than access to a computer and any kind of camera you're pretty much good to go. We purposefully crafted the photo challenges to use different kinds of cameras, including smartphones, so you can follow along no matter what you have. And the mini albums use different supplies every month, so you can hopefully use up supplies you have on hand or get inspired to try something new. 

Thank you SO much to everyone who has already purchased the course—your support means the world to us. We can't wait to see what you create this year as you capture your real life! xo. The ABM Team.

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Refreshing Our Space

Tips to Refresh your SpaceTips to Refresh your Space   Photo front furnitureEmma Chapman at home ABM book clubLately I've been in the mood to refresh our home. It sort of feels like I'm always tweaking little things, like adding another framed photo here or replacing a torn thrown pillow there. You know, little stuff. Since I "finished" decorating most of my home while we were writing Happy Handmade Home (about two years ago), I really haven't made any big changes since. As you can probably guess, I love home decor, like, a lot. And lately I've just gotten the bug again. But, I didn't want to spend a lot of money or get rid of any major pieces as I really liked everything we already had. So instead, I decided to try and find ways to refresh our space without giving the rooms a total makeover. This month I focused on our bedroom. If you want to see what our bedroom looked like before, you can see our room tour here.

If you're thinking about refreshing your bedroom or other space this season, here's a few things to try:

1. Rearrange your furniture and rugs.

Giving our room a different layout really made the space feel totally different. Of course you have to be mindful of doorways, furniture lengths, and other considerations. But, armed with a measuring tape, I bet you can find a way to change up your space and maybe even make it more functional.

Tips to Refresh your Space Redcord player2. Repurpose an item.

One thing we changed that made the room feel totally different was repurposing our pallet headboard into a bed frame. To be honest, this was partially by accident. I wanted to change the headboard because it's just such a large, bulky feature in the room that it draws a lot of attention. So I knew that changing it would make a big difference. I didn't really want to get rid of it though—but how do you store a giant wood headboard? I measured, and it turned out to be the perfect fit for a bed frame. Go figure! Pallets are built to hold a lot of weight too, so I didn't even need to reinforce it. I just moved it from the wall to the floor. 

Headboard turned bedframeThis is what the pallet headboard looked like before.

Tips to Refresh your Space  Now it sits under our bed, elevating it. I'm thinking about using the space underneath to store magazines or shoes or something. We'll see.

3. Move items to different rooms/spaces.

Like I mentioned before, I'm still in love with pretty much every piece in our home. So instead of getting rid of items or buying/making new ones, I simply moved some things to other rooms. I moved the wicker chair from the corner to our guest bedroom (I *might* put it in the living room someday though, we'll see). And I moved the record player and cabinet from the living room to the bedroom. You could also move curtains or a rug from one room to another. Just small little changes like this don't cost a dime but can make your space feel so different.

Redcord player Pretty record4. Declutter.

I tend to collect clutter as time goes on...like magazines I don't store or toss, or little rocks I'll pick up on vacations but then never really do anything with, so they just sit around on dressers or nightstands for months at a time. When you refresh a space, this is a great time to declutter. This might not mean throwing anything away, just finding the right home for it in your space. If you've been meaning to store all those old movie ticket stubs in a photo album but never have, now is the time. I think of this as deep cleaning. It makes any space feel more spacious, and it makes it easier to just do a little light cleaning now and again to keep it looking this way longer. I like light cleaning, I can live with that. :)

Mini gallery wallNecklace storagePhoto front furniture Emma Chapman at homeFor me, refreshing our entire bedroom only took one long Saturday afternoon, and I love the difference it's made! Our room feels more like an open, blank slate which I'm loving right now. Anyway, thanks for letting me share, and if you've been feeling a little stuck in a decor rut lately, you might try refreshing your space. Do it, do it. :) xo. Emma

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman, Photography: Janae Hardy. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions. For a list of sources for many of the items you see in our bedroom check at the bottom of our room tour. Updates include: comforter/Target, throw pillows/West Elm, record player/UO and record player table/flea market find.

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Sweet Chili + Garlic Salmon

Sweet Chili + Garlic Salmon (via abeautifulmess.com)This is may be only barely a recipe. I think I'll file this under my halfway homemade tag... because it's so easy. Which I like because some nights I just want something that I can make in about 15 or 20 minutes with little to no brain power. Not every night, guys, just some nights. 

Sweet Chili + Garlic Salmon (via abeautifulmess.com) We occasionally eat fish or seafood at our house, and salmon is quickly becoming one of my favorites. I love this miso and honey variation, but when I'm feeling like spicing things up, this is a close second favorite. 

Easiest ever salmon recipeSweet Chili + Garlic Salmon, serves two.

8-10 oz salmon (if frozen thaw first)
2 tablespoons sweet and sour sauce (any brand you like or have on hand)
1/2 teaspoon chili garlic sauce (or a little more if you like more spice)
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon olive oil
salt + pepper

Simply grate or mince the garlic and combine in a small bowl or cup with the sweet and sour sauce and chili garlic sauce. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly oil with a little olive oil. Place the salmon on the prepared baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Then spread the sauce over the top. Bake at 400° for 8-12 minutes, until the salmon is cooked through (check with a fork in the thickest part before serving). 

Sweet Chili + Garlic Salmon (via abeautifulmess.com)  Cut the salmon in half (if it's not already cut into two) and serve along side a big salad or steamed vegetables. I'm really into broccoli lately so that's what I went with. Happy (easy) dinner making to you! xo. Emma

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

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