At Home with Caroline Lee              Today we're welcoming Caroline Lee to the blog to share her patio makeover and home with us. It has us dreaming of warm summer nights!

At Home with Caroline Lee                    Here's what it looked like before—

Before  "I live in Los Angeles, California with my husband, Jayden. We've lived in the same home for over three years now, but over the summer, our landlord decided to make our yard drought resistant and ripped out all of the grass. The grass wasn't in great shape as it was, but my Midwestern heart (I'm from Wisconsin) couldn't cope with the idea of having a 'kitty litter yard' (lots of little rocks), so I got straight into doing a major yard makeover. Now, it is our favorite space in the whole 'house'!

At Home with Caroline Lee      At Home with Caroline Lee                  At Home with Caroline Lee               "Once our landlord finished the yard makeover, it may have been 'improved' and drought-proofed, but it wasn't an especially charming space to be in. Almost all of the yard pieces came from ATG Stores. They have an amazing range of outdoor furniture (and outdoor rugs!), and it is all quite affordable. 

At Home with Caroline Lee           "Also, since our landlord had drought-proofed the yard, she asked us not to plant anything new in the ground, which created a little challenge of 'how to bring plant life into the space without actually planting anything?', but I think we found a perfect solution with all of the different plants and textures in all different pots and sizes! My friend, Danae, of Folia Collective was so good to me as I texted her endlessly with plant questions. Almost all of my pots (and many of my plants, too!) came from Potted, and Annette, the owner, was incredibly helpful in brainstorming lots of landscaping solutions.

At Home with Caroline Lee                             "Jayden DIY'd an amazing succulent wall by first, painting the brick wall charcoal, and then stacking cinderblocks in different directions so that they could house different plants. It took some trial and error to get the plants to stay (and not fall through the bottom when it rained!), but he managed to sort it out, and we love the look so much. 

At Home with Caroline Lee             "We love sitting outside both to work and to spend time with our friends and family. It is so peaceful, and we love the bistro lights at night—it really is the coziest spot in our whole space!

At Home with Caroline Lee via abeautifulmess.com          Want to see the inside?

At Home with Caroline Lee via abeautifulmess.com   Chair (dubbed "The Pink Throne")/Craigslist, Clay Mask/Heartside Gallery, Painting/Adam Lee.

At Home with Caroline Lee via abeautifulmess.comSofa/West Coast ModernCoffee Table, and Eye Pillow/Urban Outfitters, other pillows/Little KorbooseShelving and Floor Lamp/West Elm, Rug/Coco Carpets.

At Home with Caroline Lee via abeautifulmess.com Hanging Fiber Art/DIY.

"The credenza was found at the Long Beach Flea Market (and in case you’re wondering, YES!, it fits in a Prius).

At Home with Caroline Lee via abeautifulmess.com     Vase/ Nicola Vruwink.

At Home with Caroline Lee via abeautifulmess.com    "Our home is filled with pieces that have stories and meaning to them—from the hand we took off of a mannequin in a dumpster in Madrid, to the carpets we brought back from Morocco.

At Home with Caroline Lee via abeautifulmess.com      Peacock Chair/Etsy, Rug/Coco Carpets, Pillow/Elephant Landing, Shibori/DIY.

At Home with Caroline Lee via abeautifulmess.com
At Home with Caroline Lee via abeautifulmess.com        Bedding/Unison Home, Painting/Mercedes Helnwein.

"Jayden and I have lived in this home for over three years now, and the evolution never stops! We did a full wave of home decorating when we first moved in, and then last year we redid our bedroom. Most recently was the yard makeover, and as soon as this ink dries, we're going to dive in and redo our dining room and living room again! We live and often work in the space, and it is a small home, (less than 1,000 square feet), so it feels inspiring and fun to make it feel new... early and often!"

If you love Caroline's style as much as we do, be sure to follow her on Instagram and check out her blog, Woodnote Photography.

Credits// Author: Caroline Lee. Photography: Caroline Lee and Echo and Earl. Styling by Jess at Taylor + Taylor.

Adorable! Swan Apron DIY (click through for tutorial)         People like me were the reason that "novelty" shops and items were created. Would you like to have a toothbrush shaped like a dinosaur or a pincushion that looks like a donut? Right this way! In the spirit of Bjork's swan dress (which Katie has also shown you how to make for a Halloween costume), I thought it would be fun to make an apron that had a pink swan as the neck to keep you company while you cook. I mean, who doesn't like to have a pal in the kitchen, right?

Adorable! Swan Apron DIY (click through for tutorial)
Supplies:
-1 yard of solid colored fabric for your swan body (I chose pink)
-1/8 yard of grey or black fabric for swan beak
-medium weight interfacing that fuses to one side
-black button for eye
-black embroidery thread
-sewing machine
-plain white apron
-peel and stick velcro
-fabric glue
-swan apron template (right click to download and assemble by printing all pages, and then matching the numbers together)

Adorable! Swan Apron DIY (click through for tutorial) First you'll want to print, assemble, and cut out your swan template. Fold your swan body fabric in half so you are cutting two layers at once, and place your template on top. Trace your template onto your fabric and cut out your swan shape.

Adorable! Swan Apron DIY (click through for tutorial)   Use the beak template shape to cut out your beaks as well. Line up your beak shapes on the face of your two swans and sew the two together so that you have grey beaks. Cut off any excess fabric and iron your seams flat.

P.S. Make sure that your beaks are attached so that when you put your two layers of swans together right side in, you have two finished beak seams facing each other. I forgot to think about that and only had one of the right side layers facing in, so when I flipped them, just one side of my swan had the finished seam for the beak showing and the other had the inside seam—Oh well! I just made the pretty side the outside of the apron :)

Adorable! Swan Apron DIY (click through for tutorial)    Cut another swan shape out of your interfacing and make sure to think about which is the shiny side that will fuse to the wrong side of one of your swans so you don't cut it the opposite way that's needed. After cutting, go back around the edge and cut off another 1/2" around the shape so that the interfacing won't go to the edge of your swan fabric once fused (it will be easier to turn inside out if the interfacing is just inside the seams). Iron the interfacing in place on the wrong side of one of your swans.

Adorable! Swan Apron DIY (click through for tutorial)  Layer your two swans together so that the right sides of each swan are facing each other (that way when you turn it right side out again, your interfacing will end up in the middle).

Adorable! Swan Apron DIY (click through for tutorial)     Sew all the way around the edge with a 1/4" seam allowance but remember to leave a 3-4" opening.

Adorable! Swan Apron DIY (click through for tutorial)      Turn your swan right side out through your opening. This part will take a bit of patience to get that rather long swan neck turned the right way, but go slow and use long handled spoons or sticks to help push it through the right way. Once it's turned right side out, iron your swan flat. You'll also want to fold in the fabric of your 3-4" wide opening 1/4" so that it matches the other seams. You can iron those seams flat, and then sew up by hand or use fabric glue to close the opening.

Adorable! Swan Apron DIY (click through for tutorial)       Use a needle and thread to attach your eye button and sew a wing path with embroidery thread to make a wing detail. If you have a iron-erasable marking pen, those are great to use on projects like the wing line. You can draw the line you want, follow it with your thread, and then a quick pass of the iron will make the original line you drew disappear! 

Adorable! Swan Apron DIY (click through for tutorial)            Pin your swan to the top of your apron and situate it just right for your comfort. Cut the top straps of the apron off (the swan neck becomes your strap), and use fabric glue to attach the swan in place. Cut and apply patches of velcro where the swan neck meets the apron, and you and your new swan friend are ready to get cooking!

Adorable! Swan Apron DIY (click through for tutorial)          Adorable! Swan Apron DIY (click through for tutorial)          Soooo cute! I know that most swans don't come in pink, but I wanted him to stand out from the white apron, and you can do whatever color you like! It's great that this is machine washable too since aprons can get messy when cooking. This would also be fun to make with a kid and have a matching "Mommy and Me" apron set—how sweet would that be!? Whether you love swans, cooking, sewing, or just novelty items in general, I think you'll have a lot of fun recreating this project for yourself. Happy sewing! xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with the NEW A Beautiful Mess actions.

Indian Spiced Hummus (via abeautifulmess.com)It's no secret that hummus is one of my all time favorite snacks (see here, here and here for a few recipes). This is one of my new favorite variations, Indian Spiced. It's based on the spices and flavors found in butter chicken. But something about the name "butter chicken hummus" just didn't quite appeal to me. If you love that kind of sauce though, you will for sure enjoy this hummus. 

Indian Spiced Hummus (via abeautifulmess.com)  I also love that hummus is just about one of the easiest snacks to make because you just dump a bunch of things in a food processor and blend until smooth. That's about all there is to it! So there's really no reason to buy hummus unless you are away from your food processor for some reason. 

Easy homemade hummus recipeIndian Spiced Hummus, makes around 2 cups

1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
2 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon fresh ginger
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil
lemon juice + cilantro for the top

First combine the spices (turmeric, garam masala, cumin seeds, and cayenne) in a small, dry pan and toast over medium heat for about 45 seconds until very fragrant. Remove from the heat. 

How to make hummusIn a food processor, combine the chickpeas (drained and rinsed from the can), tomato paste, toasted spices, salt, garlic, and ginger. Blend while slowly adding the olive oil. If your processor doesn't allow for adding oil while it is on, you can just add it in batches, scraping down the sides of the bowl in between. 

Blend until very smooth. Top with a big squeeze of fresh lemon juice and about tablespoon or a little less of chopped cilantro. 

Indian Spiced Hummus (via abeautifulmess.com) Serve alongside fresh cut veggies like cucumber or bell peppers, crackers, or naan. I also love spreading hummus over toast for veggie sandwiches. And you can store any leftover hummus in an air tight container in the refrigerator or up to a week (maybe longer, but hummus doesn't last long at our house). Just a few notes for this one:

-I like to remove the thin skins around each chickpea before using in hummus. This isn't 100% necessary, but I think it results in a smoother consistency, so I usually take the extra few minutes to do this. 

-Speaking of an extra few minutes, you can skip toasting the spices if you are in a time crunch, but this does really bring out the flavors, especially for the cumin seeds. So, worth the time if you ask me, but not 100% necessary. 

-Measuring fresh cut ginger is sort of tricky. For this, once I peeled off the darker brown peel, I simply cut roughly the same size of ginger as my garlic cloves. You don't have to be super exact here, but I would recommend starting lighter and then adding more fresh ginger at the end if you are unsure so you don't overwhelm the hummus with that one flavor. 

Happy hummus making, you guys! xo. Emma

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

Easy Choker T-Shirt DIY (click through for tutorial)     Since I basically live in them, I love it when a good t-shirt trend hits the market. T-shirts for everyone! I also adore the built-in choker on tees as both a softer way to wear a choker (especially if you always feel like "real" chokers are, well, choking you) and a different way to show a little skin like you would with a scoop neck or v-neck tee. It's actually really easy to make your own choker shirt, so you can vary the width and depth of your opening to your liking and not have to just settle for whatever shirt sizes and colors already come that way...

Easy Choker T-Shirt DIY (click through for tutorial)     Supplies:
-t-shirt* (I used this one)
-fabric scissors
-craft paper
-pen or iron-erasable pen
-curve ruler (optional)
-straight pins

*When looking for a shirt for this project, you'll want to pick one that has a thicker collar/neckband to it compared to one that's really thin and skinny. The thicker collar will stay in place better as a choker once detached from the shirt below it.

Easy Choker T-Shirt DIY (click through for tutorial)     Lay a piece of craft paper over the opening and chest of your t-shirt. Use your fingers and nails to feel the neckline under the paper and make a crease in the paper where the bottom of the neckband sits. Cut out that line you creased so that the paper will sit nicely under the neckband, and mark with your pen how far down you want your opening to come (you may want to try the shirt on first and then measure down how far you want the opening). You'll also want to decide if you want to cut your opening all the way to the top of the shoulder, or leave a bit of the neckband attached down the front shoulder like I did. Cut the top of your paper pattern at the point where you want your neckband to reconnect to your shirt.

Easy Choker T-Shirt DIY (click through for tutorial)     Use a curve ruler for a perfect curved line, a straight ruler for a straight line, or just freehand whatever kind of v-neck or scoop you would like your opening to have. You only have to draw it on one side of your paper because you can fold your template in half before cutting your line, and that way both sides will be mirror images of each other.

Easy Choker T-Shirt DIY (click through for tutorial)     Pin your template in place to secure it, and use a pen or iron-erasable pen to trace your v-neck outline. 

Easy Choker T-Shirt DIY (click through for tutorial)     Use fabric scissors to cut out your opening, and cut carefully under your neckline to free it from the shirt below. If you use a regular pen, make sure to cut on the outside edge of your pen mark so there won't be any pen left when you are done, or you can simply iron away any stray marks with an iron-erasable pen (which is why I really love that tool!). That's it! Your shirt is ready to wear!

Easy Choker T-Shirt DIY (click through for tutorial)     Easy Choker T-Shirt DIY (click through for tutorial)         Being 6 months pregnant can make it so hard for me to find tees that are long enough to fully cover my belly, so being able to make my own version from a shirt that was already long enough was a big help! This is such an easy DIY to do to update an otherwise boring tee, and I love how customizable the neck shape and depth can be. What do you think? See any scissors in the future of some of your favorite shirts? xo. Laura

Credits // Author: Laura Gummerman. Photography: Laura Gummerman and Todd Gummerman. Photos edited with the NEW A Beautiful Mess actions.

Organization round upWhile I am still eagerly waiting for spring, I find myself looking to tackle as many indoor activities as I can. This has led me to a massive cleaning, purging, and organizing season, and I am loving it! In case the organizing bug has bitten you as well, I thought it could be fun to share an organizing wish list as well as some of the top organizational posts we've shared in the past—for some extra inspiration to get those drawers, counters, cabinets, etc. in order! 

1. I own a couple of these file cabinets that I use daily in my home office—makes tax season and finding documents a breeze. 

2. Don't let your necklaces or other jewelry get all tangled again—add a pop of color AND keep them separated

3. Say goodbye to that insanely packed junk drawer (we all have this right, it's not just me?), and get all the drawers in your house in order!

4. Got a lot of delicate sweaters you can't hang, or just too many items with no more space? Try one of these guys in your closet.
 
5. This might be TMI, but I am dying to buy one of these for my underwear and sock drawer so I can finally find things!

6. Ditch your mismatched, ugly hangers for something durable and pretty that doesn't take up too much space. 

7. I bought one of these originally to organize my makeup, but I ended up using it to organize papers, pens, and envelopes on my office desk. 

8. Got too many hair and showering products? Nah, that's not a thing. You just need a pretty place to hang them

9. I am just itching to get a better looking hamper for our dry cleaning items! This one totally caught my eye. 

10. Pretty office supplies make working that much more fun, right?

And here are five of my favorite organizational posts from over the years:

10 Organizing Tricks I learned from The Home Edit

Tips for Organizing Your Craft Space

Bathroom Organization Tips

5 Tips for Conquering Closet Organization

Tips for Organizing and Storing Photos

Happy organizing to you! xo. Emma

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