Art Journaling // March 2014

Art Journal Scrapbook

Whenever things get extra heavy in my heart, I turn to art. Actually, if I’m being honest, I’d say I turn to paper and glue. I delve deep into boxes of paper scraps to create my own form of artistic expression, if not actual art. Some people turn to music to connect their heart and their mind- to help them meditate, to communicate their feelings to God, to themselves, or both. For me, it’s paper and glue. You do what you gotta do, right? At least I’m letting my feelings out in a healthy way.

It’s been a while since I shared any of my art journal pages, so I thought it was about time to lay it all out there again! It’s always good to make time to journal- I hope you can be inspired to destroy your dining room table and really get it on with some pens, paint, and words.

Art Journal Scrapbook

Art Journal Scrapbook

Art Journal Scrapbook

WHAT I WORE: Green & Black

Mandi from Making Nice in the Midwest

What did you do for St. Patrick’s day this past week? I stayed inside all day, wearing not a stitch of green. Drank no green beer. Drank not one beer. In fact, this French, German protestant American would probably have forgotten about the holiday altogether if the whole of social media hadn’t been arguing over the correct spelling of St. Paddy’s. But if I had celebrated, wouldn’t this crazy giraffesque-print dress have been the perfect outfit? Maybe next year, eh?

Ah, who am I kidding? Green beer probably won’t be happening next year either. Or the year after that. But do let me know if they change St. Patrick’s Day celebrations to include tequila and tacos. I would SO be there.

O U T F I T   D E T A I L S :

Dress: vintage from Sweet Lorain / Shoes: Franco Sarto / Tights: fleece lined from Hue
Hat: vintage / Scarf: vintage from Canton’s Antique Expo /  Scarf pin: thrifted

Mandi from Making Nice in the Midwest

Mandi from Making Nice in the Midwest

Mandi from Making Nice in the Midwest

Mandi from Making Nice in the Midwest

Come to My Style Workshop Next Week!

clothing yourself with confidence

Ever find yourself admiring someone’s style and thinking, “I could never pull that off!” I used to say that quite a bit, before I started really exploring my own personal style and developing confidence along the way. My gals at First Friends in Canton, Ohio asked me to host a workshop at their 2014 Spring Women’s Conference to encourage other women with practical tips for developing their personal style and confidence. I’m so excited! Encouraging other women while talking about how fashion fits into our real lives? It’s an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.

I attended my first women’s conference at my church two years ago, and had always thought those events were geared towards older, super Christian women. But the ladies at First Friends just want to put together a refreshing time to connect with other gals over good food and clean fun, with lots of inspirational moments mixed in. If you’re not into the whole church thing, I think you’ll still enjoy the event- it’s jam packed with practical encouragement and fun for all kinds of women! There are a few workshops to choose from- even one that includes a couple of my Italian friends teaching how to make pasta from scratch! Seriously- something for everyone.

The conference takes place at First Friends in Canton, Ohio (on the corner of 55th and Market Ave.) on March 28th & 29th. Cost is only $40, but registration ends this Sunday (March 23). You can check out more information at their website here, and call the church to register. (Psst! Childcare is even provided!)

I hope to see some of you there! I’d love to meet you in person. If you have any questions, feel free to message me or leave a comment below.

Cocktail Hour: THE CLEMENTINI

The Clementini- A martini made with gin, vermouth, orange bitters, and juice from a clementine

The sweet burst of juice from a cute little clementine almost makes this rough winter worth it. For without winter, we wouldn’t have citrus season! Before we say goodbye to clementines for a while, I wanted to share with you the fresh citrus martini recipe I’ve been developing in my kitchen.

Recently I was surprised to find myself enjoying gin, which I had only welcomed into my bar cabinet for the sake of my friends. But what happens when the vodka unexpectedly runs out? You turn to gin. And well, now I get it. A vodka martini just doesn’t have the same sense of sophistication as one made with gin. While I’m certainly not ignoring gin’s existence any more, I still can’t tolerate too much herbal notes in my adult beverages, so I thought I’d balance out a gin martini with the juice of a sweet clementine. I’ll be honest, I only threw in the bitters because I had just ordered the bottle, and wanted to see how it tied in with the gin and vermouth. Well, folks. I think we have a winner!

The Clementini- A martini made with gin, vermouth, orange bitters, and juice from a clementineclementini

  • 2-3 oz gin
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth
  • splash of orange bitters (I used this kind.)
  • 2-3 clementines
  • 2 ice cubes

The Clementini- A martini made with gin, vermouth, orange bitters, and juice from a clementine

The Clementini- A martini made with gin, vermouth, orange bitters, and juice from a clementineclementiniUsing a citrus reamer, squeeze the juice from two clementines into the cocktail shaker over two ice cubes. If you want your martini to be less strong, use 3 clementines. Add a three ounces of gin (or two if you prefer a less strong martini), one ounce of vermouth, and splash of orange bitters. Cover the cocktail shaker and shake vigorously until the ice is almost gone. Pour through a mesh strainer into your glass.

Garnish the drink with two floating slices of the clementine. The thinner the slices, the less obtrusive the garnish.

The Clementini- A martini made with gin, vermouth, orange bitters, and juice from a clementine

This drink really hits the spot that starts to itch this time of year- you know the one. Where you’re dying for the freshness of Spring… You’re staring through the frigid windows at the sun pretending it’s actually warm out there. And the biggest burst of warmth you get inside is from the shipment of clementines that arrived from Florida. It’s okay. Spring’s almost here. But in the meantime, we have the clementini! 

The Clementini- A martini made with gin, vermouth, orange bitters, and juice from a clementine

February at A Beautiful Mess

Mandi Johnson for A Beautiful Mess

February’s projects for A Beautiful Mess were full of learning opportunities for me! I learned so much about working with concrete, I used a jigsaw for the first time (addicted!), and I tried out a quick and inexpensive way to screen print a poster. Check out the links below to view all of my February projects for A Beautiful Mess, and check out the rest of my contributions right here.

P.S. I’ll be contributing full-time for A Beautiful Mess now! I stepped down from my Starbucks job to make it all possible, and it’s just been too much fun. So don’t pinch me, whatever you do!

DIY Concrete Letter Candlestick Holders – These candlestick holders are perfect for weddings, parties, or just for a special dinner at home. I learned quite a bit about what not to do with concrete- so this post is worth checking out for that advice alone!

Wood Block Mosaic Art DIY- This project was so simple- it was a nice relaxing project to enjoy! It looks awesome hanging up in my brother’s bachelor pad, too.

Mandi Johnson for A Beautiful Mess

Convert a Cabinet into a Pull-Out Trash Bin- I was able to save quite a bit of money by using plywood and drawer slides to make this pull-out trash can to hide in our cabinet. I did mention that I’ll be removing the door hinges and screwing the cabinet door to the pull-out trash can’s apron- It will save us a motion while using it. We still haven’t gotten around to doing that- but we’re loving the hidden trash can so far!

Starburst Ceiling Medallion DIY- This was my first time using a jigsaw, and I couldn’t believe I had waited all this time to give it a try! Now I’m looking around wondering what other things I can make with this handy dandy tool.

Mandi Johnson for A Beautiful Mess

How to Make Professional Looking Gift Bags- Making your own gift bags is so easy, but there are a few tricks to making them look really professional. It’s a good skill to have if you’re forgetful like me and don’t buy proper wrapping supplies in time!

Screen Print Your Own Conversation Hearts Poster- This project was inspired by Andy Warhol and was also my first time trying out a bootleg version of screen printing using supplies I already had on hand. 

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