Photo Editing With: A Beautiful Mess App


With graduate school ending in two weeks, I have been thinking about how important this blog has become to me.  I started Scissors & Sage back in September, hoping that it would help keep me sane during what would be a hectic and probably stressful school year.  I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to keep up with writing posts once a week, but as it turns out, I have largely stuck to my goal.  In music therapy, I often hear and learn about the benefits of self care, and this blog has certainly done the trick so far.

As my nostalgia has been kicking into high gear this month, I thought I’d take some of my Instagram photos and do something fun with them.  I’ve been exploring the A Beautiful Mess iPhone app a lot recently, experimenting with different ways to alter photographs specifically with text.  Above and below are some examples of what I’ve been working on.  There are so many ways to alter photos in the ABM app that these photos just skim the surface.  I am excited to keep trying out new designs and ideas!

IMG_7092 IMG_0876 IMG_0990 IMG_0991 IMG_0992 IMG_1140 IMG_1141

Oscar Wilde Stencil Art


One of my first-ever blog posts on Scissors & Sage was a stencil pillow I made.  It was my first time using a stencil for a crafting project, and I couldn’t believe what a fun and relatively simple process it was!  Months later, I made another stencil project, Mirror, Mirror, as an apartment-warming gift for my friend, Caroline.  I’ve started using stencils to craft homemade cards, too, and it works quite well!  Today, I present a project I recently finished for my uncle’s birthday.  I knew it was a quotation that he really liked, so I thought I’d give him something that he could put up in his home.  Making this stencil art is not difficult; it only requires some layout planning and a good eye!



  • Stencil pack
  • Black marker, thin enough to fit in the stencils
  • Colored paper
  • Computer paper
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Eraser

The first step is to choose a quotation.  Then, use computer paper to sketch out the individual words and design you want.  This took some trial and error, as I wasn’t sure how I wanted the words to fit together.  I decided to cut up the computer paper so I could move the words around individually.  Once you have the layout you want, get the colored paper ready and place the rough draft above it, like this:


That way, there will be a guide to show you where to place each letter.  (I really don’t like it when things aren’t centered, so this helps to avoid that!)  Continue stenciling each word.  When you finish, fill in the stencil gaps in letters like “B” and “U” by hand.


The project is complete!  Finish it off with a frame or tack it to a cork board.  My project is happily framed at my uncle’s house.  What are some other ways to use stenciling?  Happy crafting!

Ode to Adrienne Rich

When my girlfriend, Anne, and I moved in together, it was late summer 2012.  We were moving to Philadelphia from different cities for graduate school, and it was an exciting and hectic time to say the least!  We found a beautiful apartment amidst the hustle and bustle of Center City.  Hardwood floors.  Built-in bookshelves.  We were ecstatic!

I knew that I wanted to surprise her with a homemade housewarming gift – something that captured this important moment in our lives.  When I found this quote by Adrienne Rich, I knew that something had to be done!  I was inspired by a stencil pillow from Wit & Whistle.

Here is a list of some supplies & tips:

  • As an Etsy advocate, I decided on this linen pillow cover.  I used a pillow insert that I already had, which saved a lot of money!
  • I purchased a black Pebeo Setaskrib marker from Dick Blick, and stencil from Amazon.
  • Before getting started, I mapped the project out on a piece of paper to get a sense of the layout that was needed.
  • Keep a piece of cardboard inside of the pillow while you work in order to avoid any bleeding from the marker.

This stencil pillow was a big success, and it is something that Anne and I both look at every day.  It is a reminder that we are always learning.  Happy crafting!