Cornstalk Teepee

Cornstalk Teepee @themerrythought
Our seasons here in Western New York consist of months (and months) of cold winter, a couple months of hot and humid summer, with just brief glimpses of spring and autumn in between. For this girl, who loves it not too hot and not too cold, it can be tough. So I try to savor those perfect spring and fall days when they come. (Although I can’t really complain too much as our summer this year was pretty stellar…there were more warm days than hot!).
Cornstalk Teepee @themerrythought
I had this on my to-make list last fall, but we never got around to it. So this year, I wanted to be sure to get this done. A magical little spot the boys could play in. I just love little hideaway spaces and making one to enjoy during the warm, sunny fall days seemed like a must do. We had actually built the frame of the teepee back in the spring, I had planned on trying to grow pole beans up the sides to make a summer hangout for the boys. Unfortunately, I’m terrible at gardening and didn’t get my beans planted in time. Plus we have soil that’s pretty much only good at growing weeds. So, it didn’t happen this year….hopefully I’ll be on the ball next spring and by next summer have a garden teepee to show you!
Cornstalk Teepee @themerrythought
The boys were pretty excited about their new spot.  Lincoln came out with The Dangerous Book for Boys (I swear I didn’t stage that!) and the boys sat down and talked about the things they wanted to try making and doing.  [As a book-loving girl, can I just say how happy it makes me when my boys get excited about reading and spend time doing it (and not just when they're being forced to for homework)!  Lincoln seems to have really gotten into reading over the last month or so and I love it!  I always tell my boys, if you love reading, you will never be bored!]
Cornstalk Teepee @themerrythought
The teepee was easy and simple to put together and didn’t cost us anything to make. We gathered long branches from the woods for the poles and tied them together using rope we already had. We wanted to give the beans support to grow up between the poles so we used grapevine (gathered from the back yard) to wrap around the poles.  And that’s how the teepee sat all sumer, with weeds and a tiny bit of pole beans growing around the bottom (and it was actually pretty cute just like that). The only addition we added for the cornstalk teepee (umm, besides the cornstalks) was extra rope around the poles as we weren’t sure the grapevines would be sturdy enough to hold up the cornstalks.  We gleaned the leftover cornstalks from a field that had already been harvested. (You should check to make sure this is okay with the farmer if you’re going to do this…and make sure the field has already been harvested!).
DIY Cornstalk Teepee @themerrythought
DIY Cornstalk Teepee @themerrythought
What you need:

  • branches
  • rope
  • grapevine
  • cornstalks

How to do it:
Make sure your branches are all about the same size. Lean the branches into each other forming a circle (this is easier with two people). Make sure to leave a space for the opening. Once the branches are up, tie the top securely together with rope.  Wrap grapevine around branches, weaving in and out between the branches.  For extra support, wrap rope around the branches the same way you did the grapevine.  Lay your cornstalks against the teepee frame.  You can tie you stalks to the rope to make them secure.  We didn’t as we know that our warm fall days are very numbered and this sadly won’t be up for very long.  So far though, it’s all still standing, even without being tied down.  And you’ll probably want to add a leaf garland to the front too!  (Just tape some string along the back of leaves for a quick & simple garland).
Cornstalk Teepee @themerrythought
Cornstalk Teepee @themerrythought
Cornstalk Teepee @themerrythought
Here’s to wishing fall could last forever!

-Manda

DIY Hanging Candle Chandelier

DIY Hanging Candelabra @themerrythoughtDIY Hanging Candelabra @themerrythoughtDo you remember this candle chandelier from the Fern & Fig Gathering? It is unbelievably easy to make and once you’re done, you can customize it to fit in with any party. It would be a great centerpiece for upcoming holiday parties, or to make a bunch of them for wedding decor, or just hang it in your house for some every day loveliness.
DIY Hanging Candelabra @themerrythoughtWhat you need:
-Wood
-Drill Press (Or Cordless Drill)
-Rope
-Candles

How to make it:
-Measure and mark out two spots for holes on each end. (I made all of mine 1″ in from the end and 1″ in from the side.)
-Use a drill bit the same width as your rope and drill completely through the wood in these four spots.
-Mark out spots for your candles. I didn’t measure them out exactly, I just had them scattered on the board.
-Use a forstner bit the same width as your candle’s base to drill 80% of the way through the wood at each of those spots. Don’t go all the way through!
-Cut two long pieces of rope. (Length will depend on where you want to hang it.) Take one and put the ends of the rope up through the bottom of the board where you drilled the holes on the ends. (There should be rope between the two holes on the underside of the board.) Pull the ends of the rope up and tie them together. Repeat with other end.
-Put candles in place. You can use a bit of glue if they are at all loose.
-Now you can hang each end from hooks or untie the ropes and tie them around a bar that is already at the space.
-Make sure you decorate it with some ferns or moss or flowers!

***Obviously, be sure that your candles are far enough away from your ropes or other objects so they don’t start a fire.
DIY Hanging Candelabra @themerrythought DIY Hanging Candelabra @themerrythought DIY Hanging Candelabra @themerrythoughtxo. Caitlin

Apple Crisp Bars with Brown Sugar Shortbread Crust

Apple Crisp Bars @themerrythought
Apple Crisp is Mike’s favorite dessert. I worked on perfecting a recipe just for him (heavy on the brown sugar) and then thought we also needed to try making apple crisp in bar form. Because it’s important to come up with a variety of ways for your man to consume his favorite dessert. And of course, these too needed to include more brown sugar.
Apple Crisp Bars @themerrythought
These bars are sweet and delicious and perfect for these chilly fall days. And your house will smell amazing when making it…even if you’re not a fan of apple desserts, it’s worth it just for the heavenly aroma.
Apple Crisp Bars @themerrythought
I made these a few month backs for the Summer Picnic we styled and photographed for 585 Magazine – they make a perfect picnic treat as you can eat them without needing a plate or fork…and they can even be wrapped nicely too!
Apple Crisp Bars @themerrythought
Apple Crisp Bars @themerrythought
Apple Crisp Bars with Brown Sugar Shortbread Crust

Shortbread Crust:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 ¼ cups AP flour

Preheat oven to 350º F. Line a 9×13 pan with foil, leaving extra hanging over the ends, spray with cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light & fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add vanilla, mix until combined. Add flour and mix until combined and dough is crumbly. Press dough evenly into bottom of prepared pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until dough is slightly puffed. Remove from oven and set aside, maintain oven temperature.

While crust is baking prepare the apples & topping.

Apples:
8 cups apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
¼ cup flour
½ cup sugar

In a large bowl, combine apples, flour and sugar. Mix until apples are thoroughly coated. Arrange apples on baked crust.

Topping:
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar
1 ½ cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter, cut into small pieces

In a medium bowl, mix together first five ingredients. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Spread topping over apples in an even layer.

Bake uncovered for 45 minutes, or until topping is golden and apple mixture is bubbly.  Let cool, lift apple crisp using the extra foil at the ends as handles, and cut into bars.
Apple Crisp Bars @themerrythought
Tips for baking apple desserts:

      • use a variety of apples, not just one kind – I like to include at least one Granny Smith when baking apple desserts
      • if possible, use apples that are slightly soft – they cook faster so you can be sure that your apples are cooked through and you won’t get crunchy apples in your dessert (deal-breaker in my book!)
      • make sure to slice your apples thin – this will also help to make sure your apples are cooked through

Apple Crisp Bars @themerrythought

Enjoy!

-Manda

DIY Paper Doll Costume

DIY Paper Doll Costume @themerrythoughtI loved paper dolls when I was little so when this costume idea came to mind, I was so excited! This is a great last minute costume, you probably have most of the supplies that you need on hand already – just run to the store and pick up some foam board for $1! I think 8 year old me would be dying over this costume.
DIY Paper Doll Costume @themerrythoughtWhat you need:
-Foam Board
-X-Acto Knife
-Fabric
-Hot Glue Gun and/or Mod Podge
-Scissors
-String
-Permanent Marker

How to make it:
-Draw out the dress and accessories on the foam board. Look for “vintage paper dolls” online if you need some inspiration! Don’t forget the tabs!
-Use an x-acto knife to cut around the designs.
-Use x-acto knife to put a hole in each side of the waist of the dress. Put a long piece of string through and glue down across the front of the dress (where the fabric will be glued over it.) Repeat with other accessories.
-Cut out fabric and glue in place. (I used Mod Podge and a hot glue gun depending on the fabric/part of the outfit.)
-Use permanent marker to outlines the tabs.

***If you don’t want to use fabric, you can try painting it or glueing on some colored paper.
DIY Paper Doll Costume @themerrythought DIY Paper Doll Costume @themerrythought DIY Paper Doll Costume @themerrythoughtYou can even make a few different outfits and change throughout the night! If you aren’t the paper doll type, try out this Cuckoo Clock Costume!

xo. Caitlin

Made By Graham Giveaway

Made By Graham Earring Giveaway @themerrythought
We’re excited to announce a giveaway with one of our sponsors, Made By Graham! Cindy, the creator and designer of Made By Graham, designs and hand makes beautiful, simple jewelry.  We love the minimal pieces she designs and she’s generously offering two readers a chance to win a pair of these gorgeous spark simple arc earrings!
Made By Graham Earring Giveaway @themerrythought
Made By Graham Earring Giveaway @themerrythought
Made by Graham specializes in stylish, modern earrings and necklaces that are perfect for everyday wear or a night out.  We are pretty smitten with these arc earrings and the velocity spike pendant necklace designed by Cindy.  They have quickly become favorites!
Made By Graham Earring Giveaway @themerrythought
Made By Graham Earring Giveaway @themerrythought
If you’re a lucky winner of a pair of these earrings you’ll get to choose the size (small or large) and material (silver or gold) you’d like.  And the giveaway is open worldwide!  Be sure to check out Made By Graham to see all the amazing pieces offered and enter the giveaway below!  Good luck!
Made By Graham Earring Giveaway @themerrythought
Made By Graham Earring Giveaway @themerrythought
Made By Graham Earring Giveaway @themerrythought
Made By Graham Earring Giveaway @themerrythought
Made By Graham Earring Giveaway @themerrythought
Made By Graham Earring Giveaway @themerrythought
Made By Graham Earring Giveaway @themerrythought
Made By Graham Earring Giveaway @themerrythought

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