DIY Minimal Floor Mirror

DIY Minimal Floor Mirror @themerrythoughtAs I’ve been redoing my room, my ornate vintage mirror has been seeming a bit out of place in this minimal new space. I’ve been looking for a new mirror that fits in a bit better with everything else I have going on in there with very little success. That of course always leaves me in the same place – just have to make something I want! Which works out pretty well for the blog… ;) I love the way this turned out but I’ve decided that I never want to do another mirror project again! Trying to find an angle where  it’s not just you staring back at yourself in the mirror is even more difficult than you would think.
DIY Minimal Floor Mirror @themerrythoughtWhat you need:
-Pine Board (1″ x 12″ x 6 ft)
-Frameless Mirror
-Tape Measure
-Bandsaw
-Bar Clamps
-Wood Glue
-Felt
-Scissors
-Glue

How to make it:
-Cut out four 12″ x 12″ pieces of wood.
-Use wood glue in between two of the pieces of wood, clamp together and let dry.
-Repeat with the other two pieces of wood.
-Measure and cut your pieces down to 11.5″ wide x 10.5″ tall.
-Measure and mark out 3″ at the center, top of the wood and 3″ up from bottom on each side. Connect the ends of these measurements to form a V (-ish) shape.
-Cut out the sections (corners) you just marked.
-Sand edges if necessary.
-Measure to the center of the top 3″ section. Draw an 8″ line at that point towards the bottom of the board.
-Measure out from that line the width you will need to cut out for your mirror. This will vary based on mirror size. (My mirror was 1/8″ thick and I added an extra 1/8″ for the felt lining – if your mirror is thicker, your measurements will be different.) I measured 1/8″ out from each side of the center line (totaling 1/4″ thick but keeping it centered.)
-Cut out this section.
-Cut out four 1″ x 7″ pieces of felt and glue to each side of the inside of this cut.
-Once they are dry, slide mirror into place. If it isn’t a tight fit, use glue on the back of the mirror before placing it into the wood.
DIY Minimal Floor Mirror @themerrythoughtDIY Minimal Floor Mirror @themerrythoughtDIY Minimal Floor Mirror @themerrythoughtDIY Minimal Floor Mirror @themerrythoughtxo. Caitlin

Irish Beer Cheese Fondue

Irish Beer Cheese Fondue @themerrythought
Top o’ the morning to you! It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day (say what?!) and it’s time for me to start getting really cheesy. Er, nevermind, I’m pretty much always cheesy, I just try to play it cool. ;) (And I’ll just make a public apology to Caitlin right now for starting a post like this, because I know she’s rolling her eyes as she reads this…but I know she secretly loves it…as do you, right?!)
A while back we posted a recipe for beer cheese that’s been a pretty popular post.  We decided that recipe could use a wee bit of an Irish touch though in honor of St. Patrick’s Day and our heritage of course! :) So here’s a delicious appetizer to serve alongside your corned beef and cabbage!
Irish Beer Cheese Fondue @themerrythought
This recipe is a season-to-taste recipe, add in what you like, leave out what you don’t! For Caitlin, I leave out the Worcestershire sauce and barely add in mustard. For me, I leave out the beer. Yup. (Sub out the beer with extra milk). Just not a fan of the beer cheese taste – still keeping it Irish with the Irish cheddar! :) You can also sub out some of the Irish cheddar with a mild cheese if you think it’s too strong (or if you don’t want to use all your delicious Irish cheddar in the fondue, which is what I do, I like to leave some to eat by itself because it is so.good.); a mild cheddar or colby jack would work well.
Irish Beer Cheese Fondue @themerrythought
Irish Beer Cheese Fondue @themerrythought
Irish Beer Cheese Fondue

2 1/2 cups Irish cheddar cheese (I used Kerrygold Vintage Dubliner & Kerrygold Skellig), shredded
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup Guinness beer (or any Irish beer)
1/4 cup milk
freshly ground salt & pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
pinch or two of cayenne pepper
vegetables and bread for dipping

Shred the cheese. Toss the shredded cheese with the flour and set aside.

In a saucepan over medium low heat, melt butter. Add garlic, stir and cook for about 30 seconds. Add in the beer, milk, salt, pepper, Worcestshire sauce, mustard and cayenne pepper. Bring to a low boil (you may need to turn up the heat a bit), stirring constantly. Over low heat, gradually add in the cheese/flour mixture, stirring until cheese is completely melted before adding more (add about a small handful at a time). If needed, thin the cheese with a little more beer or milk. Taste and adjust any seasonings as desired. Transfer cheese to a fondue pot and keep warm (or serve immediately in the saucepan, reheating over low heat as needed).

Lightly steam any veggies that need to be cooked (I steamed the potatoes & brussels sprouts, everything else was raw). Arrange veggies and bread on a platter and serve with your delicious cheese.
Irish Beer Cheese Fondue @themerrythought
Irish Beer Cheese Fondue @themerrythought
Have you tried any Irish cheese before?  Are you a fan? I loved both kinds that I had!  Also, if you’re a lover of cheese dips, this Soft Preztels with Spicy Cheese Sauce recipe is a favorite and something you should definitely try!

-Manda

DIY Moon Phase Wall Mobile

DIY Moon Phase Wall Mobile @themerrythoughtI’ve always been fascinated by the night sky. I spent so many summer nights laying out under the stars in a field with my friends growing up. The amounts of shooting stars I’ve seen is outrageous! And although I feel like I might be past the point where I should be sticking glow-in-the dark stars all over my ceiling (even though I’m still tempted to) I love having little reminders of those times hanging around.  A few months ago I saw this moon phase chime at Free People and fell in love – I needed one! I decided to make my own version and came up with this simple little guy – because what’s better than air dry clay?! Between this and my mountain headboard, my bedroom is becoming my perfect, dreamy little space. DIY Moon Phase Wall Mobile @themerrythoughtWhat you need:
-Air Dry Clay
-Rolling Pin
-Round Cookie Cutter
-Skewer
-10″ Piece of Square Dowel
-Drill
-String
-Super Glue

How to make it:
-Roll out your clay to about 1/4″ thickness.
-Cut out seven 2-3″ circles with cookie cutter.
-Use the cookie cutter and/or a knife to cut out slices to create the moon phases.
-Smooth edges with fingers and then use a skewer to poke a hole in the top side of each piece where the string will go.
-Let dry according to directions.
-Drill seven small, evenly spaced holes in the dowel.
-Cut three xx” pieces of string and one xx” piece of string.
-Fold the three long pieces in half and fold about two inches on string down on the top of the short string. Take all four loops created with the folds and create a knot. This is what your wall art will hang from.
-Trim excess string from the short end of the short string.
-Thread each string down through a hole in the dowel and tie a knot underneath – make sure the knots are all even. (Hanging it on the wall and starting with the ends helps to keep the dowel level.)
-Trim string ends to create a V shape.
-Once the clay is dry, use a dab  of glue into each of the holes made with the skewer and slide the string inside. Leave to dry.
DIY Moon Phase Wall Mobile @themerrythoughtxo. Caitlin

Minimalist Wardrobe: Closet Purge Tips

Minimalist Wardrobe: Closet Purge TipsI have always had the tendency to collect things; knickknacks, buttons, clothes. If it was interesting, bizarre, slightly cute… I had to keep it. And when it came to clothes, I loved having options. A lot of options. Being an avid thrifter made it easy to accumulate an excessive amount of things.

A couple years ago I picked up a pair of new sandals at a rummage sale for $1. They were cute and fit well, I tossed them in my closet with my ever-growing strappy sandal collection. At the beginning of last summer, I found them amongst the clutter and started wearing them. One day towards the end of the summer, I looked down at my bare feet and saw the outline of the sandal that the sun had etched into my skin. Those were the only sandals I had worn all summer. Every day. Why do I have a pile of sandals in my closet that haven’t been used in the last 12 months. Or the last 3 years…

I started thinking seriously about what I have versus what I actually use. I thought about the pair of black booties that I wore every day last winter (and most of this winter as well) and the black jeans I bought last year that I’ve worn at least 50% of the days since I bought them. Seriously. So why is my closet full of so many things? Things I don’t wear. Things I don’t like.
Minimalist Wardrobe: Closet Purge Tips Every morning I was standing in front of a jam-packed closet every day crying that I didn’t have anything to wear. All to end up wearing one of the same outfits I always wear. So I started, slowly, to clear things out. I would go through everything and get rid of anything I could bear to part with. And then a week or month later, I would do the same. And I’m continuing to. There were times when I would get rid of 15 garbage bags and times when there would only be 1 or 2 bags. And now I walk into my clean, organized closet and I don’t miss the clothes at all. I can breathe. Mornings are easier because, although I don’t have as many options – they’re all options that I love. And I’ve come to terms with wearing the same outfit over and over when that means you get to wear only your favorite clothes. Especially ones you look dang fine in. ;)

A lot of people have been working with capsule wardrobes recently and I think it’s a great model to get you inspired. I’m not sure I could commit to such a small number and I’m sure everyone has a different number that will work perfect for them. So I’m just going to share what has worked for me so far.
Minimalist Wardrobe: Closet Purge Tips A few tips/thoughts to help you through the closet purge:

ONE. Take everything out of your closet and dressers. Everything.

TWO. Go through every single piece and ask yourself these questions:
Is it in good condition?
Have I worn it in the last 12 months?
Does it fit well?
Last, (and probably most important) do I love it? Does it make me feel great whenever I wear it?

THREE. Get some big boxes or bags.
Anything that didn’t have a yes answer to all of the previous questions must be separated into one of these categories…
Trash. Stained shirts, ripped pants, old undies… Just let go of them already, folks.
Donate. This pile should be the largest. Fill it and get them out of the house quickly.
Sell. For items that don’t make the cut when you ask the previous questions but they were expensive or you never got around to wearing it. Feel free to sell them, but make sure you sell them ASAP. And don’t try to sell everything – a lot of things just need to be donated.
Undecided. If you can’t decide on some items, try putting them in a box away in the garage or attic. Anything that you haven’t pulled out to wear in three months, (keeping seasons in mind, of course) donate it!
Save. It’s okay to save a few sentimental things. But only a few. Your kids probably won’t want everything you own. (Or at least I keep trying to convince myself of that.) Is there a good story with the item… is it rare… keep it. Just limit yourself.

FOUR. Repeat. Each time the pile that you actually love should get smaller until you’re left with a collection that you truly love and makes you feel and look great!
Minimalist Wardrobe: Closet Purge Tips Once you’ve gone through a few cycles of this, you’ll realize the things that you really wear a lot and any key items you’re missing from your wardrobe. Now you can start thinking about adding a few pieces but keep these things in mind:

-Only buy things that you LOVE. Don’t buy something you like. Buy things that you love and that love you back (i.e. make you look and feel good.) I go into Salvation Army often now, try on entire cart’s worth of clothing, and leave empty-handed. Whereas before I used to buy things because I knew it would fit me – but rarely did they end up fitting me well.
-Speaking of which, try everything on. Don’t go shopping if you aren’t willing to try things on at the store. It is a hassle, but it will save you time and money in the end.
-Buy items that are versatile. I’m sure you can tell what your major color schemes are at this point – buy things that will work with a few different pieces you already have in your wardrobe.
-Replace items. Yes, at the beginning you might need to keep a few things you don’t love but you do need. Occasionally I need plain white tee and I had one that fit a bit awkwardly so I didn’t wear it too often but  I let it stay until I found a perfect white tee a few months later and I ditched the old one. Same with a black and white striped shirt. When you find a version that fits you better, replace your old one. A good way to do this is to limit the number of hangers you have in your closet and then stick with that amount – when something new comes in, something old goes out.
-Invest in quality. I’m slowly learning this because I’m a cheapskate at heart. But I’m realizing that it’s better to buy one pair of amazing fitting jeans for a higher price than to go through 10 pairs of $5 Salvation Army jeans that never fit just right.Minimalist Wardrobe: Closet Purge TipsWhat are your thoughts on a minimal wardrobe? Does your closet need a serious clean out?

xo. Caitlin

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