I’m continuing to work on some projects for the living room and keep going back and forth between feeling encouraged by the progress and feeling overwhelmed by it not just being done already! But I’m pressing on and I have a few more projects I’m pretty excited about to add to the space! Until everything comes together, this little footstool is going to be the perfect companion for late nights editing and blogging from the couch.What you need:
-Four 1″ x 36″ square dowels
-Tape measure
-Pencil
Miter saw
Wood glue
-Nail gun
Drill
-Screws
-Leather strips (I bought mine from Michaels you could try this if you aren’t near a Michaels.
Staple gun
-Scissors
How to make it:
-Measure and mark: (You will need to be mindful about which pieces you cut out together so you can make the most of your four dowels.)
-Four 10″ pieces
-Four 8″ pieces
-Three 18″ pieces
-Use the miter saw to cut these pieces.
-Create the end squares by using two 10″ pieces for the sides and two 8″ pieces for the top and bottom.
-Dab a bit of wood glue on the end of the 8″ piece, line up against the 10″ piece and secure using a nail gun – *** be sure the put the nail slightly off center because you will also be screwing this together at the center later.**
-Continue for both squares.
-Measure and mark the center of the bottom and sides of the two squares.
-Line up the 18″ pieces at the center mark at the spots and repeat the same steps with the glue and nail gun.
-At each spot where the wood pieces came together, pre-drill a hole down through the center of the dowel.
-Secure with a 2″ screw.
-Take end of leather strip and use a staple gun to secure it around the bottom side of the top 8″ piece of the end square.
-Stretch it across tightly and secure on the other side.
-Trim excess leather.
-Repeat for each leather strip.
xo. Caitlin

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Grilled Parmesan Beans with Creamy Garlic Dip @themerrythoughtOh the goings on behind the scenes. If you could have watched this recipe come into being, you could have seen my words from last week about interruptions come to life. During the making of this recipe, there was also prepping of the boys for an adventure, my parents dropping by (which is not a complaint mom, just a note of what happened, come over all the time! 😉), boys coming back very early from the adventure due to an accident, cleaning up said accident, a small grill fire, and the maker becoming very hot & bothered, because summer…and fire…and running around like a crazy lady. My *favorite* is when people tell us how lucky we are to get paid to just take pictures of things we make. Yup, that’s it…just snapping a few pictures and then we’re done. 😜 Really though, I do love what I do, or I wouldn’t put up with all the craziness of it, but ya never really do know what’s going on behind all those blog photos…Grilled Parmesan Beans with Creamy Garlic Dip @themerrythoughtI made this dish last summer and loved it and never got around to sharing the recipe then. I’ve been waiting for the fresh green beans to be ready so I could start making this again. We have a gentleman farmer that lives around the corner from us and he has a killer garden every year and I love watching him work on it (when I need some motivation, I just go drive by his house and watch him working away in the summer heat and then get my rear in gear! He’s like 70’s, early 80’s (?) – I hope he doesn’t read this and feel offended, ha! – so he’s definitely inspiring for my lazy days!). I also love all the fresh produce I can get – like these beans, right around the corner, without having to garden myself (one of my most detested chores – come look at my overgrown gardens if you need to see it to believe it). I usually only make this with green beans, but he had some yellow wax beans out, so I decided to throw those in as well. These are a perfect summer side dish, and can be made even healthier by leaving out the dip. (I’m a dip with everything kind of girl, so…). I would add in a little minced garlic to the olive oil that coats the green beans if you’re not going to make the dip.Grilled Parmesan Beans with Creamy Garlic Dip @themerrythoughtGrilled Parmesan Beans with Creamy Garlic Dip @themerrythoughtGrilled Parmesan Beans with Creamy Garlic Dip

Creamy Garlic Dip

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1-2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste

Whisk together ingredients. Taste and adjust as desired. Refrigerate for at least one hour or until ready to use. (Use within 24 hours).

Grilled Parmesan Green Beans

1-1.5 pounds fresh green beans (and/or yellow wax beans)
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup parmesan cheeses, shredded

Trim green beans. In a large bowl, toss beans with olive oil and salt pepper until beans are thoroughly coated. Heat grill to medium heat. Grill beans in a vegetable tray/basket, stirring occasionally, until lightly charred and tender (about 5-7 minutes). Sprinkle with cheese, serve immediately with creamy garlic dip.Grilled Parmesan Beans with Creamy Garlic Dip @themerrythought
What are your favorite things to grill? While you’ve got the grill fired up for the beans, you might as well try out these Grilled Peach S’mores for a yummy dessert to enjoy!

-Manda

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We tend to take on a lot of more involved projects for DIYs that we’re sharing on the blog – we love a good woodworking project! But some days it’s important to just take on a project that you can do within a few minutes and feel some of that joy of simple crafting! My go-to for those days is to give a refreshing little makeover to something I already have – a fresh coat of paint, a new lamp shade, replacing old artwork with new. Since we’re living it up in the summer heat finally – I decided to spruce up a few summer essentials that I use often!I love simple white lace-up canvas shoes but I tend to get them dirty really quickly – I decided to add a pattern to them to distract from the dirt that would surely cover them in matter of days. And then as I was going through summer accessories to find the shoes, I grabbed a plain pouch for sunglasses and added a bit of gold handwriting!

Find out what you need & how to make them in the video below!

xo. Caitlin

  • Wednesday, August 2, 2017 - 10:15 am

    Meyrilu - Amazing! Thank you for share, I will try it 🙂ReplyCancel

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Whenever I finally get around to getting photos printed from the thousands that are stored away on my camera roll at any given moment – I feel incredibly accomplished. Ha! It’s just one of those things that I always want to take the time to do but rarely do I actually do it.

Once I do get them printed, I’m always looking for a good way to display them and this new open photo frame that we made is honestly pretty perfect (if I do say so myself!) – it’s easy to switch out photos without having to take the whole thing off the wall, plus the natural wood and leather is just our style!

Head over to Shutterfly for the step-by-step tutorial!

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Blogging Q&A - How We Started @themerrythoughtWe’re finally getting around to posting the rest of the Q&A you guys had from our Reader Survey! We started this post months ago and then got side tracked with some projects and well, life…and now here we are, rolling it out a few months later than intended. Hopefully this will help give those of you who were curious about how we started and those wanting to know more about the business side of blogging, some idea of what goes on behind the scenes here at The Merrythought. And feel free to reach out with any other questions you have – we love that you’re curious about what we do and how we do it!
Blogging Q&A - How We Started @themerrythought
I’m super curious how you coordinate posts between the two of you. My best friend and I just started a small Etsy shop together, and while I know it’s not quite the same thing, I’d be interested in hearing any experience and tips you have.
We use Google calendar to schedule our posts. It’s free, really simple to use and we can both edit/add to it as needed. We both just add to it as we think of ideas, trying to keep the posts about even for how much we’re each contributing. We also meet together at least once a week (but usually more), to go over the more business-y side of things and to spend time bouncing ideas off each other and planning out posts that we’ll be working on together. We try to evenly split all the work that we can. It’s really helpful that we only live a few miles down the road from each other, so getting together is easy. And Caitlin’s really great about being flexible with my schedule since I have young kids.

How do you guys decide how much money/time/resources would go into the blog in the beginning?
We basically went into it knowing that we would be making nothing off it and actually investing our own money into it. They say it takes a good 3-5 years to start seeing decent income off of blogging, and we went into with that mindset so we wouldn’t feel disappointed if nothing was happening for a while.
We also knew that if we didn’t put almost full-time hours into it, we probably wouldn’t make a go of it. It’d be too easy to let it fall to the side and just become more of a hobby when we had the time. We had both been blogging on personal blogs for a few years before this, so we knew what went in to it, and how much more effort & time would be required if we were going to try to make it somewhat successful. We didn’t have any set time/dollar amount. When we started, we looked at bigger blogs and how many posts they were putting out and tried to do something similar. We knew we’d have to prove that we were “established” and legit and it’s basically kind of like building up a portfolio for yourself. When we did start making money, we used that to pay for supplies/expenses and start building a small savings account. It was quite a while into it before we actually felt like we had enough to cover our expenses and pay ourselves as well.
Blogging Q&A - How We Started @themerrythought
Was there a goal to get it to support itself long term?
We did have a goal to try to “make it” as a business. Since we had both already been running our own personal blogs prior to creating The Merrythought, the whole plan behind this website was to create a business that would, hopefully, create some income!

How long did it take from start until you had a lot of followers.. I have been longing to start a blog but this worries me a lot.. that I don´t get followers.. where to get them?! How?!…
It took at least two years until we felt like we had some momentum going and we felt like we had a pretty steady following and enough of our stuff was out in various corners of the internet bringing in consistent traffic. We were definitely lucky timing-wise that we started up when Pinterest and Instagram were a huge launching pad for this type of business. New algorithms since then have become our worst enemy! Ha!
Honestly, we still don’t feel like we have “a lot” of followers… Haha! This is definitely one of those things that changes with each season of success that we’ve had. It’s hard to be aiming higher as a business and also be excited about how far you’ve come – one of those tricky balances & comparison games that can happen in many areas of life.
Overall consistency with posting and commitment to your brand/style will be huge when it comes to building followers.
Blogging Q&A - How We Started @themerrythought
How much time per week/day do you spend on researching posts?
Occasionally we do some research on posts – when we have a project idea, we usually do some searching to see how many people have already done it, or if it’s a specific technique used we research what has worked well for other people. The majority of our time is definitely spent on scheduling and executing the actual posts. Shopping for supplies, working on projects, photoshoots, editing, and writing posts. Then with all the business side of things, like emails and bookkeeping, we probably each work at least 20 hrs/week on the blog.

What were the most difficult challenges in making The Merrythought? How early do you schedule your projects before you post them?
Our first challenge was deciding on a name for the blog. There were three of us when we were starting out and it had to be something we all could agree on – that process felt like it took forever for us! Typical things for learning to work with someone else – learning workflow, pace, style, etc. Blogging can also kind of take over your life, and in a way it will just have to because of what you’re sharing/doing, but finding that balance between work & life has always been a struggle; it just felt a lot harder in the beginning because there was that fear that if you weren’t putting out work, you’d be left behind. On the web end, there was things like people stealing photos and posts (which, while still isn’t cool, we kind of got used to it, but as a newbie, it felt more personal), learning to take rude or mean comments in stride, dealing with servers and code – which is still a challenge, ha!

We try to schedule posts out for at least one month . We end up bumping things around a lot. We do have a few random post ideas scheduled out throughout the year that would work better for that season/time or for the length of time we know the project will need.
Blogging Q&A - How We Started @themerrythought

I would love to know more about where you get your inspiration for your projects! / How do you come up with all these ideas, especially the room transformations?
Pre-blogging days, we were makers out of necessity – if we needed a shelf and couldn’t afford to buy a new one – we’d make one using scrap wood in the garage. Blogging stretched us to create even more and think out of the box a bit as we challenge ourselves to incorporate new trends and styles into our existing decor.

We find inspiration everywhere! Sometimes our projects come from something we need around our homes, so we make it to fit that need. Sometimes we see something at a store or online, and are inspired to create something similar but that fits our style and/or budget.

When we’re completely reinventing a room to be everything that we love – we’ve found that Pinterest helps a lot. Being able to create a board of a bunch of living rooms that you love and then drawing inspiration from the common things that you love from those rooms to create a dream room with the style & function that works for you!Blogging Q&A - How We Started @themerrythought
As always, thanks so much for reading along! We’re so thankful for those of you that are checking in weekly, reading along, encouraging us with comments and emails and genuinely interested in what we share! We wouldn’t be doing this without you. 😉

Photos by the lovely & talented Rachel Liz Photography

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  • Thursday, July 27, 2017 - 10:56 am

    Lindsay - Thank you for sharing all this behind-the-scenes information and story!ReplyCancel

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