I often mention projects that sit on my to-do list for months or years before getting around to them. This project is one that actually sat around half-made for two years in my craft closet. Ha! I decided it was finally time to put it together and give Kitkat a new place to lounge around! Cat accessories tend to be quite different than the style of the rest of Manda’s house, so it was fun to create something that looks like it belongs. With his new toys and new lounge space, this stray cat Manda took in is really living the good life!What you need:
1″ x 4″ x 8′ wood
Miter saw
-Table saw
-White paint
-Paint brush
-Sewing machine
Staple gun
-Brackets – Try these or these. (Paint if desired)
How to make it:
-Cut two 12″ long pieces of wood from the board using the miter saw.
-Cut them down the center using the table saw.
-Lightly sand edges.
-Paint all four pieces of wood and let dry.
-Cut a 28″ x 14″ piece of canvas.
-Iron in 1/2″ along each side – fold over 1/2″ and iron again.
-Straight stitch along each side.
-Lay the fabric with the bottom facing up. Fold one of the short sides along the side of one of the painted boards and use the staple gun to secure. (See image 1 above.)
-Take the board and flip it in toward the center – so it’s wrapped in fabric. Pull tight and set another piece of wood on top – sandwiching the fabric in between. (See image 2 above)
-Pre-drill two holes towards one end of the wood pieces through all three layers. (Be careful not to go all the way through the bottom piece of wood.)
-Secure using 1 1/4″ screws.
-Place the bracket on the board lined up with the opposite end than the previous holes you drilled.
-Mark and pre-drill at each of the spaces for screws along the bracket.
-Secure bracket using 1 1/4″ screws
-Repeat with opposite side.
-Attach brackets to wall.
xo. Caitlin


Since we’re finally coming into the warm season, I’ve been working on going through last year’s summer clothes – checking out what shape they’re in, if they still fit, if I still love them and then following steps to get rid of pieces that don’t make the cut. Next comes the part where I figure out where my wardrobe is lacking and then look into what new pieces I might want to get. I also allow myself to pick up a few pieces each season that I love – even if they are just trendy or for a specific event (wedding season is here!) I used to go thrifting every week and get at least 5 new pieces each time. So allowing myself a couple of extra items each season has been a good way to cut back a lot without overwhelming myself by the idea that I can never buy anything new again. Ha!We partnered with Darby Smart and Le Tote to try out Le Tote’s monthly clothing subscription – it’s a lot like other popular subscription programs where you get to try out what they offer and only purchase what you want, sending everything else back. This is a perfect option for those looking to maintain or update their capsule wardrobe. You can pick out three articles of clothing and two accessories each month. I think the idea of it got me so excited because it works for basics as well as branching out to try some pieces that aren’t your usual style. You get to wear them with the wardrobe you’ve already curated and get a true feel for how much use you will get out of it. Check out the video of our experience!


DIY Fire Starter Kit @themerrythoughtAhhh, you guys the last few weeks have been crazy busy for me. I’m seriously having trouble remembering what day it is and have to constantly check my phone calendar to see. We’ve been working on some side projects, and that’s been taking a lot of our time, so our presence here on the blog has been a little light lately. Hoping this busy season calms down some soon – but such is life, right?!
Now onto this fun DIY. I was trying to think of some Father’s Day gift ideas, and really struggle with this. I think because the guys in my life are so simple with their wants. We always joke that my dad always just asks for a new sweater and socks for any gift holidays. And my husband can never come up with gift ideas for himself, about the only thing he’ll put on his list are tools. So exciting 😜. But our family enjoys camping and outdoor adventures, so I thought a Fire Starter Kit would be something that would not only be a cute gift (cause all guys want cute gifts) but something that actually got used! I love making things like this, things that I can do on my own (most of my DIYs involve Mike’s carpentry skills) and something that’s useful. Plus, I’ve been on my beeswax craft kick, so I’m all about these projects to use my beeswax! I broke this down into two parts, the fist being how to make the actual fire starters, which is just wax and wood shavings (we have a lot of that around here to use up!). And then the second part is putting the kit together. You can make the kit in any size/type of bag you want, I was going for something that we could throw in a ziploc baggie to keep it safe from water; and something cute, obviously. This project is easy to make, check out the video below to see it being made.DIY Fire Starter Kit @themerrythoughtDIY Fire Starter @themerrythoughtBeeswax and Wood Shavings Fire Starter

What you need:

– wood shavings
beeswax pellets
– mini muffin tray
mini paper liners
– tin cans

Directions: Pour beeswax pellets into a tin can (or any old container). Set can in a small saucepan of simmering water and let wax melt. Line muffin tray with paper liners, and fill liners to top with wood shavings. Pour melted wax over wood shavings, using just enough to hold the shavings together, you want more shavings than wax so it will burn easily. Let the wax cool and harden. You can leave the paper liners on (more paper to burn!) or remove them. See video below for the how-to steps.DIY Fire Starter Kit @themerrythoughtFire Starter Kit

What you need:

leather strip
leather punch
leather letter stamps
– hammer
– muslin bag
– safety pin
– kindling (any small pieces of wood)
– matches
– fire starter (above)

Directions: Using the leather punch, punch a hole into one end of the leather strip. Wet leather slightly with a damp cloth. Use leather stamps to spell out ‘Fire Starter Kit’. Add everything to your muslin bag and attach leather tag with a small safety pin (or tie it on to the strings of the bag).

DIY Fire Starter Kit @themerrythought


  • Friday, June 9, 2017 - 11:12 am

    anna - This is so cute. But it’s for starting fires! I’m not sure I would want to make this and leave it anywhere my children could get their hands on it!ReplyCancel

    • Friday, June 9, 2017 - 2:00 pm

      Manda - Yes, you’d definitely want to keep it away from children. Probably where you store matches and that sort of thing. As I mentioned, it’s a gift for Father’s Day, so it’s made by an adult for an adult! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Wednesday, June 21, 2017 - 6:49 pm

    Ivory - ONG, you guys did it again, you knocked it out tge ballpark in brillant, creative useful idea.ReplyCancel


I have a couple necklaces that I wear almost every day – they usually end up getting tossed on my dresser at the end of the day because I’m too lazy to put them back in the closet with the rest of my jewelry. In my defense – the door knob to the closet from my room is broken, so I have to walk around through my cousin’s room to get into the closet… and I’m just lazy apparently! I had given away my triangle necklace displays when I moved because I had way too much stuff and was overwhelmed by packing it all up. So last week as I was getting rid of some leftover wood that we had from renovation projects, I set aside a piece of 4″x4″ post to cut it up and make a block version so I would have a place for my necklaces! Plus I hate when everything on top of my dresser is all pretty short and leaves it feeling off balance – this is the perfect thing to add a bit of height!What you need:
-4″x4″ wood
-Short nails

How to make it:
-Cut 4″x4″ to desired length.
-Sand down sides and edges.
-Choose one side of the wood to be the back and add nails at various places to hold necklaces of various lengths.
xo. Caitlin


Sweet Compound Butter - 3 Ways @themerrythoughtA few weeks back I shared 3 recipes for Herb Compound Butter and promised to share more – sweet style this time. So here they are! If you haven’t tried making any compound butter yet (that’s just butter with some mix-in’s), you really should. Like today. It’s sooo easy and even more delicious. I served these a little different this time, just softened and served in bowls instead of the log-style like before. Either way you shape/serve them, they’re delicious! And feel free to adjust ingredients to your liking, make it all about you and what you like!Strawberry Honey Compound Butter @themerrythoughtStrawberry Honey Butter

8 tablespoons salted butter, softened
1/4 cup strawberries, mashed
1 tablespoon honey

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir together. You can use immediately, or refrigerate for a few hours to let flavors blend and butter becomes firm. Or for a different look (like I did for the herb butters), once butter is mixed, place butter on a sheet of wax paper and shape/roll into a log; refrigerate until firm.Cinnamon Maple Compound Butter @themerrythoughtCinnamon Maple Butter

8 tablespoons salted butter, softened
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir together. You can use immediately, or refrigerate for a few hours to let flavors blend and butter becomes firm. Or for a different look (like I did for the herb butters), once butter is mixed, place butter on a sheet of wax paper and shape/roll into a log; refrigerate until firm.Raspberry Lemon Compound Butter @themerrythoughtRaspberry Lemon Butter

8 tablespoons salted butter, softened
1/4 cup raspberries
1 teaspoon raspberry jam (optional)
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir together. You can use immediately, or refrigerate for a few hours to let flavors blend and butter becomes firm. Or for a different look (like I did for the herb butters), once butter is mixed, place butter on a sheet of wax paper and shape/roll into a log; refrigerate until firm.


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  • Wednesday, May 31, 2017 - 1:18 pm

    Jen Kessler - mmmmmmm my mouth is seriously watering!!! I think I would definitely have to try the cinnamon maple butter first.ReplyCancel

    • Thursday, June 1, 2017 - 11:06 am

      Manda - Hey Jen – you definitely should! They’re so good! I couldn’t decide between the Cinnamon Maple and the Strawberry Honey as to which was my favorite! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Thursday, June 8, 2017 - 6:16 am

    Shilpa - Just love these kind of recipes – simple, light, fast and delicious. Can’t wait to try this. Thanks!ReplyCancel