Chocolate Chip Shortbread Bars @themerrythoughtThese shortbread bars are one of my favorite go-to desserts. You can make them without pulling out a mixer, so they seem simple & easy to me! (Although if you’re so inclined, you can definitely make them with a mixer!). And I love shortbread. And chocolate. So these bars are pretty much a winner all the way around! This recipe is from an old family cookbook, my mom’s cousin shared the recipe, but called them “Break Up Bars”. When I read the title years ago, my first thought was these are what you would make after a break up for a little comfort, hence break up bars. Others in my family thought maybe they were called that because the bars are very crumbly, and break up easily. I keep forgetting to ask my mom’s cousin where that title came from whenever we have our family reunions – maybe this will be the year I remember! Whether you’re in need of some comfort food or just need to satisfy that sweet tooth craving, these delicious, buttery bars should do the trick! And I recommend eating them warm. With a big glass of milk. And then save a piece to enjoy with your coffee the next morning! 😉Chocolate Chip Shortbread Bars @themerrythoughtChocolate Chip Shortbread Bars

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup unsalted butter, softened and cubed
1-1/2 cups of chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar and salt. Add vanilla and cubed butter and blend with pastry blender until mixture is combined and crumbly. (It may seem a little dry, that’s okay). Stir in chocolate chips. Pour mixture into a 9×13 pan (I like to line mine with parchment paper for easy lifting and cutting) and press into an even layer. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until edges are just turning golden. Allow to cool slightly, then cut into bars. Best served warm! Store in airtight container.Chocolate Chip Shortbread Bars @themerrythought



Coffee Station Cart @themerrythoughtFor those that have been reading for a while, you know my love of coffee runs deep! We roast our own coffee beans, have made quite a few coffee DIYs/accessories and recipes, and just spend a lot of time in general pursuing the love of great coffee! You may have also caught on to the fact that Caitlin does not love coffee. And thankfully, while she may not be a coffee-lover herself, she does realize its importance in the life of so many…like her roommates, and guests that come over, and her blogging partner 😉. So when we were given the Michaels Makers Challenge this month to find a creative use for these cute carts (they’re half off right now!! And they also come in mint & gray!), Caitlin thought it would be the perfect place to store coffee supplies at her new house. These carts are perfect as a mini coffee station – and with the wheels, it can be moved to wherever you need it; keep it in the kitchen, or if you’re hosting a get together and need it in another room, just wheel it in! And it’s the perfect size to tuck under the island counter when not needed. We also found quite a few of our cart supplies at Michaels as well, like our coffee bean canister and glass bottle which we use for creamer; we’ve been loving all the home items they’ve been adding to the store recently!Coffee Station Cart @themerrythoughtCoffee Station Cart @themerrythoughtCoffee Station Cart @themerrythoughtCoffee Station Cart @themerrythoughtCoffee Station Cart @themerrythoughtLooking for more inspiration? You can see the rest of the Michaels Makers’ Spring Refresh project ideas here or visit Michaels’ blog, The Glue String.

  • Wednesday, March 1, 2017 - 1:30 pm

    Angela - Love this…especially the belly basket! Where did you source this?ReplyCancel

    • Saturday, March 11, 2017 - 11:28 pm

      Caitlin McGrath - Thanks!! The basket is from Ikea!ReplyCancel

  • Thursday, March 2, 2017 - 5:15 am

    Indya | TheSmallAdventurer - Whilst I’m not a big coffee drinker either, I DO love a good cup of tea, and this little cart would eliminate the need to carry in multiple cups at a time when bringing friends their beverages! So handy.

  • Thursday, March 2, 2017 - 8:08 am

    Amy - I wouldn’t have thought to use this as a coffee cart!
    I love it!! Especially when you don’t have the counter (or wall) space to make your own – and this one is moveable = WIN!ReplyCancel

  • Friday, March 3, 2017 - 8:03 pm

    Natasha - So cute!! When I lived near a Michael’s I didn’t appreciate it nearly enough. Now that I’m thousands of miles from the nearest store, I really miss them! I always save rom in my bag to bring goodies home whenever I visit the Mainland.ReplyCancel


DIY Hey Planter @themerrythoughtRecently I saw a pin that featured this space and I fell in love with the ‘HEY’ planters they had on their shelf. I looked over the post and found out that they had used letter tumblers. Instead of ordering a set of tumblers for myself, I decided it would probably be simple enough to make a set myself. And it was! They put a smile on my face every time I pass by them in the living room. Gotta love a fun & simple DIY project!DIY Hey Planter @themerrythoughtWhat you need:
-White Planters
-Black Letter Stickers

How to make it:
Peel sticker, center on planter and stick in place. Then add plants! If you need extra help you can watch the video below… 😉

You can find more of our how-to videos over on the Darby App!
DIY Hey Planter @themerrythoughtDIY Hey Planter @themerrythoughtWhat phrase will you put on your planters?

xo. Caitlin


DIY Marble Magnets @themerrythoughtA few weeks ago I shared these DIY brass magnets and I got a few questions about the marble tile magnets that were in some of the images. I figured it would be easiest to just put together a quick tutorial for them with the links of where to buy everything. Plus it gave me an excuse to make an extra batch of them as well as a little video to go along! This was one of the projects I never got around to sharing that I used leftover tiles from the DIY marble necklace I shared last year.DIY Marble Magnets @themerrythoughtWhat you need:
Marble Tiles
Heavy Duty Glue

How to make it:
Glue magnet to the back of the tile and let dry!

You can find more of our how-to videos over on the Darby App!
DIY Marble Magnets @themerrythoughtDIY Brass Magnets @themerrythoughtDIY Marble Magnets @themerrythoughtDIY Marble Magnets @themerrythoughtxo. Caitlin


DIY Peg Shelf @themerrythoughtI’ve been needing a new shelf for my oils, my collection has been taking over the shelf they’re currently on, and they’re not very easy to organize where they are now. I spotted something similar to this in the background of an Instagram photo a while back and loved the look as well as how versatile it could be. So I gave Mike the challenge of making me something similar. 😉 It reminded me of our DIY Pegboard Wall Organizer, but a bit simpler of a design. I like that the shelves can be moved around to accommodate different heights, or adding in more shelves if needed. Perfect for a growing oil collection! 😉 I figured most might not be looking for a shelf for oils, so I took photos of it with some of my favorite “knick knacks” on it (which made me kind of want to keep it like that – ha!) but you can see it as my “oily” shelf in the last photo.DIY Peg Shelf @themerrythoughtDIY Peg Shelf @themerrythoughtDIY Peg Shelves


– 6 foot 1×2 pine board
– measuring tape & pencil
– drill press with spade bit
– scrap piece of wood
– plywood 3/8”x12”x24”
– table saw
– mitre box
– 1/2” dowel
– sandpaper
– drill & screws

Directions: Cut your 6’ 1×2 board into two 25” pieces with a mitre box. Starting from one end, make a mark at 2” in the center of the wide side of the board and then every 3” from there until you get to the other end; make center marks at each of these lines. Using a drill press and a 1/2” spade bit, drill a hole in a scrap piece of wood; check to see if your dowel fits snugly in this hole. (The dowel we had was slightly smaller than the 1/2” hole so we used a metal file to file the spade bit’s width until the dowel fit snugly). Drill a hole at each of the marks, placing a piece of scrap wood beneath your piece so that you can drill all the way through. Drill a 1/8” hole 3/4” from each end for the screw to mount the board to the wall.

Cut plywood 3-3/4” wide by 18” long for the shelves.

Cut dowels 4-1/4” long (you will need 2 for each shelf).

Sand everything as needed.DIY Peg Shelf @themerrythoughtDIY Peg Shelf @themerrythoughtDIY Essential Oils Shelf @themerrythought #essentialoils


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  • Wednesday, February 22, 2017 - 2:02 pm

    Natalie - I love how simple this is. Open shelving is one of my favourite pieces of home decor and these pale little shelves are so lovely

    – Natalie