Light in Winter

January 21, 2011

A light in winter

You know how Ithaca is like the third cloudiest city in the country or something, and it’s the everlasting grayness that makes winter feel so long?  (Actually, I think that’s a myth… at least, my extensive 10 minute search of cyberspace has turned up no credible evidence to back up the claim.)  True or not, the annual Light in Winter Festival is a shining beacon hope in this endless season.  With this month’s Gallery Night coinciding with the Festival, Mimi’s Attic and several other local businesses have decided to celebrate.

Mimi’s Attic will be staying open until 8 pm tonight (Friday!)  Mimi’s will be illuminating the evening with a 10% off sale on all lamps, light fixtures, candle holders and votives, plus double top trader points on all purchases.

Ithacamade will be open until 8 pm as well, marking the occasion with new artist vendors and lines of merchandise.  Silk Oak will be having an “Out With the Old, In with the New” sale.

The Kitchen Theatre’s Gallery Night events include an art show from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm and a preview performance of their new show Bed and Sofa at 8:00 pm.

Finally, Felicia’s Atomic Lounge will be mixing up a special Gallery Night cocktail to go with the evening’s live music.

Come on — spend tonight in the West End.  It’ll light up your winter.

-Meryl at the Goose.


Walking into photographer Sarah Blodgett’s Fall Creek home is like entering a museum of the life you wish you were living.  The people who live there are clearly creative, but not flaky. Everything in the house is organized, but not stiflingly neat.  Each piece of furniture or decor is interesting, but not weird.  It’s home decor perfection, Ithaca-style, and, at first, I was completely consumed with interior design envy.  But, as Sarah toured me through her home (which she shares with sweetheart Hilby and their four children), two things brought me back down t0 jealousy-free earth:  first, Sarah’s too awesome to inspire resentment for more than half a minute, and second, there are lots of things anyone could do with just a little time and a creative use of resources.

Take Sarah’s entry-way, for example:

All photographs of Sarah's home were taken by Sarah Blodgett herself.

It’s an antique store cupboard which, long ago, had doors.  Now it’s filled with shoes, and simultaneously elimates hallway mess and looks incredibly cool.  On the right side of the picture, you can see their coathangers — a wooden board filled with vintage doorknobs used as hooks.  Brilliant, right?  Beautiful, definitely, and something you could do at home.

Here’s one that perhaps not everyone could exactly replicate at home, but is still a great way to remind yourself that materials can be reused in all sorts of ways:

Pictured above are the cabinets at the base of the wall-to-wall bookshelves in Sarah’s front room.  Check out those beautiful tin inlays.  Want to know where they came from?

Yes, they were part of the tin ceiling in the laundry room!  Sarah and family have only been in the house for about a year, and that year has been spent transforming almost every nook and cranny of the house into something different.  The ceiling-to-bookshelf journey of these tin inlays was one of my favorite transformation examples.

Yet another amazing Sarah’s house invention:

For those of you who just gasped aloud or screamed, now might be a good time to mention that all of the kids in Sarah’s house are over the age of 5.  Parents of toddlers, do not fret — this wouldn’t fly in my house either.  Or, rather, the things on the ladder would fly… directly at my head…

The point is, Sarah and her home prove that there are countless ways to reimagine your space using things you may already have.  The other point is even the most perfect house has room for a couple more things, which we learned when Sarah dropped by Mimi’s Attic to shop.

In looking around, Sarah first honed in on these wooden shutters:

She didn’t buy them, because look what’s already hanging in Sarah’s bedroom at home:

For somebody out there, this is totally beschert.  You know who you are, lady with the earrings scattered over the house.  Get thee to Mimi’s!

Back to Sarah — even though I was sure her house had already reached its limit of perfection, she managed to dig up two Mimi’s treasures that almost immediately found places back at home.  Check those out below:

Sarah discovering a painted glass piece of artwork...

... which made its way here!

Sarah measured this bed, which turned out to be slightly shorter than a regular twin frame ...

and made it work here!

See, even the most carefully crafted abode has room for a little Mimi’s.  You can sneak more peaks inside Sarah’s amazing abode here. If the complete photographic tour leaves you both inspired and a little bit shell-shocked, never fear!  Sarah’s actually expanding her business to include taking on some interior design clients.  Imagine, you could bring out the Sarah AND the Mimi in you … your house won’t know what hit it.

-Meryl at the Goose

By the way, if you’ve got a showcase-able house, especially one with Mimi’s treasure inside, let us know!  We want to show you off right here on the blog!

Kelly Moreland, owner of Mama Goose and Mimi’s Attic, and her family are close in lots of different ways, including physically — the family domicile is on the smallish side, and Kelly, David, Olivia and Geneva live in tight quarters.  (Their half of the duplex is about 1000 square feet.)  For the Morelands, though, physical proximity makes the heart grow fonder, and fond hearts make for creative and cozy use of space.

We believe that every home has at least one remarkable thing, and the Morelands’ Fall Creek residence is no exception.  They have a back yard barn which, after a bit of work to make to make it structurally sound, is now a place where treasures and good times are collected.

Kelly has worked hard to make the barn a place where everyone in the family can go to relax.  The girls and their friends can put on a play, parents can take a post-bedtime break, and everyone can come together to enjoy each other’s company.  Take a look:

Recognize that sign, anyone? It's one of the many Mama Goose things that has been stored in the barn over the years.

An antique trunk filled with dress-up clothes

Twinkly lights and Santa's sleigh light the barn all year round

The barn even has auditorium seats that complete the playhouse feel. Kelly's came from Significant Elements, but there's another set currently available at Mimi's (looks like they came from the same auditorium originally)! You too could have your own home theatre.

These could be yours for$75.

Inspired yet?  The auditorium seats mentioned above are just the tip of the Mimi’s iceberg.  The store is teeming with things that could help you help your home help your family come together.  Stop in and see.

-Meryl for Mimi’s

“One’s home is like a delicious piece of pie you order in a restaurant on a country road one cozy evening – the best piece of pie you have ever eaten in your life – and can never find again.  After you leave home, you may find yourself feeling homesick, even if you have a new home that has nicer wallpaper and a more efficient dishwasher than the home in which you grew up.”

-Lemony Snicket

Our house, in the middle of these streets...

Our house has a very efficient dishwasher — also a lengthy backstory about the numerous annoying things that happened with that dishwasher when we first bought our house, but that’s for another post, or, more likely, not for a post at all, because it’s not actually that interesting.

Anyway, we have a dishwasher, and beautifully painted walls, and rooms that stayed empty until we filled them with children.  And I feel grateful for our home, for the roof over our heads, especially because for the past few months, a cardboard box seemed to be looming on the horizon.  But, in my very heart of hearts, when I think about our house,  I hate it.  It’s a freakin’ mess.

Seriously, our house is messy in a way that defies explanation.  It’s way beyond the average life with kids mess — it’s a whole other thing, and we haven’t been able to get to the bottom of it, literally or figuratively.  I think it might have something to do with the fact that our house has absolutely no decor — we gathered furniture out of necessity, taking whatever we could get however we could get it.  We have no treasured knick-knacks, no well-placed artwork, no coordinated linens, or window treatments, or anything, really.  It’s almost as though “mess” is our house’s decorative scheme.

I’m always envious of homes that seem perfectly reflective of the people who live there … homes that are warm and inviting, but preserve their residents’ space at the same time … homes with things inside that have a story other than, “Oh, we got that at IKEA because the TV used to be on the floor.”

Mimi’s Attic, our new store, is going to give me a second shot at having the home I’ve always wanted.  There are things out there, possibly in your own home, that are really meant to belong to my family … to change our space in a way that makes it just a little more ours.  At the same time, sorting through the hodgepodge of furnishings currently in my domicile has allowed me to realize that some of the things we’ve been hanging on to must simply be waiting for their future owners.  Mimi’s Attic is going to help me create the kind of home that my children will eventually long for, even after they have new homes, with nicer wallpaper, and more efficient dishwashers.

Julie, hard at work, beautifying the new Mimi's Attic space

Mimi’s Attic can help you and your house too.  Whether you’re in need of some extra home beautication, or you need to purge your space of the things that don’t belong, we’re here to help.  If you’re ready to start selling your things to Mimi’s Attic, e-mail or call 607-319-5126 to set up an appointment and get your questions answered.   There are incentives for early birds (they catch worms, don’t you know), so contact us right away! 

-Meryl at the Goose