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Bring Out the Mimi in You! Kelly’s House

By Kelly Moreland, Owner of Mama Goose & Mimi’s Attic

Have you ever read our slogan “Bring Out the Mimi in You!” and wondered what the heck we meant? To me, it means we are all capable of being inspired to make changes in our homes that will make them more functional and/or more beautiful (to you!). “Bring Out the Mimi in You!” is an invitation to come browse the Mimi’s sales floor, see what pieces speak to you, and then take them home and start shaking things up.

Mimi (my grandmother and the store’s namesake) loved thrifting and cleaning up or repairing her found treasures and then displaying them prominently for everyone’s enjoyment. As a child, I was particularly drawn to her menagerie of miniature cast iron animals perched on a marble lazy susan at the head of her table. This whimsical display greeted Mimi every time she sat down for a meal, and sent the message to me as a little girl that Mimi’s home, and her thoughtfully displayed belongings, brought her a lot of joy.

With this sentiment in mind, I thought it would be fun to show you my home and the things that bring me joy. I think my style could best be described as “du jour” because it changes frequently. Of course, I have the advantage of browsing at Mimi’s Attic five days a week! Whenever I bring “new” pieces home from Mimi’s, they tend to get me thinking about the things that surround them, and before I know it, I have changed everything in a room. Hence, my house “du jour”.

I love my hardworking kitchen!

While the major pieces of my kitchen have stayed the same for many years, I enjoy changing the wall color, art work and the color of the enamel top vintage cabinet to make things feel fresh and new. Except for a few family hand-me-downs, most of the dishes, pots and pans and everything else is from Mimi’s.

The Living Room

Practically everything, except for the dog, came from Mimi’s. My living room morphs often depending on the needs of the household. When my daughters were younger, I had a craft table for a coffee table and all the craft supplies on a bookshelf nearby. This current incarnation was inspired by the fabulous wool rug from Mimi’s, the cheerful chartreuse chair and Friday night movie nights. The artwork (a napping woman, a bear, birds, flowers) is all about slowing down and relaxing.

The pantry that doubles as a serving station

This room was formerly a nursery room, then an office, and is now a pantry which feels like a total luxury. It is right near my back door, so in addition to doing all the things pantries do, it works as a serving station for backyard entertaining. Everything needed to make this space function is easily found at Mimi’s: platters, serving dishes, drinking glasses, carafes, ice buckets, folding chairs, pillows for outside, flower vases and linens. I could also imagine setting up a station like this in a garage or shed. The white cabinets on the right were from Mimi’s (and fit perfectly!) and the shelves were built from barn wood from Significant Elements.

My cabaret-inspired dining room

The table and all “sittables” in this picture came from Mimi’s. I wonder if anyone remembers the pub bench which came into Mimi’s this winter, and has a mate somewhere in Ithaca? The table is adorned with my weekly CSA bouquet from Plenty of Posies. They are such a treat all summer long. If you have not signed up, they will do a prorated share for you – just give them a call!

A menagerie Mimi would have been proud of!

Ok, so I take after my grandmother a little bit and have a menagerie of my own. What can I say? Little vintage critters make me smile.

Speaking of smiling, we want to see the Mimi in YOU! Please join our Instagram photo contest (details below) happening now for a chance to win $100 GC! More importantly, though, we just love to see and hear how you use your Mimi Treasures in your homes. If you are not on Instagram, you can send us photos via email to info@mimisatticithaca.com and perhaps we can feature them here on the blog!

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Thank you gifts for your host or hostess

If you’re going on a trip to see family or friends this summer, you’ll want to be sure to show your host or hostess proper attention, and a great way to do that is with a gift to show your gratitude for their hospitality. While you may know Mimi’s Attic for our stylish and useful used home goods, we also have a wonderful selection of new items that are perfect for saying “thank you!”

For you pal with pets, these adorable tins from Now Designs are great for storing food, treats, or toys. If your hosts recently added a new puppy to their family, pick up a multi-use cloth from Skoy to make cleaning up paw prints and spilled water bowls a breeze!

If you’re visiting a coffee connoisseur, we have gifts to make their morning coffee routine pleasant from start to finish. They can keep their beans fresh in this canister from Now Designs, make a delicious brew with the pour-over drip from Bloomingville, and sip it slowly from this funky hedgehog mug.

Everyone needs some time to relax. If your hosts are looking for some rest, these items from P.F. Candle Co. can help get them into a peaceful state of mind. Whether it is a soy wax candle or a reed diffuser, we’re sure to have a scent that will suit their fancy.

Once you have the perfect items selected, let our staff know they are a gift and we’ll wrap them with care in a Mimi’s Attic gift bag. You’ll have one less thing to worry about, and you’ll get the chance to tell your friends and family all about your favorite store for sustainable living in Ithaca!

Don’t worry if you don’t see quite the right gift here– we have plenty more options to choose from, including beautiful Swedish dishcloths, modern planters, clever storage solutions, and more! Stop in to see our complete selection, or check out our New Products page here to find out more information.

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The Zero Food Waste Summer Road Trip Challenge!

By Kelly Moreland, Owner of Mama Goose & Mimi’s Attic

Utilizing all of your fresh summer produce before it goes bad can be tricky, especially if you get a CSA , fruit share, or have a robust garden. Keeping up with this task gets even more complicated when you are heading out of town for a getaway. Before you resort to throwing everything in the compost bin, I have a Zero Food Waste Road Trip Challenge for you! (Ok, no pressure, but I did it and it was actually really fun.)

A couple of weeks ago, my daughters and I took a week-long road trip through New England. Two days before our departure, I assessed our refrigerator. It was jam-packed with beautiful, perky summer deliciousness (e.g. vegetables, fruit and herbs) which would have been great if we weren’t going to be gone for a week. It also happened to be 95 degrees outside. Overcome with pre-vacation fervor, I challenged myself to a zero-waste departure plan – no food would go to waste and we could enjoy the bounty of the Finger Lakes while on the road. Here is how I front-loaded vacation meal prep that we could eat in parks, on beaches, at roadside vistas or at our AirBnB destination.

I washed and chopped all vegetables suitable for dipping and sandwich making and put them in airtight containers filled with cold water to keep them crispy. These went into an ice chest along with a vat of hummus, tahini dressing, and fresh pita bread.

I rescued the beets that had been hiding in the bottom of my produce drawer and steamed them in the microwave to avoid using the oven during a heat wave. I also got really motivated and blanched and froze the beet greens (along with some turnip greens) which I plan on adding to a soup in the winter. I’m telling you – I took my challenge seriously!

When the beets cooled, I peeled them (optional) and tossed them into a kale salad along with a fistful of mint and a fistful of basil. Honestly, I can’t remember what else I threw into this salad, but this would be a great depository for scallions, cucumbers, radishes, turnips, carrots, seeds, nuts and some kind of cooked grain like farro or brown rice. You could also throw in cubes of day old bread from Wide Awake Bakery! The salad dressing can be tossed in right before serving, but the dressed salad can stay crispy in a refrigerator or well-managed ice chest for a few days.

Here’s the salad dressing recipe I used:

2 T diced shallots (No shallots? Try sweet onion or  just omit)
1 clove garlic, finely minced (Maybe more if not using shallots)
1 T lemon zest (1-2 lemons)
5 T lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 T honey to taste
1/2 tsp salt (I like coarse salt)
1/4 tsp pepper
3/4 C. extra virgin olive oil
Put everything in a jar and shake.

Garlic Scapes always inspire me to make Vegan Garlic Scape & Kale Pesto, and pesto pasta is a great first night dinner when you’re staying at an AirBnB or rustic cabin which may not be fully-equiped for cooking.  It makes a nice spread on crackers or sandwiches too. I also made some simple Tahini Dressing. This didn’t really use up any vegetables, but it helped me up-sell my plan of rest stop pita pocket sandwiches to my daughters and avoid highway restaurant chains as much as possible.

Pictured above: The Tahini dressing, Kale Salad dressing and Garlic Scape & Kale Pesto.

Totally inspired by Sara Worden’s Full Plate Farm Collective newsletter, I made Strawberry Fennel tea. What are the ingredients? You guessed it – strawberries, fennel, and boiled water. The result is a refreshing licorice and berry flavored tea.

With the last available scraps of veggies, I made cucumber and kale sandwiches and, of course, wrapped them with Bee’s Wrap from Mimi’s Attic! I love that we carry  Bee’s Wraps and other sustainable home products, because they really are sturdy and useful and easy to wash.

It felt awesome leaving town with all these goodies. I will be honest- the heat wave made managing the ice chest was a bit of a chore, and some things did end up floating around in cold water sometimes. My next goal is to buy an ice chest with a built-in tray like I had when I was a kid, to keep some things separated from the ice. I also think an ice chest that has a drain spout would make things easier.

All in all, it was a creative challenge and a great excuse to clean out the refrigerator. Here’s the the last photo I took before I hopped in the car:

A pretty darn clean fridge… and I even had beer for my return home!

We would love to hear your creative solutions to leaving town with zero food waste in your refrigerator. Let us know on Facebook or Instagram or next time you’re at Mimi’s!

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