seed saving

seed saving-4678We had a prolific crop of bush beans this year.  It was probably the best yield in the garden, second to lettuce, with no pest issues.  We planted three rounds of bush beans in purple, green & yellow.  The purple is my favorite simply because they turn green when you cook them.  Right before your eyes!  We’ve been eating them fresh for a couple of months and I blanched and froze some for winter.

As we continue to harvest more, I’ve grouped the pods together in bunches to dry out.  Once the bean pods are all shriveled up, they’re ready for seed saving.  The pods open up pretty easily along the seam with a fingernail or scissors. And boom, there’s next year’s seeds so we can do it all over again.  A frugal little DIY…

seed saving

I have repeated these steps with snap peas as well so we have a little stash of peas to plant next spring.  This is a fun garden task to engage kids in.  The seeds are big so they’re hard to lose although I’ve had a few pop out of the pod and fly across the room!

These seeds are, in fact, the actual bean.  As in, the dry bean you buy from the store so we could always soak them and eat them this winter.  It is just another way to preserve the bean harvest.  I think we’ll plant a bigger crop next year so we can produce a decent amount of dry beans.  At this point, we have a few dozen – enough to plant but certainly not enough for a bean soup!

seed saving jar

Speaking of next year, The Old Farmer’s Almanac for 2015 is now available at The West End Garage.  I took a sneak peek at the weather forecasts!  Let’s just say that we may have been spoiled by our mild summer weather this year.

The Old Farmer's Almanac 2015 now available at The West End Garage

a touch of nature

For the most part this season, I am decorating with elements inspired by nature.  Rather simply too.  I opted for a lighter, brighter color palette rather than the traditional warm, fall colors.  This palette can also be found at the shop and many of these elements are for sale there.  Typically I am decorating similarly at home as I am at West End Garage.  It keeps things simple!

natural fall mantel display with stacked wood

Cotton stems have been very popular and you can see why.  They’re so easy to work with.  Just plop them in a vase or in this case, a galvanized flower bucket.  They really can be on display from late summer/harvest season through New Year’s.  So many options!  They look good alone or with an accent flower.  I thought it was fun to pair them with twigs and vintage arrows for this vignette.  I used just 3 stems in each bucket to get this look.

cotton & arrows

The other accessories include feather balls, mini pumpkins and antler ornaments.  The antlers are small reproductions so they’re sort of guilt free for people who are into the antler trend but not a fan of decorating with animal relics.  They’re available at West End Garage too along with a quickly growing collection of ornaments.  Tis the season!

simply natural fall mantel

simply natural fall mantel

I got my wish of beautifully stacked wood after pining and pinning!  Our wood burning stove has been installed and is ready for winter.  I love how the seasoned wood accents this display and gives purpose to the mantel.  And the faux bois planter certainly doesn’t hurt.

fall mantel display with stacked wood

Peering past the mantel into the corner, you can see the Captain has something new over there and it’s not just the orange raffia pumpkin (also available at West End Garage).  He’s perched up on a vintage 6-drawer card catalog which I am super excited about.  I spotted this in an antique shop and spent a week dreaming about it for this space while fearing it would be gone by the time I got back.  It was there waiting for me and it is the ideal fit for this corner.  Plus the drawers are the perfect size to hold DVDs.

fall card catalog side table preview

I am deciding where to go from here with it, aesthetically.  It needs to be boosted up a few inches to true side table status.  Probably with casters since I seem to put casters on everything in my home.  Also, should I paint it?  That corner seems dark and the wood isn’t anything spectacular.  Linen seems like a viable option – maybe just the frame and not the drawers?  Please do weigh in!  Would you paint a vintage card catalog?

welcoming autumn

autumn

 

 

 

We’ve been soaking up the changing seasons here with walks on the beach, bike rides, flower picking and wood stacking amongst our usual work. I am a bit smitten with a field of beautifully decaying sunflowers.  Their great big heads full of seeds ready for sowing next year (or snacking this year).

All of the marsh grasses are in bloom showcasing a soft pink hue as the sun catches them waving in the breeze.  Honeysuckle has faded on the beach dunes making way for cheerful goldenrod which has always been a favorite roadside weed.  And the sunsets… phenomenal.

What’s blooming in your neck of the woods?

 

goldenrod autumn sunflowers

autumn equinox

ammo trunk

Vintage Trunks are the best, aren’t they?  Clearly they provide storage as that was the intention in the utilitarian object to begin with.  However, they also lend an aesthetic appeal to a space.

Vintage Ammo Trunk

A few years back I scored this large vintage ammo trunk as part of a lot of trunks.  It was a WWII US Navy trunk. In fact, the shipping labels are still in tact which indicate that it was sent to the US Air Force in New York.  The trunk, overall, is in great shape.

Vintage US Navy Ammo Trunk

I have a soft spot for World War II memorabilia.  It is probably the least feminine thing to collect but there is something visually appealing to me about the army green, type fonts, rivets and brass details typically associated with the items.  It generally leads me to wonder about what our country was like at that time with women headed to work while men were at war; what my grandparents were doing; what technology was in play and so on.  It is also the era that my collections date back to.  I don’t really gravitate toward many pieces earlier than 1940’s.

vintage army jacket

Naturally I loved this green trunk although I did initially try to sell it but had no takers.  When that happens it is a sure sign that it is meant to stay with us…at least for now.

Junk in the Trunk! vintage trunks stacked

Over the past year it has lived a double life after receiving a set of casters on the bottom so it can easily be pushed around.  First, it made a fantastic window seat when covered with a thick, tufted cushion and pillows.

vintage ammo trunk turned bench window seat

The problem was that it simply wasn’t getting enough use beyond its storage abilities.   A few months ago, I pushed it into play as an extra long coffee table where it seems to have a more fulfilling life.  Plus, this made more room for vintage chair hoarding.

vintage nautical living room with army trunk coffee table

 You can do no wrong to it. Drink rings cause no damage.  This thing was in war after all!  And brass always looks good with army green.

vintage brass tray & paper weight

What is your favorite way to use a vintage trunk?

Vintage Ammo Trunk

P.S. Don’t forget about the upcoming milk paint demonstration at Serendipity Shops of Doylestown on Sunday!

the topless table

Flow Blue Gilded Table-4414

Flow Blue Gilded Table

This little side table is so cute and petite and just unique.  I brought it home topless.  I suppose it had a top when I found it though.  The flea market dealer I bought it from had a piece of glass over it that obviously belonged to another long, lost table because it wasn’t the right size or proportion.  I chose to leave the glass behind and knew we’d come up with something all our own for this little transformation.  The ‘before’ shot is pictured below with my new favorite chenille draped over it.

before...

Flow Blue Gilded Table-4419

Ryan cut and secured a wood top to fit the table.  I customized the new top with Maison Blanche’s glacage.  Have you heard of this product?  It is essentially a texturizing embossing cream for wood.  Fellow vendor, Eastcote Lane, sells it at The West End Garage.  I was very excited to give this product a shot and am happy with the one-of-a-kind results.  Better than a wobbly, ill-fitting glass top!

Flow Blue milk paint + glacage

I gave the entire table two coats of milk paint in Flow Blue followed by furniture wax and a bit of antiquing wax on the textured top.  Something about these mid-century pieces always seem to call for a moody blue, navy or black in my opinion.  The finishing touch, though, was in the gilding wax around the edge.  I love how the gold captures the light.

Flow Blue Gilded Table-4417

The formerly topless table is now for sale at The West End Garage along with a selection of gorgeous olive trees in perfectly weathered clay pots.

Flow Blue Gilded Table at West End Garage

field trip

One of the things I love most about living in Cape May is all of the natural beauty around us.  Sure, we have the beach and ocean and, of course, the most fantastic sunsets.  That is a given.  But what many visitors don’t always see is the vast farmland that Cape May possesses.  Many of the farms are on preserved acres of land.  There are vineyards, alpacas, flower farms, vegetables and hens.  Lots of hens.

Beach Plum Farm-4473

Beach Plum Farm-4474

Ryan and I joined the Egg CSA at Beach Plum Farm this year.  It is a 20 week Community Supported Agriculture program where we pick up a dozen fresh eggs straight from the farm.  I look forward to visiting the farm every week and subsequently the hens.  These ladies run a tight ship – looking for snacks and checking out the visitors. I suppose the hen does rule the roost after all.  Beach Plum Farm Hens

Hens

After a short visit with the girls, they typically lead me right to the piglets.  It’s fun to see the personalities of the animals.  The hens anxiously peck along keeping everyone in check while the pigs are much more laid back.  They’re so darn cute with their muddy snouts and squeaky snorts.  I can’t help but to think of Babe, one of my favorite movies as a kid.  “That’ll do pig, that’ll do.”

Beach Plum Farm

Have you visited Cape May’s farmland lately?