falling for October

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the first frost is still looming.  We had a few unseasonably warm days this month that had me believing fall would never come.  That quite literally changed overnight though and the vibrant leaf colors have peaked.

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I’ve cut and enjoyed the last of the bold zinnias as doomsday is near and they’ll all be history once that frost does set in.  Any day now…

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Our potted plants have all been moved inside and continue to get shuffled around until we settle on just the right place for their winter habitat.  The Christmas cacti are showing buds and will be blooming before we know it…Thanksgiving actually.

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We’ve started pulling out our favorite wool blankets for cozying up by the fire.  We’ve only lit a few so far but soon the wood stove will be blazing.

vintage locker and woodstove fall-16-624

I’ve embraced my knack for using orange in my decor even outside of October.  I’ve never thought of myself as an orange person but as you can see, I apparently am.  It definitely adds some punch.  That’s for sure.

vintage mohair and wool pumpkin collection fall-16-677

You might also remember my pledge just a few posts ago that I wouldn’t be changing a thing about my living room.  Well, certainly that wouldn’t last.  And it didn’t.  We found this cool, handmade coffee table on a trip to New York in August.  The table top is reclaimed hardwood floor cut on a bias and married to an iron base that was once supported a soapstone utility sink.  Needless to say, it is sturdy. It could easily be a bench in another space or lifetime.

vintage collected fall living room-16-650

I also came across a great wicker trunk recently and decided to keep it for myself.  This is a vintage European piece that is ideal for hoarding my throw pillow stash.  I was previously at capacity on seasonal pillows but apparently I have room for a few more now so I recently picked up that handmade pumpkin pillow cover.  The wicker trunk is sturdy enough to double as an end table topped with a tray and more plants, of course.

vintage european wicker trunk plants-16-656

In addition, I’ve been stockpiling furniture projects for the the slower winter months.  It’s always hard to find fresh finds when it’s freezing out and let’s face it, I can’t merely shuffle pillows, plants and throw blankets around my house all season.  There are a number of recent projects completed that I’ve yet to share here.  You may have caught them on instagram or facebook.  If not, here’s a glimpse…

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There are a pair of these boxwood green nightstands with chippy insets…still available.  That lamp is made from a recycled corbel salvaged from a Victorian Cape May house that was in a fire years ago.  We made a pair which sold very quickly so we made another pair which are currently available.  Those are all of the Cape May corbels we have left though.

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Another pair of fantastic nightstands are available.  These gray “schloss” beauties are not so chippy.  I like the soft finish achieved with white wax.

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This coffee table is taking it back to summertime.  It is extremely chippy, on the other hand.  People who get the distressed chippy look, get it.  This table sold in a day.  Not for the faint of heart.

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Just a sweet little stool and a stencil.  There will be more news to share on this stencil and others very soon.  I can’t wait!

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That’s what I’ve managed to document here over the past few months.  What’s new as the seasons change in your world?

 

 

 

 

 

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a vintage birthday shoot

Using vintage props in a photo shoot is not a new idea but it is always a good idea, in my opinion.  When my sister-in-law asked me if she could use our fantastic French ticking settee for my niece’s first birthday shoot, of course I was on board!  Normally we just admire this petite piece of furniture and finally it was called into duty.

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To execute the vision we needed to scout locations, sort through props, try on hair flair and arrange outfit changes for the model, as well as, a nap.  Such a diva!  Fortunately Hadley was pretty agreeable to the arrangements we made and signed off on the whole “first birthday photo shoot” deal.

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She’s pretty much a natural at working the camera and the vintage.

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We warmed up with a portrait shoot using the driftwood inspired wall as a back drop and a hot pink slipper chair – another vintage find that I knew I was saving for a special reason.  While the vintage pieces play a nice supporting part in these photos, I think it’s clear who steals the show!

When you have a vintage Pedigree pram, it only seems appropriate to pose the baby and doting parents with it, right?  But the faux fur stole completes the look.

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It’s a tough call but my favorite are the photos with the settee and that adorable one year old…

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms out there.  I hope you have a fantastic weekend with your babies.

hello spring, hello color

We’re ready for another season of long, sunny days here in beautiful Cape May!  Spring has been a bit of a tease this year but honestly, I love it.  It actually works out perfectly when the sun heats up enough to blow open all of the blooms from forsythia to pear, dogwood and cherry trees.  Then the temps drop to a blustery 40 degrees allowing spring to be put on ice.  Quite literally.  All of those blossoms hold on just a little bit longer than they would had the temps continued to soar.  We’re still enjoying the sunshine and, of course, all of the color that spring brings with it.

spring in Cape May with Circa Dee

Living near the marsh offers calming sounds of nature…better than any sound machine money could buy.  In late winter, the peepers seem to wake up from their hibernation and croak sometimes together in unison and sometimes in a row.  They are quiet today as I write this but that may have to do with the cool temperature.  Legend has it that once the peepers return singing for a second time, the fear of frost is gone for the season.  Forget the zoning calendar, we have peepers to tell us when it’s safe to plant.

Milk Paint Hutch with signs of spring @mmsmilkpaint

Would you believe me if I told you we had a roving tom turkey visit us for Easter?  I almost can’t believe it myself and I saw it firsthand.  The Easter turkey gobbled down the path beside our house using it as a thoroughfare from the woods to the marsh I suppose.  Free to range being that it’s spring.

Apron Strings Cabinet-481

Tom the Easter turkey follows a long line of visitors in the past year including a barred owl that peered in our window at Halloween.  While his visit was a bit spooky, I occasionally find myself checking for the owl in the middle of the night.  Then there was the hawk that landed on our deck last spring and chose to stay overnight, without invitation.  The aforementioned countless peepers, bats, raccoons, turtles, snakes, rabbits and array of birds from woodpeckers to cardinals and orioles. Plus the monarchs. I can’t wait for monarch season!  There is also the brief period when the dragonflies visit at dusk in summertime.  I’d be remiss not to mention the skunks.  Phew!  Wilson had a duel with a skunk in our yard about a month ago. Needless to say, the skunk won…

Apron Strings Cabinet-482

This is the time of year when I find myself falling in love with this town again because of nature’s simplicity.  It certainly is spring with the return of all of this life and color!  Inside I appealed more to neutrals and calming whites all winter long but as of late, I am back on the color bandwagon.  Pictured here are a few of the latest projects featuring bright, spring colors!

Milk Paint Hutch- bergere over artissimmo @mmsmilkpaint

Be sure to visit Cape May in springtime and take in the sounds of the season.  The West End Garage is open Friday through Monday now and will return to a daily schedule in mid-May.  That means summer is right around the corner!  In case you missed an earlier announcement, Circa Dee is now only at The West End Garage.  More frequent posts and updates are on our facebook and instagram.  Happy Spring!Milk Paint Hutch - vintage OPEN sign

favorite things 2015

We’re gearing up for one of my favorite weekends in Cape May – the annual West Cape May Christmas Parade!  This Saturday evening, the legendary parade will march right past The West End Garage.  We are still working on final touches on our store window but so far I am feeling the kitschy, colorful theme.  Stay tuned…

WEG window

Inside we’re stocked with our favorite vintage ornaments, painted furniture and one-of-a-kind finds.  We also have a handful of new organic gift items.  Some that you’re going to want to keep for yourself or your mantel… the lemon cypress trees have already landed on mine!

Holiday 2015

Friday night marks the Congress Hall tree lighting.  We’re happy to be participating in Congress Hall’s Winter Wonderland for a second year in the shopping village.  Over there, we’re stocked with items from our pet boutique, Houndstooth, but you’ll find a few wreaths, ornaments and the like from Circa Dee.

Houndstooth Holiday 2015

Cape May is truly magical at the holidays.  In fact, it was just ranked #1 for Christmas towns in NJ!  Check out the list here.  We’re looking forward to seeing you this December!

finding inspiration

November really brings a battle between Christmas enthusiasts and those standing-up for Thanksgiving from a decorating/shopping standpoint, doesn’t it?  I mean who doesn’t love Thanksgiving?  No one wants to skip the feast.  However, some are overlooking the cornucopia for the twinkling Christmas lights immediately after Halloween.  I’ve always been a fan of keeping autumn harvest decor fresh, until the day after Thanksgiving when it is game-on for Christmas decorating.

As I’ve ventured further into the retail world I can understand why Christmas comes immediately following Halloween.  It is a very glitzy, very short selling season.  A lot of effort goes into merchandising for the holidays yet the season is definitely shorter than autumn harvest.  Perhaps that is why we’re seeing it grow just a little more every year, annoying as it may be to poor Thanksgiving.  With that said, I may even be behind the eight ball in getting all of my holiday inventory on the sales floor.  Yes, I surely am.

For me, November is all about balance.  Autumn harvest at home with Christmas on the brain and in the store.  While looking for inspiration for the season, I found some of my favorite holiday themed signs that I’ve painted over the past four years.  Here are the highlights…

Santa on a barn door is definitely a favorite which I’ve replicated again and again.

rustic santa barn door

Holly Jolly Christmas is indeed available now at The West End Garage.

holly joll christmas sign

Believe is always a crowd pleaser.

handpainted believe sign on reclaimed wood

The deer is a favorite from last year and it ended up in the home of a family member.  I may just have to make another one for 2015!

oh deer

Probably not my favorite work but any reference to classic Bedford Falls is a winner!

wonderful life sign

I love the juxtaposition of the message and the rustic canvas here.

rustic joy to the world

Moose Lodge is another one that I’ve done a few times.  Not necessarily reserved for Christmas either.

moose lodge

How’d this one sneak in here?

Painted Signs on Reclaimed Wood - maryland crabs

And the original “On the Way to Cape May” sign!  This one started it all.

Cape May Sign

Well, we’re most certainly off of the Christmas track now and perhaps back on harvest.  The sunflower seed packet resides at my parents.  I didn’t have the heart to sell it.  It’s possibly my all time favorite.

vintage sunflower seed pack reproduction sign

I’ve got a thing for fonts and vintage inspired signs which led me to start a pinterest board dedicated to other handmade holiday inspired signage.  Check it out here.

Where do you stand on the whole Thanksgiving/Christmas decorating debate?

thoughts on pink

Sometimes pink is just that. Feminine, girly, frilly.  Pink!

arabesque french dresser-275

But sometimes it can be quiet, subtle and almost neutral.  I don’t dare say masculine because we are programmed to believe that pink is the opposite of masculine but perhaps in a room full of dark wood or ornate antiques it can balance out the masculinity.

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I’d like to think that the less-than-precious finish on this French provincial piece can lend to a variety of settings from the obvious choice in a little girl’s bedroom to a dining room sideboard stand-in or and entryway piece.  The latter is how I would choose to use it.

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The body is painted in MMSMP Arabesque while the eight drawers are layered in Marzipan which is a warm neutral in and of itself.  Between the layers of Marzipan is antiquing wax and light distressing for an imperfect finish.

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The body of the dresser chipped on its own revealing hints of brown.  After some subtle white waxing on the pink, the entire piece received a top coat of MMSMP Tough Coat for durability.

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The inside of the drawers is undeniably feminine with a surprise pop of vintage floral wallpaper!  The original hardware is on six of the eight drawers with a hint of gilding wax to bring out the detail.  The smaller top drawers received a knob since one pull overall was missing when we found this dresser.  Since taking these photos I’ve since switched out the pink knobs for brass ones.

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Here is how it looks staged for sale at The West End Garage.  I love that original tin wall.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned that before!  It is funny how Arabesque sometimes reads as a lilac and less pink.

WEG arabesque dresser

Also, did you see those lamps?  Another set of salvaged baluster lamps created by Ryan.  This pair is also less than precious with chipping paint and fractures adding to the awesomeness!

salvaged baluster lamp

I am not sure that I ever shared on the blog the pair of green salvaged baluster lamps that Ryan made.  These sold some time ago but were another favorite!  We opted to make the white pair a little bit more industrial with the hardware exposed since the top is where most of the detail of the white balusters lie.  Otherwise the lampshades would have covered those curves.

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And speaking of pink, here is a pink baluster lamp that Ryan made and we’ve decided to keep for our own living room.

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Tell me your thoughts on pink.  Is it feminine all of the time?  Neutral?  Can it go masculine?

versatile vintage theater seats

First of all, is it theater or theatre?  I have always been compelled to write theatre but it turns out the American English spelling is theater.  What is your preference?

My preference is most certainly vintage but we already knew that!  I’ve mentioned my unofficial conquest list of must-finds which is always changing.  However, vintage theater seats have always ranked high on the list.  A few weeks ago I was able to mark it off because I found them!

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They’re an attached pair of wood and metal seats that fold up.  Not just the seat bottoms fold but the chair legs collapse like a folding chair allowing the pair to flatten for storage purposes.  That function leads me to believe that these were part of a venue where the seating configuration would change frequently.  The chairs were never permanent fixtures and as a result the set is not too heavy.

A coat of hemp oil brought the wood back to life and really makes them shine again.  This set is available for sale at The West End Garage.

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There are a number of places in the home that I can think to style vintage theater seats.  I’ve compiled a list to get your wheels turning!  (Please pin from original source by clicking photo.)

Entryway/Foyer

theater seats entry

theater entry

AT Theater

Dining Room

theater dining

theater chairs dining

Kitchen

theater chairs kitchen

Theater Kitchen

Bedroom

Theater seats bedroom

apartment-in-Sao-Paulo-by-Felipe-Hess-and-Renata-Pedrosa-photo-by-Fran-Parente-yatzer-13

Which is your favorite room showcasing theater seats?

the winemaker’s table

One morning a few months ago I set out on my treasure hunting route feeling extraordinarily optimistic.   You know when you know there is a good treasure waiting for you and you just have to uncover it.  Yes, that feeling!

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The morning was off to a slow start though.  I hit several garage sales not turning up much more than then 1970’s ceramics.  But I knew the show stopping piece was out there.  The next stop was sort of barn sale at the end of a grassy lane.  I felt this one had promise until I got inside the dusty building and found nothing more than tools.  No cute wooden toolboxes but nails, wrenches and the like.  Not my thing.

I did another lap around the building feeling dissatisfied but not quite ready to leave.  It is like a game of hot/cold and I was getting warm.  I knew it had to be there.  That’s when I spotted a wine-press off to the side.  An antique, oak wine-press!  It was dusty, dirty and smelled acidic but I knew this was the treasure waiting for me and it certainly had potential.  It was screaming table to me.

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Then that thing happened when someone expresses interest in a one-of-a-kind piece.  Suddenly everyone is interested and a near bidding war ensues.  As a buyer, this is extremely irritating but as a seller it is wonderful.  Being the buyer in this scenario, I found the other shopper to be in poor form as he elbowed in on my negotiation insinuating that he was going to use the press as intended to make wine.  Of course, it was evident that I wasn’t and merely loved the rustic patina.  I’ve always been a form over function girl.  I quickly handed the seller my cash and rolled it down the lane before anyone could change their mind.

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After a thorough cleaning and the perfect 48 inch glass topper, we have ourselves a beautiful table.  A swanky, rustic table fit for sipping cocktails and noshing at while admiring the craftsmanship of the press.  I have to admit that this one was almost a keeper.  We really love how it fit in our little dining nook.  But I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, “We can’t keep them all.”

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This one of a kind beauty is up for sale at The West End Garage.

schloss telephone table

Schloss Milk Paint Telelphone Table- the nomenclature #mmsmp

What color is schloss anyway?

It can be so unclear on the milk paint samples and bags in store.  Schloss is actually a bit of a chameleon color much like grainsack, in my opinion. It changes with the light and based on the surface you’re painting.  The latter is true with most milk paint colors actually.

Schloss Milk Paint Telelphone Table- the nomenclature #mmsmp

Schloss is from Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint European color line that came out earlier this year.

Schloss Reinhardsbrunn
Schloss Reinhardsbrunn

It is named for German castles.  The color itself is meant to represent old stone fortresses common in Europe much like the one pictured here.  Sometimes it turns up gray and sometimes a weathered brown exactly like the patina of the castles.

Schloss Milk Paint Telelphone Table- the nomenclature #mmsmp

Hopefully this clarifies the nomenclature of this color.  Either way, schloss is a great neutral.  I’ve been using it lately layered with other grays (coming soon) and on its own like in today’s feature.

Schloss Milk Paint Telelphone Table- the nomenclature #mmsmp

Shown here is a vintage telephone table where two coats of schloss were applied without bonding agent.  It was topped with furniture wax to protect and bring out the color.

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The piece was a bit raw and worn as it was pulled out of a barn where it was in hibernation.

telephone table before

The side in sets are more than likely a veneer.  Those areas on the side are the only place the paint chipped adding character.

Schloss Milk Paint Telelphone Table- the nomenclature #mmsmp

Telephone tables are certainly becoming extinct, but why?  This one serves perfectly as a nightstand or end table.  It is available for sale at Serendipity Shops of Doylestown along with the great vintage carriage blanket and p.f. candles too!

Schloss Milk Paint Telelphone Table- the nomenclature #mmsmp

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