mess the dress

We are off to a quiet start to the week which is much needed after this weekend.  It consisted of a lot of fall festivities with friends and family plus a photoshoot, a milk paint demo, a girls night out, a Halloween party & parade and a baby shower.  Well now that doesn’t look like that much listed here but I can assure it was and I’m beat so let me just tell you all about our photoshoot on Friday.

Earlier this year I met Philadelphia wedding photographers Cathie and Al from BG Productions.  We chatted about our mutual love for all things vintage and repurposed as they dig that style too.  Then I started following their fun and active facebook page where Cathie posts lots of gorgeous wedding and family pictures.  I love her shooting and editing styling.  She captures a certain mood and depth in the colors.  That is the best way I can describe it.

When they posted a contest for a Mess the Dress session, I was all in!  I particularly like the fact that BG Productions calls it Mess the Dress as opposed to Trash the Dress because I really don’t want to trash it, tear it, paint it, burn it or do anything crazy to it.  I love my wedding dress and look for opportunities to wear it again like, say, out canoeing.

Mess the Dress canoeing - Photo credit: BG Productions

Or fishing with my husband.

Mess the Dress fishing - Photo credit: BG Productions

Hiking past a covered bridge.

Mess the Dress hiking - Photo credit: BG Productions

Or people watching in the park.

Mess the Dress in the park - photo credit: BG Productions

Cathie and Al nailed our Mess the Dress session and they are fun to work with!  We’ll certainly treasure these along with our actual wedding photos.  That concludes our year of posing for professional photos as a couple which began last fall with our engagement shoot.  Now we just have to get around to creatively framing and displaying our multitude of photos.  I wonder how many pictures of yourself is too many to have in your own house?

riding for a cause

Wow, what an incredible weekend we had!  This is my favorite season for so many reasons including the warm sunny days free of humidity followed by cool crisp nights and the subtle fall coloring that is settling in.

But this year we added a new reason to the list.  On Saturday, we rode our first Bike MS: City to Shore Ride.  It was a wonderful experience.  A tradition that we’re hoping to continue year after year.

Just one year ago, Ryan and I went to Ocean City, NJ on this particular day to see what the ride was all about.  MS was completely new to us.  Ryan’s diagnosis was all of about 2 weeks old and we were still wrapping our heads around what Multiple Sclerosis is and would mean for us.  Immediately we thought that we needed to get behind this cause and rally a team to ride with us.

Bike MS team

We came up with a solid team of 10.  We had 8 riders on Team Recanize.  Six of us did the initial 25 mile ride.  And 2 of our team members went the distance with the 150 mile round trip from Cherry Hill, NJ to Ocean City and back!  They made us look good!

Plus, we had 2 team volunteers who rallied at the finish line.  This event wouldn’t be possible with out all of the volunteers along the route.

Bike MS team volunteers

I think we did pretty darn good for a rookie, start-up team.  Between the 10 of us we raised over $6000 toward the overall fund of over $5 million.  $6000!  I’m so proud of all of my friends and family who rode with us and also those who made generous donations making our team possible.

On a personal note, I have to admit that a 25 mile bike ride is not something that I would’ve thought I’d accomplish just a few years ago.  I’m not terribly athletic and have always had to work hard toward this sort of thing.  I’m more comfortable as a beach cruiser.  But this was an important goal for me.  Crossing that finish line felt like such an accomplishment on so many levels.  #recanize

Bike MS finishline

Ryan, on the other hand, could have done laps around me and will most likely go more than 25 miles next year.  It’s been a crazy year and I’m so proud of him too.  Here he is channeling his inner BMX rider…or something.

Bike MS

We’ll be back in 2014! Bigger, better and definitely branded.  Stay tuned, friends!

If you are in the PA/NJ/DE area, we’d love to have you on Team Recanize.  You can join us here.  Registration for the event is only $20 until October 4th and then it increases.

my PSA

Well, it’s that season again. That time of year when everyone is getting their groove back after carefree, unplanned summer days. The time of year when structures are put back into place.  Calendars are filling up.  As well as the reinstatement of an early bedtime. (I could use one.) Plus, new shoes, new backpacks and…don’t forget about new wares for your home, too!

Sunday kicks off the first fall Clover Market of the season. Always a treat, both to shop and work. Surely there will be treasures as far as the eye can see in Ardmore. But it is one day only so be sure to join us! Details below.

Clover Market

Sunday is a busy, busy day around here.

Our wonderful friends are graciously hosting a fundraiser at their bar in Ambler to benefit our MS bike ride team.  Our ride is in just a few weeks (I’m nervous!) so please consider supporting our cause!  Bar 31 will definitely show everyone a good time.  Details below.

My husband’s diagnosis came a year ago next week.  Life has changed drastically including a much healthier diet, more exercising and even a new living arrangement for us.  (More about that soon.)  And although I’ve happily shed a few pounds in a our new lifestyle, it hasn’t been all fun times thanks to this unpredictable disease.

MS can take away someone’s ability to walk and to see clearly both physically and mentally.  It’s hard to believe but Ryan has been affected in all of these ways at one point or another in the past year.  It would be fabulous if we didn’t have to worry about these symptoms creeping up on us again.  No one would have to worry about them if there was a cure for MS.  So that’s why we fund raise!

bar 31

And if you’re still looking for things to do this weekend and happen to find yourself in Doylestown, you’re in vintage luck.  Circa Dee is currently running a sale on many items at Serendipity to make room for new fall inventory!  Look for mark downs now through the weekend.  We’ll be re-stocked next week including a new shipment of milk paint!

Serendipity Shops of Doylestown - open daily stocking Miss Mustard Seed's milk paint
33 S. Main St. Doylestown, PA

That concludes my public service announcements for today.  Thank you for listening and, of course, for your continued love and support!

the village: part 2

Wow, I kinda dropped the ball over here.  In the beginning of summer, I told you I’d be sharing some introductions of all the folks that help me out behind the scenes.  Basically, my family and friends who help rally and make this little biz and dream go.

We talked about Jake who is kind of hysterical.  Let me update you on his latest venture.  Last week, he calls me up and asks if I know anything about accordions and follows up with a picture text of this gem that he just picked up.

accordion

I tell him I’m no accordion expert but I do know they’re kinda hot and trendy right now.  So his next call was to a local music store. An hour later he’s at said store discussing his new treasure.  Needless to say, he left with a fist of cash all while saving this baby from a landfill.  The kid is resourceful and makes us all laugh with his stories.

Which leads me to my next victims, I mean partners.  The ‘rents.  They too have a big hand in helping make things go and have owned their roles around Circa Dee.  Here they are…acting naturally.

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I like to refer to my Dad as the Director of Logistics/Historian.  He has since passed the truck loading baton onto Ryan however he loves to coordinate logistics when needed.  And I use the word ‘love’ loosely here.  He actually loathes it but if he’s left out, well he feels left out.  Therefore, I think he secretly loves it.  Are you reading this, Dad?  I figured out your game!

_ (1 of 1)-2

Ahh!  The picture above is actually more like it.  Just lugging some furniture around for me and yelling about it.  He always helps unload on site at a popup just to come back at the end of the sale and repeat that process, ideally with fewer items.  What a guy!  And he loves to see the wares when they’re all unpacked.  As one of the, ahem, older members of the crew he always has insight into the vintage gems and tells stories of how they related to his childhood.  Typically he can answer questions for me too if I am stumped on something.  This is why he is called the Historian.

My mom is the Director of Retail Experience.  She is there for just about every minute of the retail sales.  She also helps unload the truck and pack up.  Vintage linens are her specialty.  Particularly, Vera.  I passed that obsession onto her though.  We love hunting for Vera.  And love the hunt in general.

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Oh and she also gives me a reality check when I obsess over whether or not I should rearrange/stage for the 5th time.  This applies to my own home too, not just sales.  Sometimes I get neurotic.  Shocking, no? And because she is a mom, she packs lunch for the crew, keeps me company and gives the moral support that is needed.

I’m blessed with such support.  Seriously, what would I do without my village?

And with all of that said, you can expect to see us reunited in our roles and antics in just one month.  The countdown is on for our very favorite Clover Market!  Save the date: September 15th

Clover Market

directional guidance

It has been a crazy busy summer already.  We’ve barely come up for air.  Honestly, a small cry from how we planned to spend our summer.  But someone once told me life is what happens when you make plans.  So true.  Less planning, more living.

So when we do get a minute to breath, we relish in reviewing our wedding photos over and over again. We notice something new every time and relive that perfect day when just about all of our friends and family were in the same place, just a few months ago.  Which, by the way, doesn’t help us select photos to frame and to put in an album nor determine which should end up on the cutting room floor, as they say.

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Speaking of, there are so many hysterical dance floor photos that I am considering posting an outtake reel here…although I may be disowned by a few people.  (If you beg me, I will totally post it though.)  Signature dance moves, silly faces and all.

© Love Shack Photo

N-E-way, where did we leave off in the wedding DIY deets?  We talked about the cake and the must have cake table.

Dana & Ryan Cape May Wedding

We talked about the DIY trailhead highlighting where all of our friends and family traveled from.

© Love Shack Photo

I think that transitions nicely into the map thang we had going on…

© Love Shack Photo

I racked my brain over what to do with the table settings.  We knew right away that we would have food stations for dinner. This created a party atmosphere (which isn’t hard to do with our group) as opposed to a formal sit down dinner where people felt like they couldn’t get up and mingle as they please.  There is nothing wrong with that setting but it just wasn’t what we were going for.

© Love Shack Photo

With all of that said, I didn’t want the tables to be bare either since the food would be served at the stations.

© Love Shack Photo

Enter 160 atlas pages to the scene, my friends.  I found old and new ones.  The blue, green and yellow colors coordinated perfectly with our springy palette.  Each page served as a charger or place mat.  Also, a subtle nod to the “On the Way to Cape May” theme.  With a splash of burlap for good measure.  Oh and here’s a secret for you if this look is up your alley:  Take your atlases to FedEx/Kinko’s to have the pages cut in bulk.  It will save you hours upon hours of time tearing and cutting pages.

© Love Shack Photo

Bonus, everyone was encouraged to scribble notes to us on their map.  This ended up being totally entertaining for guests as they waited for dinner and an icebreaker at a few tables.

© Love Shack Photo

Plus, we jumped on the instagram trend and incorporated our own wedding hashtag (#recanize) and encouraged guests to share their candids.  It is a blast to relive them every time and we plan to make a little album of candids with maps as the scrapbook pages.  One of these days.

For brides-to-be out there, we placed note cards at each table communicating the hashtag info to guests…

instagram hashtag

Go ahead, take a look at the hashtag on instagram.  You know you want to.

And one more map for the road….ha, get it? Road? Ok.  Our guest book was a guest map which we framed.  People signed all over the country and of course Cape May had a little heart on it.  I found this on etsy.

© Love Shack Photo

I have to admit that I restrained myself from being an etsy bride.  I only ordered this map, which was made locally, and Wilson’s seersucker bowtie and leash which is just priceless as far as I’m concerned.

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Next up…the centerpieces.  And why I might have been temporarily insane for doing them all myself just days before my wedding.  What was I thinking?  Come back on Friday to find out!

© Love Shack Photo

All professional photos shot by the talented folks at Love Shack Photo.

i do

Waking up this morning, I felt like Charlotte York the day she married Harry in season six of Sex and the City. You know the episode when she sprung out of bed as soon at the NY Times hit her door step. Only to find that there was a smudge on the page above her lip giving her an inky mustache.

I can assure you that there is no smudge on our love story in the Philadelphia Inquirer today.  You can read all about how Ryan and I met and how our wedding day played out on philly.com or in the paper.

If you are new here, welcome!  I certainly hope you’ll stick around for a while.  I’ll be posting wedding DIY tips and snippets throughout the summer plus the usual vintage furniture rehabs.  You can also learn more about Circa Dee and how Ryan & I spend our time on the About page.  Details about where you can find Circa Dee goods are listed on our Shop page.  In the meantime, I’ve included photos below from our wedding day leading up to the big “I do” at the Cape May Ferry Terminal.

Love Shack Photo: Portraits-Ferry Terminal © Love Shack Photo

Love Shack Photo: Portraits-Ferry Terminal © Love Shack Photo

Love Shack Photo: Portraits-Ferry Terminal © Love Shack Photo

Love Shack Photo: Portraits-Ferry Terminal © Love Shack Photo

Love Shack Photo: Portraits-Ferry Terminal © Love Shack Photo

Love Shack Photo: Portraits-Ferry Terminal © Love Shack Photo

Love Shack Photo: Portraits-Ferry Terminal © Love Shack Photo

Love Shack Photo: Portraits-Ferry Terminal © Love Shack Photo

Love Shack Photo: Portraits-Ferry Terminal © Love Shack Photo

Love Shack Photo: Portraits-Ferry Terminal © Love Shack Photo

Love Shack Photo: Portraits-Ferry Terminal © Love Shack Photo

Love Shack Photo: Portraits-Ferry Terminal © Love Shack Photo

Love Shack Photo: Portraits-Ferry Terminal © Love Shack Photo

Love Shack Photo: Portraits-Ferry Terminal © Love Shack Photo

Photo credit: Love Shack Photo

it takes a village

I started this post a year and a half ago about the village behind Circa Dee.  I figured it was high time I put it out there.  I’ll be breaking it down into a series throughout the summer.  Here goes…

People always ask me how I got into this business.  I followed this little dream of mine from an early age.  I am not exactly sure when it started but I know I was born a creator and have always dabbled in designing and selling things.  My earliest memory of this is actually from when I was a child selling flowers door-to-door in my neighborhood.  Cute?  Not really.  The “flowers” were actually weeds picked from my yard and I sold a few for pennies each.  Perhaps this led me to pursue my degree in horticulture a dozen years later.  I wound up in a corporate gig refining my sales skills while all along dabbling in design mostly as a hobby.  Floral design.   Invitation design. Furniture design.

I remember just 5 years ago claiming that one of my lifetime goals was to be an antique dealer.  I shortly realized that was an attainable goal and set up shop in an antique co-op.  As time evolved, I learned what I really liked and wanted to sell was vintage and repurposed finds for the home that I could style.  With that came more ideas, more labor and more support…and definitely more shops.

vintage markets

My family & friends have been there for me every step of the way.  They’ve encouraged me to follow my dreams and have assured me that passion and hard work will pay off.  The funny thing is that this is certainly the hardest work that I’ve ever done, yet it never seems like work at all because I simply love it.

Prior to me finding “my passion”, I would go to indie craft shows and antique shows and not think too in-depth about the “behind the scenes”.  I never thought about how much time and energy went into setting up those 10×10 “shops” for a day, what time the proprietors must have woken up that day and how much preparation went into it for the days and weeks leading up to that day.  I am 100% in support of buying local or handmade, especially those made of reclaimed items that have been saved from a landfill.

So I gave you all of that history to get this…it takes a village to make the simplest popup shop or co-op shop happen.  I still find it unbelievable but this summer, in no particular order, I’d like to introduce you to the village behind this little venture I call Circa Dee…

vintage markets

Let’s start with Jake since today is his birthday!

Jake

Jake is my little brother, err, younger brother.  He is hands down the most enthusiastic about all things Circa Dee. He brakes when he sees furniture curbside with faith that I can bring it back to life.  Jake’s title is actually Mantiques Manager here at Circa Dee.  He finds the most random old manly things that give just the right wow factor.  I like to think that I’ve trained him to see things not for what they are but for what they can be.  For example, vintage tire chocks turned bookends.  Very cool!

vintage markets

He volunteers to attend every market.  Well actually just about everyone volunteers but Jake signs himself up to schmooze customers and carry large pieces to their car all while instagramming the day’s events.  He loves fraternizing with the customers and giving him his opinion whether solicited or not. In fact, he’s joked about launching his own business…Circa Jay.  Watch out!

And most recently, Jake become my official Brooklyn Flea Philly partner.  You can find us at the Piazza again next Sunday, June 30th.  I can’t wait to see what treasures he turns up next.

vintage markets

Happy weekend!

down on the bayou

Whew! It’s been awhile but I’m back! I took a long weekend visiting New Orleans.

Or Nawlins as the locals say.

Warning: this post has nothing to do with furniture, DIY or the like.  My life is in overdrive at the moment and you get to listen to me live out loud if you so choose.

New Orleans city photos

We had a great time exploring the city and did we eat!  You name it – grits, bananas fosters, po boys, muffaletta, crawfish, biscuits, beignets.  More beignets.  I’m sure I’m forgetting something.  Oh alligator.

New Orleans bayou aligator

More about that in a minute…

So this was round 1 of bachelorette parties for me.  Yeah, I’m that girl.  Between all of the eating we did so much laughing and walking that I hope I burnt enough calories to still fit in my wedding dress since we’re just a month away from the big day!

New Orleans city photos

I love the unique architecture and culture the city has to offer.  In a way it feels like you’re in a European city but nope New Orleans is all ours since the Louisiana Purchase for $15 million in 1803.  Yup, I took that tour.

new orleans city

New Orleans city photos    New Orleans city photos

At the end of the trip, we decided to get out of the city and go for a cruise on the bayou.

New Orleans bayou

We took an air boat like this which up until now I had only seen on TV.

New Orleans bayou

New Orleans bayou

We made friends with a few locals…
New Orleans bayou

 The aligators were close …real close.  Exactly as the swamp tour brochure promised!

New Orleans bayou aligator

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Did you know alligators eat marshmallows?  Me neither.New Orleans bayou   New Orleans bayou aligator

I even held this little guy.New Orleans bayou aligator

Back to the grind now!

I’m in crunch mode preparing for this Sunday’s Clover Market.  My milk paint workshop series kicks off tomorrow (there’s still room if you want to join us). And the new shop in Doylestown, Serendipity, had an amazing first week so I’ve got to restock!  Thanks to everyone who made the grand opening.  Now you know where I was…   unless of course you follow me on Instagram then you already knew about all of the debauchery.

handmade inspiration

I just want to create things with my hands all day long.  Everyday pretty much.  I want to paint furniture, pick out fabric and turn it into chair seats, select wall paint (although not personally paint the walls), cut ribbon & cardstock to turn into pretty invitations, pretend to be a good baker, plant gardens to admire and eat.

You get the idea.

And if you’ve been following this blog for awhile now, you know that I really, truly love locally handmade as well as vintage.

We were honored to have a glorious bridal shower thrown in our honor over the weekend.  There were so many details made just for Ryan and I, from vintage gifts, to locally purchased and handmade ones.  And of course the registry ones too.  Here we are walking in…

bridal shower

I’m here to share with you a few of the creative, handmade gifts and details from the event.

A group of friends took the time to individually bake cookies for the shower.  They iced, they stamped, they rolled & cut, they bedazzled a ton of delicate cookies to all be combined onto darling trays to be passed around to munch on after lunch while I opened gifts.  I mean who doesn’t love a homemade cookie, really?  Especially ones emblazoned with our wedding date and cute aqua gingerbread men!

homemade cookies

Oh the gifts!

Here’s just a sampling of the handmade ones…

From our engagement session, our “trunk shot” is forever engrained on this wood slab.  This is a perfect addition to our rustic style.

wood photo

And I seriously think our friend who made this needs to open an etsy shop stat, don’t you?

wood photo

A for awesomeness!  A gift basket full of special occasions alcohol commemorating firsts in our married lives complete with poems.  Here’s a an excerpt…When your first year of marriage is done, drink this champagne in honor of anniversaries to come!  So clever!

special occassion alcohol gift basket

Check out the oil painting version of Ryan and I!  This is an image of us headed down to the beach just moments before Ryan proposed.  Wilson is right by our side.  And my pink paint pants are forever documented!  Such a masterpiece.  (If you missed the pink paint pant proposal, click here and scroll down.)

beach proposal oil painting

We also received some locally handmade applique dish, hand & tea towels.  Note the aqua colors.  Holler!

his & hers applique towels

And can you believe the state of New Jersey is on a cutting board with a little heart highlighting Cape May where we’ll be married along with our initials and date?  No, either can I!

NJ state cutting board with wedding date

By the way, I received an unbelievable amount of beautiful cutting boards.  My newest collection/obsession.  I love them all in a totally bizarre way.  Like I want to hug them.  Hopefully, they will help increase my kitchen productivity and cooking prowess.  At the very least, they will look pretty photographed in future vignettes.

Let me tell you about the favor…stop.  No words can describe.

Ball mason jar cookie favors

Yes, that is a life size blue ball jar.  Labor of love is an understatement thanks to my Sis-in-law.  SIL turned out like 60 of these and they taste wonderful too!  (I should know, I ate like 3 of them.)  Amaze-ball!  Get it? Ball? Jar?

Seriously, I can’t thank my family & friends enough for their thoughtfulness and generosity.  Ryan and I are so lucky!  Plus, they all have our style totally pegged which is just icing on the cake…oh the cake!  I can’t wait to share more details of the shower ASAP, just as soon as I seriously process it all.

Excuse me while I go eat another cookie…