pop goes the easel

Hi guys! As promised, I am back to tell you how we made our wedding table numbers.  I will also be sharing the secret to making them freestanding easels as I’ve been asked a few times now…

© Love Shack Photo

In case you missed them, the wedding tablescape posts are here and here.

So my inspiration for the table numbers came from those adorably rustic vintage school slates.  I originally planned to collect enough to prop them up as table numbers.  Well, I found two.  And then stopped.  Twenty slates seemed like an excessive amount to seek out.

vintage school slates

source: Pinterest

After collecting more than enough silver pitchers and aqua mixing bowls for the centerpieces, I figured it was time to straight up DIY something.  And in this case, definitely more cost-effective too.

© Love Shack Photo

With the style of the vintage slates in mind, Ryan cut plywood into twenty 5×7 pieces.  He then stained each walnut.  I love the color choice as it warmed them up just right.

DIY chalkboard table easel

He left me to the chalkboarding part.  I taped off an inch border on each board and painted the centers with chalkboard paint.

DIY chalkboard table easel

The internet is filled with chalkboard projects so I’m sure I don’t need to go into much more detail.

DIY chalkboard table easel

Speaking of the internet, this is the point where I started shopping online for little picture easels to buy individually.  I quickly found that it was going to run at least another $100 which seemed unreasonable for table numbers.

© Love Shack Photo

Enter Ryan again.  The man with the plan.  Refreshed and recharged from his bachelor spa weekend in Woodstock.  Riiight.

Anyway, his big secret to the freestanding easel…

drumroll…PVC insulated industrial staples.



Just hammer it lightly in the back, don’t staple it. These are intended for electrical use but sure do double nicely as an indiscreet easel!  I also like that they are permanently attached as it was one less thing to keep track of in wedding planning & packing.

The secret to DIY chalkboard easel

Plus, I will be using these chalkboards as price tags/signs at popup vintage markets moving forward.

So that is the answer to the million dollar question, my friends.

© Love Shack Photo

Ultimate Upcycle Challenge

Hello there!  I have so many before and after projects to share with you…one at a time.  As I’ve mentioned a zillion times now, I designed and implemented a room at the Philadelphia Home Show which consists of all vintage and repurposed decor.  The show is open through Sunday, February 10th.  I will share details of each project in the next few weeks but first I’d like to start with a project that is not in the room, however it is at the show.

Ultimate Upcycle Challenge

Habitat for Humanity’s Philadelphia ReStore hosted a challenge where each contestant went to the store and chose an item to upcycle or repurpose for another use.


Do you have a ReStore in your area?

I visit frequently to see what kind of building materials have been donated.  Sometimes there is good furniture too.  On my recent visit I found a plain headboard that I selected for my project.

headboard before

I wanted to do a basic project to display at the home show in the hopes that it would inspire new DIYers and upcyclers. On the scale of easy to difficult, this was E-Z.  No power tools required.  Just my good ol’ paint brush.  And chalk.
Upcycled Family Message Board

I painted up the trim in 2 layers for a cottagey look.  Ironstone milk paint and Emile chalk paint.  It gave a nice chippy look.  I waxed the perimeter and than applied 2 coats of chalkboard paint to the flat surface.  Instant message board.  You could hang it in the kitchen with menu items on it.  The uses are endless really.


Ok so I did need a drill after all.  But this step is totally optional.  I added 5 hooks to the chalkboard and labeled them with each family member’s name.  The addition of hooks made this message board double as a coat rack.


This headboard turned family organizer would work great by the door or in a mudroom.  It provides a place to leave messages and jackets and such…a landing area.

So anyway, I’d love to get your vote in the Ultimate Upcycle Challenge!  Just click-through to cast your vote.  You don’t even have to live in the area of visit the show.  Check out the other upcycled projects too.  There’s a lot of inspiration!  You can even bid on them if you want to take one home.  But you’d probably have to live in the area to do that.

Ultimate Upcycle Challenge

And while we’re talking about voting, a kind soul nominated Circa Dee for the Apartment Therapy Homies in the Best Home Design & Inspiration Blog category!  I’m so honored to be on this list.  You’ll see that Style by Emily Henderson is currently in the lead which is fabulous because it is one of my top fave blogs.  However, I wouldn’t mind having a few more votes!  Help me out, will you?  You can vote for more than one blog.


So enough about voting, what’s new with you?

road trippin

I’ve been meeting some great people in my vintage journeys lately. Mostly collectors and dealers. Everyone has their own niche.  Just last week, I called Bridge Street Antiques in Lambertville, NJ to see if the owner would be interested in buying some items from me. I knew her shop specialized in fine antiques. I had some Limoges and Staffordshire that I’ve been looking to sell. They are just not my style. The owner was very receptive and invited me right in. I’m glad I called that day. She was a doll and told me about what she collects and why it is or isn’t valuable. In addition, she’s already called with a lead for me since I am interested in much different items than her.

The gift of gab is really paying off…

A couple of weeks ago, I went to Renninger’s Antique Extravaganza in Kutztown, PA. When I was there I bought this funky old cage and a few other vintage farm style goods from a nice couple. Much more my style than Staffordshire…

I got to chatting with the couple and they told me about their shop, Charlette’s Web, and their flea market, Bus Stop. Both are located in Slatington, PA which is about an hour north. I figured why not make a trip out there this summer?

So I did on Saturday. The flea market wasn’t as big as I hoped. Basically Charlette, the owner, had the best stuff out of all of the vendors. I bought this slate from her…slate in Slatington. I saw it and immediately thought “cheese slate”. Right? Crate & Barrel sells slate tiles all day long that are not nearly as cool as this one for like $25 – double what I paid. This one is footed and has a handle and is a slate from Slatington.

Charlette also had more fruit picking baskets. Last time I got some peach baskets from her. I picked up a few berry baskets. These are all on the shelves in my living room. And where else can you find a basket for a dollar?

Then I went down to her antique shop and picked up this orange condiment dish for only $3. I am keeping this cute little guy. Orange is an accent color in my kitchen and apparently I’ve just a condiment dish collection.

The drive up to Slatington was beautiful. I forgot my camera or would post some pics. Rolling hills, slate quarries and old barns. I thought I’d be back early but I couldn’t help myself from hitting some yard sales while I was up there. It was worth it. Suddenly my car was packed! I should’ve brought the truck. Thank god the seats in my car go down because I got some big things!

More slate from Slatington. Ok I will stop saying that now but seriously, I didn’t make the connection until I got home and Ryan confirmed that yes, Slatington is known for their slate quarries. Duh.

It’s a child’s easel from 1957. It opens up to reveal another side. There is also a paper roll on the top. It once had animal and educational graphics. Too bad that paper didn’t make it. But is this not a real vintage piece that stores like Pottery Barn Kids are now reproducing?

Notice a trend here in the commercial retail world? Everyone has gone vintage or faux-tique.

Check out this retro Samsonite suitcase plus a Coleman cooler. I got some great suitcases just a few weeks ago so I’m on a roll. And vintage luggage has been knocked off for years by Fossil but here’s the real deal. For less.

As for the blue metal cooler, I bought the same one in orange about a month ago. I loved it. So did my dad. He couldn’t stop talking about it so I gave it to him for Father’s Day. I’m sure he has used it everyday since. Now I have a replacement. Too bad the blue one had a lock added to it – not original. It’s probably to keep the bears out when camping.

Speaking of orange…check out this mod orange leather bench. I picked up this guy for 5 bucks before I even knew if it would fit in the car. I knew I had to have it for my office. It is so sleek! Oh and I’m thinking it is Anthropologie-esque but about a $1000 less. I’m still working on the office…

My last but definitely not least find of the day, is my very own industrial factory cart. You’ve seen Mike & Frank on American Pickers buy these. You’ve seen them in Restoration Hardware catalogs. Now I have one! These carts are popular to refurbish and make them into a coffee table. Restoration Hardware sells these for over $1000. Mine is a little bit smaller than most but we’ll see what we can do with it.

Overall, it was a good day. The commercial reproductions don’t have anything on these finds!

Linking to:
Southern Hospitality
Apron Thrift Girl