10 days until Christmas

It is hard to believe that Christmas is just ten days away.  Quite frankly, I can’t even believe we have approached the end of 2016.  It has been a strange year for sure and I’m ready to move onto 2017.  How about you?

Every year after Thanksgiving, I get excited to make the leap into the holiday season by putting up a live tree.  This year I found myself not wanting as many traditional adornments but to create more of a seasonal feel with wool blankets and candlelight.  I gravitated toward natural ornaments as well.

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I know it is hard to believe that this is a restrained Christmas, but it is!  Especially on the tree…

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I felt like having the Christmas tree right in the center of the room. It is not totally practical but I love how it lights up the space and sits among the other plants.  Do I dare say almost like a conservatory?  I decorated the tree organically with plants too!  Live air plants, succulent terrarium ornaments, cotton stems and vintage arrows are the stars.  You can find the live ornaments for sale at the West End Garage.  Obviously these “ornaments” don’t have to be packed up next month which is fantastic!

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I did pull out a few favorite vintage glass balls to create this vignette.  All month, there has been a cozy, warm glow from every corner which feels very seasonal.

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Have you jumped on the ceramic tree trend of the 70s and 80s?  These nostalgic trees have been very hot here.  Mine was made by my great-grandmother originally for my grandmother.  She made one for everyone in my family back then.  The tree strikes a chord with me as it is reminiscent of my childhood Christmases.  Anytime we went to a relative’s house during the holidays, they always displayed Nana’s tree…and usually still do.  Who knew it would be so trendy 30 years later?

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Wishing you and yours a merry and bright holiday season!

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Christmas at home

It has been quite some time since I’ve shared projects from my own home.  And for good reason.  We’ve been shuffling furniture around still trying to find the “perfect” layout and pieces.  We’ve settled on this cozy arrangement in our family room for the holidays.  It feels good to “nest” again, one of my favorite winter past times!

Christmas living room

I finally got a bee in my bonnet about the sofa situation that I had been less than thrilled with.  I had enough of trying to camouflage the overstuffed brown sectional.  After a ton of research, I finally went ahead and ordered the creamy tufted Chesterfield of my dreams.  It arrived last weekend, ten days early!  Just in time for holiday decorating.  Come get acquainted with this beauty.

white velvet Chesterfield sofa

Don’t be shy.  Reach out and touch that velvety tufting.

tufted white Chesterfield sofa

The sofa coordinates nicely with the vintage club chair we already had which was reupholstered in hemp fabric a few years back.  Suddenly this space feels bright, airy and inviting!

corner club chair buffalo check reindeer Christmas

I plucked a fading bench out of the garden to try as a coffee table for the season.  The measurements are just right.  The newness of the sofa almost felt too regal for my rustic-loving self.  The chipping, vintage bench seems to juxtapose the sofa just right.

chipping white garden bench coffee table baluster lamp white sofa

I scored the old bench for 5 bucks at a yard sale about 5 years ago.  Five dollars well spent I’d say.

chipping white garden bench coffee table recycled fabric hooked rug

I like how the chipping finish coordinates with the chipping window frame that we just moved into this space.  We used the window as our seating chart at our wedding in 2013.  We never removed the names of our guests and instead used this as a frame by outfitting each pane with a 5×7 photo from our special day.  This is as far as we’ve gotten in making any sort of wedding album.  That baluster lamp is one of Ryan’s creations.  Pink is rapidly and unintentionally becoming accent color in here.

vintage window picture collage

Before we move onto Christmas decor, let me point out one more change.  We boosted this vintage card catalog up to proper end table height with the addition of tapered legs.  I also painted the frame of the piece however did not want to mess with the drawers, specifically the old pulls.  I am still deciding on whether to stain or paint the legs but for now we’re enjoying the table in its unfinished state.
vintage card catalog end table

The mantel always gets pride of season.  This year I was compelled to follow a traditional red & green palette for the most part. I only slightly switched things up from the autumn mantel by adding the lemon cypress trees, red pomegranates, last year’s felt wreath plus a little bling of course.  The botanical prints, another newer addition, have been up since late summer.vintage red and green botanical Christmas mantel

I also switched out the blanket on our battered, splattered ladder.  Say that 3 times fast!  We made the flannel bunting a couple of years ago.

vintage red and green botanical Christmas mantel

The tree decor is pretty laid back this year.  We always choose a fresh Fraser fir.  Growing up, we had full Douglas fir trees but I’ve become accustomed to the irregular shape of a Fraser.  The gaps are perfect for filling with twigs of cotton and the like.

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Presents are starting to pile up under the tree.  I’m ahead of the game this year with gifts already wrapped and tagged.  Would you believe I found all of these pretty papers at the dollar store?  I was impressed with their selection.  For a touch of rustic, I corralled the small gifts in this vintage wire basket.

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I like to put my favorite vintage Christmas balls on display in bowl.  I am always worried they’ll break if I hang them on the tree plus this gives the ornaments the opportunity to really shine on their own.  The un-silvered, glass balls date back to World War II.  They’ve always been my absolute favorite.  Of course, the vintage mercury glass ones are pretty too.      Christmas-337

The natural centerpiece was a breeze to put together.  It’s all about the layering.   Starting with the wood charger and fresh greens from the woods.  It’s best to do this just before company comes so it looks fresh.  The paperwhites are growing rapidly right before our eyes!  It’s the little things that make me happy this time of year…and the new sofa too.

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**Many of the pieces used to decorate my home are for sale through Circa Dee at The West End Garage and Serendipity.  Pictured are the wood charger, tree bark wreaths, lemon cypress tree, cotton, paperwhites, flannel bunting, grainsack stockings and we have similar vintage and baluster lamps too!**

Happy Holidays!

rockin around the christmas tree

With just about a week until Christmas, I found myself cycling through old photos of Christmases past. It is fun to see what decor has changed and what has always made the cut.  Some ideas definitely stand out as more of a win than others.  Want to take a look at some of our past Christmas trees?

I was big on burlap and primarily gold ornaments in 2011 and years prior for that matter.  This tree seems light on ornaments.  Less is more, I suppose.  I am not sure that I still subscribe to that though.  Those red drapes in our old house.  They weren’t ever really my style but they did work really well for Christmas and framing the tree.

2011 Christmas tree

In 2012, we purchased a ball & burlap tree that would later be planted in our yard.  It was a small, shrub so we kept the decor to mostly red ornaments & rocking horses.  The red drapes were still up so I guess they were more of my style at the time than I thought.  Have you ever had a ball & burlap Christmas tree?

Christmas tree 2012

2013 was the year we moved to Cape May and also the year of orange slice garland, dried hydrangeas, twigs & peacock feathers apparently.  As crazy as they all sound together, this might be a favorite Christmas look of mine.  Considering you already have a dead tree in your living, there is just something about layering on more organic, natural ornaments.  I also like the toile panels that framed the tree that year.   This photo is making a strong argument for putting the tree in that bay window again next year.Organic Christmas Tree decor

Christmas Tree peacock feathers, hydrangea & orange

In 2014, we broke away from the themed ornaments and started incorporating more color and sentimental ornaments.  I topped the tree with vintage arrows and draped chenille garland that made an appearance again on this year’s tree.

Christmas 2014- arrows

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And then there’s 2015.  This year the tree is less themed than it has been in the past.  I kept with the light colors we’ve been incorporating in our space as we’ve been updating it.  I used cotton stems as an ornament.  I like the softness, yet fullness that it adds.  This year, more is more for sure.

Trees aside, what’s Christmas without a pink flamingo holiday sweater, candlelight, a chubby beagle and an awkward photo?  Yes, more is certainly more.  More ornaments.  More lights.  More silly photos.  And more time with family and friends.

Chritmas mantel

Merry Christmas from our home to yours! 

We hope you enjoy this magical season.

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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?

tree trimmings

cottage Christmas

Our holiday decorating is a wrap at this point.  We’re enjoying the warm glow of the tree every night and we’re watching the pile of wrapped presents slowly grow.  We went with a smaller than usual tree this year but propped it up on my favorite vintage card catalog table.  As for the ornaments, we kept fairly traditional.  I’ve been known to go all one color or theme in the past but not this year.  Christmas 2014-5331

The only big curve ball I threw on the tree were arrows.  I guess I should say I “shot” at the tree.  arrow Christmas tree decor

Since we had no specific color scheme, I thought these bright vintage arrows were a fun addition around the top of the tree.   What do you think?

vintage arrows Christmas tree ornaments

You may remember the arrows and antlers from my fall mantel.  Yep, they easily transitioned to the next season…along with the cotton stems too.

antler ornament

Both have been a hit in the shop along with some other outdoorsy and almost season-less ornaments like the vintage style chairs, acorns & lanterns.

ornaments

For garland this year, I simply used chenille ribbon.  I love this stuff!  It can go around your gifts or on the tree.  We still have some available to trim your own tree with!

cottage Christmas

Tonight is Serendipity of Doylestown’s open house from 6-9.  Check out all of these ornaments and more!

 

mixed greens Christmas tree

Last week I shared our front door decor for the holidays which is relatively simple and traditional.  Less seems to be more this year…

holiday door decor-5217 PM

I’ve been utilizing what nature has to offer as winter approaches.  We’re seeing beautiful holly, dried marsh grasses and bushy cedar beginning to take center stage.  A brisk walk in the woods will provide you with enough supplies to make your very own mixed greens tree.

DIY mixed greens tree

If you’ve read the December issue of Better Homes & Gardens, you may know where I am going with this project…

garden Christmas tree

There are two very important tools that you’ll need to construct this tree:  Florist wire and a tomato cage.  An upside down tomato cage creates the perfect cone shape!  You’ll need to find some sort of base for your tree.  I used a vintage enamel pot.  The handles were perfect for the tomato cage to sit on.  Wire the 3 “legs” together on top to create the point of the tree form.

Tomato cage DIY Christmas Tree-141616

I started creating the tree with cedar cuttings first and followed the lateral lines of the cage, wiring each piece on as I went.  Besides the top point, I wired all greens facing down (stems up) so it looked natural.

DIY tomato cage christmas tree-142539

After all lateral lines are wired, it looked kind of hairy.  Perseverance pays off.  Keep going!  I wired greens on the horizontal lines starting with the bottom first, making sure to overlap the enamel pot.  Each subsequent layer covers the stems and mechanics of the previous layer.

Tomato cage DIY Christmas Tree-142901

Finally, fill in your cage so it looks like a nice, full tree.  I stuck holly branches in without even wiring them.  I also “decorated” the tree with dried grasses and a burlap ribbon remnant.

DIY mixed greens Christmas tree

My DIY mixed greens tree is a little bit wild but it was fun and free to make!  It took about 30 minutes to complete.  And what else was I going to do with my tomato cage in December?

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I have been back at milk painting holiday themed signs and boards as well…

holly jolly Christmas sign-5250

Oh deer!

oh deer!

 

 

 

Christmas is coming

 Aside from tree ornaments, there are very few things we pulled out of storage to create a warm, seasonal home.  Instead we opted to use everyday and season-less items with just a hint of Christmas ambiance in a relatively traditional color palette.

Organic Christmas 2014-Circa Dee

Our decor this year is very organic with the exception of the vintage chippy mirror and salvaged pillars.  The blooming paperwhites whimsically frame a live succulent wreath.  Why go for evergreens when you can have succulents?  You must ask yourself.

live succulent wreath

Preserved boxwood topiaries add a bit of formality as they anchor the ends of the mantel plus they will last for  years.

Christmas mantelscape with cotton & candles

I continue to obsess over cotton stems.  I simply laid them on their side to create a nice, full garland across the mantel.

cotton garland

Fresh holly from the yard nestles amongst the cotton.

cotton & holly Christmas garland

Firewood is accompanied by a nearly blooming Christmas cactus.

Christmas firewood

The firewood tea light candle holder adds just a bit of warmth to the holiday display.

firewood log candle holder

How are you decorating your mantel this holiday season?

Natural Christmas 2014-Circa Dee

Many of these items and similar ones are available at The West End Garage.

Bonus:  they can easily transition into the new year with the omission of the holly and ornaments!

holiday door decor

We’ve been decking the halls for weeks already yet somehow we’ve barely scratched the surface at our own home.  That is about to change though.  Over the weekend we rolled out the welcome mat and pulled the vintage sled out of storage.

holiday door decor - vintage sled, mistletoe wreath, lantern, retro chair

There is a simple formula for holiday door decor that I like to follow every December: vintage sled (always), seasonal wreath and fresh greenery.

holiday door decor - vintage green sled, mistletoe wreath, mixed greens tree

We’re going bold this season with blue, yellow and layers of green.  Sort of nautical, sort of traditional.  I painted the sled in boxwood milk paint this time around and framed it with a joint ruler star and holly.  The felt mistletoe wreath, from Uncommon Goods, fits right in as it is traditional yet unexpected.

felt mistletoe wreath, brass anchor door knocker

The folks at Uncommon Goods contacted me last month to check out their Christmas gifts.  I love the texture of the mistletoe wreath and the adorable white berries.  I’ve been a fan of Uncommon Goods since I learned about the company a few years ago.  They provide a platform for uncommon artists and designers to sell their handmade wares while also highlighting their work spaces and studios so you can see where the products you’re about to purchase are made.

felt mistletoe wreath

Uncommon Goods is a B Corporation which means they use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.  Ryan and I have consciously sourced inventory for our shop from other B Corporations since earning the B seal means the company meets a rigorous standard on a range of issues, including wage levels, environmental impact, and giving back to the local community.  We can certainly get behind that especially in the season of giving.

Later this week, I’ll share details about that little statement tree by the door.  You’ll never believe how easy it is to make!

mixed greens Christmas tree