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…

drop it like it’s hot

It’s official!  We’re getting married!

Yeah it’s been official for awhile but it’s really, really offic now because we dropped 100 wedding invitations in the mail.  They are on their way to mailboxes all over the country.


And even one to Japan!  (As if I have to prove it.)


This is happening!

It’s go-time now with just a few months left of planning.  The engagement period sure has flown by.  Although we’ve been engaged since April, we didn’t start planning until September so I guess that’s why.

But you know what has been our hands down favorite part of wedding planning?

Cake tasting.  Duh.

carrot cake

Over the holidays, we visited a local bakery and sampled flavor after flavor of divine cake.  We ultimately settled on the rich and buttery pound cake but it was a tough choice!

pound cake

swan pastries


We took home lots of samples.  Trust me when I say none of this went to waste.  What wedding dress?

let them eat cake

Ryan and I had a fun time touring the bakery’s kitchen.



Of course I saw these industrial sized whisks and imagined them repurposed into pendant lights.  But that’s just me.

industrial whisks

Has this post made you hungry now too?

making progress

Everyone in the blog world is talking Thanksgiving and Christmas and here I am talking spring.  As most of you know, we are planning our dream wedding.  Ok, my dream wedding.  Ryan is a doll who seems to agree with all of my ideas for our wedding.  So at this point, we’ve made a lot of progress including securing a date, venue, photographer, officiant, band and some of the other “big things”!

No I didn’t choose a dress yet.

We’re getting into the nitty gritty details at this point so I thought I’d keep you up to date.  Details, as you know, are my thing.

About 6 weeks ago we had an engagement photo shoot.  We lucked out that crisp fall morning with a wonderful showing of bright autumn colors at Maple Acres Farms.

They were so very accommodating at the farm.  They even let us bring Wilson although he was a bit of a diva (or is that divo?) when it came time for his close up.  I thought you’d like a peek at our photos since there are rarely pictures of us posted.  But let’s start with Wilson since you see him all of the time.

Our e-session photographer, Mandy Keep, captured just how vivid the autumn day was and all of the natural beauty and charm the farm offers.  I particularly like how the photos emphasize the primary and secondary color scheme which is very opposite of how the wedding color scheme will most likely work out.

It was important to me that we look like ourselves and dress like ourselves.  Ryan and I shopped our closets for favorite clothes we already own in complementary colors.  We didn’t do anything over the top to prep for the shoot.  We were just us.  Wilson too.

Now this is where Ryan would probably point out that we don’t normally take a wagon full of vintage props out on a walk with us.  And he’s right.  That’s where I may have gotten carried away but overall I like how the props and colors worked into the farm setting.  Subtle right?

Check us out on the vintage Orrlaskan wool blanket (similar to a Hudson Bay blanket)!

We also had a pair of vintage industrial stools out in the field which is totally natural.  I love how Mandy captured the foliage in this shot.

And who doesn’t love frolicking in the cornstalks?

We’re just about 6 months out from the big day. I am starting to think about our invitations and what they might look like.  As you may have guessed, I would like to hand make them.  I had initially thought we wouldn’t send Save the Dates mostly because it would be too laborious to make them all plus how could I practically make them and add engagement photos?

However, our wedding is essentially a destination for 99% of our guests since we are getting married at the beach which is about 2 hours away for most.  We decided it would be considerate to send Save the Dates after all.  And I’m glad we did once I heard the date morphed from May to March in one line of communication in my family!  Now everyone has plenty of time to  make accommodations.

We partnered with Wedding Paper Divas to create the perfect Save the Date.  After narrowing down several hundred Save the Date choices to about a dozen, we ended up going with Chalk Frame Charm for our layout.  I like how it had the look of an erased chalkboard but also allowed us to incorporate 3 pictures from our shoot.  It definitely foreshadows the fun, casual vibe that we’re creating for our wedding.

We received the Save the Dates in less than a week and sent them right out to our guests.  We actually had the opportunity to speak with a live consultant at Wedding Paper Divas and provide feedback on our proofs so we were sure they were perfect!  I’m glad we ended up doing Save the Dates.  It wasn’t nearly as daunting of a task as I’d initially thought.  Check that off the list!

And the money shot of the day goes to Wilson.  This one is going up on the wall.

There are a few other favorite photos that have a vintage vibe to them.  I am using them on other areas of the blog and for business purposes.  My favorite one is on the ‘About‘ page.

Photos by Mandy Keep Photography

livin’ the dream

I can remember a vision I had as a teenager.  It was a cool fall day on the beach.  My pants were rolled up a few cuffs.  (I think they were actually khakis in my vision – it was the 90’s when I dreamt this.)  Anyway, rolled pant legs, walking the beach with my future husband who then remained a mystery man.  There was actually a pier in this vision as well.  We were walking hand in hand down the beach allowing the surf to crash on our bare feet.  I just knew this vision was in my future and I never seemed to forget it.

Do I sound crazy yet?

Before you lock me up, I just want to say that dreams can very much become a reality.  Intuition maybe?  The mystery man and life I seemed to imagine have come true.

Ryan and I have finally set a date.  We’ll be getting married 7 months from today in none other than our favorite place – Cape May, NJ.  After laboring over a venue, we seemed to easily select the one.

It was such a ‘duh’ moment for us when we discovered we could host our big day at the Ferry Terminal.  It is perfect and just so us.  We bike there all of the time and watch the ships come and go.  It is a big open space by the sea.  Casual.  A little out of the box.  Just one mile from home and right down the beach from where we got engaged.  It is pet friendly so you better believe Wilson will be there.  Yes, we’re those people who will have their dog at, no wait, in their wedding.

Now hosting this kind of wedding is sure to be a ton of work.  We’ll transform that blank canvas of an open field by the sea into a completely memorable party al fresco next spring.  I’m up for the challenge and can’t imagine not styling our own wedding event.  You’d better believe that it will be chock full of vintage, rustic details.  Many of which I’ve already started working out in my head.

I’ll be sure to share details of fun vintage, repurposed and DIY projects here.

Goodness, only 7 months to go.  If you’ll excuse me, I have a dress to shop for…

P.S. Does anyone have a lead on a vintage aqua pick up truck that I could rent for the day?  Yes, I’m serious.  I even pinned it.

a diamond in the rough

I have sat down to write this post over and over again.  I really don’t even know where to start so I figured I will go from the beginning…If you have been following along here, you probably know that we were on spring break last week.  It was a much-needed break!  I traded in my laptop for a suitcase and my paint brushes for a car.  We took off on a road trip down the east coast and back.  Ryan, Wilson and me.  We couldn’t leave the little bugger at home so his bed took up the back seat.  The pup was definitely the most comfortable in the car.

The first leg of the trip was a 10 hour drive from Philadelphia to Charlotte.  We spent the day and night with family friends in their gorgeous home.  We could have stayed there all week and watched the creatures that inhabit and visit their wooded backyard.  Deer came right up to the deck to feed.

But our main destination was just another 4 hours south in Savannah where we spent 4 days and 3 nights.  I was so excited to return to the historic, haunted and romantic city and to share it with Ryan for the first time.  So was everyone else apparently.  The city was swamped.  It was hot.  Crowded.  In retrospect this part of the trip definitely did not go as planned.  Every time we ate out, our food orders got messed up.  Yes, every time!  We couldn’t find parking.  It was just not what I had in mind for a relaxing vacation.  Although I do still love the city!  We did enjoy some cool evening strolls around town when many tourists went back to their hotels for the night.  We equally admired the architecture of the grand old mansions and the worn down centuries old warehouses on River Street.

In addition, we spent a day on Tybee Island which is just about 30 minutes from the city.  Now this was exactly what I imagined.  An adorable vintage beach town chock full of cute cottages boasting bright colors and complementary names.

However, Tybee’s beaches aren’t pet friendly so we couldn’t visit the shore with Wilson as we hoped.  We checked out the lighthouse and then hit a state park where we could admire the Spanish moss dripping from live oaks plus tropical palmetto trees.

But don’t worry, I had plenty of sweet tea, cornbread and lots of great antiquing!  I will be back with details on some of my favorite stores and finds in another post.

After Savannah, we were looking forward to heading north to the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia where we could leave the crowded city.  The area was gorgeous but the cabin I booked was not.  We didn’t even bother staying in the filthy, spider infested home.  I have the heebie jeebies just thinking about it.

We cut that leg of the trip off and headed straight home to spend the remainder of our vacation in Cape May.  When we go to our own beach bungalow on Thursday, all 3 of us were ecstatic.  Home sweet home.  Sometimes you wonder, why change what’s not broken?  We set off on an adventure when all we really needed was some down time together in our favorite place.  It wasn’t all down time of course being the worker bees that we are.  I immediately got to junking and painting.  I missed my routine after all!

On Saturday night, the eve of the last day of spring break, we took a walk on the beach at sunset as we do so often.  I was getting down about going back to work and leaving our great (or not so great) adventure behind.  There wasn’t a cloud in the sky or another person on “our” beach.  The, ahem, 3 of us walked along talking about what’s next.  I was wearing one of my very best work outfits.  This one consisted of hot pink tattered sweat pants streaked in paint and crusted with wood glue.  (I really want to set the mood for you here.)  After commenting on how much I needed to change out of those clothes and shower, Ryan dropped down on one knee and proposed to me with a beautiful princess cut diamond.  Of course I said yes and Wilson did a happy dance too.  It was just so us as we watched the sun finally set and light up the sky in shades of orange in Cape May – our favorite place.

So that’s our spring break story. We’re getting married!!!!!!

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