a touch of nature

For the most part this season, I am decorating with elements inspired by nature.  Rather simply too.  I opted for a lighter, brighter color palette rather than the traditional warm, fall colors.  This palette can also be found at the shop and many of these elements are for sale there.  Typically I am decorating similarly at home as I am at West End Garage.  It keeps things simple!

natural fall mantel display with stacked wood

Cotton stems have been very popular and you can see why.  They’re so easy to work with.  Just plop them in a vase or in this case, a galvanized flower bucket.  They really can be on display from late summer/harvest season through New Year’s.  So many options!  They look good alone or with an accent flower.  I thought it was fun to pair them with twigs and vintage arrows for this vignette.  I used just 3 stems in each bucket to get this look.

cotton & arrows

The other accessories include feather balls, mini pumpkins and antler ornaments.  The antlers are small reproductions so they’re sort of guilt free for people who are into the antler trend but not a fan of decorating with animal relics.  They’re available at West End Garage too along with a quickly growing collection of ornaments.  Tis the season!

simply natural fall mantel

simply natural fall mantel

I got my wish of beautifully stacked wood after pining and pinning!  Our wood burning stove has been installed and is ready for winter.  I love how the seasoned wood accents this display and gives purpose to the mantel.  And the faux bois planter certainly doesn’t hurt.

fall mantel display with stacked wood

Peering past the mantel into the corner, you can see the Captain has something new over there and it’s not just the orange raffia pumpkin (also available at West End Garage).  He’s perched up on a vintage 6-drawer card catalog which I am super excited about.  I spotted this in an antique shop and spent a week dreaming about it for this space while fearing it would be gone by the time I got back.  It was there waiting for me and it is the ideal fit for this corner.  Plus the drawers are the perfect size to hold DVDs.

fall card catalog side table preview

I am deciding where to go from here with it, aesthetically.  It needs to be boosted up a few inches to true side table status.  Probably with casters since I seem to put casters on everything in my home.  Also, should I paint it?  That corner seems dark and the wood isn’t anything spectacular.  Linen seems like a viable option – maybe just the frame and not the drawers?  Please do weigh in!  Would you paint a vintage card catalog?

wine down

I had the opportunity to do a little wine-ing down this weekend.  A much-needed girls getaway for sure!  Have you ever been to Long Island?

Long Island Wine Trail

I was completely blown away by the beauty.  It boasts everything I love rolled into one, well, long island. We stayed in North Fork, Suffolk county on a harbor nestled amongst the wineries.

LI wine trail

The majestic fall color was in its prime.

Long Island Wine Trail 7

Vineyards galore.  One right after another and then another and another.

Long Island Wine Trail 4

Antique stores!  Yes, Long Island had some gorgeous little shops full of inspiring displays.

Long Island Wine Trail 7

Long Island Wine Trail 6

Clever repurposing ideas.  I’d love to replicate this wine bottle “wall” somewhere.

Long Island Wine Trail 2

Beautiful old farmhouses and farm markets…all along the bay.

Long Island Wine Trail 3

Long Island Wine Trail 9

If you are looking for a getaway, I’d highly recommend a weekend trip out to Long Island.  It is just another reason to love this beautiful country!

Long Island Wine Trail 5

But back to biz!  Next up, I will be at The Painted Home’s Holiday Pop-Up Shop with 2 of my favorite comical and creative bloggers.  I’ll be alongside Kelly of Eclectically Vintage and Denise of The Painted Home this Friday from 2-8…or until we run out of wine.

Painted Home pop up

Unfortunately, I can’t make it Saturday so be sure to come for Friday happy hour if you want to see a free milk paint demo!  Good thing I just came back from wine country.  There will be plenty to share plus some tasty treats to pair!  Yup, I’m a poet.

   Long Island Wine Trail 8

happy halloween

What has 12 legs,

floppy ears,

a mean web

and a tail?

spider beagle halloween Wilson

Wilson, this Halloween!

Wilson spider

I am sure Wilson is wondering once again how he got stuck with the crazies.

Have a safe and festive Halloween, everyone!

it’s soup weather

I finally did it.

Yep, I finally made my own healthy and light butternut squash soup.  After hearing about my mom’s and mother-in-law’s versions.  I decided to try my own spin and so Apple Butternut Squash Soup was born over here on a chilly October day.

apple butternut squash soup recipe

It was simple, friends.  There was barely anything left in the refrigerator except for a large butternut squash taunting me.  Plus 3 golden apples – I can’t remember the variety.  And 3 lonely, nearly forgotten about radishes.  I know.  Radishes.  What do you do with these other than throw them in a salad?  I found out that they taste pretty darn good in a warm creamy soup.  Radishes seemed to give a little bit of bite where you might otherwise use an onion.  An onion we didn’t have.

apple butternut squash soup

So that’s where I started.  I chopped and peeled the squash, apples and radishes.  Then boiled the chunks in a large sauce pan.  Once soft I pureed them all in a blender.

Once the fruit and vegetables were a nice creamy consistency, I tossed them back in the empty sauce pan along with 16 ounces of vegetable stock and let simmer.

I seasoned with salt and pepper.  A teaspoon of cinnamon, half teaspoon of ginger, quarter teaspoon of cloves and quarter teaspoon of thyme.

About 20 minutes later, we had this healthy soup for lunch!

apple butternut squash soup recipe

Alongside the soup, I came up with a fantastic new smoothie that was a little bit more like dessert!  It consisted of a banana, spoonful of peanut butter, spoonful of raw honey, 2 spoonfuls of vanilla Greek yogurt, kale and about half a cup of coffee.

java green smoothie and apple butternut squash soup

Yum!  It was a mid-day energy boost.  And surprisingly, the flavor complemented the Apple Butternut Squash Soup so well.  We’ll call this one the Java Green Smoothie.

chestnut hill, here we come

I have always loved the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia.  It is situated in the northwest corner of the city and boasts lots of historic charm on either side of Germantown Avenue.  I grew up in the suburbs to the north and my first grown up home was in the Philadelphia neighborhood of Manayunk, just south of Chestnut Hill.  To me, Chestnut Hill has always been a sweet spot between the suburbs and the city – literally and figuratively.  The are large, historic homes and mature trees plus its very own flavor of urban flair found on Germantown Ave. which is lined with unique small businesses.

Last spring when I found out that Clover Market would be venturing to Chestnut Hill for one day, I was all over it.  One of my favorite neighborhoods in the area?  Plus my favorite vintage market where I love being a seller?  In beautiful, crisp October?  Yes, please!

Clover

Circa Dee will be at Clover Market in Chestnut Hill on Sunday, October 27th from 10-5.  The market is located at 25 W. Highland Ave. off of Germantown Ave.  For information on this new location and parking, click here.

It is our last market of the season so we are bringing it!  I am talking about the goods we have been hoarding for months if not years.  Some never seen before and some of my favorites from my own collection are going to be up for sale too.

Like this 1940s enamel kitchen table in a rare large size with 4 chairs and 2 cutlery drawers with glass knobs.

1940s enamel top table

My beloved painted antique piano stool.  Tear.

piano stool

This mid-century swivel club chair.

mid-century swivel chair

And these vintage library chairs which sadly I have no use for…

Library Chairs

Can you tell I am itching to do some redecorating this winter?  Or at least make room for Christmas decorating.  Yes, I went there.  Speaking of Christmas, Clover is a good place to get started on your holiday shopping with over 100 art and antique vendors.

Picture 034

Is there anything else you’ve been coveting that I can be talked into selling?!  Not my dog or husband – everything else is negotiable!  Will we see you Sunday at this new Clover Market location?

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?

autumn

Well friends, I thought I’d have a furniture project to share with you today but it is not quite ready.  Let’s just say I am loving one of the new milk paint colors called Artissimo.  And stalling on photographing the finished product.  The color is a perfect smokey navy so stay tuned.

In the meantime, let me remind all of the locals that I will be at Serendipity in Doylestown, PA tomorrow demonstrating how to mix and use milk paint.  Oh yes, with the new mixer!

MMS October flier

We are off to a photoshoot today where we are the subjects.  It involves this guy.  A canoe.  And maybe my wedding dress…squeal!  Can’t wait to share details.

Colorado autumn

That photo was taken on our trip to Colorado a few years ago in October.  I love looking through these pictures each fall and reliving our adventure.  It was fabulous.  The fall colors were magnificent.

Colorado autumn

New Mexico

Although we don’t have majestic mountains here, hopefully we’ll capture some golden foliage today and reflective water.  The rest of the photos and our entire trip itinerary can be seen here.

Colorado autumn

Happy autumn!

spiced pumpkin bread

For as many years as I can remember, I have been making my tried and true pumpkin shortbread.  I wish I could remember the original source for this recipe but it has been so long.  I particularly love it because a.) it is so tasty and b.) it yields 3 loaves.  One for us, one to gift and one to freeze for later.

Spiced Pumpkin Bread Recipe

This year though I tweaked my recipe to make it just a little bit healthier or “cleaner” as we are on a quest to eat fewer processed foods.  I started with subbing white flour for whole wheat flour and refined sugar for raw sugar.

It is also the first time I made it with actual pumpkin versus the canned stuff.  In fact, I plucked this one right from my porch.  Yum, so much tastier with the real thing!

natural fall vignette

I’d love to try tweaking the recipe even further by substituting the vegetable oil for perhaps more pumpkin puree.  I think some of the sugar could possibly be substituted for apple sauce too based on what I’ve read.

But anyway, here’s the recipe as it stands today, just a little bit “cleaner” or less processed.

15 ounces real pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
3 cups raw sugar
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

WholeWheatFlour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 7×3 inch loaf pans.

Remove the skin of a small pumpkin.  Cut in chunks and boil until pumpkin is soft.  Puree in a blender or food processor.

spiced pumpkin bread

In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.

Bake for about 50 minutes.

Spiced Pumpkin Bread Recipe

The spiced pumpkin bread is perfect paired with a cup of coffee!

You’ll notice that I had a squash in my fall porch vignette too.  It is also long gone because we ate it!  (So is that little zucchini.)

natural fall vignette

You may have caught a snippet on my instagram or facebook of the butternut squash & spinach lasagna that we had for dinner last week.  It was so good!  I followed the SkinnyTaste recipe posted here.  Delish!  However, I didn’t roll the noodles as recommended.

I would make this again for the creamy butternut squash sauce alone.  We used the extra for pasta a few nights later.

butternut squash lasagna

Looks like I need to redecorate since we ate most of my fall porch vignette.  What fall dishes are you cooking up?

P.S. This Sunday we’ll be at Clover Market with a truck full of vintage finds!  And next weekend I’ll be at Serendipity showing you how milk paint works.  Hope to see you soon!

MMS October flier

Sharing at the Pumpkin Parade!

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.