a brilliant recap

Guys, I’ve been knee deep in wedding stuff over here.  We are getting down to the final stretch!  Lots of projects and details are on the horizon…woohoo!  But I can’t share them until after the wedding so I’d like to give you a little garden inspiration today.

Sunflowers always make me happy.


As you may recall from last week, the Philadelphia Flower Show was in full bloom.  I have rarely missed the annual event since I was in high school.  I really love plants, floral design, gardening and landscapes.  Fun fact, my first job ever was in a flower shop!  Which led me to pursue a technical program in horticulture in high school and then a Bachelors degree in Ornamental Horticulture in college. While I am not quite doing anything professional with the Horticulture degree, the education has certainly been a backbone for me in my career.

I love to visit the educational exhibits at the flower show.  My Alma mater, DelVal, featured a spin on Sherlock Homes: The Mystery of Dr. Black’s Garden which allowed you to walk through the exhibit and identify invasive species.  Their interactive exhibit won best achievement in plant education.


The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society hosts the show and typically displays sustainable ways to garden in small spaces.  Sticking with the English theme of “Brilliant”, PHS put together a vertical garden displaying the Union Jack flag.  I was delightfully distracted by the wall of lush green plants and didn’t even notice the flag until I took a step back.


There are so many details like that throughout the show.  So much thought goes into these displays.  For example, this quaint potting shed seems to have it all including a wood burning stove!


And the stacked wood outside of the shed is so satisfying.  Sigh.  I think I’ll work on making my potting shed this quaint and inviting.  Every year I say that right about now.


There were also quite a few repurposed ideas popping up in the garden displays.  One of my favorite displays was from event floral designer, Petals Lane.  They never disappoint and this year their display included lots of vintage furniture and treasures in a mad tea party setting.


I simply can not get past the use of vintage trunks…as planters.  Amazing!  You know how I feel about trunks, right?  The repetitiveness of the trunk planters made a huge impact.  However, before you go and plant a trunk this season realize that this would definitely not hold up to the elements outside.  This is a great idea for an event though.


How did they do this?  Wheelbarrows stacked 7 or 8 deep in another display.


And for a simple repurpose idea…I like how these barrel trash cans double as planters.  Great for a small area.


Notching a fallen log as pictured below makes a great business card holder.  I am filing this idea away for future ways to display marketing collateral.


And while we’re on the subject of trees, I found this life size sketch to be so striking.


And this abstract display depicting rain in London was just massive!  I love how the designers used tropical flowers and props to represent the rain.  I can’t even imagine how difficult it is to suspend all of those umbrellas.


And finally…these bright Gerbera daisies were just calling my name in their happy metallic pots.


Did you go to the flower show?  What was your favorite exhibit?

sunny la & milk paint

I was fortunate to spend last weekend in warm and sunny Los Angeles.  The trip came at the perfect time.  I wasn’t sure how much longer I could stand the cold, grey east coast days.  Don’t get me wrong, I love having 4 seasons and being a Philly area native but, man, the end of winter drags on, doesn’t it?

Of course this big ol’ rosette succulent was growing in LA, not here.


I left my camera behind but I did end up capturing a bit of vintage eye candy with my phone.  I shared a few on instagram throughout the weekend.  In case you missed it, here goes…

The west coast has so many swoon-worthy low slung midcentury sofas.  Love them all and don’t you know I was lucky enough to come home to my very own moved right into the living room!  (You may remember my rant about my sofa and other furniture last week.  Reveal to come soon.)


Last week on Apartment Therapy, I read a feature about a new vintage store called Shopclass LA.  It looked divine online so of course I had to go, don’t you know.  This is a must visit next time you are in town.  They nailed the Danish modern style at a really great price point even for LA.  So many fun treasures to be found…


I am pretty sure Colleen at Freshvintage should own this neon sign.  I wonder what it costs to ship.


They had maps, tons of maps but I particularly liked this crazy chair display.


But the real reason I was in town was not to go vintage shopping.  You all know I do enough of that.  It was to celebrate a friend’s baby shower which was held at Spin at the Standard Hotel.

baby shower

If you want to figure out a way to get guys to go to a co-ed baby shower, include a ping-pong tournament.  Everyone had a blast!



I found a few benches to swoon over at Spin.  This roughed up parsons style one had me feeling all warm and rustic inside.  Who knew sanding a bench and then not following through with the paint and primer would look so cool?


And there were 2 of these vintage locker benches.  So simply old school.

But there is certainly no place like home…faux rust and all…


So that was my trip in a vintage nutshell.  Do you have any spring break plans?

Now that I’m back home, I have all of the dates and details ironed out for our first ever milk paint workshop series! 

Drumroll please…I have added a new workshop tab at the top of the page to address everything.  Let me know if you have any questions, comments or would like to join us as we paint our way through spring!  The first workshop is on Thursday, April 11th.

a year in review

Omigosh what a year it has been!

Hello everyone.  By now you may have noticed that I took a mini blogging break since Christmas.  Or maybe you haven’t noticed.  That’s fine too.  I didn’t imagine you sitting on the edge of your seat hitting refresh at circadee.com waiting for project updates or anything.  Although if you were, I really appreciate it (Mom).

Hopefully you took some time to recharge with friends and family as well.  I kind of loved the break actually.  I didn’t do a thing before 9 am and ate lots of sweets.  Yup, but I can’t go on like that forever can I?  And I miss my paint brush.  Like a lot.

So later this week I will get back into the swing of things but in the meantime I’d like to review 2012 here.  I’ve been reflecting on it quite a bit offline this week.

2012 was crazy both personally and business-wise.  I met so many goals and aspirations that I’ve always had.


Our top project was the pallet wood backsplash and our top referer was Apartment Therapy who posted the project in January.  Yup, they beat out Pinterest as top referer which is surprising.  Maybe I need to work on my pinning tactics from a social media standpoint.  Maybe.

Pallet Wood Backsplash

Other top read posts continue to include the now famous mumkin which was actually published the end of 2011.


And my tips on waxing furniture.  I need to write and updated version of this in 2013 for all of you DIYers.

Brass Hardware

Plus my tips on pinning and pictures took the entry level blog world by storm.  I also need to write a much overdue follow up to this in 2013.  You can see how my goals list is evolving for 2013.

Blogging Basics: Pictures & Pinning

And one of my favorite projects was our penny tile countertop that we did for my niece.  Still love this little project and she plays with her kitchen all of the time!  Success.

Penny Tile

Biz Developments

On the business side, I couldn’t be happier.  In 2012 we set out to take Circa Dee from a hobby business to a full time business and we did just that with a lot of blood, sweat and tears.

In June we opened up our little Brick & Mortar shop in the absolutely perfect standalone 2 story building at Center Point Pond.


In July we opened up a second location at the West End Garage in Cape May, NJ.  And in December we doubled our space there which is starting to feel like home!

West End Garage

Circa Dee also became a stockist for Miss Mustard Seed’s milk paint in our area.


And last but certainly not least we were chosen as the next home show designer for the Philadelphia Home Show which will take place the first week of February 2013.  Yup, just over a month away.  Can’t wait to see the room come together and I’m so honored to take on this project!

Philadelphia Home Show Designer


2012 was also a big year for us personally.  Ryan and I got engaged in April.  After the summer we began planning our wedding which will take place in Spring 2013.

Dana & Ryan - Circa Dee

Our only setback in 2012 was Ryan’s diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis.  However, we’re working on lifestyle changes to combat the disease and keep us both in good health.  And we’re looking for more ways to get involved in finding a cure for MS.

Overall 2012 has been one for the books!  We’ve learned so much.  I am so thankful and can’t wait to see what the next year has in store for us and Circa Dee.  Thanks for coming along for the ride with us!

How about you?  How was 2012?  What are you looking forward to in 2013?

Happy New Year Friends!