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

Christmas 2014-5360

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.

Christmas tree-366

 

our pet project

Hey friends!  Thanks for all of the love, support and kind words regarding our move to Cape May and our quest to live on less.  Yesterday, we hit a milestone – six months of marriage!

© Love Shack Photo

Those six months definitely flew by and, as described, so much has changed!  We’re getting to the point where we’re settled into our new lifestyle and home.  Along with the aforementioned changes, exciting new opportunities have developed.  Opportunities that we may not have had the chance to pursue otherwise.

The silver lining, my friends, is that Ryan is now managing his very own pet boutique…with Wilson’s expertise of course!

houndstooth

I realize many readers here frequent The West End Garage in Cape May and may have even found Circa Dee through the shop.  So next time you pop in the fun and fabulous marketplace be sure to visit Houndstooth and pick something up for your best friend!  In the meantime, Houndstooth is on facebook with regular updates.

houndstooth banner

Houndstooth specializes in eco-friendly products Made in the USA!

Zisc

Plus lots of fun collars in extra small for cats through extra large for big dogs.

marlin collar mustache collar

Ryan has also put together a few Houndstooth Exclusive items that will be featured on the facebook page.  If you love Cape May as much as we do, I think you will love these for your best friend!  Stay tuned.

Recently I was told there wasn’t enough Wilson here on the blog anymore.  Being that he is the Houndstooth muse, it is pretty much all Wilson all the time over there!

 

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!

accessorizing the bridal party

Hello!  Hello!  How was everyone’s weekend?  We are enjoying some unseasonably cool weather here.  It is like a fall preview.  I LOVE it.  But enough of the small talk.  I’m sharing more pics and deets from our wedding along with another DIY.

© Love Shack Photo

Today we are chatting about accessorizing your peeps with flowers.  When to go fresh and when to go fabric.

DIY Fabric Boutonniere

In the name of organization, we knocked out a few boutonnieres months prior to the big day.  If you are a Circa Dee diehard, you may even recognize some of the fabric used.  I didn’t get crazy about sourcing the perfect fabric for these flowers.  Instead, just pulled scraps from previous upholstery projects in blues and neutrals that would complement the color scheme.  Bridezilla?  I think not.

© Love Shack Photo

Hunter, our ring bearer, and Wilson’s escort has a more playful color palette with a splash of pink and aqua – kind of like the centerpieces.  His seersucker vest is from crewcuts.

© Love Shack Photo

Wilson opted for a more traditional look with a matching seersucker bow tie and leash from etsy.

© Love Shack Photo

He decided he’d like to take a seat during the ceremony rather than stand up front.  Seriously, I know.

© Love Shack Photo

I’m obsessed with this dog.  Judge me if you want.  But first, just look at that face…

Dana & Ryan Cape May Wedding

Oh, hey!  Look at these dapper guys.  They went fresh in the flower department.

© Love Shack Photo

Shawn, the best man, sported a throwback baby’s breath boutonniere that matched Leigh’s bouquet.

© Love Shack Photo

That was a bit of a vintage spin on the personal flowers.  The baby’s breath bouquet and boutonnierre were easy to DIY.  I gathered a bunch and constructed them with floral tape covered with ribbon just a few days prior to the ceremony.

© Love Shack Photo

What’s a wedding without a little air guitar?  Huh?  I can only imagine some Journey was being belted out of my gaping open mouth.  Don’t stop believing, friends.

© Love Shack Photo

So Ryan and I went with fresh flowers.  (I’m really tempted to say “fresh to death” here because we were at the Jersey shore after all but I am refraining.  Or am I?)  Anyway, a fresh flower bouquet of with a pale color palette of thistle, roses, lisianthus, sweet pea, ranunculus and seeded eucalyptus…

© Love Shack Photo

to match Ryan’s ranunculus boutonniere.

© Love Shack Photo

These I cannot take credit for.  Our flowers were created on our wedding day by my very talented friend, Renee.

© Love Shack Photo

She also helped construct the fabric boutonnieres months prior (among many other things!).

DIY Fabric Boutonniere

Now for the DIY… we simply cut long fabric scraps – say about 2 feet x 2 inches.  Twirled the fabric tightly round and round, hot gluing with each pass and strategically folding the fabric over to create the look of a blooming rose.  We garnished each a little differently with either lace ribbon (left from the invitations), mossy green wire or green raffia wire to create “leaves”.  Once complete, it was glued to felt backing and then to safety pins.  Easy.  And not just for weddings.  This DIY can totally be used to deck out kids backpacks, hats, etc.

I leave you with this image.  Aqua chucks.  The must have reception accessory for my dad.  For those who know him, you know Chucks are absolutely his style.  The aqua part is all mine.

© Love Shack Photo

Photos by Love Shack Photo

directional guidance

It has been a crazy busy summer already.  We’ve barely come up for air.  Honestly, a small cry from how we planned to spend our summer.  But someone once told me life is what happens when you make plans.  So true.  Less planning, more living.

So when we do get a minute to breath, we relish in reviewing our wedding photos over and over again. We notice something new every time and relive that perfect day when just about all of our friends and family were in the same place, just a few months ago.  Which, by the way, doesn’t help us select photos to frame and to put in an album nor determine which should end up on the cutting room floor, as they say.

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Speaking of, there are so many hysterical dance floor photos that I am considering posting an outtake reel here…although I may be disowned by a few people.  (If you beg me, I will totally post it though.)  Signature dance moves, silly faces and all.

© Love Shack Photo

N-E-way, where did we leave off in the wedding DIY deets?  We talked about the cake and the must have cake table.

Dana & Ryan Cape May Wedding

We talked about the DIY trailhead highlighting where all of our friends and family traveled from.

© Love Shack Photo

I think that transitions nicely into the map thang we had going on…

© Love Shack Photo

I racked my brain over what to do with the table settings.  We knew right away that we would have food stations for dinner. This created a party atmosphere (which isn’t hard to do with our group) as opposed to a formal sit down dinner where people felt like they couldn’t get up and mingle as they please.  There is nothing wrong with that setting but it just wasn’t what we were going for.

© Love Shack Photo

With all of that said, I didn’t want the tables to be bare either since the food would be served at the stations.

© Love Shack Photo

Enter 160 atlas pages to the scene, my friends.  I found old and new ones.  The blue, green and yellow colors coordinated perfectly with our springy palette.  Each page served as a charger or place mat.  Also, a subtle nod to the “On the Way to Cape May” theme.  With a splash of burlap for good measure.  Oh and here’s a secret for you if this look is up your alley:  Take your atlases to FedEx/Kinko’s to have the pages cut in bulk.  It will save you hours upon hours of time tearing and cutting pages.

© Love Shack Photo

Bonus, everyone was encouraged to scribble notes to us on their map.  This ended up being totally entertaining for guests as they waited for dinner and an icebreaker at a few tables.

© Love Shack Photo

Plus, we jumped on the instagram trend and incorporated our own wedding hashtag (#recanize) and encouraged guests to share their candids.  It is a blast to relive them every time and we plan to make a little album of candids with maps as the scrapbook pages.  One of these days.

For brides-to-be out there, we placed note cards at each table communicating the hashtag info to guests…

instagram hashtag

Go ahead, take a look at the hashtag on instagram.  You know you want to.

And one more map for the road….ha, get it? Road? Ok.  Our guest book was a guest map which we framed.  People signed all over the country and of course Cape May had a little heart on it.  I found this on etsy.

© Love Shack Photo

I have to admit that I restrained myself from being an etsy bride.  I only ordered this map, which was made locally, and Wilson’s seersucker bowtie and leash which is just priceless as far as I’m concerned.

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Next up…the centerpieces.  And why I might have been temporarily insane for doing them all myself just days before my wedding.  What was I thinking?  Come back on Friday to find out!

© Love Shack Photo

All professional photos shot by the talented folks at Love Shack Photo.

the CSA way

This summer we joined a CSA for the first time. All I can say is, why didn’t we do this sooner?

csa (10 of 10)

We love everything about the experience!  We’ve been introduced to so many new varieties of vegetables which is right in line with our new healthy diet.

Raise your hand if you know what kohlrabi is.  Two months ago, I had never heard of it and I went to an agricultural college in the area!  Now it is one of our new favorite vegetables.  Unfortunately, they’re pretty much done for the season but that’s ok because we’ve moved onto tasty summer squashes.

csa (1 of 10)

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  In the spring, we paid a membership fee to Pennypack Farm and as a result we pick up 6 shares of locally grown produce & herbs weekly during the summer harvest season.  It has quickly become my favorite day of the week!

The shares offered weekly change as the growing season changes.  It’s like Pandora’s box of produce.  Being part of a CSA also challenges us in the kitchen because you have to work each week’s offerings to create delicious meals.  My latest concoction was beet stuffed peppers with a dollop of local honey.  Delish!

csa (3 of 10)

This week we got to pick our own string beans which we took right home and had for dinner.  It doesn’t get any fresher than that!

csa (4 of 10)

We go very few places without Wilson.  So its awesome that dogs are allowed on the farm too!

csa (5 of 10)

As a bonus we get to harvest flowers from the cutting garden.

csa (7 of 10)

csa (8 of 10)

Summertime and the livin’ is easy….

csa (2 of 10)

If you have the opportunity to join a CSA next year, I highly recommend it.  It will expand your palette and culinary skills as well as support local farms and farmers.  I have to thank Karen, a blog reader, for referring us to our CSA!

new at west end garage

Happy weekend! The first day of December, yay!

So Thursday was a sign painting kind of day. Here’s a glimpse.

signs

I wasn’t supposed to be working yesterday and for the most part I didn’t. I had a great day off!  However, I did pop into West End Garage to add these finished pieces to my space.  I need to wrap up the others.

The largest vintage book page wreath you ever did see. It’s huge! And it smells like the library!  You know what I’m talking about.  I kind of love that old book smell.  Anyway, this wreath would be a really cool focal above a mantel.

book page wreath

I have been in luck with finding some great old shutters and doors lately. This door is part of a silo so I was told.   You can tell the bottom was cut off.  Maybe someone out there knows if it was for a silo?  I love the hardware. I really wanted something simple and Christmasy so I went with a vintage Santa outline.

vintage painted santa door

And then of course I needed a new Cape May sign. The coastal green shutter is a perfect contrast for the song lyrics.  These have been popular signs so I try to stock one in my space frequently!

Cape May sign

And I’ll have you know that Wilson contributed very little to these projects.

Wilson

Have a great weekend!

P.S.  Don’t forget about the Inspired You book giveaway.  You have until midnight EST tonight to enter.

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

on the road

Today was a pretty great day.  The perfect fall day to be on the road with my sidekick, Wilson.  (This was the best shot he’d give me.)  Fall is still hanging on and the sun was shining high.  We had a gorgeous drive.

We made a new friend who was all about posing for the camera.

She wasn’t shy at all.  In fact she gave me her better side.

And then invited me in for a tour.

I don’t know what it is about barns and farms in general that I am enamored with.  I suppose it is a lifestyle that I know little about having grown up in the suburbs but I’m always caught off guard by all of the simple, natural undeveloped beauty a farm offers.

And the old construction of the barns plus the new patina.  Boy, what I would do with that door.  It would look great above my mantel.

So what was a non-farm girl like me doing on this beautiful horse farm?  My upholsterer’s studio is located there!  I know.  Amazing.  I love taking that trip.  There are a couple of cute outbuildings and several homes on the property including a grand old farm house!

Back to biz though.  I picked up a fabulous club chair that I will post about next week after I tweak the finish.

Wilson and I made a few other pickups today.  Mostly of the holiday merchandise type.  Specifically vintage and handmade!

We also made some wreaths, painted a bit and planted paperwhites when we returned home.  Actually who am I kidding?  Wilson took a nap!  I did those things.

Prep mode continues for the holidays at our Brick & Mortar.  Hope you’ll come visit this weekend!  Open Saturday & Sunday 10-5.  Don’t forget, we have Miss Mustard Seed milk paint in stock too!

Other local events that I am participating in this weekend include viewing Freud’s Last Session at Arden Theatre after attending The Scene.

And on Saturday night I will launch my modeling career at The Frock Shoppe’s charity fashion show.  And then I’ll retire my modeling career.

What are your plans for the weekend?