all American

Hello!  Hello!  For all of my American readers, did you vote yet today?  Don’t forget, mmm kay?  It is your right!  Here at casa di Circa Dee we always vote Beagle.

How could we not?  Everyone knows Wilson is the boss around here.

I found that great beagle political poster at cafepress.  They have a few other breeds as well but you’ll probably just want to obey the beagle.

No, this isn’t a sponsored post by beagles around the nation.  Or cafepress.  I am getting to the project here…

The posters come in different sizes but none are your standard frame size.  Ours was 11×16.  As you probably know, having a custom frame made costs oodles of dollars.  So Ryan made one for us.

Out of…ready for it…chestnut wood!

Why am I so excited about a chestnut frame?  Oh because the horticultural nerd in me is about to come out.  Have you ever heard of the American chestnut blight?

Back in the day, a.k.a. like 100 years ago, nearly all chestnut trees in North America were wiped out.  They’re practically extinct now because of a fungus that was introduced to the trees.  If you’re so inclined, you can read more about the chestnut blight here.

So if you come across anything truly made of chestnut you can A.) pretty much guarantee that it is an antique and B.) buy it because it is a little piece of American history.  We had the opportunity to buy a few chestnut hardwood floor boards recently.  Honestly, they sat in the garage for a few months.  Until Ryan put together this custom frame for our beagle propaganda.  I ordered a piece of glass and we added some hardware and foam core board to the back.

Of course I love the wear and tear the hardwoods show from a previous life of being walked all over.

Our new to us frame coordinates nicely with an antique chestnut chest we just got to use as a media console.  I will share that in a future post as this room is not quite finished yet.

As for custom frames, I love them!  The look and feel of reclaimed hardwoods, painted floorboards and molding being given a new life as a frame is just so cool.

We have a few open frames on our mantel right now.

We just completed a set of 3 layered frames for our friend’s wedding photos.  They came out really cool too.  Also, another photo I will have to share at a future date.

And you may remember our original floorboard frame.  Still my fave.

However, we are moving away from creating our own reclaimed wood frames due to time constraints.  But we’ve found a great US-based company who does just that!  We’ve started stocking them in our shop.  Part of growing a business, I’ve quickly learned, is figuring out what to outsource and what to keep in-house.

They make unique gifts!  And we can still have custom colors and sizes made.  In fact, they have a stellar selection of colors!  I’m so happy to have found this artisan.  I’m pretty sure Ryan is too since frame making sort of fell under him.

In honor of election day, I kept this post all American for you – voting, American history and outsourcing in America. Now go vote!

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.

small wonders

Yesterday we celebrated Ryan’s birthday. His 35th! I can’t believe I am actually old enough to marry someone that is 35. I still think I am like 17. I’m not. Even Close.  Anyway, we had a nice day that ended with dinner al fresco at our favorite sushi place with our favorite dining partner.

Wilson seems a little hungover this morning.  It must’ve been all that sake.  His birthday is coming up next…

But enough about my boys, onto a before & after.  A little one.

I picked up a bland stool a few weeks back.  You know the type.  The oak ind that can be used as a stool or seat.

I wanted to have some fun with this one so I painted it in a custom mixed Annie Sloan pink.

Then I painted on tandem bike on the seat/stool.

When it is used as a seat, you can see “ride on.” on the seat back.

Wouldn’t this be fun in a little girl’s room?

Or as a stool at the sink for her?

This will be for sale at next weekend’s BRICK & MORTAR sale.  Yes, it is already time for our August sale!  The theme is Camp Vintage so there will be lots of great ideas for bringing outdoor, vintage style into your home.  Come see us August 10th – 12th.


Linking to Primitive & Proper

treasure monday

I have been reading all of the Lucketts recaps out there in blog world.  I really wish I could have went to the antique market in Virginia this past weekend.  It sounds amazing…15 acres…170 dealers.  Swoon!  Judging by everyone’s pictures, it looks like there was a ton of talent and treasures to be had.  Hmmph…if only we could have made it.  We’re a little glum about it here but next year for sure.

We spent the weekend tending to our long overdue garden work. Lots of weeding, planting and mulching.  We also celebrated 3 birthdays with one each day.  Very busy, however, I did manage to find some new vintage treasures.  Lots of fun smalls.

Here are the highlights…

I am loving these salvaged fence finials.  They would make great upcycled wine stoppers.

Very old roller skates. I just couldn’t turn these down. They are pictured with a wooden toolbox. I got a couple of those.

Something about these cow creamers drew me in. So unique and I believe that Pottery Barn (or was it Crate & Barrel?) produced an all white version of these recently. Nothing like having the original.

This hand hook rug is like a million years old but the colors are still vibrant. I am on the hunt for more worn, hooked throw rugs like this one.  Sorry for the lousy picture quality.

If you follow me on facebook, you probably saw my mid-week find. A vintage pink thermos! I am smitten with it.  It is just asking to chill a summer sangria!

Another day, another scale…I’m still not sick of them.

How was your weekend? Did you go to Lucketts or treasure hunt elsewhere?

Linking to Apron Thrift Girl, Southern Hospitality


I love salvages.  And I love antique co-ops.  No surprises there!  So when I stepped foot in Black Dog Salvage in Roanoke, VA I was in heaven.  All of that under one huge roof!

Ummm and it’s dog friendly!  Yes, I took Wilson antiquing.  And Ryan too.

Wilson got along rather well with Sally the Salvage Dog.  Isn’t she sweet?  I suppose she is sleeping on the job though.

Of course it is very difficult trying to get a picture of 2 dogs together.  Here’s my best attempt.

Ok so enough about the pups of Black Dog Salvage…I first heard about this mecca when the store was featured on the Nate Show last year and knew that it was a must see.  When we planned out our road trip to Savannah, I realized that Roanoke was a route we could take.  So on our way back up north we made the salvage a pit stop.  At the time, I did not realize how huge the place really was nor did I ever imagine they’d allow Wilson to come in. 

The people working there were so nice.  I found a kindred spirit in Courtney who loves to paint and has recently discovered the wonders of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint too.  And hello she paints and salvages for a living!  Dream.  Black Dog stocks ASCP!

I also met Christa who does a heck of a job maintaining Black Dog’s blog.  Did you ever wonder where salvaged stuff comes from?  What did it look like in its original state?  She blogs about those old homes and buildings and the finds.  Amaze.

Sorry to say that I slacked big time on taking pics there because I was just entranced at the huge, huge warehouse, marketplace and outdoor space all filled with, well, old junk!  You know how much I love old junk.

So just trust me when I say you’ve got to visit Black Dog Salvage if you’re ever near Roanoke.  And no this isn’t a sponsored post.  The place is just that cool.

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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still loving…

Hey there!  We’re still off enjoying our spring break.  In the meantime, I want to share an oldie but goodie from last spring that I still totally love!

It’s my sunroom that I updated last year.  Here’s what it looked like then although it continues to evolve.

This time of year it is the best place to hang out.  The room is enclosed with sliding glass windows so I can sit out there at any time with a book, a project, some wine, whatever.

The best part is the transformation that I did to the vintage patio furniture.  Here’s what the chair used to look like.

Now it is Wilson’s favorite spot to catch an afternoon nap!

If you’re new around here at Circa Dee, you can check out last year’s post for details on the furniture transformation and pictures of the whole room.  You can also see how much my photography skills have evolved in a year!  I’m mighty proud of that.

Ok back to my vaca.


Linking to Thrifty Decor Chick

pinning & framing spring

A couple of weeks ago when signs of spring started to emerge here in PA, I was itching for a new wreath for my front door.  I spied a pretty one out shopping but it was $40 which didn’t seem like a necessary purchase at the time.  I knew I had plenty of materials to make a new wreath at home so I vowed to not spend any money on a spring wreath and only use materials around my house.  But I was tired of the tried and true round wreaths I have on hand.  (I have a ton.)  I took to pinterest for some pinspiration.  I typed in “spring wreath” and the results were gorgeous and overwhelming.  I finally decided on fabric flowers and a square wreath which was inspired by this pin.

Here is what I came up with in under an hour…

It was so simple to make once I had the vision. First, I shopped the garage and found an old nondescript frame which lost its glass long ago.  A light coat of hot pink spray paint brightened it up but allowed the grain to still show through.

Next, I perused the yard for some twigs which I spray painted white. Then I cruised fabric scraps where I found some springy colors.

Wilson also assisted in creating the door decor.  Because the frame was kind of thin, I took some leftover foam core board and cut a triangle to add in the lower corner with glue.

For the flowers, I cut various strips of fabric anywhere from about 10-18 inches long and just a couple of inches wide.  The larger the piece of fabric, the larger the flower.  Obv.  Then I twisted and turned and fluffed the fabric as pictured below until I got something sort of resembling a blooming rose.  I added a dab of hot glue to the end which I pulled through like a loose knot.

Then I hot glued the twigs and flowers in a delightful pattern onto the frame and foam core board.

Wilson conducted a quality check.

And he approved of the final product. 

Up on the door the spring wreath went.

Replacing the old feather wreath which is so un-springy. It looked like a flock of pigeons were laid to rest at my front door. Which may be an ok look for winter (if dead pigeons is ever an ok look) but not for spring!

Out with death and in with new life!  Bright and cheery for $0 and less than an hour from concept to finish.

Have you found any pinspiration for your spring decor?

Linking to:  Thrifty Decor Chick, Southern Hospitality, It’s a Cinch

who’s walking who

Remember that pile of projects I showed you last week?  Well I didn’t make much progress on those this weekend.  Instead I started new ones!  Typical.  We painted lots of things too – a frame, a door, a dresser, a sign.  Ace has a new paint out, Clark + Kensington.  On Saturday, they were giving out free quarts of any color you choose.  Let’s just say we may have gone back more than once.  Now we’ve just added to the long list of in progress projects.  Details to come, of course.

Let me get to the eye candy of the post – the week’s vintage finds.  My favorite time of the week is sharing the loot here and now!

The top score was this oh so very cool drink cart.  I have a weak spot for these little carts but rarely do I buy them.  The price was right so I snatched it up before I even knew if it fit in my car. 

It didn’t.  Luckily we (my trusty assistant, Wilson, and I) were right down the street from home.  So there I am wheeling this thing 2 blocks while walking a very curious beagle who is stopping to sniff every 5 feet.  His leash is getting all caught in the cart’s wheels and what not.  Our trio of human, canine and cart was quite the sight.  Can you say hot mess?

Since we all made it home in one piece, particularly the cart, the question now is do I leave the chipping black metal in its current state of vintage loveliness or do I paint is some fabulously chic color like aqua?  Or pink?  Please weigh in with your vote.

Other finds of the week include some nearly seasonal drinking glasses now available on etsy for those wishing to have a blooming garden at their fingertips.

And bright orange linens.

I’ve been into orange lately.  Plus some old wooden shoe stretchers.

And a super heavy typewriter.

With beveled glass sides.

Happy Monday!

Linking to:
Apron Thrift Girl
Her Library Adventures