We walked into the beautiful big old barn and it was truly magical at Life’s Patina today. Beautiful and Christmas festive in every nook and cranny. There are only a certain amount of people allowed in the barn at any one time and everyone must be wearing masks, and there is hand sanitizer everywhere you turn around. It’s a magical and safe experience in a COVID-19 world.
Meg and her merry band of elves outdid themselves! From little balsam wood houses that light up, to Christmas mice in velvet dresses and tree skirts for feather trees it was amazing! Sparkling ornaments everywhere and among my favorites? Very lovely mercury glass pinecones and marvelous modern reproductions of old German Kugel ornaments.
Mixed in with Christmas magic were all sorts of vintage and antique items. One of the things I liked best was downstairs in the barn on the big long farmhouse table was a vintage Grenadine bottle.
We loved every minute we were there, and preview guests were also given amazing gift bags to take home.
I love Christmas, everyone who knows me knows how much I love Christmas and I loved today’s experience. You really should go if you can. Simply magical!
By appointment only. Life’s Patina at Willowbrook Farm, 1750 North Valley Road, Malvern, PA.
Soon little ceramic elves will be peeking from book shelves. Gnomes and Santas too. Maybe some nutcrackers. The tree will come to life with vintage and other ornaments. And Christmas baking season will begin.
But what will Christmas in the year of COVID19? Will we celebrate in tiny family pods? Will we celebrate. And what about that grinch holed up in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC? What about all the people who continue to be affected by COVID19 including now our former Chester County Sheriff?
So yes, finding my Christmas spirit has been a little challenging this year. There has been a little bah humbug in the air. Usually about now we are planning a Christmas party. But not this year. We won’t even see our entire family this Christmas. Too many people from too many places. That bums me out.
All of our Christmas celebrations will be quieter this year undoubtedly. But we do need to find our Christmas spirit!!!
Yes, even though I had recently discovered a couple of cool little Santas for a table, my Christmas spirit has been struggling.
Until yesterday. Yesterday my friend Kristin had her business’s open house. It was very different than previous years. We were timed, it was super small, we had to wear masks, and there was hand sanitizer. But there was still Christmas magic every which way I looked. She said sometimes we just have to believe and she’s so right!
Yesterday at the Smithfield Barn we were treated to a vintage Christmas. Totally magical so keep an eye out for more small, socially distanced pop-ups. Also check out what my other favorite elf Lisa has planned at Brandywine View Antiques in Chadds Ford! And you can’t forget Life’s Patina starts spreading holiday cheer next week and Meg is another favorite elf who always seems to know what I am looking for!
Also things that you won’t see this Christmas would be the open house I usually have for my friends to promote another friend’s business. But as luck would have it my friend Alice has two fabulous websites to showcase her products:
Also to be considered is Past*Present*Future in Ardmore. Owned by my friend Sherry, you can shop safely with a mask in the store or buy things online! An artist by training, she has an amazing I and hers is a store that you go in and marvel at everything she has collected for her customers. It’s a beautiful place! And if you’re more comfortable shopping remotely right now you can do that too.
The last three places I am mentioning today are also special to me an run by friends as well. Clover Market has pivoted to online due to COVID19 and Janet has curated an amazing collection of things and they offer free shipping! Shopping Clover 🍀 has never been easier.
Second to last would be King’s Haven in Paoli which is not just an amazing interior design destination, but has a remarkably beautiful collection of art and gifts. All due to my talented friend Lauren.
Finally, there is Framers Market Gallery in Malvern, Newtown Square, and Haverford. Yes Jayne and Dave are friends, but I am a devoted customer and not just for the framing business. They rep some amazing local artists! And to me one of the best gifts you can give anyone for Christmas or the holidays is the gift of art!
Yesterday I realized part of finding our Christmas magic means #ShopLocal and #ShopSmall as well. So I hope you find lovely presents at some of these places and they are all places I am just a regular customer of. They won’t even know I have mentioned their business until I hit publish on this post. As a customer I like to pay it forward.
So I know this is going to be a holiday season like no other. But we do have to believe in the magic of the season.
Shop local, support small businesses wherever you live!
A couple of weeks ago I went to an estate sale in Malvern. I bought some vintage linens and this was among them. Jennie the Little Hostess Doll from Colonial Williamsburg. I had seen it before and people treated this like a tea towel. But it isn’t. It’s a cloth doll pattern. Irish linen, actually.
So today I decided Jenny the Williamsburg doll would come to life as in I would sew her up. You see, a very special little girl I know has a birthday coming up. I like old fashioned simple dolls, and I hope she likes it.
I did trim the doll up a little with some vintage trimmings I have. I think she looks cute. A fun project on a rainy day!
I know very little about this antique Oriental rug other than the pattern seems to be what would fall possibly into Caucasian category. But I am not an expert, I just pick up rugs I think are homey or would fit in my home.
It’s not a very big rug, it’s just under 35“ x 45“. Just a little scatter rug. It’s a little worn in spots and it’s fringe is virtually gone as it was the wool of the rug itself. And it’s wider at one end than the other. But I love it and it’s one of those things to me that helps make a house a home.
Old oriental rugs are one of my earliest memories of things I liked in houses even as a little girl. My mother will tell you a story of me sitting on a giant oriental rug playing with a very fat Persian cat. Neighbors of ours when I was little.
Other major oriental rugs that hang out in my memory is like the giant one that used to be in the dining room of the Ardrossan estate in Villanova. I don’t know if it’s still there because when I was in my 20s it was very threadbare on the edges then and you had to watch not to catch your heel in the carpet. I have seen pictures of the dining room in the past few years and I don’t think that’s the same rug that I remember. The rug I remember had reds and deep blues in it. But I digress.
My mother likes oriental rugs as well, but styles she likes aren’t the same as I like. She always liked paler shades that you were afraid of walking on and as a matter fact she trained our dogs growing up to walk around the edges of the rugs.
I always like the stronger shades of color. I like the rugs that you think of seeing in an old British library with a fire dancing in the fireplace surrounded by beautiful mahogany wood paneling on the walls and books and a soft old Chesterfield sofa. You know, the kind of room you would expect to see Winston Churchill reading a book in.
And I’m not the person that you’re going to see in fancy oriental rug galleries buying rugs. All the rugs I have found have been picked out of places like the Smithfield Barn at a recent offsite sale, downsizing sales like those held by Caring Transitions, garage sales, Church auctions. (One of the best places to pick up really cool sometimes threadbare in places old oriental rugs is the Saint Davids Fair Auction which is not happening this year because of COVID19.)
The rugs I look for and some of my friends as well aren’t these perfect museum quality high end auction house rugs. They have been well loved and in many cases we’ve had to get slight repairs done before we could use them as well as getting them cleaned for moths.
I once gave Pixie from Zakian a bit of a start when I picked up a rug sight unseen from an estate sale around Charleston, South Carolina. One of my closest friends picked up the rug for me and shipped it to me. I figured because the rug was wool and had been in a southern climate in a very old house that looked slightly decrepit in photos that I shouldn’t bring it into the house until it was cleaned and that it probably might have moth damage.
Well, it arrived and it’s a good thing the moving box stayed on the porch until Zakian Rugs fetched it for cleaning. It was full of live moths when unwrapped for cleaning and repairs. Yes live moths.
I picked up a runner one time from a local auction house and they told me it was clean and I wasn’t sure so I sent it right out for cleaning, and that was loaded with moths. So old rugs can be a gamble. But when they are cleaned and repaired they are lovely.
Again, I don’t go for the rarest of the rare or the extraordinarily valuable antique rugs. I don’t even pretend to know enough to know what I should buy, nor can I afford them. In addition so many of them are overpriced. I choose the ones that need a little love.
It’s kind of like old patchwork quilts. I love them as well. The ones I choose aren’t the museum quality rare quilts from quilt dealers all over the country. I choose the ones I can pick up again at church auctions and tag sales and the more. I like to restore and patch them so I can use them.
I have written about old quilts before, and they are one of the other things that I think make a house a home. A lot of people have to have shiny new bedspreads and high-end designer quilts, I prefer the look of patchwork quilts. I have one that I picked up on eBay from someone in Maine that I have been working on for two years that I’m almost finish repairing all the threadbare patches. I picked up a neat one and another offsite sale for the Smithfield Barn a few months ago. It’s on my guestroom bed and it’s red and white and I just love it!
I think now more than ever especially with the year that 2020 has been our houses need to be homes. So try an old patchwork quilt, or a little tiny old oriental scatter rug, or even a vintage tablecloth. Don’t live in a beige, beige world. Add color and character instead of something brand new and always man made fibers.
One of the things that COVID-19 has done is it has disrupted our every day lives and our routines.
My friend Amy and I have our “Fran days” named after her mom where we put everything aside and do something together and have lunch. A lot of times we schedule those days to support Meg Veno at her lovely Life’s Patina events. Until today, this was one of the things that COVID-19 had interrupted for us around here.
Amy and I have been friends since high school and we even grew up in the same neighborhood, so I feel really blessed to have her in my life all these years later. So when we heard that Life’s Patina was going to open by appointment for their Fall Barn Sale we decided to make our appointment and go. Our slot was today and it was just wonderful!
Sensory overload, so much to look at! Something for everyone! And how lucky were we to also have such a beautiful day to be there…and guests today also received an awesome goody bag!
It was so nice to see friends and acquaintances and to see what Meg and her team had done. I love the Life’s Patina Barn on Willowbrook Farm and actually the very first time I was in it was during it’s renovation that led to Life’s Patina.
Being at Life’s Patina today made this surreal life we have all been living seem a little more normal. I actually liked the feel of a smaller, more intimate shopping experience with less people. Everyone was socially distancing and everyone was wearing masks and there were hand sanitizer stations all over the place. They did a great job!
Enjoy my photos of the day and if you go you need an appointment it’s not just open as normal this year. A lot of the time slots are sold out, so check the calendar and stay tuned for other opportunities to visit Life’s Patina this fall. And you can also shop online!
A lady posted a bunch of amazing photos in a local Facebook group with the following message: “I still have a couple containers of old photos to go through. Any of these folks or places look familiar to you? This album dates back to the late 30s and 40s”
With her permission I am posting the photos here. They are all of the Malvern and possibly Phoenixville area. If you know any of the people in the photos or where the homes are located, please leave a comment.
A lot of the photos are of soldiers from World War II which I find particularly poignant. It makes you wonder who came home, doesn’t it?
The irony is the era some of these photos were taken was another time when we were doing our part for our country and staying home and growing victory gardens and living through rationing.
Anyway I hope you can help identify some of these people! I thought it would be something fun for people to do in times where it’s not so much fun during the day sometimes.