collecting christmas

Everyone who knows me knows how much I love Christmas! Today I went to an estate sale in the rain and found these two lovely little Christmas books in a pile of other things.

These are sweet little books that will sit on a table at Christmas with other Christmas books. They aren’t super valuable, they’re just a nice little addition to my Christmas books.

In 66 days it will be Christmas 🎄

Ho Ho Ho and thanks for stopping by.

life’s patina fall barn sale is this weekend!!

This evening was an absolutely perfect night for one of the first fall events of the season! We attended the Fall Preview Party for Life’s Patina.

Meg Veno outdid herself as always! This evening’s charitable recipient was Cuddle My Kids , a local non-profit which provides in home no cost cancer support for families in and around Chester County. As a cancer survivor I deeply appreciate these smaller charities which work so hard to help families and give them a bit of a break.

Life’s Patina is packed to the gills with so many cool things! And we also had a chance to chat with Jeff Devlin of Schoolhouse Woodworking.

The fall barn sale is this weekend September 20th through September 22nd! 10 AM to 5 PM Friday and Saturday and 10 AM to 4 PM on Sunday. 1750 North Valley Road, Malvern, PA.

It’s a fun sale and the barn is also full of decorating tableaux for lack of a better description. Meg has an amazing eye, and I am always inspired!

everything old is new again…

I actually love Country Living Magazine. I have for years. And according to their September, 2019 issue I might be shockingly trendy.

Well except for the stock tanks. I don’t have a stock tank as a bath tub, nor do I want to and THAT made me giggle. Apparently stock tanks as bath tubs are a thing.

So that’s a little silly to me as I am a claw foot tub girl. No, I don’t currently have one but I did for a while growing up. Awesome tub to take a soak in!

Next up this month as one of their trends? Pie safes. But why buy an expensive reproduction from places like Plow and Hearth? I see them all over. Brandywine View Antiques, Smithfield Barn, Cricket’s Antiques and Garden Market, Creekside Antiques Downingtown by the Brandywine, Brandywine River Antiques Market in Chaddsford, and the Shoppes at Whitehorse Mill (just over the Chester County border in Lancaster County) just to name a few places!!

All of these places have Facebook pages and they post new merchandise all of the time! You don’t need pricey replicas when you can buy the real deal antiques which are always better made. You can also still find these pieces at country estate sales and auctions. Or special shows and sales like the seasonal genius of Life’s Patina.

The sad thing is so many people are geared towards new reproductions that they completely don’t realize the real deal is available and affordable. Sometimes these dealers will have wiggle room in their pricing especially if you bundle a few items but please, be respectful. I have seen some truly rude hondlers out there and well, these folks aren’t running a charity, they are trying to make a living.

Other things that are showing up in the pages of Country Living this month as a trend are vintage dog portraits. I see them all of the time at Brandywine View Antiques and Brandywine River Antiques Market in particular.

Another trend is vintage and antique occasional tables. They are everywhere and at all price points. You can also score some fine ones at auctions at Pook and Pook as well as Converse Auctions and Wiederseim Auctions. Don’t be afraid of auctions or auction houses. Yes, a lot of the auctions are online these days but most of the auction houses will also have a preview day where you can go look at an item that you are interested in before you bid.

With the side table trends I am going to put in a plug for Eastlake side tables. I love them, and I have owned a few over the course of my adulthood.

Eastlake furniture belongs to the Victorian era but isn’t as over the top as other furniture of that era. The side tables are my favorite of the style although I also love Eastlake settees. I have seen Eastlake recently at the Smithfield Barn and also the Smithfield Barn’s floor at the Shoppes at Whitehorse Mill.

Other trends as per Country Living are vintage salt and pepper sets and vintage glassware. The Smithfield Barn in Downingtown is definitely your source for those items! The owner I swear has super powers on these items and other fab vintage things like vintage and antique linens to use with them. I know because I have some amazing vintage linens drying on a towel rack from them right now!

I love my vintage dishes and glasses. My every day dishes are vintage Fiestaware and my everyday glasses are vintage bar ware. I love my vintage and I use it. Most of the time it’s extremely durable too!

Another trend the magazine is covering is a return to some better simplicity in furniture. Specifically Shaker style. From boxes to benches to tables and chairs and dressers.

Traditional Shaker antiques can be very expensive but their design influences can be seen all over. Look for vintage and antique country furniture pieces that are sturdy and well made with simple lines. You can find these pieces all over for a steal because well, people are still stuck on the trend if they don’t want “brown wood”.

Shaker furniture is a distinctive style of furniture developed by the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, commonly known as Shakers, a religious sect that had guiding principles of simplicity, utility and honesty. Shaker beliefs were reflected in the well-made furniture of simple designs. There is a great essay on the website of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. And as of 2017, according to Smithsonian Magazine there are only two Shakers left in the world.

Other trends that seem to be occurring that I don’t understand is buying reproduction grandfather clocks when so many go to auction every year and often do not get sold.

Of all the trends that seem to be cropping up everywhere I am heartened to see a return to loving wood furniture as in not everything I am seeing is covered with paint.

Painted furniture has a place, but the past few years it has been really upsetting to see the gorgeous pieces of wooden furniture and good wood like mahoganies and walnuts and fabulous maples being covered up with things like chalk paint. I have literally watched people destroy beautiful wood dining room tables by trying to paint them. I can see painting something that’s so beat up it’s just more cost effective, but to me there is nothing better than the soft sheen and warmth of wood’s natural beauty. And maintaining wood furniture is a little bit of elbow grease once in a while but it’s simple. My favorite thing to use is Howard’s Feed and Wax.

I love the thrill of the hunt of vintage and antiques. I have some things that I will always keep, and I have other things that I will love for a while and let go for something I like better. It makes it fun!

Fall markets are just around the corner. Keep an eye peeled for things like the sale September 7th and 8th at Brandywine View Antiques. Their annual barn market and 4th anniversary sale and celebration at their current location.

Happy Friday all!

cut flowers and vintage fun

I love the flowers in my garden. But what you might find surprising, is although I do plant for a “cutting garden” I don’t like cutting the flowers off of my plants!

I love looking at everything in the garden, so I don’t cut a lot of bouquets although I probably could and maybe should. Especially with some of my hydrangeas which do need a prune.

But today I decided to cut some hydrangea blossoms. We are supposed to get crazy rain later, and I thought I would cut some blooms.

Cutting flowers does give me an excuse to meld my love of garden with my love of vintage treasure hunting. Both bouquets are in vases I discovered in my travels that I did not pay a lot for.

As a matter of fact, the green ceramic vase in the photo at the bottom of this post is something I literally paid a couple of dollars for this weekend. It is signed and probably was thrown in Chester County somewhere!

I also love my vintage cut glass candlesticks which always look great around a vase of flowers. It always cracks me up when you see them in antique stores and they are way, way overpriced because they are so plentiful and you can literally find them at tag sales. Unless they are very, very old, they don’t have much value these days. Collect them! They can make a table or a mantle piece look instantly fabulous with just a few taper candles.

It’s also sort of like your grandmother’s china. If you have china, use it! Don’t let it gather dust in your cupboard. Sets of old china today unless it’s an extraordinarily unusual pattern, have more sentimental value than monetary value because no one wants them. Kind of like what they refer to as “brown wood”.

“Brown Wood” means natural wood furniture. Mahogany, pine, maple, oak, hickory. Today’s unfortunate trends mean people paint furniture that is “brown wood”. I’m sorry I think that is sacrilege. There are so many beautiful pieces of furniture and how can you wish to cover up all the natural patina and beauty of a piece with paint?

And we are not even speaking of faux painting which was a trend a couple of decades ago and you still find it here and there which can be extraordinarily artistic. Trompe l’oeil can be amazing. But not formerly mahogany dressers in chippy ivory paint. It used to be that people just painted furniture that was so beat up it needed refinishing one way or the other. Not now. People are taking real furniture, good furniture, and blotting out the character with high gloss enamel or chalk paint. Not for me.

The picture of the rocking chair with the bargello pattern fabric seat you see above is old, but not super old. I am not positive but I think the wood is hickory. It is not oak but it is definitely a hardwood. This rocking chair is a spindle back which was made in Maine.

I love rocking chairs and it was just so pretty and the dealer let me know when she had it in case I was interested. I paid peanuts for it as in well under $100 and it’s now in my guest room. And I will be happy to polish it occasionally. To me that is the smell of home: beeswax and lemon oil. And starched and freshly laundered linens.

I can’t forget my love for old and vintage linens, including quilts. You can find them everywhere. And nothing makes your table look better than the beautiful fabric of an old tablecloth.

And don’t forget to dress up your powder room or your guest bath with old linen hand and finger tip towels that someone embroidered long, long ago.

As for quilts? Especially old lap quilts that were used way back when for carriaging and even early motoring? I use them to keep pet hair off my sofas and they add a friendly, homey vibe. And it’s so much better looking than “fabric protectors” which I think are quasi hideous for the most part.

Back to my cut flowers.

I don’t make a big fuss out of flower arranging. I pretty much just cut my flowers outside bring them in and trim them to the vase and I’m done with that. I know flower arranging is literally a competitive sport at a lot of flower shows, but I just want them to look pretty. And it’s not that hard to do.

And I do not just cut flowers from the garden I also will make a little arrangement out of my herbs. Fresh mint, lavender, borage, and more smell delightful in a vase in the house. I also have a couple of small citrus trees that when I trim them I put their foliage in a vase and you get this great citrus smell that lasts.

And as for vase is a lot of the time I don’t even use a traditional vase. I will use an old milk bottle, a mason jar, even little chipped pitchers. I used to have a ceramic teapot that the lid had broken on that I used for years as a perfect vase for a kitchen table.

I don’t live in a beige beige world. I like color and texture and pattern. So I love my vintage finds because of that. Things that aren’t necessarily brand new add character.

I think my personal style can’t be pigeonholed into “cottage” or “country” or “traditional”. I just like to find things old and new for my home that fit in it. That includes my flowers on the outside, that sometimes come inside.

Thanks for stopping by!

on sunday, my garden was ignored

When you have a garden it’s a love – hate relationship sometimes.

Even though I’ve got cute little sunflowers peeking from around the beautyberry and all sorts of other things in bloom, I am frustrated.

All the rain recently washed away and rearranged a lot of my wood chips in the shade and woodland garden areas. In places the wood chips are almost like they are in waves.

In the front, the weeds are growing faster than I can pull them. And the Japanese beetles have arrived and the spotted lantern fly nymphs keep appearing. I’m frustrated. I am a one woman band for the most part with this garden. I ask for help, but sometimes my family doesn’t see the joy in gardening like I do. Especially if it means helping me with garden chores.

So today I said screw it, and I ignored my garden. I went treasure hunting and junking with one of my besties and had a swell time. Found a couple little things for the garden at Creekside Antiques Downingtown .

I have driven by Creekside Antiques in Downingtown for a few years now. But I’ve never been in until today. Every time I drive by I say to whomever I’m driving around with “We really have to check that out.”

Today we did. So much fun inside and out and really decent prices.

Creekside Antiques photo

Outside they have larger salvage items and vintage garden pieces. Really really cool outdoor vintage furniture pieces.

Inside is a series of small rooms and hallways that all have different vignettes. Again, it is a mix of vintage, antique, reproduction, and artisan items. There is some wonderful photography that is for sale right in the front.

I bought a couple of reproduction garden signs and a delightful little bell for my porch.

I got the break I needed from my garden and had fun with my friend. There is something to be said for exploring on a hot summer day with a Wawa cola slushie! I highly recommend it!

cool old cookbooks

Eastern Cookbook Waynesboro, PA – 1976. Stumbled across this today and it is like opening a culinary time capsule and totally fun!

I have written about my love of vintage cookbooks before.

Check out some of the recipes:

I also found this cool Good Housekeeping cookbook and household hints book from the 1920’s.

It’s so fun to go through these books. Cookbooks like this have all sorts of fun old recipes and tips you never see in modern cookbooks. I love these books around the holidays, especially.

Pick up a vintage cookbook next time you see one. I guarantee you will find recipes or techniques you want to try.

third time is the charm with a spot for a lamp

I have this table in the family room that I have been trying to find a lamp that was just right for it for a few years.

Above is lamp number three. And the third time is the charm!

I went out to the Smithfield Barn today. My friend Kristin had just acquired this newly rewired converted antique oil lamp. It’s green glass.

I love colored glass.

The lamp had a chimney and a plain white shade. I won’t tell you exactly what I paid because I bundled, but trust me it was next to nothing.

But when I came home I realized the pierced and hand cut and colored vintage lampshade I had been resisting getting rid of was the perfect shade for this lamp!

I am very psyched that I now finally have found the lamp that works best!