santa says all good elves should stop at brandywine view antiques…

Yes… today I could wait no longer, I had to go to Brandywine View Antiques in Chadds Ford to see what Lisa has cooked up for holidays 2021!

It’s three floors of festive fun and Fa La La La.

I am writing this post because I am a happy customer and have been for years. I have not been asked to do this…I just want to pay forward the Christmas spirit and say #ShopSmall

Brandywine View Antiques is located at 1244 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, PA 19317. They are open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 AM to 5 PM.

the twisted tale of grinches

This.

Creekside Antiques Downingtown by The Brandywine is a lovely small business that just reopened not so long ago after being decimated by Hurricane Ida. Today they were violated by the Grinch who literally stole their Grinch from in front of their store!!

Facebook photo submitted to Creekside Antique.

So WHO steals from small businesses? It’s a special kind of turd. Another small business was stolen from today. Brandywine View Antiques in Chadds Ford also had issues today. The owner came outside of her store to check something (and store was open), and there was this woman cutting her hydrangeas off her bushes RIGHT next to the path to the front door of the store! Woman took off in a car.

Now the Downingtown Grinch has a happy ending because the police have located it, but that shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

Support small businesses, don’t steal from them.

reimagined wonderful

Today was a fun day that started out at an open house at the Reimagined Style studio. I had the best time.

When you walk into Tracy’s studio it’s a fabulous glimpse into her creative process as an artist. It’s also a wonderfully curated collection of antiques and vintage collectibles including some fabulous vintage and antique textiles. I came away with some fabulous vintage ornaments, and other ideas for gifts.

Reimagined Style will be around during the holidays and be sure to keep an eye out. If anything in my photos catches your eye, message them via Instagram or Facebook.

I am a happy customer. I have not been asked to write this post nor have I been compensated for this post.

#ShopSmall

santa says stop here!!!

I never stopped at this holiday market before today. I always meant to, but today it was pure impulse and OH. MY. CHRISTMAS. Why haven’t I done this the past few years???

The Burkholder Holiday Market is freaking AMAZING! It opened today and runs through December 23rd!! It’s apparently a whole holiday season of festiveness!! There will be not only this amazing holiday market but events through the season and you can also buy your Christmas tree from them! Seriously they are ALL about holiday family fun and their website has the entire schedule!

Now let’s talk about their Christmas shop. I loved it! So much to choose from that is beautiful and tasteful. And it smelled like Christmas in the shop. And the owners were so very nice.

My friend and I had so much fun! We found some really fun holiday decor and super cute ornaments and got some gifts for people. I think one reason why I liked it so much is because what I really love is a vintage Christmas feel, and a lot of what they had although modern, had that vintage emotion to the products they carry.

Burkholder Holiday Market – 359 Paoli Pike, Malvern, PA (Paoli Pike and Sugartown Road, enter on Paoli Pike.)

The Holiday Market runs November 12 – December 23
Tuesday – Thursday: 10am to 5pm

Friday and Saturday: 10am to 6pm

Sunday: 10am to 5pm

Closed on Mondays

vintage christmas, anyone?

Yes that looks like an old sleigh above because it is!! A 19th century sleigh!

Where? One of my favorite places on earth any time of the year, but especially at Christmas: The Smithfield Barn in Downingtown on Little Conestoga Road, just outside of Eagle.

This is their vintage Christmas weekend and it’s full of holiday magic. A fun assortment of Pennsylvania found pieces with vintage and antique finds and an amazing assortment of vintage Christmas ornaments and decorations. It is an every year stop at this point. I alway get amazing ornaments including vintage Polish and Ukrainian and German Mercury glass ornaments.

The Smithfield Barn is not a store, it’s a picking barn and doesn’t have “retail hours”. You will however, find the proprietress at antique shows and high end vintage and antique markets. But she is the ultimate Christmas elf this time of year and when you step inside those big barn doors you never know what you find!

Bring a jacket and wear shoes suitable for a barn, and check out this Saturday, November 13th from 12 pm to 4 pm and Sunday, November 14th from 12 pm to 4 pm. 425 Little Conestoga Road, Downingtown, PA.

add a little christmas magic to your world this weekend at life’s patina

Life’s Patina will welcome guests Friday November 12, Saturday November 13, and Sunday November 14! See website or Facebook page for details!

You know it was a great evening when you come home and you can still hear the music and people’s laughter and delight in your head! That was exactly the Life’s Patina experience for Holiday 2021 last evening! Last night was the preview cocktail party and shopping event for the Holiday Barn Sale which opens to the public on Friday, November 12, and runs through the weekend.

Some of my friends and I always attend the previews for Meg Veno’s sales at Life’s Patina. But a lot of time we choose the evening cocktail preview, and last night that’s what we did. And it was magical.

Yesterday was one of those days where I received a couple of broken Christmas teacups in the mail, so Christmas magic was exactly what I needed! When we walked into the barn, we were transported to a glittering, warm and elegant setting. Beautiful ornaments and inspiring tableaux or vignettes throughout the two floors and rooms in this magnificent barn.

I definitely was not fun for my friends to hang out with because I was literally distracted by wonderful things every time I turned my head! Among my favorites were the little felted Christmas mice. And the Mercury glass ornament wreath I bought. I also bought a felted garland – I just love those. They are simple and pretty and very old-fashioned Christmas to me.

Every year I think Life’s Patina can’t top the year before. And every year the magic just gets better!

I should also mention the food and cocktails were amazing, but for me it was just being there and soaking in the atmosphere. And the music was to die for. So perfect.

I encourage all of you not to miss Life’s Patina Holiday Barn Sale this year. It makes you believe in the magic of the season, and we all need a little holiday magic in our lives.

Life’s Patina Holiday Barn Sale opens tomorrow, Friday, November 12th. The hours are 10 AM to 5 PM. Wear appropriate shoes as you are parking in a field, and walking around in an actual old barn.

The Life’s Patina Holiday Barn Sale is also on Saturday, November 13th from 10 AM to 5 PM and Sunday, November 14th from 10 AM to 4 PM.

Life’s Patina is located on Willowbrook Farm, located at 1750 N. Valley Road, Malvern, PA 19355.

I would be remiss in not mentioning that this year is also Life’s Patina 10th anniversary celebration! And a portion of the sale proceeds will go to T&E Cares.

Thanks for stopping by and as always, I am not being compensated for this post in any way, shape, or form. I am merely a happy supporter and customer!

to the owner of the ship inn

Dear Ship Inn Owner,

Did you not take heed of the advice that Chef Robert Irvine gave you? I have now been into the restaurant several times since the makeover and since the Restaurant Impossible episode aired. I have to ask are you trying to tank your restaurant at this point?

You have a fabulous makeover. You’ve got a nice chef and nice staff. Yet you are miserable to them, and that is not invisible to your customers. We have a front row seat.

When I watched the episode of Restaurant Impossible, I distinctly remember Chef Robert Irvine not so subtlety telling you to not be so miserable to your employees, to not reprimand them on the dining room floor, to not be such a control freak essentially and give them a chance to do their jobs.

Everyone knows you still have the property for sale. I think probably the way to save the restaurant and the location is for somebody to buy it from you. But you are presuming everyone wants to assume the amount of debt you wracked up. In my opinion, it’s overpriced. I know people looking for historic sites for fine dining, and they aren’t looking your way.

The first time we came in for dinner after the show aired, first you kept us waiting while you “educated” your staff in front of us. I didn’t say a word but it was uncomfortable. Then after we were seated a while you YELLED at your servers ON the dining room floor. My husband has refused to return for dinner since because he found that so offensive. Which is a shame because dinner was good.

I have been back for lunch a few different times with friends. Every time you have been omnipresent and unpleasant with staff. Reprimanding and even yelling at staff again on dining room floor. Storming in and out of kitchen and your guests can hear the kitchens contretemps too.

Most recently I was there for lunch last Friday. I met a friend. We had wonderful salads but something that wasn’t so wonderful occurred before my friend arrived. The waitresses were setting up a couple of other tables coming in and they were right next to me and I forget what one of them said to the other but it struck me as funny and I laughed. You yelled at one waitress on the floor and shushed her for laughing too loud.

I said to you “Excuse me I’m really sorry if you thought it was too loud but it was actually me, not your staff.” You looked at me, said NOTHING and just turned your back to all and walked into the kitchen.

This is one of the things I don’t like every time I’ve been there (including in the past.) You are ALWAYS reprimanding or yelling at some staff member ON the restaurant floor for all of the guests to see and ironically for anyone saw the Ship Inn episode of Restaurant Impossible this is part of what Chef Robert Irvine said had to stop and he also told YOU that you needed a front of house so you got off of the floor. You are not particularly user friendly.

I really wish you would STOP doing this and not be so omni-present on the dining room floor. Your staff IS capable and NICE. I want this place to succeed. I really do.

‼️ALSO See: https://www.foodnetworkgossip.com/2021/07/ship-inn-restaurant-impossible-update.html ‼️

I have sat and thought about this for days because I don’t want people to think I don’t like the restaurant. I do. But I don’t like the way you treat people, and that actually includes customers because what you should have done was apologize to me for snapping at the waitress and making me feel uncomfortable because it was something I did, not her.

People are chattering about this around town it’s not just me. You can see it in your reviews you can see it all over social media. Part of the chatter is you’ve lost staff in your kitchen already and is that true?

I will note that you have monkeyed with the menu again and you’ve done a very heavy special for Oktoberfest or something. No one does the old-fashioned businessman’s lunch anymore. That menu is fine for dinner, but for lunch it’s too heavy and too expensive.

And the furniture in the made over formerly 1970s disaster of a main room? I guess you ran out of money for new tables and chairs? so in the back of the new room you have the old tables and the old chairs which are very out of place and hodgepodge and destroys the uniformity of the space that was designed for you.

And you still haven’t refreshed your ladies room. You should white wash it with bead board to kind of have it match the made over dining room. It’s clean but it’s very tired and it looks very shabby. And you could refresh it for not a heck of a lot of money. I have to wonder if the way the ladies room looks is the way you think of women in general?

I really hope you can get it together, because right now I actually fear for the restaurant and it’s survival not because of the staff, not because of the food, but because of you being like the black cloud of doom in the restaurant. You have a wonderful place there but if you don’t believe in it and the people working for you then what’s the point?

Try to be happy, and just be pleasant. If you can’t be pleasant, don’t be present. As patrons and diners we want to enjoy our experience, and that’s what we’re paying for is the experience and food and service. We’re not paying for the slideshow of yelling at your staff, which interferes with everything.

Eventually I will be back to give it one more try but not for a while. I might be the only one blogging about this locally, but I’m not the only of your local patrons to feel this way.

Signed,

A customer

art makes me happy

I have written about family friend and Philadelphia artist Margery Niblock a few times before. Her art is just something I have loved since I was a child. She was kind of my first artist.

She was a part of my childhood and I remember her home studio and her prints wafting in the breeze pinned to a clothesline with old fashioned wooden clothes pins at the Head House Craft Fair.

Margery also was one of my teachers back in the day. As a child she taught me to do woodblock and linoleum prints. I actually wasn’t that bad at it. It was a very fun process.

So recently, a very nice friend gave me some prints that he and his wife had collected while they lived not too far from where we lived when I was little. Prints I had literally not seen since I was a child! And three were owls! (I love owls!)

Receiving these prints was so exciting! They had literally never seen the light of day since they were purchased.

I took them over to Framers Market Gallery in Malvern to be framed. (Jayne and Dave the owners do all of my framing and re-framing at this point.) Jayne and I spent a good part of an afternoon about a month ago choosing the framing and mats. The store is so much fun because they have so many beautiful choices.

So here we are! The finished product!

Art makes me happy. And it doesn’t have to be outrageously expensive to have value to you. Buy what you like and hang what you like. Check thrift shops and flea markets and fairs and local art shows. Find your artist and enjoy them.

Thanks for stopping by!

quick wildflower farm update

Inside the hoop house – zinnias and lisianthus and more!

🎈UPDATE 🎈 the neighbors on Castlebar against Wildflower Farm in Willistown apparently had their zoning appeal tossed by zoning last evening. I am told the phrase used was “lack of jurisdiction” to hear their appeal.

Wildflower Farm will be back in front of zoning in a few weeks.

Snapdragons. They just remind me of childhood, because it was
one of the first flowers I ever grew.


I will also note that not all neighbors on and adjacent to that street are against the farm. I think that is an important distinction not always noted. Also important to note is that not all of the “neighbors“ who have been involved with these zoning challenges of Wildflower Farm actually physically live on Castlebar Lane. That is a matter of public record, isn’t it?

I could look at this view all day!


And I am stating for the record that I am not the spokesperson of the Heenan family or their attorneys which is the latest rumor being spread. I am a friend of the Heenans, have a brain in my head, a legal right to express how I feel about this issue, and am an occasional customer of their farm. I am also a gardener, so I appreciate their efforts to rejuvenate their farm which frankly needed cleaning up, and their interest in flowers and trees and native plants and bee-keeping.

This Wildflower Farm property is zoned agricultural, BUT truthfully they could have IGNORED all that and built a giant McMansion when they purchased it. But instead they opted to restore the house and the barn and bring a viable adaptive reuse to existing farmland.

The restored barn and hoop house


The Heenans should have been welcomed into their neighborhood, yet they have been treated most poorly by some. For the record I happen to live on a cul-de-sac, and if this farm was on my street I would be unbelievably happy.


I think Willistown folk and other related people interested in this topic that it is really great that you are interested in supporting Wildflower Farm through this process and please continue.


🌸🐝Flowers bring happiness. We know, it’s why we garden.🌸🐝


I am using some of my photos of the farm taken last week, and I am also sharing a photo of the Radnor Hunt which does go through their property sometimes. Not all property owners allow the hunt to pass through any longer.

#SupportSmallFarms

May be an image of horse and outdoors
Radnor Hunt passing through. So cool!!!

the strange tale of wildflower farm: in willistown when is a farm not ok to be a farm?

I took this photo recently at Life’s Patina where Wildflower Farm was part of an event there. I was super impressed by them and their flowers.

This is a strange tale of really surprisingly unpleasant and in my opinion oddly not neighborly folks. That being said, since they seem to be the litigious types, nothing here is not either a photo taken on a public road, photos of the farm I am writing about OR public information. Oh and that lovely thing called the First Amendment.

This is the strangest case of bad NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard).

This is a case of life is short, can’t we (literally) just enjoy the flowers and get along?

So how did I become aware of this? Recently someone said to me, have you seen the local zoning notices lately? And I said nooo….because your eyes can cross and glaze over if you read too many (just kidding but it’s dry stuff.)

Well then blow me over, one was about a local small farm…and most shocking, located in Willistown Township, supposedly the land of happy open space and farm loving people. So dear readers, I think I stumbled upon a case of those who shall we say perhaps move out here for the bucolic vistas and “country”, but oh hell no, put that farm someplace else?

What am I talking about?? THIS:

Yes, I have been having some OMG moments over this. You see, I live in a nice neighborhood with nice neighbors. My friends live in nice neighborhoods with nice neighbors, but Willistown? One of the prettiest place in Chester County and it seems to be plagued by these bizarre occurrences of late? There was that whole thing of ruffled feathers over chickens, and then there was the political candidate who couldn’t seem to behave at a public meeting where she wishes to become queen and reign, and now this? These nice people not only sell their flowers, they believe in farming organically, and educating people. It’s an entire desirable package and a pretty little farm.

So they are talking about Wildflower Farm. As in they grow Wildflowers organically. As in they are this super nice, charming, lovely young couple with two adorable little kids, a golden retriever, etc.?

Yes, completely WTF.

These neighbors in my humble opinion (which I am allowed to have), seem literally hell bent for leather in driving them out of town. And why? And when you read that zoning notice you want to rub your eyes because of a couple of the names that pop right out.

Again, public information sourced from Willistown Conservation Trust website and Willistown Township Website. And if you go into the Willistown Conservation Trust reports of donations, etc., some of the other names pop up.

So explain to me how these champions of community involvement and dare I say it, conservation have problems with an organic FLOWER FARM???

When did everyone get so mean in beautiful Willistown????

But it doesn’t stop with the legalities of a zoning challenge, does it? Nope, nope, nope. How about trespassing? Poison pen letters? Blocking the farm’s driveway so people can’t enter? Flying drones over their property?

OK class can you all say “WTF” now?

Poison Pen Letter Envelope
Did this car break down? Is that why it’s blocking a fellow neighbor’s driveway?

I have seen videos of trespassing. But that is not my tale to tell. But I guarantee you Willistown Township has seen and probably has those videos. Along with the mysterious drone video output, correct?

And speaking of Willistown Township, I feel sorry for the township. I am sure they don’t want this and when did it become the purview of municipalities to have to babysit neighbors with wild hairs up their rears?

This is not quite the haves vs. the have nots, but the haves are a wee bit unbelievable with their let them eat cake, no farms in our back yard NIMBY scenario, correct?

And here is the narrative submitted recently to Willistown by Wildflower Farm:

This is all so very, very ugly. Is this what we as a society have become? Instead of TALKING with our neighbors, people just harass, harangue, and sue our neighbors? And then sometimes people wonder why other people just sell out to developers and walk away?

I just don’t understand how this is happening in Willistown Township. This is one of the most farmer friendly, farm friendly places. Yet these people seem to be (as I said before) hell bent for leather on destroying the lives of the owners of Wildflower Farm?

WHY????? These are NICE people. Thoughtful people. Small farm, organic farmers. You know the future we WANT for Chester County? Farms are disappearing by the day, this is the stuff that makes quality people NOT wish to move into communities, buy farms, preserve land.

These neighbors won’t like my opinions, but they put this out there in the public viewshed like bad Karma waiting to explode, and you know me and my love and respect for farm owners, farmers, and what Chester County used to be about. And I wish they would reconsider their path. This ugliness taints communities. It is so unnecessary. And Willistown? Don’t they need to stand up for small farmers AND large landholders, right?

No drama intended, I fear for this young family at Wildflower Farm.

That being said, what can you do?

(1) Support the farm (here is their website.)

(2) Read up on the ACRE Law because you have to wonder if these residents wish their township to violate that?

(3) Sign and forward their petition.

(4) If you are a resident of Willistown or a fellow local farmer or a customer or just a lover of organic Wildflowers, show up for the Heenan family at the upcoming zoning meeting: Willistown Township Zoning Hearing Board will meet on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, at 7:00 p.m., at Sugartown Elementary School, 611 Sugartown Road, Malvern, Willistown Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania.

That’s it, this is all I have got. I just think this whole scenario is wrong. I am shocked and saddened that these adults have gone all Lord of The Flies, Rambo, whatever on a young family farming the right way and adding positively to the community.

Please pay it forward and politely and calmly support this family, this farm, their business.

#SaveSmallFarms #BeAGoodNeighbor #ShopLocal #SupportSmall #MeanPeopleSuck