christmas magic…at life’s patina

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.

life in black and white…at life’s patina

Once upon a time in 2012 in the summer I was asked to photograph beautiful Chester County properties for a historic house tour. The Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust’s Annual Historic House Tour.

On this day, for the first time I saw Willowbrook Farm, which most of you know as Life’s Patina. At this point in 2012, the barn where so many go to enjoy special events and charity shopping days was being restored. I had not even met Meg Veno yet.

I fell in love with this farm on that day many years ago.

The restoration and adaptive reuse of the barn and the restoration of the property is an amazing thing to behold. It’s just so beautiful.

The care, the love, the attention to detail. And I have loved all of my many subsequent visits ever since.

Meg is inspirational to me. She is endlessly creative and has an incredible eye. She is also one of the kindest people I have ever met.

I was going through old photos and came across these and thought I would share them.

Life’s Patina is also expanding. They are restoring and renovating the Jenny Lind House in Historic Yellow Springs Village.

Now Yellow Springs is one of my very favorite places and has been since I was much younger. I used to come to Yellow Springs with my parents. My father loved the village and we used to come for the art show and sale and the antiques show they used to host (which I always thought was fabulous by the way.)

I took these next two photos of the Jenny Lind House last May 2019. I was in the village for the Herb Society Plant Sale. It’s so wonderful to see the house come back to life!

Anyway, enjoy the photos and celebrate those who chose to restore and renovate and find an adaptive reuse for old structures. We need more of that around here!

Make sure you check out Life’s Patina on their website and Facebook page. They often have terrific events. And the bonus is you also get to see a property that’s a slice of heaven in Chester County!

don’t gild the chili lily

Loved the West Chester Chili Cook Off. I won tickets from County Lines Magazine.

It was a beautiful day and it was a very pleasant crowd. Lots of kids with really amazing face painting from the kids’ activity corner….and although everywhere it said “no pets” there were….pets. Not that I minded because as a dog lover I saw some really beautiful and happy pooches.

About four of the chilis were outstanding, but a lot of the others just weren’t. Some for example, were just sweet. As in sweeter than a sloppy Joe sweet. And one chili would have been amazing if they left out the chocolate.

I cast my votes for three chilis I really liked. I don’t know who won. But as someone who cooks and who has been guilty of adding one ingredient too many to a recipe, I think with chili while you can get creative, you have to stay traditional.

Another ingredient too many in one chili today was kielbasa. The nicest people made it, but I had to throw it out – kielbasa is just the wrong flavor profile.

This was my first time attending this event and I will attend again! A super nice day!

van cleve + unite for her = magic on october 17th!

Unite for Her is quite literally one of a very short list of breast cancer charities I believe and personally as a survivor. They are teaming up with Van Cleve of Paoli, PA for a fabulous event on Thursday, October 17th. It will mark the 10th anniversary of Unite for Her:

Van Cleve proudly presents our Annual Rock the Runway Fashion Show in support of Unite for Her.

 

Join Us on Thursday, October 17th in celebration of the 10th Anniversary of Unite for Her!

 

7:00pm – Lite bites and cocktails

8:00pm – Fashion Show showcasing fashions for Women and Men

 

Monetary donations for Unite for Her will be accepted at the door.

 

Please RSVP by October 11th by email: Hello@vancleveweddingpavilion.com or phone: 610-647-5055.

 

Make sure to reserve your space now as seats are limited and this event sells out quickly! **Every attendee must RSVP!

Also…Denise Fike Designs will be sketching, Bernie Robbins Jewelers will bring the bling factor, and our favorite Savvy lady Caroline O’Halloran will be emcee!

Please RSVP by October 11th by email: Hello@vancleveweddingpavilion.com or by phone: 610-647-5055.

scenes from the tredyffrin historic preservation trust house tour

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Here are some photos from the 15th Annual Historic House Tour that is courtesy of the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust.

I only take exterior shots. You can’t take photos of inside people’s homes and I am fine with that because it is so gracious that they open their homes to begin with.

I am a sponsor of this tour and I really love it.  I am sharing my three favorite homes from 2019.

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15th annual historic house tour of the tredyffrin historic preservation trust

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As my dear friend (and beloved Madame President of The Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust) Pattye Benson said recently:

“The saying goes, ‘If walls could talk what stories they could tell’’ — Held annually since 2004, the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust arranges for these stories to be told on its annual historic house tour. 15th Annual Historic House Tour tickets now available — www.tredyffrinhistory.org 

Join us for another great tour of beautiful historic homes and gardens in Tredyffrin and Easttown Townships. Please support historic preservation and share the information!”

So true! And this year I am once again amazed at the absolutely splendid house tour that Pattye has put together! I was at the Jazz it Up Preview Party last evening at DuPortail and I know which houses are on the tour but I am sworn to secrecy!

You can still buy tickets for the tour which is Saturday, September 28, 2019 12 PM to 5 PM. They are moderately priced at $35 per person and all proceeds benefit historic preservation and the completion of the Jones Log Barn Living History Center at Duportail.

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The Jones Log Barn

This tour is so much fun and the properties are always amazing. Seriously, this year is going to be crazy good. Your hint is everyone knows how much I love old farms and farmhouses, right?

The preview party was as always so much fun and I was thrilled to see so many people turn out for historic preservation.

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Chester County Commissioners Terence Farrell and Michelle Kichline join my Savvy (and amazing!)  friend Caroline O’Halloran and Michael Noone (First Assistant DA and candidate for Chester County District Attorney. Terence and Michelle both support this event annually! History is SO important!!)

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Michael Noone with Megan King (Also in Chester County’s DA’s office and candidate for Superior Court Judge), and the ever lovely Elizabeth Mercogliano

The House Tour will be amazing, trust me, and it is a day full of super nice and knowledgeable people. The docents at each tour home know the property inside and out!

You start your day at the Tredyffrin Library (582 Upper Gulph Road, Strafford, PA, starting at 11 AM on Saturday, Sept. 28) where you pick up your tickets and tour package and then you are off!

My husband and I are event sponsors.  I do not do as much in the area of volunteerism as I used to and this is my favorite sponsorship.  I love historic preservation and I love house tours.  Most of all I love house tours in a reasonably sized area where I can visit every home on the tour. This is a quality tour. Always exciting!

Here is the LINK TO PURCHASE TICKETS!

I really hope you will join me and other history buffs on September 28th!

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 DuPortail House in Chesterbrook. The gardens are especially lovely this year.  You can rent this amazing historic house for events and they have ample parking.

happy 25th anniversary to the west chester growers market!!!

IMG_6363I missed all the political fanfare early this morning, but I did make it to the 25th anniversary of the West Chester Growers Market.

State Senator Andy Dinniman and Chester County Commissioners Michele Kichline and Terrence Farrell were there at the opening of today’s market to celebrate with everyone and present citations and proclamations.

But where oh where were the officials of West Chester Borough? Borough Council? I mean it is NO SECRET they have been discussing the lot on the corner of Chestnut and Church Streets again right?  And what developer and hotel owner want in on whatever is discussed, hmmm?  Oh the irony that they just discussed this again, what? This past week?

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And no one from the Borough could come to the West Chester Growers Market in an official capacity to celebrate their 25th anniversary? The County and State felt they should be there, so why not the Borough?

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Photo courtesy of County Commissioner Terrence Farrell’s Facebook Page.  He and Chester County Commissioner Michelle Kichline presenting a County citation to Paul “Bud” Hauser, an inspiration behind and one of the four original growers who founded the West Chester Growers Market 25 years ago. I think this is fabulous that they did this!!

Oh and my opinions are my own, by the way.  And sadly I think West Chester Borough needs to appreciate the organizations which bring people into the Borough weekly for 25 years, don’t you? The West Chester Growers Market brings people and farms and small food producers together. In a world filled with ugliness, this is something genuine and nice.

Today the market was bustling in spite of the crazy heat.  And the vendors were nice enough to have lots and lots of water on hand for customers. And ice cream!!  And balloons and face painting for kids!

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I love the West Chester Growers Market and it is pretty much the only one I patronize at this point since East Goshen seems to have given up on their farmers market which I think is a huge mistake since they have one of the most awesome locations.

The photos I took today were my own.  I am not compensated in any way for posting about the market. I post about the West Chester Growers Market because I love it and think it’s fabulous.

And if West Chester Borough Council gets their knickers in a twist because I do not feel in my opinion that they appreciate the market in all it’s fabulousness, tough noogies and am I wrong?

HAPPY 25TH ANNIVERSARY WEST CHESTER GROWERS MARKET!! 

WE LOVE YOU IN CHESTER COUNTY!!

 

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visiting the lockwoods

Today I went to St. Paul’s in Exton for the Loving Our Earth Expo. It was a lot of fun and they had interesting vendors and terrific speakers including Mike McGrath from You Bet Your Garden.

While I was there, I decided to find the Lockwood family whom are buried in the graveyard adjacent to the church.

St. Paul’s is quite old and was started around 1827. It actually was apparently and offshoot of one of my favorite churches Old St. David’s Radnor. It was consecrated by Bishop William White in 1829. I will note they could probably use some angels to get some of the headstones in that graveyard repaired.

The Lockwood family are the people for whom Loch Aerie was built. I have been meaning to visit their graves for a few years, so today I made the time for it and I’m glad I did. I will also note one of the newer buildings is named after the Lockwood sisters.

dinner and a show…in malvern

People’s Light stage.

Tonight we had a long overdue dinner date with a dear friend from high school and her husband. These friends are like family to me, so I love when we can get together.

We started in Malvern Borough at Restaurant Alba where the chef was kind enough to do one of the fabulous tasting menus for us (usually Monday through Thursday)

Now I don’t normally photograph the entire menu, but dinner was spectacular.

First up was an egg from the chef’s own chickens served with a fresh grilled ramp and served over couscous:

Next was this delightful fresh trout with refreshing pink grapefruit and micro greens:

After that a delightful pasta that had pistachios chopped in the sauce!

Following the pasta was this melt in your mouth pork belly served over polenta that was totally sublime.

Following the dinner was a flourless chocolate ricotta cake:

I just love Alba. The staff is so nice and it’s just a special place. They got us out the door in plenty of time to make our 7:30 PM curtain at People’s Light.

I think sometimes we take for granted that we have this amazing theater complex and talented players right here in Chester County. I started attending plays there when I was a teenager. One of my good friend’s parents were big and early supporters of this theater treasure.

This evening we saw For Peter Pan on Her 70th Birthday. It runs through May 12th and I loved every minute! When I was little the daughter of a family friend was Peter Pan in a summer production at the Community Theater in Avalon NJ. I remember her flying across the stage in her green tights and costume. It was magical!

Flash forward to this evening. I am an adult and this was a grown up version of Peter Pan. With all the magic of the version of the show I loved as a little girl. (Yes that’s all you get out of me, go see it before it’s gone!)

This evening we also had the extra special treat of seeing another friend from high school’s brother perform and the dog in the show? He was trained by another friend! So it really was a very exceptional and memorable evening.

People’s Light is an amazing and wonderful resource. I will close this post by asking for you to support the arts in Chester County and suggest if you can, please make a donation to People’s Light. Keep the creative light burning!

why i like hallmark movies

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Quite the post title, isn’t it? But it’s true, I like Hallmark movies. Yes, I watch Hallmark movies.  I especially love the Christmas movies, because well, I love Christmas. (But I digress.)

I know some who know me only by what I write here might find this all surprising.  Or even laughable. Those who know me off this blog might find it surprising. But it’s true.  And why is it?

The people in the movies are nice. Even the bad guys have redemption.

Yes, a completely unrealistic perception of the current world we live in, but it provides nice escapism.  It’s nice to see communities come together even in a fictional way.  They love local traditions like fairs, festivals, and carnivals and the Hallmark ones look like so much fun!  Even their fictional bake sales look good! And in Hallmark movies people fight to save small independent businesses like local bookstores, so for this bookworm, what’s not to love about that?

With regard to the world we live in today, definitely too much social media. And yes, I am as guilty of it as the next person.  I love when I get criticized for posting something that isn’t bubbly and sweet, because ummm I don’t always feel bubbly and sweet.  Plus I have to wonder if the seemingly perfect lives and families I see portrayed across social media very day are that? How can they be so perfect? Are they really not so perfect? I now make an effort to try to be OFF of social media at times.

Hallmark movies show us the little niceties in life that people like to forget.  Like take this for example: I received a newsletter recently from an organization I belong to and it showed their 2019 schedule including garden tours and visits.  They had asked me in the fall to tour my garden for potential inclusion and then never followed up after thanking me for taking the time to show them around.

I guess I now know why I never heard a peep again, and truthfully it is fine that they did not choose my garden (it’s an ungodly amount of work to prepare especially if you don’t have a minion squad), but how about a follow-up note or a call to say they went in a different direction but thanks for playing along?

And that is not the only group which toured my garden but never followed up.  My own high school alma mater sent employees from the alumni office to tour my garden in the fall but no one from the committee ever followed up.  It’s like they are too important for the actual details of planning  their garden tour event.

With regard to ths event  (like many others) , I know it depends geographically where they are going and I am in Chester County, but I also know realistically a cottage and woodland garden in Chester County would never hold much interest for most of today’s Main Line private school mommies, but still. Manners, ladies. Manners. Is it so bloody hard to be polite and say thank you?

Now sadly, this behavior seems somewhat pervasive because I have two friends with two lovely businesses who received similar treatment at the hands of their annual holiday shops event committee members.

Imagine being an alumni with a high end accessories and jewelry business that by rights should fit nicely into their holiday shops mix and submitting your information for consideration multiple years and one year someone was overtly rude to you who was a committee member and the other years you were just completely blown off without even an acknowledgement? Or imagine being an alumni with another business who was also declined as to  type to find out said business type appeared probably because they were somebody’s buddy?

(But hey a couple of years ago like a certain non-profit’s Fall Classic Shops they had LuLa Roe. Priorities, natch’. )

We are all grown-ups here, right? Many of our mothers served on committees which were predescessors to today’s events and they would not have dreamed of being rude to alumni or anyone for starters, and would have handled turn downs of businesses for things like the holiday shops well…differently.   How differently? A decline would have been so polite and handled with such finesse that the recipients would not have felt there was a rejection.

Whether by handwritten note or phone call thanking someone for their interest, a simple nicety goes a long way.  Everyone goes away happy.

And events like garden tours? You would have had committee members who were active in their garden clubs, and more.  And they never would have sent staff to preview anyone’s garden, they would have gone personally – after all it was supposed to be their event, their volunteerism for the school, right? And those who were interested in participating who for whatever reason weren’t chosen? It would be a nice little outreach again thanking them for being interested and hoping they would subscribe to the tour anyway, etc.

But the truth of the matter in my opinion is most of the parents on these committees today don’t care about the alumni, or their feelings.  Ironically of course, some day their children will be alumni, but hey whatever floats their boat.

Having attended these events to try to support my alma mater I also haven’t been able to help but notice how these parents volunteering at these events often appear as cliquey as their kids.

Now how does this fit into my whole I like watching Hallmark movies of it all? Simple.  When these events are portrayed on Hallmark movies even if there is event committee drama, everyone is nice to everyone else.  And they love when fictional alumni take the time to be interested. And manners.  Old fashioned manners.

Hallmark movies can teach us the life lesson of it is just as easy to be pleasant as it is to be a jerk. That it is as easy to be inclusive and takes far less negative energy to be rudely exclusive.

Hallmark movies are not the real world.  But they are a nice place to visit. Sadly they seem to be representative of times gone by.

Thanks for stopping by.