horse and buggy watching….

DSC_0072When we were passing through Gap, PA, we were behind, in front, and along side several Amish buggies. The photos I am about to show you were cropped in, as we give buggies and their drivers the space and distance they deserve.

These photos in a series as it occurred show amazing horsemanship – you see this horse was a mite skittish and had the Amish gentleman not been so proficient this might have turned out differently…and he never raised his voice.












DSC_0651It’s so funny. I have never intentionally set out to collect anything, I have just found things I like I want in my home.  Yes for me, collecting is pretty much that simple.

This year I have purged a lot of stuff that no longer interests me.  For example when I was barely out of my teens I had a fascination with certain kinds of old glasses – sherry and cordial sized.  But realistically, I am not the generation who sips sherry by the fire, so I jettisoned them.  They were pretty, I loved them once upon a time, but now I want things I can also use.

To an extent I like  a LITTLE BIT of what would be classified as “country things”.  I am not however the gal with Holly Hobby Country wallpaper borders complete with hex signs and sun bonnets.  Nor will you find little gingham anything around my home.

The things I like are to an extent things of my childhood that I grew up around or admired in the homes of others.  I love gorgeous period antiques but for me to live with furniture pieces, I need things I can use, and use every day if I so choose.  So I love things like furniture with simple and elegant lines – I love wood.  Not deep heavy burdensome Victorian  finishes but beautiful woods with simple, clean lines, and their more natural hues and stains.

I abhor the current trends with regard to painting furniture because I feel good antique and vintage pieces are being ruined and sent to chalkboard and pastel paint furniture purgatory.  I am also sick of people calling themselves vintage and antiques dealers because they cover rickety furniture that is not necessarily worth saving with pastel paints and chalkboard paint.

Some people I know who are real dealers do a little of this with style, but not every piece in their inventory looks like it vomited pastel paint or *must* have a chalkboard.  I am a grown up I don’t personally want to live with little girl doll house furniture or people to mistake my furniture for particle board garbage from WalMart and Ikea. Sorry to sound snobby but,   I like the real wood.  Let that oak, cherry, poplar, walnut, whatever shine through.  Love the natural beauty.  Besides, wood pieces with normal wood finishes shining through will transition with you through whatever personal style evolution.  Chalkboard paint and too much pastel paint is as bad as houses that are so beige nothing stands out. And when you are tired of that stuff, you will find yourself leaving half of it on the curb for trash day.

I like a mix of old and new, and I have learned to trust my eye.  And I look at stuff – antiques stores, thrift shops, consignment stores, picking barns, garage sales – even if I am not buying  I look.  I look at how professional stylists are putting together rooms in magazine layouts.  You never know where a good idea might come from. But at the end of the day, what I do reflects my personal style and what makes a house a home to me.

I want every room to be able to be used.  Now granted I prefer to keep the teenagers out of my living room, but that is self-preservation as much as anything else LOL!

Since moving out to Chester County I have become fascinated once again with some primitives.  Candlesticks in particular. (Yes I know some of you are wondering if I have fallen out of love with plain milk glass nesting chickens, and the answer is no of course not.  But everything in moderation and my better half already thinks I have chicken issues….)

So anyway, for years I have had a black tin painted Toleware chamber candlestick that I picked up many years ago for $5 or $10 at the white elephant tables at Historic Harriton House on their annual September fair day, and between there and at St. David’s Fair and thrift shops for equally low sums over the years a few other chamber candle sticks.  They are just a little touch I like.  They look friendly and homey to me.

Recently out at Smithfield Barn I have come across a few primitive cast iron candlesticks.  They are very Pennsylvania and New England.  I thought they were fun so I bought them.  All were $10 or less each, incidentally.  I just liked their look.

So now I have researched them, and one is a primitive chamber stick (it has a finger or thumb hold and looks like it is in a little bowl), one is a “courting” candlestick (it looks like it is a spring in shape with a little wooden knob that can move the candle up as it burns), and one is a “hog scraper” “wedding band” candlestick ( it has a little screw to push up the candle like a lot of the cast iron ones do and it has a little metal band, maybe of brass that looks like a “wedding band”.)

Now I know mine aren’t fine antiques, they were used in a house in the country somewhere but I like them.  If these were the fine antique versions of themselves, they would be hundreds of dollars each. Mine will be used and enjoyed.  As a matter of fact you will still see cast iron candlesticks even in modern decor – Pottery Barn, Anthropologie, and other places.  And they are found a lot in European countries as well. But for my taste, nothing beats the American primitive form of cast iron and tin candlesticks.  Some are painted, some are not.

Cast Iron Vintage Shave Ice Tool

Cast Iron Vintage Shave Ice Tool – found for $2. Just a random display piece but is in full working order that I actually could use it!

If candlesticks like this interest you, check your more country antiques and vintage shops  and picking barns- I saw a few at Frazer Antiques last week, but they were a tad tasty in price for me – I admit it I am a bargain hunter.  You will also find country primitives like this throughout New England in places like Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont.  I think some of the most fine antique and vintage shopping you can do is in Maine and Vermont in particular.

Anyway, what bargains and cool vintage things have you found recently that you love?

happy mother’s day!

mother and child

It’s almost Mother’s Day so I thought I would share a rather iconic image of mine from 2009.  “Mother and Baby” is one of my favorite photos that I ever took.  And for those upset by my Amish photos (who aren’t Amish interestingly enough), this woman actually posed for this for me.  I asked, which technically I did not have to do since there is no expectation of privacy with regard to photos taken in a public space.

I had a Pennsylvania Dutch Grandmother and my family has had several Mennonite friends over the years (old and new order), so I am also quite familiar with the Amish (old and new order). Some will allow photos to be taken and will interact more with “English” than others.

To me she represented that incredible bond between mothers and their babies – it is something I think is so truly beautiful to see. To me this picture represents pure joy. When I see this photo I think of how big this little baby is now and hope they are all doing well!

Happy Mother’s Day to all those mothers out there I know (that sounded a little funny but you know what I mean!)

simple joys

DSC_0029I was at the East Goshen Farmers Market taking photos (and shopping!) yesterday.  It was a fabulous market and the layout is even better than last year (it would remind you of more of an European market)  and I really liked that there were more actual farmers and fewer prepared meals people.  I like to cook, so that is my preference.

The East Goshen Farmers Market is under new management which I am very excited about because they are so nice and working so hard for everyone – East Goshen’s market is township sponsored.  Some of the new faces I saw yesterday included North Star Orchards whom I visit on Saturdays in the summer at the West Chester Growers Market. Of course I also had to visit Carmen of Carmen B’s Honey which is pretty much the best local honey available!


Anyway, in spite of the many silly rumors that East Goshen wasn’t having an outdoor market this season, it had a large crowd yesterday and many new vendors.  And it’s all about the farmers (or should be) so I hope you check them out!

If you were on LAST year’s market list for notifications and what not, you will need to register again.  Apparently something corrupted the old list, which happens.  Send an e-mail to or click on their website and follow their site for the same thing. Or your third choice is to message them through their Facebook page.


I know it gets a little confusing because the former market manager who left to form her for profit business with a model oddly similar to my friend Janet’s Clover Market has somehow forgotten to take down the OLD East Goshen Farmers Market website/blog ( ) can you believe it?  Anyway, I heard there is a lot of drama going on with that new Malvern market and I don’t understand why that Market Manager can’t live and let live?

I really want to support all three markets, but heck even with Kimberton Whole Foods as a named lead sponsor, until they work out those issues, how can I?  I attend these markets to support (and follow) certain farms whose products I like and I don’t have time for middle school turf wars do you?


Anyway enough of the vinegar, enjoy these first photos.  I snapped them of the Amish children who were playing as their parents worked their booths.  These kids were just so lovely and I loved the fact they could enjoy the simple pleasures of a nice afternoon without having their heads in an iPhone or video game.

I call the photos Simple Joys.  I will have more market photos later. Support your local farmers markets wherever you live – it supports local farmers and we need them in our communities!

Enjoy the beautiful weather today!