favorite places: brandywine view antiques

Located at 1244 Baltimore Pike in Chadds Ford, PA Brandywine View Antiques is just one of those places you have to visit…three floors of fabulously cool antiques, vintage items, garden and home accents.

I used to go visit them in their old location near The Gables at Chadds Ford. I had visited them at places like Clover Market, and had been to their barn markets, but amazingly enough I hadn’t been to their new home until today.

Oh my.

It was heavenly!

Lisa the owner has an amazing eye, and much like her old location, it’s a wonderland of stuff inside and out. But this new location is so terrific and the building is so much better and it has amazing flow.

Of special interest to me today because I am a self-professed garden fanatic, was all the great stuff owner Lisa has to make your garden look fabulous.

From vintage concrete benches and beautiful cast iron antique garden furniture to the perfect little fox or owl or angel or even gnome for your garden, there is a lot to choose from.

Things I found of particular interest were cast concrete edging made to look old and these darling little concrete obelisks that you could put in your garden beds. They also have cast concrete leaves that are flat that you could use as stepping stones in a garden which I really liked and it almost made me wish I hadn’t already put down a stone path on one side of my garden!

And gargoyles! I can’t forget their gargoyles which look like they just flew in from living on old Parisian rooftops!

A nice selection of concrete birdbaths, architectural salvage, great old doors and windows… even in this heat I could’ve stayed a lot longer than I did. And when you go inside there are all sorts of wonderful antiques and vintage items for the interior of your home as well. They have the best selection of antique and vintage mirrors I have seen in a while, and some interesting and reasonably priced vintage art throughout the building.

I will note that even Martha Stewart shops here when in town doing her QVC thing as evidenced by this recent photo courtesy of Brandywine View Antiques:

Anyway, it’s a feast for the eyes and visiting this business also gives you great ideas! I also love that there is so much diversity of merchandise. And I hate to say it but I’m really glad it’s not an antique store full of mid-century modern.

And their pricing is quite reasonable, and if there something you wonder if they can do better on – just ask. If they can, they will if they can’t they’ll tell you.

I will close with a photograph of all the fun stuff in the backyard that you can use to accent your garden with:



Do you ever “T2” during Thanksgiving weekend? I do.

T2 is basically a second Thanksgiving dinner. I do this when friends and family have been scattered to the four winds for the actual Thanksgiving holiday. If I have a free turkey to use, and I’m not cooking the actual holiday dinner, I like to do another dinner at some point in the weekend basically so I can have Thanksgiving leftovers.

I am pretty much a traditionalist when it comes to a Thanksgiving -type meal. I make my own cranberry sauce, it takes so little time. I also make my own herbed stuffing cubes. I know it sounds anal, but I don’t like all the sodium and additives in the seasoned stuffing mix that you can buy in the grocery store.

Basically you preheat the oven to 400°. You take a loaf of inexpensive potato bread, whole wheat bread, or plain old white bread and chop it up into about 1 inch cubes. It’s not an exact science you know what you like when you do it. I like potato bread for stuffing the best unless I make a baker’s sheet pan of cornbread for stuffing.

I put a piece of parchment paper on the bottom of a baker’s sheet pan. This pan is one of those ones that looks like basically a cookie sheet with a lip, and it is aluminum and heavy. I put the cubes on top of the parchment paper and give them a quick spritz with canola oil cooking spray. I do not soak them. Then I sprinkle whatever herbs and garlic powder I am going to use for my stuffing. Generally speaking I use savory herbs: rosemary, sage, thyme and so on. I might even throw a couple dashes of sweet paprika in.

Next turn off the oven. Yes, you heard me correctly, turn it off. Throw the cubed bread and with the herbs on top in the heated oven and literally ignore it for a few hours. Once everything has dried out and gone cold in a closed oven, I throw it into a Ziploc bag. I do this a day ahead of time.

T2 also gets a pie. This year it’s my pumpkin pie, with a praline surprise in the bottom. All it is is a piecrust unbaked in a deep dish pie dish. I like the vintage Pyrex ones that I can get at church sales, tag sales, thrift shops.

The pie filling is basically the recipe on the small can of Libby unsweetened pumpkin, but I add one more egg. They call for two I use three.

The “praline” aspect is simple: the day before I make my pie I take a couple tablespoons of butter and throw it in an 8 inch sauté pan. To that I throw a small handful of pecans and walnuts. They can be halves or they can be chopped. Your choice but I like the halves. To that I had a small handful of raisins. I used green raisins I got from the Indian grocery store this time. They’re great in curries and even better in pies. I add cinnamon, fresh ginger, cardamom, and a few tablespoons of turbinado sugar. I cook everything up until the point the sugar and butter caramelized together. Then I turn off the heat. Once everything has cooled off a bit, I spoon the stuff into a storage container and allow it to cool completely before putting the container lid on. Incidentally this is another thing I do the day before. The pie filling however, I do the morning I bake.

This morning, I whipped up the pie filling, did my piecrust and lined my pie plate with the crust. Before I poured the pie pumpkin mixture into the pie shell.

The bottom of the pie shell I then lined with my nutty praline mixture I made yesterday. I baked my pie at 425° the first 15 minutes, then reduced it to 350° for almost an hour today. When you add things like nuts or extra things to the pumpkin mixture, it takes more time. But you keep an ion it because you don’t want to burn your pie or overcook it.

The picture that opens this post, is my actual pie that I will be serving for dinner this evening.

The stuffing for the turkey will have baby Portabella mushrooms, onions, celery and other good things. Even a few crumpled strips of cooked bacon.

I will serve a hardy green salad that has a mixture of Romain, arugula, spinach, baby kale, and other greens. I will also do whipped sweet potatoes made with carrots and maple syrup. To the sweet potatoes I will add a dash of pepper flakes to give it a little heat. I will also serve on the side a small dish of the pickled beets I put up earlier this fall.

Early on the morning I am cooking the turkey, after my pie in the oven, I chop up the onion and celery and whatever needs to going to my stuffing cover the bowl with saran wrap and toss it in the refrigerator. It saves if you do a little prep time ahead of time.

When my guests arrive late this afternoon , I will serve them and assorted cheese platter of cheeses from Yellow Springs Farm. Because Catherine Renzi’s cheeses are goat milk-based, a lot of people will put out something like a fig preserve to have with the cheese. It’s that whole sweet and savory thing. I however, have decided to be different, and I will be serving my cheese with a tiny ramekin of apple butter on the side to use instead of sick preserves. It’s the apple butter I made a few weeks ago.

I set my table with real linens. All the linens I have, I have scored from church sales, flea markets, thrift shops, and eBay. You can get that Rich holiday feel without breaking the bank. And it is so worth it to use a good tablecloth. And quite frankly the vintage ones have more depth and substance to the fabric that a lot of the modern ones.

Except for the china plates my Great Aunt Josie left for me, everything that is on my table has been sourced from places like thrift shops, the Smithfield Barn, church sales, estate sales, and flea markets.

The actual turkey platter, is one of those metal ones created by several companies including Lenox that I scored for $30 last year at Frazer antiques.

All you have to do is look in magazines and online and on HGTV to get ideas on how to set a holiday table. Truly, it is not rocket science, and even with kids you can do this. And even with kids, you can set the table with nice glasses and plates. My mother did it with my sister and I, and I think she was spot on with giving kids a special feel for holiday meals and not sticking them with plastic utensils and plates and cups.

Okay, I have a bunch of things to do in the kitchen for T2 so you all enjoy your Sundays. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. Remember, the Smithfield barn is open this afternoon for a few more hours if you were looking for some holiday bargains.

a barning we will go!

hall treeMy favorite picking barn is chock full of treasures and open this weekend ALL weekend!

Yes, the Smithfield Barn is open through Sunday – 425 Little Conestoga Road, Downingtown, Pennsylvania 19335

photo1I picked up a couple of fun things today – a pair of copper candy molds to hang on my kitchen wall and a little bit of Pennsylvania Lancaster County Tourist kitsch.

The kitsch are little cast iron Amish kids in a little wagon.  I started collecting these figures over 15 years ago when I picked up my first four photo3at the treasures tables of Historic Harriton House’s annual fair for either $8 or $10.  How I found out what they were was at a benefit that had some photo2Antiques Roadshow appraisers at it – you could bring something you could carry to be explained or appraised and I chose the Amish figures – so these little cast iron figurines were big for the tourists the first half of the 20th century – a lot in the 1930’s in particular. They aren’t worth a ton of money but they make me smile.

The Smithfield Barn is PACKED to the gills so if you have the time go check out the treasures to be had over the weekend.  If you like copper molds, she still has a bunch as of this afternoon.  But my favorite thing out there this weekend is something that came in while I was there – it is a fabulous hall tree. Could be late Victorian, but I am thinking more Arts & Crafts.  It needs a little TLC – someone painted it yellow, but if I had the room I would have put that on the roof of the car today!



catching up

clover 1Wow!  I took a bit of an electronic vacation.  It was, after all a glorious weekend.

Among other things, I went to Clover Market on Sunday. Some of my favorites were there like Nannygoat Antiques , Brandywine View Antiques, and Lura Jewelry.    I saw a lot of my friends from where I used to live, and that was super nice.

I did however realize while I was there and as I left, I truly am a Chester County gal now. I thought the traffic and the sheer rudeness of the drivers would make me lose my mind. And the unbelievable cacophony of noise. I loved living in Lower Merion for many years, but wow. Not any longer. They can keep it. I realize I was in a business district in a festival setting, but I am simply not made for a lot of this any longer I guess.

When I got there, I got stuck going into the public parking lot because a delivery van from Ardmore’s Party Land store was having a hissy fit.  The only problem is their fit should be with the township  because it lets visitors to the town park in what is their loading parking space on Sundays as per the signs.

I had one of my dogs with me, it is after all an outside event.  People were so intent on themselves, their cell phone conversations, etc that both of us got crowd jostled and the dog almost got trampled a few times (and was on a short leash).

And then there were the dog critics.  There was this pair of yentas I kept seeing around the market who were literally debating the pros and cons of my dog less than two feet from me.  They seemed shocked when I addressed them – “Oh, you can hear us?” one said.  Talk about an eye-rolling moment.  But I was polite and said nothing further and remarkably was able to keep my mouth shut….

I was also amused to see some dealers with some items that looked remarkably like some items once available at my favorite picking barn.  Yes, Smithfield Barn items…at a mark up.

However and most truthfully, one of the great things about going to things like Clover Market is it is a great place to not only discover new craftspeople, but re-purposing ideas.  I will admit that some need to go easy on the pastel painting of wooden items and I think I am so over chalkboard paint at this point.


But I do not miss Main Line Traffic.  Or some of the people.  When I hit a certain spot on Goshen Road or on Sugartown Road I feel like I can start to breathe again. I know these overpriced and overdeveloped Main Line communities seem to live to look for more infill development ideas, but wow, there is something to be said for trees, lawns, open space and actual gardens and nature.

While I was at Clover a friend of mine told me about a blog I had never heard about.  They have a Facebook page too.  Called The Divorced Dating Experiment. They said another blog had reviewed them – justsnarky.  (justsnarky was the blog to be kind enough to stick up for me when the hat harridans struck last year after I dared comment on some of the women with tattoos sporting serious taxidermy on their heads.)

Anyway, I decided to take a peek at The Divorced Dating Experiment. I found it appalling and that is all the air time it is getting.  To each their own.

I will tell you one more funny Clover Market crazy people  story before I wind this post up.  When I was leaving, two different women decided they wanted my parking space.  Both attractive blonds. One problem: they wanted my space and neither would give ground for ten or fifteen minutes and they were (wait for it), blocking me in!!!  LOL talk about a blond moment – maybe it would have helped to let the person whose space they were fighting over get out of it first?

Clover Market has two more dates this spring and seriously, in spite of craziness and dog critiquing yentas, and blond parking moments,  check it out.  It makes for a fun afternoon.  I would suggest going early if you are driving because the events have gotten crazy popular and it does get crowded. (When that Dranoff project starts, I wonder if the event will have enough parking or be forced to consider other locations?)