another mini-tree!

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No, you are not going to have to do a Christmas decorating intervention, this is one of the trees I decorated the other day. I was just looking at it and thought it was so cute I wanted to share it with you!!

This tree is pretty much entirely made up of things that came from the Smithfield Barn, including the primitive doll cradle that the trees is nestled in! A few of the ornaments came from other places, but the majority of what is on the tree came out of the barn this year.

I hear Victorian Christmas is continuing in the borough of Malvern so go check it out if you’re around!

Happy Saturday all!

so I made a wreath…

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It’s December! Christmas decorations can make their 2013 Christmas season debut!

I made a wreath yesterday.

Including the wreath form it cost me $6.51.

How?

Gently used and vintage Christmas decorations is how.

Yesterday I made a stop at Resellers Consignment Gallery on Route 30 in Frazer. In the front of the store as you walk in there is a jumble of gently and not so gently used Christmas decorations . These decorations include ornaments, ribbon, pinecones, wreath fixings, you name it. You have to dig through, and I hope you’ll dig gently if you go, so you don’t break things for the next person.

Hanging up throughout the store you will notice, much as is the case at places like the Smithfield Barn in Downingtown, there are also artificial Christmas wreaths galore. The wreath I found (plain and unadorned) was 25% off, and if you’re in the market for an artificial tree, they are loaded with them at Resellers – big trees, not the table-top variety.

Everything that went on my wreath except for the florist wire, came from Resellers yesterday. And yes, everything cost me $6.51. I also believe that I could make a wreath for just about the same amount if not less from fixings at the Smithfield Barn.

My point is simple: you can decorate for Christmas on a budget. There are enough people in this world that jettison Christmas decorations on a regular basis, that if you look at places like Resellers, Smithfield barn, thrift shops, church sales, and so on you can find pretty much everything you need.

The only thing I do not buy it any of these places are used or vintage lights. I am not an electrician, so I have no clue what is in good condition or not.

Decorating for Christmas just puts you in the mood to get a little holiday spirit. And yes, I have inside wreaths and outside wreaths and I don’t do it all every year, I tend to rotate my ornaments and decorations.

If you put your Christmas decorations away carefully, they can and do last. I put artificial and pinecone wreaths on hangers in my attic covered with big clear trash bags. If it is a year where I am making a natural wreath out of fresh greenery, I removed the ribbons and decorations that can be salvaged at the end of Christmas and put them away as well.

I am a fumble fingers with a hot glue gun, so the only thing that go on my wreaths are things that I can wire on with florist wire.

I don’t want to put specialty stores or craft stores out of business, but there are a lot of Christmas decorations that you can source quite reasonably and a gently used or vintage condition.

I like to do what I consider tasteful decorating for Christmas. I don’t do a million lights and inflatable things on the front lawn. I mean no disrespect to those who chose to do this Griswold Family Christmas style of decorating, but truly I do not need my decorations to be able to be seen from space!

Fun fact: I had an uncle that when I was a child that used to go to little overboard with Christmas decorations, including music being piped from the roof. Loudly. And this was before National Lampoon and Chevy Chase made overboard Christmas decorating so infamous.

You won’t find anything adorned in my home before December. Some years I get things up early in December, other years it’s a couple weeks into the month before I begin.

I also really try hard not to overwhelm my rooms. I look at it the way Coco Chanel looked at jewelry: she had a famous quote about taking one piece of jewelry off after you are dressed and about to walk out the door.

Have any of you begun decorating? What is your favorite thing to do?

Also if any of you know of any church sales or fleamarkets or Christmas festivals coming up with a gently used Christmas ornaments and other holiday things for sale, feel free to leave a comment.

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exploring and antiquing

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Today my friend Karen came over and we went exploring. I had wanted to take her to the Smithfield Barn but they weren’t open. So we headed to Spring City and Kimberton instead.

First stop was Samuel G. Hultz Antiques at 820 Pughtown Road in Spring City. They are the big old place on the corner of Route 100 and Pughtown Road. Their phone number is 610-469-9491 and they are open most Saturdays and Sundays noon to 4 p.m.

Like most of the old school country dealers I have come across since moving here, they were friendly and hospitable people. And their pricing was reasonable and fair.

Like my friend Dave told me it would be, their barn was loaded with kind of things I love to go through. They have some beautiful vintage and antique quilts, different odd lots of depression glass and china and furniture and all sorts of things. Old tools, linens, vintage kitchen items, candles, and Christmas ornaments too. Blue glass, milk glass, clear, ruby red, you name it.

Flow through blue plates and teapots and fabulous antique wash stands and an amazing black walnut farm table I wish I had the room for.

They had some neat old advertising pieces, and sort of a bargain basement downstairs where I found the most awesome hand quilted pillows to use on my bed as throw pillows as well as vintage heavy duty aluminum loaf pans to bake with. I also found the cutest handcarved folk art Santa to decorate with for Christmas.

And I also noted that this was a place where I could get antique lamp parts! As in oil lamp parts. Shades, globes, all sorts of things and complete lamps. I have a lot of converted oil lamps which are now electric as well as others which can burn lamp oil that I love the look of, and I never know where I can get parts. I am so happy to have discovered that I can get them here! You see, the only other place I knew to get so many parts before this was in Adamstown, PA.

Where the Hultz Barn is located is so beautiful and picturesque. We took a right out of their driveway, drove past the Agway and headed down Pughtown Road into Kimberton village. This weekend is also the Kimberton Antiques Show at the firehouse/fairgrounds. (The show runs tomorrow, Sunday, November 17 as well from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and admission is $5.00. Don’t eat lunch at the antique show, go right up the road to the Station Bistro. It’s a fabulous little BYOB with a roaring fire in the fireplace and amazing food.)

The Kimberton Antiques Show is still one of my most favorite things to go to in the fall. I have been going for years. It is a show where I find a lot of my favorite antiques and collectible dealers who only do shows.

I bought some more vintage Christmas ornaments from a pair of cute little old ladies who were tough as nails and sharks in cardigans in the bargaining department! Sadly that was pretty much all I purchased, because the show prices this year were higher than ever.

Don’t misunderstand me, I love that show and have been going for years. But the problem is the prices of gotten high enough now that I just don’t really buy there anymore. I mainly look. This used to be a show you could actually buy at . But my late father always said that antique shows existed to educate your eye more than buy.

There was a dealer who had very reasonably priced vintage garden ornaments that I forgot to go back to, and that’s a real shame. His stuff was cool.

The Kimberton show is a great place to wander around for a few hours. It is two buildings on the firehouse/fairgrounds property loaded with dealers of antiques, vintage items, and collectibles. Some of the dealers had some truly amazing vintage and antique Christmas ornaments. I also love tole trays, and there were a lot of dealers with some gorgeous trays.

The lunch didn’t look outstanding one way or the other, so we opted to get lunch after we left the Kimberton Antiques Show. Boy am I glad we did!

We wandered into the center of the village of Kimberton and decided to try the Station Bistro. It is a cute little BYOB that is much larger inside than it looks on the outside.

You walk into Station Bistro and you’re greeted by a large country fireplace with two comfortable when chairs on either side. The dining room is not huge, but the tables are spaced nicely apart and the place is clean and bright and cheerful. As opposed to some places there is a feeling of space. Artwork of local artists adorn the walls. I saw a watercolor landscape of Chester County that I thought was one of the most beautiful I had ever seen.

The prices were moderate, the service exceptional, and the food delicious. Their address is 1300 Hares Hill Rd. Their phone number is 610.933.1147 and they do breakfast Saturday and Sunday too. The rest of the time I think they’re open Monday through Saturday for BYOB bistro dining between 11 AM and 9 PM.

Station Bistro was a completely serendipitous find and I look forward to going back.

Was such a beautiful day to go antiquing through Chester County. We had a great time. Of course it is one of those days I could’ve kicked myself for leaving my camera at home, because the scenery was spectacular.

We also did learn of a business closing today. Friends near Pottstown told us that the place that was the old tea room, and had been known in recent months are about a year or so as Tacie’s Café and Bakery had closed. It was located up on Ridge Road in Pottstown. The business was owned by soon to be former West Vincent Supervisor Clare Quinn.

We had a great time at the Kimberton Antique Show and found out that a lot of the same dealers will be at the Leesport Holiday Antiques Show in Berks County Saturday, December 7th.

We ran out of time and day so we couldn’t check out some of the other antiques stores in the area. Also on my list to check out are the Olde Knitting Mill in Spring City, and Inslee Antiques in Guthriesville.

I also want to get over to Conebella Farm on Chestnut Tree Road in Elverson. They are a fifth generation dairy farm that have over 15 varieties of cheddar and Colby-based cheeses and also sell milk yogurt and free range eggs.

I had so much fun today and part of it is because this is another one of my friends who also shares my passion for similar things as far as antiques and collectibles go.

My final note is I did feel like I was cheating on the Smithfield Barn today. And thanks to the Smiths who run the barn I actually recognize what a lot of country antiques actually are now!

Thanks for listening to my recounting of my rambling through Chester County today! If you have free time tomorrow, go check out the Kimberton Antiques Show. And definitely stop at Station Bistro in Kimberton!

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far and away but worth it: wölffer estate vineyard

DSC_0578Long Island is known for many things – the glitterati who flock to the Hamptons, farming, beaches, lighthouses, and also vineyards.  My pretty much favorite is DSC_0665 Wölffer Estate.

Wölffer Estate is located in the Hamptons in Sagaponack. Their wines are good DSC_0661and to me something very important – they use all their own grapes.

A few weeks ago I made my annual trek to the vineyard. This time I tasted dessert DSC_0629wines and also had a marvelous time photographing the vineyard and stocking up on the rosé wines they produce.  A good rosé is my summer wine of choice and truthfully I enjoy rosés year round – I don’t drink very much and am allergic to many types of alcohol and never acquired a taste for beer, so I am pretty limited as to what I will imbibe.

You can find some Wölffer in the Pennyvania Wine and Spirit Shops (a/k/a State Stores) but not all the time. If you ever go to the Hamptons check them out and take the time for one of their wine tastings. So fun, lovely setting, terrific experience.

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no one here but us chickens

You know me and my love affair with a picker’s paradise known as the Smithfield Barn on Little Conestoga.  (Of course I wish I knew what town it was officially in, versus betwixt and between Eagle and Elverson.)

I love depression glass.  Not all, but different things here and there.  I have always wanted white, not too large milk glass chickens.

Guess what I found at the barn last weekend? Chickens!  And they were bargains.  I am not telling you what, but trust me, you couldn’t even get such a deal on eBay.

They were loaded with stuff and a lot of people were digging.  I haven’t received an e-mail yet saying if Kris will be there this weekend or not, but if you drive by and the doors are open, it generally means they are too.

 

 

 

treasures found in my travels on memorial day weekend at smithfield barn

So, I told you all about the Smithfield Barn on 425 Little Conestoga, right? How many of you took my advice and checked them out this past Friday, Saturday, and Sunday?  If you didn’t, you’ll have to wait until the end of June to do so.

We went yesterday.  I love the Smithfield Barn because the folks who run it are real pickers.  There is a little bit of everything, but you have to be willing to dig.  I circled through the barn a couple of times yesterday before I saw my treasures:

  • a leather box of unknown origin, just pretty;
  • some terrific vintage wooden spoons;
  • and a fabulous hand-made quilt

I got great deals, and no, I am not telling you what I paid – if you go to the barn, you can negotiate on your own.  I will tell you what, with places like this, if you don’t go in guns a blazing with attitude there is often some wiggle room on select items.  But if you insultingly low ball them, you deserve what you get.

I love the quilt.  I am a vintage textile queen as you can see from the 1950’s table topper that provided the background to the spoons and the box.  That was probably all of $5 at St. David’s Church Fair a couple of years ago.

Some people can only handle new, I know people who have to re-do the furniture every few years like Barbie’s Dream House.  That is their style, certainly not mine.  I like objects that tell a story, or might tell a story.

And as much as I love to photograph barns, I love even more to root around in them.  My friend Barb can tell you about a trip to Vermont where we made a side pilgrimage to New Hampshire and I had a swell time rooting around in a giant barm owned by a New England farmer who picked antiques and collectibles on the side.  I negotiated some fabulous pink tea cups for her that day that she still has.  But heck, I used to go to Adamstown, PA with my parents before it was Trendy Wendy to do so.

The barn had some cool stuff yesterday including a Hoosier cabinet and a pair of dressers  that were first half of the 20th century – rounded and kind of cool.  Not sure how old the cabinet was and you have to be careful when looking at them, because there are kits out there to make them again.  The cabinet looked newly painted and it was bright white, so not for me.  But it was fun to look at.  There were some terrific chairs there yesterday and some fun lamps worth re-wiring, and if you like slot cars and matchbox cars?  This would have been your barn!

Anyway, I am glad I decided to ditch the garage sale tour and go to the barn instead.

And remember, if you like this blog, you can nominate it for a Blue Ribbon Blogger Award with Country Living Magazine.

Winners will be featured in their December/January 2013 issue and will also  attend a luncheon in their honor in New York City on November 13, 2012. Nominations are open from May 15, 2012 until July 29, 2012. Please only nominate  once.

Read more: Blue Ribbon Blogger Awards – 2012 Blog Awards – Country Living.

The Gladwyne PA Memorial Day Parade – if you like traditional, old-fashioned Memorial Day Parades complete with antique fire trucks and horses, this is your parade!

Anyway, enjoy the rest of your long weekend.  I got up and got my watering done early, it’s going to be a hot one today.  In part I feel like Farmer MacGregor because some Peter Rabbit ate my baby lettuce this weekend. And I don’t know about you, but this crazy weather and no winter has many plants of mine ahead of schedule.

See ya!  And Happy Memorial Day!

 

 

 

the barn! the barn! the barn is open this weekend!

The barn! The barn!

So….as you know I am having this love affair with a dusty old barn on Little Conestoga Road .

It’s not fancy, but it’s full of cool stuff.  People who collect match box and other little cars like slot cars should check it out, for example.

From stem to stern it is filled with almost everything you can think of.  You have to be willing to dig and if it is not a bright day, it can be a little dim inside (bring a pocket flash light!), but oh it’s so much fun.

And guess what?  The barn has a name after all.  It is the Smithfield Barn and today they sent me a little note:

Hello Everyone!!  Just wanted to let you all know that the barn will be open this Fri Sat and Sun from 10-4 Rain or Shine!!!  We have  lots of new items to check out!!  Come stop by and find a new treasure or two!
                                                 Smithfield Barn
                                       425 Little Conestoga Road

 

Go check out the barn.  Even if you don’t find a treasure, it’s FUN!!!