November 15, 2018

an alfresco Thanksgiving gathering

Dining outdoors in the garden is so delightful, and setting up an alfresco Thanksgiving table is easier than you may think.

I used my favorite table accessories and elegant fall elements to create this unique look last year. The weather was perfect and the timing was just right!  

Our table was moved to the back yard and set up for a small gathering of six, which is the perfect number of guests for dining outdoors.

You may recognize this table from Romantic Homes, and you can read all about the design and inspiration behind the design here.

Today I’m sharing with you where I found all the elements featured at this table…   

The table is one that I’ve had for a long time, and I repainted it a few years ago with “Old White” Annie Sloan chalk paint. It's a great size and has two leaves, which when removed convert this to the perfect round table.  

I also painted these vintage Windsor chairs white, which I found for $10 each at a thrift store in Laguna Beach. We use them everyday, and they're actually quite comfortable.

This table that usually sits in my dining nook, but I moved it outdoors with the chairs, just for fun!

Here are the elements on the table:

Macramé Runner found here
Vintage Wedgwood China from my mother-in-law
Wood Baroque Charger found here
Wood Handle Flatware found here
Thankful Napkins found here (get them in two days!)
Glitter Gold Pumpkin Votives found here
Brass Candlestick Coolection here (get them in two days!)  
Small White Pitchers found here
White and Yellow Roses from Trader Joe’s
Wheat Bouquet found here

This year I’m hosting everyone in our dining room, since we have a larger group coming next Thursday. Here's a little peek at what's happening on the table at the moment...

I’m still playing around with the look, but I’ll share the final reveal soon! 

ciao! fabiana

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November 13, 2018

thanksgiving prep: turkey plates

With less than ten days until the big day, the countdown for Thanksgiving really begins today. While I tend to set several Thanksgiving inspired tables during the month of November, I always hone in on my favorite aspects of each table and use those favorite elements for the final reveal on Thanksgiving day.

Turkey plates are one of my favorite ways to add that special vintage Thanksgiving look to a table, and I collect them all year long. If I spot them for a dollar each at flea market in March, I’m sure to jump at the chance of adding to my collection.

Starting in September or October, Home Goods carries pretty ones for only about $4-5 each. I tend to collect the salad plates which always look pretty layered on a solid white or cream colored dinner plate.    

Here are a few of my favorites…

Turkey Plate by Royal Stafford

Turkey Plate by Maxcera

Turkey Plate by The Victorian English Pottery

Turkey Plate by 222 Fifth

His Majesty by Johnson Bros.

I don’t stop at just collecting turkey plates for Thanksgiving. Brown and white transferware is also pretty this time of year, and layers wonderfully with the little turkeys. I especially love the transferware patterns with hand-colored fruit designs.

And I go gaga for anything Wedgwood.

Drury Lane by Wedgwood

Harvest Time by Johnson Bros.

Beatrice by Wedgwood

Royal Staffordshire Windsong Ironstone by J. & G. Meakin

These brown and white English plates with the swirly floral design was found recently at the Long Beach Flea Market, and yes, these were only a dollar each as well.

You can see I’m playing around with a new Thanksgiving tablescape using those Royal Staffordshire plates and a pretty little thing I picked up in Geneva

an April Cornell table square that looks beautiful when place diagonally across the table, and look at how perfectly these two patterns compliment each other!

I actually found this cute tablecloth at The Little Traveler, and I love that it has adorable brown tassels on each corner. The amber glassware will add just the right touch of sparkle to this look.

ciao! fabiana

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November 11, 2018

the biggest tablescaping holidays

We made it through the first week of November, and now we’re headed for the homestretch… Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year! And, I just realized that Thanksgiving will be here in less than two weeks!

Our trip to Geneva last week was so memorable and the town was just so beautiful. News this morning from our cousin Melinda is that it snowed this morning! Wow… we would have missed the beautiful fall leaves if we didn’t get there when we did.

While in Geneva, one of my must-see destinations was the Kane County Flea Market which runs the first weekend of each month. My primary goal was to gather as much vintage Indiana glassware that I could possibly fit into my luggage!

As you can see from the photo above, I did find some nice pieces, but only the amber one was found at the flea market. My instincts told me to search some of the local thrift stores and that’s where I hit the motherlode.

The set of green glasses were found at the Catchpenny thrift store in Barrington. I walked in, and there they were, waiting for me, at only .97 cents each! But wait… when I got to the register I found out everything at the store was half off! Wow! I don’t find bargains like that everyday.     

I love using this type of vintage glassware to set my holiday tables. In fact, you’ll catch four pages of the ‘Enchanted’ Christmas table I set in the December issue of Romantic Homes magazine. Here’s a little peek at one of the photos that’s an outtake.

My inspiration for this table were my black and white Joyeux Noel salad plates. From there, I incorporated black and white gingham, and just a bit of green to add necessary color to the table. Blush pink roses finish of the look to add a little romance.

Check out the whole story and pics in Romantic homes! I just saw if for sale yesterday at our local grocery store and they also have it available at Barnes & Noble.   

Another table I set exclusively for Romantic Homes also showcases my favorite glassware. This time in amber, this alfresco Thanksgiving table is one of my favorites. I also used roses on this table, but I went with a more natural look with wood accents and natural textures.

Check out the whole look here at Romantic Homes.   

One of my all-time favorite tables is this Thanksgiving table I recently set up with my beautiful tableware from Serena & Lily. I was going for a clean, modern look and just love the simplicity of it. 

The pretty Mayberry napkins add just the right reddish-orange 'papaya' color to the table that's so perfect for fall.  Keep a lookout for the Christmas table I'll be setting in a few weeks with these same Serena & Lily goodies. Check out the whole look of the Thanksgiving table and dining room here.

Also on the radar this month is this yummy recipe for Pumpkin Spice Spritz Cookies. They offer just the right amount of autumn flavor and are so nostalgic to and fun to make! Recipe found here.   

You may remember this silly little ‘Ugly Christmas Sweater’ tablescape I did last year. Well, you can catch it on the pages of Country Sampler’s Christmas Decorating issue along with my gold magnolia wreath that’s also featured.

I’ve been truly blessed this year that some of my projects have been featured in national magazines for the first time. It’s really surreal to see my photos and stories in print!

Happy weekend to you all!

I’m going to try to get out into the garden and plant some roses. I’m so excited to have found a really pretty English rose yesterday called ‘Edith’s Darling’, a Downton Abbey variety! 

ciao! fabiana

For lots of extras, follow me on instagram!

November 9, 2018

the cutest little book store

You know me and vintage houses… I’m really drawn to them, so when visiting Geneva last week, I discovered this newly opened book store, Harvey’s Tales.

Housed in a beautiful old house on James street and just around the corner form the historic shopping district on Third Street, Harvey’s Tales is absolutely delightful!

Geneva residents Chuck and Roxanne recently opened this adorable book store. Harvey’s Tales was named for the owners’ Bernese Mountain dog, Harvey, who sadly they lost last year in October. He was 10 years old. They recently adopted another Bernese named Hazel.

The historic building was built in 1860, and is also known as the ‘Cory House’, the building used to be the Kris Kringle Haus, a year-round Christmas store for ages and ages.

The building is also listed in the book, “Ghosts of the Fox River Valley,” as the music of the dearly departed Miss Vere Cory, a music teacher, can still supposedly be heard playing the piano in the house at times.

After everyone’s favorite go-to shop Robin’s Book Store closed in Geneva after many decades a fixture in town, there was a real need for another one in Geneva. I think locals and visitors alike are happy there’s a new bookstore in town.

Harvey’s Tales is 2,400 square feet of space, with a cozy coffee bar on the first floor right near the kids and young adult section. The second floor features fiction and non-fiction for us ‘grown-ups’.

There are so many cute and cozy reading spots!

The children’s room is darling…

and reminders of Harvey are everywhere.

I have no affiliation to this store. I just happen to love it, and in turn, I love sharing my fun finds with you all!

Harvey’s Tales is located at
216 James St, Geneva, IL 60134

ciao! fabiana

for lots of fun extras, follow me on instagram!

November 7, 2018

farmhouse's favorite green bean cassarole

Just popping in to share this really yummy Thanksgiving side dish that everyone will love! Created by Chef Mead at Farmhouse here in Newport Beach, it’s sure to wow everyone at the Thanksgiving table!    


Serves 8 to 10


4 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 ounces mushrooms, (I use a combination of crimini, shitake and oysters) stems removed and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups half and half
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon tamari or soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
12 ounces of seasoned fried shallots
1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans, blanched and cooled
½ cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 Tsp of smoked paprika
Salt and pepper

1.   Cook the mushrooms. Melt the butter in a large, straight-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

2.   Sprinkle the flour evenly over the mushroom mixture and stir to combine. Cook until the flour is no longer dry, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the half and half, chicken broth, tamari or soy sauce, nutmeg, salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the sauce is thickened, 3 to 5 minutes.

3.   Remove the sauce from the heat, add the green beans and 1/2 of the fried shallots, and stir to combine. Transfer the green bean mixture to a 9×13-inch baking dish and spread into an even layer.

4.   Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese, smoked paprika and remaining shallots. Bake until golden and bubbling, 12 to 15 minutes.

5.   Let cool 5 minutes before serving. The sauce will thicken as it cools.

Easy to make ahead: Assemble the casserole without the crispy shallots and store tightly wrapped in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Remove from the refrigerator while the oven preheats. Top with the fried shallots and bake.

ciao! fabiana

P.S. Don't forget to follow me on instagram for lots of extras!

photo credit:
Farmhouse Roger's Gardens

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