July 20, 2019

a peek inside the blue door cottage

I’m glad so many of you enjoyed the Balboa Cottage Dinner Party blog post I shared yesterday, and a few of you wanted to see more of this darling cottage.

Built in 1928 and lovingly updated, this home retains so much of its original character. From the gorgeous faΓ§ade to the blue dutch door, this home is spectacular and so charming!   

I had so much fun on Thursday setting this table for a dinner party in the front yard. We wanted to bring the color palette of the home's interior out to the front patio with this festive tablescape.

Coastal touches were of course necessary for this Little Balboa Island cottage's dinner party. I used chunky white starfish, blue glass and lots of hydrangeas, which remind me of seaside living.

Best of all, each guest got their own personal “message in a bottle” at their place setting. We found these at the last minute and they proved to be perfect for the party game the hosts had in mind.

Not only that, but they are so cute and such a conversation piece! 

Here’s a step inside the Blue Door Cottage. I know you’ll be seeing a lot more of it soon!

The hydrangeas for the party are all set to go!

Crossing the bridge to Balboa Island 

I’ll have more news to share on the Blue Door Cottage soon, as well as another pretty cottage in Old-Town Orange.

I sure hope you'll check back soon! 😘

ciao! fabiana

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July 18, 2019

thursday fun day on Balboa

I just love that summer’s in full swing! All the hard work I did in the garden during the winter and spring months are paying off, and we just love spending time in the back yard, especially near the firepit on cool nights.

The focal point of this area is this large ceramic fish that was left to us by the previous owners. He's been with us for over 20 years now, and he's as cute as ever, even with his chips and cracks... those darn tree trimmers!

The little gap between the step sweeps around the firepit and is planted with adorable “Santa Barbara daisies”, ferny “dusty miller” and fragrant white alyssum. It’s filled in quite nicely and is a cheery addition to the outdoor dining area. 

It’s so cozy out here!

On the other side of the back yard is my “she shed”. It’s not a fancy place to relax in, but rather a workshop of sorts that stores many of my gardening and floral supplies.

It’s also a great place to keep some of my collectables. I think of it as my little curiosity shop, and it even has a shopkeepers bell on the door that rings whenever you enter. 

The garden out here is really exploding with lavender, lemons, tomatoes and herbs among many other plants. 

This is a favorite shady spot that I adorned with vintage tiles found on ebay. I love how the vines are taking over!

So later today, I'm headed to Little Balboa Island to the Blue Door Cottage, seen below...

Blue Door Cottage

Isn’t it cute? My friends Angi & Peter own this dreamy little vacation cottage and are hosting a dinner party tonight and I’m helping them decorate the tables for the event. 

Here's the mood board for tonight's tablescape. All these items, besides the fruit and greenery are available from the local party rental company.

I can’t wait to set this fabulous table! I’m also photographing it, so you know you’ll get a peek of the finished tablescape soon.

Newport Harbor Home Tour

Also on my radar today, is the amazing before and after of this memorable farmhouse from this year’s Newport Harbor Home Tour. You can read all about it here.


I’m also preparing for a trip to the south, which includes my beloved Savannah. I have a post coming up later this month on a couple of my favorite stops while in Savannah.

Please check back soon for all the latest!

ciao! fabiana

July 17, 2019

adventures in thrifting: july 2019

Over the past few weeks, I’ve found some really fun treasures while visiting my favorite thrift stores, and some new ones.

Since I love setting tablescapes for each season and holiday, I’m always on the lookout for some specific items like transferware, vintage glassware and linens but once in a while something just catches my eye, and the price is just right, that it may start a new category of collecting.

Transferware is at the top of my list when I'm out treasure hunting. When I walk into a thrift shop, I always head to the plate aisle first. Yesterday I found this amazing group of red transferware, the five larger plates above.

The smaller plates were found with Laura a few weeks ago. Although blue is my favorite, red is a close second. Look how pretty they look in an abstract arrangement that would be so pretty on a wall in the dining room or kitchen. 

Of course, they always look spectacular on a table when mixing and matching patterns and even colors of transferware.

And speaking of spectacular, when I saw these tea cups on the shelf, I grabbed them so quickly that it was like an out-of-body experience! My instincts kicked in and they were in my cart before I knew what happened.

Hand colored transferware is so pretty, and these little tea cups had no saucers, but that ok, because it’s easy to find red transferware saucers and it makes the whole look of them more interesting when we’re sipping tea with mismatched sets. 

I just love all the details on a pattern like this, and when the inside of the cup has a design, that’s a huge bonus!

Collecting vintage pie plates is something I fell into quite by accident. I picked up a few here or there for special projects like a Thanksgiving story or special recipe I had to share, and now I just think they’re so cute!

This cherry pie plate was found about a week ago, and it'll fit in just right with the other ones I already have.

What I love most about them is that the recipe is printed right on them, and of course the graphics are fun too. The pumpkin pie plate right above the strawberry pie plate is by Rae Dunn, and all the rest are vintage. 

Pumpkin pie seems to be the most popular!

You may have read my blog post about collecting state plates and souvenir plates, so you know I’m always on the hunt for them.

I found this Ohio plate in the one thrift store I went to in Mammoth over the weekend. Thrifting on vacation is one of my favorite pastimes. You never know what you're gonna find!

One of the most amazing things about shopping at thrift stores is that the money you spend goes to charity in most cases. The proceeds of the Mammoth thrift store goes to The Wounded Warrior Project which is an amazing organization that helps injured veterans.

In addition to helping the community, shopping a thrift stores reduces waste as we reuse items that may end up in landfills. 😊

Now back to our regularly scheduled program… just kidding! πŸ˜‰

What I really appreciate about the transferware type of plates is the intricate detail of each pattern. Copper plates are engraved and then the design is "transfered" on to thin sheets of paper where it is then applied to a plate or other item. Sort of like those rub-on tattoos for children.

This blue transferware plate shows a tower of Yale University and is made by Wedgwood. Look at the detail in the border. I just love that zig zag pattern with the floral motif.

And now, on to glassware… I don’t collect a lot of glass items except for goblets and water glasses that I use for setting tables, but vases are also quite useful for tablescapes.

I couldn’t pass up these pretty blue vases, and the two in front are even hand-blown! I just love their quirky shapes. Wouldn't they look amazing with white roses or hydrangeas in them? 

They're not too big, and are just the perfect size for an intimate gathering. They'll be featured soon on a table, I can assure you! 

I also found a set of these vintage goblets in the most fabulous navy blue color yesterday. There are six in this set which is perfect for the table. 


Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been enthralled with Jasperware by Wedgwood. I don't know why, but I think it's the patterns with the people on them that has attracted me all this time, and the bisque finish is so elegant.

I mostly have typical blue trays and covered boxes with the raised white pattern, but this round box in the cutest pumpkin shape really had my name written all over it! It's so perfect to hold a few special pieces of jewelry.

This funny little tureen or large sugar bowl makes me laugh a little bit. Those large handles on each side are so cute, and they just remind me of Prince Charles for some reason! 

Anyways, brown transferware is always so perfect for fall and especially for Thanksgiving. Take the lid off, add some pretty flowers or stems of autumn leaves, and this makes the prettiest centerpiece for your table!

And while we're on the subject of Thanksgiving, how about a pumpkin embossed platter that's so beautiful, it would be stunning as the centerpiece of your hutch or even displayed on the wall for a seasonal touch. 

Of course using it to serve turkey would be the obvious and perfect choice for this platter, found for next to nothing yesterday at Goodwill!

I hope you enjoyed this little part of my thrifting adventures of the past month. I do have other collectables and plates that I didn't photograph, but chances are you'll be seeing them soon in one of my tablescapes.

I'm actually working on some spring and Easter projects this week, so I'll share little snippets of those soon!

ciao! fabiana


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