January 19, 2020

looking forward to february

One of the most cheerful days of winter is coming up on February 14, and even if you don’t celebrate Valentine’s day, it’s a good excuse to liven up your life with fresh flowers or a yummy treat to chase those winter blues away. 

This little vignette you see above was styled way back in September during our Cottages & Bungalows magazine shoot at the Blue Door Cottage. You see, I was looking for a broom to brush away some dust, and I happened to find this fun heart pillow in the closet under the stairs. 

I couldn’t contain my excitement and luckily Kelly felt the same way, and we knew we had to style something pretty to feature this newly found pillow.  

I’m so happy Kelly and I actually get excited over the same things, and while Brett and Jickie were busy photographing the kitchen, Kelly and I gathered the potted geraniums we were using in the front yard and the red tulips featured in another shot to quickly set this Valentine’s Day inspired scene.   

This little table still makes my heart sing! It came together quickly and perfectly captures the mood of an informal Galentine’s Day brunch. Forget the guys, this is a celebration of  good friends enjoying the season and all the pink goodness that comes with it.

You can see more of this table 

HERE at Cottages & Bungalows 

or HERE on my blog. 

Hot off the press is the latest issue of Country Sampler Farmhouse Style where I have a few fun things featured like my special recipe for homemade Rhubarb Scones. This is the original photo I submitted (above) and you can read all about how to make these yummy treats on page 111. 

Also in the Spring issue of Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, is this heart pillow made by sewing a collection of vintage buttons on a simple pillow. With the help of my friend Brenda, we had a fun time working on this project. You can see it on page 106 with several other easy ideas on how to embellish a simple pillow. 

For an easy way to put a "healthier" spin on your basic chocolate chip cookie recipe, check out my festive cookie recipe HERE that includes the addition of walnuts and dried cherries.   

The tartness of the cherries mixed with the sweetness of the chocolate is a classic combination, so adding a few walnuts really ups the ante of these yummy treats!  Take a gamble making these. I really think you'll like them. 💗

ciao! fabiana 

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January 11, 2020

my favorite thrift finds for 2020

It’s only day nine of 2020, and as expected, I’ve been busy thrifting! After the holidays, don’t you feel like it’s the perfect time to be getting rid of stuff? And along with that idea, I have to say out with the old, and in with the new!”  (Kinda new, that is.)

You see, once I drive to the thrift store to make my donations, I just can’t help myself, and I have to check out what new treasures I may find awaiting me inside. 

This year I have a few new things I keep my eye out for. I’m totally into white, especially useful ironstone pieces like platters and pitchers.   

Here are a few I found this week, and although my roses aren’t blooming yet, I’m thankful that Trader Joe’s has a pretty selection to choose from. The pitcher on the far right is a Williams-Sonoma find from a thrift store that I couldn’t resist, since it’s a nice large size.

Not only are these pitchers beautiful for holding flowers, they can still serve their original purpose for pouring beverages, as well. Check out the article I wrote for Cottages and Bungalows HERE on collecting pitchers.

Flowers are now a way of life here at Casa Ciao with my garden providing more roses and hydrangeas than ever during the warmer months, so I'm always on the lookout for interesting vases.  

The four you see above are recent acquisitions, and although they may not be very vintage, they fit the bill perfectly for having interesting shapes and neutral colors. I also like the variety of genres they cover, from chinoiserie to farmhouse. 

It's easier to arrange flowers in vases that aren't glass, don't you think? That way you don't have to worry about how the stems look. Everything underwater is hidden, and the beauty of the flowers and vase are all we need to focus on.

This striped ceramic vase is hand made, and I love how the rim is all pinched together like a pie crust. It’s so cute! A big bunch of lavender wax flowers compliment the rustic quality of this one. 

This look is so perfect for an informal lunch or dinner. (Those navy blue napkins are also a thrift find and found in new condition.)  I also love that this vase crosses over to my next category, crocks. 

In addition to vases and pitchers, crocks are perfect for flowers, all kinds of plants and even your favorite cactus. Of course, they’re great for holding myriad of other things, like wooden utensils, cutlery and other collectables.  

It's nice to see a grouping of crocks on a kitchen shelf that inspire interesting stories of how they were acquired. There's always a favorite in the group. I happen to love the Blackberry Jam one you see above. I used it in my photo shoot for Country Sampler Farmhouse style HERE as part of a red, white and blue summer tablescape.

The crock on the far left has an added bonus...  

It’s perfect for holding spoons! This would be nice for a gathering where a "chili bar" is featured. I love making a big pot of homemade chili and then offering our guests tons of toppings to choose from like different shredded cheeses, Fritos, cilantro, avocado and even diced sweet potatoes, my favorite!    

Next on my list of things to look for while thrifting are vintage brass candlesticks. You can never have too many in my book!  

The large wood and brass lantern you see is also a recent find. It was marked “discard” by Target and ended up at the Goodwill Store nearby. There's a slight crack in the frame underneath where you’ll never see it. 

Picture this during the holidays with a collection of bottlebrush trees inside and brought together with a layer of snow scattered inside? 

Vintage wooden bowls are also on my radar this year. I actually bought the smaller French one from Trouvé, and found the larger Munising dough bowl for only a dollar at my favorite thrift store. 

Rectangular wicker and willow baskets are easy to find, and I love them for holding fruit and vegetables freshly picked from the garden. They’re also useful for carrying cut flowers indoors and corralling napkins and utensils at your next gathering.

I also love to use them as a container for potted herbs during the summer months.

Flat, round baskets are also one of my favorite finds. They’re so versatile as trays or wall ornaments. I’ve found some amazing ones lately at estate sales. This larger one was found a few days ago at a sale in Laguna and is a vintage rice sorter from Asia. It’s got a really nice herringbone pattern to it.  

I’m always on the lookout for interesting paintings that just “speak to me”. I walk away, come back and make a decision with my gut. So far, I’ve been pretty happy with the outcome! 

So, I've covered just a few of the goodies I look for while thrifting. The thrill of the hunt is never knowing what you’ll find, right? So for now, here’s this week’s list of treasures to look for: 
  • ironstone pieces
  • pitchers
  • interesting vases
  • vintage crocks
  • brass candlesticks
  • vintage wooden bowls
  • rectangular wicker and willow baskets
  • flat, round baskets
  • beautiful paintings

ciao! fabiana

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