DIY Fall Decor: Grapevine Cornucopia Wreath

DIY Fall Decor: Grapevine Cornucopia Wreath

With Thanksgiving coming up, I thought I’d share the bountiful cornucopia wreath I made as a hostess gift. After all, ’tis the season for being grateful!

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Sometimes project and design inspiration comes from an unexpected find.

While shopping for craft supplies at Michaels, I spotted it — a grapevine wreath ring with an incorporated cornucopia basket.

Initially, I was there looking for a few faux florals and leaf clusters to fill-in and finish the mesh and ribbon DIY Dollar Tree Pumpkin Truck Fall Wreath.

But then I discovered the grapevine wreath! I instantly knew it was a have-to-do project, and creative gears began spinning in my brain. So, I quickly grabbed one of only three forms off the rack and put it into the cart.

Right away I decided it’d make the perfect thank you gift for relatives who were hosting us at their lovely home in Northern Virginia. Because of the pandemic, it had been a very long 13 months since we’d seen each other. We were suppose to spend last Thanksgiving with them. So, I couldn’t be more happy and grateful to be together!

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Gone Batty: Black, White & Purple Halloween Table

Gone Batty: Black, White & Purple Halloween Table

Welcome my pretties to the annual Halloween Tablescape Blog Hop. This year I’ve gone completely batty, with a playful purple Halloween table, centerpiece and decorated chandelier overhead!

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Hosted by my blogger buddy Rita of Panoply, 19 table stylists have conjured up lots of fun to frightening settings to inspire and delight. See links to each at the end of this post.

Because I already have two sets of Halloween plates, I’m loath to purchase and then find space to store new tableware. What to do?

Last year’s Gothic Glam Table & Skeleton Napkin Fold is one of my all-time favorite tablescapes — regardless of holiday, season or occasion. For that elegant setting, I didn’t use any Halloween tableware. Instead, I pulled out my best china, crystal and sterling. A Silly Skeleton — resplendent in pearls and rhinestones — sat in my ornate silver punchbowl, right in the middle of the table!

How do I top that?

Let’s see, I’ve already done a witch, ghost, mummy, and two skeleton tables. Hmmm! In the end, a bat-shape napkin fold provided the spark I needed to style this year’s Halloween scene.

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Easily Marble Pumpkins for Fall & Table Decor

Easily Marble Pumpkins for Fall & Table Decor

Today, I’m sharing how I made the marble pumpkins included in the Gone Batty, Black and Purple Halloween Table centerpiece.

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During the fall season, I am always impressed and intrigued by the wide variety of crafted or decorated pumpkins, shared both online and in magazines. Much of the inspiration comes from fellow blogger friends and link-up parties.

They can be carved or embellished real pumpkins, or faux gourds made of fabrics like velvet and flannel. Some are crocheted or knit from yarn. While others are weaved and twisted from twine or other materials

In years past, I’ve created several styles of my own faux pumpkins, using a variety of techniques. Like the marble pumpkins, they were crafted to incorporate in either Halloween, fall or Thanksgiving vignettes and centerpieces. Some did double-duty as table favors for dinner guests.

First, were Easy to Make Fall Decor: Sweater Pumpkins. They were made by recycling a favorite but worn sweater and socks. Later, DIY Eerie, Elegant Black Pumpkin Decor were embellished with everything from eyeballs, to lace to old rhinestone jewelry. Can you guess how and what I used as “paint” to marble pumpkins?

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Walk on the Wild Side at Zoo Lantern Festival

Walk on the Wild Side at Zoo Lantern Festival

Returning to our magical evening at the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium for its first ever, Asian Lantern Festival.

In part 1, Zoo Asian Lantern Festival Illuminates Wildlife, we paused in the African Savanna after seeing lion, tiger, zebra and elephant creations.

The sun had set and it was dusk, with the sky showing off its own beautiful light show of color.

But, that was only about halfway through the zoo’s winding pathways and 44 different lantern displays of animals, flowers, decorative archways, and tunnels. Some of the best were yet to come!

I particularly enjoyed those associated with the aquarium’s inhabitants, including schools of fish, jellyfish, penguins, seals and a colossal octopus.

Lantern displays became even more striking as darkness fell, with dramatic lighting, animated movements and color changes.

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DIY Spooky Dollar Tree Painted Halloween Glasses

DIY Spooky Dollar Tree Painted Halloween Glasses

To welcome the spooky season, I’m sharing how I made a set of painted Halloween glasses over the weekend. They’ll serve as guest favors for an upcoming dinner party on the Gone Batty: Black, White & Purple Halloween Table.

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And, they’ll be featured on a purple, black and white table setting, for the annual Halloween Tablescape Blog Hop. It’s always spooktacular, and I hope you’ll join us on October 12th.

It’s my fifth year participating. So, styling a table that wasn’t repetitive of what I’ve already done was challenging.

Usually I alternate between two different sets of Halloween theme plates. Last year, however, my wedding china, and heirloom crystal and sterling were used for the Halloween Gothic Glam Table & Skeleton Napkin Fold. It’s one of my all-time favorite tablescapes!

This year, I’ll be pulling the Wiccan Lace plates once again. But, to mix things up a bit, I’ve decided to incorporate purple into a Halloween table setting and created a marbled pumpkin centerpiece giveaway. Since I don’t own any Halloween specific stemware, I’ve also transformed smoky black, Dollar Tree stems into painted Halloween glasses. Come see how!

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Zoo Asian Lantern Festival Illuminates Wildlife

Zoo Asian Lantern Festival Illuminates Wildlife

Recently, hubby and I enjoyed an enchanting experience at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium. The Asian Lantern Festival illuminates the zoo with the glow of wildlife-themed, handcrafted figures.

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As dusk settles in, the lanterns begin to glow. Visitors stroll the winding pathways throughout the zoo, pausing to admire the beautiful lights. Intended for all ages, the festival also features live performances and entertainment. Music, dancing, and food represent elements of Asian heritage.

In all, 44 different lantern displays are spread across the zoo’s grounds. While the majority are animal themed — pandas, elephants and giraffes — there are also flower lanterns, decorative archways, tunnels and even a colossal butterfly tree. Some, like a flock of flamingos, are bigger than life. Many also change colors, or are animated with subtle movements. Most impressive, is the massive, 100-foot long and brightly colored Chinese dragon.

The Asian Lantern Festival is a family-friendly nighttime event that requires a separate ticket, in lieu of the zoo’s daytime admission. And, as Mr. Buzz and I discovered, it also makes for a romantic, date-night under the stars. Come stroll along with us.

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Using a Smoker Grill Enhances BBQ Meals & More

Using a Smoker Grill Enhances BBQ Meals & More

This past Christmas, the family bought and received appliances as gifts that offer new or different ways to prepare and enhance foods. These cooking appliances and methods included a smoker grill, air fryer, pasta maker, and sous vide precision cooker.

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Apparently, hubby and I were on the same wave length as our two grown sons — give gifts that could be enjoyed while still being mostly homebound during the then peak of the pandemic. Those gifts extended to indoor entertainment too, including; board and card games, books, puzzles, craft supplies, and subscriptions for coffee, the NY Times, and streaming services.

One of those gift subscriptions was the ability to take MasterClass courses on our big screen TV, computer or mobile phone. There is a wide variety of topics. While Preparing for a Puppy, and before bringing Whiskey home, I took a great course on dog training. Hubby particularly enjoyed a series on what it was like to be an astronaut.

Since we are all foodies, ways to either prepare new dishes, or make foods faster, healthier and tastier, are particularly appealing. And no one was traveling or eating out then. Living in center city Philly and Manhattan, both our sons really missed dining at restaurants. Take out just wasn’t the same.

So, we all were experimenting either in the kitchen, or outside barbequing on the new smoker grill. With Labor Day Weekend barbecues around the corner, I thought it was time to share our experiences with a smoker.

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DIY Dollar Tree Pumpkin Truck Fall Wreath

DIY Dollar Tree Pumpkin Truck Fall Wreath

Kicking off the season with a new fall wreath. It’s actually one of two I made recently as gifts for family members.

As regular followers know, I love crafting holiday, seasonal and party decorations — wreaths and door hangings in particular! Because of that, my home is decorated to the nines and there is simply no more display space, or room to store them.

For several years, I sold my creations via DebbeesBuzzBoutique. Last fall, however, I decided to close the Etsy shop. Offering domestic free shipping and packaging became prohibitive for a small time operation like mine. Add to that the pandemic and foot surgery curtailing shopping for supplies, and it just didn’t make sense anymore.

Instead, over the past year I’ve made wreaths for family or friends; either as gifts or by special request.

Let me show you how to make a pumpkin truck wreath in seven easy steps, using some inexpensive materials found at Dollar Tree.

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Cultural Cooking Adventure: Vietnamese Dishes

Cultural Cooking Adventure: Vietnamese Dishes

For my birthday, my son’s girlfriend gave me the most wonderful cultural food adventure. It took place during their extended July 4th holiday visit, when we enjoyed a Return of Traditional Summer Activities. We prepared two classic Vietnamese dishes; crepes and spring rolls with fish and peanut dipping sauces.

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Meanwhile, my eldest son and husband combined a chemistry experiment with bar tending to create a unique clarified version of a classic cocktail to accompany the meal.

Prior to their arrival, V emailed me links to several different Vietnamese dishes she had in mind. Everything looked delicious, although I was unfamiliar with some of the ingredients. She explained what they were, assuring me what wasn’t found in an Asian food market or grocery store could be substituted with other options.

I looked forward to the experience and and some girl-only time for weeks!

On the last full day of their visit, V and I went together on a cultural shopping excursion, had a hands-on cooking lesson, and then served a wonderful meal. I was her enthusiastic assistant, taster, and table setter for dinner.

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