Remarkable Ronda Gorge, Moorish Town

Remarkable Ronda Gorge, Moorish Town

Ronda is a mountaintop city in Spain set dramatically above the El Tajo gorge. An incredible stone bridge, spans the deep ravine which separates Ronda’s 15th-century ‘new’ town from its old Moorish section.

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I had never heard of Ronda until reading through the itinerary for Tauck’s Week in Spain tour. A trip we took this past fall. I briefly described Ronda in an overview of our ten-day Iberian vacation in, See Spectacular Spain in September.

Ronda is built astride a huge gash in the mountains carved out by the Río Guadalevín. It is one of the oldest towns in Spain. Built on two separate cliffs, Ronda is connected by the most famous bridge in Spain. Even though it was built in the 18th century, it is known as “The New Bridge.” Old is really, old in Ronda. Think Caesar old!

Often appearing on lists of not-to-be-missed Spanish towns, Ronda is described as one of the most beautiful and visited cities in all of Andalucía. And, despite arriving with high expectations, Ronda did not disappoint. The views took my breath away. And the strong breeze nearly took my hat too! (more…)

Elegant, Easy Shamrock Tablescape for St. Patrick’s Day

Elegant, Easy Shamrock Tablescape for St. Patrick’s Day

The dining room is already wearing the green — in anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day— with an elegant metallic gold and emerald shamrock tablescape. 

Shamrock-tablescape-collage

I frequently set the dining room table and decorate the kitchen area to reflect the seasons and holidays for several weeks at a time. That includes two chandeliers, an island bar, countertop and open shelves.

This past weekend, I took down Valentines Day and began to pull out decorations and tableware for St. Patrick’s Day. But, since today is Presidents Day, the kitchen is still set with dishes, pewter and figures featured in Set a Presidents Day Table with Liberty Blue.

The shamrock tablescape is the first of several St. Patrick’s Day themed settings I hope to share with you. See how quickly and easily you can create an elegant dinner table. Mix china and crystal with inexpensive shamrock-shaped ornaments, placemats, and other accents, including napkins folded into a 4-leaf clover. (more…)

Illuminating Visit to the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh

Illuminating Visit to the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh

The Andy Warhol Museum is located on the North Shore of Pittsburgh, the place of Warhol’s birth and my home town.

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Although the museum opened in 1996, my husband and I had never been there – until a couple of weeks ago.

I’m not sure if we should have gone sooner, or the time was just right, but we really enjoyed our visit. It was informative, interesting and not at all what I expected. A most pleasant afternoon.

Andy Warhol was an American artist, director and producer, and leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. The Warhol claims to be one of the most comprehensive single-artist museums in the world. It features, paintings, works on paper, published prints, sculptures, photographs, films and videotape.

Located in nearly 90,000 square feet of what was an industrial building, the museum spans seven floors of gallery and exhibition space. Come along for highlights of our Warhol visit.  (more…)

Set a Presidents Day Table with Liberty Blue

Set a Presidents Day Table with Liberty Blue

Happy Birthday Abe & George!

I’ve set a Presidents Day table in honor of George Washington and Abraham Lincolns February birthdays.

presidents-day-table-abe-george

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a keen interest in the past. Living in Philadelphia during the Bicentennial, further sparked my fasciation with early American history. Then and now, we often visit places like Independence Hall, Valley Forge, Trenton, Mount Vernon, Monticello, Yorktown, and Boston’s Freedom Trail.

Researching colonial ancestors, who were early settlers of Pennsylvania and Maryland, led to more pilgrimages and exploration of places where they lived. Walking in ancestors’ footsteps adds a deeper appreciation of the past and its relevance to the present.

What really added flame to the fire, was discovering an ancestor who served as a spy and courier for General Washington. Peacock (the Rebel Bird) was also an officer of three militias and at Cornwallis’ surrender. Peacock was George’s guy and I’m partial to them both! (more…)

See Spectacular Spain in September

See Spectacular Spain in September

We visited Spain as part of a Tauck eight-day tour last September, adding pre and post days in Barcelona and Madrid.

Spain-Barcelona-Debbee

Debbee on tile decorated bench in Gaudi’s Parc Guell.

Hubby and I like to travel in September, primarily to avoid the crush of tourist crowds. For most locations, the weather is quite pleasant, rates are a little better, and we also get to celebrate our anniversary in style.

We decided to splurge on a Tauck tour because we liked the itinerary, accommodations, and that they took care of all the logistical details — in a country we didn’t speak the language.

Throughout Spain, we stayed in five-star hotels ideally situated, The local  guides were exceptional, adding enormously to the experience. Transportation was seamless and pretty plush, with a bus driver who provided extraordinary service. Lastly, although most of the couples in our group were a generation older, socializing with them enhanced the vacation.

Join me now on an overview of our trip to Spain, with major highlights of each destination.

(more…)

Decorating with Red Heart Ornaments for Valentines Day

Decorating with Red Heart Ornaments for Valentines Day

I’ve decorated the kitchen and dining room with red heart ornaments, mini-wreaths and embellishments for Valentines Day. 

red-heart-gold-valentine-table

After creating a DIY Let Me Call You Sweetheart Wreath recently, there were a few red heart ornaments leftover just begging to be used. So I got myself to Michael’s and picked up two more packages of eight.

First, I incorporated the red hearts into a formal dining room tablescape with decorated chandelier. That’s when I ‘rediscovered’ red heart-shaped wreaths,  previously used as used napkin rings. Do you ever forget you have stuff? Or, then where you stashed it?

For giggles, I hung a couple of the red heart mini-wreaths from the chandelier and really liked the look. Back to Michael’s I went to grab as many as I could, while they still had them in stores.

All this led to a cascade of ideas using red hearts to decorate a trio of corner cabinets in the kitchen and create two more informal table settings. It’s ‘bleeding’ red hearts around here!  (more…)

A Valentines Day Tea Party with Friends

A Valentines Day Tea Party with Friends

Sweet Way to Spend an Afternoon

A couple of years ago, three of my friends joined me for a Valentines Day tea with champagne cocktails and desserts. Valentine’s Day is about love and romance, but it’s also about celebrating friendships.

valentines-day-tea-Debbee

I met all three of these lovely ladies at the gym a number of years ago. We regularly go for coffee and smoothies after class and plan outings throughout the year together.

Just yesterday, we went to see Phantom Thread, a movie we were confident none of our husbands would enjoy. We were right! What a long, odd movie. All those Oscar nominations and positive reviews had us intrigued, but it was quite a disappointment. Although the movie did make for animated post-coffee discussion, I recommend viewing it at home to see all the marvelous fashions. Sorry to say, I’d only give it a two out of five Debbee rating.

Have any of you see Phantom Thread? What are your thoughts, reactions to the movie?

Anyway, a couple of years ago, I wanted to thank my gym buddies for supporting me through a particularly rough patch. So, I invited them for a Valentines Day tea party. (more…)

DIY Let Me Call You Sweetheart Wreath

DIY Let Me Call You Sweetheart Wreath

Create a Valentine’s Day Wreath to Decorate Home

After putting away the rest of my winter decorations and tableware, I couldn’t wait to get started on creating this Let Me Call You Sweetheart wreath for Valentine’s Day.

sweetheart-wreath-white-door

Gosh, I hate packing up holiday decorations and dishes! Tableware in particular, because I am constantly reshuffling things around in order to deal with a shortage of storage space. It’s my darn fault, because I just can’t part with any of my stuff.

I really don’t have much in the way of Valentine’s Day décor and specially dishes. In fact, it’s the holiday I have the least in terms of decorations. Maybe because it’s a more girly holiday and I raised two boys? And, there’s the calendar problem.

By that I mean, Valentine’s Day falls just after the big trifecta of holidays – Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Not enough time after Christmas and winter seasonal decorations go down and before you know it, it’s time for hearts, flowers and chocolate. Ok, there’s always time for chocolate!

So, I decided I needed to make a Valentine’s Day wreath, and I had just the thing to help indulge my crafting itch. (more…)

5 Snowman Centerpieces Decorate Winter Table

5 Snowman Centerpieces Decorate Winter Table

If It’s Snowing, Build a Snowman Centerpiece

It’s a cold morning with snowflakes flying, reminding me of five snowman centerpieces I haven’t shared with you.

snowman-centerpiece-pin

This being my first few months blogging (right smack in the middle of the holiday season), there were only so many seasonal tablescapes I had time to feature.

This weekend I plan to pack away the last of winter theme decorations and tableware. Before I do, I thought I’d share a couple pictures of each table, focusing on the snowman centerpieces.

  1. Frosty’s Magic Top Hat
  2. Crystal-Dusted Snowman Duo
  3. Penguin Friends Join Ice Skating Party
  4. Rustic Snowman Lights Up Table
  5. Vintage Favorite Surrounded by Bottle Brush Trees

Come to the table… (more…)

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