When Life Gives You Lemons, Set a Lemon Table

When Life Gives You Lemons, Set a Lemon Table

Stuck at home, after mom and I came home from Philadelphia with mild cases of COVID, we set a summer lemon table for a nice outdoor brunch before she flew back to Charleston.

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Instead of being out and about, visiting with friends and family during mom’s visit to Pittsburgh, we spent the ten days isolating at home. Since breaking my right-hand, ring finger, I’m also contending with the awkwardness and restrictions of wearing a splint for six long weeks.

After all being fully vaccinated and double boosted, this was not how we planned spending our summer visit. COVID continues to mutate and spread. Life = lemons, sometimes.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that the vaccines and five-day course of therapeutic pills protected us from severe illness or worse. I experienced feeling like I had a severe cold. But, I was nervous about my elderly mom, and felt badly that she caught the virus while on “my watch.”

My finger, well that is indeed frustrating! Accidently broken by Mr. Buzz during a new card game with friends, I have another month wearing a splint And, of course it had to be my right hand — geez! Usually when I need a mood lifter I craft, but that’s not an option presently. Instead, mom helped me to set a sunny yellow lemon table, with tableware and linens already in the house. I even managed a new napkin fold!

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Kings Canyon Park: Sequoias & River Valley

Kings Canyon Park: Sequoias & River Valley

Returning today to our September 2021 California vacation and visit to breath-taking Kings Canyon. It was the second of a trio of national parks we explored — beginning in Sequoia: Land of Giants and ending in a three-day Yosemite Vacation.

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Did you know that Kings Canyon is the deepest canyon in the US? It’s gorge reaches up to 8,200 feet; thousands of feet deeper than the Grand Canyon in Arizona!

A scenic road cuts through the park ‘s wide canyon, and along the Kings Rivers. In addition to its famous grove of sequoias, there are forests of pine, fir, and cedar, a rocky river valley, waterfalls, lakes, a marble cavern, and expansive meadow. So much of nature’s wonders to see and experience!

Apparently the most common way to “see” Kings Canyon is to simply drive though on Generals Highway —with a stop and short hike at Grant Grove Village. But then, you’d miss the spectacular vistas and deep river valley along the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway!

Instead, hubby and I dedicated an entire day and overnight to Kings Canyon National Park. That allowed us time for the amazing roundtrip drive into the canyon itself, with time to explore the richness of the deep river valley.

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Sequoia National Park: Land of Giants

Sequoia National Park: Land of Giants

While vacationing in California last September, we spent two days and nights exploring neighboring Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Depending on how you look at it, we were either very fortunate (my view) or unlucky in the timing of our visit.

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Much of the state was experiencing drought conditions. That was quite evident during our days wine-tasting in dry and hot Paso Robles. All the ranch and grazing land looked brown and parched. On September 9, 2021, there were severe thunderstorms. More than 200 lightening strikes occurred within the two neighboring parks! Fires were discovered the following day — as we arrived in Sequoia National Park.

We had left Paso Robles early, for the three-hour plus drive to Sequoia. Fortunately, our day and overnight at the park lodge proceeded mostly as planned. But, by the time we left for Kings Canyon, the fires had exploded –closing the park entrance, lodge and highway behind us!

By December 2021, Sequoia and Kings Canyon were devastated by the KNP Complex and Windy fires. As many as 2,380 giant sequoias burned to death, or are expected to die within several years! Mr. Buzz and I are heartbroken by the destruction of those majestic trees.

But, I also feel blessed to have been among the last people to have seen the sequoias, redwoods and parks before the fires. Let me share them with you.

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Yosemite Vacation: Views, Hikes & Accommodations

Yosemite Vacation: Views, Hikes & Accommodations

Last September, Mr. Buzz and I spent half of our California vacation exploring the bountiful natural wonders of three National Parks, including Yosemite.

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After deciding it was too early to reschedule our pandemic-cancelled June 2020 Ireland trip, hubby suggested California. That March 2021, he had snagged two nights in September at Yosemite’s Ahwahnee Hotel, the crown jewel of national park lodges. We built our entire vacation around those nights. First, we worked backwards, booking other park lodging in Kings Canyon and Sequoia.

Due to the continued uncertainty of pandemic conditions in 2021, we only booked the lodges and other accommodations that were fully cancellable. Several months later — and fully vaccinated —we felt confident enough to book direct flights. Then hubby filled in the rest of our stays at B&B’s and hotels in Monterey, Big Sur, Paso Robes and San Francisco.

It was wonderful to be outdoors, without a mask, enjoying all the mountain fresh air! After having the park closures of Sequoia and Kings Canyon right on our heels, we were relieved to arrive safely in Yosemite with the scent of smoke and fires behind us.

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Botanic Garden Dishes: Floral & Butterfly Summer Table

Botanic Garden Dishes: Floral & Butterfly Summer Table

Today, I’ve set a summer table with beautiful Portmeirion Botanic Garden dishes. Each piece is hand painted — in exquisite detail — with blossoms and butterflies, and an iconic border of green laurel leaves. Some are also decorated with the occasional garden insect, and my personal favorite — a bee!

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A true British classic, Botanic Garden was designed by celebrated ceramicist and designer Susan Williams-Ellis. In 1960, she took over the business from her father, Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, an architect and creator of Portmeirion Village in North Wales.

While looking through rare books, Williams-Ellis discovered a volume of beautiful, meticulously drawn floral illustrations. In 1972, Portmeirion‘s launch of Botanic Garden tableware included 28 different flowers. It was an immediate success, and is still an active pattern.

This year, the company is celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the collection with a special edition, 18 piece dinnerware set. Inspired by classic English picnic hampers, the 2022 Botanic Garden exclusive comes in a willow basket lined with removable fabric. Bee still my heart!

Alas, the Botanic Garden dishes currently in full bloom on the kitchen table are only on a short flowering season. My neighbor, L, generously and enthusiastically agreed to lend the tableware so that I could style a new setting for June’s Summer Tablescape Blog Hop. For those coming from Mary’s nautical table on Home is Where the Boat Is, welcome aboard!

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Step Inside the Van Gogh Immersive Experience

Step Inside the Van Gogh Immersive Experience

Ever dreamt of stepping into a famous painting that hangs in a museum? That’s what it felt like when walking through the Van Gogh Immersive Experience. While visiting family in Philadelphia last October, we attended the long-running show. It was part of the same gorgeous fall trip when we explored Chanticleer Garden.

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By the time I got back home, it was Halloween and busy season for holiday posts. I just never had the chance to catch-up and share our experience. Plus, pandemic cases began to steeply rise with the omicron wave. So, it wasn’t the time or seemed appropriate to encourage folks to congregate.

When we went to the exhibit last October, proof of vaccination and wearing of masks was strictly enforced. Tickets were timed to manage crowd size. We felt very safe.

But, it’s not too late to see a Van Gogh immersive experience in many cities across the country. Perhaps there’s one near you? It could also be part of a weekend excursion to another city?

Turns out, nearly 50 different cities in the U.S. (plus others around the world) are hosting some type of Van Gogh immersive experience! That’s because there are five different productions presenting shows. Before I researched this post, I thought they were all by a single company. But the exhibit we saw in Philadelphia is a different production than the one running here in Pittsburgh.

For now, come along with me for a virtual step inside Van Gogh’s famous paintings, including Starry Night, the Sunflower series, and his other most acclaimed works.

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Buzzworthy Bee Theme Ideas

Buzzworthy Bee Theme Ideas

Do you love bees? I have a bit of an obsession with them, since my name is Debbee! It’s even reflected in the name of my blog, Debbee’s Buzz —the buzz being all the things, places, projects and people that I love. Over the years, I’ve also shared eight posts full of bee theme ideas.

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Since 2017, the UN has designated May 20th as World Bee Day. It’s purpose is to raise awareness of the importance of bees and beekeeping, and about the threats to pollinators by human activities.

Bee sure to check out the organization’s website, World Bee Day, which provides information on events and celebrations all around the world.

To mark the occasion, I’m sharing a roundup of bee theme ideas and ways to celebrate the importance of pollinators. There are party, table setting, food and beverage, gift, craft, and decor ideas.

So ladies, get your buzz on!

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Glass Pulling Class: Flower Sculpting

Glass Pulling Class: Flower Sculpting

Hubby and I recently took a glass pulling class together, where we learned the basics of making sculpted flowers.

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For Christmas, my son’s girl gave us a gift certificate to attend a hands-on (so to speak lol!) learning session at the Pittsburgh Glass Center. We waited until after the omicron wave had receded before scheduling. Attendees had to be vaccinated, but the center recently dropped the mask mandate.

Classes are limited in size and fill-up quickly! There’s a wide variety of offerings. Families and friends can book their own private session. In fact, a family of four was in our class to celebrate their teen’s birthday.

There was a wide diversity among the total attendees in our session, which also included a young couple on their wedding anniversary, and a single woman who had received the class as a gift.

No one had tried glass making before, and we were all excited — although a tad nervous. In the end, everyone seemed to enjoy the glass pulling class, and were looking forward to taking home their sculpted flowers.

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12 Ways to Welcome Spring & Celebrate Easter

12 Ways to Welcome Spring & Celebrate Easter

After over four and a half years of blogging, I’ve shared a wide selection of seasonal tables, napkin folds, decorations, wreaths, crafts, and activities that welcome spring and celebrate Easter.

Here in Pittsburgh, spring seldom really arrives before mid to late April. Even then, we’ve been known to have the occasional snowfall! There’s nothing worse than having to bundle up in a winter coat to go to church on Palm Sunday or Easter. And, since the holiday can occur between March 22 and April 25, there can be years we’ve barely finished enjoying Easy, Hearty Irish Stew for St. Patrick’s Day, before its time to regroup for Easter.

But this year, they are predicting warm weather for Easter, and the forsythia, bulbs, and flowering trees will be in blooming.

Today, I’ve assembled a roundup of 12 ways to celebrate Easter and change of seasons — all in one place! Simply click on a photo or title to see each post or DIY tutorial in their entirety.

Hoping one or more will inspire you!

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