Italy, Travel

Foodie Adventure V: Spello

Spello is another of Umbria’s medieval towns, and it has won my heart.

Everywhere are colorful pots of flowers hanging on walls making Spello seem such a happy place.

Even the pets appear enchanted to be surrounded by such beauty.

Handwork is part of what defines Spello whether it be textiles

or pottery with designs unique to the area.

In addition to what we think of as typical to Italy, this artist also does some wonderful contemporary pieces. No way was I leaving Spello without making a purchase. The hard part was deciding what!

It wasn’t just textiles and pottery that were handmade. So was the clothing at this shop where we ladies went crazy. The shop owner designs what she sells and works with seamstresses and weavers to have it made. Talk about my kind of place!

I couldn’t get enough of the friendly faces and the small shops packed full of good things to eat and drink.

Putting a perfect end to the visit was a wine tasting and dinner at Enoteca Properzio where a charming father/son duo kept us Foodies entertained with their presentation about the products made by their family. With all that we bought to ship home we made the evening well worth their effort!

Yes, Spello put a charm on me, and if you are ever in Umbria be sure to take the time to ferret it out. It’s one of those very special places.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind


Mixing It Up

Keep in mind that no table top in my house is ever going to be empty and whatever is there is going to influence what happens next.  For no reason other than it’s seldom used, this table runner was chosen as a starting point.

The colors had me stumped, but as I looked around the house several pieces of pottery seemed to cry out, “Try me”.  That sounds kind of Alice in Wonderlandish, but I could find no reason to resist.

In place I rather liked the way the colors seemed to play off each other, and it made me happy to see some of my favorite pottery grouped together..

A few evenings later friends were coming for dinner and my thinking was there was no way I could set a table around this quirky centerpiece.  Being one who does not like to undo, I challenged myself to make it work and what followed was great fun.

There was enough blue in the runner to make me think to try the Polish pottery which is the only blue in the cupboard.  I tried them at first on a square, natural placement which was kinda blah so I added the blue denim charger.

If you are familiar with this pottery, you know that no two pieces are alike.  The real surprise here was that many in this collection had colors similar to the runner.

On a roll now, I saw no reason for the stems to be the same so each place has a different one.

Mixing things up is my favorite way to create a table and each piece that was added did just that yet there is a cohesiveness to how it all comes together.

There is enough going on without making a big deal out of the napkin so it is tied simply with a piece of twine.

From this table I learned to never say never which can open the door to a special kind of creativity.  I say go for it!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind


Tablescape Thursday


Entertaining, Holiday Decor, Tablescapes

Once, Twice, Then Twice More

Holidays are for entertaining, and for me that means not reinventing the wheel for every occasion.  Knowing there would be several events here during December, it made sense to have a centerpiece that would work with whatever was going on on the table.


This year much of my holiday decor focuses on trees, so it was a no brainer to repeat them on the dining room table.  These holly trees are my most favorite and while they are great stand alone pieces, I added a collection of finials for a bit of shine.  With nothing more than this, the table is ready to be filled with finger foods for an upcoming meeting.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAToo,  several casual meals for family and friends are planned during the month, and for each the table will take on a different look.  A brunch will feature Spode Christmas dishes set on a matching placemat that I happened to spot at TJ Maxx.  Though I swore not to buy anything new, how could I leave such a perfect accessory behind!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlways a table  with the Spode pieces comes together very quickly and invites adding fun complements like the candy striped flatware that gets used again and again during December.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor a dinner with friends, the Bella Ceramica pottery is featured.  While some things stay the same, different napkins and chargers give the table a whole new look.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor Christmas dinner, the setting  is a tribute to my mother whose china and Fostoria grace the table.  I am so glad to have these remembrances of her.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor seated meals, there is one change to the centerpiece.  The tallest tree is removed and replaced with a slender finial so that no one has to crane their neck to look at a person sitting opposite.

So, there you have it, four occasions satisfied with a single centerpiece. Thinking ahead about how your table will be used during the holidays and finding a common thread makes the rest quite easy plus it saves considerable time.  The bonus is that when the table is not set, it still looks attractive.


Tablescape Thursday

Table Settings, Tablescapes

Coloring It Blue & Yellow

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHad I not gotten those yellow placemats to go with polka dots and bunnies, I don’t know that this table would ever have happened.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWell, maybe the yellow alstroemeria that was already on the table had something to do with it, too.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMaybe because  blue and yellow is not a usual combination for me, setting this table was like a whole new process of discovery. Out came the denim chargers that typically appear only during rodeo time.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Polish pottery happens to belong to my daughter, but it is here until she has space for it.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe same is true for the beautiful blue stems.  I just have to be careful not to break one before she claims them again.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m crazy for birds and bird houses, so how could I have forgotten about these cute, cute napkin rings?  Sometimes I put things away without remembering where, but that makes for some nice surprises!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMaybe because it’s a new look for me, I am so enjoying this table.  There may have to be more blue and yellow in my future.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn the menu tonight are stuffed peppers.  For a new twist, I used cauliflower, ground fine, as a filler rather than rice and added some grated carrots.  I can’t wait to see how they turn out, but I can’t imagine them not being very tasty.  Simmering away in the slow cooker, they certainly smell good.

i so appreciate your visit and especially the comments you leave behind


Tablescape Thursday


The Morning After

Feet up in front of the fire. Sipping cappuccino.  Catching up reading blogs.  Remembering the people who wandered in over the last three days.  Thinking of how carefully each person searched for and found just the just right piece.  This is the aftermath of participating in the Artisans Tour in the Camden/Rockport, Maine area, a tiring but rewarding three days.

For weeks my work spaces have been chaotic as new pieces were created and  finishing touches were put on handwoven pieces.  There was a side benefit to sitting, working with my hands for hours on end. I watched all 46 episodes of Breaking Bad on Netflix.  That program is topic for a whole other discussion!

Most of the artists participating in the tour actually host in their studio.  Mine is upstairs in my home and with stairs being a little worrisome, the  entry and dining room  are converted into a mini shop.  Actually, using these areas provides a warm and inviting background for the displays.

Every surface is covered with my work and that of my friend Sasha, a most talented potter.  Our work is complementary, and a special bonus is spending time with her over the three days.  I couldn’t do this without her.

Everything in the house is potentially a prop.  My very high heeled purple, fuschia and orange shoes came in handy

as did the antique spice tins.  They were perfect display units for scarves and necklaces.  Amazing what a little ingenuity can do!

While the primary focus of our show is handwovens and handmade pottery, there are a few little whimsies like these cuddly little blankies and onesies, also handmade.

On the woven front, these hand towels were new this year and sold first thing.  As many years as I’ve been weaving, I’ve never done anything like these, and it was such fun sitting at my loom creating the different borders.  Since this was an experiment, there was only a short warp on the loom, but next time there will be more as there are more borders and colors floating in my head!

For both Sasha and me, this show represents hours and hours of work and a bit of fear over putting it out there.  It is not uncommon for artists to experience some shyness and vulnerability, and it is an incredible reward to receive positive feedback.    It provides the incentive to keep you going.  Any of you who create understand that I’m betting.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Sharing at

Tabletop Tuesday

Show and Tell Friday


Let’s Go! Part II

For all of us who love dishes, Portugal is tableware heaven!  

Handmade and painted in bright colors, the pottery lends itself to creative tablescapes.

Traditional themes include roosters

and quirky animal shapes.

Blue and white is an oft used palette, one that many of you would like.

In addition to handmade pottery, there are wonderful porcelains for which Portugal is also well known.   With so many choices, how does one decide?

As if the dishes are not tempting  enough, there are lovely linens to make us drool.  The naturals with their embroidered accents are appealing,

but the jacquard cloths in beautiful patterns and subtle colors are irresistible.  Which would you choose?

It would be fun to return home with at least one collection of dishes, but the price and cost of shipping make that difficult, so we’ll just have to dream and continue looking for those special buys at thrift shops, garage sales or TJ Maxx!

Thanks for traveling with me today.  Let’s join

Let’s Dish

Tablescape Thursday

Favorite Things Thursday

creativity, Maine

Show Time

Each year at this time is a wonderful Open Studio Tour in the Camden/Rockport, Maine area that features work by a number of talented artists working in a variety of mediums.  How lucky I am to be a part of it!

This sign points right to the front door.

From the entry to the kitchen, the house has been converted to a gallery of visual delights.

Sasha’s pottery is a beautiful complement to my textiles.  This gal’s talent is incredible.

This show is also a wonderful opportunity to show off work by other talented artists.

These wonderful neck pieces made from silk ties byLilian Asterfield were a big hit

as were wonderful wire mesh baskets from Santamarina Baskets.

It seems that people are always looking for baby gifts, so I could not resist including some of Lulu’s whimsies and adorable silkscreen pillows from Tembo Studio.

I have to confess that getting ready for a show is hard work, and the anticipation causes stomach flip-flops.  One always feels a little vulnerable when exhibiting their own work which is why I like to be surrounded by other wonderfully talented people.  When the doors open and people come in and like what they see, it is incredibly reinforcing and provides the incentive to keep creating.

Wish you were here to stop by.  Wherever you are, have a wonderful Sunday.

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