About Me

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Here I would love to share with you our travels and adventures as international consultants. About living in Italy, the Veneto area near Venice; in Indonesia, central Java. Why we love the southeast of the United States and moved back from Italy. Our love for gardening, the botanical way. Sharing with you our manifold treasures from exotic places and even offering several in my Mariette's Back to Basics LLC Boutique, for others to enjoy. As well as high end silver items from Giovanni Raspini, Italy |  google.com/+MariettesBacktoBasics 
I also do classes and consulting... too much to list here! Check out my google.com/+MarietteVandenMunckhofVedder ABOUT page, where you see my other LINKS and email address; you just scroll down.Thanks!
Love to bring back some romance and quality to the daily life of others... 

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Thursday, January 31, 2013

{Vintage Silver Rose Brooch}

Another treasure for offering to my clients. This time I found an Old World Vintage Silver Rose Brooch and it is in excellent shape, pin and all. Just have a look at this lovely piece. Some artistic silver smith did an excellent job. This gem is available at my Zen Cart powered on line boutique: Mariette's Back to Basics, see link below post.
More and more I do admire those professionals that make photos for magazines or books.
It is awfully hard to capture anything in silver! Even my French ombré silk velvet is shiny...
But you do get an idea how lovely this rose is.
This is taken on our balcony and you can see the trees reflected in the silver...
The silver mark, an 800 content of silver. The back is smooth with only the needle and lock.
Sold out...

Related link: 
Vintage Silver Rose Brooch at my Zen Cart powered on line boutique Mariette's Back to Basics

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

{Robins Stripped our American Holly - Ilex Opaca}

Usually we manage to keep the berries on our American Holly Ilex Opaca tree till February when flocks of Cedar Waxwings come and strip the entire tree in a couple of days. But this year things went different and quite unexpected. On Thursday I did make photos from our heavy Holly berry crop. On Saturday, hundreds of Robins did land in our American Holly tree and feasted on the thick berries. Sunday at breakfast time I noticed the tree was BARE. It is very hard to capture those birds on camera, while they keep flying and landing and eating... We've tried that with the Cedar Waxwings before but they move constantly. Below post you find a link to a Youtube video with Robins in action.
So I can only show you the yield before and the bare tree after the invasion.
Well, what would we do if we were a bird? 
Probably feast on them too!
This tree is at the corner of our Veranda, you can see the top of the house behind it.
They were great for Christmas time and almost all of January...
The tree in the back ground is our Live Oak tree so from our Veranda window we at least see year round GREEN!
There already were lots of spills from the 'Bird Cafetaria'... The ground is covered with them.
Love the Kidney Weed or Dichondra Repens that is growing instead of grass, as that too is evergreen!
BARE, except for that one on the left... 
We never had this American Holly tree stripped that early.
IF the Cedar Waxwings do come; they will cry!
Do you have such an American Holly tree, still loaded with berries in your yard?

Related link:

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

{Travel with me to Southeastern Europe & Blog Award}

From the very talented Anavi, from: Pletionica.blogspot.com I did receive another Blog Award. Thank you ever so much dear Anavi and it is a pleasure to mention you here. So let's travel to her country...
As many of you know by now, I worked together with my husband and partner Pieter, in Italy where we lived outside of Venice. Our household belongings all came in through the Italian port of Trieste on the border of Slovenia and close to Croatia. Anavi is from Croatia, so you have an idea now where that is located. We did drive with our manager, Dr. Gigi Bagnasco, to Trieste, in order to pick up our cars at the harbor and driving them home. We imported all our belongings to Italy at that time, from Pennsylvania, USA to Italy and later back over land to The Netherlands via Rotterdam to Charleston, South Carolina/USA...
Working in Italy I had many harvesters that came from former Yugoslavia, so I actually worked with many of them. They spoke some Italian and I mastered Italian fluently at that time, still can read and understand it with ease but it takes more time for speaking and writing it. 
This is the Premio (Italian for Award)  that I got from Anavi.
A lot of young bloggers have no idea about the hardships in this world, far worse than what some are facing here in the USA. Growing up in a war-torn country is no fun and the outlook for the future is most times very dim. No chance for education, no chance for realizing almost any dreams.
It is with pleasure that I have seen more sewing, knitting and crocheting all around the world; that is a great come back to living more frugal (or shabby as it is now called...). 
Please do me a favor and visit Anavi's Pletionica.blogspot.com and scroll down to see what this young lady is able to make with her crochet hook!
Also on Facebook you find: Pletionica and you can make me happy if you like this girl!
We CAN CROSS BORDERS and pass some LOVE!
Let's do it and learn from one another.
Thank you all; wherever you are 

I like to pass this blog award on to:
Jagoda from LifeisShabby.blogspot.com from Slovenia
Susan from AvaGracesCloset.blogspot.com who lives in Canada but speaks still Croatian and Slovenian

Monday, January 28, 2013

{Cotoneaster Lacteus | Colorful Berries for the Birds in Winter}


  • Wintertime is the hardest period for birds to find food enough to feed on. 
  • We have lots of provisions for the many bird varieties that live on our property. 
  • After all, it is not for nothing that in August of 1997, we did receive Our Backyard Wildlife HABITAT Certificate; see link of post below. 
  • That's why we also planted a huge shrub of Cotoneaster Lacteus or Pyracantha.
  • Colorful Berries for the Birds

  • Plenty of Cotoneaster Lacteus Berries to feast on for the birds... Shrub is also called 'Fire Thorn'...
  • By the way, these berries are poisonous for humans!

  • This is still only part of the entire shrub; it is huge. 
  • Pine needles are hanging everywhere as there is a tall pine tree nearby.

  • As printed in Southern Living magazine, listing several birds that feast on the Cotoneaster or Pyracantha. Here it are mainly the robins and the cedar waxwings that strip them in almost a day. See more links below with further info. 


  • Do you have special berry producing shrubs for your birds in winter?


Related links:

{Birdie Berries in our Wood Garden} previous post by me
{Our Backyard Wildlife HABITAT Certificate from August 1997} previous post by me
Winter Ruby Red Berries from Southern Living Magazine with the above section: Do it for the Birds...
What a Bee Wants – Cotoneaster showing how early in the year the blossoms benefit the Bees.
Robins eating Cotoneaster berries in a day Youtube video showing Robins eat Cotoneaster berries in SC
Robins eating berries photo showing the Robins eating Cotoneaster berries
Cedar Waxwings eating berries feasting on the Pyracantha (fire thorn) in Dutch 'vuur doorn'... click previous & next image also for spectacular photos!
Northern Mockingbird pair - sharing Pyracantha berries Youtube video


Sunday, January 27, 2013

{My Hand Knitted Leg Warmers Then and Now}

Let me show you some incredibly STRONG Hand Knitted Leg Warmers Then and Now... No kidding, there is a lapse of almost 28 years between getting them off my knitting needles and wearing them NOW. Are you ready?
Yes, this is ME wearing my hand knitted leg warmers; hot off the needles in March of 1985...
What do you think? Pretty close or not...
Now, let's move!
Same legs, same leg warmers but almost 28 years later!

Victoria from the blog Slightly Shabby asked: "I would love if you could do more posts on your diet and exercise, you have such a great figure! I was always very slim but now, in my mid 40's, I find myself struggling."
Okay, I will show you some of my exercise... my diet I will address later.
I did it then...
And now...
By the way, I need another hair cut!
Oh, wait... we will get going, I will show you next!
Just a bit more than only turning around...
Twenty eight years in-between; that's not bad for 60+ or?
Ready...?
All the way to the floor... Keep your legs stretched!
Yes, I can still do that...!
Hurts like hell but never mind.
That's right; swing those legs (both of them!) all the way, past your ears to the floor and hold for 20 minutes.
I'm kidding; you cannot breathe that way...
Oh Lordy... I will probably never get straightened up again!
Yeah, big deal then; when I was 28 years younger and a LOT more flexible.
Hope you enjoyed this Then and Now series.
Now be careful, don't imitate me immediately; you might have to check with your doctor first!

Related link:
{Our Rose Suite's Little Room} previous post by me where Victoria asked the above quoted question in the comments... 

Friday, January 25, 2013

{Our Camellia Sinensis | Tea Plant}

At the moment our Camellia Sinensis | Tea Plant is blooming so pretty so I have to show you some pictures. When the sun is out in the morning those white flowers with their long orange colored stamens look so pretty. Camellias are evergreen shrubs so they have nice glossy green leaves all year. That's what we aimed for mainly when we designed our garden. Extending the 'green' season as much as we could. Making up for not living in the tropics anymore. Indeed, one gets spoiled easily and it is very hard to live through winter each year, even though our winters are very mild here in the southeast of the USA.
Lovely flower this Camellia Sinensis, or Tea  Plant!
Most of the black teas are being harvested from this very Tea Plant!
This is the entire shrub and it is on the fence with our neighbors. We can view it from our kitchen bay window area.
There are still buds to open later... It keeps on pouring out tea roses!
One more with beautiful orange stamens and some budding siblings nearby.
Do you have such a Tea Plant?

Related links:

{Our Camellia Sinensis Tea Plant and Japanese Magnolia} previous post by me
{Camellia Debutante & Chocolate} previous post by me
{Our Camellia Nuccio's Gem & Christmas Angel Gift} previous post by me

Thursday, January 24, 2013

{1925 Art Nouveau Silver Brooch with Roses}

For you again a special find from the Old World. This time it is a 1925 Art Nouveau Silver Brooch with Roses in very nice repousse work. It is 6.7cm x 2.4cm in size, or 2.6" x 0.9" and has a well functioning needle with secure lock. See last picture below. Again this is available at my Zen Cart powered on line boutique: Mariette's Back to Basics and you find link below post.
Photo is taken outside on the balcony and the sun is a bit reflecting in the roses...
But at least you get to see the beautiful repousse silver work.
This one has less reflection from the sun... 
I admire those silver smiths how they can create such life-like roses with buds and leaves!

This is the reverse side of the brooch and you see the needle and its locking system.
To the left at the top, under the rim you can read the 800 silver mark.
One more 800 silver mark on the arch of the locking system.


Related link:
1925 Art Nouveau Silver Brooch with Roses at my Zen Cart powered on line boutique Mariette's Back to Basics

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

{TIP For Kitchen Improvement}

Today I want to share with you a practical TIP For Kitchen Improvement. Above our +Miele US oven we have still a rather deep cabinet, which was very hard to reach from the floor. Husband Pieter did add a 20" X 21" ROLL OUT DRAWER IN CHROME from Wayfair. Link you find below post. This works like a charm!
Above our Miele oven is this deep cabinet. It has another wooden shelf up high towards the back.
Now I just roll out this chrome drawer and can get to all the items I need.
Mainly oven proof French Pillivuyt items are nested in here...
Four sets are stacked in there; two deep and two wide and they still fit under the top shelf.
Lids can be stashed on the side.
There is even one Pillivuyt platter that fits underneath! It is an 8"x 8" serving platter.
Are you working with Roll Out Drawers in your Kitchen as well?

Related links:

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

{Our Everblooming Japanese Honeysuckle | Lonicera japonica}

In our wood garden we have an Everblooming Japanese Honeysuckle or Lonicera japonica by its botanical name. Today I made another photo of its blooms. I've used them mid winter for table decoration in our small Delft White Picture Frame Vases for use as individual Place Settings. Link of previous posts with pictures, you find below post...
My husband Pieter did take this photo last year... This shows you the fragrant blooms of the Japanese Honeysuckle | Lonicera japonica.
It grows next to the gate, close to the road side. It always is full with blooms and it must be heaven for hummingbirds, during the season when they stay here. 
This photo I took on January 21, to show you it really is an everbloomer.
You also can see some berries, so birds must be able to feast on them in winter.
A blue wisteria vine is competing with the Japanese honeysuckle in last year's photo. 
Did you notice that the blooms are pure white when just opened and turning more yellow afterwards.
Do any of you have honeysuckle vines?
Or some other vine blooming right now...

Related links:
{Delft White Picture Frame Vase} previous post by me
{6694 Filets & Rubans - 6 Antique French Christofle Louis XVI Knife Rests} | previous post by me
{Antique Christofle Napkin Ring and Timbale, Goblet in Box} previous post by me
Japanese Honeysuckle Lonicera japonica link with more info



Monday, January 21, 2013

{Our Rose Suite's Little Room}

There is one more little room in Our Rose Suite to show... That is the Toilet. So let's have a peak in there. Again built in-between two pillars that are under the house. We utilized the space as economically as possible. Only in June, at Costco in Miami, we found out that there are also toilets that are flush against the wall. Would have been great for us than, in order to save some more space!
Basket with towels and mini books.
The Dutch tiltle reads: Vriendschap is geluk hebben - Friendship is being lucky.
Toilet...
That's our Little Room...
The faucet and vanity shelf got carried home in a suitcase from The Netherlands.
Both items are Danish, Damixa like our entire home.
The little white trashcan we found in Germany...
Shelving system is following an idea we picked up at the Grand Hyatt in Atlanta.
You also get to see our Danish, Damixa toilet roll holder if you click the above link.
That's it!


Related links:
{Our Rose Suit Hallway} previous post by me
{Welcome to Our Rose Suite - Entrance} previous post by me
{Our Rose Suite Kitchenette} previous post by me
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