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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Saturday, December 31, 2011

{Happy New Year - 2012}

The clock is ticking away the last hours, minutes and seconds of the year 2011... In the different time zones, there will be several countries that are ahead of us in celebrating the arrival of the Happy New Year - 2012. May it be a Happy one, with Peace and good Health for the people on this planet. With modern communications, the world has become so small and we can read each other's writings à la minute. Let us not forget those that are lonely, sick, wounded or weak. They might be deprived of any modern era communication, the way we know it and maybe even take for granted... We all can make a difference in some one's life by caring and looking around for lending a helping hand, an ear or for writing a few encouraging words. Yes, writing is very powerful and will always remain that way.
The Christofle clock, together with an antique book from Goethe, a silver ink well and Mont Blanc fountain pens atop our solid French oak secretaire from Oisterwijk furniture in The Netherlands. A solid silver Giovanni Raspini Card/Letter/Napkin holder is holding embossed cards from Carol Wilson, my favorite line of fine arts stationery.
The solid 925/000 silver Giovanni Raspini Card/Letter/Napkin Holder with two Angels is available at my Zen Cart powered on line boutique: Mariette's Back to Basics ←click it.
This heavenly piece out of solid silver is protected against oxidation.
Not only does it show two perfectly crafted angels but also a romantic rose wreath, that is held by the two cherubs. Would make a perfect gift for a bride or for that someone special in your life. It will no doubt become a treasured heirloom for generations to enjoy its majestic beauty.
Of course, it is equally useful for holding letters and even for adorning any buffet setting, as a napkin holder.

Related link:
{Violets from our Garden and on French Country Style Wooden Tableau} previous post by me

Friday, December 30, 2011

{A LAST Toast to 2011... framing its STERLING MOMENTS!}

Like at a great wedding, there will be that final moment, biding adieu with one last toast and best wishes to the 'New Life' together. New Life together in 2012 for all of us, as we make A LAST Toast to 2011. Was it a good year to you? Do you have fond memories that you want to frame inside a sterling frame? Let's hope each one of you has at least a few of those special 'Hinge-Moments' that we want to remember for the rest of our life. To pick us up, when times are dark, difficult or lonely... Fond memories for lifting us up at times of sickness, or while healing from our wounds; be it physical or emotional.
I do hope that you will have the best of everything and are looking forward with full expectations and high hopes to yet another year on this planet. Wishing you good health above all and a strong family bond because with that, one can over come a lot of problems that might be coming our way. We are not living in paradise 'yet'... and there might be some angels among us, but we better watch. For framing such a sterling 2011 moment, I can offer you this Giovanni Raspini 925/000 silver frame with Angel. It is available at my Zen Cart powered boutique on line. Let's Toast to 2011, as I would like to thank you for your visits and for leaving sweet comments! Those are my little STERLING MOMENTS...
For your fond memories, available at my Zen Cart powered on line boutique: Mariette's Back to Basics.
This heavenly piece is protected against oxidation. The glass is beautifully beveled!
CHEERS!
Giovanni Raspini, Italy - solid sterling silver Frames. Just click hyperlink.
This angel frame you can see here in: Giovanni Raspini's flip catalog cornici,  just go to page 65.
Available at Mariette's Back to Basics Boutique.


Related link:


Thursday, December 29, 2011

{Our Wintersweet - Chimonanthus praecox}


  • Like last year around Christmas time, this year we also had some lovely fragrant blooms from our Wintersweet or Chimonanthus praecox (Calycanthus p.) (C. fragrans). 
  • Therefore I want to share these blossoms and buds with you here...
  • No leaves but blooms...

  • The light in our kitchen was just perfect for taking these photos. 
  • We kept only a few blossoms ourselves and I did deliver a small vase to a dear friend that is recovering from her knee replacement. 
  • Hope she was able to enjoy them.

  • Hope you enjoyed these beautiful winter blooming Chimonanthus praecox (Calycanthus p.) (C. fragrans).

Related article:

Our Garden's Winter Blooms for Christmas (mariettesbacktobasics.blogspot.com)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

{Ristorante da Maria - Best Italian Food in Central Georgia!}

Last year we did start already the tradition of having a delicious Italian Christmas Eve Dinner at Ristorante da Maria. Since our family on this side of the ocean consists of only the two of us, that's the very best we can do. It was again a great evening. We enjoyed for about three hours the five-course, elegant Christmas Eve Dinner, cooked by Lady Chef Maria Runggaldier. Next we went to Church for great organ music with caroling before the actual Midnight Mass. A perfect Christmas Eve for us. Pieter got sick the next day with the flu but right now he's doing much better. For all those living near Macon, Georgia or anywhere near Central Georgia, there is still the option for New Year's Eve to have such delicious five-course dinner. What better ending of the year 2011?! Just to show you how the menu for Christmas Eve looked like, for making you mouth water... Everything on the menu is made from scratch; using the best quality fresh ingredients!
Sure, for both of us having lived and worked near Venice, this is HEAVEN! Maria is from the city of Bolzano, the northern part of Italy and she is quite a Lady Chef!
Guess my readers from Italy will recognize these yummy dishes!
It makes us quite happy and that's why I want to mention Lady Chef Maria here.
By the way, it is her husband Heinz who helps serve her delicious food... Heinz is from Innsbruck, Austria.
Do you also have such a great favorite restaurant nearby?

Related article:

Buon Natale - Our Christmas Eve Dinner at Ristorante da Maria | previous post by me

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

{Our Camellia Nuccio's Gem & Christmas Angel Gift}

For Christmas we did have some perfectly white Camellia 'Nuccio's Gem' from our garden. Enough to fill a small vase. Often when it rains hard, they turn brown right away but this time they were perfect. Love to share them with you, as well as a beautiful Crocheted Christmas Angel Ornament that I received from dear blogger friend Olga, who has the blog Lacy Crochet as well as Olga's Home and Garden Blog. Just click on the two hyperlinks to visit Olga's great blogs.
  • Perfectly crocheted angel ornament by Olga from Lacy Crochet with golden ribbon loop for hanging.

  • Used my Christmas place mats with napkin that I've sewn a couple of years back.

  • Three Nuccio's Gem Camellias in a vase on the kitchen table.

  • The place mats are machine quilted and the borders are done in a decorative DMC metallic gold thread with the Serger.

  • The place mat reverses to different fabric with tiny holly leaves.

  • Detail of the decorative DMC metallic gold thread stitching.

If you need some Classes from Mariette's Back to Basics 'A Stitch in Time' just holler...

Monday, December 26, 2011

{After Christmas Sales: Humility - Tolerance - Patience - Integrity - Compassion}

On Sunday morning, March 6, 1988 we did go to a Moorish, Byzantine style Church with Venetian Gothic influence. That was in New Orleans, Louisiana, across from the historic Fairmont hotel. We just had arrived the previous day for the 7th North American Mushroom Conference where Pieter would present a paper as Vice President Training & Development of Campbell's Soup Mushroom Division. We'd driven the 600 miles (965 km) from Fairmont Drive in Dublin, Georgia. We just moved from one Fairmont to another Fairmont... 
The Immaculate Conception or Jesuits Church was a beautiful building. You also can find info  here: The History of the Jesuits in New Orleans. We did meet with Fr. Tonnar after Mass because his short homily was one I wanted to bring home for my writer friend to use for his weekly columns. Quite appropriate for after Christmas I share it here with you as well...

I am flat broke from overspending at Christmas. But I need to go shopping again soon because I am completely out of self-respect. I've said a few things I wish I could take back, and I am not feeling very good about myself.

I also want to exchange a carton of self-righteousness for an equal amount of humility. I hear it is less expensive and it wears better. And while I'm at it, I'm going to check on tolerance and see if there is any available in my size.

I must remember to try to match my patience with the little I have left. My neighbor is loaded with it, and it looks awfully good on her. I was told the same department has a repair shop for mending integrity. Mine has become frayed around the edges from too many short-cuts and too much compromising. If I don't get it refurbished soon, there won't be any left.
I almost forgot the most important thing of all -- compassion. If I see some, no matter what the color, size or shape, I'm going to stock up heavily, regardless of the price. I have run out of it so many times and I always feel ashamed when it happens.
I don't know why it has taken me so long to get around to shopping for these items. They don't cost nearly as much as some of the frivolous things I've bought on impulse and I'm sure to get a lot more satisfaction from them.
Yes, I am going shopping today and I can leave my credit cards and checkbook at home. The things I am looking for have no price tags.
~~0~~
After my friend wrote the column with this text, I did write Fr. Tonnar again and I received a very nice card back.
Unfortunately he died about 8 years after we'd met him, in 1996...


Sunday, December 25, 2011

{Christmas Traditions: Kissing Under The Mistletoe}

Of course, we HAVE KISSED each other under the MISTLETOE as a Christmas Tradition! Even if it was just a piece that was held above our heads; we DID it. Would not want to withhold you this picture from a couple of years back, during a Christmas dinner party hosted by our extended family...
Have you ever kissed under the Mistletoe?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

{Merry Christmas 2011}

Wishing all of you a Merry Christmas and Happiness that will last all year long. Peace, warmth and the joy of being with family. Those that cannot be near us, we keep in our hearts. Let distances vanish as we embrace the world in PEACE and LOVE. Thanks for visiting and reading my posts, thanks to all 148 countries, wherever you are, whomever you are. We are a small world after all.
“I will honor Christmas in my heart,
and try to keep it all the year.” —Charles Dickens
The beautiful high-end Merry Christmas pillow from Miss Rebecca at A Gathering Place, that I won last year! Something to cherish for years to come...
Point a la Ligne Christmas Rose candle and a vase of our own garden's fragrant Paper whites in a Mason's Mandalay Chartreuse vase.
Silk brocade tablecloth is underneath. You can read about it in one of the related articles links below.
This is a beautiful lacquered brass window decoration from Jech Kunstgewerbe, Blaustein/Germany. Below under related articles you will find more from Jech Kunstgewerbe from the Easter Season.

Merry Christmas
Feliz Navidad
Joyeux Noel
Frohe Weihnachten
Buon Natale

Related articles

{2nd Advent & Great Family Time} | previous post by me
{MERRY CHRISTMAS 2010} | previous post by me
{Our Garden's Winter Blooms for Christmas} | previous post by me
{Easter Season} | previous post by me showing more lacquered brass window decorations

Friday, December 23, 2011

{A Blogger I Admire: Celestina Marie Designs & Her White House Invitations}

Today I want to write about a very special and long time blogger (since June of 2007); Celestina Marie from the blog Celestina Marie Designs. Already since 1988 she has been a member of the National Society of Decorative Painters. This not only made her improve her skills as an artist painter, it even led her to The White House in 1998 and 2004. Each year the First Lady and her staff select the decorations and holiday theme, for the following Christmas to display on the (click link)→ Blue Room Christmas Tree. IF an artist gets selected after a precise and detailed process, following the exact requirements, they also will get invited to the White House Holiday Reception. From all 50 states, a total of 350 ornaments artfully made by 314 National Society of Decorative Painters members, it was also Celestina Marie who got chosen. Quite an honor for being invited by the President and the First Lady to see the Blue Room Tree all decorated!


Celestina Marie and her husband with First Lady Laura Bush in front of the Blue Room Christmas Tree...
Photo used with permission of Celestina Marie Designs


Being chosen ONCE is already a dream come true but being chosen TWICE that was beyond Celestina Marie's wildest dreams! I find it quite extraordinary too, for this fine artist having been included not only for 1998 but also 2004! Celestina Marie is a very down to earth lady and that's why I would like to honor her this year by mentioning this highest honor of this great nation in my post today. You ought to pay her a visit. If you click on Blue Room Christmas Tree above, you can read all about her experience. 
From First Lady Bush Celestina Marie did receive the above photo, taken with her by the White House Photographer, with an accompanied special letter.

Photo used with permission of Celestina Marie Designs
A sad note is that Celestina Marie lost her Dad only six weeks prior to her 1st Presidential invitation in 1998. Her Dad was a WWII Veteran and naturally, while in Washington, D.C. again for the 2nd Presidential invitation in 2004, Celestina Marie did visit with her husband the WWII Memorial that her Dad would have loved to see in person...

Photo used with permission of Celestina Marie Designs

There she met with some Vets from her Dad's home state of Pennsylvania and when she'd thanked them for their service, they cried... Very touching.

Photo used with permission of Celestina Marie Designs

Another photo from her under the marker of her Dad's beloved Pennsylvania...

Just yesterday, it was 66 years ago that her dear Mom & Dad got married, only weeks after returning from his 3-year time of service all over Europe. The camera he used in the war, never made it home so there is not a single photo of their wedding... But it got sealed in heaven and also inside the hearts of this love-couple and their family members, who witnessed this special love. You can read her post about it here: This Day Dec.22, 1945.

It has been an honor and a privilege, knowing Celestina Marie for the past couple of years. For being able to purchase some of her special art work as well. If it is fit for hanging inside the White House, wow, it must be an honor for each one of us to also own a piece of her fine art work!

May God bless Celestina Marie with good health, so many more of us will be able to acquire her fine work. Wishing her and her loved ones a very blessed and Merry Christmas. Thanks for being you and above all for being such a dear friend! The letters and cards that accompany her art work are a gift in itself... I only can highly recommend her to all those that have not yet had the honor knowing her talents in person.
 
Related links:
Miss C~ Goes To Washington! post by Celestina Marie
This Day Dec. 22, 1945 post by Celestina Marie
“A Blogger I Admire” - Doris Plaster from Hold my Hand previous post by me
"A Blogger I Admire" - Celia from High Heeled Life previous post by me

Thursday, December 22, 2011

{History of the Poinsettia}

History of the Poinsettia

In 1825, Mexican Ambassador and Charleston native, Joel Roberts Poinsett found a pulchritudinous red flowering plant while wandering on a mountain trail in rural Mexico. He was so taken with the flower that he collected a few specimens to take home to his Charleston greenhouse. In 1832, Dr. Poinsett began to successfully propagate the plant species in America. The Poinsettia became synonymous with Christmas and it is now known as the Flor de Noche Buena" or "Flower of the Beautiful Night (Christmas Eve)." Robert Buist, a famed Scotch gardener and taxonomist named the plant after learning about it from Dr. Poinsett in the mid 1830's. For info, click on the name: Joel Roberts Poinsett. Now I like to show you our red Poinsettia together with our special leather deer from India...
This is a beautiful handmade deer from leather. A gift that we got in Pune, Maharashtra state in India, from the company we did consulting for.
The craftmanship is incredible! Even the antlers are made of leather...
Nice Christmas combination; Deer with Poinsettia...
Memories from afar...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

{German Marzipan Stollen 500 years of Christmas Tradition}

For years while living in the US we have been enjoying the authentic German Marzipan Stollen, a 500 year old Christmas tradition. We bought our Oebel Marzipan Stollen this year at World Market in Atlanta. My surprise was big for also finding German Marzipan Stollen at our new, local T.J. MAXX store. We did buy them there often while on the road as consultants in Connecticut. But it sure makes us feel more at HOME with local supply now. Do you know this delicious German Tradition too? If not, you ought to buy one now, even 'after Christmas sales' can give you this great experience.
Enjoy this Marzipan Stollen with tea or coffee and I guarantee, you will be hooked!
So plan to add this to your Christmas to do list.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

{2000 Congressional Ornament of The Capitol Building, Washington, DC}

From a dear friend, I did receive this special 2000 Congressional Ornament of the Capitol Building, Washington, DC. She went to the Presidential Inauguration of President George W. Bush in January of 2001. This Ornament is quite a treasure and we cherish this already for over a decade. Such Ornaments are available at the Gift shop of the United States Capitol, Historical Society on line.
Very well done and it hangs from a green satin ribbon.
Our red Poinsettia is reflected in the top right...
Very hard to capture such a shiny ornament on camera...
Below I have tried to scan it also.
Season's Greetings 2000
United States Congressional
Holiday Ornament

Nice thing is, that it is Made in USA!



Monday, December 19, 2011

{Use Bobèches with YOUR Candles!}

We have been talking all along about the Advent season and with Christmas just five days away, I thought it interesting to share with you the use of bobèches with your candles. Using tapers for our festive Christmas dinner and candles all throughout the home for the winter season, it makes bobèches a very wise investment. They are not expensive at all and will reward you for catching the melted wax before it will get to your fineries. At Amazon.com I did find plenty of them so I will give here the link. Sure, they will not arrive before Christmas but this is something that is needed year round. With New Year's Eve coming first, Valentine and on and on for parties and dinners served at the home. Especially in a downward economy, we tend to entertain more at home. Have a look at my bobèches below. They're all from glass, like the ones at Amazon.com and of course there are some rare antique crystal ones from e.g. Baccarat, France but let's keep it within budget! Don't forget to scroll all the way down for a special Birthday girl; one that I ADMIRE!
Naturally, I will be showing you more angels too... One is clinging onto the candle and there is a cute one sitting in front of the Royal Selangor pewter candle holders, which we bought in Singapore. A cute sheep stands by...
The silver metallic thread lace doily is hand crocheted by a former neighbor in The Netherlands, she is from Turkey. Such art work I do treasure a life time, as it also is labor of love.
The cute angel was given by our extended family as a Christmas gift.
These two bobèches do have a gold edge.
The silver tray was handmade for us in Kotagede, Indonesia.
Now two sterling silver candle holders with fluted bobèches have joined the Royal Selangor pewter ones.
Inside the candle holder you see one of my Hugger Brand Candle Snuggers for holding any candle straight, safe and secure. I have listed them at my Zen Cart powered on line boutique: Mariette's Back to Basics and you can find them in a previous blog {Hugger Candle Snuggers}.
The two Royal Selangor pewter candle holders.
 Royal Selangor is established in 1885 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Two Mason's Mandalay Chartreuse candle holders and two silver plated tall ones with tapers and bobèches.
Each of them also holds a Hugger Candle Snugger.
Candles are Dutch Gouda. Yes, Gouda is a city that produces fine cheeses and candles!
Soft look without flash...
Mason's Mandalay Chartreuse is a beautiful pattern with gold edging too.
Again soft look without flash...
Do you love candles as much as I do?


Please do visit dear friend Celia from +Celia M. High Heeled Life as today is her Birthday! 

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