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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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Monday, December 31, 2012

{LOOK: Gift from Blogger I Admire...}

In the mail often the sweetest things arrive. What a surprise when I received this parcel from a Blogger I Admire: Friend Dana, from Lambs and Ivy Designs. Below my post you find her links, to her blog, personal website, Etsy store and some large sized SPECTACULAR photos on Flickriver....
In time for Christmas arrived this precious piece of handmade soap and beautiful ribbon art millinery rose. I feel so honored. THANK you ever so much dear Dana! I owe you big... 
Look at this beauty!
Her soaps and millinery roses/flowers would make the ultimate gift.
You have to look at her links below for some large sized SPECTACULAR photos.
She does also provide such art to be used for Victorian era costumes...
There will not be that many women this talented.
THANKS DANA!

Related links:
{2 Bloggers I Admire} previous post by me
French Hand dyed Ribbonwork Millinery Ribbon Flowers | post by Dana from Lambs and Ivy Designs
Lambs and Ivy Designs on Etsy
Lambs and Ivy Designs Ribbonwork on Pinterest
Flickriver Lambs and Ivy Designs Ribbon Work and Ribbon Flowers | SPECTACULAR photos of Dana's art work!
LambsandIvyDesigns on Youtube | Great tutorial videos!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

{1993 Today, the American Flag was flown for both of us...}

We had no idea, that our Georgia Congressman, the Honorable J. Roy Rowland had a special U.S. flag flown over the U.S. Capitol for both of us, on December 30 of 1993.
This on the occasion of our U.S. Citizenship. 
Presentation of the United States Flag with Certificate by Mr. James Vaden Hilburn at the Dublin Laurens County Chamber of Commerce. 
Here we pose with the special United States of America Flag, in front of the Dublin Laurens County Chamber of Commerce.
The Flag of the United States of America
Pieter got my 't'...
Meanwhile our Chamber of Commerce building got a nice coat of paint!
For reading the entire story, just click the link below...

Related link:
{December 30, 1993 U.S. flag flown over U.S. Capitol for both of us!} previous post by me

Saturday, December 29, 2012

{2012 WINTER SALE: Humility - Tolerance - Patience - Integrity - Compassion}

Already last year I posted about After Christmas Sales: Humility - Tolerance - Patience - Integrity - Compassion. Again for this year the very same items are available in large quantities. For those that like to read the story about how I got to this post; below you find a link. During a stay for one of our North American Mushroom Conferences, we also went to a Moorish, Byzantine style Church with Venetian Gothic influence. That was in New Orleans, Louisiana... It was there where this short homily originated from:
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~~
Related link:

Friday, December 28, 2012

{Our 2012 Christmas Eve Dinner at Ristorante da Maria}

For both of us, it has more or less become a tradition to have our Christmas Eve dinner at Ristorante da Maria. Lady Chef Maria Runggaldier, from Bolzano, Italy is the best Chef in the region and she makes a delicious five course dinner from authentic Italian recipes. Everything fresh and made from scratch; you feel pampered when dining there. Heinz will pour you the best wines as he is very knowledgeable and it makes us feel like we are back 'home' in northern Italy where we used to work and live... Fond memories!
Yep, my eyes sparkle with glee... Happy  to be together!
Since we were going to midnight Mass afterwards, we had a Church friend join us.
She made these photos with my iPhone.
Toasting with a hot cider, which felt great on a cold and rainy day...
Crispy bread to nibble on and this is the hot cider.
Appetizer:
Quiche agli asparagi e prosciutto
Asparagus – prosciutto Quiche, served with herbed olive oil crostini  
First dish:
Risotto con pere al chardonnay
Risotto with Bartlett pears, Chardonnay and cream, topped with basil
Fish-Entrée: 
Gratîn di capesante e gamberi su vellutata di zucchini ed olio d´oliva
Gratîn of Scallops and Shrimp over a zucchini/olive oil veloutée  
Sorbet:
Sorbetto alle pesche
Peach/Lemon Sorbet
I already drank from it, as I forgot to take a picture first...
Maria also makes the BEST Sorbets!
Dessert:
Sorpresa di natale
Christmas surprise
Such dessert I cannot let go... for once forgetting my no-sugar diet!
Church friend Barbara enjoyed it too.
Pieter's espresso cup is smiling at you...
A great dinner with a decaf coffee for me to round it off.
Lady Chef Maria always prepares three different Entrée choices.
It was the perfect food for making us sing out loud at midnight Mass.
Of course, next day we did not have another five-course dinner!
Hope you also had great food for your special Christmas time with your loved ones.

Related link:
{Buon Natale - Our Christmas Eve Dinner at Ristorante da Maria} previous post by me
Ristorante da Maria link to the authentic Italian restaurant

Thursday, December 27, 2012

{Humble Gifts of the 1950s}

Which makes a child more happy? Loads of toys, gadgets and candy; or a simple gift that is given with lots of LOVE? Looking back onto my own childhood, I do remember many warm and fuzzy moments. One of them was when Dad took all of us on a Sunday in December, to a local restaurant where he sang with all the choir members. The PROTECTRESS (wife of one of the wealthy Chairmen) of the 'Horster Mannenkoor', male choir, gave each year, to all children of the choir members, a bag with candy and a thick orange. That was quite a treat for us. At that time children got no candy. The sugar consumption was still not so drastically high...
Here we walked just home on that Sunday in 1957. I was almost 6 years old (I'm to the right).
Sister Diny nibbles on her Spekkie = Marshmallow in a double diamond shape.
Martin is eating maybe a caramel and the stick of his lollipop peaks through the bag...
Little brother Piet is like me, still holding on to the entire bag of sweets.
We had to walk all to town = almost 2 km or 1 mile 427 yards, one way.
Baby Harry in the carriage... Two siblings not yet born.
This photo is taken in front of the chicken barn, away from the house.
Earlier in April of 1957, I was playing with my doll and the doll carriage that Diny and I had to share.
We usually got some clothes for Saint Nicholas but no sweets and very few toys.
Dad hand made for brother Martin, a beautiful wooden truck trailer, as he had to live frugal with his large family. So they only bought the truck, without trailer. 
Each evening after supper, when the little ones went to bed, Dad went to his work bench in the barn part of the house. There was no heat, nothing... His fingers must have turned blue from cold. But proudly it sat there, for my brother Martin as a complete gift on Saint Nicholas day.
That is giving with LOVE! My Parents, and no doubt many others at that time, gave all they could afford but always keeping in mind that it was not about the volume of gifts but about loving and caring for their children. How much have they sacrificed themselves? There were no luxuries at that time...
Do you have similar childhood memories?
Certainly several countries are still living like that because there are no means for giving that much.
The question remains would that be better? 
I learned to be grateful for very little! 

Related link:
{Saint Nicholas | Sinterklaas} previous post by me

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

{Our Mouth Blown Glass Nativity}

For many countries in Europe, and also Canada, there are TWO official holidays for Christmas. Here in the USA it is only ONE... Would love to know about South America, Africa, Asian countries etc. if they also observe a 2nd official holiday. Therefore I love to show you our tiny, and very special  Mouth Blown Glass Nativity with strips of silver. We got this from dear friend Ellie, from a Dutch 'Wereld Winkel' where they sell so called Fair Trade items. 
Here it is, shown on our unique silk brocade table cloth that husband Pieter did bring back from his trip to China. He went there for Campbell Soup in the People to People Citizen Ambassador Program.
May our Prince of Peace be with us ALL!


Related link:

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

{MERRY CHRISTMAS 2012}

Wishing all of you, worldwide a MERRY CHRISTMAS 2012! May there be PEACE and HOPE for many. Above all LOVE.
MERRY CHRISTMAS
With fresh paperwhites, they are such a fragrant bonus for this time of year!
Point à la Ligne candle. Vase is Mandalay by Masons.
Pillow was my winning Giveaway from Rebecca of: A Gathering Place.
Tablecloth is silk brocade, that Pieter did bring back from his trip for Campbell Soup to China, with People to People Citizen Ambassador Program.
Merry Christmas
Feliz Navidad
Joyeux Noel
Frohe Weihnachten
Buon Natale

Related links:
{MERRY CHRISTMAS 2010} previous post by me about A Gathering Place's pillow from above
Christie's Mandalay by Masons showing you the Mandalay by Mason, as is my vase above...


Monday, December 24, 2012

{Our Nativity & Angels from Italy}

Christmas is getting very close now. So let me show you our hand carved wooden nativity scene with angels from South Tyrol, Italy. The birth of Jesus is the reason for the season... Our Saviour who came into this world because of LOVE.
The wood carving is so meticulously done by the Italian craftsmen!
Love the angel holding a HEART; the universal symbol of Love...
At present we do have some Paperwhites blooming again. 
As well as fragrant Chimonanthus praecox (Calycanthus p.) (C. fragrans) which you see in the center of this Mandalay Chartreuse vase by Mason, together with Ilex decidua 'Finches Golden' a yellow berried Ilex. 
Last year we only had the yellow Ilex (holly berries) but this year there are plenty of red Ilex.
Do you have a special nativity scene in your home?
Wishing you a Merry Christmas with all your loved ones!

Related link:
{Our Garden's Winter Blooms for Christmas} my previous post about this Wintersweet flower...
Christie's Mandalay by Masons showing you the Mandalay by Mason, as is my vase above...

Sunday, December 23, 2012

{Wishing YOU a Happy 4th Advent 2012!}

All of us will be very busy in the few days before Christmas 2012. Therefore we like to wish You all a Happy 4th Advent Sunday. That is a very short 4th Advent, as we go straight into Christmas Eve! Enjoy this time with family and friends and wishing you safe travels for those that still are in transit to meet with their loved ones. We know how much traffic there was on the road on Friday when we went to Atlanta for stocking up. Stay warm and cozy!
May the Angels keep you and your loved ones safe...

Related links:

{4th Advent} previous post by me, 2011
{Wishing you a Happy 3rd Advent 2012!} previous post by me
{First Week of Advent 2012} my previous post
{Second Week of Advent 2012} my previous post
{2nd Advent & Great Family Time} last year, 2011 post by me
{Silk Brocade for our PRINCE OF PEACE} last year about 3rd Advent, post by me
Christie's Mandalay by Masons showing you the Mandalay by Mason, as is my plate above...


Saturday, December 22, 2012

{Blogger I Admire | Christmas Angel & Sentiments}

There are so many blogger friends that I admire... One of them certainly is Olga from the blogs: Lacy Crochet and: Olga's Home and Garden. For sure Olga is a young lady with golden hands, born and grown up in the Ukraine. She is living in California since 2001. Check out her blogs you will find many surprises as she is capable of baking, cooking, crocheting, gardening... A real sentipede! My most favorite story by Olga is: Ukrainian Countryside (just click this hyperlink and read also her own comment which is the final one). Especially during this season of Christmas, where the emphasis is so commercial, for spending lots of money on gifts... Have we all forgotten where we came from? Olga is brave enough to write about her very humble and hard working maternal grandparents and great-grandparents that lived in such a tiny home... Seen in her photos, as she visited this place during summer. Her own Mother did grow up there. In many East European  countries there is still a lot of poverty, especially for the elderly (below post is a link, just scroll down to last picture for seeing what I talk about). We have seen it in Hungary and those images never leave our retina. Sure we visited during the Communist regime, still behind the Iron Curtain. But those elderly do struggle on, as many are not even able to pay for the rent of their apartment... Living in poverty, in cold and misery and malnourished. That idea clashes with the way overdone Christmas hype of creating each year new type of decorations and spending on-going money... It has nothing to do with the true meaning of Christmas but more with a culture that turned to greed. "Greed has replaced religion as the national religion, and with greed comes envy." --Wesley Pruden.
This perfectly crocheted angel is a gift from Olga that I cherish. THANKS AGAIN OLGA!
We don't have many Christmas ornaments or decorations, never even put up a Christmas tree anymore.
Our tree and most things we gave away when we moved from Georgia to Pennsylvania. 
After working and living in different continents and seeing so much poverty, we never could bring ourselves again to put up a Christmas tree...
Sure I admire them at other bloggers' posts and for Children it is great to do this.
We have no family here in the USA, only one Christmas our foster-daughter Anita from Indonesia came to stay with us for 2 months. That was very warm!
Instead of giving presents, we felt more for giving this deaf girl her former education by paying for her college and university and later giving her the Danish Oticon hearing aid so she could HEAR.
I never ever will forget that phone call where she called and said: "Mama I can hear you now!" I cried for joy... She never before heard her Parents, her siblings, music, never heard the birds or other animals. That to me is Christmas! 
We did it with love, paying for it from Pieter's pension. We do live off just one pension and since I'm younger, there is quite a wait for me before I will receive my pension too. But we managed all those years and with pride. 
Step-daughter Liz's Mom still receives her monthly income from Pieter and we both share what is left. We are content and happy with it, as we both know the true value of life.
This is our family; even if we live in different continents. Not easy but they are in our hearts and in our prayers always. Sad fact is that neither of our girls has been warmly accepted into my family... WHY? 
My husband Pieter is an orphan, he has no Parents or brothers left since August... that hits hard too; especially for Christmas time. Pieter has only his daughter Liz, and three nieces and great nieces and nephew; all living in The Netherlands. But we have our Angels in heaven and I guess that my sister Mariet who was still born, is closer to me than any of the other six living siblings. 
Just some Christmas sentiments...

Related link:
{Our Daughter Liz}: previous post by me
{# 148 and my blog is 1 year old today!}: previous post by me about my sister Mariet...


Friday, December 21, 2012

{Fragrant Pillar Candle from Last Call by Neiman Marcus}

Are you also shopping at Outlets? Our favorite is Last Call by Neiman Marcus at Premium Outlets or even on line (first hyperlink). So also this Pillar Candle did come from Last Call by Neiman Marcus and it is heavenly fragrant. That way, one of life's luxuries comes available to those living on a budget. Last Call's After - Christmas Sale is SUPER! Just check on line often for knowing what's coming, click the hyperlink above. It really does pay off for having email notifications of their special one day SUPER Sales. They are also on Facebook: Last Call by Neiman Marcus.
Love the golden green huge pillar candle. This one is a full 6" or 15 cm in diameter and will last for more than 60 hours... Smells heavenly!
Just added some of our abundant holly berries.
Last year we had none and now plenty!
The Christmas table topper is made from hardanger fabric, bought in Germany...
Fresh cranberries added...
These Antioxidant Super Fruits will be turned into Cranberry Conserve later!
Have you used any fresh cranberries this year? Either for cooking or for decorating...?


Thursday, December 20, 2012

{USEFUL Candle Snuggers & Bobèches}

Again it is the time of the year for using candles, lots of candles. With that comes the need for Candle Snuggers & Bobèches. So let me show you once more about these two USEFUL items. For those of you who have not yet heard of Candle Snuggers, they are available at my Zen Cart powered on line boutique: Mariette's Back to Basics and I ship world wide! They do work great for stabilizing your candles inside any vintage or new candle holder. The Bobèches 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.
Candle Snuggers for inside; Bobèches around candle and a Hugging Angel...
The silver crocheted doily has been hand made by a former Turkish neighbor in The Netherlands.
Incredible work, I would not be able to copy that!
Do you love candles as much as I do?
Sweet hugging angel...
For more detail on the candle holders, see link below this post.
Different Bobèches used here, fluted one and with a gilded edge.
These are the Candle Snuggers...


Related links:
{Hugger Candle Snuggers} previous post by me
{Use Bobèches with YOUR Candles!} previous post by me

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

{My 6th Most Popular Post | Giovanni Raspini Silver Christmas Balls}

Thought it is interesting for posting here My 6th Most Popular Post | Giovanni Raspini Silver Christmas Balls. It is at least MY most favorite Christmas decoration and we treasure them.
To continue reading and viewing more pictures click: {Giovanni Raspini Silver Christmas Balls} and let's see if we get more visits than the present 1283 
Please do visit dear friend Celia from High Heeled Life as today, the 19th, is her Birthday! 

Related link: 
Mariette's Back to Basics My Zen Cart powered on line boutique for Giovanni Raspini, Italy Christmas balls
Mariette's Back to Basics My Zen Cart powered on line boutique for 925 Sterling Silver Cherub Angel

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

{Cotton Field in the Heart of Georgia/USA}

My guess is that most of you never ever have seen a real cotton field. Sunday when we came out of Church, they had started mechanical picking of cotton in our neighborhood. So we did hurry for getting some photos before it would be all gone. Proudly showing you here a local Cotton Field in the Heart of Georgia/USA. A surprise below the first photos, our VERY FIRST view of a cotton field in November of 1983...
Wearing the Advent color, my Escada jacket, I am holding fresh cotton puff. See below my post the comment from 'seedscatterer' as she is very knowledgeable about cotton.
It looks very much like the cotton balls you buy. 
The reason they started harvesting this field on Sunday was because of rain on Monday...
JIT = Just In Time!
Fields here in Georgia are always big because work is done mechanically so it doesn't matter what length.
So this is the landscape, only half a mile from our home.
Showing my black Escada cotton jeans (ironically...) and wool jacket.
Pieter in his charcoal gray Ermenegildo Zegna suit from the Outlet in Orlando, Florida.
He wears an Advent color shirt and tie...
Detail of how those cotton puffs are on the plant...
It is quite late for harvesting them on December 16, in our opinion but who are we to know anything about it?
This photo is taken from husband Pieter on Sunday, November 7, 1983... The VERY FIRST time we saw cotton ourselves; only 29 years ago!
This was quite an experience for holding it for the first time!
Only 29 years ago...
My hand showing one cotton boll that is not yet opened completely...
Hope you enjoyed this tour through rural Georgia for seeing what is growing on our fields.
Certainly this is not the fine, long staple, Egyptian Cotton that we use for our bed linens. 
American grown cotton is mainly short staple cotton.
But I must admit that I have no clue what this one will be used for... 
Thanks for your time!

Related link:
Premium Outlets | Escada link for Escada Outlets
Premium Outlets | Zegna link for Ermenegildo Zegna Outlets

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