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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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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

{Clerodendrum Philippinun - Cashmere Bouquet}

One more exotic and highly fragrant beauty I would like to introduce to you. Clerodendrum Philippinum or Cashmere Bouquet. They look like tiny rosebuds and are white with a pinkish blush. +Logee's Greenhouses in Connecticut does sell  this variety, see link below post.
Complete with ant, as they sure love the sweet fragrance too!
Even its leaves are beautiful...
Perfect for a small vase; this is ONE stem...
Don't you love this Cashmere Bouquet as they are called?

By the way, yesterday I did forget to add the most beautiful photo we had from our Blue Butterfly Bush. You can view it here: 2004 photo from our exotic Clerondendrum Ugandense - Blue Butterfly Bush

Related link:
Cashmere Bouquet | Logee's Greenhouses link for buying this 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

{Clerodendrum Ugandense - Blue Butterfly Bush, Blue Glorybower}

Last year our young Clerodendrum Ugandense or Blue Butterfly Bush, Blue Glorybower, almost succumbed to the summer heat. Great was our joy when on May 28, husband Pieter could make two photos from its first blooms. Up till than we kept it inside the greenhouse for protecting its still frail growth. Let me show you first a closeup of this exotic, from an earlier shrub we had in 2004.
Clerodendrum Ugandese or Blue Butterfly Bush and also called Blue Glorybower.
You certainly understand that we wanted to replace this beauty!
This photo shows its beautiful first flowers when the pot got just taken out of the greenhouse.
It is an East African evergreen shrub from Kenya and Uganda, you can find more info below this post.
We found ours in the spring of last year, at +Logee's Greenhouses.
Here it is still inside the greenhouse... 
Do you see the almost dead stems to the left and center, from which these new green leaves did branch out? 
Looks like quite a miracle!
It also shows that we should not throw out any plant too soon.
They might come back to life in a surprising way.
Due to the heavy rain and rather dark weather, no more flowers have formed outside but instead it has huge foliage. Looking strong and happy.
Did you know this shrub? 


Related link:
Clerodendrum ugandense | For more info
Logee's Greenhouses | Where we obtained ours

Friday, July 26, 2013

{Dinner for Friends using Nito Place Mats}

On Saturday, June 29, I did not like to use a linen table cloth or place mats for dinner with friends. After just having ironed lots of linens, I opted for the use of our woven Philippine Nito place mats instead. A gift from a dear friend who is like a sister to me. They are really elegant looking and also very easy to wipe clean, if needed. 
Hydrangeas in the Wedgwood vase are in a very special color and were given to us by one of the dinner guests.
Not as a cut flower but years ago as a starter to grow into a bush!
As a starter, we had mussels from Costco, served as amuse bouche, in little porcelain mini sauce pans and spoons.
To the left are two courser rattan place mats, same size.
My china is from the 70s my Seltmann Weiden Mirabell in white.
Crystal is Baccarat, Piccadilly.
Flatware is my Gero Zilmeta 528 Menuet and silver Alvin Bridal Rose gumbo soup and dessert spoons. +Silber-und-Rosen-Shop; yes Johanna, you will LOVE this Rose silverware... Johanna is a dear friend from Germany who wrote a book about Silver Rose Flatware; 'Rosen-Bestecke' and also loves anything with roses, just like me!
A closeup of my octagonal china by Seltmann Weiden, Mirabell pattern in white and made in Germany.
The porcelain amuse bouche spoons we bought in Yogjakarta, Indonesia while working and living there.
The mini sauce pan amuse bouche servers I bought at a whole sale store in The Netherlands, with my best friend.
Silver napkin rings are custom made for us in Indonesia.
Napkins are from Horchow.
Overview of the table setting.
Yes, the month of June did yield some pretty Gardenias for gracing the dinner table.
Do you also opt for using place mats out of convenience?
The heat of summer is not that inviting for ironing table linens...
We are looking forward to coming Saturday when one of the dinner guests will be hosting at her place.
Always fun for not having to do all the work yourself! 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

{TEA = Superb Fat Fighter}

Already in a previous post I did write about a USEFUL TEA REGIME FOR A SLIMMER YOU. See link below. It is a fact that TEA does have lots of ANTIOXIDANTS that are very beneficial for our health. Drinking tea may help prevent chronic illnesses according to a USA Today article. 13 Reasons Tea is Good for You is another great article. Number 1. is about the antioxidants in green tea with an ability to burn fat as fuel. 
This is Dutch Mango Tea from Douwe Egberts Pickwick. 
I used my Japanese Kyusu teapot, a gift from my 2007 trip to Japan as a chaperone with 6 teenagers.
The round wooden tray  was another gift from my host family.
The table runner is also from Japan.
The silver rose spoon is one of my favorites and it would be a great addition to +Silber-und-Rosen-Shop or for the book: Rosen-Bestecke by this specialty shop's owner Johanna, as the author.
In the back you see the book Tea with a Twist by +Lisa Boalt Richardson who is also from Georgia.
The teacup is Japanese, husband Pieter did bring it home from an antique shop in London.
Dear friend Celia from +Celia M. High Heeled Life wrote some excellent posts about taking out time for an afternoon tea. Just check her Google+ page and scroll down to her delightful posts about it.
9 Reasons to Drink Green Tea Daily with number 1. stating it is a SUPERB FAT FIGHTER.
number 2. stating it TARGETS BELLY FAT!
10 Life-Sustaining Reasons to Drink Green Tea with slide number 4 showing that Green Tea helps to 
manage weight. 
Green Tea could be among the superfoods you want to include for our diet!
Slide number 6 shows that Green Tea Boosts Oral Health.
My dental hygienist noticed last week that my tartar build up was a lot less. 
That adds up to another bonus.
Do you have any experience with some of the above mentioned pluses of Tea and/or Green Tea?


Related links:
{USEFUL TEA REGIME FOR A SLIMMER YOU} | previous post by me
{Our last Datura Angel's Trumpets and TEA with a Twist} | previous post by me
{Lisa Boalt Richardson another Georgia Tea Aficionado!} | previous post by me about my High Tea

Monday, July 22, 2013

{The Boston Tea Company}

When we went for 10 days on vacation to Curaçao in the Caribbean, we did take with us lots of healthy snacks to be eaten with some tea. Being with four adults, daughter Liz with husband Hans in the adjoining room and both of us, made it worthwhile for bringing some of our own tea. Hans very much loved the special Green Tea with Pomegranate we had and also the Black Tea with Pomegranate. Both from The Boston Tea Company...
We soon will have a special Care Package on its way to Rotterdam, The Netherlands, with also some of Hans' favorite Green Tea.
These photos I made on June 12, with our gorgeous Gardenias...
We found these Bentley's Tea tins at Tuesday Morning.
The Green Tea with Pomegranate has a surprising taste!
Using my Royal Albert Gardenia china and the white wooden tea chest.
Drinking tea makes for a very special moment and it is so healthy.
Do you drink Green Tea like this?
Or Black Tea with Pomegranate...
A better view of the white wooden tea chest.
Bentley's with its royal crown...
Pomegranate Tea

Related links:
Bentley's Pomegranate Black Tea  from the Boston Tea Company 
Bentley's Pomegranate Green Tea  from the Boston Tea Company

Saturday, July 20, 2013

{Our Victorian hybrid Pelargonium Rosebuds}

Regardless the heavy rain that we got from the beginning of June till now, we managed to have beautiful Victorian hybrid Pelargonium Rosebuds on June 7. Victorian hybrid features clusters of tiny double blossoms, like a mini bouquet of roses. In years past, the blooms were used for small corsages or to decorate a buttonhole. Have you ever seen them? 
Here you see in my silver Rose vase from left to right: the Geranium 'Pink Rosebud' (Pelargonium hybrid); 'Appleblossom Rosebud' and the 'Red Rosebud'. Below post you find link with address in Connecticut where we obtained also ours. There also is a link to a blogger in Norway with an even more extensive collection.
Not so easy to capture them during cloudy weather but this photo does show them clearly.
'Pink Rosebud' at the bottom; 'Appleblossum Rosebud' in the center and 'Red Rosebud' at the top.
Here is the 'Appleblossum Rosebud' Pelargonium budding inside our greenhouse...
'Pink Rosebud' Pelargonium budding inside our greenhouse.
This is a previous photo with the 'Red Rosebud' Pelargonium hybrid.
Yup, that's what my tiny silver vase is; from an antique silver handled walking stick...
Hope you enjoyed these mini rose bouquets!

Related links:
Geranium 'Appleblossum Rosebud' | information from Logee's Greenhouses for buying 
Geranium 'Red Rosebud' | information from Logee's Greenhouses for buying
Geranium 'Pink Rosebud' | information from Logee's Greenhouses for buying
Wenche's Pelargoniumblog | in Norway extensive list of Rosebud Pelargoniums at Wenche's Pelargoniumblog.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

{New Power Wiring to Our Gazebo}

Renovations in itself are often a handful but there are always surprises when you own a home. Already last year we had no power to the electric pump for watering the garden. And for the electric grill in our gazebo, neither light nor fan... There was obviously a problem but it was hard to locate. Last year when husband Pieter did write the book about his life, for daughter Liz, during the summer months, there was no need for watering the garden as it rained enough. But now we installed a new fan after the gazebo got painted and we could not even test it... The job had to be done and after searching for the culprit, under the gazebo, where our contractor in 1990 had made the connection, Pieter decided to just ignore it and run a complete new power wiring from the house out to the gazebo and to the back of the greenhouse and pump. 
The job got done!
Power wiring got dug in, alongside the walkway to the gazebo.
In front of the gazebo some rodents had dug burrows underneath those washed concrete tiles and  they sunk into a slanted position.
Almost done... Now filling up the burrows with concrete, in front of the gazebo where you see the left planter box tilting to the left.
By the way, the Interlock® Aluminum Slate Roof in Aged Copper is already on the gazebo here!
Also the painting job is finished.
Now the new power line will make using the new fan and light + electric grill possible again.
The culprit for sure was that somewhere there was a weak connection or maybe they did fuse some wires inappropriately...
Yes, we now go back to November 1990 when the contractor finished our home.
We were at the time working and living in Indonesia.
We received a letter from our friends who kept an eye on the construction and they mentioned: 'The gazebo is up and roofed...' 
I recall reading that very sentence THREE times!
WHAT? A gazebo, we only had discussed that but we already had brochures from Pennsylvania for building our own wooden one after we finished work in Indonesia.
We were very anxiously coming home...
There it was; in the middle of the garden, in front of our pond!
Through our veranda window you see it.
That was the wrong spot! 
Pieter ordered to have it moved, adjacent to the house and in line with the veranda steps for a walkway from there towards the gazebo.
Walking such a long distance with a tray for coffee or tea or whatever on it, was not practical.
So they did move it with a huge crane and we split the bill...
That's my Dad on a stretcher taking his nap and me in a chair in November of 1990 when Dad helped us move in...
Don't you agree that this was an odd spot for our gazebo?
Even though we had not ordered this gazebo, we liked its construction and we used it for barbecues with friends and neighbors or for breakfast and lots of tea and coffee times with family and friends.
So that was the history of our gazebo and by moving this entire building they must have hit the wiring some how and making it a shaky connection at times. But we got new power wiring now with a constant working connection. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

{Benjamin Moore Golden Mist for Our Home}

One of the hardest things to do was picking a color for our home's exterior paint. But we did select it two days before going to Curaçao. Sitting on the balcony, in bright daylight I did go over all of Benjamin Moore's color charts. What a task! Since husband Pieter is color blind, it mainly did rest upon my shoulders to select. We went for Benjamin Moore's Golden Mist! Pieter was quick to purchase one quart in this color just to try it out and see how it would look in reality... 
Yeah this is AFTER we decided on this Benjamin Moore Golden Mist. That got professionally done on May 22 as the first coat of paint, by our two painters.
So what do you think? To the left you can see the house as it was... kind of a Bone color but very much faded...
Benjamin Moore Golden Mist
This is what Pieter did put on early morning on April 18, below our veranda window...
Only one coat!
The house still needed to get pressure washed and prepped for the big paint job.
Photo taken at a bit more distance but with different light...
It is awfully hard to capture those results, as true to real color as possible!
This is under the shade of our holly tree.
So a second spot got done, in the sunshine now, below the bay window of our kitchen to the side.
Looks better already.
We went for it since the windows and all the ginger bread trimmings would stand out far better in white, when using this 'Golden Mist'...
What do you say?
Let's try one more sampling though. Tiggy-Tiger our min-cat loves to take naps inside this cat-house in the front porch. Pieter used some scraps from the Interlock® Aluminum Slate Roof material in Aged Copper. So we could see how that would blend in with the Benjamin Moore Golden Mist. 
We liked it; that was a good marriage... Don't you think so too?
Now we could happily leave two days later for our vacation to Curaçao where we stayed together with daughter Liz and her husband from April 20-30 and back on May 1st in the wee hours of the morning. 
Funny how much our home now does resemble the warm and sunny colors of the Caribbean.
Like this 1708 Penha building in Willemstad, Curaçao...
Even Pieter is wearing his sunny yellow t-shirt; My Home is My Garden with a photo from himself in the front and in the back - gift from our German 'son' and his family after they did visit us in 2008, following their Florida vacation.
Benjamin Chrome Green we selected for the shutters and front door...
Now back to the chaos on May 22nd. 
Pieter had stripped the wooden balusters off the balcony since two sides had a lot of rotted wood.
He also used a craw bar to remove the tiles. That had to be completely redone.
To the left you already can see the new Interlock® Aluminum Slate Roof in Aged Copper being added on. So far for Going Green.
Do you like it?
The house is neatly pressure washed and the gutters cleaned out; all the sand from the old shingles that had clogged them up, got removed.
Quite a difference already. 
Oh, Pieter also gave this huge Live Oak a major 'hair cut'. Lots of big branches cut off and the view is so much better now. Also the big tree in front of the house got a major hair cut. 
Now you also understand WHY we removed last year our Confederate Jasmine that grew around the French sliding doors on our balcony... All in preparation for this major renovation.


Related links:
{Bye-Bye Confederate Jasmine...} | previous post by me 
{Our Home on March 24 of 2013} | previous post by me showing the BEFORE look

Sunday, July 14, 2013

{Our Cerdomus Italian GREEN Tiles}

Our balcony needed to be renovated. In the past we had tiles put onto it but they were not very well laid. Water had gotten underneath them and after frost, the grout had cracked and even caused a moist ceiling in the storage room beneath. So husband Pieter went ahead and took them all off, using a crow bar, he could lift big segments of them so that did indicate they were 'loose'... This time we had selected Cerdomus Italian GREEN Tiles. Of course we do have a special spot in our hearts for Italy, the country where we once lived and worked... 
This photo has been taken on April 18, the day before we went on vacation to Curaçao.
Husband Pieter had hauled these +CERDOMUS ceramiche tiles home inside our Toyota RAV4, that by the way, just turned 16 on July 9. Still a loyal work horse. 
These Italian tiles are 30 x 30 cm
Cerdomus Green Tile; Durango Ambra...
You can read about their Environmental specifications by scrolling down on that page.
They do use 40% recycled material, which is great for the environment! 
Europe is far more strict on Environmental issues than other parts of the world and we ought to become more conscious no matter where we live. Recycling; Repurposing; Upcycling in order to keep the amount of trash produced at a minimum! All of us have to work on making our Carbon Footprint as small as possible. 
This is just a screen shot from their Durango Ambra tile pdf, featuring special irregular edges.
These Porcelain Stoneware Tiles have been baked at high temperatures reaching 1220°C

We also selected these tiles because they did go perfect together with our GREEN aluminum slate Interlock® roof in Aged Copper
The tiles are already laid by husband Pieter and we are just waiting for the Polyurethane baluster rails to arrive from Vintage Woodworks, Texas... The PVC corner posts from Vintage Woodworks are already placed. By the end of this month the balcony will be completed I hope!

Related link:
CERDOMUS at CERSAIE 2013 | video from October 9, 2013, about this very modern concept tile production
{Our Balcony} | previous post by me where you can see the balcony as it was


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