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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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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

{Telling YOU the Tale of our 4 Feline Girls}


As promised yesterday, when I showed you our {You like to meet our three Feline Boys?}; I will now introduce you to our Feline Girls...
But first I have to start at the beginning of this remarkable story. 

In 2006 we went to Acapulco, Mexico on vacation for our winter escape to the tropics. Our hotel was the Hyatt Regency where there was a huge botanical garden and I mean HUGE. In that garden there lived some cats, and I learned that management tolerated BUT 3 cats on that vast property. So once we'd fallen in love with a cat that befriended us; we planned to take her home. But two days prior to departure we found out she had 3 kittens. We left with sagging hearts, since we could not take her home that time... 
 Spicy was such a regal looking, svelte Feline... we LOVED her!
A year later in February 2007 we went back and she FOUND us, which is incredible at such a vast hotel compound with 1,200 rooms... We proceeded by having her vaccinated and brought her home this time. Yes, sweet Spicy flew on the plane with us some 2,500 km or 1,500 miles to her new PURRFECT FOREVER home. Rescued from the risk of being killed (not a very humane way as they described to me...). BUT, surprise... our svelte Spicy as we called her, was growing... That was not because of the good life and love she got from us, but she appeared to be pregnant!
Spicy with her favorite toy... it matched her markings somewhat. Great advertisement for Chick-fil-A!
Proud 'Mamita' Spicy with her 5 babies. Incredible that such a slender feline got 5 healthy babies!
Bandido was her favorite... but she loved them all to death; such a caring Mamita.
Hence the Spanish names for some of her babies... 
We had to keep them; how could you give some away?!
 Spicy looking spent from nursing these five kittens, she was so slender, so elegant.
Here she is dreaming on top of the retainer wall next to our driveway...
Spicy's watchful eye when her five kittens were playing outside...
Sadly, on Sunday, November 4 when we came home from Church, Spicy was gone. We suspect that she got kidnapped since it was such a rare beauty. We never gave up searching for her but so far in vain. Wish she would be found, somewhere... She got spayed, after she got through nursing the babies and would just start enjoying her own life. I've been very heart-broken by her loss and above all, for not knowing where she is.
This is Sacha, one of Spicy's girls. Napping in her oak bed with rose sheet.
Some of you asked if our cats do sleep in these pet beds. YES they do but not so much in summer as they love to be outside or in the gazebo, somewhere. 
Once the UPS guy did deliver goods in winter time and he shook his head as they were ALL in their pet beds; just lined up...
Sacha is like her Mamita a Tuxedo cat but not black.
This is Tiggy-Tiger the most svelte and elegant of the three girls. She takes after her Mamita with the same six pound body...
Tiggy-Tiger is a mini-cat but very smart!
This is Spunky who is not as svelte and she loves to be a lazy tiger, just lounging around.
Whenever we walk the loop through our wood garden, all others follow us like doggies but Spunky cheats by taking a short cut!
Since January we have this Spicy look-alike and named her thus. We still receive info from Animal shelters and such, whenever there is a tuxedo cat found... This time it looked so promising that we took the long trip to the Appalachian mountains for picking her up. The one that would be our Spicy was twice her size though and it was quite obvious that we'd made the trip of six hours one-way in vain... Then I spotted this tiny kitten that was turned in just two days ago and she looked a lot like our missing Spicy. Not the long slender legs but we did take her home with us!
Spicy is not in this picture but everybody LOVES her; as we do...



Tuesday, September 28, 2010

{You like to meet our 3 Feline Boys?}


Okay, having seen now most of our home|garden|gazebo in: {Our Home of almost 20 years} on the outside, let's now introduce some of our Felines.
We love them dearly and as you all know by now, they have plenty of space to roam free. 
They are, like both of us; in paradise!
This is Spooky
 Spooky is a very slender male with long legs.
 Spooky Panther on the driveway.
Spooky hugging his true brother Bandido while together napping in their oak pet-bed in the garage.
Same hug from Spooky who's on the left.
Bandido, on top of my Toyota RAV4 2-door car. He loves my mini SUV as much as I do!
That car used to be very popular in France when it first came out. Pieter gave me this Cute Ute for my birthday. Got it about seven months later, as it had to be special ordered in Japan with a shift-stick... But I still love it!
This is Barty with {Anita Anggraeni our Foster Daughter}. She LOVED this little guy and he loved her. They were inseparable and Barty missed her for quite a while, when she went back to Indonesia.
Barty is three years older than his two step-brothers Spooky and Bandido. He came from the local Humane Society. Read about our sisters here: {Telling You the Tale of our 4 Feline Girls}
Barty next to my RAV4 and the Pet Beds in the garage.
Well this happens to be also their Breakfast & Supper area; next to their beds...
Are they not well behaved?! Together with their sisters (whom I introduce to you later).
They know that their Mami's motto is MANNERS DO COUNT as taught at: Mariette's Back to Basics! 
After supper they all love to groom in our driveway...

Related link:
{Telling YOU the Tale of our 4 Feline Girls} | previous post by me

{Our Home of almost 20 years}

Today I want to welcome you to our home of almost 20 years. It is constructed after Pieter's own design.
In November 1990 we did move in, while still living and working in Indonesia. We just were off one month and together with my Dad, who did tag along from The Netherlands, we did move in.
It was hard to leave once we'd settled in for just a few weeks... 
But we did live a gypsy life and that's what we had to do for almost three years: commuting from Atlanta to Jakarta four times a year for two months at a time, living in the center on the island of Java, in the mountains.

As certain trees have grown too big now, for standing back and capturing the entire home, I will take you a bit back in time. Below this post you find a link as to see how the home looks at present!
This is in the spring of 1994 the veranda and bay window area with part of the balcony to the left. I am weeding the gardenias that we had back then, till they blocked our windows...
Spring 1994; see the little magnolia here? Now we can no longer take such a photo with the entire front view of our home.
Detail of our front porch with Vintage Woodworks ←(click it) from Texas.
Also you see our young Clematis lanuginosa 'Candida'.
Front porch. If you click to enlarge photo, you can see the hand crocheted filet lace rose curtains on the front door that I designed and made. Will show those later.
Still taken in 1994 with all Wakaebisu Kurume azaleas. Sadly we lost most of them and had to plant something else. Our summer climate is so harsh with temperatures from 35°C to 42°C (95°F - 107°F) and not very forgiving with a soil that has poor water holding capacity and we are on a slope.

The tree on the right got the death penalty since this photo was taken.
The garage doors also have been replaced by insulated ones.
1997 with the gardenias already being moved to the wood garden. Veranda windows have now white fiberglass window boxes ←click it, just like the bay window from the kitchen. They do come in hunter green and satin black as well, but we opted for white, just look Flower Framers of Cincinatti ←click it.
September 1999; notice the huge magnolia to the left? The bay window is no longer visible.
May 2004 with a view to the road.
A May 2004 view on the road for giving you an idea of the space for living here in the heart of Georgia. On the front we have 200 m length, including the wood garden that you see behind the house.
This photo I took on September 26 and now you see how huge that southern magnolia is. Meanwhile Pieter did put a vinyl picket fence between the neighbors and us, you see it on the left.
Another huge, double flowering magnolia to the right.
Let's turn into the driveway...
Too bad that one of the Italian Cypress turned brown from the drought and heat we had during the last month.
The day I took this photo we had finally had a good rain; too late!

Related link:

Sunday, September 26, 2010

{Introducing YOU to Romantic Rose handbags from RosenRomanze Germany}


On August 13, I did read Elvira Hallmann's blog ROSENGÄRTCHEN and fell in LOVE with this extraordinary handbag, called: ROMANTIC ROSE.

The fact that Elvira lives in Hamburg, Germany did not stop me from asking her to sell it to me.
My plan for having it send to my friend Ellie, who could carry it over to the USA on her flight, September 2nd was just perfect! And Elvira was gracious enough to sell it to me. She also told me she would sell more on request!
I was in heaven...
Look at all the details... Beautiful embroidery and matching lace. 


Her RosenRomanze initials, very elegantly embroidered backwards.
Adorned with a rose button, this linen inside-pocket can be closed.


The handbag is even reversible! How clever. See more in her RosenRomanze shop. If ladies from the US or Canada are interested in any of her bags, or like the above, please let me know as I can assist you.
This multi-talented lady also makes the prettiest Baptismal gowns I've ever seen!
They will make great Heirloom pieces.
Just have a peak at one of those Heirloom pieces here at Rosengärtchen .
Even for those that want to tie the knot she can create the most romantic Ring Pillow...
All her blogs do have Google Translater installed so language is not supposed to be a barrier.
I am so excited about sharing this with you, as such talent is so rare to come by, at this time and age!
  Elvira, is even creating her own wardrobe and soon also for her teenage daughter Madeleine. Her name is as pretty as the heirlooms and special evening bags her Mom makes. Follow her blog; Rosengärtchen to see more coming soon!


On Sunday, September 5th I did use this lovely Romantic Rose handbag when I took friend Ellie (who carried it to the US for me) and husband Mathieu to the Page House Bed & Breakfast for brunch. That was two days after Pieter's quadruple bypass...

Here I make the photo of the {Fleur de Lys Filet Crochet Designed by Mariette's Back to Basics} and made for the side entrance.

This is today... Pieter LOVES it as much as I do.

Just pondering about the many things that happened this month...
Romantic Rose being one of the highlights!

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