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Here I would love to share with you our travels and adventures as international mushroom 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 at Spectrenoir: http://ebay.to/2xI69uc, for others to enjoy. As well as high end silver items from Giovanni Raspini, Italy. I also do classes and consulting... too much to list here! Love to bring back some romance and quality to the daily life of others... 

Monday, February 28, 2011


Tomorrow it might be the last day of weather around 25°C and thunderstorms are predicted. BUT so far we've had SPRING really GRADUATING in our area. Today I took some photos from more Narcissus and also from our Japanese Magnolias or Magnolia x soulangeana in full bloom. Have a look...

Just to show you how big those Japanese Magnolias are. For 'portrait photos' such harsh sunshine/shade is not very flattering for the face but I am NOT the subject here... Pieter put this vinyl picket fence up a couple of years ago, to frame our property.  For those that live in the area, they can enjoy a Garden Tour at Mariette's Back to Basics with Book an Event.

We have had years with late frost and than the buds turned brown and fell off; no blooms at all. This year is perfect, even if we get a thunderstorm tomorrow.

Sacha, our female tuxedo cat did follow us as we walked our gardens. Our felines behave more like a dog in following and walking with us. They sure enjoy this perfect weather too; time to play outside again. The grass is starting to grow, there is a slight green haze. Pieter did mulch all the leaves on Saturdy by slowly running our John Deer lawn mower over it. That way all the nutrients of the leaves will get used by the lawn itself.

This photo of our Japanese Magnolia or Magnolia x soulangeana was taken on March 5, 2004. That shows that the blooming season is rather consistent.

Narcissus Sweetness were blooming and scenting the air with their fragrance. Most of our selected Narcissus are fragrant. That creates such wonderful experience when having a vase full of them inside the home!

Narcissus Cragford is emitting her srong fragrance to the air as well.

For all those that live far away; I hope you enjoyed this virtual Garden tour! Come back regularly as there is from now on lots to show... Thanks for your visit!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

{Our Fragrant Double Narcissus bloom!}

The weather has been so perfect all week! We walked in our bermudas around the pond at our local hospital where our fitness center is. This was wonderful doing so after we worked out on the machines; instead of using the treadmill.
So uplifting to see the Japanese magnolias in bloom and other trees. In our garden the {Fragrant Double Narcissus Obdam} (< click to see previous blog) bloom again.

Nice spring display on a Le Jacquard Français towel from Gerardmer, France with daffodils. We had a French exchange group in March 2005 and one of the chaperones stayed with us and gave us a present from her region.
The daffodil plate of the Royal Albert Friendhip series you can see in my prievious post: {DAFFODIL OF ROYAL ALBERT FRIENDSHIP SERIES} < click to open.
For a dear friend who had her birthday today I'd baked last night Amaretti hearts and also made chocolate hearts. This is just a sampler...
Today was also Mom & Dad's 62nd wedding anniversary! We did talk to them by phone.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

{My Private Lampes Berger Collection + Boutique Items}

As promised yesterday, here I will show you more of my French vintage Lampes Berger collection; personal and those that are for sale at: Spectrenoir. ←click link. Worldwide Shipping and FREE Shipping within the USA!

This darling porcelain Lampe Berger with romantic Moss Roses by Revol is such a treasure. It is showing the older, solid brass open worked 'ajour' cap. This is available at my boutique Mariette's Back to Basics
Hand crocheted doily is made by my sister-in-law Elly.
Sorry Sold out...

 Lampe Berger Cherub Cameo (Angelot) is one of my favorites! No longer available but I do have ONE in my boutique...  Mariette's Back to Basics. 

The opaque center is very hard to capture on camera but I tried my best. A golden circle makes the Cherub Cameo even stand out more.
The epitome of French Country Style...
For a video on how to use these lamps, please see my previous blog post: Lampes Berger 1898 - 1998 A Century of History 

This beauty comes with a very heavy golden cap.

Sorry Sold out...

Inside my IKEA GODMORGON high gloss white cabinets I keep those, that I have for my on line boutique.
Different caps from different eras. Some vary different over the years and have a different maker's stamp on the bottom. If you would like to have additional info; don't hesitate to contact me!

This Swedish IKEA GODMORGON cabinet is a perfect match for showing off French Country Style with those Vintage Lampes Berger!
See similar ones at the Musée LAMPE BERGER.
Will be listing them soon for sale at: Spectrenoir.

High End Value for a fabulous Lampe Berger!

Lampes Berger: A Century of History; click link for info about book by Gérald Vilcocq.

Friday, February 25, 2011

{Lampes Berger 1898 - 1998 A Century of History}

Being a collector of some of the rare and vintage French Lampes Berger I had to get the book about: A Century of History 1898 - 1998 by Geráld Vilcocq. A link for ordering this book you find at the very bottom.

One of my favorite Vintage Lampe Berger with a very pretty open worked all brass cap. Of course I fell for those blue roses! They go well with my silver pill boxes with roses. French Country Style with a romantic touch...
Learn from Mariette
 Live in Air you LOVE click it to watch video for cleaner, fragranced air in the home.
Below I show you another favorite, a Lampe Berger Barocco with frolicking angels.

Will show you more tomorrow...

Lampes Berger: A Century of History (this is a link too for ordering Gérald Vilcocq's book).

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Friday, February 3, 1989. After Pieter got home from work at 5:20 PM, we drove from Wilmington, DE to Philadelphia for flying on Delta Airlines to Cincinnati and then to Miami. This was a free ticket from frequent flyer miles. That never works easy but we'll reach our destination, regardless! Our dear friends Carlos & Natacha picked us up and took us to their beautiful and light airy home with tropical garden. Talked till 2:00 AM...

Saturday, February 4, Carlos had to work. With Natacha we went for lunch and did sight see Miami. Her Mom was there from Santa Domingo and looked after the kids. We did the famous Calle Ocho and at a Cuban café we drank a coffee and also went to the pequeña Havana.

It was such a happy reunion with all of them! Their sons Carlitos and Christopher enjoyed our visit as much as we did! Happy times together with dear friends, that lived in Dublin, Georgia as well, before all of us had moved away...

At 6:00 PM we went all four to a real Spanish restaurant. Ate my first paella, yummy...! Musicians played and sang at the tables. After dinner we went to Coral Gables and alongside the river we did some window shopping and listened to the life music outside. A very romantic and tropical evening.

Sunday, February 5. Together we went out for breakfast - croissants. During this breakfast we started talking about he Everglades; the enormous swamp area in that part of Florida, one of the world's biggest wetlands. Carlos & Natacha themselves had also not yet been there. It is located near the restaurant and thus Pieter offered them to buy the tickets for a tour with Cooper Town Airboat Rides. ← click it.  After a while enough passengers had come to fill up a boat. A motley crowd; an elderly American couple; two elderly ladies and three young, well dressed German business travelers who apparently just like us, had a free weekend to spend. (Dutch translation follows below this English story...).

Our red-haired guide departed with us aboard under the loud roaring of the eight-cylinder. Skimming over the shallow water we soon disappeared out of sight, far away from the inhabited world, with nothing else around us than the immense sheet of water, marsh plants and reed. Once in a while our guide throttled down in order to enthusiastically tell about the territory, how it came about, what birds and reptiles exist, the too shallow water level etc. Everybody visibly had a good time.

He steered a bit to the left, by moving over a thick carpet of marsh plants and reed to go into another waterway. Suddenly the boat lost speed as if she would be held tight by an invisible hand. The engine roared and the propeller howled powerless through the air; we got stuck, as firm as a rock; impossible to bring any motion into the flat vessel.

First the two elderly ladies began to lament: "always when we go some place, then something goes wrong".

The guide now promotes a German as steersman, while he steps overboard to push, engine full throttle, in a fierce attempt to get the vessel afloat. The only result was that the inseparable cap from the American got blown far away. Our guide clearly showed some tightness of the chest, his heart throbbed in his muddy, wet and sweaty body. Nothing else left to do but wait for the small patrol boat which, as he told us, automatically would be send out if a tour boat would not be back on time. We earnestly hoped that he was speaking the truth; the sun stood perpendicular above us, we were thirsty and sweaty and in thought we already saw the plane take off without us. Finally the remotely noise of the patrol boat could be heard; we got discovered. Together the guides tried to get the vessel afloat; they lug, the engine full throttle and we simultaneously rocked the boat. All was in vain. The patrol boat got send back in order to get some help and all we could do was patiently wait.

Meanwhile the Germans got fed up with it and got themselves into action. Shoes and socks got removed and they rolled up the legs of their elegant suits as high as they could. Now with four men strong they lugged and pushed, but without any result. Back into the boat, with the brown slush high above the knees and even in their faces. "If somebody maybe had some paper tissues about him/her?!" Nobody had any; the nearest equivalent was a feminine napkin what I had in my handbag for you-never-know. It got gratefully accepted. The first man proceeded to wipe the sweat and splashes of ooze from his forehead and thereafter yet six German legs got rubbed off with it.

Meanwhile help had arrived, a less heavy tour boat, which took up a berth in the adjacent watercourse, together with the small patrol boat. Too far to step over but no fear, the backs of the seat benches got broken up and served as running board. Our friends and the two of us had to step over into the small patrol boat. The guides again plough through the mud, assisting the elderly Americans so they safely reach the small tour boat. They were the first to depart, greatly relieved. The now almost empty, large boat came afloat and departed with the Germans. As last ones we got collected. Just at speed we had to slow down for an enormous alligator. One moment we shuddered at the thought that our German fellow-passengers and the guides had stepped overboard at such short distance of this giant.

At the embankment the Germans already stood waiting for us. One of them held up a filthy napkin and laughingly asked: "Brauchen Sie dass noch?" Do you still need that...? Upon my, "nein danke" no thanks he let it disappear into the trashcan.

With the expression on their faces of a bond that grows between companions in misfortune, also the Americans waved us goodbye.

Quickly we went home with Carlos & Natacha and ate a pizza and around 4:00 PM we went to the airport together with Carlitos and Christopher. We said farewell to all four and at 5:20 PM we departed for Cincinnati and on to Philadelphia. We arrived late again at Aron & Shyfra's home in Wilmington, Delaware. There we have stayed for some three weeks at the time we were moving from Pennsylvania to Italy. All our belongings were already on the Ocean en route to Italy.

Did send this to Avenue, a Dutch magazine and it ranked 11th in a prize competition about travel stories, awarding only the ten best stories.

Dutch version:
Zondag. Samen uit voor ontbijt - croissants. Tijdens dit late ontbijt kwamen de Everglades ter sprake; het enorme moerasgebied in dat gedeelte van Florida. Carlos & Natacha waren er zelf ook nog nooit in geweest. Het was erg dichtbij het restaurant en dus bood Pieter aan om de kaartjes te kopen voor een toer met zo'n propellerboot. Na enige tijd waren er genoeg passgiers om een boot te vullen. Een bont gezelschap; een ouder Amerikaans echtpaar, twee bejaarde dames en drie jonge, goed geklede Duitse zakenreizigers die blijkbaar net als wij, een vrij weekend te besteden hadden. Onze roodharige gids vertrok met ons onder luid gebrul van de acht-cylinder. Scherende over het ondiepe water waren we al snel uit het zicht, ver weg van de bewoonde wereld, met rondom ons niets dan de onafzienbare vlakte van water, moerasplanten en riet. Onze gids nam zo nu en dan gas terug en vertelde enthousiast over 't gebied, het ontstaan, wat er leefde aan vogels en reptielen, de te lage waterstand etc. Iedereen genoot zichtbaar.

Hij stuurde wat naar links om over een dicht tapijt van moerasplanten en riet naar een andere waterweg te gaan. Plotseling verloor de boot snelheid alsof ze door een machtige, onzichtbare hand werd vastgehouden.

De motor brulde en de propeller joelde machteloos door de lucht; we zaten vast, muurvast; er was geen beweging meer in het platte vaartuig te krijgen. De twee bejaarde dames begonnen als eerste te jammeren; "altijd als wij ergens naar toe gaan, gaat er iets mis". Een Duitser werd achter het stuur gezet en de gids stapte overboord om te duwen, motor volgas, in een verwoede poging het ding vlot te krijgen. Het enigste resultaat was dat de onafscheidelijke pet van de Amerikaan ver werd weggeblazen.

Onze gids kreeg het duidelijk benauwd, zijn hart bonkte in z'n bemodderde, nat bezwete lijf. We moesten maar wachten op de kleine patrouille boot die, zoals hij vertelde, automatisch werd uitgestuurd als een toerboot niet op tijd terugkeerde. We hoopten vurig dat hij de waarheid sprak; de zon stond recht boven ons, we waren dorstig en zweterig en in gedachten zagen we het vliegtuig al vertrekken, zonder ons.

Eindelijk drong vanuit de verte het geluid van het patrouillebootje tot ons door; we waren ontdekt. Met z'n beiden probeerden de gidsen nog eens om de zaak vlot te krijgen; zij sjorren, de motor volgas en wij tegelijkertijd schommelen. Alles tevergeefs. De patrouilleboot werd teruggestuurd om hulp te halen en wij maar weer lijdzaam wachten.

De Duitsers hadden er zo stilaan schoon genoeg van en kwamen zelf in aktie. Schoenen en sokken uit en de broekspijpen van hun elegante costuums zo hoog mogelijk opgerold. Nu met vier man sterk sjorren en duwen, maar zonder resultaat. Terug in de boot, met de bruine prut tot hoog boven de knieën en zelfs in hun gezicht. "Of iemand mogelijk papieren zakdoekjes bij zich had?!" Niemand had zoiets; het enigste wat daar het kortste bijkwam was een maandverbandje wat ik bij me had voor je-weet-maar-nooit. Het werd dankbaar aanvaard. De eerste man veegde zich er het zweet en de modderspetters mee van z'n voorhoofd en daarna werden er nog zes Duitse benen mee schoongewreven.

Inmiddels was er hulp, een minder zware toerboot die in de waterloop naast ons kwam liggen, samen met het patrouillebootje. Te ver om over te stappen maar geen nood, de rugleuningen werden van onze boot gesloopt en dienden als loopplank. Onze vrienden en wij moesten eerst maar overstappen in het patrouillebootje. De gidsen ploeterden weer in de modder om de bejaarde Amerikanen veilig naar de kleine toerboot te helpen. Zij vertrokken als eerste, zichtbaar opgelucht. De nu bijna lege, grote boot kwam vlot en vertrok met de Duitsers. Als laatsten werden wij opgehaald

Net even op weg moest onze boot inhouden voor een enorme alligator. Even griezelden we bij de gedachte dat onze Duitse medepassagiers en de gidsen overboord waren gestapt op zo'n korte afstand van deze reus. Op de kade stonden de Duitsers ons al op te wachten. Een van hun hield een vies zwart doekje op en vroeg lachende; "Brauchen Sie das noch?" Op mijn, "nein danke" liet hij het in de afvalbak verdwijnen. Met de uitdrukking op hun gezicht van een band die tussen lotgenoten is gegroeid, zwaaiden ook de Amerikanen ons gedag.

Wij snel met Carlos & Natacha naar huis en nog pizza gegeten en tegen 16:00u samen met Carlitos en Christopher naar de airport. Afscheid genomen van alle vier en om 17:20u naar Cincinnati en door naar Philadelphia. We waren laat weer bij Aron & Shyfra in Wilmington, Delaware. Hier logeerden wij tijdelijk omdat al onze huisraad al was ingescheept voor Italië en wij over enkele weken ook zouden vertrekken naar Europa voor onze nieuwe stek in Cornuda, provincie Treviso in Italië.

Hiermee haalde ik de 11de plaats bij Avenue voor reisverhalen en viel dus nèt niet in de prijzen...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

{My Embroidered Roses in 19th Century Danish Pattern}

Just before we came to the USA I had to finish this 19th century Danish counted cross stitch embroidery with roses in 47 colors, on black cotton. It was very hard to see... but I'm often called a pit bull so once I start something I won't let go of it. Easy said for doing this in The Netherlands, where sunshine is sparingly; especially in April. It was meant to be a pillow but after straining my eyes and working so hard there was no way I would use this as a pillow, so we had it framed by our favorite Irok Gallery. click it. Scroll down to see the pattern and me working on it and the finished hand made wall hanging framed. All for the LOVE of roses...

It really had 47 colors of DMC mouliné embroidery floss; quite a challenge as it had to be counted on the black cotton and with limited light as the sun is very sparingly in April, in The Netherlands. This was again, like my knitted rose sweater, from the Dutch Ariadne magazine for handwork.
Learn from Mariette
Anyone interested in this antique pattern, I can provide it to you for a small fee.

Danish Pattern by Permin - Copenhagen, Danmark

Here I am, April 1983, still in The Netherlands working on it. Mauzie my Dachshund is in the chair next to me. The sweater I'm wearing is also handknit by me. You further can see the filet lace crocheted curtains that are now hanging in our veranda here in Georgia/USA.

Finished hand made work; framed and haning on the wall in our living room.

Detail of my counted cross stitch hand made work.

Here it hangs on the wall behind my leather chair for reading. On the left you see our indoor shutters folded open.

This you recognize from my earlier blog about: {BOOKS In Our Living Room} (click it).

MARIETTE'S BACK TO BASICS © 2009. All rights reserved - Text and images may not be copied for distribution or sale.

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