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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... 

Translate to ANY Language | Click on▼ to select, than on ► to translate...

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

{Turkey Vultures (Cathartes aura) & Brave Furbabies}

We went to midnight Mass on Christmas Eve and the weather was perfect after 5 days of heavy rain. So glad that we completed early this year all the Water Control Projects; what a blessing for never having to worry again! 
Christmas day was so LOVELY and SUNNY that we went for a walk!
Coming back we spotted about NINE Turkey Vultures, up in tall trees near the creek across from our property. So I investigated and found an entire RACK OF RIBS alongside the road across from our home. Did the neighbors drop it from their shopping bag? But it was naked...
So those huge Turkey Vultures were having a yummy Christmas Dinner!
So quickly Pieter grabbed our Nikon camera and attached the 200 mm lens to capture these images for you...
Size: Length: 64 - 81 cm according to the website's link above (just click it).
Or for US standard: 2 1/2 feet length with a 6 foot wingspan or 1.83 m!
Photos are heavily cropped and Pieter zoomed in from our driveway, without tripod...
How in the world could an entire rack of ribs end up alongside the road?
This Turkey Vulture LOVES it!
Our Furbaby, Spunky-girl is being brave...
All her hair upright and a very bushy tail! All her hair spiked up to look BIGGER!
 Looking at me like asking: Mom do I have your back?!
Sure you do Spunky-girl!
Okay Mom; I will attack!
She scared me, as I feared for her getting pecked at by those long and sharp beaks!
Her tiny sister, our 6-pound Tiggy-Tiger is all 'bushy-tailed' with hair spiked out and ready to join Spunky!
Look at Tiggy-Tigger as she too tries hard to look impressive with all her hair up; doubling her size...
That upright tail!
Good for not having ANY traffic on Christmas Day in the afternoon...
Our cat-boy Spooky joins in now!
He too walks across the street towards those Turkey Vultures...
Watch him act BRAVE! With his arched back...
Both of us never have seen Turkey Vultures (Cathartes aura) from that close!
They stayed high up in the trees near the creek's edge of our neighbor's property.
Waiting for their turn to dive...
Impossible to capture all nine of them by zooming in from across the road.
But this was quite a Christmas Adventure!
I've learned that our Furbabies understood far better than their human parents that these mighty birds ONLY attack carion and not live animals.
I thought they acted very BRAVE!
That was our unusual Christmas afternoon adventure with the Furbabies after we got home from a walk...
Next morning, the entire rack of ribs was gone!
We did not let our Furbabies eat from the greasy meat and luckily they stayed inside with us.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

{SHOPSTYLE - Decor Silver Ball Ornament}

Showing you our present wreath with Silver Ball Ornaments.
Angels, Cherubs and Candles are sheer magic don't you agree?
This was my inspiration from Italy...
+Giovanni Raspini from the heart of Tuscany, creates these Heirloom Silver Balls, filled with red satin.
I've opted for this Silver Trio!
There is only ONE left of this beauty!
Click:→ {SHOPSTYLE - Decor Silver Ball Ornament} for going to my  online Boutique Mariette's Back to Basics.
Got one out in the mail today, for a client in Germany.
The red satin is so perfect with the silver!
Lucky for having some natural light today, as the sun is out and shining bright!
This is the other, larger Decor Silver Ball Ornament in our wreath...
Cherub Angels!
Each Decor Silver Ball Ornament arrives in such a signature red box from Giovanni Raspini, Italy.
This Decor Silver Ball shows TOYS
From the trio being shown here, I have only the two on the left, inside our wreath.
From each of these three is only ONE still available...
At +ShopStyle  you could have bought some very plain ones.
When you select: Decor and put Silver Ball Ornament in the search box you can further select from the drop down menu: Seasonal Decor and Store. All is marked yellow.
+Neiman Marcus did sell out completely!
Are you also having any special Silver Ball Ornaments?

Friday, December 26, 2014

{Merry Christmas 2014}

Finally it is again December 24, and Christmas Eve... Soon to be Christmas Day!
Wishing you all, the world over, a Merry Christmas 2014!
Always tricky for having pure white (without rain...) Camellias for Christmas, from our garden!
Shown here with my sewing creation of a Christmas placemat and napkin in a tiny white vase...
Merry Christmas
Feliz Navidad
Joyeux Noël
Frohe Weihnachten
Buon Natale
Silver Gifts from Tuscany, Italy from Giovanni Raspini, via my on line Boutique: Mariette's Back to Basics...
Merry Christmas, with our fragrant Paperwhite flowers in a vase and Point A La Ligne candle...
Our hand carved wooden Nativity Scene and Cherubs - Angels from South Tyrol, Italy.
Handblown Glass Nativity Scene; a gift from a dear FRIEND!
Nativity Scene with fragrant Paperwhite flowers and Cherub Angels...
Christ Episcopal Church
Dublin, Georgia
1899
A Christmas ornament that we gifted Mom & Dad...
Merry Christmas!

Related links:
{Blogger I Admire | Christmas Angel & Sentiments} | previous post by me
Angels | Wood Carved Putto, Cherubs and Angels from Italy on my website Mariette's Back to Basics
Angels | More Angels on my website Mariette's Back to Basics


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

{Christmas in Magical Ortisei, Italy}

Of course, having lived and worked in Italy in the Venice area for about one year, around Christmas, I do MISS Italy! 
Virtual friend Loredana Stasi, the artist from the blog: Il filo del cuore Ricami The thread of the heart... Embroideries, did grant me permission to use some of her photos, to show you Christmas in Magical Ortisei, Italy.
La magia dell'Alpe di Siusi or The Magic of the Dolomites is the title of her original post!
Just click the pink hyperlink above...
The area of South Tyrol, northern Italy has such charm!
The Val Gardena, a mountain chain within the Dolomites is part of the Alps.
Look at such a DREAM!
Loredana went skying with her husband and son...
My comment for Lory on her post.
Yes, we always drove through this region of the Dolomites when going from Cornuda, Italy home via Innsbruck, Austria to The Netherlands to visit my Parents...
South Tyrol, is also the area for the famous hand carved wood, like this gorgeous outdoor nativity!
Thanks Lory for granting me permission to use your beautiful photos.
Below you find two posts, about this very talented artist Lory, she inherited her incredible skills from her dear Grandma Nonna Elisa!

Related links:
Mercatino della Creatività... | post showing Lory's fabulous Christmas embroidery work!
Un Ricordo Dolcissimo...Nonna Elisa! | Lory with her artist Grandmother Elisa, on her 100th Birthday. That remarkable lady designed embroidery kits when she was young, she dreamed about them and created them... A must read story and no wonder Lory is so talented herself!


Monday, December 22, 2014

{Fourth Week of Advent 2014}

Our fourth and final week of Advent for 2014!
Wishing you all a meaningful time of the final days before CHRISTMAS!
Our hand carved wooden Cherub Angels from Italy are all lined up...
The singing angel to the left is a ceramic one from Italy, gift from a dear friend!
Click above link, to my on line Boutique; only ONE  still available.
Little golden candles with spriral brass candle holders on a Mason Mandalay Chartreuse plate.
Wishing you all a very Happy 4th Advent!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

{The Birth of Santa Claus}

We are nearing Christmas, so this story about the Birth of Santa Claus is interesting...
English speaking readers can read the text below:
The American Santa Claus has developed strictly on his own to the point where he is now stationed on the North Pole and drives a team of reindeer. 
All that remains of his Dutch phase is his name: Santa Claus is a direct derivation of Sinterklaas.
Popular Dutch folk song...
For the Dutch Sinterklaas Eve...
Large chocolate initials serve as place settings along with the so-called 'lovers', tall men and women of speculaas, a crisp and dark brown pastry rather like ginger bread.
From De Nederlandse COURANT
The mailing of St. Nicholas cards was in the beginning of the 20th century a tradition in the better circles.

Related links:
{Of Sint and Santa} | previous post by me
{How the Dutch Brought Us Santa, Presents, and Treats} | previous post by me

Thursday, December 18, 2014

{5 Giant Oak Trees got a 'Hair Cut'}

We needed to give 5 of our Giant Oak Trees a 'Hair Cut', so it happened on November 6, just the day after I took their photos to show the before and after.
Our Giant along the driveway on November 5, showing the maple trees in the back with some fall color.
When mowing the lawn on the John Deere, low hanging branches are a problem too!
We really love this majestic, old oak tree.
Photo from December 14, clearly you can see that the lower branches are gone!
You also can see that the under brush in our wood garden has been totally cleared.
This is our broadest oak of all we got; it also is semi evergreen!
Those low hanging branches are gone now, photo from December 14.
The low hanging branches prevented the waterlilies from growing in the pond because of the shaded area.
This giant oak is near the gazebo and was touching the Japanese Magnolia to the left and a dogwood tree to the right; which light branches you can see in this photo.
Seen from the other side of the gazebo it looks a lot more open now for other trees to breath again!
This too is semi-evergreen as seen on this December 14 photo.
Between our property and the neighbors, we have another Giant Oak...
This one had kind of weeping branches, touching over the picket fence all the way down.
Also suffocating the Japanese Magnolia that is visible to the left of the lantern.
Impossible to capture it entirely...
Photo from December 14, and almost bare. The Japanese Magnolia to the left is happy with those lowest branches being removed!
This was the main problem... Our Quercus Virginiana or Live Oak, which was touching the chimney when it was windy and hanging over the balcony...
Photo taken on December 14, and you can see how much has been cut off here!
This photo I took from the balcony, on November 5th.
Photo from December 14, our balcony is free now!
One big reason was this!
The sap from the catkins and leaves (yes, those evergreen trees also do shed!) caused this staining on our balcony's Polyurethane ballustrade...
We love the shade from our giant trees but not the mess!
See two of our felines underneath the tree?
Soles Tree Service did an excellent job!
We're all set for the coming years and hopefully the balcony stays clean(er) as well.
Do you have any Giant Oak Trees or others, that need 'Hair Cuts'?

Related link:
{Black Gum Nyssa Sylvatica Cut Down} | about tree that got cut down in front of the house on the same day.
{65 Year Old Pine Tree Cut Down} | previous post by me from December 2013
{Our Live Oak got a Haircut} | previous post by me

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