About Me

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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... 

Thursday, June 30, 2011

{My 8th Blog Award - Sunshine from Japan}

From the talented Orchid in Japan I received this Sunshine Award on June the 24th. Just have a look at: Orchid's Daily Voice blog.  She is a lady I admire tremendously as she masters our English language so well. I say 'our' even though it is not my mother tongue either. The award goes together with revealing something about myself. Well, over time now I have revealed bits and pieces about little me. 
Probably you know by now that I love animals and also that both of us have always fought for the underdog. We found it always challenging to train the difficult-to-train by spending some extra time with them. It is so rewarding to see how they eventually do turn out after years of coaching and guiding. That makes ones heart swell for pride and joy. 
We went also numerous times to our Dublin Rotary Club's Leprosy Project in Indonesia, while working and living there. Providing the Club photos and video from what we encountered. Visiting the state hospital in Indonesia, with all the disfigured people. Such a biblical disease and still around in our time; claiming half a million new victims each year by leprosy infection. And yet the world seems to turn away from it. Everyone is caught up in their social media toys and often one becomes more self-centered instead of reaching out. We feel enriched by having done so and we also are grateful for living the life we have, as we have seen so much misery... Living and or working in Indonesia, India, Chile, South Africa and Mexico has been a blessing in many ways!
Keeping up with that, I also want to pass this Sunshine Award on to five others by literally giving them some Sunshine in their difficult days. Are you joining me in visiting them and maybe giving them the gift of Following?
A big THANK YOU from my end for taking the time to do so.
Let's go...

  • Bea from Modern Country Lady who's needing some extra Sunshine for he days ahead as her 16-year old cat is having kidney failure.
  • Carolyn from Draffin Bears as she literally needs Sunshine for her winter days...
  • Johanna from Silber-Rosen needs some extra Sunshine.
  • Laura from Casita By The Lake who created Sunshine for her Down Syndrome niece...
  • Wendy from Once Upon a Rose Haven needs Sunshine as she just recently lost her Daddy...
Let's all be a little Sunshine for one another!

Related links:
{We saw FOUR Armadillos at Lunch Time!} | Humans can acquire a leprosy infection from armadillos by handling them or consuming armadillo meat, and are a presumed vector and natural reservoir for the disease in Texas and Louisiana. - previous post by me 
{World Leprosy Day} | previous post by me

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

{Antique Christofle Knife Rests in Fleur de Lys}

Another French treasure to show you here. Antique Christofle knife rests from the end of the 19th century, with a Fleur de Lys pattern. A rare quantity of 14 this time, available in 8 and 6 piece sets. They will be perfect for saving your precious table linens from getting soiled. Shown here as a table setting with Royal Albert Friendship Daffodil China and Le Jacquard Français table linen. Resting on this knife rest is my Gero Zilmeta 528 Menuet flatware.
Can you imagine that in 1883 Christofle did equip the Orient Express with their silver ware? What a luxury life for the Avant Garde... And in 1898 they equiped the Ritz Paris with fine silver ware. In 1935 Christofle realized 45,000 pieces designed by Luc Lanel for the Luxury Liner Normandie. That was a cruise ship like the Titanic... what a dream life for the upper class! Those Luc Lanel pieces I also have shown 11 Vintage French Christofle Luc Lanel 'Ondulation' Knife Rests.
These Christofle knife rests are available at my: Spectrenoir
From the book Christofle by David Rosenberg you also can learn about the above mentioned history. It is shown in the blog with the Luc Lanel design, link is above. 
Photos were taken on March 9, hence the paperwhite narcissus...
It is shown here on page 21 from the Christofle 1842-1883 catalogue, as number 3364 Porte-couteaux ferrure.
I received this copy from a friendly Frenchman! Wish I had the entire catalogue...
Left you see the old hall mark in a diamond shape with a bee below, a C (for Charles Christofle) to the left and to the right, a scale in-between with stars above. Separately in block letters the word Christofle.
Rather hard to capture... you cannot get near the hallmark with your camera because of the four Fleur de Lys.
Owning such a piece does cover quite some history.
This Maker's Mark is from the 2nd half of the 19th century.
Fourteen of them and some do have the hall mark to the right.
Only 8 are available at Spectrenoir... 6 are sold!
Today, as in the past, whether gracing the tables of emperors, princes or maharajas, in palaces, on board the Trans-Siberian Railway, Orient Express or transatlantic ocean liners or in contemporary restaurants, Christofle continues to make an impression.

Sorry Sold out...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

{English: A tricky language indeed...}

Just like to share this story with you, from the Jakarta Post from the time that we lived and worked in Indonesia. March 1997. My friend Orchid from Japan will appreciate this. She wrote recently about loanwords in the Japanese language Tea Cup and (Sweet) Loanword in Japan♪. Just click on the photo to enlarge so you can read it clearly and enjoy!

Monday, June 27, 2011

{Our Hibiscus syriacus 'Blushing Bride' from Quero, Belluno in Italy}

One more special Hibiscus syriacus 'Blushing Bride' Blushing Bride Rose of Sharon, did come from Quero, Belluno in Italy. In my previous blog from October 19: {HELP ME FIND ITALIAN ARTIST M. SOTGIU mother of Luigi Tramarollo} you can see some more information about my most scenic road to work. Along the river Piave, to Quero, a small town in the mountains. Alongside the road, close to the plant, there was the most fabulous 'hedge' with double pink Hibiscus syriacus 'Blushing Bride'.
After the blooms had gone, I did stop one day in order to collect some of the seedpods. Soon enough an older gentleman stopped and asked what I was doing. I told him that I loved those gorgeous pink blossoms so much that I tried to grow some from seeds. He said no, no... That made me stop in my action. Quickly he pulled out of his pocket a Fiskars bypass pruner and started clipping off cuttings for me. He went on to tell me that you couldn't grow them from seeds, this was the way to do it. Graciously I accepted this generous gift. We did take them home to The Netherlands where Dad managed to keep them alive and he even has still some himself. His did far better than ours! So once again we got a precious memory from the Veneto region where we lived and worked. Look for yourself and tell me if you would not have fallen in love with these blooms...
We did loose most of ours and fortunately we could save just enough clippings to start all over. This is the result with the very first blossom!
Here they are in pots, just outside of the greenhouse where they over-wintered.
Their heart is a much darker pink. Look how healthy they are. So glad that we could revive them!
This is Dad with his version of Hibiscus syriacus 'Blushing Bride' on the right and another variety on the left which he did bring home from Georgia. After all, he is a professional Market Gardener... The Netherlands has the perfect climate for growing any plant, tree or flower, except tropical species.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

{Our Hibiscus syriacus Jeanne D'Arc & Our Life in Italy}

  • We are fortunate to have some new shrubs of Hibiscus syriacus Jeanne D'Arc,< (click) or Jeanne D'Arc Rose of Sharon. This species is a rarity with its frilly pure snowy white double flowers.
  • For us it is even more special since we did bring a cutting back from the area where we lived and worked in Italy. These trees were lining the streets of Maser, the neighboring town where we had to pass through first, before reaching our town Cornuda in the province of Treviso. 
  • In the very town of Maser you also find the Villa di Maser< (click) (Villa Barbaro) one of the greatest masterpieces of Andrea Palladio (1508-80), and a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • It was on Sunday morning, April 9 of 1989 that we did tour several Venetian villas and also this Villa Barbaro. Together with our boss Gigi and his wife Anna (she translated Pieter's book about Mushroom Growing into Italian). We were with a group of Rotarians and a Venetian Prince
  • Quite educational and we had a delicious lunch afterwards. To my surprise and great joy, Paola from the blog, Laboratorio di Zia Polly: A richiesta vi porto a visitare Asolo < (click) just did a post about Asolo <(click). 
  • The sequence of towns is: Asolo, Maser and than Cornuda. We went that Sunday afternoon to the famous antique market of Asolo, every 2nd Sunday as of today still going on. Just click on Paola's blog for looking at the beautiful city. 
  • She has a google translate button at the top, to the left. For me, reading this was very nostalgic. 
  • So there is a good reason for cherishing our Hibiscus syriacus Jeanne D'Arc from Italy. We lost one in front of the house but another did fill in and we got babies now! Look for yourself how beautiful they are...
  • For more information you can click on the above hyperlink from Hibiscus syriacus Jeanne D'Arc
  • Don't forget to click also the other links, the villa info is in English and it is quite a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Paola's blog shows very good pictures of Asolo.

  • These flowers look a bit fried from the hot sun...
  • All the above pictures I took on May 31 and the following are taken by Pieter on June 6.
  • This shrub just began to bloom and behind it you see our huge Southern Magnolia tree.
  • More blooms opened in a week time.
  • Now from the Magnolia tree, facing the house, to the right is another Hibiscus syriacus Jeanne D'Arc and also on the other side of the brick path to the front door. One of those we had to replace a couple of years ago. Hope we keep them alive now. You see the water hose is right there to water them...
  • For sure, Maser in Treviso, Italy would be a far better climate for them...
  • But meanwhile they make us happy for having something from the time we lived and worked there.
  • The Veneto area has a very rich culture and we sure miss the ancient buildings as well.

BUT we got an authentic Italian Ristorante da Maria and they even do serve the Prosecco from the Asolo area!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

{Daylily Hemerocallis WHITE TUXEDO + SAD Feline & Canine Love Story}

Our Daylily Hemerocallis WHITE TUXEDO are blooming again, like last year when I did a post about them, see link below. The successful breeder was our neighbor across the street. She passed away, but each year when the White Tuxedo bloom we think of her in a special way.
 Pieter took these photos in the morning around 10:00 AM when they were at their best looking.
They live true to their name; for only a day...
On May 22, I did post about our sweet feline girl 'Spooky'. Just check {Our Felines - Sweet Spooky I...}. She got befriended with the Dachshund from across the street, Daisy was her name. Her human parents were the dailily breeders...
You guessed it, our Spooky girl was crossing the street to visit with Daisy!
We did board Spooky at the Pet Lodge with our pet duck, while we flew on KLM Royal Dutch Airlines  to The Netherlands for Pieter's eldest brother's birthday. A couple of days later we picked up our best friends at the airport in Amsterdam, who flew in from Atlanta. After touring in The Netherlands we flew with them to Venice and toured Italy together from May 28 till June 7. We got back home on June 12... That were 22 nights for feline Spooky and for Kwekkie the pet duck, at the Pet Lodge!
Arriving home, there was already a card in the mail for Spooky, from Daisy her friend...
Dear Spooky,
I surely am glad you're back home. While you were away I didn't get into much trouble since there was no need to cross the road. I have been chasing rabbits, squirrels and frogs in the garden. Watch out for the frogs - some of them taste bad and make your mouth foam. I learned to quickly push them with my nose so they don't get me. I'll show you how on one of your visits.
Heather's three cats are here but they aren't any fun to play with. Did I tell you that you are my best animal friend. We have fun playing chase, don't we. Come over to see me soon. My "parents" tell me not to cross the road to your house but sometimes I forget.
Your best friend,
Another letter from Daisy on 30 September.
She writes that her cast will come off in two more weeks. That day she got home with a new cast and when her human parents opened the door of the car to carry her into the house, Daisy made a noise they'd never heard her make before. From the back of their house came another noise; that was our Spooky who had been waiting for her friend, to welcome her home... Daisy however was not allowed to play outside.
On October 8 at 2:00 PM, Spooky came home from her visit to Daisy, in vain as she only could see her through the front door side glass panel. She crossed the road when Pieter was with ant killer on the front lawn and he heard a bang... He heard a car racing down the hill and when he looked up he saw our Spooky girl on the road. The car never even slowed down from speeding past our home. Pieter rushed inside to call me and when I raced down the stairs and lifted her up, her heart was still beating but very weak... She didn't look wounded but soon blood came running from her mouth and she died in my arms. I sobbed and carried her to the back of our garden where she got buried by Pieter and his brother Toon who was staying with us, as well as his new love Wilhelmien.
Handing Spooky's body to Pieter for her burial. Toon took this photo of us.
Sad ending and Daisy really mourned about Spooky, so did we.
But Spooky lived for one-and-a-half year with us versus a dailily that lives but a day...
Have any of you lost a dear pet due to reckless driving?

Related link:
{Daylily White Tuxedo} | previous post by me

{Our Hydrangea Trio and Tea in 1930s Blue Transfer Ware}

  • Have a look at our Hydrangea varieties and enjoy a tea in 1930s Société Céramique Maestricht Blue Boerenhoeve (Farmstead) Transfer ware, from my Mother-in-law. 
  • My sister Diny was kind enough to find me some missing pieces in Maastricht. 
  • Also the blue table cloth has been embroidered by my Mother-in-law. She will be smiling down from heaven, seeing that I still put it to use. 
  • The blue Hydrangea trio did go so well with the blue transfer ware and the tablecloth, have a look...
  • This is the bluest blue that we've ever seen on a Mophead Hydrangea! Stunning is the word...
  • For a huge selection of Mophead and Lacecap Hydrangeas, please look at hydrangea.com to see their 105 varieties!

  • There are three different varieties in this vase and again, the striking blue Mophead Hydrangea is shown.
  • Here you get a better view of the Blue Transfer ware of the 1930s Société Céramique Maestricht, in the Boerenhoeve pattern. 
  • Complete with a silver plated Delft blue spoon.  
  • For my post from last year with the same Blue Transfer ware, please look below post.

  • Now facing is a Lacecap Hydrangea.
  • Top left you see the Hydrangea Macrophylla Ayesha.
  • Nice view of all three...
  • Hydrangea Macrophylla Ayesha blends so well with the pattern of the embroidery.

  • Hydrangea Macrophylla Ayesha slightly affected by drought
  • Hydrangea Macrophylla Ayesha on the shrub and in better shape still; three days prior to the above photos. 
  • Pieter took it around 10:00 AM in the morning, still fresh. They do resemble lilacs.
  • This is the Lacecap Hydrangea on the shrub.
  • Detail of Lacecap Hydrangea.
  • Zooming in on its beauty...
  • But what about the ordinary Mophead Hydrangeas? They are beautiful too!
  • Pieter took this photo around 10:00 AM in the morning sun. By mid afternoon they often do hang limp if not given enough water. 
  • Hydrangeas are thirsty plants!
  • The color changes as they open more...
  • Mophead Hydrangeas are pretty!
  • Mopheads on the shrub...
  • These reside in our wood garden.
  • Different hues of blue...
  • Ending with a white Mophead Hydrangea...

Hope you enjoyed them!

Related link:

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