About Me

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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...

Thursday, February 28, 2013

{HOW I Managed the Spam Comments so far...}



  • A couple of weeks ago, I started to receive numerous anonymous spam comments and some did even end up being published. 
  • It also has affected the listing of my Popular Posts, on the sidebar but that will get sorted out again over time.
  • Even if they do end up in the Spam, it is rather annoying for having to delete them. So what did I do to stop this? 
Bloggingpro.com
  • Just LOVED this sign from Bloggingpro.com and had to use it here!
Instead of having Anyone comment, I now changed to Registered User  and the Spam Comments have completely vanished!
  • Previously I'd left this open to Anyone as there are lots of silent followers, especially relatives, that never ever comment anyway, so what's the purpose of keeping that option open?
  • Maybe some of you find this helpful as well.
  • So glad it worked for friend Tammy! Read her comment on {Mom's 5th Dialysis Anniversary}
  • If some of you have other tips to share; more than welcome to leave a comment!

Wishing you a great week; wherever you are!

Related link: {Word Verification is Time WASTE!} | previous post by me

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

{Table Setting for Friends}

Saturday evening, we had a dinner for six friends at our home. Just like to share with you my table setting. From husband Pieter, I had a dozen white roses and in our garden we just found enough Fragrant double Obdam narcissus for putting in the individual Delft white picture frames, as a place setting. We had heavy rain on Saturday but inside it was cozy.
  • Real Wax Carved Rose tea lights (battery operated Flameless Candles) in white, when lit they look yellowish.
  • White ceramic roses as center piece, together with the Baccarat Harcourt pitcher with real white roses.
  • You can see this Baccarat Harcourt pitcher in a previous post, see link below.

  • Gumbo Soup spoon is Bridal Rose by Alvin and other flatware is my Gero Zilmeta 528 Menuet.
  • Baccarat Piccadilly stemware.
  • French Pillivuyt charger...
  • Le Jacquard Français tablecloth. 

  • Table got set for 8 of us.
  • Before I placed a fork to the left of this plate, I took the photo... 
  • Don't you like to have cozy dinners with friends when the weather is cold, windy and rainy?


Related link:
{Fragrant Double Narcissus Obdam} | previous post by me

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

{Our Wild Creek}

Due to enormous amounts of rain over the past couple of days, we have a full and wild creek running through our property. The bridges had been elevated, as we learned from previous raging waters. So far, so good. Pieter took some photos with the iPhone.
 Let's have a look at our wild creek...
  • This is our newest bridge, close to the road as you see. Husband Pieter finished it just before Valentine's Day in 2012.

  • It looks more like a lake now and over the years this has grown in diameter a lot by raging water swirls.

  • Branches and all kind of things get to travel down the creek.

  • Looking from across the bridge towards the house...

  • Showing our center bridge as well...

  • This shows the two bridges.

  • In the end you also see the first bridge; we got three in total. 
  • Lots of rain but it would be far better if it came over several weeks instead of a couple of days.
Are you getting a lot of rainfall in your neck of the woods as well?


Related links:
{Our New 3rd Bridge} | previous post by me
{205 Winfield Road Then and Now} | previous post by me
Rainy July Day in Georgia II - iPhone upload | showing how it looks like...



Monday, February 25, 2013

{Wearing Shades of Gray for Winter}

On December 14 of 2011, I did wear this newly purchased cotton coat from Costco, together with my linen plaid skirt. Again this year on February 10, I was wearing shades of gray for winter... Pantyhose from the Wolford Outlet: +Wolford  @ Woodbury Commons Premium Outlets, Central Valley, NY 1-845-928-5818 for a great discount! 
 There also is a Wolford Outlet at Orlando Premium Outlets at Vineland Ave. 
Also at Sawgrass Mills Outlets - 1700 Sawgrass Mills Circle -  33323 Sunrise, FL
With the weather going up and down from warm to cold(er) and from sunny to rain, we often need to switch coats. Just wanted to show this outfit. 
NO, I am not wearing a HALO but that is the mirror in our hallway...
Shoes are from Bruno Magli from Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th Outlet.
December 14, 2011 outside in front of our Southern Magnolia.
My hair was shorter than.
Outside light in Georgia is most of the times too harsh...
Now you get to see a glimpse of our staircase area too...
Longer hair; but all in shades of gray!
Love this coat, wore it on Friday to Atlanta again... it was cold.
It has a long (way too long in fact...) belt that can be worn in the back.
It gives me a tail...
Sure, husband Pieter comes in his own shades of gray...
That was it  for today!
Are you also being bothered by spammers on Blogger; anonymous comments?

Related link:

Wolford Fashion | FB Page

Sunday, February 24, 2013

{Our Pearl Bush - Exochorda racemosa}

  • However frail, our Pearlbush is showing some flowers again. We had such damage after the hot and dry summer of 2011, that we are glad some shrubs did even survive. 
  • Our Pearl Bush Exochorda racemosa is one of them. In a previous post by me from March 2011, you can see lovely photos with more blossoms, together with real pearls. Just click on the link below this post. The above link goes to Woodlanders where it is still available for sale.

  • Photo taken on Wednesday, February 20. 
  • Look at the beautiful blue sky as a stark contrast with this lovely Pearl Bush blossom and buds. 
  • Those buds do resemble pearls! 

  • Another blossom almost completely opened up.
  • Leaves also start to come...

  • Love the special sunlight playing inside this perfect tip with buds...
  • Does any of you have a Pearl Bush?


Related link:
{Pearlbush Makes the Heart Beat Faster} |  previous post by me

Saturday, February 23, 2013

{Lady Alexander Rose by Queen Anne & Obdam Narcissus}


  • In one of my very first blog posts, see link below, I did show these Lady Alexander Rose by Queen Anne cup & saucers with some fragrant Obdam Narcissus. 
  • Since those highly fragrant daffodils bloom again, the few that we have..., I want to show you these photos again. 
  • The first cup & saucers in this pattern we did find while vacationing in Canada. 
  • They came from Bank Street in Ottawa and also found them at Replacements Ltd. see above link.

  • The table cloth is hand crocheted by me. 
  • LOOK what I managed to find with those lovely Lady Alexander Rose by Queen Anne cups & saucers? 
  • A handkerchief that matches the china exactly and it works great as a little doily to use with this set. 
  • Do you also put four cups like this together? It saves space in the china cabinet!


  • Those highly fragrant Obdam Narcissus are heavenly too... Makes one happy. 
  • For me, SPRING is the best time of the year.
  • This is inside our kitchen.


  • Different angle...


  • You can read the QUEEN ANNE China markings under the cups.

  • Does any of you aslo have this Queen Anne Lady Alexander Rose china ?



Related link:
{Fragrant Double Narcissus Obdam} | previous post by me
{Our Fragrant Double Narcissus bloom!} | previous post by me

Friday, February 22, 2013

{Have you tried this NEW Large SUMO Mandarin?}


  • On our usual health food shopping trip to Whole Foods Market Ponce de Leon in Atlanta last week we found these Large SUMO Mandarins. So they had to come home with us. 
  • Have you already tried those Easy to peel and Sweet, Juicy SUMO Mandarins? 
  • You ought to; this is something yummy from Japan. You can read about this super fruit here: SUMO Citrus. Just click on it. 
  • Their claim: Enormously good to eat is TRUE! 
  • It looks wrinkly and has a funny crown, it is also Large!

  • Two of them came home with us...

  • Coming from Japan and now being cultivated in California...

  • Peeling them was VERY easy... No seeds and VERY SWEET AND JUICY!

SUMO CITRUS - sumo story
  • Their claim is TRUE: enormously good to eat!
  • Have you tried one?



Thursday, February 21, 2013

{Our Rose Suite Work Shop & Mariette's Back to Basics Shipping Center}

Today I will show you the final room of our Rose Suite; husband Pieter's Work Shop. A handyman like him, needs such a place! It is also my shipping center for any sales from my Zen Cart powered on line boutique Mariette's Back to Basics. So have a look with me and than we're done with the entire tour of Our Rose Suite. Previous posts you will find below. 
  • Yes, it is written on the door...

At first, husband Pieter left this floor just as it was; concrete without tiles. 
Finally after one-and-a-half year he did go ahead and put in the very same Spanish Volcano beige tiles as for the entire Rose Suite's flooring. 
  • Easy to clean now and it is a very neat room!
  • My Dad, together with Pieter did lay these tiles! That was in October of 2005, when we'd given Mom & Dad a ticket to come to the USA with us. It was the last time that they visited us, since Mom is on dialysis we can no longer invite them over as she is not able to travel. 
  • Boxes are also being stored here for world wide shipping of any sales from my Zen Cart powered on line boutique: Mariette's Back to Basics
  • This is also my shipping center and husband Pieter does take care of that part.
  • All my loyal customers worldwide now know where it is being packed for shipping.
  • Yes, here too we do have the same TRINITY EcoStorage™ NSF 6-Tier Wire Shelving Racks on wheels from Costco, as in our Pantry (see link below). They are super and make the room very light as they are not solid.

Also for the time being I keep my photo albums here till I get them all digitalized.
Scanning the slides and than checking off the photos... Quite a task but one day it will be done!
Do you have a work shop in your home? Or is it outside of the home in a separate building?

Related links:
{Our Rose Suite Pantry & TRINITY EcoStorage™ NSF 6-Tier Wire Shelving Racks} | previous post by me
{Our Rose Suite's Little Room} | previous post by me
{Our Rose Suit Hallway} | previous post by me
{Welcome to Our Rose Suite - Entrance} | previous post by me
{Our Rose Suite Kitchenette} | previous post by me
{Our Rose Suite Living Room} | previous post by me
{Our Rose Suite Bedroom} | previous post by me
{The Construction of Our Rose Suite - Part II} | previous post by me
{The Construction of Our Rose Suite - Part I} | previous post by me
{Our Rose Suite with Angels + a REQUEST} | previous post by me

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

{How is YOUR Blog's TRUE Presence on the WEB?}





  • As bloggers we love to get followers, comments and whatever social media connection we are participating in.
  • But HOW can we measure the OUTPUT?
  • Surely we CAN measure this and I will show you here with some examples at random, to also make clear that a high NUMBER of FOLLOWERS is often very deceiving! Bare with me till the very end; you will be in for quite a surprise!

  • Let's start with my own very humble number of 490 followers...

linkDo a site search

  • The world's number one site search is of course Google with 4,390,000,000 results...


  • This is my own humble site search result for those 490 followers of my blog in 189 countries.
  • Not bad; 1,840 results.


  • This is Nora from the emotion-centered Seelensachen blog in Austria, with a very high number of followers; 1,868.

Seelensachen.blogspot.com yields 1,080 results on site search

  • That is LESS than for my humble number of 490 followers.
  • Loyal readers cannot be lured in temporarily, by feeding them just emotion-centered content. 
  • The Experts call that style: The vampire blogger.
A dangerous way for being emotion centered and selfish. Love the last line by Clay Morgan in his: The Undead Guide to Killing your Blog: then your online career will be in its twilight faster than Dracula can flap his cape...

  • Some writers are just brilliant with their words and it comes across rather clear; don't you think?
  • Below is an excerpt from Clay Morgan's post:

  • Meet Anita Rivera from the Castles Crowns Cottages blog.






  • Doing the site search for Castles Crowns and Cottages yields 554 results.
  • Guess that Google too did spot this Copy & Paste Master with her very vague linking to the source; if at all.
  • Does that make you feel more at ease about not having that many followers? 

  • Meet Delores from Vignette Design with her 1707 members.


  • Doing the site search for Vignette Design yields 847 results.
  • She does have great and genuine content at times, all of her own but she too knows how to borrow content and ideas from big websites. 
  • Again; Google knows how to spot when anyone uses thin or scraped content. Another issue is that she seldom does comment on other bloggers posts anymore. 
  • I gave up on her because of that as it cannot be a one-way event. Sad fact as Delores did help me out in June of 2010, when I was as green as they come in blogging. She pointed me to a tutorial for creating the widget to have others take it with them, off your side bar. That was mighty sweet!
  • Don't you agree with me?



  • There is Katysue from Good Life of Design who obviously no longer uses her Google Friend Connect but she ranked very high with her Copy & Paste blogging style and very vague source linking (just mentioning it is from Pinterest and such). 
  • But Google KNOWS that certain people are plagiarizing and they make it show up in their site search as you see above; Katysue yields only 847.


  • Another blogger is Bella from Bellas Rose Cottage with quite a high number of followers; 1464 in total.
  • She long abandoned my blog and never ever did comment, contrary to the beginning.
  • Guess I no longer did qualify for belonging to her ranks.


  • Doing the site search for Bellas Rose Cottage did yield 557 results.
  • So, Google knows that she is not out and about as much as she ought to.




  • Tammy's sincere, down to earth, happy and genuine posts with only use of her own photos did yield 1,190 with site search!


  • Meet Elisabeth from Elisabeth Welt in Germany.
  • Sure, speaking seven languages does make my horizon a little bit bigger but most bloggers do have a Google translate button so you too can visit more 'out of the box' so to speak.


  • Dear Elisabeth from Elisabeth Welt does yield astonishingly high with the site search: A MEGA 7,810! 
  • So how come that Elisabeth's World (translated from German) scores THIS high?

One thing I know for sure; she is the MOST LOYAL COMMENTER in the blogger world and she posts very frequent, short posts, not those BORING long text stories that nobody has time to read.
We scan the Internet; we don't READ on the Internet.
Hah, lesson learned...?!
Elisabth also is following the COMMENT- DIALOGUE instead of the Monologue theory; she does REPLY to comments!

Another fabulous blog that I have had on my side bar for quite a while is: Fashion.
  • Sarah does have 1,249 followers.

  • Sarah also yields very high with her outstanding blog Fashion; 22,600!
  • You ought to check out those outstanding blogs and think twice about running like lemmings after something that IS NOT...
  • Okay, both my husband and I have done a lot of analyzing during our years as international mushroom consultants. I still like to do this. It teaches you how to read between the lines, how to detect genuine material from pretentious plagiarized material. 
  • Somebody else did the work by making excellent photos and big deal you write a blog post about it. 
  • Or those that use others' suffering as an emotion-centered bait for their blogs. 
  • I do not approve of that either.
  • We all ought to bring RESPECT back into our culture.
  • As for my MANTRA it is BACK TO BASICS.
  • Like former chief evangelist of Apple +Guy Kawasaki is saying so well:



  • We all ought to recognize and promote other bloggers as well. It is not only about us.
  • On my sidebar I have always put some fledgling bloggers, to help them being exposed to a larger audience.

Certainly I would have appreciated that myself in my beginning period.

  • Under my Blogger Tips, you still can find several tutorials with Blogger Tips. 
  • Use them as you please, that is my little contribution of Making Meaning. 
  • What is your opinion about this google site search result?
  • Were you surprised by the outcome?
  • Love to hear your thoughts!

PS for Ria from the blog It’s Me this photo of her site search which did yield 708 for her 1120 followers and not 6,070 as she mentioned in her comment below. Follow the Google Webmaster guidelines by logging in to google.com and then type: site:... fill in your blog name only, as shown in above examples, leaving the http:// off. We have to compare apples with apples!  


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