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Delft Envy: Treasures on Tuesday

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top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Did you read that last blog entry on save the Dutch Date for the upcoming Oude Kunst en Antiek Beurs Fair in Delft and get total Delft-envy? Have no fear; even if your travels aren’t taking you to Holland, you can still Bring Holland Home by shopping “Treasures” by The Antiques Diva™, allowing you to make the trip without even leaving your armchair! And remember, at “Treasures” by The Antiques Diva we offer FREE international shipping!

Here’s just a few of our Delft Treasures:

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Better yet, if you happen to be in the area, make an appointment to visit our by-appointment only show house outside Den Haag!

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The Antiques Diva™

Guest Blog: Souvenirs de la Reine: Shopping for Blue Onion Pottery in Berlin

to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 297px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/TChV4e5GynI/AAAAAAAAE7o/7x5TSMuuw4M/s400/blue1.jpg” border=”0″ />top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Like Carolyne Roehme, I have A Passion For Blue. This passion influences my furnishings: my NYC living room is furnished with white sofa and armchairs with huge cobalt blue pillows from Ralph Lauren Home; my clothing is heavily accented with blue bags, scarves, jewelry, coats, and even shoes. My dishes are blue and white. Even my late but still beloved BMW was Ocean Blue.

to 10px; WIDTH: 227px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 302px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/TChV4kQRPHI/AAAAAAAAE7w/Pee5tNbHvmY/s400/blue2.jpg” border=”0″ />So it’s no surprise that many of my antiques are blue. The white shelves surrounding my fireplace are carefully arranged with my blue travel treasures:

  • blue and white tulip vase from Delft, Holland
  • cobalt blue vase studded with silver I found in a souk in Marrakesh
  • petite blue oil painting of Paris
  • blue and cream Dutch KLM house found in an antiques shop in Amsterdam
  • blue swirl glass bowl from Kosta Boda I found at their outlet store in Sweden
  • pale blue Limoges oyster plate I found in Savannah
  • dark blue fleur de lys on white platter from Madrid
  • blue and white taper candles from France
  • cobalt blue and white cake plate from Royal Copenhagen I found in Copenhagen

to 10px; WIDTH: 302px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 227px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/TChV5U5PW8I/AAAAAAAAE8A/33YhuR8DHe0/s400/blue+3.jpg” border=”0″ />Are you seeing a pattern? So on a recent visit to The Antiques Diva in Berlin, I had a mission: a piece of my favorite German Blue Onion Zwiebelmuster pottery. I have pieces in both the German Meissen pattern and the Czech pattern, I’m all inclusive!

And not only did I want Zwiebelmuster, I wanted antique. And more specifically, I wanted a lidless Zwiebelmuster crock to put on my stove and hold cooking utensils. The Antiques Diva was on the case! Our first stop (after Starbucks for my daily addiction of a Tall Skim Chai Latte, extra hot bitte) was the Berliner Antik und Flohmarkt. And as we wandered the stalls, the Diva introduced me to a vendor specializing in blue & white. It was love at first site. And as I browsed the crowded shop, I found my newest treasure:

to 10px; WIDTH: 322px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 243px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/TChV5BVDleI/AAAAAAAAE74/zHPXAJimRjU/s400/blue4.jpg” border=”0″ />If you look at the two crocks I’m holding, you can see they both say the word cocoa in German: Cacao. and Kakao. As I had only seen cocoa spelled with a “k” auf Deutsch, we were treated to a little history of German grammar lesson by the proprietor. Herr explained, “In the early 1900s, the German government implemented the Deutsch Rightig Sprechen und Schreiben. These new grammar laws standardized the spelling, pronunciation and punctuation of the German language throughout the country. As a result,Cacao. became Kakao.”

Who knew?

to 10px; WIDTH: 302px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 227px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/TChV5hQQLrI/AAAAAAAAE8I/UE3NA9O2ZvQ/s400/Picture1.jpg” border=”0″ />If you, too, love the Blue Onion pattern, you may be interested to know:

  • it’s not an onion at all, in fact it’s a pomegranate!
  • this pattern was copied by Meissen from Asian pottery in the mid-18th century, and soon copied by other pottery manufacturers, most famously Czech factories, who produced a much more affordable version
  • Meissen Zwiebelmuster is treasured by traditional German housewives. In fact, when I travel Germany visiting my many family members, I’m always served kuchen und kaffee on their treasured Zwiebelmuster
  • Blue Onion is readily available in the US online at ebay or Replacements

La Reine’s Shopping Tip:
You can find your own blue “Treasures” by The Antiques Diva by shopping her new online brocante. Recent blue treasures include vintage Delft pottery, tiles, and vases.

Happy Shopping!
La Reine

PS. Enjoyed today’s post? You can read more a La Reine’s great blogs at She’s Shopping Now!

Looking Forward: TEFAF 2011

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top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>There’s only a few days left of this year’s TEFAF – THE European Fine Arts Fair in Maastricht, ending March 21, 2010 and the time is prime for reserving your hotel for the March 18-27, 2011 TEFAF event in Holland. Hotels book a year in advance and the people who have flown in for this year’s event are now reserving their room for next spring upon their check out!

So what makes an art and antiques fair so special that you need to reserve a room a year in advance? Honey, this ain’t no ordinary fair! Competition for presenting at TEFAF is fiercer than Olympic figure skating (and behind-the-scenes stories make Tonya Harding seem down-right tame). For an antiques dealer, making the fair means they’ve made it into the upper echelon of the crème de la crème of the antiques world and only the world’s best dealers are allowed to participate in the event!

Max-Nathan Punter, an Amsterdam antiquaire and photographer, recently visited TEFAF 2010 and captured the best of the fair on his Flicker site! Dash over to tos/20375562@N02/sets/72157623487379889/” target=”_blank”>visit Max’s photo gallery to be wowed by fabulous photos of TEFAF 2010 and to be inspired to plan now for your 2011 visit!

Until Next Time,

The Antiques Diva™

What do you Crave?

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top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>The CRAVE Company publishes the most unique and stylish guidebooks on the market, celebrating women entreprenesses in cities around the world, showcasing some of the most creative, interesting, and gutsy proprietors of businesses you need to know about. Originally started in 2001 by Melody Biringer, the first CRAVE guide was “CRAVE Seattle, The Urban Girl’s Manifesto,” published in 2002. Before long women were calling their girlfriends for shopping and lunch expeditions based on Crave Seattle’s recommendations and a movement was born.

CRAVE GONE GLOBAL:

to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 155px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/S49lz_tJzeI/AAAAAAAAEVA/Xf4VbxsvMuY/s400/CRAVE+books.png” border=”0″ />In 2005, CRAVE expanded from Seattle into more than 15 additional markets, delivering an excellent excuse for girlfriends to get together across the world. Now prominent in US and international cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Vancouver, and Amsterdam, the CRAVE team is hard at work developing new CRAVE guides, bringing entreprenesses together and spreading the word about women-owned businesses.

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A SPECIAL THANKS:

I’d like to extend a Special Thank You to writer, photographer and expat-expert Shirley Agudo for recommending me to be profiled as 1 of 150 Women To Know in Amsterdam! Shirley is the most inspiring person I know, serving as a role model, mentor and friend. Shirley’s latest book Bicycle Mania, has taken the whole of Holland by storm and within mere months of being published is already on its 2nd printing. Meanwhile her career as a photographer has flourished and you can see her work at galleries such as tographs/Home.html” target=”_blank”>Eduard Planting’s Fine Art Photography.

I also owe Crave Amsterdam Special Projects Manager Cristina Stoian my heartfelt appreciation for including me in the book! Cris has been a delight to meet and is quite possibly the most well-connected woman in Amsterdam, knowing who’s who and connecting those who need to know one another! Even more importantly, Cris is down-right fun – a Diva in her own right – and within minutes of meeting, I knew we were going to be friends! When Cris isn’t hard at work interviewing Crave candidates and coordinating a massive publishing and networking project in Amsterdam, she works as a portrait photographer, capturing souls on camera!


WHO THE CRAVE GUIDE IS WRITTEN FOR:

I’m certain just hearing about The Crave Company you’re already excited about the concept! Let me ask you something – when you’re traveling in a city, what are you looking for in the stores you visit?

  • Do you love quality goods
  • Do you expect exceptional service
  • Do you want to be pampered
  • Do you appreciate attention to detail
  • Do you enjoy supporting local, female proprietors
  • Do you have absolutely no time to waste
  • Do you long to get out and explore the city

If these points sound familiar, then let The Crave Guides introduce you to fabulous new designers, to miracle-worker masseuses, to confectionery queens, and to tours/” target=”_blank”>antiquing divas! In essence, The Crave Company will introduce you to amazing women around town who will help satisfy your next craving – whatever you’re looking for!


A SNEAK PEEK AT A FEW LADIES I’ll BE SHARING THE PAGES OF CRAVE WITH:

Hester van Eeghen Fashion/Leather Design Center

to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 237px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/S49lzh3D3pI/AAAAAAAAEU4/qeVcev3Ryoc/s400/what+do+you+crave9.png” border=”0″ />Hesther van Eeghen is considered one of the most influential Dutch designers of the 20th C with her work selling around the world in Germany, the USA, the UK and Japan as well as gracing the shelves of a many a museum! Long term Diva Readers might recognize Hester’s name = to-sell-bags.html” target=”_blank”>I featured van Eeghen’s work when Sotheby’s auctioned off a special purse collection for the Foundation: Hester van Eeghen Leather Design. Every two years, the Foundation organizes a competition in collaboration with the Museum of Bags and Purses in Amsterdam as a stimulus for designers who work with leather.

Friday Next

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for interior and lifestyle is Amsterdam’s latest hotspot offering not only a trendy selection of renowned brands and small, exclusive upcoming designers but also interior decorating and styling service as well as an onsite café for lingering in the hippest locale in Amsterdam! Visit Friday Next today!

Can’t wait to get the inside scoop and to learn about more Crave Ladies?

Pre-order your Crave Amsterdam Book!
by emailing to:toma@antiquesdiva.com”>toma@antiquesdiva.com

Advance Purchase Price 15 Euro + Shipping & Handling
(regular retail price 19.95E)


What do you Crave?

The Antiques Diva™

(There’s me craving champagne at right!)

Once Upon A Time: S. van Leeuwen

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Photo of Noordeinde Palace Courtesy of www.the-hague.info

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Once upon a time, in a land made not-so-far away due to transatlantic flights criss-crossing the globe, making anywhere you want to go a mere hop, skip, and airline ticket away, there was the most interesting of antiques shop located in the “Kingdom of Orange”. Just a stone’s throw away from Holland’s Royal Palace, within waving distance of Queen Bea, S. van Leeuwen Antiques dwells in a charming 18th C mansion complete with a Jugendstil store-front and an original tiled entryway. This shop has been handed down within the “Lion Family” from generation to generation, landing in the capable hands of the stores current proprietor, Alexander van Leeuwen.

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Queen Bea waving in front of Paleis Het Loo

For nearly 100 years, S. van Leeuwen Antiques has reigned as a protector of Dutch heritage. Within the walls of the building (which is a national monument in its own right), you’ll find one of my favorite collections of 17th- 19th Century Dutch antiques for sale in the whole of Holland.

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S. Van Leeuwen Antiques – The Hague

It’s a funny fact that finding Dutch antiques to buy in The Netherlands is downright difficult. You can roam antique shop after antique shop with varied inventory from around the world without finding nary a Dutch antique one. Though the Dutch have a history for excellence in engraved chests, embossed cabinets, Friesian clocks, heavy brass fittings, Biedermeier and Empire styles with dark colors, heavy furnishings and wood paneling, these locally made items are quite difficult to find. Rarely does an antique shop in Holland stock an extensive collection of locally made furniture, which is why the inventory at S. van Leeuwen first stood out to me as an exceptional exception among its peers.

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Alexander showing Diva Clients the inside of a Dutch Armoire

Perhaps this lack of antique shops specializing in strictly Dutch antiques owes to Holland’s seafaring past. You see, even before online boarding passes were being printed on your home computer, Holland had a global perspective. Knowing their country was small and their own language limiting, the Dutch studied languages for centuries, becoming polyglots gobbling up the world’s languages and absorbing its cultures in its seafaring past chocked full of global trade.

Not only did the Dutch explore the world, but Holland also became a refuge to a multitude of a global residents seeking protection from persecution. It was a cultural melting pot long before America claimed that title for its own.

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The Empire Commode I coveted at S Van Leeuwen

Over the centuries with new residents from far away countries making their Home in Holland, came foreign furniture styles & designs (as well as an influx of immigrant furniture makers to help fuel the fire). As Holland kept its eye on the world, they were able to pick and choose among the best the world had on offer, designing their own furnishings, borrowing a taste of this and a touch of that to their own well-established traditions.

Wandering through S. van Leeuwen Antiques, I pause before an Empire Commode, “Are you sure it’s not French?” I inquire and Lex laughs as he shakes his head, “No, it was made right here in Holland…” and he goes into a wonderful story, detailing the past of this particular piece.

He tells stories of Dutch furniture makers and points out the various woods, names foreign-sounding villages in the northern most reaches of The Netherlands and as he talks he brings the past to life! “Once upon a time” is indeed a reality!

to 10px; WIDTH: 331px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SvLc1Bx3c0I/AAAAAAAADwA/eP-2jDr8rOQ/s400/S+van+Leeuwen+1.jpg” border=”0″ />Pointing to a beautiful blue & white porcelain piece sitting on a ledge, he inquires, “Do you know where this is from?” My immediate response, given that we are in Holland after all, is that “The piece is clearly Delft.” As he shakes his head in the negative he responds, “Before there was Delft, the Dutch conquered the sea, founding the Dutch East India Company, ushering in the great Golden Age. Dutch traders roamed the sea, bringing home porcelain from China and Japan – it was these patterns upon which Delftware was based.”

He lifts a precious piece from a perch and begins to explain the difference between Asian porcelain and Delftware, showing how Chinese & Japanese antique porcelain became true immigrants to Holland, having spawned high-quality Delft reproductions over the years.

To listen to him speak is to obtain a verbal “Masters in the History of Dutch Antiques”. He drops names and dates and you can read his passion on his face as if it were a book with large-print. As he shares his knowledge, my desire to own a piece of the mighty Dutch past grows and as I look about his shop, I’m overwhelmed with choices – much as I’m certain the Dutch have been throughout the generations. They say “the world is your oyster”, but rarely have I seen a country – to mix metaphors here – “suck the marrow from life” as well as the Dutch have… and in S. van Leeuwen Antiques, this jewel of a shop, you find the proverbial pearl in the oyster.

A few of my favorite pieces include:

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A Louis XVI Mahogany Buffet with tin sink, made in Holland’s province Zeeland.

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Dutch Mahogany Empire Commode, circa 1810

And I’ve saved my favorite 2 pieces for last!

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Kruisvoetkabinet (apologies I don’t know the name in English) made in Holland between 1690-1720. Note the strong English influence of this period marked by the marriage of the Dutch Head of State Willem III and the English Queen Mary.

And, last but not least, the piece I want to bring home!

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Dutch Renaissance-Style Cupboard, end 19th C

Visit S. van Leeuwen Antiques in The Hague – Antiques Diva Tested, Antiques Diva Approved!

S. van Leeuwen Antiek
Noordeinde 164
The Hague

Happily Ever After,

The Antiques Diva™

Jewels Glitter at The Zeist Castle, The Netherlands

Netherlands-Based Diva Readers – Save the Date!

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Winterexpositie Het Juweel 2009

het Slot Zeist, Zeist
Friday 27 -Sunday 29 November 2009
11am – 7pm

Jewels Glitter at the Slot Zeist!

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>From the 27-29 November 2009, the 17th C Zeist Castle near Utrecht will be aglow with jewelry, not on display in museum-like-fashion, but for you to try on and buy from the most prominent & trustworthy jewelers, antique dealers and noble blacksmiths of the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. Among those in residence on Winterexpositie days will be the charming David Aardewerk of Rocks and Clocks whose inventory is simply to die for!

On an Antiques Diva Tour in The Hague recently, David shared a glimpse into his collection and I was utterly smitten – his collection runs the gamut of items for the Mr. or the Mrs. from vintage & antique watches, to purse clocks, to beautiful baubles from the Art Deco period and beyond! I’ve got my eye on a pair of Van Cleef and Arples cufflinks for my husband as a Christmas cadeaux and would be delighted if I could convince the hubster that I desperately need that platinum, gold, diamond & emerald 1920’s Dutch Art Deco ring Rocks & Clocks has in inventory! If you’re looking for a special present for someone else (or better yet, yourself) you must visit Winterexpositie Het Juweel 2009 this November and if you can’t make these dates, never fear: Rocks & Clocks is at present updating their website with a sensational collection of “Must-Have Diva-Worthy Accessories” – so stay tuned for details on their website launch: http://www.rocksandclocks.nl/

Where: Slot Zeist
Entrance Price: € 12.50 per person

Parking is free in the vicinity of the Slot Zeist. Don’t worry if you have to park “too far” away from the castle, simply wave down one of the free shuttle-service transporting passengers to the castle!

Until Next Time, Layer on those Jewels!

The Antiques Diva™

(seen right with an Irish friend modeling jewels for a charity auction last year at Amsterdam’s Grand Hotel)

Of Valentines Past… Perfectly at Home in Berrrrrlin

to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 240px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SdR3elXoIqI/AAAAAAAAC10/yGRhRwhwejI/s320/412.JPG” border=”0″ />top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Having recently posted about my “Valentines Affair with LG”, I thought you might appreciate reading about another Valentines gift of years past. WG was away on a business trip that year, freezing in Helsinki, Finland, while I was at home in The Netherlands occupied with Diva Business. He hadn’t bought my Valentines present prior to his trip for he had grand aspirations of buying me a quite unusual present that year. He was searching for a particular item I’d fallen head over heels in love with at a friend’s house.

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Our Dutch friends Ed and Britta have one of the most gorgeously decorated houses in the whole of Holland. If I were to post a picture to give a visual definition of the word “Gezillig”, it would be their dining room with the large table built by Edwin’s father nestled in front of the wall of windows overlooking their sculpted back garden. Across the room sit some wonderful , Flamant-styled chairs pulled close to the roaring fireplace – draped over the back of the chairs are reindeer pelts perfect for snuggling into on a cold Dutch day.
to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 214px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SdR4smFuvLI/AAAAAAAAC20/IVr7CE5qLjY/s320/IMG_2558.JPG” border=”0″ />I had fallen for these pelts and spent half the time at their house petting them idly while chatting with a glass of red wine in hand. Knowing that Ed & Britta’s parents had picked these skins up in Finland while there on holiday, WG set out for his 3 day business trip with plans of sourcing me my own reindeer rug.

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[Photo courtesy of to/beckster/helsinki_turkey/1157740140/04-_fur_stall.jpg/tpod.html” target=”_blank”>Travel Pod
“Reindeer are semi-wild, are not extinct and are killed for their meat. The pelt is a by-product.”]
Fortunately for WG (given he did have work to do and his trip wasn’t entirely devoted to searching for my present) he didn’t have to search far. While I like to think of him cross-country skiing through snow and wind in the Arctic in search of my prized pelt, in reality he checked into his hotel, The Scandic Grand Marina, and there in the lobby of the harbor-view hotel sat a store selling mountainous piles of the pelts for which he’d travelled north.

Several days later he hopped on a plane and returned home to Holland. He carried the reindeer pelt onto the plane and as he was climbing into his seat, the man next to him asked, “What do you have there?” to which WG proudly proclaimed – “A Valentines gift for my wife!” showing him the pelt. Over the course of the flight WG, who is reputed to be downright surly when strangers talk to him on planes, chatted with the stranger about life, love and other mysteries. When the flight landed at Schiphol and WG was gathering his briefcase and pelt from the overhead bin, the stranger tapped WG on the shoulder, dug deep into his coat pocket and pulled out a few bite-size chocolate bars. Putting them in WG’s palm, he nodded with wisdom, “Just in case the pelt doesn’t go over so well… and you need a back-up plan!”

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One of the things I love about moving is the opportunity to redecorate my house time and time again – seeing my favorite items displayed in new ways with each new house. As often happens, what doesn’t work well in one house works better in another and with my reindeer pelt, this is the case. Perhaps because of the freezing cold and damp German winters or maybe it’s the traditional German coal burning stove, but finally, years after receiving it as a present, the Reindeer Skin has found a perfect home chez moi in Berrrrrrrrrrrrlin!

Until next time, stay warm & dry!
May these “April Showers Bring May Flowers!”
The Antiques Diva™

The Antiques Diva is Moving!

Extra – Extra! Read All About It!

to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 240px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SX7KpzWl62I/AAAAAAAACis/KTRkQLX7MgA/s320/Diva+and+Wine+Guy.jpg” border=”0″ />top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>The Antiques Diva is moving to Berlin!! That said, I don’t consider this to be “Tot Ziens” as I’m not saying Good-Bye to The Netherlands– instead I’ll be waving a hearty “Tot Straks to Holland” (or “See You Later Dutch Darlings!)” Though my home is moving to Berlin, a bit of my heart (and business) will be staying behind, firmly planted in tulip fields of The Netherlands.

A few months ago, my darling husband came home and popped the same question that started our expatriation nearly a decade ago, “Do you feel like learning a new language?” The first time he asked this question 9 years ago, I exclaimed “Oui!” with an exuberant burst of joy – “Watch Out World – Here I come!” Paris never knew what hit them and I had the time of my life. Leaving Paris 5 years later wasn’t as tragic as I expected, for I never really left Paris… Hemingway put it best when he said, “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”

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Gezellig is one of those words that has no translation…. It sort of means “cozy” but it’s more than that… it’s like getting a friendly embrace, being in a comfortable and charming environment with enjoyable and gregarious people. Our time living in Holland, if described in only one word, was definitely “Gezellig.”

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When my husband told me of a job opportunity which required us to move from Amsterdam to Berlin, I was elated for his new role and for the opportunity to live in another country, but internally I asked the question “Am I ready to move?” I’d barely wrestled the Dutch language into submission, and thoughts of attempting to acquire another language felt daunting…plus I’d made such good friends here, had a growing prospering business and a wonderful social life. For a few days I fell into despair… Move? Not Yet! And then suddenly, this diva got her groove back! Before I knew it I had visions of shopping at KaDeWe, strolling tourismus/sehenswuerdigkeiten.en/28955.html” target=”_blank”>Kollwitzplatz hand in hand with my husband and hanging out with the pretty people on the Gendarmenmarkt. As I dashed to Berlin on a whirlwind house hunting trip, I started singing a new theme song…. My travels were accompanied by the world-weary singing voice of the sultry Marlene Dietrich. But in the background, just as Edith Piaf had whispered songs in my ear even as Johnny Jordaan had lured me north, Johnny Jordaan now competed with Dietrich. Before long I was going to need an internal CD player to keep my theme songs in order!

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One of the best things about moving as frequently as we have (6 times over the last 12 ½ years of marriage) has been the opportunity to try on new cities and countries as if we were buying a new trench coat. In the beginning you’re never quite sure when to wear the coat – is it too light, too heavy, too dressy, too casual? But over time, you learn the best days to wear it (and inevitably you have days when you’d rather wear a different coat!) but over time, it conforms to your body – fitting perfectly in the crease of your elbow, the bend of your waist, gliding over your bum as if it were made for it. The collar stands protecting your throat from a brisk breeze and then one day, a button falls off into a mud puddle and you notice that those “comfortable places” are starting to show some wear. Unfortunately, as with a well worn coat, it seems in our life that just as soon as we start to feel comfortable in a new environment/country, it’s time to move again! And with this move to Berlin, it’s time to buy a new coat again!! Fortunately for me I was out with friends last week and found a vintage mink for a dime – so I’ve got the coat covered for the Berlin breeze – but I fear I am about to be uncomfortable again, learning a new language, learning a new city and a new culture!

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I’ve been perusing expat blogs and getting tips on my soon-to-be German life and planning for adventure! But even as I cleared a spot on my bookshelf for some German travel guides, I knew this move, like the move from Paris to Holland, came with a conditional clause. I’ll be back… And not just for socializing and cultural kidnapping… but also for work – my tour business and public speaking arena.

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I started writing this blog in August of 2007 – ironically, that first blog was about antiquing in Berlin. Shortly after beginning my blog adventure readers began emailing asking for tours, and before long a business was born. I hired Diva Guides in Holland, Belgium and France to help with The Antiques Diva Tours and with the help of these lovely ladies will continue to run Antiques Diva tours. But perhaps the best thing about having started this business is that it is a career in my suitcase. Each place I go allows me to expand my business!!! Once I get my bearings in Berlin, Diva Tours will expand to encompass a new country – Germany!

In the meantime, have patience as over these next few weeks and months I might not be myself as I go through wave one of Culture Shock – Berlin!! As I get settled in a new home, friends have come out of the woodwork offering to help – you’ll note several guest bloggers appearing on my blog in these coming weeks (as they have in the few weeks prior). Should you have an idea you’d like to share with Diva Readers, please email me to:toma@antiquesdiva.com”>toma@antiquesdiva.com to find out submission guidelines!

As I close, I guess the words of a famous German-speaking Austrian-American come to mind….

“I’ll be back”.

The Antiques Diva ™

Guest Blog – See You in Cambodia!

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>When I received the following letter from my Australian friend Verona, I knew that I must post it on my blog! It’s not every day that a friend writes with the title, “See You in Cambodia” in the subject line. Verona and her darling husband Douglas are adventurers-at-heart and though I’ve only known them a short time I’m certain Vee is my soul mate! Sometimes ones paths need only cross for a few brief months in order to be friends for life! Verona is living my dream – abandoning reality as she knows it and opening a hotel in a far away exotic locale! Someday I hope to follow in her footsteps (opening my own B&B;) but in the meantime, I plan to live vicariously through Verona and her husband’s wanderings! I hope that Vee will take time out in the coming months to keep Antiques Diva Readers updated on her wonderful divalicious journey! Verona and Douglas, best wishes for mountains of success to rain on you and congratulations on this exciting move! We’re with you all the way!

Much Love,
The Antiques Diva™

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Dear Antiques Diva,

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>It’s not every day you buy a hotel in a tropical paradise. And although I’m still pinching myself in disbelief, that’s exactly what my husband and I have done. After years of moving around the world with the corporate giant, this next move is our own making. After being located in South East Asia for a time, we decided that was where, one day, we would retire. So when out of the blue the opportunity to purchase a small hotel on the South West coast of Cambodia presented itself my husband and I threw caution to the wind and signed on the dotted line.

We have bought a 19 room boutique hotel with bar, alfresco dining terrace and rooftop Jacuzzi pool due to open December this year – how cool is that? It’s in Sihanoukville, formally called Kampong Som, and right by Orhheuteal Beach with pristine white sand spanning for miles and gentle rolling waves protected by the sheltered Thailand Gulf. Every evening is blessed with a perfect sunset enjoyed with something cool and refreshing in our hands while sampling freshly caught seafood grilled in the sand before us.

Of course, this idyllic dream may fade some when the reality of running a hotel kicks in; trying to placate guests, running out of ice, power cuts and air conditioner break-downs and training staff who can barely speak English, but we’re confident we’ll take it all in our stride and soldier on! Although there are a number of hotels in Sihanoukville already they are mainly backpacker huts or expensive 5 star resorts, so our moderately priced 4 star pad with the best managers in town will be a nice addition!

So I say goodbye to my good friends in Holland and wish you well in your own dreams and maybe we’ll meet up on a sandy beach one day in a small place called Sihanoukville.

All the best,
Verona
Proprietor, Coolabah Hotel

Why did my Aussie friend call her hotel The Coolabah Hotel? After the line in “Waltzing Matilda”, of course! The unofficial Australian national anthem sings,
“Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong
Under the shade of a Coolabah Tree….”


Christa Snoek Flower Arranging Workshops

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top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Clients who take Antiques Diva Tours are often looking for a different way to see a country. In my case, I offer retail therapy and a chance to score the perfect souvenir – a chance to bring home a bit of that country and to set it on the mantle as your home décor! Tourists often take courses while on holiday, but it’s usually something sporty like scuba diving, parasailing or kayaking courses, but Christa Snoek “Bloemsierkunst” is offering something different – floral design workshops fit for a diva!
Whether you’re a seasoned floral expert or merely interested in learning to puff your home décor, all you have to do is sign up to attend one of her many workshops throughout the year! Then you simply show up at her atelier which is located in what seems to be the middle of no-where, but is in fact in the middle of Holland’s flower district. When you walk into her workshop stuffed from end to end with gorgeous buckets of flowers you’ll think you’ve died and gone to – Holland!

Can you think of a better way to “get to know a country” than through their most famous export – in this case flowers? Upcoming workshops include:

Kerst (Christmas) Flowers – courses run from 1 Nov – Dec 22 and cost between 17.50 and 45 Euros
Passen (Easter) Flowers – courses run from 27 March – 9 April and cost between 17.50 and 25 Euros
Zomerbloemen (Summer Flowers) – courses run 5 June – 25 Sept and cost from 15 Euros

Not only do you learn great hints and tips for flower arranging, but you also have a chance to meet local ladies who are taking the workshop with friends as well. Christa also sells a variety of “Woonaccessoires and Bloemisterijartikelen” – Home Goods and Floral Accessories – at significantly lower prices than you’d find elsewhere in Holland. All in all, Christa Snoek Flower Workshops receive 2 thumbs up from this diva!

Book a Tour

The Antiques Diva & Co offers custom planned Antiques Buying Tours for tourists and trade professionals. Whether you’re looking to buy one specific piece or wanting to fill an entire container, our personal shopping antique buying guides share their vast knowledge of secret sources to take you to all the right places.

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