Blog Description

A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

French Design on Friday 7

Friday, February 24, 2017

~ Accessories ~

Paris Hôtel de Ville 
When selecting furnishings, lighting, and accessories for a French Country look, how do we decide what to use? Botanic Bleu provides examples straight from France through photos taken by me. Together we will study the photos, and then see how to translate French designs into our own homes. 

Lamp posts on the wide paved plaza in front of the Paris Hôtel de Ville (city hall) are as beautiful as utilitarian. Instead of a plain lamp post and base, the bases are intricate multi-layered patterns made more beautiful by people constantly touching them over the past one hundred and twenty-five years. With each touch a little of the top color is removed to reveal the under base color. 

Add French Country design to your home by choosing accessories with intricate patterns like the raised leaf pattern in the base of a small music stand. The base shown is not a perfect match for the Paris street lamp base, but has the same overall feel in color, patina, and design as the street lamp base. 

Large pieces like stone walls, ceiling beams, armoires and bergère chairs are the foundation for French Country design in a room, but accessories reinforce the look. A coherent design comes from layering the design with smaller pieces. 

Music stands are not just for music scores. Display books, magazines, small framed prints, greeting cards, or vintage French documents on a music stand to add another layer to a room's decor. 

Change the items on the music stand when the seasons change. This is an easy way to add extra zest to a room without spending much money. The cherubs used for Valentine's will soon be replaced with prints of Spring flowers, birds, nests, and trees. 

A white tabletop wreath holder has a French style base with scrolled designs as well as a French style top with a shell design. 

 Accessories can make or break a room's overall design. With just a little investment, a room begins to F E E L  French Country. The wreath holder came from Hobby Lobby, and the music stand came from a small local gift shop. Each piece cost far less than a lamp, but adds as much to a room's design as a lamp does. 

Speaking of lamps, watch for lamps with designs similar to the Paris lamp post. I have my eye on a lamp I hope to buy this year. 
If you are trying to have an authentic touch of French style in your home, visit Botanic Bleu on Fridays to go to the source for French style through snapshots of French architecture, houses, textiles, metal work, food, woodwork, landscapes... and discover inspiration for creating 

a French-inspired garden and home. 

* * * * * 
For French Country Design from others, see Botanic Bleu's Pinterest board, French Country Design, and a group Pinterest board to which Botanic Bleu contributes, French Country Decor Ideas

For more French style straight from the source, click on the French Inspiration links in the sidebar to read sites devoted to French joie de vivre

* * * * * 
Show us your home's style each week by joining Monday Social, a linky party that goes live on Sundays at 4:00 p.m. 

Be sure you update any links to Botanic Bleu with its new URL
  • Monday Social links
  • Blog sidebar link 
  • Reading List on Blogger 
  • Address book link 

What accessories do you use to add to your home's style?
Share how you use unusual items to give your home your signature style.... 
farmhouse, shabby chic, traditional, industrial, modern... 

Please join me at these inspiring places for more joy of living. 

Dishing It and Digging It @ Rustic and Refined



Early Spring Blue Plate Stars

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Inspiration for new tablesettings come from random sources and sometimes from unexpected combinations of events. An early spring blue and purple tablesetting is one of those that began with a beautiful new blue scalloped edge tidbit plate and unseasonably Spring-like temperatures. 

Out of the blue, an unexpected package arrived in January from a friend who lives in San Antonio. Our friendship was born through this blog. We have never met in person, but talk to one another via blog comments and emails regularly. 

Of course, I think she has great taste since she reads Botanic Bleu and leaves witty, encouraging comments. Her sense of humor makes me laugh out loud.  

As soon as the four blue plates were in my hands, I was in love with their color, their shape, and their texture. As I ran my hand over the smooth plate surface and ran my fingers around the curved scalloped edge, I cocked my head a little to the left, and my eyes glazed over as I stared into space envisioning a future tablesetting featuring these plates.  

The blue plates are S T A R S in the dish world. 

This week I found a small bag of blue shredded paper used for Easter baskets in years past as I was reorganizing things in the garden shed. You know the shed that took all my money to buy it a French style eyebrow window. If you haven't read French Design on Friday 6, be sure to check it out to see the eyebrow window. 

Look at the color of the blue paper shreds... a match made in heaven for the new blue plate S T A R S. 

Old Man Winter is not over yet, but our weather forecast high temperatures for the next ten days is 68°-78°, definitely Spring weather. My mind turns to eggs, bunnies, bird's nests... in Spring. 

Once I made little blue paper shred nests in the purple votive candle holders, the whole early Spring blue and purple table starting coming together. 

White scalloped edge dinner plates and salad plates perfectly showcase the blue S T A R S. 

Blue Fostoria water glasses complement the little blue plates. 

Paper napkins with lavender stems repeat the bird's nest element with eggs the same color and design as the little ceramic eggs in the purple votives. Sometimes everything comes together as though items were special ordered to coordinate with one another. 

Spring-like weather means spring flowers like the purple pansy in the clay pot and the purple muscari. A twiggy bird's nest holds a green ceramic egg. 

Add a few extra things to a man-made nest to give it a natural look. Fine golden brown grass lines the nest to shelter the egg. A bit of green moss is another natural filler. 

Wild tendrils around the pansy plant make the faux flowers more realistic. Purple-tipped matches in a hydrangea decorated match box go with the purple votive perfectly. 

An early Spring blue and purple tablesetting adds color to the drab overcast winter skies. 

The centerpiece and votive nests can last until Easter in mid-April. 

Any day now, I will be able to cut fresh muscari from the yard. Won't they be pretty with the new blue plate stars from my friend? 

Receiving such a thoughtful gift from a long-distance friend made me reflect on all the wonder-woman friends who have touched my life over the years. Each of us has a circle of friends who have made a difference in our lives by mentoring us in our jobs, caring for us in times of despair, and adding joy in everyday living. 

Yes, I have men who are acquaintances and who have mentored me in a job, but they are never friends to the depth of women friends. The Long Tall Texan is the only man who has the status of wonder-man friend. 

Each time I moved from a job or moved from a city, I was sad to leave wonder-woman friends I had made. Yet, I soon realized that in each new job or new city were new wonder-woman friends for me that I would have never known if I had not moved there. 

Blogging has provided new wonder-woman friends I would never have known had I not started writing Botanic Bleu. My life is richer, fuller, more joyful because of all of the new wonder-women I know in the blogging world. 

Thank you for reading, for leaving comments, and for joining my circle of wonder-woman friends.  

My friend in San Antonio inspired me to create a beautiful blue and purple tablesetting with her blue plates as the stars. This is just the first of many ways I will enjoy those little blue plates, and each time I use them I will remember our friendship. 

Now, I will think of those wonder-women friends as B L U E  P L A T E  S T A R S  in my life. 


Thank you, my friend in San Antonio who knows me well. 

Who is a  BLUE  PLATE  STAR  in your world? 

Please join me at these inspiring places for more joy of living. 

Dishing It and Digging It @ Rustic and Refined



Monday Social #23

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Welcome to Monday Social #23

Spring officially arrives in 28 days!

March 20, 2017 

Not that anyone is counting.

Who are we kidding?
Longing for Spring seems to be on everyone's blog.

Judith at Botanic Bleu  || Instagram || Facebook || Pinterest || Botanic Bleu ||
Katie at Let's Add Sprinkles || Instagram || Facebook || Pinterest || Let's Add Sprinkles ||
Eilis at My Heart Lives Here  || Instagram || Pinterest || My Heart Lives Here ||

The hostess this week is 

Judith at Botanic Bleu 

My post in a weekly series, 

French Design on Friday,  

is about French style eyebrow arch windows and doors and how to get a similar look.

Each Friday I share a photo taken in France and show how to translate that look to create a

French-inspired garden and home.

Here's a peek at what the other two Monday Social hostesses shared this week. 

Eilis has a new rug she layered over an existing rug. 

new layered rug at My Heart Lives Here

Katie is ready for Spring. 
See what I mean about all of blogland longing for Spring. 

I'm Talking Flowers at Let's Add Sprinkles 

Now, for this week's linking party...

Monday Social
is a social gathering of friends where we connect with others by visiting them on 

Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, or a Blog.  

That's right, you do not have to write a blog to participate in Monday Socials.
You can also link photos from Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest.

Find the addresses for your friends' sites, and 
link your addresses for friends to find. 

Each Sunday at 4:00 p.m. party goers link up photos from one of four sites, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and/or a Blog.  

Thanks for joining us last week for Monday Social. 
We had a wonderful time visiting your links that you shared.

One quick reminder... 
Link YOUR specific PHOTO not just your general social media site. 

This week's features 

offer one more look at the beauty of Valentine's Day.   

 Barbara at Fair Meadow Place shared how to make a gorgeous Valentine's Day Rag Wreath
Barbara began writing her new blog, Fair Meadow Place, in January 2017. 
Let's all visit her and leave her an encouraging comment as she begins her new blogging journey. 
She is off to a great start. 

My Kentucky Living Instagram White Tulips and Valentine Napkins 
Sheila shares elegant arrangements in her home year round, and Valentine's Day is no exception. 
L O V E these Valentine napkins with a heart inside the O. 

Lisa at Celebrate Creativity has a stunning, fresh, creative approach to Valentine's goodies. 
Her Shakespeare Sugar Cookies include a recipe, a source for the cookie mold, instructions for a creative gift bag, and Shakespeare quotes sprinkled throughout the post.

Rosemary and Thyme's Chic Valentine's Day Table has a L O V E L Y set of dishes from HomeGoods and fresh spring-like towels used as napkins. 

See all these features on our

Pinterest board, Monday Social Features.


Party Directions

We would love for you to FOLLOW all your hostesses on their blogs at least one way ... 
Bloglovin', email subscription, URL, Google Friend Connect, Google+, etc...

And FOLLOW each hostess on at least one social medium.
Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest

Please read how to be a good guest before linking to the party. 

1] Link a maximum of 5 photos that take party goers to Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, or a Blog. 
    Share home decor, DIY, recipes, inspirational thoughts... whatever is going on in your world.   

2] You do NOT have to write a blog to link up photos to Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook.
     Isn't this great? More people can join the gathering. Just grab the web address and link away.

3] Monday Social attendees visit sites linked to the party and socialize ... 
    Suggested ways for mixing and mingling ...
  • Instagram - comment on a photo or Regram another person's Instagram ...
  • Facebook - comment on a post or share a post on Facebook back to your Facebook site ...
  • Pinterest - re-Pin another person's Pin on Pinterest...
  • Blog - comment on another person's Blog...
  • Make a regular connection with a site that inspired you by following the site. 
4] No direct links to linky parties or advertising including Etsy shops.

5] By joining the party, you are agreeing that the photos are yours or that you have permission to use them, that we may use those photos to feature your work on a blog post and/or in social media. The blog post will always have a link back to you. Remember to disable "no reply" to your email so we can reach you.

6] Not required, but we would love for everyone to invite their readers to join the party and to share the Monday Social button on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Blog sites.

Need help linking to the party? See Monday Social Linky that explains how to link up Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Blog photos.

We love your links.

Keep sharing with us and invite your friends to share their photos as well. 
How are you getting ready for Spring? 
What new project is underway at your house?

Help us grow our party and the number of viewers for your sites. 
Share a link to today's Monday Social on your Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest. 

Bloggers supporting one another 
encourages all of us.   

Let's all be Rock Stars of blogging and encouragement.  

P.S. Please update your link to Botanic Bleu's new URL address--- 
Link to Monday Social 
Blogroll Link 
Reading List in Blogger 
Address Book 

Link Away! 

French Design on Friday 6

Friday, February 17, 2017

~  Architecture  ~ 

Eyebrow Arch Windows & Doors  

How do we know what IS French design? When selecting furnishings, lighting, accessories, and architectural elements for our homes how do we decide what to use to replicate French style? 

Last Minute Valentine Dessert

Monday, February 13, 2017

Need a last minute valentine dessert for tomorrow? One that's yummy, but does not take a lot of time? One that everyone will L O V E? 


Raspberry cheesecake, je t'aime (I love you.) Raspberry sauce, fresh raspberries, R E A L whipped cream.... 

with pink valentine heart sprinkles