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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Noël Neige

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Neige 
(Snow)
on Christmas Day...

There is something magical about snow on Christmas day.
Especially in Mansfield, Texas...

Until Christmas this year, 1975 was the last time it snowed on Christmas Day 
in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex.

I stopped cooking and just stood watching the snow fall,
mesmerized...

BIG fluffy flakes, freewheeling across the sky...
made the snow look like a movie scene. 

What is more Christmas-y than a green wreath dusted with snow
on a red bench?

The lights and lantern at the front door with snow...
Another magical Christmas scene...


How beautiful to see snow through the breakfast windows!

Christmas Day 2012
Filled with magical snowy moments...


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Wow Us Wednesdays!

Bleu Noël Scenes

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Joyeux Noël to everyone
Christmas lasts for many days at our house.

noël
Christmas scenes in Paris, France...
Paris Tourisme creche information
For Paris creche scenes,
go to Paris Tourisme creche information.

To see more beautiful scenes of Noël á Paris,
go to the Paris Tourisme site.

christmas
scenes at my house are simpler than ones in Paris.

Over the years I've decorated at Christmas using
bleu (blue) with rosy reds and mauves.
A very dear friend of almost forty years
made the wooden hand-painted sign,
one of my very first blue-colored Christmas decorations.
She gave it to us for Christmas about twenty-five
years ago, and it is a treasured part of my
Christmas decorations every year.

On Christmas Day,
we enjoyed a traditional American Christmas lunch
of turkey and dressing with family and close friends.

The dining room table and chairs were
decorated by my sister, a professional florist.
  Using left-over bead board, she built the wooden box planter
on Christmas Eve.

She filled the planter with roses and lilies from the local grocery.
The greenery is from her yard and my yard.

The Fitz & Floyd china, Renaissance Blue, was found years ago
at their warehouse sale when they moved warehouse sites
in the Dallas metroplex.
This truly was a warehouse sale...
The greatest bargain in my life...
Sample prices... Sugar bowl...$1.50
Gravy boat with under plate ... $5

The stainless steel flatware with gold beading is a Towle pattern.
The china pattern is discontinued, but 
Replacements, Inc has this pattern.
(For a lot more than $1.50 for a sugar bowl...)

The reindeer place card holders are from Pottery Barn years ago.


The blue crown was from my sister last Christmas.

Hand-carved wooden Russian Father Frosts stand
at each end of the floral arrangement.


Blue baubles and greenery tied with Noël ribbon adorn the chair backs.

With such a beautiful flower-filled dining room,
I don't want to remove the decorations.

Special memories leap to my mind as I
look at the beautiful flowers my sister arranged and 
as I look at the treasured Merry Christmas sign made by my friend.
One can see why Christmas lasts 
for many days at our house.

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Joyeux Noël Home Tour Day 1

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Joyeux Noël
A country French Christmas in the making...

Bienvenue (welcome) to my home.
Fresh greenery, Santa, and French-inspired themes 
(fleur de lis, crowns, Eiffel towers, French prints...)
 await you! 
An askew (my home is not perfect) homemade fresh swag using
greens cut from the bottom of the tree and
cedar greens from the yard...

The front entry is ready to receive both you and 
Christmas cards (I hope!)

The basket on the vintage folding chair with its 
preserved boxwood bouquet has a few cards,
but I hope there will be many more. 
Family and friends, are you reading?

The entry wreath with its fleur de lis ribbon is faux greenery. 
But the shoe last decorating the wreath is the real thing...
Found in Florida at an antique store...

Would you like to freshen up a little after your journey?
A guest half-bath outfitted with a vintage pine wash stand and mirror
is located near the entry.

Santa towel, soaps, and a framed old Santa Christmas card welcome you.
Santa is holding holly and a bird's nest with three little blue eggs.
Makes my heart glad...
The sun is fading this treasured print of the Ussé chateau 
that I brought home from France years ago.

On to the kitchen, a Christmas decorating work in progress...
It's always a work in progress, mostly washing dishes, cooking, 
washing dishes, cleaning up craft projects, washing dishes...
White beckons to me and beguiles me this year every where I look.
White poinsettias this year instead of my usual pink variegated ones...

A blue hand-carved wooden Father Frost... and a cement Santa...
The cement Santa looks very French (well, maybe Russian) to me... 
He and his trusted iron elk sitting on the stovetop
were not these colors in the beginning.
A little spray paint, layered a little at a time, in more than one color,
turned them into colors that make my eyes clap their hands.



A little fuchsia glass bird ornament is making a nest in a small creamer. 
Look how overjoyed the hot chocolate Santa tin is to see him!


The little bird is peeking out to see if Christmas has arrived.

The breakfast sunspace is my favorite "room" in my house.
These photos are from a couple of years ago because 
my fresh real tree isn't up yet.


The opposite end of the sunspace is decorated and 
has glass snowflakes hanging in the window.
The local weathermen are predicting possible 
snow flurries tonight or tomorrow 
for North Central Texas.  I'll believe when I see them.


The breakfast room opens to the end of the living room fireplace.


French doors in the living room look South out to the backyard.


A quick peek at the second floor with photos from a couple of years ago...
The two bird-themed artificial trees stay up year-round, so the look 
doesn't change much from one year to the next.  
This view also includes the stairs to a third-floor loft.

Looking down at night on the bird-themed trees and 
the loft on the second floor
with its porch swing overlooking the vaulted living room...

One last look at the beautiful white poinsettias in the breakfast sunspace...

Please come back later this week to see the living/dining room decorations.
Thanks for dropping in....
Merry Christmas
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Holiday Housewalk 2012

French Children's Alphabet Christmas Decor

Saturday, December 1, 2012

In the mid-nineteenth century,
Paris had about 140 
passages couverts de Paris
(covered passages)
for shopping.

Passage des Panoramas 
is one of about 40 passages that still exist in Paris today.



The panoramas for which the passage is named are faded, but still beautiful.

The passage is known for its sellers of vintage books, postcards, stamps, etc...

While browsing the shops in the passage last fall looking for vintage items, 
I found a beautiful NEW 
children's French alphabet book
with delightful stories to illustrate each letter of the
alphabet.


My favorite story is Neige (snow) for N.



The drawing of the angels scattering bits of paper as snow
and the story references to sugar, feathers, and 
Noël
capture my imagination and take me away to a magical place.

All of the stories for the letters have detailed, softly-colored drawings,
which inspired me to think of ways to display them at 
Christmas.
Of course the pages could be framed to be displayed,
but I wanted something different, unexpected ...

Some of them I displayed with an
evergreen garland above the French doors in the garden shed.



Jouets 
(toys),
another one of my favorites,
especially for Christmas,
is part of the garland display.

As Christmas ornaments on a 
small tree, they add a third dimension 
to the tree's decorations.



Each page is rolled so that both
French words and drawings are visible.
Each is tied with a narrow white ribbon with gold
musical notes and a small hand-written tag that says,
"French
Children's
Alphabet Page
Paris."



As Christmas tree ornaments, the details of each page can be seen up close.



The muted colors blend with the tree.


The rolled beribboned pages also make festive, playful
party favors set atop Christmas plates.


Were I in England, I would make 
Christmas "crackers" with them.

Thoughts for next year...
Wouldn't they be beautiful with two or three
grouped under a clear glass cloche?
Or several standing upright in a vintage box with greenery 
and a Christmas message stamped on the front of the box...?
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