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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Changing Seasons

Monday, November 25, 2013

The seasons in north Texas are hard to define. 
We have summer and not summer. 
We sort of skip over transitional seasons, 
like spring and fall, 
with winter varying from really cold temperatures (10° F)
to really mild temperatures (60° F),
or even into the 70-80° (F) occasionally.

Just two weeks ago, on Veteran's Day, 
this field of blue salvia was in full bloom 
on a country road leading into Salado, Texas, 
a small town in the central part of Texas. 


A first for me. 
I've never seen a field of blue salvia before. 
Blue salvia is often used in flower beds and 
in containers on decks, but I had never seen 
an entire field of blue salvia before. 
Did the owner plant all these individual plants?


Or did the plants naturalize in the field from only a handful of plants? 


How large is this field? 
I couldn't see where the field of flowers ended. 
The field is bordered by a large stand of live oak trees 
that remain green year round. 


Will the plants survive the winter 
and return to blooming next spring?


The color is similar to the blues of our treasured 
Texas bluebonnets 
that bloom for a short period in late March to mid April. 


Blue salvia, however, blooms for many months of the year. 
I grow it in pots on my deck from early spring until frost nips it. 

What a wonderful view for the residents of Salado and 
for visitors to Salado who come to shop. 


While the countryside still looks like summer, 
the shops in town are dressed for fall. 


Colorful-leaved Crotons pair perfectly with orange and pink pumpkins 
for a fall arrangement all the way until Thanksgiving. 
In most parts of the United States, 
Crotons are inside houseplants, 
but not here. 
Where we have summer, then not-summer.  

Changing seasons 
are harder to define here 
by the weather. 


Beautiful old historic buildings used as speciality shops 
help define the changing seasons. 

While the countryside is in full bloom with summery flowers, 
and the front entrance to Magnolias in Salado is dressed for fall, 
the adjoining storefront section is already dressed in 
twinkling fairy lights of the 
Christmas season. 

Changing Seasons - Texas style. 
 ❦
~~~~~~~~~~
Check back for 
Christmas inspiration that is coming 
Dec. 6-10. 

Be sure to see all the homemade goodness every day, and
to see my homemade Christmas on 
December 10. 
Here is a very small peek at it. 




Please join me at these inspiring sites...
MONDAY

TUESDAY

Christmas Greenery 2013

Friday, November 22, 2013

Over the years 
my tastes in Christmas decorations 
have changed. 
I have begun this year's decorations, and 
they harken back to the simpler decorations 
of my childhood. 

To a time when our Christmas tree 
was a cedar tree cut from the fence row 
along side an old country road. 
No one bought a tree. 

During late November, I 
would begin sizing up cedar trees along the roads. 
I was always looking for the perfect shape 
and would point out trees that I thought 
would be a great Christmas tree. 
Then, about two weeks before Christmas, 
my dad would take us four children to the chosen tree, 
and he would cut it. 

The 
Christmas Greenery 
in our breakfast sunspace this year is fresh greenery  
and reflects back to a style similar to my childhood. 
One that is simple, filled with fresh greens. 


Last year I was drawn to the photos on blogs that showed 
bare real trees placed in rustic containers such as 
galvanized buckets and wicker baskets. 
Most of these photos were from Nordic countries. 



From that inspiration, this year I placed a fresh Fraiser fir table-top tree 
from Home Depot into a galvanized bucket I found 
at Chipper's antique/thrift store in Alabama. 


This is not the first time we have had a fresh bare tree. 
No, I was ahead of the trend about fifteen years ago 
when we had a large fresh Fraiser fir tree 
on our open back deck. 
We could see it from both the living room and 
the breakfast sunspace. 
Passersby could see it from the road as they drove by. 
At night we left the outside lights on until we went to bed 
so the tree was visible after dark. 

That was the year I just could not get everything done 
by Christmas.  
So, the big beautiful tree sat on the deck without 
a single light or decoration. 
I really liked it. 

Since then, I've had small bare trees outside more than once. 
Sometimes on the front porch. 



Sometimes on the open back deck. 


In 2012, it snowed on Christmas Day in north Texas.
The first snowfall on Christmas Day in decades. 
A magical day. 

Then, in January 2013, we had snow again. 


Our large tree that had been decorated in the living room 
was sitting on the deck awaiting disposal 
when the snowstorm hit. Snow covered the tree, and 
we had another magical moment that winter. 


For Christmas 2013, the breakfast sunspace has 
the bare, fresh Fraiser fir, three olive tree topiaries, 
a couple of ivy topiaries, and a cluster of paperwhites 
in a holly decorated bowl. 


The paperwhite narcissi are sitting atop two red books. 
The New Testament English Version for the Deaf 
belonged to my dad. 
I gave it to him for Christmas one year. 
After he passed away, my mom gave it back to me. 
Inside is the card I enclosed to Daddy. 

Daddy was not deaf. 
This New Testament is a translation by a 
Bible Translation Center that I have supported 
in a variety of ways for almost forty years. 
So, this New Testament is special for 
several reasons. 


The old blue chippy high chair with its woven rush seat 
was used by different children family members and 
children of our dearest close friends over the years.  
Lots of memories of little ones who sat in that chair. 


Yes, I like this year's simple fresh greenery 
in the breakfast sunspace. 

Simple fresh greenery 
complement the old white wicker planter, 
the locker wire basket, the galvanized bucket, 
the red books, the well-loved high chair, 
and my memories of childhood Christmases.  
~~~~~~~~~~
Please join me at these inspiring sites...
MONDAY

TUESDAY

French Script Feathers

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A little bit of gold and glitter 
goes a long way to my eyes. 

But, I do like a little gold and glitter. 
When combined with a whole lot of French-iness...  


Like in these 

French Script Feathers 

These French script feathers 
began as plain white feathers. 


Although beautiful in their stark white elegance, 
it was time for them to be more than just white feathers. 



Well, they really were more than just white feathers
These feathers came from a very special 
ribbon , button, yarn, embellishments 
shop in the heart of Paris, France. 
la droguerie
9 rue Jour 75001, Paris, France


Before going to Paris that year, I researched which 
stores, shops, and flea markets I wanted to visit. 
la droguerie was high on my list because I love ribbons. 
I was not disappointed. 
I came home with yards and yards of ribbon and...

feathers.


Today, I decided to stamp the feathers
with a French script rubber stamp and gold stamping ink.


Only fitting that they wear French words;
they are French.
Now they look French.


The big white ones and several small
pale, pale blue ones went into an old jelly jar
tied with a gold ribbon.
Definitely needs a ribbon... 
No, this one is not from France, 
just Michaels. 

V e r y   français...
mixing expensive items with not-so-expensive items... 
Well, not that the feathers themselves were all that expensive. 
But, the plane ticket and hotel bill


A couple more pale, pale blue ones went into an old jar 
with several small yellow ones. 


These small feathers fit perfectly inside the jar.


Of course, the old jar needed 
a curling ivory ribbon with gold threads down the middle. 
No, this one is not from France, either. 
Tuesday Morning, I think. 


The French script feathers are right at home with the 
French script candle and gold-crowned bird. 


Now, I'm thinking, "Christmas," and 
seeing gold-stamped French script feathers 
on the tree, 
big feathers sprouting from the tree top, 
clusters of little feathers bound with thin 
gold ribbons and hung from the branches with 
(you guessed it) 
narrow white silk ribbons. 

Yes, I like a little gold and glitter 
with a whole lot of French-iness.

What do you think?

~~~~~~~~~~
So, are you in the 
Christmas spirit now? 

If not, you will be when you see 
all the great homemade goodness in 
the upcoming tour... 




Friday December 6

Saturday December 7

  Sunday December 8

Monday December 9

Tuesday December 10


Please join me at these inspiring sites...
MONDAY

TUESDAY

Country French Christmas 2013

Monday, November 18, 2013

Botanic Bleu
is a 

French-Inspired Garden and Home 
Blog 
Pinterest Site 
Facebook Page
and 
Seasonal Shop 

All of these were started from my love for France and Christmas. 


For the past two years, I have had a 

Country French Christmas
"pop-up" sale event in my garden shed. 


Here is how the first Country French Christmas looked. 



Here's one of last year's Christmas trees in the shop. 


This year will be the third Country French Christmas
and I am so excited that my sister is part of this year's event. 
Remember, she is a professional floral designer 
who has real flair for creating beautiful floral arrangements. 
We would love to have my blogging friends come by. 
So, if you are in north Texas while our sale is going on,
 please come by, have a cup of coffee, and visit for a while. 
The shop is in a rural setting surrounded by trees, 
and I find it peaceful.  


This view is from the deck on my house and 
was taken during the summer of 2012. 
It will look much more festive during the Christmas season. 

Send me an email at botanicbleu1@gmail.com 
if you would like directions. 
I'll send you a flyer with maps. 

Would you like a few peeks at what is in the
 shop for this year's Country French Christmas sale? 

You have seen lots of items already in the posts this year. 
Many of the items that I showed how I made will be for sale. 
Remember the license plate birdhouse? 
How about the rustic box with a French graphic? 
So, I won't repeat them now. 

The following photos show just a sampling of 
other items in this year's sale. 
Plus, you can see a little bit of the inside of the garden shed. 


Garlands, little metal trees, antique shoe lasts, Christmas trays 


Lots of bird-themed decor... 


Closer view of items on the white buffet... 


Love, love, love these little gold-crowned birds... 


One little gold-crowned bird in a metal cloche makes 
a beautiful centerpiece display on a table or mantel. 


Special Paris-scenes cards from Paris, France. 
Hand-carried these home from Paris... 
Another thing that I love, love, love... 
Oh, yes, the card holder with the heart-shaped 
individual holders was also hand-carried 
home from the Paris Objet Maison trade market. 


The Farmers Market design on these bags, oven mitts, kitchen towels, wood trays 
says "Provence" to me. 
And the great chippy white board with hooks is for sale, too. 
So-o-o country kitchen, both French and American country. 
Have you noticed the background in some of the 
beautiful tablescapes on many blogger's posts are kitchen towels? 
This white rooster kitchen towel will make a fantastic 
background or starring role in a future tablescape! 


Another thing I love anytime of the year is 
a tree-shaped topiary. 

Did you see anything you liked? 

If not, there is so much more that is 
not ready for its "close-up". 
Everyday is jam-packed with things 
to do getting ready for all our customers. 

I would love to meet some of you in person, 
and this is a great opportunity for us to meet.  

Did you spot that Nov. 30 has a special offer? 
15% off $15 or more total sales 

Oh, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Creating a Fall Vignette...Sampler

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Scoop On... Creating  Fall Vignettes


Twenty-five bloggers over five days
shared tips about how they
make their stunning seasonal creations
just in time for us to use their ideas
for Thanksgiving.
See my page called The Scoop On... 
for a complete schedule 
of blogs and dates in case you missed some.  

Each is different, with extraordinary photos 
of their vignettes for fall. 
You will be sure to find several 
that are just your style. 
Go check out each one. 
You are in for a real treat. 

Here is a 
Sampler
of some of the arrangements 
from the Creating Fall Vignettes tour 
that are just my style, 
or at least, what I would like my style to look like. 



Town and Country Living's scrapbook-paper-wrapped candles. 
Would love this on my breakfast table... 



Speaking of breakfast tables, Sophia's breakfast table makes 
me nostalgic for my childhood under a big oak tree. 



More breakfast table ideas... 
If you are going to have a crowd for Thanksgiving breakfast, 
Stone Gable's buffet setting is the way to go. 



How about Thanksgiving lunch at Domestically Speaking's 
table that uses vintage brown bottles? 



Moving on to the next table I would like for a meal...
Lilacs and Longhorns' Pottery Barn copycat table is just beautiful. 



Pecan pie for dessert... 
My aunt Juanita in Alabama makes the world's best pecan pie 
using pecans from the trees in her yard. 
Confessions of a Plate Addict's dessert table is perfect 
for serving up your aunt's pecan pie. 



White pumpkins on a looks-very-close-to-white ladder 
in front of an old chippy white door is elegant in its simplicity. 
White Lace Cottage just adds seasonal decor to her regular pink decor. 


And, if you missed my post, here is a view of my kitchen shelf 



Now, this is just a Sampler of all the wonderful ideas on the tour. 
There are 17 other bloggers with more great styles and ideas. 
Thanksgiving is just days away... 
One of these bloggers is sure to have the look, 
with tips on how to create it, 
that is just your style.
~~~~~~~~~~