Blog Description

A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Pop Up Home Business Location

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


Home Business Location  

Starting a Pop Up Home Business Series
Topic #1 - Location, Location, Location 


Have you ever... Thought about starting a small business you could run from your home? Are you... Daydreaming about styling beautiful displays filled with things you love? Would you... Offer vintage, antique, handmade, unique, or one-of-a-kind items you have found and breathed new life into with fresh paint and updated hardware? How about selling new items from select wholesalers in a style you have a hard time finding in local shops yourself? 


Dreaming of a business flyer........... ?
french-country-christmas-event-flyer
Yes? 

Would you like some tips on how to turn your dream into a new business reality?

Provence Fall Colors Blue and Yellow

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


Add a Little FRENCH STYLE 

To Your Kitchen This Fall


Yellow mixed with blue is one of the most common color combinations in Provence, a region in the south of France. The region is known for sunflowers and lavender, for warm sunny days under blue skies, and for Impressionist painters whose paintings reflected their bright sun-drenched surroundings. 

Likewise, local Provençal potters and weavers used those same colors to create dishes and linens making it easy for us to add Fall French style to our kitchens. With just a little yellow, we can give blue and white dishes a Fall look. 



provence-france-fall-colors-blue-yellow-add-french-style

French Design on Friday 26

Friday, October 6, 2017


 French Bleu 

Shades of Bleu in French Design 


What color is French bleu exactly? Who defines which bleu is the real French bleu? Paint companies? Pantone color of the year? Paris designers? Van Gogh? Monet? Chartres Bleu in the Chartres Cathedral stained glass windows? 

French bleu is more than one true blue. Several bleu shades abound across France, and you get to choose which bleu is the French Bleu for you. Take a look at options shown in photographs taken in France. 




medieval-french-house-blue-shutters-beynac-france

Beautiful Fall Display Tips

Wednesday, October 4, 2017



Magazines and books have had beautiful Fall displays on porches, tables, front doors, kitchen islands, coffee tables, mantels, and chests of drawers for decades. Now catalogs, websites, blogs, videos, HGTV, e-magazines, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc... have joined the decorating party and show beautiful lavish displays even more gorgeous than magazines from a decade ago. 

Photography took a GIANT leap forward with digital cameras, home computers, and desktop photo editing software which make the beautiful displays bigger than life. Crisp details, enriched colors, sweeping views, bright backgrounds... 




beautiful-fall-display-tips

Fall Traditions New and Old

Monday, October 2, 2017


New and Old 

Fall Traditions 


Different seasons of the year have their own special traditions for our families, for our schools, for our jobs, for our communities, and for our circle of friends. One of the traditions I love seeing and taking part in is BLOG TOURS, a relatively new tradition for me. Working with fellow bloggers is always fun, and seeing collections of blog posts that revolve around a common theme are great places to get new ideas for my own garden and home. 




white-pumpkins-new-fall-traditions


French Design in Backyards

Friday, September 29, 2017


Five Ways to Add 

French Design in Backyards 


France routinely casts a spell over unsuspecting travelers and lures them to seek a French lifestyle and to imitate French design once they return home. If you are one who fell under the spell, loves all things French, and is now a self-proclaimed francophile, try these five ways to add a little French style to your terrace, patio, deck, or garden. 

Step through a magical door and back into France in your own backyard. 



1.  S Y M M E T R Y  


french-design-backyards-decks-gardens

Three White Narcissus Spectacular Bulbs

Wednesday, September 27, 2017


FALL is the Time to Order
Three White Spectacular Narcissus Bulbs 


Are you in love with narcissus bulbs? Bulbs that pop up when Winter skies are grey, when clouds hang low over dormant gardens, when frigid temperatures make your teeth chatter? Are you in love with bulbs that push their way through frozen ground and promise Spring is around the corner? 


Y E S ?  

Daffodils, narcissus, jonquils, buttercups, paperwhites... come in many colors, color combinations, and trumpet shapes. With so many options, everyone can find daffodils suited for their personal preferences and garden requirements. NOW is the time to order the bulbs to insure your bulbs will be planted at the right time this Fall. 

Here are three spectacular white narcissi to order for your gardens, one for inside and two for outside. 


# ➀  Z I V A 


paperwhite-ziva-forcing-christmas-bulb

French Country Design From The Findery

Monday, September 25, 2017


The Findery in Waco, Texas
offers French Country Design, 

not just American farmhouse country. 


To transition a house from American Country style to French Country style means looking at every new purchase to see if it moves a room closer to French Country. This may seem obvious, but sometimes you may lose sight of what you want your house to look like, and buy small items that do not add to the overall design. After you replace wingback chairs with French bergère chairs and replace braided cotton rugs with Aubusson carpets, a room has French Country as its foundation style, but you are not finished. 

Large pieces are only the beginning. 

Large pieces like sofas, rugs, tables, and chests set a room's style. Accessories add greater depth to a style by layering the look. Clocks, lamps, bowls, statues, pillows... provide finishing touches. 

The Findery in Waco is a fun place to shop, filled with farmhouse country style, but the unusual store  and adjacent warehouse also have French Country items. Here are some small items I bought from there to add layers of French Country design to my ever evolving French-inspired garden and home. 

I am not associated with The Findery in any way, but am sharing about their store because I always love finding new places to shop and think some of you may, too.



french country vintage seltzer bottle 


vintage-blue-seltzer-paris-clear-bottle-waco-texas

Garden Shed Summer View Part Two

Friday, September 22, 2017

{Disclosure: This post contains photos of items that are for sale in the Botanic Bleu shop on Square.} 



Garden Shed Summer View

Interior - Part 2 
Linens, Paper, Pottery 

Summer officially ends today, September 22, and with it, the end of summer decor in the garden shed. As I look around the little chateau de jardin d'été  (summer garden castle), I realize the contents fall mostly into three categories. Linens, paper, and pottery, things I love, are casually scattered around the garden shed amongst companion items.  

Everything, it seems, has a story. Big, small, but a story. 


L I N E N S 



Create Unexpected Fall Decor

Wednesday, September 20, 2017


Muted Natural Fall Colors 

call for unexpected fall decor. 


As seasons change, we see a difference in Mother Nature's attire. As Fall arrives, colors in nature change. For some parts of the world, green leaves fade to yellow, orange, and red, and then drop to the ground creating a vivid palette.  In other areas, like Texas, color changes are more muted, without the vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows. Instead, deep green leaves fade to paler green as they lose their summer color, then change straight to brown. 

Fall comes in all shades, and home Fall decor can also come in all shades. Subdued Fall displays still celebrate the changing seasons and can give an unexpected fresh look to your home. 

If you are like me and shudder at decorating with orange and brown, RELAX, and create unexpected Fall decor by using muted colors instead. Plus, you do not have to use cornstalks, acorns, or pumpkins to create a little Fall magic in your home. 




create-unexpected-fall-decor

Garden Shed Summer View Part One

Monday, September 18, 2017

{Disclosure: This post contains photos of items that are for sale in the Botanic Bleu shop on Square.} 


Garden Shed Summer View

Interior - Part 1 
Design 

Before summer slips away on September 22, take a look at how the French-inspired garden shed looked inside this summer. Usually the only time you get to see inside the garden shed is around Christmas when it is filled to the rafters with French Country Christmas inspiration for shoppers. 




garden-shed-summer-design-features
Once the winter holidays are over each year, the garden shed takes on a relaxed atmosphere. There are always a few Christmas-y things hanging out in the shed all year since this is the best place to store them, but the space has more of a garden house feel than a Christmas shop feel. 

Findery Country Shopping Waco Texas

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


The Findery

Country Shopping in Waco, Texas 


Waco, Texas is famous for Magnolia Market, the Silos, and Fixer Upper, but there are other shopping places you don't want to miss if you are in Waco. After shopping at Chip's and Joanna's, head down Webster Street one block to another fun place to shop for farmhouse country at The Findery. 

findery-country-shopping-store-waco-texas

Porch Plate Rack

Saturday, September 9, 2017


P L A T E   R A C K S  

Modest Pieces of Furniture With a Big Impact 

Plate racks have been popular features in country kitchens for generations. Prior to the modern kitchen design (in the United States) in the mid-20th century, kitchens had little storage, mostly in the form of open shelves and open plate racks. Shelves and plate racks fit in small spaces and made plates easy to reach when needed. 

Currently there is an upsurge of returning to open shelves and plate racks in American kitchens. Magazines, blogs, and Pinterest boards showcase beautiful new kitchens, from tiny houses to luxury designs, with open shelves and plate racks. Do-it-yourself bloggers, house flippers, and fixer-uppers offer directions for installing shelves and custom-designed plate racks, including one floor-to-ceiling design with a hand painted recipe on the wall behind the plate rack. 

Internet links at the end take you to some of my favorites. If you love dreaming of a new kitchen or updating your old one, you are sure to find some inspiration. 




plate-rack-porch-blue-white-dishes

So Close To Amazing Stories

Monday, August 21, 2017


Do you plan to view the solar eclipse today? An AMAZING event... a total solar eclipse for a wide path across the United States. The next total solar eclipse in the United States won't occur for 7 years... April 8, 2024, and the next one after that won't occur for 28 years... August 12, 2045. This is an amazing lifetime event today, and I don't want to miss it. 

We are so excited about the eclipse that we traveled to visit my brother who lives in north Alabama where we can see 97% total coverage of the sun during the eclipse. ***Remember to follow safety guidelines for protecting your eyes while viewing an eclipse.***  

So CLOSE to 100% coverage. So CLOSE to amazing. 

Wait, 97% IS AMAZING! 




Do you have days when you feel less than amazing? I do. I feel only 97%, let 3% overshadow my day and spirit, and forget that 97% IS amazing. 

Today is not one of those days. There are at least two amazing things happening today. A DOUBLE amazing day. 

It is an amazing day because of the solar eclipse.  And it is an amazing day because I am excited to co-host a blog Tour of So Close to Amazing Stories and Reviews with twelve other incredible bloggers. We are excited to host a linky party of stories and book reviews with our awesome friend, KariAnne Wood.

So Close To Amazing

KariAnne Wood's new book is due out on September 5, 2017.

Pre-order before Sept. 4 and receive fabulous pre-order bonuses. 


Pre-order your copy at 

Anyone who has read KariAnne's Thistlewood Farms blog knows you will love reading her book filled with tales and adventures of how she and her family jumped by faith from the big city lights of Dallas to the 

*fire*fly* lights of rural Kentucky. 



a blog Tour of So Close to Amazing 
Stories and Reviews 
August 21 - September 16, 2017 

COME SIT BY US

We invite you to link-up your book reviews about KariAnne's book, So Close to Amazing. Plus, we invite you to link-up your stories of So Close to Amazing happenings in your life. Share your "...Stories of a DIY life gone wrong... and learning to find the beauty in every imperfection." 

We can't wait to see/read all the hilarious, or life-changing, and/or touching stories inspired by KariAnne and her new book, So Close To Amazing. Link up from your blog, Pinterest, Facebook, or Instagram posts/photos that tell your so CLOSE to amazing stories

That's right, you do not have to write a blog to join the linky party. You could share an Instagram story, or a Facebook post, or a Pinterest photo. Whatever you link-up either needs to be a book review of KariAnne's book and/or tells a so CLOSE to amazing story





Used by permission: Rachel Lane

We all have those so CLOSE to amazing projects that didn't turn out as amazing as our minds planned. One of my good friends and her sister used to label their less-than-perfect projects as "skunked." If a star turned out crooked, they said, "Skunked that one," laughing together the whole time.  

If you ever shared one of those "project fails" on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, or your blog, here's your chance to share it one more time (or share it for the first time) ... how you learned to laugh it off and/or learned "to find the beauty in every imperfection." All of us sometimes feel less than amazing, and by sharing with one another, we encourage and build one another up to embrace we really are amazing regardless of our imperfections. 






Do you love prizes? Then start jumping up and down. We have PRIZES. Yes, we do. Each time you link-up to the party, on any of the thirteen blogs hosting the party, you are entered to win. Link-up any time August 21 - September 16, 2017. 

TWO lucky winners... 

Winners will be selected at random and announced on 
September 17, 2017 on Thistlewood Farms 
and on other co-hosts' blogs.  


1st PRIZE: 

$100 Amazon Gift Card plus a signed copy of So Close to Amazing 


2nd PRIZE: 

Signed copy of So Close to Amazing



CO-HOSTS 

Be sure to visit all of the co-hosts to read their So Close to Amazing Stories and Reviews that kick off the first day of the linky party. You will laugh, you will cry, you will celebrate...

... beauty found in imperfection...





"Come sit by me." 

Need help with linking up to a blog Tour of So Close to Amazing Stories and Reviews party? See Linky Party Help for detailed directions. 

Come back all during August 21-September 16 to read the latest link-ups and to link up your amazing stories/reviews. Every link-up is an entry to win!   



French Design on Friday 25

Friday, August 18, 2017

Architecture 
~ ribbed vaulted ceilings ~


Architectural features of massive castles, cathedrals, and municipal buildings are awe inspiring. With our heads tilted back to take in all of the lofty vaulted ceilings, we marvel at the engineering as well as the beauty.  French designs over the ages sometimes took generations of architects and masons to complete their grand designs, leaving behind buildings of such magnitude and beauty they still stand centuries later. 



saint-eustache-paris-france

French Chair for a Desk

Monday, August 14, 2017


...a versatile chair with French style can fit several places in a French-inspired garden and home... 

even as a desk chair 


Finding a French style chair for a desk may be easier than you think. You just have to know where to look... beyond antique French chairs in French flea markets. Instead of looking at flea markets for vintage chairs or at office furniture stores for new chairs, look at dining chairs. 




french-style-carved-wood-details-around-cane-back-chair

French Design on Friday 24

Friday, August 11, 2017


Cuisine 

~ Dining en plein air
Knowing the culture


Sidewalk cafes are synonymous with France. Thus, synonymous with French design. Dining en plein air (in the outdoor air) is prevalent in cities, towns, and villages. No city is too big nor too small for eating outside. No restaurant is too elegant nor too rustic to have outdoor dining. The smallest village has outdoor tables and chairs for its lone restaurant, and metropolitan areas have a variety of outdoor dining options. Settings everywhere can be on terraces, in courtyards, along narrow passageways, overlooking rivers, in town squares, on sidewalks, and in pea gravel gardens.  

French Design a beautiful way to hide wall plugs

Sunday, August 6, 2017


Having lived in several HUMBLE abodes while growing up in rural Alabama, I appreciate all the modern conveniences in new houses including electrical wall plugs. However, I do not like wall plugs to take center stage in my French-inspired garden and home. 




french-design-flower-pot-white-hydrangeas
French-style white ceramic pots filled with "garden grower" extra large white hydrangeas are meant to be the center of attention in my modern home. The large medallion on the vase/pot is much more pleasing to see than a conveniently-placed wall plug. 

DIY Shell Clothespins

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


Inspiration for do-it-yourself projects is born from using what you have to create what you need or want. At least that is how DIY shell clothespins came about at my house, and I love how they turned out. 

Everyday I think of another way to use them, and one of my readers commented she wanted to make some to give as a gift to a family member. So, here is how to make the super cute shell clothespins. 




diy-shell-clothespins-title-photos

DIY French Coastal Banner

Monday, July 17, 2017


La  Mer
the sea 

In the heat of summer the sea calls with its pounding waves, seagull squeals, salty spray, and beaches cooled by swirling waters. 

To capture the lure of the sea and to bring it home, display an easy to make DIY French coastal banner both inside and outside. La mer (the sea) will refresh your mind and imagination in the midst of summer's heat. 




diy-french-coastal-banner
Collect books about France, white starfish, and a framed French postcard to create an inside vignette surrounding the French-themed coastal banner displayed on a photo stand. 

See a link at the end of the post for downloading a free set of blue and white La Mer letters decorated with fleur de lis. 

French Design on Friday 23

Friday, July 14, 2017

French Celebrations 
~ Bastille Day ~

JULY 14 
le 14 juillet


French design for national celebrations has much in common with national celebrations in the United States, beginning with hurrah for the red, white, and bleu that appears throughout celebrations in both countries. 




three-vintage-french-flags
Both national flags sport red, white, and bleu, but the two bleus are not quite the same shade. The French flag is known as the Tricolore for its equal-sized bands of bleu, white, and red and was born out of the French Revolution in 1789 which was influenced by the American Revolution of 1776.  

Summer Coastal Country Tablesetting

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Summer... the time for dreaming about the beach and countryside. 


What better way to enjoy the best of summer from the coast AND countryside than to blend the two areas into a bright, cheerful table setting. 




green-hydrangea-blue-canning-jar-summer-coastal-country-tablesetting



blue skies, green trees, aqua waters... 

Summer's best features
whether you are at the coast mesmerized by the ocean
or in the countryside beguiled by loons on the pond  


3 Quick Changes To Coastal From Valentines

Monday, July 10, 2017


Summer is slipping by... 

The last time I looked at the stone shelf in the kitchen it had Valentines, and now summer has slipped past Independence Day moving toward summer vacations and beach time. With just three quick changes, I updated the kitchen stone shelf from Valentines to coastal decor. 




before-after-photos-changing-kitchen-stone-shelf-to-coastal-decor

French Design on Friday 22

Friday, July 7, 2017

Architecture
~Turrets~ 

Is any castle complete without at least one turret? French design for castles through the ages is replete with turrets used as guard towers. Later, turrets appeared in smaller non-royal residences, which were still spacious by today's standards. As late as Haussmann's rebirth of Paris as a modern city begun in 1853 and continued by others through 1927, turrets were still popular architectural features no longer used for security reasons. 




chenonceau-turret-overlooking-river-cher
Chenonceau's main building has turrets at each corner, but the most beautiful turret is the detached ancient guard tower. 

An ALMOST Amazing Sunday

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

{disclosure: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. provided me an Advanced Reader Copy of a new book, So Close to Amazing by KariAnne Wood. All opinions, comments, and my amazing Sunday are my own.} 



Some days I barely get my clothes thrown on, let alone any jewelry or make-up, and out the door I dash rushing to the appointed time and place with only seconds to spare. Nothing amazing happening on those days other than arriving in one piece, almost close to the time I should be there. 

But Sunday looked like it was going to be an AMAZING day, an amazing Sunday.  


A Sunday with French élégance, a day in which events slowly and smoothly evolved full of joie de vivre... 




an-almost-amazing-sunday-outfit-sunglasses-gold-buckle-belt-gold-hoop-earrings

French Design on Friday 21

Saturday, June 17, 2017

~ Cuisine ~
Château de Chenonceau 
l'Orangerie Restaurant 


Is there anything more synonymous with France than food? List the top five things France is known for and food will be in the list. Hence, food must be included as part of any discussion of French design. Renowned for le Cordon Bleu cuisine training, Michelin five-star restaurants, Julia Child cookbooks, mouth-watering croissants, sidewalk cafes, neighborhood bistros... France offers delectable meals in a wide-range of settings, all offered with French panache (flamboyant style or manner). 




chocolate-and-blueberry-dome-with-red-fruit-sorbet

French Design on Friday 20

Friday, June 9, 2017

~ Garden ~
Olive Tree Topiary 


French design is instinctive in France, a natural reflection of one's heritage and surroundings. Accepting trendy French Country from non-French designers may or may not provide the look inherit to French homes. For Francophiles who admire French design, we have to study French design for its details if we want authentic French style in our homes. 

How to know if something is French in design can be found by studying photographs taken in France. Truly a picture is worth a thousand words and can offer real insight in French Country, both design and way of life. 

Take a look at how Parisians use olive tree topiaries in their city gardens for ideas on how to create a French-inspired garden in your home. 




garden-olive-tree-topiaries-in-french-design
Gardening in a big city like Paris can be challenging, but containers offer a solution for adding a touch of nature and green to city sidewalks, courtyards, and balconies. Key ingredients in Paris gardening are using hardy plants that 1] withstand harsh city environments of end-to-end paved surfaces and 2] thrive as a container plant.  

Create a Potting Bench in Coastal Colors

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

STEP BY STEP GUIDE 

create-potting-bench-in-coastal-colors
Is functional design all you need to be happy with a potting bench? 

For me, I want a little something special, a little extra ZING, not just function, in any design. We needed a potting bench on our porch, and to give the potting area a little pizzazz, I decided to create a potting area filled with coastal colors. 

French Design on Friday 19

Friday, June 2, 2017

~ Flea Markets ~


Where does one find genuine French design for her home... at a bargain? 

French design spans centuries, and French families inherit furniture, art work, linens, china, and silverware to furnish their homes. Don't have a French ancestor from whom to inherit? Good news. 

French design can be bought at a bargain price. 


Each year in France over 15,000 flea markets, brocantes (second-hand goods), and vide greniers (empty the attic) attract buyers searching for vintage items no longer being passed on to the next generation. 



crystal-chandeliers-at-paris-flea-market
Les Puces de Saint-Ouen in Paris, the largest and best known flea market in France, is open every weekend, but commands high prices for quality antiques. 

Monday Social #37

Sunday, May 28, 2017




Change is the only constant in life.
Heraclitus, Greek Philosopher

Magnolia Summer Fun on Display

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Summer is coming... 

And with it comes fun in the sun or rain. This week we went to Magnolia Market in Waco to celebrate a friend's upcoming birthday and saw fabulous Magnolia displays brimming with ideas of how to have summer fun. 



magnolia-market-waco-texas-with-boxwood-planter

Monday Social #36

Sunday, May 21, 2017


Welcome to 

Monday Social #36



French Design on Friday 18

Saturday, May 20, 2017

~ Architecture ~ 
Paris 

Strolling the streets of Paris is as much of a museum visit as going to the Louvre. All of old Paris built between 1853-1927 was a grand French design with broad boulevards, new sewers, canals, parks and squares, and fountains begun with the idea of providing the working class with sanitary living quarters. 



paris-fountain-in-city-park
History proves there were political reasons also, but the sweeping demolition of medieval Paris over a 54-year period gave the world 

the City of Light. 

A beautiful city in which one can get lost staring at the French architecture instead of paying attention to directions for the final destination...  

Tips to Get Hydrangeas to Bloom

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Hydrangea season has arrived in the South, and with the arrival of hydrangea blooms each year comes the questions about why doesn't my hydrangea bloom. If you love hydrangeas as much as I do, you are probably very interested in TIPS for getting hydrangeas to bloom... 

and to bloom in your favorite color. 




my-favorite-color-of-hydrangeas-is-pale-blue