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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Birdhouses Old & New

Monday, September 30, 2013

Bird feeders, birdcages, and 
Bird Houses
always catch my attention, and 
as a result, are scattered throughout my house. 

Over the years I have acquired birdhouses
for their architectural details, unusual design,
color, quirkiness, or sentimental attachment.
Some were gifts from friends and family.

One of my oldest birdhouses was built by
my husband after we saw a duplex birdhouse at
a lavender farm in Fredericksburg, Texas.

The birdhouse sat atop a post in a flower garden in our backyard for many years. 
To prevent further deterioration from the weather, 
I repainted it and brought it inside. 
Wonderful memories fill my heart whenever I look at it.
Great memories of trips to Fredericksburg...
 Great memories of building the birdhouse and painting it...

Great memories of the flowers in the garden that surrounded it...
Some of the flowers were grown from seeds that
my husband brought home to me from an overseas business trip.
Other flowers grew from seeds we harvested from wild basketflowers
growing in fields on the highway to my in-laws' house.

This Christmas birdhouse was a gift from my dear sister, 
and it is displayed year round. 

One of the prettiest birdhouses in my house
once belonged to a close friend.
When she passed away over ten years ago,
her children had an estate sale,
and the birdhouse was one of her things that I bought.

I was with her when she bought it from a
vendor in an antique mall.

We taught together and developed a close friendship
since we shared similar decorating tastes.
For many years we shopped together,
toured holiday open houses, played bridge,
and even went to France together.
I miss her at Christmas time especially.

A few years ago I was part of a craft show and sale
at the high school where I taught.

This little birdhouse was one of the 8-10 variations
of small birdhouses that my husband and I made for the sale.
He made them from 2x4's, and I painted and decorated them.
Finding just the right quirky twigs for the bird perches was a challenge.
The twigs gave each house its own personality.

Here is the latest birdhouse under construction at my house.
For two-three years, I have been collecting license plates to use
in some kind of projects without a real vision of what the projects would be.

This past Saturday, building began.

The weathered cedar wood was lying under my deck, and 
the blue and white bird perches are ceramic knobs from Hobby Lobby. 

Truth in building, 
a handyman did the actual sawing, gluing, and drilling.

I did make the handle from an old sturdy wire clothes hanger.
After untwisting the hook and straightening the wire,
I bent the wire around a small artist round-handled paintbrush
to create the squiggles.
This wire is so strong that it holds the birdhouse very nicely.

The California license plate is from my sister's car. 
It looks brand new and unused, but it was on her car until 
she replaced it with her new TEXAS plate. 
Another birdhouse with ingrained memories of family...

The license plate is not attached to the birdhouse yet.  
Right now, it is just lying on top of the birdhouse. 
The birdhouse lid should open in order to clean out the house on occasion. 
So, I have been thinking of how best to attach the license. 
I'm seeing more coat hanger wire going through the top 
screw holes on the plate and through holes drilled into the back 
of the birdhouse.

This birdhouse could also be used in the house 
as a box to hide the TV remote controls. 

I'm also considering white-washing the wood.
With both the license and the knob perches so white,
a very thin watered-down chippy dry brush white wash
might look really good.

This little birdhouse will be so fun to decorate all during the year.
Immediately, I thought of all the patriotic holidays since the plate
is red, white, and blue.

The red California word will connect with both
Valentine's Day and Christmas.
Tie hearts on it for Valentine's Day.
Add holly and a red ribbon for Christmas.

Can't you just see the birdhouse hanging from a hook?

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