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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?

Please join me at these inspiring sites...



  1. You sure have a talent creating beautiful and unique birdhouses. Such sweet memories of your sister that will live on forever. Have a tear in my eye and a lump in my throat reading this.

  2. Judith,
    I love the weathered house that belonged to your dear friend. Such sweet memories live in that little house.
    You new house is brilliant! I can see your feathered guests dining California style soon.
    We have only had Hobby Lobby in our area for a few months. I love their selection of knobs.
    They are very similar to the knobs at Anthropologie, at far better prices. You found a perfect touch of Botanic French Bleu for the birdies.

  3. What a lovely post. I love that your friend's bird house ever reminds you of her. I love bird houses also, have many, and am inspired by your post to take them out of our garden shed and do something with them. Have a great day! Sue

  4. You are so very talented. Love the post. The blog header is beautiful.
    Those colors are gorgeous.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Hope to see you on my blog:)

  5. Hi Judith, I too am a lover of bird houses--all kinds, rustic, refined and everything in between. Your collection is wonderful and your story of the memories they bring to you is so moving. I think your newest creation is wonderful too. We have to turn in our plates here in CT when we move or the DMV hunts us down! I love the graphics on the CA plate and the knobs are perfect! Linda

  6. That birdhouse is wonderful. Thanks so much for linking to Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

  7. I don't have a big collection of bird houses, but do know how popular they are for home and garden decor. I'll bet the 2x4 ones sold well. The rustic birdhouse that belonged to your late friend is sweet and a nice keepsake from your friendship.

  8. Hi Judith,

    What an interesting and eclectic collection of birdhouses! I enjoyed reading about each one's history and sentimental meaning. They are all quite different and unique for their 'architecture' but also for their connection to loved ones or memories of certain occasions. I have to say, I am especially taken with the first for its colour, texture and the memories it holds for you. And, I am intrigued with your ''new build''; very innovative in design!


  9. Love the birdhouses and the stories of the memories they bring back. How sweet to have your friend's birdhouse as a reminder of the friendship and shared times. The new one using the license plate is really unique! Thank you for sharing!

  10. Judith, your birdhouses are filled with sweet memories. It's the memories that make the things in our lives the treasures in our lives. I, too, have a small group of birdhouses, some that hang outdoors, others that I keep inside. Each holds a memory for me too. It's fun to see the architecture of the different bird houses. I like your new design!


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