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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Friendship Lunch Prep #1

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Valentine's Day 
is not only a day/time for expressing 
romantic love. 

Valentine's Day is a perfect time 
to celebrate 

During January, 
many of my dear friends and retired colleagues 
responded to my pleas for help 
with the Regional Academic Decathlon Competition 
that I coordinate.  

Long story, but due to an unexpected 
realignment of the schools in each region, 
I found our region had lost over forty of our usual volunteers 
to help conduct the contest. 

Many of my friends stepped in 
to fill the slots for lost volunteers, and helped  
to organize materials, to provide food for hospitality, and 
to judge the speech event.  
The contest was a huge success. 

Now I am preparing for a 
Friendship Lunch 
to show my love and appreciation to them.   
Perfect timing for the week of 
Valentine's Day 
to use hearts and flowers. 

This week I have been busy cleaning and decorating, 
the first step for preparing for a party. 

The pine chest at the end of the fireplace that separates 
the living room and kitchen 
will be very visible during the party. 

 Valentine's Day and French-inspired touches 
set the tone for friendship love. 

Flowers, pink, France, beloved books, and a heart-shaped ivy 
portray a feminine, romantic theme. 

The ivy heart, an early Valentine's Day present 
from my sister, reminds me of family love.  
The beautiful magnolia-decorated gift bag 
was part of my birthday present from her last year. 

All the details on the bag bring wonderful memories. 

she and I have traveled there together many times.

A lavender-edged wire ribbon bow...
 her favorite color is peach.

Magnolia blossoms...  
a traditional southern flower that filled the 
window ledges of the church at my wedding. 

A fleur-de-lis stand holds what could be a Valentine's card. 
Another symbol of friendship... 

The trio of silver-plated forks was found 
at a small neighborhood flea market in Paris 
during one of those trips my sister and I shared. 

Tied with a two-tone silk ribbon, the forks are left unpolished 
to reflect their vintage heritage. 

Since the chest will be viewed from three sides, 
a little glass jar of French-script 
sits behind the stack of books. 

There is still more decorating to come,
invitations to create and to send, 
small favors to make, 
tables to set, and 
food to prepare.

What fun it is to show 
others how much they are appreciated. 
What fun it is to share 
the party preparations with 
all of you, 
allowing you to be a 
virtual guest. 

Please join me at these inspiring sites...



  1. Such a pretty vignette, Judith! I love the heart shaped topiary!

  2. I'm sure your generous friends will be enchanted by the setting!

  3. Judith, your thoughtfulness will be much appreciated as you share the beauty of your home and party with your friends. Everything looks charming!

  4. How sad so many miles separate us as I was ready to volunteer just for the opportunity to stop by and visit!
    Everything looks nifty Dear!

  5. How beautiful is your pine chest and all that adorns it!
    I just marvel at those French feathers every time I set eyes on them!
    Thank you for your virtual invitation, Judith!

  6. Everything is stunning, as usual, but the forks tied with ribbon and embellished with the tag, steal my heart. Tres bon! You are right about the spirit of Valentine's Day... it is an expression of fondness for anyone whom we hold dear. Your special touches express such fondness in such a special way. Your guests will feel indulged.

  7. What a lovely gesture and a lovely vignette! It's no wonder your friends volunteer to help such a caring and thoughtful friend! Have a wonderful party!

  8. Hi Judith. I am always inspired by you! I have made Botanic Bleu a Pick of the Week included a link back and a small picture from your blog on my post Paris in my Heart. If this is in any way unacceptable please let me know and I will remove it. Have a blessed week.

  9. I hope you are having a lovely party!! I have truly enjoyed the decorations, and wish you a
    Happy Heart Day!!

  10. Oh my, those feathers are lovely. Sherry


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