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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Organizing Keepsakes in Baskets

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Organizing objects in baskets 
somehow elevates the items 
from clutter to keepsakes. 

Well, the items chosen for keeping 
after reviewing everything stuffed in 
the basket to get it off the side table 
become keepsakes. 

items saved for another day 
must be reviewed in my house. 
There comes a day, 
not planned beforehand, 
not on a scheduled day of the week, 
not on a predetermined timetable, 
but just the day comes when the 
clutter must be reviewed... 
for me to keep my sanity. 
I can take clutter only for so long, 
then it screams to be organized. 

Walking through the living room, 
something catches my eye, 
and I know it’s time to review 
the clutter. 

Look at every item in the basket. 
Re-read every torn-out magazine page. 
Drop into the wastebasket those 
pages that no longer have 
staying appeal, 
those pages with furniture, 
architectural details, and color schemes 
that do not quite seem as 
appealing as first glance. 

Relocate those things that 
should be saved with similar items elsewhere. 
Place the collectible coins 
with the other coins. 
Place the newspaper article about 
monarch butterflies with the 
books about butterflies. 

Two hours later, 
emerge from what once was 

The Martha Stewart Living magazine article 
on blue bulbs stays for handy reference. 

The purple ornate scroll photo frame from 
Temecula, California stays as a 
complement to the small needlepoint pillow 
from Paris, France. 
The pillow fits perfectly in the large section of the 
divided basket. 

The thin blue-print-on-teal notebook of blank pages 
stays in case notes need to be jotted down. 
Can one ever have too many small notebooks 
with blank pages? 

The set of four or five years of 
lavender leather-covered personal monthly calendars stay, 
more for their beautiful covers with 
their luxurious feel than for the 
references to past events. 
They fit perfectly in the small section of the 
divided basket. 

One day someone will buy these at 
an estate sale for their beauty 
and will wonder about the woman whose life 
was chronicled in their pages. 
Ordinary women are mysterious in the future. 
Extraordinary women’s lives are so well documented 
that there is little left about which to wonder. 

For now, these keepsakes made the cut,  
no longer clutter.
Until the next time
organization strikes.
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Watering Can Lamp

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Estate sales have the best 
unusual finds, 
things you cannot just walk 
into a store and buy. 

Of course, 
you may have to work on your latest estate find 
to get it to look like it belongs to you 
instead of the person whose estate was sold. 

The only things left from the way this 
watering can lamp 
 looked when I bought it at an estate sale 
are the lampshade and the plaid silk and raffia ribbons. 
Some day the lampshade will be replaced, 
when I find just the one that says, 
"watering can lamp" 
and that goes with the new 
brass leaf finial. 
The leaf finial came from Lowes a few years ago 
when the store discontinued a line of decorative finials. 
I bought a few of the heavily discounted finials that 
were on the display board for the line. 

No before photos...
Of a yellow can filled with 
artificial plastic greenery. 
Envision faux ivy... 

After removing all of the greenery, 
the little watering can lamp got a coat of pink paint, 
followed by scattered sponged darker shades of coral 
to add some depth to the color. 

Fabric and paper flowers and leaves replaced the plastic greenery. 

The marvelous plaid silk ribbon with its soft green wired edge 
determined the colors of the new fabric and paper faux flowers. 
How I wish I had yards and yards of that ribbon. 
The natural colored raffia adds just the right touch of 
whimsy to make the large bow interesting. 

When I found the large peach and cream paper flower 
with its ruffled edges tinged with purple, 
I bought all the shop had...two full blown and one bud flower. 
A full blown one is the star of the watering can bouquet, 
and the other two often appear on the stone shelf in the kitchen. 

Fabric peachy cream hydrangeas and variegated coral zinnias 
spill out of the watering can much like their natural 
counterparts do in real flower arrangements. 

The watering can lamp has been in an upstairs guest bedroom, 
but is now traveling around the house looking for a new location. 
A likely landing spot is in my loft office area. 
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Watercolor ~ Garden Shed

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Technology changes so quickly 
I have a hard time keeping current. 
(Does that happen to anyone else?)

This spring there have been so many 
beautiful photos by bloggers using the 
new app Waterlogue, 
but my iPhone was so old that 
Waterlogue could not be installed. 
Surely this was a sign that it was time to update my phone. 

I, whose old phone about ten years ago 
was ridiculed as being a brick, do not really like 
cell/mobile phones for several reasons. 
Not the place nor time to explain...

If you want to reach me, call me on my land line. 
Do not send me text messages. 
That costs extra money, either in a monthly plan, 
or by individual use. 

Do not pull out your smartphone and start using it 
while we are having lunch!

Back to Waterlogue...
So, what's a girl to do? 
Yepper, go shopping for a new iPhone, 
and install Waterlogue on it. 

The first of four watercolor images of THE garden shed in my backyard...

Friendly, helpful bloggers taught me how to do this. 
1] Send a photo to yourself as an attachment to your email. 
2] Open the email and save the attachment on your 
iPhone's photo app.
3] Open the photo in the app Waterlogue and voilĂ , 

Garden Shed #2 

I want to print a watercolor image of the garden shed to frame. 
Now, which one should I use? 

Garden Shed #3 

Garden Shed #4

After creating these four Waterlogue images, 
I emailed them as attachments to myself 
and saved them to my computer. 
The four different effects reminded me of the four seasons. 

Now, the question is which one to use?

The first one, Spring, is my favorite. 
Maybe I should print all four and use them 
in a grouping... 

Here is the original photo used to create the four 
Waterlogue images. 
For more shed views, see French Garden Shed Elements 

No, I don't like cell phones, 
but I am beginning to like the 
new things they can do. 
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To Mother, With Love

Sunday, May 11, 2014

To all the mothers 
on this special day...

To Mother, With Love

A bouquet filled with beautiful flowers 
tumbling out of the vase in all directions... 

like a Mother's love that spills out of her heart 
in all directions... 

A closer look at both flowers and
a mother's heart reveals 
the beauty 
of untidy compositions. 

Red roses, white hydrangea, and white tulips...  
all neat, disciplined beauties  
that anchor the floral arrangement. 

Daily meals, nightly baths, laundered clothes,
homework lessons, earnest heart-to-heart talks... 
all solid, relentless rituals 
that are a mother's love. 

Wild honeysuckle vines and scurfy peas, 
their tendrils wildly spilling over the vase's edges, 
give the floral arrangement its untidy, 
but exuberant, look. 

Giggling, tickling embraces, 
chocolate chip cookie baking lessons, 
wild cheering from the bleachers, 
prom dress shopping excursions... 
untidy events spilling out of a mother's heart.. 
a mother's loving exuberance. 

Together, the neat disciplined flowers and
the wild unexpected vines create a beautiful arrangement
that captures our hearts and
lingers in our memories long after the flowers fade.

To Mother, with love

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Peonies, Hostas, New Upholstery

Thursday, May 8, 2014

As dawn broke there was just 
enough light to gather armloads of 
new peony blooms to 
make the trip from Alabama to Texas. 

White blowsy ruffled-edged blossoms 
fill a footed soup tureen that lost its lid 
long before I rescued the tureen from the antique store 
in a teeny Texas town.  

Tinges of pink outer petals and center stamen are the only 
color in the fragrant creamy white peonies. 

Fresh new hosta leaves add multiple shades of green 
to the arrangement. 

In the background is a peek at one of 
the breakfast chairs with its new upholstery. 

Are those large white flowers in the upholstery peonies? 
Seriously, what do you think? 

I really like how well the upholsterer was able to 
center the flower surrounded by the small blue flowers on 
both the back and seat of the chair. 

Are there too many stamen for the upholstery flowers to be peonies? 

Whatever kind the flowers are, 
I like the flowers in the new upholstery. 

With the white background, the floral pattern is light and airy. 

The peony arrangement goes well with the chairs. 

Have you noticed how well the blue in the new fabric 
goes with blue and white china? 

The green leaves in the new upholstery also go well with the hosta leaves. 

Peonies, hostas, and breakfast chair upholstery... 
All fresh and new... 

There are also new upholstered pieces in the living room, 
just waiting their turn to be in the spotlight. 
Coming soon... 
 Thank you for coming by for a visit. 
Thanks to faithful followers  
who were there in the very beginning who continue 
to leave encouraging words, and 
thanks to all my new followers. 
I continue to be amazed and grateful

And continue to be inspired by 
all of your incredible creativity... 
Isn't it astonishing that there are 
so many talented people out there! 
Everyday I see wonderful writing, 
fantastic photos, and innovative thinking 
worthy of being in national media articles. 
But then, isn't a blog a national media article? 
Or rather, an international media article? 
Keep up the good work. 
We are reading! 
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