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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Can't Go to France? Bring a Little France to You

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Can't go to France,
but the longing for France dances in your mind daily? 

When you have friends going, hearing all their plans, 
but you can't go due to work, or family illnesses, or not in the budget.  

What to do when you can't go to France? 

bring a little France to you. 

Here are suggestions for ways to 
bring a little France into a favorite spot in your house. 
Bring France to a place that you see every day, 
in full view from the kitchen and living room. 

Start with a French blue flower pot and add an old world live foxglove, 
one that takes center stage to add a touch of  
French country gardens and Parisian flower markets. 

Design tip:  Notice the multiple uses of blue... 
flower pot, large floral framed print on the stone wall, 
small picture on the chest, blue in the books, paperweight... 
The color bleu helps unify the grouping. 

Add another touch of greenery with preserved boxwood 
tucked into an empty glass candle holder 
that has golden scenes from Paris. 
The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Conciergerie... 
Scenes that bring Paris to you... 

Display books about France. 
The Heart of FRANCE and 

Just seeing the books brings to mind France's beauty. 
Having them in sight invites you to browse 
through them to take a 30-minute tour while having coffee. 
You may not be there in person, 
but your mind and spirit can be there as you daydream 
looking through photos and reading about French scenery. 

Place the boxwood at the base of a small lamp atop the stack of books. 

Design tip: Once again color has been repeated. This time, gold. 
Gold spine of the top book, gold design on the glass candle jar, 
and gold picture frame in the background. 

Sometimes good things come from accidents. 
Or perhaps, realizing not all is lost when accidents happen. 

The small lamp once had a cherry wood base 
with a blue and white teacup filled with artificial pastel flowers. 
The lamp was knocked onto the floor shattering the saucer 
and breaking the handle of the teacup. 
Miraculously, the teacup was still intact. 

So many memories of good times traveling to Salado 
with a dear friend, now deceased, are tied to the little lamp. 
Both my friend and I bought this same lamp on one of those trips. 

In the French spirit of treasuring the imperfect as well as the perfect, 
the handle was glued together, but the teacup was not glued back to the lamp base.  
Painting the lamp base white gave it new life and an update. 
Had the lamp not been broken, it would have been unlikely 
that it would have been painted, and for certain, it would always 
have retained the blue and white teacup. 

Now the lamp can hold any number of small things on its base. 
At Christmas time there was a small white vase with the word Noel. 
The accident paved the way for changing the lamp's look 
with each new grouping on the chest of drawers. 

Bring a little more France to you... 

Add a small picture of French lavender like this one 
purchased in France while touring lavender fields in Provence. 

Souvenirs from previous trips to France 
bring vivid memories filled with details of authentic French life. 
When you cannot create a new travel experience, 
relive a favorite memory of a previous trip. 
Postcards make excellent small photos to frame, 
and the photos often are from a viewpoint not available to travelers. 

Design tips: The small picture's frame echoes the gold of the larger print's frame. 
The beading and corner accents in the wooden frame reflect French design. 

With flowers, French scenes, books about France, 
and a souvenir picture you can 

Bring a Little France to You

What is your favorite way to bring a little France 
(or insert country of choice) to yourself? 

Food comes to mind, but it is hard to incorporate 
into an arrangement on a chest... 

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