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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

FALL Red Transferware, Stoneware Crock, Kitchen Linens

Saturday, September 5, 2015


What does Provence, France have in common with an American Fall?  COLORS!  Reds and yellows are signature colors for both.  After gathering a red transferware pitcher, a natural stoneware crock, and apple-themed kitchen linens together, the collection looked as though it could be sitting on a rustic table in the south of France.  Or, perhaps in a Charles Faudre√® French-designed room.  All of which makes me happy.  I love anything French.  Well, most anything French.  I'm not too fond of escargot.  Indeed, I don't care for it all!  Bleh! 




Reds and yellows are a departure for me, but with Labor Day weekend the unofficial start of Fall, the colors reflect the season.




Are you wondering how reds and yellows appeared on my kitchen island that is usually filled with blues and whites?  Truth be told, this gathering of Fall items began many, many years ago and far, far away.  Almost fifty years ago.




That's when I bought the red transferware pitcher for my mother as a souvenir from my trip to Victoria, Canada.  Back in those days, Victoria had china shop after china shop, street after street. Most of the china shops closed their doors years ago, but I remember what fun it was to shop in them with my aunt, whom I was visiting.  The little pitcher is not a valuable antique, and similar ones can be found on ebay for just a few dollars.  It does have the manufacturer's name on the bottom and was made in England.



The only new things in this group are the apples, pears, and flowers.  The other items came home with me from my mother's house or from an antique store in Alabama.




The pot holders and coordinating kitchen towel are new to me, and I found them still with attached price tags in a plastic bag high up on the top shelf in my mother's clothes closet.  She evidently had bought them some time in the past, but had not used them. I'm guilty of the same thing... buying things and then forgetting them after storing them in a closet either to give as gifts later or to use at a later season.



The large flat rustic basket makes a perfect base for the arrangement.  The basket hung on the wall in my mother's utility room. 




My fascination with crocks is not new to this year, but this is the second stoneware crock I found at a great price this year.  Found at Chipper's antique store in Paint Rock, Alabama, the crock is short, in great condition, and has no markings.  White narcissi paperwhites will look wonderful in it at Christmas.   

Paint Rock... growing up, I thought nothing about this town's name.  The name was just the name of a tiny little town about 10 minutes from home, but now, I find, I really like this name... Paint Rock. 




Here's a little secret.  The crock pot is not totally filled with fruit.  No, there is a small mixing bowl turned upside down in the bottom of the crock on which the fruit is resting. 




Even at close range, the bowl is fairly well hidden.  However, I can see the blue of the bowl beneath the two apples.  Can you see it?  




After thinking about the arrangement on my island countertop, I realize there are more connections with France besides the red and yellow color scheme of Provence.  The French connections include mixing new with old, fresh flowers in the kitchen, artfully setting out fresh fruit, using a rustic natural basket, and remembering our ties with our families.  Country French homes combine items collected over many years and generations, cherish the beauty of nature, and enjoy the patina of well-worn, well-loved items. 

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