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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Happy Easter

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Wishing you a blessed Easter 
filled with hope, laughter, love, 
a chocolate bunny of your own. 
~~~~ ❦ ~~~~

Natural Grass Easter Table Setting

Friday, March 25, 2016

Natural blooming prairie grasses grow in our pastures,
along side the roads, and in our yards here in the Texas countryside. 
After blooming for a short time in late Winter to early Spring, their flowers will fade,
and the plants will go dormant to survive the long hot months to come.

Potting Natural Grasses

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

As Spring awakens and rises from her deep sleep, 
wild blooming flowers appear with their cheery blooms blowing to and fro. 
Hundreds grow in the prairies, woods, pastures, 

Some wild flowering grasses have tiny blossoms that are hard to see individually, but cast a faint colorful haze when hundreds grow together in a roadside patch. Hundreds of these flowers grow in the ditches near my drive. 

Ivy Heart Topiary in Bunny Pot

Monday, March 21, 2016

Minimalist white Winter is over, and 
true love blue Spring is back. 

I want to have more white in my house. 
I truly do. 

Until I see another beautiful ceramic flower pot with blue. 
Who can resist that adorable bleu bunny?

Oh, yes, all of you who love green, or yellow, or red, or neutrals, or......... 
Those of you who love green, this pattern comes in green also. 

French Script Bunny & Rustic Pots

Friday, March 18, 2016

Would you like a quick, easy Spring and Easter centerpiece idea? 
One that involves a French script bunny, rustic French rose pots, and flowers? 

Small simple arrangements do not take much time, space, or money. 
They can fit on a small dining table, a sideboard, or a kitchen island 
with plenty of room left for food and place settings. 

Begin with a collection of an odd number of small French rustic rose pots.  
Set some upright, set others lying on their sides at angles to one another, 
and stack a couple together. 

Add a 4-inch blooming bedding plant, like a lobelia, in a metal pot. 
Use a white sweet alyssum for a more neutral look, 
or use a multi-colored pansy for a bolder, brighter touch. 

I like the delicate look of blue lobelia that gracefully falls over the edge 
of its container when the plant gets bigger. 

Then add the star of the arrangement, 
a French script bunny wearing a rhinestone-studded white lace cummerbund around its body. 
Position at an angle across the rose pots and lean against the flowers. 

The overall shape creates movement, but never sends the 
eyes off into the wild blue yonder. 

Notice how the arrangement follows the shape of a triangle. 
The eyes begin on the lower left pots, follow the body of the bunny 
up to the flower tips at the peak, then back down to the stacked pots. 

The transition from the metal pot to the stacked pots on the right is gradual. 
If only one pot is positioned on the right, 
the jump from the height of the metal pot down to a single pot 
is not as fluid. 

The position of the bunny unifies the design. 

A simple, quick, easy, and versatile centerpiece 
makes everyday seem like a special holiday.  

For more ideas about how to create interesting arrangements, see 

~~~~ ❦ ~~~~

Please join me at these inspiring places for more joy of living. 
Dishing It and Digging It @ Rustic and Refined



Toilet in the Shower ~ WHAT?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

How did a quick, before-daylight trip to the bathroom 
lead to the toilet being in the shower? 

Famous for NOT being a morning person,
I stumble around when I first wake up even when I plan to get up.
An older colleague, really like a dad, who mentored me for years while teaching
told everyone, "God does not turn on Judy's air until 10:00 a.m."

Then, when I have to get up to go the bathroom while it is still dark,
it's as though I'm sleep walking.

Wheat Grass Basket with French Script Ribbon

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Pretty centerpieces should not be created only for company. 
Living each day with joy calls for enjoying beauty in the everyday, 
not waiting for something special to happen to enjoy the moment. 
Instead, enjoying the everyday moments makes something special happen. 

Laughter... smiles...feeling good...

The French refer to enjoying life as joie de vivre, 
the joy of living.  

While shopping for groceries recently, I spotted 
fresh wheat grass growing in small square plastic pots 
in the fresh produce section, 
and immediately placed one in my shopping cart. 

Did I know how I was going to use the grass? 


I knew I was NOT going to eat the grass or cook with the grass. 
Do people eat and/or cook with wheat grass? 
My cats love eating grass and have been caught nibbling on this grass. 

The grass just made me happy. 
Made me think Spring, Easter, and Easter egg hunts, 
as I whisked my little shopping cart around gathering groceries. 
My mind turning in its own directions as the cart turned down the aisles. 

Easter baskets... ! 
Stop the grocery basket and think Easter basket with wheat grass. 
You know, an Easter basket with real grass instead of fake paper grass. 

Wheat grass sitting in an old battered basket 
that once had been an Easter basket makes me happy. 

The old Easter basket most recently 
had been hanging around on the kitchen pot rack above the island, 
but was the almost perfect size to hold the square of wheat grass. 

That is the beginning of a Spring basket on the breakfast table 
just for everyday, not for a special occasion. 

One thing led to another as my mind continued to turn in its own happy directions. 

Add the white tulips from last week, and keep the pottery coasters handy 
for sitting iced tea and cokes on so as not to make rings on the table, 
sit the little bunny with French script and lace near the basket. 

Still more of the 'one thing led to another.' 
The little black plastic square holding the grass was not very pretty. 

But, I do have some very pretty 3-inch wide muslin ribbon 
hand-stamped with French script and spangled crowns. 

The ribbon is the perfect height to hide the black plastic container that 
was stealing some of my joie de vivre

There you have it... 

... a wheat grass basket with French script ribbon and bunny 
as an everyday centerpiece. 

Just for the fun of it. 
Just for the joy of living....everyday. 

Want some more inspiration for joie de vivre 
found in an everyday centerpiece? 

~~~~ ❦ ~~~~

Please join me at these inspiring places for more joy of living. 
Dishing It and Digging It @ Rustic and Refined



bluebonnet field of dreams

Friday, March 11, 2016

Spring may officially arrive on March 20 in 2016,
but Spring's true arrival in each area in the world is not based on a date on the calendar.
Instead, each nook and cranny in the world has its own signal that Spring has arrived.

Bluebonnets are the unofficial first sign of Spring in Texas,
much like robins are the unofficial first sign of Spring for the northern states.
In 2014, the bluebonnets were glorious all around Ennis, Texas
as seen in the following post first published in May 2014.

Part of the joy of living is reliving special times in our lives.
Please enjoy the reliving of the 2014 bluebonnets,
one of the two most spectacular Springs for bluebonnets in my life.


Fields and fields of wild 
Texas bluebonnets 
were fields of dreams for early settlers. 

Wide open spaces appeared as painted by a 
French impressionist. 

Bright greens, blues, and yellows 
promised fertile lands for crops and livestock. 

Today the wildflower fields around Ennis, Texas 
are dotted with cattle on the horizon. 

The acres of wild bluebonnets as seen by early settlers were
unobstructed views, beckoning farmers and ranchers to stay. 

And, stay they did, 
enclosing the wide open spaces with fences. 

Barbed wire and wooden fence posts have given way to more 
modern fencing materials. 

Today, the fields of dreams are sometimes enclosed by metal fencing. 
The Texas bluebonnet fields are filled with varying shades... 
from pure white to pale blue to medium blue to cobalt blue. 

Rarely there are even shades of pink and red bluebonnets in some fields. 

More common than pink and red bluebonnets are 
Indian Paintbrushes. 
Most years paintbrushes bloom around the same time 
as bluebonnets, and often will grow interspersed in the same field. 
These paintbrushes are growing along the side of the road 
near a field of bluebonnets in the background. 

Both bluebonnets and paintbrushes are annuals and 
reseed themselves to return each spring, 
carpeting field after field with their beauty. 

Bluebonnets are in the lupine family, and 
varying wild lupines grow in thirty states, 
according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Growing conditions in Texas, 
long hot summers and sparse rainfall, 
produce short flowers. 

In Texas, the field of dreams still lives. 
Today homeowners buy acreage  
so their "front yards" are filled with wild bluebonnets. 

Many are generous and allow others to visit 
their fields to take photos each spring. 
Ennis, Texas is the Bluebonnet Capital in Texas, 
and has a bluebonnet festival each April. 
Ennis is located about 40 minutes south of Dallas, and 
the Chamber of Commerce offers free maps 
with several routes marked for viewing wild bluebonnets.  

A highlight of my life each year is seeing 
Texas bluebonnets, 

a field of dreams. 


The Ennis Bluebonnet Trails are April 1-30, 2016, and 
The Ennis Bluebonnet Trails Festival is April 15-17, 2016. 
Information is available at 

Bluebonnet Blog Hop 
is celebrating S P R I N G. 

Please join me at these inspiring sites where I am sharing the bluebonnet field of dreams and all of the other Spring inspirations...

Dishing It and Digging It @ Rustic and Refined



A Fast Inexpensive Spring Touch

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Spring rarely arrives as quickly as most people want. 

Christmas is the highlight of the year for many, 
and Valentine's Day is filled with love, 
but shortly thereafter 

the  w.e.a.r.i.n.e.s.s  of Winter 

begins to make us long for Spring. 
With no more Winter holidays to brighten our days, 
we look ahead longing for new life, warmer days, and blue skies. 

Natural Landscape With Daffodils

Monday, March 7, 2016

Creating a natural French country setting surrounding a house in the countryside 
takes some deliberate thought about how to achieve that style.

Part of the reason we built a house on two acres outside any city limits 
was to have a yard that was natural and environmentally friendly. 
We wanted a yard that required 1] as little as possible supplementary watering, 
2] no pesticides, and 3] minimal fertilization. 

Decorating With Shades of Spring

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Decorating for Spring doesn't have to be elaborate, complicated, or expensive. 
This time of year nature provides free flowers which makes adding a little color 
to the living room, kitchen, bedroom, or bathroom simple, quick, and easy. 
Decorating with shades of Spring can be as easy as adding 
just a sprig or two of muscari, grape hyacinths, to white bowls and pitchers 
and placing them on the kitchen island.  

March l'heure bleue

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Beautiful blogs written by even more beautiful souls 
provide bountiful inspiration every day! 

March l'heure bleue 
was inspired by 
and her collage of Etsy items to romance her cottage. 

From Lin's inspiration, I created a new PINTEREST board to celebrate 

Bon Anniversaire en Bleu

(Happy Birthday in Blue)

Go to my Pinterest board in order to enjoy larger photos 
and to go to the sites for more inspiration.  

  1.  No birthday celebration is complete without a scrumptious looking and tasting birthday cake
  2.  Flowers, blue Love-in-a-Mist (nigella) and white foxglove, begin the birthday with a message of love and beauty. 
  3.  More blue and white flowers complement the plates for serving the cake. 
  4.  Cake calls for candles, but these will be enjoyed on the table instead of on the cake. 
  5.  Blue and white wallpaper serve as gift wrap for a much-coveted birthday present. 
  6.  French blue stoneware bowls are the perfect birthday present
  7.  Beautiful vintage cards, letters, and prints arrive in the mail filled with wishes for a "Happy Birthday." 
  8.  A handmade wooden letter rack displays birthday wishes as they arrive and for many days to follow, stretching the birthDAY into a birthWEEK.  
  9.  Boarding a midnight blue train for a birthday trip, the birthday girl is ready for new adventures. Never too old for exploring beautiful locations in style. 
  10.  As the train speeds through the night, blue and white lace-trimmed pillow covers offer a peaceful rest, bringing the birthday to a close, but promising the best is yet to come.  


Please join me at these inspiring sites...

Dishing It and Digging It @ Rustic and Refined