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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

July, The Blue Hour

Sunday, July 31, 2016

l'heure bleue en juillet  
the blue hour in July 

Because of its beauty that makes time stop for an instant, the expression l'heure bleue has come to describe a variety of special times and events, not just a description of a special blue glow at dusk. Each month in 2016, I am sharing a collage of blue images that create a little l'heure bleue for me. 

JULY... is an exciting time because BACK-to-SCHOOL shopping pops up all over town. But the best place for back-to-school shopping is in a papeterie (stationery shop or office supply store). New backpacks, snazzy new notebook designs, special prices for folders, pencils, pencils, pencils, colored staples, purple rubber bands, and BLUE everything fills aisle after aisle with items only available at this time of year. The rest of the year, all the school supplies are ho-hum, boring yellow pencils, lackluster notebooks, and standard colored folders. 

But, for a few weeks in July and August, Office Depot, Staples, Office Max, Target, .... entice shoppers to shop for school supplies with their ONE-OF-A-KIND items and special sales, found only this time of year and not to be repeated next year. 

This is the time of year that pale blue stationery with special scalloped edges can be found. Prepare to spend hours, experiencing l'heure bleue moments when time stops, as you examine each file folder to find just the perfect one. 

When you find a gorgeous blue and white card stock file folder with brads and pockets, fill up your shopping cart for these will not be available ever again. All at great prices... office supply store prices, not boutique stationery shop in Paris prices. 

plastic sleeve file folder
notebook pad paper 
 Be sure to buy the entire line... 1) card stock file folders with pockets AND decorated with fleur de lis, 2) Plastic sleeve file folders decorated with larger fleur de lis, 3) Notebook pad paper with another fleur de lis design. 

Yes, get them while you can. Otherwise, you will only use the paper sparingly, knowing when these are gone, there will be no more. 

Buy the matching blue heavy folder with its magnetic close flap to hold all your coordinating papers and plastic file folders filled with notes and reservation confirmations for your upcoming trip to Paris. 

Beautiful blue vintage bottles and ink bottles coordinate with all the new blue fleur de lis. 

More l'heure bleue moments occur when flea market shopping, whether it is in your neighbor's garage sale, or at the ultimate garage-sale-of-all-garage-sales, the flea markets in Paris. Time stops as you brake when spying blue glass bottles. Made in the USA... Phillips Milk of Magnesia and Vicks Vapor Rub... 

Fill a beribboned glass with blue mechanical pencils and pens for writing all your notes. A little joie de vivre happens when using beautiful bleu pens and pencils. The grocery list is a magical experience. 

Blue suede is for more than shoes. Found one July during the back-to-school sale at Office Depot, the blue suede file holder has a matching half-round desk pad perfect for protecting the desk and also perfect as a lap desk for writing bills or packing lists for Paris. 

File folders can hold important papers or serve as a photography back drop. 

If you are looking for inexpensive unusual back drops for photo styling, take a stroll through the aisles of the back-to-school supplies. You may find a unique design in a file folder that is inexpensive, can be used both on a flat surface and as a vertical back drop, and is easy to store. 

Take your children back-to-school shopping, but then go back by yourself for some shopping for you and experience ... 

little l'heure bleue moments in the local office supply store as

T I M E   S T O P S  

when you discover an entire line of bleu fleur de lis desk supplies  


there's nothing like the smell of a freshly sharpened new pencil! 


  1. Advice taken! I have a new-to-me desk that is crying out to be equipped.

  2. As a teacher, I have an obsession with beautiful "school supplies". The perfect pen (Papermate flair), the new pencils, the fresh paper, unused glue sticks, gold-handled scissors... each year I get giddy shopping for my stash for the upcoming year. Fun post!
    Best & Bisous,
    Michelle from Simply Santa Barbara

  3. I can't remember the last time I went to a nice stationary store but you have me excited about back to school supplies. I love new pens and notebooks. I'll be on the lookout now! Hugs, Diane

  4. Summer back to school shopping for my classroom is one of the things I miss about teaching! I recently filled up a backpack with supplies for a collection at church. It felt good to help students in a different way.

  5. The smell of a new pencil...That brings back memories. Reading your thoughts and seeing this stunning paper makes me long for the days of love letters and getting a letter in the mail. What beautiful paper! Thanks so much for sharing this with us at the DI & DI Link Party. We loved having you.

  6. Bonjour, Judith! That hue of blue is just dreamy. Surrounding myself with pops of blue any time of the year makes for a peaceful setting. LOVE your vignettes!

  7. Judith, I'm just back from a little get away, but you have me planning a trip to Target tomorrow. The papers are lovely. I'm very fond of your l'heure bleue series. ;-)

  8. Judith,
    Just returned from our restful trip to the mountains where we were surrounded by many blue wild flowers.
    Blue is indeed a favorite shade of mine as are receiving handwritten letters on lovely stationary!

  9. I love that little Eiffel Tower ♥

  10. What a beautiful post...such simple pleasures, and yet an abundance of joy! I'll be on the alert for l'heure bleue too! Love, Mimi xxx

  11. I've never thought of shopping for stationary and folders in that way before. I have a kid in highschool and I just join all of the other parents fighting over the necessary supplies that the teachers recommend. Your paper products look so pretty!

  12. Dreamy photos and inspiration. Love everything blue. I'm looking forward to each new l'heure bleue post and must go back and see the other 2016 ones.

  13. I had such a fun back to school shopping trip for myself this week! I took pictures and thought about sharing too, you have inspired me to do a better photography job for sure. Your images are truly beautiful and your finds extraordinary. I am a life long learner and back to school happens for me as if I were a little one in grade school again!

    1. I would love to see what you found. Thank you so much for your kind comments about my photography. I am working hard at taking better photos and am thrilled to know you like them.


  14. ahhhhhh, pencils and folders and planners oh my!! Your words bring your imagery to life!! And yes I tend to buy up all of something if I like it for fear I won't find it again :) Thank you for sharing with us at TaDa Thursday!!


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