Blog Description

A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

White Christmas Peonies | French Table Setting

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

A white snowy Christmas may not be possible in your area, but white peonies bring a white Christmas to a French table setting. 

white Christmas peonies for a French table setting

Christmas Kitchen Plate Stand

Monday, December 24, 2018

A French-style kitchen plate stand holds seasonal greenery along with white dishes during the Christmas season and into the coming Winter months. 

Christmas Kitchen Plate Stand Top Shelf
One of the easiest ways to add Christmas cheer to a kitchen is to add plants and flowers associated with the season. Paperwhites forced into bloom, rosemary trained as a tree, ivy grown in a wreath shape, and small evergreen trees spruce up white dishes for the holidays. 

Refresh Boxwoods for Christmas | French Country Style

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Preserved boxwoods can be refreshed by painting them white or gold to give them French Country style for Christmas. 

Refresh Boxwoods for Christmas for French Country Style
I love preserved green boxwood wreaths, topiaries, bouquets, and balls, but I like to use other colors for Christmas instead of traditional red and green. White, gold, silver, and blue are my favorite colors for Christmas so decorations will blend with the everyday colors in my home. 

Green boxwood is almost a neutral because it goes well with all colors, but this Christmas I took a leap and painted preserved boxwood. I was not sure how the boxwood would look, but after liking how the first painted boxwood turned out, I updated three more preserved boxwoods with paint. 

See how I changed FOUR preserved boxwoods to white and gold . . .  just in time for Christmas decorating. 

Favorite Christmas Carols

Friday, December 14, 2018

Favorite Christmas carols take us to the Christmases of our dreams, and to our treasured memories collected over the years.  

Favorite Christmas carols flute mantel decor
Christmas carols are among the first things that signal the beginning of the Christmas season long before the tree is trimmed, presents are wrapped, and cookies are baked. 

When you hear them on the radio, in television commercials, and in department stores, you know the Christmas season has arrived. 

Welcome to A Merry Musical Blog Hop hosted by Amber at Follow the Yellow Brick Home where I am joining fifteen talented bloggers in sharing how music is part of our Christmases and how music signals Christmas has arrived. 

If you are coming from My Thrift Store Addiction, weren't you inspired by her post about the beautiful Nutcracker Ballet? For more inspiration, there are links to all of the merry musical blog posts at the end. 

Advent Calendar Christmas Boxes

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Advent calendars using Christmas boxes are a fun way to lead up to Christmas Day, beginning early or late in a countdown. 

In the hustle and bustle of preparations for Christmas, time sometimes runs out to get everything done you want to do. If you are thinking, "Oops, missed setting up an Advent Calendar this year," think again. 

Advent calendar Christmas boxes in a French Country urn

Christmas Potting Bench

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

A potting bench just steps away on a back porch is a great place to work on Christmas greenery and to keep potted plants fresh during the holidays. And a potting bench is a place to keep your spirit alive as you work to create holiday magic in your home. 

Christmas potting bench rosemary trees
Live plants flourish in cool temperatures and high humidity. After buying seasonal potted plants like rosemary trees, keep them outside until you want to use them inside as part of your decorations for Christmas celebrations. 

If temperatures dip down to freezing, bring plants inside overnight, and return them to the potting bench the next morning when temperatures rise above freezing. 

Christmas Porch Natural Greenery

Monday, December 3, 2018

Use natural greenery from your yard, the roadside, or a garden center to create beautiful free Christmas porch decorations. 

Christmas porch natural greenery blue berry cedar wreath

The Christmas season is upon us now that December has arrived!  And, Christmas decorations have begun at my house starting with both the front and back porches. 

Christmas French Market Basket

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Get your Christmas decorating organized by gathering supplies into one place, like a French market basket. 

Every little bit of organization in the busy, busy, busy, busiest season of the year helps your day go well and helps you get more done just when you need more time. 

Christmas French market basket for gathering Christmas decorations
The number one organization tip that helps me the most, at any time of the year, is to gather supplies I will be using for a project into one spot where I can find everything quickly. 

French Gardener Gift Guide

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Here are six suggestions as a Christmas gift guide for a French gardener in your life. Or for someone, who like me is not French,  but who loves all things in French-inspired gardens. 

French gardener gift guide includes paperwhite bulbs for forcing in a French style flower pot

French Country Thanksgiving Table Setting

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

A French Country Thanksgiving table setting sets the stage for a traditional French Country recipe, Coq Au Vin, for you to cook  for your family during the Thanksgiving holidays. 

Welcome to my French-inspired home for ideas for your family to Gather 'Round The Table this Thanksgiving holiday. In this season of thankfulness, I am grateful for Amber at Follow The Yellow Brick Home for hosting a Gather 'Round The Table Blog Hop for 20 of our blogging friends to share ideas for Thanksgiving with all our readers as you prepare for your family's celebration of the holiday. 

If you are coming from Rosemary-Thyme, I so glad you are here. Be sure to see the links to all of the other Gather 'Round The Table ideas for Thanksgiving at the end of the post.  


Coq Au Vin is a traditional French recipe made using chicken thighs and legs for a new recipe for your family Thanksgiving meal. But, if your family insists on a traditional Thanksgiving meal, you can adapt the Coq Au Vin recipe to use any poultry leftovers for the day after Thanksgiving. 

No dried out leftover turkey sandwiches. Instead the recipe makes a moist sauce great for sopping up with freshly-baked rolls. Serve with a fresh salad, and you have a delicious day-after Thanksgiving meal. 

French Country Thanksgiving Table for Coq Au Vin
A link to a Coq Au Vin recipe is at the end of the post for you if you are game for a hearty meal with a wine-based sauce. 

Louvre Glass Pyramids

Thursday, November 8, 2018

A visit to the Louvre in Paris, France is filled with light from glass pyramids that were controversial when the Louvre's total remodel and reorganization began in the 1980s. Now the pyramids are recognized as beautiful landmarks to the former Royal Palace, the Musée du Louvre. 

Travel plans are often part of the upcoming Christmas season with most holiday travel destinations to homes of family members. However, there is a growing trend for families to travel to holiday destinations for new experiences together in place of exchanging traditional Christmas gifts. Instead of spending money on things, people are choosing to spend money on traveling together. 

Plus some travel is a surprise Christmas gift from a husband, a wife, or parents. Wouldn't you love to receive plane tickets and hotel reservations to your dream destination? 

Could it be P A R I S  is your ultimate dream destination? 

Louvre main entrance glass pyramid

Delicious Double Chocolate Caramel Apples

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Making delicious double chocolate caramel apples required a couple of tweaks to the directions last Saturday when we made these for the first time ever.  

This summer one of my nephews and his family, wife and five children, moved near me. To say I am excited is an understatement. I love having family close by, and am enjoying spending time with them, especially the children. 

Yes, I love seeing my nephew and his wife, but being around children keeps you young and up-to-date with the world. Being with curious, creative, happy-to-be-alive, frustrating, crazy teenagers is one of the things I miss since I retired from education. Every day was a new world in a high school classroom. Some days were routine, others fraught with drama, but there were those days when the best teachable moments occurred . . . either me having a chance to really reach a student . . .  or a day when a student really reached me and taught me something. 

delicious double chocolate caramel apples
This past Saturday my nephew's wife, her mom (visiting from out of town), and four of the five children came over, and we made double chocolate caramel apples for the first time for all of us. 

Saturday was one of those perfect Fall days you look forward to all year. Clear blue skies, low humidity, and temperatures in the low 70s. Pure perfection after so many days of overcast rainy days. 

And topped off with a family Fall activity!

Fall French Style Plate Stand

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Easy, inexpensive Fall decorating on a 

French-style plate stand takes mere minutes. 

The French-style plant stand that became a plate stand in my kitchen holds my white china which makes it super easy to add seasonal touches to it.  Everything goes with white! 

There is no easier way to add Fall to the French-style plate stand than with those adorable, everybody's favorite, white Baby Boo pumpkins. 

Easy inexpensive fall decor on a french style plate stand with white dishes
White dishes on a gray zinc metal French-style stand is the ultimate neutral combination that can change to a colorful display in an instant, a blink of the eye. Just place colorful small objects in the dishes. 

But not for this Fall. No color . . . just more white. 

White Sunflowers for Fall Breakfast Sunspace

Sunday, October 14, 2018

For three Falls I have searched for white sunflowers after seeing some real ones online, but with no luck. I found faux ones at Hobby Lobby, and they had huge flower heads, but they weren't what I had in my mind. Does that happen to you? You see something that captures your imagination and you search for it? Have visions of seeing it in your home? 

And nothing else will do? 

white sunflowers add french country fall to a breakfast sunspace
Then, quite by accident this week, I found real white sunflowers when I was not even looking for them. 

French Inspired Fall Living Room

Thursday, October 11, 2018

F R E N C H   I N S P I R E D 

F A L L   L I V I N G   R O O M 

Fall is in the air in Texas. On cue for October, we have had buckets of rain (October is our rainiest month) and are headed to cooler temperatures with highs in the 50s later this week. 

Yes, Fall has arrived and with it the third annual Fall In Love With Texas home tour organized by my good blogging friend, Katie at Let's Add Sprinkles. See the links at the end of the post for the full schedule. Thanks, Katie, for inviting me to join.  

As a new season arrives, I feel the urge to decorate to match the season. Do you? And, the fastest, easiest way to decorate for a season, including Fall, is to add fresh flowers. Nothing can update my French-inspired living room for a new season better than flowers and plants. 

Even if nothing else is added to a room, fresh flowers and plants instantly set the season by using ones appearing in gardens at that time of year. 

Voilà, instant fresh seasonal decor.  

french inspired fall living room ornamental ruffled kale in french style urn
To give my living room a little extra zing this Fall, I used ruffled ornamental kale in a large French-style urn instead of using Fall's usual starring flower, chrysanthemums, as a centerpiece.  

Fall Front Porch Decorating Ideas in Color

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Looking for some fresh decorating ideas in color for giving your fall front porch and entry an inviting look? Instead of decorating for fall with the expected orange, brown, and yellow colors, how about using mums in colors that go with your front door? Then adding pumpkins and gourds in green and white?  

Ready to try something different? 

I have some ideas to share with you for how to add great Fall decor in unexpected colors. 

And, over 20 other bloggers are also sharing fabulous ideas for Fall. One of my good blogging friends and fellow lover of French Country, Amber of Follow the Yellow Brick Home, is hosting a tour all about Fall GREAT OUTDOORS. And she invited me to join in the fun! 

Isn't Fall spectacular?!  See the links at the end of the post for more Fall decorating inspiration from all across the country. 

Are you coming from Laura at Decor to Adore with her Fall in Love With France home tour? Then you know one of the many reasons Laura and I are good friends . . .  We both love France! 

But, that is not the only reason. She is a beautiful, gracious lady who spreads sunshine with her cheerfulness and support of others. 

Laura and I live close enough to meet for lunch with one another and our other north Texas blogging friends. We always have a good time eating, laughing, and sharing ideas with one another. 

Now, time to see those decorating ideas in color I promised. 

B O N J O U R 

welcome to my Fall front porch 

fall front porch decorating ideas in color
Keep reading to see how I refreshed my entry garden and took the front entry from plain functional to an inviting colorful entry decorated with Fall colors . . . that complement my front door. 

French Country Vintage Garden Bench

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Long before I ever went to France and before I knew what French Country design was, I shopped for vintage furniture with character, furniture made to last, furniture with style. 

All within the budget of a young married couple starting out. 

Which meant shopping at garage sales, flea markets, model home sales, and antique sales. Which is where I came to buy what is now my French Country vintage garden bench. 

french country vintage garden bench from an iron bed
The red iron bench did not start out as a bench; it started out as an iron bed. Over thirty-five years ago someone reworked the bed frame, repurposed the bed into a bench, and gave it a new life. 

Fall French Country Kitchen | Ornamental Kale

Friday, September 28, 2018

Fall officially arrived last week, and Fall arrived in my country kitchen as well, in the form of fresh vegetables used as decor. Potted ornamental kale in shades of purple and green sit on the island and the shelf behind the sink . 

The kale reminds me of French country potagers (vegetable gardens) where French families grow fresh vegetables in neatly structured plots for their daily meals. 

fall french country kitchen decorated with ornamental kale

French Inspired Fall Window Box | Step By Step

Friday, September 21, 2018

Window boxes are possible at my house, but only for limited seasons of the year. Fall is one of those seasons, and this year I created a window box, with lots of help from my professional florist sister, for the front of my house. 

We love how it turned out! 

create a beautiful fall window basket filled by pansies, kale, ivy
One of the things I enjoy about France, and all of Europe, is the abundance of gardens and flowers in every city, town, and small village. In Paris, it seems window boxes are everywhere, from large hotels to the tiniest apartment balconies. I come home with picture after picture and am always inspired to create my own window box at my house. 

This Fall is THE year I created a French inspired window box.   

In case you are inspired, too, and want ideas how to create a window box for your house, take a look at how we created my front entry window box. I took photos at almost every step of the process to share with you.  

Fall Entry Garden Curb Appeal

Friday, September 14, 2018

Fall is one of the two best times for adding new plants to gardens and a good time for looking at the curb appeal of your entry garden. Before adding colorful fall mums, pumpkins, and door wreaths, refresh the whole front entry porch and entry garden space to welcome visitors for upcoming fall and winter holidays. 

And to prepare your front entry for the harsh weather to come. 

Fall entry garden curb appeal with a blue painted door and antique brick porch

Homemade Banana Pudding Recipe | Family Favorite

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Some recipes become family favorites from the very first time the recipe is served. If your family likes banana pudding, you may find this made-from-scratch recipe becomes their favorite just like it has been a favorite dessert for my family from the first time I served it as a young bride. 

Let's just leave it at MANY years ago . . . 

made from scratch favorite banana pudding recipe

Inspiring Creativity | No. 3

Monday, September 3, 2018

With the firm belief creativity can be nurtured, this is a series that features inspiring creativity from bloggers who share their visions and how they create them. With insightful words and images they not only create, they inspire others to create. 

This third part of the Inspiring Creativity series is filled with beautiful ideas for celebrating Fall. And, best of all, you will see HOW this featured 'inspiring mind' creates her works of seasonal decor, cooks delicious Fall recipes, and gathers props, with photography tips, for shooting captivating images of it all. 

Paper Crafting Pumpkin Book Art 

Architectural Salvage | French Country Style

Friday, August 24, 2018

To add instant character with some French country style to a modern-built house, incorporate architectural salvage pieces in your decor. Your house may not have wood beams, plaster walls, or limestone floors, but vintage architectural fragments can be used to give your house French country charm. 

architectural salvage french country style
A hand-carved wood fragment can be turned into a lamp base, a candle holder, or used as an accent by itself. 

French Country Kitchen Summer to Fall

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Transitioning from summer to fall is often so subtle in my French Country kitchen in Texas you may miss it. Yet, there are a few changes already at my house now in August.  

If you are ready for some small changes from summer in your home, but are not ready for pumpkins and mums, I have a few ideas you may like for how to ease into fall decorating. 

French Country Kitchen Summer to Fall White Canisters and Gray Linens

Pantry Makeover Plans

Friday, August 17, 2018

Spring is not the only time for deep cleaning a house. After taking a discerning look at my kitchen pantry, I realized a deep cleaning and makeover were way past overdue. 

It has only been 30 years since the interior was painted. 

Pantry in French Country Kitchen with limestone wall makeover plans
Here is the pantry door... just to the left of the stone wall in the kitchen.

Pine Chest Vignettes | Fall and Winter

Sunday, August 12, 2018

F A L L   &   W I N T E R  


Pine Chest Vignette for Fall with Boo Boo Pumpkins
Last week you saw Part 1, Spring & Summer, vignettes on the pine chest that sits between my living room and kitchen. All with tips for how, where, and why to place items in arrangements. 

Here is Part 2, a collection of fall and winter vignettes. The collection is filled with easy to find, easy to do, and inexpensive items, and every arrangement has tips about how to create similar ones in your home.

Pine Chest Vignette Tips | Spring and Summer

Sunday, August 5, 2018

S P R I N G   &   S U M M E R 


As the seasons change, so does the vignette on the pine chest at the end of my stone fireplace. A few things stay the same year round. The lily print, the small lamp, and a varying stack of books anchor the chest's arrangements as seasons come and go. 

PIne Chest Vignette Tips Spring and Summer
As you look through the photos of how the pine chest vignettes changed during spring and summer of years past, watch the book stack go up and down in number and in change of titles. Notice also the changes in the base of the lamp. 

One of the ways I find ideas for new arrangements is by studying Instagram, Pinterest, and other blogs. Invariably something catches my eye and sparks a vision for the top of my pine chest. And, if the photographer/writer shares bits of her design process, I take note for ways to improve my own. Thank you, StoneGable,Home is Where the Boat Is, My French Country Home, . . . 

Then I dissect my mental notes for patterns, techniques, and principles. 

Just like attending interior design classes, but in my nightgown curled up in bed.  

You may find some of my insight for creating vignettes helpful to you in creating your own vignettes.  

Late Summer Patriotic Porch Ideas

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The beginning of August is not really late summer, but now is the time to think about your late summer patriotic porch ideas. 

Labor Day is a perfect time to decorate with patriotic items. By getting your ideas together now, you can decorate before Labor Day so you can enjoy the way your porch looks for several days, not just for the three-day weekend. 

five late summer patriotic porch ideas
PIN ⤴ to your patriotic board so you can find these ideas again. 

Ready to see ideas of how to give your porch a patriotic look? 

Summer French Country Living Room

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Summer in Texas is always HOT, and some summers hotter than others. The past few summers have been mild and spoiled us with temperatures that did not sizzle for prolonged stretches. 

But this summer's extreme heat is making up for those mild summer days and is playing a role in how my living room looks this summer. 

To help keep my French Country living room cooler during triple digit temperature days, we close the curtains. 

Summer French Country Living Room Closed Curtains
This summer has already broken highest temperature records on some days in July, and it looks like we are headed to break more records in days to come. 

New Backyard Retaining Wall With Old World Charm

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Even though it has been over a 100° for several days, we still have yard work to do. The backyard stone retaining wall had been listing for a few years, but this winter totally collapsed in two places. 

No getting around it any longer. The wall had to be replaced with a new one. The purpose of the retaining wall and terraces is to direct water away from the house and to control the direction rain water flows. 

Part of the dilemma was how to replace the old weathered Austin limestone wall with a new wall that would also have some old world charm of its own. 

Something French-inspired, but within the budget. 

Backyard Retaining Wall Blended With Existing Stone Wall With Old World Charm

Chandelier Envy

Friday, July 20, 2018

Chandeliers have never been high on my Wish List, until recently.  What do you do when you suddenly realize you have chandelier envy?

When you realize chandeliers in living rooms, over dining tables, in bathrooms, and even in greenhouses are classic French Country decor, you realize you NEED chandeliers to transform your American Country house to a French Country maison (home).

There are two chandeliers in my house already in the swing loft. I like them quite a lot, but they are not filled with French Country charm. 

chandelier envy for a french country style not a hunting lodge style
The fixture came with crystals, but I left them off. The crystals give a more formal look than I wanted for my post-and-beam country house when we installed the chandelier. 

Now, I am rethinking the crystals since they may give a little more French Country look than the bare metal branches. 

Blue Front Door Wreath | Door Trim Color

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Entry ways and porches provide protection from inclement weather, but they also welcome visitors to our homes. How do you say welcome to my home at your front door? 

Nothing is more welcoming than a pretty floral wreath. 

A grapevine with live flowers and greenery gathered from the yard made a fresh unexpected wreath for our blue front door earlier this spring. 

live flowers in a grapevine wreath on a blue front door
Granted, fresh floral arrangements on a front door last only a few days depending upon the outside temperatures, but live flowers and greens make a show-stopping arrangement to greet guests as they arrive for special occasions, like the book club meeting at my house.   

Every member of my book club commented on the wreath as they came into the house for our monthly meeting. They paused, touched, smelled, and examined the wreath. 

Several people were surprised the flowers were real, but some knew immediately because they could smell the flowers and herbs.  

Bastille Day Fireworks at Eiffel Tower

Saturday, July 14, 2018

J U L Y  1 4

bastille day fireworks at eiffel tower

What we know as Bastille Day in the United States is known as La Fête nationale française in France and is celebrated with  a concert and spectacular fireworks at the Eiffel Tower. 

If you love France or love fireworks, you will love the YouTube video of the 2017 La Fête national française - Paris - Tour Eiffel - 14 juillet 2017 (Feu d'artifice)  

The video begins with the crowd singing the French national anthem, La Marseillaise, followed by a live concert choreographed with fireworks at the Eiffel Tower for over thirty minutes. 

View in full screen so you can see the large outdoor screens at the bottom of each side of the picture. Those screens show aerial views. 

One of my favorite fireworks display during the presentation occurs around 4:45 minutes. 

b o n   f ê t e