Blog Description

A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Home Renovations | Thoughts About Beautiful Images

Sunday, April 22, 2018

While you are mulling over your thoughts about budget wise countertops, or why white is timeless decor, or 7 ways to add French style to a bathroom, may I ask you to mull over something else about home renovations, also? 

Recently I began thinking about what others write about home renovations and how it relates to home decorating and blogging. The whole point of this blog is to share beautiful images and thoughts about beautiful images for our homes and gardens. 

Master Bath Small Vanity Progress

Thursday, April 19, 2018

When you last saw the master bathroom's small vanity area, the vanity was its original lightly stained wood finish, turned reddish, from thirty years ago. Finally, this spring work began to update the old vanity area from its American Country look. 

Here we are, 5 weeks after work began. 

Master Bath Small Vanity A F T E R Painting 

the FINAL coat of white paint 

The first of several planned changes this spring include painting the vanity white, but the number of times the vanity would be painted and the number of colors of white were not listed in the published plan I recently shared.  

Why not? 

DIY Wood Bathtub Tray | French Country Charm

Sunday, April 15, 2018

While refreshing our master bathroom I looked for ways to add more French Country charm to the bathtub. 

DIY wood bathtub tray adds French Country charm in master bath
What was I looking for? Something beyond the French Country chair, French script candle, carved pedestal, and natural cotton bath mat. 

7 Ways to Add French Country to a Master Bath

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Adding French Country style to a new home or a fixer-upper is easier to do than adding French Country style to an existing home. When you build a new house, you can include architectural details with French roots from the ground up. Fixer upper projects often include major renovations for floors, windows, room layouts, plumbing, appliances, and/or built-in cabinets. All offer ways to include French style. 

But, what about when you want to add French Country style to an existing room without remodeling? The good news is you can make changes to your rooms that will give them French style without changing the structures. With a little practice for looking at your existing rooms from a fresh perspective, you will begin to see changes you can make. Each new change will spark ideas for more changes. 

add French Country style 7 ways to existing master bath without remodeling
To get your creative decorating ideas flowing, take a look at seven ways you can add French Country style to a master bathroom... without making structural changes

Notes From The Country | No. 3

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Living in the countryside means getting to enjoy the changes of seasons up close. Every day in the spring is exhilarating with all the new life emerging. Each day something new is noted. Fits and starts of warm days, of cold days, of rainy days, of overcast days, and of BRILLIANT blue sky days make each new bit of green a cause for celebration. 

C E L E B R A T I O N 

for birds and critters 

Wild dewberry blooms in the country
Wild dewberry vines will provide berries for birds before summer comes. The berries are always small and unappetizing for picking for us, but just right for the birds. An old hollow stump makes a good shelter for country critters. 

Kitchen Island Spring Nesting | Design Challenge

Friday, April 6, 2018

Spring brings out the feather-my-nest instincts to create pretty arrangements on the kitchen island. Then over the course of several days I continue to fluff my nest by adding some elements, removing some items, and rearranging others. It reminds me of a saying my mother had, "Can't get your nest made?" 

kitchen island spring nesting arrangement design challenge

New Hardwood Floor Refinish Update and Discount Code

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

{Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Rug Pad USA. I receive compensation for working with Rug Pad USA, but all opinions are honest and my own. Plus, there is a discount code for my readers so you may want to read about why quality rug pads are important to protect all your flooring and area rugs.}

 H A R D W O O D   F L O O R   U P D A T E 

One Year Later 

Living Room Oak Flooring BEFORE Refinishing 

One year ago we had our hardwood oak floor in the living room refinished. Our house is thirty years old, and the oak floor has been refinished once before. Yes, it was time to refinish the floor again last year, and this year I am sharing an update on the refinished oak floor.  

New Hardwood Floor Refinish Update Before Photo
The original oak floor was finished with a white-wash stain that kept the floor light, but allowed the wood grain to show through. The finish complemented the exposed natural pine beams and rafters in our post-and-beam house. 

One of the main reasons the floor needed refinishing was my beautiful black-background wool needlepoint rug had discolored the floor over time... even though there was a rug pad under the rug to protect the floor. 

Spring Potting Bench Flowers

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

F A V O R I T E   B E D D I N G  P L A N T S  

Nothing says spring has really arrived better than your favorite bedding plants showing up at your local nurseries. Once spring flower bedding plants arrive at plant stands, then they make their way to potting benches getting ready for spring gardens. 

spring potting bench flowers
At least that is what happens at my house and on my back porch potting bench. Every year my plan is to plant my new favorite bedding plants as soon as I get them home. But, every year my good intentions get waylaid. 

One Tired Easter Bunny

Sunday, April 1, 2018

H A P P Y   E A S T E R 

One Tired White Stuffed Easter Bunny

O N E   T I R E D   B U N N Y 

at the end of today 

French Country Floral Bunny Basket

Friday, March 30, 2018

E A S T E R   B A S K E T S  

are not just for children

As a child I loved getting an Easter basket filled with candies and toys every year. Now, as an adult I continue to love having baskets all decorated for the Easter season. Why give up a joyous experience just because you get older? Bring out your baskets and celebrate the season with a special basket on your dining table. 

French Country Floral Bunny Basket 

Rustic French country floral bunny basket
You will not be the only one enjoying a basket decorated for the season. Grown children who no longer live at home and who are coming over to visit will enjoy seeing a lapin (bunny) basket which will bring back many happy memories of their childhoods. Chances are a basket will spark conversations and stories among them of their own favorite baskets as children.

French Country Living Room Spring Sunlight

Thursday, March 29, 2018

S P R I N G  🌞  S U N L I G H T 

floods our French Country living room 
... in Texas 

french country living room spring sunlight
Cone boxwoods on the mantel and a French-inspired lantern with surrounding botanics on the living room blanket box / coffee table are the only new Spring decorations, but the brilliant sunlight announces SPRING to the whole house. 

Do you use your coffee table to serve coffee? I do not believe coffee has ever been served from a coffee table in my house EVER. Iced tea... yes. Coke... yes. But, coffee... not ever. 

Is it time for us to begin calling that surface by another name? Suggestions for a name to replace 'coffee table?'

French Design on Friday 27

Friday, March 23, 2018

F R E N C H   D E S I G N 

on Friday

~ Architecture ~ 

Curved Roof and Cupola 

How do we know what IS French design? When selecting architecture, furnishings, lighting, and accessories, how do we decide what to use? No better way to discover authentic French Design than either 1] to visit France and/or  2] to view photos taken in France. Botanic Bleu provides examples straight from France through photos taken by me while traveling across all of France which gives you a reference for genuine French Design. 

From the photos you will be able to study the details and to find ways to incorporate real French Design into your home. That is what helped me to spot French Country design in the most unexpected places, like Home Depot

If you love French Country style, here is one of the latest ways I discovered to add a little French to my decor. And, you will be surprised at another affordable source of French Country design now in my living room.  

French Design in France 

French Design on Friday Roof at Chenonceau

Timeless White Decor | 5 Reasons Why

Monday, March 19, 2018

Timeless White Decor Five Reasons

Why is WHITE DECOR timeless?   

Hello Spring Pear Tree

Thursday, March 15, 2018

G O O D B Y E  W I N T E R  

H e l l o,  S p r i n g 

H e l l o,  P e a r  T r e e 

All over town there are white blooming trees scattered among the other trees that are still stark bare.  

Hello Spring with white blooming pear and plum trees
The Bradford pear trees, fruitless native plum trees, and fruiting plum bushes are in full bloom. Like beacons guiding winter weary travelers along the route, you see another one in the woods, in a pasture, in a garden, or lined up along the roadside before the last one fades from sight. 

Master Bath Small Vanity Update Plans

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Small Vanity BEFORE Update 

Plans to update the master bathroom's small vanity area are minimal, mostly cosmetic. 

American Country Bathroom Small Vanity BEFORE Update to French Country

From American Country to French Country 

Everything is functional and works. Nothing is broken, but the space is stuck in the past when the overall decor style for our house was American Country. The master bath large vanity area at the other end of this bathroom has already been updated to reflect more of the French Country style I prefer. 

There already have been a couple of small decor updates to bring more French Country to this section of the bathroom. But, this spring is the time for even more French Country updates to give the whole bathroom a more unified style. 

Inspiring Dear Heart Note

Thursday, March 8, 2018

D E A R  H E A R T 

A true short story about love, marriage, family, commitment, service, and 

getting priorities right. 

dear heart note reminder of love

French Lavender on the Breakfast Table

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Spring officially begins this month on March 20, but I am hurrying it along by putting French lavender bedding plants on the breakfast table in the sunspace. If spring cannot come fast enough for you either, here's how to create a little early spring with French Country touches. 

french country design lavender plants

Friend Lives in Your Heart DIY Envelope

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Friends live in your heart forever. 

A Paper Series Post 

Paper is a versatile, inexpensive medium useful for wide-ranging projects. 
What better way to begin a new series than to celebrate friendship 
since this paper series post, and more to come, are offered as tokens of friendship to you, 
Botanic Bleu readers and followers. 

Any gathering of friends for whatever the reason is a good time to share small hearts as tokens of friendship. Whether the gathering is for book club, a friend's birthday, a Bible study, a Valentine's party, a retirement luncheon, or a bloggers' luncheon, party favors with hearts are a good way to recognize special times together with friends. 

I made these DIY envelope/place card party favors for friends who attended my retirement luncheon as an educator, but can be made  

for any occasion celebrating Friendship 

DIY envelope place card
Today's post is a tutorial with templates for creating a beautiful glassine do-it-yourself (DIY) small envelope to use as a place card and to hold a party favor. 

Notes From The Country | No. 2

Monday, February 26, 2018

The sun came out Saturday after raining for a week. For days the breakfast sunspace windows were covered with streaks of raindrops. I like rain and enjoy snuggling in at home on rainy days and nights. My grandparents' farmhouse had a tin roof, and I loved sitting on the long front porch with my grandmother listening to the rain. And to falling asleep at night listening to rain on the tin roof. 

The rain this week revived our little spot in the countryside and added water to the underground water table. 

Rainy days are good days for dreaming and planning. 


Of spring flowers and green grass blowing in the wind... 

rain streaked window view of new green grass

Spring Narcissus Pillow

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

If winter comes, can spring be far behind? 
Percy Bysshe Shelley 

diy spring narcissus pillow

Dark days of cold dreary winter continue here, accompanied by steady rain. As I stared at the rain spots on the window, I was glad the trees, shrubs, and BULBS were getting the water they need. There are already buds on the Erlicheer narcissus in the front under the oak trees and on the Thalia narcissus on the sloped hillside in the backyard. 

I thought of spring and remembered a pillow I saw online. The pillow was perfect for bringing spring inside now before its official arrival on March 20. Rather than buy that one online, I decided to create a similar do-it-yourself version. 

This is an EASY project that requires no sewing! 

French Hot Chocolate for Valentine's Day

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

PARIS is on my mind in the midst of a dreary February day, overcast with a fine mist, and unfulfilled promises of much-needed rain. Just the kind of day that calls for hot chocolate, staring out the window at the drizzle, and flashing back to hot chocolate in France. 

Romantic Vintage Valentine Table in Blue and White

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

V A L E N T I N E ' S  D A Y 

table set in blue and white 

Three things a Valentine's table does NOT have to have to be romantic.

❤ 1  Red or Pink Colors 

White roses and blue ribbons create a romantic table for celebrating Valentine's Day with friends, family, or lovers. Romance does not require pink or red. Indeed, if blue is your true love's favorite color, then blue is more romantic than red. 

Notes From The Country | No. 1

Monday, January 29, 2018

As January draws to a close I am slowly catching up on cleaning, organizing, planning, and dreaming. Notes to myself in a blue notebook about French-inspired country living keeps me from forgetting the plans in my mind. 

 D R E A M I N G  

Of indoor lavender plants, floral arrangements, and a potager to plant ... 

Vintage Old Chicago Brick with weeds sprouting in its holes 

Snowfall Video

Friday, January 26, 2018

For people who live in snow-prone areas of the world, snow is not always a beautiful sight. Bundling up for work, getting the car to start in sub-freezing temperatures, and seeing mounds of snow in grocery parking lots pushed up in heaps with black soot become dreary. 

For those of us who live in areas where snow is rare, snowfall is magical. We know it will only last for short periods of time, sometimes just fleeting minutes as the flakes melt hitting the ground. Other times there are serene scenes as our world comes to a standstill for the snow. 

Enjoy the beautiful scenes of a heavy snowfall for us in 2010. 

Look closely for glimpses of the garden shed when it was still an ugly duckling 
and of the house before the covered porch was added. 

Winter Porch Another View

Monday, January 22, 2018

Another View of the Winter Porch 

with a request for input from my readers. 

Click on the white ARROW to begin the slide show. 
Then click on the box in the lower right corner to enlarge the photos to fill your entire screen. 

The previous post on Botanic Bleu was Winter Porch Plants with standard photos and text. The above video/slideshow is another view of the Winter Porch in a different format. 

Recent articles in the virtual world indicate videos are preferred over the written word by most people viewing information on the Internet. 

1]  Is the video/slide show above appearing on your computer, mobile device, notebook, etc...? Are there any glitches

2]  Did this post load at its normal speed or did this post load slower than usual? 

3]  Which do you prefer? The original Winter Porch Plants post or the video/slideshow version with music? 

4]  Would you like a blog post with the video/slideshow at the top followed by several paragraphs of text? 

5]  Or would you prefer the video/slideshow with just ONE short paragraph

6]  Why do you like the version you chose? 

7]  Any tips or suggestions?  

I will continue to experiment with different versions of slide shows and videos this year, but most posts will be in standard format with still photos and text. I will be looking for a better way to show  slides and/or video. 

Thank you for giving your feedback in the comments below. 

* * * * * * * 

A quick update on real-time life and why there have not been any new posts for a couple of weeks...  I had a good visit with my brother out-of-state followed by a trip to California with my sister, the professional florist. She had a floral job for 40+ centerpieces at a dinner in the San Diego Hilton Hotel, and I went along to help (a little.) Of course, since we were in California we had to take a few days vacation before heading back home. We missed almost all of the frigid temperatures at home while in San Diego where we had balmy 70°-80° days. 

My sister and I will be traveling to spend time with our brother in the days to come. Future blog posts may be irregular. Right now I am trying to get caught up on everything here at home. There is the small matter of a broken water pipe from the freezing temperatures, but fortunately the pipe is outside the house between the house and garden shed. The cut-off water valve works as designed and allows us to have water in the house. No pressure to get the outside pipe to the garden shed repaired means it may be a few weeks before I tackle that. Then there are the mountains of laundry and usual household bills that need attention now.  

Thank you for reading. Keep cozy and warm as we dream of spring. 

Winter Porch Plants

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

B r r r r ...  1 3 ° 
the low on the porch this winter ...  so far 

Even in winter, there are several plants to enjoy on a porch.  

In north central Texas, winter weather is usually mild enough to enjoy porch living for many of the days during winter. Part of enjoying the porch is having evergreen plants, and an added bonus is having blooming flowers. 

Christmas Kitchen Every Day Holiday Cheer

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Here it is January 5, almost midnight, and I am just now sharing photos taken in my French-country-inspired kitchen this Christmas. Why so late? 

christmas kitchen holiday cheer

C H R I S T M A S   K I T C H E N 

simple day-to-day touches of holiday cheer 

Everyone's life is filled with highs, lows, and mostly in-betweens. The rhythms of our days most often flow, but sometimes the rhythms of our days are jagged with sharp edges as we lurch from one day to the next, keeping our heads above water, but just barely. Carefully laid plans fall aside as more pressing issues crowd around us, pushing us into another direction.