Blog Description

A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

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  

Greenhouse Dreams | Foxgloves, Chandelier, Glass Table

Thursday, July 12, 2018

When you daydream of a perfect greenhouse, do you see old pots, reclaimed glass French doors, chippy cabinets, brick floor, baskets, and foxgloves growing in sunlight? A rustic retreat filled with a jumble of clay pots, potting soil, seedlings, and watering cans scattered about in disarray on weathered wood shelves?  

Or do you see deep burgundy painted walls, white shelves, a carved pedestal with a glass top, plants in French urns, and a chandelier? Not so much rustic, but rather a working space in a well-worn gentil  (genteel) French florist greenhouse? 

greenhouse dreams with foxgloves and burgundy walls

Garden Shed Fresh Paint

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

G A R D E N   S H E D   F R E S H   P A I N T 

and a new exterior light fixture 

The garden shed, known affectionately as the Jardin Château by my family, needed some fresh paint after braving the first six winters of its new life. 

The beautiful little Jardin Château is home to my French Country Christmas Event each December, and you have seen lots of pretty pictures of it decked out in its finest. 

Today you are getting to see real life and how to deal with it so the little shed will continue to be beautiful for many more years. 

garden shed before fresh paint
The French doors were looking a little shabby due to their paint exposed to the elements. 

Plus, the fascia board above the front French doors was suffering from moisture damage and beginning to look a little moldy. 

Inspiring Creativity | No. 2

Sunday, July 8, 2018

This second part of the series Inspiring Creativity takes you behind-the-scenes to see the process of how a creativity team makes magic come alive in their inspiring decorations, photographs, and space transformations. 

Swans Swimming Tablescape 

While imagination is the spark that begins an idea, a table setting, or a large-scale backdrop, good old-fashioned hard work transforms an idea into creative reality. Along the way, revisions, re-dos, and improvisations bring an evolving creation to its finished state. 

Blue Silk Roman Shade Details

Friday, July 6, 2018

B L U E   S I L K   R O M A N   S H A D E 
for the master bathroom small window 

One more thing is accomplished on the master bathroom small vanity area to-do list. The changes to the small vanity area began in March of this year, almost four months ago. The original to-do list has been tweaked with new to-dos, but replacing the cotton balloon valance with a more French country look window treatment was one of the things on the original list. 

French Country Silk Roman shade Details
I bought the multi-blue and white striped silk fabric over ten years ago with the intentions of making a gathered skirt to wear to formal events, but no longer needed formal wear before the skirt was made. 

Set a Stars and Stripes Patriotic Table

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

S E T   A   S T A R S   &   S T R I P E S 

P A T R I O T I C   T A B L E 

without using flags 

Setting a table that pays tribute to our biggest patriotic holiday of the year takes only a few key things. What is the first thing you think of when you see red, white, and blue used together? 

Patriotic . . .  So do I

set a stars and stripes table setting with white stars, French vintage linen towel, blue hydrangeas