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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

French Country Christmas Living Room Tour

Sunday, December 22, 2019

A tour of our French country Christmas living room includes views of a massive white stone fireplace and a two-story Palladian window. The tour starts with the Christmas color scheme in the living room which began with a jewel-tone Christmas stocking and coordinating throw pillow.


French country Christmas living room tour begins with jewel tone Christmas stockings
Jewel-tone needlepoint Christmas stockings and a matching throw pillow set this year's color for Christmas decor in our French country inspired living room. The stockings and pillow came from my sister's shop in Maine more than twenty years ago. 

When I bought a purple pillow cover from our new local Pottery Barn outlet this summer, I knew it would go with the needlepoint pillow and stockings. That's when I began planning this year's Christmas decor. 

French Country Christmas Mantel With Dark Blues

Thursday, December 19, 2019


Styling a French country mantel with dark blue colors to go with jewel-tone colored needlepoint Christmas stockings took several makeovers. 

Arranging, re-arranging, adding to, taking away, repeatedly, over several days before this year's mantel came together and made my eyes clap their hands


French country mantel with dark blue color in a custom printed inspirational Christmas quote
The final design includes a custom-printed framed inspirational Christmas quote. A post is in the works to explain how to create the custom quote. 

Cardinal Christmas Table Setting

Wednesday, December 18, 2019


New placemats and napkins with rosy red cardinals and berried grapevine wreaths make a beautiful holiday table setting on our French country table in the kitchen sunspace. The berries on the linens inspired Christmas greenery on a wire mesh birdcage to go with the new table setting. 


Cardinal Christmas Table Setting new placemats and napkins
Holly sprigs with red berries, feisty red cardinals, twiggy brown branches, and grapevine wreaths with red berries and greenery make cheerful holiday placemats and napkins. 

Blue O Holy Night Shelf Decor

Tuesday, December 17, 2019


A blue handmade O Holy Night wood sign is the center of a stone kitchen shelf decorated for Christmas. Christmas cards set the scene for the three wisemen following the guiding star. 


Blue O Holy Night shelf decor has Christmas cards depicting the setting for the first Christmas
Christmas cards have beautiful scenes that tell the Christmas story and are an inexpensive way to create memorable Christmas decor. 

French Country Blue Christmas Presents

Monday, December 16, 2019


Blue gift-wrapped presents sit in a French country white pedestal urn at the end of the stone fireplace in my country home. Presents do not have to sit under the tree awaiting Christmas Day to be opened. No, presents can sit in a beautiful white urn with garland decor and be part of your holiday decorations. 


French country blue Christmas presents displayed in a white pedestal urn
Blue and white Christmas decor includes gift-wrapped packages on display. Using gift wrap paper and bags is an easy, inexpensive way to add a splash of your favorite color to your Christmas decor. 

Collect over years, and save to re-use time and time again. My family all know to save their wrappings and hand them back to me if they don't want to keep them.  A little eye rolling on occasion, but good-naturedly. 

Or, gift the presents without saving the wrappings, and collect different colored bags and paper for next year's Christmas decorations. This is an easy way to change your whole color scheme for Christmas from one year to the next. 

French Country Mirror | Decorated for Christmas

Thursday, December 12, 2019


With a snippet of fleur de lis gold and white ribbon and a small preserved boxwood wreath, you can dress up a French country white wood mirror for Christmas. 


French country mirror decorated for Christmas with a small boxwood wreath hanging from a gold and white fleur de lis ribbon
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas ... everywhere you look. And one of the easiest ways to give everyday mirrors some holiday cheer is to add a small wreath hanging from a ribbon. 

Christmas Red Plaid Berry Birdcage

Tuesday, December 10, 2019


Dress up a wire mesh birdcage for Christmas with faux red berries, fresh tree clippings, preserved moss, tiny pine cones, and a cheery red plaid ribbon. Later this week read about a coordinating berry red cardinal and rustic grapevine and berry wreath on placemats and napkins for a Christmas table setting. 


Christmas red plaid berry birdcage dressed up for the holidays
A marvelous thing about this wonderful time of the year is almost everything can be dressed up for Christmas, including a wire mesh birdcage. 

French Country Christmas Event 2019

Friday, December 6, 2019



The ninth annual French Country Christmas Event is on two Saturdays, December 7 and December 14, in my backyard French country style garden shed. If you are in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, take a drive into the countryside to shop in a seasonal pop-up shop filled with home and garden French-inspired decor. 

Do you love wood, metal, glass, fabric, paper, but not plastic or resin so much? Yes? So do I. 

In this age, it is harder and harder to find beautiful things made with wood instead of MDF, glass instead of resin, cotton, wool, or linen instead of polyester. But, all those natural materials are what I seek out to stock my French Country Christmas Event each year. 


Take a tour of how the garden shed is decorated for this year's Christmas event. Most of everything shown is for sale, with the exception of some display furniture. 


French Country Christmas Event 2019 buffet holds large items for sale
I love collecting beautiful, natural material things all during the year to offer as an alternative to big stores. 

Tips for Best Ever Christmas Wreath

Tuesday, December 3, 2019



Tips for the best ever Christmas wreath for your front door start with a store-bought fresh wreath. And, if you live near a Trader Joe's, you can buy a reasonably-priced fresh wreath with pine cones and fresh juniper berries. With a handful of tips you can take the already gorgeous wreath to a special one.


Like the wreath on my front door AFTER I transformed a basic fresh evergreen wreath... 


Tips for best ever Christmas wreath with stars on blue front door
There is something special about a Christmas wreath on a front door. Seeing a wreath when passing by or when visiting a home makes me smile and feel the joy of the Christmas season. For those of us who grew up reading Southern Living magazine, a Christmas wreath made using fresh greenery says Southern hospitality at its finest. 




Thank you, Amber of Follow the Yellow Brick Home, for gathering twenty of us together to share the beauty of Christmas Door Decor. I love giving my readers beautiful inspiration for adding special holiday decor to their front doors. Links to all the ideas are at the end of the article. 

If you just read Katie's at Let's Add Sprinkles  door ideas for the holiday, welcome! Katie always has good ideas for decorating with special touches. 


White Poinsettia Beautiful Christmas Entry

Friday, November 29, 2019


Beautiful Flowers 
and 
An Early Christmas Present 


White poinsettias in a stunning glass navy wine bucket make a beautiful arrangement to greet guests in an entry during the Christmas season. 


White poinsettia beautiful Christmas entry decor in a navy glass wine bucket
Decorating for Christmas is extra special when you are hosting a party for friends or for family. And, welcoming guests with a large flower arrangement in the entry sets a festive mood for the whole party. 

Blue Christmas Laundry Room

Sunday, November 24, 2019


Do you decorate your laundry room for Christmas? Here it is, not even the end of November, and I couldn't wait to decorate my newly renovated laundry room for Christmas... with BLUE! 


Blue Christmas Laundry Room decorated early with evergreen seedling
I didn't go overboard with Christmas decorations, but there is no mistake the laundry room is spruced up for Christmas. 

After finishing the laundry room makeover as part of the One Room Challenge™ this Fall, my brother-in-law, ever the skeptic, casually commented about now having another space to decorate. And, was I going to decorate it for Christmas? 

Thanksgiving Natural Centerpiece

Tuesday, November 19, 2019


What better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than with a natural centerpiece that reflects the season of the year? While fruits and vegetables harvested in the Fall make beautiful centerpieces, don't overlook colorful trees and natural foliage as options for an inexpensive alternative. 


Thanksgiving Natural Centerpiece ideas for natural foliage on a small table
With a handful of leaves, twigs, and acorns, you can create an arrangement for your holiday table... even for a small table.

How Do You Add French Country Style?

Saturday, November 16, 2019

How do you add French Country style to a room? Two pieces of furniture that add immediate French Country style to a room are a toile chair and a Provence style wood chest. Cover the chair in a blue and white toile print and paint the cabinet in navy to use a classic French color combination. 


Add French Country style to a room with a blue and white toile print chair and a cabinet painted navy
Yes, even a laundry room becomes French Country style with those two pieces of furniture. 

Fall Foyer | Gourds, Hydrangea, Ivy

Tuesday, November 12, 2019


This Fall I had so many ideas about how to style my small entry foyer ... cottage, French Country, traditional... that I did all three styles, one at a time, over the last six weeks. Here is a look at the final style where I used gourds, hydrangeas, and ivy to create a traditional styled entry. 


Fall Foyer decorated with green gourds, hydrangeas, ivy wreath in front of blue and gold French Country mirror
Did I mention I did all three of these different styles using green, white, and blue instead of the usual yellows, rusts, and oranges for Fall? 

Gold Berry Leaves Ornament Makeover

Saturday, November 9, 2019



See how to transform a ho-hum metal cluster of leaves into a beautiful gold berry leaves cluster Christmas ornament you can use all over the house for the holiday season. 

You probably are not ready to start decorating your house for Christmas right now, but for all of us who like to do DIY projects, you can never start those projects too early. I finished transforming these gold berry leave cluster ornaments in late September, and still have more DIY projects in process.  

If you wait until December for DIY projects, you may find yourself in a time crunch like my sister-in-law one year. You may find yourself in the bedroom wrapping presents on Christmas Day and handing them out through a partially opened door... one at a time... to give to the recipient to open while she wrapped the next person's present. True story... 


ornament after makeover 


gold berry leaves ornament makeover after photo
I love how the makeover for a ho-hum ornament turned out. Bright gold berries, white over-sprayed gold leaves, and Noel ribbon turned the ornament into one of my favorites for this coming Christmas. 

French Country Laundry | ORC™ Reveal Week 6

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Welcome to the final reveal of the French Country Laundry with new insulation, washer/dryer connections, cabinets, tongue and groove walls, and white washed tongue and groove ceiling as part of the One Room Challenge™. 


French Country Laundry ORC™ Reveal Navy Cabinets Open Shelves Wood Ceiling

Is a project ever really finished or do you just get to a stopping point? 

Whichever is the answer, here is the final reveal of my first One Room Challenge™.  Thank you, Linda of Calling It Home, for the creative vision to challenge designers and guest participants to complete a makeover of one room within a six-week period and to share our progress in weekly updates. 

Thank you, also, Better Homes and Gardens for sponsoring the Fall 2019 challenge. 

Fall Front Entry Garden

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

White chrysanthemums brighten the front entry garden this fall. Boxwood shrubs and trailing ivy are the foundation of the tiny garden, and seasonal flowers add the bright spots during the year. 


Fall Front Entry Garden With White Chrysanthemums

Fall arrived late and is leaving early at my house this year. 

French Country Laundry | ORC™ French Style Week 5

Thursday, October 31, 2019


After four weeks of 'before,' design inspiration, mechanical updates, and woodwork progress, this week's French Country laundry update reveals how to add beautiful French style to a laundry. 



French Country Laundry ORC Week 5 French Details Ceiling Light Cabinets

Welcome to Week 5 of the French Country laundry renovation as part of the One Room Challenge™, hosted by Linda of Calling It Home and sponsored by Better Homes and Gardens

French Country Laundry | ORC™ Woodwork Week 4

Wednesday, October 23, 2019



Choosing the perfect shade of navy for the French Country Laundry cabinets as part of the ONE ROOM CHALLENGE™ has not been easy. Colors for the wall and ceiling tongue and groove boards have been easier to choose than the blue for the cabinets. Fortunately, paint is one of the least expensive parts of a major renovation project. 

The color scheme in the new laundry room is navy blue and white with white washed wood.  Lots and lots of white, a bold spot of navy, and white washed wood set the background for French Country style and accents. 



French Country Laundry ORC Woodwork color choices

The new unfinished beech cabinets were painted during Week 2 of the ORC™, hosted by Linda at Calling It Home and sponsored by Better Homes and Gardens. However, from the first week I have wavered between two shades of navy for the cabinets. 

French Country Laundry | ORC™ Mechanicals Week 3

Wednesday, October 16, 2019



Mechanical renovations in the laundry room were the reasons for updating the room. Once the decision was made to update the washer and dryer connections and to add insulation, it seemed a good time also to add French Country style to another room in our post and beam house.



French Country Laundry One Room Challenge Week 3 renovations to washer, dryer, lighting, insulation


Welcome to Week 3 of the ONE ROOM CHALLENGE™ hosted by Linda of Calling It Home and sponsored by Better Homes and Gardens. 

French Country Rustic Fall Entry

Monday, October 14, 2019


A small entry welcomes Fall with rustic French Country decor. White mums in a woven French flower basket, small green and white gourds in a French wire basket, and a vintage green chippy wooden folding chair invite visitors into our post and beam country house. 


French Country rustic fall entry with mums and variegated green gourds in a chippy green wooden chair
Earlier this Fall, the front entryway was decorated with blue and white cottage style with a white French ladder back chair and a metal basket of white pumpkins. If you missed how the entryway looked then, you can read Fall Blue and White Cottage Style Foyer Lives Large

The rustic Fall French Country entry is the second of three ways I decorated the small foyer this year. All of the ways are filled with ideas for decorating a small entry with style.

French Country Laundry | ORC™ Design Week 2

Wednesday, October 9, 2019


W E E K   2 
ONE ROOM CHALLENGE™
sponsored by Better Homes & Gardens 

Transforming an outdated laundry room in need of repairs, new insulation, and a fresh look means adding French Country style at my house. 

For Week 2 of the ONE ROOM CHALLENGE™, you are getting to see the Design Inspiration board for my laundry room. Plus, I am sharing the Pinterest boards behind the Design Inspiration board. Two personal Pinterest boards helped me recognize design factors that appeal to me. The boards helped me to see what colors, floor plans, cabinets, lighting, and functional plumbing kept showing up over and over. As I studied the boards, an overall plan emerged as the boards helped me organize my thoughts about what I want for a beautiful updated laundry room. 

Pinterest boards are great for collecting ideas and sources. If you are dreaming of new projects at your house, I highly recommend you create Pinterest boards for those projects. Pinterest is the modern-age electronic equivalent of paper scrapbooks where we once stuffed torn-out magazine pages for inspiration. 



French Country laundry ORC™ Design Week 2 Inspiration Board

Elegant Halloween Black and Gold Mantel

Tuesday, October 8, 2019



Add a little gold to black decorations to create an elegant Halloween-themed mantel for the first Fall holiday, Halloween, to start decorating for the Fall and Winter months. The Midas gold touch adds sparkle and sheen to brighten dark blacks and draws your eyes across an entire arrangement. 

A perfect look for decorating for a Halloween party for grown-ups! 


Elegant halloween black and gold mantel exotic black bird with gold flecks
A lone carved orange Jack 'O Lantern on the front porch has been the only Halloween decor at my house in years past. However, you might say I am embracing Fall in a totally new way this Fall with a sophisticated take on Halloween decorations. 

Keep reading to see how to arrange a mantel with a new twist on Halloween, designed with a little creativity on old themes. 


French Country Laundry | One Room Challenge Week 1

Thursday, October 3, 2019

W e e k   O n e

B E F O R E  




Can a laundry room have French Country style? Plans for my laundry room are to replace damaged sheetrock, to update the washing machine and dryer connections, and to insulate the room better to keep it warmer in the winter. What began as purely functional updates has expanded to give the room the style I love ... French Country. 

Since I am working on the room anyway, why not take the opportunity to do a complete overhaul and to add beautiful French Country style? Why not go for it! Why not remove the sheetrock walls and ceiling down to the studs and create a completely new functional and beautiful laundry room? As my daddy always said as I was growing up, "Anything worth doing is worth doing right."

And why not do it within six weeks as part of the 
O N E   R O O M   C H A L L E N G E ™

Guest Participate 




French Country Laundry One Room Challenge Wk 1 Before Washer and Dryer

Fall Blue and White Cottage Style Foyer Lives Large

Saturday, September 28, 2019


A foyer does not have to be large to welcome guests with style. Blue and white buffalo checked fabric paired with white pumpkins and mums creates a cottage style brimming with beautiful Fall accents even in a small foyer. 


Fall blue and white cottage style small foyer lives large with checks, pumpkins, mums
This Fall I have so many ideas about how to style my small entry foyer ... cottage, French Country, traditional, etc... Since I could not decide which arrangement was my favorite idea, I will be sharing at least three ways I styled my small foyer. Along the way I also share tips for decorating that I used in each of the styles. 

Over the next few weeks you can choose which style is your favorite, and you can find a few ideas for how to create similar arrangements in your home.  

Cottage Style is the first way 
I arranged the small entry. 

White pumpkins with twisty stems and white mums in a blue and white woven basket welcome Fall ... and guests as they enter. 

Mums and pumpkins; Fall has arrived at my house! 

Readers who receive my posts as an email should click on the title of the post in the email to continue reading the entire article. 

Welcome Fall | Front Porch, Table, Centerpiece, Mantel, Kitchen

Tuesday, September 17, 2019



Welcome Fall into your home with your front porch, table, centerpieces, mantel, and kitchen. I gathered up Fall decorating ideas at Botanic Bleu, right here in one post, to give you the newest ideas of how to celebrate Fall at your house. Plus, instructions and DIY tips are in every post to help you create similar Fall decor in your home. 



Welcome Fall decorating ideas with twisty stem white pumpkins
Fall is just a week away in the Northern Hemisphere and begins September 23. Pumpkins arrived at my favorite local nursery this weekend, and I am ready to decorate for Fall at my house. 

A look back at how I decorated for Fall in the past inspires me to try something new and different each year. I hope these ideas will do the same for you! 

If you receive my posts in an email sent directly to your inbox, click on the title of the post in the email to continue reading the entire article. 

Rustic Blue Box Paint Refresh

Sunday, September 8, 2019



A rustic blue trunk on my back porch needed repainting with an exterior paint to protect it from further damage from the weather. New paint refreshed the looks of the box we use as a coffee table / serving table. 


Rustic blue box on back porch has a new coat of exterior blue paint
The new paint color is a little lighter than the previous paint, and I may add a darker coat of blue to the box later. The most important thing is getting the box painted with an exterior paint before Fall and Winter rains set in. 

Readers who receive my posts as an email should click on the title of the post in the email to continue reading the entire article. 

Summer Fades Into Fall

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

capture the last memories of summer 


Fall arrives September 23 in the northern hemisphere this year, but once school starts back from summer vacation and Labor Day weekend occurs, summer begins to fade into fall regardless of the date or temperature. 




Summer fades into fall with ideas for capturing the last memories of summer in your home decor

Looking for ideas of how to capture the lingering summer before it slips totally into fall or for ways to introduce fall decor gently?  

Amber at Follow the Yellow Brick Home is hosting Transitioning from Summer to Fall Blog Hop, and I am joining her with over 20 bloggers sharing ideas for bringing a little fall into your home during these last few days of summer. 

If you are already reading through all the great posts, and you are coming from Cindy at County Road 407, welcome! Cindy's posts are always packed with great ideas served up with wit and humor. Love her and her style! She not only lifts your mood, she also lifts your spirits with her gracious support of others. A side benefit for me is she lives in the same area of Texas as I do, and we get to visit when the area bloggers get together. 

For readers who receive my latest posts in your email in-box, click on the title of the post at the top of your email to continue reading the whole post. 

Labor Day Patriotic Tablesetting

Sunday, September 1, 2019


Set a table to celebrate Labor Day with patriotic red, white, and blue. Red Fostoria glasses, blue Fitz and Floyd china, and white French Country scroll flatware reflect the colors of Old Glory and companion flags used in a centerpiece. 



Labor Day patriotic table setting centerpiece of flags
No easier way to create a patriotic centerpiece than to use flags and a white and gold ceramic star. 

Paris Prints in Floating Frame | Vacation Memories

Friday, August 23, 2019



Framed Paris prints recall a memorable vacation
A Paper Series Post 



Paper post cards and small prints in vacation spots all over the world make beautiful souvenirs. Wherever you travel, you can find breathtaking images of the sights in gift shops, in museum shops, and on street corner stands. 

But, what do you do with those lovely souvenirs of your summer vacation? Do what I did with a set of small watercolor-style Paris bookmark prints found in a Paris tourist office. 


Display them in a floating glass frame 
to add a touch of French Country decor. 


Display vacation memories of Paris with prints in a floating frame
France is the country I love to visit, but you can do the same thing with images from the country you love to visit. Spain, Italy, Greece, Japan, China, Peru... wherever you love can come home with you as small postcards to help create that culture and style in your own home. 

Toile Pantry Update | Key Hooks

Saturday, August 17, 2019



Updating an uninspiring pantry painted pink began with white paint and a beautiful toile wallpaper. Adding new black iron double hooks to hold spare keys was the next step. A tip for simplifying where to drill the holes for the screws is based on a brilliant tip for an easy way to hang a print or mirror on a wall.  



Toile pantry update with  black iron double hooks for keys
While the pantry is small, the size of a closet, updating it with all my plans is more like updating a large room over several weeks. Not because of the size of the pantry, but because each new change sparked an idea for yet another change. 

Take a look at how the pantry looked BEFORE updates began earlier this summer. 

Peach Greenhouse New Deck

Monday, August 12, 2019


The greenhouse created from salvaged old doors and windows got a new/old deck earlier this spring. Salvaged redwood deck boards now allow an easy transition from the greenhouse's peach French doors into the small adjacent garden. 


Peach greenhouse new deck is made from salvaged redwood boards

The deck boards came from the old deck removed from my house. Not enough boards could be salvaged to create a new deck on the house, but there were enough boards in good condition for a small greenhouse deck. 

Whimsical Summer Lavender Tablesetting

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

{Disclosure: If you purchase items from Botanic Bleu, I receive compensation for your purchase. See my Disclosure and Privacy Policy for more information.} 





A whimsical summer table setting filled with lavender sprigs and smiling sheep wearing crowns of summer wildflowers reminds us of the magic summer brings. No better way to celebrate summer than to set a table that also brings a smile to our faces.  



Whimsical Summer Lavender Tablesetting has sheep with wildflower crown paper placemats
Summer is a magical time when rigid schedules disappear and lists of merrymaking fun take their places. August days signal the end of summer is coming for school vacation and rigid schedules loom on the horizon, but there are still many days left until summer ends with the official arrival of Fall on September 23. 

French Country is in the Details

Saturday, August 3, 2019

{Disclosure: If you purchase items from Botanic Bleu, I receive compensation for your purchase. See my Disclosure and Privacy Policy for more information.} 




French Country style is in architectural structure, large furniture, and small details added as accents to a room. 

Do you have a she shed? One designed with your personal style and personality? My garden shed is my she shed and has evolved over several years from a utilitarian unfinished plywood structure to a beautiful white limestone French Country garden house. 



French Country is in the details garden shed with open French doors
Welcome to my garden shed/house in the country filled with French Country style beginning with the style of the building. Take a look at the details from earlier this spring that lend French Country design to this special space where I dream, create, and share with others. 

New Wood Chandelier for the Garden Shed

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

{Disclosure: If you purchase items from Botanic Bleu, I receive compensation for your purchase. See my Disclosure and Privacy Policy for more information.} 


A new wood chandelier in the garden shed was added above its sink by replacing the new chandelier's hardwired connections with a lamp plug-in cord. 

Summer is a great time for sprucing up the garden shed with both a new chandelier and fresh interior paint. Fresh paint is exciting, but not as exciting as a new chandelier. 



New wood chandelier for the garden shed converted to plug-in light
The ceiling in the garden shed/house is vaulted and has a ceiling fan / four-light fixture combination in the center of the room. While working at the sink along the wall, I had to work in my own shadow caused by my body being between the light source and the sink. 

A little creative thinking for installing a ceiling light above the sink was all it took to solve the working-in-a-shadow problem. 

French Country Pantry Makeover

Thursday, July 25, 2019

{Disclosure: If you purchase items from Botanic Bleu, I receive compensation for your purchase. See my Disclosure and Privacy Policy for more information.} 



While cleaning the pantry, a bad stain on the sheetrock made it obvious the pantry needed a makeover even though I already knew the pantry was getting a makeover. A French Country makeover . . .  with the perfect opportunity to add a beautiful blue and white toile wallpaper inside the pantry.  


Pantry with new toile wallpaper 

French Country Pantry Makeover with Seasons Toile Wallpaper in blue and white

Inspiration for a toile wallpapered pantry came from The French Nest Company interior designer on her Instagram account. Her colors and pattern are not what I used for my pantry, but seeing her French-style papered pantry sparked the idea to use a toile pattern in my pantry. 

3 Design Factors for Exterior Stairs

Saturday, July 20, 2019

{Disclosure: If you purchase items from Botanic Bleu, I receive compensation for your purchase. See my Disclosure and Privacy Policy for more information.} 


Tips for designing beautiful exterior wood stairs in the backyard to lead to a second floor storage area above the garage include design ideas for style, safety, and durability. 

If you have ever fallen down steep stairs, you know how important good design is to building stairs. Like all good designs, each of the three factors of style, safety, and durability is intertwined with the other two. Each decision for how to create the new stairs was based on all of these factors. 



3 design factors for exterior wood stairs include style, safety, and durability
Finished last winter, the stairs are beautiful to see from inside looking out through our dining room windows. 

French Country Early Summer Table Setting

Sunday, July 7, 2019

{Disclosure: If you purchase items from Botanic Bleu Square Market, I receive compensation for your purchase. See my Disclosure and Privacy Policy for more information.} 



An early summer table setting with beautiful French Country white enamel scroll flatware and pink peonies is one of my favorite table settings this year.   


French country early summer table setting with white dishes and pink peonies
Finding beautiful French country style white enamel flatware was quite by happenstance. Sometimes you can find the perfect pieces to complement existing china without intentionally searching for them. 

Romantic French Country Pink Peonies

Sunday, June 30, 2019


Romantic French country pink peonies are beloved early summer perennials that captivate gardeners, florists, brides, and flower lovers everywhere. With their overblown, blousy blooms, peonies add romance to any setting, including my post and beam French-inspired American country house.    


Romantic French country pink peonies in a post and beam country house
Peonies are so well-loved and popular they are sold in local grocery stores which means those of us whose gardens do not include peonies can still enjoy them as bouquets in our homes. 

Summer Courtyard Blue Hydrangeas

Monday, June 17, 2019


Blue hydrangeas were one of my mother's favorite flowers and from loving her summer gardens filled with blue hydrangeas, they  became one of my favorite flowers, too. When I found Nantucket Blue® hydrangeas on sale over Memorial Day weekend, I bought several plants for both my semi-shady front entry courtyard and my back porch. 


Summer Courtyard Garden with Blue Hydrangeas
The entry to our home is a smallest-of-small courtyards, somewhat hidden from the country road, and a challenge for garden plants. 

Create An Inviting Summer Porch

Monday, June 3, 2019

{This post may contain ads. If so, ads will be clearly marked that I may receive compensation.}



Summer is a time for living a little slower pace with family, friends, and neighbors. What better place to enjoy easy-living summer days  and nights than on an inviting porch. 

Thanks to Amber at Follow the Yellow Brick Home, you can see a collection of ideas from 20 bloggers at Spring into Summer! | Porches, Patios, and Outdoor Spaces Blog Hop for how each of us created outdoor spaces to enjoy this summer.  

If you are coming from Carol at Art and Sand, aren't her house and garden inspiring for summer ideas? I always feel happy when looking at Carol's blog anytime of the year. 

At the end of the post you can find links to see all of the ways 20 outdoor spaces from coast to coast are ready for summer. Wherever you live or whatever your style, you are sure to find some ideas for your summer outdoor spaces. 


Welcome to my summer porch.


Summer Porch ... brings to mind a place to relax, to share a meal, and to solve the world's problems with good friends or with your children out of school for summer vacation. See nine (9) ways I created an inviting summer porch for those long, lazy summer days to come. 

Peach French Tuteur Trellis

Monday, May 20, 2019


This spring peach French tuteur trellises are the biggest change in my flower gardens. We had them in the vegetable garden for the past few years, and they were burgundy before being painted peach. 



Three French Country Trellis Tuteurs in a Narrow Flower Garden
As I looked at the narrow flower garden strip below the covered back porch, I realized the peach French tuteur trellises would fit nicely in the space and would help hide the dark open area under the porch. 

How To Grow Texas Bluebonnets

Sunday, May 12, 2019


Texas bluebonnet wildflowers require five things to grow. Alkaline soil, rhizobium bacteria, water, sunshine, and seed are the five things you need to grow Texas bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis) and have a spectacular wildflower garden next spring. 



Texas bluebonnet flowers in a backyard naturalized garden
With those five things, you can grow bluebonnets in your  backyard, in your garden, or in your open countryside fields in Texas. You may also need a sixth thing, patience. 

Now is the time to make plans to grow bluebonnets this fall. Seed companies frequently sell out of bluebonnet seeds; May is a good time to order bluebonnet seeds. This spring's plants will have gone to seed, and companies will be harvesting their crops to sell the seeds. 

Afternoon Tea In The Bluebonnets

Monday, May 6, 2019


Afternoon tea may bring visions of an English "high tea" to your mind, but afternoon tea also can be a break from spring gardening to enjoy a glass of iced tea and a blueberry muffin in a bluebonnet patch in your backyard. 

Thanks to Amber of Follow the Yellow Brick Home for hosting It's a Spring Tea Party Blog Hop with 25 bloggers. I am excited to be part of this beauty-filled event. 

See all of the links to the others who are sharing their visions of a Spring Tea Party at the end. You are certain to find some wonderful ideas for celebrating GLORIOUS SPRING at your house. 

Welcome to everyone coming from one of my good blogging friends, Katie at Let's Add Sprinkles. Now, I consider all the bloggers on the Spring Tea Party good blogging friends, but Katie and I have a special blogging friendship. We co-hosted a weekly linky party with another good Texas blogging friend before Katie began hosting Keep in Touch. If you are missing The Scoop and Wow Us Wednesdays for connecting with others at linky parties, head over to Let's Add Sprinkles each Tuesday to join Katie's linky party. 

In fact, several of my blogging friends on this Spring Tea Party Blog Hop co-host weekly linky parties and would love to have you join them each week. See a list of Linky Parties to join each week on my sidebar. 

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Thank you for coming to read about an afternoon tea party here in Texas. 

At my house, we are celebrating a favorite time of the year with iced tea and blueberry muffins in the patch of bluebonnets in our backyard.    


Afternoon tea in the bluebonnets is a way to enjoy joie de vivre (exuberant joy of living) during an exuberant time of the year in Texas ... the time of bluebonnet blooming season.