Blog Description

A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

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. 


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. 

Backyard Meadow | How To Grow Through The Seasons

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Growing a rye grass meadow in the backyard is easy and looks good through three seasons of the year in north Texas. See how to begin and to grow a grass meadow with no pesticides, with no fertilizers, and with little supplementary watering. 

Backyard meadow under oak tree with girl statue
The backyard meadow shown is part of a two-acre lot in the countryside outside any city limits in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. Where you are located has a major impact on what your yard must look like. City codes regulate yards, and close neighbors in housing subdivisions expect lawns to look uniform. 

French Lavender in a French Market Basket

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Artificial French lavender (lavande) in a reproduction French market basket evokes scenes from an earlier era in France and provides authentic vintage French style for a French-inspired garden and home in Texas. 

You see French market baskets on wheels all over France as shoppers actually do use them to cart home their daily grocery purchases. You may even see a bouquet of flowers sitting on top, perhaps a large spray of lavender stems. 

Faux lavender that looks real in a reproduction French market basket provides vintage French style for a French-inspired home
However, most modern-day French market baskets are just that, modern. Light weight, sleek open metal design, rectangularly shaped, state-of-the-art wheels built for traveling on sidewalks, up-and-down stairs, carted onto the metro, and folded up for storing once the contents are emptied. 

To find a reproduction French market rattan basket with wheels fires my romantic fantasies of how France was in another era. 

Spring Tour | Gardener's Potting Bench

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Are you ready for Spring gardening? If you are still gathering plants, seeds, tools, containers, accessories, etc... take a tour of what's on my gardener's potting bench this Spring to give you some ideas about what you may want to add to your list of gardening needs and wishes.  

spring tour of gardener's potting bench
New bedding plants are always high on my gardening list, and blue lobelias are at the tip-top of the plant list every year. But that is only the beginning of my gardening list and of what is on my potting bench this Spring. 

Spring Celebrations Centerpiece

Monday, April 22, 2019

Spring brings many celebrations ... Mother's Day, graduations, bridal showers, birthdays ... as well as Easter. Are you looking for a beautiful centerpiece for your special Spring celebration(s)? One that is unusual and eye-catching for the dining table, buffet, or gift table with a delightful rustic appeal? 

Spring celebration grapevine bird nest centerpiece with fresh flowers
One that is stunning, yet budget friendly? 

Easter Candy Treats | Dessert Table Setting

Friday, April 19, 2019

Easter candy treats are beautiful for a special dessert table setting using pastel candies, the cutest bunny dish, and handmade pottery. 

Easter candy treats as dessert table centerpiece
Looking for a last-minute table centerpiece for Easter that can double as dessert? Here's how to create a colorful, easy, and fun Easter table centerpiece using beautiful Easter candies normally destined for Easter baskets. 

French Country Easter Plate Stand

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The French Country plate stand in the kitchen sunspace has a little brown toile bunny for Easter decor this Spring. 

French country Easter plate stand with a brown toile bunny
The plate stand was a plant stand, but now houses my set of white dishes and usually has a few accents to celebrate the current season of the year. 

French Lavender | Real or Faux

Sunday, April 14, 2019

French lavender fields were on my travel wish list for years, and now are on my list of places to revisit. Seeing real lavender growing in France was an extraordinary girl's trip with my sister and good friend from work. Somehow our husbands were not as interested in spending days in French lavender fields as we were. 

Back home in Texas I try every year to grow French lavender, but only have marginal success. The plants grow and bloom in late March to May, then fade away in the Texas summer heat, and die over the winter. Except this one lavender plant last winter. Read about French Lavender in Winter

Faux French lavender in a French style ceramic pot looks realistic
When I found a realistic spray of faux lavender this spring, I bought several stems to fill one of my favorite French style ceramic containers. 

Easter Tablesetting | Pink and White

Monday, April 8, 2019

With Easter two weeks away now is a good time to begin planning your Easter decorations for family gatherings. 

Amber of Follow the Yellow Brick Home is hosting over 30 bloggers with Easter ideas in a Hop Into Easter Blog Hop. Be sure to visit all the links at the end of the post for Easter ideas to use in your own home. 

If you are following the links in order, then you came from My Thrift Store Addiction and her whimsical Easter decor. Thank you for stopping by and welcome to my Easter table setting. 

For Easter this year my table setting is in traditional Spring pastel colors, and two things determined the pink and white color combination. One a flower, and the other, a birthday present. 

Easter tablesetting pink ranunculus centerpiece

Spring Baskets Ceiling Display

Tuesday, April 2, 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.} 

The backyard garden shed is filled with Spring inspiration, and the ceiling has a display of Spring baskets hanging from ribbons. 

Spring baskets ceiling display in the garden shed
What was my inspiration to hang baskets from the ceiling? When I was thinking about what represents this season of the year, my mind began to think of Easter which led to Easter baskets. 

Bulletin Board Spring Inspiration

Monday, March 25, 2019

Short and Sweet 

inspiration de printemps 

Do you enjoy collecting photos for inspiration? Yes? See my current bulletin board filled with PAPER inspiration for printemps (Spring) and to get some ideas of how to create your own inspiration board for Spring and Summer gardening. 

Bulletin board spring inspiration from magazines and catalogs

White Rabbit Botanical Centerpiece

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Mr. White Rabbit sitting amongst an ivy botanical setting in a pedestal urn is an eye-catching centerpiece for a French Country kitchen island. 

Large white rabbit botanical centerpiece in a French Country kitchen
Large spaces look good with large arrangements, which in turn, call for large containers and large decorative items. It is all about scale. The larger a surface area, the larger a centerpiece can be without overwhelming the space. 

Usher in Spring | White Bunny Arrangement

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

An arrangement of a white marble bunny, artificial white and green flowers, and a white-washed round basket provides just the needed touch to usher in a new Spring. 

Spring officially arrives in a only a few days, and we are ready! 

Usher in spring with white bunny arrangement
The pine chest at the end of the fireplace is my favorite place to add seasonal touches throughout the year. With a handful of objects a new Spring is welcomed this year . . .  in a delightful way. 

Green Signs of Spring | French Country Spirit

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

A soup tureen filled with beautiful blooming blue muscari, green moss, and a green bird's egg on my breakfast table is a sure sign Spring is on its way. 

Spring does not arrive until mid-March, and Winter is hanging on with temperatures into the low 20s this first week of March in north Texas, but cheery blooming grape hyacinths are yearly reminders Winter will end and Spring is just around the corner. 

French Lavender in Winter

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Short & Sweet 

joie de vivre

French lavender blooming in winter is not expected in north Texas, and was a pleasant surprise that brought a little French joie de vivre (exuberant enjoyment of life) throughout January and midway through February. 

French Lavender Blooms in Winter
I am not sure exactly when the French lavender plant in a pot on the back porch started blooming this winter. I was quite ill and did not go outside over Christmas and several days into January. 

Winter Blue and White Bathroom

Friday, February 15, 2019

Decorating a blue and white bathroom for winter has its challenges, but deer and wreath decor works beyond the Christmas holiday as winter decor also.  

Winter blue and white bathroom wreath decor in the window and on the towel
Wreaths are good decor any time of the year. As you step into my blue and white master bathroom from the bedroom you can spot four wreaths, and two of them stay out all year round. 

There is a fifth wreath on the wood panel sconce not visible from this angle, which makes three wreaths that are part of the bathroom's daily decor. 

French Wood Panel Sconce Makeover

Sunday, February 10, 2019

New reproduction French style wood panel sconces were too rustic even for my post and beam master bathroom, but with a makeover, now blend with my French Country inspired house. 

a f t e r   m a k e o v e r

French wood panel sconce after makeover
After a little sanding, new gold finish, and an added small wreath, the new made over wood panel sconce has more style than the original wood panel did. While the wood panel sconce is still rustic, wait until you see how rustic it was originally. 

Vintage Valentines Display Tips

Monday, February 4, 2019

Tips to display vintage Valentines will give you ideas how to add a treasured Valentine to your home's decor without going all out in every room or on every surface with Valentine decorations. With a single treasured Valentine and a handful of complementary items, you can celebrate the day dedicated to love in your usual decorating style. 

It's a party! 
A Vintage Valentine's Day Blog Hop! 

Thanks to Amber at Follow the Yellow Brick Home for organizing over 20 blogs to share ideas using vintage Valentines with you for your home. You can find links to all of the posts at the end. 

If you are coming from Katie at Let's Add Sprinkles, you already have some good ideas for how to use vintage Valentines. If you haven't been to Katie's blog yet, you don't want to miss it! Katie and I live within 15 minutes of each other and are friends in real life, not just online friends. 

Vintage Valentines display tips for framed batik fabric Valentine
Whether you are having a party or merely want to add a touch of romance for the month of February, here are some tips to decorate for Valentine's day with an extra special vintage Valentine.  

Winter French Country Living Room

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Winter decor in my French Country inspired living room includes an oval boxwood, an oval glass cloche, and a favorite old water bottle. 

Winter French Country living room decor
Live green plants are always among my favorite things in the house... in every room, but live rosemary trees are hard for me to keep alive. 

Winter Blue Deer Pillow

Friday, January 25, 2019

When winter blues settle in, use a blue deer embroidered velvety pillow to give your home winter warmth. 

Winter blue embroidered pillow warms homes during winter
While crisp and bright whites help cool inside on hot summer days, those same whites cool inside on cold winter days. Color mixed with white and warm natural woods give winter rooms more warmth than austere neutrals only. 

Vintage Church Pew | French Country Dining Seating

Sunday, January 20, 2019

A vintage church pew provides extra seating for family dinners around a French country style pine table. But extra seating for meals is not the only reason a long church pew is handy to have. 

Vintage church pew as extra seating for family dinners
A L-O-N-G simple wood church pew is not easy to fit into a furniture arrangement. A little creative thinking is needed to find a functional, but not in-the-way location. 

Valentine's Day Gift Ideas

Friday, January 18, 2019

Beautiful gift ideas for Valentine's day for mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends are beauty products, especially if they come in heart shapes. 

Valentine Day Gift Ideas For Mother Sister Friend

Winter Wishes | French Garden Vegetables

Friday, January 11, 2019

Winter brings wishes for French garden vegetables grown from seed. January is the month seed catalogs start showing up in the mail and marks the time for dreaming and planning what to plant. 

Winter wishes for French garden vegetables
When skies are gray with low overhung clouds, grass is brown in its dormant state, and trees are stark gray with bare branches, along come seed catalogs filled with photos of plants to turn our thoughts to kitchen gardens bursting with delicious home grown vegetables. 

Winter Living Room Greenery

Friday, January 4, 2019

Winter months can be bleak, but adding live greenery to your living room can keep the inside of your home from looking cold and dreary. 

Winter living room greenery to brighten homes after Christmas
Add living plants to white flower pots and crocks for a crisp look that goes with any color scheme all winter long. 

Silver Sleigh Bell Christmas Tree

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Wallace silverplated sleigh bells and crystal glittery stems are the only ornaments on this year's fresh-cut Noble fir Christmas tree. 

Christmas Day is past, but the twelfth day of Christmas, January 5,  has not arrived yet which means Christmas festivities and decorations are still part of our winter holiday. 

Inspired by Wallace sleigh bells, the fresh-cut Christmas tree is minimally decorated with sleigh bells and crystal stems. Evergreen, without lights and only minimal red touches, the tree will stay up until the weekend of the Twelfth Day of Christmas. 

Silver sleigh bell Christmas tree is a fresh-cut Noble fir tree
One white angel found a spot on the tree, but not at the usual spot for angels on the top of the tree.