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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Christmas Red and Navy Blue Table Setting

Monday, December 28, 2020

Inspiration for a colorful red and navy blue Christmas table setting this year came from beautiful fabric found in the Montmatre fabric district in Paris, France. Used as a tablecloth, the jewel tones of red and navy are the perfect setting for blue Fitz and Floyd china, red Fostoria glasses, and a collection of blue and red angels. 

A ceramic blue flower pot holds red poinsettias on a Christmas Red and Navy Blue Table Setting
Traditional red poinsettia flowers with cedar and fir greenery in a navy ceramic flower pot make an equally perfect centerpiece. 

How to Add Christmas to a French Country Plate Stand

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

How do you add Christmas cheer to an everyday functional French Country plate stand? Easy... add a white poinsettia for instant Christmas cheer! 

Add Christmas to a French Country plate stand with a white poinsettia
The easiest Christmas decorating tip in the world is to add plants associated with Christmas in your region.  And, sometimes plants in a region do not even have to be flowers. 

Williamsburg, Virginia is world renowned for its lavish natural Christmas decorations which often are fresh fruits combined with magnolia leaves. Once the outdoor botanical garlands, wreaths, and planters appear, all of Colonial Williamsburg is a magical Christmas wonderland. 

French Country Christmas Greenhouse

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

The greenhouse is a working greenhouse in the depths of winter, but during the Christmas season, the greenhouse is a special space for a little bit of French Country Christmas. 

A working greenhouse in the depths of winter is a special space for a little French Country during the Christmas season
During the Christmas season this year, a fresh boxwood wreath hangs from a sheer lavender ribbon on the glass door to greet visitors to the greenhouse. 

French Country Christmas Garden Shed Exterior

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Dressing the French Country garden shed inside for Christmas is a tradition, and this year the exterior is all dressed for Christmas also. What started as a plywood garden shed years ago evolved over time into a stone-clad garden house that deserves beautiful Christmas greenery. 

Dark fresh greens contrast with white native Texas limestone for a beautiful French Country Christmas garden shed exterior
Dark fresh greens contrast with the white native Texas limestone, white lanterns, and white pedestal ceramic urn. Beautiful, but not expensive Christmas greenery, relies on supplementing existing evergreens with seasonal touches. 

The Best Christmas Greenery Idea | Tree Slice As A Wreath

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

The best Christmas greenery idea I have had in decades occurred to me when I thought of cutting a fresh Christmas wreath from a small evergreen tree. A slice from the middle section of a fresh Fraiser fir tree makes an excellent wreath already arranged in a circle. 

Best Christmas Greenery Idea is a slice from the tree as a wreath
You can use a tree slice as a wreath on a door or window, but another way to use a wreath is as a base for a greenery arrangement in a beautiful ceramic container. Instead of using the greenery vertically, the tree slice fills a large footed ceramic urn.

Bird's Nest in Christmas Tree | Table Top Tree

Monday, December 7, 2020

A German folklore promises good health and prosperity to one who finds a bird's nest in her Christmas tree. Who could not use good health and prosperity in the upcoming year after this year filled with uncertainty in both? To my delight I found a real bird's nest in the fresh-cut Christmas tree I bought at the local home improvement store's garden center. 

This year's table top tree in the garden shed is decorated with glittered bird's nests, silver preserved eucalyptus sprigs, and silver metal stars with rhinestones.
Each year at least one small table top Christmas tree is part of the season's decorations in my house and in my small garden shed. Instead of buying a small table top tree from a tree lot, I buy a 4'-5' fresh-cut evergreen tree to cut the top off to use as a table top tree. Then I use the rest of the tree for fresh greenery in flower arrangements, garlands, wreaths, and sprinkled in Christmas decor. 

Peach Trellis Christmas Greenery

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Peach colored trellises in the style of French Country tuteurs are decorated with Christmas greenery for the holiday season. Fresh boxwood wreaths hung with sheer lavender ribbons sprinkled with silvery glitter dots are festive Christmas outdoor decorations in an unexpected color. 

Christmas greenery on a peach colored trellis in the style of French Country tuteurs
The lavender ribbon color complements the peach colored trellises and adds just the right amount of sparkle to say Christmas instead of Spring or Summer. 

French Country Christmas Event 2020 | Small Business Adapts

Sunday, November 22, 2020

This year, 2020, is the TENTH year for the French Country Christmas Event. Can a small business offer its customers a beautiful Christmas shopping event in a safe way? How does a small business adapt to new ways of doing business during an international health crisis and provide safe shopping experiences? 

French Country Christmas Event in the garden shed for the tenth year
The answers lie in following health officials' guidelines. 

  • Wear a mask. 
  • Wash your hands.
  • Distance yourself from others by at least 6 feet. 
To comply with these guidelines, my small business has found new ways, to my business, to implement safety precautions.  

Read about how I have adapted to provide a safe shopping experience for my customers, and look at this year's garden shed photos to get ideas about how to arrange Christmas decor in your own home. 

Inked Blue Bulletin Board Debut

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Today is the debut of my inked blue bulletin board. Just in time to create collages for holiday inspiration.  

For the past year, dark inked blue and gold have become a favorite color combination for my home. Navy blue has always been a favorite paired with white or red or both, but recently I started plans to update an old wood-framed bulletin board with  a blue cork board and gold wood frame. 

Inked Blue Bulletin Board Debut post about why and how to update an old bulletin board
Read about why and how I transformed an old inexpensive bulletin board into a freshly painted blue cork board with gold wood frame and get ideas for your own bulletin board. 

How NOT To DIY Flock A Christmas Tree

Monday, November 9, 2020

A few years ago I learned how NOT to DIY flock a Christmas tree. In case you would like to flock a real tree or a faux tree, you may find a few tips from my experience to save you time, money, and energy. 

November is the time to buy artificial flocking snow to DIY a flocked Christmas tree

Now is the time to buy the artificial snow before suppliers sell out for the season. You can wait until later to actually apply the DIY snow, but if you wait to buy supplies until you are ready to flock your tree in December, you may not be able to get the artificial flocking snow. 

Midnight Blue and Gold Fall Decor

Monday, October 19, 2020

Instead of relying on tradition for colors with which to decorate, branch out from the usual fall color palette, and select colors that coordinate with your home's everyday colors. Not only does all of the decor harmonize, a fresh color palette of midnight blue and gold creates an upscale decor for fall and Halloween. 

Midnight blue instead of black and gold instead of orange are perfect substitutions for traditional fall colors. Subtle touches with pumpkins, chrysanthemums, birds, feathers, and Halloween message signs add items distinctive for the season. There is no mistaking fall and Halloween are in the air, just not in the expected colors. 

Midnight blue bird with gold crown coordinates with blues found in home and garden shed
Instead of black crows, how about midnight blue birds with gold crowns and white feathers stamped with gold French script? Just a slight shift on the color wheel from black, midnight blue works to give the dark tones of Halloween, but coordinates with blues found in my home and garden shed. 

French Country Fall Owls

Sunday, October 11, 2020

A Paper Series Post

One of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to decorate for the seasons is to use paper products. French Country fall owl prints were created by reimagining paper placemats from their usual purpose. Placemats for the table were transformed into eye-catching gold embellished prints and became the star focal points on fall decorated shelves in a garden shed. 

French Country fall owl paper placemats offer unusual twist to Halloween decor
The beautiful owls from the placemats are a new twist on Halloween decorations. Not the usual black crows, but stunning white owls, bring fall and Halloween to mind with a fresh perspective on fall decorating. 

By using gold spray paint and a gold paint pen, the already gorgeous owls were kicked up a notch to glamorous elegance. What's more, the makeover was easy, and anyone can create similar stunning prints for your own home. 

French Country Fall | Elegant Gold and White

Monday, October 5, 2020

This fall, my new gold and white shelves we built in the garden shed in September inspired dressing them with French Country elegant fall style. As fall arrives with cooler temperatures and a changing landscape, it is only natural that our homes undergo changes also. 

Ideas for decorating open shelves with French Country inspired gold and white
Let me share with you ideas about how I added a fresh fall look to the new open shelves. 

The color palette was already determined... gold and white. 

The first steps for styling an area for me is to ANALYZE  

  • the space dimensions to see what sizes of objects are needed
  • what items I have that coordinate in color
  • how to add French Country design 
  • what flowers are available 
  • how to incorporate items for the season 
  • what object(s) can be focal points with PIZZAZZ

Garden Shed DIY Budget Open Shelves

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Garden sheds can be beautiful on a budget. DIY open shelves made from real wood and metal shelf support brackets from a home improvement store gave my garden shed French Country elegance I love. 

Garden Shed DIY Budget Shelves made using white-washed wood and gold-painted brackets
White-washed wood shelves and gold-painted brackets coordinate with the fleur de lis topped mirror. Sturdy, functional, and beautiful elegance!

A list of materials and sources is at the end of the description of how these shelves were built. 

Garden Shed DIY New Shelves | Extra Space With a Touch of Elegance

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

New shelves in my backyard garden shed will provide needed storage/display space and some French elegance to the hard-working little shed. The French Country garden shed in my backyard began life as a utilitarian plywood garden shed. Then the little shed was transformed into a special Christmas retail shop for a French Country Christmas Event each December. 

French Country Christmas Event housed in the little garden shed
After the Christmas sale each year, the little shed reverts to more of a garden shed with only a few Christmas items stored between the yearly Christmas events. Seed packets, flower pots, gardening cloches, and a fluffy long-haired concrete bunny take over the center table. 

Kitchen cotton towels with lavender and hydrangea designs replace the red-and-white Christmas towels with amaryllis, holly, and poinsettias.  

The French Country Christmas Event has grown over the years, and the shed is now packed each December with special finds that pass the test, "Would this live in my house?" Each year I have to look at the space and create vignettes to display all of the treasures so shoppers will be inspired with Christmas ideas for their own homes.    

The little garden shed needs more shelves! 

Pink Crepe Myrtle | Why Southern Gardeners Love Them

Saturday, August 29, 2020

A stunning pink crepe myrtle tree grows on a small farmholding down a country road near me. The tree is an example of why crepe myrtles have been staples in Deep South gardens and yards for generations.  

Pink crepe myrtle tree in full bloom is a favorite of southern gardeners
For over twenty years I have admired the beautiful tree covered in fluffy pink blossoms as I travel from my home to the closest town for shopping. 

Eiffel Tower Telescopes | Elegant French Style

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

A Moment In France

Remembering Paris in the rain with gold and silver telescopes on the Eiffel Tower offers mental relief from the oppressive August temperatures in Texas and the oppressive confines of no travel during the pandemic in 2020. 

With no physical way to beat the heat by traveling in person, I am beating the heat by leisurely browsing through my photos of my last visit to Paris during a cool month in September. 

As I came upon a group of rainy-day photos, I paused to stare off into the heat-searing whitened blue skies and remembered a visit to the Eiffel Tower with my sister, just the two of us.  

Eiffel Tower gold and silver telescopes are beautiful even when dripping with rain under misty Paris skies
The Eiffel Tower telescopes, dripping with rain under misty, overcast gray skies remind me of our travel schedules developed over the years. Whatever the weather, no outing was canceled. We dressed for the weather and proceeded with our day optimistically, promising ourselves, and any companions, we would have a good time. 

French Prints Shadowbox | Tips for Creating Your Own

Sunday, August 2, 2020

 A Paper Series Post 

Create a shadowbox with reproduction watercolor French prints to add an inexpensive French country look to any room in your house. By using prints collected during a trip with family or friends, your shadowbox will also remind you of special memories. 

Read about how I created a blue and white shadowbox to hang in my bedroom and get ideas for your own shadowbox. I have a few tips for finding small prints to use, for how to arrange the prints, and for using special items to add a little pizzazz! 

French Prints Shadowbox with Tips for Creating your own
Reproduction watercolor prints in soft blues, greens, and neutrals go well with most French country decor. 

Home Grown Summer Tomatoes

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Nothing tastes better than home grown tomatoes in the summer. Vine-ripened until ruby red are the best tasting of all. Yet, sometimes unripe green ones have to be picked. 

Read about ideas on how to choose which tomatoes to grow, how to decide when to harvest them, how to store them until ready for eating, and how to help tomatoes to ripen when picked while green. 

Home grown summer tomatoes under wire cloche
Start with where do you keep fresh red and green tomatoes until they are ready to eat? Storing fresh tomatoes is a topic for both store bought tomatoes and home grown tomatoes. So, even if you don't grow your own tomatoes in a home garden, you may find this question useful anyway. 

Fading Pink Hydrangeas | Reminders of Mother's Love

Thursday, July 2, 2020

The first pink hydrangea blooms of summer are fading, but there are more blooms to come on these Nantucket Blue® hydrangeas. Seeing the profusion of hydrangea blooms reminds me of my mother's love for hydrangeas and of her love for me. 

Nantucket Blue hydrangeas bloomed pink on the first blooms this year
Nantucket Blue®, a new hydrangea variety on my shady open deck and porch last year, blooms on new growth as well as on old growth. There is the promise of new buds to sprout as summer continues. 

Pink Hydrangeas | Containers On Shady Deck

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Hydrangeas planted in containers on a shady deck were blue last summer, but are pink this year. Although we added aluminum sulfate to the plants earlier this spring, we added it too late for the first blooms to be blue. 

Pink Hydrangeas in Containers on Shady Deck with Adirondack chair

Over the years I planted hydrangeas in the ground without any success. The plants always eventually died after struggling during the long hot, dry summers and heavy clay soils in north Texas. Then I discovered hydrangeas kept in large containers on the shady deck and porch not only survived, but bloomed! 

Styled for Summer | Glass Topped Vintage Table

Thursday, May 21, 2020

A glass-topped vintage table on the back porch is styled for summer with a wooden plate rack, blue floral dishes, antique glassware, and potted ivy plants. 

A glass topped vintage table is styled for summer with a good cleaning and a little rearranging
The table has very few changes from one season to the next, but a good spring cleaning and a little rearranging makes every thing fresh again. 

Take a closer look at the vintage table on the back porch for ideas how to use a small table in your outdoor summer spaces. 

How to Get Your Porch and Deck Ready for Summer

Monday, May 11, 2020

Six tips will help you get your porch or deck ready to enjoy all summer long. 

How to get your porch and deck ready for summer
Cecilia of My Thrift Store Addiction invited me to share what has been going on at my house this spring as part of a Spring Nesting Mini Blog Hop. Spring nesting is still taking place at my home this year, maybe even more so since we are sheltering-in-place. 

Spring Nesting Mini Blog Hop

A special welcome to readers coming from Kathleen at Our Hopeful HomeIf you have not read her Copycat Lemon and Eucalyptus Candle, be sure you hop over for a great idea to give your home fresh scents for spring. Our Hopeful Home is a relatively new blog to me, but Kathleen grabbed my attention with her recent living room refresh done in French Farmhouse Style! 

You will find the entire list of nine creative spring posts with links at the end. 

French Country Everyday Table Setting

Friday, May 8, 2020

Everyday table settings on an antique French Country breakfast table include white dishes, scroll flatware, and a small blue floral pot with a lobelia bedding plant. 

French Country Everyday Table Setting is simple
Nothing fancy for everyday, but still beautiful in its simplicity. 

Spring Porch Window Box Basket

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Window boxes are not just for windows. This spring we moved a basket window box from the front entry to a railing on the back porch. 

Spring Porch Window Box Basket on back porch railing
Reasons for moving the window box basket include a better location to see the plants. The window basket was in the small front entry garden visible to all who came and went by the front door, but was too far away for a good view of the plants. 

After thinking about the possible move, other reasons convinced us the move was a good idea.

French Country Spring Potting Table

Friday, May 1, 2020

The potting table on the back porch has a French Country look for Spring this year. Ivy wreaths, vintage French zinc seed pots, and a wire mesh birdcage remind me of authentic garden tables in the French countryside. 

French Country Spring potting table with a wire birdcage and vintage French zinc seed pots
Morning sunlight reaches blue lobelia bedding plants on the potting table, but the covered porch shades plants from the late afternoon sun. 

Spring Pansies Nestled With Bird Eggs

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

After weeks of promises of spring only to be winter again, warm weather and sunshine have finally arrived. Spring pansies nestled with bird eggs celebrate coming out of the dark days. 

Spring pansies nestled with bird eggs on a rustic coffee table on the porch
Sheltering in place at home I gathered violas from flower pots on the porch and arranged them with blue ceramic/clay bird eggs on the rustic coffee table outside. 

French Country Sunspace Spring Update

Monday, April 13, 2020

Along with spring cleaning of the sunspace in my kitchen comes French Country updates. A little rearranging of the shelves on the plate stand and a few new additions add freshness inside to match the new freshness outside the windows. 

French Country Sunspace Update on a gray metal plate stand with white dishes
The gray metal plate stand serves as storage and display for a collection of white dishes. 

Easter Table With Bluebonnets

Friday, April 3, 2020

Easter's on its way! 

See all the details of my special Easter table setting with a bluebonnet centerpiece and handmade Easter paper cones as party favors. The table is set with my favorite color combination, blue and white. 

Easter Table With Bluebonnets is one of my all time favorite blue and white table settings
This Easter table may be my favorite table setting of all time. Bluebonnets, white dishes, French Country white scroll flatware,  etched blue stem glasses, blue-speckled chocolate candy eggs, handmade paper cones... What is there not to love? And, there's that adorable lamb with an impish grin on his face. 

DIY Easter Paper Cone | Blue Speckled Candy Eggs

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Easter Paper Cones
A Paper Series Post 

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Easter paper cones to hold blue-speckled chocolate candy eggs are easy to make. Attention to details makes them special favors for an Easter table setting. A fleur de lis wax seal adds a French Country look. 

DIY Easter Paper Cone with Blue speckled chocolate candy eggs
Creating traditions for special times are meaningful for both family and friends. As we mature, we look back on the traditions in our lives with love and happiness.  

I am joining some good blogging friends who are sharing special ways they celebrate Spring and Easter in a Spring DIY & Craft  Round Up Party. Thank you to our hostess, Barb of French Ethereal, for organizing us in time for you, our readers, to get some good ideas to try for your own Spring or Easter celebrations. 

Welcome to readers coming from Cindy at County Road 407, where the fun and creativity never stops. 

Keep reading for instructions on how I made an easy beautiful paper cone to fill with Easter candy as Easter treats for my family. Then, see more Spring and Easter ideas from my friends at the end. 

7 Beautiful Spring Centerpieces

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Are you looking for a beautiful centerpiece for Spring decorations? One that is unusual and eye-catching for the dining table, buffet, coffee table, or entry table with a delightful appeal? See 7 Spring centerpieces with tips to help you create a similar one for your home this year. 

①  Pink & Yellow Spring Centerpiece 

Beautiful Spring Centerpiece with roses, tulips, oak leaves, mint sprigs
Shake up a traditional roses and tulips arrangement by adding non-traditional greenery from your yard. Oak leaves and sprigs of mint add interesting shapes, textures, and fragrance. 

Variegated lantana in shades of pink and yellow on the same flower head coordinates with both the pink tulips and pale creamy roses. 

Set an iron bunny tied with peach, lavender, and yellow ribbons at the base of the flowers to hide the flower stems in the vase and to repeat the flower colors. 

Backyard Bluebonnets | Time in Nature Reduces Stress

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Relaxing in backyard bluebonnets is one way nature can bring calm to our bodies and minds during stressful times. Research shows spending as little as five minutes outside can reduce stress levels. Plus, even viewing scenes of nature reduces fear and anger, and makes you feel better emotionally. 

Backyard Bluebonnets are a way Time in Nature Reduces Stress
If your stress levels are low right now, spend time with my backyard bluebonnets to feel even better. If your stress levels are high, or you are depressed, afraid, or angry, sit back and enjoy a little relaxation in my backyard bluebonnets to feel better emotionally. Take your mind off your worries.  

And get a few ideas for how to create time in nature in your own backyard. 

French-Inspired White Bird Cage for Spring

Friday, March 20, 2020

A French-inspired white wire bird cage has landed on the white shelves in the kitchen sunspace for a fresh look this spring. Previously, the white bird cage sat on a table at the end of the sofa in the living room. 

French inspired white bird cage for spring decorating in a country house sunspace
Why this bird cage and the two myrtle topiaries? 
As always, I look for ways to bring more French design into my country house. If you also love adding French Country style or garden style to your house, read on to see how a bird cage and topiaries could bring a fresh look to your house this spring. 

Well House to Tool Shed | Exterior Before

Monday, March 16, 2020

Photos of my old rustic well house in the country may look romantic to those who love chippy paint, but the truth is the building needs repairs. And, I need a tool shed for garden tools, garden supplies, and garden equipment. 

Well house to tool shed before photos in the countryside during spring
This spring the well house has finally risen to the top of my list of repair projects. 'Before' photos from last spring, during bluebonnet season, show the old well house at its best. Spring green trees and wild flowers soften the views of badly damaged siding and a damaged flower trellis. 

Breath of Spring | French Country Wire Basket

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Artificial narcissus in a French wire basket adds a breath of Spring to my post and beam country house. One of the joys of living in the countryside is seeing the earth awaken from Winter. And, one of the first signs of the earth awakening outside around my house is daffodils. 

Breath of Spring French Country Wire Basket of Narcissus
Once the narcissus/daffodils begin blooming outside, I bring some inside to awaken the house from Winter. 

But, I also want to look out the windows and kitchen sunspace to see daffodils swaying in the breeze in the tall rye grasses. If I cut them all to bring inside, there are none to see outside. To enjoy daffodils inside and out, I create some bouquets inside using artificial narcissus.

French Country Kitchen Stone Wall | Spring

Friday, February 28, 2020

Spring is officially still weeks away, but the sun and warmer temperatures have arrived in my French Country inspired kitchen. The warm sunshine signals it is time to decorate the shelf in the stone wall with favorite pottery and a Spring time arrangement. 

French Country Kitchen Stone Wall decorated for Spring
Hand thrown pottery plates by local artist Jess Lord, now deceased, often decorate this high shelf in the stone wall of my kitchen. Periodically, I decorate with other dishes and arrangements on this shelf, but I always like to bring back the Jess Lord pottery during the warmer months of the year. 

Dried Narcissus Spring Bouquet

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Fresh Spring narcissus bouquets are not unusual for February through April, but a DRIED narcissus bouquet was a first at my house in early February this year. 

Dried narcissus spring bouquet
The blossoms not only dried, but they also retained their delicate yellow colors.

French Country Winter Bulbs Promise Spring

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Deep in Winter, bulbs emerge with a promise of Spring. Even before bulbs sprout outside and their blooms appear, bulbs potted inside in a French Country urn brighten our Winter-weary indoors while we wait for Spring to appear outside. 

French Country Winter Bulbs Promise Spring
Cold, dreary Winter days can be depressing, but indoor flowering bulbs work wonders to lift our spirits. 

Valentine's Day French Inspiration and Link Party

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Need a little inspiration for your Valentine's Day decor, cards, and special treats? Valentine's Day is next week, and I have rounded up several of my French-inspired Valentine's posts all in one spot. 

Valentine's day French inspiration and linky party
PIN ⇑ for future years 

But, there is even more Valentine's Day inspiration for you with quick, easy links from several of my blogging friends who I am joining as a co-host for a Valentine's Day link party. You will want to visit each of their sites to see their special Valentine's Day inspiration. 

And, you are invited to link up any of your Valentine posts! 

Join the party... 
Guidelines... must be Valentine's Day related... new or old posts 

Link up any time 
Saturday, February 8, 7:00 p.m. (EST) through
Sunday, February 9, 12:00 midnight (EST)

W E L C O M E   T O   T H E   

V A L E N T I N E ' S   D A Y   L I N K   P A R T Y

Christmas to Winter Decor | Nordic Inspiration

Saturday, January 25, 2020

As the new year began, Christmas faded into the past, but some holiday greenery lingers at my home as Nordic-inspired Winter decor. Live spruce tree seedlings on the kitchen island were part of the kitchen Christmas decor, and are now sprouting new growth from the warmth in the house. 

Christmas to winter decor from Nordic inspiration
Little by little, Christmas decorations in my home have been replaced with Winter decorations.