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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Bulletin Board Inspiration No. 3 | French Country Lavender

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

A Paper Series Post

Bulletin board inspiration can come from anywhere, including French Country lavender plants from Trader Joe's. 

French Country Lavender Bulletin Board Inspiration
While a lavender post was planned for this year's new series of Bulletin Board Inspiration posts, the plan was for July when lavender fields are in full bloom in France. But, finding beautiful lavender plants this past week inspired the May bulletin board and offers a bit of a tutorial on how to create bulletin boards for viewing, not just for personal inspiration. 

With each new bulletin board are a few suggestions, or tutorial, on how to elevate a collection of bulletin board clippings from unplanned haphazard pinnings to layouts designed for inspiration to house guests as well as to the bulletin board's creator.  

French Country Style in Shades of Blue

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

A new shade of pale blue showed up this spring in my French Country style decor. For years, periwinkle blue has been my go-to favorite blue, and still is, but a different blue has shown up on, and around, the French Country style reclaimed pine dining table. 

French Country style in shades of pale blue
A soft, pale blue is not really new to me, but has been hidden away in closets, cabinets, and corners in the bedroom. This spring I decided to bring the pale blue treasures together for the first time in the dining area. 

The first grouping of items together included a large laundry basket, an old stool painted the same blue color as the basket, a European size pillow with coordinating blues, and a vase of blue and white hydrangeas. Together on the country pine table, everything came together with a French Country vibe. 

But, this was only the beginning... 

Dream Sunspace Design No.2 | Interior

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Take a tour of the interior of my dream sunspace with details about location, windows, window coverings, flooring, and connection to a French Country inspired post-and-beam home. Read specifics you can use in the design of your own dream sunspace.

Dream sunspace interior design

This is part 2 of three articles about the design of the breakfast sunspace at the heart of my French Country style home. Previously, part 1 was about the design of the exterior of my dream sunspace. If you missed reading Part 1, there is a link at the end of the post. Part 3 will have beautiful photos and details of the purpose and use of the sunspace I dreamed about and planned for years before we built our post and beam house in the country. 

Dream Sunspace Design No. 1| Exterior

Friday, May 7, 2021

Where do you begin designing a dream sunspace for your home after your initial daydreams? You have collected photo clippings, pinned images to your Pinterest boards, drooled over sunspaces in tours of design houses, drawn rough sketches on the backs of paper napkins while dining out, and have some overall vision of what you would love to build. 

What should you consider to translate your sunspace daydreams into reality? 

Dream Sunspace Exterior Design

Take a journey with me in the design of the sunspace in my French Country inspired dream home to get some practical design ideas for your own dream sunspace. Everyone's dream sunspace is different, but read about what to consider including in your own variation of a sunspace. 

Part one of the journey in my dream sunspace is this post about the design of the exterior. Parts two and three in the sunspace design journey will be 2) sunspace interior design and 3) sunspace purpose/uses. 

Photographs used to illustrate information are over several years and for different times during the year. Look at the caption below each photograph for when the photo was taken. Note the sunlight in each photograph. 

Beautiful Outdoor Ivy Topiary Growing Tips

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Ivy topiaries are a beautiful way to add greenery to your home and garden all year. But, unusually prolonged freezing weather can damage or kill an ivy grown in a container outside.  

Outdoor Ivy Topiary Growing Tips
Ivy is fairly drought tolerant and cold hardy, easy to train on a topiary frame, grows into shape within a year or two, and looks good during every season. 

Ivy grown in containers are excellent plants for decks, porches, and structured gardens. 

Bulletin Board Inspiration No. 2 | Moody Blue Flowers

Thursday, April 22, 2021

A Paper Series Post

No wonder Bulletin Board Inspiration No. 2 has moody blue flowers. Blue flowers have been my favorites for years which means my collected clippings include dozens of articles about blue flowers. 

If you are new to the blog, you may have missed the previous articles in this series of bulletin board inspiration on a rejuvenated old bulletin board painted ink blue. Links to the previous posts are at the end. 

Bulletin Board Inspiration No. 2 with Moody Blue Flowers
Recommended varieties with botanical names, how to prepare beds, information about bulbs and seeds, and show-stopping photographs of gardens and flower arrangements are all part of my magazine clippings of blue flowers. The bulletin board inspiration for April is only a small part of my clipped collection of blue flowers.

Spring Gardening With New Flower Pots and Lavender

Sunday, April 18, 2021

The call of gardening comes each Spring not only in the form of new bedding plants, but also with the lure of beautiful new flower pots. 

Spring Gardening with new blue and white flower pots and a new pink lavender
Large blue and white flower pots for alluring blue, pink, and lavender colored flowers fill the top of the pine chest against the stone fireplace that separates the living room and kitchen. 

Handmade Easter Cards | DIY Prints Included

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Paper Series Post

Handmade Easter cards are an easy Do-It-Yourself (DIY) with ribbons, card stock, a computer and an at-home printer. Sealing wax stamp and slip-in envelopes make the cards extra special. 

Pin photos to your Spring and Easter Pinterest boards to create DIY cards for future use. 

Make Handmade Easter Cards for your friends and family
For lovers of blue and white, there is a print with blue eggs and blue text. For those who prefer traditional colors of Spring, there is a print with green eggs and green text. Links to the two different colored prints are at the bottom of the post. 

French Made Easter Candy Eggs

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

French made candy Easter eggs were the stars of my Easter baskets this year. Gourmet candy made in Paris, France is world renowned, from small exclusive chocolatiers to large department store maison (house) specialities. French made candy is a treat any time, but French Mèdicis candy eggs are special delights at Easter for anyone who receives them. 

French Made Easter Candy Almond and Fruit Jelly Eggs
Whether pastel blue, pink, and green Easter egg almonds or pink and yellow Easter jelly eggs, the candies are delicious treats for adults as well as children. 

Easy Blue and White Easter Tablescape

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Create an easy blue and white Easter tablescape even at the last minute. Begin with white flowers, add dishes in your favorite shade of blue, include a bunny (or two), and place a cluster of bird eggs (in the same color family as your dishes) inside a pretty white bowl. 


An easy, last minute Easter tablescape with blue and white
There you have it. An easy, last-minute blue and white Easter tablescape. 

Spring Blue and White Basket Arrangement

Monday, March 29, 2021

A blue and white arrangement for spring sits in a basket on the French Country antique breakfast table. After winter storms in February, the blue skies and bright green emerging leaves on the trees outside the windows are welcome sights. And, another welcome sight is the bright sunshine streaming through the sunspace windows onto the beautiful spring basket arrangement inside.  

Sky blue lobelia in a Spring Blue and White Basket Arrangement
Is it spring without sky blue lobelia flowers? Not at my house. 

Blue lobelia bedding plants are part of every spring for me and after starring in arrangements inside and on my potting bench outside, they are planted in containers on the porch to enjoy all summer. 

This spring, the cheerful blue flowers star in a spring basket that includes more small plants, white ceramic bunnies, and blue bird's eggs. 

Bulletin Board Inspiration No. 1 | Baskets, Eggs, Wreaths

Thursday, March 25, 2021

A Paper Series Post

Creating a bulletin board filled with photographs of spring baskets, bird eggs, and wreaths is an inexpensive way to enjoy photographs from magazines, brochures, catalogs, flyers, maps . . .  Plus, seeing collected clippings on a board gives ideas for creating similar arrangements around the house. Take a look at the latest bulletin board arrangement in my house for March, and read my suggestions for creating your own bulletin board arrangements. 

Photos of baskets, bird's eggs, and wreaths on a bulletin board offers inspiration
Last fall I rejuvenated an old ordinary bulletin board by painting the cork board ink blue and by applying a gold gel stain to the narrow wooden frame. When I shared the finished look in a post, I promised readers a new series of Bulletin Board Inspiration. Today is the first of several bulletin board inspiration posts, with tutorials included for how I lay out my bulletin boards. The board I created and photographed last November will debut this November. 

French Country Pine Table Refinish No. 2

Friday, March 19, 2021

Water damage over the past two years to my French Country style dining table required refinishing the pine table this winter... for the second time in thirty plus years. The first time I refinished the table by myself, but this time I paid someone else to do all the work with input from me. 

During the pandemic and the historic Texas snowstorm!

A F T E R 

French Country Pine Table Refinish after photo
Here is how the table looks finished after stripping the table top to bare wood and applying three coats of special waterproof polyurethane finish. 

Unfortunately for readers who want full details with photos of the process BEFORE, DURING, as well AFTER, there are no photos of immediately before or during the process. I was too busy trying to survive February to take photos. 

However, there are some photos of the before to explain the need for a full renovation of the pine table top. 

Spring Cloche Collection for French Country Style

Monday, March 15, 2021

A new addition to a glass cloche collection came just in time to showcase the collection for French Country style this Spring. Less than a week away, Spring officially arrives on Saturday, March 20, 2021 in the Northern Hemisphere, but fresh bedding plants at local garden centers have been heralding Spring's arrival in north Texas for the past two weeks. 

Spring Cloche Collection for French Country Style
White Johnny-Jump-Ups (violas) and blue lobelias under the collection of cloches brought Spring to my French Country style dining table as the small bedding plants awaited planting outside in pots on the deck. 

Winter Botanicals | What to Grow

Friday, January 29, 2021

Deep in January is the time to look around for ideas about what to grow for Winter botanicals in your yard and in your containers. Look beyond the everyday Winter trees and shrubs for ideas about garden structure when your garden is covered in snow. Then think beyond evergreens and structures to think about adding beautiful blooming flowers that thrive during cold Winter days, even under snow. 

Large native cedar trees provide color, act as windbreaks, shelter birds, and provide berries during bleak Winter months
The backbone of every garden includes trees, shrubs, and garden structures. Evergreen trees and shrubs provide color when most of the garden is dormant. Bare, small accent trees around flower beds offer interesting shapes and visually help connect ground level plants with towering trees at the garden's edges. Stone borders around flower gardens and stone bird baths define garden spaces in every season. 

Snowy French Country Garden Shed

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

A French country style garden shed in the backyard is a delight all year, but even more so for a few hours in winter when covered in a light dusting of snow. Nature waved a magic wand and sprinkled soft white snowy layers that softened the harsh contours of winter. 

With snow , the shed is transformed into a blue and white winter scene
The garden shed is beautiful any season with its French country roofline, french doors, and white  limestone exterior. With snow, the shed is transformed into a blue and white winter scene. 

Christmas Angel Print | Winter Decor Transition

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Christmas decor can transition to Winter decor by keeping seasonal greenery and neutral colored decor used for Christmas. Fresh evergreens, magnolia leaves, and a moss ball surrounding a Christmas angel print in neutral tones will carry the decorations into January. A few design tips will help you to create a decor grouping to transition your home from Christmas to Winter decor. 

Evergreens and neutral colored Christmas decor transitions to Winter decor
An elevated shelf behind the kitchen sink is a wonderful place to decorate for any season, and fresh greenery in rustic containers keeps the kitchen from looking so bare during the Winter months.