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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

French Country Christmas Blue Dining Room

Friday, December 24, 2021

The French Country style dining room has blue handmade raised wood panel walls and a white painted wood joist ceiling. With no large Christmas tree this year, the English pine dining table holds blue and white Christmas packages around a tabletop Norfolk Pine tree. 

Blue and white gift bags collected over the years coordinate with the blue and white Christmas dining room.
The blue and white gift bags and boxes have been collected over the years and coordinate with the blue and white dining room. 

French Country Tabletop Starry Tree

Thursday, December 23, 2021

A tabletop tree decorated with only star LED lights and a 3-D glass ornament topper is one of my favorite Christmas trees to use in my French Country inspired home. 

Favorite tabletop Christmas tree has LED lighted stars and glass star topper
The best photos of a fresh-cut tabletop tree in my favorite style are from a couple of years ago which I have not shared previously. 

Christmas Horizontal Snowy Wreath

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

This Christmas a horizontal snowy wreath added a new twist to decorating for the holiday season. Instead of an evergreen wreath hanging from the front door or windows, I hung a white twig wreath horizontally above my breakfast table. 

For a twist on Christmas wreaths, hang a horizontal wreath above a dining table.
The white twig wreath reminded me of snowy winter branches. Artificial snowy blue spruce stems on top of the twig wreath add to the snow theme of the wreath. I found several glass snowy Christmas ornaments this year which are also beautiful for a snowy-themed wreath. 

French Country Christmas | Living Room

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Both fresh and artificial greenery are primary Christmas decorations for my French Country style home. Built with structural posts and beams, the living room is a vaulted two and a half story space with a soaring cut-limestone fireplace which looks best dressed in understated natural flowers and greenery. 

Artificial greenery and faux greenery blend well with live poinsettias, fresh greenery, and a tabletop fresh tree.
Artificial greenery on the mantel and faux paperwhites on the coffee table blend well with the fresh white live poinsettias, fresh greenery in a white crown vase, and a small fresh cut tabletop Christmas tree at the end of the fireplace. 

French Christmas Carol Poster

Monday, December 20, 2021

Last Winter I was inspired to create a French Christmas carol poster to use in this year's Christmas decorations. Wholesale gift shows always have spectacular larger-than-life window and floor displays designed by their professional stylists which usually are beyond my resources to replicate similar ones.  

French Christmas carol, O Holy Night, lyrics on a large poster
But, last January an eye-catching wall-size Silent Night Christmas carol poster in the Dallas Market RAZ Imports wholesale showroom inspired me to create similar displays for a French Country Christmas poster this year. Read more for how I selected to use, and how I created a poster for O Holy Night

Simple French Country Fall Kitchen

Sunday, October 24, 2021

The last simple bouquet of blue and white hydrangeas sat on my French Country kitchen island as summer slipped away and Fall arrived. While most people decorate for Fall with traditional shades of orange, yellow, brown, and beige, I favor using the blues and whites that are part of my everyday decor year round. 

Keeping with French Country style of understated elegance, there were no elaborate displays for Fall in my kitchen this year. 

French Country Garden Shed | Shelf Desk

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

An 11.5" by 34" shelf added to a corner of my French Country garden shed is the perfect solution for adding a desk to the small 12 feet square space. The garden shed serves as both an upscale garden house and as a pop-up Christmas store each December.  

French Country Garden Shed Shelf Desk
Every addition to the space must be functional, be inexpensive, and be beautiful to display gorgeous Christmas decor. Many of the materials used to construct and to update the garden building are recycled, but not extremely rustic. Often rough recycled materials were sanded, stripped, refinished, or painted. Gently worn surfaces with a natural patina developed over time are the key to capturing the French Country farmhouse style found in both my home and the garden house. 

French Country Chandelier for 8 Foot Ceiling

Monday, September 20, 2021

For those of us who love French Country style, but live in houses with 8 foot ceilings, chandeliers are mostly a dream instead of a reality. If you long for a French Country chandelier in your standard 8 foot ceiling height home, take heart. I found a chandelier for my very small guest bathroom which may also work in your home. 

French Country Chandelier for 8 Foot Ceiling
Not only did I find a mini chandelier, I also found a carved wood art medallion to use as a ceiling rose above the new chandelier. 

French Country Mirror Makeover

Friday, September 17, 2021

A new reproduction French Country mirror was too rustic for my style. With a lot of sanding, new white paint, and a little antique gold wax the mirror was transformed. 

French Country Mirror Makeover
For several months the new French Country mirror hung in the entry way powder room half way through its transformation from too rustic to just-right patina. The monochromatic overall white paint was a big improvement to the original faux patina, but did nothing to enhance the beautiful carving at the top. The one-tone paint masked the intricate details of the mirror. 

Bulletin Board Inspiration No. 5 | French Country Bedroom

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

A Paper Series Post 

Worn out sheets and quilts inspired the Bulletin Board Inspiration No. 5 with its collage of French Country bedrooms, furniture, and linens. Once again the bulletin board is a functional board for organizing thoughts for a new household project: adding French style with new bed linens.  

French Country Bedroom Bulletin Board Inspiration
New sheets and pillowcases for the master bedroom are high on the to-buy list this fall. Repeated washings created holes in the embroidered top sheet, and a coordinating missing pillowcase has not turned up after weeks of searching. 

French Country Leaf Scroll Wallpaper

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

New French Country leaf scroll wallpaper is up in the guest powder room in the entry. And, I love it! The bathroom has taken a giant leap in its renovation from American Country to French Country. 

French Country Leaf Scroll Wallpaper
Freshly hung just this morning, the paper is still drying. But, I couldn't wait until the paper was dry and the mirror, towel bar, light fixture, and prints were rehung to show the bathroom mini-makeover with its new wallpaper. 

How To Paint Over Wallpaper

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Painting over old wallpaper requires special preparation to insure the finished paint job is smooth. Hanging new wallpaper over old wallpaper requires much of the same special preparation. Here are the steps we followed to prepare to paint over a wallpapered ceiling and to hang new wallpaper over existing wallpaper on the walls of the guest half-bath in the entry. 

How to Paint Over Wallpaper
Please PIN ⇑ to your Pinterest Boards for future reference 

Every house has its own peculiar quirks which means what works in one house may or may not work in another house. Please research wallpaper company sites for additional information since what I write is from personal experience, not professional advice. Nonetheless, you will get ideas about the overall process for painting and papering over old existing wallpaper. 

French Country Powder Room

Friday, August 20, 2021

While looking for new wallpaper for the upstairs bathroom renovation, I found a beautiful French-style scroll design perfect for the guest powder room downstairs. Which inspired more design ideas for a mini refresh for the powder room to add more distinctive French Country style. 

French Country Powder Room

The guest powder room bathroom underwent a major renovation a couple of years ago which updated its style from American Country to French Country. At that time, I couldn't find a wallpaper with French flair that I liked. Nor could I decide to paint the walls instead of wallpapering. So, the old faded wallpaper remained... Until next week when the new blue and white French scroll wallpaper is being hung! 

French Finesse Bathroom | New White Paint

Thursday, August 12, 2021

White paint works wonders as a way to brighten any space. While the French Finesse bathroom renovation has only just begun, wait until you see how much difference painting the wood bead board walls with white paint has made to the bathroom already.  

French Finesse Bathroom New White Paint
The narrow bathroom is so much brighter with the sunlight from the skylights reflecting against the white wood walls. The plank wood ceiling, massive structural beams, and roof rafters were already white before the renovation began. Now the bead board wood walls are the same white instead of the bright pink from before.  

French Style Summer Dining

Monday, August 9, 2021

August is the height of summer when laissez-faire French style dining is at its best. Hot days heavy with heat, humidity, and sun glare call for easy lunches with no cooking, no heating up the kitchen. 

French Style Summer Dining
Lazy days with no set schedules call for laissez-faire (let things take their own course) two-hour lunches. Not the power lunches of driven businessmen, but relaxed lunches sitting around the table with friends and family. 

French Quarter Finesse Bathroom Renovation | Before

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

After thirty-three years the upstairs bathroom needs renovating to become more ADA (American with Disabilities Act) compliant, to replace worn out fixtures, and to add more French Country style. The first post published early this summer explained the overall design from the planning stage and the details about the new tile selection. 

Today's post is a look at how the bathroom looks now, before the renovation. 

F r e n c h  Q u a r t e r  
F i n e s s e 

Bathroom  Renovation 

No. 3

Existing Layout - The Before


French Finesse Bathroom Renovation Before
The current layout of the bathroom includes two small sections separated by a door (visible in the mirror). The first section is the sink area with storage cabinets and drawers under a long laminated counter with one white porcelain sink. 

Bulletin Board Inspiration No. 4 | French Finesse Bathroom

Saturday, July 31, 2021

A Paper Series Post 

While the Bulletin Board Inspiration Series has previously focused on clippings to display in a beautiful artistic style, the July Bulletin Board Inspiration is a design project board for a French Finesse Bathroom.

One of the basic functions of design boards is to display materials and products in home projects. Today, project boards, commonly called MOOD BOARDS, are created and shared electronically by designers, bloggers, architects, and national brand companies. However, a good old-fashioned bulletin board is a perfect place to display a tactile MOOD BOARD

Bulletin Board Inspiration for a French Finesse Bathroom Update
After more than thirty years, our upstairs bathroom needs a drastic renovation. This summer, we are renovating the upstairs bathroom to make it more ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) compliant, to replace worn out fixtures and plumbing, and to add more French Country style with the new upgrades. 

French Country Inspiration No. 1

Monday, July 26, 2021

The best source for French Country inspiration is from France. Obviously. What better way to discover authentic French Country decor, gardens, architecture, food, design... than from the French themselves? And, once you have traveled to France and fallen in love with French Country living, finding resources here at home for adding the French je ne sais quoi to your own life is the next best thing to traveling through France. 

French Country Inspiration
Je ne sais quoi literally means "I don't know what," but is a French expression for "a quality that is hard to put in words". While French Country style is sometimes hard to put in words, we can find examples of French Country je ne sais quoi from books, magazines, blogs, Instagram, movies, and television series. 

Summer Living Room Blue Decor

Thursday, July 22, 2021

With one major new blue purchase and a little rearranging of existing furniture, the living room has a fresh look for summer. The color scheme is still pale blue, but the room feels brighter, more airy, and more cohesive than before. 

Summer Living Room Blue Decor
Fresh flowers are a guaranteed way of making any space feel brighter during any season of the year. New lavender plants in an old rustic blue box are perfect for my favorite French Country style in July since this is when fields of lavender plants bloom in France. 

Allowing the large box to fill the coffee table, with only one French antique fence finial as an accent, keeps the flowers centerstage and the room clutter free. If you missed the last blog post all about the lavender plants in the blue box, see a link at the end. 

French Lavender in Rustic Blue Box

Monday, July 19, 2021

When you cannot go to France, bring France to you. French lavender is in full bloom in July in the sunny Provence region of France and fills the summer air with a heady lavender fragrance. Bring that French experience to your living room like I did by filling a rustic blue box with lavender plants. 

French Lavender in Rustic Blue Box
July brings memories of walking through commercial lavender fields in France once upon a time. Several years ago my sister, a work colleague, and I traveled to France with an itinerary designed to walk through lavender fields, to visit perfume factories, and to stroll stone streets in picturesque hilltop villages around the fields. We continue to reminisce about that trip and to dream about returning to France to make more memories. With no travel plans in the near future, a rustic box filled with lavender brings a little of France to us. 

French Country Pale Blue Hydrangeas

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Pale blue hydrangeas in bloom have always signaled the arrival of summer for me. From my mother's home in Alabama, and now in my own French Country inspired home in Texas, hydrangeas bring back nostalgic memories of long summer days. 

French Country Pale Blue Hydrangeas
Growing hydrangeas in north Texas is much harder than growing hydrangeas in Alabama. Maybe that is one reason the beautiful pale blue flowers bring so much joy. 

Dream Sunspace Design No. 3 | Purpose

Monday, July 5, 2021

part 3 of the design of the breakfast sunspace, the heart of my French Country inspired home, is all about the purpose and use of the dream sunspace. 

Part of the original design of the house, the sunspace has four main purposes
  1. Dining Area
  2. Light Source 
  3. Solar Heat 
  4. Gardening 
The purposes are intertwined and together illustrate a principle of good design. A space created for more than one function is wise use of resources, including natural resources of light and heat, not just monetary and square footage resources. 

The sunspace also illustrates useful, practical spaces can be beautiful spaces.

Dining  Area

Dream Sunspace Design Purpose
The main function of the light-filled sunspace is for dining. An added bonus during meal time is enjoying the changing nature views all during the year. Blooming pear, redbud, and vitex trees visually swarm with birds, butterflies, and bees. Squirrels, foxes, and neighborhood cats and dogs wander through on their way to the surrounding woods. 

Bright, sparkling pale green leaves on trees emerge in early spring, then change to dark, dusty green in the dry rainless summer. Fall leaves can surprise us with seasonal yellows and golds before turning to rusty browns. By Christmas, the branches are bare and often glisten with ice during January and February ice storms. 

French Quarter Finesse Bathroom Renovation

Friday, June 25, 2021

Tile is the inspiration for a French Quarter Finesse design in the second floor bathroom renovation. After thirty-three years the bathroom needs updating to become more ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant, to replace worn out fixtures, and to add more French Country style. 

French Quarter Finesse Bathroom Renovation

The actual work on the second floor bathroom renovation should begin this summer, and several posts with progress updates will follow periodically. This first post shows the overall design ideas from the planning stage and details about the tile selection. 

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.