Blog Description

A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Love of Baseball | Part 2

Sunday, June 9, 2024

A love of baseball and softball in our family began with my dad in the 1940s, an era in the United States when baseball was the only national sport. And the love of baseball was fostered in succeeding generations of my family to this day. 

By sharing stories and memories from five generations,
  • the current generations will gain insight into “where they came from”
  • I honor my dad and my siblings 
  • I share a slice of a small town Southern family with the world 

In Love of Baseball | part 1 I shared the stories of baseball and softball in two generations of our family beginning with my dad, Tom. part 2 of Love of Baseball is stories of generations three through five.

The fourth generation of our family never personally knew Tom, their great-grandfather. He died shortly after the first one of that generation was born. Yet, his love of baseball influenced all of their lives. 

And one great-grandson’s life continues to be influenced. 

Love of Baseball | Part 1

Sunday, June 2, 2024

As with all of life, the story of my family’s Love of Baseball is filled with both triumph and tragedy.  Snippets from five generations outline highlights to keep alive memories of traditions in previous generations that shaped the future generations’ love of baseball.  

A love of baseball and softball in our family began with my dad in the 1940s, an era in the United States when baseball was the only national sport. And the love of baseball was fostered in succeeding generations to this day. 

For the past forty-six years I have lived in the Arlington, Texas area which is the home of the Texas Rangers major league baseball team, reigning 2023 World Champions. Daddy got to see his favorite major league team, the New York Yankees, play the Rangers one year when my family visited me around Father’s Day in the 1980s. 

Red Rustic Birdhouse

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Birdhouses are among my favorite things. Little wonder when a red rustic birdhouse belonging to my sister-in-law captured my attention one fall while visiting her and my brother.. Out came the camera and the little birdhouse became the star of a photo style shoot at their farmhouse in Alabama. 

The farm was a great source for props to use with the rustic birdhouse. Dried grasses, brilliant red maple leaves, and a large piece of vintage rusty metal added to the rustic style of the birdhouse. 

Sunspace Windows Update

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

My French Country style sunspace is a favorite room in my house with everyone who comes to visit  us. Why? The view out the windows overlooks our backyard and naturalized woods. When rain damaged a sunspace window beyond repair, we immediately called the window company to come give us quotes to replace the window.  

Unfortunately, we could not just replace the one damaged window because it was part of a double window.  Since the original window style is no longer made as a standard option, the new windows are a different style.

The original windows, shown in the photo, had a larger pane at the top that offered unobstructed views to the backyard while sitting at the breakfast table. That’s the view everyone loves. 

Upstairs Bathroom Remodel | Sink Area

Monday, April 29, 2024

The remodel of the upstairs bathroom in 2021 was so extensive the sink area of the two-section bathroom is just now being shared. After thirty-three years the bathroom needed renovating to become more ADA (American with Disabilities Act) compliant, to replace worn out fixtures, and to add more French Country style. 

The after photo of the section of the bathroom with the sink has elements of French Country style I love. Over the years French Country style was added little by little throughout the whole house with each new change in the house. Whether it was new furniture, upholstery, light fixtures, decor, flooring, or wall treatments, I always looked for ways to incorporate French Country. Naturally when it came time to remodel the upstairs bathroom, I added more French Country there, too. 

The French Country distressed green and gold wood mirror was added to the bathroom several years ago and is one of the few things kept the same in the bathroom remodel.

Upstairs Bathroom Remodel | Lighting

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Lighting is more exciting than plumbing, the last post about the remodeled upstairs bathroom. Remodeling the upstairs bathroom in our post and beam house was a good time to update the lighting to provide more light for the section of the bathroom with the new shower. There have been several previous posts about the renovation of the bathroom since so much work was done. This post is all about lighting in the bathroom. 
Once we decided the leaking bathtub faucet, leaking floor drain, and crumbling grout in the tiles surrounding the bathtub needed work, we decided to do a complete job of replacing everything that needed work instead of doing patch jobs. The bathroom was over thirty-five years old, original to when the house was built. The lighting in the bathtub and toilet section never provided enough light. 

The new triple light fixture mounted to the beam above the outside of the new shower provides great light to the room and to the inside of the shower. The photo was taken before all the work was finished. There are bits of blue painter's tape on the left wall where the paint needed touch ups and the tile floor still needed its final cleaning.  

Upstairs Bathroom Remodel | Plumbing

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Plumbing is not an exciting topic, but was a primary and unique part of our upstairs bathroom remodel in 2021. This post shows the plumbing challenges we faced going into the remodel and the solutions we found to those challenges. 

Before delving into the plumbing details, look at the finished shower that replaced an old tub in the same place. The new shower features ADA compliant grab bars, handheld shower head, safe ceramic tile floor, and easy to step in design. 

Upstairs Bathroom Remodel | Shower

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Replacing an original raised tub with a walk-in shower was the most important part of the 2021 update of our upstairs bathroom. Indeed, installing an American Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant shower was what started the update. 

The after photo of the upstairs bathroom remodel is the walk-in shower with handheld shower head and grab bars inside and outside the shower. 

Begun in July 2021, the project was completed in November 2021. A professional contractor did 95% of the project. We only did a little demolition work at the beginning of the work. Like most construction projects, we had a series of issues that caused set backs from the very beginning through the end of the project.

There was so much work done, there is too much to include in a single article. Individual posts will focus on different parts of the remodel. 

Handmade Paper Mache Angels

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Angels are year-round decor in my opinion. Not just for Christmas decorations. True, angels are one of the best selling items every year in my annual French Country Christmas Event. Each year I create special one-of-a-kind items to offer customers looking for French Country style. For the most recent Christmas sale, I offered handmade paper mache angels. 

I found the papier-mâché (paper mache) angels through one of my favorite companies in the wholesale Dallas Market Center. There were three styles of angels, but they looked much plainer than these finished angels embellished with gold-colored wire, gold-colored charms, and gold wax. Unfortunately, I don't have a before photo. 

Snow Scenes | Winter Home Decor

Thursday, January 18, 2024

After seeing all the snow scene photos today from friends on social media, I looked through snow photos from bygone years and found photos of how I decorated my fireplace mantel one year for a party using snow scene photos. Perfect, inexpensive winter decor with a personal connection was a hit with my guests. Photos of the decorated mantel follow snow photos from recent years. 

Here is the snow scene I posted to social media today. Perhaps the scarcity of snow in our area is why we all take photos to capture the scenes before the snow melts away. Today's snow only lasted a few hours after the sun came out. By nightfall, there was barely any snow left. 

A view of our backyard from an upstairs bedroom window also includes a view into our naturalized woods. You can see the window screen pattern in the photo if you look closely in the lower right corner. No venturing outside in the frigid 13° weather on slippery sidewalks to take photos. 

Snow softens harsh, stark winter scenes and inspires us all to take photos of snow scenes of our houses, gardens, children, and pets. North Texas received a small amount of snow overnight, and today my social media home page is filled with photos of my friends' houses and yards covered with snow. Well, almost covered with snow since there was such a small amount of snow. 

The following photos are selected snow scenes at my house including some of the photos I used to decorate my mantel for winter one year. 

Email Subscriber News | January 2024

Sunday, January 14, 2024

The email subscription service provider MailerLite will no longer provide the subscription service I use to email every new blog post to subscribers enrolled. The ending date is February 1, 2024. 

I am exploring other options. If I find a new provider plan, I will migrate all current subscribers to the new plan. Those of you who receive my posts in your email inbox will not have to do anything to continue to receive the latest blog posts. 

Photo of Current Email Subscription Form ⬆︎

Since my blog does not make money for me, I need a FREE email subscription service. You probably have noticed there are no advertisements on my blog. If a new plan is not implemented to replace the plan ending on February 1, 2024, you will no longer receive the latest post directly in your email inbox. 

Keep reading for a few suggestions of other ways to continue to find Botanic Bleu to read. While they may not be ideal substitutes for getting the beginning of a new article directly in your email inbox, you can still locate the latest post with only an extra couple of clicks. 

Mirror Updates to French Country

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Homes change over the years due to routine maintenance, upgrading appliances, freshening paint, changing tastes, and finding what you have been wanting for years. The mirror in my half-bath powder room started as American Country style that eventually was replaced with a new French Country style mirror. 

After years of searching and intermediate changes along the way, the half-bath has a French Country mirror I love. This post is for all of you who still long for changes in your home. Don't give up. The journey may take turns and twists, but little-by-little you can achieve the home you dream.  

Take a look at my journey from American Country mirror to the French Country mirror shown above. I've tried to include photos with the same views into the half-bath so you can see how the mirror changes over the years looked in the bathroom from the same perspectives. 

Mixed Media French Prints

Sunday, January 7, 2024

Each year I create special items for the French Country Christmas Event in my garden shed. Mixed media French prints were part of this year's speciality items. 

The watercolor version of a photograph of Sainte Chapelle and the Palais de Justice in Paris, France is one of four mixed media French prints created from original photographs I took while traveling in France. 

Breakfast Sunspace Replacement Windows

Thursday, January 4, 2024

One of our original Pella windows in the breakfast sunspace is damaged beyond repair. Replacement windows have been ordered. Yes, multiple windows are on order. We are waiting for them to arrive and to be installed by Pella Windows. 

The far right window in the set of four identical windows (only 3 are visible in the photo) is the damaged window. You can't see the damage in this photo because this photo was taken before the damage occurred. 

Photos taken over multiple years are in this blog post to illustrate the sunspace windows, the design of the windows, and the design of the sunspace.