Blog Description

A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Thursday, April 17, 2014

French le Lapin Spring Table

le lapin 
A little French rabbit 


L E P U S
A French hare 

Images of spring come together in a table setting...  
Lapin 
Jonquil  
Bird's nest 
Bird egg 
Muguet des Bois
Fresh green color 



Fresh new promises of green leaves outside the windows 
are a welcome backdrop to the table 
filled with Spring inside. 



March through May 
are months filled with Spring celebrations. 
With just a few changes, 
a basic Spring centerpiece can be 
adapted to reflect current celebrations 
throughout Spring.  
Nuances of French elements add a little 
savoire faire.



Le lapin centerpiece begins with 
potted jonquils, a couple of lapins
and a white pitcher with forks from a 
French flea market in Paris. 



The forks left unpolished have a worn elegance enhanced with the  
patina that reflects their origins in a Paris flea market. 




As Spring progresses through the months, 
the basic centerpiece of jonquils and le lapins 
changes by adding a lapin mug filled with 
a homemade bird's nest 
holding a fresh Spring green egg. 



The paper placemats with their lapins 
remain in place for the entire 
March through May 
table settings. 



 Carrots and cabbages, 
reminders of Spring gardens and food for French lapins...  



Meadow Song by Towle, modern sterling silver flatware, 
has a detailed floral pattern perfect for Spring tables. 




French script on the paper placemats adds to the beauty of the flatware. 



Bird's nests in the mugs,  
with a bunny in a floral meadow design,  
add a touch of Easter to Spring tables. 



One at each place dresses up the white plates. 



Long-stemmed pink glasses coordinate with the 
touches of pink flowers in the mugs.



A lavender-filled sachet with French script 
takes the French le lapin Spring table into May 
and gives another French touch to the table.  



May 1st is May Day and is celebrated in France with 
offering Muguet des Bois (lily of the valley) to loved ones.   

With just a few changes the French le lapin Spring Table  
goes from March through May. 
~~~~~~~~~~
Paper placemats and matchboxes ~ Michel Design 
White plates ~ Pier I 
Bunny mugs ~ HomeGoods
Meadow Song sterling flatware ~ Towle, discontinued  
Pink stemware ~ Estate sale 
White scalloped-edge footed cake plate ~ Goodwill 
~~~~~~~~~~
If you can spend hours reading 
magazines, catalogs, and design books,  
then you are in for a treat.


Ten bloggers are joining the five hostess bloggers 
for a tour of Spring Tablescapes. 
15 blogs over 3 days

Look at the hostesses! 
Everyone of them has 
style with pizzazz! 

I am so excited that 
Botanic Bleu 
is included.
Take a peek on April 22 at 
Spirea Garden Party.
(A change in the previously announced post.
A girl can change her mind, you know.)  
Then hop, hop, hop on over 
to the other four Spring Tablescapes that day. 

Come back on April 23-24 for 
TEN more inspiring Spring tables 
in The Scoop On...Spring Tablescapes.

Tuesday, April 22 Wednesday, April 23 Thursday, April 24
Please join me at these inspiring sites...

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Create Botanical Bird's Nests

Simple homemade 
bird's nests
can be made from 
small purchased grapevine wreaths 
and excelsior. 

Easy to make in less than five minutes...
just in time for Easter. 


Hobby Lobby sold packages of six small three-inch grapevine wreaths 
for $1.50 per set of six at Christmas time. 
When I bought them, I knew I would use them in the spring,
thinking they would be good napkin rings. 

The flat moss and natural-colored excelsior 
also came from Hobby Lobby. 

A friend gave me a set of twelve blue bird eggs 
for my birthday last year. 



Using a small clump of excelsior, twist/swirl it into a circle, and 
stuff the excelsior in the center of the 
grapevine wreath, leaving wild strands hanging 
over the rim of the wreath. 
Use more or less excelsior depending on 
how wild and woolly you want your nests to be. 

That's it. 
All done. 

See the nests above and below for a samples. 



The small bird's nest is just the right size to sit atop a mug. 
I did not use glue so I could take the nest apart and 
use the wreaths as napkin rings as originally planned. 



Since I wanted nests and eggs in grassy meadow designed mugs, 
I decided the eggs should be green, not blue. 
See these mugs in an upcoming post, 
French le Lapin Spring Table.

Easy to change the color... 



This is a box of ColorBox stamping inkpads 
that have the consistency of watercolor paint.
The advantage of using these inkpads instead of
watercolors is no mixing of paints is needed.

I have had the ColorBox inkpads for several years, 
but saw one at Hobby Lobby last year. 
Quick tip: Store stamp pads upside down 
so the ink is always at the top. 

Using a watercolor brush and 
a very small amount of water in a ceramic bowl, 
brush the green stamping ink onto the eggs. 
Since stamping ink/watercolor is fairly transparent, 
the dark spots on the egg show through the paint. 
Do not have to paint on the spots...! 

Couldn't be easier! 

Of course, I need to clean my inkpads  
where I got limey green paint on a couple 
of adjacent colors. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As soon as I finished these little nests, 
I read Lucy at Craftberry Bush's post,

http://www.craftberrybush.com/2014/03/how-to-make-realistic-birds-nest.html
Lucy is truly an incredibly talented artist  
whose watercolor paintings are just beautiful.
A visit to her blog will inspire you with
her creativity and clear instructions.
Even the name of her blog,
Craftberry Bush,
inspires me. 

Immediately, I thought of ways to improve my little nests. 



The first step is to add more excelsior underneath the grapevine wreath
creating three layers: excelsior, grapevine wreath, excelsior. 
Next, add a small bit of moss, on which the egg will rest,
 to the top excelsior.  



There are always dried hydrangeas at my house that 
come from my mother's abundant hydrangea bushes. 
Two or three individual blossoms are all the small nest needs. 



Foraged small tree limbs with lichen came from a friend's house. 
If possible, just pick up an armload of small twigs from the ground. 
Lichen is also often available at craft supply stores. 
Pull one small clump apart and add to the excelsior. 

Place the botanical nest in a small rustic clay pot. 

Voilá



For permanent nests, use hot glue 
to glue the parts together as each is added. 
When placed in the top of mugs and clay pots, 
glue is not needed. 
The pot or mug holds the nest together.



Two botanical bird's nests... 

Easy to make, 
and easy to adapt to different styles. 
~~~~~~~~~~
If you can spend hours reading 
magazines, catalogs, and design books,  
then you are in for a treat.


Ten bloggers are joining the five hostess bloggers 
for a tour of Spring Tablescapes. 
15 blogs over 3 days

Look at the hostesses! 
Everyone of them has 
style with pizzazz! 

I am so excited that 
Botanic Bleu 
is included.
Take a peek on April 22 at 
Spirea Garden Party.
(A change in the previously announced post.
A girl can change her mind, you know.)  
Then hop, hop, hop on over 
to the other four Spring Tablescapes that day. 

Come back on April 23-24 for 
TEN more inspiring Spring tables 
in The Scoop On...Spring Tablescapes.

TUESDAY, APRIL 22
Top This Top That
Setting for Four
Botanic Bleu
Hymns and Verses
Unexpected Elegance
===
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 23
Cedar Hill Farmhouse
Town and Country Living
Our Southern Home
Chateau Chic
Worthing Court
===
THURSDAY, APRIL 24
StoneGable
Lilacs & Longhorns
The Everyday Home
The Tablescaper
Confessions of a Plate Addict

~~~~~~~~~~

Thursday, April 10, 2014

How to Add Touches of Spring to a Mantel

Would you like to add touches of spring 
to your mantel? 

If you are nodding your head, are you also thinking... 
Where do I begin? 
How do I decide what to include 
and where to place it?  
To begin, 
think about what comes to 
your mind when you think of spring. 
For each of us, 
there are things for which we watch  
to know when spring arrives. 

For me, 
flowering bulbs, new spring green leaves, 
and chirping birds 
catch my attention, 
make me pause for a moment, 
turn my head, smile, and...  
time sort of stands still... for an instant. 
Then, 
I think, "Spring." 

That's how to begin. 

Think of what makes time stand still, 
just for an instant, 
that announces spring to you. 

Now, look around your house, 
and begin collecting objects 
that represent touches of spring for you. 



Choose something as your mantel's focal point 
around which everything else is placed. 

If your collection of objects 
is missing something that represents spring, 
you may want to create something to use as your 
mantel's focal point. 

Last summer, I made a set of four 
The robin print from that set is the focus of my mantel's display. 
Not only is the framed print near the center 
of the mantel, it is raised higher than other objects 
by being on a small carved pedestal. 
A stack of bird identification books 
would work well as a pedestal also. 



There is a certain bird that 
returns in the spring to my woods. 
I do not know the bird's name, 
nor do I know what this bird looks like, 
but the bird has a distinctive 
single sharp piercing chirp 
that he repeats several times with 
pauses between each chirp, 
as though he is waiting for a response.  
When I hear it, I know spring has arrived. 

What tells you spring has arrived? 



Each year I watch the progress of the daffodils and muscaris 
in my yard and woods, checking daily for 
new leaf growth, then for flower stems with buds, 
and then, for the first bloom that emerges. 

The three pots of faux bulbs 
scattered across the mantel  
are hyacinths, muscaris, and daffodils. 
If flowering bulbs are your focal point for spring, 
place a pot in the center elevated above your other items. 


Just below the mantel is a music stand that rarely has music on it. 
No, I use it to display books and magazines opened to favorite photos. 

British Country Living, the one magazine for which 
I still have a subscription, had a beautiful article 
about early spring bulbs a few years ago. 

British Country Living

Using magazines and books around the room 
opened to your spring inspiration 
adds another layer of spring to your mantel's display. 

British Country Living

In Texas, 
spring has not officially arrived until 
we see bluebonnets in bloom. 


Placed below and behind the bird print, 
the print of a bee pollinating a bluebonnet 
represents true Texas spring. 

Repeating elements in a display, such as using two prints 
using three flowering bulbs, and using three items with blue color, 
 helps give a display continuity, and helps the 
mind see the group of objects as a whole, 
not just unconnected individual items.  



Preserved boxwoods add the touch of spring green 
and are also scattered across the mantel. 



Muscaris (grape hyacinths) and a bird's nest with flowers 
on the coffee table 
repeat spring elements in the living room. 
The music stand, coffee table, and mantel 
form a visual triangle of touches of spring 
throughout the room. 

For even more details about how to create displays, 
I wrote previously. 

If you like touring houses, 
then you are in for a treat.


Ten bloggers are joining the five hostess bloggers 
for a tour of Spring Tablescapes. 
15 blogs over 3 days

Look at the hostesses! 
Everyone of them has 
style with pizzazz! 

I am so excited that 
Botanic Bleu 
is included.
Take a peek on April 22 at 
French le Lapin Spring Table. 
Then hop, hop, hop on over 
to the other four Spring Tablescapes that day. 

Come back on April 23-24 for 
TEN more inspiring Spring tables 
in The Scoop On...Spring Tablescapes.

TUESDAY, APRIL 22
Top This Top That
Setting for Four
Botanic Bleu
Hymns and Verses
Unexpected Elegance
===
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 23
Cedar Hill Farmhouse
Town and Country Living
Our Southern Home
Chateau Chic
Worthing Court
===
THURSDAY, APRIL 24
StoneGable
Lilacs & Longhorns
The Everyday Home
The Tablescaper
Confessions of a Plate Addict

~~~~~~~~~~
Please join me at these inspiring sites...
SUNDAY

MONDAY

TUESDAY