Share Your Style #289

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Welcome to this week’s Share Your Style #289!

This link party is for home decor, DIY, crafts, recipes and the like, but you are more than welcome to share any of your family-friendly posts with us all. Please feel free to share this post too and join my small but loyal band of friends. I appreciate you!
 As always, I am glad that you are here… 💜

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I am Barbara Chapman and I’d love it if you’d follow me here on my blog and on any of my other sites! Thank you, sweet friends!!!

My sites:  French Ethereal  Instagram  Facebook  Pinterest  YouTube

Can you believe that Valentine’s Day is only a short 3 weeks away?? I always think that, “Wasn’t it just Christmas??” My Christmas tree is still up… I did manage to take down all the ornaments yesterday when I got home from work, but the tree won’t get put up until this weekend. Lol! Valentine’s wreaths are up on the doors, though… 😉

Here’s what I shared this past week at French Ethereal…

Sunday Sentiments: A Quiet Wintertime Mantel Vignette

And here are this week’s featured posts…

Lots of good things to share this week as we begin putting up a few Valentine’s posts for you! Not in any certain order but all fun, here are this week’s features:

Valentine Bunting DIY
Kippi of Kippi At Home shared her cute bunting DIY in this post ~ How to Make a Valentine Bunting. Love it!!!
Naush over at Doodle Buddies shared these cool high-end sculptures in her DIY post ~ High End Home Decor Dupes on a Budget. So cool and these remind me of a DIY show from about 10 years ago: Design on a Dime. Remember that show? Always love good reproduction projects!!!
Rachelle from My Hubbard Home brings us her Finding Your Tablescape Style III: Know Your Style. So fun with spring coming just a quick two months away!
Come stop by Sandra’s from Dinner at Eight and check out their completed deck! Turned out great!!! Deck Update ~ Railing Installed.
Debra of Common Ground shared her fun style in this post ~ Cozy Winter Decor. Loving the leopard print!!!
Totally in-love with Debbee of Debbee’s Buzz sweet tablescape in this post ~ Meet Me at the Eiffel Tower Table Valentine. How cute are these heart placemats??!
Blue and white is such a popular color combination for many of us during the winter, and for others it is a favorite decorating style with all year long. Carol at Bluesky at Home shared her beautiful bedroom in this homey post ~ Beautiful Blue and White Winter Master Bedroom.
Lisa from Fresh Vintage by Lisa brings us her lovely quiet winter mantel and a special way to memorize scripture verses in this post ~ My Winter Mantel and a Way to Memorize Scripture.
BerryWorld Strawberry and Almond Macarons
Claire Justine shared this yummy table for a Valentine’s post ~ BerryWorld Strawberry and Almond Macarons: A How-To. Sweet!!
DIY-Farmhouse-Tool-Caddy-The-Crowned-Goat-14 DIY Farmhouse Tool Caddy Decorating DIY
CoCo over at The Crowned Goat brings us her recycled and updated crate in her post ~ DIY Farmhouse Tool Caddy. I love it! Really nice with the beautiful French transferware in it. (Of course I am partial, lol!)
10 Adorable Valentines Day Ideas Valentines Day Crafts Valentine's Day Ideas The Pioneer Woman
Amber from Follow the Yellow Brick Home has some exciting news to share in her fun DIY post including her adorable Valentine’s Day gnomes… Soooo cute! Ten Adorable Valentine’s Day Ideas (and a Feature…). You’ll just have to head on over to find out more. 😉
Farmhouse winter decorating ideas Paperwhites black and white winter kitchen
And to finish up our Baker’s Dozen today… This second post also by Amber of Follow the Yellow Brick Home sharing Winter Decorating with Paperwhites… For the gardener in all of us!

A big Thank You to everyone who linked up this past week. A special thank you to y’all for always promoting Share Your Style on your blog and on your social media channels! I do see it when I stop by and I appreciate the love. 💜

If you have been featured here at Share Your Style… Here is a button to copy to your site and to share...

If you’d like to follow my Share Your Style board on Pinterest I’d appreciate it, thank you! I do post all of the featured posts from each week’s SYS there.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Happy linking!



Sunday Sentiments: A Quiet Wintertime Mantel Vignette…

I like wintertime just after Christmas when we still have vacation time away from work and we can sit back and truly relax. This wintertime mantel vignette reflects this special quiet time…

I have wanted to do a layering vignette for a while with different picture frames. Our mantel top is fairly narrow so I can’t put too many pieces up there but I am pretty pleased with this arrangement. I channeled my inner Amber from Follow the Yellow Brick Home for this mantel who is always decorating with empty picture frames and mirrors!

Here is one of her recent layerings:

Collecting and Decorating: Antique and Vintage Frames

Since I pulled out a bunch of white ironstone and creamware pieces paired with blue and white china in the hutch in the dining room for winter, I thought I’d go the other way with pink and white vintage Haviland Limoges pieces up here.

This chalk-painted frame came from a local thriftshop here in Denton, TX with this lovely print of a vintage colorized photograph. I love the older French-European style clothing of this mother and child and their sweet cuddles. Were they immigrants coming to a New World? Were they still living in their native European land?

To me, everything on this mantel speaks of another time when life was simpler and loveliness and beautiful items were things one wished to share with others when friends and family came to call…

Winter whites with just small florals and a bit of greenery in the little moss topiaries is all that is needed…

A bit of Grace and Peace to you this Sunday evening!

Youth fades; love droops; the leaves of friendship falls. A mother’s secret love outlives them all.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Simplicity, a slower pace, vintage peacefulness…

Thanks for stopping by today,



Share Your Style #288

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Welcome to this week’s Share Your Style #288! 

This link party is for home decor, DIY, crafts, recipes and the like, but you are more than welcome to share any of your family-friendly posts with us all. Please feel free to share this post too and join my small but loyal band of friends. I appreciate you!
 As always, I am glad that you are here… 💜

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is barb-square-headshot-copy.jpg

I am Barbara Chapman and I’d love it if you’d follow me here on my blog and on any of my other sites! Thank you, sweet friends!!!

My sites:  French Ethereal  Instagram  Facebook  Pinterest  YouTube

Here’s what I shared this past week at French Ethereal…

Sunday Sentiments: A Quiet Wintertime Mantel Vignette

And here are this week’s featured posts…

And here are this week’s featured posts…

Debra from Common Ground shares her beautiful wintery Planters, Calendars and Journals: Starting a Daily Prayer Journal. Debra also shared another timely post about A Look at Life in 2020.
Amy over at Amykins shared this easy Slow Cooker Recipe for Peanut Butter Oatmeal ~ Something Simple. Serious Yum!!!
Lori at Dining-Delight shared her super festive New Year’s Eve Tablescape with Mixed Metals. So fun!!!
Linda at Paper Seedlings shared her sweet drawings with us all!! ~ Daily Creating August 2020. Just adorable! Do check out her post as there is a Facebook group which you might like to join. Looks fun!
Longtime Texas friend Katie from Let’s Add Sprinkles shared her new country home in this post ~ Update on Our Country House.
Sarah of Hyacinths for the Soul brings us her lovely tablescape in this Mackenzie-Child-inspired post ~ Welcome 2021 ~ A New Year!
Newcomer Robin of The JunkJournal has this fun trunk update in her DIY post ~ Primitive Chest. Totally cute!!! Welcome Robin!!!

A big Thank You to everyone who linked up this past week. A special thank you to y’all for always promoting Share Your Style on your blog and on your social media channels! I do see it when I stop by and I appreciate the love. 💜

If you have been featured here at Share Your Style… Here is a button to copy to your site and to share...

If you’d like to follow my Share Your Style board on Pinterest I’d appreciate it, thank you! I do post all of the featured posts from each week’s SYS there.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Have a great evening,

Barb 🙂


Winter Decorating in the China Hutch

Here’s where we left off this last time with our blue and white decorating…

I had picked out a mishmash of the only blue and white pieces I own and began filling the china hutch little by little. Today I thought I’d share the whole hutch with you and what other pieces I placed on it for a nice wintertime display!

I was concurrently taking down all of the Christmas pieces, dusting then putting up the new decor right at New Year’s since I had to be finished for $10 on the 10th and most of the pieces on the dining room table were used to create this winter look.

I brought out the bright white Italian plate I found at HomeGoods in 2017 (upper left, back) from once we were settled up in Sanger at Wagon Master RV park (and weren’t driving either of the RV’s around rattling dishes!). Layered with it is the more ornate serving plate which goes with my favorite white plates, and two old creamware creamers found while thrifting at Twice As Nice here in Denton, Texas.

The butter dish is also from HomeGoods and I found it about a year ago. We only had the Butter Lady (dishware from Polland, and brought back from England in 2005 ~ not shown, I need to remedy that!). The blue and white planting pot is new and was found on Amazon. The French plate was another find from the thriftshop.

I kept out the Christmas trees I decorated while we were still in our last home in California and set them here for a little wintertime sparkle alongside my favorite (and only!) creamware teapot. I had this sweet blue and white cat drip stopper and thought I’d add her to the festivities…

This little kitty reminds me of my daughter’s cat, Dorian, who is a gorgeous long-haired Ragdoll cat but really looks nothing like this sweet pawing kitty! Just a nice reminder…

Did you notice the tiny bird keeping a close eye on the cat??

There are a few other birdies perched around the hutch also keeping their wary eyes out for this cat’s antics. No flying feathers here, thank you!

Three small cups are stacked which also are a close match to my favorite plates along with with a small cake plate and a Pottery Barn mercury glass candleholder. The shelves in this hutch are narrow but I love stacking plates and items in here!

Here is a photograph from our last home in our dining room tucked into the right corner. I like using this plate stacker from Target. It used to be all gold but I got a wild hair and dry-brush painted it white one day. Still wish I had bought two!!! Target only had a few of these more ethereal pieces, ever… Then they were gone. Today’s young folks want something more “modern” but I still prefer things a little more twee. 😉

I like this wintertime blue and white styling! I kept the barn painting on the top of the hutch and added a favorite tin with the girl sipping tea alongside plus added a duck basket from my Christmas totes that I’ve had since my late 20’s/early 30’s (the 1990’s). The duck carries Christmas ornaments in his back basket some years but right now it has a little greenery tucked inside. The angel blowing kisses is a Southern Living hostess piece I was able to pick up when I held a decor party back during that same time period.

Of course!

One thing begat another… I got excited creating the hutch, which then made me think of a cup of tea (an ADD thing! which I don’t think I have but you never know…) so then I thought about:

What if the buffet part became a place for guest to come and pick up a cup of tea? (I was thinking of bed & breakfast idea.) The breakfast tray idea jelled when I remembered staying at The Beverly Hills Hilton and having tea in bed (was great fun and the waitress who delivered the tray thought I was cute because I was sooo excited about the tray!) when I went to the Design Bloggers Conference ~ this was when I went in 2016 to Atlanta ~ and here is where I went to L.A. (now Design Influencers Conference) ~ in Los Angeles a few years ago. If you’ve never been to a design influencers conference, they are a lot of fun and sooooo inspirational! I always wanted to meet up with friends at Haven, too!*

*Okay, was that a run-on sentence/thought or what?!!

Miss Kitty reaching a paw out to say Hello!

I went kinda overboard taking photos but that’s because it is so fun to share each styled vignette with you all!!! I need to pull out the serving platter more often…

On the opposite side of the buffet line… We have all of the Independence Day dishes stacked for guests to use plus a couple of mugs and teacups for tea…

One last look at the tea tray… Love finding those small jars of honey and jams! Winco carried them before Christmas, of all things!! Winco is my usual grocery store and we started going to get groceries there while we were living in So Cal.

Happy tea to you,



How to Decorate with Wintertime Blues and Whites

Welcome to this month’s $10 on the 10th and this month is all about Blue and White decor. Decorating using wintertime blues and creamy white china is a favorite way to decorate for many people, but really it is almost a first for me!

A jumble of blue and white pieces we have laid out whilly-nilly on the antique oak table…

How sweet to be a cloud floating in the blue.”

A. A. Milne

I’d like to thank our hosts Ann of Apple Street Cottage and Tammy of Patina and Paint for bringing us all together and for creating this month’s blue and white decor theme. Thank you, Ladies!! <3

Image may contain: text that says 'UNDER $10 on the 10th Lifestyle bloggers sharing ideas Join us each month on the 10th when we share ideas that cost less than $10! *********** Home decor, tablescapes, crafts, gardening. recipes, gift giving beauty, fashion, party ideas, DIy and so much more, all under $10'

Now let’s check out how we worked some magic here… 😉 And don’t you just love this sweet quote I found from A. A. Milne? A small thought from Winnie the Pooh on this wintery Sunday… Perfect for our blue and white theme!

How to begin

For this $10 on the 10th challenge, I began by pulling everything out that we had in blue and white then spreading it all out on our dining room table. I found this very old antique French soup plate (back) while thrift-shopping ($4.00) and have used it a few times in posts, so I set it in this cubby along with the German teacup my sister-in-law found on trash day when she and my brother were stationed there.

The three whiteware saucers ($2.00 for all three) are all thriftshop orphans with no cups and the pitcher came from HomeGoods several years ago. The sweet birdie I found at Michael’s, I think. (about $4.00) 😉

But this is what I started with: a big stack of dishes, a few tchotchkes and a set of three new pots for planting. The ceramic girl with flowers was a birthday present from my mom and dad when I was 7 years old, I think. It is a music box and used to sit on a wooden piece, which I think I pulled off… years and years ago. The piece was too small and she never stood up right, so I think that is why she doesn’t have her stand. Now she just sits on the metal turning piece and leans a bit because of this. Crazy what we do when we are young, huh?

*Well this week also was a birthday week and I’ll share the nice cookware piece Mr. Ethereal picked up for me later this week. I’ve just started cooking with it… 😉

Also in this picture, our Christmas cactus is loving its new home in this big pot and I am really happy with this blue and white pot set! You can find it on Amazon, and I am not sponsored but it was packaged really well and each is a little different. They come with the dotted saucer you see underneath the main pot, too ~ a good deal for the price, I thought.

Here are two of the three pots. We had just had some good rain and the Christmas cactus had been sitting outside enjoying a good bath, hence why it is soaking wet. I forgot I had wanted it for pictures so I went and grabbed it for a few!

By putting everything out on the table, it was fairly easy to then set a few things in the china cabinet and see what worked, and what didn’t. I like this approach because I am so visual and kinda have to “see” how something looks before a vignette is set in stone, and you may like this approach also.

Our china cabinet is really small and was handmade by a man in Riverside, California who would find pretty picture frames (during the late-1990’s/early 2000’s) and then build cabinets around them. I found this one at a cute antique/gift shop in Temecula when I first began having teas.

The hardest part for me to decorate is always this sweet angel-framed door area (because it is small), but it is perfect for dollhouse ideas especially at Christmas!

Someday I would like to find a larger dresser but this small china cabinet works well in this small dining room. And I do find it really fun to stack dishes upright along this long shelf! If you have never been over to visit Amber of Follow the Yellow Brick Home, she is a master at stacking… I love coming over and checking out everyone’s blog sites; it is where I get inspired, too!

Basically, just keep adding in and moving pieces around until you find an arrangement that you are happy with… I find that is what works best for me. Also, work in “heights” with ups and downs bringing visual interest. Groups of threes also add their pop of interest. Here you can see the “three” effect with the blue pieces in a triangle shape popping out…

So, that’s it for me today!

I’ll share some other photos later on, but this post would get really long… Please hop on by to visit the other ladies on today’s $10 on the 10th Blue and White Decor hop and check out their wintertime decorating ideas! You know that’s where I’m going. <3

Ann – The Apple Street Cottage

Allyson – Southern Sunflowers

Barb – French Ethereal

Patti – Pandora’s Box

Tammy – Patina & Paint

Happy decorating, friends!



Share Your Style #287

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Welcome to this week’s Share Your Style #287! 

This link party is for home decor, DIY, crafts, recipes and the like, but you are more than welcome to share any of your family-friendly posts with us all. Please feel free to share this post too and join my small but loyal band of friends. I appreciate you!
 As always, I am glad that you are here… 💜

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is barb-square-headshot-copy.jpg

I am Barbara Chapman and I’d love it if you’d follow me here on my blog and on any of my other sites! Thank you, sweet friends!!!

My sites:  French Ethereal  Instagram  Facebook  Pinterest  YouTube

We had a very nice Christmas and ended up driving down to Austin over New Year’s to visit our daughter since she couldn’t come up our way afterall. Just a quick two-day getaway, but also very nice!

Here’s what I shared this past week at French Ethereal…

Sunday Sentiments: A Quiet Wintertime Mantel Vignette

And here are this week’s featured posts…

And here are this week’s featured posts…

I am picking up posts from our last Share Your Style (#286) two weeks ago. Thank you to you all for this time of relaxation! I didn’t take much time off when I was ill in October, so it was nice to follow the example of other blogger/design influencers and take these past two weeks off… Thank you! <3 Happy to be back, though!!!

A Christmas Birthday Tea by the Tree ~ Fabby of Fabby’s Living shares this gorgeous holiday table for a family friend and caregiver for her mother. Just lovely!
Debbee of Debbee’s Buzz shared her table set for Santa’s arrival in this festive post ~ Twas the Night Before Christmas Eve Table

*Two lovely red and white transferware posts for you because we all love these pieces so much!!! Look for more of these lovely patterns around Valentine’s Day… <3

Debra of Common Ground shared this garden style Christmas post ~ French Country Christmas in the Dining Room.
10 minute Christmas Wreath
Rachelle of My Hubbard Home brings us this fun skating wreath in this post ~ Holiday Door Wreath (That Only Takes 10 Minutes).
A Leopard Print for Style Imitating Art
Michelle Churchman from My Bijou Life Online brings us some fashion to take us into the new year in this post ~ A Leopard Print for Style Imitating Art. Totally fun go-to dress!!!
Style Imitating Art, Charles Bell, Gumball II, bright colors, fashion over 40, Shelbee on the Edge
Shelbee of Shelbee’s On the Edge shares her fun wintery style in this post, also part of Style Imitating Art, Gumball II by Charles Bell.
For anyone who follows Amber of Follow the Yellow Brick Home she and her hubby have finally finished their kitchen remodel and here is that post… Just in time for the holidays and bright and clean welcoming in the New Year! ~ Vintage Traditional Christmas Home Tour and A Festive New Kitchen.
 Kerstboompjes van bakvormen Papier
Inge and Else of ElseRBlog bring us this adorable Christmas Tree with Cupcake Papers DIY (Kerstboomjes von Cupcake Bakformen Papier — DIY).
DIY-Gingerbread-Snowflake-Ornaments-The-Crowned-Goat-2-1 DIY Gingerbread Snowflake Ornaments Christmas Crafts Holidays
Coco of The Crowned Goat shares an easy tutorial perfect for leaving up all winter long in this post ~ DIY Gingerbread Snowflake Ornaments.
Debbie of Debbie-Dabble Blog brings us her sweet doll house decorated in holiday attire in this final post for this week ~ Christmas at Nelson Crest.

A big Thank You to everyone who linked up this past week. A special thank you to y’all for always promoting Share Your Style on your blog and on your social media channels! I do see it when I stop by and I appreciate the love. 💜

If you have been featured here at Share Your Style… Here is a button to copy to your site and to share...

If you’d like to follow my Share Your Style board on Pinterest I’d appreciate it, thank you! I do post all of the featured posts from each week’s SYS there.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Happy New Year, Y’all and welcome to 2021!



Adding French Fencing to the Sideyard Garden

Happy (Almost) New Year, friends!!! These past two weeks off from school for Christmas break have been wonderful ~ and full of projects! Let’s check out our garden fence project…

Christmas afternoon found me outside digging an 18″ hole in the ground for the cement post I stained on a weekend a couple of weeks ago. Here, Mr. Ethereal is helping me figure out where the edge of the metal “stand” will go (the edge of the spray painted line) when cemented inside the paper tube we put in the ground as our cement holder. *Very technical, of course… 😉

We had different ideas on how to approach the project but I always need the “visual” so propping the fence up against the house helped me decide where it needed to be positioned against the wall and where it would stand in the yard. Also, how high it needed to be once mounted on the wall and post.

Running a plumb line from the house wall to the fence opposite, we used a metal square to make sure the line was 90 degrees square to the house wall. Here Hubby is spraying the string prepping for adding the post holder tube.

Charles mixed most of the 80 lb. bag of Quick Crete concrete and I helped finish mixing by scraping the side of the wheelbarrow and adding small amounts of water with our garden hose. 🙂

I do like mixing cement as it reminds me of mixing cake batter!

Except with a lot of teeth-breaking rocks in it… Lol!

Here is my hero looking glamorous!!! He cut the tube down to 18″ and backfilled and packed the area around it with dirt, then I got to put in all the cement. We have laid cement floors for two sheds at both of our last homes, plus I poured the self-leveling cement at our last home when I ripped up the carpet to lay travertine in our dining/living room. So we aren’t strangers to cement work, but if you haven’t ever worked with cement, you need your “batter” to be wet but not soaking wet.

While Mr. E took a short break, I shoveled small amounts of cement in the tube and gently tamped it down, then added the next scoop until it was 1″ from the top. Hubby came in and helped level the post hole metal holder in all three planes, using the plumb line run through the middle of it as a guide to keep the center still centered on the wall.

The next day…

The next afternoon we brought over the fence again and marked where I wanted it to ultimately be attached to the wall. It’s not exactly where I wanted it, but it’s good enough. We had a discussion about how high off the ground it should be (because of plant requirements needing good drainage, I’ll be raising each plant a few inches.), so it’s a little too high on the right side where the ground slopes away from the house but I will just build up the planting bed there.

That’s all on me since I marked the wall… 🙂

I didn’t get any photographs of the metal galvanized mollies that went into the wall or the 2 1/4″ L x 1/4″ w bolts, but the bottom molly was off by 1/8″ (Hubby’s mistake), so we had to go to strapping the lower part ~ a Plan B ~ which turned out just fine.

Happily I had already painted some extra straps from when we hung the Garden Fence over on the garage earlier this year. Here it is behind our Garden Maiden! For the new French fence install, I just hit the strap with a little matte black spray paint and it worked perfectly!

More eyeball measuring as to where we want the fence to sit on the post.

I am really pleased with how this French-style fence turned out! Because 4″ x 4″ posts are really 3.5″ x 3.5″, we added 7 large washers each around the two bolts at the bottom of the post for stability. It is good and solid now.

The right side has one large washer on the outside then three washers stacked on the inside next to the post.
On this left side, one washer and a lock washer sit on the outside with two large washers on the post side.

It whomp-whomped a couple of times in the wind the first night it was installed (it wasn’t tightened yet), so the extra washers were added on the third day.

If you ever watch Garden Answer on YouTube, Laura and Aaron put in a garden fence around their kitchen vegetable garden which was stained a nice dark chocolate brown-black and I really liked that look. I copied that stain formula here for this wooden post and its twin, which will hold a fence piece opposite in the future.

Here we were using bricks and pieces of wood to hold up this side of the fencing as it is pretty heavy. After this I brushed off loose pieces of old paint with a metal wire brush. I posted a small video up on my Instagram.

The sun was going down but I was determined to finish this project! I did get it clean enough to spray the matte black paint on about an hour before dusk.

With the warmer weather we have been having since Thanksgiving, this lavender is putting out small blooms!!!

And here is our French style fence in all its freshly painted glory! Really excited to get planting around it making a new flowerbed. The pathway I began earlier in the summertime will extend between the fencing here and another fence piece, opposite this one, when I find another one, creating a garden room.

Many thanks to my sweet hubby for helping me with this big project!

He only had these four days off from part of Christmas Eve through Sunday. His goald for the weekend was to work on putting more insulation up in the attic and laying down boards for storage and for safely walking around, so this was a big sacrifice… He did get some of that done, too.

So what would you plant here?

Here’s to a wonderful 2021,



The Final Candle of Advent ~ The Christ Candle

It’s Christmas Eve and we are finally here! Kids are snuggling down in their beds, presents are wrapped and under the tree. Family friendly holiday movies have been playing on repeat for weeks along with the predictable but still-fun Hallmark movies, too…

A Christmas wish…

As we arrive on the night before Christmas, we light this fifth candle along with the others ~ the Christ Candle ~ which is also part of Week #4, the week of Love…

God loved us so very much that he sent his only begotten Son to save us ~ a grand gesture of ultimate Love. A tiny newborn babe lying in a manger, the Savior of the world…

The Holy Family…

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, so the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.’ 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 And when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, as it was told them.”

Luke 2:15-20, NKJV

Throughout this Advent series, I have pulled quotes from Christianity.com and other articles. I like what this section says about the fifth candle, the candle of love, the Christ Candle: (and really, I can’t say it any better!)

Heavenly Father, the whole meaning of Christmas can be explained in one little four-letter word…LOVE. You sent your gift of pure love to us that first Christmas. Love descended from heaven to be born of a virgin. Love lay in the scratchy hay of a manger in a meager barn in Bethlehem. All of your love, God, was robed in the delicate skin of a baby and wrapped in swaddling clothes. This final week of Advent helps us to reflect on the magnitude of love that was made manifest in Jesus.”

Hope Bolinger

Jesus was a sweet precious baby come down to earth to save us all from sin. This thought makes me realize that each time a new baby is born on this earth, it is a reflection and a reminder of Christ Jesus and his birth.

We are given a gift to celebrate when each new life is born and to love that child as He has loved us!

Love the amazed look on Milo’s face! Milo is looking at me in my son’s camera/FaceTime call.

Milo’s first Christmas!

One of my favorite photographs of our grandson! Love how happy he is!!

Our fifth candle reminds us to “love one another as Christ has loved us.” (My paraphrase of part of John 13:34.) Traditionally the center candle is all white signifying Jesus’ holiness and purity. I have white candles but this one with holly and a few pine needles melted inside and surrounding the candle reminds me of the manger wrapped around and cradling Baby Jesus…

A wintery scene in a transferware bowl found several years ago on Galveston Island at an antique shop there.

Our table is set with my best china pieces today, the Old Country Roses by Royal Albert pottery in England. My husband bought eight place settings for me from the Royal Albert outlet we had in Lake Elsinore, California about twenty years ago now. It became the china pattern I used for many teas I hosted and for many family Christmas dinners. We will use it again this Christmas and when our daughter drives up from Austin for New Year’s.

Again the little turned “Noel” signs are used in this tablescape ~ I like this table’s welcoming plaid and simplicity. Many Christmases and teas I would set one extra place setting for Jesus, honoring Him as a welcome guest.

I love it that in the Bible there were so many meal times with the apostles but also with Mary and Martha, the two sisters, and with many other people! Meals are such special times to reconnect with family and share intimate thoughts and secrets and hopes… Wouldn’t you like Jesus to come over and eat dinner at your home? 🙂

This tablecloth would have made a lovely swaddling cloth, don’t you think?

Our holiday table and dining room with the only two crystal pieces I found to decorate the chandelier this year! Two stars above!! I never shared the dining room hutch but you can see it pretty well here. I hung a small wreath I found in my Christmas ornaments and created a small doll house on the left for the family living in the hutch’s dining room. I found the fireplace my parents bought me for a Swiss doll house I had in high school and brought it out to warm the family’s Christmas…

Our Holiday Home Tour

From the dining room we get a little view into the living room. Since Thanksgiving, I have been pulling off the slipcovers and giving everything a fresh wash, vacuuming and polishing.

This holiday season I went for a family Christmas with red plaid and a reindeer themed ribbons twining down the Christmas tree. Red continues in the few Santas sprinkled throughout the room and the main one on the coffee table.

a view from the dining room
a view from the entryway

Winters in the living room are filled with clear and bright light! This home is so light-filled this time of year making it really cheery. The pillows I found this fall are reversible so I’ve flipped them around to the checked sides for wintertime…

Mr. Ethereal and I are working on two projects these two weeks: putting down some new insulation in the attic and hanging the French iron fencing outside in the new garden area.

I picked up a 9′ x 6′ drop cloth at Home Depot this morning to make a new slipcover for the wing chair this week. I should be able to get it done before Amy comes up this next week. Eventually the chair will go to her new home when she finds one she loves. She really loves this chair to sit in and read in it. I have to say, you do get nice and warm snuggling in it and the wings are perfect for keeping your head from flopping when you fall asleep… We bought it and its ottoman from a neighbor at his garage sale when we lived in our first home.

With all the uncertainty of this year and being ill twice with the COVID virus, I went for a simple look this year in our decor. Just some plaid on the tree and here on the coffee table.

Simple seemed the way to go this year… I’ve heard sooo many friends saying they craved simplicity this year instead of over-the-top Christmas looks! Here are all the Advent posts if you missed any of them…

Advent Week #1 ~ Advent Wreaths and Thankfulness
Advent Week #2 ~ The Candle of Peace
Advent Week #3 ~ The Candle of Joy
Advent Week #4 ~ The Candle of Love

The greatest gift of all came that first Christmas. It wasn’t wrapped in a beautiful package and set under a decorated tree. The greatest gift came wrapped in the flesh of baby Jesus and laid in the rough wood of a manger. Our perfect gift would later be rewrapped in the scars of our sin and nailed to the rugged wood of a cross on Calvary, all because of love.

Hope Bolinger

Our presents are few and unwrapped. A box from our son and his family (maybe a family portrait?? We shall see tomorror. 😉 )… Presents and Christmas ornaments which were our daughters growing up to go home with her for her future trees… A new spice rack for the kitchen in need of real organizing! A new tea kettle from Mr. Coffee to replace the one which died over Thanksgiving…

It’s all good! I made two Gothic arched windows from the leftover styrofoam from the winterizing Hubby did on the garage doors this late summer/early fall. They are really rough but it was to save $70… The ones at Hobby Lobby are on sale and I may still grab them after Christmas. ;)’

Saw some homemade Gothic arches on Laura and Aaron’s Garden Answer YouTube channel this fall and thought of creating these similar to the ones she made for their church a year or so ago.

And here is the storage box I made which should have been part of a Pinterest Challenge this fall but didn’t happen in time as I was just over being ill, so I made it after the fact. This was the beginning of the plaid theme…

My favorite photo… Grace and Peace

Silent night! holy night!
All is calm all is bright
Round yon virgin mother and child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace!

Silent night! holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar

Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia
Christ the Saviour is born!

Silent night! holy night!
Son of God love’s pure light
Radiant beams from thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord at thy birth.

Silent Night was written and composed by Franz Xaver Gruber (music) and Joseph Mohr (words), a Christmas song of Austrian origin (as per Wikipedia.org). It is a perfect song for a perfect night, a perfect time of year.

The most perfect day in all the year…

‘Silent Night’ is a popular Christmas carol, composed in 1818 by Franz Xaver Gruber to lyrics by Joseph Mohr in the small town of Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria. It was declared an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2011. The song has been recorded by many singers across many music genres. The version sung by Bing Crosby in 1935 is the fourth best-selling single of all-time.”


More candles for Christ…

Grace and peace to you this Christmas,



Happy 23rd of December!

Happy December 23rd, friends!

I just want to let you know Mr. Ethereal and I are going to take a couple of weeks off to spend some time together working around the house, working in the yard, and visiting with our daughter over New Year’s…

So… I decided to do like so many other bloggers and suspend Share Your Style this evening. 🙂 Instead, come by tomorrow for my last Advent post when we light the fifth and final candle for Christmas, plus a little home tour.

See you then,



A Christmas Visit with Judith and Botanic Bleu

For over ten years now, Judith Stringham, who writes the blog Botanic Bleu, has hosted a Christmas sales event at her home…

Upon arriving to her home about an hour away from where we live, Judith has a couple of teuteurs set up with lights and signs. This year with the COVID virus floating around, she has signs reminding everyone to wear a mask and also that this sale is not open to the public. Visitors had to sign up for the time they wanted and then confirm that you would be coming. Love her family’s acreage!

Totally love how Judith laid sprays of greenery around the base of each teuteur then placed green Arc de Bois (Horse Apple) seed pods like holly and its leaves! Btw, those “apples” are HEAVY and I can attest that they weigh about 2-5 lbs., EACH. Several people at the campground we lived at last had their windshields broken on their cars plus their RV’s dented. Happily, you can buy just “male” Arc de Bois trees; they are the ones in the springtime which lose their “ball blossoms.” Look for those in your garden center ~ awesome shade trees!
A quick look at the front of the Stringham’s home. Her sweet kitty is just in front of the garage door on the right.

Judith, her husband and sister have built all of the pathways surrounding their home and garden over the past 20+ years. The garden shed you will see was originally just a wooden structure but evolved to become a permanent solid rock beautiful building…

Isn’t this just the cutest??! Her home is part of my inspiration in my own garden, especially the pathways. On this day early in December, Judith’s sister was staying and was helping planting out in the upper garden. Let’s go check out inside!

I really wanted the large reindeer but just couldn’t afford it… Of course, I want everything inside! 😉

The sun was peeping in and out this day so I am sorry if some of these photos are a little dark. My appointment time was in the afternoon as I was working when the sign up time opened, so there aren’t nearly as many goodies as there were still available, as can be seen at last year’s event.

One of Judith’s big sellers are her boxwood wreaths and this year she has heart-shaped wreaths as well as her signature round ones. I bought one of her small wreath last year and it is still nice and green and dried perfectly. This year I brought home little “Noel” laser-cut signs to use in my Christmas decorating and to give as gifts:

from this year’s Advent week #3 post

I also remembered that Judith found these wonderful white-handled silverware sets and since I love all white place settings, this was my big splurge this year. Mr. Ethereal and I don’t buy each other Christmas gifts anymore so we usually just say, “Go get what you want and enjoy from me!” This is his gift to me this year. 🙂

They are stainless steel and can go into the dishwasher but I will probably wash them by hand just to keep them nice. I like the ceramic Shabby Chic look of the handles…

As I am writing this post, I just noticed the cute bee skeps… I’ll have to look for those next year… I did buy a White Christmas potholder to go with the kitchen towel I found last year. I also bought a softly scented candle which came in its own pretty box; it can just be seen up on the second upper shelf to the far right.

Last year I found a couple of sweet Belsnickel Santas and Judith had a few this year available. My “pile” of goodies is right there on the bureau: the potholder, a Christmas soap, a Noel sign to hang and the little Noels, plus a large heart (reminds me of those French cemetery hearts I would see in some blogs and in former Romantic Homes magazine editor, Fifi O’Neill‘s books ~ never could find any! ~ this is a good substitute).

I loved this birdcage, too, but unlimited space and funds… Maybe next year! Hubby wants us to clear stuff out, which I agree needs to be done.

Okay, enough about what I found and loved! Isn’t this such an adorable garden shed? She has another studio towards the rear of this potting shed (you can find it in this second linked post from last year… It has three sets of French doors and chandeliers…). The studio is larger and it is where she stores many things and also where she creates her treasures.

Judith had a post earlier this fall about making new shelves inside this smaller potting shed and I believe this is one of them (upper right with fleur de lis hangers). Love how she decorates!…

If you don’t already subscribe to Botanic Bleu you should check out Judith’s blog. She is a retired teacher and administrator now saleswoman and design influencer. You’ll enjoy her beautiful home and blog posts!

Her acreage reminds me of my last family home before I was married in the town of Shingle Springs, in the Northern California foothills. Part of the Gold Country area around Highway 49, and appropriately named for the gold miners who really mapped out California from 1849 onward, Judith’s two acres with its tall oaks really remind me of my old home…

A visual treat taking the eye “beyond”…

Even piles of downed tree trunks just look “right” in this setting… I miss being surrounded by trees but that’s also why we purchased our current home. I need tall trees; they are comforting.

Funny, this post isn’t going where I thought it would?… Does this happen to you when you write?? Now you know why I have the “pen pal” part in my bio! I write generally what I think. ;)’

I am going to try and build some French Teuteurs this next year and found a pattern on another blogger’s site. I forgot to ask Judith if she built hers or purchased them. They are quite expensive to buy so I am pretty sure Judith and her husband built theirs.

Don’t you just love her French garden?!! She has been to France a number of times and has such style…

Up on the deck


A real French park bench… Ahhhhh….

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at Judith’s beautiful home and her potting shed and annual shop! If you are ever in the North Texas area, Judith has her shop open the first week in December and shares more about it on her blog and on her Facebook web page. Do come and visit!!!

Christmas hugs,