My Crazy Summer Pumpkins or The First Real Pumpkins Post of Fall…

Pumpkins will grow in Texas, friends! I accidentally proved this in our consistently rainy North Texas springtime weather this year. Here’s our white Cinderella pumpkin growing on the vine in March…

Early this spring, I chucked last fall’s pumpkins into our compost pile thinking they would just squish down and eventually turn into dirt. Well… One of the Connecticut field pumpkins sprouted and so did a couple of Cinderella pumpkins!

Connecticut Field pumpkin courtesy of Google through Pinterest

I did nothing other than keep adding grass clippings (okay, Mr. Ethereal did!) and forking over the compost once to aerate the whole pile. I left the three pumpkins vines alone to grow…

The fall rudbeckia I picked up in Oklahoma to plant outfront.

I guess I never took any photos of them growing! I meant to but every time I went to photograph them, I was in the middle of taking other photos and thought, “I don’t want them to show in those pictures.”

I was saving the pumpkins to feature by themselves, but really, they were ready to harvest in early June…

Three made it full term and the other flowers never matured. It just got too hot here in July! I left the three on the vine… Well, because I was still giving them water (to keep the vines alive and hopefully get more pumpkins), the nice Connecticut Field rotted on the vine from just too much moisture on its underside… :(((

Then, I harvested the two remaining: one pale orange Cinderella and the creamy white Cinderella… I brought them inside to sit on the nice cool dining room tile flooring. THAT would keep them nice and cool! Or so I thought…

Then there was a weird smell…

I thought it was the new dryer in its plastic packaging that I was smelling. It smelled like someone was smoking pot! Awful… REALLY awful!

Well, once I noticed the pumpkins (about two days later), I FINALLY I took a look at them and the orange Cinderella was water and mush all over the floor. I shoveled it into the trash can and took that mess outside, cleaned the floor, turned on the kitchen fan, and eventually the yucky smell went away.

Love this shot with our little Fair Maiden “looking” at her pumpkin… Future golden coach, perhaps??

Only the white Cinderella made it…

It is nice and dry and no mold spots on it. I think I will try growing pumpkins again next year since three did grow. I’ll do it the same way and make sure to rotate them and get them off the ground this next season.

So that’s the story of our Texas pumpkins! And if you haven’t seen this month’s Pinterest Challenge post about decorating an early fall mantel, you can find that here.

Happy early fall hugs,

Barb 🙂


Share Your Style #305

Welcome friends, to this week’s Share Your Style #305! Happy Wednesday to you all!

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…

I am Barbara Chapman and I’d love it if you’d follow me here on my blog and on any of my other social media sites, too.  Thank you!💜 

French Ethereal: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest

My goodness, friends! This has been a nice two weeks off from school (summer vacation), enjoying the pretty mountainside around Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and our nephew and new niece’s wedding, and just taking a break from writing…

Other than the time we were moving out of our last house (August 2015) and I had nothing to write about (or so I thought…), I have taken very few breaks off from blogging and this was a nice break. I was originally just going to take time off from Share Your Style but it turned into a break from everything! I feel refreshed and ready to visit and share new ideas again with you! 💜 

What have I been doing: Painting our master bedroom is almost completed… I am finishing up the ceiling today and am just waiting for the last of Coat 1 to dry so I can stand down below and roll a light second coat over the whole thing (ugh!). Definitely NOT professionally spray painted! WHY the last owners chose to paint EVERY ceiling coffee brown… The crown moulding and walls turned out beautifully. After almost 30 years of painting rooms, I’m getting pretty good at it. 😉

And I am back in the Craft Room (which I have really yet to share) working on making it happy! So, I’ll be sharing those posts soon. 🙂 I am excited to share all these summer inspired posts with you…

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

A Five Minute Picnic Basket for Two ~ Part of this month’s $10 on the 10th challenge. 😉 This was a fun post to write and really quick to put together. Looking forward to more picnics this summer and into fall…

And here are this week’s featured posts…

French table setting

There is something really fun about bee-utiful table settings and this past month our friend Rachelle from My Hubbard Home joined another of our favorite friends, Debbee from Debbee’s Buzz, in a Bee Themed link party ~ Here’s Rachelle’s cute post ~ A Bee French Table Setting for Chic Themed Spring Entertaining. Love all the yellow, black and white!

How To Extend The Life Of Your Peony

Rachelle also shared this lovely post ~ How to Extend the Life of Your Peonies. Lovely! Wish mine were blooming this year…

Lisa at Fresh Vintage by Lisa shared her Trash to Treasure ~ Cast Iron Plant Stand Redo this week. Love the new look and it is soooo pretty anywhere in the yard! Nice job!!

Water feature in outdoor spaces4

MaryJo over at Master”Pieces” of My life shared Why You Should Have a Water Feature in Outdoor Spaces. Yes!!!

Tiffany over at Tee Diddley Dee brings us this fun DIY Rustic Wooden Serving Tray this week and it’s super fast and easy to make. Perfect project to make for summer soirees!

thrifted style, ditsy floral dress, The Thrifty Six, fashion over 40, Shelbee on the Edge

Shelbee from Shelbee on the Edge shared her post with the Thrifty Six and Back with Spring Florals. Love this fun style blog hop and I am sure you will, too!

Chunky Monkey Overnight Oats

Last up for this week is this yummy post perfect for breakfast (anytime, really!) from Claire Justine ~ Chunky Monkey Overnight Oats. Don’t you just love a little chocolate for breakfast? ;)’

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’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. 💜  Thanks so much!!!

Happy linking, dear friends!

Hugs, Barb 🙂

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Late Fall Holiday Garden Tour

Ho ho ho, friends!

Our Thanksgiving break was all about decorating our home for Christmas and working out in the garden… During the early part of the week, Mr. Ethereal helped me by bringing down more Christmas boxes from the attic and he did some cleaning while I worked on decorating the mantel and set up our new Christmas tree.

Later in the week after a good rain storm, I spent from mid-week onward slowly taking my time hoeing weeds and grass for future garden beds, digging holes, and then planting just a few plants. I wanted to get ahead of the incoming freezing nights so time was of the essence.

Here is how the garden is coming along:

Just before our weather dipped to 32 F and into the high 20’s, I went out and picked the two peppers big enough to continue ripenning and dug up then repotted the Italian parsley/cilantro into a small pot and brought it inside. This “flat parsley” (also another name I see it called in the grocery and nursery aisles) easily made the transition indoors and it is happily growing bigger. I just couldn’t relegate it to the compost pile!!

We made turkey burritos with the last of the Thanksgiving bird on Monday evening and MAN they were good with that fresh burst of cilantro!!! The rest of the plant parts went into the compost heap… 😀

Fresh herbs right out of the garden are soooo much better than the store bought, I wonder why that is?… Let me know in the comments if you have a theory, or know why that is. Anyway, I need to pick up some more herbs to grow indoors. Our rosemary plants are doing well and move indoors as needed.

Tree shopping…

Two weeks ago I went over to Meador’s Garden Center to look for a tree which will eventually shade the southern side of our bedroom. Neighbors have told me there used to be a gorgeous peach tree on the side there but the last homeowners cut it down. So I hauled home an Eastern redbud that Saturday in the back of the Audi because the latch is broken on the Sequoia, my usual hauling chariot.

Mr. Ethereal wasn’t too happy I used “his car” for that purpose, but… I promise I didn’t scratch the car! I brought towels and a sheet to protect the insides. 🙂 The redbud will have lovely colorful leaves in fall and gorgeous pink blossoms in the springtime. It will top out between 20-30 feet tall in time and about 20 feet wide.

I hope to plant this tree a few feet further out from its current spot, if all goes well…

I finished the paperwork asking for permission to move our fence out 5 feet and will send that in soon to our city. I hope they will allow us to move the fence as it will give us a lot more visual room inside the back yard! The short end where the gate is only 12 1/2 feet wide.

We need to remake this gate (below) as it is literally NOT CLOSING anymore and I don’t want our sweet Yoda, who is going blind with cataracts and is mostly deaf, getting out and getting lost. It would KILL ME if that happened.

So… This will be our big winter/spring project if approved!

I finally got the three sun-loving camellias in the ground in the back flower bed underneath our master bedroom window. As I dug them in, I lifted the two mini agapanthus out. After watching so many BBC episodes with Monty Don in them talking about lift plants and putting them in greenhouses for winter, I thought I’d do that for these guys.

Our mini agapanthus survived some pretty low temps in California (22 degrees) but they were mature plants and well bunched together (and the air was less humid), but the weather here can dip even lower in North Texas (teens and high 10’s). Our aggies are just new babies!

How’s it {compost}-go-ing?

The compost pile is filling up with shredded leaves that Mr. Ethereal is chopping up with the new lawn mower every other week or so (his new baby this year!).

I’ve been adding in spent annuals, some cut green grass and kitchen scraps (including lettuces gone mushy) so we get a good mix of “half brown and half green,” the recipe for good compost. As I dig up worms, I’ll bring them over to help break everything down, too.

Our sweet garden angel dressed for the season….

Holiday garden decorating

“The Girls” have new Christmas wreath halos for the holidays… If you’ve never decorated your garden statues, I created a tutorial a couple of years ago that is easy to follow. The move to WP didn’t do some of my posts any good, though. I’ll have to go fix them, so here is a new tutorial.

This year, I actually made these head wreaths even easier!

A Quick Halo Wreath tutorial to make…

Supplies needed:

an old wire hanger or paddle wire to fit statue or on a person’s head

faux, dried or fresh flowers and greenery to decorate

hot glue gun and glue sticks

wire cutters for cutting and shaping


Begin by shaping your wire to fit your statue or person’s head. Next, make small bunches of greenery and flowers and hot glue around the wire. Finish with ribbons flowing down the back or tie on other odds and ends.

Morning at our camp host spot in Campground “C”, Riverside County Parks,
Lake Skinner, Winchester, California.

This is the same head wreath as that picture just above, just after much love.

On “The Girls” original head wreaths I tied on small crystal chandelier drops to the back of them to add weight. The wind can blow pretty heavy here in Texas and the wreaths would end up all over the yard at our last long-term camping spot!

Easy as pie!!!

I am loving this latest incarnation of holiday decor for our Girls!!

The Easy-Peasy Way

For the newer version of these halo head wreaths, skip the metal wire and just wrap your garland around a couple of times, gluing the ends to itself. Glue on flowers and greenery to the garland instead. This style of head wreath is floppier but has its own beautiful charm.

That’s it for now, friends! I’ll be back with this week’s Advent wreath story on Sunday afternoon/evening. If you missed the last week’s Advent story, you can find that link here.

Happy decorating,



Planting New Urns for Fall


Falling in love… I have been on the hunt for a while for a couple of beautiful urns to brighten up our front yard. I like the idea of planting them for each season and this is the perfect time of year for showing off autumn’s beautiful offerings…

I was thrilled to find two identical cement urns near me at a beautiful nursery Schmitz Garden Center in Flower Mound, Texas, over the October 12th-Columbus Day long weekend. I got these for a good price, I think. 

Rarely do I ask at nursery centers, but this day I did:  I asked if they could do a little better on the price if I took both, and I was given an extra 15% off.

The nurseryman loaded them up for me and on home we went!

On Monday, I wheeled our heavy garden cart around front and went to work trying to wrestle an urn out of the middle of our SUV. You see, the back hatch latch is broken (again…) so we can’t open the tailgate. It’s a cheap plastic part and Mr. Ethereal has to have a day to pull off the inside parts and replace the thing. It broke the weekend before…

So what do you think of the urns?? They are about 14″ tall by 24″ across and about 6″ deep. At first I was thinking maybe they were too shallow, but after planting them and realizing you can just pile up more dirt in the center, now I am really excited about them!

I really like how they look after planting them with just a few pansies, one big deep pink mum, and a little hanging vine in each urn. They add a nice formality to our small front porch area.

This photograph is really overexposed but it shows our fall porch well… Happy and balanced!

Totally in love… Now to convince Mr. Ethereal we need to expand out the left-hand garden bed to make both sides match better. 😉

A nice way to say hello to our second fall in our still 
new-to-us home… 🍂🍁

Sharing with:
Thursday Favorite Things ~ Follow the Yellow Brick Home
Friday at the Fire Station ~ A Fireman’s Wife

Featured at:


Fall Decorating Ideas, Fall Crafts and Fall Recipes

Hope your fall has been just as 
beautiful, friends,

A Special California Garden Visit…

California garden and home of Marcia and Alan, friends of my mother and father-in-law, is the garden we are visiting today. Beautiful, ethereal, this acre-plus garden is parklike with a central grassy area flanked by a pool and kitchen garden towards the rear. It is the perfect place for hosting large parties. Let’s take a virtual visit…

Marcia and Alan graciously opened their home for my father-in-law’s memorial, which was so kind. These photos were all taken before the service began and only my husband and one neighbor appear from afar. It was about 3 o’clock in the afternoon and the afternoon sun was really bright. As you will see, I had to adjust a lot of the lighting in the pool photographs in post-production. I didn’t check the first photographs and they were overblown and very white. 

Beginning here by the BBQ area and just a few steps down from our hosts’ family room, the rose garden to the left of the backyard begins our tour. A small half-wall separates the dining area and covered patio from the pool area just beyond.

I loved all of the roses, as you can imagine! Roses just grow better where there is less humidity and Marcia’s roses look so beautiful!!

This incredible peachy rose reminds me of a tea rose I had in my first garden. The soft yellows and tangerine really are pretty here in this setting…

Heading beyond the roses, we move into the gorgeous pool area…

Here in the upper left corner of this large semi-pie-shaped lot, Marcia placed her potager garden room. The raised beds hold squash and pumpkins, tomatoes and herbs. 

Love these raised beds!!! More roses in the background.

Over the years, Marcia says the garden has changed a lot to meet their family’s needs. Narrow beds follow much of the fence line and are filled with cutting flowers. 

Looking back along the right-hand side (from the BBQ area), I love the undulating larger flower beds! Planted with ornamental shade trees, crepe myrtle and other perennial shrubs, this area is easier to care for with just a few clippings each year.

California lifestyle 

When you Google Earth homes in California, you will find that anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 of the homes throughout the state have a pool on the property. It may be a “dry heat,” but with 5-6 months of 90+ degree days, pools just fit right into the California garden lifestyle, keeping families cool.

Sorry this is sooo bright! I’ve actually added in color and reduced the whites but I had the settings wrong on my camera for the sunlight at the time. The area is so pretty that I knew I needed to keep this photograph to share, even if it isn’t perfect… 💖

Isn’t this yard gorgeous??! I love how large the whole yard is and this isn’t a small pool, either!

Love all of the garden areas and how they visually connect!
Walking back along the right side, here is a view of the pool and potager from near the house. Gorgeous views from every angle!!! Serpentine bricks really show off the pool’s planted pots.

Marcia and Alan have owned their home for 30+ years and bought if from her uncle who was the contractor-builder who built this area of Sacramento homes. He lived in this home since the home was built in the 1960’s. They are the second owners and this was definitely the home to buy!

Back to the beginning again… I hope you have enjoyed this garden tour today!

Happy gardening, friends!