5 Minute Picnic Basket for Two

Welcome friends to this month’s Pinterest Challenge hosted by my friend Cindy of County Road 407. This month we are putting together pretty baskets! If you are coming over from Laura from Everyday Edits, welcome!

Do you ever want to go on an impromptu picnic with your sweetheart but don’t want to drag out everything like we do for camping trips? Well, my picnic basket should give you a couple of new ideas to use for your next picnic. And they are things just laying around the kitchen and home…

Here is our inspiration piece from Anderson + Grant

Jamie of Anderson + Grant is new as a blogger online to me but actually I think I’ve met her at a Design Influencers Conference! We sat together and she was really nice. I don’t remember if it was in Beverly Hills or Atlanta as I went a couple of years in a row and I am soooo excited to write her and say hello!!

In this our inspirational post, Jamie made over a broken thrift shop basket she found with a nice grey wash. It’s always fun to see what you can find at local thrift shops to refresh. Thrifting is also one of my favorite things to do while out “on the road.”

If I can find a treasure to bring home, I am a happy girl! 🙂

Well, my Longaberger basket is still in good shape and even though you can’t go to the company’s basket parties any longer, you can still find lone baskets occasionally at flea markets, and of course, thrift stores.

I chose to leave my basket natural and put together a quick 5 minute basket that you can whip up with one of your own baskets, too!

What to fill it with

I found these adorable bicycle paper plates in January at our local Costco in Lewisville, Texas, and they were $9.95 for a stack of like 250 or more. Great deal and the package comes with bicycles on one plate and a spring wildflower bouquet on the other!

Two bicycle plates went in first, then the turquoise Tupperware cups we bought the year we moved into our trailer from a friend’s party.

Then I added plastic ware leftover from local takeout and a couple of lemon napkins from a summer Pinterest Challenge last year. They are perfect with the fun paper plates and add more color to the picnic basket!

Lastly, I added a small bouquet of dried lavender from my garden and a small candle to add a little romance when spreading out the throw blanket (around the basket) for a picnic for two…

Since this basket is for a snack picnic, I’ve popped in a box of crackers and some chocolate toffee. When getting ready to leave, it’s simple to add in a small soft-sided cooler with cut up slices of Cheddar cheese, maybe some shredded chicken or turkey to top the crackers, and some red or green grapes, plus a couple of sodas and bottles of water to round out the menu…

Well thank you so much for stopping by today! Please leave me a comment and let me know what you’d put in your picnic basket… 😉

Next up we swing back up to the top to visit Cindy at County Road 407 and I know you’ll love what she has done with her basket!


Barb 🙂

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Bringing Out Pretties for Springtime in the Kitchen

Welcome, friends to another fun Pinterest Challenge hosted by our friend Cindy of County Road 407! This month’s posts will be sharing everyone’s beautiful kitchens decorated for springtime. Some of us may just focus on countertops and others may share what’s up above, too. Today, I have a little of both for you…

Let them eat cake!

If you are stopping by from Rachel of The Ponds Farmhouse, welcome! Her kitchen was a dream, wasn’t it? Rustic and modern at the same time ~ I really love it!! Our kitchen inspiration photo comes from the talented Marly of Marly Dice.com. Her kitchen is ethereal with its bright white cabinets and the sunshine pouring in from the window over the sink…

Bright and airy in Marly’s beautiful kitchen ~ Fresh and Cheerful Spring Kitchen Tour.
I painted the kitchen walls a pretty turquoise which matched the color of our freeform pool’s water.

It makes me wish I still had my last kitchen in California…

The Big House kichen had lovely solid oak cabinets which the previous owner had painted white and I loved them! Here I was giving them a refresh repainting in 2014 as we knew we would be selling the next year.

Our inspiration kitchen’s look

I love the soft marble backsplash and the pretty granite countertops contrasted by all the white! Marly has just a few things out on display which really complement the main colors of white, a pinkish look to the backsplash marble, and the tan brought out in the granite counters:

  • a few wooden cutting boards
  • two vases of flowers bringing springtime indoors
  • pretty creamware dishes stacked near the sink
  • a wooden display trolley with more creamware soup mugs and more on it
  • a butcher block of knives ready for mealtime prepwork

I really like Marly’s quiet style! I am really a minimalist at heart, though you wouldn’t know it to see the usual stuff laying around our house, lol! But when our home is cleaned up, I love the quiet and calm that comes with cleared off counters, everything in its place, and I bet you do, too. 😉

My kitchen

Currently our kitchen has an Old World look to it with the darker cherry cabinets. I love the size of our kitchen, but they are just press-board. I wish the previous owner had left the 1990’s solid oak cabinets as they were better built.

For the immediate future, I am planning on painting the kitchen walls a soft grey this summer to lighten up the kitchen’s look, and I may tackle the upper cabinets painting them a creamy white, too. Depends on what I can realistically get done while off from school!

For this challenge, though, I thought about sharing more of my collection of baskets plus bringing out all of my glass cake plates and their covers. I like redoing the tops of my cabinets for the season, and the thought of bringing in some light colored items up above really sparked an idea for me! I began with:

  • Bringing in many of my baskets ~ most of my baskets are a natural wood color which brings in the soft tan color from the inspiration photo.
I moved the basket filled with pinecones here above the refrigerator and added a large bread basket and my bowed flower girl basket with this winter’s dried roses and lavender.
More thriftshop and Longaberger baskets ~ I have had the Longaberger baskets since the years 1989-1992. These were purchased during the 1980/1990’s heydey of home shopping parties. I bought these while we lived on base at Camp Pendleton.
  • One cutting board is out along with an Italian trivet I have near the stove. I set these out last fall and Mr. Ethereal likes having the salt and pepper shakers, olive oil and avocado oil out all the time next to the stove. We have a framed Italian restaurant print hanging on the wall to the left of the refrigerator from his trip to Italy in 1984.
  • Pretty potted plants instead of vases of flowers ~ I loved the inspiration photo’s pinks so I did bring that in with the faux flower arrangement up above under the glass cloche, as well as a potted plant from outside.
  • Bringing in the glass ~ adding in all the vintage and newer cake plates above and on the counters echoes the glass vase in our inspiration piece.
Loving the new spring look!
  • Display trolley ~ I found a two-tiered display piece at Target probably 10 years ago. Originally it was gilded and later I dry brushed white over top. I love that it has the two big sparrows on top! Today it shares my collection of vintage Haviland-Limoges and Austrian plates and small bowls with roses.
I made the “piece” of cake years ago (it is somewhere in a box, I’m sure) and displayed it on different plates and in three cute open display windows we had in our first home when I began having teas. It seemed fitting to finish the cake for this shoot!
  • Butcher block ~ our knife holder is always out on display, as is our toaster and one of two butter dishes. This time the Butter Lady is out; she is from Poland and matches a teapot and warmer I brought back from England about 15 years ago.

To go along with the soft pinks, and because I had so many cake plates up above, it seemed fitting that I finally create this faux 3/4 cake…

Not totally finished yet ~ I ran out of Queen Anne’s Lace faux flowerheads ~ I love the Flower Cake’s look! The moss is the “cake” and the flowers are the frostings, filling, and top.

These flower cakes were super popular to make about 30 years ago now. Maybe this will bring back a new trend??!

Thanks for stopping by today!

Here is a list of everyone on today’s Pinterest Challenge tour. If you are following along in order, or just going randomly, have fun clicking onward!

Up next is Niky from The House on Silverado who has such a pretty kitchen… How she decorated her kitchen for this challenge is perfect, too! I know you will be inspired by her springtime kitchen display…

Happy spring redecorating, friends!

Hugs, Barb 🙂

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A Birdhouse Vignette on the Spring Potting Bench

Happy spring, friends! Welcome to another Pinterest Challenge hosted by my good friend Cindy of County Road 407, who even though we haven’t seen each other in over a year (drat that Covid!), actually only lives about 15 minutes away (her city house, that is, not the country one!). Thank you, Cindy, for another wonderful blog hop!!! Our springtime theme this month is to create a pretty birdhouse vignette…

If you are just coming over from Kim from Shiplap and Shells and are here for the first time, welcome! I am so glad you’ve come!! Please consider subscribing if you enjoy your visit today, thank you!!

Love the sweet robin’s egg blue color scheme of Doreen’s vignette!

Our inspiration

Cindy found today’s Pinterest Challenge piece over at Doreen‘s blog, Hymn’s and Verses… I love the soft blue colors and all the natural elements of grasses, flowers and the bird theme! Doreen has a nice easy-going eclectic style which I like a lot! where she brilliantly puts together antiques, mid-century and even very modern furniture pieces in a fun farmhouse style. I think you will like her blog! 🙂

My takeaways from Doreen’s birdhouse vignette

  • repeated colors
  • natural woven grasses and caning
  • bird theme
  • flowers
  • a fun birdhouse
  • small tin painted bucket
  • a small plate with a bird representation for her “bird”

I had just used forced branches in last month’s spring mantel and they are faded away, so I thought I’d use some pink flame geraniums in my spring birdhouse vignette for my blooms! To the right are some soft pink freesia (just out of the picture) behind the small birdhouse I made in 2007 for myself and the ladies in my last tea group.

To make this birdhouse:

  • a pre-made birdhouse
  • pieces of broken china
  • sanded grout mix
  • small wooden ormulu to glue on the front
  • a small knob for a perch
  • paint of your choice
  • small utensils/ wooden sticks for grouting
  • clear sealer in spray or liquid form (do outdoors as it can really stink!)

Begin by painting your birdhouse all over its outside and let dry. Smash up broken bits of china plates, teacups and so on by placing them into a heavy Ziplock-type bag with a hammer. Trial these pieces on the birdhouse roof beforehand to create a pleasing look.

Using an old butter knife or paint stick, “butter on” sanded grout mix along the roofline of the birdhouse. Put it on fairly thickly (as thick as your thickest pieces of china). Squish in the broken china pieces. Fill in any areas that need more grout as needed with small toothpicks, wooden skewers. Spray on clear sealer to seal the grout to give your roof a good look!

That’s it!!!

Aren’t these lavender freesias beautiful with their soft yellow throats?!

Going pink!

I don’t really have much vintage china in soft blues but I do have lots of pink, so I went with deeper pinks and greens in my vignette (plus a few other soft colors)!

I started with a natural woven basket and a small Longaberger basket as my “tin pail.” My smaller basket holds all the seed packets I have save these past few years. I love the handles on both the inspiration piece and on mine!

I added in a small blue and white vase plus a small cement capital as a lift for the little birdhouse. The addition of the plants and some gardening gloves and Corona clippers are just part and parcel around here in the garden!

And of course a sweet pink birdie came to the party!…

As you can see this potting bench is really getting used! The two covers which helped save a bunch of plants from the week-long arctic freeze and subsequent ice storms of last month are stuffed down below, waiting for me to lay them out and fold them properly.

Thank you for stopping by today as you visit all of my friends on today’s Pinterest Challenge tour! Next up is Niky from The House on Silverado and I know you will love her birdhouse vignette!!

Enjoy your spring gardens, friends,

Barb 🙂

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Pinterest Challenge

Looking to Spring ~ A Sofa Table Vignette

Welcome to another monthly Pinterest Challenge, my friends! As always, a big thank-you to Cindy of County Road 407 for bringing us all together. This month we have a bunch of bright and cheery sofa table inspirations for you featuring springtime vignettes! After the crazy-cold 100-year-snowstorm we just had here in Texas (and across much of the USA), I am ready for spring!!! How about you??

Let’s hop on over and see what everyone is creating…

A big welcome to everyone who is just coming over from Rachel of The Ponds Farmhouse; I am happy to have you here!! I LOVED all three of Rachel’s ideas for her console table… Really pretty ideas! Well, if you like what you see on my blog, please consider following along. 🙂 To all of my friends old and new, I am glad you are here, safe and well. and able to visit!

Here is our inspiration photograph

Sincerely, Marie Home

Our inspiration piece comes to us from Amanda Marie from Sincerely, Marie Home. She is a young designer whose contemporary farmhouse style is warm and inviting! I like her mix of neutrals, small green checks, brick fireplace and warm painted woods with traditional English style furniture ~ beautiful!

What strikes me about the inspiration’s sofa table

On the sofa table itself are three tidy stacks of coffee table books

A natural woven basket full of white flowers and greenery ~ this arrangement is set inside a low white bowl with two sweet brass quail adding to the feeling of nature brought indoors.

a wicker candle holder on its own white plate, a small glass mister and a small statuette

What inspires me in the rest of the room

the bleached dropcloth slipcover on the sofa

the use of greens, creams and whites in the room with a garden or botanical theme to the room

a checked wing chair across from the sofa and next to the fireplace

a beautiful antique white fireplace surround with matching hurricane lamps flanking the built-in mirror on the mantel

more books and greenery up on the mantel echoing the sofa table vignette

two botanical prints up on the wall behind the wing chair

In my sofa table rendition

I brought in a couple of stacks of interior design books in whites to freshen up my sofa table’s look and to bring in more white to my room. Our living room is naturally pretty dark with these tan walls so I like to add a lot of white to my decor.

I sewed my sofa and settee’s bleached dropcloth slipcovers a number of years ago and they add in that bleached linen look from the original.

Where the inspiration piece had a grouping of four items on the sofa table’s right side ~ two book stacks offset with a small statue and the wicker candleholder in opposing corners, I went with a grouping of three.

My maiden statue, one stack of books, and a tall bubble glass candleholder on a vintage creamware saucer create my look.

Here I was testing out which basket I wanted to use for this challenge. I added a piece of pink granite rock brought back from Crazy Horse monument, South Dakota, to the bottom of thiswicker basket; it balances the weight all of the floral stems. I added in a balled up piece of chicken wire about 12″ x 18″ with the ends tucked under and inward after the picture was taken.

A large centerpiece of faux greenery and flowers set inside an old wicker basket, plus a second stack of books and another glass candleholder make up the left side of the sofa table arrangement.

The painted tray and the fluted creamware saucer serve as bases for both the floral arrangement and the soy candle.

A matter of scale

I didn’t have a small statue or I would have used it here. I know the scale of the statue competes with the size of the floral arrangement, but when looked at from different directions ~ the statue is sometimes the centerpiece, and from the opposite viewing direction, the florals in their woven basket stands out.

Later on I added a small wood cut underneath the floral basket giving that arrangement a little more height. I think the flowers and the statue make a good combination together!

Adding a small pewter sugar bowl topped with a moss ball takes the place of the vintage plant mister.

The florals, moss ball and later a small sheep bring nature inside to my sofa table vignette. The greenery is repeated up on our mantel with more moss balls and some pear tree branches I am forcing.

Two hurricane candlesticks mimic those in the inspiration piece and the brass candleholder pieces copy the brass elements from the original.

My mantel almost always has a framed mirror above it and the mantel is decorated for spring. I’ll share more of that another day. 🙂

Completing the scene

The wing chair with its deep green and blue plaid placed next to the fireplace and draped with a vintage white linen runner over the back, combined with this vintage print in its green chalk-painted frame copies the inspiration’s look.

Thank you for visiting today and I hope you will stop by all of my friends who are on today’s tour. Next up is Niky from The House on Silverado and I know you will like her sofa table styling! Check out that cute end table’s French style… (I think it needs to come over here, lol!) Niky always creates such pretty vignettes… Swoonworthy!!!

Enjoy the tour, friends,

Barb 🙂

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Make a Valentine Wreath Using Pretty Recycled Tissue Boxes

Welcome to this month’s Pinterest Challenge hosted by Cindy of County Road 407 who has picked a fun Valentine’s Wreath idea for us to use as our inspiration! Be sure to check out all of the links below each post; all posts connect to their “befores” and “afters,” if you are following in order. Enjoy the tour, friends! And welcome to new friends!!

Love this fun logo!

Here is our inspiration wreath… Cute, isn’t it?!!

This month’s Valentine’s wreath idea comes from Sky over at Capital B. This is such a fun and sweet wreath and a perfect inspiration piece! If you are just coming over from Michelle’s at Thistle Key Lane, welcome!! Michelle always comes up with the best holiday ideas, doesn’t she? I love her wreath!!

I took my inspiration from the bright and cheerful paper hearts Sky used in her wreath. Hers must have been made with a paper punch or something as they are soooo uniform in size and shape. Mine; however, were all hand-cut for today’s Pinterest Challenge.

Here are all the goodies I assembled for ideas I had to make my wreath for our Pinterest Challenge:

2 different wreaths to redo

glue and gluesticks

dried flowers (I decided not to use them afterall)

some silk leaves ~ leftover from other floral projects

a small stack of saved cardboard from an old notepad and a tissue box carton (of all things!), which had really pretty designs!

How I began my Valentine’s wreath

First I began by deciding which wreath would work best and I chose the old raffia wreath. I removed all of the ribbon and the glued on faux roses ~ this took quite a while! Then I glued down any fishing line to keep the fibers from falling out.

Next, I tried laying out some dried roses but decided I really liked the simple country style look of our inspiration wreath best, so then I went looking through my saved cardboard scraps…

And that’s how I came up with the recycled tissue box title!

It was easy to then just cut out hearts of different sizes and glue them on a bit randomly! I might see about adding a small light set for evening but it is cute just as it is.

And that’s all there is to making this wreath! Total cost? Zero dollars since everything was recycled and already here. 🙂

Next up on today’s Valentine’s Wreath Pinterest Challenge tour is Kori at The Farmhouse Life! I think you’ll really like Kori’s beautiful home and her wreath fits her style perfectly; I know I am loving the open beams in her living room and her contemporary farmhouse style.

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ps… If you didn’t see last year’s Pinterest Challenge for Valentine’s Day, check that out here.

Enjoy the tour, dear friends,



Come Sit a Spell! ~ Create a Reading Nook


Welcome to this month’s Pinterest Challenge where my friend Cindy of County Road 407 sends a photograph to a group of us design influencers to use as inspiration to then recreate and make our own. September’s challenge is all about creating a Reading Nook! Of course, this is one of my most favorite places to be and I always have one wherever we live. Let’s jump right in…

If you are new here to French Ethereal, welcome! If you are just coming over from Michelle at Thistle Key Lane, I am happy to invite you into my home. 🌻 This time, Allison of Proverbs 31 Girl shares her beautifully renovated home with us and this reading nook in her casually cool, drop-cloth-loving, all-white style. Beautiful! 

plank fireplace

This particular post from Allison shows how her home has changed from before the renovation plus several reading areas throughout her home. 

Allison hand-stenciled these drop cloth curtains!

My inspiration takeaway

  • a comfy chair with a drop cloth slipcover set near a window’s bright light for daytime reading
  • soft linen pillows for extra comfort
  • a nice nubby throw to snuggle under while reading
  • an ottoman to prop the feet on
  • a pretty basket with just one moss ball for decor
  • a standing lamp for evening reading

I do love all the textures here from nubby pillow covers and chunky knit throw blankets to creamy whites with touches of black as accents here and there!

Our home

During the summer months in our North Texas home, it is very bright and sunny in this living room now that the trees have been limbed up and some of the branches were taken out. Last year it was very dark in here hence our fall and winter project was to thin out our oak trees front and back. 

It is much lighter inside now ~ perfect for enjoying the interplay of light throughout the day. Here in late summer/early fall a beautiful golden light comes in from these western windows which I love…

Iteration #1: I love to sit here with a cup of tea and while away an afternoon…The one pillow is turned sideways and is just where it needs to be for good back support.

Iteration #2: The first go-round I forgot all about having this knit throw and the pillows had been put away in our armoire. So glad I thought of them and pulled them out! Really love this spot now… You can see last month’s PC sharing a cloche here.

My reading spot and what I’ve done

  • slipcovers I already made dropcloth and matelassé slipcovers about six years ago for our two settees. You can find out how to make some for yourself in this five-part series beginning here.
  • pillows At the beginning of this year I found the nubby cream pillow (L) slipcover at a store going out of business for 75% off. Great buy!
  • a nubby knit throw this creamy knit throw came from the same store’s going out of business sale.
  • a second pillow The more patterned cream pillow with corner tassels is from Magnolia Market.
  • Bringing in color The bee skep pillow is from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
  • basket with decor a round basket sits on our coffee table with its pop of green and pumpkin for fall.
  • a tall standing lamp is positioned behind the library table for evening and early morning reading.
  • nix the ottoman the coffee table takes the ottoman’s place and is ideal for putting one’s feet up to read or to enjoy candles or a gas fire in the fireplace.

I shot these photographs as the sun was rapidly going down so I’ve brightened some of these photos up a bit for you. I left the top one purposely darker to share the view out the back window: A bit of the garden beyond with a new garden trellis Mr. Ethereal just hung for me this past weekend ~ part of our fall house projects. Our tall lady statue is now sitting infront and can just be seen in an upcoming photo.

Past reading nooks…

Of course we have had various reading nooks over the years depending upon where we lived. In our Prairie Home (our big RV) our kitchen window sill was often a reading “library” as was a small plant stand, which was also in the trailer.

This post about creating a library in small spaces can be found

Under the slipcover, this is what that settee looks like.
One of my favorite photographs is of my daughter Amy as we were enjoying an evening of reading with candlelight at our last home in California. It is definitely my favorite reading spot photo! 💝 

She is all grown up now and looking to buy her first house soon which makes me excited to help her decorate when she is ready!

I am last this month so swing on back up to Cindy at County Road 407 to continue our Pinterest Challenge Book Nook tour. I know you will love the reading spot she has created for you… Do check out everyone’s reading nooks and bookmark this post to come back to for future inspiration! 📚

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Happy reading, dear friends,

Pheasant Under Glass ~ A Fall Cloche Styling

Welcome to this month’s Pinterest Challenge hosted by my friend Cindy of County Road 407. Each month Cindy sends out an inspiration photograph for all of us to get ideas from and make into our own. This is one of my absolute favorite times of the month ~ creating these Pinterest Challenges ~ and this month it’s all about decorating a Fall Cloche. Let’s take a look, shall we?…

If you are new to French Ethereal, welcome! How’d you like Julie’s cloche styling? Pretty cool with those sweet white acorns, huh?! 
I love everything Julie creates for her home!! 🌰 

This photograph above is part of my inspiration for this month’s cloche styling. It is from a Thanksgiving post I wrote a couple of years ago when we were still living in our Prairie Home, our 41′ Heartland Charleston Landmark fifth-wheel trailer. 

My style is definitely an elegant French country style and for this fall our little prairie chicken, vis-a-vis this little gilded partridge or quail, and another birdie friend are featured.

Now let’s take a look at our main inspiration photograph…

This soft fall colors cloche styling is by Beth Hunter of Home Stories A to Z. I love her warm farmhouse style with lots of whites and neutrals… Sooo pretty! 

Beth used mini faux Baby Boo pumpkins, dried hydrangea blooms both inside and outside of her cloche and other free fall garden gifts of acorns and pinecones to complete her cloche’s main look. I love how her vignette uses so much foliage and material straight from nature! Soft colors and I like the rope which makes the cloche look like a bell…

I didn’t have a glass cloche before thinking about putting together this post. So I was thrilled when I found this one at an early fall sale at Hobby Lobby a few weeks ago for 50% off! I have wanted one for a number of years but just hadn’t found one I liked or for a good price. This was $22.50 with the sale price; a bargain in my book!!

For this “pheasant under glass” vignette ~ a gilded quail, really ~ I looked through my stash of platters, cutting boards and such for something round to sit the cloche on, finally choosing this thrifted silverplate serving tray. I wanted a round wood cutting board but didn’t have one so the wood idea was out. 

The silver tray turned out to be the perfect size and it set the tone for a more formal look. To it, I added the small gilded acorns (which look a bit like small pumpkins), the gilded “pheasant” and this jeweled berry pick which was a White Elephant gift from my Bible study teacher a couple of years ago.

Loving this look!
I was shooting for mimicking the “pumpkin look” of our inspiration photo under the glass with these golden acorns, and then I added my larger velvety pumpkins outside the cloche, since they wouldn’t fit underneath and are bigger than those in the inspiration piece.

I looked for grasses to put underneath next to my bird but found only very expensive dried wheat ($29.00/bunch at Hobby Lobby). I ended up snipping some grass fronds from an obliging field and added in a few extra pics. I love the warm fall colors in this part of the room!

Setting my father’s retirement carved American goldfinch on some books brings in more natural elements, as do the actual pheasant feathers (part of my bird feather collection). The books used as risers are National Audubon Society books on bird watching from the 1960’s, my parents’ book collection. 

Creating the pheasant and finch vignette with the cloche and other fall goodies sparked a whole refresh around the living room! I brought out the late summer/early fall pillows and spruced up the coffee table with one of my large Cinderella pumpkins, a candle and faux flowers in a creamy ironstone creamer.

Thanks for stopping by today and if you are following everyone in order, please check out Michelle’s post from Thistle Key Lane, which I know you’ll love the way she used her cloche and her fun raffia pumpkins!

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An Easy Peasy Lemony Table Styling

Welcome to this month’s Pinterest Challenge where Cindy of County Road 407 selects a photo each month from Pinterest for a group of friends to take and create something of our own. This month it’s all about Lemons!!! 

Our inspiration photograph this month is from the wonderful writer Mary of Home Is Where the Boat Is.  All lemony goodness! If you haven’t ever been by to visit Mary’s blog, the garden behind her houseboat is beautiful plus she and her husband recently built a greenhouse that sets just perfectly into her yard overlooking the water. She also has the sweetest poodle pups… but I digress! 💛😊

If you are just coming over from Carol at Bluesky at Home, welcome! I am so glad you are here. And a hearty welcome to all my friends who’ve hopped over today as well! Wasn’t Carol’s citrusy centerpiece beautiful!

Well, friends, for me summer is all about decorating and entertaining in a way that’s easy and quick, and this post shares just that. A table that is easy to put together and a centerpiece that just says summertime.

Our inspiration piece standouts

  • lemon slices in a vase (of course!)

  • beautiful glassware for a hidden inner and an outer vase
  • lemon-decorated plates for serving
  • fun coordinating napkins
  • a bouquet of flowers with lemon picks poking out here and there
  • lots of yellow and natural decor including seagrass placemats

I began my table with a quick trip over to HomeGoods (not sponsored) where I found these larger botanical lemon teacups with saucers and also these fun lemon-covered paper napkins. 

There were many lemon choices available 

There were a ton of lemon decorated pieces in this season’s summer tableware: melamine plates, ceramic salad bowls, and more. I chose these large teacups to bring in the lemon theme because tea and tea parties are my thing. 

Problems I encountered 

1. Our weather has been super hot these past two weeks so please forgive these poor flowers… They are trying their hardest to look pretty for you!

2. Floating lemons is a trick I have never done before. You need way more lemon slices than you think you would. I had two lemons on hand and that’s what are sandwiched between an inner glass holding the flowers and the outer vase. So I will probably reshoot some photos for you… 🍋

3. The second photo shoot worked way better! Seven lemons and really packing them in is the trick, folks! 

First photoshoot
2nd photo shoot

First photoshoot ~ definitely needed more lemons! This sweet bee hive teapot came from my husband’s aunt’s collection of tableware. I inherited it after Aunt Doris passed away ~ a lovely gift! 🐝

My table’s takeaway

  • A country checked placemat with “together at home” written on it. 
  • pretty florals with lemons floating in a vase within a vase
  • tableware with pale lemon yellows as my main color
  • lemon macaroons served for a light dessert
  • tea served from a beehive teapot decorated with a couple of friendly bumble bees

And you get a double lemony post with two table stylings! I like them both but the second really shows off the centerpiece, which speaks to today’s challenge… How could we take the inspiration photograph and make it ours? 

Just like this: a bit of tropical florals and lemons… Amazing how just a weekend being in cool indoors and a recutting of stems perks up a bouquet of simple grocery store flowers… 

Thank you for visiting today!  

Next up on our lemony centerpiece tour is Michelle at Thistle Key Lane. I know you will love what she has for you!! If you are visiting everyone in order, all the links are here. Easy peasy, we try to make it easy! 

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Sparkly Patriotic Decor in the Living Room

Welcome to  this month’s Patriotic Decor Pinterest Challenge hosted by my friend Cindy of County Road 407. If you haven’t visited our Pinterest Challenge before, Cindy shares a photo from another blogger with us as home decor inspiration and to makeover as our own. Thank you, Cindy!!! Let’s go Americana, friends!!!

Red white and blue

Our inspiration this month comes from Liz Marie Blog whose fun sophisticated patriotic farmhouse-decor is breezy-coastal and fresh. I love her combination of comfortable-casual style where you just want to sink into the sofas and enjoy a sweet glass of lemonade!!

If you are coming over from Laura at Everyday Edits, welcome! I love Laura’s fun interpretation of this month’s Patriotic Decor!!

What strikes me with Liz’s decor:

  • white slipcovered sofas and a squishy slipcovered ottoman
  • soft reds in her gently faded American flags and red in her vintage-style tricycle
  • blue stars and stripes in those same flags and the sofa’s pillow covers
  • a round coffee table with a large round natural-wicker basket to corral everything together
  • an olive bucket with greenery
  • a sweet family photo in a white frame
  • three vintage canning jars in soft turquoise
  • and a demijohn of clear glass to hold the tall American flags
  • a big cabinet and some other decor off to the right of the main sofa
I love the idea of old canning jars for summer styling as it reminds me of catching fireflies and the glass demijohn with its gently faded patriotic flags soften the decor. The wood furniture is nicely stained in light and dark tones and a fun window with a jack-a-lope trophy round out her farmhouse style.

Well, I can’t come up with a jack-a-lope, but last year I shared a summertime patriotic post with soft reds and blues of my own in this post for July 4th. I do love this lighter take on our country’s patriotic colors. 

This was my first take on the look sans patriotic-coastal pillows.
So this year I am also going for the softer side of Americana. My style is a little more French-country but softer Americana colors fit me just right. 

I made drop-cloth slipcovers for my two camelback sofas when I first began my blog six years ago. If you’d like to read those posts, you can find the first post in that sewing series here. So, first need for this challenge ~ check!

My take on our Patriotic Decor Challenge

I knew right away I’d use this round tobacco basket as my centerpiece. I found it last fall at Joanne’s as a door hanger for $7.00 on clearance! Can you believe it? 

It had to come home with me that day. Originally it was stained dark brown and for this post I’ve dry-brushed the basket with grey chalk-paint then layered on highlights of white chalk-paint. I like its lighter soft-grey look now and even Mr. Ethereal commented on how much he likes it! (He has good taste!)

I was also able to bring in 

  • A small oregano plant in a well-worn clay pot sitting on a red transferware plate that became my greenery and brings in a little red to this tablescape vignette.
  • A tall LED lamp with its soft grey woven cover in a pear-shape atop a small vintage red leather-bound book (for added height) ~ mimicks the tall demijohn of the inspiration piece. 
  • I added in some fun red, white and blue with a pinwheel and  some “sparkle” with this tall “fireworks explosion-sparkler” ~ these two pieces take the place of the two large flags. Two tiny American flags tucked into the oregano add in the American flags that would be missing otherwise, and that would be unpatriotic.
  • Two canning jars in turquoise and a deeper green ~ from some pepper jelly a friend gave me ~ add in the green jars. I did try two of the turquoise Ball jars but they just wouldn’t quite fit so this was my compromise.
  • A French flow-blue dish filled with summertime deep-red cherries outside the basket is my own little addition ~ it takes the place of the blue in the ottoman’s striped slipcover and brings in a little more red to the scene.
  • An antique clear-glass apothecary jar (now clouded) brings in the clear glass from Liz’ tablescape and is the final addition to the centerpiece. This jar belonged to my husband’s grandfather and he collected old glass.  I found this in a pile of things Mr. Ethereal was cleaning out of one of three sheds while we were back helping his mother.
  • A small cabinet and tall planter with hydrangeas stand off to the right to stand in for the wooden case piece in the inspiration photograph.

The final elements of my Patriotic Decor

  • For the background: We just returned from two back-to-back trips and I brought home this faded and slightly torn American flag from my inlaws’ home in California, from our second trip. 

I tried to fade it more with bleach but it must be 100% polyester so it refused to fade. A 100% cotton flag will fade beautifully and is something I’ll have to look for next!

Yoda wanted in the photos, too!
  • My son and daughter’s heavy-duty tricycle brings in the family aspect of what Patriotic Decor means to me. My parents found this 28-year-old tricycle at a garden center near their last home in Southbury, Connecticut. It is soooo heavy-duty that my son was still racing this tricycle around our last home’s backyard pathways even at 17 years old! It will go up to our sweet grandson (his son) as soon as little Milo is old enough for it… 💝
  • Reversible Coastal-Americana pillowslips I just made bring in the stripes from the original plus a little extra fun with the  coastal look on the reverse print! This was a quick fun project done in less than an hour giving our sofa a new summertime look.  Love how these have turned out!
With the fireplace right behind the camera, this is as big and wide as my living room can show, lol!! Pretty happy with how this whole patriotic tablescape and vignette turned out. Here is one side of the pillows.

To make these pillow slipcovers

These pillowslips are easy to make with just sewing straight edges and leaving about 1/3 of the bottom edge open for stuffing before either pinning, putting in buttons and buttonholes, or a zipper for closing.

You’ll need 1 yard each of two complementary fabrics. Cut them to fit the width and length across the pillow, stuffed, plus 5/8″ more to each edge for the seam allowance. You’ll also need two pillow inserts, matching thread and a zipper or buttons to finish your pillows.

Big tip: Put right sides together and sew down both sides from the top of the pillowslip. Sew outward from the middle of the top seam to each side, overlapping slightly in the middle. Do the same on the bottom but leave the middle-third open for turning and stuffing.

***This technique is how you prevent “pulling to one side,” or something like a shirt that pulls in only one direction (You’ll not know why you hate that shirt but you’ll end up getting rid of it…). This is one of those reasons… 🙂

Lastly, grade your seam allowances ~ except the middle of the bottom seam allowance. Keep that full-width in case you need it for putting in a zipper or buttonholes. 

Cut diagonally across all four corners eliminating the fabric bulk. 

Turn your pillow slipcovers, press, and stuff in your pillow inserts. 

Voilà your pillows are done!

Here is the other side of the pillows.

Thanks for stopping by today and be sure to check out all the wonderful ideas my friends have created for you on today’s Patriotic Decor Pinterest Challenge tour!!!

Up next is Amber at Follow the Yellow Brick Home and I know you’ll enjoy her patriotic homestyle decor!

Here are some links to the Coastal-Americana fabrics and the sparklies from Joann Fabrics that I used. This post isn’t sponsored but I will earn a small commission if you buy anything through my links, thank you.

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Refresh Your Porch or Patio in Just One Week

Welcome to this month’s Pinterest Challenge and this month is all about getting ready for summer celebrations, cookouts and getting together with family and friends. This month’s challenge is to share our Porches and Patios with a clean inspired refresh… 

This month’s Pinterest Challenge patio inspiration comes from Bria of Bria Hammel Interiors. I love Bria’s coastal style with easy-style bamboo and outdoor wicker furnishings, a fresh blue and white color scheme, and a celebration of potted plants on the porch, in a teacart and hanging from the wall. 

I love her potted trees in those what I’d say are large square French-style planters! Gorgeous chalky blue color!! Bria used touches of black, too, and that’s what jumped out at me.

PC graphic
As we get into my post I’d like to thank Cindy of County Road 407 for once again hosting this challenge, thank you Cindy! 💝 And if you are coming over from Lora from Lora B Create and Ponder, welcome! Lora’s colorful vintage porch style is pure fun!! 
Last summer’s A Small Summer Home Tour.
This is how our back patio has looked since last summer. It was a bunch of mismatched furniture, a couple of potted plants and one of our “Girls” bringing in the French country style I love. 

Here is how our patio has changed since last summer. I worked on creating a little French café earlier this spring. Now it is a pleasant place for Mr. Ethereal and I to come outside and sit, and to enjoy cool mornings while the mourning doves, sparrows, the seasonal cardinals and other wildlife visit…

Simple, clean, and French inspired!

How the patio has changed

Even before I knew what this month’s Pinterest Challenge was to be I had already planned to repaint our park benches so this challenge was perfect timing! The green Wayfair bench I’ve only had for four years has rusted really fast because of North Texas’ hot and humid summertime climate. 

The white cast iron bench I’ve had for years and it came with us to Texas last year with our movers. In California, the lower humidity kept the iron pristine (except for paint peeling off the wooden slats). I think this bench is 15 years old?? I bought it when our last home was new to us.

My former rose garden parterres…


I sat down with some of my favorite French style design books and looked at what makes authentic French style so appealing. I realized right away what I wanted…

Our benches needed to look like those gorgeous park benches one sees at large public parks in France and even here in the United States (think Central Park, NYC). They needed to be able to move effortlessly from porch to yard on a whim. 

They needed to be black…

Over the course of a week I was able to repaint both benches, the new plant stand and also another hanging basket. Working with spray paint is easy ~ just as pie is a natural dessert for a summer picnic!

Our backyard patio porch now has the cohesiveness it lacked  and looks very close to our inspiration photo:

With wicker chairs and benches for relaxing, hanging baskets adding their lovely southern green touches, and lavender plants bringing in that French country style that is me. I am in-love with the curves and diamond patterns ~ how they repeat from piece to piece! Now to find the perfect seat cushions! (Always something, lol!)

Thank you for stopping by my patio refresh today and next up is my friend Michelle of Thistle Key Lane whose porch looks amazing! I love how elegant Michelle’s patio looks with all the blue and white, and her teacart is a favorite in my book!! 

Please pin, thank you! 💜

We have a big group of friends in today’s porch and patio tour for you. Please come back and restart here, or from any of today’s participants, if need be. 
Also sharing with
Wonderful Wednesday ~ Stilettos and Shiplap
Tuesday Turnabout ~ My Wee Abode

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Enjoy the tour,