A Bleu Christmas…

Hello there! Welcome back for part 2 of my visit to the lovely French country style home and gardens (and THE cutest gardenhouse ~ shown above ~ and she shed!) of my friend
Judith Stringham who writes the blog Botanic Bleu

A couple of days ago I shared Part 1 of my visit with Cindy of County Road 407 and Laura of Decor to Adore to visit another of our friends whom I met that first Christmas here in 2016 ~ Judith Stringham. 

I had never been to Judith’s French Country Christmas Event at her home in Mansfield, Texas before but I knew she held one each December for all of her friends. Judith is a retired teacher and administrator in her local school district, and this holiday sales event brings all of her friends together for a visit and some fun French country shopping!

Me and Cindy outside Judith’s adorable French country blue and limestone brick/stone garden shed transformed into her shop twice a year. Oh! There are those super big pinecones peeking out from behind Cindy on that little garden étagere. 

Judith is all about French country style (my absolute favorite style, as you know!) so I thought I’d share the rest of the fun photographs today that I took last weekend. 

I seriously wanted this urn… And those large round marble cheese platters…
And those glittery Christmas trees…

These pics were taken inside the garden she shed I shared in the last post (Judith’s wintertime photo of her garden from a number of years ago), and since then she and her husband built a gorgeous large greenhouse (of which I have serious greenhouse envy…) which sits just to the left and stepped back from the shed.

I will share that in a moment… 😉

So here we are inside!

Laura is checking out all the wonderful little French christmas and non-Christmas soaps and goodies decorated with foxes, bears and “les lapins.”

A better picture of Laura with Cindy… 🙂

Judith lovingly curated blue and white crockery, blue and white napkins, bespoke linen Christmas tea towels and also ones for everyday use, custom silverware, French country angels, small etchings and prints straight from France for us gardeners and decorators to use in our homes alike. 

Three of Judith’s friends from her former school district were there at the same time as we were and were squabbling (just a bit) over two large Christmas angels. (I think they worked it out!)   *<;)

Large angels were for sale and some furniture pieces(alas, no room!), as well as birdcages, holiday tins, gift bags and greenery and huge pinecones (Laura’s favorites!).

I am sure Judith made this dried boxwood Christmas tree. I bought a small dried
boxwood wreath to hang at home while here (shown above hanging on the mirror).

I found several things to bring back to our French country home and I will share them over the next week or so. One is this little Santa Belsnickel glinting in the sunlight here… And the small boxwood wreath…

Judith cleverly hung her tea towels on this copper railing below this tin garden sink. Her regular curtains hide soil and pottery the rest of the year. The butcher block counters are wonderful and cost effective (we used one $40 piece from Home Depot back in California to make our tv stand/storage unit in our master bedroom) and this gives me wonderful ideas for a future garden shed at our Texas home!

The white painted pieces across the top of the television and underneath it were butcher block pieces we cut to fit and painted. Very solid and sturdy, they make excellent non-warping shelving to hold a lot of weight around the home. Plus butcher block is beautiful in the kitchen! You can see more of our last home in this post here.

I would love to have shown you more but other people were shopping and I didn’t want to intrude. Here is Judith looking lovely in a custom-made scarf she won from another blogger she knows in France who curates and sells boxes to people who are Francophiles…

Seriously, from baskets to metal birdcages of varying shapes, to Santas and more… I could have dropped several hundred dollars without a thought. 

Laura, Cindy and I oggled over these French blue doors Judith made from
four French iron gate closures, decorative buttons, and sheets of thick plywood.

Let’s check out the greenhouse!

 The greenhouse is lovely with its French blue doors leading inside a bright and airy area to store tender plants during Texas’ super cold winters. This winter so far is pretty mild which is wonderful for gardening but not so good for next summer’s crop of nasty  biting no-see-um mites (Texas needs the super cold ~ around 0 degrees Fahrenheit ~ to kill the biting bugs off).

This is the reverse view looking back towards the house from the greenhouse. The interlocking brick pathways had me at hello!

Here is a close up of one of the lovely French doors…

And a couple of peeks inside… Nice thick mats to stand on for foot comfort and wraps for tender plants. Love it!

You know me and chandeliers!!! Here you can just see this beauty peeping out in the sunlight above the back double French doors…

ooh la la!!!

Another lovely view… I hope Judith will share sometime where she found all these French doors. What a lovely place to come and pot plants or to just sit…

A few looks more from the Stringhams’ veranda which wraps around their home looking back towards the garden shed and acreage.

I love this old French garden bench crafted from a gate or iron headboard with its watering can and planted evergreens… 

Etherealness at its finest!

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

Holiday hugs,

Places to Shop ~ Victorian Sample Florist, Corsicana

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of a day off and an afternoon free to explore in Old Town Corsicana, Texas. That day I visited three shops: a thriftstore, the shop next door named Emporium 1905 (an upcoming post!), and this incredible florist shop named Victorian Sample Florist. Let’s step inside…

Victorian Sample Florist
325 N. Beaton St.
Corsicana, Texas 75110

Very southern, elegant, classic and French, this jewel of a shop was such a find which I am totally happy to share with you! The inviting exterior with its potted plants are what drew me indoors and once inside… 

Eye candy in the form of rentable chandeliers for events, incredibly beautiful handmade jewelry created by shop owner Tom Adams himself, plus ethereal urns, glassware for creating stunning floral arrangements, small statues, candles and some antiques gobsmacked me as soon as I stepped inside!

Gorgeous pieces all one of a kind… Very upper left pink necklace is made
from pink coral. The two lowest necklaces on the table and to the right
are made of tiger eye.
Mr. Adams’ necklaces, earrings and bracelets are made from semi-precious stones, metal bits and bobs, and only the finest Swarovski crystals. Created for a clientele looking for something as unique as they are, Mr. Adams’ pieces are one-of-a-kind. I found several pink jade and pink coral pieces which reminded me of the necklace my grandmother Helen bought me when we went to Maui as a child with my mother.
Recently I shared the gardens Mr. Adams began putting in alongside his shop since Victorian Sample opened in 1986. A destination visit to this florist shop/jewelry store/antiques shop and gardens is worth a drive through Corsicana.

Mr. Adams has “done events for” both Presidents Bush as well as President Clinton, according to the bio on the Victorian Sample Florist website, and it shows. I was blown away at how beautifully curated this store is decorated and the florals in the back being put together for an upcoming wedding were simply stunning. I am sorry I didn’t get a photograph of them for you!

This stuffed peacock caught my eye with its bird’s nest light positioned just above it and that’s when I asked if it would be alright to take some photographs. Unfortunately this peacock was the reason why I didn’t capture any of the bouquets… 

Our summer mantel with its peacock feathers.

This is just one photograph from the post I wrote
called Tom’s Secret Garden in Corsicana.
I love peacocks and their feathers and somehow I got busy talking with the store manager (who was a lovely southern gentleman who didn’t wish to have his photograph taken, a shame!) and he told me about Mr. Adams creating the gardens when the shop was quiet over the years.

Between just admiring all the jewelry (the tiger eye and baroque pearl necklaces captured my attention!), the chandies, the hand-painted floor with its green and yellow pinwheel design and the French style furniture… Well, I was on sensory overload… But in a good way!

Rich dark moody jewel tones played splendidly with the chandeliers’ light bouncing around the room. Music played softly in the background as I recall and the whole atmosphere left one feeling relaxed and comfortable ~ perfect for anyone stopping by to choose and arrangement or a lovely necklace for an upcoming event. 

Brides-to-be would instantly be put at ease to choose from Victorian Sample Florist’s selection of faux or real blooms.

Just look at this gorgeous tiger eye and wooden shell piece!

I did find a pretty bauble to bring home with me… Mr. Adams calls his jewelry “lost treasures” and I’d have to agree. Chunky necklaces have been calling my name and I haven’t any before this piece… Plus you know I love pearls! 

(I am justifying, I know!)

The Fair Maiden will be happy…


Love love love the Renaissance and Steam Punk style of
this chunky necklace which is why it came home with me.

My friend Laura whom many of you know from her blog Decor to Adore invited me to the DFW Costumers Guild’s next get-together and it is to be a Marie Antoinette-themed event. 

I think this will fit the bill if I hurry up and finish the green dress…

When you come to the DFW area sometime, do make the hour+ detour south of Dallas to Corsicana on your way to Houston or Galveston to visit The Victorian Sample Florist and the other shops of Old Town Corsicana. The area is up and coming and I know you’ll enjoy the hospitality of the people here and find something unique to take home for yourself!

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Tom’s Secret Garden in Corsicana

Temps passé dans le jardin*  is by far my favorite way to spend the day, and on this day I found a secret garden. It really isn’t so secret to the people who live in Corsicana, Texas but it was for me!! Let’s venture into the garden, shall we?…

*Time spent in the garden

I took  these photographs with my iPhone and they are a bit dark as last Friday was overcast and cool but the weather was absolutely perfect for stepping into this lovely secret garden! 


Situated just outside the shop Victorian Sample Florist owned by Tom Adams in historic Old Town Corsicana (est. 1848), this lovely garden was created when the shop was quiet over the years in memory of his late parents, Derrell and Kathryn Adams.

Love the foliage creeping up the red brick wall!
Also shot from my cell phone while I was taping.

Two ladies who own the shop (Emporium 1905) right next door to Mr. Adams’ shop told me the story of how the garden came to be.

Screen shot from the IG video I posted. 🙂

As a person, I know I don’t know Tom Adams at all but as a gardener I feel that I do. Gardens are such personal expressions and extensions of ourselves that they share a person’s soul, don’t you agree? 

His shop and the ladies’ shop next door I’ll share in a separate post coming soon but for now know that when you happen to stop over in Corsicana for a rest, do head through the historic district and say hello!

Tom’s blending of plants is stunning ~ from low variegated ivy and creeping vines, which shelter the ground and creep up the brick wall, to the palm-like frond here in the front and the perennial bush to its left. I love the textures! As a florist he knows his plants ~ something I’d like to become more adept at, bad grammar aside.

Another “moving photo” from the phone. 🙂

I am sure the City of Corsicana was more than enthusiastic that Tom would share his gardening talents with the public here in this little pathway! 

I’ve shot a number of pictures sharing the brick pathway as I love brick walkways and would like to make one at our new little home.  As you can see this pathway isn’t finished… It takes hundreds upon hundreds of bricks to create the soldiers and path itself. Maybe Tom receives donations of used brick from customers, or from the City as they tear up an older section, or from when a building is torn down, then he incorporates those into his design?

This is down at the end of the block. See that lovely ivy hanging as a “spiller” in the three potted trees? This is what I’d like to do with the ivy in the plant I received for our anniversary. 

(Oh, you may not know about this yet! Check out my Instagram post to read the story about this delivery…)

Back to the garden… Tom has hung sweet hat lights between the trees as well as high hanging baskets filled with soft asparagus ferns, my mother’s favorite.

Such a beautiful way to hide a wall of crumbling bricks or an unsightly water drain coming off a roof!

Love the spiky with the hanging pearls in this cement urn!
I did ask the man behind the counter inside the Victorian Sample florist shop (a lovely gentleman in his 60’s or so with a soft southern accent who didn’t want me to take his picture, sadly!) where all the planters and pots were found. Turns out Mr. Adams gets them on buying trips to Dallas and the design district/flower market when he travels up there.

I need to go down there! I haven’t found many good pots or urns to replace those I took over to my friend Sandy’s home when we had to move out of our Big House.

All in all a lovely way to spend an afternoon tucked up nice and cozy in an ethereal garden!

Sharing with
Share Your Style ~ French Ethereal
Thursday Favorite Things ~ Follow the Yellow Brick Home

 Joyeax automne!

Out and About ~ The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Good day to y’all, Two weeks ago my daughter and I took a trip over to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center near her apartment home in Austin, Texas.

This is a bit long with many wonderful garden photographs for you… Grab a cup of coffee or tea and let’s tour the early summertime gardens and see what’s growing!

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is now located in western Austin, Texas off the Mopac Parkway on 500+ acres of property which the late President and Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson donated to the University of Texas at Austin. Originally located in east Austin, the center was moved to its current location in 1995.  

When President Johnson and the former First Lady served in the White House, Mrs. Johnson saw developers scooping up land and destroying much of the indigenous habitat available to Austin’s dwindling wildlife.

Alarmed, she felt called to action.

Among the many bills President Johnson presented to and were passed by Congress during his time in office were those to protect America’s wildlife and the creation of a number of new national parks. President Johnson also signed the Highway Beautification Act into law, and Lady Bird helped by lobbying Texas officials promoting seeding Texas’ highways with native wildflowers. 

Inside the LBJ Wildflower Center’s main entrance courtyard. Mrs. Johnson asked that native plants be used as well as some way of promoting the history of the peoples who lived or moved into the area. Stonework on each building represents the Mexican, French, Spanish and German settlers who came to South Texas and the type of stone each favored when building their offices and homes.
An aqueduct runs along the top of the entry archway carrying
rainwater to one of fourteen cisterns (the grey round tower
at the far end) collecting this precious resource. Limestone and
sandstone feature.
Later, Mrs. Johnson talked with her husband about donating some land they owned to develop a wildflower center. 

A view of water stair-stepping down from the overhead aqueduct
and into the front garden pond below, just to the left.
This wildflower center would help raise awareness about the need to preserve Texas’ unique habitats and to promote Texas’ beautiful natural flora and wildlife as a place to come and visit.

A painting of Lady Bird Johnson by Norman Rockwell with a
video playing (reflection) about Mrs. Johnson’s conservation
work and life.

Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” (Taylor) Johnson along with friend and fellow conservationist, actress Helen Hayes, championed this cause and founded The National Wildflower Research Center in 1982. 

Research gardens ~ divided into native plants using soils specific to each plant’s needs. These areas are designed as teaching gardens for the avid home gardener and for local school children. Most of the plants around are “to be touched.”   🙂

“My hope for what lies ahead in the field of landscape design … is not a revolution against the use of non-natives, but a resolution to educate ourselves about what has worked for Mother Nature through the ebb and flow of time and to put that knowledge to work in the planned landscapes that are everywhere a part of our lives.”

Lady Bird Johnson

Late spring blue salvia (foreground), pink coneflowers, past their
prime tall coneflowers (those tall black-tipped stalks) with the
area’s natural savannah in the background.

“The University of Texas at Austin Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is the State Botanic Garden and Arboretum of Texas.” It’s mission is to “inspire the conservation of native plants through its internationally recognized sustainable gardens, education and outreach programs, research projects, and consulting work.” 

                                           ~ Overview, http://www.wildflower.org

A grove of Lebanon cedars which grow all over Texas but especially
in the hill country.
Amy and I arrived around 10am to the wildflower center and found that a guided tour was about to begin. Peter was our small group ‘s guide and we enjoyed a nice hour-plus walk through the inner gardens of the wildflower center.

Bright orange lantana grows just off to the left.
This first section of the inner garden is planted with all local native species bursting with blooms in each season. Each species stars during its normal bloom season with some plants flowering as spring bloomers, some later in summer and others through the late summer heat and into fall.

My forefinger got in this shot but I wanted to share the variety of species planted together ~ the spiky with the more feathery. Really pretty!

Of course I was there to gather ideas for my yard and I love the structures! One could make this large barn type structure with posts and pallet wood…

This lovely shade flower’s leaves look very similar to a couple of vines growing in our back garden. I am hopeful that this is what is growing!

Adorable small blooms on this white daisy-like fleabane!
Further along our guide shared that Mrs. Johnson wanted this area below to be a teaching garden for children. She felt strongly that everyone should have the opportunity to come and learn about Texas’ beautiful wildflowers.

Children get to learn about dirt and rock’s natural water filtration
process plus touch every plant and play in and around the water.
Naturally forming limestone rocks are fun to climb on and jump off.

Lady Bird spent a lot of time promoting better education for America’s youth and this was also true for the wildflower center. Here in the Children’s Garden everything is “hands-on” and kid friendly! 

Behind me (as I took this photograph) is a meadow with a small air conditioned outbuilding which is set up as a children’s library. 
Mrs. Johnson was adamant about having a special place where children could study and learn about the local wildlife and plants living and growing up around them.

Here in the adult’s section is the University of Texas’ research center (not open to the public) with garden beds sharing plants which do well in certain soils. These are test gardens and adult visitors (and children, of course) can see and touch these plants. One smelled like chocolate!

A quietly snapped photograph of my daughter Amy laughing at something funny our guide Peter told us ~ love this young lady!!!

Further along on another trail I tried to capture this industrious bumble bee…

Several monarch butterflies… also very fast in their pollen gathering!

One of my favorite shots… Love the deep pink of these coneflowers with their orangey centers!

Pink and yellow coreopsis (coneflowers)…

Beautiful pond back near the Children’s Garden…

The last section I have to share today is really one of the first. It is the water lily garden at the entrance to the LBJ Wildflower Center as you come inside the archway.

My daughter saw the little striped water snake which lives in the pond as we came around the front. I think our guide said its name is Archie or Harry. For a snake, it was pretty cute and you can just see his little eyes looking out from his head in this next photo…

Can you spy him in the middle left?? He was curious about us as much as we wanted to see him.

The right hand side of the pond boasts white-blooming water lilies whereas the yellow-bloomers float on the left side. 

Did you know that when water lilies are planted they are put in little baskets and then placed into their shallow ledges in a pond?? I saw that recently when I was watching some Monty Don and other British garden shows.
And the pond brings us back to the beginning of our guided tour and a graphic featuring this golden beauty to share…

Thank you for coming along on this garden tour with me! I hope you’ve enjoyed it and will share with your friends.

I’ve traveled to other places this year but haven’t quite got around to sharing them with you so I will be sharing those soon.  A few of the neat places I visited are in New Mexico and Arizona plus a local garden here where I live in Denton, Texas. 

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Blessings to you and happy gardening,

Share Your Style #214

Welcome to this week’s Share your Style #214 and I will be short and sweet… 

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

This month’s Pinterest Challenge had us using and creating lanterns in vignettes and this is my little “tall tale…”

Short and sweet since I was down at my daughter’s most of last week, at a wedding on Saturday, on Monday I was off with friends visiting a friend who lives in a group home,  then… a friend popped by to visit just today… I failed to prep like I normally do for Share Your Style! (Bad of me, I know…)

Just a few shares this week due to time constraints…

Michelle at The Scrap Shoppe Blog shared the lovely enclosed garden she and her husband created ~ wonderful!!! 

Amber at Follow the Yellow Brick Home shared her updated patio set in all its garden glory… Love summer time, don’t you?


And Penny at Penny’s Treasures shared the new lights she and her husband installed after spring winds brought down some parts of their yard and decor.

Katie at Let’s Add Sprinkles shared her recipe for this wonderfully decadent Ritz Cracker Pie… I am hungry just looking at it! YUM!

collection of Photos of the Day from Facebook for the month of May. #photography #photosoftheday #spring #summer #greece #travel #flowers #beach #farmlife Facebook photos for May theboondocksblog.com

Lastly Mary of The Boondock’s Blog shared gorgeous beach and garden photos she shot in May…

If you’ve been featured here at Share Your Style

Here is a button to share. Please feel free to copy it to your site and your featured posts, thank you!

Be sure to follow the Share Your Style board on my
Pinterest board!

Now onto the party! 
I promise next week SYS will be back up to full capacity!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


Share Your Style #202

Welcome once again to Share Your Style and this week is #202… I am Barb Chapman and welcome to French Ethereal if you are new here! For all of our returning friends, a big welcome to you, too.

This week I am sharing a couple of posts I wrote last fall about creating this antiqued cabinet ~ I have been
way too busy this past week finishing unpacking all our kitchen wares (OMGoodness we have a lot of china!), tidying up the yards and working in the garden, plus finishing getting the trailer cleaned and into storage over the weekend.
It is now ready to sell!

So… Here is the first part of when I refinished my little cabinet with chalk paint and the final reveal.
Enjoy these and hopefully next week I’ll have a new post or two to share.

Now let’s get to this week’s wonderful features!

The facade of the Alwyn Court Apartments, New York, Looking Up at Luxurious Buildings in Manhattan Theboondocksblog.com

My friend Mary of The Boondocks Blog moved from Greece a little over a year ago bringing her children back to New York and she often goes into the city of Manhattan to visit the sites.
And what sights there are ~ just look at the incredible architecture on this building ~ decorated in the French Renaissance style of
Francis I with terracotta ornamentation! Can you imagine the man hours needed to make and then apply all this trim-work???

Like icing on a wedding cake… Pure magic for anyone who loves iconic buildings anywhere but especially in New York State and the impressive trimmings rarely created anymore. You must stop by!

Debra at Common Ground shares a look at her new living room ~ a place to rest and restore each evening after working all day. I love the neutral decor and of course I am a sucker for armoires! Massive storage and style points, always.

Thel of Thel’s Days and Thel’s Kitchen makes the list again this week with delicious currant scones. Yum!!!
Ever wondered what’s the difference between a raisin, a currant and a saltana? Well, of course I had to look it up…

The difference is the type of grape or berry used and size. Currants are made from seedless fruit which when dried end up slightly bitter ~ might be good for us pre- and full-blown diabetics! Raisins are made from a variety of grapes and when dried are very sweet, also larger than currants. Saltanas come from seedless green grapes and have a lovely golden color and are sweet when dried.
Now we know. 

A similar recipe also using currants was linked up by Lois of Walking on Sunshine who shared yummy Hot Cross Buns for Easter.

Bathroom countertops covered with marble contact paper

This isn’t your mother’s contact paper of old… 
Anika of Anika’s DIY Life shares how to use decorative contact paper in your home.  Love this marbled paper used on her children’s bathroom countertop! 
Do stop by and check out her post.

I was just thinking too of going out and picking up a roll to redo Mr. Ethereal’s dresser drawers. He had old brown butcher paper in them currently that has most likely been there since the 1960’s, seriously…

Love this little window styling with it’s napkin swag ~ part of a mini kitchen makeover at Kendra‘s blog, A Proverb 31 Wife!

Lastly, friends Heather and Lisa of Made In A Pinch although now living 2000 miles apart found a way to stay connected by blogging and this feature shares their cute spring post ~

Isn’t this little boy and his pet rabbit
just adorable?

Just a few rules ~ please visit a few folks before you go as we all like new friends and comments for all of our hard work. Thank you! As always, I am excited to see what home decor, cooking, diy craft and garden ideas you bring to Share Your Style each week.

Now let’s see what y’all have!

Time to party!!!

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Share Your Style #201

Welcome to Share Your Style #201! 
I am so glad you are here and this week I have some fun springtime features to share with you. I am Barbara Chapman and if you are new to French Ethereal, welcome!

For old friends, I am so glad you’ve stopped by again ~ I do appreciate you and love that you follow my little blog here and on my other social media pages.

As I have often thought, blogging is a lot like writing as a pen pal of old…  
This week as part of a small blog hop I shared a Short + Sweet 5 Minute Mantel Refresh at our new home in the rolling hills of North County Texas.

This was my second photo shoot here in our home as the first was sharing a Craig’s List table find decorated with Monsieur Rabbit as part of a Spring Centerpiece Pinterest Challenge. I think you’ll love both of these posts!
Now let’s move along to…

This week’s features

Our first feature is from a friend I met a number of years ago when I was just reading blogs then refound again last year ~ so glad I met Thelma, or Thel as she often calls herself! Her blog is called Thelma’s Days and she shares from her home in Quebec, Canada. In this post she shares Part 2 of her family’s trip to several lighthouses along the Gaspé coastline.

Our second feature is from Sandra at Come to Dinner at 8 and she shares a sweet bunny tablescape
showcasing Fitz and Floyd ceramic rabbits, cute as a button s/p shakers and speckled eggs in egg cups.
Perfect to recreate for your Easter table!

Our third feature is from Pat at Bring French Country Home who shares some vintage
good style never goes out of fashion.

So let’s see what you have for this week!

Let’s party!

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Click here to enter



California Move + Update

March roared in like a lion for me with a whirlwind drive to California as you know to meet our movers, pack everything up, then beat feet back to Texas…

Packing the last things out of our right-hand storage unit.

California Leaving…

Six big guys came with Ron and Kari Hanson, our movers with Oakley Relocation out of San Diego and Riverside Counties. I am really impressed with all of their resourcefulness, professionalism and care with our household goods! I highly recommend Oakley Relocation as Jerilyn and Alex who run the call center were helpful in every aspect of our move. 

BTW, did you know it is cheaper to move in the winter than in the summer? Peak season costs more. 

Turns out my husband is a major pack-rat ~ we have more Ryobi drills and other tool things that were hidden away! And we were over budget by 4500 lbs. at 22,100 lbs. total weight.  It is all getting moved and then Mr. Ethereal can figure out where he wants to place everything and what we need to sell or donate.

The beginnings of the donation pile.
The next day I worked on donations… Here are part of the items we donated plus a lot of furniture went into this Salvation Army pile, too. SA ended up taking all the furniture and some boxes of household goods they knew they could sell. After they pulled out I went and rented a U-Haul and loaded the rest heading to Habitat for Humanity late in the day.

Thankfully even though HFH had just closed (4:30p.m.) they ladies working the donation area that day opened since I was moving out of state the next day. 

One of the fun things about moving (not!) is that anything chemical related and considered as hazardous waste cannot be transported on big moving vans. I tried to drop off things I had no room for in my Sequoia but the location was closed.

Pulling out of a rest stop along the California-Arizona border
somewhere.  The weather was perfect all the way home!

Heading to Texas

The young man who checked in the small U-Haul truck I rented took those things, yeah! He said he needed the motor oil and could use the other things in his apartment and on his car. Two plastic jugs of 10W-30 were in my car already so I was more than happy to give him the other; it feels good to help others.  🙂

Saw this trucker bringing home this cutie for a special child.
Isn’t this adorable? Love it!!!
Heading back to Texas

I stopped at some nice rest stops along the way and one in Las Cruces, New Mexico just above the city was very nice! And had the most spectacular view from the top of the mountain… I shared a video and photo or two on my Instagram of that rest area.
Photo actually taken by Mr. Ethereal. 🙂
Mr. Ethereal worked really hard while I was gone moving things out of our trailer and then cleaned out the new garage. He staged some of our things plus a shelving unit left by the previous owners here in the garage.

He also moved and put many things away in our spare bedrooms ~ such a sweetheart!

Mr. Ethereal also organized the built in cabinet ~ a new beginning for us!

Tomorrow our household goods will be delivered and then we will be able to take our time putting things away. 

Until then I’ll be in and out. We are still in our Prairie Home trailer for a few more days then it will be cleaned and put up for sale.

Riverside County Parks, Lake Skinner and the Tecolota mountain
range ~ four years ago when we began our trailer life adventure.
Thank you for all your prayers and well wishes with our move ~ I do appreciate it!

Marching is thankfully ending like a lamb,

Places to Visit ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum, Walnut Grove

Travel has  and always will be a favorite thing for me to do and post about and today I thought I’d fall back and pick up a post I hadn’t shared from last autumn ~ a visit to the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum, in Walnut Grove, Minnesota…

Timeline of world happenings which the Ingalls family would
have heard about by reading newspapers ~ those day’s “internet.”
The Laura Ingalls Wilder museum and learning center in Walnut Grove, Minnesota is housed in two main buildings. As you enter the first, you step into a large welcome center which houses an extensive bookstore and gift shop selling boxed sets of the Little House series of books written by Ms. Wilder.

The Little House books printed in various languages on display ~ love the French version of Little House on the Prairie (directly center)! On the right next to it is On the Banks of Plum Creek written in German with By the Shores of Silver Lake written in Spanish. The two left hand books are written in Dutch (think Holland), I believe.
Individual books from the series are also sold along with colorful calico prairie bonnets, aprons, tin cups and other memorabilia ~ all items enthusiastic readers would love to bring home as keepsakes from their special time playing “little house.”

This is a perfect place for teachers and homeschool families to take students as everything is interactive and geared towards studying the pioneering farm life.

The bookshop has every book written about Laura’s life and family including several books which talk about the harsh realities of the real life the Ingalls family actually lived.  Books about other celebrated Minnesota pioneers and first settlers, local birds and wildlife, and other topics are also available for sale giving readers a well-rounded education about life in Minnesota.

Can you spot the little iron which would have been used to press
one’s laundry?? 😉

After purchasing your ticket and following a pathway outside, you’ll gain entry to a two-room house set up much like what Ms. Ingalls and her family would have lived in during their travel days as pioneers.  The enclosed porch and front room display items from the 1870’s through the early 1900’s ~ items which would have been used in daily life for keeping house like this stove above.

Several years ago I visited the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum in DeSmet, South Dakota. Both are great places to take your children to learn about life and growing up during the Westward Expansion and pioneer years of the 1870’s through the 1890’s.
I didn’t do a write-up at the time and I am not sure why but I did share about the prairie and some of the places to stay there in DeSmet and you can read about that here.

Sorry these are so dark! It was a rainy Minnesota day and these outbuildings were not lighted. I love this little school house moved to the property! This is exactly how schools were built and fashioned back in the 1870’s and 1880’s.

The house is put together as a home-style museum with many cooking items like sad irons, kettles for cooking over an open fire when traveling across the vast open prairies, and frying pans. Various tools which would have been used for taking care of livestock are also on display. Something I find interesting is that back then tin buckets were multipurpose items used for milking the family cow then taking lunch to school.

Laura’s actual writing desk and other things she owned.

I believe this is the Braille Bible which was used in the
Little House series on television during the 1970’s and 1980’s.

 Some items actually owned by the Ingalls family are on display and are showcased behind glass for everyone to see. 

In the second large room, the rear attached building, this room was dedicated to items from the Little House on the Prairie t.v. show from the 1970’s starring Michael Landon, Karen Grassle, and Melissa Gilbert as Laura.
Love this 1970’s era US Postal Service advertisement!
Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder are also on display in this room.  Printed in 40 languages I enjoyed looking at all the title covers as trying to decipher each one in their native writing! (See above)

Since this is a living history museum of Minnesota, war memorabilia is also on display in another room or building, I can’t quite remember.
My son Peter and DIL Justine checking out the clothing to try on.
Veterans and their families have donated many of the items on display from WWI and WWII, mainly. Quite a nice display to learn about who served during the wars and in what campaigns they fought.

Quite fascinating to see history come alive!

Beyond the little house are a school building, church and some other living history buildings. A few leftover plants were still in bloom in mid-October. The one is a wild broccoli that came up on its own according to the caretakers inside. 

Local eateries are nearby too for lunch and the depression along Plum Creek still exists to the right of where I was in this photograph.  A short drive and then a short walk will take you to see the site ~ my photo next to the creek is about a 1/4 mile from where the Ingalls sod home was dug into the creek bed.
A little bright color at the bookshop’s entryway ~ seen on our way out.
The Laura Ingalls Wilder museum in Walnut Grove is really a fun place experience to what it must have been like to live like Laura Ingalls herself!

I highly recommend a visit there for yourself and your children and grandchildren ~ the history is fascinating and I loved seeing all the memorabilia and props from the television series.  Really a fun time!

On a side note…

A Little House on the Prairie Birthday Party
I HAVE to share this recent post from my friend Laura Ingalls Gunn of Decor to Adore as her daughter Alyssabeth was just the prairie belle of the ball at a young girl’s birthday party ~ this is a post YOU CANNOT MISS! 

Laura Ingalls Gunn is a direct descendant of Charles Ingalls brother James Lansford Ingalls and has been to several events as a representative of the Ingalls family, and you can find more as she writes about the costumes she creates and events here.

For more information you can follow any of the Laura Ingalls Wilder websites listed here.  I have followed the DeSmet site for years now and each place Laura actually lived has interactive living history museums.

The DeSmet museum hosts a Little House on the Prairie pageant each summer with other activities at several sites around the town of DeSmet, South Dakota. The cost for each activity and to enter the museum is minimal and a great way for children to learn about pioneer times in the area!

Here is a sweet site by Sarah S. Uthoff talking about the Ingalls Family ~ littlehouseontheprairie.com

Laura Ingalls Wilder Museums

Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum, Walnut Grove, Minnesota
330 8th Street, Walnut Grove, MN 56180 — 800.528.7280

Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum, DeSmet, South Dakota ~ tour a living history schoolhouse and tour other buildings brought to the museum site along with the final home on 3rd Street of Caroline and Charles Ingalls. The DeSmet cemetery is only a mile+ away as well as Laura and Almanzo’s first farm site, written about in The First Four Years

*Remember, everything had to be within walking distance though most folks had a horse and wagon ~ something that floored me when I went to DeSmet and saw how close everything was.

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Happy travel trails!

A Victorian Dickens Tea at The Lasker Inn

Every year a tea is hosted by Cheryl Adams Palmer and a few friends at the beautiful, historic antibellum home-turned Lasker Inn just a few blocks from the beach in Galveston, Texas.

Come along with me and share in the day’s repast!

1019 16th Street
Galveston, Texas 77550
reservations ~ 409.497.4318
My friend Laura had sent me an email way early in the year telling me about this tea down on the island of Galveston and would I be interested in going? Well, of course! as I love going to tea and have with all of my friends in California during the almost 20 years I was in the Victorian Tea Society.

Friends Gloria and Sandy and I went to Barbara Ann’s in Ontario, California at her Queen Anne home turned tea parlor and to the Chocolate Angel Tea Room in Richardson, Texas, about an hour away from where we live now.

So driving 6-8 hours down to Galveston would be a fun road trip plus this would be during the Dickens Festival, which I had never been to one before and this one is BIG!  More on that in the next post…

These lovely gentlemen greeted us at the door and Frank, the gentleman on the right, sat at our table this evening.  I believe Frank is Cheryl’s husband as he was telling me how she also makes corsets for women to wear and attends festivals as she is part of a costumer’s guild in the Houston area, which is how she and Laura met.

Oh! Did you know that many men who participate in costume guilds often sew their own clothes?  I want to say that Frank sewed some of his outfit but later he said he was joking.  His wife helped make his costume, and the other gentleman had his tailor-made and custom fit.  Beautiful craftsmanship!  

Often, costumers will use old techniques and that means a lot of hand-sewing.

Cheryl’s bio for the tea talked about how she was first an event planner in the oil industry but began a second career “designing and making historical costumes.”  We are sooo glad she did!  This is their third year hosting the tea.

Ms. Laura in her Marmie Civil War era wool dress.  Perfect in every detail! 
Laura Ingalls Gunn (who writes Decor to Adore) graciously loaned me a small hoop skirt, a lovely Christmasy skirt and a Peter Pan collared blouse to wear, along with a garden bonnet made over
by yours truly…

Here I am ready to go back at the Four Points Sheraton.  My room overlooked
the Galveston seawall and beach. It was heaven in the mornings!
The Grand Victorian Tea Reception began at 3:30pm
with many people just coming straight from the Dickens on the Strand Festival ~ including myself.

These women sewed their own dresses from antique sewing patterns… Absolutely perfect details!
Each of the rooms was decorated with a Christmas tree and the parlor was the first room off to the left here at the Lasker Inn.

In the adjoining tea room guests mingled while one of the hosts sat writing out part of a speech given later in the evening…

Images of weddings held at the inn adorn the central hallway walls and up along the grand staircase ~ ethereal, indeed!

I am sorry that a few of these photos are blurry and appear double imaged. I goofed and changed a setting on the camera and this was what happened… But I did want to show these guests and host as I loved their costumes!

Then we were called in to tea…

Wait staff from the inn brought out tall tea servers with the first course of several types of scones and a selection of teas from which to choose.

As this first course was finished tea sandwiches appeared along with acorn soup in the sweetest two-handled bowls.

Frank told me how the previous year another type of bowl was used and that the owners then went shopping for the correct bowls to serve for this year!  The attention to detail was period perfect for this lovely afternoon tea.  

Here’s a fun little video on how to make some scones or “rocks” as this chef likes to call them.

“Marmie” played mother to the table pouring tea for us and for the family with whom we sat.  Again I am sorry for the blurred photographs. The man on the right is Desi and he was very excited to tell me he was named “like I Love Lucy.”

He also really liked roast beef as that was one of the fillings in one of our sandwiches. Also part of the fare were cucumber sandwiches on rye but these had a bit of heat to them, which was really fun!

Most of the tea sandwiches served were gluten free except for the pumpernickel bread {the very dark sandwich on the bottom tier’s plate}.  I didn’t know that pumpernickel had wheat in it ~ good to know.  

There was a discussion about Celiac disease then and many other topics including talking about different kinds of teas.

I have to say that conversation is one of the things I relish about attending or hosting a tea ~ there are so many things to think about and you always learn something new! 

We all had a lovely time and this was a special treat for everyone but especially for these young men!

We were blessed to sit and take tea with them.

The dessert course was next and everything was created by the owners’ daughter who is a professional baker.  

Here is the wonderful chef who baked all of the truffles and macarons!
She wore a dress decorated with her favorite blooms ~ sunflowers ~ all
hand-made by her mother Cheryl.

She told us later as we sat down to an after-dinner conversation in the main parlor how she made the macarons and that their success is very dependent upon the weather!
These are the two hostesses ~ Cheryl Palmer is on left and Amanda Vermillion of The Tea Mistress, LLC.
Amanda’s talk was about a particular tisane bloom which when brewed is one color but changes color with the addition of another item.  Her talk on this wonderful transformation is appropriately called “Accidental Alchemy” and everyone enjoyed participating and seeing the change!

Everything was so beautifully done!

Frank and Cheryl Palmer
I hope you have enjoyed this visit and tea!
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Happy tea to you,