June ~ My Mom’s Birthday Month

Thinking of Mom  this week as the 13th of June would have been her 81st birthday ~ hard to believe! Born in 1938 she was the epitome of style to me when I was growing up. Here she is in her late 40’s or early 50’s.  

In photographs from when she was in high school during the 1950’s, “Ginny” always looked so fashionable! Often wearing lovely poodle skirts, Peter Pan collars and soft angora sweaters and saddle shoes so in style in the post-war era of the 1950’s…

My mom and dad ~ he was 28 and she a young 21.

I know I have shared this photograph with you before of my parents from 1959, but it is worth sharing again. My mother, Virginia Mary Blades, looked so beautiful wearing her older sister Eleanor’s wedding dress here.

Something borrowed, something blue…

Later on Mom looked like a fashion plate as her style mirrored that of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis who was then First Lady in the White House when I was born.

Somewhere there is a photo of my mother and myself where Mom is wearing her cat-eye glasses and a sleeveless summer blouse. She is holding me in her arms resting against her knees… Maybe playing “Trot trot to Boston…”

The backyard was probably at their first house in Centerville, Ohio (Dayton area). If I find it later, I will place it here.
🙂

Part of my mother’s collection: lavender jade with diamonds on either side in white gold, the wedding ring my father gave her in 1959, and smoky topaz from Taiwan when Dad brought home several “parure” (sets of jewelry including four pieces or more).

Mom’s jewelry…
These next few photographs I took a year ago but never shared… Partly for insurance documenting, partly because my father bought beautiful pieces for my mother and carried them back from several TDY trips as a JAG for the US Air Force, I wanted to share some of Mom’s lovely jewelry.

Here is the parure I inherited as I always loved Mom’s lavender jade bracelet, ring and necklace. I didn’t share the earrings. The 14k gold bracelet looks like little twigs stacked up when you see it up close.

When my mother passed, after her funeral my sister-in-law Linnea brought out all of Mom’s jewelry that Mom had given her as payment for redoing a bathroom which had a leaky roof and need ed the tile flooring redone.

My brother Gene and Linnea felt that we should all share it, so pieces went to both of our daughters (Mom’s granddaughters) and some to us daughters. My father had brought me the gold bracelet earlier when he was out on a business trip after retiring from the Air Force.  It is beautiful and heavy weighing in at 3 oz. gold.

Our Amy, whose 27th birthday was two days ago. She was my mom’s birthday present in 1992. 😉 This photograph was taken at the Carlsbad Caverns, NM, 2016.
Dad’s love language was gifting sparkly presents to my mother and Mom loved the beauties he would buy for her! She wore them to parties they attended the whole time we lived in Hawaii. Later she wore them to other parties in California and to the theater where Dad performed (his hobby).  
Once I borrowed the lavender jade ring and wore it one day to high school as I loved it and it called to me ~ then I was so terrified I would lose it, I put it inside my wallet in my locked locker in my backpack and rushed it home after school to get it safely back in her jewelry box before she got home from her teaching position in Sacramento.

I never did that again, let me tell you!

🙂


A photo of my mother during her high school days ~ posted by
one of our relatives through Ancestry.com. She is 2nd row, plaid
skirt.
Mom looked like a fashion plate when I was young as her style mirrored that of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis who was then First Lady in the White House. It was the era of Camelot, after all…

My brother Frank out in the front garden ~ he lived in the house until it was sold
in 2010.

This was my parents’ last home ~ Situated on 12 acres with a 1/2 acre pond in Southbury, Connecticut, it was a lovely place!

My parents enjoyed watching the local wildlife from their kitchen table. Small herds of deer, wild turkeys eating bugs out in the meadow that my father then later my brother Frank would keep mowed. They spent $150 a month on just birdseed, my father mentioned one time, keeping the seeds in large metal trashcans in their garage.

Now black bear occasionally come through the area as my youngest brother and his wife share photos from their property just next door.

My mother Ginny, circa 1971-1974.
Recently I shared this photograph of my mother for a Mother’s Day post.  She must have been about 35 years old in this photo taken when she was beginning her teaching career at the Hawaii School for the Deaf and Blind, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Last year I featured my mother-in-love Mary Virginia Fudge and my grown children who came down the week before for a visit



Hope you’ve enjoyed this little break away from decor and gardens to meet more of my family!




Happy birthday, Mom  \|”/

French Ethereal’s Birthday Anniversaire #4!

Looking back  this month I realized that this little
blog of mine is now four years old!
Still a baby by many standards but at the suggestion of my son, who knew I was enjoying other designers’ blogs at the time, this little blog was born…


A quiet party ~ celebrating four years of friendship!
I think  my favorite part about writing for you all is getting to share thoughts back and forth ~ our modern day
“pen pal letter writing”
if you will…
Actually, I know it is.
😉

So for  this year’s fourth anniversary I thought we’d take a look
back at where we’ve been and a few of the changes
along the way…


Summer splendor in the garden at our Big House in Murrieta, California.  Also an introduction to our Garden Maiden!


My very first post I shared this photograph with you
and shared a little about myself and the things
I like to do ~ a lot of sewing and gardening.
🙂

That year I bought a camera for my husband as an Easter present
and for Father’s Day coming up so he could take photographs of our son and his other pole vaulters at track meets… but soon that camera was taken back as I began taking photographs
around the house.
{He teasingly reminds me of this once in a while}

I had been taking photos with many instamatic film cameras
over the years but shifting to a digital camera was a totally
new experience
for me!

That was then ~ just after I had mostly finished the slipcovers for our sofas.

This is now ~ rather last summer’s slipcover project plus stenciling.

I had resisted buying one for quite a while but always knew in the bottom of my heart that I wanted to shoot good quality photographs like my father took when I was young and brother took
in his part-time photography business.




We hadn’t been able to afford a good camera until this particular
year and it really bothered me that I hadn’t captured my
children growing up with a camera that could really
show who they were.




I grew up with my father performing in many theatrical
Gilbert and Sullivan shows, operas and the like, and one thing
I’ve realized over the years is that photography for me is an
extension of the theater…
I get to create a performance for you with every photo
I share ~ a little of my heart as it were.


As a  lifestyle blogger it is fun for me to share recipes with you from time to time though really I’m not much of a cook.
My mother loved to bake and I think I inherited that love
from her ~ so you’ll mostly get tea parties over here and a
few dinner recipes once in a blue moon.

I’ve looked at my style and I don’t think it has changed all
that much as I still love the Shabby Chic look and all whites.
Without a bigger “house” I can’t really share more furniture photographs with you until we find that next one.
We are looking and will begin the process of qualifying for a
home later this fall.
 A few too many little emergencies this year have prevented us from buying this summer but it’s all good.
We are paying cash for everything these days and often
I think our resolve to pay cash is being tested.
Part of God’s plan, I’m sure.
😉


Six French style cane back chairs finally got a little “redo” with white paint to match these two.
All received new seat covers.
But you know me  ~ gardens are decorating the home
 and roses are my loves!


A rare rainy day in the summer of 2015 in Southern California.  🙂
And the Garden Girls have been here since day one.

And too Mr. Yoda ~ here reclining in his dog bed.



So thank you  for coming along on this journey here at
French Ethereal and I hope to share many more lovely stories
dreams and bits of theater with you in faded beautiful
photographic dreams…

Sharing with
Keep in Touch ~ Let’s Add Sprinkles
Feathered Nest Friday
Thursday Favorite Things
Sweet Inspiration
Friday at the Fire Station ~ A Fireman’s Wife
Inspire Me Monday ~ Create with Joy


Jusqu’à ce qu’on se revoie,

Merry Merry Month of June…

June is  typically a lovely month with it being the birthday month of my mother Ginny, my daughter Amy and my
mother’s mother ~ Grammy Helen.
And those days were filled with happiness and good
memories for me this year…



Here is  a lovely self-portrait my daughter Amy
created when she was still in high school, I believe.
It is a favorite and I’m so glad we photographed it!!!

Doesn’t it look just like her?



This month or the end of last month also saw the graduation
of my sister-in-law Jodi receiving her
Master’s in Special Education.
Woo hoo Jodi!!!
🙂


Pete and Gini Chapman, Jodi Chapman and Corey R. Chapman at their twin graduation ceremony.
Photo taken by a friend with my mother-in-law’s early digital camera.
My nephew and Jodi’s son Corey received his
Bachelor of Arts degree in Languages I believe.
Corey is interested in theology and will work
on a Master’s in that field.


For them all I am very happy!
For the rest of June ~ I’d be
happy to forget it.

We have been battling bugs of various kinds but
it’s mostly come down to mites of which apparently
I am most reactive…

After three trips to the local regional med center and
a most recent trip to my dermatologist for an annual
skin check {which was timely} I am on some
internal medicine to control the itching and creams
to use to eradicate these mites.


I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy!



Anyway  the fifth-wheel is sparkling clean and getting
cleaner each day as I get into each cabinet wiping doors
hardware and insides and washing in the washer
anything that is cloth and boxing up said items
to make it easier to deal with this super bug.

Laundry is being rewashed and dried on hot to kill any
lingering beasts and I’ve enjoyed a few days of respite
at the local Fairfield Inn in Denton.
{Thank heaven for hotel points!}


Even the French toile tablecloth has to go over to storage
at least for a while…
😦



So that’s why it has been a quiet month with
just a few posts…


our old front doors… 🙂





Here’s to a great July!

French Ethereal Memories ~ Happy 3rd Birthday to Us!

Google reminded me this week that 
little old
French Ethereal
is celebrating a 3rd birthday today ~ July 11th!!!


The beginnings of a sofa slipcover made out of giant painter’s dropcloths.


Three years ago today my son Peter sat down with me
and helped me begin a blog ~ just a little place where
I could share some sewing tips, share tea parties
and my garden.
I had no idea how to write a blog though
I loved reading several others online
that I’d stumbled upon
quite by accident, really.
Some blogs I’d found because they were
mentioned in decorating magazines, like
French Country Cottage and ShabbyFufu.
Two favorites, Schwannennest and 
My Shabby Streamside Studio are 
no longer written.


A beautiful tablecloth found over in England but probably Irish-made.


Schwannennest {“Swan’s Nest” in German} was a lovely
blog with an all-white Nordic look
set in Bavaria, I believe.
I would stay up late at night reading on my iPad
and dream of an all-white home and 
how ethereal it was!
The author had hung four large doors with
windows as a big screen separating her
living room from her dining/kitchen area
and I always found that really unique.

Our mantel at the Big House decorated for summer… still a favorite way to decorate!


My Shabby Streamside Studio was a blog
also mostly done in whites with pops of
pink on dishes and fabrics.
It became a huge sensation and was written up
in home magazines and even was
featured on television.
Sandy, whose lovely hunting-cabin-turned-cottage
had such an ethereal quality to it
that I just wanted to go up into her
reading loft and while away
an afternoon!
You can still find Sandy’s postings
online.
They are worth the time to go back and read.
Just lovely!
Really, these were where I got
my inspiration…

Another one of my Girls draped with the usual array of necklaces plus a
photo of my children when they were small. 
I realized then just how much I really liked 
decorating in whites
and even though my home had lots of color
on our walls
we also had some walls and lots of furniture
painted or purchased which were
painted white.
My daughter’s bedroom had all-white furniture
in it which I totally loved.
For Amy, though, she grew to 
love stained wood.
{Though funny enough, she has a white car now! The pendulum
swings back…}
😉


That first blog was hosted over on Weebly.
Soon after, I found out that a lot of bloggers
were on another site called Blogger.
So, for the rest of that first year,
I double-blogged.
I’d write in Weebly and copy/paste
over here to Blogger.
It was crazy!
😉



That first year I worked on writing whatever
popped into my head, but I did share
lots of tea-related posts since I had hosted
many a tea for about 15 years leading up to then.
I also wrote up lengthy, very detailed posts about 
making those sofa slipcovers in the photo
up at this post’s beginning!
You can find those here:
Post #1
Post #2
Post #3
Post #4
😀


We had a lot of dry rot, so replacing posts and cross beams was a necessity.  Afterall, we planned on living here
a lot long, though that wasn’t meant to be. 😦


The First Anniversary 
came and went and I don’t remember 
why I didn’t mention it
but I didn’t.
Oh!  I know why ~ I was too busy building
and painting the patio cover out back!

My son and a friend Jim rebuilt the patio cover
then I decided I wanted to totally cover the patio
to provide more shade.
It turned out well, but then a month
after it was finished…

My husband lost his job.

There wasn’t much to celebrate after that, 
let me tell you…



The accent wall in our living/dining room painted a lovely blue-green {color-matched from a pair of pants}.
But we muddled on through that first year
he wasn’t working.
And I kept blogging.
It was a good way to step away from
our troubles
and
focus on something ethereal and happy.

God was working through all this planning 
what was to come, though I didn’t see it
at the time.

A fall tablesetting ~ one of my favorites!
Christmas was tough that year and I think
we gave the kids one or two small presents
and Peter stayed in South Dakota
at school.
He went home with his girlfriend, Justine, to her
family’s home over Christmas
since we couldn’t afford to bring him home.


That year I made mini Christmas trees to give to the
ladies I worked with at school
and to friends.
I sent a couple to Peter and Justine.
It killed me not to bring our son home for Christmas
and it was his first Christmas away from home.

We all soldiered on.

Our warm barn red front doors decorated with twin wreaths festooned with new ribbons!  Before, the ribbons
were a 1990’s pink rose pattern.
On Valentine’s Day, I drove down to a book signing at Vignettes in San Diego and met author Fifi O’Neill. 
The Second Anniversary
saw us preparing to move out of our beloved house
and move into a 27′ travel trailer
with no slides, no extra room.

July came and went as we were busy showing
the house and trying to finish up packing
enough belongings from
28 years of marriage,
a four bedroom plus den 
and
complete with three car garage.
We were beyond busy!

A Valentine’s mantel ~ another favorite!
Moving to our Tiny Home
was a new challenge but we loved it for
the new life it provided
and we got our own private lake
after the summer and fall campers left
on Sunday afternoons!

The roses bloomed beautifully that last spring on Spinning Wheel!
Yoda loved going for two-mile walks each weekend.
The bird calls were peaceful ~ something we really needed.
Lake Skinner was the best thing that could
have happened to us during that awful time
Charles was out of work for two years.

We had a home with new scenery.
The lake was serene and when the campers
were gone from Sunday through Thursdays
that fall into spring
it was the best place we could have been
to console us.
It reminded me of my parents’ last home.
Lots of tears were shed but God
wasn’t done.
He knew we needed a break-away
from Murrieta
but a slow breaking away…

Our Coleman travel trailer over at Campground C, site 372 with a view of the moon rising over the mountains every night…
My birthday going into January 2016 and the new year.
I didn’t write for several months; I just couldn’t.
My heart was broken.
But, I realized pretty quickly that I had
a new opportunity to pull up my bootstraps
and get on with life
and that I still loved decorating
and sewing
and making crafts.
So, I did.

Second Impressions Antique Mall
Visiting Magnolia Market at the Silos
A Bridal Shower Tea
Then last summer, there was a wedding…
Peter and Justine with our daughter Amy on the far left in lavender.
And we were doing alright!
🙂
Hubby was still coaching and the school district
gave him an emergency credential to teach.
He made as much as I did, which was HUGE.
And, we had a lot less stress without the house
payment and all the utility bills.
And it was good.

Another photo from Magnolia Market at the Silos.

Fall came around again and it looked like 
we were going to be spending a second year
at The Lake.
We were looking forward to it
actually.
But God had other plans.

A whirlwind of internet phone interviews
and Hubby now had work in his usual line
of employment ~ and we were moving!
Out of state!
To Texas!
Longhorns, prairies, horses, wildflowers
and here we are.
🙂

Celebrating the end of Year Three
My life has kinda followed those scenes in
the movie Forrest Gump ~ where the feather
kinda floats through life.
Do you know it?
Exactly!  My life has been a lot like that.
Who knows what this fourth year will bring
but I know where I will be.
Right here, bringing you my best photographs,
and gardens, and some tea parties
and places to visit.

Blessings to you, always,
Sharing with
Welcome Home Wednesdays ~ Five Kids a Dog and a Blog
Create Link Inspire ~ Life Sew Savory
Feathered Nest Friday ~ French Country Cottage
Vintage Charm ~ Blue Willow House
Share Your Style ~ The Red Painted Cottage
Friday at the Firestation ~ A Fireman’s Wife
Wow Us Wednesday ~ Savvy Southern Style
Gathering Place #8 ~ Gratefully Vintage

Snow Day ~ An Early Happy Birthday Present!

Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!
Okay, maybe it was just a dusting of 
sugar sprinkled snow
but it was 
the 
best day before my birthday
birthday present!
🙂


Clear and cold and waiting for cozy blanket 
of warmth 
with big tanks of propane arriving,
I stepped outside to find tiny flakes of snow 
drifting gently down and soon 
beginning to stick!

With a whole shopping list of errands to run
and some of those goodies needed for
the day’s shoot
I had to go and it was fun driving
around the area
watching the snow dust snaking
across the freeway lanes.

After finding all the things on my list at Winco
and a lovely lunch with a welcoming 
hot cup of tea at Starbucks,
it was nice to come home and go for a
walk out in the newfallen snow!

Yoda has never seen snow nor walked in it.
You can see his reaction here!
{I think he is a little indignant about it all!}
Yoda did warm up to the idea once we
strode out
embracing the crunch
as he raced along his long lead
then racing to catch up to Mom
who was race walking
to keep warm!
😉

I knew this might be a long post
as I only took 147 photographs
that made it into my folder…

{Perhaps a cup of coffee or tea
or a mug of hot cocoa
might be just the ticket as you 
enjoy these pictures!}


Our driveways and the roads in front of them
are hard packed crushed limestone ~
really pretty sugar~kissed with 
their dusting of snow!

“The Girls” were visited by many 
feathered friends!
In one photograph, I counted no less than
46 fluffed up feathered birds!!!
I even tossed out seeds twice today ~
black oiled sunflowers in their shells
and
the standard bird feeder seed
which everybody was gobbling up
just as fast they could.

I enjoyed watching them scratch through the snow dust
to reach the seeds!

The program isn’t letting me post up any more
photographs for you
so I guess I’ll end this here for today!
😦

Tomorrow I’ll share some of the
table styling photos I took as
kind of my little birthday party
and tie it together with a 
Sunday Sentiments
that I haven’t had 
in a while.

Hope you are snug and warm
in your happy home!
Enjoy the rest of your cuppa.
Blessings to you,
Barb 🙂


Sharing with
Wonderful Wednesday ~ Oh My Heartsie Girl
Friday Favorites ~ Creatively Homemade

Writings from the Heart and a Simple Tablesetting

Writing from the heart
has always been for me
the only way I know




One year ago, just as this blog reached its 
first birthday
we had to leave our beloved family home
our 
Big House.
I kept thinking
How do I keep going with this blog?
I have no home…


But, God is gracious
and with time and 
some 
personal 
determination
French Ethereal
kept going
though it wasn’t always easy to write
when really I just wanted to curl up and hide.
Now, the issue is less with missing my home
as we are creating a new one here,
🙂
but more of the internet service working
only when there is a
direct-line-of-sight.
😦




Losing that home
with the backyard garden we had created ourselves,
the Norfolk pine we nurtured after having it moved 
from one side of the yard to the other
when the pool was put in,
and all the many memories we shared with
our children, family and friends
was crushing to me.


However, like many 
other things
that have happened over the years
perhaps God had us go through this
because He has a better plan ~ 
to get us to a better place. 




I sense that things are beginning
to change and hopefully, 
God willing, 
for the good.
I promise to tell you more
as things come about.
🙂


Our Garden Angel sporting a touch of pink pepper berries.

Let’s celebrate now these final summer evenings
as we head away from the Labor Day weekend
with warm breezes blowing softly
as evening comes on and the day’s light 
turns cooler
as we move into fall.

Last weekend as I was 
getting ready to sew
up the pale aquamarine 
toile de jouy fabric
into a new 
dog bed cover
{click on the words above to read more}
the fabric just cried out to become a 
tablecloth for the day 
saying
Let’s have a party!

August is my hubby’s
birthday month ~ and
this decadently chocolate cake 
was perfect!
A few strawberries upped the 
deliciousness~factor
and added 
a vermillion pop of color
to the festivities.

Lavender and white 
bachelor’s buttons
along with soft green ferns
rounded-out the party atmosphere
in their prairie~style vase.
Perfect for a summer birthday bash!
So, reflecting back over 
this second year ~
life may have handed us a curve ball
but we are making it work in our
Tiny Home
with four metal walls and a roof!
😉
As always feel free to share this posting
with your friends and I’d love it if you’d become a 
French Ethereal Friend
and follow along. 
Drop a line and let me know what you like,
the crafts and things you are working on.
More crafty ideas are coming up as we move into fall
and head into the Holiday Season.

Sharing with ~
WOW Us Wednesdays ~ Savvy Southern Style
Create Link Inspire
Feathered Nest Friday ~ French Country Cottage

Blessings to you,

Birthday Tea, a Backstamp, and Mom

Inspiration ~ Sometimes it’s something little…
Today it was something big ~
my mother-in-love 
baking me a 
coconut pecan chocolate birthday cake!
(just a Betty Crocker cake today!)
It’s the little things that mean the most to me these days
honestly!
and a really gooey, light and chocolatey cake
is just about the 
best. thing. ever.
and…
It inspired me to look around the house
to create a little tea party!



That’s when I remembered
all the lovely antique china pieces
 in 
Gramma Gini’s gun-cabinet-cum-china-hutch!
{the hutch was her father’s cabinet and she inherited it.}

This tea set 
is 
Crown Ivory


The saucers show a blue back stamp, the teacups are completely blank,
the dinner plates also have blue back stamps.
{sorry the picture is sideways}

This set belonged to Gini’s
grandmother and grandfather 
on her father’s side.


There is no teapot, sadly.
Perhaps it was broken long ago
however,
the creamer and sugar bowl are here
and
feature in today’s tea party story!
😉

Also in the set are 8″ dinner plates, small bread plates,
small fruit bowls and a large bowl.
Really, really cute!

Emma Louisa (Hine) and Hearly Everett Fudge
and their son Raymond Fudge, aged 5
Mr. Fudge was a conductor on the trolley line in Joplin, Missouri during those years
 photo circa 1914

Of course then I began looking up the name of the company…
Do you ever do that??
Then three hours goes by…
😉

I’ll keep looking for this company Crown but my guess
from the backstamp is that Crown is an American company
and this particular china pattern
was fired in the 1930’s.

This is my husband Charles down in the corner, circa 1975, and his sister Jodi on the right.
Rear ~ Raymond Alvie/Alva Fudge, {Mami} Kate Daffin (Duke) Fudge, Mary Virginia “Gini” (Fudge) Chapman,
Charles Robert “Pete” Chapman, Sr.
Gramma says that the two dresses she made for Jodi and herself to wear to this
Odd Fellows instillation dinner hung in the Sacramento County Library for a short time representing
the Colonial period and the American Bicentennial. 

Love this photo! My mother-in-law today.
She is a joy and beautiful in spirit and body
to me and to my hubby Charles.
🙂
*Will be sharing with:
Feathered Nest Friday ~ French Country Cottage
and others 🙂
***Thank you for joining here on Blogger; I’m happy to have your friendship!***

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed this family tour
and tea party!

Blessings to you,