I’m not sure when it started, but I love the Fleur de lis Symbol.
In my pre-teen years I (along with millions of others) romanticized Paris and anything else French. I didn’t allow myself very many big dreams in my ‘small town world’ but I did hope to someday go to France (including Paris). I always loved to draw and paint. In fact it’s the only thing I really felt like I might be good at (well except twirling the baton but I was smart enough to know that wouldn’t get me very far in the real world).
<Random thought> my daughter will read this and think (maybe even say to me) ‘why does my mom use soooo many parenthesis??? <end random thought>
So back to my big dreams….I pictured myself traveling, drawing, painting, eating French food, meeting romantic French men…..oh that reminds me, I went so far as to start corresponding with a young man from France – a pen pal through my French class my Freshman year of High School. What was his name? I know I will remember it…..but the most memorable part (other than not being able to read French even though I was in a class to learn how) was that he was very disappointed when I finally sent a photo of myself because he thought since I was from California that I would be blond and he couldn’t believe how far away from the beach I lived!
Trust me, I was disappointed with both of those fact as well. In fact, I had a plan to remedy both of those problems – yes one of my ‘big’ dreams (the other thing my daughter will complain about is my over use of quotes) was to eventually live at the beach in California. Well I’m almost 50 yrs old and it’s not looking like I will make it but I’m not giving up on that one yet.
The other two goals I had I have given up on: Goal #1. going blond – ok, I had enough high-lights a few years ago that I was close and I did consider ‘going all the way’ but I resisted and I’m now proudly going gray.
Goal #2. boob job – that one I think I am adequately over (unless I get breast cancer and I found out there are no risks to removing both breast and replacing them with very large implants, cuz I will do that if I have to have painful surgery anyway, especially if I’m a widow by then – I will need resources for getting a new husband, I’m sorry, that’s just a fact – I can’t financially support myself adequately)
So this ‘Random Thoughts’ post is more random than I planned….back to my love of the Fleur de lis….I really didn’t know what it was called or pay much attention to it until I was in my early thirties. A new friend mentioned that our home was very generic, not much of ‘me’ in the decor. Well of course I became very defensive and explained that we didn’t have enough money and we had recently moved and a few other excuses but he was relentless. No, there was something more there. Some reasons I didn’t take the risk to make our home a reflection of my personality or at least a representation of our family (I was married and had one pre-school age daughter – did I mention she is now an editor for a business journal – hence the prediction of her remarks regarding my spelling, grammar and use of punctuation).
Anyway, I got to thinking…..why have I been so hesitant to decorate our home? I was a full time home-maker and loved most of what that entailed (ok, I admit – I don’t like or do a very good job at the actual cleaning part – but I love to rearrange furniture, cook, grocery shop, decorate <now>, entertain, etc.).
One reason I hadn’t decorated our home (again, I may be overstating it a little – it was just bland – beige, neutrals, mostly hand me downs and a few cheap new additions, no pictures up on the wall – photos or artwork) is because I wasn’t sure what my style was. I knew I didn’t want ultra traditional and I had been leaning toward an early 80’s quasi tropical (we lived in Southern California before we were there living in Texas).
So I started researching my decorating style. I had a new mission. I jest now but it was quite a serious endeavor. I heard my mother’s practical voice in the back of my mind (my own mind was pretty practical too). I had to keep asking myself ‘but what do you like?’ I really wasn’t sure.
One suggestion that caught my attention was to find an object that would be your inspiration for the rooms you were going to decorate. Ironically, I received that object that would inspire my decorating style as a going away gift a few days before we moved back to California. One of my neighbors was with me when I saw it at a Laura Ashley store in the Mall (did I mention it was in the mid 80’s). The item that inspired my entire decorating direction was a blue and white chintz patterned tea pot.
Even though Laura Ashley tea pots were clearly British not French, it took me down a path of really liking a sort of Euro Country Classic style that often had Fleur de lis patters somewhere in the decor. Some parts of my home have a Tuscan feel, especially the wall paint color in the kitchen. The family room has more of an American casual with a few classic touches (the arms of the brown leather sectional have a classic curve to them). But my favorite spot in the house is my sitting room/dining room. The Dining Room table and chairs are definitely Country French and the settee and wing back chairs in my blue and white sitting area would probably be considered Traditional (British).
I’ve tried not to be too cutesy with the Fleur de lis pattern, but there are a few here and there. The recipe card holder, the olive oil decanter I got in Florence (see Wikipedia for more info on that connection), and now my latest happy addition – four glasses one of my dear friends from Texas had delivered to my door yesterday!