french terms of endearment

french terms of endearment
{my little cabbage?}


The french have no shortage of terms of endearment for loved ones. Mon Petit Chou is a popular way of referring to someone as sweetheart or honey. Chou does mean cabbage but it also refers to a cream puff {the french and their double entendres}. So its like when Americans refer to someone as “honey” or “dear”, or when the British call someone “love”.

je t'aime mini hoop
{I love you}

I love you. Hang this one in a spot you know they will see everyday and be reminded of your love.

Other french terms of endearment would be mon amour or m’amour {my love}, cherie {darling}, mon cœur {my heart}, ma belle {my beautiful one}. As you can imagine the french have many words expressing love. Have you ever had anyone refer to you as ma puce {my flea}, ma caille {my quail}, or ma crevette {my shrimp}, mon nounours {teddy bear}? on Etsy
Valentine embroidered mini hoop


Grab one of these embroidered mini hoops for you loved one this Valentine’s Day or for any time of year. Tell them how you feel à la française {in french}.


Valentine's Day mini hoops from the gingham studio-
Valentine’s Day embroidered mini hoops


Looking for something else? Head here for more gifts ideas.






2018 word of the year & a manifesto

I want to spend 2018 feeling good in my own skin.
2018 manifesto

If we were to sit down to coffee, preferably at a café in Paris, and you asked me what I wanted out of 2018, I would tell you that I want to feel like myself. Now, to be honest, I didn’t completely lose myself and 2017 was a good year. I really pushed myself and got out of my comfort zone. Now I want to get back to doing things that bring me pleasure and make me comfortable in my own skin.


The gingham studio show booth designed by Orangebox Celebrations. Holiday on the Hill, December 2017
the gingham studio show booth at Holiday on the Hill


After months of sewing, preparing and collaborating with Orangebox Celebrations {thanks, mom!}, I participated in 2 holiday shows. Being the introvert that I am, and having spent every waking moment consumed with these events, I was spent. I did learn so much about myself and my business and what I want in the future. The holidays came and I just wanted to hibernate. Since then I’ve been spending a lot of time resting, thinking, reading, dreaming, planning, being a mom, wife and creating space to breathe again.


grey gingham bags from the gingham studio -
grey gingham bags with “bien dans sa peau” green embroidery


When I started thinking about what I wanted for 2018, all I could think about was finding the freedom to feel like me and have the confidence of having my insides and outsides match. The French call this bien dans sa peau, being comfortable in one’s own skin. Mireille Guiliano, author of French Women Don’t Get Fat, explains it this way,“For all her attention to what she wears and what she eats, a French woman is most defined by ease in being herself and the attractiveness of taking her pleasures”.


my art journal, 2018 bien dans sa peau manifesto
make art for fun


2018 bien dans sa peau manifesto


create margin daily, monthly, yearly

create margin in my business to allow for growth and creativity

grow my business slowly and consistently

practice art making for future goals

make art for fun

automate daily tasks and shop online to decrease decision fatigue

batch tasks to be more effective, single tasking

faites simple {keep it simple}, always

nurture relationships with family and friends, have fun and laugh

connect with other makers in real life and online

encourage creativity in others and myself

observe joie de vivre {joy of everyday life}

listen to my body: what food, movement, rest does it need?

dress my body in clothes that I love and fit my body, personality, and lifestyle

drink more water and herbal tea

let go of extreme expectations, comparison and negative talk

spend time alone when I need it

stay hopeful in my faith: prayer, read scripture, journal

say no, and give myself space to make decisions

be mindful of what and how much I read and watch

only make goals for 3 months at a time, pay attention to the seasons


This may look like a long list, but these things are always on my mind so just writing them down helps me to feel more focused. Bien dans sa peau is about how I care for, nourish and clothe my body, mind and soul. Its about continuing that Paris state of mind, and joie de vivre {joy of everyday life}. Sarah Mae shared what her mother said about the French in her book Longing for Paris, “…the people seem so free, unencumbered by what others thought. They just lived and enjoyed life and food and conversation.” 

Do you have a word for 2018? Goals? Have you ever written a manifesto? I would love to hear what you are planning for the new year. Leave me a comment below.

à bientôt,



{If you want to read more on this topic, I shared some books that are a must for any francophile in this blog post.}







francophiles and bibliophiles

francophiles and bibliophiles, letters from the studio,
francophile {lover of all things french}
bibliophile {lover of all things bookish}

Hello September! I am ready for some cooler weather, leaves falling, and all things pumpkin. Autumn truly is my favorite season. School is back in, work has begun, and we are returning to normal life {la rentrée}. I have been working on some fun things in the studio. New products and personalization will be added to the shop, throughout the month.

library tote bag can be personalized available on Etsy
what would your bag say?

I grew up in a house of bibliophiles {everyone loves to read and collect books}. My parent’s home is lined with bookshelves full of books. Books have had a major impact in my life, beginning with illustrated story books and the Little Golden Books to Little House on the Prairie, Nancy Drew, and The Babysitters Club books. I still recall stories, books and plays that I read in high school and college. When I had children the one thing that we did everyday {usually multiple times a day} was read. Even when they were babies, I made it part of our daily routine to read before naps and bedtime. Now that my kids are older, they are avid readers and visiting our local library is essential.

francophile {à la bibliothèque} library bag
à la bibliothèque {to the library}

These bags are so simple yet can be used for a multitude of things. I love that I have a bag for library books that can be thrown in the car in case I need something to read. The bags featured here can be used to hold many other things as well {art supplies, small toys for littles, snacks for a walk, or even a small laptop for working at the coffee shop}. Some fabrics are new and some are vintage. They can be personalized to reflect you and your interests, a 1 to 3 letter monogram or a french phrase. Details can be found in the gingham studio shop.

les livres {books} tote bag available on Etsy
francophile book bag

I like to read actual books, I have several books on my kindle app but I find it hard to read because it gives me the feeling that I am always on a device, although it is still reading. When I open up the pages of a {hold in your hand} book, it causes my brain to work differently than if I were looking at a screen. Library books are free, returnable, and you have a deadline to finish them. But there are some books that are worth buying so you can read and reread them. I’ve shared some of my favorite francophile books below.

***Ginny is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Longing For Paris

by Sarah Mae

This book is for anyone who has a dream and it isn’t represented by your reality. I wish I had this book years ago when I was happy with my life but longed to be in Paris. I will share that story another time. This book is a Christian book, and it is a good reminder of where our dreams come from.

Lessons from Madame Chic

by Jennifer L. Scott

The author gives a detailed portrayal of living with a Parisian family while studying in Paris. This is a great book for francophiles or people who want to learn the ins and outs of how the french live daily. Its a fun but practical book. If you enjoy it then I would suggest reading the two additional books by the same author, At Home with Madame Chic and Polish your Poise with Madame Chic.

The Paris Key

by Juliet Blackwell

This novel situated in Paris during modern times. Its got a little mystery and a little love story, but lots of french {Paris} culture. This is a fun and engaging book. The author wrote another book Letters from Paris, but I haven’t had the chance to read it yet.

French Women Don’t Get Fat

by Mireille Guillano

I read this one a few years ago, as well as the second book, French Women for all Seasons. I loved them both. If you consider yourself a francophile and you haven’t read these, I would highly recommend them both. She has a few more that I haven’t read yet, but they look interesting. I still refer to this book as I aim for creating the life I want to live.

Come to the shop to see the new products. I will be adding new items every week in September. If you are a francophile or bibliophile I would love to hear about your stories and what you love the most! Leave me a comment.


see you in September {à la rentrée}

remembering the summer as we re-enter normal
Isle of Palms, SC

The french idiom à la rentrée, means “see you in September”. After spending 5 to 6 weeks en vacances, the french return to their normal lives to reopen restaurants, shops, and go back to work and school. It literally means “at the return” of normal life, the start of the fall season. September signifies the start of a new year.

cousin camp 2016
summer wanderings

With everyone back in school, including my husband who is going on 21 years of teaching, we are back to normal life, but it takes me a while to get into a rhythm. August is when I slowly process the events of summer, help the kids get adjusted to school, and make plans for the shop. September is a fresh start.

cousin camp 2016
cousin camp 2016

I like to look back at the season and see the series of events that will become our memories. Cousin Camp, time with extended family, visiting friends out of town, working together as a family selling fireworks {my husband runs a fireworks tent for 2 weeks in the summer}, swimming, farmers markets, beautiful scenery, summer camps, kids riding bikes, early morning running, lots of food, library visits, movie matinees.

Amish Market
Amish Market scenery, East Tennessee

Our biggest trip this year was to Charleston, SC. I grew up about 1 1/2 hours from there many years ago, so I loved getting to see the big mossy oak trees and smell the salty ocean air. Charleston is such a beautiful, fun place, with a rich history. It is great for families or for couples. My husband and I visited a few years ago but it was our kids first time. We visited the USS Yorktown, Fort Sumter, the downtown market, the Charleston Tea Plantation, and Isle of Palms beach.

Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, Charleston,
Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge {Charleston, SC}
Isle of Palms, SC-
Isle of Palms, SC
Fort Sumter, SC
Fort Sumter
Charleston Tea Plantation, SC
Charleston Tea Plantation
USS Yorktown, SC
USS Yorktown
family vacation Charleston, SC
my little family

À la rentrée!

See you in September!

les vacances

the gingham studio
cooling off on a hot summer day

The french, and europeans, in general, usually spend around a month en vacances {on vacation}. They take this particular time of year very seriously. It is important for them to step away from the busyness of their lives and renew their minds, bodies, and spirits, all while spending time and making memories with their families.

summer quote by John Lubbock, "rest is not idleness..." the gingham studio
“rest is not idleness…”

 I have been working diligently to start my blog and open the Etsy shop. I knew that I wanted to enjoy the summer with my kids out of school. We only have 2 short months to spend having a break from structure and schedules. I am usually pretty laid back and you don’t have to convince me to take a nap. But it seemed as though my body and mind where still at full speed. I got caught up in the hustle of work and thought that I could continue that pace even while traveling. I quickly realized that I needed a break from my constant striving when I joined my family for our annual week of cousin camp.

ending the evening with s'mores at cousin camp--the gingham studio
ending the evening with s’mores at cousin camp

My mom started cousin camp several years ago, for her 8 grandchildren. She curates a theme, usually something creative, challenging, interesting and fun. They make memories while learning about art, family trees, working as a team, making movies, personalities, strengths, and each other. It’s a week full of learning, staying up late, swimming, watching movies, playing games, field trips and lots of ice cream. As kids we had fun summers as a family but didn’t have cousins our age to spend time with every year. I’m so thankful for this time with my family, especially my sisters, who I don’t get to spend much time with because we all have families of our own and full schedules.

ice cream for dinner with the top down at cousin camp-- the gingham studio
ice cream for dinner with the top down

In a couple of months we will be back in school with regular schedules and earlier bedtimes, and I will have plenty of time to devote to the work that I am thoroughly enjoying. But right now, this is the only time I have this summer with my family at these ages, and I don’t want to miss it. I am following the rhythms of the seasons and I’m enjoying the slower pace of life. If we are mindful of the way we live, we give honor to our creator for He is the one who gave us these moments to take full advantage of.

“So be careful how you live. Don’t live like ignorant

people, but like wise people. Make good use of every

opportunity you have.”

Ephesians 5:15-16 {GNT}

Embrace “les vacances”. Renew your mind, laugh with your spouse, get outside, play with your kids, revive your spirit, and rest.

À bientôt,


tuesday {joie de vivre}

tuesday joie do vivre -the gingham studio
enjoying everyday life

Joie de vivre {joy of living}

Every week it comes. I don’t dread Mondays until I’m in the midst of the stress, exasperated. Expectations, to do lists, housework, parenting. I end the day worn out. Yesterday was one of those days. I worked with no breaks, I ate chocolate cake for dinner, I didn’t put my computer away until way past my bedtime. I woke up with a terrible headache and a sore back. Why do I do this to myself? Please tell me I’m not the only one. This morning I took some time to stretch, fixed myself some eggs and tried to process why I let pressure to perform get the best of me. Tuesday gives me a fresh perspective. I accept my humanness and decide that it isn’t worth all the striving. Tuesday I aim to enjoy my life. Whether I have laundry, grocery shopping, or many errands to run, I am going to find pleasure in the ordinary.

tuesday-the gingham studio
Tuesday holds the everyday

Tuesday was the day I took my kids to the library when they were little. It was a ritual that we looked forward to every week. We would check out stacks of books, videos, make crafts and color pages. Now years later they still enjoy going to the library. My son gathers as any books as his bag can hold. And while we no longer go for the snacks and crafts it still is an enjoyable experience for all of us.

“Take care of yourself, have a good time, and make the most of whatever job you have for as long as God gives you life. That is the human lot. Yes, we should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what’s given and delighting in the work. It’s God’s gift! God deals out the joy in the present, the now.”

-Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 {Msg}

I need this reminder to take care of myself and make the most of the gift of life that I am given. It truly is a gift. It reminds me of other fun Tuesday activities. A trip to the museum, strolling in the quiet, contemplating the thoughts of the artists as they painted. So much history and personality wrapped up in one painting or sketch. What about my own art?  I remember that I should take my own sketchbook and art supplies with me when I leave the house. I need to make time to spend a few minutes sketching, going to the park or downtown to capture what is around me on paper.

joie de vivre-the gingham studio
Tuesday café visit

I dream of being in a Paris café watching the people passing on the streets. I live far from Paris and am currently in the suburbs of middle Tennessee. I love where I live and want to be present in my own surroundings. On a warm sunny Tuesday last week I found myself at a local coffee shop and enjoyed a special café au lait while I sketched a new cityscape. What brings you joy? When was the last time you visited a museum or went to the park to sketch? If you only have a few minutes then just close your eyes and breathe, do yoga for ten minutes, draw a picture of where you wish you were, or say a little prayer of thanks.

the tuesday {mardi} bag-the gingham studio
the tuesday {mardi} bag is perfect for trips the library

Joy comes from our ability to appreciate the ordinary moments of life. Joie de vivre is a Paris state of mind. How can you stop striving and find joy?


*the tuesday {mardi} bag is coming soon to the gingham studio etsy shop

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