Once upon a time in a land far away before I ever started blog writing…

…I was a blog reader.

Every morning with my cup of coffee and my imagination I’d sit down at my computer and sigh.

Those blogs inspired me.

They made me think.

They gave me ideas and inspiration and hope and kept me company when my kitchen was nothing but a pipe in the floor.

And my favorite of all those blogs?

The one I checked every day.

The one I read and re-read and pinned and wished was my next door neighbor?

Courtney from French Country Cottage.

And then?

One day I became a blogger and started writing my own story and six months later I went to a blogging conference called Haven.

I attended sessions on how to grow your blog and how to market your blog and drank coffee and laughed and met new friends and sat in the lobby and jumped up and down with excitement when I learned something new and told stories and wore sparkly flip-flops.

The last day of the conference, I was sitting on a bench right outside the exhibit hall when suddenly I saw her.


The blog I read.

The picture taker who I had coffee with every morning.

The person who inspired me to buy a bicycle just so I could put flowers in it and lean it up against a tree.


I didn’t know what to do.

Should I walk up and say hello?

What if she dismissed me?

What if she ignored me?

What if I did it and it was awkward and I felt silly and then I regretted it and I’d have to go home and sell my bicycle?

I gathered up my courage and my determination and walked right up to her and introduced myself.  I told her I adored her blog and her decorating style and her photography and her heart.

But most of all.

I loved her flowers.

She smiled in the middle of my speech and I knew that I knew that I knew….

…I had found a friend.

We’ve laughed about that conversation many times since and now Courtney is one of my closest friends in blogland.  She’s real and authentic and amazing and creative and the editor of an amazing magazine called Romantic Homes.

She makes me laugh.

She makes me smile.

She makes me want to be the very best person I can be.

And the best part?

Those flowers that I loved?

Two weeks ago she sent me some for my home.

She created an entire line of faux flowers and wreaths and garlands for Balsam Hill.  I know, right?  When she called me to tell me I was full of joy for her.  Her own line of flowers and arrangements?  It sounded like an amazing opportunity.  She wanted me to see them first–to see if I liked them–to see what I thought.

And when they arrived and I took them out of the box?  I literally gasped.  They look so real.  There are tons of other arrangements—you can see them on her post here.  This one is called the Loire Valley arrangement.  The hydrangeas and anemonies and juniper berries and eucalyptus look like I just cut them from the garden and placed them in this adorable white metal tin.

I’m so proud of my friend.

I’m so honored to share her creativity and her heart.

I’m so happy my bathroom shines a little brighter because of her.

And I’m so thankful that all those years ago in a land far away….

….I walked up and said hello. 🙂

PS  Next time I ride my bike?  I’m taking the flowers along for the ride.

PPS Here are some other friends sharing their arrangements today.

Stop by and say hello. 🙂

PPS  In the super exciting news department….


I know, right?  I’m so excited for you all to SEE IT!

I’ll be at Kirkland’s in Dallas tonight with the planner (see all the details here) if you are in the area and can stop by for coupons and shopping and discounts and giveaways.

One more day to pre-order and get the video decorating course for FREE.

You can order here—then put your order number in here to get the video course.

If you’ve already ordered and are having trouble accessing the video course—just e-mail me at thistlewoodfarms@yahoo.com



  1. Image for Michele (Finch Rest) Michele (Finch Rest)

    WOW!!!!!! Yes, Courtney had us all, for sure. Then along Karianne with her own magic and awesome sauce. Took two pots of coffee then. : - ) Heading to see the faux - she's the best - yay - love Balsam Hill!

  2. Image for Jolyn Jolyn

    "The one I checked every day. The one I read and re-read and pinned and wished was my next door neighbor?" Well, dear, that would be YOU!

  3. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    Those flowers are incredible! And tell Courtney that she “did good”!! In your best KY voice!) and thank you for sharing your story. I am thankful for another blogger friend who reached out and spoke right into my life. Finalizing my logo as we speak. Thank you, dear friend. YOU have been far more encouragement to all of us than you can begin to imagine. That’s truly your gifting and why we all follow along, drinking coffee, with you, because we truly are best friends. Even for those you have never met face to face.

  4. Image for Diane @ An Extraordinary Day Diane @ An Extraordinary Day

    Oh my goodness... I was fooled... I truly thought in the first photos that you had fresh flowers. I too have loved Courtney's flowers forever... she has been inspiring me as well. And those flowers... I'm just a wee bit jealous of your pretty white powder room. Just a tich! ;) Have a ton of fun tonight. Wish I could be there to meet you KA... let me know if you come to Michigan. ;)

  5. Image for Julie Briones Julie Briones

    Guess what, friend? Two years ago, I decided that I loved this style called "farmhouse"... So I googled it and saw a list of the top 25 farmhouse bloggers. Bloggers? What's that? I clicked on your name (because the pic 'spoke to me'), and now.... Now? YOU are MY Courtney! It will be 6 months from the time I launched until I am at Haven... and I'm looking forward to meeting, f2f, and giving each other hugs around the neck! I'm giggling and tearing up over here! So silly!

  6. Image for Julie Julie

    I just ordered both your books and signed up for the online part of it too, can hardly wait to get the books. You have such wonderful inspiration and personal stories on your blog, it is always a great read!

  7. Image for Fawn Fawn

    You are my Courtney! I wake up, get my coffee and your blog is the first one I check every morning. it was as if you were typing my thoughts for me. I am always inspired...thank you. I always wonder if I could do what you do...so it's amazing to think you were on this side of things at one time.

  8. Image for Sheryl Jeffries Sheryl Jeffries

    What flowers and congrats on the books, I love your blog and I've got some fantastic ideas from it. I can't wait to read your book!

  9. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    I've seen her arrangements and they are beautiful. I am going to choose one to put on display when we 😃try to sell our home. If nothing else those flowers should awe the potential buyers and sell the house. I can't wait to watch your videos!! Big hugs!!

  10. Image for Terri Terri

    WOW... Gorgeous florals!!! How amazing for her ... and for you too .... as the receiver of all that floral beauty !!!! I follow French Country Cottage and so enjoy all her beautiful posts...............

  11. Image for Wen Wen

    Haaaaaadddddd to say they same... Your blog is the one I ALWAYS find time to read, Love & wish you were my sweet neighbor !

  12. Image for Barbara Chapman ~ French Ethereal Barbara Chapman ~ French Ethereal

    Hi KariAnne! Congratulations on the launch of your newest book and congratulations on working with Courtney and Balsam Hill!!! Courtney is a wonderful lady and I so enjoyed getting to spend a day with her last fall getting to see some of the best vendors at High Point Market. I'm sorry I missed getting to see you again Monday; I hope the book launch in Dallas was well attended and that you all had fun. I'm excited for both of you!!! Congratulations again!!! <3

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