Repost: The Mystery of the Hinges of Notre Dame

I was horrified to learn of the recent fire in Notre Dame Cathedral.

Service at Notre Dame Cathedral honoring the Crown of Thorns.

In 2011 Charlie and I visited Paris and the Cathedral for the monthly Veneration of the Crown of Thorns which was rescued by a brave priest during the fire.

Notre Dame Cathedral viewed from the left bank.

In honor of the people of Paris I am reposting below my article on the hinges of the doors of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris.


The Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris has many unique and exquisite attributes.

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Even before entering the great stone edifice the doors grab attention.  Not the doors so much as the hinges.

The large wooden doors of Notre Dame swing on fabulous hinges.

They are made from wrought iron by Biscornette who was a very mysterious worker. Legend has it no one ever saw him constructing the hinges. Reports went round that he had sold his soul to the devil to get him to help. The design is supposed to represent the Earthly Paradise.

Beautiful arabesque branches are the hinges of Notre Dame

An iron master named Gaegart broke off fragments of the iron to try and figure out how Notre Dame’s hinges were created. Some experts think that they are cast, and then treated with a file; others say they must have been created solely by casting, with no soldering. In any case, the secret will never be divulged, it died with Biscornette.

Do you have a secret method for doing something?

Another Souvenir for the Powder Room

Whilst Charlie and I were in an entrance tunnel to catch the underground in London an artist was selling some scenes of the city.

This 8″ by *’ painting was bought in a tunnel leading from the underground in London.

We purchased an 8-inch square painting of Big Ben ( which was covered with scaffolding the entire time we were there).

That’s Big Ben covered in scaffolding.

Just like the Smith Island painting I strip framed I used a similar technique on the London painting even though the frame was narrower.

To make the frame appear to float black trim is offset toward the back.

I screwed in 2 eye hooks on the back and strung a hanging wire between them.

Our London art — Is that Charlie and Jo walking in the rain?

The painting is part of the travel collection in the newly papered powder room.

The travel collection in the powder room.

The wood tones seem to tie disparate items together.

Do you repeat techniques once you learn them?

Strip Framing an Oil Painting

I had purchased an original 8-inch square oil painting while we were visiting Smith Island.

This 8″ by 8″ (measured at its base) painting should go well in the powder room.

I was going to hang it in the powder room which used to be a “biblotheque” but is now “The Grand Tour” but the painting just looked too plain.

1.5-inch by 1/4-inch pine lattice strip which has been stained with “walnut”.

I had seen other paintings simply framed with a strip of wood on the sides as detailed in this YouTube video.  I stopped by Lowe’s and bought an eight-foot piece (the smallest it comes) of 1/4″ by 1.5″ pine lattice which I planned to stain.

Screen door molding makes a good spacer — 1/4-inch by 3/4-inch.

I had on hand some 1/4″ by  3/4″ screen door molding which I spray painted black.

The nails of this spacer are offset from the ones that will be used in the frame itself.

The screen door molding was cut to 8-inch sections and nailed to the sides of the painting’s stretcher aligned with the back edge.

Top and bottom are added on top of the spacer bars.

Then I applied the stained lattice to the top and bottom of the painting with small finish nails.  The nails were recessed and the nail holes filled.

I dabbed the end-grain with stain-soaked rag after nailing it all together.

The side pieces of lattice were cut long enough to cover the ends of the top and bottom of the frame.

After — A floating frame makes all the difference.

Now the painting is ready to hang in the “The Grand Tour” — a remembrance from our travels.

What happens to your souvenirs?

My Smith Island Souvenirs

I like to get a few souvenirs when we travel.

Our AirBnB host is an artist who left us a hand-drawn map of the town of Ewell on Smith Island.

I bought some on Smith Island in the Chesapeake Bay.

The top boat with the blue hull is a crab scrape which I’ll keep for Charlie and me.

Silhouettes of local crab boats and scrapes were made by a young man with certain physical challenges on the island.  I got everyone in the family one for Christmas ornaments this year.

This bird is red and turquoise which matches the decor of the Cottage perfectly.

Especially for Sug I found another handmade hummingbird to hang in her reading corner. This one came with a sweet remembrance of the man who made it by the saleswoman behind the counter. The man has since passed on but when he was alive he carried a stone in one pocket and a cross in the other. If a conversation started to go downhill he would put his hands in his pockets and say, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”

This 9″ by 9″ painting should go well in the powder room.

Finally I bought a piece of original art  for the newly-decorated powder room with a travel theme. The painting is a depiction of a Smith island cake which is Maryland’s state dessert.

What type of souvenirs do you purchase when traveling?

A Hummingbird Idea

Last Christmas I got Sug a hand-felted pillow from a private craft fair.

The hummingbird pillow is to the left of the sheepskin.

The pillow has a stunning large hummingbird right in the middle.

The hummingbird from Cuba can be taken apart in 4 pieces — wings and beak come off.

Then while Charlie and I were in Cuba we found a carved wood hummingbird that is about 3 inches long.

Anthropologie hummingbird wallpaper.

While I was searching for wallpaper at Anthropologie I stumbled across a really charming hummingbird wallpaper.

The long wall by the bed would be the most obvious placement.

I think it might look good on one wall in the Cottage. But it might be too busy.  I’m torn whether I can whole-heartedly recommend the wallpaper.

Wouldn’t this be an awesome sight?

Maybe I’d be safer to buy a couple of hummingbird feeders for when Sug has her deck installed.

Do you have a theme in your home?

An Unexpected Gift

As most people know Charlie is a church pianist/organist and I, Jo, am a church choir director.

An intricate tribute to music we all love.
Both pieces are cross-stitched and straight stitched.

A few Sundays ago a couple that sits in the back of the church asked us to come out to their car because they had something for us.  I figured it was something to eat because people are always giving Charlie food.

Both pieces had been professionally mounted behind glass and framed.

Instead we were presented two beautifully cross-stitched hymns which had been framed. This intricate work was created by the wife and extolled by a very proud-of-his-spouse husband.

Quickly hung to protect the art from getting damaged.

We are so delighted with this gift that I have made a place for it on the wall of the conservatory so we and everyone else can see it often.

We spend a lot of time in the conservatory and will see these pictures daily.

In order to hang the new pieces I moved the red flower print into the conservatory bathroom and now the chart has nowhere to  go.

Do you move your artwork around?

Bowl Number 5

When my blogging friend Jessica started on a new artistic venture she offered some of her first pieces to her readers.

Beautiful bronze and blue ceramic bowl in front of card of Jessica’s house.

I was fortunate enough to receive a beautiful hand thrown bowl.

The bowl looks perfect with the kitchen and dining room colors.

The exterior glaze is mottled blue/black gloss overglazed with satin bronze.  The small dish beautifully complements décor at The Glade, especially the kitchen.

The interior has a satin/metallic glaze.

The interior is also bronze. Jessica really knew just what my style is when she suggested this bowl for me. Thank you!

The mugs I’m using now could be replaced with something more like this special one-of-a-kind bowl.


As matter of fact a set of mugs in these colors would be perfect to replace the tuxedo mugs I’ve been enjoying.

Do you have an artistic outlet?