Musical Gifts

My sister is a wonderful gift-giver.  She always seems to give the perfect thing.

The tacky little lamp was our only music light over the piano and the bench cushion was not very attractive.

We have a piano between the dining room and the living room that can be seen from almost every room on the first floor.

Charlie received this piano bench cushion in 2016 for Christmas.

In 2016 my sister gave Charlie a tapestry cushion for his piano bench. It was a huge improvement and he really appreciated it.

19-inch piano map illuminates at least two music sheets.

This year she sent a beautiful piano lamp. (We had been using a lamp from WalMart that I had spray painted.)

Sometimes the lamp might want to be dimmed.

Her research had led her to a dimmable model.  When the lamp arrived it worked but wouldn’t dim.

The lamp worked but wouldn’t dim.

Since the dimmer was an extra little box with a dial that fit between the power cord and the lamp base, we were hoping that replacing it would fix the issue.

The new piano lamp is sleek, functional, and dimmable.

The Cocoweb company replaced the dimmer for free and now it works. Tra la.

Do you have dimming lights?


My Style Profile

I took a quiz about my style and here are the results.

This survey really describes my style.

I am a traditionalist at heart with an eye towards more eclectic looks.

I have furniture including two Bergère chairs from the 1950s that have been passed down in my family.

I like classic looks and coordinated pieces in my home but like to add some energy and personality with a few more eclectic pieces. I may like a more antique look or gilded accents or just tailored lines, but I prefer a look that is mostly uniform and balanced.

I .  .  .

  • want my home to be stylish and that is a reflection of me and my overall tastes.
  • like to include pieces with a classic look such as antiques or items with a sense of history to them.

    The kitchen island was made from my mother’s antique breakfront.
  • want my home to be comfortable and inviting and that is a reflection of me and my lifestyle.
  • want my home to have a bright, cheerful look.
  • I love the brightness of the conservatory.
  • see my home as an expression of my personal style.
  • like classic modern pieces.

    I like the cleans lines of a glass coffee table.
  • like ethnic accents and a “worldly” look.
  • like your space to look somewhat dramatic.
  • like cool colors.

    The master bedroom is the coolest of blues.
  • like bright pops of color or colorful accents.

    I like bright pops of color in the usually cool rooms.
  • like to use some traditional gilded or wood accents in my  home to give it a sense of timelessness.
  • like the look of natural materials in my home.

    Rattan bench adds a casual touch to the more conservative furniture.

This is definitely my style.

What’s yours?

Galette des Rois

After looking at a few here is the recipe I chose to make a Galette des Rois, Kings’ Cake.

Galette des Rois

Sug and I worked together to make 2 Kings’ Cakes.

Sug rolled out puff pastry that I bought frozen.

We used frozen puff pastry and had to roll it out just a little to make it large enough to cut a round using a large frying pan lid as a pattern.

Chopped orange peel.

In addition to almond flour, butter, eggs, and sugar the seasoning included almond extract, vanilla extract (instead of the recipe’s suggestion of rum) and orange zest.

The filling is fluffy and holds its shape.

Filling is put on the bottom round with a margin which is them brushed with water so the top and bottom pastries will stick together.

The top pastry is carefully fit over the filling.

We put the cakes together with the filling inside and refrigerated them overnight so we could serve them warm the next day at our party. I cut a design into the unbaked dough with a sharp knife.

Both Sug and I tried our hands at crimping the edges as described in the recipe.  Nothing leaked out.

Just before baking I glazed the pastry with egg yolk/milk carefully avoiding the edges so they would puff up.

The top is glazed with an egg yolk and mixture.

This recipe is subtly delicious.  I could eat it every day with coffee if I had to.  Delicious.  Like an almond croissant in Paris.

A seriously elegant recipe.

We made 2 galettes and  only have a few pieces remaining. I’ll make this again.

Do you have a favorite pastry? Do you buy it or make it?

Forcing Quince

Flowering quince shrub in spring.

Last week I brought in a few quince branches from our large bush in the yard.

Pink blooming quince.

When this bush blooms in spring the flowers are pink.

Branches from the same bush are blooming white this winter.

The flowers that bloomed inside this week were white.

White flowers are actually my favorite.

Flowering quince are a nice reminder of spring on frigid winter days.

What is your reminder of warmer weather?

Number 1 on my 101 in 1001

When I was a teenager I had a long-haired dachshund named Princess.  As a young married I had a miniature long-haired dachshund name Max.

Princess looked a lot like this beauty.

I have been talking about getting a dog for awhile now so I finally contacted a breeder and put my name on a waiting list for a red-haired miniature long-haired dachshund expected to be born early in February.  I’ll take either a boy or a girl.

My favorite breed: long-haired dachshund.

I hope to get one of a litter whose mother looks a lot like my former dogs.  The take home date will be early in April.

Do you like big or little dogs?

Colorful Birds Like the Bird Tree

We put our bare Christmas tree out in the yard to attract birds with some homemade edible ornaments.

Charlie is admiring the bird tree. We’re still waiting for the birds.

Charlie is home during the day and saw birds around and near the tree before I did.  He sent me a fuzzy photo.

There were both male and female cardinals in a flock of about 10.

Today I finally saw some birds for myself.  There was a flock of cardinals feeding on the ground near the tree. I saw one fly into the branches but not feed on the seeded pine cones.

A downy woodpecker perched on the seed bell.

The big attraction for me was a downy woodpecker on the seed bell we had placed on the top of the tree. I watched for a long time while he hammered away at the bell.

Downy woodpecker.

The downy woodpecker is smallest woodpecker in North America, common and widespread. In the east this is the most familiar member of the family coming to backyard bird feeders.  In winter it often joins roving mixed flocks of chickadees, nuthatches, and other birds in the woods.


Do you have a favorite feathered friend?


Hanging Loose Ends

I received a small original watercolor as a gift.

I’m walking from the pool house toward the main house where my office is.

I was given a painting of the grounds of the house where I work featuring me walking into the picture.

The painting might look nice on the wallpaper above the piano.

We decided to hang the picture in the dining room over the piano.

Peel back the paper.

I eyeballed the middle of the wall and then cut a small v-shaped flap in the wallpaper.

The space is a little tricky due to the header notching the wall at the top.

Then I nailed in a picture hanging hook and hung the picture on it.

The dining room is bright in daylight.

The colors in the picture complement the denim wallpaper and brighten the space.

Do you have a compact system for listening to music?