Trash to Treasure: Walnut Log

We’ve had many trees fall down in our yard at The Glade.  Generally they’re oak trees. A friend informed us that one of our downed trees is walnut. (How does he know that?)

A large walnut tree downed in the east yard

He asked if he could have some of it because he does “projects”. Sure, we would have burned it so we were happy to let him “clean up” that little area of the yard.

Imagine our delight when we were presented with a cardboard box containing a 9-inch long piece of our walnut.

Walnutwood box

 And here’s the surprise: it has a drawer which opens to hold special treasures or maybe even a nut cracker (get it? walnut cracker?).

The not-so-secret drawer.

The drawer is a hollowed out plug cut from the log itself.

The plug was cut from this hole.

 The perfect thing for a house in the woods.

How’s that for trash to treasure? Have you transformed anything lately?


Paris Pastry

Every bakery in Paris makes pastry. And I don’t just mean donuts and Danish.

What would you choose? One from column A and 2 from Column B and . . .

Even the non-spectacular looking things sound delish.

You can choose orange or lemon glazed Little Prince loaves.

 When Charlie and I saw the displays we were awed. 

Shop after shop had great sweets.

 It made choosing something (and you know we did choose) very challenging.

How many of these can you eat?

 In the same case as above are more goodies.

Having a dinner party?

  And more in the same case. 

Why would any normal human try to bake a cake?

 Even restaurants had a vast selection of choices.

Dessert tray in a bistrot

 Much to my surprise I never chose a lemon tart or Napoleon (the French don’t call them that). I was hooked on meringues and almond croissants and tiny brioche popovers sprinkled with large crystals of sugar. 

Cheesecake made with cow's milk cheese costs about $15.50 per pound.

  Charlie had crème brûlée or a piece of flan (custard pie) everywhere we went and had me convinced that this was almost a meal since eggs and milk are the main ingredients.

No foolin’, the French can cook!

What would you choose?

Sidebar: Did you know white sugar and white flour cause inflammation in the body? No wonder my legs ache. It’s not fair!!!!!!!!!! (Rant over. Thanks for letting me share.)

Public Rooms of an 1880s Lodge: Living Room

The Lodge

 The rooms in this 1880s lodge have not changed much since the 1930s except maybe the kitchen which I showed you here and here. Some other parts of the house can be seen here, here, and here.

The living room (on the right side of the photo above) was added in the early 1900s.

Built as a hunting lodge, bearskin rugs litter the floor.

 Diamond leaded windows, wood-paneled walls and hardwood floors give the living room a warm quality but also make it very dark since many of the windows look out on a covered porch. The bearskin and tigerskin rugs are the real thing and so watching one’s step is imperative to avoid stumbling on the heads and impaling oneself on the teeth. 

This bright window overlooks the lake.

 Every surface in this home is covered with books, photos and memorabilia of past times. (The window above is seen from the outside in the top photo. It’s the one set into the stone facade.)

Turning left past the bearskins and ship model, the center of this room has a large fireplace.

The enormous fireplace is flanked by matching red velvet couches guarded by a tiger skin on the floor.

The sofas look old-fashioned and are still upholstered in the original red velvet. Notice the wheels just in case these need to be moved out of the way for a large party or dance. In reality this room is seldom used because it’s very large and difficult to heat.

One of a pair on either side of the fireplace.

Again moving left toward the section of the room near the covered porch.  The wood paneling and red velvet draperies make it DARK. To lighten it up is a grand piano. (On the wall near the stairs is an upright piano at the ready for duets.)

More bearskins and a grand piano balance the other side of the living room.

 The furniture is very dark wood relieved only by a tapestry or piece of embroidery here and there.

Tapestry upholstered chair with turned legs and carved back.

 Turned, carved and caned fire shield sits near the fireplace.

If the heat from the fireplace is too much, protect yourself with this fire shield.

  Can you see yourself living in this room?  Do you enjoy vintage things? Or is modern more your style? Perhaps an eclectic mix?

Trip to France: Pied-à-Terre in Le Marais

We arranged for 2 different apartments in Paris: the first three days in a penthouse near the Eiffel Tower  in the 15th Arrondissement and the remainder of the trip in Le Marais in the 3rd Arrondissement.

Map of Paris by Arrondissements

  I checked this place out on Google maps before arriving (since you can basically see any street in Paris from street level) and was apprehensive because the street looked like an alley and the door appeared to be a garage entry.

The door on the street is the original 17th century courtyard door.

 Let me back up for a moment and tell you how I found this place. I searched for all accommodations on the internet. I was getting desperate so I tried everything but Craigslist.  In this case I found an apartment that looked nice on Roomorama. When I contacted by email the owner/manager who had a service called I found out the apartment I wanted wasn’t available. He, Bernard, sent me a listing of other properties available for my dates of travel.

Rue de Saintonge in the 3rd Arrondissement of Paris known as the Marais

   Since I had been looking for something in Le Marais district I chose “Marais Saintonge”.

The enamel street sign hangs on the side of corner buildings.

 We sent our deposit and security deposit via Paypal with the remainder due in cash upon arrival.  Since we were already in France when we moved to this apartment (most people arrive from the airport) we met Bernard’s agent on Saturday night before we were to move in and got the keys and left one of our suitcases in the apartment so we wouldn’t need to lug both over the next day.

The apartment is very secure. First you need a code to enter the outer door which allows entry to a small courtyard (courette in French).  

In the courette looking toward the 17th century entrance.

 Once across the courette you need another code to enter the building. Then up the stairs (or take the elevator) one level to a massive door with 3 locks.

Inside of apartment door

 The interior is bright and overlooks both the small courtyard from one direction and the street from the bedroom.

View from the bedroom onto rue de Saintonge

Across the corrette was a women’s fashion design studio which was busy since we were in Paris during “Fashion Week”.

Design studio across the courette from us.

 We found our flat on rue de Saintonge comfortable and convenient. And, just in case you’re worried about Charlie’s coffee, there is a Nespresso machine in the kitchen.

When you travel do you stay at hotels? Motels? B&Bs? Apartments? Campgrounds? On da beach?!!

Sidebar: The apartment costs about $2000 for 10 days/9 nights.

Almost Missed Diderot

Denis Diderot (1713-1784) was a philospher, art critic and writer.  His statue in the Saint-Germain-des-Pres section of Paris  was  created by Jean Gautherin in 1886. 

Bronze statue of philosopher Diderot

 The statue is situated in front of the Hotel Madison at 145 Boulevard Saint-Germain in the 6th Arrondissement.  We would have totally missed seeing it on our walks through Paris had Diderot not been embellished by the partiers of the previous evening.

Voila, M. Diderot!

 The French have a wry sense of humor. I thought it hilarious.

What’s your notion of “funny”?

Book Signing Event

As Charlie and I were walking along the Rue Cler in the 7th Arrondissement of Paris on a Sunday afternoon we noticed a line of people (a queue as they say in France) at a small bookstore called Librairie Contretemps. (Bookstores in France are called librairies and libraries are called bibliotheques.)

Librairie Contretemps on rue Cler

 Author Douglas Kennedy was signing copies of his new book Cet Instant-la.

Cet instant-la by Douglas Kennedy

 He seemed to be a charming man who greeted each person with a handshake and a cheery hello (in French, of course).

Douglas Kennedy signing his latest book. notes that Douglas Kennedy is the author of ten novels, including the international bestseller Leaving the World and The Moment. His work has been translated into 22 languages, and in 2007 he received the French decoration of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Born in Manhattan, he now has homes in London, Paris, and Maine, and has two children.

So why did we stop when we had no book to be signed nor were we familiar with author Kennedy?  In my 101-things-to-be-accomplished-in-1001-days list I have “attend a book signing” as one of the items.

Check off #63. Voila!

Maybe next time I’ll actually have a book to be signed.  I might just get the English version of this book, The Moment, out of the library; I hear it’s a good read.

Sidebar: Contretemps is translated as hitch, mishap, slight complication; (music) off-beat rhythm.

Do you do things just so you can say you’ve done it? Like what?