Saturday, January 30, 2010

Bouquet of warm wishes...for you and a wonderful weekend.

Warm wishes for a lovely weekend.....
do something nice for someone, or for yourself, a simple small gesture of kindness, a hot cup of tea, coffee, or cocoa and a magazine or a good book.
A posy of flowers.
Carve out some time for yourself...
savour, reflect, recharge, laugh, 
give yourself permission to relax.

See what adventures and delights you can participate in this weekend that do not cost any money.
Go for a walk, explore your neighbourhood, if you've never gone thrifting go to a charity shop and look around, it might surprise you!

Whatever you do wherever you go, notice....
and if you have time,
take a minute or two and let me know what you liked best about your weekend...
I'll check back in on Monday.

Bungalow Hostess wishes you all the best for the weekend.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Gifting primulas...simple, cheerful, and easy on the pocketbook.

I am on the Sunshine Committee at work...that means I buy cards, flowers, and fruit baskets for those who are ill, have lost a loved one, or have been hospitalized.

I bought this great basket and then filled it with primulas which were on sale for $1 each.
I delivered it today after work, and had a short visit with a co worker who had surgery.

These will last for several weeks in the house and then they can be planted outside to repeat bloom every spring and again in the fall.

....and then not so much a sunshine errand...

While I was at the florist I picked out all white flowers for my husbands' co worker who very recently had a death in the family. 
All white floral bouquets with greenery are the most elegant and for some reason just feel right at a time of sorrow. I chose white roses, baby's breath and feathery ferns.
I enclosed a handwritten note and arranged for delivery.

 Death is something I acknowledge with cards and frequently flowers, and not only for close friends but acquaintances and people who I have known in the past.
There is comfort taken when a handwritten note or card is received. I carefully choose my words, keep the thoughts from being morbid, leaning more to cherishing the happy memories and moments spent together in happier times.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Company's coming! Fresh from baskets, and hostess-ing in the bungalow

In a couple of days our dear friends who have been in France for 5 months are coming to stay with us for a few days. So I will be in full on hostess mode! I am eager to see them as it has been far too long and they have pictures of their adventures, from Paris to the countryside near Auvilar where they were living. I also think my autographed copy Of French Women Don't Sleep Alone written by Jamie Cat Callan is coming!
I am getting things tidy and ready for them. I washed and ironed the Alfred Sung sheets (Yes I had to iron them as the edges were wrinkled and said to myself who irons sheets in this day and age? )
That prompted me to go out and seek out some better sheets. The thread count that I usually aim for are over 500 but I found a set that were sateen and at 400 thread count they feel very soft and smooth. They look lovely on the bed under the toile du jouy coverlet.

Humblest of Humble Bungalow Guestroom
(Small but cozy!)

French books, magazines, chocolates and Perrier.

There is a small bathroom and a sitting area just outside the guest room but as I have said, our bungalow is small...the accommodation is very modest, comfortable, and we usually spend time socializing and going out. So far none of our friends have complained!

WARNING!  the next pictures show a very dated decor! Peek only if you are brave!

This bathroom is on the "To remodel list"...I want to add a shower and expand on the space but that means a general contractor and disruption so not this year, maybe 2011.

This bathroom was done in the late 1980's....need I say more?

We plan to go out to a local Italian restaurant one evening and the other we plan to cook an authentic French dinner of 5 courses! We each have a copy of the cookbook The French Market Cookbook:More Recipes from a French Kitchen by Joanne Harris and Fran Warde. According to my girlfriend this was spot on for the local area where they were living, as the local markets carried the food items required in the recipes.
The French Market cookbook is wonderfully illustrated, the recipes are simple and straightforward and as with so much of the French influence, it revolves around marketing, small specialty vendors, local produce and wine.
The Joie de Vivre book is not as much of a cookbook as it is a lesson on shopping, cooking, serving and eating the way the French do.

I am heartened that marketing involves baskets as I am a huge fan of baskets. I do have a variety of vintage first nations baskets but I am referring to the sturdy ones with handles that one can pop over their arm and load up with veggies, cheeses, bread and wine. I have several baskets that I use for a variety of things, from a lasagna size casserole to a small appie and a bottle of wine.

I have "planned ahead for my retirement" in that I ordered a French Market basket on wheels! I ordered this online as I couldn't find one anywhere close by. In my retirement I wonder if I will have more time to leisurely stroll to the Village? Who knows?
French Market Basket on wheels.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Post spa...

I am in that Zen spa experience was stellar, a facial and a manicure, a soak in the mineral pool, decadence.......I came home to pop that free range organic chicken in the oven and made some mashed potatoes, roasted carrots, and gravy.....a few glasses of bubbly and I am ready for bed!

Have been planning a getaway to Seattle in March...and Sweet Tea in Seattle has suggested some shopping spots and dining too! I have admired her Tory Burch flats and there is a new shopping area with Neiman Marcus, Tory Burch, Louis Vuitton, Hermes! called The Bravern.
Thank you Sweet Tea your help it is much appreciated!

Blogging is interesting, informative and still so new to me, a network,  like a community of sorts.
I had a pen pal way back in the 1960's, we've come a long way....

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Wednesday is an indulgent ME DAY....Yoga 1st, Spa 2nd...and Flea Market Style is having a giveaway!

Tomorrow I will be attending my regular Yoga class and after many downward dogs, and several sun salutations I am heading off to the spa for a facial.
I go to a luxurious spa in a large hotel downtown and have been going there for several years. My family have kindly given me gift certificates for birthdays and Christmas. I haven't always been a spa client. It's a luxury that I have come to appreciate since my 40th birthday!
I received a gift certificate for a 90 minute facial from Mr. HB for Christmas which had a 30 minute mini manicure added on as a gift bonus.  Thank you Mr. HB, I am going to use the mineral pool and sauna, shower, put on a plush terry robe, sit in the lounge, read magazines, sip herbal tea and eat fresh fruit and yogurt before the 90 minute facial and then the 30 minute manicure...
After which I will retreat to the lounge to let my polish set, sip mineral water and take a few deep breaths before dressing in my street clothes and driving home.
I will be in the Zen Zone, not rushing about, not working hard, not thinking about world events or worrying about our elderly mothers. I will banish the thought that I am unworthy of such pampering and put my "Do list" aside for a few sacred hours and give myself up to momentary bliss.

I am excited about a new magazine coming out in February...
flea market style is having a giveaway to celebrate the launch of the magazine...pop over to their blog and check it out, and enter their giveaway.

Manners are not what they used to be...please, thank you, excuse me.....

A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.
Marcus Garvey 

I am appalled at the lack of manners these days. I don't know if I should let this go or if I should hang on tooth and nail and pontificate loudly.
My upbringing was such that there was an unwritten code of rules that one followed. I was born into a middle class family who had endured financial hardship, during that Great Depression. My parents taught me at an early age to say thank you, wait my turn, chew with my mouth closed, not to speak with my mouth full and men and boys were NEVER to come to the table with their hats on! It would appear to all intents and purposes that their financial state did not affect their ability to acknowledge what was considered proper and polite. Courtesy and comportment still mattered.
I see men dining in restaurants and cafes with ball caps on...why? Are they bald? Are they cold?  Did their mothers never tell them that the hat comes off at the table? There is a time and a place for everything...OK wear that cap at the game in the stands, eat your hotdog, burger and drink that beer.
And while I am on the subject, where are the thank you's for gifts and flowers? A telephone call will suffice, definitely not a text or an email.
Pushing ahead in line up at a movie or bakery, what is that all about? I offer the person behind me in line up to move ahead if I have a full cart of groceries and they have a few items, common (or so I would think) courtesy, is it not?
I recently went to the local museum and was standing in front of a display, not too closely mind, as there were others also reading the posted information and a man pushed in front and stood directly in front of me totally obscuring my view...did he not see me?
I am getting worked up over this and I need to find that zen Yoga breath and put things into perspective!
I am quite possibly an over-the-top manner snob!
I phone to thank my host and hostess after a dinner party, acknowledge gifts and flowers, write thank you notes, sympathy cards and letters and send them in the post.
I have heard this before, in the presence of my dear mother...I have become a parrot of sorts but share the same values.
I am now stepping down from the soapbox and slowly walking away....pontificating no more, at least for today!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Simon Chang meets Marcel Boucher

Saturday: matinee, live local Theatre production, with Mother.
Outfit: Ca va de Soi taupe tank, Black trousers, Simon Chang jacket,
Brown Nine West shoes.

Accessories: Diamond studs, diamond solitaire pendant, diamond engagement and anniversary rings.
and introducing Marcel Boucher...the brooch.

Boucher designed jewelry and apprenticed for Cartier in Paris in the late 1910's and early 20's. He was transferred to the New York branch in 1922 and continued making jewelry until the 1929 Wall Street crash. He worked in the costume jewelry business with the Mazer Brothers and then opened his own small company Boucher et Cie in 1937. He had a reputation for innovation and exceptional metalwork, his rhinestones were exquisitely cut and enameling so colorful that the pieces were often mistaken for precious jewels. Saks Fifth Avenue carried his designs, and when he died in 1965 his wife, also a French jewelry designer, Sandra Semensohn kept the company going until she sold it in 1972.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Wonder Town and Country.

I picked up the latest issue of Town and Country at the Market. It's focus is Wonder Women, and Cindy Crawford graces the cover. Inside there are some truly interesting stories of strong, creative, talented and resourceful women.
I read them all but am choosing to mention two of the women.

Fleur Cowles was a pioneer in publishing and a socialite and lived to be 101! Her life sounds fascinating.

Alexandra Penney a victim of Madoff,  has written The Bag Lady Papers....what a transition she has had to make in her life. She is an inspiration in her determination to regain some control of her life.
I will put the book on my list of must reads...that book list is getting longer as the days go many books so little time. (to read)

"I've learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances."
—Martha Washington

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Nearly 100 years old.....Bungalow kitchen, over 10 years in the making!

I promised Frugal Scholar that I would post some pictures of my kitchen. The renovation took years as we did most of the work ourselves while living and cooking in said space. We actually entertained, hosted dinner parties and celebrations here amid dust, and lack of walls...think Thirty Something! We lived it too. I cannot believe it has been that long...thirty something  and now we are 50 something..where did the time go?
It has to be noted that we opted for granite countertops and they are not traditional and we have been severely chastised by Jane Powell of Bungalow Kitchen fame! We really are beyond critiscism in that area because we felt that the benefits of being able to put hot pots, pans and roasters directly on the counter would outweigh the negative comments. We are, after all, the ones who inhabit the space.
Mr. L made all the cabinets himself using just a table saw and hand tools. The glass panes were cut by a local sash and door company and the hardware is new but in the same style as the original would have been. The sink is a Shaw French Country model in porcelain, now in vintage looking condition with scratches and a few chips. The stainless appliances are new of course and yes Jane Powell sneered at them as well....tsk tsk! The floor has been patched and resanded and is soft fir so it is honestly "distressed."

The walls are dark stained fir in "board and batten" is the same as the rest of the house and in an original bungalow there would be "wainscotting" which would more than likely have been painted white. We dithered about for several years in the planning process and the "architect" in the family convinced me to stay with the dark fir. The architect has the professional eye and I bow to his expertise!

The room is smallish, with 3 door openings; the butler's door which is on hinges that swing from the kitchen to the dining room, the French door to the deck, the third has been removed and opened up  onto the family room/den and then there is the stairway to the basement. These were challenges that we had to work with because we did not want to add on and expand.

The granite we purchased from a dealer, had it professionally cut and we installed it ourselves....very hard, heavy work. I do not recommend doing it yourself...we were slightly crazy to attempt it but budgetary considerations played a huge part in that descision!

I did not keep receipts, but I do remember one Valentines Day I received a large piece of steel painted red...a reinforced brace designed by a local engineer...and it was about $250....more than a dozen red roses and dinner out. (It was in the late 1990's) We were frugal and resourceful because we had to be. We sold our Catalina sailboat and had purchased the Chris Craft Constellation, so our time, money and energy was split in several areas...not to mention being parents and holding down jobs.

Wood on the water...propelled by fossil fuel 2 X 350 CC conversions...not that green, but a lot of fun.
It is a quality ride...I am the admiral and the Galley Slave!
After taking the Power Squadron course I am aka as the "Nag-i-vator" has paid off, I am a second set of eyes and am aware of the rules on the ocean...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Red shoe diary...there's no place like home...

Salad anyone?.....or rather, Harumi Ota meet Mee Too...I feel like clicking my heels together...there's no place like home...there's no place like home, Judy Garland at her freshest.
I love orchids and I have some young paphiopedilum orchids... aka Lady Slippers, in the background.
(I only grow orchids that are able to survive in my kitchen environment)

Mee Too...Tyler Red Patent Leather shoes with Kitten Heels!
Not even looking...they popped up into my radar...on sale, comfy, and will be wearing them with dark denim jeans, crisp white shirt, masses of pearls, circulating books at school.

A cause for a celebration and some bubbly...I have been looking to replace my worn out BCBG red flats for quite sometime now...Mr. L said to daughter "Your Mom really likes red shoes!"
I do!  I do! I do!

Who doesn't?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bungalow snapshots and details...

My writing desk

Alliums grown in the backyard dried, on display.

Note the bottom left corner of Jane Powell's book!

I have moved  the alliums to the dining room and placed the Van Briggle Bunny and bowl on the ledge...Mrs. Plant's photo can be seen through the pillars.
Jane Powell came to our humble bungalow and photographed some details of the interior several years ago. She lives in Oakland California and is restoring her arts and crafts home. Her restoration philosophy is pure, honest, and true to the historic details of the period.

San Francisco artistic license article.

The heritage movement has many supporters and they are a group of diverse personalities that are passionate about their cause. In my experience, they are creative and flamboyant with academic art history roots.

A small portion of our arts and crafts book collection on the Stickley bookcase.

Have you restored or renovated a home?
Have you overseen the process as a contractor or are you hands on?
Do you have any advice or hints when living in a home during the construction?
What were the biggest challenges and would you do it again?
Interested in opinions as I am contemplating a bedroom redecorating project in the next few months....

Skincare, what works for me...what works for you?

While I was standing in line at the market I noticed that almost every magazine had an article on skincare. Skincare is big business...many many millions, I really do not know, it is dizzying for me to even consider!
There are so many products out there that it gets very confusing. There are potions and creams for day and for night, and they come with promises for everything from smoother, younger, more radiant, firmer, less pigmented, less wrinkled....and so've heard it, seen the advertisements, possibly comtemplated even trying them.  But do they live up to their promises?
I wonder how many steps the average woman takes in caring for her many products does she use before she gets out the door? I am not suggesting to ignore the skin, nothing could be farther than the truth. I am a fan of taking care and pampering the skin, as it is right out there for all to see.
My skincare routine involves getting professional facials every 2 or 3 months and the rest of the time I do it myself here at home.
I have delicate skin and have a tendency to flush. I also am concerned about the toxins the manufacturers add to products and have come to the conclusion that there is an element of risk with just about any product on the market. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has a large database if you care to research what you are currently using. If you are like me, it was an eye opener!

I try to keep my routine fairly simple and the products to a minimum as I like to be able to do my morning face in 10 minutes or less.
I use VIVA face wash from the Health food store, Thayers alcohol free toner which has witch hazel, rose petals and aloe vera gently all over with a cotton pad (my slpurge are Shiseido cosmetic pads) followed by Dr. Hauschka's rose cream.  I need the heavier rose cream, they make a light version. (Did I mention my aging skin is VERY dry?)
I then sweep a small amount of Badger sunscreen on top (which I have been advised to do for anti-aging purposes) before applying my Dr. Hauschka foundation which is light and adds a hint of tint blending easily to even out some of my redness.
I use Dr. Hauschka eye shadow #4, curl my lashes, apply Lancome Definicils mascara.
I use Burts Bees lip balm follwed by Dr. Hauschka lipstick #7.

My favourite products are not the lowest on the website safety ratings, neither are they the highest.

For removing my eye makeup I use Neutrogena eye make up remover and every other day I use Physiodermie Bio-Gommage which is a gentle exfoliator that keeps my skin looking fresh and feeling soft. Scrubs are too harsh for me and glycolic peels have resulted in a nasty rash.
I have tried the rhythmic Dr. H ampoules which are pricey and I am not convinced of their effectiveness...but I am willing to try again and reassess.

What products work for you?
What can you not live without....mascara, lip balm, moisturizer...?
Do you splurge, or are you frugal?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Reflections, thoughts and musings...on a sunny Monday morning.

Arbutus tree outside the living room window.

Looking back, I do not feel that much older than when we moved into our bungalow, yet here it is nearly 28 years later.
Time does seem to go faster as we get older.

A friend suggested it is like a roll of toilet paper, the closer it gets to the end the faster it unrolls.

Our darling children spent their childhood growing up here.
Our home is much quieter since they moved out, Mr. L., the cat and I are not noisy. Except of course on hockey nights when shouts arise when goals are scored.

Bronzed Baby shoes.
Does anyone still do this with their babies first shoes? We were recently in Birks and I noticed that they still provide this service, how comforting to know that some things never change!

We have 2 children, a boy and a girl, they are adults now, and have created lives of their own. JAL our daughter has a great job and a lovely character apartment filled with mid century teak and art glass. She has a trained eye when it comes to antiques and collectibles, the art history university background has helped her recognize quality pieces.
 SBL our son has a lovely wife, they live in a large home with a view which is full of mid century teak and art glass as well. They are expecting a baby in early June and are decorating the babies room at present.
I love my family and want to spend time with them. I do not want to smother them or appear desperate or needy. It is a fine line and I do not want to cross it.
 I am eager to invite them back for Roast Beef Sundays and enjoy the friendly banter and chatter that accompanies their visit.
Monday evenings, JAL comes over to do her laundry, we drink some bubbly, make dinner and watch The Batchelor. I do so love the regular Monday night visit.

 I am grateful for so many things; children who live in the same town, who are connected and share with us, much of what is new in their lives.

I am kitting out the pram and have a knitting project on the needles at present.

Grammy's knitting project #1 box blanket in off white yarn.

Knitting in a quiet room, the sun streaming through the windows, does lend itself to reflection.
The soft sound of the bamboo needles as the stitches slip over top to the other side...counting, concentrating, feels a bit like Yoga for the hands!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Tie one on.....another Hermes scarf, and a cheery red the colour that makes me happy.

Bright and cheerful, this vintage, late 60's Hermes scarf is red, white and blue with a touch of gold....equestrian theme.
Hermes have cards and booklets which are full of photos showing various ways to tie and wear their scarves, maybe too many ways!
I stood in front of the mirror trying various knots but with this one I like to loosely toss it casually around my neck so that all the colours show.

I wore this scarf to an orchid show and a fellow volunteer commented on how she had stood in front of her mirror that very morning fussing and repositioning and tying and untying her scarf only to rip it off in disgust. (sound familiar!)
She was admiring the way I had done mine. I was embarrased by all the fuss but explained that it was easy,  just one loose simple crossover and I left the V at the voila.
I believe the secret to wearing scarves is just to wear them with an attitude of confidence. It is not perfection, it is colorful silk draped simply encircling the neck or tied on a handbag.
Don't take it too seriously, it's meant to be FUN!

Accessories are the workhorses of my wardrobe, and generally they are affordable items.
I shop thrift shops for vintage pieces. There is a thrill in thrifting something of detail and beauty.

I have been thinking about red boots recently.
I swooned over a wonderful pair that  mater blogged about at Christmas.
Ah, the power of suggestion!

I have admired Hunter boots and have seen them in English Country Living magazine which I read every month.
 These boots would walk along the waterfront, on the beach, to the market, and trudge around the garden look cheerful, and keep my feet dry. I think I am convnced!

Those red Hunters are sold out in my size and will not stock more until March.
I'll be dodging puddles until then....

P.S.  The sun made it's debut today after many days of rain and Mr. L and I went for a walk along the waterfront. (as did most of the neighbourhood!)
The skies were clear, the water calm, the air fresh.
People were smiling.

Clumps of pure white snowdrops are popping up in the garden.
Bulbs have started to grow.
The flower venders have bunches of yellow daffodils in their buckets.
I have a sneaky feeling that Spring is coming early this year.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Water, water everywhere...some are tears...snapping out of it I hope!

Torrential downpour here...gutters working overtime, spluttering, gurgling...and I am hunkered down inside with my cozy PJ's on and a warm beverage in hand.
I drove through some very deep puddles, small ponds rather, in the car on the way home from work tonight. Hydroplane averted thanks to DSTC on Volvo.
Worried about flooding...nothing serious compared to Haiti how devastating, Reality Check...self talk..."stop whimpering and buck up."
Met at the door by a very hungry cat, meowing at a very high decibal level....ouch, food in bowl before removing new lovely coat, recent purchase, and still in love! Cat still ill, high blood pressure meds once in the morning, mixed in cream cheese smeared on cat lips while bleary eyed owner stumbles around kitchen, oblesse the coffee ready yet?
Cat eating 2 cans of food a day after dodging the "bullet" which might have been a few days before meeting, tears and all home excused from work, dire health of cat...who rallied and thrived with all the attention, sorry I am mistaken...bad cat mommy!
I wonder how much longer sick cat has to live...9 lives, how many are left? of cat, weird I know but A&C bungalow, so it cannot jump up on sofa or queen size bed of owners anymore, beds of choice, now sleeping under Limbert oak quarter sawn rocker...too much info I know...abbreviate, note to self...almost 17 years of purring, shedding, love and not depart please can you not live forever?
Golden retriever, Rufus, lived to 13...still we mourn...we are a very sappy animal loving family. Will get another when I retire.

On another topic, mother still suffering from a bad cold...several visits bearing lunch and dinners later...she is looking better, get well soon PLEASE! Ordered more Anne Morrow Lindbergh books online as requested....and yes your RIFFs have come due so spend without guilt. Sister still in Rancho Mirage supervising contractor paint and redecorate new townhouse, her partner golfing 24/7...come home soon please, you are too young to be a SNOWBIRD!
Low moment LPC says at Privilege
Ferris wheel should be on the upswing about now....this is not characteristic of me, complaining is bad form...must be all this rain, must go to bed and emerge from the bed chamber re-invented, re-energized, restored, revitalized, renewed, reminted, restyled, rewired, refreshed from zzzz's...the bed is calling my name!
Pardon me for venting....a shameful post I acknowledge that, forgiveness requested if you please.
The Hostess

I am not a trophy wife, but I have several trophies.

I fancy trophies, they represent great achievements.
I have had the honor of winning a rose bowl from the Garden Club for best rose in show. My name was engraved on it and I had it on display, proudly but humbly, on my mantle for one year... I had to give it back as I did not win best rose in show the following year!

This large vintage trophy was a gift from my delightful daughter JAL. It was  filled with white lilac on the occasion of Mother's Day!
I do not think that my mothering skills are worthy of a trophy, I'll take it as a compliment.

I was not athletic in my youth, save that darned grass hockey team that I played on in high school. Grass hockey was a rough and tumble sport and my shins were black and blue with bruises. I was short and and slow so I was an easy mark.  I was very afraid when we played against the private schools as they played for honour, to win and there was usually blood.

Look at that dirty window pane. No one would bestow an award for cleaning here...excuse me, Ms.H (she doesn't do windows) besides the mess is on the outside!

I am told this trophy appeared in the movie The Fog....I wouldn't know.  I do not watch horror films.
I love the racket details, so artistic and finely crafted.

A trophy wife is defined as -

A wife, usually young and attractive, regarded as a status symbol for the husband, usually older and affluent.

"Our romantic ideals are always grounded in economic realities, from the Victorian marriage model to the 1980s masters of the universe for whom a standard-issue trophy wife was a badge of honor."
Source: Deborah Siegel,, "The New Trophy Wife", Jan/Feb 2004.

MOTU...trophy wife! Classifying and labelling are too general as they do not allow for individuality...I am sure there are exceptions to every rule. 
I'll leave that dangling thought as I need to ponder and ruminate more on the subject.....