Monday, May 30, 2011

Thank you so Muchness!

This past weekend I went to visit a friend who has retired to a wonderful idyllic island.
She and her husband have built a lovely home perched high above the waterfront with large windows capturing the expansive views beyond. If one is ambitious and energetic there is a steep staircase that goes down to the rocky beach which is great for beach combing or watching the eagles and wildlife frolic.
Rock walls, raised beds, large pots with plants and an orchard grace the landscape and more beds are being designed and planned.

I snapped this image before I commenced the road trip...

The interior of the car was infused 
with the intoxicating scent of lily of the valley.

I had popped this wee bundle of blooms in water for the journey in the morning
worked my usual day at school and when I opened the car to get in
I was met with a warm and heady atmosphere!

Traffic was surprisingly light
I employed the Cruise Control 
and listened to music
and the next thing I knew
I was at the ferry terminal.

A short ferry ride later
I arrived
on the island

here life moves slowly
a state of balance and ease is embraced
people have time to stop and smell the flowers
no rushing about
 friendly moments to chat with friends and neighbours
even strangers
(as I found out)

lush gardens 
superior birdsong
 warm sunshine
a comfortable bed
great friends
and fun

wisteria canopy
it's sweet scent wafting

Slumber was long and deep in the still and quiet night
I awoke each morning early and refreshed
I lay in bed waiting to hear that my hostess was up and about

I took the book I am currently reading
(which is well written and utterly fascinating!)

 I would read a few chapters 
I felt that my hostess was ready and expecting me to join her for morning coffee.

We went off island for some sightseeing...
 a vineyard,
a country bakery / coffee spot
and we indulged in
a pedicure at an Aveda salon

I chose Thank you so Muchness!

We also did some shopping...
there were many interesting boutiques and home decor shops
dotting the small streets.

My hostess knew all the "hot spots" and directed me accordingly!
I found much to tempt me...
but I did not succumb until I saw these..

Canadian Company

I was very pleasantly surprised by the comfort and fit of this garment
it does flatter a size 12 woman's curves!

There is some flaring at the bottom and the hem is uneven
jersey knit
3/4 sleeves
 fitted through the bodice
so it doesn't look enormous and baggy
I will pair this with...

The Sympli waterfall jacket in a jersey knit
and skinny black knit pants.

Such great basics
and they are reasonably priced.
I will have fun accessorizing these
as they can be worn casual or for dressier occasions.

We enjoyed sharing meals
sipped cool cider on the deck overlooking the ocean
played a few games of Cribbage
went for long hikes on the island trails
watched a DVD
visited the Sunday Market
and drove to the nursery 
where we loaded up my car with plants for both our gardens!

It was a weekend of laughter
which all too soon 
found me sitting in the car at the Ferry Dock

 As I sat alone
I realized how happy the past few days had been
and how sad I felt that it was at an end.

I suppose that is how one measures a great getaway.

Thank you so Muchness
to my Hostess

I am forever in your debt...

Friday, May 27, 2011

Phalaenopsis Orchid....A Perfect "Hostess" Gift

Orchids make great hostess gifts.
They last for months before the flowers drop and can be cared for easily with a weekly watering
and will re-bloom in 6 months on a windowsill with bright indirect light.
I like to opt for white as they fit into any decor.

The Phalaenopsis are a very easy care variety of orchid and are readily available at most florists and supermarkets.
Prices vary widely and the more blooming stems the plant has usually affects the price.
They are more expensive than the single stemmed orchids.

There have been a few sales of orchids lately and I have been tempted but resisted.
Today I could not walk away from this one as the price was unbelievable!

White Orchid
Weller arts and crafts jardinere

North exposure
bright light from the dining room window.

Pepper was extremely curious when I unwrapped this orchid
she has a distinct "taste" for greenery 
I put it up high 
well out of harms way!

This orchid is actually for the Bungalow...

For my Hostess
I purchased a brightly dyed scarf for my hostess
with her colours in mind
and I will be bringing wine...

Plans for the weekend include a visit to an Aveda Spa
destination shopping 
I am going to be a guest for the weekend on a Gulf Island 
in a waterfront home of a dear friend
so I'll catch up with you early next week...

there will be laughter
and a comfortable familiarity
that allows us to share
without judgement
confident and safe
and just be
in the moment

I'll be watching the shoreline
listening to the sound of the waves...
what will you be doing?

Hope that you all have a great weekend!
Hugs from The Hostess

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Humble Bungalow Garden Images...

A garden stroll with my camera....
we have been spending more time outdoors getting the garden spruced up for the season.
It's very tiring but so rewarding.

For those of you who do not garden think of it as very deep spring cleaning!

Epsom salt soaks in the tub are a great treatment for sore muscles!

several years old
planted in a pot growing on the northern side of our Humble Bungalow.

Solomon's Seal
thrives on the north side
in a moist and shady area.

Dwarf Pacific Iris
a gift years ago from a gardener who travelled to San Francisco 
on a plant expedition.
I have divided and replanted and gifted these to more places and people than I can remember.

 a varigated Bowles Mauve

the bees love these

Many apologies but the name of this plant escapes me at the moment

that seems to be happening more and more.

A colleague of mine says that as we age we get too many bits of data stored in our brains 
and we need to purge some to free up space to allow for more
so nature deletes randomly!

Thankfully most memories are still vivid and intact.

At one point we were going to excavate and put in a pond
it never happened but the frog remains
he is tucked into the foliage
and he sits very still

speaking of waiting...

Our beloved Pepper
lies down on the carpet and shows us her belly when she is hungry
we think she looks so cute
and isn't she clever?

she is so purr-suasive
and we have given into these cute tactics too often
so the vet has instructed us to cut back on the amount that we are feeding her...

So now it's tough love
and it hurts...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Avocado Green Goddess of Goodness

I love avocados...
they are gorgeous green yumminess.

Each bite packs healthy heart nutrition and the taste is amazing.

I like to:
mash them on whole grain bread that has been toasted
slice them and add to salads
eat them directly from their skin with a sprinkling of sea salt and a drizzle of Worcherstershire sauce
I've halved them and stuffed fresh shrimp in the cavity with a squeeze of lemon for an appetizing lunch.

Guacamole Dip
recipe makes about 3/4 cup

Cut 1 large avocado in half and discard pit
scoop the ripe avocado flesh from the skin into a mixing bowl
Mash the avocado with the tines of a fork
1 tablespoon finely diced onion
1 tablespoon cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 small fresh red tomato diced
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Place in the fridge for 1 hour

Recipe can be expanded easily if you have a crowd to feed!

While I am in a Green Space I wanted to share a great website for Green Living....
we can all benefit from the latest scientific research and it's never too late to take action and make small changes to modify what we choose to eat and the skin care products that we use.

I read an article in our local newspaper that stated that lead and arsenic were found in many cosmetics...the researchers stated that they thought these levels were safe enough as they were so low that they would not be hazardous to our health.

Why chance it when there are greener choices?

Skin is our body's biggest organ and it absorbs like a sponge so why would you want it to be absorbing toxic products if you could opt for the cleanest greenest products available?

The Environmental Working Group is an informative site
Skin Deep is the area where they focus on rating skin care products...
it's an eye opener.

Whatever you decide the choice is yours...
please consider making an informed choice.

I am now stepping down from the soapbox!

Goodness gracious!
I just noticed that I have blogged 400 posts.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Hermes, books, decor and more....

Do you get inspired by seeing beautiful images of home decor?
Does it make you want to change or rearrange or repurpose some of your current rooms?

I fell upon two great books recently
they were a breath of fresh air.
I sat with my tea and perused each page and pondered.
Is it time for a change?

I might like to redecorate my bedroom and paint it all in shades of white
while keeping the arts and crafts furniture in the dark oak original finish...

It would not be difficult to say goodbye to the floral wallpaper
and the Vintage Redoute Rose prints...
or to ripping up the seafoam wall to wall carpet
and refinishing the wood floors.

It would be hard work and there would be upheaval here for a few weeks...

Sounds ambitious and perhaps a bit daunting...

It might need to be my summer project we could sleep as guests in the room below
and I could action some serious change...
(or maybe not!)

I wanted to share this image from the book with you
an oyster shell encrusted fireplace!

I would never have thought of this would you?
 I can see this shell-y treatment in a beach cottage... 

The second book
Scrapbook for Living 
is a great resource for organizing the home
and it is conveniently divided into chapters focusing on the revamping and refining the home
chock full with lots of lovely images...

like this one
my favourite floral colour combo
white, green, and lime!

(picture taken from the book)

These books are very current comments on contemporary housing and decor
and they show large rooms with ample storage space
which is far from my reality

I am very comfortable and content living in our small Historic Bungalow...
it keeps my tendency for over consumption in check
as there is little space for more than the basics.

I must think carefully and chose wisely what I bring into the home...
(my rule is when something new comes in --- something old must go out)

The Humble Bungalow dates from the early 1900's
so there are tiny rooms
minimal closets

The bedroom closet
which I share with Mr. HB

I should have neatly stacked and folded the sweaters
I've captured the closet as it is...
 black, white and grey 
are the wardrobe workhorses

a punch of colour
is found in a lime Royal Robbins quilted vest (far right)
is a bold interloper
 just the ticket for a drab and dreary rainy day....
 I keep it to wear with this

 My collection of Hermes scarves
not stored in the closet.

scarves are stored in their original boxes in a drawer
and they do not take up much space.
(I have room for more!)

I love Hermes scarves for their

Wardrobe in the Bungalow basement

mostly out of season clothing
and special occasion wear

I am in the process of bringing up my summer clothes
and putting away my winter wear
and I have discovered that I need to go shopping!

What is on your shopping list?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Humble Bungalow Garden...and a Humble Bungalow Pie

Gardener's are never truly satisfied with how their patch is looking
we always feel it is never quite finished...
when compliments flow on a walkabout with a guest
we bend over to pinch a weed or deadhead a bloom that has faded
and make apologies.

Many of us change and rearrange our beds on a seasonal basis.
There are perennials to be divided and new exciting plants that have garnered our attention that we absolutely must purchase, even though we have not one square inch of space left...
not to worry we dig up some more turf and widen the border until there's more bed than grass!

This is the new project I embarked on...
the front bed beside the gravel drive.

Slate pieces littered haphazardly throughout the bed
they allow me to kneel on a foam gardener's pad 
and weed without getting too dirty.


Potted plants add height
and can be moved around
and easily changed with the seasons

the clump of darker green beside the potted plant is a giant rudbeckia 
which grows to about 7 feet and has sunny yellow blooms

Boxwood plants
which will grow slowly and form a hedge which I shall keep neatly trimmed
a little bit of formality has been invited into an otherwise rambling cottage garden.

Much of the garden will remain the same as last year
our season has been stalled by the cold and rainy weather
the past few days we have enjoyed some long desired for sunshine 
and happily the thermometer has been on the rise.

The bulk of the veggies will be planted this coming weekend...

Elephant garlic and Yukon Gold spuds were planted last weekend by Mr. HB

Look at this huge Rhubarb!
It is ripe for the picking
and there's a pie recipe that I would love to share...

I have collected recipes over the past 37 years...
some of them have had to be written over many times as they have been used so much
this is one such recipe...
from Joyce, a former bridge partner.

You can substitute Greek style plain yogurt 
for the whipped cream...
so delicious served warm from the oven!

I hope that you enjoy this pie if you decide to bake it.

As the garden changes
so does my repertoire of recipes...
this tested tried and true reliable winner is my favourite.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

French 75 and Date night...Humble Bungalow Style

Mr. HB and I went out for dinner at one of our favourite restaurants
and this is the floral arrangement  that greeted us...

Italian Fare

 fine local food is offered

It is a large space
because of the number of people who frequent the premises
it tends to be noisy
the wine list is so large
it takes up an entire binder !

We enjoyed a Tanqueray 10 martini 
with the regulation 3 olives to start

we perused the menu
shared a salad
before our mains

I chose the grilled salmon with Yukon Gold potatoes and root veggies
Mr. HB had the rack of Lamb served atop white beans and olives
and after our dinner we went to a club
and danced for several hours to the beat of the music of our friend's band
they call themselves 

I wore my new Josef Ribkoff dress
black fish net stockings, kitten heels
 a black vintage 
Bakelilte bangle

it was a night of fun

I had a French 75
at the club

here is my recipe....

Lovely daughter wrote this recipe out for me
she loves this cocktail and introduced it to me
it is a sweet concoction
sip it slowly
and smack your lips!

I find it interesting that we can learn so much from our children
I never can get enough "learning" in my days

there's always something new to discover
working in a school I am surrounded by bright young minds
with thoughts that are rich and they love to share their knowledge

they are especially chatty when they come to the Library
to do research and find new books

Are you open to new ideas and change?

Have you recently enrolled in a course
or read a thought provoking book?

What do you do to keep your mind stimulated?

(I have recently started doing the Sudoku puzzles in the newspaper)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Lily whites...

White and waxy
delicate and dainty
these are wee bonnets of bliss

The Humble Bungalow Garden
is bursting with a prolific Lily of the Valley bed

White blooms are perfection...

they radiate beauty

a vintage amethyst vase
in the Bungalow Bathroom 
which is filled with an exotic 
 intoxicating scent...

I have no luck bringing in our lilacs
they wilt within a few days
their scent is divine.

I have tried scorching the stems
and slicing up into the stems
 I fear that they are not happy inside the Bungalow
so I leave them to bloom where they are planted.

Speaking of white...
Winter snowdrop images

these could be 

I watched this show as a young woman...
so for me this is a trip down memory lane.

Flowers and scent are deeply rooted
and they speak to me 
do they speak to you?

Do you love white blossoms?