Tuesday, November 29, 2011

OOTD and The Humble Bungalow has a birthday!

The Humble Bungalow Blog is celebrating it's second year in the blogosphere!
528 posts and counting...
no cake or candles to mark the occasion just another post!

What I wore when the skies of the Pacific Northwest opened up and gave us copious amounts of rain.
There was a destination and a mission.
A command performance.
Mother was involved...

Mother and I had a date.
One does not dress down when out with Mother.
She sets the gold standard for dressing
a former nurse
and a fashion boutique manager in her later working life...
she does not dress down
she dresses up
and I do mean everyday.


Mother can be ill and still be coiffed and comported.
She will have jewelry on and pearls are her mainstay beads.
Baroque and Opera length if you please!

A pashmina will grace her shoulders
a handbag or clutch
it's all part of her ensemble.

I wore my Burberry coat
black ponte trousers
black ballet flats
and I carried my new thrifted Italian ostrich leather bag.

Italian Cecconi Piero Ostrich bag 
a surprising find from the thrift shop.

The frosty greeting that met me in the front garden 
of The Humble Bungalow.

I scraped the windows of the Volvo wagon before driving the block and a half to pick up Mother at her condo.

Seat heaters on...check.
Symphonic music tuned in...check.
Lipstick on...check.
Hair in place...check.
Positive attitude...check.

We went out for a bit of browsing the boutiques 
before tucking into a "wee tea" at a local Tea Room.

A repast that engaged us in a lively dialogue that lasted over an hour...
it might just be our new "go to" spot.

The weather has been quite surprising...
clear and cold 
raining cats and dogs
crisp and freezing 
cold  and  frosty....

Garments are hung by the door ready to be chosen at a moment's notice...
scarves and gloves are everyday items now.

Hand lotion is applied several times a day as the chilly weather makes ones hands dry out.
Sipping warm beverages
taking vitamins are part of everyday life here.

What are you doing to adjust to the new season?

Monday, November 28, 2011

"The Official Fruitcake of the Humble Bungalow"

I am not the fruitcake in question!!

Christmas is coming....
we do not go overboard with material goods but we do bake.
It is a family tradition to bake some festive treats and have them on hand for guests and for gifts.
Mother's Rum Balls and Scottish shortbread are made every year without fail.
I posted these recipes here and here.

Mother has a very traditional fruit cake recipe that she used to make every year and ladle full of rum or brandy for many weeks before serving. It is a dark cake, the same cake that we served at our wedding and the wedding of friends. It was iced with almond paste and was quite heavy.

For the past 10 years I have branched out and broadened my fruit cake horizons and have chosen the Bon Appetit Golden Fruitcake to be "The Official Humble Bungalow Christmas Cake."

(efi recently requested this recipe)

This cake uses dried fruit...
it is not an inexpensive cake to make but it is delicious!

Humble Bungalow Golden Fruitcake
(makes 4 loaves 8 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 2)


1 7 oz. package Marzipan
1 1/4 c. chopped dried figs
3 c. dried fruit chopped I used ginger, apricots, craisins, pineapple, and pitted dates.
(choose your favourite fruits)
1 c. golden raisins
1/2 c. brandy

1 1/2 c. softened unsalted butter (3 sticks)
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. packed brown sugar
8 large free range eggs
1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
3 c. all purpose flour
1 1/2 c. pine nuts toasted

Cut Marzipan into 1/2 inch cubes, freeze on a plate overnight covered in Saran wrap.
Chop and combine all the fruit and place in a large bowl with the brandy covered on the counter overnight.
Stir frequently.

Toast the pine nuts, cover and set aside.

The next morning...
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Butter the pans and set aside.

Beat the butter and sugars together in the bowl of a mixer and beat until light.
(I love my Kitchen Aid, I think of it as my Kitchen MAID!)
Beat eggs in one at a time then add vanilla and the spices.
Slowly add the flour in 4 additions, blending well each time.
Stir in the pine nuts and dried fruit and brandy.
Gently fold in the frozen Marzipan.

Divide the batter among the 4 pans, place on a baking sheet and bake until a tester comes out clean...
about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Cool completely on wire racks and then wrap and keep in a very cold room or refrigerate.

These make great gifts and look festive wrapped in ribbon with a sprig of fresh holly.

Paired with a glass of sherry this sweet little fruity concoction has great powers of festive restoration.
Before or after shopping and wrapping gifts...
Personally I love a sliver of this cake served with a cup of tea!

I hope that you like this recipe.
If you make it please let me know what you think of it.

If you have a family recipe that you care to share I'd love to have it here.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

House dressing...

With the Christmas season approaching I like to add a few touches to The Humble Bungalow.
Living in such a wee space I cannot decorate on a grand scale so I choose a few token touches to add a little of the festive spirit. We purchase a live tree about a week before the 24th and then we really get serious and lay on the shine and sparkle.
In the mean time...

The front door must be dressed and a wreath is a "must have."
 I prefer natural and organic accents.
This will last throughout the season because the climate here is cool to cold.
If you were in a hot spot you'd need to mist this daily.

A small tree which I will wrap in some sparkly garland closer to Christmas
for now it will just be green.

Paper whites
 bulbs of distinction 
they grow tall and bear the prettiest white flowers 
which have a rich and heady perfume.

I use this glass building block for paper whites every year.
The glass beads can be purchased at most home decor stores.

It's busy times here in The Humble Bungalow.
Mr. HB is stringing up the exterior white lights
while I am inside tidying up and doing laundry
(and yes, I'm blogging!)

How are you dressing your home for the season?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Chanel and shopping...

Lovely daughter in law and I tripped the light fantastic and went to the shopping mall to buy some Christmas clothes and toys for the adorable Miss Isla, grand baby extraordinaire.

Our expedition started out at Starbucks for some yuletide lattes...

We found many cute things for her at The Gap
and then we traipsed into the big toy store...
Toys R Us and found a couple of board books and an educational toy.

We also checked out some boots, shoes and lingerie at The Bay...
our very own Canadian store which has been sold to an American conglomerate!

I found some new lip gloss from Chanel...

Rouge Allure Extrait De Gloss
#517  Triomphal
which is
A Limited Edition Christmas Colour.

Rouge Allure Laque
#74 Dynastie

I sat on a tall chair which I had to jump up onto
(I am height challenged so lovely DIL asked if I needed a boost!)

I managed on my own however it was a very ungracious looking move
as I was
laden down with parcels and bundled up in my Burberry quilted coat.

Perched on the chair I was there for all to see as the cosmetician tried several shades
( I think several passers by were very amused!)

after testing, swapping and swiping
we decided on two new colours...

Dynastie is for daytime
the Triomphal is bolder and richer 
perfect for nighttime.

The super glossy one is a bit of a change for me
but it catches the light and will look good in the evening.

Lily was the name of the gal at the counter...

 she added some samples of Chanel No.19 
which is a grassy lighter green scent.

Quite a departure from Mother's signature scent Chanel No. 5.

We were home in time for me to wrap the presents.
This year I have vowed to wrap as I buy...
don't really know why I just feel like it.

Last week I bought Michael Buble's Christmas CD and he does have me in the spirit already!

It's the eve of the weekend here and I hope that your weekend is a dreamy one...

If you are shopping Black Friday Sales
be careful of those bargain hunters
I read in the paper that they can be dangerous.

I'll be posting my Christmas fruitcake soon so stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving !

Happy Thanksgiving!

In the US it's Thanksgiving and there will be families and friends gathered together to share in celebrations.
There might be a turkey and the traditional dishes on the menu
or possibly it will be a vegetarian or vegan feast.
It may be simple fare or a gourmet dinner.

You'll probably be dining inside in a heated home,
you might be the hostess or a guest.

Hunger is a something you might never know...
there will be food banks giving out groceries
and organized dinners provided by dedicated volunteers
feeding the homeless and those down on their luck.

Our simple table set for Thanksgiving last year.

However you celebrate I hope that you have an enjoyable day thinking thoughts of gratitude.

You could be volunteering in your community helping the under privileged,
even digging deep into your pockets to help
share some food with someone who is less fortunate.

It is always better to give than to receive....

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Walking in the rain...

The skies opened up with torrents of rain...
the streets slippery with liquid sunshine
booted and clad in rain gear
I venture forth...
with trepidation...

fallen leaves
slick streets

red leafed boulevards

heritage trees clad in autumnal coats
with sturdy gnarly trunks....

granite and lichen
complimenting each other...

fence and leaves 
harmony perchance?

the road rising up ahead...

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

traditional gaelic blessing

berries along the way...

a decaf low fat latte as a reward... 
a port in the storm

the village coffee shop
a respite from the elements that nature has shared with us today...

time to dry out
before embarking on the watery walk back home!

Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.  
~Roger Miller

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Blogger meets Blogger!

I got to meet a blogger face to face!
We arranged to meet up at the local Value village store.

Sheila from Ephemera is a fashion blogger who posts most every day what she wears and she has been doing this since 2008! She has great taste in clothing and likes to wear bright and bold colours. She definitely has, what I call,
"the fashion gene."

Sheila with her Saks Fifth Avenue skirt!

Sheila wore some really great stockings!

Charcoal Hue tights and Joe boots 
for the "Sturdy Girl Hostess."

We were in the VV Boutique for about 2 hours scouring the racks. Sheila wears a much smaller size than I do so we browsed the racks in the same areas in tandem...sweaters, dresses, shoes, skirts...I found a skirt by Desigual for her to try and she bought it!

I spent $83.93 and came home with some great loot!

It's Saks Fifth Avenue for the Hostess too!

I like the details 
good quality, great fit, soft knit
and it's that shade of grey
that makes my heart flutter.

this looks great on but has no hanger appeal 
and it needs to be steamed to get rid of those wrinkles

I'll wear this with a white long sleeved T shirt.

a hat 

handbag in ostrich leather

I wished that the Liz printed sweater had worked for me 
Sheila found that one but even though it was tagged at medium I was swimming in it!
It must have been mis-labelled :)

Cecconi Piero from Italy

earrings with a tribal vibe

Sheila has Blogger cards...
such a nice touch.

Thank you Sheila I had a great afternoon!

P.S. If you are doing the math I bought a few other small items one of which will be a Christmas gift!

My latest "mud pie"...

It's been quite awhile since I have had the urge to play with my paints...
one cannot create unless the mood is right.

How does one know when the time is ripe?

Not sure but there were some things going on and maybe they had something to do with it...
4 loads of laundry needed washing
it was windy and rainy outside
a steaming mug of hot tea was in my hand
Pepper was chasing her catnip mouse
the house was quiet
I was alone
the music on the radio tuned to CBC 2 was upbeat

I needed to be downstairs in reno-ville to access the washer and dryer
and my hobby room is downstairs next to the guest room...
which both are full of things that had to be removed from the areas that are "under construction"

I will not bore you with all the details but it is a mess down here!

Patience, patience....
it will be lovely when it's done.

Mud pie painting is done for fun.
It's that simple.
Like those early kindergarten days
standing at the easel staring at the blank paper
wearing one of my father's old shirts worn backwards with the sleeves rolled up
all students brought painting smocks and their father's cast off shirts were the usual choices...

the teacher bending close to my ear and whispering
"you can do it Leslie, just wet your brush and dip it in the paint"
I was cautious and afraid of making a mess...
well no more
I love to let the brush ebb and flow over the canvas

I've cut off the right side a wee bit but you get the idea.

Gosh I look serious
actually not the most flattering of photos 

trying to take ones own photo is a challenge
hitting delete might have been the best course of action
but hey I aim for honesty so here it is...

My hair now has a few layers
the new hairdresser thought I needed some to take advantage of the natural wave and I am in her capable hands until Chris gets better.
She has had the surgery,
and is undergoing chemotherapy...

I took Mother to the hospital for a test 
as we were walking in the crosswalk to the parking lot
I saw Chris in her car and I ran over and gave her a hug and a kiss...
I left Mother standing on her own in the crosswalk
sorry Mom!
She was in no danger 
as Chris's car was the one that was stopped at the intersection.

I completely forgot myself in the excitement of seeing Chris.
Gotta love spontaneity! 

Friday, November 18, 2011

The weekend awaits...

It's funny how some weeks seem to fly by and others feel like they are dragging along at a snail's pace.
This week literally flew by...

I can hardly believe it's Friday and what do I have to show for it you may well ask?
The usual stuff that seems to take up a lot of time...stuff that I can do fairly easily because I have been doing it most of my adult life.
The domestic chores, dishes, cooking, grocery shopping, walking, working, laundry....

I find that if I put things away the minute that I finish them I can reduce the amount of clutter and chaos.
Keeping things tidy on the home front keeps me in a zen zone.

My cleaning gal does a fabulous and efficient job on her shift so I am freed up to play with Pepper, chat with friends, visit my Mom, browse in shops, see my family, or explore galleries.
 (which I have not done for a long time)

I have had coffee out with friends, an in home visit with my lovely DIL and her adorable daughter Isla, walked every day rain or shine, started reading Alone in The Classroom by Elizabeth Hay, blogged, took photographs, played with Pepper, and weighed myself only to find that the scale remained the same as last week...
and I ate one brownie!
Pretty tame and slow, a simple life, a life I am happy to be living, a life that suits me just fine.

Look at that sky.
I just love that shade of blue.

I am wearing blues today...

a fringed woven scarf

Worn with black denim jeans, 
white tank top layered under a black sweater.

The Humble Bungalow Garden has gone to the dogs.
I have hung up my garden gloves for the season and will rest until Spring.

Hints of former beauty wilt and wither...

The Black Mondo Grass has produced some berries and seems happy.

A bright red rose hip adds a punch of colour.

In the snow birds are able to snack on these plump and juicy treats.

Two late bloomers 
this hydrangea bush was hit hard by the last winter's weather and I thought it had died but it has rallied
and although it bore very few flowers I think it's on the mend.

This was a surprise!
Romneya coulterii 
not usually putting on a display in November.

On the agenda for the weekend
I will be voting in a civic election
meeting up with a blogger for some thrift shopping
making a dinner that I will double to serve later in the week
and pushing the broom in the dusty bowels of the bungalow basement!

What are you planning to do?
I hope you'll find some time to be thankful and count your blessings.

Perhaps you'll enjoy a nap...
Pepper is an expert in the field...
now if only she could give me a lesson!