Friday, November 30, 2012

Musings and the winds of change are blowing through The Humble Bungalow

Thank you all for your warm wishes and wonderful comments on my blog yesterday.
You made my blog anniversary something special.
I am very grateful.

Random thoughts are zigging and zagging while I sit calmly sipping my tea.
"Be still my mind" I mutter aloud,
 and yet there's no silencing the voice within...

Retirement has been very much on my brain of late.
I think that there is a change blowing in the wind.

I've been working for the same school district for almost 25 years!
Mother's health is gradually deteriorating, her mind is getting muddled and she is confused about her banking, investments, and worries more often about simple daily routines.

Plus I have been getting almost every cold and flu bug going around in our vast school.
I am home sick today with the stomach flu.

So I'm pondering a change...thinking out loud today here on my blog.
I could work part time doing something completely different that feeds my creative soul...

What might be available for an older woman like myself?
Or do I simply retire and take care of my family, home and garden at a slow pace?
I love to potter about in the kitchen and would love to join a fitness class and get back into Yoga.

There is a sense of reinvention brewing...
I can feel the vibration of change in the air.

I'd need to be much more frugal
 but in the end would it not all balance out?

Luxury is not buying the latest Hermes scarf or the most popular designer hand bag.
Luxury is a gift, a gift of time that money cannot buy.

 Merriam Webster defines luxury as:

a condition of abundance or great ease and comfort : sumptuous environment

something adding to pleasure or comfort but not absolutely necessary

an indulgence in something that provides pleasure, satisfaction, or ease

Devoting time to an elderly parent, tending to a wonderful husband, reading more books, painting and perhaps taking a writing course or volunteering with The Art Gallery or in a soup kitchen.

My wardrobe is small and consists of mostly neutral shades.
I think it would transfer very well into a casual lifestyle....
Lunching, volunteering, taking Mother out and fitness/Yoga classes I'd certainly have plenty of options in my closet.

It was mid week when I snapped this shot and my outfit is very casual.
My days are very busy and active at work so I don't opt for dry clean only garments
plus anything that rides up or shows off too much flesh is not going to make the cut.

Gilmour mushroom toned tunic top
black ponte knit leggings
black boots
(very affordable and pedestrian ~ Hush Puppies)
Burberry wool scarf
Sherman pin
(Gift from MIL eons ago)

The old washer and dryer are going to be vacating any day now as the tiler will be back on the job
The new LG's will arrive after the tile has been completed.

This brooch always gets comments.

Chester likes to get in on the action!

Change is inevitable
life does not stand still.

“Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation, which is not nurturing to the whole woman.”
― Maya Angelou

My thoughts today...
embracing honest feelings and listening to my heart.

Be Well.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Humble Bungalow celebrates a milestone...

The Hostess of the Humble Bungalow Blog is celebrating a birthday!

I really don't know where the 3 years have gone...
November 29th began an adventure.

It's been quite a journey since I ventured down this road
lots has happened and I have published a rather staggering amount of writing...
as of today 734 posts and counting...

You met "the glove"
my partner in domestic crime against grime.
We are constantly armed and engaged in a battle. 

You learned that my favourite flowers are roses
that I grow David Austin Roses in the garden
love to arrange bouquets
cooking, reading 
being a wife, friend, mother and grammy are the very core of my being and they bring me immense JOY!

I have a passion for pearls that borders on an addiction.

I've shared so much of my personal life
chattered on about everything and then nothing
some of you have been with me all the way 
and I love receiving all your emails and comments.

My OOTD for this event is something so unremarkable you'd never look twice

I'll put on a bit of bling...
did I mention how much I love and appreciate MR. HB?
He and I have been together forever
and married for 38 years
we honor each other and indulge in date nights

I may pour a glass of something fizzy

It's been a gamble...
let the chips fall where they may

I took a leap 3 years ago and had no idea that I would make such warm connections
that I would actually meet people
through blogging

it's been quite a ride
and I am so grateful that I dipped my toes into this vast pool.

Thank you for coming along on this journey with me
I've enjoyed meeting you in the comment section.

I've discovered many fabulous blogs in cyber space 
 I devote time every day to keeping up with all that is going on in your space
Blogging is great fun!

I think I've still got lots of work to do 
here in The Humble Bungalow and I hope you'll tag along.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Pillow talk ~ Hostess Tips for Stress Free Holiday Shopping

Do you remember the film Pillow Talk?
The vintage rom com starring Doris Day and Rock Hudson.

Mother and I spent many happy hours watching films with Doris Day and Rock Hudson when I lived at home.
Father wasn't a big fan of this genre, he preferred James Bond or espionage films.

Mother and I went for a drive this past weekend and did some shopping at Mattick's Farm.
Homebody has sumptuous imported linens and Danish porcelain pieces. It's my new favourite spot to shop for gifts and home decor items.

I managed to find a pillow for our new love seats.
My back aches if I do not support it with a cushion,
it's because I am short and my feet cannot touch the ground without the extra padding!

Belgian Linen 
in an off white shade
the cover is removable for laundering

Chester is giving it the sniff test.

checking the construction

I think he approves.

Over a cup of freshly brewed tea I made out my annual Christmas Do List.

Things to make and bake and take.
Scottish Shortbread
Rum Balls

List of hostess gifts and ideas...
linen tea towels and napkins
jams and jellies
fancy vinegars
olive oils

List of people that we buy gifts for, mostly family and friends
 ideas jotted down beside their names.

Things I need to do...
buy, write and mail the Christmas cards
order the turkey
buy the Christmas crackers
get the tree
buy a wreath for the front door
buy some poinsettias
plan the menu for Xmas dinner

Decide on the table cloth and napkins for the turkey feast.
If a new colour is in order buy the cloth and napkins ahead so there is no last minute panic shopping.

 I try to shop ahead close to home 
in smaller shops nearby 
to avoid stress of parking lots and crowded stores.
Walking to the shops is a bonus and I'll frequently indulge in a seasonal treat ~
an egg nog latte from Starbucks.

When I bake, write cards, or do the wrapping I put on my favourite Christmas CD's.
I'll light an aromatic candle and sip a cup of tea or perhaps a wee sherry.
It's so much more pleasant and helps me get into the spirit of the festive season.

I'll keep my shopping list in my purse and make notes as I shop
that way I can keep track of who I have bought for and therefore do not over buy.
I could use my IPhone too but old habits die hard!

Make and plan ahead some meals for nights when energy is waning.
Aim to get to bed earlier to avoid falling ill.
Hydrate with plenty of water
breath deeply and mindfully.
Try to give yourself ample time to accomplish your tasks
rushing just makes one frantic and nerves can get frazzled so quickly.
Be kind to others and don't let the rudeness of others get you down.

Try to schedule in some pampering at the Spa 
or set some time aside 
a few hours at home for a restorative facial 
and a relaxing soak in the tub.

I savour and enjoy getting ready for the holidays
making it easy and enjoyable is how I manage to make the most of the pre-season busy~ness.

 I almost forgot
Remember to smile!

Best wishes

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Love ~ Seats...

Our tatty leather love seats were well beyond their best before date,
the leather had split and cracked and they were looking shabby ~
unfortunately not in an English country cottage way or we would have kept them.
In hindsight I think we paid way too much for them when we purchased them a dozen years or so ago
and their quality was lacking.

Happily they were snapped up by a family we know with young children,
we are overjoyed to see them go to a good home rather than the landfill.
(one thing I can't stand is waste and I try very hard to recycle)

I wanted to have some lighter slip covered pieces like Janet at The Gardener's Cottage has in her living room.
I'd love to have her decorate my room like she did for one of her friends a while back, and if she lived closer I'd invite her over for tea and ask her advice!
Go over and take a look at Janet's living room and see what I mean.

We have dark wood wainscoting and our room is teeny tiny so it's a challenge and my thoughts are to keep things simple and on a small scale.
I wanted to have something plush and comfy and something that was within our budget.
So we took a look at what IKEA had to offer and found two affordable love seats with washable covers.
They have been shipped over from the store in Richmond and have been installed...
I need to find some extra cushions and perhaps add a few choice items...

I've got a scented candle for ambience
so far...

the family room opens right off the Humble Bungalow kitchen

the wooly cushion is one I hooked when I took a course with my girlfriends
we are known in our circle as "the hookers"
(I think I'll put this one downstairs in my hobby room when I find some new ones)

The love seats are Ektorp
and the covers are in the natural linen shade.

We've ordered a new LG steam washer and dryer set
which will be delivered after the in floor heat and tiles have been finished. 
They are large and sturdy so the slip covers will be able to be laundered at home.
I have been paying to have our duvet and cover laundered over the years so we'll save time and money.
Which is great because the new LG set is more expensive than I thought it would be!
Our old washer and dryer are over 20 years old
and we will be giving those away as they still work.

I'm pleased with the love seats and hope to enjoy many years of comfort sitting on them.
We do not change up our furniture or appliances very often 
when we buy it's with an eye for longevity.
~ ~ ~
 Slim Paley's home in Santa Barbara showed us her home dressed up for American Thanksgiving!
It's absolutely gorgeous!
Pop around and see for yourself.

What home keeping projects are you up to?
Are you adding your personal touch for the autumnal season?

Take care and have a great weekend.

~ ~ ~

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving!

Our neighbours to the south in the USA will be celebrating and giving thanks today.
It's a reminder for us to count our blessings.

Being thankful is something that I try to do each and every day.
Gratitude is a powerful tool...
it's especially important as it brings perspective and humility.

We have much to be thankful for and one does not need to go far to see that.

It might be the homeless person on the street whose hands are out
the young child who comes to school hungry
or the confused elderly woman in the grocery store who is having trouble figuring out what to put back as she does not have enough money to pay for all the groceries.

Take a moment 
and pause...

I'm remembering my father today

as families gather to share a meal
there are many loved ones who will be missed...

reflect and give thanks
not just today
but everyday
for the rest of your life 
for as long as you live

it's very humbling

 (I'll get down from my soap box now and stop pontificating!)

Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Une femme d'un certain age: Show Us The Brooches!

Une femme d'un certain age: Show Us The Brooches!

Brooches and Pins over at Une Femme

Une Femme asked us to join her today and show some of our favourite brooches and pins.
I chose two of my favourites, both are vintage and sparkly, made with rhinestones by the Canadian company Sherman.

Mother has many demi parure sets given to her by father for various birthdays and Christmases. These were sold through Birks a Canadian jeweler that is still in business.

My husband gave me the clear one and my MIL gave me the pink one.
I do like a bit of bling for evening, especially over the festive holiday season.

Care to join une femme today?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Hasty post OOTD

The slumber of fall has crept in and settled ever so slowly...
it's possibly fatigue, the flu or that desire to cocoon and hibernate.
Bedtime beckons early and in the name of sanity and beauty rest I listen and do.

So it's a hasty morning post that finds me snapping a few shots of my OOTD.
A cozy chill chasing remedy to the early morning damp...
which can be likened to a foggy patch of gloom.
(it sounds so much better when Tabitha speaks of it on her Scottish soil!)

Don't you love her way with words?
and that wit...

black leggings
black tunic top 
dark blue long wool vest

laundry hanging in the background and a sneaky kitten Chester!
My hairdresser did a bang up job layering the ends of my bob
it's got way more curl and I am loving it.

Sherman butterfly pin
a gift from my MIL many moons ago

As I said this must be a hasty post
duty calls...

Now off you go and have yourselves a delightful day and keep your chin up.
Hugs from the Hostess

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Stormy Sunday

The wind is howling, blowing a gale and I really felt like staying inside.
I could have stayed in bed all day and read but Mr. HB was busy downstairs putting the 3rd coat of Simply White Benjamin Moore paint on the walls.
One cannot let the team down and laze about all day.
I feel the need to fuel the man I love and so I got busy.

"Nothin says lovin like somethin from the oven!"
Do you remember that ad from Pillsbury?
Amazing ad men/women and their slogans infiltrated our homes via the TV.
I am sure that I am not alone in remembering their songs and catchy lines.
I found a site that has a list of case you've forgotten.

Dressed in my black Yoga pants, a casual tank and a warm LULU hoodie ~ my OOTD.
Oh and I had an apron over top as I messed about in the kitchen.
Messy is my habit when cooking or baking,
many garments have been mortally wounded when I forget to get my uniform on!

There is a "party of two" in The Humble Bungalow.

Ina likes to cook for her husband and she makes him some wonderful meals.
I have tried and really enjoy her chicken pot pie, it's comforting on a stormy night.

She has a tasty rustic Apple Crostata dessert that I have always meant to bake
but never quite got around to it until today.

It's a snap to make using the food processor.

the pastry recipe makes enough for two tortes
one gets put in a plastic bag and frozen for future use

a couple of large apples sliced
some grated orange rind
are piled atop an 11 inch pastry round leaving 1 and 1/2 inch border
which is then folded up over top of the apples

a crumbly topping 
consisting of cinnamon allspice flour sugar and butter
goes on top

baked on parchment paper
at 450 for 20 minutes until golden
I think I'll serve it with a dollop of coconut Greek yogurt.

You can find the recipe here.

On the menu for tonight is honey glazed chicken
served over rice
with wilted spinach and stir fried red peppers.

Mr. HB has a roaring fire going in the fireplace
we are both relaxing in the living room
he reading his current novel on his IPAD 
and I'm blogging on my laptop.

If only I had some Harvey's Bristol Cream...
~ ~ ~
Keep Warm

Sunshine award via The Rich Life on a Budget...

I was caught off guard reading Adrienne's blog recently and seeing at the very end that I, the Humble Hostess, was mentioned in the Sunshine Award.
Many thanks for including me.
I'll pass this on to a few other bloggers.
I hope they will be able to join in.

1) What’s your favorite scent and how long have you been wearing it? 
Oh It's Hermes...
Voyage d'Hermes 3 years and counting... a fresh new gift package purchased at Holt Renfrew on our recent weekend getaway.

2) Do you prefer city living or the country life? 
I live in a very small city, a 15 minute walk to's quiet here. I think I live in the best of both worlds!

3) Lipstick, lip gloss or chapstick? 
Revlon's new shea butter lip gloss...and Chanel's Absolute Rouge.

4) If you could have a chef, a housekeeper, a driver or a masseuse at your service 24 hours a day, which would you choose? 
Really I'd love all of them! But the masseuse would be divine.

5) Where do you do most of your shopping for clothes: online, malls, discount stores (like Ross), boutiques, thrift and consignment shops, or outlets? 
I'd say my local boutique and not far off is Land's End with thrift shops not far behind.

6) What is one food that you can’t stand the taste of? 

 7) What’s the last movie you saw in a theatre? 
Skyfall... James Bond 007... Daniel Craig!

8) Drugstore or high-end designer makeup? 

9) If you won a round-trip ticket for two to any destination in the world, where would you go and who would you take? 
Paris...with my husband!

10) Real “old fashion” books made with paper or electronic reads?

Paper books...

The Sunshine Blogger Award Rules are:

1. Include the award logo in a post and/or on your blog sidebar.
2. Link the blogger who nominated you.
3. Answer 10 questions about yourself.
4. Nominate 10 other fabulous bloggers and ask them ten questions.
5. Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blog, letting them know about the award.

I nominate the following 5
I know it's not 10...if you are a blogger and want to join in please send me a comment and a link.

Jennifer A Well Styled Life
Tabitha Bourbon and Pearls
Sunday Taylor Ciao Domineca
Debbie She Accessorizes Well
Janice The Vivienne Files

My questions...

How long does it take you to get ready to face the day? Showered and all make up applied?

Do you think that you could write a novel?
If yes...what is the topic?

What celebrity or famous person would you like to have dinner with?

What is your favourite type of chocolate?

If you could live your life in someone else's shoes for one day whose life would you be living and why?

What would you most want for Christmas if you could have anything?

What is your favourite food/meal?

Tell me what book you are reading...

If you were to be dispatched to a deserted island what would you pack?

What movie could you watch every week for the rest of your life?

Thank you for taking part...if you did participate and if not...
I understand that you are way too busy!

Hugs from the Hostess

Thursday, November 15, 2012

~ Second Hand Rose ~ and a cougar sighting!

Shopping second hand, consignment and thrift shops is a greener option.
Adrienne author of The Rich Life on a Budget recently reminded her readers.

It's something I have done for many years but I admit to being a bit of a snob.
I look for the best quality items and often leave with nothing rather than settle for something of lesser quality or something that is a quick mood lifter.

This week I found a new~to~me wool jacket/coat and two books.

Saint James France makes lovely garments and I swoon when I see them in the high end shop in Sidney.
I very nearly faint at the prices though....
imagine how thrilled I was to actually find a piece in my size, colour preference and at a price that I can live with!

Sturdy fabric which hangs well
yet is soft warm and comfortable to wear

I love how they construct these garments
they feel so good on
 maybe it's the sturdiness of the fabrics they use

pocket detail

This can be worn zip open as a coat or closed as a tunic with leggings and boots.
Very versatile and will get lots of wear.

a hardcover book 
home decor ~ natural theme
less costly than a glossy magazine

A novel by an English author new to me 
who has penned quite a few books
view them here.

I've started into it and am already engaged and captivated by the characters...
looks like I'll be visiting Yorkshire vicariously in the next couple of chapters!

Don't you just love finding a great book
or a super bargain at a shop?

What has been your best and most recent find?

~ ~ ~
BTW we had a cougar sighted a few blocks from The Humble Bungalow today.
Students were not allowed outside at recess and had to be picked up by an adult after school.
I hope that no one gets hurt.
It makes me a wee bit paranoid walking the streets.

I think I'll take my umbrella with me when I go out
it has a pointed end and I can open it up
and hide behind it!
Meanwhile I'd be dialing 911 and screaming.

Hope that your day went well.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fortnum and Mason Teas...

Taking tea is an everyday ritual here in The Humble Bungalow.
It might be a restorative mug sipped while doing domestic chores or it might be served in an elegant cup and saucer and savored with a magazine or a good book. Often I sit and look out the window at the garden beyond and take s few deep breaths and ponder.

Emma Bridgewater's tea tray

Good tea is essential.
Testing and seeking out blends and flavours that please your palate is worth the effort.

On our trip to Vancouver I found two such teas which I think are delicious and I am happy to share with you.

Making great tea is simple.
You must boil the kettle to a full rolling boil
put some of the boiling water in your tea pot to warm it and let it sit for a few minutes
Pour out that water then add your tea
if it is loose tea leaves you'll need
one teaspoon for each cup brewed and "one extra for the pot."

Let it steep at least 5 minutes
then using a tea strainer pour into your cup
drink plain 
add milk
a squeeze of lemon
and possibly a bit of sugar
it's a matter of personal taste.

Sit back, relax and enjoy the moments
taking tea is a ritual worth cultivating.

It is of of life's simple luxuries.

Like linen tea towels...
they are the towels of choice here in The Humble Bungalow
many of mine are soft and worn with regular use
I have trouble parting with them when they do get holes from years of wear.

Irish linen is wonderful
My family hails from Ireland
they fled when the potato famine struck and emigrated to the US and found their way to Canada
and settled on the west coast.

I love potatoes and can eat them every day served any way.
If I could eat nothing else for the rest of my days I would be blissfully happy 
passionate even if potatoes were on my plate 3 times a day.

One of my favourite Hostess gifts are a pair of beeswax candles wrapped in an Irish linen tea towel.

Dani Mop Philosopher has been sewing tea towels to give as gifts this Christmas
she's been busy making Scotch marmalade too.

I love to receive home made gifts
they mean so much more.

What are your most coveted Hostess gifts?
To give or to receive?

~ ~ ~