Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Snowdrops...


Here's the Humble Bungalow front porch
the chairs stay out all winter 
while their cream cushions hibernate inside.

I am so longing for a warm patch of sunny weather.
It snowed last weekend and has been chilly
I've needed to wear a 
down coat, boots and gloves.

I admit that I am feeling a wee bit tired and grumpy.


Mighty oaks line this byway...
walking in this neighbourhood of old homes and granite walls
one can glimpse lovely gardens carefully tended year round.


A carpet of snowdrops 'neath the oaks...
there was a garden maintenance company tending this garden.


one of my dreams
 is to have a bed this lush and full of snowdrops...
and while we're dreaming...
I wouldn't mind having a gardener
someone who could do the heavy work 
the serious digging.


Coincidentally 
this dreamy magazine was in the mailbox when I got home.

Beth Chatto came and spoke to our Horticultural Society many moons ago
she was an animated and educated woman whose passion for gardens was inspiring and contagious.
I really must go back to the Society as it was such a wonderful group of eccentrics
who shared knowledge and plant snips and enjoyed guest speakers from around the globe.

I held the job of membership chairperson
 which at the time had 1200 members
I was responsible for the collection of fees, typing up the addresses and mailing out the newsletter.
A group of 8-10 volunteers, all women,
 would meet here in The Humble Bungalow once a month 
we'd stuff 1200 envelopes, lick stamps 
and chatter at the dining table.
The kettle was on and tea was sipped...
"china service"
home baked goodies were consumed
and often toddlers would be rushing about.
I remember fondly the crumbs and chaos of toys 
and quiet after the ladies left...
then it was time to clean up and beetle off to deposit the letters in the post.
Good times!

Gardens Illustrated is a fabulous publication
I treat myself to an annual subscription
if you love to garden peruse one of these issues and you'll see why it's worth buying.
(and we gardeners are a very frugal lot)


Rare Irish snowdrops.


Wow this is a snowdrop!
"Hill Poe"
a late bloomer
discovered in 1911 in the garden at Riverton County, Tipperary.


While on my walk I passed by the flower shop and bought a bunch of flowers.
Parrot tulips
in
chartreuse and white.
Inspired by the snowdrops.


not quite open


I am dreaming of snowdrops
and Spring...

 I need to snap out of this cold weather funk.

Is it time to go out and buy something truly frivolous
or eat some quality chocolate?

What would you do?

Here comes Pepper
I think she's freaked out by the gale force winds that are pummeling the Bungalow
the 100 year old windows are rattling and the gusts are coming through the cracks!
I'd better go.

Tell me what's the weather like where you are?

Thanks for stopping by and spending some time with me here in The Humble Bungalow
I wouldn't be here if you didn't pop in now and again...
Hostess
XO

Monday, February 27, 2012

Chemise please!

The weather has been positively beastly and grey and dull and I needed to seek out some comfort and colour.



I've been very frugal lately because we have the renovation underway and there really isn't anything I "need"
well there is one thing!
So I popped on my grey and black feline printed scarf (the one from my tying tutorial) and my grey duffel coat, over top of black boots, skinny jeans, white tank and my black cashmere sweater...it's no wonder I crave colour!

I was on a mission as our stove top kettle finally packed it in after many years of fine service.

I traipsed all over looking for a new kettle that was to my liking. I wanted something simple and durable yet with a bit of style as it sits on the stove top all the time. I looked at Le Creuset's, Staubs, Copco's and some really disappointing flimsy stainless steel models before giving up and resigning myself to finding one another day.

In the meantime I found some new towels on sale Hammam white Turkish towels and they are every bit as nice as the Abyss towels we currently have in The Humble Bungalow which are over 5 years old and starting to look their age. White never stays pure white forever....


Hammam bath sheet and towel
I have on order the face cloths and another bath sheet.
I'll decide if they'll be upstairs or downstairs towels later.


Quality~comfort
soft~supple~cotton~sateen

(this company also made our Hutterite down duvet)


a chemise if you please!
I have had one of these in the past and they are a delight to wear in the warmer days of summer.
It feels like nothing on but there is a wisp of coverage for modesty's sake.


this style has a wee hint of lace


Pepper thinks I brought home a toy for her to play with!


what's inside?


I spy with my little eye...
a furry tail!


Boo!



Remember that Red Huck
The twigs that I thought would bloom...
well they have sprouted leaves not flowers :(

On my way home from town I stopped off at the local Market for some food.
I also picked up my husband's shirts at the cleaners
and popped my head in the Hardware store...
and found the kettle that I needed!



Stainless steel Paderno
guaranteed for 25 years...
my husband's comment was "that kettle will see us out!"

Embracing frugality I made Osso Bucco with beef shanks and the next day I transformed the leftovers into 
Scotch Broth Soup!


simmering and scenting the kitchen


I wish you could taste this bowl of soup.
You'll just have to trust me that it is in fact delicious!

Mr. HB and I watched The Help on the weekend and I loved it.
The book was a good read.
I'd recommend it
 I mentioned it to Mother and she read it in a couple of days!


I hope that your week is off to a great start!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Memories of days gone by...

Our darling daughter is an avid collector of mid century modern.
(our son and lovely DIL are keen collectors too.)

Teak, ceramics, glass, metal Jere wall art.
She has a great eye for detail and has scored many deals.
It's probably her art history background and all those years at university...
or possibly because I pushed the pram up Antique Row from the time she was a few months old and then later when she was older she'd accompany me to see what treasures we might find and bring home.

Both kids were accomplices on these forays/walks.
We'd have a poke around the shops before heading home to make dinner.

Those days we had very little discretionary income so I juggled the budget.
There were orthodontics, ballet and hockey classes for the children and I was a stay at home mom.
Mr. HB was busy getting his career off the ground and worked long hours and many weekends.
Money didn't grow on trees and living in an old house there were always repairs and maintenance to consider.

We never really did without.
Although there was that one summer I recall where we practically lived on zucchini as it was growing prolifically in The Humble Bungalow Garden. Zucchini chocolate cake, muffins, zucchini sticks with dip, zucchini in soup and casseroles...I am sure you get the picture!
Oh and I would be remiss if I didn't mention that we had to have powdered milk mixed with homogenized!
The kids will never let me forget that summer...

I think that was also the summer our Golden Retriever Rufus, swallowed the fish hook that had been baited with bacon... left on the back deck of Poppie's Gal...and a lead weight went down his throat which the vet said would be certain death if we did not operate.

Of course we opted for the surgery, we loved our dog so much, he was family after all.
The vet's bill was shockingly expensive and we had very little in our savings account.

I remember walking in the neighbourhood and looking down hoping to find coins on the ground.
It was one time I felt truly worried about money.

Somehow we managed...it must have been the zucchini and powdered milk!
We were happy in spite of our circumstances as children and dogs kept us busy and our world naturally revolved around their rhythms.

As time went on we got back on our feet and got really quite good at finding great loot at bargain basement prices.
Many times we'd bring home a piece of Mission or Arts and Crafts furniture that I would have paid for with the grocery money and I would then have to stretch the budget for the next week or so.
No zucchini this time around, it would be vegetarian based homemade soups, casseroles or pastas.

We'd be in cahoots together, giddy in fact, carrying the piece in question from the commodious old Volvo and re arranging the furniture swiftly so it looked like it had always been there...

When Mr. HB arrived home I'd greet him at the door with a kiss and a freshly made cocktail, take his briefcase, and the kids would be bringing up the rear bearing guilty smiles and hugs.

This scenario repeated itself many many times...
and Mr. HB came to recognize the signs.
He'd pause and say "OK What did you buy?"

Wonderful memories...

It's not surprising that both children are not fond of zucchini to this day.
I quite like it myself. I owe a lot to that hardy vegetable!

Darling daughter has an apartment decorated and full of mid century modern.
I posted about her "Mod Pod" awhile back and you can revisit here.
Our son and his lovely wife are raising our delightful granddaughter in a mid century modern home with all the bells and whistles. They are redecorating room by room and the results are stunning.


Rosenthal Thomas china, 
Orrefors crystal glasses
Tapio wirkkala votive holder
darling daughter's apartment last weekend
as she hosted dinner for a friend.

I am thrilled that our children share the love of collecting
objects that speak to their tastes.

Mid century modern pieces are still available locally
although the prices have gone through the roof
as they have become all the rage.

Who knew what we grew up with as kids would become the next hot collectible?
"Everything old is new again"


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Classic vs. Bling

Conservative Classic or Bold Bohemian?
Do you go for the most outrageous baubles or stick with the classics?

My jewelry collection is rather spartan.
I attribute this to the fact that I wear "fine" jewels more often than "faux" jewels.
But not always...


"Basic classic earring collection"



I am always wearing my 30th anniversary diamond studs. 
I can wear two pairs of earrings at a time and often do.



In my opinion these are bolder
a bit more arty
yet still within my comfort zone.


A mix of vintage pins
a MOP scarf ring that Ines de la Fressange says is a fashion "no no!"

I have worn the alien ET style pin on a black cashmere sweater
it certainly got attention.


Vintage Bling 
rhinestones by Canadian maker Gustave Sherman
considered to be fashion jewelry at the time it was designed.

Sold by Birks for a modest price point in the 50's and 60's
(Father gave Mother many parure sets for Christmas and birthdays)
Now the prices are crazy!
They are great fun to wear on a denim jacket or a black dress.

Check this great look on Pinterest.
I was looking online for a Sherman necklace in clear rhinestones 
sadly they are priced around $350 for a simple one.
I found a similar necklace on Ruby Lane Antiques and am waiting for it to arrive.
Hope it comes soon!

So where do you fit in with your taste in jewels?
Are you a minimalist or a maximalist?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Whew!

Not too many words in this post...
I am in awe and bowing to Mr. HB and his expertise.

His firm has been nominated for a  BC Wood award for their latest project at our local university.
It's all good.

Mr. HB has been working his magic with the help of the tradesmen.....
here at home and things are looking good!


the new cabinet
arts and crafts window details
no hardware yet
it's in transit
from Rejuvenation


Quartz countertop
100 pounds and then some
bevelled edges
(bit of a splurge)
installed this morning.


Wide window ledge
ready for some orchids
or Pepper!


My old stackable Frigidare washer and dryer
still swirling, swishing
washing and drying
and it's been eons!

The lacy knickers are at the drying post
they'll enjoy a new steamy machine :)

Looking for that new set
the LG's or Miele's in every flyer that graces our doorstep....


Out of the closet!

Clearing out the closet has been the chore keeping me busy these past few weeks.
Can you say RUTHLESS!
I said farewell to several bags of gently used and unwanted garments.
Clothes that felt like "albatrosses"  items that one hangs onto "just in case"
I feel a fresh new start and have empty hangers waiting...
for a very select new and needed garments.
With Spring just around the corner there will be a few things that I will need to replace, white tank tops and T shirts are always on the list.

I mentioned before how tiny our Arts and Craftsman Bungalow is and that storage is minimal at best.
Prepare yourself....


This is the lower portion of our bedroom closet
Mr. HB has the upper area.
This is my basic winter wardrobe.


Here are the longer winter items.

I have a small wardrobe downstairs which holds dresses and out of season clothes.
I am not kidding when I said that I have pared down...
feeling a bit more like Jennifer Scott's "Madame Chic."

Blogger Mette recently purchased a pair of jeans
 which got me thinking that I could use another pair.

I found a pair of Gap wide legged jeans at the consignment store
where I met and chatted with Sheila from Ephemera.


I'll wear these with heels...
 red shoes would be fun!


Jones of NY
sweater jacket
in shades of grey...
a thrift shop find this week.


Speaking of grey
Pepper's catching some ZZZ's

The weather has been dreary and grey
 so I have imported some lovely scent and colour to The Humble Bungalow


I'll plant these hyacinth bulbs in the garden when they are finished cheering things up inside.


These may look like twigs
but they are so much more...
these cuttings will be abloom with pink and red blossoms in a week or so.


Perusing this coffee table book has inspired me.
The architecturally designed homes featured inside are beautifully decorated 
in a rather rustic Pacific Northwest fashion.
Antiquities, books and massed collectibles add such richness to these amazing abodes.

Rather like those trusted true accessories that add interest to a minimalist basic wardrobe.

Do you have a walk in closet or a teeny space like mine?
Is your wardrobe style more
or less?



Sunday, February 19, 2012

IPads, Apps and Autism....a divergent post.

Recently I attended a workshop that focused on Apps for the IPad to use with students that have autism.
If a child is diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder they can be high or low functioning, may be verbal or non verbal and have challenges when it comes to learning basic skills and attending school. They do not learn in the same way that the mainstream students learn and need specialized programs and support to be integrated into the school system.

IPads and their specialized Apps are giving families with autistic children new hope.
The technology is affordable and easy to use.
These tools are changing and revolutionizing lives....



60 minutes did a segment which illustrates exactly what we were learning about in our workshop
it's about 13 minutes long and I feel that you'll have a far greater understanding and appreciation for the impact of this technology after viewing this clip.



I have an IPhone and have downloaded some of the free Apps to test them.
One autistic student in my class has been hooked from the first swipe and his eyes light up when he uses it!
An IPAD is on my Wish List now.
Steve Jobs and his creative and talented team have made an amazing product.
I don't think they thought about or focused on this aspect of society when they were designing the IPAD.
The IPAD is giving new hope and a voice to the autistic community.
Parents of autistic children are moved to tears when they see what a difference this tool makes to their children.
It's pretty humbling...


I understand why so many people felt compelled to bring flowers to the Apple stores when Steve Jobs passed away.
Our lives have been forever changed by this visionary.


Beyond the ASD students we are using it with our other special needs students. Two of our Down's syndrome students have their PECS systems on the IPAD. PECS is a communication tool where the student and teacher, assistant or parent engage in dialogue using symbols. This tool has reduced and virtually eliminated frustrating behaviours that result from an inability to communicate wants and needs.

I am passionate about this field and although this is not a usual Hostess post I felt that I would share some of this news in hope that you might better understand what our special needs members of society are excited about.

If you have a special needs relative and the family has an IPAD a great gift would be an ITUNES card. There are hundreds of fabulous Apps out there, some of which are free. I would suggest that you do some research before buying by visiting sites that review and critique these products because there is an overwhelming amount of apps out there!

For reviews and suggestions of apps check out Dr. Gary Brown's site
another site that might be of interest is I Educational Apps Review.

I hope that you have followed me this far in the post and have learned something new...
my next post will be something more fluffy I promise!



It's our son's birthday today
he's 31.

Love and Hugs
XO

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tidbits, minimalism, and reads at the ready.

It's been a busy week and I am gearing down for the weekend.


I've been wearing my minimalist wardrobe
adding different accessories so I don't feel bored or stale.


I have worn these boots 3-4 times every week.
Tunic tops with black slim leggings and boots
is a silhouette that works well for me.


Scarves are my "go to" accessory...
my scarf wardrobe is fairly large.
Long oblongs in cashmere, wool, cottons and blends
patterned prints, plaids and plains.
Silk squares 
always with hand rolled edges 
signed patterns 
from Hermes to Lanvin.

I look for scarves whenever I go into consignment shops.
My budget does not allow for exclusivity of purchasing brand new Hermes.


I've been mixing up earrings
I used to wear the same combination every day and change only for evenings out.
Variety makes my minimalist wardrobe feel fresh.
 I have decided that to simplify dressing 
it cannot be large or be full of splashy prints.

I am sticking to the neutral shades.
The Fashion Police have advised that this will be fine as long as I wear some red gloss
and add a bit of colour elsewhere.


My new Caroline Vaile wrap top
half price at my fave boutique on "The Avenue"
made in the USA
a fabulous weighted knit in jersey
doesn't hug the torso like a girdle and show off any ripples
very flattering 
 a tank or camisole is needed underneath
 I fear that I would look like a woman of ill repute if I neglected an undergarment!

Our son has a birthday this weekend...
he'll be turning 31.
He's a fabulous fellow and Mr. HB and I are so proud of him.
Happy Birthday!


I bought this book after seeing the movie Julie and Julia which I loved.
Hope that it will be as entertaining as the movie.


The UK Country Living magazine arrived...
I savour this with a mug of tea
from the delicious cover to the very last page.


Doing a little research on what the designers are showing for Spring.
Spending will be held to a minimum as the reno is in full swing...
Hope that I can re work my basics from last spring and summer.

I don't really "follow" fashion to the extent that I am a slave to fashion.
Following the latest trends feels strange to me...

There's a fine balance when one hits the other side of 50
not wanting to enter the frump zone
or looking as if one is trying to relive their youth...
I wear what suits my body type, what makes me feel good and what I can afford.

Tidbits...
thoughts...
 sleepy Pepper...


Dreaming of a quiet weekend
sleeping in later
relaxing.....

What are your plans?