Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

As 2013 closes and I reflect on the days, months and events over the course of the year...
inspired by wonderful friends both near and far,
a loving husband, family and precious grand babies.
A cozy home, food in the fridge, and the bounty and beauty of nature.

It is gratitude that keeps me on an even keel.
I find immense comfort living a simple life, finding joy in the small everyday routines.

Perhaps a small celebration is in order...a toast for the things yet unknown.
The good, the not so good and those things that we cannot change and must accept.

I wish you all the best for 2014.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

The gentle ebb and flow of domesticity...is elevated by tea!

Quiet days are such a respite from the busy work that we all do.
Sometimes I like to just sit in the peace and stillness listening to the ticking of the clocks.
I do my best thinking when I am alone.

On a day like this I like to brew a pot of my favourite tea and serve it in a cup and saucer.

One needn't dress up to use a cup and saucer.
I frequently wear my jeans a white tee and a cashmere cardigan when sipping from a bone china cup.

I have collected quite a few pretty cups and saucers over the years.
Sadly they seem to have fallen out of favour.
On a positive note one can find these in thrift and charity shops for under $10.

Mr. HB gave me my favourite blend for Christmas.

I think this might be my favourite cup and saucer.
I love the gold and turquoise blue together.
The bowl of the cup is shallow and wide and feels very comfortable in ones hand.
Royal Chelsea is the maker.

This dainty pattern by Aynsley is cheerful and when the tea is finished you can see the pretty flowers in the bottom of the cup!

As you can see I am drawn to gold and turquoise patterns.
Royal Chelsea 

Now to decide which cup to use...

Royal Chelsea wins again.

Why don't you join me for a cup of tea?

Do you have a favourite cup and saucer?
What pattern makes your heart swoon?

"Architecture is basically a container of something. 
I hope they will enjoy not so much the teacup, but the tea."

~Yoshio Taniguchi ~

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Past...

Christmas has come and gone for another year.
There is so much anticipation and preparation getting everything ready and whoosh it's over so quickly.

While the LG machines are working hard to clean and dry the clothes I thought I would sit down with a mug of tea and have a catch up. It feels like a long time since I sat at the computer and wrote a post.

Meet Charlie.
It is our Christmas tradition to buy a Charlie Brown tree.
We use all white fairy lights and vintage ornaments and glass garland.

Mr. HB bought some Christmassy drink coasters.

He also bought some for the dining table.
I love these, they are so cheerful.

The Humble Bungalow dining table set for Christmas dinner.

I picked up a few sprigs of holly from a neighbours yard.
They trim their tree and leave it on the boulevard for anyone passing by to help themselves.
They've been doing this for the past 30 years.

I got into the red and green theme with our food.

In the bathroom...

The Objibwa duck decoys were nestled snugly between the vintage bottle brush trees.

A wonderful nautical themed wreath was a gift from our friends.
This will be taken out to our boat after the holidays.

Love the organic effect of the rope.

Mr. HB gave me a new Emma Bridgewater mug and some of my favourite tea from Murchies.

He knows how to keep me happy.
Thank you :-))

Christmas is not about the gifts.
It's about giving...
family and friends,
pure and simple.

Well dear readers my tea break is over and I need to go and iron the linen.

Remember kindness never goes out of style.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Humble Bungalow Holiday Greetings

Seems like it's been weeks of baking, shopping and wrapping.
I honestly enjoy wearing my apron and I love mucking about in the kitchen.
There is so much joy in the simple routines.
Washing dishes, preparing meals...ironing the linens.

Waking up early this morning sipping my tea and realizing that it's Christmas Eve.

While I prep the food and set the table in peace and quiet I like to reflect on all the blessings in our lives.
The roof over our heads, the food in the fridge, our family and friends.

I'd like to take this opportunity to say Thank you.
Thank you for all your comments, thank you for reading my words, thank you for all your emails.
Without you I would just be a voice in the dark.

Wishing you good health and happiness.
Merry Christmas.


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Humble Bungalow Sunday Dressing...

I'm taking a break from my cooking and prepping for the party and sitting down with a mug of restorative tea.
I love to catch up on my favourite blogs and see what is new.

We've dressed up our Humble Bungalow with some new wooden blinds. Our former "old" green roll up blinds were looking shabby and the pulls had fallen off.
Mr. HB and I decided that these blinds would be our Christmas present this year.
Fortunately the installers were able to squeeze us in before they closed for Christmas holidays.

They lend an entirely different ambiance to the family room and kitchen and I love the effect.

I opened a new Diptyque candle to celebrate.

Found some new dishcloths and in the nick of time too as the old ones were in tatters.

They are stiff when dry but soften up when they get wet.

Went to my favourite little flower shop Thorn and Thistle and bought some cheery greens.

Love the shade of these...
cannot remember their name.

Chartreuse loveliness.

I place a jam jar inside this arts and crafts vessel as I was not too sure if it would leak.
We have been plagued by water marks on the quarter sawn oak furniture lately.
I've tried a few recipes for removing rings but they just minimize the damage.
If anyone has a great recipe or product that they can suggest I would really appreciate hearing from you.

Well Time's up and I need to get busy.
We've got friends coming by later today to join us for some Christmas cheer.

On the menu:
 ~Appies ~
Homemade tapenaude
assorted cheeses
marinated mushrooms

~Main ~
Glazed Ham 
(Barefoot Contessa Parties)
Cranberry Fruit Conserve 
(Barefoot Contessa Parties)
Spinach Salad
Sweet Potato bake with maple syrup and walnuts
Parsnips and Carrots with thyme and orange sauce
Apple curry couscous salad
Homemade dinner rolls

~ Dessert ~
Nigella's Chocolate Olive Oil Cake
whipped cream

Best wishes for a fabulous week!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas countdown

The Humble Bungalow
and a little Christmas Cheer.

simple wire stars
sit atop the plate rail

nestled between First Nations basketry

This weekend we will be decorating the tree and having our annual pizza party.
We also have a bunch of friends popping by for some Christmas cheer and a buffet dinner.
Finding a place to sit and eat might be a challenge in our wee bungalow.
You know what they say...the more the merrier.

We once had 32 people for a pot luck supper!
It was when "Bungalow Bob" came to Victoria to lecture for The Craftsman Bungalow Society.
Dr. Robert Winter from Pasadena California is the fellow responsible for raising awareness of the historical value of bungalows and the arts and crafts movement in the USA and Canada.
He's the author of several books and when we were in Pasadena many years ago we were able to visit him in his beautiful Batchelder bungalow on the Arroyo.

If you are looking for a last minute gift idea I like this chocolate bark recipe.
It takes just a few minutes to make and then you chill it in the fridge before breaking it into smaller pieces.

Melt good quality chocolate in the microwave.
Stir often so as not to burn it.
I do it in one minute intervals.
Pour onto a foil lined sheet pan and sprinkle with nuts and dried cranberries.
What could be easier than this?
The challenge is not to sample too much.

Do you have any last minute gift ideas?

Try to carve out some time to relax and reflect on all the good things that you have in your life.
Adopt the attitude of gratitude and embrace the spirit of giving.
~ stepping down from the soap box now :-)) ~

Season's Greetings

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Greener cleaner...and an owl sighting.

I realized how dirty the bedroom carpet was when the morning sun came streaming in through the window.
It's funny how on the subject of home keeping that I can be so complacent and not really notice the dust and grime. I used to be so fastidious when I was younger, not that I am a slob by any means, but let's just say I've been letting the team down just a tad.

I do not own a carpet cleaning machine and I did not want to hire a carpet cleaning company for just one carpet so I did some research and was surprised to learn that it is easy to make an effective carpet cleaner using things that one has in their pantry. Cheaper too than running off to the hardware store to buy some chemical infused cocktail that smells toxic.

A recipe for a "Greener" Carpet Cleaner.

You might already have these items in your cupboard.

Mix into a sprayer over your kitchen sink:
 1 teaspoon dish soap
add 1 tablespoon vinegar
pour in 1 cup warm water
add 1 teaspoon baking soda

expect a bit of a fizz!

Thoroughly vacuum the carpet then liberally spray a section that you can reach working from the farthest corner sideways and backwards until you are done.
and vigorously scrub with sponge.
Rinse the sponge frequently making sure that you are not scrubbing the dirt back into the carpet.
Let dry well before you vacuum.

(I made 3 batches of the cleaner to do a carpet about 9X10)

The carpet after washing ~ before the final vacuum.
It was a great workout for the arms too!

My walking partner and I ventured north to the Rockland area yesterday for our 2 hour jaunt.
It was sunny when we started but we got soaked to the skins on the last half hour.
In the middle of our trek we stopped to admire some holly bushes and perched on a majestic oak tree was this owl.
I love owls.
Seeing one during the day is rare.
This little fellow was very interested in the squirrels and birds flitting about and did not mind us taking photos.
I tried to capture an image of his face but he kept turning around.
(perhaps he was camera shy)

One of the most Joyous moments today was the owl sighting. 

Mr. HB hung the family wreath.
It was made by a friend of his mother and father. 
It is decorated with glass balls and studded with rhinestone brooches.
I know Christmas is not far off when the wreath is in it's place...
it feels so Christmassy!


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

OOTD...simple at home style.

It's a slow mo day here in The Humble Bungalow just me and the cats.
The laundry pile is getting smaller, the silver is getting a polish and the kettle has been on at least 5 times today.

It feels good keeping things simple and sensible and not getting caught up in the rat race.
That's the best thing about retirement ~ time to go at a slower pace ~ my kind of luxury.

I can tell that there are some pretty stressed out folks out and about these days.

Like the fellow that drove right in front of me and took the parking spot that I had been waiting for...and had my turn indicator on signalling that is where I was intending to go as soon as the car in the spot backed out....

Or the elderly gentleman who deliberately budged right in front of me in the line up at the pharmacy to buy his lottery tickets!
I very nearly said something but thought why get all ruffled up over such a trivial thing?
Really people where are your manners?

Have you noticed how many people are rushing around and getting upset?
I have heard some pretty rude customers grumble at the check out clerks in the grocery store.
It's enough to make one cringe.
Mother always said "if you can't say something nice don't say anything at all."

It would be so much friendlier if we could all keep our tempers in check and relax.
Are you carving out a bit of restorative time to nourish your spirit and soul?
Something soothing perhaps?

I took an extra few minutes in the shower and exfoliated using this yummy sugar scrub.
I found it at Shoppers Drug Mart for under $10.
It softens and has a lovely scent.

Mother, my sister and I walked the Esplanade in Oak Bay the other evening and this beautiful sunset graced the sky.

Amalfi vintage shoes...soo comfy.

(excuse the grainy image as the lighting is really not great by the mirror)
Skinny jeans g21
Amalfi shoes ~ thrifted
Lands' End navy cashmere sweater ~ thrifted
Champion white top

My house "uniform" is basic and simple.

I have no idea how old these shoes are..
they remind me of the purple Ferragamo's I loved and had years ago, the very ones I wore holes in the soles!

I couldn't resist this orchid last weekend at the market.
I don't think of orchids when I think of Christmas, but my cats leave these alone.
 I think the value of cheerful blooms can never be underestimated.

"Simplicity in character, in manners, in style; in all things the supreme excellence is simplicity."
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow ~

Be kind to others and be gentle with yourself.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Humble Bungalow Porch...dressing it up for the holidays.

Our porch is the first thing that visitors to The Humble Bungalow see.
We like to keep it looking festive depending on the season.

In the summertime it is a riot of colour as there are cheery red geraniums and many flowering plants in pots.
I keep cushions on the wicker chairs when the weather is warm.

At this time of year we have a few potted plants...
and we like to keep the theme organic and natural.

Cones gathered after wind storms in the Ross Bay Cemetery.
Plunked in the vintage tool carrier that last season held fresh herbs.

A succulent from my BFF a gift for our 39th anniversary last July.

My BFF is a generous and thoughtful giver of gifts...
she brought this to our dinner party as she knows that the cats destroy floral bouquets.
I think she called it a lemon cypress.

Boughs of balsam and red Huck twigs, my nod to the holidays.
I may add some holly to give it a red berry punch.

What do you do to decorate your front porch?

This week is a busy one as there are some last minute things to do.
More baking, shopping and some entertaining and being entertained are on the calendar.
Some long walks and cleaning the Humble Bungalow will be interspersed with sipping tea and finishing Tish Jett's new book Forever Chic.

What is on your agenda this week?