Thursday, February 28, 2013

Chipits ~ Chocolate Chip Cookies....

I don't often make cookies but when I do I usually make chocolate chip cookies.
Years ago when the children were wee I always had a cookie jar full of cookies...
when the jar would get close to being empty I'd make a new batch.

Those were the days when all the neighbourhood kids would come by to play.
Moms would drop by for coffee and we'd watch the children play and have some adult conversations.
We might have been discussing the price of food or shoes or thinking about ways to save money.
Stay at home moms needed to be frugal back in those days...
I think they still do.

I used Chipits chocolate chips back then and I still do...
on my last trip to Costco I picked up a big bag and thought I'd whip up a batch for old times sake.
Mr. HB loves to nibble on cookies.

The Kitchen Aid makes cookie mixing so easy.
All ingredients go into the bowl and blend until creamy
mix in the nuts and chips and then shape and bake.

Recipe on the back of the bag
I use way less sugar than the recipe calls for as I don't think they need to be as sweet.

Now to indulge in just ONE cookie with my tea!

If I had a jar full of cookies here on the counter in plain sight I'd be too tempted.
Every time I'd pass by I'd find my hand dipping into the jar.

A friend of mine says that she has the answer to that dilemma
pop them in the freezer and take them out when you need them...
I've been known to eat frozen cookies before so that trick would not fly with me.
Why they even have cookie dough ice cream...

What treats tempt you?
Can you keep them in the house and just say no?

~ ~ ~

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Basics on a Budget...

Do you adhere to a budget?
I do, sort of...
it's a bit willy nilly but I do TRY!

My favourite shop for basics that do not break the budget 
they are not "cheap" 
 the CPW (cost per wearing) is what makes them a great buy.
I can ALWAYS find something that will work with my wardrobe here.

When sales are at 50% or better I only browse for the basics...
I am NEVER wooed by rampant patterns of may sound boring but when I did this in the past they were the buys that were worn once and then they hung sadly passed over forever after in the closet until they were purged by me in disgust!
The basics are neutral and are the workhorses in my wardrobe that I wear over and over again.
They are the backdrop to accessories...
think of them as a blank canvas waiting for a dab of colour or a smattering of sparkle!

I found one new basic today when getting out of the house to ease the cobwebs of inactivity and a release from the domestic chores that have taken most of my morning. In case you think I am complaining I am not...domestics are a big part of my life here in The Humble Bungalow and I truly enjoy pottering about getting things done.

Carilyn Vaile 
(made in the USA)
basic black Tee top in a weight that is flattering 
(especially great for those of us who are not comfortable wearing Spanx!)

This top looks really large but in fact it is not
the sleeves are a bit on the dolman style and 3/4 length which I like to wear at the elbow
it is very sheer and hangs close to the torso
it needs to be worn over a tank top.
This "Splendid" top was not on sale as it is Spring Stock but I liked it so much so I bought it anyway!

I love this lacy "Atmosphere" vest and it is a nice layer over top a white top
not too hot for summer either...

loose weave and it drapes wonderfully
longer in the back than in the front
I think this neutral shade that I would call oatmeal is a great option for a variety of reasons
it's so versatile for starters
can be worn over a dress
capri's or a skirt

it makes total sense when one opts for less rather than more clothes.

Have you been aware of the popularity of dots lately?
I m seeing them every where...

I love the cardigans at J Crew and some of the pretty dresses and scarves in the shops are all dotty.
I might splurge on a dotted scarf too but for now I opted for some cute dotty sox.

In keeping an eye on my expenditures I chose a simple Skimmia posy

which was under $10 and I later divided in two vases
one for the kitchen and one for the powder room.

I got this sweet vase from my BFF as a gift a few years ago
I love the swirly pattern on the matte white background.

Skimmia lasts weeks looking fresh
so it's a great way to stretch the budget.

My orchids are the "go to performers"
 when the Humble Bungalow Roses are not ready for picking.
Orchids are budding out but not in bloom just yet and I do so love having something in a vase to perk me up.

Orchids are budget friendly and re-bloom again and again.

What measures do you take to live within your income?
Are you a budget conscious consumer or do you spend with wild abandon?

Just thinking it might be fun to have you all chime in on this topic 
as it is one that I have been considering quite a lot of late...
what with retirement on the horizon.

I really could use some of your ideas...

Espadrilles, books, and blue skies...

The skies are looking very blue today...
such a welcome change from the grey and gloomy February weather that has hung around for the past few weeks.
Living in the Pacific Northwest one gets used to these weather patterns but I never quite embrace them!
It's the clear blue skies and the sun that make my heart go pitter patter.

Blue Skies = Happiness

Oh there are many more things that make me joyful
but waking up to a sunny day does wonders for my mood.

the house lights up when the sun is shining
whites seem clearer and crisper
I love the glow of The Humble Bungalow when it is bathed in warmth.

this crystal hangs in the living room window
prisms of light to dance on the walls

I picked up a couple of new books
that sound interesting.

I am filling up the book nook so I have some decent reading at the ready.
It gives me comfort to know that I have a stash of books nearby.
Heaven forbid that I should be at sea with nothing to read!

I know that summer is on the distant horizon 
but when I spied these espadrilles I just had to say yes.

they are so very comfy
it's like walking on pillows
and the leather is buttery soft

Andre Assous is a Spanish Company
when I googled them I found out that he is considered the King of the Espadrilles!
Who knew?

If foot comfort is any reason why he has been crowned the King 
I understand!

Life is too short to wear uncomfortable shoes.

Have yourself a lovely day
I hope that you've got something fun on the agenda and that the sun is shining where you live.

~ ~ ~

Are you going to be tuning in The Oscars this Sunday?
I know that I will!
I love seeing all the red carpet gowns and gems.

Mr. HB is outside pruning the roses as I finish up this post...
he is the "King of Pruning" here in The Humble Bungalow!

I think everyone should be appreciated for a superior talent and this is just one of his many gifts.
 (I am one lucky woman)

Clean sheets are folded ready to be put away
and newly laundered pillows are in the dryer...
radio CBC 2 Drive is playing in the back ground and I am about to pop the kettle on for a pot of tea.

I have some reading to do for work this week and all I really want to do is to stick my nose into a new novel.

What's happening in your house?

Take care

French Vanilla ~ (a shop I love)

I've written about French Vanilla before...
the lovely French themed gift shop in the Oak Bay area of town.
I pop in every month to pick up my copy of Jeanne D'Arc magazine and to peruse what is new and exciting.

There are lovely linens, soaps, scarves, accessories and an array of home decor items.
She also stocks and sells Anne Sloan Chalk Paint and is planning to have classes on how to refurbish furniture by using this paint. There is no prep work involved so it saves oodles of time and the results are quite remarkable.
Sheila has a great eye and her shop is full of enticing and tempting items.
If you live in town you really must pop in and check out her wonderful wares.

                             I love black and white and this pillow is well made...

I love the pattern and it's perfect for my kitchen bench seat.

The pillow is hand made locally by a retired woman who loves to sew.
It turns out our children went to school together and I remember them having after school play dates and driving them on school field trips.

She has used a different fabric pattern for the back 
and she made some beautiful fabric covered buttons using the same print as the front.

The pillow is filled with a down insert and is plump allowing comfort at my back.

~ ~ ~

Recently I have been getting a LOT of spam on my blog.
I am not sure what that means in the whole scheme of things
perhaps it is because I do not have word verification enabled 
or perhaps it's because I have been getting more traffic to my site.
(which I do like!)

In any event it is rather tedious deleting these comments and not all of them go into the spam filter.
I am wondering how many of you would be reluctant to comment if I were to enable word verification?
When I comment on other blogs often the verification slows me down as the numbers are blurry.
My eyes are not what they used to be even with glasses!

So reader what is your opinion?
~ ~ ~
Aside from spam dinner is a weeknight special
 a pot roast simmering on the stove, 
potatoes are boiling waiting to be mashed 
and I need to prepare the peas.

Leftovers for Mr. HB's sandwiches tomorrow and maybe even dinner Friday night!

The week feels extra long...
work has been a struggle
I'm a wee bit grumpy.

The city has been digging up our road as there are two new houses going in across the street on the corner
and the storm drains needed upgrading so our driveway was the target zone...
the jack hammering shook the house 
 the cats were startled, 
the windows rattled, 
knick knacks vibrated and skidded on the shelves
there is a big hole out front right now 
 it should be filled in soon and then we can park our vehicles in our regular spots
the gravel driveway 
and in front of our Humble Bungalow.

How has your week been?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

More Hatley Castle photos...

I hope that you are not tired of seeing the Hatley Castle images, these are the last ones!
It's taken me several hours to go through them and then upload them...
Several cups of tea have been consumed and now it's time for me to start cooking dinner!

The Gardener's House

There is a rose garden here!
I spied some of my favourite rose names on the tags.
I WILL be returning to see them in full bloom.

In the centre of the rose beds was this interesting sundial.
The planting was orderly and formal and every rose was tagged with it's name.

The walls are quite tall and they create a wind break from the winds that blow off the ocean.
The heat from sun on the walls must also help keep some of the plantings warm and cozy.

The working part of the garden lies beyond the walled garden.

Gravel paths link the garden borders and beds to the cottage and the glass houses.

There are a few outbuildings on the site that are used by the gardeners.

The vast glass house is still in use today.

The door was locked or I would have taken this photo inside!

Look at those vintage wheels...they open the glazing on the roof for ventilation.

Cold frames butted up against the foundation of the glass house.

A modern "green house" and numerous raised beds.
Many gardeners must be employed full time to keep up with this site.

This rabbit looked relaxed and happy...
after I took this picture he scampered away and I could see just how large he was...
I guess there is lots to nibble in this part of the garden!

Cyclamens carpeted a patch of ground...

so pretty popping up through the leaves.

A Primula blooming and there were no others nearby...

A lone peacock put on a bit of a show for the camera
many people were snapping pictures of this fellow.

That wraps up Hatley Castle for now...
hope you enjoyed the snapshots.

I've got some shopping scores to tell you about so come back soon!


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Hatley Castle...a Victoria treasure.

The day was sunny and mild and we decided to take our house guests out for a bit of a wander.
I had mentioned Hatley Castle as a possible destination to Mr. HB and he agreed.

Hatley Castle was commissioned by the wealthy entrepreneur James Dunsmuir and was completed in 1908.
The links here will give you all the details that you might want to know.

I took over 100 pictures and have whittled them down to just a few.
I hope that you enjoy your virtual tour!

look at the details in this downspout!

Granite is used extensively in the construction.

The grounds are beautiful.

Views of the ocean beyond the terrace.

The Italian Garden

Formal plantings and a traditional layout.

A very gnarled old wisteria.

a massive trunk!

I have seen the mauve wisteria blooming in the summer 
not only is it stunningly beautiful
the scent is intoxicating!

The garden is showing off her great "bones" 
when the flowers and trees are in bloom it is a riot of colour, scent and breathtaking in it's beauty.

Weddings are very popular here and you can see that the architecture and grounds are perfect for staging photos.

I can visualize and bride and groom standing in this spot.

The terrace is to the left of this figure, the croquet lawn below
ocean beyond in the distance.

Witch Hazel

The Japanese Garden is exquisite...

The water features play a big role in this part of the garden.

Lush green grass rims the wee path that snakes along the water's edge.

A pair of Mallard ducks are visible to the right of the bronze heron sculpture.

These are fish ladders that allow fish to go from the lake to the large pond.

You can see how the ladder works here
the fish can swim up and rest above the slat until they get enough energy to make another burst to the next slat.
The moss is such a lovely shade of green.

These smaller water channels were full and the sound of the rushing water was melodic.

Charming bridge one walks over the rivulet of water to the other side.
The arching details are all in keeping with the other Japanese themed structures.

Around the pond the path was made of large stepping stones.

Imagine how peaceful it would be to sit here and relax.
The sun was warm and the pond flat calm.
Mallard ducks were the only things stirring...

The Japanese Garden is heavily planted with rhododendrons and flowering cherry and plum trees.
A future visit will be planned for April or May so that we can see the garden in all it's glory.

Lime Hellebores blooming near the castle foundation.

A view taken from the terrace
the croquet lawn is below the terrace.

I can just imagine an afternoon tea on the terrace!

I will post more Hatley Castle photos soon.
The greenhouse and walled garden among others.

This is as close to Downton Abbey that I have found in our neck of the woods.
What did you think about that season finale?
I wonder what the next season will bring for Lady Mary?

Be Well
until next time...