Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Seeing Red ~ could this be the fortune cookie prediction?

Red has been popping up on my radar lately...

It's been a star performer in the Humble Bungalow Garden for years...
I plant red geraniums every Spring and place them in a zinc container on the front porch.
They are planted in black pottery planters in the back yard and on the sun deck.

My fortune cookie suggested something new is on the horizon.
While I don't put a lot of stock into fortune messages I did consider what it might mean...

I perused Home Sense and this shiny red Chantal kettle caught my eye.
Could the fortune be "Project Red?"

I like the pop of red.

It goes with the Le Coq towel I purchased in the south of France.

We don't have many red things here in the bungalow.

The guest room's red theme is because I fell in love with this Toile de Jouy bed linen.
It was quite expensive at the time but I didn't care...I was still working and earning good money.

Hence the red pop of colour with the pillow and red hand knitted shawl on the wicker table.
I'm not a "decorator" so I am cautious with home decor items...
I subscribe to restraint over clutter.

Bedside table in the guest room.
Clock, Kleenex, a book and two antique vessels ready for fresh flowers and chocolates.
I place several bottles of Perrier on the table as well.
I want our guests to feel comfortable and welcome.

There's an extra wool throw on the luggage stand at the foot of the bed.

Look at the adorable feet on the Herend piece!

The crude staple repair on this antique bowl persuaded me to buy it.

Pink Roses or peonies are pretty pairing with this cute vase.

Oops this turned out a wee bit blurry...it's hand painted 
made by Herend,  a Hungarian Company.

"The Art of Being a Woman
a simple guide to everyday love and laughter."
by Veronique Vienne

Original watercolour painting found at a community fund raiser on Thetis Island several years ago...
I wonder what that new "fortune predicted project" might be.
 ~ I am waiting ~

I must close for now as
my sister and I are going to take Mother out for a walk and a browse in the shops.
Perhaps there's a pair of red shoes in my future!

“Book your life choices in advance the same way you would book flights, car rentals, hotels, and excursions. Figure out early on in your career whether you intend to be financially independent or marry a rich man, join the ranks of the professional elite or be the stay-at- home type, postpone having children or find part-time employment. Then fasten your seat belt and sit tight as you watch your trajectory veer off course.” 
~ Veronique Vienne ~
The Art of Being a Woman: A Simple Guide to Everyday Love and Laughter

Hope your week is off to a great start.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

A reader asks for my thoughts on creating a basic Wardrobe.

I am flattered a reader asked for my thoughts on creating a small and workable wardrobe.
But I'm not sure that I am up to the task!

Anne I hope that this post will help get you started.
By asking yourself the right questions you might get some direction...
I appreciate you having faith in me...and I hope that I do not disappoint you!

Do some homework before going shopping.
On the internet is so quick and easy...
so many fashion savvy bloggers are online I have learned a lot by reading their posts.

Pinterest is another great place to find inspiring fashions..."Parisian Chic" is one of my favourites.

Window shopping and browsing magazines will give you some new ideas.

Observing the way that garments are put together and styled in the fashion magazines inspires me to "make the effort" to keep my wardrobe fresh and feeling current.
Books on the subject can be found in stores and your local library...
Jennifer L. Scott has written several books on this subject and has many videos on You Tube, she's well known for her 10 piece basic wardrobe.

Every Fall and Spring I go through my closet and look carefully at the clothes that I am putting away in storage until next year.
I mend and launder any garments needing attention before hanging them downstairs in the "out of season" closet.
Then proceed to retire and donate anything that is worn or no longer thrills me.

When bringing out the current seasonal wardrobe I look at each piece with a discerning eye, try them on and decide if they are still in good nick or if they need to be replaced.

I'll ask myself how can I wear these garments in a variety of ways so that I get more mileage out of them.

I go through my accessories and look at the scarves, belts, shoes and boots.
Are they looking tired or worn, do the heels need to be replaced at the cobblers?

Can I update an outfit by simply adding a brooch, necklace or pairing it with tights and boots?

Do I have all the basics covered?

Lifestyle factors big in this...I am retired and lead a fairly quiet life.
I need clothes for walking, playing with the grandchildren, playing bridge and MahJongg at the seniors centre, for dinners and lunches out, the theatre, and casual get together's with friends.
(No gala balls or red carpet events!)

Next I make a list of things that I "need" to purchase...
and I make a small list of things that "might be nice to add."

Remembering that I have a tiny closet helps me rein in my tendency to buy too many pieces.

When I am out shopping I consider...

Does the garment fit well?
Is it flattering?
Can it be worn with other things that I currently own?
Is it good value for the price?
Will I love it for the next few years?
Is it easy care? (I rarely buy "dry clean only" garments)
Does the fabric feel nice against the skin?
Are the details like buttons, darts and seams neat and tidy?

Look in a 3 way mirror and be honest...
if the item matches with your criteria it's probably a good choice.
Ask about the store's return policy in case you have second thoughts when you get it home.

If like me, you enjoy shopping in charity and thrift shops you will not be able to return it if you change your mind so be sure...usually the garments are priced reasonably and therefore if you make a mistake you will not be out of pocket too much money.

Consignment shops are a different kettle of fish...each store has it's own policy on returns and you may be able to take it home "on approval" or put it on hold and bring a friend who will give you an honest opinion. Consignment stores are generally more expensive than thrift or charity shops because they carry "higher end labels" and often designer goods.

Another factor to consider is your budget...
Overspending is not advisable...
if you are living within limited means you'll need to mindful of quieting "the wants."
I mix higher end clothing with less expensive brands...
my g21 skinny jeans from Walmart are a prime example.
I regularly wear my Hermes scarves with inexpensive white tees and jeans.

Start with the basics in a neutral colour.
They need to mix and match so that you get more mileage out of them, making many different combinations possible with the same core pieces. CPW...cost per wearing wins here.

Consider your lifestyle.
Opt for simple classics with clean lines...they allow for accessories where you can add a personal touch.

My core basics would be in black with some grey pieces all in solid shades (no patterns) and include:
 a classic LBD, skirt, pants, jeans, a cashmere sweater, several tops and Tees, tank tops for layering, and a dressy jacket, and a white shirt. You'll need outer wear and depending on your climate you might need several options.

Once you have your core wardrobe you can add more depending on your budget.

If you are looking to personalize your wardrobe with accessories...
shop in ethnic, museum and gift shops...markets and craft fairs.
Antique malls and charity shops often have unusual pieces of jewelry and scarves.
You will find some fabulous items on ebay and etsy too.

Thank you Anne, for asking for my thoughts on this subject...I like a challenge.

I hope this has given you some ideas and that you have fun searching for those perfect garments!
Please email me and let me know how you are doing with this project.

Readers please share your ideas and perhaps list the fashion blogs you enjoy and follow.
Leave a comment about how you approach putting together a wardrobe and addressing the various challenges that we come up against when starting from scratch. We are all in this together.

Thank you,

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Fall is Here! ~ Hello Eileen Fisher

Fall has arrived here in the Pacific Northwest...
we wake to a heavy dew and a chill in the air.
The sun and rain alternate and the winds blow...

The limelight hydrangeas are turning pink...they do this every Fall.

Peeling bark making way for new growth.

The muted tones of our Humble Bungalow glow when the lights are turned on...
our home is not very well insulated and we have single paned windows so I need to wear layers to keep warm.
Socks, slippers, sweaters and vests are my go to chill chasers.

On the seafront the winds can be fierce...

the views spectacular

especially when bathed under the shining sun.

Time to pull out the down vests and Barbour jackets.
Cozy cashmere and woolly scarves.

I'm wearing a longer wool cardigan from Eileen Fisher...
it's not brand new, it is second hand.
But  can double as a jacket or a coat on a mild day.
I do love a classic and a bargain.
Eileen Fisher makes my kind of clothing...
when I head off to Vancouver I plan to go to the South Granville location and shop!
I'll also be heading to the newly opened Nordstroms store downtown.

No embellishments so I can accessorize as I see fit.

Charcoal grey...will go with everything.

Yes ~ it's coming home with me!
I haven't got a lot of things on my list for Fall...
lingerie is at the top and it's a "need" not a want.

Do yourself a favour...
if you haven't read this charming book
put it on your list!

Hope that your week is ticking along nicely.

Perhaps you know someone who needs cheering up?
How about taking them a bunch of flowers?
A cheery bouquet is such a mood lifter.

Cheerio for now...

Monday, September 21, 2015

Rather a busy weekend...

This past weekend was full of activity but it was a pleasant balance of work and play...

A little bit of shopping

(these did not come home with me)

I wore my pearl pendant...
a 60th birthday gift from my kids.
(They are grown adults now but they'll always be my "babies!")
J'adore Pearls!

A little time was spent in the garden 
dead heading hydrangeas and harvesting our first Liberty apples.

Mr. HB took me out for lunch to the Oak Bay Beach Hotel.
I had a huge salad...a Weight Watchers friendly choice.
Delicious and so very healthy.
My weight is up a couple of pounds over my "goal weight" but I am working at getting it back down.

I weeded my closet...donated a bag to the charity shop.
Then I took the remaining summer clothes downstairs to the guest room closet.

My dressy clothes are made up mostly of black and grey shades.

They had a 30% off sale this weekend which ends today ~ Monday.
One white, a bright purple blue and a raspberry.

Last Spring in Paris I had my colours done.
Turns out that I am a Winter...
(who knew?)
Slowly embracing colour and they all go with my black basics and my Hermes scarves!

Jamie at Home Cookbook.

Delicious and an easy one pan dinner.

This was the scene that I saw when I walked along the seafront this week...

I'm exploring a new hobby.
Mah Jongg.
The lessons start this week.

Want to keep my brain cells vibrant and stimulated...
learning something new is always exciting.

Hope that your week is off to a flying start!