Thursday, December 14, 2017

A simple Hostess gift....

Every year I make a simple chocolate bark.
It has become a tradition in our Humble Bungalow...
it is a tasty treat.
I love to package it up and give it as a Hostess gift.


I use 225 g package of semi sweet chocolate...
melt it gently in a double boiler or in a micro wave.
Be very careful not to burn it.

I vary the ingredients from year to year.
Sometimes I use almond slices and dried cranberries.

This year 
I am using pistachios and candied ginger.

I roughly chop about a cup of pistachios and 1/2 cup of candied ginger.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper
pour the melted chocolate on top and using a spatula spread it out.
Sprinkle the chocolate with the nuts and ginger 
then put it in the refrigerator to harden.

Break it apart and put into cello bags or a pretty container.
I keep it in the fridge.

Ready for snacking or a handy gift!


This is the "test batch" 
we ate it all up 
 I need to make some more!

I plan to make a double batch next time.

How are your holiday preparations coming along?

I am one of the many volunteers who are serving a turkey luncheon to the seniors at the club so I must close for now.

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~



Monday, December 11, 2017

The Festive Season is well and truly upon us!


Ready or not the festive season is truly in full swing!


Hope that you are hanging in there!


We added a few seasonal decorations to dress up The Humble Bungalow
The faux tree is up and wrapped with white fairy lights.

There is a wreath on the front door...
 boughs and red berries
mandarin oranges.


I spent a lovely hour 
lunching with a good friend at one of my favourite spots...
Pure Vanilla.

The Festive season can get far too busy as there is so much to do.
Cooking, baking, entertaining, being entertained, shopping, cards, decorating, wrapping presents and so it goes...

I need to remind myself to slow down 
and 
savour the simple things in life.

Lets take a collective deep breath...
stop and smell the flowers.


Jude The Obscure is STILL blooming!

Hope that you find some time to savour a few quiet moments this week.

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Mother Nature's paintbrush...


Frosty morning at Quarter Deck Cottage.
The peace and quiet is restorative and so soothing.
Time to slow down, reflect and take stock of all our blessings.


Rainy morning
time to take a moment and be grateful.
Savouring the stillness and listening to what is in our heart...
taking notes and planning
perhaps trying something new.


Perfect time for hunkering down with a great book.
I was sad when I finished this book as I did not want my session at Parisian Charm School to end!

Jamie and I will be collaborating on a blog post about her newest book 
which BTW I totally LOVE!


Clouds lifting and the sun is starting to make an appearance...
hope to get out for a walk in the crisp air.


Time to go for a walk...
a gentle breeze
sunshine
the gulls are swooping and diving into the Salish Sea.


Serene and pristine Peter Cove.


A snug little bay with mooring buoys for the boats of the summer residents.


Kelp and driftwood wash up on the beaches after the storms.


The glorious beauty of Mother Nature at every turn...
so grateful to be alive and in this magical place.


Watching the ferries come and go...
the gentle ebb and flow of the tides
the rhythm that is humming just outside our door.


Our tray on the coffee table with a simple sea inspired collection
shells from the beaches
a few feathers gathered on our walks
the piece of coral a gift from a dear friend
a lavender soy candle made on the island.


The dining room table dressed in a similar fashion.


A book found in the used section of the Island Book Shop...

a new day dawns
there will be ferries to watch
ravens will be cawing
with a mug of hot coffee in hand
my thoughts stray 
as I watch the waves on The Salish Sea beyond our deck.


Views from the sofa...
change as the morning light moves across the Salish Sea
illuminating the trees and valleys 
of Vancouver Island...

Hope that you are safe and snug in your part of the world.
Thank you for popping by The Humble Bungalow Blog today.

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Sunday, December 3, 2017

The Power of Colour....

With so much turmoil in our world one doesn't like to add to the load by being a "cranky" so I gave myself a talking to...

Mother would be the first to point this out
her "voice" a gentle reminder which I have taken to heart...

Thanks Mom.

Attitude of Gratitude.


Jude the Obscure is STILL BLOOMING!


Love the tinges of red on the petals...
they are usually all yellow so this is new and I wonder why?
Is it morphing into its former root stock?


Amazing that there are so many buds and blooms and in December!
Another thing to be grateful for...roses.

Can you see the silver Christmas balls hanging from the pergola?
Mr. HB strung up our Christmas lights and hung the baubles.
In the next image you can see the lights on the back deck strung with the climbing Royal Sunset rose.


Jamie sent me her new book...it is an advanced reading copy.
Her books are such fun to read...she is a lovely person too.
I went on her Ooh La La Paris tour a few years ago.
Jamie has that "joie de vive" and she is an inspiration...
I love her positive energy.

Will be posting on this book after reading the book.
I may decide to post an interview with Jamie on the blog.
I think that would be fun!


The weather has been moody and grey this past week.


Dallas Road looks across Juan de Fuca Strait
where we are able observe lots of interesting cloud patterns.


This view is from The Esplanade where Mom and I walked regularly...
SO
 my resolve for not buying anything new was tested
 when I spied these RED 
Josef Seibel flats at 50% off
BUT
a great way to add some much needed energy and cheer into these gloomy days.


An icy modernist Tapio Wirkkala vase from the second hand shop
smaller than the vintage Wirkkala Tree of Life vase
that I received for Christmas
a gift from Mr. HB at 17
meant for long stemmed red roses...

Mom did not have a vase tall enough to place the dozen long stemmed roses 
that he gave me on Valentines Day
so
 we had to cut them down!!

Can you imagine his shock when he saw them cut in half?
Wise move that he gifted a taller vase which I have kept and cherish and am reminded of that snippet from the past whenever I use it!

 This shorter vase will be perfect for tulips.
Perhaps even some red flowers?


Adding some festive touches to our front porch.
Simple green boughs and red Ilex berries make a cheery display.

Red seems to be the colour of the moment here in The Humble Bungalow.
It has certainly perked me up and been a much needed mood shifter.

Thank you for stopping by...

A dear reader sent me an email asking about the sugar cookies that I baked, 
she wanted the recipe.

Here is my friend Bryce's recipe...


I use butter instead of the margarine 
 I dip the cookies into red or green sugar sprinkles gently flattening them just a wee bit before pacing them on the cookie sheet.
My oven is not as hot so I bake the cookies for about 13-15 minutes
but keep an eye on them as they are not meant to brown.

This recipe doubles well too.

Enjoy!

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Raindrops keep falling....thinking of MOM.


It has been a pretty wet, wild and windy week.
I have felt rather out of sorts...
not blue, 
just kind of irritable...
moody.

Despite these feelings
I've managed to be quite productive.

Frequently when the rains set in I tend to "cocoon"
laying low 
reading, knitting and taking tea.

One advantage of these blustery days is that I prefer 
 staying close to home...
I did go to bridge lessons and play bridge and I made a Grand Slam!

I have baked several dozen batches of sugar cookies 
sprinkled with red and green sprinkles.

I wrote out our Christmas cards while sipping tea by the fire.
Picked up and worked on my knitting project, 
the large lap blanket that is quite large and awkward to manoeuvre.

Of course there has been some reading...
cooking
laundry and ironing.
There is always a lot to do here in The Humble Bungalow.


The newest book is by Mary Lovell 
who also wrote The Mitford Girls 
a book that I devoured and savoured reading...
so I will be expecting the same quality and interesting subject matter.

I broke one of my dental crowns
it fell apart as I was nibbling coleslaw.

There is a temporary on my tooth right now as I wait for a replacement crown.
The crown was 2 years old and apparently they come with a 5 year warranty
so I am relieved that I do not have to pay for another one.
Must say that this was a welcome surprise...


Evenings we have been sitting by the fire in The Humble Bungalow
keeping warm and cozy
which 
makes me appreciate our tiny home so much more.

The dark wood in our bungalow glows with the lamplight
it looks best 
during the Fall and Winter months.

Drafts seem to disappear when the fire is roaring
lovely to hear the sounds of the crackle and pop 
as the wood burns.

Comfort foods and the cold weather seem to go hand in hand.
Soups, Stews, Roasted Vegetables, Mashed Potatoes
all have been cooked and eaten this past week.

Craving warm dishes, 
I have been eating oatmeal for breakfast most mornings.


French inspired...
yogurt with a tablespoon of jam stirred into it, 
a quick and easy bedtime snack.

The sun popped out one day
my spirits lifted
it was so good to see some colour.


Green moss encrusted pillar


close up of the moss 
with the Garry Oak Tree in the background


Lichen and moss on the trees near the Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary.


Our small tree on the front porch
dressed up with white lights
a few festive touches are slowly being added...


I wonder if I am experiencing some of the melancholy that frequently surfaces at holiday time when one is missing a recently departed family member.

It has only been 8 months since mom passed away
I do not weep as often but she is in my thoughts every day
many of her things are here
I am wearing her cashmere sweater
her pearl necklace and using some of her kitchen gadgets.

This Christmas may be more painful than I am expecting...
I know in my heart that she would not want me to be sad 
but how can one not think about the love and the memories
after spending 62 years together?

I try to be positive and optimistic.
No point being gloomy, 
but I do have days
where the sadness is more acute than others...

In the meantime I do not ignore the feelings 
they will ease with time.



I always feel rejuvenated when I get outside on my walks.
The shin splints are less painful so they must be healing.
 I should be able to resume my usual route soon, though I plan to walk slower as I want to avoid exacerbating those pesky shins.

What is new with you?
Are you reading something fabulous?

Have you started to decorate for the Festive Season?


Dewdrops 
lovely as they hang tentatively from the branches.

Thank you for stopping by The Humble Bungalow Blog.

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Friday, November 24, 2017

Hostess style Holiday Wear....in Basic Black

The holidays and the festive season are weeks away and I have been thinking about what I will be wearing...I do not plan to buy anything new this year.
I have most everything that I might need right here in my tiny closet.

If you have been reading my blog for awhile you'll already know how I rely on garments in Black..
those items particularly the classic styles with the ability to be transformed with accessories and textures.

Black is such a versatile neutral...
I gravitate to it like a moth to a flame!

If you can wear white it is another great option...
winter white is another softer choice that works.

I prefer black with my complexion and salt and pepper hair colour...
with bold red lipstick, eye liner and mascara I am ready for an evening out or an evening at home hosting guests.

Accessories are fabulous on a basic black garment.
I think of it as a blank canvas just waiting for some decoration...


INC black tunic top

Brooches, necklaces and scarves are your best bet to dressing up the simple understated black garments.


Baroque strand of Pearls


Artisan designed necklace.

I purchased it years ago and have worn it many times.

It is SO versatile...
I have worn it with a simple white Tee and Jeans
 under a denim shirt
with a leather Moto jacket
accent with a LBD
and here again with the tunic top.


I love having a funky artsy option in my jewel box.


You could wear some sparkly statement shoes or keep it simple with these Ferragamo flats.


A clutch would be another way to add a fun accent.
I have two black textured evening bags...
 vintage eel skin 
sourced at thrift and consignment shops at a great price point.

Textured hose is fun and feels less conservative...

I keep my wardrobe simple and small.
Owning specific Festive Holiday wear would be a luxury.
If I had to dress for a fancy ball or a "red carpet event" I would most certainly need to go shopping.
(however I feel that a red carpet event is highly unlikely)

Do you have a  favourite colour to wear for the festive season?
Will you add a pop of bright colour to your outfit?
How do you approach dressing for the holidays?

Hope you have a lovely weekend and thank you for stopping by The Humble Bungalow Blog.

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Two Yummy recipes from The Humble Bungalow Hostess

 Good Morning from The Humble Bungalow!

I have a morning routine that I have pretty much kept constant since retiring.
Do you?

Morning coffee is sipped while browsing Instagram and my email.
Once dressed I pop a load of laundry in and tidy up the kitchen and have my breakfast...
if I am staying at home I'll open my Lap top and read some blogs or perhaps write a blog post...Chester has other ideas!


Chester sat on my laptop and conveyed that he had an ulterior motive...
how could I resist those eyes?

Positively beastly weather out there today
 gloomy grey and rainy 
a perfect day to stay in and bake while keeping warm inside the kitchen.


No, I am not drinking rum I am making my Mother's Rum Balls.


The Eiffel Tower souvenir comes in handy when I need a ring holder!



You can coat them with icing sugar, cocoa, or chocolate sprinkles.


I also made the dough for cranberry citrus shortbread cookies.
Recipe can be found here.


Lots of noise is coming from the job site next door as there is a backhoe levelling out the dirt around the two houses.
The windows are in and the crews are putting gypsum on the walls inside of the house right next to ours.

Can you see the raindrops on the kitchen window?
Its raining sideways!

My Mother would have said 
"It's raining cats and dogs!"


I plan to cozy up in the living room later with my knitting and a cup of tea.

I am still working on that lap blanket...
it is taking me a long time much longer than I would have predicted
as it is awkward juggling all the stitches on the circular needles
and the weight of the project is not comfortable to work on for too long.


This summer tote was a hostess gift from our DIL's mother.
Isn't it fabulous?
I love using it as a knitting bag too as it is commodious enough for the yarn as well as the lap blanket.

Time to close and put the kettle on...
Thank you so much for popping by The Humble Bungalow Blog today.

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~