Saturday, April 28, 2018

A Passion for Gardening...a peek inside our back garden.

Gardening is a passion of mine...
I've been pottering about in the dirt 
planting and growing things 
since I was a little girl.

Now that I am in my 60's I find my muscles get tired after several hours.
I used to be able to garden for hours on end...
Those were the "giddy days" 
when my escape from the stresses of work 
was simple
 get into my gardening clothes and totally lose myself in the garden.

Last year we hired a gardener to do the lions share of the work
 I am still very involved just not so much hands on...

I do so love the creative process...
finding pots, plants and placing them in the garden.

Hand watering allows me to evaluate what looks good, 
what may need some TLC 
what changes that I might consider making...

Flowers over grasses
as the blooms elevate the ordinary...
variegated foliage 
lime green
mixed with
black plants
are my preferred shades

On Pender I noticed many bright and cheerful flowers in bloom.

Pretty purple blooms absolutely POP when juxtaposed with the grey of the rocks.

A few more pieces of beach glass to add to the jar 
from a beach near Port Washington.

I found a lovely urn at Renaissance Studio Antiques on Pender Island.

It was a beast to move...
it took two people to wrangle it into my Volvo
and another two people to unload it once I returned home!

Popped a hosta plant into the urn...
behind the urn are planted several mop head hydrangeas in a creamy shade.
They get quite tall and bloom for most of the summer then dry into a tan shade
which look very sculptural and add interest in the Fall months.

At the opposite end of the patio are a mix of hostas and black mondo grasses.

We purchased tomato plants for the greenhouse
a rather wonderful rusty coloured metal orb.

Claire Austin David Austin white roses with a boxwood edging.

Raised Asparagus bed
roses and hydrangeas in the middle
pots with Hellebores and Black Mondo Grass on the exposed aggregate pavers.

Hosta in the urn!

Variegated Iris, Hostas, Black Mondo grass and bluebells
beneath the fragrant pink 
Montana Ruebens clematis

Some new plants...
which I will pop into pots early this week when the rain stops.

These two characters Chester and Pepper follow me around the house 
like a couple of dogs.
They are great company too...

Chester wants to come out and help in the garden...

There will be lots more to see once the weather warms up and the plants start blooming.
The Humble Bungalow Garden is at its peak in May and June. 

Hope you enjoyed this wee garden tour.

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Monday, April 23, 2018

Savouring the good things in life...

We are surrounded by beauty...
one need not look too far afield to glimpse these special gifts that cross our path.

Embracing the positive, simple things in life, keep me grounded and content.

If I get on the "I want this, I want that" tangent
I am not at ease...stress and anxiety are sure to follow.

Simple living...

getting back to nature
taking time for peaceful pursuits
mindful healthy eating

valuable self care tools
that really nurture and feed my soul.

"Highlights" worth sharing from the past weekend...

Roesland Park
Pender Island, BC
a lovely walk with an abundance of natural beauty.

Calypso Bulbosa

Lady Slipper Orchids


A bench on which to sit and pause...
 count my blessings 
while surveying the views across The Salish Sea....

Skunk Cabbage

The Nature Sanctuary at Medicine Beach
we were there for the Earth Day beach clean up.

Fresh radishes from Raven Rock Farm stand 
at the Farmers Market
love these "red ravishing radishes"

Speaking of is the Encore Red.
We went to the award winning Sea Star Vineyard for a wine tasting...
we purchased some red and white wines.

We invited our neighbours over for a drink and a nibble...

Sitting on the deck later watching the sun slip behind the mountains
taking note of the light 
the subtle changes 
of the intensity and tones.

The sunrise and sunsets are the gentle rhythms
that guide us through our days here at Quarter Deck Cottage.

Hope that your week is off to a gentle start...
Enjoy the gifts as they present themselves to you on your daily round.

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Silk...and French Inspiration

Vintage Silk scarf by Vetter of Switzerland
easy to wear and so soft...
Silk and cashmere are two of my all time favourites.

When I think of lovely lingerie 
 France comes to mind...
the selection and sumptuous styles for women 
of all shapes and sizes 
are plentiful in the shops of Paris.

The lingerie sections at
Galleries Lafayette
The Bon Marche 
are two that stand out.

It is so easy finding beautiful intimates in France...
there are lingerie shops in the smaller villages too!

I've been lusting after some new lingerie...
it is on the top of my list.

I love wearing this
Nougat Silk Camisole
soft mauve shade with purple lace.

Silk feels sensuous 
wearing a silk nightgown or camisole makes me feel very feminine.

I've juxtaposed the silk with denim here for a day of domestic chores and cooking.

Cooking new dishes has become a bit of an obsession of late...
Julia Child has some amazing books and You Tube videos of her PBS shows.
I have to smile when I watch some of these older videos...
she is such a character!

I felt like I was in a bit of a "cooking rut"
 so kicking it up a notch and trying some new recipes feels so energizing.

I made a jar of Julia's basic and very simple vinaigrette and loved the flavour.

In the movie Julie and Julia the scene from the Paris Cafe 
where Julia, played by the talented Maryl Streep, is served sole 
 seriously resonates with me...

that incredible dish is Sole Meuniere.

I plan to make this dish for my husband...
 I am substituting fresh halibut 
as it was the freshest fish offered at the fish monger.

The butter needs to be clarified ahead of time.
I spent the afternoon prepping dinner.

I made an endive leaf salad with crumbled bacon, sliced cherry tomatoes, scallions and grated parmigiano Reggiano
which is covered and is chilling in the fridge.

The vinaigrette will be drizzled over top just before serving. 

Asparagus will be steamed and served with the fish dish...
a few slices of a baguette will be at the ready to sop up any of the juices.

I will boil up a few waxy yellow potatoes to serve with the halibut.

Dessert will not be served...
as neither of us have "sweet teeth"
besides it will be a "big" meal...
enough to satisfy our humble tastebuds.

I sharpened all our knives too...
they were getting incredibly dull.

We have an electric sharpener by Chef's Choice 
I have practiced on several knives I think I have the hang of it.
Boy having a super sharp knife is so wonderful.
I'm kind of proud of myself for learning a new skill...

This book is quite a fun read...
am only into a few chapters so far as
I sat down for a few minutes to put my feet up and have a cuppa...
almost didn't want to get back up and put the book away!!

Bon Appetit!

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Fluffing the nest...and a Spring de-cluttering project

Looking like a barbarian/warrior slightly disheveled...

Can you tell that I am growing out my hair?
It is a slow process but now that my frozen shoulder is in the thaw stage 
I can get back to using the blow dryer.

Casual Beach combing OOTD
(last month)

Gowland Point on Pender Island 
Saint James raincoat
Calvin Klein puffy down vest 
(under coat, not visible but needed to fend off the cold)
long sleeved Esprit Tee
Tribal jeans
colourful scarf ~ no name brand from the local pharmacy
Merrell walking shoes
Coach handbag

Hunting for Beach glass is a favourite pass time of mine.

Speaking of glass...
I emptied out the cupboard in the Humble Bungalow dining room and wiped down all the shelves and packed up many of the pieces of crystal 
(which were purchased at $1.49 day at Woodward's back in the early 1970's)
popped them in the dishwasher for a quick clean up 
before wrapping them up and whisking them off to the WIN thrift shop.

What possessed me you may wonder?

My husband knew that I wanted to pare down and have a simple set of stylish
 classic glassware that will never "date"
Here is the Tapio Wirrkkala Ultima Thule style of glasses I am now collecting.
My sweet husband brought home 4 of these goblets as a surprise which really kick started the whole de-cluttering exercise...
Thank you Honey!

Here's how the shelves are looking so far...
the vintage ones to the right of the new goblets are from thrift shops.

I have kept a few other wine glasses 
(on the shelves below, not in the photo)
until we purchase more Ultima Thule.

They are quite pricey...
I hope to find more at consignment or thrift shops 
or watch out for sales...

Spring cleaning...
The laundry room got a quick lick and a polish this week too.

The vintage enamel ware seems to go well in the black and white themed area downstairs.

Upstairs beside the farmhouse sink 
is my "work area."

I found an Antique transfer ware platter at a local shop to hold all my supplies.
Peach Blow circa 1886

Marseilles Soap Cube

Spring Parrot tulips 
full blown 
almost at the end of their prime
but still beautiful.

I have a bunch of cookbooks by Julia Child 
waiting for me at the local library
I am going to try and make her fish buerre blanc.

Until next time...
Enjoy your weekend.

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Tea from Paris....and a new book which sounds so exciting!

Red flowering currant in our neighbours garden...
the hummingbirds love it!

Versailles Rose Tea
rose petals, grapefruit and sunflowers

The label is in French but I can provide you with a "rough" translation...

It is with a lot of love that I made this tea
the passion to do what I love 
and the love of a woman 
who is still waiting...

I am happy.

English Royal Chelsea cup and saucer
probably my favourite of the bunch.

A new mystery written by Jessica Fellowes...
she wrote all the companion books to the Downton Abbey series.

She is also the niece of Lord Julian Fellowes who wrote the Downton Abbey series.

I just finished reading Six, the book about the Mitford sisters
 and lo and behold this new book pops up on the shelf at the book sellers...
I grabbed the last copy!

 Also a new "can" to help me keep all the container plants well watered.
I like to have one on the front porch and one in the back so that I don't need to lug a heavy can throughout the garden and strain my back or arms.

My frozen shoulder has been slowly improving...
I am optimistic that it is in the thawing stage.

Tea time is over 
the flowers are in bloom and I am embracing the possibility of change.

Perhaps a trip?

Or maybe a new class or a course?

Feeling like I need to kick things up a notch...

What plans are you making?

Hope that your week is ticking along nicely...

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~