Monday, April 30, 2012

Macarons and more....

The weekend was full to the brim of fun food family and friends...
and it's Monday
with only one Macaron left!

 made by Julie
a Hostess gift 
(sheer perfection)

Don't you think it looks nice with the bluebells?
such a pretty shade

What to serve when a caterer comes to dine....

Buy some "fresh off the boat" crab
cook and clean it then pick it
make crab cakes
serve with ginger mayonnaise
atop a bed of pea shoots

follow with salad 
Barefoot Contessa style
from her Parties cookbook
red leaf lettuce
balsamic onions
blue cheese 

(Mr. HB's recipe)
with fresh homemade fettucini pasta
artisan bread

roasted fruit
Greek coconut yogurt
(full fat)
chocolate espresso cookies
(homemade but rock hard the disaster of the evening!)

I should have tested these cookies before serving them
oh well no one is perfect!

Family dinner was a BBQ
new recipe from White Water Cooks

birthday gift from my son and DIL

West coast fare...

served with twice baked and stuffed potatoes
broccoli salad
tomato basil balsamic salad
red leaf lettuce balsamic blue cheese salad
(fresh, a repeat of Saturday's salad)
wild rice
served with the remaining fruit salad and yogurt

Slept like a baby last night after all the hustle and bustle.

I was recognized by a reader at the market yesterday!
Hello to Marsha
who so kindly introduced herself to me.

She'd been shopping in the newly opened J. Crew in Vancouver
she said the space is quite small
and the selection was limited.

I'll bet that they are dipping their polished toes
 very carefully into our Canadian market before they go big or go home.

Have a fabulous Monday...
see you tomorrow!

Friday, April 27, 2012

A book that inspires and our native Camus blooms.

Do you love finding a great book as much as I do?
I've never been in a book club as I think I read far too slowly to join one.
Oh but I do have a great book on the go at the moment...
you might enjoy this one too....

This book takes place in India 
and tells the story of a woman who grew up in privilege 
now money is scarce
her mansion is crumbling...

"Spanning decades and told in rich rhapsodic prose that takes us from India to England, 
to high peaks of the Himalayas and deep into the Burmese jungle, 
Waiting for the Monsoon is an unforgettable tale of love, loss and the unusual bond between two people" 
(from the jacket cover)

"If her soul had been as spotless as her lawn, she would not have died that year. She was like the old Lloyds.
For years it was the only electric lawnmower for miles around: the fact that it was still functioning was thanks to the brand and not to love. The machine hummed softly as she pushed it along. In the distance she heard the bus starting up for the first run of the day. In one of the houses as the bottom of the road a light came on; the crickets had fallen silent and the birds were still in dreamland. India was slowly awakening..."
(from the jacket cover)

You can read a review here.

I have read over 200 pages and have been transported to another place and time and am enjoying every minute of this adventure!

What are you reading?
I'd love some book recommendations.

The Garry Oak Meadow at school just beyond the playing field.
Can you see those dots of blue scattered in with the yellow buttercups?

I can tell you that this is a special piece of paradise.
Easter lilies dotted this place a few weeks ago
their creamy heads bobbing in the breeze as if they were bonnets.

The First Nations People used the root for food.
I love the blue and mauve petals they truly glow amid the field.

There is a white Camus which we see rarely
known as Death Camus because it's root is poisonous.

If you drive through town you will glimpse some parks with this blue and mauve native plant.
It's quite stunning massed under the mighty oaks.
It gives me cause to pause and wonder what our land looked like when the settlers first arrived to the land.

I can't wait to see what the field looks like in a few more weeks as all the buds mature and bloom.
Perhaps you'll join me in a future post when I show it again in all it's glory.

Do have yourself a fabulous weekend.
Love that you popped by for a visit.
Until next time...
Be Well.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Humble Bungalow Garden is growing...

We are trying to keep up with our Humble Bungalow Garden.
It's size and needs have gotten away from us...
Created by an industrious Hostess over the past 30 years it is a pleasant place to sit and relax.
There are heavily planted beds and very little grass!
The point that I am getting at is that it is a LOT of work to maintain so I have hired a strong man to help me whip it into shape and I am hoping that we can keep him on for a few hours each month to keep things looking tidy.
At least until I retire and have more free time to tend it.

I picked these Euphorbia blooms as we removed one 
to make room for a dedicated asparagus bed.

Looking down from the sundeck
2 robust rhubarb plants
limelight hydrangeas
garlic in the raised bed between the rhubarbs
and the new raised bed

I bought new organic soil to fill this bed
but did not buy enough 
(24 cubic feet is not the same as 49 square feet!)
so I am making two more trips in the Volvo wagon
until it is filled
and then Mr. HB will be planting the asparagus
which apparently takes a few years of growth before a decent harvest can be expected.

Keeping Mr. HB fueled I actioned some spaghetti and meatballs
Lidia Bastianich's recipe that I found online.

You make the sauce first and then brown the meatballs in oil before adding them to the sauce.

Homemade pasta 
and the Kitchen Aid Pasta attachment.

Dinner is served...
we really work up an appetite when we are outdoors in the garden.

West Coast Seed packets are scattered about the kitchen
Touchstone Gold yellow beets
Oregon Sugar peas
Bright Lights Swiss chard
Gold Rush Zucchini

I have some leftover seeds from last summer which we'll use as well.
I like the West Coast Seed Company as their seeds are fresh and reliable
they also specialize in heirloom varieties
their seeds are also untreated non GMO seeds
which is important to me.

The company is located in Richmond BC and is Canada's No.1 Seed
Are you growing food in your garden?

I love being able to walk out to my garden and pick some fresh vegetables for dinner.
I think they taste better when they are home grown and freshly harvested just before serving.
The seed planting will happen on the long weekend in May.

Many varieties are available for growing in pots too so you don't need to have a big garden to grow food
you can have a balcony with pots
or a sunny window sill.

On my walk the other day I noticed that the neighbours down the street have removed all the grass from their front lawn and are making it into an enormous vegetable patch!
They have dressed up a homemade scarecrow 
in a red plaid shirt with straw filling
and baggy pants.

If you have never tried growing food from seed
I hope that you'll try it
or at the very least...
Please support the local organic farmers markets in your area.
Bon appetit.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hermes and the Hostess OOTD

The sun shone down on us this past weekend.
There's nothing quite so uplifting as the sun and the spring fresh air.
Flowers and blue skies...
It prompted me to get busy and seek out some lighter clothes from the wardrobe
wash some wintery things, readying them for storage.
The weekend was not all work as Mother and I drove out to the country and perused some chic shops before settling into a very serious afternoon tea tray.
I mentioned to Mother that I was dressing casual...

Hermes scarf
makes an appearance.

I love this Olsen belt so much 
but I fear it's days are numbered 
as some stones have fallen out 
and there is some base metal showing 
where the silver has worn off.

I must find a suitable replacement before I let go of this belt.

This Hermes scarf is so summery 
it feels like a whisper.
I am so happy that I opted for subtle instead of bright and bold.

I wore my white Symplii tank top
Aerie dove grey light sweater
and Gap wide legged jeans.

The teahouse was pleasant and the voices of the tea drinkers were polite and hushed.
Good too because Mother's hearing is becoming a problem and she refuses to buy a hearing aid.
She is very firm about this and has taken a stand on it even after repeated requests from her family.
Did I tell you that I am taking her to seattle this summer for a jaunt and a shopping expedition?
We'll be staying at our home away from home, The Mayflower Park Hotel.
It's the same age as Mother, and they both look good for their ages!

Did you know that Hermes sells rocks?
They do.
Mr. HB received these with his Terre d'Hermes
the way they work is you spritz them with your scent and they retain the scent
 you can pop them in a drawer
to scent your lingerie 
or leave them out in a room as a diffuser.

Well that's about it for the weekend wrap up
 a new week is about to begin
I am keeping my fingers crossed for more sunshine.

What did you do this weekend?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Baskets are weaving their way into my heart.

There is something about a basket that sends me all aflutter...
baskets speak to me and I have quite a few that I am passionate about.
I didn't think I needed another basket but two new ones have entered The Humble Bungalow.

Mother gave me a new basket and it reminds me of some that I have seen from Nantucket.
She is Spring cleaning her condo and getting rid of stuff.
I think that my de-cluttering binge has influenced her...
she has way too much stuff so I am really encouraged that she is paring down.

Strong sturdy and well crafted.
So pretty just on it's own
a perfect size for toting to the market.

My friend Cheryl and I did some shopping when she was here visiting and we ventured into a consignment shop in the Village and she found a lovely vintage framed picture and I found a basket!

Nut brown
 well woven and seriously commodious.
Pepper hopped inside and promptly curled up and went to sleep.
I've left it on the floor in the kitchen for now as she is enjoying it so much!

These baskets are in the front hallway
the hinged basket holds gloves scarves and hats.
The one on the left holds shopping bags
it's easy to grab a couple on my way out the door.

I try to always bring a bag or basket when I go shopping
it's one easy thing that I can do to help reduce reuse and recycle.

Earth Week has been full of "green" themed events.
We got involved in a community clean up project at school.
Our class filled 6 garbage bags with litter that we found scattered in and around the park.
It surprises me no end that people litter so much...
no excuse really as there are numerous garbage cans available
back in the day we'd call these folks litterbugs!

Take a tote, basket or some canvas bags when you go shopping
it's the right thing to do.
I don't know about you but I feel chic carrying something other than plastic.

 Be well
and many thanks for popping by and visiting.
It's a sun shiny day out there so I am off to weed the garden....

Friday, April 20, 2012

My hairdresser listens to me and my OOTD

My hair has been getting me down lately...
too thick and too heavy
so I asked my talented hairdresser to thin it out and crop it into a French bob.
She, my dear readers, is a miracle worker.

All I need is to dry it with my diffuser and add some mousse and voila
I'm ready.

Slightly shorter in the back
with face framing layers at the sides.

black Nygaard dark denim jeans
black loafers, Aerosoles
black Symplii tank top
tweedy waterfall sweater by Style & Co.
baroque opera length strand of pearls
sterling bangles

I don't have any plans for the weekend but have a play date with my granddaughter today.
That in itself is a recipe for happy.

loving tangerine these days
especially these roses

Hope that you make time to stop and smell the flowers.
Be good to yourself and others
and don't forget to smile!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Camouflage dressing...

Waterfall style sweaters seem to call my name...
I gravitate to them whenever I see one in a shop.
They do a good job of camouflaging my wobbly bits and when fitted properly they skim the bumps and drape nicely. 
It would be nice if I was slim...
who am I kidding
it would be fabulous!
But that's another post altogether!

For the time being...
I found a new sweater and it feels much lighter and springy than the tweedy black one I have been wearing all winter.

Oatmeal toned
lacy light and loose knit
great to pop over a white tank

here's a close up of the pattern detail

I have been eating rabbit food for lunch for weeks
raw veggies and hummus dip
an apple

I thought this might help shed some weight but so far the scale has not budged.

Yoga is going to be the exercise I opt for after my swimming and back injury fiasco.
Which BTW is still not quite mended even after several massages
but I have little to complain about
 as it is getting better.

Lovely daughter is having her birthday this month
she'll be 33.
She wanted clothes as a gift so we blitzed the mall and came home with some great stuff.
She's a tiny gal and she looks great in anything she puts on.

We'll be hosting a family dinner celebration and we are ordering in sushi
and she wants a cheesecake for dessert.

We have a long standing tradition
that you can have whatever food you want on your birthday.
I do love traditions.

It's my MIL's birthday today, 
you can imagine how excited she was when our lovely daughter was born on her special day.
Coincidentally there was a great grandchild born on this day as well
3 family members all celebrating today.
Happy Birthday to all.

Must be running as I have a long list of things to do today.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Paris Tea and The Titanic.

The lovely reader Peg sent me some teas and I am in love with Paris Tea!
Nothing says luxury better than a cup of tea brewed to perfection
served in a beautiful patterned bone china cup and saucer.
I highly recommend it for what ails you...

My favourite china tea cup is by English maker Royal Chelsea.
I love the deep wide bowl
and the pattern is so pretty and the gilt is thick.

I hand wash this very carefully, never ever will it go in the dishwasher!

I do love a special teacup to celebrate the simple pleasure of taking tea.
I cannot imagine life without tea.
It's a life saver...

The Titanic is in all the newspapers
 100 years ago that she was launched and then sank
such a tragic disaster
so many lives lost
the story still haunts us
stories that have come out years after her sinking are grim reminders of how fragile and precious life can be...

Julian Fellowes production Titanic is on the TV
it's worth a look...

I caught up on some blog reading here at Slim Paley's blog
she is a clever and talented woman
you really must not miss her blog posts
just browse her amazing photographs 
and you'll be hooked like her several thousand followers!
(of which I am one)

Life is infinitely better when sipping tea.
It elevates my pedestrian life to meet up with those of the titled and privileged.

I'd love to see your favourite tea cups
perhaps you'll send me a picture
it would make a fun post to show all the cups here in a future post.
There's your challenge people
send me your tea cup images
or link up a blog post on your tea cups for a virtual tea party!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Weekend Doings and Thoughtful Musings

Weekend Doings and Thoughtful Musings

Abkhazi Gardens
Cheryl and I strolled through these lovely grounds on Saturday.

Beauty was all around
every nook and cranny sported blooms.

Easter Lilies
so pure and delicate as they nodded in the gentle breeze.

So much has been packed into a short time
the weekend is almost over...

The weekend has flown by
Cheryl and I went to the spa
while Mr. HB and John went to a brew pub for lunch
I took Cheryl to the Abkhazi Gardens
we all walked along the sea front and watched the wind surfers
watched the movie Crazy Stupid Love
catch up
share laughter
we did our best to serve delicious meals
and offer comfort and hospitality to our friends
it was great to see them as they are off to France for the next 6 months.

Bon Voyage John and Cheryl!

The Humble Bungalow Blog was started on a whim and has become a large part of my routine.

I can't quite believe that I have arrived at the 603rd post, 
it's rather staggering when I seriously think about it.

Our life here is so simple...
we are humble
and go about our daily round
expecting little
joys are often found while doing chores
they pop up and surprise us when we least expect it.

This morning is a good example
we had said goodbye to our house guests and I was tidying up
the vacuuming was finished and Pepper was in the front hallway
I was just about to take a load of towels downstairs to the laundry room
when I was stopped in my tracks...
Pepper was pawing frantically in the air trying to catch the dust particles that she could see moving in the sunshine.

It was a glimpse of something unexpected and it made me smile.

Tell me about your weekend!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Rhapsody in colour, a prescription for Happy!

Let the sun shine today please...
in the absence of full sun today I am protesting
and engaging colour
by posting a myriad of images that shout happy.

the simple tomato

sunny T shirt and scarf

semi precious sunny drops

window display 
South Granville

a rhapsody in white

lush green lawn
acacia limbs
soon to be firewood

Any thoughts on a great apple tree to plant in it's place?

Pepper's slurping up her morning H2O
she only drinks from the tap
loves her water cold and fresh.
(We do indulge her)

Could that be sunshine peeking through the clouds?

small but charming

Soon the roses will start to bloom 
 in The Humble Bungalow Garden
and I can't wait!

whatever the weather brings
have yourself a very happy weekend 

we've got house guests
one functioning bathroom
and the reno is still in an unfinished state
I've cleaned up the mess
good friends are on the way!

You know they are good friends when they'll line up for the loo
and have to navigate a worksite to get to their room!

Think sunny thoughts...
I know I am:-)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A quickie with a few tidbits and snippets of our trip.

I've been busy getting back in action here in The Humble Bungalow and late getting to my blog.

Weekend wrap up
we wined and dined and visited friends aboard their boat in False Creek
we walked in Stanley Park
poking in shops
window shopping
serious shopping
sleeping late in the most comfortable beds...

19th floor
digs for the weekend

Wetizman "party shoes"
snapped just 
before we tripped the light fantastic...

Black Symplii dress
 jersey knit
rolled in a ball in my suitcase
unrolled and crinkle free
travel friendly

Debra Kay necklace

 Italian dinner 
 before sipping a nightcap high above the clouds
42nd floor
(if memory serves)
looking at the city lights
and there were fireworks below!

When we got together with our friends
I wore a LBD sheath style with little room to lift a leg
and getting into the minivan model taxi was less than lady like!
Boarding the boat was virtually the same 
thank heavens no one was following behind me!
We had bubbly and some nibbles before we went to the
The food was amazing and the atmosphere subtle
every table was in use
and most people were enjoying themselves...
except for one unfortunate couple who were engaged in a very heated discussion within earshot 
my friend Cheryl and I were treated to a list of expletives that made us turn around.
A couple in their late 50's to mid 60's were having a full on domestic dispute!
I've never been in a situation quite like this one.
The waiter came over and told them to take it outside!
They left promptly leaving us wondering what could have gone wrong in such a romantic establishment.

New handbag
made in Canada
cross body saddle leather
in black

the tangerine cellphone case was a gift with purchase
now in the hands of lovely daughter

an everyday basic
hands free
with pockets and compartments inside
easy peasy 
I'd call this bag a work horse.

Next stop was Hermes...
busy place on the day we chose to pop in
Birkins on the wrists of most of the well heeled customers
(Mr. HB whispers "what recession!")

Terre d'Hermes for Mr. HB
Voyage d'Hermes for my sister
(we wear the same scent!)

It took about 30 minutes to choose my new scarf
this was my first choice and I kept trying others with more splash and colour
but I kept coming back to this painterly pattern.

Hermes scarf
Peinture Fraiche
by Dimitri Rybaltchenko

White background
grey design
Hostess style

(it looks great with pearls!)

Belated Happy Birthday Hostess!

There's more shopping adventures to follow when I have more time
so please stay tuned...

In the meantime we have to eat so
 I made a curry for our lovely daughter and her friend in appreciation
as they house and cat sat.

We lunched at Rangoli in the Tony South Granville neighbourhood.
it's Vij's casual eatery.

The food is amazing Indian fusion
the food and flavours are complex 
my taste buds did a happy dance!

I made the chicken curry
served it over rice...
Prosecco for the ladies
beer for the gents.

I'll close with this image of a lone native plant 
which is bravely blooming in the rocky area of the school grounds.

It reminds me of my favourite Mary Engelbreit quote
"Bloom where you are planted"

Don't forget to stop and smell the flowers!