Thursday, December 21, 2017

This Hostess has been shopping ...and a few festive touches in The Humble Bungalow

I've been naughty!

Guilty YES!
I bought something for myself...

I went into the store "just to browse" 
I tried on a few cozy sweaters and perused the racks of the Saint James section, Royal Robbins and then the Eileen Fisher group of garments.

 A tunic top for tall gals but a dress for short me.
The hem sits slightly above the knee and it drapes so well 
the fabric is super soft and it flatters without clinging.

The WIN thrift shop did not disappoint either...

French Dressing shirt in black and white...
great for white pants or black skinny ponte knit pants.
Also the black and white Hermes scarf, probably my favourite will look great tied at the neck.

There are a few festive touches here in The Humble Bungalow.
We don't do a lot of decorating but we have a tree lit with white lights
 a peachy pink poinsettia
wee trees on the mantle with the Ojibwa duck decoys.

Sadly we are unable to put our vintage glass baubles on the tree because the cats undress the tree and bat the ornaments around and they break...

Please excuse our messy fireplace 

Some silver baubles from my childhood home with two vintage silver pieces.

White fairy lights and the silver balls on the front rose arbour.

Our wee tree with white fairy lights on the front porch.

Reindeer votive holders
glitter cones
sit atop
our silver tray
which was a wedding gift.

The seniors turkey luncheon at the club was a lot of work but such fun.
Those of us who volunteered were treated to lunch and a glass of wine 
which we ate while the choir performed 
then we served the desserts and tea and coffee 
before washing up all the dishes.
This year there were 80 seniors in is one of the many fundraisers that we have at the club.

We were thrilled to go to our darling granddaughter Isla's school 
where we watched the annual winter concert. 

How are your holiday plans shaping up?

Thank you for stopping by The Humble Bungalow
Merry Christmas!

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Monday, December 18, 2017

Knitting, roses and a DIY gift

It is such a busy time of year for many of us...
festive events, shopping, baking, wrapping, annual meetings, and volunteering to help the needy. They all seem to happen in the first few weeks before Christmas.

This week there are a few things left to do...
delivering gifts, food shopping, making cranberry relish, a trim at the hairdresser, lunch out with the girls, wrapping a few last minute presents.

I have been working on a new project for darling Miss Isla,
our 7 year grand daughter...
she wanted me to knit something with "flowers" on it
so I thought that the Boneyard shawl pattern might do the trick and I could add my own flowers.

I've caught the cold and cough that is making the rounds so by staying home a few days and I managed to finish her shawl.

The Boneyard pattern is available on Ravelry free to download.
It is a versatile pattern and you can use a variety of yarns.

I used cotton (the weight used to knit dish cloths) as I had in my stash
5mm circular needles with a 30 inch wire.
It looks quite cozy.
Hope she likes it.

I am going to make another one 
using a fingering weight wool yarn as it will drape well.

With the lighter yarn I will be using smaller needles 
so it will take longer to knit up, but the time spent will be worth it...
knitting is very meditative and soothing
and it goes well with mugs of tea!

Having a knitting project on hand helps me stop and sit for a bit in the afternoon after I have been busy in the kitchen or garden...
when the weather is inclement and I stay home 
it is wonderful to have something to keep my hands busy.

Jude the Obscure
David Austin Rose

The fall weather has turned this usually pale yellowy rose a rich apricot.
It is so unusual to see it blooming at this time of year.

I tried picking one of the blooms but the petals scattered like confetti...

Our weather has been mild recently 
but the news forecast tonight 
says there is a cold snap on its way.
Snow perhaps?

(more time to knit!)

Are you looking for a last minute DIY gift?
How about one that is a quick and easy?

This spiced nut recipe is super tasty.

Spiced nuts

In a large bowl :

6 cups mixed nuts
(I used pecans and hazelnuts)
handful (maybe 3/4 -1 cup) dried cranberries

Mix together:
4 tbsp. maple syrup
grated rind of two large navel oranges
5 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp light oil
1 tbsp vanilla
3 tsp ground cinammon
pinch each of cayenne and nutmeg

Pour over top of the nut and fruit mixture mix well.

Bake at 350 degrees on a Silpat lined sheet pan for 20 minutes.
Turning the nut mixture after about 10 minutes return to oven.

Cool before
packing it into jars 
tie with a ribbon and add a tag and perhaps a sprig of holly.

Makes a tasty Hostess gift...
I sampled a few mouthfuls just to make sure it was up to the usual standards!

Hope that you are enjoying these last few days before the holidays.

All the best to you
thank you for stopping by 
The Humble Bungalow Blog.

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

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 
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
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 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...
 my resolve for not buying anything new was tested
 when I spied these RED 
Josef Seibel flats at 50% off
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
 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.


~ 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...

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...
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
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?

lovely as they hang tentatively from the branches.

Thank you for stopping by The Humble Bungalow Blog.

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~