Thursday, August 28, 2014

Blueberry Crisp

I made this blueberry crisp using six cups of blueberries from the buckets and buckets full of berries my husband bought (and cleaned) last month while I was in Seattle. You can find the recipe here. I used Cup 4 Cup gluten-free flour to make the topping, and it was excellent! The square baking dish is from Crate & Barrel. I love simple white dishes and bakeware in the kitchen. So classic.

I hope you are enjoying the last days of summer. I'm sad to see it go, but we have a beach trip planned for September. Something to look forward to!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Home Tour: Seattle-area House with a View

Today I'm highlighting my friend's lovely home near Seattle. Look at this stunning view they have of the Cascades. The photos don't capture just how pretty it is in person. While I visited in July, we had dinners out on the deck, enjoying this view. Hummingbirds, flickers, chickadees and other birds frequent the bird feeders and plants that are on the deck. Eagles are also commonly seen flying by.

The cozy living room, below, features two Thomas Moser Lolling chairs in cherry with black leather upholstery. A couple of white upholstered ottomans accent the room and hold soft blankets for snuggling up with on Seattle's damp, chilly days. Not seen in the living room photos is a large black leather sofa by Kravet accented with pillows from Room & Board.

Vivid pink orchids and green candlesticks add a splash of color to the mantel. The painting above the mantel is so realistic, I thought it was a photograph. The artist is Taman VanScoy. Check out his website. I find his graphite drawings to be particularly fascinating, and so detailed!

The living room features floor-to-ceiling windows, which allow for a wonderful view of the valley and mountains in the distance. Because this room gets so much sun during the day in the summer months, cellular blinds encased between the glass of the windows and sliding doors can be lowered to keep the room from getting too hot.

The antique rug is a recent purchase and brings more blues and reds into the palette (I think a couple of glassybaby votives in "Cashmere" would look lovely in this room). A black leather ottoman serves as a coffee table.

A lineup of glassybabies in shades of cream and brown are set on a slim, glass-topped console in the dining room window. Be sure to check out my previous post on Seattle's glassybaby store and the hot shop where these beautiful vessels are made.

The kitchen has been completely updated with granite countertops and backsplash, warm wooden cabinets with modern pulls, high-end appliances including a Wolf gas range and Sub-Zero side-by-side refrigerator, and bluestone tile floors (too bad I didn't get a photo; the floor is one of my favorite features in the house). 

Lastly, I can't leave out the cats. Below is Camille, one of two gorgeous grey cats, lounging on a fringed cashmere throw. Don't you love how she coordinates with the d├ęcor? She and her sister Colette are nearly identical, except that Colette has an extra toe on each of her paws. They are very loving, playful kitties.

And below is Fitty, the old man of the house. What a sweetheart he is. He has this very funny way of eating: he takes some dry food with his paw, scoops it into the adjacent water bowl and then fishes it out of the water with his paw -- just like a raccoon! 

I hope you have enjoyed this tour of my friend's home. Many thanks to her and her husband for allowing me to share it with you. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Whidbey Island, Washington

A short drive and ferry ride from Seattle is Whidbey Island. When I visited my friend in July, she asked if I wanted to go to Bainbridge Island or Whidbey Island. I chose Whidbey, not knowing much about either place. I'm sure you can't go wrong with either! 

The morning ferry ride over to Whidbey was quite chilly and I was underdressed. Fortunately I had on jeans, but only a t-shirt on top. One of the first things I did when we arrived in the cute village of Langley was to find a store where I could buy a jacket. I found a nice navy windbreaker by Landway for a decent price. I was glad to have it, because it didn't warm up until a bit later when the fog lifted and the sun came out.

There are many cute businesses on Langley's main street. How charming is this animal hospital! Just look at the plantings and that beautiful hydrangea!

Around 10:30, we stopped at Useless Bay Coffee Company for a snack. My friend had a latte and muffin, while I enjoyed a gluten-free cookie and the most delicious hot chocolate I've had since my husband and I were in Paris six years ago. Even though the sun was out by this time, it was still chilly. I'm used to the hot summer weather of the Southeast, and this drop in temperature was a shock to my system.

Below is First Street in the town of Langley. Charming galleries, antiques shops, bookstores and cafes line the streets of this little village. There's even a chocolate-themed shop called Chocolate Flower Farm - The Garden Shed where you can buy flowering Cosmos that smells just like dark chocolate! 

Below is The Inn at Langley. My friend has stayed here twice. I took a peek into one of the guest rooms overlooking the water and the Spa, which also overlooks the water. Wouldn't it be a treat to stay here!

This bronze statue is called The Boy and His Dog. What a lovely view he has!

I love visiting galleries when I'm traveling. At Brackenwood Gallery, I purchased this pretty stone and silver necklace made by Washington state jeweler Rebecca Bashara -- a lovely, handcrafted piece to add to my collection. You can purchase her work via Etsy.

I so enjoyed our day on Whidbey Island and hated to leave. On our trip back to the mainland, our ferry was unable to dock due to a medical emergency on the ferry in port. We ended up sitting in the middle of the sound for an hour. At one point, the captain announced were were going to have to head back to the island, which caused my friend to panic just a bit because we needed to get back by a certain time to pick her son up from camp. Fortunately, they were able to move the ferry on the mainland side so we didn't have to turn back. But I have to admit, it was lovely to be out on the water soaking up the sun. I actually came home from Seattle with a bit of a tan!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Miniature Bouquet

This little bouquet of pink roses, carnations, daisies, alstromeria and other flowers caught my eye at Whole Foods the other day. Only $8.99 for this happy little bouquet. 

Ella, our beagle, stopped to smell the roses, below. A good reminder to find pleasure in the small things.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Seattle's glassybaby

One of the things I wanted to do while visiting my friend in Seattle was to go to the original glassybaby store in the Madrona neighborhood. I had been there before on a previous visit, but had not purchased any of their beautiful glass candle holders. If you are from the Seattle area, then you probably know of glassybaby. If not, here is a link to their website, which details the fascinating glassblowing process and the story of how the company gives back to the community. All the beautiful glass candle holders are handmade on site, and each one is unique, varying slightly in size and color.

When we arrived at the shop, I asked if I could take some photos for my blog. I always ask permission first, since some businesses are sensitive to photos being shared online. The ladies at glassybaby were so welcoming and helpful, even taking us on a behind-the-scenes tour of the inventory room and the "hot shop" where the magic happens. Look at all the colors! There's a shade for everyone's taste! With about 170 color choices, you can imagine how it took me a while to narrow down my selection.  

My friend is I what you might call a glassybaby collector. She has more than a dozen around her house -- and she bought two more the day we were at the shop. Below are just a few from her collection, which inspired me to start my own. The night before we went to glassybaby, we lit candles so I could see how each of hers looks lit in the dark versus unlit in the daylight. The colors can appear very different with and without candlelight, so it's important to like how each glassybaby looks lit and unlit.

Once in the store, I was a bit overwhelmed with choices. I don't do well when faced with lots of options, but after I narrowed down my selection to the neutrals and with some help from my friend and veteran glassybaby customer, I was able to make a decision. I chose beach, nest and wet dog. Glassybaby donates 10% from the sale of each "wet dog" to The Humane Society of the United States to help rescue dogs from natural disasters and abusive situations. This fact definitely helped me choose that color!

Here's what our new glassybabies look like on our mantel. The colors are, left to right: nest, wet dog and beach. 

I didn't want to carry my purchase on the plane or pack them in my checked luggage, so I opted to have them shipped to my home, free of charge. If you don't live near Seattle, you can purchase glassybaby through their website.

Or, keep you eye out for a city near you this fall, when glassybaby will be hitting the road for a glassroots tour. They'll be visiting 30 cities over the course of 16 weeks from September until Christmas. On the list so far are Portland and Bend, Oregon; Sun Valley, Idaho; Jackson, Wyoming; Chicago and Detroit. I hope they make it to a city near me!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Seattle Japanese Garden and Sincere Thanks

Before I continue with the sights from my trip to Seattle, I'd like to say thank you to each and every one of you who shared your kind thoughts and condolences on the loss of our precious dog, Phoebe. Though we've never met, I feel as if I know many of you personally. Those of you who are dog owners understand the bond that forms -- and the heartache that comes when it is time to say goodbye. Before Phoebe passed away, my husband and I had been through this loss before and it is always devastating. Fortunately we still have two lovely, sweet dogs in our life who give us their unconditional love and make us laugh every day. Thank goodness for them! If the house were empty, the sadness would be overwhelming. I truly appreciate the outpouring of kindness from our friends, family and those of you who follow My Little Bungalow. My husband and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Now on to the next highlight I wanted to share with you from my recent trip: the Seattle Japanese Garden. One of the oldest Japanese gardens in North America and regarded as one of the most authentic in the U.S., it is beautifully designed and very tranquil. You can purchase food to feed the koi, but more than just the fish love it. Many little turtles and ducks will also come to devour the pellets.

Throughout the garden are several lovely stone temples. My husband and I recently purchased one for our garden, similar to the first one seen below. When we finally get around to landscaping our yard, a Japanese maple tree will be on the list, under which we will place our little temple. We may also bury Phoebe's ashes there -- a special place where we can sit and think of her.

I can only imagine how gorgeous this Japanese Garden must be in the spring, when the azaleas, rhododendrons and wisteria are blooming. If you visit Seattle, be sure to make a stop at the Japanese Garden. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Saying Goodbye to Phoebe

As I write this post, Phoebe is laying on the floor next to me, our sweet old girl of 15 years. This is our last day with her before we have to put her to sleep. I'm not sure how I'm able to write about this now, with her still here. But I think it would be even harder to deal with after she is gone.

We adopted Phoebe from our county shelter when she was 4 months old. It was a Saturday in August, and we had just been to the hospital to visit our friends' newborn baby girl. As we left the hospital, I said to my husband, "Let's adopt a puppy." And so we did. 

Phoebe was one of the few puppies at the shelter that day. At the time, the county shelter wasn't a very nice facility; it has since been rebuilt into a wonderful shelter that is able to take in many more dogs and cats and their adoption rates are way up (unfortunately, the influx of unwanted, stray and abused/neglected animals far outnumbers the shelter's capacity). A Lab mix, Phoebe was almost solid black with only bits of white on her chest, chin and back paws. We asked the shelter attendant if we could take her into the visitation room and were immediately struck by her high level of energy and intelligence. 

The shelter had called her Rascal, and for good reason. As a puppy, she got into her fair share of trouble. How many dog beds she destroyed! When she was young, my husband used to take her to work with him. She loved to lay on the loading dock in the sun, waiting for the delivery trucks and the drivers who brought her treats. She ran around the fenced-in lot and received plenty of attention from my husband's coworkers. It was a dog's dream. 

Phoebe had so much energy, she would sometimes explode into fits of wild playfulness that more than once drew blood and even left a small scar on the palm of my hand. I used to call her the devil dog. But as she grew and matured, the craziness disappeared. Her energy level stayed the same though, and she always maintained her playful nature. Even in her senior years, she would run to get one of her toys and bring it to us for a game of fetch or tug of war.

Phoebe loved swimming in lakes and the ocean, chasing squirrels and going for long walks, even into her 15th year of life. She loved food, people and other dogs (probably in that order). When she was around 2 years old, she welcomed her "sister" Winnie into our home. Phoebe liked having another dog in her pack. When Winnie died in January of 2012, Phoebe let us know she wanted a new canine companion. We adopted Henry and, shortly after, Ella. Phoebe welcomed both with an open heart.

I can't imagine life without Phoebe, but I know we will be saying goodbye very soon. I will always cherish the memories and find comfort in knowing we saved her life all those years ago. We gave her a comfortable home, plenty of adventures and tons of love. And in return she loved us unconditionally and made us laugh. What more could we ask for.

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