Sunday, November 6, 2016

Sunday Inspiration: 11.6.16

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From whence does my help come?
 My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:1-2

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Last Two Outifts for Summer 2016

If you're a regular reader, you may have noticed that I took a brief break from the blog. This happens occassionally, and I've decided that is just the way it is. No apologies, no excuses, no resolving to keep to a regular schedule. I'll compose posts when the spirit moves me, and if a week or two passes without a post, so be it. This blog's purpose is to provide a creative outlet for me, and it's focus is on simplicity. Trying to stick to some rules might ruin that for me ~ ha ha!

Despite not having written anything for a couple of weeks, I have taken some pictures! We must travel back in time, but not too far back. To catch you up a bit faster, I'll feature two outfits here. Both were worn in mid-September, just as summer was giving way to fall, at least on the calendar. This first outfit was worn to church on a Sunday:

 Outfit details:  Skirt ~ thrifted and altered by me;
Tee ~ JCP; Scarf ~ thrifted; Vionic sandals ~;
Earrings ~ MIL's collection; Bracelet ~ taken off an old purse.

This is one of my favorite summer skirts; if it had pockets, it would be absolutely perfect! I like that it has pattern-mixing built in. Pattern mixing is not my strong suit, but I did add a third pattern to the mix with the polka dot scarf. I'm thinking of paring down my summer scarf collection drastically, because Kansas weather just isn't scarf-friendly in the warmer months. Most of my light-weight scarves never see the light of day outside my closet.

And here is a casual outfit, featuring (as promised in my two plus week old previous post) a new-to-me brand of clothing that I am LOVING. LuLaRoe is one of those consultant-based companies, and their clothing line is sold primarily via Facebook "pop-up" sale events. It's not overly complicated (after all, I figured it out!), but I'm not going to take the time to explain it here.

 Outfit details:  Top and Leggings ~ LuLaRoe;
Belt ~ old; Ed Hardy sneaks ~ yard sale.

Let me tell you the story of how I discovered neighbor Jen came over to see me one afternoon. She was wearing the cutest pair of leggings with BEES on them! After I exclaimed over their cuteness, Jen told me I really needed to pet her leg and see how they felt. OH. MY. That was the softest fabric I'd ever touched that didn't snag on my velcro fingers! Jen generously loaned me a pair of her LLR leggings to "test drive" for a day...and I was hooked.

I never thought I'd be a legging-and-long-shirt wearing girl, but it's become my favorite at-home uniform. The skin on my upper legs regularly hurts, so that wearing clothes is painful, but LLR leggings are actually pain-free for me. I recently learned that LLR occassionally makes some of their other items (shirts, skirts, and dresses) out of the legging fabric, so I've purchased a couple of shirts, too. The shirt in the outfit pictured is not made from legging fabric, however.

I'll be hosting my own LuLaRoe pop-up sale event on Tuesday, November 1st, so if you'd like to learn how it all works, send me a message and I'll add you to the invitation list! I'm hoping the consultant will offer a special deal of some kind, since I'm known for that kind of thing.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sunday Inspiration: 9.25.16

 Look here, you people who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to such and such a town, stay there a year, and open up a profitable business.” How do you know what is going to happen tomorrow? For the length of your lives is as uncertain as the morning fog—now you see it; soon it is gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we shall live and do this or that.” Otherwise you will be bragging about your own plans, and such self-confidence never pleases God.
James 4:13-16

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sunday Inspiration: 9.18.16

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, 
"I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life."
John 8:12

Wild Kansas Sunflowers

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Ready, Set, GO!

Life has been quite full here on the Farm lately. All in good ways! We've been on the go, spending time with family and friends, having fun adventures, and keeping so busy I haven't even had time to read a page in my current book (I can't even remember the title or author, it's been so long since I picked it up!). All this going and doing has fried my brain, which is why I've not been inspired to sit and write lately.

However, a thunderstorm is keeping me awake this morning (it's 4:30 am as I type this), and it seems like a good idea to take advantage of the opportunity. For some reason, I feel bright eyed and busy tailed, despite having only slept 5.5 hours. There may be a nap happening later this afternoon...

A couple Fridays ago, on Sept 2nd, Some Postman took the day off and we made a little road trip up to a tiny town near the northern KS border called Sparks. Twice a year, they hold a flea market; our life insurance agent had told us about this event a year or two ago, knowing how we enjoy thrifting and old stuff. We left before dawn and arrived before many of the vendors were even open. The weather was cool early in the day, almost to the point of wishing we'd worn jackets, but the sun quickly warmed us up.

Arriving so early, we snagged a prime parking spot. When we took a haul back to the car a few hours later, cars lined both sides of the road all along the main intersection. Sparks' population had exploded! I read on their website that there are about 9 people who live in Sparks year-round. I'm not very good at estimating accurately, but I'd guess that they hosted 1000 visitors that day! Learn more about the Sparks flea market here.

Sparks, KS Fall Flea Market
So much stuff!
Loved this display!
Frankoma Fireside Jug (too much $ for me)

He found some car parts!
No, I did not catch those Pokemon.

New old stock??? Coffin in original crate!
There was no vacancy. :)

Could have had two of these hay hooks, but only one fit in the car.

SP's $20 bargain looks great in front of the house!
 I came home with more new-to-me Frankoma than I really needed, but it was all too pretty and wonderful to leave behind, especially since I got some good bargains. All of this for $32:

We did a LOT of walking that day, and by the time we packed up the car to head home, we were tuckered out. I'm pretty sure we both slept really well that night! 

The next morning, we hopped in the car again, this time to attend the funeral of a family friend back in Abilene. Some Postman's sister and her fiance had driven in from out of state for the funeral, too, and afterward, we all went to see SP's twin brother (and his wife), who was in town with his Mustang for a classic car show. His sister and fiance came back home with us to stay a couple of days, and we all walked down to our neighbors' place that evening for their annual community hog roast. Sunday was spent going to church, then prepping for the next day's adventure.

On Monday, we went to Chapman (just a few miles from Abilene) for the annual Labor Day festivities. There was another car show, vendors downtown, and a parade. We recruited our son, his girlfriend, and a couple of nieces to ride in SP's "Hillbilly Hotrod", which he drove in the parade. It was HOT that day, but we had a good time! After the parade, we enjoyed a potluck lunch and hanging out with my family back at my parents' house.

SP as "Bubba"

It took all last week for me to recover from all that going and doing. Am I getting old??? I'd better get used to lots of activity - the lazy days of summer are over. My day planner is packed, all the way through December! Being busy is good; I just need to remember to schedule regular rest days so I don't get overwhelmed. And I need to remember that writing in the pre-dawn hours is a much more productive way to handle insomnia than playing games on Facebook. Although, I will admit to doing some online shopping before the sun rose one morning last week...more on that to come!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

My Unicorn At The End Of A Rainbow

Anyone who knows me very well at all knows that I don't spend much money on my wardrobe. I shop second-hand first, scour the internet for the best deals on the pricey shoes my feet require nowadays, and never buy anything (except perhaps socks) that isn't on sale. Being frugal is in my blood.

I've been on a quest for a long time - years, actually - to find a trucker style denim jacket that fits me well. Denim jackets fit great on people with broad shoulders, long arms, and slim hips. My puny shoulders, teradactyl arms, and baby-carrying-shelf hips have made my search a big challenge. I've found several blazer style denim jackets that fit well over the years...but that's not what I want. I want a trucker style jacket! And of course, being Mrs. Frugal, I want to find this mystical jacket for a buck at a yard sale. Heck, I'd settle for finding one on the clearance rack at a department store.

Alas, what few denim jackets I've run across at yard sales fit me just like the ones on the clearance racks:  too big on top and too tight at the bottom. If I'm lucky enough to get one that fits one area, the other area is all wrong. Petite sizing would offer the best fit for me, but in my area, few stores offer petites; those that do have a very limited stock. Shopping online doesn't work very well for something that really must be tried on.

Recently, I received a $10 coupon for JC Penney's, and my heart was set on using it to buy myself a trucker jacket. JCP featured one in their sale ad, so I had high hopes. Indeed, there were several sizing options available in store - misses, plus, juniors, even petites! I tried on jackets from each department (except plus)... but not a single one fit properly, or even close.

Was I chasing an impossible dream? Am I the only woman shaped in such a way that there isn't a jean jacket on this planet that can be worn fully buttoned, without drooping off the shoulders and requiring the sleeves to be rolled? Would I be forced to sew my own? (It'll never happen; I'm not that good a seamstress.)

All that disappointment made me hungry, so I left JCP behind and headed to the food court. A fluffy Mrs. Powell's cinnamon roll would be quite comforting. Normally, because I don't like eating out alone, I'd take my roll out to my car to enjoy, but it's simply too unbearably hot for that in August. So I sat at a table in the food court, all by myself, and ate half the ginourmous cinnamon roll. It was delicious! As I tucked the remaining half of the roll into a take-home container, I noticed the shop across from where I sat had a sign advertising a sale:  Denim ~ buy one, get one for $10! Christopher & Banks...not a place I frequent, primarily due to their prices being rather high. I do like finding C&B pieces at thrift stores, however. Well...what the hey, it's worth a look at least, right?

I crammed the styrofoam container into my purse and entered Christopher & Banks. There was a small sign near the front of the store stating that they now offer petite sizes. I found the petite section near the back of the shop, and BEHOLD ~ a (very high) rack of denim trucker jackets!!! (Side note:  why do they put petite sized clothing on high racks? We're SHORT; we can't reach the stuff on the top!) I managed to pull down a PL jacket to try on, purposely not looking at the price tag.

Guess what?

All of the buttons fastened and there was even wiggle room at the bottom. What?! I trotted to the mirror to check the fit at the top. Drat - it was too big across the shoulders, baggy under the arms, and the sleeves would need to be rolled. A friend of mine from church happened to be in the store shopping. She suggested I try sizing down to a medium, but I was skeptical that it would button at the bottom. The sales clerk brought me a PM and I put it on.

Guess what?


(Cue the heavenly trumpets here!)

Doesn't hang over my shoulders: check!
Doesn't bag under the arms:  check!
Sleeves stop at the end of my arms, not over my hands:  check!
All the buttons fasten, even the bottom one:  check!

Oh my goodness gracious! I have FOUND the elusive denim trucker jacket of my dreams! Le sigh...

The only drawback to this jacket was the price tag. I did, in fact, have to look at it, and it shouted $44.95. Whew! That's not a Walmart price. Then again, it's not a Walmart jacket. I told myself I'd only buy it if I could find a pair of jeans that fit perfectly, too. After all, the sale was "buy one, get one for $10". Gotta buy two pieces to get the deal.

C&B offered three styles of jeans for the petite lady; I chose a 12P and a 14P from the "modern fit" and the "almost boot cut" (skipping the skinnies) and went to the dressing room. The 12P in the modern fit were fine in the hip and thighs, but way too big in the waist. If I sized down to a 10P, they'd be too tight in the thighs, and probably still too big in the waist. Not for me. The 12P in the almost boot cut fit so well, my heart went pitty-patter! Perfect at waist, hip, thigh, and length. Wonderful!

Now the inner debate began...the jeans were $54.95, and I'd get the jacket for $10, but my total would be $65 plus tax. Could I justify spending that much money on only two articles of clothing? After bouncing back and forth for several minutes in the dressing room, I finally decided to buy them. I took the lovely denim pieces to the counter and handed my credit card to the sales clerk. Then I walked out of the mall with a white and blue shopping bag in my hand, half a cinnamon roll in my purse, and a smile on my face.

We live about 12 miles from town, which is about a 20 minute drive. Not even half way home, I began having anxiety about spending $70 on jeans and a jacket. By the time I rounded the last curve before our house, my hands were gripping the steering wheel so hard my knuckles were white and I had the AC cranked up to Arctic to combat my sweating brow. What was I thinking?! I don't spend that kind of money on clothes! I don't spend that kind of money on anything! GAH!!

After I unloaded the car and put away the groceries, I set the C&B bag on the bed but didn't take out the contents. Surely if I saw those price tags again, I'd have a heart attack. It would be an hour or two before Some Postman returned home from work, but when he did, I planned to show him the evidence of what I'd done. If he fell over from sticker shock, I'd stop at the mall first to return the items the next time I went to town. I was certain he'd have a cow. After all, *I* was having one!

 Once my husband got home and had settled down with his after-work snack of peanuts, I confessed my Huge Shopping Spree. I showed him the Very Expensive jeans and jacket. Cringing, I held out the receipt for him to read the Enormous Grand Total for himself, because it caused me far too much anxiety to say the number out loud.

Do you know what that man said?

"Will you get a lot of use out of these things?" Well, yes. Denim totally fits into my everyday wardrobe. "So keep them." Are you sure? Didn't I spend too much? That's a LOT of money for jeans and a jacket! "Well, if you can find the exact same thing for less online, return those things to the store and get the stuff online." I searched. Nope. Can't even find the stuff online, except at C&B's website for the same price. "So keep 'em. It's fine."

Well. OK. Yay!

But the anxiety still lingered almost a week later, when I met my friend Cassie for coffee. In the process of catching up on each others' lives, the entire sordid tale of The Jacket poured out. Cassie pointed her cup of coffee at me and told me that I'd found my unicorn at the end of a rainbox, and if I returned those jeans and jacket, she'd be very upset with me and something quite unpleasant would occur! (Not sure what she'd do, but she'd think of something memorable! ha ha!) Sometimes, Cassie said, when that thing for which you've searched finally shows up in all its perfection, you just whip out your credit card and buy the thing. And then wear it and enjoy every aspect of its awesomeness.

So I haven't returned the jeans and jacket. Neither have I worn them, though. Mostly because it's still too bloody hot for wearing such things. I did remove from my closet the denim blazer jacket that's been hanging languidly, unworn, since I bought it at a second hand store several years ago. (It wasn't what I really wanted, but it was supposed to "do". It didn't.) And I took pictures of that blazer, listing it for sale on eBay. (Hopefully it will be right for someone else.)

For sale here.

Just seeing that C&B trucker jacket snuggled up in my closet with my other jackets made me happy. It made me even happier putting it on for a quick mirror-selfie:

My "unicorn at the end of a rainbow"!

But...the tags are still attached. As are the tags on the jeans. I'm going to keep both pieces, truly. It's just going to be a really big deal to cut the tags off. Maybe Cassie will come over to assist me in a Cutting Off of the Tags Ceremony...

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sunday Inspiration: 8.28.16

 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity.
Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:10-13

Yes, I realize that the apostle Paul was not referring to a state in the USA in the passage above. He means, of course, the conditions in which he finds himself. I believe he's mostly talking about material needs here, but the same applies to one's state of mental well being, physical health, and sure, even the place where you live.

For me, the place I most need to learn contentment is the condition of my physical body. I'm working on being content with the size and shape that it is, and this is becoming easier for me the older I get. What isn't as easy is accepting that my body can't DO as much as it did ten years ago. I've had to give up my favorite forms of exercise (long distance walking and aerobic workout DVD programs) due to foot problems, ironically caused by those very activities. My body has more pains and less flexibility, although I'm fighting both as hard as I can. Yoga is something wonderful I discovered several years ago that is helping with those issues tremendously. I may not be able to do as much as before, but I can still do something! 

Yes, I can do all things in the strength that Jesus gives me.

(Photo:  US State pieces in my Frankoma pottery collection.)