Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Out With The Old, In With The New

Tomorrow is the start of another new year, 2015. Will you be making any resolutions, setting goals, hoping for a fresh start? While I don't make resolutions, I do have a few goals in mind.

1.  Spend more time being creative.

This past year, I spent a lot of time working on eBay sales. I've enjoyed it, certainly, and have been somewhat successful at it. But I have not had any energy left over for sewing or making crafty projects. In the year ahead, I'm going to scale back on selling and ramp up crafting.

2.  Get back into a regular workout routine.

Ever since my first baby was born nearly 24 years ago, I've exercised 3-5 days per week, the only exceptions being for illness or recovering from surgery or injuries. Once again, injuries have kept me from regular exercise for the past few months. I've managed to do some yoga and take a short walk here and there, but nothing like what I'm accustomed to doing. The injuries are not improving much, but I'm tired of waiting on them. It's time to find something my body is able to do, and work it!

3.  Return to the Thin Within way of eating.

Several years ago, I learned about Thin Within, a faith-based weight loss approach, and led a group at my church. As long as the group stayed together, I followed the program and said farewell to 35 lbs. After the group disbanded for lack of participation, my incentive to adhere to the program also disappeared; gradually, most of those 35 lbs came back. Adopting a vegetarian diet is probably the only thing keeping me from regaining more than I lost back then. I'm really tired of feeling blob-like, and since TW was the simplest, most effective weight loss program I've ever followed, I want to get back on that wagon.

That's it...those are my goals. Nothing earth shattering or terribly difficult. Just a few things for me to strive to improve.

May 2015 be a year of peace, good health and joy for us all!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Program

So I disappeared from my blog for a few weeks. I've been busy, y'all! This is the first time I've kept my eBay auctions going over the holiday season, and while it's been fun, it's an added time consumer in an already action-packed month. I'm getting the holiday things done (decorating, shopping, wrapping, baking, cleaning, etc) and the usual things, too (cooking, laundry, animal care). But other things (working out, reading, blogging) have had to go on the back burner. This Grammy doesn't have the zip she used to have 20 years ago! How on earth did I decorate every room in the house, bake 12 different kinds of cookies/candies, clean the entire house twice a week AND chase after two kids???

Since it's doubtful I'll find much time for blogging until after Christmas, I'm going to use this post to "catch up" on the few outfits I've documented with photos to this point. Get ready...we're gonna get zippy! Ha ha!

Outfit details: sweater & scarf ~ Modcloth; leggings ~ Walmart; boots ~ eBay; earrings ~ adoption fundraiser; pin ~ thrifted. This outfit was worn the church the Sunday before Thanksgiving. I'd planned to wear it ON Thanksgiving, but since we hosted the meal at our house, there was no way I could wear a warm sweater while doing all that cooking.

Outfit details: sweater ~ thrifted; leather skirt ~ thrifted; boots ~ JC Penney; earrings ~ adoption fundraiser. Another church outfit, worn the Sunday after Thanksgiving. I discovered that it's quite challenging to kneel at the communion rail in a leather pencil skirt when you can only put weight on one knee. But I did it!

Outfit details: sweater ~ eBay; shirt ~ thrifted; jeans ~ thrifted; shoes ~ eBay; necklace ~ gift. This is what I wore to go Christmas shopping one day early in December. It was warm enough that day, a coat was not needed, especially with that cozy cashmere sweater.

I was sure I had a couple pics of one more outfit, but I can't find them. It's entirely probable that I deleted them before uploading. And I apologize for the lack of brand names in the outfit details. There isn't enough energy left in me tonight to go rifling through my closet to examine tags. Good night, folks, and in case I don't see you again for a while...Merry Christmas!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Small Business Saturday Thrifting Finds

Today is Small Business Saturday, a shopping event in which I will gladly participate. Yesterday was Black Friday, a shopping frenzy in which I will NOT participate. I stayed home and did laundry! As much as I enjoy a good bargain, my sanity is far more valuable. I'm not fond of crowds, so I'd rather pay a little more and shop in peace.

The weather today is one of those sunny, warm late fall days...perfect for walking around downtown, perusing the little shops. It's so nice, I didn't even wear a jacket! Tomorrow a cold front arrives, but let's not talk about that right now. Let's talk about what I found at the thrift and vintage stores!

The little "pocketbook" coin purse is completely impractical, but it spoke to me, and since it was only 50¢, I could not resist. I'm pretty sure it's vintage, but unsure just how old. There are no markings. The 3-flower pin in the center has a tiny mark on the back, LC, which is apparently Liz Claiborne, according to a Google search. The only other piece with a mark is the seal pin - it has a swan inside a circle. Google reveals that this is the mark of the Swavorski company. The kitty cat pin looks similar in composition to the seal, but only from the front. The back is completely different, so I know they are not made by the same company. The red elephant pin really talked to me, and I knew she simply had to come home with me!

Here's a tip on seeing those teeny tiny marks on jewelry:  A jeweler's rouge, even a cheap plastic one like the one we have, will usually give you a good enough view to figure it out. But if you're still stumped, like I was with the Swavorski mark (was it a swan or a numeral 2?), put your camera on macro and take a clear, close up photo. After you download the photo to your computer, the mark will be enormous and quite readable. I tried using the zoom to view the photo on the camera, but each zoom made it blurrier than the last. Once the photo is on the computer, there is no need to zoom in.

Honestly, I have no idea WHY I bought this sweater. It's quite large on me, and I'm guessing it's a true vintage 1980s sweater, based solely on the fact that a huge portion of the section of clothing with which it was hanging was definitely from the 80s. (The tag has been cut out for the most part, leaving only the name Ship & Shore Sport.) It makes me think of Beverly Goldberg, although her sweaters tend to be far more glittery. Maybe I can take it up on the sides and the sleeves, but I'm not sure my sewing skills are good enough. It only cost $1.50, so if I butcher it, at least I won't be out much. Guess I'd better wait until my husband sees it and judge from his reaction whether or not to wear the thing. Perhaps I'll wear it next Halloween with some acid wash jeans and be Beverly Goldberg!

This sweater isn't quite so bright in person. It's 100% wool; I bought it not to wear, but for a sewing project. My plan is to felt it, then make quilt blocks out of it, as well as other things I haven't dreamed up yet. I've had this felted wool quilt project in my mind for a couple of years, and have slowly purchased wool sweaters at yard sales and thrift stores as I've found colors and patterns I like. I've got a tote box full of them now, so it's time to get started on the quilt! After the new year, of course. I have one fabric project to work on as a Christmas gift, so that is my first priority.

This sweater jacket is also 100% wool, but it is not destined for my quilt project; I already have plenty of black wool for that. This pretty number will be going on eBay soon. Even though I'm trying to decrease my eBay fodder and not fill up even more of my tiny sewing room with inventory, this sweater jacket was irresistable. Surely there's a lovely plus sized lady who would love its ruffles and warmth this winter, and her purchase will help pad my Shoe Fund.

My small business purchases today included other items as well, but since they are gifts, they will not be revealed here.

While I was admiring the amazing 80s dresses at the little church-run thrift store, a high school girl behind me drew my attention. I discovered that she is a kindred spirit - a feller thrifter - and we laughed together at all the hideous dresses and power suits with massive shoulders. I was very tempted to buy the black T-shaped batwing dress with the giant silvery triangle on the front. My new friend and I agreed it was not only ghastly, but the fabric made our fingers cringe. I know there are people out there who LOVE vintage stuff like that, was tough, but I talked myself out of it. Again, I really don't need more eBay fodder. We moved on to the shoes, where we saw the most ENORMOUS pair of overshoes either of us had ever laid eyes on. You could float down the river in those things! Next we checked out purses and hats, where I found the little pocketbook coin purse and she found a thing we determined to be a hat, despite the fact it looked like a velvet donut. Then she showed me the skinniest dress ever in the formal wear section; she said it's been at the store for a while. The label said it's a size 1 - the waist is probably no bigger than 20" around! That's when I learned that my new friend spends every Saturday morning poking around the thrift shop. Her father owns the shop next door, and since none of her friends enjoys thrifting, she goes by herself for a couple of hours while her Dad runs the shop.

It's always good to make a new friend, and I love it when we can ignore age differences and focus on shared interests instead. In the cooler months, I don't go into town on Saturdays often, but I will have to make a point of making a trip more often. I'd like to pop into the shop next door to the thrift store and see if my young friend wants to go laugh at the Beverly Goldberg outfits with me...

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Visit to my Momma

Last Thursday, I spent the day with my Momma. She had surgery a few weeks ago, and stayed with Salt City Hausfrau for two weeks or so afterward, since that made less traveling for Momma. Dad brought her home a week ago, and I wanted to be with Mom for her first full day home. Somebody needed to be there to make sure she didn't try to do too much while Dad was at work!

We had a great visit - or rather, a "gab-fest", as Some Postman puts it. Ha ha! It was a time of sharing, and I treasured the chance to have quality time with my mother. We talked about everything under the sun! Mom lay down for a nap in the afternoon, but she kept talking away. An hour later, the phone rang, and I used that as my opportunity to tell the caller Mom was sleeping - and then told her to make it true! While Momma napped, I made chicken noodle soup for her and Dad's supper. Chicken noodle soup has curative powers, you know!

Outfit details: Mossimo sweater ~ Target; white tee ~ Walmart; Loft jeans ~ thrifted; Ryka shoes ~; earrings ~ Avon (old).

This is my new favorite headband, made by Scunci. It's a no slip grip flexible headband made of some kind of rubbery bendable material that bends and conforms to the shape of your head. It's really comfy, doesn't poke my head behind my ears, and stays on all day. I bought it at the local Walmart, and hoped to include a link so you all could check it out yourselves...but I could not find it online anywhere! Not even on the scunci website! Next time I visit Walmart, I plan to buy another one. If these things are so rare, I'd better get a backup in case the one I have breaks or gets lost.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Cashmere Sweater, Take 2

My berry colored cashmere cardigan made another appearance later in the week after its first wearing. I wore it a bit differently this time, still trying to disguise the fact it's a tad too big. It worked pretty well, don't you think?

Outfit details: Marshall Fields cashmere cardigan ~ eBay; Maurice's skirt ~ thrifted; hat ~ Walmart; scarf ~ Amazon; flannel lined leggings ~ Amazon; Unlisted boots ~ thrifted; earrings ~ Apparent Project. 

This time, I wore the cardigan buttoned all the way, so it was more like a pullover, then tucked up the hem until it was the length I wanted. Surprisingly, it stayed tucked up like that all day with only minimal adjusting.

The hat was only worn for the outfit photos, although not on purpose. I really did intend to wear it as I went grocery shopping, but completely forgot to put it back on my head after whatever it was that caused me to take it off. You can kind of see in the close up above that I was wearing a ruffle collared shirt under the sweater. I've had that shirt for ages and ages; it comes in quite handy as a layering piece.

This post is the only time you'll be seeing these boots. I picked them up over the summer at a yard sale for a buck. They are indeed cute, and they fit extremely well, what with the elastic back. Sadly, they are not warm at all, and even with my insoles, they weren't very comfortable after a couple of hours. My friend U is collecting boots, coats, hats and gloves for a local church's give away program...I will donate these boots, but I'd better add a pair of thick socks to go with them. The boots are certainly better than going barefoot, but they are decidedly NOT warm.

I've got one more idea in mind for a way to wear the cashmere sweater as it is, and then I'll decide if alterations are in order. Stay tuned....

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Cashmere Season

Winter has arrived ahead of schedule here in the Flint Hills, as it has across much of the country. Ten days ago, I was scurrying around outdoors in jeans and a t-shirt, preparing the animals and yard for the coming frigid temps. The very next day, the icy north wind required much bundling and layers. And it's been that way ever since...

Enter cashmere sweaters. So warm and cozy! I purchased a couple of them over the summer on eBay, in anticipation of cold weather like we're having now. This particular sweater is really too large for me (one of the hazards of buying clothing online is the inability to try it on before purchasing). I'm sure that I could alter it under the arms to fit better in that location, but the sleeves would still be far too long and so would the body of the sweater. Instead, I am trying various ways to wear the sweater as it is. I'm considering washing it in hot water to see if it will shrink a bit, but I'm kind of nervous about doing that. If it shrinks too much, it will be unwearable.

Outfit details: Marshall Field's cashmere cardigan ~ eBay; Merona t-shirt ~ Target; Apt 9 skirt ~ thrifted; Nurture shoes ~ thrifted; necklace ~ thrifted; earrings ~ gift from Salt City Hausfrau.

For some reason, this new haircut makes me want to wear lip color. I have no idea why! I'm not overly fond of lipstick, either. It makes my lips feel...goopy. My dear friend MA gave me some Bare Minerals Pretty Amazing lip stain for my birthday a while back, and I really like how it wears. It doesn't get on my teeth, and it feels more like lip balm. It's pretty long lasting, too, although it does wear off some if I'm sipping a cuppa tea. And it leaves lip prints on my grandson's forehead when I give him a smooch!

Why on earth someone donated these wonderful shoes to Goodwill, I'll never know, but I'm certainly glad she did! They are very comfortable and have the arch support my problem feet require.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Black and Blue

Last Friday, I went to town to get a few groceries. Normally I shop earlier in the week, but I hadn't gone since early in the prior week, and we were completely out of orange juice. Some Postman needs his morning OJ! Also, I had a Groupon deal about to expire, as well as a coupon for free undies at Victoria's Secret and a $10 off $10 purchase coupon for JC Penney. (I got to the mall and realized I'd forgotten the JCP coupon. Drat!) Shopping is a sport, as we all know, so it is important to wear comfortable and functional clothing. This outfit fit the bill:

Outfit details: Mossimo flannel shirt ~ Target; tee ~ JCP; Sonoma jeans ~ thrifted; Mossimo boots ~ Target; necklace ~ gift; earrings ~ thrifted.

I've had a thing for plaid flannel shirts for a long, LONG time. They are comfortable, warm, cozy, and hard working. I wear them at home relaxing, out shopping, on dates with my husband, while doing chores and have even worn them to church. Finding a flannel shirt with a good fit has not been easy, however. The ones I like best are these Mossimo shirts from Target. They are found in the Junior department, which means they fit my narrow shoulders well. I've found that getting the largest size available (XXL) is a good idea, because flannel shrinks. If it fits in the store, it's not gonna fit after it's been washed.

Most women I know say they can never find second-hand jeans that fit well. My experience is the opposite! The best-fitting, most comfortable jeans I own have been picked up at yard sales for a buck or two, without even being able to try them on. I have no idea how this works, but it does. The few jeans I've purchased new in a store fit OK (or else I wouldn't buy them) but they aren't nearly as comfortable. So, since merely holding up a pair of somebody's unwanted jeans to see if the side seams hit in about the right spot works...why do anything differently?

These Mossimo ankle boots continue to amaze me. I'd purchased them late in the spring a couple of years ago, deeply clearanced, and then tucked them in the back of my closet. When I switched out my wardrobe the following autumn, I opened the box and wrinkled my nose. Why on earth had I bought those ugly things? They went into the pile to be sold on eBay...but when it came time to actually do that, I changed my mind. And I'm glad I did! These boots have proven to be comfortable and compliment much of my everyday wardrobe.

Finally, you may have noticed that I got my hair cut. I'd been growing it out, hoping to be able to wear it down to my shoulders. Thursday morning, I could not tolerate the weird split in the back and the puff balls over my ears any longer! Luckily, I was able to get in at the salon that afternoon, and the girl who was available did a great job fixing my problem hair. She's actually fixed my hair once before, maybe a year ago. Why did I not continue going to her? Well....for the past 18 years, I've gotten my hair cut by a sweet, lovely lady who runs a shop in her home, and it feels disloyal to go anywhere else. The only reason I've gone elsewhere the few times I have is because she couldn't fit me into the schedule right away. I love her to pieces, but I find that I really like the way this other girl cut my hair better. I'm torn! Do I remain loyal to my long time friend and hairdresser - or do I go to the young lady that cuts my hair in a way that works with its quirks? Guess I have about six weeks to figure it out....

Thursday, November 6, 2014

In The Spirit of Things

Book Club met last week, the evening before Halloween (Halloween Eve? Can you have an eve of an eve?). The book selection was "War Brides" by Helen Bryan, a novel set in Britain during WWII. My next door neighbor CL and I decided to really get into the spirit of both the book and Halloween by dressing in costume for the meeting. CL was a Land Girl and I was "making do".

Both of us composed our costumes from items that were either thrifted or already in our closets. In my case, the outfit was both from my closet and thrifted. I must say that CL was far more comfortable in her get-up than I was in mine! In order for that dress to stay buttoned, my strongest Spanx-like undergarment was required. Sadly, that meant I could not eat very much of the delicious food provided by our hostess. Drinking a glass of wine wasn't an issue, though!

A Land Girl was a young lady who worked on farms, providing food for the troops. She put in long days of hard labor, serving her country and earning a bit of a living. Her everyday uniform was very similar to CL's costume above: sturdy boots, heavy sweater and brown pants. Usually a cowboy-style hat was worn, but a scarf tied over the hair was also an option.

The shirt dress was simple and serviceable, although the dresses worn in that era had fuller skirts than the one I wore. (I was "making do" with what I had!) Menswear inspired oxfords echoed the practicality of the outfit. The "Victory Roll" was a popular hairstyle, and while my hair really is too short to do a proper Victory Roll, I did the best I could and used a ton of hairspray! Nylons were in short supply since the material was needed for military use, so if a girl didn't have any stockings, she created the illusion by staining her legs and drawing a "seam" up the back of her legs with coal. I didn't stain my legs, but did have CL use eyeliner to draw the lines for me.

 We had fun dressing up in our book-inspired outfits, and we certainly enjoyed reading the book. Historical fiction is my personal favorite genre of reading; I have learned more about the past from reading such books than I ever absorbed in school.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Black, White and Orange

Only in October do I feel that I can get away with wearing orange and black together. Any other time, it seems out of place...too Halloween-y. And so one Sunday in late October, that is exactly what I wore: black and orange, with a touch of white.

Outfit details: Retrolicious "Houndslueth" dress ~ Modcloth; Mossimo sweater ~ Target; L.E.I. booties ~ Walmart; necklace ~ gift from my Mom.

Some Postman made me laugh!

I tried to do a little twirl to show how full the skirt is.

This dress is so much fun to wear! From a distance, it looks like a regular houndstooth pattern, but get a little closer, and you notice that it's adorable Dachshunds instead. And I'm a sucker for anything Dachshund printed or shaped. I should have had Etta Pooka, my real live Dachshund, pose with me for these photos. She was most likely snug in her puppy bed, getting in a morning nap after breakfast. It takes a lot of naps to be a cute Dachshund!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Fashion for a Cause

What a blur the past week or so has been! My blogging goals are certainly not being met, but I'm determined to keep plugging away at them. When things get busy or complicated, I tend to think I should discontinue the blog...but it brings me joy when I do have time for it. So my posts aren't as frequent as I'd like them to be, but at least I'm writing once in a while.

This outfit was worn a few weeks ago to church. I'm glad I have time today to write about it, because the earrings I wore have a very special meaning behind them that is quite timely. This coming Sunday, November 2, is "Orphan Sunday", a day in which many churches, ours included, will be raising awareness of the need of adoption and care of orphans around the world. Two families in our congregation are in the process of adopting children overseas. They have both held various fundraisers over the past few months, one of which is the sale of some lovely jewelry.

Outfit details: Xhileration dress ~ Target; St Johns Bay tee ~ JC Penney's; scarf ~ thrifted; socks ~ Target; St Johns Bay boots ~ JC Penney's.

The jewelry is the most important part of the outfit, of course. The bracelet and earrings that I purchased are made from upcycled materials (even the earring tag is cut from a Cheezits box!) by Haitian parents working to provide for their families so they won't have to give up their children. The jewelry is very affordable; half the funds go to the Apparent Project and half to the White family for their adoption. You can read more about the Apparent Project here, and follow along with the Whites in their adoption journey here. If you would like to buy some of the jewelry to benefit the Whites, you may contact them on their blog page, or you may contact me and I will get in touch with them for you.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

An Everyday Hausfrau Outfit

This outfit was worn a couple of weeks ago on an ordinary average day at the farm. I don't remember exactly what I did while wearing it, but I'm sure it included chores, poking around in the garden a bit, puttering in the kitchen, and printing up my notes for the church ladies' meeting that night. I'm positive I did NOT do any laundry while wearing this outfit, because my washer has been on the fritz for more than two weeks now. Some Postman has been on the phone with Maytag every other day, trying to convince them that the warranty on our washer does indeed include the transmission. It says so in the owner's manual! He finally connected with someone willing to honor the warranty, and so I'm headed to the library today to send them a fax of the page in the manual that proves the point.

Oops...I chased a rabbit. Sorry!

Here's the outfit:

Outfit details: Dressbarn top - thrifted; jeans - I don't remember which pair of jeans I wore that day! I'm sure they were thrifted, as are 98% of my jeans.

Can you see the details of this top a little better here? It has kind of criss-crossed rouching in the bust area and drapes gracefully down from there. Very comfortable and pretty!

I did not notice while taking these photos that the hem of one sleeve was turned up. The main purpose in sharing the above photo is because it was the only shot in which the earrings weren't blurry. They are very swingy! I'm pretty sure I picked them up at a yard sale. Our local thrift stores have very little jewelry for sale. I heard once that any jewelry donated to our Goodwill store in Manhattan gets sent on to Kansas City because they can get more money out of it there. That kind of chaps my hide, but what can I do about it? Two things:  don't donate any of my own jewelry to Goodwill and buy jewelry at yard sales.

So, you know me and my love of Fun Socks! Aren't these AMAZING???!!! They are called "I've Tread Them All" socks; you can buy them on Modcloth, who offers so many adorable Fun Socks, I have to force myself not to put a boat load of them into my shopping cart. The shoes are Merrels, thrifted at Goodwill. Can't get jewelry there, but I sure do have the best luck with shoes.

Finally, these are my new glasses. Seeing the eye doctor was long overdue; the little card they gave me the last time told me to come again in 2009. While my vision is pretty good, I had begun to notice a need for holding books away from my face in order to read, even while wearing my old glasses. What a difference these new ones make! I can even thread a needle on the first try again! I decided to go with plastic frames this time, because the nose pads on my old metal frames made dents in my nose. Sometimes they even made it hard for me to breathe. As it turns out, my nose is rather broad, making it a challenge to find a pair of plastic frames that fit well. These fit nicely, and they were marked down in price, happily. Good thing, because our insurance doesn't cover much when it comes to eyewear.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Rather Boring Sunday Morning Outfit

This dress has been lurking in my closet for several years, so I figured it was time to "use it or lose it". Wearing it to church one Sunday a few weeks ago, I discovered that I really don't like the dress anymore. It fits well enough, and the shape is okay...I think it's the pattern and colors that make me yawn. Honestly, looking in the mirror and at the photos of this outfit bores me. Ho-hum. Yawn! Snore....

Outfit details: Chaps dress ~ Kohl's; Be Comfortable by Blondo shoes ~ eBay; monogram necklace ~ gift from Salt City Hausfrau.

The main reason I'm posting this snooze-fest of an outfit is because of the necklace that my sister gave me. Also, because these are the first photos of my fall hair cut and color, although it had already faded a bit by then. The auburn didn't stick around very long. Next time I'll use a permanent color instead of the wash-out kind.

I almost fell asleep while wearing this dress, but before it could cast its Sleeping Beauty spell upon me, I added it to the sack of things destined for Goodwill. Farewell, drowsy dress! Perhaps another lady will find you appealing.