Wednesday, February 26, 2014

For Love of the Wonderful Dachshund

This dress was featured as part of Librarian For Life and Style author Jen's "Uniquely Yours" challenge entry on Modcloth in January. As soon as I saw it on her blog page, I fell tail over heels in love with it! I went directly to Modcloth and put it in my cart. However, because I so rarely purchase anything for full price, I did not purchase it right away. I mulled it over for more than a week, and every time I looked at the dress, I became more enamored with it. Since I was a new customer, they offered a coupon for $15 off, and so I bought the dress!

Dress - Modcloth
Studio 1940 cardigan - Fashion Bug (ages ago!)
Danskin black tee - Walmart
Handmade purse - eBay
Clarks shoes - thrifted

I like that Modcloth has reviews and recommendations on sizing, but it didn't help me a lot with this purchase. My body is unique and what others said about fit didn't necessarily apply to me. So I had to exchange my first choice for a different size. It was quite simple to do and the new dress arrived quickly. This one fits better, although there's still something kind of wonky about the bodice on me. With a cardigan over it, however, it's not noticeable. 


Of course Etta Pooka needed to be in the pictures! She's the inspiration behind this entire outfit, after all, and she's the perfect accessory. Sadly, I could not take her to church with me, because for some reason dogs aren't allowed. 


Pooka still greatly dislikes the wood floor in our bedroom, which is why she looks rather apprehensive. She's only slightly less afraid of the floor while up on my lap in the chair. But at least this time she didn't try to claw her way to the top of my head. Poor sad dog...

 Necklace - gift from my Mom
Earrings - thrifted


And, finally, here's a look at my new haircut. It's a big change, isn't it? Several people at church said they liked it, but I'm not entirely sure that I am all that fond of it. My hair never looks the way I envision it with a new cut. Well, at any rate, it will grow eventually and I can try something else.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Where I've Been and What's Coming Soon

Guess where I've been lately? On a mini-vacation! Some Postman took a few days off from delivering mail and we flew to Seattle for a four-day weekend. It was a wonderful break from the norm! The main reason for the trip, of course, was PUSAfest. The Presidents of the United States of America present a series of concerts the weekend of President's Day; this is the second year in a row that SP and I have attended. (By the way, my nickname for my husband, Some Postman, comes from one of PUSA's songs of the same title.)

At the Space Needle

I did not take any outfit photos while away; they were almost always covered by this coat. It was rainy, somewhat windy, and chilly most of the time. As you can see in the above photo, the hood was not as water-proof as I had hoped, allowing my hair to get wet and leaving it bedraggled once dried. Definitely NOT fashionable! I packed as lightly as possible, since we took carry-on bags only, and had to carry those bags with us part of the time before and after checking out of our hotel. Almost didn't take a second pair of jeans, but was glad I did so I had a dry pair to change into. If we go again next year, we'll look for backpacks, I will consider wearing boots, and we'll invest in a decent umbrella (ours is ancient and sucks bigtime!).

Pike Place Market - posing with the Pig
At the Acoustic Concert (my favorite!)


The day before we left on our trip, Some Postman bought me a new Canon compact camera. I've been wanting to upgrade for a while, so when I saw this one in the weekly ad for $49.99, I asked him for it. He agreed, but only if I promised to finish filing the stacks of photos in the pie cabinet. Ha ha! Yes, I will get to that project. I love to take pictures, but don't do a very good job of keeping them organized.

At any rate, I had fun learning to use this new little camera in Seattle. Here are a few of my favorite shots:

Space Needle with Sonic Bloom

Space Needle at Dusk
Sunset over Puget Sound
I did buy three little jewelry pieces in Seattle, which I hope to feature on the blog soon. Otherwise, I didn't purchase any souvenirs - I didn't want to add extra weight to my bag!

Fighting with my hair on the trip convinced me that I really do need a haircut. I'd been "growing it out" -- actually, just not bothering to get it cut -- but it really does look terrible without great pains and much hairspray. I've got an appointment Friday morning with my hairdresser, and did some searching on the 'net for a new look. I'm going to try something really different! It's kind of scary, but hey, it's only hair.

Stay tuned....

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Lovin' Some Light Layers!

While big sis is away, little sis will play!  FHH is on a weekend excursion with her hubby and so I took over the blog in her absence.  Dressing for church this morning was a welcomed treat with temps in the upper 50's!  I love layering and dressing in sweaters and boots but the super cold temperatures we've been having this winter have been going on for a long time!  I was ready to wear some lighter layers today!  
I didn't have time for a picture at home, so I went up to our church's new Charis Cafe for a quick snap shot.  Scarf - World Market , Merona tiered shirt - Target, A.N.A light grey cardigan - JCPenney's, Worthington black skirt - hand me down from FHH , black hose - ? had them so long the elastic is completely shot and they'll be going in the garbage after today, black boots - Academy Sports.  I actually got a little too warm with my scarf on so once I got home off went the cardigan, scarf, boots and skirt and on went the jeans!  Time for some downtime with my hubby!  FHH will be back soon and I'm sure she'll have some wonderful stories to tell us about her adventures this weekend!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Simple Made-At-Home Beauty and Cleaning Products

One day last week, I decided to ignore the cold, snowy day outside by making some homemade beauty and cleaning products in my nice warm kitchen.



Deodorant

This was the third time I've made deodorant, using two different recipes. Something in the second recipe I tried irritated my skin, so I scraped that batch out of my recycled store-bought deodorant tube and refilled it with this one. I prefer the first recipe I used last summer, so that's the one I'm sticking with.


  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder
  • 2 Tbsp baking soda
  • 8-10 drops essential oils (I use tea tree, eucalyptus & lavender)
Melt the coconut oil in a glass dish in the microwave (takes about 30 seconds). Add everything else and mix well. Pour into recycled deodorant tube. Store in a cool place.

I think I need to find a different grade of coconut oil with a higher melting point to use in this recipe. This one is solid at 76°, but as soon as the deodorant touches my skin, it melts, making a drippy mess on the container. And I have to use my fingers to rub it in before it drizzles down my sides. Not a huge problem, but coconut oil with a higher melting point would help. Also, in the warmer months, I'll store it in the fridge.

Hair Spray

For the life of me, I can't remember where I found the directions for making hair spray. It was someone's blog, I'm pretty sure. Unfortunately, I didn't bookmark it, nor did I pin it on Pinterest:  I wrote it in my little notebook labeled "Naturally Clean Recipes". And so I cannot give credit where credit is due to any of the recipes seen in this post. They came from all over the web...blogs, business websites, how-to sites. Google any of these things, and you'll find a plethora of information!

At any rate, back to the hair spray. When I go see my favorite hairdresser, I always request that she "go easy on the sauce" because I dislike how hairspray makes me itch and cough and give me "helmet hair". Living in Kansas requires a gal to use some kind of product to keep her tresses from standing on end from the ever-present Kansa wind, however. When I saw this recipe for homemade hair spray, I thought I'd give it a shot:

  • 1 cup distilled water
  • 4 tsp white sugar
  • 6-8 drops essential oil, if desired (I used lavender)
Heat water in pan to boiling. Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Remove from heat. Cool to room temp. Add essential oil. Pour into spray bottle. Spritz on hair.

I've been using this concoction almost every day for the past week, and I must say that it's quite effective! The best part is that it doesn't make me itch or cough. Surprisingly enough, it does not leave my hair sticky or ultra helmet-like. A bit crunchy, but nothing a comb can't go through easily. I've noticed that the next morning, my hair is still more or less holding its shape from the day before when I use this spray. Regular hair spray always made my hair go all wonky the next morning, even after brushing out my hair. I do wonder if my sweet hair spray will attract buggies come warm weather, but I guess we shall just have to wait and see about that. It's still stinkin' rotten cold around here now.

Body Wash

When I shower, I prefer to use my homemade bar soap over body wash, but a friend of mine is interested in making her own wash, so I thought I would experiment with this and let her know how it goes. I'd also like to adapt it to make a doggy wash for Etta Pooka.

This isn't a precise recipe, but rather basic directions:

Pour equal amounts liquid castile soap and aloe vera gel (not juice) into a recycled body wash or shampoo bottle. Add a small amount of moisturizing oil such as sweet almond oil. Poke a Vitamin E capsule with a needle and squeeze the oil into the bottle. Add several drops essential oils, if desired. Shake well before using.

Well. Hmmm.... Let's just say I am not impressed. This stuff doesn't suds up at all. It feels nice enough on my skin, but even after squirting a huge amount into my pouf, it just smeared around rather than lathering. My guess is that there is too much aloe vera gel in the equation. I've got one other body wash recipe in my notebook that I'll try.

Laundry Soap

I've been making my own laundry soap for quite some time now, and have posted about it on this blog before. You can read about it here, at its new location on WordPress. The only difference is that now I turn baking soda into washing soda using the stove top method. It's faster and uses less propane. Simply heat the baking soda in a sauce pan on low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up lumps. You'll be able to tell when the change has occurred because the soda will look more like fine sand. It's kind of cool to watch it "boil", too. Also, instead of grating the Fels Naptha by hand, risking the inclusion of knuckle skin in the soap, I use a hand-crank Salad Shooter type grater thing I found at a thrift store. Much less painful!

Brown Sugar Body Scrub

This is another product that I have made previously. It smells delicious, but don't eat it! It makes your skin feel very soft, too. Just be very careful when using it, because it will make your tub extremely slippery. Use a bath mat or something secure to stand upon. (I stood on a wash cloth.) Otherwise, you may slip and fall, injuring yourself, requiring someone to drive you to the ER. In the words of Sheldon Cooper, "for want of 99-cent adhesive ducks, we both might die in a fiery car crash."


  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup almond oil
  • 1 tsp Vitamin E oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp honey
Mix well and store in a tightly sealed container. To use, apply to skin in the shower and rinse off. Gently towel dry, being careful not to rub off the silky softness.

Other recipes in my notebook of Naturally Clean Recipes that I  will make someday in the future include shampoo, conditioner and lip balm. I have tried making dish soap, but it didn't work very well, so those recipes have been torn from the notebook. All of my bar soap recipes are kept in a different book. I may or may not continue to make all of these products myself. Sometimes it is nice to specialize in a few and purchase or trade with someone who makes other things. It's always good to support other artisans!



Monday, February 10, 2014

Pre-Valentine's Day Dress-Up

Since yesterday was the Sunday before Valentine's Day, I thought I'd wear something appropriately festive in honor of the holiday. What better dress than my red tiered one?


Merona dress - Target
Ciao Bella boots - eBay

I knew that I would blend in with the chair, posing in this location, but the lighting was best here. Also, the chair looks very Valentine-y, don't you think?

 Faith 21 jacket - thrifted

Despite the fact this jacket is a size 3X, when I saw it at Goodwill, crammed in with the men's shirts (was someone hiding it so they could come back later to get it?), I simply had to have it! It's super soft, plush, cozy, snuggly and hug-inducing. It does nothing for my shape, but who cares? It's cuddly! I like to say it's a "swing jacket", not hugely over-sized.

♥ Happy Valentine's Day! ♥

 Necklace - my own creation

 Earrings - from my MIL's collection

 Plastic heart ring - Hobby Lobby


Check out this novelty ring - it BLINKS! I bought it on super-clearance after Valentine's Day last year at Hobby Lobby for a whopping 10¢. This blinkin' blinker caught several eyes at church, young and old alike. (I turned it off during the service, of course. The focus needs to be on worship, not festive accessories.) Even my dear Some Postman thought it was cool! I plan to wear it all week long. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Style Imitating Art: Snowy Owl

This is my first time to participate in Style Imitating Art, hosted by Jen of Librarian For Life And Style. The illustration she chose is Snowy Owl by John James Audubon in his seminal Birds of America:


When I saw this beautiful illustration, it inspired me to stop merely being a spectator of the ladies doing SIA and actually join them. Two outfits came to mind right away, but this is the one I ended up wearing:

 Sonoma long sleeve tee - thrifted
Coldwater Creek sweater - thrifted
Faded Glory leggings - Walmart
St Johns Bay boots - JC Penney
Owl necklace - gift from sister B, the Salt City Hausfrau
Earrings - JC Penney


I'm wearing a white cami underneath, because this tee is a bit on the short side and I wanted to include some white in honor of the Snowy Owls. Also, it's cold around here and I can use the extra layer. There's a pair of fleece lined leggings underneath the floral leggings, for two reasons. A: It's cold around here. B: My skin is being fussy today and only wants super soft things touching it.





The colors in Audubon's Snowy Owl illustration really appeal to me, and I love how they work together in my outfit. Later this afternoon, when Some Postman gets home from work, we will go to Town for a bit of shopping. It'll be a hoot! (Sorry...couldn't resist!)


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Can You Tell Me How to Get to Sesame Street?

On Tuesday, Kansas was hit with a big ol' snow storm. We got about a foot of the white stuff here, which is about what everyone else got over much of the state. I heard one report of 16 inches! That's the most snow we've gotten in one day in a very long time. Along with the snow came the ever-present Kansas wind, driving the snow into every crack and crevice available. After the snow, the mercury fell but the wind did not, making it quite cold and miserable for anyone who had to be out, including Some Postman.

I've spent a lot of time the past couple of days shoveling. That wicked wind drifted the snow right back over the path I'd cleared to the barn and the hen house within minutes, so every time I went out to check on the animals, I had to shovel all over again. Same thing with the piddle spot for Pooka dog. The poor thing hates the cold so much that she chose to "hold it" all day Tuesday rather than go in the spot I repeatedly cleared for her. Now that the sun is shining again, however, she goes right to her little area to do her business, and then, like the goofy walnut-brain she is, jumps into the nearest drift to sniff out what might be buried beneath. Crazy dog!

My "uniform" the past few days has been made up of many layers - tee, flannel shirt, leggings, jeans, two pairs of socks. To go out shoveling:  Don a third pair of socks, fleece lined rain boots, scarf, hat, heavy coat, and the giant fleece-lined wool gloves found in the bottom of the hats/gloves basket. I felt like the abominable snow woman! After my last shoveling session yesterday, my back was screaming, so I decided that was gonna be the last of it for me. I shed my layers, took a nice hot shower and put on the coziest, comfiest outfit I could make from my closet:

 Sweatshirt - thrifted
White Stag pants - Walmart
Scarf - thrifted
Born moccasins - eBay


Pooka clung to me with the grip of an eagle! She is not fond of the wood floor in our bedroom. She gingerly creeps to the bed, then crawls underneath the bed (her "safe zone") and peers out. Only recently has she begun to get the courage to come out from under the bed. While I was taking these photos, she actually came out from under the bed and took a few steps toward me, so I picked her up. I guess she was afraid I would drop her on that evil wood floor! She had all four paws dug into my sweatshirt and used all her strength to press as close to Mommy as possible. Poor dog! I carried her out to the living room, which has a carpeted floor, where she relaxed. Then I carried her back in my room to sit in the red chair with her. Poor scared-y cat Pooka was only slightly less afraid in the chair. What a silly little dog!


And now to explain the title of this post....

This fuzzy purple sweatshirt makes me think of muppets. It's super thick, fuzzy and warm and just looks like it belongs on a Sesame Street character! If I were a muppet, my name would be Grammy Monster. I would eat nothing but cookies and live in a laundry basket.

Hmm....I think perhaps I've been cooped up in this house far too long....

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Groundhog Day

Good ol' Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow today, so it seems we are in for six more weeks of winter. Like the furry critter actually has anything to do with it. Spring comes the same time every year, on the Vernal Equinox, March 20th. It may or may not feel like spring at that time, but that is officially when spring arrives. A groundhog has nothing to do with it. But hey, at least Phil has a job.

Winter is most definitely making its presence felt here in the Flint Hills. Another 3-5 inches of snow fell a couple days ago, and more is promised this coming week. Snow is fine. It's pretty, provides an outdoor workout opportunity, and it's not too challenging to drive upon. Sleet, freezing rain and ice are another story. I'd appreciate it if the Weather Dudes can keep those things OUT of our forecast!

In perusing my closet last night in anticipation of church this morning, I ran across a dress that has not yet been worn. It was an online Target clearance purchase several months ago, which I probably should have returned. Sequins really aren't my cuppa tea. But these are rather subtle sequins, if there exists such a thing, and it's far too late to return the dress now, so I might as well get a few wearings out of it, right?

 Xhileration dress - Target
Danskin tee - Walmart
Tights - Khol's, I think
(Sigh....and there's a lamp growing out of my head...)

Mossimo cropped jacket - Target
Scarf - gift from my daughter
Photo bombing dachshund - Etta Pooka!

l.e.i. booties - Walmart

Look! I actually put on makeup today!
And those are my snowflake earrings, which you've seen many, many times this winter.


After we got home from church, I swapped out the jacket, tights and boots for leggings, a flannel shirt and slippers to make a cozier, more relaxed outfit just right for Skyping with my dear friend in Michigan. That poor girl has stopped counting how many inches of snow they are blanketed beneath! And the temperature? I'm pretty sure the thermometer we have doesn't go down that low. Brr!

Some Postman and I are not football fans, so the Superb Owl will not be viewed at our house this evening. (I love that little switcheroo to keep from using the proper name of the game, don't you? How silly that we can't call it by its proper name for fear of our pants being sued off of us. Yet another reason not to watch the Big Game.) Instead, I am looking forward to the next episode of Downton Abbey and hopefully an hour of Big Bang Theory reruns on Fox. Or is that the station on which the Seahawks and Broncos will be duking it out? (See, I do happen to know who's playing! ha! Just not what station is airing it.) If we had cable, I'd be watching the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet. I read that they have PENGUIN cheerleaders! Penguins!!! I adore penguins! I'd have one for a pet if I could. My son adores penguins, too, and says he wishes he could have a pet penguin, too. Since we can't have real penguins, we have to settle for this:


Meet Peng....she is a stuffed mother Emporer penguin (I'm pretty sure that's what type of penguin she is, anyway). Some Postman won her at his company Christmas party many years ago, before he was a mailman, back when our daughter was a toddler. We set Peng next to her bed when we got home from the party so when Min got up in the morning, that penguin would be the first thing she'd see. Poor kid! She was rather terrified at first, but it didn't take long before she was dragging Peng all over the house, riding on her back and using her for a footstool. Peng has been with us for a long time! That's probably why Hungry Bird and I have such a love for penguins. (He was too young to be traumatized by waking up to find a life-size penguin staring at him, so he has known only love and adoration for penguins, unlike his sister. She's not afraid of them anymore, by the way.) A real live penguin would be SO cool, tho....

This will likely be the longest post of the coming week, as my daily planner is already marked up each day. I do plan to take photos, tho, and if one of the predicted snow storms does indeed dump a boatload on us, I'll take the time to write more than how-do-you-do. Have a great week, folks, and stay warm!