Sunday, August 31, 2014

What to Wear When Your Thermostat is Wonky

This summer, I had an epiphany. Polyester fabric is the enemy of a woman with a temperamental body temperature. Even cotton/poly blends are unpleasant. And so I have been purging polyester from my wardrobe the past few weeks. It's amazing how much polyester was lurking in my closet and dresser! I'm keeping most of the skirts and pants that are made of the offending fabric, and a dress or two, because it's less of a problem for the lower half, but not a single shirt  has survived the cull. (I'm wondering now just how comfortable my cashmere sweaters will be this fall and winter...)

As a result of this culling, several gaps have formed in my wardrobe, so I've begun filling those gaps with items made of breathable fabrics. 100% cotton is the best, but a cotton/rayon blend is fine, as well as most 100% rayon. Silk is wonderful, also, but I have not found anything other than the cotton/silk blend shirt featured in my previous blog post. One tee in my shirt drawer is made from bamboo; it is just as cool and breathable as cotton, but drapes nicer. The dress I wore to church today is 100% cotton and will be easy to layer once cooler weather arrives in the Flint Hills.


I forgot to have Some Postman take a photo of the back of the dress; it has buttons going halfway down. Even the eBay seller forgot to include a photo of the back of the dress, so that was a nice little surprise for me. Since the dress is sleeveless, I almost decided against getting it, but then I remembered the black polka dot maxi dress I found at Goodwill. This dress is another good example of why I need to get over my fear of showing my chubby arms. They really aren't as bad as I imagine them to be.


Oh, and look! The dress has pockets! You can't go wrong with a dress bearing pockets.

Charter Club dress - eBay
K9 by Rocketdog shoes - thrifted
Earrings - thrifted
Bracelet - Walmart





Thursday, August 28, 2014

It's About Time!

Summer doesn't want to let up its heated grip on the Flint Hills; the heat and humidity continue to plague me day and night. Thankfully, we are blessed to have central air in the house. Thus, I spent as much time indoors as possible! The garden is putting up a valiant fight against the blazing sun and hungry squash bugs, and I spent a good hour or two out there every morning. Except for one morning this week - we actually got a nice rain one day, so I didn't have to drag the hose around to give Seymour a drink. It was a very welcome break, because I'm using a brand new hose and it is quite reluctant to come out of its packaged tightly coiled state.

In light of the heat, you might wonder why on earth I decided to wear a long sleeved shirt to church this past Sunday. This delightful shirt is a cotton and silk blend, and it is wonderfully cool and comfortable to wear despite the heat of the August sun. The sleeve length was welcome in the church's cool air conditioning, and the breath-ability of cotton and silk kept me from getting all sweaty walking to the car after services. Another great thing about this shirt - it's the first one I've found that goes with my Isaac Mizrahi navy skirt, other than standard white! This pleated skirt has endured numerous closet culls, because it seems like a classic to me, and yet all I've ever worn with it is a simple white button down (when I have one in my closet that fits well, which sadly isn't often). I love the print and colors of the shirt!


 Cotton/silk shirt - JCP
Isaac Mizrahi skirt - Target
Comfort Plus sandals - Payless
Necklace - ??? Walmart or Target or JCP ???
Earrings - JCP


While shopping at JC Penney's, I discovered something interesting. I always buy button up shirts in a size Large to fit my tummy and hips, which means they are always too big from the waist up. This shirt, being on clearance, was available only in size Medium. It fits so much better on top! The bottom-most button must be left undone in order not to strain the fabric over  my lower half, but as long as it's tucked in, who cares? And if I do want to wear it untucked, again...who cares? I'm tired of wearing ill fitting shirts! I've only ever found ONE SINGLE button up shirt that fit me perfectly - the "Favorite Shirt" by Target in size Petite XL. I bought one online, and have never seen that size and style since. I'm sure if I were willing to spend more money on it, I could find a button up that fit nicely, but I'm too frugal. After clearance and coupons, I paid just $8.22 plus tax for the JCP shirt. So I can deal with that undone button! And I might just start getting size Mediums again...

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Year of the Squash

I've mentioned previously that there hasn't been a lot of time (or motivation) for blogging this summer. One thing that has been consuming much of my time is our garden. Nearly every morning since late June, I've donned my garden attire and spent at least an hour watering, redirecting vines, and picking produce.


Yes, this is what I put on each and every morning, unless it has rained the day before, which hasn't happened often. Long sleeves and long enough pants to keep my skin from too much exposure to mosquitoes. They haven't been as prolific lately, due to the higher temps and stronger winds, but for a while there, I feared being carried off by the little buggies! The hat isn't for keeping out the sun, because as you can see, the garden is mostly shaded in the mornings. The hat is to keep mosquitoes off my head, as well as itchiness from poking my head between tomato cages to reach the fruits and/or to water the squash vines on the other side. It seems that my skin is particularly sensitive to green bean leaves. After I pick a bucket full of beans, my hands and wrists are flaming red and ITCHY!!! I've tried wearing gloves, but then it's impossible to pick beans. Several washings with my homemade soap takes care of it, though.

The above photo was taken a month ago (see how long this post has been in the works? ha ha!), and the plants nearly completely cover that empty space in which I'm standing. I named the squash vines 'Seymour' because they just keep growing and growing, and taking over the entire garden, and they are always hungry for MORE WATER!!

Being in the garden in the mornings makes me feel closer to God, somehow, and so much of my time out there is spent talking to Him. The bees don't mind my prayers; in fact, they add their own praise tunes!


For what reason I'm not sure, Some Postman feels the need to plant far too many tomatoes in our garden each year. There are still tomatoes in the freezer from 2010! I asked him to put in less this year, so he reduced it to eight plants. Eight plants which produce enough tomatoes for five families. I've been sharing the bounty with a couple neighbors, and experimenting with salsa. We can't eat the stuff fast enough, so I must learn how to preserve it by canning. Those itchy beans went nuts this week, so I'm going to need to can those, as well.


The single cucumber plant that survived the initial planting didn't make it for long. It gave us three cukes, then croaked. We're not without cucumbers, however. About once a week, our neighbor John does a "drive by cuking", leaving a sack of them on our front porch. He rang the doorbell once, but usually he just drops them off. That's the best way to get cukes, if you ask me!

Seymour is a collective of 12 mounds with at least two squash or squash-like vines in each mound. We aren't sure exactly what varieties of squash each of them is producing, but as time goes on, it's becoming more clear. I think the seed in some of the packets got mixed up, because what's growing does not match what the packets were labeled! One mound is full of "volunteer" vines that must have grown from the pumpkins I tossed in the garden at the end of the fall last year. The mounds in the center of the garden have grown into the tomato cages, so a lot of their produce is hanging from the cages. This makes picking tomatoes challenging, but it will be really easy to pick the pumpkins when they're ready!

Acorn Squash

Baby squash of some kind

Pumpkin and a possible cantaloupe

White pumpkin (a volunteer plant)
Cantaloupe? Doesn't look like the picture on the seed packet!

Pie Pumpkin (another volunteer)

Various ornamental mini pumpkins (more volunteers)
Peppers are good crops for us; apparently our soil is just right for them. We plant bell peppers and banana peppers, and they always produce a bounty! Usually they aren't ready for picking until September, but this year, I began picking them last week. We've been eating them as I pick, but yesterday there was enough to fill one of my dehydrators. In the past, I've chopped and frozen peppers, but my freezer is full enough now, and drying them will take up much less room. It's really easy to re-hydrate them to use in recipes - just cover with boiling water and let stand a few minutes.

Bell Peppers

Banana Peppers
In the spring and early summer, we had two rows of lettuce - mixed greens for salads and a broad leaf variety for the chickens to enjoy. Once the heat of summer cranked up, the lettuce was all gone. We had hoped to plant carrots in that section, and later some fall lettuce, but Seymour took over that area, too. It is The Year of the Squash for our garden!

Yesterday morning was a "pick day", and it was plenty hot even first thing in the morning. Not even half way down the row of beans, my back was hurting and the sweat was rolling. I was tempted to complain, but then I thought of the refugees in the Middle East and the homeless all over the world. They would be happy to pick beans, no matter how hot and no matter the pain. So instead of complaining, I thanked God for my lovely garden and the never-ending row of beans. Amazing how much easier the picking went after that!

Ah, gardens are indeed a good place to get closer to our Father God!

Monday, August 18, 2014

I Need Routine!

The kids are back to school! Well, not my kids, because they are all grown up now, but kids in general are back to school. In a way, I rather miss that time in my life, when my kids were young and going to school. Each August, we would all be back in a routine. Ever since my younger child graduated high school, I've been without an enforced routine.

Granted, I do have my own routine, but it tends to be very, very relaxed. There are certain things that must be done daily or regularly, but a lot of it can be done whenever. Those are the things that get pushed aside and not done, sadly. Oh, I need to get back to a routine!

One of the things that has suffered this summer is my blog. I just have not set aside time for it as I would have liked. Yes, I've been busy with other things, but a good portion of the reason I haven't posted as often is due to the fact that summer time fashion is mostly out the window here in Kansas. It's too hot for makeup, too hot for layers, too hot for jewelry or scarves, too hot for anything that shows one has a figure at all...and it's been a relatively mild summer for us this time around! The only time I truly care about my appearance is Sunday morning, so that is why the only fashion posts I've been doing have been church outfits. Daily outfits are just boring, trust me.

My idea of doing apron and recipes posts has been a fun one for me, and I still have one of those in the draft folder to finish. I've got another idea for non-fashion posts, but will save that for a few more weeks yet. Oh, for fall to arrive! Surely my enthusiasm for everything beyond poking my head in the freezer will be back once we reach late September.

It's still roasty toasty for now, however, so here's another Sunday morning outfit:

 Studio 1 sundress - thrifted
Style & Co cardigan - thrifted
Fila cross trainers - eBay

I wanted to get the fog in the background of these outfit pics, but by the time I was finished getting ready for church, most of the fog had already burned off. It's typical for us to have low-lying fog in the mornings in August, from the humidity and somewhat lower overnight temps. I love how the fog looks skimming over the soybean field. Hopefully I can get out in time to get a decent photo of it soon.

Yes, there is a reason I'm wearing my workout shoes with my church clothes. Yesterday was Rally Day at church - the day we kick off the new Sunday School year. This year's theme is "Cross Training", and so everyone was encouraged to wear athletic shoes with their Sunday attire. Even Pastor wore his running shoes! 

Necklace - thrifted

I ended up wearing this dress all day yesterday, although without the cardigan once church was over. It is very comfortable, being 100% cotton (even the lining!), and fits really well, which is unusual in a sundress for me. This one didn't need to be altered at all! I think that's due to it being an empire waist style - since the hip area is full, the only measurement I needed to consider was the bust. The dress is a size smaller than I would normally chose, but fits perfectly since my top half is smaller in proportion to my lower half. Hmmm...perhaps I need to look for more empire waist dresses...

One thing I came to discover this summer is that polyester is NOT a good fabric for me anymore. Not even if it's partially blended with cotton. My body is going through some hormonal shifts, and requires cool, breathable fabrics. I've got a sack full of shirts and dresses that are cute and fit well, but make me sweat like a lumberjack; off to Goodwill they will go! 

Coming back 'round to the subject of routines....I am really hoping that after Labor Day I'll have a better grasp of a regular routine for myself. I've gotten off track over the summer, in some ways, but will be working this week on some ideas to keep myself on a better routine, with better discipline. No more excuses! 


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Pink Dotted Dachshunds and Chocolate Chip Cookies

My sister-in-law is a sewing fanatic. Not like me. While I do enjoy sewing, I usually have to dust my sewing table before I begin a project. No, she sews ALL. THE. TIME. Mostly quilts, but lots of other things, too, like bags, kitchen accessories, aprons and the like. She's pretty good at it, too! A while back, she made a lovely set of items out of pink dotted Dachshund fabric, which, of course, is adorable on all three counts. The items included an apron, hot pad, purse-sized tissue holder and a glasses case. I forgot to get the tissue holder out for the photo.



Isn't this apron the cutest thing ever? I'll admit that it hung from a peg in my kitchen, unworn, for quite some time. How could I possibly wear it and not get stains on it? I'm a very messy cook! One day I decided that it is silly to let an apron gather dust. My SIL made that apron for me to use, so use it I will! I do attempt to keep it from getting stained, however, so I wear it only when making something simple, like chocolate chip cookies.

No need to share my recipe for those...it's the standard recipe everyone uses. I've used it so often, in fact, that I rarely get out the Betty Crocker cookbook when the cookie jar is empty. I'm pretty sure I could whip up a batch of dough in my sleep. Some Postman loves having cookies in his lunch box! And, yes, I admit to enjoying cookies after my own lunch as well. Care to join me?