Saturday, December 18, 2010

Buy Socks?

Tonight I realized that I have bought nearly ZERO socks in my adult life.  I have skimped along on socks from whatever was left in the dryer by the kids or assorted Christmas stocking stuffer gifts.  This was my collection:

Socks didn't matter to me.  They fit down in your shoes or boots and no one ever sees them anyway.  Some people apply the same logic to bras and panties.  But since I am over-busty, I have always made sure I had good bras.  I'm here to suggest that it's the same with SOCKS!  Who knew??

And since this is just between you and me, I will admit that I had quit wearing some of my boots because the tops kept scraping the skin on my fat little calves.  My solution was to think I was too fat to wear them anymore.  Or at least that I could only wear them sparingly to allow the scrapes to heal between times.  I quit wearing something I loved because I believed that I wasn't skinny enough or young enough or worthy enough.  A true-life example of how one bad belief just gets lodged in there and starts giving birth to others!  

So thank you fellow fashion bloggers!  This fall I noticed how many of you are wearing great sock and tights combinations.  I "noticed" (Yvonne St. John-Dutra, be proud!) that many of you were not skinny or twenty.  I "noticed" for the first time in thirty years that I had NO socks.  I then made a decision that my leftover short white socks and three pairs of Christmas socks weren't doing the job I had assigned to them.  And then I was able to make a big change!  I bought two lengths of socks in navy, brown and gray.  I even bought a few pair of each so laundry wouldn't hold me back.  For a few dollars of investment, I opened up a world of wardrobe possibilities!   And they slide right into all of my favorite boots, warm and perfect!

I believe these are the things that just throw us into a tizzy when we try to get dressed from our own closets.  No one teaches us what we need to know to make good choices.  This year, instead of becoming frustrated and overwhelmed in my closet I am building problem-solving skills.  If I put on a jacket and end up not wearing it, I lay it aside to apply my new problem-solving skills.  Why did I keep it so long?  What exactly do I like about it?  How can I use words to identify the problem with it?  Once I have the words, I can either alter the garment or easily replace it at the thrift store.

I believe firmly that the fashion industry has encouraged me to think that there was something wrong with me.   There is never anything wrong with the garment.  It is always my body that is the problem.  I would be angry, get depressed, feel fat and frumpy.......and then go shopping cluelessly!....starting the cycle all over again.  And sometimes this cycle had originated with the lack of appropriate socks!

Do you have nice socks?  How did you know you needed them?  I have never seen them advertised on my TV!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Periwinkle Seems to Be My New Neutral

Not sure how that happened - obviously a color I must have been drawn to through many, many thrift store adventures! 

I've been wearing some variation of this all weekend it seems!  This was Thursday for a trip to town.  Tonight I have on the shirt again and the jeans.  One thing I have learned in this journey from bloggers like Kyla at is that I was washing my stuff way too much!  It has made a huge difference in my closet choices to not have my favorites sitting in the laundry basket all week!  Really, where did I think I was getting so dirty? 

Hair:  Finally long enough to start pulling back again
Shirt:  El Paso Shirt Works, American Made quality you can feel, this is a mens shirt that jumped out at me at Goodwill.  I believe another woman had also looked at it because the sleeves were already folded and french cuffed back perfectly for me!  $2.99 
Cardigan: August Silk, thrifted at Goodwill, $3.99
Jeans:  Aura by Wrangler
Boots:  vintage from my closet - see earlier post
Jacket:  This was a clearance find by my mother - warmest jacket I have and its just 100% polyester fleece with a corduroy collar by Harris/Wallace.  How is it that some fleece pieces are incredibly warm but most are not? 
Pin:  vintage rhinestone pinkish purple grape cluster 
Bracelet and earrings:  Opal set given to me by my daughter for my birthday one year

This is my husband's birthday present - a bird feeder that he set up right outside the dining room windows.  So far the birds are boycotting it but its not cold enough for them to be desperate yet.

Vintage Wool Coat Upcycle/Refashion

My purple wool coat is almost finished!  This is the biggest refashion project I have taken on lately.  I started out this summer by whacking off several inches from my skirts and dresses.  Many of them were fabrics and colors I loved but they were mid-calf length.  Then I got into dying things.  I moved on to cutting up an old cashmere turtleneck sweater into a cardigan style.  I still haven't decided how to finish the edges of it, but I do like its possibilities now. 

But the purple coat was the project that most people would have thought was crazy!  I could see the potential but it was certainly hidden in the 1980's long heavy style!  This coat was on ebay for 99cents and then it cost me $9 or so to have have it shipped because it was so heavy.  I chose it at the time I was getting rid of my black clothes and trying to introduce happier colors back in to my closet.  And purple has always been my favorite!  Can you even buy a purple coat these days? 

Carol Tuttle at encouraged me to go back to wearing those colors I loved.  I am a Type 1 Energy in her profiling system.  We are bright and animated and many times described as "cute" rather words like "beautiful" or "glamorous".  We love fun things.  And we get off track when we begin to think we need to dress like grown-ups rather than going with our natural instinct which is to play it up! 

I wanted to show you what this coat USED to look like.......  Even I was a little intimidated when it arrived.  And it smelled like dry cleaners and years of closet storage.  The black buttons had to go - and the black lining was cheap and stiff feeling.  So the next question became........what would happen if I just threw it in a cold water gentle wash cycle? 

Tune in for the answer and a look at my finished product!  

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Trying out Almay Intense I-Color

I bought some new makeup.  It doesn't happen very often but my mascara was just gloppy and I was tired of putting it on and then using a cotton round to wipe off the glops.

Almay had this stuff at Walmart and I was intrigued.  I know that my favorite make-up advisor (my sister-in-law) has always said that I should be wearing a shade of brown in mascara and liner rather than black.  But when I tried brown in the past I couldn't tell any difference.  With the Almay stuff - I can really tell a difference!  I tried to get a photo before I backed out of the driveway.  It's the Almay Intense I-Color eyeliner and mascara for blue eyes. 

This is also Revlon ColorStay foundation - a new one for me.  I have been using Estee Lauder for a couple of years but its a pain to go get it at the huge mall in Topeka.  So I thought I would give Revlon another try to see if they have improved.

The earrings were bobbles in the bottom of my bead box.  I think they were part of a hair scrunchie a long time ago.  I don't know why I never attached them to earring hooks but now I have and I wear them alot because they are mixed metals.

 And one parting photo - Netflix should be paying me for this one! But it shows that my Aura Jeans by the Women at Wrangler fit where they need to be fitting!  Strawberry-shaped women - we have a winner!

Jeans:  Aura by Wrangler
Sweater:  Cashmere from Kohls, Christmas present from my mom
Bag:  Cordovan color leather, thrifted from an antique store in Emporia for $3
Keychain:  Big brass ring I have had since the late 1970's
Bracelets:  Gold Bangle that says mother in many languages, Avon, Mother's Day gift from my mom years ago.  Button bracelet made out of all the extra buttons I get from clothes - put onto stretch cord.
Movie:  It's Complicated with Meryl Streep.  (Didn't like it.  I was embarrassed that people who watched it might think that Meryl's character was a good representation of baby-boomer women.  Do we really want to portrayed so self-absorbed and childish?  God knows, I know plenty that fit the description and they are difficult to deal with especially in office situations.  And what was up with those adult children who sulked around acting like junior high kids?  Did they have jobs and purposes in life besides attending mommy's various dilemmas?  Spoiled rotten just came to mind over and over, the parents, the kids.  Then for Meryl's character not to emphasize with the hurt she was causing the new wife.  Maybe I just didn't get it at all!)

Cauliflower Can Hide in the Noodles

Its hard to believe that someone would hide cauliflower in noodles.  But it pays to be aware - especially at grandma's house.  My granddaughter loves noodles (always pronounced with a scrunched up nose and emphasizing the "n" sound followed by the "OOOOOO" in the middle).  But this was her reaction to finding the cauliflower. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Purple Leggins and Purple Tights

My five year old granddaughter woke up one morning this week to realize she had no clothes!  She is growing like a weed and when the weather changed it caught her and her momma off guard.  It doesn't seem like she could have grown out of everything since she started Kindergarten earlier this fall, but she has!  This was our swimsuit photoshoot this summer in the back yard.  I made the suit to fit her XL torso and plan to offer them on etsy this spring.

Tonight I spent a couple of peaceful hours at Walmart searching for tights.  She has quite an intriguing sense of personal style and loves wearing her skirts no matter what the temperature is! 

I bought several things on my list tonight for myself - the things that are best bought new rather than thrifted.  My list (so proud - a list! - can you believe it? and I even had it in my purse!) has had tights and leggins on it for a couple of months now.  I found brown and plum tonight at Walmart.  My mom brought my new brown birthday boots last weekend and I bought a pair of navy boots on ebay last week that I took in to have the heels replaced.  I am ready to get out the skirts!  Yippee!!

Now if I can just get more confident with the delay button on my camera I could get some photos.......

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Nut-Thins by Blue Diamond

Are these new?  I ran across them at the grocery store last weekend.  Gluten-free it says right on the box. Yeah! They are made with pecans and rice flour.  Love them! 

These and Chex cereals have become two of my go-to snacks when I am craving things with flour.

And I have been living on this make-it-yourself cappuchino.  It's not the real thing of course, but it is very near to that sweet imitation stuff you get at gas stations.  I found the recipe online but I didn't write down where it came from.  Sorry!


1/3 cup instant coffee
1/2 cup powdered coffee creamer
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup instant french vanilla pudding (just the dry powder)
the original recipe said 1 cup of dry milk.  I use about half of that or sometimes even none.

And it goes great with this!

That pretty much sums up what I have been eating the past few days.  Sometimes I throw in a cheese stick and some leftover meat.  Isn't fall great?


It is just beautiful outside right now!  I love the snow!

Notice the gigantic soft flakes with little wind - doesn't happen in Kansas very often!

And my very confused rose bushes!

And.....the debut of my latest ebay purchase.......

Its a Lew Magram suede coat.  I saw it on ebay and just went crazy.  Had to use my best ebaying skills to snag it in the last few minutes of the auction.  I've decided that since I live in cowboy country, I might as well enjoy the fashion a little more. 

I threw on this coat and ran outside to get a photo when I saw the new snow.  So underneath are my housecleaning clothes and no makeup.  Can't say as I really can tell a great difference - maybe I am spending too much time worrying about my hair and makeup!  Although a close-up shot would quickly reveal the difference!

And this is Lightening.  He came to greet me because that is his job.  But he is encouraging me to go back in the house so he can go back to his warm doghouse without offending me. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day in the Founding City

Emporia claims to be the founder of Veteran's Day.  There is always a parade and memorial ceremony.  Since we are a military family now (thanks to my son-in-law, career army), my daughter asked me to ride with her in the parade.  My 18 month old granddaughter was excited about waving her flag for "my daddy's a soldier" day.   

Boots - thrifted last summer for $8.99 at Goodwill
Jeans - Gap, consignment shop in Lyndon $12.95
Red stretch button up shirt - St John's Bay - thrifted by my good friend for me
Gray wool blend cardigan sweater - thrifted Marsh's Landing, Goodwill $3.99
Navy zip up sweatshirt - thrifted Van Heusen, Salvation Army $2.99

Hint:  Its much easier to get great cardigans and sweaters in July at thrift stores.  I haven't seen any good ones in a while because of course, now everyone wants one!

And P.S.  If anyone is listening.....please, please, please think about who your audience is when planning for a Veteran's Day Memorial speaker.  If I have to listen to one more politician rattle on about how much he/she knows what is best for our soldiers and their families.........Please, for just this one day can we agree to show silent respect by listening to only those experts who are living and healing from their war experiences?  Believe me, there are a pool of possibilities right in your own neighborhood!  Thank them by creating a space and time in your community for listening.   

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

30 for 30 Challenge is not for me!

I will be watching the other bloggers as they go through the next 30 days wearing only the 30 items they chose from their closets.  Kendi's Everyday 30 for 30 Challenge will be fun - even if I am not participating.  I know its just not for me!

I am 52 years old.  I want complete freedom to choose what to put on my body every day.  For once, I feel like there are treasures in my closet.  I don't want any (even self-imposed) authority slapping my hand and making me feel guilty.  This adventure in downsizing my closet has been about growing my personal style.  It  means I no longer ask my friends and family, "Do you like this?"  If I like it, I wear it.  Tough cookies for girls who grew up in the 1950's - but WOW!  Empowering myself to choose my own clothes?   Who knew?  Pretty soon, I might even grow into my own unique self!

Also, Kansas weather changes from day to day - from one extreme to the other.  A few days ago it was 40 degrees with a bitter north wind.  This past week it has been nearly 80 degrees and sunny.  Predicting the weather takes too much effort and I know my accuracy rate will be near zero.  So, why waste precious time while I enjoy my years of home in the Flinthills? 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Back to Work!

Its time to get back to work - working at home that is!  I completed a thirty day contract which included long hours with no days off.  Today, I feel a bit lost as I file final reports and clear off my desk.

I just can't stand to think of losing all of the organization and free space I have worked so hard to get in my closet.  My stack of clothes and shoes waiting for final decisions about sell/toss/keep was getting too tall so this morning I started taking photos of items to list on ebay.  These Mia boots were in the sell pile.....

Vintage?  Yes!  How can I be sure?  Because they have been in my closet since the 1980's.  Time to part with them so I laid them out for the ebay photo, but then a strange thing happened..........

In searching ebay and etsy for brown leather vintage boots I realized most of the boots I had on my watch list looked alot like this!  I guess we just belong together!  So I suppose I will be selling this stack

in order to buy something else on my gotta have list! 

In looking back at this near miss of a fashion disaster - the one we 50+ year old women fear the most - getting rid of something we should have kept! - what was the key learning point for me?  I think the difference became that now I am consciously shopping.  I quit wandering the malls and swiping my credit card -  hoping to eventually have enough.  In this thoughtful process it became clear that I don't have brown boots to wear with my skirts.  The next step was pinpointing exactly why I don't wear the brown boots I have.  I prefer my black boots.  Why?  It's because they are about an inch taller and I like the look better with my skirts. 

I love my shorter boots and many of them have a western look.  I wear them with my jeans.  So now, for the first time in 30 years, I have two categories of need for brown boots.  I searched ebay and etsy for brown leather vintage boots that were tall enough to wear with my skirts.  I still haven't found them but I haven't bought another pair of the wrong ones either!  My watch list contained several boots to wear with jeans that I liked.  Then my  Mia boots photo pops up on my computer to be loaded onto ebay and I see them for the first time in a new light.  The mind is an amazing thing!  

P.S.  At least I saved myself some shipping charges! 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Campaign for Change, but Wear the Right Shoes!

I dove into helping with the local Senate campaign recently.  I was calmly planning to watch from the sidelines this year....cheering....but not sweating.  Well, now I'm sweating.  Kansas can be a scary time at election as we seem to overwhelmingly vote against our own best interests.  Enough said.  I don't want to alienate all of my friends who feel very differently than I do about the future of Kansas politics.

But, I do want to share about shoes!  I took the opportunity to photograph the shoes of the three of us who were working/volunteering/slaving away last week at campaign headquarters.  These are Jan's.  She came to headquarters after spending the entire morning volunteering with the Master's Gardeners Club.  These are her Reikers, the most comfortable shoes she owns.  They are most likely the most expensive pair she owns because she bought them in Washington DC after a day on her feet in some wrong shoes!  She reports they have been worth every penny!

Sharon is wearing the campaign tried and true New Balance shoes.  She is an experienced campaigner, after more than thirty years of being involved in one campaign after another including her own in 2004.  If you are a first time candidate take her advice and invest in a good pair of walking shoes!  These will support you through many miles of door-to-door canvassing!  Well, unless you have special interest group money flowing in that enables you to hire others to do the sweaty canvassing work for you!

These are mine - Ariat boots that have served me well for a couple of years.  They have been through many, many airports because they are so comfortable and also easy to slip off and on for security clearance.  I never planned to buy these.  My daughter and husband flew to Nashville to meet me after some business meetings.  My daughter was planning to tell me she was pregnant.  We went downtown to see the original Grand Ol Opry House and around the corner was a boot store advertising "Buy One, Get Two Free".  We went in to check it out and before I know it my daughter is trying on boots.  I said, "Are we buying boots?".  And she said, "Well, of course!"  So I quickly went to my size and pulled these on to try.  They were so much more comfortable than any cowboy boot I had ever tried.  Kind of like the Fat Baby line, but these have squared off toes so I am not sure if they are still called Fat Babies.  But they have the same comfort insole system inside that means you can wear them all day.

Well, that's my update for now.  I haven't had much time for posting.  But I will start again after November 2nd.  Get informed about your candidates!  Look past the party lines and see the individuals who want to represent you!  Happy Voting!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Checklists and Cluster Flies

Do you have these at your house?  A few years ago I sat beside a woman whose husband owns a pest control service.  While I was complaining to anyone within earshot she said, "It sounds like you have cluster flies." 
Dead cluster flies on the back step

I thought we just lived too far in the country and the flies had no where else to hang out!  I learned that cluster flies lay eggs a few feet out from the perimeter of your foundation and then every nice day in the fall, winter and spring you will get a hatch of new flies who go straight to the siding on your house to cling and get warm.  In our case, they also get inside the windows that haven't been upgraded yet.  Once inside, they crawl all over things like light fixtures and then scatter to die.  It seems like every few years they get worse and that's when we have to spray. 

One fall during the 1990's I brought home the spray that feed lots use in their buildings.  I would come home from work and open the windows, spray everywhere while holding my breath, then leave.  Later I would go back upstairs with the vacuum sweeper and sweep up all their little dead bodies so I could go to bed.  Gross!!!  Luckily, I ran into the pest control person around that time and she explained how to get rid of them.  We try hard not to add chemicals to our spot on the prairie.  But for these little critters, I make a special exception.

P.S.  Here is the little honey-do list I left on the refrigerator. 

My husband is such a step-by-step personality.  He has worked all weekend to cross off the things on this list.  Things I have mentioned, and mentioned......and hinted, and suggested and pleaded.  I don't know I why I forget that "the checklist" is a good way to get action!  He has one more item to go but he worked in a break to help someone set a tree stand this afternoon.  Bow season takes priority and it's almost here, as I am sure you are aware! 

Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Quest for Jeans That Fit

I will be 52 years old in a few weeks and I'm smart enough to pick out jeans that fit - or so I thought.  In the past year I made decisions about clearing my closet.  I am making mistakes, but am focused on learning from them.  I am getting better at dressing myself!  These are things I just didn't have time for while raising kids and working too many hours.   

So a year has passed since I started this closet clearing journey.  I thought my jean situation was fine.  Not great, but fine.  Last fall, I eliminated about half of the jeans in my closet that I knew didn't fit right.  Now I am seeing with fresh eyes the ones I kept - the ones I thought fit me. 

My daughter took this photo a few weeks ago........

This is not a view I see of myself very often.  That could be problem #1.  I don't have good full-length mirrors in my dressing area.  I am closest to an inverted triangle in shape, (which sounds better when its called the strawberry shape) and short to boot.  That means I am round through the middle with no rear.  Strawberries have slim legs though - our plus.  This photo clearly shows me that my jean fit belief system......"if it sort-of fits around the hips and I can button the waistband without being in pain, buy them" isn't working for me.  I see that my standards have been very low!   

The great thing is that my birthday is in a few weeks.  I know exactly what I need.  I guess if it takes eight hours to find a brand that fits, at 52 years old I should finally take that time and find it!    I sure wish I could do it online though.......the mall stresses me out!  I'll probably wander for hours and come home with another pair of boots. 

My mom has been telling me for 35 years, "Your jeans don't fit."    Mom, you're right.  My jeans don't fit.  Yep, I said it.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The 1970's Trailer Home Blues

So many of you are trying to buy your first home when the economic conditions are sh**, the world seems to be collapsing.  This is the second part of a series.  Part One is here

 I wrote this in my journal in 1985 when we were preparing to move to our first home.  We had lived in our little mobile home since marriage but now had a baby and a toddler.  My husband was making $8.25 an hour and bringing home $300 a week with overtime.  He was and still is a carpenter.  I was home caring for babies.  We knew this was exactly the house we wanted so we made an offer during a time when the best interest rates were 14% variable.  We signed the offer papers then immediately called my parents to make sure they would "buy" our mobile home from us for $6,000 so that we could put that money down on the loan if it were approved.  They agreed, but weren't happy about it.  We had nothing in the bank but love.  It was a very scary time and I felt I needed to write about it - hoping it would be funny looking back at how scared we were!

When I sew or do bookwork I have to use the kitchen table which means everyone eats over the top of it.  they yard is nice except Sabra won't go out by herself and there is a pack of dogs running loose all of the time.  Everyone in the trailer park drives to the trash bins which means we can always hear cars in our front yard.  The pack of dogs like to come up on my front step and attack the cats.  In the winter, we have coats, boots, firewood and ash buckets in the living room.  The furniture is moved to anywhere I can stash it. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Flats in Kansas

Most of Kansas is flat - but this post is about non-flat women who wear flat shoes!
In Kansas, everyday, everywhere, I see women in flats.  Because we are carrying children, groceries or bookbags.  The streets, sidewalks and gravel driveways are too wet, too dusty or too lumpy.  We have work to do!

Wearing flats that is - as in shoes - isn't really popular among the blogger world.  But then I stumbled upon Kyla at bluecollarcatwalk and was entranced!  In the past, I couldn't make the leap from my wish to look more "put together" to the examples I was seeing that all included four inch heels.  I think I must have subconsciously just shut down over it.  I quit trying somewhere along the way.  I know I had decided that short, strawberry shaped women are just never going to look beautiful like that so it wasn't worth worrying about anymore.  

I used to wear alot of heels and loved them.  But I just don't have the time for it anymore.  The change for me has been owning up to the fact that it is my decision.  I no longer feel like I need to apologize to myself over it.  And thanks to Kyla, I am serious this fall about planning my clothes around my flat heeled boots and shoes to start with, rather than changing into them at the last minute as I leave the house.  Short legs are cute too! 

According to Energy Profiling,  a signature style for me as a dominant type 1 is probably "cute shoes".  And to think I thought I needed to grow up!  I have always loved funky weird shoes and I wear a small enough size that I sometimes get great deals on little girls styles.  But then my corporate type (black) work wardrobe demanded boring shoes.  I tried to blend in and be serious for over a decade.  How depressing!

Luckily I hung on to many of my favorite weird cute flat shoes over the years!  Now to start finding good tights or leggins combinations again........

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Again with the Cardigans!

I have been planning and planning all summer to wear little tshirts or camisole under lightweight cardigans.  Its tricky to get a coordinated look, yet not be all matchy-matchy.  So today was a new combination with jeans.

We're picking sunflowers from the ditch across from the house.

Navy cotton cardigan, ebay "buy it now" for $4.99, Dolce
Purple crinkle camisole, the very old (Brown?) hotel's giftshop in downtown Louisville, Kentucky  $16.99.  I wish I would have bought every color they had - the tag says Scala.
Jeans, my old stretchy Zena's.  I finally hemmed so they wouldn't drag with my flats.
Shoes, Stuart Madeleine I bought at an outlet place that sold display shoes for $5 because they have small holes in the bottom where they were attached. 
Gold hoop earrings and butterfly pin were both ebay but separate purchases.  The pin was 50 cents!
Gold chain bracelet I think was a gift from my mom

Vintage Western Loafers Go With?

Another closet find!  I picked up these vintage orange western Circle S loafers, new in their original box, at either Goodwill or Salvation Army several years ago.  They look and feel handmade.  So many times I have almost given them away again because I don't wear orange.  But then, an on my feet is not the same as orange up close to my face! 

..........Gma is saying something about shoes...........


My granddaughter is very interested in shoes now that she can walk!  So to continue....I decided that maybe neutrals with some purple would be good and not compete with the soft orange of the shoes.

Blouse, Riders Slimming, clearance $3
Shorts, J C Penney Worthington, clearance a couple of years ago but they had been buried in a drawer
Sweater, Goodwill $2.99
Shoes, Vintage Circle S western with silver accent
Cuff silver watch, Big Lots closeout $5
Shell dangle earrings that just matched the shell buttons on the purple cardigan, ebay, 15cents-SCORE!

I look rather wrinkled here.  I spent half the day sitting in the waiting room while my husband had some tests.  He passed them all with flying colors.

And the baby shoes are called squeakers.  If you have a grandchild learning to walk you just have to get a pair of these.  I found many choices on ebay.  We have laughed and laughed at her!  They squeak like a dog toy every step she takes and, of course, they are her favorites!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Cobbler's Children Go Without Shoes

........and the carpenter's wife goes without shower walls.  Be prepared for what you are about to see!  I don't live in a dollhouse, that's for sure!

Anyone who struck up a conversation with me over the past decade has probably heard the bathroom remodel saga.  Or, you have been here and asked, "When are you guys going to finish this bathroom?" 

Circa 2000 (as best we can place it), we pulled off the existing shower wall covering because it was so gross.  And then I discovered that there was mildew between the tub and the floor so I pulled out several layers of old flooring while Kenny was gone one weekend.  The kids said that I was like our rat terrier - leave me at home too long by myself and I will find something to tear up!

But I had high hopes.......and a husband who builds new, beautiful stuff everyday for people with the money to buy only the best.  So he began to talk about $2,000 two piece tub enclosures, new sheetrock and new subflooring.  I just wanted the original look back that the bathroom might have had when it was built.  And I was dead set against his shiny spaceship tub enclosure idea!   So we did nothing.......for ten years......

except staple up shower curtains to the three walls and tiptoe in and out to use it.......

Wow that's embarrassing to post!  I don't know why because this is THE main bathroom on the main floor of our 1,000 sq ft house.  Anyone who has been here in the past decade has already seen it!

In late fall 2008, my "loves everything new, slick and shiny" husband had a change of heart.  He started talking about replacing the bad places in the original oak flooring.  He talked about ceramic tile tub walls he had seen.  We were off!  We tackled the previously uncleanable floor and made arrangement to get a tile guy here. 

But now it is much, much better!  I saved $1,000's of dollars by being married to my carpenter!  (The tile guy requested real money.)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

You Do All Have Your Deer Heads Up, Right?

I am told that all classy homes have deerheads hanging in the living room.  Actually the conversation went something like this.....

Him:  Look, its ready.  Isn't it cool? (as he's preparing to put a nail in the wall in the living room) (answers himself)  It's awesome! 

Me:  Oh, wait.  Couldn't it go somewhere else?

Him:  But, then how would people see it when they come in?

Followed by random visitors' comments:

Female visitors:  Why do you have a dead deer hanging in your living room?

Male visitors:  (who nearly run over me at the doorway once they spot it)  Wow!  How many points is that?  Where did he get it?   Bow or rifle?  He's so lucky!  My wife would never let me hang that in the living room! 

And just fair warning to you - really, once you have one dead deer on the wall - it looks lopsided without a second one on the other end!  

Oh, well, it was cheaper than marriage counseling! 

Selling Books on Amazon

I was bitten by the clutterless bug and I just keep going!  A couple weeks ago I cleared out a cabinet in my office.  It was full of great research books I used in my former career(s).  With fresh eyes, I noticed that they were taking up prime working space for my new endeavors.  I went on to see how hard it would be to sell a few of them.  Wow!  One of the first ones I checked on was worth $32!  And the first morning I listed books I sold five of them.  I was bitten!

So, room by room I have been sifting through the house - each time I dig a little deeper.  Yesterday I listed a book I bought for my husband in the late 1980's that I thought he would treasure.  He never read it.  Turns out its worth from $125 - $225!  Lucky me!

Today I got into the attic and pulled out these school primers from the 1940's.  Checking on amazon to see what I can get for them. 

My advice?  If the book is worth more than about $5-$6, it might be worth listing it.  If not, the fees will eat up whatever you sell it for so donate it to your local library! 

Feel the freedom!  The great thing about is that if you find out you really miss one after its can just buy back a used copy and it will arrive in a few days!  (bonus - you'll know where to find it!)

Kaw Nation Heritage Project

This is the Kaw (Kansa) nation tribal project near my home.

It's exciting that they are coming back to this small section of their home area after the squatters pushed them out in 1873.  The site is near Council Grove, just off the Santa Fe Trail (Highway 56).  

Vintage Child's Leather Chaps and Vests

Please take a minute to check out my etsy shop!  I listed my stash of leather chaps and vests, child size 6.  These are the authentic thing - designed by Gerald Roberts who is famous for being the World Champion All-Around Cowboy twice.  He hails from the Strong City (Flint Hills) Kansas Rodeo heritage.

These were saleman's samples from 1977.  That's why I only have the one size and one color.  They were recently uncovered from storage and won't last long!  Thanks! 

Apple Days at Fort Riley

Even though the little girl in the photo doesn't understand that the tank behind her is a massive weapon of the United States Army - her mommy wanted to get a photo of them in front of it.  Her daddy was very nearly not her daddy - the tank just like this one he was in in Iraq 2005 set off an IED which completely destroyed it.  Had there been all four soldiers in the tank that day, at least one would not have lived through it.  I'm behind the camera and its about as close as I can get without feeling creeped out.

Our young military families are carrying huge emotional burdens that haven't been around since we left Vietnam.  Please, step forward and shake the hand of a soldier today.  Look him or her in the eyes and give a sincere thank you.  That's all they are asking for!  There will be years and years of healing!

Clearing Closet Clutter - Be Cute For You!

So many online bloggers talk about clearing out there homes.  But as I snoop through their stories, many of them are under 30 years old.  I crave photos and examples of women my age who are beginning the process after years of just ignoring it.  This is what I did over the weekend.  Its been a long journey but I can see progress daily now!  I encourage you to keep at it!

This is what goes this time.  A big decision for me was the t-shirt/sweatshirt inventory.  I wear them around the house.  Okay.....well I put them on when I don't have anywhere important to go and then I end up wearing them all day everywhere I go.  So most of the time if people saw me outside of work they would see me in what I should have been calling my pj's.  It was difficult to get rid of them.  I have put them in the stack before but rescued them and hauled them back up to my closet.  This time they are out!  This forces me to wear my nice things everyday - which feels very awkward this week.  But who am I saving the good stuff for if its not for me?  I can be cute for me! 

Busting Out the Seams in our 1970's Trailer!

Or - buying your first home when the economic conditions are sh**!  So many young families are ready to get into a home and the world around them seems to be collapsing.  This is for them! 

I wrote this in my journal in 1985 when we were preparing to move to our first home.  We had lived in our little mobile home since marriage but now had a baby and a toddler.  My husband was making $8.25 an hour and bringing home $300 a week with overtime.  He was and still is a carpenter.  I was home caring for babies.  We knew this was exactly the house we wanted so we made an offer during a time when the best interest rates were 14% variable.  We signed the offer papers then immediately called my parents to make sure they would "buy" our mobile home from us for $6,000 so that we could put that money down on the loan if it were approved.  They agreed, but weren't happy about it.  We had nothing in the bank but love.  It was a very scary time and I felt I needed to write about it - hoping it would be funny looking back at how scared we were!

July 22, 1985

One more week!  Can I make it?  And how much worse is it going to get before it gets better?  Have I set my hopes too high on how much better it will be?  I have decided to write down all of the things that drive me crazy about this trailer so I can look back and know that spending all of our money on a house is worth it.  Okay here goes.....   I can't reach but the bottom shelf of the top cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom.  I have all of my spices, food, foil, baking supplies, cereal boxes and chips in three cabinet doors plus in there is a large butter tub of nails and screws for the house.  My drawers (all four of them) are about 3" high.  I do good to stack three dishtowels in one and the bottom two are always full of mouseturds.  My oven doesn't bake right.  The freezer on the fridge never works right and now the plastic door fell off so my eggs freeze if I put them in the slots in the door.  My dishwasher is right in front of the two cabinets where I keep dishes so I have to unload the dishes onto the countertop, shut the dishwasher door and then put the dishes away.  My trash can has no where to be except in front of the cabinet where I keep all of my skillets, pots and pans, pitchers, potatoes and cleaning supplies.  My potatoes and onions have to be stored in my mop bucket so they will fit under the sink.  I would rather not use my mop bucket, but everytime I try to go without it the first time I put my mop in the sink to rinse it out the strings catch on the sink stopper and all of my mop water drains.  Then I have to take the sink stopper completely out and work on it several tries before it will hold water again. 

I sort my dirty laundry in the three foot by three foot hallway that has four doors going out of it.  That's plenty of room considering the clean laundry is all folded mostly on top of the washer and dryer in the bathroom, then scooted back and forth to reload the washer.  The diaper pail stays in the bathtub most of the time unless someone needs to use the bathtub/shower, then the diaper pail is put on top of the toilet.  Zachary's (my one year old son) room is where I keep all of my bookwork, the freezer, my sewing machine (no sewing supplies anymore - they have all been packed away or thrown away and I have no idea where to even look).  So, if he takes a nap I can't sew, do bookwork, make a cold drink or get out something to thaw for supper.  My living room always has a shredded newspaper covering the floor.   The tv is covered with fingerprints and my plants droop because the only place to keep them is on top of the wooden speaker cases that will get ruined if I water the plants and it seeps through.  My front entryway is three foot by three foot which means you have to open the front door then step out of the entryway to get the door completely open.   If you are carrying a basket of laundry this is almost impossible, especially if Sabra (my three year old daughter) is helping which means her head is just under the laundry basket.  Sabra's room isn't bad, mostly because all of her toys are in the living room.  Our room is fine as long as you don't use it for anything except sleeping.  It is wall-to-wall bed (double size bed even!).  What dresser drawers I do have are, again, about three inches tall.  and if I'd like to wear a belt or a scarf or nightgown, its tough luck.  All of those things have since been packed away somewhere along with any clothes that aren't worn everyday.  Kenny's side of the closet is also his space for his hunting supplies, guns, work boots, coveralls and his hat collection. 

My new couch in the living room has been the only place to sit for the past year.  My new pots and pans have to be stacked on top of the stove at all times.  They make quite a racket when the washing machine is in the spin cycle.  The dishwasher is old and won't clean plastic cups (which is all we use), pots or pans, large bowls, baby bottle nipples, good knives, large spoons and spatulas, melmac bowls or plates.  It takes a long time to get a full load at that rate and when they are clean I have to wait until we dirty enough out of the cabinets before there is space to put the clean ones away. 

More later.......

My Lighter and Happier Closet

These are some of the clothes that went on ebay this summer:

Cute stuff.  Much of it I had just bought in the past year because I was trudging through airports every few weeks to sit in business meetings all over the US.  Dream job......maybe.......I realize now it wasn't a good fit for me even though I was good at it.  

This is my closet after the corporate black was lifted:

As you can see, I am working on my happy colors - pinks, blues, purples, browns - even a little pale yellow I am experimenting with.  To be fair, this is half of my closet.  But it is my new dress-up space!  I look forward to choosing something every day.  And I don't seem so hung up on whether the hem is in the exact right location or whether the pinks are exactly the same hue.  I have brought every storage crate from the far corners of the house and put the contents through the happy test.  My new rule means my closet is my designated place for clothing - Everything will be in there - I will love everything in there.  As I edit, the items I am keeping are all just ME - so they seem to be playing together nicely in the sandbox for a change!  Best of all, any new-to-me items are thrifted!

For those of you who study Carol Tuttle and Dressing Your Truth - I am convinced I am a dominant Type 1 - bright and animated.  My family is relieved to know there is a name for it.   And if I had found her website months or years ago, I know I would have saved a stack of cash by signing up for her online courses.