Sunday, December 16, 2012

Roots of the Tall Grass Prairie: Mitchell, 16

After spending an evening with a group whose focus is to preserve the Flint Hills, I decided that is is important to paint a portrait of who we are.......the people who were birthed, breathed and struggled through a lifetime in this most unusual place.  This is not a place where exotic flowers bloom in a generous environment but rather a place where tiny, scrappy flowers push through the flint rock and endure generations of harshness.  Each of us is a strand of the deep roots of the tall grass.  In order to protect our prairie we will need to be aware of each other's strengths and be wary of those bringing plows.

This is the fifth in the series......
Mitchell, age 16
Born in Council Grove, Kansas
At least 4th generation

This counts as the Flint Hills, right?  I mean I always think of places like Chase County.

I hunt and fish all the time.  All over North Lyon County.  Mainly deer.  I was five or six years old when I started going with my dad.  

I think we should keep it; not plow it under.  Just graze cattle on it.  There's always work with the cattle or working for someone who owns them.  It's alot of work - all seasons of the year.

I will probably be more of a grain farmer than a cattleman.  It's easier to come in if your family owns land and you inherit it.  It would be hard if you had to buy the land.  

Hunters are coming in to buy it or to lease it for hunting.  No one ever comes in to farm.  

(I asked "Is this okay?")  Not from the hunter's standpoint!  A rich person comes in and buys it up.  No one else can get on it.  I think they are taking my big deer.  It's somewhere that I can't hunt now because they are there.  

Friday, November 30, 2012

Roots of the Tall Grass Prairie: Renee, 54

This is the fourth in my series:  

After spending an evening with a group whose focus is to preserve the Flint Hills, I decided that is is important to paint a portrait of who we are.......the people who were birthed, breathed and struggled through a lifetime in this most unusual place.  This is not a place where exotic flowers bloom in a generous environment but rather a place where tiny, scrappy flowers push through the flint rock and endure generations of harshness.  Each of us is a strand of the deep roots of the tall grass.  In order to protect our prairie we will need to be aware of each other's strengths and be wary of those bringing plows.

Renee, age 54
Born in Emporia, Kansas
At least 5th generation, came in the 1880's.

It's our livelihood!  Everybody has always been here.  Hopefully, Nathan will get to continue.  Both my kids are very passionate about agriculture.  But they are going to have to find another way of making a living to be able to come back.  Both our children have majored in agriculture and animal science in college.

My grandmother was 12 when she came here from Sweden.  My husband's grandpa always told his stories; memories of sitting down and visiting with the native Americans when they came to the house.  

I love the openness.  Wide open prairie.  When you go up on a rise you can see for miles.  I love in the Spring, after the burn.  Everything is so green, so even.  People always ask me if I feel lonely or afraid living here.  No, no.  Not at all.  The more open it is; the less there is around, the more comfortable I am.  Yesterday, I was out riding my horse.  Not up very high.  We're on the eastern edge (of the Flint Hills) so it's not very hilly.  But even from there, you could see so far.  Probably 10 miles of wide open space.  I could see my mom's place, where she was raised from where I live.  In the distance I can see the buildings.

I don't think someone can know the Flint Hills until they experience all the seasons.  They can't grasp it fully until the live it.  Especially the ones who make a living from it.  We're protecting it the most yet people think we are harming it the most.  

Sometimes I watch people at the grocery store (when we go up to Kansas City).  When they pick up that little basket and carry it to put their milk, eggs and bread in.  And I wish I could do that just once.  When we go, it's at least a fifty mile round trip and I don't like to go.  So we stock up for a week, weeks, even a month.  You see on t.v., like with Hurricane Sandy..people weren't prepared.  They really don't have to think about what they would need for the next few days or a week.  And we live like that all the time.  

Roots of the Tall Grass Prairie: Zach, age 28

This is the third in my series:  

After spending an evening with a group whose focus is to preserve the Flint Hills, I decided that is is important to paint a portrait of who we are.......the people who were birthed, breathed and struggled through a lifetime in this most unusual place.  This is not a place where exotic flowers bloom in a generous environment but rather a place where tiny, scrappy flowers push through the flint rock and endure generations of harshness.  Each of us is a strand of the deep roots of the tall grass.  In order to protect our prairie we will need to be aware of each other's strengths and be wary of those bringing plows.

Zach, Age 28
Born: Emporia, Kansas
6th generation in the Flint Hills region
Driller for an oil company in Oklahoma



Early life:  I don't consider myself raised in the Flint Hills.  I mean I know where they're at.  I was raised in a pretty flat place (North Lyon County).  I remember hunting and fishing with dad and Phil.  It's pretty land out there (southwest of Emporia).  You can always see the Flint Hills off the turnpike.  Sights I think about are that everything is open and the big flat rocks.  The roads look like pastures with cattle guards every so often. You think you're driving on someone's land but you're not.  I think of the ponds and the tall grass.

I think they need to be left alone.  Definitely not drilled in.  I wish they could stay how they are.  They don't need to be messed with.  All these people have crazy ideas about them, but they need to be left alone.

(On making a living) If you were a farmer, I guess.  I couldn't find any work in Emporia and that's why I left. (currently living in the Wichita area and working in Oklahoma on a drilling rig.)

(We had a conversation later about the farming concept vs. ranching concept.  He wasn't aware that the land around his childhood home was not well suited for farming but rather ranching.  Nor that the Flint Hills extended as far as it did to include his home.  He didn't know that it's the last 4% of an ecosystem.) 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Roots of the Tall Grass Prairie: Ken, age 54

This is the second in my series:  

After spending an evening with a group whose focus is to preserve the Flint Hills, I decided that is is important to paint a portrait of who we are.......the people who were birthed, breathed and struggled through a lifetime in this most unusual place.  This is not a place where exotic flowers bloom in a generous environment but rather a place where tiny, scrappy flowers push through the flint rock and endure generations of harshness.  Each of us is a strand of the deep roots of the tall grass.  In order to protect our prairie we will need to be aware of each other's strengths and be wary of those bringing plows.


Ken, age 54
Born:  Emporia, Kansas
He is at least the fourth generation of his family in this area.  His parents were from farm families just east of the Flint Hills in the Lebo and Waverly area.



Early Life:  I went to grade school first in Emporia, then Waverly, then Ottawa, then back to Emporia for high school.  My dad was a disabled veteran who died when I was twelve.  We moved from Ottawa after he died and my mom remarried.  In junior high, I went to the river alot (Maris De Cygnes near Ottawa) to goof around with single spring traps, fish and swim.  I started hunting about 7th or 8th grade when I received my mom's shotgun for Christmas.  She had decided to stop hunting because of all the walking.  I started hunting for quail and dove with my uncle.  Before I got married, I went pheasant hunting in Clay Center a few years with a friend from work whose parents owned land there.  And I pheasant hunted with my friend, Phil.  Later, I began pheasant hunting with my father-in-law in the Burns area.  

I'm still here because that's the way I am.  Not that it's a spectacular place to work.  Guess it's where my roots are.  Damn sure don't like big cities so I wouldn't even like Emporia (population 28,000) if I didn't know it.  I like the landscape around here.  (living in) Western Kansas would suck.  No trees.  No ponds.  No creeks.  Creeks are my favorite.  For fishing.  Good to hunt around for turkey or deer.  

I like to look outside and it's open.  The trees.  I like seeing the wildlife.  I like being outside even if I'm doing nothing.  

When I think of the Flint Hills, I think of between here and Wichita.  But its alot bigger than that.  I didn't realize.  I rode up with a friend (to St. Mary's on the highway and then back on the scenic route through Eskridge).  It's beautiful up there.  Unmaintained roads.  Alot of rock.  

With the wind turbines - they are not messy.  Not noisy.  It probably wouldn't bother me.  Already there are oil pumps out there.  I don't know that the wind turbines would matter that much.  But I don't know if they actually work.  Seems like Western Kansas would be better.  We've got to keep something, otherwise we'll have nothing. We'll drive a few miles and be in another city.  

We have no street lights.  On a clear night you can see a million stars.  

Roots of the Tall Grass Prairie: Kitty, age 54

After spending an evening with a group whose focus is to preserve the Flint Hills, I decided that is is important to paint a portrait of who we are.......the people who were birthed, breathed and struggled through a lifetime in this most unusual place.  This is not a place where exotic flowers bloom in a generous environment but rather a place where tiny, scrappy flowers push through the flint rock and endure generations of harshness.  Each of us is a strand of the deep roots of the tall grass.  In order to protect our prairie we will need to be aware of each other's strength and be wary of those bringing plows.


Kitty, age 54
Born:  Emporia, Kansas
Generations in the Flint Hills:  I am fifth generation.

Early life:  in El Dorado, Kansas - site of the great oil boom of the 1930's.  My dad came out of the military in the 1950's to a good job as an electrician at the oil refinery in El Dorado.  He was from the Greenwood County area.  My grandfather worked in the oil fields and as a horse trainer; transient type work.  My grandmother graduated from what is now Emporia State University.  Everyone was greatly relieved when my grandfather agreed to marry her as she was nearly an old maid!  She never worked outside the home.  My maternal grandparents worked in highway construction, moved constantly and divorced regularly.  As a child I lived in a new home outside of El Dorado near the lakes.

Any awareness of the Flint Hills as a child?  Little.  I was fascinated with the flowers that grew in the ditches on our gravel road.  It was nearly impossible to ride a bicycle with the flint rock gravel, steep hills and wind.  I tried to grow my own flower garden as a child and only bachelor buttons could survive.  There were no trees on our property of ten acres.

Early adulthood:  We bought ten acres and a house and moved in with our three year old and baby.  We still live in the same home today.  My husband initially wanted to buy a place with a running creek but those are very rare here.  He was ecstatic to find this place which had three man-made ponds formerly used for a fishery.  He neglected to take into consideration the fact that the house had no (at least not affordable) source of heat, no air conditioning, no trash service and most significant:  no water source.  We hauled water in 500 gallon loads (two loads per week) from eight miles away - each week for ten years before coming up with the money to hook into the nearest rural water system.  We have no neighbors in any direction for at least one mile and are mostly surrounded by working ranch land.  The pastures are burned in April and within a few days the transient cattle arrive by semi truck to spend the summer fattening on the grassland.  They are shipped out in late August.  We have nothing to do with ranching or farming other than living in the center of it.

Later, after my mom married my step-dad, he liked to take long drives through the back roads of the Flint Hills.  He took us for a day playing in the riffles at Cedar Point.  He had a special secret place to gather spring water, marked only by a bucket on a fence post if you knew the exact place to look.  He took my children "hunting" for mushrooms, prairie chickens and pheasants.  I put hunting in quotes because you can imagine that any wild game was very aware of a man walking through the open prairie followed by two noisy children, a big white dog and two cats.  Each time we drove to their house, I would have quiet time in the car to just breathe in the Flint Hills as we drove the Kansas Turnpike.  I thought of the native Americans who loved this place and knew how to care for it and the settler families that followed; struggling just like we do today.

Middle Adulthood:  It's very difficult to stay financially afloat here.  My husband is a carpenter by trade and has always been able to work.  But my degree and interests are in economics and there are few opportunities here.  My choices for work usually center around clerical work at low wages which does not contribute to our financial picture when I figure in the costs of my 20 mile commute.  I always wanted to find a way for us to get out of this area - to move into a larger city where the wages were better and my chances of finding work were greatly improved.  A place where your car isn't covered in mud or dust, where you don't need all your vehicles to be four wheel drive with six ply tires; where trash is picked up from your curb each week; where you can run to the store and get buttermilk or chocolate chips within a few minutes; where you could work part-time and be home to start dinner.  My husband and children both flatly refuse to leave and always have.  They love this place and this lifestyle.  I've been odd man out, out-voted any time I talked of the opportunities we could have elsewhere.

In the past five years, I've slowed down enough to let the Flint Hills sink in around me; to know that even though its been extremely tough to live here, the rewards are great.  My great, great grandparents came here at the time Kansas was declaring statehood.  I remember my grandma keeping meat without refrigeration, washing dishes in a teacup of water and making craft supplies for us from brown paper bags.  She lived in a horse trailer during points of her life.  If she did it for us, then I can do it for my own children and grandchildren.   There is something here bigger than I can wrap my thoughts around and my family needs it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Level II Thrifting

Anyone else out there believe they have graduated to Level II Thrifting?

I noticed today on the drive home that I am following a different format, using more focused decision making and coming home with some fantastic pieces.  This was not true two years ago when I started my quest to overhaul my closet.

In fact, I realized today that I am upgrading many of the items I brought home two years ago.  There is a bit of guilt attached to this.......I wanted those items to work.  I was optimistic.  I was excited about replacing my overload of black clothes with bright, cheery items.  In my effort to replace items, for instance, if I saw a pair of navy or brown leather shoes in my size I just bought them.  I needed them.  And I believe, most likely, I did.  (Well, if we can call any of our clothing "needed"!)  When I packed up the black to sell on ebay and donate, I was suddenly without my regular workhorse items such as flats, sandals, low heel boots, knit pants, cardigans, jackets.  Everything fit into the black capsule wardrobe - an idea I had settled for because I thought it must be the easiest way to reach my goal of a stressless closet.

Many American women have bought into this line of logic sold to us by the fast fashion industry.....if I just stuck with black as my basic and kept buying eventually I would have a hard-working closet.  It never happened.  In fact, the more money I spent the worse it got.  So overnight, I put myself in the positiion of needing to thrift weekly for replacement items and I very happy to find them in abundance at cheap prices.

Now, two years later - I find that I am upgrading many of these items.  Today I picked up a pair of Nine West nearly new leather kitten heels with some detailing.  Using "one in - one out" they will replace a pair of cheaper brand shoes plain shoes I purchased to fill in the gap until I could find a special pair.  I've went through several jean jackets.  Today, I found "the one" for $5.  The rest now will be listed on ebay where they will be resold for at least as much as I gave for them.  Some were too constricting, some I had problems with the hue of the denim and my dresses, problems with sleeve lengths, the hem lengths, the fit or non-fit at the waistline.  I bought five I can think of in this process of elimination; learning each time to closer define what I needed.  And today I have it!

All in all, I don't see that there was any other way to arrive at this point without going through the beginning levels of thrifting.  At first, its exciting to see so many cute things.  I filled my cart and hoped for the best (replaying my same pattern with mall shopping only without the credit card swiping).  As I grew, I was able to pass up cute things - knowing something similar or better would be there next time; knowing whether something was common or unusual; knowing what would hand wash well and what was too risky; knowing what brand names I am attracted to on the hanger (Talbots, Christopher Banks, Chicos) and then rarely actually wear them once I bring them home; being unafraid to bring home a size XL or 16 blouse and cut out the tag rather than feel intimidated by the size written on it.

I learned that I should assume EVERYTHING will need to be altered.  The fashion blogging world taught me that - that every makeover show, every movie, every actress, every model is supported by full-time alterations staff.  No piece of clothing I see on TV or at the movies is worn directly off the rack.  In fact, with busty girls, tall girls - sometimes the wardrobe people buy two dresses exactly alike so that the seamstresses can adapt them into one dress that fits perfectly.  This fact created a huge shift in my thinking.  I think it would help women everywhere.  It seems so counter-intuitive - that nothing will ever fit me?  Yet, it's very similar to the message the fashion bloggers repeat over and over.....it's not you, it's not your body.....blame the clothes because they are not made to fit your perfect body!

I find that the things I actually wear either

1) by some great fluke or dip of luck fit me perfectly (very, very rare and I hang onto no matter how old or outdated)   or

2) they are the starting point and have been altered to fit me.

Less is more!  It feels good to be graduated to Level II Thrifting!  Tell me about your thrifting evolution!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Visible Monday: Bobbing Back to the Surface

Finally beginning to feel a little more visible again.  I'm participating this week in Patti's Visible Monday......    www.notdeadyetstyle.blogspot.com

My two grandbabies are almost here....one is due Sept 6th, the second one is due Sept 13th.  So I certainly need to be getting ready for all night rocking sessions!  What to wear, what to wear?

We went to a car show Saturday evening and this is what I wore. 



Dress: Lands End, $1 at thrift store, cut 10" off the bottom and rehemmed. It has pockets!
Red Leather Belt with Silver Hearts:  Wild Man Vintage in downtown Lawrence, Kansas $7
Shoes: Mootsies Tootsies navy sandals, $1 thrift store.
Watch: Big Lots close-out several years ago. I wear it alot.
Earrings:  Silver hearts that I've had for decades. 
Sunglasses:  99 cents at the grocery store (cause I scratch them up and lose them all the time)

I recently carried several dresses down to my cutting table and whacked them off at knee length - this was one of them.  So much better!  Why do I hesitate?  Sometimes I feel like I should leave a dress as it was originally designed - that somehow it holds value and I would ruin it.  Then I spent a day with Phil at Wild Man Vintage in downtown Lawrence, Kansas who has been in the vintage buy and resell business for twelve years.  He took me to his basement to see the back stock.  Very similar to what is discussed in the book "Overdressed" ......stacks to the ceiling of vintage for resale.  Think its difficult to find a 70's polyester wild print shirt?  He probably had 300 of them.  Acid washed jeans - again, 100's of pairs stacked up ready for college Halloween shoppers.  Mens sportscoats? Racks and racks of never worn, dead stock jackets from store closings, plus stacks of used jackets. 

Believe me, unless a vintage item is designer, very old (older than 1950')  and in absolutely perfect condition.....its okay to alter it to get use from it today!  Our planet is buried in barely used clothing.  I will never again feel bad about chopping something to give it a second life!  My new motto is ......sell it for 99 cents on ebay?  stack it up in my basement and hope someone wants it?  or chop it off and get 99 cents worth of enjoyment from it myself? 






Monday, July 16, 2012

Not Visible Today

Struggling with visibility today........

I lost my job three years ago due to a grant not being funded.  Within thirty days, I was unemployed and ineligible for unemployment or any other assistance.  But the position had been a major stress for me and caused health problems to escalate.  I saved alot of money during my last year with the grant.  And my daughter and her family had just moved in with us, including my newborn granddaughter. 

Now, three years later.....the military has moved my daughter and her family to their next duty station which is thousands of miles away.  He is non-deployable, meaning he can't get shipped to Afghanistan for this three year span.  No one is shooting at him.  He is within the safety of the U.S. borders and he is home nearly every evening to be a husband and father.  My daughter is pregnant and happy.

I am much, much healthier.  My home is clean and organized.  I cook every meal from scratch and rarely eat out as I have identified my health problem - gluten intolerance.  My gut is healing. 

My husband is employed.  Our home is nearly paid for.  We pay the bills and squeak through paycheck to paycheck.

My mental health is healing.  I have went through a social bankruptcy (I love that there is a term out there for this!), deleting thousands of people from my contact list of networks...networks that cause me too much imbalance - I give too much and receive too little in return.  Not surprisingly, using this criteria made it clear that I have spent a lifetime building relationships with people who need someone to walk on.  Now the question remains....will I be able to make new relationships without drawing in the same type of problems? 

My savings account is nearly empty and the bills just keep trickling in.  My school loan, which has been in forbearance most of the past twenty years is no longer willing to be forbearn (is that a word?).  It has kicked in and automatically dunks my checking account below zero the first of every month.  My husband's patience is wearing thin, especially as we think about needing airline tickets to see our granddaughter and the new baby on the way. 

I have a chocked-full resume of proven talent in several fields.  I've achieved major success in every endeavor I took on, many of them against incredible odds.  I am also too old to catch the interest of H.R. Directors who wonder why I never chose a career, why I crash and burn over and over. 

I have talent in creating garments from spandex fabrics, a history of entrepreneurship in the field and a home based workshop.  I have a talent in buying vintage dresses that are perfect for resale.  Neither of these talents is bringing net positive income, but rather becoming long term investments at a time I have neither the money nor ambition to weather the insecurity of a business start-up.

Yeah....not very visible today.

Friday, June 29, 2012

A Working Wardrobe - My Thoughts After Two Years of Focus

I wanted to capture these thoughts before I lost them....

I have found some clues to a working wardrobe and I have never read them in any other publication.  I follow www.dressingyourtruth.com's youtube videos and have read Carol Tuttle's book.  I am a Type 1.  Here is what I have found that really works for me:

There are some prints that can be relied heavily upon to fill in wardrobe gaps.  I have found them to be bretton stripes, paisleys, and polka dots.  These have drifted in and out of current trends for decades because they ALWAYS work!  I think you'll notice too, that women rarely get rid of their garments in these prints - unless they are the wrong color schemes for their skin coloring or they no longer fit.  Now, when I see one of these prints at a thrift store and its not in black, I buy it.  I think toile prints fit into this category too, but I don't have enough experience with them yet.   

Chambray is wonderful.  Watch for chambray items - but not the typical mens style shirts or womens camper style shirts.  There are some wonderful pieces in wrap tops, sleeveless tops.  Also, there are good options in button down shirt dresses or wrap style dresses.   These seem to always be worn.

Bras that fit.  Shapewear that I feel completely comfortable in.  Nice socks.  Thick leggings in dark colors.

Natural fabrics, avoiding polyester if at all possible.  I have found that the pieces I wear again and again are the natural fiber blends - silk, wool, cotton, linen, rayon.  The more I focus on the fiber content of the garment before buying it - the happier I am in the end.

I like side zippers.  I watch for them.  Many well-fitting garments are designed with a sneaky little side zipper that fits under your arm.  I find that in the long run, I like these garments.  I am not sure the direct connection, but there seems to be a more important focus on fit in anything that was created with a side zipper.

Belts are important but tricky.  I am still working on this one.  Not only do you need to get the placement and width of the belt figured out, there is the sneaky little skill of working with texture -  stiffness, softness, thickness, swoopiness, type of material.  Buy every belt you come across for a while and keep trying.  Every outfit you put together, take an extra minute and try to add a belt.  Most of the time, you won't leave the house with the belt but this helps to see possibilities and hone your eye. 

Layer your summer tops.  If I would have known this years ago.....   For decades, I never wore sleeveless tops.  I'm too busty, my arms aren't toned, I look ridiculous in spaghetti straps.  Unless I just grab two tops and layer them.  It doesn't seem to matter too much what the colors are or the style.  Just put the one with more coverage for bra straps and underarm bulginess on the bottom and add a second something on top.  The double layers help to smooth out lumpiness and help disquise muffin top.  I feel cool and confident.

With shoes, I have learned that brown leathers are my absolute favorites.  And I had just a few pairs a couple years ago.  Believe it or not, it seems like if you are specifically looking for them they are scarce.  I like brown wedges, brown sandals, brown boots, brown pumps.  I like them in different textures.  I need them to be basic enough to be worn for several seasons.  Another thing I have found is that I love suede shoes!  Chocolate brown suede peep toes......got any you'd like to sell?    I'm the one trolling ebay.  Or taupe suede anything (except platform stilettos)....in my dreams!   

As I have written many times before on this blog, I got rid of the black clothing in my closet (three years ago this was 70% of my clothing).  I tried browns, grays and navys for my replacement base color.  I have since settled on navy.  The aha moment arrived recently when I recognized that I need several navy dresses, several navy skirts, several navy blouses, on and on.  It has taken over two years of collecting to finally replace the black with navy.  Belts, sandals, boots, slips, bras....think of all the places in your closet that had been filled with black because you were sold an idea from the fast fashion industry that every woman looks good in black.  Even after I KNEW in my heart that the black needed to be purged, I resisted buying multiples of things in other colors.  The surrender to this concept has finally completed my closet and makes dressing a breeze.  For example, I have a straight navy pencil skirt that is of a twill type fabric - not denim - great for casual summer outfits.  But this is not the only navy skirt I need.  I need calf length choices, I need frillier choices, I need a few simple prints on some navy skirts that will coordinate with other blouses.  I allowed myself to do that with black - why was I resistant to doing it with any other color?  When I purged the black from my closet, I had capri pants in several lengths, regular pants in several lengths and fabric contents, wide legs, skinny legs, pants for boots, pants for sandals.  Now I freely buy those things in navy when I come across them and finally, finally, finally I have a happy working closet!

What things have you learned on your journey to loving your closet? 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Visible Monday - Reflections

This is my third week to participate in Patti's group of www.notdeadyetstyle.blogspot.com Visible Monday bloggers.

The reason I decided to join the effort was to test myself - how much have I really changed my style?  I've been working from home for over two years now.  Some days I never get out of my pajamas!  One of the most rewarding things about working from home is that I have discovered it's the perfect way to road test an outfit.  Some days I put on some fancy stuff, including heels and shapewear and just see if I am comfortable in it for eight plus hours.  What a luxury!  If something begins to tug, bind or slip - I dismiss it from my closet immediately!  This is much better than making the same discovery while I'm too far from home to make a switch.

Lately, it's been hot.  I skip the makeup unless I'm going somewhere special.  And most days my hair is pulled back shortly after I step out of the shower.  I love that it stays completely out of my way all day.  But, I can see that it's not all that socially appropriate.  In fact, I can see lots and lots of problems with this look.  I can say that it was completely comfortable and feminine feeling all day.  I am enjoying my new collection of thrifted "day" dresses.

Hmmm......  I guess this every Monday photo thing might nudge me into an upgrade.  It's tempting to just quit posting photos!  But I think - this is the real me - so I'm going to see what happens when I focus on this for a few more weeks.  Change is a process.

Sundress worn as a skirt - thrifted for $1
Worthington scoop neck t-shirt, old.  I think needs to be donated now, I've never noticed the pull across the chest before, because, of course, I never take photos!
my favorite new suede boots, thrifted for $2  

We're in the final countdown for my daughter's move.  My accomplishment of the week was feeding 12 to 25 people (depending on the day and time) throughout the weekend and providing beds for half of them.  Everyone wanted to be together before the family gets split up again.  My biggest challenge was strategizing how to feed all these people when 1) I'm not working so throwing money at it isn't an option, and 2) I and my daughter have been gluten-free for over a year now, so cheap filler foods or carry-out are no longer options.  Proud to say that I made it work out beautifully and no one was the wiser!  Well, unless they read this blog!

Are You Still Grabbing Black First?

My thought was always, "I'll get the black and then if I really like it I'll come back and get one of the colors."  And of course, I never went back.  I never really loved the black piece.  And I was stuck in this spiraling circle.  I was positively confident that if I filled every gap with a black item first as the basic foundation of my closet - that eventually I would have a well-coordinated and easy to navigate wardrobe.  So I bought more and more black.  And spiraled into a bulging closet with nothing to wear. 

Today, I would recommend that you take a tour of Carol Tuttle's blog and website over at dressingyourtruth.com.  Carol has so many free videos and articles on youtube.  This is how I found her energy profiling system and the related system of Dressing Your Truth.  And I immediately recognized myself as a (very sad and depressed) Type 1 energy. 

I wrote about my release from corporate black in the summer of 2010 at my other blog www.daisyoftheflinthills.com

I've never went back.  Now my shopping is so much fun!  My closet is so much fun!  Even on a badly rushed day, I end up wearing something I feel good about.  That never happened before.  My basics now are navy blue, denim-y color blue, periwinkle blues, plum purples and cranberry colors.  I am working on some dark chocolate browns and experimenting with gray but I haven't been as happy with them as of yet. 

I wonder how long it will take before women feel more confident in making their own choices about beauty?  I spent years trying to learn and adopt all the advice given by fashion experts.  The more money I spent the more unhappy I became.  Why did I wait until I was over fifty years old to decide that I should buy what I liked?  Now when I shop, I immediately dismiss black, white and khaki as choices.  This uncovers a world of very interesting and exciting options.  Just because it's on the rack, doesn't mean it has a right to my attention! 

Through Carol's videos and articles, I was encouraged to just give the "no black" thought a try.   What was there to lose?  (except many dollars spent on clothing I wouldn't wear again)  I went upstairs to my closet.  I pulled everything black and put it in a crate.  I realized I needed more crates.  The more I pulled, the better I felt.  As the black was lifted, the colors that remained popped out; cheery and happy.  Remember the movie, "Hook" where one of the lost boys grabs Peter's old wrinkly face and squishes it around until he "sees" the Peter he remembers?  There I was!  I saw that I might put these things together in interesting combinations; that the combinations wouldn't have to be perfect; that they just naturally went together.  I saw things I loved.  I remembered that at one time, I loved getting dressed.

I am a bright and animated type 1 personality in Carol's energy profiling system.  It's no wonder the black felt heavy and constricting on my life.  Now, I love buying clothes on ebay and at thrift stores because I know what I like and I know what I need.   I'll never go back.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Visible Monday - 70's Knits

It's Monday again and I am really trying to become visible!  Last week my head was chopped off in the photos.  This week my head is there.....but it's a blur!  Visit Patti's blog and see all the visible women here

Oh, well.  It's probably because my husband is taking the photo for me as we are watching the granddaughter and getting ready to go inside for supper.  And I am talking - saying something like, "Will you try and get a picture of me this time?  Not the entire prairie panoramic with me as a dot in the middle?"  Maybe next week will be better.

This dress arrived in the mail (via ebay) and I immediately put it on and wore it all day.  It began with a strange listing for a 99 cent red dress by a famous Italian designer from long ago.  The seller also had this dress for 99 cents so I splurged and combined shipping - wondering what would actually arrive!  I was the only bidder.

I was very happy with my impromptu purchases!  This dress is by Dawn Joy and is most likely a 1970's knit.  It's one of those early-day knits that was a bit scratchy. It's a true wrap style which concerned my the first five minutes.  After that, I forgot I even had it on - it fits snugly enough that the flap stays close by.  And I was wearing my slimmer slip type thing underneath that I know always stays put.


I have on Skechers sandals that my mom gave to me and a camisole top from Nine West.  No jewelry, hair pulled back.  Just a day of trying to get 1,000 things done! 

The red dress that came with it is a 1960's red wool, drop waist, shirt dress with a pleated skirt - made by Louis Feraud.  According to his company website he began in the 1950's.  He designed for Brigitte Bardot for many of her movies.  Of course, since it's not a recognized name by the usual crowd of ebayers - no one had even bid on it before I plopped down my 99 cents.  I am going to take it to the dry cleaners to be pressed and ready for Fall! 

In other news, we are just counting down the days now until half of our family moves to El Paso.  Plane tickets are $250 and up, and the drive is a miserable 14 hours across the dryest and most deserted parts of Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico.  The granddaughter who has lived with me most all of her first three years will soon be very far away.  Neither of us is prepared.  I'm trying to enjoy each day and not get depressed unless absolutely necessary.

Here she is fishing with Grandpa at our ponds over the weekend while Momma and Daddy were packing boxes for the move.



She's wearing whatever Grandpa could find in the drawer of odd clothes left at my house.  Her sweatpants are size 18 months and we keep them handy for just such emergencies.  The boots she found in the closet in her room - among the thrifted items I buy and put away just in case.  She was very excited that they fit and they're purple!  She calls her hairstyle "wild and free" and that's the way she likes it!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Visible Monday: Seersucker Dress

I thrifted this seersucker dress recently, but it was just too big.  I did take a photo of it so I decided to join Terri of ragsagainstthemachine.com in her quest for seersucker.  And shoot, might as well make an appearance at Visible Monday - Patti at Not Dead Yet Style.

Cute, easy summer dress but I decided to just resell it rather than take the time to do alterations.  And the shoes....and lack of jewelry.....well, I was taking photos of lots of things to resell so I just grabbed some shoes that were neutral and left off any noticeable jewelry.  I'll try harder for next week's Visible Monday, maybe even adding a face!

Thanks to Reva at revasrags2roses.blogspot.com for jogging my memory about dressing up flip flops.  My granddaughters were here over the Memorial Day weekend so we picked out new pairs at Dollar General for $1 each and the girls tied on pieces of silk fabric.  They were excited!  Now, I just need to locate a pair with a sling back like Reva had for myself.  I just can't get excited about $1 flip flops anymore.  Here are our results so far:


A big thank you to all of the bloggers over 40!  Now, when I start feeling like I am really, really too weird - all I need to do is check my google reader and see other creative and fun ideas!   

Thursday, May 17, 2012

"Grandma, This don't go there."

Everytime I clean house now I think about my just-turned-three granddaughter bringing me a book recently and saying "Grandma, this don't go there."  It was a book I was reading.  I had lain it across a floor basket next to the chair in the living room - in the top of the basket that.......pre-granddaughter, was where I kept my reading material.  She has since moved all my stuff out of the basket and keeps her books there.  Mine "don't go" I guess. 



She also picked up my jewelry from the coffee table and said, "Grandma, I'll put these right here for you (on the stairway).  So you can put them in your room." 

I guess every stage of life has opportunties for me to get better at the things I wish I could master!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Vintage Knits by Marie St. John at my thrift store



So it seems that I might keep this one.......a vintage navy blue knit cardigan and skirt set by Marie St. John.  I didn't think I would fit in it very well.  But in taking some photos for my etsy shop I decided it fits better than I had assumed.

We'll see if I actually have an opportunity to wear it anywhere!  I don't have any job interviews in the works.  I suppose if I don't wear it soon, I'll list it in the shop. 

It's amazing to me that it is kind of a nothing looking piece until you put it on.  I suppose that's always been the reason St. John knits were sought after.   This is the first one I've ever tried on although I've read about them through the thrifting blogger circles.

It was a textbook thrifting case.  A label that is so high end that the sorters aren't familiar with it and it gets crammed in with the Faded Glory sweaters. 

I always scan the racks quickly for solid navy blue (another trick I learned from the thrifting bloggers).  I've noticed that women hang on to their navy blue pieces!  As soon as I touched the cardigan, I knew it was something unique.  As I pushed awful sweaters aside, I saw the St. John logo buttons on the front.  I held my breath.  I read the tag.  "St. John Separates".  I wondered if, miracle of all miracles, there was a coordinating piece somewhere in the store that had been orphaned.  I decided to check the skirts first hoping that someone else wasn't carrying it in their hand at this very moment.  There it was!!!!!  The skirt had a very slight hole in the back and I was able to easily mend it without leaving a trace.  I left the store with my $6 vintage designer suit. 

Yea for me!!!!!  I'm feeling rich I tell ya!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What Does My Hair Say, Exactly? Why is it Talking For Me?

After reading Lisa's thoughts on hair, I wanted to share the story of my hair and my campaign for public office.  Actually, the story covers two separate political campaigns.  I am forever puzzled by this.  Possible explanations swim around in my head but nothing seems to explain it. 

In 2004, I signed up to run for County Clerk.  I was 45 years old with a degree in Economics, cum laude.  We had lived in the same house for twenty years and I had worked several professional positions mostly related to grantwriting and grant administration.  I had been elected to the school board.  The incumbent had fouled up at least two years of property tax statements because she didn't understand her job, costing the taxpayers thousands of dollars (and confusion) with duplicate mailings.
 
During the campaign season, several people asked me about my hair....as in, several (my age and older) WOMEN would work the conversation around to ask what I was planning to do about my hair.  I didn't quite understand the question.  And since campaigning means walking neighborhoods and parade routes,  I guess I thought the question was about my inability to keep it neatly combed in the Kansas wind.  I was born in the Kansas wind.  To me, it's part of my existence.  Heck, the winds in the Flint Hills pick up houses.  They also blow hair.  The incumbent County Clerk kept her gray hair very short.  It never moved no matter how hard the wind blew. 

About a week before the election, my mom and sister were walking yet another neighborhood with me.  My mom knocked on a door and gave the standard speel about my campaign.  She handed the home owner what we typically in campaigns call our "walking card".  The woman took one look at my photo on the card and loudly exclaimed, "What about her hair?  I was going to vote for her because I think we need a new County Clerk, but then I saw her photo....and that hair!  I just can't vote for her."  Then she proceeded to tell my mom not to even bother stopping at the house next door because this was her best friend and they both agreed that my hair made everything else irrelevant.  My mom had no idea how to respond and, surprisingly, remained quiet.  Not her typical style.  She was really dumbfounded.  I was knocking on doors across the street and didn't know until afterwards about this encounter.

I live in Kansas, and I am a registered Democrat.  Kansas votes 90+% Republican regardless of the particular candidate.  But in this particular race, even with my hair handicap, I very nearly ousted the incumbent.  Nearly is the key word.  Many, many hours of work.  Many, many hard earned dollars spent on gas and campaign signs.  Many favors from friends and family exhausted.  Oh, well...life goes on.

Now, fast forward to 2008.  I remain active with my local Democrats.  One of our priorities is to "show up", meaning we always strive to have a Democratic candidate on the ballot for each open office - to give voters a choice - even in our RED, RED state.  As the deadline to put challengers on the ballot was closing in, my mentor asked if I would fill in the one slot no one wanted; the state senate seat.  The incumbent was a well-known doctor who had also ran for governor.  I could go into the reasons why it was a good idea to challenge him.  But, let's talk hair.

This is my first photo taken for the senate campaign.  I am 49 years old.  My hair has always been extremely straight.  It has never started to gray or thin out.  If you had pictures of me throughout my life, most of them would closely resemble this one:


Within a few weeks, the conversations began to come up again.  Voters asked me "What are you going to do with your hair?"  To which, again, I had no answer.  At my first public forum, a woman I had never met (slightly older than me) pulled me aside and said, "I like your message.  I think you are probably the better candidate.  I like your clothing.  Since it's hot and you're thin, you can get away with that"...(surveying me with her pointed finger - my black capris and black sandals with a red knit twinset).  She even checked my jewelry and commented, "Yes, your wedding ring, a bracelet.... your earrings are good but never go any bigger than what you have on now."  Hmmm....this was getting interesting.  Then she hesitated a bit and said, "But what are you going to do about your hair?"  And I replied in frustration, "What is it about my hair?  Why is everyone so concerned about my hair?"  She hesitated again.  I said, "Really, I want to know what you think because it's making me crazy."  And she replied, "Well, at least comb it."  Then she went on to say that I probably should consider cutting it; "doing" something with it. 

I came home and cried.  Not only was I having to pull every ounce of courage forward to speak in front of crowds; to challenge the good doctor, I had to overcome these hair demons????  I wash my hair daily.  I had combed it just before the forum; in the car.  Then I walked about a block to meet a few supporters before entering the building.  Shortly after I entered the building, it was my turn to speak.  That's how campaigns work.  You have to travel lightly, be prepared to talk about any subject at the drop of a hat and also be prepared to go LONG hours without food, drink or restroom breaks. 

The next day I went to the most expensive hair stylist in town.  He has worked on my hair before - trims and reconditioning.  Previously when I had complained about having such straight, flat hair he stopped me to say, "Why do you want to be someone you're not?  Be happy that you have hair (as he pointed to his balding spot).  This is you.  Be happy with who you are." 

But this day, we shared a different conversation.  I said, "George, what is it about the hair?  Why is this the only topic of my campaign?"  He talked a little about public image and then said, "I know what needs to be done.  Do you want me to do it?  Or should we do something midway and let you get used to it first?"  I replied that if he knew what this was all about, he should just do what needed to be done.  After all, I thought, it's just hair!

This is me after my appointment with George.  In George's extensive career of experience, this is called the Hillary.  And he has irrefutable proof that this is the haircut that gets women elected.  One of his regular clients is someone who baffles me with her years of complete incompetence in public office, yet she wins by a landslide each election cycle.  She sports the "Hillary" and faithfully keeps her appointments with George every few weeks to keep it perfect.  George made me promise to keep mine perfectly trimmed throughout the election. 


So, it's cute, huh? (I'm in the center - in my sea of corporate black written about here and here).  I wasn't unhappy with it.  It was just a drastic change for me, but I like change.

The problems started a few days later when (again) women my age and older were screeching at me from across the street, "I LOVE your hair."  Then grabbing their friend by the arm and pulling them over to me to tell me how much they loved my hair and how they were going to vote for me and tell all their friends to vote for me. 

Seriously, you think I'm kidding at this point, right?  I'm telling you that people who never even gave me a polite nod were now dragging their friends over to introduce them and tell me how much they liked my hair....oh, yes, and my campaign.  And that they were going to vote for me.

Because I finally had the right hair.  And this meant I suddenly was smart.  And I should be listened to.  And I had important ideas to share.  And I should be invited to attend events.  And I should be smiled at and treated with respect.  Because I got a haircut!!?!??!?!?!?!?!


It was creepy!

Even more thought provoking was the reaction from the young voters.  My own two children and their social networks had been excitedly following my campaign.  With the new haircut, they bluntly asked, "Why'd you cut your hair?"  They grew suspicious that I was trying to present myself as something other than true.  They saw the mask.  They wondered why I chose to put it on.  Could I be trusted?  Most of them said, "Well, it looks fine.  It's just not you." 

My family had the same response.  "It's cute. Keep it if you like it.  But it just isn't you." 

As the campaign closed down, I became unsure who was running for office; the real me or the new haircut me.  If I did win the election, who should report to work at the state capital?  What parts of me were okay and what parts desperately needed to be replaced as soon as possible?  And why had I struggled my whole life with not being promoted fairly, not being paid fairly, not being respected for my contributions in the workplace when a simple "Hillary" haircut would have instantly resolved those problems?  Who knew the haircut told the entire story about a person's worth?

Today, my hair is back down to shoulder length.  I kept the Hillary cut for several months after the campaign.  I thought it might become the new me if I gave it a little longer.  But it never did.  And my family, if I pressed for raw honesty, would always respond with, "Let it grow out."  I found that I lost connection and respect from the groups who loved the haircut.  I think that's okay.






Friday, April 13, 2012

If It Looks Like A Duck, and It Walks Like a Duck....Oh Look, Someone Sent Me A Beautiful Swan!

I've been buying and selling online for a decade.  I was one of those people who had a home computer in the early 1980's - those big clunky desktops that were "86's", as opposed to "286", "386" or "486".  A LONG time ago!

Right now, Paypal is holding up a transaction I made this morning.  I am waiting on their decision and I can't sleep until this gets resolved.  I stand to lose $900 because of my own stupidity.

I read alot of online chatter about how Paypal is charging too much; how they have too much control over our online lives; how its really none of their business how we all conduct our personal business.  And then today, Paypal may be the only thing that saves my ass.

So, as I look back on what happened to me I am frustrated and disgusted that I did such a stupid thing; that I let someone talk me into such an outrageous situation.  And as I stood in the shower a long time tonight to ease my stress, I thought, "if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck" ......hell, even Paypal's robots flagged it as a duck.......why didn't I see the duck?

And I collided with my core humanity.

The duck arrived.  But I didn't notice the quack or the waddle.  My heart saw the swan that I have always wanted; that finally, finally after a lot of hard work and striving I would get my swan.   And I was so excited!  For about eight hours....until the damn thing just wouldn't quit quacking and I went online to google whether or not anyone else had the same experience - did anyone else have a beautiful swan that made such an obnoxious noise?  What was that noise?

It was a DUCK!!!!!!  I was shocked.  Now I am just extremely embarrassed and afraid that my human weakness caused an irreversible financial loss for my family.  

Paypal is holding the money and making a decision within seven days.  I am very, very grateful for their robot software scan that screamed "DUCK!".  At least it gave me eight hours to think things through and research my situation.  I talked with a Paypal representative earlier tonight.  He was very kind and respectful even though I am positive he sees this kind of thing everyday in his job.  He wasn't able to assure me of anything because I authorized the transaction.  Yes, with my own ten fingers, I created the transaction this morning in my excitement over my new swan and asked Paypal to send the money.

But it is still possible, thanks to all of their protection systems, that they may decide to return the disputed money that is in their holding accounts to me rather than send it on.  If so, they will receive 100% credit from me for saving myself from my own stupidity.  I will always be grateful to them for what they have done, even as I wait for their process to work and don't know the end result yet.

So, what is the lesson here?  I would like to tell you to be careful.  Practice online safety and common sense........."If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck.......  Or how about "if it sounds too good to be true, it is."   You've heard all these, right?

None of it stopped me from making this mistake.  Why?  Because I am a smart, informed, experienced woman.  Of course I know these things to be true.  I have been interacting on the internet since the internet was invented.  I have thousands of successful transactions under my belt.  Heck, I even taught internet safety at one time.  I would never fall for such nonsense.......

But I did fall.  And the reason I stumbled is because I deserve a swan.  The reason I fell was because having a swan is not "too good to be true".  It is entirely possible that my years of hard work and passion might someday pay off.  I deserve to have good things happen to me.  It's okay to dream of the swan.  I have earned the possibility of receiving my swan.  And I believe there are swans in this world and people receive them.

I just don't think the critter I received over the past few days was actually my swan........I'm thinking now it was definitely a big, ugly, random duck.  So you'll have to excuse me.  I have to go back to shoveling duck poo...... and checking my Paypal status.  It's going to be a long seven days!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Now Posting Over at Flinthills Kitty Kitty Site

I wonder if anyone has been disconnected because of my decision to post my weekly chatter about life on the prairie on my other site?  I'm at  www.flinthillskittykitty.com   I would love to hear from you!

I continue to work on my writing projects and post them here at the Daisy of the Flinthills site.  But there has been nothing new to share in quite a while.  I chatter about prairie family life, military life, thrifting and upcycling quite a bit over at my other site!

Come visit!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thrifting in Council Grove for $2.35

Yesterday I met my daughter and granddaughter in Council Grove for a day of recycling, consigning and thrifting.  Lest you think this is the only thing I do anymore (meet up with my daughter and granddaughter and thrift), it is.  And the thing we don't talk about is that our days are counting down.  The United States Army will move them to Fort Bliss (El Paso, TX) in June.  When I look at the cost of airline tickets and my lack of income over the past three years.......I can see that there will be a long dry spell.  This is similar to their previous military assignments where I was lucky to see them once or twice a year.  Even the phone calls dwindle as the distance is just too far to stay actively involved in each other's lives.  It hurts to talk often and it hurts to not talk often.   

I just can't bear to think about it today - which is how my son-in-law has taught us to cope.  Since there is no remedy to the situation, what we can control is that we can focus on TODAY and make it the best it can be!  And so......some photos to share of our day of consigning, thrifting and walking!  Skip down to the photos if you don't want to read my long analysis of how our military wives are coping............

First off we stopped at the Rerun Consignments downtown to unload the back of my daughter's Jeep.  After three years of living out of boxes and crates, she is finally working her way though those boxes and deciding what to keep.  This freed up alot of space and gave her some much needed satisfaction.  For those of you who haven't followed my blog...she and her husband finally decided to have a baby after seven years of marriage and living in military bases in Colorado and Kentucky.  During that time he also was stationed in Korea and Iraq while she stayed behind in various temporary living arrangements.  Seven years of chaos.  When they decided to have a baby he was able to get a duty assignment back at their (and my) home area which is Fort Riley in Kansas.  As military timing goes.....they arrived in Kansas when my granddaughter was just thirty days old.  My daughter had worked at the Fort Knox library throughout her pregnancy so she was too overwhelmed and exhausted to think about packing.  She focused on delivering a happy healthy baby.  For the move, she was to just pack a suitcase and drive away when the time came.  She drove one vehicle with the newborn baby, the cat and her plants to Kansas.  He stayed behind and dealt with the packing crews and moving vans.  With his military efficiency and high energy to get things done - everything was packed and loaded.  It worked, but everything was very randomly sorted (or not sorted).  I don't mean to stereotype but there are many men out there who haven't much clue as to the logical arrangements of stuff in their homes.  And especially in a need to quickly just get it done...... you can imagine. 

He arrived a week later and the moving vans backed up to my garage and unloaded.  Everything they owned went into my garage.  What she had available to her was what little she packed in a suitcase for her and the baby and since she was just post-delivery she mostly had sweats and nightgowns!  Many times they would go out into the garage and try to search through boxes looking for missing items.  Most times they would just purchase what they needed because they didn't have unlimited time to continue searching.

They decided to live with us to save money and begin looking for a permanent home.  If they had went onto the military base housing they would have had to sign a year lease.  This way they were free to move as soon as they could locate a house to buy.  In the meantime, the housing industry crashed and they needed, not 5%, not 10%, but 20% cash down to purchase anything.  Then just as the magical balance was reached...something they loved, something they could afford, something close enough to Fort Riley but still in the country......he heard rumors they were going to Iraq.  After months of nervously waiting, they were told no - change of plans - they were leaving in about thirty days for a year long deployment in Afghanistan. 

My daughter and granddaughter really wanted to stay in their hard-earned, unfinished new home.  But it was January when he left.  In fact, his departure was delayed several days because the airports were closed for ice and snow.  In the first few sad weeks after he left her water lines froze up, she came down with an infection, and the snow drifted her long driveway shut.  We couldn't stand the stress of worrying about her and she was equally stressed about trying to do it alone.  So they moved back in with us for another year. 

I tell you all of that so you can appreciate how eventful it was for her to have had time to sort through several boxes packed in 2009 and get rid of things!  Much of it is really nice stuff as throughout the military marriage they have bought duplicates.  Things they need have had a strange way of never being in the same location they were over the years.  Or they were living on opposite sides of the globe and needed duplicates.  So in the time remaining before their upcoming move, they have vowed to go through every box and make decisions.  Since they own their home here in Kansas, they will have the luxury of leaving things behind in an organized way.  Once they unpack and decide on everything, it will leave just enough time to pack the things they want with them as they move to Fort Bliss. 

So photos....

Overlooking the River Walk at Council Grove on the Santa Fe Trail.  Hundreds of wagons crossed here because it was a nice, wide flat place with flint rock lining the bottom rather than mud.  This is where Seth Hays did thousands and thousands of dollars a year in trade with those bringing goods up and down the trail.  The Hays House is the oldest continuing operation west of the Mississipi or something like that.  You can still eat there today. 

This was also the last area where the Kaw or Kanza (Wind People) clung to reservation lands until they were uprooted and sent to Oklahoma in 1872.   Their chief, Al-le-ga-wa-ho, pleaded with the U.S. Department of Interior with these words..."Great Father, you whites treat us Kan-zey like a flock of turkeys, you chase us to one stream, then you chase us to another stream, soon you will chase us over the mountains and into the ocean."  At the time they were moved, there were only 600 left. A small pox epidemic killed 400 of them shortly after they arrived in Oklahoma.   Click here to read more: Nation of the Kaw


What I wore:  Nine West trouser jeans, Clarks booties and a New York & Co. t-shirt, all thrifted.  I wanted my daughter to take the photos so I could decide whether or not I like myself in bold stripes.  Back view....all good.  I continue to stay slimmer since I've discovered my gluten intolerance and changed my diet.


Front view - this is still the problem area.  I am excited that in the next few months I will be the female adult in our family with the SMALLEST waistline.  It will be temporary honor, but, still I am excited and I plan to brag and wear fancy belts all the time to show off.  How can that be?  I'll give you a hint....


September 6th is predicted to be a VERY busy day for our family!  Crazy, huh?

Now, on to my big spending of the day.  I spent $2.35 and got these three dresses and six patterns.


This one my daughter-in-law will most likely be able to use during her pregnancy.  She is taking classes for her masters and serving an internship so she needs more options in her closet right now.

This one is for me.  With a short jean jacket maybe.

And this one goes on Etsy.  It's a vintage Betsey Johnson and the colors are right on cue for this season.  I hope it sells well!  I know I will be able to get my 50 cents back out of it!

I added six patterns to my stash at ten cents each.  With two granddaughters who are long torso, I will always need to be sewing.  They especially have a hard time finding dresses that fit.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Too Fancy for the Post Office

I captured a couple of photos of the outfit I put together for today.  Let's just say it was quite overdone for a five minute stop at the Post Office.  But, I wore it around all day working at home just to check the comfort level.  It was inspired by my latest thrifting find - my $1.50 boots! 


I've been experimenting with strapless dresses, too.  Not because I can wear them the normal way.  But because I accidently discovered that they fit well, give me some fullness on my bottom half and are very smooth on the top half.  Since there is nothing on the shoulders, they are easy to wear under cardigans and jackets without extra bulk. 



The cardigan was a tan/khaki color when I found it for fifty cents on the consignment shop clearance rack.  There was supposed to be a snagged place or hole in it somewhere but I never found one.  I brought it home because it was a high quality cotton spandex.  Then I dip dyed it into some purple dye.  It came out a purply brown color which surprisingly goes with about everything in my closet!

The strapless dress is made of an almost denim fabric with a brocade print.  It was $4.99 at Goodwill a few weeks back.

Closeups:



Thank goodness everyone else is shopping for Spring at the thrift shops!  I got a hip length leather coat and these boots last week.  The boots were on 1/2 price sale even!  I'll miss them when I pack them away in a few weeks - but it'll be fun to rediscover them next Fall!


I liked byhillary's quiz today so here are my answers:

1. What word or phrase do you hear all the time but honestly don't know what it means?
Santorum won by a landslide in Kansas.

2. What word do you HATE? (not new slang. Make it a legit word)
Citizens United.

3. What is the last thing you ate?
Leftover chili and scalloped potatoes.

4. What time did you get up today?

It was not in the am.  I never sleep at night anymore so I just stay up and work.  Then I sleep through the morning unless I have a commitment to keep.  Weird, but it seems to be working for me.

5. If someone handed you a kitten and asked you to name it what would you name it? (say you hate
cats and you watch how fast I figure out how to ban you from the INTERWEBS. Not that anyone would be you know I like to be fiesty)

Maybe Pounce.  My two year old granddaughter has a little stuffed kitten she named Pounce.  Mommy and Daddy would love to give her a kitten for her upcoming birthday but the U.S. Army is relocating them to Texas in a few months and they can't have more than two pets in the military housing.  They have two hound dogs. 

6. Favorite cartoon character. (not including muppets)

Since I watch two year old cartoons alot, I think DUCK on World World.  "What're we gonna do?  What're we gonna do?" 

7. Did you ever wish you had another name? What was it? OR do you have a fake name you use in public sometimes? Like in restaurants. 

Nope, Kitty has worked out well as a name. 

8. I just walked in your front door. What is the first thing I see or you hope I DON'T see?

I thrifted a (Marie) St. John suit from about 1960 last week (same day as the boots above).  I was going to sell it, but I keep trying it on and it fits.  So its laying on the back of a chair in the living room while I decide.  Oh, and you might notice that we rearranged beds last weekend and its not done.  Granddaughter and family no longer live here full-time, plus she no longer needs the baby bed.  Lots of rearranging.   Still not sure how I will leave things with two more grandbabies on the way!

9. Are you wearing shoes? Describe them.

American Eagle ballet flats in pink with ribbons.  Got the on ebay for $4 and they arrived today in the mail.  Cute!

10. What is your writing implement preference?

Black gel pens.