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   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.


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. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Corseting the Vintage Green Velvet Formal Dress and Custom Military Ball Shirts

See that nice corseted back?  I've been extremely busy around here doing alterations for the
Fort Riley 1-16th Delta Company Military Ball! 

But now I have photos to show you all the things we did to make this special evening happen.  The green velvet dress was the first dress my daughter tried on at a thrift store in North Topeka.  It was snug and she's three months pregnant.  But it's meant to be worn snug so I set to work seeing if there was even a smidgeon of space I could make for her.  The back of the lace bodice originally was finished off with hooks and eyes.  So no matter how you looked at it - it just stuck out awkwardly. 

The day before the big event I decided to just go for it and create a simple a corset in that area.  This ended up making quite a difference in how the dress fit and made it lay much smoother.

The vintage dress certainly was different than the modern styles.  And it was a perfect match to her personal style.  

Hey, now wait.......did you notice the soldier in the Michigan print dress shirt? other little alterations project!

This event is to celebrate the good job Delta company completed on their recent deployment in Afghanistan.  And these guys get more duded up than their girls!  At the beginning of the evening they arrive in full military dress uniform:

Then as the evening went on....these two soldiers had planned a surprise.  With their jackets on, they were in full dress uniform with white collars and cuffs.  But, when the jackets came off they displayed their personalities through the custom panels added to their shirts. 

The shirts were a hit!  Several other soldiers were asking how they could get one made.  I don't know if you can see but as an added bit of crazy - they had me insert zippers into the side seams under their arms.  So when the party got really HOT - they unzipped.

They deserve their hard earned time for celebration!

Oh, one last special thing.  My friend, Mary Sue is fun and active in her 80's.  Immediately upon seeing the dress, she knew she had the perfectly coordinating beaded clutch.  My daughter borrowed it for the evening.  

What fun!  I had alot of fun helping them prepare for their celebration.  And the best part was when they granddaughter and I had the whole evening to ourselves to play!  We didn't want to go to "Daddy's fancy meeting" because Daddy promised he would take her somewhere special in her pretty dress soon.