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Posts Tagged ‘clothes’

If you read old books and journals, you’ve probably noticed wintertime references to everyday activities like breaking a covering of ice in the washbasin in the morning, before you wash. Or, perhaps not quite that, but instead, say, a habit of closing off part of the house in cold weather. Actually, we did that in our house when I was growing up, and I’ve often done it since. Because it makes sense.

The Common Room shares time-tested ways of staying warm without breaking the budget.

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… seem to be catching on thanks to an innovative company in North Carolina. (This is good for hospital settings, amongst other things.)

Even if you’re not a fan of ties, it’s an interesting story about a family with a drive for excellence, and a desire to build a regional industry.

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I would need to find a calculator to do the math (hey, we’re talking dividing circumference by pi, which is more than I can do in my head), but here’s instructions on making a girl’s twirly dress, using measurements and calculations instead of a pattern. This way, each dress is just the right size for each girl.

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Here’s a how-to for making a kap from scratch, pattern to product.

Just because surely some lady out there wants to know. ūüôā

Added: How to Make a Plain Apron

hat tip: sidebar links at Plain Catholic in the Mountains

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1. The first week of August, the local newspaper called my husband to see if it was true that there was a woman who worked evenings at our gas station cum bookstore who only wore dresses or skirts. Having that confirmed, they told him that they were a bit busy just then, but would it be all right if they came by later to take a picture and maybe do an article?

They have never gotten back to us. I guess maybe they figured out that it isn’t news that a grown woman wears¬†a skirt¬†to pump gas and put books on shelves and run a cash register?

2. The woman in question is me. I have worn skirts more often than not for a long time, but back in June I finally took the plunge and took all my pants to a thrift store.¬†Being pantless¬†puts me in good company around here. We have quite a few women around here who never wear pants, starting with the Mennonite ladies, but also including some of the Baptists and other Christians, plus women who just think they don’t look good in pants, and right on down to a woman or two or three who just find pants uncomfortable to wear, plus some who are trying to make a fashion statement or develop a recognizable style. What with one thing and another, on any given day you’ll run into a goodly percentage of women in dresses around here. Most of the dresses are modest and practical, too. Just like the ladies who wear them.

3. This year, two of our outside cats had kittens. In the second litter, three of the four had extra toes. One kitten has since died and is buried in the back yard, and another (the pretty one with regular feet) fell ill and disappeared and is presumed dead. The remaining kittens are gray, with white toes. The extra toe is offset, and looks rather like a thumb. At this age, with such large feet, they look a bit as though they are wearing white baseball gloves. Well, no, not quite that. But close.

4. I made moose stew the other day. Now that’s something I thought I’d never say. But the landlord went on a hunting trip up north, and bagged a moose, and gave us some of the meat. I told him I hadn’t the least idea how to cook moose, and he suggested treating it like very lean beef, and using it in stew. So I did. What makes this even more fun is that for two years¬†I have been working on a novel in which (in a subplot) some colonists make moose stew for some¬†stranded travelers, but this month I’ve been spending all the time I can put together working on what I hope are final edits of that book. (That’s one of the big reasons I haven’t been blogging much, by the way.)¬†When I first wrote about moose stew, I had no idea I’d ever make¬†any. Life imitates art work in progress.

5. I have been having a very ecumenical month. I’ve attended services at the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, the First Baptist Church, and the Church of the Nazarene, plus I’ve attended a History of the Church presentation at the Catholic Church. The visit to the Nazarene Church was to celebrate the second anniversary of¬†answering an altar call there.

6. We have had some lovely snowstorms this last week or so, worthy of midwinter. (And, yes, I was out there in the blizzards in a dress, pumping gas. If you wear layers and leg warmers, dresses are as warm or warmer than pants.)

7. Coming Saturday, November 14, Christian women around the world will be joining in a special day of prayer for schools and children. Arise! Cry Out! is being organized by Moms in Touch International. You don’t have to be a mother to participate.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary.

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The blogger at Virginia Is For Huguenots wishes to address the stereotype of a stern Puritan magistrate wearing a wig. The post contains history on the wearing of wigs by men, and on other fashions that provoked controversy and sometimes dismay amongst the faithful in the 17th and 18th centuries.

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Yesterday morning, as I was shuffling around trying to wake up, I heard a kitten crying out back. That got me awake and dressed and outside considerably faster than I’d planned to be up and outside. The kitten did not sound like it was in distress, mind you. I simply could. not. wait. to. see. what. it. looked. like. I’d like to say that my enthusiasm was because this was the first kitten mewing of 2009 (which it was), but the simple fact is that I quite enjoy meeting kittens.

Gremlin, it turned out, has had three kittens in hiding somewhere for weeks, and had decided it was time for formal introductions, not to mention time for them to do some of their eating out of a bowl. This litter is a nearly matched set of three:¬†much white, with swirled calico markings of the palest gray and the palest orange, with darker gray splotches on the face. I’ve never seen cats like this, and now I have three. (I will be wanting homes for these shortly, if you’re local, and know anybody wanting a kitten…)

So I have, naturally, been spending time watching and petting kittens, and laughing quite out loud as their spunk outpaces their coordination.

Yesterday was also the day that the sand lilies first bloomed out back, and the Sweet William started blooming out front. Such a deal. The sand lilies are wild. The Sweet William was here when we got here. Beauty isn’t necessarily better when it’s free, but it sure doesn’t cheapen the experience, in my view.

When I was out admiring the sand lilies, they were being visited by small, dark green hornets. Yes, Virginia, there are real green hornets. I don’t recall seeing any before we moved here, but these definitely seemed to be hornets, and they were decidedly green.

While I was happily steeped in kittens and flowers, I got news of the death of one of my favorite old ladies (life’s so often like that, isn’t it?). She was 98, so I can’t say the news should have been unexpected, but it did come as a jolt. She was a Christian lady, radiating vitality coming and going, and the last I’d heard she was still playing the piano every Sunday at her church, and playing it well.

In other news, yesterday we were hearing from tourists coming to town from different directions, all saying, ¬†‘I drove through snow to get here! Can you believe that?’

Well, yes. We’re happily between ice ages, but we will have our moments of ‘unseasonable’ weather, particularly at the higher elevations. Get used to it. Besides, it made the fire danger go down. That’s a good thing this time of year.

This morning, I put all my pants and shorts into bags, and took them to the new thrift store. I have been living nearly exclusively in dresses and skirts for months and months now, and decided to take the plunge into entirely feminine dress, all the time. There are quite a few ladies around here who do not own a pair of pants, and so I know it can be done. (Well, OK, I know a bit of history. Most women in most of history never have had a pair of pants, so obviously it shouldn’t be a problem. But I grew up in a pantset and jeans world, and¬†have been in need of¬†some remedial training, so to speak.) After donating the pants, I further helped the thrift store get properly launched by buying a jumper. It looks nearly¬†new, and cost three dollars. Yay, thrift stores.

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While following links around yesterday, I stumbled upon a blog called Plain Catholic in the Mountains. Although I knew there were “Plain” people other than Amish and Mennonite, I confess I didn’t know there were Plain Catholics, much less Plain Roman Catholics. (It made sense once I thought about it, but it hadn’t occurred to me to think about it, I guess.)¬†Following the link from the blog to a website, I am finding out more about them. There are also links to sources for Plain and modest clothing patterns, and headcoverings, for those of you who (like me) are interested in such things.

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Sorry about the lull here. We’ve been having a wonderful Indian summer (which simply demanded that I spend some time outdoors), and I’ve been busy building up the Ladies for Life blog, and we’ve been sick around here (winter bugs don’t always wait for winter, worse the luck, and on top of that, my husband’s nerve pain and lung problems have both been acting up pretty good), and I’ve been working my way back from a back injury (which has made it hard to sit at a computer), and we’re laying the groundwork to publish some books (btw: who knew bait and switch tactics were so common in the printing industry?), and the bookstore has needed some attention, and friends and family have had emergencies, and my computer got hacked and the fix left me without some usual features for a while, and internet connection has been hit and miss, and on the plus side my husband handed me an ESV Study Bible on Monday as an early one-year-since-baptism gift, and… And, anyway, it’s been busy around here, and this blog slipped down the sorted-by-priorities list.

I’ve also been in declutter mode again, which you wouldn’t know from looking at the house. I seem to specialize in looking-worse-before-it-gets-better decluttering. On the other hand, I have the satisfaction of knowing how many fewer armloads of stuff we have to work around or move again. One of the things that left the house this round was the television set, and to be fair my husband decided it was time to get rid of that. We cancelled cable months ago¬†after we asked each other if it made any sense at all to be paying to have toxic material¬†pumped into our home. This left us with two over-the-air channels, and a nice screen for DVD viewing. But we haven’t been watching the over-the-air channels, or DVDs, and since we get our news online and via radio, and can watch our DVDs on our computers, and somebody wanted to buy a TV cheap to watch DVDs (so didn’t care in the least that it’s old technology), we sold the TV. Such a deal. Less stuff, more money. I can go for that. It was a heavy TV, not huge but too big to easily dust under, so we are now also rid of a layer of three year old dust that was much worse than I imagined. All in all, it’s an improvement, I think.

I have also been trying to get my wardrobe in line. I finally stopped procrastinating and got some mending done and finished making a skirt and some new slips, but mostly I’m concentrating on deciding what to send to the thrift store. A couple of weeks ago I ran across an old friend who told me with some concern that his wife had 154 dresses. He asked me why a woman would do that. I couldn’t help him there, because I share his concern that a woman with too many clothes has her eyes on the wrong things. But then I went home and looked at my stash of wearables, and was surprised that my not-so-big wardrobe has rather more deadwood in it than I realized. I also have this theory (half-baked, admittedly) that if I get rid of the clothes that are too big for me, it will help me keep off the 15 pounds I have slowly but doggedly shed this year. (Call it culling myself into a proper corner, if you like.)

But of course, it’s also fun to take too-large clothes and cut and stitch them into something new… And I’ve been doing some of that, which has slowed down the ‘send clothes to the thrift store’ project. I no longer have a sewing machine, which means I’m doing everything by hand. It’s a nice hobby, but it¬†can eat¬†up the time like nobody’s business. (Kind of like blogging.) My last homemade skirt was made entirely by hand, but doesn’t look it. I get a kick out of that. (I know. I know. I am too easily amused…)

Seriously, though, ladies, besides simplifying your own life by reducing the clothes you have on hand to a reasonable amount, a lot of families are finding themselves pinched right now, and so a lot of people who haven’t been working outside the home will be going job hunting. If you happen to have job-suitable clothes you aren’t using, now might be a good time to get them to someone who perhaps needs them more than you do. Yes?

The mule deer continue to own the back yard, which sometimes gets interesting. We live in town, but our back yard has fruit trees and we let the grass and other ground vegetation (aka weeds) go semi-wild back there, and it has become a wildlife refuge of sorts. This has its pros and cons. I keep telling myself that a well-manured patch of ground is somehow a good thing, especially in an area being reclaimed from gold mining (this part of town is built over dredge piles, which is a fancy name for piles of gravel left behind huge machines that chewed their way through the valley during the gold rush days), but somehow the fact that it’s right out our back door makes it not seem so. I do like watching the deer (and they get along pretty well with the cats, which can be pretty funny, all the more so because our mule deer seem perplexed by our cats, and want to put their noses up close and have good sniffs, which offends the cats).¬†But I also have a healthy respect for the ability of mule deer to maim or even kill people, so… did I mention that they own the back yard?

Two fast links, for the philosophically minded: Babies and Bottle Caps and Just Look.

Speaking of babies, have you heard that some folks think that putting a fan in a baby’s room, or otherwise improving air circulation,¬†might cut the risk of SIDS?

Fact checking: I’m trying to verify the facts in a story I heard the other day¬†about wells and the water table in Utah, and although I haven’t found what I’m looking for yet, I am finding out some things about the Great Salt Lake that I didn’t know. The same website (Utah Geological Survey) also has a section on dinosaurs and other¬†fossils.

Trivia: I finally know the proper name to call a Japanese¬†wooden doll that I have: Kokeshi. In one of my Japanese dictionaries, the next word is koketsu, which means, variously (according to the dictionary): 1. a tiger’s den, 2. nothing ventured, nothing gained, 3. He who would search for pearls, must dive below. I can see where the second two meanings go together, but tiger’s den seems in a different category, somehow. Anyway, if you’re looking for a catchy new motto to spur yourself on, koketsu seems to have some possibilities…

While we are on the subject of trivia, and the Japanese language, can anyone tell me why the secondary name for the United States of America (behind Amerika), is Beikoku? In lower case, beikoku means rice or rice market or even rice ration-book, or so the dictionary says. There are lots of different Japanese names for rice, but I’m wondering why this one became synonymous with my country.

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