Mama’s Makeover; Unfrumped (part 2)

Twenty pieces.  But, as is most cases in homesteading, we can make do.  I bought ten new pieces on the cheap at the mall because there are some great sales going on because everyone is still broke after Christmas.  I had  four more of the pieces.  And I will for sure be picking up some wrap around espadrilles for spring.

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My husband said that if he hadn’t seen me working on this page he would have thought it was a stock photo!  Sweet man…

Lesson 1: Don’t be afraid of color.  A pair of maroon jeans may seem like it won’t match anything but you will be surprised.

These two looks are comprised of the jean jacket, blouse, jeans, and ballet flats.  Then a comfy, silky v-neck, and long cardigan.

Lesson #2: Don’t be afraid of florals.  Florals are really versatile because of how many colors they contain to match.

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Lesson #3: Think outside the jean box.  Jeans are miserably uncomfortable on me.  I am 5’10” and they just don’t make comfy ones for tall girls.  These are super stretchy and soft and feel great against my skin.

These two looks have the blue jeans, the off shoulder sweater (we noticed that tag on the sweater later.  This is real life, folks.), and flip flops (that the dog ate after the shoot) and then the other floral blouse with jeans and heels.

Lesson #4- Get you a “hot damn” dress.  There is a flattering style out there for everyone.  This one is stretchy and super comfortable.  It could be dressed up with a faux fur jacket and heels or perfect with ballet flats and a jean jacket.

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I love that feminine florals are making their way back from the time of Laura Ashley and original Waverly.

Lesson #5- The jean jacket is still king….I mean, queen!  It goes with everything, goes everywhere, lasts forever, keeps the chill off, keeps the cool on.

My daughter, Emily, is a great photographer.  I am thankful that she trekked all the way out here (an hour and a half from her home) to make her mama look fabulous.  This particular shot made me realize that yoga and veganism look pretty damn good on me and I am not sure why I cover myself with fifteen layers of clothes.

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You know, it didn’t take me but two minutes to throw some gel into my wet hair or to put on some cruelty-free makeup.  I don’t use foundation or powder, just some eye makeup and a slick of “lips” as Maryjane refers to lipstick.

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My work isn’t glamorous, I teach herbalism and make tinctures.  I feed chickens and write my blog in my pajamas.  I don’t want to get new clothes dirty.  I have a big, muddy dog.  But these clothes wash up just the same as my others.  I felt myself standing a little taller in soft jeans then I would in sweats.  A little lipstick makes all the difference in how old my smile looks.  I got lots of sweet messages about how I am beautiful on the inside.  It is amazing how we approach the world and our day when we look and mirror and see how beautiful we are on the outside too.

We were looking for frumpy pictures of me on my husband’s phone.  When he sent them to me he titled them, “Beautiful”.  He is a keeper for sure.  But for me, I think I can take on the world and achieve my goals a little better with some cute soft jeans and pink lipstick.

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Farmgirl Fashionista

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In a world of jeans and yoga pants I suppose I stand out a bit.  I think folks are both mesmerized and baffled by my attire.  I was at the library last month and a mom came up to me, big eyes, all excited, and asked, “Is there going to be story time?” Heck if I know.  I looked down at my layered skirts, apron, old fashioned boots, and remembered my Santa hat and realized she thought I was in costume!

Maryjane wears her apron around with me and it is not uncommon for us to be asked if were just in a parade or festival.  Do we bake?  Why on earth would we be parading around as such?  Well, let me explain.  Let’s go through the elements of the Farmgirl attire.

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#1 Long skirt- This is important because I am too tall to find jeans that fit right.  I never stop moving so jeans aren’t exactly comfortable.  A long skirt is comfortable and practical.  Ever since Maryjane was about twelve months old she hides under my skirts.  Her hands wrapped around my leg, she giggles thinking no one can see her, her little feet sticking out.  As she gets taller and older I know this is limited now and I relish feeling her cold hands on my leg, that giggling, her security from the world hidden next to my leg.  It is a very maternal feeling and I know all too well she will grow out of it soon.  (I buy my skirts at the Elizabeth Celtic Festival.  It is a rather simple pattern that uses elastic or string to cinch the waist.)

#2 Slips- In a world of too tight skirts and panty lines, I do still love the look of a beautiful cotton slip.  Mine has a long swath of eyelet around the bottom.  It is feminine and beautiful.  I also wear a full skirt under my regular skirt as well.  Why?  Well, I am cool in the summer with the layers, and warm in the winter with the layers.  It makes my dress swish.  It is lovely and modest and sexy all at the same time.  And at my age, I don’t care what the style is.  I like the old fashioned look.

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#3 Apron- If you do not wear an apron each day how do you find your phone and keys?  Mine would be lost in my purse, possibly forever.  I also can carry a tissue, my to-do list, and a few flowers I harvested.  The original reason for an apron was to cover a woman’s dress, for she probably only had two, one for every day and one for church.  The apron is easier to wash and keeps clothes cleaner, meaning if you haven’t traipsed through mud, you can hang your skirt back up. (Mine were made by an Amish woman and her daughters, a neighbor of a blog reader.  Some of mine I made, or were gifts, or hand me downs, and some really quite old that belonged to Kat’s grandmother.)

#4 Old fashioned boots- Stickers, weeds, rain, snow, cold or hot weather, farming, shoveling, and a cute addition to any farmgirl attire.  (I got mine at Big R.)

We farmgirls have lots to do, from taking care of the homestead, cooking for folks, farming, and for me, being the local folk healer, so wearing beautiful, comfortable clothes is just one perk of being a farmgirl.

The Homestead Pinafore (Mennonite treasures)

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Over two years ago a fellow blogger, Eileen, and I sewed aprons for one another and sent them across the country to each other.  I made her a half apron with beautiful fabric with a chicken towel sewed on as pockets.  She sent me a Mennonite style apron since she lives near a large community.  She wanted to make me something that I wouldn’t have and indeed this apron was a great gift to me and one that I have never seen replicated.

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It reminds me of the pinafore on the front of Raggedy Ann’s dress and pinafores were always a pretty accessory to the occasional dress I had growing up.  I wondered what the difference was between a pinafore and an apron.  A pinafore comes from “pin a fore” or pin the apron to the front of the dress such as the Amish do.  Then it came to be understood as an apron that had two arm holes and covered a large part of the dress.  It turns out a pinafore is another form of an apron.  So, I naturally love it.

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I’ve touted it before, aprons are an important accessory for any farmgirl.  They can make an ordinary outfit look different every time one wears it.  They keep one’s dress clean so one doesn’t have to do laundry as often (yea!).  There are pockets so that one can find their keys, pocket knife, tissue, phone, gardening trowel, small toys, clothes pins, and eggs from the coop.  (Just remember to take the eggs out when you get in to the house!)

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I probably strike folks as a bit different with my long skirts and aprons but fashion should hint at one’s personality and passions, not on what companies want to sell that season.  I get many compliments about my aprons from adults and I overhear young people whispering to their friends that they love the way I dress.  Yesterday at the farmer’s market a vendor said that she had seen more people with aprons on.  Fabulous!

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My beautiful apron that Eileen had given me had seen child’s tears, gardening dirt, held a dying chicken, was stained with goat placenta, had been covered in flour, had been worn around our homestead, then to our new temporary one, to now.  I asked Eileen if she would sew me a few more.  Apparently Eileen hates to sew.  She had a solution though!  I sent an extremely fair price to her to give her Mennonite neighbor who had loaned her the pattern in the first place and her daughters made me five of the most beautiful aprons/pinafores I have ever seen.

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A gift beyond measure.  I cannot wait to wear them on my next homestead! (and today….I’ll wear one today!)

My Chicken Thinks I’m Sexy and a Few Beauty Dilemmas

Don’t yours?  Haha, actually I am playing second fiddle (what a fitting saying after last week’s post!) to Doug who woos them with green grass in the winter time.  They see him, run past me,  and yell out a joyous, “Daaaad!” to see if they can get some more.  It’s working, he is planning entire trays of grass for them and the new arrivals scheduled to arrive in March.

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Anyways, back to me.  Grandma gave me these curlers a long time ago.  I adore them.  Just hop out of the shower or bath, roll your hair up, fasten with bobby pins, slick a fancy scarf over them and do all your errands in town.  It is a great way to spread unexpected smiles.  Take them out before going out to dinner or before bed and enjoy three more days of luxurious, 1940’s esqe curls.  Last week I forgot to spritz them with any hair spray or gel and they promptly came out leaving only a slight wave and tangles.  So, I am going to share with you today my hairspray recipe so that this doesn’t happen to you!  It is non-toxic, you could drink it if you were in a real fix, but, just don’t.  Spray it on your hair for fabulous movie star curls that look great while pursuing seed catalogues.

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Which leads me to my next dilemma.  Now at this point, the men that read my blog are backing away slowly from the screen, but please, bear with me here, I want opinions from both sexes.

I do enjoy the look of freshly colored red hair.  It’s really not fair that my sister was born with red hair, my daughter was born with red hair, my grandchild will likely have red hair and I have an unidentifiable kind of dirty blonde, but not that pretty, hair color.  I think.  I haven’t seen it in a while.  I barter medicine for beauty at the local beauty salon where a gorgeous, buxom blonde with a great sense of humor, who looks transported out of Texas does my hair and then teases the front to stand high on my head.  I get it done twice a year, so it’s not like I am there all that often.

Then there was the infection.  Okay, so this oughta scare a few color junkies and manicure queens into humble au natural.  Shortly after I got a manicure, pedicure, and hair color done before Christmas, I noticed an infection on the cuticle of my toe nail where she had pushed the cuticle back too far.  It didn’t feel great but I am an herbalist and was able to fix it pretty quickly.  Shortly after that my finger started feeling arthritic.  Swollen, red in blotches, stemming from my…you guessed it….cuticle.  It took me a good minute (love that phrase, stole it from my kids) to figure out what it was.  It wasn’t until my daughters looked at it in horror and said, “Mom, your finger is broken!” that I realized it was a severe infection.  Luckily, I am an herbalist and was able to drink two bottles of my Herbal Antibiotic.  I think there is still a little bit of infection that moved to another finger.  Not cool.  The fingernail polish is long gone.  The dirt under my nails really never left.  And I am stuck with swollen knuckles.  I can deal with no more manicures or pedicures.

Around that time, the hair stylist calls Doug and asks what medicine to take for boils.  Apparently she and her assistant have boils now.  She thinks they got it from an alpaca.  Even though only one of them was around said Alpaca, she thinks that the other got it from the phone.  Hmm. Something is going on at that salon.  Now, my hair did not turn out the color I wanted, it is kind of brassy because the colors underneath just keep peeking through.  A nice chunk of hair fell out a few weeks ago.  The same thing happened to my Grandma with her hair right before mine, but she uses color in a box.  This leads me to think that perhaps if God wanted me to have naturally red fingernails and curly, red hair, he would have made me enter this world looking like that.  And perhaps, swollen, infected fingers and chunks out of the back of my head are not as sexy as previously thought.

So, this year, I am going….gasp….au natural.  No more bartering for magical beauty.  I will be content with my farming fingernails.  My calico colored hair can at least be put up in old curlers with dash of homemade lemon hairspray, right?  1940’s esqe multi-colored hair.  Watch out fashion world…I mean farm world.  This is going to be hot stuff.

Lemon Hairspray

I made this when we did modeling classes for little kids.  You can really get hairstyles to stick with this concoction yet your hair will feel super soft and you won’t worry about inhaling odd particles of something cancerous.

Fill a small, glass squirt bottle ( http://sunburstbottle.com ) with 2/3 vodka, and 1/3 lemon juice then add a few drops of lemon essential oil.  Done, now go curl your hair!

Farmgirl Chic

Farmgirl fashions have not changed much in the past couple hundred years.  Maybe our bloomers and corsets have been replaced with Victoria Secrets (a farmgirl has to feel a little sexy while shoveling manure) but the outer layers remain the same.  Such practical clothing has endured for a reason.  Now, many farmgirls I know do wear jeans.  I am five foot ten and a hundred fifteen pounds.  They don’t make jeans for me.  If the legs are long enough they figure I must larger so the crotch hangs down to my knees.  If the waist fits then I have high waters and the crotch goes up my… never mind.  Anyways, I don’t like jeans and rarely wear them.

In high school I wanted to be a fashion designer and took classes and came up with some pretty great designs.  Pity my sewing skills are limited to quilts, aprons, and skirts (like the one below).  My patience limited to small quilts, aprons, and skirts!  So, this is the city girl in me making homesteading clothes high fashion!

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First, very important, the skirt.  The long, flowy skirt is fabulous in winter by keeping you warm, and in summer by keeping you cool.  My long skirts take me from season to season with only the addition of a heavy slip and tights in the winter, and flip flops in the summer.  I love the New Mexican style layered skirts.  I also pick up a new skirt every year from the Elizabeth Celtic Festival.  The young lady who has a booth next to mine makes the most beautiful, practical A-line skirts with elastic that are (gasp) long enough for me.  They are always made with tapestry-like fabric and in glorious prints.

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A wool sweater is a must.  It has been the oddest season here in Colorado this year and for more than a week we have been below zero at night and not a whole lot more than seventeen degrees in the day.  Bundle up!  They last forever.

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Vintage clothing is great for going to town.  This plaid, wool skirt is warm and cute paired with tights.  Equally cute in the spring without.

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The boots are important.  I bought Crocs.  Very comfortable, covered in chicken #$#% and the snow leaks in the holes.  Tried galoshes.  Freakin’ adorable.  Not so much with the crack on the side.  Snow leaks in the hole.  I finally broke down and bought leather boots.  I said sorry and thanks to the cow that helped make them possible and I know that the boots will last a lot longer than the other footwear I have bought in the past, therefore I am being a bit better environmentally.  They are pretty cute though and they withstand everything I hand them.  Paired with alpaca socks in the winter, my feet stay cozy, light socks in the summer will make them look super cute in the garden.

Cute boots with Eliza

In the summer, fun sun dresses with the boots will be brought back out.  I’m Irish, English, Scottish, and Dutch….Mama needs a little sun on those legs come spring!  Luckily there are a few Native American grandmas in the mix to help me get a little tan.

Lastly, the party dress.  This picture is from last year’s fashion show I did for a company that turns old vintage dresses into cowgirl outfits.  Old vintage dresses go perfectly with sparkly high heels or cowboy boots and can be made casual or dressy.  With big chunks of turquoise, you will be ready for any event!

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One only needs a few flowy skirts, sweaters, warm socks, and good boots to get through the winter and a few great sun dresses and flip flops for summer.  There is only one thing you mustn’t forget…an apron! (see apron post in Crafts)