Day 22: Fix or mend something


Often times, I will look in my closet and think, “I have nothing to wear!”, when that is simply not true.

When that happens, my first thought is, “I need to go shopping”, which isn’t always in my budget. Instead, I’m forced to look around and see a number of things that need to be mended, cleaned or otherwise repaired, such as:

  • all of the “hand wash cold, line dry” items patiently waiting to be washed
  • shoes that need to be reheeled, polished or fixed
  • my favorite handbag (or suitcase as my husband calls it) with a strap that needs to be restitched
  • a blouse that needs to be mended, a sweater with small hole or my favorite khakis that are missing a button
  • a leather belt that needs a new hole to be made
  • items that need to be drycleaned (at home with Dryel or at the drycleaner)
  • simple alterations
  • and my least favorite chore of all, the dreaded ironing basket
I would virtually have a new wardrobe if I did all those things. And if I did just one or two on that list, I would have lots more options in my closet that would feel “new” again.
Making good use of the items you already have in your closet is a great way to fight the urge to shop for new clothes and to make the most of your current wardrobe.
* * *
See all posts in this series, Vintage Living in a Modern World
Published in: on October 22, 2011 at 9:36 am  Leave a Comment  

In which I attempt to alter a sleeveless tank

While thrifting a few weeks ago, I ran across a stylish animal print sleeveless tank.

It was an XXL and I usually wear a medium, but I tried it on anyway.

It fit around the neck and sleeves, but was too big in the sides.

So, I got out my trusty sewing machine. I figured that taking in the sides would be an easy alteration. And even if it didn’t work out, I was only out $3.

Here’s how I did it.

I started off by grabbing another tank in my closet that fit well and used that as a make-shift pattern.

Next, I cut the side seams open:

Then I just pinned and stitched up the sides:

Cut off the excess…

And it’s done!

It was super easy to do, even though the fabric had a bit of a stretch to it. So now I have a cute tank to wear by itself in warm weather – or under a jacket in cooler weather.

I swear that animal print is a neutral!

Published in: on September 13, 2011 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

End of Summer Closet Cleanout

You’ve probably heard before that we wear only about 20 percent of the clothes we have 80 percent of the time.


I put my new full-length mirror to good use and decided to try on every.single.thing in my closet – everything – to see if it fits and if I still like it.

That was a very telling experience.

I got rid of anything that:

  • didn’t fit anymore
  • was uncomfortable
  • wasn’t flattering
  • I hardly ever wore
  • wasn’t the right color
  • I just plain didn’t love
I also made sure that every item left could work with at least two other pieces of clothing I already owned.
That left me with this:
Several pairs of pants and jeans, a few skirts, some tops and a jacket. A number of which were designer – the Banana Republic denim skirt, Ralph Lauren dark wash jeans that looked great about 12 pounds ago, the dress pants with the funny back pockets that added girth, etc. Almost all were thrifted or from a garage sale.
It didn’t take me that long to do either – just about one hour broken up into two parts.
Then I noticed something:  my closet breathes a lot easier now and so do I.
It’s easier to find things and I seem to be wearing more of my stuff.
A few days later, I did the same thing with my purses and shoes. Anything that I never carried or that hurt my feet was gone – even my beloved Enzo shoes – and suddenly I had enough room for all of my shoes without crowding.
That’s a far cry from me contemplating buying another shoe rack just to hold them all!
How about you? Do you wear everything in your closet? Or, could you bless someone else by donating what you don’t love or wear?
Published in: on September 8, 2011 at 8:09 am  Comments (2)  
Tags: , ,

A Beauty Fave BOGO (Ends Saturday)

Hands down, this is one of my all-time favorite beauty products.

I love it because I can use this one product as both a concealer and a foundation. The coverage is excellent and it’s so light that it doesn’t even feel like I’m wearing any makeup at all. It even has an SPF of 15, which is a nice bonus for this fair-skinned gal.

The regular price for one is $26, but it is BOGO through Saturday at Ulta.

$13 each? That is a bit more palatable.

Plus, this new packaging includes a sample of their primer.

I tried it before and though I liked it, I’m in the camp that doesn’t think foundation primer is completely necessary – though I reserve the right to completely change my mind in a few more years!

PS, The Pur Mineral people do not even know I exist. I’m just passing along a great sale I found on a product I personally love:)

Published in: on August 5, 2011 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  

Frugal Fashion: My $10 Outfit (including shoes)

I have a confession to make:  Almost all of the clothes in my closet are second-hand.

I can’t even remember the last time I was at the mall. (Like new anchor stores have come and gone since I was there last!)

And I’m still breathing. Can you image?!

This is what I wore to church on Sunday. My husband and I were working in the nursery. On those days, I have a strict no-dry-cleanables policy so this wash-and-wear outfit is completely appropriate!

Side note:  Will someone please remind me to stand up straight?!

Top, Gap, $2; pants, Daisy Fuentes, $3; strappy sandals, $5

The top and pants were both found at Goodwill’s half off sale on separate trips. I found the shoes there on a different trip at regular price.

Why am I telling you how little I pay for my clothes?

Because I firmly believe that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to look nice. Same goes with decorating your house, but that is another post!

Published in: on July 29, 2011 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

Not Your Grandmother’s Swimsuit

Are you looking for a swimsuit that has more coverage, but doesn’t look like something a grandmother would wear?

Me, too.

Let’s just say I was less than thrilled with the idea of putting on a bathing suit during our recent camping excursion.

I mentioned that to my husband before work one day. A little bit later, he emailed me a link to this:

It’s a swimdress from Lands’ End.

I LOVE it.

It’s pretty and practical and (in my humble opinion) very cute. Oh, it was on sale with an additional 30 percent off. Plus free shipping.

I just checked and it’s actually under $25 now. Boo.

He encouraged me to buy it, it came in the mail a few days later and I love it even more in person.

It’s modest enough so that I don’t feel exposed and yet it’s very flattering on – even in the dreaded tummy area. (I had twins, remember?)

So here is me doing a little happy dance…

and giving thanks for a sweet husband.

* * * * *

All of their swimwear is on clearance now. Lots of cute styles, colors and sizes left. I don’t receive anything for telling you – just passing along a great deal when I find one:)

Published in: on July 15, 2011 at 5:30 am  Comments (4)  

The Derby-Inspired Beach Hat

I found this not-so-little beach hat at Target for $2.50. It’s cute, for sure, but a little plain.

(Note that I’m not complaining because it was less than the cost of a Happy Meal, woohoo!)

So how do I embellish something that will see a lot of wear this summer at the beach (or while gardening in my backyard)?

The over-the-top hats worn at the Kentucky Derby were my inspiration:

Photo source

The white hat at the top is just darling. (Seriously, could the woman possibly be any cuter?!) I would totally wear that, but it would have to be the right occasion – like the Kentucky Derby!!

Back to my hat.

I decided that just wearing a huge bright pink hat like this at the beach would be a statement in and of itself, so I decided to embellish it rather gently. Five little cloth flowers made from leftover scrap fabric did the trick:

Now, it remains to be seen whether or not my family (remember I’m English AND Hillbilly) will claim me if I’m wearing this hat in public.

I’ll have to let you know:)

Published in: on June 24, 2011 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  

Bargain Beauty: Makeup (and one splurge)

When I was a kid, I really wanted to be a makeup artist. (Or a Solid Gold dancer, but that is another post entirely!)

Yep. I’ve always been different.

All of the other little girls in my kindergarten class wanted to be either a ballerina, a nurse, a teacher or an airline stewardess.

Can you tell I was born in the 70s?

Well, I didn’t ever achieve my goal of becoming a makeup artist, but I do still love to play with makeup.

I’ve found some products that not only work, they fit into my budget. And I’d like to share them with you.

True Match Foundation by L’Oreal Foundations are really tricky. This line is great because the coverage is medium (not too sheer, not too thick), super blendable, with an impressive shade of colors to choose from. I never leave the house without this on my face. It’s around $8.

Browser Brush on Brow Kit in Brunette by NYC I don’t think brow pencils look natural, so I use brow powder instead. This little kit is less than $5 and includes an angled brush. Having shapely and well-groomed brows is important because it opens up your entire face. It really makes a difference in your overall look with little effort.

Voluminous Mascara in Blackest Black by L’Oreal I’ve used this mascara consistently since college (and that was a while ago, ahem). Every single time I try another brand (Maybelline Great Lash, Max Factor 2000 Calorie and even a department store brand like Clinique) I am disappointed . In my opinion, other products just don’t perform like this one does. The only exception is its younger sister, Carbon Black Voluminous mascara, also by L’Oreal. I buy whichever one is on sale and I usually pay around $5 for it. Oh, and I always curl my lashes first. Eye Enhancers in Shimmering Sands by Cover Girl This is my go-to shadow for a classic, no fail look. Think Sunday morning church or an afternoon baby shower. This set of eyeshadows gives a subtle, natural look with a bit of sparkle. Very, very light and pretty and no creasing. Perfect for warm weather days.

Eye Pencil in Black Brown by Cover Girl Another staple I’ve been using since college. It goes on smooth, stays in place and the color is the perfect mix between black and brown. I just smudge it with my finger instead of using the attached sponge.

Fit Me Blush in Medium Pink by Maybelline This is a recent try and I like it. It has great color and goes on easily with a big fluffy blush brush. I think that I might have to eventually switch to a cream blush because my skin is getting drier, but for now this works really well.

Color Icon Lipliner in Brandywine by Wet-n-Wild This is the perfect natural lip color. All I do is swipe on some lip gloss or balm and then go over my lips with this lip pencil. It stays on forever and is a really pretty color.

In a New York Color Minute Quick Dry Nail Polish in Lincoln Center by NYC I don’t often paint my finger nails. I’d rather spend my time fixing up my face and tending to what I wear. But I do love the classic look of dark red-painted toes. It just makes me feel more put together – even if no one ever sees them. And because of my very full life, I never even consider buying a nail polish that takes more than one minute to dry. I love this and it’s $1.72 at Walmart. Use a top coat every other day and it’ll extend the wear considerably.

And my one splurge…

4-in-1- Pressed Mineral Makeup with  SPF 15 by Pur Minerals I never thought that a powder could have such wonderful and complete coverage until I tried this. It is marketed as a foundation, concealer, powder and SPF all in one product – hence the $26 price tag. I use it only as a concealer to cover up my spots and dark circles. The only reason I don’t use it all over my face is because it’s expensive and I’d go through it much faster than my budget would allow.This truly is an amazing product that lives up to its claims – and I’m not even being paid to say that!)

What are some of your favorite beauty bargains?

Published in: on May 19, 2011 at 5:00 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

Fashion Haul

I don’t know why but I’ve been finding some really good deals on clothes lately. And I’m not really even looking.

This is a good thing because I don’t have a lot of warm weather clothes. Remember I live in Michigan. It’s a common saying in our state that, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait ten minutes.” It can literally be 70 and sunny in the morning, cloudy and raining in the afternoon and lightly snowing in the evening. Sad, but true.

Back to the fun stuff…want to see what I’ve picked up lately? Some of the things are thrifted, but some are new. Shocking, I know!

First, the old.

Two dresses that can double as beach cover ups, $6 for both at a local thrift store:

A “going out” shirt to wear with jeans and heels and either a big chunky necklace or a sparkling pair of earrings, $2:

A light sweater (looks really cute on) for spring or fall, $2:

A pair of wide-leg dark rinse jeans, $2.50 at Goodwill (pardon the terrible picture – they are really flattering on):

 A pair of red leather Nine West heels – with virtually no wear – $6 at Goodwill:

Then, the new.

This dress was $22 from Forever 21. It’s really cute on, although I’m not crazy about the 70s braided rope tassels that tie in the back. No worries, I might be able to fix it now that I sew. A little:)


This model is 5’10” tall and wears a size small. I’m 5’7″ (when wearing 2″ heels) and the XL fits me. Very depressing. I guess that is what I get for shopping at a store that is geared toward women less than half my age!

A ruffled short-sleeve t-shirt at Walmart, $3 on clearance. I also bought one in gray:

Cute flats, $23 at Payless. This was my Mother’s Day present from Tom. And a true need – my other go-to flats are looking pretty shabby – and not in a good way.

While I was at Payless, I also spied this cute silver purse on clearance for $7. They gave it to me for $3.50 because it was their BOGO sale. What a find!

So that is what I’ve picked up lately, both new and new-to-me. I’m all set for summer, except I still would like to find one more set of capris. (I only own two pair of shorts and you’ll almost never see me in them). Capris are so much more flattering and comfortable to me.

Are you all set for summer?

Published in: on May 11, 2011 at 11:10 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , ,

Refashioning a Basic T-shirt

Wanna make this cute t-shirt with a ruffled neckline? It’s easy. (Please excuse the blurry pic, it was taken by one of my eight-year olds!).

I started off with a plain grey t-shirt. Actually, two.

Both are sleep shirts from Gillian O’Malley. One was picked up for $1 while thrifting and the other one came with the pajama set my husband bought me from Target for Christmas.

Begin by cutting up one of the sleeves into long strips, about 1 1/2 or 2 inches wide.

Set your sewing machine to the longest stitch, usually 4.

Sew down the center of the strip with your machine from the edge of one end to the other. DO NOT BACKSTITCH.

Once you are done, remove your strip.

Grab one of the threads (mine was the top one) and pull gently at both ends to create the ruffle.

Decide where you want the ruffle to go. For this shirt, I thought it would be cute to have one at the collar. I pinned mine about a 1/2 inch down from the seam at the neck. Then stitch it onto your shirt right on top of your basting stitch. You’ll want to reset your stitch length to 2.5.

This time be sure to backstitch at both ends to hold the ruffle securely in place.

I liked it a lot, but thought another ruffle would be even cuter!

So I made another ruffle, pinned it and then stitched it to the shirt right underneath the first ruffle.

Here is the finished tee:

I love it!! What a cute and simple way to dress up a basic t-shirt.

Hmmm, I think I will actually wear this one out of the house…

Published in: on April 29, 2011 at 9:28 am  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , ,