Thursday, August 23, 2012

This is Dangerous.

This is it, folks.

I think I'm addicted to sewing.

I just finished a project of FIVE bridesmaid dresses - each containing close to 30 pieces. They took me several months to complete. I thought I would be dying to stop sewing for awhile, after they were done.

Two days after I passed the last one on to the waiting bridesmaid, the urge to sew was overwhelming.

But I held off. "You're crazy," I told myself.

Self didn't listen.

I gave the last bridesmaid dress away on the 13th. Ten days ago.

For the last three nights, I've stayed up until or near midnight, out at our kitchen table - machine clattering softly, scissors snipping. The first night, the urge to make a new skirt hit me at 8:30 pm. I've never started a sewing project at 9:00 at night....but there's a first for everything!

I liked the experience so much, I've repeated it twice now.

Actually...correction: I didn't really care for the experience. I'm dead tired from 10:15 onward. My eyes get dry and my neck hurts. The next morning, I sleep in too late, (I like to be an early riser), and my whole morning is thrown off.

Yet still I continue. Driven by some unseen force - some wild, crazy urge to sew.

And sew I do.

Monday, August 20, 2012

How to Wear Curlers in Public

I keep thinking of posts I would publish if I had my camera situation solved.

It's a two-fold problem.

#1 - My laptop does not download pictures easily. I can't pop the SD card into a slot and transfer. It's a big hassle with cords and files...etc. Takes awhile.

#2 - My not my camera. It belongs to my Daddy. He's just so good-natured that he lets me adopt it for weeks at a time. It stays in my bedroom, handily available for mirror shots of outfits or hair-do shots. But lately the camera has been reclaimed by its rightful owner, and I have no idea where it is right now. Probably sitting forlornly on some strange shelf in the distant living room.

But I have been thinking. I've been thinking about certain items in my closet - do I really need them? Does it really please Jesus when I wear them?

Who am I trying to please with my life? Who am I trying to please with my dress? When I know I look lovely, graceful, and feminine, does it please me because I want to draw attention to myself? Or does it please me because I feel that Christ is pleased with me?  There's a big difference. I'm afraid I'm quite self-centered.

I also wanted to share several new tips/ideas with you. One I'm trying today for the first time, and I LOVE it! So wish I had a picture of this one.

How To Go Out In Public Wearing Curlers: 

Okay, so not really wearing curlers. But I'm curling my hair in public, nonetheless.

First, tell me if you have the same problem I do; on the mornings that I wash my hair, I don't know what to do with it.

I want to air-dry it, but also want to curl it. My hair is naturally curly, but I must contain and control it in some way as it drys, or it will be a frizzy mess. I can't just let my damp hair soak the back of my shirt all day. Until today, my solution was to claw-clip it in a big, messy, damp twist at the top of my head for the day. It took about 8 hours for the ends to dry (my hair is VERY thick), but what could I do? At night when I took the twist down, the part that had been twisted tightly would still be damp, but would dry most of the way during the night. By the middle of the next morning my hair would be thoroughly dry.

Needless to say, I do not wash my hair everyday. (Besides the fact that I would constantly have a wet head, that would be a little extreme for my hair. My hair is much healthier when I wash it every 3-4 days.)

This wet, messy twist worked okay around the house, but if I went out in public like this I knew I looked like I had just gotten out of the shower, and I hated that.

Many girls prefer to air-dry their hair rather than using heat to dry it quickly. And I agree that it's good for your hair - in the years since I've stopped heat-drying mine every time I wash it, my hair has never been dry or brittle, and the frizz is better than it was. But, as I've said, my hair is very thick, and it's below my shoulders in length, so it's hard to know what to do with it during that drying time. If I leave it down, it will dry in 4-6 hours or so, but the top layers will be a puffy cloud of brown frizz, while the under layers are still damp, and lay like wet noodles against my neck.

But I think I may have found a solution.

Today, I worked hard cleaning the kitchen most of the morning, and took a shower at about 11:00. I washed my hair. After exiting the shower, I finger-combed my hair - just briefly - and twisted it in a very short twist near the middle of the back of my head. I didn't want to twist much - I wanted a lot of ends hanging out. My idea was to get a ponytail without the "ponytail mark" you get if you use a band in wet hair. Claw clips work great for holding wet hair without leaving "bands."

So I had a bunch of wet curls hanging in the back of my head. I took small sections - about the amount I would use in a curler - and twisted them around my finger, just as if my finger was the curler. Then I slipped my finger out, and had a hollow "roll" of hair. I bobby-pinned it to my head.

It ended up looking something like this: (without the veil, of course. But I did add a flower!)

 I felt special and dressed up, even though it was a normal day. So fun!

It is now 9:30 at night (approx. 10 hours since I put my hair up) and the insides of my "rolls" are almost dry. I know that when I take my hair down, it will be in ringlets. Whether or not they will stay smooth and curly - since I will have to sleep with slightly damp hair - remains to be seen.

But whatever the case may be, at least I could go shopping today, with "shower-do" hair, and feel like nobody knew my hair was in curlers!

Do you think this idea would work with your hair? Do you air-dry your hair, or heat-dry it?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

How To Cut Your Own Hair Tutorial

Well, I promised you AGES ago to publish a video of me cutting my own hair. I did video the process, but Blogger simply will not permit me to upload the video - I've tried I don't know HOW many times.

It's been so long, in fact, that it's time for me to cut my hair again! This time, I took pictures instead of videoing. I am therefore very pleased to present my first tutorial; How to Cut Your Own Hair.

Disclaimer: I'm not a professional hair stylist, and I have no idea if I do this the "correct" way. But it works!

Here is my "before" picture. When my hair looks like this - wavy, no frizz, etc. -  it's hard to make up my mind to cut it. And I like long hair. But if it gets much past this point, I start getting headaches from the weight when I wear it up. Honest. It's a lot of hair.

A lot of hair. There was more in the back. Thick hair is a blessing, but it's also very time-consuming to cut. But to me, it's worth it! I love the freedom of cutting my own hair, though I admit I was terrified the first few times.  

In this tutorial, I'll show you how to give yourself layers, and taper those layers around your face. 

To begin, start with semi-clean (not oily) hair, and comb it out until it is tangle-free. I cut my hair dry, because it gets too curly if I wet it. Straight hair is easier to cut. (Plus, wet hair clippings stick to everything!) But it helps if my hair isn't too freshly washed - it lays better. 

Gather your tools:
- a mirror with good lighting (preferably over a counter or sink where clean-up is easy)
- hair scissors (not sewing or craft scissors!)
- a fine tooth comb 
- a wide tooth comb
- claw clips of various sizes
- several ponytail holders  

You're going to begin by dividing your hair into quarters; a left and right section, and a top and bottom to each of those halves. Claw-clip the left and right top sections at the very top of your head. If you have bangs, roll them up and bobby pin them out of the way. In the picture below, I have my bangs pinned up, the top two sections claw-clipped up, and one side of my lower section is clipped to one side, while I work with the remaining section: 

Picture A
 Note that the line which divides the top and bottom sections runs in a horse-shoe manner around my head, about an inch and a half above my ears. It's not the actual "halfway point" on my scalp (it's more than halfway up my head), but dividing my hair there creates equal amounts of hair in the top and bottom sections, because most people have more hair on top than on the bottom. If you gathered the top and bottom sections into two ponytails, they should be the same thickness. This is very important.

Now, I began by chopping my lower sections of hair to the length I wanted the longest layer to be. I do this by bringing my hair forward, over my shoulder, and cutting it where I can see it. On my shoulder, it looks like the hair is cut straight across, but when I toss it back to where it hangs down my back, the center section is a little longer - hence, the tapering. Does that make sense? I didn't get good pictures of that part.

Picture B
Anyway, in the above picture, you can see how my lower sections of hair look straight when they are brought forward onto my shoulders. It looked tapered when I tossed it back over my shoulders. You can also see how I feel when I chop off my hair. Worried! Is this really what I want? Did I really want to cut my hair? No matter how many times I do it, my heart always skips a beat when that first shock hits me.

When cutting your hair, do small sections at a time, and watch yourself in the mirror, with your head held naturally, rather than trying to watch your actual hair and scissors. Do you see the section of hair I'm holding out in Picture A, above? I've pulled out a section that is vertical, running from the floor to the ceiling, rather than crossways around my head. That is how I work on my hair - small vertical sections. When I actually cut that section, I would bring it down to my shoulders and snip it even with the previous sections.

Okay - once you get your bottom sections looking like Picture B, you have your base length established. This is the length of your longest layers. Now you're going to add the rest of the layers. Guess how? Picture A again! Scroll back up and notice where and how I am holding my hair. See how my fingers run vertically, pointing at the ceiling? You want your scissor blades to do the same thing, and snip your hair (in vertical sections - very important!) so that it looks like the edges of your hair are at a right angle to the floor.

Now, you will notice when you pull your hair out to the side like that, that some strands of hair are much longer than others - all in the same section. The short strands are your long layers - don't touch them. But the strands that look like they're too long - well, trim them, and you will get your nice right angle between floor and hair. It's very important that you bring your hair up to the same angle each time, but you can pick which angle you want that to be. Straight out from your head - like I did - gives a nice obvious but gentle layer. Something higher would be more drastic, and anything lower than straight out from the head would be very gradual - hardly noticeable as layers.

This step is hard to explain in writing, so feel free to ask questions if I'm not clear enough. I like to work from back to front - and this time, try not to pull your back hair forward very far - just as far as it needs to be for you to see it to cut it.

Okay. Deep breath. You're done with step one on your first section of hair! Repeat on the other lower side, (comparing often with strands of hair on the first side, to be sure they match in length!) then claw-clip both lower sections in the back of your head, leaving a small bit out on both sides, so you have something to guide you as you cut the top sections.

In the picture below, my bottom sections are pinned back, and I'm using a pony tail trick to achieve layers. Ponytailing your entire section of hair ensures that it is all held out at the same angle. (Just be sure to get the ponytail at the exact same height when you do the other side of the head!)

 Do you see how some pieces of hair I'm holding are already short, just beyond my fingertips? Those are my "guide" strands, and I would trim everything to match them, keeping in mind that I want everything to be at a right angle to the floor. Here, I'm not bothering to trim my hair to the "base length" first - I'm trimming it and layering it all at once, so I have a lot to cut off. Those shorter "guide strands" are probably the pieces that I left out from the bottom section, to show me how short to cut the top section. You can see the amount of hair I left out from the bottom section, on the other side of my head, hanging free.

Okay, so now we've done all four sections - chopping off length and adding layers. Pause to evaluate:

Picture D
 These layers are very gentle - not much difference between the longest ones and the shorter ones. I decide that I want something more drastic.

Remember how I said that the higher the angle when you cut, the more drastic the layers?
I actually took this picture at the beginning of the hair cut, which is why my hair looks longer. But this is what I did to add some more "drastic" (aka "shorter) layers. Just comb it all into a really smooth ponytail at the tippy top of the head, twist it, and you'll see several sections sticking out longer than all the others. Those are the top pieces of hair, when your hair is hanging normally. Trim them straight across, keeping your hair held straight up (that can be a bit of a stretch!).

Okay, so now we have something that looks like Picture D again. Do you notice how the area of hair around my face is so.....straight? So hard-edged? I wanted to soften that. So here's how you add tapering around the face....

Part your hair in a "headband" way, from ear to ear. Make the "headband" sit pretty far back on your head. Comb everything forward. 

Divide that hair in the middle, then into three vertical sections on each side. In the picture below, I'm holding the two front vertical sections forward, the middle sections are clipped on either side, and the back sections are hanging free.  

 Cut this hair the way your would bangs - comb it straight out, and cut straight across. Make the sections closest to your face the shortest, (in my case, an inch or two longer than my bangs) and each successive layer longer, until the back sections are cut just a little bit shorter than the short layers on the body of your hair.

This is what the front section of my hair looks like now. Much better, don't you think?
 And then we let everything down and take a look! Try to spot any "stragglers" and trim them up.

Total time elapsed? Well.....about an hour and ten minutes, I think. Yikes! But I've done it in 40 minutes before. Taking pictures must have been the problem. :) 

Now it's time for a shower and styling. I blow dried my hair and straightened most of it, letting just the ends air dry, so they would curl.  


And if I wash it and let it curl naturally, this is what it looks like: (sorry about the dirty mirror!)  

So....that was a loooong post! Thanks for hanging in there. What do you think? Something you want to try? Have you ever cut your own hair? Anything to share? I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Are you still there?

Why do I sometimes go for days without posting? Anybody want to guess?

Oh, I'm not sure. Maybe it gives me a feeling of power to randomly say, "I'm not going to blog - so there!" Maybe I like the freedom of being unplugged, and knowing that nobody outside of this city knows what I'm doing. Maybe this one tiny act makes me feel strong and unhindered.

If we psychoanalyzed this long enough, I'm sure we could deduce some really weird things about me.

But we won't. Okay?

I was really on a roll with this blog. I felt good about posting so often. Then my computer got a virus. Oh, the things we don't miss 'til we don't have them!!

But that excuse for not blogging has been gone now for - what has it been? two weeks? more? Thanks in a large part to my darling brother, my computer has been functioning just fine for some time now. And still no new post. Just because I like feeling free.

To apologize for this long absence, I have a special post in mind. A video blog.


Of course not. Not just based on that skimpy information. So let me tell you what the video is of.

Me. (Surprised?) Cutting my hair.

Yes, my own hair. And no, not just the bangs or whatever. All the hair. With layers and tapers and everything.

I've cut my own hair for years now. Of course, at the moment I'm trying to sound big and dramatic in the above paragraphs (is it a paragraph when it's only two phrases long?), but in reality, it's not such a big deal.

Unless you are interested in knowing how to cut your own hair. And save money. And make it exactly the length you want. And save money. And... I guess that's about it.

Anyway, this video is about 6 weeks old, but I filmed it especially for you. Feel privileged; it isn't anybody who could get me to post videos of myself dressed in a sloppy T-shirt and attacking myself with the scissors while my hair is pinned up in random places all over my head.    

Would you like to see how I cut my own hair? You must let me know, because if you don't really, really want to see it, there's no way I'm posting it. :)

Friday, April 6, 2012

One Skirt, Two Looks

My heart is thoughtful today, not really focused on fashion, but I know I've left you alone for too long, so I thought I'd share photos of a new skirt.
Two different ways to wear the same skirt! I bought this lovely FULL skirt (more than a full circle) at Good Will, to re-sell on my website. In the process of prepping it for the site, I began to wonder how it would look on me. I tried it on.....and the rest is history. :)
The way I justified my "robbing Peter to pay Paul" was in the fact that this skirt was really versatile. SO many colors! I've worn this skirt countless ways since buying it a few weeks ago - different each time. It must match at least half a dozen shirts in my wardrobe. I'd call that efficient, wouldn't you? :)
Look #1: Dressy/Office. I wore this to volunteer at the Pregnancy Center. Shirt is from a school sale, and I almost regret owning it, because it's the kind of thing I don't like to wear alone. It always needs something under or above it, or at least filling in the neckline. I keep it around because I like the color and it works when I'm layering things, or have a scarf on top, like in this photo. The scarf, which is like new, is from GoodWill. Jewelry from WalMart, shoes from Payless.

Look #2: Casual. I made this shirt from an old T-shirt. I "frilled" the sleeves, and used the extra fabric to make flowers with button centers. I also took in the sides a bit. I needed a black casual shirt! See how well the skirt goes with black? It also matches orange, various pinks, navy, yellow, green, white... ...:)

Anyway, I must go for now. But tell me - what's the most versatile item in your closet?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Audrey Inspired

Well, you're getting a new post sooner than I thought you would!

I just had to share this outfit that I'm wearing today. It's simple and perhaps even so basic that it's boring, but I'd rather think "classic" than boring. :)

I don't usually copy exact outfits from people, but every now and then I see an outfit on a film or in a publicity still, or in a magazine, and think, "Oooh, I like it! That's worth trying!" Of course, usually it doesn't look anything like what it did on the other person, and I remind myself that I should just try to be me with my clothes. But today's try was fun.

The outfit was worn by Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday. I've got "disclaimers" for every actress I've ever seen, but I can say the same thing about somebody I saw in WalMart, too. :) I do like many of Audrey's outfits, and though I try not to "pour over" or obsess about any one person's looks or fashion, I will say I think she had a lot of class and good sense, especially in her younger years.

The outfit I wanted to try struck me because of its simplicity. It looks like something you can live in, ya know? When I came across a skirt that reminded me of hers, I knew at once I wanted to try this outfit.

Shirt: White button-down tunic with pleats. Works just fine as a regular blouse, too, and it doesn't "untuck" like many shirts do with my long torso! Was like-new at Good Will for $3.50.
Skirt: I bought this like-new skirt from Good Will for my website (yes, I sell clothes![]), but once I got it home, I thought "hmmm...would that fit me?" I tried it on, and I'm afraid it never made it to the website. :)
Belt: Another Goodwill find. Different Good Will this time. :)
Black Flats: From Payless on sale. I really want to find flat sandals that tie gladiator style, the way Audrey's do in this outfit, but I'm still looking. Didn't find any last summer, either. (If you spot some, please let me know!)
Scarf: Um....Good Will! $1.00.
Wow, I didn't realise until now that I'm basically a walking advertisement for Good Will! Oh well - it's one of my favorite places to shop!
The only thing I don't like about this outfit is the extreme lack of color. I don't look the greatest in white, but at least there's a scarf! I do like the idea, and I want to try something similar with a different (colored) blouse soon.
Edited to Add:
Later today I added a cardigan to this outfit. Wala! Here's my color!

So what do you think of the outfit? Close match? What is your priority when you select your outfit for the day? Comfort? Appearance? Warmth/Coolness? Colors you like?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I haven't deserted you....

...I've just lost my computer! Viruses are nasty. What diabolical mind would create something like that and send it out to ruin the lives of total strangers?

My laptop is in the shop right now, and I'm praying that I haven't lost all my files! I have stuff on there that I really, really, really don't want to lose. I've had the computer for 5 years, and I write books and run two businesses from it, so there's quite a bit of data on there!

I praise the Lord for what He is teaching me through this experience. Patience. Trust. Time management. Trust. Priorities. Trust. I am thankful for His loving heart, and His tender teaching!

But I'm still praying that I'll get my files back. Would you pray too?

Meanwhile, maybe you'll get a post or two, from my parent's computer....but not right now. :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Modest March Fashion Week Day 2....or is it Day 4?

Well, I was in the middle of writing my second "Modest March Fashion Week" post yesterday evening, when a lovely lighting storm hit our neighborhood. I get thrills listening to heavy thunder, but the idea of using an electrical machine while doing so wasn't appealing. So off went the computer.

After the storm was over, our internet wasn't working. The wind must have knocked over something important somewhere.

But it's back in commission today, so I'll jump along and give you my second outfit for the week....which I think is "Day 4 - Favorite Colors."

Agh! So so so so SO hard! I ADORE color, and to pick which outfit to share is a formidable task.

Well, I have lots of photos of outfits from the past few months, and I'd better share them fast before no one is interested in cold-weather clothes! Oh - happy Spring, by the way! Don't you just LOVE warmer weather? Our sunshine, light breeze, and perfect level of warmth has been amazing for nearly two weeks now. I don't want it to end! Thank You, God, for Spring!

Okay. The outfit.

This outfit is a bit on the low-key side when it comes to colors, but I chose it because it's most realistic of my typical choices for everyday wear.

Shirt - I have to start with this sweater because I love it. Besides, it is THE color in this outfit! I got it at Good Will in almost-new condition. I love yellow, and mustard gold is one of the few shades of it I can wear without looking deathly ill. It's a lightweight knit, which is nice for layering, and there are several details you can't see well in this picture, like white leafy patterns on the front, and gatherings at the shoulder.
Skirt - You've seen this before, I think. Hand-me-down from a friend. I wear this brown flared skirt a LOT, and I'm thinking of copying it and sewing other skirts in the same pattern, because it fits so well and is so comfortable.
Grey Long Sweater - Found this for 6 or 7 dollars at a Children's Thrift Store/Boutique. Just goes to show you never know where you'll find a good buy! It fits just fine, and I LOVE the big chunky buttons.
I'm wearing brown leggings from WalMart, and my $5.00 Good Will boots.
I'm also wearing a brown bead bracelet from a yard sale, and a necklace that has certain sentimental connections for me.

I loved this outfit, but the only thing I can think of while looking at it just now is, "Give me Spring!"

What about you? Are you ready to wish your winter clothes a fond farewell, or will you miss them when they are packed away?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Modest Fashion Week

Julia, over at Sometimes Julia Writes? is hosting a modest fashion week, and I'm going to try to participate ("try" meaning I'll do my best to get a post up each day, but I may miss a few). I've never participated in a "themed week" of any sort in blogland, so this should be fun!

Because my camera batteries are dead and I can't find the charger, most of these pictures will probably be from the last couple of weeks. Good thing I have more pictures than I have time to blog about!

Well, I've already missed day 1, but I believe day 2 is supposed to be an outfit that is "so you." That's a great place to start, because we were just talking about that here, a few posts ago, weren't we?

I wore this outfit to church a few weeks ago, and it really couldn't be more "me." I'm wearing something I made - the dress - which is common. I'm wearing bright color "pops," which I love to do because I adore color. I'm wearing a scarf, which is one of a jillion I have. And look - my trusty ballet flats! Even the way I'm wearing my hair is typical for me.

So let's break it down.

Dress - This is made from a very heavy wool-like knit. I've never made anything with that kind of fabric before, but I like it. It is both comfortable and sturdy. It is a bit hot for anything but rather cold weather, though. I made it without a pattern so, sorry, I can't give a pattern number. The skirt is very full 50's style. You can't see the neck very well, but it has ruffles around it, and has a small "keyhole" in the front center. (Nothing too low. :) The sleeves are fitted, elbow length. Cost - $0.00 (fabric was given to me)
Cardigan - You've seen this before on In My Mirror. Gift from my Aunt. LOVE the color. I like that the texture is very different from the dress, which is important in an outfit. When combining or layering pieces, texture is very important. I'm just starting to get the hang of that.
Scarf - Fell in love with this. Got it from Good Will - $1.00. Don't hate me.
I almost didn't wear the cardigan and scarf together, because they are two slightly different shades of purple - a big no-no, right? That's what I thought. But when I held them next to each other on the black background, they just worked. I think the solid, simply background is the key to their mixing.
Shoes - yes, my trusty flats. Wear them all the time! Payless, on sale.
I'm also wearing a bit of jewelry, which is silverish and pearls. And I carried the black purse with the bows that you can just barely see in the edge of the picture. (Also a gift from my aunt; isn't she the greatest?)

I loved this outfit. Not only did it make me happy when I looked in the mirror, but it fit comfortably; no tugging to keep things up or down, no worries about flashing anything. I felt feminine and put together. I wish I had a warm-weather version of this dress!

Hmmm....I might just have to remedy that!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Inner Beauty

I have enough "fashion photo posts" backed up and ready for use to last me from now until summer, but let's take a time-out from photos for one post, and talk about inner beauty.

There are many spices and flavors in the cheerful pot of whatever it is that bubbles up and gives an inner glow. Many different characteristics combine to create true beauty. Happiness. Sweetness. Unselfishness. Knowing how to laugh at one's self. Energy. Knowledge as opposed to ignorance. Patience. Contentment. Can you list others?

Inner beauty is hard to dissect and analyze, but one thing I know; the fire which heats the pot that holds all these things, and causes their aroma to rise, is none other than the Holy Spirit. Everything is useless without Him. I've seen many beautiful unsaved girls, and several sweet, gentle, unsaved girls, but the sweetness is flat without the fire of the Holy Spirit giving warmth to a heart.

It is a wonderful thing that Christ should promise His presence to His children, living inside them and comforting them and guiding them. Nothing is so sweet as to know He is within us, with us at all times. If we really begin to understand that He is there, in control, and always right, it will change the very way we carry ourselves.

I think that comfort and trust is the key to creating beauty, because a truly beautiful woman is, above all, relaxed. She isn't frazzled, worried, stressed, hyper, or frantic. She isn't biting her nails, creating worry lines, or losing her beauty sleep.

I've had plenty of times to remind myself of that. One of my greatest faults is to "be anxious for everything," instead of letting the peace of God keep my heart and mind. It all boils down to "do I really trust Him to take care of things?" If the answer is yes - and is really, truly IS - then why do I think I must worry so?

Take some time today to think about how you appear to the world around you in this respect. Does your family see you as frazzled and frantic? Or do they see a calm radiance from within? The way you react to stresses in life says a lot about what you think of God. And it affects your looks at the same time.

It's almost bedtime for me. I'm going to try to wake up tomorrow rejoicing in the fact that God's got everything under control. I'm going to let my face relax, my lips smile, my eyes sparkle, and let God be God.

How about you?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Walk on the Wild Side

Is it okay for a Christian girl to be "wild"?

I guess it depends on your definition of "wild." Usually I would say no, wild is not a good idea. Lively, yes. Happy, yes. Bubbly, yes. Wild? Nah. That makes me think "rebel."

There are certain "looks" that I try to avoid just because of what I associate with them, or what I know others associate with them.

The hippie movement, for instance. I'm not a fan of most of that. And the outfit I'm wearing in this post definitely has some hippie influence somewhere. ...I think. It's got something.

I'm not sure why I wore this. I think it's because I wanted to feel daring, and because I loved the bold colors. This could be tame for some people, but for me it was totally outside of my normal box.

You see? Sometimes even I do spontaneous stuff.

Let's look at the outfit first, then discuss it.

Blue Knit Tunic - made it myself. Very simple project. Free fabric.
Pink Cardigan - Hand-me-down from Mom. LOVE THE COLOR!
Necklace - another hand-me-down from Mom
Scarf - Good Will ($1.00)
Black Belt - Good Will
Black Ballet flats - on sale at Payless
And oh look - I'm wearing jeans! Made these myself. Discussion coming up.

Okay, besides the fact that this is a cheap outfit, what do I like about this combo? No - actually - let's start with what I don't like.

I don't like the bling. Too much of something somewhere.
I don't like the fact that it reminds me of somebody trying to buck all standards and stand out. Like I said, in some circles this would be a pitifully tame outfit, but I'm just discussing how it makes me feel. Remember, we dress from the inside out.
I also think it's a little too flowy everywhere for my height. Every item is baggy.

Now, what do I like? I love the color. That cotton-candy pink is so yummy. And I like how the gold in the scarf and in the necklace match. I also like the belt.

A word about my jeans. I know everybody has different opinions on whether or not women should wear pants, and if they should, what kind they should wear. Like I've said elsewhere, my standards are simple; the Bible says keep it modest, and feminine.

I used to think that anything that had two legs wasn't woman's clothes, and hence wasn't feminine, but then I saw pictures of women in Asian countries wearing loose pants under tunics, and realized I was imposing American tradition on my definition.

But I don't like to show every curve in my lower half, either. That might be feminine, but it certainly isn't modest.

I came to the conclusion and personal conviction that wearing "something with two legs" isn't forbidden in Scripture, but I also arrived at the discovery that I couldn't find anything with two legs that I wanted to wear out of my bedroom!

My solution was to sew pants I felt "covered" in. And that's what I'm wearing in the above photos. (They are loose, but not quite as baggy as they appear in this outfit. It's just the way I'm standing.)

But, just for the record, my dad tells me, whenever I ask him, that he thinks I'm prettier in skirts, so guess what I like wearing more? :) :) :)

Anyway....long rabbit trail.

Would you like a random piece of news?

I wore this outfit to vote last year. A lady working the booths asked me if I had just gotten off of work. I said that no, I had been home all day, and I guess my tone was inquisitive. She tried to explain by gesturing to my outfit. I guess she's not used to seeing girls who "dress up" to stay home.

....From the looks of the other girls voting that day....I understand where she was coming from.

But you know what? My outfit still didn't help my apparent age. The people passing out voters' information outside the place, as we were walking in, still by-passed me as too young to vote!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Signature Piece.

Is there a certain clothing item that all your friends and family associate with you - something you have on 5 days out of 7? Do you love red shoes? Headbands? Stone jewelry? Denim skirts? Flip flops?

Sometimes we try to "brand ourselves", but most of the time it happens on its own. We love a certain look, or certain item, and find ourselves constantly pulling it out of the closet or off the sales rack. It's only when someone else comments on it that we realize - "Hey, yeah, that's me!"

A word on "signature pieces": Is there an item that you know has become "you," but you really don't like? Do you wear headbands - even though they don't flatter your face shape (nothing against headbands) - simply because they are easy to toss in, and you feel like you can't do better? That's terrible! The Bible says if a woman has long hair it is a glory to her; I think that's a hint that God wants us to take care of our hair and make it pretty. If you don't feel like what you're doing with your hair - or clothing - is pretty and compatible with who you are as a person, do some experimenting! It may not be as hard to learn the french braid as you think. Clothes - especially signature pieces - mark our personality. They should complement it, not clash with it.

There are some things I know are me: scarves are, for instance. I love them because I love love love color; and scarves come in a myriad of colors and prints.

Other things I choose for comfort's sake: ballet flats.

I didn't realize how much these had become a part of "me" until I was making gingerbread men with a friend this Christmas, and we jokingly began to decorate the little figures to look like people we knew. I did one of her; she did one of me. And she specifically pointed out that she had put me "in my little ballet flats."

Looking back, I find that extremely funny. I do love my flats! I used to wear tennis shoes with everything - comfortable, but not extremely feminine-looking, right? Then I wore little heeled boots with everything. More appropriate for the skirts and dresses I wear most of the time, but when I wore them in the summer it looked a little like I stepped out of "Little House on the Prairie".

I didn't like flats because I thought they made my feet look big. But my older sister made them look beautiful, so I gave them a try. Then I saw multiple pictures of Audrey Hepburn wearing them, and everybody says she's a style icon.

Now I wear them almost daily in the fall and winter, unless I choose boots for warmth or style. They're great in the spring and summer too! And I love them!

Cropped Jean Jacket - You've seen this item before. Again, it's one of those things that fits my torso, but not my long arms. So I always wear the sleeves rolled up! It adds a nice layer of warmth, and the deep jean up near my face suits my skin type, which looks washed out if I dress in all light colors. Hand-me-up from a younger sister.
T-Shirt - Guess why I grabbed this shirt off the Good Will rack? That's right - COLOR! I love orange. I wore this shirt all last summer. Lately, though, I've been feeling that perhaps it's a little transparent (or maybe it's been washed too many times!) so it may not see much use this summer. To make myself feel better about that, I decided to use the shirt for layering. As you can see, it adds a happy touch.
Brown Skirt - Hand-me-down from a friend. Free! :) :) I wear this thing constantly. Brown goes with almost everything in my wardrobe.
Aaaaand yes, my brown leggings and flats! I actually like leggings and flats together. They make me feel like Audrey Hepburn or something. I don't know. :)
I'm wearing my hair loose and curly - a rare moment. :) :)

This is a really simple, basic outfit, ya know? I could do anything in it - run errands for Mom, play a board game on the floor with my siblings, do laundry, spend hours in the kitchen, sit and write or sew....It's comfortable, but I feel put-together. That's great. Because it means I can forget about my outfit and concentrate on what's really important.

But back to signature pieces. Do you have any?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Favorite Outfit

This is an outfit from a couple of months ago, but I just had to share it because I love it. This is another outfit that I wore to volunteer at the Crisis Pregnancy Center. (You'll probably be seeing a lot of those.)

Sorry about all the "stuff" in the picture - this was before Christmas, and I was hiding packages under bedsheets in my bedroom. Fun times!

Okay - outfit details.

Jean Skirt - one of my staples. You'll see this a lot in future pictures. I think it was a hand-me-down.
White Blouse - this is actually a tunic. I love the idea of using it as both a tunic (un-tucked) and a blouse (tucked into the waist). Because I'm long-waisted, I usually have trouble getting shirts to stay tucked in, but not when it's this long! This was from Good Will.
Purple cardigan - Christmas gift from my aunt. Love the color! I think one pop of color on a "plain" outfit like this is what really says "I put some thought into my outfit today." Don't be afraid of color! Haven't you ever seen wildflowers?
Scarf - speaking of not being afraid; plain outfits can benefit from a pop of pattern as well as color. This black-and-white leopard print adds just a touch of zing, but in a classic way, tied in a vintage way around the neck. I don't usually button my shirts all the way to the tippy-top button, but with this it works. Good Will - $1.00
Black Belt - Also Good Will. Took me FOREVER to find a wide black belt that fit! But I wear this one a LOT. Definitely a staple.
Can't see these very well, but I'm also wearing black tights and black ballet flats.

So, do you mind me analyzing each piece of my outfits? I think it's much more fun than just listing them and leaving it at that. It's nice to figure out why and outfit works, and what the strengths of each item are. After all, isn't knowing how to really use each item in your closet true efficiency?

So what's your opinion of pops of color and print? Are you afraid of them? Have a favorite way to incorporate them into your outfits? They truly aren't big and bad in and of themselves - it's all in the way you use them! They can be powerful tools for adding cheer to your day. :) :)

So smile and wear something that makes others smile!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Church and Snow

This isn't my favorite outfit ever, but since I took a picture of it I thought I'd share it.

The reason I probably came up with this is because I've been challenging myself to create outfits I've never worn before. So far I've gone....oh, I don't know....maybe a month without repeating an outfit. (Can't remember exactly when I started.)

This was an outfit I wore to church on a cold day. That evening it snowed and we got stuck at the end of our road trying to go to evening service. Thankfully we were within walking distance of our house. While the guys worked on getting chains on the van tires, my younger sisters and I tramped through the snow for about 7-8 minutes or so to get back to the house. So glad I wore boots!

Skirt - Goodwill purchase, years and years ago. I love the cut. I've copied it to make skirts from other fabrics.
Shirt - Hand-me-down from a friend. Black cowl-neck sweater, which I have recieved lots of compliments on. The fact that you can't see it very well is probably the reason I don't like this outfit very much. :) :) :)
Cardigan - my trusty red hand-me-down from my older sister.
Boots - Black suede. From WalMart, bought by Mom for me a few years ago.
I'm also obviously wearing a necklace, but I can't remember which one it is.

The best thing about this outfit is that it was warm!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

At the Office

I'm not a career girl by any stretch of the imagination, but I do love the office look. I would have to say that it's my favorite fashion category.

I volunteer at a Crisis Pregnancy Center once a week, and love doing it. A side benefit is that the dress code is "casual business attire." Yay!

When I first started working in the office there, I had to add pieces to my very casual wardrobe in order to survive, but I feel confident in creating very suitable outfits from what I have now. I think that learning to dress for an atmosphere in which I previously had no experience really stretched me in the "outfit making" area, which was a good thing. Now I am able to adapt to many more situations. I have even started dressing more "businesslike" for stay-at-home days, because it affects my attitude toward my work.

Here's a recent outfit I wore to the Center:

Blouse - $3.50 at Goodwill. Altered just bit. (see this post on my other blog for details)
Blazer - hand-me-down from a friend. I have a hard time finding fitted jackets that actually fit. This one fits perfectly on the body, but the sleeves are too short. So I just rolled them up, and no one knew! It worked since the blouse is 3/4 sleeve as well.
Jean Skirt - Made by me. No pattern. First pencil skirt I've ever made. Usually not a fan of them, but this one works.
Black leggings - Think of them like a camisole for your lower half. I wouldn't wear a camisole by itself, but it really helps "fix" shirts I wouldn't otherwise wear. Ditto for leggings. They add so much flexibility - not to mention warmth!
Boots - These are my $5.00 Goodwill boots again. They are actually a little uncomfortable, but I'm hoping I'll "break them in" a bit.
I'm also wearing a black bead necklace, and my hair is braided back on either side. Usually I wear my hair up with business looks, but I was feeling uninspired that day.

Off I go!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Soft and Rough

This was a stay-at-home-most-of-the-day outfit. But I think, if I remember correctly, we also had guests in the evening. I was in the kitchen for a good part of the day, and I shed the jean jacket for part of that time. Aprons just weren't made to go over jean jackets.

Jean Jacket - hand-me-up from younger sister, who got it as a hand-me-down from someone else
T-Shirt with flowers under jacket - You can't see it well, but I made it myself
Maxi skirt - I bought a sundress at Goodwill for $4 because I liked the fabric. I cut off what little top there was, and turned it into a maxi skirt. It's knit fabric, and very comfy!
Second shirt, greyish purple - This isn't shown, but later in the day I added a second shirt underneath my T-shirt. I bought it at a yard-sale, and it's very skimpy in the neckline department, but it is nice and long, and added some length to my upper half.
Boots - Aaaaand, you can't see but a peep of toe, but I'm wearing my new-to-me boots from Goodwill ($5.00)

I like the combination of wearing "rougher" clothes (jacket and boots) with softer things, like a flowing skirt and pink T-shirt with flowers. It balances out everything.

Hand-me-downs, or Fill-me-ups?

This past week some friends gave my family a bag of clothes they were no longer using.

I don't know how you feel about hand-me-downs, but I've lived on them since I was too young to know what I was wearing. Of course, being second-oldest in a large-ish family, I've been on the giving end of that program, too.

I love hand-me-downs. I'm cheap, and the fun of getting new clothes without going shopping used to turn me giddy. I would paw through stacks of "to go" clothing, and pick out anything and everything that caught my fancy. When faced with abundance, my greed got the best of me. Of course, my closet was always bursting with items that didn't fit quite right, or that I hardly ever wore.

I still face that temptation. Whether hand-me-downs, or Goodwill, or sales at WalMart, when clothes (or accessories!) are cheap, I want to over-indulge. I have to remind myself that cost is not the only reason for limiting a wardrobe.

I first began to really get this idea when reading a book written by a pastor from India. He talked about his first visit in America, and the culture shock he experienced. He said that the food consumed in one typical after-church fellowship in America would feed his home village in India for a week. I was slapped awake, and wondered what a girl in India would think of my overflowing closet. Did I really need all those clothes? Did I wear half of them?

More importantly, what did God think of all those clothes? Did He give me His money to splurge on making my appearance more versatile, or did He make me a steward so I could use His money for His purposes? I knew the answer. I became convicted by the verses in the Bible that talk about a woman attiring herself simply. Not ugly. Not frumpy. Not roughly. But simply. As in; you-don't-need-ten-thousand-shirts-and-100-bottoms-and-50-cardigans-and-whatever-else-is-on-that-crammed-rack-in-your-closet.

In my town, a shirt at GoodWill costs $3.50. Two makes $7.00. Six is $21.00. I sponsor a little boy in another country. His total cost of living for a month is $26.00. How many children could I have helped to hear the gospel and be fed, if I hadn't bought that stuff that I really didn't need?

Now, please understand; I'm not advocating that we all empty our closets, select three items to put back, and live on them (or in them, rather) until they are threadbare and unwearable. I like clothes. And I believe they can be a form of artistic expression, and I know God made us able to express ourselves and imitate His creative beauty for a reason.

We shouldn't feel guilty that He has blessed us with the ability to be adequately clothed. A starved, half-naked child in Africa doesn't represent God's will for the world. That's not a picture of what we're supposed to be; suffering, misery, and nakedness. God loves to give His children good gifts. But my point is, we are supposed to be sharing, not hording. And sometimes we forget that. Sometimes I forget it.

Just for the record, I still love hand-me-downs. And I love the people who give them so generously - whether it's a sister or a friend outside the family.

I was going to talk about pride in this post. I was going to say how sometimes when you wear hand-me-downs you are careful where you wear them, or you try to avoid wearing them in front of the person who gave them to you. Sometimes it feels awkward to be seen wearing something that someone else was throwing out. And I was going to say we ought to understand the spirit of the person who gave them to us, and allow them to get a blessing by being a giver. And just accept good gifts from God, and enjoy them!

But you know what? Blogging always seems to be a way that God speaks to my heart. As my fingers dance on the keyboard, they are moving to a rhythm all their own, and I am often surprised to see what comes out of my heart as they type. I think I needed to hear this today. I needed to be reminded that I am not my own. I am bought with a price. And I ought to glorify God in my body.

Hope you got something out of it, too.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Well, welcome to In My Mirror! This is my first post, and I'll just jump right into things. If you want to know more about this blog, please read "Why Be Different?" and "How I Do Things," at the top of this page.

Today I was just doing things around the house, mainly computer work and music practice, and this is what I was wearing. In fact, it's what I'm still wearing, though I really should be wearing my pajamas. :) (Don't believe what time the computer says I'm publishing this!) Sorry for the poor lighting in the picture.

Meet five staple pieces of my closet:
brown skirt - made by me
red cardigan - ancient hand-me-down
white sweater - goodwill or K-mart (can't remember which)
Grey tights - K-mart
Brown ballet flats - Payless, on sale

I'm also wearing a new-to-me scarf, from Goodwill ($2.00)
and a statement necklace from Goodwill

The fun thing about this brown skirt is that, out of all the things I've made, it's the one for which I get asked the most often, "Where'd you buy that?" Nice achievement for a seamstress. :) I didn't use a pattern on this one.

The scarf, which you can't see very well, has red, white, black, and forest green in it, in a western print. It's folded diagonally and tied in a basic knot. Today is the first time I've ever worn a necklace and scarf at the same time, and it worked!

The thing I like about scarves is that they tie an outfit together. The separate pieces really had nothing in common until the print of the scarf gave them permission to reside next to each other, so to speak.

Here's a closer picture. If you look closely, you can see the black-and-silver necklace under the scarf. I have my hair straightened today. It takes an hour to straighten all my hair, so I don't do it very often, but it was fun for today, since I wasn't in a rush to go anywhere. :)

This outfit was comfortable, warm enough for the weather, and made me feel like I had a job to accomplish today. I love the deep colors, and the cardigan is cozy and makes me happy. :) :) :)

Now I shall go find those pajamas...