The Dress That Changed My Mind

So….it’s been a while since I’ve set aside time for this little old blog. So long, in fact, I had to look at my Blog Photos folder to figure out which post I’d be writing today. You see, I plot these posts in my mind as I go about daily life. I get an idea or wear an outfit I particularly like, take photos and sometimes even edit the pictures within a day or two. Actually executing the writing of the posts is what I procrastinate, mainly because that’s the part that takes the most time. 

Time….making wise use of my time is something I am continually working on. Those days when I have less energy are especially difficult. All I want to do is sit and do nothing. It’s all I can do just to get dishes washed and laundry done. But there are so many things I really WANT to do! Making time for everything overwhelms me.

But that’s not what this post was supposed to be about. This is a fashion post, and a rather monumental one, so let’s make good use of the few minutes I’ve got to write about it!

When I saw this dress at Goodwill, the first thing I noticed was the polka dots. Cute. Then the color of the price tag. Half-price color. Cool! Pulled the dress off the rack. Ohhh….good quality fabric, nice drape. Looks clingy. And it’s sleeveless. My fat arms require sleeves. Well, I’ll try it on. Might be good for a chuckle.

It was one of the last things I tried on that day. Dresses are always last, because they require the removal of ALL outer clothing. As I buttoned the back of the dress and turned toward the mirror, I gasped. Surely this dress doesn’t look THAT good on me, does it? How could it? It’s a clingy fabric! However, the weight of it caused it to flow perfectly over my lumpy bumps. And somehow, the shape of the dress and the high neckline made the sleeveless-ness work. My arms are still fat, but this dress works some kind of magic and you don’t notice that fact quite so much. The final selling point was that the length was perfect and would not require hemming up. Sold! For $3.50 – woohoo!

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Coldwater Creek dress – thrifted

Since this dress is a statement in itself, I tried not to add too many accessories, keeping the jewelry and shoes simple. The handbag is simple as well, in design if not in color. Every outfit needs a pop of color in the summer time, don’t you think? I bought this cute little vintage “pocketbook” at my friend Pam’s yard sale. It doesn’t hold a lot, but it’s not an everyday kind of purse, so that’s OK.

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Vintage handbag – thrifted

Born BOC sandals – Vanderbuilt’s

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Bracelet – Walmart

Earrings – thrifted

The style, fabric and fit of this Coldwater Creek dress is what changed my mind about going sleeveless. Apparently, not all sleeveless tops/dresses are created equally. Even chubby arms can look good in the right one! Also, those 5 gallon buckets of water I’ve been hefting all summer have helped firm up my flabby arms just a bit. 
 
I really, really like this dress. A lot! It’s great on its own in summer, although the forecast can’t be the usual 95° with 65% humidity like we usually have this time of year. It is black, after all, and the fabric is rather heavy. I’m thinking it will be nice for layering in the winter, too. Such a great buy – I just love Goodwill!
 
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Vintage Apron and a No-Frosting Cake

Did you think I’d run out of aprons to share with you all? Hardly! In fact, it’s doubtful I’ll actually feature all of my aprons; not because I have a gazillion of them, but because not all of them are blog-worthy. This vintage half-apron, however, is most definitely deserving of  a post!

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My Great-Grandma made this sweet little apron, many years ago. She did all the fancy needlework by hand, of course. It really dresses up the simple gingham, don’t you think?

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Because of the sentimental value of the apron, it is not worn for practical purposes, so after posing for the above photo, I removed it and put on a different one before commencing to bake. And what did I bake? A cake, of course! A sweet cake, in honor of the sweet apron.

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I’ve prepared this recipe numerous times over the past 20 plus years, as evidenced by the disastrous condition of these pages in the cookbook (Hershey’s Homemade, published in 1991). It’s the second recipe on the left-hand page, Chocolate Chip Snack Cake. You can see where I’ve written in changes to the recipe as well as calorie and fat gram counts, from back when I used to care about such things. I no longer substitute applesauce for oil, having learned it greatly diminishes the depth of flavor, but I do still use the reduced amount of chocolate chips. Seems odd coming from ME, I know, but 2 full cups of chocolate chips is just too much for this cake.

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Here is the recipe, with my current adaptations:

 

Chocolate Chip Snack Cake

 

FILLING (recipe follows)

3 cups all purpose unbleached flour

2 cups sugar

2/3 cups baking cocoa

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 cups water

2/3 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

2 Tbsp vinegar (I use Bragg’s apple cider vinegar, altho the recipe calls for white.)

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

(Nuts do not belong in cake: therefore, I have eliminated them from this recipe. If you insist on putting them in yours, you can add 1/2 cup chopped nuts. But my family prefers our cakes to be nutless.)

 

Prepare FILLING. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour (or spray with oil spritzer) a 9×13 cake pan. In large mixer bowl, stir together flour, sugar, cocoa, soda and salt. Add water, oil, eggs, vinegar and vanilla; beat on medium speed of electric mixer 2 minutes, until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan. Drop heaping spoonfuls of FILLING evenly over batter. (This is where you nutty people would sprinkle your nuts over the whole thing. Bleh.) Bake 50 to 55 minutes in center of oven, until cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cover; store leftovers in refrigerator.

 

FILLING:

1 – 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

 

In a small bowl, mix together cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla; beat until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips.

IMG_1667One nice thing about this recipe is that it needs no frosting. It’s amazing just the way it is! It’s especially tasty in the summer time, because it’s kept cold in the refrigerator. This cake has been a family favorite for a long time, and will continue to be served to my loved ones for years to come.

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Bringing Back a Sleeper

This dress/skirt has been sleeping in the back of my closet for a couple of years. It almost went to the “donate” sack, but ultimately, I simply couldn’t let it go. After all, I’d only worn it a couple of times. Rather than lose it, I decided to use it!

It can be worn either as a sundress or as a maxi skirt. I like the versatility of it, but so far it’s only been a dress for me. Here is how I wore it to church two weeks ago:

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Sundress – CATO
Liz Claiborne sweater – thrifted
Born sandals – thrifted

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Earrings – gift

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As it turned out, the sweater was a bit too warm to wear except in the air conditioned sanctuary. Not having sleeves kind of makes me nervous, however, so I kept it on until we got out to the car. Come to find out, going sleeveless isn’t that horrible, as long as the dress or top is the correct style. Stay tuned to find out what has made me lose my fear of going sleeveless…

My Founding Father

Here it is, July 4th, and I’m finally getting around to posting about Father’s Day. This little old blog, while I love it, has been taking a back seat to the many other things that need to be done this summer. I have been taking pics now and then, however, so on the off chance I get inspired to write, please check in once in a while to see what’s new around here.

The Sunday after Father’s Day, my sister, Salt City Hausfrau, and I took our Daddy out for dinner as our gift to him. We met at the “old home place”, where he showed us some of the things he’d brought home from a recent clean-out of our Grandpa’s den. B inherited some lovely old cameras and I was given the one thing I never thought I’d see again…my Grandpa’s giant ring of keys! One of my earliest memories of Grandpa is of him coming home for lunch, wearing his work clothes and a huge ring of keys at his waist that jangled as he walked. I knew the keys had to be left behind when he retired, so I was quite surprised when Dad handed me a leather fob with a hundred keys on it! My uncle had found the old fob and fashioned a ring for it and supplied the keys out of his own stash. It is a treasure to me!

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After we set aside the rest of the things to look at later when sister L can chose her treasures, B and I took Dad out for a late lunch at Cracker Barrel. I was pleasantly surprised that they have a great selection of menu items for vegetarians. After we enjoyed a very tasty meal, the three of us meandered around the store for a while, looking at the old fashioned candies, games, funny coffee mugs, shirts, gift items, and home decor for sale. Dad made a silly pose for us…which we loved!

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If you’ve ever been to Cracker Barrel, you know that they keep a bunch of old fashioned wooden rocking chairs on their front porch for patrons to sit and enjoy or to purchase. We took advantage of the rockers for some extended Daddy-daughters time. A very nice lady snapped our picture for us.

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Shortly after this photo, we noticed a shift in the wind, with the scent of rain carried on it. In a matter of minutes, it began to rain. And boy, did it come down! The temperature dropped considerably, making B and I glad we’d chosen to wear maxi dresses. Even so, we were chilled, so B went inside to get us some coffee. Oh, how nice that was, rocking on the porch with our dad, sipping coffee while watching the rain pour down!

And now for the Hausfraus’ outfits…we didn’t coordinate our clothing ahead of time (although we do that sometimes), but it turned out that we wore the same dress in different patterns! Both of our dresses are Faded Glory from Wal-Mart.

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We even wore the same style of sandals in black. We are SO in tune, despite the fact we live two hours from one another!

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Dad wore his black shoes, too. 🙂

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Individual details…

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Faded Glory dress – Walmart; Shrug – Dressbarn

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bracelet
Artisan bracelet – antique fair

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Born BOC sandals – Vanderbuilt’s

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Faded Glory dress – Walmart

necklace

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