Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Dressing for Fluctuating Temperatures

It's going to be sixty degrees today, but I'm still waiting for that last bit of snow to melt from last week's snowfalls.  Thankfully my husband went outside and shoveled the snow in front of my garden shed so I could at least get inside to get my tools to work in the areas of the garden where there is no snow.  Spring can be so frustrating.  It can never seem to make up it's mind whether it wants to warm up or stay winter forever.  Which makes dressing during this time of year especially difficult.  I tend to wear a lot of lightweight scarves in the spring, like the one I have on in today's post, because they keep me warm in the chilly mornings and evenings, yet I can easily remove them in the heat of the day.

We all know to dress in layers in the winter to keep the warmth in, but it really helps in the spring too because I can just remove layers as the temperatures rise.  I started on this chilly morning with a jacket, then removed that when it was no longer needed.  The chambray shirt (old, Old Navy), is perfect because it's thin, yet the long sleeves keep my arms warm.  If it gets really hot, I could even remove the shirt and just wear the white tee underneath.  

 For jewelry, I wore simple silver hoop earrings and bracelets, both old.
 As much as I would have loved to have worn a cute pair of flats or loafers with this outfit, there is still a lot of slush and muck around, so I stuck with my high, black, flat boots.
 The infinity scarf is from JCP (old) and is very unique because it has two different types of material:  a floral section with a frayed edge and a open-weave solid gauze section.  I really love it!
 My pants are from T.J. Maxx (old) and have a brown base with a black pattern on them.  They are skinny, ankle length pants.

 I'm carrying my black bucket bag from Express as usual, but I did just buy a new bag for spring (and it's NOT black) that I'm dying to start using.

I hope all the snow is melted and the temperatures are warm where you live!

Have a great day!

Linking up with Style Session,  Trendy Wednesday,  Pumps and Push Ups,  Jersey Girl/Texan Heart,  I Feel Pretty,  What I Wore Wednesday, and Confident Twosday.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Easter Bunny Card

I absolutely love this sweet bunny image from the Penny Black 'Garden Friends' set.  It's a great image to use for an Easter Bunny card, but it's still generic enough for any all-purpose card.  I chose to use a spring sentiment on the outside of the card so that I can re-purpose the card for any occasion just by stamping a different sentiment on the inside of the card.
 The paper is Prima 'Annalle', the main image panels were cut out using Spellbinder's Nestabilities, and the only embellishment I used was a few drops of Stickles on the butterflies and flower centers.

I still have snow on the ground due to a late March snowfall, but as soon as it melts I hope to get back into my garden since the weather is promising to be warm this week.

Have a great day!  Amy

Linking up with Colorful Creations and Classy Cards 'n Such.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Spring Chicken

I can't believe Easter is only a week away, can you?  I have a ton of Easter/Spring cards to show you that I will be posting throughout the week.  I made them all from one set and one paper pad.  The set is by Penny Black and is called 'Garden Friends', and the paper is from Prima 'Annalee'.
 I stamped a 'Spring is Here!' sentiment on all the cards because I wasn't sure if I would be sending Easter cards out this year since I'm so busy right now attending concerts, musicals, and recitals.  If I use a spring-themed sentiment, then I have a larger window in which I can use the cards.  I can also stamp 'Happy Birthday' on the inside to send to those who have spring birthdays.

This card I sent to my son as part of his Easter Basket.  Yes, he's in his twenties, but I still send him an Easter Basket when he is away at college.

I used a Spellbinder's Nestability Die to make the cute round butterfly background.  Stickles were added to the egg for extra sparkle, and I put a few paper flowers and a bow around the image for extra 'oomph'.  The lady bug was just an extra little stamp included in the set.  The grass is a unknown stamp from my stash.
More spring/Easter cards to come next week!

Have a great day!  Amy

Linking Up with Penny Black and More.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

My Non-Photographed FREEZING March Adventure

Every month my husband and I like to have what we call 'An Adventure'.  It's kinda like a date night, but ours is only once a month, and includes some type of travel whether it is a day trip or a weekend.  For the month of February we hiked in the snow and ice in Perrot State Park.  Hiking in the winter was a brand new experience for us and we enjoyed it very much.  For the month of March, we knew we were going to the Chicago area to visit our daughter and see one of her performances, so we decided to make that this month's adventure.  I had so many activities planned:  a visit to the zoo, perhaps Navy Pier, shopping, and most importantly, taking lots and lots of fashion photos with all the great scenery Wheaton has to offer.  I planned my outfits for two days.  I knew it was going to be cold, even possibly some snow, but by now I had already grown accustomed to warmer spring temperatures, and my mind couldn't comprehend that 30 and 40 degrees was winter coat weather.  So even though I left my shorts and sundresses at home, I still packed peek-a-boo sandals and spring coats when what I really needed was snow boots and a parka!  I spent the majority of the four days FREEZING and I took absolutely no fashion photos whatsoever, because the only time I stepped outside was to walk as quickly as possible from my car to my destination.  And I not only did not take fashion photos, but we also didn't do much of anything, because no one wanted to go outside unless absolutely necessary.  

Our drive down to Chicago was actually quite pleasurable because the temperatures were still mild.  We left at 8:00 a.m. but didn't get there till almost 4:00 p.m. because we took our time.  We stopped in Madison to do some shopping, then we enjoyed a delicious burger and fries at Fuddruckers in Janesville.  We love that restaurant, but we don't have any in our area, so when we see one on our travels, we like to stop and eat there.  By now Ashley was texting me wondering if we were ever going to arrive, so with only one more quick stop at Hobby Lobby (we don't have those in my town either), we finally made it to Wheaton.  We had some nice conversation with dinner, and then we went to see the new movie 'Insurgent'.  I was very disappointed in it.  I thought the movie 'Divergent' was so good, and 'Insurgent' paled in comparison.  But then Ashley said that's because it's a movie based on a series of books and it's the middle of the series with no beginning or end.  So I will have to wait until movie #3 to be excited again.

The next day was Sunday, the day of Ashley's performance, so we really didn't have anything else planned.  We went to church in the morning, but we walked there.  It's only a few blocks away, but I was absolutely freezing because I only had a trench coat and peek-a-boo sandals.  When we walked into the church I felt a rush of warm air and I breathed a sigh relief.  HEAT, oh, that feels so good.  We sat down, and I was nice and warm, so I took off my coat.  A few minutes later I felt a cold breeze.  Odd, I was so toasty warm just a few minutes ago.  But it continued, and it got worse.  I put my jacket back on. Still cold.  I then looked above me.  There are no fans or vents that I can see.  I look around me.  No one else seems bothered by the cold breeze.  I then leaned over and asked my husband 'Do you feel an icy cold breeze or is it just me?'.  He said he felt it too.  Then it dawned on me.  They turned the air conditioner on!  NO!!!!!!!!!!!!  I was so cold I wanted to get up and leave.  But I couldn't.  We were in the middle section of the pew and I didn't want to disturb anyone getting out.  But how much longer could I take this?  My teeth were chattering, I was shivering.  I couldn't concentrate for the life of me on whatever the preacher was saying because all I wanted was to sit in front of a toasty fire with a blankie and a cup of hot coffee.  So I endured, and I suffered, all the way to the end.  As soon as it was over, I ran out of there as fast as the little old people in front of me would move, and headed straight for the coffee pot.  Ah, a hot beverage, warming both my hands and my soul!  I savored every sip until my husband announced he wanted to start walking back.  I said 'But I'm not done with my coffee!'  He said 'Take it with you'.  So we began our trek back in the arctic wilderness of the town of Wheaton, but we had to walk really slow or my coffee spilled.  My son-in-law Jason offered me one of his gloves so that my hand wouldn't freeze as I held my coffee and I could put my other hand in my pocket.  But I was shivering so much that the coffee spilled all over the glove, and I probably lost half of it on the sidewalk.  UGH!  But we finally made it back to Jason's and Ashley's apartment alive, so there was no need to send out the search party looking for my frozen body.  Once there we had a nice lunch, and headed for Ashley's concert.

For those of you who may not know me well or are a new follower, my daughter Ashley is a very gifted singer who has a Master's Degree in Voice.  Although she sings many different types of music, she was trained as a classical singer.  She won a young artist's competition several months ago, and in addition to a monetary award she was the featured soloist in a concert.  If you'd like to hear her sing, she has an aria on YouTube HERE.  She also has a Facebook page HERE where she will posting more songs and where she will be appearing next.

The concert was wonderful, as always, and we were able to snap some photos afterwards but because of the dim lighting, they didn't turn out too well.  This is me and my gorgeous, talented daughter.
 Ashley with her husband and our beloved son-in-law, Jason.
 We went straight back to Ashley's and Jason's apartment afterwards and had dinner and watched the Christian movie 'God's Not Dead' on DVD.  And that was the end of Day Two.

The next morning, we woke up to a foot of snow on the ground.  Gag! Puke! Oh, no!  We had planned an entire day of shopping and hoped to take some really cool fashion photos.  Now we wondered if it was even safe to go out since it was a slushy mix of snow, ice, and rain.  But I had a dream.  And that was to visit the brick and mortar store of ZARA!  I've seen their clothes on-line for years, but I really, really wanted to see their clothes in person.  They don't have any stores anywhere near where I live.  Now was my only opportunity!  So I asked Ashley if she felt comfortable driving because I would feel really bad if we got in a car accident and ruined her car.  She assured me she drives in all types of weather and felt confident enough to drive in this slushy mess, so we did.  After spending fifteen minutes defrosting, and scraping snow and ice off the car, we finally were able to leave the driveway.  The roads ended up being just fine, everything was melted by now.  We stopped at Hobby Lobby first so I could get some material to finish a quilt I've been working on all winter.  I was ready to leave after an hour, but Ashley was enthralled by the massive quantities of home decor in the place and getting her to leave was no easy task.  I kept repeating, 'But I HAVE TO get to ZARA!'  over and over again.  Several hours and only $50.00 poorer later (from both of us), we finally left.

 The above picture is the parking lot of Hobby Lobby.  So sad.  I really thought we were done seeing this stuff for another year.  Mother Nature fooled me again.

The nearest Zara was located in an outdoor mall.  Outdoors.  Snow, cold, yeah, that sounds like a great idea.  Although I wore the warmest clothes and shoes I had, I still was not dressed properly for the weather.  I was worried that my cute black suede booties were going to get ruined by all the snow and slush, and my little spring blush jacket did nothing to keep me warm.  And to make it worse, the mall was HUGE and so confusing.  It wasn't a strip mall.  It had four anchor stores and was surrounded by above ground parking structures, so it was difficult to figure out which parking structure to park in that was near the store you wanted to visit.  You couldn't see the stores from the outside.  Once you park your car, you cross a bridge which leads you into an outdoor mall.  It's so weird, I can't even explain it. I'm sure it's a beautiful, wonderful place to shop during the warmer months, but it's a very miserable place to shop in colder months.  Because it is so huge, you have to walk outside quite a ways to get to a specific store.  Either that, or keep ducking in and out of stores to warm up.  The first store we walked into to warm up was New York & Co.  And we ended up staying there for hours.  Ashley found a clearance rack and ended up taking half of it with her to the fitting room to try on.  Although I found lots of interesting things, I didn't want to buy anything until I visited Zara,  but I couldn't figure out for the life of me where it was.  The mall map made absolutely no sense to either of us and I even asked several different store associates and they had no idea where it was either.  So I decided to leave Ashley at New York & Co and I walked over to Nordstrom's to use the bathroom.  Ah, another great store we don't have in my neck of the woods.  But, there was no time to look as I had to find Zara first.  On the way back to New York & Co I saw an H & M:  yet another store we don't have in Wisconsin.  I ducked in really quick to check it out but didn't see anything I was interested in.  Then I saw an Ann Taylor and a Loft (two more stores I don't have in Wisconsin), but there was no time to even check those out because I had to check on Ashley back in New York & Co.  She WAS STILL IN THE DRESSING ROOM!  OK, now I'm getting irritated.  I not only have not found the Zara store, and I'm freezing, but now I'm getting hungry and head achy as well because it's way past lunch time.  I pull up google maps on my IPhone as Ashley is STILL in the dressing room, and I google walking directions to Zara.  It's a 12 minute walk away!  A 12 MINUTE WALK IN THE FREEZING COLD!  That fact alone shows you how HUGE this mall is.  But, I see an Annie's Pretzel Shop on my google map that I didn't see on my previous solo walk.  It's only a 3 minute walk away!  FOOD!  I leave Ashley in the dressing room again, and begin my hike for nourishment.  How can there possibly be a pretzel shop in an outdoor mall I wonder.  Doesn't the food and employees get cold?  When I find the shop, I find my answer.  The shop is enclosed, but you can't eat inside.  You walk in just to order and pick up your food, and then, you guessed it, back outside to eat it in frigid temperatures.  Oh well, at least  I am warm for three minutes.  I have no idea what the pretzel tasted like, I think I inhaled it.  I was just trying to get back to New York & Co before me or my pretzel froze, where I found Ashley, STILL in the dressing room.  By now, my irritation was turning into total frustration.  The day was almost over, we had to be back at the apartment to meet the boys for dinner in just a couple of hours and I still haven't been to Zara.  I told her, I am not leaving Chicago until I get to see a Zara store so unless you want me living with you and sleeping on your sofa every night, you better make a decision of what you want to buy right now.  I helped her decide on a pretty gold skirt and a unique green sleeveless top, and finally, we left New York & Co.  We decided to just walk back to our car and drive over to the other side of the mall and park at the Macy's anchor store rather than walk 12 minutes in the frigid cold.  When I stepped outside the car, which was surrounded by huge puddles of melted water and slush, my pretty suede ankle booties got soaked.  Oh, what will these shoes look like when this day is over I wonder.  I sure wish I had my tall winter boots with me on this trip.  We then walked through Macy's and out the other end, and then I saw it, ZARA!  It was like finding the promised land!  I made it!  I was here at last!
 If your a lover of fashion, walking into a Zara store is a treat for the eyes.  I don't think there was anything in that store I didn't like.  Every item is so unique and has details that one does not find anywhere else.  There were tee shirts that felt like micro fleece and didn't have hems.  Unique skirts that looked vintage, but had a modern flair.  Fun blazers, wide pants, and all the cute hats the famous fashion blogger's wear.  I was in heaven.  I looked at, touched, examined, and drooled over every single item.  Perfection.  Absolute perfection.  But even though I found Zara affordable (as far as affordable as trendy, nicer fashion can be), because I am unemployed, I can't spend money like I use to and had to restrain myself.  Ashley found a cute knit skirt on a clearance rack for only $7.99 for me, and I also found a black cardigan for $25.00 in a style that I have been looking for FOREVER.  But that was all I bought.  I was good.  I knew before going that I probably wasn't going to buy anything there, but I just wanted to see a Zara store.  Of course, even though it was cold and we hadn't taken any fashion photos all weekend, we had to take my picture outside the Zara store with my new Zara possessions.  The smile on my face says it all!
 By now we both tired and starving, so we headed back home after a brief stop at Starbucks for a Hot Chai Tea Latte to warm me up.  We had another nice dinner, some conversation, and concluded the evening watch "The Maze Runner" on DVD.

The next morning after a great breakfast we said our goodbyes and headed back to Wisconsin.  It was a much nicer and warmer day and I took this photo to send to Ashley showing we had no snow in Wisconsin.
 And the next morning I woke up to this:
Yes, Mother Nature is such a cruel tease.

I hope you enjoyed my long, humorous, FREEZING March adventure.

Have a great day!  Amy

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Houndstooth Print Coat

Until this weekend, all our snow melted and the temperatures warmed up, and I was finally able to pack away the winter boots and coats, and pull out my in-between season coats like this Hounds Tooth Print Coat.  Then, Mother Nature decided to torture us and plummet the temperatures back into the the twenties and thirties and dump a ton of the white stuff again.  Ugh!  IT WAS ALL GONE!  NOW IT'S ALL BACK!  Spring is such a tease for those who live in Northern climates.

But I was able to wear my in-between season coats for one week at least, the week that these pictures were taken.  I bought this adorable wool coat at T.J. Maxx several years ago.  It is such a classic coat, I will probably own it for the rest of my life.  When I have the time and patience to shop at T.J. Maxx, I absolutely love it.  You really can find some unique designer pieces there.
 In addition to the classic pattern of this coat, I just love all the details, like the shape of the coat, the cute curved collar, and the chunky buttons on the front and back.
 I carried my bucket bag from Express that I can fit anything and everything in, including the kitchen sink.  Now, if I could only find what I am looking for inside of it!
 The coat, designed by Garfield and Marks,  has a seam under the bust line, so it flares out like a an empire waist top.
 Underneath my coat I wore my Felice Short Sleeve Raglan Top from Stitch Fix.  I love the new boxy style tops, in fact, I just bought another one this style for spring.  But I know a lot of women really dislike them because they think they look shapeless and they literally feel like they are wearing a box.  But if your smaller on the bottom like I am, they work really well.  You just have to have a certain type of figure to wear them.
 For pants, I'm wearing another Stitch Fix item.  My black Emer high waisted crop pants.
 My jewelry was a triple strand necklace from Express, drop brown stone earrings (old), and a gold bracelet (on clearance at Express).
 And because there was no snow, I was finally able to wear something other than boots on my feet!  Oh happy day!  I could pull out my peek-a-boo sandals!  I bought these at Sears last year.
 They have a nice low heel so that I can still walk in them, yet because of all the gold details and straps, they are still very dressy.  I love the cute zipper in the back of the heel too!

Have a great day!  Amy

Linking Up with Style Me Wednesday,  I Feel Pretty,  and Oh Hey Girl Link Up,  

Friday, March 20, 2015

Fashion Over Fifty: White Before Memorial Day

It's hard to believe that just a few weeks ago it was so bitter cold outside we were forced to take these pictures indoors.  But it did give us a fun, creative way to play with the light and colors inside the house to produce some unique photos.  

Now that it is perfectly acceptable to wear white before Memorial Day, and the slush melted enough so that I no longer had to worry about getting grime on my pretty white jeans, I decided to give one of the winter white and black combos I've been seeing all over the internet a try.  

 I wore my white skinny jeans from a.n.a,  a Liz Claiborne black/grey sweater, and black boots.  I really enjoyed wearing this outfit.  It was refreshing to wear white again, yet it was still warm and cozy for colder temperatures.
 I forgot to take a detail photograph of the shoulder on this sweater.  It has a cute little zipper on the left shoulder.  It was the main reason I bought the sweater…little details like that make all the difference to me when choosing what to purchase.  And then I forgot to photograph it.  But, you can see it a little bit in the picture below and in the first picture where I am sitting in the chair.

 I added a pearl necklace to feminize the outfit and tone down the black and the rugged boots a bit.
 Here's is a close up of the marbled texture of the sweater.  I bought the sweater for less than $10.00 at one of JCP's winter close out sales, so it is no longer available.  January truly is the best time of the year for clothes shopping.  The sales are amazing!
My other jewelry was this lovely, silver bangle.  I love that it is wide, and the strands have this bent/twisted/hammered look, yet it is still shiny and dainty.

Well hopefully this will be the last winter look I have to show you and I can finally start wearing some spring clothes.  Although, it does look like the temperatures will be dropping and we even have some snow in the forecast for Monday.  So we'll see.  We can only dream.

Have a great day!  Amy

Linking Up with:  Casual Friday and Fashion Should Be Fun.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

March Christmas Cards

For those of us who will be seeing a bit of snow yet, I have my March Christmas Cards to cheer you today.  Who am I kidding?  No one wants to think of Christmas in Spring.  We have actually been enjoying an early spring here in Northern Wisconsin, but I do see we have a bit of snow in the forecast early next week.  But we hardy Wisconsinites are not surprised by that.  We're use to Mother Nature teasing us this time of the year.  Regardless of the weather, I make Christmas Cards all year long because I play the Splitcoaststampers Christmas Card Challenge!  I make five cards a month so that I'm not stressed out making sixty cards in a few weeks in November.  I make a long card, 4 x 8 so that I can fit a Christmas Letter and photo card inside.  I also try and keep them simple so that they are easier and more inexpensive to mail, and also quicker to make.

Now although the layout of these cards looks simple, they actually surprised me in how long they took to make.  I spent two afternoons working on these cards, and I don't think it really shows it either.  It was a reminder to me of why I rarely use this set.  I like the images a lot, but I have always found them very difficult to work with.  Here are my five cards. I made one angel, two of Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus, and two of the Wise Men.

 I embossed all the tags with gold embossing powder and fussy cut them out.  That took some time as embossing is never easy for me.  The coloring also was quite time consuming.  I embossed all the sentiments too, and added Stickles to the star and halos.
 The images are from retired SU! 'Holy Triptych', and the sentiments are from retired SU! 'Star Studded Season'.
 I used a soft yellow paper for all the backgrounds.  I thought of using a designer paper or a Christmas color, but I felt the yellow was the most complimentary color and made the main image pop the most.  A designer paper would have been too distracting.
 I used glitter pens on the Wise Men's crown and gifts.
 I used a corner punch to cut out the corners of all the yellow panels, then I put little gold gems in the space for extra oomph!
 Big gold brads were used to hold all the sentiments in place.
Clear Stickles were put on the Angel's wings and dress.

Have a great day!  Amy

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Blush Embroidered Tunic

I wish I had the patience to shop at thrift stores like my daughter does because she certainly finds a lot of interesting items that one could never find in a department store…like this gorgeous blush embroidered tunic!  It has a pretty black material in the neckline area (so yes, one must wear a camisole underneath this top) and pretty black outline flowers down the front and a bit on the lower left side.

The tunic has a elastic waist so I wore a wide belt with it, but now that I look at these pictures, I'd probably switch to a skinny belt.  It never ceases to amaze me how I love an outfit in a mirror, but not so much in photographs.  But it is part of the learning experience and a good reason to photograph yourself in various outfits.
For jewelry I wore a black and silver bracelet and long earrings.

I wore leggings underneath the tunic that have a cute zipper detail at the ankle.  Flats with fun little bows added to the playful feel of this outfit.
The tunic is a thin cotton with short sleeves, so a thick, bulky sweater from Express was added for warmth.  (This sweater is currently for sale in my Poshmark store).
Have a great day!  Amy

Linking up with Trendy Wednesday,  I Feel Pretty,  What I Wore,  Because Shanna Said So, Tucker Up , Style Me Wednesday,  The Mummy Chronicles,  Pampers and Pearls,  Thursday Fashion Files,  All About You, and Pumps and Pushups.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Celebration Card

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  I don't have a St. Patty's card or outfit to share with you today, nor am I doing anything special today (other than getting my hair done, which I always look forward too!), but I do have a celebratory card to show you in honor of the occasion.

The entire card was made with one large stamp.  I first stamped the image onto yellow card stock, then I stamped it again onto white card stock.  I colored the cupcake and cut it out then mounted it up on dimensionals onto the main image.  I added Stickles to the flame and frosting.

I cut out a frame using a Spellbinder's Nestability Die then adhered it over the main image.  The main image was attached to the white card base.
I colored just the edge of the frame with a marker to make it pop more then added a pretty polka dotted ribbon to mimic the dots in the main image.
Have a Happy St. Patrick's Day!  Amy

Linking up with Motivational Monday. and Something to Talk About.