Old Fashioned Desert Holiday

As we near the peak of the holiday season in all its glory and festivities every one of us has a special holiday memory that will live in our hearts forever. You know when the feeling comes over you. Your eyes get fixated and starry looking, lips pushing upwards at the corners. Maybe it’s the fresh crisp scent of pine in your living room, or mom’s pies baking in the oven. Possibly a specially colorful wrapped present with lots of bows and ribbons that sends your memory into a flurry of Christmas past.


Unlike most people though my most memorable Christmas vacation doesn’t involve most of those things. Rather mine was a journey of wonder and excitement 2000 plus miles southwest of my east coast hometown. Especially for a young girl just 4 years old back in 1972.

My grandparents, great grandmother, and one of my uncles from my mom’s family had moved to Arizona and it had been a while since we had seen them last. So my parent’s decided that it would be a nice surprise to pack my 6 year old brother, 2 year old younger sister, my 4 month old baby brother, and myself into the car for a trip across the country in the family wood side-paneled station wagon. This would be such a special surprise for them since they had not even met my baby brother yet.

Once we finally arrived in Arizona it was all about the incredible desert scenery. Like the large thorny two and three pronged cacti and palm trees along the sides of the roads. The land that seemed to stretch endlessly with huge rocks and mountains as a backdrop for this slice of heaven.

However, it was us who got the first surprise. Upon finding where they lived much to our surprise no one was at home. So, we were off to find a local motel to stay at where we could freshen up and get some rest. The next morning we got up and mom dressed us in western style clothing complete with cowboy hats. I was decked out in a red corduroy jumper and white blouse, white socks, and black patent leather shoes with my cowboy hat. My outfit was made by my great grandmother and I loved it.

You can just imagine their shock when they came to the white screen door on their white stucco home. Once we all ushered in and were passed around for hugs and kisses it was time to relax and visit and introduce them to the youngest and last member of our family. They were overjoyed.

Now, they wanted to show us around town. We went to an old-fashioned town complete with a wagon train and stagecoach rides and panning for gold. It was such a great day complete with plenty of doting photographs for keepsakes. 

Looks Like Men’s Fashion

Suits

Yes, white suits are cool again. If you’re looking for something around the $200.00 range, express has one for just $198.00. Personally, I think you can never go wrong wearing the white suit jacket with dark blue jeans. Don’t be afraid to let it get a little worn. Remember, it’s a social get up, not an office suit. Club Monaco offers an affordable khaki colored suit for just $249.00. Of course if you’re not a khaki type of guy, then I would suggest investing in a dark grey, plaid print suite by ASOS for just $242.00.


Shirts

To go with your suit, I suggest a men’s custom fit plaid twill shirt by Ralph Lauren ($59.00). If you’re going to go with the grey suite, then I suggest a light blue or light purple button up by Nautica. Remember, you can never go wrong with a light blue or purple shirt when wearing a dark grey blazer, no matter what the pattern might be.

Ties

Next up on our list is the black textured print tie by Armani Exchange ($29.00). If you want to go with something a little bolder, I shall recommend a herringbone dot tie by Nautica ($27.93) to go with your khaki suit.

Shoes

I’ve been a fan of Steve Madden’s boat shoes ($29.95) for quite sometime now. Personally, I suggest going with a more timeless color such as black or navy blue. Regardless of the color, they go with any outfit, so long as it is spring or summer. If you’re looking for something more casual, Ralph Lauren has a nice selection of Vaughn sneakers; available in an array of colors.

Dress in Green

It’s the day to dress in green-
Pinching those not wearing green seems mean.
It’s just the way celebrating has been.
Dressed in costumes to be seen-
And enjoying Corned Beef that’s cooked until lean.

Beauty So Innocent

Sitting here watching the snow- 
Listening to the cold wind blow. 
Watching it hit the ground to grow- 
Its beauty is so innocent to know. 
Under the moonlight, it appears to glow.

Mississippi Bell

I’m a Mississippi Bell- 
When I speak, you can tell. 
I grew up playing on hay bales- 
Jumping from barns, until I fell. 
Playing with the stock, raised to sell.

The Indispensable Old Fashioned Sawbuck

With most people, just mention the word sawbucks and they jump to the conclusion that the conversation is about ten dollar bills. This slang word actually originated from the lumberman’s sawbuck, a wooden trestle with cross bracing. Early ten dollar bills had two roman numeral tens on the back side, which looked like double Xs. From there, it was an easy step to making the connection with the Xs of a sawbuck.

Those intrigued with word origins may be interested to learn that the word, sawbuck, derives from the Dutch zaagbok, which quite literally means a “saw goat”. Saw bucks typically have 3 sets of crossed legs which, with a stretch of the imagination resembles the haunches and horns of a billy goat.

The word zaagbok is still in use in Holland today, and is defined in Dutch-American dictionaries as a “trestle.” While the word sawbuck didn’t make it’s first appearance in the New English Dictionary until 1860, lumbermen and farmers alike have been using this type of trestle sawing device much longer than that. A sawbuck raises the lumber to a comfortable height and makes the task of hand sawing so much easier. And, unlike a standard saw horse, the sawbuck has the advantage of a third cradle which holds the lumber even after it’s been cut.

Sawbucks are old fashioned devices that aren’t much in use anymore. Since most do-it-yourself projects begin with milled wood, there really isn’t a need for a cradle to keep the lumber from rolling around while being cut. However, if you cut your own fire wood, make your own range posts, cut up yard branches, or are building a log cabin, a sawbuck is an indispensable piece of equipment.

How to make a basic sawbuck

Sawbucks don’t follow a particular pattern because they are often custom made to the height of the user. Depending on your height, you may choose to build the cradle of your sawbuck a littler higher or a little lower than Grampa’s old sawbuck, which is shown in the photograph.

The basic idea behind the sawbuck, is that you create a cradle from 3 sets of 2 x 4 planks that have been nailed into the shape of an X. These pieces of 2 x 4 should be of equal length ~ 40 inches is typical ~ with mitered legs so the sawbuck rests firmly on the ground. These Xs are then joined by horizontal cross pieces made of 40 inch lengths of 1 x 6. These cross pieces help form the cradle and stabilize the structure. A typical pattern has one horizontal cross piece at the legs, and second horizontal cross piece just below the cradle, and a third piece that is nailed on a diagonal.

Most farmer’s sawbucks are cobbled together with scrap wood, and allowed to sit outside by the woodpile, year round. When my sawbuck isn’t being used for cutting up wood, it does double duty as a place to tie up branches, for storing coiled garden hoses, and for drying inverted garbage cans. My teenaged boys even used the sawbuck to cradle bales of straw for archery practice.

For a cleverly designed collapsible sawbuck that can be stored in your garage or wood shop, visit the Mother Earth News link in the resource section for plans and detailed instructions. Once you build and start using an old-fashioned sawbuck, you’ll wonder how you managed to cut firewood without one for so long.

1950s Fashion Back in Vogue

When frequenting the local boutique shops and even the main commercial stores, it is easy to see older fashion rising to the top yet again. Ripped baggy tops are reminiscent of the 80s style and bright neon colors have also come back into popularity. But the one style that usually does not make its appearance is the 50s’ more demure yet sexy look.


The 1950s was the time of pencil skirts down past the knee and dresses that, although fitted, showed nothing, but hinted at everything. When visiting local department stores such as Macy’s, it is surprising to see less revealing clothes that fit women with a curvier form, which was extremely popular back in 50s. Marilyn Monroe was sultry at size 14 with her body-hugging dresses and sexy style. Lucky for the curvy women of today, this is coming back.

Presently, at most stores you can find small sweaters meant to be worn tight or to just cover the strapless dress or top. I recently picked up a carnation pink sweater with large black flowers placed on the front, so reminiscent of the 1950s with its bold yet cute design. Polka dots have also made a big splash again and seem to be showing up everywhere. The classic button up dress shirt with polka dots and a cinched waist has become extremely popular and sexy on women of all sizes. Tights in all range of colors and materials have also become a need for a woman’s wardrobe.

The 1950s was all about elegance, class and innuendo in clothing. The sexiness was not in how much it revealed, but what the clothing didn’t reveal, leaving men to fantasize about the sensual curves barely disguised in the fitted clothing. What is a surprise though are the dresses that have most recently come back into fashion. The sun dress from the 50s with a square neck line, cinched waist and flared skirt. These were usually made with stiff materials such as eyelet or seersucker. When visiting Torrid or Papaya, you can see these dresses have also made their come back, with the same style and material as one once found so many years ago. Although the neckline has dropped some, the length has stayed the same, updating the look but still keeping its true elegant beauty.

Although for teenagers today, the 1950s seems ancient and outdated, the style has definitely come back full force into the fashion world for everyone to wear. Luckily for the curvier women such as myself, the new style is extremely flattering. But it is perfect for women of all sizes and ages.

Vintage Fashion and Environmentalism

One of the most astonishing things that has come out of the economic downturn is that vintage fashion has become not only fashionable, but also eco-chic fashion.

While once upon a time, vintage fashion was just a fad for the broke college student, and people who couldn’t afford new clothing, or the slightly crazy artist type who loved to make her own clothes, vintage fashion has taken a new place in the fashion industry, and turned into a desired style.

It helps that both Gothic style and steampunk style have contributed to a love of vintage. Both of these fashion styles appeal to men and women primarily 40 years and younger, and that means that they are going to be searching for vintage styles that their parents and grandparents used to wear. Victorian fashion has become highly desirable, so much so, that replicas of vintage fashion are cropping up everywhere.

However, for true stylists, the best place to shop for authentic Gothic, steampunk, or Victorian style is a used clothing store, vintage shop, or Ebay, where you can find real vintage and antique clothing that fits the bill and you don’t have to pay an arm or a leg to buy it.

Even if the clothing is not in perfect condition, with some adjustments, additions, or decorations, you have an entirely unique piece of clothing that no one else can ever have. This is the ultimate in individualism and individual style, and it is no surprise that it would appeal to the younger generations, teenagers and college age men and women.

You can stand out in the crowd, without spending a fortune, and be totally you. How great is that?

I do not think that the love of vintage will go away, now that it has been discovered by mainstream society. I think that the economy has taught us to be more cautious with spending in general, and because of this, has sparked a change in the way we think about ourselves and the things we purchase including our clothes. We have become much more creative in the way we manage our finances, and in doing so, we have become more creative altogether in all parts of our lives.

In addition to all of the above, vintage fashion is the ultimate in eco-chic green fashion, because it refrains from using resources and instead reuses what we already have. By reusing old clothes that are just laying around, we save them from being thrown out, and we also create an industry out of vintage. Amazing what a few old clothes can do.

Dressing Your Bed

The bed is most likely to be the dominant feature, so bar choice will probably determine the way you decorate the rest of the room. There are hundreds of options bed and bed head design, from historic bateau list and Victorian wrought iron to traditional fabric and four catered beds or sleek contemporary divans.

If you watch television in the bedroom, both head hard and footboard will be affected: headboards need to be easy to clean as heads propped against them will make them grubby quickly wood or iron is deal, if however, you intend to have a fabric cover, make sure that it is easy to remove for cleaning. Covers that are slipped over the top or tied at the top and sides are the best options. If you have an iron bed head you may also prefer to make a padded cover to slip over the top as a softer surface on which to rest your head. Footboards should be low enough so that you can see the television comfortably, and it is also worth remembering that tall people will find footboards restricting.

Having chosen your bed, the next important question is how you dress it, and because new bed linen usually has to be purchased every few years, you may want to opt for a single theme, such as stripes, checks, roses, or a color like blue or plain white so that the linen cupboard doesn’t turn into a ragbag of impulse buys that don’t team and tone too successfully. Imposing a broad discipline means that you won’t be left with a bed covered with the handsome black and cream duvet cover from a modernist period that clashes violently with the cottage roses on the romantic, spur-of-the-moment-purchase pillow case.

However, new bed linen is fun, and is a quick way of transforming a room. So a successful way to plan the decor is to keep the bedroom itself very plain and allow the design and color of sheets, quilt covers, blankets and bedcovers to make the style statements. Piles of blankets, eiderdowns and collections of cushions can add to comfort and cosines, and make your bed a real refuge. They can also be swapped around quickly and easily so that you can ring the changes in your bedroom.

Bed dressings, too, are becoming increasingly fun especially once a four-poster is brought into play. The frame can be left bare to great effect, particularly if the bed itself is dressed stylishly. Or any combination of curtain and even tenting can be employed to create a room within a room. You may just prefer fabric to hang down the back of the bed, feeling that to be totally surrounded would be too claustrophobic. Alternatively, by suspending a metal ring from the ceiling above the centre of the bed, create a tented canopy with fabric running in swathes from the ring to the top of the frame. Continue this exotic treatment by winding the rest of the fabric Strips down the poles, or curtain all four sides, holding back the sides with tiebacks.

For something a little more restrained, empty your bedroom of everything other than the bare essentials and try to keep it that way. A wrought iron bed frame simply dressed with a monotone duvet cover, stripped floorboards, creamy canvas roman blinds and a single, well-chosen picture on the wall would be the perfect, restful haven. In these days of frenetic living, computers at every office desk, and all those opportunities to rush hither and thither, what could be better than sleeping in such an environment where all possible distractions have been removed – a space designed for restoring and recharging the batteries. lf there are items that you feel you really must have in your bedroom, store them in cupboards or stacked storage boxes. Whatever else you do, keep all clutter hidden away – and definitely not under the bed. In feng shui practice, a cleared space in the bedroom gives restful sleep and restorative energy.

How to Make Old-Fashioned Popcorn on the Stove

Microwave popcorn does not compare to the old-fashioned kettle-popped variety made on the stove. It is not nearly as crisp or as flavorful no matter the toppings or seasonings. This was the only variety available before the invention of hot-air poppers and commercial poppers like those in movie theaters. With a gas stovetop this old-fashioned can still be enjoyed. Not only does it taste better and have a crispier texture, it also saves a considerable amount of money. Follow these directions for old-fashioned popcorn on the stove, and try a cheaper and tastier alternative to microwave popping corn.

Necessary Supplies

To make old-fashioned popcorn on the stove you will need a aluminum kettle with a lid and a handle, popping corn and oil or shortening. All it takes is enough melted oil to cover the bottom of the kettle. Also necessary is a stovetop with a flame and a big bowl for serving this crisp and tasty snack.

Procedure

Begin by melting shortening in the kettle or heating the oil over a medium to low flame. Once it is completely melted, add one or two kernels of corn. Put the lid in place. When the test kernels pop, the oil or shortening is hot enough to make good old-fashioned popcorn on the stove.

Immediately add enough popping corn to just about cover the bottom of the kettle, and put the lid firmly in place. Do not just let the pan sit. The oil will burn. With the lid in place, shake the pan forwards, backwards and side to side. The popcorn will begin popping as the oil continues to heat, and it will pop with enough force to push the lid off the pan if it is not held firmly in place.

When the popping significantly slows, turn off the flame and pour the popcorn into a large bowl. Top it with salt and melted butter, or one of the following tasty homemade toppings for old-fashioned popcorn.

Tasty Topping Ideas

Countless seasonings can be used to add flavor to old-fashioned popcorn made on the stove. After enjoying this popular snack made on the stove either with or without flavorful homemade toppings, nothing else will compare.

Spring into 2020 Fashion

Spring and summer 2020 appears to have the designers taking inspiration from your favorite Easter candies. Think pastel M&Ms;, cotton candy, and ice cream colored creations by Chanel, Valentino, Versace, and Dior. With such a step back from the bold colors of the summers past, a new emphasis is placed on fabric, textures and layers to create visual interest. Chanel showed off it’s ready to wear collection as a romp in the hay: youthful and fun designs incorporating ruffles, chiffon, and lace all done with that impeccable Lagerfeld construction. The baby blues, pale yellows, pastel pinks, lilacs, creamsicles and minty greens along with sheer and flowing silhouettes all bring back a sense of childhood nostalgia and innocence. Not so innocent are the skirts: get your legs ready, as the length for summer is a definite mini.

 

Hot Fashion Accessories for Summer

With summer fashions hitting the stores and an early warm-up after a cold, blustery winter, women around the country will be looking for ways to freshen up their summer wardrobe without spending too much money. If you have the basics – tees, leggings, shorts and skirts – brighten up your wardrobe with some cool accessories – necklaces, bracelets, earrings and coverups that will take you from day to evening without missing a beat.


Necklaces – necklaces for the season are big, long, colorful, and draping. Many styles in stores and online are featuring mixed media – beads and wood, metal and glass, ceramic and stones. Since this is a seasonal trend, go for dramatic fashion jewelry – less expensive and more pieces to play with. Check out the new SPIN by Mitchell Gross collection on qvc.com for some great examples, like this Two-to-Twist Set of 2 Necklaces ($23.00 plus shipping and handling) in hot colors orange and green, mixed with basics black and white; at 32″ long, layer them, knot them, or wear them long. Another great piece is the Santa Fe Strands Wood Pebble Necklace ($25.00 plus shipping and handling), available in coral or turquoise, which has a layered look without the fuss.

Bracelets – also colorful and chunky, wear one or many for a fresh summertime look. Try this chunky Rachel Zoe Scroll Design Bracelet ($59.50 plus shipping and handling), available in goldtone or silvertone; this high-polished cuff is easy to wear and looks more expensive than it is. For something more colorful, this Susan Graver Bold Colored Link Stretch Bracelet ($17.75 plus shipping and handling) is available in orange, dark blue, light blue, and yellow.

Earrings – long shoulder-dusting earrings continue to be hot for summer, but anything with color will be on-trend. These ISAACMIZRAHILIVE! Colorful Tonal Faceted Bead Cluster Earrings ($16.25 plus shipping and handling) are available in tones of blue, green, and purple, while these SPIN by Mitchell Gross Coin Toss Dangle Earrings ($21.75 plus shipping and handling) are nearly five inches in length and feature neutral tones that will compliment any summer wardrobe.

Coverups – whether they’re used as swimsuit coverups, evening wear over slip dresses, or over a tee and leggings, coverups, wraps, and tunics play a big part in easy, breezy summer fashion. This SPIN by Mitchell Gross Taos Crinkle Caftan with Beaded Detail ($46.68 plus shipping and handling) – available in black, brown, or turquoise – is made of sheer crinkle polyester and looks great paired with a slip dress or over a cami with leggings or a slim skirt; wear it loose or belted. The same collection features the Four Courners Tie Tunic ($39.00 plus shipping and handling) in brown, black, and turquoise, which can be wrapped in numerous ways for many different looks.