Tag Archives: clothing

Update your wardrobe for free (or really cheap!)

12 May

One of my favorite thrift stores in my hometown!

If you’re a spoonie (someone with chronic illness,) you know how taxing it can be to go to a mall or big department store full of people. I personally thrift the majority of my clothing, and prefer the atmosphere of thrift stores to big chain stores. If you’re able to go on a weekday, there usually aren’t many people, the people who are there are generally friendly (it’s easy to strike up conversation when you find something fun, like a vintage embroidered mumu,) and the prices are great.  I’m fortunate that the stores in our city tend to have a large selection of good quality, vintage, and name brand and designer clothing and accessories. I occasionally enjoy hitting up local antique stores, too, where I can find really unique clothing pieces and accessories (if I can afford them!)

Lately, I’ve been on a closet revamp kick. I’ve always enjoyed wearing more “alternative” styles, and personally draw inspiration from rock and roll, punk, goth, and gypsy styles. Since I no longer live or work in a place where a certain image is expected, I’ve decided to revert back to the style I feel best suits me.  Alternative style cultures promote DIY and handmade looks, since it’s all about unique, individual expression, but you can incorporate these techniques into any style!

Why alter clothing?

1. It’s fun! Even if you don’t normally enjoy arts and crafts, there’s something really special about putting your mark on something you’re going to wear. When people compliment you, you’ll get to say that you did it yourself!

2. It can be a very inexpensive hobby. You can often find supplies like studs, embroidery thread, and patches online for much less than you find them in stores. Try searching eBay or Amazon.

3. You can use what you already have. Updating your wardrobe can be as easy as using what’s already in your closet. Cut a collar off of an existing button-up shirt, and use it as a necklace, or sew it onto another shirt. Cut an applique or image from a shirt, and sew it to a jacket or vest. Embroider a message or design on pair of jeans. Cut up t-shirts, and use the remnants to make bracelets or necklace. Draw on a pair of old tennis shoes with a Sharpie. Chances are you already have the supplies you need to start altering what you have. Just Google DIY clothing projects if you need a little inspiration.

I’ll post pictures of my personal projects to (hopefully) inspire you just as soon as the stormy spring weather decides to give me a little natural light for photos. Until then, check out my Smashin’ Fashion Pinterest board for ideas:

Old suits refashion.


Gentle hugs,



Traveling through the fog – maintaining order through illness

11 Apr

I’m not necessarily a neat freak, but I do like order. I’m a planner, a note taker, and … a forgetter.

Folks, sometimes the brain fog gets so bad that I just have to laugh. Sometimes I have to cry, too, because it can be so frustrating. There are days when I just don’t know if I have the energy to make one more trip to the other end of the apartment because I forgot one more thing. So, to make it a little easier on myself, I try to maintain some order to my routine, and to our living space.

FlyLady.net is a great resource for developing and maintaining a cleaning schedule, as well as maintaining order in other areas of your life. I have to confess that I’m not able to keep a very regular cleaning schedule with our unpredictable schedule here at the student center, but splitting up chores on different days helps me not wear myself out and end up in extra pain. We are notorious for letting the dishes pile up in the sink since we moved into the center’s intern apartment, which doesn’t have a dishwasher, but every time the dishes DO get done, I think of Fly Lady’s tip to give the sink a clean while I’m at it. It really does make a difference. The sink is already wet, and I already have the scrubber in hand.

FlyLady cartoon

I came across this next link on Pinterest this evening, and I think I’ll give it a try. There are tons of printables to use, from meal planning to important contact info, and you can pick and choose which ones you want to use. I’m especially fond of the list for contact information for different service providers. If that can keep me from searching for a bill to find a customer service phone number, I’m all for it! The theory is that if you put all of your important information in one binder, you won’t have to hunt for that info ever again. Unless you lose the binder, of course.

Obviously, if it’s helpful to organize your schedule and important information, it’s also helpful to organize the rooms in your home to keep from having to search for important items. If everything has a home, you’ll almost always know where to find what you need. A while back, I made a key rack for our entryway, because I would spend several minutes each time I needed to leave trying, frantically, to find my keys. So, now I’m in the habit of hanging them up as I walk in the door. If I forget to do it, I don’t put the keys down just anywhere – I walk back to the rack. It’s saved me a considerable amount of time and frustration. While you’re organizing, you can arrange things so that they’re more easily accessible. If you’re vertically challenged like I am, or if you have trouble crouching or bending over, you may consider using an over-the-door organizer. The plastic dollar store shoe organizers work well (you can even cut them in half to hang from smaller cabinet doors in the kitchen and bath,) or you can try any one of these genius ideas:

Take things one area at a time. Not only will it keep you from overdoing it, it will give you a satisfying sense of accomplishment once you’ve finished. Have two or three bags or boxes nearby for trash, recycling, and donations. It’ll keep you from putting anything back that you no longer need or want, and the space will appear less cluttered, which can also keep you from finding what you need.

Once you get to your closets, you may as well do a little editing. Keep those same bags or boxes nearby, but this time for trash, donations, and cleaning rags. Single socks whose mates have been lost to the dryer make great cleaning rags – just put your hand inside the sock and go. My grandmother used socks specifically for furniture polishing, and guess what I loved doing as a kid as a result? (When you’re not cleaning, the sock doubles as a puppet!) For a little help deciding what to keep and what to toss, follow the flow chart below.

Remember to take things one area at a time, and set realistic goals for yourself. It may take you a week, or it may take you a few months to organize your home. The key is to stick with it once you’ve finished! Things won’t be perfect all the time, and you’ll still forget things, but if you maintain just a little more order than you started with, you’ll maintain that much more sanity.

Gentle hugs,


Easy things to repurpose this spring!

2 Apr









I don’t know if you’re into the spring cleaning thing like I am, but, it can be a little stressful. For me, it’s not so much the cleaning that’s daunting, or boxing up things we no longer need, but finding a place to donate or dispose of those things. Unfortunately, we don’t have the best recycling opportunities where we live, and I’m also sentimental person, so it’s easy for things to get a little cluttered. With a little creativity, and maybe an even smaller amount of money, though, you can turn your trash into something useful to justify keeping , give to someone else, or even sell if you’re feeling entrepreneurial.



A colander is a perfect choice for a planter – they’re shatter proof and self-draining!


This was a huge “duh” moment for me. Use this little scoop as a mini dustpan, a scoop for dog food or other dry items, or as a spade.


I’m sure this book display could inspire other tool-related ideas.


This just cracks me up! Sure, it takes a certain aesthetic, but if you have an old painting that’s a little worse for wear, why not touch it up with a little monster love? Unicorns frolicking through a Bob Ross inspired meadow, anyone?




This scarf goes beyond turning your old t-shirt into some other kind of top. You can highlight your favorite parts (or less damaged parts) of your favorite shirts with basic sewing skills.



I already have a thing for colored glass and vases, but most of us have a generic clear vase or two that came with a flower delivery, and this is a really easy way to update them.




Do you have kids? Have they outgrown their wooden blocks? Dip ’em in paint and screw those babies into the wall for instant storage space. (Just a thought – you could also use blocks of the same length as feet for a jewelry box or anything else you’d like to elevate.)

Take a second look at the things you’re not using and brainstorm, or search on Google or Pinterest for an afternoon of time-sucking fun!

Gentle hugs,



Clothing swap update

5 Aug

Ok, it’s official. I’m a little obsessed over this Ladies’ Fashion Swap. The theme has morphed from a mint green and pink color scheme to  cheeky retro housewife.


To take it a step further (I always do,) and to solidify the fact that I’ll use any excuse to dress up, I bought a vintage apron with pockets to keep the necessities on my person. ..And I’m going to wear my 50’s party dress. With pearls. And possibly my pink vintage gloves. When I suggested it to my two friends who are organizing the whole thing, one replied enthusiastically, but the other hasn’t replied at all. She’s probably shaking her head at us. 🙂

I’m mostly done with the decorations now, which consist of easy paper projects (pinwheels and tissue paper poms,) and printouts of the housewives I’ve come up with over the past few weeks. We won’t exactly have money for the decorations until we’re reimbursed by the whopping $1 entry fees, so I’m keeping it on the cheap! I love having to be frugal; it forces me to be creative in ways I wouldn’t necessarily choose to be if I could just buy everything from the party store.

I can’t wait to share pictures of the finished product! We have 45 potential attendees (25 have said they’ll be there, and 20 are maybes,) so I think it will be a good turnout. I’m hoping there are so many people that we don’t have enough clothing racks, but that’s just the optimist in me.

Gentle hugs,


Hi, my name is Chelsea, and I’m a swapaholic.

19 Jul

My friend Paige has been giving me clothing she doesn’t wear anymore for a while now. She realized a year or so ago that she didn’t know half of what was in her closet, and has been going on sporadic cleaning sprees ever since. We started out exactly the same size, but I’ve lost a little weight over the past year, so, as my friend Allison put it, my clothes were “falling off” of me. So, guess who got them? She did, lucky girl. Half of them I had received from Paige. It’s like the 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon, only with cuter shoes.

Along the same lines, I’ve been following Punky of Haberdash Vintage, a traveling trailer of vintage awesomeness, and also of The Swapaholics, a team of women to put together giant swaps all over the place, for years. Needless to say, I’ve been hoping, wishing, and praying for a streamline trailer and a good clothing swap to come my way. My craving has been satiated by the occasional swap with friends, and my compulsive trips to the local thrift shops (hey, it’s as close to free as you can get!) I even suggested hosting a swap to a couple of gals at church last year, but it seemed that the idea hadn’t caught fire yet, and no one was very interested.

Imagine my glee when, a few weeks ago, a friend, who I just happened to have shared my maiden name with (no relation as far as we know, but it sure was confusing for people in high school,) piped up on our small group board and suggested we hold a swap at the church! I instantly gave my two cents of yes, then offered to help with decorations and planning. She, another friend who just happens to be her sister in law, and I got together last night over Mexican food to hash out the details, and came up with a plan.

So … drum roll please … I’m proud to present to you our very first swap:

There’s a whopping $1 entry fee to cover the initial costs of supplies to host the swap, and ladies of all sizes, styles, and ages – from teen to the most seasoned fashionista – are invited. We’re hoping for a big turnout, since you don’t have to be a part of the church to participate. It’s also right around the time school will be starting again, so it’s the perfect time to find some new clothes to wear to classes, whether you’re the student or teacher. I’m so excited, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

If you’re in the DFW area, click on the memo to visit the Facebook event page for more info and RSVP.

Gentle hugs,