Showing posts with label Fashion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fashion. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

The Best Acrylic Fabric Paints for Painting Clothes and Accessories

Acrylic fabric paints, iron-on appliques and other embellishments are a fun and easy way to transform ordinary t-shirts, sweatshirts, denim jackets and jeans into special, one-of-a-kind clothing designs. 

Even if you don’t feel especially artistic, it’s extremely easy to add striking hand painted designs to basic wardrobe items by applying acrylic fabric paint through a stencil with a foam pouncer. 

Embellishing clothing with fabric paints is also a wonderful project to do with kids. Both my fashionista niece and her younger brother used to love taking solid color T-shirts and creating their own hand painted and stenciled designer tees, which they wore with pride.

Some fabric paints also work well on other materials, including leather and vinyl, so they’re great for painting shoes, sandals, handbags, belts and other accessories to give them a whole new look with fresh colors, color blocking, patterns or painted accents.

I have researched and used different types, brands and formulas of fabric paints in different price ranges. In this review I will share my favorite acrylic fabric paints for decorating clothing and accessories. 

The Best, Most Versatile Acrylic Fabric Paints for Embellishing Clothing & Accessories

Why Use Acrylic Fabric Paints?

Acrylic fabric paints, also called acrylic textile paints, are formulated specifically for use on fabric clothing and other textiles. Unlike fabric dyes and alcohol-based textile paints or inks, they do not spread and saturate the fibers. Most work best on untreated or pre-washed, natural fabrics and synthetic fabrics whose fiber content contains at least 50% natural fibers. 

Acrylic textile paints are usually thinner, penetrate fibers better and dry more flexible than standard acrylic paints formulated for art or craft uses. Fabric paints also contain a binder that helps them adhere much better to natural fibers after the paint dries and is heat-set (usually with an iron). This binder makes the painted designs more durable, so they can better withstand repeated washing and resist cracking, peeling or flaking when the fabric is gently stretched or folded, such as when you put on, move around in, take off or put away your painted clothing.   

More transparent colors usually have a thinner consistency and are softer to the touch when dry compared to more opaque fabric paints. They are great for lighter color fabrics, since the color of the clothing will show through them. For the same reason, opaque fabric paints will show up much better on darker clothing, although they are slightly thicker and will dry a bit stiffer than more transparent formulas.

Good Quality Fabric Paints Give the Best Results

Jacquard makes moderately priced, high-quality, highly pigmented paints, dyes, mica powders and other art and craft supplies. Jacquard's Textile, Neopaque and Lumiere lines are my go-to acrylic paints for painting fabrics.

Photo of Jacquard Textile acrylic paints "Exciter Pack" assortment

Jacquard Textile 

Jacquard Textile paints have a medium- to light-bodied consistency and come in 39 semi-transparent colors. Mixing any of the other colors with 123 White will create a pastel shade. You can make any color more transparent without affecting the quality or consistency by mixing it with Jacquard Textile 100 Colorless Extender. (Another option, which I don’t recommend, is diluting the paints with up to 25% water, since it will reduce their viscosity and negatively affect the quality.)  Mixing any other Jacquard Textile color with #220 Super Opaque White will make it more opaque. 

The Jacquard Textile Color Exciter Pack is an economical assortment that includes small bottles of nine of the most useful colors in the line. It's a great way to try these paints without investing a lot of money.

Jacquard Textile colors can also be mixed with Jacquard Lumiere, Neopaque or Dye-Na-Flow paints or with Jacquard Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments to create custom colors and effects.

Jacquard Neopaque and Lumiere

Neopaque is Jacquard’s line of light-bodied, opaque acrylic paints. They come in 21 colors plus a Flowable Extender medium that can be used to make the colors more transparent without altering the paint’s texture, consistency, adherence and other key properties. Lumiere is a companion line of 33 beautiful metallic and pearlescent paint colors designed to complement the Neopaque solid colors and have similar characteristics. My favorite Lumiere paints are the color-shifting duo-chrome colors!

Even though the Jacquard Neopaque and Jacquard Lumiere lines have not been optimized specifically for painting on fabrics, like the Jacquard Textile line, they have many of the same characteristics and are also considered fabric paints. After they have dried and been heat-set, both Neopaque and Lumiere paints adhere to textiles very well, remain flexible and resist cracking, peeling and chipping. I have used them to paint fleece sweatshirts, both freehand and with stencils, and they have withstood many washings well.

Both formulas are opaque, highly pigmented and provide good coverage, even on dark fabrics. You can mix any Neopaque or Lumiere shade with Neopaque Flowable Extender to make it more transparent without changing its consistency, thickness, flexibility, adherence or other important characteristics. 

Similarly to the Jacquard Textile line, you can mix pastel shades by blending a small amount of Neopaque White into any of the other Neopaque colors.

Photo of Jacquard Neopaque and Lumiere acrylic paints
I've been using my first Jacquard Neopaque and Lumiere acrylic paint Exciter Packs for many years. 

There are also a Lumiere Exciter Pack with 9 pearlescent and metallic colors and a Lumiere & Neopaque Exciter Pack with 7 metallic Lumiere shades plus black and white Neopaque. As with the Textile line, these two Exciter Packs are a great way to get a nice variety of colors in smaller quantities for a very affordable price. I have purchased both of these Exciter Packs as well as full-size bottles of the Neopaque black and white and Lumiere duo-chrome colors I use most. I recently bought another of the Lumiere assortments because some older colors have been discontinued and newer ones added.

Another advantage of Jacquard Lumiere and Neopaque acrylic paints is that they adhere well to a wide range of surfaces including paper, wood, rubber, vinyl, leather and rubber, in addition to fabric, and can be used for many different types of projects. I have gotten more than my money’s worth out of mine. 

For example, I completely transformed an old pair of boring, frumpy, beige comfort sandals by painting the leather with Lumiere for the uppers and black Neopaque to edge the sole, and then sewing on some faux jeweled trim. 

Before and after photos of beige sandals painted aqua and blue

Heat-Set Fabric Painting Medium 

You also can achieve successful results by mixing permanent, highly pigmented art or craft acrylic paints 50/50 with a good quality fabric medium, such as Golden GAC 900 Heat-Set Fabric Painting Medium or Martha Stewart Tintable Fabric Medium. 

Pébéo Setacolor

If you are painting a very special piece of clothing or textile, you may want to consider the Pébéo Setacolor line. These superb fabric paints come in an extensive range of beautiful colors and finishes. Although they are more expensive than the Jacquard fabric paints, superior quality, performance and product selection make Pébéo Setacolor products a favorite among many professional painted clothing artists and enthusiasts. 

Pébéo Setacolor Light Fabrics are transparent and include 44 matte, metallic, glitter, and fluorescent shades. Pébéo Setacolor Opaque comes in 77 matte and “shimmer opaque” shades with glitter, pearlescent, metallic and iridescent finishes that dry softer, smoother and more flexible than most other opaque textile paints. There are also Pébéo Setacolor 3D fabric paints that come in tubes with small nozzles that are great for adding raised outlines or dimensional accents to your painted clothing designs. 

The most affordable way to try these terrific paints is with one of the 10-color introductory sets, the Pébéo Setacolor Light Fabrics Discovery Kit or the Pébéo Setacolor Opaque Discovery Kit

Use Fabric Paints and Stencils for Beautiful, Affordable, One-of-a-Kind Handmade Gifts 

Stencils are made in just about any pattern or theme you could want and require no artistic talent to use.

I have used inexpensive fabric stencils of flowers, gardening tools and bees to decorate a sweatshirt for my mother-in-law who loves to garden. 

One of my husband’s favorite gifts from me is a forest green sweatshirt I purchased for him many years ago and stenciled with a cascade of metallic and pearlescent autumn leaves. It has been worn and washed so many times that the fleece is pilling, and the color has faded. By now, the paint isn’t quite as bright or shiny as it once was, either, but it’s still hasn’t cracked, flaked or worn off, and he still wears it proudly.

Photo of man wearing dark green sweatshirt with a stenciled metallic leaf design
My husband still loves and wears this sweatshirt I stenciled for him many years ago. 

You can use alphabet stencils to personalize a T-shirt, hoodie or other garment with the gift recipient’s name or add a meaningful word or message. 

Older children will also love using fabric paints and stencils to turn simple, inexpensive pieces of clothing into personalized gifts for special friends and family members.

Stenciled or hand painted tablecloths, napkins, placemats and table runners also make wonderful gifts. Painting them with snowflakes, pointsettias and other seasonal designs makes any holiday a bit more festive. 

I hope I have inspired you to give fabric paints a try!

The Best Acrylic Fabric Paints for Painting Clothes and Accessories


The Best Acrylic Fabric Paints for Painting Clothes and Accessories by Margaret Schindel


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Sunday, July 11, 2021

Reviewing The Uses Of Pretty and Versatile Headbands For Great Hair




I love my versatile headbands "Sea Team 6-Pack Wide Hairbands" which come in different colours and patterns to suit the activity and my mood. I feel these headbands are very suitable for anyone of any age from a young person to a more mature person who likes the style and look of wearing a headband and perhaps needs one to keep hair out of the way while still looking lovely!

 Why I Like To Wear Headbands. 


I have medium length quite fine wavy hair but a lot of it and I often end up tieing it up when working in the garden and certainly for doing fitness activities. I love having long hair but on hot days I simply have to keep it off my face or I get too hot and uncomfortable. Before I got these hairbands I used to tie my hair up in an elastic band and that resulted in damaged hair and splitting, which is not a good look and not healthy for the hair. 

I think these hairbands would also work for thick hair, curly or straight hair and I do feel that any age can wear these if you like the colours and patterns. I initially thought these would be best for long hair but I do think they would look very cute on shorter hair too. 

My Three Fave Headbands

 When Can You Wear Headbands

These headbands are very comfortable, soft and stretchy enough to easily be worn for hours. I wear mine for every pilates and rebounder workout and my new dance exercise video classes. I think it would be great to wear at any age if you do yoga or play tennis, badminton or any other sports.

I also wear mine when out gardening so that my hair doesn't get in my eyes so much and pick up all the burrs and pollen from the plants!

They are great for when decorating too. You would just need to have one you sacrificed for decorating as if you are anything like me it will end up with paint all over it!  

Apart from wearing them for activities, I do feel that they are pretty enough to wear when out and about and I love the colours and patterns to go with or contrast with clothes.

If a new wardrobe or new dresses or jeans are not affordable right now you can easily update your look with these pretty and funky headbands!

I have to say they really came into their own during the time when we could not get to hairdressers for months and my hair was certainly doing its own thing!! Wearing one of these headbands just made it look a more put-together look. 

In addition, I am not happy about my hair going grey and it seems to be going more grey at the front than the back! I do use natural colourants but I cannot use any with chemicals. I find the natural ones do not last very long and if I have not had the time or the inclination to colour again the grey comes back! However, if I wear one of these headbands it nicely covers up the grey at the front and you just cannot tell !! 

Turquoise Headband Worn Wide


I also wear one when doing my make-up. Day to day I don't wear much makeup but I do wear SPF factor foundation powder every day to protect my skin and I find it easier to apply if I keep my hair out of the way. Then of course if I am doing full makeup for going out,  it is just neater and easier to wear a headband and sort everything. 

These hair bands are also great if you have a day when you should really have washed your hair but did not and then find that you do need to go out! Pop one of these on and the problem is largely sorted as you will look like you make an effort and covered up much of the problem!

Also, headbands are very useful if you are growing your hair from a shorter to a longer style or growing out bangs or a fringe. It keeps hair looking good and not getting in your eyes all the time or looking too messy when going through that difficult stage! 

I do feel that these suit anyone from younger girls to more mature ladies depending on your personal style and activities.

Width Of Headband At Narrow Point

About Headbands, Measurements And Materials.

I strongly recommend that whichever headbands you choose you carefully check the measurements both of your own head and of the headband. 

In addition, check or ask the seller how stretchy the headbands actually are and what the material is made from. You will likely want a quite stretchy and soft material so that you can easily put the headband over your head and that it is comfortable. Also, look for ones that are easily washable as you will want to wash them fairly often.   

The headbands I own are made from a stretchy material that is very soft. Enough stretch in it to be easily worn but not too much to be tight. If you wear one a lot it can feel a little loose after time but I found generally after washing they go back to shape. I have only hand-washed mine as really it is so easy and quick to do. 

Stretchy Soft Headband
 
They are often sold as one size fits most. The ones I own are on average around eight and a half inches long measuring one side as per the photo below on the red headband and about two inches wide at the smallest point. The widest point can stretch to significantly more.

I find these measurements are about right for my head. Some headbands in the past have given me a headache as they were way too tight, but these I find are just comfortable.

I would always recommend that you measure your own head or your child's head first then check the measurements on the listings carefully. If the headband is too tight it will hurt and if too loose will fall down and not hold the hair in place.

The ones I have are quite wide but I personally like that as I can then have them wide on my head or simply fold it over to make it a thinner band which is still comfortable for me. 

I can also wear them with the widest part at the front or flip them over and have the narrow part where the long edges join as the top piece which gives a different look. 
 
Length of Headband Folded


If you have hair you need to keep out of the way while doing an activity, be it sports or other physical work, they are very useful and you can look great as well!

If you wish to wear them as a fashion accessory, to style your own fashion, then that works too. The colours and patterns are varied and lovely.

My favourites from my "Sea Team 6-Pack Wide Hairbands" are dark blue, turquoise blue and red as shown below. 

Beautiful Colours And Patterns On Headbands


I think if you bought the pack and did not like one or more of the colours or patterns then they would make a lovely little additional birthday, thank you gift or stocking filler. Or of course, you may wish to buy the whole pack as a gift.

There are many variations of these headbands. I just have this set Sea Team 6-Pack Wide Hairbands but there are many more you may wish to take a look at in the selection below.

 








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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Super Comfortable and Flattering Yoga Pants for Women

I finally discovered the joy of wearing comfortable yoga pants and workout leggings as an alternative to jeans or pants after beginning a successful ketogenic diet journey that culminated in a nearly 60–pound weight loss. After purchasing several different styles and sizes of yoga pants over the past 21 months, there have been three (so far) that I can recommend highly, each for different reasons. The pair I've chosen to feature in this product review, the IUGA high-waisted workout leggings, are by far the most comfortable yoga pants for women I've tried. 

They not only feel wonderful and are available in a choice of several, they're also flattering, even on those of us who aren't blessed with model-perfect bodies. 

Photo of IUGA yoga pants on model with superimposed text "The Most Comfortable Yoga Pants Super Soft Fabric That Doesn't Bag or Bind for a Flattering Fit
There's no bunching, bagging, or binding with these ultra-soft, ultra-comfy workout leggings! 

Yoga Pants and Workout Leggings Have Become Wardrobe Staples

The fashion experts at Vogue magazine just released this year's Vogue Wardrobe Essentials Guide. and black workout leggings are one of the editors' 34 wardrobe staples for 2021. (Who knew?)

Originally, yoga pants and workout leggings were made specifically for yoga practice and working out, respectively, and had different fabric and design features. But as they have evolved from fitness-only to fashion, those distinctions have gradually eroded, and now the terms "yoga pants" and "leggings" are often used either together or interchangeably in product descriptions.

Yoga Pants Provide Greater Comfort and Freedom of Movement Than Pants or Jeans

My first time buying a pair of yoga pants wasn't until shortly after my 65th birthday, when I began a health-driven weight loss journey and switched to a clean, ketogenic approach to eating. I completely eliminated sugars, grains, and highly processed foods from my diet, and between May 2019 and August 2020, I lost 59 pounds and went from a size 16-18 to a size 6-8. Every two to three months (even less, at the beginning), I was dropping a size, and boxing up my almost-new clothing to donate. Having to buy them again in a smaller size every few months meant limiting my clothing purchases to a few, basic wardrobe staples—underwear, jeans, black pants, shorts, and a couple of tops—until I reached my weight loss goal.

As you may have noticed, neither yoga pants nor leggings were on my initial list of wardrobe staples. I had always associated them with much younger, slimmer women and girls, with taut, toned bodies and cute figures, so they weren't even on my radar at that point! However, my attitude toward this type of clothing changed significantly once I accepted that my commitment to healthier living would require becoming more active, in addition to nourishing my body better.  

One of the most important benefits of losing weight and follow a clean, ketogenic diet was the amelioration, and eventual elimination, of the chronic, acute pain in my knees, hips, back, and feet that I had been living with for decades. Being able to go for a walk or a Segway ride with my husband  without being in agony was not just liberating, but life-changing! As I was searching online for a new, smaller pair of classic, high-waisted, basic black pants (which I wore more often than anything else I owned), I was surprised to see more high-waisted leggings and yoga pants than regular pants in the search results. It occurred to me that it might be a good idea to expand my list of wardrobe staples to include a couple of pieces of activewear, to support and encourage my efforts to make physical activity part of my new, healthy lifestyle. In fact, it might even be time for me to consider a pair of workout leggings a try.

Of course, I could wear them...but should I? Would it be possible for yoga pants to look attractive (or, at least, not unattractive) and age-appropriate, on this out-of-shape senior? I debated with myself for a while, but finally acknowledged that I couldn't see myself objectively, and decided to ask my husband what he thought, knowing he would give me his honest opinion. He encouraged me to order a pair and try them on. 

When I did, I was surprised and delighted at his reaction, which was more positive than I could have imagined! You could have knocked me down with a feather. I also was thrilled to discover how much more comfortable and less restrictive those yoga pants felt, compared to the jeans and tailored pants I had always worn, Before long, I found myself wearing them several days a week, not only for walks and Segway rides, but also for routine, everyday activities, like working, reading, cooking, or watching a movie. They quickly went from being completely off my radar to becoming a staple in my new wardrobe. 

I'm pulling my hamstring and calf muscles together as far as I can, the fabric doesn't bind or cut into them, it simply conforms to the compression I'm creating

Since that first pair, I have purchased other pairs from different brands and with slightly different features, and my IUGA high-waisted workout leggings have been the most comfortable yoga pants I've owned to date. 

What I Love Most About My IUGA High-Waisted Leggings

Ultra-Soft, Opaque Fabric

  • The first thing I noticed about these yoga pants was the extremely soft, silky, luxurious fabric, which gave these a totally different feel than any of my other leggings. The best word I can think of to describe it is "touchable," with a lovely, tactile quality similar to that of microfiber. 
  • The "non see through" fabric is completely opaque. 

Flattering Fit

  • The fiber content blends polyester for shape retention with spandex for excellent stretch and recovery, as well as abrasion-resistance.*
  • The 4-way stretch provides good compression and support. 
  • The high-waisted silhouette, seamed front and back yoke construction, and increased compression around the lower torso are designed to "contour your curves" and "pull in your tum and bum." 
  • They are made in six sizes, ranging from XS to XXL, and there's a size chart to help you determine which one will fit you best. (I followed the size chart when I ordered mine, and they fit me perfectly.)
* Note: The description on the Amazon product page states that the fiber content of these workout leggings is 80% polyester and 20% spandex. However, the fiber content printed inside my light blue IUGA yoga pants is 87% polyester and 13% spandex. Sometimes, a product's fiber content may vary slightly different from one color to another, which is one possible explanation for the discrepancy, but your guess is as good as mine.

Extremely Comfortable

  • The smooth, soft, supple polyester and spandex fabric also wicks moisture away from the body to keep you dry and comfortable while working out.
  • These yoga pants provide less compression around the the legs than around the lower torso, so they don't bind or cut into your legs, but also enough to remain conformed to your legs and prevent the fabric from bunching or sagging as you move, bend, and stretch. 

Waistband Pocket

Photo of built-in pocket in the waistband of the IUGA workout leggings/yoga pants
  • The built-in pocket is completely hidden, and remains undetectable unless or until you decide to place something inside it.
  • Although I haven't had to use it very often, I'd guess it could easily hold a couple of keys, a lip balm, and a few tissues, for example.  
    • According to the product description, "You will be able to stash your phones and keys safely." Keys? Probably. But unless your phone is quite small, I wouldn't consider the waistband pocket a secure place to stash it. 
  • Access is easy and convenient.

Excellent Quality

  • I purchased my IUGA High Waisted Leggings three months ago, and I machine wash and then hang them over a clothes drying rack to dry. After having laundered them quite a few times so far, there appears to have been no fading, pilling, or changes in the fit or performance of these yoga pants. 
  • At the time this post was published, they had more than 5,400 5-star ratings from Amazon customers.

A Choice of Colors and Lengths

  • Currently, these yoga pants come in black, dark coffee (dark brown), dark violet, dark blue, gray, light blue, pale red violet, carnation purple (lilac), maroon, and tranquil green. 
    • Note: The ones I own are the "light blue" shade. In real life, the color is a bit less aqua than it appears in the Amazon product page photos.  
  • Most of the colors (but not all) are offered in both regular and capri lengths. 

Very Affordable

  • These IUGA workout leggings retail for $24.95 and, at the time of publishing, were priced at $19.95 on Amazon with Prime free one-day shipping and free returns for Amazon Prime members.

Super Comfortable and Flattering Yoga Pants for Women review by Margaret Schindel


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Thursday, September 6, 2018

Ryka Devo Plus 2 Walking Shoes - Review

Ryka Devo Plus 2 Walking Shoes Review
As a lifelong athlete and former coach, I have learned there is one thing we should never skimp on: our footwear.  This is true for anyone with an active lifestyle.  If your feet aren't happy, it's almost impossible to enjoy such simple pleasures as a revitalizing walk in a beautiful park.  Recently, when I began preparing with my dog, Finn, for a charity walking event, I could tell it was time to replace my worn-out running shoes.  My knees and hips were sore after every three-mile workout.  Fortunately, I was able to quickly alleviate my joint pain and discomfort by switching to a new pair of Ryka Devo Plus 2 walking shoes.  I'd like to share with you why this is my fifth purchase of Ryka shoes.

If you haven't discovered the Ryka brand yet, you are in for a treat.  First and foremost, Ryka is a company specializing in footwear for women.  It makes all the difference in the world when such an important product is customized for the female anatomy.  Until I found Ryka, my super sensitive feet suffered when forced into shoes that were essentially men's footwear sized down for women.  For a long time, that was really the only option we had.

Imagine my delight, then, when I tried on my first pair of Ryka training shoes.  My feet were ecstatic.  For the first time in, well, forever, blisters, sore heels, and aching arches were a thing of the past.  Fast forward to today — nearly 15 years and thousands of miles since buying my first Ryka fitness shoes.  Having previously owned four pairs of their running and cross-training shoes, it was time to purchase a pair specifically geared towards walking.  In case you are wondering, yes, it does make a difference when you wear shoes made for a particular activity.

It was easy to choose the Ryka Devo (Devotion) Plus 2 walking shoes.  They are wildly popular and are a best-seller on Amazon.  As I skimmed through a sampling of hundreds of five-star rated reviews, it was apparent why so many women are totally devoted to this particular Ryka shoe.  As soon as my new shoes arrived, I joined the legion of fans.

Right out of the box I experienced something quite rare: no break-in period with the Devo Plus 2 shoes.  Amazingly, I was able to immediately walk for miles without my usual knee pain.  What a relief!  Here are a few additional things I love about my new Ryka walking shoes:

  1. Luxurious cushioning.
  2. So lightweight I barely know I am wearing shoes.
  3. Breathable mesh that keeps my feet perfectly cool.
  4. My feet feel refreshed even after a 12-hour day on the go.
And did I mention all the great color options?  I went with the navy/teal combo, which goes so well with my typical casual wardrobe.  I have a feeling you will be drawn to one of these pleasing color choices: black/purple, blue/pink, white/blue, grey/coral, plum/turquoise, grey/teal, black/pink, or navy/teal.  I like several of these combinations.

As you can probably tell,  I highly recommend the Ryka Women's Devo Plus 2 walking shoes.  I am completely satisfied with their value, excellent quality, and the great deal I got on Amazon (25% off retail and free two-day shipping).  When you check out additional buyer comments, by following any of the links in this review, you will learn that many women have made this shoe their preferred everyday work shoe (like nurses and other professionals who spend a lot of time on their feet every day).  Having worn these shoes daily now for about a month, I am not surprised.  Have you tried the Ryka brand?  If so, I hope you will share your experience.  Thanks for stopping by!





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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

July 4th Ladies Tank Top Reviewed

Apparel For July 4th Celebration

usa flag
To Celebrate Our Nation's Birthday
Ladies are you looking for a new tank top to wear for your July 4th celebration this year? I would like to review an option for you today.

Chances are whether you plan to attend a local parade, a picnic, cookout or the fireworks display the temperature will be warm. A tank top offers a perfect option for the weather and the celebration you plan to attend.

Actually, the option that I am going to show you will work beyond the July 4th holiday. It can be worn any time during the warm months of the year to show your patriotism or just as a really cool top.



4th of July Tank Top

The great thing about this tank top for ladies is that it is quite casual and can be worn with your favorite shorts, pair of jeans or even slacks. I particularly like that it is extra long and could even be worn as a cover-up for the pool or beach. So, there is a lot of versatility for this particular choice for your celebration of our nation's birthday.

I also noticed that if you do not like this particular design you have the option to choose a different pattern. One has mostly stars on a blue background while the other is sort of a reverse of the design above. There is also a great selection of sizes available for this tank top.

So, how about it? Have you thought about what you will be wearing for the July 4th celebration that is just around the corner?


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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Collection (A Series) Reviewed

An Intriguing Drama Series To Stream 

sewing machine for fashion
Sewing Machine image courtesy of Pixabay.com
The Collection is a series of episodes that can be streamed through an Amazon Prime membership. My husband and I started viewing it this weekend and we are really caught up in the drama of the show. 

The story takes place in the late 1940s after WWII in Paris. It revolves around the fashion industry focusing on a small house of couture called Paul Sabine. 

In case you are not much of a history buff, during the war France was occupied by the Germans. As one can imagine the fashion industry of Paris suffered during this occupation. In fact, Hitler wanted to move the fashion houses and designers to Germany. 

The series hints at some collaboration with the Germans during the occupation and also shows how the industry is trying to make a comeback and restore its recognition of being the best place in the world for couture and new styles.



I am not one who really gets too caught up in fashion but I do love the premise of this series. The set designs are remarkable! I love seeing how the staff worked at making a design on paper come to life in the sewing room. The attention to detail in how that room would have looked is amazing. In one scene a girl is working on a dress on a mannequin and my husband said, "What does she have on her wrist?" It was a wonderful old fashioned pin cushion that a seamstress would have worn on her wrist for convenience.

One might think that most men would not enjoy this series much since it deals with Paris fashion houses. My husband is really enjoying it because there is more than just creating unique dresses involved. I mentioned the hints of collaboration with the Nazis. There is an American reporter who is trying to dig up some dirt on that front. There is also a conflict between the two Sabine brothers that is quite interesting. Paul, who is known as the owner and top designer of the House of Sabine doesn't really design the dresses. His brother Claude is the real talent behind their designs but the public doesn't know that. I don't think most of the staff realizes who the real genius is. The mother of the brothers is pretty interesting too! There is something from her past that makes her mysterious. Paul is holding something over her and she does not want Claude to find out. She is a real piece of work!

We are finding that there is enough going on that both genders, male and female, can enjoy this series found on Amazon. The story holds your attention and keeps you wondering what will happen next. It is currently rated 4.6 stars out of 5 so it would appear that most viewers are rating it highly.

 Currently the only way to view it is through your Prime membership. That might change in the future but for now only Prime members can watch it for free. 



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Monday, January 2, 2017

Reviewing Free Country Women's Jackets

My Free Country soft shell jacket
I dread buying jackets and I am often disappointed after purchasing one. Winter jackets are too bulky or they aren't bulky but then they are not warm enough. Water-resistant jackets often feel too stiff and too much like plastic and are overly noisy when I walk. Or my favorite jackets do not remain dry in wet snow conditions. Last week, I found the solution to my jacket problems when I purchased a women's jacket by Free Country. I immediately put it to the test in severe weather. This review will explain why I have a new favorite brand of women's outerwear.


Free Country Soft Shell Women's Hooded Jacket


A week ago, I went shopping for a jacket. I needed a warm, wind-resistant, rain-resistant but light-weight jacket. I dread cold and wet weather. Not so much because of the weather. In fact, I enjoy being outside in inclement weather at many times. What I dread is finding outerwear that fits, is comfortable, and does what it claims to do. I chose a Free Country Soft Shell Hooded Jacket and immediately put it to the test.

This soft shell jacket was advertised as water resistant, wind resistant, and breathable.  It was so thin that I expected it to be not warm enough. But the "soft butterpile lining" and the wind resistant material kept me plenty warm as I went camping during severe weather that included 20F degree nights, severe wind gusts, and horizontally blowing snow crystals. I was camping in a cabin but had to walk the dogs, gathered wood, and I also planted my little Christmas tree in the inclement weather. I remained warm and dry during all of these activities.

The things I especially liked about this jacket:
  • this little jacket kept me warm and kept the wind off me. 
  • my movement was not constricted 
  • I bought slightly large so I could layer underneath as needed but the fit was still very good
  • the hood fit well (not so snug as to be binding and not so loose as to blow off) 
  • shorter cut (no sitting on the tail of my jacket)
  • multiple pockets (the pockets were large and roomy enough for a large pair of gloves)
  • the velco-adjustable cuffs of the jacket are perfect for wind-proofing your wrists - no matter how thick or thin your gloves (or wrists) are

I was surprised at how well this jacket performed. I should have purchased two of them - one for my "roughing it" activities and one for work.

Free Country Women's Anorak Rain Jacket


After I purchased the jacket I described above, I thought something seemed familiar about it.  So I checked the rain jacket that I purchased last year that I like. Briefly, this women's rain jacket is advertised as being made with a "unique coating" that is soft, durable, and lightweight. The "radiant" coating feels slightly "nylon-ish" to me and does make some of that distracting rain coat noise that I despise. But only slightly.  The interior mesh keeps me cool (which is a huge plus) and none of the material gives my hair static (an even bigger plus).

If you are looking for a lightweight rain jacket, I recommend the Free Country jackets.


About Free Country


On the Free Country site you will find that there are many different styles of jackets for a variety of weather conditions.  You'll also find a long list of stores that carry this brand. Some of these retail partners include:

  • Amazon
  • Bass Pro Shops
  • JC Penney
  • Kohls

I purchased this jacket via Kohls because I had some generous gift cards to spend. I have several wish list items that I will purchase in the near future. Whether you purchase through one of the retail partners or through Free Country's site, I think you will find what you need.



I would like to mention that if purchasing from Amazon, please comparison shop. Amazon is my favorite shopping experience and I've never had difficulty with an order. All of the coats fulfilled by Free Country were competitively priced. However, I noticed that my specific jacket advertised on Amazon, fulfilled by another merchant, was marked up considerably. Be careful to watch those prices.






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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Elephant Necklace Reviewed

Gift Idea For The Elephant Lover

elephant necklace
Elephant Necklace In Gift Box
In the last few weeks I have talked about my little granddaughter who has a passion for elephants and wants to protect them from poaching. I decided to review an elephant necklace that she will also be getting as a Christmas present this year for today's post. Grandma has made this an elephant themed holiday for this precious little girl.

While searching for an elephant necklace I had a few things that I wanted to find in that necklace. I wanted it to be no longer than 18 inches because it will be worn by a 5 year old little girl. I figured that at that length she will be able to wear it for years to come.

I also wanted for it to be sterling silver so that it would last for years to come and not tarnish with wear. Little girls can be rough on jewelry; so I wanted something of value.

The last item on my list of "it must haves" was that the trunk had to be up on the elephant. We will talk more about  the reason for that choice in a minute.

I found there was quite a nice selection to choose from and it took me a while to find what I think was the perfect one for her. So, here is the necklace that I decided would work well for my little grandchild.

The image above looks large but that is so that you can see the detail of the elephant. The actual size is small and very delicate looking. It will not be too large for her small frame and as she grows it will remain quite feminine looking as she wears it.

Why did I want the trunk up on the elephant? Many say that an elephant with its trunk up will bring good fortune or good luck to people. Some might even say that if the trunk is down it will bring bad luck. That being said, I did find that some people believe the opposite and that an elephant with its trunk down allows good fortune to flow through easily. I am going with the trunk up theory because it makes more sense to me and besides the elephant looks happier and less menacing in my humble opinion.

dainty elephant necklace
Dainty Elephant Necklace
As you can see from my images the elephant necklace comes in a pretty little gift box. I also felt that sharing my own images with you might give a better perspective of how dainty the little pendant is on the chain. The chain, itself, has a nice delicate look to it but appears to be good and sturdy which is also a necessity for a child.

One of the features that sold me on this particular choice was the added little bling. It looks like the pachyderm is wearing a necklace of diamonds. Of course they are not real diamonds but it does give the illusion of them. She is very much a little girl who loves fancy and shiny things! I think she will be delighted when she opens the gift on Christmas morning. I can already hear her saying, "Grandma will you help me put it on?"

Although, I picked this gift for a child; it is a nice gift idea for a girl of any age who happens to love elephants. It is very nicely made and would look great with casual wear or dressy attire. 



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Reviewing 4 Beautiful, Affordable Scarves for The Women in Your Life!

There isn't a woman around who doesn't love the look and feel of a beautiful scarf around her neck.  


There is something wonderful and enticing about the colorful scarves that just seem to make an outfit go from okay to a Knock Out!

Scarves can take your everyday little black dress and make that dress just "Pop". One black dress can look so different depending on the addition and color of a simple scarf.

Beautiful Scarves for Women





What I love about this accessory is that there are literally hundreds of different styles and colors to choose from. Large squares are great for accessorizing your wardrobe. There are also long rectangular scarves that lend themselves to be knotted in many different ways.

Ways to Wear or Tie a Scarf


They are an inexpensive addition to your wardrobe that can lift your outfit from plain to outstanding. Long scarves can be knotted, draped or just left sitting on your shoulders. Each way you choose to wear it gives it a different look.

You don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure it all out. But, let me help you with this video and you can try these methods at home. See which way you like to knot your scarf and then try something different on another occasion.




Scarves can be dressy or very casual. I suggest the silk scarves for work or evenings out. Silk scarves just say "special occasion or dressy occasion" to me.

https://pixabay.com/en/clothing-scarves-winter-668701/
As you can see from this picture, scarves can be made out of many different fabrics. Each one has its place in your wardrobe. Colors are also so varied that you will have no problem finding the ones that you like the best. Wherever you travel you will find that scarves are one of the hottest items to buy for your friends back home or for yourself.

 https://pixabay.com/en/neck-scarves-market-selection-287657/

A few years ago, Oprah made the Pashminas (light wool and silk scarves) so fashionable that the prices of them became prohibitive for most people. Today you can buy them at much more reasonable prices, but the fiber contents may vary. Let's just say, they were beautiful and extravagant! Scarves can be affordable and still beautiful. One will never ever be enough.

Long cotton scarves can be used for hiking and horseback riding adventures. Going out to the country fair and wanting to look just a little dressy will be so easy with some heavier scarves. Depending on the time of year, even woolen scarves would be appropriate and even very classy. If ever you need a gift that will make a lady happy and smile, I would suggest a beautiful scarf. They are a gift that will be used and enjoyed for many years to come.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Friday, October 21, 2016

Fabulous Faux Fur Coats, Jackets, Throws and More Reviewed

Faux Furs Really are Fabulous Alternatives


Since I own several Fabulous Fur coats by Donna Salyers, I can personally attest to the high quality and beauty of these faux furs.
Because I think animals have the loveliest fur,  I was thrilled when I discovered Fabulous Furs, a company that manufactures exquisite faux fur coats.  The soft feel coupled with the warmth of fur makes a beautiful, warm and luxurious coat, jacket or throw. 

Even though I think animal fur is gorgeous, I have always refused to wear real mink coats or any other real fur coat.  In spite of being surrounded by women in society who consider animal fur the ultimate fashion statement, I remained "unfashionable". 

When my husband gave me my first Fabulous Fur coat, I was absolutely amazed at how beautiful and warm it was to wear.  I now have several faux fur coats and I thoroughly enjoy wearing them.   I adore my collection of Fabulous Fur coats that imitate the natural beauty of animals and I am extremely proud that they are not real animal fur.  Anyone who knows me well, knows how much I love animals!  I would never consider harming or killing an animal for the sake of my own vanity. 


The Coats and Jackets are Available directly from Donna Salyers Fabulous Furs website


Dress up your Home too!


 60X86 SIGNATURE THROW WHITE MINKIn addition to stunningly gorgeous coats, jackets, vests, ponchos and wraps, Fabulous Furs also offers a variety of beautiful faux fur throws.

Our daughter owns the faux fur white mink throw and matching pillow.  It was a rather extravagant purchase at the time we purchased them, but she really wanted that throw and pillow set.  As it turns out, it was a great investment.   That throw and pillow set have been the one constant through several paint colors and decor changes in her bedroom.

White is not everyone's first choice, but there are several fur color options available.  The puma, lynx, red fox and sable are a few of my own favorites.


Fabulous Furs Offer Superior Service


Bunny Fur Coat
I have had the opportunity to deal with Donna Salyers' customer service department via the phone too.  A few years ago, we purchased a little pink rabbit faux fur for our niece for Christmas. 

When I ordered it, the coat was out of stock and due before Dec. 28th.  However, I'll have you know, I received it Dec. 24th.  I know they went the extra mile to get that coat to us by Christmas when many companies would have simply figured the sale was made, what difference did it make.  Well, it made a difference!  They now have several loyal customers in our family.

Most Excellent Customer Service!   

That evening, our niece had no more ripped into the package, before she was wearing her new coat and muff.  The house was full of people and was quite warm, but we couldn't talk her out of that coat.  She loved the gift and she looked like an adorable pink bunny in it. 

As a side note, in that shipment they accidentally included a luxurious Sable vest.  I suspect that was due to rushing the order out for me and probably several other customers too.  It was such a soft and beautiful vest!  However, since I had not ordered or paid for the vest, I had to force myself to call customer service and tell them about the error.  That sable was so soft!  I confess, I petted it for a while before I taped up the box for return. 




My Personal Recommendation


Leopard Faux Fur coat
Since I own several of these coats, I can personally attest to the high quality and beauty of these faux furs.  My leopard coat is actually prettier than the real leopard fur coats that I have seen in department stores. 

The very best thing is that those gorgeous big cats were not killed so I could have a coat that duplicates their natural beauty.  

As a seamstress, I can also tell you that these coats and jackets are well made.  The lining is exceptional and the buttons or snaps are secure.  The pockets are also well hidden in the seams and lay flat.   

I always appreciate extraordinary workmanship! 


Inspiration for Fabulous Furs


Donna Salyers, President and founder of Fabulous-Furs, explains how the company began . . .

"Inspiration for Fabulous-Furs came nearly two decades ago when I was on my way to purchase a mink coat.  On my car radio, Paul Harvey described kittens being skinned to become "mink" teddy bears.  Instead of buying a coat that day, I was inspired to create a luxurious alternative."

You can read Donna's full statement and timeline by clicking here.



After discovering Fabulous Furs
I decided you can never have too many fur coats!  

(Faux, of course!)


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"Fabulous Faux Fur Coats, Jackets, Throws and More Reviewed" Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse





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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Reviewing Ponchos For Women

Ponchos: A Practical Choice In Fashion

man in poncho
Public Domain Image
The Poncho, it is an article of clothing that ebbs and wanes in the fashion industry from season to season. It will be really hot and found in every shopping outlet you can imagine or it may be hard to find depending on where it sits in the popularity of the designers for the year.

There are many styles of ponchos for women. Some follow the traditional style of being a garment which almost looks like a blanket with a hole for the head. Historically the poncho was made of a wool fabric and was meant to keep the body warm. It is still meant to keep the body warm but is not necessarily made from wool anymore.

Many ponchos of today are found in a less than traditional style with an open front which wraps around the shoulders more like a cape or shawl. It just boils down to a matter of preference as to whether you want your poncho to go over your head or just wrap around your shoulders.

Ponchos are a really practical choice for the fall season when the temperatures have started to dip but it isn't cold enough for a winter coat. They are comfortable and fun to wear. They team up well with jeans but also look nice with slacks and skirts.

This very practical garment has been in use since before the Spanish came to the Americas. Originally found predominately in the Andes region of South America now known as Peru the poncho is considered a South American garment. No matter its origin, it has proven to be quite the versatile piece of clothing for our wardrobes.

You can also opt for a poncho for your rain gear. Of course a rain poncho will be made of a water-proof fabric. I have a rain poncho in my closet that is older than my grandchildren but I still pull it out on those rainy days when I have to venture outdoors.

Currently, I am in the process of crocheting a fun little poncho for this fall season. At a later date, I'll show you the finished piece with a link to the pattern.




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