My Sweet New Ride

Lent Day 34

As promised, my new bicycle!!

I'm very excited about this. I've wanted a bike for a couple year now, but there was no place in our tiny apartment to store one. Well now that I have a garage, all I needed to do was find the right bike. Thanks to a helpful volunteer at the Great Maine Bike Swap, I ended up with this vintage beauty.


I don't know the specific model, but it's a Sears 3-Speed, probably from the 1960s. I'm thinking it definitely needs a basket, and a name. I'll take any naming suggestions in the comments.


Bicycle Parts

It's been raining a lot the past few days, so I haven't had much of a chance to ride yet (I also need to buy a helmet), but I can't wait. My goal is to be able to ride to work by this summer (it's about 8 miles).


As for Lent, today's (day 34) outfit is brought to you by the color yellow:

Lent Day 34

Cotton Cardigan: Old Navy (old)

Dress: Vintage, from Clothes Optional in Chicago, IL

Bottle Cap Barrett: purchased in Old Town Eureka, CA

Shoes: Clarks Outlet


Off we go!!

Lent Day 34

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Lent Days #7 & #8

Day #7 Detail For days seven and eight, I mixed it up with some dresses. Thanks to "Springing Forward" it's not as light in the mornings right now, which has made getting photos a little more difficult (or at least blurrier), but I boldly strive on in the name of Lent.

Yesterday I wore a dress that arrived in the mail on Monday. I had pre-ordered it a while back, and while initially hesitant to purchase a red dress, I'm glad I did. It's a bit hard to tell in the photo, but there are scalloped tiers going down the length of the dress - which makes for a fun dress. The black and red might be a little harsh, but I think I'll have fun trying different ways of styling this dress, particularly as it warms up some.

Lent Day #7Necklace: Sears

Dress: Red Fox by Shabby Apple

Cardigan: Joy by Kim Hargreaves, made by me

Shoes: Clarks Outlet

Lent Day #8

This morning I was feeling a little crummy when I woke up, so I went with the dress equivalent of comfort food. I bought this wool-poly knit dress a few years ago and it's easy to throw on and go.

Also comfort food? Tea and toast with marmalade.

Lent Day #8

Dress: Brief Originals, Vintage (from the store above Strange Maine in Portland, ME)

Wool Tights:

Boots: Naturalizers, Macy's

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Wallpaper Archeology

Mr. Cleaver and I have our apartment through the end of January, so we're taking advantage of this time to get some work done in the house before we move in. The goal: to paint the master bedroom and living room.

Our Friday, December 31st, the master bedroom in our new house looked like this:

Master Bedroom

Yesterday, on Friday January 7th, it looked like this:

Master Bedroom- During (Skim Coated)

For the week in between, it looked more like this:

Wallpaper Removal

and this: Wallpaper Removal

and this: Wallpaper Removal

I had been told that whenever you do a remodeling project expect it to take twice as long and cost at least 10% more than you think.

I don't think I was prepared for the "dear God, what have I done!!" feeling that happens in the middle when everything looks terrible and you're too far into the project to turn back, but not near enough to being done that you can see the end yet.

Deciding to remove the early 90's style wallpaper seemed an easy enough decision. And it was easy enough to remove.

It was the other 3-4 generations under it that were more difficult, particularly the charming at first, but stupidly stubborn later, patriotic print that was the bottom layer. We guessed the lowest level of paper was put on in 1962, based on a note written on the underlying wall.  The house was built in 1948, but there had obviously been some patches and repairs done since then.

Bottom Layer

It was interesting to see all the levels and think about the people who lived there before. The eagle print aside, there were a lot of muted florals on greyish-pink pastel backgrounds.

Thanks to some paperwork passed down from owner to owner, we know the names of at least three previous owners who lived in the house during 1982, 1989, and 1997 (at least), and it's interest to guess which paper belong to which owner. It was like wallpaper archeology. In someways, I felt bad pulling out all that history. On the other hand, we made things so much easier for whoever may own the house after us.

All in all it took 3 days and 3 garbage bags worth of wallpaper. Fortunately, there were no big surprises under all that paper, though we're still not sure what all the walls are made of - it seems to be pressboard/paperboard in some places, maybe plaster or plywood in others.

Since the walls weren't in great condition after the wallpaper removal, Mr. Cleaver and I skim coated the walls with joint compound and caulked the seams between the molding and the walls. All new skills we didn't know a week before!! I wouldn't call us experts by any means, but we did a fair enough job - and hopefully by the end of next week, it'll all be painted and ready to move in.

Master Bedroom- During (Skim Coated)

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Roadtrip: American Textile History Museum

Textiles are Special

On Sunday my knitting group took a field trip out to the American Textile History Museum in Lowell, Massachusetts. Tucked in the back of a former mill along with the Lowell Sun Newspaper and some loft condos, this jewelbox of a museum winds through  textile production, fashion, history, and innovation.

Our Intrepid Band

Some exhibits made more sense than others (I guess bicycle frames are a textile...), but it was a fun afternoon and I learned  how baseballs are tested and how linen goes from plant to fabric (Winnowing! Retting! Scutching! Heckling!).

Loom Room

The loom room.

Spools of color

Measuring warps.

Like Jewels

Circular Knitting Machine

A circular knitting machine.

Lacy Underthings of Other Eras

Bloomers and bustles.


We went to the museum specifically to catch the last day of a special exhibit "Aprons: Fifties Functional Fashion." We all wore aprons in honor of the event (and got a surprise $2 off admission!)

Apron Exhibit

The exhibit consitsted of about 50 or so aprons and I was glad to see the majority of pieces in the exhibit were homesewn, and some were quite dashing,



Christmas Kitsch



or busty!

Because sometimes your apron needs boobs.

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Small Things

Here are some small things that are bringing me joy these days:

The labels in my new vintage sweater Vintage Sweater Labels

Vintage Sweater

Lacey Mitts* to keep my hands warm when I drive Wine & Roses Mitts

Evening games of Trivial Pursuit with Mr. Cleaver Trivial Pursuit

and a new warm scarf in a special yarn**: Just Enough Ruffles Scarf

* Wine and Roses Mitts in Malabrigo Lace ** Just Enough Ruffles Scarf in Tess' Designer Yarns' Cultivated Silk and Wool

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A Brief Article on Bathing

As of Wednesday morning, my building has been lacking that most modern of conveniences, hot running water, due to the change over in our hot water heaters. 

Now I am not one to take for granted hot running water. I love a good hot shower and you'd be hard pressed to find someone who enjoys a warm bath more than I do. When the days comes when Mr. Cleaver and I will buy a home you can bet your sweet bippy I'll be jumping into the tubs (dry of course) to test them for comfortabilty. Shower only? Forget it.

But for these past few morning I have been living a much less modern life, one with hot water pumping through the taps. So to find out how to deal with this development I decided to check in with a more antique source - enter Misters B. G. Jefferis and J. L. Nichols.

Searchlights on Health

Published in 1920 just a hop, skip and jump of my current home of Chicago, Searchlights on Health is an innvaluable source. In addition to being a guide to "Purity and Physical Manhood" with "Advice to Maiden, Wife and Mother" on "Love, Courtship, and Marriage ," it contained at least three section on bathing.  Jackpot!

My first though on learning we had no hot water  was, maybe I'll just skip the shower today. But Misters Jefferis and Nichols had something to say about that.

The Care of the Person

Important Rules

6. The Bath. - No person should think for a moment that they can be popular in society without regular bathing...

Well, I want to be popular, so I guess I can't skip the bathing then - ah, but it goes on

 A bath should be taken at least once a week, and if the feet perspire, they should be washed several times a week, as the case may require...

Okay, so perhaps I can skip a day...

Every lady owes it to herself to be fascinating; every gentleman is bound, for his own sake, to be presentable, but beyond this there is the obligation to society, to one's friends, and to those with whom we may be brought in contact.

So now I need to be fascinating and clean?! Maybe if I step it up on the cleanliness, they'll let me slack on the fascinating thing. So back to the cold water... but then I find in a second section:

The Bath

Practical Rules for Bathing

7. Bathing in cold rooms and in cold water is positively injurious, unless the person possesses a very strong and vigorous constitution, and then there is great danger of laying the foundation of some serious disease.

12. A person not robust should be very careful in bathing; great care should be exercised to avoid any chilling effects.

I don't know how vigorous my constitution is, so bathing could put me in some dangerous territory. From the sounds of these guys a cold bath could mean my death! But this long tome is not lacking in answers. For with the help of a kettle I could find myself clean through simple means.


1. Have a large basin of water of the temperature of 85 or 95 degrees. Rub the body over with a soft, dry towel until it becomes warm.

2. Now sponge the body with water and a little soap, at the same time keeping the body well covered, except such portions as are necessarily exposed. Then dry the skin carefully with a soft, warm towel. Rub the skin well for two or three minutes, until every part becomes red and perfectly dry. 

A Healthy Complexion  

Ah, clean at last!

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