Friday, October 13, 2017

Where to find the best Fair Isle knitwear

There is only one place on earth that real Fair Isle knitwear can come from and that is the Scottish island of Fair Isle which is in the Shetland Islands. It can take over one hundred hours for a sweater to be hand-knitted. When you own a genuine Fair Isle sweater, you own something very unique and handmade. The majority of what you see in the marketplace is Fair Isle-style, not real Fair Isle. There are very few places where you can find the real deal.

Thistle and Broom is attempting to preserve the authentic craft of knitting Fair Isle items and promoting this very special craft. You can get a made to order Fair Isle sweater from one of their knitters and help to keep the economy of the Shetland Islands viable. The website introduces you to the individual craftspeople and their designs. If you won’t settle for anything but the real thing, this is the way to go.

The Spirit of Shetland Collection is another website that sells only authentic Fair Isle sweaters and cardigans. The prices are very reasonable when you take into consideration the hand-knitted nature of these items. A variety of patterns, including Oxna, which is offered in not only sweaters but in hats and gloves and vests are offered. There are ten different patterns if you are looking for a handmade fashion statement. Capes and ponchos are also offered. They have a shop at the Spiders Web or you can order from their website.

Anderson and Company offers a variety of items from the Shetland Islands and no such collection would be complete if it didn’t offer some items that were in the Fair Isle pattern. Here they are offered in the All Over Fair Isle pattern with sweaters, jumpers, and scarves available. The all over patterns each have a name and distinctive colors. All the prices include delivery which is a nice option. In addition to the beautiful wooden knitted sweaters, this website also offers hand-knitted shawls and baby christening blankets in what looks like a beautiful pattern of hand-knitted lambs' wool lace. It would be a perfect gift for a newborn baby.

The Shetland Collection offers a variety of items from some very talented knitters on the Shetland Islands.

Designers such as the late Alexander McQueen had Fair Isle-style sweaters as part of their designer collections. They are much more expensive than the ones that are hand-knitted in the Shetland Islands. Most of those Fair Isle-style sweaters are machine-made and definitely not in Scotland.

There are many places where you can purchase Fair Isle style sweaters, but very few where you can get the real thing. These three offer original Fair Isle knitwear made in the Shetland Islands. Support the local economy by purchasing the real thing and help keep this wonderful craft alive.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Best socks for fall

After wearing sandals and flip flops all summer, it is hard to get back to wearing socks on your feet. It is getting cooler colder and nothing makes your whole body feel colder than having cold feet. That means that you have to find socks that are both warm and stylish. This means finding the best socks for fall.

In addition, they have to fit comfortable inside of your shoes or boots. It is always a wise idea to wear the thickness of sock that you plan to wear every day when you are going to purchase your boots or shoes. If you like a thick sock you may need to buy a larger size or a wider width.

White socks

The white sock is a year-round staple to wear in an athletic shoe. It can be ankle height or it can be below the shoe level. Some are much thicker than others but they are generally used to keep your feet comfortable and sweat free when you are exercising.

Warm socks

When you are wearing a sturdy hiking type boot or a warm tie shoe it is often appropriate to wear a thicker sock. These come in wool, cashmere, cotton and in blends. They come in tweed, argyle or in a wide variety of pretty colors. They protect your feet both from the cold and from the rubbing of the shoe. These type of socks are also great in a clog or a winter mule. They help to make the clogs or mules fit better. I love my slip on Berkenstock opeen back shoes and these chunky socks are the best.

Knee high socks

Knee high socks are often thought of in terms of being worn with a uniform such as the "Catholic school girl" look with a kilt type plaid skirt and a knee sock. They also work with a longer split skirt or winter shorts or knickers. These also come in a wide variety of styles, colors, and materials. Knickers look especially good with a chunky knee high sock.

Thigh high socks

If you are young and have great legs, thigh high socks are a very cute look with shorts or a short skirt. These can be most any color but are usually not bulky or thick. Thigh high socks can also be layered over the top of tights or tight jeans.

Trouser socks

If you are a wearing a dressy shoe with your trousers and don’t want to go bare foot, wear pantyhose or knee high nylons, trouser socks are the way to go. They are usually very thin knitted material and should be worn in a coordinating color so that they are invisible. These are not made to stand out and make a statement.

I have to admit that I am a gold toe girl, I find that they keep their shape, wear well and are reasonably affordable especially with a 30 percent off coupon at Kohls. 

At the end of the day, there are many types of socks that may be the best socks for fall. The best socks are the ones that make you comfortable while you are wearing your shoes or boots and that keep your feet happy as well.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Ways to use your summer clothes in the fall

As we get into the dog days of summer we start to think about our fall wardrobe. Whether it is back to school or just updating our work outfits we all looking for ways to use our summer clothes in the fall. 

Transitioning summer clothes into fall is a good way to extend your wardrobe. Some pieces will need to be cleaned and packed away so that they can be pulled out next spring but there are many beloved pieces of summer-wear that can be transitioned over into fall.


Shorts are big in the summer but depending on the color, material and length can be paired with tights and have a whole new life in the fall. Steer clear of the white shorts and the pastels. Denim, black, navy, olive, and camel are all fall appropriate and of course, choose ones that have a little more substantial construction, you really don’t want to look like you are wearing summer short with tights, you want them to look new and fresh.

Crop jean

This summer staple can become one of your go-to pieces in the fall. You just need to trade in your flip-flops for great boots. Ankle boots will work but tall boots are great as well. If the legs are very slim, tuck the jeans inside a riding boot and you are up to the minute fashion wise.


A T-shirt is a staple wardrobe piece year round and even sleeveless or short sleeves can be worn under a blazer or sweater in the fall. For a more casual look, try getting a great woven or flannel plaid shirt to put over your T-shirt.

Summer skirt

If you have a favorite summer skirt, if it is not too flimsy of a material or too light of a pastel color, it can be worn in the fall with the addition of leggings or tights. Add an ankle or knee high boot and a sweater and you can transition even a floral skirt into a fall classic.


Some of your summer accessories will add a great pop of unexpected color to your fall wardrobe. You can use a light or bright scarf to add pizzazz to a dark or dull fall palate. Pink, in particular, looks wonderful with olive or gray and turquoise is a great combination with dark brown or black.

If you are dreading packing away some of your favorite summer wardrobe pieces, don’t. Use your summer favorites to supplement and add a little bright or light color to your fall fashion. Be creative, make sure you are warm enough and them mix and match your fall and summer fashion staples. You can transition your summer clothes into fall.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Fall neutral fashion colors

Fall is the season of the neutral. Neutral is a color trend that happens in every season but this fall there is more variety in the neutrals that are being offered. The neutral colors for fall can be found in all aspects of fashion as well, in outerwear, accessories, shoes and boots and everyday wear.


Camel is one of the hottest neutral for fall. With the retro 70s look being so popular, the long camel coat is a natural to bring back. Today’s camel coat will trendier than it 1970s counterpart and may have faux fur cuffs, collar, or both. Camel can also be found in great woolen slacks, wide belts, leather purses and suede or furry boots. Camel is a flattering color for most women to wear and matches well with most other colors. 


Anyone who ever thought that olive was a drab color has to rethink that with all the great military looks that are so fashionable for fall. Olive comes in a variety of tones and all of them are good looking. They combine very well with many jewel tones and can be found in clothing, outerwear, and accessories. Trust me, you are not going to think of fatigues when you see a great olive coat with a bright purple scarf.


One neutral that is always in style is black. The little black dress is as much a fashion statement in the fall as it is in any other season. This year the shapes are softer and sharper at the same time. You will see a little lace or a more structured look, it is all part of the current trend. A black trench style long coat, a short black leather bomber jacket or the quintessential black cardigan are all available at just about any store for fall.

Winter white

Winter white is always a classy look and so different from the bright white of summer. The creamy tone is so flattering to most women and it brings a feeling of lightness to what can be quite a drab season. If you are not brave enough to wear a winter white coat consider a hat and scarf or boots and purse.


One of the most popular neutrals of fall is gray. It can be a soft gray or a gunmetal gray and metallic is as popular as ever. Leggings are offered in gray and can be worn with colorful tunics or a little black dress. Shiny silver gray is a popular accessory color as well as great suede shoes in the many tones of gray.

Five of the most popular neutral colors for fall are black, gray, olive, winter white and camel. They can be worn alone or in combination with all the other popular colors of the season. For several years adding faux fur in any of these colors has been very aux current and it continues to be very on trend.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Scoring a great fall coat

As summer begins to wind down it is time to start thinking about fall and along with that comes a new fall coat. Choosing a great fall coat is not as easy as it sounds, there are so many things to consider. What style are you looking for? What would you like it to be made out of and what color do you prefer? With some careful thought and following these tips, you should be able to find a coat that will serve you well.

When it comes to style, you need to decide if you want to be trendy or classic. This fall we are seeing over-sized styles and to go along with that cropped coats so you have a smaller and a larger version to choose from.

If, however, you are looking for a more classic style, the trench, and the pea coat are always spot on and all the major fashion houses include them. Leather never goes out of style as long as the design is not too trendy. You can go maxi or mini, buttoned or fly-away just be sure to choose a style that is flattering to both your build and your height. Coat sizing is not exactly the same as dress sizing so it is important to try things on.

Choosing the correct color for a fall coat offers lots of possibilities. Neutral is always a good fall option. Black, camel, gray, navy and the new neutral olive. Neutrals will go with just about any outfit that you have. Most of the time your coat is not the major focal point of your outfit it is more of an accessory. You can add color to a neutral coat with a great scarf in a trendy color like teal or red. Always keep your skin color in mind and choose a color that is flattering.

When it comes to what material you want your coat made of, wool and cashmere are eco-friendly options. Always check the care tag of any coat you are considering. Unless you really want to do a lot of dry cleaning, machine washable is a good way to go.

Set a budget before you go looking for your coat. Use the Internet to check prices at a variety of retailers and then watch for sales or coupons to help you make your budget go farther. Kohl’s offers almost non-stop deals and coupons not to mention Kohl’s Cash.

Sales will be better later in the fall season. If you can wait until then you will get a better deal. If you don’t mind having last year's style, you can check out a resale shop that specializes in high-end coats from designers that have been gently worn. You never know what you will find, you can get lucky and score a great designer coat at a great price.

If you are a fashionista who wants the latest trendy style and color then go for a less expensive great fall coat. It will be a one-year investment. If you want to wear your coat for several years then consider it an investment and go for a classic.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Planning a trip to the apple orchard

Going to an apple orchard in the fall is a rite of passage for many families. It is something that has been passed down through generations with grandparents telling stories of apple picking to their grandchildren. Unless you live in an area where apples cannot or are not grown, it is a fun activity for families to do on a fall weekend.

In order to have a successful visit to the orchard, it is best to prepare before you leave home. Make sure everyone has comfortable shoes that are appropriate for walking on uneven ground which may have some rotten apples which have fallen off the tree on it. Take weather conditions into account and bring along a sweater or sweatshirt since fall weather can turn chilly.

If your family includes small children, consider bringing a wagon, this will be good for pulling a child and also for holding your bags of picked apples. If not, then some way to carry the small children is advisable.

You may also need to bring your own bags or baskets to carry the apples in. Check with the orchard ahead of time if this is your first visit. Everyone will need to have their own bag.

Once you arrive at the orchard find out where the kinds of apples you want to pick are located and make sure everyone in the family knows that you are picking specific kinds of apples. Which kinds of apples you want to pick depends on what you plan to do with them. Some apples are better for cooking and others are referred to as eating apples.

Discuss choosing apples that are undamaged. Children have a tendency to grab apples off the ground especially when they get tired or bored and putting them in their bag. Encourage picking the apples off the tree. Before you bring your apples up to pay for them, give the apples a good look over for worms, bruises and broken skin. Also talk about which children if any are allowed to wander off on their own or if you will all work one tree at a time.

Pumpkins may also be for sale at the orchard. Offering children a reward for a job well done such as picking a pumpkin may be a good option. You are visiting the apple orchard as a family not only to get fresh crisp apples to make some wonderful desserts but to make memories that your children will fondly recall when they have their own children.

Some orchards offer additional entertainment in the fall in the form of live music, a corn maze, petting zoos or food trucks offering cider donuts or apple fritters. It is a great seasonal opportunity for a day out at a very affordable price. 

You don't need to pick your own apples at the apple orchard. Most orchards offer apples that have already been picked. However, when it comes to making memories, picking your own offers more photo ops.

Apple picking is a family activity. The smells of fall are in the air and glasses of apple cider beckon. Don’t forget to bring along your camera or smartphone. You will want to be uploading those great family photos to make all your friends envious. When you are planning a fall visit to an apple orchard you are becoming part of a years old tradition.

Friday, September 1, 2017

End of summer home maintenance tips

As the summer starts to wind down and the days get shorter and cooler, it is time to start to prepare the home for the fall and winter to come. End of summer home maintenance will guarantee that you will be prepared for the fall, winter, and spring to come.

During the summer, many homeowners concentrate on the lawn and the flowers and plants. As these start to die off, it is time to take a look at all the maintenance tasks that may have been neglected all summer.

Here are a few tips to help you do your end of the summer home maintenance.

Starting from the top of the house, it is important to check the chimney and make sure that it is in good repair and that it is clean. This may require bringing in a professional chimney cleaner. This is a very important part of the maintenance because it is can really be a life saver. No one wants to have a house fire caused by a chimney that has been neglected. The roof also needs to be given a once-over to make sure there are no loose shingles or tiles and to make sure the flashing is all in good condition.

The next thing to take a look at is the gutters. Fall brings more rain and then the leaves so it is important that everything is cleared out of the gutters. This can be done quite simply by placing a hose in the gutter and running water at full pressure through it. It can also be done with a power washer.

When it comes to the windows, it is the perfect time to remove the screens and place the windows back in. This can also be done on storm doors at this time. If you have older windows, check the caulking and the insulation around the window to help keep the warmth in during the cooler weather that is coming. While you are at it, you might as well wash the windows, it is amazing what a difference that makes to the look of your home.

Once it is time to turn off the air conditioners, they should be removed from the windows if you have that sort and the filters cleaned. If you have central air, the filter on the main unit should be changed and the unit prepared to be turned off for the year.

Check the vent on your dryer and stove hood. Double check any heating units that you have and also arrange for a cleaning of your furnace. You want it to be working at maximum performance during the winter months.

Go up to the attic and take a look at your insulation. Check the weather stripping on your doors. You don’t want to waste any of your precious heat with the cost of fuel these days.

Bring in any summer plants and trim back any plants that need to be prepared for the fall and winter. If you have fruit trees or bushes, clean up any fruit that may have fallen on the ground.

It is time to put away all your gardening equipment. You may still want to plant some bulbs but for the most part, the work is done. Place the hose in a location where it won’t freeze, winterize your lawn mower once you have done your last cutting and weed your flower beds.

Once you have completed your end of the summer maintenance you can sit back and relax for at least a few weeks until the leaves start to fall and it all the work starts again.