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Elegant Dressing for Evening

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Above: a proper evening gown, full-length and low-cut at the bodice; this dress is more appropriate for an evening with dinner and dancing than for cocktail parties. (See below.)

Below: “Your Editor”, Painter M-J de Mesterton wears a lacy, cotton-lined dress that can be worn at afternoon tea, or at cocktails/drinks parties year-round. Also, it is suitable for less formal dinners and nightclubs. Long sleeves that leave space for bracelets make this knee-length gown very elegant, and the round neckline accommodates big pearls. Amazon.com has similar dresses for as little as 39.00. Blue suede shoes with comfortable three-inch wedge-heels are by Clarks.

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M-J’s Blueberry-Fruit Smoothie Revisited

M-J de Mesterton: Still Life with SmoothieM-J’s 2009 Article on Health-Enhancing Blueberries

Ginger, Chilean black grapes, plain yoghurt, bananas, apples, oranges, frozen blueberries, strawberries and a bit of honey are blended in an Osterizer for a health-enhancing morning drink.
~~M-J de Mesterton, 2009

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How to Iron a Man’s Shirt

Ironing a Man’s Shirt

My Swedish grandmother taught me how to iron men’s shirts. Like Scandinavians of all social strata, she adored being at the ironing board. I don’t know how other people do it, but here is our system:
Flattening and folding the yoke (found under the collar at the back of shirt) at its bottom seam, iron it. You can iron-out the resultant crease later, when ironing the whole of the back.Iron the underside of the collar, then its topside, then iron a crease at the seam where it meets the shirt.
Iron the insides and outsides of the cuffs, before doing the two sleeves. Then you are ready to execute the easy parts: the two front sides and the back.
Hint: keep a spray bottle of water nearby to mist the shirt’s stubborn wrinkles, even if you have a steam iron. Spraying with water is generally safer than using the shot-of-steam feature on your iron. If do you use steam, empty the iron, refill it, and test-run for rusty water which can be difficult to remove once it is on the shirt. Do not use the highest temperature setting: crispy brown edges are for tortes, not chemises!
Besides the great feeling of accomplishment one gets finishing each shirt, it saves money which one may have spent having a cleaning outfit doing the work. There is dignity in ironing; don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
UPDATE: The very best iron that I have ever owned is this one from Panasonic. I have owned irons from Germany that cost three times as much, and each one ruined my silk clothes by dripping on them. This one is totally reliable, and costs about $30.00 US. I choose the the Japanese over the Germans here, and if given the same choice in cars, I would do the same.
Washing Your Shirts
Your shirts will last much longer if they are washed by hand and hung to dry. Don’t use so much detergent that it takes a rinsing marathon to remove it. “A little dab’ll do ya”, as the old Brylcreem jingle said. Wet the grimy, sweaty and stained spots and rub them with a bar of Zote Soap (in the absence of Zote, a bar of Octagon will do). Soak them overnight in a small tub of water, then agitate and rinse by hand, preferably. Hang to dry. If you don’t want to get hanger-marks on the shoulders, just put wash-cloths under them, over the ends of your hanger. My husband has been treating his shirts this way for decades, and some of them have lasted for twenty years. The worst thing to do, even if you wash your shirts in cold water in the gentle cycle, is to dry them in a machine–doing so will quickly degrade your shirt’s fibers. You’d be surprised at how swiftly they dry naturally, and when they are just a wee bit damp, shirts are easy to iron. Sending your expensive or custom-made shirts to the cleaners may seem luxurious, but will sound an early death-knell for them. Getting up-close and personal with your shirts will ensure that they enjoy the good, long life that their maker intended.
~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton; August, 2007
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M-J’s Winter Health Smoothie

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One half-cup of water, one fourth-cup of lemon juice, one jalapeño or serrano pepper (roasted, pickled or fresh), two stalks of celery, one-half of a cucumber, one tablespoon of thick yoghurt or one half-cup of buttermilk, one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and one tablespoon of parsley, all whirled in a blender till smooth. Add water if necessary for processing.

big grinCopyright M-J de Mesterton 2009
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Non-Electric Tool: the Lehman’s Foodmill

If the power goes out, or disappears altogether (with the ridiculous restrictions on energy-production in the U.S., you never know what may happen), there is an alternative to the food-processor and blender: the hand-operated foodmill. Lehman’s, a company of which I am fond and have featured here at Elegant Survival several times, has an affordable, efficient one.

Lehman's Foodmill
Lehman's Foodmill