How to Iron Without Having to Iron

How to Iron

How many of you have little girls?

How many of you love to buy precious clothes for your little girls?

How many of you have been sad to realize that the most precious clothes usually need to be ironed?

And so how many of you let those precious clothes hang in the closet because you never have time to iron?

Yeah, me too.

Until my mom showed me this mind-numbingly simple tip that has completely changed all of the above.

It is so simple and so obvious, I just want to slap myself on the forehead everytime I realize that I never would have figured this out on my own, but would probably have kept hanging up those beautiful wrinkled-up dresses and looking at them forlornly every Saturday night when I laid out church clothes because I knew I didn’t have time to iron them.

“Next week…” I’d think.

But no longer!

Every single dress that hangs in my daughters’ closet is ready to wear and generally wrinkle-free, and in case you need a little boost like I did, here’s how that happens without ever plugging in the iron…

This is what a typical dress looks like when you pull it out of the dryer. Obviously, this is unacceptable.

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But ironing this tiny collar and bow just isn’t at the top of my priority list. Plus that’s a great way to burn my most important blogging fingers.

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That’s why my girls’ nice clothes (and some of my boys’ clothes!) never make it to the dryer anymore. Straight out of the washer, I place them on a thick, plastic hanger and, using my fingers, I smooth out the wrinkles and straighten out the collars and bows until they are ready to air dry.

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Here’s the bow before I “iron” it with my fingers…

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and here it is after…

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And, just like that, this sweet little sailor dress is basically ready to wear (minus the fact that it is still wet). Mind you, it isn’t perfectly pressed, but for this frazzled mama of four children, it’s like Proverbs 31 praiseworthy.

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Here’s another example of a tricky little girl’s romper that, if put in the dryer, would be a mess. Ruffles are the worst, are they not?

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But after hanging up the romper and smoothing out the ruffles with my fingers, they look tidy and spiffy!

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Here’s the bow on the romper’s pocket before I “ironed” it…

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and here it is after…

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Every little dress in our collection receives this exact same treatment, and believe me, it makes my laundry room very happy.

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I hope it makes your laundry room happy, too!

(But don’t thank me, thank my mom).

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If you are like me and need to really have things spelled out for you, here are a few more tips, in detail:

  • Sometimes it helps to toss these clothes in the dryer for about five minutes on your lowest heat setting before you attack the wrinkles. It will get out a few of them for you!
  • Now, grab the top of the article of clothing with one hand and the bottom with the other and pull, firmly enough to beat the wrinkles, but gently enough to not rip anything. What are you, a backwoodsman? Do this all over the article of clothing, smoothing out all the fabric with your hand. Then, smooth out the bottom hem. Then, smooth out the panel and all buttoned areas, pull out pocket flaps and smooth them down, put your hand in the pockets to straighten them, smooth out any sashes and pull them taut, and fluff up any bows. Lastly, do the collars and, after placing your hanger on a hook or doorknob, give everything one last once-over. Basically, however the clothing looks when you walk away from it is how it will dry.
  • Don’t do all of your high-maintenance clothes in one load. I’ve done that a few times and it feels so overwhelming to see all of them lying in a heap that I have to “iron” before I can move on to another chore. I have instead started a habit of keeping these items in their own hamper and, with each load of laundry I wash, I throw in just a couple. Doing it this way is practically painless, and it ensures that clean dresses are being hung back in the closet almost every day.
  • And you know what that means, right? We are actually WEARING all the pretty clothes we have purchased instead of letting them go to waste! Hip hip hooray!!
  • If you aren’t too picky about perfectly ironed duds yourself, you can do this with your own clothes, as well. It gets the major wrinkles out around hems, collars, pockets and panels and allows you to look presentable enough. I do all of my button-ups this way, and it keeps me wearing them, even though they sort of look like I took a nap in them.
  • Go fix yourself a tall glass of sweet tea and congratulate yourself on being the QUEEN of the laundry room!!

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If you have any questions or just want to tell us how brilliant we are or how we’ve saved your life, feel free to comment below!

A “Dressy” Photo Shoot

In the summer 0f 2011, as I tried to figure out what I wanted to do for Rebekah’s 2-year old pictures, my sister-in-law, Amy (also the photographer) had a BRILLIANT idea. After noticing that, from cousin’s hand-me-downs and Grandparental generosity, Rebekah had a new sundress on every time she saw her, she thought it would be fun to take a picture of Rebekah in all of her best outfits, one right after the other.

Setting her up in the same location for each picture, we donned her in a different outfit and taught her a different pose.

It was great fun, although Amy and I were both drenched with sweat and exhaustion by the time we had changed a wiggly (and sometimes “sleeping”) toddler into a closet full of clothes, shoes and accessories.

So fun. Sort of easy. And we were done in a couple of hours, and never left my house. And the best part is, we not only memorialized Rebekah as a 2-year old, but I now have a catalogue of all the things she wore (and can feel free to pass them on to someone else rather than keep trunks and trunks of clothes in our attic).

(Nope. I just changed my mind. There’s no way I’m giving these clothes up).

Someday, we plan on creating a framed print of all of these pics lined up next to each other. Someday…

Now…Mrs. Gore does not endorse the purchasing of so many clothes for a 2-year old, but…if it happens, you might as well capture the cuteness on camera, right? Thanks to everyone who helped make Rebekah’s 2-year old wardrobe a success (I’m talking to you, Grandmother and Grandma and Amy and Aunt Susan). And, as ever, a super special heaping of praise for Amy, who gives of her time and photographic talent so generously. I will cherish these pictures (and this day) for the rest of my life.

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Want to remember this idea? Pin it!

a little girl's photo shoot featuring all of her favorite dresses - so fun!!

Mrs. Gore Likes…Little Boy Vintage Awesomeness

So “Mrs. Gore Likes” is supposed to be one section of my blog where I do a little less talking. But, I have a long story today, and I can’t make it short. (My apologies, in advance).

Also, I have not been paid to promote any of the following products or companies.

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I’ve had this problem…

When it comes to his size in clothing, my son has always been about a year ahead of schedule. When he was 2 years old, he started wearing a 3T, when he was 3 years old he started wearing a 4T, and so on and so forth…

(but that’s not really my problem).

My son turned 5 years old in March.

(That is also not really my problem).

My problem is that, as a 5-year old boy who SHOULD still be wearing clothes from Baby Gap, he has outgrown size 5T, and far too ahead of schedule, has been catapulted into the far too grown-up world of (hiss and boo)…Gap Kids.

I don’t have anything against Gap Kids, mind you…

but I DO have something against my baby boy no longer having a wardrobe home while he is still a baby.

Where Baby Gap provided little boy clothing that was sweet and innocent and oh so cute, Gap Kids is edgier, more mature, more modern, more skull-and-crossboney…

and Gideon is SO not skull-and-crossboney (unless it is of the pirate ship variety).

And the worst part of the whole thing is, he was supposed to be a little bitty babyish bubby baby until next March when he turns 6…

he is NOT a…a kid.

All that to say, I’ve been on a bit of a wild goose chase to figure out how to outfit my little vintage boy in a way that represents him well and does my sentimental heart justice while the time and the opportunity is still mine.

And all of that blither blather above has led me to this blog post, where I would love to share with you my happy conclusion, along with links to some pretty awesome products (in my sort-of humble opinion).

That’s right…this was just the prelude to this blog post.

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Obviously, I am a bit of a psychopathical perfectionist when it comes to the things I purchase, whether it is clothing or floor rugs or melamine dishes. While I can fully appreciate a range of styles and colors, and greatly enjoy seeing different tastes in action (in other words, I promise I am not mentally tearing apart your home or your clothing or your birthday party because it doesn’t reflect my style of preference), my own style is extremely particular: vintage, classic, timeless, old-fashioned, with lots of nods to those who have walked before us (until the 1960’s…that’s when I completely stop tipping my hat to our forefathers).

To prove how particular I am, I’ll just fess up now and tell you that I always deeply struggle when my babies gain enough weight to move from Pampers Swaddlers (soft, white, minimal cartoonage) to Pampers Cruisers (purply, stiff, major cartoonage). How I would love to be able to buy a diaper with absolutely NO cartoonage. (p.s. I am sure such a thing exists…but not at my stompin’ grounds of Wal-Mart and Target).

I know. I’m a weirdo.

So it will come as no surprise to you that I really pour a LOT of thought into the toys and wardrobes and even the i-tunes playlists that I craft for my children. I don’t just want to dress them or entertain them or keep them busy; (brace yourself: this is where the weirdness really sets in) I am creating for them an aura, after carefully observing their behavior and their quirks and their personal flare. Because of this, I can see a certain type of floral print and I just die on the spot because its not just pretty…its Rebekah. A shade of pink has Betsie written all over it…

and then there is Gideon.

My vintage boy. My Opie. My classic 1950’s “golly gee wow” kind of kid.

If you have a boy like mine, I’d love to share with you some of the special goodies I’ve come across recently, an homage to classic and innocent boyhood, a few perfect products for the little man who is no longer a baby, but not yet a “big kid”. Clicking on the photos will lead you straight to the products.

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1. For starters, to make up to Gap Kids for all my ranting and raving up there, I have finally crossed over and do continue to some of my son’s clothes from this amazing store. If you plan on having many children, look no further than Gap, because their clothes stand the test of time and heavy duty play. My Baby Betsie is wearing clothes that have been passed down from cousin Abigail to cousin Anna to sister Rebekah to cousin Kate and now to her, and they’re still like new, all the seams still perfectly in line, not a button missing or a zipper broken.

And they won me over ever further this last week when I came across their school uniform line. These clothes were obviously created for schoolchildren who have to meet school dress codes, but they were also made for me, a Mama who has a son who daily begs to wear his argyle sweater or his herringbone sweater vest. In the summer. To play in the sandbox.

My heart rejoiced as my eyes took in the huge variety of unadorned sweaters and polos and cardigans, with nary a skull or a crossbone or a logo in sight. Gid the Kid is going to have a heart attack when he sees the box of school clothes I have hidden away, all of them scored at 30% during the school uniform promotion. They are beautiful and handsome and amazingly soft to the touch. Here’s my favorite of the entire bunch, a perfect topper for a t-shirt or a button-up oxford and tie:

They also have old-school gym clothes in this line, with sweatpants and hoodies that could easily pass for those worn by athletes in the black-and-white movies. I couldn’t resist this shirt, just $7.66 when I purchased it for 30% off! You can write your child’s name on the white blank, a special and personal touch that would thrill any kid.

and how about this button-up cardigan, made of sweatshirt material? Gideon will probably wear this with EVERYTHING, and it will make the perfect lightweight jacket for Fall and early Winter:

Let’s hear it for Gap Kids uniform line!!

2. But my biggest obstacle, really, in finding goods for my boy to wear at this tender age of 5 had more to do with graphic t-shirts than anything else. A sweater is a sweater is a sweater, but t-shirts these days…well, they just say so much! I was hard-pressed to find a message fitting for my boy, until I came across the graphic tees at Crewcuts. Admittedly, I would buy ALL of our clothes at J. Crew if we had the money or the conscience to do so, but…we don’t. That said, I have no problem periodically paying a few extra dollars for a t-shirt that will knock my son’s SOCKS off. The t-shirt selection at Crewcuts was less modern skateboardy boy or adolescent athlete boy and more high seas adventurer boy.

Perfect.

The first shirt I chose is my favorite purchase of the season. True to the school of classic boyhood, Gideon has a longtime fascination with the moon, and just watched the first moon landing on Youtube with a huge grin of wonder on his face (and I cried as I watched him watch it). This shirt is a tribute to all of his affection for one of God’s greatest creations…and it glows in the dark, y’all. Thus instead of buying him 8 long-sleeved t-shirts for Fall that would have cost far less, I bought him this one. Because he will be wearing it every day. (the price on this one was a stretch for us, costing about $10 more than we normally spend on a t-shirt splurge).

But this shirt will be a memory for him. A statement. He’ll wear it on his body, but it will also do something to his heart…

and how about this Out Of Print Clothing tee featuring the boyhood classic Treasure Island? Irresistable.

(and be sure to check out the Sherlock Holmes shirt, as well! If our son was a bit older, we’d have to snag it for sure).

3. and Gid the Kid always has a vintage topper in his wardrobe. He’s had tweed caps in plaid seersucker, in camel-colored wool, in grey knit, but I’m loving Janie and Jack’s Glen Plaid Tweed Cap for this Fall and Winter. Rest assured, it will almost positively go on sale…

But enough about clothes! Here are a few of my other favorite finds for 5-year old boys with old souls:

4. The Dangerous Book for Boys

If you have a son and you do not own this book, buy it now. Run, don’t walk. This book is a treasure from start to finish. If I was a book, I would marry it and we would have little baby short stories together.

5. When Gideon was 2 years old, we bought him a classic lunchbox and thermos combo from Barn Dandy’s in a vintage camping print. We’re still using it today, and I can’t wait to prepare his first school lunch in it! (clicking on the following picture will lead you to the lunch boxes). I also happen to adore the red cowboy print:

6. My friend, Kodi, recently shared with me the boys’ WONDERLAND that is J.M. Cremp’s (the boys adventure store). This website is truly my son in a nutshell and I am so thrilled to have been introduced to it while he is young. I especially love this Medic Bag, perfect for playing doctor or soldier or for actually using as a bag (and please, while you’re at it, look at all the goodies from this amazing website!):

7. I’ve been searching for the perfect blanket for Gideon’s “big boy” bed for years, and came perilously close to purchasing a Pullman blanket reproduction from Victorian Trading Co., regardless of the fact that it was 100% wool. “He needs to toughen up…” I thought, and I NEEDED an old-fashioned blanket to go in his room. I’m so glad my husband and my Mom (and even the staff at Victorian Trading!) talked me out of it, because Land of Nod just released a super-awesome line of vintage-inspired gear, including this perfectly soft (and unwooly) General Store Blanket. I am in love. (and as ever, the customer service at this store is unrivaled – they ALWAYS help this budget-conscious lady out!)

8. I waited too long and missed out on the following treasure at Etsy, but I’ll have my eye out for more vintage patches like this one to put on Gid’s backpack. He adores Davy Crockett and all heroes of yesteryear:

9. My son also likes to use cotton hankies. He would think this box of 16 Western-inspired handkerchiefs was pretty rad…

10. And speaking of cowboys, my son is loving his vintage cowboy i-tunes playlist, featuring men who could croon like Bing and Frank, but while riding a horse. We love Roy Rogers and Gene Autry, but our favorite is Tex Ritter. Search for his songs on i-tunes and prepare to be swept off into the sunset! I’m still working on figuring out how to share playlists with you, so for now, you’ll have to do the searching on your own. But here’s a pretty picture of Tex Ritter for you to look at:

11. And speaking of underwear (huh?), I almost died on the spot when I saw these Cath Kidston “Days of the Week” briefs for boys. The minute they go on clearance sale, they are MINE. I mean…Gideon’s.

(sorry for the tiny blurry picture – best I could do!)

(p.s. these are sadly no longer available…but still go look at them!)

12. Like the boys of the 1950’s (and probably all boys!) my son is also fascinated by simple things like paper airplanes and hand shadows. We just borrowed an amazing paper airplane book from the library, and we have a book on how to make hand shadows, but they are quite challenging. That’s why I LOVE these Moulin Roty shadow puppets, perfect for old-fashioned and imaginative nighttime fun. I also think it would be ridiculously easy to make some of your own:

13. Back to the moon, this one is made by Uncle Milton and hangs on the wall, and is quite educational as far as night lights go…but we love it because it is AWESOME, whether you are vintage or not.

14. Oh goodness, I could go on and on. But I’ll share one last book, a favorite around our house for its amazing full-page illustrations; this beloved tome captures the true adventure of the Christian life as penned by John Bunyan in Pilgrim’s Progress, and my son was captured from the very start. If your son likes adventure, and if you are looking for a foundational book in forming his Christian theology, look no further. (p.s. We had to condense it a bit for his reading comprehension).

I DO love a good shopping trip, don’t you? If you have a little boy like Gid the Kid, I hope this post helped steer you to some new shops and some helpful products.

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A friendly reminder from Mrs. Gore: let us please remember to shop wisely and cautiously and to be good stewards of our money. Even “creating an aura” for our children with all the pure love in our hearts can easily turn sinful when having and acquiring crosses the line into idolatry and excess. But alas, nobody knows that better than I…