Monday, April 6, 2015

EASTER DELIGHT: A Modest Woman's License to Dress Up and Thrill

An ode to the happy power of feminine fashion

Narelle after a musical outing at a small-town rest home, wearing an outfit she designed and made. The dress is cotton sateen. The bolero jacket is satin-striped chiffon lined with crushed cotton knit. In her hair is a wired organza "nellaflower". Her shoes are patent/elastic open-toed wedges by Linea Avanti.

Distributing handpicked flowers was a success. We'll do that again.
The team-of-3 were a little bit hypo at tea time Sunday evening, pleased with how our Rahiri Rest Home Easter service went, and what a good time everyone had.

The residents who came were an unusually sharp and sassy crew, responding to Dad's questions and witty remarks with enjoyment.

"And Pharoah said to the Israelites, Get out of my sight!" Dad bellowed. "I'm going! I'm going!" twinkled the lady next to me, as she exited to join her grandson who'd just arrived for a visit.

It really was an entertaining hour. Dad was in fine form. And so was his audience. "...Israel were slaves in Egypt," he said. "That was 3500 years ago...does anyone remember back then?" Response in chuckles, and someone piped up, "Not quite."

I particularly loved seeing what happened when the residents chose their favourite hymns...even if they couldn't hold a hymn book or see to read the text, they knew every word and sang it with passion. Especially "God Will Take Care of You." Having experienced how an hour of hymn singing on a Sunday afternoon sustains and guides me through the week, I could see the words uplifting and empowering them.

Mum's program arranging worked well, putting my song, "Rock of Ages", near the beginning, which meant that by the end, I had regained enough energy to comply when they asked me for "Amazing Grace". I'm thankful for Mum's marathon summer project of upgrading the Rahiri song books, meaning I had the lyric sheet for whatever they chose.

And, as I do every time I go to Rahiri, I dress in a fancy outfit. Once upon a time I worried that my enjoyment of clothes was frivolous, but I don't now because I've learned how other people are effected by my appearance. When the ladies see me, they smile with delight and comment on what I'm wearing. I think the men like it too. They feel special when I dress up for them.

I sat down beside one sweet lady to hold her fragile hand. I had to lean in close to hear what she was murmuring to me. The only words I could understand, as she gently fingered the fabric on my shoulder, were, "Beautiful. Beautiful."

Yes, with my health challenge it's a big effort for me to go, and will take a while to recover, but I feel privileged to be the harbinger of joy. It makes me happy to know that I'm making them happy.

And how blessed I am that under such circumstances I get to do what I love--sing songs of hope in a pretty frock. May you, too, discover the freedom, power, and joy of being feminine while doing what you love.

Fiat lux!

Design preparations for adding the special touches to the dress. Here's a glimpse of my craft room that's been taking shape in a former bedroom since we moved back in after our house fire (13 April 2014), and the sewing machine paid for by insurance. I spend a lot of time in that room, and I'm always happy when I'm in there. I think I should call it the Happy Room!

This outfit was a month's work for me, plus I had some help from my friend, 80-something-year-old Carol, to get the tailoring right. One of these embroidery rows took 45 minutes to stitch. Any guesses which one?

The lace was a gift from a neighbour. It came out of her 90-something-year-old mother's sewing room which contained fabric, notions, and project scraps dating back more than 50 years.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

HAPPY NEW YEAR! simple celebration fun and glamour with a modern-modest twist

For each a pretty dress, some beads and satin ribbon for understated bling, and a "hot day" hair-do, set against a vanilla wall and spiced with creativity and joy.

This is the "party space" we chose in which to celebrate with thankful hearts God's goodness to us in 2014, and to welcome another year in which to participate in and be witness to His handiwork.

Happy New Year, my friend. May your covering clothes and face of grace be a conduit for the beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ to a dark world.

Fiat lux! (Let there be light.)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Covertogs: Modest Swimwear Online in New Zealand

Have you heard about Covertogs?

Covertogs swimwear started because owner/designer Karen couldn't find swimwear that she could get excited about. It was too skimpy or too frumpy, hard to get into and out of, and uncomfortable for day-long wear. Covertogs are her well-tested solution. It's a family-run business, with mum, daughters, and niece all involved in production and management.

The mix-and-match brand offers zip-front tops with three sleeve length options (cap, short, and below-elbow). The high-waisted leggings have two leg lengths (short or below-knee). They come in a range of colourful prints (on basic black) styled for a subtle slimming effect, and include XL sizes.

If you want active-wear that gives you
  • coverage,
  • comfort, and
  • a sense of modern style,
then maybe covertogs are for you.

Modest swimwear shopping options have come and gone in New Zealand since I started blogging here at Boutique Narelle seven years ago. I'm always sad to see them go, but I understand that our small population makes it difficult to support niche markets. I get excited when I discover another modest swimwear shopping option anywhere in the world, but especially when it's located in my own country.

If you hate having to pay the big shipping price from overseas modest swimwear sources, or you're keen to support Kiwi-made products, get your get-wet exercise-wear now at

Here's to more modest swimwear choices and greater demand for them all over the world!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Free Similcast: Leslie Ludy on True Purity and True Beauty

I'm delighted to announce a FREE SIMILCAST with bestselling author Leslie Ludy on 21 November 2014, 6-9pm MST. (That's Saturday, 2-5pm NZ time.)

Here's a sneak peek at what Leslie will be sharing.

SESSION ONE: true purity

In a generation of Christian young women who grew up with promise rings and abstinence pledges, why do purity commitments so often fail? In this powerful and inspiring session, Leslie will explore three key principles that mark the difference between true purity and counterfeit purity. You’ll gain a beautiful and practical vision for being set-apart in romance and relationships, experience restoration from past mistakes, and develop a Christ-enabled lifestyle of honor, faithfulness, and true purity.

SESSION TWO: true beauty

In today’s world, it’s all too easy to give lip-service to Christ while still living a self-centered existence. In this session, Leslie explores the difference between fitting Christ into your life and truly building your life around Him. You’ll discover the beauty, life, joy, and loveliness of Christ-centered femininity and learn what it means to be consecrated to Him in every aspect of your daily life.

Click here to tune in, and for more information about Set Apart Girl:
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