Focus – Week 7

My accomplishments this week

Focus Photo –

This week Valentine’s Day landed on Ash Wednesday, when us Catholics are supposed to fast.  So…the kids got some pre-Valentine’s Day, aka “Fat Tuesday”, treats.

Sewing –
  • My 52 week sewing challenge for the week was to sew something with hearts.  It didn’t get done, and no #makenine either.  Bare minimum this week, which meant only strike offs.  He was pretty happy with them.

House cleaning/Decorating –

We are getting some new floors in the house this week, so it is a MESS.  Everything had to be moved from 1/2 the downstairs and 1 room upstairs.  They will be doing the office, hallway upstairs, stairs, entryway, dining room and library.  I CAN’T WAIT.  The flooring in our house has been crap since the day we moved in.

All this moving means we cleaned out the office and some closets.  Yay!  It is amazing the stuff you will just shove in the corners and forget about when you don’t have to deal with it on a daily basis.  I boxed up some things for charity and we are tossing what we likely can’t give away.

Unfortunately we have a bit of an electronics graveyard.  Luckily Best Buy has a recycling program, so we are dropping what we can off there.

Of course, now I need to do a bit of repainting.  I’d like to repaint the entryway, but that goes from the downstairs to the upstairs hallway to some really, really tall walls I can’t reach.  Maybe later this fall I will tackle that when I have some extra time.

I will repaint the dining room, though.  Right now it is a dark blue, so with chocolate brown floors, it will be really, really dark.  We need a lighter color in there, so it will either be a grey or tan.  I might even go crazy and recover the chairs.  Last time I did it was probably around 15 years ago, so it is time.  A few spill marks are on them.

The library I will leave.  It took me 3 days to paint that room, and a library is supposed to be dark.  It adds to the ambiance!

The empty bookcases and the pile of books.  Our house is such a mess right now.

Time with family –

A family that cleans together…and all that.  We had a sick kiddo last week, too, so plenty of time together.

Health, exercising, making healthy meals –
  • I’m pretty sure all the cleaning was the exercise of the week, but food hasn’t been the best.  Our dishwasher broke.  Well, it wasn’t cleaning, so I tore it apart, cleaned out the gunk, put it back together…and then no water was coming in.  So I broke it more.  It was on it’s last legs anyways, so off we went to buy a new one.  Apparently ahead of the President’s Day sale.  We should have waited a few days!
Creative Design – Week 2

Two new designs…

Reading –


Basically this week was crazy with moving everything on the weekend, so I got a lot done…just not a lot of different things done.  The FOCUS this week was on the house.


Black Panther ready

My kid is a huge Marvel fan, and once he saw the trailer for the Black Panther he was all ready to see the movie.  It looks really, really cool.

Unfortunately, he has been a bit sick this weekend, so no movie.  I did get the lounge set sewed up for him with Black Panther prints, though.


Top – Draper Polo by Wardrobe by Me

Bottoms – Lounge Pants by 5 out of 4 Patterns


Pre-order by Sugar Ink Fabric

BP Panel for the shirt

BP Comic for the pants

I paired the top with a grey jersey lycra I picked up somewhere along the way.  I think it worked pretty well with the print.

I had to do a bit of Photoshop magic on the boy’s nose so it wasn’t so obvious that he had been blowing his nose for the past 3 days straight.  He got a fever on Thursday morning and was feeling icky, but felt better by mid-afternoon.  The nose has been running pretty constantly, though.

I think some fresh air was good for him after being cooped up in the house for so long.  He’s allergic to cats, but normally ours don’t bother too much.  I think it is just getting on the long end of winter without much air flow through the house.  Too much dander in the air from our hair balls.

These prints are open until March 9th.  It is a great round to order for a BP loving fan!

Set sail

Here is the second set of prints that I sewed up the samples for Fabric Anthropology.  This one relates to Helga in the Vikings series, and is a phrase she said in show.

These fabrics are French Terry.  A note about printing colors.  The brushed poly is a synthetic, and the colors are closer the print file colors with the blues/grays.  If you want it more true to the file color, then I would order brushed poly (she has a nice thick BP, that I would totally recommend).  The FT is a cotton mixed with spandex, so it doesn’t take the dye as well.  It’s still looks great but it veers more towards lavender and purple with the browns.  I make sure I color correct my pictures, so it is as close to the real colors as possible.

Now…onto my conundrum with these fabrics.  First off, I didn’t want to buy, nor did I have time to shop for, fabric for this top.  I have been crazy busy at work, so it just wasn’t going to happen.  I had to use coordinates in my stash (which really shouldn’t be a problem, let’s be honest!).  I didn’t have any fabric that would match it in the weight of a French terry, so I used a nice thick cotton lycra in dark brown.

Next, I didn’t want to make a plain shirt with the panel on the front, the coordinate on the back and sleeves.  Usually when I sew up strike offs I want to make something unique and one of a kind.  They tend to get more views, as people wonder what pattern was used and take more time to look at the details.  I need to get an affiliate link for FA, so I can see if it is really generating sales for her.  People don’t always comment or like the sales pitch posts, so some proof of engagement would be nice (plus, did I say I was losing my job at the end of this year? 😉 ).

This pattern was based off the Wardrobe by Me Builder T-shirt.  I used used some of the pieces from the pattern and others I traced off, color blocked or added pieces.  The pieces I added were the V-neck with grommets, overlays and side placket pieces.

I made some adjustments along the way.  I added some length to the bottom of the shirt and cut a longer V-neck.  I was going to have a modesty panel in there, but decided against it.  The lacing brings it in enough, and who am I kidding…I like cleavage!

I wanted to use the panel in a different way, so the overlay idea came to me while browsing through Pinterest.  It is basically a mash up of several different ideas that I saw.  I like to save pictures with interesting details that I can pull out for these fun sews.

I think this one worked out pretty well!

The grommets and eyelets are a fun add to the pattern.  I like adding hardware…makes garments look a bit more professional.  You need to make sure you have the right setting tools, though.  If you don’t then they don’t go in correctly.  I set my grommets on the neckline at 1″ apart.  I purposely made it go higher than the lacing would go, just for the added detail.

I waffled a bit on the side split.  I was going to go for a laced up side and use grommets or eyelets.  I had to use eyelets, as I didn’t have enough grommets (they have a cleaner backside, so I err on the side of grommets). Then, did I want a godet underneath or leave it open?  Well, once I got it on, it kind of stuck out at the side when worn and I didn’t like how the eyelets looked, since I didn’t have enough silver.

I ripped it out and added a simple placket to the side at the split.  It works, it lays flat, and I got done around 1:30 am, so that was as good as it was going to get!

The arms were pieced together to try to get maximum usage out of the fabric.  I thought it looked too plain with just the piecing, so I added an overlay with the raw edges showing and then some nice metal buttons I ordered from Pacific Trimmings.  I only put three on each side, as I figured they could get annoying if I was sitting at a computer wearing it.

So, there you have it…a fun Vikings themed top that is pretty dang fun to wear!  I did my own braids, since I wear my hair with braids in it pretty often.  I also pulled some swords off the wall for the photo shoot.  I was around 0 degrees Fahrenheit here.  Just a little chilly! 😉

The pre-order is from February 14 – March 3rd.  Go check it out if you are a Vikings fan.  Even if you aren’t…the prints are pretty cool on their own.  This is paired up with a DinoTrux round, too, so I guess little kids love those characters.  If you have a little one, that is a fan, you can do a “one for you…one for me!” buying plan!

Battle ready

So who’s a Vikings fan??

Apparently…we are!

Fabric Anthropology is running a Vikings round, and it has some very cool prints.  There are a few panels with just phrases, and then panels with some of the characters on it.  The coordinates include the battle print below, a print with ships (another blog post will be on that one), and a print with faces of the characters.

These are strike-offs for promotion, so I did not pay for them (except shipping).  Note that she decided to decrease the size of the prints on the panels, as they took up too much real estate on the panels.  This is a size large extended by a few inches, so on a smaller person it would be too big.

I asked hubs if he would be willing to have me sew up a strike off, since he is a bit Viking-ish with the heritage to boot.  He chose this Ragnar saying:

I used the new Draper Polo shirt for the pattern in a size Large.  I obviously didn’t do the polo part, but it has an option for a t-shirt on it, too.  I got the pattern for free, as I was willing to promote it along with the fabric.

I used bamboo lycra for the sleeves and the back of the shirt.  It is a nice soft fabric with a good drape, and it worked well with the FA cotton lycra.

The edges of the sleeves have some Runes that I drew, and I created a cut file for the Silhouette.  You can find it here.

I got the idea for the runes from a card that I received with a necklace I purchased many years ago.  I found the card in a drawer a few months ago.  Serendipity!

Now for my piece of our photoshoot.

I wasn’t sure if they wanted me to use the coordinate with my hubby’s shirt, but I knew that would be too much for him.  He’s a pretty simple guy, so I wanted him to actually wear it.  More clothes for me!

I decided to use the coordinate to make myself a tunic.  It had to be a super- awesome-killer tunic with the battle print, so I really worked on trying to make it look a bit “Assassin’s Creed” like.  I think I succeeded.

The pattern pieces, for the most part.  I based it off a tunic a drafted several years ago.  There is a cowl piece missing in there, and the arms I ended up blocking a bit.

Getting the angles to line up across from one another was the hardest part.  The pleather and faux suede stripes was just time consuming.

The pleather had minimal stretch, but it worked out fine.  Especially since I made it a little too big.


The round opens on February 14 and closes on March 3rd.  Don’t miss out on these prints if you are a Vikings fan!

Focus – Week 6

Back on plan, dangit!

My accomplishments this week

Focus Photo –

This is a preview of a sew I did for the hubby, but I really love this shot of him laughing.  I don’t really get enough pictures of him.

Sewing –
  • This week was pretty much just sewing for strike offs, and not much else.  Those I will get posted next week.
  • My 52 week sewing challenge for the week was to sew something red or pink.  That didn’t happen.  Today I had the chance, but I was completely unmotivated to get anything done.

Next week’s challenge is to sew something with hearts.  Valentine’s Day is on the horizon, so I guess we need to feed the candy coated beast of love.  I have an idea for a shirt for my girl, so this should be easy.

  • #makenine progress:

None this week…too many other things on the “to get done” list.

House cleaning/Reorganizing –
  • I cleaned out the pantry and reorganized that mess.  Our pantry is what was supposed to be the coat closet off the garage door.  Next to it was a much smaller pantry that was hard to get to things, so I switched them around.  It tends to get a bit dishelved as things get thrown in there.  Food expires, as they are hard to see.  I threw out over a garbage bag full of food (after recycling what packaging I could).  That is just not acceptable.  I suffer a bit from food hoarding (growing up without much money will do that to you), but having food go bad is not the way to go.  Now I need to tackle the freezers and refrigerator.

  • The office needs an overhaul.  We have come to the point where I know I will be working from home, so we will need to redo the space.  Picture of the office before.

What is needed:

  1. Paint?  Maybe touch up some spots.  It has been about 10 years, so maybe I will repaint.  It will likely still be somewhat grey-ish.
  2. Two new desks and new credenza for the TV/game console.  One new office chair.  That desk is about 20 years old and falling apart in places.  Plus it takes up way too much room in there.
  3. File cabinets.  I can get them from my office as we purge for the move out.
  4. Lighting
  5. New flooring!

While I am not opposed to a “lived in” house, I am opposed to finding garbage 6 months old laying around on the floor.  They are going to highly dislike me sharing their space.  Luckily it will just be during the day, so their nights can be spent gaming to their hearts content.

We purchased new desks and have an appointment set up to discuss flooring.

Full disclosure…I hate almost all the flooring in our house.  The carpet all needs to get replaced, so this is just an excuse to get some of it redone.

Time with family –
  • Not much got done this week, but we did play some games. I also said “yes” to driving my son to play in a Magic tournament.  He really enjoys it, and it gets him socializing with other kids his age.  Of course, it had to be on a Friday night.  Sounds like he wants to continue going.  Nothing like spending 3 hours wandering around the mall on a Friday night!
Health, exercising, making healthy meals –
  • Again, no exercising.  I may have lost a pound, but I’ll see when I get on the scale on Monday.  I had mostly salads for lunch, but a few bad meals may have wiped out any progress.
Creative Design –

Well, I was going to go with two designs this week, as I skipped last week.  These are pretty simple ones, but I still like them.  I am such a black and white lover.

Reading –

Nada.  I’m hoping next week starts to be less busy and I can leave work at around 5 instead of 6 or 7.  That will free up some evening time to read.

Next week volleyball starts again, so add the ferrying to and fro several times a week to our schedule.  The break was pretty nice!

Focus – Week 5

My accomplishments this week

Last week was basically the reason I need this challenge and process to go through each week.  Last week was completely UN-focused.  It was one of those busy weeks with a few hatchets thrown at us, just to make it interesting.

The girl is improving from her meniscus knee surgery…each day gets better.

Tuesday started out with me spilling coffee on my work laptop.  Some quick reflexes, vigorous shaking, and dismantling it so it could air out actually saved it.  Whew!  But…it stressed the crap out of me.

We also had high school orientation for the boy, which we did not attend, as the Monday night orchestra concert was enough chaos in parking for one week.  Total. Freaking. Chaos.  Hopefully we didn’t miss anything important, but after 4+ years of registering ourselves for college, we think we can handle 9th grade high school.

Focus Photo –

Yep, it happened.  I didn’t get a “focus” inspired photo this past week.  The month of January put me in a bit of burnout, and I just forgot by Sunday night.

Sewing –
  • My 52 week sewing challenge for the week was to sew something from a recently acquired pattern.  I don’t buy patterns, so my interpretation was to make something from a recently drafted pattern.  I drafted and cut this out on Sunday night, and sewed it up on Monday night.

Next week’s challenge is to sew something red or pink.  Red is pretty much one of my signature colors, so this one should be easy!

  • #makenine progress:

The skirt above is the second of my #makenine makes.  Two completed in January…I may just get this done!

  • Strike-off sewing:

I have 3 items I need to get sewn by February 12.  I got two finished over the weekend, and now I need to figure out what the heck I will be doing with the last one.  I am in a bit of a creative block due to the colors and layouts.  I can walk through a bit of what I am thinking once I get it figured out.  At least the first two turned out awesome!

  • Misc. Sewing –

I also made another sweater and leggings set for myself.  I feel like I am getting a good casual closet made now.  I may be working from home in the near future for about 6-9 months, so it will be less dressy and more casual clothes.

House cleaning –
  • I have piles of laundry on the dining room table and floors in dire need of cleaning.  Yep. Last week was a big failure overall.
  • If I do start working from home (as early as the end of March), then the office needs a big overhaul.  It is a nursery sized room with a half sized closet.  It is our 4th bedroom, and fairly small.

I think right now I need to take stock of what is needed and start purging and taking some measurements.  It is the boys’ gaming domain currently, and they are messy!  There is the additional problem of excessive paperwork that likely needs to be shredded and some storage issues.  My work has some extra file cabinets that might work in my home office, and I know it will be fine if I take them.  We will be starting to purge stuff from the office soon and it is unlikely they will get much for 20+ year old office furniture.

Time with family –

I have noticed that it is getting harder and harder to devote time to just spending it with the kids.  They have their own interests, which don’t necessarily integrate with ours.  It is getting to the point where we have to make due with what we can, and this week, it was making Whoopie Pies with buttercream frosting with my girl.

They turned out good, too!

Health, exercising, making healthy meals –
  • Again, no exercising and meals were heavy in the carbs.  I can tell the lack of fiber in my diet from last week doing a number on my insides.  So…need to make sure I take some meat out of the freezer the night before and unthaw it.  I have some fresh veggies on hand, so meals this week need to get healthier with less pasta.
Creative Design –

Nothing last week, so I am going to go for TWO this week.  I have been thinking about fabric designs and the fabric shops that seem to have recurring prints as a staple.  I need to figure out what might be my staple if I ever go that direction.  My future is definitely up in the air with my job loss, so who knows?!

Reading –

Nada.  Spent wayyyy toooooo much time on Facebook and Pinterest.  On Pinterest I was really looking for inspiration for the third item I need to make with the strikes.  I guess I just need to jump in with both feet and see where I land.

One more week and then we will be getting back into volleyball, so a bit more busy than usual with the ferrying to and fro several times a week.  She still can’t play, but she can do a few things.  We got our carpool back, so that is good!

Oh, and no OOTD for last week, since some I have already posted and I just didn’t get pictures each day.

Another sweater

One of the reasons why I never think I can go on a RTW buying fast is that it is cold here, and you need sweaters.  I don’t knit sweaters.  I can do a little loom knitting, but that is the extent of my prowess with yarn.

Luckily, you can find sweater knits!  This is a sweater knit from Joann’s that is nice and thick.  Most sweater knits I have come across are actually pretty thin, so they aren’t very warm.  This has a nice weight to it.

I made another Rulo from George + Ginger patterns.  I modified for the skinny arm again, and I had to do some creative cutting.  “Creative” being code word for against the grain.  Dolmans are notoriously wide to cut and this is a wide dolman top.

I didn’t have enough yardage to get a full front and back out of it on the fold.  I needed to go against the grain and cut two pieces for the back.  You can see the grain is different for the front and back.

It’s all good…it still looks nice and since it isn’t tight, the grain doesn’t matter.  We’ll see if I experience any offset grain features in the future, though.  When I did the back, I serged the edges (sweaters fray), then attached together with the sewing machine.  I then topstitched down the seam on either side.  I figured a serged seam would be bulky.  Personal preference.

The neckband is fairly wide, so if you want a smaller neckline, move it in.  It tends to get wider due to the nature of sweater knits.  You may need to stabilize it a bit depending on your fabric.  I didn’t with this one, but I could also easily wear this off one shoulder.

My pants here are my straight leg leggings.  I made the bottoms a little wider and not as long as some that I have made recently.  This is a sueded scuba knit from Joann’s.  This is a pretty comfy outfit!  I was meeting my girlfriends after work on a Friday, so this went pretty well from casual Friday to the brewery.

#MakeNine Challenge – Ponte and Pleather skirt

I got another of my #makenine challenges completed, and it was this skirt that I have been coveting for several years on Pinterest.

I wanted to wear it to work, so that length wasn’t quite going to work for me.  I made it longer, but I think I may take the waist off and shave off a few inches.  I think I made it a little too long.

Still…love it!

Here are the pattern pieces.  I did two full fronts and backs and then the overlay that has the front angled down and longer.  I ended up shaving off a bit on the underside piece so it was easier to walk in, and so there was less bulk at that side seam.

I also attached the overlay to the side seam and not the waist.  I figured it would lay flatter that way.

I used a heavy ponte from Joann’s and a pleather scuba knit that I either got at Joann’s or from  Can’t remember which.

I do think that I could have done the hem differently.  My PLAN was to line the bottoms and then understitch the hem, but my lining was too flimsy.  I had to do a visible hem.  I like the cleaner look of the original skirt, though.

I am wearing it here with some RTW.  I love how this CAbi jacket looks, with the hourglass type of silhouette it creates.  Something to maybe recreate in the future.

TWO items off my #makenine list…seven more to go!

The layering t-shirt

A few years ago I purchased a t-shirt at the store Maurice’s.  It was one of those, “I need something new to wear this weekend” purchases, and so I didn’t expect to wear it much.  Turns out I wore it A LOT.

Sequins always make a shirt better

I decided I needed to make a pattern from it, and it was a pretty easy pattern.

The first shirt I made with it had those cut outs to put a mesh in it.

Then I made a long sleeve version.

Turns out I like to wear them both quite a bit.

In the Project Sew It group on Facebook, the January challenge is to sew a t-shirt.  I knew just what pattern to use!

This is a royal blue bamboo jersey and is very comfortable to wear.  These are great layering pieces for the wardrobe.  Where I live it gets pretty cold in the winter, but we like to have layers since some places are warmer (or colder!) than others inside.  This was a great addition to my wardrobe, as royal blue is a favorite of mine.

Next months project is to sew a sweater.  Pretty sure that will be another one of the Rulo’s with the skinny arms.  I loved the last one I made!


Focus – Week 4

My accomplishments this week

Focus Photo –

We got a bit of snow this week…

Sewing –
  • My 52 week sewing challenge for the week was to sew something for a boy.  I made a Bram Raglan for my son with some of the moon fabrics from Zenith & Quasar (moon phases panel, moon surface and Apollo schematics)


Next week’s challenge is to sew from a newly acquired pattern, so I am going to draft something new.  Maybe a make nine…

  • #makenine progress:

I didn’t do anything for that this week.  Next week, I will tackle one of these.  Need another check in a box!

  • I made this outfit for the girl.  I used the Rulo dolman with the smaller sleeves that I drafted.  She was having issues with the big poofy arms and getting the into her jacket.  This will be much easier to wear.  The top is bamboo jersey and the bottoms are brushed poly from Fabric Anthropology.

  • I am also working on another knitted cowl.  This one is going to take me longer.  I need to double up the strands since they are thinner.  It is a bit slippery, too, so I have to be a bit more careful with looming it.

House cleaning –
  • I feel like I got some progress with the house, but not as much as I would have liked.  It is better than nothing, though, so I guess it is one foot forward!  I got the utility room cleaned up a bit…that is where the cats reside.  It is pretty messy.  Panther is especially a messy cat.  Our last cat was very clean and didn’t make a mess, but she was a girl.  Two boy cats are very much different.
Time with family –
  • The girl had surgery this week on her meniscus in her knee, so we played some board games.  I am not a board game person, so this was a big deal for me.
Health, exercising, making healthy meals –
  • One day of exercising and meals were sporadic.  I need to get a meal plan together, and start using it.  I got a crock pot cookbook for Christmas, so I need to make some recipes out of it.
Creative Design –

I worked on a few ideas I had, but my issue has been uploading them to Spoonflower to print.  My files are too big.  Need to do some research on that again.  It is mostly with the prints that are a full yard like this shirt panel print.  Those are clouds in the design.

I need to figure out how to print some pictures on fabric, too.  I liked the ones that were done by Smoogie Fabric for some skirts I made.  I have some pretty nature pictures I have taken, so I just need to figure out how to enlarge them without making them pixelated.

Reading –

Yeah, I got nothing done for the reading area.  It was a stressful week, and only so much I could get done!  I did buy two books this week, but they are more self-help books.  One is a book to learn Illustrator and the other is a weight loss book.

Next week we may be getting back into volleyball, so a bit more busy than usual with the ferrying to and fro several times a week.  We lost our carpool once the injury happened, so now to see if we can find another!

Oh, and no OOTD for last week, since some I have already posted and I just didn’t get pictures each day.