Focus – Week 1

I am going to add yet another weekly post (OOTD being at the beginning, so not sure how weekly it will end up being).  Several years back when I was largely into photography there used to be weekly and annual prompts people would follow to give themselves a creative impetus to go out and take photos.

I am going to choose a word for this year, and not only will it be a photography challenge, but a self-improvement challenge.


I don’t know about the rest of you, but as the world has gotten more connected, I have lost my focus.  I know it seems like I get a lot done, but I also spend a lot of time randomly browsing the internet.  This effects me at home and work when  I should be focusing on more important tasks.

That is the short list of things I want to get done.  I also want to clean out all the excessive crap in our house we don’t use, figure out how to do a resume after 17 years of not having done one, exercise, find some fun things to do with the family, teach the kids to cook, etc, etc… the list goes on.

I would also actually like to read.  If I am productive enough in my other pursuits maybe I won’t feel like I don’t have time to read all those books piling up in my Nook and in our library.

My accomplishments this week:
Focus Photo –

This photo symbolizes the end of the holiday season with the wilting rose in this centerpiece.  It was a long holiday season, but it seemed to have gone by very fast.  It was full of gatherings with friends and family we don’t see often enough.


Sewing –
  • Over the break I had cut up some items to get sewn up, so I started working on those.  I really don’t need a lot of clothes right now, so there is no hurry in any of it.  It is kind of nice to not have a fire drill with sewing.  There have been some sewing pattern tests this week that last year, I would have likely volunteered for, but not now.  I don’t need the stress.

I am participating in a 52 week sewing challenge, and next week’s challenge is to sew something from the last fabric you purchased.  I had purchased a load from Nature’s Fabrics on Cyber Monday, so I am using the grey bamboo jersey in a new pattern hack.  Here is my “unboxing video” of that fabric.  Yes, I went there. 😉

The first week was something soft & warm, so I made two rice warmers and two flannel covers for gel ice packs for my Grandma Jo that broke her arm.  Should have maybe written down the measurements I used.

  • I also put together my #makenine list for the year, which is basically nine things you want to FOCUS on getting made.  Perfect for my challenge for myself this year!

It is basically a push to get me to make things I have been wanting to make that I’ve had fabric for forever, or that have just been on my “I really want to make that!” list. Some will be ones I draft and some will be patterns I already own. These should all fit into my current closet pretty well.

– The first top is just a nice black knit tunic top basic that will work for so many outfits.
– The second is a Vivienne Westwood copycat. I’ve had that buffalo check for at least a year waiting on this skirt
– The third black top is a nice cross front top. Not sure if I want to do woven or a sturdy knit yet. It will be something to wear when it gets warmer with cropped pants and heels. My butt needs a lot of squats right now, so that is my camouflage.
– The fourth I already basically have cut out. It’s a little different, but I love how the buttons dress up the front. Need to order the buttons yet.
– The fifth is a pair of cream wide legged trousers that I have had the fabric for about 4 years. Need to get that made!
– Again fabric and pattern have been sitting there for a faux fur vest.
– I really love those structured bolero jackets, so I’d like to give it a shot. I also like these in knit with a hood, so maybe two versions.
– I’ve had this skirt saved for many years. I have a stock of black pleather right now and various pieces of black ponte, so time to tackle it.
– This last one is a fabric I designed and printed it at Spoonflower in satin. I originally was thinking a pencil skirt, but I am going to do a wide waistband with a slight A-line to it. It will be lined.

Now to just get these all made up before the end of the year!

House cleaning –
  • Yeah, this week was a bad week to start this type of challenge.  I worked until almost 7 most nights, and then we hosted a family Christmas party on Saturday.  Sunday I went in to work to try to get what I needed done.  The house was cleanish for the party, though!
Time with family –
  • Well, we hosted a Christmas party for the hubs side of the family, so we had a lot of family time.  It was a firedrill getting things ready, like usual, but it was nice to see everyone.
Health, exercising, making healthy meals –
  • Exercised 0…ZERO  times this week.  My goal was three times on the elliptical.  This is what happens when I choose the busiest time of the year at work to start a plan.  Next week will be better.
  • I made some healthy meals and brought salads to work for lunch 4 times this week.  I also cut back on the alcohol, so baby steps.
Creative Design – Week 1

Full disclosure…I drew the Phoenix last year, but I did make the coordinate this week.  I will likely be using my existing designs to create new patterns.  I needed to create a new brush folder for them in Photoshop.  I got a new computer in December so I somehow lost all the brushes I had made with my designs.  I spent an hour making a new brush folder with the ones I could find.

This week I also made a new watermark brush pattern.  I figure I should  PROBABLY make it not so easy to steal my designs.   The design here is one of my drawings that I warped along the text.  I’m not sure if I should go with “Stylin Stacy Designs” or “StacyCK Designs” or “SCK Designs”.  If I do end up going into business, I should probably pick a name…

As for Illustrator, I made sure it was loaded on my computer and opened the program. 😀

Reading –

I finally finished this book this week, which I started at some point last year.  It was an interesting read, and shouldn’t have really taken me that long.  I am not a big non-fiction reader, but I would like to read more of that this year.

I am also working on finishing up Nevernight.  I got 2/3 way through it over the holidays.  It is a pretty good book about a female assassin in a fictional land of 3 suns.  She’s out for revenge!  He has a lot of little asides/stories/history of the land in the bottom of each page in small type, so it is taking longer than anticipated to get through it.

I have also been writing a book, but barely worked on it last year.  I’d like to put more words to pages.  It isn’t something I ever intend to publish, since I don’t really think I am a good enough writer.  It is just a fun project for my imagination.

Week one down in the books, and I am hopeful of keeping up with this project.  I know that some weeks I likely won’t, so I am prepared to give myself some grace in not getting to everything.

2018 Plans

Was it just me, or did 2017 just fly by like a bat out of hell?

Our 2017 started out with our son puking all over the place, and it is ending with my Grandma Jo breaking her other arm and my girl needing knee surgery for a meniscus tear.  Throw in several funerals, and that pretty much sums up how 2017 went.

I’m not sure if I sewed so much last year due to just wanting not to deal with all the stress of everything or what.  I do think it was my outlet, and the one thing I could control.  I got a little cranky if I didn’t get time to sew.

I  managed to make a crap ton of stuff.  I made in excess of 150 items last year for me, the kids, and some lucky friends and family.

I would like to be a bit more focused this year, though, which will likely mean that I don’t volunteer for every strike off opportunity that rears it’s head.  I got stressed out from that last year, since they all seemed to come at once.  There were a few items that I made last year that were just not my personal style.  That is a bit of a waste of my time and fabric.

I also bought quite a bit of custom and regular fabric last year, and I really need to reign myself in this year.  I don’t really need much additional fabric after all of that.  Yes, yet again I can’t fit all my fabric on my shelves.  I need to find a place to get rid of my scraps and small cuts that are taking up shelf space.

What a mess.

I have joined a few Facebook groups for sewing next year, but if I don’t manage to sew along with them it won’t be a terrible underachievement. I think it is safe to say I can sew a lot when presented with the opportunity.  I would guess there were a good 20+ items I sewed up last year that didn’t make the blog.  I pushed the girl child to model a lot this year, so when I didn’t make strike-off related stuff that didn’t need professional pics…I didn’t bother.  You only wanted to poke the beast (tween-ager) so many times. 😉

I have this grand plan that I am going to cut up a bunch of stuff at once and then sew when I have time.  Of course, that is after the to-do list that I have waiting for me.  Grandma Jo and the girl will need some special items made for them with their upcoming surgeries to help them out.

I’d also like to focus on making some more detailed patterns, and working the kinks out of some existing ones.  I will be losing my job at the end of 2018, so I will finally have some time to learn drafting software.

Yay…I guess. 

I have started putting together a portfolio of past work that I would like to make patterns for them.   I think I have designed some fairly unique pieces.

I would also like to get my loom set up and do some more loom beading.  Maybe on a purse handle…or something like that.  I have been itching to work on that again.

So, in brief…TLDR;)

  • Stop buying so much fabric
  • Be more purposeful in sewing and don’t volunteer to sew stuff that won’t get worn.
  • Start putting together sewing portfolio of unique items to perhaps maybe draft and grade
  • Get that loom out and strung

Hope everyone had a great holiday and will have a happy and prosperous New Year!

July wrap up and August plans – a bit delayed

Delayed as the summer is slipping away!  Might be because we are pretty busy over here, too.  The first week in August the kids spent with family, so hubster and I spent our evenings eating out and drinking.

I’m sure I gained 5 lbs that week.

July was actually more productive that I thought it would be, but I still didn’t get much off my to-do list.

So far this month I have:

  1. Done – Dinosaur pouch is finite and he will pick it up on Friday
  2. Partially done – Strike off sewing.  I have made 4 pieces so far this week, with another 6 I need to have done by next Saturday.  Seriously, they all come at the same time!  The girl will be getting some new outfits for fall/winter, though, so I guess that is a win.  One is a bit of a transition piece.  I got pictures of three of them last night and they turned out pretty cute.

Need to get done:

  1. Skirts and tops for Michael Miller fabrics by Tuesday.  I am taking tomorrow off work to get them done!  These are going to go to the girls on the Pine Ridge Reservation. I might have the Girl model them to showcase the fabrics, but then they will get packed up and sent off for some under-privileged girls.
  2. Leather holster for a friend that is likely getting ansy.  I NEED TO GET THIS DONE.  Oh my gosh has this been hanging over my head.  The problem is that I don’t have a pattern for one and I need to draw it up myself.  There are a few different versions that I think might work.
  3. It is Renaissance Faire time again, so my kids are going to need awesome costumes to wear.  I think the dude’s outfit will still fit him, though I might need to let the pants down.  He had growing room last year.  The girl will need a new outfit.  I’m thinking of finishing her assassin girl outfit.  She actually wanted me to make this cosplay.

Not happenin’ right now girlfriend.  I just don’t have the time.  Maybe later.

As long as she is still interested in the books, that is.

It is halfway through the month and look at that list!  I am planning on taking the last week of the month off of work so I can spend time with the kids and catch up on projects.  Hopefully my plan works!

July…time to get some work done!

I knew June was going to be hard to get into the sewing room, and I was correct.  When I did have day or a night that I could work, I was just too tired.  The only things I got done were ones with deadlines!

My list for July is going to be trying to FINALLY get a few things off my to-do list.  This weekend is mostly free, so hopefully I can spend some time in my sewing room.

  1.  Finish up a purse and do a tutorial on how to make a leather tassel.  I have the outside done and most of the interior, so I just need to get it finished up!

2. I have a few strike-off samples on the way, so I will work on those as I get them in.

3. Finally get that leather holster done for my friend.

4.  Leather pouch for the dinosaur bone.  Finally got measurements and this one should be fairly easy to do.

5. I received some Michael Miller fabric as part of being a Sewing Portfolio’s Ambassador.  I am hoping I can squeeze two dresses for the girls on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation out of the three yards I received.  We’ll see.

6.  Make my black purse.  Keep it this time and don’t sell it.

Now to get to work!



June…the month of no time to sew

Of course, that does not preclude me from volunteering to sew up samples.  I currently have several strike-offs sitting on my sewing table that need to be sewn up.  One is finished, but I do not have an available model.  She has softball just about every night this week, so tomorrow I will have to squeeze pictures in quick before I head off to watch her brother’s game.

We are basically busy every single night this week and weekend, and the train keeps rolling through the end of the month.  After that, it is less weeknight games and just preparing for tournaments.

May was considerably down from April in the sewing department:

There are a few things in there that haven’t been blogged yet.  Hopefully, I will get to it soonish.

My sewing/to-do list right now (in order of priority)

  • Strike-off sewing: tank dress for the girl (done – see, already got something done in June)
  • Strike-off sewing:  Skirt for me with matching top
  • Strike-off sewing: I have some small bits that I need to figure out how to use.  I think they are too narrow for sleeves, so maybe a side panel on a pair of capri’s.
  • Strike-off sewing: Skort for the girl with a matching top
  • Leather gun holster for my friend.  Really need to get this done.
  • Black leather purse
  • Skort for me out of baseball fabric, and maybe softball fabric.  I need some kind of item out of softball fabric for when I cheer on the girl. 🙂
  • I’d like to do this pouch to house my art pens and stuff that I carry in my bag-of-all-things that I bring with me to sports.
  • A few more dresses for girls.  Kind of stalled on that since I tend to volunteer myself for projects.
  • One of the dad’s on my son’s baseball team needs a leather pouch made that he can pour silica into for a base for a 4′ long dinosaur bone.  I don’t think that will be hard at all, so I said I would make it for him.  See…I volunteer for everything.
  • I am also participating in a blog tour near the end of the month, so I need to have something done for that.

No time to sew, but plenty to do.  Wish me luck! 😀

May plans…so many plans, so many games to keep me away from them

Ah yes, we have finally entered upon full on baseball and softball season.  It is 5-7 nights a week of either practice or games.  If it is practice, I can usually get something done, since we carpool with another family for baseball (hubby is the softball coach, so he is on for that!).

During April I was able to get a lot of what I wanted done, in addition to some fabric sample and pattern test sewing that always seems to come up unexpectedly.

May plans:

  • I really want to get more dresses sewn up to send to the Lakota kids.  I have a box ready to be sent out that includes some pretty shoes my daughter never wore (she has narrow feet…I have found buying online for her can be problematic).  I have plenty of cotton sitting there collecting dust and many patterns that I made for my girl from when she was young.  There are a few sundresses that I could make in my sleep, so I would like to make at least a few of them.

Right now I have two cut out from Simple Life Pattern Company that I had tested.  I am hoping to get them made up this week and then maybe get a few more cut out and made up in the next few weeks.  So…maybe set a goal of 5? dresses for May?

  • I really, really want to get a new black leather purse made since I sold the one I made for myself in January.  It will likely be similar to the one I made then.  If I have time I will try to make a tutorial on it.

  • A friend wants me to make him a leather gun holster with The Punisher on it.  That is a new project for me, so I need to figure out how I want to make the gun holster.  I have been looking at tutorials, so am about ready to dive in on it.

Then there is Me Made May, where all of us sewists try to wear what we make.  This is a bit of a no brainer for me, since I usually wear or carry something I have made everyday.  I did fairly well with it last year.  I will do a weekly round up post, instead of posting each day.

I also have another strike off sample to sew up.  I think I know what I will be making with it, and it won’t be too hard or time consuming.

I am sure there will be some other sewing sneaking in, but this is my plan so far.  Now that I am working on more strike off sample sewing, that seems to eat a bit into my time!












Let the cosplay costuming commence!

Well, it’s that time of year.  That time, when I pull my hair out and try to figure out how the heck I am going to finish these costumes in time!

The kids are going to be Geralt and Ciri from The Witcher 3.


So, to start I am going to detail what I have to make for each character.

Let’s begin, shall we?

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 10.13.23 AM


  • Leather corset
  • Leather pants with studs
  • Cream top with a satin ribbon
  • Leather arm cuffs
  • Leather gloves
  • Belt made out of clay and glass
  • Leather belt
  • 2 Leather pouches on the belt
  • Leather strap for her sword
  • Sword and scabbard
  • Cat medallion
  • Boots (She has a pair that she can use that are good enough)



  • Chainmail and leather corset
  • Leather chestplate
  • Quilted shirt
  • Quilted Leather pants
  • Gauntlets
  • Chainmail and leather pauldrons
  • Leather belt with trophy hook
  • 2!! Swords with leather sheaths
  • Cross bow?  Might be passing on this.
  • Leather boot coverings (he has some boots I can use to cover)
  • Wolf medallion

I have less than two months to get them done.  No big deal, right??

I have a lot of the fabrics and most of the leather/faux leather I need.  I will make the swords out of wood and paint them to look sword-like (in theory).

Her “metal” belt is going to be a huge pain.  I am thinking of making it in clay, but I want to make a mold for the pattern.  I need to go get something to carve for that.  I have the clay and the glass centers, so I am partway there.

For the chainmail, at first I was going to attempt to make it, but in the end I decided to purchase this from a seller on Etsy.  It will work good enough.

I know I still need to get up the details on my wardrobe capsule, and I will.  I also have a few other things to post.

It will give me a break from this insanity.

The missing shirt

So LAST YEAR at the Sewing Mama’s retreat I made this shirt.  It was the first thing I made, and I loved how it turned out.  I got home and the Little Miss tried it on.

Too tight in the sleeves.


I thought that I had put it downstairs on my sewing table.  When I went to fix it, I could not find it.  I even looked through her closet.  Several times!  Well, apparently I didn’t look well enough.

A few weeks ago, one of her friends was combing through her closet looking for something to dress up with, and she came across the shirt!

I thought for sure it ended up in a giveaway bag and was long gone.

So here it is!  Finally!

She liked a shirt I had with pleather insets at the top, so I made this for a similar look.  She loves zebra print, so that is the main fabric, plus stretch lace on the bottom in three layers.


I bound the edges with the zebra print as this black lamé fabric tended to run if stretched too much.  The back actually has some run marks in it.


I ended up re-binding the sleeves in a black lycra knit, as I couldn’t find any of the remaining zebra knit.  After a year or so things tend to disappear.

She was pleased!

…just ignore the fact that part of the peplum circle skirt is tucked into the waistband of her shorts 😉


More retreat sewing

This shirt is one that I sewed up at the retreat.  I copied it off a RTW shirt that I had in my closet that was getting faded and had some holes in the front.  I had it all cut out ahead of time, so I just had to sew it up when I got there.  I did need to try to find a notion for the back cut out area, so I got that while we were fabric shopping.

The cut out is a bit of a fail in my mind.  It isn’t quite even on each side and didn’t go on the open circle silver thing very well.  First try, and all that!  Next time I will have to practice on some scrap fabric first to figure out how best to make it work.

The maxi skirt is my normal maxi skirt pattern, only I cut the pattern up so I could place godets in the two front seams.  I think I had about 2.5 – 3 yards of fabric for this skirt and there wasn’t much left.  I had to piece together a few of the godets, too.

One thing I have found with making maxi skirts is that you need to choose a thicker knit.  This is a pretty thin knit, and it is see-through if I stand in front of a light source.  I can wear a slip with it, but during the summer that is too hot.


Sorry for the crappy pictures, but my camera was not focusing very well this time.

Next up for me is to try to make something with this fabric:


I am thinking of making a kimono sleeve wrap top and a pencil skirt with some flounces sew into some seams.  I am still contemplating.

The kids are off to the relatives for the week on the farm, so I have time to get some things done…hopefully!  I have a mountain of laundry to do after the kids contracted lice from the day camp that they attend.

That was fun!  Not!

I even had it.  Ugh.  That was one thing I didn’t want to cross off of my summer bucket list.  Luckily, in our larger metro area we have a lice removal place.  Totally worth the money to have them take the lice out of our hair.  Now hopefully the other parents at the day camp will be checking their kids and removing the lice.  If you ever have the misfortune, and have a lice removal place near you, I would totally recommend it.

Oh, and then my husband got rear-ended on his way home from getting his head checked out (he’s the only one that didn’t have it).  The boy was in the car with him, and luckily they were unhurt.  The car is another thing, though.

It has been a trying last week!

Tie-dye vs. the monsoon

I made this lovely little knit/stretch lace capri joggers for the Girl to tie-dye at the camp.  I used parts of an Ottobre pattern, but the legs on it are a bit off.  I will need to adjust that a bit next time I use that pattern.  The white lace on it is the same lace as the Breeze top I posted earlier this week, and she is wearing them with it below.  This was the white lace that I got for free from, since they kept on sending me the wrong stuff.  I got lots of white stretch lace.

Last week they did the tie-dye on Wednesday, so I had to do some last minute sewing when they told me that on Tuesday morning (like usual).  Kai just got a piece of twill fabric, since I didn’t have time to do more than that, and he wanted shorts for his project.  Pretty much impossible for me to cut and get a pair of cargo shorts done in part of an evening.


When they got home, I asked to see how they turned out.

Urchins:  “We had to leave them at camp to dry.”

Me: “Ah…what?  There are supposed to be storms tonight.  Exactly how are they supposed to dry?”

Urchins: “Well…our counselors said to leave them there.”


Yeah, so this is what happens when 7″ or so of rain falls on tie-dye clothes that are “drying”:


I was kinda hoping that stretch lace wouldn’t take the dye, but it did.  Still cute, but would have been better with the white lace on top of the “tie-dye”.  Kai’s fabric turned out less pastel-y, since I gave him cream twill.  I just need to get that sewn up now.  It is mostly light yellows and greens, so his didn’t all run together.


I had to wash them twice because they were full of DIRT.  Wet dirt is just so much fun to get out of clothes.  Part of the camp was underwater on Thursday, so they didn’t get them back until Friday when the counselors went back to retrieve them.  The kids were able to access parts of the camp on Friday, but said a lot was underwater.

No more drought in our state after that last rainstorm, though.  Everything is very green around here…especially the weeds!