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Dare 180: Felines Happen To You


Her Royal Chaos, Calliope

Her Royal Chaos, Calliope

Things have been quiet on the blog because at home I’ve been handling a 2.5 lb furry whirlwind named Calliope. The two weeks has seen my household turned upside down thanks to a little grey kitten that showed up at my workplace. She caught a ride in the wheelwell of a coworker’s Toyota sedan and after trying to place her and finding her a home where it didn’t work out she ended up with me. Having a kitten all of a sudden is like someone just handed you a toddler, said “Here you go.”, and walked away. My house wasn’t ready for a kitten so I’ve spent the past weekend kittenproofing. Which is just as well because there were many things I needed to sort through that she could kill herself with (Kittens are quasi-suicidal by nature.) in my guest room which is now...her room. It has been my experience that cats just happen to me. I have never once gone out to get a pet cat. They have always come to me one way or another and now here we are.

Since I already have a geriatric cat riddled with infectious disease who has long been established in my home it is going to take some doing getting them both adjusted to one another. Plus, it puts my cleaning schedule into overdrive. I do not need my small home smelling like there are two litter boxes in it. That is beyond not cute.

What all of this means is that many of my projects have been put on hold while I get two cats trained not to kill each other. It’s a lot of work considering I don’t think pets were even a thought when my home was designed, but it will be worth it to figure out how to make it work. Little Calliope is such a delight. She’s friendly, sweet, and fearless. I suppose one would have to be to ride 40 miles inside the wheelwell of a car. Life keeps delivering these obstacles and I’m doing my best to face them head on. I think that after another week I’ll have figured out a new schedule and can post regularly again. 

2017 Hair Rehab


I decided to put myself into hair rehab starting July 1st . I actually don’t need the rehab as my hair is in really good shape, but I’m busy and I want to have my mornings free and give my hands and hair a break. Also, I want to try out some new styles now that my cornrowing skills are no longer completely pathetic. For the next six months I’ll be chronicling the styles and methods I use to keep my hair under wraps. 


July 2017


I made a length check tee which was something I swore I would never do because it seemed the slightest bit obsessive to me, but I've since changed my views on that. I realized that it can be a really helpful tool to help document progress at lengths beyond the shoulder as well as illustrate to others exactly what you're talking about and where you are when your goal is retaining length. 

Things You Need To Know About Me

  1. My hair is virgin hair. It has never had a chemical process on it. After a fresh wash and air dry it is a delightful mess of tight curls and kinks, fine to medium strands, but very dense. Occasionally I straighten it, sometimes with heat and sometimes without. In the pictures above it was freshly washed and blow dried, but by the time I took the photos it had begun to shrink up again.
  2. I have two endocrine disorders that make taking care of my hair more challenging than it would be otherwise. For the past year I've been able to manage my disorders well enough that I haven't experienced hair loss or thinning that is a hallmark of the conditions involving hypothyroid disorder and hyperandrogenism from polycystic ovarian syndrome. In the past I've had to cut my hair and start over not knowing that it wasn't anything I was doing wrong that was causing these troubles.

  3. I don’t lay down my edges. I don’t mind them looking how they look un-manipulated. Plus, I find the process to be frustrating and unkind to my scalp and hair and hate having all the product build up.

My goal for all of this is to retain length and sanity. I’ll be very busy tackling my Dare180 challenge and I do not have the time to be in my follicles, but I want them to be taken care of. So I’ll be using styles like cornrows to keep my hair low maintenance. I plan to deep condition and strengthen as often as I take them down (about every three weeks), trimming as needed, and adding moisture daily with my hair and scalp tonic. I'd like to be at or very near the 7 line by the end of the year.

I'll keep you up to date with my progress and the hair styles, methods, and products that I use along the way under the Hair2017 tag on the blog.

Floral Linen Suit: Concept



Initial concept. Although that jacket may turn into a vest as I discovered I have 2 1/2 yards of this fabric and not 4 like I thought I had. I forced myself to render this quick sketch for practice and yeah it's okay. She was supposed to be more brown and then I got tired and didn't render her face or hands. I'll have to try out some deeper tones later and give myself more than hour to color next time. 
This is the first contender in the Fabric Stash Challenge 2017. I'll be working on a pattern draft this weekend and next week with, hopefully, a muslin on the way by next weekend. 

Dare180: Knocked Down


Australia, 2017

Australia, 2017

Regrouping is hard. It is damn hard.

I have been metaphorically run over by a bus. The view under here is quite lovely as from this position you can see bullshit much more clearly when you’re sitting in it. In a matter of a few days all of the plans I made for myself through the end of this year have been effectively pushed off the table. Though I won’t go into details about my specific situation right now, I’m sure anyone who has worked hard and played by the rules only to have their ass handed to them and told to be grateful for the opportunity will understand how I feel right now. It has taken a lot of energy to keep myself from completely wallowing. It doesn’t change my Dare180 Challenge but it does change the scope of it. The only good thing I can see from this upset right now is that it is the perfect opportunity to try to implement one of the changes I wanted to make in myself: not letting roadblocks completely derail me.

 Who knew so soon in my challenge I’d have to come up against one of my greatest weaknesses?

I’m tired of the constant barely up and nearly always down of finding my footing as I try to blaze my own path in this life. It is ugly and my particular route is full of disappointment and heartbreak. I’m not unique, I’m sure, but the frustration and pain is my own to bear. I know the sooner I do begin dealing with it the better off I’ll be, but I think it is okay to take a moment to catch your breath when you’ve had the wind knocked out of you. I’m not sure I still know how to breathe. Okay, I’m being a little dramatic, but the feeling is real.

I think it’s necessary for me to share this moment with you as much as I can. It’s a part of the process and without it what I’m aiming to inspire would be hollow. I wish I could use these times as a power source. Level up someway and keep my stride no matter what gets thrown at me. I’m not strong enough yet. Not yet.

Fabric Stash Challenge 2017


a visual representation of ridiculousness

“It could be worse,” is a phrase I say to myself quite often when faced with a difficult situation. It’s also what I use to continue to delude myself into thinking that the amount of fabric and sewing patterns I have on hand at any given moment is reasonable. That I store my fabric in the trunk of my car because I have nowhere else to put it is a problem. I bought a small house with a finite amount of storage space so for the time being and for psychological health reasons I need to either use it or get rid of it. Now that I’ve cleaned out my wardrobe I need to clean out my design closet. Closets. And room. And trunk. So I’m challenging myself and I’m challenging you dear reader to do the same if you have this problem and are willing to admit to yourself you need to do something about it. I’m giving it to the end of the year. Whatever pattern or fabric I currently have in my possession that I have not used in the next six months will be donated to the nearest school, charity, crafter, etc. who can use it. There aren’t a whole lot of rules but here’s what I’m working with so far just to keep myself in check:

  1. No new fabric unless needed to complete a project. (I’m allowed to buy for the house, and I’m allowed swatches and notions)

  2. No new patterns unless they are drafted for a design with fabric I already have (I gave myself two exceptions though for long ago planned projects that I never bought a particular pattern for)

  3. No new tools (unless it breaks or is lost I don’t need another ruler, machine, or gadget)

  4. Share every project you make on the blog so you’ll be held accountable.

Whether I work through it all or not is inconsequential because the challenge will be over once I’m rid of everything. I don’t want to give away stuff I really like but if I can’t find the time to work with it there is no point in me keeping it as a “someday I might” project. I’ve had some cuts and patterns for over ten years. That is obscene. Once the challenge is over I’ll only buy for whatever I’m currently working on. I have no need for a stash. It serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever especially not taking up precious room in my Hyundai. I don’t have a working alteration studio or atelier and I don’t need to live like I do.

 Here’s a sneak peak of the first fabric on deck a floral print linen. I’ll be introducing the project for this in the next week. Let me know if you too have a fabric stash problem in the comments and/or what you did to get your collection under control in the comments. I can always use the tips.


Introducing the Dare180 Challenge


I’m making a personal challenge to break down the barriers of the box I put my own self in and go after everything I want. For the next six months I’m throwing myself 1,000% into every project and idea that I’ve been daydreaming about and I’m calling it The Dare 180 Challenge. Now, whatever I can do I will do. I’ve got projects I’ve started but never finished. Sometimes it’s a money issue which can’t be easily overcome for me right now, but most often it’s that I haven’t made whatever project or idea a priority. My particular privilege in life helps make doing this kind of challenge possible, however it’s my mindset that is most important. Thrive over survive. That’s the difference. Merely existing is and was never enough for me.

I didn’t want to be known as only an “X” or a “Y” or a “Z” when I knew I had so many different interests and facets to who I was and what I do, but this thinking was stopping me from going after a lot of the goals on my list. I finally learned that it’s okay if people put labels on me. It doesn’t mean I have to put them on myself or be overly concerned about it. Oddly enough I solidified this revelation after listening to a Marc Maron podcast (don’t ask me which one) when he said in a nutshell that he didn’t mind if people knew him from his stand-up or his podcast or as a radio DJ or from his T.V show because all of those things were things he enjoyed doing and were a part of him. Eventually his audiences cross over and they find something new to like. I found that endearing and even though I wouldn’t describe myself as a fan of his work per se I do appreciate his honest and open perspective. It was the clue I needed to get about 15 years ago. It’s never too late though. Sometimes you find wisdom in the places where you least expect it. My father shared a similar idea with me years ago: “It’s none of your business what people think of you” which I internalized in many ways, but it took a long time before I put two and two together. It felt like such a duh moment that I spent more time than necessary kicking myself for not realizing it sooner. Yes, I can dance, and write, and play music, and design, and sew, and model, and do the everything of the everything I enjoy and it doesn’t matter if people know me for one of those things or all of them. I wonder what went wrong in my thinking where I needed so much for other people to see me exactly as I saw myself when it’s none of their business what I think of myself.

Wherever I find my flow is where I’ll go. Whatever isn’t working I’ll drop. I won’t let road blocks deter me. I’m gonna blast right through them. Reviving this blog is evidence of me putting this challenge in action. There’s so much that I can accomplish when I have the mind to. It isn’t a matter of going at breakneck speed but at breakneck passion. Over the next few weeks I'm going to share with you exactly how I'm going about this and some of the things I plan to accomplish. Tell me: What is it that you want to achieve this year and how are you going about doing it? Let me know in the comments or send me a line. We can share our progress together. As you probably already know it’s hard to go it alone.

New Direction


I thought that I wanted to blog again starting in October. I was wrong. It seems I needed even more time away. I have written tons of posts but they tried too hard. This space isn't meant to be "aspirational" or a magazine. I kept losing sight of that. I just want to learn and share what I've learned. I'm working on a schedule to do just that. Currently, I don't have any sewing projects on deck. Possibly a gown for my birthday in January is in the works, but I have no solid idea yet. 

I'm also branching out more into woodworking and I'll share that here too. Along with whatever else I decide to create such as calligraphy and working small faux leather goods. Firstly, this space is for me, but I hope others might get something from it too. 

Here we go, truly,


While I've Been Away | Instagram


The most I've done in my studio these past few weeks is walk through it save for the random small progress I make here and there on my  Burda 7123 pants. I'm growing more and more frustrated that I haven't had time to myself to do as I please. Now that Labor Day weekend has past I'm looking forward to quiet evenings and maybe just perhaps a weekend all to myself with no major social demands. I may be outgoing and I adore being with my friends and family, but I am quite the introvert and need time alone to regroup/recuperate.  Though I haven't been posting here as often as I'd like I have managed to post on Instagram. If you want to keep up with me even when I'm not here you can find me there @trulyclaire or Above is a feed of my latest posts. Take care and I'll see you there!


I'll be posting frequently on the blog again starting in October!

Double Breasted Rehab



I haven't done much of anything in my studio this week. Let's not even talk about the Burda 7123 pants. The most I've done is cut them out and pull out the binding fabric for the waistband and stared at it. What I did do was buy new buttons for this Goodwill treasure that was missing two buttons and has been languishing on my spare form for months. There was a whole button saga, the details of which I'll spare you; but essentially I was holding out for a set of crossed revolvers that to my chagrin aren't available in 1" diameter. 


So I went to my local Hancock and picked these. They are called "brass pointed shield" and are a classic style if not a little boring. The good thing about buttons is that they're an easy and quick change so if  I ever do find 1" diameter crossed revolver wonderfulness I will not hesitate to swap them out. I just can't stand to wait and not have an opportunity this season to wear this great jacket. It's another $5.00 USD find that can do so much. Now, with the way my schedule has been I don't know if I'll even have time to sew on these buttons, but at least they'll be ready for when things slow down again; fingers crossed: will be soon. 




New Little Brother


I've had this little gem in my studio for the last two and half weeks or so.  I have no need whatsoever to own four sewing machines....and yet I do. Now, let it be known I have a great animosity towards modern Brother home sewing machines. I will not hesitate to bad mouth them in polite company. They are temperamental,  a right pain to calibrate, and have let me down far too many times, but when my friend sent a picture of this while she was shopping in Goodwill I couldn't say no. It was only $40.00 USD including the table.  I wanted it because of the table, but this little Brother is from the old school complete with metal body (not that flimsy plastic crap) so it holds more favor in my eye than it usually would.

Sure the table is missing knobs and is made of wood composite, but it's adorable and with a little elbow grease and maybe some paint can be made even more so. I have high ideas for this little treasure, including replacing the Brother machine. I haven't taken the machine for a run yet, but it came with accessories and a sign saying that it is fully functional. No instruction manual but that won't be problem. 

Also, by a sheer stroke of luck I've gotten the day off so everything I couldn't get done this weekend due to a terrible allergy attack (sewing those Burda pants) I'll get a chance to do today. Wish me luck!