Thursday, September 27, 2012

It's Fall!!!

I love the fact that it's finally Fall!! I celebrated over the weekend by having some of Dunkin' Donuts Pumpkin flavored coffee. I also added some whipped cream and cinnamon on top which made it even more amazing. Lets not forget the pumpkin butter on toast and fruit for my breakfast. I can't wait and this time of year means more pumpkin flavors are out in stores/restaurants/etc.

Another thing I am in the mood for is baking! With it becoming cooler it is easier to be in the kitchen. I already started baking candy corn popcorn balls, pumpkin flavored popcorn balls, and pumpkin bread. I have a few other recipes I want to try out as well.

Fall also brings my favorite holiday! Yes! Halloween!! I love mostly everything about Halloween. So when I get a chance throughout these weeks I will be posting about it. I have a soft spot for vintage Halloween decorations or art. I am not a big fan of anything too scary like we see now.

I will also be posting awesome Halloween DIY tutorials I find. Check out this awesome tutorial on how to make a Bat Chandelier by MyPaperCrane!

I also found some awesome vintage Halloween postcards that are free to download. Go check Vintage Holiday Crafts for more.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Roller Derby Friday: Part 3

Roller Derby has skated into my life and completely taken over. I don't know how else to say it but yes, yes it has. Maybe it's because I always give 100% when I'm really into something. I throw myself in head first without looking back. Maybe my mind knows I can do this and for once, let me push myself physically. I don't want to hold myself back anymore? Maybe it's with all the padding I wear and falling so many times in the past two weeks? I don't really feel the falls because of the pads, so it's a little "easier" not to give up? Pain has come of course and pulled muscles. Tears as well even though I push them back and keep on.
Shirts that my friend and I created for Roller Derby. It was fun making them and of course it's easier for everyone to remember our names. I am currently in my 2nd week of practice and lets just say I come home in so much pain. The other night in practice my muscles in my leg hurt so bad I actually had tears in my eyes practicing a one knee fall on the floor. Still I refuse to have any of the other ladies help me when I fall/etc. I want to get up on my own and prove to myself I can do it. I have started using handicapped bathrooms a lot. That extra bar support when your in so much pain, is a life saver.

I've come to hate lunges in every worst way possible. It's a completely love/hate relationship. My legs scream at me but I try and do them every day even if I am not at practice. I need that part of my body to be strong to be able to do this. I also love every minute of getting my butt beat. I think it's the ladies in this league and how much I have fun. These ladies are from every background imaginable but I still have a great time. They take the time to talk to all the new girls and offer encouragement, advice, and whatever else they can do. Every practice I have noticed me getting better a little here and there. I love seeing the improvement. I'm starting to get comfortable on skates and love it.

Like I said before, I have been trying to go to as many practices as possible during the week even if I can't be on skates that night. Every Tuesday night is scrimmage night so I've had fun just running around and helping out while the other ladies get to play. I can't wait to actually be out there though. It makes me only more motivated to get through each level. As you can see from the pic below I have been helping out keeping track of the major and minor penalties through scrimmages.
Some other pics. I love the RX toe stops and I'm so happy I ended up picking them up. It was suggested in our newbie package that we look at these toe stops. Something else I have learned is to check my toe stops before every practice and make sure they are on tight. After the 2nd time of my toe stop flying across the rink and a few ladies going to retrieve/helping me put them back on, you kind of learn your lesson?
Since I currently live at home with my parents trying to find a place to lay out my gear after practice can be interesting at times. Right now it's a toss up between my dad's work bench in the garage and on there freezer. I want everything to air out there because let's face pretty much sweat your butt off at every practice. I learned this on the first night when the league had donated gear in a box. A lot of that derby sweat from years, you could easily smell just by walking by the gear.

I also wanted to share something I found on facebook recently. It actually sums up well WHY, I want to be in Roller Derby:
Roller derby is the only place I know where we are all different and yet still manage to accept and support each other. We are:  gay, straight, bi, transgender, androgynous, or nearly asexual; virgins, sluts, poly, monogamous, kinky, married, single; heartbroken, madly in love, or simply alone. We may have never had a significant other, or we may be in committed relationships that have lasted several decades.

We are tattooed, or not. We are pierced, or not. We come in every shade of skin imaginable. Regardless of our “upholstery”, we all bleed red.
 We are religious, or not.  We are Jewish, Catholic, Mormon, Christian, Muslim, Pagan, Atheist, UU; not interested, in too deep, confused, seeking,  or just trying to recover from any of the above. We are parents, or not. We may have a house full of kids. Some of our “kids” may have fur, or feathers, or scales.
We are waitresses, doctors, musicians, artists, cowgirls, lawyers, teachers, students, and therapists. We are rich, poor, or just doing ok. Some are recovering addicts. Some of us are criminals, hopefully reformed, or at least working on it.  Some of us have been homeless and know what it’s like to be hungry and alone.

 As children, we may have been born to a great family, been spoiled, abused, ignored, or loved unconditionally. We grew up as nerds, jocks, preppies, bullies, outsiders, and invisibles. Some of us went to college, some did not. Some barely, or never, finished high school.

We are kind, angry, frustrated, peaceful, depressed, happy, crazy, enthusiastic, giddy, sick, and tired. We are also quiet, loud, and surprisingly shy; sometimes we exhibit all those things within a span of minutes.

We are vegans, meat-eaters, hunters, gatherers and everything in between. I think most of us in derby are addicted to bananas.

The things we do not have in common could fill volumes. What is important is that we meet at a skating rink, often exhausted and grumpy after a long day of work, school, and taking care of everyone else in our lives, and we work together. Strapping on skates and gear we drag ourselves onto a small oval track to sweat together, bleed together, and learn to fight fairly as we practice teamwork and communication. We work our asses off to get stronger. Sometimes we snap at each other, but more often we shout encouragement.  We each learn that no matter who we are, there is a place for us in derby. Anyone is invited to join us, to get knocked down, to learn to get up, and to always lend a helping hand to not only our teammates, but to our rivals as well.

After a hard fought derby bout the losers are quick to drop to one knee and graciously thank the winning team, because we understand and appreciate the hard work and dedication it took for them to get there. No matter the final score, there is something to be learned from everyone.  We truly do appreciate each other’s journey and commitment to this sport we love. Hopefully, when it’s time to go home, we have been reminded that each and every one of us is strong, worthy of respect, and capable of doing so much more than we ever believed. We are reminded of the value of hard work, of a common goal, and of good sportsmanship.

Most importantly, we are reminded that all our differences make no difference, because above all else we are sisters and brothers. That is what I wish the world knew about roller derby. Because if a band of unlikely misfits like us can achieve this, just think what the whole world could do if everyone committed to becoming each other’s family. Instead of worrying about what someone else is thinking about, who they love, or what they are doing with their private bits, what if we each focused on treating each other with care, dignity, and respect?

What if we become quicker to lend a helping hand and pick each other up, give a needed push to get someone through a hard time, or defend our brothers and sisters from those who wish to harm them; and slower to anger and judge? What if we were committed to a common goal, instead of letting our own insecurities and obsessions over things that are truly none of our business drive us to senseless acts of persecution? I believe… no, I KNOW we would all be better for it. It really isn’t as hard as you think.

 Life is like derby. At least I think it should be.
 For the love of derby and peace,
Kinetic Rage, #71, Springfield's Queen City Roller Derby

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dice Bags!!!

How to start out this story? One day a nerd girl meet a nerd boy and he asked her to listen to some nerd music? She wasn't sure at first but always willing to listen to new music, she was directed to a site. The nerd girl listened to everything she downloaded and fell in love. She then went out in the world to tell her other nerd friends about this amazing nerd music. The rest is history?

I have listened to a few Nerdcore artists through out the years but really had no idea how big the music was. I think my fellow nerd friends failed me? Pete within the first month of meeting him, had me downloading music from Scrub Club Records. Being a fan for a number of years and knowing several of the artists personally and attending a lot of there shows, Pete was happy to share several stories with me. It's not really shocking I fell in love (both with the music and him). Also, now that I have meet a few of the artists both in person and through the wonderful internets, they have my nerd love even more.

If you love music that has themes from all kinds of different fandoms( Ex: video games, doctor who, comics, harry potter, etc) then I highly recommend you check out  Scrub Club Records. Seriously, I doubt you will be disappointed and I really think you can find at least one artist you will love.

Taken from Scrub Club Recrod's Website:
Not only are we independent, we're also not-for-profit. Yes, you read that right - the label itself gets zero cut of the money! We release and distribute albums, promote our artists, book events, direct street teams, and offer awesome merchandise all by the power of donations from supporters and cash from our own pockets.

All of our albums are available for free so that there are no barriers in the way of a potential listener. The whole world is welcome to check out our music and other projects for free, and if they dig it enough, they are welcome to give a few bucks. If they can't, that's all good - we make our art to entertain and enlighten, getting reimbursed is not our focus.

I have no idea even how the idea came up but I wanted to donate something besides money. Maybe the fact, I always like to be different? The thought originally was going to be a couple of knitted items that they could sell. Course, I can never do a couple of "simple" things so it exploded into a number of dice bags that you can see below. It was insane work for me and trying to get it all done. I enjoyed every minute of it even though I wanted to pull my hair out at every dice bag. I think everything that went into the dice bag; knitting, crocheting, felt design, and embroidery took about 10 hours to each one.
Not hard to guess what these diced bags were made after? My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I couldn't help it. A few of the artists in Scrub Club Records are big fans of the show as well. I think, these dice bags were my biggest pain. I'm not sure if I will ever agree to do them again but we will see.

The rest of the dice bags! Here we have Zelda, Batman, Mario, and finally Scrub Club Records symbol. These guys weren't that difficult to make. I had to do a Batman themed dice bag since I'm such a huge fan. I can't wait to see all of these sold and used for nerd gaming.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Roller Derby: Part 2

Something I forgot to mention in my last post! I actually am starting this journey with a friend I've know since High School. We have always wanted to do roller derby and we both actually moved back to IL this year. Can we say fate? I am excited that she is doing this with me. Not only can we share car pooling but we can support one another.

She has also been going skating a lot with me at the local roller rinks around us. We try and go at least once a week leading up to official practice. We have talked about outside skating once she gets her own Roller Derby Skates. I can't wait for that!

(Photo taken from C.C.R.D.)

Both of us attended the first meeting. I am so happy they had a package to hand out because I was still out of it from GenCon! After reading over the package and talking to a few ladies that night I became more excited to start. There is a few weeks between that meeting and the official practice date(next week). The league wanted to give everyone a chance to get everything together. 

I loved the meeting and the no B.S. conversation they had with us. That we will go home for awhile after practice and pretty much fall into bed to pass out. That it's not the question of, "Will I get hurt?" but "When I get hurt?" I also found out another usage for Maxi Pads - they are good to stuff in the back of your shorts for spin/butt padding. The ladies in the league also brought up another good point - buying cheap will not protect you in derby. After pricing all the equipment I would need, it can be really expensive but I want to make sure I am well protected so it's worth it to me.

I also found out awhile ago and it was brought up in the meeting that there is a official rooster for Roller Derby Names! I already have mine picked out so I am hoping I get it. Not going to share it yet, until I know for sure I can have it. 

(Picture taken from C.C.R.D.)

Something else I have learned - It's better to buy all your derby gear from a shop that is owned by someone that did/is currently doing Roller Derby. You attempt to go into a sports store for example and try to talk about what you need? That random person will have no clue. It makes sense and that means the shop owner will know everything about the equipment she is selling.

I actually purchased all of my equipment from Roller Girl Skates.

I loved all the videos on the website which made it so much easier for me to figure out the sizing and what I needed. Also, the owners are currently doing Roller Derby so they supply gear that they can back and currently are using. I love the reviews they give on what they like and customers can leave there own reviews on products.

In my package from C.C.R.D. was a ton of information on the equipment I will need and what I should look for which made it even easier to find out what I wanted! Also in the package was the Newbie Training Plan! I will actually be practicing in a green shirt when I first start. My friend and I have already decided it will be fun to get a couple of shirts and decorate them together. Something to remember the pain and fun those first weeks of practice. Once we are done with that level, we then move on to gray t-shirts which means we can start doing the contact part of practice/derby. At the final we can start wearing the league colors and scrimmaging. I can't wait to work on all of this!

Hopefully I won't be too sore next week to make a post! 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Guinea Pigs and Cross-Stitch

Realizing today that I have been cross-stitching for about 22 years now is just amazing to me. I never thought something I picked up as a child would stay with me. After school daycare really worked out well for me, huh? A lady that worked there actually taught me how to cross-stitch and I loved every minute of it. It's funny because I never thought cross-stitch or embroidery is something difficult to learn. I think, having patience to do it, is what really makes it difficult. 

I also love picking bigger projects like this Epic Mario/Nintendo cross-stitch I am working on. This piece will be HUGE and it will take me forever I'm sure to complete it. The fabric count is so small, I can only work on this piece for about a hour or so before my eyes start to cross. I can't wait thought to get this done and find a place for it in my home.

(Guinea Pig: Ann Marie)

Oh! and to make this a little longer post I wanted to show off a few of my favorite pics from the summer. I never had a real chance to take Ann Marie and Abby out into the grass where I lived in PA. The back yard didn't have a fence and I didn't know what kind of chemicals/etc. my landlord put on the grass. Currently living with my parents, I finally got the chance to take them outside and they loved it! They pretty much had their heads in the grass the whole time munching away. It's suppose to be cooler this weekend so I'm hoping, I can take them out again before Fall weather starts to hit.

(Guinea Pig: Abby)