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Creative Casey's Blog

Monday, December 23, 2013

Captain Underpants and My Future Husband

I'm waiting at the airport for my flight to take me back home after a wonderfully fun holiday visit with my sister, nephew and brother-in-law. While we had many adventures during my 10 day visit I thought I'd share a project or two. My nephew has always loved reading and I found six Captain Underpants books for him at Savers brand new for 5 dollars. I carted them down to SC and we spent each day reading through this off beat comic book chapter series.

We purchased a white t-shirt from Walmart and used Crayola Fabric markers to recreate an image from one of the front book covers. I drew the image and my nephew colored it in. We made quite the team and he wore the t-shirt proudly today. The only downfall was there was no skin tone marker to color in Captain Underpants so that was a slight bummer.

We did some other drawing and coloring while I was there and I noticed that my nephew has become quite the artist. He continues to crack me up with his random thoughts and now I can add random drawings to that. I'm not quite sure what prompted this latest drawing but he all the sudden gave me an image he had drawn and stated, "Aunt CiCi this is what the man you marry should like."

In case you couldn't tell my future husband should have a beard (though it looks a bit like a goatee), curly mustache, earring in one ear and a Mohawk.  What a hoot!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Holiday Crafting With Friends

I had been looking forward to this get together with my friends for a while. I wanted to connect with them before things get crazy with the holidays.  My friend Marcy invited a few us over for a card making party. We listened and sang (or rather I got laughed at for my singing inabilities) to holiday music, ate some delicious treats Marcy put together for us, and created cards. My friends all focused on holiday cards but since I had that done I focused on creating thank you and birthday cards which I desperately needed.

A wonderful thing about this get together is that Marcy is a Stampin Up card making guru! She has oodles and oodles of supplies, inks, stamps, embellishments, and so on.  She is also very knowledgeable about how to make any design you are looking for. I felt intimidated at the beginning because my friends are all talented and sometimes it's difficult for me to start something cold turkey with no frame of reference, but soon I was a card making fool. I really like all of the cards I completed and have used several already. :)  I can't say enough about what a great time this interaction with my friends was and it was very much needed in my life at this time.

Get in the holiday spirit with the Turkey Trot and Jingle Bell 5K's

My counterpart at another college won first in her age group too!

Well I completed my final two runs for 2013! I participated in the YMCA Turkey Trot for my hometown area. This was at 9:30am on Thanksgiving morning. My dad refused to come because he had to go hunting, but my mom was willing to be dragged as long as there was Dunkin Donuts Coffee involved.  The cool thing about this race is that they had the YMCA gym open so all participants could wait inside prior to the race starting. Considering a winter storm had just passed through the day before and the premature was a balmy 16 degrees I was so thankful to be able to wait inside.  I actually waited inside until 5 minutes before the race started and I still couldn't feel my ankles or feet for almost the entire race. Apparently I needed the motivation of the cold to make me run the fastest 5K I've ever run.  My final race time was 23min. 40sec. and I won first place in my age group which was depressing in itself as the group was 30-39.  I won a Butterball Turkey and a jar of organic natural peanut butter. Both of which I quickly gave to my parents. We will now have a turkey for Christmas Day. :)

My final run was the Jingle Bell 5K this past weekend. I decked myself out with bells on my shoes, bracelets that were all bells and a green and red tutu with bells.This was a festive fun run, but also cold. It was at MCC and due to hockey games and basketball games there was no indoor waiting place before the run started. I hoped in and out of the car to keep warm. Again I walked to the starting line about 5 minutes before the race started and couldn't feel my hands this time for half of the race.  Apparently what made me improve on my race time this time was the fact that my ipod failed me. Someone it didn't get charged properly so I had no music (which is my saving grace when I run). So I had to listen to people dogging me the entire way and hear my own horrible asthmatic elephant breathing. My final time was 23min.27sec.. Hooray!  I won 3rd in my age group but at least the group this time was 30-34. I received a nice bronze Jingle Bell medal.

My friend won 3rd female overall. 

So what's in my running future. Well, I DO NOT run outside during the winter (except for the upcoming 2 weeks when I'm down south where it is warmer). Yes, I'm the loser on the treadmill for about 3 months before spring get's here.  I've started to train for a half marathon. Yes, again I realize in a prior post when I first started running races that I said I would never run a half marathon but I guess I have the bug. Not the full marathon bug though.

Here's some other runs that I'd like to participate in in 2014:
The Spartan
Tough Mudder
Flower City 1/2 Marathon
Night Glow 5k
All Star Shenanigan's
It's a Wonderful Life
Reindeer 5k (possibly)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sock Monkey Exchange

I've been wanting to participate in more art based larger community projects that come full circle. My inspiration for this was seeing my friend Joyce's collection of art journals that came from online art groups she has joined over the years. She starts her art journal then it get's sent around the world to other people that agreed to be a part of this project. At the same time they are also sending their journals around to everyone. Eventually you get your backs and have an amazing art journal from around the world.  One evening I surfed the internet for a community project like this but instead spent hours sucked into the online world checking out different art based blogs. I ended up following a few and one of those that I now follow is called "6 Degrees of Creativity".

A couple of weeks ago the facilitator put out a call for a sock monkey exchange ( and I jumped in on being a part of this project. Partially because as a kid sock monkeys scared me because they looked like this:

Which reminded me for some reason of the bad monkeys from Wizard of Oz.  I've seen cuter ones these days and wanted to challenge myself in trying to make one. I also liked the idea of sending it to someone and not having any idea of the one that you will receive in return.  I searched online and found a good sock monkey tutorial blog that I used for most of it but the decorating portion was all me. Do you recognize where the tutu tule came from?

Here's pics of my sock monkey. It's being sent to a woman in NJ.  I will update with pics of the monkey I receive.

Update:  Below are some pictures of the sock monkey I received in the global trade. Mine came from Natalie Coriell from Maplewood, MO.  Thank you Natalie!

Mixed Media Fiber Arts Class

Due to taking more night classes this fall as I work towards my second Masters degree I've worked 
hard to try to keep a balance in my life of work, school, fun, relaxing and creating.  It's worked out 
fairly well and I've remained relatively sane this fall.  In order to help me stay balanced in all of these areas I count on things like my book clubs, running races and art classes to hold me accountable.  In November I registered for a Mixed Media Fiber Arts Class through the Memorial Art Gallery's Creative Workshop ( It was a 3 hour 3 session class 1x a week. The  instructor was Nancy Topolski and her work can be found at

The class wasn't 100% what I envisioned it to be but as in most things in life it proved to be exactly what I needed at this time in my life.  I didn't know it until I went to the first class but I've met Nancy before when she exhibited and sold her artwork at the Clothesline Festival a couple of years ago. I admired her creative creatures and the neat ideas she came up with in how to recycle felt and wool sweaters.  I also saw this stuffed fish that I wanted for my nephew but couldn't afford it at the time.

The cool thing is that Nancy taught us all about different fibers, materials and felting techniques.  A friend of mine Leslie had shown me some basic felting with roving before so I had some idea of what to do, but I actually got to try new techniques during this class. Mostly this class gave me the space and time to around creative people and just relax and create.  

The one big problem was that once I started creating I didn't want to stop. I would come home from the class and want to keep creating every night instead of doing my big research papers and reading for classes. Arrrr..... However, I did force myself to buckle down do my work on time and managed to create quite a few felted creations which will end up being Christmas gifts for family and friends. Including the stuffed fish I made for my nephew. :)  Enjoy the pics and as always feel free to share your creations, inspiration or techniques.

Little purses or something like that.

These are pins but you can also make them into magnets.

This creature is about 3" tall and called "sprout".

The fish for my nephew.

More Good Reads

Here's an updated list of some books I've been reading. My pace has been a little slower since being back in grad school, but being in 2 book clubs kept me busy. I had the opportunity to join another book club but turned it down for now. Not enough time.

Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt  *****
Never Let Me Go by  Kazuo Ishiguro  **
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn ***
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver   ***
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh's ****
Secret Keeper by Kate Morton ****
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak ****.5
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler ***

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Hot Chocolate 15K Chicago and other fun runs

Post Race Celebrating

We are women hear us roar!

I made it to and back from the Hot Chocolate 15k in Chicago! If you recall I upgraded to the 15k but had never ran that far before (it's 9.3 miles).  I had about 2 weeks to train after partcipating in the 10k Monster Scramble run and the most I got up to was 8 miles. I figured if I could make it to 8 then I could make it the finish line.

It was a beautiful weekend to visit Chicago. Niether myself or my friends had been before. It's a pretty cool city or at least the limited parts I saw. It was very clean, practically right on the lake, and the L was  pretty neat.  Our hotel room was great- big and on the corner so one view was the city and the other was the lake. Most importantly our hotel was on the main running route and we were about 1 mile from the start line and half a mile from the finish line.

The swag bag for the event was awesome. The best part being the jacket we each received.  I was slightly worried about this run and the process because the reviews from last years race were that it was very poorly organized. Apparently the company listened to the reviews because it was the polar opposite this year. Packet pick up was easy and no waiting. Another highlight was the 3 chocolate fondue covered marshmellows I ate!

We cruised around the city during the day, rested a bit and then went out again that evening. I had a famous Chicago deep dish pizza which was mouth watering and later my friends and I shared a warm homemade giant chocolate chip cookie with ice cream and fudge on top. Yummy.....

The race day was sunny and slightly chilly. Everything was organized and the race went well. It was a bit slow going for the first 2.5 miles as I had gave up my corral status (which was D) to wait and start out with my friends who were in corral M. This meant that I wasn't evenly matched with runners my pace but slower runners. I'm pretty sure I could have improved my time by 3 minutes if I had run with my pace group. However; I still kicked but and did better than I figured I would. My final run time was 1 hr. 19min. and 46sec..  My mile avg. was 8:35. I placed 120 out of 1,126 runners (co-ed) my age that ran the 15k and 633 out of 6,448 overall female 15k runners. So not to shabby for an old lady! Overall there was about 40,000 runners. It was an insane experience to be a part of and so much fun!

After the race we enjoyed our chocolate fondue and hot chocolate, took some pictures, danced a little, talked to strangers and then headed back to the hotel. We all agreed that a pedicure would feel wonderful and treated ourselves to one before heading to the airport for our return flight home.

I'm salivating just looking and remembering this pizza!

All that swag.

Other runs:  A colleague of mine convinced into running my first trail race last weekend. We ran in part of the Dirty Cheap Fleet Feet trail series run.  This was a weekend of running if chose to do all of the races. The first being a very steep challenging 3 mile run, followed 2 hours later by a 5 mile run and an 11 mile run the following day. All races were at Mendon Ponds which is a local park/reservation area.  We ran in the early morning 3 mile steep hill run. It was freezing out, snowing sporadically, and I couldn't feel my toes for the first half mile. You had to walk about 3/4 of a mile to get to the starting point and you started by running up hill.  The hills got to be so steep that there was no way you could run up them. They were vertical hiking trails so you had to grab the ground and use trees to pull yourself up. I guess with trail runs you historically have a slower pace time due to the ruggedness of the trails and have to be very careful especially this time of year when it was wet, muddy and leaves and roots were all over. I even had to jump over a fallen tree.  My time was 32min. and 15 sec. and I came in 1st in my age group (30-39) so not to shabby. Considering there was a couple of RIT students that were 19 and 20 and fairly fit and their times were 28.32 and 29. 40. I felt pretty good about my run though not so much that I want to do it again right away!  No pics to show just my race bib.

**So what do you do when you get home from a tough race and you are still on a runners high? You sign up for more races!  I subscribe to this active gear website or rather they found me and now I get a ton of mostly useless info from them daily. But recently they sent out an article on 21 of the most fun runs a person should participate in. Surprisingly I have done quite a few and there were 2 on there coming up that I could check off that list if I chose too.  So my last two races for this year will be the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving and the Jingle Bell 5k run a week later.  I went to Savers yesterday and picked up some pieces to make my outfits so stay tuned for the pictures! I also recently found out my counterpart at St. John Fischer who is a friend is also running in both of these races which I'm excited about and will make them even more fun.  Below is a sneak peak at part of my outfit for the Jingle Bell run!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Monster Scramble

Oh boy, let me tell you about this race!  First of all- I survived! Second of all- this was the longest race/running I've ever done before!  So this was the MS Monster Scramble 10k at Mt. Hope Cemetery where my friends an I dressed up in costumes and ran through the cemetery.  My friends were a bit freaked out about running through the cemetery and getting bad karma. Me not so much.

It was a beautiful fall day, but slightly windy and a bit cold. I froze! I had a Raynaud attack as soon as I got out of the car and it lasted for about an hour until I hit mile 3 in the race. And I had on 2 pairs of gloves with one pair being running specific gloves.  There was some great costumes with my favorite being Sloth from The Goonies. I which I had a picture of the person.

Well, the race began with an incredibly steep and long hill in which many people walked. While I ran I did look back at my friend and sad "Holy ----". Apparently with my ipod on I didn't realize how loud I had said this and my friend was embarrassed by the looks we got.  The rest of the race continued with many many steep hills from beginning to end.  I did run the entire thing though one hill I felt like I could have walked faster up then I was running.  Since I don't where a watch running I had no idea what my time was and frankly after all of those hills I just wanted to make it to the finish line. I was pleasantly surprised to receive a time of 56min. for 6.2 miles!

This was the t-shirt we received for participating in the run.

This is Amanda and I making tutu's for our costumes.  I had glitter trekked all over my house after that project.

We also learned a valuable lesson when working with elastic. **Don't stretch it to how you want it. Wrap it around you and use that length because when you sew it will affect the ability of the elastic band to stretch. We both had to add on to ours because they were to small the first time around.

** Next up: My last race for the season: The Hot Chocolate 15k in Chicago in two weeks. I start training for that tomorrow. If there are any hills I'm sure to not survive that one! Stay tuned!

Finally Some Art Work

It's definitely been difficult this fall to find time to create art. Between work, grad classes, running in races and having fun there has been a limited time to create.  I've spent most of my creative energy on art therapy groups and workshops at the college.  I've been to Stampin Up a couple of times and because I'm missing creating art I decided to splurge and signed up for an art class at the Creative Workshop through the Memorial Art Gallery.  It's once a week for three weeks in November and it is a Mixed Media Fibers: Fundamentally Felting class. I know how to basic felt and how to incorporate some other materials in but I think this class will teach me some other techniques in felting so I'm pretty excited about it.  Perhaps I'll make some Christmas gifts!

Anyway, below are a couple of pictures I've recently made. I still maintain that I need to take a writing styles class if I ever find one!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Painting Crosswalks in the Pocket

While attending the North Winton Village neighborhood arts festival in early September my friends and I came across a booth for The Pocket Neighborhood Association, They were seeking volunteers to assist with a creative crosswalk project for their neighborhood. Since I enjoy volunteering and prefer projects that give back to the community and integrate the arts I knew this was a project I had to participate in.  So, after my early morning 5k run this past Saturday, I conned my friend Marcy into volunteering with me.

One of the things I love and appreciate about the city of Rochester is that there are a lot of neighborhood associations that focus on bringing people together and beautifying their neighborhoods. Since I'm just outside the city limit there isn't a neighborhood association, but at least my neighborhood is close knit.

Marcy and I planned on volunteering from 11-1pm giving me time to rest and prepare for my big birthday bash later that night; however the best laid plans often get sidetracked.  We were told to come any time during the day to help out, but when we got to main street we realized that all 3 crosswalks were already being finished up. So we walked and viewed them all then went to a community park the association had made and had lunch with everyone. They had speakers from the city and thank you speeches and by the time we got to starting the last 3 crosswalks on Atlantic Ave. it was 12:45pm.  So, Marcy and I ended up helping to paint one crosswalk which took until 4pm.  It was an awesome experience. We had the crosswalk with all of the youngsters helping us out so that was cool and fun. What I didn't realize was how difficult it is to paint on pavement. It took a long time and many coats. In addition, standing and kneeling on pavement for a few hours is also painful. I looked like an old person hobbling around after we were finished.

Below are some pics of all of the crosswalks and the crosswalk we specifically worked on. We painted with permanent road paint so they will be there for years to come and the city promised to touch them up if needed over the years.  We got a lot of positive comments from the cyclist, pedestrians and vehicles driving by while we were painting.  Another neat aspect is that I drive by the crosswalks often on my way to and from work and when I bike to the library so I too will get to reap the joy of seeing them in years to come.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Dirty Girls, Cirque Du Fringe and Stop the Trafficking

Fun, fun and more fun is the focus of this blog entry. Below are some updates on the neat adventures I've been lucky enough to partake in over the past month.

1.My friend Amanda and I participated in the Dirty Girl 5k run that was held in early September in Buffalo, NY. This was a fun run to benefit women's breast cancer research.  This was insane!  There were thousands of women there to run throughout two days.  The parking was crazu and the registration on race day was extremely disorganized. It caused us to miss our running time but that was okay as they weren't organized and we just hopped in the night heat 15 minutes later.  Let's just say when they mean you get muddy, you get MUDDY!  Whereas in the zombie 5k you got completely muddy, then rinsed off and so on, in this race you got muddy and then more muddy. I ended up with mud in places I never thought I'd get mud.  It took 6 q-tips to get the mud out of just one ear!  This was a really fun race that I'd recommend doing one time.  The worst part of the entire thing was afterwords as it was a cold day, mud is cold, and you had to wait coral style forever to get into the shower tent which was just garden hoses shooting freezing cold water at you.  I had the worst Raynauds attack and it was painful. We had to go get hot chocolate afterwords to just try and warm up.

2. Rochester began the First Niagara Fringe Festival, last fall. It ended up being a hit so they brought it back this year. It's a 10 day festival with 360 performances in 28 venues throughout the city. Many events are free and others are low to medium cost. I saw Bandaloop, last year at the festival and they were performing again so I asked some friends if they wanted to go.  In addition, I heard about the Cirque du Fringe, performance for the festival and one of the showtimes was right after Bandaloop.  So my friends Marcy and Sara and I ended up going to both shows on a perfect Indian Summer fall day. It was a beautiful Friday night and stayed in the 80's well into the evening.  There were tons of people milling about downtown for all of the different performances going on that night. The vibe was a bit like a mini NYC night.  Both shows were awesome but the Cirque du Fringe was amazing!  I didn't know my one friend had also read the book "The Night Circus", but as we were walking through the Magic Crystal Spiegel tent area heading into the 100 year old circus tent she said, "This reminds me of the opening line in The Night Circus 'It appeared from nowhere'" and that is exactly how it seemed that night. It was a magical evening topped with Abott's ice cream at 10pm during intermission.

3. This past Saturday I participated in the Stop the Trafficking 5k run hosted by Angels of Mercy, Inc. The organization that I volunteer for their "Dress A Girl Around the World" program.  They have been planning this run which was their first race for about 6 months now and all of their hard work paid off yesterday. For a first event they had around 200 total runners I believe (a 5k and tot trot), lots of spectators and plenty of volunteer. The weather though a bit chilly was beautiful.  The event was very well organized and went smoothly. The after run food tent was more of a feast!  There was also raffles for prizes such as a signed Amy Wambach (she is originally from Rochester) jersey and framed photo.  It was neat because I ended up seeing a woman from work there and she runs really fast (she placed 2nd overall for females) and then I saw my counterpart from St. John Fischer College (and found out she had run the Rochester City Marathon last weekend that I volunteered for) and she was there as a personal trainer for another woman who works where I work.  It was fun to support each other at the run.  I beat my personal best time! I got 24.56 min.! This was very exciting. Of course I felt like vomiting at the end but was really proud of myself. I finished 5th place overall for females and 31st out of 148 runners.

I have one photo and here are some links to the D&C article about the race. And a video from a Hollywood Celebrity (Keesha Sharp- she is originally from Rochester) who supported the cause. 

*** Next up: I went with Amanda a week ago to volunteer for the Rochester City Marathon. We of course landed the top of the Ford St. bridge spot which stunk because it was a very cold day to be standing outside for 4 hours waving runners in the right direction, cheering them on, and ringing a cow bell non-stop. It was however very when Amanda asked me to run the Monster Scramble 10k on 10/20 through Mt. Hope Cemetery in costume I said yes! I must be nuts!  Stay tuned to see if I survive the 10k run!