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Creative Casey's Blog

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Marathon Rely and Juggling Joe

My friend Stephanie talked me into running the Marathon Relay with her while we were doing a pleasant pub run this summer. All we needed was a couple of other girlfriends to join in.  I conned my friends Amanda and Marcy into running, signed us all up and then we didn't think about the run the rest of the summer.

If you recall, following the Bike MS event I got together with these ladies and we went for a run, chose our legs that we would be running for the marathon, and went for some ice cream.  We got together again for the Marathon Expo and Packet Pick Up this Saturday, texted each other good luck at 5:45 and 6am this morning and headed to join our respected spots along the marathon trail.

I had the first leg and was pleasantly surprised that it was nice and warm out so early in the morning in the fall. My warm up was the 1/2 mile walk to the start line. I was surprised that there wasn't a ton of people starting. Only about 600 marathon runners and 148 marathon teams. We all started first and then 15min. later over 2,000 half marathon runners began.

I ended up running pretty awesomely (is that an official word or a Casey word).   I finished my 6.5 leg in about 51 minutes.  My team did really well considering my one friend was nursing an injury.  We finished 89 out of 148 teams and better in the women's category.  It was a wacky weather day with nice weather, then it would downpour and you'd freeze, then it would stop become windy and cool, then sunny and humid. It was like this all day and that was a bit frustrating but hey I remember when Amanda and I volunteered to help at the marathon last year and it was 4 hours of freezing outside and being miserable while trying to be cheerful to the runners.

Anyway, I'm glad I did the relay. I was proud of my team and inspired by so many marathon runners. Oh, and I think I actually got a shirt from a race that actually fits me!

Then after the marathon my friend Marcy and I ran over to the Xerox Auditorium and watched another Fringe Fest show by Joe Showers the Juggler.  It was an entertaining hour but seemed a somewhat mediocre performance.  He had a lot of technical issues with his music and dropping a lot of tricks. This wouldn't have been so bad because many times he was able to make it seem like the errors were part of the show but many other times he kept saying oops or clearly looking frustrating. Therefore the show had great potential but fell a little short.  However, I was still very impressed with his skills. I could only ever juggle the scarves in gym juggling is impressive to me.

The Fringe Fest Begins

The 3rd Annual Fringe Fest in Rochester got started this Friday. My friend and I headed down after a long week of work to enjoy some free music and entertainment.  We saw a the Sister's of Murphy band in which I know many of the band members. In case you haven't guessed they perform Irish music. And I love Irish music.

Following the music came the highly anticipated Circus Orange show, It was an interesting performance. They then try to entertain the crowd by creating a promonade where everyone was encouraged to walk around this huge tricycle that was on fire and had weird characters all around and on it. Oh, and I'm pretty sure the performance was in French or it wasn't then I couldn't understand it at all. Oh, wait I couldn't understand French either.  Anyway it was somewhat fun for the first part because we were at the beginning and saw the performance up close. Not so fun once people are pushing through the crowds walking and you are short like my friend and I. Then you don't really see anything but armpits and have to watch flying elbows and get a whiff of everyone that didn't use deoderant that day.

We followed around for a while and then cut out and walked around downtown until we made it to Java's, a cool coffee shop. I got a hot chocolate (it was a crispy fall night) and a PMS cookie (delicious). We listened to some African Drum performers for a little bit and then headed down to the Speigal Garden. There they had large size Jenga and Chess going on, some food trucks and heated lamps/fires going. While there a dance performance started by FuturPoint Dance,  This was an interesting reggae contemporary dance style and the outfits were very colorful. After some dancing they then started stripping down, where they painted and then a photographer using a white screen photographed them in dancer sculpture poses.  Unfortunately, the announcer invited people to move close up at that time and it became way to crowded and blocked the view.  At this point my and friend and I said we were over it and left for the evening.

This was a really good evening because I got to get out and check out some new arts and performances. Plus with parking, a cookie, and hot chocolate the entire night only cost $10 bucks!

Screen Printing

I spontaneously signed up for a class at The Brainery a couple of weeks ago. I've been wanting to take a screen printing class for a while now but the timing of the classes was never right.  While this time wasn't the most ideal time either but I decided to go for it.  So this past Thursday, I worked all day, taught my class and then hoovered my dinner down while driving straight to the 6:30-9pm class downtown.

The class was taught by the owner of Tiny Fish Printing, Tony.  There was 10 people taking the class and I ended up knowing another person through a friend of a friend.  The class came with step by step instructions on the history of screen printing, materials you would need to make a simple setup at home and then a walk through of the steps.

We ended up screen printing on stationary. It was really nice homemade stationary paper. We set up 4 work stations with 7 different prints on them. We learned to print with mixing paint colors and then printing 2 layers (different colors).  I ended up making 10 cards. None are perfect but I love them anyway and really enjoyed getting out, being creative, and simply creating.  It felt so wonderful that when the woman I knew in class mentioned that the October calendar for The Brainery just came out and she signed up the "lettering" class that I've also been wanting to take but the timing never worked out. Well, yesterday I looked it up and while it will be another full day of work, teaching a class and chowing down my dinner on the way there I signed up for the class!

Below are pics of the process and what I created!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Running for Bagels

I ran my first race in over 2 months yesterday. Boy it was a bit rough. Of course when I looked back on what I did to prep for the race I realized "no wonder it was rough". A week ago I biked 30 miles and ran 4 miles in one day, donated blood the following day, ran Tues. through Fri. night, and ran a long run (6 miles) on Saturday. In addition, since I've been training for the Marathon Relay I've been training more for distance and less about speed and this race showed that.

I ran the 24th Brueger's Bagel 5k Run to benefit the JCC in Rochester.  The race was a bit disorganized but all worked out.  Most of the run was along the canal which is nice and flat but it's also open and windy. I thought I was running into the wind hoping that it meant the way back would be easier. This was not the case. In addition, I've been starting out way to fast on my runs, getting caught up in the rush instead of my normal trot which gets faster as the race goes on.  Instead I started at a 7.37 mile pace and I'm worn out by mile 2 and have to slow down in order to not vomit and have to stop. So, I finished a (self) disappointing 42nd out of 125 runners. My time was 24.13. I did finish 3rd in my age group and missed second by 8 seconds which kind of stinks. If it would have been a bigger race I wouldn't have placed. There was some very fast runners.  Oh well! There were a lot of perks to this race- a long sleeve tech shirt, a coupon for 3 free bagels at Brueger's, and a free day pass at the JCC.

So, what's next?  Well, I'm going to try and run faster for my shorter runs... but other than that I now have to survive the Marathon Relay this weekend. Goal...not to walk!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Check Out How I Spent My Lunch Hour

So, I receive a lot of weekly newsletters from area groups. It helps me to keep up with what is going on in the community and I find a lot of great things to partake in. Well, on Wednesday I was viewing over the Fleet Feet newsletter and came across their Friday Happy Hour Run. Now this is something they do weekly at their new Ridgeway location but I haven't wanted to fight traffic hour to cross the city to get there...until today. My motivation was that there was a theme to the run this week. It was called the Supercaper Fun Run. Basically you meet up with others all dressed up in superhero costumes and take part in a 2 or 3 mile run. At the end theres water and craftsman beer for free. In addition, they had free sweaty wrist bands, the rubber wrist bands, free rub on tattoos, and you got a free pint class with a "supercaper runner" on it.  One of the areas we ran in was high traffic and we got a lot of honks along the way. It was a super fun way to spend happy hour at.

Here's instructions on how to make a durable, inexpensive, superhero's cape and all in less than an hour.   

Step 1:
I remembered we had some plastic tablecloths that I fugally kept after a painting event for work. So I cut one up and tried to avoid the dried paint on parts of it.  I cut it to fit the length I wanted and then narrowed in toward the top to make it less in my way as I pumped my arms while running.

Step 2:
Went to Michaels with a 40% of coupon and got some "pow wow" decorative duck tape (total $3.00). I placed the cape on the floor in my office. Taped the "W" for Wonder Woman on the back and then cut long strips to tape half way on the bottom and side edges flipping the cape over to finish folding over the other half of the tape.

Step 3: 
I decided that it still needed some more "wow" factor to it so I went searching for Wonder Woman quotes on line and came up with three. Using a permanent black marker I wrote out the quotes onto the back of the cape.

Step 4:
Test out the cape by knotting it around your folded up short sleeve and run around your work office once everyone is back from lunch! :)

Bonus: Wonder Woman Head Piece

Step 1: 
Go into your work storage area and find the ridiculous things that were kept for no good reason after staff parties. I have no idea what we used a princess tiara this for but it came in handy today. I got permission to "recycle" it and set off.

Step 2: 
You take a piece of the extra plastic tablecloth and you wrap it around the tiara. Then you use clear packaging tape to tape it all together on the inside. Then you take a permanent red marker and draw and color in a star on the front. (Yes this took some talent considering it was a very uneven surface).

Step 3:
You also put this on and include it in your run around the office with your cape on!

Most of all take pride in your ingenuity and resourcefulness and rock it when you wear it!!

This is my Thor tattoo sideways.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Life is a highway...

The past week or so has been filled with some up and down moments.  Of the worst have been becoming a victim of debit card fraud. (I just was a victim of credit card fraud in January.)  But after taking a day to rest (kind of) and spend some time on my own I was able to shake off the negative vibes going around in part due a couple of key events.  I'll share them below.

1. First Fridays- I was able to attend this city wide event and hang out with a few of my friends in the process.  There's nothing like being able to view a ton of different styles of art all in virtually one place.  As a bonus, this week one studio was helping a new business owner market his business by giving away free Mexican food to anyone who wanted it. My friend and I received an entire meal from this man. You could make a donation to show your appreciation but the crazy part was that he didn't have any business cards to hand out, otherwise I would have given him props on my blog. His food was delicious.  Well, if you are from Rochester you can catch him at the Public Market on the weekends.

2. Sunday I awoke ready to partake in the Bike MS ride.  My awesome friend Amanda graciously allowed me to borrow her road bike as I had upped my ride from 18.5 to 31.7.  The set up of the event was awesome. There was a free bike shop that donated their time to have a tent where they would check out your bike for a last minute tune up, great breakfast food, granola bars to pack for the trip, and a DJ.  My team had a tent with some goodies (chocolate) on it.  We took a team photo and then most people scattered as departure times were staggered.

I ended up riding most of the trip with some female students from the college I work at.  I was pretty proud of myself as I was able to keep up with students 15 years younger than me who looked to be very physically fit.  My little group got lost a few times (as the directions were 2 pages 2 columns each), but only ended up shaving off 1.7 miles in the process. :)  My group didn't stop at any rest stops and went at a fast pace. We ended up finishing in about 2 hrs 15 min. for 30 miles. Not to shabby!

There was a lot of steep hills and very little down hill action. By mile 25, I was over it and just wanted to finish.  It was a perfect day-sunny and 70. This was a great experience but my "sit bones" have been a little tender the last couple of days.  Perhaps the highlight were that there was a photographer who did a mini photo shoot with each person, the school of massage there giving free massages (I had an amazing 30min. massage) and a FREE full course meal from Carrabbas which was the bomb. I hoovered some chicken, salad and pasta like it was going out of style.

Overall seeing people biking who had MS or those that are living with MS that were there supporting us bikers was overwhelming and really made me appreciate that my recent struggles are nothing like what they experience on a daily basis. It helped put things into perspective for me and I think we all need that reality check at times.

3.  Other updates. Below are pics of some more ATC cards from all over the US and the world that I've received this week.  I've received some awesome cards that seem to say just the right thing that has also helped me to keep going this week through the dips in the roads.

4. I realized recently that I haven't been very good about keeping up with my Good Reads list for a while now.  Here's a look back at the books I've read over the past couple of months and how I rated them.  Hope it helps your search for your next Good Read!

The Giver by Lois Lowry ***
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini *****
The Rosey Project by Grame Simsin ***.5
Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry ****
Messenger by Lois Lowry ****
Son by Lous Lowry ****

And I know I had read some others but blanking out on them right now. As I think of them I will update this meager list. :)

Monday, September 1, 2014

DIY Decorative Pillow Project

I found the above picture while surfing Pinterest a few weeks ago. I was keeping an eye out for creative projects to transform into art therapy ideas for an upcoming art therapy group I have with young adults that are developmentally disabled.

I saw this picture and the directions looked simple enough. Use permanent markers to create a design on a plain white pillow. Then spray with rubbing alcohol.  

As always I like to test out these projects before doing them with anyone else.  Here's what I found out.

1. You can draw on the pillow with the markers but the thicker the lines the better it will bleed and the cooler it will look. As shown first I just drew a picture on the pillow but it didn't bleed that well. So I filled in the words "Enjoy Life" by making block letters and it bled much better.

2. Also the design works a little better if you fill in as much space as the pillow has versus leaving white space. You can see this on the back of the pillow design I made. I could keep filling in the white space and it may look even better.

3.  I put rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle and spritzed it all over the pillow. It took quite a bit of spraying and basically dousing the entire pillow for the bleeding of the ink to occur.  I would almost try put rubbing alcohol in a pan and just dip the entire pillow ink side down in the pan and it might be easier. Of course this is less controllable as far as bleeding the ink goes. If you want to control the ink then the spray bottle may work better.

4. The good thing is that you can keep going over the pillow. So if you don't like it, what to add something or make the ink thicker in a spot, all you have to do is wait for the pillow to dry and then use the markers again and repeat the rubbing alcohol process.

5. Note...let one side dry before doing the other or else put plastic down. Otherwise you will end up with permanent marker stain where ever the wet side laid against. guessed it...this happened to me. ;(

6. I thought the rubbing alcohol fumes but get bad but they really didn't. IF you are working with individuals/groups that are  sensitive to smell and don't like getting their hands messy, I would suggest having them use disposable hypo-allergenic gloves a white breathable protective mask just in case. 

All in all this was a fun project. However, I'm still kind of stumped at how they made the first image shown pillows. I haven't quite figured out how they made the pillows bleed and look that cool.

All Kinds of New Things

I've been absent for a few weeks. Life has taken over for a bit and I'm working on taking back some control of it.  Below is some of the good stuff that's been going on lately. I'll keep the horror stories (like my house becoming a bat cave) for another day.

1. I was lucky enough to enough a 16 day visit to my sister's where I was able to spend time with my 7 y/o nephew and be there for the birth of niece. She didn't quite cooperate and came a bit late leaving me with only about 36 hours to visit her until my next visit at Christmas. But I am very grateful to have been there and met her. She's healthy and beautiful!

2.  Card making with my friend.  Although I had a wonderfully fun day planned and it got side tracked by this little thing called bats I was still able to make it to my friends house (2 hours late) to make homemade cards. I've been wanting to make cards for a while since I have a lot of birthdays coming up for family and friends. What better way than to get together with a friend who is a stamping guru, turn on some good music, eat some great snacks and create!  This is just what I needed after the bat attack!  Thanks Marcy for the awesome afternoon!

3.  My friend invited me for a night out on the town to see the band Vinyl Orange Ottoman. She loves this band and neither of us as been to Skylark where the show was playing.  Another one of her friends came out and one of my friends. It ended up being a fun night out and I didn't lose to much of my hearing in the process.

4.  I started receiving some of the gratitude ATC cards in the mail.  There are some creative people out there. I've received 4 cards and they are all great. My favorite is perhaps the mixed media ocean scape. It's got texture and is glossy.  Another one came in it's own little envelope/case and it was made to stand up. That artist was pretty clever. I've enjoyed seeing the different materials and ways people have created their ATC cards.

5. I ended up raising $330 for the MS Bike Ride and sold 10 pieces of artwork.  I've also decided to challenge myself and do the 30 mile bike ride instead of the 15.  I'm excited that my artwork sold and helped raise money for MS. I'm a little apprehensive about the 30 mile bike ride (since I haven't biked since May and the most I've biked is 18.5 miles).  But I'm pretty sure I can do this. I just may not be able to sit for a few days!!!

6.  My friend invited me over for dinner and is allowing me to borrow her road bike for the bike ride. She made dinner for me and her boyfriend. It is some kind of Chinese dish I believe but can't remember the name of it. I know it had these crunchy noodles, chicken and grilled veggies. I surprised myself by liking it with the cooked veggies. Perhaps this means I'm growing up.....!!!  Thanks Amanda for dinner!

7.  Here's an easy DIY project I completed.  My mom gave me this giant metal star that she has had on her garage for years. It was black and a little dull and worn out after years outside.  I purchased a bottle of brown spray paint at the Dollar Store and put on a couple of coats of paint this weekend and tada... Doesn't it look great on my garage?!