Tuesday, June 4, 2013

oh, my life

I'm busy.
There's really no other way to put it.
I am trying to organize my life a little better so that eventually I can 'do it all', but right now, I'm having to make time for things and then, as things run more smoothly, I can slowly add in the next thing I 'can't live without'.  (yes, that was a very long sentence, with terrible punctuation and grammer, but I've already written one blog post this morning, and I'm just doing this one 'free-style'!)

Let's see...
I've had my etsy shop 'on vacation' for quite some time.  Once I was in the midst of auto repair class ending, roller derby starting, my brother spending more time with me fixing the Barracuda, and still working, I was working out less, cleaning the house less, and i certainly didn't have time to produce any jewelry.

But now that roller derby is such a large part of my life, I am finding that I must find time to workout again.  Car class is over, and with summer upon us, my brother is finding it harder to come over (because the tourists clog up the roads and make it impossible for us locals to get on with our normal lives during the summer. yes, i did just complain about the tourists...there are just way too many of them on this tiny little island, we need some population control!)

Our roller derby league is hosting its first fundraiser, and I am taking my stock to try to sell at the craft fair there.  I think i am at that point where i can set aside some time for creative juices to flow, now that i am about to feel trapped in my own home for a few months, not wanting to deal with the constant stream of brake lights out on the road (yep, just did it again...).

So that's where I am ...a little confused, a lot excited, and the normal level of annoyed.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

I play roller derby...

This is a post from my roller derby blog...maybe you'd be interested in that one, too?

"I'm trying to get into derby.  In actual fact, I am totally into derby!
I'm just not IN derby, in the official sense.

As luck would have it, one day, while lurking around Facebook, I noticed some odd posts between a couple girl friends of mine.  Posts I had somehow missed (so much goes on while I'm at work, between 3 a.m. and noon:30)!  I butted in, and got myself invited into their group of aspiring 'Salty Dolls'...the first team of the up-coming Cape Cod Roller Derby League!

Cape Cod is a great place to live...beaches, mostly quiet fall, winter, and spring, bike trails, nice restaurants, and people who love their communities.  We have little to DO around here, though.  I think there are some senior leagues for baseball and basketball, some soccer leagues, and a bunch of parks with tennis courts.  There are bars to meet up with people and the usual small-town-life stuff.

But, we girls want more!
We want a sport all our own...we want to show the world (well, our little world of Cape Cod, at the very least) that we are strong women.  Sure, some of us have kids...babies, even!  Some of us work 2-3 jobs to make ends meet.  Some of us have never played organized sports and just want to see what it's like.  And, some of us (most of us...actually, probably ALL of us!) have just been so wrapped up in our lives that we have forgotten that it is important, even especially as adults, to get out and play.

When two of my friends founded this idea and started recruiting people...well, I just couldn't believe it.  By the time I saw what was going on, they already had 18 girls who were interested.  I think I was 19, girl #20 was added quickly after that, and then they capped it off.  So much interest!!  Since that day, most of my thoughts have floated towards roller derby!

Sure, I have other stuff going on in my life.  Of course I have other interests.  And, quite frankly, thinking of the day we are actually out there playing scares the crap out of me!  But none of that matters!

What does matter is that this is going to be huge.  Cape Cod is known for many things, but soon it's going to add 'home of the Cape Cod Roller Derby League' to that list.

The problem?
We don't really have anywhere to skate, for the most part.  Since our first meeting, and the girls have gathered up their gear and gotten into their skates, we've all been fighting for time on the basketball or tennis courts at local parks or schools.  We've been doing what drills we can in the nooks and crannies of our basements and kitchens.
'Our' rink is opening up for us in just a few days.  The Hyannis Youth and Community Center (which has two NHL sized ice hockey rinks) will be melting one of their rinks for roller skating...for us to practice and play roller derby.  For a few months during the summer.
What happens after that?  
Well, we'll need to find another space we can rent.
Roller derby is paid for by the players.  Game officials are volunteers.  Sponsors are a huge asset to this sport...with out them and the generosity of the community, this sport could not thrive the way it does all over the world.

A solution?
The league has a page set up to try to raise some start-up funds.  We are all paying our dues to keep the rink for the summer, but we'll need help beyond that time.
So, if anyone is reading this...we'd be super grateful if you could spare even a couple dollars! ($50 gets you a 'free' t-shirt!)
So...if you want to be a part of Cape Cod history, please follow this link and help some Salty Dolls get their feet wet and their wheels rolling!"

If you want to follow that blog...go HERE.

Monday, March 18, 2013

it's evolution, baby

It is pretty clear to me now, that this plain fancy life is becoming more a way for me to chronicle my life, and less about my craft business.  It is a bittersweet transformation, for me.  While, as I've said before, I do love crafting, my life is ever changing, as I evolve and change as an aging human.
I have never been a social creature.  Never been one for a packed social calendar.  Almost never have the urge to invite friends over.  I've never been the one in the group to say, 'hey...let's go grab lunch'.  I've always been 'the invited', the 'tag-along', the 'follower'.  I like to stay home...be home.  Crafting had become a way for me to keep myself busy AT HOME...an outlet for my creativity and a way to de-stress without leaving the house.
But, just as I've found my safe haven, my little nest of security and certainty, I am changing again.
I've been called 'fickle', 'moody', and yes 'whishy-washy'...and, I've never been offended, because I know they are all spot on adjectives to describe me.
I feel like a bit of a cad going through this struggle to decide to change my name, jump feet first into trying to re-brand and sell myself to retailers...just to be woo-ed away by the call of roller derby.  But it has happened...
We have only so much time in our days, and we must pick and choose which activities will bring us the most joy.  Do I know that roller derby will bring me more joy than making jewelry?  Well, it's hard  impossible to say right now, but it is something I must find out.  I could be typing a new post next month saying I'm done with derby and I'm returning to my craft business.  I could say next week that I have been able to find time for both.  I could be mauled by a tiger tomorrow...one never knows, but one must find out!
In all honesty, in prioritizing and trying to make some sense of my life, I feel like my jewelry has become a way to make money.  And that is the kiss of death when you're in a creative business.  I love making jewelry and especially when I can make jewelry AND play with paper!  But I'm excited about my auto repair class and it's ultimate purpose of getting me outside fixing that Barracuda.  And I'm excited about skating.  Unfortunately, these two activities alone are taking up a considerable portion of my life.
Once my car class is finished, and roller derby practices/meetings are more structured and consistent, then I will be able to re-evaluate my scheduling.
I believe each of these three activities (roller derby, car project, jewelry making) can co-exist in my life somehow...it's just taking longer to figure out how with everything sort of happening at once.
Timing is everything, and it's never been my strong suit!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Derby is rolling!

I am admitting right now, that my love is being spread thin, these days.
I do love making my jewelry, but time has not been abundant enough these days to fit it in!
So eager to really get things moving with my plan of getting my stuff into local retail shops, that I started re-branding process, new name, fancied things up a bit...I mean, I was ready to go full force into this.
Then derby happened!
Yes, roller derby has taken over my life.  Well, let's clarify...roller derby is slowly consuming every non-working, non-sleeping moment of my days.
I am still going full-force into my car restore, once the weather is more consistently agreeable.  I'm taking a 3-hour class, once a week at a tech school about 45 minutes away.  It's actually fun, not a huge time commitment (just 6 out of my 8 classes left now), and I'm learning just enough that I will feel 100 times more comfortable once I'm inside the engine.
But that's not what this post is about!  This post is about how derby has pushed my jewelry business to the back-burner.  How, something I thought was going to be my 'night job', has sort of taken a back seat to a sport.  An activity that I will have to pay for...in more ways then just in the monetary sense!
Last weekend we had our first meeting.  About 4 out of 22 ladies had skates.  That number has been growing, of course, but we are not all decked out yet.  Our first skating practice won't even take place until after our next meeting (waiting for our practice space to drain it's ice rink)!
But I have never met a group of girls so over the moon about an activity!  I am so proud to be a part of the very first Cape Cod Roller Derby League that I can't even stand it!
The day after our first meeting, we had our first public appearance...the 9th Annual Firefighters Chili Challenge (for MDA).  We had a few sweatshirts printed on the fly.  We passed out fliers.  We danced.  We had a ball!
Waiting for winners to be announced. 

Our coach (The Sarg), is the pirate holding the plaque.  We went to represent ourselves (as a roller derby league/team) but also as part of his Fire Station in West Barnstable.  They won best booth design (obviously...I mean, they had a homemade WORKING canon!)  They also won 'Chef's Choice' for best chili!
I am not giving up my jewelry making...I still love what I make and the process.  But I see myself spending more time trying to get comfortable on skates, playing derby, and there are gonna be tons of fundraisers in my future, to be sure!   I have to prioritize a lot more suddenly with everything I've got my grubby little hands in!
I'm not sure where I'll go from here.  I will keep the shop open as long as I can, making new items when time permits, but I may have to put the brick & mortar hopes and dreams to the side for now.  We'll see.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A quick update

In case you are not following my facebook fan page, I did actually announce the winner of my giveaway last week.  It was 'Tiffany'.  A co-worker of mine.  Her name was chosen randomly via random.org through rafflecopter.com.
Thanks for everyone who participated, and commented on which items were your faves and/or what you'd like to see in my shop!

Since the giveaway and name change, I've seen quite a boost in etsy views and my facebook fan page has passed 50 'likes'!!  I'm super excited.  I even got a custom order from another co-worker!!

In other news, I'm getting anxious to start my auto repair class, Tuesday night.

Moxie had a double ear infection at her check up last week, so we're going back Monday for a re-check.  Not only that, but she also tested positive for lyme, so they are doing another test that we are waiting on results for.  Poor girl.

I still have a week+ to wait for my first roller derby meeting!  It's all I can think about lately, but that's probably mostly because I am in for a few hundred dollars to gear up...I want to be sure I make the right choices.  I have never researched equipment so much before!!

So, still lots of things waiting to get started...waiting and waiting.

and soon I'll be 39!

Monday, February 18, 2013

From 0-60 in just 2 days!

I just went from a girl who works til noon and then spends the rest of the day trying to keep busy, to a girl with so much going on, my head is spinning!
First, let's talk business...
(I've changed my name to Plain Fancy Paper, but this image doesn't reflect that for whatever reason)
My giveaway has just about a day left. ---> check out the box/widget to the right to see how you can enter to win a fun quilled paper necklace!  I'm trying to promote my etsy shop and my facebook fan page.  But, I'm also trying to get an idea of what calls out to people.  What designs are winners, which ones would you be draw to if you were out shopping at your locally owned/operated gifty shops?  
All this, of course, means I really need to get into the studio on a more regular basis!  I've been very bad about this over the winter.  It's just so much easier to snuggle up with the dog, than go down to my basement studio!

Second, I have my other project...

The Barracuda project.  The 1967 Plymouth my sister and I inherited from Dad almost a year ago, which we were going to restore and get back on the road.  Well, it has come down to me...mostly begging my brother to help me once Spring arrives.  But, staying true to myself, I have decided I really need to take matters into my own hands, and I've enrolled in a Basic Automotive Repair class at one of the Tech schools on Cape.  So, starting in a couple weeks I'll have class every Tuesday night for 8 weeks.  I am hoping it will help with the restore, but it can't hurt to have practical knowledge for every day life, too!

Third...well, third...
Roller Derby??
(source: google search: www.thefedoralounge.com)
Yep!  I haven't quite committed yet, since I don't really know what the time requirements will be.  I'm going to a meeting with about 20 girls to hash out details.  I've always wanted to try it!  It's a great excuse for me to focus on getting back into shape and committing to my workouts!  Plus, most of the girls are moms, so their time constraints are sure to be less flexible than mine, right?  The main issue for me is the money, of course...I'm looking at $300 just for start up gear!  But, again...first we meet...then I decide!  

It seems odd to anyone who is always on the go, but this girl can't remember the last time I had so much on my plate.  I'm sure it's because all of it costs money...but leaves no time for a second job!  This is when we realize our priorities, I guess.

So to all of you busy people, enjoy your week!  Maybe you get an extra day off for President's Day?  Maybe you are home with the kids for February Break?  Maybe, though I hope not, you are one of the unfortunates stuck at home with the flu!  But whatever your reason for being on line and checking in with my little blog...be sure to check out the giveaway!  Let me know what you think, good or bad, please!  And you could be the lucky winner of the groovy yellow flower necklace!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Head's up!

This necklace could be YOURS!
I'm hoping to get some of my stuff in some local retail shops & boutiques this Spring.
I'm asking for your help, and will be offering this necklace as thanks to one lucky winner.

More details on the way.
I'm not starting the giveaway until Sunday morning...I'm just giving you a head's up...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

That's That.

The past few...months, I guess...I've been toying with the idea of finally changing my etsy shop name.  My original name was based on my first shop idea: correspondence.  I made handmade paper and greeting cards.  That evolved as I played around with other uses of paper, and my card designs, to include some screen printed bags and journals.
I've finally found my real passion, quilling and jewelry making (paper jewelry, that is).
So, to reflect my evolution and change, My Dearest has officially become 'Plain Fancy Paper'.

The shop has been edited.  My facebook fan page has been edited.  And, now this blog has been edited.

In the next few months I am hoping to get down to business beefing up my stock with a few favorite designs...both mine, and those most often favorited in my shop (if you'd like to help decide, feel free to stop by the shop and favorite the designs you like!)

One of my first cards for MyDearest...buried in snow, we are waiting for Spring!


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Bermuda, in pictures

Upon arrival, at Cambridge Beach Resort & Spa, each guest gets a complimentary Rum Swizzle (or Fruit Punch).
Rum Swizzle, Official Tourist Drink of Bermuda
 We were taken to our room via golf cart.  Onto which we brought our drinks.  Of which I did not spill a drop!

The room was nice.  The view was better.  The bed was amazing!
I'm wishing for a fluffy new bed every morning now!
Our room.  "Lower Heron" 
 It seemed that most rooms had views of some sort.  We were upgraded to a water view when we checked in.  We were actually going to ask, and pay extra, but it was just given to us.  Probably easier to have everyone booked in the rooms closest to the Main House.  (of course I got zero pics of the main house!)
The most obstructed view of the water, from our room.  
Pictures from our trip to the Royal Naval Dockyard
View from the bus stop near the resort.  Around the corner, to the left, was the liquor store where we bought a giant bottle of wine to have in our room.  Magically, it lasted until the very last day!
If you can see the cluster of pink buildings across the water, that is the resort where we stayed.
Another view of the water, as we walked to the Dockyard.
Royal Naval Cemetery
Old Barracks at the Dockyard entrance.

Later, that same day (New Year's Eve)

We found a Koi Pond on the property.  Out where the resort's outdoor spa treatments take place (seasonally, of course).
My new year's eve dress.  I had a short sleeved jacket I wore over it.  I was wearing more clothes than any other girl that night!

 The next day, after our dip in the bay...
Looking over where we had lunch, at Shutters, the Resort's pool bar.  The sun was warm, so it was nice when you were out of the wind.
(When I get that video clip from Hubby, I'll post a little of the Warwick Gombey Dancers.)

Last full day in Bermuda...
A trip into town (sorry, I got zero pics at the Botanical Gardens!) and some views of Horseshoe Bay...
Some great big rocks.
Looking up through a great big rock formation.
More big rocks.  This is where we rolled up our pants (well, Jason was in shorts) and waded in the crystal clear water.
Me, standing at the top, after climbing through that tunnel.
That thin, slide sort of path in the middle is where we climbed up...to another really great view.
And that was pretty much our trip to Bermuda.
Would I go again?  Possibly.  If not for the expense, definitely.

Friday, January 4, 2013

New Year's Trip

After not taking a proper vacation since our vow renewal in 2010, we decided to treat ourselves to a vacation to end 2012, and ring in 2013.  Of course, it wasn't really in our budget.  I mean, we had some extra money that should've been used more responsibly, but where's the fun in that!?
The decision was made months ago to go somewhere warm, while the frigid winter is holding tight to the Cape.  Bermuda is a short 2-ish hour flight from Boston, yet the weather this time of year is still relatively warm.  We kept our eye on it, watching the 70-75 degree, sunny weather slowly turn to high 60's and rainy for the week we were to be there.  It figures, but we didn't care...the Cape was looking at snow and temps possibly reaching the teens!
We spent the night in Boston, venturing out into the city for dinner at Lucky's.  We had been dreaming of the fried pickles and andouille basket since the last time we were there!  It was mostly rainy, but getting colder and turning to snow.
This was the view outside the plane we boarded.
Plane #1: not the plane we actually flew in.
 We were pretty excited to have timed our arrival at the airport just as they were starting to board!  But then we sat on the full plane for several minutes before we were informed that 'although we only need one of our radios to make it to Bermuda, both radios are out' and they were 'attempting to fix the problem'.  After another half hour to 45 minutes, we were off-loaded and sent to another terminal to board a different plane.
To make this long story a bit shorter: got to new terminal, waited for new plane, boarded new plane, waited for new plane to be loaded with checked bags, waited for 'sky chef' to do their thing, waited, waited, and waited.  Roughly 3 hours later, our 2 hour flight was on it's way!
We still got to Bermuda with half the day ahead of us.  
It was windy, about 65 degrees, but beautiful, nonetheless.
First view from our 5-day Bermuda home.
Day 1 (arrival): room service for a burger (for Jason) and an omelet (for me) then some wandering about the grounds.  We had decided to have our first dinner at the resort's main restaurant, since we had had such a time getting there and just wanted to relax.  Reservations at 8, we decided to hit the bar for a drink first.  Ran into a local, who convinced the bartender (didn't seem to have to twist any arms about it, either) to give us a shot of Gosling's Black Rum.  Of course, I had heard of it, but had never had a shot of it...it's actually really good straight!  You can tastes some caramel.  Dinner was fine, but too expensive to go back another night.
Day 2 (first full day/New Year's Eve): our big complimentary breakfast! Pastries, bagels, toast, fruit, cereals, juices, smoothies, lox, cheese platters, omelet station, waffles, pancakes, bacon, sausage, hash browns, beans, eggs, fried tomatoes, and a couple other things i just can't remember!  So much food!
This was our big day out.
One of the many picturesque stops along our walk to the Naval Dockyard.
We decided to walk to the Royal Naval Dockyard (about 3 miles).  I was nervous about walking in Bermuda.  The roads are just wide enough for two cars to squeak by each other, and most of the sidewalks just start and stop randomly...and there aren't any around the dangerous curves.  But the girl at reception assured us that people walk that road all the time and it's perfectly safe and a beautiful walk.  She was right.
(I have lots more pictures on my real camera...all pics in the post are from my phone...pretty picture post to come later.)
The dockyard was cool...old, crumbly, quaint.  Lunch at Bone Fish Restaurant.  Too windy for the outdoor patio walls to be open, but still a nice view from inside.  The food wasn't great, but I had a giant beer to off-set that.
We had planned to take the bus back to the resort, so after wandering about a bit, that is what we did.
And then, we moved onto Phase 2 for the day: Operation New Year's Eve.  It's never a good idea to set out on a major 'dining out' holiday without a plan.  Even worse when you are in a strange new city.  We had a couple plans in mind, and none of them panned out.  When our taxi dropped us at the end of the blocked off street (Front Street) in Hamilton, we set out to find a place to eat.  Either the price fixed menu was not appealing or there was a high cover to get in, or the atmosphere just didn't suit us.  We circled the block about 3 times before heading upstairs into a mall-type part of the shops (this whole street is just shops and food) to a little Italian place where there were just two parties of four...and several empty tables.  As you would imagine, the food was just okay, but it wasn't a crowd of teens.
This was the culture shock moment...New Year's Eve, the street is blocked off and it is being invaded by teens!  And every single girl, no matter her size or shape, was wearing the shortest of short skin-tight mini and either crazy stilettos or old Doc Martins!
Anyway, after dinner, we headed back into the street to find a final resting drinking spot.  We saw a few open tables in the window at a place called The Port O Call (which is also the name of the bar at the resort...funny).  I think it was attached to their restaurant that was actually called The Pearl, but I'm not 100% on that.  We had a couple drinks, waiting for the fireworks and midnight.  Midnight came, but I think the fireworks were cancelled due to the high winds they had been having (and continued to have until the day we left).
So, in comes the new year, and back to the resort we go in yet another taxi.  The taxi drivers in Bermuda really love to talk!  Back at the resort, we turn on the TV to catch Carson Daly counting down in NYC.  Happy New Year...Again!!
Day 3 (January 1):  We had a couple things on our agenda, in fact!  The resort had a couple interesting things going on.  #1 on our list: Annual Kool Dip.
You may think swimming in 66 degree water is no big deal, but it was cold!
We wanted to get in the water while we were there, and what a great opportunity!
It was us, a guy from Canada, the resort manager, and one guy who works at the resort.
I was cold to begin with, and once I got in, I thought my heart might actually be calling it quits!  After a few seconds, though, my body acclimated to the water, and I think I could've stayed in for some time...but the air temp, couple with that insufferable wind, made everything seem colder to me!
The stupid thing...the minute I started running into to water, I stepped on something!
This is what I got for running into the water!
I don't know what it was, but as I floated around, I pulled my foot up to see...I think maybe it was the edge of a scallop shell or something.  The next day, I also noticed a small bruise had formed next to the cut...so I imagine I also stepped on a rock!
Totally worth it!  Afterwards there was coffee, more pastries, and Courvassier Cognac!
The resort was also having the island's Gombey Dancers perform during afternoon tea (oh, yeah, there was also coffee/tea & pastries every day at 4pm).  We lazed about the room for a bit, then hit the pool for some reading and hot tubbing.  Lunch at the outdoor pool bar (it was nice when you got the sun, and were sheltered from the wind!).  I, of course, did not bring the camera to the Gombey dance...nor did I bring my phone.  Jason took video, with his phone, which left him with a frozen camera phone when they posed for pics!!  I will try to post part of the video later.
At the resort, this time of year, one of their restaurants is closed, one is open for dinner only, and the other for lunch only.  The bar is just a bar and open only starting at 5 pm.  However, they have an 'all day menu' that you can order from and have delivered anywhere on the resort.  So, for dinner, we went to the bar for some drinks and had a light dinner delivered there, looking out on to the bay.
Everything was still decorated from Christmas.  This is part of the bar.  And my Dark & Stormy!
Day 4 (last full day):  Had breakfast delivered to our room!
The basket in the middle has a muffin, a cinnamon roll, a tiny sugared donut, and two small danish!
Got an all day bus pass and decided to just explore a little.  Heading for the Botanical Gardens, the bus driver forgot to inform us of our stop, so we went all the way back into the city of Hamilton to wait for a bus back in the other direction.  Oops.  No matter...got to the gardens, but they were mostly in their winter transition, I guess.  Still, this turned out to be the best day, weather wise.  The only day I was able to wear short sleeves...and Jason was in shorts.  The sun was out, and warm.  The wind had died down significantly.  After the gardens, we got back on a bus and headed for Horseshoe Bay (pics on the other camera...to be posted later).  We put our feet in the water, and wished we had worn (or brought) our suits!  Gorgeous!!  Headed across the street to a place called Tio Pepe's where we had a tapas platter, a Spanish meat platter, and some sangria and other drinks.  This was my favorite meal (other than breakfast, but breakfast is always my favorite!) even though we were over-looking the street...the weather was perfect and the food was good.
We also had dinner delivered that night (burgers).  We finished off the giant bottle of wine we had bought the first day in town, and just enjoyed sitting out on our terrace for the last night.  The weather was perfect straight into the night, but we were wakened by a crazy downpour later that night...it didn't last long, and it was wonderful.
The next morning, we got up and enjoyed to stillness of the island with no wind.  Yes, the wind had finally subsided. The clouds were out but it was still another beautiful day.  We grabbed our taxi to the airport, breezed through customs and security and got back home without a hitch.
From sunny to sunny, but with the difference of about 60 degrees and a few inches of snow!  Surprisingly, the cold was not as severe as I anticipated...and that's okay by me!
So back to work tomorrow at 3 a.m.  Back to life...back to reality!