Wednesday, March 22, 2017

10 Tips for Self-Care



Are there days that you just can't make it out of bed? I have had those days more than I wish to admit. It seems as if nothing will go right, what's the point. I understand. I have put together a quick cheat sheet of what helps me get up and out when I just can't face the day. If you have any tips, pass them on! I would love the hear what helps you through the tough times.


Monday, March 6, 2017

Fan Girl


I'm a geek. There I said it. I have always been. My fandoms have evolved, changed, morphed over time. Sometimes I fall back to the old loves, sometimes I move on and find something new to obsess over. I'm a geek and a crafter. When you put these 2 things together you tend to get a mass explosion of creative wonderfulness that lets you share your loves with the world. I enjoy making things that reflect my interests/obsessions. Sometimes I enjoy making things that reflect others interests too.

I LOVE EDGAR ALLAN POE. I have loved him since I was in 7th grade English and had my first taste of his macabre writing. I have made a few things in tribute to him, but not long ago I made what I consider my Poe masterpiece. A small collage quilt of his likeness. It was my first go at collage quilting. I have others planned, but as he was so time consuming I have yet to tackle my next subject.


Little bits of fabric where glued onto a base sketch on muslin and then I used my machine to free motion thread sketch over that. It was so time consuming, but so worth it. Edgar now resides on my library wall along with other handmade and purchased pieces in his honor. 



 I also made a prayer candle for my E.A. Poe sanctuary. (and yes that is a real taxidermy Raven
 straight from England) 


Doctor Who is one of my other loves. I've made several things and have something pretty spectacular in the works. I can't wait to share, but alas it is not finished. I built this TARDIS from bits of paper cut on a friend's Cricut machine. Forty Five minutes of gluing tiny bits of paper! I gave it to a special friend and must make myself another. 



Making geeky cakes is fun too! My sister turned 16 and love Steven Universe. I made this giant 4 layer cake. Each layer was a different color to match a character along with the gems on the top made of candy. I'm not super familiar with the fandom, but with a little research it turned out super fun!



Another fandom I don't know much about is Supernatural. I know a ton of people that adore it and will eventually immerse myself in it, but right now I got to much on my plate. That doesn't stop me from baking a rad license plate cake for a friend. With the help of a carpenter friend I made her a Devil's trap box for her prop obsession too.




I made a few Doctor Who zipper pouches and a Walking Dead tote bag for some friends as well. Sharing geeky gear is what makes me smile the most!



These are just a few of the geeky arts and crafts I've completed lately. They make me smile and remind me everyday why I am a maker. Now I'm off to work on something and enjoy my day. Why don't you create something today too? Geeky or not give it a go! Why Not! 



Little bits of fabric where glued onto a base sketch on muslin and then I used my machine to free motion thread sketch over that. It was so time consuming, but so worth it. Edgar now resides on my library wall along with other handmade and purchased pieces in his honor. 


I'm a 30 something mom, wife, and artist. I enjoy spending time creating and teaching my kiddo to create. Born, raised, and currently residing in the upper Midwest. Proud to be a North Dakotan! Always inspired to learn and create in new ways. Married to my high school sweetheart. We enjoy the outdoors as a family. Total geek!  Learning to live by the mantra "Why not!" 
Instagram: alwaysinspiredmomma 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Middle Age Ninja



I am middle age. I'm 47. No longer am I the hot twenty year old that guys turn around and look at. I am invisible. 

My body is no longer youthful. My boobs are  lower than they used to be. My stomach is a little more round and the lines around my eyes, a little deeper. 

In my twenties I took my body for granted. It was tiny, it was fit, it could put up with the abuse I gave it. I would go out, dance the night away and drink like a fish. I was a party girl. 

In my thirties my body began to revolt. No longer was I fit. I couldn't stay out all night long and bounce back like I used to. The drinking and bad eating caught up with me and it showed. 

In my early forties I looked in the mirror and began to not care. "That is the way you are supposed to be at forty," I kept trying to convince myself. Tired, unhealthy, worn out. 

Now I am in my late forties and my body is finally in a good place. I no longer care about getting overlooked. My body is my own. I am healthy for me. I am not that tiny little girl worried about getting attention. I am not that unhealthy forty year old just getting by. I am myself. I am not perfect, but I  feel beautiful. I am still overlooked and I am absolutely okay with that. My body is my own. My confidence is one hundred percent because of me. I am a middle aged ninja. No one suspects a "mom" type to be a force to be reckoned with. That is power, that is my body, that is who I am. A force. 

Friday, February 17, 2017

My Biggest Regret

There are few things I regret in life, but he is one of them. I have no doubt in my mind that I was ready for such a huge step. I felt no shame, no guilt, and at first I felt euphoric.

Slowly those feelings changed to fear, helplessness, and deceit. He hid his true colors well and I realized it too late; by then he already manipulated me into thinking it was my fault, that I was to blame, that I secretly wanted it and was just playing hard to get.

Health class never prepared me for this. My mother wasn’t even able to prepare me for this. She told me all the emotional side effects sex can have on an individual and on a relationship. Possessiveness, guilt, shame, lust, euphoria, aggressiveness, and acceptance were all talked about. However, I don’t think any level of discussion could’ve prepared me for the intensity of the emotions that ensued.

Months after the first offense, I could still feel the burning sensation of his hands on my wrists. The bruises I tried so hard to hide finally faded away, but I could still feel their aching pain on my thighs. Tears would stream down my face with no other provocation than haunting memories of my screams being muffled- first by his hand, then by his pillow. Sleepless nights filled with terrors tormented me night after night. I struggled to find the positive side of anything. Depression gripped me harder than I wanted to admit to anyone, especially myself.

I felt all this pressure from friends to stay with him. They saw him as charismatic, funny, and sweet. They didn’t know him the way I knew him. The constant pressure I felt was the only reason I stayed. I knew my friends put our relationship on a pedestal, I thought that I would’ve failed them in some way if I had left him sooner, made them lose hope in finding a decent relationship in high school. That was one of my biggest mistakes, putting their happiness before mine on a matter that was so intimate and personal, on a matter that they weren’t even involved in.

The second offense affected me even worse, echoing my fears louder than before. The possessiveness became overbearing; the aggression was torturous. I had no idea what he was capable of until I denied him for the first time. Yes, he previously had consent, and I wish he never did. If he had never gotten my consent in the first place, maybe he wouldn’t have thought of me as property. Maybe I wouldn’t have suffered as long as I did from how unpredictable his moodiness became.

            I used to think that having a “grown-up” relationship would help me age faster, wishing that I could reach adult-age sooner than my peers, but I was naive. That naivety cost me parts of my sanity and my innocence.

Repairing that kind of emotional damage has been difficult. I have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), commonly found in war veterans and not in teenage girls, but little did I know that I was also fighting a war. Intimacy became a chaotic entity, something that was attainable by few, something that was deceitful to many. My body was no longer a sacred space, it was no longer appreciated and loved by me, it was a dilapidated war zone that had seen one too many bombs, and it seemed irreparable. I only wish I would’ve seen the abusive signs sooner, said no instead of yes earlier, hadn’t been so naive. I wish I had accepted the help of those around me and told them the truth. I remember my mom reading my texts and asking why I apologized to him so much. I regret giving her an excuse and not telling her that I felt like I was dancing on eggshells.

Learning about the emotional side effects of sex is not a lesson that can be taught by anyone, but has to be experienced individually because it’s circumstantial and it’s different for everyone.

At age fifteen, I was raped twice and the emotional fallout that followed left me cruel and even more jaded than I already was. The girl who was once confident became insecure yet again. I forgot what happiness felt like for days at a time, until he was particularly sweet to me, and then his horns would show yet again. It was a vicious cycle, but he knew everything about me, he knew every insecurity, every heartbreak, every action, every lie I’d ever told. He knew me better than I knew myself and he used that as a weapon.

I know I said no. I know I was audible about not wanting what he wanted in that moment up until he smothered my protests. In those moments, my voice did not matter. My body was not mine in his eyes. It was his. At first, it scared me. At first I didn’t know what to do. My brain put my body into a dissociative state to protect me and my memories. I felt as though I wasn’t in my body and seeing everything happen to a girl that looked like me. This hindered any sort of coping for a long while, even after the second time. Once I broke up with him, I remember feeling stressed out the majority of the next few months without knowing why.

Finally, I kept having dreams that felt more real than a normal dream and confided in my now-boyfriend and my mom who both told me what it was that I had experienced. I was shaken to the core. Memories and pain flooded back to me.

 Realization fueled a fire in me that was bigger than him, bigger than myself, bigger than the crime he committed against me. I have never been more determined to take back what is and has always been mine. I am working on loving myself for who I am and my body for what it is, giving up the shame and guilt I’ve carried for so long, and empowering myself and women around me.


There are few things I regret in life, and he is one of them.

My name is Kacie. I'm 18 and attending NWACC for my general education before switching schools. I like makeup, writing, and video games. I also believe that the best way to combat ignorance is to inform and give patience without being condescending or aggressive. I also love animals, specifically dogs.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

More Than Fine



 I love my body. I have always loved my body. I consider myself lucky to be perfectly happy in my skin. I was raised in a family that has amazing body acceptance. I was taught that the outside appearance is not nearly as important as what is on the inside. Are you kind, giving, loving, nurturing, happy, grateful, and funny? If you answered yes, and other people could see those things in you than you are perfect just the way you are. My family is all shapes and sizes and no one has ever cared. The physical body was never called into question. I am so glad that all of the females in my life have always been comfortable with their bodies. Some are bigger than average, maybe a bit soft around the edges, but these women are strong! 

In high school while many of the girls were struggling with body issues or announcing things they “hated” about themselves I didn't engage in that talk. I was who I was and I was fine. I dressed how I felt comfortable. I didn't find it necessary to enhance things or hide things about my body. I was active in martial arts and physically healthy. Growing up my body just was. It wasn't to big, it wasn't to small it was just fine in my mind. 

As I got older I never gave it a second thought. While other women in their 20's were talking about medical things that could make them prettier or change their appearance I didn't even give it a passing thought. I am who I am and I am fine. I had put on a few pounds since high school, but then who hadn't. 

Being pregnant was something new. My body changed in ways that no one expects no matter how many times you read “What to Expect When You Are Expecting”. I didn't gain an huge amount of weight, but enough. My body has never went through large weight fluxes. I've always been pretty consistent. I was still fine with what my body was during and after pregnancy. The weight after wards melted away with breast feeding and was once again fine. Do you notice that word I keep using? Fine. I'm fine. My body is fine. Just fine. I knew the important part of myself was growing in leaps and bounds. My confidence, my nurturing, my loving and giving. I had never been so grateful in my whole life. Maybe I was just a little bit funnier than I used to be. How was my body? Fine. 

At this point my husband and I were just eating. I've always cooked meals and we were never much for eating out, but maybe I wasn't cooking the right things. We were both consuming way to much sugar and we knew it.   After a doctor's appointment, my husband came home with news. His blood sugar levels, liver enzymes, and triglycerides were all way to high!  Mine have always been just fine. I'd had a few bouts with elevated blood pressure, but nothing ever to really be concerned about.My doctor kindly suggested I lose a few pounds as doctors often do. After my husband's doctor's report I realized we just couldn't be happy with fine. It was time to make a change. Fine is acceptable, but healthy is achievable! I was adamant that we weren't going to “diet”. I hate that word. It has always meant something negative to me. Most people I had seen diet didn't like their bodies and seemed to be punishing themselves for it. I made it clear to my husband that this was a lifestyle change. Once we stepped foot on a healthy path we were heading down the road together, for good. 

Down the road we went, after sifting through what seemed like a ton of facts and fictions on healthy life styles. We decided to try the ketogenic lifestyle. I'm not qualified to explain it fully, but we cut out all grains and processed sugar. We watch carbs and limit artificial sweeteners. We indulge in healthy fats  and protein. It was so easy! Way easier than I expected. Kicking the sugar was the toughest part! Doing it as a team made it all the easier. I had someone to cheer me on and someone to watch dog. I'm downright militant. When I make up my mind there really is no changing it. The disapproving  looks and disappointment are enough to make my husband back away from the cake at family gatherings. 

After just a month my body started changing. My belly was a bit smaller and pants a bit looser. My husbands belly started disappearing too. More time passed and more of my belly melted away. Things I had tucked away in the closet started fitting like they should. I had less chins! (multiples run in the family)  I decided doing a bit of physical activity might not hurt. I dusted off my yoga mat from college days and gave it a go. I found I really enjoyed the time I took for myself to be aware of my body and how it feels. Settling in for just a moment and then moving on to the chaos of the day. My husband returned to doing some martial arts and has found it very rewarding. He described it as being hungry. He didn't know he was, but one taste and he was hooked. 


Now after almost 10 months of our healthy journey I have lost 70 pounds! My body has emerged from it's cocoon of fine and blossomed into something that makes me feel absolutely amazing. Sometimes I look in the mirror and can't believe I am the person standing there. The weight loss was a pleasant surprise, but the healthy feeling was the goal, and I have achieved it. I find myself encouraging others to take a look at their lifestyle choices. Don't be just fine, be who you want to be! My husband is doing amazing and had a near perfect report from his last doctor visit. The doctor was stunned with the turn about. It makes me so proud that we have made this decision. It also means I'm raising a little girl with healthier habits and even better body acceptance. She won't be just fine, she will be amazing! Giving the tools to her to make healthy life choices has been a huge factor in our healthy choices. I want to raise her to know that no matter if she is short or tall, big or small she is perfect. I want her to understand that what other people see on the outside isn't important, but it is important for your own eyes to see what you want to see. Don't settle for fine. You don't have to. Make the positive changes and you will certainly be rewarded. Don't feel you have to fit into a mold. The beauty of the human race is that we are all different. Embrace that beauty. I'm not just fine, I am beautiful. 


Bio 

I'm a 30 something mom, wife, and artist. I enjoy spending time creating and teaching my kiddo to create. Born, raised, and currently residing in the upper Midwest. Proud to be a North Dakotan! Always inspired to learn and create in new ways. Married to my high school sweetheart. We enjoy the outdoors as a family. Total geek!  Learning to live by the mantra "Why not!" 
Instagram: alwaysinspiredmomma 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Freedom




What is feminism? According to Webster it is:  the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. Organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests. The definition is pretty straight forward and simple. I wanted to write about what feminism meant to me. Am I a feminist? I have sat down a few times and tried to come up with something epic, something from the heart, something earth shattering. Every time I thought about it, one word kept coming to mind. Feminism to me means freedom. 

Freedom to have choices about my body, my work, my family life, who I love. Freedom to say no and to be able to change my mind. These things may seem small but so many women and allies before me have fought for me to have these freedoms that I take for granted. 

When the Women's March happened I saw a lot of backlash from women who said that it didn't represent their values, that they aren't feminist. Guess what. In my opinion, you are wrong. Your feminist side was showing when you 1-made the decision that the group did not represent you and 2-you made your opinion vocal. You had the freedom to do both of those things. When you chose to vote, you were being a feminist. You were making a stand, expressing your freedom. 

Feminism is not a bad word. It is a movement that allows women to be in charge of our lives, no matter what choices we decide to make. Feminism allows us the freedom to fail and try again. No longer to be told  to stand and "look pretty." It allows me, all of us, to have a voice and used it. 



Bio: My name is Pam Pedersen. I am a Jill of all trades, master of none. I currently am working as an assistant to a forensic psychologist, a producer for online craft videos, a moderator for a craft website and a freelance writer. When I am not writing, I love hanging out with my husband and four dogs, cross stitching and having a nice cup of tea. 

 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Why I'm a Feminist


For as long as I can remember I have been a feminist. I have always believed that girls can do anything. What is there to hold them back? The answer to that question I have discovered as I have aged, and I'm not happy with that answer.

I marched in the Women's March London.  It was my first time marching or protesting anything. Not because I didn't think anything else before wasn't worth protesting, merely that this warranted a 2 hour trip to London and back - it was that important. I posted on Facebook that I was going, of course. A particularly outspoken friend asked what I was marching for. After all, women were doing alright in the UK.  I had to really think about my answer, other than 'well you would think that as a white British man, wouldn't you?!' At first I was scared of saying the wrong thing, or not enough. But then I embraced the questioning and worked out why I marched and why I am a feminist:

I am a feminist because no one should be stopped from doing whatever they want in life.

I am a feminist because I don't see why a girl needs a pink Nerf gun what turns into a handbag when all the rest are white and orange and way more fun.

I'm a feminist because I don't understand why there is a gender pay gap.

I'm a feminist because no one should have to wear high heels to work if they don't want to.

I'm a feminist because it shouldn't matter who you love, the colour of your skin, your religion or cultural background, the sex you identify as or how able you are; you should be treated the same as the person next to you - like a human being.

I'm a feminist because my body is mine and no one gets to touch it without my permission or have a say what I do with it.

I'm a feminist because women died for me to vote, to have rights over my children, to not be a possession.

I'm a feminist because I shouldn't automatically think of ways the defend myself when I walk down the street on my own. Neither should anyone else.

I'm a feminist because even though I like to cook and sew, that doesn't mean that that is only my responsibility in the house.

I'm a feminist because all girls deserve a full education no matter where they are in the world.

I marched for these things, I will continue to fight for these things. I was woken up by the election of Donald Trump. Even as a white British woman it shocked me to my core and made me realise there is still so much work to do. As a white woman I realised I need to pay attention to my privilege and use it to the advantage of friends who don't have that privilege- and I welcome them reminding me of it. Even though I feel we are doing OK in Britain, there is still so much to do.


I want to be there every step of the way.

Joanne Donn


Bio:
My name is Joanne and I’m creative.  I’m also strong minded and like doing things my way.  My background is quite diverse – I’ve worked in theatre, travelled the world on cruise ships, taught teenagers, worked in the charity sector, had my embroidery exhibited around the world, supported young girls through Girl Guiding, worked for KISS, and lived in America, Germany, Italy and Britain, where I’m originally from.  All the while I’ve done things my way no matter what.  I’m also a feminist and a pagan and will stand up for my rights and yours – no matter what!