Friday, November 16, 2012

Roller Derby

I always have big lapses of time where I don't post, and I always have an excuse as to why I haven't been posting on this here blog. This time, well, roller derby took over my life.

I left my roller derby story back in May, but a lot has happened since then.

In June I graduated from boot camp, and soon after I got recruited to a team. (Holy crap, things were moving fast!) Then in July I went to Las Vegas for RollerCon which is a huge roller derby convention/training camp where I learned so much, hung out with other Derby Dolls, did not drink or gamble, of course, and even roller skated the strip.

In August I played my very first roller derby bout (which is what a game is called) against the Humboldt Roller Derby Widow Makers in Eureka, CA. We flew into Sacramento and then drove another 5 hours up the coast of California, stopping at swimming holes and themed rest areas along the Avenue of Giants. It was a beautiful drive. And we won the game.

In September I went back to little ol' Seneca, Kansas with my family for a wedding and to visit my brother. While I was there, my team played a home game that I missed. But that is ok, because I will be playing another game here in San Diego on December 8th. My first banked track home game. I am so excited!

Anyway, during all that traveling I was practicing three nights a week, running the Derby Dolls flickr account, recruiting photographers to shoot at our bouts, volunteering with other Derby Dolls at various community events, skating at the beach and handing out flyers to promote who we are and what we do. And now, because apparently I can't get enough, I am part of the training team. Which means I am one of several Derby Dolls teaching the boot camp practices now. Cool.

I love doing this, and I plan on doing it for a while, I just need to strike a balance between derby and sewing. It is hard because roller derby becomes very addicting. I feel like I am in the best shape of my life, I've got some nice muscles in my legs that I never knew existed, I've made a lot of friends with some really cool people, and rolling around on 8 wheels is just fun.

Our league's main goal for next year is to find another facility to bout in. Currently we practice in a facility downtown, and we play our games in Del Mar which is not central at all. And, because we only rent the facility in Del Mar for one night, we have to build and take down the track every time we have a bout. It is this big production that could be remedied by having our practice space and bouting space in one central location.

Which is where you, dear readers, come in. We are raising funds through indiegogo to get our new facility. If you can, please donate to our cause. Every little bit helps. And I promise I'll have some sewing related posts soon.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Run Away!

When I was 10 years old, three of my friends and I decided to run away to the creek for three days. We were all set for our adventure, had written letters to our parents, and may have even gathered up some stuff for our survival, but in the end I called it off. My mom was pregnant with my sister and due any day, and I didn't want to miss her arrival, also I didn't want to stress my mom out, or make her think she or the new baby was the reason I was running away.

I wonder what would have happened had we gone through with it. Clearly we would have been fine, judging by the list of supplies we were going to bring:

It says:

Dear Mom and Dad,
I'm running away with a few friends. Don't worry and please don't get mad but whatever you do don't ever call the police, and don't panice and call a serch party to come and hunt me down!
I'll be back in 3 days
I brought every I need:
old clothes
warm clothes & blankets
lots of food
lots of water
fishing poles & nets
sleeping bag
toothbrush & toothpaste
bug spray
toliet paper
clothes pins

See don't worry or get mad think of it this way I'm camping. I'll be back in 3 days I promise! If I don't I'll miss you TO MUCH. I'm not alone. This is just to prove I can take care of myself.

With love from,
Sugar Dale

I think it is pretty cute that I signed it Sugar Dale. I probably thought that would make the letter seem a bit sweeter.

Pretty funny.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Alan Flusser gives some really great pointers on how to dress the man, just check out his book Dressing the Man: Mastering the Art of Permanent Fashion. But how does one dress like a man?

1. Buy a boy's dress shirt. Or make one.
2. Wear a cool tie, and learn how to tie it correctly. (I prefer the four in hand.)
3. Steal your boyfriend's tie bar.
4. Tuck in your shirttails.
5. Don a pair of Philip Johnson-like glasses.
6. Ditch the purse and just carry the essentials in your pockets.
7. Put a tidy part in your hair.
8. Keep it feminine by wearing a skirt.

Yep. That's how I do it.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


I has occurred to me that I don't really look like this anymore:
I had this haircut for about 5 years

Or like this:
Halloween 2010 I shaved all my hair off

 I spent a brief time looking like this:
September 2011 haircut

And this is my current state:
Not really sure what to do with my hair

But most often, I look like this:
Usually these glasses, and my hair in a bandana

After I shaved my head bald for Halloween, I decided that I would grow my hair out just for fun. And let me tell you, it has NOT been fun. I've had a few weird lengths (currently in one), most of the time I am wearing a helmet (either practicing roller derby or riding my bike) which can really ruin a hairdo, and, honestly, I just don't know what to do with this shit. It blows in the wind, it needs to be brushed, blow dried, curled, straightened, bleh. So why am I continuing this farce? For a very stupid reason really: another Halloween costume.

Come October I hope to look like this:

I've got the glasses, and I'll make the costume, I just need another couple of inches to achieve this look which I'll hopefully have by October. Man my hair grows so slowly. In 18 months, I can only boast 7" of hair. Geez.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Back to the Drawing Board

Mikey and I have moved into a new studio space (same warehouse). Mikey is going to be doing some work for his boss in our studio, so we got a bigger space to accommodate his boss's things as well.

This is my current (temporary) setup:

We are still waiting till we get everything in the space before we rearrange, but you can be sure that it will be as cute, if not a bit more workable than my last space.

 I've decided to get rid of this piece of furniture:

While it looks nice and all during openings, it became a thing for me to pile crap on, and it looked messy most of the time. I think having two tables will suit my needs better.

I am going to paint the walls as well, but I am over the green. Some black and white striped walls, perhaps?

Readers, what do your sewing spaces look like? What does your dream space look like?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sugardale is now a Derby Doll

I am not exactly sure how long ago it was, perhaps about two years, when a friend had a birthday party at a roller skating rink. A few friends and I actually drove to Phoenix from San Diego for the day just to go. And I discovered I was pretty good on skates. I had skated a bunch when I was a kid: the annual school field trip to Sycamore Springs roller skating rink (because of course little Seneca, Kansas didn't have one), or skating on the smooth sidewalks around the courthouse a block away from my childhood home, or on the concrete floors of our basement. Me on my quads and my brother in his strap-on-over-the-shoe roller blades.

I guess all that childhood training really sticks with you, because years later at that birthday party, I was doing pretty well. After skating, my boyfriend said something to me like, "You know they have roller derby now." When we got home we looked it up and I knew right then that I wanted to do it.

After a quick Google search I found that San Diego had a roller skating rink, so my sister and I went skating one night, and all my dreams were crushed. Ah man, MY ACHING KNOBS hurt so badly, I couldn't even skate for the whole night, or think about putting skates on ever again.  But alas I got back on my parents' insurance, and eventually had bunion surgery in August of 2011. By January 2012 I was cleared to do whatever I wanted. I could run, jump, and yes, skate!

During my recovery from bunion surgery, I was obsessively researching roller derby, how the game was played, what type of skates to buy, which league to join, (San Diego has a few). I ended up choosing The San Diego Derby Dolls because they seemed the most organized, played on both banked and flat track, and their practice facility was about 8 blocks from my house.

Every three months they recruit new skaters to join their boot camp training. I didn't feel like I was quite ready for the January signup (the non use of my legs during bunion surgery recovery left them pretty weak and measly), and a was a little low on cash at that time anyway, but I made it for the April orientation, and started bootcamp.

The boot camp is divided into three levels. The first level is mostly learning how to skate with good posture, how to fall safely, and how to do a few different types of stops. Level two is learning agility, gaining speed and endurance, blocking, as well as transitioning from forwards to backwards skating and back again. And level three is where I'll really start learning to play roller derby, taking and giving hits, learning strategy, and partaking in scrimmages. After I graduate from level three, I can be recruited to a team.

I just passed level 1 last week. (Cool!) Now all of that falling safely has turned into getting hit and hopefully falling safely and getting back up quickly to get back on the track. Man it is so much fun.

Since this blog is about all things Sugardale, and since Sugardale will be my roller derby alter ego (we can't officially choose names until we make it to level 3 in boot camp, but am pretty positive I'm going with Sugardale), I will also be posting about my life as a Derby Doll.

About Damn Time

I didn't feel like going to the studio today, so instead I started changing some colors and things on my blog, and then changed them back. Then I thought I really ought to post about something.

Since one of my most recent posts was about the sofa that Mikey and I reupholstered, I thought I'd give you a little update about that. In the last post, I was so very close to being done. In these next photos you'll see we changed the back cushion from stuffing to foam, and we added the buttons, and that's it. Just those two little things made this sofa look a million times better.

We still need to shorten the legs by about 2 inches, and we are going to add some bolsters. Both of those will have to wait though, because the place I got the fabric is currently out of the blue, and we haven't found the right set of legs.

I was going to do a tutorial about the whole thing, but once we started making it, it was so annoying to stop and take pictures for every step.  I am not even sure if I did everything the right way, and therefore don't feel like I have the authority to say this is how it is done.

I will however give you a brief summary of how I went about reupholstering this beast. And maybe it will inspire you to reupholster something yourself or maybe you'll learn from me and realize it might just be worth the money to have a professional do it, because I don't think I'll ever do this again.

So firstly, I had Mikey to help me. There is no way I could have done this all on my own. Then I had to figure out how much fabric was needed. For this sofa, which is about 7 feet long, I used 13 yards of fabric. That's a lot. Obviously, that will be different with every re-upholstery project because furniture comes in all different shapes and sizes. To figure out the amount of yards I needed, I drew a bunch of diagrams, and checked and rechecked the math a million times.

Then I pulled out all of the existing staples, and removed the old fabric making a note of what piece when on first and how it went on. Once again, I drew a some diagrams for myself. Taking photos after each piece comes off might also help.

Then I added labels to every piece I took off. These will be used as pattern pieces. I used whatever labels to help me remember what the piece actually was and how it was oriented on the sofa. Examples:

Then I laid them all out onto my fabric:

Notice that all the pieces are pretty much rectangular with a few corners cut out or some weird slash in them. I did not cut the corners out yet, or cut the slashes, I did all of that as needed when I started stapling the pieces to the sofa.

I cut out the pieces where I have drawn the lines.

Then I put the pieces on and stapled them onto the wood of the furniture just as they were with the old fabric. (Look at your diagrams or pictures to see how the pieces were stapled on.) The last piece of old fabric that came off the furniture was the first new piece to put on, and so on.

And that is where the process photos stopped, because this was terribly frustrating to do, and once we started we just wanted to get the stupid thing done. But, overall that is pretty much how it works, or at least how it worked for me.

Post any questions in the comments section and I'll answer them there.