Recycled Reads…

Last week my company—in a global endeavor to b:generous—offered a multitude of community activities for we BVers to participate in. Our belief is as a growing, successful company, and as individuals, we have a responsibility to give back to our local communities. I spent a portion of Monday making crafty non-sew cat beds, Tuesday in a 1-hour yoga session to benefit Room to Read, Thursday afternoon painting Armstrong Community Music School and Friday morning sorting books at Recycled Reads.

Found objects…

Mindy met our group at the door and invited us to make ourselves at home. The 5,000 sq. foot retail Recycled Reads is “run primarily by volunteers with materials withdrawn from the Library’s collection and the community’s donations.” And an impressive part of their mission, the store “is an active participant in the City’s Zero Waste Plan by ensuring obsolete materials are handled in an environmentally responsible way by keeping these materials out of landfills.” I got lost for a moment in this wall of found relics.

Geometric folded book…

The store is set-up more as a retail space rather than a library. While we waited for the rest of our group to arrive, I took a few minutes to familiarize myself with the space. What stood out, besides their robust collection of books, was their collection of books as art.

Paper wreath…

The collection of paper art was inspiring.

Triangular Folds…

Gadora flipped through the pages making mental notes on the folds needed for certain outcomes.

Hardback garden…

How clever this little garden was. A few books stacked together, with the center removed. A plastic liner makes sure water stays with the roots.

Maps as art…

Gadora has a thing for maps… and this Atlas manipulation was fun to stumble upon. It sat atop the Youth Fiction, and while most might instead get enthralled with J.K. Rowlings, Gadora wondered where her maps are stored… I sense another project coming on.

Walled off…

I love the way this book sat against the wall. Impromptu and random art. It’s simply smart.

Horizontal display…

Our team spent 4 hours sorting books into categories, breaking down the boxes they were delivered in, removing date stamp sheets from the books’ former library days, putting the books out on the floor and reorganizing each as the shelves as we worked through them. We all had a really great time, and discovered a great new resource for very, VERY inexpensive books, periodicals, albums and old movies.

Thank you Recycled Reads! We’ll be back!


A study in lines along the Cotton Belt Trail.

Straight lines go too quickly to appreciate the pleasures of the journey. They rush straight to their target and then die in the very moment of their triumph without having thought, loved, suffered or enjoyed themselves. ~ Rene Crevel

Not exactly what Gadora was pondering as I traversed Colleyville’s Cotton Belt Trail during a recent early morning jog, but the happy stalls in exercise allowed a deep observation of the lines along the trail. The rising sun made its mark along the way.

I’ve been working on the…

The sun rose slowly as I, and it, heated up the trail. There really wasn’t much in the way of nature, but I was determined to find the beauty.

Hot water.

Gadora was only a quarter way into the run, and already wished I had remembered to bring my own water. But the trail stretched flat out in front of me for as long as my eyes could focus, so I’d be keeping on.

Feel the power.

Power lines played against the emerging morning sky.

A fine sign.

I meandered along the desolate, meandering trail head… snapping pics along the way. Kept running, but was heated. I paused often. The sun was blaring and it felt like a month of Sunday’s since I’d actually taken a good, long run. An intersection approached. And I was quite pleased it was at the crossroads of Pleasant Run and Stop. It was my sign to turn it around, and take it home.

My friend.

The Cotton Belt Trail is smack dab in the middle of Middle America. And save for the one cow, and one ass (you’ll see her next), there was hardly another soul on the trail. I paused to chat Miss Patty up, and observed the lines along the grass between us. She was apprehensive, and a few hurled niceties wouldn’t convince her to bring it over.

Hello Sweet Ass.

This lone ass along the trail was shadowed. There were no lines around her, but I snapped her mug anyway. Upon further review, there appeared magic in the lines of her ears. She didn’t have time for me, or my small talk, but I enjoyed our interaction none-the-less.

The Little Red Caboose.

Speaking of backsides, I paused a(nother) moment to bask in the shiny red of Brandsford Park’s caboose. It took a wading through the misty morning grass, and an empty railroad crossing, to get to it. The sun glistened off her exterior, and for a moment her story consumed me.

Double Lines.

Making my way back towards my Sister’s place, I noticed this pair of transmission towers. An average jogger might not recognize the beauty in their latticed structures. Birds fluttered off their lines and chirped hello to both me and the morning.

Along the way…

Initially, I felt a little silly bringing my phone along the trail. I couldn’t seriously run with it in tow. But it was to be a good, long walk/run after all. And as the trail was quietly desolate, I ran as if no one was watching. I paused to snap pics as if studying Civil Engineering. And no one was there to stop me.

Swedish artist Paul Klee might have said it best, “A line is a dot that went for a walk.”


2012 NoLa Rollerbulls. It’s happening!

Derby is one of the many joys of my life. It’s an inexplicable, and dangerous, love I discovered late in life. I give and give, not as Gadora Wilder but as my other alter Scrape Myrtle, each week in hours of practice that exponentially give back—on and off of the track. It has afforded me a circle of women who make me laugh, constantly challenge and support me… and at 41 has given me an ass I’m finally quite proud of. My derby loves have trekked to New Orleans for years—without me—to partake in a wacky weekend whereby they skate the streets of The Big Easy as red “bulls” whacking willing runners along the 1+ mile route.

This year I. Am. In. There’s been countless chats for where we’ll stay. What we’ll eat. What we’ll wear. The organizers encourage us to have a blast and whack the runners with “the love for a brother we hate at the moment.” We are not to maim them, just toss them around a bit. We are promised the 15,000 of them will LOVE it. Always at the ready for a crafternoon, the gals and I gathered at my place to pimp our wiffle bats, helmets and horns. We hadn’t planned for our logo but wanted to represent Texas. So Scrape put on her Gadora hat and traced and cut a Rollergirl logo into a Shrinky Dink sheet. We used the reverse as our template.

Shrinky Dink Rollergirl template.

As a Texas Rollergirl hometeam representative, I now incorporate purple into anything I can. So, my shiny new helmet got a spray of Hustler purple.

Hustler purple Rollergirl

Huddled around my courtyard’s table, affectionately referred to as The Goose, we derby gals each sprayed our helmets and bats and gear. Here’s mine, quietly drying underneath the reflection of my canopy of trees. Pretty, me thinks.

Hustler helmet with tree reflection

MariEasy Livin’ (we’ve dubbed MariEZ… or maybe she did herself), Hydra (a Derby hall-of-famer of sorts) and I each took turns spraying all 8 participating bulls’ gear. In the Texas summer, drying time was a breeze. We carefully peeled and re-stuck the sticky tape on the underbelly of the Shrinky Dink template, then sprayed.

Drying time: wiffle bats and helmets.

I got a little crafty with my bat graphic. Yes, YOU, I fully intend to smack you with the wrath of my bat. I might even leave a lil mark. Then I’ll skate right past you to the next eager fool. MariEZ recommends we reinforce our bats at their base with duct tape… so as to prolong their life. What kind of hurt did SHE administer last year?

“You’ve been SMACKED by Scrape Myrtle!”

The horns. Oh my fellow derby dears—there will be some 400 of us skating—have created some magnificent specimens. Our gaggle of gals are going for practicality. Nothing will get between us and our ass-kicking. We procured some devil horns and re-appropriated them as bull horns, but not without a bit of bedazzling. They’re kind of perfect in that they’re easy to slip over our helmets, and will allow the maneuverability any self-respecting derby enthusiast craves.

Our bedazzled horn bouquet.

• • •

¡Bienvenidos a! San Fermin in Nueva Orleans (SFNO) is an annual festival in New Orleans featuring an Encierro (bull run), which replicates and pays homage to the world famous Encierro of Pamplona, Spain, or “The Running of the Bulls”, only our bulls are none other than members of the Big Easy Rollergirls and select participants from other rollerderby leagues across the country! I. Cannot. Wait.

Simply put.

Wireless iPhone amplifiers…

Recently spent a lovely afternoon with a couple of ladies at a “secret” watering hole outside of Austin. Picnic supplies. Yep. Sunscreen. Check. Tunes? Absolutely. She brought a snappy rubber amplifier that she’d procured at a SxSW gifting suite. And it was sweet! We waxed nostalgic with classic Alabama, Lee Roy Parnell and Hank Williams Jr and sang all the way into the sunset. I was amazed at the power it held in it’s little plastic shell. Gadora set out to get one for myself. And it was super cheap!

India Arie on the megaphone…

Now that I have it, and love it, I’m kind of thinking I might like one that’s a little more showy. Woodn’t this one be nice? From Etsy seller ScribeSF, $62, this unplugged docking station is made with sustainably farmed American Walnut and Ash hardwoods, and finished with hand-rubbed Tung Oil. It’s beautiful!

the BOOST      unplugged     wood iPhone or iPod amplifier
The BOOST unplugged amplifier from Etsy

Want to see a video of how cool it is? I can’t attest to their taste is music.

For significantly more dollars ($462) you can bring this lovely gramophone horn home, from ReAcoustic. It requires no batteries or cords. Is completely acoustic! “Simply place your iPhone in the slot and enjoy tunes of yesterday or today with an amazing vintage sound.”

14 inch Atwater Kent  iPhone Speaker Dock Utilizing a Vintage Antique Gramophone Phonograph Horn -MADE to ORDER-
14 inch Atwater Kent iPhone speaker

And the Magnavox docking station… Love it!

If wood isn’t your thing… BeyondJordanStudio, $49 has a porcelain shell version that ***. This shell also has a slot that you can connect to your charging cords.

Shell Tunes Nautilus Shell Natural Acoustic Amplifier (for iPhone4 and 4s)
Porcelain shell amplifier from Jan and Jan

For a slightly more flashy amplifier, check out this handmade ceramic Megaphone from Madrid-based en&is, 399,00 €. Check out their pics of how it is crafted. It requires slightly more shelf-space, but you’ll love the way it sounds. I’m just sure of it (see video below!).

Handmade ceramic megaphone from es&is.

While what I have certainly works, Gadora is on the hunt for something a little more showy. I’m saving my pennies for it, too. 🙂

Putting a lil spice in the kitchen…

On April 16th, Gadora embarked on an epic food journey whereby I eliminated ALL foods—through Kim Love’s Love Life Method—that were potentially responsible for my puffy eyes, stomach issues and sleepless nights. Cold turkey I removed cheese, citrus, sugar, soy, gluten, caffeine and beer, and other unmentionables. The first two weeks were agonizing. Though years ago I cleansed my palate of red meat, poultry and any other foods derived from four-legged animals, I discovered the devil is in the details. I became obsessed with what I ingest. Now, two and a half months later, I’ve tuned into my body’s aversion to citrus, dairy and gluten. The down side? Eating out has become a chore. I’m totally Sally in that scene with Harry where she orders a meticulous meal. The plus side? I feel like a million bucks.

The new me is cooking meals that complement my vessel, and I’ve finally discovered the bulk spice aisle at my local grocers. I’m one with flavoring black beans, salmon, bok choy, quinoa/carrot veggie burgers, and roasted brussels sprouts. Variety is the spice of life and I grab new baggies each time I’m at the store… I’ll make something delicious with this I am positively sure. Currently, my storage system is a hot mess, and I’m determined to go all Martha on my baggies and organize so they’re easy to reach.

Gadora’s been thinking about asking the more than many recent new Mom’s around the office for their baby food jars. I love the idea of re-purposing something that would otherwise be discarded. A Cozy Kitchen posted a how-to paint the tops with chalkboard paint… and you KNOW I LOVE that idea!!! These jars are available at Container Store.

DIY chalkboard paint by A Cozy Kitchen

While these, originally offered at Crate & Barrel, are the prettiest (me thinks) I’d have a hard time navigating around the dangling tags and I’m not so sure these jars would stack. How To Have It All shows you how to make your own.

Dried Herbs in Jars
Crate & Barrel spice jars from

Simple, easy to discern, labels are key for this project. And stackable jars are a must for my pantry. Been thinking about borrowing the office label maker and printing out my labels (mine could have looked like these…), but, that’d be boring, wouldn’t it? Drift Here shows a snappy tagging system with parts they found at Collage.

Drift Here’s storage system…

DIY labels from Lane Robbins. Lovely jars, Gadora will probably opt for labels on the jars rather than the lids, for easy reading while cooking. But if you love them, print your own labels here.

DIY labels from Lane Robbins.

Gadora could go the route of hanging spices so they’re really easy to reach. But let’s face it, my kitchen is teensy and I fancy having most everything hidden—including my spices. BluKatKraft offers an easy DIY if you are so inclined.

DIY hanging spice rack from

Lots to tinker over, and not a lot of space to make the magic happen. But I’ll be crafty, that’s for sure.
Stay tuned.

Honorable mentions:

Gigabiting ~ shows a plethora of spices in a nifty wooden display case.

The Great Pantry Raid ~ a great resource for finding just the right jar: tin vs. glass, screw top vs. push on/pull off.

HomeMakerChic ~ darling! lil jars, but anything I have to prep a funnel for beforehand, I’ll pass.

Specialty Bottle ~ a cornucopia of bottles for your spicy whims… and they’re super reasonable.