Me Made May 2014!

‘I, Kelly (lifeisjustduckie.com), sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’14. I endeavour to wear handmade or refashioned clothing two times a week for the duration of May 2014.  I also pledge to finish at least one UFO and make a summer blouse from the pattern up.’


I hope to be a better participant this year…last year I dropped the ball so hard I don’t know where it bounced off to…

In other news pardon my hiatus from blog life, my irresponsibility aside, I have been basically living out of my car between Morgantown and Fairmont for the last two months with rehearsals for Midsummer and the directed scenes going on.  I will be back with a vengeance (or you know, at least one new post) next week.  I have a couple that I’ve thought about/planned but haven’t quite typed up yet.  

Whelp, I’m off to another rehearsal!

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Cow Bench Adventures

So I went to Washington D.C. while I was on Christmas Break from college.  I had exponential fun times walking around with my man.  We took the metro in from close to Dulles after dropping my dad off at the airport.  Have I mentioned how much I love the Metro and other train related travel?  Well, I love trains!  I think they are ridiculously fun to ride on.  They rival my fascination with escalators…movable steps, why do people walk on those things?!?!  While in D.C. we decided  to ride the Circulator Bus to Georgetown, which was a good idea because it’s very cheap only $1!  On the other hand the bus ride which should have taken twenty to thirty minutes tops, took upwards of one and a half to two hours due to traffic rerouting allowing for some quality talking time and random act of kindness to a stranger!  Always a good thing!  While in Georgetown I found this awesome cow bench outside of Ben and Jerry’s!!!  We also saw two rats…one alive and one dead; some of my worst fears there were so icky and creepy!

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Look at my man! How dashing!


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I was being all fashionable and dressing up for our trip there, I think it was a good decision.

I liked my outfit:

a silver Wet Seal dress,

orange cardigan from my Mom,

blue Target tights,

brown thrifted shoes,

yard sale scarf,

black pea coat from Christmas,

and my hat which I made!

I want to start wearing some of the amazing clothes I have in my closet.  I admit that I am a Goodwill addict.  As such I have a lot of wonderful pieces that are interesting and unique and don’t get worn often enough.

Wednesday Wear

This is one of those outfits!

Hat: Me-Made from Christmas Yarn

Shirt: Black Tank Top from Target for Christmas from my Mom

Jacket: Blue Jacket from Rue21 on sale

Skirt: from Target for Christmas from my Mom

Tights: Probably Target? Not sure, real old

Shoes: Christmas Gift from my Brother

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The Grand Old Duck of York

The Grand Old Duke of York…He had a thousand men…He marched them up the hill…He marched them down again…And when you’re up you’re up…

And when you’re down you’re down…

And when you’re only halfway up you’re neither up nor down!

When I saw this pub in Ireland I knew I had to get some pictures for the song.

The Grand Old Duke of York…

He had a thousand men…

He marched them up the hill…

He marched them down again…

And when you’re up you’re up…

And when you’re down you’re down…

And when you’re only halfway up you’re neither up nor down!

This is a song we sing at 4-H camp that is really fun because of the movement associated with it.
This past summer was my last year of being a camper which was incredibly sad for me, but I can’t be entirely sad because the West Virginia 4-H program has made me such a better person that I truly do not know where I would be without it.  I have spent the past ten years of my life being a 4-H member and these years have granted me some amazing experiences.  From the projects and camps to the lasting friendships, 4-H is one of the best programs for youths in America and in countries around the globe.

This past week I was in the Prichard lobby and some girls were talking about 4-H and I couldn’t help but join the conversation.  The one girl had mentioned going to OMC (Older Members’ Conference one of WV’s state 4-H camps) and I said that I had been there too.  She said she didn’t remember me being there and here’s what I said,

“Remember Friday night Council Circle?  That girl that was sobbing through the whole thing?  Yeah, that was me.”

And I didn’t cry the entire time just because it was the last night and I was going to be sad to go home the next day or because it wouldn’t be the same next year…I sobbed hysterically because I couldn’t imagine not ever coming back as a camper.  Because I didn’t know what I was going to do the next summer when I couldn’t go to any camps because I had aged out.  Because I was so incredibly happy to have gotten the opportunity to go to camp with all these wonderful, amazing people who understood just what 4-H is.  Because I knew that no matter what I would go on to do in life, the Friday night Council Circle of OMC 2012 would be one of the greatest moments of my life…And I still feel that way.  I still feel privileged to have participated in this program and especially to have gone until I aged out because not a lot of people get to do that.  In West Virginia 4-H is for ages 8-21 and once you hit the 18 year old mark kids start dropping out.  Life gets in the way; college, jobs, internships all prevent people from continuing in the program until they age out at 21, and I, very fortunately, had parents that loved what the program was and allowed me to continue in it.

I could write an entire blog about 4-H and never fully express the gratitude I have for the people that made this program so meaningful to me.

4-H is a program that emphasizes service to the surrounding community and while I was in Belfast we visited an organization that also valued service to their surrounding community.  The East Belfast Mission is sponsored by the Methodist Church and they have been working on rebuilding relations in East Belfast.

For a little history, Belfast is a city in Northern Ireland which is part of the United Kingdom.  Northern Ireland, six of the nine counties of Ulster, is separate from the Republic of Ireland.  In the last century Belfast was the site of a large-scale conflict that lasted around 30 years, euphemistically known as The Troubles.  During The Troubles battle lines were drawn between the UVF (Ulster Volunteer Force) and the IRA (Irish Republican Army).  These two paramilitary groups were mainly Protestant and Catholic respectively.  Since the Good Friday agreement in 1998 things have calmed down and settled in Belfast but many of the old prejudices remain.  Many organizations, like the East Belfast Mission, are focused on building relationships between the two sides.

While our group was in Northern Ireland we got many chances to listen to local people talk about life during The Troubles and the rebuilding after the Good Friday Agreement.  The women’s group that made the sculpture pictured above started as a group made up of nearly all Protestants; however their group was challenged to build a relationship with another women’s group that was mainly Catholic.  The group tried many new activities, including a writing class in which many members contributed works to a book that they presented to our class.  After listening to several of their poems we got to ask questions.  It was amazing hearing about the everyday problems of not only life during The Troubles but of the rebuilding afterwards.  The women talked about how they felt when they first talked about merging the two groups, of how nervous they were and that they didn’t know if they could get along with each other…ironic considering they now meet twice a month.

The Mission was a really neat place to visit because of how active they were.  They were in the process of building Skainos (a cross between affordable housing, a church, office space, and a community building) which should be finished at the end of October, when we were there.  I think it was so intriguing to me because I was never exposed to this kind of work growing up.  We always went to church, and my parents did some work with the church but my exposure to this kind of community service didn’t come until later in life.  I did some volunteering with organizations like the Girl Scouts and 4-H.  Seeing all the opportunities for volunteering in Northern Ireland made me realize how many opportunities there are at home as well.  I’m pretty excited to finish school and use the skills I’ve been taught to help other people.

It’s taken quite a while for me to finish and post this mainly because Our Town has kept me so busy almost every night with rehearsal from 6:30-10.  Luckily we are now in performances and will close this Saturday.  Being in the play has been a great experience and I’m thankful that I was a part of it.  I will also be thankful when I have time to sit down and write my papers for class.

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I was just checking my e-mail and stumbled upon a video article about the giant pumpkins…


So I went to YouTube and found another video…


Can I say bucket list?  What could be cooler than racing a giant pumpkin?  Unless it was a giant pumpkin boat?!  Just by googling giant pumpkin boat I got some great results…

A paddle boat themed pumpkin…

Or my personal favourite, the attached outboard motor…

All I can say is that I am now extremely jealous of giant pumpkin farmers and that one day I hope to get out on the water in my own seaworthy squash…but back to my bucket list.  I can cross off one item.

That’s right, I got in Our Town!  This means I will have worked with all my professors in some production or another with the exception of our TD Troy.  I felt pretty good about this audition and was glad to be a part of the production in some way.  And ensemble is one of my favourite things because not only will I have a couple of individual lines, but I get to sing in the town choir!  Singing is one of my favourite things to do and I might get to play my mellophone as well which would be really neat…

This summer I got to cross off something that had been on my bucket list for a while- get out of the country.  And those of you that know me are like, “Kelly you did that already, the Bahamas, remember?”

And yeah, I did leave the country but that isn’t nearly the same thing as boarding a plane for a seven hour flight to Europe, well to Ireland but that counts as Europe!  I was so excited to be able to go on the Ireland trip that the eleven hour bus ride to NYC and the seven hour flight were slight obstacles…I mean I did manage to knit an entire hat for my friend Nicole on the bus (on the way to NYC and back home from NYC).  It was crazy exciting!  I felt like a kid in a candy store…it was fantastic.

If you look in the bottom right corner of the above picture, you will see my carry-on for the trip and if you are thinking “Hey!  That looks like a bowling ball bag…” you would be correct.  It is a bowling ball bag and if you didn’t know, these bags have a hard surface bottom which are apparently a red flag for the TSA people…oops.  I thought it was funny but a tiny bit scary being pulled out because of my bag but the lady just poked in it with a stick and let me go…anyway, I’ll keep posting more on here later… 🙂

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Well, it weighs less than a duck!

So this summer I got the ah-mazing opportunity to travel to Northern Ireland for two weeks.  I went as part of a group of 29ish people, 9 of whom were students like myself.  We got to do this because of the WV Frank and Jane Gabor Folklife Center at Fairmont State.  Before we left, the students took this class to focus on completing the research project portion of the trip.  Long story short– Deb Hemler, a geologist at FSU was talking about rocks and the geography of Ireland and she asked us to describe the rocks.

“Well, it weighs less than a duck.”

Thus TeamDuck was born.  I bought LemonjelloOtis at our Target and, much like the Travelocity gnome,  started to document the Northern Ireland trip with him.  I especially like the idea of using LemonjelloOtis in the pictures because I personally never know what to do in pictures so I usually have a horrifically awful facial expression or something similar.

Back to le blog…while this is going to be about my life in general the first few posts will mainly focus on my experiences across the pond.  Hopefully I will be able to cross the pond again with the Honours Program at FSU on their Paris trip.  Keep an eye out for the duck and I…we’re going places 😉

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Lauren Mann

Writer of Words, Singer of Songs, Wanderer, Secret Keeper

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