Monday, April 14, 2014

new hair!

I was BORED with my Peacock Blue hair .... so decided to change it.  My only problem is, I couldn't get the blue completely bleached out, because that part of my hair is in rubbish condition.

So I bought Manic Panic's 'Cleo Rose' - it's a fairly new colour, so I couldn't find that much info online about how it turns out - it's supposed to be more magenta than Hot Hot Pink.

My hairdresser bleached my hair (lightly!), and we put the Cleo Rose over the top, hoping it would turn out purple with magenta roots.  That's exactly how it did turn out, so that was a win!

The more magenta I put in, the brighter it will become - but I'm in love!!  :D

Sunday, April 13, 2014

another 'health' post ;)

Seems a lot of people are thinking about their health recently ... must be the time of year!

I had to do a little write-up for a newsletter at work, and had to provide a more 'professional' picture (ie, not a 'selfie-style' pic which I would usually do).  When I did this one quickly before work (with camera and tripod), I was shocked with how overweight I looked ... it's not a bad picture, but I can notice the difference - especially in my face!

Sometimes it takes something as simple as this to 'wake up'.

I'm 40 this year - in September - and I really want to get a handle on my weight and my health once and for all, and figure out a healthy way of life that I can easily maintain.

I have learnt so many valuable lessons over the years, and have gotten back into exercise (yoga about 4-5 times a week, as well as lunchtime walking), so I need to put together all I have learnt.

I got another shock today - while working out my BMI here, I found that I am technically classified as overweight.  I'm embarrassed just typing that!!  What was more of a shock, I inputted the heaviest I have ever been (back when I was about 21), and I would have been classed as obese!!  So at least I haven't been back there again ;)

Everyone's health journey is different - but I firmly believe that what works for one person does not necessarily work for another.  It all depends on one's psychological makeup, as well as their own bodies and metabolism.  So what am I trying now?  Well, would you believe I am counting calories?

I have been on Weight Watchers, SureSlim and I Quit Sugar ... but I have NEVER counted calories in my entire life!  I downloaded an app called My Fitness Pal so I could track my exercise.  I mentioned it to Anita, laughing, saying 'oh look you can input calories here, how ridiculous!'.  Of course, that then led into 'wouldn't it be funny to see how many calories we should be eating' ... I should be eating much less, Anita should be eating more.  Hey, wouldn't it be a laugh to input what we eat for a week or so and see what happens!  Well, that 'laugh' turned out to be far more beneficial than I thought it would.  I was shocked at my portion sizes, but it also encouraged me that all my exercise was really helping my calorie intake as well.  Now, when Anita asks me if I'd like a slice of cake, I look at my 'food diary' and say 'umm, actually I'd rather spend those calories on a glass of wine instead of that cake!'.  Tonight we decided to go on a 1/2 hour walk so I could build up some more calories.

So ... a week in, and I can't wait to weigh in tomorrow (I'll update this post when I have).  In a week, my energy levels have already improved, and I don't feel so bloated.  The app even includes a nutritional counter, so I can see which vitamins and minerals I am low on so my choices can be tweaked during the day.

We'll see how I go.  But on record right here on my blog - I really want to be at my goal weight (55kg/121 pounds) by my 40th birthday.  That's 5 months away.  Not just that, but I want to be comfortable enough to be able to stick with it (not feeling like I am on a 'diet') so I never have to worry about  my weight again.  I have some personal goals too (like getting a photoshoot done with brilliant local photographer Brent Leideritz), so that will be my present to myself when I achieve my goal ;)

Onwards and upwards!  (or should that be 'downwards'? :P)

UPDATE: I lost 1.9kg (4.1 pounds) in the first week - probably mostly fluid, but it's a good start!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

tapestry weaving + hand weaving

That is my life right now ... that, and trying not to get too stressed at work (which is super busy!).

Firstly - tapestry!  I have been making some progress with the first one for my 'Present A Body Of Creative Work' subject.  Here's the cartoon:

And what I have done so far (I'm weaving on the side, so have rotated the pic):

The other one I am working on is a commission of Jonny Slut, but will still be part of the Goth Deathrock Subculture series (and my homework).  It's a cross stitch:

And a close-up Instagrammed shot ;)

I'll be finishing the tapestry portion of the cross stitch I completed last year (Natalie), as well as completing one more tapestry ... I hope I have time to complete them all!

My handweaving took a slightly annoying direction this weekend.  Anita had the brilliant idea of weaving upmarket cat blankets, so I thought I'd make a couple of prototypes.  I warped up with my usual 5 ply Bendigo Woollen Mills yarn that I use for the scarves.

And started weaving ...

And while it looks lovely, the edges are a bit dodgy, and I don't think the 5 ply actually works for a blanket.  I think I need 8 ply ... well, that was a waste of quite a number of warping hours!!  Ah well, I will take off most of the warp and weave a medium length scarf, then warp up with 8 ply when it arrives.  I guess that's what experimentation is all about!

Friday, February 28, 2014

new pics ... and it's study time again!

Still going with weaving, taking photos, promoting ... ;)  The other day it was a bit cooler, but still pretty sunny - I can't wait to those overcast days - much better for taking photos!  I'm slowly uploading to my ETSY and STORENVY shops.

I've just received my textbooks for my last year of Tapestry study - and this year is going to be a LOT more interesting than last year (except for the OH&S subject, that is!).  My other two subjects are Printmaking and Presenting A Body Of Creative Work (organising a virtual exhibition).  I'm especially looking forward to the latter, as it means I can produce some more work for my Goth Deathrock art series - I can't wait to warp up my loom again!

Monday, February 24, 2014

table loom fix!

I'm not sure if it's just me, but I snapped the rubber cord that tensions the beater on my table loom ... I googled and googled, but couldn't find anyone else who has done this (maybe I'm an over-enthusiastic beater, or just the only one who thinks about blogging about these things?).

Anyway, I tried a specialist rubber shop, but couldn't find anything close.  So today I visited Bunnings (huge hardware store), and asked if there was something close that I could use - the guy came up with this, which is kind of like bungee cord:

Voila, worked perfectly!  And black is always better anyway ;)

Righto - off to warp up!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

hello cooler days!!

FINALLY the heatwave has broken (for the moment) - we've had some lovely weather over the last week or so (today is 24C/75F) - much better than the 45C/113F we've been suffering through ;)

So I thought I'd convince Anita to come down to the local beach for some pics - would you believe I actually modelled for one????  My hair is much better for product shots now (too many colours detracted from the scarves), so I chose one that matched my hair ;)

But Anita is still my 'official' model (I'm just moonlighting!) - she has the model figure ;)

Don't you just *love* this colour? 

My other 'official' model Tamara has moved back to the UK for a little while ... but she sent me pics of herself wearing her dark grey Geometric scarf in Dublin:

She'll be taking more pics very soon ... so stay tuned ;)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

adventures in mock damask

Since I first bought my loom, I have been planning how I can possibly incorporate basic pictorial images into my weaving.  Nothing fancy, just some bats and skulls ;)  There's not much on the internet about techniques like this, I assume this is because most people are more interested in weaving patterns rather than pictures ... but I have been researching what I can do with my 8 shaft loom.  I know pictures can be achieved using doubleweave, but I wanted this for a flowing cotton infinity scarf, and doubleweave would be too bulky.

I came across Mock Satin Damask in a Handmade magazine - these articles are all written by Alison Irwin, who has come up with a brilliant technique which she teaches all over the US.  I warped up my loom with cottolin at 24 epi in a basic 1-2-3-4 threading, and knuckled down to learning this technique.  The magazine gave a simple zig zag pattern to get started on ... I failed miserably, and just couldn't figure out where I was going wrong!  Here's my mess of a sampler, with no zig zags in sight!

There's a slight zig zag in the middle, but it's not right at all ...

Bella Head (aka The Weaving Goddess) to the rescue!  Last time I saw her, she mentioned an article in the latest Complex Weavers journal about weaving pictures using only 3 shafts.  I emailed her and asked for a copy of the article (I became a member, but it must have been a bit late to receive the journal).  This is when I realised something ... all these instructions for weaving mock damask were for a floor loom - I have been trying on a table loom.  When the instructions say to lift shaft 1 for instance, all the threads on shaft 1 on my table loom are LOWERED.  On a floor loom they are raised.  What would happen if I reversed the instructions?

I re-threaded my loom in a 1-2-3 configuration to try Three-Shaft Damask (article by Marjolyn Van der Wel).  For my 1/2 twill, instead of raising shaft 1 and weaving, I raised shafts 2 and 3 and wove.

I followed the instructions using a cartoon under the warp, and straight away the pattern started forming!!  You can see in the picture below that shafts 2 and 3 are raised when the instructions say to raise shaft 1.

And here is a leaf!

Please excuse my dodgy warping error on the left hand side and terrible selvedges ... but this *is* a sampler after all!!

Of course I had to try a bat ... wonky shape aside, I'm pretty pleased with it ;)

And here's the back:

So all in all, a successful experiment!  I will definitely be putting this technique into practice soon with some mercerised cotton at a looser epi to give a nicer drape.

It's times like this that I realise how little I know about weaving, and the disadvantages of being self-taught from books ... so many weaving instructions make assumptions about the weaver.  My little epiphany may be common knowledge to most weavers - but I'm pretty chuffed with myself!!!

OK, back to a 'normal' warp now to get some more infinity scarfs done.  (This is why I need another loom, heh :P)